Saturday, January 26, 2008

Training Log: January 20-26

9:20 AM - 16 miles. Frostbite 15K (1st, 48:40). 23:00 warmup with SKinney, 23:00 cooldown with Andy McCarron and Nick Weidman. Solid race, best one in a long time. Complete race report is in the entry below this one.

9:40 AM - 7 miles, 51:15. Easy run with Hodgie-San on the wind-strewn roads of Sterling, Mass. Loop was probably a hair short of 7 miles. Legs didn't feel all that bad.
5:05 PM - 7 miles, 52:15. Took my new Glycerin 6's on their maiden voyage, my first run in a non-posted shoe in quite some time. The loop came out to 7.6 miles according to this online tool.

7:50 AM - 10 miles, 1:09:00. Out-n-back to the Horgan track w/8 x 100m strides on the back straightaway. A crisp 14 degrees out there this morning.

8:30 AM - 10 miles, 1:02:30. First 6.5 miles easy/moderate (42:36), last 3.5 steady (19:54 - 5:43, 2:58 [0.5], 5:47, 5:26). Felt real good from start to finish.
4:25 PM - 7 miles, 51:55. Fallon Clinic out-n-back with a stop at Summerhill Road on the way home for 6 x 30-second hill charges. Needed to let the legs and lungs burn a little bit.

8:30 AM - 14 miles, 1:30:00.
First 7 miles in 46:46, last 7 in 43:14. Planned on a fartlek but felt way too tired and flat to go through with it.

7:25 AM - 8 miles, 55:30. Face went numb but everything else felt good. 6 x 20/40 strides on the way home.

7:30 AM - 14 miles, 1:26:25. Course work with Ryan and Liam from Loring Arena in Framingham. 22:10 warmup, 8 mile PMP from Miles 3-10 and back to 9 in 43:40 (5:47, 5:35, 5:25, 5:27, 5:26, 5:21, 5:27, 5:12), 20:35 cooldown. Solid workout, felt comfortable and in control from start to finish.

Totals: 93 miles, 9 runs. Another good week in the books, nothing super crazy just super consistent. The race was a great way to kick things off and this morning's PMP wrapped it all up very nicely. Ryan and I will continue to kick the poop out of one another for 10 more weeks with a steady diet of long runs, a few more PMPs, a couple of track workouts and a handful of races before resting up for two weeks and crossing our fingers for a good day on April 21. Feel free to join us at anytime - or at the very least, cross your fingers.

Quote of the Week

"But the team motivates you to get out the door in the morning. Of course, my teammates will also hammer me into the ground if I slack off."
- Brian Sell, U.S. Olympian

Monday, January 21, 2008

Race Report: Frostbite 15K

Yesterday marked my first race of 2008, the appropriately named Frostbite 15K in Raynham, MA. This is the second straight year I've contested this midwinter classic, and I think this race has cemented its spot in my winter road racing schedule. Ridiculous entry fee aside, it's well organized, draws a good crowd, features a nice course and offers a generous post-race spread. Bottom line, you'll get your money's worth, and then some.

Anyway, onto the race itself. I'm not gonna lie, this was a very good result for me, as good as any I've put up in the past couple of years. The win, and the 100 bucks that came with it, were added bonuses. I improved four places and 57 seconds from last year, which was a bit of a surprise since it was about 30 degrees colder and a lot windier out there yesterday morning. I felt strong from start to finish, ran pretty consistent splits but most importantly I raced well. I haven't been able to say that too many times since 2004, so yesterday's effort has me feeling pretty good about the direction I'm heading. This was definitely a good first step toward Boston. Hopefully I can keep the momentum moving forward over the next 13 weeks.

As for how the race played out, here's the Cliff's Notes version...I led the pack through the first mile, spent 2-6 chasing after fellow Central Masser Andy McCarron, finally caught him at 6 miles and pulled away over the last 5K. Here's the mile-by-mile data from my watch, along with the self talk going through my head at the time.

1. 5:03 - That was quick. Oh well, nothing you can do about it now.
2-4. 15:42 (20:45) What...the McCarron doing? Don't worry about it. It's way too early and way too cold out here to do anything stupid. Relax Mario, REEELAX!
5. 5:15 (26:00) Right on schedule and he's coming back. It's just you and him, no one else. Close the gap!
6. 5:11 (31:11) Got him! Here comes the hill...use it!
7. 5:34 (36:45) Houston, we have clearance. Relax and roll, relax and roooollllll!
8. 5:10 (41:55) Man, this wind sucks! I wonder if Tilton's arms fell off yet.
9.3. 6:45 (48:40) Quit thinking and keep fighting! You're almost there - bring it home!

Quote of the Day

"That is, you are enjoying the act as much as the outcome."
- Yolanda Flamino, women's Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Training Log: January 13-19

8:45 AM - 19 miles, 2:05:00 - Westboro.
Backroads long run from home to Westboro, ending at Casey's place to shower before opening the store. 6 x 100m strides @ WHS track. Felt great!

10:15 AM - 10 miles, 1:14:40 - Auburn.
Easy run around town in the snow; last 3 miles in 7:03, 6:59, 6:37. Footing was less than ideal.

8:05 AM - 10 miles, 59:50 - Jarrin 10. Fartlek before work. 15:00 easy, 25:00 of pickups, steady mile in 5:19, easy 1/2 mile in 3:23, 2 miles of pickups back home in 5:42, 5:21. New PR for the loop!
7:00 PM - 4 miles, 30:00 - PR Running.
Short shakeout on the treadmill after work. Need to get an iPod.

7:30 AM - 8 miles, 57:45 - Horgan Track.
Easy out-n-back to the track. Cold and tired but otherwise no complaints.
7:00 PM - 4 miles, 30:00 - PR Running. Rat wheel after work. Started out real slow and worked my way down to slow.

7:55 AM - 13 miles, 1:24:10 - McCracken Road.
Out-n-back on the McCracken Road rollercoaster. First 3 miles easy in 21:35, then 10 miles steady progression in 1:02:35. Last 2 miles in 5:47, 5:34.

7:25 AM - 10 miles, 1:08:10 - Jarrin 10.
Easy does it in the rain and slush. Too sloppy for strides.

7:30 AM - 7 miles, 47:00 - Rockland 7. Relaxed run before work. 6 x 20/40 strides on the way home.

Totals: 85 miles, 9 runs.
Solid week on the whole. Mileage was good, long run went well and the fartlek and progression run both served their respective purposes. I'm racing the aptly named Frostbite 15K tomorrow morning in Raynham and I'm excited to lace my flats back up again, even if I won't be able to untie them afterward.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Storming ahead

10:15 AM - 10 miles, 1:14:40 - Auburn.
RockPak 8 with a Shaw's add-on, plus 8 minutes of looping around the AHS parking lot mid-run. Hit 4 miles in just under 29:00 and clocked the last 3 in 7:03, 6:59 and 6:37. Likely north of 10 but definitely short of 11.

Apparently running in this shit was photo worthy.

Quote of the Day

"One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years is that there is more than one way of doing things and no single workout works ideally for everyone."
- Matt Folk, Team Good River, and 39th place at the 2008 men's Olympic Marathon Trials

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Run long, then get a ride home

8:45 AM - 19 miles, 2:05:00 - Westboro.
Long commute into work, ending at Casey's place in Westboro to clean up a bit before opening the store. Took the backroads through Auburn, Worcester, Millbury and Grafton, adding on 2 miles at the WHS track (6:06, 5:58) toward the end of the run with 6 x 100m strides mixed in for turnover. Solid run.

My normal commute into work usually takes me about 20 minutes, 25 tops if I stop for coffee and get stuck in a long line. This morning I decided to take the roundabout route into Westboro, spending just over two hours cruising at an average speed of 9.5 miles-per-hour through the scenic backroads of Auburn, Worcester, Millbury and Grafton. It was by far the most pleasant trip I've had into work in recent memory. I didn't use a drop of gas, just a packet of GU. I didn't sit in traffic but ran right by it instead. I didn't stop at red lights, I just ran through them. And best of all, I didn't wait in the drive-through line at Panera, just walked in and out of there in less than two minutes. I did, however, catch a ride home after my shift ended. Something tells me taking the long way home wouldn't have been so pleasant.

Quote of the Day

"It's amazing when you're in front, you feel nothing can stop you."
- Michael Aish, winner of today's Rock-n-Roll Arizona Marathon

Friday, January 11, 2008

All together now

10:40 AM - 14 miles, 1:25:00 - Windham Road.
Out-n-back in Pelham/Windham, NH with Casey Moulton. 2 miles easy (6:46, 6:28), 10 miles in 56:09 (5:37, 5:48, 5:41, 5:40, 5:33, 5:37, 5:34, 5:26, 5:24, 5:25), 2 miles easy (15:37). Solid workout, talked the entire way. Felt strong and in control throughout.

Casey Moulton and I aren't teammates. No, we're not coached by the same guy. We don't work together. Hell, we don't even live in the same area code. We do, however, share a similar goal - to go as fast as we can on April 21.

It's not a Hanson's, Team USA or Zap Fitness, but there's something truly unique and special about the New England running scene. Regardless of the singlet one wears on his or her back, runners from this region really do support one another like nowhere else in the country. Need proof?

Head out to the marathon course any Sunday morning from now until early April, or the Reggie Lewis Center on a Tuesday or Wednesday night, or to a rainy backroad in New Hampshire on a Friday morning in January and you can see it for yourself. All for one, one for all. It's a beautiful thing.

Quote of the Day

“He’s like the guys on the auto assembly line. You just keep doing the same job, over and over, but it’s what it takes to build the car."
- Keith Hanson on Brian Sell, U.S. Olympian

Thursday, January 10, 2008

40 degrees of separation

8:15 AM - 13 miles, 1:26:00 - Worcester State.
Same loop as last week only much more pleasant weather conditions this time around. Man, what a difference 40 degrees makes.

Today was a long day and tomorrow will be a long workout so I'm gonna do the smart thing and get some rest.

Man, I'm even boring myself to sleep. Oh well, goodnight.

Quote of the Day

“Right now I don’t feel any pressure. That will change as we get closer. I just go out and prepare myself to run on the track and that’s all I can do. The amount of pressure I put on myself is usually enough.”
- Gary Reed, Canadian 800-meter stud

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fart-lekin' good

7:25 AM - 8 miles, 51:45 - RockPak 8.
15:00 easy, 5-4-3-2-1 minute fartlek with 1/2 time recovery, 14:45 easy back home. Good little workout, 5K effort or thereabouts on the fast stuff. Felt pretty strong.

7:20 PM - 6 miles, 43:00 - Westboro.
Post-work shakeout through the affluent streets of Westboro with a stop at the high school for 6 x 20-second hill charges mid-run. Hit the hills at a good clip, otherwise just plodding along.

It's getting late, I'm pretty tired and to be honest I really don't have much to babble about, but I stumbled upon this website today and it's chock full of cool links and other dorky running stuff worth giving a look. Check it out!

Quote of the Day

"I love running, so that in itself keeps me logging the miles. In terms of training at a high level, though, I guess I ultimately want to see how fast I can become."
Josh Ordway, 21st at the 2008 men's Olympic Marathon Trials

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Zapping my fitness

8:15 AM - 10 miles, 1:06:40 - Jarrin 10.
Reversed the regular direction just to switch things up a bit. 7:40, 7:17 and 6:40 for three of the early miles, no clue after that but apparently I picked up the pace. Legs expectedly tired but the effort felt comfortable.

That's right Rob, I named this loop after you brother. It will be a staple from here on out.

So I was feeling pretty tired when I rolled out of bed this morning, no doubt a direct result of an increased training load the past few days. Once I got going my legs felt a bit zapped but my stride felt smooth and aerobically I was never laboring. Combating the effects of cumulative fatigue will be the overarching theme from now until early April, so since I'm expecting it I'll try and keep my complaining to a minimum.

Heading into this training cycle I've got 15 months of mostly uninterrupted training under my belt, unlike before Vermont City last year when I was working off a few months of mediocre mileage and purposely conservative workouts. The end result there, given my abbreviated period of preparation, was both successful and encouraging, but now that I'm healthy, strong and structurally sound it's time to up the ante a little bit.

I'm coming off a fall of consistent training with some average cross country results and an unexpected half marathon PR, a combination of positive factors which has me excited about what I'll be able to do on the roads this spring. Over the next 12 weeks I'll be increasing my mileage, introducing some heftier workouts and racing some longer distances which will hopefully have me in rip-roaring shape come April 21st.

Another thing I'll be trying to do more of over these next few months is sleeping. A little rest goes a long way when one is training hard, so I'm going to make a real good effort to hit the hay at a decent hour from now until April 20. And now is as good a time as any to practice what I'm preaching. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"Then the guy whacked me in the face with a two-by-four. Talk about a buzzkill."
- Mark, physical therapist extraordinaire who refers a buttload of patients to the store, telling Rich and I about one of his adventures in Providence.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Dub 7's

8:50 AM - 7 miles, 46:45 - Rockland 7.
7:12 first mile, 27:10 for the middle 4, 6:15, 6:06 to finish things up. 6 x 20/40 strides on the way home.

7:05 PM - 7 miles, 51:00 - Easton Y.
Pre-Owen's jaunt from the Y with Bergs. Beelined it down Main Street and cut through campus before looping back. Clocked a 7:08 for the marked mile along outer perimeter.

15 weeks till Boston - one, five - in case you were wondering, counting or lost track.

Quote of the Day

"I always believed that not everyone could be a great natural marathoner, but if you had some ability, motivation might well get you there. I felt that in particular that the longer the event became, the more willpower, a lot of mileage, work and luck became the major factors."
- Bill Rodgers, Marathoning, page 85

Sunday, January 06, 2008

An epic morning

Sunday, January 6th

8:30 AM - 17 Miles, 111 min
Back roads of Hudson, Stow, Maynard and Bolton w/Ryan

Today I had a chance to experience running along the backroads of the forgotten towns of Hudson, Stow, Maynard and Bolton. You likely have never heard of any of aforementioned towns, and that's unfortunate because they're home to such slices of Americana as the Horseshoe Pub, the Honeypott Hill Orchard, Mark Mayall and numerous Indian uprisings during King Phillips War, respectively. Well, more importantly, these towns are also prime running real estate during the winter months, governed by none other than the elder statesman of New Balance Boston, Ryan Carrara.

On a gorgeous January morning, we started the run from Ryan's house and ran down scenic Route 62 for a skosh until we reached solace of the backroads of Stow. We followed the scenic asphalt trail through Stow (about 5 miles long), cut briefly through Maynard and Bolton and looped around to eventually follow the same way back to historic Hudson. It was a really great run and I couldn't have asked for a better location. I now know why it is one of Ryan's favorite places to run for hours on end. After the run, we concluded our morning by going to brunch at Christy Mae's cafe in the dining room and had some great home style food, including the infamous Swedish tea ring, reheated waffles with real maple syrup, canned pineapples and the best instant coffee this side of 495. Overall, it was a great morning and gave me some quality time with quality friends.

Training Log (Dec 30-Jan 5)
Sunday: 18 Miles, 125 min
Monday: AM- 8 Miles, 56 min. PM- 6 Miles, 45 min
Tuesday: 6 Miles, 48 min
Wednesday: AM- Miles, 36 min. PM- 1 Mile, 7 min
Thursday: 13 miles, 88 min
Friday: AM- 5.5 Miles, 40 min. PM- 8.5 Miles, 60 min
Saturday: 10 Miles, 66 min

Total = 81 Miles, 10 runs
Great week. Daily runs are feeling easy, I'm recovering well after one-mile treadmill runs and can't wait for April 21st.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

One at a time

7:15 AM - 10 miles, 1:06:00 - Jarrin 10.
16:00 easy, 10 x 1:00 hard/1:00 easy, 31:00 easy back home. Felt good to stretch the legs out a bit.

81 miles for the week, one good long run, one easy maintenance workout and one minor lapse in focus. Got back on track pretty quickly though and managed to put a decent chunk of steady mileage in the bank before things really start kicking into gear this coming week. The fun gets underway roughly nine hours from now at la casa de Carrara with the first Squires fartlek of the Boston buildup. Better get my ass to bed. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"I would like to see how good I can get. There’s only a short window to find that out. I do not want to live in regret years from now, wondering if I could have run a faster race."
- Pat Rizzo, Hanson's stud

Friday, January 04, 2008

Friday fun

8:35 AM - 5.5 miles, 40:00 - Hopedale.
Many a loop around Hopedale with Mark and Katie, just counting down the minutes to a long-awaited Town Common breakfast.

3:30 PM - 8.5 miles, 1:00:00 - Stonehill.
Random romp around campus and the sheep pasture with Sean and Di. 6 x 100m strides afterward, alternating between turf and track.

Got in some good miles today with a bunch of great friends, a fitting end to what has been an awesome couple of weeks.

My exhausted ass is going to bed. Goodnight.

Quote of the Day

"C'mon man, even Babe Ruth got to play at Yankee Stadium."
- Sean, justifying jumping the fence to do strides on the brandy new Stonehill track this afternoon.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Chillin' out

8:30 AM - 13 miles, 1:28:10 - Worcester State.
Worcester State loop with Sean, which came out to exactly 13.1 miles on his Garmin. Good run - cold as balls outside but my Sugoi wind briefs worked like a charm. Nice rebound from yesterday.

You know a guy's your best friend when he meets you without hesitation for a 13-mile run at 8:30 in the morning when it's 6 degrees out with a windchill that made it feel 15 degrees colder than that. I can't think of too many people, never mind someone with a mailing address in San Diego, that would be up for such a ludicrous endeavor.

And believe me, 90 minutes out there on the roads this morning was indeed ludicrous. Still, it was a helluva lot better than the 7 minutes I spent on the dreadmill last night. The fresh arctic air soothed my soul and froze just about everything else, and by the end of the run I was slurring my words worse than Joe Namath trying talk to Suzy Kolber. Hey, at least the roads were clear.

Quote of the Day

"We will either find a way, or make one."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Sad 6

7:15 AM - 5 miles, 36:40 - Pakachoag.
Easy run on the roads before scheduled meeting with the electrician, who inconveniently decided not to show up - again.

7:25 PM - 1 mile, 7:15 - Treadmill.
Planned on doing a progression run on the treadmill after work but realized after about 5 minutes it just wasn't happening. Pathetic.

Quote of the Day

"Circumstances - what are circumstances? I make circumstances."
-Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Burn, burn, yes ya gonna burn

I'll blame neither the weather, the holidays nor the writer's strike for my recent blogging hiatus - heck, I'm not going to blame anyone or anything except myself and my own laziness - but now is no time for brooding over excuses, it's time for me to write and you to read, so let's get to it.

Today marks the start of a new year, new beginnings, new this, new that, yada yada bullshit. I'll save you from the boredom of resolutions I've made to myself, goals I hope to achieve, races I want to win, states I'd like to visit, drugs I'll try to quit, weight I'd like to lose, countries I plan to conquer, cures I hope to discover and languages I'll attempt to make myself fluent in.

Sorry, I'll be sharing none of that here. I will, however, dive headfirst - or perhaps more appropriately, backflip - into the running year that was for me, one number at a time.

C'mon now, this is a running blog, what the hell did you expect? If you want access to all the juicy shit that goes on away from the roads, track and trails I'll have to start charging a subscription fee. Sorry folks.

So let's see. Miles. For the year I logged 3,364 of them, or an average of 64.89 per week for 52 weeks. If you discount the 2-mile week and the two full weeks I didn't run a step due to the tarsal tunnel trouble I experienced after Vermont City, that average jumps to 68.65 for 49 weeks of healthy running. Given that I logged a paltry 2,681 miles for an injury-riddled 2006, those numbers don't look so bad.

Races. There were 13, not counting a handful of Monday night runs from the An Cu Liath. I completed my first marathon at Vermont City in May, finishing 6th overall in 2:28:25. I ran two half marathons, PRing by almost a minute at New Bedford in March with a satisfying 1:09:53 on a windy day. Unofficially, I PR'd for the 10 miles in the same race, splitting 52:55 before hitting a wall of wind head-on the last 5K and finishing 8th. At Bay State in October I shaved 5 seconds off my time from New Bedford with a 1:09:48 5th-place finish, which was a pleasant surprise given the rocky road I was traveling in the months proceeding Vermont City. As for wins, I managed two of them in 2007, both of them in Central Massachusetts, which was good for my hometown pride if nothing else. I also returned to cross country for the first time in a couple years this past fall, competing in three races, the best of the lot being a 31:55 13th-place finish at New England's. Average-at-best cross country results aside, it was exciting to lace the spikes up again and be a contributing part of a kickass team. I really missed that.

On the whole, 2007 was successful and satisfying, mainly because I made it through relatively unscathed, which was my main goal at the outset of the year. The small flame which was merely flickering last January is now shining bright. The base has been firmly set, the logs have been carefully arranged and this fire isn't going to be put out anytime soon.

So here's to 2008. Let it burn.

Quote of the Day

"Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another."
- John Dewey