Thursday, August 13, 2015

Summer update

This summer has been a good one from most angles! I survived Mt. Washington, and we'll leave it at that. A competitive race up the cute little rock pile will have to wait for another year (hopefully next!) and I'm looking at this year as more of a learning experience. It was super hard, as I'm assuming it was for all mere mortals. I finished knowing I'd given it all I had and I was really hurting afterwards, and especially so after running back down. To recognize my hip/IT band managed that kind of 18 mile day showed me I can train about as hard as I want, although doing so still requires maintenance in the form of consistent hip and glute exercises. It was really fun to camp out the night before with the likes of Alex, Dan Princic and Pat Ard. The latter two had a lot of experience to share and their passion for the race is contagious. So even though I ran 1:28-and a lot of change, I know I want to go back for a second take.

Right after that race Lauren and I headed to Colorado for a week-long adventure through Denver, Boulder, Ft. Collins, Rocky Mountain National Park, and a couple days with friends in the Breckenridge area. I ran tempo on Magnolia Road outside of Boulder which was a check on the bucket list and had a bunch of generally good runs out there at elevations ranging from 5000 to 9000 feet. We caught up with distant, though incredibly welcoming family in Ft. Collins and reconnected with second-cousins who offered their homes to us on our next visit. We caught unbelievable views in the Rockies and I'm fighting the itch to book another trip back there over Christmas break to ski some of those bigger mountains. There's too much to say about this trip, but in word, it was incredible.

Our first day back east was moving day and I began shuttling boxes to our new home 5 miles north in S. Lawrence. A few days later the boys helped us move the larger stuff and like that, we were settled right in. I miss some of my favorite loops from Ballardvale but I don't miss the crazy traffic constantly buzzing by, among other minor inconveniences. A month into our stay at our new home we are definitely happy about the move. I've created some new loops and I can run a lot of familiar loops from different places. The track where I coach is 1.5 miles away and the Thursday night pub run is warm-up distance which works out perfectly.

My dad has made tremendous strides recovering from a rare and complicated ankle break and ensuing surgeries beginning last October. He and I agreed to enter a triathlon together and the Borderline Running Club offered a low-key race starting from the N. Andover Common. Did I mention it was FREE? Who does that? So I entered, and won the thing which earned me my choice of beverage and also got me hooked a little on cycling and swimming. I probably never ran more than 25 miles/week this summer but I kept busy on the bike and swam once or twice per week which kept me generally fit. Dad finished, and was even able to run the full 5k a bit over 30 minutes. Now he's down to 25 minutes which he's not impressed by, but I am, all considering.

After that it was on to the Cape with Lauren's family which was punctuated by good food, good wine, and too little exercise of any kind. It was wonderful, if not in the spirit of athletic pursuit. At one point in the summer Alex and I remarked that we had tons of time to prepare for the next race on the NEGP, the Bobby Doyle 5 Miler down in Narraganset. Somehow that time passed really quickly and I realized I had like... 6 days to remind my legs how to run. I did that by jogging a couple of days and running 3 x mile the Wednesday before the race with an average of 5:13 on 400m jogging rest. I knew that was faster than 5M race pace, and that I was probably toast for Saturday.

So, I was toast for last Saturday! I warned my teammates that I better not be 5th man like I managed at Hollis. I ran like a hero for my fitness through 5k and dug deep to run a couple of 5:40s to finish in 27:27. I think I was 8th man but I'm not positive. Upon finishing I came the closest to collapsing after a race as I ever have, but I didn't. I guess I must have run hard? But then I'm reminded of guys who bring that level of pain to nearly every race, and I'm further inspired by those few.

So that's the summer of 2015 in a nutshell. 4th year teaching, my first year as head coach of a HS team, beginning to prepare MVS club runners for Fall racing are but a few days away. Summer isn't over, but it's high time for more structure to my days and with that generally comes greater focus on my part to make the time for real training. I'll be on the bike less and on the track more. I look at it all like hitting the refresh button and, to be honest, 27:30 5M shape is a fine place to start from. I can do a lot with that. I'm looking forward to the challenges ahead and to the friendships and encounters I'll enjoy along the way.

Onward! Always onward.