Sunday, October 4, 2009

10/4/2009

Excellent week with one hard workout and a moderate/threshold effort. I hit 78+ miles and feel pretty good, if not a bit tired. I think that I may be getting sick so I have to get in more sleep.

Monday - 10 mi (67:00) This was a pretty easy run to make sure my legs are fresh for Wednesday's workout.

Tuesday - 11+ mi (78:00) Really easy run to shake out the legs. It felt nice to run in the 50 degree weather.

Wednesday - 10 mi () Posted here. 2.2 mi w/up, 8x800 @ marathon time w/ equal time rest [2:21 (2:22), 2:23 (2:23), 2:21 (2:34), 2:23 (2:36), 2:23 (2:38), 2:23 (2:31), 2:24 (2:35), 2:21], 2.2 mi c/dwn. It was perfect weather and this was a solid workout.

Thursday - 9 mi () This was a very easy run to shake out the legs.

Friday
  • AM - 12.5 mi (74:24) I wanted to do something that was up-tempo, but not threshold pace, today. This felt really good and I just cruised most of it.
  • PM - 5k (20ish) I rabbited Jacob's and Samuel's races again (2km and 3km).

Saturday - 8.5 mi (59:30) I was so tired today so I did a short, slow run.

Sunday - 14.25 mi (96:37) I was really tired again today so I did a steady long run. I was originally planning on doing a 5 mile threshold in the middle or end of run but I bagged it. I may be getting sick.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Yasso 800s

We did a "Yasso 800s" workout tonight - 8x800m with a 400m rest in between, which I did pretty close to the same time as the repeat, at goal marathon time. Goal marathon time means that you run in minutes and seconds your goal in hours and minutes (a 3 hour marathoner runs them in 3 minutes, a 2:30 marathoner runs them in 2 minutes, 30 seconds as so on). Since I have never run a marathon and am not really training for one I kind of pulled a goal out of the air. I shot for 2:20-2:25, hopefully starting out at the high end and working my way down by the end. I hit the window but slowed down throughout the workout. Oh well. It was ideal weather for running as it was about 50 degrees with almost no wind. My times and rests:

800s Rest
2:21 2:22
2:23 2:23
2:21 2:34
2:23 2:36
2:23 2:38
2:23 2:31
2:24 2:35
2:21

I had a hard time recovering, as you can see from the rest interval getting longer and the times creeping up as the workout progressed, and just felt like I could not get air into my lungs or expand my diaphragm. I have felt like this since my little incident, so I am hoping that by next week it should pass and things will get back to normal.

My expectations for this workout are based on my past experiences with it. In college (I know, it was 15 years and 10 pounds ago) we used to do this workout near the end of the season with 200m rest (rest was about half the repeat time) in about 2:20 and it felt very easy. Just before setting my 5000m PR 10 years ago I did several similar workouts of 10x800m with 400m rest but I was hitting 2:12-2:15 with the same perceived effort as tonight. This just tells me I am a long way from touching any of my PRs right now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

10/27/2009

This week was full of excitement. I got in 53.5 miles of running in 5 days and only had to go to the ER once. Because of my little episode on Friday I took the weekend off to recover and rest up. I will pick up next week at the same level and try to hit mid-70's before going over 80 miles the following week.

Monday - 11+ mi (77:13) Easy run.

Tuesday - 8+ mi (56:32)

Wednesday - 10 mi () Posted here. 2.2 mi w/up, 5xmile [5:14 (90), 5:16 (95), 5:15 (101), 5:17 (94), 5:15], 2.2 mi c/dwn. It was a bit warm and humid and I kept the rests short.

Thursday - 11+ mi (78:17) Another easy run to recover from yesterday.

Friday - 13.5 mi (93:17) A very exciting day. Worthy of its own post.

Saturday - Rest

Sunday - Rest

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scary Shit

Today was such a beautiful day for a run I thought that I would post about it. It was nearly perfect weather, about 61 degrees with a dew point of 37 degrees - perfect fall running weather. I ran about 13 miles, mostly on trails in Hollis off Rideout Road and Nashua in Yudicky Farm. I know, this is not very interesting but I have a good closer. About a half mile from my house something nailed me in the back of the head and I immediately determined I was stung by either a wasp or a hornet. This would be no big deal, other than the fact that it hurt like hell, if I were not severely allergic to hornet and wasp stings. I high-tailed it home, got my epi-pens ready and waited for the onset of the symptoms. In about 5 minutes I was in full anaphylactic shock so I used one of the epi-pens and called 911. I was wearing jeans and did not feel anything when I used the epi pen and saw no hole so, to be on the safe side, I pulled my pants down and administered another epi-pen (in my thigh, not my ass). Later, the doctors and EMTs said the first one was successful, so I got two 0.3mg doses of epinephrine. Right about this time my neighbors came to the door and I am sure they were a bit surprised to see me laying on the floor in my underwear with a bunch of spent epi-pens on the floor around me. My wife had called them and asked them to help out because the last time this happened my tongue swelled up and blocked my esophagus. They stuck around until the ambulance arrived and helped me get my pants back on. Thanks Kirk and Kelly.

Anyway, in the ambulance the EMTs gave me 50mg of benadryl through an IV, took all my vital stats and hauled ass to the hospital. Luckily, this time I did not have any trouble breathing, probably because I used the epi-pens, and my O2 saturation never dropped below 98%. Epinephrine does crazy stuff to your body, especially when you take as much as I had. My heart felt like it was going to pop right out of my chest and it was racing at about 120-130bpm. Also, my hands were shaking like crazy and I felt extremely light-headed. The worst part of the entire experience happened, coincidentally I think, when they started to administer the corticosteroids through the IV. Both my heart rate and blood-pressure started dropping and hit 40 and 80/40, respectively, I started sweating profusely and I became extremely nauseous. The doctors said that this was most likely caused by the epi wearing off and I was going through withdrawal. If this is what drug addicts or cigarette smokers go through when they try to quit I am shocked that anyone could quit. This was probably the most unpleasant experience of my life and for about 30 minutes I seriously thought that I was going to die today.

I am fine now and controlling the hives with benadryl. I guess that they will continue for a couple more hours. They told me to lay low a couple of days because they gave me another corticosteroid shot into the muscle which will last for about 5 days and it could mask any pain when running. I probably should not mention this because I will probably be accused of taking PEDS, but I can live with that because it probably saved my life. I guess that I need to start carrying my epi pen with me, but it is such a pain in the ass to carry stuff while running. I find it shocking that a sting from a tiny insect can cause this kind of reaction in a full-grown person and it takes as much time, money and drugs as it does to help the body counteract the effects.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mile Repeats

Tonight we did 5xmile @ half-marathon pace and we were supposed to take 400m rest. I decided to cut the rest in half and do only 200m, or roughly 90 seconds. I don't think that the workout would have been that hard except that it was pretty humid and I don't do well in the humidity (temp was 74 degrees and dew point was 66 degrees). The workout started out really easy, but by the end my shoes felt like they weighed 5 pounds each from all the sweat and I was working harder than I wanted to hit the same times. My times and rests were:

Split Rest
5:14 1:30
5:16 1:35
5:15 1:41
5:17 1:34
5:15

Monday, September 21, 2009

10/20/2009

This was a decent week. I got in roughly 70.5 miles of running (yes, all of it was running) but I was not able to do the track workout because of my calf - it was pretty much a cautionary measure, but I punted the workout after the first repeat because I did not want to be set back another month. I was able to get in 3 runs of 10 miles or more averaging better than 6:30 pace and the tail end of these runs were at between 5:40 and 6:00 pace.

Monday - 8 mi (55:46) Easy run.

Tuesday - 10.5 mi (72:49)

Wednesday - 7 mi : I was supposed to do 5x1k @5k pace with 600m rest and then a couple full speed 200m repeats but after the first 1k I felt a little something in my calf so I punted the rest of the workout. The one I did do I did in 3:02 (72, 2:24, 3:02). 3 mile warm-up, 3 mile cool down.

Thursday - 10 mi (63:39) I felt good so I went with it. It was an out and back route and I passed the first half in 33:00, so the last 5 miles were covered in 30:39.

Friday - 13.5 mi (88:26) + 5km rabbiting elementary school XC races. Easy pace for the first 8-10 miles and then I gradually picked things up. The last three miles passed in 17:36 and the last two miles in 11:12. Take things easy tomorrow. I also rabbited my sons' first cross country races (so no one got lost) today. I thought it would be easy work but those kids are quick! The 2k race was in 8 minutes and the 3k race was in 11:30. Not too bad, but less than an hour after the long run, I was not feeling great.

Saturday - 5.2 mi (37:00) Easy run.

Sunday - 13.5 mi (86:00) This was the same exact route that I ran on Friday for no other reason than I was being lazy. I started out slow again (6:45ish pace) for the first 5 miles and then started cranking it down. I hit 10.5 miles in 69:03 and then ran 5:40 pace for the last three miles home (16:57 for the last three miles).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Nashua Elementary School XC Race I


Since this blog is called runCrain, it can be about any Crain who runs. In that light, I am very proud to announce that Jacob and Samuel had their first cross-country race of the season on Friday, September 18th in the Nashua Elementary School PAL (Police Athletic League) Cross Country series. Third graders run a 2km course, which Samuel ran, and fourth and fifth graders run a 3km course, which Jacob ran. The two course are very similar, with the 3km course adding on a 1km loop around the Nashua North High school, and are pretty flat with the exception of one fairly long hill about 1km from the finish. I was not sure what to expect from the guys because they had only been running for about a week and a half and most of their runs were done at between 10 and 11 minute pace. Also, Jacob was racing about as far as he had ever run. I had no idea what kind of finishing times to expect from them but hoped that they would have fun.


Samuel (in the orange shirt, crouched and ready to roll) was up first in the 2km race. We warmed up together by jogging about a half mile and doing some light stretching prior to the start. When the gun went off all the kids took off like they were shot out of a cannon. I was tasked with rabbiting both races to make sure that none of the kids got lost so I did not get to see how Samuel got off. At about the half-way mark I looked back and could see that Samuel was near the front, probably in about 10th place and moving very well. He was able to hold form and he finished 9th out of 64 boys in 9:56 (8:17 pace). That was far more than I expected and much faster than I thought he would run.

Video of Samuel finishing


Jacob was next. I did not get to warm up with Jacob but his team did a warm up jog and a bunch of stretches and drills together prior to the start. I think Jacob was caught off guard a bit at the start and started out slow. Again, I did not get to see his race due to my rabbiting duties, but afterward Jacob told me he gradually sped up through out the race and picked people off as they died due to the fast early pace. Jacob finished 40th out of 137 boys in 15:38 (8:42 pace), much faster than he had ever run before. I love this picture below because it looks like he is truly enjoying himself.


Video of Jacob finishing


I am so proud of these guys. They ran great and had a ton of fun while doing it. I firmly believe that they will make dramatic improvements in their times over the next two races (October 2nd and 17th) simply because they are so new to the sport. The kids that won have been running 4-5 days/week, year round for 2-3 years (check out the training schedule for the bantam boys and girls, 10 and under, PAL team). I am a little weary of them taking running too seriously at this stage of their lives so I am glad that they do not want to continue XC with the USATF races. There is plenty of time later to get serious about running and there are way too many risks at their age with jumping in too deep too early.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Student Becomes the Teacher

This was a pretty good week for running, partly because I was actually able to do it. I got in just shy of 60 miles (59.5 including 7 equivalent miles on the bike) and one strong workout. However, the main reason that this week was so good is that the next generation of Crains began running. My sons Jacob, who is 9, and Samuel, who is 8, joined their elementary school cross-country team last week and we went for two runs together this week. So exciting! It was pretty fun buying them their running shoes and shorts and teaching them about stretching and drills. When I got back from my long run today we went out and ran a little more than 1.5 miles together. They did pretty well, especially considering that this was only their fourth run. Soon enough I will not be able to keep up with them ...

I originally planned on running the Ollie 5 mile race that took place yesterday morning, but was not able to. I was a little shocked at how fast everyone ran (3 people went sub 24 and 22 went sub 25 minutes) and a little bummed that I did not run. I was not going to race this weekend at the Lone Gull 10k, just to play it safe, but I may change my mind. I heard that it is a fast, flat course and I do not want to miss out on the fast times

Monday - 10 mi+ (67:35) The same long ten miler that I have gotten in the habit of running. Started easy and finished up with a decent 6:20-6:30 pace for the last 3 miles or so.

Tuesday - 6 mi (42+) Easy run to make sure my legs are fresh for the workout tomorrow.

Wednesday - 3 mile warm-up, 8k tempo run in 26:18, 1+ mile cool down. I posted about this workout here.

Thursday - 1 hour on the bike to make sure that I am well rested.

Friday - 5 mi (35:18) Really easy run in Mine Falls Park. I did not feel like running much today so I cut it short and just ran easy.

Saturday - 10 mi+ (68:38) Went really easy in the beginning (6:50 pace) and then cranked it down a bit for the last couple miles.

Sunday - 12.5 mi (80:52) This was my first run over 10 miles in almost 3-4 months. So sad. I started out pretty easy and then finished up by cranking things down for the last 8 miles or so. Good run.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Yes, I am still alive...

I have not posted in a long time because, you guessed it, the little niggle in my calf turned into a full blown injury. I was out of commission for about a month, did a lot of cycling, yada, yada, yada.

Anyway, I am running again and I am up to about 50-60 miles/week right now. I raced in the MIT alumni cross-country race (8km) on 9/5 at Franklin Park and got sixth place in 27:32. Not a great time but it was about 80 degrees and humid so, whatever. Also, I did a workout tonight with the Gate City Striders Marathon group and it went much better than my race. We did a 5 mile (8km actually) tempo run on the track and we were supposed to do it at marathon pace. I had a little something to prove to myself so I did it at about 10 mile race pace and finished in 26:18, far better than my race. The splits were: 5:16, 10:35 (5:19), 15:52 (5:17), 21:09 (5:17), 26:18 (5:09) and I split 5km in 16:31. I was just cruising for the first 4.5 miles and I pushed the last half mile, which I covered in 2:29.

I will post again to bring things up to date but I just wanted to get back into the swing of things.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

7/12/2009

I hit 109.7 equivalent miles composed of 62.7 miles of running and 141 miles of biking (47 equivalent miles) to a plan of 115 miles. I had one great workout and then the week went to crap. That is not exactly how I planned the week, but I had what I think was a close call with an injury this week and I took a very conservative approach. On my Thursday morning run, the first run after my workout, I felt a tightening of my soleus muscle about 5 miles in. I think that it was the beginning of a "Grade 1" calf strain according to this web site. I can feel some tenderness where the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles meet on the anterior side of the back of the leg when I push on it but there is no pain to speak of when I run on it. I do not want to lose a month or more like last summer so I replaced all my runs with rides for three days and I am going to split my mileage 50/50 for the next week to let my leg rest up. I was planning on taking an easy recovery week after this upcoming week but I will move it up a week. I was able to run 7 miles on Sunday with no pain (although, I was aware that my calf was not 100%) but did not push my luck by going further. I have been doing a lot of light stretching and calf raises, I wrap my lower leg in an ACE bandage at night (I find this speeds the recovery process quite a bit) and take some Advil. I should be icing but have a hard time finding the time. I am also doing some massage with the Stick and a foam roller. Hopefully I caught it early and have it contained. Overall, it may be a blessing in disguise - I had planned on supplementing my running with a lot of riding to prevent injuries like this and I have not been doing any cycling at all. I have blamed that on the weather and time, but it is really because I hate cycling and I think that I was getting over confident with my running because things have been going so well for a couple months now. This was a good wake-up call to get me back to basics and smarten up. For the remainder of the summer I am going to continue base building split between running and cycling (max out at 80 miles/week of running). I do not race again for almost 2 months so I don't think it matters how I get the miles in.

Monday:
  • AM - 10 mi (70:34) Easy run at work.
  • PM - 6 mi (42:09) Stopped by the Groton Town Forest again. Easy run.
Tuesday:
  • AM - 10.5 mi (71:25) This was supposed to be an easy run but turned out to be a fast run and one of the scariest runs I have ever had. When I headed out it was a little overcast, but sunny. About 5 miles into the run the sky started turning dark and the rain started. About 5 minutes later I heard the thunder and could see the lightning. Then there was a huge boom and a bright flash right next to me and the rain turned from a light drizzle to a torrential downpour. I was scared for my life so I ducked into a barn that I was passing by and hid in there with the ducks and chickens for about 20 minutes until the lightning passed by. I could not believe how hard the rain was coming down and how ferocious the thunder and lightning was. When there was a break I headed out and hauled my ass back to work at about 5:30 pace (so much for the easy run) and just beat the next wave of the storm as it swept through. Not a fun time!
  • PM - 5 mi - I was a little gun-shy tonight so I went to the gym and rode on the indoor bike. I rode 15 miles in 43:33 (~20.7mph average).
Wednesday:
  • AM - 5.2 mi (39:01) Easy run before workout - very slow.
  • PM - 14 mi () 5 mi w/up, 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m @ 10k pace w/ 200m rest after the first 400 and the 800's and 400m after the other repeats. followed by a 3 mile cool down. I was really tired from the last couple days so I just eased into the workout very slowly. My splits were: 80 (81), 2:35 (76), 3:57 (1:54), 5:13 (2:08), 5:08 (2:18), 3:50 (2:11), 2:26 (1:27), 68. The total workout was 6.375 miles and took 38:18 which is almost exactly 6:00 min/mile pace. Get lots of rest.
Thursday:
  • AM - 10 mi (73:09) I slept for 11 hours last night! I felt rested but my legs still felt a bit tired so I took it really easy on this run. I felt good for the first 5 miles and then I felt a pain in my right soleus that reminded me of the calf strains I got 3 times last summer. I finished the run and tried not to push off too hard on my right foot so that I did not aggravate it. I think that this is probably a minor strain so I am going to do more cycling for the next couple of days and see how it goes.
  • PM - 7 equivalent miles - I cycled 21 miles in 62:45 on the stationary bike at the gym. Just knocking out the second workout. My calf did not bother me at all.
Friday:
  • AM: 39 miles on the bike in 1:56 and change (20.3 mph average). This was a pretty long ride and gives me about 13 equivalent miles. I felt good riding but my neck and butt are feeling a bit sore.
  • PM: 12 mile ride in 34ish minutes (20.7 mph average) - I needed to get in a couple more miles so this give me 4 equivalent miles.
Saturday: 30 mile ride in 1:32ish (18.4mph average) for 10 equivalent miles. This ride sucked big time. I had to start at 6:30AM and I did a pretty hilly coarse. My legs were just fried and I am really surprised that I made the entire ride. I almost cut it short at 20 miles.

Sunday: 7 mi (50:56) + 24 miles on bike in 69:02 (total of 15 equivalent miles) - I wanted to test out my leg and see how things were progressing after 3 days off from running. I did not feel any pain, per se, but I could feel something in my calf. I think I may have averted disaster and just need to be cautious coming back so that it does not develop into a full blown injury.

Friday, July 3, 2009

7/5/2009

I had to get back into the swing of things so I went back to doubles all week and really pumped up the mileage. I had to skip my run on Monday but was still able to hit 91.4 miles in 6 days of running with 2 workouts and one long run. I am actually feeling really good and do not feel tired. I am getting a good amount of sleep (8-10 hours/night), taking multivitamins, glucosamine and chondroitin and using Accelerade before hard runs and long runs and Endurox R4 after these runs. I bit the bullet and paid the money for this stuff even though I am not 100% sure that it does anything. Actually, the glucosamine and chondroitin definitely makes a difference with my knee. I have not had any pain in my knee (torn medial meniscus) but forgot to take my glucosamine and chondroitin with me on my trip to DC. After 5 days without it my knee was starting to act up. I immediately started taking it again when I got home and after just 5 days my knee is better again. I think that the Endurox helps me recover faster after hard runs and long runs, but the verdict is still out.

Monday: Off because I was driving home from DC.

Tuesday:
  • AM - 10 mi (72:09) Easy run at work.
  • PM - 6 mi (42:16) I stopped at the Groton Town Forest for an easy run. I have to get back there because it is awesome. I did not explore much because it was late and I did not have a map.
Wednesday:
  • AM - 5.2 mi (37:21) Easy run before workout.
  • PM - 11 mi (74ish) 3 mi w/up, 3.5 mi run w/ 5xhill repeat, 2mi @ 5k pace and then 2.5 mi cool down. The hills, about 250-300m, were not that hard but I had a tough time with the 2 mile on the track. I split the first mile in 5:00.6 and then started to slow a bit on the second mile and finished in 10:06.4 (5:05.8). The air was really thick and the track was like a sponge from all the rain. Easy cool down at the end.
Thursday:
  • AM - 5.2 mi (40:08) Really easy run this morning. I am really beat.
  • PM - 12 mi (1:24:29) I got back to the Groton Town Forest but had a map so I was a little more secure exploring even though I started late again. I felt much better than this morning but still took it pretty easy.
Friday: 10 mi (64:16) I started this run out pretty easy and progressively built it up to threshold pace near the end. I felt pretty good but it was really humid again. It was the first day without rain in about 2 weeks.

Saturday: 17 equivalent miles - I did a super-workout because I did not want to run twice today. I rode 21+ miles up through the Hollis Half Marathon course and then ran 10 miles when I got home. The ride showed that I have not been on the bike in a while and it was by far my worst ride this year. I could only manage 18.8 mph for an average (1:06:50) and the hills completely hammered my legs. The run went much better - I did the same course (10mi in 67:15) as yesterday with a little bit added on and averaged close to 6:45 pace.

Sunday: 15 mi (1:42:37) An easy long run. I did not want to go more than 15 miles because I have to have something to build to and I have been putting a lot of miles on my legs this past week. I started out slow but I ended the run at 6:30-6:40 min/mile pace and it still felt easy. Good week.

6/28/2009

I was really beat about posting last weeks training but I was on vacation with the family in DC and had a hard time getting caught back up with things, actually training and posting about it. The week was very tiring and included over 1000 miles or driving, 68 miles or running and no biking.

Monday: 8 mi (56:17) Really easy run. Nothing special.

Tuesday: 9 mi (62:05) Moderately easy run at work.

Wednesday:
  • AM - 5.2 mi (36:43) Easy morning run to shake out the legs.
  • PM - 14 mi () This was a very interesting workout. I was supposed to do 4x1600m @ 5k pace so I did a 7.5 mile threshold (3x2.5mi loop) run before the workout so that I would be tired when I started. It was pretty humid, but I felt good the whole way - loop 1 in 15:26, (6:10 pace) loop 2 in 14:19 (5:44 pace) and loop 3 in 14:22 (5:44 pace). When I got back to the track Nate Jenkins, Ruben Sanca and Rex (a UML runner) were at the track getting ready to do a 10k tempo run @ marathon pace (3:20/km). I am not sure how it happened, but I ended up running the workout with them. The pace was no problem and I just tagged along at the back, but I was getting pretty dehydrated and my calves started to cramp up. I stuck it out for 5km splitting 5:21, 10:41 (5:20), 16:00 (5:19), 16:40 and then dropped out. I wish that I had not done the threshold run before because I could have run that easily, but it was still a good workout. Finished with a 3.5 mi cooldown.
Thursday: Off because I was driving to DC all day.

Friday: 12 mi (85ish) I was lucky to find a greenbelt in Fairfax, VA to run on. It was really hot and humid and I had to run early in the morning, but at least I got to run.

Saturday: 10 mi (72:24) My feet and legs are killing me because of all the walking through DC so I slogged through this run in the heat and humidity. It is like 90 degrees and 90+ % humidity.

Sunday: 10 mi (70:33) I felt a little better today but my feet and legs are getting tired. This will be the last run in VA before heading home.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

06/21/2009

I had every intention of taking this week easy so that I could recover, but still run most days. It did not work out that way. I ended the week with 28.5 miles over just 3 days of running because I got a pretty bad cold on Tuesday that kept me from running from Thursday to Sunday. I suppose that I could not have planned the timing of the cold any better - one week earlier and it would have killed my race last Saturday and one week later and it would impact my ramp back up. I suppose I needed the rest but I am very anxious to get back to training this coming week.

Monday: 8 mi (56:17) Really easy run. Nothing special.

Tuesday: 8 mi (56:18) Easy run again but I am feeling a bit off.

Wednesday: 12.5 mi () I should not have run today because I came down with a cold (I was really achy and had a head ache all morning) but I decided to against my best judgment because I am feeling good, besides the cold, and wanted to run the workout tonight. The workout was cycle 4 miles to workout, 3mi w/up, 800m, 800m, 1600m, 1600m, 800m, 800m @5k-8k pace with 1/4 the distance rest between 2.2mi c/down and cycle 4 miles home. I did not want to strain too hard so I just went out and did what felt comfortable. My splits were 2:26 (1:35), 2:28 (1:40), 4:58 (2:47), 4:57 (2:46), 2:26 (1:22), 2:25. The whole workout felt really easy and I was pretty much just cruising the whole way but by the time I got home I was feeling awful. I crashed hard and slept for about 10 hours.

Thursday: Off because I am sick.

Friday: Off because I am still sick.

Saturday: Same as last two days.

Sunday: Off again but I am coming around and I am looking forward to getting back in the saddle tomorrow. I plan on getting most of my mileage on the bike this coming week but still probably hitting 50-60 running miles.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Balance Twilight Series, Meet 3

Full results here.

This was the final meet of the New Balance Twilight Series sponsored by, appropriately enough, New Balance and New Balance Boston. I would like to start out by saying how much I enjoyed this series and how much I appreciate them sponsoring such an event. I may have been a little out of place, a slow, old man trying to regain part of his youth, but the series provide great opportunities to run fast times and sharpen your racing skills. I had the best race of my spring season and managed to run faster than I thought possible at this point in my come back.

I had a really easy week of training this week (only about 40 miles or running and one pace workout on Wednesday night) so I was feeling pretty rested and hopeful about running fast tonight. I was not sure how things were going to go today though because I spent three hours out in the sun coaching my sons' baseball game from 10:30AM to 1:30PM and sweat a lot. When I got back to the house I had a quick lunch of rice and started hitting the water to make sure I was properly hydrated for the evening's race. When I got down to Waltham the weather was nearly ideal - it had cooled down to about 70 degrees and there was a very light breeze. I borrowed a page from the CMS group's warm up and did a nice easy 3 miles capped off by a quick 150m-200m acceleration. I have been a bit surprised by how well my speed has come around lately. I have been doing a lot of accelerations at the end of runs and strides after run and just in the last 2 weeks or so I have noticed that I feel much more fluid and natural. Tonight was no exception and I was able to gradually accelerate to top speed without straining. My only concern was that my left leg and hip were feeling a bit tight and I could not loosen them up no matter what I did.

Similar to last weekend's race, I used McMillan's Running Calculator to determine my seed time for tonight and entered a very optimistic 15:10 (a whole 29 seconds faster than 2 weeks ago). I figured that I ran a 4:06 1500m, which is equivalent to a 15:18 5000m, last weekend on tired legs so I should be able to go faster this week. With this in mind my race plan was to go out in 4:50ish pace but be flexible enough to adapt to what was going on in the race so that I had a group of guys to work with. Two weeks ago I made the mistake of sticking to my plan too well and running the whole race alone. I did not want that to happen tonight. As the gun went off all 25 racers and 2 rabbits went off and I fought to get out well but not get boxed into the first lane. I figured that there were far too many people in the race to get trapped like that. I felt great coming through 400m in 71 seconds and started to see the group of guys that I was going to work with - I think that they were Giovanni Signoretti, Carl Dambkowski, Barry Britt and Matt Terry. We continued on the pace nearly perfectly and hit 2:22 (71), 3:33 (71) and 4:44 (71) for the next three laps. I was a bit shocked by the first mile split since it was 18 seconds faster than I got out two weeks ago, but I felt really comfortable, I was not breathing hard at all and I had a good group of guys to work with. All of my other 5ks this year have been almost exactly evenly split and I never felt a lot of pain but this race would be different. The fast first mile would come back to kick my ass later in the race.

I kind of zoned out on the splits and really tried to focus on racing the guys was with, or at least sticking with the crowd and going to the front when I felt like the pace was dropping off, but I think that we started to drop off to 72's for the next mile. I remember going through 3000m in about 8:56 -8:57 and I am pretty sure that we went through 3200m in 9:34 (4:50 second mile) together as a group of 4-5 of us. I was feeling alright at this point, although a bit tired and my breathing was starting to get a little labored. The final mile was pure agony. I don't know exactly when I started to slow down but I think I was going between holding back and not running faster so that I would have a great kick and thinking this was the last race of the season and I had to lay it all down. I truly believe that I ran as fast as I could but could not maintain contact with the other guys I was running with for the last mile and I am pretty sure that I went through 4600m (1 lap to go) sub-14 minutes and 4800m in 14:34 (5:00 third mile). The last 200m on the track seemed to never end and my lungs were about to implode but I was able to close in roughly 36 seconds, not that spectacular of a sprint, and cross the line in 15:10.3. That is only 0.3 seconds off the seed time I gave and my 1500m from last week was only 0.87 seconds off the seed time I gave. I guess that I should have given a 14:59 seed time! I think that the last picture below was taken as I was running the last 100m of the race. The pain is obvious by the expression on my face and I do not look nearly as fluid as I do in the pictures above. The guys I had been running with finished in 15:07, 15:02 and Barry Britt actually went 14:58. I wish I could have stuck with them, but I am ecstatic with the race that I did run so I will have to wait until next year to get my first legitimate sub-15 5000m.

Entering this season I was not so sure what to expect because I struggled with an injury all winter and spent a large percentage of my training time on the elliptical trainer and the bike. I have accepted that cycling is a permanent part of my training but am very hopeful about what the future will bring based on my last month of racing. My first 5k this season was a dreadful 16:28 5k on the roads that had me doubting the training I was doing. My main goal this spring season was to get some speed into my legs and I really wanted to run sub-15:30 for the 5k. In the last month I have shown a lot of improvement and tonight I ran much faster than I ever expected to this season. I used to believe that all of my PR's were behind me but after tonight I think that my PR's for distances 3000m and up lie in the future. I have a lot of work ahead of me in the next couple of months and years but I finally feel like a runner again and am finally seeing progress.

Again, thanks to Tom Derderian for the photos. He has more photos of the meet posted here.

6/14/2009

This was an incredibly easy week. I almost did not know what to do with myself since I cut my mileage again to a measly 39.25 miles over 6 days and had one easy pace workout on Wednesday. All of my runs were very easy because there is nothing I could do this week to help my race on Saturday other than get enough rest and water. I finished off all of my runs with a set of 5-6 100m strides to work on my speed and form. Everything seemed to come together as my speed was coming into form, I was feeling rested and weather seemed to cooperate, especially on Saturday night. I could probably put together a list of statistics for the season but I don't really feel like it right now. The only stat that I am concerned with is the 15:10.3 5000m that I ran last night. That was the perfect cap to the spring racing season and I took a well deserved day off today, the first in over 6 months I believe. Next week I will be taking an easy week to recoup from the season and plan out the next training cycle that will be focused on the Bay State Marathon (despite Tom Derderian's warning about running the marathon). I will run this one marathon and decide my running future after that. I am actually planning on changing the name of my blog from 26.2 to runcrain so that it is less specific to marathon running and more appropriate for any race plans I have.

Monday: 6 mi (45:05) Easy run, nothing special. I did an easy acceleration at the end and did 5x100m strides.

Tuesday: 6 mi (42:31) Easy run to rest up for tomorrow's workout. Easy acceleration and 5x100m strides at end of run.

Wednesday: ~8.75 mi (60ish) 3 mi w/up, 10x400m @ 5k pace w/ 200m rest and 2+ mi cool down. I just wanted to do a pace workout tonight and feel good running the splits I want to run on Saturday night. I planned on starting out at 72's and working my way down as I warmed up. Splits: 72.1 (80), 72.2 (85), 69.8 (83), 71.2 (83), 69.7 (102), 70.1 (83), 69.1 (86), 69.4 (83), 70.1 (87), 67.3. I felt great doing these and the only difference on the last one was that I accelerated the last 150m or so. We took about 85 seconds rest on each one but I took one deep breath after crossing the line on each one and was fully recovered and ready to go again. This was a very easy workout (as it should be). I finished up the cool down with 6x100m barefoot strides on the track infield.

Thursday: 6 mi (44:15) Easy run with a 2oom acceleration at the end and 5x100m strides. I feel good today but I definitely need more rest. A tad tired from yesterday's workout. Work on stretching my hip.

Friday: 4.5 mi (31:56) I did a really easy run at home and finished with a 200m acceleration. At the end I did 5x100m strides and these felt incredible - I was able to accelerate with ease and stay relaxed. Rest as much as possible for tomorrow. Work on the hip with the foam roller.

Saturday: 8 mi (50ish) 3 mi w/up, 5k race in 15:10.3 (see my full post on this), 2 mi cool down. I was feeling a bit tired today and my hip would not loosen up. I had a spectacular race and ran so much faster than I thought possible this season.

Sunday: A very well deserved day off!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rhody 5k

Full results here.

Today I completed my trifecta of races for the week - the Hollis Fast 5k on Wednesday, the 1500m at the NB Twilight Series last night and the Rhody 5k today. The GCS crew met in Nashua at 6:45AM for the hour and a half drive down to Lincoln, RI. I think that we should have started out a little earlier because we cut it pretty close to the start of the race, but the lines were short and I was still able to get in my full warm-up. Anyway, I was feeling surprisingly good, albeit a bit tired. I was not really able to sleep at all last night and just tossed and turned until 5:30AM when I finally just got up. The same thing happened after the race on Wednesday too. I have never experienced that, but I do not think it hurt me too much today other than taking away a little sharpness.

I was pretty anxious for this race today because knew that a lot of the top guns in New England were going to show and I feel like I still have something to prove in my comeback - I ran crappy in my only other NE Grand Prix race (New Bedford 12k) and have not had any good road races. I was sure the race up front was going to go out fast when I saw Mark Carroll and Pat Tarpy (I guess he shut down his blog) warming up on the course. I knew that I could not go out in 4:45-4:50 and hold on so my plan was to go out in 4:55-5:00 for the first mile, which was slightly uphill, to assess how I felt and then move based on this. I felt pretty calm the whole warm-up and standing around at the starting line. I am not sure if this was a confident calm or if was a fatigue-induced calm but I was loose and ready to roll. As the gun went off people took off like a flash and I was running in the middle of a large pack. I hit the first mile in 5:00, pretty much on target, and probably in 30+ place. I felt good and saw several people ahead of me that I knew including Jim Johnson from CMS and the GBTC crew of Andrew Womack, Dan Smith and Kevin Somers so I pushed down one of the only small hills on the course just after the mile marker to get up with Dan and Kevin. I never really caught them but through out the second mile I saw 3 BAA guys blow up and drop out of the race and I passed upwards of 10 people, moving me into roughly 20th place. The end of the second mile had a slight uphill and I hit 2 miles in 10:03 (5:03) felling pretty good. Heading back down the slight uphill we run up in mile 1 I knew that the finish was getting close and I was continuing to pick off a couple people that I had never beaten before including Justin Fyffe (although I am sure he was pretty tired from VCM and Pack Manadnock) and Nick Wheeler. This is the point in the race where you either make it or break it - I knew that I had to keep pushing and there were lots of people to catch but both mentally and physically I could not dig any deeper or push any harder than I was going. Dan and Kevin started to pull away from me in the last half mile and I really tried to dig deep but found nothing there. I passed 1 or 2 guys in the last quarter mile before we entered the track passing through three miles in 15:02 (4:59) but pretty much cruised the finish on the track to cross the line in 15:35 (0:33) for 14th place.

Over all I am very pleased with this race, especially considering how many times I raced this week. It was my fastest 5k since getting back into running even though I was tired and it was somewhere between 75 and 80 degrees. I have one more race planned next weekend (the 5000m at the final NB Twilight Meet) where I hope to lower my 5k time to somewhere between 15:10 and 15:20. After this I will take a very small break and then start my ramp for the Bay State Marathon in October.

Photos are thanks to Tom Derderian and Jim Johnson.

6/7/2009

Wow, what a week this was. I got in 66.5 miles or running this week (no cycling this week!) and ran three very good races. I ran 14:56.5 at the Hollis Fast 5k, 4:06.87 in the NB Twilight 1500m and 15:35 in the Rhody 5k (a NE Grand Prix race). I am a bit tired from the whole ordeal and probably will not attempt to do this type of thing again, but I very happy with the results. This coming week should be much easier because I have one pace workout (10x400 @ 5k pace) and a race on Saturday night. I am too tired to write any more so I will leave it at that.

Monday: 6 mi (45:07) This was a really easy run today because I feel completely fried from the workout on Saturday. I was supposed to do 2 runs today but I skipped the shorter run to take a nap when I got home from work.

Tuesday:
  • AM: 6 mi (43:58) Same route as yesterday's run and I felt a bit better but my legs are still really tired. I can not believe that it is taking me this long to recover. The Hollis Fast 5k is tomorrow so hopefully things improve. I ended the run with a long acceleration.
  • PM: 3 mi (20:51) I stopped in Groton and did an easy run on the trails. I felt much better this evening than this morning. I did 5x100m strides after the run.
Wednesday:
  • AM: 3 mi (22:01) This was a very easy run early in the morning to shake out the legs for the race tonight.
  • PM: 9+ mi (60ish) 3 mi w/up, 5k race in 14:56.5 and 3mi c/down. I was not so sure how this one was going to go down because I have been feeling really tired the last couple days but I was able to put together a pretty good race. I posted a full report here. This was the first time breaking 15 minutes in over 10 years (although it is not technically legal due to the elevation drop). 1 down, 2 more races to go this week. Really rest up.
Thursday:
  • AM: 8 mi (60:12) This was a really slow regeneration run. I got almost no sleep last night but I feel better today than I have all week. Maybe I was fighting off a bug or something earlier in the week. Ended the run with a long acceleration.
  • PM: 3 mi (21:54) Stopped at a new trail head in Groton to do an easy run. The horse flies are getting aweful! Ended the run with 5x100 meter strides.
Friday:
  • AM: 3 mi (21:39) Easy morning run. Ended the run with a 100-150m acceleration.
  • PM: 6 mi (no time) Easy run around Mine Falls Park. I finished the run with a long acceleration and then did 5x100m strides on the track.
Saturday:
  • AM: 3 mi (21:50) Easy morning run to shake my legs out for tonight.
  • PM: 7.5 mi (50ish) 3 mile w/up, 1500m in 4:06.87 and 3.5 mile c/down with the NB Boston crew around Bentley campus. See my full post on this race.
Sunday: 10 mi (75ish) 3 mile w/up, 5k race in 15:35, 3.75 mile c/down with the CMS crowd. This was a good race for me and I am very glad the week is over. See my full post on this race.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

New Balance Twilight Series, Meet 2

Full results here.

I took another drive down to Bentley College in Waltham, MA tonight to run the 1500m in the second of three New Balance Twilight Series track meets. The main goal tonight was to run as fast as possible and get some real speed in my tired, old legs. I had to come up with a seed time and based on my 5000m race at the first of the Twilight meets (15:39) I calculated my equivalent 1500m time to be 4:11.7 using McMillan's running calculator. The last time I ran a 1500m was 10 years ago and I ran 3:49.01 so I did not want to enter a seed time over 22 seconds slower. Call it pride, but I knew there was still some magic left in my hat and I could pull out a time faster than 4:11 (and change). I went out on a limb and entered 4:06 (equivalent to a 15:18 5k and roughly a 4:25 mile). It turns out that this was fortuitous because I was the slowest seed in the 2nd of three heats.

I recovered remarkably well from the Hollis Fast 5k on Wednesday night and did not feel any soreness or fatigue tonight. I had to wait around until 8:10PM to race and there was a slight breeze on the track, but conditions were otherwise perfect for running fast - about 63 degrees. There was a rabbit for our race and he was going to take it out in 62-63 seconds/400m for the first 800m. Again, this was a bit fast for me so when the gun went off I tucked in the back part of the pack. I was not prepared for how physical the race was - there was a lot of pushing and shoving and jockeying for the inside lane in the first lap. I am sure it used to be like this but it has been so long since I have run the 1500m I kind of forgot. I got out at a decent pace but had to come to a near dead stop when some guy cut in front of me at about 300m to get the inside lane. I passed through 400m in 66 seconds - not bad, not good. I tried to pick up the pace over the next two laps and split 2:12-2:13 (66-67 seconds) at 800m and 3:17 (64-65 seconds) at 1200m. At this point I felt really strong and was not tying up at all so I made a surge for home. The same guy that cut me off at 300m did it again here and anyone who has run a 1500m/mile race knows that if your momentum is interupted at this point it is very difficult to recover from it. I tried to get the legs going again and push the last 200m but I did not have another gear like I used to and I crossed the finish line in 4:06.87. I closed the last 300m in about 49-50 seconds which is not bad, but it was actually the slowest part of the race. I actually feel pretty good about the time since I hit my seed almost exactly, which was very optimistic, and that is the fastest mile/1500m I have run in a long while. This should make going out in 4:50-4:55 for the first mile tomorrow morning feel much easier.

I saw Tom Derderian, the head coach of the GBTC, taking pictures tonight so I will update the post with official times and pictures when they are posted. Now it is off to bed because I have to meet my team mates at 6:45AM for the drive down to Lincoln, RI for the Rhody 5k in the morning ...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hollis Fast 5k

Full results here (you can see where I got the picture - thanks coolrunning).

Tonight I made the long trip all the way over to Hollis, NH to run the Hollis Apple Country Fast 5k. Actually, the Alpine Grove Convention Center (where registration and the awards ceremony were held) is only about 2.5 miles from my house and I have run the route over Depot Rd. in Hollis at least a thousand times on my long runs, although usually in the other direction. Over the last couple days, since my workout on Saturday, my legs have felt really fried and I have been really tired. I actually skipped a run on Monday to take a nap I was so tired. I have felt incrementally better each day but, surprisingly, I have not fully recovered yet. My legs were feeling a lot better today but they were still a bit tired and felt flat. I did a 3 mile warm-up to try to shake the blah feeling out of my legs but it was not really working. The race started a couple minutes late and I felt like I my warm-up was wearing off and I was cooling down.

My plan for this race was to not hold back and cover any move anyone else made in the first couple of miles. I did not want to finish this race with regrets like I did my last race. As the gun went off I went right to the front to make sure that the race got off at a reasonable pace. I held the lead until about half a mile or so when Nick Karwoski, Eric Beauchesne and ? passed me. I was fine with this as long as they maintained a decent pace. Before the first mile marker Nick went to the front and really started to push the pace and I made the decision to stick to him. I don't think anyone else covered the move because we were pretty quickly running alone. Unfortunately, I did not wear a watch or get any splits, but my guess is that we passed through 1 mile in a little over 4:50. For the next half mile or so every time I tried to pass Nick he would drift to the side that I tried to pass on and speed up. I decided to stay behind him but use this to keep the pace honest - every time the pace slowed a bit I pulled up on his shoulder and he would pick up the pace. I wanted to really push mile 2 because it had the largest elevation drop and should be the fastest, by far. This is one of the first times I have run behind someone that is bigger (taller) than me and I was fine with Nick doing the work. At the half way point there was a water station and even though I did not take water and Nick did he some how managed to put about 2o meters on me. I started to think that this was it but I pulled up to him just before the 2 mile marker and it appeared that he was struggling. We passed through one of the only flat sections at the end of the second mile and as we entered a big drop I put in a big surge to go past Nick for the final time and opened a 20-30 meter lead on him in the next half mile. The last mile seemed to be twice as long as either of the first two miles, probably because I was running alone and it hurt like hell, but I was able to keep a pretty constant effort all the way to the finish. I crossed the line in first place in a time of 14:56.5 (they listed my finishing time as 14:56.5 in the results at the race but rounded up in the coolrunning results). My only complaint about the race is that they moved the finish line off the main road where it used to be and I was confused about where the finish was. I think I eased up a bit to look for the finish line, but not by much.

Over all I would say this was a good effort, although not as good as my race at the NB Twilight Meet. Based on a thread on Letsrun.com, the elevation drop on this race (224 feet, although I have seen 242 and 262 feet in other sources) is good for about 40 seconds compared to a flat 5k (224 feet * 1.8 seconds/10 feet = 40.32 seconds). So, this performance was equivalent to 15:36.82 on the track but I felt much worse tonight. I suppose that if I were more rested and if my legs were a bit fresher I could have taken another 5-10 seconds off. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining about running sub-15, but it is my nature to be critical of every race and find things that I can improve on for the next race. Well, I have to really rest up because I still have the 1500m at the 2nd NB Twilight Meet on Saturday night and the Rhody 5k on Sunday morning. When official results and pictures are posted I will add links and photos to the post. I have to get to bed now ...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

5/31/2009

This was an excellent week - I ran about 92 miles (81 running and 11 equivalent miles on the bike) and had two excellent workouts on the track. This is my peak mileage week and I will start to cut mileage to begin a taper with the 5000m at the June 13th NB Twilight Meet as the goal race. I think that my mileage is high enough that I can carry the taper an extra week or so if that race does not go well and I want to take another shot at a fast time, but I have to start thinking about starting the marathon training program for the Bay State Marathon on October 18th (the real goal race this year). This coming week should also be very interesting because I am racing three times. The first race is Wednesday night at the Hollis Fast 5k (appropriately named because there is a net 224 foot elevation drop good for 40-45 seconds), followed by the 1500m at the NB Twilight Meet 2 on Saturday night (looking to get some speed) and then the Rhody 5k in Lincoln, RI on Sunday Morning. The Rhody race is a NE Grand Prix event. I should be pretty spent by the end of next week but I will have a much better idea of how fast I am capable of running.

Monday: 13ish - (24mi on bike and 5+mi running) This was supposed to be a hill workout day but I had to cram everything in before noon so I did a combo run/bike day. I rode 12 miles out to Silver Lake to meet Brian and Trent and on the way I hammered up Depot Rd and stopped to do 4 hard repeats up Long Hill Rd. We ran a little over 5 miles and then I rode another 12 miles home.

Tuesday:
  • AM: 10 mi+ (75:38) Nice easy run to shake out the legs after the hard workout yesterday.
  • PM: 4 mi (30:03) Easy run in the woods in Groton. Just to get in the miles.
Wednesday:
  • AM: 4 mi (29:07) Easy run in the Yudicky Farm trails. It was raining and really muddy, but it was fun.
  • PM: 11 mi (73ish) 3 mi w/up, 4x1600m @5k pace w/ 800m rest + 2.5mi c/down. I have been looking forward to this workout since the race on Saturday night because I wanted to prove to myself that I can run 4:55 mile pace comfortably and have a shot at running 15:20 for the 5k this year. The weather was ideal because the rain held off and it was only 49 degrees with no wind. I eased into the workout and gradually dropped the times for the first three then let it out a bit on the 4th repeat to see how it felt. My splits and rests were 4:56 (4:22), 4:54 (4:39), 4:52 (4:43), 4:47. I pretty much ran even splits for each of the miles although my first quarter was probably 1-2 seconds quick for the first three repeats. I was well within myself for the first three and could easily have gone faster - exactly how it should be. I was pushing a bit on the fourth one but not too bad. I probably went a little too fast but I am not racing again until next Wednesday. Get lots of rest and run easy the next two days.
Thursday:
  • AM: 10 mi (74:47) This was a really slow run to just work out the legs. My legs were not sore but they were amazingly tired.
  • PM: 10.1 miles on the stationary bike (30 minutes). I also lifted at the gym.
Friday:
  • AM: 5.2 mi (38:) Easy morning run.
  • PM: 10 mi (66:40) I was feeling pretty good and wanted to stretch out the legs a bit so I did a slightly up-tempo run. It felt really good but hopefully did not make tomorrow's workout any harder.
Saturday: 10.5 mi (70+) 3 mi w/up, 2 x (4x400m) @ slightly faster than 5k pace + 8x200m @ full speed & 2.2 mi c/down. I took 200m rest between the 400's and 400m after each set and 200m rest after each 200. The intention of this workout was to do some overspeed work and improve my leg turn-over and efficiency. The first set of 400's was pretty easy but the second set got much harder. The 200's were slightly frustrating because I could not crack 30 seconds, but I should be happy because I never thought that I would be able to do full speed 200's ever again after tearing my achilles 10 years ago. My splits and rests were: 67. 7 (67), 67.5 (78), 68.2 (78), 67.8 (2:17) 67.6 (72), 68.3 (72), 67.9 (73), 67.7 (3:14), 30.2 (75), 31.5 (79), 30.9 (83), 30.7 (88), 31.2 (88), 30.4 (84), 31.0 (81), 30.1 - pretty consistent, especially on the 400's. Overall this was a good workout and will hopefully get some speed into my old legs.

Sunday: 12 mi (1:28:59) This was a nice, slow recovery run after yesterday's hard effort. I was surprised at how fried my legs were and how tired I feel today. It is a good thing that I do not race for another 3 days. I am sure that I will be recovered in time.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

5/24/2009

I would have to rate this week much higher than last week because I got in a lot more miles, I ran two good workouts and I ran my first good race of the year. I ended the week with 88.5 miles (78.5 running miles and 30 miles of riding = 10 equivalent miles) and should be able to top that this week since I am not racing again until next Wednesday night. Racing well this week means a lot because it means that all the time I am spending training is not for naught. I was starting to wonder. The 15:39 5k time equates to pretty much what I thought I should have run last week at the Bedford 12k. I am planning on doing a hard hill workout tomorrow and then hammer the workout on Wednesday night (4x1600m @ 5k pace).

Monday:
  • AM: 11 mi ride (36ish) Easy ride in place of the morning run.
  • PM: 8 mi (54:41) This was the first of the Monday hill workouts so I did not want to go too hard. I did a loop at work with some big hills - I started out on a long steady climb at about 1.5-2 miles and then did 4 hard repeats on a shorter, steeper climb. I finished by doing a hard mile down the long hill I came up at the start. Below is the altitude profile. I lifted when I got back to the gym.
Tuesday:
  • AM: 8 mi+ (57:59) Nice easy run to shake out the legs after the hard run yesterday.
  • PM: 5.5 mi+ (39:25) Easy run in the woods in Groton. I was not planning on going this far but I got lost again.
Wednesday:
  • AM: 19 mi ride - Easy 11+ mile ride in place of the morning run plus I rode to and from the workout in the evening and it was about 8.5 miles round trip.
  • PM: 10.25 mi (71:25) 4 x (2 x 400m + 800m) with 1/2 the distance of rest. My splits and rest intervals were 72 (82), 71 (83), 2:28 (2:40), 72 (82), 72 (81), 2:28 (2:53), 73 (85) 70 (87), 2:27 (3:02), 72 (77), 71 (87), 2:25. The 4's and the first two 8's were pretty easy but the last two 8's were a bit tough because it was pretty warm (81 degrees) a bit windy on one of the straights. Even though the ride there was only a little over 4 miles, my legs felt pretty flat for the first half of the workout. I may not do that again. I did not wear my HR monitor because the battery in the chest strap is dead. Go really easy tomorrow.
Thursday:
  • AM: 6.25 mi (47:49) I had a hard time getting myself out the door this morning and did not get out until almost 7:30AM. Once I got going I felt pretty good, but I was going really SLOOOOOOWWWW. I think that is just what I needed to recover from yesterday though.
  • PM: 4.5ish (31:30) I stopped in Groton to run on some trails near Cow Pond Brook (South of Massapoag Pond). There are a ton of trails out there and I just noticed that the Haystack Observatory is close by. Maybe I will try to find it one of these days.
Friday: 6.25 mi (45:09) This was the same run as yesterday morning at about the same time. I felt like I was going about the same pace but it ended up being roughly 30 seconds/mile faster. I was so tired today that I skipped my afternoon run and took a nap. Hopefully this will help me tomorrow in the race.

Saturday: 9+ mi (60:20) I ran the 5000m at the New Balance Twilight Series meet 1 and finished in a time of 15:39.49. I put in a seed time of 15:45 and felt like I could run somewhere between 15:30 and 15:45 if things went well. I did a 3 mile warm up and 3 mile cool down. See my post on the meet for more details and pictures.

Sunday: 17.5 mi (120:43) This was the same route as last weekend with a additional 0.5 mile loop added at the end. Even after last night's race I felt pretty good on this run and not too tired. It was 70 degrees and a bit humid. When I got back I weighed in at 160.0 pounds, a low for me in quite a long time. I am shooting to get my weight down to 155ish pounds before the fall.

New Balance Twilight Series, Meet 1

I took a drive down to Bentley College in Waltham, MA Saturday night to run the 5000m in the first of three New Balance Twilight Series track meets. I really wanted to get some speed into my legs and I figured that this was a good opportunity to run fast since it was on the track, in the evening (I always run faster in the evening) and there was plenty of competition. The weather cooperated as the 90+ degree heat from the day before was replaced with cool, crisp 60 degree air. The wind was not too bad and eventually nearly completely died away by the time the gun went off at 7:10PM.

I was not so sure how I was going to do because I was extremely tired over the last couple days and I skipped a run on Friday afternoon, opting for a nap, and also skipped an early morning run on Saturday in favor of sleeping in. I also had heart burn or acid reflux all day long on Saturday - I should not have eaten fried clams the night before! Anyway, I usually do a 2 mile warm up before a race but decided to run a 3 mile warm up tonight to hopefully loosen things up and get the blood flowing. In the beginning of the warm up my legs felt heavy and my diaphragm felt very tight. By the end of the warm up, though, I started to feel pretty darn good. I stretched out well, did some strides and got ready for the start.

When the gun went off the rabbit took of at 68 seconds/400m pace - way too fast for me at this point. I did not get all of my splits, but I hit the 400m mark in 74 seconds and the 800m mark in 2:31. This is where I made my only (major) mistake in the race. I was unsure of my strength and did not want to blow up in the last mile so I let a group of guys in front of me (Matthew Haringa, Brian Lombardo, Andrew Erwin, Steven Kinney and Kevin Somers) go and I think they hit 800m in about 2:25ish. They opened up a 30m+ lead on me which remained for the rest of the race and I ended up running in no-mans land for most of the race. If I had gone with them in the first mile I probably would not have used up too much energy and I would have finished 5-10 seconds faster (presumably). Oh well, lesson learned. I hit the 1600m split in 5:01.7 and hit 74 second laps with the exception of the second lap. I continued this trend in mile 2 where I hit pretty even 75+ second laps and split 10:04 (5:02.7) for 3200m and passed one or two guys who dropped off the back of the group in front of me. This is when I started to feel confident and I started driving for the finish and to hopefully catch some the the guys in the group ahead of me. I did a pretty good job as I passed 4800m in 15:04 (4:59.6), my quickest mile of the race, and drove home the last 200m in 35 seconds to cross the line in 15:39.49. I came within 3 seconds of catching the back of the group in front of me. Finally, a good race!

I forgot how much I like racing on the track before this race. I am looking forward to doing the other two meets in this series and looking for a couple other smaller meets after that with the hope of getting my 5k time down to 15:20 (or better). Since the Rhody 5k (a NE Grand Prix race) is on June 7th and the second meet is on June 6th I will probably run the 1500m in that meet. I will run the 5000m in the 3rd meet.

I just noticed that it was almost exactly 10 years ago (10 years and 1 month) the last time I raced a 5000m on the track at the 1999 Penn Relays. On 4/22/1999 I ran my PR of 14:32.29, more than a minute faster than this race, as my first race of the spring track season. The scary thing is that I did that race off just mileage, no speed work yet, and my splits were 4:35, 9:15 (4:40), 14:00 (4:45), 14:32 (:32). The next two races I did that season were a 1500m (3:49:01) and 3000m (8:21.07, my PR) before I tore my achilles the following week during a speed workout. That was when I was forced into what I thought was permanent retirement. Memories ....

Photos by Tom Derderian of the GBTC. More can be found here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

5/17/2009


I took an extra day to think about my race at the Bedford 12k before posting so that I could get the right perspective. I was really looking forward to the race and had really high hopes of finally nailing a good race that I was happy with. Going into the race my goal was to run sub-40 (5:22 pace) and score in the top 20. I cut my mileage from the mid 80-90 mile range down to 67.5 miles and felt well rested. I got to Bedford at about 7:30 AM to scope things out and it looked like we were going to have ideal racing weather. It was 55-60 degrees and there was barely any wind. Well, things did not pan out as I ran 41:07 (5:31 pace) for 33rd place.

I don't think that I necessarily had a bad race, but I just could not get rolling. I made a point of getting out conservatively because I know that at these Grand Prix races people tend to go out pretty aggresively. I was planning to go through the first mile in about 5:20 and I hit it in 5:11. After that I settled into a group of guys (Jim Pawlicki and I think Scott Anderson were in there) and we seemed to gradually slow down in miles 2-5: 10:35 (5:24), 16:12 (5:37), 21:50 (5:38) and 27:26 (5:35). I think that we went through 5k in about 16:45 and the 5 mile split was better than any 5 mile race that I have done in the last 2-3 years since getting back into running. At this point there was a group of guys in front of us (Craig Fram, Wayne Levy, John Fortescue and Jason Cakouros) who I was focusing on. I really thought that I could reel them in but was never able to make up any ground on them in the last 2.5 miles. We were able to pick it up a bit in mile 6, which passed in 32:56 (5:30), but gave back the time in mile 7 as we ran our slowest mile in 5:41. I had visions of having a really fast finish on the track but by the time I hit the track I was dead and just holding on. I covered the last 0.45 miles in 2:30 and was able to barely hold off a last second charge by Ed Breen of GBTC. Overall, not a great race.

The pictures are thanks to Steve Wolfe and Jim Johnson.

This week was 'alright'. I intentionally took this week easy so that I cold hopefully race well. I hit 67.5 miles and 59.5 of those miles were actually running miles. So, I got a lot of rest, had a decent workout and a mediocre race. Based on the race results this week I am going to step things up a bit starting next week by adding a hill workout on Mondays and getting my mileage back up to 80-100 mpw. I am also going to do several 5k races to get some speed in my legs in the near future - the NB Boston Twilight series on May 23rd and June 13th, the Hollis Apple Country Fast 5k on June 3rd and the Rhody 5k in Providence on June 7th.

Monday: 20.55 mi (60:00) on the stationary bike then 2 miles on the treadmill (15:11) to shake out the legs. I just wanted to get in a real easy workout after the hard run yesterday. Surprisingly, I feel pretty good today. This will be the only ride of the week.

Tuesday: 9 mi (60:45) I only did one run today again to give my body some rest. It was supposed to be a real easy run but went a bit quicker than I expected. I did 5 x 10 second hill repeats during the run at full speed with at least 2 minutes of rest in between. I have read that Nate Jenkins has had a lot of success doing these through out the week to maintain speed and power (based on Renato Canova training I believe).

Wednesday: ~9 mi () About 3.5 mi warm-up, 10x400m @ 5k pace w/ 200m rest and then 2 mile cool. This workout was just intended as a pace workout - I wanted to feel good running 5k pace but not blast my legs so that I can still run well this weekend. My splits and rests were:

74 (83), 75 (81), 74 (75), 75 (77), 72 (83), 71 (83), 72 (81), 74 (82), 75 (78), 72

It was extremely windy but I still had a hard time running slow enough. The goal was to run them all at 75 seconds but I started drifting down to 71/72 seconds before I dialed it back. My heart rate only got as high as 182bpm (~90% of HRM) during the repeats and recovered to about 150bpm during each rest period and I kept the rests pretty short. Hopefully this workout is a sign that things are starting to turn and that I will start racing well. The output of my heart rate monitor is shown below. Run easy tomorrow and Friday and get rested up for Saturday.



Thursday: 8+ mi (59:40) I took it really easy today and just got the run done. Finished with an acceleration and stretched.

Friday: 5.2 mi (37:48) A really easy run to shake out the legs.

Saturday: 11.5 mi - 2 mi w/up, 12k = 7.45 mi race (41:07) and 2 mi c/dwn.

Sunday: 17 mi (1:57:59) Easy long run. Nothing special.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

5/10/2009

I did not race this week but I got in 96.2 equivalent miles (63.8 miles of cycling, 4 miles on the elliptical trainer and 68.2 miles of running) and 2 good workouts. I really want to race well next weekend at the Bedford 12k, which is a New England Grand Prix race, so I thing that I am going to back off the mileage this coming week by cutting back on the riding.

Monday
:
    AM - 22.3 mi (1hr) on the stationary bike + 2 miles running (15:00) at work during lunch. This was probably the hardest I have ridden yet. I warmed up for 20 minutes and then did a fartlek type workout of 1 minute hard, 1 minute easy for 30 minutes. After I got off the bike I did any easy 2 miles on the treadmill to shake out the legs.
    PM - ~5.25 mi (38:10) I stopped to run on the trails in the Massapoag Pond Conservation Land in Dunstable (maybe Groton), MA. I had not run here before so it was nice to get on some new trails. I felt good but got lost and went a tad bit further than I wanted.
Tuesday:
    AM - 21 mi (1hr) on the stationary bike + 2 miles on the treadmill (15:00). This was pretty much the same workout as yesterday but easier.
    PM - 5.2 mi (37:02) I went a little longer than I originally expected but I felt good tonight.
Wednesday:
    AM - 3 mi (21:15) I just wanted to get a short, easy run in.

    PM - 10+ mi () This was track workout night but instead of doing repeats on the track we headed over to a hill near the school and did hill repeats. Before the workout I was thinking that the workout was not going to be too difficult, but I was wrong. The workout consisted of doing 6 repeats of hills, where each repeat was 1 short, 1 medium and 1 long hill bout followed by a ~100m stride on the flat. The short hill was probably 75m, the medium hill was about 150m and the long hill was probably as long as 300m according to mapmyrun. Each repeat totaled about 0.75mi for a total distance of 4.5mi. I did a 3.5 mile warm up and a 2 mile cool down for a total distance of 10 miles.
Thursday: 20.5 mi (1hr) on the stationary bike. I was planning on going 90 minutes and doing a second run in the evening but my legs are pretty tired from yesterday's workout and I figured that I would be better off getting some rest and going long tomorrow.

Friday:
    AM - 12.5 (1:34:04) This is the run that I should have done yesterday. It was an easy 12.5 miles and I kept my heart rate below 150bpm the whole way. It comes out to 7:32 min/mi pace. At the start of the run my legs were really sore, especially my arse from the hills on Wednesday. This is exactly what happened last week when I did a long easy ride the day after a hard workout and I had a horrible race last weekend to boot. I think that I am going to switch things up and do the long easy run the day after the hard workout as my regeneration workout and move any rides to early in the week. The ride may be fine if I follow it up with a run but I did not run at all yesterday or last Thursday. I do not want to experiment next week because the 16th is the Bedford 12k (a New England Grand Prix race) and I would like to run well there, but the following week I will probably do a 50/50 mix of biking and running to see if I feel any better.

    PM - 4 mi (30:) I was really tired but wanted to get in an easy run tonight so I slogged out 4 miles on the treadmill at about 9:30 at night. Blah...
Saturday: 12.5 mi (1:30) I wanted to get in some decent mileage today but also wanted to give my hip a little rest so I did the old run to the gym, do 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer and run home bit. I got 8 miles of running and 4 equivalent miles on the elliptical trainer.

Sunday: 15.75 (1:37:09) Well, I was supposed to do the Medical Center 6k race today but I was just not feeling it. I had far more reasons not to run that I had to run (it is Mother's day and my wife would kill me, it was SUPER windy today, I would have had to get out of bed early, I wanted to drink a beer the night before, and the list goes on ...) so I decided to bag it and get in a good progressive long run at MP instead. Plus, next weekend is the Bedford 12k, which is a New England Grand Prix race, and I want to have a good race there. I was not sure how things would turn out, but I headed down to Mine Falls Park since I would get some shelter from the wind there.

I really wanted to get a good idea of pace and heart rate so I wanted to wear my Sunnto T6 with the foot pod for pacing information. Unfortunately, ever since the day I bought the foot pod it has not worked - any sudden impact will cause it to turn off so when I run it will turn off within the first 1/2 mile or so. I tried sending it back to Suunto last year to get it fixed but they said there was nothing wrong with it and that the tech who diagnosed it ran with it for a week with no problems. BS! Since the foot pod connected with no problems and only shut off when thumped, I figured it was a hardware issue (loose connection) rather than a software or wireless protocol issue. So, early Sunday morning I tore the footpod apart, re-soldered all of the connections, cleaned all of the contact surfaces and put it all back together again. Voila! It worked again without shutting off. I am sure the warranty is void, but what the hell. Anyway, I wore the foot pod and heart rate monitor on the run, although I did not calibrate the foot pod, and just went based on heart rate. LT pace for me is in the 170-175bpm range so I tried to work toward that and keep it there for 5-6 miles. I started out at an easy 7min/mi pace for the first 3 miles then eased into MP over the next three miles (~5:50-5:40 pace), which I held for 8 miles. I finished up with an easy 2 mile cool down. My mile splits were 7:11, 14:11 (6:59), 21:08 (6:57), 27:33 (6:25), 33:47 (6:14), 39:29 (5:42), 45:09 (5:40), 50:40 (5:30), 56:14 (5:33), 61:45 (5:31), 67:17 (5:31), 72:48 (5:31), 78:02 (5:13), 84:50 (6:48), 91:56 (7:05), 97:09 (5:13). I pushed the last mile pretty hard, but still felt comfortably near LT. The last 5 miles of MP work passed in 27:19, which is better than any 5 mile race I did last year, the last 10k probably passed in 33:55, based on my mile splits and the last 10 miles took 56:54. Even if the watch was optimistic by 2-3%, because it was not calibrated, then the workout was quite good. Below is a graph of HR, EPOC, VO2, pace and R-R (the time between heart beats). It looks like I pushed the workout a bit too much, based on the EPOC, but this was probably mainly due to the last mile being so much quicker than the others.