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

Monday, February 27, 2012

DH Jones 10 Miler

On February 26th Heather and I headed out west to Amherst, MA for the DH Jones 10 miler. This is the first race of seven in the USATFNE Road Grand Prix Series. I have run this race a couple of time before and the course is very challenging with many hills and a dirt road section just to make things a little interesting. After last weekends indoor track 5k (15:58) and my short nine weeks of solid training, I was thinking a time around 57 minutes would be a decent time and anything faster would be a good run for me. After three miles of warm up and some strides it was time to get to it and get racing!

I tried to keep things relaxed for the first couple miles. But I always seem to get sucked out just a bit too quick at this race. I hit the first mile in 5:26 and felt alright, but I wish I had gone out a little bit slower. The next mile is pretty much all down hill, and the 2 mile split showed it as the 2 mile mark went by in 5:07 (10:33). The course levels out for a bit and then starts making itsway up. It was during this section that I started to feel like I had made a mistake going out this quick. My legs felt heavy and I felt like I was having trouble finding a comfortable stride. The big hill I was now making my way up didn't help. I passed three miles in 6:02 (16:35) and my thoughts turned to just surviving this climb and then trying to get my stride going again. Lucky for me three team mates (Al Bernier, Jim Johnson, and Kevin Gorman) caught me at this point and I was able to fall in with them and get my legs going a bit again. After a bit our little pack started to fall apart as Al pulled away and Jim feel off the pace. I was able to hang in there with Kevin for the next couple miles. Mile 4 went by in 6:01 (22:36). At this point I was starting to feel a bit better and recovered from the up hills over the last couple miles. Just before the 5 mile mark I started to move up and pass a few people. At this point I put a small gap on Kevin and I was on my own making my way through the field the best I could. I went by 5 miles in 5:37 (28:13), I was half way and on pace to be around 56:30....but I still had the Strong street hills to go up at the end of the race. The next mile or so I don't remember really running with anyone, I could see a pack ahead of me and put my mind and body to working up to them. I believe I caught them at right around the 6 mile mark, which went by in 5:30 (33:43). There was one guy (sorry I don't know who it was) who started to pull away from the rest of the pack and I latched on and went for a ride for as long as I could. We caught up to Dan Princic and he latched on to us. Not to long after we went by the seven mile mark 5:16 (38:59) and I could no longer hang on to our lead runner. I relaxed back a bit and soon Dan fell off my pace too. I found myself running alone and starting to think about the brutal finish ahead. I kept my eyes on those ahead of me and kept driving. The eight mile went by in 5:32 (44:31) and I could see the hills down the road ahead. I tried to relax on the first of the three hills, but the hill was still getting the best of me. At this point I was thinking just keep moving and hold onto your position. I crested the first hill and made the turn onto Strong Street, passed the nine mile mark in 5:30 (50:01) and made my way up the second hill and into a wicked head wind that nearly stopped me cold. I made it over the second hill and made my way to the third and last hill. At this point I was just totally spent, I really had nothing left, I could here foot steps behind me and I knew I was in trouble. Soon A pack of guys including Dan Princic, Kevin Gorman and Steve O'Brien caught me and started going by me. I tried my best to react but I had nothing....I was done. I crested the last hill and could see the finish. I did my best to keep my legs moving as I made my way downhill toward the finish. I saw the finish clock as I went by in the looped finish and thought I had a chance to break 56 minutes. I did my best to muster a kick around the parking lot finish.....but I am just not there yet. The kick was pretty poor and I crossed the line in 56:03 (6:02 last mile) good for 41st place overall.

Overall this was a very good result. I finished in a much faster time then I expected and I negative split the course (28:13 1st half/27:50 2nd half). This was a good step and showed that the work I am putting in is starting to pay off. I was a bit disappointed in the way I finished the race, but I am sure some more racing and solid workouts will lead to a stronger finish in the future. Considering the amount of training I have done and my lack of racing over the last 6 months I am very happy with how things went. Most of all the foot felt great, I didn't even think about the plantar once during the race. After a three mile cool down it was off to some old Amherst favorites for food and beer!

Heather also had a very solid race finishing in 68:09. Now its time for some recovery!

5:07 (10:33)
6:02 (16:35)
6:01 (22:36)
5:37 (28:13)
5:30 (33:43)
5:16 (38:59)
5:32 (44:31)
5:30 (50:01)
6:02 (56:03)

Training 2/20 to 2/26

2/20 Monday: 7.3 miles in 57 minutes

Night time run with Heather. We headed through downtown Haverhill and over past Kenoza and back home through Plaistow. A pretty nice night time loop. I felt heavy and tight to start, but felt a little better once I got warmed up.

2/21 Tuesday: 10.7 miles in 82 minutes

Ran along the Shawsheen River Trails and then along the Bay Circuit Trail till it gets to Route 133. I didn't intend on running this far, but I was really enjoying the run and decided going a little longer wouldn't hurt. The only issue I had was two encounters with unleashed dogs. Both little ankle bitters that were nipping at me. One of them got a foot in the gut! At least I didn't get bit this time.

2/22 Wednesday: 8.5 miles in 61 minutes

Ran along the Shawsheen River Trails and over to the high school track. I did a couple laps and headed back. I ran into Dan Verrington on the way out and got to run and chat with him for a bit. I did 6 x 30 second strides towards the end of the run. I also got in some additional strength training while changing my flat tire tonight......again.

2/23 Thursday: 7 miles in 53 minutes

Easy treadmill running at home. I had Caitlyn at home this afternoon, so the run was inside. Did some strength training with Caitlyn after the run.

2/24 Friday: OFF

Day off from running. Its a down week, so a day off sounded like a good idea.

2/25 Saturday: 5 miles in 40 minutes

Easy running on the treadmill at home. It was wicked windy outside! Decided to stay inside where it was warm and calm.

Tomorrow Heather and I will be headed out to Amherst for the DH Jones 10 miler. This is the first USATFNE Road Grand Prix race of the year. Its a tough course and if it stays windy it will make it a little tougher!

2/26 Sunday: 16 miles in 1 hour and 44 minutes

I did three miles of warm-up with some strides. Then raced the DH Jones 10 miler in 56:03 good for 41st overall. Then I warmed down for another three miles. Results

Race Report to come soon!

Total Miles: 54.5

A good week overall. I took a down week to let the body rest and recover and get ready for my race. Then I had a very solid race to close out the week. I didn't feel sharp during the race, but that will come with some additional racing and workouts. Best of all I had no pain in the foot or anywhere else. A couple recovery days to start next week, then its back to putting in the work!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Training 2/13 to 2/19

2/13 Monday: 8.4 miles in 60 minutes

Ran my Pomps Pond to Spring Hill Cemetery to Abbot road out and back. Wanted a nice easy run today to recover from the long run on Sunday and to also take it easy on the foot. I was a bit nervous about the foot after having some pain in it last week. I figured yesterdays long run probably aggravated it and I was fully expecting to have some pain. Much to my relieve I had no pain, just a bit of tightness, and the legs actually felt really good. Maybe it was that fresh pair of Asics DS trainers I pull out for the run. A good start to the week!

2/14 Tuesday: AM: 5 miles in 40 minutes PM: 8.5 miles in 65 minutes

AM: Easy running on the treadmill at home. Then strength stuff

PM: Easy running along the Shawsheen River Trails. I did 6 x 30 second strides during the last couple miles of the run. The strides felt alright. I still feel out of sorts if I try to run fast.

2/15 Wednesday: 10.5 in 80 minutes

Easy trail running along the Shawsheen River Trails over to the Bay Circuit Trail. I followed the Bay Circuit Trail all the way over and into the West Parish Cemetery before I turned around to head back. It was nice out there today....very quiet and calm.

I took Caitlyn night skiing at Ski Bradford after work. It was a great time!

2/16 Thursday: 9 miles in 66 minutes

Ran over to Andover High on the Shawsheen River Trails. Once at the High School I did a couple loop on the fields there. It was nice to get in a bit of running on a really soft grass surface. Overall the run was good and I felt pretty strong the whole way.

2/17 Friday: AM: 5 miles in 40 minutes PM: 8.1 miles in 63 minutes

AM: Easy running on the treadmill at home. Then some strength training.

PM: Heather met me in Andover for some running. We hit the Shawsheen River Trail over to the trails behind the High School. I was a great day to get out side and get in some running. The weather this year has been unreal.

2/18 Saturday: 6.3 miles in 48 minutes

Easy running on the treadmill at home. Felt alright except a pain in the right side of my chest. I think I may have pulled something while doing my strength stuff Friday morning. It doesn't really effect my running all that much but it is making my arm swing a bit uncomfortable.

Tomorrow I am heading into Boston for the USATFNE Indoor Track Championships. This will be my first race of the year and will help me figure out what kind of shape I am in. Seven weeks ago I ran a 3k indoors and the result was awful. I ran 9:38, the slowest 3k I have ever run and almost a minute off my best. I had been injured for a large part of 2011 and had done little training going into the race. So the result was not really unexpected, but it was a reality check that I needed. I am running the 5k tomorrow and hope the last seven weeks of solid training show up in a much improved result. A 9:38 3k equates to about a 16:48 5k. My goal tomorrow is to go through 2 miles at 16 minute 5k pace and see what happens. I really feel like I should be able to run around 16 flat. Anything under 16 minutes would be a good result in my mind and a great confidence booster. Anything slower than 16 minutes will just be another kick in the pants to get me out there putting in more miles and work. We will see how it goes!

2/19 Sunday: 11.1 miles in 76 minutes

Went down to the USATFNE Indoor Track Championships to run the 5k. I did about three miles of warming up with a few CMS guys and then hit the track for my first race of the year. The goal was to stay relaxed and keep the splits even as I was trying to finish right at or just under 16 minutes. I felt pretty solid for the first mile, then the pace and lack of any race conditioning started to take hold. I held on pretty well through about two miles, but in the third mile I really started to lose my focus and I was having a lot of trouble staying comfortable. I really don't remember many splits, but I know I was just under 16 minute pace through two miles and I know I hit one lap to go in 15:25. This left me only 35 seconds (4:40 pace) to cover the last 200 meters to hit my 16 minute goal. So buckled down and tried to kick the best I could. I ended up hitting the finish line in 15:58 (5:08 pace) and getting under my goal of 16 minute by a small margin. (Results)

Overall I was pretty happy with the time, and a bit surprised how hard it felt to run such time. This really was a good rust buster and a good first race to the year. There is still a lot of work to be done to really get me in race ready shape. Congrats to new CMS teammate Adam Malek for breaking 15 minutes and winning the 5k! You should have seen his kick!

My Next race is this coming weekend in the USATFNE 10 mile road Championships out in Amherst.

Total Miles: 71.9

Very nice week of running and racing. Things are getting better and the hard work is starting to show. Easier week this coming week to get ready for this weekends race.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Training 2/6 to 2/12

2/6 Monday: 8 miles in 60 minutes

Treadmill running at home. I felt awful this morning....I was dizzy, had blurred vision, felt nauseous, and had a splitting headache. I really thought I was getting a bad migraine or something. I didn't feel better till well after lunch, so I missed out on the great weather today. Maybe it was an after effect of watching the Patriots play like crap last night. At least I got in some running on the treadmill.

Congrats to my best friend Brian for having a great race up at the Frigid Fiver in Newburyport on Sunday. Keep up the running and good things will happen!

2/7 Tuesday: 10.5 miles in 80 minutes

I ran the Shawsheen River Trails to the trails behind Andover High and over to the West Parish Cemetery. Felt better as the run went on.

2/8 Wednesday: 10.4 miles in 68 minutes

I ran from Cedardale Health and Fitness in Bradford today. I was short on time but wanted to get in some miles. So the thought was I would head out for a run and if I felt good I would pick up the pace as I went. So the run was basically a long progression run over a very rolling course through Bradford and hitting part of the Bradford Valentine 5 mile course. The miles went by in 7:27, 6:50, 6:51, 6:33, 6:28, 6:22, 6:37, 6:18, 6:01, 5:38. Nothing blazing fast, but it felt good to be able to slowly increase the effort and increase the pace all while feeling pretty comfortable.

2/9 Thursday: 8.3 miles in 65 minutes

Easy on the Shawsheen River trails. I felt pretty beat today after the effort I put in yesterday. So I was sure to just run easy and enjoy getting outside.

2/10 Friday: AM: 4.4 miles in 35 minutes PM: 8.6 miles in 66 minutes

AM: Easy running on the treadmill at home.

PM: Running along the Shawsheen River Trail. After the first few miles I started getting some twinges in my heel that were a bit concerning. It was the first hint of pain I have gotten in a long while. This was a very disappointing run for me and really left me wondering about the condition of my foot.

2/11 Saturday: Off

Took the day off to let the foot rest up. I am trying to be smart, an extra 4-5 miles today is not going to make a huge difference in the long run.

2/12 Sunday: 16 miles in 1 hour and 59 minutes

Ran the first 12 miles with the amazing, talented, and beautiful Heather. We ran over to Bradford and did the Bradford Valentines Race course. The foot was pretty well behaved and I got none of those twinges I got on Friday's run. I finished off my run with another 4 miles of easy running and got home with no pain. I did plenty of stretching after and then put some ice on the foot. Its tight....but no pain. I need to watch this thing and be sure I am continuing to do preventative maintenance.

Total Miles: 66.2

Despite the bad run on Friday afternoon and the missed day on Saturday, the week was not too bad. I got in a decent workout on Wednesday, a solid week of miles and the week ended with a decent long run. Next week should be about the same....but I think I will keep it all easy and keep a close eye on the foot.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Training 1/30 to 2/5

1/30 Monday: 8 miles in 60 minutes

Easy running along the Shawsheen River Trails. My left hamstring is a bit tight today, it didn't hurt while running, but I will work on it a bit later.

1/31 Tuesday: AM: 5 miles in 40 minutes PM: 8 miles in 61 minutes

AM: Easy morning run on the treadmill. Hamstring is still tight.

PM: Easy running along the Shasheen River Trails to the trails behind Andover High School. The hamstring felt tight during the day, but did not trouble me too much during the run. Hopefully some stretching and massage will take care of this.

2/1 Wednesday: 10 miles in 73 minutes

Ran the Rattlesnake Hill loop today. All was well for the first half, then it started raining. Got a good soaking and was pretty cold by the time I finished up the run. Legs felt pretty good and the hamstring felt better today.

2/2 Thursday: AM: 5 miles in 40 minutes PM: 8 miles in 61 minutes

AM: Easy running on the treadmill at home. Strength (push-ups, crunches, planks, lunges, etc)

PM: Ran along the Shawsheen River Trails. Felt a bit heavy today, but still strong if that makes any sense. Hamstring felt fine today.

2/3 Friday: 10+ miles in 76 minutes

Ran along the Shawsheen River trails, to the trails behind Andover High and over to the Bakers Meadow trails. The GPS read 10 miles total...bit it was giving me some very slow mile splits on some of the trails. I am figuring this run is closer to 10.2 miles or so.

2/4 Saturday: OFF

A planned day off. Went skiing with the family. Caitlyn is skiing so well and her little cousin Calleigh is making some amazing progress and rode the chairlift for the first time! Great day!

2/5 Sunday: 16.1 miles in 1 hour and 57 minutes

Awesome run today, I really felt relaxed and pace came easy. Picked it up a bit in the last few miles, nothing too fast, but high to mid 6 minute pace to close it out. Everything felt great while running, but the left foot (plantar) is aching a bit right now.

Total miles: 70.1

This is the best week of running I have had in almost a year. Getting in 70 miles and a day off in a week is solid for me. I even got in a few days of strength training. Next week should look similar to this week. I plan to stay at 70 miles a week for the next two weeks before taking a step down week before the Amherst 10 miler. This will give my body a chance to absorb all work and give it a chance to recover a bit.