Thursday, December 24, 2009


That's where my running has been recently. In the past 3 weeks I have been battling two different colds and as such I haven't run more than 30 miles in three weeks.   For the past two weeks I've had some sort of respiratory thing going on that has impacted my breathing and leaves me with a terribly fun cough. Not ideal for running in the cold so I have taken it easy.

Unfortunately not running and holiday food consumption has led me to become a bit rolly-polly in the middle. Time to get back out there. I did a good four miles today around the frozen Charles and it felt good. The coughing fit afterwards wasn't as bad as it has been. I'm going to have to pick the mileage up though if I want to be in any shape for Derry. Which just happens to have been picked as the first race of the year for the GNRC grand prix.

Nice choice. How long did it take you to come up with the hardest race possible run in the dead of winter?  16 miles is always a great way to start the new year off.

Merry Christmas everbody!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Yak Traks and gaiters

Are essential pieces of gear for running in the deep snow. Down here on Long Island yesterday's storm dumped more than a foot of snow. Not to be stopped from my long run by a mere dusting
I lined my shoes with plastic bags, velcroed up my knee-high gaiters and cinched on my new Yak Traks.   Off I went into the unexpectadely bright day and began to run.

I was forced to weave between the street and the sidewalk as I kept encountering unshoveled areas.  Parts of the road were very clear and I began to worry that I would damage the Traks so I tried to run on the packed snow and ice. Footing was only an issue in the loose snow.

I got to the park and took a moment to watch all the kids sledding down the hill. Fun times.  Them I headed out down the trail and into the deep snow. For awhile I followed in the skiiers and snowshoers' tracks but soon enough there was nothing but virgin snow ahead of me. All alone in the woods I fought to keep my pace and to keep gliding though the snow. Looking back all I could seen were my footprints, a steady row of indents in the otherwise unblemished ground cover.

As I ran I thought about how, when I tell stories such as this, the most common reaction from others is to ask why would I run in 2 feet of snow. The only answer I could think of was that I do it because I can.  And that really is reason enough.

Monday, December 14, 2009


For the first time since high school I have managed to capture a first place finish.  It was the Norfolk Community League's Jingle Bell Run 5K.  The day was sunny and with the wind, a bit on the cool side; but all around good running weather.  Another bonus was that the race route was all streets I was very familiar with so there wouldn't be any surprises and I knew exactly what I was getting into ahead of time.

We lined up in the driveway of the school for the start and with a very informal command from Santa the race began.  I quickly struck out from the pack and set an aggressive (for me) pace for the first mile which I knew would be downhill after one small incline.  The strategy paid off.  As I hit the mile marker and prepared to turn into a residential section I noted that I had done the first mile in 5:50 which is quicker than normal.  A quick look behind me as I made the turn and for the first time I realized that there was no one close to me.  I saw at least one guy a little ways back bu that was it.  So far so good, but I also knew that we were just about to hit the two decent sized hills which comprised a good portion of the second mile.

Climbing up the hills I just kept telling myself to keep the pace, to focus on my stride, don't let up.  Everything was going great.  I was holding it together, and while the hills were definitely taking a toll I was still well within the time I was looking for.  I even had my own personal police escort; I finally got something back from the town for all those taxes I've paid!

But it was different being out front all alone.  Normally during a race I have no one I need to focus on but myself .  Some races I  concentrate on trying to catch up to someone ahead of me or I end up fighting off someone trying to catch me, but this time I was literally alone.  Doubts kept jumping into my head. Could I hold them off?  Are they just waiting to kick later and beat me?  Should I run faster or stick to my current pace?  This was all new, I never had to deal with these issues before.  It was great to be in the lead but there was just too much pressure.

With half a mile left I turned off the long straightaway and I looked back, there was nobody close.  It was then that I finally knew that no one could catch me.  The race was mine.  But that was no excuse to slack off so I kept up the pace and pushed it to the end.  One final turn around the building and the finish line was waiting for me.  For the first time there were no other runners catching their breath just past the finish line, it was just me.  I didn't post the best time I have ever run, I ended up with a 19:05, but I couldn't have been happier.

This was my final race of the year and I couldn't have asked for anything better.  The first place finish capped off what has been a fantastic year of running and was the perfect way to bring a close to 2009.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Christmas came early this year and Santa gave me a fifth place finish at the GNRC HO-HO-HO 5K.  Well, I actually had to work hard to get it but everything felt great during the race so I won't rule out benefiting from a little help from the big guy in red.  I also snagged the top male 30-39 so I got to take how a nice medal.  I managed a 6:05 pace for a time of 18:53 which is only 13 seconds off my PR.  Not too shabby for a race whose last mile is almost entirely uphill.  All that and the rain actually held of until after the race

Once again the race proved to be one of the better run events in the area and everything went off without a hitch.  We started off by lining all of the kids up for their race across the lawn.  I was going to run with Catie and Jen would trail Jackson.  Michael got us all ready and blew the air horn to start the race.  Jackson took off like a cheetah with his mother trailing behind him; he's really been enjoying these races and it's nice to see him have so much fun doing it.  Meanwhile, Catie heard the horn, looked up at me, and promptly broke down in tears.  She has yet to embrace the sport like her brother has.  So I dutifully picked her up and trundled our way down the course.  Just before the finish I gave her one more chance to run but she was having no part of it.  Oh well, some day she'll finish a race without being carried.

The main event went off without any glitches.  We lined up, the horn went off, and away we ran.  At the turnaround I was pleasantly surprised to see Michael already heading into the roundabout so I could tell that he was pushing it.  After waving to everyone from the team as I passed them on the way back, and there are a lot of members  to wave at now, I made the turn onto the long uphill stretch.  I began to hear some heavy breathing behind me and realized I would need to keep up the pace to stay ahead.  The lessons of Mt. Washington filled my head and kept my legs going strong.  With about a half mile to go I heard someone call out to the runner behind me, "Go Meaghan".  Aah, it was a girl!  I better not let her beat me, how embarrassing would that be?!

I'm kidding, I've been beaten many times by many females.  Good runners are good runners.  But it still spurred me on to make sure that I was faster than her, after all I gotta look good for my family waiting at the finish.  So as I came down the hill into the parking lot I lit it up and gave it all I had to hold on to the fifth spot.  I cam in just behind fellow GNRCer Don Burke (although it was 30 seconds behind him) and was really pleased with the race.

It seems like everyone had a great day.  Andy easily took first, Don and I were fourth and fifth, and then a big block of members filled out the 14th to 18th spots as Michael, Keith, Jeff, Maureen, and Maria all came in one after the other.  Judging by the amount of awards won by fellow GNRCers, everyone had a great race, especially the ladies who once again swept the 40-49 age group.  A good time was had by all.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot.  As the last race in the GNRC Grand Prix series I officially won by a mere four points.  I'm really happy about that and it is a great way to cap off what has been a phenomenal year for me.  I'm definitely not the best runner on the team so I must be one of the luckiest because the competition was tough right up to the end.  It's nice to know that I can hang in there with the likes of Don and Michael and I look forward to next year.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Grand Finale

Tomorrow is the final race in the GNRC Grand Prix.  Fittingly it is the GNRC HO-HO-HO and it may even snow, so we have that going for us.  Currently I stand alone on top of the leaderboard with a 5 point lead over Michael and Don.  Hopefully the race will be a battle for second place and I will be able to comfortable retain the top spot.  But we'll see, you never want to take these things lightly lest something unexpected happens.

Speaking of unexpected, it will be interesting to see how the leg holds up.  My right shin and achilles have been quite painful as of late and I am starting to get concerned, again.  Nothing I can do about that now though and all I can do is hope that it all holds together.  The last thing I want is another Marshfield 20K.  Even though I finished strong there, a 5K is a whole lot less of distance to be able to recover after any problems.  The leg may hurt but my optimism is up!

We shall see what tomorrow brings.  Win or lose, it certainly has been an interesting year and a whole lot of fun.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


No time to post!  68 degrees outside!!