Wednesday, August 12, 2015

something blog-worthy has happened

I'm not quite where I hoped I'd be since my last update, but almost.

Since the horror show that was the Yankee Homecoming 10-Mile (I'll spare the details, but suffice to say I had to sprint in to make it in slightly under 12 minutes slower than last year), I've had two weeks of 35ish miles, plus a couple hikes in the Adirondacks last week.

I made a vow after Newburyport to just get out for three miles a day, every day, and that has quickly turned into 5 or more miles most days.

I ran a low-key 5k at the campground we were staying at on Friday and cared a lot about winning. There were about 10 entries and 4 of them were under 10 years old. My main competition was my brother in law Andrew who has been averaging 10-15 miles per week for the last year or so. The course consisted of two loops on the dusty camp road and some single-track trails behind the campground. I came through loop one in 8:27 (measured just under 1.5 on the Garmin). The second lap I slowed a little, but was pleased with a 17:09 (for 2.94 miles). My brother in law was second in 18:20 and Heather was third in 19:19. In spite of it being a very out of the way race I came away feeling a lot better about my future as a runner.

The past four days have consisted of:
a seven mile road run on Sunday afternoon with a last mile in the 5:40's;
10-plus miles in metro-Worcester on Monday near the Wachusett Reservoir after PT at Central Mass (my longest run since...April 9th);
a Strava segment-chasing extravaganza with Scott McGrath yesterday in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover;
9.1 at 6:46 pace on the roads from Gordon today.

One of the major factors in my recent resurgence has to be that my future is a bit more secure: with some changes happening at the college, I've taken the opportunity to get back into carpentry. The peace that's come with that decision has certainly helped me sleep better, drink less beer and generally recover from hard efforts with less difficulty.

With my 39th birthday on the horizon, I'm feeling grateful to have come through this most recent training funk, and look forward to making some noise, God-willing, on the roads, trails and mountains again!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

for the sake of an update

God willing, the next time I update the blog, I'll be at four weeks of 40ish mpw, with 5 days of 40-45 minutes and a long run of an hour or more. For now, I'm about halfway to that type of volume and consistency.

And while I've always contended on this blog that some running (every day) is better than none, I continue to have more days off than days running. Fortunately, I've been somewhat more consistent with my PT - big shout out to Central Mass PT in W. Boylston, MA, and thanks to teammate Scott Leslie for connecting me with them - and I am feeling better. If not more like my old self, at least less like my self of the past three months.

Since my last update:

I had an enjoyable run up Mt. Washington in 1:20:15, which was good, given the limited training.

I ran a 5:10 road mile on a course that my best is only about 20-25 seconds faster (it turns and rolls).

Here's a picture from that:

And a few of my running family:
 Benjamin, trying to run down his friend, Matt in the final stages of the 8-and-under race.

Grace, in an awesome leopard shirt and running skirt, finishing her first race of the summer at the longer 8 and under (~600m) distance.

My lovely wife escorting our younger daughter, Emma, across the finish line of the 5 and under race (~ 300m).

On a side note, while my running continues to ebb and flow (mostly ebb), Heather has been running well. She ran 18:43 at the Louise Rossetti 5k in June for a new best at the distance, and will be looking to drag me along with her to a 10-Mile PR in Newburyport next week.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

For the committed blog reader

I finished updating my race history page, back to 1996, with the info I have saved and could find in the coolrunning archives...enjoy!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The first day of the rest of my life

(rode my bike to work) then went out for 3.16 in 25:52...nice and easy, feeling like I ran a road marathon yesterday, but I just let the pace happen and didn't push it; tomorrow can be slower if it needs to be, I just need to keep getting out there.

I've only run 15 of the last 48 days, and haven't seen much improvement in my aches and pains, so I'm going to try to get back to running everyday and just be real easy about it.

I'm still planning on running Mt. Washington in a little under 4 weeks, though my expectations are drastically lowered. I had hoped during the winter I might be able to improve on my best time (from 2013) of 1:07:41. Right now, I'm thinking I'll shoot for 1:20, or 1:15 if the next few weeks go really well.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Four strange weeks (part one)

Most days, I haven't had any significant pain while I'm in my office or in the car, but the minute I set out on the roads I've got this consistent tightness in my entire right leg that makes me wonder if I'll ever return to the type of running I've been able to expect and taken for granted for the past few years.

Some days the tightness has worked itself out after a mile or so, but usually I start to tighten up again around 4 or 5 miles. At this "re-tightening" point, on a number of days, I have started to lose some degree of co-ordination in one or both legs. This is something I experienced a little on a couple of my longer hard days leading up to Caumsett and most significantly during the race itself.

The weirdest experience was on the treadmill last Sunday (the one time I've been on the treadmill in the last three weeks): after about three miles I would have random strides when it was almost like my legs were disconnected from my brain and would forget how to move normally. I would end up jerking my knee up by throwing my upper body back. That's probably not the best way to work on maintaining good running form.

Before I make it sound like it has been pure misery, though, there have been some definite highlights this March. I'll try to emphasize them during the recap of the last three weeks:

The first week after Caumsett I ran 3 easy miles with Heather on Monday.

Tuesday I was back to work at Gordon, and I ran 6 miles at practice at 7:50 pace, which gave me a nice opportunity to run with some of the women on the team that I don't usually train with.

Wednesday I did a little over 7 miles at about 7:30 pace, exploring the roads to see where it might be safe for the team to run an afternoon workout.

Thursday I ran twice: 5 miles at lunch with Nate H. and Dan P.; 4 miles at practice with the team. This was probably more than I should have done, but it was so relaxed that it felt ok. I also noticed in the aftermath of Caumsett that I was getting really stiff and sore between runs, so I thought some easy doubles might actually help prevent that.

Friday I definitely overdid it, with 10 and a half on the roads in a bit of a hurry to get back to campus before heading down to NYC for DIII ECAC's. Driving the 12-passenger van down that night I was very uncomfortable.

Saturday morning, I met up with my best friend from college, Brandon, for an easy cruise through Central Park. Brandon has lived in Manhattan his whole life (save the four years we were both in Ann Arbor, when he introduced me to the way of the Wu (-Tang), LOTUG (see below), Nas, Jay-Z, Lost Boyz, etc.) and has run the NYC marathon the past few years.  This past fall at age 38 ran his best time so far in 3:23. He was a great tour guide through the park and we covered some terrain in there I had never seen in my previous trips. We ended up doing 5.25 miles at 7:30 pace together. 

Week Total: 68 miles (including 26+ miles of the 50k)

Week 2: March 8-14 (Gordon Spring Break, no practice)

Monday I did almost 9 miles at just over 7 minute pace, but my right hip was still very tender. In the afternoon, I headed over to see my friends at NE Running Company in Beverly, and picked up some Hoka One One Cliftons, hoping that the maximal cushion would be just what the "doctor" (aka, me) ordered for the prolonged 50k recovery. 

Tuesday I drove up to Keene, NH to meet with former CMS-er Tim at Beeze Teez Screen Printing and talk about getting some team gear for XC next fall. I had half-hoped to be able to connect with a member or two of the extensive Keene running community and get guided around the roads and/or trails up there. After a couple failed attempts to get in touch with people (and I was nervous I might accidentally connect with someone who wanted to go a lot faster or further than I was capable of anyway), I just decided to tool around a little on my own in the Hokas. I did about 7 miles in 48 minutes mostly dodging ice on the sidewalks and then a little out and back on a completely covered, but melting snowmobile trail.

My big mistake on Tuesday came when I got back to campus in the afternoon. I was feeling well-protected in the Hokas, so I thought I'd chase a couple Strava segment course records on the roads around Gordon. The first was the 2.1 miles from the Bennett Center to the Wenham end of Grapevine Road. The record (mine) was 13:37 (6:23/mi.) which I wanted to see if I could do without too much effort. Sure enough, I cruised it in 12:48, then had a little under a mile to get ready to attack Tom Brown's Grover Street standard of 7:40. I went for it with a little more gusto, since it wasn't my record to begin with, and I was somewhat loosened up from the first harder effort. I came through in 6:48, with a very short recovery before the Hull St. "Mile" - (Scott McGrath's 5:55 that he ran during a Gordon XC practice this fall). I worked fairly hard to run 5:38, and got back to Gordon to upload the results. To my disappointment, only the Hull St. Mile had lined up with the previous measured segments, so I was 1 for 3. Anyway, that's enough Strava dorkiness for even the most dedicated running blog reader. The bottom line was I had run much faster than I should have and I was going to pay for it.

Wednesday my hip was feeling it and I couldn't quite hold 7:20's for 5 and three-quarters miles.

Thursday was definitely the highlight of the week, and thanks to Kevin, I've got the pictures to prove it. In spite of how slowly my recovery was progressing, I made plans to meet up with NH's own Kevin Tilton, my CMS teammate whose success at the challenging discipline of mountain running and knowledge of the White Mountains made him the perfect companion for a winter mountain adventure. Kevin had originally suggested a loop on the Franconia Ridge Trail, from the Lafayette Place parking area on 93 in Franconia. This is a loop I've done twice as a summer hike, and I know the views from the ridge are spectacular, so I was looking forward to giving it a go on a clear day on snowshoes, when the views would undoubtedly be vastly whiter than when I've been up there before. Thursday was clear in the morning, but pretty cold for March, with valley temps in the 20's and high winds. We agreed that it might be unbearable running the exposed ridge in the cold winds, and adjusted the plans accordingly. 

We decided to head across the interstate and up the Lonesome Lake Trail toward the Kinsman peaks. We both wore snowshoes and the lower section of the trail up to the lake was well-packed and pretty runnable. I was glad that Kevin was okay with keeping the run conversational, as even that proved to be a challenge for me at points. We stopped a number of times so I could scarf some snacks and water (Kev seemed to be content strengthening himself with the views) and I'm glad Kevin had his camera with him to capture the amazing beauty of the day and our surroundings.

Above is a shot of the Franconia Ridge which was behind us as we ascended the Kinsmans. (Lafayette is the higher peak on the left in the picture, Lincoln is on the right; Little Haystack is barely visible further to the right peaking over the closer trees.) The pristine Lonesome Lake is in the foreground. Kevin snapped this pic from just below the AMC Lonesome Lake Hut, which is open year round and would have been a welcome warmup if it were located on the summit of South Kinsman. :) At this point in our ascent, we were well-protected from the wind and pretty toasty.

From the Hut, we continued on the Fishin' Jimmy Trail (also part of the Appalachian Trail), which was packed-out, but had a fresh covering of a couple light inches of snow that had fallen overnight. The going was still pretty good, with a couple steeper climbs that had me sliding a bit with my rounded-over worn snowshoe cramp-ons.

Here's another good look at the Franconia Ridge, with me happy to catch my breath on the Fishin' Jimmy Trail:

And here's Kevin at the same spot:

Below are a couple pics of me kicking up a little snow on the way up North Kinsman. That's the summit you can see in both shots, but more prominently in the first one:

At the top of the Fishin' Jimmy Trail, we turned left to the summit of North Kinsman, but not before Kevin snapped this picture of the trail sign barely peeking out of the snow:

Charging up to the top of North Kinsman:

Me at the top of North Kinsman (4293'):

Kevin on top of North Kinsman:

Looking back at Franconia Ridge (my desktop image now):

We continued south along the Kinsman Ridge Trail, down into the trees from the North Kinsman summit and then up to the more exposed South Kinsman peak.

Me on the chilly summit of South Kinsman (4358'):

Kevin on the summit of South Kinsman:

From here, we turned and retraced our steps.

Heading back down (Mt.'s Liberty and Flume (w/ snow slide) on the right)

Bald Peak (looking Northwest from the Kinsmans)

The round trip was ~10 miles, which we covered in about 3 hours. Great company, great scenery, great pics - thanks, Kevin!

Friday, the day following my wonderful long run with Kevin on snowshoes, I met up with Dan Pfistner at Gordon and worked pretty hard to maintain 7:17's on a seminary loop-plus. Fortunately, I had some new areas of soreness to distract me from my hip problems. My quads were worked up from the mountain climbing and my "ring" toes were rubbed raw from 3 hours in snowshoes. I welcomed both distractions.

Saturday, my quads were still really sore as I met up with Alex Vlahos (soon to be CMS-member?) for a cold 8.5 miles in the rain on the roads from Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School. It was my first run with Alex since before the snows came.

Week Total: 60 miles

Week 3: March 15-21

As the week started and my quad pain began to dissipate, it became clear (again) that something funky was still going on in my body. The pain in my right leg was most concentrated in my hip and butt, but I was also experiencing soreness and stiffness in my knee, hamstring, foot and lower back. I started thinking I might have to go see someone. I called my primary care physician to see about getting a referral over the phone. No dice. I'd have to come in and see him again (in order for him to tell me that I needed PT???) I decided to forego making the appointment. 

I called faithful friend John Gillis and scheduled a deep-tissue massage.

(Later in the week, I succumbed to my wife's urging, sucked it up, and went back to the doc to get my PT referral.)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Caumsett 50k Race Report

For the past few months, I have been targeting the US 50k Championships at Caumsett State Park, and wondering if I had a shot at breaking 3 hours (and making a US team). For a guy with a 2:28:54 marathon best, I realized this was ambitious. I would have to go through the marathon only a minute or two slower than my personal best at the distance, and then basically maintain that pace for another 5 miles. However, having run my 2:29 at Cape Cod over rolling terrain, I thought it might be possible on the flatter loop course of Caumsett.

I ran the longest runs of my life on my buildup to Caumsett, including a trail 50k at Bradley Palmer State Park in early January (3:32 but fairly relaxed), and one thirty+ mile workout on the roads in February. My training in December and January was the highest consistent mileage of my life, and even with a lack of significant speed work, I figured the sheer volume I was running would prepare me well. I also ran a 15:26 indoor 5k and a 8:54 indoor 3k early in the winter, so I assumed there was sufficient speed on reserve.

In late January the snows came to Massachusetts and training got a little more challenging, but my motivation to get ready for Caumsett was high. I kept most weeks around a hundred miles with one week of 120 in February. If anything, the weather prevented me from getting too carried away trying to put in the same high mileage that I had during the snow-free first month of winter.

I was forced onto the treadmill more than in any previous winter, but there were days where it was my only option. In years past, I probably would have taken a few days off, but I didn't let a day go by without getting some running in.

Last weekend, (after a little too much time gone by without a race,) I ran the NE Grand Prix 10-Miler. I worked hard to run 54:43 on a challenging course and finished 17th in a competitive field. It seemed that I was tight and sore from the effort for much of the week leading up to the 50k. I dropped mileage quite a bit this past week, though, (48 miles on the 6 days prior to Caumsett), and by Sunday morning, I felt like I had worked most of the tightness and soreness out. I had one moderate effort on Wednesday, with 5k at 50k goal pace (~5:40) that went fine on the snowy roads.

In an effort to make the weekend of the race a relaxed one, Heather and I took our two older kids out of school early last Friday, and I left work before noon so we could head to Heather's parents in New Jersey. We spent the night there Friday and then had a brief Saturday lunchtime birthday celebration for Heather (she spent her actual birthday providing race support for me at Caumsett). Then she and I headed to Long Island, while her parents ("Grammie and Grampie Jersey") took care of our kids.

We made decent time driving through NYC on Saturday afternoon, and arrived at Caumsett State Park just before sunset. This gave us enough time to get the lay of the land. We saw the start/finish area and the turnaround loop (which was wet, snowy and salty) and then checked in to the hotel.

Pre-race dinner was a little later than normal, but tasty (salad, pulled pork sandwich and steak fries), and we were back to the hotel at a reasonable hour.

I didn't sleep well, but hadn't planned to, and was up around 5 am on Sunday to eat something and get ready. I had a cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese on one half and peanut butter on the other. Standard morning fare.

We left the hotel a little before seven for the twenty minute ride to the park. Upon arriving, Heather went out for a run around the loops while I picked up my number.

In and around the "heated" registration tent I saw who I assumed were the four prime contenders:

Zach Ornelas (recent 1:05 half marathon; US Mtn. running runner-up 2013), who I knew (from Strava) had been planning on coming east from Michigan to try to win;

Tyler Andrews (2:16:59 at California Int'l Marathon, 2014 VCM winner), who had announced his attendance on Twitter;

and two "surprises" -

Joe Gray (multiple-time US National Champ at 50k, Mountain Champs and XC), who won Caumsett in 2012 and 2013 and had a DNF last year, and

Ethan Coffey, 2014 Caumsett winner and course record holder (2:53:32).

I also spotted CMS-West (aka Team Colorado) runner Pete Maksimow and we chatted pre-race about our plans as we stayed warm in the car.

Just before the start I saw Mass. resident and ultra-friend Scott Traer. Scott and I both got lost at Bear Brook (he was several minutes ahead of me by then) and he also ran the last 10k of the Bradley Palmer 50k with me, even though he had a lot more left in the tank than I did. I knew Scott was planning on going out easier than me, but I wondered if and when he would start to close the gap.

It was cloudy and pretty cold (around 20 degrees) when the gun went off. Right away, the four guys I mentioned went to the front. (Edit: I think Ethan Coffey was there, they announced him at the start, but the fourth guy in the lead pack was actually Chris Raulli). Pete and I, along with NY's C. Fred Joslyn (2:18 marathon, hoping to run 3-flat for 50k) settled in together behind them. The first loop felt like work, and we came through in 18:05-18:06. On the turnaround it was helpful to see how far up the top guys were (~15 seconds) and how far back the next guys were (~20-30 seconds). Each time through the turnaround you could gauge any time lost or gained when you passed someone coming the other direction.

The turnaround loop had some pretty serious snow pack, unfortunately, although it had been treated heavily with salt and sand. The path was maybe fifteen feet wide, with two-way traffic the whole way, and a cone at the end, that you had to do a 180-degree turnaround at. So it definitely slowed things down.

At the start of the second loop, Fred stopped to pee, but I figured he would make his way back up to us before the end of the loop. Instead, Pete and I clicked off a 17:45 and separated ourselves a bit. On the second turnaround, we noticed that Zach O. had opened up a little bit of a lead on the other top three guys (Joe, Tyler and Chris).

The third loop, Pete and I were finding our rhythm and feeling good, although maybe we were working a little harder than we ought to have been this early. We were just under 18:00 for the third loop and had put more space between us and those behind us (Fred, Scott and VA's Kory Cool). We were working out our fueling/hydrating routine with Heather, who met us just before each turnaround loop with Nuun water (around every 2.5 miles into the loop), and just before the start/finish (around every 5k mark) with snacks and Nuun again. We would take turns drinking and then toss the bottle to the side, where Heather could retrieve it and get ready for us the next time through.

By the way, did I mention how grateful I am to have a wife who would spend her birthday doing this?

On the third loop turnaround (or maybe the fourth), we could see that Zach was increasing his lead, and that Chris and Joe were starting to gap Tyler.

I really appreciated having Pete there and I worked hard to keep in touch with him, because it was great to have him to talk to and share fuel with. He and I had both opted for tights while everyone in front of us was in shorts, and we kept agreeing that we were happy we had the extra warmth and support from full leg coverage.

Our fourth lap was an 18:12, which put us at 1:11:59 for 20k and more or less right on pace for 3:00:00. I realized that it was going to be awful tough if not impossible (at least for me) to run 6 more loops at that pace.

The fifth was 18:07 and the sixth was 18:15, so we were slowing, but not dramatically (yet). We had also noticed that we were making up a little ground on Tyler, who was now much closer to us than he was to Joe and Chris.

At the start of the sixth lap, we saw Chris off to the side walking and judged correctly that he was done for the day. This meant that Pete and I were running in fourth and fifth (albeit with a long way to go).

On the sixth lap, I started to feel some tightness in my hamstrings and hips, especially on the easy downhills after the gradual uphills (the hills were pretty slight, especially compared to the 10-Miler the week before). I'm still not sure if the tightness was from the fast early pace, the cold, the race the previous weekend, or something else, but it became even more evident on the 7th lap that I was losing power and range of motion. On the turnaround loop of the 7th lap, I considered dropping out for the first time. Instead, I stopped and stretched my hamstrings and regained a little flexibility. As Pete came back by me on the turnaround, I wondered if I'd be able to catch back up. I knew he was starting to feel it, too.

My 7th lap was a 19:24 (1:09 slower than the 6th), and I still had a long way to go.

On the 8th lap, I had to stop and stretch twice, and the tightness was creeping more and more into my joints. I started to seriously doubt that I would be able to finish. Still, the marathon mark was on the 9th lap, and I knew I could earn a Boston Qualifier (provided I could finish). My 8th lap was 20:32 (1:08 slower than the 7th). Maybe I could finish with a 22-minute 9th lap and a 23-minute 10th? I didn't want to think about how far off my goal of 3 hours this would put me, but I started to.

On the hill up to the marathon mark, my watch read 2:37, and my hips and knees were killing me, like I was grinding the cartilage in both joints on both legs. I was struggling to maintain 7:00/mi. as I crested the next hill and walked into the water station at the halfway point of the ninth loop. I grabbed some water and walked. Not briskly, like I intended to return to running, but slowly and gingerly, hobbling. A nice older ultra-guy named Wayne slowed to a walk beside me and asked me how I was doing, congratulated me on coming through the marathon in such a respectable time and joined me in two failed attempts to return to a jog. When we got close to the start of the turnaround, I saw Heather, and assured Wayne that she would be able to relieve him of his support duties.

Heather accompanied me to the start/finish area, where I informed the RD I wouldn't be finishing, and we got to see Zach O. cruise through in 2:52:16 (!!!) on his way to a thirteen-minute victory and new course record. Tyler A. hung on for second and Kory Cool stayed strong to overtake Pete and Joe for third. I was happy to see Pete grit it out for fifth and Scott T. was 6th. Even Fred, who had faded back, hung in to finish.

As much as I would have liked to have made it across that finish line (especially as I look at how few people actually made it in - only 67 finishers in a national championship?!!?), I think I made the right call yesterday.

I'm thankful for everyone's support; I've had a bunch of folks already express a variety of sentiments which are all greatly appreciated as my thoughts uncontrollably run the gamut (from bouncing back quickly to retiring from racing).

(I suppose not all that) Amazingly, (considering how well she knows me), my wife has been gracefully balancing stroking my ego and giving me the space I need to process the disappointment.

Finishing a 50k is undoubtedly tough, as anyone out there yesterday can attest to.

And I can confirm that not finishing a 50k after running 43k of it is also tough. I got to take the last, grueling 7k off, and I admire the athletes who stuck it out even though they were experiencing similar or even greater physical hardships (Tyler, Joe, Pete, Scott, etc.).

The "tough" part for me now is trying to ignore the question of "What if I had kept going?" (And 'run in such a way as to get the prize' - oh yeah, the irony's not lost on me.)

A few of the easy answers are: I could have possibly been a top 10 finisher at a US Championship, I could have set a new 50k PR, I would have earned a 2016 Boston qualifier, I would know for sure what time I could have finished in, etc., etc., etc.

I've been fortunate throughout my years of running to have achieved some modest successes greater than what I deserve.

I remember after I ran a 2:38 marathon in 2005, telling God that I desired no more improvement at that distance; i.e., I was satisfied.

To then run 2:31 the next year blew me away; and to run even faster five years later (and break 2:30) (again, how many ways can I say it) was more than I could ask or imagine.

I guess the big lesson I learned yesterday was that not every long race that I've prepared for and targeted will come up roses.

Plus, I think part of building an ultra-running resume is loading it up with some DNF's. (citation needed)

So, I probably won't retire tomorrow, especially after a lovely 3.1 mile recovery run today with my beautiful and loving wife Heather, who once again put my needs ahead of her own and clomped along with me at 9:30/mile.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

February 12 - 24, 2015

Thursday, February 12
15 miles @ 6:45 pace on the treadmill, watching Part One of Ken Burns' Civil War

Friday, February 13
wicked cold run around brookline while some Gordon women were running at BU; I couldn't find parking near BU, so I parked on Beacon Street and ran on mostly snow-covered side walks until I got to BC and ran around the reservoir a bunch of times while the sun slowly set. There weren't many people out; it was cold and windy, but I had an interesting interaction with a couple guys walking the reservoir: the first time I came by them, one guy put his hands up like he was cheering for me, so I did the same and said "Yeah!" Then, when I got close, he stepped aside (totally normal) and as I ran by he slapped me on the back (not normal). My instincts got the better of me and I said something like "Hands off, buddy!" and continued running. Of course, the beauty of running (and walking) a mile and a half loop half a dozen times is that you pass the same people over and over, so I got to see these guys a bunch more times. The next approach, I came in fast and ran straight at the guy who had slapped me on the back and he said, "Uh-oh" and then I swerved around him at the last minute. After that, the next four encounters were awkward but silent. Pretty sure this was my coldest run of the winter. (16 in 2:06)

Saturday, February 14
2 x 10-mile loop, first with Heather; this was like my monster "Rothlin" run from the week before, but minus the third loop with 10 x 1k. I expected it to be a lot easier than it was. Dodging cars on the narrow roads. Cold. (20.5 in 2:24)

Week Total: 100.89 miles

(start Caumsett taper)

Sunday, February 15
10.42 in 1:10 on the treadmill

Monday, February 16
out and back from Gordon on terribly dangerous roads (11.93 mi. in 1:23:30)

Tuesday, February 17
8.23 on treadmill in 56:08; also 40-45 minutes cross-country ski in Gordon Woods with Nathan S.

Wednesday, February 18
14.24 on treadmill in 1:30:45 (another episode of Civil War)

Thursday, February 19
11.94 on treadmill in 1:20:35 (more Civil War)

Friday, February 20
11.02 on treadmill in 1:15:17

Saturday, February 21
first non-treadmill run since Monday; from Springfield College (DIII NE Men's meet) to Forest Park, around roads in park and back (10.47 in 1:14:10)

Week Total: 78.25

Sunday, February 22
Five College Realtors 10-Mile Race in Amherst, MA. Left the house a little after 8 am and arrived to Amherst Regional High School before 10:30. Picked up my number and saw a few CMS 'mates at registration. Warmed up on the first mile+ of the course and realized it wouldn't be fast. I really had no idea about the hills though until we got to them in the third mile. I worked with Drew Best a bit over the first few miles, then trailed him for the last 6+. Scott Leslie was in my sights the whole way, too, but I could never get very close to him. I had a great view of the developing race for a while, but couldn't stay up with the Ortizes and MacKnights where the actual racing was happening. First mile was 5:22, second was 5:16, third was 6:16!
Miles 4 and 5 were on dirt roads mostly covered with snow and I tried to follow or not follow the guys in front of me based on how they seemed to be moving. When I came through 5 miles in 27:45 the pavement appeared again and I tried to take off. Even with a 5:16, a 5:13 and a 5:15 I got passed by a couple people and lost ground on Scott and Drew. I kept myself entertained with the possibility of breaking 54:00 if I could hold 5:15's for the last two miles. But the uphill on Mile 9, cost me 35 seconds (5:50) and navigating the pot holes on the last mile, I was able to close respectably with a 5:24, but didn't catch anyone and crossed in 54:43 for 17th place.
It was a long day with the 4 plus hours in the car, but good to catch up with teammates and help the club to a third place finish (not like winning, but still the open team's highest finish in the past three years here). Plus, the stretches of sunny road over the second half were the glimmer of spring hope that I needed. It felt great to be warm in shorts and a singlet, and it was strange to feel so hot and then get a breeze that dropped snow from the trees on your bare skin, but not altogether unpleasant.
(16.28 with warmup and cool down)

Monday, February 23
sore from yesterday's race. seminary loop plus a little with Nate H. (6.37 in 46:28); then four more solo in 30:00 a couple hours later

Tuesday, February 24
still sore; almost 10 in just about 70 minutes on the roads

I'm hoping to try 5k at 50k pace tomorrow if my sore legs will allow. The plan is to head down to NJ on Friday midday and then to LI on Saturday. I'm hoping to jog an easy 5k Caumsett loop Saturday afternoon to get a preview. The forecast for Sunday looks a little chilly, but not as cold as some of the recent mornings. Should be around 20 at the start and warming up to around freezing over the next three hours or so. It sounds a lot better than the 6 degrees there this morning.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

waiting for the great melt forwards (January 29 - February 11, 2015)

As of my last post two weeks ago, we had received our first significant snow of the season, and since then we have had a couple more good sized snowstorms which means that it has been difficult to get out on the roads (at least during and immediately following), but I've been taking what I can get with some bright spots along the way.

I'm still preparing for Caumsett and had an encouraging run-through of the "Rothlin" run that I learned about on Nate Jenkins' blog. Nate's blog has been an incredible resource for marathon/50k workouts that I would never have attempted before. I've had to slow the times down quite a bit from what he would run them at obviously, but the volume has brought me to places I've never been before in a workout in terms of dealing with discomfort. I'm guessing that is good going into a 50k with ambitious goals.

I also just signed up for Mt. Washington this morning after missing it last year and vowing never to do so again as long as it is in my power to be there. Thanks to Paul K. for giving me an opportunity to get back there this year based on my 2013 performance!

The nuts and bolts for the last two weeks:

Thursday, January 29
1:18 pm - 5 miles with Nate H., 5 more on my own (10.03/1:10:13); 
3:11 pm - out and back at practice (6.55/46:00)

Friday, January 30
18.67 in 1:58:50 from Gordon at 12:35 pm
(first North Shore Beer Co-Op in Gloucester)

Saturday, January 31
(first "triple" of the year, with obvious tip of the cap to DD, whose blog informed me that "triples" are a thing)
5:44 am - in snowstorm, in yak trax, 600m loop in asbury grove 14x (5.14/41:35)
10:18 am - in Gorham, ME before USM track meet, sliding around (w/ yak trax) (3.9/30:10)
2:12 pm - b/w men's and women's meets at USM, no yak trax (6.55/47:58)

Week Total: 89 miles

Sunday, February 1
after church, met up with the Tingers (Brian and Mariah of SRR) for a fun "relay" - Mariah ran to our house from their house, picked up Heather who ran from our house back to T's, then Brian ran back to our house with Heather, then Brian and I ran back to Tingers, then I ran home solo; the whole operation took about 2.5 hours and we all got about 10 miles in without leaving any of our 5 small children unattended (10.52 in 1:13:29)
(then enjoyed the pats victory in Super Bowl 49)

Monday, February 2
during second snowstorm, ran on the treadmill at night while watching lcd sound system's "shut up and play the hits"; I could barely hear it, but it was ok (15.45/1:43:22 - my longest treadmill run ever, I think)

Tuesday, February 3
12:52 pm - out and back on snow-narrowed roads from Gordon (15.74/1:40:15) on what I deemed the safest route and have stuck to quite a few days since

Wednesday, February 4
14.92 in 1:37:51 out and back on same route

Thursday, February 5
18.71 in 2:04:00 on a different route

Friday, Fenruary 6
15.54 in 1:38:57 back to Tues./Wed. route; threw in a few short pickups, including 4 x 1k

Saturday, February 7
"The Rothlin" (see above)
Goal = 20+ miles at 80% of marathon pace (~6:45/mi.) + 10 x 1k @ half-marathon to marathon pace (~5:20-5:40/mi. or 3:20-3:32/km)
10-mile (10.26) loop with Heather @ 6:57/mi.
10-mile loop solo @ 6:29/mi.
(total: 33k (just over 20 miles) @ 6:43/mi.)
10 x 1k: 3:22, 3:16, 3:21, 3:19, 3:19, 3:23, 3:27, 3:34, 3:40, 3:40 - last 3 were brutally tough with increasing tunnel vision
staggered home the last 1k plus at 8-9 min. pace
30.34 miles in 3:16:52

Week Total: 121 miles

Sunday, February 8
another snowstorm; 9.05 miles in 1:01:15 on the treadmill

Monday, February 9
10.29 miles in 1:10:13 on the treadmill

Tuesday, February 10
back to the unfriendly roads - out and back from Gordon (14.94 miles in 1:43:16) on the same route as last tues., wed., fri.

Wednesday, February 11
drove to Ipswich to run out and back along Rte. 133 which had a wide shoulder (most of the way) to Gloucester and back (14.97 in 1:42:23)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

January 20-28 (no snow, snow)

Tuesday, January 20

18.1 in 1:57:33; big loop on roads from Gordon through Beverly, along the ocean to Manchester, back through Essex, up Apple St to Hamilton and Wenham

Wednesday, January 21

8+ in 55:17 with Nate H. at lunch on the roads;
"10k" in 43:07 at practice with the team with a few short pickups on the roads

Thursday, January 22

Take 2: 20k of 1k alternations
"On" k's avg. 3:17/k; "Off/Recovery" k's avg. 3:47/k
This was 2 seconds faster per "on" k and 15 seconds faster per "off" k from two weeks ago.
Very encouraging!

Friday, January 23

Feeling encouraged from previous day's workout went out for 23 in 2:29:15. Another great day, but feeling it, plus the effects of the heavy last few weeks afterwards in the right calf/achilles.

Saturday, January 24

early morning, before snow started, got out and it started snowing about 10 minutes in. 6.62 miles in 52:23;
after our meet got cancelled, did my first snowshoe run of the winter down at Patton Park, running 1.5k loops (5.53 mi./46:39)

Week Total: 114.82 miles

Sunday, January 25

after church, 10-mile route home on partially snow-covered roads, forgot my watch and almost started crying; realized there was a problem, gritted my teeth and ran home ~70 min.

Monday, January 26

with the impending historically epic blizzard of 2015 bearing down on us, I decided I better get some miles because I didn't know what the rest of the week would hold - 6.1 with Nate in 41:57; an hour later - 9.34 in 1:02:53 solo

Tuesday, January 27

the blizzard; tried running a little in my yak traks around the neighborhood in the teeth of the thing, did about 7 minutes sliding around, transitioned to shoveling, then did another 9 minutes and some more shoveling and some more shoveling. Just under two miles to keep the legs moving, and they needed some recovery.

Wednesday, January 28

the snow had pretty much ended by the time I got up, but the roads were in no condition to run on. Spent the day cleaning up the driveway, shoveling the roof and having a lot of fun in the snow with the kids, Heather and Bear (the dog). Some great resistance work trying to out run the 90-pound beast in 30" of fresh snow before he inevitably tackled me.
got on the treadmill after the kids were in bed and bungeed the iPad over the display. Got caught up in "Color Me Obsessed" Replacements documentary and ended up doing a little over 11 miles in 77 minutes.

Today: get on the roads, which are still not great before and during practice.

Also, I finally signed up for Caumsett 50k today, knowing that Heather's parents will be able to watch the kids so we can make a weekend of it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 8 - 19

The last week and a half has been the highest volume of my life, including last week, which topped out at just under 130 miles. Only once before had I made it to 120, and that was a fluke-y spike in my summer of 2012( - I was alone for the week while Heather and the kids were in NJ, so I just kept adding runs to see if I could run 120. The next week I was hurting and had to take the first two days off just to allow my body to heal and recover).

This past week was a little different.
I got out twice on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Friday and just felt like I could keep piling the mileage on. 25 miles on Thursday was a little rough, but otherwise, I feel like I could keep training at this level (or maybe slightly less) and survive a few more weeks. Maybe it's because I finally decided to read Born to Run.


Thursday, January 8
13.05 in 1:30:48; first 9k with Nate H., then 12k on my own (watch still on k's from workout Wednesday)

Friday, January 9
14.09 in 1:35:31 out and back from Gordon

Saturday, January 10
15.54 in 1:37:47 - morning progression run from home

Week Total: 94.51 miles

Sunday, January 11
just under 6 miles at 7 am before taking the Gordon T & F team to Dartmouth Relays;
8.72 in a little over an hour during a break in the action at Dartmouth

Monday, January 12
15.26 in 1:48:08 at lunchtime;
6.34 real easy at first distance practice of the new year

Tuesday, January 13
7.89 in 54:39 with Nate H. at lunch;
8.37 in 1:01:13 at practice (roads/sidewalk around track)

Wednesday, January 14
once again, I consulted Nate Jenkins' blog and ended up giving the Portuguese surge a shot for 4k
first 2k @ 3:38-3:40/k; then "all-out" in 3:14/3:04; not quite as fast as I'd hoped for the fast k's, but the slower ones felt pretty controlled so that was good. Turned around after the k's
total: 14.23 in 1:35:05

Thursday, January 15
plan was 20k out, 20k back at around 4:00 per km; was fine for about 16k, then got all turned around in danvers, running on icy sidewalks in the downtown area amid detours, ended up slowing significantly, seriously considering stopping into one of the delicious-smelling sub shops and calling Heather for a ride, but stuck it out and came around at the end. Even ended up adding on a little to get 25 miles. (25.22 in 2:50:14) right around freezing and rain/ice mix: Native glasses and the whole front of my shirt iced over.

Friday, January 16
15 in 1:43:44 at lunch;
5+ at practice easy, plus 6 x 110m strides on the turf with the team

Saturday, January 17
16.84 in 1:55:56 on the roads from home, joined by Al V. for about 6 miles in the middle; he is just about ready to join CMS

Week Total: 129.3 (lifetime high so far)

Sunday, January 18
just trying to keep good miles over the long weekend, and the warmer weather was nice.
16.25 in 1:40:56 (6:12/mi.); gentle progression - 5k splits: 19:50/19:40/19:18/19:04/18:49 and 4:15 for last 1.15 km

Monday, January 19
taste of spring, alternately chilly and toasty with some stronger sunshine, temps in the low 40's but cloudy, windy stretches. Felt ok picking it up a little on the second half. Ran into Hamilton-Wenham coach Steve Sawyer and stopped to talk for about 12 minutes on the way out.
(13.99 in 1:30:11 - 6:26 per mile)

I still have my watch set to km's, and it's been nice to "hear the beep" a little sooner on some chilly days the past two weeks. Still no snow to speak of, which has made the roads friendlier, but I realize we're not even out of January yet.

The plan is still to prep for Caumsett, keep the mileage high and try to get one quality session in per week, with room to go hard 1-2 other days if the opportunity (aka legs) is there.

Another great takeaway from Nate J. on strides that I shared with my team on Friday. I swear, I am going to have to start paying this guy royalties.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2014: The year that was

I'm two weeks late getting around to this, but 2014 was a good year, so let me give it its due:

Some highlights:

Being able to run with my wife.
With our kids getting older (8, 5, 2) we had some more opportunities to run and even race together. Standouts:
- night away in Candia, NH and run to Bear Brook for our 10th anniversary.
- racing together: Ribfest was a lot of fun and the most miles we've put in "together" in awhile, with a long cool down afterwards; Yankee Homecoming 10-Mile - both of us running our fastest times there; overnight date to Burlington for the GMAA 15k and coming away with two top-11 finishes; Lone Gull 10k and a couple more road PR's; 3000m at BU mini-meet #1 (w/ kids in tow); representing the town of Hamilton at the local races (Melody Miles, Firefighter "5" and Gabe's Run)
- closing out the year with a couple runs together (and kicking off the New Year with a run together) while down in NJ/PA

Running with old friends and new friends.
- My most regular training buddy, Nate, here at Gordon is faithful through the cold winter months and makes getting out when the weather is brutal that much easier. I can always count on good conversation and an honest pace (~7:00/mi.)
- Whenever I have a chance to run with any of my former athletes, it is always a big thrill to hear about the great things they continue to do (running-wise and otherwise). Mostly, it is my reliable Ipswich "kids" - Alex, Greg and Kieran - who I get to catch up with. Gabe's Run is always a big reunion for Cape Ann League athletes and coaches, too.
- I had a great time traveling to VT twice to run with the legendary Josh Ferenc, being joined on the second trip by teammate and great guy, Greg Hammett, and one of NY's finest, Eric MacKnight. I'm hoping to be able to continue to have adventures with kindred folk like these guys over the years to come. I loved getting into the mountains, seeing new and beautiful terrain and connecting with other guys who are putting in the miles and loving it!
- Seeing CMS 'mates at races and sharing in their successes keeps me inspired. It's been a good run with the ol' white and blue (10 years this summer) and a lot of fun being able to continue to contribute to team scoring at road events and catch up every month or so during the spring, summer and fall. I'm hoping to see a few more of the guys this winter on snowshoes and be better about getting up to the mountains. Plus, I get a kick out of being affiliated with legends like Dunham, Verrington, Vassallo and Jenkins even if the closest I ever get to them is during a cool down. And mixing it up and catching up with the thirty and forty-somethings Tilton, JJ, Scott Leslie, Chris Mahoney, Al B., Jim P., Joe S., Greg P., Arthur B., Jason P., Kevin G., Sam W., etc. and all the new guys is a lot of fun. The new Strava team site is great!

Continuing to achieve competitive successes.
I am grateful for a good string of years of healthy training and satisfying results. As I explore new avenues of competition (mountains, track, longer distances, hopefully snowshoe), I find that even at age 38 there are areas of my running that I can improve in. Maybe it is a credit to the late start I got in the sport or a competitive spirit that refuses to die, but my enjoyment of running is definitely fueled by a possibility (however dwindling it may be) that I can still get faster.

For the second consecutive year I competed at the US Mtn. Championships, this year at Loon, and, while I finished a significant distance behind the leaders, was still close enough to the top 6 that I can delude myself for a couple more years thinking I might have a chance at making a national team. It does seem to be getting tougher each year, though...

I was able to run a true PR at 15k, a distance I hadn't raced since 2000, as well as a road PR for 10k at Lone Gull. The 15k time is one I think I could still improve on, but it is getting harder to find distances at which that will be possible. Anyone wanna put together a 12-mile race?

Looking ahead...hopes and dreams...
In 2015, I'd like to keep the training consistent (can I hit 4000 miles for the first time ever?) and achieve success wherever possible.

Target races:
Caumsett 50k
Mt. Washington

Also I would like to be at:
Amherst 10-Miler (I hope)
(New Bedford - maybe? not sure)
April Fools' 4-Mile
Sleepy Hollow
(Vermont City Marathon?)
Yankee Homecoming
Lone Gull
Stone Cat 50?
Gabe's Run

PR possibilities/dreams:
50k (road) - as long as I finish it's a PR, but would love something in the 3:00-3:05 range
Mt. Washington - 1:07:41 is my best in 2013; dream is going sub-1:06
10 miles - 53:19 from 2006 still stands; I think I could run in the 52's
Marathon - 2:25-2:27 is still a goal, just not sure if it is a priority right now

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January 5, 6, 7; 2015

Monday, January 5
11:55 am - 7.28 with Nate in 52:55
2:57 pm - another 6.2 in 41:46 solo

Tuesday, January 6
2:30 pm - out and back from Gordon down to rail trail south, just over Danvers line, turned around at 8 miles (16.11 in 1:53:38)

Wednesday, January 7
I read Nate Jenkins' blog entry about Marathon Specific Alternations and got inspired.
I usually don't do any kind of structured speed work on the roads - I'll be honest, I don't do structured speed work anywhere very often.

I've always assumed I'll have a harder time hitting goal paces on the roads than on the track. However, since I am usually racing on the roads, I probably ought to run some of my tempo/interval/speed work on the pavement.

The workout Nate described was a 20k session of 10k "on" at 5% faster than goal marathon pace and 10k "recovery" at 5-20% slower than goal marathon pace. Without re-writing his entire blog entry, I'll simply say that he recommended easing into this type of workout and gave a couple suggestions of how to do so. I opted for a slower (~20%) recovery pace, and set out with a mind to run 3:24/k "on" (5% faster than my goal 50k pace of 3:36/k) and 4:19/k "recovery" (20% slower than 3:36/k).

I was nervous about how I would respond to the relatively high volume of work, but began to see once I got started that the fast k's were essentially tempo pace or cruise intervals, except I was enjoying a longer recovery than normal. On the recovery k's, I really didn't feel like I was still in "workout" mode and I probably (in hindsight) could have recovered while running those a little harder. Then again, I was only four days removed from a 50k, so being a little gentle was probably a good move.

The first three "fast" k's were 3:21, 3:20 and 3:19, but it was the recovery k's that surprised me - I ran 3:52, 3:59 and 3:55 and it felt like a total walk, even though that is toward the faster end of my everyday training pace. I was still wondering at this point if I would be able to do all 10, so I tried to slow the recoveries a bit to make sure I was fresh for the fast k's. The rest of my recoveries (except for the last one, which was a 3:57) were between 4:02 and 4:09, and I managed to run under 3:20 for 6 of the remaining 7 fast k's. (Number 9 was 3:23, but number 8 was 3:13.) For the cool down, I ran 3k in 11:44, maintaining a pace faster than 4:00/k.

Averages for the workout:
10 "fast" k's - 3:18.9
10 "recovery" k's - 4:01

If I extrapolate from this data and I think I can, I ran 5% faster than 3:29.5/k and 15% slower than the same pace on the recoveries. 3:29.5/k is a mid-2:27 marathon, which I would love to be in shape to run. According to Nate's methods, I should be able to run a time close to that when I can run this workout with the recoveries closer to 3:40/k.

I'd love to take another shot at it in a few weeks. Thanks again to Nate for his thorough explanation of the why's and how's of marathon-specific alternations!

Monday, January 5, 2015

December 28, 2014 - January 4, 2015 (including G.A.C. Fat Ass 50k report)

Sunday, December 28
After church in NJ with Heather's family, headed to the Columbia Rail Trail, which is the only flat stretch in the vicinity. Did some hard running out and back, covering ten miles on the trail in under 57 minutes. Took a shot at a few Strava segments, and got 2 or 3 out of 5. Then had a slow uphill grind back to Heather's parents at the end. (13.05 total in 1:16:57)

Monday, December 29
12:10 pm - headed out with an ambitious, hilly long run in mind and wasn't disappointed. I had originally planned to run up and down the "ridge" 4 times, but compromised to 3 climbs. Still ended up with (according to Garmin) 2,018 vertical feet over 22.6 miles in 2:38:45

Tuesday, December 30
7:15 am - w/ Heather before heading to Lancaster, PA (10.19 in 1:19:35)

Wednesday, December 31
9:02 am - last run of the old year with my lovely wife on a chilly morning in Lancaster (PA) County Central Park (10.31 miles in 1:22:13)

Yearly Total: 3393 (second highest annual total to 2011, when I ran 3700)

Thursday, January 1
7:50 am - rang in the new year with Heather (I joined her for the first 2 miles of her run), finished three mile loop in 24 minutes
10:22 am - 9-mile loop in Long Valley, with Heather's brother Andrew in 1:05:12

Friday, January 2
8:09 am - 4.92 miles in 45:30 with Heather on morning loop plus some barely runnable trails near her parents before heading back to MA. My lower legs were killing me, but it turned out just to be pre-50k jitters.

Saturday, January 3
9:01 am - G.A.C. Fat Ass 50k in Bradley Palmer State Park (a mile from my house); showed up at about 8:30 and couldn't believe how many people were out in the 20-degree weather to run the trails. Dropped off some PB + J sandwiches at the aid station/start/finish area and tried to stay warm without running too much. Very hydrated. We went off on the first loop and I went (gently) to the front but could hear footsteps. Before one mile, Paul Young pulled alongside and we chatted most of the first loop in around 42 minutes, which was my goal (3:30 for 50k). Second and third loops, I ran alone (43 and 42 minutes). Had to stop to de-hydrate on the second loop. Made sure to get a couple good food items each time through the aid station.

The hosts, Gil's Athletic Club, did an amazing job supporting the runners on a cold morning, at an event with no entry fee! There was tons of food and drink - lots of snack-type stuff (pretzels, m+m's, cookies, etc.); cups with water, gatorade, coke, ginger ale; sandwiches; boiled potatoes (which I grabbed heading into lap three!); and a lot more which I didn't have time to take in during my brief stops at the refueling station!

At the end of the third lap (30k), I heard someone call my name at the aid station, and turned to see Scott Traer, who I had met at the Bear Brook Trail Marathon last summer. At Bear Brook, we had run together for a few miles, then Scott and Brandon Newbould got away from me. After the race, Scott and I bonded over both getting lost.

Saturday, Scott and I ran the fourth loop together, conversational, but I felt like the pace was quickening a little, and I was starting to feel it. We also had company from Colton, a third lap runner, who picked it up and ran three or four miles of the loop with us. Heading to the last lap, Scott asked what I'd like to do for the final 10k. I (honestly) told him, I would love to hold 6:30's, not knowing if that was possible.

Scott graciously kept me company the rest of the way, although we slowed some over the final 10k (about 44 minutes), and that was due to me getting tired. We finished together, in 3:32 and a half (I stopped my watch briefly at the fourth aid station, so my time of 3:32:18 is a little short). I was pleased with the experience and effort, and grateful to Scott for the good company over the final 20k.

Staying on my feet for three and a half hours convinced me that I should try to make it to Caumsett for the US Road 50k Champs in March. Heather and I have started the conversation (it is on her birthday) and I'm really hoping to take a crack at a good time there. Running close to three hours would be awesome!

Week Total: 103.57 miles

Sunday, January 4
6 miles easy out and back recovery in the afternoon

Christmas Eve (12/24/14) - December 27, 2014

It's a new year, and I'd like to get caught up with the last two weeks of running. I hope to have a 2014 retrospective as well as a 50k recap (G.A.C. Fat Ass this past Saturday) in the next couple days.

For now, here's the training breakdown:

Wednesday, December 24
2:33 pm - went out from home, kind of grumpy it was so late and I wasn't going to be able to do much; ran into my dad on his way to appleton farms and ran a few miles in there with him, then enjoyed him running into some of his singing buddies, who spontaneously broke into some Christmas carols, before finishing the run home. (6.79 mi. in 55:25)

Thursday, December 25
9.8 miles in 1:02:25 after opening stockings and presents at home, before heading to my parents' house for the rest of the day to celebrate with them, my brothers and their families and my long lost Uncle Ken!

Friday, December 26
1:33 pm - getting antsy, opted out of family trip to Rockport and did 12.5 in 1:19:49 from my parents' house and ending at home

Saturday, December 27
didn't get out in the early AM before leaving for NJ, but had a nice "opportunity to run" (this would be the theme of the week in NJ) home from the car dealership after picking up our "new" (2009) Honda Pilot - 6.52 in 45:56

Week total: 82 miles