Sunday, December 29, 2013

Training 12/23 - 12/29

Monday 10 miles / 68:10 easy cruising. Feeling run down but glad to be on vacation!

Tuesday: 10.1 miles / 63:10 Still have a cold. Felt good to clear the sinuses but in hindsight it wasn't smart to run. 5:30s the last two miles. Drained after. Christmas party with my mom's side of the family in the evening!

Wednesday: 5.5 miles in 33:20 sneaked it in between festivities. Merry Christmas! Faster run but pretty short. Christmas dinner in Westford and then up to Hanover, NH for skiing tomorrow.

Thursday Off / Skied for 6 hours at Killington with former Dartmouth guy Alex Hall. I knew he could run but had no idea how quickly he skied! It took me a couple runs to remind the legs how to go fast enough to keep up. Super fun day: 36 miles of trails and 34,000' descended. Still sick!

Friday: Off - sick. Hung in with friends and made a fire and watched some old fashioned slides. Sounds really cliche, now that I think about it.

Saturday: Off - sick. Visited home for a the day, exchanged gifts with my dad, thought about running but was talked out of it. Back late to Andover.

Sunday: 12.4 / 1:18:04 with Tim. Steady cruising on roads all over Andover. Progressed from 7:10 down to 5:32 on the last mile. After a few days without running I couldn't resist. Felt good to run and I have some energy, but still pretty congested. Passed on the Sudafed today and was much more more clear-headed.

Summary: 38 miles on 4 days of running and 1 day of skiing which definitely worked the legs. Hopefully relaxing for the last couple days of vacation and some easy runs for the next couple days will work out. Drinking tons of tea and eating well is the current outlook for next week!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Training 12/16 - 12/22

Monday: 3 miles up, 6:55, 6:34, 6:20. Cruise intervals: 6x800m at 2:27 on 400m at 6:45ish/mi recoveries. 23:31 for 5:31/mi average over 4.25 miles. 2.75 mi cool down to make it 10 miles in about 62 minutes. Ran in trainers to protect the feet. Focused on keeping the cadence high (180+) and good arm carriage. It was good to open up a bit. I learned that my body is NOT used to processing lactic acid... got the acid gut early and I wasn't even running very fast!

I'll be racing 3000m this weekend at the BU mini-meet. I'll have to be careful not to get out too aggressively and find myself in the hurt box by 1200m. I seeded myself at 9:05 but who knows... I haven't hit the boards in years! I'll probably try to be through the first k in 3:00 or so since that's the pace I want to lock in for 5k eventually. Bought a pair of the NB5000 spikes in preparation.

Tuesday: 61 minutes / 8.5 mi* on snowshoes. Pretty smooth cruising on the packed snow. Basically felt like endless high knees in quick sand once I was breaking trail out in Baker's Meadow. Hip flexors are pretty fatigued. Easy cruising planned for tomorrow with a bunch of hard strides after.

Wednesday: 66 minutes / 10 miles with Ken Cain around Andover. Ran 4 hard 150m strides at the end to try and open up the legs. Felt good! Hips better, upper hamstrings tight. A couple easy days should have me feeling good for Saturday.

Thursday: Off. Sick. Ohhh well. Rest is key. This is what you deal with when you work around kids.

Friday: Off. Sick/drained/yada yada. Not racing on Saturday. I'll have to get fired up for next week once I kick this thing! I'll try to get out for an easy run after what I anticipate will be 12+ hours of sleep and plenty of tea.

Saturday: 6.5 easy. Ran with my new Garmin 220!  Man this thing is cool! It's super lightweight and measures lots of nifty things like cadence, average stride length, fractional HR zones, plus all the things my old 305 used to do like distance, pace, elevation, average and max HR. Something I want to explore is how I can run 7:30 pace and see my HR in the 160s which is well above my "recovery zone" of 145-155 BPM.

Then on that same run I can run 6:00 pace and see my HR at 170 which is roughly my "tempo zone". So... my normal training paces don't fit well into the zone training theory I've read about. Also interesting to see my max heart rate today happened in the first two minutes of the run, at 7 minute pace (191 bpm) while running up a decent uphill. Cruising sub-6 for the last mile didn't have me any higher than 173 bpm. My zones are here: 145-156 Recovery and Long Run. 172 Tempo. 180-189 Interval.

*Admittedly, this data is probably only interesting for ME but since I use this blog as a training log I'll write whatever I want. Ha! Going long tomorrow or Monday.

Sunday: Pretty hard 10 miles on a rolling course. Good run overall. Last 5k in the 17s.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Training 12/9 - 12/15

Monday: 9.4 miles / 64 minutes easy cruising after work. Hamstrings are a little tight from yesterday, but otherwise felt surprisingly good.

Tuesday: planned off day. Figured it would be smart to chill out and let the body absorb the work from the race on Sunday. Feeling good. Got a ton of grading done!

Wednesday: 16 miles* / 1:50:03 - 6:52 pace. First 75 minutes with Steve Dowsett in Newburyport. We cruised around in Maudslay for ~50 minutes of the run. I added on a loop around downtown Newburyport to make it a long run. Cruising around 6:30s while on the roads. Nice and steady. Felt good! *estimated distance.

Thursday: 9 miles / 59:40 light progression run from 7:00s down to 6:15s. Wanted to go longer but had to rush off to an MVS meeting. Got the coaching 2014 proposal approved!

Friday: 10 miles / 66:10 nice and steady before the school's Christmas concert. We have some talented kids!

Saturday: 10.5 / 65:30 morning progression run with Newbould and Hamel in Exeter, NH. 3 degrees according to Garmin, but I think it was closer to 7 when we started.  We ran pretty easy for 4 and a fraction before picking it up. Significant miles were 5-9. Newbould and I rolled 5:52, 5:31, 5:29, 5:17, 5:17 and a short cooldown to get back to Phillips. Nice and smooth workout before the storm. Data here:

Sunday: 61 minutes on snowshoes at a steady effort. Nothing crazy. In the past I've debated over how to measure snowshoe running within the scope of a training week. Snowshoe running is tough work, especially breaking trail, and it's slow work. I've decided that I'll base snowshoe runs on aerobic effort, assuming for everything but workouts that I'm averaging around a 7:00/mi road run equivalent. So... today I'll count for 8.5*, even though in reality, the distance traveled was probably closer to 5 miles or less.

Total: 63.4 on 6 days with a fine long run and a good workout on Saturday. It has been fun to run with people for a change. Still need to make core more of a priority. Weekly volume likely won't get much higher than this for the winter. I'm healthy and getting fitter and that's what counts!

2013 Year in Review

This year started out great. Coming off my second marathon and a PR of 2:39 at Cape Cod, I had a decent base to start workouts. I hit a bunch of pretty successful tempos and long interval work leading up to my first race of the year at the Boston Prep 16 miler. After a pretty awesome duel I made a pass around 10 miles and came home for the win, averaging 5:40 pace and taking home a jug of maple syrup which I still haven't even cracked into.

I went on to race hard in February but was well under-dressed for the weather (I froze) and raced below expectations at the Jones 10 Miler, clocking 54:28 for second man on the squad. I was happy to score for the team but I felt like I had much more to do moving forward. February passed into March and I got a little lazy / distracted and had a really tough run at New Bedford Half. I got run down by tons of people and my last 5k was around 6-minute pace. Despite that I wound up running another PR in 1:12:50-something for the first HM I had truly raced. It was a tough day from the beginning

I rebounded later that month to have some great workouts. At one point I even Time Trialed a 5 miler in 25:48 and couldn't believe it! I raced the April Fool's 4 mile in late March and clocked 20:12 for second behind fast-closing Patrick Rich.

In mid-April I finally found a 5 mile race but had about 5 days off leading up to the race due to some lingering calf pain and decided to go for it anyway. Ran away from the race after mile 1 and clocked a 26:15. I just had fun with the race and even briefly chatted with a friend whom I hadn't seen in a while during the penultimate mile.

May arrived and a close friend passed away tragically. This event was sort of the "straw that broke the camel's back". I was totally defeated, despite lots of support all around me. I didn't care much about running and every time I tried to run I would get sick to my stomach. I had never had to deal with tragedy striking so close to home. I was also disillusioned by what happened at the Boston Marathon and the stress of being a 1st year teacher on top of everything left my tank on empty, mentally and physically. The ensuing months of June and July were positive in other ways though. I wrapped up my first successful year of school and I took a bunch of kids on a 10 day cannoning adventure in the Adirondacks. I spent my time in the wilderness contemplating the school year that had passed and developed a new sense of thankfulness for all that I have.

Getting back into the groove in August I ran a long relay race out in Vermont with a bunch of friends. It was my first major effort back to training and I was happy to average 5:4x's for 17+ miles over three legs. Then, my training was again sidelined, but this time for a medical reason. The evening following a long hard run and a full day of work I started having persistent heart palpitations and within 24 hours I found myself in an ER trying to get to the bottom of it.

I ended up having about a month's worth of testing done, mostly due to some misguided concerns on part of the doctors I met with originally. They actually gave me the impression I was putting myself at serious risk by running... So I made the obvious decision to do absolutely nothing other than rest. Of course, after all of the testing, a cardiologist with a background specific to endurance athletes realized that "oh, wait a minute, Scott, you're completely healthy!" I was flabbergasted. I was actually kind of pissed off. I had been so convinced something was truly wrong with me that I didn't believe him at first. It took me a while to want to run but eventually the desire returned.

That leads into September and October when I was given the green light to begin running again. I started back really slowly because the original cause of the palpitations was never totally clear. I've had no issues ever since. I gave up coffee, which was probably the route cause of the initial episode. I guess there's my silver lining. That, and I've had so much testing I know I'm healthy.

So, here I am in December having run at few low-key races. I ran a 16.3 mile leg of the Myles Standish Marathon Relay with my dad and we won! We actually beat out even the 5-man teams. I ran 5:51 pace for that leg and I knew I was back in it. I ran the Feaster 5 road race on Thanksgiving just to move the legs and cruised at 5:22 pace in trainers. I followed that up with the Mill Cities Relay where I cranked 5:07 pace for a 4.72 mi leg which is a level of speed I haven't seen in quite a while.

All in all, it was a strange year, both mentally and physically. Sometimes I feel like some of the issues could have been handled better or maybe completely avoided. But, for the most part, I feel like each event was a learning experience to be embraced.  I see this year as a stepping stone and also a year that will not soon be forgotten. All I know is as we enter 2014, I am happy, healthy, with loved ones all around me, and I absolutely cannot wait for today's run. It'll be on a treadmill most likely, surrounded by gym rats, and I'll be pressed for time to get dinner before heading to my school's Christmas Concert. And I'm good with that. I'm excited to spend more time with runners of all kinds, teammates and local roadies alike. I'm picking up a pair of Dion snowshoes in preparation for some of the NH and WMAC races this winter. I'll be coming back to Boston Prep a year wiser and probably fitter than last year. If I can learn anything from the past couple years, I probably won't make it to every Grand Prix race, but for the races I am at, I will be in the moment and we'll see how the cards fall!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Training 12/2 - 12/8 / Mill Cities Relay

Monday: 17 miles / 1:49:54. After dropping a package in the mail with destination: Novosibirsk, Russia I headed out around 5:10 PM. I thought about starting later, but decided against it since the long run would have me out there for a couple hours and it was already getting late. Too bad rush hour in December is just about the worst time to go running. Soo, of course my head lamp appeared to have broken in the first 2 minutes of the run. It wouldn't stay turned on. I ended up wrapping the headband around my wrist and using the lamp as a flashlight for particularly sketchy areas. Around 8 miles I was so annoyed I came close to calling it quits and heading straight home for roughly 11. But, I stopped and fiddled with lamp for a minute. Eureka! The light stayed on so I threw it on my head where it belonged and cruised the last 9 miles with at least the comfort of knowing that oncoming cars could probably see me. Also had LED reflective vest and ankle straps on, but was still very cautious about any cars getting too close or appearing distracted. Glad I got it in. Felt strong from the beginning. A couple 6:00s to finish up. Data here:

Tuesday: 8.5 miles / 55:50. Managed to get onto the trails before the second-earliest sunset in New England. Cruised along, felt good.

Wednesday: 3 miles / 20:30. Whoa. Major energy crash led to stopping by a local store and calling home for a ride. Within a couple hours it evolved straight into fever symptoms.

Thursday: 0 - necessary day off! Feeling much better though.

Friday: 10 miles / 64:10 on Andover roads in the evening. Kind of pushed it in the hills at the beginning and relaxed for the last 4-5 miles. 6:24 average

Saturday: 8.5 / 54:40, 6:30ish/mi. The first 6 easy on roads and the last few on the trails. 3 x 150m strides after. Ready for Mill Cities? We'll see.

Sunday: Mill Cities Relay. 19 minutes up, 4.72 mi leg, various random cooldown jogs. I was tired waking up around 5:30 for this classic relay race, but fairly alert and excited by the time we all connected and rolled into Nashua for the start of the race. This being my second year at the event, I was less nervous because I understood the logistics of how everything plays out and I was able to focus on my having a good leg. Last year, coming off of the Cape Cod Marathon, I ran 25:05 (5:18/mi) and I knew I should be faster this year, just by virtue of being more fresh. Leg 2 is fairly flat with a couple decent hills after mile marker 3 but also with generous downhill to follow. I wasn't scared of going out fast and I knew I wanted to see about 10:20 through 2 miles if I was feeling good.

Pat Ard, coming back strong after surgery on his patella tendon, took out leg 1 and we exchanged somewhere around 15th place. Pat ran great for his fitness level, but a lot of people were ahead of us! I was so amped up to get going and worried about the teams ahead I had to remind myself to slow down over the first 800m. I reached the mile in 5:05, mile 2 in 10:12 (5:07) and still intact. I guess I realized by that point it was going to be a good one so I put my head down and went to work catching as many people as possible. I ended up catching every team except for one. Mile 3 was 15:25 (5:13), mile 4 was 20:45 (5:20) with the hill, and I scorched the last .72 in 3:20ish which is mostly downhill for a time of 24:05 and average pace of 5:07/mi.

Super pleased with this run! I feel like I'm on the cusp of some really strong racing and I think I am beginning to recognize that I don't have to run huge volume to have success. Those long and steady efforts on the weekends seem to be the key.

The team won a narrow victory and it will be great to deliver a brick with 1st place for the Men's Open to Dave at Whirlaway. Thanks to Ruben and Nick for running hard the day after racing 3k and 1m at BU (crushing there, btw) and to Jose and Pat for racing while coming back from injury. Also, nice work to the Whirlaway Co-ed and Whirlaway Masters teams with places in the top 3. Great day overall!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Training 11/25 - 12/1

Monday: 7.2 with Matt Germain after hanging out at the Feaster Expo. Felt good!

Tuesday: 0 unplanned day off. Leaving the Feaster Expo around 6:30 I planned to run. But then it was freezing rain and I saw two accidents while driving 4 miles home and decided to hang in. Excuses, excuses, I could have easily run at the gym.

Wednesday: 8 easy in the evening. Felt oddly achy and tight. Probably caused by the day off!

Thursday: 13 total, ~4 up, 5M hard (26:43), ~4 down. Good run! Report in another post.

Friday: 9 miles easy / 64 minutes. Felt good except for very tight and sore lower back. Not the first time this has happened and it usually clears up in a couple days. Need to be better about core.

Saturday: 5 easy before Thanksgiving II at Lauren's parents. Would have gone longer but my lower back is feeling really rocked from Thursday's effort.  Lauren worked 12+ hrs on Thursday so I got Thanksgiving dinner, complete with food coma all over again.

Sunday: 0 unplanned day off. Slept in and had family over and although I truly wanted to romp something like 15-17 miles, the icy and rainy conditions dissuaded me. Long tomorrow!!

Total: 41 miles on 5 days. Weak training overall, but my body probably needed a little downtime as it adjusts to 50s and 60s. Pretty happy with the run on Thursday. Time to hit the training for the next 6 weeks... got the green light to pick up some new snowshoes (mine are 13 years old and falling apart). I think my training will be more conducive to snowshoe racing this winter. We'll see how it all goes!