Monday - Johnston, RI - 7 milesP90X Chest & Back (60 minutes)
After work I went to Town Fair Tire in Johnston to get my tires rotated. Dropped the car off and hit the roads with my headlamp pulsing. Don't hit me, motorists! It actually wasn't a bad run - I've done the tire rotation/run combo a few times this year and I was able to stick to streets with sidewalks and neighborhood roads. My road shoes had to contend with some ice/snow but for the most part the streets were clear and I was able to keep the pace snappy.
Tuesday - 0 milesP90X Plyometrics (60 minutes)
Wednesday - 0 milesAb Ripper X (20 minutes)
After doing P90X the last two days I was ready to get back to running. I wanted to resume my Thursday track routine which had been sidelined for the last month by holidays and weather. Not wanting to get too crazy after a hiatus from speed work, I opted for 6 x 800s with 400 jogs between each one. Warmed up for 1.5 miles and was aiming to run 3 minute intervals.
Thursday - Bryant Track - Smithfield, RI - 7.4 miles
2:58, 2:59, 2:55, 2:53, 2:48, 2:50
First two were right on the money and then I started to speed up a bit. Guess it's better than slowing down. I really tried to focus on listening to the rhythm of my footsteps to keep a steady pace - I am a musician after all - and I think this helped to keep my speed on each interval constant (even if I was speeding up on each one.) My inner thighs were really sore from Tuesday's Plyometric routine. I didn't notice during the 800s but man they ached during the 400s. Overall I felt I gave a hard honest effort on the 800s so I'm satisfied with this workout.
Friday - Smithfield, RI - 5.2 milesAb Ripper X (20 minutes)
This was a short run in the woods behind Fidelity. I carried my Yaktrax but didn't need 'em as dirt bikers had already done the hard work for me, carving big grooves in the snow that exposed the dirt and rock beneath. The last mile and a half were on the Fidelity paths - these actually proved the most treacherous as the snow had melted away leaving large sheets of slippery ice to navigate.
Saturday - 0 miles
Sunday - Big River Management Area - West Greenwich, RI - 15.7 milesA group run was organized for Big River on Sunday. I've never explored the east side of this vast area and the distance was just what I was looking for. However I was told the pace would be "fast and hard" and it gave me pause. Would I be able to keep up with these guys for the long haul? Only one way to find out.
We met at 6:45 AM just off of Exit 6 on 95. Mike G was leading the expedition and Jeff, Muddy, Tom and Aaron Rome were all in attendance. It was 45 degrees but it felt colder. I went with shorts and a short-sleeve tec shirt but I wore my gloves which proved wise. We took off and it was pretty tough to see for the first mile but we came out onto a road for a bit and from then on visibility was fine.
The pace wasn't as bad as I feared and I wasn't having trouble keeping up with the pack. But I wouldn't call it a conversational pace for me - I was definitely working pretty early into the run and didn't say much to anyone. Mike shouted out the names of the trails as we went (Ken and Barbie, Sizzler, I See Dead People, etc.) I had studied the map a bit so I recognized a lot of these names but I couldn't tell you where we were.
The New London Turnpike is an old dirt road that cuts through BR and Mike was kind enough to stash some snacks and water that we enjoyed about an hour into the run. Then we ran alongside the boundary to some gun club. They had barbed wire and warning signs along their land - no doubt they were busy preparing for the forthcoming revolution.
We ran on. I recognized the Saw Mill Trail from my previous runs in BR but soon enough Mike led us back onto a singletrack trail called Elephant. This was all uphill switchbacks and it wore me down. But it ended at the fabled Lookout I had tried in vain to find on a previous trip. It was all fogged in so sadly no views but there was a magical mailbox stuffed with candy courtesy of our friendly neighborhood mountain bikers. I helped myself to some mini butterfingers.
Then it was some downhill running followed by uphill running followed by more running. Mike told us that we'd be heading back towards the cars in a more straightward fashion from Lookout but there was still a lot of ground to cover. I was definitely running out of gas and luckily Aaron was content to run at the same pace as myself. We let the others tool on ahead and then would regroup at the end of each trail.
As we neared the parking lot Mike wanted us to check out a loop called Lollipop but it was voted down by a tired group of guys. The last stretch was a bit of a slog - lots of mud and my form was starting to get a little sloppy. Aaron and I reached the parking lot but the other guys were nowhere to be found - they decided to run down the road a little more because they are insane.
All in all an awesome run. I didn't fall too far behind and I got to explore a huge area I've been wanting to check out. Sorry I didn't talk too much - I was in survival mode!