" It's at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys."
- Emil Zatopek

Thursday, March 25, 2010

New Bedford Half Marathon

On Sunday March 21st Heather and I headed down to New Bedford for the New Bedford Half Marathon (results), the second race in the USATFNE Grand Prix Series. The weather was looking good, maybe just a touch warm and I was expecting a fast day out there on this fairly quick course. We parked in our usual spot a couple blocks from the start finish area and headed over to the YMCA to collect our numbers and timing tags. After a long and disorganized wait to get our numbers and timing tags, we met up with coach Dave and some of our Whirlaway teammates. Then it was back to the parking lot to get ourselves organized and ready to race. Soon I was off on a warm up with Jose Ortiz, Mark Hudson, and another guy I did not know. I felt OK, but not great on the warm up I also did not feel very focused.

Back at the parking lot I got changed up into my racers and got myself ready to race. Then I heard there was a 15 minute delay on the start due to the slow number pickup. Not long after I made my way down to the start and worked my way up to about the third row of runners. Not too long after that the gun went off and the race was under way.

I got out OK and went through the first mile in about 5:20 and was feeling OK....but not good. I should have felt pretty good at this point and I knew I might be in for a tough one. I relaxed through the next few miles that included a couple pretty good hills. I was thinking that I would stay relaxed till I hit the flat to downhill after 4 miles and then start to move the best I could. Just before 4 miles Kim Smith went by me and I tucked in behind her for a while thinking she would pull me along. Instead she dropped me like a stone and went on to run 1:10:52, a very quick time! I knew at this point I was not going to have my best race. I was feeling awkward in my form and just could not get comfortable at all. I soon found myself with my teammate Tom Deeg, I just tucked behind him and just tried to go along for the ride. We ran a few miles right around 5:25 and I though maybe I could just keep this going and get in under 1:12. But Just before 10 miles I lost contact with Tom and I started going backwards. I went through 10 mile in 55:00 flat, right on pace for 1:12, but I was hurting. It was a long 3.1 miles back to the finish. I got passed by quite a few people including teammate Jose Ortiz who had a great 1/2 marathon debut. I did my best to finish up strong, even passed a couple people in the last up hill mile and finished up in 1:12:32 in 39th place. Considering how I felt I was actually surprised that the time was as quick as it was, it could have been much worse.

The Whirlaway Open team finished 4th with the Masters and Seniors both taking first place. Heather had a tough go of it and ran 1:30:02 good for 357th place.

Training 3/15 to 3/21

Monday: 8 miles in 60 minutes

Treadmill run at work. Lots of roads closed due to flooding so I decided it was a treadmill day.

Tuesday: 10 .1 miles in 74 minutes

Easy run from work. Felt pretty good.

Wednesday: 8.3 miles in 59 minutes

Did 1 minute pickups at mile 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

Thursday: 7.2 miles in 54 minutes

Easy run, had some lower leg issues just above my right ankle. Nothing to bad, just something to keep an eye on.

Friday: OFF

Day to rest and recover before the New Bedford Half Marathon this weekend.

Saturday: 4 miles in 30 minutes

Very easy run from home

Sunday: 17.3 miles in 1 hour 48 minutes

2.6 miles of warm up, New Bedford Half Marathon, 13.1 miles in 1:12:32 good for 39th place, 1.6 miles of cool down. Felt out of sorts for almost all of this race both physically and mentally, still ran a decent time considering how I felt. Race report to come soon.

Total Miles: 54.9

I backed of a bit this week and took a day off to get ready for the race on Sunday. I still have mixed feelings on how it all went. I will detail it all in the race report. Next week I will bring the miles back up a bit and try to be around 70 miles for the week as I get ready for my International debut at the Connemara 1/2 Marathon in Ireland.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

St. Paddy's 5 Miler

On March 14th Heather and I headed up to Portsmouth for the St. Paddy's 5 Miler. I was really not looking forward to running in the hurricane that was raging outside, but Heather questioned my manhood and called me names till I agreed to go. I was very happy I did. This was the first year for the race which benefits New Heights. Before I get to my race report I just want to tell everyone about how great of an event this was and will continue to be in the future. Despite the extremely bad weather this event went off with out a hitch. The volunteers were abundant, very friendly, and helpful. The course is fast and flat. The event is very well supported with lots of good awards and the after party was awesome. There was free beer, a great Irish band playing, and a ton off good food. Even though this was a first year event it was run as though the organizers have been putting this on for years. I really hope that this is the first of many years to come for this event. It was a great time and I see this event growing to be a St. Paddy's staple for the seacoast racing scene. Excellent job to all involved in putting this race on!

So after Heather and I got signed up and got our numbers and timing chips. We got our rain gear on and headed out for a warm up. The weather was pretty brutal with driving rain, heavy winds, and rivers and puddles in the roads. During the warm up I saw some very fast folks including Pat Tarpy, Nate Jenkins, and Heidi Westover. I knew this race was going to be very fast on both sides. After getting in 3 miles I headed back to the Shelter of Paddy's to get changed into something a bit drier to race in. I decided to dress warm with both a long sleeve shirt and tights. I was all set with being a tough guy today.

The race went off and Nate and Pat went right to the front as expected followed by a second group of Robert Gomez and Scott McGrath, then a third group of Nathan Huppe, Peter Mallett, and myself. With money to the top three I decided to make a quick jump up to that second group at about a half mile into the race and see what happens. I managed to bridge the gap and went through the first downhill mile in 5:08. Which was a bit quick for me. Not long after this I began falling off the group off Robert and Scott and that was about it for racing. The next couple miles were pretty rough weather wise and having nobody to work with made things pretty awful both physically and mentally. It was tough to keep the drive and push myself while getting blasted with wind and rain and having nobody around to push me. By the turn around near mile 3 I knew Peter Mallett was behind me pretty close and at that point I decided to just try to hold my position and finish up strong. I managed to get up a pretty good hill at 4 miles with a nice tailwind and make the turn for home and the mostly up hill last mile. I was actually feeling pretty good at this point and pushed through to the finish in 5th place in 27:43. The time was pretty bad, but the conditions were awful. Of course Heather made me look bad by running a PR and finishing in 2nd place and winning $100. At least she bought me a beer after! Nice race Heather, you kicked some butt!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Training 3/8 to 3/14

3/8 Monday: 8 miles in 58 minutes

Easy running from home after work.

3/9 Tuesday: 11 miles in 83 minutes

This was a really good run. Hit the trails along the Shawsheen river and up into the AVIS trails behind Andover High School. Felt really smooth and solid. It just felt nice to be outside running.

3/10 Wednesday: 10 miles in 68 minutes

Rattlesnake Hill Rd. Did 1 minute pick ups at 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 miles. Felt pretty good.

3/11 Thursday: AM: 4.5 miles in 36 minutes PM: 8.5 miles in 61 minutes

AM: Easy treadmill run before the munchkin got out of bed.
PM: Back on the trails again. Ran along the Shawsheen River.

3/12 Friday: 10 miles in 73 minutes

Easy running up to the center of Andover and back to work. Did 6 x 20 second strides.

3/13 Saturday: 7.1 miles in 54 minutes

Easy trail running around Kenoza / Winnekenni Castle. Trails were wet but in good shape, except for the back big hill which had tons of trees down across the trail. Felt OK.

3/14 Sunday: 9.5 miles in 64 minutes

Went up to Portsmouth NH for the ST. Paddy's 5 miler. Did 3 miles of warm up, raced 5 miles in 27:43 (results) good for 5th place in a very good field of runners. Then only 1.5 miles of cool down because I was freezing to death. Weather conditions were less than optimal. Full race report with all the details coming soon.

Total Miles: 68.6 Miles

Less miles than I wanted due to weather on Sunday, which I wanted to be a longer day. But I still got in a good effort on Sunday and decent miles on the week. Next weekend is the New Bedford Half Marathon!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Training 3/1 to 3/7

3/1 Monday: 7 miles in 56 minutes

Pretty sore from yesterdays race. The quads took a beating on those downhills and I am paying for it now. Ran very slow and easy. The good news is I got on the trails along the Shawsheen river. They were wet and muddy, but no snow or ice.

3/2 Tuesday: 10 miles in 77 minutes

Still tight and a touch sore. So this was another pretty easy run. Did the Rattlesnake Hill loop from work.

3/3 Wednesday: 10 miles in 72 minutes

Did 8 x 20 sec strides during the end of the run. Felt much better today, just a bit heavy.

3/4 Thursday: AM: 10 miles in 69 minutes PM:4 miles in 32 minutes

AM: Did a loop up into Philips Andover. On the way back in I picked up for a few miles of tempo-ish running. Did 5:41, 5:44, 5:35. Felt OK, but not as good as I had hoped for, maybe I am still not fully recovered from last weekends race.

PM: Very easy treadmill run at home.

3/5 Friday: AM: 8 miles in 60 minutes PM: 5.2 miles in 38 minutes

AM: Got up and outside early to get in this run. I actually felt pretty good.

PM: easy run from work in the late afternoon.

3/6 Saturday: 8 miles in 56 minutes

Shorts and a Tee-shirt!!!!! A great day for a run. I felt really good and the last few miles were quicker than I expected, wasn't trying to run faster, but the miles were coming easy in the mid 6's. Must have been the nice weather.

3/7 Sunday: 17 miles in 2 hours

Another great day to be outside. My run went really well and it felt nice and easy. Again I closed out the run feeling really good and with some faster mid 6 minute type miles. A great way to finish off a week.

Total Miles: 79.2

A great week of running. Feeling good and healthy. I can't complain!

On Sunday Caitlyn, Heather, and I went over to the Claddagh Pub 4 miler in Lawrence. It was a great day for a race and the Whirlaway Racing Team did not disappoint. Caitlyn and I cheered on our favorite runner, Heather, and Whirlaway took both the woman's and men's races. Congratulations to Heather and Jose on there winning runs! Nice job guys! Results and Finishing pictures.

Photo by Jim Rhoades

Thursday, March 4, 2010

DH Jones 10 miler USATFNE Championship

On Sunday February 28th I headed back to my old stomping grounds of Amherst MA for the DH Jones 10 miler. This race also served as the USATFNE 10 mile Championships and the first race of the USATFNE Grand Prix. I drove out there with Heather and her sister Emily, who was making her big Whirlaway debut! This would be my first time back in Amherst in a very long time and I was really excited to be heading out there again.

We arrived at the starting area and headed over to pick up our numbers and timing chips. There we met the rest of the Whirlaway crew and coach Dave. After running back to the car again to collect some things it was time to head out for a warm up. I checked out the first part of the course and the finish area to be sure I was knew how the race finished. Once back at the school I put on the Lunaracers and headed for the starting line.

I was going into this race without too much confidence in my running. I had run pretty poorly 2 weeks earlier over 5 miles (27:36) and was not too sure how 10 miles would feel. I did get in a decent 5k (15:54) a week ago, but it was only a 5k. I figured that anything under 56 minutes would be really good for me at this point on this very tough course. I did a few strides at the starting line and before I knew it we were off and running.

At the start I tried to settle in and be comfortable, and try not to go out to quick. Which is a hard thing to do in these grand prix races, but I think I did OK. I felt relaxed during the first mile and split it in 5:25. At this point Jim Johnson and Kevin Tilton started to go by me. Of course my inner runner said go with them, you can run with those guys. So I pulled in behind them and went for the ride on the downhill second mile which went by in 5:08. Once I hit the bottom of the hill I felt like crap, so I backed off and let Jim and Kevin go. The pace was just a bit to hot for me at this point. I could hear a large pack of runners behind me and I figured that's where I should be. So as Jim and Kevin pulled away I backed off and just before the three mile mark the large pack of runners caught me. This pack included Josh Gordon, Henery Scollard, Tom Casey, Wayne Levy, and Kevin Gorman and a few others. As I got swallowed up by this pack I tried to latch on and let them pull me along while I recovered a bit. I missed the 3 mile split as I was busy trying to stay with the pack while we moved up a big painful hill and onto the dirt/muddy road section. Over the next mile or so I stayed on the back of the pack, going out the back by a few meters here and there but always getting back in there with them. A motivator for me at this point was Josh Gordon who had beat me 2 weeks earlier and the presence of a few master runners I did not want to lose to. We hit the 4 mile mark in 22:27 for a last 2 mile split of 11:54.........slow, mostly due to the hills and muddy dirt road.

Over the next mile I actually started to feel better, in fact I was starting to feel pretty strong. I went to the front of the group where Tom Casey was and a few minutes later I decided to give it a go and went off the front of the group. Tom Casey came with me and we established a small break from the pack. We hit the 5 mile mark in 28:08 for a 5:41 split. At this point I was not to sure about getting under 56 minutes. I would need a negative split which I though was unlikely with the Strong Street hills in the last mile and not being to confident in my current racing condition. I figured it can't hurt to give it a go and see what happens. So Tom and I continued pushing and trying to get away from the pack behind us. We hit the 6 mile split with a 5:26. The next couple of miles were down hill and I knew I needed to make up some time here. I tried the best I could to hang on to Tom, but he started to pull away a bit. It was at this point that I also noticed a CMS runner ahead walking, it was Kevin Tilton, I asked if he was OK on the way by, he indicated he was alright. He later rejoined the race and ran a killer last three miles. I hit the 7 mile split in 5:16. Now I was thinking I still have a shot at finishing under 56 minutes, I just need to stay strong. During the next mile I had a BAA guy come up from behind me. Which took me out of my race induced haze and help me push on. We battled back and forth till about the 8 mile mark where he dropped out. I have no idea who he was, but thanks for waking me back up and pushing me along. I hit the 8 mile mark with a 5:31 mile. During the next mile I could now see the looming Strong Street hills. As I hit the straight before the first hill I could see a lot of runners ahead of me, but they all were out of reach at this point. I decided I just wanted to hold my position and get up those damn hills.

As the first hill started I just put my head down and grinded the best I could. The 9 mile mark passed in 5:28 (49:49) leaving me 6:10 to get to the finish in under 56 minutes. Sounds easy till you see these hills. I pushed my way up the rest of the hills till I hit the top. I took a quick peek behind me to see a bunch of guys not all that far back, including most of that large group I was running with earlier in the race. So I made for the finish line as quick as I could to make sure I keep those guys behind me. I hit the finish line in 55:41 good for 25th place with a 5:52 very painful last mile. I negative split the race 28:08 / 27:33 (the second half faster than my 5 miler a 2 weeks ago).

Overall I am very satified with the result and the way I fought through the last half of the race and through the early race difficulties. This was a good step in getting back into the swing of things and getting ready for better running and racing in the future. The Whirlaway mens open team finished 4th, masters 2nd, and seniors 1st. The Whirlaway womans open team finished 4th, masters 1st, and seniors 1st. Heather ran a good race also finishing 25th overall (for women), cute I know. We do everything together.

After the race a group of us headed in to Amherst to visit some of my favorite spots. We hit Bueno Y Sano for lunch burritos then headed over to the Amherst Brewing Company for some Brews while we watched the US vs Canada Hockey game, then it was over to Antonios for pizza before heading home. It was a great day for a race and a great day in Amherst with some great friends.


1. 5:25
2 5:08
3. ??
4. 11:54 (2 miles)
5. 5:41 (28:08)
6. 5:26
7. 5:16
8. 5:31
9. 5:28
10. 5:52 (27:33 2nd half)

Total 55:41

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Training 2/22 to 2/28

2/22 Monday: OFF

Starting the week with a day off was not good. Very busy late night at work. Working on a big presentation I need to give on Thursday.

2/23 Tuesday: AM: 10 miles in 76 minutes PM: 4 miles in 32 minutes

AM: Rattlesnake Road loop. Ran very easy

PM: Very easy treadmill run at home.

2/24 Wednesday: OFF

Another day off due to work. Preparing for the big work presentation tomorrow.

2/25 Thursday: 9 miles in 62 minutes

I gave my big presentation today (I think it went well...they let me come back to work the next day) then hit the treadmill at home for a tempo run. Did 3 easy miles then the next 2 at 6:00 pace and the next 2 at 5:52 pace. Nothing crazy or even that fast, but I have not done any quicker longer stuff yet. I felt pretty good and was happy with the effort.

2/26 Friday: OFF

Another day off. I should have known this week would suck for running. Big presentation plus bad weather = not much running. The good news is I should be fresh for the DH Jones 10 miler on Sunday. No electricity, water in basement, No daycare, means no running. Because of the lack of electricity I headed to my favorite Haverhill watering hole for dinner and a couple brews. Check out The Tap if you get a chance.

2/27 Saturday: 4 miles in 31 minutes

A very easy run with Heather. Ran around the area to check out the storm damage. Lots of tress and power lines down all over the place. Thursday nights storm really did some damage to the area.

2/28 Sunday: 15.5 miles in 98 minutes

Ran the DH Jones 10 Miler today. This was also the USATFNE 10 mile Championships. Ran well and placed 25th overall in 55:41. I would say I was satified with this result considering the training I have put in. See the soon to come race report for all the details!

Total miles: 42.5 miles

Overall it was a pretty bad week as far as getting in the miles goes. It was also a very stressful week with the presentation and that really bad storm. Its going to happen now and then, and it was probably a good thing to get me rested up. I still had a good result at the 10 miler and I am starting to gain some confidence in my running. Time to get back to work and build off this last race. New Bedford 1/2 Marathon is three weeks away.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

USATFNE Track 5000m

On Sunday February 21st Heather and I headed to the Harvard indoor track for the USATFNE Track Championships. I was running the 5k in the hopes of getting in a solid run and making the pace at next weeks 10 miler feel a bit easier. We got there early and got settled in. I did my warm up inside on the track and got in some strides while the woman ran the 5k. My goal was to run hard, but stay comfortable. I figured that this should yield a result of just under 16 minutes.

I put on the spikes for the first time since last years USATFNE Championships and I headed for the starting line. The race went off and I settled into the back of the pack with only a few runners behind me. Soon I was right behind Kevin Tilton and just after the first lap Kevin caught the rail and tripped himself up which led to some fancy footwork on my part to stay up right and avoid Kevin. Soon he was off and running toward the lead group. I settled in with a group of three and decided to go along for the ride. I was feeling OK and comfortable as I passed the first mile in 5:03. The next bunch of laps went by pretty quick as I just stayed relaxed and tucked in behind the leader of my group of three. We passed 2 miles in 10:13, so a 5:10 mile. The next mile I started to get a bit uncomfortable and the legs were starting to get heavy, but the goal of sub 16 minutes was within site so I pushed forward with that as the goal. My group fell apart as this mile progressed and I went through 4400m in 14:00, 600m and 2 minutes to get it done. That's 40 seconds a lap or about 5:20 pace. No problem I thought, but 4600m passed in 14:40 and 4800m in 15:20, the 3rd mile passing in 5:07. Time to kick! I covered the last lap in 34 seconds for a finish time of 15:54.

I finished 10th overall, but I accomplished the goal of staying pretty comfortable and running under 16 minutes. I was also able to close out the race very strong which was a good sign. Heather ran her first ever track race running the woman's 5k in 19:01 good for 7th place. Nice race!

Photo by Bob Wiles

Training 2/16 to 2/21

2/16 Monday: 7 miles in 55 minutes

Easy treadmill run at home. Feeling very slow and tried from the race on Saturday and long run on Sunday.

2/17 Tuesday: OFF

2/18 Wednesday: AM: 10 miles in 72 minutes PM: 5 miles in 39 minutes

AM: Rattlesnake road loop. I did 1 minute pickups at the beginning of miles 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.
PM: Easy run on the treadmill at home.

2/19 Thursday: 10 miles in 76 minutes

2/20 Friday: 8 miles in 59 minutes

Easy run from work. Did 6 x 20 second strides during end of run.

2/21 Saturday: 6 miles in 45 minutes

Very easy run from home.

2/22 Sunday: 10 miles in 71 minutes

Ran the USATFNE Track championships 5k at Harvard Indoor track. Did about 7 miles of warm up and cool down plus 3.1 miles of racing. Ran 15:54 good for 10th place. See race report for more details.

Total Miles: 56 miles

Overall a solid week. I missed one day of running which was not planned. But it was probably a good thing after a couple weeks over 70 miles. Also ran a decent 5k, which went a bit better than the 5 miler from last week. Making progress, but a long way to go still. USATFNE 10 mile championships next week.