Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday fix

So it looks like Friday is blogging day, for this guy anyway. Not much excitement to speak of, but Disco Rick & The Chieftains did finish 6th out of 34 teams in the Men's Open division last Sunday at the Vermont City Marathon Relay. We clocked in at a 2:58:52, a few minutes ahead of our anticipated pace, but still 5-1/2 minutes behind a bunch of guys in banana suits. All in all it was a great weekend and a good time was had by all.

Other than my weekend away, the rest of the week was business as usual. It consisted of a few days of work, a bit of running and not enough rest, which is pretty much par for the course for me these days.

As for the running this week, I got in a solid 18 in Burlington on Sunday as part of the relay, with the first 6 miles at an average of 6:01 pace, the next 6 at a 5:35 clip and the final 6 at just under 7-minute pace. I bounced back pretty well from that and Tuesday night I got on the track with my 'mates for a healthy dose of eight 1,000-meter repeats, ranging anywhere from 3:06-3:10, with 1:45 for recovery between each 2-1/2 lapper. This morning I did a short fartlek consisting of ten 1-minute pickups just to spin the wheels one last time before the 5K on Sunday.

Oh yes, 5K. 3.1 miles of lung burning, lactic acid-laced pain taking over my body. It's been a while since I've subjected myself to such torture, but I'm looking forward to it nonetheless. I can't think of a better way to wake up my marathon-ravaged legs than by locking them in the hurtbox for 15 or so minutes of anaerobic distress. It should do the trick pretty quickly, in fact.

Quote of the Week

"This is the one sport that you can be tremendous at doing in an hour a day. It's the one sport where talent is the least important component to success. It's dedication and hard work."
- Buddy Bostick

Friday, May 23, 2008

Insert token (entry) here

So it's been well over a week since my last entry, I still haven't posted any pictures from my trip to Oregon and in general I've haven't been very good about updating this site on a regular basis. I have been running, however, so let's hope this token training entry to end the week can hold everyone over until I catch the blogging bug again.

After a brief two-week "break" from training, I'm back on the horse yet again, or more appropriately, back on the track as of two Tuesdays ago. My first workout on the oval in over a year was short-n-sweet -- 3 sets of 400-400-800, starting at 74-second pace for the first set and dropping the average lap pace one second per set as the workout progressed. No, it wasn't mind-blowing fast, but it wasn't supposed to be. Just "molding the tissues" as Bob Sevene matter-of-factly put it to me 2-1/2 years ago.

It was back to the track last Friday night after work for a 4-mile tempo run in the rain, goal pace of 80-82 seconds a lap. I completed the 16-lap tour of Westboro High's 1/4-mile raceway in 21:28, splitting miles of 5:28, 5:24, 5:21, 5:15 along the way. Why tempo 4 miles on the track, you might be wondering. I'm less likely to fuck it up that way, plain and simple.

This past Sunday I hit the trails with Greg for an hour and 50 minutes, which was a good run even though the two of us felt equally shitty. Greg's back at it after a winter sabbatical from running, so it was nice to catch up with him as well as have someone to share my misery with on the best network of trails in Central Mass. west of Carrara's house.

Speaking of Carrara, I finally got to work out with the man again for the first time since my left leg shit out on me back in early February. We hit the Bentley track two days ago, along with Sir Justin Maloney and Marky Mark Mayall, for 3 sets of 1200/800 with 2:30 recovery after the 12's and 3:30 between sets. Kevin called for 73-ish pace and for the most part we obliged. For all you number crunchers out there, the splits looked something like this...

3:42.00, 2:25.86
3:41.00, 2:24.93
3:39.36, 2:22.96
This was a solid session, made all that much more productive by the presence of the group. The four of us did a nice job of sharing the workload, which made hitting splits that much easier for everyone involved. To be honest, I do a very shitty job of getting myself up for workouts on my own, so having the luxury of a group to work out with on a weekly basis is huge for me. Of course, because of my inconsistent schedule I can't always make it to practice, but that's something I'm trying to change. Bottom line is I race better when I train consistently, so I've gotta make it to practice more consistently. It's a lot easier to push a workout back a day, bow out of one early or otherwise call it a day when it's just you and your own watch out there. Not so much when someone else is holding the watch and two or three other guys will have no qualms about running you over if the pace starts lagging.

Groups work. See Hanson's, old-school GBTC, Zap Fitness, a Kenyan or Ethiopian training camp, Team USA (insert location here) or any successful collegiate program if you need further proof.

OK, end rant. The week is finally over and I'm off to Burlington, VT for a few days of R&R - relaxation and a relay. Might be a while till I chime in again, but then again maybe not. You just never know - hell, I never know.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Off day

You'd think that with two days off from work I'd have plenty of time to fill this space with witty commentary and plenty of pictures, but au contraire, mon fraire. Such is not the case.

A day off for me is usually anything but, especially when I've got a never ending laundry list of - pardon my French - shit, that just needs to get cleaned up. Hell, why do you think I escaped to Oregon for four days?

The answer: It's nearly impossible to keep a dentist appointment, get your eyes checked, go grocery shopping, respond to e-mails, renew your license, paint the front door, cut the grass, clean your car, get your oil changed, tidy up your living area and save the world from 3,000 miles away.

OK, so those aren't the only reasons I headed west for a few days, but it was enough of an excuse to warrant waiting until after I got home to check stuff off the aforementioned list. Now that I'm back in the Bay State, however, it's back to reality, as they say.

Ah, but I digress. Before I go clean out a couple toilet bowls, here's the Cliff's Notes version of what I've been up to with my running since that little marathon I did a few weeks back.

First week post-Boston: 3 days "off off", followed by a few token 30-minute jogs and the establishment of a consistent routine of staying up late, drinking beer with buds and eating copious amounts of ice cream on an almost nightly basis.

Week 2: 48.5 miles of running, but no doubles, no run over an hour and not a mile south of 7-minute pace. I did do strides three times, however, and started to get my ass to bed before midnight again. Beer consumption dropped off quite a bit but I did continue to feed my sweet tooth pretty generously.

Week the 3rd: 68.4 miles of running, which far exceeded the never-to-be-disputed 15% increase proclaimed as gospel by the sacred text of the sport, Runner's World. No real long run to speak of, but I did double once and ran on trails every day in Oregon from Wednesday through Saturday. I kept up with doing strides, but decided to put off any sort of structured workout another week. Chomping at the bit, though.

Semana Numero Quatro: So far I'm at 24.5 miles of running for two days, including a short double yesterday. I did my first longer run, that being 93 minutes, on Sunday after work and closed that one with the last 15 minutes under 6-minute pace. The rest of the week looks like this...track workout tonight, recovery run tomorrow, longerish run with strides on Thursday, tempo run and short hills Friday and a recovery run on Saturday. Overall mileage will probably end up somewhere in the low 70's.

While in Oregon I had the chance to sit down with Kevin and map out a plan for the rest of the year. In a nutshell, the next 12 weeks will be devoted to 10K-type training, culminating with the Beach to Beacon 10K in early August. I've got a handful of other races on the schedule before that, but B2B is where I'd really like to rip a good one. After the 10K I'll take a week of active recovery and then it's full steam ahead to the Bay State Marathon in mid-October.

Why Bay State? It's close, it's flat and it's on the Grand Prix this year so it should (read: I hope) draw a solid local crowd. Without any hiccups, I believe I can get myself in sub-2:25 shape and contend for the win.

After the 26.2 in Lowell everything is still pretty much up in the air, but if I can get my legs back under me in time to pull off an abbreviated cross season I may do just that. If not, I'll take a little bit of a break and then get an early start on building a base for the 2009 track season. Yep, you read that right.

That's all I got for now. Pretty productive entry I'd say, minus the pictures. I do have a handful of shots from Hayward Field of Joanie, Catherine, Jeff and the star of the show, Barack Obama, but those JPEGs are still taking up temporary residency on my camera's memory card. Some day they'll move into the My Pictures folder on my laptop and eventually end up on this site, but today is not that day. I've still gotta clean a toilet bowl or two before heading to the track tonight, so the pictures will have to wait until later in the week to make an appearance.

Hey, it's my day off. Give me a break.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Freshening up

I'm back from the Beaver State, feeling refreshed and armed with a fresh perspective. It's amazing how four days of clean air in your lungs, soft woodchip trails underneath your feet and genuine kindness all around you can lift the mind, body and soul out of a monotonous rut. Of course, catching up with distant relatives, watching teammates race at historic Hayward Field and shaking hands with the man who will hopefully become our next president only added to the revival of positive energy I experienced this week. Sometimes a little escape can go a long way -- in more ways than one, in fact.

I've got thoughts to share and pictures to post from my trip, but I'll wait until tomorrow or Tuesday to do so since I've got the next two days off from work and to be quite honest, I'm pooped.

Sorry folks, but a guy's gotta sleep.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Update from Youjean, Orygun

Sorry folks, but I appear to have fallen off the face of the blogosphere over the past two weeks and for that I sincerely apologize. I actually had started two posts last week that I fully intended on publishing, but for one reason or another neither of them got finished and you've been stuck staring at the same old shit on a new background for a good 14 days now. I may still finish those two entries and eventually hit the Publish button on them, but unlike Hillary's forthcoming last ditch efforts to win the Democratic nomination, I'm not making any promises.

For the curious commenter on the post prior to this one, no, I haven't hung up the sneaks. Not yet, anyway. Despite the pummeling they took at Boston, I've got new life in these scrawny white legs of mine and I'm hoping to avoid a premature descent into the great abyss known as the middle of the pack. I figure I'll eventually end up there someday, so might as well see how close I can get to the front while I still can.

Presently, I find myself in Eugene, Oregon for 4 days of running, rest, relaxation and race watching. Not gonna lie, this brief respite from my regular routine is exactly what I needed. The first steps off the plane this afternoon were a breath of fresh air, literally and figuratively, and it feels good not to have anything to worry about other than what woodchip trail I want to run on tomorrow morning. If only life's choices were this easy every day.

So that'll do it for now. I'll post an update again soon, and this time it won't take two weeks. That much I can promise.