Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Since New Bedford

I was pleased, but not ecstatic with my race at New Bedford, but, more than anything I was charged up (by seeing so many people run so well) to train some more and not rest on my laurels until I become a master. With the big day (19+ miles) to start off last week, I looked to stretch my weekly training and wound with 68 miles in 6 days. (No run Saturday with first outdoor meet of the season at Wesleyan.) Thursday did 4 x mile on the track w/ my assistant coach (and recent CMS recruit) Aaron Baldwin. I had a much easier time staying at or under 5:20's. (5:20, 5:16, 5:13, 5:12 w/ 2:30 recoveries) Felt pretty good four days after a hard effort at the half.

I also took this Sunday off, feeling slightly guilty for making my race such a big priority the Sunday before. Yesterday, I took off from work and went out for a ten-mile progression run and felt great. 6:38; 6:25; 6:19; 6:14; 6:08; 6:04; 5:58; 5:47; 5:40; 5:26 (+ 1:02 for the last .19). I normally have a pretty hard time getting under 5:40 on a training run, so to drop a 5:26 tenth mile is nice for me.

If it ever warms up, I will start trying to double with more am runs before work, a la 2011. Back then I was starting work at 7 or 730, so I really had to get out early. Now I am not in until 830 or 9, so there is no excuse.

I also really appreciated the article in the most recent Running Times on strength training for distance runners and will look to incorporate a bit more of that (which I've lost since I stopped construction) in the coming weeks. You can see the workouts here.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

New Bedford Half Marathon 2014

Sunday morning I left my house around 8:00 for the hour and a half trip down to New Bedford. The temps were in the mid-20's and weren't supposed to improve much. I had quite a few layers for the warmup and a long sleeve shirt I could race in under my new CMS singlet, but left the tights at home and figured shorts would be fine.

I made good time on the way down and found a spot on the 2nd floor of the Elm St. parking garage, a couple blocks from the YMCA where registration was happening. Bundled up, walked over and picked up my number and nice technical long sleeve. Saw Pawlicki, Shairs, Dunham and talked about a warmup from the garage. I made use of the restrooms at the New Bedford Visitor's Center, which I was surprised to find open on a Sunday morning, but glad to avoid the monstrous port-a-potty lines.

I ended up missing my 'mates for the warmup, but I did just over 2 miles up Elm St. and back down, finishing up about 20 minutes before the gun was scheduled to go off. Switched into my racing flats and opted for the short sleeve T under the singlet, hat and gloves and Native sunglasses. Headed to the starting lines for a couple strides with a little time to spare.

I got in near the front and my plan was 5:20-5:30 and find some folks to work with. Early on, I found myself just off the back of a large pack escorting Kim Smith at about 5:20 pace. I came through 2 miles in 10:52, right near teammates Chris Mahoney and Scott Leslie. (Dan Vassallo was off causing trouble with the leaders.) My best guess was that we were somewhere in the top 35-50, but the pack in front of us was so big, it was hard to see beyond them. After the three hills between miles 2 and 4, things had strung out a bit and I had dropped two disappointing miles (5:37 and 5:42), so I knew I would have to make up some ground to get back under 5:30 pace.

Sure enough, when we hit the long straightaway, my legs got going and I was able to make up some time, if not any ground on anyone. My fifth mile was the fastest of the day at 5:06, followed by 6 in 5:19 and 7 in 5:17. I was still being passed about as much I was passing - Scott McGrath and Eric MacKnight were among those who flew by me in the middle miles, on their way to finishing one and two minutes ahead of me, respectively.

8, 9 and 10 I felt like I was maintaining pretty well and there were enough guys nearby and just ahead to keep me interested and racing. 5:25, 5:25, 5:30 for a ten mile split of 54:14.

Mile 11 I was working on reeling a couple runners in and felt like I kept the pace honest, but was discouraged by the 5:54 split for my efforts (on the Garmin afterward, mile 11 measured 1.04, so that compounded the problem). It was windy and I was tiring, but I hoped I could get back to 5:40 or faster the rest of the way.

Somewhere before mile 12 a pack of BAA and others engulfed me and cruised by, dropping me about 15 spots in the process. I chased them up the never ending hill at mile 12 (5:36) and caught a couple stragglers, then closed for the finish in 6:03 for the last 1.1+. Ended up 45th overall, 3rd CMS in 1:11:48. Two minutes slower than I ran this fall, but given the recent training this was about as well as I could have hoped to run. I hate that I ran a 5:06 and a 5:54 in the same race, though. (5k splits: 17:00, 16:44, 16:38; last 5k = 17:34)

Post-race cooldown with Dan Vassallo and Scott Leslie for 2 miles, then 2 more with Scott, then enjoyed catching up back at the Y with more teammates and comrades who have survived the long winter months. Devoured some clam chowder and a fish sandwich before the ride home. Looking forward to ramping up training and racing some more soon.


The New Bedford Half Marathon is in two days, so hopefully I will have a report afterwards, but just thought a quick update on February "progress" would be a good idea.

First off, we got a dog, to go along with 3 kids in a small house, because we were getting bored and too used to sleeping through the night. His name is Bear, he is half black lab and half mastiff. He weighs about 85 pounds. He is a little less jumpy than a lab, but he drools more. We love having him as part of the family, even though the initial adjustment was a little rough. Emma (almost 2) walks around the house now, saying "Good boy." and hugging him around the neck and poking her little fingers in his eyes whenever she gets a chance. He doesn't seem to mind at all. We had a great time up at my parents' condo at Sugarloaf, and we spoiled Bear with long walks on the XC/snowshoe trails and the trail up nearby Burnt Mtn. He also had a great time playing with my parents' golden retriever, Abby.

Running wise, the month of February started off pretty promising, with a couple 60+ mile weeks and some longer runs. Even a tempo workout with Jordan and Meagan. Then I had a down week (35) with a snowstorm and a long (but productive) day at the DIII NE indoor champs. We had 2 ECAC qualifiers, and four school records! The following week I was back up over 60, but the end of the week I got sick and lost four straight days with a cold. Since then, I've been back to 5-8 miles a day. Tuesday, I did some mile repeats on the road in the 50+ degree heat, and felt pretty good. 4 x mile all around 5:20 on rolling terrain.

I'm not really sure what to expect on Sunday, but hope that a 1:12 isn't out of the question. I'm planning to go out (and stay) somewhere between 5:20 and 5:30, find a pack to work with and not completely die when the wind inevitably shifts to head-on.

Looking past this weekend, I am feeling healthy to put in a spring mileage surge, start doing some more doubles as the morning weather gets more and more attractive, and target some May, June, July, August, etc. races. Still planning on making it to the Chase the Gorilla, Backshore, Loon, Yankee Homecoming, Cape Ann, Lone Gull, and, God willing, a fall marathon.