Wednesday, April 26, 2017


Dave Dunham sits on an email response for 6 years.... classic Double-D....

I guess back in 2010 I didn't get it.  Boy do I get it now... I am 100% sure that he was 100% sure back in 2010 that he'd be able to send this email to me this week and have it be applicable.  

Monday, April 24, 2017

Catching Up

Week of April 17 - April 23

04-17 - [Monday] - PM: 1 mile w/up 26.2 miles race (Boston Marathon - 198th OA - 2:40:37).

04-18 - [Tuesday] - AM: 3 hrs of metal detecting. Could have run but felt like the day off and walking around would be better after the marathon.

04-19 - [Wednesday] - AM: 6 miles hilly snow-mo trails w/ Andy.

04-20 - [Thursday] - PM: 3 miles easy trails / roads / bushwhacking scoping out an old homestead site.

04-21 - [Friday] - PM:  3.2 mile w/up w/ Darin and Derrick + 3.2 miles (NHTI 5k - 1st OA - 16:37) + 2.6 miles cooldown w/ Darin, Derrick, Tim Cox, Aiden Cox, and some others.

04-22 - [Saturday] - PM: 5 miles easy w/ Andy (roads).

04-23 - [Sunday] - AM: Off. Family day...My birthday...

50.2 miles for the week on 8 runs.

Good week with a couple races, not much volume except for basically 1 day....and then 2 days off...yet still feel like I accomplished things... The goal was to get both my races in.... get through the marathon, and then just get my points for the CARS series (I'll probably drop down to 2nd now once Warren Bartlett starts going to the rest of the races but did what I needed to in the last couple)... I exceeded my expectations for both races, running decent at Boston all things considered, and then actually winning NHTI and running strong despite the conditions there.

Enjoying my birthday dessert with the girls...

Morgan doesn't eat enough ice cream and sweets (sarcasm abound)...

On another note....

"...You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death"

I'm now officially a 'master'.  I'm not talking about that post-30 indoor/outdoor track 'master' category that almost no one pays attention to.  I'm talking about the real deal masters stuff now.... like when people ask me 'how did you do this weekend?' I can say 'first master'... or sometimes 'second', 'third', 'fourth' master', etc.  If I ever find myself at a GP, I can quantify my efforts with a lower number + the term 'master' after it, rather than say '76th' or '94th', etc.  So I have that going for me....which is nice.

When young bucks like Matt Garfield or Derrick Hamel or Sam Fazioli or anyone of a number of top NH area runners wreck me in a 5k/10k this year, I can claim to have not cared about them because they aren't 'in my age group' anymore ;).  'I let you have it Matt... I knew I was going to get top master so I kind of mailed it in...' will be the frequent narrative.  Even though I would never let Matt have anything on purpose...I'm not going to tell him that. 

I remember my 10th birthday back in 1987... I remember being at my grandparent's house in Saugus, MA and being amazed at the fact that my age now had 2 numbers in it...

Strangely enough I don't remember at all turning 20...I remember going out to eat with my parents when I turned 21 but not 20... 

I do remember quite well, my 30th birthday.  I was back running again for a short period of time (I started in August of 2006 so by April of 2007 when I turned 30 I was back to running and racing, but still learning...  still climbing...).  I remember going to the track the day after I turned 30 and telling people on the warmup that I just turned 30.  I felt old. It was weird.  I think it was a little scary because I had just gotten back into running and racing and was very involved in getting caught up with everything I 'missed' by not running in my 20s (or past 21 anyways).  I sort of felt that 30 was pretty much 'too late' to start back again and I was frantically trying to fit in all the races I could to make up for all that lost time.  That's one of the reasons why in 2008-2012 I raced so much.  I was trying to make up for all that lost time.  I wanted to try to run fast before I got 'too old'.   I wish I knew what the timeline actually was for that.  Little did I know that over the course of the next 10 years I'd have some pretty good success (at least for half of that 10 years) and then some pretty good struggles...up and downs to put it mildly.  But then again, that's the story most everyone will eventually tell.

The last few years have been a struggle to put it mildly.  Not with life by any means, but with running in general. My life in the last 4-5 years has been moving in the right direction and in a direction I'd never want to change.  I have had two amazing kids with my beautiful wife, bought a house, moved up the ranks in my career, and developed some other interests that amazingly have bumped running down a bit in the priority list.  Back in the first 5 or so years of my second 'running career' I would have never ever guessed that I'd ever have a period of time where I was starting to fall 'out of love' with running and racing. I thought that it would always be with me but obviously as life goes on and I start to realize what is truly important to me, it's no longer a surprise that I find myself in the situation I'm in right now.  

Back in the thick of my racing during those years, I would often find myself amazed at how some other runners who were prominent racers for many years, all of the sudden stopped racing.  A couple of them stopped racing but continued to run a lot of miles (and still do). A couple of them stopped racing and running all together.  I would occasionally 'harass' them via email or even with comments on their un-updated blogs, asking them what the deal was.  I'd occasionally ask them when they are making their comebacks.  I'd joke around about how long it's been since they raced.  I'd constantly bring up the past glory days, hoping that they'd start back racing and running again.  I didn't get it.  I didn't understand because I was so wrapped up in my own running and racing, I thought that was everyone's world.  It wasn't. And now I get it.  I understand now and to those guys, I apologize.  I now understand how it's possible to not really enjoy racing any more...or even running sometimes.  I now understand how annoying it is to have someone email or text you or constantly ask you about running and racing when it's obvious you aren't into it anymore.  I get it.

When I started to get injured a little more (end of 2011 it kind of all started to slide), run and train a little less, and race a lot slower, I started to think ahead to my 'masters' debut. I have been thinking about being a master for some years now.   Thinking it will somehow get easier.  It hasn't.  But it IS something.  It is breathing some motivation back into my much I'm not sure.  I have thought for a few years that when I turn 40, I'll still be competing against the open guys with no problem.  Over the last couple years (and especially this year) I'm starting to realize that won't be the case.  I'm starting to feel fine with that.  I am realizing that it may take more effort than I'm willing to give it, to get where I 'thought' I'd be at 40.  But I'm not going to quit now.  

I think if I didn't have kids, I'd probably have stopped by now.  It's weird to say that, because usually it's kids that get in between a runner and his racing career.  Kids take up a lot of time, energy, focus, etc.  And rightfully so.  There is nothing better in life than having children in my opinion.  It's definitely by far the best thing that has and ever will happen to me. Being a father has changed my life forever...for the best.  I have been on both sides of this issue. I've not had kids...then I've had kids.  Believe me, I can speak truly from experience on that one.  I haven't heard one person ever tell me 'oh yeah, life was so much better before I had kids'.  That doesn't generally happen. If it ever does, that person (and their family) are probably not in a very good place.  Being a good runner is great.  Being a good Dad is imperative.  But why would I not hang it up at this point then?  Well a couple reasons... My kids enjoy going to races.  We generally (in the good weather) make it a point to make a day of it.  That's one of the reasons I do a lot of racing in the Seacoast area, etc.  We always have things to do...places to go after the race... they also like seeing their Dad run.  They may not exactly understand yet, what is going on...but they are getting older and starting to take note of everything around them.  Soaking in experiences like a sponge.  I want to show them that their Dad can still compete.  Can still have fun.  I want to show them what competition and sport is all about.  I don't want it to be just a thing I talk about with them later in life.  I want them to remember first hand.  Maybe they'll get into it.  Maybe it will help them get into something else similar.  Who knows.  But it's positive.  That much I know.  The only way it can hurt is if I set a bad example by having a bad attitude about it.  I also want to continue to race so that I know I will continue to run.  If I stopped racing, I'm pretty sure I'd stop running.  And being now in my 40s...with a family history of health issues, I don't want to go down that road. I want to try to be as healthy as I can so that I can watch my kids grow up and have kids of their own.  And to teach my kids the importance of exercise and living a healthy lifestyle.

Those are the reasons that are the unselfish reasons why I continue to do this.  The other reason is a selfish reason and that is because I know that if I stop now and don't at least give 40 a chance, I will always regret it later.  Even if I struggle to race within a minute of my 'normal' 5k pace from this point on, at least I know.  There will never be that question.  But if I just hang it up now, I'll never know. 

I think turning 40 this year is a Godsend to be honest.  My motivation level has been at an all time low. If I was turning say 38 or 39 this year, I think I would force myself to stop.  But this turning point is happening right at the right time.  Also, I registered a Reach the Beach team for September and already paid for it, so I am eyeballs deep in entry fees I can't quit now.  

I have talked at length about Masters running with a lot of my teammates and guys I look up to and respect in the sport.  Guys like Dave Dunham and Dan Verrington and Eric Morse, etc.  For years I've been picking their brains about their Open vs Masters careers.  What is harder, what is easier (if anything), etc.... More recently I've talked to Kevin Beck, Tim Cox, etc. about how things went when they got to that point (and since then).  The consensus has been for the most part that at age 39 or so you are basically in purgatory.  Just waiting to turn over to that magic number you can put down in the 'Age on race day' box so that your results will suddenly mean something again.  Well my time has come.  And Dave Dunham sent me some very interesting numbers from his time as a 'masters' runner.  He's definitely a unique story in some ways because he's been so frequently injured (a lot as a master) and had such a stellar Open career (0-39) that his masters times 'seem' to be a little out of whack... He was getting faster and putting up faster 'Masters' times deeper into his Masters career.  Darin Brown (my most frequent training partner) is the same way.  He's running faster 'Masters' times the older he gets.  He just turned 50 this winter and he's still on the upswing.  Eventually that will change but for now, it's certainly impressive.

Friday, April 21, 2017


I hit up the CARS series race #3 in Concord, NH tonight (NHTI 5k)(results).  It was the battle of the boys who ran Boston.  Marathoner's Derrick Hamel and Sean McCauley amongst others toed the line in a downpour tonight on the campus of NHTI for a typically fast 5k on Friday night in April... unfortunately it was only 4 days removed from the Boston Marathon...and it was in the 30s....and it was pouring....and there were flooded parts of the course...and they had to put a deep layer of rocks down in stretches (that you had to run over for 20+ feet at a time)... and they changed the starting area from the last time I ran it...I heard before the race that it was going to be slightly 'longer than a 5k'.  I ended up having 3.22 on my watch.  All these things made a normally disappointing 16:37 feel very satisfying.  Yes there isn't even a 1 foot elevation change in this race, but still, it wasn't a super fast night for me but I still made the most of it.

I warmed up with Darin Brown and Derrick over the course and felt 'ok'. This week I've run but I've taken it pretty easy to try to recover enough to just go to NHTI and get my CARS series points.  Derrick felt good enough to do a last minute registration (yes he registered AFTER warming up with about 10 minutes to spare).

The skies opened up right as the race was getting underway.  It started to pour.  Cameron Cook took off pretty early right out of the gun as did fellow CARS series rival Dylan Tuttle.  I lingered a bit and went out pretty cautiously as we negotiated puddles and flooded potholes.  I was soon hot on Cameron's tale and actually passed him not too far in but wasn't pushing too hard...I felt very comfortable.  Seemingly right after I got the lead, Casey Carroll went blasting past me.  He pulled away a little but I didn't panic.  I ended up reeling him in and went back by him.  From there (probably right after the mile or right around the first mile) I had the lead and just kept pushing through the puddles.  My hands were killing me.  I didn't wear gloves and that was a huge mistake.  Others had gloves, hats, etc. on. I couldn't feel my thumbs and few fingers by the time I finished.

I held off Derrick in the end, who was on the hunt over the last mile.  I kept looking back and getting intel from some of the spectators as to how close he was.  We were both running on some heavy, tired legs but in the end, I came through in 16:37 and Derrick was only 8 seconds back.  Not too bad for a couple of guys who are still trying to recover from the 'long run' on Monday. Overall I felt probably better than any other 5k I have run this year, which is kind of crazy.  Maybe I'm finally 'starting' to get into wouldn't know it by seeing me with my shirt off though.

Before tonight I only had 1 win all year. Granted I haven't raced all that much and didn't do any snowshoe races but still...they've been hard to come by for me.  I was glad to get another win tonight. last race as a sub master!  I went out with a bang.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

2017 Boston Marathon

I decided to give Boston a go on Saturday as I headed into the city to pickup my number.  We were spending the Easter weekend down south of Boston anyways.  I figured I'd go in and pick up my shirt at least...since I paid for Boston (registered back in September).  Initially I was going to train for it and that slowly died over the course of the winter.  20 mile workouts are a bit much on the treadmill for me and I slowly stopped doing anything that remotely looked like a marathon training plan.  My races this year haven't been great and I just talked myself out of going and struggling through 26.2 miles.  But when I went in to pick up my bib, I got caught up in the whole thing again and felt differently about it. I felt like I should just do it.  I was going to go and just 'run' it if I was going to run it.  Not try to go out and run 5:42s like my original plan was going to be.  I figured if I did run it, I'd be good with going out at 6 min pace and just try to treat it like a long hard tempo and try to survive.   That's basically what I did, and I'm grateful I did it.  I think it was a good decision for me.  I came to this conclusion when I was jogging down to the starting corrals and then when I lined up and watched all the elites come out.  Then when the anthem was sung and the jets flew over...I got pretty overwhelmed in the whole thing and was happy to be part of the moment at that point.  There was no question. I was very happy that I made the choice to be there. I had pretty much accepted that if I ran 2:40s I'd be over-the-moon thrilled. If I ran 2:50s I'd be ok with it and wouldn't be disappointed in the least.  I wanted to finish and at worst just qualify for next year.  Most importantly though, I just wanted to go out and accomplish the feat of running it, as I had planned on doing since September.  I didn't want to take the easy way out and just not go.  It wouldn't be fair to me or to a lot other folks who couldn't go even though they wanted to be there.  Guys who got hurt over the winter during the build up... people who just missed qualifying...people who no matter how hard they try, cannot qualify.  I just wanted to go and take advantage of my opportunity to run this race and not take it for granted.

Obviously the course drop in the first bunch of miles makes it difficult to NOT run too fast.  I was a bit under 6s (not too much but still under) for the first 10 or 11 miles. I constantly backed off.  I was just running within myself and amongst a slew of other 6-min pace guys trying to behave themselves.  I felt good until about halfway and then I started to feel it just a little bit.  But nothing bad. I kept thinking of it as a long run.  I had no pressure on myself which I think was a huge advantage.  I just wanted to finish if possibly under 2:50 and had that in the back of my mind as my main goal.  I knew I was well ahead of that and just kept up a similar tempo for as long as I could.  I didn't care at all who was around me...who was going by me...who I was going by.... etc.  I just kept enjoying the run, high-fiving kids along the way, and making sure I took water and Gatorade at every stop.  It got a little warm but I was fine with that typically.  It was nothing like 2012.

I was under 60 for 10 and that feels pretty easy on the Boston course...My half was 1:17 and change. I went through 20 mile split in 2:00:30 and was pretty surprised.  I had 1:59:35 on my Garmin's 20 mile split... That was on the way up heartbreak hill (maybe a mile from the highest point?)... so I had slowed a bit but was still right at 2 hrs or just under...crazy.  Miles 15/16 and then obviously heartbreak hill after 17 have some uphills so my pace started to creep up a bit but I was still feeling pretty strong.  I was getting increasingly aware that I was going to finish and I was getting pretty emotional about it.  The crowd is amazing.  I saw a lot of familiar faces and heard my name here and there and it was just a great feeling to be a part of it after almost talking myself out of not being there.  I started for a brief moment to love running again.  It felt like running in it's purest form for me.  It felt like it was the pinnacle of running in New England and I was right there in the middle of it.  There's nothing like it in running at least that I've experienced, for a guy like me who never had aspirations for going to the Olympics or even the trials.  It's pretty much the biggest stage I can run on and I was there for a few hours on Monday.  Sure I had thoughts of getting older, slower, and some flashbacks to the glory days of running...I had some dumb thoughts about how this could be my last race.  I had thoughts of all the good and bad things that you think of when you run marathons.  During the highs and lows, all sorts of crazy things pop into your head.  But I just kept looking around and seeing and hearing all the people yelling and screaming for me and the other runners as we passed by and it really made me appreciate what I've been able to do.  I think this is just what I needed to make sure I don't lose sight of the big picture.

Obviously the last 10k I was just about finishing.  The downhill after mile 21 or so didn't treat my legs so well.  My cardio was a complete non-issue. I don't even remember being in any distress 'fitness-wise' but my legs were a pile of crap.  I could have probably carried on a conversation at that pace by my hips and feet and hamstrings/calves were so tight I was just hoping to be able to keep it under about 6:30s for the way in.  I wasn't cramping or even close...but just sore and tight.  My legs are just not used to running 26.2 miles.  My base allowed me to be able to run 6:20s for the last 10k without any issues.  The last couple miles felt incredible.  When I made those last couple turns and then saw the finish line, I was close to breaking down emotionally.  Thinking about what has transpired in that race since I last finished it in 2012... thinking about how close I was to maybe never doing it again and how close I was to skipping it.  I had made it.  I was close to breaking 2:40 (relatively speaking) as I came through in 2:40:37.  I was 198th overall (including the elite women).  I was also the 3rd NH finisher.  That's not too bad considering.  Only 24 people (all men) beat me that were older than me.  That's a good sign for next year.  2:40 is about what I have in me with just 'running' every day.  Maybe in the fall I can go a little quicker and run under 2:40 as a master if I do the appropriate training.  It kind of makes me want to do it again.  A road marathon is tough.  More so emotionally and psychologically than physically for me, but certainly it's physical torture as well.  It's not like anything else I've done.  But it's the thing that makes me feel the most accomplishment out of anything when I complete it.  Especially Boston.  I've now started 5 Bostons. I've finished 4.  Two of those 4 were huge blowups and my two slowest marathons ever.  1 was good (2:30:00 in 2009).  1 was a DNF at 15 miles when I was crushing it (2011 when I was 1:11:01 through halfway).  This one was my 2nd best Boston which is crazy to think about, but it's true...

Boston is tough.  There's a lot of pressure especially for New Englanders.  It's the race that everyone asks you about. 'Oh you run? Have you ever run Boston?' is a common question you hear as a runner in New England.  Or better yet, 'Oh you run marathons? Have you done Boston'?.  It sucks to have to say 'yes, I run but no I've never run Boston'... or try to have to prove that you are in fact a real runner without having run Boston.  That's the race that everyone knows.  So when you finally run a qualifier, you now have to spend the crappiest part of the calendar year, training for Boston.  The winter in New England can be pretty rough.  And when/if you finally make it through and get to the line, ready to go, you still have to pull it together for the next 2-3 hours+ and that part is easier said than done.  Boston is often a race that takes many times to get right.  Sure if you are Dan Vassallo, Dave Dunham, or some other stud, you can one-and-done it and conquer it on the first time....but most of the time it's a love-hate for people.  I find that typically no one really cares too much about anything else you run all year, but when you run Boston, people come out of the woodwork to follow your run.  Everyone starts tracking you, sending you messages,  calling you, etc.  I had a ton of emails, texts, etc.  People from family... etc. .. People I haven't talked to in a long while.  All of the sudden the outpouring of congratulations and inquires came in in the hours after the race.  If you don't run well, that can be very hard to take.  You don't want to get mad at people for telling you they are proud of you and amazed at your accomplishment...and you don't want to sound ungrateful or like a sore loser...but deep down it's tough to have to justify what happened if it didn't go well.  This is what scares people away from Boston typically. I know as more often than not, I have had to go through this.  This year, I think I've gotten over that as I don't really have expectations of PR-ing anymore.  I was 13 minutes slower than my best.  I was 5 minutes over my qualifier time.  But none of that really weighed on me then or now as I type this. I accept it.  But I also realize that 2:40 at almost 40 years old and with the amount of work I put in, is an amazing run for me.  And I'm grateful to be able to identify that now.  I've been close to hanging it up in recent months and now I feel like that's the wrong thing to do at this point. Maybe I'd be better off focusing on longer events now...but we'll see as the year goes on.  For now, I am sitting here recovering from Boston and feeling accomplished for finishing what I started.  I have to find a way to drop the extra 15 lbs I have put on though!  Why am I gaining weight still!!!

Oh yeah, our team (CMS) finished 9th out of 67 Men's Open teams. Not too bad!  The men's Masters team finished 15th of 72.  Calling all CMS masters guys for next year.... lets do this.  Try to squeak in your qualifier now somehow....

Garmin data:

Splits  Time Cumulative Time Moving Time Distance Elev Gain Elev Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace
1 5:48.4 5:48 5:48 1 29 133 5:48 5:48 4:45
2 5:47.0 11:35 5:44 1 21 80 5:47 5:44 5:11
3 5:49.4 17:25 5:48 1 22 71 5:49 5:48 5:13
4 5:41.8 23:07 5:41 1 -- 70 5:42 5:42 5:11
5 5:57.6 29:04 5:55 1 44 34 5:58 5:55 5:27
6 5:50.2 34:54 5:48 1 -- 12 5:50 5:48 5:23
7 5:49.2 40:44 5:48 1 -- 7 5:49 5:48 5:34
8 5:57.7 46:41 5:53 1 35 24 5:58 5:53 5:29
9 5:57.4 52:39 5:54 1 10 23 5:57 5:54 5:39
10 5:58.0 58:37 5:54 1 20 -- 5:58 5:54 5:32
11 5:59.4 1:04:36 5:58 1 13 -- 5:59 5:58 5:41
12 5:55.5 1:10:32 5:49 1 17 75 5:55 5:49 5:25
13 6:05.0 1:16:37 6:04 1 26 14 6:05 6:04 5:28
14 5:59.8 1:22:37 5:57 1 22 19 6:00 5:57 5:31
15 6:09.3 1:28:46 6:06 1 43 26 6:09 6:06 5:34
16 5:56.7 1:34:43 5:50 1 16 129 5:57 5:50 5:18
17 6:15.1 1:40:58 6:14 1 71 -- 6:15 6:14 5:33
18 6:18.9 1:47:17 6:14 1 65 27 6:19 6:14 5:12
19 6:03.6 1:53:20 6:02 1 -- 29 6:04 6:02 5:39
20 6:14.8 1:59:35 6:11 1 48 19 6:15 6:11 5:32
21 6:39.8 2:06:15 6:31 1 93 7 6:40 6:31 5:51
22 6:18.7 2:12:34 6:16 1 -- 90 6:19 6:16 5:41
23 6:25.1 2:18:59 6:20 1 -- 53 6:25 6:20 5:35
24 6:24.1 2:25:23 6:21 1 29 61 6:24 6:21 5:37
25 6:24.2 2:31:47 6:22 1 -- 49 6:24 6:22 5:53
26 6:20.1 2:38:07 6:20 1 -- -- 6:20 6:20 5:19
27 02:36.2 2:40:43 2:23 0.43 -- -- 6:03 5:32 5:04
Summary 2:40:43 2:40:43 2:39:12 26.43 623 1,069 6:05

Monday, April 10, 2017

Training Week: April 3 - April 9

 Week of April 3 - April 9

04-03 - [Monday] - PM: 3 miles. Easy roads late. Felt awful. 3+ hrs earlier of shoveling snow and chipping ice at my parents (they are now back for the season)...

04-04 - [Tuesday] - PM: 10 miles roads w/ Andy.  Right leg actually bothering me today and the weather is a colossal bag of crap. Snow most of the morning and snow/rain in the afternoon. Everything was slush and soaked. Freezing rain by the time we ran at around 5:30.

04-05 - [Wednesday] - PM: 10 miles as 8 miles of a hill circuit and 2 tempo miles.

04-06 - [Thursday] - AM: 5 miles. Easy roads in the rain. Felt like complete crap.  PM: 8 miles with Andy in the pouring rain. Felt slightly better than complete crap.

04-07 - [Friday] - AM: 4.1 miles. Easy roads in the rain. Felt like complete crap again. Barely made it. PM: 5 miles with Darin. Spotted him out the window as he ran by my house so I caught up to him and ran an easy 5.  Something is up.  May have to shut it down or go see someone if I continue to slide ...

04-08 - [Saturday] - AM: 8 miles on the Kanc...a little up-tempo but still felt pretty crappy. Better than the last few days though.  Actually had a little flurry come through as I was on the way back.... crazy weather.

04-09 - [Sunday] - AM: 3.5 miles w/ up - some w/ Garfield, Hamel, Erwin and then strides + 5 mile race (Reds 5M (results)- 3rd OA 26:59) + 2.5 miles c/down w/ Garfield, Hamel, Erwin, Sam, Abby, and a very well behaved dog.  Struggled in the race early and never quite felt right as has been the case lately. Went out exactly where I thought I 'should' go out (way slower than last year but considering what has been happening...), and felt terrible doing it. Rebounded slightly during mile 2 but then by 3 I started to feel like hell again. Didn't fall completely apart but still struggled to find any sort of comfort at a quicker pace.  Same two dudes who were ahead of me at the first NH GP beat me again, but in reverse order.

64.1 miles for the week on 11 runs.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Training Week: March 27 - April 2 - SEA 5k

My view for the bulk of my 900+ miles so far this year...'The Mill'. That is how I have to watch TV. No joke.

 Week of March 27 - April 2

03-27 - [Monday] - PM: 10 miles.

03-28 - [Tuesday] - AM: 10 miles as 4 mile w/up + 2 x 800 (2:30) + 4 x 400 (1:12) + 2 x 200 (:35) with about a minute in between each + cooldown.  Light workout volume-wise but quicker than I've been running.  65:20 total.

03-29 - [Wednesday] - AM: 5 miles. Roads/woods.  Easy recon over some remote property I got access to for the spring dirt fishing season (when this MF snow finally melts)... First 'snow' run of the year.  In my normal shoes though... Snowmo trail is in great shape surprisingly.  Pretty easy running.  Found an old wall but it ended up being on the back property line and the good piece of land appears to be on the wrong side of the wall... Scouted out a couple more areas along the snowmo trail back out to the road.  Definitely some other old areas I need to get permission on that could potentially have some goodies.

03-30 - [Thursday] - AM: 5 miles. Roads. Beautiful calm before the storm. PM: 8 miles roads. Felt like total and utter crap for some reason.

03-31 - [Friday] - AM: 10 miles.  Last day at the Mill? ...maybe ever?  At least for this winter /spring it is.... I have never run this late into the year at the Mill. I paid through March and I used it right up until the last day.  Crazy. Usually I pay for March and barely use it.

04-01 - [Saturday] - AM: 13 miles.  Re-upped at the Mill for April for the first time in history... Race was supposed to be today but was postponed until Sunday due to the foot of additional snow we got on Friday night/all day Saturday.  Probably 'over-did' it with 13 miles but I felt ok so I just kept running.

04-02 - [Sunday] - PM: 3.4 mile warmup w/ Kevin Beck, his XC teammate from H.S Troy Patoine., and Darin Brown + 3.1 mile race (3.2 on the Garmin so I'm counting that in the weekly mileage) - SEA 5k - 2nd OA - 16:31 (results).  A whopping 37 seconds slower than my win there last year.... I have work to do.  Eventually when the snow melts in June, I'll be able to get on the track.  2.5 mile cooldown with Beck, Brown, and Troy.... I temporarily have a lead in the CARS series now.  That will all change most likely when Warren Bartlett makes another couple races...  The good news is that my unbeaten streak against 11 year old Aiden Cox is still alive and well.  My goal if all else fails, is to try to stay in front of him for as long as I can.  With his progression over the last couple years, I fear that will probably only last me another year or so, IF that. That kid is legit.  His sister ran incredibly fast today as well at only 14.... 17:08 as an 11 year old (Aiden) and 18:25 for Addison at only 14 years old!  What is Tim Cox feeding those two!

70 miles on 10 runs.  

The SEA 5k was race #2 in the CARS series for 2017 on Sunday and it was pushed back a day due to the storm on Fri/Sat.  The field was a little light because of the change in days but the talent all the way up front was pretty good. Colton Ham (who I don't believe I've ever beaten and won't be changing that any time soon) was out quick right away and probably only had to run hard for a mile or so before he could relax (ah to be 22 again). He looked incredibly smooth from my seat way back in 2nd place.   I think he had about the same lead from maybe 3/4 of a mile or so to the end.  I ran to hold 2nd the entire time which was a little depressing but that's about what I have right now. 16:30 felt laborious to say the least.  The conditions were pretty much ideal. There was a little bit of wind around 2 miles but it wasn't really seeming to matter much.  The weather was 'warm' all things considered.  My Garmin splits were crazy.  5:02 / 5:12 / 5:17 and then 1:00 for the last .2 (had 3.2 on the Garmin).  I always think it's funny when I get 3 Garmin splits all under the pace I ended up getting per mile in the results.  The offset between the actual mile markers (which were not present on the course today) and the Garmin miles are usually a couple seconds or more sometimes (which adds up in a 5k).  And then the last .1 is always long to make the course official... but to see 1:00 for my last '.2' is pretty funny. That was the difference maker (although I was running pretty hard for that last bit).  I should stop paying attention to the Garmin...although today, there not only wasn't any mile markers but there wasn't even anyone standing at any of the mile marks giving out times or anything...I thought I'd be around 16:30 and I was pretty much right on.  I have some serous work to do.

It was fun hanging out and talking to Kevin Beck again. I haven't seen him since Cigna back in like 2010 or so (that was the only time I had ever talked to him in person)... We've been mutually busting each other's balls "virtually" online for the past 7 years or so... He's a funny dude and very knowledgable about the New England running scene (and obviously running in general). I always love hearing the stories and insight from one of the regions top runners back before I started running again... It was great to see him lace em' up for a race again... for one of the first times in the last 10 or so years.

I did manage to get out for some pathetic detecting on Thurs/Fri.  I went to the railroad beach peninsula near the head of the lake because that was exposed and in the sun...most of the snow had melted on the tiny beach area so I went down there with the Makro to see if I missed anything with the AT Pro last summer.  I obviously couldn't go in the water because, well, the lake is still 100% frozen over.  But on the beach,  I found 6 modern coins and nothing else of real significance. It was pretty much a waste of time. The snow was knee deep getting out there.   On Friday, I went up into the woods in a ridiculous attempt to see if any of the stone walls were exposed and maybe I could check along the top of the wall. There was an open area where there was an old logging road cut in, that the sun had been shining in and the snow was actually a little thin there.  There was also a couple of bare spots.  In basically the only spot I could detect in, I landed an old early 1800s small flat button 'WELLINGTON' makers mark on the back with a wreath.  This makes me think this Makro Racer 2 is going to be a beast when the snow finally gets the hell out of here because I have been over that spot before with my other machine and missed it.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Training Week: March 13 - March 19 + March 20 - March 26 + Gilmanton 5k

 Week of March 20 - March 26

03-20 - [Monday] - PM: 8 miles.

03-21 - [Tuesday] - AM: 5 miles easy roads. PM:  10 miles roads w/ Darin.

03-22 - [Wednesday] - PM: 10 miles uptempo.

03-23 - [Thursday] - AM: 5 miles easy. PM: 10.1 miles roads w/ Darin.

03-24 - [Friday] - AM: 6.3 miles.

03-25 - [Saturday] - PM: 4.1 mile w/ up w/ Dunham, Tilton, Mahoney (ran the course) and then more w/ DD (another mile w/ strides) + 3.1 mile race (Gilmanton 5k - 2nd OA - 17:22 (results)) then 3.1 mile cooldown.

03-26 - [Sunday] - PM: 6 miles.

70.7 miles on 11 runs.  

Good CMS contingent at the start....Tilton, Dunham, JJ, Mahoney...RD Scott Clark with his back to the camera.

I've all but given up on Boston and will just be 'running it' or bagging it.  It is kind of a pain in the a$$ now to be honest. I don't have any desire whatsoever to run 20 mile workouts in the cold and snow (or on the treadmill)...and I have even less of a desire to race a marathon on a Monday right before my birthday...

This week I ran the first CARS series race and it was my first time running the Gilmanton 5k.  It's got to be the slowest road 5k around for sure (Dave Dunham did a blog post a few years back about the All Time Sub 18 list at Gilmanton).  Needless to say, unless your name is Eric Morse and you're in 14:2X shape at the time, you won't be looking at breaking the record there and probably aren't going to break 16 if history is any indication...  The hill during the 3rd mile was all snow and a couple of mud tire tracks which made the climb a bit slower than usual.  Otherwise, the weather was pretty good. I just suck at downhill running right now.  I wouldn't even say my uphill was that great but it was better than my downhill.  During the first mile I got passed by the eventual race winner Warren Bartlett and my CMS teammate Chris Mahoney.  They opened up a pretty big gap with Warren comfortably out in the lead and Chris halfway between Warren and myself.  I was starting to realize I am not even able to break 5 minutes on a downhill mile right now.

When I hit the bottom of the hill and took the snowy turn onto Currier Hill Rd. I was in deep third and was only about 10 yards in front of 11 year old phenom Aiden Cox.  I started to get concerned that not only was I going to get smoked by Warren and Chris but now I had to try to deal with Aiden getting his first (of soon-to-be-many) scalp of me in a 5k.  I didn't give up though and just put my head down and looked for the best route to take up the climb.  Occasionally I looked up to see Chris battling with Warren.  They were now running together and they were weaving all over the road trying to find the best footing.

By the end of the climb, Warren had about a 10-15 yard lead on Chris and I had caught up to Chris.  I went past him and then had my sights set on 1st place.  He looked to be hurting a bit so I went from thinking 4th place or worse, to actually winning it....but those hopes were dashed as soon as I got within about 5 yards of him and the last downhill section started.  He took off and outdistanced me by about 10 seconds over the last .2 or so.  Unfortunately the race didn't continue to climb to the finish.  I may have been able to squeak it out if it had...but that last downhill section was the final nail and I had to settle for 2nd and hold off a charging Mahoney who was only 7 seconds back.

Overall though I'm satisfied with the 'race'. The time...not so much...but I didn't completely suck and give up too much like I was afraid I would. I hung tough and had some fight in me over the last part of the race which is a definite plus.  $100 cash for the 2nd place finish doesn't hurt either.

I also got to town-bag Gilmanton.  I had never run in that town before.  Thanks to race directory (and CMS legend) Scotty Clark and his family for putting the event on.  I may have to go back next year now that I know what that hill is all about.

Also, some catch up from last week... Forgot to post what went on during the running-phase (which is a whole lot of not much)....

Week of March 13 - March 19

03-13 - [Monday] - PM: 8 miles roads with Andy late in the day...

03-14 - [Tuesday] - off.  Storm hit pretty hard and Mill was closed.

03-15 - [Wednesday] - AM: 5 miles roads.  PM10 miles. 3 w/ up + 12 x 400 @ 5:00 pace with 1:00 in between each + cooldown.

03-16 - [Thursday] - AM: 5 miles roads. PM8 miles. Had to wait 20+ min for a cut the run a little short. Don was looking good hammering out the miles...

03-17 - [Friday] - AM: 5.1 miles roads.

03-18 - [Saturday] - PM: 10 miles on the mill and then about 3 minutes on the elliptical to see what all the fuss was about (it is by far the most popular machine in the room and people are cut-throat when it comes to getting their time in). It wasn't that bad actually. But I'm counting that 3 minutes...

03-19 - [Sunday] - AM: 14.3 miles with first 11 as a light progression...then easier 3+.

65.4 miles on 8 runs (6 days).  

Low motivation. One bagged day due to the storm and just pure laziness.  There was snow everywhere....then Tuesday happened and there was even more snow all over the snow we already had which blows.  Sh*tty weather in general. Not good at all for quality work and even if it was, I probably wouldn't have done it anyways.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Training Week: March 6 - March 12

Week of March 6 - March 12

03-06 - [Monday] - PM: 10 miles.

03-07 - [Tuesday] - PM: off.

03-08 - [Wednesday] - AM: 6 miles roads.  PM: 10 miles as 3m w/up and then 4 x 1200 at slightly faster than 5k pace with about 2:00 in between then the rest cooldown (just over 3 miles).

03-09 - [Thursday] - PM: 10 miles.

03-10 - [Friday] - AM: 6 miles roads (mountainous dirt rds of the East Madison highlands).  PM: 8.3 miles roads w/ Andy. Again, mountainous dirt rds of the East Madison highlands).

03-11 - [Saturday] - AM: 5.3 miles easy.

03-12 - [Sunday] - AM: 3.1 mile w/ up + 3.1 mile race (Leprechaun Leap 5k - 3rd OA - 16:52) + 3.2 mile c/down.  PM: 5.3 miles because I am p*ssed.

Hit up Downtown Darin Brown's 50th birthday bash extravaganza after the race on the way home in Tamworth.  Then sat around and sulked for a bit...then went to the Mill for a shakeout and to ponder retirement.

70.3 miles on 11 runs (6 days).  One day off (unplanned).

Raced the first NH GP of the year for the Milers and scored a solid 10 points (1st in 30-39 age group = 10 team points).  That put the Milers 6th out of 8 teams (who scored points) with just me running.  Not a bad start in that respect.  But the race itself was a dud for me.  Hilly, freezing cold wind chill, and a hard headwind for the first part of the race and it was just a slow day overall. Plus I felt like complete crap.  The course has quite a bit of up and down despite what the Mapmyrun website claims ... with 3-4 pretty good climbs and one (the last one) that was a real kick in the ass and climbs more in just that hill than the website says the whole course climbs.  Very steep climb out of the 2nd mile before a nice gradual downhill/flat for most of the last mile (and it also had a tailwind).  But by then the race was already decided.  The dude out front was gone from the gun and despite pulling close a couple times, he eventually got away from me.  The kid who got 2nd went flying by me so quick on the steep downhill (that we had to turn around and climb back up) so fast I couldn't even get a good look at who it was.  I was convinced he would catch the first place guy but he didn't. I battled back and forth with a kid (who I now see was only 15 years old).  He passed me during the steepest part of the first mile and then I passed him back on the flats and then he passed me back on the downhill and then I got him back on the steepest part of the last climb.  So in that respect, I hung on and kind of fought a little bit.  But the two guys up front were just too strong for me to give them a run at this point in my season. I had 3.15 on the Garmin so the course was good (yes I remembered my watch today) but it wasn't very conducive to running super fast times.  I would put the effort similar to my other two races so far (but I felt far worse today doing it), which really indicates I have quite a bit of work to do still.  I just hope by next month I'll be a lot quicker or this season will start to really suck.  I won't break 18 minutes at Gilmanton.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Training Week: February 27 - March 5

Casey, me, and Nate right after the race. Pic courtesy of John Mortimer

Week of February 27 - March 5

02-27 - [Monday] - PM: 7 miles easy roads with Darin.

02-28 - [Tuesday] - PM: 3 mile w/ up + strides in downtown Manchester w/ Huppe and then 5k race (Mardi Gras / Fat Tuesday 5k - 1st OA 16:34 (results)) then 2ish mile cooldown.  Legs were definitely feeling heavy and strained from Sunday's long workout. My hamstring twinged bad during the warmup. I also forgot to bring my damn watch so I had no clue about any times, splits, distance, etc.  Race was fun but strange running a 5k at night.  The main streets were well lit but the 'side' streets were pretty dark.  The police car and Mortimer's lead vehicle were right in front of me so that was good.  I had no clue what pace I was doing and there were no clocks at the mile markers (I actually didn't even see the mile 1 or 2 markers because it was so dark). The course had quite a bit of gradual climb in the first mile + ...then a nice long downhill before an uphill kicker one street over from the last hill of the Cigna course.  In fact the last mile is basically the Cigna last mile I believe...I went out in 2nd place behind a guy who was blasting for about 2-3 minutes. I caught him and went by before the hill started.  Then Casey Carroll screwed by me like I was standing still and I thought I was toast.  He was running hard and kept me in the race for sure.  But I fought back a couple times in the course of about 2 minutes. I yo-yo'd with him a couple times and then eventually made a move which paid off.  Somewhere just before the neighborhood loop at the top of the course I pulled away and then the rest was me just fighting to stay ahead but it just felt way harder than it should.  I couldn't see anyone behind me because it was dark and difficult to make people out with the headlights of cars on the road glaring out everything else.  I was kind of shocked to see the time on the clock when I finally crested the last hill and made the turn. Part of me felt like I was running faster/harder than that and then part of me thought I was running way slower at times....having no watch and no idea of any splits, I guess I was going to be surprised at any time I saw on the clock at the end. But being at night and having a couple of kicker hills, I'll take it. I'll especially take the win in a race of about 900 people. In February.  Hopefully by April I'll be running A LOT faster or I'm in trouble.  I can't see how... but maybe it will just happen.

03-01 - [Wednesday] - PM: 5 miles.

03-02 - [Thursday] - PM: 10 miles.

03-03 - [Friday] - PM: 10 miles.

03-04 - [Saturday] - PM: 10 miles.

03-05- [Sunday] - 
PM: 10 miles.

60.1 miles on 9 runs.

Week was a bit of a down week (seems I go back and forth between 80 and 60 over and over again) but it was my 16th week in a row of at least 60 miles so that's at least something... but I'm still behind.  I felt kind of flat all week. Saturday's run was a little uptempo and Sunday's late run was rough. I literally went from a full turkey dinner and birthday cake at Harts Turkey Farm, to the mill to run 10 miles.  I had stuffing and squash coming back up my throat at was gross.  I probably gained weight this week.  Great weekend w/ the fam though. Celebrated the lovely and talented Kristin's birthday on Sunday. Hopefully it's the last real cold weekend we have for the season...

I closed out the month of February with a little bit of a low total but came out with 2 races and no real injuries to speak of.  280.2 miles with 1 day off.  I'm no mathematician but that's somewhere around 10 miles a day average. I'll take it.  It's funny how last year, February was my 2nd best month 'mileage-wise' behind only December. I racked up 44 miles more last February (leap year) than this year...but with 1 missed day this year and an extra day last year....and averaging my 10 per day, that would have only put me about 24 miles behind last I'll take it I guess. At this point I just have to keep plucking out the positives and hypotheticals that skew in my favor :).