Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hi, everyone- hope you all had a nice Christmas. It's always tricky training over break because I seem to have a severe allergic reaction whenever I come home resulting in wheezing, congestion, and sinus issues. Fortunately, they weren't too bad this time and I adjusted to being here relatively quickly. Christmas was good- I got a copy of Running to the Top!


Monday- AM- 29min easy with Ken, felt good. 12:15PM- Realized I was going to be late to my last final! Booked it, took the final (aced it) ran back for 3mi total. PM- 8mi easy, solo, slums to Mass Ave bridge and a few minutes indoors with Ellie. For my last run of the day I wore my new Nike Marathoners and one of the eyelets bruised the crap out of my right ankle because the shoe was so stiff.

Tuesday- Noon- 65 real easy minutes with Ken downtown and back, snowy out. 5PM- River Loop + a mile on Nickerson solo in the dark, felt really good- would have hammered if not for the really bad footing on the river paths. ~14 on the day.

Wednesday- Back in Derry! 25min up to pick up some of the long distance Pinkerton kids, then 27min of pretty hard tempo over really hilly roads, 18min down. Felt fairly good and ran at what I thought was a honest, hard tempo effort. It was tough to estimate pace on hills, but I would think I covered 5mi or so during the tempo. Chilly out! About 15deg with the wind factored in.

Thursday- 2PM- 10mi untimed over a really hilly loop. I didn't necessarily mean to not time this run, but I must have missed the start button on my watch with the thick gloves. 9PM- Snuck in another untimed 4mi after I felt guilty for sleeping in.

Friday- (Christmas!) 10AM 12mi easy, 85:47, hilly, hilly course. Dressed for the 20deg start to the run- did not expect the temperature to climb to 45deg by the finish. Got hot and felt awful.

Saturday- 4mi up, 8x90sec hills hard intensity, 4mi down. Snowy and slippery out- I decided to sacrifice a little speed for better footing- still got a great workout in.

Sunday- Noon- 12 easy with Geoff, same course as earlier, 84:45. It was 45deg and raining, shorts weather! Then watched my former Keene and Pinkerton teammate Peter Najem crush the field at the Millennium Mile (a downhill road race the next town over) in 4:01! 7PM- 4 easy with Geoff to cap off a solid week of hilly running.

Tot- 94mi. I'm feel like I'm rounding into very good shape and right now I'd like to just build on that momentum and keep training well but not at an unsustainable level.

Hope everyone's winter break is going great!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Finals Week

Hello, all. This was the bulk of my finals week (I have one tomorrow but that's it). It was nice to have a lot of extra time, but sad that all my teammates drifted away from Boston one by one over the course of the week. I'll be going home on Tuesday for a week (my younger sister's birthday is Dec 29th, so I have to at least stay for that).

Training wise, it was a good week. Mileage wasn't much, but it was good mileage- I'm looking forward to my upcoming 3k. Other than that, nothing too monumental happened.


Monday- Noon- 9 easy with Eric, out to Fresh Pond and back, 64min + strength work. 7pm- River Loop plus a mile inside, felt good, 5mi tot.

Tuesday AM- slept in, whoops! PM 9mi steady (checked the Coolidge mile- 6:18 except for Peter who has an inaccurate watch) + 6x140m strides in spikes + a few minutes jogging in spikes, 10 tot. Then walked to work.

Wednesday- PM 3mi up to Brookline Res, 5mi tempo in 26min- split 24:20 through 5 laps then added on 1:40. 3 down, then some 140 buildups in spikes. Peter and Eric were having good days, so it was tough to run my own tempo effort instead of running with them, but I think I did the right thing. Traveled to Worcester after to see about a girl.

Thursday- 10PM- Got back from Worcester just in time to take an exam, then finished my last lab of the season, then worked a shift, then came home and ran with Ken. Fit in the 7mi version of the River Loop very easy, untimed. 2deg with windchill and the wind was blasting us in the face the whole way back from the Mass Ave bridge.

Friday- 3pm- 95min easy, with James and some with Ken- did two laps around Fresh Pond (Ken did one, still recovering from his hamstring issues) then ended up with 15min indoors or so. Tuckered out towards the end but not too bad.

Saturday AM 25 easy indoors, then helped at the BU mini-meet. Mostly just worked the finish line and cracked jokes with Bruce. PM 10mi River Loop with Ken and James after dark again (too many dark, cold night runs this week!) in 69min, then 6x150 strides in spikes all in 22-23sec.

Sunday- 3pm- 25min up, then 2x(600, 600, 800) with 1:40 rest after each 6 and 2:20 after each 8, then 2 bonus 600s.

600 1:42
600 1:41
800 2:16

600 1:41
600 1:40
800 2:17

600 1:38
600 1:32.0 (31.8, 30.2, 30.0- smooth progression, felt very easy. Didn't see the sense in hammering, so to end quickly without hammering was nice. Peter did a good job going quick without racing or positive splitting, too).

1mi down, hungry. 9:30pm- 4mi River Loop with Ken and James- really snowy and slow going but an enjoyable run.

Tot 84

All in all, a good week. I'm pleased with where my fitness is right now. I didn't expect a 1:32 600 to be that easy, but it was. I'm very tired, though, and my sleep schedule is all out of whack from being able to sleep in late and all the night running. As soon as this is posted, I'm showering, eating, then bed by 1! (Which will be the earliest I've been to bed all week, haha!)

I hope those of you dealing with winter weather are coping ok. For me, the first week or two of bad winter weather always sucks really bad, then I adjust. Right now I'm definitely in the adjustment phase and I've done quite a very grumpy, windy runs. Fortunately, it's impossible not to crack up on runs with the guys.

Have a nice week, everyone!


PS- I can't believe Christmas is 5 days away. I already got my mom her stuff, but I need to get the ball rolling on gifts for my younger brother and sister. . .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sorry this is late

I'm sure there were hordes of runners unable to sleep last night, ha. I had a very very busy week academically, and so yesterday I sat around like a bump on a log and fell asleep before I remembered to write the entry.

It's funny what a difference a week makes. Last week I had to take a bunch of time off and I was worried my cuboid might be developing a stress fracture. This week, I've been 100% structurally. Here's the log-

Monday- PM- River West with the lads, 61min- this run is in the 9mi neighborhood.

Tuesday- AM- River Loop, ~29min, with Eric and Senor Ken.
PM- Ran to Jamaica Pond via South Campus and the Muddy River with a solid group including Teddy and his Northeastern guys, did the JP lap in 9:19, then headed home via Marky Mark, did the Coolridge Corner mile in 6:06, then added on inside til we got to about 58min. Good moderate run, couple tenths longer than 9. 6 strides on the track in spikes after, then 2x200 with Eric and Peter- 28.3, 27.7, smooth.

Wednesday- PM- 3 up, stomach issues. 2.5 in 12:40 on the treadmill (.5% incline), stomach issues, 5min jog, 2k in 6:17, 15min down. The plan was 2.75mi, 3k a touch faster, 1500 a touch faster. With all the essays I was writing and stomach issues I was having, I was just stressed, dehydrated, and feeling like crap. I cut it 2k into the 3k and while I felt pretty miserable about stopping short, it was just one of those days. Doesn't mean anything.

Thursday- 9 solo, didn't bother timing it- ran easy but not necessarily all that slow. Didn't feel great. Finished all my school work, finally.

Friday- Faulkner Hospital loop with Eric, Peter, Caputo. Started real easy and got it down into the 6:20 range by about halfway, then just stayed there. First cold day of the year- windchill of about 15. Still balmy compared to Keene. Added on a minute or two indoors to feel better about calling it 12- 80-81min tot.

Saturday- AM- River Loop backwards with a stop at Harvard to pick up Geoff and Kevin Gilmore. They were racing at Harvard at like 5:30 so Petah and I hung out with 'em all day at the house so they could relax. Peter and I did 6x~130m buildups on the track, then a relaxed 200 in 29.3. PM- Ran back to Harvard with the aforementioned + Krinjak and ran around the fields at Harvard with Krinjak and Peter. Peter went 4, Dave and I went 50min. Watched Geoff and Kevin race a 3k (Geoff 8:41.8 FTW, a pr, Kevin 9:00.02- I think that was a PR for him but he's too hard on himself) then jogged back to the house for roughly 8mi tot.

Sunday- AM- Ran to Heartbreak Hill on Comm Ave (26min) then did 8xhills with a decent sustained jog down. Ran more or less with Eric and ran between 79.x-80.x on all of 'em. Slight tailwind. Then ran to the BC Res (~10min), did 4x20 second strides pretty damn fast (or at least, after the hill it felt fast!) and then ran home. 12 tot.

Tot- 78 mi

All in all, not an awful week of training. Bruce called the bad workout on Wednesday ahead of time, then gave us 3 days of rest as opposed to 2 so we could do a restorative long run. Worked like a charm, I felt good on Heartbreak. I'm trying to be a little more cautious, a little more conservative with building volume and intensity back up. I'll probably try to run no more than ~85 this week. Jan 2nd Mini-meet is still penciled into the schedule.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cuboid Issue

Hi, all. Sorry for the brevity of this entry- I proved myself an impatient moron yet again. After hurting my foot last Friday, I took Sunday off, felt a little better Monday, then tried to force a workout. I made it through 6 of the planned 8x800 and averaged 2:23s with Peter and Elliot. I ended up having to take Tuesday and Wednesday off, then did a pitiful 4 on Thursday. Since then I've just added one mile a day, so I got through 7 today pain free. Everything is fine now- the trainer at the school, Brian (who is AWESOME, by the way) tells me I did something that sounds serious but is much less scary than it sounds. What's most likely, in his opinion, is that I slightly dislocated my cuboid bone, and the pain in my foot was the cuboid resettling back into position. That sounds pretty exotic though, so let's just go with "I stepped on a rock funny and hurt my foot, and it was fine a couple days later."

In terms of racing, I believe I'll be redshirting this indoor season. Between the credit transfer from Keene and my courseload here, I'll be here through the 2012 academic year anyway. Nothing is final yet, of course, but as things stand right now, this is what Bruce thinks is best. I'll likely open my racing season up January 2nd with a 3000 at the last BU developmental meet, then run a mile or two before finishing up at Valentine with perhaps a 3k, 5k, or mile. Basically, the goal of this cycle is to get some great training in, race sparingly, and really focus on taking significant chunks off my PRs. This will allow me to get another solid block of training in through March and come into the outdoor season with formidable fitness and some new personal bests. However, I don't want to look too far ahead. Right now, my immediate goals are (in order):

Stay healthy
Get in good training
Survive finals with a respectable GPA
Get my Christmas shopping done
Avoid starving to death due to lack of funds

Wish me luck on the last 3 things!

Have a nice week, everyone.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving/Jackalopes at NXR

Hi, everyone- I hope everyone's Thanksgivings were great! Mine was nice and quiet- just the 4 MacPhersons at home, gorging ourselves. In terms of training, the week proved tough- but it was nice to get home and recharge a little.

The log:

Monday- AM- overslept, then skipped class to watch NCAAs.
PM- 13 easy, 86:33, last 3-4 miles about 6:15 pace, just easing along.

Tuesday- AM- overslept again, went to bed late.
PM- 3 up, 2 sets of (1600, 1200, 800, 400) with a 400 sustained jog between everything (about 7min pace) for a total of 7miles on the track in my ventulus 2s. Had a nice big group to run with- Eric, Peter, and I traded laps. Bruce said keep it around 72-73/lap and feel good, so we did that. Splits:

1600- 4:51
1200- 3:33
800- 2:21
400- 68

(extra 400 jog)

1600- 4:52
1200- 3:31
800- 2:23
400- 62 (~28 last 200, decided to close down the last 150 fairly good- didn't press, stayed smooth)

7 miles total in 37:39 (~5:24/mile) (no stops- just right into each interval). 3 down. Felt great in the spikes- did some mobility drills over hurdles after with Peter and Ken, then caught a ride back to New Hampshire in the evening with my friend Owen.

Wednesday- AM- Squeezed in 3 before an early dentist appt. Stayed out til 2am again- really need to cut that out. PM- 14 easy, cold, rainy, windy, miserable out. Felt terrible because I didn't eat all day, then felt like an idiot for not eating all day.

Thursday- Thanksgiving- 12 easy before dinner, felt absolutely awful with allergies/cold. Getting 5-6 hours of sleep about 5 days in a row was idiotic, as was not eating any real food for two days. Also, I'm allergic to the family cats and it takes me about a week to get adjusted to them again. These short trips home are killers to training. Cut the planned 14 and hill sprints short to eat.

Friday- AM- Travel to Wappinger's Falls, NY, for the Nike Regional Meet. My Pinkerton boys ran for the Flying Jackalope track club, so my high school coach, Kevin McGrath, and I chaperoned them. I've gotta say, those Nike guys do a first-class job with stuff- Anna Willard and the author of A Memorable Run spoke at the dinner and they were both fascinating speakers. Plus, it's always a good time to hang out with Kev. Anyway, did a workout at the course- 3 up, then 3min, 5min, 10min, 5min, 3min @ tempo effort with 4min jog rest in between, then a few minutes down. Let me tell you, that Bowdoin Park is not an easy cross country course! Twisted my foot on one of the trail's and it hurt pretty bad.
PM- 4 miles easy from the hotel at night, ran around the lit parking lots doing about 10x10-30sec surges for variety. Left foot KILLED.

Saturday- AM- 3 easy at Nike Regionals, foot hurt too bad to run so I stopped and figured I'd just let it rest. The boys didn't do quite as well as they would have liked- 12th place when their regional ranking was 10th. It was a long season, though, and their coach wasn't necessarily into preserving their conditioning for post-season meets.

Sunday- Off, foot felt a little better, but why rush things?

Tot- 73 (70 miles in the first 5 days). Not an awful training week, but not ideal, of course. I think I'll be back to normal by tomorrow, and if all goes according to plan, I'd like to average about 15-16 miles a day for the next 60 days or so. We'll see, though- if I get in solid quality and am racing well, the volume is of secondary importance. Overall, except for the stupid foot twist, I'm pretty happy with the way my fitness is progressing. I'm sure there was something else I wanted to say, but I forget what it was. Anyway, hope everyone had a nice holiday and is ready to attack the end of the year with renewed vigor.

Have a nice week!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Back on the Track!!

Well, the big news this week is that I had my heart MRI'd (is that a word? it is now) and it was found to have no congenital defects, major structural abnormalities, or permanent damage. This means (cue the fireworks, marching band, and appropriately decorated cake) that I am allowed to run again! I still have to go through the formality of going to the cardiologist's office and getting officially cleared, but the MRI technician assured me that if there was anything worrisome, he wasn't allowed to let me leave the hospital. The whole process actually wasn't too awful- they piped in some Beatles music and I feel asleep for a fair bit of it. Keeping your eyes closed in the MRI machine keeps the claustrophobia away and it can be quite relaxing. The "worst part" was the slight bruising my arm endured as a result of the contrast injection. Not bad at all!


Monday- AM- River Loop solo, 30:37, felt good. PM- 13 easy, first 53 min with James, Mike B, and Balint, then turned around on Comm Ave when we saw Ellie and ran for about a half hour with her. My strides afterward went pretty good for a 17 mile day, ha.

Tuesday- ~4miles to Heartbreak Hill, 6xHydrant to Hydrant with jog down at a fairly good intensity (untimed) then ~5mi back to BU, changed into spikes, 4x200 easy with 200 jog (31, 30, 30, 29), hurdle mobility with Rob and Billy, short c/d jog. Felt pretty good out there, but it'll be nice to rejoin the group. I also learned something I already knew- I have TERRIBLE hip flexibility. Rob was shooting over those babies like he was born to do it, and Billy has the approximately build of the Jolly Green Giant. In comparison, I could barely do hurdle walkovers. I have a looong way to go if I want to steeple in the spring.

Wednesday- AM- River Loop solo, 30:32, felt pretty good again. PM- Fresh Pond 12, felt unnecessarily good and did the ~5mi section around Fresh Pond at a little steadier an effort (just under 31min), 79min tot.

Thursday- AM- off for MRI appt. PM- Decided to celebrate my freedom by jumping into Elliot's workout with him! 3 up, 8x800 avg 2:19 with 400 jog, felt great, didn't bother spiking up. 2 miles down. It was awesome to work out with a teammate!

Friday- AM- River Loop with Eric- 28:30, got downpoured on.
PM- River West 9 in 59:38 with a big group + the famous Kevin Gilmore, felt good but held back from running steady or doing a progression run. Too hungry to add on and do 12. :(

Saturday- 2pm- Res to Res via Beacon + a lap around JP, ~12mi- run was 86 min. Left quad really sore- woke up in the middle of the night with an awful charlie horse.
7pm- 4 miles easy with Colin, Billy, Dave K, and James indoors, 30min + light strength after. Left quad pretty bad.

Sunday- AM- 5 miles slow/easy by myself. Bruce had originally planned for me to do a 5-6mi steady section during my run today, but my left quad is still sore and tight. I think it feels a little better than last night, so hopefully a very light day will leave me ready to go for the workout on Tuesday. I have a loooong way to go til my first race, which means I have enough time to get scary fit!

Tot- 92mi in 11 runs, one day basically off.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Secret Miles

Hi, everyone. Veteran's Day this week proved the perfect break from school and allowed me to get a jump start on getting back into shape. I'm almost up to my preferred level of volume and intensity. As I already mentioned, the Jackalopes are official now. Helping out at Regionals and cleaning up today took more time than I would have thought, so I don't have the Jackalope information up yet. It's coming, though!

This Thursday I have the MRI of my heart. I'm a little apprehensive about the procedure, but if I get cleared, at least I can stop the secret miles sham of the last few weeks. Anyway, here's the log:

Monday- River Loop, 32:20- hit the mile in 8:26! Ha, I felt good so I don't care. PM- Fresh Pond 9+ in 63:42, strides after in my spikes including a relaxed 200 in 28.2. Core/strength circuit after. I gained weight on that layoff! Got like 6 lbs to lose.

Tuesday- 12PM- 3 miles up to the BC Res, 10k tempo: (8:42, 17:28 (8:46), 26:08 (8:40), 34:44 (8:36). Felt good, didn't feel the need to press. Breathing was fine but my quads/ass were rocked from the strength circuit yesterday. ~3 down. 7PM- Slow 30min shakeout with James indoors, felt good but tired.

Wednesday- Big River Loop with Eric, 68min, felt a little sluggish but not dreadful.

Thursday- 13 miles easy, 90min, first 38 min with Eric, then 5x15 second hill sprints afterward. Felt much better than last Sunday's 12 miler.

Friday- 3 miles up to the Brookline Res, then 2x3laps+ a little to make it 2x3mi instead of 4500. Averaged about 4:58/lap (just under 5:20/mile) and ran for 16min each. Took a 3:30 rest jog after each- covered about 7mi in 38:50. Very good workout- it was real windy at the Res and it got dark out near the end of the second 3mile. 3miles down, almost got hit twice.

Saturday- AM- 45min slow indoors before Regionals- I knew I was going to be out in the cold/rain all day, so I wussed out and ran indoors. PM- 45 minutes slow indoors with Billy after Regionals. Cold, miserable, muddy day. Did a bunch of strides in my spikes afterward.

Sunday- 14 easy, 1:37.43, first half with Ken. Felt tired, hungry, and thirsty the whole way. Body still isn't used to being on its feet for more than an hour or so. The same thing happened to me at the beginning of the summer, I'll come around.

Tot- 91- not a bad week for bootleg training.

There was other stuff I wanted to say. . . if I remember it, I'll do a new entry. Hope everyone had a good week!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Welcome the Jackalopes!

Ladies and Gentlemen,

(ok, ok. . . Fellow Track Nerds,)

Today was a momentous occasion. At approximately 12:00pm, local time, the Flying Jackalope Track Club became an official USATF-recognized Competitive Club! We are registered with the USATF New England Association, but the Club remains open to all who can agree to the Jackalope Tenets. I would like to transition this blog to a forum for the Jackalopes as well as my own personal thoughts, and part of that would be a roster, some news about current members, etc.

If you'd like to be included in our membership, please email me (see the previous post on Jackalopes for the "qualifications") and I'll get you up on the roster! I hope to have the new content ready by Sunday night, when I post the week's entry. I'm excited to have made things official!

Happy Running, Everyone!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Warning: This is a Bitch Session

Hello, all. Last week, I took a break from whining about my own medical issues in order to rant about jerks. I wish I could tell you that everything is sunshine dust and rose petals now, but unfortunately, there are unresolved medical issues still. The issues stem from the EKG the cardiologist took before my stress test. While I got through the stress test with flying colors, (maintaining a heart rate of 195 beats per minute for 4-5 minutes and still carrying on a conversation) the cardiologist decided that while my EKG's variables are all within the normal ranges, he wants me to get a goddamned MRI of my heart. He signed me up and billed my insurance without getting my consent for the procedure and then told me I was at risk to just keel over and die during a run when I asked him if athletic hearts could give abnormal EKGs (which I knew could happen, since that's exactly what my old cardiologist back home told me the last time I was tested). Well, this esteemed graduate of Harvard Med (which I knew because every surface in his office is emblazoned with the Harvard crest) frowned when I asked that and said "look, I'm on your side here- your coach needs to back off." As if the only reason I could possibly want an unnecessary, expensive, and time-consuming procedure was because Bruce was snarling at me to run in one of the mini-meets! All in all, it's been an extremely frustrating process dealing with this office. Once I accepted that the doctor was going to hold the clearance letter over my head until I get the damn MRI, I asked him about the procedure and was relieved to hear that it would take about a half-hour, tops, and then as long as they didn't find a giant hole in my heart, I would be fine.
Welllllll that's not exactly how the process works. The hospital where the procedure would be done called me to go over the procedure- it's an all day thing. First, they inject you with this radioactive dye to make the heart show up better on the display. Now, I know some friends who have had this dye injected in for bone scans, so while I'm not thrilled, that's not a huge deal. The huge deal is that I spend TWO HOURS in the MRI machine. Not 20min, as Dr. Rice estimated. Not a "half hour, tops" as he threw out. TWO HOURS in one of those stupid metal coffins. I was told "oh, it's not that bad- they let you listen to music." Oh, I can listen to music? Well, never mind. In fact, I often lock myself in a wooden box, throw on my ipod, and lie there motionless for hours!
I realize that this sounds like I'm bitching about a procedure that very well may save my life. Well, I'm not. The recommendation for this procedure came on the basis of an EKG that is a little abnormal for the average person. It was not compared to EKGs taken of other athletes doing approximately 2 hours of reasonably challenging aerobic exercise a day. I would imagine that if I was a nonactive 50 year old, my EKG would be troubling. Then again, if I was a nonactive 50 year old, my resting pulse of 48 and the amount of ice cream I eat in a wek would probably be troubling too. Doesn't mean I have a hole in my heart!
What does all this mean about my running? Well, nothing much, actually. I am not cleared to compete. Dr. Rice, the cardiologist, doesn't even want me to get my heart rate up for any reason because he's concerned I'll up and die on him. However, I know that he has to cover his butt. I also know that my abnormal EKG is 99.9% likely to be because of my activity level and not any secret defect the stress test and sonargram they did of my heart. Thus, I have a delicate line to toe: I'm going to push ahead and train full time and try to avoid getting any of the very supportive and understanding coaching staff here at BU in trouble, because they have been great about this whole situation (especially Bruce, who has had to deal with me raging in his office too many times) and have exerted no pressured on me whatsoever to do anything but make sure it's safe for me to train. I'll confess: the week of my negativity rant, I ran 32 miles, including a very easy fartlek. All, of course, unauathorized and on my own. This past week, I hit 61 miles, including a secret, late-night 3xmile session averaging 5:00 or so (total workout, with rest included, was 4mi in 21:24, so not a bad aerobic effort) and a solo 12-miler this morning before work. I feel reasonably back into the swing of things now- the last two weeks, unfortunately, where full of midterms and papers and other stressfull school related things, but with this week's Veteran's Day breaking the week in two, I plan to start doubling and expect to hit about 90 next week.
Bruce has said that once I am cleared and allowed to train again, he'll wait to race me until either the Terrier meet at the end of Janurary or possibly the week before that. Thus, I have basically a huge block of time to cash in on my cross country fitness and get scary, scary fit for late indoor/outdoor track. Now I just need to get this stupid MRI out of the way so I can stop the sneaky sham!

Healthy hearts to all!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nattering Nabobs of Negativism

I want to take a moment from my own irritations with my cardiologist to write for a moment about the title of this week's blog and the role it has in running. For whatever reason, our sport seems to be rife with pessimists. Rather than support our elite athletes, so many so-called "fans" of running love to trash on our elite runners and predict doom and gloom no matter what an athlete has run. What's worse is that these arm-chair coaches seem to be more than a very vocal minority (though, of course, it's likely the amount of hatred stirred up on a place like letsrun is a few people using many different handles).
Take, for example, Meb's stunning upset victory in New York this morning. In the pre-race coverage, all I heard about Meb was how he was too old, washed up, and a drain on the fragile economy since he wasn't doing anything "of value to society." It's an attitude I've never understood. Likewise, most of the predictions I saw regarding Jorge Torres' debut suggested that not only would Torres fail to debut under 2:18, it was unlikely that he even had the capability to run under 2:12! Jorge was the first guy-ever- to qualify for the Footlocker Championships all four years of high school. At Colorado he was a National Champ in cross country. Since college, he's run 13:20 and 27:42. His coach, Steve Jones, is the former world record holder in the marathon and has recently resurrected the career of Jason Hartmann. Who on Earth could believe that a runner with the talent, resources, and mental toughness Torres has displayed since he was 15 years old wasn't capable of breaking 2:15! For that matter, since when did failing to hit a goal become so shameful that as runners, we set these tiny little wimp goals and mercilessly trash on people who try to do great things?
Ron Clarke once said something to the effect that it was important for young athletes to try to do something completely over their heads and not feel like they've done something unforgivable if they failed or lost. The greater shame, Clarke insisted, was that an athlete become so afraid to lose that he not even bother trying. And yet, how often does Clarke get trashed for "never winning when it mattered?" We've all seen the quote from Teddy Roosevelt about those who dare to fail greatly. Why is it that, as runners, we have such a hard time taking that to heart? The sub-culture among runners is a culture of shame and absolutism.
You see it all the time in race previews- "well, so-and-so should win, and so-and-so has no chance because he's only done x lately, and we're not even sure why so-and-so is even bothering, because he hasn't run well in a year," and so on and so on. As it was once explained to me, a good runner is like an old-timey steam locomotive: if you know what to look and listen for, you can see one coming from a long way off. Yet great performances get labeled an "upset" because, hey, the guy wasn't supposed to win. The odds said this, the results from past courses said this, the other competitors were too this. But the reason we run the races is because competition is not a math test. You can't factor in which athletes will have a career day, or what guys will react to the cheering crowd or, honestly, who is just going to get damn lucky. All 17 guys in the lead pack at the halfway mark of New York today had a chance to win. If you run the 2nd half of that race ten times, there would be ten completely different outcomes. Does that cheapen Meb's victory? Of course not. Yet, if we reduce Meb's situation to the kind of message board pleas we're all familiar with, how likely is it that he would have gotten any kind of encouragement whatsoever? Here's what it might look like:
"Hi guys, I was wondering if anyone could help me. About two years ago, I fractured my hip during a marathon. I couldn't walk the next day and I had to take off 14 months from running. I've been slowly getting back into it and over the last year I've gotten my mileage back up to where it was before the injury. I've been feeling great in workouts but I'm a little worried about running a marathon again-- do you guys think I could break my old PR, set a year before I broke my hip? I'm in my early 30s and haven't PR'd on the track for about five years."
How many positive responses would that post get? Maybe a few, but then someone would feel the need to "be realistic" and let the guy know that he's too old, too broken down, too injury prone. Maybe he did too much mileage and he's permanently damaged, maybe he's just a wimp. Fortunately for American distance fans, our elite runners don't feel the need to consult our nabobs. In fact, I'll say that in my limited experience with talking to world-class athletes, the number one thing that sets them apart from the rest of us is the confidence they have in their abilities. Perhaps the biggest embodiments of this confidence are the handful of Kenyans I've met. If one of them bombed a race, he would smile broadly and say "It is ok, I'll do better next time." If one of them ran well and still lost, he would say "Oh, I must train harder- but it is ok, next time I will win."
In the past, I've been criticized for setting very ambitious goals. The thing is, though, I would rather fail because I dared greatly then be happy to settle for tiny, incremental improvements. I will use my junior year of high school track as an example: as a sophomore, I had ran 4:32 for the 1600. When people asked me my goal, I said "oh, under 4:20, for sure." A few teammates tried to explain to me that taking off ten second chunks from your PR just wasn't realistic, that I should focus on breaking 4:30 first, and so on, and so on. Well, I ran 4:20.22 that outdoor season and, technically, failed. But if I had run to break 4:30 and run 4:27, would I be expected to be praised for my "success?" It's only a very little example- my point, though, is why be realistic? It never occurs to some people that they might fail- because it shouldn't matter. Just for another example, one of my teammates, Eric, knew last winter he could break 4:05 in the mile. How did he know that? He ran a mile the week before in 4:10, going through the 1000m in 2:31 and dying horribly. Did that race tell him that he couldn't handle a fast pace? Did it suggest his kick was poor, or he was mentally weak? Nope- although he could have drawn any of those conclusions from his race. Instead, he decided that with competition to pull him through and going out closer to 2:34, he could run 4:04. 6 days later he ran 4:03, a seven second personal best and his first sub-4:10 mile. Again, I'm not saying that either Eric or I are by any means special in this regard- I just want to emphasize the importance of belief is. As Bruce once told me, "you know, it's not the worst thing in the world to have a terrible race- sometimes, you learn valuable things."
Since I'm sick of writing about my own medical issues, I'll leave it at that for this week. This entry is long enough as it is!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Comebacks, Chemical Burns, and INTERRUPTED ALLITERATION

This week has proved a frustrating one in many ways. My workload in school has been reasonable all semester-- then this week I had two-midterms and two papers. As if that wasn't enough work, I shot myself in the foot by being a moron and not writing the papers ahead of time. Then I spent what felt like half the week bouncing back and forth between different doctors and my health insurance to continue attempting to figure out what the heck was going on with me. Despite my pneumonia-scarred lungs, propensity for chest infections, and past respiratory difficulties, the doctor I saw is concerned that it's some magical underlying defect that got totally missed in my last full cardiac workup three years ago. I understand wanting to leave no stone unturned, but getting the referral approved by my primary care guy so that my insurance would cover it was probably enough of a hassle to GIVE me a heart condition. Suffice to say, I'd be down for any healthcare reform that cuts down all this hoop-jumping, no matter whose idea it is.
Anyway, what the cardiologist decided to do is put on me on a halter-monitor for 24 hours and test my blood for every condition known to man and a few only Wookiees are supposed to get. When I went into the office on Friday (this is one huge positive to this situation: the cardiologist's staff was very helpful and were able to get me in to see them on only about 24 hours notice) I was hooked up to the monitor (sadly, this mechanical implant had no impact on my ability to dance the robot). They drained out what felt like about half my blood to test and then told me I'd have to redo my cardiac stress test on Monday. I was also told they'd have to shave patches in my chest hair in order to place the electrodes. Thinking myself ahead of the game, I asked some teammates into depilation what methods were best. Well, 6 coats of Nair later, I had a patchy, stubble, itchy chest with a few chemical burns and a slight rash. I realize that might be crossing into the TMI category of blogging, but for any young males out there thinking they're going to go smooth- DON'T DO IT. If you have some medical reason to get patches shaved, GO WITH THE PATCHES!
On the plus side, I'm feeling much healthier than last week. I have a solid wheeze going still, but I think that's mostly seasonal allergies. I can breathe deeply for the first time in weeks and I have tons and tons of energy (too much, in fact- without any physical exercise I find sleep very difficult). BU alum Dave Proctor came to visit this week and was a temporary resident of 15 once again. Dave and I never got to run as teammates, so it was nice to hang out with him. I'm looking forward to seeing his post-collegiate career take off!
Lastly, and perhaps the brightest spot to my week, my friend and old high school teammate Owen Graham emailed me to let me know he had quit his college team. This would usually be cause for disappointment, but Owen's former coach was one of the most irrational, irresponsible, and plain bad coaches I have ever seen in the sport. Owen went from a promising, undertrained HS prospect to a chronically injured and demoralized runner who began to wonder if his high school performances would remain his lifetime PRs. Now he's dealing with the last of the injury issues he suffered under his former "coach" and is on the comeback trail. I was very flattered that he sought me out to write him a training plan and advise him through his road to competition. I forsee the biggest issue in the short term being lingering injuries from years of abuse and in the long term, Owen's tendency to be too tough for his own body and neglecting to take the proper steps to avoid injury.
Hopefully, by this time tomorrow, my heart will be found healthy and in fine working order and I will be cleared to begin training again. Hope everybody out there is doing well!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Obligatory, Crappy Mood Blog from Work

Hello, All-

These week's blog is largely dismal and obligatory. I saw Health Services earlier this week and was told I had either a sinus infection or some kind of virus. I was prescribed a ten day course of antibiotics (a giant pill every 12 hours, so 20 doses total) and told that if I didn't see improvement within 2-3 days, then my issue was likely viral and thus unaffected by antibiotics. I jogged for about an hour at a very slow pace on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday but by Wednesday was forced to concede that I wasn't getting any better and wheezing around slowly for 8 miles wasn't going to do my fitness or recovery any favors. At this point, all I can really do is wait for the virus to pass, which will hopefully only be about another week as long as I continue to drink tons of water, sleep 10 hours a night, take my vitamins, etc.
The other part of the health puzzle has been the team doctor's concern over my loss of consciousness. Much like the time this happened to me back in high school, his fear is that I have some congenital heart issue and that I'll drop dead exerting myself in a race. The last time I did this, I had to get all kinds of heart tests, ECGs, treadmill tests, etc. Now, you may ask yourself "if he's alread been evaluated, why wouldn't he just give his new doctor the results that prove his heart is entirely normal?" I had the same idea myself and got into contact with the office that did the testing. Turns out they have no copy of the test results in my electronic record, only a note that the tests were carried out and there were no major issues. The woman I spoke to who works in the Records Dept at the office said the original test results were "probably" in my chart, which was in storage (because the tests occurred 3 years ago) and the chart would take "at least 2-4 weeks to retrieve." As a result, I'll probably be put through the whole irritating ordeal again when the team doctor responds to my email.
Last time, my treadmill test went something like this-
Doctor- "Ok, Craig- you're young and fit, so we're going to put the treadmill on max speed and increase the incline 1% every 5minutes. We want to get you working as hard as you were in the race when you collapsed to monitor your heart under extreme stress.
Me- (a little intimidated, since I was just over the pneumonia) "And how fast is max speed?"
Doctor- "All the way at 8minutes per mile." So I ran for a few minutes and the doctor appeared concerned. "This is your max heart rate? You're only at like 120bpm."
Me- "Not at all. . .uh. . .this isn't that fast."
Doctor- "Um, it's 8minutes per mile- you'd cover over 7 miles in an hour at this rate. This isn't close to the intensity you were running when you collapsed?"
Me- "No, I was running about 5 minutes a mile when I went down." (doctor laughs skeptically)
So this process continues for a little bit- the doctor started jacking up the incline more than 1% every 5 minutes. By about 12min I was running up a pretty steep incline and he got my heart rate into the 170s. After a few minutes of running in the 170s he was satisfied and cleared me for normal activity. Being tested again will be irritating, but as Dr. Pecci is an athletic doctor and less condescending than the guy who tested me three years ago, I'm not too concerned. My chief worry is getting the damn thing scheduled ASAP.
Anyway, as most cross country runners are approaching their conference meets, please take care of yourselves, guys and gals. Good luck with your seasons and if you run into me, don't catch whatever I have!
Lastly, a big thumbs up to my old high school team crushing the field at the Catholic Memorial Invitational at Franklin Park this past weekend. They looked great and put 5 guys at 16:35 or better (with the fifth man being Kevin, my younger brother). They've been runners up for God knows how many years in a row now- hope they take it home this year!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Damn it

No log this week- mostly because I'm upset and confused and angry and. . .well, boy I could go all night.

I didn't finish the New England Championship race today. I knew something was off when I woke up today- I've been a little sick (just sniffles, I thought- nothing to sweat). I ate a normal breakfast, drank a lot of pre-meet water, took a day off on Tuesday to ensure that I'd be fresh for the weekend. By 800 in I felt dead and by a mile and a half I grimly decided that I would FINISH no matter what. By 5k my vision was started to tunnel on me and I apparently told a teammate "I think I'm about to pass out." Things get fuzzy from there. Well, I woke up being slapped in the face by a SNHU runner (thank you, by the way- I don't remember your name). He and a teammate basically carried me out of the wilderness loop to a waiting ambulance. I'm fuzzy on what happened next but I woke up again in the ambulance with an oxygen mask and two EMTs asking me all sorts of questions.

Obviously, this is disconcerting. I'm going to see the BU doc on Wednesday. I don't really know why this happened or what's going on. I'm having memories of senior year when I passed out during a race because of a bout with pneumonia and had to go undergo this whole barrage of cardiac stress tests on a treadmill at this cardiology center. I got to sit there and listen to a bunch of doctors in lab coats discuss whether or not I should quit running altogether. I would really really prefer to not go through anything resembling that again.

Anyway, hope everyone reading this had a better weekend than I'm having. I'm going to bed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Little Bout with Food Poisoning

Hello, all (ok. . . hello, both). This entry comes a little later than usual because I had work and then a little Bible discussion afterward. As a fairly spiritual guy who finds no joy in ritual, rite, or hierarchy, this kind of group is about as close I can get to "worship" or any kind of worthwhile religious expression. I don't want to turn this into some kind of weird preach-post (especially since I found the best way to make someone WICKED uncomfortable is to invoke Jesus) but I'll say that since I was Confirmed, group spirituality has been sorely lacking in my life. The group in particular is the Inter-Varsity Christian Athletes, and it was interesting to sit there and listen to peers talk about their own relationships with the Trinity. Anyway, enough of the (probably extremely awkward) digression.

Here's my log:

Monday- AM- 5 easy, River Loop from the house + a mile on Nickerson w/James and Eric, 36:15. PM- Wandered downtown via Comm Ave with a big group, ran along the waterfront for a while, then came back up via Boylston St. We added on a few minutes indoors to call it 10- 70min tot. It was a little warm out and I got kinda tired/hungry/thirsty after 50min or so.

Turesday- AM- Slept in. PM- 13 miles moderate/hard/progressive. Hit 6:15s or so by 25min, (which I know because we hit a 5:45ish B-Line Res lap then) then really started cranking around 30 min. Peter, Eric, and I got down to about 5:20-5:30 pace the last 30-40min then added on a few minutes indoors til we got to 78 min (we wanted to be sure we ran 13mi). Core/Strength after. Felt good- fast run but not a hard effort at all.

Wednesday- AM- Overslept, missed the morning group. Ran the River Loop solo in 28:11.
PM- River West really easy with Petah and Ken, ran about 65min and called it 9. Also had about 2.5 hours of walking today due to various errands, felt pretty tired.

Thursday- AM- Warmup Loop shakeout with James, 19:56- kind of surprised it was that fast, we were jogging along pretty contentedly.
PM- Franklin Park for what Bruce promised to be "pretty substantial workout." 3 up, then 4x2k- 6:15 (two laps up Bear Cage), 7:36 (starting at the bottom of Glen Rd, up Bear Cage, back the way we came- Bruce said it was maybe a shade under 1.5 but darn close) then 6:13 (opening 2k- passed the mile in ~4:59), then Double Bear Cage Loop again (6:11). We had 4min jog between each. It was a great workout because Eric, Peter, and I ran in a group the whole way, each sharing the load and running smooth. Eric said he was grateful for the help- I'm just glad that I was able to help him push without feeling like I was pressing too hard myself. It's been hard to not just hammer everything with him, but now I feel like I'm fit enough to do so without sacrificing my own conditioning).

Friday- AM- River Loop from the house with Petah, 28:15. Ate some bad yogurt for breakfast and spent the next few hours too dizzy to get up and too nauseous to leave the bathroom. After a few hours I think I kicked whatever it was, so the evening run wasn't awful. PM- 9 easy- slums to the Mass Ave Bridge and an indoor add-on. Felt weak and thirsty but I didn't vomit, so I'm chalking this up in the Win Column. Strength routine after, hit it pretty hard.

Saturday- AM- Pouring rain run, took it nice and easy, ran with Eric and Peter for ~9mi or so- 62min. 4x100 strides on the track in my milers after, then a 200 relaxed for funsies- 28.1, very smooth. The scary thing is that I'm probably in close to PR shape from 800m-10mi right now. Looking forward to the next few races. PM- 41min easy, some with a group, nearly all with Eric.

Sunday- AM- Another Franklin Park workout- 3 up, 4xmile (4:58, 4:50, 4:57, 4:56) with 4min rest. Bruce instructed us to run at a moderate effort- no faster than 8k type intensity. He gave us plenty of rest because at this point in the season, there's little point in training through the races. We did the opening mile for reps 1 and 3 and the opening mile backwards for reps 2 and 4. After running 4:50 for the 2nd one, Petah and I decided to slow down and chill out, which helped Polgar and James stick with us. Good group workout- left hamstring a little sore, but the workout was still pretty easy. 3 miles down.

Tot- 97.

I have a slight suspicion that I might have shot myself in the foot for New England's (in that running the same time will take more mental effort). I'll probably take a day off tomorrow or Tuesday and focus on feeling fresh for New Englands. I've averaged 89 mi/week since June 1st- the fitness is there. What I do in the next few weeks is only going to get me race-sharp.

I'm pleased with the way the week went, except for that little bit on Friday. Had I not had work this afternoon, I would have perhaps done a little shakeout and cracked 100 for the week. Volume, though, is secondary at this point. I'm just enjoying life- hopefully you're all doing the same!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

When Walking Grows Tiresome

Hi, everybody. This week's blog title comes from the fact that I need a darn bike. It's an approximate 25min walk to class from my apartment, so between going and coming back to class and various errands, I'm spending about 60-120min a day walking (usually fast, since I'm not always prompt). This isn't a huge deal, but I'll say it. . . I'm sick of it, ha. I'm working on saving up money for a cheap little road bike.

Monday- AM- 5 easy, River Loop + mile on Nickerson, 34:41. PM- 9 easy, 65min. Slept 9 hours and napped, think I'm shaking that cold.

Tuesday- AM- off PM- 98min easy, got dropped off at the Arb and wandered around for a while before running back to BU and adding on a couple minutes inside- calling it 14 but it might have been longer. Congestion was much much better today.

Wednesday- AM- 5 easy, 36:12, River Loop + b/f Nickerson mile. PM- 9 easy 59min, last 4-5mi around 6:10 pace with Eric. I think I finally got rid of that cold.

Thursday- AM- Off PM- 3 up to BC res via Beacon, strides, Pseudo-Workout (Bruce said he wanted it to be really easy, we deferred to him for once and obliged): 2mi around the Res (~11min @ tempo-type effort- kept the whole team together). 800 jog, 8x15 second strides, 45sec rest. 800 jog, Another 2mi a little harder but not much (ran for ~10:30). 3mi c/d.

Friday- AM- off PM- 11 easy, 75min. Last couple miles were reasonably quick (6:15-20s)

Saturday- AM- 12 easy around Fresh Pond twice (81min) last half a little quicker than normal training pace.

Sunday- AM- Franklin Park workout: 3 mi up, then 3k, 2k, 1k, 3k on the course. First 3k, 2k, 1k was at 8k intensity- 9:38 3min jog rest (~5min at the mile), 6:06, 3min jog rest, 3:01, 8min jog rest, Bruce told us to run the first mile of the 2nd 3k as a pack then run the last half or so at 8k intensity. Stuck with Eric, split 5:22 at the mile then 9:40 for the 3k. Pretty good workout- I felt sluggish and crappy (plus the grass as long and wet) but decided to stop dicking around and grind it out. 3mile down, ran into Dan and Fish. A good workout in terms of sustained effort at race pace with a good total volume.

Tot- 93

Bruce is giving us 3 easy days after today so we can do a long run on Tuesday, then warned us that Thursday would be a pretty hard workout before a lighter one on Sunday. I felt really good once I shook out that cold. The idea is to have another good week of volume and intensity (~95mi with two workouts and a moderate long run) then just hold 80s, raise intensity slightly and ride out the rest of the season. Now I need to stop procrastinating. . . I have a couple papers I need to get crackin' on.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why Teammates Are Good

Hello- this week ended on something of a sour note. Saturday afternoon I felt myself start to come down with something- headache, congested sinuses, cough, etc. Two miles into my race at Franklin I started dry-heaving and throwing up little gobs of mucus. It certainly made for an unpleasant last three miles, though my incredibly weak 8k XC past allowed me to still end the day with a PR.

The title of this blog is a reference, specifically, to Petah Gilmore- if I hadn't had him to work with during the race, I probably would have dropped out. However, every time I retched and dropped back, I'd look at Peter and force myself to get back up there with him. More on that later, here's the log:

Monday- AM- Easy River Loop, 28:38. Hamstrings sore. PM- 9 easy out River West, 64min, hamstrings got progressively worse throughout the day. The two hours+ I spend on my feet walking to and from class everyday are starting to take their toll.

Tuesday- AM- 3 solo shakeout, 22:08, middle 2mi barefoot. PM- Bruce dropped us off near JP, ran to the Arb with a nice group and ran for 91 min very easy, about 13mi. Light strength/core circuit- legs still rocked from the hills on Sunday.

Wednesday- AM- Solo River Loop, 29:37, felt pretty good. PM- 9 easy/moderate to JP and back through the park, squeezed the pace down til we were running about 5:40 pace, then me and Eric ran the last half-mile in the track in 2:25. 53min tot- really good run, I wasn't straining at all.

Thursday- 11:30AM- I had class 9:30-11, 2-3:30, and 4-7 so this was the only time I had to do my workout. 3mi up to the BC Res, then 8x2min on, 2min off, marking the place where I stopped after each "on" and continuing from there after the jog rest. Covered 5k in 14:55 during the ons, not sure how much I covered during the offs. I took this workout pretty easy- 2min bouts of 4:50 pace isn't really strenuous, and I didn't keep a really hard sustained pace on the rests. 3mi down, ~11 tot.

Friday- PM- 9 mi easy, 61 min, got my first hints of feeling sick.

Saturday- AM- 7 easy, 47min, with a big group + 6 strides indoors.
PM- 5 easy with Ken, 36:23. By this point I was pretty congested and uncomfortable. I didn't sleep but two or three hours on Saturday night because I was so congested that I'd keep waking up in the middle of the night choking on my own snot (is that tmi yet?). All Sunday morning I was wheezing, stuffed up, and queasy from the amount of snot I had swallowed.

Sunday- 3 up, BU Invite at Franklin Park. 25:22 for 8th, 3 down. I felt ok on the warmup and through two miles (10:10, sharing the lead with Eric) but just after the two mile mark, I started dry-heaving pretty bad. I lost the lead group pretty quickly as I spat out mouthfuls of acidy-snot and was about to drop out when Petah and about 8 La Salle guys rolled past. I couldn't leave my teammates out to dry like that and figured I could run with the group until at least 3.5mi before dying off for good. The next several miles were weird in that I'd feel ok, run with the group, then dry-heave, drop back, feel ok again once I stopped, catch back up, etc. Fortunately, I managed to stay with the group until about 600 to go when I made a hard move to drop them all going down Bear Cage. I got my doors blown in in the last 150 or so (two La Salle guys dusted me like I was a JV scrub and a third pipped me at the line). My time was a 16 second PR- which, considering the unplanned fartlek I ran, isn't awful. I'm proud of myself for keeping at it- my back muscles are still sore from all the spasming they endured while trying to keep me from vomiting. Being honest, a year ago, I would have dropped out by 5k, so I'm glad I toughed it out.

Tot- 89

I have until October 10th until we race again (and we'll be at Franklin Park again for New Englands). I'm looking forward to three weeks of solid training without interruption for racing (these last two weeks have kind of been a wash as far as training goes). I'm confident that I can make a run at 24:40 or so if I'm healthy.

Hope you all stay healthy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Season Opener

Hello, all! We had our first race today way on up in the Green Mountains, so sorry this is a little late. It was a good week for me- I'm settling into a regular schedule with classes, I've got a good handle on schoolwork, and my roommates and I have hotly debated everything from North vs. South (Ken is a Tennessee native) to Ramen or Cup of Noodles (jury still out on that one).

Monday- AM- 9 easy, 63 min, up the Charles to Fresh Pond and back- same 9.xx something loop as a couple weeks ago. Core/strength afterward- I'm starting to become less pathetically weak! PM- 3mi shakeout with James and Jason barefoot on Nickerson, 22min.

Tuesday- AM- 3 easy, 22:30, solo shakeout. PM- 10 easy, 65min, plus strides and drills.

Wednesday- PM- Light workout at the Brookline Res- 3 up, strides, 7x2min on, 2min off (jogging the rest backwards and starting from where we stopped each time to get a rough idea of pace). Ran mostly with Peter, averaged about 4:45/mile on the ons and roughly 6:30s on the offs. Felt great, kept it easy. 3 down.

Thursday- AM- 3 very slow, 23:45 (actually, I just kinda wandered around Allston for that long and called it 3). PM- Longer River Loop easy (50min) then added on some barefoot Nickerson for 62min tot. Real easy run today, felt good. My new mattress FINALLY came in and lo and behold, I slept restfully for the first time in weeks and my growing back pain largely disappeared.

Friday- AM- 3 easy with Ken from the house, 22:30. Sleep was of the highest quality. . .quantity could have been better, though. PM- 67min easy, Res to Res with extra lap at Brookline, last couple miles in the 6:20s range, calling it 10.

Saturday- AM- 9 easy, 61min (last 15 or so barefoot on Nickerson) rainy weather, felt great again. Did 6 strides with Eric indoors; I love that track of ours.

Sunday- Noon- 3 up, strides. 5mi race in 25:49.99 at Vermont. This was probably the toughest course I've run on in college- there were no flat sections the entire time; you're either climbing or descending. The grass was pretty thick, I wore spikes and still slipped around an awful lot. Still, this is probably the most competitive I've raced in college cross country. I learned a lot and gained a lot from racing those two longer distances this summer. Peter and I also got to hear Bruce tell some stories about Jerry "Awesome" Lawson, a former American Record holder in the marathon and BU alum. Bruce said Awesome Larson (which rhymes if you say it with the right accent) used to always go out hard and die, but would fight back again because he conceptualized feeling bad in a race as just "running through a bad patch." Thinking of feeling like shit at 5k in an 8k race as a "bad patch" sort of presupposes that eventually the bad patch will pass and you can run hard again. That idea definitely helped in my race- this is the first 5miler I really felt like I was racing hard the whole way, instead of in the past where I've made it to about 2.5-3.5 miles and thought "fuck, at this point I just want to keep going forward." Anyway, I was 7th overall, 2nd BU guy (Eric won, looking pretty damn good in 25:24). UNH and UVM beat us team-wise but I'm not concerned at all. Eric, myself, and Peter (our top 3 today) raced a little over the summer and we're just a little sharper than some of our teammates. Now that they have a race under their belt, I'm confident the gap between our 2-6 guys will shrink dramatically. 3 down, 4+ hour ride back home. 7PM- Easy River Loop with Ken James and Eric, 29:49, felt great. Probably a good idea to shake the bus ride out of our legs.

Tot- 85

All in all, a good week- one lighter workout and a hard 5mile race with good competitive drive. Next week will be much of the same- a light workout and the BU Invite at Franklin Park. After running pretty well on a tough course, I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do at fast, flat, and firm-footed Franklin (sorry- we're covering Anglo-Saxon poetry in Brit Lit and I can't stop alliterating. How wyrd of me).

Hope all the cross country folk out there had good season openers!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Classes, Tempos, Epic Fails

Between training, job interviews, and classes, this week has absolutely flown by. I'm all moved into my room and I finally got around to buying a mattress- unfortunately, the sweet deal I got on it (500 dollar mattress/box spring for $265!) means that I have to wait until Thursday for them to ship it from their warehouse to the Sleepy's I bought it at. Fortunately, my roommates have helped me save 90 dollars on delivery charges by agreeing to help me carry the mattress the two blocks home. 90 bucks goes a long way in terms of groceries!

I've been living "on my own" (or at least, no longer under the auspices of my mother) for three weeks now. That isn't a very long time, but it is long enough to appreciate just how often I eat in a day and what a pain in the neck it is to do grocery shopping. I've taken to planning out, meal-by-meal, the food I'm going to eat in the next week so I'm not reduced to wandering around the grocery store buying what looks good. For a very unorganized guy like me, this has proven to be an interesting exercise.


Monday- AM-4 mi easy with Eric, Nicki, and Sophie (two freshmen(freshladies?)) 33min
PM- Beacon St w/u to the Res, 24min tempo, 4min easy, 4x15 seconds fast, 45 seconds easy, 3 c/d. Ran with Petah the whole way, covered 7500m (3 Res laps) in 23:50. We used our recent 10mi race as a basis on our effort and tried to run this tempo at the same intensity. Our pace there was just over 5:20/mile but we averaged 5:07/mile at the Res. We were both quite comfortable the whole way and obeyed Bruce's dictum that we should be able to talk in halting but coherent sentences. Our splits were roughly 7:54, 7:58 (15:52 at 5k), 7:57. I should point out, though, that the Res is firm cinder trails and flat as a pancake- in other words, a lightning fast surface.

Tuesday- 9 easy, two laps around JP and home again- nice big group, 61min.

Wednesday- AM- 5 easy including a barefoot mile on Nickerson, ran with Ken and Eric from the house, 36:30. Slept awful and felt that a little.
PM- Somewhere between 9 and 10 very easy with Greg (65min). Felt really flat, dehydrated, and tired. Classes started today.

Thursday- 12noon- Had a class that interfered with practice so Bruce and I headed to Franklin Park for a workout of 7xk. 3 up, then a really weird workout. I ended up doing 4xk averaging 3:18s and 1:50 rest before Bruce pulled me and instructed me to take a day off. It was weird because I didn't feel like I was going slow, nor did I feel tire- but I was running slower for each k repeat than I averaged for the entire time on Monday's tempo. Obviously, the thick grass would slow things down a little (maybe from 4:50 pace on the track to 5:00 pace) but it shouldn't have been that bad. I slept terrible again the night before, but, again, didn't feel like I was running 5:20s. Bruce said it was an early sign of overreaching and instructed me to take a day off.

Friday- First day completely off since June, felt horrible about it all day. Napped and ate as much as possible.

Saturday- AM- 14 easy with Eric, wandered around Harvard then went out to Watertown and back, 95:30.

Sunday- AM- Another tempo, this time at Minuteman in Concord MA. Did 30min warmup including strides, then a 25 min tempo averaging somewhere around 5:15 pace and feeling controlled. My back was pretty sore (I've been sleeping on an air mattress for like a week now) but I think I did a good job of following Bruce's instructions not to push hard. It was tough not to go with Eric and Peter when they broke away, but I tried to be disciplined not to get caught up in stubbornly running with Peter.

Tota- 73 in 6 days (8 runs). I thought about doing an easy 3 later today but I might just take a nap instead.

All in all, I'm really happy with the way the team's been looking lately. Everyone has been all systems go and running strongly (but appropriately) in workouts. I'm sure that a few of the freshman are over their heads (but this is to be expected- they'll learn) but other than that, my shit workout on Thursday has been the only stain on the season thus far. My first race for BU is coming up in a week and I'm EXCITED to get out there and see what happens. Hopefully a few nights on my new mattress will get my back feeling good again by race day!

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Settling Into Allston

Hello there guys and gals (ok, guys). It was a very hectic week here- I'm afraid this won't be the usual verbose post. I half-moved into my place on Sunday; I won't be into my actual room until tomorrow or Tuesday. Classes start on Wednesday, so my window to get everything done before then is quite short.


Monday- AM- 11 easy, two laps around Fresh Pond with James, 76 min.

Tuesday- AM- 3+up, 6k tempo at the Brookline Res (20:30, ~5:30 a mile) 3+ cooldown. Felt awful and tired, despite pushing this workout back from last Sunday. PM- 3 mile barefoot shakeout around Nickerson with James, 21:45.

Wednesday- AM- 4 easy with Peter and James, part of it barefoot. PM- First unofficial team run (some of the new guys still hadn't had their physicals and stuff, so this was 100% an optional, unofficial, informal gathering and run. 10 easy out to the Museum of Science, 66min. Felt godawful, vowed to take tomorrow really easy and try to get some life in my legs for the workout.

Thursday- PM- 5 easy + team core work (again, this was entirely an unofficial run that Bruce did not organize at all). I think I must be the softest active 4:08 guy out there- I feel weak and doughy compared to my teammates!

Friday- AM- Very slow 3mi shakeout barefoot around Nickerson, 22:55. PM- Since the freshman and transfers weren't yet cleared (they were still entering us in the system, confirming insurance, reviewing our NCAA forms, etc) we all worked out together, independent from Bruce and the rest of the team. Dave and I took the freshman gals and guys up to the BC Res to do 3 sets of 4min, 2mi, 1min at "approximate date 8k race pace" with 2min rest between each on segment. The entire workout was 37 min, during which I covered a little less than 11k (I split 33:50 through 10k, or 4 laps of the Res). 4 miles up and somewhere more than 2miles down, felt really good- happy to get my legs back under me for the first time in nearly a week.

Saturday- AM- 10 very easy with the team, MOS loop again, 68min. PM- Warmup Loop with Ken and James (3mi) + a 60min core/strength session with the team. My quest to become less pathetically weak and soft continues.

Sunday- AM- To Fresh Pond, a lap, and back from the TTC. Ran moderate with Eric; I'm always surprised at how easy 6min pace feels on flat ground. Averaged 5:50s the last 6mi or so, didn't strain- chatted comfortably. Loop was somewhere between 9mi and 15k- 56:23 tot. 8 really good strides after with 100 jog on Nickerson. PM- River Loop with Eric, real easy- 29min. Capped off a good week here- 87 miles with a 5mi day in there.

I'm a little rocked from the strength routine, but all in all I'm loving life here- Boston is great, my teammates are awesome, and I can't wait to get into the meat of the season. That's all!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Last Week in New Hampshire

Hi, everybody. This week concluded my summer training for 2009. This is my first entry as a resident of the Track House on Ashford St, Allston, MA. I thought I was going to have to keep myself busy until Wednesday when the rest of the guys are moving in. It was then to my great surprise that James and Sean were already here! Before I get into the specifics of the week, here are some stats for people who like stats and a few thoughts (for people who like thinking?):

Summer Training 09:
104 days
1248.3 miles
162 runs

Average per day: 12.00 miles
Average per week: 84.00 miles
Weeks over 80 miles: 11
Lowest week: 46mi (first week back)
Highest week: 97mi (three times)

Thoughts: This has easily been the most consistent and sensible block of training I've ever gotten through. My races weren't amazing, but they served to indicate my fitness was advancing at a promising rate. Bruce is quite happy with the work I've done and keeps reminding me that being race sharp at the end of August isn't the goal of summer training. We have three weeks until our first race in Vermont- time to keep the momentum rolling and maintain the mileage for another month or two. I'm at the point where a 90mi week takes roughly the same out of me as a 75mi week used to- great progress, but it's a long road to get from where I am now to where I want to be as a runner.

The log:

Monday- AM 10 miles easy + a mi worth of striders. Slept in too late and it was disgusting out- hot and humid. Took water at 5 and 8mi. 78 min including the strides PM- 5 easy, weather was worse, if possible, 36:45

Tuesday- AM- 7mi easy, barefoot- didn't have the desire to do ten in the weather. Took water at 3 and 5. 48:39 PM- 8 easy, getting really sick of the heat and humidity (it's been in the 90s with dew points in the 70s the last couple days). 55:52 + 6 short hills after.

Wednesday- AM- 4 easy, 27:44, I wondered if it was even worth trying to work out that night. PM- 3 up, 5x1200 with 400 jog rest (8k total in 27:03). Too hot to push the 400s the way I had planned but I'm happy with the workout overall. Splits:

1200 400 Elapsed Time Mile Split
3:39 (1:42) (5:21) (5:21)
3:39 (1:47) (10:47) (5:26)
3:40 (1:43) (16:10) (5:23)
3:39 (1:51) (21:40) (5:30)
3:39 (1:45) (27:03) (5:26)

Thursday- PM- overslept due to setting my alarm to PM instead of AM. 14 easy 1:35:55 on a hilly course around the lake. Last day of work today!

Friday- AM- BRING ON THE FALL. Slept late, rolled out of bed, went jogging- 30:13, felt terrible. PM- 5 easy during a super intense thunderstorm. A tree not 50 feet in front of me was struck by lightning during this run. Decided it was a good idea just to take a recovery day, in light of the heavy mileage of the last two weeks.

Saturday- AM- 5 easy with Kev, felt ok but for the damn heat and humidity, 34:43. PM- 10 easy, first 5 very slow (36min) last 5 barefoot/cutting down to about 6min pace. Felt pretty smooth going more moderate, sun went down as I started picking it up and that helped, 66:53 tot.

Sunday- AM- 4 easy barefoot, 28:05. Felt awful, decided to delay workout til the afternoon and see if I felt better. Moved into Ashford during the afternoon. PM- 9 easy with James, 59:40, down to JP and back.

Tot- 97.

Have a good week, everyone! Feel to comment or email as usual. Hope everyone's summer was as productive as mine!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Penultimate Week of Summer Training

First, thanks to Mr. Keeley, my middle-school English teacher, for teaching us all the word "penultimate" as part of his "words you probably don't need to know, but might use eyebrows if you use them" vocabulary series. Penultimate is my second favorite one after "defenestrate," from the Latin "fenestra" (window) and means "throw something out the window." Ask about it in Prague (if you get that reference, you, like me, probably didn't have a date this weekend).

Anyway. . .

Monday- AM: Woke up after Ashford, took the bus home, didn't have time to run before work. PM- 10 easy around the lake, hilly course, 67:30- felt better than after the ten-miler but not exactly fresh as daisies.

Tuesday- 1PM- 4 to work, 27:34. 7PM- 10 easy, hilly course, 69:50- felt pretty good but I tried to keep it real easy. It was rainy out instead of humid, which was nice.

Wednesday- 1:30PM- 7 to work, hilly- 47:36, felt fine. 6PM- 9 easy, 58:33, didn't think I was running that fast during the run, definitely felt ready to work out on Thursday (I had been debating pushing it back to Friday if I wasn't feeling it).

Thursday- 9:45AM- Light workout, 3mi up, 8x400on, 200off at the track- averaged 69s for the ons and about 50seconds on the off. Didn't want to push it too hard- still ended up covering 4800m just under 16min. Felt pretty good, especially since I am notoriously bad at rolling out of bed and working out, which is what I did. 3 down, windy and cool out.
7PM- 6 easy, 40min with a nice big group after the Cigna 5k in Manch-Vegas- I just watched and I was treated to my Jackalope Co-Founder Geoff Trethewey run an all-time PR of 14:55- a full 22 seconds under his TRACK 5k pr!

Friday- PM-13 easy/moderate on a hilly course- hit 46:47 through 7 then held just under 6:20 pace or so through the rest, 84:33 tot. Felt fantastic, couldn't hold back any more than that. Tough not to run 6min pace the last half but I tried to keep it easy.

Saturday- 11:30AM- 9 easy out/back on the R/R beds, nice and flat, 62min. Ran solo at noon, it was pretty gross out.
7PM- 5 easy barefoot with Eric and Kev, 35:49, felt great to really chill out.

Sunday- 8AM- With Eric at Hood Field- 3up, 2x2mi, 1xmi with 5min rest. Another great barefoot workout (and while it was gross by the time we finished, it was only about 75 with moderate humidity for the workout itself). Went 9:59 (5:00, 4:59), 9:54 (4:56, 4:57) and 4:51 (2:26, 2:25) and felt pretty darn good doing it. During each 5min rest we jogged half a mile in 3:20-25, grabbed a few sips of water, and jogged a little more. Short cooldown to Hood Pond for a swim, as by that time the weather was quite gross.
7PM- 4 mile solo shakeout, 28:34- was shocked that I was going that fast. The weather sucked, but I hardly felt like I had worked out.

Tot- 97

All in all, a pretty solid week. The quarters really seemed to put some zing in my legs. It got pretty gross out towards the end of the week but hey, we've been lucky this summer. Aside from that, not much is going on. . . I'm moving into Ashford St this coming Sunday, so this will be my last week as a full-time resident of Derry and New Hampshire. From heah on out, I'm a Bawstonian- and moah properly, a resident of Allstahn, chahlie. :)

Have a good week, all- and don't forget to catch as much as the World Champs as possible!!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Falmouth/Birthday Weekend

Hello, my small cadre of running fans who remain interested in the ramblings of a long-distance-never-was!

This was a solid week of training for me, which is great when there's 10-12 of them in a row, but most be increasingly boring to read about. At the same time, the few emails I've got that say "hey, I like what you have to say and it's helped me" keep me going. Maybe someday, if I get legitimate, these posts will be an interesting study in the development of a guy who clawed his way from mediocrity. Anyway, here's the log:

Monday- AM- At Hood Field with Geoff, 3mi warmup (19:45) 3mi tempo 15:56 (5:18, 5:19, 5:19) 1mi jog, 1.5 mi 7:48 (5:11, 2:37), 1mi jog, 1mi 4:58 (2:31, 2:27) 1.5 mi jog. Felt pretty crappy- my back muscles were really tight and crampy.
PM- 4 easy, felt great.

Tuesday- 1PM- 5 easy to work, 32:56. 6PM- 8 easy, 54:30, cut it short because I felt sick. Sitting in the sun all day at work without drinking anything was probably a bad idea. The laps around the lake I do are hilly as they come, so at least I'm getting in some challenging terrain.

Wednesday- 1PM- To work again, 4 easy in 26:12 (probably slightly short). PM- 12 easy, 79:39, hilly terrain again. Felt pretty good today- probably because I pounded water like it's my job.

Thursday- AM- 4 easy- 28:42 + 5xhill sprints. Goddamn rednecks were up early to heckle me. PM- 3 up, All-Comers Mile at the Greater Derry Track Club Fun Run, 69, 70, 70, 59 (that 59 was the last 409m). I was pleased to close under 60 so easily and was pretty confident I could run at least 14:40 for 5k right now.

Friday- AM- 4 easy barefoot, 28:56.
PM- Travel to Allston, 9 with Eric, Geoff, Gibson, and James- 59 min. Ran up around JP and enjoyed the ghost of Bill Rodgers' footsteps.

Saturday- AM- Drove to Falmouth with Petah, Kevin, and Geoff. Worked for an hour or two at the expo for the Strands Booth (Matt Downin has done more for me than he knows, and God knows I owe him more than a few paltry volunteer sessions could make up for). I got my first edition of Kenny Moore's Best Efforts signed by Frank Shorter, Meb, Bill Rodgers, and Joan Benoit Samuelson. We were near the front of the line so the Olympians weren't burned out from a million autographs yet, so they all chatted with us for a few. I had trouble not blurting out to Shorter that it was his autobiography that inspired me to try to become the best runner I could. Shorter is my hero, and yet I think I avoided looking like a fawning idiot, haha.
PM- 7 easy with Petah, Geoff, Kevin, and Chris from Falmouth High. We wandered around on some trails then watched the Falmouth Mile. I don't want to sound like a fanboy, but it was really cool watching a sub-4 mile in person, especially since there were maybe 200 people at this rinky-dink little high school track with no rabbits or anyting. The women were equally impressive- all 4 women ran within spitting distance of their PRs and Erin Donohue ran from the front, winning in an American soil PR of 4:27. I was lucky enough to get to stay with Max Darrah's family and get totally spoiled by his mom instead of having to book a motel. Again, I don't want to sound like some obsequious fan, but Will Leer was hosted at the same house and it was cool getting to hang out with this guy I'm a huge fan of (as an ex-d3er, Will Leer is even more of a legend to me). Max's mom made a TON of food and I enjoyed it even more than the trash-talking/wii bowling experience with Leer, Petah, Geoff, and Max afterward.

Sunday- AM- 2 up with Eric, Marisa, Mike, and Peter. John Carroll treated us no different from the professionals- he let us start up front, was extremely kind to us, gave me access to the infield of the track at the Mile the night before to take pictures for Letsrun (which they didn't use! booooo wejo!), etc. The whole "Falmouth experience" was entirely world-class and top-notch and I can't wait to come back next year. 7mi race in 36:38 for 37th? 5:15, 10:27, 15:42, 20:55, 26:09, didn't catch the 6mi split. I saw roughly 32:35 for 10k, though. 4mi cooldown with Peter.

Tot- 91.

Race: I'm more of less disgusted with how my race. Now, I have been over every inch of silver lining and every half-baked platitude in the book: it's August, Regionals is in November, this is only my 2nd race over 5mi ever, Regionals is only a 10k not 7mi, it was hot out and I'm a huge wimp about hot-weather running, etc, etc. Blah, blah, blah. The trouble is that this is the 2nd race in a row where I've run 5-8 seconds/mile slower than I thought I was in shape to do. I'm chalking these efforts up to unimportant summer road races and hoping that after a few more months of 13-14 mile days I'll be rolling. I've told countless runners that mileage isn't about instant gratification, that it's about consistency over time and sacrificing short-term goals. Now I'm facing that same lesson in patience and I'm dealing with it extremely poorly, haha. On the other hand, the miserable race was more than mitigated by a fantastic birthday weekend (I turned 20 on Saturday) and the hope that better things lie ahead of me.

I just barely got this in time to count as Sunday!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Down Week

I hate down weeks. Nothing feels to me so useless as purposely running less and easing back on the quality work- it feels ignoble and weak. Yet, I know they're necessary to improve. Between the race and the volume/intensity of the last month, I certainly needed this week to be very easy- that still doesn't stop me from pissing and moaning about doing less. Kenny Moore certainly expressed this frustration better than I have, but once Moore got hit with Bowerman's 2x4 of proof, he was a convert to this crazy concept of recovery. I found myself in a pretty bad mood in the early part of the week, but was saved when I went in to Boston on Wednesday night for BU Orientation.

Orientation, unfortunately, is probably one of the worst parts about college. The only good thing about orientation is that you do it first thing and then it's done with. However, I have to say my group leaders made it much more tolerable than usual, and the fact that my group was made up of other tranfers also helped a lot. I also got news that due to slightly different requirements from BU, enough of my credits from Keene didn't count so that I am now repeating my sophomore year of college. Some of the classes that Keene categorized as distinct fell under the same umbrella at BU (particularly, a few English classes). However, since my financial need is pretty high compared to the wealthier-on-average BU kids, I'm not upset about having 3 years left of undergraduate work; in fact, I'm excited that I'll have the opportunity to spread my remaining two years of eligibility left over the three years I have at BU. Obviously, which season or seasons to redshirt is a huge decision, and one that Bruce and I won't make lightly. I know that as long as I don't get hurt, I will be running XC this year in the BU uniform. It's not really worth it to think beyond that right now; we can cross the redshirt bridge when we need to. As Bruce likes to say, there are a few ideas percolating right now.

The post-orientation time at BU was amazing as well- there's a great vibe with the guys and yet also great discipline. It would have been easy for all of us to mess with our schedules and bang out a brutal workout together. Instead, we worked out as we were assigned and all got in good training without trying to hammer in a huge group. I have about three weeks left until I move into Ashford St and I can't wait! The only thing left to do is secure myself a little on-campus part time job.

Anyway, here's the log for the week (it's hardly an exciting log, but then again, how exciting is my log normally?)

Monday- AM- 4 miles very very slow with my middle-school campers. I have a much more talkative group than last year! PM- Off, needed the rest.

Tuesday- AM- 4 very very slow with campers.
PM- 12 easy/moderate on hilly course, 76:06- averaged about 6:30s through 7 then held 6:10s through the last 5 without straining. Starting to feel my legs come back after Blessing.

Wednesday- AM- 5 very slow with campers.
PM- 9 easy, solo, from Ashford, 59:41. Ran up Comm Ave to the Res, did three laps, ran back a slightly different way. Only came within inches of death three times on this run- I'm getting better at looking for cars before I cross streets!

Thursday- BU Orientation kept me busy. Managed to sneak in an easy 4 with Dave Krinjak (a fellow transfer) and Petah, 26:44.

Friday- AM- More orientation stuff.
7PM- Rain cooled things off nicely, ran up Comm Ave to the Res with James, Petah, Eric, and Dave, then did a fartlek with Dave- 3x3min on, 2min off, then 8x15 second sprints, 45 sec jog, then 3x3min on, 2min off again, then about a 25min cooldown. Felt ok, probably a good idea to do a fartlek on an unmeasured path (I know the whole thing is 2500m, but I don't know any splits) because I'm pretty sure we weren't moving that fast. The strides felt good, though. Whole workout was about 14 in 87:12.

Saturday- 8AM- Medium-long with James and Eric, Peter came the first two miles while he warmed up for his workout. We ran up Comm Ave to the Res, back onto Comm Ave to Heartbreak, down to the water fountain, got a little water, then went home a different way. We started really really slow then picked it up as we loosened up and ended up running just under 6min pace for the last 30min or so- we averaged 6:30s, assuming it was 13 and not a little longer.

Sunday- AM- Back home, 10 easy with Geoff at Massabesic, 67:44.
PM- 5 easy, 33:50, solo before dinner.

Tot- 80.

I like the fact that even my very easy recovery weeks are comfortably above 80mi (even with two days at only 4mi each!). Exactly a week from today I'm going to race Falmouth, which should be a fun time. All in all I'm not upset with my condition right now, but I'm not nearly as fit as I'd like to be. Still, this makes I think this is my 8th week at 80 miles or better. I don't think I've ever been this consistent before, but after Falmouth it'll be onwards and upwards to hit some 100mi weeks before my next down week.

Have a good week, everyone!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

10 Mile Road Race

Hi, everybody. First off, congratulations to my teammate Eric for his 24:22 victory at the Marathon Sports 5miler in Weston, MA. He's had (in his own words, not mine) a rough time with training the last couple weeks and was very gratified to run as solidly as he did. Eric's victory makes the 2nd Flying Jackalope W in July and extends the Club's winning streak to two (a streak I would, sadly, end the very next day). I had a pretty good week myself (albeit very busy, but that's normal for me now). I'm almost looking forward to when school starts, as 20 hrs/week of class and maybe 5-8 hours a week of homework sound wonderful compared to 40 hours a week of work. Anyway, here's the log and an analysis of my first-ever race over 5miles:

Monday- AM- 4 regeneration, 31:33 Tough to convince myself to run that slow but I'm hoping it pays off. PM- 10 easy with Geoff, 70min, last 5 barefoot.

Tuesday- AM- The daycare went to the NE Aquarium today. My morning run consisted of dashing around the aquarium trying to track down my wandering little pukes. They weren't too bad, actually- just unruly hooligans, which is to be expected for young kids around wildlife. PM- 4mi warmup, 5xK on the track at medium effort, 3:06 avg, 400jog rest (untimed). I kept my trainers on to feel clunky on purpose- transitioning from barefoot on the grass to racing flats on the roads has always been a recipe for blisters and feeling crappy for me. Workout was very easy, even factoring in the wind/rain. 3+ mile c/d.

Wednesday- Overslept accidentally; I must have needed the rest. PM- 10 easy in my new Streaks, 66:07, + 4x150m buildups on the grass after.

Thursday- AM- 4 solo before work, 28:36 (out in 14:40). PM- Worked til 4:30, took a bus to South Station, took the T to BU, walked to Ashford, then ran with James in the dark/rain after he got home. 52:38, running in the dark is always faster than in the light.

Friday- Noon- 3mi shakeout with Petah, Kevin, and James.
5pm: Blessing of the Fleet 10mi Road Race in Narraganset, RI. 3 miles up, 10-mile race in 53:27, 2 mile b/f on the beach. More summary/analysis below.

Saturday- Noon- 4 easy with Petah and James from Ashford, 28:56, hot out. PM- 8 easy solo, last 4 barefoot, 60min- felt tired and tried to run slow on purpose (it wasn't that hard, haha!).

Sunday- 4pm- 12 easy, hilly course, 82:46, didn't feel too awful but didn't feel too great either- I'm a huge sissy when it comes to heat/humidity and today had both. Give me 10 below zero any day.

Tot- 91.

Race: Well, the race didn't go as fast as I had hoped, but it was a solid competitive effort. My problem with 5milers has always been that I get to 2.5 mi and my body goes "oh, ok, we have like 800 to go, right? Right?" and then I start with the shit-eating and end up just trying to struggle into the finish. I was apprehensive about a race over twice the distance, but tried to just stay relaxed and compete well. There was a pretty big group through 4 miles and I was never really alone for a significant period of the race. I got my doors blown in in the last 400, but managed to rally ok and pass someone at the line for 5th. Here are my splits:

10:45 (5:27)
15:52 (5:07) Note: we're all pretty sure the 4mi mark was accurate, but the 3mi mark was probably 15ish seconds short)
21:30 (5:38) (the two-mile split from 2-4 makes sense, but not the 3mi)
26:50 (5:20)
32:19 (5:29)
37:42 (5:23)
43:06 (5:24)
48:22 (5:16)
53:27 (5:05).

I had a pretty rough patch from about 6.5-7.5 and considered just trying to shuffle in at 5:30 pace, but decided against it and ended up running a fairly gutsy race in the last 3mi. The Providence trio of McLaren, Yeats, and Barao blew my doors in hardcore but its July and I'm not too angry with my condition right now. If I had broken 53 I would have been very happy, but it's not too vital. My next race will probably be the Falmouth Road Race on August 9th. Unfortunately, my 5th place showing ended the Jackalopes' winning streak, but it was still awesome to compete in the uniform the first time, even if I didn't fuck as much shit up with my baller horns as I would have liked. It was great to run with a teammate for a good portion of the way too, as Petah Gilmore had his own self a very solid race as well, placing 7th with a 53:50.

This week will be another busy one for me- I'm piling on (temporarily) a third job with a stint as a counselor for the Derry Running Camp, a developmental camp for middle-schoolers that goes from about 8-noon this week. I also have my BU orientation on Thursday and Friday where I'll pick my classes, have my class-standing evaluated, figure out my loan situation, and hopefully find an on-campus job for next year. While I'm there I'd like to hop in a workout with Eric and I'll probably take a day off to make this a bit of a down week. I'm certainly not complaining about having two jobs in this economy, but a big part of me will be glad when all I have to do is run, go to class, and study! (and cause trouble with my new teammates, heh heh).

Have a great week, everybody-
oh, and btw, check for a full, free version of the film "The Spirit of the Marathon." It was pretty interesting, I thought, though I have to admit I share many of Parker's ideas about the 5-hour-marathon being more a sign of improper preparation than the indomitable human spirit.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sorry This is Late (Or: A Tiring Workweek)

Hi everyone- sorry this is a day late, I completely spaced it yesterday. Then again, I'm sure no one was particularly impatient, haha. This week was less quality than last, but I had a pretty tough work schedule and didn't want to push things too much. Nonetheless, I'm very very tired as I write this. The 4th and 5th weeks at a higher mileage start to grind on me; fortunately, I'm racing this week, which means it'll be kind of a down week in intensity except for the race. I'll probably take next Monday off, too.

Anyway, here it is:

Monday- 9AM- 10 easy, 66:39 6PM- 4 easy after work, 27:22. Left achilles was a little tender- more walking around than when I was running, I probably just strained it a little doing those two barefoot workouts last week.

Tuesday- 1pm- 5 miles easy (33:10) from one work to the other. 6:30- Easy/moderate after work, 8 miles 51:04 (26:40/24:24) felt terrible through 4 and great during the last half. Good set of strides after. 11pm- Core/strength. My quest to become strong enough to no longer fear 11 year old girls continues, slowly.

Wednesday- 1pm- 5 easy from work to work, kids were unruly all day. 6pm- 3 miles easy to the track, then a little nueromuscular workouts. I did two sets 4x150, 1x200 with a walk back recovery, then jogged a slow 800 after each set. Didn't time the 150s, just ran fast and relaxed. Did the 200s in 25.8 and 26.0- it felt ok. To be honest, I kinda hoped that with the diligent hill sprints I've been doing, I'd bust out a sub-25, but hey, it's July. Last summer I did a similar workout and hit 27s on the 200s at the same effort, so whatever. 4 miles c/d.

Thursday- 8:30AM- 3 easy before work, 21:47. Legs were trashed from those sprints yesterday! I could hardly believe how sore I was. 7PM- 9 62:32 out and back on a hilly route, tried to keep it slow.

Friday- 7PM- Had today off! (well, except for a short shift 4-7 at the lake). Slept in, lazed about all day. Did 17.5 over very hilly terrain in 1:53, felt pretty good but hungry the last 2-3 miles. I think that's the farthest I've ever run on purpose (not counting, of course, getting lost or that time Shamus shamed me into doing 20 with him at camp).

Saturday- 11AM- 4 easy, 28:45. Noon- went to Whirlaway, got new trainers- Adizero Bostons. At 9oz, they're the heaviest shoes I've trained in for a while, but I want to protect my achilles a little. 7pm- 8 easy on hilly backroads, averaged about 6:30s but ran 54min to be sure it was 8.

Sunday- 12PM- 6 easy, 40:20, hot out for me. I know I'm a huge heat sissy, but once it gets over 80 degrees I feel like I'm cooking, especially in this NH humidity. 7pm- 8 miles easy, 55:38, felt very sluggish, last 2mi barefoot. Achilles was fine.

Tot- 97 miles with one good long run and one good neuromuscular day. I'm exhausted right now but I think it's more to do with dealing with 80 kids who were unusually bratty today than the mileage. Ten mile road race this week, my first race over 5mi ever. I'm not really sure what to expect, but I would hope if the weather is ok that I could at least break 54min (my "PR" is a 54:30 ten mile "tempo but actually we were probably racing" from XC last year). If the weather is nice and the course isn't mega hilly or anything, averaging under 5:20s would be fantastic.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Best Week So Far (Or: Craig Invites a Karmic Ass-Kicking Later On)

Hey, everybody- last cross country season, when I was busting balls all the time and seeing very little benefit during races, I related my frustrations to a much faster friend in an email. He reminded me of a passage from Once A Runner, where Bruce Denton compares training to a geometric spiral. It goes something like "Sometimes you'll work very hard and see nothing, other times you'll surprise yourself with the big jumps you make for no reason at all." I think I've been in one of those "momentum gathering swings" for a while as my body adjusted to the new mileage demands, coaching expectations, work schedule, etc. This week saw what I hope will be only the beginning of the fruits of that momentum-gathering.

Monday- 8:30AM- 3mi easy 21:43 6:30PM- 10 easy with Geoff, 67min, plus 6x150 barefoot on the grass.

Tuesday- 1PM- 4 easy from work to work 27:30 7pm- 9 easy on the R/R beds 62min- kinda my farewell run on 'em, as they're getting paved. 11:30- Very light core/strengt session. I've been really lazy about doing these lately.

Wednesday- 12pm- 13 easy/moderate 83:26, hilly course. Felt pretty good, didn't feel much different than running 7min pace.

Thursday- 8:00am- 4 easy, 28min. 6:30pm- Went to Hood Field, my grass 880y loop, for a barefoot tempo. 3 miles warmup (19:45) right into 7miles tempo in 37:00 (5:33, 5:25 (10:58), 5:20 (16:18), 5:17 (21:35), 5:14 (26:49), 5:09 (31:58), 5:02. When I saw the split at 6mi, I debated going for sub-37 then reminded myself that I was trying that "patience" thing and backed off- with about 600 to go I decided to pick it back up a little and ran about 4:40/mile for the last minute or two. Regardless, I was very gratified with how easy it felt- 5:33 and 5:02 felt more or less identical, and my pulse stayed constant throughout the tempo. A two-mile cooldown brought me to 12 miles in 1:09:02, averaging 5:45s including the easy warmup and cooldown, and a new PR for the farthest distance I have ever run barefoot.

Friday- 9am- mile jog to the Dr's office, had my physical for BU but the forms aren't done because I had to get a TB test. 2mi jog home (my Dr's office is conveniently located at the mile mark of my easy 3mi loop). 7:30PM- 9 easy, 63:30, plus 10xhill sprints. Sluggish for run, felt great on the hill sprints. 11:30- Did my poor excuse for core work- 2x20 pushups was HARD, my high school days of being able to bang out 50 perfect ones without breaking a sweat are long gone. The good news is that 2x20 is 20 more than I managed on Tuesday :p

Saturday- 12pm- 12 easy, 81 min, hot out, didn't feel great. Hilly course but still- one of those blech days.

Sunday- 9AM- 4 easy, 29:02, rolled out of bed and went running after sleeping so hard I barely remembered my name. Spent a good chunk of the day with the family at the beach- sitting out in the sun and searing my Irish behind might not be the best pre-workout time-killer, but it was nice to smell salt air and sit in the ocean. 6:30PM- Back to Hood Field for a barefoot 10x880y. Had another fantastic workout with little effort for no reason- which means, I'm sure, I'm due for a session of hard mile repeats averaging 5:30 pace or something, haha. 3miles up in 19:40, then right into 10x880 off a 4min cycle (so a 2:30 880 = 90 seconds rest). Went 2:37, 2:27, 2:26, 2:26, 2:24, 2:24, 2:22, 2:22, 2:20, 2:19 feeling smooth and unpressed. Ended up passing 7miles in 37:32, which is pretty darned satisfying. Jogged a little, then had some serious intestinal distress (which made me very glad for the portable toilet at Hood Field). Tot workout was 11 in 64:14, 5:50 pace (including about a 3:40 last half mile while I valiantly tried to stave off the skitters).

Tot- 95 miles, two great workouts and one solid moderate run. I want to be really excited about the fantastic workouts I did, but I know as well as anyone that good workouts and bad workouts all come out in the wash. 5:17 pace on a tempo or 5:30 pace, so much of it depends on the day, the weather, etc- especially when you're not running with teammates. I know that my effort level for both workouts were appropriate for the time in my training and what my body was telling me- the watch said they were fast workouts; my body said they were moderate efforts.

Next will be a tough one to get in the quality- I have a few days where I work from 8am-6pm and I'll probably limit myself to doing some easy 150s on the track and maybe one run a little longer than I've been doing (I'm thinking 17miles or so). The volume will be about the same but the lighter quality workload will be good to allow me to consolidate my gains a little and go into August without feeling too sluggish or dead.

All in all, it's a satisfied guy writing this blog right now- a few more months of this and I'll be ready to take a few scalps.

Have a nice week, everyone

PS- I've been told the comments function is all messed up. While I try to figure out what I did to screw it up, feel free to email me at with any comments/questions/angry jeers/bogus internet scams/underwater real estate offers.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Job # 2 Starts

Now I don't want to complain, because a lot of guys my age don't have a job for the summer, but my second job started this week and made it difficult to get the quality I wanted in. Not a huge deal but I was pretty comatose for a few days while I adjusted. Also, the Jackalope Uniform made its debut- Geoff wore it to win the Merrimack Sparkler 5k for the 2nd year in a row (sissy still hasn't gotten my course record, though :p).

Anyway, here's the log-

Monday- AM- forgot work started today, slept too late to run. Fortunately, my second job is a daycare less than 440y from my house, so I made it in on time- barely.
PM- Measured my "ten-miler" and found out it was 10.2 (turns out a lot of my old high school loops are a little off, but off in the good way as opposed to being short). 4 miles warmup, 4.2 mile tempo (22:30, about 5:20 pace), didn't feel hard but my legs were working overtime to power through the thick, muddy trail I was running on. 2 miles down, averaged 6 flats for the entire run.

Tuesday- 7:15AM- 4 easy (29min), barely had enough time- rolled out of bed and ran, didn't fully wake up til 3 miles in. Worked from 8-1 at the daycare (and let me tell you, those rambunctious little kids did not let me rest all that much) then stopped at home for a sandwich, then worked 1:30-6:30 at the lake (inspecting boats for milfoil, if I haven't mentioned that before), then ran a very sluggish, lazy 10 in 69:42 before doing a good set of 6x150 on the grass.

Wednesday- AM- Got the morning off! Ran an easy 5 with my friend Beth, 41:23- she's come a long way from last summer, when she couldn't hold a conversation at 10min pace. PM- 10 easy, barefoot on the grass at Hood Field, 66:37, felt pretty good between the 11 hrs of sleep the night before and the regeneration run.

Thursday- 11AM- 13 easy, 1:30:40, hilly course- first 5 with my brother. I was headed into Boston in the evening to help Eric celebrate his 21st birthday and just got it all out of the way.

Friday- AM- 6 easy, most with Eric, some with Eric's girlfriend. The birthday boy made it through ok- though both of us would have been content without Emily pushing the pace :p PM- 7 easy back at home, ate a huge dinner 30min before and ran after dark, 49:05. Felt pretty badass doing my 9x10 sec hill sprints in the pitch black afterward.

Saturday- AM- 3 easy in the morning before some family 4th of July stuff most of the day. PM- 12 miles moderate, wasn't planning on doing anything much but ended up with a pretty decent fartlek- 23min warmup (passing 3mi in 20:40) then a 2-mile uphill push in 11:23, then jog to the 7mi mark (45, roughly) then a mile of surge the uphills/easy downhills (51:31 at 8) then a 2.5 mile push (13:43, going 5:43 then 8flat for 1.5) then 1.5 jog in for a total time of 1:14:23 (6:12 avg pace, last 10 in 60 flat).

Sunday- 3pm- Hood Field, 2mi warmup (12:26) 4xmile at medium effort (5:06avg) with 800 jog for 6mi in 33:39, then 2mi c/d in 13:30 for 10 total in 59:35. Felt pretty tired but I wasn't trying to bust balls today either. Also, in addition to some merciless winds, the grass is about ankle-deep right now and for once I wasn't running barefoot, but whatever. The important part is that I got it in. 9pm- 4 miles easy, 27 min. Felt pretty good, but still stuffed from dinner.

Tot- 94 miles with a good tempo, a pair of back to back solid fartleks, and a session of hill sprints. All in all a good solid week of work. After sleeping in Wednesday and having that nice regeneration run, I felt pretty good- right now I'm not that tired but I've got to force myself to go to bed soon so I can wake up and run before work. We're taking our troupe of clowns to a Fishercats game tomorrow-- which will be exhausting, I'm sure. However, if I can repeat this kind of volume/quality for another six or seven weeks, I'll be well-pleased.

Also, if you've got the extra time (and, if you're reading some scrub third-tier miler's blog, let's face it, you've got the time) check this out:

It's none other than a year of Mr. Bill Rodgers' training log. Very interesting- though I wish he had written down the elapsed time for his runs more. Thanks to Bob Hodge for transcribing it! I'm sure there's stuff I forgot to say that I meant to, but oh well- I can always do a mid-week update.

Have a good week, readers!