Thursday, August 30, 2007

Frazzled on Friday

7:20 AM - 8 miles, 55:05 - RockPak 8.
Comments: Felt pretty decent given a less-than-ideal night of sleep. Last 3 miles in 6:41, 6:25, 6:01. 5 x 100m incline/decline strides afterward.

It's been a busy week on many fronts, starting with a spike in mileage, which was made all the more challenging while putting in full days on a concrete floor at an increasingly busy store. A handful of unsuccessful attempts at getting all the other important everyday life stuff taken care within a relatively unproductive daily 3-hour window after work, a still unwritten newspaper column and a fast-approaching weekend trip to Oregon for Oscar & Carrie's wedding and you have one frazzled Mario.

Sleep has been the red-headed step child of this crazy week, taking a vicious beating without being totally ignored. My running column, on the other hand, which is due sometime before the clock strikes midnight, has been the completely neglected child and desperately needs some attention. I should probably start packing soon, too.

Did I mention I'm getting on a plane in less than 12 hours?

Quote of the Day

"Going up Mountain Road I wanted to die, and coming back down Mile Hill Road I thought I was going to."
- Greg Ward commenting on his first bike ride over "The Death Loop"

Legendary day

7:45 AM - 7 miles, 43:15 - Rockland 7.
7:10 PM - 5 miles, 40:50 - Westboro.

Comments: AM - Fartlek: 1-minute pickups at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 minutes. Finished up the last mile over Malvern Road in 5:29. Energy levels much better this morning. PM - Easy run from the store with Larry Olsen. Definitely over 5 miles but not quite 6, and I don't do halves, so this of course gets rounded down. Great run - never a dull moment when Larry Legend is around.

I'm officially in survival mode until sometime on Saturday, possibly, and likely, longer than that. Sit tight, I'll be back -- eventually.

Quote of the Day

"This race killed me, but not until the last 3 miles."
- Ed Baker, on the USATF National 50K Trail Championships last Sunday. Fast Eddie came back to life quickly, however, completing an 8-mile tempo run at 5:12 pace just two days later.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Cutting it short

8:20 AM - 6 miles, 44:00 - Bike Path.
Comments: Had my sister drop me off at the barber shop, got my hairs cut, then ran home. Legs felt fine but didn't have the time, energy or motivation to go any longer.

Quote of the Day

"A lot of the racing is mental, a lot of it the damage is done before the gun has even gone."
- Craig Mottram

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Get busy

7:15 AM - 10 miles, 1:08:45.
Comments: New loop from home, gradually picking it up over the last 3 miles in 6:27, 6:05, 5:49. 5 x 100m strides afterward, 1-3-5 on a slight incline, 2 & 4 making advantageous use of gravity.

Busy season is in full swing at PR Running, with cross country getting underway last week and the fall marathon season lurking right around the corner. It's an exciting time to be in the store but it man does it take a lot out of you, well, out of me at least.

My legs are toast, which has about as much to do with running 10 miles first thing in the morning as it does parading back-and-forth on rug-covered concrete for 9 hours afterward. The remedy? Running on soft surfaces when the opportunity allows, a daily icing regimen, kicking the legs up for an hour or so after work and the ever-so-elusive, but ever-so-important good night of sleep.

I need to get to work on that last one, like now. G'night.

Quote of the Day

"Dream big, have faith, and believe that anything is possible."
- Kara Goucher, making her second appearance here in a week

Monday, August 27, 2007

History lesson

8:45 AM - 10 miles, 1:05:00 - Hopedale.
Comments: 3 loops of the pond from the high school parking lot with 3-mile splits of 20:15, 18:03, 19:09. Felt pretty good for once. Got into a nice, steady rhythm in the middle but didn't go too crazy.

I'm not in much of a writing mood tonight, but luckily for you, my loyal readers, I am in a giving one. I'd like to share the following history lesson passed along to me by Grandmaster Hodgie-San, via his colleagues Professor Malmo and Master Po. Let this serve as proof that everything you'll ever need to know in life can be found on


In 17th and 18th century when Shaolin Kung Fu practice was being codified Masters would exchange information through word-of-mouth at Exhibitions. Exciting time it was. Master Igloi to Master Lee-Diard, many different kind Kung Fu. Eventually best Kung Fu methods rise to top. Much information was exchanged through KUNG FU WORLD in Kansas Monastery in the United States.

KUNG FU WORLD have many monks and scribes to make many copy on rice paper. Send writings of Kung Fu Master all around world. Many Grasshopper Read KUNG FU WORLD. Many Grasshopper benefit from writings of KUNG FU WORLD.

In 19th century, monks at KUNG FU WORLD become soiled with stain of Western world -- stain of greed...stain of money. Sell KUNG FU WORLD to highest bidder, sell to evil Monk Ro-Dal. Many evil monk work at new KUNG FU WORLD. Say "Put our writings on check-out stand at grocery store. Sell to bored American housewife, just like GEISHAPOLITAN." Good plan for pocket, bad plan for soul.

One day evil monks say "We need more Yuan, find Kung Fu Master to make false writings to sell to grasshopper." One monk ask, "But is this not against teachings of the Kung Fu Masters?" Young monk get banished from KUNG FU WORLD and false prophet Master Gai Lo-Wei now put writings on rice paper. Master Gai Lo-Wei earn credentials from association with Master Shor-Ter, Kung Fu Champion. Evil monk Gai Lo-Wei abandon Masters teachings and now teach false Kung Fu. Gai Lo-Wei partner Jun Bing-Ham banish all kind Kung Fu: tiger, snake, stork, dragon, hawk, monkey and bear, no longer practice. Now only one kind Kung Fu taught, Penguin Kung Fu.

About same time in 19th century more evil monk see much Yuan make by selling Kung Fu writings, say "I have better Kung Fu, I have New Kung Fu, I have Exercise Physiology to replace Kung Fu." These new EP monks see new Monastery to exploit for Yuan, only now not called Yuan -- now called "Grant Yuan". Monastery system already in place -- American University system. Find gullible sucker with bigger and deeper pockets filled with "Grant Yuan" -- the US Government. These new evil EP monks in white coats put Grasshopper on treadmill, put electrode up backside, have funny mask put on Grasshopper face to steal his breath, to steal his soul. Have Mantis Caliper measure skin, measure fat. Put all information on abacus and make calculation.

Evil EP monks in white coats proclaim, "Old way to measure success is no good, these writings of mine on this rice paper is proof! Time is no longer way to measure success, VO2Max is now the new way to measure Kung Fu success." All grasshopper must pay yuan for New Kung Fu Calculus. All Kung Fu Master shake head, not understand selfish greed of New Kung Fu, not understand selfish greed of new KUNG FU WORLD.

During the mid 19th century and the 20th century evil monks run rampant. Spread their New Kung Fu virus to Grasshoppers across USA. Each year, there are fewer Kung Fu warrior in USA. No more Kung Fu champions. Meanwhile in the rest of the world, monks are teaching old Kung Fu with new EPO Fungus Potion.

One day, monk in CERN Monastery invent new way of printing on ethereal Rice paper. He call Hyper Text Monastery Language (HTML) Another monk Marc Andree-san in Illinois monastery invent way of reading ethereal rice paper with Mosaic looking glass. New way share writings of Kung Fu Masters: World Wide Monastery!

Which bring to 21st century.

Use the World Wide Monastery for good Kung Fu. But be careful, the evil EP monks are busy at work, hatching evil plan to control this World Wide Monastery.

Today, I hear, evil monks at New York Kung Fu Monastery want make New York Kung Fu Exhibition the USA National Kung Fu Exhibition. Evil monks at this monastery for many century ignore American Grasshopper. Say, "Kenya Kung Fu is better, Italian Kung Fu is better, Mexican Kung Fu is better." Master Po ask, "How does American Grasshopper get honor at Kung Fu exhibition at home when evil monks in New York Monastery not invite Grasshopper to Exhibition?"

Why do evil monks now want American Kung Fu Exhibition?

Master Po know answer to this riddle: for these evil monks, it has always been "Yuan". New Mantis Warrior have top Kung Fu honor walk earth from Morocco Monastery to America. Evil New York monks hatch plan to lure this Warrior to New York Exhibition, then sell TV rights and keep all Yuan for evil monastery. All other American grasshopper be damned.

Grasshopper of American monasteries must unite and fight the evil monks of the New York Monastery. American Kung Fu Exhibition must go to monastery that have for centuries support for local Kung Fu. New York Monastery must be shunned until evil monks are routed and monastery show long-term commitment for American Grasshopper.

Good shall always prevail over evil.

Quote of the Day

"Don't think. Feeeeeeeeeeeeeel."
- Rich, quoting Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Taking it back

7:55 AM - 14 miles, 1:35:30 - Borderland State Park.

Great run back at the Motherland this morning after an awesome night in Norton at the humble home of Sean and Melissa Kinney, who just celebrated three, yes, three, years of marriage. It seems like just yesterday I was waving goodbye to the usual suspects at the reception hall, bound for uncertainty in Oregon, only to return homesick and broke two months later. Now those two are thinking about having kids, Reino and Jess are getting married next summer, I'm building a house and Bergie has a serious girlfriend. Either we're getting old or Danny Ainge is getting ready to convince Michael Jordan to make his third NBA comeback with the Boston Celtics next season.

As for the run, it went pretty well. I felt strong, I was able to gradually ratchet down the pace and I was glad to be back on familiar ground. I'm not gonna wax nostalgic like I did last month, but I will briefly reiterate the fact that I LOVE running here, here referring to the Stonehill campus, Sheep Pasture, Town Forest and the crown jewel of this off-road collection, Borderland State Park. I don't know what's so appealing to me about these trails, but I suspect much of it has to do with the fact that this little dirt-covered piece of heaven on earth is where I became a runner. I learned a lot about myself every time I took off down these trails, and today was no different.

I'll keep this morning's self discoveries to, well, myself, but I will share something else I learned about 4 miles out from campus -- the current edition of the Stonehill men's cross country team is going to be nothing short of scary this season. I ran into those bastards this morning, all 21 of them (yes, 21!) and the early report from KcoachB sounded promising. These guys were 10th in the country last season, are led into by a pair of returning All-Americans and boast a class of incoming freshmen that would most assuredly make a lot of Division 1 coaches with a large scholarship budget jealous. The path this program has taken since clowns like me were running around in singlets emblazoned with a large purple feather is nothing short of amazing. I'm proud to call myself an alumni, and even though I never called any of these current Chieftains, I mean Skyhawks, my teammate, I look forward to watching KcoachB's boys tear up the grass this season.

I'm also looking forward to going to bed soon, but before I hit the hay, here's a few weekend performances worth noting:

1. NB-Boston teammate and resident trail bird, Ryan Carrara, on going 2-for-2 at the Thomas Chamberas cross country race and the Mt. Toby Trail Race yesterday and today. That's one tough double, but Ryan's one tough dude. Plus, anyone who bases the location of his home on its proximity to off-road running options is made for this kind of crazy stuff.

2. Fellow blogging badass and Whirlaway road whore Shad Miller on winning today's Marshfield Sufferfest, I mean 20K. A very impressive run over a tough course on a miserable day for a long race, not to mention perhaps the most physically exhausting means of raising the necessary funds to take your wife out for a celebratory dinner that I've ever heard of!

Quote of the Day

"I hate it with a passion when I hear coaches talk about bad luck. I don't believe in bad luck, and I don't believe in good luck. I believe preparation puts you in position to have good results."
- Tim Pitcher

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Training Log: August 19-25

Sunday - OFF. The foot feels better but I don't feel like pushing my luck today. I may do so tomorrow, however.
Monday - AM: 6 miles, 44:00. Hopedale. Two loops of the pond (22:15/21:05) and a little add-on to get back to the car. Foot tender at times, barely noticeable at others, but definitely sore afterward. Felt good otherwise.
Tuesday - AM: 7 miles, 50:20. AHS track. Ran 3 miles down to the high school, looped around the turf fields for a mile, then headed back home. Foot didn't pose much of a problem but left hip all out of whack. Hopefully it's nothing a little targeted stretching can't take care of. OK, a lot of targeted stretching.
Wednesday - AM: 8 miles, 56:30. RockPak 8. 7:24 to start, 6:51, 6:40, 6:22 for the last 3. Foot fine, hips better, glute still tight but better than earlier in the week. Slowly making some progress.
Thursday - AM: 5 miles, 36:35. Pakachoag 5. Solo slogfest before work. Snuck under 7 for the downhill last mile but otherwise I was crawling. PM: 5 miles, 38:00. Shepherd Hill. Ran around with some high school kids on their first day of practice. These kids kill me. They don't train all summer then go out and try to kill it for 5-6 miles on the first day of practice. It started getting ugly for them somewhere around Mile 4. Ah, to be young and stupid.
Friday - AM: 10 miles, 1:10:00. West Hill. Back to the scene of last week's crime, only this time I escaped scot-free. Had a nice run with A-10 on some newly discovered trails. Mind you we've been running some variation of the same three loops here for the past 7 years. The change did us good.
Saturday - AM: 10 miles, 1:08:00. Crack Path 10. The air was thick and it swallowed me whole.

Totals - 51 miles, 7 runs. Good week all things considered. Foot was still a bit tender Monday and Tuesday but pretty much feeling normal again by Wednesday. Proud of myself for not pushing through this latest little niggle like the idiot I've been known to be. I'm chalking this up as a down week, which while unexpected probably wasn't such a bad thing. Gradually gonna kick it back up from here.

Quote of the Day

"With two laps to go, I was thinking that fifth or sixth would be good, but then I thought about running in the sauna suit, and the 90-mile weeks, and the aqua jogging, and I said to myself, 'sprint.'"
- Kara Goucher, World Championships bronze medalist, 10,000 meters

Friday, August 24, 2007

Great escape

9:30 AM - 10 miles, 1:10:00 - West Hill.

I returned to the scene of last week's crime and am happy to report that I escaped scot-free this time around. A-Ten and I had a nice little run on some of the newer trails around West Hill that he, Jeff and Dan discovered earlier this summer. Mind you the founding fathers of the WHTC have been running some variation of the same 3 loops for the past 7 years, so this little deviation from the norm was a most welcome change.

Getting off the roads, for me at least, was a welcome change as well. I was a little worried how the foot would react to the terrain changes of the trails but thankfully I didn't have any problems. Unlike last week, I was able to successfully put one foot in front of the other this morning, greatly reducing the chances of any new, unforeseen, freakish, not to mention annoying, injuries.

With any luck, I'll be able to avoid any more unwelcome hiccups as we head toward the fall season. It would sure be nice to stay healthy for more than 6 months, get in some consistent training and race cross country again. Yes, it would be nice, like really, really, I-can't-put-it-into-words nice.

And before I pull the plug on this entry, welcome Casey Moulton into the running blog mix. It's good to have him aboard.

Quote of the Day

"I believe I can. I know I am prepared. Can I do it? I think I can."
- Craig Mottram on whether or not he can win the World Championships 5,000 meters.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

What's yours is mine

7:55 AM - 5 miles, 36:35 - Pakachoag 5.
6:35 PM - 5 miles, 38:30 - Shepherd Hill.

Since Jeff seems to have hijacked one of the signature elements of the daily runaround, I figure it's only appropriate to return the favor and hold his usual entry header hostage until further notice. Or we can just call it a fair trade. Whatever works for you, 'mate.

Anyway, let me try to make some sense of the chicken scratch in italics at the top of the page you're most likely trying to decipher. Here goes.

This morning's 5-mile slog before work was just that. Energy levels were low and I just felt plain t-i-r-e-d. Lack of sufficient sleep will have that effect, I guess. Thankfully, my foot feels a lot better and the persistent soreness and tenderness that have been camping out under my right big toe since last Friday have finally packed up and gone elsewhere. Hopefully those two unwelcome little bastards don't come back anytime soon.

As for the details of the run, I did manage to sneak under 7 minutes for the last mile, but it wasn't without the aid of a more-than-generous downhill. For those of you who've run these same roads with me, you know the last mile back to my parents' house is about as close as you may ever come to actually falling off a cliff.

The afternoon jogfest wasn't much faster than this morning, but I have the boys and girls of the Shepherd Hill Regional HS cross country teams to thank for dragging me around at a leisurely clip. Today was the first day of practice for both squads and coaches Nancy Roberts and Aiden Kearney asked me to give the kids a quick shoe clinic before the fun started. I stuck around afterward for a 3-mile tour of the Rams' cross country -- or more accurately road race -- course with the Aiden's upperclassman boys and then hit the old cinder track for 2 more miles while Nancy's girls busted out a 2-mile time trial, Tour de France style, with runners taking off after one another at 30-second intervals. "I'm working the girls hard from Day 1 this year," the coach commented. As you should coach, as you should.

And I should cut this entry short right here and get my tired carcass to bed so I'm not dragging ass again all day tomorrow. I have the day off from work, but I really want to make a better effort at getting to bed at a decent hour. A little rest goes a long way, or so I'm told anyway.

Quote of the day:

"I feel like more than ever that everything counts – EVERYTHING."
- Matt Gabrielson

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hardly working

I think the best part about my job at the running store that it never actually feels like work. Sure, I get paid for being there and yes, I look forward to my days off, but when I'm on the floor fitting feet, taking inventory, placing orders or just shooting the shit about this race or that shoe, I'm doing what I love to do, with people I enjoy being around, and that my friends makes me one happy store manager.

Case in point: today. I got to the store around 9:45, worked the full day, finished up an inventory and tied up some loose ends after closing before finally hitting the road around 8:15. Yes, it was a long day and no, these aren't my typical hours, but not once did I look up at our nifty Mizuno finish line clock wishing that I could escape, not even after a pain-in-the-ass customer tried to nickel and dime me to death over the undesirable color of her daughter's cross country spikes. Sorry lady, she already gets a 10% discount and no, I can't tap those lime green suckers with my magic wand and turn them purple. Thank-you, however, for bringing some comic relief into my afternoon.

Speaking of comic relief, I had an old guy come in this morning from all the way out in Orange, a good hour or so drive from the store. Impressed he had traveled such a great distance to fund us, I just had to ask this fella what brought him all the way out to Westboro to buy his running shoes. Was he just driving by and happened to notice the store, referred by a physical therapist, visiting a friend, or checking us out because of our excellent reputation for fitting people in shoes?

"Don't let him convince you he came all the way out here just for shoes," chimed in his brother, who was assisting the Orangeman in the shoe-buying process. "My brother deal pickles. He has a lot of clients out in this part of the state."

"Deals pickles?," I asked the brother, puzzled and hoping this wasn't code for some sort of lewd act you'd suspect someone from Orange to take part in.

"Hey, at least it's not crack or cocaine," the Orangeman snapped back with from the rear of the store, as my co-worker Matt nearly fell to the floor from laughter.

When all else fails, it's always our customers that keep me going. There's something new to look forward to every day, whether it's taking on the challenge of a difficult fit, picking an old warrior's brain about training back in the day, sharing injury advice with a frustrated marathoner, answering a new runner's questions about what kind of socks to wear or just shooting the shit with some high school kid who recently joined the cross country team to get in shape for basketball, even if that kid is 12 years old, black as night and 6-foot-2 with a size 14 shoe. And no, I'm not even joking, but something tells me this guy's not gonna quit basketball to run long distance year round.

That being said, working with the high school kids is an absolute blast. Yes, they're weird, and no, half of them don't have any idea what they're getting themselves into, but on the whole their enthusiasm is infectious, which in turn has helped renew my own excitement for this crazy sport.

And it makes work that much more enjoyable as well. Time flies when you're having fun.

Quote of the day:

"Well, what have you got? I usually just down three cocktails and pop a naproxen before bed and that seems to do the trick."
- The Orangeman's response when I offered to suggest some home treatments for dealing with plantar fasciitis. His remedy may actually be more effective than my recommendation of rolling his ailing foot around on a frozen water bottle.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Promising developments

Behold my beautiful backyard. A little landscaping might be in order next spring, but for now it's showing promise.

Speaking of showing promise, the bottom of my foot was feeling a bit better this morning, so much so that I went out and ran 6 miles on it. The sunavabitch didn't let out so much as a whimper as I floated around the small slice of heaven more commonly referred to as the Hopedale Parklands, but started barking at me almost immediately while stretching and walking around afterward. Luckily a water bottle full of ice and a handful of Vitamin I reduced those barks down to a playful yelp and my freshly drugged and frozen friend crawled back into the doghouse and quickly settled down. It's still rearing its ugly head though, so hopefully another bribe of I & I later on this evening will keep this pain-in-the-ass pooch quiet for good.

In the meantime, I'm off to the motherland for a not-so-healthy dose of beer, pizza and buffalo wings at Owen O'Leary's, an on again, off again Monday night tradition since 2002.

Quote of the day:

"They're peaceful-easy-feeling running. You can't hear nature around you. You can't hear the little old man who just had cataract surgery honking."
- Paul Collyer, making a good point about why real runners don't wear headphones

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Run down

No running today, again. This makes two straight days without purposeful forward motion, or any sort of meaningful physical activity for that matter. The good news is the bottom of my right foot is feeling better, although it's still a bit tender. I'm going to test it out with a run tomorrow morning, so hopefully by then I'm over the hump.

Speaking of humps, I apparently pulled something on the left side of my gargantuan arse. My backside has been inexplicably sore since Friday, likely the result of the same botched fall that f'd up the bottom of my foot, but who knows for sure.

All I do know is that I don't want to take any more unplanned time off. Better to take care of this stupid shit now.

Quote of the day:

"I'm going to put my faith in [Boen] and everything she says. You realize that you don't have to go out and kill yourself in workouts. It's about learning how to control yourself."
- Kevin Gill, incoming freshman cross country runner at Stonehill, demonstrating he's already wise beyond his years.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Training Log: August 12-18

Sunday - AM: 15 miles, 1:45:45. Hudson. Tour de Trails from la casa de Carrara with Ryan, Christy Mae, Fire and Brad. Finished up with 6 strides on the road. Other than the seasonal carnivorous bugs, I absolutely LOVE running here.
Monday- AM: 4 miles, 30:00. Lake Park. Trotted a few dirt loops around the park amongst the local joggers, looking the part with my long shorts and shuffling stride. Need to get an iPod to totally fit in though. PM - 4 miles, 25:00. An Cu Liath. 3.5-mile pub run in 20:40 followed by another easy half mile to get in an even four. Nothing like running 6-minute pace through downtown Worcester on a Monday night.
Tuesday - AM: 4 miles, 29:00. Pakachoag 4. Easy shakeout before work. PM: 10 miles. Westboro High. Warmed up 2 miles, strides, 4-mile tempo run on the track with Matt in 21:26 (5:32, 5:22, 5:26, 5:06), 26 min cooldown w/6 x 25-second hill charges. Goal for tempo was 5:30-25-20-15. Butchered it to some degree, but I've done much worse. Felt real easy and smooth the whole way.
Wednesday - AM: 8 miles, 57:10. RockPak 8. Woke up dead-dog tired to no one's fault but my own. 6-1/2 hours of sleep isn't gonna cut it. No leg soreness though, not yet anyway.
Thursday - AM: 12 miles, 1:16:15. Sterling Rail Trail. Double dose of the 6-mile loop, plan was to start around 7-minute pace and work down to 6's or so for the second loop. Happy to report I was fairly successful, and even felt pretty decent too. Loop 1 - 40:10, Loop 2 - 36:05. Marked miles: 6:43, 6:32, 6:04, 5:51.
Friday - AM: 10 miles, 1:08:00. West Hill. Tooled around the trails at an unusually tame pace with A-Ten, MacKay and Jeff Hill, finishing up with 6 strides in the parking lot. Almost took a digger around 7 miles but in an act of acrobatic brilliance managed to stay on my feet. Landed funny though and did something to the flexor tendon under my right big toe. Hurt like hell afterward.
Saturday - OFF. Bottom of right foot under big toe does not feel good. Pissed off that I can't even blame my own stupidity for this one, just my inability to stay on two feet.

Totals - 67 miles, 8 runs. Had a good week going until Friday's foot fiasco. Plan is to do whatever it takes to let the damn thing heal. I figure, or hope at least, that voluntarily taking a day or two off now is better than being forced to take a week or two off down the road.

Quote of the day:

"Fearlessness is not the absence of fear. It's the mastery of fear. It's about getting up one more time than we fall down."
- Arianna Huffington

Friday, August 17, 2007

Spontaneous combustion

I've got nothing, except an apparently busted right foot from trying to avoid taking a face plant on the trails today at West Hill. The flexor tendons/muscles on the bottom of my foot under my big toe hurt like a sunavbitch just sitting here, as well as when I get up to walk around. Tomorrow may be an unplanned day off if things don't turn around over night, or I may just chop off my leg below the knee and hope it regenerates as a structurally sound and fully functioning limb. Hey, it works for starfish.

Quote of the day:

"To be honest with you, nothing has replaced what running was to me. Nothing has given me that same charge, that same high."
- Jack Fultz, 1976 Boston Marathon champion

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Status check

Current state: Tired. Note the capital T.

Two piss-poor nights of sleep combined with back-to-back 10 hour work days and an increase in training volume/intensity are leading me to shut this sucker down and call it an early night. I'm not gonna complain, I'm just gonna go to bed. A solid -- albeit rare -- 8-9 hours of shuteye should have me back at it and raring to go tomorrow.


Quote of the day:

"Running has also taught me that there may be some hurdles along the way, but they are for jumping over."
- Deena Kastor

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Follow that street car

If you're like me and spend a lot of your free time clicking and perusing the links on the right side of this page, then you've likely already discovered this post during your daily exploration of the running blogosphere. If not, I suggest checking it out. For the competitive runners amongst this blog's loyal crowd, it's a frustrating experience, or more appropriately, set of experiences, you can surely relate to. If you can't, there's the inherent universal lesson about never giving up and following your dreams, something all of us can apply not only to our own running, but life in general.

But this is a running blog and Nate's most recent entry forced me to take a closer look at the course my own running career has taken since I graduated from Stonehill in the spring of 2004. After four years devoid of any injury other than a few sprained ankles, I've suffered enough physical maladies in the past three years to warrant donating my feeble limbs to sports medicine research. I've gone from being a paragon of structural integrity to the posterchild for overuse injuries. It's been frustrating, to say the least. The accompanying emotional struggles have proven even more trying and I can honestly say that I'm still shocked I didn't hang up my racing flats after cracking my pelvis last summer. Luckily, Dan Green sent me a new pair before I found space in the closet for the old ones and, well, you know the rest.

All kidding aside, I'm not still running 70+ miles a week, attending weekly workouts and racing my nuts off because I get shoes on a regular basis, look good in short shorts and enjoy showing off my rib cage. No. I get my ass out the door every morning because deep down I still want to see if I can qualify for the Olympic Trials and eclipse that list of numbers posted on the right side of this page.

What I'm trying to get at here is that the achievement of success in this sport, in life, essentially comes down to one thing: desire. Sure, a few other key factors such as hard work, consistency and confidence are necessary ingredients as well, but I've found from my own experiences that without a burning desire, without that willingness to soldier on when you think you've hit rock bottom, those other elements are useless. Hell, they're non-existent.

Luckily, I'm not alone -- actually, I'm in pretty good company. Guys and gals I surround myself with such as Nate, Jeff, Justin, Shad, Driscoll, KG, Erin, Jess, along with a whole slew of others I'm unintentionally forgetting to mention, are still getting up to fight another round when most would have already thrown in the towel. These folks aren't gonna take a standing 8-count -- no, win or lose, they're gonna fight till the final bell.

The lesson here? Keep swinging.

Quote of the day:

"What kept me going? What else was I going to do?...I had no alternative. I wanted to be the best runner I could be so I did what I had to do."
- Nick Rogers

Monday, August 13, 2007

Come one, come all

I haven't got much to write on this rather uneventful Monday, but a teammate of mine has joined the blogging fray and I urge you to click on the preceding link to experience JC's quest for greatness.

I'm excited by this recent trend of runners writing blogs. It's always motivating, for me at least, to read about what other runners are doing and experiencing. Also, this whole running blogosphere has proven a convenient way to keep in touch and stay connected with teammates and competitors alike.

Now if I could only stay motivated enough to write something meaningful on a daily basis, I'd be doing my part to keep the blogging balance in check, as well as live up to this blog's name.

Quote of the day:

"When equal athletes compete, it is the one who doesn’t lose focus or waver in their belief that wins."
— Greg Meyer, 1983 Boston Marathon Champion

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Go long, then go home

Or go to work, as I did this morning after an hour and 45 minutes romping around on the twisty trails from la casa de Carrara in Hudson. I don't mind the shortened Sunday shift at the store, although it did cause me to miss out on Christy Mae's bountiful brunch and that, my friends, is reason to lament. If you've ever been fortunate enough to sample the blueberry waffles made from scratch, turkey bacon seared to perfection and homefries saturated with enough seasoning to make Emeril jealous, then I'm sure you feel my stomach's pain. Luckily for me, the crafty cook of the Carrara kitchen didn't let me leave without a few slices of chocolate chip banana bread, which was enough to temporarily stop the flow of tears and hold me over just long enough so I could get to work on time.

So Christy Mae, I thank you not only for your gratuitous generosity, but also for not hammering the rest of us sorry bastards into the ground this morning. Your kindness on both fronts was greatly appreciated and did not go unnoticed.

Quote of the day:

"I live to make people smile, that's my thing. If I can give you that, then it makes life worth living."
- Tommy Leonard

Friday, August 10, 2007

Training Log: August 5-August 11

Sunday - PM: 6 miles, 50:00. Hopedale. Double loop of the pond after work with Rich on what turned out to be an absolutely fantastic evening for a leisurely stroll. Other than the red remnants of a nasty sunburn on my stomach, no ill effects to speak of from yesterday's fun.
Monday - AM: 12 miles, 1:29:00. Hopedale. 4 loops of the pond with Marky Mark, yes, the same pond I ran around twice just 15 hours before. We had the pleasure of KGwyth's company on the run for the first 2 miles and again on the bike the last 6. Finished up with 6 x 18 second strides on the road. Great run, as it usually is with these two. Sad to see them go :(
Tuesday - AM: 3 miles, 22:00. AHS track. Warmed up 11:30 on the turf/track, right into one run-through of the drill set/dynamic stretching routine I've been tweaking, then cooled down for 10:30. My karaoking needs a lot of work. PM: 11 miles, 1:13:00. Rail Trail. 28:20 warmup, 10 x 45-second hill repeats with Greg on the dirt mound across from Manning Street, easy mile in 7:40, 3 miles steady on the trail in 16:48 (5:39, 5:32, 5:37), 3:32 cooldown. The steady stretch felt more like a glorified jog; the hills beforehand, however, were an expectedly rude re-introduction to lactic acid buildup. Welcome back to Anaerobia.
Wednesday - AM: 8 miles, 57:00. Rockland 7. Just boppin' along on my standard 7-mile loop with a detour through the high school to hit the day's desired mileage quota. Started slow in 7:38 but finished up in 6:57, 6:31. If you guessed that last mile was downhill, you guessed correctly.
Thursday - AM: 10 miles, 1:08:45. West Hill. Two extended main loops at the dam followed by 6 strides on the dirt. Feeling a little saucy toward the end of the run and threw in two random pickups of about 3 minutes each to top things off. Held the mustard though.
Friday - AM: 10 miles, 1:06:55. Bike Path. Licked a few farts this morning, one every 10 minutes in fact, so 6 total pickups of a minute each. Also charged the 7 small hills I encountered along the way to get some mechanical work in. Short-circuited a bit toward the end but found one last surge of energy going up the final hill.
Saturday - AM: 7 miles, 47:00. Rockland 7. Reversed the normal direction of this loop to mix things up a little bit. Picturesque New England fall morning, only it's August. Such a tease.

Totals: 67 miles, 8 runs. Solid week. Pleased with Tuesday's workout and the happy kind of soreness that lingered for a few days afterward. Hills and tempo runs are the bread and butter of my training diet, so much like an inmate who's locked up for life, I'll rely on those two workouts as my main source of nourishment for the rest of the summer and throughout the fall.

Quote of the day:

"It takes a lot of time, thought and effort to get to the place where you can run for a time without thought and effort. Yes, it is a funny thing that you have to be sane, very sane, to go to the crazy place."
- Tom Derderian, The Crazy Place

Thursday, August 09, 2007

No complaints

My legs are sore, my body is tired and I'm not going to complain about it one bit. Seriously.

These aren't feelings of pain or fatigue -- no, no -- these are the long lost feelings of Effort, my friends. It's been a while since I've experienced this foreign sensation and man does it feel gooooood. Every time I get up from my chair or walk down the stairs and my quads scream at me, they're not telling me to sit back down -- they're just reminding me that I'm alive.

I'm no masochist, merely a distance runner. Hell, who am I kidding, the two are one and the same.

Quote of the day:

I think optimism is way overrated. Too much optimism means you’re going to be disappointed. But enough pessimism ensures that more often than not you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.
- Ian Dobson

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hills for strength

Exciting news worth looking forward to: the foundation for my new place is being poured later this week. The cruel reality I'm not so much looking forward to: climbing this sucker at the end of every run.
Quote of the decade:

"(Name withheld), you don't like it doggystyle."
- Unnamed husband reminding his wife of her alcoholic preferences. Seriously.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Training Log: July 29-August 4

Sunday - AM: 10 miles, 1:05:25. Rail Trail. Continuous run with a 3-mile tempo thrown in the middle for shits and giggles. 16:13 for the fast stretch with splits of 5:28, 5:25, 5:20. Pleasant surprise; at this effort level I figured on 5:30-35 pace at best. I'll take it. PM: 3 miles, 23:00. WHS Track. 16-minute warmup with Marky Mark and Katie G., then an abbreviated version of the dynamic routine (still needs tweaking), followed by a mile of striding the straights/jogging the turns with Driscoll. Thrusting muscles will likely be sore tomorrow.
Monday - AM: 6 miles, 43:35. Hopedale. Double pond loop with Driscoll, dragging ass early on but managing to snap out of it by the end. Noticeably sore in some odd spots, which was probably to be expected. Dominated breakfast afterward at Town Common; the black forest pancakes didn't stand a chance.
Tuesday - AM: 7 miles, 50 minutes. Industrial Park. Plan was 6 strides on grass mid-run but a rutty stretch of grass forced me to nix that idea. Improvised with 5 strides post-run on the pavement in front of my house instead -- now that's how to think on your feet.
Wednesday - AM: 7 miles, 47:50. Bike Path. 15 minutes easy, 5 x 2 minutes @ 5K effort w/2-minute jog recoveries, 14:50 easy back home. If this is what 5K effort feels like then I have no desire to race a 5K anytime soon. Not bad for my first structured workout in over two months though.
Thursday - AM: 11 miles, 78 minutes. Hopedale. Another great run on the trails with MD. Plan was for 10 miles but inadvertently managed to sneak in an extra mile because of my own absentmindedness.
Friday - AM: 5 miles, 35 minutes. Pakachoag. Leisurely stroll before work and prior to the serious heat and humidity setting in. Felt like I was floating but likely still just sleeping and not actually running.
Saturday - AM: 12 miles, 1:16:45. Beach 2 Beacon 10K. 21 minutes up, 4 strides, 10K in 33:45, 22 minutes down. Other than butchering the first mile this went pretty well; didn't feel totally comfortable but wasn't killing myself either. Splits from my watch were 5:07 (5:07), 5:27 (10:34), 5:26 (16:00), 5:34 (21:34), 5:26 (27:00), 5:40 (32:40), 1:05 (33:45). Note to self: Don't follow women's elite pack through a downhill first mile of a major 10K road race and expect them to be slower than 5:20 -- just don't.

Totals: 61 miles, 8 runs. Another good week in the books, very happy with the direction things are heading in right now. Great weekend up in Maine with my NB Boston 'mates, which really got me excited for the fall racing season. It's gonna be a good one, I can just tell.

As for training, more of the same on tap for next week with a mid-week hill workout to mix things up a bit. Hopefully I can squeeze in two sessions of drills/dynamic routine as well. Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Quote of the day:

"It's a reasonable course but if you're tired on the big hill, you're going to hate life. I was hating life."
- Pat Tarpy on the B2B 10K

Friday, August 03, 2007

The way life should be

Now that I've got a handful of articles out of the way, phone numbers successfuly tranferred, a cup of spoiled milk through my system and more than a few miles under my belt, all that's left is three measley hours of work and a 2-1/2 hour drive up to Maine for tomorrow's Beach 2 Beacon 10K. The early odds from Cape Elizabeth have me coming in at a steady 34 minutes, plus or minus 30 seconds. Given that I've got a little more than three weeks of consistent running under my belt, I'd say that's a pretty safe bet.

Quote of the day:

"Distance running is pretty much a no brainer. You put the miles in, you work hard, you're gonna get better."
Ed Moran