Sunday, February 11, 2018

Bradford Valentine Race Report

(and rest of the week recap)

Saturday was the 27th Annual running of the Bradford Valentine Race in nearby Haverhill, MA. Road races are at a premium at this time of year, so Heather and I registered last week and enlisted my mom's help with the kids so we could run it together for the first time since 2008. There is a 5-Mile and a 6k and male/female team opportunities in a variety of categories, including husband/wife.

Here's a condensed history of our experience at the race through the years:

Heather (6k all four times):
2008 - 27:00 (pushing Ben in stroller)
2007 - 25:13
2006 - 26:47
2005 - 25:44

Me (5M six times):
2008 - 28:05
2007 - 26:21
2006 - 27:23
2005 - 27:43
2001 - 29:10
2000 - 29:33

We won the husband/wife team competition in '05 and '07.

I had pre-race goals of 28:00 ("C") / 27:30 ("B") / and 27:00 ("A").

I was reasonably confident in my ability to break 28, based on recent splits at longer distance races, and felt ok about my chances at 27:30. It's not a fast course, with some good hills and quite a few turns, but my biggest concern was that the roads wouldn't be clear and that would prevent the race from being fast at all. Cold and wind are always possible in early/mid-February, but we got a gem of a mid-winter day in that respect, with temps in the low 40's at the start and insignificant winds.

Heather and I warmed up on the last mile of the course and the roads looked pretty runnable. We had driven in on the first almost-two miles and those looked fine, so I knew if there was any unsure footing, it would be on the middle "neighborhood" miles. We met up briefly with Alex Vlahos, one of my former Ipswich runners, who was running the five-mile and his teammate Hannah, who was in the 6k. Also saw Pat Fullerton at the starting line, who said that there was one hill around 3.5 miles that might be a little snowy.

I tucked into the second row on the starting line and after a brief announcement or two, we were off!

It felt great to be racing, and I quickly found myself in third, as Pat Fullerton (CMS) sped off to an early lead with Jon Lindenauer in tow. I tried to keep Lindenauer within striking distance as we made our way up the long straight climb the first mile and a half. I knew there was a pack of guys all capable of running well under 6:00-pace including Sam Fazioli (Whirlaway), Dan Chruniak (Wicked), Tim Catoggio and Alex. Before the mile, the 6k runners turned to the right and I wondered if any of those guys had chosen the shorter option.

I checked my watch when I realized I must have missed the mile mark (or, as it turned out, there wasn't one) and the Garmin said "5:58" and "1.13 miles". That seemed pretty hot to me, considering we were climbing, but I felt pretty good and tried to roll with it. At the top of the hill, I had closed to just a few meters behind Lindenauer and I could hear footsteps (I thought more than one pair) behind me, coming on strong. As we rounded the first left turn onto the road by Bradford Ski Area, Sam went by me and pulled alongside Jon.

At this point I wondered if Sam would pull away, and secretly hoped he would, which I thought might help me get by Jon. Instead, the two of them ended up running side-by-side and pushing each other the rest of the way. I was only a second back at two miles (by watch, again no marker), but in miles three and four they put 15-20 seconds on me. I was pleased that the roads were well-salted and free of any ice and snow except in a couple small instances.

A little after three miles we rejoined the 6k runners, which made it a little harder to maintain contact with Sam and Jon, but I was really just doing my best to stay as close to 5:30's as I could and see which of my time goals I could hit. It would have been nice to work with them a little more closely, but I benefited from their speed either way.

The hill by the golf course at 3.5 that Pat F. had warned about came and went without incident. I know from my Garmin splits that I was basically running 5:40-pace for miles 3 and 4, which was slower than I would have liked, but I honestly thought beforehand that these miles could be close to 6:00 if the roads were bad, so I will take it.

By mile four, I was back on the road that Heather and I had warmed up on, so I knew how far we had to go and what the roads were like and I was able to pick up the pace a little. The last quarter-mile is a nice downhill and I was able to take advantage of that and close pretty hard. I still wound up 20 seconds in back of third, but I was happy with an official time of 27:13, my fastest 5-mile since I turned 40. Full results here.

Heather was there, cheering me in, and as I turned back to get her race report, I could tell she was excited with her 24:05. We cooled down together over the full 5-mile course, Heather wanted to get some more miles in and make the day into a long day of prep for the Hampton Half next month. We got back just in time for awards and wound up winning the husband/wife category (after a ten-year hiatus from the race - glad the Mahoneys and Vassallo's weren't there, or it wouldn't have happened). Heather was third woman overall and I was first Master.

Today I did almost eight easy in the cold February rain.

65 for the week for the fourth 60+ week in a row.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Running into the second half of winter

The first week of February has been busy, but I've been able to get out and run so far and here's the report:

Work has been a bit more challenging, with some new clients coming onboard I've been stretched a bit to find good caregivers to take care of everyone who needs help. Honestly, it's been "more challenging" like two customers in a row asking for no pickles on their mcdonald's cheeseburgers, I'm just not always the most eager to tackle change. Or my other analogy was that answering the latest client requests has been as demanding to me as life for the Old-time Mainer on his front porch who has two out-of-towners stop and ask him for directions in the same week. I can't really be too put out about it; it means Marathon Home Care is growing, and that's something we want.

I had a great run to kick off the month on Thursday, the first. I ran out to the snowman-shaped neighborhood on Lord's Hill in Wenham and ran 3x the neighborhood loop with two minute recoveries in between. The loop starts with a big climb (in either direction) and includes some good up and down running throughout. I had run 2x the neighborhood once in January and the loops each took me right around 12 minutes, so I was hoping to add one more in this time without slowing down. I ended up running the first and third loops in reverse direction, partly to make it more interesting and partly because there is a Strava segment up the first big hill that I wanted to grab. I ran 11:55, then 11:58 the normal direction, then 11:55 again on the last one and ran home feeling good like I should after a tempo-type workout. (I ended up missing the hill segment by a couple seconds, but snatched it this Tuesday instead. It is a TOUGH hill to run up fast, and the old segment was run at 5:40 - something pace, so I have been going into oxygen debt immediately, like Gimli trying to keep up with Aragorn and Legolas)

On the cooldown home, I was letting my mind wander a bit to work stuff and warmer weather races as I turned into my neighborhood. I saw my 70-year-old neighbor Mary, out in her apron but no coat, and as I approached her, she reached down with bare hands into the snow and came up firing at me with a snowball. It was such a great 'tension breaker I was practically laughing when I got home. (Notably, Mary is the mother of five boys, one of whom ran sub-4 in the mile after college, and now has 20 grandkids and her first great-grandchild as of a month or so ago, not that I stop and talk to her much...) 😉

Friday, I met Alex Vlahos at his office in Beverly at lunch and ran almost seven miles with him at 7:38 pace. It was snowy and icy on the sidewalks so we stuck to quieter roads than normal.

Saturday, it was pretty cold again, and I bundled up for an out and back 10 miles by the Beverly Airport at 6:41 pace.

Sunday, Jose Ortiz met me in Ipswich right after church and I joined him for fifteen miles with alternations of 3 minutes on, 2 minutes off for the last three miles. The first twelve passed quickly in spite of the freezing rain, as we got to catch up. It was the first time I had seen Jose in a few years, and we have had some close battles with each other on the roads at Grand Prix events and the Yankee Homecoming 10-mile.

When we got ready for the first "three minutes on" I had in mind 5:40-pace or maybe 5:30 if we were feeling good. Jose had said they were half-marathon to marathon pace, and he is shooting for 2:30's at Boston and probably 1:11-1:13 at New Bedford before that. I knew it would be a stretch for me, but the intervals weren't that long, so I thought I'd be ok.

To my surprise, on the first one, I found I just could not hang with Jose. I was a good 5 seconds back after a minute and a half of running. I probably finished all four pick-ups at least ten seconds in arrears of him. I wasn't sure if I was just tired from the twelve miles, or not in as good shape as I thought I was, or getting sick, or what.

But when I finally caught up to Jose afterwards, I found out what was wrong: he was trying to average 5:30-5:40 over the entire time, including the two minutes off, so he was running the three minutes on at 5:00-5:10 pace. So I was ok with being dropped at that pace.

With the 15 miles with Jose, I wound up with 66 for the week, my highest mileage week since just after the Patriots won their fourth superbowl against the seahawks on the malcolm butler interception.

Monday, I woke up with a bit of a cold and thought I'd be beat up from the run with Jose the day before, but felt surprisingly good at the start of my run. At about three miles, I felt like death, and struggled until about 5, and then was ok at a slower pace, finishing up 9 miles.

Tuesday, I went out and ran the snowman again, relaxed and still recovering from the week before - 8 miles at 7:11-pace.

Yesterday, I had planned to run before it snowed, but a morning meeting ran over by an hour, so it had already started snowing when I got out at noon. I fell once early on some ice that was under a dusting of new snow, but then as the snow got deeper, it was easier to stick in on the unplowed roads and untreated sidewalks. Another 8 miles at 7:19-pace.

Still haven't shaken this cold, it's gone from a sore throat/Superbowl loss hangover to a cough/nasally drip, but it hasn't kept me completely doan and out, so I'll try to keep running through it with a little longer run today (maybe ten or eleven when the ice melts) and back to 6-8 tomorrow before heading to Bradford on Saturday with Heather for the Valentine 5-mile/6k race.

I'm looking forward to having an actual race to write about soon!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

January 2018 Recap

The first month of the New Year is on the books, and it was fairly successful by most measures. I wish I had gotten a race in, but weather caused Whitaker Woods to be moved, which hopefully means I'll race more than once this month.

Total Mileage for January:
243.8 in 29 days of running (2 days off with stomach bug)
8.4 miles/day for days run; 7.86 miles/day for the whole month

This was my second consecutive month over 200 miles, for the first time since 2015, and my highest single month total since March 2015 (256.92).

As far as January's go, this was in the middle of the pack - I've had some big first months of the year, including 2015 (475.38), which is the most miles I've ever run in any month. It's hard to imagine running twice as many miles as I did this month, since it didn't feel like I was slacking off. I was just completely committed that January three years ago. There would be a link here to the video of the wilesthing saying, "My wife says I need to be I am." but I think it's been removed.

(Since I've been compiling data lately...)

January mileage:
1. Jan. 2015 - 475.38 (#1 mileage month all-time)
2. Jan. 2013 - 389.73 (#5 mileage month all-time; #1 mileage month of 2013)
3. Jan. 2012 - 342.43 (#15 all-time; #2 mileage month of 2012)
4. Jan. 2011 - 246.96 (big dropoff from 3 to 4; #8 mileage month of 2011)
5. Jan. 2018 - 243.8
6. Jan. 2014 - 224.49
7. Jan. 2007 - 176.2
8. Jan. 2016 - 62.6
9. Jan. 2017 - 18.76

(Where are 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2010?)

It's a big improvement from the last two years, and I hope foreshadows a year of greater consistency (and success) than the past couple.

My longest run was 16.13 at 6:07 pace on the 3rd of the month, which I'm also counting as one of three workouts. The other two were on the 19th (2 x 2-mile T on hilly roads) and the 24th (3 x mile T on the track).

Also, notably, I ran with Heather twice, including a longer run as we prep for a half in March.

I ran three times, including one of the workouts, with Alex Vlahos and Nate Hausman, and once each with just one of them.

And the inaugural run of the Bill and Bob's Famous Track Club with Jordan Kinley, Kevin Hankens and John Page happened last Saturday.

Also, the hat that I'm wearing in the banner pic (at Gil's Fat Ass 50k in Bradley Palmer, January 2015) has gone missing, so keep an eye out, please - my mom knit it for me.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Looooong overdue Reach the Beach race report

(I was originally going to post this in late September, to put it in context - the kitchen has been done since early October.)

Since my last update (September 10), a few things have happened, not the least of which is that we have made some significant progress on our complete kitchen remodel. The cabinets are in, the flooring is down, the walls are painted. All the new windows are in, the countertop is on (yesterday), the lights are in and functional. Still waiting for the stove and sink to get re-connected which will be huge (hopefully Friday). We've been doing dishes in the bathroom sink and grilling/picnicking/toaster ovening since the beginning of July. My wife's patience has been tremendous. She even let me have my way with the dining room wall, which was perfectly fine sheetrocked, but I got to cover it up with some huge (18" and 24" wide) pine boards from a local sawmill. I think it looks nice.

The running story is that I continued between 50-60 miles a week for two more weeks, then had to cool it a little last week, took a few easy days and a few days off, and resumed activities this Monday with a new focus...

The first week since my last update was getting ready for the Reach the Beach relay, which CMS 'mate JJ had invited me into only a couple weeks prior as a fill-in for an injured team member. The relay runs from Bretton Woods in the northwest corner of the White Mountain National Forest down to Hampton, NH on the southern coast. The distance has varied over the years, but this year's course was 203-ish miles. It's always around 200 miles.

Monday (the 11th) I did 5 miles with Nate Hausman from Gordon before lunch.

Tuesday I did 6 and a half miles in the morning and then 3 and a half at night in the dark with a headlamp and reflective vest to get ready for Reach the Beach - two of my three legs were in the dark.

Wednesday I ran down to Patton Park in the morning and met Abram KJ for a Cutler loop. I had planned to run home, but was feeling pretty gassed afterwards, so gladly accepted a ride home from him.

Thursday I did 6.6 on the roads in the morning at 7:11/mi. pace.

Friday I got the kids to school, then loaded up my gear and headed to Hampton. I met up with the team - Jim Johnson, Kevin Tilton, Matt Veiga (all of CMS); the legendary Josh Ferenc; Eric MacKnight and Shaun Donegan from metro-Saratoga, NY and a bunch of NH guys I didn't know - Andrew Huebner (who ran 2:17 last year), Andrew Drummond, Chris Dunn (a different one than I was expecting), Matt Garfield and Derrick Hamel.

We piled into the team minivans and headed north. I was in van 2 (runners 7-12) with Hamel, Huebner, Garfield, Dunn and Tilton. Kevin was also our driver for the majority of the 24 hours we were out there. We indulged in some pre-race chit-chat on the ride, grabbed lunch at Subway and got to Bretton Woods around 2:30 for our 3:30 start. I was nervous about how well I'd be able to run on only a few weeks of consistent training. I knew the projected expectation was 5:45/mi. for me, but I was really hoping to just run 6:00 pace, especially for my first leg, which was 8 miles in the dark.

Here's an early shot of all of us at Bretton Woods, before our 3:30 takeoff:

Matty V. started things off for us, running the first leg up and down Bretton Woods. There were only five teams starting at 3:30, all the other teams had gone off earlier in the day at half-hour intervals since 6:00 am. Teams were seeded based on their expected times and Jim had given us an ambitious goal of all sub-6:00 pace legs, with some significantly faster.

It was hard waiting around with all the normal pre-race nerves for such a long time: we got to Hampton at 10:30 in the morning, got to Bretton Woods at 2:30, the race started at 3:30 and I didn't run my first leg until 8:00 pm. It was cool to see our guys run so well and that just built up the excitement as I waited my turn. Matt came down the hill in the lead and we never gave it up. From the time JJ took the second handoff we just passed teams the whole rest of the way.

Those of us in Van 2 hung around for the first couple exchanges, then we drove ahead to exchange 6, where we (Hamel) would receive the baton (snap bracelet) from Ferenc. At the exchange, the sun was setting and we were getting ready to have to start wearing our night gear, which we would don from 6 pm to 7 am. Derrick ran a really strong first leg for us, keeping the momentum that the van 1 guys had generated while it was still light out. When Andy Huebner left on his first leg (#8), I knew my time was drawing near and the darkness was finally settling in.

My first leg started at the Madison Elementary School and ran 8 miles along Silver Lake, mostly on Rtes 113 to 41 before turning onto Ossipee Lake Road and ending at a Lutheran campground where I would hand to Chris Dunn (the younger - recent USM grad). I knew the pace had been hot for our boys most of the way, but I was really just looking to run 5:50's or something, so when my Garmin beeped in the dark and showed "5:19" for the first mile, I was a little scared, a little excited. I tried to stay relaxed and managed a 5:34 second mile. Mile 3 was a 5:39 and could sense the slowing trend, but I still had 5 miles to go. I passed one runner each of the first three miles and wouldn't see another soul until mile 6.

Mile 4 was a 5:50 and I had a gut check. I was still ahead of goal pace, but losing time each mile. The leg was mostly flat, but I didn't know what was ahead and I also had no sustained efforts of this length in any recent training...

Mile 5 was a little downhill and I managed to claw out a 5:42.

Mile 6 continued mostly downhill and that was a 5:43 and I felt safe.

Finished with two 5:44's, although I know I slowed quite a bit over the last quarter mile on the dirt roads before I handed to Chris. And I still really ran up on him (foreshadow) before handing off.

I was pretty delighted with a 45:19 for 8 miles based on the running I had been doing. Even in the two weeks since, the glow has faded, but at the time I was really feeling good about it.

I had my longest leg out of the way (my next two were 3.5 and 4.1 miles) and that was a relief. But the fun was just beginning...

We closed out our turn with Dunn and Tilton and then grabbed some food at the exchange (Kevin's elementary or middle school!) Then we drove ahead to exchange #18 where we hoped to catch a little rest before we got the baton back from van 1.

It was a little after 10:00 pm when we finished up, and we were expecting them around 1:30 am, but it took us a long time to drive the course down to the exchange zone. I think we got there at 11:30 or so, still giving us two hours of potential rest, but there was little if any actual sleep that took place, and I didn't have any of it. I stretched out on the grass a couple times and reclined in the front seat of the parked minivan, but the closest I came was a couple really good yawns.

At 1:20, van 1 came in, tired but psyched - they had been passing 50-60 runners per leg - and shortly after that Ferenc cruised in and handed to Derrick and we were off again.

Derrick, Andy H. and Matt G. all had tough second legs, in the dark, hilly, foggy and tired. Matt and I sort of bumped at the exchange as he came off his long leg and I tried to go hard for a short three and a half miles on no sleep at 3:30 in the morning. I cranked a 5:08 opening mile, and then didn't have a whole lot of gas for the next two, but they were ok (5:36, 5:38) based on everything. The last half-mile (my second leg was only three and a half miles) I was trying to pick it up and had a left turn off the main road, then a right onto this sidewalk that led into the exchange where Chris Dunn the younger was waiting. I had a nice little downhill and came soaring in and Chris wasn't quite moving fast enough and I basically ran right up his back. We both went down on the concrete, I was right on top of him and only scraped my knuckles, but I was so dazed by the whole thing I couldn't react very quickly to get off him. I found the crumpled baton underneath us and handed it to him. He had let out a noise of exasperation, frustration and some other stuff as he went down, but he got up with a bloodied knee and took off for his 8 mile leg!

At the next exchange I apologized and he said he forgave me, but that he had run angry the whole way. Can't say I blame him. I had quite the adrenaline boost myself from the whole ordeal, but it wasn't going to last until 8:30 when I would need to run again.

Kevin finished off our second turn in Brandon Newbould's backyard by Bear Brook State Forest just before sun-up and we all re-convened briefly (both vans) before Matty V. took us into the home stretch. We were psyched to be into the final 12 legs, but still had some ground to cover. Going back through some now four-month-old texts, I can see Jim's 7:23 am announcements that "Andy (Drummond) got the scalp" and "we are in first". With 8 runners left to run we had overtaken every team, some of which had started 10 hours before us. Granted, this is not an ultra-competitive event, it's more of a team-builder, but we were certainly taking advantage of the opportunity to do both (compete and team build).

Our van stopped at Dunkin's for some breakfast and I was grateful for the sausage egg and cheese and the coffee in preparation for my final four-mile leg. Derrick, who was running first for us, had a really short leg, so we had to leave him before he got the baton to make sure we had Andy H., our next runner in place to receive. Derrick absolutely crushed his final leg, and handed to Andy, who had a long stretch for his final effort. Things were getting a bit blurry at this point with the lack of sleep, hard running, adrenaline, caffeine, etc., but we were joined by a now-finished van #1 at each exchange and it was fun to have the always beaming Ferenc around before, during and after my final push. I got the baton from Matty G. in an otherwise quiet office park and took off, hoping to run my last 4.1 miles respectably. I was cruising at 5:40ish pace toward North Hampton until I hit a red light crossing route 1 and had to wait for 40 seconds to get going again. There was a safety official there, but he held me up until the light changed. Not that 40 seconds makes a huge difference over 203 miles, but it nonetheless killed my final leg and dropped my average pace to 5:50's. Plus, standing still for that long in the middle of my final leg made for a killer re-start when I could finally go again. I handed to Chris Dunn the younger, with no collision this time, and cooled down a mile or so while Ferenc drove our van ahead. I was feeling really good at this point, all things considered, happy to be done, but proud to have acquitted myself ok on a team that was far fitter than me.

Here's a picture from Andy D. of me finishing up my final leg:

Chris handed to Kevin and we all drove ahead to Hampton Beach to run it in with him. We were excited to see him striding up the sand toward us, and chased him in to the finish chute, as the announcer told an empty parking lot who the winners were. We congratulated each other and then all headed home to crash before the awards and after-party started. It felt a little funny to be competing so hard with noone around to see it, but it was a great time. Not sure if it will ever happen again, so I'm glad I got to be a part of it!

Overall, we ran 203 miles in 19:13:22.4, which means we would have broken 19:13 without my two delays (traffic and collision). We averaged right around 5:40/mi. the whole way and ended up among the fastest teams to ever complete the relay. (Hard to compare times because the course has varied over the years. However, there were a couple Bucknell alumni teams the first years that ran comparable times to ours. And I think another Tilton team that was close, too.) It would have been interesting to have another team nearby running a similar pace.

Here's the link to Andy Drummond's awesome video for anyone interested who hasn't seen it yet on facebook:

Team Cutters Reach the Beach 2017

And photo album.

Friday, January 26, 2018

End of the week/Racing Plans/Random Thought

The last two days (since I claimed spring was kind of here) it has been more seasonably normal and back in the 20's. The sun has been bright though, at least midday when I've gotten out, and it is noticeably stronger than it was during the super cold from a couple weeks ago. This leads me to my random thought:

(Yesterday on the run I was thinking about how strange it is that winter begins with the shortest day of the year and it also begins ten days before the end of the calendar year. I'm always thinking about the days getting longer during the winter months and trying to celebrate each minute of extra daylight, so I was dividing the year into other categories and I came up with this:

if you divide the year into 5 equal portions, you come up with 73 day intervals. If you centered the "first" interval around the shortest day and just for simplicity call that December 21, you'd have the shortest 20% of the year, which I'll call "the dark fifth", from November 15th - January 26th, which means that today is the last day of that interval. It gets a little trickier from there, but I decided that I would add the 37 days from Jan. 27 - March 4 and the 36 days from October 10 - November 14th and call these "the gray fifth". It's confusing because they're not continuous, but it's just a gray season before the dark season and a gray season after. "The bronze fifth" is March 5-April 9 and September 3 - October 9. Silver is April 10 - May 16 and July 29 - September 2. and, finally, the golden fifth runs from May 17 - July 28, centered around the (sometimes) longest day of the year, June 21.)

I ran eight miles in 57 minutes on the William Fairfield loop.

Today I did the Lord's Hill full snowman loop in reverse for 8 miles in 56 minutes.

I went over 200 miles for the year (just before JJ crests 300). The only month last year that I ran 200 miles was December, so I'm definitely staying ahead of where I was.

I'm also signed up for 5 races already, which is an unprecedented amount of foresight, and I'm hopeful I can make it to them all:

Bradford 5-mile and 6k; Sat., Feb. 10 - Heather and I are planning to run the husband/wife category for the first time since 2008, which ended a string of four years straight for us. We were first in '05 and '07 (we both ran our best times in '07). Since our last appearance their have been some really fast years (Mahoneys and Vassallos) and some years when we probably could have won. It will be fun to be back after ten years away.

Whitaker Woods Snowshoe 4-mile; Sat. Feb. 17 - this is the reschedule and should work out because I'll have some freedom to travel while Heather and the kids take to NJ for school vacation.

Half at the Hamptons; Sun. Mar. 4 - Heather and I signed up with five friends in support of our friend Amber's debut at the distance. I'm secretly hoping I might have to make Derrick Hamel work to run sub-1:15 for the win.

Merrimack River 10-mile Trail Race; Sat. Apr. 14 - I've only run this once before in 2015, post-Caumsett, in 1:04:58. I've been looking at the Master's records and particularly wondering if I have a shot at the 41-year-old single age mark of 1:02:30 that Ethan Nedeau ran a few years back. It would require being faster than I was at age 38, but I was pretty banged up and discouraged at that point in the year. I was running a fair amount still, but something was definitely wrong.

Mount Washington Road Race; Sat. June 16 - I get to go back for the first time since 2015, when I had hoped for a 1:05 (some months before) and mustered a 1:20:15. Improving on that time will be the first order of business, followed by a sub-1:15 goal, which I hope might enable me to be a part of a competitive CMS Master's Team.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

spring is kind of here

I know that three years ago on this date we hadn't even gotten our first blizzard yet, that kicked off a fairly epic stretch of winter weather, but it feels like winter is over. We had some early snow and then it got really cold, and it's been really mild lately.

Yesterday I was waiting and waiting for the temperature to rise before I went out, it was supposed to be in the fifties, but it seemed like we stuck around freezing way longer than forecast. Finally, at about 2:30, with 35 degrees on the thermometer, I headed out, hoping everything wasn't too icy. I had gone about a mile and went up this little hill and at the top it was a different season. It was real foggy and about 20 degrees warmer. I stayed in this pocket of warm air for the rest of the run, I think it was the warmer coastal air finally moving inland. When I got home it was fifty at my house.

Sunday at noon, with Heather's parents still toting all our kids around and the Patriots' game still a few hours off, Heather and I got out together on the roads for 6.7 in 51:46. I took her over to Lord's Hill and up the main climb as a part of my efforts to get her on some hilly terrain on the days she's not on the treadmill. We also jacked up the treader with some 3/4" pine to get it slightly uphill with the broken incline feature.

Monday I ran a slight variation on my eight mile loop, heading south instead of north on 97 and running a loop over by the beverly airport. 9.73 miles in 1:05:08.

Yesterday my run in the fog was 8.61 in 59:37.

Today, I met up with Alex Vlahos and Nate Hausman at the Gordon College track for some tempo miles. Alex was really excited (so was I) and Nate was nervous about the workout. We did two easy miles on the track and then set off on the first one. The goal was 3 x 5:48 or so and keep the recoveries short. The first one was right on, although the first lap was fast and the third was slow. I led and Alex was right on my heels the whole way, which was great incentive to keep moving. The recovery was a little long, but that was fine, and we headed into the second one. The first lap was quick again, but then we stayed consistent, for 5:44 second. The second recovery was long again, but this was a January outdoor track workout, so I wasn't feeling like we had to be too strict. The third we were running 84's for the first three laps and then we closed with an 81, for 5:33 on the last one. Did a couple mile cooldown on the roads and called it a (good) day.

Saturday, January 20, 2018


The rest of the week has gone well, with a chance to do a longer run with Heather today while her parents are in town, and an impromptu workout yesterday and a couple runs with friends.

Tuesday I met up with Nate Hausman and Alex Vlahos at the Gordon College track and we ran a seminary loop on the roads. This was a staple 6-miler for Nate and I when I was coaching at Gordon (2012-2015). From the parking lot where we met it was closer to seven miles.

Wednesday I ran out to Lord's Hill in Wenham again and ran the entire neighborhood which is the shape of a snowman. It was a little snowy on some of the roads, but the temp was above freezing, so the traction wasn't bad. The full snowman is a hilly 2-mile circuit that I made a strava segment and also plans for a workout some time later this winter.

Thursday I met Nate and Al again for the same run as Tuesday. The sidewalks still had a little snow left from Wednesday, so we were mostly in the road.

Friday I went back to Lord's Hill and cranked a 5:49 2nd mile during my warmup on the way over. I was running with music for the first time in a while and didn't realize how much I was pushing. I backed off the last three-quarters of a mile before I got to the neighborhood and then dropped it back down for the neighborhood loop which has a couple big up and downs. I ran both loops right around 12 minutes, with a 2 minute jog recovery in between. Then ran home quick for 10 miles in 62 minutes.

Today, Heather and I went out around noon, planning on a 10-mile loop together. It was warm, but we both still opted for tights because it was cloudy and windy. We added on for 11 at 7:20/mi.

53 miles so far in six days this week.