Sunday, December 10, 2017

December 4 to 10

Monday, 12/4
6 miles..5 with Riley and 1 with Lulu.  Chilly morning but enjoyed the moonlit roads and quiet run.

Tuesday, 12/5
6.2 miles with the dogs followed by 6X100m strides in front of my house to close out the run.  Wind was up and miserable at times.  Despite the wind, I do enjoy how quiet and peaceful these runs are.  Feeling sluggish as usual.

Wednesday, 12/6
7.5 miles..2 mile warmup, 8X400 with 250 jog rests with Riley.  First 7 reps were all between 80-81.  Consistent but not as fast as I was hoping.  I took a little extra time before the last one and finished off with a 74 which was better.   While I may not have been thrilled with the speed of the reps, I was happy my mile splits during the workout (6:19, 6:13, 5:57).  Ran home and then picked up Lulu for another mile.

Thursday, 12/7
5.5 miles with Riley.  Cool but enjoyable run.  Saw JV during the first mile (it's always a highlight of my morning runs).  Coming back up Noyes Neck,  I could hear some serious howling coming from the farm that sounded like more than one dog.  A pack of coyotes?  Not sure.

Friday, 12/8
35 minutes of stretching.  The combination of rest and light stretching is probably more helpful than I know.

Saturday, 12/9
12.6 miles in the sleet.  1:24, 6:38 pace.  Solid for not pushing the pace.  However, this was a sufferfest for other reasons.  With an original projection of 3-5 inches of snow, I was excited to think about the prospect of running in the white stuff.  The storm kind of fizzled and I had to settle for running in sleet.  I layered up but within 10 minutes of the run I was soaked.  For the first 6 miles I enjoyed the weather and run but the last 6+ were really tough with numbness, which felt like frost bite on my a few of my fingers.  Upon arrival home,  I was in some pain for a while as I tried to defrost those fingers.  A post run warm shower was fantastic.  I highly underestimated the weather today.  Not smart.

Sunday, 12/10
5 miles with Riley.  Started on icy and snowy roads. We then ran on the sand trail for a bit, which was really slow but fun.  Very enjoyable.  Would have stayed out longer but was pressed for time.

Weekly miles: 43
Core/stretch: 1X35 minutes
Synopsis: A fine week of running.  I'm starting to think more about marathon training and that build up.  It was good to get both a workout and long run in this week.  I'm trying to build those long runs so I am ready for the grind come January.

Monday, December 4, 2017

November 27-December 3-Man's Best Friend

In an effort to hold myself accountable, I am going to try to do a weekly training update.  I gave up on weekly blogging a while back because I figured no one was interested and a lot of my runs are really repetitive and boring.  Anyway, I'll give it a go!

This blog post is in honor of my parents dog and my first dog running buddy, Mickey, who passed away on Thanksgiving unexpectedly from a heart attack.  He truly was Man's Best Friend and was a joy 100% of the time.  Mickey followed the "wag more, bark less" principle and I'll certainly miss him. Rest easy, bud.


Monday-6.- miles with the dogs followed by 1 mile of strides.  Enjoyed all the Christmas lights that were left on all need.  JV and I enjoy those.

Tuesday-6.2 miles.  Ran to my parents house, delivered the paper, and ran home w/ Riley.  Since Lulu slept in, I decided to spent my last mile doing on/off street lights through my neighborhood.

Wednesday-6.1 miles.  Ran Riley and then Lulu.  Gusty winds and feeling all around soreness, but especially in the low knee/upper shin area.  Will monitor.

Thursday-6.0 miles.  Both dogs.  Super cold but no wind.  I'll take it.  Looking forward to taking tomorrow off due to the soreness and general fatigue.

Friday-30 minute morning stretch, followed DVD, 5 minute foam roll at end.  Really need to stick to doing this stuff.

Saturday-5.5 miles with Riley from my house to Weekapaug Golf Course a little after 7 am.  Warmed up for 2 miles miles and then did 35 seconds H/35 seconds E for 20 minutes.  Upon entering the golf course an off leash German Shepard came charging at Riley and me.  He couldn't really catch us and ended up retreating back home.  Call it a win for the good guys.  Riley was completely unfazed by the dog and was having too much fun during his pursuit of us to even get upset.  Did a 20 minute stretch late in the afternoon.

Sunday-10 miles from Avondale Preserve through Watch Hill.  Upon arrival to the preserve, I coincidentally ran into JV, Eric D, Mikey B (glad he is back in the game), and Brian who were about to start a group run.  Ran with the guys for about a mile and then went off on my own from there.  Had a nice unplanned progression on a seasonal morning.  Last two miles were 6:14 and 6:16..happy with that.  Fun run.

Miles: 40
Core/Stretch: 2X20 min + some daily stretching.
Notes: Feeling tired and fatigued as usual which I attribute to my busy schedule.  Will keep watch on low knee/upper shin soreness.  Just trying to having fun with no particular goals for now.

Interesting running tidbit I read about this week: To prevent injury, switch out up to 3 shoes since running is such a repetitive motion.  I've switched out two pairs but this might give me an excuse to purchase another pair of shoes!

Sunday, August 20, 2017


Wahaneeta Trail 5k

The Wahaneeta Trail 5k stands as the first race of the WTAC Fall Trail Series.  One of my goals this year is to compete/participate in as many club events as possible.  With this race being early in the morning and conveniently located close to home, I had every reason to do this race.  It was also fun to not worry about getting a specific time and just racing.  With twists, bridges, and some technical parts, times go out the window and you can just focus on the fun.

Race Morning
After having a coffee and light breakfast, I headed over to Wahaneeta to help out with post registration and any other last minute tasks that needed to be completed before the race.  A little less than 15 minutes pre-race, I was able to sneak out for a five minute warmup.  With 100% humidity, I didn't take much of an effort to get "warm" but I still wanted to get some running in to loosen up.

The Race
RD Jeff gave out some pre-race instructions, offered up some props to the Westerly Land Trust, and before we knew it, we were off.  Right off the start, an unknown dude in compression socks blasted off the line.  The WTAC Train (Matthew, Muddy, Jeff/RD, me) followed not too far off.  After the initial burst out, the unknown dude slowed and I decided to make a move to make sure the train didn't get stuck on the single track.  If anything, I figured the move would be helpful to my teammates. Little did I know, I'd lead the "train" for the first lap of the course.  I knew Matthew was taking it easy and carefully waiting to make his move.  After a grueling and fun first lap, Matthew made his decisive move and Muddy, Jeff, and I were left behind.  I'd best describe my experience on the second lap as a suffer fest.  While paying attention to the well marked course, I thought to myself that I was glad today was only a 5k and wondered when Muddy and Jeff were going to drop me.  Somehow I was able to hold on and fought through the final lollipop of the course to them off (*Note: Only 8 seconds separated the 3 of us).  While my time was quite slow, I was happy to claim 2nd place and gave consideration to the humidity and slowness of the trails.   Overall, it was a really fun event and I mostly enjoyed running and suffering with my WTAC teammates.  Looking forward to more trail racing ahead!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A little Westerly Fun Run history..

Myself, my friend Jon, and world class Kenyan runner, Nicholas
August 8, 2007

August 8, 2007
"Wednesday's race featured the appearance of two "world class" runners from Kenya; Nicholas Kamakya & Angelina Mutuku, who are here to compete in the FALMOUTH 7.1 MILE ROAD RACE this coming weekend. The two, along with their escort John Thornell, addressed the crowd and held a Q & A session prior to the start of the runs," WTAC site.

My take
As the years march on, sometimes it is fun to reflect on running and the history of events you've been involved in. A few weeks back I came across an old photo of an elite Kenyan runner, my friend Jon, and myself at a "back in the day" WTAC fun run.  

I'm not sure if anyone in my blogger audience was there that evening, but I'm going to share my take on the event and the story of why this Kenyan gentlemen, Nicholas, was hanging with us that night.

The story should really begin with Jon, who had recently returned from approximately a year of teaching and running in Sigor, Kenya.  Jon was a friendly high school rival of mine and we continued to develop a friendship, competed against one another, and trained from time to time during college breaks.  Post collegiate, Jon explored his interest of Kenya, running, and the culture my immersing himself in the East African world.  In short, Jon taught school, visited his students' families, ran, and developed a raw, yet super talented XC team during his time there.  His star athlete would go on to run world class times and go on to win some big time marathons.

Coincidentally and shortly after I moved to Westerly, Jon came to RI for a couple days to hang out at the beach and run with me during the summer of 2007.  We opted to head down to the fun run that evening to get in a workout and enjoy the novelty of running down by the water.  Before the start of the fun run, I remember someone from the WTAC making a special introduction and announcement of the two world class Kenyans who would be on hand for the evening's run. The entire crowd was somewhat in awe of the athletes, but their attendance especially piqued Jon's interest as he could speak some of their language and had background in Kenyan culture.  While I have no idea of the context of their conversation, Jon spoke to both Nicholas and Angelina at that night's fun run.  While neither of the Kenyan athletes came to run hard, Nicholas ran with the top guy and jogged the 3 miler in at 14:51 and Angelina ran with the top female in her own "pedestrian" time of 17:45.  I'm not sure what these two Kenyan's ran at Falmouth that year, but did a little research and saw that Nicholas ran a 2:06:34 in the 2011 Amsterdam Marathon and Angelina ran a 1:11:20 at the 2007 Philadelphia Half.   Pretty impressive to say the least.

In short, it was neat and enjoyable night to have some surprise guests at the WTAC fun run.

Monday, June 19, 2017


Newport Marathon-April 15, 2017
2:54:44, 6th

Lead Up
I knew I wanted to run a marathon and get a BQ in the spring of 2017 but I just wasn't sure if it was in the cards for a variety of reasons.  Once Baby H was born, my running focus was just on getting out there.  The fate of a potential marathon changed for the better on February 18th when the Gazelle invited me to meet him for a long run.  Without a solid lead up or string of long runs, I hoped to offer Jeff some company on a cold morning as he prepared for a April marathon.  As the run went on, I continued to feel okay and made the decision to run a full 20 miler with him.  I was pretty tired post run, but the idea of putting five more long runs together all of a sudden became a possibility.  Having Jeff to run with on most of these runs held my accountable and I knew he'd push me hard on our runs.
During this training block, I wasn't able to put in any weekly workouts but ran my long runs at a quality pace and ran a comfortable to moderate pace throughout each week.   While the lead up to the race was short, I was happy with some of the runs Jeff and I put in and appreciated the focus on hills.

Race Morning
Jeff picked me up pretty early on race morning.  The ride to Newport went by pretty quickly as we listened to ACDC, talked about the good conditions, and received various texts/calls from Jeff Duda, who was also running.  After arriving at Second Beach, we caught a school bus to the start and kept our sweats on as there was a slight chill in the air.  We hung with JD, made some final race preparations, and took a picture before heading to the starting line.  Based off how we matched up in our training runs, Gazelle and I had brief discussions about pacing and running together.  We agreed that if it worked out great, but that we didn't want the other waiting for the other.   My pre-race hope was that we'd be running together for most, if not all of the race together.

Getting ready to go!

We're off
Miles 1-6
As the gun went off, I reminded myself to relax and try to stick to my plan of running 6:30 pace.  A hill shortly after the start and in the first mile would definitely help.  Between mile 1 and 2, Gazelle and I were running together through a neighborhood and a dog broke off a leash and was lunging at us.  Fortunately, neither one of us were bit!  However, our adrenaline must have been sky high and we hit mile 2 in 6:17, which was too fast.  These first two miles made me worry about the remainder of the race.  Jeff and I reminded one another to settle in and we paid close attention to our splits over the next couple of miles.  While we certainly weren't on a run to go smell the roses, the well on Wellington Ave of the Newport Bridge and harbor was amazing.   Over the next couple of miles, we worked towards Fort Adams State Park.  Upon entering Fort Adams, I gave thought to the many childhood visits, swims. and memories I had in this park with family.  I must have been day dreaming a bit too much as I almost took a wrong turn before Gazelle set me straight.  Leaving Fort Adams, two young guns connected up with us and were playing some good tunes that Gazelle and I could both get down to.

Miles 7-13
Over this bunch of miles, I mostly tried to lock into a pace.  Gazelle and I also engaged in conversation with the two young guns, who happened to be UMASS runners.  Based off conversation, I believe they were both seniors who were not currently running meets but still had track lockers.  They seemed legit and reported to be unsure of their goal for the day other than simply finishing.  I could tell they were legit and didn't expect them to fade anytime soon.  They mostly ran behind us but their tunes continued to entertain us.  It would have been great for them to do some of the work and trade off leading but they were carrying their weight with our group of four just by playing the tunes.  It's funny how the small things can carry you through a marathon.  We rolled on, enjoyed the views, looked at mansions, and worked through some of the Salve Regina campus roads as we moved back towards the starting line and midpoint of the race.  As we came up on the midpoint, I started to feel some signs of fatigue and wondered what the rest of the race had in store for me.

The train right around the half way point. Pretty cool to run stride for stride with Jeff for a huge chunk of the race.

Miles 14-20
After a crystal clear layout for the first half of the course, we were led to some confusion as we crossed the 13.1 mark.  It was really unclear where we were supposed to run and none of the race staff or volunteers in the area knew where to tell us to go.  Crossing the midpoint, an additional dude with a hat seemed to pop out of no where to join the train.  I was feeling fatigue and considering what I needed to do to make it through the second half of the race.  Whether real or imaginary, I felt all of the guys around me speed up.  In my head, I reminded myself to run my own race and let things play out.  I hung on to low 6:30s over the next couple of miles and chewed on some gummies.  At around mile 16,  I was hanging slightly off the pack and saw my cheering squad (family) for the first time.  It was especially nice seeing them as Haley was part of the contingency.  Gazelle signaled for me to move back up and all of sudden I was back in the mix.  I ran a speedy 16th mile and was back in the game.  At this point, the UMASS dudes ran away from us and it was Gazelle and the mysterious guy with the hat.  Things continued to go well as we saw my family again and Gazelle and I continued to encourage one another and work together.   We had rolling hills ahead and I knew the last 7 miles of the course would be a challenge.

Miles 21-26.2
Gazelle and I were both feeling it as we ran out to the turn around point at Indian Avenue.   I knew we still had a battle ahead of us and continued my hope that we would stay together for as long as possible.  After turning around the cone, I pulled ahead of Gazelle but encouraged him to hang with me.  I gave some thought about the race up to this point and the partnership we had going through the entire race.  For a minute or so, I encouraged him to rejoin me again with a hand signal and considered slowing a bit to run together.  Knowing the type of competitor Jeff is, I knew he wouldn't be happy if I purposely dropped back.  The deal was if we could run together, great, but if not, don't wait!  I carried on and did my best to not totally fall apart over the last five miles.   I was on a solid pace to get my BQ and needed to hang tough.   After a hard climb up Hanging Rock Road, I was headed towards the home stretch.  I crossed the line in 2:54:45, which would be good enough for 6th place overall, 1st in my division.  Jeff hung tough and ran a super strong 2:58:59, 9th overall, 1st in his division.  Jeff Duda had a tough day and finished in 3:14:22.
Finishing up.

Thanks Shara!
Happy to be finished but too tired to get up.


-Ultimately, the day was a success!  I ran fairly consistent and hammered down the BQ I wanted off a short marathon training block.
-Special thanks to my understanding wife, Shara, who was supportive of me sneaking out of the house on Saturday mornings while she tended to a newborn.  I'm also most appreciative of the support of my parents for coming out to see me run.
-I have to give a ton of credit to my race success to Gazelle for all of the help with training, advice, and going to "battle" with me through most of the race.
-Marathons are tough.  Anything can happen..good or bad.  It's so important to race with a plan and do whatever preparation is necessary to feel like you are adequately prepared for race day.
-Marathons are fun.  I enjoyed the venue and course and challenge of running the race.
-It took a few weeks for me to recover from this one.  A sign of a good effort but wish I could have recovered quicker.
-While the course was no walk in the park, I'd run this race again.
-I'm planning/hoping on running Boston 2018.  It's a race I've wanted to run since I was a high school kid.  Hopefully, I can stay healthy and will be well prepared for it.  I'm excited about the prospect of running the race, but am not looking forward to the logistics.
-Now what?  I'm not sure.  Considering the need to run a half or two in the fall just to run some longer efforts.  Would running Hartford be beneficial?  Thoughts?
-I like running 5ks and marathons..weird combination.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

January Review

January was a month of anticipation for me.  With Shara in her final month of pregnancy, my mind was on the arrival of our new baby while trying to balance work, running, and the rest of my life.

We received an exciting surprise in mid-January with the arrival of our baby girl.  She weighed a healthy 8lbs, 0 oz. and arrived 12 days early.  Amazingly, Shara kept running her mile right up until three days before birth.  While really starting to feel it, Shara even rode our stationary bike for 5 miles the day before giving birth! I was certainly impressed and in awe of this feat.  While we are thrilled and excited to have our little girl, the level of tiredness and fatigue is something neither of us have faced before.

Full disclosure: I thought marathon training would be much more strenuous and physically exhausting than regular wake-ups during the middle of the night.  Sleep deprivation is just a whole other animal.

While this new life style is certainly not permanent, my fitness goals are sort of on the back burner. My main goal is to stay as active and as shape as I possible can, while not being selfish or depriving my other responsibilities.  Initially I thought it might be possible to pull off a spring marathon, but I just don't see if happening due to low motivation and lack of long runs.  I'll keep an open mind moving ahead and see what happens.  To maintain as much fitness as possible, keep the dogs happy, and get a little rest, I've been splitting up my daily runs during the week to two short daily runs.  So far, it is working and I remind myself to stay flexible.  Most of all, I'm thrilled to have a healthy, thriving baby!

January Fitness/Strava Stats:
Miles: Approximately 185
Average Weekly Mileage: 40
Average # of Weekly Runs: 9
Off Days/Week: 1
Stretching: 1X/Week (Need to stick to this)
Bike/Swim: 0 No time

Overall, I'm really happy with the running I was able to pull off during the month of January.

Running Highlights include:
-I had fun with the dogs,
-Started trail running with Riley.  I've always been paranoid about him getting ticks but we treat monthly and I also recently purchased an organic tick repellent.
- Racing the Resolution 5k on the beach and in the trails during a snow storm. I can't say I ran particular well or poorly, but it was a fun experience with good competition. I'm hoping to run a couple of more races in the series if possible.
-A couple of snow's always great to get out there when the white stuff is on the ground.\

Riley with his new trail friends.
His longest run in duration and 2nd trail run ever.  

There's no run like a snow run!

I'll see what February brings.  Onward!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Looking back, moving forward

The Numbers
 # of runs: 360
*Interesting number that I can only attribute to warmups, cool downs, and short doubles.
Time: 236 hours
Distance: 2065  miles (approximately 900 more than 2015)

# of rides-41
Time: 45 hours
Distance: 780 miles (Rode 1375 in 2015 to make just about 600 less than 2016)

 # of swims: 42
Time: 23 hours, 11 minutes
Distance: 78,900 yds *Never tracked before 2016 but less than last year.

Physical Therapy
# of PT sessions: 22. Approximately 2X a week from late September to early December for hip stability issues.

# of races: 17
Marathon: 1
Half: 1
Tris: 3
3 mile/5ks: 9 on a variety of courses
5 miler: 1
10 miler: 1
8 mile trail: 1

Top times:
5k: 16:54
5 miler: 28:42
1/2 marathon: 1:18:17 (unofficial)
Marathon: 2:52:20

Best 3 Performances
1. Providence Marathon: 2:52:20, 10th overall.  PR.  After a winter and early spring of helping Shara train for Boston, I finally jumped in a marathon of my own and it went quite well.  Really happy with how I felt during the race and how controlled I ran.  Cross this bad boy off the bucket list!

Thanks for the inspiration, Shara
Coach Walker! Pleasant surprise and support at my first marathon

2.  Avondale 5k: 16:54.  No where near any of my top times but it felt pretty good to get back under 17 and feel strong racing.

Feeling good

3. Rhode Warrior Olympic: 2:29:58, 2nd overall.  Any time I finish this high in a TRI regardless of who shows up, I have to feel good about it.  My biking miles were pathetic in 2016.  After a strong swim and very weak bike ride on a challenging course, I was able to make up for it on the run.  A week prior to this race I started to feel pain throughout the bottom of my foot.  Ultimately, I was able to get a treatment two days prior to the race that really helped me out and it lead me to PT.

*A not amazingly fast, yet solid Clamdigger performance (28:42) could definitely be considered as one of my top 3 of 2016.

2016 Clamdigger

Performances I wish went better:
1. BI Tri: 1:20:27, 7th overall, 1st AG. The BI Tri is always a fun day with great company but I wasn't happy with how I felt or how things went down.  Thoughts on the course: The swim is great (always clear water out there) and pretty quick, the bike course is super hilly and dangerous, and the run is dependent upon conditions (this past year it was high tide and hot).  I paid for not doing enough work on the bike during this race.

BI TRI 2016
I may not have been thrilled with my result or the course but it's always a fun day with these guys.

2. Blessing: 1:00:15, 31st place.  2016 was a complete suffer fest due heat and humidity.  My pre-race goal was to break 60 minutes..heat or not, it did not happen.  In my two previous performances (2003 & 2004) I ran in the 56 minute range.  One of my goals 2016 goals was to sub 60 in this race.  I'll be back!

I'll be back and hopefully under an hour
Couldn't hydrate fast enough

What Worked (in no particular order)
1. More consistent running
2. Almost a weekly workout
3. Long runs to build a strong base in the winter/spring
4. Core/Stretching/Yoga.  Possibly the MOST important thing I do.
5. Running with Shara, the dogs, and my running buds

What didn't (in no particular order)
1. Biking (didn't ride enough and don't enjoy nearly as much as running)

2. Summer training.  Or maybe TRI training.  I love TRIs but my biggest gripe is that I never feel like I'm doing enough.  By August, I was hurting throughout my left side..never received a diagnosis but was fortunate enough to work throughout the fall with a PT to get things straight.   With the feeling of not doing enough, I didn't take true off days (like a day when I just stretch or do core).  I need to do better in 2017 if I want to stay healthy in this area.   In running, triathlon, and life--you can't have it all.  Something has to give.

2016 Goal Assessment
General-run healthy, compete to the best of my ability, have fun, train with Shara/Dogs/WTAC buds, and keep it fresh. ACHIEVED
-5k: A goal-get back to a 16:45 5k, B goal-Sub 17. B goal ACHIEVED
-5 mile: Sub 29 minutes.  ACHIEVED
-10k: Sub 36 minutes N/A
-Compete and maintain Top 5 finishes at BI & OCY Tris FAIL.  *Did not race OCY
-Help Shara train for Boston. ACHIEVED
-Swim at least once a week/track swim distance.  FAIL but did track my swims
-Run one speed workout a week even if short ACHIEVED
-Continue to do core exercises to prevent injuries ACHIEVED
-Get on the bike come spring. Sort of FAILED
-Run the Blessing (must be sub 60 for me to be happy). FAILED
-Run in another country. FAILED

2016 Score-Achieved: 6, Failed: 5, NA: 1

All in all, 2016 was a good year!

2017 Goals

Stay healthy, continue core work, stretching, and speed work at least one day a week, have a healthy balance of all things. enjoy the baby, stay consistent, track all physical activity on Strava, run with the dogs, and have fun.

Running buds

 -Run races again with Shara
-Run another marathon.. A. Sub 2:52 B: Sub 2:55 C BQ.  Could be spring or fall. May be a difficult goal to fulfill based off training, running health, and Daddy duties.
-5k A. Sub 16:50, B Sub 17
-Sub 29 at Clamdigger
-Run Blessing and sub 60.
-Compete in 2-3 sprint TRIs..maybe try a new one or two.
-Compete in seasonal races (Halloween, Christmas)
-Compete in as many WTAC events as possible
-Complete the Clamshell series
-Run at least a fun run or two with the baby in the stroller.

All ready to go!