Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekly Log: 1.25.16 - 1.31.16

Here we come at last to the last week of January.  A less than stellar start to the year with a total of 16 miles accumulated thus far.  I'm finally going to the doctor for my janky shin/ankle this week so we'll see if anything comes of it.

Monday - 0 miles

So the Nurse Practitioner didn't have much to say about the Jank McStank.  She thought it was a tendon along the inner ankle but didn't think an X-ray would do much.  I have an appointment with a specialist in a few weeks.  I'll be easing into some runs and following them with an ice/drug regimen. Hopefully it won't get worse before the specialist.

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 5.1 miles

New Plank PR: 2:05

Since the tendon thing hasn't gotten any better lo these many weeks, I didn't see much point in continuing to not run (as it was just making me miserable).  So I brought my snowshoes and microspikes up to the office intent on getting some outdoor time at lunch.  I didn't count on it being a balmy 50 degree day.  There was spotty snow/slush on the Ten Mile River Bike path.  The trails nearby had a couple inches of slushy snow - imminently runnable.  I ended up forgoing any additional traction and sticking to snowy surfaces as much as I could.  The tendon stung briefly at the beginning and then was a non-issue.  It was great to be back out there, especially on such a beautiful day.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 4 miles

New Plank PR: 2:17
160 push-ups (standard/diamond/wide) 25/15/25/25/15/30/25

Ankle wasn't too bad today so I decided to risk another run, this time along the East Bay bike path.  It was pretty achy right from the getgo and I was always aware of it.  It became really sore later in the day as a result.

Thursday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)
Lunch Yoga (45 minutes)

Well my ankle really hurt after yesterday's run.  Bah, so much for being over the hump.  I went to lunch yoga instead and the ankle was fine but later in the night driving home from band practice it really ached.

Friday - 0 miles

Lunch Yoga (45 minutes)

Ankle's somewhat better today but no point in beating it up with another run so I did lunch yoga for the second day in a row.  Really good session.

Saturday - 0 miles

Another weekend day of lethargy, which has become my habit.  I played a lot of Minecraft, harvesting obsidian and exploring the Nether.  If you don't know what I just wrote that's probably for the best.  I do feel some shame when I spent a good portion of a beautiful day in front of the TV but it's an old pleasure I'm happy to revisit. Maybe it's time to resubscribe to World of Warcraft, gain 30 pounds and get a new gaming rig.  I'll rejigger this into a gaming blog and Seth 2.0 will officially be dead.  Stay tuned!

Sunday - Westerly, RI - 6.8 miles

New Plank PR: 2:32

Another gorgeous day out there (50 degrees) and the ankle jankyness was low so I knew I had to get out there.  I had some shopping in Westerly so I decided to hit up the Champlin Glacier Preserve.  Lots of people enjoying the trails today.  The ankle was uncomfortable after a mile but it was manageable so I ignored it.  They've cleared out a lot of the land - apparently to make a haven for small creatures.  Should look nice once the vegetation grows in.  Beautiful run in the woods and even with the ankle discomfort it was well worth it.

Weekly Mileage: 15.9 miles

Year to Date: 32.2 miles

So January 2016 comes to a close with my lowest monthly mileage since May 2011.  Nowhere to go but up!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Weekly Log: 1.18.16 - 1.24.16

Here we are in the midst of what could be called the Great Malaise.  My janky shin seemed to get better on its own before aching again.  I almost definitely need to go to the doctor this week.  I'm feeling very scattered and perhaps depressed.  Maybe I'll just give up running entirely.  We've started playing Minecraft in my house.  Perhaps it's time to return to my video game roots, pack on twenty pounds and get a new couch for the basement.

Monday - 0 miles

I have a dream - that one day I will run again.  With a couple inches of snow on the ground it looked lovely out.  Too bad Ezri is sick with a head cold.  I wrapped up the three day weekend as I began it, doing little and less.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I stayed home with Ezri as she recovered from her cold.  Got up and did the Ripper in the morning so that's something I guess.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Lunch time yoga for $5.  They crank the heat during the winter so I work up a sweat which makes me feel like accomplished more than I probably did.

Thursday - 0 miles

135 push-ups (standard/military/wide) 20/20/25/25/20/25

The threat of a major snowstorm from the beginning of this week is beginning to fade.  Looks like we're only going to get a couple inches this weekend.  This is for the best.

Shin is still an issue.  It's fine for the most part but when I wake up or get out of the car after my commute I can feel it stinging.  Very strange.  I'm getting it checked out on Monday.

Friday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

I did much better on this round of the Ripper. A few consistent attempts is all it takes. Now they're saying we're going to get a decent amount of snow.  Whatever.  Bring it on!

Saturday - 0 miles

Big storm bearing down on us.  A good day to stay in the warm basement and intermittently head out for snow fun.

I saw a Facebook post from Peter Maksimow talking about his love of planking.  That inspired me to start doing them more frequently.  I did my longest ever this morning - 1 minute 42 seconds.  Let's see how long I can go!

Sunday - 0 miles

Ten inches of fresh snow on the ground.  Luckily we kept up with the shoveling yesterday and with the overnight plow we were in good shape.  Did some snowshoeing on the hill behind my house.  These things work well - looking forward to some longer forest walks.  New plank record: 1:52.

Weekly Mileage: ZERO

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weekly Log; 1.11.16 - 1.17.16

Monday - East Providence, RI - 6.3 miles

After a week of rest to let my left shin/ankle issue heal up, I decided to attempt a run today.  I started at the Ten Mile River bikepath and did a mix of trail and sidewalk that looped me around through the Seekonk Meadows trails as well.  It felt great being back out there, though I misjudged the temp and overdressed.  Unfortunately by mile three the shin pain was noticeable and it was really bothering me for the last mile.  So the issue isn't any better and in fact this run probably made it worst.

Tuesday - 0 miles

I was hobbling around this morning and it hurt to put too much pressure on my left foot.  The whole thing has got me depressed.  I suppose I'll need to schedule a doctor's visit.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

From the depths of hell rises the Ripper!  It's been many months since I attempted this short P90X core workout and it was shameful.  I was flopping around like a trout and could barely make it through any of the exercises.  But with my janky feet I've no choice but to wrangle this beast once again.

Thursday - 0 miles

135 push-ups (standard/wide) 15/20/20/20/25/20/15

The soreness!  Yes the core is a field of DOMS.  Attempting to do push-ups today was sort of sad but I ground 'em out.  Ankle/shin isn't feeling too bad today but I know it's just a ruse to lure me into complacency.  Nice try!

Friday - 0 miles

Still very sore from the Ripper! Putting on my pants is tough.  I did lunchtime yoga with Amanda at Providence Power Yoga.  I was sweating pretty good by the end but I definitely felt less sore.  Ankle/shin wasn't an issue.  Is it actually improving?  We'll see.  The gig tonight at Tara's may just beat it up again.

Saturday - 0 miles

Yeah the shin was janked out after the gig last night.  Was better for most of today but then towards the end of the day I can feel it aching.  Blah.

Sunday - 0 miles

So my hope that the shin thing was getting better on its own was misguided.  It's clearly not.  I should've gone to the doctor this past week but I was lazy and now I've set back my recovery even more.  Amanda has noticed how mopey I am - without the running outlet I'm a lazy sad sack.  Oh well.  With every new week comes new hope.

Weekly Mileage: 6.3 miles
Year to Date: 16.3 miles

Friday, January 15, 2016

Resolution 5k Beach & Trail Race 2016

Office time: 19:55.  14th overall.  8th in Age Group.  Results here.

The second race of the 4th Season is always a fun affair that's markedly different from the first one.  Taking place at Scarborough Beach, the course is faster and much less challenging than Old Mountain Field.  It also has been fairly free of snow in past years, though the wind and temperature have made for some chilly outings.  Today's temperature was almost balmy but the high winds brought it back to winter levels.  A short warm-up on the beach confirmed that the wind would definitely play a part in the race.

After the warm-up I felt warm enough to go with just a singlet and gloves.  The team competition looked to be between Rhode Runners and WTAC but once again RR brought out their speedsters who would certainly be favored on this course.  Galoob gave us his pre-race spiel and we were off, running into the wind.  The wind certainly slowed us down and everyone seemed content to hide behind Jackman and let him take the brunt of it.  After the turnaround I was running beside a little guy who didn't want to let me pass.  He hung with me and tried to cut in front of me but finally I got ahead of him.  I passed another guy before the end of the beach section and once the sand got thick I was able to put some distance on them.

The windy start - Photo by Scott Mason

Heading back down the beach with the wind assist - Photo by Jana Walker

There was a Rhode Runner ahead of me and once we hit the Black Point trails I was able to reel him in.  I passed him as the trail turned back towards the beach.  The going got pretty muddy here and I began to slip quite a bit but managed to stay upright.  Up ahead was a pack of three and I was slowly gaining on them but I was already working pretty hard.  As we neared the beach the wind hit me and I knew the last 1/2 mile on the beach was going to be miserable.  Running through the stone house is always fun and Scott Mason was there, taking great shots as usual.

As I jumped down to the beach I trounced through the wide stream since we were almost done.  As in previous years I wore my minimal New Balance MT00s which always serve me well on this soft course.  They also drain well.  I was still gaining on the group of three, which now began to separate as the finish approached.  I tried to find another gear but it was tough, the wind was making this last stretch a real chore.  I didn't end of catching the guy in front of me but I almost reeled him and I was happy with the effort.

The tiring finish - Photo by Jana Walker

I finished over a minute slower than last year but much of that is due to the wind.  There were no course PRs today.  Rhode Runners took the men's competition easily again as we are without some of our fastest guys.  Hopefully as the races get longer we'll be able to bridge the gap.  The WTAC women once again took first so at least the ladies got to pocket some beer for their effort.  My shin was pretty aggravated afterwards and it's been slow to recover.  So far both of these short trail races have been brutal to my feet.  At this rate I'm not sure if I'll survive the series!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weekly Log: 1.4.16 - 1.10.16 - Sloth Week

My inner shin had felt weird since the Resolution 5k.  Achy at times and tiingly/pinched at others.  I thought a few days of rest to start the week would take care of it but here I am a week later and still feeling its twinges.  As a result, I didn't run a single time this week.  I was going to run today in the downpours but I've decided to complete the week in style but staying in my PJs all day.  My first zero since mid-2014 I think.

Probably for the best.  I did get in 120 push-ups at one lunch this week and I felt it for two days.  I think I'm going to dedicate January to other forms of exercise.  Get back to a consistent Yoga routine and maybe dust off the hand weights. Oh I'll still run but probably keep the mileage low for the rest of the month and get ready to ramp things up in mid-February.

At least that's the plan as it stands today!

Weekly Mileage: ZERO
Year to Date: 10 miles

Friday, January 8, 2016

Weekly Log: 12.28.15 - 1.3.16

The end of the 2015 and the beginning of a new year!  I have four days to cover 29 miles to hit my arbitrary goal of 2000 miles for the year.  My totals are of course questionable: I relied on Garmin's data for the most part, though I began to round up Jonny-style for any trails runs in the last few months.  In reality I probably hit 2k some time ago but I must rely on my technological mistress.  My feet are sore and tired but I will grind out these last 29!

Not to mention that the second race of the 4th season is this weekend: the often frigid Resolution 5k at Scarborough Beach!

Monday - Charlestown, RI - 14 miles

We were going to a party at a friends' house at Curtis Corner in S.K. so the wife suggested I run there as I had done before.  Capital idea!  I left at 3:15 and brought the headlamp as I knew I'd be finishing in the dark.  Chilly out there but with a compression top I was plenty warm.  I took the Narragansett Trail over to Route 2 which began the worst part of the run.  Running along Route 2 is never great and I was happy to finally jump off it towards the Kingston train station.  Once past the train station the rest of the run was on the bike path.  Now it finally was night and a little spooky out there.  My watch had died by this point but I think I was moving pretty well (because of the spookiness).  A good run with enough mileage to move the chains.

Tuesday - Charlestown, RI - 4 miles

A sluggish day and I didn't have much oomph.  Another wifely suggestion: take the dog out.  So we ventured out as night fell and ground out four miles.  Feet were achy but I'm glad we got a few more miles done.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Another sluggish day with no drive.  I've got 11 miles to go and decided to just bag together and wrap it up on NYE.

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 12.5 miles

From the house I went over to Worden's Pond Road and then took the sand dunes/dirt road to the DuVal Trail.  It's always fun to run this trail.  I was moving well once I returned to road, the adrenaline of finishing this year in style I guess.  I checked out a new housing development off of Shannock - this might be just the ticket to connect to the South Farm pastures.  We'll see!  I ended up with 1.5 miles more than I needed and some sore shins.  But I did it - 2000 miles for the year for the first time!

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 3.5 miles

Took the dog for an easy stroll up to South Farm.

Sunday - Narragansett, RI - 10 miles

Resolution 5k.  Windy.  14th overall.  Report forthcoming.

Weekly Mileage: 40.7 miles
Year to Date (2015): 2001.7 miles
Year to Date (2016): 13.5 miles

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Year in Review

With another year of running in the books, it's time to look back on my highs and lows.  Last year ended one of those lows, with my knee all janked up from two long punishing races spread two weeks apart, NipMuck trail marathon and Bimbler's Bluff 50k.  As a result the yearly recap was doom & gloom and I didn't even bother to list some goals for 2015.  Oh well.

The year started off with low mileage and lingering knee soreness.  The crazy amount of snowfall made winter running impossible in both the woods and the city.  I spent a good amount of time on the country roads of Seekonk where at least there was a shoulder to run.  During these cold months I didn't do much in the way of long runs and the highlights were mostly restricted to the 4th Season trail races.  I ran the Ocean's Run 1/2 which confirmed that I was much slower than last year and not in great racing shape.  Additional, I had a pinched nerve from doing push-ups so I spent much of the winter going to PT and avoiding any cross training all together.

As the weather warmed I began to increase my mileage but my appetite for racing wasn't there.  I didn't have the base for a long spring race and I didn't have the speed for shorter fare.  I stuck to maintenance miles instead.  By late summer I was getting back to longer runs but they were usually capped at 16-17 miles.  Running in East Providence this year proved to be less than ideal - running on city sidewalks isn't great and the nearby trail offerings got boring after a while.  I did push myself to the brink for a Strava elevation challenge in July of 16k feet which was grueling but satisfying.

With the fall came a return to racing.  In addition to the standard Mews and L'il Rhody races, I also finally tackled another ultra and had a grand hiking adventure (see below).  November wore me out and my mileage crept down after that but I finished the year with just over 2000 miles, a goal I had in mind but one I didn't want to articulate until I was near the finish line.  In December I also got to go to southern California for work, taking advantage of the amazing canyon trails that Chris Garvin now calls home.

And now as always, the top races/adventures of 2015:

This race wasn't particularly memorable but in a year when my road speed was clearly down, I still managed to put up a good time on this mix of beach and easy trails.  This was the last race before Mother Winter beat the shit out of us.  It's also memorable as the last time I'll probably ever beat Matthew Walker.  It took a serious fall on his part to make it happen but I'll take it.

This is always a fun mid-summer race with top notch competition.  The second lap is a bear but I managed a 18 second PR on the course.  WTAC also bested Super Hammett Bros. and pocketed a goodly amount of beers.

I had been interested in trying a trail relay for some time and was delighted to join Bob Jackman's squad of Rhode Island runners.  The camping, night laps, beer drinking and exhaustion made for a memorable and challenging experience.  Highly recommended!

I thew my hat in the ring for this race at the last minute.  I had never done a timed event before and the short loop format was more enjoyable than I would have thought.  Despite my lack of long runs my legs performed dutifully, carrying me past the 50k mark before damage control kicked in.  I ended up 4th overall and the third male, reaching a new distance record of 40.5 miles.  A true confidence booster that made me excited to try something long in 2016!

I had thought about a long solo backpacking trip for some time.  It came together in October with an attempt to complete the 31 mile Pemi Loop in the White Mountains.  Weather and gear ultimately prevented me from completing the loop, but I got to camp on my own and brave the elements.  The second night I stayed at the Greenleaf Hut and my buddy Rob joined me on Day Three for a frosty ascent of Mt. Lafayette.  A truly memorable trip. 

So we say goodbye to 2015.  Not a PR year for Seth, but a solid rebuilding year.  Looking ahead, here's what I hope to accomplish in 2016:

  • Set some PRsMy dream of matching Seth 1.0 may never happen.  I'm just not that fast and I don't know if I have the drive to push myself to a 5k PR at this point.  But there's definitely room for improvement at longer distances.  I will need to get back to some honest speed work to make this a reality though.
  • Run a sub 4 hour 50k - I'm leaning towards running the Pinelands 50k again.  It will depend of family plans, etc but if I do, I want to really race it and push the pace.  I ran under 4:06 in 2014 and while six minutes is a lot of time I think with the proper training I can get it done.  I have a tendency to underestimate my goals so this may be veering too far in the opposite direction but whatever.  Let's do it!
  • A return to cross-training - My P90X days may be over.  Or maybe they're not.  Either way, I definitely need to get back to consistent strength/core training.  I also want to hit the yoga studio more often. And finally...
  • More mountain adventures - I hear the call of the White Mountains all the time.  The family got snowshoes for Christmas so I want us to head up there for more mountain adventures in 2016.  Hopefully we can work some more hut trips into the mix as well.

Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and thanks to my running friends for making it another fun year.  Thanks to my wife for being supportive of all of my grand adventures.  See you on the trails!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Weekly Log: 12.21.15 - 12.27.15

Oh dear, after finally catching up I'm way behind on my blog posts again.  I wanted to get the Year End review up before January but that didn't happen.  I'll get there.  In the meantime, here's another short weekly summation.

Monday - 0 miles

The Old Mountain Field 5k really messed up my feet.  Maybe it was all the twisting trails but after having ankle trouble with my right foot, today my left shin is aching.  It was an easy decision to take a zero.

Tuesday - Exeter, RI - 8 miles

Amanda is already on vacation so I was able to run early.  I was bleh about the normal options so I parked on the New London Turnpike at Route 102 and headed north on the dirt turnpike.  It eventually came to the familiar dirt roads of Big River.  I followed the dirt roads and eventually came to Congdon Hill Rd.  I was hoping it would lead me back to the NLT and it did.  Now my feet were starting to ache.  The last couple miles weren't too bad but with another fifty or so miles to go until I reach 2000, it could be a painful final slog.

Wednesday - South Kingstown, RI - 7.4 miles

Another morning run.  I made the last second decision to run at Wolf Rock Rd again.  I do enjoy the powerline trail here.  The bottom of my right foot was bothering me as I began the run but it faded after a few miles.  I took a side trail down to Hundred Acre Pond Road.  I was looking forward to exploring this road when my right ankle began to hurt.  I can't catch a break!  With new foot pain I made my way back to the car. 

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 5.7 miles

No more work for 2015.  It was a very warm Christmas Eve and I took the dog out for easy miles to the Nordic Lodge.  Feet felt alright and I was sweating by the end. 

Friday - 0 miles

Merry Christmas!

Saturday - Charlestown, RI - 8.6 miles

Another beautiful day in the 50s! I went out in the afternoon to Carter Preserve and ran the usual trails.  They are really going to town on that new area they purchased.  Cutting down everything.  Are they looking to just expand the grasslands?  Strange.  I finished the run off with that old trail I discovered previously at the end of Narragansett Trail.  Another good run and once again the feet felt alright.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 3.8 miles

The day got away from me and it looked like a run wasn't going to happen.  Around 4 PM Amanda suggested I take the dog out.  This was a good suggestion.  We ran up to East Farm and back.  Nothing major but it was good to get out and the mileage was needed if I'm to try for 2000 by the end of the year.

Weekly Mileage: 33.7 miles

Year to Date: 1971.2 miles

4 days and 29 miles to go in 2015. Legs are feeling tired but feet are holding up lately so I think I'll be able to get to 2000 miles by year's end.