Monday, August 29, 2011

Training 08-29 - 09-04

Wrap Up: 97.7 miles for the week including one long/hard effort at Wapack.  Doubled every day during the week but missed my goal of 100 because I had a wake to go to on Thurs and it was too late to run long by the time I got out....This felt like a very long week for me, with the way I've been feeling physically.  I am really banged up as far as leg/foot/hip tightness and pain.  I felt like every day is the day after Cranmore, all week.  I hope it will get better. The good news is that my feet have held up and I was able to go from 0 to 97.7 miles in two consecutive weeks.  My plan now is to hang on to try to do Pisgah, which is a great challenge, then potentially some cross country and other random races before Cape Cod (God willing) at the end of October.

09-04 - Sunday:

am 20 miles
- Adhoc Race Report:  New Ipswich, NH - Ashburnham, MA. - Windblown Ski Trails - 1.5 m. w/up & striding (most w/ Greg Hammett) + 18 mile Wapack trail race (and then some).  First extended effort back after the World Trophy.  I was really worried about my legs and feet for this one and wanted to just finish this 18 mile trail race (which is a bruiser) in one piece.  My plan was to just forget about racing and go out and do a tempo style (as much as possible on this course) run without trying to kill myself for 2nd place (which is what I did last year, behind David Herr).  Even if I was the only contender there, I made up my mind to run just to run and for the first time, in an actual race, I would do just that.  With a field made up of Brandon Newbould, David Herr, Brian Rusiecki, Greg Hammett, Chris Hayhurst, and a few others (including Dan Verrington), it was an easy decision to make, and I just hung back at the start for a bit and let everyone else go crazy.

 I sat back for a mile to a mile and a half and just eased into the race, taking the first of the climbs really easy.  I sat w/ Dan for a bit before weaving my way through the pack a bit and ending up in 7th or 8th place for a bit.  Somewhere around 20 minutes or so in, I hooked up with Greg Hammett and David Herr, as Brandon and Brian were way ahead (out of sight) and Chris Hayhurst was further up, but within view.  I ran behind Greg and Dave for a while, just going through the motions and paying attention to my body and how everything was feeling.  Right around 25 minutes, during the rolls between the first summit and the second, David took off.  I pulled up behind Greg and started chatting with him.  We eventually followed Chris into a dead end at the top of one of the summits and we were lost for a short while.  I backtracked out behind them and we got lost again on another faux trail off of the summit.  The second time we went wrong, I turned first and found the right trail, now ahead of those two.  I pushed on down and just coasted but made a little bit of ground on them.  I couldn't see Herr or Rusiecki at all but just kept up a smooth, relatively easy pace until the massive downhill push to the turn around.  I saw Brandon near the bottom and he looked strong as he went past me on his way back up the killer climb on the way back.  I hit the main road that goes down to the turnaround and aid station at 9 miles and passed Rusiecki and Herr going the other way as well.  I looked at my watch and I was about 1 min. behind them.  Not bad, and I thought maybe if I just kept taking it easy, I could actually 'run' the whole thing back and catch them without much effort because I was taking it way slower than normal.  That was wishful thinking though, as I hit the aid station, filled my bottle, turned, and not too soon after, saw Greg and Chris coming the other way.  My lead on them was pretty small and I knew it would be interesting on the way back.

 I hit the turn back onto the climb on the way up, but somehow missed a section where the trail hooked a bit and I completely got lost.  One what should have been the easiest trail to follow, I got lost worse than I ever have in a race.  I eventually noticed that the 'trail' or actually forest floor, was getting softer and softer.  I started stepping in holes.  I then started climbing over downed trees and bushwhacking and realized it was going bad quick.  I came to a ridge and couldn't go over anymore.  I started doing the only thing that made sense and started to go up. Just up up up as much as I could, but breaking limbs and climbing rocks (really climbing).  It was an awful feeling.  I wasn't really trying to race, but now was completely killing my day by adding onto an already painfully long race for me, and losing ground on everybody. Eventually, through pure luck and the knowledge that I had to climb as much as possible, I came out onto the summit and saw a runner coming in the opposite direction.  I knew he was still on his way out, so I just ducked into the trail the way he came out and I was back in the game, but now was pretty sure I lost a ton of ground.  I figured Greg and Chris had gone by me and probably a few others too, without me knowing.

I raced another 3 or 4 miles before I started to really feel the extra effort I took when I got lost and I started to slow pretty good.  I had no motivation to try to run fast, as I was sure I wasn't even in the top 10 anymore and I started to get lazy.  On one of the downhills, I tripped when I caught a rock and went completely over, landing on my back and rolling down the downhill about 10 feet.  I rolled a couple times, skinning both knees and landing on my back, crushing my water bottle.  I got up, brushed most of the mud off me, fixed my belt, and examined my bloody knees before heading back.  About a minute or so later, Chris Hayhurst came up behind me but we were both walking up a steep climb.  We walked together for a while and talked about the race.  I was surprised he was still behind me and he told me he was in 5th place and I was still in 4th...but I knew he'd just go past me when we got up to the top.  When we finally reached the summit, I moved over and let him go.  Within a few minutes he was out of sight and now I just sat and waited for Greg to come up....but for the rest of the way, I never saw anyone else behind and just went through my motions again.

My big toes were really hurting me from the downhills and I had a big blister developing on my left foot, but other than that, I was fine.  I didn't  have any foot or leg issues other than that.  My right foot wasn't hurting like it did in the 50k, my plantar wasn't bothering me, and I wasn't cramping at all.  I was really excited to think that after 2+ hrs, I was still in one piece.   As the race wound down, I kept glancing at my watch every once in a while and knew I'd be really slow this year, but wasn't too worried.  I just wanted to hold my place and would be completely content with 5th place in a race I was never really in.  I hit the last stretch of downhill out to the main grass road and my toes were basically preventing me from doing much of anything except hobble until I got out onto the grass.  Then, from there, it is one of the longest stretches at the end of a race.  Last year I thought it was never going to end.  This year, it was the same.  Finally I came up to the finish and had been 'running' (and wandering) for 2:43:00+.  14+ minutes slower than last year, but with getting lost for 5-6 minutes at least, plus a couple other missed turns, and having just started out really slow, I'll take it.

The big + was that I got through it relatively unscathed!  No cramping, no severe pain in my legs and feet (which have been killing me all week) and no ass problems (my left arse cheek had been tight all week).  I was really glad to have the monkey off my back from the 50k.  This was also my longest race that I finished since Eastern States in March.  I dropped out of Boston and dropped out of the 50k Worlds, so this was a really good indicator that I can actually run races over 10 miles without dropping out!!!

Brandon won in a big way, running basically alone for most of the race in 2:26 something.  David Herr was 2nd and slower than last year as well.  Brian was 3rd and Chris was 4th.  I ended up 5th and there were two blokes behind me before Greg came in.  Greg had run a 5k race the day before and was doing what I was doing in just running this race for a good workout/long run effort before Pisgah in 2 weeks. Dan had a good time, running a solid race just behind Paul Young.  I think Keith Schmitt was up there as well (he may have been one of the guys just ahead of Greg).  I am now 0-2 vs Chris Hayhurst.  He got me at Moody Spring the day I spent most of my race, down face-first in the snow. :).  He's a strong runner who just does trails and snowshoe.  He reminds me of a cross between Ken Trip and a young George Adams.  He looks like he can beat your ass, but then he outruns you when the going gets tough.

09-03 - Saturday:

5.2 miles - solo (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Out and back.  Nice and easy yet again.  Legs still stiff and my left rump is again still an issue although I ran so slow that it really didn't get bad.  Just trying to hold on enough to get through the week.  [37:07]

09-02 - Friday:

5.2 miles - solo (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Out and back.  Nice and easy again.  Legs still stiff and my left rump is still an issue although it came on right near the end of the run, which is an improvement.  I've been stretching it out the past couple days..we'll see. [34:08]

pm 10 miles - w/ Emery Bickford - (roads) - Methuen, Haverhill. From Whirlaway, 8 mile loop + add-on up to Scotland Heights and back down.  Left butt still killing me but didn't 'go' on me.  Just hurt the whole time.  My right quad also got sore on the outside.  Just feelin' beat but enjoying running...I guess I just have to get used to running in pain :)....[1:10:37]

09-01 - Thursday:

am 5.2 miles -
solo (roads) - Salem, Methuen. Out and back.  Nice and easy.  Body still pretty sore and stiff.  Feet feeling OK. [34:42]

pm 3.4 miles - solo (roads) - Wakefield, MA.  1 lake bang.  Was planning on 3 loops to get 10+ miles but I had to go to a wake down in Watertown and it was a nightmare getting out of town with the traffic. I didn't get to Wakefield until 8:15pm and started super late.   I don't like running in the dark too much, but the lake isn't too bad, as it is well lit.  However 2 miles in, my left ass started to kill again. It got super tight and started to pull on me.  I cut it short after 1 bang and called it a night.  The late hour and the cramping/tightness was enough for me to call this a rest day. [22:33].

08-31 - Wednesday:

am 10 miles w/ Emery Bickford - (roads and trails) - Salem, Pelham, Methuen - Salem snowmobile trails from my house.  If I don't have poison ivy all over my legs tomorrow it will be a miracle.  Again it took me 20 minutes + to warm up the legs.  Felt incredibly stiff this morning so I waited and ran with Emory in the afternoon.  It was pretty hot out so we ducked in the snowmobile trails off of Hampshire Rd. instead of staying on the roads. [1:12:26].

pm 4.6 miles w/ DQ - roads - North Salem. 'Chasing Miles' again w/ DQ.  About as disastrous a 4.6 miler as you possibly can get.  After running mid afternoon with Emery, I went back out for a jaunt from DQ's palatial estate in North Salem.  After taking the town line between Derry and Salem, I rigged up with a cramp in my left ass right before the turnaround.  It was like a massive charlie horse in my caboose.  I tried to stretch it out a bit and it was no use.  On the way back down, about halfway back, I bonked HARD.  I started to BONK so bad I was borderline incoherent and had a tough time staying in a straight line.  I haven't eaten much in the past couple days and my mileage has gone up a bit, so it was inevitable I think.  I got back to Dave's and piled a dozen cookies into my piehole before hitting the road.  I picked up some dinner and headed home.  I saw 3 more deer (so 9 in 2 days) on my way to Daves.  I've run like 600 miles in the Whites with Kevin Tilton and have never seen a deer with him. Usually we don't even see a bird or squirrel or anything, let alone deer and other cool animals.  Salem and Andover have actual animals, which is pretty cool. [36:04]

08-30 - Tuesday:

am 6.8 miles w/ DQ.  Salem, NH.  Hitching Post road, up Spicket Hill, down for a long loop back, then back up and down and then up and down again on Spicket.  Legs trashed from yesterday...but it's a good hurt.  Good to be back on the horse again. [53:27]

pm 10 miles solo.  River trail from hotel.  Nice and steady but kept it slow.  My first time doing the entire river trail since June.  There was only really 1 downed tree, and no real damage in there from the hurricane (zero flooding and in fact it was completely mud or puddles at all).  Only saw a couple people in there and one dog (and of course it was off-leash).  On the way out, I heard a bunch of deer but didn't see anything.  On the way back, I saw 2 sets of 3 deer and the first set ran parallel to the trail with me for a bit, then cut across in front of me by about 15 feet as I was running!  I saw the next set further up on the opposite side right before the bridge under 93.  No foot issues to speak of, but my legs took about 20 minutes before they were loosened up to a manageable comfort zone.  Legs still really tight and sore.  6:15pm is now right on the edge of being too late to start a 75 minute run.  It was borderline too dark in the trails by the end. [1:14:22].

08-29 - Monday:

am 6.1 miles w/ DQ.  Salem, NH.  Hitching Post road, up Spicket Hill, down for a loop, back up Spicket, down and around for one more loop going back up Spicket for a third time (2 times from Stanwood side).  First run back after my down week after the 50K.  Foot felt OK.  Plantar still an issue on both sides.  Very easy [51:00]

pm 11.2 miles solo.  Salem, Methuen.  Wandering loop. Started easy and eased into a rhythm until my quads and hips got a bit tight.  Legs definitely felt the down week.  Finished off with 8 barefoot striders in the grass behind the manor.  PF is killing me.  Left foot (not the foot I hurt last week) was the pain right foot felt pretty good.  No swelling or tenderness in that area. Fingers crossed.  Time to start rebuilding.  Yesterday marked my 5 years back running (to the day) after not running a step since 1999.  My experience in the Netherlands last weekend (and my week off) really made me think about what I'm doing and made me realize I need to get a little more serious with my training and my routine if I want to get where I truly want to be.  I've never been as motivated with my running as I am right now...that is a great sign.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cycling in the Netherlands

Below is some horrifically boring video of the infamous Josh Ferenc and I riding our Dutch bicycles from the hotel, over some of the 50K course, through town (Assen), and out into the countryside in search of the elusive Hunebeds that Josh read about in the now infamous 'book' he bought on the Netherlands at the Keene Borders that was going out of business.  (Is that all really one sentence or should I have broken it up into two?).

I'm warning you, these are 'wicked' long and very uneventful...but if you have 30 minutes to kill, please watch these in HD!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Catching up (pre-World Trophy)

Catching up with blogging even though I'm not particularly motivated right now to do so... I am motivated to get back on the running horse after 3 (and counting) days off from running, but not too motivated to recap last weekend's events.  As a quick update going into this past week's World 50K Trophy, I had done 3 races leading up (post-Yankee Homecoming).

Saturday - August 6, 2011
Dam Trail Race (Oxford, MA) (results)

After Yankee Homecoming, I ran my second year in a row at the Dam Trail Race in Oxford, MA.  This year (as opposed to last year's 11.5 mile course) was 10.5 miles.  The race is put on by my club, the Central Mass Striders, and is a great event over some really nice single track and double track mountain biking trails in Oxford, MA.

My feet had been bothering me for most of the last week +, but I still went out to try to defend my title (narrowly edging out Ben Nephew in last year's race by just a couple seconds after he did all of the work over the duration of the race).  This year it was pretty damn hot out and the field was pretty good as my teammates Ross Krause (who destroyed me at Loon this year for a very strong second place) and Jim Pawlicki were both in the house.

At the beginning of the race I shot out and led immediately, as Ben was not there this year.  Usually I let Ben do the pacing, as it is by now certainly evident that he is a much better indicator of proper pacing early in a race.   I shot out like it was a 5k and by a couple miles in, I had a large enough lead where I couldn't see anyone behind.  I backed off a bit after remembering that this race was 10.5 miles long!  The only thing that scared me just a little was the one small climb in the middle, but I hit that without much issue.  I rolled for most of the race, taking it relatively easy after 3 or so miles and maintaining what I thought would be a similar pace that the rest of the field would run (essentially using my lead I built up over the first few miles, as the margin I wanted to hold).  Easier said than done though, as I started to feel it later in the race and the last couple miles (without Ben there) was a little difficult for me.

In the end, I rolled in to a 1:04:31 for another win here, exactly 4 minutes in front of Jim Pawlicki and a surging Ross Krause, who finished 2-3, and only 1 second apart.

Top 10 overall (CMS in Blue):

11:04:31Jim Johnson      Salem, NH      CMS
21:08:31James Pawlicki   Beverly, MA    CMS
31:08:32Ross Krause      Easthampton, MACMS
41:12:53Rob Hult         Harvard, MA    Puma
51:13:28Mike Mazzotta    Marlboro, MA
61:15:14Todd Walker      Amherst, MA
71:15:26John Pajer       Leicester, MA  CMS
81:16:26Scott Cote       Gales Ferry, CT
91:16:42Ross Mungeam     Douglas, MA    TVFR
101:17:02Todd Bennett     Columbia, ?

81 total finishers (10.5 miler).  There was also a 5 miler.

I won $50 for the win.  It was $100 last year, but since we ran a mile shorter this year, it's understandable ;)....

Thursday - August 11, 2011
Cigna (Manchester, NH) (results) 

This race is a big one on my calendar, but it didn't go as planned simply because my feet were giving me major problems.  My plantar problems have been epic lately and leading up to Cigna, I could barely hobble without serious discomfort.  I had run well the past 2 years here (15:12 in 2009 and 15:08 in 2010) and was kind of expecting a better showing this year but it wasn't to be.  I got off the line alright but quickly felt my foot pain and just couldn't keep it going without much discomfort and awkwardness.  I came through mile 1 in 4:54 (slower already than last year) and then struggled over the next (mostly downhill and flat) mile to the tune of 4:55 before the wheels blew off.  I managed a 5:02 last mile and :33 or so last .1 before cruising in in 15:25 (4:58 pace) for 13th place.  I could have picked up maybe 3 more spots had I at least equaled last year's time/effort, but it wasn't meant to be.  It's really too bad because this race is a great place to drop the hammer and run a PR.  The field is good but not crazy (definitely the top in NH though as far as sub 15/14's go).  The course is a fantastic place to run fast.  The only thing that can get in the way is the weather (August is usually pretty warm in Manchester) and time of day/week (6pm on a Thurs).

Top 30 (plus CMS Men's Racing Team in blue):

114:014:31Kumsa Megersa         25Bronx NY        
214:044:32Linus Chumba          31Nyack NY        
314:134:35Derese Denibob        28Bronx NY        
414:264:39Teotaye Dube          27Bronx NY        
514:424:44Andrea Sorgato        30Medford MA      
614:444:45Justin Freeman        34New Hampton NH  
714:454:45Fikadu Lemma          27Bronx NY        
814:484:46Tufa Genna            28Bronx NY        
914:544:48Nate Jenkins          30Andover MA      
1015:084:53Jonathan Gault        20Bedford MA      
1115:144:55Samuel Gagnon         18Hooksett NH     
1215:194:56Andrew Chalmers       21Ashland NH      
1315:254:58Jim Johnson           34Salem NH        
1415:315:00Alex Beaulieu         21Durham NH       
1515:335:01Peter Mallett         28Manchester NH   
1615:375:02Jason Dedonato        25Nashua NH       
1715:405:03Chris Brown           21Chelmsford MA   
1815:445:04Jose Oriiz            22Methuen MA      
1915:485:06Jack Collopy          17Durham NH       
2015:515:07Joe Jourdain          19Hudson NH       
2115:575:08Corey Duchemin        20Manchester NH   
2216:015:10Kevin Alliette        30Methuen MA      
2316:025:10Joseph Ekuom          41New Paltz NY    
2416:045:11Tyler Andrews         21Concord MA      
2516:065:11Mackenzie Kilpatrick  29Belmont NH      
2616:035:10Brenden Repack        21Merrimack NH    
2716:095:12Brandon Davis-O'donnel17Nashua NH       
2816:095:12Nathan Huppe          31Dover NH        
2916:095:12Colton Ham            17Webster NH      
3016:115:13Chris Plankey         20Bristol NH      
3216:205:16Mike Quintal          33North Andover MA
4216:385:22Scott Clark           45Gilmanton NH    
4816:465:24Sam Wood              25Laconia NH  

5343 Total Finishers.

WMUR TV Coverage of Start

WMUR TV News Footage/Recap - CMS' Abby Gosling gets interviewed for being top NH female.

No money this year.  I won $300 beans at this race last year for 4th place, but then again, all the Ethiopians missed the bus! ;)

Saturday - August 13, 2011
Crisman Memorial 5k (Amherst, NH) (results)

Coming off of a very disappointing Cigna, I immediately wanted to redeem myself and looked for a 5k to do just a couple days later.

I picked the 9th Annual Crisman 5k in Amherst because it looked super low-key.  I figured nobody would show up other than the usual locals and headed over the 45 minute ride with the plan of being able to run maybe around 16 minutes for a win (to help with my confidence).  I got to the race and there was hardly anyone there.  I walked over to register and noticed, as I was filling out my race app, a fast looking dude across from me at the table, filling out his app.  I looked up to see that it was my CMS teammate Tim Pipp.  I immediately just had to smile because he was there with obviously the same intentions as me.  Now, it was looking to be a potentially fast race after all.

We warmed up together over the course and joked about how there'd most likely be the fastest two times ever run at this race, today. When we got back, it was feeling pretty hot out and we changed and headed over to the track for some last minute strides and loosening up.  As soon as I got over to the track, I noticed Jason Dedonato (R.UN) and couldn't believe it.  Now there were 3 possible fastest times ever.  Jason had been right behind me at Cigna just two days prior (and he is also a UML Alumn).  We went over and talked to him for a bit and found that he too had thought this would be an 'easy win'.  It is funny how that happens, but worlds had definitely collided with us 3 now toeing the line in one of the lowest-key races on the schedule.

The race began (and finished) on the track. Tim jolted out ahead and Jason and I got right behind him as the first 300 meters is on the track before going through the fence and out into the parking lot of the school.  The lot is quite long and by the time it dumped out onto the road, the three of us had a pretty large lead.  From there, Tim and I changed the lead a couple times.  I rolled up past him maybe a half mile or so in, and when we hit a slight climb for the first time, he rolled up past me and looked to be making a big move.  I reacted and stayed behind, while Jason seemed to fall back just a bit.

The first mile was a blazing 4:41 but since the course was run in reverse this year (at the request of the Amherst Police), I seem to think that may have been placed slightly off.  Just after the mile, I rolled past Tim and took the lead for good (although I certainly didn't think that would be the case).  Jason fell back even more and it became spread out pretty good by a mile and a half.  The course takes a couple of left hand turns and I kept up the pace as much as I could with my feet giving me problems. Fitness-wise I felt OK and kept up the pace, but looked back every once in a while to see Tim not too far behind.

I clicked through the 2 mile mark in 4:58 and continued to push around this big loop course.  I was surprised to see a sub 5 again, but I think that is where my fitness is right now and I may be a little faster had my feet and calf issues been a non-factor.  The last mile is very deceiving as you dump back out onto the main road you started on but then you can see the school almost immediately.  Looking at my watch I was only about 2 minutes or so into the last mile, when you can see the school (almost like the end of Redhook, when you can see the brewery from a mile away).  I thought for sure I'd run a smoking time, but had no idea how long the last half mile would be.  It is a slight incline up through a very long school parking lot.  Longer than I was expecting.  As I ran this stretch, I got an idea of how far back Tim was and knew for the first time that I'd be able to hold him off.   I hit the track and went through the 3 mile mark in 14:48.  I was 31 for my last .1 (like usual) on the track, and came through in 15:20, which was 5 seconds faster than my 5k at Cigna two days prior.  It was also a course record (USATF # NH08015RF).

Myself, Tim, and Jason ran the 1st, 2nd, and 4th fastest times in the 9 years of the race...

Top 10 Overall (CMS in blue)

115:204:57JIM JOHNSON        34SALEM           NH
215:385:02TIMOTHY PIPP       23KEENE           NH
315:585:09JASON DEDONATO     25NASHUA          NH
417:155:33JASON PORTER       41BEDFORD         NH
617:445:43JASON BENDER       17AMHERST         NH
718:325:58PATRICK LYNCH      15AMHERST         NH
818:486:03ELI MASKOWITZ      14AMHERST         NH
1019:116:11RYAN LYNCH         15AMHERST         NH

185 Total Finishers.

I won $50 beans and a $100 gift cert to Runner's Alley in Nashua.  I stopped in on the way home and visited with my old UML teammate BJ Bottomley and bought $100 worth of Injinji socks ;)...sorry BJ!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Training 08-08 - 08-14

08-13 - Saturday: 10 miles - Amherst, NH - roads.  Warmup with Tim Pipp before Crisman 5k.  We did an extended version of the course + strides (26:00)... Then race: Crisman Memorial 5k - 1st OA - 15:20 (course) + cool down with Tim and Jason Dedonato (22:00).  Feet hurt on the warmup and a little at the outset of the race but loosened up a bit as the race went on.  The course was run in reverse this year, but over the exact same course (it's essentially one big loop).  The mile splits were crazy.  4:41 for the first mile with Tim Pipp hammering (first 300 meters of the race are on the track).  He passed me just before the first mile and dropped the hammer on an already quick pace.  The mile marker, because we were going in reverse, was most likely a little off.  We went through the mile and I knew were were going pretty quick (felt a lot faster than Cigna).  We backed off a little, but I felt way better than 2 nights ago.  The second mile was 4:58 and I was in the lead at that point.  Third mile was 5:08 (14:48 3-mile split) and that could have been a little long... not sure because they had to reverse the course...but the third mile split is back on the track, and my last .1 was a blazing 31.  I was happy to throw down a faster effort than at Cigna, but then again this course is one of the fastest 5ks there is.  There are virtually no hills...there is one slight incline during the first come down it at the the effort was better time-wise, but Cigna was slightly more difficult w/ the hills.  I felt a heck of a lot better though.

08-12 - Friday: 5 miles - N.Salem NH w/ DQ from Mobile Station up Spickett Hill and back down + some neighborhoods.  Easy does it on my feet...pretty tight and painful but not as bad as I thought they'd be after racing. [36:15].

08-11 - Thursday: 8.1 miles - Manchester, NH - 3 mile w/ up w/ MQ, Pete Mallett, MacKenzie Kilpatrick + Cigna 5k.  13th OA with a very disappointing 15:25.  Just didn't have it.  Normally I'd be completely happy (heck, elated) with a 15:25...but not on this course...not on this day.  Cigna is an opportunity to run your ass off and run fast.  Not this year though... I went from a 15:12 in 2009 to a 15:08 in 2010, but then up in the wrong direction this year... Feet have been killing me all week.  I'm pretty much out of being able to run fast with this plantar fascia trouble.  I have a couple of bad blisters from the run on Sunday and my feet have just been horrible.  I knew it would sink me in the race and almost stayed home but decided at the last minute to go up and race.  Unfortunately what I thought would happen, did.  I just felt flat and slow.  My right foot was bad and I didn't want to land on it.  Left foot was OK after a mile or so.  4:54 / 4:55 / 5:02 / :34.  Not exactly what I was looking for and 17 seconds slower than last year, but not completely horrible.  My fitness is OK and that kept me in the game...but the rest of me is falling apart.  2 mile cooldown w/ MQ in the graveyard.  Props once again to the Freeman who dropped a 14:43 like it was hot.

08-10 - Wednesday:  8.1 miles - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill [53:15].  Feet took forever to loosen up.  Not the greatest of runs physically.  Just feel beat up.

08-09 - Tuesday: 9 miles - Andover, Lawrence, MA.  2+ miles with the brothers-Healey on the roads from the track, then 2x 15 minutes at tempo pace (not sure what pace it was, but it seemed pretty steady) with a couple min. in between + roads back to track after.  [60:01]. Feet pretty much garbage once again.  This came earlier than last year.  Not good w/ 50K coming up (as if not being prepared for it wasn't bad enough).

08-08 - Monday: 0FF.  My feet are KILLING me.  Absolutely miserable to walk right now.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sandwich Range Run

Video and foggy cell phone pictures from Sandwich Range Run / Peak Bagging session this past Sunday w/ Kevin Tilton.

SmugMug Photos

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler

Tuesday - August 02, 2011

Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler 
Newburyport, MA

10 miles (course seemed to be lengthened this year)
Terrain: Road (paved)
Ascent: NA
Time: 52:34
2nd place overall of 1255

Mile 1)   5:06
Mile 2)   5:11 (10:17)
Mile 3)   5:24 (15:41)
Mile 4)   5:05 (20:46)
Mile 5)   5:20 (26:07)
Mile 6)   5:26 (31:34)
Mile 7)   5:20 (36:55)
Mile 8)   5:16 (42:11)
Mile 9)   5:16 (47:27)
Mile 10) 5:08 (52:34)
Finish: 52:34

First 5 Miles: 26:07
Last 5 Miles: 26:27

Race website: here

Results: here

Photo / Video Credits

Peter McClelland
Dave Johnson (my Dad)

Race Report:

This past Tuesday I ran in my 4th Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler.  I first did this race as part of MVS in 2008 (just before I joined CMS). It was in the USATF-NE Grand Prix that year.  I was 31st that year with a 55:36.  In 2009, I returned in a non-Grand Prix year and ran 55:11 for 12th overall.  In 2010, I came back once again and ran 54:18 for 9th place OA in another non-Grand Prix year.  Going from 31st to 12th, to 9th was pretty cool and to be able to run a little faster each time was also a good sign.  But I was underachieving I think at the 10 mile distance, considering I have run 53 and change for 10 mile splits at the New Bedford Half Marathon. I was looking to change that at Newburyport this year, but told my parents (who were there watching) that if I was sub 54, that would be a decent day.

I warmed up with Sully who was looking for a good solid 10 miles as he's training for Baystate in October.  I felt OK but not super ready for 10 miles for some reason.  I threw on the Inov-8 Road X-lite 155's I've been rocking lately, and headed over to the line.

The race went off relatively easy although a pack of 5 went out slightly harder than I did.  Joseph Koech and Joseph Ekuom went out pretty hard with Matt Manning and Bryan Morseman in tow.  Justin Freeman was slightly off the back of them and I was right behind Justin.  As the race went down High Street, I pulled up aside Justin and we ran together for a bit before he made a slight move and caught back up to the lead pack as we turned onto Marlboro St.

I clicked through the first mile in 5:06 and was feeling pretty good and like I was holding back, which was nice....but it's still a bit aggressive for me, especially in the middle of the summer at 6:10pm.  The race is usually a sizzler but the temps were as cool as I've ever seen at this race (probably in the high 70s or near 80).  I was alone by a good margin, as the lead pack had some distance on me and I couldn't hear anyone near me as I turned onto Water St.

The stretch along the water (Water St. into Merrimack St.) is a nightmare once you get up through the little square and start weaving in and out of 5k back of the packers.  It is a mess.  I still don't know why they do it this way.  They should start the 5k either a little later or just have it go a different way.  There are a few blocks where you just run into constant streams of people walking a 5k, holding hands, taking up the entire road, and strut around oblivious to a race coming up from behind them.  Last year, someone actually had a medical problem in the back of the 5k and there was an ambulance in the middle of the already narrow street, with gads of onlookers and 'racers' standing around watching.  I had to almost push my way past on the sidewalk.  This year, I had to yell at a few little kids and people with iPods (and not a care in the world)  in their ears to get out of my way, pick a side, etc.  During this section, I actually caught up to Matt Manning who had fallen off the pack and came back over the stretch of a mile and a half or so. My second mile was still a bit quick at 5:11 (for a 10:17 2-mile split) but I was pushing on.

I went through 3 miles just ahead of Matt in a much slower 5:24 (due in part to the nightmare of running into the 5k people). Just past Oakland St., the 10 milers are now on their own.  I was able to open it up a bit on Matt here and drop my fastest mile of the day in a 5:05, coming through 4 miles in 20:46.  I really didn't pay attention to time at this point and now only focused on keeping up the pace and trying to keep the lead group in sight.  I was 5th at this point (after passing Matt) and kept thinking that '5th would be nice to hold'.  But I really did think that I'd be caught eventually and that I could say that 'through 5 miles, I was still in 5th'...

As I hit my 5 split, I noticed the overall time for the first time and saw 26:07.  I thought that was a bit ambitious, but I also felt pretty good and kept pushing on as the course takes a turn up some of the only real hilly sections leading up to Maudslay.  During the 5th mile I started to notice Joseph Ekuom dropping off the pace up front and by the top of the hill near the sharp turn onto Pine Hill Rd., he had dropped back to me.  I passed him just before the highway overpass and water stop before heading down past Maudslay.  He hung on a bit but the hill and early pace had taken it's toll on him.

Just as Maudslay park was in sight on the right-hand side of the road, the course for some bizarre reason, took a left into some neighborhoods off of Pine Hill Rd. and did a big loop around a block before dumping back out onto the main road.  It was like adding what looked like a quarter mile to the race!  I was shocked and had no idea the race was going to go that way.  It was the first time in 4 years we had gone down that block but I just focused on the lead pack that was now made up of just 3 guys, not too far ahead of me.  I had made up some major ground on them over the last couple miles and now was within earshot of them.  As they took the turn back onto the main road, I saw Justin Freeman right behind Bryan Morseman and Joseph Koech and he glanced back at me.  Right after that, he made his move.

I turned onto the main road again and noticed that Justin had broken the group apart and Joseph Koech was now falling off the back.  I was continuing to put distance on Joseph Ekuom and running down Koech.  As we took the turn onto Hoyts Lane, I was catching up behind Koech and gaining on the group.  I didn't actually pass him initially and was still behind him when we dumped out onto rt. 113, which essentially turns into High St. at the end.  I ran behind him for most of the stretch down 113 and he reacted initially and didn't let me pass.

I went by Kevin Alliette (2nd in the 5k) who was screaming his head off at just shy of the 8 mile mark near the highway overpass.  I was still riding 4th place but ready to go by Koech.  Just after going up over the overpass, I went by him and set my sights now on Bryan Morseman who had also fallen off of Justin's move, but was still holding onto 2nd place.   I had no visions of a 2nd place finish here, but up to this point I had been mowing down people and not giving up any ground on anyone else.  By 9 miles, I was right up behind Bryan (who is a 2:20:11 marathoner by the way).  We were also not too far behind Justin and the lead police motorcycle.  I clicked through 9 miles not even looking at my watch or thinking about time.  Since we went and did that add-on in the neighborhood, I wasn't even thinking the time would be any good anyways.  I was just going for place and found myself riding step for step next to Bryan.  I felt him react a bit and wasn't sure about his kick or if I even had anything to match it.  I just felt like maybe 3rd was OK and that I was content with top 3. I tried to pull away just a bit but he would match the stride.  I didn't put any big moves in during the first part of the 10th mile, but since I had been catching him the whole  last half of the race, I should have realized that I was stronger at that point.  Just as I was starting to wonder what this finish was going to look like, I heard someone on the side of the road yell out 'less than a half mile'.  At that point I figured I could run hard for 2:30 and see what happens...I made a little more aggressive move and moved in front of him. At that point I just waited for him to pull up and run past but it never happened.  I continued to push on and he fell back just a little bit but not too much.

As I approached the last hard right and then sharp left to go up and behind the School (and finish area), I was within a baseball's throw of Justin Freeman.  I had a brief moment where I thought that if the stretch of High St. was just a bit longer, I may be able to catch him, but I saw the police lights and then Justin himself, disappear into the crowd and take that right to head to the finish and I knew that I was now in a race to hold off 3rd place and steal a 2nd.  I hit that last turn where it seemed like there were hundreds of people and all sides of the entire stretch of road were just lined with people yelling for me.  I headed up that last little climb and shot down the last little bit of side road to the finish.  I held off Bryan who was 7 seconds back and Justin was a mere 16 seconds ahead of me.  Not what I was expecting at all.  A pleasant surprise to say the least.

Top 10 Plus CMS Scorers in Blue:

1Justin Freeman     34NEW HAMPTON     NH  52:185:14RUN         
2Jim Johnson        34SALEM           NH  52:345:16CMS         
3Bryan Morseman     25ADDISON         NY  52:415:16            
4Joseph Koech       41CHELMSFORD      MA  53:095:19RUN         
5Patrick Rich       34SOUTH HAMILTON  MA  53:345:22CMS         
6Joseph Ekuom       41NEW PLAZA       NY  53:415:23            
7Matthew Manning    31BATON ROUGE     LA  53:455:23WCRC        
8Joseph Navas       40NORTH EASTHAM   MA  54:185:26WHIRLAWAY   
9Gregory Picklesimer45NEWTON          MA  54:305:27SRR         
10Matthew Germain    29HAVERHILL       MA  54:545:30SISU
24Mike Quintal       33NORTH ANDOVER   MA  59:175:56CMS         
28Dan Verrington     49BRADFORD        MA  59:395:58CMS         
36David Quintal      48SALEM           NH1:00:516:06CMS         

1255 Total Finishers.

CMS also won the team title and a cool $400 beans.  Split 5 ways, that's a nice 80 bills for each guy plus $300 bucks for me for my 2nd place finish gives me a nice payday (for me anyways) of 380 (less the 30 bucks it cost to race!).  Walking away with a PR plus net $350 bucks is a pretty good night.

Some short video clips my Dad took of the race (below).

First vid is of the start of the 10 Miler.

Second vid is of race winner Justin Freeman.  My Dad wasn't expecting me right behind Justin so he turned the camera off but just before he turns it off, you can hear the announcer say 'and from Salem'...

Third vid is of me finishing in 2nd place right as my Dad gets the camera back on.

It really confuses me that they added the neighborhood section this year.  The did move the start up a little bit (what seemed to be negligible) and they moved the finish line out from the 50 yard line, to what looked like 60 yards total, back to the current finish area.  The rest of the course was identical to years past.  I have no idea how they measured out that the addition of that entire neighborhood section was equal to the amount they moved the start and finish.  It wasn't even close.

Newburyport 10M Course without the new 2011 addon:
10.07 miles

Newburyport 10M Course WITH the new 2011 addon:
10.24 miles

Looking at the photos and video of the start and finish of this years race plus the course maps that are on file on, I know that this version is longer than the previous years.  Maybe this version is closer to being legit and maybe the previous years were short!  Either way, it's longer, no disputing that.  And the good news is that I ran faster on the longer version of the course!

Also, doing some more post-race analysis, using the McMillan Calculator, a 52:34 should get me a 2:27:14 marathon.  I've run 2:27:33.  Pretty close, but I've underachieved then by just a bit...  It says I should run a 1:09:49 half.  I've run 1:09:22.  Again, pretty close, but I've run faster by just a little bit.  It says I should run a 25:02 5M.  I've run 25:22 on a slow course this year.  Pretty close.  It says I should run 31:22 for 10K.  I've only run 31:53 so far since coming back. I'd like to dip down a little on this one.  The rest are pretty close, so this McMillan guy kinda knows what he's talkin' about I'd say.

Next up, if my plantar doesn't wreak major havoc this week, is Cigna on Thursday night.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Training 08-01 - 08-07

Wrap Up: 81 miles for the week with 2 good races (3 in the last 8 days).  A PR at the Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler in Newburyport, MA (which could have been long actually) and a CR (again) at Dam Trail 10.5-ish miler in Oxford, MA on Saturday (and a 4 minute win).  Then, a really fun (and wet) run up in the Whites again w/ KT and 4 more official NH 4000'ers crossed off the list.  Unfortunately though, I have had my plantar issues come back in full and it's really making things difficult right now.  I've been icing and massaging and stretching but it's getting worse again...same thing happened last year but a little later in the summer.  I also got a few new blisters on my feet from the run on Sunday so right now I'm hobbling around a little.  I tentatively have Cigna on Thursday night up in Manchester  and I'd like to try to run quick there before I head out to the Netherlands next weekend.  Hopefully these feet will keep in check.

08-07 - Sunday: 18 miles (trails/mountains) - Albany, Sandwich, Waterville Valley, NH w/ Kevin Tilton.  Ran up and and bagged Passaconaway, Whiteface, Middle Tripyramid, and North Tripyramid.  [4:10:01].  Started in Ferncroft and headed up Dicey's Mill Trail after we spotted a car over at the Livermore Trailhead and headed over to Ferncroft via Sandwich Notch Rd.  18 miles 1 way, hitting the above 4000'ers plus the Sleepers.

08-06 - Saturday: 16 miles (trails) - warmup before Dam Trail Race - Oxford, MA with John Pajer, Jim Pawlicki, and a couple others + Race: Dam Trail Race - 10.5 mile trail race - 1st OA - [1:04:31] + 2.5 mile cooldown with Ross Krause, John Pajer, Jim Pawlicki, and Ashley Krause.

08-05 - Friday: 7.8 miles (roads) with Dave Quintal in N.Salem, Atkinson, NH. [56:40]. Nice and easy loop up by Captain Pond, into Atkinson, and back.

08-04 - Thursday: 10 miles (trails) in Winni with Alliette and the same Methuen/UML crew.  [1:09:29] 10 according to Kevin's Garmin. Feeling better tonight than yesterday for sure.  My record still stands up at Loudon, where 16:41 won it last night.  Also, message to Rob better be running Cigna next week.  HUGE PR for you there if you go...low 15 possibility.  I hope to see a lot of the usual suspects there a week from tonight...Still trying to make up my mind about this weekend's race....when and where....ramble over.

08-03 - Wednesday: 7.2 miles (roads) very easy in Salem, Methuen.  Emery Bickford snuck up behind me at about 4 miles and ran with me for a bit.  I was going super easy.  I felt pretty beat up today and it took a while to get going.  Legs were stiff and feet are sore.  Getting my plantar flareups again. It's been coming on for a while now..same thing every year about this time. [49:59]

08-02 - Tuesday: 14 miles: Newburyport, MA (roads).  3 mile w/up with strides before Yankee Homecoming + race: 10 Miler - 52:34 - 2nd OA + 1 mile cooldown (8:00).  Great race for me. Very patient at the beginning, strong in the middle, and fearless at the end (for once).  Justin Freeman is boss.  What a year that bloke is having so hat off to him for being the class of the field today but I am very pleased w/ my own effort.  I was 5th - 6th for most of the race and made moves over the last 3 miles to finally move into 2nd with less than a half mile to go.  Good times.

08-01 - Monday: 8 miles: Maudslay trails in Newburyport, MA w/ Alliette and UML/Methuen crew (9 strong).  Shortest run w/ that crew so far.  I didn't want to push too much with Yankee Homecoming on Tuesday. [57:38]

Carver 5 Mile

Saturday - July 30, 2011

Carver 5 Mile Road Race
Carver, MA

5 miles (re-certified this year)
Terrain: Road (paved)
Ascent: NA
Time: 25:36
7th place overall of 456

Mile 1)  4:50
Mile 2)  5:08 (9:58)
Mile 3)  5:14 (15:12)
Mile 4)  5:19 (20:32)
Mile 5)  5:04 (25:36)
Finish: 25:36

Race website: here

Results: here

Photo / Video Credits

Race Report:

I headed down to Carver, MA last weekend for the 5 Mile New England Road Championships.  I drove down w/ the Whirlaway boys (Patrick Ard, Kevin Alliette, and Jose Ortiz).  They all graciously slept on the way down as I drove the hour and ten minute ride down south of Boston.  When I got down there I was pleased to see a very large and strong contingent of CMS boys getting ready for action.  After a little bit of issues with registration, we all headed out for a few miles of warmup over the beginning and end of the course.  The morning was very warm (over 80 already) and humid. It was looking like a slower day for sure, but the course has proved to be fast in the past.  One thing I did hear is that they had to 're-certify' the course this year and it was proven to be a little short in the past.  That weighed a little bit on my mind and I was hoping that I could just run in the 25s as a worst case scenario.  After the warmup, I wasn't feeling too great (comparatively speaking) and was very nervous for some reason...more so than usual.  But after a few last minute strides,  I toed the line right next to some of my mates and Dan The Man Vassallo and we were off.

The race went out quite fast but I let an initial group of Justin Freeman (RUN), Josh Ferenc (BAA), Dan Vassallo (aNE),  Justin Fyffe (BAA), Eric Narcisi (WRC), Brandon Newbould (WRC), Tim Pipp (CMS) and Joseph Koech (RUN) go out ahead of me and I ran next to Pat Rich (CMS), Will Dobbie (BAA), and a few others as we ticked through the first flat to slightly downhill mile in 4:50.  I had move just ahead of Tim by then and Patrick was behind me. 

 Right around the mile or just after, Will Dobbie came up along side me and matched my stride for a bit before moving ahead a little.  But he never fully broke away.  I stayed right with Will for a bit and before I knew it, we had caught up to Josh Ferenc, who had gone out in the lead through the first mile.  He looked to be rigging up a bit and we eventually went by him around 1.5 in.  He seemed to be breathing hard and as we passed he did not have a response.  Will and I went through the 2nd mile split in 9:58 (5:08 second mile) and it was beginning to get HOT out there.  There was very little shade and it was humid out that morning and over 80 at the start.  

Somewhere after 2 miles, Terry Shea (BAA) went scorching past Will and I and Will reacted and went with Terry.  I let them go just a bit and watched as they put a little distance on me, but then stayed there.  I found myself catching back up inadvertently and then moving slightly ahead during certain sections where either the road curved in a direction or there was a turn or slight change in elevation.  Terry, Will, and myself went back and forth continuously for another 1.5 - 2 miles, never really breaking away from each other by more than a couple yards.

Just before 4 miles I started to break away from Terry and Will finally and didn't hear them directly behind me anymore after one last push I made.  Right about 4 miles I looked up to see that both Brandon  and Eric from Whirlaway had been running side by side and had actually caught and passed Dan Vassallo.  They were now about up to Justin Fyffe and all 4 of them were not too far in front of me.  I seemed to be gaining on Dan and the others and for a moment, I looked ahead to see Kevin Johnson and Justin Freeman way up, but the rest of the field within striking distance.  I never thought I would ever have a moment in a Grand Prix where I thought I had a shot at top 3, but I really did have a minute or two where I thought I was going to catch up to Dan, Justin, and the two Whirlaway runners.

Sometime after 4 miles, Dan put in one last surge (as did I) and he ended up passing Brandon and Eric back and Justin also came back at the end.  I was just focused on outlasting Terry and Will who were still pretty close behind.  Just before the line, there is a little uphill stretch and during that time I was pretty sure I'd be caught back by Terry and Will but I was able to hold them off.  I was also unable to run down Eric and Brandon but they were coming back at the end pretty fast.

In the end I ended up finishing 7th OA (my 3rd Grand Prix top 10 this year) in 25:36.  Only 3 seconds behind Brandon and 5 seconds behind Eric.  Kevin Johnson ended up running a smart race and hammered the last couple miles to squeak out the win over Justin Freeman, who is having a great year.  The day was pretty slow for most everyone.  I was really hoping to run low 25, but I will certainly take 25:36 on a hot, humid day and certainly will take 7th OA in a Grand Prix event. 

Top 20 Plus CMS in Blue

124:42:004:56Kevin Johnson  Ludlow,MA       Greater Springfield Harriers
225:03:005:01Justin FreemanNew Hampton,NHRetailers Union (RUN)                   
325:15:005:03Dan Vassallo     Reading,MAAddidas New England RC                  
425:19:005:04Justin Fyffe       East Dummerston,VTBoston Athletic Association          
525:31:005:06Eric Narcisi       Charlestown,MAWhirlaway Racing Team                   
625:33:005:07Brandon NewbouldNottingham,NHWhirlaway Racing Team                  
725:36:005:07Jim Johnson      Salem,, NHCentral Mass Striders                   
825:43:005:09Will Dobbie       Somerville,MABoston Athletic Association             
925:44:005:09Terrance Shea  Cambridge,MABoston Athletic Association             
1025:46:005:09Nick Crowell      Portsmouth,NHCentral Mass Striders                   
1125:57:005:11Chad Carr           Cambridge,MACambridge Running Club                  
1226:01:005:12Brennan BonneDorchester,MAGreater Boston Track Club               
1326:03:005:13Joseph Koech     Chelmsford,MARetailers Union (RUN)                    
1426:05:005:13Patrick Rich        South Hamilton,MACentral Mass Striders                  
1526:08:005:14Peter Mallett      Manchester,NHCentral Mass Striders                   
1626:12:005:14Josh FerencWestmoreland,NHBoston Athletic Association             
1726:13:005:15Andy McCarronKeene,NHCentral Mass Striders                   
1826:15:005:15Jim St Pierre       Dracut,MARetailers Union (RUN)                   
1926:17:005:15Jose Ortiz           Methuen,MAWhirlaway Racing Team                   
2026:24:005:17Tim Pipp            Keene,NHCentral Mass Striders                   
2626:49:005:22Greg Hammett  Chesterfield,NHCentral Mass Striders                   
2726:50:005:22Greg Ward         W. Boylston,MACentral Mass Striders                   
3227:07:005:25Greg Putnam      Wakefield,MACentral Mass Striders                   
3427:14:005:27Joe Shairs           Peabody,MACentral Mass Striders                   
3827:31:005:30Dan VerringtonBradford,MACentral Mass Striders                   
4127:42:005:32Matt Clark          Amherst,MACentral Mass Striders                   
4327:46:005:33Chris Mahoney  Haverhill,MACentral Mass Striders                   
4427:46:005:33Kevin Gorman   Norwood,MACentral Mass Striders                   
5227:53:005:35Jim Pawlicki       Beverly,MACentral Mass Striders                   
5728:20:005:40Dave Dunham   Bradford,MACentral Mass Striders                    
6028:32:005:42David Quintal     Salem,MACentral Mass Striders                   
6729:01:005:48Sam Wood           Laconia,NHCentral Mass Striders                   
6829:01:005:48John Pajer            Leicester,MACentral Mass Striders

456 Total Finishers.

After I crossed the line, I started to watch as my CMS teammates filled in nicely as Nick Crowell was basically right behind me in a great effort.  Pat Rich and Pete Mallett came in together, just over 26 minutes and Andy McCarron was right behind them.  That was 5 in the top 17.  I knew we had won at that point and was pumped to have once again won a Grand Prix team title (4 out of 6 so far!).