Sunday, January 30, 2011

Good Step Forward

Hello there, Internet! What a difference a week can make. There isn't much to editorialize about this week, so I'll just skip to the log.

Monday 1/24- 3:30PM- 4mi easy indoors, some with Elliot, 3mi moderate outdoors, ran into Bree with a little more than a mile to go, ran in with her and added on another mile inside. It was 0 deg out and well into the negatives with windchill, so I wussed out. Still mad about Sunday's debacle, but what are you going to do?

Tuesday 1/25- 2:30PM- 3 up, 10x400 avg 63.0 w/1:40 jog rest, 3mi down. Tough workout to do solo- I did 3 at 64, 3 at 63, 3 at 62, and the last one in 61.0. Bruce said "oh, let's just be generic today and copy Roger Bannister." 9:30PM (after work)- 4mi shakeout on the treadmill at the TTC after work. Felt pretty good, probably the best I've ever managed on a treadmill before.

Wednesday 1/26- 61:30 out and back through Cambridge with Peter, Eric, and Matt. Snow storm made the footing increasingly bad, but we ran a decent clip regardless, to say nothing of the snowball fights.

Thursday 1/27- 6:30PM- I think I made my peace with the treadmill today. With the radio blaring classic rock and my T-shirt covering the display for the first 5mi, it wasn't so bad. Nice to run faster and keep my shoes dry, anyway. 10mi in 59:54. First 5mi in 31:50 (didn't look until 4mior so, just started off at 6:45/mile and increased the speed every 3-4min or so, ended up at 6:00 pace for the 5th mile).
45 sec pee break (yeah I timed it) 2nd 5mi in 28:04, running roughly 5:55, 5:55, 5:45, 5:30, 5:10. That doesn't add up, but that's because I accidentally reset the treadmill with when I stopped to piss, and it took whatever the remainder was to get up to speed. 1mi down after to get rid of that weird treadmill-leg.

Friday 1/28- 5mi easy with the guys around the slums, kept things light for tomorrow. Lots of great performances by various friends at the womens' Terrier Invite, but the one I have to mention is my teammate Katie Matthews took an even 60 seconds off her 5k PR, running 16:13. Wish that happened more often to all of us!

Saturday 1/29- 3 up, 1000m race at Terrier, 2:30.68, good for 8th I think. If I were in really good shape, I wouldn't be pleased with a 2:30 kilo, but to be honest, I'm not really in any kind of decent shape right now. I ran about as fast as I could have run (had I avoided making a dumb move in the middle of the penultimate turn I might have dipped under 2:30, though) and more importantly, fought through the frankly horrifying mental state I had slipped into after Sunday's "race." It's amazing how you can know something academically (like bad races happen and they certainly don't necessarily mean all that much) and yet how mentally/emotionally jarring a shit show can be. I was practically hyperventilating on my warm up and to be honest was pretty sure that I would end up DNF-ing my race. Once the gun went off and I got about two steps in, though, I was like my old self, and focused solely on placing as high as my fitness would allow. I didn't notice any splits, only my rhythm and the movements of the pack. Longer cooldown after most of the meet was done, because I had too many friends and teammates racing to stop watching for any real length of time! 8mi on the day.

Sunday- OFF.

Total- 60
Had a strength day in there somewhere, probably Wednesday? I gotta start logging that so I remember what I did.

What's next? Well, Bruce observed after the race the same thing I was thinking: I'm just not in particularly good shape right now. My speed workouts compare favorably with past-Craig, but I don't have the conditioning for those workouts to be particularly significant. Now that my mind is over that horrible mile race, it's time to put in more significant mileage, focus on the very painful 3k-5k type workouts that condition and strengthen, and prepare for outdoors. That doesn't mean I won't race again indoors, just that I haven't planned any out yet. If things are going well, I'd like to convince Bruce to let me race the Valentine Invite and maybe take a crack at my 3k PR. On the other hand, if he thinks I shouldn't race, I won't press the issue, because, well, what good is a coach if you're not going to listen to him?

Here's the link to the video of my race:

Thanks, flotrack! I usually wouldn't want video evidence of an out-of-shape, carrying-about-5-extra-lbs MacMonster, but I want to point out my choice of uniform. I doubt you can see it, but I'm wearing a University of Delaware singlet. One of my teammate's has a twin brother who attends Delaware and asked me if I'd like to rep the program. What kind of Jackalope would I be if I didn't jump at the chance to show some solidarity to runners who were screwed over by an AD too cowardly to address the team like a man? The Jackalopes are with you, boys, if you want a club to run for!

Hope everyone's seasons are progressing as planned. So many friends of mine scored big PRs this weekend, and I'm afraid of missing anyone, so congratulations to everyone who ran well!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


These entries are never fun to write. I ran my first track race since last May's series of disastrous dropouts today at Harvard. Today's race was technically better than those races in that I finished this one, but when "I finished" is the most positive thing you can say about a race, well, you're not going to be looking forward to writing any blogs, that's for sure. Enough with the suspense, though. I ran 4:28.70 for a fresh mile on a banked track with great competition. I was rested, had had some good workouts, slept fine, and did things sufficiently right to leave me without any real reason for running so bad. I guess I'll just have to leave it at "I had a really bad day, and it sucked, and now it's over, so I'm going to go forward from here."

Where's forward from here? Well, I ran unattached today because Bruce was unsure if my fitness was better than last year's, and wanted to preserve my eligibility for my 5th year if I was unfit. While I know my fitness is not as bad as today suggested, I think it's safe to say I will be keeping my BU uniform safely folded in my room until outdoor track begins. On the other hand, I do believe that it would be a mistake to go find a cabin and exile myself to more training. I haven't done much racing over the last 8 months or so, and I think I need to get back on the horse rather than avoid it.

I ran pretty awful today, and that's bound to happen sometimes. On to the next day, since all the ability at my disposal is powerless to undo today.

Monday 1/17- 13mi easy with Ruben Sanca the whole way, with the team for some. Cold and icy out, took a digger on the 2nd of 4 laps around JP, Bill Rodgers style.

Tuesday 1/18- Roads were terrible, so I asked Bruce to let me work out today. He was fine with it, so I avoided another slipfest AND the dreadmill. I wanted to get in something a little longer at mile gear, so Bruce gave me a relatively short, light workout after I did a 1000 at mile gear. 3 up, 800 worth of striding
1000- 2:36 (62, jumped in behind Eric and Rich, who were doing a 400, ~2:04.5 through 800)
5min jog
500 1:19 (with Ken for the first 400)
500 1:23 (these were supposed to be 1:22, but I got out a little too quick on the first one and Bruce said get this one under control)
3min jog
800- 2:16 (69.x/66.x)
2min jog
400- 63.3
1:30 jog
400- 62.2
Pretty good workout, I was very pleased to run 2:36 at the appropriate level of effort. This workout had me thinking breaking 4:10 was in the cards on Sunday. In retrospect, I should have just continued on and run a 1600 time trial in 4:08. Ah, hindsight. 3mi down, tot 9.

Wednesday 1/18- 9 mi easy to JP through some wet snow, JP was clear, ran 9:16 for the lap there, ran into Rob on the way back and ran back with him.

Thursday 1/19- 1PM- 7mi steady on the river, 4x150 in spikes, a 200 in 28.8 relaxed. The guys had a multi-meet Thursday afternoon, and most everybody ran well. 8PM- 37' easy inside after the meet, some with the Melon, who was getting over being sick.

Friday 1/20- 3:30PM- 4 up, 2x5x150, 1:30 jog b/t reps, 5min jog/set. Bruce told me to keep things in the 22 range, and I did. Felt fine. 3mi down outside, sick of indoor laps.

Saturday 1/21- 3PM- 7mi easy with James to JP and back with no lap, drills inside after. I was looking forward to Sunday's race a lot on this run.

Sunday 1/22- 1:30PM- 3up with Rob, 1mi shitshow, 4:28.7 for last in the fast heat, splits I got were 62.5, 2:07.0, 3:15.x, 4:28.7. Yup, that's a 73 last 400, and it was all-out. The only thing I can possibly think of is that I had zero appetite on waking up, and had to force myself to eat two tiny things of fat-free yogurt so I wouldn't be racing on an empty stomach. I don't think that should be worth ~15 seconds in a mile, but with the way I fell apart, I'll grasp at any straw. 1mi down, felt dizzy and shaky.

65mi, 8 runs.

Hope your weeks were all better than mine. Here's to better times and not dwelling on off days.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Adding Quality

Well, internet, no need to dress it up in a fake happy voice. The Patriots played sloppy today, and they lost to Rex "the Podiatrist" Ryan. It stings like a heavily salted paper cut. I wouldn't have been that pissed if the Pats had gone out in the first round to Colts, but I can't stand Rex Ryan and the kind of trash-talking, moron football he delights in.

Anyway, enough about foozball. Foozball is the devil anyway. I had myself a nice little week of training over here. Most of the BU guys were back for training camp week, which was good, and I cut back my volume a bit to make sure I don't get in over my head with accumulated fatigue while adding in harder quality sessions.

Here's what I was up to in between crying over sloppy post-season play and another blizzard:

Monday 1/10- 5mi nice and easy to recover from the Big Week. Sunny run with some newly returned teammates, 34min.

Tuesday 1/11- 2pm- Unplanned moderate run, ran 5mi at ~6:30 pace with a group, then ran the last 5 harder at 5:30-5:40 pace, 60:27 total for 10. I was pleased with the pace of the 2nd half of the run, because the footing was pretty crappy. 4x150m buildups in spikes indoors after, a 200 relaxed in 28.8, then a short cooldown for 11.

Wednesday 1/12- 3PM- 3 up, lots of strides, mixed bag workout. I did:
600- 1:39
400- 63.4
800- 2:14 (led that one)
600- 1:38.8
400- 63.2
4min rest
4x150, 20.hi for all of them, 1:30 rest.
4min rest
800- 2:12.4
400- 62.5
400- 62.0 3mi down. A good day. Felt smooth running 62 and 63. Recovery for all the other intervals was between 2-3 minutes, depending on how many questions Bruce asked. 8:30PM- 3mi easy with my roommate Sean through the blizzard. Kid's a trooper. Total for the day- 13

Thursday 1/13- 3pm- 60' easy/steady downtown with most of the team, 5min indoors at ~6:00 pace for 10 miles. 2 and a half sets of strength after, my heart wasn't in it at all.

Friday 1/14- 3PM- Fresh Pond once from the TTC with Billy and Colin, plus a few min indoors, 4x150m buildups in spikes, 200 relaxed in 29.6, felt flat and crappy. 10 total.

Saturday 1/15- 3pm- 4 up, strides, ladder workout with Eric- 1600 4:32, 3min jog, 1200 3:25, 3min jog, 800, 2:15 3min jog, 400 63.4, 5min jog, 8x100 between 13.4-13.8 with 50 walk, 50 jog, 3mi down, 11mi total. Felt great today, guess yesterday was just a fluke.

Sunday 1/16- 8mi very easy with James, first 4 with Sean. I was planning on running twice today, but I went to the track after the Game That Shall Not Be Mentioned Hereafter ended to find it locked. Me, being a genius, had locked all my running clothes there, leaving this double wasted.

68 miles
8 runs
one session of strength, pushed today's session back to tomorrow.

Happy running, everyone!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Big Week to Start on an Up Note

Hullo there, Internet!

I just finished up the 2nd Annual Big Week, which is something my roommate James and I started last year. When we both came back from school last year over winter break, we were alone in the house and bored, so we ended up running a bunch. We accidentally got in even better training than usual, had fun, and passed the time. This year, we were a little more formal about it, in that we said "we should do another Big Week!" and ran a bunch in order to save our brains just a little more from hours and hours of TV or Internet or video games. That being said. . . we got in plenty of that, too.

Anyway, here's what I got up to this week:

Monday 1/3: 3:30PM- Out and back toward Spy Pond but not there, 64min, with Matt and James. Felt tired, heavy. 9:30PM- 4mi easy indoors with James, drills, 6x150 buildups with 50jog, couple minutes down for 5. Running 7:15-7:20 pace felt like a walk, and I felt particularly awesome on the strides.

Tuesday 1/4: 3:30PM- 3mi up, 4mi dreadmill tempo, 21min (5:15/mile, 1% incline), felt crappy, mostly because I sweat like a whore in church on those things. Did the first and last half-mile on the indoor track (both in 2:36) because it saved me a mile on the damn thing. 4mi down.

Wednesday 1/5: 10:00AM- 4mi easy with James. 4pm- 10mi easy on the River with Matt and Eric, 66:30 + strength routine at Fit Rec afterward.

Thursday 1/6: 2PM- 12mi easy/moderate, first 9 or so with Matt and Peter, working from 6:45 to 5:45/mile, ran to Jamaica Pond a different way because of the iciness of the paths, then slowed down to about 6:10-6:20 pace with James and added on 21 min for a conservative 73min. Felt good, decent weather. 9PM- 5mi easy, first half with Sean, one of my roommates (out to fight the retired-from-running-lethargy), whole thing with James.

Friday 1/7: 3:30PM- 10mi easy with James, started with Peter and Matt but they were feeling salty, so we kept things around the 6:30/mile range and rested. On the way home from Fresh Pond, we ran into a high school buddy of mine who goes to Harvard and was finishing up his own run, so our 9mi became 10mi in order to run with him a little. 6x150 buildups in spikes indoors, plus a short cooldown to make it an even 11. Felt really good on the strides. 9:30PM- 5mi easy with James indoors, time went by really quick. I don't like running indoors, but it was pretty icy and crappy, so I gave in.

Saturday 1/8: 3:30PM- 3mi up, 10 strides of varying lengths, 1000m total, drills, 6x800 avg 2:16, recovery 2:30 jog. This was my first track workout in 5 weeks and I was pleased to get it under my belt with nothing particularly worthy to note. It wasn't too hard, but it wasn't particularly easy, either. 3mi down, 10 on the afternoon counting the ~7:00 paced jogs in between the 800s. 9:30PM- 2.5 easy with Sean and James, then I added on another 18min solo. I felt good during the solo part, so I crushed it, which means it was probably just shy of 3mi as opposed to 2.5. Call it 5mi anyway.

Sunday 1/9: 2PM- 10mi, first 9 with James, first 400m of the run with Peter and Matt, but we got dropped like bad habits. We still hit about 58min for 9, though, so I guess we weren't jogging too hard. I added on a mile inside and was bored doing those laps, so I ran it in about 5:30 to minimize the monopoly. 3 sets of strength after with Matt, Peter, and James. I've been doing 2 sets for a while, so it was good to bump things up. 9:30PM- 6mi moderate solo, felt really good after feeling like a slug all afternoon, ended up working things down pretty hard the last 2mi or so. Ran out and back on the river, because it's lit at night and free of cars.

Total- 105 miles
13 runs
2 strength days

Not bad, Internet. Lest some of you think I'm being foolish, let me reassure you: tomorrow I'm running 5mi in about 40min, and that's IT. I doubt I'll be above 80mi again for a couple months. Also, since I had literally nothing else to do (no work while school isn't in session, no class either) I was sleeping about 11 hours a night and more or less constantly eating delicious healthy food, since cooking was also a good way to pass the time. For example, today, I've mostly subsided on Leftover Soup, which is exactly what it sounds like. I took the remaining carrots, potatoes, green beans, onion, and red pepper I didn't use this week, cut them all up into little pieces, added about half a cup of rice, threw it in a crock pot, covered it in water, added chicken bullion and assorted seasoning, and ignored it for 4 hours. Voila!

Have a great week, everybody.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Last Week of 2010, Year in Review

Well, here I am, watching the Giants/Redskins game (one of my roommates is from Long Island, but don't hold it against him) and struggling to write this week's blog. I want to do a review of my year, and yet, no matter how I slice it, the last 9 months have contained some of the crappiest running I've done since first lacing up a pair of sneakers. Fortunately, I'm a pretty optimistic guy, so I can say this about 2010: at least it's over, and now that 2011 is here, things are looking up already.

The year started off promising. I had bounced back from a terrible Fall 09 much better than expected and was really, really fit. I opened up the year and my track career for BU with a mile win at our Multi-team Meet vs Sacred Heart and Umass Amherst. I set a then-PR of 4:08.61 at the Terrier Invite that seemed to suggest even better things in the near future, since I had gone out in around 2:32 through 1000m before fading. Unfortunately, it was there that things started to unravel. A persistent hip/low back pain started cutting into my training, forcing a DNS at the Battle of Beantown vs Harvard, Northeastern, and BC and a DNF at the Valentine mile. When the back/hip behaved, I found I could run quite well despite the interrupted training. After an uninspired 5th in the mile at the conference meet, I surprised even Bruce with a 1:53.6 4x800 leg, contributing to a BU win in the event. My hip was doing much better, my training was coming together, and my PR and win at the New England Championships (4:08.57) was among the easiest races I have run yet, despite the ~2:01 last half-mile. Unfortunately, I remained snakebit, coming down with a bad fever and bronchitis, which kept me out of the IC4A meet.

At Bruce's suggestion, I redshirted outdoor track, and figured that would be as good time as any to explore the 5k a little more. Bruce started preparing me with a modest 14:35 goal in mind, and my first outdoor race--an 8:26 win over 3000 with a very fast last 400--seemed to indicate I was right on race. That ended up being the last race I finished outdoors. I dropped out of races the next two weeks in a row, feeling horrible and strangely unfit. It wouldn't be until the fall that I discovered I'm allergic to just about EVERYTHING and the spring and fall are the absolute worst times for me to be running.

Summer went fine for me; Bruce had me take a day off every other week to try to avoid getting stale. I was working out pretty well, running about 80 miles a week, and ran a comfortable 53:38 ten-miler at the Blessing of the Fleet race in Narragansett, RI. We showed up late, though, so our times were all screwed up. . . oh well. Looking back, things went to shit for me really badly as soon as ragweed season began in early August. I shit the bed at Falmouth (running about 15 seconds/mile slower than I was capable of) and was left, yet again, wondering why the hell my perceived exertion went out of control on some days.

The invisible raincloud peaked in the fall, where I wheezed my way to a 26:24 8k at Franklin Park (my slowest race there since my freshman year of college) feeling like an asthmatic smoker the whole way. Finally, after getting bronchitis so bad I had to call it a season and exhausting every other option, I went to see an allergist and found out (surprise, surprise) I have allergy-induced asthma to just about everything that grows under the sun, especially through the fall and early spring (which, ever since I was a little kid, usually coincides with when I get bad viral infections, colds, chest colds, etc). I started once-weekly shots after a few frosts calmed my lungs down, and began again the process of pulling myself into shape.

But for a week-long bout with viral tonsillitis in mid-December (which coincided with finals week. . . ugh. . .) things have gone ok since then. I'm rounding into form fine, and once I start track work, I'm rarely more than 3-4 weeks away from peak shape.

Now, after all that bitch bitch bitch moan moan moan, there are a lot of bright sides to the year. The biggest silver living is that I finally figured out WHY my springs and falls have been punctuated with lethargy and wheeze instead of fitness and fast times. Ok, it'll be a good 8 months before the shots have any discernible effects, but I don't need to be on an inhaler on a regular basis and my lungs didn't seem too scarred to the allergy doc. Considering that it could have been MUCH worse, I feel incredibly lucky that I got things figured out and the solution is only a few irritating injections once a week. The other bright sides include having a pretty good time when I was healthy, becoming close with my teammates here at BU, and enjoying my first year of supporting myself instead of leaching off my mother.

It'd be easy to mischaracterize this as a "depressing year" when in fact it was, aside from running, a great one. I still had some good runs, so it wasn't like the year was entirely a wash on that front either. All in all, at the start of 2011, I consider myself an extraordinarily fortunate guy. I hope everybody out there reading had the years they wanted, and that 2011 brings us all fast races and good times.

Yearly totals:
3620 miles
331 days of running (34 missed days, mostly in October)
9.91 miles/day avg, including time off, which works out to be 69.42 miles/avg for any given 7 day span. I don't think this is the most I averaged in a year, but I'm pretty pleased with it given the amount of time I missed.

Anyway, here's my log for the last 5 days of 2010 and the first two of 2011:

Monday 12/27: 3PM- 9mi easy with my younger brother in Derry, roads very bad from the blizzard yesterday. This was an annoying run because I don't mind sloshing through snow, but I DO mind morons who drive 4-wheel-drive SUVs yet are terrified of driving more than 5mph in two inches of snow. 9:30PM- 4mi easy solo, about 9deg with the windchill, blech.

Tuesday 12/28: 3PM- Really sick of the crappy footing and idiot drivers today. Ran 7mi over a hilly course in Derry and hammered the clear portions of the run while running more cautiously on the icy parts. I got in about 3-4 miles of good hard running, though it likely wasn't that fast, since "clear footing" was a relative description.

Wednesday 12/29- AM- Brunch with the family, since it was my sister's 19th birthday. PM- 87:30 easy but good clipping around downtown and the North End with Matt and Eric. Plenty of plyometrics (to avoid puddles and leap snowbanks) on this run.

Thursday 12/30- Noon- 10mi easy/moderate over rolling hills up Beacon and back Comm Ave with Eric and Matt, 64min total, then 6x150 buildups in spikes indoors and a short cooldown for 11 on the day.

Friday 12/31: 9AM- Tried to warm up for a Heartbreak workout with Kev Gilmore, Matt and Eric, but the top of my foot was killing me. It tends to bruise a little running in flats on concrete all winter, so I kept the run to 5mi to avoid doing anything serious to it. After the run, Bruce insisted I take up a pair of cushioned Nike shoes, and I obliged, because running in crappy shoes > no running.

Saturday 1/1/10- 3PM- Rang in the new year with an easy 9mi with DTP Cordaro, Terence, and James, over to Fresh Pond from the house and back, plus a short on add-on. The terrain at Fresh Pond wasn't nearly as bad as we thought it'd be. It was also 61 degrees out today! 9PM- 4mi easy with James, still 50 out, and only like 5 days removed from a blizzard that dumped a foot of snow and temperatures that fell to like 15 degrees.

Sunday 1/2/10- AM- Worked the last mini-meet, where this time, the timing system worked and we didn't have to rely on hand-timing. 2:30PM- 14mi moderate/hard, started with Matt, Eric, and James, but Matt and Eric dropped us and then James fell off a little. We ran a good, rolling course past Faulkner Hospital. I covered 14mi in 83min with the last mile (measured) in 5:29. I felt pretty "meh" but figured it was better to just roll with it.

Total- 76
9 runs
(at some point I did an ab workout with Matt, but I forget what day because I didn't write it down)

Overall, a decent note on which to end 2010 and begin 2011. First race is around Jan 20th, I think. Let's goooooo!