Monday, February 25, 2008

2008 USATF - New England Indoor Track Championships

Sunday saw probably my last indoor race of the 2007-2008 season, when I ran the 5000 Meters at the USATF-New England Indoor Track Championships(results) at Harvard. It was my 3rd 5k attempt this year and I kinda went out with a fizzle. I felt ok through the first mile (4:50), then fell asleep during mile 2, and tried to salvage during mile 3. I got the splits from Fernando, but they are too depressing to write about... 15:21.19 officially but that was also a mistake. It was closer to 15:30 flat. No clue where they got 15:21 from. What is interesting is that they got all the places correct, and the times do correspond to the runners directly in front and behind me, so there was a clock issue for sure.

Jon Healey decided to also join me in the fun and run the 5k. All photos as usual by the lovely, talented, and extraordinarily gorgeous Kristin. Appologies for not getting everyone's races on film, but we had to run after the Men's mile heats...

Other Striders braving the competition included:


5000 Meters: [photos from our heat]

James Johnson 15:21.19
Jon Healey 15:46.36

Mile: [photos from this heat]

Alex Gomes 4:41.39
John Lawrence 4:42.40
Chris Lawrence 4:49.69
Sean Ouelette 4:51.69

Janos Mako 5:12.66 [photos from Janos' heat]

800 Meters:

Jordan Hoofnagle 2:13.01



Julie Hanover 5:42.23 [photos from Julie's heat]

Linda Jennings 6:51.18 ( First Senior) [photos from Linda's heat]

800 Meters:

Ann Kingsland 2:46.30

400 Meters:

Julie Hanover 1:10.11

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Training - 02-18-08 - 02-24-08

Weekly Training for 02/18/08 - 02/24/08- Total: ~ 60 miles (6 days).

This week's volume was lower due to the fact I missed Friday's run. It was probably for the best. It snowed all day, I got slammed with work, and it was either treadmill or nothing. I opted for nothing, having run slightly harder than I should have on Thursday's run. Running 10 miles on the treadmill would have most likely done more harm than good anyways. I ended my attempts at recording a fast 5k in the 2008 indoor season by running in this weekend's USATF-NE Indoor Track Championships at Harvard. Another stinkfest that you can read all about when I get to posting the pictures... That to follow...probably tomorrow.

Monday - 5:45pm - (90 min) - medium - 12.3 miles - Andover, N. Andover (roads) with Jon Healey and the Lama.
Tuesday - 12:00pm - Massage - 4:30pm - (51 min) (6.7 miles) - easy - Haverhill (roads) with the Lama.
Wednesday - 12:00pm - 42:15 - (5.5 miles) - easy - Salem NH (roads) with Judge Jones. - 5:30pm - 3 mile w/up + 8x800 at River Rd. in Lawrence (slight hills) - as 4 sets of 800 up @ 2:40 then 800 down - 2:35 (windy) + 4 min on @ 2:30 pace + 2 mile cooldown w/ Jon Healey. (10 miles). Cramped up on the 4 min. Other than that, I felt ok for a change.
Thursday - 4:00pm - 1:11 (10.6 miles) - moderate - Salem NH (roads) - solo.
Friday - zilch, zero, nada, nothing, nill, zip, jack, goose egg. Snow was piling up and Matt wouldn't let me use his treadmill.
Saturday - 1:00pm - 50 min (7.1 miles) - easy - Andover, N. Andover - with Matt Pimentel, Jon Healey.
Sunday - 10:20am - 20 min w/up + 5k race + 20 min c/dwn.

Approx. mileage for the week....~ 60 (6 days).

Monday, February 18, 2008

2008 New England Racing Series Ideas

Now that the new year is in full swing, the NE Runner Calendar is out, and for the most part, many of the road racing series' have announced their 2008 schedules, I'd like to take some time to point out some other races besides the obvious USATF-NE Grand Prix events that we all know and love....

Now if you are are just the run-of-the-mill (no pun intended) runner like I am, and you run and race for fun like I do, then you may want to know about some other fun race series' out there that you can take advantage of this coming season. Some of these I ran last year, and others I ran back in my previous running life (in the 1990s).. I am trying to figure out all the races I want to run and really do love running up in NH as opposed to picturesque (sarcastic) Ollie or Baystate (I love Lowell...but that October... i'm getting depressed already).

[The USATF-NE Grand Prix]

We all know about the big series that we'll run to show everyone how awesome the Merrimack Valley Striders are...

But there are some others around that you may find fun and competative, that will fit nicely into your spring/summer/fall road racing schedule...

[2008 Seacost Road Race Series]

Aside from the USATF NE GP races, there is also a very cool series up on the NH seacoast called (cleverly enough) the Seacoast Road Race Series. I actually prefer this race series to the USATF NE GP series because 3 of the 8 races are in Portsmouth (two are right in downtown) which is one of my favorite places to be. Also, you need to only finish 6 of the 8 races to get a very cool SCRR jacket. Check out the series information here.

The races:

Quickies about my experience at these (from just this past year)...

The Redhook 5k, held on Memorial Day weekend is at the Redhook Brewery (yes, a brewery, Matt) at Pease Int. Tradeport right off of R-16 in Portsmouth. It is flat and fast. I ran this last year and had a blast... The start was featured on the cover of 2007 NE Runner Event Calendar (pic from the 2006 race of course). [photographic evidence from 2007]

Market Square Day is an awesome time even without the race. The whole downtown area is one big party..lots of shopping, eating, etc. All the bars are open early and all day (Matt). This had been part of the USATF-NE GP once before... Relatively quick 10k even with the rolling hills in the middle. Big prize money too...just ask Caroline :). [photographic evidence from the 2007 event...overcast and drizzly, but fun nonetheless]

Harbour Trail 5k is another fast 5k although I only got through slightly over 1 mile of it last year before calling it a day (thats what you get for playing 5 hours of roller hockey the day before...never again...Fernando didn't know that, but now he does). During the race, a Jr. high school kid in high-tops pulled up next to me and asked me what the mile split was...when I saw the first number of the time, I told him and then promptly whipped my singlet off (a-la Dennis Rodman after a double-technical) and pulled over. Revenge this year.

[2008 New Hampshire RR Grand Prix]

These races seem to be pretty good and have had some nice large fields last year. I know the 10 miler is hilly (as part of the USATF-NE Mountain Running Series).
Quickies about my experience at these (from just this past year)...

Bedford Rotary 12k - This was (up until this point) my longest race ever. As part of the USATF-NE GP last year, it was a horrific experience for me personally, but this is a very solid race early in the season. I'm pretty sure there were some hills...I blacked out a few times so I can't really remember.

[2008 NE Runner Pub Series]

If you get REALLY thirsty after you run, you may want to keep these in mind as well. They also do a jacket or shirt or something if you compete in X amount of these races....Usually NE Runner will update their site with the info in late winter although it doesn't look like they've done anything about it just yet. Most of these sites still have last year's info on them so I will let you Google these to get the info if you are thinking of running any of these...

  • Doyle's Emerald Necklace 5M - Jamaica Plain, MA - [5M] - Sun, April 13 - [07 Results] - 1809 finishers

  • Irish Village 5M - W. Yarmoth, MA - [5M] - May 10 - [07 Results] - 191 finishers

  • Pat Polletta Winner's Circle 5K - Salisbury, MA - [5K]- July 2 - [07 Results] -139 finishers
  • Khoury's Summer Sizzler - Somerville, MA - [4.13 Miles] - July 13 - [07 Results] - 222 finishers

  • Bobby Bell 5 Miler - Haverhill, MA - [5M] - Oct 12 - [07 Results] - 271 finishers
  • Paddy Shillelagh 3M - West Newton, MA - [3M] - Oct 19 - [07 Results] - 1332 finishers

[2008 La Sportiva USATF New England Mountain Running Circuit]

And lastly, for the die-hard or just plain insane...there's always running up hill for hours on end...

If you have comments or stories about any of these races, please let me know...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Training - 02-11-08 - 02-17-08

Weekly Training for 02/11/08 - 02/17/08- Total: ~ 73 miles.

This week was so so. My legs feel pretty horrible as of Sunday night. I know I am in need of another massage for sure. I ended the week by doing my long run workout at the Foxboro Old Fashioned 10 Miler [results][video of start and finish] on Sunday. It was my first 10 mile race and it went as I expected....pretty mediocre. The hilly course, combined with what felt like a constant headwind, and my beatup legs led to a mediocre time that was far from my goal time for 2008 for a 10 miler (55:40 - 5:34 pace). I'm glad I did it I have some idea of what 10 milers and eventually half marathons are going to feel like. The more experience I get at these longer distances the better it will be for me for sure...It's just going to take some time. MVS RT member Dan Vassallo ran a very solid race for 7th overall. Dan was actually leading the race around the halfway point but has been struggling with some tightness and foot discomfort. A very impressive effort for Dan regardless as he ran 53:51 (5:23 pace). He also spotted me 25 beans for the race entry after I showed up all the way down there without my wallet. Thanks Dan!

10 Mile Splits:

5:31 -
5.31 (11:03)
5:19 (16:22)
5:25 (21:47)
5:25 (27:13)
5:32 (32:45)
5:41 (38:27)
5:54 (44:21)
5:39 (50:01)
5:38 (55:40) - 5:34 pace

Monday - 4:00pm (75 min) - easy - 10 miles - Haverhill with the Lama.
Tuesday - 6:30pm - 20 min easy + 18x 60 sec. on / 60 sec. off @ slightly faster than 5k pace + 15 min easy (tot. 70 min) (10.5 miles). Freezing cold and felt pretty crappy.
Wednesday - 5:00pm - 10 miles easy (75 min) - Methuen, Salem (roads) - solo. Icey, cold, wet, miserable.
Thursday - 12:00pm (8.5 miles) - 60 min - Newton (treadmill) solo (would be scary if it was with people)...
Friday - 5:30pm - (75 minutes) - 10.5 miles - Andover, N. Andover (roads) with Jon Healey.
Saturday - 4pm - (65 minutes) - 8.5 miles - Andover, N. Andover (roads) w/ the Lama. Feel like garbage.
Sunday - 10am - 3 mile w/up w/ Dan Vassallo + 10 mile race + 2 mile cooldown w/ Dan Vassallo - Total: 15.

Approx. mileage for the week....73.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Training - 02/04/08 - 02/10/08

Weekly Training for 02/04/08 - 02/10/08- Total: ~ 67 miles.

Mileage went down quite a bit this week and I think I needed it. Passed on the crowded 5k on the track Saturday night and ran Bradford 5 miler again instead. Good solid effort from these old bones I think. Considering the shape I thought I was in, I was fairly happy w/ the results. I'm sure I could have continued on that pace for a 10k distance at least, and because of the hills, I think the effort was even better than that. Feel pretty strong this week. 2 weeks more of training before my last attempt of the year at the 5k distance indoors.

Monday - 6:00pm (75 min) - easy - 9.5 miles - Andover, N. Andover w/ Jon Healey, Molly Taber.
Tuesday - 3:30pm (75 min) - easy - 10.5 miles - Salem, Methuen, Pelham - solo.
Wednesday - 5:30pm - workout - Lawrence - 25 min w/up + 12x 60 second hills at 5k pace (with 1:30 back down) + 20 min c/dwn. - Total: 11+ miles
Thursday - 4:30pm (65 min) - 9 miles - easy - Salem, Methuen (roads) - solo.
Friday - 6.5mile loop - medium - Salem, Methuen (roads) - solo. Snowing the whole time.
Saturday - 25 min w/up + Race - Bradford Valentine 5Miler + 15 min c/down - Total: 10.5 miles.
Sunday - 4:30pm - 65 min slow (50 w/ Molly Taber - 15 w/ myself) (9 miles) - Haverhill.

Approx. mileage for the week....67.

Photo - 1980 throwback of me getting ready for my first 'long run' of the 80s.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2008 Bradford Valentine Race

Today I decided to pass on the Valentine Invite at BU and run the Bradford Valentine Road Race (results) instead. This last minute decision stems from their being 140 posted entries in the men's 5k at BU and the first heat not scheduled to start until 8:25pm. Though it would have been nice to get on Flotrack in the 5th or 6th heat of the 5k, I opted out due to the fact I haven't been feeling 100% over the past 2 weeks and racing at 9:30pm indoors in a hot building didn't seem to fit my m.o. at this point. I may try one last 5k indoors in 2 weeks at the USATF NE Championships at Harvard.

In today's race, I actually felt ok despite the conditions and hilly course. Bradford isn't terribly fast, in fact as if the hills are bad enough, miles 2-4 were completely slush (which didn't treat my flats too kindly). I have a feeling that that particular road stretching over those 2 miles hadn't seen a snow plow and instead was just sanded to melt any ice that would have formed. Regardless, it was a mess. I ran behind Whirlaway's Chris Mahoney and SISU's Matt Germaine for the first 3 miles, then made a move up the last set of hills to pull right behind Chris for the last mile. We ran together and basically finished together, with neither one of us really kicking it in. I put forth zero kick and instead settled for a nice workout in 26:22 for the 5.07 (note the .07 :) ) miles and 2nd place by 1 second.

These photos by Ted Tyler from Coolrunning

The entire photo set can be viewed here.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

2008 US Olympic Triathlon Team Poster

Last week I had the pleasure of viewing the official poster for the 2008 US Olympic Triathlon Team painted by University of Massachusetts Lowell law professor, District Court Judge, and accomplished triathlete Judge Michael Jones. I have had the pleasure of working out, running, and racing with him over the years, both back at UML and now with MVS.

This was Judge Jones' second poster for the Olympics, with the first one coming in 2004 (view the 2004 US Olympic Triathlon poster article here). A great deal of research, respect, and artistic vision went into this piece. I have included the official artistic statement below and have received permission from Judge Jones to include these fine images of his work.


This poster seeks to blend traditional Chinese painting principles with modern art. It has not been an easy process for a western trained artist to fully understand the orientations of Chinese cultural painting. The Chinese ask: "How can one be the father of painting without reading ten thousand books and traveling ten thousand miles?" I did my best to follow this approach by viewing Chinese art displayed in some of the world's leading museums, speaking to Chinese art historians, and reading literature on how to understand the philosophy, techniques and history of Chinese art.

There have been periods of western art where painting was a handmaid of religion, or where the personal ego of the artist was exemplified in expressionism, romanticism or surrealism, or where art became merely an imitation of its subject. Contrast this perspective with the Chinese notion that art is the "wedding of spirit and matter." In other words a painting about the sport of triathlon must capture the essential spirit of participating in a triathlon.

There are two basic modes of expression: words and images. Chinese painters from the past frequently felt compelled to inscribe poetry on their paintings. I elected to follow this approach by working an inspirational poem into this poster. The poem also serves as an important source for the symbolic lines, shapes, colors and calligraphy depicting the three sports of a triathlon.

The fleeting glimpse of a triathlete swimming, biking and running could never reveal all of the effort and training required from our Olympic competitors. Yet, the essential feeling and meaning of "being" a triathlete is hopefully captured by the poster's poetry and visual imagery. The color red is meant to excite. The color black is meant to calm. A triathlete competes in harmony with nature. The birds in flight signify good fortune for all the competitors in Beijing.

The 150 limited edition posters are printed on Epsom Textured Fine Art paper. The original oil painting on canvas from which the posters were reproduced measures 40" by 30". In keeping with the essential spirit of this official USA Olympic Triathlon Team poster authorized by the U.S.O.C. for the 2008 Olympic Games I have signed the poster two ways: my traditional western name and a name given to me by a Chinese artist that means "centered and balanced," "thoughtful" and "full of heart." I will try to continue to live by the body and spirit of these character words.

Triathlete and Judge Michael E. Jones 2008

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Training - 01-28-08 to 02-03-08

Weekly Training for 01/28/08 - 02/03/08- Total: ~ 95 miles.

Mileage increase this week...Having an on again/off again feeling like I may be coming down with something...trying to stay healthy while everyone around me is sick... Horrible workout on Wednesday and legs are feeling slightly beat up this week.

Monday - 6:30pm (78 minutes)(10.5 miles) - Andover, N.Andover (roads) with Matt Pimentel, Molly Taber.
Tuesday - 12:30pm - (59:20)(9 miles) - Salem, Methuen, Pelham (roads) - 6:00pm - (60min)(8 miles) - Andover (indoor track) first 20min w/ Ann Kingsland last 40 with Judge Jones.
Wednesday10am - 45min easy (6 miles) - 5:30pm - 25 min w/up - 5x1200m hills as 800m up (2:35) / 400m down (72-74s) with 400m jog in between (was supposed to be 70 down) - 18 min c/down - River Rd. in Lawrence. Solo. It was windy and I felt like absolute crap. - 10.5m total.
Thursday - 6pm - (75 minutes) (10 miles) - Andover, N. Andover (roads) with Jon Healey.
Friday - 6pm - (12 miles)(1:22:15) - Salem, Methuen (roads) solo. Wet, dark, and slippery.
Saturday - 4:30pm - (11 miles)(1:14:30) - Salem, Methuen (roads) solo.
Sunday - 3:30pm - 18 miles (2:02:59) - steady. - Salem, Methuen, Pelham (roads) solo.

Approx. mileage for the week....95.

Photo: Throwback - 1996 - Love those Umbros...