Friday, August 29, 2014

Weekly Log: 8.25.14 - 8.31.14

Monday - 0 miles

The only opportunity to run was in the morning and I chumped out.  Didn't have much oomph and my big toe was aching which was enough of an excuse for me.

Tuesday - Providence, RI - 5.9 miles

22 pull-ups w/ assists (standard/chin-up/close grip) 3/6, 4/4, 3/5, 3/5, 5/4, 4/4

Originally I was going to try to do some hill repeats over on College Hill but I really didn't feel like driving over there and running there probably would've taken too long.  Plus it was hot.  So damn hot.  I opted to still head over to the East Side but instead just run along the swanky neighborhood streets.  I ended up keeping the pace rather peppy for the most part but I took a couple quick breaks in the shade.  Hit the Blackstone trails on the way back for a change of pace (and shade.)

Wednesday - Caratunk Sanctuary, Seekonk, MA - 5 miles

265 push-ups (standard/wide/decline/diamond) 45/40/40/15/45/40/30/10

Another hot day.  I ran over in Caratunk again at a pretty brisk pace all things considered.  Good wildlife sightings.  I ran around Muskrat Pond three times and on my first pass I ran right by one of the pond's namesakes.  I stopped, looked back and we were both startled - it ran off into the underbrush.  On the pond I saw a couple turtles sunbathing on a log.  They plopped in the water every time I ran by.  It was a little cooler in the woods but not by much.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 5.9 miles

I went over to the High School track for some speedwork.  It was another scorcher and I was ready to abandon the track idea if the place was filled with high schoolers but I guess school hasn't started yet in Seekonk so I grudingly stuck to my plan.  Almost anyway.  I had planned to do ten 400s but cut it down to eight once I hit the track.  Some big clouds rolled through which helped a great deal.  I probably could have pushed the 400s a little harder but I was still satisfied.  Afterwards I cooled down on the trails along the reservoir.

Splits: 83 / 84 / 84 / 83 / 82 / 81 / 78 / 80

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 12.1 miles

P90X Chest & Back (30 minutes - 1/2 the workout)

After work I started off the long weekend by venturing back to my former employer to once again run the many dirt bike trails in their woods.  I started by exploring the twisty turny stuff behind 900 Salem.  As soon as I entered the woods it was as it felt like I had never left.  Truly the forest is timeless.  The trails ended abruptly where the land had been clearcut but I was surprised to see that they hadn't done much building on the land yet.  I'm sure they will soon.

After only three miles I was feeling parched so I made a beeline for the car behind heading back out deeper into the woods.  The rest of the run was several of my favorite long trails, strung together.  I hadn't forgotten how hilly and technical some of the trails are - I miss being able to train on them regularly.  After about an hour I begun to feel the effort of the trails.  The highlight of the run came near the end when I would out in the open hilly gasline section.  I came upon a couple guys standing on top of a hill next to their jeep, deciding whether to descend a pretty gnarly downhill.  They went for it, jeep bottoming out along the way down, and I enjoyed following them for the rest of this section.  Great Friday run!

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 15.4 miles

Originally I was going to run trails but after 12 solid trail miles on Friday, I opted for easier terrain for this long run.  I went straight down to Charlestown Beach and I began sweating immediately - the humidity was so high.  The beach was pretty nasty from the recent large waves.  Lots of wide red sea weed and tiny bugs hovering everywhere.  I ran down to South Kingstown Beach and it was like that most of the way.  Glad I had my handheld for this run because sweat was pouring off of me throughout.  Mile 10 marked the point when my legs started to get aggravated with me but I tried not to let the pace drop too much and slogged ahead on the local roads back to my house.  Tough run towards the end but a necessary one.

Weekly Mileage: 44.3 miles

Year to Date: 1296.6 miles

Good mix of road and trails this week, including some speedwork.  I want to push the mileage up to 50 next week before enjoying an easier week in the 30 mile range.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Weekly Log: 8.18.14 - 8.24.14

Monday - East Providence, RI - 5.9 miles

235 push-ups (standard/wide/decline/diamond) 30/40/30/15/30/40/30/20

Decided to explore a bit more off of the Ten Mile River bikepath.  I occurred to me that I could quickly span the river by running over the train tracks.  Luckily these are only used by freight trains and they're few and far between.  I followed a trail along the river on the other side and then discovered some ATV trails which included a tent and other creepy structures out in the woods.  Made my way back to the bike path when my left calf began to really become uncomfortable.  Damn this thing.  I stopped and stretched but it remained sore and a nuisance.  Then nature called.  It was two miles back to the car and it would have been a dubious journey.  Luckily Slater Park has lovely port o' lets and wouldn't you know it, the one I picked was pristine - just cleaned!  Truly the running gods were smiling on me today.  On the way back along the river, I looked over and spied several white swans.  More than several actually.  It was a goddamn swan powwow and there must have been over 100 in the water (plus plenty of ducks taboot.)  So a fun Monday run but the calf thing is annoying.

Tuesday - 0 miles

24 pull-ups w/ assists (standard/chin-up/close grip/wide) 3/6, 4/6, 3/5, 3/5, 3/6, 4/5, 2/4, 2/4

Left calf was very tight all throughout yesterday but a steady diet of foam rolling seemed to help.  Like last week I decided to forgo running today and head over to the Yoga studio for some lunch time stretching.

Wednesday - West Greenwich, RI - 8 miles

After work I hit up Big River via the Hopkins Hill parking lot.  I guess I had left on the Garmin as it had a low battery warning when I turned it on.  After about a mile it died.  I ran a clockwise loop around Carr Pond, running over the ledges before coming across the old chimney.  I tried to find Lower Spider but I think I wound up on Upper Spider instead and soon I found myself on the half marathon course.  Followed the course until it approached the pond and then took my time, exploring the various campsites along the water.  What debauchery must go on here at night.  Oh to be young again!  I just wish they'd pick up their schwaggy beer cans.  I continued on, exploring a trail that led towards Bates Road before returning to my car.  Turns out I still had another 20 minutes so I ventured across the road and down the Big River Expressway.  I jumped off it and took a lovely trail shaded by ferns to the south.  Eventually I heard the voices of nogoodnicks up ahead and turned back to the car.  This was a fun run.  Deer flies were only a sporadic nuisance and the legs felt good.

Thursday - East Providence/North Kingstown, RI - 13.2 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)
320 push-ups (standard/military/decline/Pike's Press/wide) 40/30/30/20/40/35/30/35/20/40

Very short run at lunchtime on neighborhood roads.  Stopped at a gas station on the way to supplement my lunch.  No calf issues which was good to see.

After work: a longer run at Rome Point.  Started from my buddy's house and took a trail down to the beach.  Not much runnable traction on the beach but I was soon on solid ground.  I ran a bunch of the wooded trails before heading down to the point.  Passed a couple pairs of ladies with multiple dogs a piece.  On my way back, I paused to let the women move to the side.  As they did, a black thing landed on my arm.  I tried to shoo it away and then realized it was a giant black wasp!  So I'm announcing my presence to the ladies as I'm realizing this bug it stuck to me because it's stinging me.  After a long three seconds I swatted the wasp away, sneaked past the people/dogs and was running again with a searing pain in my lower arm.   It hurt like hell and I was only three miles into the run.  I continued on and after a mile the pain subsided - by the time I had hit Hamilton Allenton I had forgotten about it.

My childhood home on Featherbed Lane has switched hands several times since my mom sold it and had been in a state of constant repair for the last ten years.  It looks like progress is finally being made on it which is good to see.  The fish ladder on Featherbed has also finally been repaired (after the serious floods of a few years ago.)  After basking in the memories I headed back towards Plum Point but took a detour down Gilbert Stuart Road.  I pushed the pace a bit on the Snuff Mill hill and then stopped at the Hess to grab something to supplement my dinner.  Two runs and two gas station stops - HA!  Afterwards I hardly felt the wasp sting and could barely tell where the bump was.

Friday - Seekonk, MA - 4 miles

24 pull-ups w/ assists (standard/chin-up/close grip) 3/6, 4/6, 3/4, 3/5, 5/5, 3/5, 3/5

At lunch I ran four easy miles in Seekonk Meadows.  Legs were tired but perked up slightly as the run went on.  Took a digger halfway through.  No major damage but I sure got filthy.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 10.6 miles

A couple miles with the dog in the morning.  In the afternoon I went over to Watchaug Pond to do a loop on the Vin Gormley trail.  I had meant to take it easy but once I started I felt peppy and decided to push the pace for the loop.  I finished in about 55 minutes which is a pretty good time for me.  Makes me think I can definitely take improve on my 52:51 from last year's Lil Rhody.  This was followed by a short half mile cooldown and then a dip in the pond.  This was supposed to be the day for my long run but doing some would have pushed my weekly mileage up towards 50 and I wanted to stick to my weekly mileage goals.

Weekly Mileage: 41.8 miles
Year to Date: 1,252.5

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weekly Log: 8.11.14 - 8.17.14

Running is back in session!  I need to start to put together an actual training plan (or at least my ramshackle version of one) because Bimbler's Bluff 50k is only 10 weeks away.  It will be here before you know it.

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

290 push-ups (standard/decline/Pike's Press/wide) 40/40/20/40/40/40/20/50

Ezri was home with Amanda so I was able to get out of the house early and hit up one of my former haunts, Ryan Park.  Nice to be able to run before it got too hot and the trails were a welcome change from the roads of East Providence.

Tuesday - 0 miles

20 pull-ups w/ assists (standard/chin-up/close grip/wide) 4/6, 4/6, 3/5, 2/5, 3/5, 3/5, 1/4

Decided to take a break from the running in order to ease back into everything.  I only want to run 30+ miles this week.  Instead I went back to PPP for another lunch yoga session.  Lots of lunges and warrior poses - good stuff.

Wednesday - Carter Preserve, Charlestown, RI - 5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Man, I took one week off from Ab Ripper and it kicked my ass today.  Wasn't even able to finish the mason twists to end the workout.  That almost never happens.

The weather is crappy all day and I was regretting my choice to take yesterday off.  Today would have been much better.  But I had some time before work and luckily a break in the weather allowed me to run over at Carter Preserve.  Saw a really cool little box turtle with an orange shell.  The thing was only the size of my fist.  I took the new trail over to the grassland loop and made my way back to my car via the red trail.  The rain started with about 10 minutes left but it was more refreshing than anything.

Damn rain ruined our plans to go the Washington County Fair in the afternoon.  My doughboy will have to wait until the weekend.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 7.1 miles

Beautiful day out there.  Decided today was a good day to get over to the East Bay bike path and get a decent workout in.  Not too hot and some decent cloud cover throughout the run.  First 1.5 miles were easy and then I picked up the pace as I went.  I stopped at the halfway both in Riverside to stretch my calves (is that cheating?)  After the short rest, I was able to churn out two 6:09 miles but it was an effort.  Pleased with this run but now my left calf is very tight.  To the foam roller!

Friday - Caratunk Preserve, Seekonk, MA - 5 miles

P90X Chest & Back (50 minutes)

Five miles in Caratunk.  A couple groups leading packs of children around the initial grassland sections.  Stay out of my way, urchins!  Actually the kids were really enjoying the place.  Once I got in the woods I left the crowds behind and as I progressed farther it was clear that few people ventured east of the powerlines.  The trail was tough to make out at spots but I did see a deer and five turkeys.  I hit pretty much all the trails on this short, easy run.

Plenty of wide grass trails for the kiddos near the parking lot of Caratunk

Saturday - Hopkinton/Westerly, RI - 17 miles

Met up with Muddy on the Hopkinton side of Grills Preserve for an early AM long run.  We ran the trails on both sides of the river and the pace and conversation were both agreeable.  I had mentioned wanting to fit in a visit to Woody Hill so from there we ran about two miles of roads to get to the additional trails.  We were over an hour and twenty minutes into the run now and I was beginning to feel it.  I knew I'd be fine for a while but I thought the return trip might get ugly.

I was right.  The trails of Woody Hills began to wear at my reserves.  I started to drift farther and farther behind Muddy and became a listener more than an active participant in our conversation.  We did a loop (I need to spend more time in this place, it was only my second visit) and then returned to civilization via the same dirt road. The pavement should have provided some relief but it did not - my legs were toast.  I was completely exhausted and needed several rest breaks before I could complete the three mile journey back to our cars.  It was a pitiful slog and gave Muddy the opportunity to check off another HRG road while I shuffled on ahead.  It's been a while since I ran this far (on trails especially) and I paid for it in the end.

Sunday  - 0 miles

Hamstrings are oh so tight today.

Weekly Mileage: 41.4 miles

Year to Date: 1,209.5 miles

So I was aiming for low 30s but the long run pushed it over 40.  I suppose the suffering was good prep for Bimbler's.  Right?

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Weekly Log: 8.4.13 - 8.10.13

The running hiatus continues...until the weekend.  Once we hit Saturday, I can lace up again.  It's an arbitrary break but hopefully I'll come back well rested and ready to work.  Looking forward to getting back out there.  Not to mention having a beer.  Sweet, sweet beer.  It's crazy - this has been my longest break from running since March 2011.

Monday - 0 miles

290 push-ups (standard/decline/diamond/wide) 40/30/15/40/40/40/15/40/30

Tuesday - 0 miles

22 pull-ups w/ additional assists (standard/chin-up/close grip/wide) 3/5, 4/6, 3/5, 2/4 , 3/5, 3/6, 2/4, 2/5

Originally I wanted to do another round of Legs & Back this morning but I had neither the moxie nor the time to get it done.  I decided to do a poor man's version, switching between pull-ups and some of the various squat/lunge moves, all the while puttering about the basement.  It worked out well.  I did two rounds of wall squats which truly are the devil.  Altogether I did five leg exercises which I consider to be a good compromise.  I think this is the way going forward - instead of trying to fit in the whole P90X routine, I'll take the choicest bits and make use of them when I can.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Not a damn thing done today.

Thursday - 0 miles

630 push-ups (military/standard/wide)

POWER HOUR!  Suggested by my buddy and fitness guru Ryan, I decided to do a push-up power hour this morning.  10 push-ups every minute for an hour.  I downloaded an interval app which beeped just before and on every minute.  I was doing dishes in between sets which made it hectic but also made the time pass quickly.  Every 20 minutes I switched the style of push-up.  Actually this wasn't that bad and while I was tiring towards the end I was still able to bang 'em out.  I did 'em to exhaustion for the last set and made it to 40.  Guess I should've gone for more - maybe 15 next time.

Friday - 0 miles

18 pull-ups w/ additional assists (standard/chin-up/close grip) 4/6, 4/6, 2/4, 3/5, 3/5, 2/4

At lunch time I did another 45 minute yoga session at Providence Power Yoga.  Good stretchin' for the legs.  They're ready to run!

Saturday - South Kingstown, RI - 3.5 miles

It was our first trip to the beach this summer, which is pretty sad considering we live three miles from the ocean.  But hey we've been busy.  Beautiful day at East Matunuck though.  I threw on the Vibrams and ran down the beach and jumped onto the roads to run past the Ocean Mist and over to S.K. Town Beach.  Legs felt great and the ocean dip upon my return felt even better.

At night we returned to the area to play a gig at Tara's.  The new deck really takes the pub to another level and people kept filing in all night.  Really good crowd and people seemed to like the music which made for a great gig.

Sunday - Charlestown/Westerly, RI - 8.2 miles

Did a loop of the Narragansett trail in the morning with Oliver.  I thought we'd be dealing with some miserable bushwacking off of Black Pond Rd but someone's been working on the trail back there and the going wasn't bad at all.

In the afternoon I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy in Stonington (it kicked ass.)  Then I ventured over to the Champlin Glacier Park.  I had only been on these trails once before as part of a longer run so I was looking forward to exploring them in more detail.  It was hot and humid and the twisty climbs wore me out quickly.  Between the break from running and my switch to primarily road running I feel like I've lost a bit of endurance in the woods.  I'll need to make sure I hit the trails as often as I can in the weeks to come.

Weekly Mileage: 11.7 miles

Year to Date: 1,168.6 miles

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Misadventures in Homebrewing - Summer 2014

It's not all sunshine and rainbows in the world of brewing, folks.  I learned this firsthand when a recent batch of brown ale we made at the band house took a turn for the worse.  And by worse I mean exploding all over the goddamn place.

About a week after we bottled it a couple of bombers blew up, sending beer and glass all over the basement.  After that the rest were put into plastic bags and we hoped for the best.  But more continued to explode.  It was clear that these things were way, way overcarbed and they foamed like a bastard when I tried to pour one.  The surviving ones were caked in sticky beer residue and tiny bits of glass.  Just a complete friggin' mess.  When I went over to the band house to help clean up and salvage what we could, things just got worse and more of 'em blew.  At least these blew up outside but it was a scary experience and now we found ourselves picking up shards of glass from the lawn.

We decided to dump the rest immediately.  Most of 'em were in swing tops which luckily hadn't blown and we spent the next 30 minutes wrapping 'em in towels and prying 'em open.

Back at home I still had another ten bottles in a box that was in a plastic tub.  I got decked out in long sleeve clothes and eye goggles and went to work, shaking the tub vigorously.  I felt muted "pops" as the bottles smashed into each other and burst.  Finally the deed was done and I was left with a tub full of beer and glass shards.  Great!

What a mess.  What a waste.

So that batch was a bust.  Luckily we also made five gallons of the 15 Minute Cascade Pale Ale which fared much better.

This past weekend I crafted up another couple batches.  I gave Amanda plenty of notice and she and the girls fled before I filled the house with the delicious scent of malt.  I made 2.7 gallons of Deadringer IPA (a Bell's Two Hearted Ale clone) and 1 gallon of Imperial Stout.  Neither hit the starting gravity I had planned which is somewhat of a bummer but whatever.  It's warm even in the basement so I put 'em in a sideways tub and have been replacing frozen water bottles every 12 hours or so.  Fermentation is well underway now.

With the lid in place, it's a decent fermentation chamber

So there you have it.  One batch brings destruction and sadness.  Yet new batches arise to bring fresh hope and joy.  Circle of Life.