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.


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


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.


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


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.


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


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.


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

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.


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

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!


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!


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.


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


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.


Off. GI bug got me. Blahhh!


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


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


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!