Friday, January 30, 2015

Weekly Log: 1.26.15 - 2.1.15

Snow!  With a blizzard bearing down on us to start the week, I'm not sure how the runs will pan out.  We'll see...

Monday - 0 miles

Went up to Providence for two hours, sent myself some files and stuff I needed and then returned to South County before the snow began in earnest.  I would've liked to have fit a run in on the way back home but my ankle is really sore from yesterday's run.  Decided to be smart and rest it.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Spent the day shoveling, working from home and enjoying the blizzard.  Luckily the snow was light and didn't cling to branches or powerlines.   The fear of no electricity was never realized though we were prepared for it.

Wednesday - Charlestown, RI - 8 miles

The storm over and our driveway plowed, I spent another day working from home.  At lunchtime I took Old Coach up to Biscuit City before heading back and then up to the Nordic Lodge.  Roads weren't in great condition with lots of snowy/slushy sections.  I wore the yaktrax for the first time this season and they served me well.  Fun run and it was beautiful out there.  Ankle felt alright and I forgot to wear my knee band again but the knee was okay too.  Dare I say that I'm finally getting better?

Thursday - 0 miles

So much for getting better.  I've got an acute pain in the back of my knee.  Definitely a different feeling than the normal janky knee feeling but it's enough to make me think I shouldn't run today.  Also my arm/finger discomfort stemming from my hurt neck is particularly annoying today.

Friday - Seekonk, RI - 5 miles

Knee felt better and even though I didn't have any desire I forced myself out for a run.  I went over to the wide quiet streets of Seekonk.  I found a neighborhood of fancy houses.  The streets had a good amount of packed snow on them and they made for good running.  I thought about bringing the Yaktrax but opted not too and I was fine in just my trail shoes.   33 degrees and a few flurries made it a really enjoyable run.

My doctor's office called as I had an x-ray done for my painful neck/arm thing.  Apparently it might be "nerve narrowing" which doesn't sound too good.  An MRI will probably be the next step.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - 0 miles

I went roller skating with the girls yesterday.  I haven't been in years and of course today my janky knee is feeling the effects.  I decided to play it smart and take another day off.  Of course, then we got a killer snowtube and I built a gnarly jump at the end.  Took a mighty digger and of course I landed right on Jank McStank.  Seems alright but yikes that was close.

Weekly mileage: 13 miles

Year to date: 100.3 miles

So a pretty lackluster week thanks to the blizzard and more aches 'n pains.  With another storm set for Monday we'll see what next week brings.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Weekly Log: 1.19.15 - 1.25.15

Monday - Westerly, RI - 8 miles

Nothing like a three day weekend.  A group WTAC run was organized at the very reasonable hour of 8 AM starting at Jeff's house.  We had a large group - Jeff and Matthew Walker, Jonny, Mikes B & C and Tommy and Shara.  The roads were very slick with ice and we had to tread carefully in places.  We took roads down to Watch Hill and then took the beach back to Misquamicut.  Fun run with good conversation.  I wore that knee strap again and it seemed to work well - no knee discomfort.

While the knee issue seems to finally be on the way out, my neck/arm/finger nerve issue is still a bother.  Went to the doctor in late morning and we're going to see if we can knock it out with medicine.  If not, then PT and and MRI might be necessary to get to the bottom of it.

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 4.3 miles

Back to the grind, I decided to hit up the East Bay Bike Path and scope out the Squantum Woods.  You can't actually access it from the bike path so I had to run up to the Veteran's Memorial Parkway to access it.  Not much there - a couple trails littered with beer cans though one breaks out into unauthorized territory that had great views of the bike path and the bay beyond.  Another good knee run with the strap.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Three days of running in a row so I thought I rest things up.  Knee felt a bit sore today.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 3.1 miles

Woke up to a light layer of snow on the ground.  With temps around 30 it made for a fun early morning dog jog.  Meant to get in a lunch run and have a decent day's mileage but work was too busy and it didn't happen.

Friday - East Providence, RI - 10 miles

I wanted to make up for not running at lunch yesterday with a big run today.  I mapped out loopish route, hoping it would get me around 10 miles. After a couple miles I decided to check out a short trail at Hunts Mill that I've never explored.  I encountered a running in the woods - turned out to be Chris Fox who came in 7th and helped the Rhode Runners in the Resolution 5k.  We had seen each other at local races but never really met.  We chatted for a couple miles about the few local trail spots before he peeled off and headed home.  I kept going and took roads the rest of the way, stretching out the route to what I hoped would be 10 miles.  It worked though I had to hit a few side roads to get there.  Forgot to wear my knee band thing and the knee felt a bit off at various points but overall a great run.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 7.7 miles

A winter storm approaches but today was a beautiful warm day!  I mixed the dog's daily jog with some extra miles tacked on afterwards.  First Oliver and I did the standard Narragansett trail loop - it was mushy, slushy fun.  Brought the beast back to the house after about 3.5 miles and dried him off.  Then I went back out and ran more of our common dog jog roads.  In the neighborhood up near Kickapoo my ankle began to ache and I cut back through the woods to the house.  A good run but the sudden ankle pain was annoying. 

Weekly Mileage: 33.3 miles

Year to Date: 87.8 miles

Nice to get back to above 30 for the week.  With the approaching blizzard and the sudden sore ankle I'm not sure if I'll duplicate it next week though.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Weekly Log: 1.12.15 - 1.18.15

Monday - 0 miles

After yesterday's great race, I wanted to continue to play it safe so I opted for Yoga today at lunch.  I arrived a few minutes late to a packed room so I had to set up at the very front, next to the teacher.  I was very self-conscious and struggled to hit a bunch of the moves since it was hard to compare to what everyone else was doing.  I like the teacher's attitude and energy though so I'll need to try to make it to another of her classes.

Tuesday - Seekonk, MA - 4.3 miles

Temp was in the 20s and pretty nice out for this time of year.  I went over to the Seekonk Meadows as I haven't been there in a while.  Some icy sections of trails I had to watch out for but otherwise they were clear and I had the place to myself.  I changed it up by exploring nearby roads and finding my way back to the car on the sidewalk.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 4 miles

Stayed close to the office and began by running the trails/dirt roads along the Seekonk River.  It's pretty dumpy with all the trash that people have deposited over the years but it was still peaceful along the shore.  The Seekonk River is pretty frozen over here though further towards the bay it's still liquid.  Snapped some shots along the way.

Jagged ice from freezing and thawing

Another victim of winter

Sand dunes where no-good-nicks get up to no good
Across the river are the hills of Blackstone Park

Thursday - 0 miles

I had planned a nice 7 mile exploration run while my car got the oil changed but I woke up with a slight twinge in old Jank McKnee.  Decided to play it safe.

Friday - Charlestown/North Kingstown, RI - 10.5 miles

Took the dog out for an early morning jog.  30 degrees out.  It's practically balmy!  While on the neighborhood roads another person ran by but I didn't get a good look at them as I was trying to keep Oliver distracted.

After work I arrived early to band practice so that I could put in a longer run.  Just a sliver of a moon so it was a dark headlamp run.  I headed directly down to the beach where the headwind was killer and sent chills  through me. Luckily once I reached the trails of Rome Point they provided some protection.  It was fun running these trails at night.  Very quiet out there and I only freaked myself out once when I mistook a passing bush for a human.  After about four miles of trails I jumped on Gilbert Stuart Road.  My pace picked up as I went (here were the animals missing in Rome Point - a couple deer and a solo raccoon) and I decided to make an honest effort of Snuff Mill.  I was happy to see afterwards that I took 15 seconds off my best effort last August.  It was good to get back to a pre-practice evening run and the knee felt great throughout.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI  - 6 miles

I was going to get out this morning to run about 10 miles but I was lacking motivation puttered about with the wood stove to procrastinate.  I finally got out there but only had time to run for about an hour.  I settled on a nearby loop that grabbed as many nearby trails as I could - the Narragansett trail, South Farm and that pine tree trail across from SF.  Through I doing moments of bushwacking trying to explore potential shortcuts though it was nothing I hadn't come across before.  I think it's about time that Garvin/Acton Blaze Company make an true path from South Farm to Shannock Rd.

Amanda got me a band that goes under the knee to help with knee pain and keep it in line.  After walking around with it for a few days, I liked it so I wore it on this run.  Seemed to work well and I didn't notice any knee aggravation.  The knee's been doing well this week so who's to say but I'll probably keep using for now.

Weekly Mileage: 24.9 miles

Year to Date: 54.5 miles

Monday, January 12, 2015

Resolution 5k Beach & Trail Race 2015

Official time: 18:37.  12th overall.  5th in Age Group.  Results here.

Time for the second race of the winter trail series.  As with the Old Mountain 5k, I went into this race with no expectations.  My knee had been feeling better in the lead up to it but this race would rely on more pure speed than Old Mountain and last November's Mews race left me feeling like I lost a step.  I was looking forward to another fun local race, and the weather seemed spot-on, but I was still trying not to think about it too much.  I didn't even look up last year's time for a goal (it was 19:28.)

I arrived with plenty of time to do a solo warm-up.  It was in the low 20s but there was little wind.  The beach was nicely frozen.  I passed our nemesis, the Tuesday Night Turtles, who had donned anti-WTAC shirts for their warm-up.  They were hilarious.  A tip of the cap to Bob Jackman for having them printed up.  The ultimate complement of this rivalry.

Heading on the trail portion, the path was  partially covered in snow and held several individual ice hazards.  These were dangerously slippery but I didn't want to break out the YakTrax for the first time this season in a race situation so I opted to just carefully avoid them.  By the end of my "warm-up" by toes were frigid in the minimal MT00s and I decided to camp out in my car for five minutes to warm 'em up.

The snow wasn't a problem but watch out for the frozen pools

Frozen feet no bueno

The respite did the trick and as we milled about for the race to begin I felt much warmer.  Galoob led us all down to the starting line in the sand and after a few remarks we were off!  It was a quick start and I made sure to avoid the scattered rocks with my minimals.  I quickly fell in behind Jeff and Dave Principe.  I could see Matthew Walker up ahead close to the lead guys, my days of besting him (at least at shorter distances) now a thing of the past.  I was closer to the lead pack than I thought I should be but the pace didn't seem too aggressive and as we made the turn I decided to cling to Jeff for as long as I could.

As we approached the start line I heard someone coming up behind me quickly. I should have realized who it was from the quick turnover - Jonny passed by, clearly playing it conservatively to start.  I followed Jeff and Jonny as we left the beach and hit the trails.  Now it was all about avoiding the sneaky ice patches.  Jonny passed Jeff and continued after Principe.  On the brief road section I tried to push it, not wanting to end up in No Man's Land.  I was able to keep Jeff in my sights but I was breathing hard.

The trail turns back towards the beach and over the next 1/2 mile I was slowly able to gain on Jeff.  The field was spread out now and after the one big descent I glanced back and saw no one.  Good, a little breathing room then.   I was working now but the pace on the watch read 6:04 which pumped me up.  As we approached the house, the trail evens out and gave me a look at the field.  Jonny had just passed Matthew Walker who looked to be slowing.  Jeff was gaining on him and I was only a few seconds behind Jeff.

I didn't think I'd be catching either of the Walkers as they both run well on the beach and have strong kicks.  The last 1/2 mile on the beach is not my favorite and I just wanted to finish strong.  Thus far there had been no knee pain so I was already happy about the race.  The twists and turns of the house forced a slower pace and the broken ice within required a careful step.

The ocean view was easier to enjoy on the cooldown

Last year it was flooded.  This year it was an icy trap.

Coming out of the house, I was surprised to find Jeff and Matthew right in front of me.  I gave Matthew encouragement before realizing he must have gone down as he stopped before jumping the stream.  His Old Man stopped briefly to make sure he was alright and I, being less than a gentleman, took the opportunity to jump the stream first and put some distance on the Gazelles.

But my lead was short lived and Jeff flew by me moments later.  Try as I might I could not catch him.  I was still worried about Matthew, not knowing that he smashed his knee up pretty good on the icy trail.  I ended up finishing a few seconds behind Jeff and managed to take 51 seconds off last year's time!  I was thoroughly happy with this race as it indeed proved to be a fast affair and my legs responded in kind.

Another baddass photo by Scott Mason

Mirror image of last year.  Next time Gazelle! - Photo by Jana Walker

Matthew finished a few moments later with impressively bloody knee.  It didn't keep him down for long and I was happy to see him and his dad doing a cooldown a bit later.  I thought WTAC was going to pick up the team win but it ended up being...Rhode Runners!   The Providence speedsters were out in force for this fast race and WTAC had to settle for 2nd with TNT grabbing 3rd place.  It's definitely a competition now but I like our chances as the trails get longer and more technical.  Kudos to the WTAC women for getting the win over the Turtles.

Thanks to Mike Galoob and his family for another great race!  He even brought fat bikes for people to demo.  The atmosphere was festive and there were some great WTAC performances, led by Chris Garvin who finished one stride short of first place.  This was a really positive race for me and I'm psyched that my knee appears to be finally on the mend.  I'm looking to the Belleville Pond 10k next month (hopefully with less snow!)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Weekly Log: 1.5.15 - 1.11.15

Tough going back to work after twelve days off.  Still, one positive is a return to routine.  I mean to get back into the regular lunch run, even if they're shorter than previously.  And even though winter appears to finally be here in force.

We also have the Resolution 5k this weekend.  I'm feeling better about racing thanks to the Old Mountain 5k.  I'm still not sure how I'll do on the sand portion but I'm looking forward to another fun race with the crew.

Monday - East Providence, RI - 4.3 miles

Back to the grind and I definitely wanted to get out for a run to "unofficially" start 2015 on the right note.  Went over the bridge and ran the Blackstone Park trails. Cold and very breezy so I thought tights were appropriate for this short, easy run but I was overheating by the end.  Of course after a few days of positive running my knee would hurt, but now I'm wondering if the cold weather has an effect on it?

Tuesday - 0 miles

It's been a few months since I made my way over to the yoga studio for $5 lunch yoga.  Today was the day and my absence showed.  All those downward dogs wore me out and I actually had to take a break at points.  Still it was a welcome return and the savasana at the end was especially mellow and wonderful.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 5 miles

80 push-ups (standard) 20/20/20/20

Sweet tap dancing Christ I did some push-ups!  While my back/arm/numb finger thing is still going on, I decided to try some push-ups this morning, hoping they were less impact than the pull-ups which got me in this mess.  It would appear so - I was able to bang out a couple sets, though it was hard work.

At lunch I went over to the Ten Mile River Bikepath.  I stayed probably 75% on trails but kept to the path for stretches.  It was definitely tights weather today and the wind was chilly at times.  All in all a really enjoyable run.  The trails had a light crisp layer of snow and I was able to maintain a peppy sub-8 pace on 'em.  A true winter run and my knee felt good throughout!

Thursday - Charlestown/East Providence, RI - 4.5 miles

I told Amanda last night that I'd take the dog out this morning, knowing it was going to be cold.  And cold it was.  1 degree to be precise.  We kept it short as neither of us wanted to be out there for long.  My only exposed skin was around my eyes but every time the wind blew it felt like an ice cream headache on my face.  Oliver did his business, we did a quick loop on Arbutus and called it a day.

Went for a short run at lunch, just along nearby roads and the trail along the water.  Not frigid like this morning but still cold!  The Seekonk River is all frozen over which is cool to see.  Knee started to jank out a bit on the last trail section so I wrapped it up early.  One can't be too careful when things are looking up.

Friday - 0 miles

Initially I had told myself that there'd be no running today since the knee was a bit achy at the end of yesterday's run.  But when the snow was falling I was sorely tempted to get out there for a few miles.  Ultimately I stayed in the office and read a new Stephen King novel.  Cautious or lazy?  You be the judge.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Resolution 5k - 7.5 miles

Report forthcoming.

Weekly Mileage: 21.4 miles

Year to Date: 29.6 miles

Positive week of running that ended with a great race.  Let's hope it continues into next week.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Weekly Log: 12.29.14 - 1.4.15

End of the year!  With the week off from work I hope to get in a couple shorter runs and finish the year strong.

Monday - 0 miles

No major pain in my knee after yesterday's 12 mile group run at Barn Island.  That's a positive development.  Still I wanted to keep it slow and steady so I opted to just walk the dog today instead.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 5.6 miles

Headed over to the Carter Preserve at lunchtime.  I did a counterclockwise loop on the outermost trails.  Beautiful day out there.  I ventured down to the train tracks again and was happy to finally see a train go by.  I didn't explore on the other side though.

Wednesday - Charlestown, RI - 4.1 miles

Last day of the year and I definitely wanted to finish the year on the right note.  Donned the tights for the first time this season as it was in the 20s.  Knee was a little achy by the end.

Thursday - South Kingstown, RI - 4.4 miles

Might as well start the new year off right as well!  I figured there'd be a good amount of folks hiking the DuVal trail today and there were some but I think the frigid winds kept plenty of them away.  It was about 30 degrees but the wind made it pretty damn cold.  Passed a few unleashed dogs and Garvin's recent encounters gave me pause but luckily they were friendly beasts.

Friday - 0 miles

After three days of running in a row I thought it best to take it easy today.  We headed up to Boston to the Children's Museum and had a fun time as our Christmas vacation nears its end.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 3.8 miles

Strange weather.  Yesterday it was snowing for a few hours and made the roads pretty shitty in the early evening.  This morning the snow is gone and it's 40 degrees outside.  Took Oliver out for a jog before we ventured to Ikea.  We headed down Old Coach Road to South Farm and ran the trails there.  Ran into a couple off-leash dogs which were a pain in the ass.  This was the last day of my Christmas break.  Tomorrow I return to the grind.

Weekly Mileage: 17.9 miles
2014 Mileage Final Tally: 1,720.9
Year to Date: 8.2 miles

A low mileage week but my knee felt pretty good overall!  Slow and steady progress but hopefully I can keep the mileage in upper teens/twenties for a couple weeks and it will continue to improve.  My mileage for the year was just over 1700 so this is the first time I didn't surpass the previous year's total (1803 last year.)  It's due to the knee of course so hopefully I'll get back to it soon and maybe take a shot at 2000 for 2015.