Monday, January 30, 2012

Week 5: 1/30 - 2/5

Monday: 12.2 / 78 minutes. 6:22 average. Met up with fellow Andover resident Nate Jenkins for a steady morning run over a rolling course. It was cool to talk marathon training and welcome Nate to the team in person. Legs and lungs felt excellent. Excited for the week ahead!
Tuesday: 12.3 miles / 83 minutes solo fartlek workout in the Phillips Andover Sanctuary. 3 miles up (gaining 200 ft... who knew I lived in a valley?)1x4', 2x3', 3x2', 4x1' on equal rest. Anyone who runs this 1.55m loop knows how challenging it is to keep up a fast pace. The downhills and turns are just tight enough to make opening up the stride challenging, and then right when you hit the bottom of a hill there is another one staring you in the face. Anyway, I averaged 6:20 pace for 6.2m, gaining and losing 350ft throughout the workout portion. Paces were all over the place due to the hills so I just made sure to challenge myself aerobically, with on-efforts around 5:15-5:30 I'd guess. 3+ down for 12.3 on the day.
Wednesday: 8.5 miles / 65 minutes solo super easy running on a version of the Bakers Meadow loop. My legs were totally trashed from Tuesday's workout so I took it nice and easy this morning. Medicine ball, pull ups, push ups, crunches.
Thursday: 15 miles / 1:43 on Bay Road with partner-in-crime Sam Wood. Ran steady the whole way. Felt pretty good out there this morning!
Friday: 9 miles / 68 with Matt Germain on Andover trails and roads. Felt strong and relaxed once I woke up! Considered adding on, but that wouldn't be a recovery run, now would it?
Saturday am: 8.5? / 61 minutesAwake at 6:30am I realized I had a chance to meet up for Dan Verrington's 7am run out in Bradford. I literally jumped out of bed and into my running clothes and was driving by 6:35. Dan showed me a nice flat to rolling run around a golf course. My entire body felt off probably due to lack of caffeine, 5 hours sleep, no breakfast, etc, but it was still a good run and I was feeling snappy by the end. Great start to a long work day.
Saturday pm: 3 easy to loosen up my calf. It got tight at work probably because I did literally no stretching or pt on it this morning and was stuck in dress shoes all day. Feeling much better now.
Sunday: 13.5 total. 8 mile hill fartlek with Newbould in Nottingham before the Superbowl. Yikes, the hills in Nottingham are tough! 6:03 for 8 mikes of fartlek... Felt the acid stomach early but kept fighting on. Steep grades challenge me more than most tasks, so it's good to work at them. Needless to say it was a good tough run... climbed 850 feet over 8 miles, finishing off with a 5:02 mile plus a few extra minutes hard.

Total: 82 miles

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Week 4: 1/23 - 1/29

Monday: 9.1 / 75 minutes on snowy trails. Chose trails because I knew I needed to run really slowly and figured the technical aspect of slick trails would keep me entertained. I threw on the iPod as well, which was good, until after about 3 miles I ran into the largest pitbull I've ever seen literally dragging it's owner through the snow. It was lunging, snarling, barking and going totally nuts. The tunes dulled my senses and I  was lucky not to end up with a nasty bite. I don't know why anyone would own a dog like that. It was so strong I stopped and had to ask the owner if he was okay (while he was still on the ground hanging onto the leash). He just grunted and nodded, while the dog looked at me like I was dinner, so I plodded on. I got bit last week by a smaller german sheppard which tore my tights but didn't break the skin. Sick of seeing dogs off leashes and dogs that lunge for my achilles as I run by. I digress... The run was ho-hum compared to yesterday, for obvious reasons. Legs felt better by the end. 
Tuesday am: 8 miles / 58 minutes - Another recovery day in Andover, this time with the company of Chris Mahoney. Ran into new CMS member Nate Jenkins out on Rattlesnake Road. Like Chris said, Andover has become a pretty serious CMS training ground with Jenkins, Verrington, Quintal, the other Jenkins, Mahoney and me. Now if we could get regular workouts going...!
Tuesday pm: 7 miles/ 49 minutes - Last recovery run post Boston prep. Thankful to be mostly beyond the soreness and slowness that proceeds major efforts. Solo running on roads around Andover from the house. 
Wednesday noon: 10.5 / 67 minutes in Durham, with the company of new CMS teammate Tim Mallard. Effort was 4 miles up, 2x3', 3x2', 3x1' with equal rest over a rolling course. Still felt a little drained from Sunday's effort but still hit some solid miles in 5-8. 6:02, 6:08, 613, 6:03. Legs feel good.
Thursday: 9 / 65 minutes in Andover. Prepared to run and caught Dan Verrington on his regular run as he passed by my apartment. I shouted out the window to catch him and joined him for a nice loop around Baker's Meadow pond (my regular out and back on trails, for those not in the know). Added on a 10 minute loop after returning home to guarantee 9. Felt a heck of a lot better today. Just about beyond Sunday's effort, and happy to see yesterday didn't bring me to the well.
Friday am: 8 miles / 54 minutes - Ran with Matt Germain from the apartment. Hit the Rattlesnake road loop just like Tuesday morning. Felt a heck of a lot quicker today, but the rain saturated my gear and threw off my mechanics. Calf is tight in the same old place. Ran in waveriders that have 600+ miles on them, which might not be smart! Double later.
Friday pm: 6 miles / 43 minutes - Solo in Andover before work. Felt really good out there today (compared with this morning).
Saturday: 14 miles / 97 minutes with former teammate, former roommate, 3:50 1500m runner and all-around great guy Marc Ouellette out in Maudslay State Park. Felt really good, no calf tightness to speak of. Finished off with a 6:05 on the roads and barely got to work on time. Pleasantly surprised nothing is lingering with 90+ miles on the last 7 days. Tomorrow will be an easy double.
Sunday noon: 9.5 miles / 67 minutes solo on a combo of roads and trails in Andover. Legs were feeling really good but holding them back for tomorrow
Sunday pm: 3 miles

Total: 84.1

Best week I've had in a while. It was easy to get out the door fresh off a PR and all the enthusiasm surrounding upcoming races like the Jones 10 Miler and New Bedford Half. As I adjust to the higher mileage I'll be taking lots of runs considerably slower than I'm used to. This coming week's focus is to have 2 light-medium difficulty workouts, a good long run mid week and an emphasis on recovery runs.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Boston Prep 16 Miler

Truth-be-told, I had no idea I would be running the Boston Prep 16 miler until Friday evening. A friend called me up and asked if I had interest in running. A client of her's had developed an injury and was looking to transfer her number to somebody that wanted it. Did I want it? I wasn't sure. I called a few friends to see if anyone else was interested in snagging the number and everybody was either busy or 'in-no-way-whatsoever' going to be convinced that running 16 HILLY miles could be a fun way to start their Patriots Sunday. So, I would bite the bullet and test my luck in Derry.

Arriving in Derry Sunday morning I had a vague sense of what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to see who was in the field and to be flexible in a race strategy that would at least earn me some age-group 'schwag'. Having poured over past results, there is nearly always somebody really quick who shows up and just dominates this race. It seemed reasonable that 6 minute pace would most likely get me in the top 6 or 8 and that sounded like a good solid run for where I am at in my training. As we lined up and listened to both Canadian and American National Anthems, I didn't spot any Moultons, Fyffes, Ferenc's or the likes. The gun sounded and I took a conservative approach to the first hill. Ahead of me was a pack of 2 guys who looked pretty comfortable moving fast.

By mile 1 I came even with them and chatted with them about their goals for the race. While we talked, somehow a 5:42 mile clicked away and it dawned on me that I was feeling really strong. As we approached the first water stop around 2.5, I decided to forgo the water and focus on keeping up the solid rythym we had found. Mile 3 ticked away in a startling 5:30 and suddenly I felt separation from the guys who slowed up for water... In business, we call this the opportunity moment. In racing, it's the point in the race that decides whether the runner wants to give themselves a chance to do something remarkable. Sometimes we seize the moment as I did around mile 9 at CCM a few months ago and fail. Reflecting on CCM, I realized that my failure there was a lack of preparation, but I was really proud of taking myself right to the wall and to experience a pain that is rarely equaled. At Derry, although I was honestly a bit scared, I decided it was time to again test my physical limits and see how far I could make it.

The miles went by pretty slowly as I was supremely aware that I was only slowly breaking away from the chase group. Mile 5 provided really sloppy footing and I found the only good footing was created by the pace vehicle's tire tracks in the slush. By mile 7 I was feeling a pretty good hurt, but also knew that I hadn't stepped over the line into anaerobic running. I knew the major hill(s) were coming and I took the Rocktane Gu I had stored away, 'just in case'. As I approached what appeared to be the first major hill, I contemplated something my dad and I talked about before the race. We agreed that it made no sense to really hammer up several miles of hills only to be wasted by the effort. We decided it was smartest to stay in the same aerobic zone, shorten the stride, and get over the hills as efficiently as possible. I think I was pretty successful in doing that, and as I crested the top around 12.4, I quickly resumed the mid 5:30s I had been rolling out.

The last 3 miles HURT though. I felt light headed a few times and it was all I could do but to focus on counting down the minutes. Then I felt a big surge of adrenaline as I passed 13.1 in a new PR 1:15:3x, but my focus was primarily on letting the pace vehicle tow me along. Each time a hill presented itself in the distance, I was mentally willing the pace car to turn in the downhill direction of it. Some volunteers offered me a Gu at some point but they didn't hold one out, they just offered the box, and I was moving fast so I missed the Gu and actually spilled the whole box right of their hands.

At this point it was all-or-nothing. I could feel my calves starting to cramp on the insides. I was dehydrated, but I had fewer than 10 minutes to run. I saw the final mile marker and I knew I already knew I had done something I was proud of. I powered up the last short incline to the finish and let out a rare fist pump because I was so excited and also relieved that my gamble had paid off. The last mile dropped a ton of elevation too, helping to drop my average pace to a crisp 5:42 for the whole run.

Of the race, I have to say it was remarkably well organized and despite slippery downhill turns, the course was really clean and made for great racing. The hills lived up to their hype and I was only happy my race strategy played out in my favor. It was great having 5, 10 and 13.1 mile splits even though I missed all of the mats, so my chip didn't get recorded (just shows you how focused I was on following that pace car!). In general I am feeling super motivated by the PR. Most importantly, my philosophy of taking risks in racing has been reinforced and I am excited for the challenges ahead...

Happy and healthy running everybody.

13.1 - 1:15:35

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Week 3: 1/16 - 1/22

Monday: 8 miles solo on the Shawsheen river trails. Crunches, medicine ball drills, pull ups, push ups.
Tuesday: 10.5 with 2x9 minutes at threshold pace on a rolling, snowy course. Slipped around a bit out there and my calf/achilles is a tad sore.
Wednesday: 11.5++ / 85 minutes with Chris Mahoney primarily on trails with a few miles on the roads. Pace was conversational, last few a bit quicker. Definitely a nice run!
Thursday: 11.1 / 73 minutes with Brandon Newbould in Exeter. The first mile or so was super icey and took roughly 9 minutes... warmed up 5.2 or so miles and then went 3' on, 2x2' on, 3x1' on with equal rest. Mile splits were 8:36, 6:58, 6:40, 6:22, 6:20, 5:48, 5:49, 6:05, 6:05, 6:32, 6:49, xx. Felt pretty good out there today.
Friday: 8.1 / 55:40 starting to get the hang of this morning running thing. I used to absolutely despise running in the morning and could rarely get more than a hobbled crawl out of myself. Today I met up with Matt Germain for a nice snowy run in Andover. We started out with an 8 minute mile but quickly fell into the 6:40s and kept it there for the run. Calf is good, left hip tight. Rolled out and stretched after. Considering a slow double around 1pm.
Saturday: 8 miles on snowy trails and roads. Had to reign back a little bit in light a small surprise on the schedule. I got a free number (normally $45!) for Boston Prep tomorrow and although I'm not "racing", I plan to put in a good hard effort over the last 6 miles of the course. Hopefully see some familiar faces there tomorrow morning!
Sunday: 18.5 miles with 16 being the Boston Prep 16 miler held in Derry, NH. Report to follow... 

Total: 76.5 miles with one light workout, one slightly heavier, and a really solid race to cap off the week. This coming week's focus will be recovery with perhaps a light workout on Wednesday and maybe something harder over the weekend if all systems are go. Count-down to Amherst and the 2012 Grand Prix Series has begun!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Week 2: 1/9 - 1/15

Monday: 10.1 / 64 minutes. Probably went a bit too quickly today. First 2 miles were 7:30 pace and then suddenly I'm running 6:20s... closed the last 3 at 17:30. Felt really good today and happy to get the miles in once I woke up.
Tuesday: 10 / 62:40. Ran with Tim starting in Pelham, visiting Windham and returning. The run was fairly hilly with a nice flatter section in the latter half. The pace started modestly but quickly dipped into the 6:30s and then below. No GPS, but my guess is we had some pretty quick miles coming back into Pelham. 6:19 average. Feeling stronger recently.
Wednesday: 8 / 56:30 solo mostly up and around Holt Hill. Had a great view of Boston from the top. The goal was to run trails so technical I'd have to run slower than my hammer fests of late... it worked. Rolled out and tried some new drills with the medicine ball.
Thursday: 7 easy just before work, NT. Called off the workout but happy to get in some miles on this nasty day.
Friday: 9 / 60:00 easy with Matt Germain around Andover in the morning. Lamenting the missed workout yesterday but I have a nice weekend off from work to do something.
Saturday: 10 easy 70:00 calf oddly tight today after the drive to CT to visit Nana.
Sunday: 13 steady 79:43 steady solo on Ridgefield Roads, aka one of the hillier areas I've ever run.

Total: 67 miles feeling pretty strong but missing the threshold work. Intending to make threshold-paced runs a priority, hopefully fitting in 2 efforts this coming week.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Week 1: 2012

Monday: 85 minutes with Dad and Alex. Ran the first 58 minutes up the hill to Stone Pond and back and then Alex and I headed out for a speedy 4.5 before it got dark. Good run! 10.5 total.
Tuesday: 20 minutes up, 27 minute tempo in the Phillips Andover Sanctuary with Alex and Tim. Alex ventured out on his own, running about 15 seconds per mile faster than Tim and I (according to Garmin). Estimated pace was 5:45 for me. Tim and I worked well together, taking turns leading up the hills, climbing 310' total. 14 minutes down. 9.5 total.
Wednesday: 63 minutes on some trails and roads in Andover with Alex. Moving quickly this morning, closed the last 4 at 6:00. 10 miles. A little faster than I expected to go after a pretty hard effort yesterday!
Thursday: Met up with Sam this morning for a visit to Bay Road in Durham. Man I love this run! The scenery is great and the terrain is rolling with a few good hills; we headed out via Mill and Packers Falls, and hit Bay Road in downtown New Market. I was pretty dehydrated following the run but feel good this evening after a 7 hour shift at work.15 miles / 1:45
Friday: 8 mile just taking in the nice weather along the Andover river trails.
Saturday: 0 off, no great reason other than poor sleep Friday night and not wanting to drag myself out for the 5k in Tewksbury. My focus right now is to build a strong base of miles, but clearly a 5k at any level of effort would have beat a 0. I worked 9 hours and opted for a hot tub and seeing friends rather than slogging out a run at night. This is exactly the type of training inconsistency I'm trying to avoid... but, at least I'm well rested!
Sunday: Met up with Brandon at his place in Nottingham, NH for a nice rolling 11.2 miler. The pace as conversational and it was cool to catch up. Felt amazing after an easy day and a day off. Had a great time after hanging with Lauren and Meredith, enjoying some nice bowls of chili and a couple home brews. 6:24/mile average.

Total: 64 miles. Finally hitting 60's which is, at minimum, where I need to be. Stride is feeling smoother. Need to start getting in some solid doubles and continue with the tempo efforts.