Monday, December 31, 2012

Sunday and Monday

Sunday: 65+ minutes with Steve Dowsett on snowy trails around Winnekenni in Haverhill. Slipping and sliding a good amount, but kept a steady pace and had fun out there.

Monday: 66:13 / 10.2 in Westford from the in-laws'. Ran my favorite road loop with a 1.5 mile add-on in the woods. Really slow through the snowy portion but otherwise I was movin' out there... couple 5:50s near the end.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Catching up! 12/21 - 12/29

Friday: 11.2 fast with Alex
Saturday: 10 miles fast trail running in Harold Parker with Alex
Sunday: 8 easy. Sick and just logging miles.
Monday: 7 easy. Still sick. Slogged it.
Tuesday: 9.4 steady. Feeling better, but not 100%. Merry Christmas!
Wednesday: off. Exhausted from several days of travel.
Thursday: 95 minutes on trails around Andover. Great run!
Friday: Off. Worked a shift at the store and skied for 5 hours at Crotched Mtn by night.
Saturday: 10 miles, 72 minutes

Friday, December 21, 2012

Thursday, 12/20

7.5 miles / 45 minutes with Alex McGrath! Picked up Alex at Logan Airport and headed out once we got home. A solid "hammerful" run! It felt good to run fast, but man, I am HEAVY. Finally found the courage to weigh in and I am a solid 162 lbs. At at a generous 5'9", that is pretty dense! I've been spoiled by Christmas gifts from my students like chocolate, cookies and DD gift cards. I'll try to practice a little discipline over the holidays... Mostly, I'm looking forward to chasing some real miles next week!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday, 12/19

8 miles / 61 minutes. No workout. Out the door by 4:20 to chase some miles. Tired, but had a nice cruise through some AVIS system trails to the Phillips Bird Sanctuary and back. Rocked the headlamp for the first time in a while. I thought I'd have a tougher time moving around on trails in the dark, but the headlamp really did the trick. Hoping for snow soon so I can bust out the snowshoes!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Monday 12/17 and Tuesday 12/18


8 miles nice and easy on a treadmill at the gym.


10.2 miles / 64 minutes. Slow to start but rolling after 3 miles. Workout tomorrow!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Friday - Sunday


I had just enough time to run about 9 miles if I made it quick, and I was pleasantly surprised to feel great from the start. Guess I took it easy enough yesterday... Garmin took about .25 to connect, but I had 4 miles sub 6 in there and simply felt fantastic. 1 mi cool down not included on Garmin


Jose woke me up with a phone call at 7:15 telling me he was outside of my apartment... Oh %$!@! I let Jose in and then proceeded to slam a mug of coffee, eat an english muffin, throw on the running clothes and out the door a little after 7:30. We warmed up 5 miles progressing to about 6:30 pace and then I went 5:43, 5:37, 5:29, 5:34, 5:28 for miles 6-10. 4 miles cool down feeling awesome! Great run and somehow these workouts are always easier with company. Many thanks to Jose for keeping me honest.


Off. Planned rest day and fine with it after several solid days of running this week.

Weekly total: 51 miles on 5 days.

Feels like I'm starting to get back in the groove. Gunning for at least 6 days running this week with two harder days. The tempo running I've been doing has made running 5:30s drastically more fun than it was a month ago. This week I'll probably keep with the tempos and maybe add a few cruise intervals at a slightly faster pace. (5:10ish)

Friday, December 14, 2012


Drained... I was running on fumes today. After about 3 slow miles I was so tired I honestly thought about trying to hitch a ride home. I was home early from work and excited to finally get in some daytime running. I geared up and headed straight out the door by 3:50. Ran into Verrington and Dunham in the first few minutes which was cool. Looking back I wish I joined up with them and just ran an easy 4-5 instead of the 8 grueling miles I managed. Last few miles in the dark. Only positive thing about this run is it wasn't a 0 and it was on trails which made everything just a little bit better.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Home by 4:30 and running by 4:45, just in time to witness the last glimmer of daylight slip beyond the horizon. I clicked on my headlamp only to find it had less than 3 minutes of battery life, so I headed for the track. Both tracks I ran to were occupied by large groups, so my options were to either hit the roads with rush hour traffic or to run home, drive to the gym, and take a ride on the dreadmill. I opted for the former, and chose roads I know to be super smooth and generally clear of debris.

At this point I was just looking for any kind of harder effort. I ran 4 x mile with 800m of cruising recovery (7 min pace). My miles were 5:25, 5:21, 5:34 (hilly) and 5:25. Short cooldown for 9.5 on the day.

I felt pretty good overall, but I definitely miss running in the daylight and having the option to hit the trails. I think running in the dark slows me down just a small amount because I'm constantly wary of injuring myself, especially when my headlamp isn't working. I can't wait for the days to start getting longer and to feel the approach of spring. More than anything, I want to feel fast again! Hopefully a hard effort over the weekend will get me one step closer. Although, to run at the level I'm aiming for, improving my consistency to at least 6 days a week of quality running is probably the most important determinant. Meanwhile... I'll try to respect and enjoy the process.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

Monday: 0. I'm getting tired of these goose eggs, but here's another one! I was up at 4am to grade and plan, school until 3:00, faculty meeting until 4:15, Whirlaway 4:30-8, home by 8:30, one quarter of the Pat's game, and I was done. Possibly could have sneaked out for a couple miles somewhere in there, but just didn't make it happen.

Tuesday: 10.1 miles / 70 minutes in the dark around Andover. It took about 7 miles to get into a groove today. Just one of those grinds. Workout tomorrow!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Thursday - Sunday

Thursday: 7 easy solo
Friday: 10 steady solo
Saturday: 10 easy solo
Sunday: 10 miles with 6 mi tempo in 33:40 at the Toy's race in Merrimac. 3 x 2 mile loops. Splits were super controlled. 5:45, 5:37, 5:42, 5:36, 5:30, 5:20. Totally in control and not feeling any worse for the wear on Monday morning, so I'm feeling really positive about the effort. A few more efforts like this one and a few more track sessions and I'll be excited to race!

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Met up with Steve at the Phillips Andover track for my first workout back from the marathon. We decided on 600m repeats aiming for 75s through the 400. Rest was 2:00 jogging. We discussed a 1:30 rest, but I wanted full recovery to make sure my mechanics stayed sound. The weather took a strong turn for the worse about as soon as we began warming up. It was cold and there was a strong headwind on the backstretch of the track. Warmed up 22 minutes in the sanctuary, 400m of light drills, and then straight into the workout. 1:54, 1:55, 1:52, 1:56, 1:55, 1:55, 1:56, 1:49. The headwind got worse as the workout progressed. It took me a few laps to get into a groove but things flowed smoothly afterwards. I didn't feel "fast" but my aerobic strength is still there. Next up, tempo on Saturday morning! Any takers? Probably running in Newburyport.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

Monday: off - sick. Lymph nodes are blown up all around my neck and back. Running wouldn't have been a disaster, but if I'm fighting something I'd like to beat it early rather than have to go 9 rounds.

Tuesday: 10 miles / 72 minutes on a nice loop in Andover. Felt off from the start. Still fighting something but energy is better today.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Friday, Saturday, Sunday at Mill Cities

Friday: 30 minutes / 4 miles easy from the apartment. Exhausted from the week, happy to get something in!
Saturday: off. Nothing wrong, just slept in, worked at the store for 5 hours, got home and vegged before going to dinner at Angelica's. With Mill Cities in the morning I didn't see the point in running by the time the evening rolled around.
Sunday: Woke up tired but was pretty fired up by the time 6:30 rolled around and I met up with the Open team at Claddagh's in Lawrence. We got to Nashua and I almost fell getting out of the car. a thin layer of ice covered much of the roads as our number 1, Pat Ard, warmed up. Luckily, he completed his leg safely (and quickly) as the temperature improved just in time. I was leg #2 and lucky for me, the roads were reasonably safe by the time Pat handed off to me. Pat came flying in so fast I was barely ready to take the baton, so I headed out carrying my sweatshirt, tossed it to Jose as I rounded a turn about 200m in and immediately proceeded to drop the baton. It took me a second to realize I dropped it, but then I stopped on a dime, ran back and grabbed it, and got going again. I passed several guys early on but one guy in a green singlet (Lowell?) latched onto me for a couple miles. He and I dueled a bit for about 2 miles and then I pulled away on a gradual downhill. I covered the 4.75 mile leg in 25:05 (5:17 pace) ... factoring in the dropped baton, I'm pretty pleased with the race. I had a strong finish and then straight to the car to cheer on teammates Kevin Alliette, Jose Ortiz and Chris Hammel. We placed 2nd overall and it was a closer race than it looks on paper. Jose probably had the run of the day, averaging mid 5:20's for 9.5 miles along the river in Lowell. Overall it was a great time; hilarious banter, getting to know some of the guys better, and catching up with runners from all over the area at Claddagh's after the race. Wish I could have stayed for awards but I had brunch and tree cutting with family before visiting more friends in New Hampshire that evening... What a great weekend!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

Tuesday: off. Crazy day as expected, but overall a successful day, if not from a running point of view.

Wednesday: 10 miles / 65:05 on one of my favorite hilly loops in Andover. Rocked some new gear from Whirlaway and just felt generally strong. Presented the 2013 MVS program in the evening... I think it's going to be a great year!!

Thursday: Rushed home from work to sneak in a run before heading out on the town with family. Had about 35 minutes to spare so I made the most of it. Warmed up 15 minutes to the Andover track and ran 400 hard, 200 steady for 10 minutes and then swung back home. I was a little late, but so was everyone else. 400s were 75-77 and the 200s were 45-48 seconds.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday, 11/26

Met up with Tim for a jaunt around Andover by moonlight. Decent amount of traffic as we were out the door around 4:50 but had good vibes flowing and so the run flew by. Kept it steady at a general aerobic effort, 9.6 miles in 65 minutes. Stumbled around a bit avoiding traffic but otherwise smooth. Lower back and hamstrings are still tight and achy but it doesn't bother me while running. Rolled out before and after the run. Probably time to see the chiropractor again. It's only been 2 years...

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Sunday: Headed out to Mine's Falls to cheer my dad on at the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon. Had planned to meet with a couple friends and each had to cancel last minute, so I jumped in and paced my dad. It was an easy pace for me, but still got 1:45 minutes on my feet and had a few pit stops, so I had some quick miles in there catching back up.

Week in summary: 43 miles on 4 days. I'm not counting the other actvities, but I'd say it contributed to feeling like I did some work this week. Hamstrings and lower back have been tight lately, but things are coming around. Energy levels are better than usual. Crazy week ahead, so each run I am able to fit in will be a small victory.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Friday and Saturday

Friday: I met up with old roommate and timeless friend Steve Hennigar who was home from his graduate studies for a great run in Maudslay. I showed him my standard 10 mile loop and the conversation was seamless. Great to catch up and the run went by in an instant. Felt fine after a reasonably hard effort yesterday. 71 minutes

Saturday: 6.5 easy. Met up with Sharon downtown and ran a little loop around there. Had planned on running home but she convinced me to take a ride since it was dark out and we had no reflective gear on. Longer tomorrow.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Monday - Thursday

Monday: 60 minutes of dodge ball with the kids. 20 minutes easy running plus about 60 minutes of lifting. Good workout.

Tuesday: Intense 60 minute soccer match followed by throwing some serious dodge ball for another 60 minutes. Rolled my ankle playing soccer (go figure). Doesn't seem too bad.

Wednesday: 2 miles easy. Ankle and outer calf sore from yesterday. Could have run on but didn't want to risk it. Right arm and back are pretty sore from chucking dodge balls for two days.

Thursday: Feaster Five road race. What a nice event! Warmed up from home, got to the starting line just in time. Ran in trainers. Cruised the first couple miles as planned and then notched it down.

1 - 5:45 hill
2 - 5:36
3 - 5:46 lazy
4 - 5:21
5 - 5:03 = 27:34.

13 miles on the day.

Ankle felt fine on the warm up. A couple tender steps on trails on the way towards the race but smooth on roads. I ran about the same race as last year with similar feelings going in. These are my first miles sub 6 since the marathon and I'm glad to see my legs are basically back underneath me. My consistency is still weak. I'd like to see a solid finish to the week and see where next week takes me with parent-teacher conferences after school, a presentation Wednesday night, and the school play Thursday night.

Could be another week or two until I see 70's, but I'll be there soon enough. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tuesday - Sunday

Tuesday: off - right hamstring really sore. Not good!!
Wednesday: off - resting the leg.
Thursday: 8.5 miles, 62 minutes easy night run around Andover. Hamstring tight but not sore.
Friday: 9 miles, 60 minutes with Tim Mallard from home. Good run!
Saturday: 4 miles, 28 minutes easy on trails from home. Being cautious.
Sunday: 8.5 miles, 55 minutes easy/moderate in Westford from La's parents' place. Football and grading after. Hamstring still tight but loosened up after about 10 minutes.

41 miles on the week. Not great but I will continue being cautious coming off of CCM. I wanted to race Club NE's on Sunday but I made the right call.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sunday and Monday

Sunday: I took the day off. I hung out with my parents, ate a lot of good food, and headed home in the evening. I considered running in the dark, but thought better of it and decided on a good run for Monday.

Monday 6:15 AM: I met up with Dave Dunham and Steve Dowsett for a few loops at Winnekenni. Dave, Steve and I ran 10 together and Dave continued on for a 3rd loop. Steve and I opted to do some faster stuff. Alternating 4 x 35-38s hard on flats and 4x 26-29s hard on a hill nearby. Definitely got the lactic acid flowing which was the goal. 1:31 total running including cooldown. 13 miles on the day and done by 8am. Great run!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Friday and Saturday

Friday: 7 miles easy along roads in Andover. Kept it nice and relaxed. TGIF.

Saturday 7am: 14.5 steady with Steve in Newburyport and W. Newbury. We were running through a reservation in W. Newbury when somebody with a rife fired at us (or in our direction, at least). Of course, hunting off all kinds is illegal in this reservation, and the sign at the entrance clearly indicated so. I yelled and got no reply, so we changed our route and still had a great run, but that was a little bit of a shock in such a high-traffic area. Normally that kind of thing doesn't happen in MA. Had some strong miles in there. Glad I didn't die.

Saturday 4pm: My dad talked me into going for a run with him. Ended up going 8.1 on trails and roads in Keene. Kept the pace in the 7's. 22.6 on the day.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Monday - Thursday

Haven't had a true training run since Sunday. No issues, just still trying to keep things in perspective and relax another week. On Monday, I played 90 minutes of capture the flag with the kids in PE. On Tuesday I played another 90 minutes with the younger ones. Pretty flippin' sore by Wednesday, when I played 40 minutes of touch football. On Wednesday I also did 3 x 40 situps, 3 x 30s hamstring stabilizers, 3 x 15 pushups (sad, but that's a lot for me right now!), 3x15 lunges on each leg, and 3 x 30 squats. Today (Thursday) I'm trashed from head to toe. Literally every single muscle group is sore to the touch, especially upper hammys and groin. I have to brace myself to sit down. With the storm and friends coming over for dinner, I might just take today off completely. Grades close tonight, so if I get them done in time (not likely) I might skip out to the gym and do a little something on the treadmill and weights. That's all, for now!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Saturday 'N' Sunday

Saturday: 65 minutes solo on messy trails running very easy. 8 miles. 6 days post-marathon and I was itching so badly to run it is finally time to throw in the towel and just do it. Gradually building up and making sure everything feels right. No soreness or tightness to speak of, as of yet.

Sunday: 78 minutes / 12 miles on the dot in Pelham with none other than Tim Mallard. We ran a tad quick in spite of the cold weather. Averaged 6:31/mile on a pretty hilly route. It was a nice run. Fell into a groove early and talked about our goals for the winter. I think Tim has some really solid PRs coming to him on the track this winter. I hope I do too.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shout out for my dad and bro

This weekend wasn't exactly mine.

Two others within the immediate McGrath clan had stellar performances.

My brother Alex ran 24:04 on the William & Mary home course to win his conference meet in a course record. He ran 25:17 to win there earlier this year, so the improvement curve was huge! Here is a link to the write up, and if you click on the video, after a 30s commercial, you'll see a few race highlights, and a series of short interviews between Alex and his coach: Alex ran Saturday and you better believe his run was fuel for the fire for my marathon on Sunday.

Meanwhile, my dad Art McGrath, at the age of 61, ran the Nashua Telegraph 10k. He works nights, so he had about 4 hours sleep before driving to Nashua for the race. He romped over the course in his age group and ran 2 out of his 4 fastest 5ks of the year on this course:

All this to say, we're a running family and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the guy I am without them!

Monday, October 29, 2012

CCM 2012

This past Sunday marked my second visit to Falmouth, MA for the Cape Cod Marathon. Unlike last year's trip, which involved a stressful drive through an ice storm down to Falmouth the morning of the race, this year team Whirlaway reserved rooms at the Falmouth Inn. Brandon Newbould, Christin Doneski, Kaz and I rolled into town around 3:30 and picked up our numbers at the expo. We ran into lots of familiar faces and it was cool to be able to relax and catch up for a while. I was feeling pretty tired on the drive down, put all the positivity and excitement surrounding the race had me feeling good and optimistic.

Joe Navas joined us for a trip along the last 13 miles of the course. The second half features a few good hills and it was helpful to remind myself to be conservative early on. My memory from last year's race gets pretty hazy after mile 18 or so. All I can recall of the last 5 miles from 2011 is bloody feet, lots of walking / hopelessly stretching, coastal flooding and soliciting a stranger in a car for their Gatorade. I was determined to have a better finish this year.

Dinner at 6:30 with most of the team at an Italian restaurant attached to the inn. Had lots of bread and olive oil, Veal Parm over spaghetti, and one Long Trail IPA. Sat near Hammond, Spinney and Newbould and had a blast listening to Hammond's stories. They flowed endlessly until it was time to turn in. Read a bit and lights out sometime around 10pm.

I slept better than I could have hoped. Felt great waking up and wandered over to Dunkin' Donuts for my pre-race bacon egg and cheese on a croissant. It has never failed me for a long run. Coffee down the hatch and then it was time to hang out and hydrate.

I warmed up 10 minutes or so with Brandon. Soon after, it was down to 15 minutes before the cannon fired. I took down a Gu and some water, started jogging into town and immediately threw up the water I had just taken. Weird. Left a nasty taste in my mouth for the start. A little scattered getting onto the line and finding teammates. I see Lauren and give her a hug and the next thing I know the cannon has fired and we're off!

The first few miles was the sorting out process. I had mixed feelings about my plan to run 6:10s for a majority of the race. Some people recommended sticking to my pace plan no matter what, while others said to run relaxed and be sure I was feeling in control by halfway. I ended up siding with the latter philosophy, and ran by feel as a pack formed including a couple Western Mass guys, one GBTC, one SRR, at least one team RUN guy, Navas and myself. I'm probably forgetting some people. The pack was moving well and the race was officially on.

I stayed towards the front of the pack as Navas and a RUN guy went ahead for a few miles. By around 13 miles they came back to us and right around that time I made a slight move on a long gradual downhill. Miles 13, 14, 15 were my fastest on the day. I glanced back a few times and saw the pack stringing out but certainly still within striking distance. There was separation and then suddenly Sonny from Western Mass was right beside me. We were clear of the pack and moving on after a GBTC and BAA guy who came into view. In the back of my mind, I knew there were some really strong runners just a few seconds back and I fully expected them to come storming back in the final 10k.

Sonny and I exchanged leads over the next 5 miles. He finally got the better of me somewhere around mile 22-23. He moved strong up one of the biggest hills on the course. I encouraged him to get after the GBTC guy ahead and that was the last I saw of Sonny! I ended up catching GBTC after going through Woods Hole and crossing the wooden bridge there. Finally we're moving along the ocean and I'm feeling relieved to be beyond the point where last years race blew up for me.

I had very little power left to my stride by mile 22. My pace gradually slipped each mile after that one. Miles 24 and 25 were the toughest for me. There was a nasty constant headwind on the beach. I tried to fight through the wind but just as I passed the mile 24 marker I felt the first signs of cramping in my calves. Within seconds both calves were jumping. Just before the 25th marker my right hamstring seized. It was similar to last year, but I was so close to the finish I stretched it hard and shuffled back into an ugly stride. Exactly at the point I stopped to stretch, the SRR guy from long ago blows by me! I'm pissed that I had no idea he was near me (not that it would have made any difference!) and now he's 40 meters ahead. I maintain the gap and start to close it as we both pass a team RUN guy who was hurting badly.

Finally, I'm in sight of main street and both hamstrings cramp HARD and I'm stuck at a standstill. I had run my 26th mile in 6:24 and now I'm stranded in the last quarter mile. Dudes from Level Renner are yelling at me that the race is literally going to be over in 2 minutes if I could just get moving. It takes maybe a full minute to get going at a weak jog but finally I'm moving again. I was really psyched to be finishing and under 2:40 for the first time. It was redeeming to come back and run strong on this course and erase the doubts that plagued me during the taper period. I finished 9th overall, 8th in the Open division. Whirlaway scored high in a lot of areas, and I was proud that the Men's Open team won the team competition for the last GP event of the year.

 Here are my splits:

  1 - 5:48
  2 - 6:02
  3 - 5:57
  4 - 5:52
  5 - 5:53
  6 - 6:05
  7 - 6:01
  8 - 5:55
  9 - 6:00
10 - 5:51 (59:24)
11 - 5:59
12 - 5:57
13 - 5:48
13.1 - 1:18:0x
14 - 5:49
15 - 5:49
16 - 6:07
17 - 5:56
18 - 5:55
19 - 6:05
20 - 5:59 (1:58:48, 5:56 pace) (second 10 mi 59:24)
21 - 6:04
22 - 6:07
23 - 6:12
24 - 6:17
25 - 6:41
26 - 6:24
.2  - 2:40

Total: 2:39:12, 6:04.x per mile.

Monday, October 15, 2012

last long run!

This past Thursday's long run went well, but I was tired. I took the following day (Friday) very easy (58 min) on trails from home. On Saturday I still felt a little sore but headed out for an awesome 10 miler, finishing up with a few miles in the low 6's. 

So by Sunday I was ready to go long again in my "crash course to the 'thon". Met up with some friends from the Sisu project, plus a couple others for a run on the rail trail from Newfields. Vassallo and I ran together the whole way. Germain joined for most of the return portion. It was muddy and wet but the run still felt pretty smooth. I felt far better than I did on Thursday. Here are the stats:

21 miles at 6:30 average on trail. Having done this run, I'm confident 6:30/mile for the marathon is possible.  The real question is can I run 6:00 - 6:10? This Thursday I will probably go 4x2m at 5:40. I'll probably throw in some longer repeats at 5:20 pace on Sunday and  5xmile repeats at 5:45 on Wednesday. I'll do just about everything I can to tune up before the big dance. Heck, I might even do a sit-up or two. 13 days to go!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Longer Run

Well....! The running has not been very good or consistent since I started teaching in early September. I think I came into the school year training to the max because my work life had low-stress. Starting a new job and still trying to hammer miles just had me totally run down. I am just getting over a 3 week long cold that included everything from bronchitis to a sinus infection. I've had about 1 week of good running under my belt out of the last 5 and here is my run from yesterday: (10/11). Good run for the first time in a while and I'm hoping it's a sign that I can still move my body for 26.2 on the 28th!! I'm amazed at an avg HR of 171 but I'll blame the hills for that one... 

So, this one was 15.5 hilly miles. I'm aiming for 20 on Sunday or Monday with 8 miles at goal MP and 18-20 the following Thursday. Those runs should hopefully remind my body that it needs to store up some fuel and help smooth out the stride into the low-6s. If it sounds like I'm taking a crash course to the marathon, that's because I am! 

Good luck to the runners at Hartford this weekend!

Monday, September 3, 2012


A good start to the week with a solid 1:37 with none other than Sam Wood in Newburyport. We ran the Yankee 10 miler course in 65 minutes and jumped into Maudslay for another 32 minutes of running. 14.5 on the day. Recovered with an awesome pizza at Flat Bread's in Amesbury. Good news... the Hynes bridge connecting Amesbury and Newburyport has reopened!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Sunday Long(er) Run

7am: 1:42:40 / 15 miles  Matt Germain and I met up for a casual semi-long run on the Haggett's Pond - Golf Course route in Andover. Matt's coming off an achilles flare up and since I raced yesterday, each of us thought better of going farther. I worked out the kinks the first few uphill miles and then we basically cruised easy around 6:40 for a majority of the run.

This week: 83 miles with one race, one solid workout, and a decently long run. This is probably right where I'll keep it and not really reach much higher unless I have good indicators that I'm ready. Made steady progress over the past month. The race yesterday was a lot of fun. Happy to be sub 16 again for the first time in a while! For this coming week I'll be working out at Andover on Tuesday and probably something tempo-ish on Friday and long again Sunday. Although, it could be an unpredictable week with school starting!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thursday, Friday, Saturday Race!

Thursday: 65 minutes of trail awesomeness! 9.5 miles
Friday am: 7+ miles with 4x120m strides, feeling good!
Friday pm: 4 miles before dinner with Brent.
Saturday: UNH Friends/Alumni 5k. 3 up, 5k race, 2 down, 4 extended cool down. 15:45ish (official results not yet posted...) 2nd place behind UNH alum Dan Hocking. Ran even, felt strong through to the end. Made a move to pass Alex Beaulieu around 2 miles. The course was in excellent shape. Cross was a little unfamiliar with the changes from dirt to grass to gravel and back, but I stayed focused and kept it in a good gear. It was really nice to see my old coaches and catch up with some UNH buds!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Workout Wednesday

Solo mid-week workout: 3.5 up / 25 minutes to Spring Grove Cemetery. Looking for inspiration for a workout and found it in DD and Verrington; Dan told me the wide perimeter of the loop was about 100' short of a mile, and I was feeling like something longer.

So I did 4 loops on 2 minutes recovery.  I measured the loop on the pedometer and it came out to .95. Worked gradually into the first one. Splits were:  4:59 (5:14), 4:45 (5:00), 4:43 (4:57), 4:40 (4:54); Actual (Pace Conversion).

2 minutes standing rest had me pretty much ready to roll for the next one. There was a single longish hill right around 800m in, but the gradual downhill towards the finish was awesome. I'll have to do more work there this Fall. Great workout!

3.5 / 25 minutes down. 11 miles on the day!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday and Tuesday

Monday: 8 miles / 58 minutes at Winnekenni after school. Starving by 20 minutes in so I turned it around early and called it a day! Good recovery run.

 Tuesday: 14 miles / 95 minutes around Andover. Tired from work but felt better as the run went on. Hills or something fun like that tomorrow!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sunday-funday: Marathon workout #1!

Alarm was set for 5:15 to run in Raymond, NH for 6:45. But the train goes by, blowing it's horn at 4:30 and I'm up and getting an early breakfast!

Arrive at Pat Ard's place around 6:20. Brandon rolls in at 6:30, and by 6:45 we're on the road. I basically followed Brandon's lead since he has a lot more experience at the Marathon. The recipe called for 2 miles up, 10 at "general aerobic pace" and then 8 miles at sub-goal Marathon pace.

Ard warmed up with us, but with some tightness going on with his Achilles, he made a good call and worked more gradually into his long run of 14+.

The 10 mile segment was smooth, as we traveled west on the old dirt railroad bed right off Main St, Raymond. Our first split was around 6:20 and then down pretty quickly to sub 6:10. Hit 10 miles around 61 minutes, grabbed the water we stashed and jogged another half mile to avoid a low culvert we needed to pass. The pace was solid but I felt really smooth and it was good to catch up with B, so the miles ticked by pretty effortlessly.

Then straight into the important portion of the workout. Mile 1 right at 5:30, most of it on dirt. Mile 2 again right on 5:30 but moving uphill, now on roads and following a really hilly loop. Mile 3 climbed a bit and then began to roll. we hit 3 miles around 5:25 followed by a really steep uphill that just absolutely crushed me. It hadn't occurred to me that the challenge to this run was not bonking!

 I didn't want to bag the workout or mess with Brandon's rhythm so I ducked out for a 20 second pitty party/attempt to recover from the hill and the miles. Slammed a gel and then back into it. Kept Brandon in sight, but I knew 5:30 or faster was no longer in the cards. I tried to relax my upper body, work the hills with consistent small strides and then open up on the longer, gradual downhills. This worked relatively well and I kept the effort sub 5:50 although I swear I was seeing stars if I allowed myself to lose focus at all. At 7 miles of total of hard running I called it a day and listened to my body by slowing to about 8 minutes pace and began my cooldown. Met Brandon about a mile down the road, jogged to where we threw our bottles and headed back to Pat's place.

Pat was already enjoying his Sunday, showered up and hanging on the couch. He had a great run, moving pretty darn quick overall and just shy of 15. I was satisfied with the effort, but pretty darn zapped. An hour later I was just plain HURTING. My stomach was a mess. Despite pounding fluids, my eyes were so glossy it hurt to move them around. I devoured a turkey sandwich, about $5 bucks worth of grapes graciously offered by Pat, some awesome OJ (extra pulp!) and got to the store in time to veg out in the car for about 20 minutes before my final regular shift. 6 hours on my feet and then home to relax. I'm really glad the guys at the store cancelled the store bball tourney scheduled for the evening!!

It's good to have this effort in the books as I hope it will build my strength and toughness for the marathon distance. It occurred to me for the second time this year that I was only a few miles shy of the full distance at a much quicker pace than my debut last year. Cape Cod is finally feeling more like a reality than just a far-off goal. 9 weeks to go!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Training: 8/20 - 8/26

Monday: 80 minutes / 12 miles steady, right hammy tight!
Tuesday: 7 miles... Stomach bug Monday night into Tuesday morning... blegh. 57 minutes around 10pm, feeling empty. Hamstring less tight though... silver lining! Next time I'll be smarter and just take the zero.
Wednesday: 67 minutes / 10 miles with 6 barefoot strides. Right Achilles tight. Hamstring non-issue.
Thursday am: 62 minutes / 9 miles on trails in Haverhill.
Thursday pm: 61 minutes / 9 miles on trails in Andover solo! Felt better than the morning. Achilles still there but less so.
Friday: 67 minutes / 10 miles, mostly roads with a loop in the sanctuary.
Saturday: 60 minutes / 9 miles steady. Big marathon workout planned for tomorrow morning!
Sunday: 2:17:11 / 21.75 miles with Brandon Newbould and Pat Ard. First 2 warmup, then 10 at 6:10 pace, then 3 miles at 5:30 and 4 miles at 5:45 pace. 2++ cooldown. Bonked pretty hard in the last 4 miles and had to seriously adjust pace. A couple serious hills made it challenging to keep rhythm, which is good since Cape Cod is similarly hilly in the later miles. Tough but good workout.

Total: 87 miles on the week. That might be the highest I've seen in over a year. Good things!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Training 8/13 - 8/19

Monday: 55 minutes / 8 miles easy with Brent on Mines Falls trails after going very long yesterday. Good run!
Tuesday: 11 miles with workout. The crew was Brandon, Pat, Jose and Alex. Same workout as last week but we got a little faster. 3+ miles up, 800, 1000, 1200, 1000, 800 in 2:25, 3:01, 3:32, 2:57, 2:19, 4.5 down Felt stronger than last week. Had some good laughs on the warmup/cooldown. Things are moving in a good direction for the Fall!
Wednesday: 78 minutes / 11++ miles at Maudslay solo. Felt good and ran easy.
Thursday: off. Out of work, exhausted. Time to rest!
Friday: 73 minutes / 10++ with Matt in Andover before work. Felt good!
Saturday: 21 miles with 17.5 at 5:30 pace broken up over three relay legs in Vermont. Amazing experience!
Sunday: 48 minutes / 6 miles, very very easy at 7am. Ice bathed at a sweet swimming hole after a good breakfast. Then drove home. SORE.

Total: 68 miles on 6 days with two major recovery runs, one workout, and one fun day of relay racing. Had a very good day at the relay and now I'm in recovery mode. Might have to amend the workout for Tueday, but we'll see.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

100 on 100 Relay

Several friends and I teamed up for the 6 man relay through the heart of Vermont this past weekend. The race began at the Von Trapp family lodge and followed route 100 over Killington, finishing at Okemo Mountain. Each runner had 3 legs of varying distances. I was our 5th runner, so I ran the 5th, 11th and 17th legs totaling 17.5 miles. The team finished 6th overall with an average pace of 6:27 per mile. Since there is so much to say about the event, most of which I haven't fully processed yet, let me just say it was an awesome time with an incredible group of people. We ran under the Sisu Project name as my good friend Matt Germain orchestrated the event and majority of the runners wear the Sisu banner. Here's a breakdown of my legs:

Leg 5: 5.3 miles rolling in 28:40. Our team started with the last wave consisting of a couple Hello Kitty teams, Saint Lawrence Alums and one or two other groups. As luck would have it, my team handed off to me at exactly the same time as Hello Kitty's B team came through, so I ran stride for stride with a pretty strong guy for the first couple miles. He also is training for a Fall marathon and coaches a D3 program somewhere in Vermont. Although we were chatting it up, each of us took turns pulling at the front. I got a little rattled on a long incline where he started to pull away, but I turned it on for the following descent and caught him for the flat into the transition area. 5 miles split at 27:08. A little quick I dare say! I was feeling the heat since it was already mid-day, but I relaxed in the van hydrated and ate and soon enough I felt alright. Hips were tight! I elevated at one of the transition areas later on.  

Leg 11: 7.3 in 40:45. By now, there were minutes of separation between the top teams and we really didn't know where we stood. At the same time, we were beginning to catch lots of runners who started in earlier waves. It was more relaxing to see their positive attitudes compared with the earlier legs where it was only us a few other competitive groups. That said, Sisu had last year's race to compare this year's times with. I think we were a tad behind last year when my leg started. It was a rolling road, net even, and completely exposed to the 3 o'clock sun. I got COOKED on this run. As I write this my lips are burning and my forhead will be glowing at work tomorrow. I put in a really hard effort. I took splits at each mile marker. Out fast, or so I thought, then super slow for the second, slow for the third... then a really fast split for 4th and I knew the markers were nearly worthless. I realized that the markers were conveniently placed after each guardrail, and not in the breakdown lane, so they weren't entirely accurate. Splits: 5:23, 6:20, 6:16, 4:57, 5:19, 6:10, 5:09, xx. Everyone I passed was really encouraging, except for a few groups who jokingly shouted "slow down, it's a long day!". I think they were kidding, anyway! I was really pumped with my leg and we put the team back ahead of last year's pace.

Leg 17: 5.0 in 26:55. I have to admit, after watching our masters runner rock a 1000' climb to the Killington auto road, and then watching Matt climb another 600' over 4 miles at 6:15 pace, I was pretty fired up to bring home my final, 50' downhill leg in fast. I hydrated like crazy with Nuun (which I now swear by), a large Gatorade, and 40 oz of water. By the time my leg came around it was really dark. Race organizers required I wear a reflective vest, a rear safety blinker, and a headlamp, so I geared up and jogged a few minutes. Most of my teammates were finished with their work and were losing it, including flash dance parties with other team cars, shirts off, beating chests, primal screams, you name it.  It was awesome. The cool air had rolled in and I took off: 5:30, 5:28, 5:15, 5:47 (hill), 4:54 (downhill!). 

So...1:36:20 for 17.5 miles comes out to 5:30 pace overall. Originally I had said 5:40 pace was the goal and 5:30 would mean I had a really good day. More importantly, I had a blast getting away for the weekend. we stayed in the Okemo Village, ran Sunday morning, and swam/ice bathed at nearby gorge. Vermont is a really beautiful area, almost a different world compared to the business of Massachusetts. And the friendships I've made and people I met made the experience one to remember. Hopefully I'll be coming back next year! Now, back to work!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tuesday Night Workout

This Tuesday evening I teamed up with my brother and several Whirlaway guys for a workout at Phillips Andover. Newbould, Fullerton and Ortiz were in the mix. We warmed up with a loop in the Phillips Sanctuary, a few strides, flats on, shirts off, and we were ready to roll.

I was feeling a tad flat from the 22++ mile run on Sunday. Alex and I had gotten lost, climbed a lot, and were both feeling it in the quads. The workout was the same as last week: 800, 1000, 1200, 1000, 800 on 2-2:30 rest. I was tired, but to my relief, I felt stronger than last week. We went 2:25, 3:01, 3:32, 2:57, 2:19. Leads were exchanged almost every 400. For the last 800, Dave challenged us not to run any faster than 2:18 and no slower than 2:22, and the group finished 5 abreast all together.

The miles and the workouts are definitely paying off. This kind of pace would have been impossible for me a mere 6 weeks ago. But to feel as in control and aerobically comfortable (for a speed session!) as I did is really motivating. As I continue to build up for the marathon, I'd like to see these workouts increase in volume up to 5 miles or so, but otherwise stay at a similar pace. With injuries and various life circumstances, the Open team found itself in a rebuilding year for the most part. That said, I'm feeling good about our chances for Kerouac and we'll have at least a few guys rolling at the Cape.

Enjoying each daily run. It's all a process and I think I've found the patience needed to steadily improve my fitness all the way through the Fall. It's a good vibe on Tuesday nights; hope to see more guys out there for the workouts in the coming weeks!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Training 8/6 - 8/12

Monday: 78 minutes / 11++ miles at Maudslay solo. Finished with 4x30 seconds hard on the roads. Felt great this morning and the cool breeze helped.
Tuesday: 10.5 miles with workout: 800, 1000, 1200, 1000, 800:  2:25, 3:00, 3:36, 3:01, 2:19 on varying rest (1:50-2:50). Felt awesome! Jose, Pat and I alternated leads. Slow cooldown.
Wednesday 2pm: 99:44 / 15.2 (6:34 pace) with Alex on the roads. Pretty hilly run. Hot as hell. I thought I could handle high 80s at mid-day but I was cramping by 80 minutes. Jumped in a lake to cool off and it helped a bit, but man I was beat.
Thursday 9am: 62:40 / 9 miles with Alex and Matt. Good steady run. Felt a lot better than yesterday. Super humid for early morning, I looked like I had jumped in a lake.
Friday: Off, staggeringly tired from dawn to dusk. Needed the day.
Saturday: 60' / 8 miles easy with Brent out in Hudson. Explored Benson Park and did 3 loops of the perimeter. Hilly.
Sunday: 2:29 / 22.75 miles with Alex. This was quite a run.  3 nasty climbs on the outskirts of Keene, Roxbury, and Marlborough, one of which was 700'+ over 2.5 miles. Honestly, we got a bit lost towards the end which turned the 20-miler into more than that. Felt decent the whole way, hydrated 3 times and luckily brought along an extra Gu. Getting there...

Overall: 79 miles on 6 days. That's huge for me and a major confidence booster for training for the marathon. I'm thrilled, actually, with the workout, the medium-long and long runs and bagging miles the rest of the days. That day off was key. I could almost instantly feel the strength I gained by allowing my body to rest. Relay race in 6 days. I'll see what I'm up for during Tuesday's workout and steady mileage through to Saturday. Next Sunday likely easy or off.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Catching up! 7/30 - 8/05

Monday am: 25 min / 3 mi shakeout on trails
Monday pm: 6 with Brent in N Andover.
Tuesday: 14 with Yankee 10 in 57:00
Wednesday: 61:30 / 8.5 mi with Steve easy recovery.
Thursday: 62 minutes / 9 miles solo on trails. Good second recovery day.
Friday am: 28 minutes / 4 mi morning shakeout!
Friday pm: 67:30 / 10 mi with Jose and Matt St. Germain. It's warm outside.
Saturday 6pm: 75:51 / 12 mi with Jose on Andover roads. Good progression run, 6:22 average. Last 5 under 6:00
Sunday 3pm: 68 minutes / 10 miles solo in the hot hot heat. A little sore from yesterday. Barely beat out the thunderstorms!

Total 76.5 on the week.

A week I'm happy with! This week I focused on each training run and it's purpose, keeping recovery in mind, but not sacrificing a training day either. I'm trying to stay with the recovery doubles, but sometimes it's hard because once I get out there in the morning I start having fun and want to run farther. Some good runs with Steve and Jose. Each of us has a goal race for this Fall. The more we can get together I think the greater our individual races might be. A couple friends have asked, but no Cigna 5k for me this year. I have to work. But I'll be running a relay in VT called the 100 on 100 the weekend of August 18. My legs are 5.3, 7.5 and 5.2. Should be good work for the Marathon buildup! Also hoping to run the UNH Friends 5k XC race in early September. Ready for the Fall weather to arrive, too...

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Yankee 10 Miler

Out of work nice and early to get up to Newburyport before the serious traffic rolled in. Grabbed my number and suddenly realized how big this race actually is. It was my first time running the Yankee Homecoming 10 and I was pumped to see a lot of familiar faces. It felt like Carver part II. The team made this race a bit of a focus this year since there is so much money in the form of team prizes. Given the lackluster year for the open team, my primary goal was to help score the team some dough. I figured about 57 minutes would be a solid effort and get the job done. The quads were a tad tired during warmup, but I also felt good and was excited that the weather was pretty darn nice for a mid-summer race.

Out quick with a big group including the lead female runner. Paul Hammond and I worked together through about 5 miles where I opened up a small gap and began battling with some guy named Nick. He and I exchanged lead at least 30 times over the next 4 miles or so. Then he dropped me really hard and ended up kicking to catch a few guys out ahead of us. I saw Matt Germain up ahead and tried to reign him in around mile 7. Soon after I realized my form had gotten really bad and I really started suffering. Ended up slowing up a bit until about the last mile where I was just straining to see the finish line.

Right around 1200m to go, Al Bernier came flying by me on my right. I tried to tuck in on him but he was moving really well and I just gradually lost ground to him. Al catches a group of guys just ahead of us and suddenly the pack in front of me veers right and into the school. The whole time I had been straining to see the finish clock down the road it was actually much closer than I thought. I started kicking hard and finished a few seconds back of the group.

This was definitely a solid effort and has me looking forward to the next long effort as I build up to the Cape. The team did well as a whole, taking first in a number of categories. The men's Open team is currently listed as third place, but it remains to be seen how the score plays out since the officials missed teammate Steve Dowsett.

1: 5:25
2: 5:33
3: 5:47
4: 5:40
5: 5:35
6: 5:56 hill
7: 5:47
8: 5:55 cramp
9: 5:47
10: 5:30


Looking forward to a good week of base miles!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday Long

Sunday, 7/29: 3pm: Ran this loop right here in 1:49: http://www.gmap-

It was nice and cool and there was a great westerly breeze, but still a tad humid. Decided to stash Gatorade around the 11 mile mark before heading out. Got to the stash spot pretty darn thirsty only to discover that some good Samaritan must have taken it thinking it was trash... that, or someone else was thirsty and needed a drink! Good run overall though. Calves sore from Saturday to start but felt good once I warmed up. Easy running tomorrow and Yankee 10 on Tuesday!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Carver 5 Miler

On Saturday I rolled down to Carver, MA for the 5 miler. My time, 27:30-something, doesn't exactly illustrate my best 5 mile race, so I  was bummed about my race but still had a good time. I  w as out good and fast, through 2 miles in 10:14. Definitely quick but I  w as feeling surprisingly good and relaxed. Then a sudden distruption in my race took hold. I debated for about half a mile but eventually  pulled off course around 2.5 miles for a not-so-private pit stop next to a field. Pit stop took longer than intended and I found myself far back of just about everybody I was hoping to race with. You can probably get away with a short stop in marathon or even a half, but 5 milers are just too short to make up a 60-80 second deficit. I rolled in the last couple miles at a respectable effort, but I  w as mentally out of the race once I took that short break. Maybe I could have run a bit harder in the 4th mile, but I was still pretty whiped at the finish. Oh well, and moving on! 

Had fun post-race hanging out with and meeting a bunch of whirlaway and Somerville Road Runners. It was also sweet to see a bunch of whirlaway faces who haven't been active due to injury most of the season. I think we should definitely have our strongest team at the 5k in late September and I think the marathon could be a really good race for us on October 28th. 

Posting here has been sparse, but in the past few weeks I've had some good workouts on the track as well as strong tempo and cruise interval work. And I'm optimistic and excited for my marathon build up starting at my current fitness level. The goal race is Cape Cod  where I ran 'okay' in 2011 up until the 21 mile mark and ended up bonking HARD. I know the areas I need to focus on for training to have a good race all the way to the end in 2012. Goal time will probably be adjusted as I get into the bulk of marathon training, but hoping for something around 2:35. I'll probably be at races like the Nahant 30k and I'll definitely be racing the 5k in Lowell in 8 weeks. Looking forward to the process!

Friday, July 13, 2012

On the Cape for the weekend, plus some!

I'll be staying in Wellfleet Saturday - Tuesday if anybody would like to get together for some running! I'll be heading out each morning for 8-10 miles. Might even be up for a workout if you've got something planned! Are there any nice areas for running in the area? Usually I hit the bike paths or a few roads around Calhoun's Hollow. Comment here or facebook message me and we'll hook up! 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Holy Cannoli, it's almost July! Training 6/25 - 7/1

Monday: 6 miles pretty slow and hilly after a big mile weekend. 5x20 pushups, 6x30 sit-up variations, high knees, butt kicks, A-skip, B-skip, 6x100 meter strides. Overall a low energy day but not a poor effort day by any means!
Tuesday: 12 miles; 3 up in the Phillips Sancuary, light stretching, and several strides to elevate the heart rate, then into the workout. 800, 1200, 1600, 1200, 800 on 400m recovery jog and ~15 seconds standing rest; 2:25, 3:40, 4:49 (Ouch!), 3:49, 2:29. Jose, Brandon, Steve and I rolled together for most of it. Out fast leading that 1600 through 800 in 2:23. It was fun to run fast and a nice 4 mile cool down helped clear most of the junk from my legs. Hydrated with lots of water and one Harpoon IPA. Feeling Gooood.
Wednesday: 14 total; 6 am: Up at 5:10 to coach the 6am marathoners. There early so I started running laps in pedestrian clothes, ended up clocking 4 miles and 4x20 pushups. Nice shakeout.
Wednesday 2 pm: 10 miles / 73 minutes Steve came by and  we hit up the Ward reservation. Nice run! 
Thursday: 12.5 easy / 84 minutes + 12 minute shakeout for 14 on the day. Nice loop around Haggets Pond and back home via 133, 28 and downtown Andover. Looking forward to a big weekend!!
Friday am: 9 miles / 64 minutes pretty hilly but felt really good out there this morning. 
Saturday 7:30am: 12 miles, casual 5k warm up in Plaistow. Another 5k with 2x5' a tempo pace, 5:35, 5:27,  cruising 6:30s inbetween. Another mile with strides for good measure. 5k at Plaistow Old Home Days in 16:29, 2nd behind Matt Germain with Natahn Huppe trailing just behind. Solid effort, warm but not crazy humid or hot. 2 mile cooldown and headed out quick to get to work on time. 9 hours at the store and home in time for the trials coverage. Great day, had some unexpected visitors at work and a solid reviemeeting with the boss.
Sunday am: 10 miles steady in Haverhill with a good crew composed of Ortiz, Mallard, Alliette and St. Germain!

Good week overall! Looking for another one just like it. Making the move to daily posts, too!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Training 6/18 - 6/24

Monday: 11 miles / 75 minutes by night with none other than Sir Mallard hailing from Pelham, NH. Eased into it and felt great! Doctor's appointment tomorrow morning.
Tuesday: 9 miles, 2 up, 5x1600 HARD, 2 down. 15 minute active core session afterwards. 
Wednesday: 9.5 miles / 65 minutes of awesomeness around Holt and Boston Hills. Beat the heat by starting at 7:30am. Tired and satisfied by the end! 4x25 push ups. 
Thursday: No run. I was in a low-speed car accident on my way to a group run. Nobody hurt, except for my poor Subaru... the other guy didn't even have a scratch!
Friday: 9 miles easy except for when the dear flies started biting. I forgot how much I loathe those suckers. 
Saturday am: 10 miles / 61:02 on the Yankee 10 course in Newburyport with Steve. 2.5 up, 5 mile tempo 27:40, 2.5 down. Felt good out there. Never too sure about pace since we were using the course's mile markers, yet somehow our first mile came in at 4:5x. Google's pedometer utility confirmed the total distance to be accurate, though!
Saturday pm: 5 easy with Dad and old friend Brent after BBQing all afternoon. Felt good to shake out!
Blood test results are in except for the Lyme's stuff which I knew could take a bit longer. All my levels are basically good. Good Cholesterol super high, bad Cholesterol very low. My Hematacrit is 43.8, RBCs 4.54. No Fe reported. I'm within the normal ranges but on the lower side. I wish I knew more about how endurance athletes compare to the normal population and what our ideal levels are. Maybe a topic to research more... Anyway, I'm really excited to be feeling better and have a clean bill of health!
Sunday: 15 miles / 1:48 after work. 62 minutes of it with Alliette. Positively cooked by the end of the run. Felt great until the last 10 minutes where I good ol' fashioned bonked. 

Total: 68.5 miles on 6 days. Oof... I got a little excited over the weekend, but it feels good to have an awesome week of running under the belt. Lots to do this week but I'll be looking to get a similar number of miles on 7 days instead of 6. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Training week 6/11 - 6/17

Monday: 0, off. Licking my wounds and resting like it's my job... 
Tuesday: 9 easy road loop with a 3 mile run plugged in the middle with the Whirlaway guys for their warmup. Sill tired, but slept A LOT. Laur and I are working towards removing processed foods from our diet. Salads galore, whole grains, limited simple sugars. 
Wednesday: 9 miles / 64 minutes in Maudslay with new teammate Steve Dowsett. Steve has a cycling background and it was cool to get his perspective on running since he is relatively new to the scene. Felt good towards the end. Still getting lots of sleep. Feels like I may have turned a corner. Meals were so healthy and green it almost made me sick. 
Thursday: 9 miles with a solid 5k in the middle, 16:14. Flat route, worked with Steve for most of it. Certainly not expecting a turnaround so quickly, but I'll take it! I'll be watching this one closely. Happy Flag Day!
Friday: 4 miles easy in the morning. Checked out some trails that turned out to be dead ends. Oh well!
Saturday: 9  miles, 60 minutes cruising right along. 
Sunday 7am: 16 miles / 1:45 with Matt Germain in Reading, North Reading, Peabody and Wakefield. Felt pretty good all around this morning after a solid night's sleep. A little quick towards the end but nothing crazy. 

Total: 56 miles on 6 days and one of those as basically a shakeout. One good 5k effort and one long run. Almost looks like a complete week and feeling so much better than a mere 7 days ago! Keeping a positive attitude and taking care of the nutrition and rest has made a huge impact. Looking forward and up with Carver in mind. I think adding some more local 5ks for some fun and to get the competitive juices flowing will be a smart next step. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Newton 10k

Well, you won't see me in the results because I didn't finish this race. Home late Saturday night from my Nana's memorial service, I was feeling optimistic about competing well despite having a pretty crummy week (running and otherwise). I'd had a few solid workouts in the weeks preceding the event, and I knew I was far more ready to roll compared to the 12k a few weeks ago where I basically ran hard for the first time in a while as an experiment and had closed really hard over the last 1.5. I was thinking that if I could finish well after a cautious start to the 12k that I'd have a 10k in the bag.

I guess I was ignoring a few physical signs that I wasn't ready to roll, though. The lymph nodes on the left side of my body, i.e. head, neck, jaw, and armpit were all blown up and swollen. I hadn't been sleeping well and I was pretty groggy all around. Anyway, my race prep went relatively smoothly, although lots of teammates were running around in a panic since the parking around the school where the race started was less than ideal. 

The gun sounded and I got out to a pretty decent 5:18 start. Not slow and not fast. Perfect. I wasn't breathing too hard but I felt that lactic acid burn far too soon, almost like I was racing a 5k and not a 10k. I tried not to get too nervous despite getting passed in droves beginning soon after the mile mark. Mentally I kind of freaked out and tried to compose myself with a shorter stride and focusing on adopting a rhythm similar to the guys around me. No split at 2 miles but by this point I was STRUGGLING in a way that begged for a premature end to the run. The 2nd mile generally climbed but didn't have anything super tough in it to make me feel so shitty. I made it to about 2.5 where my entire upper body went numb and the my left arm, shoulder and neck area began to pulsate/throb. This on top of running backwards and suddenly struggling to get a full breathe led me to turn off hard left where the race turned right. Failure...

There was a family with kids standing on the corner and more kids riding bicycles up the street so I held in the profanity building up inside and I laid under a tree for a few minutes trying to compose myself. Self doubt immediately injected into my psyche forcing the questions "Do I jump back in and see if I can get moving again?" and "Did I completely just flake out, and if so, why?". But soon after reality set in that I just wasn't physically or mentally prepared to go Sunday morning. I ****ing hate dropping out of races. It happens altogether too often. Had this been anything other than a GP, I'm positive I would have just slept in and taken care of myself rather than try to race. I'm looking at this race as a learning experience rather than a huge black spot on my already spotty year running. 

Some major takeaways: 1) Don't show up to races you're not ready to run. Duh. That one should have already been obvious, but this is a good reminder. 2) Have fun out there even if a race is going to shit, regardless of the reasons. I wasn't having fun. Not a minute of that run was fun and that's probably mostly mental since my heart was back with my family in Southwestern CT. I didn't want to leave the night before, and I really only did so because Lauren had to work Sunday morning, so why not give the 10k a shot, right? Wrong. My heart wasn't in the race at all. And 3) I need to listen to my body more. I know that in running we can't always feel 100% and feeling crappy doesn't necessarily mean you shouldn't run/race. I used to believe the crappier I felt in warmup or the day leading up to a race, the better I would feel as the race played out. Now I have a greater respect for taking care of business in the week leading up to a major effort. My long awaited doctor's appointment is for July 19 and I'm going to push for every test that seems practical: Lyme's, mono, iron levels, etc. Although my calf and hamstring have been feeling better and better, I still want to get some hard answers about what might or might not be going on with that insertion point behind the knee. Hopefully I can see a sports medicine doctor soon. 

Since the race I've had some generous time off of work to get myself back into a healthy condition. I slept 11 hours Sunday night, 13 hours Monday night, and 10 hours Tuesday night. Hasn't been great sleep but the point is my body has definitely been running on fumes and the sleep is already helping me feel more balanced.  My buddy Matt shared this video with me on the lymphatic system: The doctor is sort of a naturalist and has a history in triathlon, and places a minimal emphasis on western medicine, which I'm into. He provides a list of foods that promote lymphatic drainage, so I've been eating the best I have in a while and my lymph nodes have been slowly but surely draining. Positive steps forward are all I'm interested in now. The workouts and miles will come along in time. 

Following a friend's advice, I'm not going to completely shut down the running but I'll definitely be stepping back and listening to my body a whole lot more. Praying for good news following Tuesday's doctor's visit. Anyway, if you read through this entire entry, thank you for listening and your support. New England is a really special place because the running community really helps pick you up when you're down. I'm looking forward to getting out there and seeing everybody again with higher spirits and a better outlook. Meanwhile I'll make an effort to post more regularly. Thanks again,


Sunday, June 3, 2012

5/28 - 6/3

Monday: 10.2 easy, feeling good towards the end.
Tuesday: 10 hard, 6x800m, 2:24 average with Jose Ortiz. Humid. Crazy weather west of us. Psyched about the effort!
Wednesday: 7 easy, 50 minutes easy on trails and roads with the all-too-rarely seen Ben Jenkins. Spotted Dunham and Verrington by Phillips.
Thursday: 10.5 steady with Tim Mallard on Pelham roads. 6:35s the whole way. Tight hammy but otherwise feeling smooth.
Friday: 11.5 hard, ran and hiked the Tripyramids with a few guys from the UNH crew. Uninspiring views from the top, but sweet climbing up the north peak along an avalanche slide, and HARD running on technical terrain back to the car.
Saturday: 0 day off to allow my legs to adapt and recuperate.
Sunday: 23 steady - Tour de Andover with Mallard on a combination of roads and trails. Hit Tewksbury, Andover, N Andover and Wilmington town lines, including 8 reservations. Also hit the two highest points in Andover. Felt strong late in the run. Pizza and brews to celebrate after.

72 miles, one speedier session, one really solid run/hike (with packs), and a great long run on Sunday. Very busy week coming up at Whirlaway coming up with the tent sale and the 10k on Sunday, so rest and consistent yet conservative work will be the focus!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday night track

It's probably about time I jump back on the blogger band wagon after a short hiatus over the month of May and most of April! In summary, I've been logging between 30 and 40 measly miles trying to get my legs back in working order. After seeing a few different kinds of specialists (chiropractic, ART, and general massage), I've been told a) I might have old tears in both hamstrings (from Cape Cod, I'd guess), b) I might have a meniscus tear in my right knee (what the?), c) either a stress reaction around my fibula and/or d) mild tendinitis in a small calf muscle that helps lock the knee... that's a lot of maybes! Seeing my new primary in mid-June to start the process of getting some concrete information and meanwhile I've made gradual progress at regaining fitness. I won't recap all of the past 5-6 weeks, but I'll try to throw in a little write-up on the Bedford 12k soon enough.

Anyway, my first workout back!

Met up with team Whirlaway for the first track workout of the year over at Phillips Andover at 5:45 for a nice warm up in the Phillips Sanctuary. A quick stop in the woods and right over to the group. Dave's recipe called for 6x800 on 2:00 rest. Full standing/jogging recovery, basically. Jose Ortiz and I teamed up and traded the lead every other repeat. 2:26, 2:24, 2:25, 2:22, 2:24, 2:22. A little fast for the first time on the track, but it felt great. Helped pace one of the women, Cathy, to a 2:55 afterwards. Overall a solid effort. Happy to finish feeling like I had a few more left in the tank. 

So, hopefully this is a positive sign that maybe I can run at full capacity in the coming weeks. I'm taking my rest days super conservatively, and looking to see a gradual progression up to 70-75 mpw by mid summer. I'm really looking forward to the weekly track workouts. Jose and I seem to be the same page and worked well together. You may see me at the Newton 10k, but that will be a game-day decision since I have some family affairs in southwestern CT that weekend. 

Looks like lots of guys and gals are rolling and some big races coming up! Good luck to everybody running Pack and Mt. Washington!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Week 15: 4/9 - 4/15 / Chaos

Monday: 4 easy am and 4 easy pm. Snail's pace. Barely made it home each run. I couldn't even run downhill my quads are in such rough shape from the descent yesterday.
Tuesday am: 3.5 easy shakeout along the Shawsheen solo.
Tuesday pm: 6 quick with Benny Jenks on North Andover roads.
Wednesday: 6.5 with Emery after work. Pretty quick. Still feeling my quads from the hike over the weekend.
Thursday: ~10.5 with Sam Wood at Maudslay. Great day for the trails and finished just in time to watch the rainstorms from my seat at the Ale House in Amesbury.
Friday: 8 with Jose from my place in Andover after work along trails. Ended up going shorter than planned since he has a race tomorrow and I have the expo. 
Saturday: 0 - first day at the expo was truly a wake-up call in terms of how hyped up and popular marathon running is, especially at Boston. I couldn't believe how chaotic the entire expo was from beginning to end. Sold a lot of Spenco sandals!! They sure are comfortable...
Sunday: 3 - post-expo jog more for my sanity than for fitness. So incredibly tired after 22 hrs of standing / 26 hrs working over a 2-day period. Happy it's over but also glad for the experience. The most rewarding piece was showing as much enthusiasm and support as possible for everyone I met and interacted with. A month ago I was pretty envious of the people running Boston, but not today... tomorrow is going to be brutal for them. Sending along positive energy!!

Total: 42.5 miles and I was lucky to get that. This is not ideal training but considering the fact that I worked some serious overtime and spent so much time on my feet, it was unrealistic to hope for much better. Oh well. Spectating the marathon tomorrow with vague plans about where I'll be and when. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Week 14: 4/2 - 4/8

Monday: 10 steady solo after work.
Tuesday: 9.5 miles with 3 sets of diagonals with Brandon.
Wednesday am: 2 mile shakeout before work.
Wednesday pm: 11.6 miles with Matt. The last 20 min (3.6) were really flying, at 5:15 - 5:20. Great run!
Thursday: 9 miles steady with buddy Marc Ouellette at Appleton farms in Ipswitch, MA. Achilles sore...
Friday: 0 off - feeling a little beat up from going steady-hard 3 days in a row. rolled out, core and relaxed.
Saturday am: 3 easy. Achilles is still a little beat up. Rolled out but on my feet for 7 hours today at work. Guess it could be longer...
Saturday pm: 9 easy. Achilles/calf noticeable but possibly better than this morning?? Hiking tomorrow to hopefully clear things up.
Sunday: Easter hike up Cannon via Lonesome Lake to the Kinsman Ridge Trail, down to Echo Lake and back to the car via the Pemi River Trail. Had a blast trying out my new "ultra-lite" frame pack. It was a little tough to keep up with my friends who brought far less gear and we ran just about everywhere possible (including down!) but they ended up thanking me when I provided extra gear for warmth at the top. Took a spill with about 2 minutes left to the trip, leaving my right patella and right forearm pretty bruised. All in all an awesome hike! Definitely a bit scary up there since I'm unfamiliar with white mountain weather this time of year, but had a solid exit strategy if things got dicey. Snowed a lot of the time.  4 hours total, probably 3.5 hrs moving and 8+ total miles.

Total: 62 miles including one solid hard effort, one good long hike (great for the calf), solid running and a good amount of momentum for the coming Spring season. Can't wait to race!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week 13: 3/26 - 4/1

Monday am: 7 easy, wicked tight in left hip and right calf, so called it early. Cold out!
Monday pm: 8 easy, rolled out all afternoon. 3x7 pull ups, 2x80 mb twists, 2x30 mb sit-ups, 3x20 pushups
Tuesday am: 5 easy solo in the morning.
Tuesday pm: 9 or so on the Rivah. STARVING by the end and got Chipotle after.
Wednesday: 9 easy with a couple 400s at 75 on the Andover Academy track. 3x10 pull ups, 2x80 mb twists, 1x30 mb sit ups, 3x20' push ups, hamstring/back extensions.
Thursday: 10.5 / 75 at Maudslay State Park with Newbould. Ran steady and felt awesome. Great to catch up with B too.
Friday: 12 miles steady / 80 minutes on new roads and trails in Andover. Started out quick and down to 6:00-6:10 by mile 3. Slowed up in the woods as I explored a few trails and took it easy along the Shawsheen back home. 3x12 pull ups, 3x20 push ups. 3x70 mb twists, plank variations, hamstring extensions, hip mobility. Feeling great!
Saturday am: 4 miles easy along the Shawsheen, real slow, before work.
Saturday pm: 6.3 / 40 minutes (6:20 pace?) in Salem with a co-worker who I met today, Emory. Good brisk short run! Starting to crave a race. Might just have to pick a 5k for next weekend!
Sunday: 14 / 1:27 with Jose Ortiz on trails in Haverhill. Fast paced run on mostly clear trail. Good to finally meet Ortiz and had a great run together! Fighting a cold since last night.

Total: 85... tired. Very tired.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Week 12: 3/19 - 3/25

Monday: 60 minutes / 8 miles solo on trails from home. Felt, for lack of a better descriptor, clunky. Cycling doesn't do great things for my stride.

Tuesday am: 85 minuntes / 12.5 miles with M. Germain. Good run!

Tuesday pm: 45 minutes / ND with my pops out at Otter Brook Park in Keene. Picked up my first internal frame hiking pack ever (Alteo 50 by the North Face) and I can't wait to use it!

Wednesday am: 65 minutes / 9 miles on trails in and around the Ward reservation. Perfect day. Dehydrated by the end.

Thursday noon: 55 minutes / 7.5 miles on trails from home. Felt great out there today. Lauren is mad at me because two days running shirtless and I already have a good amount of color. Thanks pasty-white Irish skin! Double tonight?

Friday am: 45 minutes / 6.5 on trails and roads. Started sluggish but felt really fresh by the end. Definitely double tonight. This week is looking ugly thus far!

Friday pm: double canceled due to tight achilles.

Saturday: 5 miles easy with Ben on trails. Achilles and mid calf were super tight and sore today. A little freaked out, but lots of rolling, ice and massage after seem to have things feeling better.

Sunday: Helped a buddy out at the first ever Red Coat Run in Lexington. Ran packet pick-up and t-shirt distribution 8:30-9:55 and decided very last-minute to hop in and get a few miles. There's just something about a racing environment that makes me want to run hard... so without warmup I'm out in 5:45 and sucking wind. My legs felt super rubbery and clearly not warmed up yet. Big hill in mile 2 slowed me some, but chased several people down in the last mile and finished up at 17:48 (I think). Didn't even jog back to the car. 3.1 miles total on the day... pretty unintelligent to not even stretch, but I was exhausted from the weekend and just wanted to go home.

Total: 58 miles. Need to pick up the momentum and get some longer runs in throughout next week. Calf/achilles still in question.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Week 11: 3/12 - 3/18

Monday: 10.2 / 68 minutes with Nate Jenkins on a hodgepodge of roads and trails around Andover. Felt great today! Could have been the 60 degree weather. Or it could have been my new Scott trainers I was testing out!
Tuesday: 95 minute spin around Andover, Reading, Boxford, N. Andover, etc. Stressed out with some tough choices on my mind and just felt like cruising.
Wednesday: 8 miles / light workout: 1600, 1200, 800, 400, 8x150m strides; 4:58, 3:38, 2:22, 68. in my new Lunar racers. I got a small blister on my left Achilles but I blame poor stitching in the sock and hopefully not the shoes...
Thursday: double 8 easy am, 4 easy pm
Friday: 8 miles steady am, 60 minute ride pm
Saturday: 10 miles easy
Sunday: 120 minute. No race...

Total: 50 miles running, 4.5 hours on the bike. Right patella is sore, but I can't tell if riding makes it better or not. No race this weekend due to craziness involving a change of employment as well as a change of team affiliation. More on that later. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Week 10: 3/5 - 3/11

Monday: 5 am / 5 pm. Easy shakeouts. Feeling off. My stride just feels like junk and I'm super tight in the hamstrings and calves. Probably shouldn't have run in trail racers in Boston on Saturday -- everything hurt after. Rolled out and stretched repeatedly. Feeling better in the evening.
Tuesday: 11.5 easy warmup followed by 4x600m Prospect Hill repeats (50' vertical climb), then 300, 400, 500, 600m hard on flats. 2:08, 2:08, 2:05, 2:01 on the Prospect repeats. Happy to finally have a good hill to work on.  Kept everything at 5' pace for the flats afterward since they were mostly for volume. Felt pretty darn good today after a sluggish warm up.
Wednesday: 70 minutes / 10 miles steady on a mixture of slushy trails and roads. My "quick feet" were sharp for the trails today and I was really flying out there on some messy terrain. So much fun sliding around. I'm already lamenting a winter which failed to produce the snow I hoped for. Almost ran tempo for the last 4 but held off for a Friday - Monday - Thursday workout schedule heading into NB.
Thursday 8am: 79 minutes / 12.2 with Matt Germain on new roads from the apartment. I hadn't been out by the Haggett's pond area north of 133 so it was cool to add some new terrain. The roads were fairly busy with morning commuters but I was pumped to see several reservations with trail systems that take you all the way out to the Rivah trail. Can't wait to get back out there. Each of us acknowledged the pace was a tad quick but it was a beautiful day and sometimes you just have to run! 6:31 pace overall, first 10 at 6:15.
Friday: 8x400m, 4x200m on 200m/55s recovery, 71, 71, 70, 70, 70, 69, 70, 69, 32, 31, 31, 30. Finally starting to turn the legs over with some classic track work! The recovery was the toughest component as I was 16:50ish through 5k. Not a ton of volume but the goal was to get the legs turning over efficiently. Made sense not to go after volume after a pretty solid run yesterday, 9.5 total.
Saturday: 8 miles really slow after work.
Sunday 6:30 am: 13..5 / impromptu workout. La and I are checking out a gym in town so I decided to begin my run there. Had originally planned to go 17ish but 5.5 miles in on the dreadmill I couldn't take it anymore and decided to run a few miles at half-marathon effort: 2 miles in 10:50, bathroom stop, 2 miles in 10:40, 90 second jog, 1 mile in 5:20, 3 miles down. 5:20 pace doesn't exactly feel easy but in a racing environment I think I can hold this up for a good long while. Running so dang early definitely added to the challenge. #notamorningperson!

Total: 74.7 on with 3 quality workouts and some good core work thrown in throughout the week. I'm not positive I can pull off a 1:10-1:11 at NB but I'll go out at that pace and just hold on for dear life that last 5 or so miles. Barring a full-on implosion I should set a PB one week from today. And if I learned anything from Amherst it's to not start out in 10:15 through 2 miles (ugh). 10:50-11:00 sounds far more manageable after that!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Week 9: 2/27 - 3/4

Monday: 8 miles / 58 minutes easy with Nate Jenkins on Andover trails. Pretty sore but felt good to move.
Tuesday: 11 miles / 83 minutes easy solo on Andover and N. Andover trails. Still sore, kept it nice and light but felt great, actually. 3 sets of crunches, med ball, pull ups, push ups.
Wednesday: 6.5 easy with Brandon Newbould in Exeter, followed by 10 sets of diagonals (16 minutes, 2.5m?) and 2.5 cool down for 11.5 total. Feeling speedy for the first time in a while! Good light workout. Upper body sore.
Thursday: 12 / 95 minutes in the storm with Matt Germain. Headed out roads to the entry to Holt and Boston Hill and did ~4 miles on the snow-covered trails, then returned home roads. Effort was probably closer to 13 miles.
Friday: 20 miles /  2:18 on wednesday hill and Bay roads with B Newbould and T Mallard. The roads were an absolute mess for the majority of the run but we had a good time sharing stories and laughing at the ridiculously under-maintained roads. Best feeling 20 miler I've ever run, effort-wise.
Saturday: 5 easy from BU indoor track with my brother, Alex. He had just run 8:10 in the 3k at IC4As for 4th place, so we were both jacked up and clicking off miles along the Charles. Returned to the track since Alex wasn't sure if he was running the 5k tomorrow and didn't want too much volume beforehand.
Sunday: 10 slow but difficult around 10pm from the apartment. Long weekend with work, parents in town and lots of gatherings. Glad I got the run in. Meanwhile Alex ran a blazing 14:07 on the track for 2nd today, demonstrating what years of hard work does for one's strength. Not surprised by the performance but absolutely proud of this guy!

Total: 77.5

Alright week coming off an alright race. No workouts, but three pretty solid runs and reintroducing core work which is really key to my efficiency at faster paces. Can't forget that. Pumped for NB in a couple weeks! Next week must be better, in both volume and quality runs. Threshold work and a track workout are a must.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jones 10 Miler

Well, the moral of the story is: there is more than one way to a 55:05 10 mile, and I chose the hard way. Up by 6am and out the door by 6:45 to meet up with new CMS teammate Tim Mallard and headed on our way to Amherst. Had some good tunes flowing on the ride over and Tim and I were both excited for the prospect of racing. It had been a while since Boston Prep and I was really curious to see if my fitness had changed much over the last couple weeks. My training had been so-so with recent cold symptoms and sore arches. Coming off the cold that got to my lungs, I was worried my ability to hold a tough pace might be hindered. Regardless of the conditions I was determined to bring a hard effort. I had goals of scoring for CMS (top 5) and breaking my PR of 56:18 (Jones 10, 2010). 

It was a beautiful blue-bird Februrary morning from inside the car, but upon arrival I realized the winds from Saturday hadn't exactly died down. Making our way to number pick-up, you could just feel the energy in cafeteria. It was great to see that so many good runners from the NE area had come out to race. I noticed a number of really solid BAA guys right away and knew CMS would need to seriously rise to the challenge if we wanted to compete.

I was so excited and chatting it up with people that I had forgotten to change into my running shoes and almost missed the group as they headed out for warm-up. Tim, Alan B, and Kevin G and I jogged easy for 15-20 minutes and then it was sort of hectic getting to the starting line. Jogging over I did a couple quick pick-ups and stretched a few tight muscle groups. Before I knew it we were on the line and the starting gun sounded.

The first mile went by effortlessly as it nearly always does. I was in a huge pack composed of a majority of the big guns. I could see Nate Jenkins out front and Greg Hammett and Brandon Newbould, plus a dozen or two others, just ahead of me. I hit the mile in about 5:14, 16 seconds faster than I had intended. The second mile was downhill and probably even faster. I didn't wear a watch so I have pretty limited data for the race overall. Of course hindsight is 20/20, but I think it was a mistake to go out as hard as I did. By the time I got to the 3 mile mark I was feeling some serious acid pouring into the bloodstream and my hip flexors were tight. Overall my quads felt flat. On the brighter side, my breathing felt as good as could be hoped for.

Just beginning the hill, teammate Kevin Tilton came by me at a cadence I couldn't match. He offered some words of encouragement and then disappeared up the hill in front of me. I let a lot of people get away on the hill and mile 4 must have been slow. I was a little freaked out that I was hurting so bad so early on, so I tried my best to recover and resume a good cadence atop the hill. I knew I had a decent buffer with the 2 fast miles to start. Sometime around the top of the major hill, new CMSer Dan Vassallo came alongside me. He and I chatted briefly and began working on chasing down a few guys just ahead. 

Miles 5 and 6 rolled by pretty uneventfully.  Dan gapped me slightly, but I chased down and passed a GBTC guy and otherwise maintained position. I enjoyed the small rollers and the dirt road was really nicely packed compared to the ice and mud from 2010. Around 6 1/2 I developed a pretty mean side stitch and had to back off a bit to recover. I'm pretty sure I was running mid-high 5:20s through 7 miles but then I had a serious lapse in focus. Dan was gaining ground on me and I was running in no-man's-land. Rather than focus on maintaining form, I started tuning out the race and my pace started slipping. 

I tried to take a cup of water from an aid station but instead I choked, taking no water down, and staggered to keep running. Right around this point a pack finally caught me and I did my best to tuck in with them to protect myself from the wind in mile 8. I hung onto the pack as we approached the brutal last 1.3 miles of the course. There is roughly a 3/4 mile long hill and it turned directly into the oncoming wind gusts. I took shelter behind a tall BAA runner and moved past him as we crested the hill. 

UNH alumni Hoogie had passed me on the hill going for broke. Seeing him pulled me out of my complacency and I started kicking with him. Cresting the hill, I passed a couple more guys and I could see the finish. Rounding into the parking lot, the clock read 54:20 and I knew that 55:00 would be a challenge. I worked the oval parking lot like an indoor track, pushing the straight, relaxing into the final turn and drove the final straight hard, finishing in 55:05 for 29th place. I was pretty sure I had been the fifth CMS man behind Jenkins, Hammett, Tilton and Vassallo. 

Overall I'm pretty well satisfied with my effort, but I also have areas for improvement. I probably should have run more even splits because it felt like I was running backwards a lot of the race. Compared with Boston Prep where I finished faster than I started, this race was a whole other animal. I went out probably under 10:20 for 2 miles and faded to 5:30/mile. Tim had the opposite experience where he was dropping 5:20s late in the race after a more moderate start. A friend asked me how I thought my time at Amherst compared to Boston Prep and I'm pretty sure Boston Prep was a superior effort. ~54:30 at Amherst might have been roughly equivalent. I was also bummed that I lost focus and let go several guys who beat me by only a few seconds. My competitive spirit is slowly waking. Moving forward with more racing I hope to stay competitive all the way through the finish line. 

Ultimately though, I achieved both of my goals. #1 Score for CMS - I scored, snagging the 5th spot but well back from Dan and Kevin who ended up finishing together. Still, this is my first time scoring and I won't take it for granted! CMS has a really solid group from from 6-10 or 11 and any one of those guys can fit into the scoring in the next GP event. #2 Run under PR of 56:18 - I ran 73 seconds faster than 2010. That's a pretty nice stat and anytime I run a PR I have to be excited. Running in the mid-50s is promising for the shorter road stuff and I'm really interested in seeing what I can put together for a 5 Mile. Maybe St. Paddy's in Portsmouth? 

Post race it was a blast talking with so many friends and acquaintances in the running scene. It felt like almost everyone I know was there. The Open team finished 3rd behind the BAA and closely trailing GBTC. I'm confident the team will rise to the challenge for the upcoming GP races. You can sure as hell bet I'll have an eye out for that pack of 3 GBTC guys that went 54:30 three weeks from now at New Bedford! Tim and I cruised home recounting our races, I think each of us are feeling both satisfied and hungry for the next challenge ahead!


As a note to my teammates who had a tough race or are feeling banged up* The most important thing is to train and race healthy. If you have an injury that is manageable, then manage it. Get A.R.T., Chiropractic, Massage... whatever is necessary to manage it and continue running without too much pain. But if the injury is unmanageable and your gut tells you that the solution is rest, or PT, or surgery, then take care of it. This team is strong enough to await your healthy return to racing. Looking forward to the coming GP races with everybody.

Happy and healthy running,