October 4th, 2013
I raced the Nahant 30 km last weekend. Like about 70% of the racers, I was only there to fulfill and obligation to my club. Though I should say that the race, while it had a very low-key, not designed for so many racers feel to it, was on a beautiful course and seemed quite well organized.
30 km is a distance I had never run before. Well over a half marathon, but well short of a full marathon…just enough distance to really beat you up without any kind of bragging rights to the outside world.
And with school, I just haven’t been training. I got sick after the Lone Gull and barely ran 30 km over the following week. The week leading into the race was a bit better, but I was not feeling confident on the start line. I hung back as a lead pack of seven runners took shape. By a mile, though, I decided that the second pack was too slow and set off into no man’s land. I ran comfortably alone for some time, and then I saw Patrick Rich fall off the lead pack. I picked up the pace a bit and slowly gained on him as the miles ticked by. Once I had caught him, I felt strong and dropped him, quickly catching and passing Sean Duncan while I was at it. On a long straightaway I caught a glimpse of Brandon Newbould, who at that point was running i fourth place. He was a ways off, but I was feeling good and thought I might catch up.
I was still feeling good at halfway, and even coming through 10 miles everything was looking good. I am a little fuzzy on the details, but sometime between 10 and 13 miles Patrick passed me back. I had little hope of sticking with him, just watched him go. But I was feeling good about 6th place. By 14 miles, any hope of running 1:45 (my initial goal) was fading fast. But I still felt confident in my placing. At about 16 miles I caught one of my teammates who was nursing a cramp and looked like he might not finish. Suddenly, I was top five! I wasn’t moving very fast, but I could feel the finish line and was excited to have such a strong finish. And then I got caught. Over the last two miles, five runners, including Sean Duncan, passed me. I had the familiar feeling of my mind telling me “those guys are running slow–it would be easy to pass them” and my legs just laughing at me when I tried.
That was almost a week ago. Yesterday I had my first run where I wasn’t miserable the whole time. And today I decided to take off from running. My motivation is kind of low right now, but I am hoping to start ski training soon. It really wouldn’t be hard to double my rollerskiing hours from last year!
September 15th, 2013
I race the Lone Gull 10 km today. I was not expecting a great race. It has been a challenging last week and a half as the school year has gotten underway. I am coming down with a cold. I haven’t done anything fast (or anything over 8 miles) since my 400 m intervals a couple weeks a ago. And I am on duty this weekend, so I had to stay up until past 12:45 and then get up at 5:45 to drive to the race. Oh–and the race’s web page only had directions to the school that sponsors the race, not to the race site itself. So I had a stressful ride down, and showed up a little later than I planned.
I went out very conservative in the first mile, coming through in 20th place in 5:04. I moved up a couple spots by two miles, and came through in 10:17. That seemed a little slow to me, so I pushed on the next downhill and opened up a gap over most of the pack I was in. One BAA runner (Nick Wheeler) came with me, and the two of us worked together, coming through 3 miles in 15:15 in 7th and 8th place. Nick slowly pulled away over the rest of the race. I managed to pass one of my own teammates, and I finished in 31:54. This is only 18 seconds off of my PR, which I set at the same race four years ago.
The fairly small gap to my PR tells me two things. First, I am not great at running to my potential when I am fit. I have probably had the fitness to run a good minute faster than I did today, but the best I have ever done is 18 seconds. On the other hand, I also know that I have the ability to get more fit than I am right now. A full minute might be hard, but 30 seconds wouldn’t be. If I can get a little more fit next year, and then run as effective a race as I did today, I can take down another PR.
September 5th, 2013
Tomorrow the rest of the students show up, and I become a full time teacher, working the next 20 days in a row (not all day every day, but pretty close) and with it being my responsibility to bring my younger daughter to school in the morning, and with my wife getting ready for a marathon, today was literally the last day it was easy to find the time to train (it will get easier again when I am done coaching mountain biking in mid-November). So I went to the track and did 400 meter repeats. This was probably useful training, but mostly it just feels good and is familiar. I ran the first two intervals in lane 6, then two in lane 5, etc. I kept everything between 67 and 69 seconds. And now my legs have that good, faint, post-workout ache. If you read FS news you know I had a solid race up Mt Mansfield, and I am hoping to hold the fitness for two more weeks when I race a flat 10 km. Probably no posts until then, but tune in to see if I can salvage the season with a new PR (31:36 is the target–I have run that time twice, including once on that same course).2 comments
August 8th, 2013
That sums up my last three races. I raced the Carver Cranberry 5 miler two weeks ago. I went out conservatively, was rather aggressive in the second and third miles, and I hung pretty tough at the end. I ended up running 25:06, only three seconds off of the time I ran there two years ago (which is my PR, though not my best ever five mile effort…).
Three days later I ran the Yankee Homecoming 10 miler. I went out controlled for the first five miles, going through in 26:20. I was in about 15th place (the top three were all crazy fast, and there was a deep field). I only lost one place after that (and two people ahead of me dropped out), but I ran 27:45 for the second half of the race, with the last mile just under 6:00.
And today, I ran the Cigna Elliot 5k. This is always a big focus for me, and I have been tapering in an attempt to run a really good time. I was 4:49 for the first mile, picked it up to 4:47 for the second mile, and then fell apart, finishing in 15:15, 30 seconds off my PR. I still got the asterisk (for a pretty fast time given my advanced age) but it was not was I was hoping for. I have a few races left this season, maybe I will come around, but I am just not putting together fast races these day…
July 20th, 2013
The title says a lot. Shortly after I last posted, my wife and I (but not my kids!) headed to Greece for 10 days. I did a fair amount of training on the service roads for the olive groves in southern Crete, but nothing fast, and getting over jet lag twice didn’t help my fitness either. I have races three times since: I won the John Langhans race in Woodstock, VT, but in a slow time; I finished third in the Stowe 8 Miler, again in a rather slow time (I was over a minute out in a race that my time two years ago would have won); and today I raced the Bill Luti in Concord, NH.
I have been running the Bill Luti since I was in high school, and a few years ago I was briefly the course record holder (I won against a weak field the year they changed the course). This year there was a huge thunderstorm in Concord and they had to make a last minute course change (the regular course being blocked by multiple downed trees and at least one downed power line). I quickly found myself in third place, chasing Jeffrey Veiga and Alex McGrath, two recent college graduates who on the track have run sub-29 and sub-14 respectively. In short, quite out of my league. I managed to keep Alex worried for most of the race, running not more than 10 seconds behind him, so that he could hear people cheering for me, but in the end he ran 25:10 and I ran 25:30. Jeffrey was almost a minute in front of me, running almost fast enough to be able to protest the reduced course record bounty (because we were not running the normal course). Given that Alex was over a minute ahead of me last week, today is a good sign. I will try to be more rested for the 5 miler next weekend, and hopefully I can get close to my goal of 25 flat. And I will try to blog about it promptly as well!
June 16th, 2013
Let’s see…I had two work-related meetings on Thursday, and then I got a call that I had to pick up my daughter from pre-school since she was running a fever. I had a few minutes at home, then I had to pack up my stuff so that I could go to a race down in Hollis, NH. The race was point-to-point, so I parked at the finish, jogged to the start (it is only 5 km) and then had to track down my team manager, get my number and new uniform, change shoes and shirt, pack all my stuff into a numbered bag, and give it to the people on the bus so I would have my stuff at the finish.
Then I had to run really fast for about 14 minutes and 33 seconds.
I took off shortly after the race so that I could talk to my wife about book club, which I had missed for the race (my mother-in-law was watching the kids).
Friday wasn’t so bad–just went for a short run, took care of my sick child and my older, healthier, but jealous and thus needy other daughter. Until about 3:30, when we had to pack up and head to graduation at my alma mater (where Iris now attends kindergarten and where my wife now teaches).
At the end of graduation some of the younger children were taking home balloons so I had to deal with the drama of finding, catching, and untangling balloons for my daughters while not unduly depriving other kids of a shot at taking them home…and then watch my hard work float away as Sage decided to see what would happen if she just let go of a balloon.
Eventually we got the kids to sleep and I went to bed early because I had to get up at 5:00 the next morning to go and pick my brother up so we could go to Mt Washington and race up it (along with 1300 other foolish people).
A huge thank you to Sue Wemyss for getting Kris and me rides on one of the Auto Road’s vans. We were able to get our stuff right at the finish line and were almost the first runners down.
After I got down I at quickly and then left, hoping to get back to Plymouth in time to see my daughters in their gymnastics show, which falls on the same day as the Mt Washington race every year
I didn’t make it (I should note that my wife had to bring the kids to swim lessons before they were there) but I did manage to pick up a sandwich for my wife so that she could eat something before we headed straight to the ice cream social for alumni of Sant Bani. After the social I helped Heidi get the kids mostly to bed and then I went to another alumni get-together.
And then this morning I woke up to breakfast in bed and even the morning paper. I had an hour or so to relax in the morning, then I went for a run, and then we piled into the car to drive down and see an amazing production of the The Sound of Music at the North Shore Theatre in Beverly, MA. We left for that at 11:00 this morning and got back after 9:00. The kids just fell asleep and now I should get some sleep too…
Oh–maybe I should say that I ran 14:33 for 9th place on a seriously downhill course, and that I was 8th in 1:06:52 on a windy day on Mt Washington, and that I was the top NH finisher (ahead of my 12th place brother, who was the NH runner-up).
June 2nd, 2013
On Wednesday I did another track workout with Kris. I had a good day. We had to do an extra long warmup as Kris had some blood sugar issues, and I was a second slower than I planned on the first interval with an excuse so lame I won’t even mention it, but after that I was dialed in. We ran eight times 600 meters, me at 1:48, 1:47, 1:47, 1:46, 1:46 and the rest at 1:45. Kris kept all his under 1:50, but he never stayed on my shoulder for more than half of the interval. On the eighth interval (he later told me) his plan was to sit on my shoulder to 300 meters, then pick it up and outsprint me on the last stretch. He ended up five seconds back, and I felt so good that I kept going for two more intervals (total of 10). My thought was to really blow out the last one, but all I was good for was holding on to the 1:45 pace.
Today I ran the Smuttynose Will Run for Beer 6k. It was about 90 degrees, and most of the course was in the sun. There was a headwind on the way out, and much of the way back was in the woods with no wind. And I was all alone after about 200 meters. Still, I ran a lot slower than I expected. With the heat, I knew my early goal of breaking 18:30 was hopeless, but I really thought sub-19:00 should be very doable. Instead, I went out in 4:56, then ran 5:15, then about 5:30, and I didn’t have a finishing kick either. I ended up running 19:41. This was good for a 50 second victory over second place, and I was almost two minutes up on third, so I can say that a win is a win. But I would have liked to do better. We’ll see in the next couple of weeks whether it was really the heat and being alone, or if I am just slow right now, solid track workouts notwithstanding…
May 17th, 2013
A couple days ago I did my third (or is it fourth?) track workout of the season. I ran three 400s, three 800s, and three more 400s. Times were almost exactly what I was hoping for: 69, 68, 70, 2:24, 2:22, 2:20, 68, 68, 69. And I have been out for a couple of longer (~10 mile) runs this week that have felt easy but fast. I am still a long way from running as fast as I hope to this season, but so far all signs are good. I have a 10 mile tempo run scheduled this weekend, and with school ending soon, I can really start to ramp up my mileage over the next few weeks.
May 11th, 2013
I have run a couple workouts with my brother this spring, and I will probably run a couple more. This is fun, as I enjoy beating up on my brother, although I have a hard time pacing well when Kris in in the picture–our first workout was supposed to be level three, but I went out too fast on the first couple intervals and could not maintain pace.
Anyway, another benefit of running with Kris is that he had an excellent summary of my season last year: I peaked for the Muddy Moose. This year, I clearly did not. I won’t be able to race again for a while, but I expect to be a lot faster at my next race in early June.
Today represented progress. I ran a little over seven miles on hilly terrain at 6:00 pace. This isn’t amazing, certainly, but it was a solid workout, and I think I did a decent job of staying in level three (or at least running a consistent pace the whole time).
Hopefully I will get on the track again with my brother this week, and work on my leg speed. The plan calls for a lot work on level three and separate work on leg speed, and not worrying about putting it together until July. Time will tell if it actually works.
April 30th, 2013
I raced the Muddy Moose Race last weekend. I ended up 3rd, in about 1:40. This is on the slow end of the times I have run there in the past (between 1:36 and 1:40) excepting last year, when I ran 1:28. This year the course was even faster than it was last year, but I was not. Josh Ferenc went out hard and ended up winning the race, and Jim Johnson, who was just behind me last year at this race, was trailing him. I could see Jim until about 6 miles, and at that point I was on pace to nearly match last year’s performance. But then I lost sight of Jim, and with that contact I lost motivation. I had neither the mental nor the physical capacity to compete–I have no doubt that if anyone had managed to catch me, they would have dropped me hard in no time.
I do have a list of excuses:
My longest run to date has been 10 miles.
I have missed a few days of training to take care of my knee, which has been very tight post-training all spring.
I have had a weird lingering cold that has cost me a couple more days of training.
I had eye surgery two weeks ago, costing me more training, and also making me very paranoid on some sections of the trail (needing to take care of my knee didn’t help the paranoia much either)…
Anyway, I will probably have more excuses this year. But so far, there is absolutely nothing to indicate I can’t have the best running season of my life this summer. So, as I did two years ago, I am going to write my goals here:
5 km in 14:32 or better (this would be the fastest 5km by a 35+ NH resident at an in-state road race). Failing that, I at least want to set a PR (sub-14:44).
I also want to break either my 5 mile or 10 km PR (both would be okay too). My best 5 mile race to date was in college, on a short course, so this probably works out to sub-24:50, but I will count anything under 25 flat as a road PR. And my 10 km PRs are 31:36 (twice) on the road or 31:21 if you include track races.
The basic plan is to hold the mileage down while doing some biking as cross training, and to make the intervals longer (400s when I would have done 200s, 1000s when I would have done 400s, long threshhold workouts instead of mile repeats), while also spending more time developing comfort at faster than race pace. We’ll see how it goes.