Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Looking Marathoner; Feeling like Couture-uh?

(with credit to Chris Cornell)

I remember running a 10k PR a few springs ago on the UMass-Lowell outdoor track and still getting lapped by race winner Fred Joslyn, who ran 29:49 to my 31:28. After the race Al Bernier told me how distinct my old man, marathon shuffle was when compared to the fluid strides of the winner. I always appreciate that kind of honest feedback after an all-out, gut-wrenching effort.

So I couldn't help but chuckle, when I read Eric Couture's recent, well-written report on his experience at the Market Square Day 10k, especially when he referred to his cool-down with Jim Johnson as "ancient marathoner" pace.

Today I headed out into the 80-degree warmth for a medium-long run into Topsfield and back. I was running my normal 7:00-6:40 pace most of the way out, feeling pretty good, only two days removed from the USATF-NE Grand Prix 5-Miler in Merrimack, NH. My first mile back after I turned (mile 8 overall) was a bit of an uphill grind, and I maintained just under 6:40. To my surprise, when my watch beeped for Mile 9, it was a 5:58, and I hadn't felt like I had picked up the pace much. I thought maybe my Garmin was off, so I decided to maintain and check the next mile. Sure enough, it was a 6:05. Had I discovered a new secret of running efficiently? Was I on my way to a giant performance breakthrough?

Well, the next couple miles slowed back down to ancient marathoner mode and my moment of elation was passed. Upon further review when I got back to my office, my Garmin was in fact a little off, measuring the return distance about one-tenth of a mile longer than the way out. So those two fast miles were probably just an aberration.

14 miles in 1:32:30 (6:35/mi.)


  1. Oh man, I hope it didn't look like I was taking a jab a Jim. That didn't occur to me until now. I had a coach in high school who referred to that slow shuffling jog you do on a cool down after a hard work out as "ancient marathoner" pace. The concept stuck with me, and I use it all the time now to describe that slow easy cool down pace. Not to call anyone in their 30s ancient haha. We all know that both you and Jim can throw down in a race.

  2. Congrats on the win at J.P, Morgan! Sounded like an exciting race - another great race report! If I know Jim at all, I doubt he was offended. I like the expression, because it is honest and sounds like the ancient mariner. Hope to see you at the races soon! Maybe come to Newburyport for the 10-Mile at the end of July?