Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weekly Log: 6.24.13 - 6.30.13

Last week before vacation!  By Sunday we'll be in the White Mountains.  Can't wait!

Monday - Ryan Park, North Kingstown, RI - 7.1 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

It was hot and humid when I parked at Ryan Park this morning and I thought it would be refreshing to run without a shirt.  BIG MISTAKE.  It is now officially deer fly season and the bastards began attacking me in force before I was even halfway down the rail bed.  Their numbers are legion and I hate them so.  They seemed to ease off as I neared the root run but they didn't completely disappear.  I threw in a couple of miles on the neighborhood roads just to gain a respite from the little fucks.  They weren't as noticeable on the west side of the park away from the wetlands but make no mistake: the deer flies are here.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (60 minutes)

I was very pleased to make it all the way through this workout with minimal right elbow discomfort.  It began to feel pretty tight by the halfway mark but there was never any pain so I consider that a victory.  It's been a month since I did this one and my numbers were a bit lower but that's to be expected with my lack of strength training lately.

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (60 minutes)

Great Yoga session this morning.  With the heat wave, our basement is sitting at 75 degrees which is probably 10 degrees warmer than most of my previous Yoga workouts.  As a result I felt a lot looser and more flexible. 


Thursday - North Kingstown, RI - 7 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I wanted to do a short run in my vibrams and then change into my minimus shoes.  I was going to do it all at Rome Point but the traffic was backing up so I decided to run the vibrams at the west side of Ryan Park.  In addition to breaking in the vibrams, I also wanted to test out the waist pack I bought before I bring it to New Hampshire next week.  At first it was jostling around some but after cinching the belt tighter it wasn't bad.

After 3 miles at Ryan park, I drove to Rome Point for another 4 miles.  I wore the MT20s on this run but I still kept the waist pack on.  By the end I was starting to feel the weight of the pack (I had loaded it up prior to the runs) and my pace began to drop.  All in all it was a successful test of the pack - I think it will work well in New Hampshire.

Afterwards I headed to band practice where we figured out the setlist for a gig we're excited about - opening for Badfish at the Ocean Mist on August 2nd.  Plan to come on out!

Friday - Watch Hill & Misquamicut, Westerly, RI - 14.3 miles

First day of vacation and I wanted to get a long run in.  Despite living one town over I rarely run in Westerly so I wanted to do a loop that encompassed a great deal of the area.  I parked at the Stop 'n Shop across from the airport and took the main roads over to Watch Hill.  I ran a loop in Watch Hill then took the long Ocean View Highway over to Misquamicut.  It was humid and sticky and there wasn't much of an ocean breeze to cool me off but I was feeling good and kept the pace under 8 minutes.

After looping through Misquamicut, I went down Route 1A.  I meant to pass by the golf course and then loop back onto the airport industrial road but I passed signs for the Glacier Park and knew I had to check it out.  I ran a bunch of the trails in this little reserve - fun, hilly singletrack.  I jumped back on the road and found my way through the development to Tom Harvey Rd and headed back to the car.  I was a sweaty mess by the time this run was over but it was enjoyable.

Saturday - 0 miles

No time to run today - we've much packing to do.  I needed a rest day anyway.  Calves are feeling pretty sore and this next week's gonna test 'em.

Sunday - Echo Lake / Bartlett Hills, NH - 8.4 miles

Made it to New Hampshire very early Sunday morning!  After watching the girls do awesome at their dance recital we finished packing the car and got out of dodge around 8:30 PM.  We ended up arriving at the cabin at 1:30 AM.  Pretty late but we had a cool specimen waiting to greet us.

Big Ass Moth
While the thread of nasty weather looms over the whole week, it turned out to be a nice day.  We spent a few hours at Echo Lake, enjoying the water.  Amanda swam the lake in her wetsuit and I spent some time exploring the trails around the lake.  I attempted to explore the trail leading up to the White Horse Ledge but the blue blazes seemed to stop after awhile.  I attempted to trounce around and pick 'em up but the going was steep and I decided to leave it to the mountain climbers.  Finished circling the lake and then jumped back in the water.

Back at the cabin, I ran a few miles on the local roads.  You know when all the roads have the word "ledge" in their name they are going to be hilly.  I avoided going all the way to the bottom of the neighborhood so the elevation wasn't as bad as it could have been but I'll have to be ready for steeper climbs on future runs.

Tuckerman Pale Ale x2
Tuckerman Headwall Alt x1


Weekly Mileage: 36.8 miles

Year to Date: 887.2 miles

June comes to an end but I start July in New Hampshire with my girls so I'm a happy man.  This ended up being my 2nd highest mileage month at 167.8 miles.  Looking forward to the week ahead.

Friday, June 21, 2013

J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge

The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge is a 3.5 mile road race that's held throughout the world to promote charity, camraderie and fitness in the workplace.  By the time I learned of last year's Boston race it had sold out...despite having 12,000 participants.  I knew that Jeff had run it in years past and I roped him into running it again with me.  I was optimistic that I could run under 21:30 and finish among the top 200 runners.

The race took place at the unusual time of 7:15 PM on a Thursday.  I took the T into the city and met up Jeff at his office.  After admiring the view from his desk (a great look at the waterfront) we changed up and made our way to Boston Commons.  We got there pretty early so we hung out in the shade for a while, chatting up upcoming races.  We did two miles of the course as a warm up and I got a jist for the layout.  There are several sharp turns at the beginning and end but the rest is just two long straightaways.

Ready to race in honor of the mother company

After the warm up we headed up to the Fidelity tent for a massive group photo with 300+ Fidelity runners and then we went down to the starting area.  With 12,000 runners, you need to tow the line if you have any intention of running a fast time.  Once they closed the road, the fast folks raced up to the starting line where there was one poor old bastard tasked with stopping the mob.  They threw up some fences to keep us in place and we spent the next 15 minutes fidgeting our way through some goofy aerobic demonstration, touching Boston Marathon tributes and the usual pomp and circumstance.  Finally the fences were removed and it was go time.

At the gun, madness.  Someone pushed me from behind which actually helped propel me forward and get me moving faster.  I heard a cluster of bodies collapse behind me but I didn't dare look.  50 yards after the start was a sharp left turn - it was pretty tight and I heard more people take a tumble off to the side.  The field began to spread out a bit and the next two corners weren't as hairy.

With the initial turns out of the way I glanced at my watch and saw I was running at a 5:30 pace.  Okay, that's probably a little fast but I didn't feel like I was out of control so I decided to keep at it.  If I blew up later so be it.  There were lots of excited kids handing out water at the 1st mile - I had no need so I veered away from them but some jerkface made a hard cut in front of me and I almost plowed into him.

I continue to work hard into the second mile.  I had been able to keep Jeff in my sights but now lost him as more people passed me.  It wasn't due to me slowing down, they were just making up time.  Two Fidelity women went by and I thought about try to keep pace but they were moving too fast - keep it up ladies!  Finally I reached the turnaround at Kenmore Square and began the return trip.  I could see the runners still heading out on the other side of the street - so many people!  Just a sea of runners. 

I checked my watch - mile two came in at 5:52.  I was very pleased that I hadn't dropped to over six for the second mile (I think a first for me) but doubted that I'd be able to keep the pace up for much longer.  It felt really challenging now.  I grabbed a water at the last water stop as my throat was very dry now.  It helped give me a bit of focus and I latched onto a guy in a red shirt and tried to stay with him.  I forgot to look at my watch for mile three but I would have been happy to have known that it was 6:03.  Not as much of a drop off as I would have thought.  The second long straightaway was mentally draining as it just goes and goes.  Even though I recognized buildings from the warm up I still wasn't sure how much longer it was.  Finally I saw the street lights indicating that the corners were approaching and I tried to keep the pace up.

I passed a few more runners on these turns and emerged onto the last straightaway which is probably just under a 1/4 mile long.  I could see Jeff and the timing clock up ahead and the usual finish line adrenaline kicked in and helped me finish strong.  Met up with Jeff and we made our way down the finish line corridor, pocketing granola bars and enjoying yogurt popsicles.  I also grabbed a promotional cowbell which I'm sure will come in handy.

So this performance exceeded my expectations and pleased me in every way.  In the back of my mind I thought a sub 21 minute race was possible but I never thought I'd run that far under.  While unofficial, Strava now lists my 5k PR as 18:09 which is pretty great.  The two days of rest and a totally flat course were no doubt factors but I'm just glad everything came together for this one. 

After the race Jeff & I chatted with a couple other Fidelity runners, watched throngs of runners finish for a few minutes and then made our way to a greasy spoon for beer and a top notch turkey burger (Jeff's opinion might differ on that one.)  We went our separate ways at South Station and I witnessed human awfulness on the T ride back to Quincy.  Thanks for the laughs, crazy lady!  Even thought it was 10 PM, Route 93 was still a goddamn mess with construction.  What a terrible stretch of road.  But even my misadventures in escaping the city couldn't keep me down.  I was in great spirits after this one.  Big thanks to Jeff for joining me in this race - made it a lot more enjoyable.

Official time: 20:35.  87th out of 12k or so (but who's counting?)  11th among Fidelity men.  Results here.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Weekly Log: 6.17.13 - 6.23.13

Should be a fun week with a rare Thursday race up in Beantown - the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge.  I'll be running along with 12,000 other folks representing their companies.  It's a long way to go for a 3.5 mile race but it's a big chaotic event that should be a lot of fun.  I even talked Gazelle into running so at least I'll know one person there.  The week ends with my wife's first triathlon at Goddard Park.  She's done a lot of training over the past six months so we're looking forward to seeing her in action.

Monday - Mowry Preserve, Smithfield, RI - 5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Woke up, cranked out Ab Ripper and then had some eggs 'n toast.  Soon after I began to get stomach pains.  More GI trouble?  I was going to abort my morning run as I didn't feel up for it but the pain abated and I decided to go forward afterall.  As I'm making one last cup of joe for the road and I realized that my half 'n half had turned.  Was this the cause of my stomach trouble for the last two days?  One hopes so.

I parked at Bryant and ran the roads behind the school down to the Mowry Conservation area.  Not much in the way of trails here but there are some cool rock formations and the river that passes through was roaring.  I explored some other trails nearby before returning to Bryant via the old cross country course.  Pushed it on what I thought was a Strava segment (but I think I took the wrong trail) and stomped through the mud and water so as not to slow down.  I probably didn't capture any segment but it was good to push the pace a bit even if it did mean soaking my shoes.

Tuesday - 0 miles

I started doing Chest & Back but my elbow started to feel janky again during the first round of decline push-ups so I just bailed rather than aggravate it further.  Meh.  I even bought some push-up stands but they're the swivel kind and seemed like they're more trouble than they're worth.  I'll probably hold off on doing push-ups for a while and hopefully my elbow will right itself with time.

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Yoga X (60 mintes)

My legs felt tired over the last few runs so I figure a few days off before the race will pep 'em up.  I did the Yoga for the first time in quite a while and wasn't as rusty as I feared.

Thursday - J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, Boston, MA - 5.5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Official time: 20:35.  87th overall.  Race report here.


Friday - Fidelity Trails, Smithfield, RI - 7.1 miles

I hit the various trails and footpaths of Fidelity this morning, still feeling great about last night's performance.  I was moving at a good pace and ran a bunch of my favorite trails - I took one digger but was no worse for wear.  Saw a lot of deer out there.  I wasn't sure if I'd have time to run seven but a couple road sections allowed me to pick up the pace.  Fun run that covered a lot of ground on the work campus.  I was a dirty sweaty mess afterwards and the cold shower in the locker room was excellent.

Saturday -Black Farm, Hopkinton, RI - 4 miles

This morning went to hell early when I learned that deer had eaten my sunflowers in the night.  All my work for nothing!  They've never done this in years past.  I suspect it was adolescent stoner deer with a case of the munchies.  Bastards!  The next time I see a deer on the trails, I'm gonna chase that hooved devil down aboriginal style and kick its ass!

This will not stand.
After letting my anger run its course, I took Ezri to dance class.  I had an hour to kill so I ran the trails at nearby Black Farm.  I figured this was a good chance to break out my Vibrams since it would be a short run and the trails are covered in soft pine needles.  This was my first run in 'em since last August's toe incident and I took it pretty easy.  Still a lot of trees down here from the storms this past winter.  The trails further in are in pretty rough shape and it's clear they don't get much use or maintenance.  Feet felt good in the Vibrams - we'll see how my calves/ankles are feeling in the morning.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 14.4 miles

It was an early start to the day as we went to Goddard Park to cheer on Amanda as she took on her first triathlon - Oh My Goddard!  She did great!  She finished in 1:31:29 and came in 112th out of 232.  I'm very proud of her - she's trained hard over the past six months and it showed.  Her transitions were excellent.  Can't wait to see her in action again at Crabman.

Wrapping up the bike segment

Finishing strong

Sporting her finisher's medal

We followed up her success with a dip in my mom's pool and a greasy lunch at Newport Creamery.  After some much needed weed whacking, I decided to burn off the fish 'n chips and ice cream with a long run over to Matunuck and back.  It was hot and I kept the pace easy.  I took Gravelly Hill Rd over to 1A and then crossed Route 1 and fought the exiting beach traffic on Matunuck Beach Rd.  The wind on the beach was refreshing but not too overpowering.  I had planned to take the beach all the way back to Charlestown Beach but it looked like they had closed it off past Carpenters so I ended jumping onto Matunuck Schoolhouse Rd and taking that back towards home.

Weekly Mileage: 36.3 miles

Year to Date: 850.4 miles

Monday, June 17, 2013

Mochiko Krispies

Time to try another recipe from Feed Zone Portables!  However this was not my finest creation.  I had high hopes for this recipe but things did not go as planned.  In the interest of science I will still present my attempt - next time will be better.

The mochiko krispies are energy bars made with rice krispies, chocolate chips, almond milk and a special asian rice flour known as mochiko.  The recipe specifically says not to substitute regular flour for the mochiko as it is the "magic ingredient."  However instead of finding an asian grocery store that sells this magic flour, I opted to use Red Hill white rice flour.  Oh and there's also sugar and butter in these things.


Everything but the rice krispies gets dumped into a bowl and nuked on high for one minute.


Yum, chocolate mush.  Now the recipe said to mix it up and microwave for another 1.5-2 minutes.  I did a minute and a half.


Hmmm.  It came out of the microwave looking pretty cakey.  I think I might have over cooked it.


Now the rice krispies are dumped in and everything is mixed together.


Finally the mixture is spread into a pan and allowed to cool. 


It was supposed to harden into a portable bar but that didn't happen.  It's very crumbly.  I ended up (at my wife's brilliant suggestion) using plastic wrap to roll one serving into a ball and then I put it into the freezer to harden for a bit.

Not long after I took it out and gobbled it up before a trail run.  I felt pretty awful once the run began (quite nauseous) and immediately blamed this bar...er, ball.  However after getting stomach pains again this morning I think I may have found the true culprit - bad half 'n half!  Forgive me mochiko bar, you may have been vindicated.

Taste wise, the bar is pretty good (it should be with all that chocolate.)  After a couple days in the fridge they seem stable enough to wrap individually in tinfoil.  For my next batch, I definitely won't nuke the mixture as much which should hopefully make them more sturdy.  I suppose it's possible that my rice flour substitution is the culprit since I didn't use the official mochiko rice flour as commanded but I still think my ingredients will suffice on the next batch.

Calories - 227 / Carbs - 35 / Fat - 9 / Protein - 2 / Sugar - 15

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Weekly Log: 6.10.13 - 6.16.13

Monday - Ryan Park, North Kingstown, RI - 4.2 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Legs were pretty tired after the last four days of running so this was just a short trail run to start off the week.  Stuck to the trails on the west side of the park.  I spooked (and was spooked) by a doe and her fawn.  Ran in my MT20s and my ankles were beginning to feel it towards the end.  I've been wearing these a lot lately and think I'm pretty well acclimated to them but I'll probably give 'em a rest until the end of the week.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (40 minutes)

No problems with my elbow when I started doing all the push-ups and pull-ups in this workout but I was 2/3 of the way through and my other elbow started to hurt and feel really tight.  I ended up bailing on the rest of the exercises.  My P90X Guru Ryan suggested I vary the grips/positions I'm using for the push-ups since that's when the pain comes in so I'll take a few days off and give it another shot.

Wednesday - Big River, West Greenwich, RI - 12.2 miles

Another late dance class for Em, another long Big River run for Seth.  I parked at the usual spot off of Exit 6 and was looking forward to building off the knowledge I gleaned from my last run.  Realized I forgot to bring a water bottle for this run which was annoying as my throat was dry but I forgot about it soon enough.  Started again on Log Trail but soon jumped off it to explore Sizzler (or at least trails in its vicinity.)  I figured if I was going to check out some unknown trails best to do it early in the run when I had time to spare.  It was here that the moment I've been dreading arrived - the first deer flies of the season.  Goddamn nasty things - they show no mercy.

I popped out on the New London Turnpike and stayed on the paved road as it headed towards the quarry.  The deer flies retreated back to Sizzler and I was relieved to find that they didn't return for the rest of the run.  Next run here will be much worse, I'd wager.  I was going to take the BR Expressway up to the Hopkins Hill lot but the first stream I encountered was raging and I didn't feel like getting my feet wet.  The water was also a nasty white color thanks to the nearby quarry.  Ah progress!

I turned around and decided to try to find the Lookout.  Shouldn't be a problem as I had already found it once before but when I tried to remember the route I found that it was easier said than done.  I actually looped around the Lookout and eventually found it from the opposite direction (thanks to the Elephant marker I remembered from last time.)  After a few minutes and a few chocolates I left the Lookout and took Elephant trail down to Saw Mill trail.

With the heavy rain I had already encountered water hazards and found another big one as I approached Saw Mill.  Once again I managed to avoid soaking my feet.  I took Saw Mill up to the NL Turnpike and spent a little time on the dirt roads before jumping on Things Go Bump in the Night (the last time I ran with Muddy he chided folks that knew the crazy names of all these trails - sorry Mud, now I'm one of them!)  It was here at 9.5 miles that my water luck ran out.  My foot paths sunk under me at a very wet section and I just had to wade through the muck to the other side.   The rest of the run I heard squish, squish, squish.

I did a little more exploring of the trails adjacent to Big River and then made my way back to the car with weary legs.  Good stuff.

Thursday - Fidelity Trails, Smithfield, RI - 4.3 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Legs were tired after last evening's run so I wanted to take it easy and just get in six easy trail miles before the rains came.  Muddy, wet trails soon soaked my shoes.  My calves were a bit sore which was to be expected but about 2 miles into the run my left shin began to hurt sporadically.  Every 30 seconds or so it would pulse with a dull ache.  A new injury to deal with - awesome!  After a while it seemed to go away but I decided to just cut the run short less nothing became something.

Friday - 0 miles

P90X Legs & Back (60 minutes)

I opted to forgo running this morning in favor of one of my favorite P90X workouts.   No issues doing any of the squat/lunge moves and no elbow pain when doing the various pull-ups.

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 6.4 miles

Hot midday run on the local roads.  Wasn't sure exactly where I was going but the plan was to run a 10k to complete a Strava challenge.  Quads and glutes were pretty sore from yesterday's Legs & Back - it's been a while.  My mainstay Strava segment - the Nordic Lodge Loop - was recently hijacked by local speedster Chris Garvin.  I knew I didn't have any chance of taking it back but I decided to run it anyway and at least try to improve my personal best.

I was moving slow to begin the segment but I soon started to feel peppy and pick up the pace.  On the return trip from the Lodge I was really moving - in fact Strava says it's my fastest 1/2 mile ever.  Once I hit Old Coach Road my pace dropped and I soon payed for my hard effort with a stitch in my side.  I took it fairly easy for the rest of the run.  After uploading my run I found out that I came a lot closer to reclaiming the segment than I thought - only 24 seconds off the KOM!  I smashed my previous best by almost two minutes.  Watch out Garvin, I shall reclaim my segment yet!

Sunday - Burlingame, Charlestown, RI - 7.7 miles

We were going to Watchaug Pond for a midday swim.  I left early and decided to run Vin Gormley counterclockwise.  I tried out my latest culinary creation prior to the run and it did not agree with me.  Within a half mile I began feeling nauseous and the feeling persisted for some time.  I felt pretty blah and didn't have any pep.  The trail was muddy with several areas of standing water blocking the trail.

After about three miles I began to feel better and my pace improved somewhat but I never really found a good groove.  I kept the pace easy and plodded along, taking breaks to observe the heavy water at various streams.  No mountain bikers which wasn't a surprise however I saw quite a few runners on the trail.  When I finished I thought I'd enjoy a dip in the pond but it was pretty cold and I'm a wuss.

Spent the rest of Father's Day puttering around in the yard before enjoying a big cookout that Amanda put together.  Pulled pork, fried onion strings, mango salad, frozen chocolate peanut things.  I'm going to roll over to the couch now.

Weekly mileage: 34.8 miles

Year to Date: 814.2 miles

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Garden Shots

Thought I would post a bunch of photos from the yard that I took last weekend.  Perennials are starting to bloom and the veggies are growin'.

Peonies are opening.  The heavy rains beat 'em up unfortunately.

California Poppies - they re-seed like crazy and help to fill in our front flower bed

The Foxglove Armada is now in full bloom

Sunflowers are growing in front of the Armada

Sugar Snap Peas have just begun to flower

My tomatillo seedlings failed completely.  Luckily Shartner's had some.

Hot peppers and tomatoes are growing nicely in the new raised bed

Monday, June 10, 2013

Rock SK5k

Official time: 18:52.  2nd out of 43.  Results here.

I hadn't run a race since TARC and I hadn't run a road 5k since October so I decided to do a small local one to see how I'd fare.  I settled on the Rock SK5k in Wakefield as I liked the cause (youth musicians) time (Saturday afternoon) and course (downtown Wakefield.)  There was some confusion as to when the race started as the online registration said 4:00 but the downloadable school flyer said 5:00.  I got there at about 3:40 and found out that it actually started at 5:00.  This actually worked out well as I wanted to spend some time exploring the Old Mountain field trails prior to the race.  Still, there were people showing up ready to race at four only to find out that they had to wait another hour.

Ran about 3.5 miles on the Old Mountain trails.  Tried to find my way over to South County Commons and failed but I did see a painted turtle laying eggs so I consider that an even trade.  It was pretty humid and warm so I was taking my time on this warm-up and made sure to drink water as I went.

The race began and ended at the South Kingstown High School.  Chatted with Galoob before the race who was working the registration table with his wife and acting as time keeper.  The start of the race was very informal and with only 44 runners there wouldn't be any closed roads so we were told to run on the left and contend with traffic.  After milling about for a couple of minutes, the race director lined us up, haphazardly triggered the siren on the megaphone and motioned for us to start running.  Not an ideal start but we were off.

Immediately two kids took off ahead and I found myself in third place.  As we neared the first turn onto Main Street, a fit looking guy passed me.  Mike warned me about an art teacher for S.K. who was running and the student spectators addressed him as Mr. Gagnon so I figured this was the guy.  Running down Main Street was hectic, I jumped over to the left side but everyone else seemed to stay on the right.  I soon crossed over to join them figuring that I there'd be fewer intersecting roads and cars to deal with.  It was chaotic as we were moving pretty quickly (1st mile came in at 5:46) and there were pedestrians on the sidewalk and construction to contend with.  Before turning onto High Street I overtook the fit dude and one of the kids and found myself in 2nd place where I would remain for the rest of the race.

We were only on High Street for a moment before we turned left and ran up the big hill on Highland Street (anyone who's run the Mews 5k is familiar with this bastard.)  My pace was dropping on the hill and I could hear fit dude behind me but eventually we turned off this road and were soon making our way back down to High Street.  I was working pretty hard at this point (it was very humid) and could still hear footsteps behind me but the kid in 1st was only about 30 feet ahead.  He seemed to be moving very well.  This was my slowest mile at 6:19.  The hill definitely took some oomph out of me.

We turned onto Church Street and I couldn't hear anyone behind me.  I was moving better now and seemed to be gaining a bit on the kid.  We turned onto Branch Street and I was about fifteen feet behind.  My wife was at the corner cheering me on and I tried to find another gear to make my move.  The kid saw Amanda cheering, probably realized I was closer than he thought and turned it on.  I was gaining on him only briefly before he started to pull away again.  I would not catch him and ended up finishing 3 seconds behind.  Third mile: 6:02.

Overall I'm happy with my race.  I missed my PR by 10 seconds but it was pretty hot/humid out and that big hill took a lot out of me.  Wish I could have caught that kid but by all accounts it didn't look like he was trying that hard so if I tried to muster up something earlier he probably would have had no problem making a counter-move.  The race itself suffered from low attendance (there were several other high profile 5ks in the area this weekend.)  And while the flyer boasted that several bands would be playing on the course, the only band I saw was caught off guard when we ran by.  Running on the open course wasn't too bad except for on Main Street where the traffic and pedestrians made for a hectic experience (though it was my fastest mile so maybe it helped!)

After the race I ate some snacks and did a short cooldown (and then ate some more snacks.)  Amanda and Ezri walked up from our friends' house and played at the playground until I got my award ($25 Denali gift card!)  Went back to our friends' house and enjoyed some Lagunitas, homemade pizza and doughboys.  Top notch.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Weekly Log: 6.3.13 - 6.9.13

June!  The last month flew by and now it feels like summer.  This should be a fun month as I look to do some racing again and Amanda prepares for her first triathalon.

My left elbow is definitely janked up from last Friday's lifting.  If I bump it into something or lift it above my head in certain ways, pain draws forth.  I'll try to stay away from the P90X this week and give it a chance to heal up.  Luckily it doesn't bother me when I run.

Monday - Davis Refuge, North Kingstown, RI - 6.2 miles

Overcast rainy day and I wasn't sure if I'd get in a run.  The weather wasn't too awful when we left the house so after dropping Ezri off at school I decided to check out the Davis Memorial Wildlife Refuge in North Kingstown.  I parked in their sketchy "lot" on Davisville Rd.  The trail is twisty rocky singletrack and with lots of wet overhanging branches in my path I was soon quite wet.  After climbing a bit the trail opened up at massive powerlines.  I followed the powerlines along a dirt road and then found another section of singletrack through a pine forest - now I was well and truly drenched.

I check out few more short trails off of the powerline road before following the road itself where it led to some dunes.  Clearly a party spot for kids and dirt bikers, I happened upon a big snapping turtle laying eggs on one of the dunes.  Very cool.  I explored the dunes and outlying trails a bit (checking in on Mama Snapper a few more times) before heading back up to the powerlines and then back towards the car.  Got soaked again on the singletrack and then did a couple more miles on the road to "dry out" before taking off.  I don't think I spent much time in the actual Refuge (I think the singletrack portions might have been it) but it was fun exploring a new area nonetheless.

Tuesday - 0 miles


Wednesday - 0 miles

Elbow's feeling better so the time off from P90X seems to be doing it some good.  It's National Running Day but I've no time for running today - I'll get back to it tomorrow.  I've begun thinking about what my BIG fall race should be.  Registration for the NipMuck trail marathon just opened. I really enjoyed it last year and this'll be the 30th running (I like milestones.)  However, before pulling the trigger I can't help but consider some of the other options in the area in October.

October 6th - NipMuck Marathon / Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon
October 13th - Newport Marathon
October 20th - Mount Desert Island Marathon (Bar Harbor) / Big Brad 50k - Pownal, ME

I haven't done a road marathon since May 2012 so there's some appeal to doing another one and seeing just how low I can get my PR (it's currently at 3:56 which I know I can smash.)  But they're pricey and can be a big production.   I noticed the Big Brad 50k up in Maine last year and was intrigued as I have friends who live in the area.  But realistically I don't think I want to endure another ultra so soon after TARC, especially one that promises much more elevation and suffering.  Then again, the NipMuck will provide plenty of suffering as well.

NipMuck will probably win out in the end but we'll see.

Thursday - Wolf Hill, Smithfield, RI - 7.2 miles

I felt obligated to do some speedwork today but said screw it.  It's a beautiful morning and I wanted to run in the woods.  After internal debate I decided on Wolf Hill up in Smithfield as I haven't been there in a while.  Plenty of bright new blazes on the trails.  I checked out a new trail along the pond which leads right back to my car - nice to know there's a faster flatter way to get to the quarry if I so choose.  I also discovered another section the the red Ken Weber trail.  This part was so steep that I had to hike it.

I hit all the usual trails - red, blue, white, yellow.  I hadn't been on the yellow trail in a while (it's dedicated to WWII soldiers who died on Wolf Hill in a plane crash) and noticed an older trail leading off of it.  I jumped on it, a little worried because it was tough to follow in spots (often these barely-there trails seem to disappear when you try to backtrack) but the trail became much more defined as it went on and I was pleased to discover that it connects to the white trail.  There's a "No Trespassing" sign on the white end but this seems to be a perfect connector for these two trails that allows one to bypass the rocky power line road.  It's a shame that it seemingly can't be officially maintained.

My daily commute is really becoming a drag with heavy traffic and accidents causing delays almost every day.  Today's drive in was particularly awful.  This run really helped put my head in the right place.

Friday - Fidelity trails, Smithfield, RI - 9.1 miles 

Came up to work in a light drizzle - luckily the rain wasn't too heavy yet.   Hit a bunch of my favorite trails.  The rain wasn't a problem and there was some muddy/slippery spots but overall the trails were a joy to run on.  At the halfway mark I started talking to myself about the Game of Thrones books and the miles just flew by.  Ending up running for about 80 minutes and felt great at the end.  I wore my minimal MT20s and this was my longest run in 'em - they felt fine throughout.  Just a righteous run all around.

Saturday - Rock 5k, Wakefield, RI - 8.4 miles

Official time: 18:52.  2nd overall.  Race report here.

Sunday - Browning & DuVal Trails, South Kingstown, RI

Met up with Jonny at 6 AM in Perryville.  We took the roads over to Browning Woods and got our feet wet in the early going as there was a decent amount of water on the trail from Friday's weather.  I showed Jonny the heart trail which we took over to Sand Trail road.  We took the dirt roads over to DuVal and stayed on these trails for the rest of the run.  I decided I wanted to get in 10 miles to hit 40 for the week so I ran up and down the road after we got back to the cars to get the last 0.4.  Legs started off pretty stiff from yesterday's race but by the end of the run they felt good.  Excellent way to start Sunday.

Weekly Mileage: 40.9 miles

Year to Date: 779.4 miles

Great week of running!  I hit 40 miles for the third week in a row which pleases me.  It also felt good to race again and my 5k performance was pretty good overall.  The elbow feels much better so hopefully I can pick the P90X up again this week.  I will say that I think I noticed an improvement in my overall running energy in the absence of the P90X workouts.  This is something I need to keep in mind when I have races approaching, especially once I ramp up training for fall races.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cherry Chocolate Sticky Bites

Time to try another recipe from Feed Zone Portables.  The last one was good but not quite portable enough for on-the-go eating.  This one should prove more transportable - Cherry Chocolate Stick Bites! (Requested by my lovely wife Amanda - she even bought me the ingredients.)

Like most of the recipes in this book, the ingredient list is short and sweet - cherry preserve, sushi rice, vanilla extract, cream cheese and bittersweet chocolate (ignore the chocolate in the pic, I actually used Trader Joe dark chocolate.)


As usual first we cook the rice (I'll see if I can avoid using rice in the next recipe.)


Once cooled, we blend the rice with the cherry preserve, vanilla extract and cream cheese in the food processor.


Transfer the mixture to a bowl and work in the chocolate chips.


Now the tricky part.  I could either portion and individually wrap the bites now or choose to store them and cut out pieces as needed.  I'm going to meld the two options by using these ice cube trays purchased by my better half.  It was a little time consuming to portion these out and the combination of the sticky rice and plastic wrap proved frustrating at times.  But I started to get a good rhythm by the end.

Unfortunately I was supposed to top all of these with coarse salt and remembered halfway through.  So only half have the salt finale.  I ended up making 17 total.  I put the tray in the fridge and grab them as needed.


There we go.  A small easily digestible snack for long runs!  I took a few of 'em with me on my 19 miler this past Sunday and they worked great.  They were very easy to snack on while I was running but without the messy stickiness of my usual gels.

62 calories / 1.5 fat / 11 carb / 1 protein