Thursday, March 27, 2014

Weekly Log: 3.24.14 - 3.30.14

BOOM.  Last week of March.  Time soldiers on, faster and faster.  It is a flat circle after all.  I wanted to hit 50 miles last week and I did it.  Now I want to do it again.  Weather and sore feet conspire against me but I shall try my damndest, knowing that next week will be super-light running wise.

This Sunday my band Hip Bobsha will be at Tara's Tipperary Tavern in Matunuck for a rare afternoon show from 3-7 PM.  Get your chores done in the morn and then come on down for music and drinks!

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 7 miles

Back into the woods around the office.  Legs and feet are sore but not too beat up from Brrr-lingame.  Cold enough to break out the tights yet again - enough already!.  Ran a bunch of dirt bike singletrack that had been off-limits due to the oppressive snow cover.  Now the snow was finally gone and I enjoyed exploring these twisty trails again.  My feet said six miles but I extended the run on the footpaths to make it seven.

Tuesday - Big River, West Greenwich, RI - 7 miles

180 push-ups (standard/military/decline/wide) 30/20/10/20/20/20/20/20/20

Between the end of work and picking up Em at dance class, I had time for an hour run in Big River West.  The last time I was here it was really goddamn cold and I had to cut my run short.  This time was much nicer.  Trails were in good shape.  A bit of water/ice here and there and a couple sections still had a surprising amount of hard snowpack but most of the trails were clear.  I headed out on the Log Trail, spent some time on the New London Turnpike and returned to my car via Things that Go Bump in the Night.  I'm looking forward to more runs here as the weather warms.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Rest days are the best days / Now we drink champagne when we're testy - Notorious S.E.T.H.

My legs seem fine after Brrr-lingame followed by three more days of running. But my feet are all beat up.  That nerve twinge on the bottom of my right foot has gotten better but hasn't fully gone away.  And the skin on both my heels has been getting rubbed raw and formed calluses.  I don't feel 'em while running so long as I lather 'em in powder before I put on my socks.  At any rate, this rest day is welcomed.

I tried my Chinook IPA tonight - the results of my troubled first BIAB session.'s good!  Beautiful color, aroma and taste (at two weeks it's a little undercarbed but that'll improve soon.)  I had dumped in a 1/2 pound of sugar at the last minute to boost the gravity to a somewhat reasonable level and it worked out great.  At 4.2% ABV it drinks like one of those session IPAs that are popping up all over the place these days.  It's crisp and hoppy and I couldn't be happier.  I'll bring some to the Big River Half. 

Chinook IPA - First All-Grain Brew!

Thursday - Charlestown/Smithfield, RI - 11.5 miles

Did 4+ miles with the dog in the morning.  I'm sick of this cold weather!

Finally made it back to the North Smithfield track later in the morning after a long hiatus.  The plan was 6 x800.  It was cold and very windy and that nerve twinge on the bottom of my foot acted up almost immediately.  During the warm-up I kept being on the verge of abandoning this workout.  Finally I got started.  Half the track was bathed in sun and going with the wind.  The other half was in shade and against the wind.  Brutal.  Some of the sheet metal advertisements along the wire fence had come loose and would bang loudly when the wind picked up.  The nerve twinge faded as the workout went on, not returning until my cooldown.  I consider it a real mental victory for getting through this workout when I really didn't want to.  I just kept thinking, Okay 1/3 of the way done.  Halfway done.  Only six minutes of hard work left.  Happy to get through this one, especially with the nasty wind.

2:52 / 2:47 / 2:51 / 2:47 / 2:48 / 2:49

Friday - Wolf Hill, Smithfield, RI - 7.3 miles

It finally feels like spring out there!  I decided upon Wolf Hill for my dose of trails and I got about ten steps from the car when I thought better about the compression top I was wearing.  Ended up going with just a T-shirt which proved wise because it was gorgeous out there!  The trails of Wolf Hill were in great shape.  These really are some of my favorite trails.  Wide with plenty of rocks to keep you on your toes.  Great views on the east side of Providence.  Even better views on the quarry side of Glocester.  Some big climbs to keep you honest.  Just a great place to run.

Saturday - Big River, West Greenwich, RI - 17 miles

Met up with Jonny, Muddy and Chris at Greasy Joe's to run the course for next weekend's half marathon.  After a two mile warm-up on the New London Turnpike we headed out.  Pace was manageable but faster than a casual trail run.  Conversation was lively and the run was pleasant but the miles ticked on and we all began to realize what a brutal race this was going to be.  The technical early stuff, the twisty later stuff and the constant hills.  Throughout the course are rolling hills, just wearing you down.  The last few miles of the course were tiring for me and probably a close replica of what I'll be feeling next Saturday.  Once we made it back to the parking lot, I headed back out on my own for another 2.5 miles because I am a slave to my space watch and the arbitrary goal I set for myself.  But in the end this run got me to 50 miles for the week so I'm pleased.  I'll be taking it pretty easy from here on out until I return to Big River next Saturday.  This race should be epic.

Sunday - 0 miles 

My ankles are pretty sore from yesterday's long trail run.  It's funny that I rolled my left one pretty badly during the run but it is my right ankle that feels beat up.  A couple days of rest will be most welcome (especially considering the monsoon outside.)

In the afternoon we had a fun gig at Tara's down in Matunuck (next to the Ocean Mist.)  It was raining pretty hard throughout but there was a good crowd and they seemed to enjoy it.  Amanda and the girls came by for a set which was appreciated.  Hopefully we'll score some more Sunday afternoon gigs there - it was a pleasant experience.

Weekly Mileage: 50.1 miles

Year to Date: 509.9 miles

Monday, March 24, 2014

Brrr-lingame 10 Mile Trail Race

Official time: 1:11:08.  10th overall.  6th in Age Group.  Results here.

Brrr-lingame is the 4th race of the 4th Season Trail Series.  This was my second ever trail race back in 2012 and it lived up to it's name back then - it was a frigid 15k run.  And last year a massive snowstorm turned the event into a brutal 5 mile sufferfest.  This year the race was pushed back until late March and it finally promised to live up to its potential as a tough mid-distance trail race - two loops on a five mile course.  Going into this race I was in the midst of a high mileage week.  I wasn't exactly sure what to expect.  My only other 10 mile trail race had been last year's Run with the Beavers.  I ran a 1:14 there and thought that a 1:10 might be possible on this slightly more forgiving course.  I also really wanted to crack the top ten (I had done so on every race in the series thus far and wanted to keep the streak alive.) 

I arrived and set out on a solo warm-up, running the last mile of the course as it was the only section I was unfamiliar with.  I initially wore my ankle brace on my left foot as I had been rolling it with some frequency lately but it made my achilles seem really tight and I opted to go without at the last moment.   It was a little cool but I went with the shorts and singlet anyway knowing that I'd be warm soon enough.  We lined up, RD superman Galoob waxed poetic about the layout of the course and then we were off, sprinting across the open field towards the woods.

Charging to the singletrack - Photo by Scott Mason

The front runners were a mix of the seasoned trail runners and a few high schoolers.  I found myself in about 15th place entering the woods.  The high schoolers were cracking jokes and reminding each other that they weren't racing today - their constant chitchat was annoying and when the Gazelle flew by myself and the kids I followed suit.  The kids were behind me now but I could still here their jawing and I was working harder than I wanted.  Still ego pushed me to try to keep up with Jeff and put distance on the kids.  I thought one of them had latched on to me as I heard his friends calling for him to pull back.

Jeff was putting distance on me and I tried to reign in the pace a bit but there was someone behind me and I didn't want that kid to pass me.  At the road crossing the pursuer went by - it wasn't the kid at all but a guy in blue (the eventual Masters age group winner.)  Soon after a guy in green went by me as well.  I looked back and saw no one else.  I didn't have to worry about anyone else following but Blue and Green were quickly putting distance on me as Jeff had done.  I already felt like I was working really hard and tried to focus on just running my race.

The trail loops back on a ridge and I could see the front runners up there.  This is my favorite part of the course even though the going is slow at points.  Jeff was out of sight and Blue & Green were disappearing from view now and again.   By the time the course hit the campground I could barely see Green off in the distance.  The heavy leaves and sandy sections were a pain and the realization that I was only four miles into the race was disheartening.  I was tired already and was worried that my pace would fall apart in the second loop.

Back at the field, Galoob shouted out that I was in 10th place and that my first loop was 35 minutes.  On pace for a 1:10 finish.  Excellent!  But would I be able to maintain it?  Green guy was gone baby gone now and I was completely alone for the second lap.  Once I hit the woods though I felt good and was moving really well.  I knew that as long I kept this pace up it would be unlikely for anyone to catch me but you always fear your pursuers no matter how far back they could be.

It wasn't until I was up on the ridge that I saw a couple guys along with the gaggle of high schoolers down below.  How far back were they?  A minute?  Two?  I really couldn't say with any confidence so I tried to keep the pace up knowing there was still 2.5 miles left and anything could happen.  I was really getting tired now but the familiarity with the course helped to propel me forward.

The second pass through the campgrounds was a mixture of exhaustion and paranoia.  Running through the heavy layer of leaves was akin to running through light snow and I was constantly worried about hidden sinkholes.  I passed a couple intrepid folks who were finishing up their single five mile loop.  When the course finally turned past the water I risked a look back - there was no one to be seen.

Finally I reached the field and the finish.  I just missed a 1:10 time by 8 seconds but I can't complain about a 10th place finish.  I was spent - that was a tough race!  Gobbled up some food and then ran a large group cooldown on the roads and trails, swapping war stories along the way.  There were some impressive performances out there today.  And WTAC picked up another stellar team win and the beer to go along with it.

I'm really pleased with how I ran this race.  I went out too fast (like everyone else) but once I settled down I was able to maintain what turned out to be a good pace on a tough course.  I was only 1:15 slower on the second lap which is not a bad drop off at all.  I'm sure the higher mileage this week didn't help but I also don't think it hurt me too much.  Big thanks to Mike Galoob and his family for putting together another awesome race.  Looking forward to the finale in two weeks at Big River!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Weekly Log: 3.17.14 - 3.23.14

Another race week is here already?  How did that happen?  The Brrr-lingame 10 miler is on Saturday and I'm looking forward to an honest longish trail race without massive snow sufferings.  I hope to put down a bunch of miles leading up to the race - not exactly a great tapering strategy but if I tapered for every race I'd never get anywhere.  I'm looking to hit 50 for the week.

Monday - Snake Den, Johnston, RI - 7.1 miles

It's been awhile since I visited the Snake Den Management Area but with the snow finally disappearing throughout the state I thought I'd give it a shot.  There's was snow/ice on probably about 70% of the trails but it offered plenty of traction despite my lack of Yaktrax.  It was in the high teens and pretty chilly when I started out - my cold compression leggings are getting pretty worn down so I hope this is the last time I use 'em this season.  I enjoyed getting back out into this place - some of the rock formations are pretty impressive.  I'll try to snap a couple pics the next time I'm out there.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 4.3 miles

160 Push-ups (standard/military/wide) 30/30/30/20/20/30

Standard morning dog jog.  The moon was so bright that I kept my headlamp on low.  So of course I rolled my ankle pretty badly on a small pile of ice on the side of the road.  That makes three runs in a row where I rolled my left ankle.  Thinking I need to start wearing my brace for the next couple trail runs to make sure I'm alright for Brrr-lingame.

Wednesday - Smithfield, RI - 13 miles

In my quest for 50 miles this week, I set aside a couple hours after work today to bang out a goodly chunk of miles.  I settled on a hilly route that was mostly roads but I added a few short trail areas as well.   The weather was finally warming up and I was running in shorts and a long-sleeve tech shirt.  Magical!  Chilly hands for a mile or so but they were warm soon enough.  Trails still had some snow and ice but plenty of muddy spots as well.  I kept the pace somewhat snappy and felt good out there. A lot of up and down on both road and trails but the legs seemed to handle it well.

Thursday - Smithfield, RI - 6 miles

180 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 30/30/30/30/30/30

This was a nice and easy run up at work.  I unearthed my old ankle brace and threw it on my suspect left foot - it felt fine and running with it wasn't an issue.  I stayed on the work trails which were either snowy or muddy (or both!)  It was fun slip sliding around on trails I haven't run in a while.  I went with my MT20s which might have been a mistake as the bottom of my right foot began to hurt (I think it's a nerve or something.)   Whatever it is doesn't feel great and despite my slow pace it was aggravating.  I had planned an easy 5 miler tomorrow but I think I'll take a rest day so that I'm ready for Saturday.  My quest for 50 miles isn't in jeopardy...yet.  I'll just have to run a few miles on Sunday instead of tomorrow.

Friday - 0 miles

Rest day since my feet are beat up.  I'm getting amped for tomorrow's trail race.  Psyched that it's only five minutes from my house.  And last night WTAC invaded my dreams...

I found myself standing around, waiting to run a half marathon road race.  Suddenly Jeff ran by.  Guess the race had begun!  I took off and tried to catch up to him when a few other guys flew by me.  Then they turned a corner and all stopped.  Guess it was just a warm-up before the race.  Oh that's good 'cause I need to pee.

I head to the bathroom and someone hands me a flyer for this race.  Apparently Galoob's the race director and decided to provide full page color profiles of the top tier runners.  I see profiles for Nate and Garvin.  Where's mine?  Then I look over and see Garvin sitting in a plastic chair, feeding a baby from a bottle.  But there's no time to chitchat - the race is about to begin.

I'm thrilled that there's no line at the port-o-let which is actually quite large.  When I enter I see three women working on fabric.  It looks like they've set up a clothing shop in the bathroom.  And there's no toilet.  I apologize but the race is about to begin.  I drop my gym in the middle of the room and begin to pee into it.  I keep apologizing and I'm doing a terrible job, missing the bag and pissing all over the floor.  Then a female runner skirts by me into a side room and I realize there was another room with an actual toilet.  Whoops.

Then I woke up.  See you tomorrow!

Saturday - Brrr-lingame 10 Mile trail race - 13.5 miles

Results here.  Official time: 1:11:08.  10th overall.  Report forthcoming.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 6.1 mile 

Legs are pretty tired after yesterday's effort but I wanted to get in the last few miles to hit 50 for the week.  Got up early and did some very easy miles down to the Nordic Lodge and back.   Explored a dirt road/trail next to the Nordic parking lot until I came upon a creepy shack and retreated.

Weekly Mileage: 50.2 miles

Year to Date: 459.9 miles

Glad to hit 50 miles for the week and glad that the mileage didn't seem to affect my Brrr-lingame race too much.  Now to attempt another week of 50+ before I scale back big time for Big River.

Monday, March 17, 2014

ChocoNanner Stout

In my quest to inject even more bananas into my system, I began to craft my second unique beer recipe that used this beloved ingredient.  It would be a stout.  Then it became a chocolate stout.  Yes, a chocolate banana stout - that's the ticket!  Fear and uncertainly filled the eyes of those who heard of it but I was undeterred.  At worse it would be nigh undrinkable.  But it succeeds....then I would be greatly pleased.

This was to be a 2.5 gallon extract recipe.  I checked out recipes online, looked at my previous stout attempt and settled on the following:

Steeping Grains:
1/2 lb chocolate malt
1/4 lb roasted barley
1/4 lb crystal 90

Malt Extract at boil:
1 lb pilsen light DME
3 lb pilsen extra light DME

1 oz Willamette (60 minutes)
1/2 oz Fuggle UK (15 minutes)

4 oz unsweetened baker's chocolate at flameout
Safale-04 yeast

OG: 1.058

At first I was concerned: this didn't look very stoutly.
Did I screw up my steeping grain choices?

Not to worry, that was just the look of the fermentation.
Once the yeast dropped out, it darkened.

So after three weeks in the primary fermenter we had a chocolate stout.  Now there's a couple different ways to add banana flavoring to your brew.  Most seem to use a hefeweisen yeast and ferment high (hef's often have intentional banana flavors supplied by the yeast.)  I also saw a tasty report that used banana puree mixed with rum for a banana fosters cream ale.  For this batch I opted to go as simple as possible.  Other recipes recommended about 5 pounds of bananas for a 5 gallon batch.  Based on their estimates, I bought 12 bananas and let 'em ripen in the basement.  I sanitized all my equipment (and my hands) peeled the bananas and just sliced 'em up.

Workshop is prepped for activy

I was aiming for 2 pounds 6 ounces so I was pleased to go over

Happy in their new home

Lotta peels

I sanitized the other 3 gallon carboy and shoved all the bananas in there.   I went to take a gravity reading and the hydrometer slipped out of the case and smashed on the floor.  My first hydrometer casualty!  They're so thin and fragile that it was bound to happen eventually.  Just a bummer that I couldn't take a reading before adding the bananas.

Racking to secondary

Let their powers combine!

The sludge left in the primary

The strange mixture was left to its own devices and for about a week nothing much seemed to happen.  Then after about ten days a secondary fermentation kicked in and a new layer of krausen was visible amongst the bananas.  I guess it took a while for the bananas to break down before the yeast could go to town on their sugars.  Seems like that's a point in favor of pureeing the bananas rather than just dropping them in as slices.

A true secondary fermentation

After 20 days I took a gravity reading of 1.014.  Three days later I pulled a 1.011 and that's where it finished.  Since I don't have a gravity reading prior to racking to secondary, I can't be sure about the ABV.  I'm guessing that it's in the 5.5-6% range.

Racking to the bottling bucket

I ended up with 22 bottles of the stuff.  I drank the hydrometer sample.  I could definitely taste the chocolate.  The banana was also there.  The sample had almost a cola taste to it.  Definitely "interesting."  I know I'm not selling it very well but I'm going to wait until I sample the fully carbed version to give a full report.  I'm sure you'll see it in my next Adventures in Homebrewing post.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Weekly Log: 3.10.14 - 3.16.14

With Ocean's Run in the rearview mirror, it's time to focus on mileage. I'd like to hit 40+ miles this week and then attempt to hit 50 for the following two weeks.  The Brrr...lingame 10 miler comes right in the middle of this mileage increase but I'll take it as it comes because I really want to get some miles in before I drop off for the Big River Half/Jamestown Bridge 10k double-header.

Monday - Smithfield, RI - 6 miles

Legs are trashed.  The half marathon done beat 'em up.  Jeff approached me last week about doing a run up here after work on Tuesday.  I was eager to show him some of my favorite trails but wanted to check them out first to make sure they were runnable.  Got to work and hey whaddya know, it's snowing again.  In truth, it was very light and enjoyed running in it (hopefully for the last time this season!)  Unfortunately the trails were still in rough shape and the going was tough.  I thought at least the trails with the tire ruts would be alright but the thin new layer of snow made spotting the ice sheets difficult.  And the ice sheets weren't ice sheets anymore.  Now they were puddles with newly frozen surfaces.  I kept breaking through and soaking my shoes.  Abandoning the trails, I ground out a few more miles on the roads.

Tuesday - Charlestown/Smithfield - 8.5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes) / 160 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 30/25/25/30/20/30

The usual dog jog in the morning.  Then after work I met up with Jeff.  Yesterday morning's run had me concerned about trekking through the woods but luckily the last two days of warmth softened the snow enough to make running through it not too bad.  Of course Jeff was game for anything so I took him on a tour of some of my favorites.  The snow was still quite deep at spots and a few short rests helped break up the slog.  A fun run and I'm glad I finally got to show off these excellent trails to someone.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Argh.  I wanted to do Yoga in the morning.  Really I did.  But I could not will myself to do it.  I am weak.  So today has become an impromptu rest day.  So be it.  This has become a bad habit but I'll get back in the Yoga swing eventually.

Thursday - Ryan Park, North Kingstown, RI - 7.2 miles

More snow this morning.  It wasn't coming down too bad when I dropped Ezri off and I decided to hit up Ryan Park since recent reports suggested the trails down in NK would be in better shape than up in Smithfield.  There was very light layer of snow on the rail bed but they were otherwise clear other than a few crunchy ice spots.  My legs still didn't have much pep in them so I was content to go at an easy pace.  After a couple miles the snow began to pick up.  At the bridge amongst the root run the wind was very strong.  Endless ethereal snow snakes whipped across the remaining ice on the pond - a very cool sight.

While at the ballfield I stopped for a moment to look at the big trail map and realized I had never explored the small park opposite the lot on Lafayette Road.  After running the east side of Ryan Park I checked out these trails.  A small area, it was mostly wide ATV trails but there was another cool powerline section that ran alongside the train tracks (I stopped, hoping to see a train but of course it went by as soon as I left the area.)  There was a ramshackle bridge made out of pallets and mesh wire and I got a creepy yokel vibe from this place (probably been watching too much True Detective.)

Jumped back across Lafayette and spent the last two miles of the run on the west side of the park.  Snow was coming down pretty good now and I was enjoying running in it.  Took the low lying trail next to the pond and it was wet at spots.  Running in this section was a strange sensation.  The ground had been muddy but the night refroze it somewhat - it was like running on crumpled newspaper.  All in all I was happy to get back into the woods.  And even though I'm done with winter I gotta say that running in the snowy conditions was a lot of fun.  But now seriously winter - GET LOST.

Friday - DuVal trails, South Kingstown, RI - 6 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I had a rare chance to work from home (they're final testing the system now that the miserable winter's over.  Great timing!)  Once my shift was over, I headed over to the DuVal trails as it has been awhile.  A couple icy sections but otherwise clear!  A good amount of mud though and I was slippin' in places.  Legs weren't used to the hilly trails and I ran out of time before I got to visit the newest trail section.  Glad to be back in the woods though!

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Burlingame, Charlestown, RI - 13.2 miles

I missed yesterday's group run but I wanted to get over to Burlingame and check out the course for next weekend's race.  I wasn't 100% of the course but I ran across orange flags occasionally so I figure I hit most of it.  It was a groggy morning and I was slow to get started.  The first couple miles were pretty lethargic as I hit up the Kettle Pond trails. Once on the race course I passed a couple older gentlemen that perhaps were doing some recon of their own - one was a fellow named John who I ran with last spring in Burlingame.  I found some pep for the second lap and was content to wrap it up after 13.  The ice breaking up on Watchaug was a cool site.  When I arrived at the beach parking lot there were two cars.  When I returned from my run there were fifteen.  The mountain bikers seemed to be out in force.

Weekly Log:  40.9 miles

Year to Date: 407 miles

I was glad to get back into the woods this week.  I look forward to exploring all my favorite haunts as the weather continues to warm.  And it was a big weekend for some fast WTACers.  Chris Garvin ran a sub 2 minute 800 meter race and I just read that Galoob took the master's division of the New Bedford half in 70 minutes.  These guys are crazy fast!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Ocean's Run 1/2 Marathon 2014

Official time: 1:23:06.  12th overall.  4th in Age Group.  Results here.

The Ocean's Run is a small local 1/2 marathon put on by the amazing TriMom.  Originally held in the fall, she moved it to the spring last year and had a much improved turnout.  This year it proved even more popular and I was looking forward to racing another road half and hopefully improving my PR.  After a goodly taper last week, I made responsible decisions on Saturday night by drinking several beers and staying up late.  I woke up with an annoying little hangover.  I went down to tend to the fire and an hour later I was feeling much better and pumped for the race.  This was also going to be Amanda's first half marathon - an exciting challenge for her since she starting running two years ago.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare.  I went out for a solo warm-up before running into Jeff Walker.  He was warming up with Jeff Duda who I met for the first time.  We made our way back to the start and were soon lined up.  I was on the fence about wearing a thermal top and decided to keep it on.  Gazelle had gone with just the singlet which proved wise. My goal was to run 6:20 miles - this was a doable goal that would result in a big PR.

Then we were off, twisting and turning our way out of the parking lot.  We weren't even on the road yet when a woman started to complain about her watch not working.  We hit the road and made our way past the Ocean Mist.  The lady was still bemoaning her spacewatch - I wasn't sure if she was talking to me or the Gods but it got old quick.  Yeah it sucks, we all love our magic watches but it's broke, whaddya gonna do?  Let it go and run.

She either dropped back or got over it and soon I hit the first of two early turnarounds.  These are nice as they give you a chance to see the stream of people behind you.  Cheered on 5k (leading early) and Gazelle and then Amanda and those behind.  I felt like I was working hard already and got into a bad habit of checking my pace.  First it was sub 6 (too fast!)  Then 6:40 (too slow!)   By the time I passed the beach entrance and hit mile 3 I was already breathing hard.

At this point I was already writing the race report in my head - complete with the blunders the night before and the piss-poor pacing work.  I was in 7th place and could see Walker chasing a guy in a yellow shirt up ahead but they were getting farther away.  I felt like my pace was dropping already and I pushed harder.  I didn't see how I was going to keep this up.  I envisioned 7 minute miles in my future and being passed left and right.  It was going to be a long race.

Feelin' it at mile 7.5 - Photo by Miriam Overend

Once I hit the seemingly endless stretch of Matunuck Schoolhouse Road my mood improved.  I settling into a rhythm and while mile 5 was 6:30 my next two were in the low 20s.  I could see Jeff off in the distance passing Yellow Shirt guy - he was looking strong!  Passed the Garvin family cheering us on which was a nice surprise.  During mile 5 I heard footsteps behind me.  At mile 6 I heard the voice of a guy and Spacewatch Girl.  Around 6.5 miles they passed me - along with two other guys.   Four people?  How slow was I going?  I tried briefly to keep up with the pack but they were doing 6:10s and I knew I couldn't maintain that.

Now in 12th place, I popped a gel at mile 7 and settled in behind a red shirt guy who had dropped back from the others.  At mile 7.5 I was cheered on by Em and my dad which helped.  As we made our way into the Green Hill neighborhood I stuck close to the pack ahead but once we turned back onto Green Hill Beach Road they hit the burners.  I was still sticking to Red Shirt guy though.  The Yellow Shirt guy that Jeff had passed was looking to be overtaken by Spacewatch Girl and her merry gentlemen.  Em and dad had been joined by Ezri and my mother-in-law and their cheers gave me strength as I motored past Red Shirt guy. 

Now I was passing all the runners still making their way out.  I saw Amanda - she was looking strong!  With three miles to go I started to get a second wind and my pace increased.  But I was hot!  Should've just gone with the singlet.  I ended up taking off my cap which did the trick.  At mile 11 I heard some someone hauling ass behind me.  Red Shirt guy?  Nope, it was Jeff Duda!  He asked how I was doing and I grunted that I was tired.  I tried to keep pace but he was moving too fast for me.  Soon he motored off in pursuit of Yellow Shirt who was getting closer. 

3/4 of a mile left and please just let me finish - Photo by Chris Garvin

The last stretch on Cards Pond Road was brutal.  I was exhausted and felt like I was barely moving.  Duda had pushed pass Yellow Shirt and I was approaching him as well.  Passed the Garvin family once again.  Chris yelled "reel 'em in" but there would be no fishing today.  My legs felt like cement.  And the road was endless.  Where was the goddamn entrance to the beach?  Eventually I saw the flagger.  Still closing on Yellow Shirt, I knew I didn't have another gear to catch him and settled for finishing a few seconds behind.

It was a difficult and tiring race and yet despite my seesaw pacing issues I finished in 1:23:06 - good for a 54 second PR!   I chatted with my mom and the other WTACers (Tommy 5k in 4th, the mighty Gazelle in 6th) and then Jeff and I did the reverse course for a cooldown.  When we reached Amanda I turned around and ran with her the rest of the way.  She finished in just over two hours - an incredible performance for her first 1/2 marathon!  I'm very proud of her.

Happy to be finished!

We feasted on the wonderful assortment of treats and snacks that TriMom provided and then stuck around while Jeff, Mike B, Shara and Tommy 5k picked up some Age Group awards.  I had hoped to make the podium but I ended up 4th in the tough 30-39 category.  If only I could have caught Yellow Shirt!  In the end I'm very happy that I pulled out a big PR in this race and only wish that my splits had been more even - maybe then I'd have had a little more in the tank when I needed it most.

Mile 1: 6:15
Mile 2: 6:09
Mile 3: 6:09
Mile 4: 6:22
Mile 5: 6:30
Mile 6: 6:24
Mile 7: 6:21
Mile 8: 6:31
Mile 9: 6:18
Mile 10: 6:28
Mile 11: 6:22
Mile 12: 6:16
Mile 13: 6:16

Once again a big Thank You goes out to TriMom who puts on an awesome event.  The race was well organized and the volunteers were great.  The food spread afterwards in the tent was triumphant.  They had bikers out on the course distributing gels and while I didn't take them up on their offer of "warm Gu" it was appreciated nonetheless.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Weekly Log: 3.3.14 - 3.9.14

March is finally here.  Maybe this long bitch winter will finally be over by the end of it.  Or perhaps she will continue into April, beating us further into submission with more snow and frigid temperatures. Who can say?  At any rate the long range forecast looks pretty good for the Ocean's Run 1/2 marathon on Sunday.  This'll be my first road race of the year and my first half since Surftown last September.  This past weekend has left me feeling gluttonous and slow but I know that's not an accurate gauge of my abilities.  My plan is to cut down considerably on the running this week in order to put me in a good position to PR on Sunday.  Then I'll ramp up the mileage for another three weeks before cutting back once again for more racing.

Monday - 0 miles

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 3.5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Friggin' cold this morning for the weekly dog jog.  I'm sick of this shit!  I guess I've finally reached the Mike B level of winter hatred.  Knee felt a little twingy during the run.  Hopefully it's nothing.  Afterwards I shambled my way through Ab Ripper but it was a struggle.  Can't say that I'm feeling very confident about Sunday's race but I'm sure once race day arrives I'll be ready to go.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Took a while to get out of bed this morning and my plans for a morning lifting workout faded quickly.  It's crazy to think that I'm so committed to exercising now that I actually feel guilty if I don't work out.  Well, I'm taking it easy this week so deal with it, self!

Thursday - East Greenwich, RI - 7 miles

Enough of this rest day bullshit.  Thought about giving the trails up at work a shot but we'll save that for tomorrow.  Instead I headed to my new favorite spot over on Frenchtown Road.  I did the road loop from a few weeks ago but in the opposite direction.  Also took a couple side roads to inspect some ridiculously fancy houses.  Despite being in the teens I saw a couple other intrepid runners out there.  Thinking I would use them on Sunday I wore my minimal New Balance 730s.  But they made the tops of my feet hurt and now I'm leaning towards the new 890s.  But it was a good run and the pace was in the low 7s - I needed a snappy run to get me psyched for Ocean's Run as it's been a while since I ran with any speed.  Feeling good for Sunday!

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 6 miles

210 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 25/25/25/25/25/25/30/30

I decided to attempt some trails up at work as I saw that tire tracks had cleared narrow paths in the rocky dirt road.  They were runnable though there were big ice sheets at spots.  In fact I soon found it easier to just run on the snow between the tracks which was well packed down from ATVs.  I took one bad digger after about a mile, slipping on a hidden ice sheet and hitting my arm and wrist against the hard ground.  Shook it off and found some snowier trails with well-worn ATV tracks.  Still tough going out there and three miles of trails were enough for me.  This run didn't motivate me like yesterday (it probably did the opposite) and my wrist is sore from the fall.  Hopefully a few days of warm weather will improve the trails - I'm afraid it might still be awhile before they're truly runnable.

Saturday - 0 miles

Everyone's out there getting some good runs in this morning and making me feel guilty - but I'm feeling sore and tired after yesterday's fall.  The rest will do me good.  Looking forward to tomorrow's race!

Sunday - Ocean's Run 1/2 Marathon  - 18.5 miles

Official time: 1:23:06.  12th overall.  Report forthcoming.

Weekly Log: 35.2 miles

Year to Date: 368.8 miles