Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Boston 2014

The Buildup – Easily the flimsiest training cycle I’ve had in quite some time.  Looking back on things, there were 3 marathon-pace workouts and 2 long runs (18.5 and 19) over 14 miles.  Since the start of the year, I cracked 50 miles/week 5 times (8 last year) and 60 miles/week exactly once (7 last year).  I tried telling myself that the last time I had a cycle I was as iffy about was Portland 2013 where I ran my current PR.  Nonetheless, it was hard to know what to expect (i.e. not freak the hell out about where my level of fitness was or wasn’t)

Taper – Figured with the lower mileage throughout the rest of the cycle that doing a bit more than I typically would for a taper wouldn’t hurt and I think it paid off.  Went 58-47-25 the 3 weeks before the race and really focused race week on more intensity/less miles.  Shout out to Mauricette for that one.  Also really focused (finally) on the diet this time around and really managed to completely cut out sugar and told myself to just eat real food.  The result was racing at the lightest weight I’ve ever been at – 171 – for a marathon.

Race Weekend – Keeping in line with the theme of trying new things this time around, I brought Jasmine with me to Boston.  Heck of a way to introduce her to my parents but it was a fun weekend.  Wasn’t quite sure how having a girlfriend with me would pan out but I have zero complaints about how things turned out.  We really kept it low key all weekend which was great.

Raceday – Early ass morning started at 4:45.  Ate a bagel on my way out the door with a little bit of Gatorade.  Left the hotel at 5:30 and was on the Common by 6:20 (albeit after an encounter with the biggest dick of a T attendant I’ve ever met).  Snuck through after a nurse at the T and set the buzzer off so this guy (instead of giving the runner his free ride) turns to the lady and says “This world’s full of fucking losers isn’t it?”…excuse me, WHAT?!  Go back to your T booth Quasimodo.  At least the nurse was nice, haha.  Ate another bagel on the T.  Met up with Tunney and he checked a bag then the two of us and our sweet fanny packs boarded the bus (much easier this year with the new wave-regulated boarding) to Hopkinton.  Wound up sleeping most of the way out there and found out the girl behind us couldn’t hold it any longer and took a leak right there on the bus.  Poor girl…Ate a Larabar (coconut cream pie) as we pulled into Hopkinton.  Athlete’s Village was completely reconfigured this year and while Tunney felt like the guinea pig in the world’s worst social experiment, I laid down and relaxed for an hour or so.  We met a very nice woman from southern Maine (Christine Irish) as we walked down to the corrals.  Loved the new corral loading procedures and it was nice to meet another Mainer.  Visited the porta-potties down by the start one last time, sucked, down a GU, looked around for other Mainers (saw a few, but no Beardsley), then got to our corral. 

The Race – Tunney and I had talked about going out harder than last year’s pedestrian 6:45 first mile and just letting things roll for the first 10k or so.  Well, that’s exactly what I did (6:26/6:22/6:16/6:16/6:23/6:13) though he had some choice words for me after mile 3.  “Just let it roll” was my response.  Could still hear him at about mile 5 but that ended up being the last I heard from Tunney.  Looked over just before mile 6 and saw Gary Allen so I ran over to say hi…”What’s up motherfucker?!” in vintage Gary form was his greeting.  He told me to run tangents (actually something I managed to do better this year) and that was that.  After a couple more miles (6:16/6:18) I decided at mile 8 to make a conscious decision to slow down a touch not knowing what kind of shape I was in.  Really focused on keeping my effort the same without worrying too much about the pace. The result: 6:16/6:24/6:20/6:21.  Yeah, didn’t slow down at all, haha.  Thoroughly enjoyed the Wellesley mile (though not as much as the guy next to me!), hit the half in 1:23:09, and told myself to keep the effort even until the hills.  One of the highlights of my race happened just after mile 15 when I looked over and saw her again: Joanie.  She was running solo and crowds were just going BERSERK for this woman…something truly special to see.  I ran over, shook her hand, and told her what an absolute honor it was to be running next to her, especially as a Mainer at Boston.  Hoping she didn’t think I was crazy but who knows.  Ran with Joanie for about half a mile hoping she’d help slow me down a little bit but that never really happened. 6:19/6:24/6:23/6:15.  Hit the first of the Newton Hills going over the highway and the only thing I could think of was Rudolph saying to me “Keep the effort even.  Just keep it even” so that’s exactly what I tried to do.  Fist pumped after seeing my first hill split was 6:28.  I remembered running that section a year ago feeling like I was absolutely flying (in reality I was only 5 seconds faster).  Spent the rest of the hills (6:30/6:27/6:27/6:36) feeding off the crowd and the feeling of passing people while at the same time just keeping my effort even.  Went through the noise tunnel (and I mean NOISE tunnel) on Heartbreak fist pumping and giving love to all the supporters of the “E”.  Was so proud of myself for running the hills as smart and evenly as I did that I went down the backside of Heartbreak high-fiving BC kids with both hands at roughly 5:20 pace.  In a marathon.  With 5 miles left.  Idiot.  Got to the bottom and immediately swore at myself knowing I had just fried my quads.  6:18, but run like a moron.  Unreal amount of fun, though!  Got through the Graveyard Mile (appropriately named by Tunney) amongst some serious carnage.  People were dropping like flies.  Hit Cleveland Circle with 4 miles to go and told myself to just keep moving.  Didn’t really have any other options at that point.  Began to take Gatorade at every stop (from mile 21 on I think) and even dumped water on myself once or twice which I typically hate doing.  Tried to pick it up a couple of times but that just wasn’t happening so I decided to distract myself by looking for Charlie (never saw him) for a couple miles.  At mile 24, I figured out could run a couple 6-flats and flirt with a PR but that wasn’t an option.  One, maybe, two, no way.  Decided to just keep moving…6:32/6:34/6:31/6:31.  The Citgo sign was a most welcome sight and the crowds in Kenmore Square were out of this world.  The last two miles or so were such a blur with all the noise but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Turned onto Boylston and immediately went to the right side knowing that’s where my family would be.  Just took everything in knowing that there will never be another race like Boston 2014.  Amazing.  Saw Jasmine halfway out into the street being held by an old lady so she wouldn’t fall over followed by the rest of the gang.  Managed to pose long enough for what is easily the best race photo I’ve ever been in (amazingly snapped by Mom!) before booking it to the finish.  2:48:01.  BOOM.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Running Log for Week Ending 2/2/14

Monday – 7 easy.  Ran the loop from home on a decent weather day.  Went ahead and ran after Warren suggested I do so and things were ok as long as I kept it easy on the hills.  Strange that hills are the thing that really sets it off.  Went against Warren’s advice and rolled the lower part of my IT band (avoid my hip) which I think helped a ton.

Tuesday AM – 5.9 easy with Dan, Brayden, Frank, and Beardsley on a frigid (15 degree) day on a sheet of ice also known as the Dump Rd.  Got halfway down it and Dan was fed up so we (smartly) turned around.  Surprised how good things felt even though I was running on ice.

Tuesday PM – 6 easy even colder miles (9 degrees) with Warren and Guinness.  Surprised again that things felt better on this run than the earlier one.  Encouraged but it’s still clear I haven’t figured this thing out yet.  Nice to see Warren not struggle.

Wednesday – 8 miles easy, first 6 around the loop with Tunney, last 2 solo on the track roads.  Tunney was sore as hell from his ultimate tournament and I was a bit sorer than I had hoped following yesterday’s double.  Last couple probably weren’t needed leg-wise, but they were good for the head.

Thursday – 7 recovery miles on the Shore Rd with Beardsley.  Showed up to the school and everyone was either sick, injured, or doing something else so I waited around for Beardsley to show up and we went for some easy miles on the Shore Rd.  Conrad joined for the first part and Frank the second.

Friday – 7.3 easy between subbing and work.  Tried a couple different starts but ended up just running the loop from the school.  No motivation so just happy to get something in the books.  Leg hurts…moving on to tomorrow.

Saturday – 7.8 progressive miles with Louie.  Gorgeous day.  Ended up running much faster than I anticipated.  Started out fast and got faster.  6:20/6:21/6:16 last 3 including one up State St.  Fun to do something a bit faster, but the leg just feels dead.  Weird.

Sunday – 13.7 total.  Was supposed to be a long run but after running 8 with Warren and Guiness, I added on some more up by the hospital before my stomach had other ideas.  Immediately turned back towards the Y and made it just in time.  Not the long run I was expecting, but I’ll take it.

Total – 62.8 miles, one semi-workout, one semi-long run, one core workout, and six days of bands.  All in all not a bad week.  Most miles I’ve run in a while but still absent any great deal of quality.  11 weeks left…

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Running Log for Week Ending 1/26/14

Hello again, loyal readers - all 3(.5?)…of you.  I’ve been absent from the blog for a few weeks now, but I refuse to only blog about the good weeks so I’m attempting to write from memory until I’m caught up.  Here we go..

Monday – 6.4 easy after work.  Day off didn’t really do much to help the leg as I didn’t make it to the end of Christian Ridge before it was hurting again.

Tuesday – 9.7 SLOW miles in the dark.  First experiment with a facemask…gotta be honest, not a huge fan.  Could never really get it in a place where I could breathe somewhat normally.  Eventually adjusted, but as of now, I’m definitely not a fan.  Ran the first 5.3 solo then added on 4 more with Warren before calling it a day.  IT band no different than it has been.

Wednesday-Saturday – After talking with Warren, decided that it would be best to take a few days off so that’s exactly what I did.

Sunday – 5 easy on Christian Ridge.  Threw the new Superfeet in and headed out for the first time in 5 days.  Made it two miles before things were painful again.  Not happy.

Total:  21.1 miles, no workouts, no long runs, two core session, and 7 days of bands.  The band work is about the only positive thing I can take from this week.  That and a pissed off mindset to just run through this thing.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Looking Ahead To (the rest of) 2014

I’m a numbers guy.  Always have been, always will be.  That’s part of running’s appeal to me.  There’s no subjectivity when comparing runners – you’re simply faster than the other guy or you’re not.  Sure, there are factors that influence the numbers on any given day but all in all when I tell someone I’m a 2:46 marathoner that’s, exactly what I am: a 2:46 marathoner.  No “well, if I had gone out a little more conservatively” or “well, if I had had someone to race against.”  I try not to play the “what-if” game and instead am typically trying to figure out how to get faster within minutes of finishing a race (with few exceptions…Boston ’13, Tour du Lac ’13).  So, 2014’s numbers…I’ll get to those.

The immediate goal is to get healthy.  My right IT band has been wonky for about a week now.  It feels like the band itself is about 2 inches too short and I can feel myself starting to compensate and consequently other parts that shouldn’t be sore are.  I’m hoping that with new Superfeet in the shoes tomorrow, things will start to turn around.  Had to buy some orange ones instead of my go-to green ones because apparently green, size E Superfeet are the most popular insoles on the face of the earth.  But I digress…I’ve got some green ones coming in the mail so we’ll see.  I am in such a good place mentally as far as the want/hunger to get out the door every day. 

That’s one of my biggest takeaways from 2013.  My daily training mindset has completely shifted from “Oh, will I run today?” to “How far is today’s run going to be?”  Run of the mill 6 mile runs are now 8-10 miles and I love it.  Setting as many PR’s as I did (6 different distances) has left me hungry to shatter those current marks.  That’s right, now break, shatter.  Now about those numbers…

Marathon – Sub-2:40...Why not?  I took over 5 minutes off my PR last year and this would require a mere 7 minute chunk of time.  Actually, now that I write it out like that…screw it, go big or go home.  Provided this IT band cooperates in the near future, I’ll take a crack at this at Boston.  Man, 2:3x:xx is gonna be sweet.

5k – Sub-16:40…Yes, that insanely frustrating 17 number is still out there but if that doesn’t happen in 2014 I’ll hang up my running shoes and retire.  It’s ridiculous that I haven’t broken 17 yet.  100% mental.  So why16:40?  Well, 16:45 would win me a bet with Warren (I got sub-16:45 before he goes sub-18), but 16:40 would put me on the Dirigo radar.  It’d be very cool to get an invite.

There are certainly goals at every distance I’ll race this year, but those are the two main ones.  Without going into detail about every single one, here they are:

3k – 9:21…just to shut Tunney up.
5-miler – Sub-28 (maybe 27:30?)…really just want to beat Mike the “Colby guy” again at NEH.  Won’t let him gap me like he did this past year.
10k – Sub-35
Half-marathon – Sub-1:16:30

Just to show that I am not completely obsessed and consumed by numbers (Ha!  Who am I kidding?) here are a couple non-time related goals for 2014:

Win my Cabot leg…It’s as simple as it sounds.  I loved my first trip to Cabot and was fine with my 2nd place finish on Leg 11 (4+ minutes ahead of The Black Lungs runner).  I don’t think I’ll totally feel like I’ve earned my place on the Maineacs (the friggin Maineacs!) until I win a leg.  Maybe that’s a bit of insecurity on my part, but its certainly a goal for 2014.

3000 miles…In all honesty, I’d be ok with building on the 2500 I ran in 2013, but 3000 is a nice, round number and its really only a mile and half a day more.  Probably won’t get too hung up on this one, but I find a mileage goal is useful during the parts of the year that don’t fall within a marathon cycle.

Some of these may seem ambitious without factoring in my injured IT band, but I guess I just don’t see the point in setting new PR’s in small chunks.  I’ve been blasting my previous years’ times for 5 years now so why not keep it going?  I realize there will come a time that that won’t be realistic, but I’m 25, now is not that time.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Running Log for Week Ending 1/19/14

Monday – 6.4 easy with the indoor kids backwards around the lake.  Took a nice digger going down State St thanks to Brayden.  Finished on the Shore Rd with just Frank.

Tuesday – 14 wet, dark miles in 1:42(nice to get that amount of time on my feet).  Left from home and ran 8 random miles in town then met up with Warren at the Y (worked out perfectly…to the .01 miles!) for the last 6.  Kept things easy and the legs felt great.  Longest run in a while.  Steady rain the whole time was the only thing that put a damper (yep, pun intended) on things.

Wednesday – 7.1 easy with Tunney at lunchtime.  Absolutely gorgeous day.  Kept things simple – the loop + Guptil – a tried a true route.  Right side (IT band) tight from yesterday’s run.

Thursday – 8.1 miles total w/4 miles at 5:41 pace.  Good weather day for a tempo (30’s and cloudy with little wind) so I headed over to the Middle School.  2 mile warmup followed by the tempo (5:37/42/42/40) and a 2 mile cool down.  Right side felt fine during the tempo but really was aggravated during the cool down.  Overall, good with how the tempo went.  Never really felt “fast” today but was never all-out either.  Kind of a weird spot.  First workout of any sort in over 3 weeks though, so I’ll take it and hope to really nail the next one.

Friday – 10.1 in just under 1:13 all over town.  Started at the track, tossed on the headphones, and went all over town.  Saw Eric on the Shore Rd so I stopped and taked with him for a bit.  Hope he gets back at it soon so we can get some miles in.  Finished the last couple miles up on the track with Beardsley and the kids who were warming up for a 16 x 200m workout (yuck).  Right side still tight from Tuesday’s run…

Saturday – 8.3 solo (sort of) at 6:58 pace on the new Rt 180.  Was coming down the Christian Ridge hill and saw Robert Looker coming off of Grant St so I yelled and he eventually slowed down enough for me to catch him.  Ended up running Christian Ridge with him…always nice to have company.  Definitely started out faster than I had planned and as any runner knows, it’s almost impossible to slow down after that.  Was fine going out, but the way back was LONG as my right side went all wonky.  Worst pain I’ve had there all week.  Not good.

Sunday – Off.  Not happy.  Was planning on finishing out a solid week with 18 (was even going to get up early to do it) but knew when I woke up it wasn’t going to happen.  I would have ended up limping in with my IT band the way it is.  Ticked.

Total: 54.1 miles, one solid tempo workout, one semi-long run, two core workouts, and one frigged up IT band.  Also seem to have regressed in terms of what I’m eating lately (8 year olds everywhere would be jealous) but that’s correctable.  Was really looking forward to a good week and 6/7 days were good but ending on a forced off day due to injury really leaves a sour taste in one’s mouth.

**Edit:  Talked to Warren and he suggested taking some time off (not a chance) in addition to doing very little for my IT band.  No foam rolling or stretching.  Plenty of heat, rest (pfft!), and bands.  Getting new Superfeet tomorrow (Wednesday) so that has to help right?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Running Log for Week Ending 1/12/14

Monday – Off.  Played more basketball instead of running.  Only a couple of hours this time.  Decided that basketball is good for two things: ruining running shoes and getting injured.  Right big toe was pretty sore as a result so laying off the hoops for a while.

Tuesday – 6.4 miles around the lake with Brayden (for the first time in a while) and Curts.  Realized about halfway that Beardsley was in HOT pursuit so we picked it up the last 3 so as not to get caught.  Fun to see the old guy getting after it though.

Wednesday – 8.9 easy in the dark after getting home from work.  Popped the headphones in and ignored the 10-degree weather.  Only thing of a note was a run-in with an eye-level branch while turning back onto State St from the Shore Rd.  Bastard got me good…

Thursday – 7.  Out and back on 1A and RF Jordan Rd.  With Dan and Brayden going out, then Dan and I cranked it up on the way back trying to run everyone down.  We did.

Friday – Off.  Lazy.  Didn’t get up in time to run in the morning and got home from work later than I thought.

Saturday – 9.4 out on Newbury Neck with Dan.  The indoor meet got cancelled so we finally got around to checking out the driveway at the end of the road.  Wicked cool spot.  Really warm day (46 degrees) and super windy on the way out.  Had some fun on the way back…6:30/25/05/5:30 (for last 0.4)

Sunday – 9 easy.  First 6 with Warren (he lives!) around the lake very easy then added on 3 more solo before last night’s ice cream had other ideas.  Emergency stop at the Y was followed by a lack of interest in running any farther so I called it a day.  Should have carried on…gorgeous day out.

Total:  40.8 miles, zero workouts, and a very lackadasical diet towards the end of the week.  Not exactly what I was hoping for but tomorrow makes Boston 14 weeks away.  Getting closer…

Monday, January 6, 2014

Running Log for Week Ending 1/5/14

Monday – Total of 8.2 easy…out and back on the Shore Rd with Dan, then ran into the girls doing a 5 x 3 min workout so I hopped in rather than doing hills with the guys.  Roads were terrible.  Added on a couple more solo after running back to the school.  Fun to see a lot of the kids again.

Tuesday AM – Loop around the lake with Louie and Curts then out a bit on the Shore Rd to make it 7.8.  9 degrees.  Roads still terrible.

Tuesday PM – Ran from Tunney’s to the end of Guptil and back via Grant St.  A robust 7 degrees this time.  Needed 8 exactly for 2500 for the year so I turned up State St, ran to the school and back to Tunney’s.  Wound up with 8.7 and crossed another goal off the list. 

Wednesday – 8.5 easy out to the end of Mill Dam Rd and back.  Foolishly waited until later in the day and the temp dropped from 16 to 8 over the course of the run.  Eyeballs frozen by the time I got home.

Thursday – Off.  Stupidly cold.

Friday – Off.  Stupidly cold again.  Wound up playing basketball for 3.5 hours at the Y with the XC kids and Baby Bron Bron (what a tool…).  Legs sore in all kinds of new places…

Saturday – 9.8 easy to the end of the Dump Rd and back.  Warmed up to a balmy 17 degrees though the roads were still trashed.  Not as trashed my legs, though, from basketball.  Not gonna be doing that too often…Threw headphones on for the first time since my early BC days and actually didn’t hate it.  Tough to run and sing at the same time though…

Sunday – Suffered through 12 slippery miles with Tunney.  Weather was gorgeous (30 degrees!) but my legs were still fried from basketball and the roads were snow covered but wet enough to make things awful.  Fell very softly into some powder coming up out of the river area on the way back.  Wanted to stay there.

Total: 55.2 miles, one ridiculously long session of basketball, and zero workouts.  I’ll take it considering there were two days off in there amidst some insanely cold days.  Did well on the band front (5 of 7), but need to start getting back into the core work and workouts.