Monday, July 27, 2015

Weekly Log: 7.20.15 - 7.26.15

Monday - Seekonk, MA - 7.1 miles

Janky Knee is acting up since Saturday's Beaver race.  It feels off with weird twinges when I'm just standing around.  Annoying.  It was about 93 degrees today and between that and the Janky Knee I came very close to bailing on the lunch run.  But in the end I got it done.  I did a loop on Seekonk country roads and luckily there was a good amount of shade because the few exposed sections of pavement were miserable.  I brought along my water bottle which was drained by the end.  The occasional breeze and cloud cover helped make the run not that awful though I was ready to be done with a mile to go.  Janky Knee felt fine during the run.  It only feels aggravated when I'm not running.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Another very hot day and since I wanted to get in a yoga session this week today seemed like the perfect day for it.  There was a lot of stretching which my legs appreciated.  Janky knee was a little less janky today.

Wednesday - Providence, RI - 9.5 miles

250 push-ups (standard/wide) 40/45/40/40/40/45

Still hot out there but a little more forgiving than the last two days.  The Strava Challenge is coming to an end in nine days and my chances are completing it are diminishing with every passing day.  Today I was determined to get in some decent hills some I ventured over to Providence and ran up and down the moderate side of College Hill seven times.  There was a good amount of cloud cover and the grade was moderate so I was able to keep the pace up throughout (though the last climb really wore my legs out).  I ended up with 700 feet of gain which was less than I was going for but I'm pleased that I got over nine miles out of the run.  Janky Knee was absent for the run though on the return trip to the office the back of my knee began to ache, I think from that knee strap thing I was wearing.

Thursday - Exeter/East Providence, RI - 15.8 miles

I knew if I was to have any chance of completing this elevation challenge I'd need better hills.  With my lovely wife taking care of Ezri this morning, it was my chance to run outside of my usual radius around East Providence.  I decided to consult the Strava archives of the Master, since he ran almost 30,000 feet of elevation last month using whatever means he could in southern Rhode Island.  I decided to check out these big climbs he devoured near Cuttyhunk/Fisherville.  It's been awhile since I had run here and there were a huge amount of raspberry bushes in the Cuttyhunk parking lot.  If only I had a bucket! I did a brief section of Cuttyhunk that I was familiar with then took the rocky Stony Lane to Pardon Joslin Rd.  It's a dirt road with two steep climbs, one side unmaintained and unpassable unless you're in a jeep or ATV.

I went back and forth, ascending each hill twice.  I was feeling it on my last climb and had to powerhike part of the rocky side.  Then I ventured into Fisherville Sanctuary as I've never been here before.  Beautiful place with well maintained trails and a perfect little pond in the middle.  I definitely need to come back here again when I'm not killing myself with hills.  After this nice respite, I went and climbed each hill once more before shambling my way back to the car.  Then I realized I had an empty water bottle in the backseat so I filled it up with tasty raspberries.  Total elevation = 1,200 feet.  I've still got a long way to go and a short time to get there but at least I've given myself a chance.

So at lunch I decided to really ramp up the pain train and do a few more miles in the midday sun.  I went to the East Bay bike path and thankfully there was a good amount of cloud cover.  After a mile on the path and went into the neighborhoods above to do...that's right more hill repeats!  Oh the joys of self-imposed lunatic challenges!  These weren't actually too bad but my legs were good and dead so the pace was slow but hey!  Another 400 feet on the day.  So about 16 miles on the day - I think this will end up being my sort of long run for the week.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 5.4 miles

245 push-ups (standard/wide/decline) 40/45/35/40/50/35

Late in the day I took the dog out for a few miles on the hilly roads above my house.  It was humid and he was looking dog tired after two miles (hyuck, hyuck).  So I cut through the woods and dropped him off at the house and then ventured back for another couple miles.  Only about four miles on these roads but I nabbed another 700 feet of elevation.  Within an hour of this run we were hit with the worst thunderstorm we've had in a while - we even got hail!  I was glad to see that it didn't affect the Blessing of the Fleet race.  There were some dynamite performances this year.  I'm slightly bummed that I decided not to run but there'll be plenty more years to return to it.

Saturday - 0 miles

We had a summer cookout so I was busing setting things up in the morning and entertaining in the afternoon.

Sunday - 0 miles

So after having my share of fun on Saturday, a run today never materialized.  I had wanted to grind out more elevation on those nearby hilly roads but I didn't get it done.  This may have put the Strava challenge out of reach.  Oh well.  That's the way it goes.

Weekly Mileage: 37.9 miles
Year to Date: 1,041.9 miles

Well I grinded out almost 3,700 feet of elevation this week.  Respectable but I chumped it by skipping out on a Sunday run.  That may end up being the deciding factor in my completing this challenge but I'll have no one but myself to blame.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Run with the Beavers Trail Race 2015

Official time: 1:11:57.   8th overall.  Results here.

The Run with the Beavers trail race is a 10 mile event (two laps) on a good mix of technical single-track and dirt roads.  Held in Chepachet, RI, it's about as far away as it gets in Rhode Island and always brings out a strong field of trail runners.  As is tradition, Jonny Hammett breaks off from WTAC for this race, forming his own team made up of his brother and Boj.  Last year team HammBoj finally suffered a shameful defeat at the hands of WTAC and so Jonny pulled in Mike Galoob to strengthen his renegade squad.  It made the two teams very evenly matched and I was curious to see how it would play out.

I picked up new enemy Galoob and we made the long drive together.  It was overcast and not too hot though very humid.  We arrived with plenty of time to spare and I was glad to see such a large turnout for this race.   After a short warm-up and a layer of bug spray we all lined up on the dirt road and soon took off on the first uphill climb.

The race starts with a climb - Photo by James Lastowski

I ran a 1:12:15 last year and had doubts that I had the fitness to best that effort.  Still I wanted to try so I determined to run hard on the first lap and then just hold on as best I could on the second.  I pushed hard on the dirt road to stay ahead of most people before the singletrack.  As we entered the woods I was behind Chris Fox.  I had hoped to stay with him for as long as possible.  When he passed a guy I did the same but he soon put distance on me.  He's just getting faster and faster.

At about two miles I came upon Jonny who looked like he had gotten his shoe stuck in the muck.  He told me to go on and not long after I was able to pass two guys ahead of me.  I was then leading a train of guys when we reached the water stop at mile 2.5.  It wasn't long on the dirt road section before I heard the quick turnover of Jonny's feet.  He passed me but I was able to stick fairly close to him for the rest of this lap.  Once we got to the steep climb near the end he took off and I only saw him briefly once again near the starting area.

Photo by James Lastowski

I finished the first lap in about 35 minutes.  Right where I wanted to be but I was already tired and wished I could just call it a day.  I felt significantly slower as the second lap began and I glanced back before entering the singletrack.  One of the guys I had passed back at mile 2, Grey Shirt, was not too far back.  As it seems like every year, I get a feeling of rejuvenation upon entering this first singletrack section.  I was moving well and hoped I could put some distance on Grey Shirt.

Not to be.  Once past the water stop I glanced back again, Grey Shirt was still on my tail.  I could hear him getting closer through the next singletrack section and I began to rationalize letting him pass me.  He caught up to me at the last dirt road section but he seemed content to stay behind.  We were basically side by side powerhiking up that steep hill but once the grades became more manageable I was able to put some distance on him.  Then I pushed it hard on the downhill and put a little more space between us.  I was happy to avoid a sprint to the finish but when I saw the clock ticking towards 1:12:00 I did it anyway and was really pleased to finish in under an hour 12.

So a PR by 18 seconds which I'll take gladly.  After three victories Greg Hammett finally had to settle for 2nd place as Wooley ran a great race.  Unfortunately Galoob dropped with hip tightness which which robbed the team competition of some of its drama.  Ryan Wooley, Chris Garvin and Muddy led WTAC to the team victory.   WTAC picked up a box o' random beers for the team prize which we divvied up afterwards.  As always, thanks to Bob Jackman for putting on this race - it's one of the most challenging and enjoyable trail races in Rhode Island.

WTAC wins alcohol - Photo by James Lastowski

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Weekly Log: 7.13.15 - 7.19.15

Run with the Beavers week!  Not counting Ragnar it's been a while since I had a long trail race and this will be my third time running the Beavers 10 Miler.  It promises to be a good time.

In other news my band Hip Bobsha has finished our first album.  It's an EP with six tracks and you should check it out here!

Monday - East Providence, RI - 5.3 miles

220 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 40/30/40/40/25/45

I decided at the last moment to head to the Ten Mile River bike path for some nice and easy miles.  My legs were pretty beat from yesterday's long run in Burlingame and my janky knee was a little achy.  Annoying but it didn't make itself known on the run.  Very hot out there.  Back at the parking lot I saw some dude heading out to walk his dude with a gray parrot perched on his arm.  Go get 'em guy.

Tuesday - Providence, RI - 8.4 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Another hot one and I set out to beat my self up with some time on College Hill.  I know I need to rest up for the Beaver race but I've got it in my head to complete this Strava elevation challenge which requires over 16k feet of elevation gain for the month of July.  Not sure that I have it in me but I want to take a fair stab at it.  To that end. I wandered over to College Hill and meandered up and down the brutal roads.  The heat and hills wore me out by mile 6 and I was glad I brought a water bottle.  About 900 feet of elevation on this run but it felt like more.

Wednesday - Charlestown, RI - 8.7 miles

235 push-ups (standard/decline/wide) 45/30/40/40/40/40

I was working from home so in the morning I ran down to Charlestown Beach.  It was humid and foggy and the sun was a blur up in the sky.  Pretty cool.  I wanted to jump in the water but the waves were pretty big and I'm not a great swimmer.  I opted to just run down the beach a bit before heading back to the house.  Once back across Route 1, I went up to the hills above my house and ran the roads there for another 1.5 miles (the elevation challenge can't be ignored after all) and then cut through the woods back to my place.  I was a complete sweaty mess by the end of this run.  Grabbed about 400 feet from those neighborhood roads so if I'm serious about completing this challenge I have a feeling I'll be heading back to those hills for some repeats.

Thursday - West Greenwich, RI - 5.2 miles

Okay, time to actually take it easy in preparation for Saturday's race. I stopped at Big River West on the way in to the office and did some easy miles.  I was just going to follow the dirt roads for the whole run but I veered off early to explore a trail.  It was muddy twisty turny fun but I dutifully turned back at 2.5 miles.

I see from Jonny's blog that he's enlisted Mike Galoob into his HammBoner team.  It's sad to see another defection from WTAC and I'm hoping for a repeat of last year's results.

Friday - 0 miles

Saturday - Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race - 12.9 miles

Official time: 1:11:56.  8th overall.  Report here.

Sunday - 0 miles

My legs are pretty beat up from yesterday's race.  I was content with taking it easy.  Mowing the yard was enough of a workout for me.  Towards the end of the day ol' janky knee made itself known.

Weekly Mileage: 40.6 miles

Year to Date: 1004 miles

Over 1000 miles so far.  It'd be tough to pull off 2000 this year but not impossible.  Just sayin'.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Weekly Log: 7.6.15 - 7.12-15

Monday - North Kingstown, RI - 5.2 miles

185 push-ups (standard/wide) 40/35/40/30/40

Yesterday's long run trashed my calves and my legs didn't have much life this morning.  I got out of the house early so I ran before work.  Decided to hit up Ryan Park because I wanted trails that were easily accessible and not too taxing.  Took it easy and enjoyed the beautiful day in the park.  Legs found a little life by the end.

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 6.6 miles

Steamy day in the city.  Decided to explore some new streets.  Parked at the East Bay bike path and took it for a mile to nab a Strava hill segment.  After that I just wandered around using a map I printed.  The heat wore me down and I found myself running out of time before I was needed back at the office.  I misjudged the roads and found a pond and golf course blocking a direct route back to the car so I had to book it (as best I could) to make it back in time for a conference call.

Wednesday - 0 miles

250 push-ups (standard/wide/decline) 45/35/25/40/40/25/40

Good yoga session at Providence Power Yoga during lunch.

Thursday - Johnston, RI/Rehoboth, MA - 12.5 miles

Elbow planks 6 x 1 minute

Before work I went over to the Snake Den for some trails and hills.  Also mud.  I don't know if I've ever seen so many water hazards on these trails.  People had done some work on these trails - there's not a clear trail leading down to farmland and another parking lot.  I discovered a patch of raspberries and gobbled some up before moving on.  I grabbed a segment nearby by my real goal was a segment over by the powerlines that Tod Mahony had named in my honor.  But on the way over the Connector Trail, I smashed my big left toe against a rock.  Christ it hurt.  I stopped to inspect it (I always expect my blood to be caked in blood) but it was only a little bruised.  By now the pain had lessened and I was able to keep running.

I made my over to the Seth segment and hit the gas.  There's 135 feet of climbing and plenty of rocks to contend with.  I pushed it as best I could and was running out of stream by the end.  I needed a breather at the top and luckily the view there is pretty spectacular thanks to enterprising folks who cut down a couple trees.  Turns out I grabbed the segment from Mahony by 2 seconds.  After that I took it easy going down the powerline trail before going back up in a display of pure masochism.  Time was against me now so I took roads back to the car.  I had forgotten that this road is all uphill (ha!) but I wanted elevation today and I guess I got it (700 feet total).

With my day's run out of the way I thought about doing yoga at lunch but I was itching for more miles.  So I drove over to Rehoboth and did some repeats on Rocky Hill Road.  I had done much of this road as big loop from the Wheeler School but never had taken it this far.  The hill was steep and no joke!  The road was also narrow and people drove like maniacs on these back roads.  I had to be careful.  I couldn't imagine a cyclist going down this hill - dicey.  Anyway I did three repeats and would've liked a few more but I had to get back to the office.  Glad I know about this place now - a good alternative to College Hill.

Friday -Westerly/Charlestown, RI - 12.6 miles

Mike B organized a swim/run at the Westerly Town Beach in honor of Tommy 5k who's getting hitched today.  I opted out of the swim and showed up late, talking with Crutch and 5k's brother until the crazies finished their mile swim.  A round of mimosas followed after they pulled themselves out of the way and then we did a three mile beach run.  Fun chitchatting with everyone and I hope 5k has a great wedding.

Then I drove home and switching into some road shoes and took the dog out for 2.4 miles.  Very humid and he clearly lost interest after the first mile.  We managed a little over two miles and cut through the woods to take a shortcut back to the house since I had to start working.

Since I was working from home today, the lunch run was different than usual.  I ran down to Charlestown Town Beach which was packed with folks.  Took off my shoes and enjoyed a few minutes in the ocean before heading home.  It was hot but the water did me right and I enjoyed the run back.  Not a shabby way to spend a lunch run and psyched to get two 12+ mile days in a row!

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 3.4 miles

Took the dog out for a few easy Saturday morning miles.  Humid as usual.  Kept it easy but sneak in a few hills on him.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 14 miles

Went over to Burlingame for a morning long run.  Parked on King's Factory and ran Sammy C's around before heading down to North Camp.  Had some groin tightness but otherwise felt okay.  Then I headed to North Burlingame where the hills worked me over.  I followed the N/S Trail to where it hit road and then reversed course.  Now my legs were feeling it and the groin tightness was getting worse.  The rest of the run was a slog, but I still went out of my way to work in some big climbs because I wanted to get a goodly amount of elevation this week.  It worked and I had 1000 feet of climbing for this run.

When I got home I loaded this run into Strava as "the Great Suffering."  It sounded good at the time but after seeing all the awesome performances on Sunday (Jurek's AT record and Adam Wilcox crushing Hard Rock in particular) perhaps I was being a bit dramatic.

Weekly Mileage: 54.3 miles
Year to Date: 963.4 miles

Big week of miles and also 3200 feet of climbing!  I'd say let's keep it going but I suppose I should taper some for the Beaver race next weekend.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Weekly Log: 6.29.15 - 7.5.14

We're now post Ragnar and this should be an easy(ish) week for me as I look to recover and head into July.  Not sure what this month will hold for me.  I'm pretty sure that I'm passing on the Blessing of the Fleet this year but I still plan on doing the Run with the Beavers race.  Otherwise I just would like to get in some decent long runs!

Monday - East Providence, RI - 6 miles

My quads and calves are still very sore from the Friday/Saturday relay.  Also I've got a lot of soreness in my upper back/biceps (a reminder that it's good that I continue to do push-ups).  I parked in Riverside and did an easy run along the flat bike path into Barrington.  Lots of cyclists out today.  Pace dropped down to the low 7s without really thinking about it which I consider a good sign.

Tuesday - Providence, RI - 5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Another easy run - this time over the bridge and around Blackstone Park.  Legs are still pretty sore but I did a few hills to complete the Strava Nepal challenge.  Of course now they unveil a new July elevation challenge with basically double the elevation.  Dunno if I'll complete it but I'll try to give it a shot.

Wednesday - 0 miles

210 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 35/25/50/35/25/40

Went to Yoga today.  Had a great session.  It was warm in there and I really started working up a sweat halfway through.  Felt great!  Then banged out some push-ups towards the end of the day.

Thursday - South Kingstown, RI - 10. 5 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I got out of work early and decided to check out the trails near Barber Pond.  I went with the minimal MT00s that I haven't worn in quite some time.  The trail network turned out to be very small and I found myself at Route 2 with plenty of time.  I decided to explore Wolf Rock Rd which I had never been on.  It proved to be very hilly and while a dead end much longer than I anticipated.  The road ends at the train tracks and on the way back I decided to follow a powerline trail.  The trail was in great shape and a kid on a dirtbike passed me twice.  It was getting late but I hoped I'd be able to find a way to take it back to the car.  I came very close - swamp and briars blocked my path and I didn't want to run into some guy's backyard.  So I abandoned the effort and beat feet all the way back to Wolf Rock Rd and the car.  This added several more miles than I had planned on running and my calves were aching from the minimal footwear by the end.  Fun run though and a great way to start the three day weekend.

Friday - 0 miles

Tired legs from yesterday and today we went up to Purgatory Chasm in Mass where the massive rock canyon is quite impressive.  Fun place to hike and explore.

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 4.1 miles

I took the dog out in the morning for a hot, humid jog.  Pace was easy but I through in a few climbs to keep us honest.  We were gross by the end.

Sunday - South Kingstown, RI - 15.5 miles

In the early AM I returned to Barber Pond to explore some more of the area around Wolf Rock.  After hitting up the road and powerlines that I explored last time, I went in the other direction on the powerlines before coming upon a dirt road.  This led up to a creepy hillbilly compound so I return to the powerlines and continued to follow it to another dirt road.  This one led back to Wolf Rock Rd which kind of disappointed me.  My plans for discovery thwarted, I decided to run the first powerline trail again and explore some other neighborhood roads.  By now the hills and miles were wearing me down and the neighborhood roads proved much hillier than I anticipated.  Good long run but I was beat and the Janky Knee was a little achy towards the end.  Finished it off with a quick dip in Barbers Pond.

Weekly Mileage: 41.6 miles
Year to Date: 909.1 miles