Friday, May 31, 2013

Weekly Log: 5.27.13 - 6.2.13

Monday - 0 miles

Memorial Day.  Rest Day.  My right calf is a bit sore - it began to tighten up at the end of last week's Big River run and it happened again pretty early into the Grills 14 miler yesterday so it was an easy decision to take the day off.  Additonally we had a full day of activities planned.  In the morning we braved the Zoo with Ezri (not as crowded as we had feared) and in the evening it was dinner and Star Trek with Em (the movie kicked ass.)  We ate at On the Border.  Tasty food but crazy calories/sodium.  It's amazing what these restaurant dishes pack once you start looking up their stats.  I still ate a ton of their tacos and chips but at least I knew how bad they were me.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (60 minutes)

Last day of a six day respite from work.  We had six yards of mulch delivered in the morning and Amanda & I spent the day outside, weeding and shoveling mulch.  Yard looks much better.  We'll see how my arms feel tomorrow after C&B + Mucho Mulchin'.

Mutant Foxglove.  Looking forward to its flowers.

Wednesday - 9.3 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Another late dance practice for Em and another chance for me to get, explore Big River.  You fall off the horse, you get right back on.  I started again from the Exit 6 parking lot and took the same trail as last time just after Capwell Millpond (Logs Trail?)  I figured I'd take it to the New London Turnpike and then check out some other trails on the same side of the road.   Eventually I found myself on another trail but figured it would bring me to the turnpike eventually.

I came upon a wooden bridge and there was an big snapping turtle sitting on it.  Just an awesome looking creature.  It took one look at me and tucked its head and began walking away.  We said our goodbyes and a few moments later I arrived at a road.  The New London Turnpike?  Nope, it was Burnt Sawmill Road, very close to where I started.  Crazy how I got so turned around and didn't even realize it.

I followed BS Road south for a little bit and then jumped back into the woods on the same side.  I passed through a forest of skinny pine trees - looked like maybe there had been a fire here some time back.  Cool spot, I'm thinking this is the Things Go Bump in the Night trail.  Right after the pine forest was an old cemetery I stopped at briefly - hard to read most of the graves but I saw 1842 on a couple stones.  Not long after I came upon Sweet Pond.  Sweet indeed, I now knew where I was.

I jumped on the Steeple Chase trail and headed north back towards the car.  It's well named.  Eventually I began to recognize fallen trees/landmarks and realized I was back on Logs Trail retracing my initial route (in reverse.)  I took this and an adjacent trail back to Burnt Sawmill Road and since I had time leftover I checked out Pine trail on the other side of BS.  Fun twisty singletrack that runs next to Big River (the actual waterway - not as big as you'd think but big for Rhode Island I guess.)  Scared up a huge blue heron.

Finished the run by going back to check out that snapping turtle but it was gone.  My right calf started to twinge as I got there but I stopped and stretched and it gave me no more issues.  It was good to familiarize myself with these trails some more.  I feel much more comfortable in this area now.  Knowledge = Confidence.  And my calf didn't make itself an issue.  All in all a great redemption run in BR!

Thursday - 8.4 miles

HUMID.  I was going to do a track workout this morning but I just didn't have it in me.  The thought of running in circles in the heat/humidity was more than I could bear.  Instead, I decided to do a tempo run up in Smithfield.  I parked at work and ran a couple easy miles through the woods.  Did I mention it was HUMID.  I felt like I was in a goddamn rain forest. 

Once I reached the end of the trail things were a little better.  I ran the length of the Rocky Hill Road over to the Providence Pike.  I picked up the pace as I went and I was working hard by the end of Rocky Hill.  I didn't feel like I was going that fast but I think I was putting in a solid effort due to the humidity.  I kept the pace up on Grange St.  Once I hit the Pike I meant to drop down a gear but it felt like my body decided to drop three gears instead.  Turned out I was still moving at a pretty good clip.

Back at the car I was drenched.  Threw on the NB 730s and did 1.5 as a nice 'n easy cooldown.  Satisfying workout overall.


Friday - 6.1 miles

P90X Shoulders & Arms (60 minutes)

After work I did a nice easy run at Rome Point in North Kingstown.  I ran most of the trails there and also took the beach down to nearly the bridge as it was low tide.  I was sweating bussure from certain directions.t it was definitely cooler and more comfotable than it was up in Smithfield!  The hardest part about this run was just getting there - no matter which route I took, traffic was backed up and crazy.  Summer is here!

Saturday - 0 miles

Some yard work in the morning following by spectating at my first polo match in the afternoon in Portsmouth.  Good fun.  My left elbow doesn't feel great.  I think it's from yesterday's Shoulders & Arms routine.  There's pain when I apply pressure from certain angles.  May have to lay off the strength training for a bit.

Sunday -19 miles

Amanda had the opportunity to participate in some excellent triathalon training at Goddard Park at 9 so I knew that my plan to do a long road run would have to start early.  Woke up at 4:45 AM and dragged myself downstairs.  One coffee and beefy rice cake later and I was out the door.  I left Old Coach and took the dirt roads around School Pond over to King's Factory.  I kept the pace nice and easy.  I took the hilly Shumankanuc Road and was disappointed that Jonny wasn't waiting outside with flapjacks.

No time to dwell on my flapjack-less run, I had luckily brought several of my latest culinary creation - cherry chocolate sticky bites.  Tasty little things that hit the spot, I noshed on them every 45 minutes or so.  I took the power lines past Carter Preserve.  I considered hitting the trails but decided to stick to the roads as I had 18 miles in my mind and the trails would have slowed me down and eaten my time.

I took Route 112 up through Carolina village and actually picked up the pace to sub-8 minute miles as I was feeling sporty.  Jumped onto Shannock Hill Road and tried not to slow down too much as I climbed the big hill.  There's a Strava segment I wanted to compete for - turns out the only other guy actually biked it so I'll get that rectified.  My legs were beginning to feel it as I passed the Kenyon factory and I was glad there were only a few miles left.  I was supposed to be home by 8 AM and got there with 10 minutes to spare.  Great long run.

Amanda had a great practice at Goddard so it looks like she'll be signing up for the Oh My Goddard! tri at the end of the month.  Looking forward to seeing her in action!

Weekly Mileage: 42.8 miles

Year to Date: 738.5 miles

May comes to an end with my second highest mileage month ever of 156.6 miles.  No racing whatsoever but I didn't feel any particular urge to race so no loss there.  Instead I got in plenty of great trail runs and some excellent cross training.  Looking forward to seeing what my speed situation looks like as I enter some shorter June races.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spiced Beef & Onion Rice Cakes

As my six day staycation draws to a close, I wanted to try another recipe out of Feed Zone Portables.  I've had my eye on this one since I first started to pore through the book, though I recognize that many won't find it all that appealing - Spiced Beef & Onion Rice Cakes!  Their rice cake recipes are interesting in that you basically layer a sweet or savory dish between layers of sticky rice.

The recipe calls for 8 oz of ground beef, 3 cups of sushi rice, some minced onions, molasses, soy sauce and some spices.


While the rice is cooking, I browned the beef along with the onions in a saute pan.

Once browned, I added the molasses, soy sauce and the spices (cinnamon, dried ginger & celery salt.)


Ding!  Rice is finally done.  It took awhile for the 3 cups of dried rice to cook - next time I'll start the rice well before I prepare the other ingredients.

Once cooled, half the rice is spread out over a pan.  The book says to use a rice paddle but I found the rice had a tendency to stick to the paddle.  A regular spoon seemed to work much better.

The beef mixture is then spread on top of the rice. 

The rest of the rice is then spread over the meat.  A little tricky to spread the rice without pulling up the beef but I got the hang of it by the end.

I let it set for 10 minutes and then tried a square.  It fell apart pretty easily but the flavors were good.  Very sweet beef flavor.

I waited another 20 minutes and then packaged the rest.  They seemed a little more sturdy by then.

Verdict: Tasty but messy.  I'm not sure how well these would hold up on a long run but I think they'll be a good mid-day or pre-run snack.

176 calories / 1g fat / 37g carb / 4g protein / 60mg sodium

Next up: Amanda requested some cherry chocolate sticky bites - a gel substitute.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Weekly Log: 5.20.13 - 5.26.13

Monday - 9 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Monday Track Time!  Can't say I was looking forward to it (I never am.)  During the drive up my mind is constantly trying to sabotage me by offering other places we could run.  Save the speed work for later in the week - let's just hit the trails.  I ignored these thoughts and made my way to the North Smithfield track.  I settled on doing 800 x8 which I almost immediately regretted but I stuck with it.  I wanted to keep around an 3:00 pace for them - I probably could have gone a bit faster but I wasn't sure if I'd have the gas for all eight.  Track workouts are funny as I'm constantly trying to rationize how many loops I have left or whether I should even continue (part of me was hoping those middle school kids would begin streaming towards the track again, forcing me to end the intervals early.)  The kids never came and I made it through all eight 800s.  I was even able to speed up a bit for the last two.  Like last week I cooled down in my minimal NB 730s. 

Track work: I hate it but I feel great once it's done.

2:55 / 3:02 / 2:57 / 2:57 / 2:55 / 2:58 / 2:53 / 2:54

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (60 minutes)

Wednesday - 11.3 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Another late dance class for Em so I opted to run after work in Big River.  Tired of the Carr Pond side, I wanted to explore some more on the west side of the area.  The only other time I had been over here was on a big group run led by Galoob a few months back so I was more or less flying blind.  I parked off of Exit 6 and took Burnt Sawmill Road d past the pond and then jumped onto a trail.  I took this for quite some time (passing a couple mountain bikers) until eventually it hit the New London Turnpike.

I stayed on the Turnpike for a bit until I hit the Sawmill trail.  I thought about heading to the Lookout but since I had some time to kill I opted to explore some trails I was unfamiliar with.  I headed north onto Sawmill trail until it hit the dirt road that splits off from the Turnpike.  I followed this until just past Sweet Pond and then jumped onto what I think is the Fisher Cat trail.

I broke out my Banana Honey Rice Ball that I brought and I'm happy to report that it worked great.  It was easy to eat while running (much easier than a granola bar,) it tasted great and its tinfoil wrapper was quickly pocketed after it was done.  I'm pleased and look forward to making more flavors.

The trail kept going and going and after a while I began to wonder when I'd hit a road (either the NL Turnpike or the dirt road I had just been on.)  I still had an hour before I had to be back at the car but the sun had disappeared behind graying skies and I was looking forward to having an idea about where I was.  Eventually I passed a fallen tree and I did a double-take.  I had already passed this tree from the other direction.  Somehow I had looped around and was backtracking.  Great.  I decided to continue in this direction and hoped eventually I would just hit the dirt road again.

I kept running on what I hoped was the same route and now I was starting to get concerned.  It was getting darker and I knew storms were in the area.  Finally a light bulb went off and I decided to make use of the GPS computer on my wrist.  There's an option on the Garmin to retrace your route and once I opened up that screen I saw that I was actually almost back to the dirt road.  This eased my mind and a few minutes later I was heading toward Burnt Sawmill Road.  I took BSR back up to my car and was happy that the rain held off until just after I left the lot.

Good run - a little tense for the second half but I purposefully waited to do this run when I had plenty of time in case something like this happened.  So it all worked out.  Next time I'll make use of my GPS sooner.

Thursday - 7 miles

The first day of my six day mini-vacation!  Not doing anything major but the Wife and I have plenty of home projects to keep up busy.  I snuck out for a mid-afternoon run at the Carter Preserve.  It looks like the land trust folks did some work there recently - new markers on the trees and the trails were clear of debris.  The whole place looked great actually.  Took a digger near the red/yellow trail intersection and jammed my left arm.  Elbow's pretty sore now - hopefully it's nothing. 

Friday - 0 miles

P90X Legs & Back (60 minutes)

Crappy weather today made it an easy decision to do a workout in the basement instead of trying to run.  Tomorrow doesn't look much better.  Think I'll rest the dogs until Sunday.   Good L&B session.  49 pull-ups total.

Saturday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (90 minutes)

Sunday  - 14 miles

Long trail run in Bradford with Muddy and Crutch.  I suggested the Grills Preserve having never been there and the fellows were happy to oblige.  We started off in the as-of-yet unopened section of Grills followed by a bit of road before heading into the woods for the rest of the run.  We ran some smooth wide trails followed by a mudtrek through the swamp.  The next section was rocky and a nice change of pace.  Muddy led us up to a forbidden lookout - possibly not open space property but it had a lovely bench and great views.  We crossed the shiny new bridge over the Pawcatuck and took the trails up to the big hill.  I managed to smash my hand against a broken branch and my pinky bled like a son-of-a-bitch.  We stopped at the cars briefly, said adieu to Crutch as Muddy took me on one more loop because I wanted to hit 40 miles for the week.  Grills Preserve is a cool place with a lot of variety and a pretty decent network of trails.  A fun run with plenty of profanity to end the week.

Weekly Mileage: 41.4 miles

Year to Date: 695.6 miles

Monday, May 20, 2013

Banana Honey Rice Balls

As previously stated, Amanda just got me Feed Zone Portables, a book dedicated to making transportable food for the endurance athlete.  I took my first stab at it with their Banana Honey Rice Balls.  Here's my photo journal of the attempt.

The ingredient list is so simple even I had no trouble: sushi rice, honey, banana and walnuts (plus water for the rice.)

Rice and water goes into the rice cooker. 

The banana and walnuts are minced and then combined with the honey.

Mix 'em up and I could eat it as is.

Rice is done!  And they weren't kidding when they call it sticky rice.

Add the bananwalhoney concoction into the rice and mix it together.

Now the messy part.  I had to put saran wrap in my mold (I chose a muffin tray) and add the rice mixture until it's packed well.

Pull it out carefully and we have our first rice ball.

I ended up getting nine with the mold I used.  Recipe estimated I'd make 12-15 balls so I guess I'll use a smaller mold next time.

Bake 'em in the oven for about 18 minutes at 350.

Tasty test complete.  Verdict: Success! The banana and honey flavors are not front and center but the ball will definitely serve its purpose as an energy source.

164 calories / 1g fat / 36g carbs / 3g protein

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Weekly Log: 5.13.13 - 5.19.13

Monday - North Smithfield, RI - 7 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

My band played its first gig in about two years last night at the Spot Underground in Providence.  I played alright and made some flubs but it was good to get on stage again and I appreciate our friends who came out to see us.  While we were done by 10 PM, it was still a long drive home and the giant vietnamese sandwich I had for dinner (plus a giant cookie) meant that I woke up feeling less than great.  All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I had little interest in proceeding with the track workout I had planned.

Nevertheless I wound up at the beautiful deserted North Smithfield track this morning (home of the Northmen - is there a cooler mascot in RI?)  It was a little chilly with the wind so I wore gloves but as soon as I hit the track I felt pretty good.  After a mile and a half warm-up, I did six 400s followed by six 200s.  I was aiming for 85 second 400s and I bested that on most of 'em, speeding up on each until the last one.  I tried to really push the pace on the 200s (which quickly proved exhausting with only a 100m cooldown between each one.)  On my third 200, I spied an influx of middle schoolers dutifully marching towards the track.  Luckily I was able to finish up the set as they begain flooding the area.

With the track under siege, I switched into my New Balance 730s and ran a two mile loop on local roads as a cooldown.  Running in these minimally cushioned roadsters felt alright and I hope to begin incorporating them into the actual track workout soon with the goal of being able to wear them for short road races.  By the time I returned to my car, the mandatory fitness portion of the students' day was over and they had returned to their studies.  The track was deserted once again.

400s - 86 / 83 / 83 / 78 / 78 / 82
200s - 43 / 37 / 27 / 35 / 42 / 34 - The 27s is definitely short and I was probably a bit short on the 35/34 ones too.  Hard to be accurate with the lap button on those short intervals.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (50 minutes)

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Plyometrics (60 minutes)

Plyo!  I haven't done this workout since early January.  Not because I didn't enjoy it.  At the time my calf/achilles had begun to act up and it didn't seem wise to continue with all the jump training in Plyo.  Then once my calf issue subsided I got into Legs & Back and I didn't really have room for two intense leg workouts a week in addition to all my running.  So I brought it back this week and I was sweating up a storm.  Great workout and all the different moves leave you exhausted by the end.

Thursday - Johnston, RI - 10.3 miles

Back to the Snake Den for more exploration.  My legs felt dead from yesterday's Plyo and my upper body still had DOMS from Tuesday's Chest & Back but after a couple miles everything loosened up and I was good to go.  Everyday on my drive home on 295 South I pass ATV trails just before the Route 6 exit.  I knew these must connect with the Snake Den power lines and today I wanted to find 'em.  Mission accomplished.  I found the trail I always see from the highway and then I followed some singletrack for a while that ran parallel to 295.  I was worried how far out this track was going to take me and I considered turning back but I knew that eventually it would either loop back or hit road.  Turns out it looped back and I was able to explore a big chunk of new trails out here.  I took the long way back on familiar trails to bump the mileage to double digits and I was feeling it towards the end.   I may have to start bringing a water bottle on these longer trail runs as the weather warms.

Friday - North Kingstown, RI - 16.3 miles

P90X Back & Biceps (50 minutes)

Another Friday off from work!  Ezri and I traveled a couple miles on the Kingston bike path - her on bike and myself on foot.  Gave me another chance to jog a bit in my NB 730s.  After dropping her off at daycare, I parked in Wickford where I decided to do some reminiscing by running around my old stomping grounds.  I ran down past the town beach and then I took Post Road over to Rome Point.  I explored the usual trails there and then made my way up to Featherbed Lane, the road I grew up on.  My old house has gone through several owners since my mom sold it - it's in rough shape now and needs some love and care.

I ran on Annaquatucket past the new high school (I guess it's not so new anymore) and turned onto Tower Hill Road briefly before taking the old railbed trail and checking out its few offshoots.  Then up to the town library and over to Wilson Park where I used to play soccer.  I checked out a few old bike trails here and then finished the run by exploring a couple of the historic Wickford streets. 

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 4.1 miles

Power Vinyasa Yoga (90 minutes)

I did my first group Yoga class this morning at Salt Pond Yoga.  I was nervous since I've never done Yoga with anyone other than my wife and never outside of my basement.  Turned out to be a great experience.  The studio is above a garage on a very beautiful estate here in Charlestown - it's power yoga so they heat the room to 90 degrees.  It was packed - probably about 20 people were there and I was glad to see there were a few other guys as well.  P90X Yoga served me well - I was familiar with most of the moves and poses so I felt pretty comfortable.  Within minutes I was sweating buckets.  I was exhausted by the end but it felt great.

In the afternoon I ran four quick ones down Old Coach and back.  Just a shakeout to burn off some of the weekend excess.  A light rain was falling which made the run extremely pleasant.  Happy to see that someone cut up all the fallen pines on the Old Coach Pine Path.

Weekly Mileage:  37.8 miles

Year to Date: 654.2 miles

Great week all around.  Third week in a row that I was able to get in two strength workouts.  I hit the track for the first time in awhile and hope I can consistently do so.  I had fun in Snake Den and finally got my long N.K. run in.  My first group Yoga session was difficult but satisfying and I look forward to more.  Next week should be interesting.   The weather looks to be crappy but that don't confront me none as I've got six days off starting Thursday!  Huzzah!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Trials and Triumphs in the Garden

Time for another garden update.  My first blog post was filled with all the hope and promise that a new season of gardening brings.  My pepper seeds were planted and my basement setup was ready to give them a good home.  Well, sometimes our best laid plans go to hell.  The peppers did poorly.  Very poorly.  I'm not sure what the issue was as the environment seemed identical to previous years but they didn't thrive.  I'm planning on culling the few remain sad sacks.

I have failed you my friends.  Forgive me!

A few weeks later I started my tomato seedlings.  I had better success with them than the peppers but they still haven't done great.  Unlike the peppers I'm hopefully I'll be able to transplant a few of 'em and get them in the garden.  Perhaps the lamps in the shop lights I've used for the last few seasons have finally started to diminish.  I think I'll replace them in the off season.

Tomatoes are faring better - but not by much.

Reinforcements have arrived!

With a poor showing with the homegrown stuff, I went to the URI East Farm festival this past weekend and loaded up with some of their awesome heirlooms.  I replaced all my dead hot peppers with theirs - habaneros, jalapeno and a chocolate cayenne.  I got some good tomato strains too - purple cherokee, chocolate cherry, sun gold.

Outside in the vegetable garden things are happening.  The garlic has been up for a while in the center bed and the sugar snap peas are starting to climb.  I had planted onions and broccoli next to the peas but those seedlings all got eaten so I've replaced them with brussel sprouts (at my wife's request.)  This was a good call as we both have really come to enjoy brussel sprouts over the last year.  If the seeds don't pan out, I'll be getting some transplants somewhere 'cause we're growing sprouts one way or another this year.

Garlic on the left / Snap peas on the right

Squash and zucchini bed

I rototilled one of the beds this past weekend, added soil amendments and planted zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers.  Lots of cucumbers.  Every year I state that I'm going to can 'em and make pickles and it never happens.  This year will be different.  I mean it!

 I also built a second raised bed in the back of the garden.  I've had the materials since last fall and finally got it done.  Soil is a mix of peat moss, hummus and dirt from a pile that we had delivered years ago.  The pile's become a weed factory but I scrape the weeds off the top and scoop the sweet clean dirt below.  Amanda questions this approach but I did the same thing with the garlic bed and weeds haven't been an issue there.  I have to add a bit more soil to this bed and then it'll be ready to welcome the peppers and some tomatoes.

New bed - new possibilities

Finally in the front of the house I've got sunflowers coming up.  I had a great batch of 'em here a few years ago but I totally spaced on planting them last year.  Behind them is my Foxglove Armada.  I started a few of these beautiful biannuals from seed a couple years ago and now they reseed and have really taken over this side bed.  Amanda hates them because now they're coming up everywhere but I think this corner will look really nice once they're blooming.

There's a half-assed net over the sunflowers to keep the birds out.

That's all for now.  Stay tuned for my next post when I detail how I managed to kill off half the stuff I just showed you.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weekly Log: 5.6.13 - 5.12.13

Monday - Johnston, RI - 7.2 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Started the week off at Snake Den for more fun on its hilly trails.  Having taken the whole weekend off from running, I had a lot of spring in my step and felt I was moving at a good pace.  The last two runs were in the New Balance MT20s and they felt good for the entire run (aside from the sharp rocks at the power lines.  This was the one place where their minimal cushioning made it tough.)  Powered up the hill that runs alongside the parallel to the powerlines, claiming a segment named in my honor in the process.  Next time I come here, I'm going to explore east of the powerlines - I see ATV trails alongside 295 S everyday on my way home and I'm sure they connect to Snake Den trails.

Tuesday - Exeter, RI - 11.8 miles

P90X Legs & Back (60 minutes)

Great L&B session this morning.  I felt good doing all the squats and lunges and I definitely improved in the number of pull-ups and chin-ups.

Em had a late dance practice so I decided to explore Arcadia since I had a couple hours to kill.  I parked at my usual spot at J B Hudson around 5:45 PM but I really didn't want to do the Breakheart/Mt Tom loop for the umpteenth time.  I decided to check out the Stepstone Falls and planned a Shelter > Breakheart > Ben Utter trail route.  Now to execute.

It was pretty warm when I started and I was quickly sweating.  Luckily it's still early in the season and there weren't a lot of bugs.  That familiar nerve pain on the bottom of my foot started up almost immediately but luckily it subsided after a few miles.  I started off on the J B Hudson trail but at the first main intersection I turned right hoping it would take me to the Frosty Hollow Pond.  Success!  This is a cute little pond where only kids can fish.  Pretty neat.  The Shelter Trail began to the west of this pond and with several options I chose the one that had a marker.  As I entered the woods someone drove by and shouted "Run Forest Run!"  Thanks guy.

This white dot trail seemed to be heading in the right direction but then became a twisty turny maze.  I was worried that I chose poorly when I finally started moving north and came to a big field.  At the other end of the field was Austin Farm Rd.  I now had my bearings.  I turned right onto the road and soon came upon a marker for the Shelter Trail on the left side.  So I'm guessing that I wasn't actually on Shelter Trail at first but now finally I was on track.  I took the Shelter Trail for a while (passing a large structure which I assume is responsible for its name) and realized that time was becoming an issue.

It was now about 6:30 and I needed to be back at my car around 7:50.  I now knew that I'd never make it to Stepstone Falls if I stuck to my original plan.  Instead I made a beeline back to Austin Farm Rd and took that directly to the Ben Utter trail.  Not as scenic but time no longer allowed me to dilly-dally on singletrack.  Even with the faster pace on Austin Farm I wasn't sure I'd have time to get to the Falls (I'd never been on Ben Utter so I wasn't sure how long it was.)

I reached the Ben Utter trail at 6:45.  I gave myself 15 minutes on it before I had to turn around.  This is a really nice trail which follows the Wood River for much of it.  There's a couple technical sections and some nice wooden bridges to cross.  It was slightly uphill for the most part and I was moving - it was a race against time!  I came upon a big old barn which had a fireplace and tables inside.  Looked like a cool place to hang out and have a pow wow.  Time was almost up.  I debated whether I should turn around and decided to proceed just a bit farther.  Is that water I hear?  Yes!  And there are the falls.  Not as impressive as I imagined but lovely all the same.  Sort of a low rent version of the Jackson Falls - one of my favorite New Hampshire spots.  I had made it with two minutes to spare.

No time to bask in the tranquility, I began the descent back down.  This went faster and I hit Austin Farm Road at 7:10.  I had forty minutes to stick to my schedule.  I took Austin Farm to the Brooke Trail (actually a wide dirt road) and continued to move as best I could.  I was beginning to fatigue from the combination of Legs & Back and 10+ miles.  I stopped briefly to check out a few fishing spots (there were a couple intrepid fisherfolk out there) but otherwise kept moving.  I got back to the car at 7:42.  A fun run and I'll be back again because there are just so many trails to explore out there!

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (65 minutes)

Thursday - 0 miles

P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (55 minutes)

I had to rearrange my schedule to pick up Ez so no time for a run today.  Instead I decided to do CS&T, an upper body blaster that I haven't done in two months.  Great workout!  Lots of crazy push-ups including one-arm and clap varieties.  I'm not ashamed to say that I needed to do these on my knees.  I had spaghetti arms by the end so I definitely gave it my all.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 15 miles

I have the day off!  Started the day by preparing a crockpot dinner of Santa Fe Chicken.  I hope it's tasty.  Then I laced up my road shoes and took Old Coach Road to Shannock and over to the Browning Woods.  The last time I was here was with the Fullers a few months ago and it's been cleaned up nicely.  A couple big trees that were in the way have been cleared.  I took the Heart trail over towards Wordens Pond Road.  This too looked like it's been cleaned up - much less prickers and overhanging branches then there used to be.

After coming out of the woods into an old persons neighborhood (they all looked at me with friendly but suspicious eyes) I passed through the sand dunes and onto Sand Plains Road.  It was pretty hot out and the sun was bearing down on me.  I still felt pretty good but I'm glad I had plenty of water.  At the end of this dirt road, I jumped onto the northern entrance of the DuVal trail.  This too looks like it's had some work down.  My hat's off to the South Kingstown Land Trust.  They do good work.

By the end of DuVal I was beginning to feel it and I took the roads back to my house.  I knew I was already looking at about 13.5 miles but I couldn't resist tacking on a few side trails and roads to make it an even 15.  The last mile felt like a slog (I did a lap around the yard to get the last 0.1) but it felt good to push through and hit the distance I wanted.  The cold shower afterwards was delightful.

In other news, I got a sweet new book from my wife that just came out.  It's all about easy-to-make portable food for athletes.  I'm looking forward to trying out some of these recipes!

Saturday - South Kingstown, RI - 6 miles

After picking up some veggies at the always busy URI East Farm Spring Festival, I stopped at Curtis Corners Middle School to check out the trails off of the bike path.  I've never explored the tri-pond trails and they were a mix of well-groomed paths and muddy plank-strewn affairs.  I ran what seemed like most of 'em and then ran a bit on the other side of the school.

Sunday - 0 miles

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.  My band Hip Bobsha will be playing our first gig in a long time at the Spot Underground in Providence tonight.  It'll be fun to get on stage again.

Weekly Mileage: 40.1 miles

Year to Date: 616.4 miles

This was a good week of running with two double digit runs (and neither of them coming on the weekend.)  Next week I really need to incorporate some speed work back into my schedule.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Weekly Log: 4.29.13 - 5.5.13

With my first ultra in the rearview mirror and no planned races in May, it's time to focus on speed and general fitness.  I'm running the JP Morgan Corporate Challenge up in Beantown at the end of June and I'd like to do really well.  It's a 3.5 miler so speed's the thing!  I'm sure I'll throw in a race or two before then but this is the next event I'm focusing on.

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 4.1 miles

Just an easy run around Fidelity to shake out the old bones after TARC.  Legs were creaky at first but they warmed up soon enough.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (60 minutes)

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (60 minutes)

Holy soreness!  My chest and shoulders feel like they're filled with cement today.  I knew I pushed it in yesterday's workout and here's the proof.  Good stuff.

Thursday - West Warwick, RI - 7.5 miles

Every morning during the misery which is my morning commute I pass over a bike path near the beginning of 295 in Warwick.  I've always wondered where it goes so I did some research and learned of the Washington Secondary Bike Path, which runs from Coventry to Cranston.  It's an abandoned rail corridor that's been converted to a paved path but there are remnants of the railbed alongside that were left as a historical reminder.  I decided to check it out on my morning run.

Parking lots for this path are spaced pretty generously and I picked one in West Warwick so that I could head into Coventry.  My initial impressions of the bike path were not positive.  Vegetation was overgrown, trash littered the sides and the profane services of a certain Sarah were scrawled many times on the fences.  Once the path moved beyond the seedy underbelly of West Warwick, things improved tremendously.  The quality of the path was better and the neighborhoods became more sparse and pleasant.

There was a cool bridge that led over the Pawtuxet River and I explored some short trails on the other side.  Jumping back on the path, the surroundings became more and more rural.  I came upon the Merrill Whipple Conservation Area and knew I had to check it out.  This was a little forest with smooth wide trails which led to a pond.  Reaching the shore, I was pleased.  Two canadian geese were out in the marsh, honking and pecking for food.  I could see a few sunfish near the shore that swam away as I approached.  Just a charming spot.  I immediately wished I had a fishing pole and a couple of beers (I haven't fished in years but I think I may have to rectify that.)

After spending a few moments basking in the good vibes, I made my way back to the bike path and headed back to the car.  The sun was shining and it felt good to work up a sweat.  A fine run.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 6 miles

P90X Shoulders & Arms (50 minutes)

I hit the woods behind Fidelity for some easy miles on the trails.  Someone left a big bag of trash on one of the wider tracks.  Bastards!  Ran a less frequented (for me) trail and discovered the ruins of a very old grave site deep in the woods.  The words were long gone from the stone marker and someone (or something) had dug a hole in front of it.  It's bad mojo to mess with the dead.  Moving on, I attempted to beat my own segment on a fun twisty section of singletrack and then made my way back to civilization.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - 0 miles

A rare zero for the whole weekend.  I had lots of yard work to keep me busy and didn't have any particular desire to go for a run.  I feel good post-TARC but I think an easy weekend off the roads/trails will do my body good.  We'll take it up a notch next week.

Weekly Mileage: 17.6 miles

Year to Date: 576.3 miles