Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sunday - Tuesday, 12/21-23

Sunday

15 mi / 6:29 pace in Westford.

Monday

10 mi* / 74 minutes on technical trails in Andover and North Andover.

Tuesday

10 mi / 63 minutes on the treadmill. Last few around 540 pace. 9 mins planks, pushups, lunges, squats, and ab variations.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saturday, 12/20 BU Mini Meet #1

3++ miles up with Jose Ortiz and Ben Pare indoors around the track. While jogging I saw Pat Rich, Chris Mahoney, and a few other guys who I expected to see during the race. Jose, Ben and I all entered the 3000m with a seed time of 9:05 basically guaranteeing that we'd have the opportunity to work together during the race if practical.

I was more nervous to race today than usual. I hadn't run an indoor track race since 2008 and any time I had raced at BU it was high pressure and the competition was intense, usually at meets like Valentine's Invite or the Terrier Classic. I was eager to get started and I felt kind of awkward and lethargic each time I went to do a stride or practice some drills which I haven't done enough of in practice. The old routine is returning, but it's not familiar yet.

Eventually the organizers came out and gave us our heats. I was in the second heat where seed times ranged from 8:55 to 9:25. There were at least 21 people in the heat and I was #10 so I figured at least 9 runners would be mixing it up early on, and probably more. The gun fired and finally we were off. I let the runners go off the line so I could safely fall in toe and wait for the madness as the runners 12-21 fell in after the first turn. Thankfully they weren't vying for lane 1 and I had a clean start in about 4th-6th place through the first lap. We were a tad slower than I would have expected, even through 400 which tends to be a second or two quick. By the kilometer which read 3:01, I felt the pace lagging ever so slightly and Ben, whose shoulder I had been riding, and I moved together into the lead positions.

 I had spent the first kilometer in lane 2 and I felt like putting some work in so I went to the lead and clicked off a bunch of 35s, bringing us through the mile in 4:46-7. At 2000m in 5:55-6, Ben resumed the lead and I didn't fight him for it. I tried to stay connected with him which got me to about 2400m before he put his head down and charged away for the eventual win. Losing contact with Ben, I tried to stay composed and push for home but there wasn't a lot there. I haven't done any work below race pace and now I was trying to run laps faster than I have in practice while fatigued, and it just wasn't going to happen. The 67-68s 400m speed-strength combo isn't there right now. With about 300 to go I got passed by Craig McMahon who clearly had that extra gear! I finished 3rd in 8:56, so about 3:00 for the final kilometer. Ben ran about 8:46-7 and Jose ran about 9:05. CMS guys Pat Rich ran 8:52-3 in the fast heat and Chris Mahoney finished just behind Jose in a close kick. Some of the masters guys had entertaining battles and I was pumped for Dave Dunham who ducked in well under 10:00. After the 3k heats I ran 5 miles steady around Fenway and back up Comm Ave to make it a solid 10.5+ on the day.

I'm glad to have race #1 out of the way. Every race after this will be a little more familiar and hopefully less stressful. Whirlaway has a team entering the 4xMile next weekend which should be really fun. I love team relays and especially ones on the track.

Friday, 12/19

Easy 6 miles including strides after work. 16 day stay-cation and enjoying the holidays begins now! BU Mini Meet #1 tomorrow

Friday, December 19, 2014

Thursday, 12/18

8.5 mi / 6:40 pace - with Matt Germain around 8pm. It was nice to have the company out there. Energy was very good.

Beforehand I did 90 push ups, 100 ab variations, and 30 chin-ups.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Wednesday, 12/17

15.4 miles / 6:44 avg - 4 miles of daylight before darkness descended. I underestimated the length of this run; but it's all good. I need to remember to work on core.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday, 12/16

12 mi / 86 minutes - Easy and solo along the dark and misty side streets of Andover. I really need to find my headlamp!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday 12/15

13 mi / 86 minutes - Met up with Jose Ortiz and Ben Pare for a nice cruise around Andover after rush hour. Discussion gravitated toward the 2015 USATF-NE Grand Prix race series. To me the most controversial event is the Vermont City Marathon which runs on Memorial Day because so many New Englanders already planned to race Boston a month earlier. However, I have a personal score to settle at Vermont since I DNFed last year and I'm itching to get back and see what those final miles look like in 2015. I'll enjoy the added competitive team race environment the race will have this year.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Friday - Sunday 12/12-14

Friday:

Off - super hectic day at work followed by a Christmas concert. Annoyed to miss a day.

Saturday:

12 miles / 1:35 - 7 miles or so on trails and the rest roads. Nice and steady.

Sunday:

13.5 mi / 1:35 - Started in Danvers and headed north with Pat Rich and Nate Hausmen. Nice and early 6am start so I was pretty happy to see 7min pace for the average. Beautiful morning!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thursday

Recovery run - 6 mi / 46 minutes - slowest run in a while! Absorb the work! Snow started sticking right around the time I got out there and it was cool to watch the landscape's appearance transform in a matter of minutes.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tuesday Steady, Wednesday Workout 12/9-10

Tuesday:

10 mi / 64:20 - With the lovely weather we're having I hit the treadmill at Planet Fitness in Andover. It's annoying to me that the treadmills lock down at 60 minutes there. First of all, I specifically asked if they stopped at 60 minutes and was guaranteed they didn't. Fool me once...

But, the treadmill doesn't kick you off; it has a mandatory cooldown which is predetermined to be about 12 minute/mile pace. Stupid. If the programming was intelligent (i.e. based on a percentage of the pace of your workout) I guess I wouldn't mind a nudge to slow down and ease out of a run... but it forces you to practically walk. If you adjust it to increase the speed a bit, it almost immediately resumes the unnaturally slow pace without warning. So Instead I hit the emergency 'stop' button, wait 10 seconds, and start up running at regular speed again. Fooled you, PF!

Stretched, 2 sets of (30 sit ups, 30 push-ups, 3" planks) and I was out of there. Later that evening I celebrated Gordon College's growth as a program with Pat Rich and his squad. It was a good time and I was grateful to take home a big plate of BBQ as leftovers.

Wednesday: 

Workout! With the mini-meet no longer scheduled for the 13th I changed up the plan to more of a strength workout; longer intervals, shorter rest. 3 miles up in 19:50. I targeted 6-8x800 on 400m recovery. This too was on a treadmill at PF and I rolled .5 mi on at 5:00/mi and .25 at 6:31/mi recovery for 7 repetitions. This got me to exactly 5 mi in 27:14 and I called it quits there. Good workout. Very similar to the stuff I was doing last winter. There is something enabling about the treadmill as all of the variables are isolated and static unless you want to change them. I focused on form the whole time and felt controlled. During the last interval I thought the afternoon coffee I enjoyed might be coming back which added to the cause of 7 intervals instead of 8. I'm sure the ladies immediately to my left appreciated my decision there...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Monday, 12/8

10.1 / 68:50 - Well, it's a new week and I felt pretty good out there tonight... Not much to say other than I wish I could find my headlamp! Running during rush hour is the pits with a light and without it.. let's say I was able to stay away from cars but it was pretty treacherous jumping into the mysterious black abyss of the roadside every few minutes.

The plan for the week is to run easily tomorrow, ladder workout Wednesday: 2k at tempo followed by 200-300-400-600-600-400-300-200 on equal rest for 3k of work, then a couple easier days before racing 3000m and maybe the mile on Saturday and wrapping up with ~15 miles on Sunday. I should probably dust off the spikes on Wednesday.,, literally.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thursday - Sunday 12/4-12/7 and Mill Cities Relay

Thursday:

5++ miles / 40ish minutes with a GPS malfunction it's hard to know, but anyway I took it easy today as the increased workout is catching up with me a bit. After the run my R knee and R hip were oddly achy. I stretched, rolled out, and did some strengthening stuff which didn't aggravate the area.

Friday:

Planned day off - absorb all of the good work and rest the IT-band area!

Saturday:

10 miles / 65:10 first 5 around 7:00 pace last 5 around 6:00-6:10. High energy run despite cold symptoms. IT-band area better, I'd give it 90%.

Sunday: Mill Cities Relay

With the wind howling and the rain that fell on Andover last night I awoke imagining nightmarish ice covering the roads of the local mill towns. Fortunately though, that wasn't the case at all and the day proved a good one for (nearly) winter racing.

I had leg 1 for the first time and our team of 20-something-year-old Whirlaway guys convened at the Claddagh in Lawrence for a 6:30 departure. Once we arrived in Nashua at the race start I got right into prep mode and was glad to have Pat Ard representing the 30-39 year old division to warm up with. Pretty soon it was go-time and we lined up for 5.4 mi of fun...

Jim Pawlicki, an out-of-shape Ryan Gough, and dozens of familiar faces took off on the gradual downhill start. I was immediately gapped by a young guy repping a Pelham HS singlet. He looked strong and I figured I'd be seeing a lot of him for the remaining miles. I was right. And there was an even bigger, stronger looking guy fully geared up and taking charge after about 1/2 mi in. He would gap us and then grow his lead to something like 60 seconds or maybe even more. It was pretty impressive. The Pelham kid and I traded leads a few times but he was definitely a front runner and eventually I relinquished my claim to the lead and ran immediately in tow to our exchange at the vocational school off 3a. I had run 28:35 for 5.4 mi / 5:17 per mile. The hot pace in the beginning (5:01 at the mile) definitely had me reeling and I think had I been a tad more conservative I might have had a bit more for the gradual downhill portions in miles 4 and 5, where I really stunk it up.

WRT Open team was second to the studs from Tufts who lead almost every step from the very beginning. Valiant effort by Jose running 5:22 pace for the longest leg (9.5ish) on the day and Steve Dowsett closed it out for us with a couple of teams in hot pursuit.  It was fun to catch up with so many people and get a good hard effort in the books.

Overall this was a step forward. I have 6 days until I get my butt kicked at BU mini-meet #1. One workout before now and then would probably be smart! I'll try to do something with efforts below 5:00 pace. Meanwhile I'll have to monitor my IT as it's not worse following the relay but it's not 100% cleared up yet. Still operating at 90%. Priority #1: I want to race healthy on Saturday and have a solid long run on Sunday.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Wednesday, 12/3

10 mi / 67:10 comfortable pace on the treadmill, started around 7:00 pace and progressed down to about 6:30. 9 minutes of planks, 90 push ups, 90 ab variations alternating with no rest which became really difficult toward the end!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday, 12/2

Met up with Jose and Ben Pare for a small workout. As we left from Jose's place it immediately began snow/sleeting. By the time we finished our 3 mi warm-up to the track it was covered snow-covered and by the time we got rolling the footing was fine for normal paces but slick for what we planned to do. After a few strides it was go time.

We ran 8 x 400m in 72, 71, 70, 72, 71, 73, 73, 72 on 200m jogging recovery in about 70s. The conditions got considerably worse as the workout played out but we kept a consistent effort and it was definitely nice to have the three of us to trade laps.

Easy 3.35 cooldown for ~9.5 miles on the day. Glad to have the company. Excited for Mill Cities this weekend!



Monday, 12/1

6 miles / 44 minutes - nice and easy recovery jog from the apartment. Felt much better finishing up than when I started. Short core session after; 40 chin-ups, 90 push-ups, 3 minutes of planks, 10 lunges, 2 minutes of ab variations...

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Long Run, 11/30

16.5 / 1:42:10 - Jose and I linked up and got running by around 9:15 for a big loop around Andover. I've been feeling curiously good lately, and today was no different. Since I knew the way and because the sidewalks are mostly covered with snow, I took lead for much of the run. I felt great throughout and was happy to see some quicker miles toward the end. Notably only 3 miles were under 6:00. The first 10 miles climb, roll and eventually descend to the lowest point of the loop. From there, the last 6.5 climb a few hundred feet and drop again over the last couple. I was surprised to keep every mile except for mile 1 under 6:30, and I was pretty thrilled to average 6:12 for my longest run yet. The apr├Ęs-run meal hit the spot with peppered bacon, a half-dozen eggs (for 2) and delicious whole-grain cranberry and pecan toast.

Week-in-review:

72 miles with a solid Thanksgiving day race and a great long run, with a good progression run in the mix. I've also kept up the core work with two solid 30-40 minute strength sessions. Track season is about to start up and I'm hopeful to see some speed in my legs. Up first though is Mill Cities Relay next weekend which is always fun. I'm running a 4.75 mi leg. Last year I surprised myself, averaging 5:08 or so for a similar distance. This year I'd be happy to run as fast... meanwhile I'll have to run smart as I will be closing and there won't be anyone after me to seal the team's finishing place, so we'll see!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Friday and Saturday 11/28-29

Friday:

After passing out at 8:30 pm on my birthday, I felt pretty good waking up 12 hours later and was immediately very bored as several of my family members were out working on black Friday. Fortunately there were no more riots in Keene; most of the rioting idiots went home for the holiday :).

Anyway I still wanted to avoid any of the more crowded downtown areas so I picked an out-and-back over and along a ridge on the east side of Keene near Roxbury, which included a couple of 1-2 mile long hills. I eased into it, worked the hills a bit and took it easy on the downhills until the end. 2 of the last 2.5 were either gradually downhill or very downhill and I took off, going 5:16, 5:22 and dropping the run's average down to 6:14/mi. Felt smooth.

Saturday:

After racing on Thursday and running pretty steady on Friday I needed an easier day... and the only way to guarantee that was to leave the watch at home today. I cruised from the apartment into Tewksbury and randomly encountered a squad of Tewksbury alumni running their alumni turkey trot. I recognized one to be Eric Webb, a former teammate of mine from my two years at Bentley! He's apparently moved back east from several years on the west coast.

So... no watch, but I did look at the clock before I left and again when I got home allowing me to estimate the run at a conservative 72 minutes... the loop was the flattest possible 10.6 mi I could think of and I probably rolled a little too fast during some of the middle miles, but who really knows.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, Feaster Five Road Race, 11/27

Notably, I was born 28-years-ago on this day so it was cool to wake up and immediately go to work doing the thing I love. I left the apartment on foot with a few minutes to spare to a quiet and cold landscape, but the sun was out and I could tell it would be a nice day to race. I'm a fan of tradition, so I was a little bummed not to be able to take the trail systems like I had the previous three years since moving to Andover as I made my way to the starting line. It wasn't that there was too much snow; it was wet and I didn't want to get my feet wet as I would be spending approximately the next two hours outside and my toes have a tendency to freeze.

I was pretty warm and had to shed a layer around 3 miles into the warm up and for the race I ditched my hat and gloves. And I was wearing long tights and a thick longsleeve base layer which was probably more than necessary as the temperature steadily rose throughout the morning.

Although the race attracts over 10,000 registrants, this is my hometown race and it has a hometown feel for me. The club I have coached for over the past 4 years hosts the event and they do a great job partnering with Dave McGillivray's DMSE timing company. I time my arrival to the starting line to have as little time as possible before the gun because I see 50 to 100 people I know and it's pretty distracting since my instinct is to try and say hi and wish a happy Thanksgiving to EVERYONE. Although there were definitely some guys taking the race more seriously (which I support) I was happy, as I usually am, to chill out and just see what a hard effort looks like on this day.

I had the goal of running about as quickly as I did last year which was somewhere in the 26:40s. Last year I had done that by surprising myself and attacking the last two miles of the course in around 10:10 with my last mile under 5:00. This year I ended up running more evenly with a faster start and slower finish. Francis Cusick* and I ran hard together at New Bedford last year for about 8 miles so I kind of paired up with him for the first few miles, climbing the 120' hill in 5:32. I settled in from there on the flat neighborhood miles in 2 and 3 going 5:25, 5:22.

Getting to the downhill and flat section last year had me fired up to race for home and take scalps. This year I was running well, better than last year, but I wasn't hungry enough, simple as that, to start hammering for home. After the race I was a little miffed that I hadn't given it a better effort. I was actually cheering for runners I knew in the 5k as I passed them by! It was a little too casual in hindsight, but I had fun anyway, running 5:13 for mile 4. Last year I was all-out in the final mile and this year I just cruised, going 5:16 into the finish, for a time around 26:55. I loved Al Bernier's write-up about excuses and this one makes me cringe even as I write it! Not hungry enough? Blech.. Anyway, it'll be fuel for the fire which hopefully will be burning hot this winter as I take to the track...

Happy Thanksgiving to all the runners out there! Here's to winter!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Pre-Race

8 miles total with 4x150m strides / 7:23 pace - half of this was on trails along the river and around the Phillips bird sanctuary. Nice and easy with Matt. Didn't feel incredible but I'm pretty confident I'll be ready to roll a good and honest one tomorrow at Feaster. I don't really approach Thanksgiving races with the same intensity as other ones and that isn't about to change tomorrow.. meanwhile I'm curious to see if I can repeat last year's effort which was in the high 26's. I promised Jose I'd try to run with him for as long as I can... which might only be around 1 mi given the way he's been running lately. Should be fun!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Monday and Tuesday, 11/24-25

Monday: 

5 mi / 7:35 pace - Very easy recovery jog after work and hanging out / interviewing at the Feaster Five Expo.  Felt sluggish and generally blah. Partly it was my fault since I fueled poorly on McDonald's dollar menu in a starved craze after working through lunch. Partly I was wiped out from a big couple days over the weekend.

Tuesday:

8.1 mi / 7:02 pace - Good easy-ish-steady run with one of the Ballardvale Crew at 8:15 pm. Getting it done! Wasn't ready for a track workout like I'd hoped, but I'll be more ready to crank a 5 miler on Thursday before gorging myself and celebrating my birthday with the family. Before running I cranked out 30 chin-ups, 150 med ball twists, 90 push ups, 6 minutes of planks, 10 lunges, 40 squats, 20 supermans.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Sunday Long Run, 11/23

16 mi / 1:51 - 6:56 pace on a beautiful rolling course starting in Kensington, NH and crossing over into Hampton Falls for a while. Chris Hamel, Chris Mahoney and I rolled along pretty easily together to start and eventually got down into the high 6's. I felt pretty good all the way through but definitely got hungry towards the end and just wanted to be finished so we picked it up for the last few. The Hamel's welcomed a number of WRT and others into their home for a nice brunch afterward which was excellent and we parted ways soon after.

Week in summary...

This was a good week. I hit 70 miles on the nose and every other day included some element of quality. I'm not looking for anything more than 70 miles over the winter months, especially once track racing picks up in December and January. I want to continue strength training as a major component of training and continue to work on my speed. Planning to work out on Tuesday at Lexington HS unless the weather is fair enough to do it outside.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Friday easy, Saturday Progression, 11/21-22

Friday

8.2 mi / 7:14 pace -Very easy running as dusk fell after work. A nice Friday evening cruise is my favorite way to kick off the weekend.

Saturday

12 mi / 72:43 - Progressed from 6:52 first mile quickly down to 6:00 for several miles and eventually down to 5:53. 52, 53, 48, 48 for the last 5 miles. Very controlled, along a nice rolling course in Westford from Lauren's parents' place. 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Workout Thursday 11/20

4 miles up including strides and a few light drills to the Phillips Andover track. Plan was 400on/200off for 5k. I had pretty low energy on the warm-up but I was determined to get something done by the time I got to the track. I arrived right as the sun was setting and an icy wind picked up steadily while I did a few drills and stretched out.

For the first few track sessions of the season I used standing rest so, moving up to jogging/running recoveries I wasn't sure of what to expect in terms of how quick the reps could be. Into the workout it soon became clear I wouldn't be running much faster than 75s... so for a number of reasons I felt kind of slow tonight. Nonetheless, it was a step in right direction! Garmin data here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday, 11/19

9 miles / 59:40 nice and steady solo and feeling very good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Monday easy, Tuesday Progression, 11/17-18

Monday:
Easy run with my boy Joe Van Gombos (JVG). Neither of us had any intention of running this evening given the darkness, 40-degree weather and steady rain. But, to meet up and share in the misery was a brilliant plan. We cruised 5.7 mi at an easy pace. Before we met up I did a pretty lengthy core session: 4 x 30 push ups, 3 x 3' plank variations, 3 x 1' ab variations, 3 x 5 lunges, 3 x 20 squats, 3 x 20 calf raises, 3 x 30" single-leg hip raises, 3 x 10 pull-up/chin-up variations.

Tuesday:

Progression run: 10.13 mi / 61:26 - Last 4 miles 5:45, 5:50, 5:44, 5:47

Felt 'pretty great' from the beginning of today's run. Lauren is trying this "limited-gluten" diet as an experiment for her migraines. Being the less-choosy one of the household, I generally eat what she eats and so I haven't been having as much gluten as I regularly do too. And anyway, placebo or not, I'm feeling very good! I'm definitely not into ruling wheat out of my eating habits... but I don't have any attachment to it, so we'll see where this goes.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday, 11/16

6.5 mi with a throwback UNH session of 8 sets of diagonals.

Warmed up 2 miles, then 12 minutes, covering 2 miles with 16 pickups running diagonally across the Andover HS turf soccer field with a short easy recovery jog along the shorter length of the field.

We used to do a couple sets of 10 minutes of these after segments of tempo. It felt good to really open up the stride in what amounts to a pretty easy session. Wouldn't call it a workout, but it's a better quality session than steady state.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Saturday, 11/15

12 miles* / 1:34:40 - with Jose, Alyssa, Heather and Amy at Maudslay. First hour or so we bopped around in the trails before coming out onto the roads for the last bit. Felt alright... but not great. 2nd run in a fresh pair of Kinvaras so everything felt just a tiny bit smoother than normal which was nice. It was great to get together with some teammates on this chilly morning!!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Tuesday-Friday 11/11-14

Tuesday: 
9 miles / 66 minutes on a combination of roads and trails. Easy peasy. Dipped into the Phillips Santuary and ran into Evan who I coached through a Boston training build-up last year. Nice run!

Wednesday:

Off - One of those crazy, hectic, and altogether very productive days. Got home at 9pm and needed a meal more than I needed a run!

Thursday:

Off - Got home from visiting Gordon with a plan to run and learned Lauren had a killer migraine! Instead of running I did what any smart husband would do; I flew around town running errands, grabbed some meds from CVS, etc, and took care of dinner for the two of us. I did crank a few sets of lunges, squats, chin ups, pushups and planks, at least.

Friday:

Self-loathing from all of the days off aside, I got out there and felt pretty good this afternoon. I warmed up 3.5 mi, did a few drills and strides and started a workout. I didn't have a clear purpose for this one so I just ran 400s on 60s rest until the sun warned me it was about to get very dark and I had no reflective gear on. Ended up going 6x400 in 70, 70, 70, 69, 70, 69. Feeling more confident about my speed now that I have a few track sessions in me. 3.5 mi down for 9 on the day. Long run with the team tomorrow morning!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Friday-Monday, 11/7-10

Friday: Off - still fighting a bug.

Saturday: Off - rest

Sunday: Off - rest. Biggest layoff in a long time but feeling mostly better by evening.

Monday: 9 miles with 8x400 at 72-73 on 60 seconds rest

Friday, November 7, 2014

Tuesday-Thursday, 11/4-6

Tuesday:

Very low energy day. Had a longer workout in mind and ended up bagging it for a more manageable one focusing on speed rather than strength. 4 miles warm up, 6:55, 6:35, 6:18, 6:05

8 x 200m on 200m jogging rest: 33, 34, 34, 33, 33, 33, 33, 32.

I guess it was good to open up the stride a bit! A couple slow miles easy to cool down.

Wednesday:

Off. GI bug got me. Blahhh!

Thursday:

Off. Feeling mostly better by dinner time. Thought about running but opted to take one more day of rest. 4 x 10 chin ups and 4 x 25 push ups mostly to relieve restless energy before bed.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Sunday at the Marathon, and Monday 11/1-3

I got up with the sun and haphazardly packed about every piece of warm gear I own which could possibly be suitable for cold weather cycling. It was game time at the Manchester marathon for Whirlaway Open team's shot at a New England Grand Prix Series win. I knew based on the entry list that it would take a serious effort and maybe some luck, but I wanted to be out there seeing everybody get after it nonetheless.

I parked at lake Massabesic where Newbould suggested we meet and cruised into town looking for the bearded man from Nottingham. I cruised onto Elm right as the opening ceremony was concluding and the runners were hearing their final commands. I rode up on the left side-sidewalk and headed toward the Verizon Wireless Arena and got a cool look at the start of the race as I cruised alongside everyone. Minutes later I connected with Brandon and we set off on a mission to keep everybody fueled and informed about how the race would progress.

We got to a number of good vantage points and it was pretty cool to see the pack running necessitated by the ridiculously cold and windy weather. The lead pack thinned to 3 pretty quickly and eventually 2 by mile 17. Brandon and I made sure everyone had their last Gu and then we cruised over to the footbridge crossing which I think is near the 23 mile marker. Soon we saw Jason Ayr rolling fast all alone and looking unstoppable. Jason had completely dropped the guy in second who looked like he was slowing down considerably as he came by. A minute or two later none other than Dan Vassallo came charging through and wanted to know how close he was. He was definitely gaining on 2nd place but probably not gaining more than a few seconds on Ayr.

We watched teammates and friends cruise by for the last time. The human brain is in an interesting place around mile 23 in a marathon. You go through phases of clarity followed by periods of complete delusion. Some of the comments I remember as they passed... "I'm getting too old for this ****", In response to do "what do you need, anything?", "Ugh... I need a gun..." and "Those last three miles were the worst of my entire life" -- I wonder what the next 3 felt like?

The scene at the finish was mostly jovial. I am so happy for so many runners that I won't go into detail about all of the great performances (it would take all day), nor will I delve into the controversy over the couple of lead runners who appear to have been misguided off course before finishing. Watching this marathon reminded me of the strength and determination and character required to compete well. After my DNF at Vermont I'm not yet itching to race the distance but I am definitely motivated to build fitness and see where it leads.

27 miles biked / NT

Monday:

12 miles / 6:50 pace over a nice and rolling route in Andover with the headlamp. Feels like winter is suddenly here.

Friday and Half-Marathon Saturday, 10/31-11/1

Friday

7.5 mi / 7:00 pace on the dot. Pretty similar loop to yesterday. Kept everything fairly easy. Tired from the work week, though. With a HM tomorrow I spent extra time stretching and trying to massage out some knots that have developed over weeks... months... years? Ouch!

Saturday - race day

15 mi with 13.19 in 75:19 / 5:43 pace. When I registered for the Cochecho Challnege 1/2 marathon, it was 7 days from race time and the weather forecast looked just about perfect. By the next day the forecast shifted dramatically and it was a wait-and-see kind of week, as it was not a question of whether it would be 40 degrees and raining, but when.

So it ended up being cold, windy (15 mph steady winds) and a little rainy. I met up with Tim and Joe briefly at Adele's, a coffee shop very close to race start, and hung out for a bit. I got in a very abbreviated warm-up of maybe 1 mile... I usually prefer upwards of 3 miles warm-up but at longer races there is probably a diminishing-returns effect to consider.

The race went out a little choppy. The starting gun clicked but didn't fire, the timer started but the runners didn't, and Announcer Andy shouted "go, go, go", so we went.

I was in the lead by the mile with a 5:30. After that I relaxed into a 540-5:45 intended pace. There were some really windy sections which were noticeable but not overwhelming and some really nice sections when the wind let up. A couple good hills in the middle-to-later miles were of note but nothing crazy.

Over the last 3 miles I was in rough shape. For some reason my stomach became a wreck and I was really struggling to fully inhale, so even though the course was gentle at this point I had a hard time using the flat-to-downhill to my advantage.

Wrapped it up, watched Tim finish second with Nate Huppe in third and Keely in first for women. Immediately changed into wonderfully dry and warm clothes, hung out and ate while waiting for awards (there was an incredibly nice selection for food), and took off soon after to watch the Gordon College men's and women's teams at their conference championships!



Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday-Thursday, 10/29-30

Wednesday:

4 miles easy before coaching. I ended up playing really hard with the 5-6-7th grade PE group I teach on Wednesdays, so the run was a bit of formality. The real workout was at gym class!

Thursday:

Very sore, as expected. The soreness crept in over Wednesday night into Thursday morning and I woke up feeling like I'd tripped over my ego and fallen down the stairs. The worst of it is in the hip flexors, adductors, and hamstrings... Even my back muscles are sore! I felt pretty good running in the afternoon nonetheless... 8.5 mi / 6:55 pace average after a bunch of 7:10-7:30 miles in the beginning.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday, 10/28

10.15 / 63:35 - late evening run after coaching. Felt kind of blah beforehand but felt pretty good after warming up and progressed down to 5:45-5:50 for the last few.

Monday, 10/27

60 minutes / ~9 miles - This was a good run on a beautiful late afternoon with the Gordon College men's squad. They have improved drastically since the beginning of September! Progressed down probably below 6:00 over the last mile or two.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Friday - Sunday, 10/24-26

Friday:

8 miles / 7:15 pace on the roads nice and easy before dark.

Saturday:

16 miles / 6:36 pace on the Keene rail trail heading West 8 miles to the turn-around. Took a few miles to warm up into it and felt great on the back half. Last 6 miles are gradual downhill so it was natural to come home a little quicker. Very cool views and some interesting geography on this run... had never gone out that far before.

Sunday:

7 miles / 55+ minutes - super slow, easy run on the trails. The leaves make it hard to do more than bop along awkwardly on these more technical trails. Felt fine. Good to shake it out.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thursday, 10/23 Workout

3 miles up in 20:05

3 x 2 miles in 10:40 each, 2:00 minutes running recovery between sets (about 3/10 of a mile)

1.3 down for 11 total.

Racing half marathon distance next weekend!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Wednesday, 10/22

9 miles / 60:05 - nice and steady cruise. Led a flexibility and strength class beforehand so I was a tad dehydrated to start and very much so by run's end. I held a track session with MVS later on and the weather was so wet and wild only one athlete showed up!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunday-Tuesday, 10/19-21

Sunday:

1.5 miles easy jog. I knew I should take a day off but couldn't help but follow the routine of lacing up and heading out. I got about 3 minutes in and knew I was not helping my cause, so I rounded back after 7+ minutes and called it a warm up. Good stretch and strength session after.

Monday: 8.6 miles / 60 minutes with Gordon College athletes. Nice easy run. Had anticipated a longer effort but they are scaling back with lots of racing in the near future. Good run!

Tuesday: 11 miles / 66 minutes with workout. I warmed up 3 miles (19:50) and ran 5 x 1 mile on at cruise interval pace, 5:21 average with 2:00 running rest at 6:50 average. 1.7 mi down for 11. Felt very good today.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Friday & Saturday, 10/17-18

Friday

Started from Winnekenni and ran into Matt Germain who also was heading out for a cruise. Met a couple of his teammates and rolled out for a nice slow jaunt through the trails and eventually onto the roads. 7.5 mi / 55 minutes

Saturday

10 mi / 63 minutes - Good quick run with Matt Germain on the rail trail in Salem. The plan was 2 miles warm up, 6 miles at 5:50-6:00 (Matt's MP) and 2 miles down. My watch was showing some funky splits so I never really trusted it and looking at the map afterward I realized it was way off. Matt's watch seemed more accurate: 6:05 (uphill), 5:51, 5:47, 6:01 (uphill), 5:44, 5:41. Couldn't help but wish I was fit enough for the marathon in 3 weeks. I should pick a race soon though!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wednesday and Thursday, 10/14-15

Wednesday:

6.5 miles of easy running on the roads. 7:05 average? I needed an easy day after several days of good running!

Thursday:

10 miles / 66:30 - with a 5 mile tempo on the dreadmill in 27:40. 5:40, 5:40, 5:40, 5:40, 5:00. The tempo felt pretty good. I would have run in the rain but arrived late from Pittsfield, MA to a dark and ominous-looking Andover, so treadmill it was. At first, 5:40 felt horrible but by 7-8 minutes into the run it started feeling pretty relaxed and I was tempted to cut it down a bit, but wanted to be disciplined about the plan since it was my first tempo effort in a while. I eventually compromised heading into the last mile by deciding on a fast finish.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tuesday, 10/14

10 miles / 68 minutes at 7am with Matt Germain from the apartment. Good cruise after a sluggish start. Matt is really jacked up for Manchester. On the other hand I'm just grateful to be able to run!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day Weekend, 10/11-10/13

Saturday:

7 miles / 50+ minutes feeling quite groggy at 8 am. Hamstring is good.

Sunday:

14.1 mi / 6:33 avg, with Tim from Brighton along the river into Newton, Watertown and Waltham before heading back. Perfect, amazingly pleasant fall weather and a great run all around!

Monday:

12.2 mi / 6:27 avg solo from the apartment. Kept things nice and steady. Nice run!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Friday, 10/10

Easy 55 minute / 6.5 mi trail run from home just before dusk. It's always good to kick off the weekend with a nice cruise! Leaves were iffy in some spots but was happy to find the Andover HS cross country course was still well groomed from the meet on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thursday, 10/9

12.2 / 1:27 It was a stressful day at work and I'll just leave it at that! By the time I got out of there it was too late to make the Gordon practice so I rolled out from home for a nice combination of roads and trails. Road miles were quicker and I took it easy on the trails since a good number of leaves and pine needles have covered the heavily rooted sections. After an hour+ I decided to give my hamstring its first real test. I hit Holt Road going southbound and split mile 10 in 5:21 and mile 11 in 5:18 before cooling it down over the last mile. Good stretch after.

Tuesday and Wednesday, 10/7-8

Tuesday: Nice and easy 4 miles with some of the Whirlaway crew on their cooldown.

Wednesday: 7.5 miles very easy. A few sets of planks, hip raises, pushups and a lot of stretching.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Monday, 10/6

82:30 / 12 miles - With the Gordon team. The running streak continues! The hamstring issue felt like a distant memory, though I am wary of it returning and will act accordingly over the next couple days.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday, 10/5

49 minutes / 6.3 mi - Nice morning run with Joe Van Gombos at Maudslay.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Saturday, 10/4

10 miles / 75 minutes - Ran the Merrimack River 10 miler course out and back beginning at the Windham Hotel. Overcast and in the high 50s but humid enough for it to feel kind of warm. Thankful to run 3 days straight for the first time in a few weeks!

Friday, 10/3

45:36 / 6.37 mi started out on some hilly roads and finished up on the Shawsheen River trail.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thursday, 10/2

48:30 / 6.2 slow easy miles about 50/50 roads and trails.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Wednesday, 10/2

60 minute strength and mobility circuit. 5 seconds rest between 30 and 60 second intervals.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday, 9/30

56 minutes / 6.5 miles very easy running on soft surfaces... It was really good to run again

Tuesday, 9/23 - Monday, 9/30

Tuesday - 1 mile jog, core, mobility

Wednesday - 0 off

Thursday - 0 off - exhausted from a 4am wake-up for dad's surgery. Tried to run with Alex Hall in the evening and made it less than a mile. Hamstring is still catching.

Friday - 0 off - didn't test the hamstring. Feeling better.

Saturday - 2:30 bike ride, tour du Mt. Monadnock. Marlborough-->Jaffery-->Peterborough-->Hancock-->Harrisville-->Dublin-->Marlborough. 17.5 mph. Hilly! Amazing views!

Sunday - 2 mile jog at night. Woof.

Monday - 90 minute triathlete-focused strength class at Breakaway.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Monday, 9/22

Off - No run today as I begin a week of rehab for my hamstring.

I attended a triathlon-focused strength class my friend Sharon teaches and learned a whole lot about how weak I am in the process. It was about 60 minutes of circuit work sandwiched by 30 minutes of warm-up, balancing, and mobility work. It felt like a good workout and I'm expecting to be sore tomorrow!!

No issues with the hamstring. I had to modify a number of the exercises and skip out on some of them entirely.

Saturday - Sunday, 9/20-21

Saturday: Off. Hobbled up. Very sore, unable to fully extend right leg!

Sunday: Off. Hobbling, but less pronounced. Hamstring still barks when fully extended while walking.

I'm surprised it's this bad.

Looking over the last few weeks of training, there has been a lot of fast running followed by a lot of small lay-offs, resulting in minimal fitness gain. Hamstrings have been the root of most issues for me so it's time I really make those a priority if I want to have a good winter!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Friday, 9/19

63:30 / 7.2 mi - met up with Ritchie Spitsberg after work for an easy cruise in the woods. Ankle held up fine, but I realized soon into the yog that playing 90 minutes of capture the flag with 8th graders earlier in the afternoon was a bad move. My bicep femoris was pretty sore down by where it connects at the knee. I'm not training "smart" lately. Time to right the ship!! - and rest the hamstring for a day or two.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thursday, 9/18

10.15 / 70:39 easy morning cruise with Matt Germain. We took our time shaking out the cobwebs over the first few miles and fell into a nice groove for the last bit. Always nice to get a nice morning cruise in and especially so on a day forecast in the 80s.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Workout Wednesday

3 miles up in 20:50

8x400 on 1" rest in 74, 70, 70, 71, 70, 70, 70, 70

3 miles down in 25:xx with a young runner I coach.

Good first workout... Felt like I was pressing more than I normally would have to for 70+ but the previous 5 days have included considerably more work than I'm accustomed to, so I'm happy with the effort.

Thinking about racing some 8k cross country next weekend at Franklin. A lot will depend on the timing of my dad's next surgery slated conditionally for next Thursday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday

10.1 mi / 65:34 out and back over rolling roads in North Andover before coaching. Nice weather for a cruise.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Monday

12.28 / 75:24 - 6:09 per mile - good run with an up-and-coming Gordon College runner at Monday's practice. I had a hard time hanging with him with a fast early pace but eventually I adjusted and had fun talking with him about goals and the NH XC scene past and present. Last few miles we pressed but in control and conversation flowed throughout.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Friday-Sunday, 9/12-9/14

Friday:

Steady 10 miles from the apartment after work. It was beautiful weather for a run.

Saturday:

At dusk I sneaked out for 11 miles of serious hills from my dad's home in Marlborough, NH. 1250 ft of climbing in the first 8 miles, followed by a very steep descent back to the house. Good, hard run! Strava data here.

Sunday: 6.5 mi / 50 minutes easy with a few reasonably groomed trails to see how my ankle would respond. No problems. Pretty beat from all of the travel and events of the weekend.

No Lone Gull 10k for me today. Sometimes there are just bigger, more important priorities. This weekend I cooked several meals for my dad to have over the week and cleaned up after the place since he's pretty much immobile due to the pins and rods holding his lower leg intact. The timing of everything was unfortunate since I really would have enjoyed racing on such an awesome day, and racing for my team means a lot to me. I'm not sure I would have even scored now that I've looked over the results. It was a fast day! There is only one race left in the GP series; it's a marathon, and I intend to race it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Tuesday - Thursday, 9/9-11

Off, Off, and 65 slow trudging minutes. Better than nothing!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday

Good day overall, despite no running. Caught up with the coaches at Gordon and led the runners through core after their maintenance run. Normally would have run with them but I had this Shrek leg preventing me from doing much of anything. I was stung behind the knee and the swelling is pretty bad where the hamstring and calf insert. This is the best comparison shot I could take without help.

My dad (broken leg) is doing well all-considering. He might even be able to go home for a few days before the next operation.

Not a good month, so far, for the McGrath clan!!



Sunday

On Saturday night my dad broke his leg while running with his dog. I drove to Cheshire Medical Center only to find he had been transferred to Dartmouth for surgery. I crashed at his place before packing up some of his belongings and heading there in the morning, only to be stung in the leg by a wasp when I was getting in the car. Call it karma, or sympathy pain. Call it whatever! My dad won't run for months... I won't be able to run for a few days.

Normally a sting wouldn't be notable but each year I appear to be growing more sensitive despite not being totally allergic. It got me behind the knee and by evening my knee had basically swelled to the point that I had trouble moving it. I took Sunday off and now it's just a waiting game to see when it will clear up. Last time I had a sting like this I was hospitalized due to swelling in my foot. I'm guessing it won't come to that this time around, but to say the least it's inconvenient not to be training with Lone Gull only days away.


Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thursday - Saturday, 9/4-6

Thursday:

3 miles with the Gordon XC team. Slight roll of the ankle on some more technical than ideal terrain. Very sore.

Friday: 

Off - resting the dang ankle. It was foolish of me to think I could be alright in the woods. Won't make that mistake again... lots of road running in my future.

Saturday:

9 miles / 64 minutes with Matt Germain. We got an 8am start and that was nowhere near early enough to avoid the heat and humidity.

Good quick core session afterward; 9 minutes of planks, 5x25 push ups, 3 sets of 1 minute abs (jack-hammers, bicycles). Sweating buckets.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wednesday, 9/3

63:30 / 10 mi on treadmill. Ankle felt okay. The swelling has gone down and now I can see some bruising, but it was stable enough to run on a totally neutral surface; hence the treadmill. Progression from 6:50 down to 6:00 pace.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Saturday - Tuesday 8/30-9/2

Saturday: 4.5 mi shakeout with A. Hall around 6:30-6:45 pace depending on whose GPS you trust.

Sunday: 13.5 mi with 15k race.

Monday: 8 miles / 64 minutes with a really crappy ankle roll.

Tuesday: Off - Resting ankle. Swollen.

Monday, September 1, 2014

GMAA Labor Day 15k

I crashed at the apartment of long time friend, Alex Hall, in Hanover the night prior to the GMAA 15k race. The race served as one of the remaining New England Grand Prix races, which always adds a bit more importance, so we all hit the hay early to try and be rested for the 9am start. The drive to the race went smoothly and I was glad to get moving for a warm up after picking up my bib. We ran to the start and back to the school before jogging to the start again for about 22 minutes of warm up. Eventually I met up with the Whirlaway crew and I could see many of the guys had their game faces on. Ruben especially appeared hyper-focused. I followed suit and hoped to support the team with the #5 position if all went well during the race. The weather was less than ideal; light rain, very high humidity and a steady wind would make for some strategic decisions during the race. I had the loose plan of getting out well but not too aggressive and taking the race one mile at a time.

The race started on time and we were off on a net downhill 5k start. The wind made things interesting and pretty early on we saw a very long double-file train of runners cruising along looking pretty effortless. I felt slightly bad for the taller guys who were getting used for their exceptional draft potential. Around 2 miles I decided that unfortunately the pace of the group I was in had become too hot and I needed to back off or face implosion. I backed off to 5:33 for mile 3 and soon found myself getting swarmed by racers moving up. Mile 4 included a couple decent hills and I expected it to be a slow one. It was. But on the backside the hills I managed to hold pace with those around me. Miles 5-7 were probably the worst for me. I was passed pretty regularly and each time I would try to dig down and find a slightly better rhythm to no avail.

Finally into the latter part of mile 7 I started to get excited for the shallow downhill of the final miles. Finally the last big hill came into view and it was a relief to see it wasn't nearly as steep as rumored. After cresting the hill early in mile 8 I was able to start reeling in runners ahead of me and I finally stopped getting passed. Some guys were coming back while others were still getting away from me. I passed a few guys in mile 9 and made a really hard push up the final hill and into the parking lot for a solid finish. I was a little disappointed not to catch a couple of guys who were coming back to me until I ran out of real estate. Mile 9 was a 5:12 and the final .4 was at a similar pace including a good uphill into the parking lot. Finishing time was 52:02 for 30th place overall in the men's Open division.

I'm pleasantly surprised at holding up strong enough to finish well here in Burlington. I knew that 15k would really be stretching my fitness and I am happy with the decision to back off after the two quick early miles. Amazingly I negative-split the race and the humidity didn't melt my brain like I thought it might be doing in the midst of a particularly brutal mile 6. More importantly, I was able to hang on to my #5 position on the team and help us secure the win in the men's open division!! By our math, we have (unofficially) tied WMDP for 1st in the GP series with only two events left. I have less than 2 weeks to be prepared for 10k and I'm hopeful to make a run at the Manchester Marathon in early November to cap off the year.

After the race, Lauren, Alex, Fiona and I headed into Burlington for lunch, enjoyed a couple good Vermont brews, and some shopping around before heading home. My mission to return home with a VT Heady Topper was not to be.

Garmin data here
Results here

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thursday and Friday, 8/28-29

Thursday: 10.6 miles / 69 minutes - Steady running over some good hills during the first 5 miles. Stopped and did some good (and needed) stretching before cranking the pace down into the low 6's. 15k on Sunday is going to be a bit far for my current fitness... and I'll fake it the best I can!

Friday: ~8 miles / 61 minutes taking it easy on trails. Felt good!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tuesday and Wednesday, 8/26 - 27

Tuesday:

5 miles navigating struggle-city in the heat after school. I was dehydrated going into it and found 7:00 pace to be the best I could manage. Even that felt awful. I'm glad I ran but every step was a mental hurdle.

Wednesday:

9 miles / 62 minutes easy at Wier Hill in N. Andover. It's a good little reservation and I pass by it on my way to and from work. Nice change of scenery.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday 8/25

9 miles / 64 minutes mostly on roads solo after the first day of school. Tired, but glad I got it done!

Wednesday 8/20 - Sunday 8/24

Wednesday: Off. Letting the back rest.

Thursday: Easy 58 minutes on trails with the Gordon XC team. Feeling okay but not great.

Friday: 5 miles / 34:40 with Kevin and Pat in Methuen. Good run!

Saturday: 5k @ the NH XC festival. 16:45 good for 4th place in the open race. Splits were pretty crazy; 5:26, 6:16?, 4:55

Sunday: 4 miles easy / NT -  On trails from home. Hamstrings are grouchy but otherwise fine.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tuesday, 8/19

3 mi / 20:40 - Mid morning I set out to see if running might help to loosen up my back. Well, the tightness didn't get worse but it also didn't get better. Very light stretching afterwards. Unable to target hamstrings, although I was able to foam roll the area.

3 mi / NT - Evening warm-up jog with the team before their workout. I need to work out before the 15k but today was not to be. Back has improved but still not comfortable opening up the stride.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, 8/18

52 minutes on trails at a very easy pace. Did a bunch of stretching and some core work followed by immediately tweaking something in my lower back while moving the coffee table. Couch-ridden the rest of the day. Very annoyed. Probably the worst I've ever done it. Ibuprofen and ice followed by heat and rest.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Saturday and Sunday, 8/16-17

Saturday:

Stayed up late hanging with my dad, then up early for the 8:00 am start in Hancock, NH. It was a beautiful drive on the way into town and I was pretty excited/nervous to see people I haven't in a while. Some of us might not have crossed paths in 9 or 10 years. I realized I was socializing too much and managed to get out out for a 2++ mile warm-up before heading straight to the starting line. We were off and Alex Hall and I matched strides for the first mile or so. Eventually he made a "move" by surging below 5:20 pace and I dared not follow. I was pretty tired from a little hammering yesterday and the reality is I'm just not as fit as I was a few months ago. Still, I had fun, ran consistently, 5:26, 5:29, 5:25, and nabbed 2nd place, good for a pair of socks that don't fit me. It was pretty cool to hang out with some former ConVal runners and hear about what everyone's up to. Hall and I headed to Peterborough and gorged on Nonie's breakfast downtown before heading to McDowell Lake for a swim.

9 miles total.

Sunday: 

12 miles /  1:14:22 - 6:12/mi. Good run from Andover out to Haggett's Pond and back via High Plain Road. I planned to run easier today but I felt like I had only one gear. Consciously slowing down felt awkward so I decided to just go with it. Anyway, I definitely won't complain any time the miles come easy! Beautiful evening for a cruise.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday, 8/15

8.5 mi / 51:48  solo run in Keene starting at the south side of Optical Ave, up the 2+ mile hill on Chapman Rd, back down into town via Concord Rd, through town on Washington St. and back to Optical via the bike path. Moved quickly for my fitness level (6:05/mi) and felt pretty good.

I'm running a 5k in Hancock, NH tomorrow with a group that will be there in tribute to my friend Laura who passed away this Spring. She was a teammate of mine in HS as well as college, and one of my most trusted friends, especially while in HS. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else who is coming to run or walk, and to share memories of what a sweet person she had grown to be. Coincidentally, I stopped by our former HS this afternoon to explore the new gymnasium and found a T&F all-time record list. Laura holds the 1600 and 3200 records. She was also state champion in the 1600 her senior year. It's interesting that I remember her more for kind and inclusive personality, her drive to achieve academically and to honor her family and her faith, far more than her competitiveness as a runner. Needless to say, we lost a good one.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/4 - 8/14 Vacation week, an adventure in the Whites, and back to reality

Monday: 80 minute bike ride with Greg heading north up the Cape and back.

Tuesday: 9 miles / 6:50 pace with a gut full of fried seafood... brutal!

Wednesday: 7 miles / 6:22 pace on the rail trail with Lauren keeping me company on the her bike.

Thursday: 0 - off day. Feeling cooked from several days on the beach. Electrolytes are not well balanced.

Friday: double, 4 and 4, using mile markers on the bike path. NT. GPS watch ran out of battery.

Saturday: 3 miles in 19:33 at the gym. Travel off the Cape was exceptionally worse than expected and we had dinner plans with the Rich family so we were rushing around. Lauren wanted to swim so we headed to the gym after unpacking. Of course, I forgot socks, so I was forced to either suffer massive blisters or call it early. Finished with two sets of weights: 10 x 20 lb lunges, 20 x 20 lb curls, 15 x 75 lb lat pull-downs, 15 x 25 lb shoulder press, 9 minutes of planks, a few supermans.

Sunday: 9.7 miles on the trails at a good clip. Glad to be back home!

Monday: 8.3 mile hike to 13 falls campsite in the Pemi wilderness area with Tim, Tyler and Billy.

Tuesday: Partial Pemi loop completed: 29.7 miles / 7300' elevation gained and lost.

Wednesday: Off - very necessary! Had a good meeting with the new Athletic Director at school.

Thursday: 8.2 miles / 6:22 pace in Westford waiting on the Honda to hopefully be operational. Glutes, hips and quads are sore but functional. Felt great from an aerobic standpoint. The weather was amazingly nice... Cross Country season is in the air!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 7/27 - 8/3

Monday: Easy 30 minutes on trails. Light core.

Tuesday: Easy 45 minutes on trails.

Wednesday: Easy 45 minutes on trails.

Thursday: Easy 61 minutes on trails. Light core

Friday: Steady 58 minutes steady on trails again. Pushed Turnpike St. Climb and got the CR on strava... small victories.

Saturday: 55 minutes / 9 miles out and back on the bike path in Eastham and Wellfleet.

Sunday: 51 minutes / 7.8 miles steady with Joe Navas. Good run with an even better teammate.

--

Groovin... feeling good at the end of the most productive week I've had in a while. Enjoying summer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Meandering days

Friday: 0 off - right hip and knee are tight and causing the knee to track oddly. Need to loosen up.

Saturday: 3 mile walk. 30 minutes of yoga.

Sunday: 3 mile walk 30 minutes of yoga

Monday: 8 miles / 6:20 pace at Mine's Falls in Nashua. Feeling good despite the heat.

Tuesday: 9 miles / 70 minutes slow standard trail loop from the apartment.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Back at it

At this point I'm fairly well convinced I was over-caffeinated at Vermont. I have to look on the bright side that I don't have to deal with the full recovery a marathon would normally require and I can get into summer racing earlier than planned. I'm taking this week very easy and returning to normal training next week.

Monday: off - drove home around 9am after a fun night out in Burlington.

Tuesday: 4 miles easy / 34 minutes on trail

Wednesday: 5 miles easy / 45 minutes on trail

Thursday: off - Strength and mobility session in the evening.

Monday, May 26, 2014

DNF at Vermont City

Ouch... This was pretty disappointing. I'll add more detail later on but a brief overview of the race, according to Garmin is below. I basically ran my tail off with Ferenc for a good long while. I felt awesome aerobically and mechanics were sound; feeling very confident until very sudden and dramatic changes in chemistry.

There were no signs of issue until everything erupted following my 3rd GU Rocktane just after the hill. Three theories: 1) Stomach issues over the 36 hours previous to the event might have screwed with my electrolytes, 2) caffeine overload with coffee in the morning, caffeinated Nuun at two aid stations (downed both bottles fully) and caffeinated GUs. Maybe some combination of those two things is the reality. 3) I obviously went out quickly, but was it so quickly that I'd experience that level of cramping so suddenly and SO early? Never before have I experienced that.

1- 5:28
2- 5:27
3- 5:41 settling in?
4- 5:25
5- 5:33
6- 5:36
7- 5:32
8- 5:40
9- 5:51
10- 5:27
11- 5:37
12- 5:39
13- 5:40
13.1- 73:25
14- 5:38
15- 5:38
16- 6:04 with stop. cramping in high right medial hamstring
17- 17- 5:51 cramping moving to lower back, top of shoulders.
18- 5:41 amazingly kept moving
19- 5:57 with stop. Torso cramping all over, chest pain.
19.55- 3:25 scared. Chest pain continues; throw it in. No regrets there.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Off, I think!

So the plan is to take today off, but as I sit here, my legs are literally aching with the desire to run. It's what I imagine restless leg syndrome feels like... I want nothing more than to run very far and fast right now. As in this very minute. After work I might have to jog a few miles and get some strides in just to keep my sanity. We'll see. Went very heavy on the carbs yesterday and into today. Not sure if it's possible to overdo it but I'm certainly airing on that side.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday easy

5:44 am: 5.5 mi @ 7:30 pace on trails. Felt strong, breathing very relaxed. Let the carb loading begin!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday tune-up

Monday:

4.5 mi at a very easy pace just shaking out the legs. Feel fine.

Tuesday:

5 miles with 6 x 100m strides just trying to run slow. It was tough to keep it above 7:00 but I managed.

Wednesday :
5:30 am: Dress rehearsal. 1 mi warm up, 2 x 2 mi @ 5:42 avg, 400m jog between. 1200m down for 6 total. Felt good for 5:30 am! I have a lot of gratitude for Matt Germain who got up early to join me for this one.

Thursday-Saturday are all about relaxing... general aerobic run planned for Thursday. Probably off on Friday. Easy 3-4 mi jog Saturday and then it's time to race!

The field looks pretty stacked with 5 guys to completely avoid and about 10 other guys to potentially mix it up with, but I'll see how it goes out. Looking at past results, it appears that a good number of people get drawn out too quickly and pay the price on the back half. I do not want to be one of them. I'm prepared to run alone if that's what it takes to run smart.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Sunday Medium-Long

13.1 / 77:00. Felt good and strong from the beginning and let the miles come to me. I tried to envision each half mile that passed as a full mile on the race course one week from today and just watched the minutes tic by. Time to chill out for a week... short runs all week and a dress rehearsal on Wednesday with a couple miles at goal marathon pace (~5:42).

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Get Fit in May 5k

This was a tune-up race for me with VCM 8 days out. The plan was to run pretty hard but not go to the well if there was somebody else evenly matched and vying for the win. I thought a 15:50-16:05 would be a reasonable effort; good enough to shake the legs out but not crazy enough to risk injury or reduce the effectiveness of the taper. When I arrived, I met my HSers and took them out along a 2 mi warm-up. We got back to the starting line with 15 minutes to spare. I gave them some instructions about how to prepare and then found my racers and got back to the line. Sometime around then I ran into teammate Sam Fazzioli who is returning to form after racing the Boston Marathon. He practically winced when he saw me. I laughed, ran over to meet him and he told me there was cash on the line. How much? $125. That was definitely enough to get me a little more fired up.

The course in Exeter is very flat with no notable hills. The 3rd mile drops maybe 30 ft and climbs back up in the last half mile and that's all. The horn sounded and I was out quickly to the front with no contenders. It was nice to have a motorcade to follow since I wasn't completely sure where the course would take me. I hit mile 1 in 4:47 and had to laugh. It was too quick. I felt incredible, and it occurred to me that this could be a PR kind of day if it let it happen. But, I also had a marathon coming up... and I kept the pace in check over the last two miles home in 5:02, 5:05. The clock read 15:30 when I crossed although I think there was a slight timing error since my watch had 15:37.

I immediately changed into trainers and got back out on the course to cheer in my athletes. They ran great! I was really impressed as many of them had never run a 5k before, and those who had ran big personal bests. We took pictures and hung out a bit for the awards ceremony before parting ways. It was a good morning!

7.5 mi total.

Thursday, Friday

Thursday: 9 miles /59:55 easy

Friday. 0 - planned day off.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Wednesday Easy

Easy little 5 mile cruise (NT) with the high schoolers at Winnekenni. One loop around the lake plus a warm up loop. Good drills session after. Nice stretch in the evening. Feeling good!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tuesday Tempo

10 miles / 57:05 - 5:42/mi - Pressed for time after a late meeting at work, so I had a sense of urgency today. I had to coach at 6pm and knew I would need to get some food after the effort and before the MVS workout.

I wanted to go 6-8 miles of tempo today and I ended up warming up for 3 miles and rolling straight into the tempo: 6:28, 6:11, 5:51, 5:28, 5:32, 5:35, 5:33, 5:27, 5:33, 5:22. I finished and only had 40 minutes to get food, drive to the workout and loosen up.

I grabbed a smoothie nearby, jumped in my car and wove through rush hour traffic to the practice. Still sweating when I got out, I jogged a very slow mile for 11 total on the day. Then led folks through a series of warm up exercises before sending them off on a workout of my own merciless imagination!

Sunday, Monday

Sunday:

Easy solo run in the afternoon from home. Lethargic to start, as to be expected after going long on Saturday, but surprisingly fresh by the end. 62 minutes / 9 miles

Monday:

Matt Germain met me at 8am for an easy cruise. We followed the same exact course I ran yesterday and finished in the same time. 62 minutes / 9 miles. Feeling very good. Rosary service for my longtime friend Laura who passed away two Fridays ago. She was state champion at 1600m in NH in 2006. A great athlete; an even greater person.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Friday, Saturday

Friday:

10.2 mi / 73 minutes. After work I headed to the Ward reservation for 2 large perimeter loops. The GPS calls one loop exactly 5, so I'll go with that, although the effort certainly feels faster. This terrain is pretty technical with rocks and roots all over the place but I moved about as well as I ever have on it. Lots of fun. I pushed up the Turnpike St climb and snagged the Strava KOM from Joe Louriero who happens to live just down the street from me.

Saturday:

Last longish run in the books. 18 miles / 6:10 per mi. Ritchie arrived at 8am on the dot and we hung out for a couple minutes before heading out toward the north side of town We agreed on easing into it and then locking in at 6:00. Unfortunately Ritchie found himself in one of those low-energy states and was suffering keeping pace even though his breathing was fine. I've been there before, so I felt for him. I escorted him to the 11 mi mark where he could easily find his way back. There were some slower miles in there before we parted ways. Pretty quickly I settled back into MP rhythm for miles 11 to 16. Felt pretty comfortable to cruise along in the 5:40s. I was tempted to continue on but it just wouldn't have made sense with VCM 15 days away. 2 miles easy cooldown for 18 in the books. This run helps my confidence for VCM since I hadn't gone long in a couple weeks. I guess "real" tapering begins now?

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Monday - Thursday

Monday: 9 miles, 65 minutes very easy. Slight taper begins now.

Tuesday: 0 - planned day off. Legs felt tired before this weekend's race and they're more tired now. Haven't had a day off in a couple weeks, so why not today?

Wednesday: 8 miles. 4++ miles with HSers around Winnekenni. Another 4 miles on the track in North Andover before coaching another session. Feeling better than I have in over a week. 5:35 mile in there felt like walking, which makes me hopeful I'll get survive this marathon 18 days from now.

Thursday: 9 miles, 56 minutes. Fastest I've run this loop in couple of years. This run takes me 62 minutes on a normal day. Feeling great. Nice warm sunny afternoon which made a good run almost inevitable.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sleepy Hollow Mountain 10k Report

Copyright Scott Mason @ scottmasonphoto.com
It was a day unlike many others this Spring; sunny, serene... it was the kind of morning that inspired thoughts of personal bests. But, that was not to be the case a few hundred miles north in Huntington, VT!! There, it was already raining and had been, apparently, for the past few days. On top of that, at Sleepy Hollow, mud season was ongoing and will be until August, I've heard.

I was part of a unique caravan with several stops along the way. I met Mike Galoob hailing from southern RI at the Dascomb park and ride and we rolled through Manchester picking up Ritchie Spitsberg and then through White River Junction, picking up Alex Hall. None of us having run this type of race on this kind of day, there was a lot of pondering about what competition could be like and how muddy the course could possibly be. In my mind I pictured lots of technical single track with select muddy sections to be navigated carefully... I had a number of goals for the race and priority #1 was to not injure myself before the marathon in 3 weeks.

We arrived at the base of the access road where many people were parking and walking up. However, we were informed by a volunteer that we should drive up because we are men and that's what men do, low-riding minivan notwithstanding. Well, we made it up! It wasn't as bad as I pictured, but the scene in the parking area revealed to me just how water-logged the entire hillside would prove to be.

Feet soaked instantly upon stepping out of the van. We grabbed our numbers and headed out for a warmup on the last loop of the 3-loop course. There was some nice single track and just as I was becoming comfortable out there Mike took a nice ninja roll / tumble on a hard corner coming off a wooden bridge. He had predicted mud and blood, and got both before the race even began!

The course wasn't as muddy as I had imagined, but the entire place was saturated with water. And the course was less technical than I imagined in some ways and more technical in others. For example, there were fewer winding, technical mountain bike sections but, meanwhile it was impossible to predict what hard objects (rocks, roots, sticks, etc.) one might find with each foot placement. This made me especially nervous on the downhill portions. Most of the course stayed on relatively wide trails like the kind of stuff you see at Nordic ski areas.

So... for the race. There wasn't an incredible amount of strategy involved for me. There were three big climbs, one for each loop, and my plan in fair weather conditions would have been to climb moderately well and make up lost time on the downhills and flats. However the ground was so soft that I lost an incredible amount of momentum and energy just barely dragging myself up some portions while keeping a running motion. I was up the first hill around 12th place and that's basically where I would stay for the entirety of the race. Arriving at the first sweeping downhill I was shocked at how steep and and soft the grade was! I did get rolling though and within a few seconds I leaped over a drainage pipe. However, the ground past the drainage pipe collapsed and I immediately 'super-maned' onto onto the trail in front of me. I got up pretty quickly and couldn't have lost more than a couple seconds.



Eventually I could only see the fleeting singlet of Alex's yellow BAA jersey and I gave chase but never really gained. Here and there I would make up a second or two but entering the last loop I had only minor hopes of catching him. Still, I tried. Grinding up the last portion of single track with him still in my sights I made a few errors, falling face-first onto the ground twice, losing all momentum and hope that I'd catch Alex. I watched him cruise into the finish I came in 15 seconds later for 45:10.

There weren't many happy runners in my camp after the race. I had hoped to compete better with the trail guys but, clearly, their skill and general ability on this kind of terrain is superior. Josh Ferenc won the race in under 41 minutes, gapping me by over 4 minutes. Over only 10 kilometers, that's an incredible amount of time. I wouldn't necessarily expect to match Ferenc on the roads but, I would hope to compete with with 2nd and 3rd place finishers today, JJ and Tilton. They appeared to have run very well here. Overall, I was impressed by everybody who established themselves as mountain/mud runners today. This is type of thing I'd like to do more of in the future except with a little less water.

The silver lining: Nobody got hurt! At least not badly. And it was pretty fun to slide around in the rain and muck. This was also the first race of the ATR series: a 5-race series on 5 different types of terrain. I've heard that scoring is based on a percentage of your time relative to the top finisher so, in my case, I scored a 90 out of 100, and I'm hopeful that I can score higher in some of the flatter races and perhaps finish among the top group in the series. Time will tell! The remaining 3 weeks are all about the marathon, though.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Friday Saturday

Easy running days.

Friday: 9.1 / 7:08 overall. Stepped out of my car to see DD and DV cruising by, so I yelled and asked them to wait for me. Cruised the first 1.5 on trails with them around and bagged another 7.5 miles zig-zagging around Andover roads and finishing the last couple on the trails. Felt good!

Saturday: 8.1 /6:50 pace at Mine Falls + 4x100 on/off for strides. Ritchie Spitsberg came along for this one and it was great to have company. We had originally planned on a marathon pace effort for Sunday but he was convinced to join me at Sleepy Hollow, a 10k trail-mountain race up in VT. Should be... interesting!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Thursday Hill Repeats

11 miles / 75 minutes w/ workout.  Between afternoon and evening responsibilities I got out for a jaunt at Winnekenni. I had just signed up for Sleepy Hollow, the trail/mountain 10k near Burlington VT set for this Sunday. With that in mind, and even though I knew a workout today wouldn't improve my race-readiness for Sunday, I wanted to test my legs on an incline before trying to race up mountains. After a faster lap around the lake (28:40) and a few drills, I ran 8 x 1/4 mi up the paved road to the castle. Recovered on the jog down with a tiny loop around a tree. The climb is ~75 feet, so roughly a 6% grade. Splits: 92, 91, 89, 88, 87, 85, 87, 86. Average recovery time was 1:55, and average over the 4 miles of running was 6:32 pace. Pretty good for 600+ft of climbing and descending! Cooldown 3 miles for 11 on the day. No core.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Monday: 5 miles very easy with the high schoolers at Winnekenni. Not feeling too badly after the 20 yesterday but certain muscle groups are definitely flat. Flutter kicks, scissor kicks, lunges, squats. Rolled out a lot in the evening. Lower back is tight.

Tuesday: 9 miles / 68 minutes on trails. Pretty tired. Having trouble sleeping the past few nights which is unusual. Normally I don't remember hitting the pillow! Did some core again, though. 3x7 full chin-ups, 4x15 push-ups, 3 x 40 sit ups, 3 x 60 trunk twists with medicine ball. Plan is to continue with core. Not sure how it got away from me but, it did!

Wednesday: 11++ miles at Winnekenni: 2 loops of the lake including the hill on the far side where the town of Haverhill apparently received 11 grand to allow a lumber company destroy a few hundred trees. Pretty sad to see. Then 3 warm-up loops (1.9 mi) plus drills: butt kicks, a-skip, b-skip, anklings, deons, grapevines, etc. etc. Feeling pretty snappy today but kept it chill on the run portion.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Friday, Saturday Sunday

Friday: 9 miles easy on trails. Felt great! I had a lot of energy late into the run which is always a nice thing for single-track. Quads and calves are tight.

Saturday: 4 miles easy with a nice long stretch and core session. Feeling nice and limber after.

Sunday: 20 miles / 2:04:50 - meh. I had planned 2 miles easy warm up, 10 miles at 6:10, 8 miles at 5:35 with a mile down for 21. Stomach was an issue, again, so I called it a tad early and called off the tempo after 3.5 miles. The stomach pain was pretty intense. Really would have been nice to nail this one but, most runs have gone so well that a dud here and there shouldn't be unexpected. Maybe I have a bug? Energy was good and form was strong, anyway! Lost 5 lbs on this run. One more long run to go and 4 weeks to marathon.

Week: 76 miles on 7 days. No full workouts. A few good steady-state runs. It's time for a tune-up workout and race. Probably going for 20-22 on the Manchester course next weekend for my last long run, in the case anyone wants to join!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Catching up: Training April 19 - 24

Saturday - Off. Feeling lazy and tired after working at Whirlaway for most of the day. I left early to run but by the time I got home I opted for a long nap.

Sunday 12 - met up with Ryan Gough, his friend Andrew, and Mike Quintal for a jaunt along the river trail. It was early so took a bit longer to warm up but felt good after the first few miles and it was nice to have a solid group this morning. Big Italian Easter bash in Acton later on.

Monday 8.5 / 6:20 pace. Cruised with Tim Mallard on the river before marathon festivities. What a blur of a day. Such fantastic weather... for spectators. Grabbed some pizza after and picked up a free desk and moved it home to Andover.

Tuesday 9 - Slow and steady in the AM on trails. Felt okay.

Wednesday 13.5 / 1:47 - medium-long trek on a combination of roads and trails. Felt slow from the beginning but just kind of plugged away. The sky opened up all its fury on me about 30 minutes into the run and full-on downpour and lightening by 40 minutes. I was under-dressed and cold but glad to get it in. Shift at the Whirlaway after.

Thursday: 12.1 / 1:14 - I was home visiting family and decided to hit one of my favorite road loops in Keene, NH. Unfortunately, I had really awful indigestion after about 15 minutes into this run. I made 3 pit stops and I basically felt ready to vomit at any moment. But! I had good energy so I pushed the pace when and where I was able. A few majorly downhill stretches in there led to some quicker miles here and there. 10 miles in 59:47. Threw up there on the bike path. Jogged it in from there. Garmin Data here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Wednesday: 7 miles easy with HS and MVS practices after school.

Thursday: 23.23 miles / 2:49 -- over-distance training run... maybe 40% trails, remainder roads.  This is the run I've thought would be awesome since I moved to Andover, and it was! I followed a series of reservation systems from home up to the Merrimack River trail. I followed the trail to the Windham hotel and hopped onto roads for the remainder of the run. The goal was to run relaxed and I mostly kept it there, averaging 155 HR compared with 170 during my last marathon workout. Before this run I also ran with the middle school running club as I subbed in for their practice. It was a couple of miles. This was a big training day.

Friday: 0 - Off. 12 hours working at the Boston Marathon Expo + big marathon training run the day prior = a day off. Had a lot of fun working the Expo and seeing all of the excitement surrounding this year's event! Lots of MVSers visited me at the Northface booth and it was cool to catch their last-minute thoughts before the big dance! I will say, it was a little spooky when apparently a kitchen fire in part of the convention center caused a series of alarms to sound in the building. It was off-putting mostly because the announcer and alarm system didn't make clear what was the cause of the alarm. In fact, one person who came on the mic said it was a drill, which was not actually the case in the end. Anyway, legs are feeling decent. Wore compression socks all day to promote recovery (especially since I was standing all day). Easy running planned for Saturday and maybe a steady run for Sunday, as recovery allows.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Training Monday and Tuesday

4/14 - 7 miles solo and very easy at Winnekenni park in Haverhill. It was a little muddy in places but otherwise very nice running. I had missed coming here. It's good to be back!

4/15 - 10 miles / 61:19 progression run from 7:00 down to 5:30. Last 4 were 5:41 average. Felt very good! Wished I had a little more time and I would have gone 12-13 but had an event to attend on the south shore.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Race Report: Red's Race for a Better Community 5 Miler

I've had this one on the calendar for a while. Over the past week since my first big marathon-focused workout, I tried to log miles with the goal of feeling better each day than the one prior. I logged several days with decent minutes, 70-80, and was feeling good to work out. But then, I bagged a Thursday workout because I had friends willing to make the trek to my place and run. At that point I had no excuses left for today's race. I should have been reasonably fresh and ready to run hard.

Similar to the An Ras Mor 5k two weeks ago, it was starting to rain and in the mid-40s as I started my warm up with Sam Wood. We jogged the first and last miles of the course, which helped me remember and visualize what that last uphill before the massive downhill to the finish was like. I felt confident that if I could get  over the last long, gradual hill in lead position that I'd be able to take the win. So, in a way, it was like a 4 mile commitment in my mind, with a downhill 5th mile as icing on the cake.

As we warmed up, I saw fellow UNH alum, Andrew Van Hoogenstyn "Hoogie", Nate Huppe, and someone far off who I suspected was Nacho Hernando, the up-and-coming young buck hailing from Spain who notably crushed several races on snowshoes this winter. Last time I toed the line with Hernando or Hoogie, I was beaten badly; Hernando by over 1 minute at a 4+ mi snowshoe race, and Hoogie by 9 minutes or so at the Cape Cod Marathon, 2012.

But... I wanted that win today. I drove to Dover to win; not to play softball with a close competitor and let it come down to a kick (which I'd probably lose, especially to the wheels of Hernando). Former roommate and long-time trusted training partner Marc put it like this to me yesterday, "Trust your VO2. Lock into that rhythm and trust your VO2 to drive you through". I took that advice and rolled with it.

I lined up with 2 minutes before race start. The gent keeping runners at the line told those who were listening that they had re-certified the course, pushing back the start line about "50 yards" back from past years. Before I could calculate how much time that would dock me as I was attempting to better last year's 26:15, the gun fired.

It was very sudden. There was no National Anthem like last year. I was so surprised that I think I got off the line quicker than most of the lead group. The exception being the dozen or so middle and high school aged kids furiously sprinting the uphill start. The last poor soul I passed was a tall lanky fellow wearing what appeared to be a full backpack, around a 1/4 of a mile in. Then it was Nacho and I stride-for-stride. He looked good and fit. He said before the race he wanted to run about 26". I told him I wanted a little quicker than that. I had wanted to hit mile 1 at 5:05 and was disappointed to hear 5:10. Immediately upon hearing the split, I amped up the pace. It was go-time. This was now a 4 mile race and 5:10s would probably keep Nacho in the game all the way.

No one called splits and I didn't see my watch at mile 2, but in retrospect it was probably a good thing, as Garmin tells me I hit 4:53 for that one. All alone, I cruised through the first aid station around 2.5 miles and no one was cheering. There were probably 15 people standing there, all holding water cups, and I'm not sure anyone said anything. I started laughing to myself, thinking about how intense I must look to scare volunteers into silence, but then a few people at the top of the hill past the aid station gestured a few kind words. Around this point, the race becomes very winding. I recalled how Dave Dunham had razzed me last year about not running the tangents, so you better believe I was darn sure to run the clearest point-to-point race possible, while still allowing cars on the road a chance to get by.

Unfortunately, I saw the split for 3 miles. 5:14. ****! To my knowledge I'd run a 5:10, a mystery number, and a 5:14. I was feeling kind of negative and my legs were pretty beat, but at this point I was also leading and the distant cheers for whomever was in second urged me onward. I cruised through the last aid station around 3.7 and hit the long gradual uphill as hard and smooth as I could. Someone at 4 miles was reading the total time. He said something like "43, 44, 45"... Was that 20:43 or 21:43? I didn't know. My 4 mile split rang and it showed a 5:22. Confusion set in. Where am I in this race? Was everyone running slowly? Was Nacho on my tail? In hindsight I would have been a whole lot more excited if I had set my watch correctly to display the running time. *palm-to-face*.

I hit that last mile as fast as I could. It's hard not to go fast there. There is roughly 100m of climb before an insane downhill begins, incorporating a few undulating plateaus to the finish. I felt stronger and more composed there than last year. I saw the finishing clock and to my relief I was well under 26:00. I finished with a 25:33 and a 4:51 last mile for the win.

Garmin data here.

Overall Results here.

I felt pretty sick after finishing. I normally don't feel that way but, after New Bedford and now today's race, I've felt like I might puke. Maybe I've figured out how to run hard again? I linked up with Hoogie, Huppe, and Carolyn Durfee for a long cooldown along the course. There was a very brief awards ceremony which, apparently, I missed. I met up with dad who had run slower than last year, but still good enough for 2nd place in his age group. We celebrated by grabbing some grub at an Irish pub downtown before parting ways.

I'm very pleased with this race. As I've been primarily training for the marathon, I still have legs to move quickly. I knew I didn't have much time for marathon prep in this cycle, and so it's good to come off a hard 20+ miler and race well. I have an an over-distance long run planned for later this coming week, and probably a 4x2 mi @ 5:25 somewhere in there as well.

In the meantime, good luck to everyone with their final preparations for Boston! It's looking to be a race unlike any years past.



Friday and Saturday

Friday: Day off. My IT band got progressively tighter over the previous two days. Time to get back to core and hip mobility exercises, and stave off any potential lay-offs. "Do what one must today to run tomorrow".

Saturday: Easy 6 miles with Marc supporting runners at the Merrimack Trail race. The trails were in great shape and it was fun to see some friends grinding away toward the front. It was also fun to catch up with the coaches of former rival Coe-Brown. Their distance squads are undeniably some of the best, if not THE best in New England this year. Easy 2 miles later in the day to try and loosen up. Feeling good! Visited the MFA with Marc, Jess and Mary. Lots of walking. Nice long stretch when I got home in preparation for Sunday's race.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Thursday, Steady

No workout this week. Marc and JVG announced their imminent arrival in the afternoon, keeping our tradition of linking up for a weekly run alive. We cruised pretty steadily along a hilly loop in Andover. We visited Rattlesnake Road, Holt Rd, Summer, Washington, downtown by Wholefoods, and straight back to Ballardvale for 11 mi / 73:42. Felt right to move in the 6:30s and :40s and not push anything today.

Rest day planned for tomorrow, Easy on Saturday, Race on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wednesday, Easy

10 miles / 80:22 . Much of this was on extremely muddy and technical trail, making for a very slow run. I overestimated the sun's ability to clear up my favorite trail at Weir Hill which follows the outer perimeter of the double-drummer that makes up the reservation. Anyway, it was a decent run. I felt good, just wasn't moving too quickly. I think that's probably good once in a while.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Tuesday Easy

10 mi / 68:10 -- 4:00 PM -- Headed out for a cruise in wonderful mid-60s and overcast skies in North Andover. I would have hit the trails again but given the heavy rain from this morning likely making the trails messy I opted to take the legs for a smoother road cruise and see how everything is feeling after a few slow recovery days. Felt good after warming up, kept it above 7:00's for the first 5 and dipped into the mid-6:00's for the back half. Hilly run.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Recovery #2

70 minutes easy on trails. Saw a couple beaver and a new den at Bakers Meadow Pond. 8+ miles I'd guess. Took things very easy and feeling a lot better than yesterday.

Sunday, Recovery Shakeout

Easy 4 mile trot in the woods before dinner (30:02). Felt surprisingly fine. Peroneals a little tender behind the right ankle. A little tugging around the left heal, too, so will have to be focused about easing the tension in my calves and feet before I do any quick running again. Another recovery day planned for tomorrow. Should be beautiful; 58 and sunny in the forecast!

63 miles on 6 training days and a day off for this week. For 42 of those miles (on 3 days) I averaged 6:01 per mile. Might be a bit too much quality relative to the total volume. Feeling good and mostly recovered as I tally the miles today (Tuesday).

Plan for this week is:

Monday: Recovery 10
Tuesday: Recovery - 10
Wednesday: Steady or workout 10-12
Thursday: Steady or workout 10-12
Friday: Easy 10
Saturday: Easy 8
Sunday: Race Red's Shoe Barn 5 miler with 5 miles warm up and 5m cool down.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Marathon Workout #1

Met up with Brandon Newbould in Exeter Saturday afternoon. The plan was 5 miles warm-up, 4x3 miles sub-marathon pace, with 1 mile recovery jogs, 1 mi cool-down.  The wind picked up to 25 mph and the temperature dropped into the 40s by the time we were into the workout.

Brandon was along for the first two repetitions. He reminded me to run controlled and efficiently, especially on the hilliest portions of the workout. The course was rolling and I practiced opening up on the downhills and running within myself on the uphills. I felt like I had finished a pretty good workout by the I dropped Brandon off around 13 miles. Anyway I went for it and was feeling fairly strained, but took down a PowerGel and got through repeat #3. The recovery jog after that one was mighty slow as I talked myself into the final miles on the day. I was relieved to find myself running  more relaxed and composed on the last repeat, probably because I was no longer charging into a steady headwind, and I finished well with 5:37, 5:24, 5:26.

Finished with a 1 mi slowly to the car.

Average on the 21 mile run was 6:07/mi, last 20 mi 6:02. Average for the 12 miles hard was 5:35 or 16:45 per 3 mile. Several recovery days planned!

Splits and other such data here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thursday, 4/3 Recovery

JVG, Marc and I ventured out to do the standard 50-55 min trail loop after work. It was great to have company for this as my legs were fatigued from the previous two days. In hindsight I think I should have just run slowly on roads. The trails were messy and I didn't have quick feet, making for a cumbersome journey. Got it done, though! Back home for a protein shake, foam roll and stretch. Legs are generally inflamed but nothing is barking. Another, even easier, day planned for tomorrow. 50 min / 7 mi

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Workout Wednesday

Planned a few cruise mile efforts. Bailed midway through the 4th one as I had to take a pit-stop. The gift of coffee is it fires you up, the downside, well, is obvious. Cruised it on in with a few miles above and below 6. 11 miles @ 5:55 avg. Jogged a very easy 1 mi cooldown after with my Wednesday training group. Felt awesome! Beautiful day out there. Data Garmin data here.

8 Weeks to Marathon

I've averaged 51 mpw over the past 9 weeks. Although the number is probably lower than ideal for long distance racing, I've had a bit of success, especially at the NB half in mid-March. So long as I could stay healthy and was motivated, I wanted to choose a real target race for this Spring. Originally I thought it would be Mt. Washington but, after being rejected there for the 3rd time in three straight years, I've all but written off that race. I love running in the mountains... but I don't know if I'd actually enjoy a race up an auto-road.

In any case, for a couple years I've had an interest in taking a crack at the Vermont City Marathon. I love the small city of Burlington, the race falls at a nice point in the year, and with the large gap in the NEGP series, the timing is just about ideal. I'll barely have time to recover for the Ribfest 5 miler but, I expect I'll be plenty fit enough to give a good effort there and hopefully support the team.

So, here we go. Although my average mileage has been low by marathoner standards, the average long run over the past 5 weeks has been 17 miles. I have a few specific target workouts for the next 5 weeks planned. I will try to build to 75 or 80 mpw, with big longer workouts about every 10 days followed by long, 2 or 3-day recovery periods. I've started running into the issue of going too fast when feeling good on a non-specific training day. Instead of sprinkling in 5:30 miles at the tail end of a maintenance run, I need to save that kind of stuff more for the big, planned workouts.

The goal for VCM is 2:30, or 5:43+ per mile. I'll review my most recent training below and begin logging my runs regularly during this training block.

Training of late:

Sunday: 16 easy with Tim. 6:52 pace over Newton Hills.

Monday: 12 mi MP progression: last 4.7 mi @ 5:42 avg http://connect.garmin.com/splits/467279273

Tuesday: 10 mi 66 minutes easy roads.

Wednesday: Off. Super busy and just didn't have it! Probably not bad to take the day, anyway.

Thursday: 6 x 400 on, 400 off. 70, 67, 67, 66, 66, 65 on 400m float (1:42 avg). 5:36 pace for 5k total.

Friday: 8.5 / 60 min easy. First day of the year on trails! A little dicey out there with some long patches of ice. Almost slid into Pomps Pond! Feeling almost excited for the rainy weekend ahead...should clear everything up for some real trail running!

Saturday: 8.8 @ 6:40 on roads. Ran into Evan twice while he was running long in his prep for Boston. Feeling peppy.

Sunday: 3 mi up, 5k race (15:27), 3 mi easy, 2 mi @ 5:24 tempo, 1+ mi down. 12++ total.

Monday: 8.5 miles / 60 minutes very easy in the Ward Reservation. Very muddy, some areas flooded. Fun way to spend the recovery day after An Ras Mor.

Tuesday: 11 miles, last 6 at 5:54. 68 minutes. Felt really comfortable until I started to press down into the 5:30s. There is a line somewhere between mid-5:40 and low-5:30 that, once I cross, the effort becomes considerably more taxing. May need to start leaving the watch at home on steady-state days to avoid getting excited and pushing the pace like this. First big marathon-style workout coming late this week or maybe this weekend... Warm up 5 mi, 3 x 5k @ 5:45 with 1 mi steady between each, 2 down.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

An Ras Mor 5k Race Report

Might as well get this report done while the memories are fresh.

The down and dirty... 14th place, 15:27, splits were 4:58, 4:59, 4:54, xx.

I linked up with D-Kaz and a few others from the Whirlaway crew at the Dascomb Park&Ride and we made our way down to Boston uninhibited. The weather forecast called for misery, cats and dogs, 15 mph winds, heavy rain, and anything else that might be frustrating to a runner. But, the conditions on the ground actually weren't too terrible. Kaz found us a space at the parking garage behind the Asgard Restaurant which played host to the New England 5k Championships. After a quick stop at the registration tent to grab our bibs and soak our feet, we returned to the van to gear up for an average warm-up.

We decided to run the course, loping casually along Mass ave where I thought the race course would follow. I was feeling mighty slow, and judging by the attitude of my group, we all were pretty pleased with 8 minute miles for the warm up. By the time we returned to the van, I was aerobically warm but the rain had constricted my quads and achilles so I was intentional about warming those areas before starting drills.

Drills done, throw-away shirt on, most of the team assembled, it was time to get to the line. Human congregation is an interesting thing. For a few minutes, dozens, if not a couple hundred runners were ambling back and forth along the street, intentional about not crossing the starting mat which, everyone must know, might disrupt factual reporting of results. Then, because of the time to the start of the race, without announcement or ceremony, the many dozens of runners suddenly halted their warm up activities and moved directly for the starting line. Being my distractable self, I missed the boat on that last move and wound up way back, pushing my way up into the 5th or 6th line of runners.

After a humorously awkward race-start announcement with a brief period of "wait... get ready... just a minute... okay... almost ready now...." the race was off! I had been ready to wail on those first few meters and to secure a spot in a group running about 4:50-4:55 per mile, but instead found myself almost running into a stopped car. I didn't hit the car, but after an awkward first 600m I instinctively I knew I was off the pace by a long shot. I rolled wide left and began moving, but now I was afraid of making too abrupt an adjustment and burying myself in lactate. Thus began my passive-aggressive race tactics.

From here the story gets pretty brief. I passed a bunch of people, but mostly because they slowed down. I hit the mile mark in 5:02 by the official's clock, 4:58 by mine because I didn't start my watch until I passed the first mat. I saw a large swarm of runners probably 10 seconds or less ahead of me, but I just didn't have the courage to chase them down quickly. I ran the second mile intelligently, but again passively, as I hit 2 miles at 4:59. I came alongside former teammate Louie Saviano. He put in a surge to stay with me and I was likewise encouraged to fight for my place and surge past him. (Thanks, Lou!) So I moved on, catching maybe 3-4 more people.

It was no surprise that in the final mile master's stud Mike Galoob came by me. He should be credited with waking me out of my passive 5:00 pace jaunt. I realized that he too was probably not having the perfect race and yet was willing to attack the last mile to make something out of it. I tucked in behind him refusing to allow a gap to open. Suddenly it dawned on me: we're only racing 5k! There's less than 800m left! The ever-important question arose: how do you give all you can in 800m? It dawned on me quite quickly that the answer is: you train for it! Well, I gave it the best I had with the little speed-work in my bank. I closed hard with a 4:54 and a faster last 10th.

Upon finishing I immediately hit the sidewalk to cheer in my teammates. I knew it was a good one for Whirlaway, but I wasn't sure how good. Certainly we benefited by being the toughest, no-excuse, driven bunch around, but we also benefitted by the masses preparing for Boston who probably couldn't justify racing 5k in the low 40s with rain. After all were finished, we ran a 3 mile jog over to the river. Brandon, Sam and I then incorporated 2 miles of 5:20 pace followed by an easy run back in for a 6+ mi cooldown.

Pleased with 12+ on the day. Pleased with finishing 14th. PUMPED with the Open team finishing 1st!!

Next up... well, in the immediate future, I'm not sure. Probably Red's Shoe Barn 5 mile. BUT, on May 25th, I'll be racing the Vermont City Marathon. All training, which I might begin reporting again, will have that race as a focus. It's marathon time.