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

Monday, November 29, 2010

Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race

On Thursday November 25th, Thanksgiving day, Heather and I headed to Andover for the Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race. This was my first Feaster Five and I have been thinking about running this race for a long time. This is one of the largest Thanksgiving Day Races in the US attracting more then ten thousand runners total for the 5k and 8k. I decided to run the 8k, this race always attracts at least a few of the areas best runners, so a top three finish was my goal. After a 2.5 mile warm up I headed for the starting line. After breaking the world record for the most people saying "Happy Thanksgiving" at once and some final announcements and instructions we were off and running.

Right away Nate Jenkins went to the front and was on his way to the 8k win. The guy is a stud and there was no way I was going to try to chase him down. He was running his own race and then there was the rest of us. The first mile of this race is flat and then up for about a half mile to the mile mark. At this point the 5k runners and 8k runners are still all together. We hit the first mile in a solid 5:13 and Nate was out in front a bit and I had two guys right in front of me including Kevin Alliette and plenty of guys close behind. As we hit the 5k turn both of those guys in front of me turned and I was alone in second place in the 8k race. I had no idea what was going on behind me, but I was sure there were guys in the 8k race not to far behind. The goal for me now was to try to hang on to second place and put some distance on whoever was behind me. The second mile is still up for a ways then a down hill to a flat section. I tried to keep my eyes on Nate as long as I could and tried to keep the pace solid. I got to the 2 mile mark in 10:33 (5:20 mile) and could not hear anyone behind me. The next mile is slightly up hill for the first half before heading back down hill for the second half. I really should have been pressing more during this mile, but I think not hearing anyone behind me put me in a more relaxed mode. I even threw some high fives to a large group of kids cheering along the side of the course. A little ways before the three mile mark a spectator told me that third place was about 40 meters back. That woke me up a bit, and hitting three miles in 15:57 (5:24 mile) also got me going a bit faster. The next mile has a sharp short downhill and then its flat for a long ways. During this section the 8k runners join back up with the 5k runners and weaving in and out of the 5k runners who refuse to stay to the left side of the road was not fun. But getting cheered on by the 5k runners was also a plus! I pressed the pace a bit here thinking I could put more distance on third place and secure my position in second place. I hit the 4th mile in 21:04 (5:07 mile) and thought I should be all set in second place. The next mile has a slight downhill to flat section and then a pretty good last hill just to make the finish even more fun. I was still pushing the pace pretty hard, not wanting to have anyone surprise me in the end. Just before the the turn up the hill at the finish I was told that third place was 20m back! I then just took off, hit the hill hard and made sure I did everything I could to hold onto second place. I hit the finish line in 26:06 (5:02 almost mile) holding off third place by 10 seconds. Turns out third place was David Wilson, a runner from UVA, and a former Massachusetts two-mile champion (9:19 best). So I felt pretty good about my second place finish.

Not too long after my finish I got to see Heather also finish in second place in the five miler in a huge PR of 29:50! Awesome race Heather!!!

Training 11/22 to 11/28

11/22 Monday: 5.5 miles in 40 minutes

Very easy running in Andover.

11/23 Tuesday: OFF

11/24 Wednesday: 4 miles in 32 minutes

Very easy treadmill running at home.

11/25 Thursday: 9 miles in 58 minutes

Ran the Feaster Five Road Race. Warmed up 2.5 miles, ran 8k in 26:06 for 2nd place, cooled down for 1.5 miles. Race report coming soon! Travel to CT for Thanksgiving dinner.

11/26 Friday: 8 miles in 60 minutes

Travel back from CT in the morning. Easy running out to Crystal lake and back. Feeling a bit tired and slow. Legs are tight!

11/27 Saturday: 8 miles in 59 minutes

Ran with Heather out to the Crystal lake area and Back. Felt OK, legs were still a bit tight, but not too bad.

11/28 Sunday: OFF

After a long day of travel and attending another social engagement I was pooped! Day off to recover from the Holiday weekend.

Total Miles: 34.5 miles

A very low week. I had planed on 1 day off, but I got two! This week and next week are planed low weeks to rest up and recover before I start putting in the work and miles to get ready for Boston in April.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kingston Turkey Trot 5k

On Saturday November 2oth Heather and I went down to the South Shore for the Kingston Turkey Trot 5k. I was looking for a race to do over the weekend and I wanted to do a 5k on Saturday to give myself more time to recover for a race on Thanksgiving. This was one of the few 5k options for the day and having prize money was also a major plus. So we decided to head for Kingston.

Once we got there we got our numbers and I perused the entry list for names I recognized. The only one that I saw was John Noland, a tough master runner that I have battled with for many years. After a warm up over the course, which is flat with a couple hills in mile 2, and getting myself ready to race we headed over to the starting line. At the starting line I still did not notice anyone I recognized, there were a bunch of High school guys, but I was starting to think that I maybe running by myself out there after a mile or so. This was not to be the case!

After some words from and instructions at the start we were off and running. As always the high school kids were out fast and into the lead right away. As we made our way down the first stretch of road I started making my way around them and towards the front. One little guy wasn't having it and each time I pulled up next to him he stomped on it. It was really pretty funny. Soon enough I was past the high schoolers and out in front with two other men. The first was John Noland and the other was a mystery to me, I later found out this was Marc Leblanc (a very accomplished runner from Natick). As we got close to the first mile mark John was breathing pretty heavy and I knew he would not keep the pace for much longer, Marc on the other hand seemed comfortable and his breathing was controlled. I was starting to think that I may have a race on my hands. We hit the first mile in 5:02. I pressed on and son I did not hear John anymore, but Marc was right on me. We soon made a right hand turn and started the pop portion of this lollipop style course. This section had a set of small hills that I thought I could use to my advantage. At the first hill I made an effort to push pretty good and soon felt a small gap open up, so I kept the pressure on and really hammered the resulting downhill and the next more significant up hill and down hill. Son I made a left hand turn back onto the main road and back towards the finish. I could no longer hear anyone behind me and I was thinking that I had just done enough work to break the guy behind me and win this race. I hit the two mile mark in 10:08 (5:06 miles) and thought that I had done a great job pressing and maintaining a great pace through the hills in the last mile. At this point I was thinking of the finish line and just getting there to wrap this thing up. About 4-500 meters later while making a right hand turn onto another road a course director says "nice job guys". I am first thinking "Thanks" then I was thinking "What? Guys? That's plural I am all alone.....(look over shoulder) .....oh crap!" Marc was no more that 5 meters back and I was now in panic mode. The first thing I did was start pressing again thinking I could get away from him.....that didn't seem to do anything. He was soon right on my shoulder. So I relaxed a bit and tried to collect myself now knowing that this was probably going to come down to a kick. We soon made a quick left and then a right onto the final 400m stretch of road. Just as we made that right hand turn Marc went by me. At this point I thought the race was over. I was not prepared for his move and could not cover it right away. Marc soon had a 5 meter lead on me and we could now see the finish line. I pressed to get back on Marc's shoulder just as we passed the 3 mile mark. I thought for sure the second I caught back up he would kick me down over the last 0.1 miles. But we hit the three mile mark and nothing happened.....there was no kick. So I just went for it.......I was not going to lose this race now after leading almost the whole way. So I threw down probably the ugliest looking kick ever. I was determined to get to that finish line first, I was swinging my arms as hard as I could as I raced to the now blurry finish line. I just kept going as hard as I could until I got across the line. I hit the finish line in 15:51, good for a 6 second victory. I guess all that effort to catch back up to me had taken the kick out of Marc, but I didn't take any chances as we went for the finish line.

Heather also had a good race finishing up in 18:12 and good for first place female!!

After the race a group of us including Heather, Marc Leblanc, John Noland, Wayne Alukonis, and myself went for a cool down. I got a chance to talk to Marc and he is a very nice guy with a great running resume. We realized that we have actually race each other quite a few time and have pretty close PR's. Word on the street is that he has just joined Whirlaway so I expect to see a bit more of him out on the USATFNE Grand Prix circuit.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Training 11/15 to 11/21

11/15 Monday: 8.3 miles in 60 minutes

Some easy running on the Shawsheen River trails. Felt good.

11/16 Tuesday: AM: 10 miles in 71 minutes PM: 5 miles in 40 minutes

AM: Rattlesnake Hill Loop. Felt very comfortable and smooth.

PM: Easy treadmill running after work.

11/17 Wednesday: 9 miles in 69 minutes

Early morning treadmill running.

11/18 Thursday: 8.3 miles in 60 minutes

Easy running on the Shawsheen River trails. Did 6 x 20 second strides towards the end of the run.

11/19 Friday: 6 miles in 45 minutes

Easy running around Andover.

11/20 Saturday: 10.7 miles in 75 minutes

Ran the Kingston Turkey Trot. Warmed up 3.1 miles over the course, ran 5k in 15:51 good for first place, warmed down 4.5 miles. Race report to come soon!

11/21 Sunday: 13 miles in 96 minutes

Ran over to the Bradford area of town with Heather. I was feeling pretty heavy and slow today.

Total Miles: 70.3

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Training 11/8 to 11/14

11/8 Monday: 10 miles in 73 minutes

Last run in Miami. Ran with Heather along the boardwalk and over to the shipping canal.

11/9 Tuesday: 11 miles in 77 minutes

Andover center run. Did 6 x 20 second strides towards the end of the run.

11/10 Wednesday: AM: 10 miles in 71 minutes PM: 4 miles in 32 minutes

AM: Rattlesnake Hill loop. Felt pretty good.

PM: Easy treadmill running.

11/11 Thursday: 10 miles in 75 minutes

Felt pretty bad today...... heavy and slow. Was going to do some tempo paced stuff but the legs were not having it. Maybe tomorrow.

11/12 Friday: OFF

I really did not plan to take the day off, but I was feeling tired and unmotivated. A good day to let myself recover a bit mentally and physically.

11/13 Saturday: 10 miles in 75 minutes

Easy running over to Winnekenni and did a loop around the lake. Felling much better today and glad I took a day off.

11/14 Sunday: 16 miles in 113 minutes

Should have been running the Seacoast Half Marathon today. The race sells out way to early and I was not able to get in even after talking to the race director. Very disappointing. Congrats to Bob Wiles on running a great race today....by himself! Wish I was there to help you along Bob!

Ran over to the Bradford section of town with Heather for the first 11 miles and then finished up with some solid miles over the last 5 miles. Last mile was a 5:38. Felt very solid. That day off did miracales!

Total Miles: 71 miles

For a week with 6 days of running I will take the 71 miles and feeling rested and recovered at the end of the week. Time to start getting ready for some races I have coming up in the next few weeks!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Training 11/1 to 11/7

11/1 Monday: AM: 5 miles in 40 minutes PM: 9 miles in 63 minutes

AM: Easy early morning treadmill run.

PM: Easy running up to Andover center.

11/2 Tuesday: AM: 10 miles in 71 minutes PM: 5 miles in 40 minutes

AM: Rattlesnake Hill loop, felt pretty good.

PM: Easy treadmill run.

11/3 Wednesday: AM: 10 miles in 74 minutes PM: 5 miles in 40 minutes

AM: Shawsheen River trails to the Bay Circuit Trail. 6 x 20 second strides towards end of the run.

PM: Easy treadmill running, legs felt a bit heavy and I felt slow.

11/4 Thursday: 9 miles in 60 minutes

Treadmill run. 3 miles of warm up then 2 x 2 miles at 5:30 pace with 400m rest. Then cool down up to 9 miles total.

11/5 Friday: 9.1 miles in 67 minutes

Running the Boardwalk along Miami Beach with Heather and Seth. Nice weather here!

11/6 Saturday: AM: 10.1 miles in 75 minutes PM: 4 miles in 32 minutes

AM: Running the Boardwalk along Miami Beach. Another great weather day!

PM: Easy running on the boardwalk.

11/7 Sunday: 15.1 miles in 110 minutes

Ran the boardwalk over to the shipping canal and over to across from the cruise ship terminals. Another great day for running down in Miami.

Total Miles: 91.3

A very nice week of running and a relaxing visit to Miami beach!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Canton Classic 10k

On Sunday October 31st Heather and I made the drive down to Canton, Ma to run the Canton Classic. This was a last minute decision as Heather had planned on racing on Saturday and I was thinking I would just get in some miles over the weekend. Well the race that Heather planned on racing on Saturday never happened, and she still wanted to race. It doesn't take much to convince me to go to a race, so after some looking over the races on Sunday we decided to go check out the Canton Classic.

Upon arrival we had to park a good walk away from the registration area. It looked like this race had attracted a lot of runners and the good weather was certainly helping. After parking we packed up our running bags and made the walk up to the registration area. Even with all the people, registration was very quick. Heather registered for the 5k and I opted for the 10k. Soon we were back outside and ready to head out for a warm up. Heather and I did a 2 mile warm up on the side roads around the start/finish area and then got ready to race! Once over at the starting line there were quite a few fast looking guys, but the only one I recognized was Mike Griffin who has been running really well and I knew I would be in for a race if he was running the 10k. After a few more minutes of waiting we were off and running.

Mike Griffin went right to the front almost immediately, he was followed by myself and a few others. Soon Mike was really pulling away and I was soon alone in second place as we made our way through the mostly downhill first mile. Mike was looking fast and strong and still slowly pulling away from me on our way towards the first mile mark. At this point I was already thinking this race was over. Going through the first mile mark Mike had probably a 14-15 second lead on me. Much to my surprise I went through the mile in 5:01. This got me thinking Mike was either running the 5k or he was going out too fast. Not long after the mile mark Mike took the right hand turn at the 5k turn and I was alone in first place for the 10k. My first thoughts were relief that Mike was running the 5k and then it was thinking running by myself for the next 5 miles over this challenging course was going to be rough! I decided to give it a good go and see what I could do over this course. The next mile is still flat to down hill and I hit the 2nd mile in 10:01 (5:00 mile). At this point I knew for sure I would be alone for the rest of the race, and I knew that after all that downhill there were going to be some decent up hill sections coming up. Soon after the 2 mile mark I hit the first significant hill, still feeling good I pressed up the hill pretty strong and hit more downhill to flat all the way to the three mile mark 15:24 (5:23 mile). After the first three miles I had a good race going and thoughts of a fast time started entering my mind....but I knew there were more hills to come. Over the next mile I tried to really put in some effort and keep the pace fast through some rolling hills and flat sections. For the most part this mile was up hill but nothing to bad. I hit the 4 mile mark in 20:45 (5:21 mile). With 2.2 miles left I was on pace for a personal best.....but there were still more hills to tackle. The next mile was mostly flat for about a half mile, then the uphill began. The last part of this mile had three hills back to back to back with little to no rest between ups. I was pretty sure at this point that my fast time was going out the window. At the top of the very last hill I hit the 5 mile mark in 26:19 (5:34 mile). Not as bad as I had expected, the personal record was probably out of the question but I still had a quick time going. The last mile was flat to a very slight up hill and I tried to press the best I could to hold on to my good time. I never saw the 6 mile mark and before I knew it I was back close to the finish area and made one last drive for the finish. I was actually surprised to see the clock reading 32:30's as I made my way to the finish crossing the line in 32:37, only 4 seconds off my personal best!

I was extremely happy with this race. I was able to run a very good time, by myself, over a challenging course. The work I am putting in each week is starting to show at my races and it is keeping me motivated! Heather also won her race running the 5k in 18:06. Another great race for Heather who has been running very well! Mike Griffin ended up winning the 5k in 15:36.