Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Break and Musings about WXC

Good evening, internet. Before I talk about myself AGAIN, I have some observations regarding this weekend.

Shalane Flanagan proved yet again just how good she is in picking up a bronze medal at the World Cross Country Championships. The United States showed good its female distance runners are by putting 4 women in the top 20 and nabbing a team bronze medal. Lisa Koll, in an uncharacteristic off day, STILL placed 40th in the deepest distance race in the world. Without a doubt, this is HUGE for American running. I hope that their performances are given the credit each one deserves. Unfortunately, I think professional cross country gets a bum rap in America and I'm not entirely sure why. Rarely do the very best Americans elect to go, but today is an important insight as to what cant when they DO decide to show up and the chips fall just right. I obviously have no way of knowing this for sure, my wager is that if you asked the US women what they thought of their experience at World Cross, none of them would say "sweet Christ, I wish I had run a road race."

Don't get me wrong, the NYC Half is a great event. I don't think a single American athlete "owes" it to anyone to compete at World Cross. I'm just saying that, as a fan, it would be COOL if the best Americans (men and women) made it a habit to compete there. World Cross is the single deepest race in the sport; what better measuring stick can there be for an athlete? We know that Solinsky, Teg, Bumbalough, and Rupp are all in amazing shape right now. I believe Salazar has already said that his plan this year was for a late spring racing period followed by another rest/buildup cycle for the World Championships. I get that Rupp probably made some serious scratch for showing up to the NYC half, but how sick would it have been to see a ~27:10 shape Rupp (his spring was focused on getting the AR in the 10k) duking it out in the lead pack at World Cross?

Anyway, I understand that elite athletes have their racing schedules for a reason, I just think that it would be awesome to put 5 of America's top 5000m and up guys on the line at World Cross, fit as hell, and see what would happen. (note: I didn't leave Lagat out of this discussion out of ignorance. I just think that as a track focused 1500-5k specialist, he might not have the same XC chops as, say, Tegenkamp).

Enough grasping at what-could-bes, though. I still have some Spanish homework to do and I want to get to bed early, so on with the blog. Wait! One last thing- local yokel Ruben Sanca ran 65:23 to win the New Bedford Half Marathon today. Not too shabby! He's running the Rotterdam Marathon and I'm very interested to see how it goes.

Monday 3/14: 3:30PM- Fartlek on a flat stretch of Lane Rd in Derry, NH. 2.5 up
Run (jog)
2x (80" (80") 65" (80") 46" (3'))

4x 22" (80")

extra 3:40 after the 4th one (so 5min total jogging)

2x (80" (80") 65" (80") 46" (3')), 4.5 down. I was assigned sets of 500, 400, 300 and 4x150 followed by two more sets of 5-4-3, so I had to improvise a little due to a still-snowed-in track. I went back and measured my 80" and 46" segments since both of them began and ended at conveniently distinctive driveways. I got 518m and 312m for each segment, so I was moving pretty fast for wearing a borrowed pair of spikeless XC racers on a road. (total 14mi) Longer cooldown because I ran into an old HS teammate.

Tuesday 3/15: 2PM- 7mi easy with Trethewey, very tired, sore. 8PM- 4mi easy, planned on 7 but cut it short- dark, cold, tired, hungry, whiny. Got a new pair of glasses though! This was much-needed, since my old pair were about 4 years old and barely held together by tape and good intentions.

Wednesday 3/16: 7:30PM- Back in Boston, managed to get into the TTC despite it being closed. 3 up, 2mi on the treadmill, 10:36, half mile jog, 8x100 FAST with 200 jog, 1/2 mile jog, 2mi on the treadmill in 10:36, 1/2 mile jog, 3mi cooldown. Tot 13 Since the workouts were pretty close together, Bruce had me keep it easy.

Thursday 3/17: 4:30PM- 2 laps of Fresh Pond from the house, I had only planned on running 8-9 but it was about 65 and sunny out and therefore too nice to run short. I cooked a traditional New England boiled dinner for some friends and my roommates, and we all concluded that "thank God we're not expected to eat boiled corned beef every Sunday."

Friday 3/18: 11AM- 4mi easy with Amy, who was on her own spring break and came into town for St Patrick's Day. Beautiful out again, 65 and sunny. 4PM- 11mi easy, first 3 with the T-Dawwg, last 8 solo at about 6:30 pace meandering around Brookline until I found JP. I was originally scheduled to work out today, but when I got the Brookline Reservoir, Bruce looked at me and said "I had you work out Monday and Wednesday? What, was I living in a fantasy land? Work out tomorrow, that's makes more sense." I record his exact words because they struck me as funny.

Saturday 3/19: 10:00AM- Nearly overslept for this one, which is impressive considering I was asleep by 11:30PM the night before. 3mi up to the Brookline Reservoir, then surges of 4:00, 3:30, 3:00, and 2:30 with 4:00 normal training pace rest. It was a little different than a normal fartlek in that each hard part was sub-divided into three parts: the first 1:00-2:00 of each rep was at the normal fartlek "hard" level (maybe about 4:30-4:45/mile if I had to guess), the next 45-90 seconds of each rep was at a fast but not so hard gear (maybe 5:20-5:30 pace) followed by a 45 second segment at 1500m pace to end each rep. This was a pretty tough workout, and Bruce gave me the option of doing 0-5x30 seconds at a very fast pace with 90 seconds jog afterward. I did 2 of them and figured enough is enough. 3mi down, 11mi on the morning. 7PM- 4mi easy, 1xlarge cheese pizza, 1xviewing of The Fighter with Sean.

Sunday 3/20: 2PM- 3mi on the fast end of easy for heading out the door with Peter and Joey (both of whom can hit 6:35 pace from stride 1, something I've always been envious of) who were warming up for a workout, then about 6 and a half miles working it pretty good on the river. I was a little grump about 5mi into the run because it was windy and it cooled back down to the low 40s, but I split my watch to get a pace check going and was surprised to see I was running 5:35/mile, which cheered me up. I added on a few minutes inside to get 10 on the morning. 8PM- 4mi at a super slow Kenyan shuffle pace, partly because I was full from dinner and partly because I misbehaved and ran basically 10mi under an hour this morning after 3 workouts in the preceding 6 days.

93 mi on the week. This will be my last "up there" week for a while, since it's time to start focusing on doing some workouts near 1500m speed and preparing to race. I've averaged over 80 miles a week for the last six weeks and have really only had 1 or 2 bad workouts, so I'm feeling very fit and ready to get down to business.


  1. How were you able to do 8x100 fast on the treadmill? Most treadmills I know don't go past 12 mph, let alone 15 mph+.

  2. 1) We have a fancy treadmill that goes up to ~16 (I forget the exact max, but once two of my teammates maxed it out and ran for a quarter-mile)

    2) The fanciness of our treadmill actually didn't help me any. I just hopped off the treadmill and did them on our indoor track.