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.