Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Year in Review

Another year just about done.  And that means it's time for another year end recap!  Looking back at last year's post, I laid out several goals for 2014:

  • Run another road marathon - nope, that did not happen.  I never really found the desire to run 26.2 miles on the road.  
  • Run another 50k - yes, indeed.  In fact I ran two.
  • Run 2000 miles for the year - nope.  I petered out around 1,700.

The year started with another great South County 4th Season trail series and I was happy to be able to participate in all five races.  They were a fun mix of old-school efforts and memorable snow-trudging events.  It culminated with the Big River Half where I ran very well.  I had a steady increase in mileage through the spring as I focused on the Pinelands 50k over Memorial Day weekend.  During the summer I mostly ran what I liked while taking part in a few choice races.  Then I upped the mileage again as I prepared for a big 1-2 punch - the NipMuck Marathon and Bimbler's 50k.

A big change for me this year was a new job in East Providence that began in April.  I left Smithfield, RI and morning access to some great trail networks and became acclimated to mid-day city running.  My mileage went up because I could run during lunch but the variety went way down.  I've found a few trails in nearby Seekonk but they pale in comparison to Wolf Hill or the dirt bike trails behind Fidelity.  Otherwise I'm sticking to city streets, trying to keep things fresh with as many locations as possible.  Also I spend a goodly amount of time on bike paths now.

I didn't keep up with the P90X videos as I had over the last two years.  Instead, I adopted a basic push-up/pull-up regimen that I sprinkle throughout my mornings.  It allowed me to fit in some upper body work while doing morning chores.  I don't know if/when I'll return to P90X - it'll be tough to fit into my new morning schedule and at any rate I think the basic push-up/pull-up regimen is doing the job.

Faithful readers know that I paid a heavy price for NipMuck and Bimbler's.  I pushed through both races with knee pain that had cropped up and ever since I've been battling aches and pains in right knee.  It's on and off and while I can run with the discomfort it's curtailing my enthusiasm for running and skeeving me out from attempting anything longer than 12 miles.  Couple that with a pinched nerve that's radiating down the right side of my body and I've been in a fitness funk lately.  I'm finding that no upper body stuff and scattered shorter runs without purpose makes me feel like I'm loosing fitness left and right.  Pretty funny idea considering that a few years ago I had no fitness and just played video games but there you have it.

Mileage was on pace for 2000 until Janky Knee made itself known

I'm sort of stumbling across the 2014 finish line and harshing the mellow of this review with all the injury talk.  Let's move on to the highlights of 2014 which is always my favorite part of this to write.

Not a race but definitely a fun run/hike up in the White Mountains.  After jealously reading of Adam Wilcox's many solo adventures, it was great to take one of my own while on family vacation.  18 miles of mountain trails definitely gave me all I could handle but the views were spectacular and it was satisfying to cover so much ground in 6.5 hours.

This should probably be higher on the list, considering I took almost a minute off last year's time.  Call it the effect of diminishing returns, I suppose.  It was my third year and was tough going in the second half battling the janky knee.  Still I made up enough time in the first half to account for the decrease on the second leg.  It was a hard race but satisfying in retrospect.  A great showing by Muddy and Jonny as well.

Running 31 miles isn't easy and when the course is actually more like 33 and your knee begins to really hurt at mile 13 it makes for a long day.  This race, which I sort of chose by default, became a really challenge and just finishing as well as I did is quite remarkable, I think.  I ran most of the race by myself in some form of discomfort but I held it together and finished 9th.

I'm very pleased with how I paced myself in this long trail race.  I stayed with the Mighty Gazelle and another runner for much of the race before putting distance on them over the last mile.  A tough battle on what's becoming my favorite Rhode Island course (it's a nice epilogue that the following day I did very well at the Jamestown Bridge 10k.)

Everything came together for what I easily consider to be my best race of 2014.  After death marching the last 12 miles of my first 50k last year, I wanted to make sure that I was better prepared for the distance.  With another year of mileage on my body and a more focused spring ramp-up, it all came together up in Maine.  There were some challenging miles but I didn't fall apart and the course format was a tremendous help.  My second 50k and the first one I raced, not just survived.

So concludes another year.  Thanks to my wife and family for giving me the time to pursue my crazy goals (Amanda was no slouch this year either, among other things completing the 1.7 mile Save the Bay Swim!)  It was another fun year running with the WTAC guys - it was inspiring watching them rack up some impressive performances, especially Masters dominator Mike Galoob.  Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and I hope to catch up with you on the trails in 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Weekly Log: 12.22.14 - 12.28.14

Overall I'm feeling much less Doom & Gloom after yesterday's race. My fitness hadn't dropped off nearly as much as I feared and I'm more optimistic about my recovery from this knee injury. I hope to build off that positive experience and have a good week with some decent if short runs.

Monday - 0 miles

I want to run more even if the knee is achey but not the day after Old Mountain. My legs are sore. I guess a hard trail effort after a break will really tax my quads. They're beat up. The knee hurts too of course but nothing major.

Tuesday - Seekonk, MA - 3.5 miles

Last day of work until January 5th! Unlike the last job where time off around the holidays was a pain in the ass to obtain, here the office just closes shop for a few weeks. A major improvement! It was drizzly but not cold so I went over to Caratunk Preserve for one more short run before the break. No one else out there and the trails were in good shape now that the fall leaves had settled/scattered. Knee ached the whole time but it was maneagable.

Wednesday - 0

Christmas Eve and much to do! No time for a run.

Thursday - 0 miles

Merry Christmas! It seems that all my running chums get out there for short Christmas runs in mid-morning. Never really been my thing - I prefer to stay in PJs for as long as possible and shove cookies in my mouth.  At any rate Amanda and I had to make the house ready for both of our families.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 4.6 miles

I took Oliver out for a noonday run. Driving to the town hall in the morning, I passed Richards Trail on Route 2. It's been awhile since I had been there and I was curious as to if they had expanded the brief trail. They had. They've added a second longer section. Additionally, the trail intersects an unmarked trail heading into Indian territory. We explored it for about a 1/4 mile before returning. I have a feeling it would have eventually led to the Indian church.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Stonington, CT - 11.7 miles

Jeff sent out an email about a run at Barn Island.  I generally don't make the arduous journey to these group runs in Connecticut but this one worked out.  Garvin arrived at my house and we drove over together.  I met Chris in the driveway to avoid exciting the dog but I learned afterwards that Oliver had gone apeshit anyway and woke up my wife.  Sorry honey.

Met up with Jeff, his speedster son Matthew and Mike B as the sun was coming up.  I've never been on these trails and I was surprised at the amount of land and variety of trails.  Plenty of singletrack but also enjoyable doubletrack along the marshes.  The miles went by fast with plenty of conversation and while the knee ached a bit it wasn't that troublesome.  Overall a fun run and I'm glad I finally got to check these trails out.  Thanks to Jeff for showing us around.  Only about 12 miles but I'm calling it a long run because that's where I'm at these days.

Weekly Mileage: 19.8 miles

Year to Date: 1,717.2 miles

A couple good runs this week - looking forward to finishing the year strong.  I've been battling a pinched nerve in my back which has kind of radiated down my right arm.  It's improving so hopefully I can add some upper body stuff into the mix next week.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Old Mountain 5k Trail Race 2014

Official time: 20:45.  14th overall.  8th in Age Group.  Results here.

Another winter is upon us and with it comes the annual South County 4th Season Trail Series.  This has become of fixture of running here in South County, with races that start at the 5k distance before reaching 1/2 marathon length by the end.  In addition to plenty of individual rivalries, the team competition would hopefully make a big return.  TNT easily took the honors in 2013 and WTAC returned the favor in 2014.  What would 2015 bring?

I went into this race pretty ambivalent.  My janky knee had limited my running considerably and recent back pain had added my woes.  The trails were clear and the temp was in the upper 30s so I knew that besting last year's time in the snow and frigid temps would be no problem.  But would I better my 21:23 from 2012?

I did a brief solo warm-up on the last section of the course in reverse.  Knee felt a little twitchy but otherwise fine.  Made my way back to the start and everyone lined up (over 170 runners this year - a great turnout!)  As usual this race starts with a mad exodus towards the singletrack.  We're all running way too fast, afraid of finding ourselves behind a train of runners in the woods.  I skirted past a kid just after entering the trail and then my position was set for a bit.  I found myself behind Jeff the Gazelle who was behind David Principe.  There were people close behind but once we crossed the bridges and ventured into the muddy section those folks fell back.

This muddy portion had plenty of opportunities for spills and the jumping on the slippery rocks was dicey.  As we left the mud, Principe and Jeff passed a guy in blue and I found myself behind him for a while.  P & J pulled away from us and as we cut across the powerlines I pushed past the blue guy too.  I was breathing hard at this point and wondering when I was going to run out of steam but there was a good gap between us and those behind so I felt pretty good about holding off anyone else.

On the climb up to the cliffs, P & J passed a dude in grey and I caught up to him near the top.  After a few turns he got twisted up and I took the opportunity to pass.  Jeff was long gone but I was hoping that I could hold off grey dude and blue guy.  Now came the awful switchback section - it's hard to run fast here and the turns come fast and furious.  I saw that grey dude was right behind me and now there was an orange guy gaining on us.

After running alongside the parking lot, we ventured up into the woods for one last trail section.  Orange guy passed me here - it was Chris Fox who's something of an adversary of mine.  He passed me with a 1/2 mile to go at Li'l Rhody a few years back.  It seems to be his M.O.  Fox put distance on me quickly and as we hit the field he was already far ahead.  As I made the last turn past the ballfield I looked back and saw I had a decent lead over grey dude.  I crossed the finish line pretty exhausted from the whole thing.

Overall I'm very pleased with this race.  It's a tough one and you have to work really hard on the twisty trails to maintain your pace and position.  The knee wasn't an issue and I didn't feel like I lost as much speed as I did last month at the Mew's.  I suppose you could say that with my recent break from running I did a super-taper for this race.  I didn't stick around as I had to get back to preparations for our winter solstice party but I learned afterwards that WTAC picked up the win.  A good way to start the series!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Weekly Log: 12.15.14 - 12.21.14

This will be a pretty insignificant blog post (and probably ultimately unnecessary).  I don't plan to do much in the way of running this week.  Hopefully I'll be able to run the Old Mountain 5k on Sunday.  But otherwise I may not run at all.

Monday- 0 miles

Tuesday - 0 miles

I got up intent on getting in a solid P90X workout.  Threw on Chest & Back thinking a good 40 minutes of push/pull-ups would be just the thing.  Well on my first set of pull-ups I felt a neck twinge and abandoned the effort.  By the afternoon it really hurt and my neck rotation was limited.  So much for hitting up the P90X this week.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Pajama day at work.  Boss brought in donuts and I ate three four.  I have no shame anymore.  My fitness days may be over.  The age of Donut Seth may well have begun.  Went down to the WTAC Holiday Party at the Pizza Place in the evening.  Surprised how many folks were there - WTAC is a strong club!

Thursday - 0 miles

My neck twinge still hasn't gone away.  Briefly considered a run at lunch and then laughed at my funny thought.

Friday - 0 miles

Sweet biscuits, my back actual feels even worse today.  The neck pain seems to have moved to my shoulder and now radiates down my right arm.   This is wonderful.

Speaking of biscuits, I could really go for some.  Had our holiday party at work with lots of delicious treats.  This Sunday we're hosting a party which will feature more delicious things.  I WILL EAT THE WORLD AND I DON'T CARE.

Saturday - 0 miles

Yep, back is still all janked up.  Spent the day getting the house ready for our party.  Luckily running doesn't affect janky back much.  I have no goals/preconceptions for tomorrow's race.

Sunday - Old Mountain 5k - 7.8 miles

20:45.  14th overall.  Report forthcoming.

After a great race at OMF I returned to the homestead to prepare for our winter solstice party.  The dog still needed to get walked so we did a quick loop through the woods over to the Narragansett trail before returning on Old Coach Road.  Completely lost the trail early on in the woods and had to bushwack through a maze of Russian Olives before we found it again.  Knee was finally beginning to feel achy by the end.  Had a fun party and was glad a bunch of WTACers could make it.  Props to the Gazelle for scaling my hill in his hunt for fuel for the winter solstice fire.

Weekly Mileage: 7.8 miles
Year to Date: 1,697.4 miles

So only one day of running this week but it was a good one.  I'm feeling much better about things after the race and follow-up dog jog.  Onward and upward!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekly Log: 12.8.14 - 12.14.14

Monday - Westerly, RI - 11.4 miles

225 push-ups (standard/military/wide/decline) 30/25/35/25/30/20/30/30

The office was closed due to much of the staff returning from Miami the day before.  With the day off, I had originally envisioned a long Arcadia run but the morning began to get away from me and I had shopping scheduled in Westerly for the afternoon.  I had considered Woody Hill but I opted for the Grills Preserve which I'm more familiar with.  Good thing too, as my entire run was accompanied by the sound of gunfire coming from Woody Hill.

It was a little chilly but I warmed up quickly.  I followed the trails along the perimeter of Westerly Grills, before crossing the magical silvery bridge and taking on the technical trail.  I was around five miles at this point and the ol' janky knee was beginning to ache as usual but I bore on and it never got worse.  The miles ticked away and I was pleased to get over ten.  It was nice to finally be out in the woods and get in a decent trail run.  Felt good!

Tuesday - 0 miles

Fuck this knee.  After yesterday's Grills adventure I can barely walk down the stairs today.  You'd think I just ran a 50k.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 5 miles

Gah, I've got some kind of painful twinge at the base of my neck.  I don't think it's from the push-ups as I had some DOMS yesterday but otherwise felt fine.  Hopefully it'll disappear in a day.  Tomorrow I have an appointment with the sports medicine doc in the office below mine.  Knee is still sore from Grills but I figure I should give it some work today so that it's easy to identify the sore spots tomorrow.  I felt alright during the run - the run itself was unremarkable but the Ten Mile River was impressively high thanks to the recent rains.  I can only imagine was a disaster this area was during the March 2010 floods.

Thursday - 0 miles

Neck still hurts.  Went to the doc who said that according to my X-rays my janky knee looks great.  He thought it's probably just a minor thing brought on by overuse.  He recommended keeping the mileage low and very gradually raising based on how the knee's feeling.  I almost wish he had found something definitive on the X-ray as "staying the course" hasn't done me much good so far.  Guess I'll just keep the mileage very low for a while and see if that helps.

Friday - 0 miles

No running today and now I can't even do upper body stuff because my goddamn neck still hurts.

Saturday - 0 miles

I hate bailing on a group run so close to my house but I'm going to rest my knee considerable for awhile.  On the plus side I did make another 2.5 gallon batch of 15 Minute Pale Ale this morning.  I got the entire prep/brew/clean-up process down to 90 minutes which is not too shabby!  At night I was sitting on the couch and I stretched my other leg too far - my calf seizes up something terrible.  I haven't had one that bad in a while and it took a while before it loosened up.

Sunday - 0 miles

Now not only does my right knee ache but my left calf is extremely sore from last night's seizing.  Had quite a limp first thing in the morning.  It improved over the course of the day but it was still tender to the touch by the evening.  I took Oliver over to Carter Preserve for a dog walk - he's such a spazz when we walk in the woods.  He nearly strangles himself on the leash he's so excited.  It works much better when we run but there would be no running today.

Oliver is either yawning, barking or choking.  Take your pick.

Weekly Mileage: 16.4 miles
Year to Date: 1,683.6 miles

This week started off with a great run and went to shit from there.  Looks like I'm going to have to dial back the running even further in the hopes of besting this janky knee.  I still hope to run the Old Mountain 5k next weekend though I'm not in racing shape.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Adventures in Homebrewing - Fall 2014

Time for another recap of my most recent concoctions. 

Deadringer IPA - 4.9% ABV

I've done this recipe several times as a 1 gallon batch but something went amiss when I attempted it at 2.5 gallons.  I think I added too much water because the ABV was about one percent too low.  That didn't phase me as it would still be a tasty brew.  However after a few weeks in the carboy I detected a distinctive cidery smell from the airlock.  That couldn't be good.  When I finally bottled it I found that the cidery taste was very evident as well.  I was pretty bummed and I'm thinking the cause was simply fermenting too high?  In retrospect my temp control method was jank and the temp hovered around 68% for the most part.  It also took a long time to carb up but thankfully the cider taste/smell has somewhat abated with time.  Certainly not a great Bell's Two-Hearted clone but drinkable.

Not-Quite-Imperial Stout - 7% ABV

Made on the stove at the same time as the Deadringer, this 1 gallon batch was a disaster from the get-go.  It was a last minute decision to attempt it when I realized I had all the ingredients on hand to give it a try.  First of all I used my old canning pot to bring the wort to a boil, but it's waaaaaay to wide for a 1 gallon batch and the evaporation rate was crazy high.  I didn't occur to me until nearly the end of the brew session that I barely had any wort left.  Then my attempt to use a paint strainer bag as I poured the wort into the fermenter just resulted in a big sticky mess.  Finally the messy transfer was done and I was greeted to a much lower than expected ABV.  7% isn't that low but it's definitely not in Imperial Stout territory.

Three weeks later and my plan was to transfer it to secondary and leave it for a while.  I was worried about duplicating my barleywine secondary fiasco but luckily I picked the right wine jug and filled up a 3 liter bottle just so.  There was also enough to sample but sweet Christ it was sweet!  And...weird.  It just tasted strange.  So I dumped 3 ounces of Jim Beam into it and now I'm going to leave it be for many months.  Let's see what time makes of this ugly beast!

Saison - 5% ABV

This was my third all-grain brew-in-a-bag batch and my first outdoor attempt.  I don't have a lot of experience with saisons so I can't so with any certainty how on the mark it is but I fermented it warm in the style and it certainly has a yeasty flavor and a slight tartness.  Overall I'm happy with it and looking forward to another attempt in 2015.

I made sure to dump the yeast in the glass to give it a
traditional cloudy appearance

Ye Olde E.S.B. - 4.5% ABV

This was a 2.5 gallon extract batch using Northern Brewer's basic E.S.B. recipe.  Starting Gravity was a bit low but the beer came out really good.  A malty, easy drinking brew.  This was also the first beer to go into my kegging system.  I'll definitely make another one at some point but I'd like to experiment next time and make it my own.

Last glass of E.S.B. that kicked the keg

Runner's High Double IPA - 8% ABV

My first attempt an original recipe, I previously made this Imperial IPA last December.  That batch was decent enough but I felt it missed the mark in several ways.  It was maltier than I would have liked and the color was darker than I wanted.  That was due to using extract - you can only get it so light.

For round two, I went all-grain and changed the hop bill considerably.  I kept the Cascade, but dismissed the Chinook, Centennial and Falconer's Flight in favor of Summit for bittering and Amarillo for late additions.  The change was noticeable and the new version has distinct fruity notes that were absent before.  The color is also much improved.  The picture below doesn't do it justice - it's very close to the straw color I wanted.  While the first attempt was too malty, I'll admit that this one veers a little too far on the sweet side.  But hey there's always room for improvement!

This was my second kegged beer and I love having a double IPA on tap, dangerous though it can be.  It's just about gone and I'm going to avoid drinking anymore so that we have some left for a winter solstice party we're hosting in a few weeks.

So good

SS Fermenting Bucket

I would be remiss if I didn't mention this awesome stainless steel brew bucket I won on the great They have tons of stellar contests and I couldn't believe it when I won one of them.  Made by SS Brewtech, this thing holds up to 7 gallons and has a conical base to compact the trub.  I'll be able to drain the beer directly into the keg using the spigot at the bottom.  And it has a thermometer to let me know the exact temperature of the fermenting beer.

I will admit that my first attempt at using it didn't work out so well.  There was a slight leak from the spigot and I had to ultimately move the wort to a plastic bucket.  I think I've since got the leak issue fixed so I'll be trying this thing out again soon.  I'll post a more indepth report at that time.


On Deck

I just kegged a vanilla stout but I'll save that for the next AIHB post.  I plan on making another 2.5 gallon batch of 15 Minute Pale Ale to replace the Runner's High once it runs out.  I'd also like to make about 3 gallons of bourbon barrel porter which I'd plan on aging for a while in secondary.   After that I have an eye on another all-grain double IPA recipe that was featured on

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Weekly Log: 12.1.14 - 12.7.14

Time to head off to Miami!  I fly to Florida on Tuesday for my company's annual meeting.  I stay through Friday.  I should be kept very busy during the event but I'm hopeful that I can sneak out for a couple early morning runs.  There's a three mile jogging path that lines the perimeter of the resort which holds a ridiculous amount of Strava segments that go every which way.  Looking at the best times, they would be ripe for the pickin' if I was at 100% (most call for a average speed of just under 6 min/mile.)  However as faithful readers know, I am definitely not 100% thanks to my janky knee.  So we'll see how it goes.

Truthfully I'm starting to really get bummed out by this janky knee.  I had thought that rest and low mileage would have allowed it to heal up.  But it's not any better and has become the worst injury of my running life.  It's frustrating and I was really looking forward to Miami runs which will unfortunately have to be tapered.

Monday - 0 miles

19 pull-ups (standard/chin-up) 6/5/5

Beautiful day in Rhode Island and I had planned to run at lunch.  But I decided to scrap it and rest up so that I can make the most of my attempts in Florida. A pathetic excuse by there you have it.  Oh and I aborted my morning pull-ups when I felt that familiar strain in my elbow.  I'm falling apart.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Woke up at 3:45 for my early drive to the airport.  Spent the day traveling and organizing stuff for the meeting.  78 degrees in Florida - I could get use to that.  And the resort is top notch - my room has a veranda and everything.

Beautiful Course

Pool was open 24/7.  I got in there once.

Despite trees and lights it just doesn't feel like Christmas
in the sub-tropics

Wednesday - Aventura, FL - 3.1 miles

I had to be downstairs to prep for the first day of the conference at 6 AM so I woke up at 4:45 in order to check out the jogging path which circles the resort.  75 degrees and humid out there but a welcome change from northern weather.  The path is well lit but it curves so slowly that I thought I had veered off it and missed a turn.  I decided to turn around at 1.5 miles so as not to be late.  It was only afterwards that I realized that I had never left the path - I was half way around when I turned back.  What a maroon.

Thursday - Aventura, FL - 3.7 miles

I woke up again at 4:45, this time determined to run the full loop.  I went in the opposite direction, exploring a side street as well.  The thing about this town - every "neighborhood" street is gated, which severely hampers exploration.  There's also canals and ponds everywhere.  Still, the warm temp was lovely and this time I was able to complete the whole loop.  Somehow I managed to not hit a single segment on either of these runs.

Wednesday and Thursday were very busy at the convention and we worked from 6 AM to about 7 PM on both days.  We all took turns taking breaks but they were still very long days.  At night we'd go out for food and drinks.  Fun times but it was rough getting up even earlier to fit in these short runs.

A man could get use to this

Friday - Aventura, FL - 10.3 miles

Last day in Florida.  I worked the conference until noon and then I had some time to kill before my flight home.  I wanted to get to the beach at least once on this trip - despite being one mile from the beach it's not easy to get to.  The highway next door is not open to foot traffic and between all the gated communities and water hazards it took five miles to get there.

I ran through a ritzy casino/outdoor mall place and then along a busy road until I finally reached the water.  The beach was narrow due to high tide and recent rains had washed up tons of seaweed and jellyfish.  I ran along it a short ways before turning around and retracing my path.  The midday sun/heat took its toll on the return trip and I took a couple brief rests along the way.  Placed second or third in a couple Strava segments - would've pushed harder had I known they were there.

Back at the hotel, I had already had to check out of my room but I made use of their gym locker room which was as fancy as everything else in this place.

A dozen huge ducks hung out along the jogging path

Along the way: massive statues depicting the age old battle
between pegasus and dragon

Saturday - 0 miles

Back in Rhode Island where it was cold and rainy.  Knee was achy after yesterday's run - my longest since Bimbler's.  Figured I'd take it easy and run tomorrow.

Sunday - 0 miles

Run didn't happen.  I always think I'll fit it in later in the day but of course that never happens.  Need to get it in early before life gets in the way.

Weekly Mileage: 17.2 miles

Year to Date: 1667.2 miles

Monday, December 1, 2014

Weekly Log: 11.24.-14 - 11.30.14

The last week of November?  How did that happen?  With a four day weekend on the horizon I hope to maybe get a decent longish run but we'll see.  Will my endurance be as shaky as my speed?

Monday - 0 miles

My knee was pretty sore from the Mews race yesterday so I decided it was best to just rest it.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 4.8 miles

P90X Chest & Back (25 minutes)

I started off the day with good ol' Chest & Back, figuring the warm-up/stretching routine at the beginning would help since I had tweaked my elbow doing pull-ups a few weeks back.  I was only a few sets in when I felt a twinge in my back doing pull-ups.  Great.  I cut it short and within a few hours it hurt to turn my neck.  This kind of twinge usually abates within a few days and then I'm good to resume but it's frustrating nonetheless (especially on my commute when I need to turn my head to merge.)

I left work early for my yearly physical (hearty as an ox) and then went over to Charlestown beach for a short run before dark.  I battled the wind down to the breachway and then took the dirt road back to the car for my gloves.  Then I followed the beach down to Green Hill.  The waves were huge and with the wind at my back the going was easy.  The return trip - not so much.  But the sky was salmon and pink as the sun set and I found myself smiling as I pushed into the wind.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Nasty noreaster outside - luckily it was mostly rain for my work/home though there was some sleet coming down up in East Providence.  At any rate, between the nasty conditions and the boss letting us go home early to enjoy the four day weekend, there was no running today.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 5 miles

I took the dog out on a Turkey Day trail loop.  We parked at Browning Woods, ran the trail clockwise to the Heart trail and took that over to Sand Trail Road.  We explored the trails along the sand pits briefly - I've said it before but it's a shame that everyone uses this like a dump.  There is no hope for people.  Then we followed the dirt road back to Gravelly Hill Rd.  A nice five mile loop.  We encountered two people with dogs on the run and amazingly Oliver did not have a barking freak-out with either one.  I'm going to chalk it up to his being exhausted as he doesn't normally run this far.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 8 miles

I met up with Jonny, Muddy and Jeff for an early morning Black Friday beach run.  We started at the Breachway Grille parking lot and ran down to the Breachway.  From there we took the beach down to Green Hill.  Pace was good but the knee began to ache as we approached Green Hill.  I opted to bail at this point to give the knee a break.  Plus Amanda was waiting for me at home to take Em to get her driver's permit.  I took the roads back to the car, making a brief detour for the tiny trail loop in Green Hill park.  Turns out the rest of the guys only went a little bit farther and made it a 10 mile loop.  Guess I could have stuck with them after all.  But the knee was plenty sore later in the day so it's probably best I quit when I did.  This was my longest run since Bimbler's.

Saturday - 0 miles

Knee is definitely sore from yesterday's run.

Sunday - 0 miles

190 push-ups (standard/wide/military) 30/40/25/25/40/30

Shame to waste a gorgeous final November day but I wasn't getting up early to run and in the afternoon Amanda and I grinded out several hours of necessary yard work.  The raking was enough to irritate my knee.

Weekly Mileage: 17.8 miles
Year to Date: 1,650 miles

A couple good runs this week but it's clear that my knee just isn't getting better.  I suppose a long rest is needed to make this right.  I have an appointment with a sports medicine doc in a couple weeks but until then I guess I'll just play it by ear and listen to my body.