Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 RI State Police Foot Pursuit 5k

Official time: 17:55.  7th overall.  2nd in Age Group.  Results here.

This was one of the first races I did when I started running again and I had really enjoyed it.  The State Trooper shotgun start, the local course and the great spread of food afterwards - it's a fun area race.  I hadn't done it in a while as it conflicted with my big Spring races but this year there was no issue.  I wasn't really sure how I'd fare today.  The 5k is such a short, brutal distance and I definitely don't do enough speed and specific training to excel at it.  Still, I was hopeful that I'd be able to shave some time off my 17:57 PR that I set last October.

Got to Narragansett Beach with plenty of time (which was good because it was mobbed inside at the registration area) and did a two mile warm-up with Mike B on the Canonchet Trails and then ducked back into the trails for one final bathroom break.  Made it to the starting line with a few minutes to spare and took my place behind Garvin and FiveK.  The start was packed and there were many young kids mixed in with us.

At the shotgun start someone scuffed my shoe and I almost tripped.  Immediately the rugrats went by me, getting in my way and boxing me in.  I let them zip off ahead and soon most of them were falling back.  One young girl stayed in front of me and didn't fall back until we turned onto Narragansett Ave.  At this point the field had settled down.  In the lead was Derek Jakobski with Garvin close behind him.  Following them were Keven O'Neil and FiveK.  Then there were a couple other guys I didn't know and directly in front of me were the last two remaining young bucks.

Pushing past the young guns - Photo by Jeff Walker
The two kids looked like they were in middle school, running with that reckless abandon afforded by youth.  They were breathing pretty hard already and I was confident that I'd outlast them.  I passed them as we went by the ice factory but they surged past me on the downhill just before Boon Street.  On the slight incline I pushed by them as I spied Jeff cheering me on from the sidelines.

The front runners were far off in the distance now.  I counted out that I was in eighth place but I was slowly gaining on a guy ahead of me wearing headphones.  Once we hit Ocean Rd there was a stiff headwind but I tried to focus on the towers in the distance and began reeling in headphone guy.  I caught him just before the Coast Guard House and there was Jeff again, warning me about the guy right on my heels (No shit, Jeff. I just passed the guy 10 seconds prior!)

Trying to keep it together down Ocean Drive - Photo by Jeff Walker

The final stretch on Beach Street has encouraging spectators but I was nearly out of gas.  I tried to keep the pace up and was afraid that headphone guy was gaining on me.  With 50 yards to go it seemed that people were cheering for him and I found that I had another gear and was able to kick to the finish, good for 7th overall in 17:55.

I nearly keeled over after crossing the line.  I was very pleased that I took a couple seconds off my PR but I was nauseous.  After a couple minutes I felt better but even through the cooldown I didn't feel great.  Guess that means I really pushed it at the end.  Though by the time I grabbed my sweatshirt at the car I was ready to eat.  The food line was mobbed so I grabbed ice cream and other snacks while waiting for the awards.  The prizes were scattershot - the overall winners got some pint glass boots while I nabbed a Dave's Market gift card for 2nd in my Age Group.  I used it to buy a pie for my dad's birthday.

I missed the team picture while I was getting a burger.  Then I said goodbye to everyone and we dispersed.  I grabbed a second ice coffee sampler from the Dunkin Donuts stand and then made my way back to the car.  Fun event - I'm pleased to PR but I know that I really have to be more consistent with the weekly speed work if I want to bring it down farther.  Good race!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weekly Log: 4.21.14 - 4.27.14

I finally pulled the trigger on my big spring race - the Pinelands 50k up in Maine over Memorial Day weekend.  We'll be staying with friends and making a Family Fun Trip out of it.  I haven't followed a training plan whatsoever but I feel I've done a pretty good job of upping my mileage in preparation for this.  I figure I have one more fifty mile week in me and hopefully a twenty miler in probably two weekends.  Then I'll ease off the gas through the rest of May.

The aim of this week's mileage will be either 40 or 50.  It depends on whether I run the State Police Hot Pursuit 5k over in Narragansett on Sunday.  I hope to do it but I have to wait and see how the weekend unfolds.

Monday - 0 miles

A planned rest day after a hard week of running.  And needed.  My calves are super tight!

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 5.7 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)
12 pull-ups (standard/chin-up/wide) 3/3/2/2/2/2 (with same number of assisted pull-ups after each set)

Pleased as I was with my push-ups during last week's Chest & Back routine, my pull-ups were quite sad.  I'm going to try to hit the pull-up bar a few times a week and improve my numbers.  As you can see from the above numbers, I can only eek out a couple and then I put my foot on a chair to do assisted pull-ups.  Only consistency will make the numbers rise.

At lunch, I headed out to try to capture some nearby segments.  There's a stretch of road that runs along the bay next to Blackstone Park.  Segments ran in both directions - one was 3/4 of a mile and the other was a little over half mile.  I figured it would be a half-assed speed workout since they were a good distance.  It was warm and once I turned it on I began sweating.  There were two segments that overlapped each other so after I ran those I jogged through some fancy neighborhoods before turning around to attempt the other one.  This one was into the wind and I was huffing and puffing by the end.  Had to navigate around a couple parked cars but since there were no intersections it wasn't too bad.  Got back to the office and found that I was able to grab all three segments.  Nabbed the last one by 15 seconds which made me happy as that one hurt.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 5.7 miles

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

Decided to run a loop around the Turner Reservoir which I had partially explored last week.  It was cool and drizzly which was fine by me.  I'd much rather return to the office wet from rain than sweat.  The route around the pond began on a rooty trail which had plenty of standing water from the recent rain.  Took a page from the Gazelle Handbook for Intrepid Trail Runners (3rd edition) and charged right through 'em.  After this muddy affair the "trail" follows the road for a bit as you enter Massachusetts.  I had studied a map so I knew about this but I ended up missing the entrance back into the woods (I blame Massachusetts.)  When I hit the Seekonk High School I knew I wasn't quite where I wanted to be.  I was able to jump back on the trail proper near the school and finish the loop.

Even though it was wet and my legs didn't have much pep it was great being out there.  I've quickly fallen in love with these lunch runs.  Being able to get out and run for 40 minutes or so at midday really breaks up the day and gives me a boost of energy - I find that I'm not missing my afternoon coffee that I used to rely on.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI/ Seekonk, MA/North Kingstown, RI - 15.5 miles

Dog jog in the morning followed by some new trails up at work.  The Seekonk Meadows is located behind the Seekonk library.  Super crazy windy out there but in the woods it was muted (though I did worry about falling branches!)  This was a fun little network of trails that runs alongside a couple ponds.  Bunch of people out there hiking or fishing.  Found some side trails that were part of the official Meadows network and they ran alongside the Turner Reservoir (basically the opposite side of where I ran last week on the bike path.) I'm enjoying exploring all these little pockets of open space and figuring out how they all kinda, sorta intersect each other.

After work I decided to really pile it on by running a bunch more miles before band practice.  With the new job hours I'm able to get to Jay's house with plenty of time to run.  Took the roads over to Rome Point but after only a few miles I was really feeling the trashed legs.  Still I had set a goal of 8 miles in my head so I just stuck to the Rome Point trails, taking 'em this way and that until I was at about 6.5 miles.  Then I took the beach and sneaky powerline trail back to Jay's.  Legs were completely done by this point and the climb up Plum Point Road was a cruel bitch.

Friday - 0 miles

19 Pull-ups (standard/chin-up/wide) 3/4/3/2/3/2/2 (with same number of assisted pull-ups after each set)

President of the company stopped by and bought us all lunch today so no lunch run.  I ate a massive burrito which, while delicious, thwarted any desire to run after work.

Saturday - 0 miles

I was thinking I'd run a few easy miles as some point in the morning but I was pretty tired all day and I didn't have any interest in making it happen.  Looks like this will be a lower mileage week than I anticipated.  S'ok.  My legs can use a couple days off.  I signed up for the State Police 5k and I guess now I don't have any excuse not to run well.  PR?  We'll see.

Sunday - State Police 5k, Narragansett, RI - 7.1 miles

Official time: 17:55.  7th overall.  2nd in age group.  Report to come.

Weekly Mileage: 34.2 miles

Year to Date: 667.1 miles

Didn't quite hit the mileage I wanted this week but the weekend was a lot of fun (bottled beer, threw a birthday party for my wife and ran a good race.)  Now to ramp up my mileage for one more week before I begin to ease off in anticipation of the Pinelands 50k.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Weekly Log: 4.14.14 - 4.20.14

Another week is upon us - my birthday week!  Hopefully I can ramp the mileage back up to 50 miles as I experiment with more lunch runs.

Monday - East Providence, RI - 5.7 miles

Happy birthday to me!  It was 70 degrees outside but the heavy wind made it feel less so.  I decided to head towards Seekonk on today's run.  First I checked out Hunt's Mill which had a cool fish ladder but no trails that I could see.  Across the street was a 2.7 mile trail that ran around the James Turner Reservoir.  Fun trail filled with gnarly roots.  I didn't know how long it would take so I opted to just run a portion and then turn around.  I'll definitely check out the whole thing at some point.  On the way back that nerve thing in my foot began to hurt and by the time I got back to the office I was a hot mess.  Maybe a fan and a cold ice pack will help.  The nerve pain came back later in the day and was quite painful by evening.  There's a sports injury podiatrist in the office below so I guess it's time to make an appointment and find out what this damn thing is.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 2.1 miles

Dog jog.  Wet dog jog.  Legs had no life.  Nerve thing popped up every so briefly just to remind me that I'm beat up.  No desire to run during or after work in heavy wind and rain.

Wednesday - Providence, RI - 5.4 miles

Beautiful cool day outside!  It actually snow/sleeted this morning.  Now that I'm running at lunch I look forward to cold weather so that I don't return a sweaty mess.  Decided to venture back over into Providence and check out the east side.  Made my way down to Wickenden Street and then back up to work on various streets.  I didn't realize how fast I was moving until I looked at my watch.  It'll take a while to get use to city running.  You gotta be on the lookout for cars at all time - they don't give a shit!

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 5.6 miles

P90X Chest & Back (50 minutes)

It has been a long time but I finally returned to Chest & Back.  Just push-ups and pull-ups.  Readers of my blog know that I've been doing 100-200 push-ups once or twice a week for a while.  I was pleased to see that my numbers had gone up in the push-up exercises.  Pull-ups were another story.  Very few as expected.  I'll have to work on that.

I had considered track work at lunch time but decided that it would have been tough to fit in.  Instead I went to check out the Ten Mile River Bikepath.  It doesn't go for 10 miles, that's just the name of the river.  It's a really nice bikepath and the (man-made?) river is very pleasant.  I took it most of the way before having to turn around.  I knew there were segments on this path but I wasn't sure where they started/ended.  Since I bailed on speed work I opted to just push the pace on the way back (and hopefully nab a segment in the process.)  Miles 4 & 5 were just over six minutes which was good to see.  No segments though - looks like they all required going all the way to the other end of the bike path.  Another day.

Friday - East Providence/North Kingstown, RI - 13.4 miles

Stuck close to the office for my lunch run and ventured across the nearby railroad tracks.  There's an industrial area next door and beyond that it looks like a wide open area that hugs the river.  Couldn't find my way past the gated businesses and decided to just explore some more local streets instead - I needed to see what shops/restaurants are in the area anyway.  Get a lay of the land, you know.  Around mile three my legs felt really tired and my pace dropped.  I had no pep.  The recent miles and no lunch had caught up with me.  The last couple miles were a trudge.

Down in North Kingstown I wanted to get in a bunch more miles before band practice.  Felt a lot better than I had during the lunch run - would it last?  I wanted to check out the trails down by Gilbert Stuart that Jonny and Galoob run occasionally.  I saw the sign for an old girl scout camp.  That must be the place.  Nice little assortment of trails alongside Carr Pond (not the one in Big River.)  Looked like a beautiful late afternoon on the pond.  Idyllic.  I explored what trails I could find, got cut up by prickers in the process and then continued on Gilbert Stuart Road up a crushing hill.  At the top I turned around and followed GS Road in a big loop back to Jay's house.  I was pleased that the lethargy of the early run didn't follow me into the evening one.

Saturday - Black Farm, Hopkinton, RI - 7.1 miles

While Ezri was a dance practice I took off for Black Farm.  1.5 miles on neighborhood roads and then I hit the smooth pine-needle covered trails.  Kept the pace relaxed and the legs felt good.  Checked out most of the trails, stopping at the pond to momentarily enjoy the splendor of nature (surprised I didn't see any fisherfolk out there.)  This is a nice little area and one hour is just about right to see everything.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 11.5 miles

Obsessed with hitting 50 miles this week, I awoke early on Easter Sunday to get in a decent run.  Driving anywhere costs precious time and I had to get back to the house to prepare Easter breakfast.  I decided to head over to Browning Woods as I hadn't been there in awhile.  Trails were a little wet in spots but overall not too bad.  I did a full loop of the trail and then on the second loop I took the Heart trail over to Worden's Pond Road.  There are so many bottles on the side of the road - shameful.  Recycle your road sodas, people.  I did however spy a couple green Grolsch bottles.  These have the flip top lids and are always useful for homebrewing.  So the last three miles saw me running with a beer bottle in each hand.  A splendid find on a cool Easter morning!  Headed back to the house and prepared a delicious breakfast for my girls (and my mom) - cheesy strata, bacon, waffles and fruit salad.  Yum!

Weekly Mileage: 50.9 miles

Year to Date: 633 miles

Great week of running!  My first full week of the new job and I'm enjoying the work very much.  And as you can see from this past week I've quickly taken to my new lunch run routine.  It helped me nab another fifty mile week so I'm psyched.  What's also pleasing is that my nagging nerve foot issue which plagued my Monday through Wednesday runs hasn't surfaced since then.  I'm sure I haven't seen the last of it but all the same it was good to run without the stinging sensation for the last few days.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Jamestown Bridge 10k 2014

Official time: 38:19.  4th overall.  1st in Age Group.  Results here.

I had signed up for this race back in December when TriMom had offered substantial discounts on their 2014 schedule.  I ran it last year and was pleased with my gutsy performance and was looking forward to another go.  Then the Big River 1/2 was scheduled the day before and this race became an afterthought.  I had no intention of skipping it and eating the registration fee but Big River was the priority this weekend.  If that meant this 10k was to be a shitshow sufferfest, so be it.

The Big River race was a great success and I spent the rest of Saturday free of wife and children.  That is to say I was in a state of gluttonous excess.  I brewed some beer, drank some beer and consumed a truly awful amount of junk food before dragging my bloated fleshbag up to bed (I did get to bed at the reasonable hour of 10:30 so I guess that's something.)  In the morning I awoke groggy and foggy.  My calves were quite tight.  Since I was the only one in the house dog walking duties fell on me.  The walk was short but it did help my legs loosen up.  After an hour of puttering and tidying up it was time to head out.  I was feeling pretty good now.  The cobwebs had been dusted from my brain and I began to look forward to the race.  I wasn't worried about my performance and was happy to treat this race like a fun run.  Short of my legs locking up and sending my body careening off the bridge, I would consider this race a success.

The race starts at the park-n-ride in North Kingstown on Route 1A and everyone parks on the northbound side of 1A.  It's crazy how far away some people have to park - almost all the way to Casey Farm.  Luckily my buddy Jay lives very close to the start and I was able to use his house as my base of operations.  It was a three minute jog to the start to get my bib and then I returned to Jay's since I had some time to kill.  Then another short warm-up before returning to Jay's one more time to grab my sunglasses.  The start of the race was delayed a few minutes because they were letting the 5k races start first from Jamestown.  Looking around there were a couple fast looking dudes but overall the number of contenders looked pretty thin.  I thought that a top 10 finish was likely unless I really ran into difficulty.

The race starts and immediately goes down the ramp and onto Route 138 towards the bridge.  The first mile is downhill and fast.  Two dudes quickly took off ahead of the pack followed by another two guys.  Then it was myself and this fellow Chris I had been chatting with.  The road leveled out and we were passed by the lead woman and another man and we formed a pack of four.  As the first incline began the pace of the pack dropped.  I wasn't working particularly hard and decided to sidestep the pack and move on ahead.  I was feeling good and thought I should speed up while my body was responding.  If I fell apart latter so be it.

I could tell that I was putting distance on the pack and I wasn't expending that much energy which pleased me.  Up ahead the 4th place guy had begun to fall back and I passed him just before the top of the bridge.  Here I was, at the top of the bridge with one climb done and in 4th place.  I expected that guy to catch me on the descent but he did not and I remained in 4th place as I exited onto Jamestown.  This section is always longer than I think it will be and it takes a while to loop through the neighborhoods and back onto the bridge.  The crowd support here is very good and lots of folks were lined the streets to cheer us on.  The mutton chops were in fine form and well received.  They have two water stops within a half mile of each other which is kind of silly but I grabbed a drink at the first one.  I tried to listen to the cheers of folks behind me to gauge how close my competition was but I didn't hear much.

Back on the bridge and the second climb is the easiest of the three.  3rd place was far off in the distance.  No chance of catching him.  I figured that I had a good amount of a lead over 5th based on the crowd noise but you never really know.  I tried to keep up the pace as it I seemed that I was climbing better than the others.  Once you're on the other side of the bridge it's a long slog.  First you descend which is nice but far off in the distance you can see that you have a long flat section followed by the last, miserable uphill.  I began to pass 5Kers as the last climb began (they were far over on the right and passing them wasn't a problem.)  Last year this section was a grueling affair - I had passed two people but it was difficult work.  This year I didn't have that motivation but I tried to push harder just in case.  But there was no need to worry.  I had a two minute lead over the next runner.  I rounded the bend and finished in 4th place!  30 seconds faster than last year.

Afterwards I chatted with a few other finishers and then did a short cooldown.  Spent some time milling about and partaking in the standard TriMom mega food offerings until the awards ceremony (nabbed some TriMom bucks for winning my age group.)  Obviously I'm very pleased with the 4th place finish.  The last few TriMom events saw me finishing just off the podium for my age group so it felt good to finally get an age group prize.  And the fact that this came a day after Big River made it all the sweeter.  I paid for these back-to-back races with several days of lethargic legs but it was well worth it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Farewell to Smithfield Weekly Log: 4.7.14 - 4.13.14

And so my time in Smithfield comes to an end.  I've gotten a new job over in East Providence that starts on Thursday.  I will really miss the trails in this section of Rhode Island.  Wolf Hill had become one of my favorite places to run and the hills there kept me honest.  The Snake Den was another great area with challenging and sketchy trails.  Even the roads up here were enjoyable with lots of rolling hills and farmland.  And of course the trails behind Fidelity were where I cut my teeth as a trail runner.  Miles of rocky singletrack crafted by dirt bikers - these were not easy trails to run.  I credit a lot of my success at last year's NipMuck marathon to training on these trails.  But a change of scenery was long overdue and I'm looking forward to exploring the roads of Providence and the woods of Seekonk (for if there's one thing I now know, it's that trails are everywhere.  You just gotta find them.)

Monday - Charlestown/Smithfield, RI - 9.7 miles

My legs are completely beat to shit from two straight days of racing.  Quads, calves, hammies - they all feel ready to seize up if I just look at 'em funny.  This would've been an ideal day to take off but duty and nostalgia forced my hand.

First up was a dog jog.  Amanda's in California through Wednesday so the early morning constitutionals with Oliver fall upon me.  Calf almost seized up just putting my socks on but once we got out there it was alright, though I think my gait was more of a shuffle.  Even with an extra slow pace the jog was punishing and I was happy when we got back to the house.

Then up at work I ran the trails behind the office for the last time.  I wouldn't have any time on Tuesday or Wednesday so today was my only window.  It was a few hours since the dog jog and the legs had a little more life in them.  I started on a long dirt road that heads into the woods.  I was afraid there would be Big River-eque water hazards but apparently the road drains well.  After about a mile I jumped onto single track.  I was able to string together about five miles of my favorite trails.  The legs held up pretty well but I was taking it very easy and towards the end I could really feel it.  One last beautiful morning in the quiet woods of Smithfield.  Farewell.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 2.1 miles

170 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 20/20/30/30/20/30/20

My legs!  If it had been raining I'd have told Oliver to sod off but it was only misting and so out we went.  10 minute miles and it felt plenty fast enough for me.  That should give you an idea of how the ol' legs are feeling.

Wednesday - Charlestown, RI - 4 miles

Legs are finally starting to shake off the lethargy.  Was able to extend the dog jog this morning which felt good.  Last day of work in Smithfield.  Coworkers gave me a nice send-off.  Feels weird to finally be leaving after 7.5 years.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 5.2 miles

Another good dog jog as sunrise swept over the land.  Thanks to the jogs I'm getting decent mileage this week despite only one dog-less run.  New office is small, informal and very different from corporate America.  But a nice change.  With an hour lunch I'll guess I'll have to get used to doing some lunch runs though today I was content to just take a short walk.

After work I headed down to Westerly for the WTAC trail series victory party.  I jogged over to Grey Sail Brewery where we had some tasty brews and toured the facility.  Then another short jog back to the car (kudos to Galoob for running with a full growler) before walking over to the pizza joint for lots of pizza pie.  Most departed after that but a few of us continued on to the Malted Barley.  I can report that Founder's KBS is indeed all that.  Great evening with an awesome group of guys (and Beth!)

Friday - East Providence, RI - 5.1 miles

Early reports of rain proved incorrect and I decided to take my first stab at a lunch run.  Ran across the nearby bridge to check out Blackstone Park.  Small wooded area with smooth trails.  Bunch of people with dogs enjoying the weather and none of the beasts proved troublesome.  I have a feeling city dogs are used to ignoring runners.  Hilly little park actually.  Grabbed a short segment to let the Strava World know that I have arrived.  Back at work, I cooled off and cleaned up as best I could.  There's no shower here so making myself presentable after future lunch runs will definitely require some practice.

Saturday - Carter Preserve, Charlestown, RI - 14.5 miles

Met up with Jonny at the entrance to Carter Preserve on Route 112.  We both ran there from our respective houses.  For me it was a 5:50 AM start.  Legs were pretty tired and we were both happy to keep the pace easy and casual.  Lots of race talk.  After about six miles of trails in the preserve we went our separate ways back home.  Just before I hit Route 2 I heard a gunshot and then rounded the corner to find a cop and another fellow standing over the body of a deer.  Guess the guy had hit it.  Took the Narragansett trail back instead of Route 2 to change things up.  Good run to start the Saturday.

Sunday - Rest day

Weekly Mileage: 40.9 miles

Year to Date: 582.1 miles

A different sort of week with the last Smithfield run to start things off then lots of dog jogging.  Happy that I was able to hit 40 miles despite the unorthodox schedule.  Back up to 50 next week?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Big River 1/2 Marathon

Official time: 1:34:17.  6th overall.  Results here.

Time for the last race of the 4th Season trail series.  Last year the Tuesday Night Turtles had wrapped up the team title prior to this race and this year WTAC had done the same.  There was still plenty to complete for, including the Rhode Island trail running Triple Crown.  Last week's recon of the course confirmed how long and relentless this race was going to be.  I had rested extensively in the last week and wanted to best last year's time of 1:41.  I also hoped to keep my top 10 streak intact for all five races but of course that would depend of who showed up.

I arrived, got my bib (which indicated that I had run all five events) and did a short warm-up with Muddy.  Everyone lined up and Race Director Galoob gave us all the lowdown on the course.  Then we were off.  The initial pace seemed restrained as if everyone remembered the early hard effort two weeks prior at Brrr-lingame.  After about a half mile the front runners began to pull away.  Greg Hammett, Bob Jackman and Steve Brightman in the front pack and and a guy with a neckerchief, Jonny and Muddy in the second pack.  On the early switchbacks I could see my closest pursuers but it was only a mile into the race and I was already in no man's land.

Jonny and Muddy soon passed Neckerchief and began to put distance on him.  I was slowly gaining on him but after we passed Carr Pond I glanced back and saw...Jeff!  The Mighty Gazelle was slowly gaining on me as I gained on Neckerchief.  At mile three I passed him and continued on, knowing the Gazelle was hunting me down.  Up until this point the course had been marked well with little orange flags.  But when we came to the big intersection that leads up to the Hopkins Hill Road parking lot, there was not a flag to be seen.  I stopped.  Even though I knew the course I second guessed myself.  Did Galoob change the course at the last minute?  There were orange arrows on some of the trees.  We were supposed to be following these now?  (we weren't.)  By now Jeff and Neckerchief had caught up to me.  After a few moments we continued up towards the parking lot, though the trail was not marked.  I assured them that this was the correct route.

At the parking lot was the first aid station.  I blurted out to one of the volunteers about the missing flags and then the trail veered steeply down towards Carr Pond, the course once again dotted by orange flags.  Jeff began gazelling down the rocky slope and told me that I would catch him on the uphills, though I wasn't so sure.  We began to encounter significant water hazards and it was soon apparent that splashing through them was the best course of action.  I was still following close behind Jeff but Neckerchief had now dropped back.

The section along the ridge was tiring but it helped having Jeff to follow.  I figured I'd stick with Jeff for as long as I could which would hopefully put me in a position to hold onto 7th place. At mile 6 Jeff turned on the afterburners and began flying along the twisty singletrack.  He began to put some distance between us.  Then after a long straight section I spied Neckerchief making gains on me.  I was still keeping Jeff in view at mile 7.5 when Neckerchief flew by me, looking really strong.  He barreled off ahead towards Jeff but at mile 8 we hit the self-manned aid station and all stopped.  I quickly downed a gel and half a cup of water and took off in pursuit of Neckerchief with Jeff right on my heels.  In retrospect, I'm really glad they both stopped at the aid station.  If they had both bypassed it, I probably would have too which would have been a mistake (I think the gel helped a lot.)

Now we were chasing Neckerchief as the course really began to twist and turn.  The way he had flown by me I thought Neckerchief would be putting distance on us but we were able to stick close to him.  We passed over the New London Turnpike and entered the last three mile stretch of trail.  The trails here are mostly smooth pine forest but the twists and turns are relentless.  As we began this section I was in 7th place between Neckerchief and Jeff.  I started to think about moves.  Jeff had been following me for a couple miles now - no doubt he enjoyed being pulled along and would probably be surging soon.  Neckerchief wasn't putting distance on us like I thought which made me think he was running out of steam.

The opportunity presented itself when Neckerchief began to go the wrong way at a split.  I yelled to correct him but still had time to move ahead.  Now leading the group, I decided it was time to see if I had anything left in the tank and tried to pick up the pace.  It was difficult with all the turns but I could hear their footsteps fading and as the course turned back on itself often I was able to see the distance I was putting on them.  Jeff had moved ahead of Neckerchief but he was also pretty far back.  Now I was supercharged about holding onto 6th place.  I kept the pace up and cursed this last section of trail that seemed endless.  Finally I came to the open dirt section and knew I was almost there.  Scott Mason was in the woods snapping shots and a few moments last I came out on the New London Turnpike and crossed the finish.

To say I was pleased with my performance would be an understatement. I smashed last year's time by 7 minutes and was able to mount a surge over the last few miles when I needed it.  Being able to run the majority of the race with Jeff was a major boost.  I don't think I would have been able to keep the pace up if I had been out there alone.  Amazingly the nagging nerve pain I've been dealing with in my right foot didn't surface until after I finished, when it became very painful for a few minutes.  Then thirty minutes later it was gone again.  Strange.

Afterwards everyone ate and swapped race stories.  The big issue was the bastard that had stolen the flags in the early morning near the Hopkins Hill Lot.  A lot of people had gone off course because of that and I guess there was also a graffiti incident that led a lot of the 10kers onto the 1/2 marathon course.  A real shame because Galoob and Company worked really hard to mark these courses well and make the race a success.  Still, everyone was in good spirits and took it all in stride.  At the awards ceremony I got a nifty pint glass and beer for completing all five events in the series.  A wonderful gift and a wonderful trail race!  Once again thank to you Mike Galoob, his family and everyone else who helped to put on these races.  They really are great, laid-back events that take advantage of the wonderful trails here in South County Rhode Island.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Double Header Weekly Log: 3.31.14 - 4.6.14

This will be an easy week for me running wise.  Very easy.  I've got not one but two races this weekend.  I had signed up for the Jamestown Bridge 10k a while ago when TriMom offered a big discount.  I really enjoyed this race last year and was excited to do it again.  Then Galoob had to go and decide to host the Big River Half Marathon the day before.  Thanks a lot.  Well there's no way I'm missing the last race of the trail series (not to mention the 2nd race of the Rhode Island Triple Crown) so it looks like I'll be double dipping this weekend.

A trail 1/2 marathon followed by a road 10k (with three major climbs) is not ideal.  My plan is to do little running this week to give my feet a rest after two consecutive 50 mile weeks.  I generally recover well from trail races so my plan is to take on Big River as it were my only race.  Then I'll scrape together whatever dregs are left in the tank, mix them with some beer and hope I can muster a decent performance on Sunday.

Monday - 0 miles

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 2.7 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes) / 150 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 30/20/30/20/20/30

A short dog jog and then my first Ab Ripper in two weeks.  Rough.  When I take a break from the core work it's always tough the first round back.

Wednesday - 0 miles

P90X Shoulders & Arms (60 minutes)

Wow.  Been a while since I tackled a full hour P90X workout but I got back into the swing of things soon enough.  It felt good to do some strength training again with weights.  Abs were feeling it today from yesterday's Ripper.  I'm sure my arms will be joining in tomorrow.

Thursday - Rome Point, North Kingstown, RI - 5.2 miles

Ran some easy miles at Rome Point.  One of the initial side trails had serious water and I opted to not try my luck.  Most of the other trails were in good shape.  Beautiful weather and I spent some time on the beach, staring at the Jamestown Bridge.  Oh that's right, I'll be running over that on Sunday.  With about two miles to go that nerve twitch on my right foot began to sting periodically.  That gets a big ol' meh from me - I had hoped that this easy week would have vanquished it.  With a full weekend of racing ahead I doubt I've seen the last of it but it is never that difficult to deal with so I figure we'll get through this weekend and reassess.

Friday - 0 miles

P90X2 Yoga X2 (60 minutes)

That's right, I finally got Yoga done.  Lost a little flexibility and my hips/quads were pretty sore afterwards.  But I was glad to finally get through it.  Now to make it a weekly occurrence.

Saturday - Big River Half Marathon - 13.9 miles

Official time: 1:34:17.  6th overall.  Report here.

Sunday - Jamestown Bridge 10k - 9.5 miles

Official time: 38:19.  4th overall.  1st in Age Group.  Report eventually.

Weekly log: 31.3 miles

Year to Date: 541.2 miles