Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday: 9 miles / 58 minutes W/ Alex. Nice run from the Keene High School out to some trails and eventually connected back via the rail road bed. Closed out the last mile or so nice and fast.
Tuesday: 9.5 miles / 62 minute W/ Alex and Dylan. We hit some nice hilly back-roads around Peterborough and Sharon. Entire body is a tad sore.
Wednesday: 9 miles/ 58 minutes on some pretty technical trails in Andover. Taking advantage of the trails so long as they're available! Legs are feeling mostly better.
Thursday: 10 miles/ 69 minutes. Met Tim for 10 on the river trail from the hotel. Legs felt good once I got into it. Closed out the last couple miles at a nice crisp pace.
Friday: 6 miles/ 40 minutes After a 10 hour work day and limited sleep the last couple nights, I really wasn't sure whether running today could be of any benefit. I got out there in the dark and slogged a 6 miler... well, it felt like slogging, but after mapping it out I guess I was running 6:40's. Sitting here now I'm still not sure if running was the best idea, but loosening up the legs can't have been a bad thing. Back to work in the morning.
Saturday: 0 off - got out of work and headed straight out to meet up with Lauren. Had a great New Years with family and friends, and out for a really great jam session at the Musacchios'.
Sunday: 5 / 32 minutes easy with Alex in the morning. Felt sluggish.

Total: 50 miles on 6 days. Okay week. Still working on the consistency. but the runs have been of greater quality.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Base Training!

Monday: 75 minutes (10 mi?) on trails from Ward connecting through to Harold-Parker and back. Got pretty lost a couple times but luckily found my back in time for lunch before the evening shift. Whew... Good run!
Tuesday: 58 minutes (8 mi) easy morning run with a couple MVS runners. Headed out around 5:30am, a tad too early to feel normal, but still a nice run. 13 hours later I headed out for a quick run to and from the MVS practice (5.5 mi) for 13.5 on the day. 10 minute core plus some hip mobility exercises.
Wednesday: 55 minutes (8.25 mi) with Timmy Mallard romping on the hills of Pelham. What a great run. Some people just make great training partners and Tim is one of 'em.
Thursday: 3 easy am. busy couple days ahead of me going to fit in as much running as possible, but working all the way up to Christmas eve will make it tough! missed the evening run...
Friday: 5 easy at 10pm just trying to fit it in. Work at 8am tomorrow, tiring day.
Saturday: 0 off, Merry Christmas eve!...
Sunday: 11 steady with Alex in Marlborough. The hills around here are massive, but the reward is 2.5 miles of downhill cruising to cap off a good run. Last few miles were around 5:40 pace which feels pretty good on a 3-4% grade. We were throwing in surges here and there and the last one caused the plantar on my left foot to feel like it was on fire. Merry Christmas!!

45 miles total.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


M: 10 nice and easy, calf sore.
T: 8 with drills, core, strides.
W: 8 steady around Andover. Started out unusually quick today. Usually don't feel that great until 2-3 miles into a run.
R: 9 (1:04) easy night run on Andover roads. Had a GI issue most of the day and was pleasantly surprised to feel okay on the run. Calf was sore this morning but didn't bother me while running.
F: 8 easy on the river trail starting at the hotel. Never really got into it today. Dehydrated.
S: 0 Errands followed by work until 9pm, then drove to Southwestern CT. Almost dragged Alex out the door for a jog but we fell asleep around a monopoly board instead... not exactly champion mentality, but I was exhausted!
S: 8 steady with Alex in Ridgefield on trails and roads. Moved along at a good clip. Cold this morning! Calf a tad tight, probably from all the driving and the day off yesterday. Spent the afternoon in the hospital visiting Nana and drove home after dinner.

Total: 51 miles... It has been a little too long since I had a 'good' week, but I'm determined to keep at it. Despite a lack of workouts, I feel just a tad stronger and more fit than last week. A good sign.

Friday, December 9, 2011


M: 0 Well, I suppose fortunately the reason for all the zeros is not due to injury or personal disaster. The call I got on Sunday morning was from my cousin describing how he and my uncle had found my grandma on the floor at home. She had a stroke, a bad one, and the doctor whom they'd spoken to said, basically, to expect the worst. At that moment, Lauren and I packed our bags and headed to Connecticut until Tuesday night. I honestly could have run, and maybe I should have just to keep up a routine, but I just never had the desire. It was really special to see my grandma make a huge turnaround, begin recovering from brain surgery and some other smaller operations, as well as to see McGraths from all over the country flying and driving in to be there. No regrets about this week at all... Family always comes first for me.
T: 0
W: 0
R: 6.5 easy just getting back into stride.
F: 10 Harder mostly on trails and around town in Andover
S: 6 Just fitting in a run since I had to work so darn early. Heading to CT straight form work so we'll see what happens.
S: 9 Ran with Dad. we were both in CT visiting my grandma in the hospital. we cruised along steadily on a mixture of roads and trails and had a nice chat about where we've been and where we hope to be in the future. Always nice running in hilly Ridgefield, CT.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Base Training 11/28 - 12/4

M: 10 miles/70 minutes steady on Andover roads solo. Calf is still tender but less tight and felt better as the run progressed.
T: 10 miles/75 minutes on five or six reservations in Andover/N. Andover. Connected more of the Bay Circuit trail and I officially know how to get from Ward to Harold-Parker. I would have gone to H-P but I heard so many rifle shots in that direction I decided to give the hunters a little extra room. Calf didn't bother me. 10 minute plank session plus back, glute, crunch routine afterward.
W: 11.7 mi with 12x400 at 77s, 60s off. 2x200 at 32s, 60s off. Ran into Nate Jenkins on the cool down. Chatted for a couple miles making my cool-down a tad longer than intended. Nice day for a run and a wimpy yet satisfying first workout!
R: 5 easy in the evening after work. Felt crappy from standing all day at work. Top of foot is sore too. Drills plus 10 minute core
F: 9 easy, foot still a tad sore. It feels like my arch is collapsing in more than it should be. Less sore than yesterday though.
S: 9 miles with a HILLY 5k tempo in 17:10 on the Garmin. HR averaged 185, which is pretty high for a tempo effort. I couldn't believe the course I picked this morning Google Maps. Brutal. Started at 150ft elevation, maxed out at 320, and finished at 255. Reminded me of road version of Manchester's Derryfield Park.
S: 0. Right as I was dressing to run I got a call that there were things much more important than running going on that I needed to tend to.

Total: 54.7 on 6. I'll take it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Base Training 11/21 - 11/27

M: off
T: off
w: 8 miles steady
R: 13 miles plus 5 mile Thanksgiving day race
F: 10 miles 70 minutes over hilly terrain
S: off
S: off

Total: 31 - Had a disappointing week with some calf tenderness after a really encouraging series of runs. I took Saturday off to let things heal up but all that happened is everything got super tight and more painful on Sunday. Lesson learned: don't take that first day off!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feaster Five / Thanksgiving

Feaster Five splits

11:22 - 5:34
17:05 - 5:43
22:41 - 5:36
27:33 - 4:52

I'm pretty happy with the run this morning. After a couple weeks of decent, but certainly not ideal running, I feel like I'm finally past the major aspects of marathon recovery. My left hamstring bugs me when I stretch my quad (as if that makes sense?) but it doesn't bother me when I run. I've spent a good amount of time on the foam roller hoping to avoid a setback by building back to a good volume too quickly.

Anyway, Alex and I were up until about 1am hanging out and got up around 7 to roll out at 7:30. It was cool to be able to run right from my apartment to the start line (3.7 mi) but it was a little difficult carrying extra gear and layers. It was a crisp 29 degrees as we left the apartment and hit the trails. Arriving at the start line it was exciting to see several really solid runners doing strides. The crowd was also amazingly large as far as New England road races typically go. At the time I didn't notice it, but I guess several top guys were bandits, most likely because the race sold out for the second year in a row. Feaster has to cap the race at 10,000 people, making it the second largest road race in MA.

On this morning I was sort of ambivalent about a performance goal and just wanted to be out there with my kind on the day that classically holds the most road races accross the United States. Meanwhile, Alex was instructed by his coach to run 5:00-5:05 as a pace run. I entertained no thought of running that hard, so the gun sounded and I was instantly surrounded by a mass of runners as we settled into the start. It was difficult to tell who was running the 5k and who was in the 5 mile, so I just relaxed and tried to let a solid pace run effort come to me.

I felt flat from the first step, but I expected nothing less so I just embraced the effort and tried to do the best I could with unresponsive legs. It's the oddest feeling as a runner to be unable to force yourself to breathe hard, and for the second race in a row my muscles have been the limiting factor. At the same time, it is good to know that I am aerobically sound and I can focus on improving my mechanics and strength in the coming weeks. It was my first time running the Feaster and I was pumped to find the course really played to my strengths. After a tough hill in the first mile, an uninspired 4 miles had passed. I hung onto a loose pack of 3 guys through 2 miles but gradually let them run on ahead of me. Hitting the 4 mile mark, I did some quick math and decided I would really try to punch it and dip under 28 minutes. There were several guys in sight and the 5k crowd to my left was really motivating. The downhill grade as far as I could see was a major motivator.

I caught four guys, and passing the final two I rounded a turn and looked uphill to see a banner in the distance. Reinforcing the fact that I really need to buy glasses, I began an all-out sprint up the hill thinking it was the finish line! The adrenaline of trying to dust the two guys I had just passed mixed with anticipating the finish caused this rookie mistake, but I tried to embrace the lactic acid rush as it poured into my shoulders and arms, making me feel instantly heavy and uncoordinated. The move worked out for the better and I finished with one heck of a final mile. The splits are based on the mile markers out on the course, so it's possible my last mile was slightly slower and #4 was a bit faster. Either way, it was an exciting way to finish up. It was probably the most content I've ever been running a 27-mid 5 miler.

Alex and I hung out for a bit after the race and chatted with a few racers. Nate Jenkins had taken it to him and broke away early. Alex had been really pumped before the race and was hoping to go for the win despite his coaches' orders, and ultimately I think he put in a racing effort. Fresh off his 30:20 10k at the Southeast Regional, my best guess is he was a little rusty after some downtime, not to mention pulling an all-nighter three nights ago plus hitting the weights hard the night before. I'm not trying to make excuses but trying to explain he did indeed put in a racing effort and Jenkins most certainly earned a win this morning!

In the end we made out like bandits, snagging full-size apple pies, vitamin waters, tons of snacks, and such items and stashed them in the woods on the run back to my apartment. It is good to spend time with the little bro and inspiring to hear about his training and truly Spartan focus during this fall cross-country season. It has been helpful to be reminded of what it takes to run at a high level. I'm amazed sometimes at my own complacency in my training. The major take-away: drills and strength training are important components to running efficiently at a fast pace.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Base Training: 11/14 - 11/20

M: 3.5 easy plus a light core session.
T: 10 miles steady 65 minutes on a combination of roads and trails. Felt great today from the start.
w: 8 miles/53 minutes on trails from the apartment w/ old partner in crime Alex Hall.
R: 5 miles/35 minutes through a few reservations in N Andover.
F: 9 miles/65 minutes on the Rivah trail for the first time. Ran into MQ and he was nice enough to show me the 10 mile out and back, making his run somewhere around 17 miles! 10 minute core. 
S: 6 miles/45 minutes on trails with Jenkins
S: 3 miles easy/felt like dog poo. Core and drills. 

Total: 44.5

Thoughts: This week was an odd one in the sense that in strange ways I feel like I'm still recovering from the damage caused by the cramps late in the CCM. My left hamstring feels tight and high up near the pelvis and my right hip feels crappy late in runs. I had a few good runs without much pain but the few strides I've done have simply felt terrible. This coming week I need to focus on good rest and nutrition, bumping up to 50-55 miles and making core a regular component of each training day.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Base Training 11/7 - 11/13

M: 6 miles 45 miles solo, second day back running
T: 0 off - why not?
W: 5.5 miles/40 min solo
R: 7.5 miles/56 min with Matt
F: 8 miles/55 min with Ken at Winnekenni
S: 5 miles/54 min with Jim and Dan at Bald Hill
S: 10.5 miles/67 min solo on the Holt Road loop in Andover. Dropped a few under 6mp near the end.

Total: 42.5 miles on 6 days.

I'm still working out some kinks in the hamstrings, but by now I'm feeling pretty well recovered from Cape Cod. The first few days out there I felt really slow but by the end of the week things seem to be coming together.  Sunday's first few miles were slow but once I warmed up I was feeling really good. It was a mental battle to hold myself back and not start hammering... but I'll take is a good omen that I'm holding myself back rather than dragging my feet to get back to running consistently.

Friday, November 11, 2011

October and the Cape Cod Marathon

October is my favorite month of the year. The scent of the foliage season is at its peak and I become nostalgic about past team championships and my personal discovery of running as a young teenager. This October marks my 10th year of running, and I guess it was only appropriate that I took my first shot at the marathon distance. Despite some struggles with injury during the final 4 weeks of training limiting me to no more than 30 miles per week, I really looked forward to the event and discovering what the marathon is all about. 

As race day drew nearer, I was becoming more anxious and frustrated with my limited preparation. In mid-September I would have guaranteed a 2:38-2:40 finish. Recognizing that nothing could be gained by fitting in miles on a leg that finally felt healthy in the final week of training, I didn't run the 4 days leading up to the race. I may have been unprepared, but at least I would be fresh! So race day arrived and I woke without power caused by a pretty nasty snowfall. I checked the water temp and cursed our tiny water heater. Skipping the shower, I realized I would also have to find a store for my coffee. My pre race meal of oatmeal also didn’t happen.

While we only got 6 or 8 inches, the snow was wet and heavy and had laid waste to much of southern NH and northern MA. As Lauren and I made our way slowly down 93, we could see transformers igniting in greenish-blue sparks in the distance and we seriously wondered if we would make it to the race on time. 

It was mostly easy driving once we were past Boston except our search for Dunkin' Donuts coffee and bagels led to a dead end. Apparently the factory supplying the south shore of delicious donuts and bagels had also lost power. By 7:00 I was getting pretty anxious about getting food in my stomach, so we stopped at an On-the-Run and I bought the soggiest chicken salad sandwich and just put it down as fast as I could. It was a little nasty but it felt good to have something to digest. 

Onto the race: I found most of the CMSers pretty easily and I was pumped about the crew we brought to the line. JJ and I ran probably less than a mile total before the start plus a couple of strides. It occurred to me as I stood on the start line and spoke with Sam Wood about pace that I hadn't even picked a goal pace to begin at. Sam said something about running 2:55 and I agreed that sounded good, but I had no idea what pace/mile that would involve. About a minute later after a cannon sounded the start, my "race plan”, like my shower and breakfast, was also kaput. I decided to aim for low-6:00s knowing the odds were stacked against holding pace.
I was happy to run into Jon May and a few others including Dan Verrington and we hit the first mile in 5:53. The pace felt effortless, but we all knew we had to reign it in. I have thought about ways to describe how my race played out, but as my buddy Brandon said recently, "the numbers never fail to tell the story in a way nothing else can". Here they are:
1 - 5:53
2 - 6:05
3 - 6:02
4 - 5:56
5 - 6:02
6 - 6:11
7 - 6:09
8 - 6:11
9 - 6:15 break from group and begin solo journey
10 - 6:05
11 - 6:10
12 - 6:13 hills begin
13 - 5:55
14 - 5:57
15 - 5:49 oops
16 - 6:13
17 - 6:15
18 - 6:18
19 - 6:00
20 - 6:11
21 - 6:16 caught JJ
22 - 8:59 running + 1:44 most insane hamstring cramps of my life (aka, wheels come off)
23 - 7:54 running + 2:11 stretching, getting passed by top female
24 - 8:19 running + 1:27 asking for fluids from strangers, almost took a ride ... walked most of the way to someone's car before deliriously spinning around and running on
25 - 9:40 determined to finish, gave up on watch
26 - 7:21 fluids from final aid station kick in
.2 - ~1:15

10 mile split 60:48
20 mile split 121:49
Final 10k 53:16

Finish: 2:55

From mile 9 to 21 I ran alone with exception to passing or getting passed by a relay runner here and there. I was really enjoying working on the hills and recovering on the downhills. I felt super smooth too and at one point got a little too aggressive running 5:50's for a few miles. Right around mile 16 I felt the first alarming sign of a hamstring cramp. It was in the exact same spot as the cramps that made the Nahant race so difficult. At this point I knew the inevitable would eventually catch up to me, and it was only a matter of when. I took down a couple Rocksters back to back and stopped momentarily to give the hamstring a hard stretch. Eureka! I kicked the cramp and could run normally again. Around this point I started seeing racers in the distance and knew I couldn't be too far behind a few guys. I was assuming stragglers would begin falling off a faster early pace, and so I pushed pretty hard to make up some ground during miles 18-20.

Finally someone came into view, and to my surprise, I realized it was JJ. I caught up to him somewhere around mile 21 and we spoke briefly. He was in cruise control mode but still appeared to have some energy, although I could tell his legs were hurting. He encouraged me to keep rolling but I told him I was better off just trying to stick with him. My hamstrings and groin muscles really started to jump and I knew the end was near. At the next aid station I stopped at a table and pounded 2 full cups of Cytomax and then got going again. JJ had gained ground on me, so I pushed hard up a small hill to get even with him again....

And then I bonked. It wasn't the low-energy, light-headed wimpy kind of bonk though. It was the my-muscles-are-tearing-themselves-apart, pulling-harder-than-should-be-physically-possible kind of bonk. From the insertion point behind the knees to the connective tissue in my butt bones, I felt the most excruciating pull in my hamstrings. JJ thinks I shouted "oh God!" but it may have just been a nonsensical cry of pain and surprise. It was all I could do but desperately reach for my toes and hope the cramps would subside.

While I stood hunched on the curb I watched my race mostly slip away from me. All the racers I had left at mile 9 moved by me in a loose pack led by Jon May. It was around this moment I fully realized just how important race preparation for this distance is. I had felt incredibly comfortable, aerobically, throughout the race, but I knew as early as mile 10 that targeting a 2:40 or anything close to that was a gamble.

The last 10k is a sort of delirious blur. I managed to get moving again but never at more than a hobble. Someone in a car passed me, stopped, threw it in reverse back to me and offered me an entire 20 oz electrolyte drink. Normally I’m not in the habit of soliciting strangers for help, but I was desperate for fluids I hoped would ease the cramping. I slammed the bottle and got going again. Right at mile 24 is where I almost threw in the towel. A CMSer I had only met once before (I think his name is Tom) was spectating and when I stopped again to stretch he came up alongside me and asked me if I was okay. At that point I really wasn’t sure. My left quad had just cramped really badly and I was keenly aware of the physical damage being done. Tom and several other people began walking me to their car but as we approached I spun around and shouted I had to continue. I couldn’t bear the thought of not finishing.

Coming into the downtown area I was thrilled to hear from JJ that Pat Rich had won the whole damn thing. After finishing I was instantly freezing and after watching Abbey and Sam finish up a few minutes later I headed straight for the showers.

It’s easy to have mixed feelings about my first marathon, but similar to what some other guys have said, I can’t stop thinking about racing the next one. I’m not sure if a spring marathon is in the works, but Vermont City could be it. The coming winter season for me will be a base-building phase with regular strength-building workouts. I’ll likely try out a few more snowshoe races as my work schedule permits and if things go really well, I might run a couple 3ks or 5ks on the boards.  

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 9/26 - 10/2

Monday: 0 - sick

Tuesday: 0 - sick

Wednesday: 5 slow slog on the trails trying to shake out the remainder of this infection.

Thursday: 3.5 am / off to a killer week thanks to some bad luck with E-coli. Finally felt mostly normal on my morning run. I'm trying to look at the time missed as a good restful break for my legs, although overall I'm feeling anything but rested. /  4 miles pm got rained out by the craziest thunder and lightening storm. Made it home safe and sound. 7.5 total... ugh.

Friday: 10.8 with JJ on Salem, Haverhill and Methuen roads. Jim had a race the next day but we moved along at a good clip nonetheless, something like 6:20 average, last mile close to 6 flat. Felt good today, especially considering 80 degrees and humid - what's up September 30?? / hiked a few miles around 9pm to stretch out a sore calf...

Saturday: off. Hiked again today, 6 miles total.

Sunday: off.

Total: 19!!

Overall this was about the worst week in marathon training I could have hoped for. I started out the week getting over a ridiculous stomach bug and finished it off with a really tender calf. Normally I wouldn't be so cautious but since my calf is sore in the same spot that triggered long-term injury during my last training cycle I'm making it a point to rest... Also, I just don't feel quite right with headaches, muscle soreness, sleeping a lot and waking tired... I wonder if I'm fighting an underlying virus which isn't allowing me to recover fully. Putting this week behind me NOW. There is still time to salvage an OK marathon on the 30th.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Training 9/19 - 9/25

Monday: 59 minutes am on trails, about 8 miles, really easy recovery run. / 45 min bike ride pm pretty hard around town just for fun. 15 mi

Tuesday: 10.5 miles from the apt at 6:50 average, really slow to start (15 min through 2 miles) and then the pace gradually dropped to about 6:20. Feeling good once I was warmed up.

Wednesday: 9.5 from the apt at 6:20 average. Feeling a heck of a lot more snappy than yesterday. Held back a bit - Thursday and Friday should be quality days. I'm noticing a pattern that it takes me 2 full days to recover from a hard long run effort.

Thursday: 9 miles with Brandon mid-afternoon mostly easy, with 15 minutes of fast ~120m diagonals between 14.8 and 15.3 mph. Rest was about 75m easy to the next corner and we were off again. We were surprised to see we averaged 6:10 pace for the total effort. // 3 miles easy pm with MVS, 12 total.

Friday: 3.5 up, 1.25 at 5:15 pace, walk-jog and drills for unknown time, 1.5 at 5:10-15 pace, 2.5 cooldown. Basically this planned 8 mile tempo turned to absolute crap. I'll spare the details but in summary I was not ready to roll today. Tomorrow is off. Sunday TBD. 7.75 total

Saturday: 5 easy with Ben. Still feeling off, not sure what's up exactly. I know one thing for certain: this is FALL, and I am ready to be rid of this humidity!!

Sunday: off. I sort of knew this was coming. Lauren and I both have a crappy stomach bug. Exhausted on top of it all.

Total: 54 miles plus one bike ride and a couple of core workouts.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nahant 30k Road Race

Over the past few weeks I've watched the clock tic closer to Cape Cod but I wasn't making any progress in terms of improving my endurance. Yeah, I've been getting faster, but I was basically untested at distances beyond 15 miles at any pace. So, despite less than good decision-making leading up to Sunday, I was determined to get a long hard run in. I have been preoccupied with moving, organizing the new place, job searching and really hadn't prepared for a long run how I normally would. Still, on Saturday evening I was hunting for a good marathon prep course and found a gem in the Nahant 30k Road Race. I think this is one of the races Jim Pawlicki recommended to me a few weeks ago too.

When I was running at UNH, I would head out for a hard 16 miler affectionately known as Bay Road. When running with the team we would pretty often keep the pace around 6:30 pace, only dropping it down close to 6:00 in the last few miles. But sometimes I would run the loop by myself and just hit it at 6:00 from the beginning, and I've always been really confident with my ability to run hard for a good distance.  That's just the thing about memories of your past self, though. You recall the glorious long runs, workouts and races when you couldn't have been slowed down by anything. But you don't recall the regimented sleep schedule, hydrating constantly, eating well, and the overall total focus that consumes successful running. Well, I had a tough wake-up call on Sunday, to say the least.

I woke early since Lauren was getting up for work and spent a few minutes with her before she took off. Driving towards the coast I was fantasizing of 55 degrees, zero humidity and a light coastal breeze. After I registered and warmed up 10 minutes, I realized the weather could become a bigger factor. I forgot my water bottle at home, but had remembered two GUs and luckily brought them to the starting line. My watch strap got chewed by my stepbrother's dog and I didn't want to deal with carrying GU and my watch, so I left the watch at the car, thinking that running by feel would make the most sense anyway. 

My plan had been to run roughly 6:20-6:30s for the first 12 miles and then get aggressive and see how fast I could close out the 18.7 mile run. At the same time, I was really hoping to find at least one person running my pace early on. I began chatting with Paul Ryan who's plan was to run 6:30s for 6, 6:00s for 6, and 5:40's for the final 6. Perfect! I thought as we chatted through the first 6 miles. It was only at mile 7 he revealed to me that we had run just under 42 for the first 7. I was struggling with taking down water and was feeling weaker than I have in several days. It was humid and the coastal breeze I'd dreamed about was nowhere in sight once we were over the bridge. I'll give the course organizers credit, too, because it was as hilly as advertised. 

I let Paul go at 7.5 and decided it was time to salvage my race plan and back off for the next 5 miles or so. By 10 miles I had lost sight of Paul and was running completely alone. I didn't have a great sense of my pace, but I knew that the steep rollers were playing a number on my quads and I couldn't shake the feeling that I was more fatigued than I should be. By roughly 12 miles, I was running scared. My quads were really wrecked, but my hamstrings started to cramp on the downhills. I shortened my stride for a half mile to the next aid station. There I threw off my jersey, walked for about 30 seconds to the station, and chatted with a volunteer for a few minutes. He gave me a bottle of Gatorade and I downed it. Then I drank down 4 or 5 dixie cups of water. Having felt totally defeated, I decided I must be dehydrated and that stopping at all the water stops would be a solution to get me to the finish line.

I couldn't believe no one caught me when I stopped. Of course I didn't have my watch, but someone seriously should have caught me. I was pissed that I didn't have my watch too because now I wouldn't know my moving average, although I could generalize later. The rest of the race played out with me stopping at every water stop, running relaxed, and getting to about mile 16 before the cramps returned, this time with a fury. By 17 I was really wishing the race was over and I stopped one last time to stretch at 18 miles. Finishing, well, you can tell by the photo how I was feeling. At least I had the smarts to throw my singlet back on. It actually felt chilly compared to my body temperature. 

After the race I wasn't really disappointed. It was really only a wake-up call that to run long and hard you have to prepare not just by running the miles and getting fit, but by living running as a lifestyle. That's something my high school coach always hammered home and it's good to be reminded now. It was also good to realize how important the long run efforts are. Overall, I really enjoyed this event. The course was challenging and the competition up front was really solid. The food post-race seemed like the best food ever, but that could be the 20 miles run talking. 

Top 10:

Place Name                No.  S Ag Div   Div City       St S Time    Pace  
===== =================== ==== = == ===== === ========== == = ======= ===== 
    1 DAN VASSALLO         262 M 26 M2029   1 PEABODY    MA   1:42:23  5:30 
    2 CHRIS BRUNNQUELL     280 M 22 M2029   2 MEDFORD    MA   1:45:41  5:41 
    3 JOSH ANDREWS          73 M 22 M2029   3 CHELMSFORD MA   1:49:34  5:53 
    4 PAUL RYAN            217 M 31 M3039   1 BOSTON     MA   1:50:44  5:57 
    5 RYAN MURDOCH         269 M 23 M2029   4 ROSLINDALE MA   1:52:44  6:03 
    6 BEN SCHERSTEN        164 M 32 M3039   2 SOMERVILLE MA   1:54:16  6:08 
    7 SCOTT MCGRATH        266 M 24 M2029   5 ANDOVER    MA   2:00:25  6:28 
    8 EMILY KROSHUS        168 F 28 F2029   1 BOSTON     MA   2:03:10  6:37 
    9 LAURA BRUSTOLON      104 F 23 F2029   2 MYSTIC     CT   2:03:42  6:39 
   10 KATIE MISURACA       277 F 30 F3039   1 GLOUCESTER MA   2:07:06  6:50 

Training 9/12 - 9/18

Monday: 6 miles am (45 min) real easy from the apartment. 4 miles pm easy again (28 min) but feeling much better from Sunday's effort compared to this morning. light core work at night. 10 total.

Tuesday: 9 pm easy mostly on awesome trails from the new apartment. I can't believe the network I found this afternoon... unbelievable stuff right in my back yard. 3 pm with Brandon and Whirlaway guys after coaching. 12 total.

Wednesday: 11 pm on the roads of Andover. I picked a hilly looking 10.7m loop on gmaps and went after it today. 64:10 for the 10.7 and then jogged 5 minutes down the road to loosen up and call it 11. I wouldn't say I felt great today but my breathing was controlled and I worked on keeping my stride efficient, one of the lessons learned from the 30k last Sunday.

Thursday: Met up with some CMS folks and ran the Thursday night fun run, this time equipped with my brand new Garmin 305. I had never run with a HRM or GPS before and it was pretty cool to have splits automatically taken throughout the run. I found it interesting that there was almost no difference in my HR with a mile at 6:00 and a mile at 5:40, 177 bpm compared to 179. I warmed up 4 miles, ran the 3 mile course in 17:50 and cooled down 2.5 for a total of 8.5 on the evening. Today was basically an intentional rest day and I should be ready to roll for a 5m tempo tomorrow.

Friday: 10 miles total with 5 mile tempo in 28:45 with Ken in Amesbury. Felt great today. It's about time 5:40's felt comfortable again! I wore the Garmin and my HR stayed steady at 177 throughout. Is 177 high? I should probably do a max test or something, but I'd guess I can get into the 190's mid-sprint.

Saturday: 8 am 60 minutes on trails in Andover. Felt great out there, holding back all the way and getting excited for tomorrow's long run. I may double 6 tonight.

Sunday: 20 miles steady with last 4-4.5 at 5:50 pace to see how the legs would respond. Ran with a group from the Bedford Depot. Great run, felt strong and relaxed.

Total: 79.5

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 9/5 - 9/11

Monday: OFF. My hip and back are still tight. It actually feels worse today than yesterday. I know I must have just tweaked something with the move, but maybe the lack of running is helping everything to get tight. I'm not sure.

Tuesday: 7 miles easy. Just trying to get back into the routine with tight back and hips that feel totally out of alignment. Time for a visit to the chiro...

Wednesday: 10 miles with Tim Pipp in Keene. It was cool to meet up with a fellow CMSer and talk Keene running. The Keene area has such a solid grouping of runners and it's exciting to hear about the directions each guy (and girl) is taking with their racing goals. Pipp is in great shape. It will be exciting to see how he fares in his first marathon at Cape Cod.

Thursday: 10 with 5k effort pretty hard (15:56). I finally made it out to one of the MVS pub runs at Jaime's Restaurant in N. Andover. One nice person took me for a spin on the course beforehand so I wouldn't get lost moving at a faster clip. Splits were 5:17, 5:08, 4:48, xx. The last mile has an awesome gradual downhill for about half a mile and I really opened it up there. It was cool to go sub 16 in a training run since I haven't seen that kind of time in (ashamed to say it) over a year. I'm pretty confident I can be in the 15:30s or maybe quicker on a flat course, and especially excited because in theory I'm marathon training, although I really need to boost my miles in the following 5 weeks.

Friday: 15 steady pm from the new place in Andover (1:43) I was excited to find it only takes about 3.5 miles to get into some good trails in Harold Parker State Park. I ran several loops exploring the trails but fortune was against me as I came out of a trail as it was getting dark on the opposite side of the park. I had to run roads around the thing until I got back to my exit route and headed home.

Saturday: 9 easy at Winnikenni in Haverhill. (1:02). Felt fine just needed a rest day and might look to go fairly long tomorrow.

Sunday: 20 total miles at the Nahant 30k Road Race. I had a really tough day out there. Report to follow.

Total: 71 on 6 days with a harder 5k and a hard long run at Nahant.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Week 8/29 - 9/4

Monday: 14 pm with last 3.7 at 5:40 pace on trails in Maudslay solo. I had a ton of energy after a nice recovery day during the tropical storm. I just felt smooth and altogether way too comfortable running mid 6's so I decided to run the 3m loop at tempo effort. Of course, I missed a turn and ended up taking a huge detour, adding about 4 minutes to the effort. In a sense it was good to challenge myself mentally by going off course and making up my mind to complete the loop anyway.

Tuesday: 10 am in Maudslay with Ken. We took it nice and easy and just chatted about Worlds. 71 minutes.

Wednesday: 9 steady in Maudslay late. It got dark by about 35 minutes in and I had to slow it down but I was moving pretty quick today. Originally wanted to take the day off of running and go for a bike ride, but couldn't work it out with moving plans and preparing for this weekend. I hit the road around 50 minutes and picked it up again, almost stepped on a skunk, picked it up even more at that point and finished right at 60 minutes. Good run, legs feeling better than yesterday.

Thursday: 11 miles... last run in Amesbury was a good one. Ken and I warmed up 3.5 and rolled right into 6x1000m with 1min rest. We averaged 5:20-5:25 pace for the k's and kept the rest at about 6:30 pace. Average for the 11 miles came out to 5:50 pace. Great day.

Friday: 11 steady with Brandon from Exeter with 6x150m strides barefoot. Felt great today - awesome weather.

Saturday: 6 easy with Brandon after a big moving day to the new apartment in Andover. We found trails immediately outside the apartment - I was psyched!

Sunday: OFF - my left hip/right lower back was super stiff from moving yesterday. I literally layed down all day and it is still sore as of Tuesday morning.

Total: 61 miles.

Overall: I need to get my hip/back in working order before I can resume full training again. I was pretty happy overall with the week, and I knew the move was going to take its toll. Brandon was apparently unphased after helping out with all the big furniture as he ran the Wapack 18 miler on Sunday and won in 2:26 and change, going away from a strong field early. This coming week is about 6 days of 10-13 miles with more strides and a couple core workouts.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Week 8/22 - 8/28

Monday: 7.3 am easy running (47:35). Felt great this morning. I could sense the cooler weather on horizon.7.7 pm in 46:45, kind of a progression run, warming up the first few, pushing some hills, and rolling the last 3 home around 5:40 pace. Great start to the week, 15 total

Tuesday: 10m am with Ken in 65:10 on a pretty flat loop into South Hampton. One good hill climbs about 100 ft but then you get it all back on the downhill. It was good to catch up with Ken. He has been my running buddy in Amesbury. Now that we're headed to Andover I'll probably have to find some more local guys to run with most of the time. Drills pm.

Wednesday: 5.5 am EASY, we're talking 7:15's or so. 6 pm easy again, this time on trails in Andover, checking out the new area. 11.5 total.

Thursday: 10.5 am with Ken steady in Maudslay. I showed him the electric fence I ran into during a harder run a couple weeks ago. Still can't believe there was no sign saying something like "DANGER: ELECTRIC FENCE". I had been in the zone, watching the ground for footing and suddenly, *ZZZZEERRROOOMMMM* and I'm doubled over on an electric fence. Good times. Anyway, it was a good run today, pretty quick for trails and I felt a hell of a lot better than yesterday.

Friday: 10 miles am with 3m tempo in 17:25 on the Maudslay course. It was humid this morning and my stomach felt terrible on the warm-up. Something about waking up at 5:30 didn't settle well. Anyway, once we were rolling on the course I fell into a good rhythm and mostly held back from going too hard. Fairly soon I'd expect to hold this type of pace or faster for 10k-12k tempos. What a fun way to run! / PM 6 miles easy with Ken in Amesbury. We kept it pretty darn slow, and both felt a little loopy, probably from a combination of high 80's and low blood sugar. Still a solid double and I am HUNGRY for dinner. Making apple chicken sausages, broccoli rab and egg noodles. Oh, and and probably a couple good IPA's. 16 total.

Saturday: 14 miles. Humid. Way too humid. I was drenched by 2 miles and feeling drained by 8. I was lucky to think of bringing a water bottle along today to practice nutrition mid-run. The Hammer Heed I used settled well, but I think I drank it too quickly. I ended up stopping to fill up at a farm stand. My gear was definitely not "dri-fit"ing today. (1:37)

Sunday: 5 miles super easy in the storm. There were a few strong wind gusts but I think the strongest ones had passed by the time I got out there around 2:30 pm. I ran trails near the apartment to stay away from electric wires and those sorts of hazzards. There was as surprising number of people walking around, checking out the downed branches and such. The coolest thing I stumbled upon was a great blue heron taking shelter in a cove next to Gardner lake. I hit the boardwalk and scared it out into open water... felt a little bad because a wind gust nearly shot it down right into the lake!

Total: 83 on the week. I felt good enough to do more on Sunday but figured it would be a smart recovery day on a great week of training to limit my run to 5. I am sleeping heavier, but that is pretty much the only sign that I'm training harder than in weeks passed. The fitness is coming along how I'd expect. 9 weeks from today I'll be running Cape Cod. 9 weeks might sound like a lot, but it really isn't. I have a long way to go in terms of building up my long runs, simulating race pace efforts and practicing nutrition. Not to mention, I need to find a pair of racing flats that work for me. If I am able to put together 9 more weeks with an 80m average, I'll feel pretty confident. Meanwhile, I will also know that much of the competition will have averaged no less than 100m, with some guys getting up to 120.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week 8/15 - 8/21

Monday: 68:40 on trails and roads in Amesbury. I felt pretty strong but held back and didn't push the pace in light of yesterday's hammerfest. It was rainy and slightly humid and I did my best to embrace the conditions. 10.5

Tuesday: Light workout with MVS marathoners: 10 x (400on, 200off, 200on, 200 off) 400s were roughly 80s and 200s were roughly 37s. I ran a few of the last ones way too fast, 27-28s for the 200s and even popped a couple 61-62s 400s. Hopefully I won't pay for it with a tight something-or-other. 9.5 total.

Wednesday: 4 easy am. 30 min. 2 hour kayak to Little Neck in Ipswitch and back, plus 5 mile run on the beach. Beautiful day, and we even saw a model in the middle of her photo shoot, rolling around in the waves!! 9+ total.

Thursday: Family visited so I ran with my cousin Davie who's trying out for varsity soccer his senior year. We ran my morning run 5.6 miles easy. I suppose it was a good recovery day. Upper body is sore from kayaking and fighting the current heading back up the Merrimack river.

Friday: 45 mile bike ride. I was aiming for 55, but as a I rolled south from Portsmouth/Stratham into Exeter, a monstrous and terrifying giant cumulus struck down. I wish I had a picture of a motorcyclist laughing hysterically at me as I hammered into downtown Exeter, aiming to take shelter at Exeter Cycles. (Thanks John!) video of hail storm which soon followed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bg7rHAC0UNE

Saturday: I was looking to actually feel like a runner, so I wanted to pop a fast 10 miler on my favorite course from home. 3 up in 18:10 and I was right on track, except my mile markers were off and I had actually gone faster. Realizing this, I decided to make it a workout, running 60s on, 90s off for the next 4 miles. 7 miles including warmup completed in 39:35! down 3. Great impromptu workout on a high 80's and humid afternoon.

Sunday: Looking to go long, but got a call from some guys in Portsmouth looking to ride roughly 3 hours. I figured 3 hours of riding might count for a long endurance effort, so I joined in. We averaged roughly 18.5 mph with lots of slowdowns and stops for technical, and/or, stomach issues and cramping. I felt pretty strong out there. 46.2 miles, 2:31 moving average according to the GPS which comes out to slightly under 20 mph.

Total: 45 miles running, 91 miles riding, 2 hours kayaking, solid week overall.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Week 8/8 - 8/14

Monday: 55 minutes steady. 8 miles.

Tuesday: Off. Almost 6 hours on the beach zapped my energy and we got home around 10pm due to traffic... I was SO close to heading out there for a 10 miler but ate half a tub of Ben and Jerry's and called it a night instead. Good rest day.

Wednesday: 10.5 in 69 minutes, last 4 with Benny Jenks. Humid today!

Thursday: Double, 5.5 morning feeling sluggish and off, 3.5 with Butler evening feeling better. 9 total.

Friday: 10 in 68:30 with Ken in Maudslay, a little quick on the trails, but feeling good for a possible debut at the Brew Run on the cape tomorrow afternoon. Most likely going in at tempo effort, if anything.

Saturday: off. it's hard to train while on vacation with the in-laws. I want to hang out, ride the bike paths along the cape, hit the beach, and generally relax. The fact is, though, that I really want to be testing myself along the flats, dusting the dunes and pushing the hills. I'll probably be feeling well recovered for a good medium-long run tomorrow at least.

Sunday: 15 miles in Maudslay in 1:33 quick solo. This was the best run in the past 6 months. I haven't felt more alive and more connected with the ground than this afternoon. I was so frustrated with the green heads that I just burned through 90 minutes like it was nothing. Still, the run doesn't compare with a Bay Road where all the boys strut their fitness in early September. At 12 pm, I'm not sore, just hungry for more distance and collecting myself for the month of promises, September. Bring it on!

Total: 52.5 in 5 days. This week's comments say it all. I'm really starting to taste the sweet sweet burn of real training and I can't let it go. It's time to train for marathon in October. Long runs once a week with at least one workout. Every other day is base mileage. Come mid-October, I'll be ready, or bust!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Week 8/1 - 8/7

Monday: 10 miles steady, 66 minutes. Right Achilles was tight towards the beginning but loosened up in the end.

Tuesday: 10 miles, 67 minutes. Felt great today. Achilles was much better today.

Wednesday: 50 minutes in Portland from downtown after a long day on the bike with Lauren. Thought I'd be bombing down trails in Bar Harbor but plans changed. 7 miles.

Thursday: Thunder Chicken 5k: 16:16, 2nd place. 12.5 miles on the day. Sam Wood called me on our way home from Portland so I stopped in Portsmouth just in time to register and warm up. Ran in trainers.

Friday: 9.75 in 61:50 with the little bro. Pace was actually quicker (6:05-6:10) but we ran by night and had to go really slowly around the bike path in Keene.

Saturday: 8+ miles in 53:30 with Alex in the morning. Attending a wedding this afternoon!

Sunday: 10 miles in 63:30 on bike paths on the Cape.

Total: Roughly 67 miles on 7 days with a solid effort on Thursday. The remainder of the week was steady running with some quicker runs thrown in by feel. I'm pretty happy with the week and I was actually thrilled to run well at the Thunder Chicken with so little preparation. I'm taking the long road back to fitness, enjoying my runs and that's what's important for now.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Week 7/25 - 7/31

Monday: 46 mile bike ride, 18.4 mph moving average from Amesbury to Westford. 

Tuesday: 0 worked 10 hours in the hot sun and called it a day. 

Wednesday: 46 mile bike ride, average 17.8 mph avg from Westford to Amesbury. 

Thursday: 10 miles, 70 minutes in Maudslay with Ken.

Friday: 10 miles, 65 minutes on South Hampton roads with Ken.

Saturday: 8.5 miles hard with Alex who is back from Russia. Roughly 6 minute pace.

Sunday:: 1:50 bike ride plus a .7 mile swim point to point at Goddard Lake... 3 mile jog.

Total: 31 miles running. Super light week in terms of running miles but the workload was still right about where it should be with solid bike rides and a nice swim for the first time in a long time. Goddard is a reservoir and the water got COLD in the middle!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Week ending 7/18 - 7/24

Monday: 10 easy (68 min) from the apartment.

Tuesday: 10 steady in Maudslay solo (70 min)

Wednesday: 10 steady with Durham folks on trails (70 min)

Thursday: 10 with 4x400, 2x800 at 5:15 pace, insanely warm early morning run (80's and humid!)

Friday: 10 in 70 minutes in Maudslay with Ken. Departed at 7:30am but still felt the heat!!

Saturday: 5 in 35 minutes on the roads. I was planning to go 10, but the compounding soreness from the past 6 days caused me to act otherwise.

Sunday: 0

Total: 55 miles on 6 days in singles... I had set my sights high on 70 but realized by the end of the week that kind of volume is overly ambitious this week. I could have slowed down and grabbed the volume I wanted, but would have compromised quality. Really solid week overall with one light workout and wicked hot weather to deal with.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Week ending 7/11 - 7/17

Monday: 55 minutes

Tuesday: 9

Wednesday: 8m, workout. ladder, 2, 3, 4, 5, 3, 2 minutes on by one minute off.

Thursday: 15m, good long run in Pawtuckaway with Brandon and one of his athletes from the boat landing. Bonking from about 1:20 on...

Friday: 0 didn't work out a time to run. Calf is a tad tight and sore today anyway.

Saturday: 4 easy in the afternoon.

Sunday: DNF at Stowe - 10 total. I'm not sure it would have made a difference but I didn't fit a stretch in before the race and my calf and hamstring were tight from the start. On the long downhill leading into 4 miles my calf really started to irritate me as I began to healstrike worse and feel a lack of coordination in my right leg.
Total: 54 miles

Notes: I wasn't good about stretching or getting good consistency this week. I've had enough of training half-assed or creating excuses for myself. It's time to get back to the basics. Ultimately I won't feel comfortable running fast until I build a solid base. The next few weeks will be better.

Monday, July 11, 2011

7/4 - 7/10

Monday: 10 easy (NT)

Tuesday: 9 miles easy (NT)

Wednesday:  Ran 10-10.5 with Billy. We originally planned to run the Hi-Cannon trail to the summit of Cannon and then ridge run to N and S Kinsman, but the epic thunderstorms the Whites are known for turned us home upon arrival. Instead we ran trails near lake Masabesic* and really pushed several portions. Last 2-2.5 were probably close to 5:30 pace

Thursday: Sore, tight and dehydrated. Ran 4 measly miles very slow from the apartment. 20 minutes of core work.

Friday: Got to the Whites in the afternoon. Lauren and I hiked to Arethusa falls and then across to Frankenstein Cliff and back to the car (4 miles total). To get some kind of running in I ran from the parking area back to the bed and breakfast we're staying at. 5 miles, 29:30. Felt good, assisted by gentle downhill grade.

Saturday: Ran 60 minutes with Tilton on an old railroad bed. It was cool to meet up with a fellow CMSer in a great area for running.

Sunday: Woke early and ran 75 minutes with Al and Kevin somewhere between Bartlett and Glen on trails in the Whites. Got back to the B&B just in time for Lauren to decide she wanted to tackle Mt. Washington. It was a long day overall but the views from Tuckerman's Ravine and Lion's Head made it all worth it. Great day. So tired on the drive home.

Total: 53 miles

Notes: This week's total miles is deceivingly low because of all the trail running. I'm happy with the effort on Wednesday and Sunday's adventure should hopefully add to my endurance. Ultimately this was a great week of training and I'm getting excited to run Stowe and Carver in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week 6/27 - 7/3

Monday: Ran/hiked Mt. Osceola and East Osceola in the whites. Another two 4000-footers down. Moving-time the hike took 3:02. Unlike last time, this hike was far steeper and dangerous in some sections. Like last time, Bill and I ran wherever possible and finished with 2x5:00 hard. Total miles: 10.2

Tuesday: PT this morning. Ran into Chris Mahoney - small world! Recovery jog around the trails. Felt far looser after the run than before. Beautiful warm day out! 7 miles, 50 minutes.

Wednesday: Day off. Tired.

Thursday: 5 miles (31:00)

Friday: Ran/Hiked Mt. Tecumseh plus a few hill repeats up the last portion of the Waterville Valley maintenance road. 2x5:00 hard at the finish. Total miles: 9.

Saturday: Ran easy with Brandon. Somehow he convinced me to race Loon tomorrow... 8m, 58 minutes.

Sunday: Warmed up 10', raced up and down Loon Mountain, cooled down 22 minutes back to the car. This race was a unique event for me. It was my first mountain race ever and I simply couldn't believe how steep some sections were. The course begins on a flat section along the Pemi river but quickly heads to the ski slopes where we zigzagged up and down across the mountain. Then we hit a maintenance road that took a pretty direct route up the mountain. That was followed by another down-hill zigzag to the far right side of the mountain (when watching from the mountain's base) for yet another extremely steep and direct ascent to the top. Here is where I first saw people walking. Finally at the top, after a brief period of shear agony, the course flies down a steep little hill and then takes us about 1/4 - 1/3 of a mile directly downhill. It was so steep I had to keep putting the breaks on. Then the course cuts hard right back up the mountain for a second go. Here I met the "walking boss", a 10-minute-long section with grades in excess of 40%, and just watched as competitors around me zigzagged and staggered up the hill. It was also neat because, as far ahead as JJ, Newbould and others were, I could see everyone struggling on the same damn hill. After a minute or two I just tried to focus on my own two feet and refused to look up until I got to the top. I passed a few guys on this section but I was shocked at how steep the descent on the other side was. It was all I could do not to wipe out on the rocks and mud and dirt being thrown about, but I also knew there were a few racers right on my tail. Finished 12th place, in 55:40ish according to my watch. Total 9.5 miles on the day.

Total miles on the week: 48.7

Thoughts: The mileage this week was lower than desired, but I also spent 3 days in the white mountains and climbed an estimated 9,000 feet vertical this week. For next week I have to focus on recovering from Loon, hitting about 60 miles, and perhaps doing a fartlek run on Wednesday or Thursday.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Week 6/20-6/26

Monday: Met up with Newbould and got 70 minutes on the rail trail from Epping. Took it nice and easy in light of the tough race Newbould ran this past weekend. (9.5)

Tuesday: Ran with Jenkins from Durham. Went out Radar to Trestle and back. Dear flies were killer today. (60 minutes, 8.5m)

Wednesday: Ran/hiked when running was impossible 3 4,000-footers in the whites with Godfrey. We climbed North Twin, South Twin, and Galehead, covering about 7000' elevation gained over 13.8 miles of total hiking. The steepest section was on the return from Gale hut to South Twin, and we really pushed the pace there. The last 1.8 had a few stream-crossings, but was otherwise clean enough to run. We really hauled that last 1.8 and then ran 2x5:00 hard from the parking area. Total activity: 5h7m. Then we went to the Basin and iced our legs in the chilly river water. Great day. (15.8m)

Thursday: Recovery slog on the trails next to the apartment. (49 minutes, 6.8m)

Friday: Completed two big loops in Maudslay, each one taking about half an hour. Felt slow but no garmin. (59 minutes, 8.5?)

Saturday: Ran steady on some new roads plus a trail I found in South Hampton. (50 minutes, 7.5)

Sunday: 45-minute bike-ride and 5 mile jog with Jenkins.

Total: 61.6

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Training Week #1: 6/13-6/19

Monday: Hit my favorite loop in South Hampton through bacheldor park. This run is about 75% roads, and I've been trying to stay on trails as much as possible these days to improve fitness and prevent injury. I was right around 6:50 pace for the total effort, speeding up as the run carried on. (9.4 in 64:30)

Tuesday: Had limited energy today, so I decided to do an out-and-back from the house all on trails. (7 in 48:30)

Wednesday: Woke early to run before the heat rolled in. 90 degrees today! Finished my run by 9am but it was a bit of a struggle to roll right out of bed and onto the streets. I also happened to pick the river route, which happened to be the area that Amesbury calls Wednesday morning "trash day". I proceeded to race a dump truck for no less than 4 miles down the river which divides Amesbury and Newburyport. Woof. (8.5 in 55:00)

Thursday: Ran with Brandon Newbould out in Nottingham. Brandon had his son Arie so we stayed on smooth roads and went fairly short: 6.5m (NT)

Friday: Ran solo in the afternoon from the apartment. 8.2m loop (NT)

Saturday: Wedding weekend, drove to Burlington VT in the morning and snuck in a quick 5 on the hotel treadmill before heading out to the wedding. (34:00)

Sunday: Long mountain run with the padre for father's day pretty darn slow. 2+ hours of running plus about 1 hour of hiking

Total: ~55 miles running for the first time in a while. Strained quad is all but healed, but I'll be taking the next few weeks carefully.

Back to the drawing board..

Returning to blogging and logging my runs only makes sense now that I appear to be healthy again. For those who are unaware, I had a recurrence of Pericarditis which sent me straight back to square one, about 6 weeks of complete inactivity. I'm doing my best not to dwell on the last few months of limited training, nagging injury, and inconsistent motivation. Hopefully all that stuff is in the past. My priority now is just to get back to a fitness level that makes running enjoyable. I'm so out of shape that my slogs this past week have just HURT! Anyway, I'm back, and trying to stay on the path to healthy running. This probably marks comeback #4 in the past 2 years. Yikes...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Week 5: 2/14 - 2/20

M: 9 - 63 min recovery solo
T: 10 - 6x800 @ 10k pace with Ken
W: 10 - 65 min solo
R: 16.4 - 1:46:20 with Brandon and Wes
F: 8 - 61:50 super easy with Brandon
S: 9.8 - 60:14 Fartlek 3min on/2min off x 8. Averaged 5:47 pace for 7 miles. Super windy!
S: 16.5 - 1:53 long with Ken and Ryan Spinney

Total: 79.7

I'm pretty happy with the consistency of this week. I got one speedier workout, two longer runs, and a good fartlek. At the same time, I'm not really feeling very race ready yet and I'm beginning to really wonder what the outcome of next Sunday's 10 mile race will be. I'm also questioning whether I want this coming week to be a down week. New Bedford is exactly 4 weeks from today, and a down week might not make sense if my goal is to be as fit as possible there.

This is only week 5 of the training block and from past experience, I can't really expect to race fast until about week 10-12. Half-way there!

2/15 - Workout Tuesday

Goal: 6x800 @ 10k pace

Actual: 6x800 on 80-90s jogging rest (2:32-2:35)

Notes: This was an easy workout. I just wanted to stretch the legs and breathe deep for a change of pace. It was 10 degrees (-4 with windchill) when I ran, so I was lucky to be inside. I would have been more aggressive with the workout, but the sharp flat turns around 3 basketball courts make it difficult to go much faster without risking injury.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Week 4: 2/7 - 2/13

M: 5 Recovery with Ben and Joe after a long one on Sunday.
T: 10 (12x400 at 3k-5k pace) with Ken and Chris
W: 20 Long run (2:12) with Brandon over Wednesday Hill and Bay Road
R: 5.3 Recovery run real slow solo
F: 10.6 Steady with Ken (6:40/m)
S: 11.5 Easy running with 4 miles at LT (21:18) with Brandon
S: 14.8 Easy medium-long run (1:43:30) solo

Total: 77.2 miles for the week in 7 runs. 2 workouts, one long and one medium-long run with good recovery jogs mixed in. I sort of missed my goal of getting 9-10 runs in this week, but I couldn't logically fit in extra runs without sacrificing sleep in the morning. Seeing as I already wake up at 5:20 for work, it's a pretty big challenge to get out there for a morning run most days. 2 weeks until the Jones Realtors 10 miler and I'm getting excited to see what I can do. I hope the competition is good like last year's race.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

2-8 Workout Tuesday

Goal: 12x400 @ 75 on 60 s recovery

Location: Indoors... somewhere. 187m track around a few basketball courts.

Actual: 12x400 (73,73,73,71,73,73,72,72,73,69,71,65)

Notes: This was a fun workout. I met up with Ken Tripp and Chris Kealy, both Winner's Circule runners, and we each took turns leading 4 reps. They egged me on a bit to do the last one in 65. My inner-coach was yelling his head off, but I couldn't resist. It was a good test of the legs.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Week 3: 1/31 - 2/6

M: 8.8 Easy with Ben and Joe... 7:04 pace.
T: 10.25 Light workout with Brandon. 6k around half-marathon pace.
W: 15.5 Double 10.2 morning, 5.3 evening. Went easy on both runs, felt great in the evening.
R: 10 Early morning in the snow and slush. Couldn't find traction anywhere = slow going, 6:55 pace!
F: 6 Easy with Ben. Hip flexor is acting up since the intervals on Tuesday. Called off tomorrow's race.
S: 11 Easy/steady in Exeter. Would have liked to race, but made the safer, wiser decision.
S: 17.3 Long and steady over Bay Road with an add-on. 6:47 pace.

Total: ~79 miles on the week. This week felt like a step in the right direction. Although running on a 150m dirt track caused some issues for my hip, things are feeling better after a great long run with rolling hills. I got in one long snowshoe, one workout, and my farthest and most controlled long run yet. For next week I would like to hit a similar number of miles on 9 or 10 runs rather than 8.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

2/1 - Workout ... Tuesday!

Goal: 3x2000 at cruise interval pace.

Actual: 3x2000 at cruise interval pace.


In light of the storm, I was pumped that Brandon Newbould invited me to "the cage" at PEA to do a light workout. We warmed up 2-2.5, stretched and went straight into it. I felt good and just plugged away at the pace. We took recovery jogs at 2 laps, so about 300 meters at a moderate pace. I was mentally prepared to do a 4th, but Brandon's wisdom convinced me to do otherwise. Moderating my workouts is something I need to practice more often, since I've been known to overdo it in the past. Cooldown was 2-2.5. I'm starting to get excited about the Jones Realtors 10 miler in 4 weeks, although expectations in terms of time are still up in the air. Hopefully workouts later on this month will be a better indicator. Any way you cut it, I am more fit than last year at this time, so that's a plus.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Week 2: 1/24 - 1/30

M: Snowshoe recovery day: 7
T: Easy double: 5.3 am, 4.5 pm
W: Tempo (4.45 miles at 5:37) 12 total
R: Recovery: 8.5 on the roads with Ben
F: Recovery take II: 7.5 on the roads with Joe
S: Sidehiller ~4.5 mile snowshoe race. 10th overall, 35:27. 12 total
S: Long run solo: 14

Total: 69.3*

Notes: *I laugh because there used to be a time when if I saw this, I would run out the door to get the extra .7 miles. This was another solid week for me. I felt a little tired on Thursday and Friday. I wasn't sleeping well and work got considerably more busy than it has been. The tempo workout gave me some confidence for the weekend's race, but I really didn't know what I was in for. I ran hard for about 3.5, fell on my face and lost contact with the runners ahead of me, and essentially tried to close as respectably as possible. Snowshoe racing is a whole different animal compared to the roads, but I can see the appeal. I'll probably be back for next weekend's Exeter race!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1/26 - Workout Wednesday

Goal: 5xmile at 5:10-5:15 with 90 seconds rest.

Actual: 4.45 mile tempo on Bay Road at 5:37. 12 total on the day.

Notes: Ran 1.8 looking for Wes around the fieldhouse. Ended up running with Wes in Newmarket after somewhat of a fiasco involving dead car batteries, baby care, and miscommunication. We warmed up 1.1, and then we tempoed out to the Jackson's Lab turnoaround and went steady back. We went 5:37 pace for the 4.45 out tempo on the hills which was awesome, especially for the headlamps, snowfall, slushy roads, and surprising lack of traffic. The most precarious part of the run was the downhills where a misstep could have sent one of us flying. We tacked on a .1 loop for 9 miles of total good effort, averaging 6:09 pace. Not bad for an evening run! I was happy to get out there since at one point it looked like we might bag the workout and save it for another day.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Week 1: 1/17 - 1/23

M: 14 mi (1:25)
T: 7 mi snowshoe (1:05)
W: 10 mi (4 mi Tempo)
R: Off
F: 7 mi snowshoe (1:04)
S: 5.5 am (NT) / 5.5 pm (37:30)
S: 10 am ( 5+ mi fartlek) / 6 pm (49:30)

Total: 65 miles on 6 days with 2 days of snowshoe, 2 workout days, and one decently long run. The focus right now is consistency and I'm getting there.

1/23 - Morning Fartlek

Goal: 6 x 3 min on, 2 off at half-marathon goal pace.

Actual: 6 x 3 min on, 2 off at half-marathon goal pace.


This was a fun workout. I basically stole the idea from my brother who had done something similar this summer. The ons were supposed to be at half-marathon goal race pace and the offs were intended to be at normal run pace. Now, I don't own one of those fancy shmancy garmin GPS devices, and I have yet to set up any mile markers in Amesbury, so basically all of my pacing is done by feel. Later on I'll use landmarks and gmaps pedometer to get a general idea of the pace. That being said, the workout went well and I averaged ~5:40 pace for the 30 minute effort. Warmed up 3ish, down 2.5ish.

As a side note, Bob Wiles, Brandon Newbold and I swung down to the GBTC invite and watched some exciting races. It was great to reconnect with some old faces as well as to meet a bunch of CMSers (and Whirlawayers) for the first time. Seeing people ripping around Harvard reminded me how much I miss the boards. It would be cool to return to them next winter.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Workout Wednesday

Goal: 4 mile tempo @ 5:30 per mile, 22:00

Actual: 4 mile tempo @ 5:25 per mile, 21:41

Notes: Originally I planned to work out with Wes Dinnan but plans got a bit complicated so I ended up running solo from home in Amesbury. I plotted out a 4 mile stretch which falls in the middle of my favorite 10-miler and set out into the rain and slush. I was trying to be courteous to traffic and run on the sidewalks until about 3 min into the run I totally hit the deck on some ice. I landed on my right knee but I bounced right up and didn't notice any discomfort beyond maybe a little bruising. I stopped 18 minutes in and stretched my calves and hamstrings (the two muscle groups which tend to be the tightest) for about a minute and then headed into the tempo. The course is basically rolling with a few small ups and downs. I felt good and didn't think to look at my watch until 19 minutes in. I jogged it home really slowly since by that point my clothes and shoes weighed probably 8 lbs. Total time for 10 was 65:10. Tomorrow I take the MTEL (5 hour literacy exam for teaching in Mass). Looking forward to the run afterward.

A Return...

What have I been doing the past 9 months since my last post? Where to start... well, I made the classic mistake of attempting to run through a developing injury in late April. The pain was severe post-run but during the runs I could run without limping. With a little iburpofen and a stubborn mindset, I made the ambitious decision to race a 5k in Concord and after running to win the race, the following day my entire calf was swollen to the point that I could hardly walk. Most likely due to my negligence, the injury in my calf and knee was serious and had me limping for about two months.

During those two months I completed the first year of my grad program and made the best of the remaining weeks with my friends at UNH. Many members of "the brotherhood" graduated and are now living very different lives compared to last Spring. Despite my injury woes, it was good to focus on enjoying my last real month of college life.

The injury plagued me to a lesser degree but was still present throughout the summer. I worked for a general contractor in Portsmouth for the first half of the summer in an effort to earn some money before my wedding in July. I was exhausted and the physical work prolonged the lingering tenderness and irritation behind my knee. I recall my knee giving out a few times when I was carrying heavy building materials. I hated the work, but I was most dissatisfied with the feeling that my injury was never going to leave me. I talked frequently about seeing a specialist but inexplicably I never picked up the phone to call. I think perhaps I was too wrapped up in the idea of getting married which was clearly my primary interest at the time.

Finally, the wedding came and it was a wonderful day. This might be cheesey or cliche, but it was seriously one of the best days of my life. Looking around during the reception, I saw so many people I loved. My only regret for that day is not everyone I care about could attend. But, c'est la vie.

I coached for Merrimack Valley Striders youth program all summer, too. This was a fun way to connect with kids and parents and stay involved in the sport which I had somewhat forsaken due to my ailments. Coaching also served as my motivator to really solve the injury problem once and for all. I bought a Scott Addict R4 roadbike with modified parts and began an intense cycling program to build up muscle in and around my quad and calf. To an extent the cycling had a positive impact! It was sweet relief to at least be getting consistent exercise once again.

The fall cross country season started up for many runners and I was assistant coaching at Oyster River High School in Durham. I was forunate to walk onto a team that was well prepared with summer volume and a motivated bunch of kids. I began running with the team on an infrequent basis while continuing to cycle as time permitted. By the end of the cross country season, I was running workouts with Gubby and Jack who were in fantastic shape, and I was feeling pretty good about my fitness despite only running about 20 miles a week. Clearly I had no base, but at least I was on my way to returning to running. All the while, my calf and knee still lingered but to a manageable degree, thanks to the cycling which had balanced out my weak right quad muscles.

All this to say I have somewhat succesfully returned to running. To date, I have had 5 full weeks of training at 65 miles a week on 5-6 days on singles. The injury which plagued me the past 9 months has pretty much subsided. I think there is some scar tissue which occassionally reminds me to stretch. I don't take any pain medication and haven't had to ice since the fall. I am incredibly excited to be joining Central Mass Striders for the upcoming road racing season. The team has so many talented and hard working guys whom I have met over the years. It will be awesome to toe the line with them and push myself to new limits in the coming months. My primary goal this new year is to be healthy. I would also like to PR at distances 5k and above. With a good base from college running, smart decision making and an awesome community of local runners, I don't see why this can't be the best year for me yet.