Thursday, February 28, 2013

Weekly Log: 2.25.13 - 3.3.13

Monday - North Kingstown, RI - 6 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I ran at Ryan Park this morning.  I wasn't sure whether to don the YakTrax as the area around the main parking lot was pretty free of snow.  I carried them with me and put 'em on soon after - the trails were a weird mix of either clear paths or crunchy iced snow.  YakTrax proved to be a good choice for some of the more icy areas but sadly one of 'em broke 4 miles in.  Farewell my sweet Trax, you served me well!  Let us hope your services won't be needed this weekend in Big River.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Legs &  Back (60 minutes)

I've been putting off Legs & Back as I've heard some horror stories about how tough it is.  Finally pulled the trigger and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Squats, lunges and pull-ups are the recipe of the day with this one.  I enjoyed the pull-ups because there wasn't any other upper body work to wear me out.  Some of the squat/lunge moves were pretty brutal - I'm sure I'll be feeling it tomorrow but I think doing this workout every few weeks will pay dividends when it comes to off-road running.

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Core Synergistics (60 minutes)

Sunday's trail race in Big River has been postponed (until possibly the 30th.)  Can't say I'm too disappointed as this means I'll be able to race the 1/2 marathon instead of the 10k.

Thursday - Bryant Track - 8.7 miles

Good Christ I'm sore.  I've got major DOMS on my back thighs and glutes from Tuesday's Legs & Back workout.   Nothing better for a serious case of DOMS than hitting the road.  Or in this case the track.

Yes, the track!  The snow has receded and I felt it was time to resume my Thursday speed work at Bryant University.  There was still some some snow/ice encroaching on the corners, the inside lane was filled with gear and overall the track looked pretty beat up from a hard winter but it was still runnable so game on.  I decided to stick with what I knew and opted for 7 x 800s.  I tried for 3 minute splits and was very successful - 3:00 / 3:01 / 3:00 / 3:01 / 3:00 / 2:55 / 2:54.  These were a bit slower that the 800s I ran back in January but I'll attribute that to having to work around the track debris as well as my hiatus from speed work.  Overall a very satisfying workout.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 10.5 miles

Ab Ripper X (20 minutes)

I had the time this morning so I opted to try to stretch this run out a little longer than I normally would.  I wanted to check out some new roads in Smithfield so I parked at Bryant and made my way behind the campus.  I took Log Road again but instead of venturing onto the Burlingame Road death hill, I stayed on Log.  It occurred to me that I had assumed that Log Road wouldn't be as hilly.  There ended up being a fair amount of elevation change but nothing as bad as Burlingame.

Log Road proved to be a wonderful road to run, filled with old timey barn houses, swanky modern homes and lots of streams, bubbling and alive with the winter melt.  Many unique houses with lots of personality.  Eventually Log Rd passed into Burriville and I wondered when I had last been in Burriville.  It's a funny word.  The backroads eventually led me to the Douglas Pike which was less pleasant with the faster traffic and limited shoulder.  It did however provide a more direct route back to my car.  I felt fine throughout the run and kept the pace around 7:30 or so.  Good stuff.

Saturday - 0 miles

Finally broke out the chainsaw to cut up the downed tree in my yard.  I was out there for awhile but there's still a lot of work to do. 

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 12.2 miles

I got wind of the epic Sea to Summit run that was going down this morning, but I know that I'm not ready for that serious a Sufferfest (that is to say, I'm pretty sure I'd survive it but the price would have been steep.)

Instead I opted to keep it slow and local - running the nearby Charlestown roads and beach.  I wanted my speed to remain over eight minutes a mile to keep it very easy.  Lately I've had a problem running this slowly on roads (because I'm badass) but I went to the bar last night and ate and drank in excess, thus allowing myself to wake up feeling lethargic and bloated.  Perfect for running slowly!

Running on the deserted beach was particularly enjoyable - I think I've said it before but I tend to take where I live for granted.  I need to get more runs in by the water before the summer crowds appear.

I jumped off the beach at Green Hill and ran some of the route that I'll be running next weekend at Ocean's Run.  A little prep work never hurts.  I tweaked a nerve on the bottom my left foot around mile 9 - it seemed to get worse for a quarter mile but after a mile the pain had subsided.  Let's hope it's nothing. 

One week until Ocean's Run 1/2 Marathon!  Sub 1:30 or bust!

Weekly Mileage: 37.4 miles

Year to Date: 265.5 miles

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Weekly Log: 2.18.13 - 2.24.13

Monday - South Kingstown, RI - 15.3 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I had most of the day to myself and wanted to run long.  I had really hoped to do a trail run in Arcadia or Big River but after yesterday's Burlingame slog I knew that any trail run would be tough and short.  So I stuck to the roads.  I plotted out a big loop that started at the Mews Tavern in Wakefield and led me past the Great Swamp, through URI and back to Wakefield.  Ministerial Rd was particularly enjoyable - very peaceful and I saw some sort of beaver/aquatic rodent briefly before it ducked under the icy water.  I was pleased with the pace - I kept to about 7:50 miles and it never felt like hard work.  Lunch at the Mews afterwards was a just reward.

Tuesday - 0 miles

My damn wrist is still tweaky so I picked up a wrist brace yesterday.  Hopefully keeping it more secure it will aid in the healing process.  I miss my P90X workouts.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Kenpo X (50 minutes)

With my wrist issue I didn't want to try any of the lifting workouts.  Even Yoga seemed like a bad idea with all the planks and Downward Dogs.  I decided to try Kenpo X for the first time instead.  Everything I read about Kenpo X made it seem like the ugly step-child of P90X - the workout most often skipped or substituted for.  I now see why.  I didn't enjoy it at all.  The punching and kicking didn't do much for me.  I've never done martial arts before so my form was awful and therefore I didn't feel I was working very hard.  I turned it off 10 minutes early and don't foresee trying it again.   Oh well, they can't all be winners.

Thursday - Smithfield, RI - 6.3 miles

Core Synergistics (35 minutes)

I did half this workout with my lovely wife this morning.  I really enjoy CS and the wrist brace didn't prove problematic for the push-ups as I feared.  The Sphinx push-ups can die in a hole, though.

Up in Smithfield, I was excited to try out a new pair of shoes - the New Balance 890 v2.  I intend for these to replace my Asics Cumulus 14 as my everyday road trainer.  It's a lot lighter than the Cumulus but it still has a fair amount of cushion and heel drop.  While I've gone with the wider version of the Asics, I went with the normal width for the 890s - I was worried they'd be too tight but I dug 'em as soon as I started running in them.

I ran from Bryant University and did a loop around the Stump Pond reservoir that I've done before.  I was moving at a good clip and really tried to attack the many hills I encountered.  My left pinky felt tight against the shoe for the first few miles and my left shin ached a bit but both sensations faded by the halfway point.  Overall it was a good first run in the 890s - I think this is going to be a great training shoe and I plan use it for the Ocean's Run 1/2 Marathon in a few weeks.

Speaking of which, I'm in a bit of a quandary with the last 4th Season trail race at Big River coming the weekend before Ocean's Run.  I'd hate to miss the Big River 1/2 but back to back halves might be too much.  I'm thinking the Big River 10k might be the smarter choice to ensure I nail a big PR in Matunuck.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 7.2 miles

Another run that started at Bryant and led me into hilly backroads.  I wasn't exactly sure where I was going but I passed Burlingame Rd and was intrigued by the familiar name.  It turned out to be a quaint country road with a bubbling brook and old farm houses.  Then I hit hill upon hill, passing a flock of turkeys and a massive gorgeous house along my relentless climb.  Finally I reached what I hoped was the top and turned around.  Back at the car, I slipped on the NB 730s and did another mile and a half in these lightweight racers.

Saturday - Hopkinton, RI - 15.5 miles

Group run in Ashaway with Jeff, Justin and Jonny (Triple J.)  Justin led us on a tour of his town.  Lots of rustic farmhouses and some big hills.  We did a short trail section at the beginning but the snow got thick near the end and we stuck to roads after that save for a short section along the power lines.  The pace was mid-7s for the most part which I was able to maintain but it was definitely a challenging workout.  Muddy stashed water & snacks at mile 8 which were most appreciated.

Around mile 10 my left thigh began to ache and it got progressively worse as we ran on.  By mile 13 my pace began to slow and I started to fade behind the other guys.  Luckily there wasn't too much left at this point.  The last few miles were tough going for me but I'm glad I got out there as I need more runs like this to prepare for the TARC 50k.

Sunday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (90 minutes)

Amanda & I did the entire workout together which was a nice change.  Wrist felt fine throughout which was positive.  I tried to really get deep with a lot of the yoga moves and really felt it afterwards.  Thigh is still pretty sore from yesterday's long run. 

Weekly Mileage: 44.4 miles - a new Weekly PR! (by just .4 miles but we'll take it.)

Year to Date: 228.1 miles

A good week all around.  With last weekend's long run pushed back to the holiday, I ended up with two 15 milers this week!  I'm going to try to take it easy for the next two weeks since I'm racing over the next two weekends.  Ocean's Run Half Marathon in two weeks!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Weekly Log: 2.11.13 - 2.17.13

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 6 miles

My original plan was to run at Ryan Park after dropping Ez off at daycare.  I figured that since it was a popular place the snow might be packed down enough on the main trails.  However the main lot wasn't plowed and the smaller lot on Oak Hill Rd wasn't much better.  I decided just to head to work and run the paths around Fidelity. 

They had taken a snowblower to the main path that connects all three buildings so I basically just ran that back and forth.  I attempted to "run" through an unplowed section of path but it was laughable.  I might as well have been running through pudding.  After that I stuck to the path.

Tuesday - 0 miles

I was clearing my car off after the storm on Saturday and I flung a branch that was on the roof.  Somehow that motion tweaked my left wrist enough to hurt it.  It still doesn't feel good and certain movements (like turning a door knob) cause pain.  Perfect.  No P90X for a while.  At least it won't affect my running!

Wednesday - North Kingstown, RI -  4.7 miles

Attempt # 2 at Ryan Park.  I arrived to find that the main lot had been plowed.  Still very icy but at least there was parking now.  Strapped on my lightweight New Balance MT20s and the Yaktrax and off I went.  Rain and sun had packed down the snow so it wasn't like the thick mush I tried to navigate on Monday.  Crunchy and not too deep.

I headed down the Root run but it was slow going.  All the bushes were caved inward on the trail, making it difficult to step over or under them.  There were two large trees that had to be climbed over - looks like their top halves just splintered during the storm.  Root run wasn't much fun due to the amount of debri but once the trail opened up it was clear.  I noticed snowshoe and cross country ski tracks but I was still breaking through the snow regularly.

Up on the railbed there was evidence of more traffic.  Big footprints and snowmobile tracks.  About a mile into the run I made the poor decision to run over an iced puddle.  My right foot went right in - cold!  I passed through the Lafayette parking lot and out onto the open trails on the west side of the park.  Lots of snowmobile activity here that made for easier running.  Still, my foot would break the snow every fourth or fifth step which was aggravating.  I think it's almost easier to run in sections where you're breaking the snow with every step - at least you're expecting it.

I briefly considered taking the road back to the main lot but decided to backtrack instead to extend the run.  Once I got back to where the snowmobile tracks were replaced with snowshoe and skis it was tougher going but still nothing like Sunday's Sufferfest.  Using the MT20s in the snow worked really well. Though I'm still easing into these minimal shoes, I didn't take a pounding since I was running on the snow.  This was a fun winter run.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 9.5 miles

It occurred to me that I haven't been doing much running with purpose since the New Year's begun.  Don't get me wrong - the 4th Season series has been great fun and the long group runs have been suitably epic.  Additionally I've done snow runs all over the place that have really different and enjoyable.  Basically I've been running for the joy of running and I've been fine with it.  But with the Ocean's Run 1/2 only three weeks away, I thought that I'd better start to mix in some harder efforts if I'm to attempt my goal of sub 1:30 (yeah, I've already adjusted my 2012 Recap goal by 5 minutes.  I think 1:35 won't be too difficult to hit.  1:30 will be a challenge.)

With this in mind, I decided to take advantage of a rare longer weekday run to try some tempo work.  I wanted to warm-up for two miles, then run at a 1/2 marathon race pace of 6:50 for six miles.  It became clear right away that my pacing skills are weak.  I would go from 6:15 to 6:55 and everything in between.  Here they are:

6:47 / 6:36 / 6:25 / 6:39 / 6:38 / 6:33

I found it tough to run at 6:50.  My body seemed to want to either go faster or slower.  I was really feeling the effort by mile 4 and turning onto Biscuit City Rd may not have been the wisest course as the hills really made for tough work.  In the end, my splits were faster than I had intended however in a weird way it gave me confidence.  If I can slow it down and actually hit a 6:50 pace consistently, I think I'll have a good chance to maintain that for 13.1 miles.

In other news, I signed up for my long race of the spring - the TARC 50k Spring Classic.  This'll be my first ultra and with numerous WTAC folks participating it should make for a great event.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 4 miles

Short evening run after work on the Fidelity footpaths.  Snow was compressed enough to run through, although it was hard work in spots.  I jumped onto the road when the going got tough and then back into the snow when I was feeling feisty.

Saturday - 0 miles


Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 7 miles

We had a birthday party for Ezri last night and I kind of went overboard late night, eating cupcakes and ice cream like a fiend.  I wanted to atone for my gluttony with a punishing workout and figured that trudging through the snowy trails of Burlingame would do the trick.

I parked on Buckeye Brook Rd and took the path down to North Camp.  Ran into some snowshoers at the pond and I gladly followed their prints back to Vin Gormley - made for much easier travel.  On VG, I ran into the same issue I had with the Ryan Park Root Run - lots of bushes bent over on the trail.  Lots of ducking and dodging involved.  I was breaking through the snow here and it was tough going.

When I reached Sammy C's trail I was really feeling the effort and considered taking the road back but I really wanted to keep to the woods.  I jumped on Sammy C's and was congratulating myself for staying on the trail despite the lack of markings..until I had no idea where I was.  I tried to bushwack further to find the trail but everything looked the same thanks to the snowy winterscape.  I smartened up and followed my footprints back to Vin Gormley.

I was getting tuckered out now and opted to jump onto King's Factory and take it back to my car.  I tried to push the pace to keep myself honest but I began to run out of steam when the going got hilly.  I blame the ice cream and cupcake binge.

Weekly Mileage: 31.3 miles

Year to Date: 183.6 miles

Monday, February 11, 2013

Brrr-lingame 5 Miler

After missing the Belleville 10k with calf soreness, I definitely did not want to miss this race.  I had done it last year as a 15k and race director Mike "No Surrender" Galoob tweaked it this year to make it an even 10 miles.  However when it became evident that we were going to get hit with a massive blizzard on Friday, I was unsure if this race would happen.  Digging out on Saturday, with no power and knee-deep snow on the ground, I became even less convinced that I'd be racing on Sunday.

It became clear that Mike had no intention of cancelling this race, no matter the snowfall.  He updated the conditions on Saturday night, indicating that snowshoes could be used and that running shoes were "probably doable."  Not the most promising message, but I was determined to get out there and do my best, even though my entire family thought I was crazy.

I arrived at the entrance to Burlingame and met up with Jonny and Tom for a quick warm-up.  There was about 30 or so people who made it out.  I'd say half were on snowshoes, half in running shoes and one plucky woman on skis.  Mike explained that it was very tough running out there and that there were three race options based on everyone's preference.  The trail reconnected with the plowed road at various points allowing people to make it a 1.5, 4 or 5 mile race depending on their appetite for punishment.  Mike had dubbed the last 1.5 miles of trail the Snowshoe Deathrace since the snow was deep, the trail was unmarked and there was only a single set of snowshoe tracks to follow (Mike's.)  He recommended anyone with running shoes and/or common sense to avoid this section and just race the 4 mile option.

 Finally we were off and after a few hundred yards on the plowed road, we entered the trail.   Immediately the snow made for slow going and I settled into a spot right behind Ken Shardlow that I would maintain for the first 3 miles of trail.  For awhile I could see Jonny up ahead with his red hat and snowshoes and Jeff and Tom beyond him.  Soon enough they were all gone and it was just Ken and myself.  And whiteness.  I tell you, it was something else out there.  The trees were caked with snow, the sun was shining through the woods and it was just white heaven. 

Ken and I were running at a pace that allowed for conversation and I didn't feel like I was working that hard.  I felt that I was holding back but at the same time I had already convinced myself that I was going to do the whole 5 miles so I wanted to make sure I had something left for the last deep slog.

We both opted to try the Snowshoe Deathrace at which point I decided to pass Ken and push harder.  Soon I was all alone in the woods and with the increased pace it became a truly grueling effort.  I tried to land in the prints of the previous racers but it didn't matter much - the snow was deep and I was soon walking the uphill sections.  I felt very much like I did at the end of the NipMuck marathon: totally spent, walking a good deal and looking over much shoulder expecting to see runners that never appeared. 

Near the end of the trail section, I began to close in on another runner and passed him with only a few hundred yards of trail left.  Back on the road, it took a few moments for my legs to shake off the hell I just put them through.  I began to find my kick as I neared the finish.  Up ahead was a runner I was gaining on.  At first I thought it was someone who had opted for a shorter distance but then I recognized the red hat.  I could see Mike shouting at Jonny to warn him of my approach and I wasn't able to close the gap in time.  I finished right behind Jonny, very pleased that I was able to tackle the entire 5 mile course. 

In the end I finished 4th out of 9th for the full 5 miles in 58:33.  It was so very tough but a lot of fun!  Thanks to Mike and the entire Galoob clan for another great event!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weekly Log: 2.4.13 - 2.10.13

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 3 miles

I didn't have much time before work so I opted to do a short run in my New Balance 730s.  I definitely changed my form a bit when I ran in these - there's not much cushioning so occassionally I would land with my heel and I'd really feel it.   I think once I get a few more short runs in I'll feel much more comfortable with them.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (60 minutes)
Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

My calves were really tight when I woke up from yesterday's run in the 730s.  After some stretching and the P90X warm-up they began to loosen up.  My right elbow began to hurt near the beginning of the second Chest & Back round during the push-up routines (just like what happened during Chest, Shoulders & Triceps a few weeks back.)  I'm not sure if it's a form issue or what but it's annoying.

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (60 minutes)

Thursday - Smithfield, RI - 7 miles

I needed to get a good run in and I didn't want to end up in the woods behind Fidelity again.  I hadn't been to the Powder Mills Wildlife Refuge in a while and it seemed like a good choice.  For those not in the know, you take Putnam Pike up in Smithfield to get there.  It's on the opposite side of the road from the Apple Valley Cinema (is that even there anymore?)

The refuge itself isn't very large - just a few short trails through pine woods.  But it leads to the power lines and from there you can take the access road all the way to that Baptist church that's alongside 295 South.  Between the church and Putnam Pike exit there's a huge network of ATV and dirtbike trails.  There's also a giant sandpit where these crazed bikers get together and do stunts in celebration of their Moon God.  They left a few of their gloves nailed to sticks in the sandpit, no doubt as a warning to trespassers like myself.

There was evidence of recent activity in the pit, but it the sand was mostly frozen over and I had the trails to myself.  I must commend the bikers on their use of orange flags, they were hung liberally throughout the woods, making it easy to follow the various double and single track trails.  I enjoy running here and there are some cool vantage points from which to look down on 295.  One day I'd like to string together all these power line access roads for one huge hilly run.  Probably not legal but definitely epic.

Friday - 0 miles

Saturday - 0 miles

Blizzard knocked out our power and dumped a lot of snow on us.  Spent the day shoveling and keeping warm with the wood stove.

Sunday - Brrr-lingame 5 Miler - 6.8 miles

Brutal but beautfiul insane trail race.  Race report here.

Weekly Mileage: 16.6 miles

Year to Date: 152.4 miles