Monday - Johnston, RI - 7.2 milesAb 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 milesP90X 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 milesP90X Yoga X (65 minutes)
Thursday - 0 milesP90X 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 milesI 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 milesAfter 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 milesHappy 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.