Saturday, June 28, 2008

Overdue outline

Believe it or not, I've got stuff to write about, but as is usually the case I don't have enough time to actually write, which presents a bit of a problem. I've got a few minutes right now, however, so here's a rough outline of a couple things I hope to touch upon sometime in the next millenium.

*Olympic Trials. First of all, I wish I was there, but I'm not, so my off-the-cuff commentary from across the country will just have to do. Day 1, or Night 1 for that matter, certainly didn't disappoint. If it weren't already known, Shalane Flanagan showed once again why she's the best female distance runner in the country, but it was Amy Begley who stole the show with her third-place, 31-minute, 43.6-second finish in the women's 10,000. From what I'm reading she, 1. PR'd by 16 seconds, 2. snuck under the Olympic A-standard, and 3. closed her second 5K in 15:33. Yes, 15:33, just 9 seconds off her all-time best 5,000. Sick.

* Training. Sorry, I've flat out sucked in providing any insight as to what I've been up to lately. I think that bringing back the Weekly Wrap-Up might not be such a bad idea.

* Running shoes. I manage a specialty running store, and as more people than I care to think about have mentioned to me lately, I apparently have this scary ability to remember people's shoes and sizes. I'll get more into this in another entry, but if I've ever run with you, leave a comment with your name and I'll rack my brain and see what I can come up with.

There's probably more to add, but because of - you guessed it - time constraints, that's gonna do it for now. I'll expound upon the above points at a later date and time, hopefully just not too late.

Take it easy out there in Blogland.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Discovery Blogosphere

In lieu of my infrequent posting of late, I offer a whole slew of newly discovered running blogs to add to your daily browsing arsenal.

Nate Brigham
Brendan Prindiville
Brennan Bonner
Carl Mease
Jim Johnson
Matt Germain
Robert Jarrin

I'll eventually add the above links to the logs-n-blogs column on the right side of this page, but that's a different project for a different night. No rush though, chances are this post will remain at the top of the page for a while anyway.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Goose egg and scrambled eggs

I didn't run today, my second zero in as many weeks. No, I'm not hurt and no, I'm not quitting the sport - just a little tired, that's all. Upon waking this morning I had this wild revelation that giving my legs a rest every once in a while might actually be of some benefit.

That, and JC stopped by on his way out to California and much breakfast was eaten at The Coffee Mug.

So let's recap...
1. Tired legs + full stomach = day off.
2. Worcester, Mass. is on the way to Chino Hills, California.

Note it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Back on track

Man, talk about pre-race jitters. From the time I woke up Sunday morning until about 5 minutes before the gun went off later that evening I was shaking worse than a cokehead off the booger sugar. I also hit double digits for restroom visits on the day, which I'm fairly certain is a new record. But enough about the unsettled inner workings of my body, let's talk about the race.

Let me preface this report by saying that the New England Championships isn't exactly Mt. SAC. There was closer to four guys in the field than 40, but it was still 12-1/2 laps of the track and even though the winning time was closer to 15:20 than 13:20, it was still one heck of a race.

It was also a helluva night for distance running - 65 degrees, overcast and windless. Maybe a bit humid, but certainly nothing to complain about. For my first track race in almost exactly two years, the conditions couldn't have been more ideal.

OK, enough about the weather. Let's talk about the race, for real this time.

Following the traditional protocol of these things, the gun went up, the gun went bang and before I knew it I was two strides in front of the field before the smoke from the starter's pistol became a part of the upper atmosphere. Not exactly where I wanted to be less than 20 seconds into the race, but this isn't Nintendo - there's no restart buttons in this game.

And a game it was indeed. I led for a couple laps, then Matt Germain took over. I regained the lead, Matt quickly grabbed it back. Mark Mayall then took his turn at the controls and upped the tempo a few ticks, finally stretching the three of us out like an accordion. Within a couple hundred meters Matt reeled Mark back in, and because I didn't have anything better to do, I went by my teammate and took off after the tall guy in the baby blue singlet. I eventually caught him with about two laps to go, but that was my final flicker of hope as I absolutely got lit up over the last 600 meters. Mayall went by me, too, and my melted marathon legs held on for third in the field of thirteen, 15 minutes and 23 seconds the official time next to my name.

It wasn't the outcome I was hoping for, but looking back two days later I can honestly say this was a great race, a tactical chess match on the track even Bobby Fischer would have been impressed with. Not my greatest finish, nowhere close to my PR, but for where I'm at right now in my training, this was a solid effort and a step in the right direction. Don't get me wrong, I hate losing - fucking HATE it - and I'm not too thrilled about running 15:23 on the track, either, but as my college coach drilled into my head, it is what it is. I put myself in position to win with two laps to go and I ran out of gas. I turned the engine but the engine wouldn't turn.

Place and time aside, it was exciting to tour the tartan again and give myself a goal to build toward next spring. If I can successfully tweak my engine over the next year, the gas should burn more efficiently, the gears should shift a little easier and my overall cruising speed should be a whole lot faster. Throw in a pair of plated spikes instead of my all-weather rubber radials and I'm confident this car will be running better than ever before.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Cultural reimmersion

Next up on the racing docket, 5,000 meters this Sunday night at the New England Championships on the campus of Bentley College in Waltham.

Yes, 5,000 meters, none of this 5K road race crap - not this weekend, anyway. 12-1/2 laps of tartan-laced torture hardly even resembles the 3.1 miles of pavement pounding practiced by weekend road warriors hoping to score a quick paycheck. Hell, I don't think the two are even related. Distant cousins, at best.

It's not even worth trying to explain the differences between the two unless you've experienced both for yourself. Believe me, track racing, by its very nature, is much more nerve racking than road racing. There's no guy wearing an orange sleeve on his jacket with a gun in his hand telling you to take your marks at your local weekend 5K. Until you've crouched behind the half-mooned starting line with a dozen or so other brave souls, been spiked by a high back kick or had the taste of pennies permeate your mouth two laps into the most uncomfortable merry-go-round ride of your life, this mumbo jumbo will likely remain Greek to you.

For me, I'm just trying to relearn a little bit of the language before I completely reimmerse myself into the foreign culture of track again next spring, which is why I'll be rockin' my trusty ol' road flats on Sunday night instead of a shiny new pair of spikes. That, and I want to be able to run on Monday morning.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Flight school

So Casey and I ended up running 8 miles together yesterday, including four 200-meter strides on the Westboro High track for shits-n-giggles. After hitting the first three anywhere between 34.3 and 36.6 seconds, we finished up with a 31.2 and all I can tell you is I wasn't the guy leading it. Coach Kellogg looked so easy you'd never know the guy hasn't run a competitive race since the 800-meter final at the Big Sky Championships in 2005.

Bastard was floating. I hung on for the ride, but believe me the turbulance was rough.

If CK gets his ass in gear, I might -- correction, will -- be in trouble for our 1,500-meter showdown next June. Good thing I started flying lessons four weeks ago.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Friday fun

It's Friday, I got a job and I ain't got shit to do.

Except maybe run another 8 miles with my good buddy Casey after work. Luckily for me, his calendar is in sync with mine, he's also employed and he ain't got nuthin' better to do, either.

Of course, there's always the alternative, but they already made a movie out of that.

Just keep running.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Welcome to Anaerobia

15 minutes, 41 seconds. That's precisely how long I spent visiting the land of Anaerobia Sunday at the Rhody 5K in Lincoln, RI. Man, it's been a while since I've frequented that far off and unforgiving place, and my only regret is that I didn't cut a few more seconds off my stay. There's always next time, however.

Actually, my visit lasted a few seconds shorter than I had planned for it to - 4, to be exact - so I'll keep my complaints to a minimum. The race was about what I expected it to be - unusually short, uncomfortably fast and most assuredly painful. Hell, all races are painful to some extent, but after a year's worth of mostly aerobic over-distance training a fast road 5K will put a different kind of hurt into your legs.

The I-don't-know-what-just-hit-me-but-I-can't-do-anything-about-it kind of hurt. See below.

This was fun, I think. OK, maybe fun isn't the right word but it was definitely different than what I'm used to, that's for sure. Maybe I'll do it again in a little less than two weeks, maybe not. Stay tuned.