Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dress Rehearsal

I, playing Kane Cloverdale, met up with the Vagtastic Voyager and McLovin', respectively played by Ian Nurse and Chris Voce, in Cleveland Circle at 7:30 this morning for a chauffeured limousine ride out to Mile 6 in Framingham. The three of us warmed up 4 miles to Mile 10, then Ian and I ran a 12-mile PMP to Mile 22 before regrouping with Voce at Mile 23 for an abbreviated cooldown around the BC Res, where we ran just fast enough to avoid the throngs of autograph seekers impressed by our collective display of speed along the marathon course. I opted out of a second Res loop so I could hit the road and get to my day job on time, which I was able to do without issue. All in all it was a very successful morning.

PMP breakdown...
10. 5:50
11. 5:35 (11:25)
12. 5:37 (17:02)
13. 5:32 (22:34)
14. 5:40 (28:24)
15. 5:27 (33:51)
16. 5:40 (39:31)
17. 5:34 (45:05)
18. 5:27 (50:32)
19. 5:38 (56:10)
20. 5:40 (61:50)
21. 5:27 (67:17)

Average mile - 5:36.4
6-mile splits - 33:51 (5:38.5)/33:26 (5:34.3)
4-mile splits - 22:34 (5:38.5)/22:21(5:35.3)/22:12 (5:33.0)

Very happy with this workout, even happier that I had Ian and Voce out there to keep me going when I wanted to throw in the towel. Thanks guys.

The wind blew, quite literally, for the first 7-1/2 miles of the PMP but didn't pose much of a problem after that. I experienced a few bad patches and had a couple good stretches, but if it weren't for Ian I surely would have cut this one short when the going got tough around Mile 18. Glad I hung in there and stuck it out for the full 12, heck the last 4 miles actually felt pretty good, as this was a perfect dress rehearsal for what it's gonna be like 3 weeks from now when there will be no refuge in mercy, there will be nothing to forgive and no one to issue dispensation. And at last, there will be no refuge in cowardice, because I will not afraid. There will be no alternative, it just has to get done.

OK, so I stole that last little bit there straight out of Once A Runner, but it was fitting. I'm pretty sure John L. Parker, Jr. won't mind.

Training Log: March 23-29

8:35 AM - 9.1 miles, 1:03:45. Same loop as last Thursday; 6 x 20-second strides on the way home. Energy levels low but legs felt almost back to normal.

4:45 PM - Visited the stretch of asphalt pictured right in an attempt to make friends with a hill that's been known to break many a marathoner's heart. I'll find out in 4 weeks whether or not I was successful. Note the appropriately placed graffiti on the side of the road.

9:45 AM - 18.4 miles, 2:00:00. Relaxed pace for the first hour, 10 x [1:30 on/1:30 off] for the next 30 minutes, then back to a relaxed pace for the last half hour. Felt strong throughout and my gimpy left leg didn't blow up on me, so for my first long run in 4 weeks I'd say it was a huge success.

8:10 AM - Spinning, 30:00. Spin, spin, spin your wheels, all the livelong day.
7:30 PM - 6.3 miles, 46:35. Easy run around Westboro after work. Not a mile south of 7-minute pace - didn't even come close.

8:25 AM - Spinning, 30:00. Didn't work all that hard this morning, or didn't sweat all that much, I should say. It's amazing the difference a well-placed fan makes.
7:35 PM - 9.4 miles, 1:02:40. First 4 miles easy, 1 mile of stride the straights/jog the turns on the WHS track, 1 mile easy, last 3 full miles steady in 5:55, 5:45, 5:40. The faster I ran, the better I felt.

10:05 AM - 10.1 miles, 1:13:15. Felt lethargic and heavy-legged but otherwise no complaints. Cumulative fatigue is starting to set in, which is probably to be expected.
8:15 PM - 4.1 miles, 30:00. First double in 5 weeks. Felt better than this morning.

12:15 PM - 9.1 miles, 1:00:00. Mid-day romp around A-town with Jeff. Avoided the forecasted wintry mix, which was awesome.

7:45 AM - 6 miles, 42:30. Easy does it before work. Both calves a bit tight but otherwise felt pretty good. 6 x 30-second buildup strides on the way home.

Totals - Running: 72.5 miles, 8 runs. Spinning: 1:00:00, 2 sessions. Solid week. Very happy to get a good long run in, as well as get the overall running volume back up, but I'm a bit disappointed with my lack of diligence in regard to getting my ass on the spin bike. I think the increased mileage left me a little too tired to plant my ass in the saddle on a regular basis, so I've got to make a better effort this coming week to spin the wheels more often , even if it's only for shakeout purposes. Overall though, my injuries seem to be subsiding, or at least improving, so I'm very excited to finally be getting back on track.

The plan for this coming week is to keep the volume right around 70-75 miles, get in a good long run with some marathon-paced running mixed in and put forth a solid, but sub-max, effort at the Boston Tuneup 15K in Upton on Saturday. Call it a crash course in marathon training. Hey, cramming for tests worked in college.

Quote of the Week

"I'm going in and winning it. I have tremendous respect for Bernard. I have tremendous respect for Matt. But if you don't consider yourself one of the favorites, you're foolish."
- Chris Solinsky in this month's Running Times, regarding his goal for the 2008 Olympic Trials.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Training Log: March 16-22

11:00 AM - 17.1 miles. New Bedford 1/2 Marathon (72nd, 1:15:03). Pre-race plan was 6-6:15 pace for the first 3 miles, then gradually cut it down to projected marathon pace or thereabouts over the last 10. Executed pretty well - 18:01 for the first 3 miles, 57:02 for the last 10.1. Had the pleasure of Bergie, Uncle Fire and Christy Mae's company for those first 3 miles but fought the wind by myself for the last 4-5. The tib didn't bother me during the race but it tightened up quite a bit, along with my soleus, later in the day. Complete race report can be found in the entry below this one.

3:10 PM -
ART and an adjustment with Dr. V. Lots of work on the tib and soleus, both of which were tighter than a bull's ass during fly season.
5:00 PM - Spinning, 45:00. Apparently the bike becomes less mentally taxing after the first 30 minutes. That, or it gets even more mind-numbing.

8:40 AM - Spinning, 30:00. Steady as she goes on the spin bike.
7:30 PM - 8.5 miles, 1:01:00. I've been running around Westboro for almost a year and a half now and I've yet to come up with a clean loop over 4 miles. Tib didn't give me any trouble, soleus still pretty tight though.

7:45 PM - 8.5 miles, 1:01:00. Another random road run around Westboro after work. Tib felt good again, soleus a little less tight than yesterday. Progress is good. In a showing of weakness, however, I decided to sleep in rather than ride the bike this morning. Can't afford to have too many more lapses like this, but I think I needed the extra rest.

10:05 AM - 9.1 miles, 1:00:20. 16:00 easy. 15 x [1:00 on/1:00 off], 15:20 easy. "On" stuff started at low-to-mid 5-minute pace and gradually got a little faster, "off" stuff much slower than that. Tib was well behaved, calf still a bit tight but man did it feel good to finally spin the wheels again.
8:30 PM - Spinning, 30:00. More wheel spinning, but of the stationary variety this time.

3:00 PM - 10 miles, 1:10:20. Met up with Pete Gleason and Shad Miller this afternoon. 27:25 warmup, 3-mile tempo in 15:55 (5:21, 5:19, 5:15), 27:00 cooldown. Short but solid effort on the wind-strewn roads of Grafton. Good company, too.
5:20 PM - Spinning, 40:00. Stopped by the Y on my way home to squeeze in a quick spin.

7:50 AM - 4.1 miles 32:00. Short-n-slow before work. Soleus/calf still a bit tight but the rest of my gimpy left leg is holding up quite well. I planned on a second workout after work but the Y closed early and I stayed late at the store so I bagged it. Given how tired I felt after a busy day this probably wasn't such a bad thing.

Totals - Running: 57.3 miles, 6 runs. Spinning: 2:25, 4 sessions. Good week, everything is seemingly heading in the right direction. The injury is improving, my fitness is resurfacing and hopefully this trend will continue. As for training, I fell a bit short of my volume goals for the week but I nailed the quality days so I can live with that. New Bedford was a good way to kick things off and the back-to-back fartlek and tempo on Thursday and Friday was a nice capper. The plan from here is to really get after it for the next two-and-a-half weeks and then the hay will be in the barn as they say. I haven't put a whole lot in there of late but I think I've stocked up well enough the last few years that I should still be in pretty good shape four weeks from now.

Quote of the Week

"It’s good to be excited again."
- Ryan Warrenburg on recovering from a recent hip injury.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Race Report: New Bedford 1/2 Marathon

I went back and forth as to whether or not to call this entry a "race" report, but the fact that I filled out an application, forked over 35 bucks, put on my singlet and my name shows up in the results means I ran in a race yesterday, even if it wasn't the balls-to-the-wall, bust-a-nut, all-out effort I would have liked to put forth.

After almost 3 weeks consisting of four zeros in the log, a half dozen ART appointments, a few half-assed attempts at cross training and only one run in the double-digits, I figured it probably wouldn't be a wise move to butt heads with the dozen or studs positioned at the front of the starting line. In an effort to make sure I didn't foolishly change my mind at the last minute, I planted my ass four rows back of where I'd normally set up shop, took three seconds longer than usual to cross the starting line and proceeded to watch a couple hundred people who pretended to know what they were doing zig-zag all over the road like a bunch of wandering idiots in front of me. Man, what an odd feeling. I didn't like it, not one bit.

Luckily, I had my good buddy Bergs, Christy Mae and Uncle Fire to keep me company for the first 3 miles, which was reached in a dead-on nuts 18:01 - right on schedule. After that, I took aim at anyone wearing a Fuel Belt in front of me and worked on rolling along the rest of the way at a steady clip somewhere in the range of 5:30-5:40 per mile. Some splits were faster than that, others a bit slower, but the last 10.1 miles averaged 5:38 per, so aside from seeing a 1:15:03 result next to my name after all was said and done, I'm happy with the end result. Plus, I apparently out-kicked Grafton High cross country and track coach Peter Gleason, who I noticed was rockin' a pair of black Brooks Adrenaline we don't stock at my store. Maybe that will teach him! (Editor's note: We actually probably special ordered the aforementioned shoes for Pete, but by out-kicking him I secured bragging rights next time he visits the store.)

As for my troublesome tib, well, as they say, that's a whole 'nother story. Definitely nothing worth bragging about there, the thing flat-out sucks. It didn't really bother me during the race at all but tightened up quite a bit afterward and even more so as the day progressed. I went grocery shopping last night and the whole area - tib and soleus - hurt like hell pushing the cart around the store. This morning wasn't as bad, but it wasn't good either, so I decided to play it safe and just spin my wheels on the bike after my ART treatment this afternoon. Right now it's 10:50 PM and everything is feeling a lot better, so the plan is to ride the bike again tomorrow morning and follow that up with an easy run around Westboro after work if my hoof is feeling healthy. I'm sick of this day-to-day shit.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Training Log: March 9-15

2:55 PM - 10.3 miles, 1:07:45. Snuck out of work for a windy run around Westboro. Picked up the pace for a mile in the middle (5:56) and again at the end (5:46). Tibial area tightened up a little but never got all that bad.

7:30 AM - 6 miles, 43:00. Easy run from home before work. Tibial area tightened up quite a bit, worst it's felt in a few days.
8:15 PM - Spinning, 30:00. Low resistance, high cadence. Probably gonna get my ass kicked by a bunch of middle-aged women tomorrow morning so made it a point not to push it tonight.

9:30 AM - Spinning, 1:00:00. First spin class, ever. Me, a bunch of soccer moms and a 60-year-old guy named Jim, who told me I was working way too hard when I was already sweating bullets five minutes into the ordeal. Didn't bother explaining to him what it was I was trying to achieve, just kept pedaling hard. Good workout, really got the heartrate up.
4:45 PM - 7.8 miles, 51:15. Threw in six 20-second strides on the way home to stretch my legs out a bit. Tibial area felt much better than yesterday, didn't really act up on me at all. Left side of my body feels way out of whack in general, though.

8:10 AM - Spinning, 35:00. Easy spinning for the first 5 minutes, then a steady effort for the next 30 at a moderate resistance level. It's amazing how much faster the time goes by with an MP3 player.
7:30 PM - 9.1 miles, 1:00:15. Hit the roads of Westboro after work. 3-mile warmup, 4-mile progression/tempo (22:20-5:45, 5:40, 5:31, 5:24), 2.1-mile cooldown. Felt like I hadn't done a workout in 2-1/2 weeks. Oh, wait.

9:30 AM - Spinning, 52:00. 50-minute spin class preceded by a 2-minute warmup. A couple quick intervals, a few steady climbs and enough sweat to fill a gallon jug.
Noon - ART and an adjustment with Dr. V. What a difference a few snaps, crackles and pops make.
8:25 PM - 5.4 miles, 40:00. Short shakeout from the store after work. Tib a bit tight but not terrible.

8:30 AM - Spinning 30:00. Steady spin at a moderate resistance level, alternating between keeping myself planted in the saddle and standing up on the pedals.
7:25 PM - 9.1 miles, 1:03:25. 5 miles easy (36:55), 5 loops (1 loop = 0.35 miles) of Gibbons Middle School in 1:55.2, 1:53.0, 1:52.6, 1:52.5, 1:50.6 with 18-20 seconds float in between, easy jog back to the store to finish up. Knock on wood but the tib didn't give me any real trouble at any point during the run. Didn't feel too bad afterward, either.

6:35 PM - 5.7 miles, 41:25. Easy does it after work. Tib felt good again. Hopefully I can say the same again this time tomorrow.

Totals - Running: 53.4 miles, 7 runs. Spinning: 3:27, 5 sessions. Better week than last, but still have a ways to go before I'm ready to run well five weeks from Monday. After talking things over with Kevin I've decided to run New Bedford tomorrow as a test of sorts, one that will give me an idea of my current fitness level but more importantly one that will reveal how much abuse my hurtin' hoof is capable of taking right now. Considering that I haven't run over 10 miles in the past 3 weeks, along with tomorrow's forecasted wind, rain and possible snow, it should make for an interesting day down by the water, to say the least. The plan is to run the first 3 miles with Bergie at a 6-6:15 pace and gradually cut it down to my projected marathon pace or thereabouts over the last 10 miles. Here's hoping I'm able to execute said plan.

Quote of the Week

"Be, Dream, and Believe."
- Zoila Gomez, The Road to Success Will Be Rocky

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Training Log: March 2-8

11:00 AM - 4 miles, 30:00. Easy out-n-back on the roads with Hodgie-San from miles 12 to 10 of the Stu's 30K course. Ankle a bit stiff but tolerable. Area was sore and creaky afterward but felt better when I was moving than when standing around.

12:20 PM - 7 miles, 47:15. Ran from my parent's house to take advantage of the flatter start. No trouble with the ankle at all for the first 4 miles or so, then it started to stiffen up on me. Not as creaky and sore afterward as yesterday, which is a small step in the right direction.
5:20 PM - ART with Dr. V. She really went to town on my ankle and it loosened things up quite a bit. Ran into NB Boston teammate and fellow wounded warrior, Ryan Fenton, on my way out. As far as I know this encounter will not be appearing on Flotrack anytime soon.

8:00 PM - 10 minutes on the bike followed by a good stretch and a 5-minute jog around the gym. I'm not even gonna include my pathetic attempt at the elliptical. Finished up with 30 minutes of deep-water running in the pool.

6:50 PM - 6.5 miles, 45:45. Hit the roads of Westboro before hosting a triathlon clinic at the store. Knock on wood, but the ankle didn't bother me one bit. Wasn't that sore or tight afterward, either. Not out of the woods yet, but I'm heading in the right direction.

10:00 AM - ART and an adjustment with Dr. V. Last visit for the next week or so, hopefully. Being aggressive with the treatment seems to be paying off. This stuff might be voodoo, but count me among the believers.
11:20 AM - 6.8 miles, 44:15. Out-n-back to the starting line in Hopkinton, starting from just past the 5K mark in Ashland. No real trouble with the shin, knock on wood, just a little sensitive from the ART treatment an hour earlier. Planned on pool running after work but got stuck at the store later than I had planned.

11:55 AM - 7.7 miles, 52:15. Bike Path with my fellow wounded warrior, A-Ten. Tibial area tightened up and got sore as the run progressed. Two steps forward, one step back.

8:10 AM - 8 miles, 53:25. Tibial area not as tight/sore today. I popped 3 aspirin before the run though, so that may have had something to do with it. Last couple miles in the low-6's.
7:00 PM - Spinning, 30:00. Forgot my bathing suit but luckily I had biking shorts in my gym bag. Sweat like a pig and really got my heartrate up on the bike with a nice mix of 30-second and 1-minute pickups along with some steady spinning. Somewhat enjoyable, actually, even without music. I think I'll be doing more of this than pool running.

Totals: 40 miles, 6 runs. Cross training: 1:15, 2 sessions. Second disappointing week in a row but things are finally starting to turn around. Physically I have some catching up to do but mentally I've made a lot of progress and that's 90% of the battle right now. It doesn't look like I'll be running as much as I would like anytime soon so I really have to start kicking up the cross training this coming week. Since a good training week for me when I'm healthy is roughly 9 to 11 hours of running, I'm gonna shoot for 11 to 13 combined hours of running and cross training this week. Optimistically, the ratio of running to cross training will be 7-4 or even 8-3, but I'm just going to take things one day at a time and adjust accordingly. I probably need to do more than that to achieve a similar training effect and really get rip-roaring fit but the fact of the matter is there's just not enough time in the day. I'll just do what I can, have faith in my training and give it my best shot six weeks from Monday.

Quote of the Week

"As a general guideline you should do twice the time cross training as you did running. So if you were running an hour and a half a day then you should do 3 hours of cross training. Yes this totally sucks."
- Nate Jenkins

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Training Log: February 24-March 1

9:15 AM - 10.2 miles, 1:08:10. A variety of factors forced me to put the long run off till tomorrow, which given how shitty I felt this morning probably isn't such a bad thing. 6 x 20-second strides on the way home.
5:25 PM - 4 miles, 30:00. Hit the mean streets of Westboro after work for a short shakeout. Plan was to keep it slow and I executed that plan very well. Cause for concern, however, with my left posterior tibial tendon. It's been annoying me to some degree all week but flared up like a sunavabitch this afternoon.

12:15 PM - 21.1 miles, 2:13:20. Out-n-back from miles 9-19 on the marathon course, starting and finishing at Roche Bros. on Speen Street in Natick. Nice tailwind heading out (61:55 at 10 miles), annoying headwind on the way back (2:05:37 at 20). Felt really comfortable except for left tibial area, which tightened up quite a bit as the run progressed.

AM: OFF. Got to the end of my road before having to turn around and walk home. Left tibial area absolutely killing me. What's a more pathetic sight than a skinny guy running down the street in tights? A skinny guy walking down the street in tights.
5:50 PM: ART with Dr. VanNederynen at Performance Health Center in Natick. Not expecting a miracle cure out of this but glad I was able to be seen on such short notice. The ART treatments sure helped after Vermont, so hopefully I can have similar success this time around. Going back on Thursday morning.

OFF. Suspect area feels a little bit better but is still pretty tight and painful. Running didn't strike me as the brightest of ideas.

AM: OFF. Took another zero, but had my second round of ART this morning with Dr. V. Lower leg has loosened up a lot but still hurts a little bit. Going in for treatment again tomorrow morning and might try to run on the treadmill after work if everything is feeling better.

8:30 AM - ART and an adjustment with Dr. Weiss. Left side way out of whack and needed straightening.
7:00 PM - 3 miles, 22:30. Treadmill after work. Better than Tuesday's attempt, which isn't saying a whole lot. Suspect area still pretty tight, pain is very localized and the combination of the two has me concerned.

OFF. Didn't run but did shovel my driveway this morning. Posterior tib area very creaky and sore all day at work.

Totals: 38.3 miles, 4 runs. Shitty week on the whole but despite the lower leg troubles I did manage to salvage a good long run on Monday so all was not lost. I've made some progress treating what I think is posterior tibial tendinitis but fact of the matter is I don't know what it is for sure and whatever it is, well, it's still there. I pretty much hit rock bottom mentally mid-week but with the help of a few very close friends I've started to dig myself out of it. I've decided that come hell or high water I'm running Boston in 7 weeks and I'm not going to Hopkinton on April 21 just to see if I can make it the 26.2 miles to the finish line. I'm going there to see how fast I can do it.

Quote of the Week

"Mind is everything. Muscle, pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind."
- Paavo Nurmi