Tuesday, January 31, 2006

2's Day

Remember that massage I was looking forward to this morning?

Well, I sure do, because right now it feels like somebody shot me in the hamstrings. But believe me, this is a welcome discomfort. The back of my legs have been pretty dang tight of late, but I believe Cathy and her evil elbow were able to work out most of my problems this morning. It's been a while since I've had my legs worked on, but with any luck, they'll be back to normal by Thursday. Hopefully, tearing around the track tonight at other-worldly speeds doesn't hinder the healing process too much. I'll find out tomorrow morning, I guess.

Upon arriving home from my hellacious hour on the massage table, I headed out for my standard Tuesday shakeout run around Pakachoag Hill, covering the five-mile loop in 32:55. Other than the aforementioned soreness in my hamstrings, this was a pretty good run. I didn't feel nearly as sluggish as the past few days which is hopefully a sign that things are on the up-n-up. I've been trying to get a bit more rest of late while making sure that I've been eating well and getting enough fluids, electrolytes, etc. in me. My energy levels are slowly picking up, so it seems to be helping.

In other news, it was announced that Alan Culpepper will be joining Meb as a member of the American contingent that will be running Boston in April. As I mentioned in previous posts, this is a great thing for the sport in general, American marathoning and the race itself. Hopefully others will continue to follow suit.

Lastly, I'd like to ask anyone out there reading this who also keeps a blog on this website what the easiest way to put a picture in my profile is. Is it absolutely imperative that I download the recommended software to do so? I'm a bit of a technological idiot, so if anyone out there can walk me through the process, it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a bunch.

OK, I'm off to take care of a few things before heading into Reggie for my weekly dose of speed. Take it easy all.

NOTE: Today's '10 Things About Me" list has been postponed until further notice.

Quote of the day:

"In a nutshell, I start just over there, run 12½ laps and I win over there."
-Australia's Craig Mottram talking after looking at the new track that is being built for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in his native land.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Evening update

As of 8:25 p.m. it's still a bit slow here at work, so I'll take the opportunity to ramble on a lil bit about the relative lack of inactivity that's transpired since my last entry.

After a feeble attempt at taking a short nap this afternoon, I dressed and headed out the door at 4:30 for a short jaunt up the hill to Holy Cross and back, finishing the four-mile roundtrip in a shade over 26 minutes and giving me 12 miles on the day. I was moving along at a pretty honest clip from the get-go and timed a mile on the track at 6:07, which felt fairly comfortable. Compared to my last few runs, this one went surprisingly well and I actually had some semblence of pep in my stride for the first time in a few days. I wolfed down a PB&J along with a cup of tea about 30 minutes before heading out the door, so maybe the carbohydrate-caffeine combo woke my lethargic ass up a bit. Either way, it was nice not to be dragging ass for once, even though I wasn't out there all that long.

Upon arriving back at my house around 5, I got in a quick stretch and did an abbreviated version of my 'abs & uppers' routine before hopping in the shower at exactly 5:31, getting dressed, grabbing my pre-packed dinner and making it into the office with four minutes to spare at 5:56. Talk about cutting it close!

Which brings me to where I am now - designing pages, cropping photos and fitting stories for the Tuesday edition of the T & G Sports page. Ahh, life as the layout editor, a position I have the misfortune of finding myself in three out of my last four days at work, minus a bastard desk shift. A few late nights, but all in all, not a terribly bad existence.

With any luck, I'll be out of here by 12:30 or so and home and in bed by 1. I've got a massage scheduled in the morning which will hopefully help flush out some of the shit that's been accumulating in my legs of late. And that's gonna do it for today, g'night all.

Today's 5 Random Things About Me:
(due to time constraints and lack of imagination)
1. I got kicked out of a bar during Cape Week my senior year of college for being belligerant. Hey, I thought it was pretty funny too.
2. I've never been fired from a job. Yet.
3. When I was an infant I busted my head open by charging full-steam ahead into the wooden TV on the floor at my grandparent's house. This might explain a lot.
4. When I was in eighth grade my school sponsered a Walkathon for Technology. The person who was able to walk the most laps of the school yard in an hour won a trophy. I ran. And I won.
5. On my first day of swim lessons in the second grade I nearly drowned. Needless to say, I never went back.

Mid-day musings

No long-winded intro today, just gonna cut to the chase and get a few things down while I have the chance:

- Ran for 52 minutes this morning, covering about eight miles or so. I was feeling pretty damn sluggish for the first five miles or so, but the last three didn't seem to be as bad. I'm heading into work tonight at 6 and plan on squeezing in a lil four-mile jaunt beforehand. With no race this week, I'm hoping to bring the mileage back up to around 90-95 or so as long as my body isn't feeling any more beat up than it has been lately. Trying to take things one day at a time right now. With that being said, the short-term plan is to get in a solid two weeks of training before racing a 5K at the BU Valentine meet on February 11th. 3.1 miles of good racing there will more than make up for the piss-poor 2.86 miles of combined ugliness the past two weekends.

- I've got a few little side projects I'm currently working on, including a feature on Katie for New England Runner and a mensracing.com interview with Jorge Torres. Neither of them will be released for another couple weeks, but keep an eye out for them nonetheless.

- Get your hands on this CD and give it a listen if you get a chance. Good stuff.

- Oh yeah, I might go to New York this Friday to catch Millrose with Hodge and friends. No, Millrose is not a Broadway play, but probably the closest thing to one in my little world. Just gotta find a way to squeeze my workout in and get my ass back to Worcester for work at 4:30 on Saturday. Stay tuned.

And that does it for now. More to come later, including today's Top-10 list, if I have the time. Right now, I'm gonna try and get in a quick nap before the ol' run-and-go-to-work routine. Later fools.

Quote of the day:

I was willing to be just a running bum for a couple of years. [Most guys now] think it's putting their life on hold. I hate that. How can they view that as sacrificing? They're living large.
-Hodge, from this article

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Sunday's a long day

In many respects too, for that matter. For me, it started off with a lengthy run this morning of an hour and 55 minutes with Jimmy down at the Rail Trail in Vernon, CT. We just managed to beat the early-afternoon rain and even though the trail itself was rather sloppy, it beat having to pound out 17 miles on the roads. Afterwards, we grabbed a quick brunch at the Diner off Route 84 before I made the trek home to rest a lil bit prior to heading into work at 6 for a long night of inaction in the sports world. Which brings me to where I am now, 11:26 p.m., tired and finally getting around to putting together today's entry.

Not much else of excitement to report, really, but I would like to throw out some congratulations to Nate and Casey on running smokin' half marathons today down in Austin. Nate ran about a three-minute PR to take ninth in 1:03:44 and Casey bettered his best time by about two minutes, I believe, finishing 12th in 1:04:41. Way to roll fellas!

An update from yesterday's track action. Ryan and Justin were successful in their Sprint Medley quest yesterday at the Boston Indoor Games, as Team Raytheon took first in the corporate relay and scored eight Pats' tickets in the process. Not a bad day's work.

Also, I've added some more links to the side of this page, including some training logs along with other website I enjoy perusing from time to time. Give 'em a look when you get a chance.

Lastly, for today at least, kudos to ESPN2 for doing an admirable job covering the BIG. Granted it was a slow Sunday afternoon on TV, but they devoted two hours of coverage to the meet, spotlighted the distance races nicely, and the commentary wasn't all that bad for once, or so it seemed that way at least.

And that does it for this entry. I'm still feeling pretty run-down so I'm gonna head home and sleep till whenever I feel like waking up tomorrow. Hope everyone out there had a good weekend. Take it easy.

Today's 10 Random Things About Me:
1. I'm wearing sandals right now and it's January. That's awesome.
2. I'm allergic to bactrim. I really don't even know what the shit is to be honest.
3. I had broccoli for the first time ever two night's ago. It did nothing for me.
4. I still hold the mile and 5,000 records at Stonehill, but only for another two weeks, if I'm lucky.
5. I have the same birthday as Joe Dumars. Helluva basketball player. (Joe, not me)
6. I'm blind as a bat without my glasses. Take my word for it.
7. I got an A- in dance class while in college. All credit goes to my most awesome partner - definitely would've failed if it weren't for her. Trust me.
8. I ran 11:22 for 2-miles while drunk as a freshman in college. I had to kick to pull out the win over Papile.
9. The name of the village in Italy my family comes from: Fraioli. How cool is that?
10. I ate three triple-cheesburgers, two large fries and drank two medium sodas in one sitting at McDonald's my sophomore year of high school. I can say with certainty that I'll never do that again.

Quote of the day:

Look at how strong he was able to finish the race. That's a fall full of distance running paying off right there.
- ESPN2's Larry Rawson announcing the finish of the men's 600 meter's at yesterday's BIG

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Anyone seen my wheels?

Because whatever was left of 'em seemingly fell off the wagon last night at BU. My race in the mile was, in a word, embarrassing. I ran - if what my legs were doing even resembled that - 4:24 to place next-to-last in my heat and 33rd overall. For the record, it was my slowest mile/metric equivalent since my freshman year of college when I ran 4:06 indoors for the 1500 meters. To reiterate: embarrassing.

I'm not sure what happened - in fact the more I think about it, the more questions pop into my head - but I fell apart so badly over the last two laps of this race that it made last week's disaster look like a work of art. Going in, I was hoping to run around 4:16, and despite a slow start, heavy legs and a lot of jostling, I was still on pace through 3/4's. I never felt good at any point of the race, but my legs locked up so bad over those last two laps that I don't think the Jaws of Life could have opened them back up. Kevin clocked (probably with a sun dial) my last 400 in somewhere around 70 seconds. For the third time: embarrassing.

Needless to say, my last two races have been rather frustrating, mainly because I know deep down inside me that neither are indicative of the level I know I'm capable of running at. It's disheartening to be running the same times I was running as a college freshman while knowing that I'm in a helluva lot better shape than I was back then. My training has been very consistent over the last few months and the way my workouts have been going lead me to believe that I should be racing faster than I currently am. But why aren't I? Wish I knew the answer to that question.

I've been feeling a bit run-down over the past 10 days or so, but I hardly view that as an excuse. Perhaps I'm still getting used to Kevin's system and running workouts twice a week with my new teammates. I haven't raced less than 5K, or on the track for that matter, in almost two years - maybe I'm just readjusting to the overly anaerobic demands of mid-distance races. It could just be one big mental block, but who knows for sure? All I do know is that whatever the reason for my recent racing woes, I'm definitely in a bit of a funk right now. I'm confident, however, that sooner or later things will start clicking and my times will start dropping. As Billy Mills used to say: Believe, believe, believe!

OK, enough whining about my misfortunes, they'll eventually sort themselves out. Driscoll ran a great race last night and obliterated my ass with a 4:15, dropping seven seconds off what he ran at the Armory a few weeks back. It was an up-and-down day for our Reebok Boston crew, as Ryan ran courageously in the 5K, hanging with the chase pack through a 9:03 2-mile before finishing up in 14:40. I really believe he's gonna bust out something sick on the track this year. He's due. Mark ran well in an earlier heat of the 5K, finishing strong in 14:54, while Joe Ciollo looked super strong as he ripped a 1:54 800 to place third in his heat.

After the races I headed over to T. Anthony's for some pizza with Oscar and his old pal Steve Slattery, who ran away from the field in the 3K with an impressive 7:51. He came back to rabbit the mile in 1:58 through 800 as Max Smith of Providence broke 4 min for the first time. Slatts said he's planning on running the 4K cross trials before heading back to Boston for U.S. Indoors, and I do believe that he's going to turn some heads at both races. Keep an eye out!

On my way home I was still feeling a bit hungry and reached in my pocket for a GwythBar, courtesy of Quinnipiac's own resident Betty Crocker - a.k.a. Katie Gwyther. While they haven't hit the mainstream market just yet, these tasty little treats are an excellent energy source for anyone looking for a quick pick-me-up and could be giving Mr. Clif a run for his money a few years down the road. On a side note, the same Katie ran like a badass today in the 3K at BU, finishing a close 3rd to Princeton's Clack Ferrell in a huge PR of 9:18. The official results haven't come in yet, but after this weekend I do believe that her and Driscoll can lay claim to the title of the Terrier Classic's Fastest Couple.

And it's now 11:43 and I'm set to head home from work. I'm feeling rather wiped, so a good night's sleep is in order before running long tomorrow morning at some point. For time's sake, I'm going to bypass on tonight's "10 Random Things About Me" list and put that off until the next entry. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

We are what we continually do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Fast Friday

That's gonna be the idea at BU tonight as I race the mile on the track for the first time in almost two years. The last time I contested the event, I finished DAL (dead-ass last) in my preliminary heat at DII Indoor Nationals in March of 2004, crossing the line in a disappointing 4:15. Although I ran a huge negative split of 2:12/2:03 that day, I still got my doors completely blown off over the last three laps, which was pretty embarassing to say the least.

Tonight, however, such a race (minus the DAL finish) would be rather encouraging. I know I'm not in the same kind of track shape that I was two years ago at this time, but I'm feeling pretty good about my current level of fitness and a good race would definitely be a step in the right direction. After being injured all of last winter, its exciting just to get out there and mix it up again in a competitive atmosphere. As long as I continue to stay in one functional piece and get some more races under my belt, I know the training will eventually take effect and my race times will start to drop. Keep checking back here as I chronicle my 2006 mission to run faster than I ever have before.

And that does it for now. I don't plan on getting back here till rather late tonight so a race report should follow sometime tomorrow. Hope everyone out there has a good start to their weekend. Take it easy.

Today's 10 Random Things About Me:
1. My favorite color is blue. Any shade.
2. I wear my watch with the strap on the outside of my wrist. Even my nice watch.
3. My socks always match. Always.
4. I got scared while watching Jaws when I was 7-years-old. I've refused to watch it again since.
5. I didn't start eating peanut butter till I was 22-years-old. I now eat it every day.
6. I was Steve Urkel for Halloween when I was 10-years-old. I even painted myself black.
7. I have bunions on both of my feet. Gross, I know.
8. I wanted to join the Marines out of high school just so I could go to boot camp. Looking back, I'm kinda glad I nixed those plans.
9. I hit an inside-the-park homerun when I was in Little League. They didn't give me the ball.
10. I may be the only person ever to have his RecSpecs broken in half while playing basketball. Not even Kareem can say that, I don't think.

Quote of the day:

It sounds corny, but they all had this dream...He was able to formulate his dream and then went out and accomplished it.
-Bob Sevene on Bill Rodgers

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Twas the night before Terrier....

...and all around the track, not a miler was kicking yet, not even the top seed named Slatts. Spikes were in place, but their laces left untied - it would be 19 hours before the starter's gun was fired.

Back in Auburn this young lad sat in his bed, talking race strategy with his buddy Driscoll - Quinnipiac's flaming red-head. Seeded 29 and 30, the two were ranked last in their heat, but little did the eight others know that these two would not be beat.

The pace would be fast, of this there was no doubt, but when these two cats crossed the line 1-2, all the others would simply be left to pout.

*Yes, I realize I had way too much time on my hands to come up with that little jingle, but hopefully a lil prose goes a long way. That being said, tomorrow night is the Terrier Classic at BU and it looks as if both Driscoll and myself will be in the same heat of the mile. As of now, I'm seeded 29th and Big-Daddy Driscoll checks in at #30, making us the last two seeds of heat three. We at the WHTC are taking this as a slap in the face and are planning to silence the haters.

All kidding aside, it should be a great race and hopefully my red-headed friend and I can push each other to a great race. After last weekend's 3000-meter disaster, my focus is getting a good race under my belt and letting the time take care of itself. With that being said, I hope to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:16. I'll update with a detailed race report sometime on Saturday, but if you're feeling itchy and can't wait to see how the race went, check in here for results.

On another note, keep an eye out for the men's 3K and 5K results tomorrow night. I expect both races to be rather fast. My teammate Justin will be giving a 15-lap tour of the BU indoor facility at 3:25 while Ryan will toe the line at 5 p.m. for the Championship edition of the 5K. Both are in great shape and ready to rip an indoor PR.

And that will do it for the meat of this entry. Starting today, however, I'm going to list a "10 random things about me" at the end of each entry until (hopefully) I reach 100 - the goal is to fill some space as well as provide a lil bit of entertainment for those of you reading this. I got the idea from some other blogs that I've been reading of late and thought it was a fun idea. Enjoy!

Today's 10 Random Things About Me:
1. I'm the oldest of four kids.
2. I'm a 'Jr.' and have no middle name.
3. I wear contacts lenses.
4. I don't wear deodorant on race day.
5. I had a mohawk in the second grade.
6. I took ballet my senior year of college.
7. I have a tattoo on my right shoulder.
8. I've been speaking Italian as long as I've been speaking English.
9. I lived in Eugene, Oregon for six weeks until I went broke, got homesick and moved back to MA.
10. My first job out of college was at McDonald's. No word of a lie.

Quote of the day:

The more I hurt, the harder I ran. The harder I ran, the more wonderful it felt.
- Following The Flame, p. 384

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Worn-out on Wednesday

And I'm not sure why really, but I rolled out of bed this morning feeling like I got run over by a Mack truck. I was planning on running early before going up to Lawrence to visit my mom in the hospital (she's in for a few days trying out a new experimental procedure for her ailing back), but my sis called at around 9:45 and said she was making the trek up there around 10, so I opted to tag along with her instead. It turned out to be a fortuitous turn of events, and I was able to get in an easy 10-mile jaunt before heading into work at 5:30. Surprisingly enough, I didn't feel too bad once I got going and my legs seemed to bounce back fairly well from last night's workout, which was certainly a welcome sign. Speaking of said workout, Ryan, Justin and I did 10 x 300m w/90 seconds recovery, hitting all of them between 46-48 seconds. Everything went pretty smoothly and we were very consistent throughout - except when Ryan decided he wanted to chase down Jen Toomey and brought us through 200 in 30 flat...something about Ryan and HBG's, I guess. Ahh, he'll never learn.

And that does it for tonight. It was quite busy here at work so I wasn't able to ramble on as much as I would have liked. OK, time for me to head home and get some much needed sleep. G'night all.

Quote of the day:

I have no regrets. Of course, you're always thinking, 'I wish I would have done this, I wish I would have run a little faster.' That mentality is what keeps an elite athlete going anyway.
-Bob Kennedy

Well said.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Early entry

I've got a little bit of time on my hands, so hopefully I can make good use of it with this entry. Today is Tuesday, and in my mixed-up lil world Tuesday is synonymous with track. Practice is scheduled for 7 p.m., and perhaps the only shred of good fortune about working out so late (for me at least) is that I essentially get the whole day to catch up on any outstanding little projects that I've neglected the rest of the week. I'm fortunate to be in a work situation where I have an understanding boss who graciously gives me Tuesdays and Fridays off so I can make it into Boston for workouts - and since the earliest I'll typically go into work is 5:30 p.m., having my weekend mornings freed up for races usually isn't too big a deal. When a conflict does arise, however, my supportive co-workers at the T&G are usually pretty good about negotiating a switch. It's a nice little situation to be in. I also happen to enjoy my job and the company of the people I work with, which never hurts either. Believe me, I lucked out on all fronts - everything just sorta happened to fall into the right places at the right time. Funny how life works out sometimes.

A few snippets of possible interest:

- As I mentioned earlier, I'll be heading to Reggie in a little while for practice. My legs are a bit fatigued from the combination of racing in spikes on Sunday and sliding around in the snow yesterday. I felt a bit sluggish on my run this morning so hopefully everything comes around for tonight's session. I'm not sure what Kevin has on tap, but with most of us racing again this weekend it probably won't be too much more than a glorified stride session. Here's to hoping, anyways.

- Some pics from the GBTC Invitational this past weekend courtesy of Alison. As always, she did an excellent job!

- When my head starts rolling around like this in a race, chances are that I'm in a world of trouble. No exception here - this was the beginning of the end for me this past Sunday.

- Major marathon announcement yesterday. I'm still trying to make sense of the whole thing, but on the surface it seems like a good idea. In my opinion, any efforts made to promote the sport on an international stage while fostering higher levels of competition can't be such a bad thing. It's almost like distance running's modern-day version of the Triple Crown, which is kinda cool in a way. Maybe Vegas will have fun with the concept...on second thought, probably not. Either way, it's a step in the right direction and hopefully will take on the same sort of significance that winning the "triple crown" of Boston, New York, and Fukuoka had back in the 70s and early 80s.

- In completely unrelated-to-running news, I'm currently watching Giada De Laurentiis do her thing on The Food Network. Hell, I don't even know what she's cooking, but I don't really care. Their slogan: More than just food. I couldn't agree more.

- OK, back to running. I'm racing the mile Friday night at BU. After Sunday's debacle, 4:16 would be a step in the right direction at this point. Entries will be posted here sometime this afternoon - solid meet shaping up, give 'em a look if you get a chance.

- I hadn't checked for a few days until just now, but it seems like all the Brandon Moen posts have been removed from letsrun. This is probably a good thing.

And that's likely gonna do it for today. Time to get my shit together and ride the Mass Pike all the way into Roxbury for some indoor fun. Maybe I'll have some more to add later, but I wouldn't count on it. Adios for now.

Quote of the day:

He quickly settled into a mesmerizing pattern of hard training, reading, eating simple fare, sleeping like a wintering bear and talking to the pots and pans. "I'm going nuts," he informed himself happily in the mirror one morning.
Once A Runner, p. 162

Monday, January 23, 2006

Manic Monday

I kid, I kid - just the opposite actually. Not much going on today because believe it or not, we got snowed on - again. Just three days ago I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt while running 200-meter strides on a clear outdoor track. This morning I trudged through my normal 53-minute, eight-mile loop in just over an hour. By mid-afternoon it was close to 40 and the shit was already starting to melt so I was able to run on clear roads. The moral of the story: Mother Nature is indeed a whore.

Other than the less-than-ideal weather conditions neither of my runs was all that bad today, really. My legs were expectedly a bit beat-up from yesterday's 15 laps of pure unadulterated torture, but not nearly as wrecked as I anticipated them being. I found myself in a bit of a quandary in regards to today's daily mileage, however, because I wanted to make sure I recovered from yesterday's race but still get in a little bit of volume without taxing myself for tomorrow night's workout. I opted for the 'ol 8/4 double, keeping the pace relaxed on both runs, and I believe that I was able to effectively accomplish what I set out to do. I'm not sure what Kevin has on tap for a workout tomorrow night, but with most of us racing at BU on Friday night I can't imagine that it will be anything overly taxing.

And really, that does it for today. Sadly, there was no real other excitement to speak of maybe except for my mom whipping up some homemade mac & cheese for dinner. Pathetic, I know. I'll have a bit of time on my hands tomorrow and will hopefully be able put a little more life into my otherwise dead entries of late. G'night all.

Quote of the day:

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.
T.S. Eliot

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Race report

Well, I said it was gonna be a slugfest and boy did I get walloped.

I finished 5th in 8:44.95 at the GBTC Invitational 3000m held at Harvard University. Going into the race I was hoping to run around 8:30 or so, but it just wasn't in the cards today. I'm a bit disappointed, but I guess ya gotta start somewhere. I don't think the time is indicative of my current fitness level, but as KcoachB would say: "It is what it is."

As for the race itself, it was kind of an odd affair. We went out a bit on the slow side (at least it felt that way at the time!) and the lead pack went through the mile in around 4:32 or so with Jeff Caron and myself about 2-3 seconds back. It stayed that way for another two laps or so before I quickly fell apart and Caron proceeded to gap me pretty good. I never felt good at any point of the race but those last four laps were just plain u-g-l-y.

No worries though, I'll bounce back.

Up front, Ryan had a great race and pulled away from Oscar and Nate on the last lap to win in 8:26. He's racing the 5K on Friday night at BU and looks ready to rip off a big one. I'll be racing the mile and am looking forward to avenging today's disaster. Justin had a good race today himself in the 'ol eight-lapper and ran 4:11 to nab an indoor PR. Watch out for him over the next few weeks! Former Brown standout Pat Tarpy won the race in 4:04 and led wire to wire to boot. It was pretty impressive.

And that just about does it for today - I'm pretty wiped. Until next time, take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That's the real glory. That's the essence of it.
-Vince Lombardi

Saturday, January 21, 2006

No regrets

A rather uneventful day, not too much to say. Met up with Hodgie for an easy 50 minute run this morning on the Sterling Rail Trail, then headed home for a few hours of rest before heading into work. Quite a busy night here in the office, so not much time to write - I sincerely apologize.

GBTC Invite tomorrow at Harvard, 3000 meters - should be a slugfest. Just gotta run hard from the gun and see what happens.

No regrets.

Race report to follow tomorrow night sometime. 'Night all.

Quote of the day:

If I'm still standing at the end of the race, hit me with a board and knock me down, because that means I didn't run hard enough.
-Steve Jones

Friday, January 20, 2006

Free Wi-Fi!?!....Fuuuuuggedaboudit!

Reporting from the plush easy chairs at the Barnes & Noble Café in Millbury, but actually publishing from the more cost-effective comfort of my own already-paid-for internet connection at home, I bring to you the pre-weekend edition of the daily runaround.

I’ve received a good amount of feedback on recent posts – all of which is greatly appreciated, by the way – and wish to use this entry to expand upon some of the suggestions that have been made to me in regards to what people would like included in my blog. Luckily for those of you reading this, my aim here is to please - so as they say in showbiz, here goes nuthin’…

Paul left a comment on yesterday’s entry that he would like me to get “painstakingly detailed” about my training and racing – well, brace yourself then, cause this is gonna hurt.

With this being a down week in my current four-week training scheme, along with the first race of the season only two days away, my past few training sessions have been relatively low-key mileage/intensity wise. Today I had the fortune of not having to work, so I was able to utilize the extra time on my hands and get two runs in on the day. Upon waking up this morning, I downed a cup of green tea along with a chocolate chip cookie and covered my standard 4.25 mile road loop from home in 27:40. I felt unusually lively this morning, but I reckon it had something to do with the unseasonably warm 55-degree temperature and accompanying sunshine. About five hours after the completion of this morning’s little jaunt, I hopped in my car to meet Ryan at his house in Clinton for a quick stride session of 6 x 200m w/90 seconds recovery on the Clinton High School outdoor oval. After a 24 minute warmup on the (gasp) trails, we tightened up the laces on our trainers and got to work. The goal was to hit between 31-32 seconds for each half-lap circuit and we were very successful in our conquest, recording times of 31.95, 31.68, 31.59, 31.26, 31.14 and finishing up with a wind-aided 30.77 effort. We cooled down for 15 minutes back to Ryan’s place, capping off a roughly seven-mile afternoon session.

Tomorrow’s plan is for an easy 40-50 minute run with Hodgie-San in the morning to cap my week at 75 miles. Sunday afternoon will mark my first indoor track race in almost two years as I toe the line for a 3000-meter free-for-all at the GBTC Invitational hosted by Harvard University. My goal for the race is to shake off any competitive rust and hopefully PR in the process. I’m feeling good about my current level of fitness and believe that my current all-time best of 8:33 is in serious jeopardy. Just gotta go out, let it rip, and what happens, well, happens. Check back here Sunday night to see how it all went down.

Now, I dunno if that sort of detailed summary hurt any of you, per se, but it damn near killed me! I’m not sure if I have the time, energy, and/or patience to go into that many specifics about my training on a daily basis, but I’ll do my best to keep ya’ll informed enough to the point that you’re able to hopefully take something out of it. (n.b. I keep my daily log on athleticore.com – registration is free, so give it a whirl) Believe me, I’m not claiming that there’s anything revolutionary or inherently special about what I’m doing with my own running, but I truly believe that by sharing training ideas, etc. we can all help each other out in our efforts. As always, gimme some feedback and lemme know how I’m doing in that respect.

OK, enough with all this running talk….for now, at least. Time to move on to one of my other passions in life: The Boston Red Sox.

Theo Epstein is back in town - that is, if he ever really left in the first place. The team issued a statement yesterday saying that the former general manager will return to the organization in a “full-time baseball operations capacity” without releasing any other specific details. Apparently, we’ll find those out next week. So what does this mean exactly? Good question. Here’s my own disjointed take on the matter: Theo got sick of Larry “Legend In His Own Mind” Lucchino not letting him do his job as GM, so he “resigned” to show ’ol Larry his dissatisfaction. Here’s where things get comical. Lucky Larry, thinking he has all the answers, promotes two clueless ass-kissing schmucks to take over as co-general managers to carry out his will without fear of objection and/or criticism from a GM who actually knows baseball. Well wouldn’t ya know that after about three months of dismembering his band of “idiots” while yielding nothing in return (other than landing Josh Beckett from Florida in the midst of a fluke trade), Lucchino finally comes to the realization that neither he nor the two clowns he hired knows anything about putting together a winning baseball team. Theo, who entertains plenty of lucrative offers both in and outside of the baseball world while all this ridiculousness is unfolding, just sits pretty and enjoys his temporary stint of unemployment. Why? Hey, they don’t call him Boy Wonder for nothing. The bottom line? Theo never really went anywhere - he didn’t have to. All along, the young stud knew that it was just a matter of time before the real Idiot came to his senses. Genius, if you ask me.

Speaking of genius, I'm gonna wise up and get my ass to bed at a reasonable hour after working till well past 1 this morning. Here's hoping for a good start to everyone's weekend. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:

A minister once tried to get me to go to church, but I told him I am as close to God when I'm running around White Rock Lake as I'm ever going to get.
-Following the Flame, p. 329

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Lets play "tag"

To be honest, I really don't know what this term means in blogging lingo, but Anne was kind enough to comment on yesterday's entry (I suppose this is probably what it means to get "tagged", but someone please correct me if I'm wrong) and suggested I produce a "list of 5" next time I'm looking for something to write about. Well, surprisingly enough, that next time is right now, so I'm gonna start off this entry with a few little lists of my own. Who knows where it will go from there...enjoy!

My 5 Favorite Songs of All-Time:
1. No Rain, Blind Melon
2. Here Comes The Sun, The Beatles
3. Lit Up, Buck Cherry
4. Ramble On, Led Zeppelin
5. The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel

Being sent to a deserted island for a year, the 5 things I'm taking with me:
1. Running shoes
2. Book of matches
3. Batch of mom's baked goods
4. Laptop
5. Once A Runner

5 movies everyone should see:
1. Forrest Gump
2. Rocky
3. The Matrix
4. Garden State
5. The Princess Bride

And due to time constraints placed upon me by the rigors of my job, that's gonna do it for this entry as far as listings go. Lemme see what else I got before I call it a night...

* For a good laugh - or scare, depending on how you look at it - take a gander at this clown's website: http://www.brandonmoen.com
- See related threads: here and here.

* The GBTC Invite is shaping up to be a good meet on Sunday. It looks as if I'll be in the Invitational 3000m, which will be a pretty solid field when the heats get lined up properly. Entries can be found here.

* Last but not least, a friend of mine sent me these pictures of Haile Geb breaking the 1/2 marathon world record this past weekend in Phoenix. Check 'em out!

And it's now 1 a.m. and time to get the hell out of here. Until tomorrow, take it easy.

Quote of the day:
Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anybody expects of you. Never excuse yourself.
- Henry Ward Beecher

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Back in business

It's 10:14 p.m. and hopefully by holding off until now to administer this blog's daily dose of ridiculousness, I've armed myself with enough material over the past 30 or so hours to keep everyone entertained. Let's see what I got...

...starting with last night's workout. At the conclusion of yesterday's entry I was on my way into Reggie for some interval-laced fun on perhaps the country's fastest 200m indoor track - well, that is when its not being simultaneously inhabited by 45 people running anywhere from 23-5o+ seconds per lap. Believe me, it's a recipe for disaster.

Speaking of disasters, that pretty much describes how my own workout went. The assignment itself was pretty standard: 5 x 1000m w/3 min recovery, going through 800 at 5K pace and then picking it up a smidge over the last lap. Well, let's just say I failed miserably at the picking it up part. I made the unwise decision before we got going to try and run off of Ryan & Justin's pace, which was 2:16-18 through 800 and finishing up in around 2:49-50 or so. That works out to around 14:10-or-so 5000 meter pace, which is about 20-30 seconds faster than what I'm capable of running right now. Needless to say, I dug myself into a pretty good-sized hole by the third interval, running 2:56 after dead-on 2:50's for the first two. I took a bit of a shorter recovery to jump in with Mark for #4 and struggled to a 3:02, but managed to rally on the last one and finished up pretty strong in 2:54, which is closer to where I should have been from the get-go. Overall, it really wasn't that much of a disaster - I just need to be smarter about running my pace without getting caught up in what the other guys are doing. Live and learn, live and learn.

Which bring me to today's wacky weather-related running adventures. I'm not sure if I learned anything from them per se, but I am glad that I lived to share my experiences. I stepped out the door for my run this morning to unseasonably warm temps hovering near 60 degrees, along with Armageddon-like winds that hit upwards of 50 mph and rain that seemed to be coming at me from every which angle. There were points along the route where I was barely making forward progress, others where I was dodging branches like Patches O'Houlihan dodges hammers and stretches where I'm still awaiting ratification on a wind-aided world record for the 100m dash. It was actually kinda fun in a masochistic sort of way. So much so, in fact, I went out and did it again six hours later! On the second go-around I managed to power my way to a 7:59 opening mile and close in a 6:20 on the way back. I felt like one of those Emmanuel College track studs pulling their parachutes around Reggie last night, with the only difference being that there was actually a purpose behind my ludicrousness.

Moving on, I filled the time between my runs today with a little shopping sojourn to the Shoppes in Millbury, stopping at Barnes & Noble where I bought this book, written by one of my fellow cronies in the sports department of this newspaper. I also picked up a pair of these shoes for a paltry 30 bucks at Marshalls, which was a helluva find if I do say so myself.

At the present moment, I'm multitasking like a madman - working on this here entry, planning out my next training block, stopping every so often to read a few pages from one of the three books I'm currently reading, all the while listening to a little Simon and Garfunkel and finishing up a cup of tea/slice of mom's apple cinnamon walnut bread as Leno supplies the background noise with countless GW insults and bitchy remarks about how cold it is in LA today. Not that anyone out there really gives a shit, but hey, after yesterday's pathetic entry I needed to extend the life of this one somehow.

And that's gonna do it for today, thanks for bearing with me. G'night.

Quote of the day:

Bill is always a gentleman around his competition. What they don’t know is that later, we’ll be talking about some guy, and Bill will get this look in his eyes, and say, ‘I’m going to fucking hammer him.’
-Charlie Rodgers on his brother Bill

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I gut nuthin'

Talk about drawing a blank. I've been sitting pretty for a few minutes now trying to come up with something to comment on but there doesn't seem to be anything even remotely interesting worth mentioning. So let's see, where to go from here?

Well, the most real-life answer I can give to that question is to the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. We have a workout scheduled for 7 p.m. - our last solid effort before the GBTC meet this weekend. I'm not sure what to expect tonight, but my best guess is that Kevin will have us distance whores run 3-4 miles of intervals somewhere in the neighborhood of 3-5 minutes in duration. This, however, is purely speculation.

Speculating even further, I'm wondering what the over/under is on tonight's total attendance figure at the Reg. Last week there were no fewer than six teams and 35 people on the track at the same time. The odds out of Vegas this morning are a +/- 10 on last week's numbers, which in all likelihood means another three-ring circus in Roxbury. Who needs Barnum & Bailey?

And sadly, that's gonna do it for this entry. I need more material to work with in order to spruce up these entries a bit, so with the day off from work tomorrow, I'll make that my mission and try to stir up some excitement. In the meantime, any suggestions/recommendations are greatly appreciated. Off to practice, take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

You can have all the heart in the world, but it doesn't mean anything unless you've got the legs.
-Lance Armstrong

Monday, January 16, 2006

Monday musings

I've been finding it to be a fairly difficult task of late trying to figure out exactly what I'm going to talk about on a daily basis, so today I'm going to experiment with posting a random list of whatever happens to be floating through my head and comment on it. So without further adue, here goes:

1. It's still pretty damn cold outside. Things are looking up, however, with temps forecasted in the 40's over the next few days. After going from 50+ two days ago to single digits yesterday and today, I'll take anything above 20. With that being said, I'll end my incessant bitching about the weather of late and just deal with it from here on out.

2. The Pats are out of the playoffs - no third-straight Superbowl appearance for our beloved Belichickens. Along with everyone else around these parts, I'm pretty disappointed that things had to end on such a sour note in Denver, but hey, at least Peyton Manning's ass is sitting at home - again.

3. New world-record in the 1/2 marathon this weekend by the one and only Haile Geb. 58:55, or 4:29/mile for 13.1 miles - simply amazing. That pretty much sums this one up.

4. Speaking of 1/2 marathons, the U.S. Championship was held this weekend in Houston. Impressive performances all around, topped by Brian Sell capturing yet another U.S. road title. He's one tough bastard who doesn't get nearly the credit he deserves. Well done Sellbo. Word on the street is that he's running Boston in April, which adds some more depth to a developing American field that already includes Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflizighi. On the local front, two former BAA teammates of mine - Ed Baker (1:05:17) and Pat Moulton (1:05:28) - also ran very well this past weekend in the Lonestar State, finishing 18th and 21st, respectively. Both will be running the Austin Freescale Marathon in February with the goal of nailing down an early Trials qualifier. Best of luck to the two of them!

5. The GBTC 3K is shaping up to be a good one this weekend with Ryan Carrara, Jason Bialka, Oscar Ponce, defending champion Nate Jenkins, the aforementioned Ed Baker, along with a few other local open and college studs all rumored to be taking part. Kevin entered me with a seed time of 8:30, which is in the ballpark of what I'm looking to run, so here's to hoping I get into the Invitational heat and am able to duke it out with those guys for 15 laps. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

6. Not sure yet how I feel about this. The changes seem almost sacrilegious in a way, but apparently need to take place for the greater good of Boston and the surrounding communities. Oddly enough, I don't think the following excerpt from the article holds any shred of validity whatsoever: "The waved start could address the perennial problem of over-hydrated runners relieving themselves on lawns and flower beds in downtown Hopkinton."

And that just about sums up the day's news and excitement. I kinda like how this format worked out, so I think I may use a similar one in future postings unless something absolutely earth-shattering develops and I decide to devote an entire day's entry to it. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated and encouraged. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:
If you add a little to a little, and then do it again, soon that little shall be much.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Better late than never

And the blogging streak continues, barely. Today was a fairly hectic day, complete with a long run in the snow, an awesome brunch, a couple NFL playoff games, six measly hours of work and an hour or so of leisurely reading thrown in there for good measure - not a bad day if I do say so myself. Something had to give, however, and today's blog entry was the unfortunate victim.

Today's long run will go down as one of the more unpleasant experiences of 2006 thus far. After 50 degree temps and a light rain yesterday, three inches of snow and ice combined with a strong wind chill and single-digit temps was a rather large kick in the balls this morning. Ryan and I trudged through the unplowed back roads of Sterling, Clinton and Lancaster for an hour and 52 minutes, covering the same 15-mile course a whole seven minutes slower than we did four weeks ago. Despite the time, it was still a pretty solid effort, but I wouldn't go so far as to use any form of the verb "to run" in describing the activity we partook in.

Speaking of partaking, or lack thereof I should say, Hodgie conveniently bailed on us upon looking at the winter wonderland outside his window this morning. Since I know he now reads this blog every so often, now is as good a time as any to let him know that as a result of his absence, he missed out on Christy Mae's fantastic brunch of french toast, eggs, sausage and homefries. Your loss Bob, hope the pool was warm enough for you!

It's now 11:58 and while I've got some more to say, I need to publish this sucker to accomplish my daily blogging goal by the skin of my teeth. More to come tomorrow, I swear. G'night all.

Quote of the day:
I slept till noon, squeezed in my two runs or an indoor track workout before going to work at the newspaper. Life was good.
- Following the Flame, p. 210

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Saturday night's all right

For the time being at least. The validity of the above statement rests upon a couple of outstanding factors: specifically, the outcome of the Pats-Broncos game and the impending bad weather. Let's face it, either one of these two events go haywire and this evening will be far from "all right" for us New Englanders.

As of 9:03 EST, the Pats are tied at zero and there has yet to be any signs of snow reported in Central Massachusetts, so no wrong to speak of yet. As with all things pertinent to this region, however, that could all change at a moment's notice, so stay tuned.

Jumping around a bit, a few ardent supporters of this blog started their weekends off right at the Gotham Cup held at NYC's world-famous Armory. Mark Driscoll made his triumphant return to the track for Quinnipiac, opening up his season with an impressive 4:22 mile to take second in the unseeded heat behind Nova's Bobby Curtis. Call him fast, or just call him Mark, but whatever you do, don't call it a comeback!...the kid's been here for years! After a long layoff that included not one, but two navicular stress fractures and many months of limited activity, its good to see Milford's main man back on the starting line. Keep an eye out for this guy over the next few months, as his times keep dropping and flaming red hair keeps growing! On the women's side of things, one Katie G., or K. Gwyther if you prefer, dropped a good two minutes off her 5K PR, finishing second to Columbia's Caroline Bierbaum in a smokin' 16:18 to provisionally get her name on the NCAA list...not too shabby!

Speaking of shabby, the aforementioned Patriots are looking a little worn out with 10:35 left in the fourth quarter, as the Broncos are holding steady to an 11 point lead and Troy Brown just fumbled a punt return. On top of this most recent mishap, Brady threw an interception earlier in the game and Vinatieri shanked a routine field goal. Plus, Rod Smith just scored a four-yard touchdown to make it 23-6 bad guys. Not to be the bearer of a pessimistic attitude, but this isn't looking good at all. Speaking of not looking good, the weather outside is taking a turn for the worse, as the winds have picked up and temperature took a 20 degree nosedive in the last hour or so. All of a sudden, Saturday night around here went from looking all right to down right terrible. Such is life in New England, I guess.

Unfortunately, that's about all I got time for right now. Business is picking up here in the office as this game wraps up and I've gotta stay on my toes with deadline approaching. I'll have plenty to say tomorrow, so check back at some point if you catch the urge. 'Night all.

Quote of the day:
I’d rather see a guy out there having a goal and falling short than being conservative right from the beginning. I hate those type of guys. If you lose, at least go down fighting.
-John McDonnell

Friday, January 13, 2006

Following the Flame

A novel by Greg Lautenslager, chronicling the story of an ambitious young runner who will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal of making the U.S Olympic team, including (in no particular order): working as a call taker in the sports department of his hometown newspaper, moving to Eugene, OR for a while, eventually ending up back home, all the while trying to see how fast he can run.

No, its not an early release of my future autobiography.

I ordered this book on Hodgie's recommendation, knowing nothing about the author or his running/writing background. Well, about 1/2 way through the novel I had to do a double-take and re-read parts of the last few chapters to make sure I didn't miss seeing my name in there somewhere. While not perfect parallels, the similarities between Greg's story and my current situation are eerily similar. I even had a few of my coworkers at the T & G read a couple of paragraphs and they literally laughed out loud. It was comforting, in a way.

Hopefully, I can continue to author my own real-life running story and cap it off with an equally successful ending. As they say, "its the journey that matters, not the destination", so stay tuned.

With all that being said, buy the book. It's kinda lengthy, a bit slow going early on, but a good read nonetheless for the aspiring runner. I wouldn't quite call it the second coming of Once A Runner, but it serves to show how a little dream, a big goal and a lot of hard work can go a long way.

Speaking of books worth giving a read...I'm almost done with Lance Armstrong's War by Daniel Coyle. It's a quick and interesting read with some good insight into Lance, Team Postal, the Tour de France and cycling in general, if you're into that kinda thing. Also, not to long ago I finished Mind Gym: An Athletes Guide to Inner Excellence, by Gary Mack. Normally, I shy away from these motivational self-help guides, frankly because I find most of them pretty useless, but this little book was very well written and aimed at the serious athlete. Mack does a nice job offering real world examples as well as some mental exercises that will help you to get your head in the right place. Plus, it got two thumbs up from my pal KG, so give it a look!

(For the record, I own all three of the above-mentioned books and didn't make 47 trips to Barnes & Noble to finish reading them in installments for free. Not that anyone really cares, but just to silence the haters out there. If it's worth keeping on my bookshelf, I'll gladly fork over the dough. Simple as that.)

And that just about wraps things up for today. I'm off to visit my pal Mr. McKeon in Brighton before heading into Reggie for a workout with my 'mates. Catch ya on the flipside.

Quote of the day:

To achieve the impossible, it is precisely the unthinkable that must be thought.
Tom Robbins

Thursday, January 12, 2006

West Hill wackiness

Well, I wasn't there to witness it personally, but Adam Ten reports the following incident from his run this afternoon with resident WHTC groupie, Jeff Hill:

(n.b. edited for length and content)

"so i'm running with jeff and we try the trails, make it like 2 miles before we ditch it and decide to run the canal. so we are running out and back on the canal and he turns back early and i keep going to add on. eventually he meets up with me and he is soaking wet standing there. i was like WTF??? he said a construction worker wouldnt let him run by, grabbed and threw him into the river. i was like hahaha, so we look around, try to get around the river somehow but it curves around a water pipe, so im just like f*ck it, lets just sprint by and see what happens....so i lead off and jeff is right in back of me so i start booking, swerving in and out of construction vehicles and this f'ing bull dozer throws it in reverse, floors it and comes within 6 inches of my knee. all the construction guys are screaming f*ck you asshole, GET THE F*CK OUT OF HERE...i look back, jeff is gone, and i think he gets attacked but then i see him at the medical center running the opposite way. i keep running back and forth to see if he swims across. after a while i give up, run back to the car to go search for him and he walks around the corner soaking wet. he said he was swimming for a solid 5 min to try and cross but it was too deep and too strong a current so he got out and said he ran like a a 60 second quarter and went ape shit."

Now, those of you out there reading this may find such an occurence to be greatly exaggerated and/or even fabricated - heck, I was rolling my eyes as it was being reported to me - but, believe it or not, such a scenario is not all that unlikely when its said to have happened at West Hill. Just last summer, for instance, Adam and I were running on our beloved trails when we were stopped dead in our tracks by a snarling - not to mention unleashed - dog of an unknown species. Eventually, a slightly inebriated man came down the trail on mountain bike and leashed the animal, failing to acknowledge our presence or even ask if we were alright. Anyways, Adam lets him know in no uncertain terms that there is indeed a leash law at the Dam and he'd wise to adhere to it. Well, this man didn't take too kindly to Adam's advice and chased us on his bike, running us off the trail before grabbing Adam and proceeding to strike him on the head while calling him a "little faggy fairy". Needless to say, we've never seen that clown again. It just goes to show, however, that you never know what to expect when it comes to West Hill.

Moving on to my own running adventures today, or lack thereof I should say, I was feeling a bit knackered this morning and ran an easy 10 miles from home in just under 70 minutes. The weather was beautiful, however, so it was nice to revel in the sunshine and warm temperatures before the shit (likely frozen) hits the fan again this weekend. Tomorrow looks fairly pleasant, which bodes well for my morning run and at night I'll be on the indoor track, so if Mother Nature feels like being a whore, then it won't bother me one bit. Come Saturday though, well, here's to hoping she keeps her clothes on.

And that pretty much does it for this entry, except for the quote of the day, which can be found below. Check back tomorrow - you never know what you might find. Take it easy.

To change one's life: 1. Start immediately, 2. Do it flamboyantly, 3. No exceptions.
-William James

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Take time with a wounded hand...

...or wounded knee, if you're Adam Tenerowicz, or myself for that matter. A-Ten is stopping and going through his runs this week with a come-and-go case of ITBS and I'm working on ridding myself of some good 'ol fashioned patellar tendinitis. Needless to say, it made for an interesting run this morning as MacKay had to jump in his car immediately upon our return to the parking lot in order pick up our hobbling, red-headed friend on the side of the road. Five words of wisdom for one of Blackstone's finest, who is undoubtedly reading this entry: heat, ibuprofen, run, ice, REPEAT. Problem solved.

As for my own lower leg problems, they've been pretty persistent for the better part of three or four days now, but I'm happy to report that I may finally have the problems licked. On top of the aforementioned tendinitis - likely caused by a beat-up, worn-down pair of Reebok Road Lite III's that I've been doing quite a bit of running in - I've been experiencing a bit of pressure on a bunion that's developing on my left foot. In a rare moment of innovative ingenuity, however, I cut a hole in the hot spot on my shoe before I headed out the door, and that seemed to do the trick. As for the tendinitis, I put in a shoe order today with my good friend and former roommate, Sean "Mr. Reebok" McKeon, and I should have a new pair of Road Lite's by the weekend to cushion my landings. In the meantime, ice and ibuprofen seem to be keeping the problem at bay (take note of that last sentence, Mr. Tenerowicz).

In terms of running, nothing too interesting to report. As previously mentioned, I ran this morning with 2/3 of my West Hill homies, Adam and MacKay, and we had a good run on the roads through Uxbridge, Upton and beyond - well, for the first 45 minutes anyway until A-Ten's knee shit out on him. My legs were a bit tired, which was expected, but overall I recovered fairly quickly from last night's workout at Reggie - which went pretty well, considering half the battle was running, around, behind, and in some cases through the 30-40 or so other people that were also inhabiting the track. Such is life on Tuesday night though. As for the workout itself, Kevin had us start off with a mile in 4:44, then drop to three sets of 3 x 400m with 90 sec rest between reps and 5 minutes between sets, with the first set being run in 62-63, the second in 68-69, then back to 62-63 for the third set. Ryan and I swapped leads pretty effectively throughout and Mark had a good workout himself running off our pace. I cooled down with current Stonehill studs T$mith and Timmy Cataggio, who looked pretty good doing their repeat K's - a staple of the KcoachB's indoor diet for distance runners. Watch out for these cats!

Jumping around even more, the listing found below this paragraph is a little piece I stole from a message board post on former Haverford runner Brandon Rowe's website. The list itself originated from a recent American Express advertisement found in Sports Illustrated and ESPN the magazine, but its an eye-opening little exercise that will get some wheels turning in the ol' noggin, which is never a bad thing. I filled in the list below with my own answers, but I suggest you give it a whirl for yourself when you get a chance. Heck, post it in the comments section below this entry if you're so inclined.

Childhood ambition: To start at point guard for the Celtics.
First job: Deli slave at Derrico's Market.
Last purchase: Powerbar, some tapioca pudding and a cup of tea from the White Hen.
Indulgence: Dessert of any kind.
Fondest memory: Sitting on the porch with my grandfather, just talking and watching the cars go by.
Soundtrack: Garden State or Forrest Gump.
Retreat: Barnes & Noble.
Wildest dream: Winning the Boston Marathon.
Proudest moment: Giving the eulogies at my grandfather and grandmother's funerals.
Biggest challenge: Patience.
Alarm clock: Usually I'm awake before it goes off, but I set it as a precaution anyway.
Perfect day: Early long run on the trails, followed by a big brunch and a whole lotta relaxing.
Favorite movie: Forrest Gump.
Inspiration: My grandfather.
My life: Ain't all that bad, really, but I'm constantly trying to improve it.

Pretty cool, eh? Well, it's now 11:58 and I've got to publish this post quickly to accomplish my goal of a daily entry. Before I bounce, however, here's today's quote of the day - I'm gonna try to make this a regular feature of this blog. Enjoy!

Success is living up to your potential. That's all. Wake up with a smile and go after life...Live it, enjoy it, taste it, smell it, feel it.
-Joe Kapp

That's it for now. Until next time, take it easy.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Heat wave

Well, it feels like one at least, with temps skyrocketing into the mid-to-upper 40's over the past couple days. No complaints here - anytime I can wear shorts out running in January is just f-i-n-e by me.

Speaking of running, I got in an easy five miles this morning to loosen up the 'ol legs for some track work tonight - not sure what Kevin has on tap for us, but then again I'm probably better off not knowing. I'll just show up and do what I'm told. Consequences be damned.

In terms of my overall training scheme, this will be my last "up" week around 90-95 miles in the current cycle, followed by a "down" week of 70-75 miles, which coincides nicely with the GBTC meet on the 22nd. I'll be opening up there with a 3K, and will be looking to run in the 8:25-8:30 range, which would be the fastest I've ever opened up an indoor season - hell, it would be the fastest I've ever raced a 3K, period. My PR is 8:33, run at this very same meet two years ago. I'm confident enough in my current fitness level, however, to know I can run at least that fast - just gotta go out there in two weeks and do it, simple as that.

In other news, Meb Keflezighi announced this morning that he'll be running Boston this April, which is great news, both for the sport as a whole and the Marathon itself. In the past decade or so, John Hancock has failed to attract many of the sport's top athletes to the race - losing many to the notoriously "fast" London Marathon - so this announcement is certainly a step in the right direction. With Meb's recent commitment to run on April 17th and two top-ten American finishers in last year's race (Alan Culpepper 4th, Peter Gilmore 10th), hopefully more top American marathoners will follow suit and help bring some prestige and pride back to the Patriot's Day classic.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know it's not that simple. There's a lot of behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that goes on for any of this to happen, but what can I say, I'm biased. Being a native New Englander, I'd like to see Boston be the race that get excited about - there's a lot of tradition here. From the stories Hodgie has told me, back in the day Boston was THE race if you were an American marathoner. These guys ate, drank, and slept it - from Hopkinton center, through Natick, up the hills of Newton and back down into Cleveland Circle straight to the finish line. Heck, run sub-2:15 and most years you were lucky to break the top-10. Bottom line, the field was DEEP. For my own selfish reasons, I'd like to see a return to that. Round up the top American runners, check their egos at the door and have them come duke it out. For this to happen, of course, all the right cards need to fall into place, but it seems that they're finally starting to get stacked up properly. Hopefully, the trend continues.

I've got a few little projects that I'd to take care of before heading to practice tonight, so I think I'll finish up this entry with the following quote that just caught my eye:

So what do we do? Anything. Something. So long as we don't just sit there. If we screw it up, start over. Try something else. If we wait until we've satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late.
-Lee Iacocca

Good stuff.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Heading for the hills

I've got a little time to kill before heading out to the hills of Clinton for a night run with Ryan, so now seems as good as ever for a lil update. Originally, I planned on returning to the motherland tonight for a twilight run followed by some pizza and wings at Owen's with the boys, but it's come to my attention that Bergs is still south of the equator, Pat the elder is in Jersey for a few days to test the limits of his respiratory system and Campbell is, well, who knows with him.

That brings me to where I am now: sitting in my bed, pecking away at the keyboard while sipping on the day's second cup of tea and listening to the docile tones of Jack Johnson. Life could be far worse.

Let's see, what else?

Kevin Beck had an interesting post yesterday in his blog - an entry which I seemed to relate to on quite a few levels. Before starting this blog, I unsuccessfully pioneered a web site aimed at entertaining the running public, made a few (albeit infrequent) contributions to this web site, and more or less have been jumping in and out of the online eye of the cyber-running masses since. It all comes full circle here I guess. This blog represents a challenge to myself to stay on top of things for the next year, in all aspects of life - personally, running, professionally, and beyond. It all comes down to accountability, and that's why I've made this sucker public. If I'm slacking, I'll know it - heck, you'll know too, and hopefully get on me for it.

Speaking of getting on things, I've got to climb on my figurative horse and get my ass out to Clinton so I'm not late for my lil jaunt with Mr. Carrara. I'm not working tonight, so the early verdict is that I'll have time on my hands to make another entry later on - unless something slightly more stimulating happens to come along, that is. My advice: check back, you never know what you might find.

Adios for now.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Slow Sunday

The way it should be - on all fronts. Right now I'm sitting at work on a relatively quiet evening in the sports world, which is a small blessing after the three-ring circus in here last night. Now, don't get me wrong, I actually enjoy it most of the time when it's busy on the desk, but every so often it's nice to catch a small break from the insanity. For instance, last night within a 20-minute period right before first deadline, the following events all occurred at once: the four Pats' stories all came over at the same time, nine photos from the game still hadn't been moved, we were still waiting on a Bruins' game story, and about five meathead high school hockey coaches decided that 10 p.m. was a good time to call in results from their 4 o'clock game. Fun stuff, lemme tell ya.

Tonight, however, is not nearly as pressing. My biggest dilemma will be deciding how many columns of the Scoreboard page to devote to the results of the Cross Country Skiing World Cup - I'm thinking two, maybe three, depending if yesterday's Belfast XC results come over the wire. My kind of night.

OK, now that I'm done my whining for this entry, I'll move on to the good stuff...like running. First, my own. After waking up to an unexpected fresh blanket of snow this morning, I headed out to West Hill for a last long run with the boys. Adam took us on quite possibly the smelliest run I've ever been on in my entire life, as we traversed the farm-infested back roads of Uxbridge, Mendon, Upton and Millville. We had a nice run, hit some good hills in the process and got our first glance at the new fad for early '06 - namely, Driscoll's White Snake-esque headband, complete with 80's-style rat tail. It's gonna catch on, I think.

In other running news, American Dathan Ritzenhein had a successful weekend in Ireland, placing third in a big-time cross country race against a tough international field. Ritz is one tough dude, whose courage and fearlessness I admire greatly. In fact, I wrote an editorial chronicling these two qualities of his for this web site. South African-turned-Irishman Alistair Cragg ran well in sixth place and American Pete Julian had a strong race, finishing three seconds behind the former Arkansas standout. Pete is another favorite runner of mine, a model of toughness and courage worth trying to emulate. Letsrun.com had a great interview with him last year before the Papa John's 10-mile, but I can't seem to find a link to it right now. While I try to track it down, however, check out this one here.

Speaking of successful weekends in running, my good pal Hodgie placed 2nd in the 800m among 50-55 year olds on Friday night at the Dartmouth Relays. After all these years, the man is still an animal, take my word for it. A short story: This past spring as I was returning from a nasty achilles injury and attempting my first track workout in months, who shows up to the track to "time" me but crazy 'ol Hodge...in a flashy new pair of Asics spikes no less! Off nothing but a steady diet of 20-minute shuffles in the morning and a few longer weekend runs, he hops on the track, rips off two quarters in 74, an 800 in 2:32 and calls it a day. Incredible! Make sure to check out his web site when you get a chance - it's easily the best running resource on the web as well as a great source of motivation for any aspiring runner!

Well it's now 11:21 and my work here is done. Time to head home and get some shuteye. Until tomorrow, take it easy.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Four-oh, forty

That would be the total number of laps I took around the deserted 200m oval at Reggie last night. Oddly enough, its the first time I've ever done five miles worth of intervals on a track, let alone an indoor one. I'm happy to report, however, that the workout itself went very well and I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of the effort. Kevin had me trade off laps with Mark rather than chase down Justin and Ryan, which in retrospect worked out very well for all parties involved.

The workout itself was 2-mile/mile/2-mile with four minutes recovery between intervals; prescribed pace for Mark and I was 10:10/4:52/10:10. We traded the lead every few laps and our actual splits ended up being 10:06/4:50/10:01 - so a little quick, but consistent and in control throughout. Kevin said he's gonna keep the volume of the workouts up over the next two weeks or so before scaling things back a bit when the races roll around - makes sense to me.

On the way home I made a pit stop to refuel from the day's efforts at the unfortunately named - but astoundingly delicious - New York Pizza on the corner of Mass Ave. and Columbus. My advice: Go there, order two slices and a hunk of bread pudding - you'll be a better person because of it, trust me.

Continuing with my adventurous last 24 hours, this morning found me trekking out to Uxbridge for a nice 50 min recovery run with these clowns. Topics of conversation ranged from indoor track to Andy Barron's purple spandex and crawling babies. Weird. A-Ten started off with us before his fragile body decided to rebel against him, forcing the red-headed Pollack to call it an early day. The plan is to get the group of us together tomorrow for one last run before the two Tribesmen head back to VA for some warm-weather training and Driscoll leaves to fulfill his life's mission of becoming the next Larry Olson. I wish them all the best in their endeavors.

Moving on, the local football squadron has a big playoff game tonight, which is good for two things: 1. a little bit of excitement throughout New England and 2. a long night at work for yours truly. S'alright though, it should be a great game - hopefully the presence of a certain M. Driscoll in the third tier of Gillette, along with the forecasted cold weather, can petrify the pussycats from Jacksonville.

Aaaaaaaand, I'm spent. Time for a quick nap before bowing down to the proverbial man for 8 hours. Have a good weekend.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Scrambled eggs

They're what I had for breakfast this morning, which isn't all that significant except that it was the first time in my 23 years of existence that I actually made them myself - never mind the fact that I didn't start eating them altogether until last year, which is a whole 'nother story for a different day. I'm happy to report that my culinary endeavor went off without a hitch, and as of 1 p.m. EST, my digestive system is still in good working order.

In other news, I had a nice run this morning to shake the legs out a bit for this evening's workout. I'm not sure exactly what we'll be doing, but the other night Kevin mentioned something about longer repeats at 8-10K pace, so we'll see what that leads to. On one hand, I'm not a huge fan of running too many laps on a 200m track, but on the other, it shouldn't be so bad since we're bringing the intensity down a notch. Either way, I'll just show up ready to run and let Kevin handle the specifics.

And that just about does it for now - not much else happening on this end of the screen. Because of the high school meets at Reggie, we can't get on the track until 7:30, so I've got an entire afternoon ahead of me to kill. Productivity will be key. There's a few little projects I'd like to finish up here in my modest basement dwelling, so I'm gonna get cracking on those while I have the chance. If time allows, I may make a post-workout entry later tonight, but if not, check back tomorrow for a recap of today's excitement. Until then, take it easy out there in blogland.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Manny happy returns

In non-running related news, ESPN.com is reporting that Manny Ramirez wishes to return to Boston next year, rather than being traded to Baltimore or the New York Mets. Whether he really wants to stay or we simply just can't ship his ass anywhere, either way it's good news for Red Sox Nation. That's right, good news I say. In an off-season full of trades, resignations, free-agent signings and countless other acts of front-office zaniness here in Beantown, this move (or lack thereof, I should say) could be the glue that holds the Sox together in '06. Am I surprised by any of this? Not in the least. While many are sick and tired of Manny's antics and would be glad to see him go, I've desensitized myself to it. After all, it's just Manny being Manny. Right?

On the running front, nothing too interesting to report. Today was a standard distance day, just an easy 8/5 double to get some mileage in. I was feeling a bit sluggish this morning but bounced back nicely on this evening's little jaunt. Tomorrow night I'll be joining my Reebok Boston 'mates at Reggie for a lil track work, which is always a ripping good time. Seriously.

In terms of my training, I've fallen into a nice pattern over the past 5-6 weeks of steady mileage, good long runs, quality workouts and easier recovery days. Mileage has been three weeks up between 90-95, followed by a down week of 70-75. Looking back at my log, its almost amusing to see how things have taken shape: Sunday, long run/strides; Monday, recovery; Tuesday, shorter intervals; Wednesday, medium long run; Thursday, recovery/strides; Friday, longer intervals/tempo run; Saturday, recovery. Since joining up with Kevin and the Reebok crew, my fitness has really come around pretty quickly. I attribute that to the fact that I'm confident in what I'm doing on a daily basis, but more importantly enjoying it. There's a lot of positive energy among the group and going to practice is motivating in itself. It's been almost two years now since I last competed on the indoor track, so I'm excited about racing again in a few weeks at GBTC and BU and seeing how fast I can go.

Delving deeper into the black hole of training talk, I wanted to post a few links to the logs of a couple lesser-known, but pretty damn good runners from the Boston area that I've trained with at one time or another. Eventually, I'll figure out how to effectively link them on the side of this page for easy access, but until then, give these a click:

Justin Lutz
Nate Jenkins
Ed Baker
Ben Schmeckpeper

I, along with a few other local runners (Terry Shea, Mark Larosa, Jason Bialka, Carly Graytock), the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project athletes, and countless others from around the country, post our logs on athleticore.com. It requires registration, but it's free, so I suggest giving it a whirl.

And that just about does it for this entry...time for me to catch a lil bit of Leno and call it a night. Buenas noches amigos.

Acknowledge the inspiration

Just a quick line to credit one of the major influences/inspirations of this blog, namely Alison. You may not know her personally - heck, I don't either - but you've certainly seen her excellent work at this website as well as this one here. When the time presents itself, I hope to update the links along the side of this page and share a few of the blogs I enjoy perusing on her site.

That's it for now, more to come later. Adios.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ramblings from work

So it's an uncharacteristically busy Wednesday night here at the 'ol T&G sports desk, as most of last night's games were cancelled - and rescheduled to tonight - thanks to the seven-plus inches of snow that we "took on the chin" according to Channel 7 weatherman Pete Bouchard.

So what does this mean exactly? Well, good question. The most blunt answer I can give is that it consists of an influx of phone-calls from scatterbrained 15-year-old girls who some would even go so far to label "scorekeepers" - even though they don't take it very well when you try to tell them that five-plus-two does not indeed equal eight. Oh, the joy it brings me. But alas, I digress.

I had a quasi-productive afternoon, finally making my way to mall in Millbury and returning the last of my undesired Christmas gifts while picking up some new digs in the process. After the mob scene up there the other day, its a wonder I went back in the first place.

Also, I also made my near-daily trip to Barnes & Noble for a cup of tea and some free reading, where I was amused by this month's issue of Jogger's World and an article entitled "What's In" for 2006. Apparently, running on a daily basis is out and sticking to an every other day schedule is the new secret to success. Brilliant! Ironically enough, later in the same issue Scott Douglas authored a fine article promoting the need to run more mileage in order to maximize your potential and bring your times down over a variety of distances. Scott is an excellent writer - and a damn good runner to boot - so I recommend giving those few pages a read if you happen to be passing by a news stand on your lunch hour and have a few minutes to kill. Anyways, the content of this magazine as a whole is completely senseless - yet makes all the sense in the world at the same time - given their target audience of Gallo-walking, fuel-belt wearing, GU-carrying gear bitches. And to think people pay five bucks an issue for this garbage!?! Unbelievable!

And with all that being said, its now 11:50 p.m. and I'm through another night of work, albeit a hectic one. The few short paragraphs I was able to put together in this entry were spread out over the course of almost four hours, so that gives you an idea of the magnitude of wacky-ass calls we got in here tonight.

Until tomorrow, take it easy.

This one's for my fans

All two of them - namely Mark Driscoll and Katie Gwyther, the fastest couple in southern CT. Right now, I'm in the midst of mapping out this morning's 95-minute misadventure, which I'm guessing was a touch over 14 miles. My legs felt surprisingly good less than 14 hours after tearing them to shreds on the 'ol indoor oval, so I'll take that as a positive sign that I'm recovering well - hopefully I can make that same statement tomorrow.

This just in: according to G-Maps, I covered precisely 14.8 miles this morning, which works out to an average pace of 6:27, maybe a bit faster than I wanted to go, but whatever. My fitness is really starting to come around, workouts are going well (more importantly, I'm recovering from them fairly quickly) and I'm looking forward to strapping the spikes back on in a few weeks. As a whole, our group has been looking solid in practice and I do believe that from top to bottom we're going to run pretty fast this year.

That's about it for now. Sorry to cut things short, BUT I am planning on a second update from work tonight, so do check back if you're so inclined. Adios for now.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Middle of the day and I 've got something to say

Well, sorta. Nothing overly philosophical, revolutionary, or even remotely interesting for that matter, but something nonetheless. To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure what direction this entry is going in, but I've got a few hours to kill before venturing into Beantown for practice, so let's see where it ends up.

If anything, I'd like to accomplish one of the intermediate goals I set for myself in last night's entry, namely listing some of my goals for '06 - both for myself and for those of you reading this. So without further adue, here goes:

- Live up to no one's expectations but my own.
- Better both myself and those around me.
- Try different things, meet new people and visit places I've never been to.
- Procrastinate less, accomplish more.
- Keep a balance in my life, stay positive and do what makes me happy.

- Again, live up to no one's expectations but my own. Believe in myself and what I'm doing.
- Enjoy running for the simple act that it is.
- Stay healthy, take care of my body.
- Run faster than I ever have before over the longer distances, more specifically: sub-8:20 in the 3K, sub-14:30 in the 5K and sub-30:10 in the 10K.
- Chicago Marathon, October '06: sub-2:22 debut and a Trials qualifier.
*The accomplishment of these last two will greatly depend on the success of the three that precede them.

- For the third time, live up to my own expectations. (anyone else see a theme here?)
- Seek out more opportunities to write - at work, freelancing and otherwise.
- Make the most of any opportunities presented to me.

And that pretty much sums it up, I think. A lot of these things have been floating around in my head for some time now, but it felt good to get it all down in front of me for the first time - a small accomplishment in and of itself. At second glance, this entry looks like a checklist, but one I look forward to crossing things off of over the next 12 months. Anyways, that's it for now - time to pack up and begin my trek through the snow to Reggie for a lil bit of a workout w/my 'mates. Take it easy.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Dreams, goals and the difference between the two

Thats right, contrary to popular belief, they aren't the same thing. Related? Yes. Synonomous? Not even close.

A few years back, a wise coach taught this young grasshopper that dreams are just that, merely fantasies - goals, on the other hand, are future accomplishments worth striving for. So how do you differentiate between the two? It's as simple as pen and paper - or a keyboard and computer screen, really. Dreams exist in the abstract, mere figments of the imagination if you will. Goals, however, escape from the black and take written form for all eyes to see. Therein lies not only the difference, but also the connection between the two. Goals begin as dreams, but then take form as a definite something to go after and beat mercilessly into submission. It's such a remarkable relationship, they even made a t-shirt out of it (see end of last sentence). Dreams come and go - goals, however, stare you right back in the face and scream one word: accountability.

Those of you actually still reading may see where I'm trying to go with this. I'm a very goal-oriented person, but I am also guilty of being a dreamer - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's a completely logical relationship, in fact, as all goals must start off as dreams. (n.b. I'm also a philosophy major, in case the overall theme of this entry hasn't revealed that already.) But that's neither here nor there, the real purpose of this entry is two-fold. First and foremost, the above paragraphs will hopefully give those of you reading this something to think about and possibly apply to your own lives. Second, and selfishly, these same paragraphs serve as a reminder to myself of my own goals for the upcoming year - going hand in hand with that whole accountability thing I mentioned earlier.

So just what ARE my goals for the upcoming year? Well, good question. The list itself is rather lengthy and multifaceted, but thats OK - all the more things for me to strive for. Ideally, this blog will be a place where dreams become goals and their progress gets tracked.
With all that being said, its time to put my intentions into action.

* Goal # 1 for this blog: 365 entries over the next year - one per day, every day. Simple as that.
* #2: Finish this list tomorrow, as it's now 11:20 p.m. and time to go home from work.

Sorry for the rather anticlimactic ending...but hey, at least I accomplished what I set out to do in this entry, with 33 minutes to spare no less - not a bad start.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

A new year, a new blog...

....or my first blog, really. Being January 1st - THE cliche of all cliches for fresh beginnings - now seems as good a time as any to try something new, hence the reason for starting this blog. The trick, as with many of my other ambitious endeavors, will be actually sticking to it.

Now, with all that out in the open, what can one expect to find here on a (hopefully) daily basis? Good question. I enjoy writing, particularly for an audience, so on one end I will aim to please my readers. On the other side of the coin, I find comfort in putting my own thoughts into words, so this is as much for me as the people who happen to stumble upon this space. Also, running is a very big part of my life - hence the title at the top if the page - so expect a lot of my entries to be centered around and influenced by this highly thought-provoking and philosophical act. Lastly, I consider myself a paragon of randomness, so who the hell knows what else will find it's way in here - all the more reason to check in on a regular basis.

That's about it for now - not for lack of anything to say, but mainly because my work is done for the night and I'm about to head home. With any luck, I'll stick with this little project and update this thing on a regular basis. As with most of life's realities, however, only time will tell.