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

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.