Monday - Smithfield, RI - 5.1 milesWhile I've run plenty before work, it's usually done near my house, on roads, in the dark. Blech. I had to work today but the rest of the family had the day off so I decided to head into work early and run some of the single track trails.
I was very happy with my decision as it was beautiful in the woods with the sun shining through the glistening leaves. The chill of the morning froze my hands for the first mile but they warmed up soon enough. I decided to run a cool dirt bike trail in reverse. The riders were clever enough to spray paint orange dots on the trees - but only in one direction. As a result there were a few tricky spots were I had to stop and really look for the trail. All the fresh leaves on the ground made it difficult at points. One cool thing about going in reverse was that I discovered an old stone cellar, long abandoned. I had never seen it before. It's amazing to look at the maps of these trails after I run them. They twist and turn so much it seems like I should be miles into the woods when in actuality I'm never very far from where I started.
This trail led to a 4 way trail intersection. I opted to run the Tricksy Fidelity Singletrack section in reverse but about a minute into this trail I rolled my right ankle pretty badly on a downhill rock. The slippery morning conditions finally got me. I took my shoe off and massaged my foot and after a few minutes and a couple tender steps I was able to run and head back to my car.
Not long after the ankle incident my Garmin screen froze and said it was a low battery. This is crap as it was fully charged after yesterday's run. I remembered a trick I read online - when you get the low battery message just leave it be. There's usually still a half hour of juice in it. But if you click a button to confirm it will shut off and not turn back on. Sure enough, I was able to finish the run with it on. Whether it actually recorded the whole run will have to wait until I get home tonight.
It's a few hours later and the ankle is still pretty sore but after rolling them a couple times this year I'm pretty confident that with some ice and elevation it shouldn't keep me off the road for long.
Thursday - Bryant Track - 6.7 milesMy ankle swelled up a bit on Tuesday and was quite tender. It still hurts if you bend it certain ways but walking on it is fine so I figured today was a good day to get back out there and do some speed work.
I got an early start on the day and was able to run at the Bryant Track before work. Normally my morning runs are in the cold dark hours of the day so running in the sunlight was welcome. Hopefully I can do this more often.
I ran a mile warm up on the track and then did 4 x 800m with 400m cooldowns between followed by 4 x 400m with 200m cooldowns. I was worn out by the end. I ran the Bryant Collegiate 5k course backwards as a cooldown. Ankle felt fine throughout. And doing speedwork on the track was much better than trying to do it on roads where I would be constantly checking my watch to verify distances. A great workout.
Friday - Fidelity Trails - 4.7 milesA short jaunt in the woods. I wanted to run a trail I've only run once before. It's off of DeCotis Farm Rd and after a short while intersects with the Hanton City Rd. Well, Google calls it a road and while there are patches of asphalt for the most part it is now dirt and rocks. Anywho, once I was on the trail I must have taken a wrong turn as I never hit Hanton City. Instead the trail kept winding this way and that and eventually deposited me further down DeCotis Farm Rd. So not quite where I meant to go but a fun trail nonetheless.
Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 15.5 milesI was looking forward to getting in a fairly long early morning run. I took off just after 6 AM and needed my headlamp for the first 45 minutes or so. Extremely windy when I started out but no sign of rain.
After focusing on long trail runs for NipMuck, I wanted to mostly run the local roads. I intended to head over to King's Factory and decided to take Indian School House Rd to an unnamed dirt road that connects to King's. I was moving well from the get-go and once I got on King's the fast pace continued. I felt great on miles 6-8 and was still moving at a sub-8 minute pace. I started to do the calculations in my head and realized I could probably set a great new 1/2 marathon PR. The only issue was that I was planning to run the powerline trail next to the Carter Preserve in order to get to Old Mill Rd and it's pretty sandy/hilly.
Just before the powerlines I popped my Gu Roctane gel (I received it in a swag bag for a Strava challenge. Was this the secret to the day's run?) I didn't really slow down much on the trail despite its hills and once I hit the pavement I continued to push the pace. I've been running on trails so much lately that I haven't had a chance to really settle into a fast long-range run pace in a while and was really surprised how easy it came.
Miles 11-13 were even better with splits in the low 7s. I was moving faster than ever and it didn't even feel like work. I made a point not to look at my watch after mile 12 and instead just focus on keeping the pace. By the time I was back on Old Coach I finally looked at my watch and knew that I had just destroyed my previous 1/2 PR and was looking at a new one of about 1:43. I tried to slow it down after mile 13 but my body wasn't having it. Finally at mile 14 my legs started to realize what I had been putting them through and fatigue suddenly set in. I slowed as I made my way up my driveway but psyched that I was able to run 15 miles at a sub 8 min pace. All this running has paid off!