Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekly Log: 7.28.14 - 8.3.14

Now we've come to it: my self-imposed two week hiatus from running.  I decided to up the ante by cutting out alcohol as well.  I don't plan to just sit around and do nothing, rather I hope to get in some cross-training and maybe fire up a couple of the ol' P90X discs.

At the conclusion of this hiatus I will begin to increase my weekly mileage, as I look towards another ultramarathon in the fall.  I had considered the Stone Cat 50 miler but failed to pull the trigger before registration closed.  In the end this was probably for the best as I think a 50 miler would be too much for my body to handle just yet.  So I'm looking at doing another 50k however the prospective dates aren't quite where I'd like them to be.  Most of the races I'm looking at are two weeks after NipMuck.  Another week and I'd be much happier.  Still if I can commit to treating NipMuck as a training run I think it should be workable.  Right now I'm looking at either Bimbler's Bluff or the Big Brad 50k.  Bimbler's a lot of closer but I was just up in Pownal, ME so there's some desire to get back up there.  Then there's the Chatfield Hollow 50k which falls on the right weekend but features five 10k loops.  I've already done the five loop format and not really jazzed about revisiting it.

Monday - 0 miles

290 push-ups (standard/wide/decline/military) 40/30/40/30/40/40/40/30

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X Legs & Back (60 minutes)

It's been 11 months since threw on this workout.  Legs & Back had been a mainstay of mine for much of 2013 but after NipMuck last year I never revisited it and since then my P90X time has tapered off dramatically.  Part of the problem was that this workout usually leaves me with a serious case of DOMS and as my mileage increased I stopped trying to squeeze it into my schedule.  I figured this morning would be a good change to revisit it.  Definitely a wake-up call and those wall squats were brutal.  Tomorrow should be interesting.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Welp, I pull the trigger and signed up for Bimbler's Bluff 50k since the price is about to go up.  From the race reports I've read it sounds like it will be a much bigger challenge than the TARC Spring Classic or the Pinelands 50k.  There will be no PR at this one!

I've got a good case of DOMS from yesterday's workout but it's pretty manageable.  I'd love to make this a weekly occurrence again but I wonder if it'd take too much out of me for running.  We'll see.

Thursday - 0 miles

My coworker Blair often goes to a lunch yoga class throughout the week and today I joined her at Providence Power Yoga.  Some of the poses were a challenge but luckily my time spent with P90X Yoga at least made me recognize most of them.  The class was 45 minutes long and quite enjoyable.  I hope to incorporate it weekly into my routine.

Friday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (50 minutes)

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Yep, you guess it.  0 miles

Weekly Mileage: 0 miles

Year to Date: 1,156.9 miles

Fun fact: My last week with 0 mileage was the third week of 2012.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Blessing of the Fleet 2014

Official time: 1:02:48.  53rd overall.  9th in my Age Group.  Results here.

Time again for the Blessing of the Fleet, a 10 mile road race held in the late afternoon on the last Friday of July.  Conditions are usual hot and muggy, not exactly ideal for running.  But the crowd support and vibe of the race make it an enjoyable if grueling affair.  Going in I had more anxiety than usual.  Amanda and Ezri were coming with me to hang out at a party near the finish line and I knew other friends would be watching the race as well.  Most of the faster WTAC guys would be there and as the hours ticked away on race day I was feeling slow and undertrained.

Luckily the weather was about as good as it gets for this race.  Temp in the mid 70s and the humidity wasn't oppressive.  I navigated the backroads to get us there with plenty of time to spare and did an easy two mile warm-up that led me to the starting line.  It occurred to me that I hadn't eaten much since lunch time - would that be my undoing?  I was very thirsty and made use of several of the waterstops during my warm-up.  I arrived at the start which is always a fun spectacle with hundreds of fit people standing around waiting.  Saw the usual suspects including the MIA Grey Ghost himself.  The race folks actually shut the road down five minutes earlier this year so we lined up around 5:52 instead of 5:58.  A nice change.  After a few minutes of standing around feeling antzy, an airhorn blared and we were off.

I immediately felt better once we were running.  I attempted to avoid going out too fast but it's hard with so many people flying by.  The Mighty Gazelle quickly went by, on his way to another impressive PR at age 50.  I considered trying to stay with him but I was already moving too fast so I tried to reign it in more.  Despite my efforts my first mile clocked in at 5:56 and I was worried I'd pay for it on the back end.

Waving to my adoring fans on Gibson Ave - Photo by Miriam Overend

Still I was feeling good and the nervous energy of pre-race had long since vanished.  I eased into a 6:15-6:20 pace and it was feeling hard but manageable.  A group of young college guys had been behind me for the first mile, shooting the shit, jawing each other at their 6:20 pace.  It was annoying hearing them converse while I was already working.  Finally the herd of shirtless wonders passed and pulled ahead down Ocean Rd, no doubt to annoy other suffering people.

By the time we reached Scarborough Beach I had stopped getting passed and became the passer, picking people off one by one.  Some kid said "doing great old man" which made me smile despite it all.  That's the grey hair/moustache combo for you.  The return stretch along Point Judith Road was as endless as ever and I posted my slowest mile of 6:25 on Mile 6.  It's not exactly the most picturesque stretch of road, it's hot and you can see that you still have a ways to go.  The walkers set out an hour before the runners and this is where you encounter them en masse.  There were a few annoying points where I had to go around them but overall I didn't mind having all the extra people on the course - kept it from being a lonely slog.

Nearly done and about to be passed
Photo by Scott Mason

The shady Kinney Ave was a welcome change and I latched onto a couple fast ladies as we made our way back towards the cheering spectators.  Em and some friends were cheering for me on Gibson Ave which was welcome support but it was all work after that.  I passed the women I had been trailing and saw the next runner was off in the distance.  There was someone right on my heels - one of the women?  I came upon the mile 8 water stop which annoyed me for some reason because I thought I had already passed 8 miles.

A guy with an orange singlet passed me with about 1.5 miles to go and quickly put distance on me.  My foot began to hurt.  I wore my minimal NB 730s which I often use for road runs in the 4-7 mile range.  This was my longest foot race and in them I was feeling the impact with a mile to go.  Last year I was able to peel off a 6:01 for the last mile.  I probably ran that race a bit too conservatively in retrospect - this year I felt much worse towards the end but I still was able to churn out a 6:07.  I saw/heard Amanda and Ez not far from the finish and that helped propel me forward.  I closed the gap on a guy in front of me but couldn't catch him before the finish.

Glad it's over!  Photo by Spitler Race Systems

One minute and seven second PR over last year!  Very pleased with how the race turned out.  All the doubt and nervous energy disappeared as soon as the race began and I hit the pace I was aiming for.  Afterwards I walked around, eating bananas and chatting with the guys.  Seems like everyone had a good day.  The area quickly filled up as walkers and runners completed the course and after a few minutes I jogged back to Amanda where I enjoyed a dip in the pool, a beer and some grub.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekly Log: 7.21.14 - 7.27.14

Blessing of the Fleet week is here!  That means July is approaching its end.  Crazy.  I always get nervous about this race - it has a lot of fast folks and I always worry that I'm not prepared for it.  Plus there'll be people I know watching - I want to do well.  I ran a 6:24 pace but I'm filled with doubt as to if I can match it.  I know I'm capable of faster times now but I'll have to focus.

My legs are feeling tired lately despite the reduced mileage.  I'm considering taking two weeks off from running to give my legs a rest.  Plenty of training coaches/plans (including the Daniels one I'm reading) recommend taking some time off as a preventative measure to recharge your legs and avoid injury.  I'm thinking that after the Blessing I may take a break from running and just focus on cross-training for two weeks.  We'll see if that idea sticks.

Monday - Providence, RI - 6.3 miles

18 pull-ups w/ equal # of assisted (standard/chin-up/wide) 3/3/,4/4,1/1,3/3,3/3,2/2,2/2

Monday blahs and I set out to just wander around the east side of Providence.  Went up and over College Hill, try to avoid the construction that seems to be everywhere.  Made one honest effort at scaling the hill from the west and it was a hard climb towards the end.  Jonny would have a field day up here.  Once I begin training in earnest for the fall I'm going to have to make more trips over here.  The hills will make me strong.

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 5.5 miles

280 push-ups (standard/decline/wide/Pike's Press) 40/30/40/20/30/25/40/15/40

Once again I didn't have much motivation to get out there.  It was very hot and all the usual routes weren't appealing.  Finally decided to do a loop around the Turner Reservoir twice.  I hadn't run it in a while and it's probably 85% trail.  I ran it once in each direction.  The East Providence side has lots of gnarly roots to contend with as you run right along the water.  The Seekonk side is longer with a wider trail but fallen trees to hurdle.  In the end I was glad I got out there but the heat wore me down.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 4.4 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

My last run before the Blessing.  I went over to the 10 Mile River Bikepath to get in a few easy miles.  I didn't intend to push the pace but once I got out there I was feeling pretty good.  It was another hot day but the unlike East Bay Bikepath there's a decent amount of shade.  Overall pace for the run was under 7 minutes and I finished feeling pretty good about Friday.

Thursday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (50 minutes)

I had no plan to run today with the race tomorrow.  Instead a return to Chest & Back where I churned out a total of 260 push-ups during the workout.

Friday - Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Road Race, Narragansett, RI - 12.9 miles

Official time: 1:02:48.  53rd place.  Report forthcoming.

Saturday - 0 miles

Maine bound for a big party with friends.  There'll be no running this weekend.

Sunday - 0 miles

Maine bash was a great success.  Way too much beer and laughs made for a rough ride home on Sunday. Calves are extremely tight from Friday's race and Sunday morning's dehydration.  Good times.

Weekly Mileage: 29.2 miles

Year to Date: 1,156.9 miles

A two week running is hiatus is now underway.  Let it begin!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Amanda's Save the Bay Swim 2014

This is exciting - the first guest post here at Root and Rocks.  My wife Amanda did the Save the Bay swim this past Saturday.  1.7 miles across the bay from Newport to Jamestown.  Between nursing Ezri's broken leg and Brown closing its swimming pool, she came into this event undertrained (her words.)  Still she did a great job and here is her tale...

Waiting for the swimmers

Please accept my heartfelt gratitude for sponsoring me in the Save the Bay swim! All of you together, with my family and friends, donated over a $1000. Wow! The outpouring of support made me feel awesome (and made me unable to back out.)

--------------my long recap, if you are curious----------------

As my friend, and safety kayaker, Lorie and I drove to Newport Saturday morning (so early - up at 4 am) the sunrise was (tear-inducing) glorious. My fears and anxiety left (mostly) and one thought remained - I was about to have an experience of a lifetime. The actual swim was, without a doubt, the best one I have ever had. The Bay was beautiful; no waves, no current, no sharks, no jellyfish, and the water temperature was perfect. 
The only issue I had were the other safety kayaks. Right after the cannon blast, out of the corner of my eye  I see a kayak coming up fast on my right. I had to stop swimming so he didn't run me over. My "driving in rush hour traffic" personality came out. I made it clear to him that I was not pleased with his boating skills, eventually shouting "You are a great human being!" as he glided past. The inflatable dolphin he was towing did run me over. Nothing like some hostility to start things off right. Grrr!

After all that plus having to maneuver around the other swimmer/ kayaks pairs, I could tell that we were way, way back. Eventually I found my groove, and we passed a lot of other pairs. With the perfect conditions, I was able to really focus on my form and breathing. Lorie did an great job leading the way. I barely had to lift my head out of the water to see her ahead of me.
At some point mid swim, I started to notice another kayak was very close on my right. For what seemed like a long time, I could see him taking pictures on his phone or texting!! Closer and closer him seem to get to me. After the earlier encounter, I grew more and more nervous that the next breath could find him right on top of me.  When he was less than two arm lengths from me, I just couldn't take it anymore. I shouted, "Dude!! You're freaking me out!!" He said not a word, or even seemed to notice, but eventually he moved off or dropped behind me.
Thankfully, that was the end of the drama. I just continued to focus on my form, thinking "be a fish, be a fish, kick, lead with the elbow, breath, be a fish" (from the Total Immersion swim program I used to learn to swim in January 2013.) Once we came around Taylor Point and I could see the finish, I put everything I had left into it. Save the Bay stresses that it isn't a race, but boy I am competitive and seeing those other swimmers near me, I just had to pass as many as I could. I completed the swim in 71 minutes (to keep things in perspective... just enough to keep me in the top 75% percent...) This qualifies me to swim without a kayaker - next year... 


Our whole family had come to support Amanda including friends and grandparents so she had a good cheering section.  It was cool watching the beach slowly fill up with kayaks as the pairs finished.  I knew Amanda would have no trouble finishing because she is a very determined person.  Afterwards we went over to the mini festival set up for the swimmers and their families - lots of food, ice cream and music.  From the Ocean's Run 1/2 Marathon to swimming the bay, I'm very proud of all Amanda's done this year - what will her next challenge be?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Weekly Log: 7.14.15 - 7.20.14

Monday - 0 miles

16 pull-ups w/ equal # of assisted (standard/chin-up/wide) 3/3, 4/4, 2/2, 2/2, 3/3, 2/2

Ankle definitely doesn't feel right.  Something on the outside hurts when I move it in certain directions.  Guess the uneven terrain of the Beaver race beat it up.  Easy decision to take a zero today.

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 4.3 miles

325 push-ups (standard/wide/decline/military) 50/40/35/30/40/40/30/25/35

Ankle felt better today.  It still feels off but it's more sore than pain.  I brought running stuff to work, unsure if I would use it or not.  By lunch time it made sense to at least try it out.  Went over to the 10 Mile River Bike Path.  Hot, humid and just plain gross.  Ran a mix of trails and path.  I could feel the ankle a bit but it didn't hurt and overall the test was a success.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 5.2 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)
15 pull-ups w/ equal # of assisted (standard/chin-up/close-grip) 3/3, 4/4, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2, 2/2

Turrible thunderstorms this morning that luckily tapered off before my drive to work.  By 11 AM there was a lull in the weather and I took advantage to get in an easy run on nearby neighborhood roads.  Hot and humid again but that's to be expected.  Ankle felt okay but I did have some calf tightness.  Muddy, that consummate gentleman, gave me his old version of Jack Daniels's book and so of course I'm thinking, what is the purpose of this workout?  I guess the purpose was to try out the new running shorts that my lovely wife bought me.  Pace-wise was at just under 7 minutes which Daniels would probably say is No Man's Land for me but what of it?  It was a snappy pace on an oppressive day.  That's a good run in my book.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 6.3 miles

I decided to venture into unknown territory and see if I could uncover some new trails.  The Seekonk Land Trust listed a large section of land that's been designated safe from construction or parceling or whatever you call it.  Some farmland and a lot of forest/swamp with powerlines running through it.  Faithful readers will know that I spent plenty of time exploring the Smithfield powerlines so I figured I'd do the same to Seekonk.  The whole area wasn't open to the public but I figured if I could get out onto the powerlines I'd be fine.

I drove down a quaint country road to a secluded school/track/camp place and started running down the road.  Beautiful houses with plenty of land between them.  Not much traffic but what cars there were flew by, entitlement wafting out the windows.  I tried one path but hit some farmland after a short muddy section.  Returned to the road and kept going until I could hit the powerlines I saw in the distance.  Unfortunately I couldn't go far before the path become tall grass.  The deer flies quickly found me and I decided to finish the run on the road, scoping out more gorgeous houses.  Nice day for a run overall - less muggy than in days past.  I'll probably revisit this place in the winter, when the tall grass peels away and the powerlines can reveal their secrets.

Friday - West Warwick, RI - 3.2 miles

We had a gig at Manchester 65 tonight in West Warwick.  I had this grand plan to head directly there after work, giving me about two hours to get a long run in.  I was going to head down the bike path deep into Coventry, exploring here and there.  Well that didn't happen.

Long story short, I got lost as fuck and without a smart phone or smart brain it took me a long-ass time to arrive at the club.  By then my time had been squandered and I settled for a few quick miles before I was due for soundcheck.  Then it turned out that soundcheck wasn't happening until later so I jogged down the street for grub.  Sadly there wasn't much of a crowd at the 65 and we played pretty much to an empty house.  But we played well so that's at least something.  But overall this Friday afternoon/evening did not go according to plan.

Saturday -  0 miles

Got the girls up and out the door early to cheer Amanda on as she completed the Save the Bay swim.  1.7 miles and she did it in 71 minutes.  She did awesome!  In the afternoon we went over to Jeff's 50th B-day shindig.  Fun times hanging out all the WTACers and their families.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 14.1 miles

Okay so the long run didn't happen on Friday.  Grudgingly I got up and out the door to get it done today.  Kept the pace easy and made my way over to the Carter Preserve where I was surprised to find a new trail added off of the blue trail over to the grasslands.  Cool little shortcut.  After checking it out I returned to the blue and red trails before taking the spur trail that exits at the elementary school.  Headed down through Shannock Village and then back home along Shannock and Old Coach.  Originally I was thinking 16-17 miles but my legs were tired and my feet were beginning to hurt so I was content to wrap it up at 14.  It's been a while since I ran long and I could feel it.

Weekly Mileage: 33.2 miles

Year to Date: 1,127.7 miles

Not a lot of miles this week despite the 14 miler on Sunday.  The last two months have been lax but once we hit August it'll be time to up the mileage and begin training in earnest for long fall races.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Run with the Beavers Trail Race 2014

Official time: 1:12:15.  7th overall.  Results here.

Time again for the Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail held out in Nowheresville, Chepachet.  It's a two loop course that features some great singletrack and a few dirt road sections to break it up.  I did well in 2013 and was looking forward to trying to improve on last year's time.  It was also the last race of the RI Triple Crown.  Finally, there was a team aspect to this race.  The Super Hammett Brothers dominated the last two years but with a strong contingent of WTAC runners expected, I thought we could give them a run for their money.

I didn't get much sleep in preparation for this race.  I had a gig in East Greenwich the night before and didn't get to bed until 2 AM.  Up at 5:45 AM and Ezri woke up soon after.  Chris Garvin generously offered to pick Muddy and myself up which was a huge help as I no longer had to worry about operating a motor vehicle in my foggy, groggy state.  The ride passed quickly with lively conversation and we got to the race about an hour early with the main lot already filling up.

We did a short warm-up and the conditions were great - not too hot/humid and the course was much dryer than last year.  We had time to spare after the warm-up and spent it milling about in the shade and trash talking.  Then Race Director Bob Jackman called us over to the dirt road and lined us up.  Crutchley had brought a ringer for WTAC fresh out of high school - a tall, super fit looking dude named Tate.  Would he displace me as the third WTAC runner?  I hoped not but straight out of the gate he seemed fast.  As the field took off it was the usual mad dash.  I was working harder than I wanted right off the bat but I didn't want to have a lot of people in front of me when we took to the singletrack. 

I was farther back than I wanted when we entered the woods and I spent the next mile passing people at opportune times.  First a couple girls.  Then some guy.  Finally I went by the lead woman and another fellow, passing them on a dicey line over precarious rocks.  That could've ended badly but luckily I survived the boulder dash and finally my place was settled for a while.  Ahead of me was a another guy and then I could see Tate the Ringer beyond him.  The pace seemed hard but manageable.  The 2.5 mile water stop was ignored by the two guys ahead of me but I grabbed a cup on the way by.  After the water stop is the longest dirt road section.  It seems to go on forever and there's always a few more curves than I remember.  The two guys in front entered the woods and just before I did I glanced back - no one behind me so the field was already pretty spread out.

I was running alone now - I could see the other guys up ahead occasionally but they seemed to be pulling away from me.  However when I hit the last stretch of dirt road I had closed in on the guy ahead and I had no trouble passing him on the ascending road.  Back in the woods the trail dips and then runs alongside the famous beaver pond.  I closed the gap on a young high school kid who tried  to match my pace as I passed before fading quickly.  I pushed it on the next techy section and as I powerhiked to the top of the one steep hill I looked back to see no one.

After the climb the downhill was appreciated.  I also appreciated the new start/finish area which gave spectators a chance to cheer you on as you passed.  Reminded me of Pinelands and I salute Bob   Jackman on the slight course change.  As I began my second lap I caught up to yet another guy and passed him on the uphill dirt road.  He stuck with me briefly but soon his footsteps faded.  I didn't feel like I was flying up these dirt road climbs but it pleased me that I was able to maintain a pace that others apparently could not.  Up ahead I could see Tate enter the singletrack.  He hadn't complete lost me yet after all.

I was back in the woods, alone again.  I was starting to get hot and quite thirsty.  I tried not to think about the upcoming water stop as it was still two miles away but I couldn't help it.  The trails continued to twist and turn and suddenly I realized that I was gaining on Tate.  Just after six miles I caught up to him and followed him briefly before deciding to pass.  I expected him to hang on to me but when I looked back a few minutes later he was gone.  Finally I hit the water stop and it was glorious.  I grabbed one cup to drink and another to dump on my head.

Then it was back to the longest dirt road stretch.  There was a shirtless guy off in the distance.  Jonny?  Probably not.  It was tough to not look back on this long section and I must admit I sneaked a peak.  I saw someone way back there and tried to push it once I went around the corner out of sight.  On and on I went, feeling hot and thirsty again.  I was slowly gaining on shirtless guy.  Definitely not Jonny.  Making my way down past the pond, I began to pass those still working on their first lap.  Now the clock watching began.  I had finished in 1:14 last year - I thought I was on pace to beat that but it was hard to tell with the new finish and all.

The second time up the hill wasn't too bad and as I reached the top I had closed the gap on shirtless guy.  But he put some distance on me on the downhill and I didn't threaten again.  I came around into the finishing chute and saw the 1:12:xx on the clock.  A two minute PR on a tough course!  I was hot and tired.  Grabbed a banana & water and made my way over to the guys to see how everyone did and cheer on those finishing.

After a few minutes everyone moved towards the feed tables.  Gobbled up three bananas, several slices of pizza and thoughts of a cooldown faded into oblivion.  Greg Hammett won the race handily for the third year in a row but the WTAC trio of Garvin/Muddy/Seth finally unseated Team Hammett Brothers and we each grabbed a couple bombers for the effort.  In the end everyone seemed to walk away with beer and goodies so I'd call it a win for all (but especially for WTAC.)

Afterwards a quick but wonderful dip in the pond before we began the long drive home.  I nodded off briefly in the car and came home to an empty house which I immediately took advantage of with a long nap.  Thanks to Bob, Jackie and all the volunteers for making this a great race.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the Triple Crown standings play out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Weekly Log: 7.7.14 - 7.13.14

Now that vacation week is behind us, it's time to focus on the rest of July which is a doozy!  Lots to do!  This weekend is the Run with the Beavers race.  I did well last year and hope I can duplicate that performance, especially since this is the third and final race of the RI Trail Racing Triple Crown.

Friday is the start of what's become a mini tour of sorts for Hip Bobsha.  We've got four shows over the next five weeks - it's been awhile since we've had so many gigs on the horizon.  I hope to see you at one of them!

Friday, July 11th - Greenwich Hotel, East Greenwich, RI
Friday, July 18th - Manchester 65, West Warwick, RI
Saturday, July 26th - Phil & MJ's Wedding Reception up in Crazy Maine
Saturday, August 9th - Tara's Tipperary Tavern, Matunuck, RI

Next weekend Amanda takes on the Save the Bay swim!  And then the final weekend of July starts with the Blessing on Friday night and continues with a big party up in Maine.  I have a feeling the rest of this month is gonna fly by!

Monday - East Providence, RI - 5.4 miles

215 push-ups (standard/wide/decline/Pike's Press) 40/40/30/15/40/50

It was hot outside and I didn't have much gumption to run.  I was glad I did as once I started my legs had a lot more life than days past.  I think I'm finally recovered from last week's adventure.  I ran over the bridge to to the east side of Providence, running some in Blackstone Park and some on streets.  Like I said it was very hot out but I felt good otherwise.

Tuesday - Seekonk, MA - 4.1 miles

Another super hot day.  Went over to Seekonk Meadows to try out my new NB 601 v2 trail shoes.  I plan to use 'em on Saturday and wanted to get at least one test run in them.  No issues - they should work well.  Once again I was soaked by the end of this short run.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 6.7 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Hey alright, another hot day.  Well I had intended to attempt a tempo run on the ol' East Bay Bike Path and I stuck to the plan despite the temp being in the mid-80's.  After an easy mile I increased the speed to the mid 6's and continued for another 2.3 miles until the bikepath intersects roads in Riverside.  I was hot but I didn't feel too bad - I took a few minutes to stretch in the shade before making my return trip.  As has been the case with these short tempo runs, I felt good going back and my pace crept down towards 6 flat.  I told myself to run hard until 5.6 miles (which would give me a 1 mile cooldown to the car) and the last half mile of the tempo was tough.  It was very hot and I was breathing hard, the sweat stinging my eyes.

Finally I hit 5.6 miles and slowed down, immediately feeling completely winded and exhausted.  I could barely muster a walk, let alone a jog.  I slowly made my way back to the car but I stopped a few times in the shade.  Back at the car I downed a bottle of water but still felt pretty weak.  My face was quite red.  This was definitely a case of pushing too hard when the weather's too warm.  Luckily I felt better after getting back to the cool office and eating some lunch.

Thursday - 0 miles

P90X Chest & Back (50 minutes)

No running today as we're having lunch-in since a coworker is leaving (plus yesterday's run left me wiped out.)  Instead I returned to a full-fledged P90X workout since I've long neglected them.  I was curious to see how I'd fare in Chest & Back since I've been fairly consistent in my weekly push-ups.  I was not disappointed.  I hit a total of 248 push-ups which is easily the most I've done in this workout.  My pull-ups were paltry of course and I know I've said it before but I've got to start working on them a couple mornings a week.  Good workout though!

Friday - East Providence, RI - 5.6 miles

Did an easy run over the bridge and around the neighborhood streets of the fancy houses of the East Side.  Kept the pace slow and the heat wasn't as bad as in days past.  After a late night of band practice and an even later night with tonight's gig, it'll be interesting to see how I fare with tomorrow's race.

Saturday - Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race

Official time: 1:12:15.  7th overall.  Report to follow.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 3.1 miles

Very easy dog jog in the morning.  Calves a little tight but otherwise not too bad.  Later in the day my left ankle began to hurt on the outside.  Not sure what's up with that.  Probably just strained it from the uneven terrain of yesterday's race.

Weekly Mileage: 35.8 miles
Year to Date: 1,094.5 miles

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Twin Range Exploration - July 2, 2014

Family vacation in the White Mountains was finally upon us.  We brought two cars this year which gave me considerable more freedom of choice with regard to my long solo outing.  I poured over the map thinking about several options.  Ultimately I've wanted to check out the northern ridge of the Pemigawasett Wilderness and try to knock a bunch more 4000 footers off my list.

My original route was ridiculously optimistic.  I would take the North Twin trail over North and South Twin.  I wanted to head over to Galehead before doubling back to South Twin.  Then follow the Twinway trail east to the Bond Mountains (grabbing Guyot and Zealand as well for good measure.)  It was soon apparent this would have been way more than I could handle.  My short ascent of Mount Stanton and Pickering earlier in the week reminded me that I'm not used to such steep climbs.  And then the weather report began to threaten of afternoon thunderstorms.  And the temp in the valley was going to reach 90.  I shortened the route down to just the Twins and hopefully Galehead.

I was on the road for by 5:15 for the 45 minute drive.  I was psyched when I saw a moose near Crawford Notch - I had been hoping to see one (I snapped some pictures but they didn't come out.)  It's a 2.5 mile dirt road to the trailhead.  There were campsites scattered along the road.  Pretty remote place to camp.  At the end of the road was the trailhead.  I was the only car there and quickly prepped and headed out.  Thankfully it was early and the temp was still in the 60's.

The bear reminder is a nice touch.

Where's the trail?  Oh there it is.

Originally I was going to bring just my waist pack but with the humidty and possible storms I opted for a daypack.  It wasn't too bad to jog with.  And I wouldn't be jogging for long.  I wore my Cascadias for what's probably their last long run.  They are beat up.  I had the handheld and two small water bottles in the pack.  And lots of food - jerky, cliff bars, gels and trail mix.  The first two miles were fairly runnable with easy grades.  The trail ran alongside the Little River.  There were a few easy crossings but then I look over and the trail continues on the other side of the water.  I took a well worn bushwack to a crossing up river.

The climbing began in earnest after that river crossing.  It became humid quickly and I was taking breaks as needed.  Sweat began to pour off me and my singlet was soon drenched.  What a slog.  After a couple miles the air cooled and the humidity dropped off.  It became easier after that. Finally I was getting up there and seeing some views.  Between North and South Twin I had a view of Galehead Hut...down below.  It was going to be another steep climb back up after getting water from the hut.  But I had already gone through half my water so skipping it wasn't really an option.  I took a short break at South Twin.  Great views in all directions!

South Twin summit

Decisions, Decisions

Then came the steep descent down the Twinway.  I made note of the time: 8:05.  I was moving well and soon came upon last night's hut visitors making their way up towards South Twin.  The first large group was led by a lady who asked me if I was doing the whole trail today.  I said that I was but then realized that she was talking about the Pemi Loop.  I told her I wasn't so bold and was just doing my own thing.  Then I encountered a family of five followed by another big group.  Then two Indian ladies.

I arrived at the hut but went straight on to the Mount Galehead.  It wasn't close and not much of a climb.  There was a great view from the side of the hut below and the Bonds above.  Unfortunately there's not much to the summit which is wooded in.  It was a quick trip back to the hut where I shrugged off my pack and ventured inside.  All the visitors had departed and the Croo girls were  busy preparing the place for Wednesday night's guests.  I helped myself to some of their delicious pumpkin choco cake and filled my bottles.

Galehead Hut

The hut as seen from Galehead.
To the right is the bear of a climb back up the Twinway.

Galehead's lackluster summit

Delicious treats for sale in the hut

The short rest helped with the 0.8 mile climb.  It was really steep and a hard effort.  It went quickly though and the power of pumpkin choco bread compelled me upwards.  I passed the Indian women again and one of the larger groups.  Finally made it back to the summit of South Twin and busted out the beef jerky.  Clock was 9:10.  It took just over an hour to hit up Galehead, the hut and return to South Twin which I was really pleased with.  Plus it was still early!  And so far the sky looked benign.

At the top of South Twin was a single guy having a snack.  He had camped at the Bonds and confirmed that the next section of Twinway was very moderate and that the view from Bondcliff was incredible.  I took a short break at the summit and considered my options.  I could easy venture back to the car now or head towards the Bonds.  I still had hope that I could fit them in but if not I'd see as much as I could.  I said farewell to the solo fellow and continued down the Twinway. 

(As an aside, the next day at the cabin I plugged in my Strava data to their awesome flyby app.)  Turns out that the guy I met on South Twin and the first group I encountered both recorded their hikes with Strava.  It's cool to see when and where we intersected each other.)

Landslides on the side of South Twin

The alpine vegetation of Guyot.

The section of the Twinway between South Twin and Guyot was very moderate as advertised and I found myself jogging once again.  Between the numerous plank bridges and easy descent I was moving well and soon passed that family of five.  Not long after I burst out of the woods and towards the summit of Guyot.  I found myself scrambling over boulders as I reached the intersection with the Bondcliff trail.   It was a short climb up to the summit of Mount Guyot.  I was above treeline and surrounded by alpine vegetation - this is what I was looking forward to.  It's just beautiful up there.  All I could hear was the wind and an occasional voice from people farther along the Bonds.

I pushed on but began to realize that while the hour was still early, the distance was beginning to pile up.  From Guyot I had about 7+ miles to get back to the car.  I would have added six more miles and considerable more elevation to hit all the Bonds.  I considered maybe just the West Bond Spur but these trails are always farther than they seem and I could sense the first inklings of fatigue beginning to overtake me.  When I encounted the sign formally welcoming me to the Pemigewasett Wilderness I decided it was time to turn back.  The Bonds would wait for another day.

Yeah I should probably turn back instead of entering
a vast uncharted wilderness.

I switched shirts at the hut but the singlet was dry by the time I reached Guyot

It was the right decision as it would still take me another 2.5 hours to get back to the car.  I took another well earned break on Guyot as it's such as wonderful spot.  Then it was back up the Twinway towards South Twin.  I was still able to jog at spots but fatigue was setting in and I was down to one last bottle of water.  It was all work now.  I passed those Indian women for the third time as they came from South Twin.  One of them said I was giving them a complex but I told them this would be the last time!  I was happy when I made it back to South Twin but I knew I wasn't done.  I had gone 13 miles but still had 5.5 miles which included some leg-crushing descents.

Down the North Twin Trail I went, moving well but tired and ready to be done.  My water was just about gone and as I descended the humidity and temps rose.  Soon I began to hear nearby streams.  A lovely sound as it indicated I was almost done with the worst of it.  Then at one very minor crossing I moved too quickly over a wet log and was sent flying onto the ground.  As soon as I slipped both legs seized up from my calves to my quads.  I just lay in a heap for a moment as any movement resulted in stabbing pain.  Finally I was able to inch myself into a more comfortable sitting position and a few minutes later I was able to rise and soldier on.  My calves were aching and I stepped gingerly at first.

By the time the trail leveled off I was moving a little better and was able to get up to a ramshackle jog.  The anticipation of being finished and getting a drink from the car compelled me as I hobbled alongside the Little River.  Finally I reached the parking lot.  Success!  I stretched and walked around the lot.  I downed a bottle of water  - it was piping hot from being in the car but I drank it all the same.  The bugs had never been much of a nuisance on the hike but they engaged me now that I was still and I soon beat a hasty retreat back to civilization.

I stopped at a general store just past the Notch and grabbed some delicious Moat Mountain beers.  Then I parked myself next to the Saco and soaked my legs in the chilly water.  Cold!  I couldn't leave them in there long.  But a welcome treat after 18 miles of trails.  All in all a beautiful day.  Not nearly as hot up at the top and the thunderstorms wouldn't turn up for several more hours.  I was definitely in need of more salt towards the end - could have avoided those terrible leg cramps.  Looking forward to coming back some day and tackling those Bonds!

This is livin'

I would be remiss if I didn't mention my wife's adventure the day before.  Amanda rappelled down a waterfall three times!  I don't think I'd have the stones for that.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Vacation Week is Here!  Looking forward to a relaxing week in New Hampshire with my family, while finding time to ingest indigenous beer and get in some tough run/hikes.

Monday - Bartlett, NH - 4.3 miles

I got out of the house at 5:15 AM and drove about 10 minutes to the Mount Stanton trailhead.  It was 1.4 miles to the summit of Mt Stanton and another 0.7 to Mt Pickering.  There were some runnable sections near the base but also some steep climbs which wore me out.  Nice views from various ledges of the Bartlett valley and Attitash.  Once on the other side of Stanton, there were great views of Stairs Mountain, Iron Mountain and the hills where we're staying.  The trail descended before climbing again to the top of Mt Pickering.  A great early morning trail run but a stark reminder that I'm a flatlander.  I need to taper my expectations when I go out on a longer adventure later in the week.

Sunrise from the ledges of Mt Stanton

The hills where we're staying

It got hot quickly during the day and the choice to swim at Echo Lake was a good one.  Then a trip to the outlets.  The girls bought a crapload of clothes while I went straight to the New Balance store.  Picked up another pair of 890 v3 and decided to try the 610 v2 as my next pair of heavy duty trail shoes. We'll see if I prefer them to the Brooks Cascadias.

I dig this spot
A New Balance fan could get in real trouble in that store

1x Baxter Stowaway IPA (20 oz)
1x Tuckerman Pale Ale (20 oz)

Tuesday - Bartlett, NH - 2.8 miles

Amanda went rappelling down a waterfall this morning.  She was very excited.  I jogged with Oliver in the morning while she was making preparations.  The roads around the cabin are wide open with awesome views and killer houses.  Oh to live up here!  Good run and the hills kept both Oliver and myself honest.

While Amanda and Em were doing the rappelling thing (Em took pictures) Ezri and I went to North Conway to check out a few stores (I used to love going to Dondero's Rock Shop as a kid and I was happy to see that it remains unchanged.)  Then we returned to Echo Lake for a bit more swimming.

I was going to run in the afternoon but it's almost 90 degrees out.  I wasn't that psyched to begin with and then we decided to move my solo adventure up a day.  We have a date with Santa's Village.  The next two days both have sporadic thunderstorms on the menu.  But tomorrow is forecast to be 90 while Thursday drops to 82.  So we'll try for SV on Thursday.  So I'm taking it easy the rest of today in preparation for tomorrow's effort (whatever that may be.  At this point it's very much dependent on the weather.)

1x Moat Mountain Iron Mike Pale Ale
2x  Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Wednesday  - Twin Mountains, NH - 18 miles

Peak bagging that started at North Twin trail.  Took me over North and South Twin.  Went on to Galehead and Guyot.  Separate write-up to follow.

Beautiful day up in the mountains

In the afternoon we took a brief trip to Jackson Falls just before the thunderstorms began.  It came down awfully hard for a while.  Amanda made a terrific steak dinner.

2x Moat Mountain Violet B's Blueberry Ale
1x Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA

Thursday - 0 miles

Oh my sweet calves!  It feels like someone filled them with cement!   The result of yesterday's effort was brutal and immediate when I woke up this morning.  After a bit of shambling around the cabin they began to loosen up some.  We drove almost an hour north today to hit Santa's Village for the first time.  We've always just gone to Storyland since it's five minutes away.  SV was really nice though.  Ezri loved it.  There were no crowds, the park was extremely clean and the forecast thunderstorms didn't materialize until we got back home in the late afternoon.  At that point a restaurant excursion would have been a shitshow so we opted for some tasty takeout from the nearby Red Fox Restaurant.  Good choice.  And I fulfilled my contractual obligations of being cheerful and mobile at Santa's Village despite 18 miles of trails on Wednesday.

1x Hop Nosh IPA
1x Stone Ruination IPA

Friday - 0 miles

360 push-ups (standard/military/wide/decline) 40/30/50/30/50/50/30/50/30

4th of July today but the forecast is miserable with rain/thunderstorms all day.  We went to breakfast in North Conway and then spent a couple hours doing the tourist thing, shopping downtown.  A return visit to Dondero's where Ezri bought a cool stone fish.  And then back across the street to revisit the climbing shop (they have a great consignment basement - I picked up a windbreaker and soft shell jacket this week.)  Then we grabbed some pizza at the famous Elvio's to bring home for lunch.

We spent the rest of the day puttering, packing and cleaning up the cabin.  Figure we'll try to leave bright and early tomorrow so that we can enjoy the better weather back home in Rhode Island.  I shall miss you New Hampshire.  Hopefully another hiking adventure is in the cards later this year.

1x Moat Mountain Iron Mike Pale Ale
1x Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Al
1x Allagash Saiso
1x Moat Mountain Violet B's Blueberry Ale

Saturday - Bartlett, NH - 4 miles

Parting is such sweet sorrow.  Before finishing the packing and cleaning the cabin I went out and did four very easy miles with the dog.  My calves are still pretty sore from Wednesday and I didn't have much pep on those neighborhood hills.  Still, it was nice getting some last looks at the nearby hills (one road had a great view of Mt. Stanton and Mt. Pickering that I hiked on Monday.)  I didn't get over to nearby Iron Mountain as I hoped and I also didn't get around to trying to take back the nearby segment I had created.  Oh well, there's always next time!

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 7.1 miles

Nice cool morning back in Rhode Island.  No real desire but I dragged myself down Old Coach Road for a penance run.  Legs still don't have much life and my body is lacking for energy after a week of beer and junk food.  Back to the grind tomorrow.

Weekly Mileage: 36.4 miles

Year to Date: 1,051.6 miles

Another great vacation week in the books!  I miss the White Mountains already.  We had a lot of fun up there and hopefully next time we venture north Ezri will be able to go hiking with me.  Oh and my elevation gain for the week?  9,048 feet.  No wonder my legs are beat!