Thursday, November 26, 2015

Weekly Log: 11.16.15 - 11.22.15

After a lackluster performance at Li'l Rhody due to recovering from the RI 6 Hour, I'm not sure what will happen this weekend when I have the Mews Tavern 6.9k.  It's too bad these three races weren't in the opposite order.  Oh well.  I had already signed up for the Mews so I'll definitely be there.  Just not sure what I'll get out of my legs.

Monday - 0 miles

Legs still sore from attempting Li'l Rhody Runaround yesterday so I took it easy today.

Tuesday - North Kingstown, RI - 5 miles

T'was cold out there this morning!  I did an easy five miles around Ryan Park.  Five miles was enough which indicates that I'm still recovering from the RI 6 Hour.

Wednesday - Seekonk, MA - 6.3 miles

Went out for a country roada loop in Seekonk at lunchtime.  Not too cool but I still felt the need for gloves.  Should've just left 'em behind and had chilled hands for a mile 'cause I ended up carrying them most of the way.  Chris Fox past my on his bike and he turned back and kept me company for a few minutes while we chatted about Li'l Rhody.  Hopefully we can meet up for some speed work in a few weeks when things settle down for me.

Thursday - Smithfield, RI - 5.5 miles

Before work I headed up to Wolf Hill for another easy trail run. Someone had been to work on half the trails with a leafblower.  The other half had heavy leaf cover.  An enjoyable fall run at one of my favorite RI spots.

Friday - 0 miles

No time for a run today.  Which is fine as I'm planning on attending a group run tomorrow and I have the Mews race on Sunday.

Saturday - Stonington, CT - 6 miles

Jeff organized a group run in honor of Mike B who's been going through some tough times.  It has been awhile since I ran with everyone and I do mean everyone - we had ten people!  This was a fun easy run through the Barn Island trails.  After six miles I said goodbye because I wanted to stay fresh for the Mews.  We'll have to get back in the habit of more runs like this.

Sunday - Wakefield, RI - 7.4 miles

Mews Tavern 6.9k.  Official time: 26:33.  22nd overall.  Report forthcoming.

Weekly Mileage: 30.2 miles

Year to Date: 1,784.2 miles

Happy to get back to a more normal week of running after finally recovering from the effects of the ultra.  The rest of the year will be packed with the holidays and a long business trip but hopefully I can keep the mileage up and hit 2000 for the year.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

RI 6 Hour Ultra 2015

40.5 miles in 5:42:57.  4th overall. 3rd male.  Results here.

Up until now I had drifted through 2015 without any marquis long distance event in mind.  I spent the winter/spring building up mileage again after last fall's knee injury.  I continued to up mileage through the summer, hitting a nice groove of 50 mile weeks.  But I was running without a goal in mind and my long runs were sporadic and usually topped out at 14 miles.  I was running more than ever but date conflicts and nervousness about the state of my knee kept me from committing to a long fall race.  As we entered October I began to think about Bob Jackman's RI 6 Hour Ultra.  The idea of running a 2.7 mile pavement loop for six hours sounded terribly masochistic and was not my cup of tea.  Ultimately I decided to pull the trigger a week prior.  I was feeling good about my fitness and liked that I could go into this race with no real goal other than to just run and see how everything felt.  With the short loop format I wouldn't have to worry about fuel or clothing, instead relying on the aid table and a nearby drop bag.

Of course I had think about a distance goal.  Based on last year's Pineland 50k and my current mileage, forty miles seemed a reasonable distance to cover in six hours.  I figured if I could cover 50k in around 4:20, that would give me an hour forty to cover nine miles - a reachable goal no matter what state I was in.  I didn't have any doubt I'd cover the time, the question was how long before the suffering began. I had run 2 hours 45 minutes of trails with Muddy two weeks prior.  The last half hour of that had been tough.  I had a couple 2+ hour runs back in August but you had to go back to April to find another 3 hour run.  How long would my legs hold out?

It was cold when I arrived but was forecast to get up to the 50s for perfect running weather.  I arrived with plenty of time to set up my own chair/race bag next to the aid station.  The nice thing about this race was that with the short loop format I'd have plenty of opportunities to change clothes/shoes or patch up my body if necessary.  I was able to just dump a bunch of everything into my bag and not worry too much about the particulars.  I decided to go with the Hoka One One Mafate Speed.  They had been serving me well lately but I brought the Asics Cumulus as back-up.

My green chair sits quietly next to the aid station.
No, I didn't sit in it until afterwards.

Race Director Jackman called us over and went through the pre-race spiel.  Then we were off, moving along the bike path at a reasonable pace.  I was determined to keep the first mile over 8 minutes.  I started running next to a guy and we chitchatted for much of the first lap.  I finished the first lap in 21 minutes.  The loops continued and I was in the 20-22 minute range for the first ten loops.   These first couple hours felt good.  Pace was in the 7:30-8:00 range for the first 25 miles.  I was grabbing water/heed and bananas every loop.  Salt tabs at miles 15 and 27.  A couple port-o-john stops as well.

I had never been to Warwick Park and was surprised how large it was.  As the loops accumulated, I mentally separated the course into three sections.  The first was along a series of baseball fields. These fields seemed to go on forever and mentally wore me down. The next section was along the rolling road and gave you a chance to see up ahead.  This was followed by my favorite section of the course, along the water.  This part was the hilliest with some fun rollers.  They weren't much at first but as the loops wore on, the hills began to slow me down.  By mile 34 or so I started walking some of them.  These hills made it hard to pin down the distance to the finish.  I kept thinking I was farther along than I was.

After mile thirty the going got tougher.  I was now four hours in and my legs were feeling pretty sore. I hit my goal of a 4:10ish 50k so I knew I was in good shape.  I caught Jackman around this time and he told me I was third.  Not long after I was passed the woman's leader Maddy Hribar along with another guy who wasn't racing.  She's won this race several times and has 100 milers and such under her belt.  I hung with then for about a mile.  I enjoyed the conversation but it was hard to keep that pace and I finally dropped back.

From here my pace fell slowly and surely.  I was really feeling the work and forward momentum felt more like a shuffle.  I appreciated having so many people on the path.  I would latch onto runners and have them pull me along for a minute before passing them and moving on to the next.  In addition to the runners, there were plenty of folks just out walking.  I was friendly with them early on but by the later loops I began to ignore them.  Just obstacles to avoid.  By mile 35 I was five hours in.  A true shuffle began.  There were short periods of walking, especially as I exited the aid station.  I passed Crutchley for the last time and I felt beat.

I really like this breakdown by lap as it gives a good overview of the race.
The first ten laps were consistent.  Then the slow decay began...

Let me say at this point that the aid station crew was great.  They greeted me by name on every lap and were most helpful, always willing to fill my bottle (I began to carry it and sip constantly for the last couple hours).  I probably should have known their names so I apologize for that.  They all were very encouraging, especially towards the end when I wasn't in great spirits.  As I shuffled into the aid station for the last time I was tired but feeling positive since I had 45 minutes to complete one more lap.  I downed a couple cups on Coke.  Normally I don't go for soda but I needed a jolt.  That seemed to help and I didn't feel so bad on the last lap.  I was moving pretty well considering how I felt and in fact I finished 70 seconds ahead of the previous lap.

I finished with 17 minutes to spare.  I'm thankful I didn't have enough time to consider another lap (I watched poor Mr. Crutchley come in a minute after the race ended - he had put in a hard fought effort on that last lap!)  For third place I got a cool stick guy trophy and some cash.  Can't beat that!  By the time the awards were presented I was already starting to hobble around and it would be several days before I could walk down the stairs unassisted.

I'm really thrilled with how everything unfolded.  I wasn't sure how the legs would hold up but they got me to the 50k only a few minutes off my Pineland time.  The knee wasn't an issue at all and I never thought about it.  The narrow Hokas began to aggravate my pinkies with two hours to go - I ignored this and it never became an issue.  Overall this race gave me a lot of confidence about my endurance and now I can start thinking in earnest about a big spring race.  Thanks to Bob Jackman and all the volunteers but putting on this event - it's a fun time and the six hours goes faster than you'd think!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Weekly Log: 11.9.15 - 11.15.15

This will be an easy week following the forty miles I ran at the RI 6 Hour Ultra (I'm slow getting the report done but look for it later this week).  Unfortunately by running the 6 Hour I accept that I probably sabotaged my chances of putting up a PR at Lil Rhody Runaround this weekend.  I still intend to run but I'm not sure what shape I'll be in.

Monday - 0 miles

Good lord, I don't think I've ever been this sore before.  I can barely walk.  I probably should have a cane.  Going up stairs is slow, going down is treacherous.  I hold onto the rail for dear life.  It takes two hands to lower myself onto the toilet.  I've heard gym guys talking about leg day - this feels like the affects of leg day times ten.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Slightly better than yesterday but I'm still a shambling mess.  Thankfully everything just feels really sore and not injured.  Just the result of 40 miles of pavement.  The next long one will definitely be a return to trails.

Wednesday - Charlestown, RI - 2 miles

The worst of the soreness finally appears to be over.  I was working from home due to Veterans Day and I took the dog out at lunchtime.  Two miles was enough for me and even with the 9 minute pace my quads began to get angry after two miles.

Thursday - West Greenich, RI - 5 miles

My legs were feeling much better today so I took to Big River for some easy trails miles.  I kept the pace slow and stuck to the widest trails - Sawmill and the New London Turnpike - but by the last mile my legs were feeling it.  Still it was good to get out there.  I'm hopeful that Sunday's race won't be a total shitshow now.

Friday - 0 miles

I didn't have much motivation to run at lunch.  Okay, I had no motivation.  This has been a slothful, gluttonous week.  Consider it a victory lap after last Sunday.  At any rate, this can't continue but for now I'm content to bask in the lazy.  On the plus side, the legs feel normal now.

Saturday - 0 miles

I took Em up to Boston to look at a couple colleges (I can't believe she goes to college next year).  Since I bailed on yesterday that means no running the last two days.  Chumpy but I'm alright with it considering I'm running an eight mile race tomorrow.  We'll see how it goes.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 10 Miles

Li'l Rhody Runaround.  56:40.  26th overall.  Quads became unruly around mile 3 and I took it easy the rest of the race.  Report forthcoming (maybe).

Weekly Mileage: 17 miles
Year to Date: 1,754 miles

The recovery from the 6 Hour would not be denied.  While my soreness was gone by the weekend, my legs were still in no shape to race.  It'll probably be another easy week as I have yet another unwise race next weekend (Mews Tavern 6.9k).

Monday, November 9, 2015

Weekly Log: 11.2.15 - 11.8.15

With the decision to enter the RI 6 Hour Ultra this weekend, this will be a very easy week.  I'm so used to having to fit in a week of runs that it'll be weird to have so much free time.

Monday - 0 miles

Tuesday - 0 miles

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 5 miles

I went out a lunch for an easy five along the East Bay bike path.  My pace wasn't anything special but it felt like work and I spent the run dwelling on this weekend's race and feeling unprepared.  My knees were twingy too.  Just pre-race nerves but it was annoying.

Thursday - Cranston, RI - 4 miles

I felt like spicing it up so before work I picked a random spot in Cranston and attempted to explore some nearby powerlines/trails I saw on Google.  I missed the road I was searching for and ended up parking elsewhere.  Then I did an easy loop involving another stretch of powerline followed by a short exploration of a golf course.  Pretty hilly area and people drive way too fast on backcountry roads.  I may never step on that land again.

Friday - East Providence, RI - 4 miles

Before work, I went to the Ten Mile River Bike Path for one last easy run.  Calves felt tight which wasn't reassuring but otherwise an uneventful run.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Warwick, RI - RI 6 Hour Ultra - 40.5 miles

4th overall.  40.5 miles over 5 hours and 43 minutes.  Very excited about this run.  Report forthcoming.

Weekly Mileage: 53.5 miles

Year to Date: 1,737.3 miles

Friday, November 6, 2015

Weekly Log: 10.26.15 - 11.1.15

Monday - 0 miles

My legs were pretty trashed from the long run with Muddy yesterday so I took it easy today.

Tuesday - East Greenwich, RI - 10.4 miles

115 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 20/15/20/20/20/20

With an early start, I parked at the park on Frenchtown Road and decided to do a mix of roads and trails.  It was mid 30s and dark to start and I ran with a hat and headlamp for the first mile.  I ran the roads up to the Hopkins Hill Rd parking lot at Big River.  I wore the Hokas which worked pretty well on the roads but as soon as I entered the trails I was aware of how unbalanced I was.  This will definitely be the last time I wear them on technical stuff.  I managed to get myself lost pretty early on before taking the ridge up around Carr Pond.  After a couple miles in the woods I came out upon South Road and followed it to complete a big loop.  Fun run that got warmer and lighter as I went.

Back in the office I did some push-ups which I've really chumped out on lately.  They were pretty tough and my numbers were way down which is to be expected.

Wednesday - Seekonk, MA - 6.5 miles

Not much motivation today but I got it done.  Parked at Caratunk Preserve and ran some roads I hadn't been on before.  They led me up to almost Attleboro and then I took some train track trails for a bit before returning to the car on familiar roads.  Rain drops began to fall just as I got back to the car so I timed it right.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 10 miles
The rest of Wednesday was a rainy mess but by lunch time on Thursday it was beautiful out.  I arrived at work early so that I could extend my lunch run instead of trying to get out early in the nastiness.  This proved to be the right choice.  I took the bike path from Riverside down into Barrington.  I explored a small network of trails along Brickyard Pond before taking some fancy housed roads back to the bike path.  Pace was in the low 7s and I was feeling good on this run.

Friday - 0 miles

Saturday - 0 miles

Two days of no running - just didn't have time/inclination.  However this week of running convinced me to finally pull the trigger on a big race.  I signed up for Bob Jackman's 6 Hour Ultra in Warwick Park next weekend.  Even though I haven't been purposefully training and my long runs have been woefully inconsistent, my mileage has been up so I feel like I should be able to grind out a decent performance.  I've never done a timed event and normally multiple short loops wouldn't be my thing but I think this is a good year for me to jump into it and see how it goes.

Sunday - North Kingstown, RI - 8.1 miles

This run almost didn't happen but I didn't want to make it three days in a row of not running.  I finally set out for a loop in Quonset.  I didn't want to run too long as I guess I'm now in taper mode.  A good run to finish the week and start November.

Weekly Mileage; 35.1 miles

Year to Date: 1,683.8 miles

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Weekly Log: 10.19.15 - 10.25.15

Amanda's away for much of the week so dog walking duties fall to me.  This should help me get a decent amount of mileage this week.

Monday - Charlestown/Providence, RI - 8.1 miles

Took the dog out for a couple miles in the cold dark of 5:30 AM.  At lunch time I did a meandering run over to College Hill.  Not much motivation but I got it done.

Tuesday - Charlestown/East Providence, RI - 10.5 miles

Grinded out ten miles through a sad triple.  First a dog jog in the morning (at least it wasn't freezing like yesterday).  Then at lunch I did a quick four mile loop along the East Providence shoreline.  It's a filthy place which is sad.  Then after work I did another four miles along the bike path.  Another low motivation day but I got through it.

Wednesday - 0 miles

The lack of motivation finally caught up to me.  I failed to take the dog out in the morning as was my charge.  I stayed in bed instead.  And that lethargy continued throughout the day.  My boss brought in a big bowl of Twix and Snickers and I was took weak to ignore them.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI/Seekonk, MA - 10.7 miles

The day off seemed to work.  I got the dog jog done in the morning and at lunch ventured to the country roads of Seekonk.  There's a powerline section I've been eyeballing for the last year and I finally decided to get after it.  It begins with a pricker strewn path through a swampy section that was finally dry enough to be of minimal nuisance.  Then there was a good stretch of utility road which led to some doubletrack.  I dumped me out on familiar roads and I took them around to the Cuttyhunk Preserve.  This run was a fun mix of quiet road and trails.  Glad I finally got to those powerlines.

Friday - Seekonk, MA - 5.1 miles

I returned to Seekonk for more trails but I once again had little pep.  I ground out five miles on most dirt road trails but it was a chore.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Hopkinton, RI - 19 miles

I met Muddy at Ashville Pond for a two hour trail run.  A light rain began to fall but the miles went quick spurned on by good conversation. We took trails past Yawgoog Pond up to Green Falls Road and then stuck to dirt roads for a bit before taking those same trails past Yawgoog.  At this point we were closing on two hours and it was clear that we'd be out longer than anticipated.  I was actually glad of this because I had been shirking my long runs and it was about time I got an honest one in.  However my legs were really beginning to feel it.  I also had the start of those damn bloody nipples so I had to peel my shirt off lest it get ruined.  Finally we closed in on our cars and we had to decide between the legbeater trails of Long Pond or dirt roads.  We chose the dirt roads but it ended up beginning considerably longer than we thought.  By the time we got to the lot we were approaching three hours.  My legs were useless.  A hard run but just what I needed.

Weekly Mileage: 53.4 miles

Year to Date: 1610.2 miles