Sunday, June 5, 2016

First weekend of June

This has got to be the best time of year to run in New England (late May/early June), with late September/early October a close second, simply because the days aren't quite as long then as they are now.

Yesterday (Saturday), I did 10k out and back on the roads in 44:17 (7:07/mi.) to finish the week with 42 miles.

Today (Sunday), I ran home from Church in Danvers via the rail trail for part of the time. 7:07/mi. again. 8.6 in 1:01:19. Felt like a long time on my feet and my left knee agrees.

Friday, June 3, 2016

the rest of the week

two mile warmup on Gordon College track
3 x tempo mile in 5:54. 5:54. 5:44 with 1:00 jogs in between, about 200m
3 x 400m in 70, 72, 72
2 mile cooldown

only 28 minutes of running after stopping to talk for 12 minutes to Coach Sawyer and only had 40 minutes; about 4 miles

out and back on roads and woods in Bradley Palmer; not a lot of time again; 4+ miles

ran in Bradley Palmer on my way home from work and pushed it on the gravel and pavement: 5.6 in 36:44 (6:33 pace)

sitting at 36 miles for the week with tomorrow's run still on tap

last 3 weeks:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day Monday, May 30, 2016

stayed on the roads and ran in my old hoka cliftons;
7-mile Cutler loop (7.06 mi.) in 48:31;
saw my dad pulling weeds at his church;
steamy and overcast;
dreamed about breaking 36:00 at MSD 10k  in two weeks;
planned a tempo workout on the track before confirming with my lovely wife:
"that's fine," she says now

"your love never fails, it never gives up, never runs out on me"

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Melody Miles 5-Mile Road Race

I decided this week, that with almost 3 weeks of consistent running, albeit low volume, I would take a crack at the Melody Miles Road Race. There is a 5-Mile and a 5k version, and I toyed with the idea of running the 5k, just because I haven't put in a ton of runs over 5 miles. But as the time grew near, I figured I would just go for it (the 5-mile).

I have a history at this event, which takes place in my hometown of Hamilton, MA:
1996 (1st Melody Miles and my first race at age 19) - 33:16
1999 - 32:15 (7th of 82 runners - I remember being chased by an older runner over the last half-mile or so, and pushing myself harder than I had before to keep him from catching me; it was this race and my success in holding him off that drove me to pursue breaking 30:00 for 5 miles, which happened later that spring)
2000 - 28:03 (1st overall)
2001 - 30:09 (2nd of 98 runners)
2002 - 28:27 (1st of 103 runners)
2006 - 27:13 (1st of 82 runners; they had added the attendant 5k by this time, so the 5 mile was losing popularity)
2012 - 27:30 (1st of 63 runners)
2014 - 26:20 (1st of 53 runners)

This year was the 21st edition of the race, and the 20 year anniversary of my first road race.

I was hoping I'd be able to break 30 minutes and maybe 29.

I met Alex Vlahos, a former Ipswich runner of mine before the start and knew his recent training indicated a higher fitness level than my own.

I also saw fresh fifty-year-old John Ayers at the starting line, and it sounded like he was hoping to run sub-29.

The race started and I dashed to the front, hoping to avoid any exuberant youngsters in the 5k who I might have to turn in front of at the end of the Winthrop School driveway. As the 5 milers headed left and the 5k runners turned right (there were about 150 in the 5k), I talked with John briefly and allowed him to pass ("age before something-or-other").

John brought us through the mile under 5:40 and I felt like that was just about right. It was warmer this morning than it has been yet this year, so I didn't want to get too carried away. I was running about ten steps behind John and he looked strong. The first mile and start of the second mile climb a long, gradual hill, but it was in the shade and that helped us out.

Around 1.5 I pulled even with John and then past him. My second mile was just under 6:00, but we had climbed quite a bit. As I made the turn onto Woodbury St. at two and a half, I wasn't aware of anyone nearby, but couldn't be sure. I came through mile three in 17:24 (5:51 for the mile), and my Garmin 5k split was 17:59. The mile 4 mark was long (6:31?!), but 5 was short, so it evened out. I started passing 5k runners just before the 4-mile mark, and was starting to feel the effects of the heat, the hills and my first race effort in 10 months.

At 4.6, I saw my parents cheering, and I think they were surprised to see me leading. As I passed one of the 5k runners he said something like, "It's going to be a good finish," and I thought he must have been talking about someone being close behind me, so I picked it up and headed for home, crossing in 29:13. Alex was second in 31:27, and John was third, despite a couple pit stops, in 32:09.

Overall, I'm delighted at the outcome on a hot day, and went and spent my winnings on a new pair of New Balance at NE Running.

I said it would be a miracle if I made it to a starting line, and I even made it to the finish ahead of my competitors today. I'm thankful to God for yet another opportunity to train and compete. I can't help but be reminded of Romans 8:11 (although I did have to look it up) - "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you." I felt like God was reminding me today that he can give me more life than I can imagine, and that reminder came in the form of a 5:51 pace 5-mile race at age 39 in 80-degree heat.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

no run yesterday;
2k warmup downtown;
5 mile race in 29:13; 1st overall of 55 finishers at the 21st Annual Melody Miles (full results)
3.5k warmdown with al v. and then a little more on my own back to my parents'
$100 gift certificate to NE Running Co.
some ground has been covered, and there is much yet to do!
158.5 k total

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

got out a little late; tired and stiff;
out and back on roads into Bradley Palmer
7k in 34:06
135k total

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

8k out and back from home into Bradley Palmer
34:20 with last k in 3:44
128k so far

Monday, May 23, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Grace's 7th birthday;
out from home to Bradley Palmer woods and back;
8k in 35:06
120k total
5m or 5k race this weekend possibly?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Sunday, May 22, 2016

ran home on the roads after Church in Danvers;
played bass for worship for second week in a row;
10k in 44:43;
day between birthdays - yesterday Emma turned 4, tomorrow Grace turns 7
112k so far in 2 weeks+

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016

sweet 13k (?) out and back with Todd Callaghan in the Manchester-Essex Woods in just under an hour and a half
longest run in months
made it to 100k; thank God!

new goal: 200k

current total: 102k

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday, May 20, 2016

9k in 37:44
2k warmup in 9:30
5k (tempo or time trial??) in 18:38; I think it might have been a little over distance hopefully (edit: not over-distance, checked it on Sunday)
2k warmdown in 9:37
89k total so far since last Sunday

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Monday, May 16, 2016

Monday, May 16

8k in just under 40 minutes
windy and cooler
out and back from home into Bradley Palmer State Park
66k total so far since last Sunday
day off tomorrow

Sunday, May 15

7.5k in 34:25

first k with my dad

58k total

Saturday, May 14, 2016

9k in 39 minutes

2k warmup in 8:40
5k TT in 18:39 (which is encouraging!)
2k cooldown

then my daughter Grace, who is almost 7, ran home with me a mile or so

50.5k total

Friday, May 13, 2016

6.5k in 32:01

6 days in a row!

up to 41.5k total

out and back on roads and trails

Thursday, May 12, 2016

8k in 33:31

had limited time and felt pretty good;

absolutely beautiful weather for running or just about anything else this week!

35k so far on the way to 100

at 100 maybe dad gets a new pair of shoes or jumps in a race somewhere

7k in 32:41

out and back on roads and trails

27k total since Sunday; four days in a row!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

7k in 32:55

20k so far

out and back with a little impromptu loop in the woods and on the road

Monday, May 9, 2016

6.5k in 29:50

out and back on the roads and trails
second day in a row
i was so tired after work, but felt good once i got going which is a change
13k total so far toward 100k goal

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Previously unreleased New Years' Day post (explanation part 0)

I haven't retired from running, although I have contemplated it quite a bit over the past few months. (And may this post serve as a partial, though somewhat indirect, and long-overdue response to the anonymous runner who made a sincere plea for me to share my story back in September.)

I honestly believe that even as late as mid-August, when I last attempted to train in earnest, I had still not fully recovered from the Caumsett 50k in March and last winter's excessive build-up. For example, the Rothlin workout I attempted in early February, which I heard about from Nate Jenkins blog and my good friend JJ loves to bring up in any encouraging correspondence he sends me.

Through the years (1999-present), my bread-and-butter as a runner, if I have such a thing, has been racing 5 milers (sorry for using an expression DD hates) on the roads. I have had some fun and success the last few years getting into some more of the mountain races, and it has made me a better runner, but I am convinced that the roads are my strength. Maybe it's because the roads are where I started racing, never having run track or XC in high school or college, or they tend to be the most convenient place for me to train, or my larger frame can hold up to the pounding. 

Anyway, the bottom line is that I may not be ready for ultras, as much as I enjoyed the high mileage training and the obscurity of the national championship, which gave me a chance to contend for a high place finish.

But I digress...the real reason I'm back posting on my running blog is because I had my best run of the year today. And it is the first day of a New Year, but it was truly my best run in over three months. I did 6 miles out and back at 6:40/mi. and felt pretty good. This was a run that a year ago I would have considered a low mileage day and a pace that I was running more or less every day, for runs 2 and 3 times as long. And I really don't want to live in the past of my running anymore, but I'm not doing a very good job so far.

So back to today and the New Year and current training. 

I committed to some regular running about 3 weeks ago, and was only looking to get about 5 runs in for the month of December, just to get my legs moving again. (I only ran twice in all of October and November.) The majority of my 12 runs since (I've exceeded my goal) have been in the 4 to 5 mile range. I've been running most days at slightly slower than 7:00/mi., and anything under 7's has seemed quite difficult. 

Leading up to today I had two slower than usual runs. Last Saturday I ran in northern New Jersey with my brother in law Andrew and his cousin John. We covered about 5 and a half hilly miles at 10:00/mi. It was the longest time I had spent on my feet on a run in some time and I was glad for the company. 

Then Monday I experienced something of an historic running event: my son Benjamin (9 years old), my dad Kevin (69 years young) and I (39) ran together for the first time. 

We chose my dad's favorite locale, the Grass Rides at Appleton Farms in Hamilton, and covered about three and a half miles of trails in three-quarters of an hour. Ben was kind of doing the sprint ahead, then walk thing, but it was beautiful. My dad had asked me to run with him as a Christmas present, so the fact that we got to do that and have Ben there, too, was pretty special. Here's a picture commemorating a great day:

Other cool stuff that has happened since mid-August:

I quit coaching at Gordon College and started working construction again. It has been a great work experience so far; we've been primarily building a beautiful custom home in Ipswich with a ton of cedar, a boathouse, mahogany deck (for the hottub), pergola (I think that's how you spell it) and a lot of other neat detail. We're onto the interior trim, so probably have less than a month left there. And we keep joking that we're going to move into the house when it's done; I mean, it is really nice, like the kind of place I wouldn't be able to afford if I received in advance all the money I could make for the rest of my life and had no expenses other than purchasing the house. (Joe, you can skip to the next bullet point now.) Also, the guys like the same music as me, even though they are probably the youngest people on the planet that are into Dinosaur Jr, so that has been fun.

I got to go to DIII XC Nationals in Wisconsin, with a former runner of mine,who became the first Gordon runner ever to qualify for DIII Nationals. He acquitted himself well, finishing in the top half of a very competitive race, and running only a couple seconds slower than his PR, in a race he never figured to attend this year. And he is only a sophomore, so hopefully he'll have another chance or two to improve his place.

I've been reading a lot and spending a lot more time with my family, with weekends free for the first fall in a decade. This has meant getting some projects done at our house, with help from all my kids. We built a 12' x 18' deck that my father in law designed and helped me foot. I got three big new windows that we replaced for a customer and they were a nice upgrade for our home. And a couple weeks ago I started putting together what is turning out to be a pretty big treehouse in our backyard.

And most significantly, Heather found out she is pregnant with our fourth child, and we went ahead and found out that we are having a third girl! She discovered the news on my first day at my new job. I had a text in the morning that said: "Call me when you get a chance." And an hour later a second text: "I am pregnant."  

explanation part one

I became a dad for the fourth time. Rebekah Joy Rich was born 4 weeks ago on April 10 amid much celebration!

My lovely wife hasn't been running much (she went for her first run in a few months yesterday) and I haven't been running much either.

We found out she was pregnant on my first day at my new job as a carpenter. I work for two guys who have 6 and 9 kids respectively, so it seemed appropriate.

6 and a half in 31:13


So, I have some explaining to do, ask me about it at my next race, which will be an absolute miracle if it ever happens, just be prepared for a long cool-down.


6.5k since 2:34 pm today (5/8/16)
out and back on roads and trails from home after church