Sunday, May 21, 2017

Training Week: May 15 - May 21 - Concord Rock n' Race



Week of May 15 - May 21

05-15 - [Monday] - AM: 5 miles roads early after dropping my car off.

05-16 - [Tuesday] - AM: 10 miles roads (62:24). WARM out...

05-17 - [Wednesday] - PM: 7 miles easy roads w/ Andy. HOT out...

05-18 - [Thursday] - PM: 3 mile w/up + 5k race (Concord Rock n' Race - 1st OA - 16:30 (results)) + 2 mile cooldown.  Oppressive heat. 98 degrees in Concord at race time (according to the bank clock near the start).  My car said 96... so I'll go with '97' for the official temp at the start.  4 hours later as I type this and my throat still hurts.  May have been the hottest race I've ever done.

05-19 - [Friday] - PM: 8.6 miles roads / trails w/ Andy.

05-20 - [Saturday] - PM: zero. At a wedding all day.

05-21 - [Sunday] - PM: 15.6 miles hilly roads w/ Andy.

54.3 miles for the week on 8 runs.  Not what I was looking for volume-wise for sure but it wasn't a total loss with a 'big' win and a good 'long' run.  Both of those are relatively speaking these days...

With a zero on Saturday due to travel and a wedding...and then me bailing on the Sunday half marathon and therefor the NHGP (as you really can't miss a race and expect to score in the series).... I was under 60 miles for the week which is not ideal.  I was at a wedding all day Saturday (left early in the AM and didn't get back home until 11pm).  I was toast and in the morning I felt awful so I wasn't about to get on the road at 4am to get down to Nashua by 6am to register (7am start time).  So alas, I may be free for some other NHGP dates now. I will still do Bill Luti as it's in the CARS series too....and 'maybe' the St. Charles 5k (on Labor Day) but other than that, I'll skip the rest.

But I did have a good race on Thursday with a 'big' win.  It was the largest field I've ever won a race in front of.... Just over 2000 runners (and probably another 4k walkers as the news said 'over 6000').  It just beats out a Redhook field of about 1900 I won in back in 2008.

The weather was horrendous.  Upper 90s all day with record temps set all over the state.  The temp at the start said 98.  Official weather report indicated 96 degrees at near 5 pm in Concord so it was in the ballpark of mid to upper 90s with no clouds in the sky to speak of at the start of the race.  I think it probably scared some people away but those of us who did toe the line were in for a scorcher.

Three-time (in a row) winner Colton Ham was the only one on the line that I was initially concerned with as I looked around ahead of the starting gun.  He had a great year last year, breaking 15 and running 31 flat in the 10k.  He ran away from me last year in this race and I got a distant second place.  This year I was thinking the same thing when I saw him standing there in his Millennium racing kit.






When the gun went off, a few people darted out in front of me but I had my eyes set on what Colton was going to do.  I kind of just wanted him to get out ahead quickly and leave me to fight it out back in 2nd place where I 'belonged' but I found myself tucked in behind him and feeling 'ok' in that small pocket 5:08ish pace on his left shoulder.  The first turn off the main road has a slight uphill and he surged a bit and I thought that that was surely it.  For a guy like him, running 16:00 should feel pretty easy (I knew I wouldn't be able to hang at that pace in this weather) but I wasn't sure what kind of shape he was in... A couple of left-hand turns later, I found myself taking some tangents that he wasn't taking and I was suddenly back up to him after a small gap had opened up.  By the mile mark, we were side by side. I could have gone by immediately but I waited a bit.  We were 5:08/5:09 through the mile and I was feeling alright at that pace.  I was on the breaks a little bit because I was confused as to what he was looking to do. I then realized not too soon after that he probably wasn't feeling it.  I just started to ease ahead and he held on for a while but a small gap started to open larger and larger over the next mile.   By 2 miles, I had a decent gap and started to realize that in order for him to make it up, he'd have to wake up a little bit and I'd have to start falling back considerably.   Due to the temps, that was a definite possibility.  I kept pushing on but was slowing.  The last part of the course has a couple of uphills in the neighborhoods behind the state house.  I felt like I was limping up those hills but kept peeking back and the gap was still opening. At 2.5 I think I knew I had it.

In the end I came through in 16:30 for the nice win in quite possibly the hottest temps I've ever raced in.  There's zero shade on the course so it was pretty much an oven from gun to tape.  My throat was killing me and it still hurts even now, the next day as I write up this report.  A lot of people struggled and the fact that I ran pretty even for the course profile (2nd and 3rd miles were basically both the same split) and I squeaked out a 16:30 on a not-so-fast course in super hot conditions is a good sign. Also...$150 for the win...not bad.

You can hear the kids 'cheering' for me in this video below... literally.




Brad and Matt and yours truly.  Congrats Sully!

Sully and I with our High School coach John 'Deek' Dicommandrea...89 years young!

Brad and Caitlin with Kristin and I...Wrapping up the night.

Kris and I and her version of 'Is this dress blue or gold or white or black...'



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Training Week: May 8 - May 14 - Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5k

Week of May 08 - May 14 - Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5k

05-08 - [Monday] - PM: 5 miles trails with Andy.

05-09 - [Tuesday] - PM: 11 miles (workout) w/ Andy and Tristan Williams.  W/up on the roads + 10 x road intervals (each was a little over 400 meters).  Not too hard but 'up tempo enough'.  Some wind and a little chilly. Cooldown (trails/roads).

05-10 - [Wednesday] - PM: 8 miles (dirt roads and trails). First 5 w/ Darin... last 3 solo on the trails.

05-11 - [Thursday] - PM: 10 miles (roads). First 3+ solo up to Andy's plus some loops of Shackford Pass. Next 2.5 w/ Andy back down to my house. Last bit solo down to the lake and back.

05-12 - [Friday] - PM: 8.5 miles (roads and trails) w/ Andy. Albany town forest + the Kanc.

05-13 - [Saturday] - PM: 3 mile w/ up + "5k" race (Canterbury Shaker Village XC 5k - 1st OA - (results)) + 3 mile cooldown = 9 miles.

05-14 - [Sunday] - AM: 14.2 miles with Andy. E.Madison Rd. to 153 to Glines Hill to Colby Hill and back down via 113.  Good solid run in the rain.

65.7miles for the week on 9 runs.

OK week. A tiny step in the right direction with a light workout and off-road race.  Then capped off the week with what can only be considered a 'long run'' for me these days, on the worst day of the week weather-wise which shows some newfound dedication. I'll take it.

Got another CARS series win on a really nice XC course.  This could be my favorite XC race I've done as far as the course goes.  Beautifully scenic and great running through the mowed grass paths on the grounds of the Shaker Village in Canterbury.  There was some single track and some dirt roads as well but mainly grass and trails.  I loved the course.  I had just over 3 miles on my Garmin so it's a tad short (the two guys behind me both didn't even have 3 on their watches...just short).  I heard the course changes over the years (and was even different than the map on the site) but the gist of it is still the same.  It's ok though, there's a lot of climbing on some tough wet grassy hills which just slowed things down like a real XC race should. It was a nice break from racing around parking lots and industrial parks.




Dylan Tuttle and some old guy....

collectively, we are 90 years old.




The girls at the start of a long day... After this picture was taken, Morgan would end up hitting her head pretty hard 3 times throughout the course of the day... a typical Sunday for this kid.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Training Week: May 1 - May 7 - Children's Museum 5k

Before the gun at a soggy Seacoast Series opener...


Week of May 01 - May 07 - Children's Museum 5k

05-01 - [Monday] - PM: 9.7 miles roads and trails with Andy.

05-02 - [Tuesday] - PM: 10.3 miles roads (half with Andy).

05-03 - [Wednesday] - PM: 3.5 mile w/ up on track and trails + track workout with Andy - 3 x (400,400,800) with 200 rest inside the sets and the 400 rest between sets.   Ran 73, 75, 2:33 || 75, 73, 2:33 || 73, 72, 2:30... (4.5 miles total) + 3 miles cooldown on the trails.  Windy as hell (and on the cold side).  11 miles for the day.

05-04 - [Thursday] - PM: 5 miles easy roads (solo).

05-05 - [Friday] - PM: 5 miles easy trails solo.  Ran 388 feet (according to the Garmin) with Darin and then he pulled up with an injury only 1 house over... so I had to go back out on my own...

05-06 - [Saturday] - PM: 3.5 miles w/ up (course w/ Hamel and then some strides, etc.) + 3.2 miles (on Garmin) as 5k race: Children's Museum 5k (1st OA - 16:33) (results) + 3.3 miles cool down (course + a bit extra to make 10).

05-07 - [Sunday] - PM: 9 miles trails (solo) in E. Madison / Freedom.

60 miles for the week on 11 runs.

OK week. I started out good and kind of fizzled near the end.  I did my first track workout in a year.  I just eased into it.  Not a lot of volume and the pace felt ok.  It was probably around my 'goal' 5k pace but certainly not my current 5k pace (which is embarrassingly slower right now). I think if I drag my butt to the track for one of these a week, I'll be making strides in the right direction.  It was pretty damn windy, so the effort was slightly better than it appeared.

On Saturday night I met up w/ an old high school mate of mine in Portland, Maine for dinner (it was his bachelor party).  My college teammate Brad Klinedinst was also there. I was a little sad I didn't make better plans to stick around with them but it was good to see them for a couple hours.

2 of the top 10 from the 1994 Mass H.S. All State XC Meet... oh yeah, we ran in college too...


Earlier on Saturday, I got my 4th straight Children's Museum 5k win believe it or not....and my 5th overall in 9 tries over the last 10 years.  It was my slowest time ever (by about 8 seconds) but it was also the worst weather at this event since I started running it, by far.  Usually we're lucky with the weather but this year it was pretty wet (temp-wise though it was ok).  I did feel pretty flat but kept the tempo hot enough to stay ahead of Derrick and a late-race charge he threw at me...

It's cool that the Seacoast Series is finally underway.  I'm going out on a limb and will say that I'm probably looking at running the slowest Redhook I've ever run (in a few weeks)... I can't believe the Seacoast Series is actually here though.  Hopefully the weather gets better for the next ones... I got some all important points though...or should I say 'point' (as first place just gets 1 point).  For now, I'll be keeping my eye on the open points standing. If I start to get smoked, I'll start looking at my 'masters' lead :).

My history (so far...) at the Children's Museum of NH 5k

2017 - 1st [16:33]
2016 - 1st [16:10]
2015 - 1st [15:49]
2014 - 1st [16:25]
2013 - Didn't race.  Eric Couture runs the course record.
2012 - 3rd [16:13]
2011 - 1st [15:46]
2010 - 3rd [15:53]
2009 - 3rd [16:13]
2008 - 2nd[15:56] (race in Portsmouth. Sam Wood for the win).

It was my first WIN as a Master runner which is pretty cool...

A very wet finish..



Sunday, April 30, 2017

Training Week: April 24 - April 30 - Chief Maloney 10K



Week of April 24 - April 30

04-24 - [Monday] - PM: 8.6 miles roads and trails.

04-25 - [Tuesday] - PM: 8.1 miles roads w/ Darin.

04-26 - [Wednesday] - PM: 6 miles trails solo.

04-27 - [Thursday] - PM: 10.7 miles roads w/ Darin.

04-28 - [Friday] - PM:  6 miles roads w/ Darin.

04-29 - [Saturday] - PM: 10 miles uptempo roads w/ some climbing.

04-30 - [Sunday] - AM: 3 miles w. up w/ Brandyn Naro, Jake Wormald, Justin Soucy, and a few other GCS guys + 6.2 mile race (Chief Maloney 10k (results)- 2nd OA - 1st Master - 33:15) - 2 mile cooldown w/ Derrick Hamel and Nate 'The Great' Huppe.

60.6 miles for the week on 9 runs.




Kind of an easy week of 'recovery' after last week's 2 races in 5 days...  Got another NH GP race in and my first race as a master.   I need to start doing workouts again.  I shouldn't be racing as much as I am now without actually doing something about getting faster... I hung relatively tough today and was in 2nd from about 10 yards into the race until the end.  I pulled within 8-9 seconds of Jake (the winner and current leader of the NH GP) at mile 4-4.5 or so but then he opened the gap back up again and pulled away especially on the downhills.  Time to start getting serious.


Yelling over to Kristin that I left the car key on the roof (before she drives off without them)


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Patience...

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 lungs...how 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 already...so 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

NHTI 5k


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 shape...you 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. ...my 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 work...my 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.