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

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


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

Monday, September 21, 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.