Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Year in Review

It's been a quiet year for the blog with a couple attempts to restart it that just haven't taken.  It is what it is - suffice to say I'm not that keen on blogging these days.  I'll try to be more consistent in 2018.  That falls in line with other things I need to work on but we'll get to that down below.

Currently I'm sick and have been ever since I came back from my California work conference three weeks ago.  I've had a hacky cough and have had bouts of head colds and lethargy.  I need to get it checked soon as this cough is annoying.  California was a great time and running out there was an absolute joy.  Between getting up early to run and putting in long days at the conference it's not surprising that I got sick but it's unfortunate as California derailed my morning meditation ritual and since I've been sick my motivation to run has been nilch.  Sucks 'cause I'm off from work on Christmas break and I'm just not feeling it.

Running-wise I'd say this year was a disappointment overall. I finished with around 1500 miles up from 1400 last year.  I started the year strong but found myself dealing with ankle pain that forced me to take it easy for a couple months.  I picked it up again later in the summer but I never really found a good training pattern or rhythm.  And these last few weeks have seen me not running at all.  Once I stop it's hard to jump start it.

The disappointment also ties into the fact that my interest in running has been diminishing.  Part of that is that I'm limited to doing most of my runs in the city at lunch and I've grown tired of those surroundings.  I feel that if I were in the woods I'd be more enthused about things.  Of course I've been here at home for 9 days now and have barely run.  So....shrug?

This year I ran a whopping six races.  I tied last years number and continue a downward trend:

2017 - 6
2016 - 6
2015 - 11
2014 - 15
2013 - 17
2012 - 12
2011 - 3
2010 - 3

I've had injury issues the last couple years which kept me off the starting line for several months so that accounts for some of it.  You can argue chicken/egg between this and lack of running interest.  Am I not racing because I've lost an interest in running or am I not running because I'm not racing as much as I used to?  Who can say.

The reality is that I'm focusing most of my attention on mountain adventures, not races. I spend my time looking at the calendar planning big hiking trips/mountain runs rather then looking at race schedules.  I'm a lucky guy to be able to get away for as many solo trips as I take and these days I'd rather look towards the mountains than races, be they long distance or otherwise.  I'd like to run Boston at some point but that would mean putting in a lot of actual training to prepare for a road marathon and that's not something I think I can stomach right now.  I consider it every year but I just keep kicking the can down the road.  At any rate I have other goals.  There are some big races brewing in the Whites for 2018 and I damn sure mean to be there.  That means putting together an actual training plan that involves long distances and hills hills hills.

Cross-training wise I had started to get into a groove with yoga, planks, P90X3 and meditation but everything has gotten derailed at one point or another.  It sounds crazy but I actually blame my new coffee preparation which ties me up for 20 minute in the morning.  It makes greats coffee but it's surprising how costly that 20 minutes is.  Look for some exciting coffee/time management blog reports in 2018.

As I said I'm been much more interested in hiking this year and it ended up being a great one.  I spent a lot of time up in the Whites and had some fine outings, both solo and with the family.  I made my first foray into hammock camping and while it was a little rough I'm looking forward to more attempts next year.  I knocked off a bunch more 4000 footers to bring my total to 39 but I still have 9 more to go.  I hope to finish this list next year.  Let's see if I can keep the upward trajectory on this graph going in 2018!

18 4ks total for 2017 which is a new high for me

As always, let's look back at my top five races/adventures of 2017:

5. Mount Washington - July 2, 2017
I capped three days of hiking in the Whites with a trip up the Rockpile.  I had originally intended for a more epic day but rains made me switch up the weekend plans and by the third day I was too worn out for a major Presidential adventure (but I made it happen soon enough - see #1).  This was a good trek in its own right with a variety of conditions.  Lots of water on the way up Tucks and the summit was thick in the clouds.  A great end to three days which also included the Hancocks and Carrigain.

4. Run with the Beavers 10 Mile Trail Race
Another year, another Beaver race.  In a year of few races, this was a good one.  After a couple months of not running much it was nice to get out there and still be able to compete.

3. RI 6 Hour Ultra
I signed up early when entry was cheap which ended up being a good way to make myself commit.  The race was moved to dirt roads this year (much of it the same as the Beaver race) and it was good to get another ultra under the belt.  This was a fun, low-key race that I "enjoyed."  Unbeknownst to me I spent most of the race in 2nd place before being overtaken in the final lap.  Still I'm happy with grinding out 37 miles and 3rd overall.

2. Mount San Jacinto - December 8, 2017
I had a day off during my work conference and made the most of it, renting a car and driving though the badlands on my way up to the pine covered highlands and the mountain town of Idyllwild.  The hike itself was 5000 feet of incredible California climbing.  It took a lot out of me and the 18 miles trashed my legs by the end but I finished in just over six hours and got a taste of just how amazing the mountains are out west.  I want more!  I've posted a video of this hike at the bottom of the page.

Fulfilled a long time goal of a traverse on the Presidential ridge.  18 miles and a lot of climbing on some rocky terrain.  Conditions were warm and perfect which made for a journey that was hard but manageable.  Finished in 7 hours 10 minutes.  Psyched me up for more such adventures!

I'm not even going to bother summarizing last year's goals as they mostly didn't pan out.  Instead let's just look ahead to some goals for 2018:

  • Complete the 4000 footers - 9 more to go and I have some big goals that will help with that
  • Pemi Loop - Another White Mountain goal of mine is a 1-day loop around the Pemigewasset Wilderness.  Will it happen in 2018?
  • Kilkenney Ridge Race - Here's a ballsy one for next year.  Ryan Welts is setting up a badass 50 miler in the northern Whites in July.  It'll take a lot of training to make myself even capable of doing this one and hopefully it'll light a fire under me.
  • Presidential Traverse Part 2 - Here's a stretch goal.  I'd like to take another whack at the traverse and see what kind of time I can put up with a better route and less dilly-dallying.
That's plenty for 2018 and that about does it for 2017.  For anyone who still reads this blog, thanks for doing so.  Hopefully as I get back into the rhythm of things I'll keep the blog going for 2018.  One can hope!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Presidential Traverse - September 23, 2017

I fell off the blog train again.  I suppose I barely had one foot on it to begin with.  Well let me give it another attempt, sometimes that's all we can do.

I missed writing up a few things since I was MIA. I had a three day White Mountain adventure at the end of June.  Day 1 featured a quick trip up the Hancocks, Day 2 was a fine hike up Carrigain and then on Day 3 I tackled a wet Tuckerman's Ravine and Mt Washington in some fun, foggy conditions. Originally I had plans for a traverse of the Northern Presidentials but rain earlier in the weekend derailed those plans and by Day 3 I was too tired to attempt it.

Run with the Beavers race in mid-July went well.  It wasn't the humid sufferfest of last year and I was pleased with my performance.

I took off two weeks from work in July, an unheard of length of time for me.  During that we went up to Montreal and Quebec City for a fun family vacation north of the border.  I got some good runs in both cities and enjoyed my attempts at speaking French badly. 

So after some summer adventures I was looking forward to running the Kismet Cliff Climb again.  But as summer waned and fall approached I decided to rethink my White Mountain plans that weekend.  I had already run Kismet and had done fairly well and there were plenty of other adventures up there that I was thinking about - and eventually I decided to attempt a Presidential Traverse instead.

I didn't sleep well but I really liked my setup.  Will give it another go!

Sunset at Ethan Pond

But I also had started tinkering with a hammock camping setup.  The Manchild uses a hammock and Amanda had gotten me one for Father's Day.  So I went down the wormhole, learned a good deal and decided to start my White Mountain weekend with an "easy" night of camping at the Ethan Pond shelter.  So I hiked with my big pack for 2.5 miles, set up shop on a tent platform and then hiked up Mt. Willey because it was right there and how could I not?  By the time I returned to camp it was bustling with people.  I enjoyed a fine meal and conversation in the "kitchen" before retiring.  Unfortunately I slept very little.  Chalk it up to being my first night in the hammock which apparently is a thing.  I laid awake for most of the night, listening to noises in the woods.  So not an ideal way to prepare for a long day on the Presidentials but what was done was done.  Check out the video below for highlights from this Ethan Pond trek:

So in the morning I packed up and made my way back to the car by 7:30 AM.  I drove a few miles to the Highland Center and prepared my gear for the day.   The forecast was prefect - mid 60s and little wind.  This made it easy to go with my minimal setup.  I wore my hydration vest.  I had a bag of gels/salt tabs/treats, hat/gloves, a spare water bottle, first aid, headlamp, a windbreaker and my lightweight hiking poles.   A brought a small water filter and a tiny bag of survival stuff which was probably overkill but better safe than sorry.

Since this was a point to point trip I had to hike either to or from my car.  I didn't like the idea of heading from my car and relying on a shuttle to get me back there.  The logistics would have kept me worried me all day.  But taking the shuttle from the Highland Center meant starting the trek at 10 AM.  Later than I would have liked.  After looking at some comparable Strava activities, I figured I could complete this in eight hours before darkness set in so in the end I went with taking the shuttle to the start.

It was a bumpy ride but I still dozed off towards the end.  Then suddenly we were at the packed Valley Way parking lot and it was time to begin.  Immediately I was ready to go.  I jogged a bit over the first few miles but pretty soon the climbing began and it was up, up, up.  Once I hit the massive boulders on the side of Madison things slowed down considerably.  It was tough to even see the cairns from the sun glare.  After Madison it was down to the Madison Hut where I filled my bottles including the backup I had brought.  This proved wise as it was a hot day, even up there.  I snagged a piece of coffee cake and then out the door I went.

Madison Hut and behind it Mt Adams awaits

Mt Jefferson Summit w/ Washington and Southern Ridge behind

Mt Adams was a brutal climb with some fun scrambles.  It's clear that what training I did do had not prepared me for this kind of climbing.  Not sure I can really duplicate this down in Rhode Island for future efforts but it certainly was a reality check.  At the top of Adams I rested for a minute and snacked before continuing on (I kept the breaks to about 2-3 minutes on the Northern Peaks and even less on the Southern ones.)

I scraped my knee lifting it over a boulder in between Adams and Jefferson and it bled like a bastard.  I probably should have made use of the first aid I had brought but stubbornly pressed on ahead, figuring I'd clean it up at the Washington summit.  The Gulfside trail was beautiful and I was amazed how fortunate I was with the weather.  By the time I reached Jefferson I had been running for about 3 hours 20 minutes.  I couldn't tell if I was on schedule or not and Washington seemed so far away (even though it was only a couple miles).

It was the climb up to Washington where I really began to feel the day's effort.  This slope isn't particular steep but my feet were feeling the endless rock assault and the knee wound had crusted over into an ugly thing.  The trail approached the train tracks and watching the Cogs head up kept me distracted.  Finally I reached the last steep pile of rocks at the Summit and the gaggle of people waiting in line to get their picture with the summit sign.

Chasing Cogs
Summit Madness

Lakes of the Clouds Hut

I had been anticipating dressing my wound and grabbing some real food in the cafeteria.  Now that I was here I recalled Jonny's blog from a few years ago when he reached the summit.  I had the same reaction and just wanted to escape.  I filled my water bottles and continued on.  Heading down the Crawford Path now I was able to get a bit more speed and kept this up as I approached the Lakes of the Clouds Hut.  It was shut up for the season so there were no treats to be had at this one.

The southern peaks were a contrast - the trail is much less technical and more runnable, but my legs were utter shit.  It wasn't until I had descended Eisenhower that the first twinges of leg cramps began and luckily they held off.  I chatted with some folks briefly at the summit of Pierce who were also doing traverses and then I kept going on the final stretch of the Crawford Path back to the car.


It was a delicate mixture of going as fast as I could while keeping my leg cramps from unleashing.  I had managed to not use my poles all day - at first it was out of pride but it was useful to have them out of the way as I picked up speed (slightly) on the second half.  I actually came across some backpackers I had met the previous night who were heading up to the campsites near Mizpah Hut and they congratulated me on getting it done.  Finally at about 5:15 PM I reached the end of the trail.  7 hours and 10 minutes total.  An honest effort for a flatlander and one I'm proud of.

Here's my video of the adventure:

This whole thing went about as well as it could.  Perfect weather!  I definitely tried to put up a good time and I didn't dillydally too much.  Having finally done it I'd love to take another whack at it in 2018 and see if I can bring my time down.  I didn't pick the fastest trails and there's definitely room for improvement.  This was also a big confidence booster as I looked to other long mountain adventures going forward.  Basically this is the kind of stuff I want to do as much as I'm able while I'm still able.

Fun Facts:
  • Mt Madison, Adams and Jefferson were #37-39 on my 4000 Footer List.
  • Mt Pierce and Mt Washington are now tied for my most ascents at four apiece
  • This trek brought my total number of 4000 Footers in NH for 2017 (including repeats) to 18

Monday, June 26, 2017

Weekly Log: 6.19.17 - 6.25.17

Monday - East Providence, RI - 6 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

A hot, humid one out there.  Went to Riverside and ran miles on the bike path.  Ankle was a little chewed up from the previous day's trails and I didn't feel like running but I got out there and ground out six miles.  Wasn't a bad run in the end.  Kids were getting ice cream near my car and they mocked my shirtless frame.  I'll show those little bastards.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X3 Eccentric Upper (30 minutes)

Getting back into the world of P90X with some shorter workouts from the P90X3 series.  The shorter time works for me and I was definitely feeling it in my shoulders and upper back afterwards.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Ab Ripper X (15 minutes)

Lunch yoga.  I missed last week so I was determined to get back to it this week.

Thursday - West Greenwich, RI - 7 miles

Ran the Big River trails from (Greasy?) Joe's parking lot, forming a big counter clockwise loop around Tarbox and Carr Ponds.  Temps were cooler before they climbed later in the day.  A good run with no bugs.  No leg ache afterwards.  Dare I hope that things are looking up?

Friday - Exeter, RI - 7.1 miles

I've been running with the Forerunner 210 for the past couple years which is a barebones but perfectly serviceable space watch.  Yet I yearned for sweeter meat.  Yesterday that meat arrived in the form of the fenix 3.  I saved some cash by getting a refurb but it seems in great working order.  This watch is a beast and I love it much already.  Soon I shall take it North on real adventures.

Anyway, I parked at Cuttyhunk and ran the Pardon Joslin hills repeatedly, ogling my new baby the whole time.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Pittsburgh, PA - 10.1 miles

I travelled to PA today to exhibit at a conference.  After I set up my exhibit (the conference starts tomorrow) I had plenty of daylight left in the day.  I went out and explored the local bike paths.  They have a great setup here - there are paths that line boths sides of the river and all the bridges have bike/walking lanes.  Very easy to run by just following the river in every direction.  A good run and nothing better than enjoying a good hotel shower afterwards.

Weekly Mileage: 30.5 miles
Year to Date: 638.7 miles

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Random Updates and New Hampshire Videos

I've dropped the ball again with the weekly logs.  I know, I know - I'm working on it.  I might get back to it this week as I'm having a good one.

The jankiness seems to be on the decline and though I felt that leg ache early last week it hasn't resurfaced since.  Time to slowly start increasing that mileage.  I've been getting in a weekly yoga session in for the past month and I'm on a 115 day meditation streak.  I meditate 15 minutes every morning using the Headspace app and I've really taken to it.  Highly recommended!

I've finally begun the slow road back to total fitness with a return to P90X.  Yes, it's the return of the Ab Ripper!  Also I've got a bunch of P90X3 videos I'm going to use.  They're shorter then the original series so hopefully I'll be able to fit them into my mornings.

What else, what else...

I'm listening to French podcasts on the way into work in order to develop at least a rudimentary level of the language in preparation for a family fun vacation to Montreal & Quebec at the end of July.

I bought a safety razor so that I can now shave like a real man.

And now for something completely different, I present to you a couple videos I made from trips earlier this year to my favorite place, the White Mountains.  Warning: they are not great.  But making them was good practice and I hope to shoot some better ones soon.

The first one is from February when Amanda and I hiked up Mt. Liberty.  This was a tough hike for her and our big snowshoes didn't do us any favors.  But it's always fun hiking up there in the winter and I learned some more lessons to aid me on future trips.

In May I went up to the Carter Notch Hut with Muddy, the Manchild and bunch more hombres.  The weather was rainy and the trails were miserable monorails up high which made for tough going.  We had ambitions of hiking the whole ridge as a three day trip but opted to hit Carter Dome on Day 2 and call it a day.  Still a fun time.

That's all for now.  Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of blogging things soon.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Weekly Log: 5.29.17 - 6.4.17

Things are still to fall back into place for ol' Seth so I guess it's time to start the weekly blog back up...

Monday - South Kingstown, RI - 6 miles

A rainy Memorial Day and I postponed my run to later in the day.  Always a bad idea as the day has a way of getting away from you.  Better to get it done early.  My wife and I spent midday shopping and went to Carrabba's for lunch.  I packed it away including calamari, sausage & lentil soup, chicken parm sandwich, orzo and a chocolate dessert thing.  Plus that goddamn bread and oil.  A gluttonous delight and when it came time to run a few hours later I wasn't in great shape.

Nevertheless I went over to the DuVal trails and gutted it out.  And "gut" is the appropriate word as my insides were sloshing around for the first few miles.  I kept it slow and steady and eventually felt better.  Then I could feel nasty bile creeping up my throat towards the end of the run.  Gross.  Aren't you glad I'm back to blogging.

So in the end I got a sluggish six miles of trails done to start the week.  Hooray!

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 2 miles

When I went to the ortho doc a few weeks back he didn't think I had a stress fracture.  He said to keep the mileage down and take days off.  To that end I've stuck to my plan of not running two days in a row.  So far, so good as that leg ache has been non existent.  So it was an easy walk to the post office at lunch today.

Wednesday - Providence, RI - 6 miles

For the 2nd Wednesday in a row I went over to Jenckes Street on College Hill for some hill repeats.  It's a touch climb but I did six and I ventured a little lower down Star Street on the 3rd and 6th ones to make it more grueling.  A good workout.

Thursday - 0 miles

Good session of lunch yoga.  Three weeks in a row!

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 6.5 miles

Back to Wolf Hill for a morning run.  I tried to hit as many hills as I could including the pisser of a climb up the Mary Mowry trail.  As I plan for a mountain adventure at the start of July, I'm going to continue to focus on hills so that I can hopefully complete the hike/run adventure without completely destroying myself.

I went for an MRI at midday for my neck.  The neck/back pain hasn't been too bad lately but the arm/hand numbness is still going on.  We'll find out the results next week.

Unfortunately I felt that dull leg ache later in the afternoon.  It didn't seem to linger however so I'm hopeful that it was just a passing ache.

Saturday - 0 miles
Sunday - 0 miles

Bailed on a Sunday run due to being very hungover.  Bailed on a lot of things actually.  After taking a long hard look at myself I've decided to quit drinking.  I'm sick of feeling shitty and ready for a change.  So that's that.

Weekly Mileage: 20.5 miles
Year to Date:  556 miles

A mediocre week overall but the leg seems to be improving.  I've got some trips planned over the next few months and good things to look forward to.  Let's get going.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Weekly Log: 4.24.17 - 4.30.17

Monday - Seekonk, MA - 4.7 miles

My leg hasn't been feeling that bad and since my dessert frenzy seems to have finally abated I decided it was time to attempt a run.  I felt fat and slow but it was nice running in the warm weather.  A short bushwack over some uneven rocks caused some foot pain which was aggravating but it settled down and wasn't much of an issue otherwise.  The dull leg ache hasn't surfaced afterwards so hopefully I can ease back into things.

Tuesday - 0 miles

My boss recommended a local chiropractor since my neck/lower back pain has not abated.  I've never trusted those guys but several people I trust recommended them so I decided to give it a shot.  They just took x-rays today so I go back on Friday for the results.

Wednesday - 0 miles

Thursday - 0 miles

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 6.5 miles

I returned to Wolf Hill for a fun morning run.  Thunderclouds threatened but luckily they moved on before I got there.  I had some top 'o the foot pain in a few rocky sections but otherwise there were no leg ailments.  Always fun to run these hilly trails even if they made me feel out of shape.

I went back to the chiropractor who went over my x-rays.  Apparently my neck is too straight and too far forward and my lower back is also out of whack.  So that's why I'm often in pain.  He wants me to go three times a week but I don't think I'm going to swing that.  Maybe twice a week.  Anyway then he spent a few minutes going to work on me - that initial crack of my neck was very unnerving.  My neck didn't feel much better afterwards but my lower back was in a lot of pain.  So...not a great start?  I read that this is normal so hopefully the next session will be better.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 9 miles

Not exactly a long run but as close as I'm going to get right now, I went over for a morning run in Burlingame.  Some nice stream action going on with all the recent rain.  I ran up to North Burlingame and then followed the new Backroad Ramble course to get a feel for it.  It will be a challenge.  Hopefully I'll be in shape to race it.  I was greeted with mosquitos by the time I got back to my car.  Cursed bug season is almost upon us.

As evening approached that fucking leg ache resurfaced which was disappointing.

Weekly Mileage: 20 miles

Well, three decent runs this week.  Not sure if I'm out of the woods with this foot/leg thing but I enjoyed getting out on the trails again.

Friday, April 21, 2017

I'm Now Devoting My Life to Desserts

Time for an update on the life and times of Seth.

It's been 3.5 weeks since I last ran.  I stopped because of an ache deep in my lower left leg and a pain on the top of my left foot.  The ache seemed to be a direct result of running and I've only felt it once or twice in this downtime.  The foot pain is another matter - it continued to hurt during this period and I'm wondering if it could be a broken/fractured bone.  I suppose it's time to get it looked at.

About the same time I stopped running I also started to get some chronic neck/back pain.  Yoga and planks/push-ups have also been put on the sideline in the hopes that would improve things in this department but apparently not.  Since the foot continued to hurt I went back to sitting behind my desk at work for the first time since March of 2015.  Two weeks of sitting didn't seem to improve my foot though and made my neck/back feel worse than ever.

So I'm back to standing behind my desk.

Because of these various ailments, I decided to pursue a new direction in life.  Thanks to Easter and my birthday last week I was blessed with a copious variety of desserts.  I made an effort to become an Eater of Desserts.  Instead of wasting time running or doing yoga, I would now be focusing my efforts on consuming ice cream, cakes and brownies.  I ate ice cream cake (my favorite) for six straight days until it was gone.  I also consumed a pan of thick brownies, some wandies and many of those little chalky eggs that are filled with chocolate.  I was sad when the ice cream cake was gone but luckily the following day we celebrated Amanda's birthday where I ate two ice cream cones.

Sadly I felt like hot garbage after the cones and had to once again reconsider my life goals.  I don't think I have the fortitude to consume these delicious treats with the gusto and consistency that an Eater of Dessert must have.

And so I soldier on.  I'm seeing a chiropractor next week about my back and I'm going to make an appointment about my foot.  In the meantime I plan to continue to dabble with dessert but at a recreational level.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Brrr-lingame 10 Miler 2017

Official time: 1:13:28    9th overall.  Results here.

Always fun, always brutal, the Brrr-lingame 10 Miler is a two lap course on the trails south of the Burlingame campground.  It's twisty singletrack with some running on dirt roads and through the campground.  The second lap is always a bitch.  I didn't run it last year as I had been diagnosed with a stress fracture just prior but looking through my reports I was surprised to find that I hadn't run it since 2014.   Apparently I had a business trip in 2015.

Anyway, I was looking forward to getting back to this race.  Unfortunately I developed a dull ache in my lower leg to start the week which had me concerned.  I took it easy for the rest of the week and I felt fine going into the race.  The weather was cool and perfect and the trails were in good shape.  I arrived, did a short warm-up on the beginning of the course and soon it was time to line up.

The race starts on an open field before hitting the woods and ascending singletrack.  Everyone always goes out too fast in order to have a good position before the woods as passing is tough.  Today was no exception and I was probably around 5th place entering the trail.  After a couple minutes I eased off slightly and a couple people passed me.  At this point the field was already spreading out and the front pack already pulling away.  I had a couple people behind me but they weren't super close.

By the time I reached the ridgeline I was alone.  I could see someone off ahead but there was no one very close behind.  Then once I was back in the woods I was alone again.  Along the dirt road section I could see someone way up ahead but he vanished towards the numerous wooden bridges and I never saw him again.  Going through the campsite slowed me down with lots of leaves and knowing I still had a mile before I started my second lap was disheartening.

The second lap of this race always sucks - you work hard on the first one and then you have to do it all again basically by yourself.  I didn't look back on the grass field, afraid of what I'd see and just kept chugging along as I hit the woods.  I would look back at occasional points and not see anyone so I was feeling pretty good but when I hit the long dirt road straightaway I glanced back and saw an orange jersey.

By the time I finished with the bog bridges and turned onto Vin Gormley I could see the orange in my periphery.  I knew I'd be caught in no time.  Sure enough, a few moments after entering the campsites Andrew Neil, aka El Pollo Rojo aka the Red Chicken went by.  He quickly put distance on me and I had absolutely no response.  Over the last mile of the race I watched as he pulled farther away.  There was no one else behind me which was good because the Red Chicken broke my spirit.  I finished in 9th, always happy to be done with this race.  Unfortunately El Pollo made all the difference and led to the Rhode Runners winning the Men's team competition.  Curses!

Still I must tip my cap to Andrew who paced this race well and was able to reel me in over that second horrid lap.  This will be my last race of the series this year - I'm missing the Big River half due to a backpacking trip but since I'm now on the DL with leg issues anyway that may be for the best.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Weekly Log: 3.27.17 - 4.2.17

Monday - Seekonk, MA - 7.8 miles

A cold rainy day but I was determined to get out there.  I parked at the Wheeler School in Seekonk and ran a somewhat new loop.  It was raining from the get go and I didn't have much oomph but I soldiered on.  The rain eventually tapered out for the mid-miles but my legs never found any life.  With three miles to go the sky opened up and I was truly soaked.  More cars than I expected on these quiet roads but I was glad to get this one done and over with.

Later in the afternoon that ache in my lower leg came back - I had hoped that I had it licked but apparently not.

Tuesday - 0 miles

7 minutes of planks (longest - 4:20)

I went to lunch yoga - not my best session.  We did a bunch of moves I'm not familiar with and I felt like I was floundering throughout.

Wednesday - 0 miles

8:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:02)

Ugh.  My left leg is all achey today.  The ache's coming from the shin I guess.  I guess even yoga makes things worse now.  I was going to do some easy trail miles but what's the point?  Better rest it and see if tomorrow's any better.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 2 miles

So there seems to be two separate issues with my janky left leg.  There's the dull ache emanating from the shin/outside lower leg and then there is the ankle/upper foot pain.  This morning I woke up with the ankle pain.  I could feel it on and off throughout the day.  I went for a walk at lunch and it was noticeable at times.  Not promising.  I'm fairly committed now to taking some time off to hopefully let this deteriorating appendage heal up.  I had once grand plans for this April with my return to ultrarunning but instead it looks like I may be opting for a longer lull to let this heal up.  It's unfortunate but there's no point in ignoring/denying the issues I'm feeling.

Friday - 0 miles

8 minutes of planks (longest - 3:02)
145 push-ups (standard/wide)

I woke up intermittently through the night and could feel the ankle aching.  Let the gluttony and rest commence!

Saturday - 0 miles

April Fools Day, my most hated of days.  I'm way too gullible and easy to fool.  Ezri almost tricked me into eating a dog treat thinking it was an oyster cracker.  I realized at the last second.  In honor of the day, I'm now renaming this blog Janks and Pranks.  I hope everyone enjoys the new direction.

Sunday - 0 miles

Welp, the dull ache in my leg/shin hasn't been noticeable since my last run on Monday.  But the ankle soreness has lingered which is strange.  I plan on resting for the next week and taking it from there.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Belleville Pond 10k 2017

Official time: 53:38  6th overall.   Results here.

The third race of Mike Galoob's winter trail series is always a fun one.  After a couple 5ks the distance doubles and there are often truly winter conditions to contend with.  This year was no exception - after a quiet and (mostly) snowless winter, we got a good half foot the day before and so it would be another snow covered race.  This is a good thing as this is what the series is all about.

My training had been spotty over the last few weeks with an sore ankle but I showed up in good spirits and ready to race.  It was pretty cold - in the teens and there was a brisk wind whipping over the pond.  I had on the Salomon Speedcross and intended to run with just them but after a warm up along the pond I encountered enough ice to justify the microspikes.  I threw them on after a half mile and felt they had much more grip on the way back.  Probably overkill but they were definitely helpful for the icy spots.

I met up with folks just before the race began.  I had on my tights but Crutch, Jonny, Jeff and others represented with just shorts (including one guy in nothing but shorts, yikes!).  At the start I quickly found myself in third following Jonny and Brightman along the single broken trail.  I was probably working harder than I should have and I slowed after a bit.  Soon Gazelle went by me followed by another guy.

The course turns onto some hilly singletrack that runs alongside the pond and I was already feeling worn out.  I tried to stay behind the others through this section but had to pass one of 'em on the hills as he was slowing down.  Once we reached the rail bed I could see that Walker and company were already well ahead.  The footing was better here but I wasn't able to get any closer.  Andrew Neil went by and I tried to not let him get too far ahead.  I was hopeful that I would be able to make up ground along the Route 4 section where there's usually choppier snow which favors me.

The Route 4 section was indeed choppier but not a sufferfest as in a previous year.  Andrew aka the Red Chicken had passed the only guy ahead I wasn't familiar with but I was making any ground on this mystery man.  I was now very much in no man's land, well off the others and no one very close behind.  As the course turns back turns towards the powerlines I could see Jon Short not too far behind and tried to find another gear.  The race now featured another section of park- the relatively newer "Middle trail."  This twisty section was slow going and when the course veered back towards the far parking lot I had a sense that this version of the course was going to run long.  I could still see Neil and mystery man up ahead and I held out hope that I could catch them during the next singletrack section.

The twisty stuff along this side of the pond was equally slow going and I only occasionally caught a glimpse of one of the other racers up ahead.  By the time I returned to the rail trail I could see them way up ahead and knew I had no chance to catch them.  I tried to pick up the pace on this somewhat more packed down section of trail but I was running out of steam.  There wasn't anyone close to me so I didn't have any motivation to kill myself on the last section of hills and roots.

I came through the finish in 6th place.  I was worried that mystery man was running for Rhode Runners but luckily he was unaffiliated and the WTAC men grabbed their first win of the series.  After a cooldown with Jon Short and some award presentations I joined a group over at the Oak Hill Tavern.  Another great winter race in the books!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekly Log: 3.20.17 - 3.26.17

The Brrr-lingame 10 Miler is this Saturday.  Always a fun race and I was bummed to miss it last year.  The snow is clearing and it looks like spring is finally taking root.  Hoping to get keep up the mileage this week.

Monday - East Providence, RI - 7 miles

It's always tough to get motivated to run on Mondays.  I willed myself into making it an adventure but veering off the bike path after a mile and just heading east into Barrington.  I got good and lost on neighborhood streets and eventually found my way back to the car.  Legs were a little tired after 17 miles yesterday but not too bad.

I got that soreness later in the day and I've come to realize it's not really my ankle but rather just above on my lower outside leg.  This has me quite concerned.  It's a dull ache and it hounded me from the last hour of work to the long drive home.  I fear it could be another stress fracture.

Tuesday - 0 miles

5:30 minutes of planks (longest - 2:40)

No running today especially after yesterday's pains but I did a P90X3 Yoga workout in my office (I missed lunch yoga as I had a conference call).  It was a little tight next to the desk but I made it work.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 2.1 miles

8 minutes of planks (longest - 2:30)

My planking has reached a plateau and now I'm having trouble hitting even three minutes.  I suppose this sort of up and down is normal.

No intention of running today, I decided to just go for a walk along the forested bike path.  Windy as hell and with temps in the mid 30s it wasn't exactly a delightful day.  I've been using Headspace to meditate for the past few weeks and I'm enjoying it so today I did a walking meditation session which didn't do much for me admittedly.  Tomorrow I'll try a short run and monitor the results closely.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 5.7 miles

8 minutes of planks (longest - 3:19)

I ran the bike path and nearby roads.  Nothing felt off other than that the body felt sluggish.  No leg ache later in the day which was comforting.  I shall race on Saturday.

Friday - 0 miles

Hopefully my leg thing was nothing but I wanted to be sure with the race tomorrow so I opted to rest again.  Another round of P90X3 Yoga in my office.

Saturday - Brrr-lingame 10 Miler - 13.1 miles

9th overall.  1:13ish.  Report forthcoming (hopefully)

Sunday - 0 miles

My ankle was a little sore from yesterday's race but not too bad.  Opted to just take it easy (lazy).

Weekly Mileage: 28.3 miles
Year to Date: 413.8 miles

Leg trouble early on and a hard-but-satisfying trail race to end the week. The ankle/leg wasn't an issue so hopefully my leg ailments have turned the corner.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Weekly Log: 3.13.17 - 3.19.17

Monday - Seekonk, MA - 7.8 miles

Ankle is a little sore after the last two days of snow running but with a blizzard coming tomorrow I wanted to get some miles in.  I mapped out a new loop on the quiet roads of Seekonk/Rehoboth.  A fun loop and the sunny weather quickly took the chill off.  I cut through the Caratunk Preserve to finish the run.

Tuesday - 0 miles

P90X3 Yoga (30 minutes)

Worked from home with the impending blizzard which turned out to be a dud.  Turned to rain by 11 AM and our driveway became several inches of slush by the end of the day.  I did get a morning yoga session of P90X3.  It's only 30 minutes so if I can make a habit of it I think it will be quite beneficial.

Wednesday - Richmond, RI - 9.3 miles

8 minutes of planks (longest - 3:07)

I went into work late due to avoid icy roads (though they weren't bad) so I opted to park in Hope Valley and run some quiet Richmond roads.  They were hillier than I anticipated but I felt good and enjoyed the climbs.  It was chilly in the low 20s but I warmed up quick and luckily there were only a few icy stretches to contend with.  A really satisfying run.

Thursday - North Kingstown, RI - 9 miles

8 minutes of planks (longest - 3:05)
Yoga (45 minutes)

I made it to lunch yoga for a really good session.  Then after work I parked at Rome Point and ran local hilly roads.  My ankle is still feeling sore at times and is not healing as I expected.  But it generally doesn't hurt while I'm running.  Still I didn't want to aggravate it on icy/muddy/sloppy trails.  I had gotten out of habit of running before band practice due to the dark evenings so it was great to run in the dusk light again.  Two days of hilly nine milers wore my legs out by the end.

Friday - East Providence, RI - 3.5 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:20)

A short St. Patrick's day run that led me by some local Irish pubs.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 17 miles

That damn ankle was sore yesterday afternoon and this morning.  It really stole my motivation and I contemplated bagging this one but I glad I dragged myself out there.  I felt pretty lethargic at first but eventually I warmed up and the run felt better.  I managed a nice 2 hour 20 minute loop.  Legs were only really tired for the last mile or so.  The ankle's not an issue on any of these runs - but it can be constantly sore when I not running.  It's strange.  I'm hoping it's nothing major but I suppose at this point I should get it looked at.

This was the farthest I've run since mid-December.  At this point I'm not really training for a spring race but I may jump into one as a long training run if I can find one that fits my schedule.  It would be good just to see what I have and it would be a hard effort I can put towards a potential mountain adventure in June.

Weekly Mileage: 46.7 miles
Year to Date: 385.5 miles

Friday, March 10, 2017

Weekly Log: 3.6.17 - 3.12.17

A new week is upon us - let's make it a good one!

It has just occurred to me that the Belleville Pond 10k is this weekend.  I haven't given it much thought.  I suppose I should run - not much of an endorsement is it?  I don't really feel like I'm in racing shape but nevertheless I may throw my hat into the ring.

Monday - East Providence, RI - 7 miles

Sauntered out of the office at lunch and did a mix of pavement and nearby trails.  Not a bad run overall and a good jumpstart to the week.

Tuesday - 0 miles

7 minutes of planks (longest - 4:03)
175 push-ups

No running today but that was the plan.  Instead I went to lunch yoga.  It was a good session and hopefully I can make it a habit.  I tried a few months back and it didn't take.  Let's try again!

Wednesday - Providence, RI - 8.6 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:10)

My upper back/shoulders are good and sore from the push-ups/yoga.  That's what happens when you slack off.  It's a good feeling though.

The morning rain quickly dissipated and it was a lovely sunny day when I ventured out a lunch.  I decided to do an 8 mile loop I'm fond of that took me up and over Pawtucket.  I felt good right off the bat and by the time I hit Blackstone Blvd I was dropping to a sub 7 minute pace.  With a race on Saturday I was a little worried about keeping the pace so peppy but I decided not to worry about it and just let my legs do what they would.  I kept the pace up for the whole run, picking it up slightly as I went.  An unplanned tempo run.  I was on the fence about the Belleville Pond 10k - it may have been a mistake to push the pace today but it also confirmed I should sign up so I guess it was worth it in the end.

It's amazing how a few days of good exercise can make you feel much better.

Thursday - 0 miles

6:20 minutes of planks (longest - 3:02)
210 push-ups

That goddamn left ankle is sore today after my pleasure run yesterday.  Shitballs!  I was planning on doing five easy miles in the wind tunnel but opted to forgo a run.  Lazy or prudent?  You decide.  I was jazzed for Belleville Pond 10k after yesterday's run (especially with snow forecast for tomorrow) but this jank ank has stayed my hand about signing up.  Let's see what tomorrow brings (besides snow).

Friday - 0 miles

7:30 minutes of planks (longest - 4:02)

Ankle feels better than it did yesterday.  I'm working from home today with the snowstorm and I was tempted to get some early miles before the snow began.  I thought better of it though.  I pulled the trigger on tomorrow's 10k and I'm looking forward to racing on snowy trails.  No doubt it will trash my ankle so I'm resting it again today in anticipation of beating it up tomorrow.

Saturday - Belleville Pond 10k

6th overall.  A tough but good race.  Report forthcoming.

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 5 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:03)

My ankle wasn't feeling too bad after yesterday's race which is a good sign.  I wanted to get out and try my new Dion running snowshoes.  They're a little bit larger than the racing version but I figure they'll work well on my White Mountain adventures as well.  I went over to Carter Preserve at lunch - temp was chilly but not too bad.  Unfortunately there just wasn't enough snow for the shoes.  I wore 'em over the powerlines and over to the grassland loop.  This was the one place where they were necessary.  There were some big drifts and it would have been rough going without them.  Once I got back in the woods I took 'em off and then carried them for another 3 miles.  Not as annoying as I feared and there was just enough snow to make it a fun run in regular trail shoes.

Weekly Mileage: 30 miles
Year to Date: 338 miles

A good week with a snowstorm, fun wintery race and an ankle that seems to be on the mend.  Progress!

Saturday, March 4, 2017

The Bonds and Twins Backpacking Trip - May 20 & 21, 2016

Note: This trip report is horribly late.  A draft has been sitting amongst my other blog reports for the past eight months.  With another group backpacking trip a few months away, I felt compelled to get this one finished.

My friend the Manchild let me know that he and his friends were preparing to do a two day hike in the Pemi wilderness, camping at the Guyot campsite.  He invited me along and I was happy to get another chance to backpack in New Hampshire.  I had done much of this hike last October but with spring conditions and new companions I knew it would be a completely different hike.  This would be a two day janut, starting at Lincoln Woods and heading out through the Twins.

Besides my friend Rob I'd be hiking with Duncan, Derek and Pete.  I drove up Thursday night and stayed at Duncan's cabin which was conveniently located just north of Franconia.  They had already dropped off a spot car that night so in the morning all we had to do was load up one car and head to the Lincoln Woods parking lot.  We got a respectable 7 AM start.  It was chilly at first but I warmed up soon as we started moving.

Our adventure begins - Photo by Duncan Ross

The long, long Lincoln Woods trail
Nearly to Bondcliff summit - Photo by Duncan Ross

The last scramble to the top of Bondcliff

This was as close to the edge as I dared
Photo by Duncan Ross

Heading towards Mt Bond - Photo by Duncan Ross

The first several miles of trail are an old rail bed and get boring after a while.  It was nice hiking with other people and it made these dull miles pass faster.  Once the trail began to climb a clear pecking order was established, with Duncan and myself often hiking up ahead before waiting for the other guys.  The weather was warm and clear and when we reached the summit of Bondcliff we were treated to stellar views.  We all took turns getting our picture taken on the famous cliff but Christ it was terrifying out there.

After a rest at Bondcliff we climbed the next short steep section to Mt Bond.  Other hikers began to pass us on their way up at this point.  As is my habit I was nervous about the Guyot campsite filling up but when we arrived at 2 PM there was still plenty of room.  Only one of the platforms was taken and there a couple bags in the shelter.  I set up my tent on the platform above the shelter, offering fine views of my domain.  Derek set up on a platform nearby and Duncan and Derek set up shop in the shelter.  The Manchild set up a hammock next to my platform.

The always opportunistic gray jay - Photo by Duncan Ross

Setting up camp at Guyot - Photo by Peter Boudreau

Relaxin' in style on our pimped out platform

Enjoying the sunset on West Bond

Breakfast in the Guyot "kitchen"
After setting up camp and relaxing, we ventured out to hike up to West Bond.  Another fellow who was hiking the loop by himself joined us.  This short hike was much more pleasant without the heavy pack.  We hung at the summit for a while, enjoying the late afternoon.  Once back at camp we cooked dinner on our various little stoves at my tent platform.  By now it was late in the day and the camp was filling up.  There was a group of boarding school girls that filled up the shelter.  All the platforms had now been claimed by various groups.  Derek gave up his platform to another couple and the guys carried his tent and placed it next to mine.

The next morning we made our breakfasts, packed up our gear and ventured out.  All it took was the climb up from the Guyot Campsite to make my back ache.  It was going to be a long day!  The ridgeline along to South Twin held some remaining rotten snow and microspikes were a big help here.  The views at South Twin were stellar and we spent a bit of time here enjoying the day.

After we passed North Twin and began to descend we encountered many people heading up the trail.  A mix of snow/mud near the top made things slick but once we got lower the snow disappeared.  We ran into one woman who had to park at Route 3 as Haystack Road was still closed.  But just as she finished the two mile walk to the trailhead some cars went by.  They opened the road just after she started out.  What a drag!  Once the trail flattened out we had to deal with a tough water crossing.  The river was high so there was no choice but to just ford it.

The rocky exposed section near Mt Guyot - Photo by Duncan Ross

Slippery snow along the ridgeline - Photo by Duncan Ross

Mt Garfield in the distance from South Twin summit - Photo by Duncan Ross

Top o' South Twin

One last chance for views near the summit of North Twin
Photo by Rob Ragazzo

Rob makes the tricky water crossing

Tired and with heavy packs, we finally made it to the trailhead.  Now was the tricky part.  Since Haystack Road had been closed, the guys had spotted a car on the nearby Little River Road.  Maps showed that if we bushwacked along Little River we'd reach the car.  Thus began our final odyssey.  It was a slow march through the woods and brush.  We were on a steep hill for much of it before getting down onto the river rocks and scrambling along them.  Everyone was ready to be done but everyone kept their grumpiness to themselves.  After what seemed like forever, we reached the car and the end of our journey.

Like I said I wrote much of this quite a while ago but I just wrote the Day 2 stuff which is why it's so sparse.  However I must say this was a great trip with a terrific group of guys.  I'm glad they thought to invite me - looking forward to more such adventures with them!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Weekly Log: 2.27.17 - 3.5.17

Last week presented the first hiccup of the year as some sloppy trails chewed up my left ankle and left it pretty sore.  I'm going to attempt to be responsible and rest it to let it heal properly.

Cross training has also taken a tumble.  My planking hasn't been consistent and my push-ups/yoga regiment has been non-existent.  I really need to get back to it by my motivation is completely lacking.

Amid all of this my desire to run a long spring race was quietly been waning.  I was looking at the end of April for a race as I've got big hiking plans for May.  But with March upon us I feel like my training is pretty weak overall to attempt a 50k in less than two months time.  Not saying I won't do it as I'm a stubborn bastard.  However my long runs have been petering out around 12-15 miles far too often and I'm sort of apathetic about the whole thing.  Frankly all I want to do right now is plan more hiking trips to the Whites.

But every week brings fresh hope/misery so here we go...

Monday - 0 miles

I brought my running stuff to work but apathy is in full effect.  I've got a little bit of a cold and my ankle still a little sore so the Excuse Train has left the station full speed ahead.

Tuesday - 0 miles

My ankle doesn't seem to be getting any better.  Still sore.  Very odd.  And now I've got a full-fledged cold.

Wednesday - 0 miles

I took an actual sick day to rest and get over my sickness.  'nother zero.

Thursday - 0 miles

Back at work, I had intentions of running today.  Then I looked at the shoes I brought - two left shoes.  Whoops.  That was not intentional.  I mean it.

Friday - East Providence, RI - 6.7 miles

6:15 minutes of planks (longest - 3:04)
180 push-ups

I finally threw off my Cloak of Sloth and went for a run on the East Bay bike path.  Ankle was sore at first but then the soreness faded.  A fine run with some major headwind on the return trip.  I think I'll need to be careful about running trails in the near future but road running should be fine.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - 0 miles

I had no intention of running on Saturday but I did plan to run on Sunday.  I admit that the cold weather turned me into a wuss and I never got out the door.  I did get a decent upper body workout but chopping a shit-ton of wood so that was something.  Still, a pretty sad weekend running wise.

Weekly Mileage: 6.7 miles
Year to Date: 308 miles

Time to put this week behind us and look ahead!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Weekly Log: 2.20.17 - 2.26.17

Monday - 0 miles

I woke up in our Littleton hotel with a painful lower back.  Guess the pack I used up Mt Liberty is the culprit.  So no follow-up hike today.  We did stop at a sport shop on the way out of town and I scored a pair of Dion running shoes at 40% off.  Probably won't have a chance to use 'em this season but now I'm ready for next winter.

Too bad the snow disappeared while I was away!

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 6.8 miles

Man, it's hard to get back into the swing of things in dumpy East Providence.  I enjoy the mountains so.  Wish I lived up there.  Back is still sore from Sunday but running didn't seem to aggrivate it.  I ended up going over to the East Bay bikepath in Riverside and shambling through 7ish miles.  The lane was mostly clear.  A few spots still had a goodly amount of snow but there was always a clear section.  Not much to say other than I got it done.

Wednesday - Johnston, RI - 8 miles

6:00 minutes of planks (longest - 3:06)

With Amanda off this week I get a couple early morning runs and this one led me to the Snake Den.  I went with the Speedcross which was a wise choice.  The first trails of the day were caked in icy snow and hard going.  The postholing and shitty trail conditions wore my ankles/calves out quick.  Surprisingly things improved with the Connector trail as the snow became very soft and I could just run through it.  A surprise: a new bridge has been built on the Connector trail so it's no longer necessary to traverse that downed tree!  Once on the other side I usually found a clear path on the trail to run but there was still plenty of snow and it wore me down.  I ventured over towards Route 295 which ate up time and after a swampy bushwack I was forced to take roads back to the car.

Thursday - 0 miles

My ankles are chewed up from yesterday.  Despite the 60 degree temps outside, I decided to take the day off to let my legs heal.  Grrr.

Friday - West Greenwich, RI - 7.2 miles

I left the house real early intent on getting in some decent time in Big River.  My left ankle was hurting on the outside but I chalked it up to rolling it several times on Wednesday.  At first it looked like it was going to be a great run but once I hit single track I came upon pine and pine bent over on the trail.  In fact the whole place had taken a beating - lots of big trees/branches were down and the little ones had just keeled over from winter.  I backtracked to the dirt roads but after 1.5 miles I felt pain in my ankle.  Damnit!  This was a bummer but I still had an hour and a half to kill before heading to work.  I just followed the New London turnpike to the quarry and then turned around.  Nice morning (if a little chilly in just a tech shirt) but now I definitely need to be smart and take several days off.  Then it'll be just pavement for a while.  Bah.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - 0 miles

5:30 minutes of planks (longest 2:35)

Weekly Log:22 miles
Year to Date: 302 miles

King of a chumpy week in the end.  My ankle still hurt at times over the weekend so I'm assuming I just rolled it worse than I thought on Wednesday.  I plan to rest it early next week as well and hopefully it will mend quickly.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Weekly Log: 2.13.17 - 2.19.17

Monday - Charlestown, RI - 8.4 miles

7:30 minutes of planks (longest - 4:46)

Day #3 of working from home.  A man could get used to this.  I ran much of the same route I did during yesterday's snowstorm but now the roads were clear and the gusts were powerful. A good midday run.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Wednesday - Seekonk, MA - 7 miles

6:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:43)
The roads in East Providence are shit now with all the snow.  Many of the sidewalks are covered and people drive like assholes.  I went over to Seekonk because at least the country roads there are wider.  People still drive like assholes but at least you can usually see them coming.  Anyway a fun lollipop route I took it easy on.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 6.1 miles

6:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:02)

Another run on mostly quiet streets.  A bit of a trudge but I got it done.  On the plus side Amanda and I decided to head to New Hampshire this weekend for some hiking.  Overnights with the Grandparents sort of just lined up and we've decided to make use of it.  They've gotten a couple big storms over the past week so there's gonna be a lot of snow!  We'll see how we do.

Friday - North Kingstown, RI/East Providence, RI - 13.4 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:08)

Left the house early and went over to Ryan Park.  The main path has an icy monorail - perfect with microspikes.  I ran most of the main trails - the few times I stepped into less packed terrain it became a posthole nightmare.  So I mostly stuck to the monorail and it made for a great seven mile run.  Too bad the Belleville Pond 10k wasn't this weekend, would've been great conditions (maybe not the section along Route 4).

At lunch at went back out for more miles.  I figured I wouldn't be running tomorrow and with hiking on Sunday this was my opportunity to put in a decent day.  The 10 Mile River bikepath was clear for a half mile before it became soft snow and ice.  I put on microspikes for this section and then removed them as I ran roads around Slater Park.  Beautiful day out there and I was glad to get in a rare double.

Saturday - 0 miles

Almost didn't make it up to New Hampshire as Ezri was sick but she turned it around and we got up to Littleton, NH by 9 PM.  What a lovely little main street in this town.

Sunday - New Hampshire - 7 miles

Amanda and I hiked up Mt. Liberty.  A tough snowshoe hike for Amanda.  I may write-up a report on it.

Weekly Log: 41.9 miles
Year to Date: 280 miles

Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Log: 2.6.17 - 2.12.17

Monday - 0 miles

8 minutes of planks (longest - 5:23)

A new forearm plank PR of 5:23!  Wasn't expecting that but I felt good this morning and the minutes ticked by.  Once I saw that I was at 4:30 I dug in and held on to grab a new best.

Sadly I got to work and immediately got bummed at, well having to work.  I was in a mopey mood all day and when it came time to run at lunch I bailed because I'm a lazy asshat.  Shameful.

Tuesday - Providence, RI - 6 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:08)

I motivated myself today by mapping out a run that would create a dirty picture.  This is immature I know, but sometimes we need to find motivation in the most juvenile of places.  I enjoyed the process of mapping a picture with a route and then seeing it to fruition.  I may do it again (it may or may not be dirty).

A happy fellow

Wednesday - Seekonk, MA - 7.3 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:10)

Friggin' close to 60 degrees today.  Pretty crazy considering we're getting up to a foot of snow tomorrow.  Anyway the beautiful weather was motivation enough to get me over to the track.  I initially did 8 x 400 - a bit sluggish but I got them done.  I have enough left in the tank for two more to make it an even 10.  I'm happy with my effort.

Splits: 87 / 88 / 87 / 84 / 85 / 85 / 86 / 86 / 84 / 84

Thursday - Charlestown, RI - 9 miles

With a big storm bearing down on us I went over to Carter Preserve for a morning run before the heavy stuff began coming down.  A few minutes after I started the icy snow began to fall and I was looking forward to the blustery conditions for the whole run.  Then after 15 minutes it petered out and by the time I reached the train tracks I realized it had turned into a light rain. Not what I was planning on and over the next forty minutes the chilly rain continued.  Despite this and the muddy sections of the preserve I enjoyed the run. Not long after I got home the blizzard began in earnest and now we've got a good ten inches outside.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 2 miles

6:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:22)

Another day of working at home compliments of yesterday's snowstorm.  I went over to Carter Preserve at lunch and spent 50 minutes breaking trail in snowshoes.  It was beautiful out there but slow going.  Definitely no running going on, especially with my touring shoes.

Saturday - 0 miles

Sunday - Charlestown, RI - 12.4 miles

I also had given up on running this weekend and was ready to take a zero when Amanda said she had afternoon plans which prompted me to get out in run in the late morning.  I timed it perfectly with the new storm that was arriving - it began to snow as I began to run and by the time I reached the end of Old Coach it was already sticking to the ground.  I stuck to country roads with a short stretch on Route 2.  It snowed throughout and traction on the road finally weakened by the time I returned to Old Coach. Luckily the freezing rain held off until later in the afternoon.

Weekly Log: 36.6 miles
Year to Date: 238.2 miles

Friday, February 3, 2017

Weekly Log: 1.30.17 - 2.5.17

Monday - Seekonk, MA - 6 miles

6:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:02)

My calves and hamstrings are pretty sore after a weekend of hiking in the Whites.  I picked up a pair of NB Vazees up in North Conway and wanted to try them out. I opted for quiet country roads of Seekonk.  Legs warmed up soon enough and this ended up being a great, relaxing run.

Tuesday - 0 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:12)

No run today.  Was going to yoga but chumped out.  Just as well as I had to leave early and deal with a bunch of bullshit traffic thanks to the snow.

Wednesday - West Greenwich, RI - 7 miles

7 minutes of planks (longest - 4:04)
165 push-ups (standard/wide) 30/30/25/30/25/25

Early last year I did planks 5-6 times a week and I hit a 4 minute plank in by the end of March.  I continued to plank inconsistently through July hitting a high water mark of 5:12.  Then things fell apart.  But with the new year I've tried to get back into the habit of doing them every morning.  This was my first 4 minute plank since last July.  The consistency is paying off.

The upside of yesterday's snow was that I got to Big River this morning for a great trail run.  Just enough snow to make it fun but not too much to be a pain to slog through.  Couple fat bike tire tracks already out there.  Did a loop around Carr Pond.  Great way to start the day.

Thursday - East Providence, RI - 6.1 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:12)

Was intending to make it a track day (would've been three weeks in a row) but the Seekonk High track was covered in snow.  Dejected, I went over to the Ten Mile River bikepath.  It was mostly clear of snow but had some crunchy parts.  But the damage was done - any interest in speedwork vanished and I slogged my way through this run.  By the midway mark I had no motivation left but luckily I had no choice but to run in order to get back to my car.  Best thing I can say about this run was that I got it done.

Friday - Smithfield, RI - 7.5 miles

5 minutes of planks (longest - 2:37)

Got over to Wolf Hill for an early run.  Plenty of snow on the trails here and it made for an enjoyable time.  Sought out the biggest hills there - definitely need to get back to consistent hill work.  Chilly in the mid 20s but I dressed appropriately for once and really enjoyed this one.

Saturday - 0 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:10)

Sunday - West Greenwich, RI - 16.1 miles

Ran mostly dirt roads along the New London Turnpike.  Started on the west side of Big River and took the turnpike out of the management area and south.  A few pavement sections but otherwise all dirt.  I veered off onto another dirt road towards the end and turned around at the 8 mile mark.  It was mostly downhill on the way back so I was able to pick up the pace a bit.  Good long run.

Weekly Mileage: 42.7 miles
Year to Date: 201.6 miles

Friday, January 27, 2017

Weekly Log: 1.23.17 - 1.29.17

I'm heading up to NH this weekend for some winter hiking.  Can't wait!  Until then it looks like a week of cold, wet runs awaits me here in Rhode Island.

Monday - 0 miles

5:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:05)

I got into my running garb at lunch and even made it out to my car but the cold mix of rain and sleet was more than I could bear.  I admit that I gave up, went back inside and changed.  Then I went and got Wendys.  Shameful.

Tuesday - East Providence, RI - 8 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest - 3:03)

After yesterday's shame I was determined to get out and run today.  It was a cold sideways rain when I started on the East Bay bike path but the rain stopped soon after and the four miles out to Riverside went quickly.  I was moving well in the low 7s.  A big honkin' tree had fell onto the path just before it reached Riverside but I climbed through and kept going.  Was going to turn around at 3.5 miles but I felt so good I kept going to the 4 mile mark.  As soon as I turned around I realized I was duped - the wind blasted me in the face and the rain really began to come down to spite me.  But I kept the pace up on the way back and was really satisfied when I finished the run.  My right nip began to sting for the last couple miles but luckily I made it back to the car before the bleeding began.

Wednesday - 0 miles

5:30 minutes of planks (longest - 3:05)

My poor nip is tender from yesterday's run.  And I was having some aching in my left knee.  That and my complete lack of enthusiasm for running resulted in another zero.  I don't feel as bad about this one as Monday.  Just not into it today.  Ran some errands instead.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 6.3 miles

6:30 minutes of planks (longest: 3:38)

Quite the pattern this week.  Bail on running one day and the next day tough it out in cold wet conditions.  Despite the constant drizzle I made it back to the Seekonk High track for the second week in a row.  More 400s.  Ran 8 of 'em like last week but my pace was a bit faster.  Progress I suppose.  It rained lightly throughout and I was afraid for my tender nip as I had completely forgot to bring bandaids or lubricant.  Luckily it seemed unaffected by the rain.  Really glad I got this run done.

Friday - 0 miles

6:30 minutes of planks (3:25)

Three days off this week.  S'ok, I'm just considering it a taper for the hard effort on the trails I'll be putting in this weekend.  New Hampshire ho!

Saturday - New Hampshire - 12.5 miles

A tough snowshoe hike up Mt Carrigain to start the day - didn't quite make it and turned around at 4.5 miles.  A much easier 3.5 miler up Peaked Mountain next to North Conway later in the afternoon.  Maybe I'll write up a report later.

Sunday - New Hampshire - 10 miles

Great hike up to North and South Kinsman past Lonesome Lake.  #34 and #35 on the 4000 footer list for me.  Perhaps a write up for this one too if I get around to it.

Weekly Mileage: 36.8 miles
Year to Date: 158.9 miles

Great weekend of winter hiking in the Whites and I learned some good lessons.  I know it's kind of silly to just lump that mileage along with my regular running mileage but slag off!  That's what I'm gonna do!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Weekly Log: 1.16.17 - 1.22.17

Monday - South Kingstown, RI - 7 miles

3 minutes of planks (longest: 1:35)

Cold morning with a little bit of snow still on the ground.  I went over to DuVal for some easy trail miles.  My legs have felt beat last night from 15 miles in Big River but they felt better today.  Two miles in I tripped on a tiny tree stump and got laid out.  Smashed my big toe, scrapped both knees and an elbow.  Tore my tights and strained my shoulder.  After a minute I was up and running again but I was feeling it for the rest of the run.  Finished with 7 miles but the trails done beat me up good.

Tuesday - 0 miles

Definitely needed a rest day to lick my wounds from yesterday.  Also first day this year I didn't plank.  I was trying to keep up with the Facebook plank challenge but I think days off will only help me.

Wednesday - East Providence, RI - 7.1 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest: 3:10)

Cold and drizzly outside.  My knees aren't as sore today and my shoulder pain has subsided.  Time to get back out there.  I did a loop I often run though I went in reverse this time.  It encompasses the trails behind the Seekonk Library and the Ten Mile River bikepath.  It's a fine lunch loop and the weather actually was pretty good for running.

Thursday - Seekonk, MA - 7 miles

6 minutes of planks (longest: 3:21)

Mid 40s today and I was feeling frisky so I went to the Seekonk High School for a track workout.  I went with 8 x 400s.  Went pretty well - most were in the 88-86 second range but my last one was at 81 seconds.  Perhaps I should have pushed them faster but they felt hard enough over all.  Looking back over some past logs, I had actually been running them a few years ago at the 78-82 range.  Whoa!  I have some work cut out if I want to hit those numbers again.  Right knee was pretty sore during the cooldown - I'm going to attribute that to my digger on Monday.

Friday - Charlestown, RI - 8.8 miles

So I broke the bathtub last night.  I tried to switch the faucet and made it worse.  Much worse.  BUT that meant I had to stay home today to wait ont he plumber.  Hooray!  So I went for an early run at the Carter Preserve.  Some major mud at the powerline section.  My thoughts often turned to today's inauguration misery.  What a fucking world we find ourselves in.  Oh well, nothing to do but run on!

Saturday - 0 miles

5 minutes of planks (longest: 2:38)

Sunday - Exeter/North Kingstown, RI - 14.5 miles

12 easy morning miles in Arcadia with Muddy.  Despite chilled hands at the beginning it quickly warmed up and was nearly 50 degrees by midday.  Ran just long enough for me to justify calling this a long run.  Met my mom and Ezri at Rome Point.  They were already at the end so I ran down to where they were watching the seals and we walked back. 

Weekly Mileage: 43 miles
Year to Date: 122 miles