Year In Review – 2014 Edition

Today officially kicked off my training for Boston 2015! Ran 7.7 @ easy pace with some teammates this morning with strides after and 8.3 with 5.3 of 400 on/400 off/800 on/400 off fartlek this afternoon at home. Such a beautiful, warm Boxing Day, probably last day of running in the 40’s for awhile, I loved it! Before I get carried away with training, though, it’s time to put a stamp on 2014 and send it on the way.

On Friendship and Training Companions and Teammates
I’ve been so blessed with amazing friends and family my entire life. I truly cannot imagine life without a great support system and people to confide in and challenge me when they see me going astray. From my parents flying up to Boston from Kansas to watch me at Boston, to my new and old teammates alike, to my awesome friends at run group; I truly appreciated the special people in my life this year (And sorry for those times I didn’t show it!) Out of all the great memories Boston and the XC season stand out the most in my mind. At Boston, all three of my sister’s came to watch, from NY, NJ and MA and my parents and many friends lined the course too, at almost every mile. I’ve said it more than a few times, but Boston was a party, seriously one giant celebration from start to finish. I started out the year with the Greater Lowell Road Runners and so many fans and runners from the club lined the route that it sounded like a constant cheer for “Lowell” and “Go Dan”, a truly special experience. Despite that singularity, it was one of the many times this year when I was stunned and humbled by the support and love shown to myself and others running. I got to spend some great time hanging out with friends and family over late Spring and Summer as I was running less. In VT to take my turn at supporting others running, in PA at my cousins wedding and on many a weekend where a long run wasn’t dominating my schedule. In the fall I made the switch from Lowell to the Sisu Project and though smaller in numbers, it was like Boston all over again at every race with the support and cheering. I’m so happy to have gone from one enthusiastic and supportive group of runners to another. Outside of the club and my family I also had many friends to rely on this year both in and outside of running. After a few years of almost every Wednesday together, I highly value the time spent with my run group friends. Quick to put me up for a night or two and ready to have fun at non-running events too, solid friendships for sure. Like I said, I’ve been incredibly blessed with great friends and family and 2014 was a great reminder of that all year long.

The Races
A year of trying new things and getting better at old ones! It’s hard to believe that some of the races I enjoyed so much actually happened this year as March seems so long ago, but Stu’s 30k and New Bedford Half Marathon are certainly in that category. They both changed my perception of my own ability in some way. At Stu’s I learned that my goal pace for Boston Marathon was totally feasible and maybe even conservative. At New Bedford I shot for a big PR and went one better for a minute under my goal time. Stu’s was a solo effort that started as a steady effort and ended up being a solid tempo feeling run. New Bedford was a case of getting soft 1/3 of the way through and having a teammate pull up beside me to push me until the end for a great time for both of us. Boston was, well Boston, I’ll simply link to my recap and leave it at that. A hiking injury a few weeks after Boston closed the book on my plans to run Vermont City Marathon on Memorial Day weekend, and consequently rendered me solidly out of shape for the first few races of the summer. But by Late July I had some good miles underfoot and was able to start checking off new personal bests. After getting a new 5 mile best at the Marathon Sports Weston 5-miler, I jumped right into shorter races and the quest to get faster! There were a couple slight detours, USATF-NE 15k in Vermont being the biggest of them; HOT weather and poor fueling combined for a brutal day. Mayor’s Cup 8K was another less than stellar day, despite feeling okay in the race, I realized afterwards that I did not push nearly as hard as I should have. Other than that, every XC and road race in the fall was just extra validation that a season off of marathoning was just what I needed. The final race highlight of the year was XC Club Nationals just a couple weeks ago, without question. One of the best weekends in awhile and one of my better race efforts this year to boot! I forgot all about running Hood to Coast Relay and just had to come back and add this. Another weekend that’s up there with Boston this April and Club Nats. The trip back to Oregon was everything I hoped for and then some, my awesome relay team were a blast and we killed it at the race. Not only did I have some very fun races this fall, I also ran workouts after many of them to work on speed/endurance with tired legs. The workouts combined with no tapering for any races but XC Club Nats, might have left me tired at times, but I can only imagine it leaves me stronger for marathon training.

The Records
As I mentioned, my goal this fall was to get faster over shorter races, having hit my goal times in the half and full marathon in the spring. Though at times it didn’t feel like I was getting a lot faster, I was very happy to notice the other day that every PR I have was set in 2014. I might not have broken 34 in a 10k as I so wanted to, but a 34:01 will have to be my mark to beat as I try to skip 33 altogether next year and go right to the 32’s. The same story was true in the 5k where I really wanted to get very close to 16 minutes if not break it. I did only race 5k on very hot and humid days and still managed to get into the 16:30’s multiple times, so once again that mark will be there to beat next summer or fall (or maybe next month when I try my first indoor race, hey, who knows!) Apart from personal time records, I also hit quite a few “PRs” in other areas this year. In mileage, I once again hit a new high number for yearly volume, where I will finish somewhere around 3575 miles. I also hit my first 100 mile week and then repeated it a few times, peaking at 102 a few weeks before Club Nats this fall. A fact that gives me great pride when I consider that the first week of 2014 was my first week of 70+ miles. Through early season core work and smart stretching, dynamics and hill sprints I was able to stay healthy for almost the entire year, except for the one big injury that had nothing to do with running when I fell while hiking. At the beginning of the year I printed out a list of goal times for this year and hit every one except the mile, which I never raced anyway, apart from a relay when I had just resumed training again this summer. I have already picked out my goals for the half and full marathon in 2015 and a plan to get there, and I can’t wait to try and one up 2014’s successes.

The Highlights, The Whole Year
Friends, family, teammates, epic races, big personal bests, traveling to races, meeting so many amazing runners. How can I fully recount one of the most thoroughly enjoyable years of my life, I simply can’t. I’m just ready for 2015 where I get to do it all over again, with bigger goals and new races to run and new friends to make and old ones to grow with.

Boston Marathon Recap

As part two of the recap of one of the best weekends of my life, I figure I should start with some of the high points for the; “too long, didn’t read” crowd:

1. Overwhelming joy. I spoke of it in post number one, the wave of optimism and joy just washed over Boston.
2014 Boston Marathon Weekend

2. Big personal record! Very happy with a 9 minute and 18 second PR and finally breaking the 2:40:00 barrier!
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3. Media attention for running at an all time high! (at least in my lifetime) http://running.competitor.com/2014/04/boston-marathon/fraioli-mebs-boston-win-powerful-many-levels_101169
Coincidentally, my own face on some news stories!
NBC News special on my favorite running store. http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/boston-bombing-anniversary/store-runs-boston-bombing-victims-n85846
Interviewed on a local weather segment! http://www.necn.com/04/16/14/Spring-chill-hits-New-England/landing.html?blockID=865191&feedID=11106
Sports Illustrated web coverage of the marathon! http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/more/photos/1404/boston-marathon-118th-2014/27/

 

On to the race recap…

Sat. 19th Up early and ran 2m Easy/2@MP/1m Easy. Met my parents and two of my sisters for brunch. Brought my parents and sister back around my place afterwards to show them the area. Went to an Easter service in the evening. Came home and had a large dinner of mostly carbs, then got to bed earlyish.

Sun. 20th Up early to watch Liverpool match, picked up parents and went to church, hung out with a bunch of family and ate lunch then ran 4 @ easy effort (6:33) Small dinner of pancakes and banana and coconut water, in bed at 9:30 PM.

Mon. 21st MARATHON MONDAY! Up at 4:30 AM Last minute gear check, load up and drive to T stop to ride into the Boston Common and take shuttle to Hopkinton. Met up with my good buddy and usual race pal, Austin at the T stop and rode in together. Our bus left the common at approximately 6:45 AM and we arrived at the athletes village by 8 AM. I grabbed a cup of coffee and ate half a bagel while sitting around in nervous excitement. Met a couple guys who met and raced against THE Ian Sharman in an ultra. Felt good vibes floating around for an hour and observed a fantastic moment of silence for the victims of last year’s bombing. At 9:05 AM we were let go to make our way to the start line a half mile down the hill. After loosening up and shaking out the legs I cheered for the elite women as they made their way from the church to the start and yelled for the American’s as the gun went off at 9:35 AM. A short while after that at 9:50 AM an intense flyover from some National Guard helicopters took place, immediately preceding the elite men taking the start line. Ryan hall gave us all high fives as they went past and the general excitement was at a fever pitch, though all around me remained reserved, if a bit antsy. Before I knew it the gun went off and we were bumping and shuffling our way across the start line.

The Race: 10:01 AM I cross the start line of the Boston Marathon for the first time and hit start on my Garmin. The first mile is a bit crowded and I have to spend a little energy not running into anyone. The crowds of screaming fans are a bit distracting, but totally appreciated! The first mile clicks off on my watch at 6:13, okay considering that I couldn’t start running until a few tenths in. By now the crowds have thinned a little and I can hit my goal pace, mile 2 is completed in 5:59. For the sake of not being super repetitive, I’ll just say that all the way up to the Newton Hills I was simply focused on the crowds and enjoying every minute of the run. It felt like a fast effort but easy enough that with every watch check I found myself reigning in my pace a bit. I’ve developed a habit in marathons, of looking at my watch about 3/10’s into every mile to see what my pace looks like, just a quick glance to see if an adjustment is needed. I also take a peek if I feel like I’m really struggling sometimes, but other than that, it’s just there to record some data for post race synopsis. The splits for miles 3 through 16 were: 5:57- 5:50- 6:02- 5:48(Wait, what… in a marathon? What was I thinking?) 5:53- 6:06- 6:00- 6:00- 6:03- 5:52- 5:49- 5:53- 5:45(Big downhill in Wellesley to Newton line) Those miles just listed were by far the most fun miles I’ve ever run in any race and had I been falling apart, they still would have been fun. I’m serious, the crowd was so loud and so fun that I just floated through. I also saw A TON of friends along that stretch, all of whom inspire me daily in my running and in general! From 16 at the Newton town line you hit the first of the big uphills, it’s not steep, but it’s nearly half a mile of up, followed by a decent downhill though. I started out of breath after screaming at the Newton town line for more noise and spotting some great friends at the base of the hill, but I stayed controlled and told myself to slow up a bit on the hill intentionally, mile clicked off in 6:09. Mile 18 has some long slightly down hill bits before punishing you with the first of the hills on Commonwealth as you make the turn to the city, completed it in 6:08. Mile 19 is fairly easy, with a gradual down hill before the long climb up Heartbreak Hill, I sped up a bit and hit 6:03. Unfortunately the heat was really starting to get to me and I could feel my energy being sapped. After pounding up and over the last of Newton’s hills, I was unable to ratchet my pace back down again and 6:03 was my last truly fast mile split (for me) Mile 20 sees the bump prior to Heartbreak and I hit my slowest split yet in 6:12, felt okay though, considering the terrain. Heartbreak was indeed difficult at that point in the race and pushing that hard, I was nowhere near the 6:00/mile I cruised up it in a training run, but I stayed sub 6:30, with a 6:24. After Heartbreak I tried to speed back up and did hit 6:13, 6:09 and 6:13 again in the next three, but I knew by then that it was time to just hold on and run with the heart and the mind, because the body was done. 25 and 26 were 6:18 and 6:16, and the final .3, according to my watch, were at a 6:00 pace. Total average pace on my watch reads 6:03, which means I nearly ran the tangents perfectly, only a tenth over with 26.32 recorded. My official time is 2:39:08 for the 26.2 which gives me a 6:04 average pace, certainly close enough to my 6:00 goal to be happy with, given the difficulty of the Boston course and the 70+ degree temps by the end. My dream goal of a sub 6:00/mile average marathon now feels like it’s really within reach and had it not been for the heat, I might already be there. My first 20 miles were at a 5:59 average and considering my previous PR was at 6:25/mile average only 11 months ago, it looks like the training has started to pay off! It was a race I will never forget, a weekend I will never forget, a Meb I will never forget and a total honor and pride to be a part of any of it. I can’t wait to return to Boston next year.

By The Numbers: 2:39:08 Net time, 6:04 average pace, 78:25 first half and 80:43 second half. 305th out of 32,000 in my first Boston Marathon!

What’s next? I feel that the pressure I’d put on myself to get a sub 2:40 has been totally lifted. I do still have a strong hunger to get much faster, but I feel like the rest of this year will just be relaxed and fun. I’ve now checked off my long distance goals in the half and the full for 2014 and can focus on trying to PR in every distance from 10k down to 800 meters now! I’ve never had a lot of leg speed or tremendous strength so I think a summer of speed work and shorter races with lots of core and hip strengthening should set me up nicely for a potential half PR again this fall. Just maybe I will manage to snag another full PR, if everything works out. Immediate future is a 14 mile trail race this Sunday (yikes, don’t follow my example post marathon) Then after another easy week I will start to work the mileage back up in the first full week in May, next race in the USATF NE Gran Prix series is a 5 miler in June where I will look to set a big 5 mile PR. My current best came last year on a humid 85 degree evening in July, so I’m really hoping to improve on that number.

Finally, a huge thanks to all who have supported me so far this year, or read the blog, or trained with me! It means so incredibly much to know that I have inspired someone in some way to get out there and run/race/exercise or cheer for others. I get so much joy and satisfaction out of this fantastic sport that my top goal has to be drawing others in! Also, even bigger thanks to those who donated to my charity efforts for World Vision while training, with your awesome work we were able to raise over $550 to help bring clean drinking water and medical supplies and education to war torn and devastated areas of Africa.

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Marathon Celebration, Boston Has Been Taken Back!

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Yesterday I was humbled, blessed and supremely encouraged, taking part in a 26.2 mile party with over a million friends! There was so much incredible positivity, joy and downright partying along the course that a runner couldn’t help but get swept up in it. I think I speak for 36,000 people when I say that I started out too fast due to the tremendous support. I couldn’t help but cheer along with the crowd for much of the race. Boston is clearly more than strong; it’s chock full of resilience, joy and overwhelming love and I loved every minute I got to take in! As I drove under the marathon course tonight, I was hit with a moment of sadness in the realization that so much planning and expectation has now been fulfilled and that this dream weekend is now over. But if I could change anything about the last couple days, I would only choose to relive them again. Next year will have such large shoes to fill, that I think it’s safer to just set this year in it’s own category. If last year has an asterisk next to it, this year should have a giant freakin smiley face to make note of what happened. I know that my Boston experience to date is very short, having spectated twice from multiple locations and now run it once, but I’ve talked to 10 and 20 year plus veterans and all I’ve spoken to have been in agreement, this year was simply remarkable. On a more personal note, I did hit my main goal and came less than a minute from my dream goal, a time that would have definitely been doable had I not started to overheat pretty bad towards the end. All in all, my fitness and training feel thoroughly validated in the race I had yesterday, I put my all in it and left everything and then some on the course. My own throat is still sore from cheering and I don’t care one bit that my celebrating cost me some deep breaths and some more time the clock, the people of Boston deserved my best and I tried to give it to them.

The elite field was comprised of the fastest runners Boston has ever drawn and promised to be an epic showdown. There was such a strong desire from the running community to have an American winner and I know that both the men and woman wanted to deliver. Going in to the race I, along with many smarter individuals, speculated that Shalane Flanagan would be the best chance of that happening, but that Desi Linden would be just about as close to it. No one could have known that Shalane would go out at record pace and still have the older Jeptoo go past her and drag others along. I’m so incredibly proud of her and Desi for going so hard and for Shalane with a big PR and Desi nearly matching her super fast 2011 PR in the infamous Boston tailwind year. As for the men’s elite field, just thinking about how that all played out nearly makes me tear up, even now. Meb is the guy who’s poster belongs on every kid’s wall; humble, passionate, gracious, tenacious and everything you want an athlete to be. I can’t possibly add to the stories about Ryan Hall and Josphat Boit’s incredible race (along with other Americans) so I will simply link to this story that makes me more proud of these guys than I can even contain.
http://www.letsrun.com/news/2014/04/untold-story-american-teamwork-ryan-hall-helped-meb-keflezighi-win-boston/?fb_action_ids=764015310608&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%5B235976339940425%5D&action_type_map=%5B%22og.likes%22%5D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

There are so many other themes and stories that I want to bring up that I’m gonna have to write a separate post just to recap my own race, so I can leave this one for the amazing stuff that happened over the whole weekend. More to be added later, time for bed, back to work tomorrow morning and then on to run group afterwards to continue celebrating!

I love you Boston.

Marathon Taper II

My beard is finally ready for Boston, hoping the rest of me is as well!
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This taper is starting to feel like it truly exists, after a week that saw only a slight dip in volume, I’m actually beginning to feel “rested”. The week started off with some mega tired runs, to be expected after the biggest mileage I’ve ever run in an 8 day span preceding it. Among many of the thoughts on my mind that pertain to running, I’ve decided that a further increase in mileage will necessitate a couple days a week of doubles. At my current fitness level, I just don’t see a way to run more than 90 a week in just 7 workouts. Maybe next time around I will find a way to change that, but popular training philosophy seems to suggest that two-a-days are prudent at levels above this. At any rate, the mileage for my two weeks of taper will look to be about 75 and 55. Just hit 75 over this past week and tomorrow will be a 14 mile run to start things off on the last week of running prior to Boston.

Sun 6th- (Planned) 20 miles @ steady pace. (Actual) 18.5 miles @ easy pace. The higher volume had tired me out a bit and it felt like I needed to go easier. Ran with a friend, over hill and dale, just wandered around until we were tired. (18.5 Total)

Mon 7th- Easy 6 + 10x10sec hill sprints (7.6 Total)

Tues 8th- Fartlek 11 miles with 8X2 min. @ half pace (11.2 Total)

Wed 9th- (Planned) Progression 12 miles with last 6 @ moderate. (Actual) Easy 10 miles, planned on going easy anyway, but miscalculation on the run resulted in only 10 and not 12. Felt a little stiff and tired anyway, so just called it quits there. (10 Total)

Thu 10th- Easy run, 8 miles (8.4 Total)

Fri 11th- Marathon Pace run 2m easy + 2×4 @ marathon w/5 min. active recovery + 2m easy. The MP sections felt tiring and a bit hard to sustain, slightly better by the end, but harder than they should have. Thinking that running slower lately and being a week since last speed (besides fartlek bursts) along with very stressful week at work all added up to make me tired mentally and physically. (13.6 Total)

Sat 12th- (Planned) Easy run, 6 miles. (Actual) 10k, first mile in 6:27 and felt just below easy pace, decided to just drop it from there and change my 14-miler progression tomorrow into a nice easy run. It was a perfectly beautiful spring day and I was running through the birthplace of our Revolution on the Battle Trail in Concord and Lexington, Ma. Next miles went by in 6:01-5:58-5:59-5:59-5:52 and .2 @ 5:34 pace for a 10k in 37:30. I suppose that if it felt tough running 2×4 miles at MP last night but then much easier running 5 at just below MP today, that’s a very good sign that last night was just a fluke. Happy end to the week, even though I might regret running hard(ish) two days in a row a week from the race, trying not to think about that. Onward and upwards, tomorrow’s easy run WILL feel great!

Marathon Taper Time

Received my official runner passport for Boston, ready to pick up the bib in two weeks! I’m over the moon that it’s finally here! It seems crazy looking back to when I didn’t have a specific training plan in mind last November and had such lower goals than I do now, even back when I started training in earnest, last December. I gave Brad Hudson’s adaptive training style an honest effort this time around and I’m so happy I did, good race day or not, it has brought me so far already! As for the goals adjustement, I’m very happy I met some of the Greater Lowell Road Runner guys and joined the club, they’ve definitely helped give me the confidence I needed to bump up the training and the mileage to big boy levels.

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It’s officially taper time! As of today I have wrapped up my biggest week yet, 92.6 miles run and feeling better than I did a week ago. Some nagging aches and pains sustained from too many hours sitting in cars and meetings were worked out by the ART of Dr. Mui, once again! I had started to feel the miles and sitting catch up with me mid way through last week and made an appointment for this past Wednesday to get some good preventative work, rather than injury recovery. Within a few days I was back to feeling pretty good, though a little fatigued from the high mileage and still carrying some soreness, I think proper recovery with foam roller and the stick can get me over the rest of it. On to the training log, it’s been a while since the last update, so here goes!

Sun 23rd- (Planned) 24 mile easy pace run. (Actual) Ran 15 @ easy pace 6:30-7 min. + 10 @ 6:19 avg. Ran close to 7 by myself to start the morning, then paused for 10 minutes and ran another 8 with a local marathon training group all at an easy pace. 8 miles in on the group run two Greater Lowell guys came cruising past us at the base of Heartbreak Hill, of all places. After resisting the initial urge to keep pace with them when one of the other guys joined up, I caved in a few minutes later and sprinted the last half of heartbreak to stay with them and on into the city, finished by running up around the Charles on the Cambridge side and back to Boylston St. (25.1 total)

Mon 24th- Easy pace 7 @ 7:00/mile + 10x10sec. hill sprints (7.5 total)

Tue 25th- Progression 2m easy + 6 accelerating from marathon to half pace + 2m easy. This was my first day of travel on a work trip and started with a 7 hour car ride. The run was in biting wind and over epic hills in Valley Forge National Park. Ran at the right effort level even if my pace was slower than I wanted at times. (10.2 total)

Wed 26th- Easy pace 14, ran in Valley Forge again and than discovered an amazing flat and 40+ mile long rail trail for the last half of my run. Only a mile from the hotel to the park and the rail trail. Next work trip I will have a much better attitude about my running there! (14.2 total)

Thu 27th- Easy pace 10 planned. Got home after 8PM and another 7 hour car ride. Everything felt tight and awful by then, ran very slow and tried to stay relaxed. (7 total)

Fri 28th- (Planned) Threshold Run 3m easy + 4×10 min. @ half w/4min. active recoveries + 3m easy. (Actual) Workout skipped, complete rest day. GASP! It took everything in my mind to make myself take a zero day and let the body relax a little, it was much needed.

Sat 29th- (Planned) 7 miles easy. (Actual) Ran more; the farther I went, the better my legs felt. Did my rest day actually pay off? Am I finally training somewhat smart!? (11.2 total @ 6:52/avg.)

Sun 30th- Hard Long Run planned on 20 with 18 hard buffered by mile warm ups and downs. Realized that 20 would bring me to the base of Heartbreak in Newton when running on the course and couldn’t resist a final surge up and over with a mile back to the shuttle bus. I went into this run with slightly low confidence after the tightness and fatigue all week, but ended up feeling great! I ran the first 4 miles easy 6:39/avg. then hammered out the next 18 @ 6:16 avg. with miles 16-21 down to a 6:08 avg. Final mile was around 6:20 as I came back down the hill easier pace to cool down. Never felt like I was really at race pace even with a 6:00 mile over heartbreak. Fastest miles were on the toughest part of the course, too. I did have a couple brief stops throughout the run, for water, stoplights and traffic, but this really was a confidence booster! (22.1 total)

Mon 31st- Easy pace 10 plus 10x10sec. hill sprints. (10 total @7:00/avg.)

Tue 1st- Fartlek 12m planned with 8x2min. @ half pace. Did not feel great and cut it a little short, didn’t even get to half pace on the “on” sections, just wasn’t feeling it. (10.6 total)

Wed 2nd- Progression 14 with last 7 moderate, ran all 14 easy pace. 7:10/avg. Had my hips worked on prior to running and was trying to take it easy. (14.2 total)

Thu 3rd- Progression planned 10 with last 5 moderate. (9.1 total, last 5 moderate) Ran on my lunch break, on very little sleep, too much fluid and low fuel. Felt like garbage all run, and was happy to finish. Did 1.5 hours of recovery on the legs Thursday night.

Fri 4th- Marathon Pace run, 2m easy + 10 @ marathon + 2m easy. Ran the 10 @ a 5:55/avg. It felt okay, but more work than I could sustain over the marathon at that pace. Not too worried though as I was carrying soreness, fatigue and high mileage. I’m assuming that with a full taper and smart racing, I will be somewhere close to that pace on race day. (14.1 total)

Sat 5th- Easy pace 5 at noon + 7.5 pm with a friend on some trails, all nice and easy 7:00-8:00 min. pace (12.5 total)

Whew! Two big weeks of running to cap off this training. Very happy to have the hard work out of the way, now it’s time to be smart and prepare mentally! Total mileage two weeks ago was 75.2, this week was 92.6. Also reached a mileage milestone this week, I’m currently at 1041.5 miles for the year, first 1k is complete!

Boston Marathon Training Update

New shoes, awesome races, and nice weather. Ah, what a past week it has been. Spring is sort of here in Massachusetts, northern New England is still getting snow, but we saw 50 degrees today! I think this was the warmest day yet in 2014, though it was quite windy, I was thankful not to be attempting a quick pace on my run. My legs have taken most of the week to bounce back from last Sunday’s half marathon, last night was my first speedwork since and it took some effort. I ran 1k repeats at close to the same pace as the mile repeats last week and it felt like the same effort level. Nothing feels too tight though, so I’m feeling happy and confident going into my last two big weeks before taper. It seems unreal that I only have a few more high mileage weeks left before the marathon. Only three sets of long repeats left, and the rest of my hard workouts are tempo runs or fartleks, no more intervals! Without further ado, in the typical manner of my training updates I will just list the runs and workouts from where I left off up to now.

Wed. 12th- Easy pace 11 @ 6:59/avg.

Thu. 13th- Easy to moderate pace 11 @ 6:44/avg.

Fri. 14th- Easy pace 14 @ 6:52/avg.

Sat. 15th- Easy pace 9 @ 6:45/avg.

Sun. 16th- AM .5 warmup + half (1:15:30) PR! + .5 cooldown – PM 2 @ easy 7:00/mi avg. (16 miles total)

Mon. 17th- Easy pace + 10x10sec. hill sprints (7.6 miles total)

Tue. 18th- Easy pace 4+4 progression 4 @ 6:55/avg. 4 @ 6:31-6:19-6:09-5:55 (8.1 miles total)

Wed. 19th- Easy pace 12.1 @ 6:45/avg.

Thu. 20th- Easy pace 8.6 @ 6:42/avg.

Fri. 21st- Specific Endurance Intervals 3m easy + 10x1k @ Half/10k pace w/1 min jogs + 3m easy. I started out with some indigestion and it was extra hard to get a deep breath for the first few, here are the splits: 3:31-3:22-3:23-3:26-3:21-3:24-3:20-3:19-3:16-3:14 (13.8 miles total)

Sat. 22nd- Easy pace 6 @ 6:39/avg.

My total miles over the last two weeks were 89 in the week leading up to the half and 72 over the recovery week ending today. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to keep this kind of mileage so far and looking forward to hitting some 100 mile weeks in my next block of training now! That’s it for now, I’m going to go prepare second dinner and fill up for my last 20+ run tomorrow, 24 miles @ easy pace.

The marathon is getting very close and I am behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all of the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given, the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Link provided below to read more and donate:


http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR/TeamWorldVision/TeamWorldVision?px=1423793&pg=personal&fr_id=2220

New Bedford Half Marathon 2013 Recap

Part of the GLRR team, post race.

Part of the GLRR team, post race.

My race prep starts on the night prior to a race, with a “good” dinner and selection of my race clothing and post race apparel. The night before NB I ate a pile of Trader Joe’s wheat/gluten free pancakes slathered in peanut butter and pure maple syrup. This has quickly become my race day eve tradition, it fills me up, without making me uncomfortable. For pre-race fueling I ate a bagel and two fried eggs 2.5 hrs prior to race start and 20 min. before, one packet of Watermelon Sport Beans, chased down with coconut water. For the race outfit I chose to wear both a long sleeve shirt and my singlet, due to the predicted felt temperature of 20 degrees with winds off the ocean at times, I also wore North Face thermal tights under my splits. I could have probably gone without tights or donned some sleeves instead of the long sleeve tech shirt, but I wasn’t too hot for most of the race and as a bonus, didn’t have to sprint to the parking garage for warmer clothing immediately post race. I wore some light gloves for the entire race, but ditched my EMS winter hat at mile 5; wish I had left it in the car rather than ditching it, but at least winter is nearly over.

It took some jostling in between God Bless America and The Star Spangled Banner to make my way far enough up in the corral to not be hampered by slower paced runners, but with 30 seconds to go, I found myself in the top 80 or so and ready to run. This was a unique feeling that hopefully gives me some appreciation for how Boston will feel, with so many faster runners. New Bedford is recognized nationwide as having one of the fastest and deepest fields of competitive runners. When the air horn was sounded I took off at a which felt relaxed, but per usual, was too fast. After clocking in a 5:30 for the first mile I slowly worked myself towards my goal pace and hit mile two right on the dot of 5:49. Mile three was the first and for me, the worst, of the hills in the race. I managed a 5:56, but felt like I was already beginning to work a bit too hard for it and some doubts crept in. Mile four was much better, I focused on running relaxed and after some early hills I was back under goal pace by the end, mile split was still a bit slow from the hills at 5:53, but I felt good. I had dropped my pace down to the 5:40 range mid way to the 5 mile mark and along a sunny straight away, my friend and teammate, Bash drew alongside me. Once he was there and our pace was in sync we began working together. Despite exchanging some conversation and catching up for the next few miles, we still worked to put down our fastest splits of the race. Miles 5, 6 and 7 all were hit on the 5:40 mark, mile 8 had some downhill and we clocked off a 5:33 before moving back to a 5:41 for mile 9. The next few miles had some serious headwind, right along the ocean and we worked together, taking turns breaking the wind every so often, along with another guy we had caught up to. The splits for 10, 11 and 12 were; 5:50, 5:54 and 5:53. The final mile of the race has one very long uphill section, starting just before the 12 mile sign and going until 12.5 or so, there is no immediate downhill, either. You proceed along a slightly uphill portion until 12.7-ish, when you turn sharply right and start to let out everything you have on the final downhill. Bash and I had worked together really well, even catching another Greater Lowell Road Runner teammate at the beginning of the final hill, but by the top of the hill he had dropped me by fifteen meters or so. I used the advantage of longer legs and started to bridge the gap on the short downhill, but still had a bit to go when I turned for the final flat tenth to the finish. Somehow in the process of slowly grinding up the long hill I had saved a final gear and went into a full sprint down the straight, churning past Bash with the finish line close in sight. I knew there was no way I would have finished an entire minute below my goal time had it not been for working together most of the race, so I felt a bit bad passing Bash at the end. But we concluded that teammates work together until the finish is in sight, and then it just becomes a race against the clock and everyone else. My final mile split was 5:54 and the final tenth was at 4:00 pace, giving me a 5:45’54 avg. over the 1:15:30 net time, gun time was 1:15:34. The club had some seriously fast guys in front with a 1:10 and a 1:13 finisher, but the other three of us rounded out the top 5 with 1:15’s, all finishing within 10 seconds of each other. The entire race was fantastic, the town of New Bedford really embraces the event and comes out to cheer in force, even in the sub freezing temps! I could probably go on enumerating the experience for a while longer, but I think that fairly well recaps the actual race. It felt like a certain validation of the hard work I’ve been putting in since the beginning of last December and it gives me tons of confidence for the marathon. It was exactly what I wanted out of a training race and a great way to experience my first USATF New England Gran Prix Series race running for Greater Lowell. We unofficially finished in 7th place in the team category, with some very fast runners ahead of us. I was pleased that Western Mass Distance Project repeated for the team title though, as I love seeing the BAA get beat.

The marathon is getting very close and I am behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all of the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given, the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Link provided below to read more and donate:


http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR/TeamWorldVision/TeamWorldVision?px=1423793&pg=personal&fr_id=2220

Training Log Update –Mar. 3rd-Mar. 11th–

The daylight saving time change is killing me, but evening runs have the sun back! The spring forward usually messes with my sleep cycle less than the fall back, apart from rendering me unable to go in to work until 8AM, but it does mess with me. I think by tomorrow I’ll have adjusted with the internal clock though. The last few days have brought spring like weather and combined with the later sun they have made the outdoors feel amazing. Of course par for New England weather, we are looking at a day of pouring rain in the high 30’s tomorrow followed by a day in the low 20’s and snowing. I did my speedwork tonight in view of the forecast, but hopefully the next two days will be the last real winter weather running of the season. That being said, here’s what the last nine days looked like in my training log:

Mar. 3rd- Easy run- 6.5 miles (6:53/mile) + 10x10sec. hill sprints (7 total miles)

Mar. 4th- Specific Endurance Intervals- 3 miles easy + 5x1k @5k pace w/2 min. active recovery + 3 miles easy (11 total)

Mar. 5th- Progression from easy to moderate- 7:10/mile to 6:07/mile, faster than moderate by the end but it felt good (10.5 total)

Mar. 6th- Easy run- 6:39/mile avg. pace felt comfortable. (8 total)

Mar. 7th- Threshold Workout- 2.6 miles easy + 5 miles accelerating from half to 10k pace + 2 miles easy. I started out a little quick but mile two felt good and then I had a hard fall on some black ice at the 2.5 turn around, finished hard in a 5:32 though. Avg. was 5:42, not the 5:39 avg. I had in mind, but I’ll chalk that up to a fall, where I struggled to a 5:48 mile. (9.6 total)

Mar. 8th- Rest day! One of three this year, so far. It was much needed!

Mar. 9th- Progression long run- easy pace for the first 11 and moderate for the last 11. Felt great, overall avg. was 6:24 (22 total)

Mar. 10th- Easy run- 7.5 miles (6:47/mile) + 10x10sec. hill sprints (8 total miles)

Mar. 11th- Specific Endurance Intervals- 3 miles easy + 6xMile @10k -5sec./mile w/3 min. active recovery + 3 miles easy. The scheduled workout had me running @10k +5sec./mile but I felt good and had moved this run up a day, which gives me another day to recover before the half marathon on Sunday. Avg. 5:24/mile for the 6 repeats with the last two @ 5:22. (14 total)

That brings us up through tonight. Last week was a cut down week before I hit peak training in the next three weeks, I ran 68 last week, this week will be around 80.

Thanks for reading, please read the message below!

The marathon is getting very close and I am behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all of the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given, the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!

Link below to donate to read more and donate:
http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR/TeamWorldVision/TeamWorldVision?px=1423793&pg=personal&fr_id=2220

Training Log Update

I find myself back in the autopilot of training once again. I don’t say that like it’s a bad thing though, training has been progressing nicely, it just means that my blog has been one of the casualties due to lack of time and motivation. I don’t remember the last time I posted a training log snapshot though. With it being 50 days out from the marathon I suppose a recap of the last couple weeks is in order.

Mon 17th- 8 miles easy + 10x10sec. all out hill sprints (9 miles total)

Tue 18th- Scheduled threshold pace workout scratched due to snowstorm (6.3 awful slippery miles)

Wed 19th- Easy pace medium run (13.3 miles)

Thu 20th- Specific Endurance Intervals: 2 mile warm-up 2 sets of 10×400 meter @ 10k-5k pace w. 1 min recovery laps. Ran first set at 1:20 avg. second set from 1:20 to 1:10 avg. Quicker than current 5k pace for the whole workout, but having skipper Tue. speed work I was feeling rested, finished with 2 mile cool-down. Fun running on Harvard indoor track. Thu PM ran easy 4 miles (16 miles total)

Fri 21st- Easy pace 9.3 (6:58) Working the junk out of my legs.

Sat 22nd- Easy pace 6.3

Sun 23rd- Long run at easy pace 22 miles. I felt great after 15 miles and let myself speed up for the final 4; 6:24-6:17-6:12-5:32. My overall avg. was 6:34, I believe.

Ended the week with just over 82 miles.

Mon 24th- 6 easy pace (6:55) + 10x10sec. all out hill sprints (7 miles total)

Tue 25th- Specific Endurance Intervals 3 mile warmup + 6×800 meter @ 5k w/2 min. recovery + 3 mile cooldown. Ran the 800’s a little too fast, around 2:35-2:40 (10 miles total)

Wed 26th- Easy pace 12.2 miles (6:44 avg.)

Thu 27th- Easy pace 7.1 (6:55 avg.)

Fri 28th- Threshold workout 3 miles easy (6:40) + 3×10 min. @ half to 10k pace w/4 min. recovery. Went from 5:46 pace to 5:37 by the end of the 3rd repeat. Felt like a lot more work than it has to run that pace, probably due to the frigid and dry conditions that night. Finished with another 3 miles easy (6:48) (12.5 miles total)

Sat 1st- Easy pace 6 miles (6:47)

Sun 2nd- Specific Endurance workout skipped to get some race prep in on a local 30k race. Short half mile warmup and some strides and than a conservative 6:20 effort for the first three miles followed by a what felt like an effort level just a bit easier than half marathon pace. My overall avg. ended up being right at 6:00/mile, certainly my fastest over 18.6 miles. I also nabbed a new half marathon P.R. of 1:17:21 in the middle of the race. This was a very challenging and hilly course, so I’m hoping that it was a good indicator that my fitness for Boston is on track. Next fitness test is New Bedford Half Marathon in two weeks, where I will be shooting for a 1:16:30. I should also mention that I finished 3rd overall today and 1st and 2nd place were 2:35 and 2:26 marathoners, respectively, talk about some healthy competition! (19.2 total miles)
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Ended the week with just over 73 miles.

This past week and the next will be lighter on miles and overall intensity, with a focus on some specific endurance pace work. After the half marathon time trial on the 16th the mileage will go back up from high 70’s to low 90’s before dropping back down to 70ish and then 40 something the week before Boston. Assuming all goes as planned this will be the most solid training I’ve ever done. Scratch that, if something happens right now, this is already the best training I’ve ever put in. 900 miles in the last three months! I can scarcely believe it.

The marathon is getting very close and I am way behind on my fundraising for World Vision. Please, please consider donating to a worthy cause! I’ll do all the running and sweating and freezing, but I really need your help with the fundraising! I’m not very good at pleading for donations or raising money, but this cause truly speaks for itself and I appreciate every dollar given as the work being done in Africa is so badly needed!
http://support.worldvision.org/site/TR/TeamWorldVision/TeamWorldVision?px=1423793&pg=personal&fr_id=2220

Snow Day – Good Vibes!

I’ve had this silly habit of starting my blog posts with a title, like they are some kind of college paper and need to be composed in a specific manner. This is not a ‘me resolving to change this habit’ statement, I’m only making note of it. For now I can write whatever I want, free form! Today was a remote workday, thanks to some fresh white stuff. Working from home is not without challenges, but the proximity to the kitchen offsets almost any potential downsides. Breakfast was: three egg southwest omelet, French toast bagel and a bowl of blueberries, washed down with Chai. Lunch was a pile of pancakes, peanut butter and syrup and fresh coffee to sip on whenever I wanted it. And while the food perks are well loved, they don’t take top spot in the working from home bennys for me. What is the best part about working from home? Lacing up as soon as I log out and thus getting more of my run finished in the daylight! It led to some great memories today too, trying new roads and dodging plow trucks and feeling like I ruled the roads.

To the guy who stopped snow-blowing in the sleet and freezing rain to clap for me as I ran by with ski goggles and an ice beard earlier, you rock! That act easily made my day and kept me smiling for the duration of my run.
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Said ice beard and smile. Hat in the picture was given to me last night, +1 to cool friends and random gifts! The traction was sketchy at best in the snow today and the Yaktrax had a hard time digging through it, but I’m thankful that with all of the snow we’ve had it’s only been truly bad on my easy paced runs so far. That being said, I do hope they plow the crap out of the streets tonight, at least somewhere, so I have a place to run ladder intervals tomorrow.

Social media and the internet in general have been overflowing with good vibes for and from runners the past few days. For such a massive community it’s still so close knit and caring, I love it! All of us have joined in deriding and grimacing over THAT runner from Portland who so braggadociosly claimed that the snow was perfect for running in and then promptly fell on her butt. http://youtu.be/f85bdCzrNkY And for girls and boys alike, this from Lauren Fleshman: http://asklaurenfleshman.com/2013/11/keeping-it-real/ is well worth a read. On a more personal sphere, my dad posted a picture of some plane tickets for April today… parents, siblings and friends will all be at the marathon cheering this year. I’ve never not planned on crying at some point during the marathon, but it’s definitely going to happen now. No possible way to contain all of the emotions that will clatter together prior to, during and after this race.

In my next post I will be following a format and title again, a write up of sorts on my newest shoes. Mizuno Hitogami (I Love Them) But for now I leave off with the song that popped into my head when I started writing this. Perfect music for a snowy winter day.