Thursday, January 30, 2014

Weekly Log: 1.27.14 - 2.2.14

Two weeks until the Belleville Pond 10k and three weeks until something...potentially longer.  People are trying to goad me into the Super 5K this weekend in Narragansett but I'm not interested in a road 5k right now.  But I'll probably be there to cheer everyone on (Amanda is planning on running but she's going to make it a game time decision.)

I've been thinking about my big spring race.  I know I've been chatting up the Providence Marathon in May but I'm finding that I've little taste for road marathon training and all that it entails.  I know that I could just do whatever and still have a good race but I feel like if I'm going to commit the money to 26.2 on the road then I should commit to the training as well.   With this in mind, I've begun to think about a long trail race instead.  There's a bunch in the region to choose from but I'm not really interested in an April race.  However the Pineland Trail Running Festival over Memorial Day Weekend might just fit the bill.   There's a 50k on what looks like a fast course.  Seems like they get a good turnout with a fun atmosphere and I have several friends who live nearby which might make this a good option.  Stay tuned.

Monday - 0 miles

A much needed rest day.  I had planned to run at Ryan Park and take a rest day tomorrow but I had no pep this morning and opted to just take it today.  I feel like I might have the makings of a cold coming on.  My upper body is still really sore from Back & Biceps on Saturday.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 2.8 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes) / 90 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 30/20/20/20

A short cold jog with the dog in the early hours.  I had considered trying to lead us through my recently discovered path over to the Narragansett trail however yesterday's "warmth" made my previous tracks difficult to follow and I thought better of it.  Plowed through the Ab Ripper and even though my biceps still had DOMS I did a bunch of push-ups.

Wednesday - Ryan Park, North Kingstown, RI - 7 miles

Biceps still sore this morning.  Decided to forgo Yoga X (too bad - was looking forward to making it three weeks in a row.)  The morning snow resulted in a late arrival at work and I had time to run around in Ryan Park.  Great morning out there.  Not too cold and just enough snow to make for a great winter run without becoming a slog.  Wore the new Yaktrax and again it was an issue-free run (maybe they're alright after all.)  Glad I had 'em as there were definitely ice traps hidden under the snow on the rail bed and the open field trail.  The wooded trails seemed better though.  I'm looking forward to racing here in 10 days.

Thursday - Charlestown/West Greenwich, RI - 8.2 miles

After a couple miles in the cold morn with the dog, I was able to get out of the house early and opted to run at Big River as it has been awhile since I tackled the trails on the west side.  It was cold and I wore my cold compression gear and fleece vest but I didn't realize just how frigid it actually was.  Within minutes my hands were freezing.  Not the first time this has happened - they usually warm up after a mile or two.  I decided to take the Log Trail down to the New London Turnpike.  What human tracks there were had been covered up by more snow.  There were some cool paw prints though - coyote?  After 1.5 miles my hands were still cold and my right thumb was really cold.  I had brought a water bottle because I was planning to run 8-9 miles and I think it made it harder for my hand to warm up.

When I reached the turnpike the numbness in my thumb was really worrying me so I took the dirt roads directly back to the car.  Once the dirt road turned north my hand finally started to warm up and I started to get that prickling sensation in my thumb.  I had brought my iPod Touch and was going to snap some pictures of the pond/waterfall (really impressive with the sun rising over the trees) but it was so cold that the iPod shut off.  I tried to drink from my water bottle but the nipple was completely frozen.  I ended up running just under 6 miles so I got in a good amount of distance but it was a stressful run and I didn't really get a chance to enjoy it. 

So cold I had to wait for the iPod to warm up in the car

Friday - Bryant Track, Smithfield, RI - 8.3 miles

Much warmer than yesterday.  It's practically summer out there.  The Bryant track was (mostly) clear so I stuck to my guns and did some speed work.  I did 6 x 400m with 200m jogs in between and then 6 x 200m with 100m jogs.  Three of the corners had snow/ice creeping onto the track so I probably ran a little farther but that makes me feel even better about the effort.  I was running in shorts and a long-sleeve tech shirt which seems crazy after my near-frostbite experience yesterday.  Anyway the intervals were hard work and I'm happy with the consistency I hit.

400s - 77 / 79 / 77 / 78 / 76 / 77
200s - 37 / 36 / 37 / 37 / 37 / 36

Did a long cooldown afterwards on the old cross country trails and the Bryant campus.  Very pleased with this workout!

Saturday - 0 miles

Putterin' and mutterin' kept me busy today.  No desire to exercise.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 13.1. miles

I wanted to push the pace a bit on today's long run.  Decided to run down Gravelly Hill, up Ministerial and back home along Worden Pond Road.  Beautiful weather this morning.  I kept the pace in the 7s to begin with and then it began to creep under 7 minutes.  I turned it on when I hit Worden's Pond Road to improve on the segment I created there (stay away Garvin!)  Lots of people out on the ice.  Felt odd running in shorts and a T while dozens of people are standing on a frozen pond.  I attacked the hills and completely wore myself out by the end of the road but I took three minutes of what had been a good segment time for me.  The rest of the run was a slow cooldown back home.  Quads felt pretty sore afterwards.  I've said it before but I need to run more of these faster tempo runs.

Then we headed down to Narragansett to cheer on Amanda as she ran the Super 5k.  I got a lot of shit for standing around in my winter coat instead of racing but I was happy to watch from the sidelines with my girls.  It looked like everyone in WTAC had great performances.  Amanda went out too fast and wasn't thrilled with her race but she'll get 'em next time.


Weekly Mileage: 39.6 miles

Year to Date: 175.5 miles

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Out of My Element

Ten years ago I bought my first new car - a Honda Element (when ruminating over possible choices, I think Amanda had mentioned the Element.  It stuck.)  This car appealed to me.  It was strangely shaped, green and had a manual transmission.  The back seats would fold up along the sides and you could fit a shitload of stuff in it.  We used it several times for moving and I scrounged a lot of wood in it (forgive my lack of affections woodpile, I will return to you!)  The Element took us to the infamous Phish festival at Coventry and on family excursions to New Hampshire and Virginia.  It was a good car.  But the ravages of time takes its toll on man and car alike.  With 240,000 miles on it and the back struts shot to hell, it was time to move on and say goodbye to the green machine.

Goodnight sweet prince

And so I procrastinated, borrowing my grandmother's car and delaying the inevitable.  Finally, I checked out a couple cars and quickly settled on a 2012 Honda Civic. 

The new white fury

I have a long commute so getting significantly better mileage than the Element is appreciated.

MPG only looks this good at the start of a tank but I still average upper 30s

Of course two weeks later I get rear ended.  Awesome.  Luckily the other guy's insurance will be taking care of it.

Only had the damn thing for 2+ weeks.  Thanks for that.

Still I will miss the Element.  We shared many adventures and logged many miles.  I haven't got rid of it yet so if anyone is interested in a beat up green machine lemme know!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Weekly Log: 1.20.14 - 1.26.14

Monday - Burlingame, Charlestown, RI - 10.5 miles

With the day off I decided to run a counterclockwise loop around Watchaug Pond.  Parked at the picnic area and got the short road section out of the way.  Rather than stay on Vin Gormley I jumped on Sammy C's.  Lots of gunfire throughout the run coming from North Burlingame.  Took a side trail back over to Schoolhouse Trail and then rejoined VG briefly before heading back over to finish Sammy C's.  I passed a fellow running the other way on Buckeye Brook Road.  I saw him again at the parking lot.  I should have introduced myself but got shy and scampered off home to lunch instead.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 2.1 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes) / Push-ups (standard/military/wide) 20/20/30/20/20

Short cold run with the dog this morning.  Then I multitasked - got the fire going while I alternated between push-ups and the Ripper.  Short but tiring workout and the basement was cooking by the end.

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X2 Yoga X2 (60 minutes)

Thursday - Wolf Hill, Smithfield, RI - 7 miles

130 pushups (standard/military/wide) 25/25/30/25/25

I was looking forward to getting out onto the snowy trails and bought some Yaktrax Pros yesterday in preparation.   The initial trails on Wolf Hill were already broken in as I had anticipated which allowed me to follow tracks for awhile.  It was most definitely cold out there but between the cold compression gear and my fleece vest I warmed up quickly.  My hands were the last to hold onto the cold - my thumbs became frigid and I was concerned but eventually they too warmed up.  Soon the tracks turned around and I was breaking through fresh powder.  It was beautiful out there but slow going.

The Yaktrax gave me traction for the rocks/ice underneath the snow but they kept coming up over the toes of my shoes.  Very annoying.  Towards the end of the run it became more frequent and began to aggravate my left big toe.  I'm not impressed at all with this product and will be returning them.   I had bought them because I had a gift card to the Sports Authority but I should've just ponied up for a superior traction device.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 3.2 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Short run in the woods before work.  Very cold like yesterday but enjoyable jogging through the fluffy snow.  Lots of animal tracks.  I gave the Yaktrax another shot and they fared better this time.  No issues with them, even on a rough singletrack section.

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 2.8 miles

P90X Back & Biceps (50 minutes)

Oof.  This one wore me out.  I've really slacked on getting back into pull-ups and I paid the price in this workout.  Pretty much had to stick to assisted pull-ups.  The weighted exercises then finished me off.  In the afternoon I ran a couple miles with the dog.  Probably our fastest pace yet - 8:08 average.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 15.3 miles

I woke up supremely sore from yesterday's Back & Biceps.  It was freezing outside and after I got the fire going I found I had little appetite for running.  Instead I had breakfast.  By midday I had finally worked up the will to get my gear on and head out the door.  It was drudgery at first but after a mile I found my rhythm and began to enjoy myself.   It wasn't too cold for the first few miles until the wind asserted itself.

I ventured down Biscuit City Road and took the powerlines down to where it hits the Pawcatuck River.  Too bad there's no way to cross into the Great Swamp.  Retraced my steps to the road and continued on to Route 2.  I kept the pace in the low 8s and felt good, taking the country roads around and into Shannock Village.  The next section of Route 2 felt like a slog and I decided to take the Narragansett trail back to Old Coach rather than continue on Route 2.  This was a good choice.   There was a lot of foot traffic on the trail and I decided to take another stab it to Black Pond Road.  Success!  The snow revealed an overgrown path that snaked its way to the road.  It was tough to follow at points but it was definitely an old trail.  I wonder if I'd even be able to see it without the snow.

Once I hit Black Pond I turned around and ran the trail again to get used to it and then followed the Narragansett trail back to Old Coach.  The cold temps began to finally chill my body.  The My legs were tired now and the last mile on pavement felt like more of a trudge than a run.   I'm glad I got out there though and the trail discovery was a nice bonus.


Weekly Mileage: 40.9 miles

Year to Date: 134.9 miles

Friday, January 17, 2014

Weekly Log: 1.13.14 - 1.19.14

Monday - 0 miles

I had stuff to do this morning so a run/workout didn't happen.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 3.6 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Took the dog out for an early morning jog.  Love this warm January weather!  Oliver was a bit of a pill but we got a decent amount of miles in.  Then banged out the Ripper.

Wednesday - Bryant Track, Smithfield, RI - 8 miles

P90X2 Yoga X2 (60 minutes)

Finally did Yoga!  It's been three months.  Definitely out of practice - I couldn't execute a bunch of the moves.  Hopefully I can make this a weekly thing again.

My intention was to do some speed work in the evening.  Seems like everyone had the same idea - lot of intervals on Strava today.  Went over to the North Smithfield High track but the parking lot was closed and I didn't really want to sneak in there.  Drove over to Bryant and the track was accessible.  There was even enough light from nearby buildings to make a headlamp unnecessary.   Decided to do 800s since I'm a track noob and I don't have Galoob's fancy training plan filled with Rs, Fs and Is.  I ran six with my time dropping from 1:57 on the first to 1:47 on the last.  Last couple were taxing but I don't think I was working hard enough on the first few.  Still, it was good to get back to the track.  Like the yoga I want to make this a weekly occurrence.

Thursday - Ryan Park, North Kingstown, RI - 6.3 miles

With the Belleville Pond 10k on the horizon, I decided to scope out the trails.  I parked at what would be the halfway mark of the course and ran the 2nd half of the race first.  Ran in shorts and a tech shirt with gloves and hat -warm out!  Though it was responsible for some flooding on the trails and I had to take a detour at one point.  Legs didn't have much pep after last night's track work.  I had planned to run 8 miles but my shins were achy so I was content to run 10k and call it a day.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 6.8 miles

I took to the woods around Fidelity and enjoyed the weather as I cruised the singletrack.  It felt like a crisp fall day!  Legs had a lot more pep than yesterday and while my left ankle isn't completely recovered from its last few rolls it held up fine.

Satruday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 16 miles

Been a couple weeks since I did a long run with the South County trail races over the past two weekends.  Today I decided to check out a section of the North-South trail I hadn't run.  I parked at the Carter Preserve up near the power lines and started by running the grassland loop.  Took the dirt trail over to King's Factory Road which is part of the N-S Trail.  It turns onto Route 91 and soon veered onto actual singletrack.  I kept following the blue blazes.

After passing through open farmland, I hit more singletrack and eventually Pine Hill Road.  I decided I was going to take the roads back to Carter Preserve but first I continued along the N-S which followed a dirt road into the Carolina Management Area.  After a bit I recognized where I was and followed some more singletrack until I had run 8 miles total.  There was a good amount of gunfire nearby and I was ready to head back.

I took the roads back to Carter and ran the last few miles on their trails.  Stopped to dump the rocks out of my shoes while a man and his dog passed.  The damn dog tried to steal my gloves!  The hilly singletrack wore my tired legs down and I was pleased when I got back to the car.  A fun mix of pavement, dirt roads and singletrack.  We'll definitely have to string together a longer North-South run at some point.

Weekly Mileage: 40.7 miles

Year to Date: 94 miles

Monday, January 13, 2014

Resolution 5k Beach & Trail Race 2014

Official time: 19:28.  8th overall.  5th in Age Group.  Results here.

Last week's 1st race of the winter series was a cold snowy affair.  This race on the beach promised a different environment with warmer temps and mud/water instead of snow.  I got to the race with plenty of time and did a warm-up on the beach and single track with the WTAC folks.  We encountered plenty of water hazards and knew this was going to be a messy race.  I made a last minute decision after the warm-up to ditch my heavy Cascadias and use the light MT00s which would hopefully drain better.

We're off! - Photo by Jana Walker

It had been cold milling about before the warm-up but afterwards I felt pretty good and despite the wind I opted for the shorts/singlet combo with a hat & gloves.  Galoob led us down to the starting line and after a few instructions we were off.  We first ran down to the far end of the beach - the beach was awash in stones which made me question my choice of footwear.  But I survived this section without any missteps and soon we had made the turnaround and were back in the sandy section.

I could see Ryan Woolley off ahead in the lead, following by Bob Jackman, FiveK, another turtle and then Jonny and Justin.  There were a couple other guys and then myself behind Nate & Jeff.  The three of us passed the other two and I found myself behind Jeff as we left the beach.  We splashed through a couple big pools and then hit the short road section.  Then we entered the Black Point trail network which winds away from the beach before turning back.  It sounded like we had put some distance over our competition and I really wanted to stay with Jeff since we'd disappear from their sights on the twisty paths.

About to hit the track - Photo by Scott Mason

The initial portion of trail was finely crushed gravel which made for easy running.  Just as we turned back toward the beach it became dirt.  Or should I say mud.  And I also noticed that one of my shoes had come untied.  Curses!  I was afraid it would pull off in one of the mud bogs and tried to avoid the deep stuff as best I could.  Jeff began to put some distance on me as I became more selective in my lines.  There's one downhill jaunt where I glanced back and saw Nate not too far behind.  I tried to keep the pace up as I didn't want him near me when we hit the beach.

Chasing the Gazelle to the Finish - Photo by Jana Walker

Right before you return to the beach there's a wild section that runs through the stone ruins of a house.  Now it was filled with mud and water.  Scott Mason was there snapping pictures - I'm sure he got some good ones.  We had to jump across some big rocks and then we were back on the beach where the cross wind hit me immediately.  I felt like I was moving so slowly.  I tried to push it to the finish as best I could.  I knew I wasn't going to catch Jeff but I was afraid Nate was on my tail.  I didn't dare look back.

In the end Nate was farther back than I thought and I crossed the line only three seconds behind Jeff.  WTAC had another strong team performance and we got a box full of Berkshire Brewing bombers as a prize.  I'm pleased that I was able to stay with Jeff for most of the race and I'm happy with my shoe decision (even though one of 'em came untied!)

Huge team turnout! - Photo by Jana Walker

Friday, January 10, 2014

Weekly Log: 1.6.13 - 1.12.13

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 6.4 miles

I hemmed and hawed over this morning's run.  I knew it would be a slushy mess because it was warm out.   I had considered Wolf Hill but decided the climbs would be too messy.  Opted to run at Ryan Park instead and thew on my really minimal MT00s.  But driving up, Ryan Park didn't seem particularly compelling.  So I kept driving and then a good idea popped into my head: I'll run this flat trail near Wolf Hill.  It's only a mile long but I can always run it back and then jump on the roads.

It was strange being two days removed from the chilly Old Mountain 5k yet running in shorts and a tech shirt.  As soon as I started it was a goddamn slushfest.  My minimal footwear was soaked through immediately and my feet were freezing!  I started to keep to the sides of the path which provided less liquid to trounce through.  I passed under powerlines and almost immediately my brain began to reroute my run.  At the end of the trail, I jumped on the roads and took them back to the powerlines which I then took into Wolf Hill.  The allure of Wolf Hill would not be denied!  I had to step carefully in places because of the rocks and my protection-less shoes.  But it was crazy-awesome weather.  Foggy and lots of wind.  It was warm but occasionally I would be enveloped in a mist cloud and the temperature drop would be dramatic - it gave me an intense recollection of that Dr. Geyser raft ride at Story Land.  You know when you go into that foggy cave near the end?  Yeah, it felt like that.

I spied some new trails I was unfamiliar with.  The property owners had been careful to disguise the entrance so that it could not be seen from the powerlines but the snow betrayed them.  I explored them briefly until I came to the No Trespassing sign a ways in.  My feet didn't chill as badly once the run was underway.  But my calf began to ache halfway through.  Probably not the best idea to don the minimalist shoes when I know they're aching.  Sometimes it's hard to resist though!

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 1.2 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes) / 100 push-ups (military/standard/wide)

It was friggin' cold out there at 5:15 AM!  Did a short loop with the dog then we retreated back to the house.  Grunted my way through Ab Ripper and then did push-ups at random moments through the next hour.

Wednesday - 0 miles

I had already committed to not running today to give my calf a rest - the arctic temperatures outside had nothing to do with it I assure you.  I did have plans to do Yoga in the morning but distractions got the better of me.

Thursday - North Kingstown, RI - 6.3 miles

P90X Shoulders & Arms (60 minutes)

Had a really good workout this morning.  My core and shoulders were still sore from the Ab Ripper/push-ups on Tuesday but I plowed through this routine anyway.  Felt good and my numbers are starting to bounce back to pre-P90X hiatus form.

Then I had to get up to work for a meeting so I opted to run in the evening before band practice.  I had a stressful day and definitely needed to run even though I arrived at my buddy Jay's house in no mood.  It was cold but not that cold.  Threw on the cold compression gear and a headlamp and off I went.  Ran down Snuff Mill Road and looped around back to Route 1A.  I was moving well and felt good.  Between the headlamp and the moonlight there was enough visiblity to keep the heebee-jeebees at bay.

From here I took the main path down into Rome Point.  So quiet in there and the trails are smooth enough to make night running pretty easy.  Jumped onto the beach and was pleased how hard the sand had become.  Running high up on the beach was a breeze.  The water was completely still.  Ended up taking the beach all the way back to Jay's neighborhood.  I could barely see footprints in the sand - remnants of Jonny's earlier run?

Friday -Smithfield, RI - 2.5 miles

What an awful morning.  First I tried to do Ab Ripper.  I expected soreness during the routine but got actual pain instead.  Guess I overdid it on Tuesday.  Ab Ripper aborted.

Then my morning commute was absolutely dreadful - the worst I've experienced in some time.  Snow flurries turned rush hour into gridlock and I arrived at work miserable with barely any time to run.  I was going to bail on the run completely but instead convinced myself to get in a short 25 minute run.  I parked next to the woods and off I went...

I stepped onto the dirt road and immediately hit a sheet of ice and went down hard on my side.  Awesome!  Tentative steps confirmed that there were ice sheets all around.  I hugged the sides of the road and made my way to the powerlines which had better traction.  The powdery snow was pleasant to run in but there were still ice dangers all around, which kept me from really enjoying myself.  I almost bought some yaktrax a couple days ago but I wanted to hold out for the runner-specific ones.  I was regretting that decision now.  I attempted to take another dirt road back but it was a giant ice luge and I found myself flailing and grabbing onto branches.  Finally found a safe route back but right before I got to the car I rolled that ankle again.  I went down hard, cursed and eventually made a slow jog back to the car.  2.5 miles of awfulness.  Should've just skipped the run altogether.

Had a fun gig in the evening at Tara's down in Matunuck.  Good crowd came out on a rainy Friday night.  We'll be back there on February 28th so mark your calendar.

Saturday -Hopkinton, RI - 6.5 miles

While Ezri was at dance class, I did an easy run on the neighborhood roads.  Legs are pretty beat up from the yesterday's pratfalls on the ice as well as the sore ankle.  They felt alright once I started running but they didn't have much pep.

Sunday - Resolution 5k - 10.2 miles

19:28.  8th overall.  Report here.

Weekly Mileage: 33.2 miles

Year to Date: 53.3 miles

Monday, January 6, 2014

Old Mountain 5k Trail Race 2014

Official time: 25:37.  7th overall.  Results here.

Time for the South County 4th Season trail series to begin again!  Hosted by powerhouse Mike Galoob, the races are close to home on familiar trails.  The wildcard is the weather which proved to be a bear for this one.  There was a good six inches of snow on the ground and the temp at start time was about 15 degrees.  I threw on the cold compression gear and got to the race a little later than usual.  I was happy to see that there was a pretty good turnout despite the tough conditions.  Did a very short warm-up in the parking lot, chatted with the usual suspects and then we trudged into the snow and over to the starting line.

I'm winning the race! (for about 5 seconds) - Photo by Jana Walker

Immediately it was tough going and while Galoob had broken the trail with snowshoes, it was still hard work.  The course hugs the baseball fence and then drops down an embankment - except that it was now a huge snowcliff.  Everyone plummeted into the white abyss and I saw Ryan Wooley go down.  What a crazy scene - for a moment everyone was laughing and trudging through knee deep snow.  Then the snow let up briefly before the singletrack slog began.

As we entered the woods I was in 7th place.  The lead pack was gone and I could see Jonny up ahead.  I heard several people behind me.  Eventually I caught sight of a guy in red ahead of Jonny.  I had no idea what my pace was but I was definitely breathing hard.  After about a mile, I saw a shadow in front of me and I stepped to the side to let him by - turned out to be Nate.  Jonny and Nate both overtook the red guy and soon I did the same.

My calf had seized up yesterday and had been pretty sore but felt good going into the race.  1.5 miles in and I was now feeling it.  Luckily it never became an issue.  I heard another person hot on my heels.  I tried to keep ahead of them for as long as I could but eventually there was another shadow - this time it was Jeff looking strong.  He passed me as we moved up a brutal hill and suddenly I saw that I was pulling up the rear of a formidable WTAC train - Jonny, Nate, Jeff and myself, all catching up to a runner in an orange TNT singlet.

Finishing up the switchbacks - Photo by Jana Walker

We all ended up passing Orange Singlet before we hit the brutal switchback section that leads back towards the parking lot.  This section's tough in the best of conditions and all the snow made it truly taxing.  Having all the guys right in front of me helped though.  In the midst of the singletrack, Jeff took off past Jonny and put some distance on all of us.  After the singletrack there's one more painful climb followed by an appreciated downhill that leads back to the ballfield.  At this point it was Jonny in front of me but he found another gear and I couldn't muster a move to keep up with him.

TNT's Bob Jackman won the race but after him it was all WTAC with me in 7th place.   It's crazy what a difference the snow makes.  Last year I finished 15th in 21:23.  This year it took more than four minutes longer.  We took some group shots, did a big group cooldown on roads and then returned as prizes were given out.  Tough race but a lot of fun!  Looking forward to seeing what the conditions will be like at the Resolution 5k next weekend.

WTAC Represent - Photo by Jana Walker

Friday, January 3, 2014

Weekly Log: 12.30.13 - 1.5.14

The year wraps up and a new one begins.  Questions abound this week.  With 24 miles to go will I hit 1,800 before the ball drops?  Is this the week that I finally pull the trigger and buy a car?  What does the approaching snowstorm mean for the Old Mountain Field 5k this weekend?  And will my weak ankle hold up on the rooty singletrack?  Perhaps the answers can be found below.

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 20 miles

I came up to work super early and scored a close parking spot.  Any attempt to break 1,800 would require a long run today and I plotted out a course that would be long.  Leaving the parking lot at work, I took the roads down past Bryant. They were pretty icy for the bulk of the run and I had to watch my step - as well as watch out for other cars.  Most of the time I was on backroads so it wasn't a big deal.  I passed the Mowry Woods, the Connor Farm and other assorted unmarked trails.  I stuck to my guns and stayed on the road.  My ankle problems would probably have resurfaced as soon as I entered the woods and besides I was looking to fit as many miles in as I could - the trails would have slowed me down considerably.

The roads were long and quiet with lots of farmland and some fancy houses.  I guess you could call the roads rolling although there were a few monster hills in places.  Took gels at 45 and 90 minutes.  Stopped to piss next to a golf course and snagged a few rogue golfballs.  My pace had been sluggish to start but by the time I was 10 miles in I had settled into a nice 7:30ish rhythm.  Once I was getting close to my car I took a few detours to stretch it out closer to my goal.  I was going to settle for 19 but as I pulled back into Fidelity I saw that I was at 19.5 so of course I had to run a little extra to make it an even 20.  Good run.  Felt great out there and no issues at all with the ankle.  Four miles to 1,800.


Tuesday - Smithfield, RI - 4 miles

It's cold out there!  Hat's off to Amanda who walked Oliver in the frigid dark this morning.  Got to work and did a short run on the footpaths to complete the quest.  Legs were pretty tired from 30 miles over the previous two days so I was content to peel off four miles and call it a day.  1800 miles in 2013.  Huzzah and Happy New Year!

Wednesday - 0 miles

Felt groggy and bloated from the copious amounts of beer and food that I engulfed last night.  I was content to do very little for the first day of 2014, though I did bring in lots of firewood for the approaching storm.  Went to the Charlestown Beach and cheered on Amanda and Emme who did the plunge.  Better them than me!

Thursday - Smithfield, RI - 6.4 miles

Father Winter draws nigh!  The storm had only just begun as I made my way up to work and the running conditions were perfect.  I had planned to wear my ankle brace which served me well last winter but of course I forgot it.  Still I cautiously entered the woods - I couldn't resist on a day like today with new fallen snow on the ground.  I felt a dull soreness in my janky ankle at times but it never rolled on me so it turned out to be a good decision.  There was a section under the powerlines where I fell right on my ass - the light fluffy snow hid a sleek sheet of ice and I flailed helplessly for a moment before falling.  Other than that it was a fun run on snow covered singletrack.  My beard was covered in ice by the end - makes me feel like a mountain man.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 8 miles

45 push-ups (military/standard/wide)

Work put me up at a hotel next to the office and I had visions of heading out in the morning, battling the elements and taking on my familiar trails in a frozen hellscape.  Then I looked out the window at 5:30 AM.  Fuck that noise.  Instead I decided to embark on an even more unfamiliar adventure - the hotel treadmill!  Believe it or not, I've never run on one of these things.  After some tinkering with the levels, I settled on what seemed like a legit pace and began watching the TV.

It was a weird sensation, running in place and adjusting my pace to keep from falling off.  And I wished I had my iPod as there's not much on TV at 5:30 AM.  I messed around with the incline & speed functions and could see how this thing might give you a serious workout.  However I realized that the distance meter was bullshit.  After 7.5 minutes of running it said that I'd gone half a mile.  I'd have to rely on a Hammett-like sense of pace and decided that I was in fact doing 7.5 minute miles.  So basically every 0.5 equaled a mile.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So I did an hour on this thing and must admit that it wasn't that bad.  Well, almost an hour.  At 58 minutes my left calf began to seize up so I stopped.  A minute too late though as now that calf is pretty sore.  Buggers.  Usually this issue feels better after 24 hours so I don't expect it to be an issue for tomorrow's crazy race.

Saturday - Old Mountain Field 5k

Time: 25:37.  7th overall.  Difficulty: High.  Report here.

Sunday - 0 miles

My back and calves are feeling it after yesterday's slog in the snow.  I'll be taking a zero today.

Weekly Mileage: 44.3 miles

Year to Date: 20.1 miles

Big week as I hit 1,800 miles for 2013.  Also pleased that it was a high mileage week (for me) despite some seriously wintery conditions.  Glad we got the first 4th Season race under our belt and looking forward to the Resolution 5k next week.