Friday, November 30, 2007

Fartlek & fun

7:25 AM - 9 miles, 56:25 - Bike Path.
16 minutes easy, 3 x 5 minutes @ 5K effort w/3-minute jog recoveries, 4 x 1 minute @ 3K effort w/2-minute jog recoveries, 6:25 easy jog back home. Solid effort, felt stronger as the workout progressed.

Good friends, good times and good beer tonight in the hotbed known as Hudson, Mass., home of such slices of Americana as the Hawks, Ryan Carrara, Bill Gaudere and the Horseshoe Pub.

The Horseshoe was the site of tonight's after-work fun, as well as home to 80 different types of beer on tap - more than enough options to make sure everyone's personal pallet stays satisfied. I kept it seasonal, and local, this evening with a pint of Wachusett Winter Ale. Good stuff.

I'd give a better review but it's now 11 PM and I've got an early-morning date with a lucky pair of running shoes. G'night.

Quote of the Day

"Having been at the course last year with my teams for NCAA’s – and leaving a pair of shoes behind as it was not worth attempting to even try to get the mud off – this course could be an extremely difficult one if there is an obscene amount of rain."
- E-mail from Ned regarding possible course conditions for Club Nationals next weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

No time for typing

8:50 AM - 8 miles, 52:30 - Rail Trail.
7:25, 6:48 heading out, 6:22, 5:43 coming back. 6 x 20/40 strides over that last mile. Finally felt good for once.

Long day, short entry. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"I just want to make sure I don't die."
- Actual response from a customer this afternoon when I asked what type of exercise he'd be using his newly purchased Polar RS 200 heart-rate monitor for.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Drop it like it's hot

7:40 AM - 6 miles, 44:30 - Fallon 6.
Slow start, then settled in at around 7:00 pace for a good chunk of the run. Nice morning.

Today marked the beginning of a gradual 10-day drop in mileage and intensity heading into Club Nationals on December 8. Hopefully the third time's the charm for me at this race, one that has treated me rather unkindly the previous two times I've contested it. Last night was the last workout of any real volume for the season with just two little sharpeners on tap for this Friday and Tuesday of next week, and from there it's go-time and hopefully showtime in West Chester, Ohio a week from this Saturday. Good, bad or ugly, I'll take an easy week after the race before beginning the Boston buildup in earnest. Mmmm, Boston. I salivate just thinking about it.

Quote of the Day

"I didn't fear failure. After all, success in running means living on the edge of failure. You are going to fail sometimes. But if your personal goal is reasonable, you are ultimately going to attain it."
- Derek Clayton

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boloco Tuesday

10:05 AM - 4 miles, 30:00 - Lake Park.
Same as yesterday, minus the spikes and the strides.

6:05 PM - 12 miles - Heartbreak Hill.
23:20 warmup, 12:18 tempo from BC Res to bottom of Heartbreak, 3-minute recovery, 6 x 1-minute hills, 3-minute recovery, 11:48 tempo back to BC Res, 15:40 cooldown.

Solid workout with Jeff, Ryan, Maloney, Brad and new guy Jake. Same mixed-up tempo and hills deal as a few weeks back but a touch faster which was certainly encouraging for everyone involved.

Afterward it was another Boloco Tuesday with Jeff and Maloney at the burrito joint located right around the corner from our regular meeting spot. You just can't beat having all your post-workout nutrition needs taken care of for the low low price of five American pesos. And to boot, it's ready for you in about 34 seconds and it all comes conveniently wrapped inside a soft tortilla shell. No wait, no mess and no more hunger. It's crazy, downright loco even.

Quote of the Day

"That's the beauty of the marathon. You prepare as best you can and run the race. You get to see what happens."
- Mark Conover, winner of the 1988 Olympic Trials Marathon

Sunday, November 25, 2007

No slaughter, no problem

10:20 AM - 4 miles, 30:00 - Lake Park.
First 25 minutes easy on the dirt, last 5 striding out on the grass in spikes.

6:35 PM - 7 miles, 52:25 - Easton Y.
Usual loop with the usual suspects. Threw down a token mile with Timmy while waiting for the late arrivals.

OK, so it wasn't the slaughter I originally called for but last night's win was just that even though it was only by 3 points and not the expected 30. My nerves were high and the f-bombs were flying but at the end of the night the P-men were still undefeated, so for another week, at least, everything remains alright with the world.

And in the words of Ryan Carrara, that's all I got. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day
"I don't go out fast. I go out even. If I go out fast, I'm dead."

- Josh Ferenc, former BAA teammate and winner of this past weekend's Talking Turkey 6-mile cross country race

Long run and the short of it

8:55 AM - 17 miles, 1:55:00 - West Hill.
First 35 minutes solo, last 80 with A-Ten discussing the possible benefits of 3/4-length man tights. Decided we need to consult Terry and Mark Miller before reaching a final verdict.

Last real long run before Club Nationals this morning and it was a doozy. I got a bit of a late start and came up just short of the planned upon 18 miles as a result but I'm not gonna beat myself up over it since I had the rare pleasure of throwing down some long overdue miles with the raging redhead of West Hill, Adam Tenerowicz, before he headed back to the 'Burg for a couple weeks. The trails were in good shape and we kept the effort honest with the last mile on the road in a steady 6:0-something.

I've got nothing else for today because it's time to join my pops in watching the playoff-bound Pats parade over poor Philadelphia. By the way, it's 1:22 into the game and the good guys just went up 7-0. Enjoy the slaughter.

Quote of the Day

"Well, we're all looking forward to the Patriots scrimmaging the Eagles tonight."
- Chris Collinsworth in the NBC pre-game show

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Crazy 8's (and eats!)

7:25 AM - 8 miles, 56:15 - Rockland 7.
Mid-run detour at AHS for 6 x 100-yard strides on the turf. Brisk morning out there, 18 degrees with a slight breeze.

Move over Blind Melon, 8, not 3, is the new magic number.

- Slept 8 glorious hours last night.

- Ran 8 frigid miles this morning, ending my week at exactly 80 miles.

- Worked 8 enjoyable hours at the store today.

- Ate about 8 lbs. worth of finger sandwiches, lasagna, chicken wings, cake and pie at Nate's Allen's 1st annual birthday bash after work. OK, so I'm exaggerating a bit here. Just roll with it.

- Shooting for 8 hours of sleep again tonight so I can be well rested for tomorrow morning's 18 miler which will begin sometime during the 8 o'clock hour.

Quote of the Day

"Some of these guys lapped me on the track a few months back, but this is more my kind of domain. I like hills and road races. I never give anything to anybody in this sort of race."
- Andrew Letherby, winner of the 2007 Manchester Road Race

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fade to black

7:00 AM - 10 miles, 1:09:05 - Auburn.
Same loop as Wednesday morning but solo and about 4 minutes faster.

Believe me, there's nothing even remotely exciting about running 10 miles by yourself at 7 o'clock on a Friday morning when it's 25 degrees out. Nothing exciting enough to write about anyway, and even if there were, I'm too tired to do so. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"We want to do the best we can with the tools that we are given. Most of that time, that means putting in the work, and minimizing excuses...Sometimes people tend to forget to enjoy what they do. If you enjoy what you are doing, success will follow."
- Haverford College superstud Don Letts in a great interview with

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Case of the missing Gobble

9:00 AM - 11 miles - Somerville.
Gobble Gobble 4-Miler (3rd, 20:46). 30:00 warmup on the course, 25:00 cooldown on the bike path with Erin, Kevin and Dan.

I realized a few things by the mile mark of the Gobble Gobble 4-miler this morning in scenic Somerville. No, it hadn't yet hit me that the traditional "Tri-Gob" was apparently and unfortunately renamed the "Di-Gob" somewhere between the opening of registration at 7:30 AM and when the results were posted sometime around 10:30. Fortunately, I didn't catch this blasphemous nomenclatural snafu until well after the fact, which caused me to shed a few tears before embarking on an equally emotional ride home.

OK, so no tears were actually shed and no emotions were had, but seriously, where the hell did the third Gobble go?

I may never figure out the answer to that one, but about 5 minutes into the race -- 5 minutes and 3 seconds to be exact -- I realized pretty quickly that an easy payday was not going to be in the works this morning. Owen Washburn, Wilson Perez and Tom McArdle must have caught wind of the race's unexpected name change prior to the starter's horn and in an act of defiant and unbridled protest proceeded to launch themselves off the starting line like a bunch of cruise missiles. They quickly left my tired ass and flat legs a good 13 seconds behind them at the mile mark, which had me wondering if any of the three of them were going to self-destruct before the finish line so I didn't go home empty handed.

Well, there's not much time for serious contemplation with 3 miles to go in a 4-mile race, so I quickly conceded first and second place and the $300 in prize money that accompanied it, backed off to tempo effort, put a $50 target on McArdle's back and decided to take my chances on stealing third should old Tom come falling back to me.

Like Johnny-fucking-Chan in the World Series of Poker, the gamble paid off. Barely. Just after the 2-mile mark, I pulled even with the wily old bastard from Dartmouth, who in turn situated himself directly behind my desperate ass for pretty much the remaining duration of the race. While I felt confident that I could easily hold off Bluegrass Tommy Mac to the tape I didn't realize that his brother, Boy George, was charging at me harder than a lion toward his unsuspecting prey. The younger McArdle managed to inch by me about 25 yards from the finish but a desperation lean at the line snagged me third place and 50 bucks for my troubles, I mean efforts.

My ridiculous long-winded commentary aside, things didn't go all that bad out there this morning. If you go by the official results, I ran 20 seconds faster than I did last year on the same course - 25 seconds if you go by my trusty Timex. I saw 20:40 on the clock as I crossed the finish line and when I stopped my watch halfway through the chute I came away with splits of 5:03, 5:17, 5:11 and 5:10. Where those extra 5 seconds came will probably forever remain a mystery, but as ol' KcoachB used to constantly remind me, it is what it is.

Along that same line, what today's race turned out to be was a hard effort on tired legs in the middle of one last hefty week of training before nationals - exactly what it should have been at this stage of the game.

Quote of the Day

"No, I'm going over to Dunkin' Donuts. I want to clean out my gutters this afternoon and I figure spending a few hours in a bar room before climbing up on my roof probably wouldn't be such a good idea."
- Kevin on his decision to forgo frequenting the Burren after the race this morning

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The numbers don't lie...

8:25 AM - 10 miles, 1:13:30 - Auburn.
Easy run around town with Erin before work. Tired, but otherwise no complaints.

...but they don't tell me much, either.

So what conclusions can be drawn from the set of statistics I posted last night?

Hell if I know, other than the fact that I'm a real skinny dude with a pretty good set of lungs. Beyond that, it's all Greek to me.

The only thing I do know is that I'm going back in a month or so to do it all over again because Jeff and Tammy don't believe I reached my true maximum heart rate. It's not costing me a dime, so I'll gladly thrash myself again on the rat wheel for the greater good of science.

I'll also thrash myself tomorrow morning for the greater good of my wallet, so I'd best be served to get my scrawny ass to bed at a decent hour in order to maximize my earning potential. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"I was just like you guys, when you race in gym class, that's how I started. I wasn't the fastest kid in my class, I was the second-fastest kid in the class but I wanted to be fastest. In fifth grade, I was the fastest in my class but I wanted to be the fastest kid in the school. Once I was the fastest kid in the school, then I wanted the school record."
- Alan Webb

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

VO2 maxed out

7:30 PM - 3 miles - BVHP.
Started off nice and slow but got up to breakneck speed and a nasty incline pretty quick.

Blackstone Valley Human Performance
Exercise Physiology Lab
***Metabolic Report***
Sex: M
Age: 25
Height: 68.0 in (173 cm)
Weight: 135.0 lb (61.4 kg)
Test time: 2007/11/20 19:37
Tech: Godin
Test Protocol
Test degree: Maximal
Exercise device: Treadmill
Test Environment
Insp. temp: 17.0 deg C
Insp. humidity: 31.0%
Insp. O2: 20.94%
(STPD to BTPS: 1.2207)
Baro. pressure: 754.0 mmHg
Exp. flow temp: Mean of room temp. and 37.0 deg C
Insp. CO2: 0.03%
Base Values for Sampling
Base O2: 20.94%
Base CO2: 0.03%

Max HR: 181 bpm
Max VO2: 4.47 L/min, 72.8 ml/kg/min, 20.8 METS

Body Composition Analysis (Skin Calipers)
Chest: 4 mm
Abdomen: 4 mm
Thigh: 5 mm
Total: 13 mm
Estimated Body Fat %: 4

Bioimpedance Analysis
Date: 11/20/07 Time: 19:25
Sex: Male
Age: 25
Height: 68.0 inches
Weight: 135.0 lbs
Measurement Results
Phase Angle: 7.4
Body Capacitance: 789 pF
Resistance: 516.4 ohms
Reactance: 67.2 ohms
Lean Body Mass: 89.7%
Fat Mass: 10.3%
Variance: +/- 4.5%
Body Mass Index: 20.5
Basal Metabolic Rate: 1713 cals

Test me

10:10 AM - 6 miles, 45:00 - Tufts.
40 minutes on the SNOW-covered grass, last 5 minutes on the roads to get my legs back under me. Starting to feel pretty good again.

In a few hours I'll be heading over to Blackstone Valley Human Performance in Grafton where I will be thrown on a treadmill and hooked up to a bunch of tubes in order to test my aerobic capacity, otherwise known as a Vo2 max test. I've never had anything like this done before, so I'm curious to see what the test reveals. From what I understand the higher your Vo2 max, the greater your potential for endurance-related performance.

I did a little research and came up with the following readings for a handful of successful endurance athletes.

Siberian sled dog: 240 ml/kg/min
Thoroughbred race horse: 180
Bjørn Dæhlie: 96
Greg LeMond: 92.5
Lance Armstrong: 85
Steve Prefontaine: 84.4
Grete Waitz: 73
Frank Shorter: 71
Derek Clayton: 69

The facility record at BVHP is listed on the website as 63.7 ml/min/kg. I have no idea what that means, or if I'll even have any control over doing so, but I'm going to try and break that record tonight. Yes, everything with me is indeed just one big competition.

As part of the testing package, one I was able to secure through a working relationship between BVHP and the store, I'll also be getting my body composition analyzed, which I'm guessing will reveal the ratio of skin to bones that makes up my ectomorphic frame. While I'm there, I'm going to try and cover all my bases and see if I can get my lactate threshold measured as well, even if it costs me an extra 110 bucks. I'm generally not one to get overly geeky about the scientific stuff, but if I'm going to get tested I figure I might as well run the gauntlet.

Stay tuned, I'll post the results here as soon as time allows.

Quote of the Day

"It was just flat out in the last mile-and-a-half almost. That last 50 meters I almost fell over my legs were so heavy.”
- Josh McDougal, 2007 NCAA cross country champion

Monday, November 19, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

10:50 AM - 8 miles, 57:00 - Rail Trail.
7:21, 7:06 for the two marked miles on the way out; 6:43, 6:43 on the way back. Easy does it the entire way.

6:40 PM - 6 miles, 43:30 - Easton Y.
Same route with the same crew as last week. 10 seconds slower though, cause we're getting old.

My world-famous cinnamon brown sugar chocolate-chip pancake, topped with real maple syrup. It pairs well with scrambled egg whites and a tall glass of OJ (not pictured). Good post-run recovery food, but sadly it only encompasses one of the four main food groups - syrup.

I am going to bed. You try not to salivate on your keyboard.

Quote of the Day

"Samuel's a name we haven't mentioned much today because the defense hasn't been on the field."

- Al Michaels during the Patriots' 56-10 stampede over the Bills last night.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Unlucky 13

11:30 AM - 13 miles - Franklin Park.
New England Cross Country Championships 10K (13th, 31:55). 20:00 warmup & strides, 28:00 cooldown.

5:45 PM - 5 miles, 37:55 - Pakachoag 5.
Post-race shake prior to the Pats game. Same loop as yesterday morning, but slower. A lot slower.

Bittersweet day at good ol' Franklin Park. Personally, I raced a helluva lot better than I did at Mayor's Cup, coming through 8K about 25 seconds faster today than I raced flat out for the distance three weeks ago. Teamwise, we ran pretty well on the whole but still lost to the rival Unicorns by a mere five points. Jeff, Roland and Justin placed 1, 2 and 4 respectively, but our fourth guy finished too far back for us to bring home the team title.

For the record, I was that fourth guy.

I fought and fought some more, but just couldn't close the gaps between myself and the blue singlets up ahead. Carter and Ferenc never came back after the initial split and Matt Ely absolutely lambasted my sorry ass over the final 2K. I tried like hell to pick up a few spots but I felt like I was caught between third and fourth gear for much of the race. Every time I tried throwing it into fifth to make a move, it was like the transmission got stuck. Hopefully some maintenance work over the next three weeks helps take care of this problem.

Disappointments aside, it did feel good to strap on the spikes again and get another race under my belt. I'm excited to do it again at Club Nationals in three weeks and I think our squad is ready to make some serious noise in the cross country capital of the Midwest, West Chester, Ohio.

Last, but certainly not least, congrats to the ladies of NB Boston on an impressive victory today, as well as our own Jeff Caron for taking home the individual crown in the men's race. Way to represent!

Quote of the Day

"6 miles...10,000 meters over hill and dale out in the middle of nowhere. Spit freezing on your goddamn chin. Five hundred complete wild men in the mud, running up on your heels with long spikes. Oh, I love cross country all right. I also like being flayed alive with a rusty straight razor."
- Everybody's hero, Quenton Cassidy, capturing the essence of this crazy business they call cross country.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

XC, Round 2

7:45 AM - 5 miles, 35:20 - Pakachoag 5.
Easy run around the block before work. 6 x 20-second strides on the way in to stretch the legs out a bit.

Cross country coming back atcha tomorrow morning in the form of the New England Championships at Franklin Paaaahk.

Team titles at stake for the men and women of New Balance Boston, redemption on the line for yours truly.

Only a few hours till I'm spiked up and psyched up, but for now I gotta rest up so I don't suck it up. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"You don't run against a bloody stopwatch, do you hear? A runner runs against himself, against the best that's in him. Not against a dead thing of wheels and pulleys. That's the way to be great, running against yourself. Against all the rotten mess in the world. Against God, if you're good enough."
- Bill Persons, coach in Hugh Atkinson's The Games

Friday, November 16, 2007

All in a day off

No training log entry today because, well, I didn't train. I planned to, but to be perfectly honest, I just didn't feel like it.

[No, there's nothing wrong with me. I'm perfectly fine, so just keep reading.]

On my first day off since August 19th - and first voluntary one in who knows how long - I did, however, get a haircut, work a full day at the store, pick up my cross spikes from Ryan and have a delectable fried fish & chips platter from Ted's Pizza for dinner.

As for any semblance of meaningful forward motion, I'm putting it off until tomorrow.

And just like that, my first attempt at replicating JC's famous 36-hour trick has magically turned into an incredible 48-hour affair. What can I say, I'm just that good.

Quote of the Day

"I run for the thrill of competition. I enjoy beating people in races. It also keeps me fit and strong."
- Nick Arciniaga, 17th at the U.S. Men's Olympic Marathon Trials

Thursday, November 15, 2007

And for my next trick

8:00 AM - 8 miles, 1:00:00 - Westboro.
Easy does it with Casey from his place before work. Mix of roads and rocky trails but managed to make it through unscathed. Still feeling a bit tired, but three days of reduced mileage and increased sleep should help take care of that.

In an unprecedented act of unadulterated thievery, I'll be stealing a page out of Jeff Caron's book, or blog rather, by attempting to pull off the fabled 36-hour trick between my easy 8-mile run this morning and tomorrow evening's projected 6-miler and strides.

The reason for such a heist? In a word, recovery. With the New England cross country championships merely three days away and a few hefty training/work weeks solidly in the books, I figure now is probably as good a time as any to try and rest my weary legs a little bit.

Excluding the week leading up to Bay State somewhere around mid-October, I haven't really "tapered" for any of the handful of races I've contested since Vermont City, and that's been by design. The main goal this fall wasn't necessarily to set off a string of PR's (although I did manage to snag one, thank you down week) but rather to string together as many consistent, injury-free training weeks as possible to cement a solid base of strength in preparation for the big Boston buildup this winter. Minus a few minor niggles and one persistent (but healing!) hiccup, I've been successful in laying that sturdy foundation with some steady mileage and a healthy dose of hill workouts. There's still a long way left to go, but so far everything is right on target for hitting the bullseye at Boston on Patriots Day.

In the short term, however, I would like to not embarrass myself at Franklin Park on Sunday in the same manner I did at Mayor's Cup a few weeks back, so I'm going to scale things back just a wee bit over the next few days. Let's hope a little extra rest does the trick.

Quote of the Day

"He would describe it as an ongoing brutal dance, the pushing of the body right up to the edge, close to injury, to collapse, day after day. As he approached and then surpassed a hundred miles a week, it had all come back to him: the night sweats, the muscles twitching in bed like different wild animals somehow alive on him, the searing panicky thirsts out of nowhere, the random cravings for pickled beets, chicken-fried steak, artichoke hearts, herrings in sour cream, carrot juice. Just the general feverish nervous physical anxiety that seemed to animate a blob of protoplasm vibrating itself into a higher state of physical grace. It did indeed seem to have something in common with pregnancy or illness."
- Quenton Cassidy, making his third QOTD appearance this week. Go buy the book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

6 & 4 and not much more

7:35 AM - 6 miles, 43:30 - Industrial Park.
Tired and tight, but otherwise nothing to complain about.

7:30 PM - 4 miles, 30:00 - Westboro.
Solo shakeout after work. Nice night for an easy jog.

Busy, busy, biiiiiiiiiiiz-e. Too busy to blog right now, but stay tuned.

Quote of the Day

"Cross country running is all about the competition and the challenge. And it is a challenge. It is not easy running in dirt and on the grass. It will be a physical challenge."
- Benji Durden

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

12-hour Tuesday

7:50 AM - 4 miles, 31:10 - Hampton 4.
Slow going before work.

7:10 PM - 10 miles, 1:11:25 - Westboro.
14:30 warmup to Westboro High, 5 x ~250m hill, short jog to track, 5 x 200m in 33.42, 33.71, 33.73, 34.28, 34.72 (200m jog recoveries), jog back to hill, 5 x ~250m hill, jog back to track, 5 x 200m in 34.34, 33.74, 34.17, 33.94, 33.53 (200m jog recoveries), 16:45 cooldown back to the store.

Left the house at 9:20 this morning, returned at 9:20 this evening. Most important thing I learned during this lengthy 12-hour time period? Manhattan clam chowder was not a good pre-workout lunch choice. Good thing no one else was at the track, or anywhere in the surrounding area for that matter.

Quote of the Day

"It is important not to lose sight of why you run. If you enjoy what you do and it brings you happiness it is only then that you will be capable of your best."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday in the Motherland

11:55 AM - 4 miles, 30:00 - Lake Park.
Short-n-slow on the soft stuff. 6 x 20/40 strides during the last mile.

6:45 PM - 6 miles, 43:20 - Easton Y.
Relaxed romp around Easton with Bergie, TJ and Timmy C. Good to be back running with these clowns.

Quote of the Day

"I'm not saying I haven't missed a lot of it. You know, the shenanigans, the weirdness. Real life becomes...mundane."
- Quenton Cassidy, telling it like it is.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Buh-bye week

8:15 AM - 18 miles, 2:00:00 - 122 Long.
New loop from home: Bike Path, through Millbury Center, out to 122 in Grafton and back. The goal was to get some time on my feet at a relaxed pace, which is exactly what I did.

All work and no Patriots makes Sunday a dull day.

OK, so the atypical blitz of customers upon opening the store at noontime made for anything but a dull workday, but the gaping hole left in my afternoon by the Patriots' required bye week took away from the accustomed joy of watching the local football football squadron beat up on yet another hapless opponent.

Alas, I'll have to wait another week before reclaiming my spot on the Carrara's couch to watch another AFC East rival get buffaloed, but that's OK - winning, and winning big, never gets dull.

Quote of the Day

"Today we beat every nation."
- Bill Rodgers after the 1979 Boston Marathon, where Boston-based runners finished 1, 3, 8 and 10.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

It's a wrap!

Weekly Summary: November 4-10

Sunday - AM: 18 miles, 2:00:00.
Last mile in 5:23.
Monday - AM: 6 miles, 40:15. 8 x 20/40 strides. PM: 6 miles, 44:55. Easy does it.
Tuesday - AM: 4 miles, 30:00. Pre-workout shake by the lake. PM: 12 miles. 12:30 tempo, 3-minute recovery, 8 x 1-minute hills, 3-minute recovery, 12:02 tempo.
Wednesday - AM: 8 miles, 58:00. Legs good, groin sore.
Thursday - AM: 12 miles, 1:12:40. 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 fartlek w/1-minute recovery jogs throughout.
Friday - AM: 8 miles, 56:10. 8 x 100-yd strides. PM: 4 miles, 30:00. Easy does it after work.
Saturday - AM: 6 miles, 43:35. Cold, but comfortable.

Totals: 84 miles, 10 runs.
Best week so far this fall. Volume was good, long run went well, workouts were solid and I'm recovering quickly, too. I'll go long tomorrow before scaling things back a little bit before New England's next Sunday.

Quote of the Day

"There is a contract between the runner and his body: I will punish you and it will make me stronger. The worst that I will endure is pain. Every runner understands this credo. Ryan Shay lived it."
- Tim Layden

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday fill-in

7:25 AM - 8 miles, 56:10 - Rockland 7.
Took a mid-run detour through the high school for 8 x 100-yard strides on the turf. Easy distance pace felt smooth and relaxed but strides felt slow and choppy.

7:10 PM - 4 miles, 30:00 - Westboro.
Easy does it on the "Casey Kellogg after-work loop", after work but without my buddy Casey. Might have to rename this one.

It's steady as she goes out here along the bumpin' backroads of Central Massachusetts. Training continues to go on full bore despite the nagging discomfort which has permanently parked itself just south of my center of gravity. Last week's MRI confirmed the suspected sports hernia and left me with the option of either dealing with the stupid thing or patching the sucker up for good.

Since the thought of a knife near my nuts and 10 weeks on the shelf didn't exactly have me jumping for joy, I passed on the patching option, for now anyway. Running doesn't seem to worsen any of my symptoms and the combination of twice daily icing sessions, the strengthening exercises James prescribed me and refraining from lower abdominal work, raucous laughter, coughing and sneezing have kept things pretty much at bay and allowed me to continue training at a high level with minimal restrictions.

I don't mind managing the situation as long as I can, well, manage, and for now I'm doing so without much difficulty. Hopefully it stays that way, or by some miracle of Ditka, improves altogether.

Quote of the Day

"Sell’s making the team is something deeply important to me, as well as others close to a number of us. It has an effect that is profound (but still difficult to convey). It is more than validating a training program (although this is very important). It is more than serving as inspiration to the all the 10 minute high school 2 milers (but I hope that all of those kids from our area in PA are following closely.) It is more than proving to one’s family a "delay in getting on with life" was worth it. The effect it had on me I think involves the process of the quest. I am old enough now to understand it is that which shapes us during the journey to our goal which truly gives the most meaning to our lives."
- Terry Shea, BAA long-distance stud and all-around good guy, reflecting on his Trials experience last weekend in NYC

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Live like a clock

9:30 AM - 12 miles, 1:12:40 - Sterling Rail Trail.
Two spins of the standard 6-mile loop (38:10/34:30), broken down as such: 26 minutes easy, 1-2-3-4-5-4-3-2-1 fartlek at 5K-8K effort with 1-minute recovery jogs after each hard segment, then steady at 6-minute pace for the final 13:40 back to the car. Never felt really good or terribly bad at any point, but definitely felt stronger as the workout progressed. Very pleased with the effort.

Quote of the Day

"What Jumbo meant was keep to your schedule. If your morning run was always at 8 AM, you go out and do a token run at 8AM, even if you're like tapering for a big race or on summer break. You're not really training, you're just keeping your body on the same routine. Eat at the same time, sleep at the same time. Live like a clock."
- Bruce Denton, the "famous American clock cleaner", once again imparting his wisdom upon the always impressionable Quenton Cassidy

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Three of a kind

7:35 AM - 8 miles, 58:00 - Horgan Track.
Easy out-n-back to the track. Legs didn't feel too bad but energy levels were a bit low this morning. Groin discomfort was more pronounced than it has been of late, likely caused by the long downhill stretch at the end of last night's workout.

Good times at Rosie O'Grady's in NYC on Friday night with Ricky, Bobby and seemingly every other non-participating marathon runner who just happened to be in the Big Apple for the weekend. And for the record, Hodgie-San wasn't rip-roaring drunk when this picture was taken, just very tired.

Quote of the Day

"The marathon is tempting to play with, especially in the beginning, like you would play with a little kitten. But you should respect it like you would respect a lion."
- Felix Limo

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Tuesday twist

11:05 AM - 4 miles, 30:00 - Lake Park.
Easy shake by the lake. Wet, but wonderful.

6:15 PM - 12 miles - Heartbreak Hill.
20:31 warmup, 12:30 tempo from BC Res to bottom of Heartbreak, 3-minute recovery, 8 x Crack-to-Pole (18:52), 3-minute recovery, 12:02 tempo back to BC Res, 15:00 cooldown.

Good workout tonight with Ryan, Brad, Jeff, Maloney, Fabian and Nisekens. A little twist on the Tuesday night norm but variety, as they say, is the spice of life - or in this case, the spice of training. I'd write more about it but my copy of Again to Carthage came in the mail this afternoon, so I'm gonna start - and probably finish - reading it before Jeff's pre-ordered version finally makes its way to Medford. Thank-you, Breakaway Books!

Quote of the Day

"Sell knows what he can and can't do, and he loves marathon conditions that turn the race into a knock 'em down, drag 'em out slug fest. Just like the Trials."
- Amby Burfoot on the expected weather conditions that Brian Sell will face in Beijing.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Containing my excitement

10:55 AM - 6 miles, 40:15 - Sterling Rail Trail.
"Easy" actually felt that way this morning. Finished up with 8 x 20/40 strides on the way in for my boy Driscoll.

6:10 PM - 6 miles, 44:55 - Industrial Park.
Easy does it in the dark. Nocturnal vision needs some work, or maybe A-Town just needs to install some more streetlights.

Mondays aren't typically known for excitement and running is apparently no exception. Just some easy mileage today to let the legs recover from yesterday's long run, and since we'll probably be going hard on the hill tomorrow night there was no point in pushing it today. The only pushing I'll be doing, in fact, is with the buttons on the TV remote. I don't wanna feel like a boob-tube slacker, so I better get going on that. G 'night folks.

Quote of the Day

"I had one nervous stretch around the sixth and seventh miles. At that stretch my legs started to burn a bit on the uphills and I thought of letting the pack go but I decided that the damage was done and that letting people by at that point was counter productive. So I made up my mind to stick in the mix as long as I could and that if I had to drop at 18 or 20 miles then so be it."
- Nate Jenkins, 7th place, U.S. Olympic Trials - Men's Marathon

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The thinking trail

8:25 AM - 18 miles, 2:00:00 - Rail Trail.
Out-n-back on the trail and over the hills. Threw in a 1-minute pickup every 10th minute for the first hour with easy to moderate running in between. Last hour was anywhere between 6-6:30 pace with the final mile in 5:23.

Lots of stuff floating through the old noggin' right now, so it was nice to have two hours to myself on the trail this morning to think things through. I still can't get yesterday's events out of my head, nor do I think I'll be able to anytime soon, but I never would have thought the unexpected death of someone I'd never actually met would totally flip my world upside down. When you can see a lot of yourself and your own close friends in that someone, even if you've never met that person, it really hits home. It did for me at least. You can't take anything for granted in this life - not your family, friends, talents, job, possessions or even life itself. It could all be gone tomorrow, so make sure to appreciate these things today. I'm not one for praying, but my thoughts are definitely with the Shay family. May Ryan rest in peace.

Quote of the Day

"If you had to die, and knowing what Ryan believed in, wanted and tried to accomplish, if something like this was going to happen, I guess that (Olympic Trials) would be the place."
- Joe Shay, Ryan's dad.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Trialed and true

11:15 AM - 12 miles, 1:22:00 - West Hill.
Canal path, two loops at West Hill and back. Threw in a few steady stretches mid-run and finished up with a 5:42 last mile on the path. Felt comfortable, but thought for sure I was under 5:30.

7:45 AM - 5 miles, 38:40 - Central Park.
All over the place with Hodgie and A-Ten while watching the Trials. Nothing but a whole lot of stop-and-go mileage, but made sure I clicked the watch every time.

I was positioned at the 6-mile mark of the men's Olympic Trials marathon in Central Park this morning, hootin' and hollerin' at the top of my lungs for the 120 some-odd studs who came flying by in a steady stream of sustained speed. One runner never made it to that early mile marker however, and all it took was one quick phone call before those excited chants turned into an eerie silence.

"Ryan Shay just went down," best bud Sean McKeon shouted at me from the other end of the phone.

"Did he trip?" I asked.

"No dude, they're giving him CPR," he informed me. "It doesn't look good."

Next thing you know an ambulance comes flying by with its lights flashing and people are wondering what in the hell is going on. About a half an hour later, rumor was floating around the park that Ryan Shay had passed away. The race, possibly the most exciting event I've ever had the pleasure to witness in person, suddenly didn't seem so important any more.

Needless to say, it's been an emotional day on many fronts. The race itself was exciting and inspirational - lots of positive energy making its way around the park this morning. Lots of impressive performances too, most notably Ryan Hall, Dathan Ritzenhein, Brian Sell and local homeboy Nate Jenkins. Ryan's untimely death put a terrible twist on an otherwise fantastic day, but sometimes such a tragic event can help to put everything else back into perspective.

This life is short, so you need to make the most of it while you can. Ryan Shay sure did, and he's inspired me to do the same.

Quotes of the Day

"You can't think about 'what if I fail,' because it will cause negative thoughts, so instead you have to turn the energy around and feed off that energy. All these people are cheering for you. They don't know you, they just want you to do well."
- Ryan Shay. RIP, 11.03.07

"You’ve got to run smart, but you’ve got to have the faith that you can finish. You can’t get scared. If I go out and feel good, I’m not going to be afraid to run with that lead pack. You have to take that chance. If that means I’m running 2:25 and crawling home, then so be it. At the same time, if it’s late in the race and I’m coming up on people, if you have even a passing thought of not thinking you can pass certain people like Meb [Keflezighi], then you won’t make it. The time to be in awe of them is after the race. Until then, everyone’s equal and you go for it."
- Nate Jenkins. He wasn't afraid, he took that chance, he didn't crawl home and he didn't have a passing thought about passing Meb late in the race.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Big Apple picking

7:50 AM - 8 miles, 1:00:00 - Tufts.
Easy does it on the grass before work. First 30 minutes solo, last half hour with Casey. Hilly as hell but the soft stuff was a welcome respite for the legs.

I'm heading down to the Big Apple with Hodgie-San tomorrow afternoon to catch the men's Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday morning, so this will likely be the last you'll hear from me for a couple days.

So let's cut to the chase, who's gonna make the Olympic team?

Good question. I think a lot of guys have a good shot, and personally I'll be pulling for one of the dark horse, blue-collar types -- Brian Sell, Peter Gilmore, Jason Lehmkuhle, Fasil Bizuneh, etc. -- to pull through, but there's a handful of proven thoroughbreds -- Meb, Abdi, Alan Culpepper, Dan Browne -- who aren't making the trip to New York just to take a leisurely stroll through Central Park with 127 of their closest friends.

Don't forget about the pair of young studs -- Ritz and Ryan Hall -- who each only have one marathon under their belt, but are definitely two of the more talented, if not the most talented, guys in the field. Too inexperienced to win the big one? Perhaps, but way too talented not to be considered serious threats to actually pull it off.

Then there's a handful of unproven unknowns worth keeping in mind as well, including Josh Rohatinsky, James Carney, Ed Torres and Matt Gonzales, who have all been running well enough of late that they could really surprise some people. OK, a lot of people. It's not likely any of these fellas will actually make the team, but it's not entirely impossible either.

If one thing is for sure about the outcome of this race, it's that nothing is for sure. My gut feeling is that our Olympic marathon team will be made up of two of the established favorites, say Abdi and Alan Culpepper, and one relative long shot, let's call him Peter Gilmore.

Last, but certainly not least, there's a handful of guys with local ties -- Mike Smith, Terry Shea, Nate Jenkins, Marzuki Stevens, Ed Baker, Pat and Casey Moulton, Steve Meinelt and Matt Pelletier -- who I know are all primed and ready for a good race. I'll definitely be rooting for the members of this homegrown crew and I'm confident they'll do New England proud.

Hopefully I can join them in four years and do the same.

Quote of the Day

"Running sharpens the focus on life and intensifies the emotions. Is there any better reason to do anything?"
- Anton (Tony) Krupicka, trail running's "nature boy"