Monday, January 28, 2008

Training - 01-21-08 to 01-27-08

Weekly Training for 01/21/08 - 01/27/08- Total: ~ 60 miles.

Lower mileage week during this training cycle leading up to the 5k at Terrier. I almost didn't even want to blog it because my mileage went down so much...but after this week, I will have an off week as far as racing goes, and the mileage will go back up even higher. Looking forward to that for sure. I detest these lower mileage weeks but they are necessary (listen to your coach!). The week ended on a good note with my 2nd generation PR in the 5k. Now on to the serious mileage....

Monday - 6:30pm (60 minutes) - 8.8 miles (thanks for figuring this out Jon)... Andover, N.Andover (roads) with Jon Healey.
Tuesday - 4:30pm - workout - warmup 2 miles + progression run on delivery road in Methuen. 440 at 5k pace - with 3 min jog then 8 - x 2:30 min progression as:
1 min - estimate 5k pace 1 min - estimate tad faster than 5k pace 30 sec - estimate 95% - rhythm
(Rest: jog 90 sec between each interval). + cooldown 2 miles - solo. Total - 9+
Wednesday - 5:45pm - 60 minutes (8 miles) at River Rd. in Lawrence with Molly Taber, Jon Healey, Judge Jones.
Thursday - 3:30pm - 45 minutes (6 miles) at Merrimack College - Andover, N. Andover with Molly Taber, Matt Pimentel, Crystal Sineath.
Friday - 2:30pm - 45 minutes (6.5 miles) - Salem, Methuen (roads) - solo.
Saturday - 6:30pm - 3 mile warmup + Race - 5k + 1 mile cooldown - Total 7 miles.
Sunday - 5:30pm - 1:23:11 (12 miles) - Haverhill (roads) with Molly Taber.

Approx. mileage for the week....60.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

2008 BU Terrier Classic

Yesterday I ran the 5k at the Terrier Classic at Boston University. This was the first time I have run at this 'new' indoor track since it's inception in the 2002-2003 season. I was used to the dingy old BU Armory building and it's pretty fast track, complete with a whole slew 'dead spots'. This track and facility is absolutely head and shoulders above that place. The old track was pretty fast...but this one has got to be faster.

I was slotted as the 3rd seed in the 3rd heat with a conservative seed time. I was also in the same heat as 2 other MVS runners from Peabody High School. These guys are also being coached by Fernando Braz and were trying to qualify for High School Indoor Nationals (goal met!). I ended up running very even splits to the tune of 15:21, narrowly beating out an MIT runner who led almost the entire way. I nipped him on the last straightaway by 2 tenths of a second to take the heat (my second consecutive heat win!). John Lawrence of MVS and Peabody H.S. (Junior) ran an amazing 15:39 and Alex Gomes, also of MVS and Peabody H.S. ran 16:07. Both will be going to Indoor Nationals in the 5k.

This 15:21 is my new '2nd Generation / Old Man' PR. Because of how comfortable and fluid it felt, running fairly even splits and being very in control most of the way, I have no doubt I can nip another 11+ seconds off my time....possibly before spring. I will be focusing on the Valentine Invite in 2 weeks, again at BU.

I should have my splits added to this entry when I get them from coach...

Dan Vassallo (MVS / Colby College alumn) ran a very strong 5k to take the 2nd heat in a winning time of 14:56. Watching the clock during my warmup, I know that Dan went through the first mile in 4:45, the 3k in 9:00, and then muscled his way to a solid win that was just 10 seconds off his 5k PR of 14:46.

The always lovely, and insanely talented (and patient) Kristin took some solid shots of the 5k, and I took some of the fast 3k heat. Enjoy.


Men's 3k (1st Heat - Sean Quigley, Reid Coolsaet, Francis Kasagule, Kyle King, Mark Miller, Harry Norton)

Men's 5k (2nd Heat - Dan Vassallo)

Men's 5k (3rd Heat - Me, John Lawrence, Alex Gomes)

Monday, January 21, 2008

2008 GBTC Invitational

Sunday was the Greater Boston Track Club Invitational [results] at Harvard. I wasn't even going to do a post-race writeup for this stinkfest, but I have been receiving some pressure to at least come up with a publicly facing excuse as to why I ran like crap, so I will offer this explanation... This was my first mile since the Clinton administration (the first, and hopefully only one :) )... I had absolutely no clue how to run this thing. I couldn't even picture it leading up to the race (I usually like to at least try to visualize the race ahead of time and get all nervous and puke). I decided that since I have only been running base mileage with the occasional tempo run, and I hadn't run a quarter at my desired 'mile' pace since the 90s, that I would just sit back, not go crazy, and let some others dictate pace for a bit. Of course, I was put in a slow heat based on the conservative seed time I submitted, so I was already screwed before I even started to race. I was the 12th seed (last) in the 2nd heat, so I was put up on the shotgun on the outside. As soon as the gun went off, I knew the pace was going to be slow because I was holding back and was still way out in front. At the cut-in, I settled in in 2nd place behind a guy from Essex. I then rode 2nd for the first 800. A guy from GBTC made a move and I went with him. I maintained 2nd and felt real good, very relaxed and in control cardio-wise) but to my absolute horror, we went through in 2:20 (thats what I get for not being aggressive and running my pace from the beginning). I knew right away, I was 8 seconds back of what I wanted to run already at the half, and there was going to be no salvaging a good time at that point. I took the lead at 800 to go and ran a 2:13 last 800 split to win the heat in a mediocre high school time of 4:33. I was and still am horrified, and now I need to find another Mile to run somewhere this winter. I think it will be the Valentine Invitational at BU on Feb. 9th. Next up though, will be another run at a 5k at the Terrier Classic this Saturday.

Photos came out better this time around after applying some advice given to me on taking indoor action shots...I actually had to use some of these things called 'settings' on my camera....they actually DO do something (if you can believe that)....


Men's Open Mile:

  • Heat 1 (Kevin Alliette, Matt Ely)

  • Heat 2 (my heat, Terry McNatt, Junyong Pak)

  • Heat 3 (Pat Ard, Chris Kealey)

Men's Invite Mile (Mark Miller, Joey Dewitt, Sintayehu Taye, Jeff Caron, Erik Nedeau, Rex Radloff, Andie Colon, etc.)

Other MVS competitors (Julie Hanover in Women's Open Mile, Janus Maku in Men's Masters Mile, Ann Kingsland in Women's 200, Becky Connolly in Masters 200, Bruce Rose in the Men's Open Mile).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Training - 01-14-08 to 01-20-08

Weekly Training for 01/14/08 - 01/20/08- Total: 79 miles.

Good week of training leading up to a stinker of a GBTC Invitational. The weather was up and down this week and was generally cold and wet on almost every run. Decent (long) hill workout on Wednesday. Ankle feels pretty good after being stiff at the beginning of the week.

Monday - 5pm - 56 minutes (7.2 miles) recovery run in [route] Andover, N. Andover (roads) with Molly Taber.
Tuesday - 2:30pm - 6.5 miles (41:00) quick. [route] Salem NH, Methuen (roads) solo. 6:30pm - 65 minutes (9 miles) Andover (roads) with Matt Pimentel, Molly Taber.
Wednesday - 20 min warmup (~2.5 miles) then 12x400+ meter hills at 1:30 (6 miles up and down) + 6x200 meter hills at :45 (1.25 miles up and down) + 16 min cooldown (2+ miles) - Tot ~12 miles - Lawrence (River Rd) with Todd Lagimonier, Phil Cootey, Molly Taber, Matt Pimentel, Jon Healey.
Thursday - 3:45pm - 11 miles (73:00) steady [route] (reversed) Salem NH, Methuen (roads) solo.
Friday - 8am - (65 minutes) 8 miles - easy - Andover (roads) with Molly Taber. 5pm (50 minutes) 7 miles - easy - Andover, N. Andover (roads) with Matt Pimentel, Jon Healey, and Molly Taber.
Saturday - 12:30pm - (1:22:20) 11.2 miles easy [route] Andover, N. Andover with Matt Pimentel, Jon Healey, Molly Taber, and Brad Klinedinst.
Sunday - 2 mile warmup + Race - 1 mile + 2 mile cooldown - Total 5

Approx. mileage for the week...79.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Training - 01-07-08 to 01-13-08

Weekly Training for 01/07/08 - 01/13/08- Total: 74 miles.

Last week of training was a good week with a slight cutback in my scheduled mileage because of my first indoor race of the year. This week will probably also be lighter on the mileage, as I have another race slotted for Sunday (if my ankle holds up).

Monday - 7pm - 11 miles (77:00) with middle 5k as on-and-off 1 minute intervals at 5k pace - Wakefield lake (roads) with Matt Pimentel.
Tuesday - 5:30pm - 14 miles (1:46:16) - Andover, N. Andover (roads) with Jon Healey.
Wednesday - 6:00pm - (~13 miles) 30 min w/up + 15x 1min Hills (90 sec down) + 25 min c/dwn - Lawrence (roads) with Jon Healey, Matt Pimentel, Todd Lagimonier, Phil Cootey.
Thursday - 8am - 5.8 miles (45 min) with Nina Caron and Molly Taber. 1pm - Massage Therapy 4:30pm - 9 miles (65 min) Andover with Matt Pimentel.
Friday- 6pm - 60 min (7.6 miles) - Andover, N. Andover (roads) [route] with Matt Pimentel
Saturday - 6 miles easy - around Dartmouth College campus - Hanover, NH (roads) - partial with Mike Masse.
Sunday - 8+ miles as 2 mile warmup - race 5k (15:39.44) - 3 mile cooldown with CMS guys.

Approx. mileage for the week...74.

Photo from Dartmouth Relays by Dan Grossman (

Sunday, January 13, 2008

2008 Dartmouth Relays

This weekend's crimescene was the Dartmouth Relays up at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. My first indoor track race in almost a decade. I decided to run the 5000 Meters while only having done base mileage over the course of the past 2 months. I snuck in the occasional tempo run and one hill workout last week, but other than that, I have done no speed work whatsoever. I really didn't know what to expect and figured it could go either way. A big part of me was hoping for a breakthrough, and yet an even bigger part of me was planning for the worst. I ended up going with the advice of a former college teammate who told me to take it one lap at a time and one quarter at a time...figure out my pace, pay attention to the splits, and try to maintain the pace I'm shooting for. This worked pretty well and took me to a 15:39.44 [results] and my 2nd generation PR in the 5k. I ran very even splits and maintained a nice rhythm until a slight mishap over the last half mile. The effort was good enough for 2nd place overall and 8 points. That 8 points was good enough to place MVS as a team, in 15th out of 34 (gotta love track!). The race itself was a mixed bag. I rode 4th place for the first 2 laps (400 meters) then moved up to the front and took charge of the pace after we came through the first quarter in 1:20 (far slower than I wanted to run for pace). Even though I didn't want to do it this way, I led for about 17 laps, doing most of the work for myself and for the Williams runner who sat on my shoulder the entire time. With 6 laps to go, he moved around and passed me. With 5 laps to go, my mind wandered just a tad and I stepped on the inner rail on the far side of the track and rolled my ankle rather badly. Being already committed to the race (with only a half mile to go), I kept banging away and finished only 2 seconds back of the winner.

After cooling down with the fellas from CMS, my ankle got progressively worse. At the time of penning this entry, I am icing it and can barely walk.

Overall, the weekend was rather long but fun. Kristin and I drove up to Dartmouth on Saturday morning to see Mike Masse run the mile in the High School section of the relays. We stayed overnight and then sat around for most of the day on Sunday, in the field house, allowing me to spend an awful lot of nervous energy worrying about the race while I watched some former teammates run their races. Kevin Alliette (Whirlaway) ran a pretty solid mile earlier in the day and UML had a decent effort overall as a team.

The always lovely and talented Kristin took pictures ....however this was our first time using the camera indoors and the results were not as we expected. Every setting produced blurry images. We're not sure why, as we haven't played around with it enough to figure out the optimal settings for indoor use. Deal with it!

5k Splits per quarter:

400 - (1:20) 1:20
800 - (1:12) 2:33
1200 - (1:13) 3:46
1600 - (1:13) 5:00
2000 - (1:14) 6:14
2400 - (1:15) 7:30
2800 - (1:15) 8:45
3200 - (1:16) 10:02
3600 - (1:16) 11:19
4000 - (1:16) 12:36
4400 - (1:15) 13:51
4800 - (1:13) 15:04
5000 - (:35) 15:39

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Training - 12-31-07 to 01-06-08

Weekly Training for 12/31/07 - 01/06/08- Total: 82 miles.

Good week despite the cold temps. Got in a couple of quicker long runs and a tempo.

Monday - 1:30pm - 11 miles (75:00) - [route] (medium) - Salem, Methuen (roads) solo.
Tuesday - 4pm - 84 minutes (11.7 miles) [route] (easy) - Andover with Jon Healey.
Wednesday - 5:30pm - 82 minutes (11+ miles) (easy) - Lawrence, Andover with Jon Healey and Matt Pimentel.
Thursday - 3:30pm - 11 miles (74:34) - [route] (medium) - Salem, Methuen (roads) solo. VERY COLD (according to it 'felt like -8 F')...
Friday - 1:30pm - 11 miles (69:52) - [route] (quick) - Salem, Methuen (roads) solo.
Saturday - 9am - 15 miles (1:46:03) 5 easy + 5 tempo + 5 easy over the Larry Robinson 10 Mile course - Andover with Jon Healey, Lars Bjune, Caroline Bjune. Felt good on the tempo...worked well with Jon and Lars and pulled Caroline through to hit the goal times of 6:20s over a relatively hilly course.
Sunday - 3:15pm - 11 miles (76:14) - [route] (medium) - Salem, Methuen (roads) solo. Legs were a bit sore from Saturday's run.

Approx. mileage for the week...82. Getting in the mindset now for Dartmouth a week from today (which will be 10 years from the day I last ran there). No real workouts to speak of...wondering how fast I'll be able to run off of just base. I guess this will be the 1st 'workout' of the new year.

New running toy for this week was actually purchased last week but I'm just getting around to posting it now... It's the Nike Hatphones. This is pretty cool hat that holds your Ipod Nano in a side pouch and has the earbuds completely contained within the hat itself. There are no wires to dangle or get in the way. The Nano slips in the side and plugs right into an integrated headphone cable that is also inside the hat. I heard about this particular hat last winter from a friend of mine who works at Nike, but hadn't seen these on the market (the Nike version anyway) until this year. It is available at Whirlaway for 59.99, but you can find it online for even cheaper... I recommend it highly (for solo runs of course) if you like listening to tunes while doing long runs...I was never a fan until I have a hard time running solo runs without listening to it....I wonder what they are going to do for the warm weather Ipod-headwear integration......

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year: 2008 Outlook

The New Year is here and with it comes my (running) resolution(s) and outlook for 2008.

With just over one full year (it seems so much longer) of running back under my belt , it is time to get serious about the 'little' things that in reality aren't so little. These are the things besides how many miles and how fast... the things that separate the serious and successful runners from the frequently injured ones. I had learned this lesson the hard way and had various periodic injuries over the course of the past 12 + months. I had to miss a few races that I really wanted to run. These injuries I had could have all been avoided, had I done the little things that I should have been doing all along. Realizing that I am not 20 (something) years old anymore, I now need to focus on injury prevention. These 'little' things all not only help prevent injury, but also aid in the progression that I am looking to continue.
These are the things I am going to focus on for this coming year:

Stretching - Focus on maintaining a daily stretching regimen both before and after my sessions. This 'may' involve yoga, but I will not hold myself to that just yet...Kristin will be happy with that.
Hydration - Improving upon and maintain a constant hydration regimen. I have done a fairly good job of this since my mid-summer breakdown this year...but there is definately room for improvement.
Therapy - Continuing, though more frequently, with regular sessions at the sports massage therapist. This will include incorporation of preventative visits rather than reactionary visits.
Ice Baths - Continuing, though with complete regularity, to take my icebaths bi-weekly or even more frequently.
Core Strength Improvement - Begin to perform various core-strengthening exercises that I have learned over the past year (but have not routinely practiced).
Supplements - Continuing (but with more regularity) to take my daily supplements and anti-inflamatories when needed.
Nutrition - Improving my diet by making a conscious effort to eat a breakfast and lunch each day and pay closer attention to what I should and shouldn't be eating (I'm not going to eliminate fun completely....just becoming more aware of the bad things that still linger in my diet...
Shoes - I am going to try to swap out my trainers once a month in 2008.
Leg Strength - I am going to try to get involved with some sort regular leg lifting routine which I have never done before. This may be a once a week thing and of low-intensity. This is not a definite, but would be effective if done correctly.
Upper Body Strength - Again, not a definite, but with some sort of regularity, a very low intensity routine may be effective. It has not been something I've done much at all and would be a big plus if I could work on this.

I have also set some relatively achievable goals with some 2nd generation PRs. These are goal times I am looking to run this year, should all go as planned. These times are decent, but conservative. I figured it wouldn't make much sense setting unrealistic goals for myself at this point. I understand my situation, my history, my age, my habits, and my desire. I think hitting any of the following times will be a very nice accomplishment for this coming year.

2008 Goal Times (Achievable) ** these would not be my overall PR's by any means, but would be a good accomplishment for my projected fitness level **

Mile (Track): 4:30 or under (67s)
3k (Track) - 9:00 or under (4:49 pace)
5k (Track) - 15:40 or under (5:02 pace)
5k (Roads) - 15:50 or under (5:05 pace)
8k - 25:40 or under (5:10 pace)
5M - 25:50 or under (5:10 pace)
10k - 32:50 or under (5:17 pace)
10Mile -54:00 or under (5:24 pace)
1/2 Marathon - 1:12 or under (5:29 pace)
Marathon - 2:39 or under (6:03 pace)

As you can see above, I have set goals for 3 distances I have never raced previously: 10 mile, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon. I will be racing these three distances in 2008 for the first time and will be looking forward to running the Baystate Marathon in hopes of qualifying for the 2009 Boston Marathon. By that time, I will have 2 and 1/2 years back under my belt (should all go to plan).

I have had the priviledge of running with a great team this past year, training under the guidance of a great coach and motivator, catching up with old teammates, and turning my life around in a way I never thought possible.

2007... From NOTHING to something...
Here are a few of my 2nd generation PRs in my first year back after a 7 year absence from running...the progression, in a nutshell, is basically this... in September of 2006 I met Mike Callahan at the Burlington High School track and ran the 5k course with him at probably about 9 minute pace and barely made it though. At that point, I was in, without a doubt, 22-23 min + 5k shape (which was probably my natural ability level at my age, with zero training, and being a complete slob). I cramped up on the track afterwards and limped to the car. I was just under 180 lbs (after dropping a few lbs before even attempting to run again). I ran every other day for a couple weeks. Then I eased into every day running at a very low intensity. When I knew I could run just about every day, I made the jump back into training in an organized atmosphere, with a coach, teammates, and a renewed passion for the sport. Just over one year later (and just about 50 lbs lighter)...

October 2007: 5k - 15:53 - Mike Donahoe Memorial 5k (Georgetown, MA)
October 2007: 8k (XC) - 26:25 - BAA Mayors Cup (Franklin Park - Boston, MA)
November 2007: 10k (XC) - 33:22 - USATF-NE New England XC Championships (Franklin Park - Boston, MA)

Over the last month of 2007, I have averaged around 75 miles per week, which is a higher average than I ever did this time of year, including my time at UML... With a good outlook for 2008, a much higher confidence level than this time last year, and a great crew to work with, this year should provide some great experiences and most importantly, FUN. That is what it is all about. That is the difference between what I did 10 years ago, and what I'm doing now. I run because I want to...I run because I enjoy it...I run the races I want to run, when I want to run them. I have no one ripping my head off if I dont' run well. I have only myself to let down or only myself to impress. Taking some time may have been a good step for me after all. It has definately made me realize what I have and made me respect the sport that much more in the long run (no pun intended)...

Happy New Year everyone...