Monday, September 26, 2011

Training 09-26 - 10-02

Wrap Up:  58.6 miles on 6 days (with one of those days only being 2 miles).  Got injured running and racing on a insanely tight left leg and let it go until it was too late.  Details below in the Saturday writeup. I didn't spend too much time writing this up because I have been super busy here at home and with work and been very unmotivated to think about or write about running when I am not running.  I will be laying out some new thoughts, plans, goals, etc. for my 'comeback' special that will hopefully begin filming this coming week (if I can start to actually move faster than limping around). One thing is for sure's about time I start to pay attention to those little things I don't do like stretching, etc.

10-02 - Sunday: 0 miles (injured).  Couchbound all day.

10-01 - Saturday: 17 miles (approx) trails.  Warmed up at Winni with Dan Verrington, Dave Quintal, and Todd Callahan.  Then ran the first 15K + about a mile and a half of the Winnekenni 25k race.  Was out in front in a big way after running the first lap (5 x 5k loops) with Todd C. and then taking off on the 2nd.  By the third lap I was way out in front and felt completely fine.  Felt like I was almost just doing a tempo and not really in any sort of distress fitness wise but all of the sudden my achilles felt like it was ripped off the back of my foot/leg. I had been struggling w/ tight, clicking achilles on my left leg for a couple weeks. I had to bail out of Codfish Bowl XC last weekend because of it, and now this.  I literally fell to the ground right between the lake and the basin.  I got up, and screamed in pain. I tried to stretch out near a tree but it was no use.  I couldn't even stand on it.  I limped/crawled up the trail and tried to get back up to the start/finish via a shortcut but it was way further than I thought.  No one was in sight when this happened and I had a multi minute lead on Todd, but my day was over.  I staggered up the hill against race traffic and eventually made my way up within a couple minutes of the start/finish before John Pajer's wife saw me, went back to the start/finish, and got help.  Mike St. Hillaire and another gentleman came down and carried me all the way back.  When I got back to the start area, there was a couple of PT people there and they worked on me for about an hour.  My calf and hamstring was very tight and my calf took a huge beating. I had thought all along that it was my achilles and that was it, but it was looking like my calf was to blame.  The session was one of the most painful I've ever had if not the most painful.  My calf and various muscles making up the lower leg were so tight the guy was amazed I was running on them.  By the time I was done getting worked on, I had help getting back over to my car and I drove home (somehow).  That day (Saturday) I couldn't even walk at all. I was on the couch the entire day.  I couldn't even stand.  When I woke up Saturday, my achilles was NO LONGER popping and it really didn't even hurt anymore (first time in 2 weeks) but my calf was brutalized.  I was able to limp very gingerly and basically kept up the ice, elevation routine on and off.  Fast forward to Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and now Thursday (Oct. 6) and it is getting slightly better each day.  I am still not able to even jog on it, but I am almost able to walk without a limp.  My calf is no doubt sprained or strained.  I don't think any permanent damage was done, but I'm not sure.  I am giving it a week, and will try to pickup were I left off with just getting back to running.  Just touching it is so painful.  I can't get up on my toes, can't push off at all, and can't make any sudden movements.  It is getting progressively better though with each day.  With Cape Cod in 3 weeks, I am not going to be fit in any fashion for a fast marathon, but I want to just get to the line and help the team if needed.

09-30 - Friday: 10.8 miles (roads) - w/ Scotty McGrath in Salem, Methuen, Haverhill - spicket hill /north ave hill loop. [1:09:26]

09-29 - Thursday: 10.3 miles (roads) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill - with Emery Bickford and Chris Mahoney-Searles... yes, that's right, THE Chris Mahoney-Searles (or 'CMS' for short).  My house up Spicket (from Stanwood side), down and back over to the hills up North St. and back down. Hilly loop, poured over the second half and was pitch dark, slogging through deep puddles.  We started moving on the way back from the last of the hills (after Chris and Emery started pushing the pace) and finished up with a pretty solid run considering the weather.  I managed to take every town line however.  Felt almost normal on this run.  The achilles was an issue going up Spicket but other than that it was alright.  [1:13:24]

09-28 - Wednesday: 8.5 miles (roads) - solo.  Headlamp run.  Couldn't get away from work early enough.  Salem, Methuen roads.  [56:16].  Testing the achilles more than anything. It held up 'OK'.  Tight and sore near the end.  I don't think I could have gone too much longer at that clip without it starting to get serious.

09-27 - Tuesday: 10 miles (trails/rail trail) - w/ DQ from Victorian Station in Salem. Salem, Windham, Derry. [1:15:24]  Achilles was junk but didn't hold me back too much on the flats.  I chose the rail trail because there is zero elevation gain (obviously). Good news is that it isn't any worse than it has been.  It actually is probably better than yesterday, so that's a huge plus.

Rant of the Day: They are RUINING the rail trail in Windham/Derry by building more McMansion neighborhoods right up against the trail about halfway between Salem and Windham Depot.  I'm talking right up against the trail.  It looks like the cul-de-sacs (one on each side) will go right up against it.  I couldn't believe it.  In a pretty remote section of the woods, they cut right in and opened it up on both sides.  It looks awful.  I thought the housing market was supposed to be bad.  Do we need more houses going up in what little woods we actually have here?  It really is a shame.  I also noticed that when we got to Windham Depot the beginning of the Derry portion of the trail (that has been unpaved and pretty rugged up until now) was all blocked off and a sign said that the trail was closed.  Of course DQ and I went around it and kept going on it for a bit.  I noticed they had cut back the growth from the sides and it looked to me like they were going to actually start to pave it.  I confirmed this by reading that the work actually started last week and will be done by November.  I kind of liked the unpaved section...but after November, that entire stretch all the way up to the existing paved section at Bower's Rd. will be paved now.  The ATV guys are going to hate that.  That leaves just the small stretch from Salem Depot, over the bridge across 111, and up to the start of the Windham Rail Trail on Lamson Rd. as the only unpaved spots left from Salem Depot all the way up to Hoods Pond in Derry.

09-26 - Monday: 2 miles (roads) - started out w/ guns blazing, thinking I was good to go, after resting yesterday.  As soon as I got to the first hill, my achilles popped bad.  It is super tight and painful.  I had to stop, turn around, and come back down.  Not what I was expecting.  This one little thing seems to be my only hitch right now and it's annoying.  [13:00]

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Training 09-19 - 09-25

Wrap Up: 46.3 miles for the week with a day off and a bunch of short days. Achilles problem hopefully is just a minor setback.  I may need a few days but we'll see. I've been sleeping with the boots on (night splints) to help w/ plantar problems and that has really done the trick, but now I fear maybe it led to this...I am going to go without the boot for a bit and see.  I am also trying to figure out what I will be focusing on the rest of my running career as things appear to be getting a bit stale...I was super motivated after the disaster in the Netherlands and now I'm just not even close to wanting to even go outside.  Pisgah was a welcome change in that mentality, but I'm sinking back into not giving a crap right now...especially with hobbling on my left leg.

09-25 - Sunday - Off.  Achilles is still bad.  Just driving and walking were no good. Bad end to recovery week. At this point, I am going to take it slow, make sure I can run steady again before doing anything stupid.

09-24 - Saturday - 6 miles (grass, dirt) - 4 or so mile w/ up (with strides and staying loose, kind of) then race: Codfish Bowl XC - Boston, MA.  Dropped at 2 miles exactly.  Barely made it 1.5 while running.  My achilles was wrecked.  I had a really bad warmup and my achilles was sore as hell and popping the whole time.  It got worse as the race started and I could barely keep up a racing stride.  I got a horrible start, was way back right at the gun, and was fighting to land right through the thick grass.  Went through the mile in about 4:55 and then struggled up Bear Cage hill and got passed by a million guys.  My achilles was so sore on the way up.  The way down was OK, but by the time I got to the flat and onto the grass, it was killing me again.  Didn't even make it to the wilderness loop. Very sad.  I tried to not think about it during the race, but it was just taking the fight right out of me.  I drove all that way, paid for the race, and ran for 2 miles.  My 2 mile split was about 10:30 and that was enough for me to call it a day and go home and ice.  I may try something tomorrow, but I'm not sure.  Very depressing to have my 4th DNF since coming back to running in 5 years, but 3 of those 4 are THIS YEAR.  I do not want to make a habit of this, but it's looking like I'm finally starting to slide downhill a little bit.  I hope it's just tightness from last weekend's 50K and 5k double.

09-23 - Friday: 6.3 miles (roads). Salem, Methuen (out and back).  This is rapidly becoming a recovery week for me but rightfully so, with Pisgah 50k last Sunday.  Relatively steady run today in the rain, but short mileage. [41:43].

09-22 - Thursday: 9 miles (trails).  Windham Town Forest trails w/ DQ from trailhead of 28 in Windham.  Raining and humid.  Steady run.  [1:08:43]

09-21 - Wednesday: 8 miles (roads/woods) - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill. Ran up Scotland Hill and then down Pine Tree Drive to find some trails that I have known have been down there for some time.  I didn't find the best entry point, but did find some dirt road and clearings that were runable for a little bit.  The woods got thick and that apparently wasn't the best route to take to get down into those trails and paths that run along the golf course imprint that has been obvious on Google maps since I've been mapping out my runs.  I know there is a better way to get in there, but I couldn't get there from that neighborhood.  On the way back out of a bushwhack between Pine Tree drive and Stephen Ave, I was pushing through small trees and bushes and came nose-to-butthole with a humungous buck.  All of the sudden I crossed my eyes and stared right into the rear of the deer as he jumped up from the ground (probably sleeping) and almost kicked me in the face as ran away through the bushes....scared me half to death.  Just wandered around and headed down a couple other streets I've never run on before, as I just took it easy and tried to recover from the last few days. [57:31]

09-20 - Tuesday: 10.2 miles (xc workout) w/ Merrimack men's team at Brooks in N.Andover.  21 min. w/up entirely on grass and xc course + 7 x 1000M (3:20 of hard running around the athletic fields (all grass and varying terrain, so could have been a little more than 1000 each time) with 90 sec. in between + 16:30 cooldown on course. 70 min total.  Most of this was done on the Brooks xc course, which is marked around the athletic fields.  Good mix of small, short ups and downs and straights on all grass.  Did this in the Inov-8 baregrips.

09-19 - Monday: 6.8 miles (roads) - recovery run from yesterday's 50k. Frankly I'm amazed I could even walk or put on shoes today, let alone run any distance.  I felt a bit stiff at first, but loosened up around 2 miles and felt great at the end.  A bit tight for sure, but I'm mobile.  Feet actually felt really good, in stark contrast to how they felt laying in bed last night and when I got up this morning. [48:13].

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Pisgah Mountain 50K

Sunday: Workout - 50 x 1000 meters (with no rest) - Location: Pisgah State Park - Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Winchester, NH....ok, it was a 50k, but I thought that would look meaner if I wrote this up as a workout :)

On Sunday I had my second race of the weekend out at the Pisgah Mountain Trail Races. It was the Pisgah 50K and the field was (and usually is) pretty deep at this race.

I got off to a rocky start in the morning, after about 3 hours of sleep, I started out late to the race and was going to cut it close (according to my GPS).  I ended up taking a ton of time off the ride and got out to the race in probably just under 2 hours.  On the way, figuring I may get to the start really close to race time, I packed my gear, gels, chews, salts, etc.  I got all my race stuff ready as I drove, but by the time I got to registration, I had about an hour to get ready.  When that hour doesn't include a warmup (because I learned that in a 50k like this, you use the first couple of miles as your warmup to conserve every ounce of energy you can), it makes it a lot easier to get all your things in order.  I had to bum 10 bucks off of Justin Fyffe (who was there to run the 23K) because I 'thought' I had enough cash on me to register, but realized it was $50 beans and I had exactly $47 on me.  After that slight hiccup, I went back over to my car and shot the breeze with Kevin Tilton, Ben Nephew, and a few others who had started to show up.  I got my new Inov-8 test pair on (a new trail racer in design stages) and got ready to rock.

The morning was pretty cool and some folks had gloves and long sleeve shirts on at the start.  I headed over to the start with my waistpack full of chews, gels (probably 6 gels including a couple in my shorts pocket), a pack of NUUN tabs, and a roll of Lifesavers (Dan Verrington's secret fuel for ultras and long races).  My water bottle was a mixture of Gatorade, water, and NUUN.  As I got to the start, I jogged down to a wooded area to try to do a last second bathroom stop, but realized to my horror that ONCE AGAIN I FORGOT TO PIN MY NUMBER ON!.  Instead of using the bathroom, I hauled ass back to my car  (which fortunately wasn't too far away) and grabbed my number and got back over to the start literally pinning it on as they said 'GO'.

Above, brave souls start to line up for the 50K. Photo credit: Linda ODonnell

As the race started out and heads down Old Chesterfield Road (which is a mixture of paved/crushed stone/gravel, and dirt) we had a great group of what seemed to be a dozen or so runners including my CMS teammate Greg Hammett, who lives right there near the start/finish and runs in Pisgah all the time.  Greg took off and we joked that he looked like he was running the 23K (which starts at the same time).  Even Justin Fyffe (who WAS actually running just the 23K) was way behind him at first.  Eventually Justin moved up to run with Greg but I stayed way back, in the mix that included David Herr (last year's winner and course record holder) Kevin Tilton, Chris Hayhurst, Dane Mitchell, Danny Ferreira (who was running 23K) and a few others.  A couple of guys, who I know were there but were never once up with or in front of me were Brian Rusiecki and Ben Nephew...both of whom are ultra/trail specialists and Brian is one of those guys who usually gets the better of me in these races.  Brian beat me by 1 minute here last year and Ben had a good race out in the Netherlands, finishing as the top American in that 50K, so I knew there was some talent here.

The beginning mile is a social affair, as we joke and sandbag and discuss the course, etc.  Greg wanted no part of that and was out for blood.  He continued to push up what was a pretty decent first climb on the road and we all just sat back.  The key to this race (and other long trail/mountain slogs) is patience.  It is a LONG way.  Even at the 2 hour mark, you still have a LONG way to go.  So at 10 minutes in, I wasn't too worried about positioning.

Photo above by Jess Tilton.  The start down Old Chesterfield Rd.  Hammett and Fyffe way out front.  Chase pack behind.  David Herr in the white hat all the way to the left.  Kevin and I are hidden in the front of the chase pack.  Dale in red, Nephew with no shirt, Rusiecki in the white top in the middle.

As the trail portion begins, the race splits in two, as the 23K goes straight on and the 50k takes a sharp left into the woods. As I hit that left hand turn, I was in 3rd place behind David Herr, who was chasing Greg Hammett who was still leading.  Immediately behind me was Dane, Kevin, Chris, Brian, Ben, and a few others.   The trail in here, as with the rest of the race, is deep in the woods.  The race never really dumps out onto 'summits' or clear areas really. There are a few, yes, but for the most part, it is deep in the forest with many wet, soft trails, TONS of roots and rocks, a lot of swamps and ponds, and a good mix of single track, double track, and jeep roads.  The footing goes from OK to horrendous, fast.  There are many small mossy/greasy bridges, old log bridges, and portions of the trail you have to come to almost a complete stop at to navigate the rocks.  It definitely makes for an interesting run, early on.

Greg continued to push with David in tow, and I could see them the entire time, but I was hanging back and not working any of the small climbs that come fast and frequently.  I took it easy, conserving energy on the climbs and even some of the steep downs.  I drank water frequently and took a hit every once in a while from my gel flask.  I continued to replenish my Lifesavers as they ran out and made sure to keep one in my mouth the entire race.  I knew that even at 20 minutes in, you HAVE to keep up with hydration and nutrition if you are going to last in these races.  If you don't, you WILL bonk.  I know this from experience now.  It is NOT a 10 mile race on the Merrimack River Trail.  I continued to make sure I was constantly fueling even that early in the race.  There are a fair share of aid stations so I was confident I could replenish what I needed as far as liquids, so I tried to pace out my hydration equally between stations.  Before I caught David and Greg, Dale Mitchell caught me, talked with me for a bit as we ran side by side, and then he pulled ahead on one of the harder early climbs.  Some time later, I caught back up and passed Dane on my way to finally catching up to the two leaders.

As I pulled up along behind David and Greg, we went up and down steep climbs that would almost cause me to walk a few steps before reaching the top and darting down again.  There was just enough time for me to recover and catch the top 2 before the next climbs would start.  I ran like that for a long while, falling off David and Greg as they pulled away for a bit before reeling them in again.  Like a yo-yo I ran until about 60 minutes in, when we came to the big climb up what I think is the Chestnut Hill trail (I may be wrong about that). It is a 'Mount Washington-esque' type of climb up an old road that is so steep, I have no clue how anyone was able to drive up it.  It is mostly falling apart, grown in, and full of pot holes. I found myself, somehow in the lead up this beast, after the 3 of us cruised into an aid station right at the bottom of it (about 8.1 miles in).  I took almost no time at all at the station and made sure my bottle was topped and headed up the climb.  Herr was right behind me and Greg was following not too far back.  As we neared the top, we were joined not too long after by Kevin Tilton, who was catching us up the climb that was right in his wheelhouse.  That started what would be the top 4 lead pack that would be together for a lot of the race.  After Kevin caught up to us, Kevin and I ran side by side, as David and Greg did the same, 3 feet in front of us...for miles.

I led for a while, which I did not like (especially this early in the race).  David and Greg and Kevin continued to run right behind, as we hit another major uphill grind, this one being single track.  I had no place to move off to, to let them go past me, so I had to push the pace up the hill and by the time we got to the top, we had spread out a bit, but once the trail widened, I moved over and ran on the side, hoping Herr and the rest would go past.  They didn't pass me until I took 2 quick wrong turns, the second one I wasn't able to catch in time to stay in the lead, and they passed me.  I gladly hopped in behind them and we pushed on up another uphill grind, this time with David and Greg in the lead, with Kevin right in front of me.  Again, I would fall off the back a bit and then catch back up to Kevin, as Greg continued to run really well up front and pull us along.  David was matching him stride for stride and I continued to work on hydration, nutrition, and suddenly became VERY aware of my calves and hamstrings.  It wasn't even 90 minutes in and I already had major signs of cramping.  It was incredibly disheartening.  I told Kevin  I was starting to almost cramp, as my muscles twinged and fired up most of the climbs and when I had to bound over rocks on some of the downhill sections.  I fell back off the pace quite a bit for a while, as those 3 really looked to be working well together.   I caught back up to Kevin at one point and just as we were going over a greasy snowmobile bridge, I caught the lip of it and fell hard onto the top of the bridge, rolling over a couple times before picking myself up and continuing on. Kevin slowed a bit and asked if I was OK.  Later I would learn that even Greg and David heard me go down, from their position about 50 meters up the hill.

Not too soon after I went down, I completely lost the pack.  I started running in 'no mans land' and couldn't even see the top 3 any more.  It was a little disheartening, but at the same time I knew I was conserving energy and that we had a LONG way to go still.  I started to glance back to see if Brian or Ben or Chris would be coming up to join me, but never saw anyone.  I continued to push on, never once having any sensation of bonking, never having to really walk anything other than a couple of steps here and there, and never having anything else bother me except my twinging hammies and calves.

Eventually, as 2 hours came and went, I started to every once in a while, see Kevin's white singlet through the woods and thought to myself  'wow, I'm still kind of in this thing'.  I felt really strong but was very cautious of my legs.  I pushed on and seemed to be catching them but never tried to put an all out push to catch up.  By the aid station at Kilburn Road (19.9 miles), I had basically caught the top 3 to my amazement.   I pulled into that aid station (that you actually come to twice) and quickly topped off my bottle, dumped a NUUN tab in, and headed out down the trail.  I was now staring at Greg Hammett's red jersey in front of me, with Kevin and David not too far up ahead.  At this point last year, this is where I had passed and finally broken away from Ben.  David Herr and Brian Rusiecki (last year) had already come through here at that point, a couple minutes before.  This year, I was right behind David, and Brian was out of the picture behind me.  I had a really good feeling at this point, that for the first time in the race, I thought I had the potential of top 3 if nothing disastrous happened on the way out of this loop (called the Kilburn loop) and on the upcoming Davis Hill trail, which is a tremendously frightening hill to have deep in a race like this.

As we headed towards the bottom of the Kilburn loop (which is a 5.5 mile loop that goes down and then back up), I caught up to and passed Greg, who was still running really strong and was in good spirits. He seemed to be still probably running near the same pace he was before, but David and Kevin had broken away.  Greg told me that Kevin had made a move and he thought it was too early.  He seemed content in staying where he was, because he knew how he was feeling and what it was going to take to get this race done.  He was running a PB and didn't want to jeopardize it with a drastic move with 11 miles to go.  I agreed, but I was moving at my own pace and was pushing onward, feeling great and again keeping up with my fluids and gels.

As I hit the bottom and started the climb back up, Kevin was up ahead and now had been dropped by David, who was out of sight.  David was no doubt pushing the pace on the ups here and made a decisive move.  Kevin was unable to match his move, but still pushed up the climb back out of Kilburn at a decent pace.  Greg wasn't too far behind me, but was losing a bit of ground on me as I pushed up ahead, trying to catch Kevin.  As the loop flattened a bit, I caught up to Kevin who was now running pretty easy.  As I passed by him on a downhill section, I asked him if he needed anything and he said he was good with gels, but he was in 'full bonk mode'. It was interesting to me because this is EXACTLY where I had my small bonk episode last year.  I recovered though and told him to hang in there and that 'there was a lot more climbing left'.  I figured that would ease his worries because he was the best climber out there....but if you are bonking, the climbs could be a lot worse.

As I moved up past the Kilburn aid station again, I hit the next uphill section out to the parking lot area before Davis Hill.  This section was tough last year, but I was killing it this year.  I had dropped Kevin and Greg out of sight completely and was now feeling fantastic.  I wasn't even close to feeling 'bonkish' and my only concern still was my hamstrings and calves, which were playing somewhat nicely since I was pounding water and NUUN tabs.  They were still twinging, but now at the 3 hour mark, I figured I could maybe hang on...  I hit the parking lot right before a sharp right into the Davis Hill trail climb and Josh Ferenc was standing there.  He was yelling at me that I looked great and that David Herr wasn't looking all that good.  He told me I was 1:10 back of David.  I thought that that wasn't too bad, especially with 5 or so miles to go (most of which seemed to be uphill though).

I pushed up Davis Hill, which is a LONG LONG grind up a jeep trail that seems to just relentlessly climb, though not too too steep.  Some sections I almost felt like I was close to a walk, but I continued to run and got all the way up without any issue.  I felt like I had slowed a bit in my pace, but couldn't imagine that anyone else (ahead of me or behind) was running any faster.  Once at the top, there is still a few miles of trails up and down up and down.  It seemed like it was taking forever, but the more I glanced at my watch and saw 3:10, 3:15, 3:20, 3:25, I knew I was getting closer and closer.  I kept telling myself '20 more minutes max' etc.  I really didn't know if we were running faster than the previous year, but I couldn't imagine it being too much slower, if I was sitting alone in 2nd place, only a minute back of David.   There was one more set of climbs up the Hubbard Hill trail and my hamstrings started to really twinge during the downs.

Finally, as I was on the cusp of cramping up, I could see the road through the trees and knew I was close.  For the first time, I was confident I could at least get 2nd place (in a race I thought I'd be lucky to get top 10 in).  I hit the junction of the road and trail to find Josh Ferenc once again standing there. He told me that David Herr was just going out of sight down the road, about :45 up. The last road is a mile + of up and down paved road that is usually a near death march. Last year, I was cramping every which way, but was able to hang on for 3rd place.  This year, I came out onto the road and was looking for first.  I headed down the first downhill section and saw David Herr right in front, just about within striking distance. I started to pull towards him and a tractor pulled out in between us on the road.  A perfect opportunity to sneak up on him, as he couldn't see behind it.  The sun was shining bright and it was a beautiful day and a beautiful end to the race as I continued to reel him in.  The course climbs up a bit and then we passed Greg Hammett's house.  There were a bunch of people standing there screaming for me as soon as David went by, and I saw that he now knew I was back there.  He looked to adjust a little and try to pick up the pace.  We were both hurting and as I tried to push up hill a little, my right hamstring completely went.  It felt like I had a baseball sized knot under my right buttcheek and I had all I could do to continue without fully having to stop.  My pace had to drop back down again and I was still catching David, but not fast enough.  We came up eventually past Glen Hammett's house right before the last right hand turn onto Rt. 63 to the finish, and David was just too far up on me to catch him. I think if the race was maybe a quarter mile to half mile longer, I could have caught him, but in the end, we both took the turn and he came in 18 seconds up on me to the tune of 3:41:52. I came through the line in 3:42:10.  18 seconds back in a 31 mile mountain/trail race.

 Photo above of myself and David Herr after the race. Photo credit: Linda ODonnell

I had mixed emotions, but predominantly happy that I ran 5:19 faster this year than last year! I would have never guessed I would have run faster this year, after the way the end of my summer went. I also would have never guessed I would have beaten many of the guys who ran today. It was a very competitive and talented field. I was very excited about being able to almost hang with David...heck I almost was able to pass him.  That would have been something, if I could have caught him on that last road section.  It would have been an epic finish for sure.  We both actually went under his Course Record from last year (3:42:26).  I beat it by 16 seconds but it doesn't really count when I beat the course record but someone also beats it by a little more :).

Ben Nephew apparently had a great last half of the race and ran a very fast time to come in third place ahead of Greg, who hung in there and came in 1 second faster than I ran last year, for a huge new PB for him on the course.  Brian ran a few minutes slower than he ran last year and came in for 5th place.  Dane was 6th and Chris Hayhurst (who just became a Dad again the day before and was working off of zero sleep) came in 7th.  Kevin manned up and finished strong in 8th place, even though he was bonking hard for nearly 11 miles.  Lesson learned there as you can read his report here.

 Photo above: Nephew, Herr, Johnson, with the race director. Photo credit: Linda ODonnell

Top 10 overall:

1 - David Herr - 3:41:52 ** New CR
2 - Jim Johnson - 3:42:10
3 - Ben Nephew - 3:45:18
4 - Greg Hammett - 3:47:28
5 - Brian Rusiecki - 3:49:33
6 - Dane Mitchell - 3:50:35
7 - Chris Hayhurst - 3:56:30
8 - Kevin Tilton - 4:00:25
9 - Amy Lane - 4:31:11
10 - Jason Dunklee - 4:34:51

Surprisingly, after just a few moments, I was able to walk around OK.  I wasn't cramping any longer and my feet were a bit sore, but for the most part, OK.  The new Inov-8 test pairs I wore came through with flying colors and felt GREAT, even though they were a 1-arrow.  I got through the race unscathed and had a great time afterwards, talking w/ all the guys and then heading over to Greg's place for a brew and a laugh w/ the Keene CMS and BAA contingent.  Oh yeah, I found out later that Fyffe took a wrong turn somewhere during the 23K and it turned into a 2+ hour jaunt to try to just get back to the finish.  I still owe him $10 bucks.


Top 11 times since 2000 *:

2011: 3:41:52 - David Herr
2011: 3:42:10 - Jim Johnson
2010: 3:42:26 - David Herr
2004: 3:44:33 - Ben Nephew
2011: 3:45:18 - Ben Nephew
2003: 3:45:26 - David Herr
2010: 3:46:04 - Brian Rusiecki
2005: 3:46:28 - Ben Nephew
2005: 3:46:54 - David Herr
2011: 3:47:28 - Greg Hammett
2010: 3:47:29 - Jim Johnson

* cannot find data from before this.

Race winners since 2000 **

2000 - 3:56:11 Leigh Schmitt
2001 - 3:49:00 Ben Nephew (approx. info from Ben. Can't find results.)
2002 - 3:52:00 Dave Mackey (approx. info from Ben. Can't find results).
2003 - 3:45:26  David Herr
2004 - 3:44:33  Ben Nephew
2005 - 3:46:28  Ben Nephew
2006 - 3:55:00  David Herr
2007 - 3:56:15  David Herr
2008 - 4:05:22  Greg Hammett
2009 - 3:54:40  Brian Rusiecki
2010 - 3:42:26  David Herr
2011 - 3:41:52  David Herr

** cannot find data from before this.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Training 09-12 - 09-18

Wrap Up: 80.8 miles on the week with all singles and 1 day off.  2 good races.  1 good 5k on a solo effort and 1 great ultra.  Happy with this week as I didn't overdue it and the body is hanging in there.  My feet are still wrecked but the night splits are helping.  Pisgah destroyed my plantars again but they will hopefully start feeling better in a day or so.  I feel much better about my running after this week.  I have learned that I am essentially good for a 15:30 something when I am in great 5k shape and when I am nowhere near in 5k shape... so I'm not sure how to think about that one....but in any case, I'll take them as long as I can still get 'em.  Still on a high from my new Pisgah PB.  If I could only walk right now...

09-18 - Sunday: 31+ miles (trails, rocks, mountains, mud, dirt roads, paved roads, grass) - Pisgah Mountain Trail Race 50K - Chesterfield, Hinsdale, Winchester, NH.  2nd OA - 3:42:10 (under the old CR). Lost to Dave Herr by 18 seconds.  Yes, 18 seconds.  No warm up or cool down because, well, it was a 50K.  Writeup to follow.

09-17 - Saturday: 10.1 miles (roads) - 4+ mile w/up including 5k course and strides.  Then race: Pelham Old Home Days 5k - Pelham, NH - 1st OA - 15:34.  Cooldown - 3 miles (roads) around the square and cemetery.

09-16 - Friday: 13 miles (trails) - 3 solo and 10 w/ Dave Quintal on river trail from hotel.  3 on the trails back and forth until DQ showed up.  [1:40:30]

09-15 - Thursday: 0 - off day.  Work really busy and got dark before I knew it.  With 50k coming up, decided to take a rest.

09-14 - Wednesday: 10.1 miles (roads) - with Emery Bickford - Salem, Methuen, Haverhill.  Hilly loop from yesterday only starting and ending at Emery's house in Salem.  Nice and easy. [1:13:04].

09-13 - Tuesday: 10.2 miles (roads) - solo.  Hilly road loop from my house, up Spicket Hill, down and up to Scotland Hill and back down to my house. [1:04:50].  Besides having to use the bathroom most of the run, I had a massive right shoulder cramp around 8 miles...I've never had one of these on a run before...not sure what it was, but by 10 miles it was gone.  Good solid mild-tempo effort for a lot of the run.

09-12 - Monday: 6.3 miles (roads) - solo.  Out and back in Salem/Methuen.  Felt really good and worked it on the way back.  Best I've felt on a run in a long while.  Almost took the day off today after yesterday's long run...I'm glad I didn't.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Market Square Day 10K

Missing race report # 1 (or poor excuse for one) - Market Square Day 10K - Portsmouth, NH - June 11, 2011.

Bob Wiles gave me crap today for not doing a writeup for this race.  This year there have been a bunch of races that I didn't recap for one reason or another.  I'm not sure why I didn't recap this race because it is probably my 2nd favorite race of the year behind Mt. Washington and it is always the week before Mt. Washington, so needless to say I love June.  I also ran well here, so I'm not sure why I neglected to write this up...

I won't get too deep into details here because lets face it, it was a while ago...but seeing Kevin Tilton just got around to posting about this year's Mt. Washington Road Race, I figured I'd one-up him and post a quickie about MSD.

First of all, no I did not get the course record (which belongs to Guy Stearns with a nice 29:38 run he threw down back in 1985).  Heck, I didn't even win...but I did accomplish a couple of things...I ran my fastest time on this course (31:56), I equalled my best placement at this race (3rd), and I got Patrick Moulton (whom I've never beaten) to continuously look over his shoulder for me over the last .2 of the race....which felt pretty good :).  All it took was for me to run a sub 32 and for him to be very out of shape at the time :)

I was pleased with my effort here (especially after the disastrous run I had in 2010, where everyone and their mother beat me at this race).  I ran with Bob and Patrick for most of the race, fell back a bit in the middle, but then recovered and caught back up near 5.5 or so before Wiles made a move and Patrick tried to follow.  I fell of just a bit, Pat settled for 2nd, and Bob cruised.  That was that.  Here is the outcome on video (courtesy of my Dad and another couple of vids I found on Youtube from a user called jamesleetn and another user called dttvcritic.

The start (courtesy of dttvcritic).

Video from jamesleetn at maybe 4-5 mile mark or so.  I am about 5 seconds back of Bob and Pat.

Video of the finish (Bob, Pat, and then me) courtesy of my Dad...

Video of the awards courtesy of my Dad...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Training 09-05 - 09-11

Wrap Up: 81.1 miles for the week with zero doubles, two short days, one good race, and one long-arse run.  Had to back off the frequency a little this week after last week's craziness.  Still managed over 80 with a long slog on Sunday w/ DQ to the airport and back.  Congrats to Matt Pimentel and Linsey (Cohen) Pimentel on their wedding on Saturday. Awesome time...

Also, congrats to Max King (OR) and Kasie Enman (VT) for BOTH winning the World Mountain Running Championships in Albania today.  Unbelievable!!!

Lastly, 10 years ago today, I arrived to work on a really nice September afternoon, in Newton, MA, having listed to a CD on the way in, and not having read the newspaper or seen any TV or internet new reports yet....On my way to my cube, I still had no idea what the significance that day would ultimately hold and as I reached my desk, I  had a coworker peek over my cubicle wall and tell me  about some trouble in NYC.  I remember him saying 'did you hear the news?'. and I said ' no, what', and he said 'some airplanes crashed into some buildings in New York'...We took a walk down to the main function room where there was a television and just about the entire office squeezed into the area watching the events of the morning unfold.  I watched the Pentagon and Pennsylvania reports come in, the towers fall (to the gasps and eventual tears of some around me), and all the chaos that ensued in those couple hours just past the start of the workday here on the East coast.  They let us out early and closed the buildings down.  The way home that day I scanned through all the radio stations, who were all reporting on the events, and I sat in some unusual traffic for the time of day, as most businesses and companies sent workers home for safety reasons.  It was only after I was home and sitting there watching TV for the rest of the afternoon, did I start to fully understand what happened.  The world changed that day and I think we are still trying to come to grips, and understand what happened 10 years later.  I can't believe it has been 10 years, as I type this.  Sometimes it seems like it happened not too long ago, and sometimes it seems like it happened ages ago...One thing is clear, and that is I've lived a large portion of my adult life (so far) with the specter of that day in my mind, and it will always be there.  I will never forget.

09-11 - Sunday: 27.4 miles (rail trail) w/ Dave Quintal.  2011 Airport Run.  Successful attempt at reaching the airport perimeter fence at Manchester Airport in Manchester, NH.  Started in Salem, NH at the southern terminus of the Windham/Derry Rail Trail (Rockingham Trail) behind Cycles Etc. in North Salem.  Ran up through Salem, Windham, Derry, Londonderry, and Manchester.  The stretch after Hood's Pond in Derry gets pretty rough going in spots and grown in, but still very runable.  Once we got to about 12.5 in, we had to re-route slightly, to a parallel dirt road next to the trail, that was much better footing.  The trail in that section has rails that are essentially cutting through a swamp.  That dirt road goes right out to Harvey Rd. in Manchester, that runs right along the fence at the southeastern part of the airport. We could see all the planes, runways, towers, and terminal buildings with a nice backdrop of the Bedford Hills in the distance behind it.  We were 1:56:45 on the way out and 1:51:49 on the way back.  3:48:35 total.  Nice and easy pace from the start.  Beautiful morning (mid 50's at the start at 7:30am).

09-10 - Saturday: 10.7 miles - roads - 4.5 mile w/ up over course w/ CMS crew + a little extra and strides + race: Canal Diggers 5k in Worcester, MA.  2nd OA - 15:33 (1st was Joeseph Koech) + 5k cooldown over the course again w/ a big crew.  Legs and everything else felt great.  It was pretty warm and humid out at race time and I felt pretty sluggish, but no physical issues.  We had a good pack through 1.5 and then it strung out from there.  The course was a wheel measured 5k but apparently last year, the times were about 30-35 seconds fast because the race goes for about a tenth of a mile and then crosses the finish timing mat.  Apparently, everyone's chip started registering from that mat, so the distance was true but the times were fast by a tenth of a mile or so.  This year, they made sure this didn't happen.  The course is pretty flat, with only a couple rolls and some slight incline on the second mile.  The last mile is super fast. $100 beans (cash) for second place and comp entry from CMS made it a prosperous day.

09-09 - Friday: 6.8 miles - roads - with Dave Kwintile from Mobile station up Spicket down around for a loop then back up over Spicket Hill.  Dave was running angry. [54:00]

09-08 - Thursday: 10 miles - roads - solo.  I may have been able to run with Casey Moulton today. [1:05:44]. Bad news is that my left arse started to hurt again at about 8 miles.  I drank so much water today (coupled w/ NUUN tabs), I was sure I wouldn't have a problem, but it cropped back up again.  Pims' bachelor party tonight... Should I tweet periodically?  Thinking about it...

09-07 - Wednesday: 11 miles - roads - solo quasi-tempo effort after the first few miles.  Felt pretty strong.  Nothing really bothering me other than the normal stuff.  Glad to have gotten out there today, as it was a crummy day with pretty constant rain...any miles today was a bonus. [1:10:42]

09-06 - Tuesday: 10 miles - trails - da Rivah from hotel w/ Mike Quintal.  Very easy.  Recovery run yet again as I just try to get back into feeling somewhat comfortable.  [1:23:24].  Raining and relatively mild weather.  My feet and ankles/achillies are still pretty sore.  Everything else seems OK.  Mike got a new radio installed in his truck.  Good times.

09-05 - Monday: 5.2 miles (solo) - roads. Salem, Methuen. [37:26] .  Sluggish and recovering from Wapack.  Surprisingly I am actually able to run a bit though...blisters aren't too bad and the tightness isn't what I was expecting.  Going to back off slightly this week and just try to get back to feeling good again...right now I'm carrying around too much pain.