Monday, April 25, 2011

Training 04-25 to 05-01

Wrap Up: 73.7 miles on 6 days.  1 day off because I've been sick.  Really congested and run down but still managed a decent race at James Joyce.  I think I should have been right about at what Bob Wiles ran if I wasn't under the weather, but I am really pleased that I was able to run steady and as quick as I did...I'm also thrilled that the CMS crew was able to squeak out an overall win in the team competition...I'm really pumped about the way the guys stepped up and took care of business.  It was a really fun day.  I just wish I felt better.  I seem to be getting worse though.  Race report to come.

05-01 - Sunday: 12.2 miles (roads) - Dedham, MA.  3 mile w/up + strides w/ CMS crew over some of the James Joyce course + 10K Race: 32:08 + 3 mile cooldown (roads) w/ CMS crew around neighborhoods in Dedham.

04-30 - Saturday: 7.5 miles (trails and road) - Andover, MA from cemetery w/ Dan Verrington. The 'fake 8' loop. [53:51].

04-29 - Friday: 11 miles (roads) - lunch run (6) solo - Salem, Methuen roads [39:48].  Nice and warm out.  Evening run (5) in N.Salem, Derry w/ Dave Quintal [39:22].  Picked up a road bike today. Still feeling pretty crappy but no worse than the other day.  The weather today (and the fact that it's Friday) made me feel slightly better in the afternoon. Not sure about James Joyce on Sunday...I'll run it...but not sure I'll be 100%.

04-28 - Thursday: off.  Sick as hell.  Felt sick since Tuesday night and got almost no sleep.  Definitely picked up a nasty cold from sick kiddies at our Easter get-together.  Could have gone out, but I was hacking the past 24+ hours, felt horrible, really congested, and throat has been brutal.  Decided to let my body rest up a bit.  Perfect day for it, as the weather was crap.

04-27 - Wednesday: 10 miles (trails) in the river trail from hotel with Chris Mahoney [68:27].  Felt horrible.  Really stiff and sore from the last 2 days.  Also sick.  Spent Sunday around sick kids and family and caught something.

04-26 - Tuesday: 15 miles (track workout) at the Voc in Lawrence, MA.  1 mile w/up on trails (got there late) then jumped in for 6 x 800 meters @ 2:35-2:40 with 200 jog in between - with Merrimack guys.  Slow, but steady.  They are running hard this weekend, so the workout was pretty easy and it was good because they all got to run in one big group and everyone stayed together...I just ran relaxed and got a good tempo effort going... then 3 laps (1200m) solo, waiting for Jon Healey and Caroline Bjune to get ready to run their workout. Then jumped in the workout with Jon and Caroline (who is training for Vermont City).  5 x 400 meters @ 75-76 with 60 sec jog in between + 2000 meters in 7:30 then 400 lap jog + 4 x 400 meters @ 75-76 with 60 sec jog in between + 1600 meters in 5:55 then 400 lap jog + 3 x 400 meters @ 75-76 with 60 sec jog in between + 1200 meters in 4:25 ... they continued on for some additional work and I stopped, as I was already almost 11 miles on the track + 2.25 mile cooldown with Sarah Prescott on the roads. [1:38:39].

04-25 - Monday: 18 miles (trails) - river trail from hotel, out across Forest Hill Wetlands and down to the Haggetts Pond trails, around and back to the radio towers and back down to the river trail again. Continued on and completed the out and back on the river trail.  Added on a few minutes in the parking lot at the hotel to make 18 (on the Garmin).  Ran w/ Kevin Alliette for the whole run and 5 or so miles of it w/ Pimentel.  A tad muddy in spots, but good solid run.  [2:13:01].

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NHTI / Delta Dental 5k

Friday night I ran up in Concord, NH, on the campus of USCAA powerhouse NHTI (home of National Champion XC runner Heather Searles-Mahoney) at the NHTI / Delta Dental 5k (results).  This was my 2nd time running the race (first time back in 2008 when I won in 15:42, outkicking a young Dan Verrington).  This is at least the 3rd version of the course in the 7 year history of the race (that I know of).  The course usually incorporates some trail sections around the campus.  When I ran in 2008, they didn't run over the trail section because of the flooded/muddy state of some of the trails.  This year, it was the same issue and the course was run entirely on the roads around campus.  The difference between 2008 and 2011 was that they added a section of course around one of the buildings near the 'root canal' tunnel you go underneath.  Then, at the end this year, you finish on the path around the quad.  In 2008, you ran an extra length across the quad (instead of going around the building).  The course this year was wheel measured and one of the directors told me they went through quite a bit to accurately measure the course.  The noticeable thing about the race is that the entire thing was coned.  They made you run on the right side of the entire route, meaning that basically half of the time, you could not take any tangents on the course (not even close).  You had to run to the right of the cones which they placed about 2 feet from the shoulder of the road, making it a VERY tight fit at times.  I felt on every lefthand turn, that I was adding on ridiculous time, as I was all the way across the road and actually in the breakdown lane, instead of hugging the other side....but of course it was measured that way, so it really was not adding on time, but instinctively you just want to hug the tangents on the road...

When I got to the race and registered, I started to see a good deal of CMS guys including Dan Verrington, Rod Viens, Scotty Clark, Tim Cox, and Sam Wood.  A good group of 6 of us and Abby Gosling as well.  DV, Rod, Tim, and I all warmed up together over the course and checked out the new add-on section.  I noticed Justin Freeman warming up just behind us and knew it was going to be a great fast race, as he has set a personal goal of running 14:35 this season on the roads.  He was coming off of a good ski season and is getting into some good running shape now.

The race got off to a good quick start and Justin just went out from the beginning. I stayed right with him, only a step behind for most of the first half mile as the course winds down to a turn around point and then starts to come back against traffic.  Just before the mile mark, Justin put a slight lead on me (a second or two max) and I began to put some space on Mike Burleson who had gone out with Justin and I at the beginning.  After us was some distance before a big pack of what looked like 10 guys.

We had to stay way right on the way back out and it was a bit tough to not be able to cut across and take any tangents.  There was a lead bike in front of us with the RD on it and he was constantly looking back.  Justin stayed right outside the cones and I obviously followed his lead (as the RD instructed multiple times before the race began).  The 'K's' were marked on this course as well, but I didn't pay attention to the first couple.  When we hit the 3k mark, it was going up and over the overpass over Rt. 93, which is the biggest hill on the course (the only hill) and you obviously go over it twice, once on the way out and once on the way back.

I went through 3k in 8:46 (obviously the k's were mismarked) but I felt like I was hammering.  Justin was a couple seconds in front of me and was pulling me along the whole way.  I knew that if I was alone out front and he wasn't here, I'd be running somewhere in the 15:45 range or so...but the sheer fact that he wanted low to sub 15, made me move that much faster.  We looped around the parking lot (tight turns) and went under the 'root canal' tunnel and through the 2 mile mark in 9:48.  The course then goes around the other building and parking lot (new route) and again, tightly turns back and goes back up over the overpass.

Once down the other side Justin seemed to be coming back a bit from his few second lead and I was always in striking distance, but it seemed he might have been slowing...but as the course rolled out and around the large parking areas, he seemed to be holding his ground.  The wind was really hitting us directly in the face and I thought that if he came back just a bit more and I found myself just pulling up on him, I'd go for it.  I wasn't sure if he had a good kick or not.  I know he's strong as hell and runs hard at the beginning, but haven't raced him enough to know about his kick.  He ended up not really needing it, as I settled into 2nd place and stayed there for the short loop around the quad and never quite made up the few seconds I needed.  We both probably ran the same last 2 miles, but his initial burst at the beginning gave him the well deserved win.  I was happy with a fairly fast time for me (in April especially) in 15:18, 4 seconds back of Justin.

Rod ran really well and came through exhausted in 16:32 (he finished the race looking how you are supposed to look at the end of a 5k!).  Tim and Scott both got top 10 finishes as well, with Scott demoralizing Dan at the very end of the race.  Sam Wood wrapped up the CMS places and Abby won the woman's race.  Ryan Kelly ran a very strong race and was talking about dipping under 16 this year...I hope he does it (I just hope I'm either not in that race or I'm running faster when he does it ;) )...

We all cooled down together (with a couple of the acidotic boys joining along) over the course and along the trail that runs parallel to 93.

Splits (5k: 15:18 / 4:55 pace):

Mile 1) 4:50
Mile 2) 4:58
Mile 3.1) 5:29 (missed the 3 mile mark but was definitely under 5 for the third mile even with the wind).

Top 10 Plus CMS in Blue

Place Time Pace Name Age Town/State
1 15:14 4:55 Justin Freeman         34 New Hampton NH 
2 15:18 4:56 Jim Johnson            33 Salem NH       
3 16:06 5:11 Michael Burleson       25 Weare NH       
4 16:10 5:12 Ryan Kelly             29 Concord NH     
5 16:32 5:20 Rod Viens              43 Grantham NH    
6 16:40 5:22 Nick Rennie            27 Salem MA       
7 16:43 5:23 Danny Ferreira         28 Concord NH     
8 16:49 5:25 Ryan Lacasse           25 Bow NH         
9 16:53 5:26 Tim Cox                37 Northwood NH   
10 17:03 5:30 Scott Clark            45 Gilmanton NH   
11 17:04 5:30 Dan Verrington         48 Bradford MA    
16 17:34 5:40 Sam Wood               24 Laconia NH     
19 18:20 5:54 Abbey Gosling          25 Meredith NH    

396 Total Finishers.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Red's 5M

Again, I'm behind the is a race report from a couple weeks back when I ran the Red's Shoe Barn 5 Miler (results) (now called the Red's Race for a Better Community). This was the 30th annual race and my 3rd time in a row going up in the week prior to or right after the Boston Marathon. The last 2 years this race has been right after Boston. This year it was before, which I think made a difference in the way my legs were able to handle the rolling nature of the course. Pictured above, me w/ the 'co-record holder' Dave Dunham who ran 24:13 (rounded up from 24:12.01) on this monster back in 1996.  Craig Fram ran 24:13 here in 1997 after packing it in over the last mile and then sprinting right at the end when he realized how fast the last mile was.

After warming up on the first part of the course with 'the author', we were underway on a relatively warm, sunny day (but not quite as warm as last year).  I immediately went out relatively quick, as the course does have some steady but very easy climbing at the beginning.  Essentially the entire first couple miles steadily roll upwards and I was pushing it out front, with Nate Huppe a ways back in 2nd place, seemingly all by himself as well.  I was looking back a bit at the beginning wanting to know who, if anyone, was coming along for the ride...but no real takers.  Nate is experienced with this course and knows every section.  I was expecting him to come up and join me but he was content with his pace and I pushed on, riding right behind the lead vehicle.  I cruised up through the first mile in 5:08.

There is a long straight section approaching mile 2 and then a decent incline up past a water stop as I hit the second mile in 10:05 (for a 4:57 split).  The course takes a sharp left and then runs through some heavily wooded and twisty roads that have some slight downs and then a couple of rolls before opening up to some nice fields and neighborhoods past the 3 mile mark.  I hit 3 in a 5:12 split, which I knew was to be expected with the nature of the middle miles.  Mile 4 was more of the same, with another 5:12 because the last part of this mile is on the biggest hill of the course, which climbs up past the 4 mile mark and leads you to a last 3/4 of a mile of nice rolling downhill.  I clicked through in 20:29 for 4 miles and had a pretty big lead on Nate.  I glanced back as I made the turn towards 4 and could see Nate across the field but couldn't tell who was next.

I focused on trying to cruise on the last part as I started to roll down past a bunch of spectators who were out in their front yards cheering the race on.  You can see the finish area and the tops of the buildings from about a half mile out and the course just rolls down and drops essentially all of the elevation you built up over the course of the race.  I  dipped under 5 for my last mile, which is a feat with the first quarter of it being up a decent last part of the biggest hill on the course.  I came through in 25:25, which I was elated with.  I ran 30 seconds slower last year and was still happy with that time because it was right after Boston and anything under 26 I considered a good run on this be that far under 26 this year was a big bonus.

In talking with the Foster's reporter, I found out after the race that I was the first person to back-to-back this thing after Mike O'Brien did it back in 2000/2001.

Fosters article.

Seacoast Online article.

Splits - 5 Miles (25:25 / 5:05 pace):

Mile 1) 5:08
Mile 2) 4:57 (10:05)
Mile 3) 5:12 (15:17)
Mile 4) 5:12 (20:29)
Mile 5) 4:55 (25:25)

I cooled down with Nate and Mike G. after.  Nate took me on a tour of residential Dover.  On returning, I got my paws on a nice Red's gift cert for winning and drove right over to grab a sweet pair of hiking shoes.  Then it was back on the road to head on home... I'm now 2 for 2 in Dover this young season....

Above: Me my mates for the day...DD (rocking his Lowell singlet) and Nate the Great...

Top 10 (CMS in Blue):

Place Name Town/State Age Time Pace
1 Jim Johnson       Salem NH        33 25:25 5:05
2 Nathan Huppe      Dover NH        31 27:20 5:28
3 Dave Dunham       Bradford MA     47 27:49 5:34
4 Brian Ruhm        Nashua NH       45 28:10 5:38
5 Fergus Cullen     Dover NH        38 28:16 5:40
6 Patrick Connelly  Chester NH      47 28:32 5:43
7 Bret Page         Sanbornville NH 33 28:38 5:44
8 Randy Macneill    Epping NH       49 28:46 5:46
9 Michael Brady     Durham NH       51 28:58 5:48
10 Cameron Barth     Lee NH          14 29:21 5:53

512 Total Finishers.

Shaky video of the start - courtesy of my Dad...

DD finishing up a good run - courtesy of my Dad...

Friday, April 22, 2011

Training 04-18 - 04-24

04-24 - Sunday: 9.4 miles (roads and trails) - Haverhill/Bradford w/ Dan Verrington. 1:05:42 for the 'short 10 loop'.

04-23 - Saturday: 6 miles (roads) - solo. Salem, Methuen. Put off running all day and just went out and through the motions. Not motivated much today...turned 34 today as well.  I am old school.  [41:42].

04-22 - Friday: 10 miles (roads) - 3.1 mile w/up w/ Rod Viens, Dan Verrington, Tim Cox before the NHTI Delta Dental 5k in Concord, NH + strides and jogging to get loose + race 5k: 15:18 (2nd OA) + cooldown 3+ with Viens, Verrington, Cox, Ryan Kelly, Danny Ferreira.

04-21 - Thursday: 7 miles (trails) - river trail from hotel. First 4 solo.  3 very easy w/ Matt Pimentel who was still recovering from the marathon. [50:38].

04-20 - Wednesday: 10.3 miles (trails, snow, mud, deep standing water, quicksand, rocks). White Lake State Park and surrounding snowmobile trails in Tamworth, NH w/ Kevin Tilton.   We ran around White Lake from the main parking area on VERY wet and flooded single track.  Then we got up onto some old carriage road / logging road / snowmobile trails that cut up through to rt. 113.  We crossed 113 and kept going for a bit until we got to the Bruce Robinson Company gravel pits of Chinook Trail.  It was a cold, wet, dirty, sloppy, great run in the north country w/ a classy guy.  [1:22:20]. Good to get back out in the woods (the real woods).  Still quite a bit of snow and ice up there and at my parents place.  Hard to believe that May is less than 2 weeks away. It will be some time before the trails and ground are solid.  Lots of plunging down into deep mud.  Good fun though. Makes me look forward to some good trail and mountain running.

A look at my Dad's shed in E.Wakefield, NH. Still a bunch of snow in the yard...

The Oroc's after Kevin took me for a tour of Tamworth's backcountry.

Lastly, a funny ultra running commercial forwarded to me by Mark Lundblad.

04-19 - Tuesday: Day off.  Threw the clothes on and got to the door. It was raining, it was late, I wasn't in the mood.  If I was somewhere else, I might have been.  Looking out the door and down the streets of Salem and Methuen, I decided to bag it.  Good news is that I don't even feel like I ran yesterday.

04-18 - Monday: 17 miles (roads).  1 mile w/up + 15 miles hard + 1 mile c/dwn.  Ran first 15 miles of Boston Marathon and then pulled out. 1:11:18 through half, then a 5:35 and then just shy of 5 minutes (within view of the 15 mile mark) I pulled off.  1 mile cooldown jogging around for 10 minutes when I got back to the finish line to get my stuff.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Training 04-11 to 04-17

Wrap  Up: 42.1 miles for the week as I taper for the marathon on Monday.  Will be glad to get this out of the way and get back to good training again.

04-17 - Sunday: 3 miles (roads) - easy run in Salem, Methuen. Solo.

04-16 - Saturday: 5 miles (roads) - easy run in Salem, Methuen.  Solo.  Taper continues.

04-15 - Friday: 8 miles (trails) - river trail in Andover w/ DD.  Went to the 3 mile mark, turned around, then ran out towards the boathouse and back.   Nice and easy.  [57:55].

Below is yet another snippet of finish line footage from the 2010 Mount Washington Road Race.  This is places 30 to about 53 (for men). Watch in HD!

04-14 - Thursday: 8 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (solo). Usual run today...Lake St. out and back.  Right leg still kinda bothering me but only at the beginning for about 2 miles. [51:42]

Below is part 11 of the Mt. Washington Road Race raw footage from 2010...this time, it is finish line footage.  This is places 1-31 for men and 1-2 for women.  Watch in HD!

04-13 - Wednesday: 8 miles (trails) - river trail from hotel (solo). Raining, wet, cold, muddy. Found 2 missed flags from the river trail course marking, and some 'Xterra' tape used to direct the runners back to the start. This technically means that the time on dd's 1:23:17 course-sweep actually was still ticking because the job was not completed until today...actually, I didn't sweep over the last mile of the course, so there could have been even more flags still out there... leg was still bothering me a little, but I think it is just still a bit sore from the 5 miler on Sunday...Icing it now and will keep an eye on it as I just try to keep things rolling this week with boring, short runs.

04-12 - Tuesday: 5 miles (trails) - river trail from track w/ the brothers-Healey. [37:22].  May have been a tad longer than 5 because we ran quick for the first part (because Chris was pushing the pace). Wanted to do more, but my right leg was a bit tight and sore right below my knee on the side.  I figured a couple more miles during this taper week isn't really going to help.  It is depressing, running this little and this 'uneventful' before this damn marathon business.

04-11 - Monday: 5 miles (roads) nice and easy recovery run in Salem, Methuen (wow it was warm out there)  (34:27).  Legs were heavy from yesterday's race (even with the shakeout last night w/ DQ).  Just felt stiff and sluggish.  This week will be a couple of easy 8s (over the next couple days) and then some 5-6 mile runs with some's all about just hanging on now until after I get this friggin' marathon out of the way. 1 week to go.  Then I can start enjoying myself again with my running!  Red's race writeup coming soon!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Helping Children Hear in NH 5k

Last weekend (in keeping with my LATE race writeups) I ran a rather small 5k up in Dover, NH.  It was the Helping Children Hear in NH 5k (results).  Last year was the 1st annual and Jasmin Lepir of Portsmouth, NH had the record at 17:20.  This was my first 5k of the year (road) and all I had done so far this year was longer road racing (16 mile, 50k, half marathon, 20 mile).  I didn't know what kind of '5k' shape I was in and it seemed like this course had some decent little hills, so I wasn't really expecting much.

I pulled into the parking lot and was one of the first to arrive on the scene.  I believe I was the first to register (as I got #100 and there was nobody else around) 'day of'.  When I headed back out the door from registration, I noticed Craig Fram had pulled up.  He was thinking the same thing I was....keep it low key and get a good effort in.  I had been a little sick the week of the race and also wanted to test out some new (pre-production) minimal road flats I got from a certain trail shoe company...I figured that my first 5k back, while recovering from being sick, and testing out new shoes, should be low key.  This race ended up only having 117 people in it, so it fit the bill...

Craig and I went out for a warmup and screwed up.  We took a wrong turn before the 1 mile mark and ended up going in the wrong direction for a couple miles.  When we figured it out, it was too late.  We finally made our way back to the start, but we had to literally tempo it back, to get back in time.  We actually were discussing missing the start and having to run from behind to catch everyone after the race began.  We literally had a couple of minutes to spare by the time we got changed and quickly ran over to the line.  Craig had no time to stretch.

The gun went off and I was off and out on my own, just trying to settle back in and get used to 5k pace... but it was going to be easier said than done.  The first mile of this course is slow.  There is a pretty good climb which heads directly into the wind.  Then, as you begin to descend, the mile marker, which seemingly should be there, is not.  I looked at my watch and saw 5 minutes come and go.  I was shocked and was almost sure I had missed the marker.  I felt like I was hammering.  You then take a really sharp left on a steep downhill and then up ahead, I saw the one mile mark.  I was borderline devastated.  I came through in something like 5:15 or 5:17 and figured the race was blown.  All sorts of weird things ran through my head.  I thought 'what if I'm really not in good shape'... 'what if I have finally reached that point where I just get slower and slower'.... I wasn't sure...but I was just hoping the mile was either very challenging or just marked wrong.

I had a very large lead early and knew Craig would most likely get an easy 2nd, even if he was doing just a tempo, as was his plan.  The course winds through a nice neighborhood in the middle and then back out onto a main street.  The second mile has got a little bit of an uphill climb and some slight down, but was flat for the most part.  I completely missed the 2nd mile mark.  I started looking at my watch and saw 5:15, then 5:20, then 5:30, then eventually 6 minutes and knew I had to have passed it.  I felt like I was hammering but had zero confidence that the effort was actually solid, without having seen what I went through the 2 mile mark in. The last mile has got a pretty good last little hill as you come back up to the entrance to the school and I again, missed the 3 mile mark, but I knew I was actually running quick because I could now see the finish and was looking at about 15 minutes on my watch.  I was pretty much toast, as I turned down and crossed the line in 15:39 (technically a new CR).

I had read online that the course was actually 3.21 and then got an email from an 'inside source' claiming that the course was a bit long. I'd like to think so....I'd also like to think that that 1 mile mark is placed a bit long, but I talked to the actual guy who marked the miles after the race and he said by his Garmin last year, and car this year, that it was right.  On the map, it is actually showing as needing to be before where it was.  I think that it may have been a bit long, as I don't think I was 5:15 at the mile and Craig actually said he went through in 6:00 and was shocked at the time.

Top 10 Overall.

Place Time Pace Name Age Town/State
1 15:39 5:02 Jim Johnson         33 Salem NH      
2 17:28 5:38 Craig Fram          52 Plaistow NH   
3 18:16 5:53 Jasmin Lepir        35 Portsmouth NH 
4 19:13 6:12 Daniel Dion         25 Dover NH      
5 20:17 6:32 Tyler Dover         29 Dover NH      
6 20:21 6:33 Zachary Whitehouse  23 Exeter NH     
7 20:30 6:36 Summer Cook         33 Madbury NH    
8 21:25 6:54 Steve Benoit        58 Southbury CT  
9 21:39 6:58 Adam Beck           49 Chester NH    
10 21:55 7:04 Jessica Goldman     38 Rochester NH  

117 Total Finishers.

Craig and I cooled down over the course again and I collected a cool mug and $25 gift card to Runner's Alley.

Side note, for some reason I love the logo of this race....Kristin thinks it's kind of odd, but I am really diggin' the runnin' ears!  Makes for a sweet t-shirt..

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Training 04-04 to 04-10

Wrap Up: 61.5 miles as I begin to 'ahem' taper... or something like that... 1 good race in Dover (Red's Shoe Barn 5 Mile).  Also managed to sneak in a fun run up in Freedom w/ Kevin Tilton this week, went to the river once, and then just ran some medium distance road runs around my house this week.  Nothing spectacular, but then again, with Boston looming, I think behaving myself is appropriate here.  Congrats to the two lucky contestants of my MP3 player giveaway (details below in the video)...I still owe 2 race reports (now that Red's is in the books)...

04-10 - Sunday: 11.5 miles (roads) - 3 m w/up with DD over Red's course in Dover, NH + race: 5M - Red's - 1st OA (25:25) + cooldown with Nate 'the Great' Huppe over Red's course and then some neighborhoods.  I am now 3 race reports behind.  I'll knock them all out today!  How about that for ambition?

PM: 5.5 miles (roads) w/ DQ in Salem, Derry.

Exciting news...the drawing was just held for the Sony MP3 players.  The winners are..... (you'll have to watch this professional video taken below...don't skip to the end, the suspense is great and well worth it)...I appologize ahead of time for the lack of planning and for my haircut.  I didn't have time to storyboard this, or setup my pro lighting and sound system.  I also wanted Kristin to be in a bikini for the actual drawing of names (kind of like a ring girl at a boxing match who shows you the round number), but she just gave me 'that look' and walked away.

04-09 - Saturday: 6 miles (roads) solo run through Salem, Methuen.  Didn't have much time to run...birthday party down in Plymouth, MA to go to... (39:28)

04-08 - Friday: 8 miles (somewhere around 60 minutes of actual running)... marking the river trail w/ DD, Verrington, Scotty PHAT Graham, Dave Lapierre, and Steve 'ya I ran a few 1:08s' Peterson. Ran 2+ miles solo and then 5+ miles w/ the crew, marking the course and then running up to Dave's car off of River Rd.  Nice and easy day..good to shoot the breeze with the guys.  Everyone except Scotty Graham had a better Mt. Wash PR than me.

04-07 - Thursday: 8.1 miles (53:12) Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (roads). Bonked at 2 miles.  From 2 to 5 was brutal for some reason.  I really felt like a schmuck.  Then I had a rebound over the last 3 miles.  I am 0-2 for this loop this week...yesterday it was my stomach and today it was my lack of sugar.  I really didn't eat anything today and only had a little water before the run... The good news is that as I start to taper down, nothing at all is bothering me.  I probably don't have the right mileage under my belt, but from a health point of view, I have no lingering issues to complain about.... so I got that goin' for me....which is nice ;).

I have to finish my ES20 race report (I have been very lazy with that) and then the report from this past weekend's 5k... I hopefully will have these up before I race again...I don't want to get 3 races behind in reports...

For now, let's look at Part 10 of the 2010 Mount Washington Road Race raw footage.  This is footage of the runners finishing up the 'wall'... places 3-23, including the top woman's finisher.  Watch in HD! (and check out the near disaster at 5:58 into the video as I almost get bowled over by some schmoe backing onto the course as I am making my way up the wall...)

04-06 - Wednesday: 8.1 miles (52:03) Salem, Methuen, Haverhill (roads).  Out on Lake St. to 97 and back.  Had to go to the bathroom ridiculously bad the last 4 miles and my stomach was killing me.  I barely made it home in one piece (if you know what I mean)...

04-05 - Tuesday: 7.1 miles (1:09:05) in Freedom, NH over skimobile trails and up Mary's Mountain w/ Kevin Tilton.  Nice run around Trout Pond skimobile trails and some single track bushwhack.  Lots of deep snow and ice everywhere (except up on the peak).  Kevin and I both ran in the Orocs but we should have had the Dion's on actually.  Fun run.  Saw 4 total deer.  This run was all about time-on-feet rather than mileage.  Now I know what Kevin's training is like :).

04-04 - Monday: 7.2 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Just wandered around.  Drizzling out and just didn't feel like doing anything... Ran late in the day and just think I'm in 'taper' mode at this point.  Was going to run 10 but came by the front of my house in 47:00 and called it a day.

Eastern States 20 Miler

A couple of weekends ago I ran the Eastern States 20 Miler (results) for the 4th year in a row.  This is always a great run and a good solid long race before a Spring marathon (like Boston).  A lot of locals (including being very popular w/ GBTC runners) use it for a tuneup for Boston.  This race (course map) is unique, as it starts in Kittery, Maine, goes south down Route 1A all the way along the New Hampshire seacoast (the shortest coastline in the U.S.) and finishes in Salisbury, MA.  3 States, 7 towns, 20 miles.

The only problem with this race is the wind you get off of the ocean for a lot of the race.  Some of the miles are just plain ruined due to the massive headwinds.  The rest of the way feels like the wind hits you from the side.  The wind aside, I really enjoy the course.  Route 1A is a beautiful stretch of road for most of the race, as you wind down through Rye, NH and both Hampton and North Hampton (right past Hampton Beach).  The beginning of the race passes right through down town Portsmouth, one of my favorite places to run.

I headed up to Kittery solo and met up with my sister, who was running the race for the second year in a row, as a tuneup for the Boston Marathon.  I warmed up for a few minutes with Patrick Moulton, who would obviously be running this race by himself (his brother Casey broke Ed Sheehan's course record 2 years ago with a blistering 1:45). Besides Patrick, I noticed a few GBTC runners including Junyong Pak and Ryan Aschbrenner, who are always a threat for a top spot, and Shaun Evans (NY) who ran 2nd, behind Casey a couple years ago to the tune of 1:50 and change.   I was hoping for maybe top 5, but really can never be sure how this race will play out.

The starting area is about a half mile or so from the school (Traip Academy) and I trotted down to the start and got right next to Patrick and Shaun as the gun went off.  Patrick shot out and began to settle into his own pace and Shaun wasn't that far back at first.  I ran in 3rd for the first 200M or so, but then pulled up next to Shaun as we both probably decided that Patrick would be unchallenged up front and we'd settle for racing for 2nd.  I would say within the first 400M I moved a bit out ahead of Shaun and from there, I started to build up a slight pad as we made our way over the Memorial Bridge from Badger Island into Portsmouth.  I clicked through my first mile in 5:26 and figured I was looking good and feeling pretty smooth.  My high end goal was to run marathon pace-ish (5:35).  I knew with the wind in the middle miles, that I'd need to bank some time early.

The course winds through Portsmouth for the first few miles as it crosses across the Market Square course, Out of Hibernation course, Harbor Trail course, the old Children's Museum course (and probably a few others in town).  I held steady in 2nd and had a good lead by 2 miles, clicking through the 2 and 3 miles in 5:24 and 5:23.  Mile 4 is where the wind started to kill me last year, but the beginning section of 1A wasn't quite as bad this year and I was able to lock in a 5:27.  Surprisingly, I could still see Patrick, who didn't look like he was pulling away all that fast.  He was still within close proximity and I just figured I'd enjoy the time I could actually see him and see how long that would last.  By 4-5 miles, I could no longer see the runner(s) behind me.

Miles 5 and 6 are now along the water and anything goes here.  I was still in the 5:20s and feeling good, but then a massive wall of wind came whipping in at miles 7 and 8 and it pretty much made me almost call it a day with a fast time.  I thought to myself, 'ok there goes the fast time, but just make this a race now for place'...  Patrick (I would find out later) would really use a lot of his energy up on these middle miles and pay for it later.  Mile 9 calmed back down and I was able to rock back into the 5:20s, but then mile 10 was back to being a wall of wind.  I came through in 55:08 for 10 and heard that Patrick was 3 minutes up on me (from someone at the 10 mile waterstop).  I could still see him and the pace car WAY off in the distance and the way this race course is laid out, hugging the coast line, it cuts way inland and then back out, enough to be able to see people way ahead of you, as they wind back towards the ocean.

I started to really feel the affects of the wind over the next block of miles, as I was now winding along the Saunders 10K course and trying to make Patrick out, in now a sea of half marathoners that you start to pass (the Run to the Border Half Marathon starts in Rye at the same time as the 20 miler).  I always start passing the half marathon back of the packers at about the same time every year and this year was no different.  I weaved through miles 11-14, passing most of these folks who offered me encouragement as I continued to look up and see Patrick way off in the distance.  I figured if I could still see him this late in the race, that I was either running well, or he wasn't having one of his best days.

Miles 15 and 16 started to get very windy again and really took the steam out of my race.  By mile 17, you are running along and through the Hampton Beach area and through this stretch I had lost sight of Patrick, but really couldn't see that far ahead due to the nature of the course.  Patrick's fiancĂ©e was driving along the course and was offering me some encouragement through this stretch as she would continuously pass by me, and then run into traffic.  I felt OK after 17, but 18 was once again into a very cruel headwind.  I hit 6 minutes and figured I was on the wrong side of 6 from this point on, but once I got over the bridge in Seabrook, I was back to flying along, as the wind shifted and I was back down into the 5:30s.

As I entered Salisbury, MA, I was in an all out kick.  I knew I was going to run fast and I felt great.  I knew I could continue on for more miles at that clip and that was a great feeling.  I came up on the finish line a lot faster than I was expecting and ended up running a 5:18 last mile with a nice tailwind and finished only 1:09 back of Patrick, who had some problems over the last few miles and was no doubt reeling from the windy stretches, which took a lot out of us.


Mile 01) 5:26
Mile 02) 5:24 (10:50)
Mile 03) 5:23 (16:14)
Mile 04) 5:27 (21:41)
Mile 05) 5:24 (27:05)
Mile 06) 5:26 (32:32)
Mile 07) 5:44 (38:17)***
Mile 08) 5:40 (43:57)***
Mile 09) 5:27 (49:25)
Mile 10) 5:43 (55:08)***
Mile 11) 5:37 (1:00:45)
Mile 12) 5:32 (1:06:17)
Mile 13) 5:38 (1:11:56)
Mile 14) 5:35 (1:17:32)
Mile 15) 5:44 (1:23:16)***
Mile 16) 5:46 (1:29:02)***
Mile 17) 5:41 (1:34:44)
Mile 18) 6:01 (1:40:46)***
Mile 19) 5:33 (1:46:19)
Mile 20) 5:18 (1:51:37)**

** actual time 1:51:35

55:08 for my first 10 miles
56:27 for my 2nd 10 miles

The splits (wind aside) really do indicate that given the right day (conditions-wise) and health-permitting, I should hopefully be good for a solid effort at Boston next week.

History at ES20

2008 - 6th place - 1:57:39 (5:53 pace)
2009 - 6th place - 1:56:31 (5:50 pace)
2010 - 1st place - 1:57:33 (5:53 pace)
2011 - 2nd place - 1:51:35 (5:35 pace)

I've lost to 2 different Moulton's in 4 years.

Here is a video I found on Youtube, although conveniently I do not appear in it. It shows the GBTC guys a bunch of times, and Patrick Moulton once, but no views of my speedy self.  I saw a TON of people out there taking photos and video, yet I cannot find one other picture set or video of the race.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Training 03-28 to 04-03

Wrap Up:  70.3 miles this week with 1 good race effort (5k).  Just going through the motions and staying healthy for Boston at this point.  Did lots of good, fun trail runs this week w/ local mates around here....good to be getting back into the trails but the weather is still a bit on the cold side and has been crazy with some snow lately (and maybe a little bit more in the next couple days)... I can't wait until the warm weather is here to stay... I look forward to more miles as the warm temps set in.  This coming week will just be more of the same, with a slight taper next week, some sort of race this coming weekend, then the marathon which will just be a fun experience without too much focus or pressure...that's the way to run these things I think...

04-03 - Sunday: 10 miles (trails) - River trail from hotel w/ DD.  Overslept and was late getting there.  He left without me.  I caught him before 3 mile mark after I hammered to catch him. [1:12:17]

04-02 - Saturday: 10 miles (roads) - 4 miles (maybe even longer) warmup with Craig Fram, which was like 31+ minutes and we were hauling arse over the last mile to get back to the start, which we almost missed + 3.2 mile (long 5k) race in 15:39 (1st OA). This was the Helping Children Hear in NH 5k in Dover. Very pleased with this race, as the course is a tad long (officially 3.21 miles) and there are a bunch of nice climbs, especially in mile 1, which made it a very tough grind to try to run that fast.  I've also been dealing with a head cold and my sinus' and throat have been bad the past 3 days.  Last night and today I was very congested, so I am really glad I was able to bust out a quick one today.  I was also test driving some brand new 'minimal' shoes from a certain trail shoe company.  These aren't out yet and they are super light, super low profile as far as tread, and a 'zero' shock zone, meaning there is essentially no differential between the toes and the heel... it's the closest thing to the barefoot running 'fad' as I'll get...but I had a really great time in them and they felt very comfortable over the 5k distance.  For a cooldown, I ran the course (this time we went the right way) with Craig Fram.

04-01 - Friday: 6 miles (roads) - easy run in Salem, Methuen (solo).  Didn't get out until late. Ran in the  snow and cold rain (mix).  Welcome to April in New England.

03-31 - Thursday: 10 miles (trails) - the 'real' river trail course with Ryan Miller, Mike Quintal, and Kevin 'don't call it a comeback' Alliette.  Cold, wet run. Snow started to lightly fall at the end.  MQ pushes the pace as usual. [1:08:20].

03-30 - Wednesday: 12 miles (trails) - with Mike Quintal, Ryan Miller, Chris Mahoney. Andover, MA - Deer Jump Reservation across Forest Hill Wetlands, John & Marie Boloin Reserve, and down to Golden Oaks Green Area. Ran up Wood Hill and around all the radio towers, back down the other side, and then headed back. Same as Tuesday essentially, except we kept the group together and no one got lost! [1:26:00]. Oh yeah, I'm sick.  First time in a long time...

03-29 - Tuesday: 12 miles (trails) - with Mike Quintal, Dave Quintal, and Ryan Miller.  Andover, MA - Deer Jump Reservation across Forest Hill Wetlands, John & Marie Boloin Reserve, and down to Golden Oaks Green Area. Ran up Wood Hill and around all the radio towers, back down the other side, and then headed back.  We lost DQ temporarily on the way back... [1:29:57].

Last bit of the actual race footage from the course.  Watch in HD!  Next I'll start piecing together some finish line video.

03-28 - Monday: 10 miles (trails) - River trail from hotel w/ Mike Quintal [1:08:18]. Didn't eat much today (after gorging myself yesterday after the race and last night at the Weathervane).  I felt a little 'bonky' before I even headed out the door.  I meant to bring a GU with me but forgot.  Only a few miles into the run I started to quasi-bonk.  I kept it quiet as Michael and I just chugged along, but on the way back I had my highs and lows.  Legs feel great (just a tad bit heavy, but good).  I don't feel like I raced 20 miles yesterday at all, which is a great  thing.  Near the end of the run (last 5 minutes), Mike indicated that we were still on a sub-70 effort, so we worked it a bit near the end to squeak under 69 min. The trails are in great shape.  There is still a good bit of snow and ice packed into the shady parts along the powerlines, but other than that, it is mostly clear of any snow or ice now.  I love how this week ends with days in April...great stuff!  I hope this actual 'snow' I'm seeing on the weather forecast for later in the week is just rain... Race report to come probably tomorrow, as will some more Mt. Wash video...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sony Walkman W-Series Review and Giveaway

Earlier this month I was contacted by Sony to review their new Sony Walkman W-Series MP3 Player, geared towards runners, joggers, and people on the go. They sent me a pair to test drive, and 2 additional pairs to give away (details all the way down).

At first, I was skeptical, as I am about any new earbuds, mp3 players, etc. designed to work effectively while banging away road miles.  There seems to be a million of them out there and they all sing the same refrain... 'I'm popping out of your ears as soon as you start running'.  This is the worst part of the Apple earbuds that come with any iPod you purchase.  They are great for sitting on a plane or bus, walking around, etc.  But as soon as you try to actually jog or run, they do NOT stay in.  I don't care what the person in the advertisements 'look' like they are doing, they typically don't stay in your ears longer than 4-5 strides (if you are lucky).  A few years ago, I came across a Nike winter hat (Hatphones) that changed my cold weather running for the better.  It allowed me to put my OLDSCHOOL iPod Nano in the hat itself, and hook into a pair of integrated headphones right inside the hat, eliminating the dangling wires and cumbersome armband you'd need to store the iPod itself when you run.  I loved it and still use it in the colder months here in New England. It doesn't even look like you are listening to your iPod.  It just looks like you are wearing a black winter cap.  But in the summer, I have no alternative.  I have a couple of armbands I use to stuff the IPod into, then just have the wire flopping around up to the set of my 'earbuds-of-the-week' that I use.  I have gone through at least 5 pairs of earbuds, looking for ones that will actually stay on my head when I run.  I have switched back and forth between ones that have rigid ear hooks and one that have soft, flexible ones.  I can't ever tell which ones are better.  Usually what I have to do is put them in, then wear a pair of sunglasses (strategically positioning the temples over my earbuds to keep them down), or wear a running cap or headband to keep the buds from popping out.  It is never an easy solution.  A couple of years back I did get another device (I will not mention by name) that simply clips/secures around the back of your neck and allows you to clip in an iPod Nano (before the Nano's got super small).  Then you wrap your earbud wires around the frame and run the rest of it up to your ears.  I used this one time, in 95 degree heat in the summer and by 7 miles, my iPod was fried because of the sweat dripping from my hair and the back of my neck.  It left the iPod exposed to the elements, right there in the back of my neck.  I had to wait an entire day for my iPod to dry out before it would work again.  If it had rained halfway through my run, it would have been a goner.  Poor planning and design on that for sure.  I was still left without a really good solution until I saw this product description for the Sony W-Series in the email I got from Sony.  I decided to give this a go and see if I would actually have some luck.

At first glance, the looked like they will be a good solution because there are no wires.  There is a flexible rubber frame that wraps around the back of your head and the ends hook around the tops of your ears, to keep these things on your head while running.  That looked like a huge plus.  The actual ear pieces are a bit long but I think that has got to be to house the controls for the device itself (forward, back, play, pause, shuffle, volume up/down, etc.). They are extremely light and don't feel cumbersome at all when they are on.  The real test would be to actually run in them and bounce around to see if they will just flop right off my head.

Image to the left of the the actual pair next to some other items for size comparison (note, ahem, that shiny USATF Bronze Medal in the bottom right hand corner ;) )...

They are very light and have a magnet pair on the end of each ear piece that allows the unit to clip together (as seen in the photo).

Image to the left of what's in the box (the laptop is NOT included)... You get a plastic holder for the unit when it is not in use, a set of large and small earbuds (mediums come installed already), a USB cable for the device to hook into your computer, and a bunch of manuals and digital music promotions.

I haven't played around with the actual software you are supposed to use, but just hooking the device into your computer, pops open a regular device window where you can browse the contents of the device as it were a drive, and simply drag and drop music into the directory.  It was extremely simple to do, and I was able to drag and drop a bunch of good tunes over in seconds.  There are some songs that come already loaded in memory, but I didn't really recognize any of them.  I threw some of my running classics on there and headed out the door to see if I could make or break these things.  I should mention that it came partially charged and the display in Win 7 shows you very nicely, how much battery and storage you have.  Very cool.

Well, I found out right away, that these things DO actually stay in my ears while running.  I had no help (no hat, no headband, no sunglasses).  I just ran with these things hooked around my melon and they worked great.  The volume seemed plenty loud, and it is very easy to switch back and forth between songs.  I imagine this is much like an iPod shuffle (last generation), in that you don't get any display, etc.  It is really just for shuffling and playing playlists while you are on the go and not looking (obviously) at the device.  I really liked the actual small little switch that you click back and forth to change through the songs.  It was very easy to click through and find something to listen to fast.  I ran fairly quick on the way back and dropped down a couple of quick miles to see if these would fall out even under the worst of circumstances and they didn't budge at all.  The feel a little 'loose' at times, but they stay put.  That is the biggest test of all.  They can sound great, but if they fall out, they are no good....these passed the test and I'm happy to say I'll be using these more often.

They do look a little like you are rocking a Bluetooth headset in each ear though, which may seem a bit strange at first, but that aside, I really think these are a great way to listen to tunes while pounding the pavement or trails, without having to worry about them falling off or having to worry about cumbersome wires and holders, etc.

Device Stats:

  • Music Storage Capacity (Approx) : 1.68 GB (1,812,660,224 bytes)
  • Memory Size : 2GB
  • User Memory Capacity (Approx.) : 1.68 GB 1,812,660,224 bytes
Weights and Measurements:
  • Weight (Approx.) : Approx. 43g (Approx. 1.6 oz)
  • Battery Charging (Approx) : USB-based: Approx. 1.5 Hrs (full charge), Approx. 3 Minutes (approx. 90 minutes playback)1
  • Battery Indicator : LED Battery Life Indicator (Green/Orange/Red)
  • Battery Life (Approx) : Music: 11 hrs. (MP3 128kbps)
  • Power Type : Built-in Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • AVLS : AVLS Volume Limit ON/OFF
  • Format(s) Supported : MP3/ AAC/ WMA (DRM)/ WMT Capable
  • Frequency Response : 20 - 20,000Hz (when playing back data file, single signal measurement)
  • Audio Power Output : 5 + 5mW
Audio Features:
  • Play Mode : Normal / Shuffle / ZAPPIN™ (Short or Long)
Inputs and Outputs:
  • Headphone Output(s) : Cord Free Design
  • USB Port(s) : USB mini-B connecter
  • Hi-Speed USB(USB 2.0 compliant)
  • Headphone Type : Closed, dynamic 13.5mm, dome type
  • System Requirements : Computer: IBM PC/AT or compatible computer preinstalled with the following Windows operating systems: - Windows® XP Home Edition (Service Pack 2 or later) - Windows® XP Professional (Service Pack 2 or later) - Windows Vista® Home Basic (Service Pack 1) - Windows Vista® Home Premium (Service Pack 1) - Windows Vista® Business (Service Pack 1) - Windows Vista® Ultimate (Service Pack 1) Not supporting 64 bit version OS.
In the Box:
  • Earbuds (S/M/L) Supplied in pairs.
  • Holder (1)
  • Operation Guide (1)
  • Notes on Water Resistant Specifications (1)
  • USB cable (1)


Last but certainly not least, I have been given 2 extra pairs of these to give away to my readers.  Want one for yourself?  You have 2 options... 1st option is to of course purchase one of these at this special discount link (48.99) OR 2nd option is to leave a comment below (the topic will be to list the top 10 songs that would be on your playlist for when you are rockin' on a run...).  I will leave this up for 1 week and then pick 2 names of people who post, from a hat, and they will be lucky owners of their own pair.  I'll send out or (hopefully) give you the pair if I see you at a race (if you are local)!!!