Sunday, June 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.


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.


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.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, 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 ...