Sunday, April 26, 2009

Another Frustrating Week

Ok, I won't rehash Penn again. Frankly, I'd like to forget about that. I did, however, come back and race the 1500 at our conference meet. I felt pretty crappy the whole way, but my hamstring behaved ok. I was supposed to run the 800 and 4x400 too, but Pete and I decided if it was tight at all, I'd scratch from the later events, which is what I did.

Monday- 2 mile w/u, 4x(800, 400) with half-jog rest (so about 1:40 and 50 seconds). 2:16/66, 2:15/64, 2:18/65, 2:15/60. My hamstring was really bad during and after this one- the workout was much harder than it should have been and the howling winds/40deg temperatures didn't help. Looking back (isn't hindsight always 20/20?) I should have told Pete how bad it was.

Tuesday- 7 miles easy with Wilson, 47 min. Hamstring was tight but I thought it was better than Monday.

Wednesday- AM- 4 easy, solo- 27:40
PM- Travel down to Penn, 3 easy with the groups + 6xstrides. Hamstring felt pretty good, didn't think it'd be an issue anymore.

Thursday- 2pm- 3 easy.
9:30pm- 2.5 warmup, about 2600m of the 5000 at Penn at roughly 68-69 second pace (I wasn't really looking at the splits but I think I saw 4:34 at the mile?). I was hardly breathing when I had to stop; I just couldn't lift my leg any more. So far, this has to be one of the most disappointing races of my career. However, I lived to run another day and didn't blow my season limping a 15:30 5k on a bum leg.

Friday- 20 minutes very slow on grass to test hamstring. The very slow running and tons of icing/stretching seemed to help.

Saturday- 2 miles up, 1500 at Little East. It was like 90 degrees out and I felt like crap, but I managed to eke out a win. I sat through 800 (65, 66) then took the lead and tried to test out my hamstring a little with a cautious acceleration, going 62 then 46 for a last 700m of 1:48. I was pretty much recovered within fifteen minutes or so, but mostly just glad my hamstring went ok.

Sunday- slow 10, again, being cautious about the hamstring. I think it's more or less recovered. This is just another thing that adds to fantastic season I'm having so far. At this point, I just want to qualify for the 1500 and give nationals every ounce of what I've got, then take about two weeks off from running entirely. I have 3 weeks and 3 more chances to drop that 3:51 and get to nationals, and I won't be wasting any of them.

Have a good week, everyone- and learn from my colossal fuckup. Be honest with yourself when something is really bugging you, and don't take a dumb chance with your season just to run in a cool race.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Well, Penn didn't go quite as planned. I've been having hamstring trouble the last week or so, but it was only when I went much faster than 66/400. Although it was bugging me quite a bit during my workout on Monday, I thought a little Franklin Field magic would get me through 5000 meters without any issues.

Clearly, I was wrong. After about 800, it started cramping up pretty bad. By 2600 I couldn't keep going, and had to drop out. It reminds me of a poster I saw once: "Failure: When Your Best Just Isn't Good Enough." I had hoped my hamstring would be 100%. I didn't mention it to my coach or my teammates and I tried to think about it as little as possible.

I'm pretty frustrated, of course- not just with this race but the season in general. My body seems to have aged years in the last month or so; all of the sudden I'm fragile and injury prone and I recover like a 50 year old man with no flexibility. My body is probably trying to tell me to take a little rest. Still, if at all possible, I'm going to try to get through the rest of the season. There isn't that much of the season left and I'm close to qualifying for Nationals in the 1500. If I can pop a good one at All-Division New Englands or ECACs, I'll be all set.

Well, I don't want to turn this into me having a whiney pity party for myself. It happened, it sucks, and I'm not happy about it at all. Let's just leave it at that for now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Penn Relays

Well, I'm headed to the Penn Relays this Thursday to run a 5000m. I had a solid workout today and I'm feeling reasonably confident about my fitness. Without over-thinking things, a 14:30 or so should be a reasonable goal. If I can dip under 14:30, that'd be awesome; but if I'm over my goal, I'm not going to hang myself or anything. I just want to go out and run a good RACE; the time will be what it is. This is more a race for the future, to get experience at what will eventually be my primary distance, instead of any sort of immediate need to run one.

Anyway, I don't want this to drag on too long. I'm too likely to ramble. Have a nice week, everyone- and if you see a scruffy little guy wearing Keene State stuff at Penn, stop by and have a chat!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Shuffling Forward, Gaining Momentum

Hi everybody-

Before I go into the by-now routine log and overanalysis of my race, can I just mention that DIII is BLOWING UP right now? Seems like everybody and their mom is coming out of nowhere to run 14:30s or 3:50s or 30:30s. If nothing else, I've learned that a daily iron pill and having most of the people you have to run against at Nationals run fast are the best cures for feeling rundown and shitty. I've been taking an iron supplement for about two weeks now and I don't know if it's the placebo effect or if my iron really was low but I've been feeling fantastic lately and I'm really looking forward to throwing my own hat in the ring over the next few weeks. This many people running well just makes me excited to work my butt off and see how I stack up!

Here's the log:

Monday- AM- 4 miles easy
PM- 9 miles easy

Tuesday- PM- 2 miles w/u- then to the track for the first time in forever. The workout was 1xmile at 3k-5k effort, 2x800 at 3k effort, 3x400 starting at 3k effort and cutting down quicker but nothing crazy. Recovery was jog half the distance you just ran- so 800 (about 3:30) 400 (about 1:45), and 200 (about :50). I went 4:32, 2:14, 2:15, 67, 63, and 59, feeling great the whole way. The mile was a little slow but we went out very cautiously (~2:18ish) as we wanted the workout to be controlled. 2 mile c/d.

Wednesday- This requires a little explanation. Keene State celebrated it's 100th year, and as part of this celebration, the Proclamation declaring Keene State's opening was delivered from the Capitol in Concord, NH to Keene via relay. It was a 57 mile trip and different college representatives took the proclamation (encased in something like a relay baton) to the College. Pete and I had a 3.5 mile leg together in the early stages, then I had a 10-11ish stretch with different members of the team later in the day. It was really fun and very well-organized (Pete helped organize it, ha, so I had to say that). I'm going to conservatively put the day's mileage at 13, even though it was probably closer to 14-14.5.

Thursday- Travel to Princeton, 3 miles + strides at 10pm when we arrived.

Friday- Princeton Invite 1500- 3rd heat. 3 miles warmup, 1500m race in 3:53.77 (62.5, 2:05.6 (63.1) 3:07.7 (62.1) 3:53.77 (46.0). I was satisfied with my season opener; last year I opened up in 4:01 or so. I was a little disappointed with the slower-than-expected pace (I had been hoping for 60, 2:01, 3:03) but I was pleased that I felt so good. Until 1200 I was basically in a trance- not thinking about anything, just running on instinct in perfect position just off the leader's shoulder. At 1200 I heard 3:07 and thought how effortless it seemed. At 200 to go I started striding out, getting ready to pull the trigger and hit that 3:50. Coming off the last turn I was in still in 2nd, in a perfect spot- then all the sudden it was like running in peanut butter. I believe the entire Western Hemisphere passed me, including a lost-looking little old lady asking someone in the stands where the bathroom was. I guess I was only in shape for a 1400m race, haha- but that's ok, I'm chalking it up to a positive experience.

I cooled down for 3 miles and I want to say the company and the venue (grass fields, my favorite surface) was without par.

Saturday- We got back to Keene at 4am and I passed out til early afternoon. I did get in an easy 5 in 32 min, then did a good set of drills and strides. Then it was to the library all day- I was not a diligent enough student on the trip and am now way behind on my school work.

Sunday- very slow 10 in the morning (73min), lunch, quick blog entry, and now I'm back to work. If anyone has any insights on how Cicero's rhetorical style contributed to the development of Latin sentence structure, please email me and help me out.

Week total- 60. I'm not pushing the mileage this season as much as I have in the past. This season is about feeling good, not over-racing, and loving running. I'm doing the 5k at Penn on Thursday, then coming back to run in our Conference meet on Saturday (I think 1500/800? not sure yet, depends where we need points). If all goes well at Penn I might still double at nationals, but we'll see.

Have a nice week, everyone!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


First- to everyone who contacted me with well-wishes and encouragement, thank you all so much. When you're in a slump like that, a kind word from even a complete stranger is enormously comforting. You all have no idea how much you helped me over the last week.

The down week worked perfectly. I took a few days off, jogged a few days, then had a light session on Saturday that went surprisingly well given that I did it at home (so I was alone) and it was 40deg and very rainy/windy. I won't bore you all with the specifics, but suffice to say I'm ready to cautiously begin outdoor training in earnest.

It was tough seeing everyone in DIII drop great times this weekend, but I needed the little mental break. I've had a lot on my plate lately the last few weeks and the time away from Pete and the team and the whole drag of serious training (not that I have problems with Pete, the team, or serious training) really helped me figure out some stuff. It also made coming back and having a morning jog with Pete again be a fun excuse to shot the bull instead of a death march. I had a nice 8miler today that I actually enjoyed for a change.

With nationals not that far away, I don't really have time to build up to 80 miles a week again, adjust to the mileage, taper off, etc. I'm not sure how my racing schedule looks for the next few weeks but hopefully I can still hit up some of the big meets.

Happy Easter, everyone! I'm off to shower, which is the only downside about being home again. There's almost no hot water and the water pressure is akin to what I'd imagine a camel drooling on you feels like. Have a nice week, internet.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I finally have to face up to it.

I'm fried. Stale. Burned out. Overtrained. Whatever you want to call it- I've lost all joy in running, I feel like shit all the time, and I have no motivation whatsoever to even jog, much less train. I dropped out of the steeplechase today after 2 laps- I just didn't care what happened.

Over indoors, I raced somewhere around 20 times, and set personal bests at every distance from 400m to 5k. And you know what? I just don't have anything left to give. There's no adrenaline, no thrill. I've trained hard enough before to experience breakdown training-- I've trained through funk after funk and slump after slump. I've come intimately familiar with my physical and mental limitations. As my dyestat username suggests, I've spent a long time on the red line of training properly/doing too much.

I guess what I'm saying is that I can't do it anymore. I need some time off to recapture enjoying running. I've damaged myself pretty badly and no matter what anyone says, I know what my body and my mind needs. I'm hoping less than a week will do it, because I still want to race well in the post-season. But until my body tells me to go fast, I'm not forcing anything. I had my highest-mileage winter ever, my highest-intensity of workouts ever, and my best and most frequent season of racing ever. I am not capable of continuously going up and up and up and up like that.

With a little time to regather and collect myself, I'll bounce back from this stronger than ever. Until then, I'll be pounding water, dropping multivitamins, sleeping in instead of getting up to run, and catching up on long-neglected schoolwork. Hopefully, my next blog post will be next week, detailing my lovely 3-day break from running.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and thanks for all the support and kind words I've gotten from people about this blog.


PS: Doug Ainscow, you have made the big time. Have a great season.