Monday, December 5, 2011

Fall Wrapup

It has been a long time since my last post here, but since we are at the end of the fall and my running has improved, i should post something. Since my last post in mid-July, i have been pretty steady with the mileage, running 45-50 most weeks or about 200 miles per month. There have been aches and pains, but no injuries to speak of. Half of those miles were done on trails up until the clocks changed in November, now i'm mostly on the roads except for my weekly night trail run with John Peabody. Headlamps, water crossings, single track, roots, rocks, train tracks (look out for the Acela train) and lots of deer, it is fun, but not for the faint of heart. I just picked up a Concept2 Indoor Rowing Machine too, looking forward to some good cross training this winter.

8 miles in (Steve Wolfe Photo)
That brings us to racing. I have run 5 races this fall, 2 on trails and 3 road relays. The most recent was the Mill Cities Relay, run from Nashua, NH to Lawrence, Ma covering 27 miles and 5 legs. I was running this one for my secondary club, The Goon Squad. We were set up as a mixed masters team. Leading off was my excellent friend Sarah Prescott (Goon name:Goatie), Sarah has been a P.R. machine this year. Next up was very fast senior Linda Jennings (Goon name: Sonic Boom), Linda has been running some of the National USATF Grand Prix Circuit and is wicked fast in her age group. Running third was Jack Mulligan, Jack was filling in for late scratch Fernando Braz. I was next up (Goon name: Flash), i was running the long leg which was 9.5 miles. Our anchor runner was John Murphy (Goon name: Pusher). We knew we weren't running for the win in our division, but that doesn't mean we weren't going run fast anyway. When i took the handoff from Jack, i really did not know what to expect. I figured i would be happy if i ran just under 7's, my first mile was 6.24 after which i backed off a bit and tried to fall into a good rhythm. I locked on at 6.35-6.40 and held pretty steady for 5 miles or so then fell off a bit to 6.45's. It might have been better if not for unknowingly dropping my relay wristband and then backtracking a couple hundred yards to pick it up, that destroyed my momentum. After that, i just figured i would jog in, spirit broken, but i dug down and got back into high gear for the last mile. I may have cost us bout two minutes which was only one lost place in division. All in all, our team ran great despite my mess up. Once done, we all headed into the post race party at the Claddagh Pub, had some food, drank some Guinness and hung with friends and fellow runners. It was a great time! I can't wait for next years race! This was also my birthday and i treated my self by running faster than i thought i could right now, i was a good 15-20 seconds a mile better than i thought i could do for a longer distance. It is fun getting fast again, but i do have a ways to go before i will be satisfied. The goal is sub 6's. I'll get there.

Grog and Dog Jog

Other races i have done this fall include the Rhode Island 6 Hour Relay. Our team the Tuesday Night Turtles finished second overall after a number mishap by the then second place Fuel Belt team. There were timing chips on the numbers and one of their runners forgot his number and had to backtrack to get it. It is a tough way to lose a place. We went from a 3 minute deficit to an 8 minute lead in a lap and finally won by about 12 minutes, but way behind the lead Acidotic Racing team. I also was on the "B" team at the Grog and Dog Jog at the Wild Colonial Tavern in Providence. Run 1 and a quarter miles, eat a hot dog, drink a beer and hand off to your next runner. Dressing up for this race is not a requirement, but most teams do and that is the most of the reason this race is so much fun. Our team dressed up as Larry the Cable Guy, good thing he wears flannel shirts with cut off sleeves, it was 80 degrees plus at race time. Race time is basically thrown out the window hear, first over the line is all that counts. We were top 15, good enough for us.

TNT second place team at the RI 6 Hour Relay
My other two races this fall were both trail runs, but that is where the similarity ended. One race, the Lil'Rhody RunAround is flat, fast 8ish mile race with some roots and plank bridges to cross and a mile of pavement at the end. The other was the Vulcan's Fury Trail Race in Nottingham, NH, 12 miles? with about 1600 ft of climbing. Single track, steep ups and downs, stream crossings, running water down the middle of some double wide trails, climbing up rocks, a lot of twists and turns, basically what makes for a fun race. I had one tough fall here, sliding across a very wide rock while on a decent from the peak, a good amount of rock-rash that i did not even notice until the race was over. It was great fun, looking forward to next year's version. I will get more of my Turtle teammates to this one.

So, now that the fall is over and i am rounding into halfway decent shape, we look towards snowshoe season. This should be good, i have been racing on snow for the last 3 years, but never in very good condition. All we need right now is snow, bring it on! Hopefully i can keep up on my blog updates too.

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