Thursday, November 28, 2013

Feaster 5

Running the annual Feaster Five road race before gorging myself on turkey and sweet potatoes is becoming a bit of a tradition for me on Thanksgiving. I woke up feeling 100% lazy, to the point that I didn't role out of bed in time to even make a real breakfast. I threw on some clothes hoping the weather was favorable while an English muffin toasted. I deliberated wearing racing shoes or trainers for an embarrassingly long time choosing trainers since I had to warm up and cool down almost 4 miles each way if I wanted to run from home.

Eventually out the door and through the woods to Andover center. It was eerily quiet, but once I got to Main Street everything looked as it should. I jogged to the start line with about 10 minutes to spare. A few stretches and that was about it. I didn't feel like striding out or following much of my normal pre-race routine. Tom L was doing his thing up at the announcers booth along with the likes of Bill Rogers, the Hoyts, Joan Benoit Samuelson, and BAA race director Dave McGillivray (among others). I wedged myself in on the side of the start line, careful not to step immediately in front of anybody who may or may not have been very protective of their prized place on the starting line. After a few minutes Samuelson sneaked into the crowd right beside me and we wished each other well. A beautiful rendition of the National Anthem, a moment of silence, and we were off!

I started out steady and must have had a at least a dozen high school runners zig-zagging around me. It wouldn't have distracted me if I didn't have to check my speed a couple times in order not to cross legs with any of them. KIDS THESE DAYS! Right? Anyway they were gone pretty quickly, I set my eyes on Matt Germain who was a solid 5-8 seconds ahead of me and slowly reeled him in up the hill. Missed mile mark #1, which might have been a good thing, because I bet it wouldn't have been motivating!

During mile two I cruised by a couple of guys who were moving steadily but I was in a slightly better gear. Looking ahead I realized there was a lead group of three way ahead containing Sanca, Jenkins and somebody I didn't recognize, then there was a guy about 10 seconds up on me, and then me. 5th place was a pretty motivating spot to be in, so I went about running steady but keeping in mind that I wanted to eventually catch the 4th place dude.

I caught him around 3 miles at 16:27. Up to this point I had been running pretty steadily but not going crazy. I wasn't exactly up for a kicker's race so I cruised on by and into 4th place. Mile 4 read 21:35. One mile to go and it's basically all downhill, so I knew I'd have another low-5, and I did, bringing it home in 4th in 26:43.

I didn't stick around for long, but I sure did run into a lot of people while I was in the finish area. I was feeling a little sick from the race so I wasn't much for conversation (my apologies, world!). It was a good hard run. I was pleasantly surprised for the pace to come easier than expected and the race revealed that it's about time to commit to working on my core strength. My lower back was really rigged up from the fast downhill portions of the race and I know it's because my hips and abs are weaker than normal.

The afternoon was spent hanging with family in Peterborough, NH at my grandma's. There was a local "turkeys' trot" 5k at my former HS and I am always torn about which I want to do. No regrets though! Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Training 11/18 -11/24

Monday: 0 - off. Planned rest day following the big effort on Sunday. Spun around town with Lauren running errands and by time I got home I wanted to run!

Tuesday: 5 easy AM / 5.5 easy PM with Newbould and Phillips Exeter team. Chatted with Hamster at his new place in the Phillips training room after.

Wednesday: 9 / 67 minutes very easy. Still feeling the effects of Sunday. Legs have no pop.

Thursday: 10.8 / 75 minutes easy again. Ran into a speedy Seniors runner tempoing so I ran with her for a few miles before adding on behind Andover HS.

Friday: off. Lengthy meeting after school ate up my time to run. Headed straight to dinner with some friends and too stuffed after to drag myself off the couch. Running at 9 PM on a Friday isn't a great idea anyway, right?

Saturday: 17.1 / 1:54:20. 6:41 pace all in Andover. Started at Ballardvale, ran the High Plain loop then out toward the Feaster start line, up High St out out to Phillips along Wildwood and back home. Progressed from 7:10 down into the 6:20. Felt better as the run went on. Some good hills. Loop here.

Sunday: 9 miles / 65 minutes with college teammate and all around good fella Joe Van Gombos. Nice and easy on trails.

49 miles on 5 days. Probably should have better anticipated the downtime that would be needed after going hard last Sunday. First several days of the week were a drag. Felt really good about the long run this Saturday. Feaster 5 this week!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Training 11/11 - 11/17

Monday: 6 miles / 45 minutes with Matt and Ian in the AM. 5 miles / 39 minutes solo PM. Trails for each run.

Tuesday: 3 miles up, 6 x 1 mile on 1 minute (7:00/pace) recoveries. Averaged 5:37. 1.5 down for 11 total. Felt super smooth. It was a brisk one out there! Nearly froze while coaching at the last track session of the season but warmed up hanging out with the crew at the 99 afterward. Alan treated me to a PBR before I even sat down. Good times!

Wednesday: Easy 84+ minutes / 12 miles. 7:00 pace. After freezing yesterday while coaching I decided to stay active to keep warm and wound up pacing a guy to a 5:30 mile. He PR'd by about 20 seconds which was pretty cool to see and really pumped everybody up for the final session of the program.

Thursday: 0 off. Sudden cold #2 strikes! Not surprising. Up late at a bonfire on Wednesday and got pretty chilled. Bonehead mistake!

Friday: 6 miles / 43 minutes easy cruise along the Feaster 5 course. Feeling quite a bit better. Considered going farther but figured one more restful day was best.

Saturday: 11.7 miles / 75:20 (6:25/mi)  in Keene. Slept 13 hours last night so I was feeling pretty good. Started at the parking lot off Optical Ave and headed up Chapman to Jordan road. Back down into town, northwest toward the hospital and onto the bicycle paths into Robinhood Park. Back again toward and through downtown past the college and onto Optical ave to finish. Great run! I miss running in this area.

Sunday: Myles Standish Marathon relay in Plymouth, MA. My dad and I headed down early and registered for the 2-man relay. Originally he was going to take the first 3 legs (14.5) and I would take the remainder to the finish line, but with him fighting a new cold as well as feeling mostly better myself, we changed plans. He ran the first 9.9 and I took the remaining 16.3. Dad ran awesome, clocking 7:10/mile over a hilly course (leading me to question exactly just how unwell he was). He already had us in 4th position in the relay. I grabbed the baton and started moving pretty well. It took me a couple miles to get warmed up and I had no watch (left it at home) so I was running completely on feel. I caught the top relay team right at the following exchange zone so I had a fresh cross-fitter to deal with over the next mile. He was trying to gap me so I reeled him in over a long but shallow hill and gapped him on following downhill. After that point it was time to lock into cruise control and see how long until the wheels would come off. I'm definitely not well trained for this kind of distance and the last 3 miles into the finish were a struggle, particularly on the hills. Ended up clocking 1:35:30 (5:51/mile) for a team finish of 2:47:05. Victory! After a 2+ hour wait our prize was a gleaming 12 case of ... bud light. Thankful however for the ability to get out there and move well, and for a good time spent with my dad. Next up is the Feaster Five in 11 days. Total: 68.5 on 6 days.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Training 11/4 - 11/10

Monday: 10.8 miles / 74 minutes - Relaxed run at 6:50 pace. Super scary running at 4:30-5:30. Rush hour commuters seem so unaware of their speed and general aggressiveness on narrow roads. I rocked the head-lamp with a vest and flashing LEDs and some people still pulled crazy moves last minute as if they couldn't see me. Last winter I started running later on, like from 6 to 7. I'll probably reinstate that practice until late winter when it gets a little brighter. I have a treadmill and snowshoes as backup options too.

Tuesday: 9.5 miles / 63 minutes. Progression run after work. Felt good. Looks like I won't be seeing trails except for the weekends from now on. It was so dark out there! Almost makes me want to become a morning runner, save for the fact I'd have to wake up at 4:30 AM for that to become a reality.

Wednesday: Off. Parent-teacher conferences straight out until coaching. I would have run straight from practice at 8PM but then I realized I didn't bring my shoes. It wasn't meant to be!

Thursday: 10 miles / 63:40  progression run, with the last 5 at 6:05 pace. Wanted to continue on for another two but had a school tour to attend.

Friday: 10 miles / 70:15 easy on roads in the evening after work. I waited out rush hour and started at 6:15. All went according to plan until my headlamp died. Then footing got a little dicey!!

Saturday: 9.2 miles / 71 minutes very easy on Andover trails. Nice lazy Saturday.

Sunday: 12 miles / 72:12 hard but smooth effort around the hills of Westford. Started with a 6:40 which told me I was in for a good one. By 3 miles I was down to 6:08 on a long climbing mile into the town center. I decided at that point to tempo the next 5 miles, going 5:36 (downhill), 5:45, 5:51, 5:55, 5:41. I ran the next 3 miles right around 6:05 and the last one was 5:49.

Overall: 62 miles on 6 days of steady and well distributed miles. What a difference a week can make! No core sessions. Some yoga, but probably not enough. One semi-workout Sunday afternoon. Really trying to let each run come to me. Back to doing some more specific work next week and looking to have a "real" long run next weekend. Maybe 15 miles.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Training 10/28 - 11/3

Monday: 0 - Super nasty head cold in full swing.

Tuesday: 5 / 36 minutes - just to clear the sinuses

Wednesday: 5 / 33 minutes - ran on the treadmill.

Thursday: 10.2 / 66 minutes progression run on the roads. Felt good to open up a bit and to breathe again. Started at 8:00 pace and got down to about 5:50.

Friday: 0 - straight from work to home to visit family. Could have run, but then I didn't.

Saturday: 9.5 on roads in Andover.

Sunday: 3+ hours on the bike riding around the marathon course in Manchester rooting on friends and teammates alike.

Overall: Amazingly poor week of training but that's just how it goes sometimes. It was pretty fun to cruise around the Manchester course by bicycle and get a really good look at it in the case it gets chosen for a 2nd time as a Grand Prix event. Big congrats to my buddy Tim on his race at the NYC Marathon and all of my friends and teammates out there on the course in Manchester. I'm at the tail end of the cold (writing this on Tuesday). It was never horrible but certainly made training less than fun.