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