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


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


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


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


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


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.


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 @
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.