Saturday, January 29, 2011


As I was running today I was plotting my latest blog entry and planned on calling it "Oops, I Did It Again".  You see, I decided to go out and do 15 with Zac and David again knowing full well how fast they were and how much it wrecked me last time.  But I soldiered on and gave it my best shot and we cruised along until mile 11, and then they abandoned my ass.  Now to be fair to myself, miles 10-13 I was doing a 7:30 or less pace so I wasn't exactly phoning it in but regardless I was an anchor slowing them down and was cast aside like a hunk of jetsam.  And to that I say:

And I did go home; seven miles later.  But really I am just kidding (not about the abandoned part though) I don't want to slow anyone down and there was no way I could keep up their pace so it was a win-win for everyone, even if the last few miles were lonely.

While I am thinking of post I had planned to write (and never quite got around to) there was this one I intended on calling "Dude('s Foot) Looks Like A Lady".  With the crappy weather and all of the snow this winter it has been a real challenge to get in a good run so I was excited to try out a new route that I plotted which would take me through MIT, over the river, and down Comm Ave.  Figuring that these were heavily traveled areas there should be less ice than the frozen ice sheets that cover the path along the Charles.  I pulled out all of my clothes and began to get dressed, finally taking out my socks and, wait a minute.  What's this?  As I unrolled my socks I quickly noticed that something was amiss.  One of them was the expected running sock but the other one, well, that was a dress sock!  On further inspection it wasn't just a dress sock, it was a lady's dress sock!  For shame!  So I did what any normal runner would do; pulled it on, laced on my shoes, went running and hoped the blisters wouldn't be too bad.  

They weren't.  And the route was pretty good too.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not too bright

That pretty much sums me up.  I did two things this past week that have given me lots to think about.

1) I went running this Sunday and did just shy of 15 miles.  No big deal, right?  I was supposed to meet up with Zac, David and Melissa for the run, which was perfect because I could count on Melissa to help keep the pace below the "wanting to die" threshold, which is right about where David and Zac do their easy runs.  Problem is that she didn't show up.  Apparently she stayed out late the night before and decided to sleep in.  Wimp (alright, I'll cut you some slack since it was your birthday).  So here I was with two very fast runners with only 15 miles to go.  Yeah for that!  Mile one and two was a nice conservative 8:20 pace.  And then that was the last of anything near an 8 minute mile.  Through the streets of Dover and Westwood I followed them along at a brisk pace, up and down hills, around snow banks, and through the slush.

But here's the interesting part, while it kicked my ass and left me with sore knees, I kept up.  Which was strange because I didn't expect to be doing that kind of pace over that distance.  I had it in my mind that I was still sticking to around an 8 to 8:20 pace and that's where I would end up being for the marathon.  Now I need to rethink all of this.  If I can do 15 miles in the low 7's I should not be doing all of this running in the 8's.  Basically, I think it's time to step up my game and do it fast, the marathon is only 5 weeks away.  At this point I have no idea what my marathon pace should be.

2) I agreed to do a relay.  Well, actually two of them but the one that is on my mind is the New England Relay.  Zac asked if I was interested and since I had so much fun at the 13 Relay last year I said yes.  After all, if that was such a good time then running an Ultra relay must be a blast.  Oh, I didn't mention that we were doing it as an Ultra team?  Well we are.  He sent over the mileage chart yesterday and that's pretty much when it hit home; the average distance for each runner is around 36 miles.  Over the course of one day. That's like my entire weekly mileage all rolled up into one 24 hour span.  It looks like this relay is going to hurt as much as the last one will; I only hope that the pain is the "Another leg successfully completed!" type and not the "Holymotherofallthatisfukingpainfullthishurtslikeamotherfucker!" type of pain.

Guess I better start training for this thing.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2010 Year In Review: The Good Stuff

In my last post I mostly complained about how 2010 was a sucky year but I also intimated that there were some good things that happened.  Lest you think that it was all doom and gloom here's the stuff that went right in 2010.

13 Relay:  I had a great time as the captain of the Strawberry Hill Striders.  This was my first relay experience and it was just crazy being surrounded by all of these people whose only goal for the weekend was to run and have fun.  Although I had to suffer through agonizing pain and spent the weekend with a bag of ice strapped to my foot, it is definitely an experience I am glad to have been a part of.  One part that sticks out with me was the exchange where I would be running my second leg.  As I limped my way over to the area one of the volunteers (all of whom were dressed as superheroes) asked me if I would was ok and if I could make it through the run.  I thought about it for a second and just said "I guess we'll find out" and then big Dan Bair was handing me the bracelet and I was off like a wounded albatross.  Good times.

James Joyce Ramble and the Old Fashion 10 Miler: These two races went about as good as I could hope for.  With all of the work I had put in during 2009 I came into 2010 rearing to go and I was able to post some great times here.  For some reason I really like the 10 Miler and I think this was the first time I was able to do sub-7 minute miles over double digit miles; I will admit  I was quite pleased with that. The Ramble was all new to me, and I had decided to do it in my Bikilas, so once again I was really pleased with my performance and my first 40 minute 10K.  The year held so much promise!  If only I didn't get injured!  Oh yeah, that would happen two days later.

New Bedford Half Marathon:  I don't know why but but good thoughts never pop into my head when I think about the New Bedford Half.  Not that it has ever been bad to me, maybe its just that it's New Bedford.  As a matter of fact this years race was really good to me, well, in actuality it didn't do anything, I taught that race a lesson by burning up the course!  It was that race that I was able to reach one of my minor goals (I have a whole system of major and minor goals.  It is complicated and needs too many flowcharts to adequately explain here).  My final time was 1:30:31, a 6:54 pace.  I have been lusting after a 90 minute half since the first one I ran and I had finally done it.  If this had been a flat course I would have easily broken the 90 minute mark, a major goal of mine for the Half.  This definitely stands out as a highlight of the year.

BayState Marathon: I ran this and felt good the whole race (except for some minor cramping).  So what makes this a highlight?  I was running again, and running a marathon after only about 8 weeks of real training.  That's what and that is enough.

Felt B16.  I ended up buying the bike after needing a way to get back in shape without putting stress on my foot.  It has become a part of my training and I believe that being able to put all that extra time into training helped me pull out a 1st AG at the 5K over Thanksgiving.  I fully intend to keep using it as a way of expanding my training without adding stress on my body.  Besides, the bike is freaking sweet and I love it.  I mean honestly, just look at it.  So sexy.

And that's what was good about 2010.  Here's hoping that this time next year this type of post will be three times as long while the list of bad parts will be too small to write.  Happy New Year; Be safe, Have fun, Run fast.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

2010 Year In Review

I've been putting this off because my thoughts on the past year have been all over the place, but let's see how it goes. Kind of a long post so here's the tl;dr 2010 pretty much sucked because of an injury but I'm working on the comeback.

2010 was a bit of a roller coaster; there were some high points but, unfortunately, there were mostly lows.  Coming off of a fantastic year in 2009 I was really looking forward to taking my running to the next level and concentrating on achieving some of the goals I have.  After so much racing in 2009 I planned on cutting back and focusing on being more selective in which races I entered.  Naturally, I was also convinced that 2010 was going to be the year I qualified for Boston; I knew I could, I just needed to stay healthy and it would happen.

So how did it go?  Not so well.  Around early April I began to feel a pain in my left foot, enough to be a concern but certainly not enough to slow me down.  I had been experimenting with barefoot running and I can attribute the injury to doing too much too fast, a lesson I never seem to learn.  The James Joyce Ramble was a huge success for me and I was feeling great about the results until two days later while I was out for an easy run, something in my foot popped.  Yes, popped, and it did not feel pleasant. I knew that this was bad, I could barely put any weight on it at all and running was out of the question.  But the 13 Relay was in two days and as the captain I couldn't abandon my team.  So I soldiered on and ran my legs.  It was the single most painful experience of my life and I hope to never do that again.  The closest I can get to explaining it is this: at the start of the run it felt as if someone was repeatedly stabbing my foot with a knife, after about a mile or so this would start to subside and it would be a dull, but still painful, ache.  Once I stopped running though it was as if red hot ants were burrowing their way through my foot.  I know, pleasant.

The hopes of a big year of racing were over.  I spent the rest of the summer in hiking boots wondering when the foot would get better.  Time dragged on, no running and what seemed to be the slowest healing process in history.  The highpoint of my summer came when I did the GNRC mile time trial with Mel C which marked my entire mileage for the season. Yes, one mile in three months.  I was starting to go a bit crazy so I did what any rehabbing runner would do, I started looking for a bike. Anything to get out at this point would be a big step forward and my old mountain bike just wasn't cutting it anymore.  Eventually I ended up getting a Felt B16, but that's a whole different part of the story.

August came, I was running again, trying to put all of the pieces together.  I kept running and was slowly getting back in shape, although my first attempt at a race wasn't all that encouraging, but at least it was a race!  BayState was looming large on my calendar now and I was still unsure that I would be ready for it.  By now I had become hypersensitive to any pain or twinge from the foot and I was determined not to re-injure it which meant taking it slow.

Five months had been lost to injury, an injury that I am still feeling the effects of today.  My entire rhythm and training schedule had been upended and with it, my confidence.  Even when I was back out running I found that I was doing it alone, I think I got out with the club once.  I was no longer the runner that I once was and I hated that.  I hated that  I couldn't count on myself to do what I wanted to do.  In effect, my body had failed me and by doing so had really rattled me.  I'll admit that I still haven't progressed much past this, I just don't know what the new year will bring and whether I should be making plans and reaching for goals.

Looking back, 2010 was not a good year running-wise.  But as I said in the start of this post, there were some high points.  I ended up running the BayState marathon and I was really glad that I did.  It may have been my slowest to date but it felt great and it was definitely a psychological boost.  It was coming back, too slowly, but I'm still working on it.  Unfortunately I was beset by yet another injury that has marred the end of the year, but what do you expect from a year mostly lost to a bad foot.  As I look to 2011 I have a cautious optimism that everything will fall back into place.  2010 may have been a down year but it wasn't entirely bad, there were some bright spots.