Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Dark, not-so-sunshiny day

Pretty much the opposite of yesterday with no sun, stronger winds and humidity levels hovering on the uncomfortable side of things. I just got back from a little trip up to Lowell where I ran a nice hilly 10 on the roads in 63 minutes and change with Nate and UML senior-to-be Jay Beausoleil. Given that I was on the track roughly 15 hours earlier, I expectedly felt a bit sluggish for the first few miles, but once the skies opened up halfway through it was like a breath of new life in my clinically dead legs. At that point we were clicking along comfortably at a good clip and all of a sudden I felt great. Funny how that works. I made the mistake of running with a t-shirt on, however, which proved a rather uncomfortable decision by Mile 5 or so and was good for about five extra pounds of water weight on an already soggy day. I seriously could have filled a small bucket while wringing it out afterward.

But enough about me and matters of menial importance. Moving on to more pressing issues, our old pal Pedro takes the hill at Fenway tonight for the first time since leaving town a little less than two years ago. I wish Petey well, but hopefully the streaking Sox can send him back to New York with a sour taste in his mouth. Personally, I'd like to see a Papi vs. Pedro showdown in the bottom of the ninth with the bases juiced and the game on the line, but I don't think our old pal from the Dominican will make it that far. If by some chance in hell he does, however, well, we all know what the result will be. Papi power, baby!

Speaking of Sox/Mets with a game on the line in the late innings, check out this little clip if you have a spare minute or two. It's rather painful to watch but a work of pure brilliance at the same time. And no, you won't get fired for watching it at work.

And that's gonna have to do it for now. Pardon me while I go perform a rain dance in hope that they get the game off tonight. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:

Once a Red Sox, always a Red Sox.
- Saint Pedro

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Bright, sun-shiny day

Nice one out there today with sunny skies, a light breeze and less-than-oppressive humidity. This morning was an easy 5 miles from home in 36 minutes just to loosen up for tonight's workout in Waltham. Originally I had planned on heading up to Keene this morning for a mini three-day training camp with old BAA pal Mark Miller, but due to circumstances beyond immediate control, those plans fell through yesterday. We've rescheduled for a few weeks from now for what promises to be a rousing good time, complete with some monster mileage, varying degrees of debauchery and more than a few games of high-powered Wiffle Ball (two words, capital B - John C. said so).

In other news, keep your eyes open for an Alistair Cragg interview soon to appear on This lad is perhaps second fastest white boy in the world at the moment and was one of the more enjoyable interviews I've done recently, so be sure to check that out as soon as the fine folks over at NYRR deem it ready for public viewing.

Well, I've got a little over an hour before battling the imminent Route 95 traffic that will inevitably extend my afternoon voyage, so I'm gonna go cut me some watermelon and catch the first half of French and Spanish war before I head out. Hope all is well with everyone out in blogland (Jorge, I think this is one word, but perhaps we should check with John to be sure). Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

The hills did not beat me, Brian Sell beat me.
- John Korir

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Training Log (6/18-624)

SUN - AM: 15 miles. New England Championships 5K at MIT, 1st, 15:53. Basically, I won the battle of attrition at the humid hellhole otherwise known as the Steinbrenner track. Not a bad effort really coming off a Mayall-like episode of insomnia. See last week's exclusive post for a more detailed recap.

MON - AM: 2 hours, 17 miles. 93 degrees, 85 % humidity and due to various circumstances I was forced to run at 11:30. Finished with enough salt caked on my hat to season a small steak.

TUES - AM: 42:15, 6 miles. Solo from home, starting off at a snail's pace and working down to that of an excited turtle. PM: 60:25, 9 miles. Headed out to Holyoke to run with Matty-Mulv at the Ashley Reservoir. Nice run with a good pal and fellow Sox nut on a pleasant (albeit humid) evening in Western Mass. Never short on drama in towns west of my neck of the woods, a toothless local lady offered us an extra Big Mac for dinner while we were stretching in the parking lot after the run. Luckily, I remembered what my mom told me about taking food from strangers and we wisely settled on grabbing some grub at Friendly's instead.

WEDS - AM: 35:15, 5 miles. Felt like total ass from the time I rolled out of bed until Mile 1 or so, at which point feelings of anality thankfully subsided. PM: 12 miles. Meat-n-potatoes workout of 3 x mile w/3:30 recovery at Bentley. 4:50, 4:53, 4:47, followed by 4 x 200 w/1 min recovery in 33.38, 32.42, 31.57, 31.73. Pretty easy workout given the copious amounts of recovery. Closed the last mile with a 69-second final lap, which was encouraging.

THURS - AM: 46:40, 7 miles. Out in 24:30, back in 22:10 w/Adam Ten out at my beloved Rail Trail. 5:58, 6:02, 5:58 for the last three miles. PM: 95 minutes, 14 miles. Easy run in the Lincoln Woods with Terry, Matt Ely, Voce, Greg Ward and a fella named Eric. Probably a touch under 14, but the AM run was just over 7, so it all evens out.

FRI - AM: 67:55, 10 miles. Solo to start, then picked up Adam and McKay for the second half of the run. PM: 27:45, 4 miles. Solo from home before an unexpected late night at work. 6 Driscollesque strides to spin the wheels a bit. With the apocolypse apparently approaching outside, I headed out a little earlier than planned, just to make sure I got my run in if this was indeed the case.

SAT - AM: 79 minutes, 11 miles. Concurrent mileage and intensity increase, along with recent lack of sleep and accompanying fatigue are proving to be a potentially lethal combination. This brilliant revelation led me to wisely scratch this morning's tempo in favor of an easy run on the roads with Voce and Pat Callahan. Good run, albeit a tired one. I'll push it a bit tomorrow.

WEEK TOTALS: 110 miles, 11 runs. Good week with a decent race on Sunday considering the conditions. I got through Monday's long run as best I could and I'm happy with Wednesday's workout for this stage of the game. Things are slowly starting to click and my confidence is growing each week. 110 marks a new weekly mileage PR and although tired, I seem to be handling the jump well. The plan is for another couple weeks of building strength through higher mileage before bringing it down a bit for Stowe on July 16th.

Quote of the day:

Life is pain princess. Anyone that tells you differently is selling something.
- Dread Pirate Roberts, The Princess Bride

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Planning ahead

This morning marked our training group's much-anticipated marathon meeting with Kevin in an effort to introduce and coordinate training schedules for the big day on October 22nd. In short, I believe it went quite well.

Our program was developed a few years back by the original Reebok Boston maestro, Bob Sevene, and from what I understand it's the same basic schedule executed with great success by a lot of Sev's marathoners, including Blake Russell, Rusty Snow and a host of others. This 12-week plan more or less emphasizes a weekly PMP (proposed marathon pace) run, long run and occasional longer intervals. On the whole, the thing seems pretty sound and obviously has produced some outstanding results. Some minor tweaking will inevitably take place to account for individual differences and preferences, but I more or less plan on following the it to the T in my quest for a Trials qualifier.

Along with my (Insert Sponser Here) Boston teammates Ryan, Brad, Pat and Voce, there's a large local contingent gearing up for the annual Windy City waltz and training for this sucker with this motley crew promises to be an exciting time in itself. There's a great deal of enthusiasm amongst us here in New England and above anything else I'm just pumped to be a part of it. The energy is contagious. I know deep down that if I can make it to the starting line in one piece, the result I'm looking for will take care of itself.

And that does it for tonight. Time to head home and get my tired ass some much-needed rest. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

Don't count the days. Make the days count.
- Muhammad Ali

Friday, June 23, 2006

By Jorge!

First time was apparently the charm for Jorge Torres tonight in his 10K debut at the U.S. Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis. Delayed a day because of inclement weather, the diminutive dynamo from Boulder blasted away from a couple of Olympians to post a tactical win in 28:14 and some change. Word on the always-informative and ever-accurate letsrun message board had him at a 58-second last lap, putting him 4 seconds up on marathon-minded Meb and 5 seconds ahead of a resurrected Dan Browne. Simply an outstanding race on many fronts. Hats off to Senor Torres for earning the win and the other two folks for an apparently fine race. Some good stuff right there.

As exciting as the 10K looks to have been, the men's 5K appears to be the race of the night, however, as the top four finishers were clustered between 13:14 and 13:20 with Kenyan transplant Bernard Lagat taking the cake. The great equalizer here appears to be the lanky one's middle-distance background as he edged out Matt Tegenkamp and Dathan Ritzenhein, both of whom ran significant PR's despite being edged out at the line. Old-man Goucher wasn't too far behind in fourth, as another one of Alberto's Oregon Project experiments had himeself a fine evening. Impressive race on a number of fronts, but particularly for Teg who has quietly lurking behind the scenes for most of the spring. Hopefully this is a sign of some good things and fast times to come later in the European summer for American distance runners.

Lastly, a notable result from the men's 1500 meter heats was the rousing return from the dead of former national champion Gabe Jennings. The gnarly one ran 3:39, by far his best race in six years better spent riding bikes across South America, reaching never-before attained levels of personal spirituality and playing around with a 2:19 marathon debut. He catches a lot of shit for his wacky ways, but good for him. Whatever hallucinations he still has of himself being successful at the highest levels of this sport apparently haven't faded yet. Rock on with yo' wild self.

And that's gonna do it for tonight. Late night here at work and an early morning workout on the horizon don't leave me a lot of time for much else at the moment. Take it easy all.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Friendly reminder

A well-respected teammate of mine politely reminded me while we were cooling down from our workout Wednesday night that I haven't been updating this sucker too much of late. Well, it probably doesn't take a mechanical engineer to realize that he was dead-on in his observation. With that being said, I've decided to make yet another valiant attempt to get this blog back on track, but it will have to wait until this evening. I'm running (pun intended) a wee-bit late for a little run-dezvous at West Hill with my good pal Adam Ten, who is hoping to be the top Mzungu finisher at this weekend's Fairfield Half Marathon.

That'll do for now, take it easy.

Quote of the day:

Awful tired boss. Dog tired.
- John Coffey, The Green Mile

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Exhuming the enigma

To my fellow aspiring runners out there, this is a great interview. I suggest reading it. That's it for now.

Quote of the day:

It’s such a lonely singular closed off life. I wanted to be in the big races and be where the best people were. I never felt intimidated by it. If anything, I was more intimidated by my training and that piece earlier when we spoke of me not being able to triangulate and nail the day through my training. But, I was never intimidated. I was always eager to get into races with big names and the best.
- Mark Nenow, former American Record holder, 10,000 meters

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Training Log (6/12-6/18)

SUN - AM: 53:55, 7 miles. Very easy from home with Oscar and Carrie who are taking up temporary residence in my basement for a few days. Legs feel just fine and dandy after yesterday's shit show at Bentley. Closing in 81 will have that effect. PM: 71:20, 11 miles. My guests headed back to Beantown for the afternoon and I was well short on the day's mileage quota so I booked it out to West Hill to run with A-Ten before work. Hit a few 6:10's on the canal before calling it a day. So much for recovery.

MON - AM: 67:20, 10 miles. Hit up the Rail Trail this morning and took it pretty easy. 4 short hill charges and six strides were about the only thing even remotely strenuous about this run. By the time I got home I was pretty wiped however, but then I checked out Terry's log for last week and realized I'm just being a huge pussy and have nothing to complain about.

TUES - AM: 28 minutes, 4 miles. Slow to start then sub-7's for the last 3 miles. I can't remember the last time this happened before noon. PM: 10 miles. Workout at Bentley, as follows: 3 sets of 400m/400m/800m with 1:30 recovery after the first 400, 2:30 after the second one-lapper and 2:30 between each set. Kevin said to start off at 72 and work down to around 70 if feeling good. Actual: 71, 70, 2:22; 70, 69, 2:21; 68, 68, 2:19. A little fast on the last set but pretty much hit this one dead on. More importantly, I felt good doing it, which is certainly encouraging.

WEDS - AM: 66:30, 10 miles. 6:32 first mile, 2:55 for the last 1/2 mile. Judging by those splits, take a wild guess who I was running with. PM: 28:40, 4 miles. Knee hurts, plantar/heel are sore and quad is tight, but otherwise I felt just dandy.

THURS - AM: 5 miles. 15 min jog up to HC, 6 x 200 meters w/1:10 recovery in 31.12, 32.78, 32.12, 32.41, 31.97, 32.12, 10 min back home. Those times were certainly wind-aided. PM: 85:30, 13 miles. Self-inflicted double-dose of the 6-mile loop (40:30/37:40) at the Sterling Rail Trail + 1 mile easy (7:20). Nice night, solid run.

FRI - AM: 71:40, 10 miles. Out in 36:45, back in 35-flat. Quite possibly my slowest Rail Trail 10 ever, and I'm OK with that.

SAT - AM: 47:10, 7 miles. Solo from home with 6 Driscoll strides thrown in there to stretch the legs out a bit. Hopefully I can salvage a decent race tomorrow. Closing in anything faster than 81 will be considered 'decent' at this point.

WEEK TOTALS: 91 miles, 11 runs. Good week of training, last one below 100 for a while. I think I've acclimated well to the past few weeks of increased mileage and feel good about the direction I'm heading in right now. I'm going to race the 5K on the track at New Englands tomorrow, then plan on packing away a few good weeks of high mileage before racing the Stowe 8-Mile on July 16th. Hope these early days of summer are treating everyone well. Take it easy.

Quote of the day:

Distance running at an elite level is a bitch. It is hard work. You have to enjoy being tired all the time. If you expect to achieve at a level that is truly elite, then you can not live like a normal young adult in their 20's. Why? It requires abnormal behavior in order to achieve abnormal goals.
- Kevin Hanson

Monday, June 19, 2006

Running on fumes

Three-and-a-half hours of a humidity-induced lack of sleep last night, a scorching 5,000 on the track this morning (the weather, not the time, believe me), an hour sitting in traffic on the way home from MIT this afternoon, and unneccessarily late NBA Finals/Sox games tonight find me still at work in front of a seemingly brighter-than-usual oversized flatscreen monitor, clinically useless yet somehow still functioning, albeit in zombie-like state. This will likely remain the case until A. my head hits the keyboard from shear exhaustion or B. we reach our appropriately named drop-dead final deadline of 1:30 a.m. My best guess is the actual outcome will likely fall somewhere in between those two proposed scenarios, but perhaps that's just me starting to hallucinate. Who the hell knows for sure. All I do know is that although the air outside still bears resemblance to Hades, I'm confident that I'll sleep like a wintering bear when my head hits the 'ol pillow sometime in the wee hours of the morning. Tomorrow's proposed long run, however, is still very much up in the (humid) air at this point.

All complaining aside, the aforementioned race turned out pretty well this morning. I won a watered-down (given the conditions, perhaps that's poor word choice) 5K this morning at MIT, although I nearly called Kevin at 8 to scratch my tired, sorry ass. But alas, at 11:15 I found myself on the starting line of the New England Championhips with a handful of other poor bastards for the start of a steamy 5,000 meters.

Kevin advised our 5,000 meter triumvirate of Mark, Erin and myself to forget about any pre-race plans of running for a fast time and simply try to finish in one piece. With temps already over 90, that amendment was just fine with me. Mark and I traded off laps for a mile or so before he fell off pace and I ended up running solo the rest of the way. From there I just tried to keep a fast enough pace that would allow me to escape with a win. My time was a relatively slow 15:53, but a win's a win and I'm not gonna complain too much about those. They're few and far between these days.

It was a good day on the whole for the (Insert Sponser Here) Boston team, with Erin taking top honors in the women's 5K, Joe mowing down the field in the 800 and Roland winning the 1,500. It was fun to be a part of it all and exciting to watch my teammates run so well. That's what it's all about.

Quote of the day:

I feel like doing something cerebral tonight. I think I'll go see Nacho Libre.
- Kevin Curtin

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Pardon the fluctuating appearances while I experiment with making a few renovations to this place. No major changes to speak of, just a little cosmetic work really. Feedback/suggestions are always welcome.

While I'm at it, here's a few things worth noting:

* A nice little article here on fellow Philosophy major turned running writer, Kenny Moore. He's by far the best wordsmith that fans of this crazy sport have ever read, and for a young buck in the business such as myself, the quality of his work is certainly worth trying to emulate. In fact, at this point in my journalistic running pursuits, it seems Mr. Moore and I have followed a pretty similar path, which is both eery and encouraging to me at the same time. Now I just need to make an Olympic team.

* Speaking of my own journalistic running pursuits, in addition to my current editing duties at work, I'll be taking on a twice-a-month running column for the T&G, which I'm looking forward to immensely. Hopefully, I can help stir up some new excitement in what has become a relatively dormant running community in Central Massachusetts. It will certainly be no easy task, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.

* For all the mountain goats out there, I enjoyed this article on your boy Paul Low from Amherst. Say what you want about these ultra-distance mountain running freakazoids, but the bottom line is that this guy trains hard. Very hard. I met him last year after he thoroughly whooped my ass at the Mt. Wachusett Road Race and enjoyed some good conversation as we descended the mountain on an easy cooldown. He's a quality bloke if I do say so myself.

* If you ever happen to find yourself in the Worcester area, visit this place for brunch and be sure to devour an order of pattecakes. You won't be disappointed.

* My latest project outside of the whole running/writing/working realm of things is teaching myself Portugese. I just picked up a book from my neighborhood Barnes & Noble and plan on expanding my linguistic horizons during my post run/mid-morning crash-on-the-couch sessions. The language isn't all that radically different from Italian and Spanish, both of which I already speak, so hopefully I can pick up on things fairly quickly. Who knows, with a little luck maybe I'll be able to charm a beautiful Brazilian girl in the near future. OK, make that a lot of luck.

* I'm not usually one for watching soccer at any level, but this year's World Cup has piqued my interest. Upon collapsing on the futon after my morning runs this week, I've giddly flipped the remote to ESPN and ESPN2 to take in the day's futbol action. I'm fascinated with the passion displayed by the players on the field but perhaps even more so by the fans in the stands cheering for their home countries. They're absolutely nuts - these people truly live for this stuff. Hell, as I was driving home from my run at West Hill this morning I passed an SUV adorned with Brazilian flags and other wacky paraphernelia. Now that's awesome. The games themselves, in my rather uneducated opinion, have been phenomenal thus far. Even though they just squeaked by Croatia in their opener, the boys from Brazil really impressed me with the fluidity of their play. I felt as if I was watching a well-choreographed dance. It was beautiful.

And that's gonna do it for now. Time for some tea and dessert while I watch the Sox attempt to bounce back from last night's 12-inning backbreaker. Take it easy all.

Quote of the day:

On some days the rain falls hard, on other days it falls gently, and on some days it does not fall at all. But in the final analysis, the process cannot be rushed, and we must wait patiently for the natural order of events to run its course before we can admire the finished product.
- Legendary Japanese coach, Kiyoshi Nakamura, as paraphrased by John Kellogg in Kemibe's Run Strong (with that being said, buy the book)

Training Log (6/4-6/10)

SUN - AM: 1:57, 17 miles. First run from Ryan's new pad in Hudson and it was a doozy. Good company, comfortable pace and nice trails that aren't nearly as hilly as those at the old stomping grounds. Ran the last two miles or so on my own, finishing up with 6 Driscollian strides on the roads.

MON - AM: 57:10, 8 miles. Solo jaunt on the roads from home on tired legs. 7:26 to start, 6:40-ish pace by the end. This loop is a touch over 8 miles, but I'm guessing yesterday was just south of 17, so it all evens out. PM: 27:45, 4 miles. Loosened up after a stiff first miles. 3 sets of short skips-n-bounds on the grass afterward.

TUES - AM: 28:20, 4 miles. Nice morning for a run. Woke up somewhere around Mile 3 or so. PM: 10 miles. Track workout with the team at Bentley, which I didn't butcher nearly as bad as last week although I still have some work to do on hitting pace. Tonight's assignment was 4 sets of 800 meters-100-meter jog-300 meters with 3-1/2 minutes recovery between sets. Kevin said to start at 2:28/50-ish, see how that felt and go from there. Hit times of 2:26/50; 2:27/49; 2:23/48; 2:22/47, so a little fast on the whole but managed to remain in control throughout. The 800s felt smooth and the pace on the 300s didn't feel nearly as awkward as last week. Mark, Brad and I took turns sharing the pacing duties, which seemed to work out well for the three of us.

WEDS - AM: 72 minutes, 10 miles. West Hill was so washed out even Adam couldn't run fast today, which was of course good news for me. PM: 28:30, 4 miles. Still raining, and a hard rain at that. And to think I actually wanted to live in Oregon.

THURS - AM: 79:10, 12 miles. Double dose of the Hodgie-San Saturday morning 6-mile shuffle, only on Thursday, slightly faster than a shuffle and sans Hodgie. First loop in 40:35, second in 38:35 w/4 Driscoll strides at the end of each one. Solid run.

FRI - AM: 68:50, 10 miles. Rail Trail 10-spot all by my lonesome....out in 35:05, back in 33:45. Legs are rather tired. I wonder if they know what they're in for tomorrow night.

SAT - AM: 30 minutes, 4 miles. Abbreviated Hodgie-San Saturday morning shuffle, actually on Saturday this time, with Hodgie and seriously no faster than a shuffle. PM: 9 miles, Boston High Performance Series 3000 meters. First outdoor track race in a lil over 2 years and boy did it show. Ran 9:03, which is the slowest 3K/2-mile I've run since high school. Goal going in was 8:45/70-sec pace and while we weren't hitting those splits, I was running pretty steadily in the lead at 71-point per lap for much of the race. With 600 meters to go business started to pick up, so I tried making one last-ditch effort at a big move but I was out of gear changes by that point. Everyone and their mother went by me at the bell, closing in 64-66 while I tied up like a tight shoelace and finished my last 400 meters in 81 seconds. Yes, you read that right, 81. And believe me, it hurt like hell. Winning time was 8:48 and I staggered home in 9:03. Yes, I lost 15 seconds in one lap. Yes, that's fucking embarrassing.

WEEK TOTALS: 92 miles, 11 runs. OK, so I scaled things back a little this week, more just to let the last few weeks of heavier training set in than to actually freshen up for Saturday's 3K. I have no plans to taper or rest up for anything until the Philly 1/2 on September 17th and Chicago on October 22nd. Everything up until then is just a means to those ends.

Although I'm not too thrilled with how the 3K turned out this past weekend, there are still a few positives to take out of the experience. My strength is improving every week and I felt strong clicking off 71-72 second quarters, so those were both good signs. I obviously can't change gears right now, but looking back at my last few weeks of training, I probably shouldn't expect to be able to. A few well-timed workouts from Kevin over the next few months should change that. I'll be concluding my abbreviated track season this coming Sunday with a 5K at the New England Championships at MIT and despite the recent shit show, I'm feeling pleasantly optimistic.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Coming soon (I swear):

* Last week's training log.
* How NOT to race a 3K.
* A few paragraphs of outspoken opinion and witty banter.

Not that any or all of these supposed forthcoming entries will make up for my infrequent posting of late, but they'll have to do for now. If anyone is still checking in regularly, I sincerely apologize. Outside of running in and around 100 miles a week, I've been too tired to do anything else that requires more effort than crawling back into bed after my daily toil. And lately, even that routine act has become a gargantuan feat of strength. With that being said, I'm shutting this sucker down and crashing at my current location here on the 'ol (well, new actually) futon. Goodnight.

Quote of the day:
I know I'm getting into good shape when I wake up tired and go to bed very tired.
- Brendan Foster

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

OK, forgive the corny title of this long overdue entry, but while I was running back and forth on the 'ol Rail Trail in Sterling Thursday morning I got to thinking a bit about heroes - what constitutes one, why we have them and more specifically, who mine are. It was a quick way to kill 80 minutes - an enlightening 80 minutes at that - so enlightening, in fact, that I feel those thoughts are worth sharing here.

So what is a hero? Well, I suppose it depends on who you're asking. For me, a hero isn't necessarily some super-human being who is capable of out-of-this-world accomplishments with the snap of a finger. In fact, most of my heroes are just the opposite - everyday Joe Schmoes who believe in themselves, work hard, refuse to take no for answer and despite the odds stacked up against them, go on to accomplish extraordinary things. And these aren't necessarily just running heroes, although they take on a great number of these qualties as well. These are life heroes too. So who are these people? More on that later.

So you might be wondering, why are these yet-to-be-named ordinary people I mention above so appealing to me? Well, for exactly that reason. They're ordinary. Just like you and me. My heroes keep me motivated and give me something to aspire to. They instill a sense of hope yet keep me humble at the same time. My heroes help me to realize that anything is possible if you want it bad enough. And work hard enough. And sacrifice enough. Their examples are worth emulating. They might not always succeed in what they're doing right away, but that never stops them from coming back for more. See where I'm going with this?

Well, if not, let me get a little more specific. Most of these people I know personally, some of them I don't. But regardless, I've taken at a little something from all of them as I make my way through this journey called life.

Stefano Fraioli. My nonni (grandfather), my main man and best friend. I've never met a more sincere soul or harder worker. If I can live up to be half the man that he was, then I did pretty good for myself.

Mario Fraioli. No, not me, but the original - a.ka. my Dad. He taught me that nothing ever gets handed to you. If you want something, you gotta go out and get it yourself.

Bernarda Fraioli. My Nana. This woman just won't quit. At anything. Whenever I feel like giving up, I just think of her and my attitude changes quickly.

Bill Gaudere. An all-around great guy who took me under his wing when I was just getting started in this crazy sport back in high school and he's been there for me every step of the way for since. Bill's as ballsy as they come and sports some pretty spiffy PR's despite having dealt with diabetes his entire life. A true inspiration.

Hodgie-San. My running mentor/all-around good friend who answers all my crazy questions and most importantly enjoys a good brunch. Hardworking and as humble as they come until you meet him on a starting line somewhere. Then he just turns plain nasty, as one should when it's time to butt heads.

Karen Boen. My college coach and one of the toughest people I know. She'll not only make you a better runner, but a better person as well. If she told me to run through a wall, I'd do it.

Bill Rodgers, Steve Jones, Frank Shorter, Emil Zatopek, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Rob De Castella, Ron Hill and Buddy Edelen, just to name a few. The list certainly goes on. Old school running heroes baby. These guys (and gal) just threw it out there, pushed their bodies to the limits and enjoyed doing it. Better yet, all of them were pretty unheralded in their earlier years and then ran on top of the world after years of consistent hard work. My kind of crew.

Teammates, past and present, and anyone else that I've ever had the privelege to run with. I try to take something from everyone I've ever traversed a mile with and use it in some way to help improve myself as both a runner and a person. These are the people who truly keep me motivated. Not to exclude anyone, but when ordinary guys and gals like Nate, Casey, Pat, Ed, Terry, Adam Ten, Driscoll, Katie G., Carly, Brendan, Oscar, Carrie, Miller, Ben, Matt and Brett Ely, LaRosa, Ryan, Justin, Paul Ryan, Roland (and a bunch of others I'm unintentionally forgetting, sorry!) go out and pop big races, nail down qualifiers, set PRs and the such, it gets me pretty fired up unlike anything else. We're all molded from the same tissue. We all help each other out in one way or another. I just keep thinking to myself, "If they can do it, then I can sure as hell do it too."

Quote of the day:
So somewhere in lap two, with the pace starting to slow some, I surged a wee bit to take up the lead. It was like 'Hi, Molly (Huddle), number one 5k runner in the nation! Hi, Cack, All-American 50 million times over! I’m Katie Gwyther, and I'm just going to go in front of you two now if you don’t mind! I know I will see you guys again in the future, but for now I am just going to pretend you aren’t there.'
- An email update from Katie Gwyther, describing her mindset during her 5,000-meter prelim race at NCAAs last Wednesday. Some good stuff in this quote, learn from it.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Training Log (5/28-6/3)

SUN - AM: 1:49:10, 16 miles. Probably closer to 17, but whatever. Met up with two of my West Hill cronies at the usual gathering spot for some tempo and long running all rolled into one. Likely the most painful way I can think of to kill two birds with one stone, but I successfully managed to do both. After 27 relatively tame minutes the three of us started rolling along on the canal, covering the next 5 miles in a brisk 27:15 before Driscoll and I threw in the premeditated towel. We dragged our sorry asses back to main loop while A-Ten silently laughed at us and ripped off another fast 5 miles. Yep, he's a showoff, and a fit one at that.

MON - AM: 59:15, 8 miles. Met up with Hodge and Greg Ward at the Rail Trail this morning, anticipating an ugly deathmarch in a humid hellhole but escaping with what equated to little more than a steamy stroll. I'll save my complaints for another day. PM: 5 miles. 2-mile joggy jog up to the turf field at Holy Cross, 3 sets of drills-n-strides, 2 miles back home. First foray into this little routine and wouldn't ya know there was a fairly attractive female making her way around the track as I was frog-hopping my way across the field. I think it's fair to say she was more amused than impressed.

TUES - AM: 34:40, 5 miles. Drove out to West Hill to get a few miles in with Driscoll and A-Ten before heading to Hopedale and attempting to conquer the Uncommon Common for brunch. Due to a number of extenuating circumstances, all three of us gave up before we started. This is unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated in the future. PM: 11 miles. First track workout with the (Insert Sponser Here) Boston crew since way back in February and boy did it show. The black and white of it reads like this: 2,000 meters in 6:11; 1,200 meters in 3:31; 4 x 400 meters in 67, 66, 68, 66. 3-1/2 minutes recovery before and after the 12, 90 seconds between 4's. See this entry for a more complete rundown.

WEDS - AM: 83 minutes, 12 miles with Driscoll. Back to West Hill for the first, second, third, FOURTH day in a row! If it weren't for the world-class training partners and close proximity of quality post-run brunch spots, I'd have been sick of this place way back in April. PM: 44:50, 6 miles. 29 miles in the last 24 hours if I did my math correctly. Took this one nice-n-easy and did some serious thinking, which isn't too hard when you're running this slow.

THURS - AM: 55:20, 8 miles. West Boylston Rail Trail - where you're likely to find me running when I'm not traversing the trails at West Hill. Took it pretty easy this morning but finished up with 6 snappy strides and 4 hill charges to work on my form a little bit. PM: 35:45, 5 miles. A not-so-quick jaunt before heading into work. Legs had about as much life in them as the dead bird I saw in the middle of the road.

FRI - AM: 70:30, 11 miles. If you guessed West Hill as my run of choice this morning, then you guessed right. I was having A-Ten withdrawals and needed a third fix this week of no slower than a 6:30 per mile pace from the first click of the stopwatch. As usual, I wasn't disappointed. PM: 28:45, 4 miles. Managed to out-run the approaching monsoon, which is no easy task when moving along at the leisurely clip of 7:11 per mile.

SAT - AM: 12 miles. Met up with Brendan Prindiville at Fresh Pond for some longer strength work. My plan was for 3 miles @ 5:20-25; 2 miles @ 5:15-20; 1 mile @ 5-5:10 w/3 minutes recovery between all. However, a miscommunication between myself and Mr. Prindiville led my workout partner to believe that we were doing a straight 6-mile cutdown tempo, so needless to say when I stopped at 3 miles and he kept going, it threw us both for a loop, literally and figuratively. I blame the rain. Anywho, after hurdling canines and swimming through puddles at at a metronomic 5:18 clip over the first 3 miles, things went awry. Baffled, I jogged for two minutes before deciding to give chase to New Haven's next great oral surgeon, covering the last 1.7 miles of the loop in a quick 8:40. I ran through the finish line to the 1/2 mile mark and after a brief break, booked it back to the start/finish line in 2:26. A bit of a clusterfuck, but when all was said and done I still got in a touch over 5 miles worth of solid work.

WEEK SUMMARY: 103 miles, 12 runs. Very good week on the whole. Managed to mess up both workouts to a certain degree, but I guess as far as mistakes go they weren't all that bad. I'll be racing the 3K on the track at the High Performance Meet on Saturday night - my first outdoor track race in a little over two years - but more than anything I'm just pumped to toe a starting line again and finally let one rip. It's been a while.

Quote of the day:

I ran 29:06 for 10K and wasn't even the fastest guy on my street. None of us knew how good we were. None of us knew how bad we were. We just all thought, 'If he can make the Olympic team, so can I.'
- Steve Flanagan in a great article from last week's Denver Post