Monday - Charlestown, RI - 6.5 milesOkay, so my running hiatus only lasted four days. And my right foot still hurts if I put pressure on the outside of it. But actually running on it doesn't hurt so I got back to it.
I had the day off from work so I did some painting in the house. I got a late afternoon run in before the sun went down (damn you DST!) Took Old Coach Road to the Narragansett Trail. The pine tree damage in this area from Sandy is pretty crazy. The trees just seemed to have shattered. The trail had lots of small debris on it but nothing major save for one big tree I had to duck under. From there I took the dirt road up to Route 2.
Once on Route 2 I began to pick up the pace. I think my body was feeling the reserves after four days off. A quick 6.5 run to start off the week.
Thursday - Slushy Fidelity Paths - Smithfield, RI - 4.4 milesGot a short run in before work on this cold, windy morning. The nor'easter was still blowing through Rhode Island but I wanted to get out there for a bit. Not too much rain but it sure was windy at times. The paths around the Fidelity buildings were clear but as I ventured farther away from the grounds they became pretty slushy. I had my trail shoes on and was enjoying plodding through the deeper parts. I'm glad I had my hat and gloves but I probably overdressed by wearing both a windbreaker and track pants.
Friday - Bryant Track and Trails - Smithfield, RI - 6.3 milesI was planning on a track workout yesterday but with the weather I opted to push it until today. I meant to do 1 x 1200 / 3 x 800 / 5 x 400. I did the 1200 & 800s at about a 6:15 pace. I had donated blood yesterday and they warn you not to do anything strenuous for 24 hours. This run was about 17 hours after I donated and I definitely felt the effects - I was pretty spent after the 2nd 800. I managed to get through the third 800 but I was exhausted and opted to forgo the 400s and just take it easy for the rest of the workout. I ran the old cross country trail behind Bryant and even that I found taxing at points. In retrospect I probably should have taken it easy today.
Once at work I diligently went about filling myself with foodstuffs to replenish my weakened body.
Saturday - Black Farm - Hopkinton, RI - 4.2 milesI had an hour to kill while my daughter was at dance practice so I decided to drive 3 minutes down the road and check out Black Farm Management Area, provided the place wasn't infested with hunters. No cars in the lot when I got there so I headed out.
Lots of pine trees and lots of roots poking out of the trail. Luckily it's easier to see the roots when covered by pine needles rather than leaves. As you can imagine there was lots of pine brush on the trails from Sandy but I only saw one major tree in the path. I passed a quaint pond apply titled Plain Pond and then hit the abandoned railway line with offered a straight shot in either direction. I took it north until it seemed to approach a neighborhood and then turned around and took it south until it ended at Wood River. I had to stop at the remnants of the train bridge because all that's left is the cement. The bridge itself is long gone.
I took a different trail back to Plain Pond - on the way I stopped at a small cemetery. Many of the tombstones were difficult to make out but one had clearly been maintained well. It belonged to a 16 year old boy who was aboard the U.S. Eastport in 1863 (I think.) I always appreciate it when people put flags at the graves of long dead veterans and it was touching to see the care someone paid this young sailor.
Sunday - Burlingame - Charlestown, RI - 9.2 milesWith L'il Rhody Runaround next weekend I wanted to get one more run here to get a final feel for the course and survey the damage from Sandy. From the get-go, Sanctuary Rd showed plenty of damage and the short trail section between Sanctuary and the campground confirmed that much work had been done to make it passable.
Once I was past the camp and the Vin Gormley began in earnest I saw that the damage continued to be significant. Plenty of big trees down and much had clearly been done to remove the biggest mamma-jammas from the path. This area with the many bridges is pretty swampy so it would have been tough to go around them.
As the trail heads to higher and dryer ground, there are several large trees that will need to be conquered. Some can be jumped over. Others already have new substitute trails skirting them. These rockier sections of the trail present other problems for me - the thick covering of fat leaves hides dangerous rocks. With my shifty right ankle, I need to tread carefully on these passages. One wrong step next weekend and profanity will be pouring from my mouth, offending man and beast alike.
A big thank you to Jeff Walker, the two Mikes and all the other people from WTAC or otherwise that have been out there working to make this trail passable. Your hard work is appreciated!