Monday, February 28, 2011

2011 Race Season ... Ready...Set...Go !!!

At the Start
Photo Credit :
Sunday, February 27, 2011

The 2011 race season begins in Amherst, MA with the DH Jones race. 10 miles with hills-a-plenty. 266 runners toed the line knowing full well that the couple of inches of snow Mother Nature dropped the night before was going to make an already challenging course that much tougher.

Sure enough, once runners reached the mile 3 marker they were greeted with a various mixture of slop. Actually DPW workers did a good job clearing the dirt roads. I've seen worse. It was a various mix of dirt, mud, snow and some ice all along the short steep grade at mile 3, through the rolling hills of mile 4 up to the mostly flat mile 5 that skirts the outside of the Atkins Reservoir. Getting solid footing was difficult, but not impossible. It was just going to be a slower day than previous years. On the bright side temperatures were a relatively pleasant 32 degrees with a slight wind.

My race went about as expected. After putting in a excellent January, logging 400 miles, my training took a dive the following month. Between work, this never-ending kick-you-in -the-ass winter, and a general lack of motivation to hit the treadmill seven days a week - I failed to keep focus and loss some training momentum. As such my aspirations for this race went south as well, from a sub 58 minute effort to sub 60, to anything close to 60 low given today's conditions.

But as I often tell others, there are few rewards for being in the best race shape in February. You can't be at your best all the time. You got to be patient and plan your peaks. So I'm not overly disappointed with today's result.

I got out to decent start, conserved thru the middle knowing it would be a waste of energy slipping and sliding in the muck up to and around the reservoir, and had some left for the last couple miles. I drew even with Chris Gould right at the top of the first steep climb at 3 1/2 miles. We swapped some before I lead out the rolling mile 4. Chris re took me right at mile 5 where it flattens out and Chris's more efficient elongated stride bested my marathoner's shuffle over the flats. I closed back down to him on the down section. By the time we reached mile 7, Chris's family-budgeted and rather limited weekly mileage schedule, wasn't a fair match to my marathon base. I built up a gap through mile 8. The clear and mostly dry roads of Mile 8 felt like track work without the slushy mess or pot hole dodging steps of the previous couple of miles. I had to contain myself from sure bliss of running without any impediments.

Maybe I restrained myself too much 'cause it was only a 5:56 mile when I felt the best I did all day but I did make some ground on one of the guys that a couple miles ago seemed far out of reach. I worked into striking distance of about the only runner I could. I believe his name was Bruce Davie. He gave me a couple words of encouragement and props for my smart pacing. Too involved in my effort, I fail to give him a thanks or any return words encouragement. Sorry, Bruce - a belated thank you.

Rounding the corner atop North Main St for the final mile...a sudden rush on nausea comes up from nowhere. I gear down for a moment, relax a little and recoup over a 1/8 mile of quick downhill. I need to put one more good push up on the last series of inclines if I don't want to be retaken. Just get to the top of this last little hump and its a big downhill and a crazy tight s-turn in the parking lot to make certain 10.0 miles has been covered. It's over.

A respectable 20th place, 2nd (distant, albeit) master on a challenging day. Glad it's over. Another good 10 miles of racing is in the books.

Moving on to next week - Stu's 30k.

Check out Bill Well's Republican race story

My Splits 5:56 5:45 6:24 6:31 6:28 6:13 5:49 5:56 5:48 6:12

Place No. Name Ag Div/Tot Div City St Time Pace Team
1 289 JUSTIN FYFFE 30 1/57 M2039 PUTNEY VT 52:53 5:18 BAA
2 158 JESSE REGNIER 23 2/57 M2039 HAMPDEN MA 54:24 5:27
3 210 ANDY MCCARRON 28 3/57 M2039 KEENE NH 54:58 5:30 CMS
4 260 GREG HAMMETT 33 4/57 M2039 CHESTERFIELD NH 55:29 5:33 CMS
5 17 DREW BEST 28 5/57 M2039 LEVERETT MA 55:37 5:34 MRC
6 209 CHRIS MAHONEY 33 6/57 M2039 HAVERHILL MA 56:12 5:38 CMS
7 294 KIBROM TEMELSO 35 7/57 M2039 BOSTON MA 56:33 5:40 GBTC
8 251 ADAM GOODE 27 8/57 M2039 BANGOR ME 56:38 5:40
9 101 AARON LADD 27 9/57 M2039 LEXINGTON MA 56:54 5:42
10 32 MATTHEW CLARK 28 10/57 M2039 AMHERST MA 56:57 5:42 CMS
11 273 THOMAS YOUNG 33 11/57 M2039 BOSTON MA 58:37 5:52 GBTC
12 214 GEORGE ADAMS 40 1/46 M4049 GILSUM NH 58:46 5:53 CMS
13 258 JEFF GOUPIL 22 12/57 M2039 KEENE NH 59:03 5:55 CMS
14 225 HEIDI WESTOVER 30 1/43 F2039 WALPOLE NH 59:12 5:56
15 257 TIM STICKNEY 29 13/57 M2039 BROOKLINE MA 59:13 5:56 GBTC
16 272 TOMOAKI UCHIKI 37 14/57 M2039 BOSTON MA 59:30 5:57 GBTC
17 184 MATTHEW TWAROG 35 15/57 M2039 HUBBARDSTON MA 59:45 5:59
18 131 LUCAS MOORE 31 16/57 M2039 WOLCOTT VT 59:54 6:00 FREDDIE
19 72 GRANT GONZALEZ 25 17/57 M2039 MOUNT HERMON MA 59:59 6:00 SMAC
20 103 ROBERT LANDRY 42 2/46 M4049 LUDLOW MA 1:01:02 6:07 GSH
21 204 STEVEN FOLSOM 31 18/57 M2039 SOUTH HADLEY MA 1:01:25 6:09 GSH

22 218 BRUCE DAVIE 47 3/46 M4049 CAMBRIDGE MA 1:01:39 6:10 GBTC
23 219 CHRISTOPHER GOULD 45 4/46 M4049 AMHERST MA 1:02:06 6:13 GSH
24 240 LUKE LAVIN 21 19/57 M2039 AMHERST MA 1:03:25 6:21
25 267 KEITH SCHMITT 42 5/46 M4049 DURHAM NH 1:03:54 6:24


1. GSH
1:01:02 1:02:06 1:04:39 1:06:34 1:10:40 (1:11:22) (1:11:57) = 5:25:01
1:06:55 1:12:56 1:16:28 1:17:15 1:17:59 (1:21:19) (1:28:46) = 6:11:33
1:13:53 1:13:57 1:14:37 1:15:38 1:19:10 (1:21:51) (1:27:30) = 6:17:15

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Treadmill Madness

"How longst this sordid season must we endure, I bore ?
Snow storm after snow storm and what now, yet more ?
No plow. A shovel. Good exercise I profess.
To dig out this past storm a chore, I confess.
Snow, sleet and ice has put thou to test.
Curse you, Winter! Stop snowing. No more!

But that’s not the sole purpose of protest; of tis’ lore.
The lament and grief of a New England Runner to explore.
Not bitter cold or dark of night it is I most dread.
Rather slip of foot on slick road before car; render me dead.
Stop Winter! Cease this instant! Have you heard what I said?
Enough with the snow already. I wish you nevermore!

So the dread of treadmill I take my plight.
Others ridicule this action. I know it’s right.
Forge ahead. Endure. With desire and shear might.
Mile after mile going nowhere. Yes, what a bore’
Training can not yield, else find oneself mileage poor.
When will Spring arrive? I fear a Winter forever more…

Any diversion to endure each tenth of mile pass.
A television, an I-Pod or thoughts of race past.
Dreams of victory. Redemption. Hum out a Rocky movie score.
Think me insane? Crazy? Mad to the core?
Think what you will. Inspiration at last.
This Winter without end I wish nevermore…"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 Review / 2011 Goals

2010 Highlights

While I failed to set any PR's in 2010, I somehow managed to rack up a couple wins and some decent cash winnings in the process. After injuring my left IT Band and knee while running the Sugarloaf All-Comer Indoor Meets in January, I was happy just to be running again come February. The sub-par performances at the start of the early race season, DH Jones and Stu's, were tough to deal with but little by little I was making some slow, steady improvements.

Looking back I feel fortunate to have run 3 decent spring marathons in a six week span (Boston 2:42:29, Holyoke 2 weeks later 2:50:58 in 70 degree heat ! for my 3rd straight victory, and 4 weeks after that, Vermont 2:41:22 2nd Master) on what was my least amount of marathon training, ever.

Like all years, there was the usual couple races where I didn't go as fast as expected. After a couple disappointing results I went into my summer's big race, the Beach to Beacon 10k, with not too much hope of a solid performance. Yet somehow ran a near PR 34:57 about a minute and half faster than what I though I might do. Go figure.

After that the focus turns to the fall marathon and another go at the USATF New England GP Marathon Championship. I was hoping to really mix it up with the top masters in New England and go for a sub 2:36. I got close, running on pace through 20 miles but again came up just a bit short over the final 10k. All in all I'm happy with the results in 2010 and think I'm making progress in my training.

Best of luck to you all in 2011 !!!

Goals for 2011

  • Vermont City Marathon - Sub 2:35 and another top 3 in the Masters division
  • Cape Cod Marathon – challenge for a top 3 in the Master division
  • A 4th consecutive win at the Holyoke Marathon – all I can really shoot for is to run my best since even in such a small race like this you never know who might show up. 
  • A top 10 finish at one of the USATF-New England Grand Prix events in the Individual Masters division (in an event other than the marathon)
  • And of course, set a bunch of new PR’s – hopefully in the 5k, 10k, half marathon
  • Try to reach 20,000 career miles before by 43rd birthday in mid Sep. That will take an average of 70 miles/wk, which is doable only slightly above my best year of 3,500 miles.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week Ending December 19th - 100 Miles in Six Days

Having fun with the Springfield Harriers Master's team in Charlotte, NC
in the back Left to right,
Ed Parrot, Brent Coon, Ron Lombardi, Francis Burdett and Kent Lemme
This weekend capped a fun and challenging week of running. 104 miles for the week even with a 4 mile Monday.

Sure, it's a big jump from my 55-80 mile weekly norms during my non-marathon build-up months, but I do so with a very consistent amount of miles racked up over the past four years with few injuries and downtime. The mileage jump is tempered with a cutback on a hard workout or two, else the body would be tossed to the scrap heap by week's end. After all what good will all this hard work be worth anyhow if I'm out of commission for a couple days, or worse, afterwards?

And this is something I do around this time of each year so I have a clue what I can and can't handle. While so many of us are rushing around finishing up on those last minute items on Santa's list, I'm usually checking my own list, or my running log to be more precise. I like taking a look back at the year's accomplishments and setbacks, the good races and bad, inspecting the training that lead into those outcomes; looking for clues. I also like projecting the final year's mileage tally. That usually leads me to this; a couple of big mileage weeks before year's end for no other reason than to reach some number that looks good in the running logs.. and to have a little fun while at the same time get ready for next year's spring marathon build up. After some low months in Jan/Feb nursing a slightly injured IT-Band I'm coming in about 500 miles short of last years best 3,500 miles. 3,000 miles seems like a reachable number this year with one final push.

As luck would have it, the work schedule and with Barb and Brianna going to see family this weekend, things lined up perfectly to make the push to 3,000 the week to get it done. But Monday was a long day at work and I fell asleep with my daughter.

I woke just before the midnight hour. After only running 2 miles on Sunday due the Nationals after-party, the travel home and nursing a bad stomach, posting a zero tonight was not an option. A little self-prodding and I manage to get out of bed, make the walk downstairs and log 4 miles before resigning to the fact the what was need most right now is sleep, not more miles.

The mid week was spent logging the usual mileage on the treadmill. I up the miles on each run and add some doubles plus a couple of short spin sessions. Wednesday: a moderate progression run just to break up the boredom of steady state treadmill running. Nothing too hard; a 7:30 pace to start working steadily down each 1/4 mile to reach sub 6 min pace near the end. But the last mile hitting 5:48 pace was enough to force me to stop and  catch my breath. I don't do progression runs too often. I find it difficult to make the mid-run adjustment from a short stride more suited for fast jogging pace to a more elongated gait needed to move at paces closer to threshold levels efficiently. I end up compensating with a higher leg turnover that seems more taxing. A decent workout, the point was to sneak in a little quality and not worry so much about hitting a specific threshold level or pace. The spring marathon is a long way aways, for now.

Thursday a solo 18 miler at Ashley Reservoir. I was able to get out of work early and managed to get in a 5 big loops under daylight - a big help. Being out there in the dark, alone can be a hard mental grind. That left me in a good mood for sure.

Friday another solid double with 40 min of spinning. 62 miles down. Now all I needed was a 40 mile weekend to finish off the week.

This year Seth Roberts was putting on a 50k at Forest Park. I was on the fence the past couple weeks if I wanted to do it; or at least part of it. Use it as I way to get my miles in. But the $25 price tag to do a training run seemed ridiculous. Plus I doubted that once signed up, I would use good judgement and drop out if the legs where getting too beat up. So I jumped in the 10k. I wanted to get in some fast miles this week too - not do all 100 miles  slow.

The 10k went better than I thought it would considering the circumstances. I was out drinking with Mark Baillargeon the night before. Had 3 tall black & tans - not something I do on the eve of a race or hard workout. But it's rare I have the opportunity to get out on the weekend, so I couldn't resist. Still got to bed early and didn't feel too bad in the morn, but it was slow getting up and going just the same. Made it to the race about 15 minutes before. Had time for about a mile warmup and strides and off we went.

The race started of very, very slow. Good thing. I'm not one to jump into race pace on cold legs. It was a new guy, Steve Folsum, Carlos then myself out front at the start. Steve had never done a Snowstorm before and had no idea of the course route, almost made a wrong turn up the 5k loop. We went up the hill in a very conservative 6'30" pace, maybe slower. Carlos joined Steve about a 1/2 mile in. I was about 5 seconds back trying to establish a rhythm I could hold. That's how the 1st 3 miles went. Carlos and Steve running pretty much together at just over 6 min pace while I held steadily in arrears making up time from my lax pace by cutting sharper tangents then the two of them.

By the half way point we were about 30 seconds over 6 min pace. Carlos eased back some. He wasn't an official register so it seems he was only interested in a couple of tempo type miles. Carlos and I yelled out the turns as they approached in case Steve misses the flour arrows. Easy to do when you're running hard. Just before 4 miles Steve almost follows the 5k crossover through the Rose Garden. I yell out to him "keep straight". By that time I think he had enough of mis-guesses and eases back a little allowing me to close up to him. He tells me that he checked past results and did not expect to be leading the race. Knowing the course route didn't seem necessary. We run out the next mile together. 

As we run the Sumner Avenue stretch in front of the Park, all of a sudden, a most unpleasant reminder of last night's activities came to me. A sudden urge to ralph up black & tan. Man, I came real close to blowing chunks; got about half way up the larynx before I was a able to batten down the hatches. No way did I want to blow chunks in front of this guy. The pace felt rather reasonable so I would have felt like a clown if this would be my fate today... blowing a good chance at winning my first Snowstorm because of last night's debauchery. I mean, did I need to have three tall ones? It's aways the last "one more" that does you in. As bad as I was feeling - my legs were a little heavy from this week' mileage jump - however my breathing is not too labored and I seem to be holding up better the Steve. He clearly looks the stronger of the two of us but his breathing maybe a bit more taxed than mine. My fitness is saving my ass today.

Maybe Steve was resigned to race another day after a couple of chances to pull away were thwarted by several near wrong turns. Or perhaps I had just a little more in the tank at the end. But for whatever the reason I was slowly building up a gap over the final mile. By the time we reach the downhill I don't feel Steve behind me. My first win is within grasp as long as I don't have to put the hammer down, 'cause if I do, those Black & Tans are making an encore appearance. It won't be pretty.

So I do my best to keep a good steady pace to hold off any last minute attacks. In the end luck wold have it and a final kick won't be needed. My first Snowstorm win. 37:23 nothing spectacular but not a bad time for me. Ran the course again. Steve Forrest joined me for the 1st four miles. Slow at the beginning but on Steve's request a good final mile. Another 10 real easy with Mark Bailargeon later in the day at Ludlow Reservoir to put up a 24 miles on the day. Solid.

At the end of my cool down I saw Scott Leslie coming though on what I guess was his eigth of ten laps in the 50k. Sounds like Scott ran a steady 3 hour 20 minutes, a steady 6:28 pace the whole day. Whew. Even had I prepared for the 50k I'm not sure I would have been able to deliever much better than a 3:20 time and I'm sure Scott could have gone faster if he needed to. I've run a couple Stu's 30k when Scott was using them as 'training runs'; at sub 6 minute pace. Each time he zips by me on the long uphill at the 15k halfway point like I'm a jogging in place on his way to an impressive 3-4 minute negative split.

That night shared another too many brews with Joe Fois. This time getting out of bed was a bit harder. Managed to get out the door for my run around 2pm. Knocked out another easy paced 16 miles mostly around 7:40 pace finally working down to 7:15 pace by the last 5k or so. It was starting to get dark so instead of running down Rt 21 in the dark - something I'm not a big fan of - I add on a couple more miles on the treadmill instead.

And that's how I got to 104 miles for the week. Not something I think I could do week in and week out. Seems like all I did this week was run, work, eat and sleep. Other than that, felt like I got zero accomplished. But its fun to push the limits now and then. And the change-up in training keeps things fresh.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday to you and your families...

Monday, December 13, 2010

2010 USATF XC Club National Championships

McAlpine Park, Charlotte, NC
Early leaders including Springfield Harrier Francis Burdett (381) 
Photo Credit: Susan Pearsall
This past Saturday, I traveled down to Charlotte, North Caralina with the Greater Springfield Harriers to bring the 2010 race season to a close.

Weekend temperatures in the 40's and 50's welcomed runners from all over the country. A most pleasant change from cold and windy temps in teens that New Englanders were being treated to even before we yet to reach the official start of winter.

Most of the Harriers women's and men's team, open, as well as master, team arriving on Thursday we had the opportunity to run a course preview on Friday. A mostly narrow, pancake flat almost entirely hard pack dirt with a firm grave mix here and there promised to yield some fast times come Saturday. One small climb no more than 600 meters that the men will ascend 3 times was the only thing to slow anyone down. The descent was more of a concern. A bit nasty but not impossible to navigate. Short with a couple steep drops around two bends. It will get it's due respect else you'll find yourself eating the bark of one the trees that closely lined the trail or maybe find yourself dropping off into the brush and marshes below. Ouch.

Overall my race went well. 36:20 83rd overall. I got beat by about 20 50+ year olds and one 60+ year old. Man is that humbling.

My race started with a smart 5:47 1st mile. I would have had to sprint the 1st 1/2 mile to get a much better position. It wasn't worth it. Think I was maybe 150th position at 1/2 mile ! On the plus side I steadily passed guys most of the way. More than a couple guys were taking it easy on the downhill. Many decided to go with road racing flats since the course was so flat and firm but I went with spikes and glad I did - the extra traction allowed me to bomb the downhill without (too much) fear. I ran a decent mile 2 and 3, passed another 20 or 30 runners, a good number on the uphill and downhill sections. On the 2nd loop I wasn't paying attention to time splits, and missed the mile 4 marker. When I finally reached mile 5 just over 29:30, my watched showed a 12:0x 2 mile split which I suspected was long. Still I over-estimated how much course was remaining. My legs still felt good and I finshed strnong but lacked the punch to really get the leg turning over in a higher gear to greatly improve my overall position.

I think I did a good job being patient, not wasting energy fighting for position. But maybe if I was more aggressive in miles 3-4 when there was plenty of room to move up, perhaps I would have got pulled along with some faster guys till the end. Maybe a mid 35 was possible. Ran a solid last climb and flew down the final descent bringing it home in a respectable clip. Afterwards felt like I had more left in the tank but how often have I said that before. I was running the final stretch as fast as I could but could not sprint up to the next guy. Then again its rare that I outkick anyone.
My kicks are powered by a diesel engine, slow to develop speed, but once there, I can roll for a while - for whatever that's worth.

My Splits: 5:47, 5;51, 5:49, 12:03, 6:53 for 1.2 ??? 36:20

USATF reported course was 6.29 miles... I suspect to work out the women 6k in two loops and the mens 10k 3 loop course while using a single finish time mat.

As a team a respectable 7th place for our masters team...

Afterwards we watched the men's open at the downhill. A couple guys almost bought it but everyone got thru without incident. One guy did make a really cool leap to go around the outside of a tree over the brush, safely landing a good 10 feet forward onto the trail again. Pretty cool. If that was me, they still be picking up the pieces. Some guy caught it on video.

video courtesy of David McCulloch

more photo's, coutersy Mike Scott
and Susan Persall  Susan Pearsall at SmugMug

Official Results, Photos, and Inteviews at the USATF site
that's all for now...

Team Scores 40+

Rank Team Total 1 2 3 4 5 *6 *7 *8 *9
1 Compex Racing 40+ 50 1 2 5 19 23 26 62 69
Total Time: 2:46:40.50
Average: 33:20.10
2 Atlanta TC 40+ 57 4 11 12 14 16 18
Total Time: 2:47:49.10
Average: 33:33.82
3 Dirigo R.C. 40+ 147 10 15 35 40 47 73
Total Time: 2:51:26.70
Average: 34:17.34
4 Second Sole Rocky Riv 40+ 162 17 28 30 42 45 104 116
Total Time: 2:52:23.40
Average: 34:28.68
5 Club Northwest 40+ 170 9 24 33 48 56 68 75 110
Total Time: 2:52:11.10
Average: 34:26.22
6 Dave's RT 40+ 252 13 25 43 72 99 107 115 121
Total Time: 2:55:42.01
Average: 35:08.40
7 Greater Springfield 40+ 258 6 8 76 83 85 136 152
Total Time: 2:55:28.80
Average: 35:05.76

Men 40-44 10 km

Name Age Team Finals Points
Results - Men 40-44
1 Cushing-Murray, Christia 43 Compex Racing 40+ 32:47.8
2 Burke, Edmund 41 Pacers/Brook 33:03.8
3 Newton, Chad 41 Atlanta TC 40+ 33:07.8 1
4 Mavhera, Gray 41 Compex Racing 40+ 33:12.0
5 Falcone, Richard 40 Charlotte RC 40+ 33:17.5
6 Lemme, Kent 44 Greater Spri 33:19.0
7 Whiteside, Everett 40 Florida Trac 33:25.6
8 Alvarez, Valentin 41 Atlanta TC 40+ 33:35.2 2
9 Stabb, Eric 42 Atlanta TC 40+ 33:36.0 3
10 Altwies, Ed 43 Dave's Racin 33:38.4 4
58 Landry, Robert 42 Greater Spri 36:20.9
59 Parrot, Edward 40 Greater Spri 36:25.2

Men 45-49 10 km
Name Age Team Finals Points
Results - Men 45-49
1 Magill, Peter 49 Compex Racing 40+ 32:36.0 1
2 Livingston, Mike 45 Asics Aggie RC 40+ 32:52.2
3 Burdett, Francis 45 Greater Spri 33:16.5
4 Young, Tony 48 Club Northwest 40+ 33:19.7 2
5 Payson, Michael 47 Dirigo R.C. 40+ 33:32.0
6 Ambos, Jeff 49 Compex Racing 40+ 33:56.0 3
7 Derick, James 45 Genesee Valley 40+ 34:01.6 4
8 Kartalia, Steve 45 Balt/Wash AC 40+ 34:04.0
9 Ernst, Ken 49 Compex Racing 40+ 34:08.7 5
30 Lombardi, Ron 46 Greater Spri 36:07.2
67 Coon, Brent 45 Greater Spri 41:23.9

Sunday, November 28, 2010

32nd Talking Turkey 6 Mile Cross-Country Race

Saturday, November, 27

Another Thanksgiving has come and past. And another Talking Turkey race is in the books. I've run this race each year since 2006. I had to sit out in 2005 due to a hamstring that I strung at the Monson Half Marathon a couple weeks before. I got a whole new perspective on races helping out with the finish chute. Ripping the tags off hundreds and hundreds runners was almost as exhausting as running the race itself. It left me with a lasting appreciation of what it takes to put on race. It's something all runners should do, at least once, help plan, prepare and time a race. If they do, they might find themselves not so quick lay out criticism. Anyways, standing in that chute that year I was able to catch with my own eye Nate Jenkins take down Paul Low's course record by a full minute. That record since taken down by South Hadley's Zac Hine last year on a brutally windy day. The wind today was again unpleasant but nothing like last year. Even with a steady and strong winds, temperatures were rather acceptable at race time.

It was an up and down week for me. There have been a mix of warm days and cold days this week and my body could not adjust. I was fighting to keep a cold at bay all week while trying to get in one more solid mileage week before taking it down for Nationals. I was using doubles to get in the miles which with dictates a lot of late night treadmill runs with my work and family schedule. That puts a strain on my sleep schedule and oft I feel tired and on the verge of catching something. That Is why I tend to get my mileage in using singles as much as possible. At times doubles seem to inefficient a use of precious time and energy. But every now and then you got to ratchet it up a notch if you want to get better. And I do want to get better.

There's been an unfavorable trend for me at this race that I would like to reverse. 2006 was something of a breakthrough year and the fall race season which was topped off with a solid 33:40 5:37 paced effort. Each year since has gotten slower and slower: 33:52, 33:58, 34:33. Hard to explain. I have continued to work hard, stayed healthy and overall feel stronger and more fit than ever. Yet in some of these races that I've done each year, my times haven't come done much at all. Hard to explain. Harder still to not go crazy. To not do something stupid like have a knee jerk reaction, start over-training and get hurt or lose motivation and give up.

But I don't. For better or worse I seem to keep pretty level headed about these things. After all it's not the end of the world. I never had delusions of becoming a great runner - just better than average. I think I've done that. I had my fair share of success. None of it has come without it's due amount of dedication and hard work. As of much importance, if not more, I enjoyed the work as much as any given result. For sure the day after day day training can be tiring, laborious, and at times seem all too self consuming, all too self absorbing an endeavor for a 40 something year old husband and father.

It's getting late. I'll have to wrap it up for now and finish this topic later.

For now the short and skinny on the race is a somewhat disappointing result. Of course there's a couple good and valid reason for a weak performance this week. First time I hit 80 miles a week since January and not feeling 100% to name a few. Still I'm in good shape right now and should have been able to extract something better than 5:47 pace over just six miles.

I went through the first mile relaxed and in a position I thought wasn't to far back. While I knew I wasn't nailing a sub 5'30" first mile I was taken aback when I heard 5:50, 5:51 being shouted out. I guess the good thing was that while it was a very slow opening mile I wasn't hurting in the least. I felt very comfortable. Perhaps too comfortable. The one positive here was that I didn't give up on the race after such a slow start. The next couple miles i ran fairly well and mad up some ground. But the intensity wasn't there today and I didn't close down enough and the up front guys to turn it into a race today. Instead it felt more like a hard tempo run. Not more to say really about today's race.

Up next is the Hot Chocolate 5k on Sunday in Northampton, Mass. Hopefully I can work on getting my race intensity back.

Splits 5:54, 11:37 (5:42), 17:15 (5:39), 23:09 (5:54), 28:59 (5:50), 34:45 (5:46)

Holyoke, MA
Saturday, November 27, 2010 1:00PM

Place Name Bib# S Div/Tot Ag City St Time Pace
===== ======================= ===== = ======== == ================== == ============
1 DAVID JOHNSON 33 M 1/87 22 LUDLOW MA 29:49 4:59
3 JASON AYER 4 M 2/87 23 SOMMERVILLE MA 30:21 5:04
4 ERIK NEDEAU 19 M 1/133 39 BELCHERTOWN MA 30:46 5:08
5 ANDREW MULVANEY 6 M 3/87 22 SOUTH HADLEY MA 31:27 5:15
6 KENT LEMME 8 M 1/191 44 WILLIAMSTOWN MA 31:31 5:16
7 JOSEPH CZUPRYNA 13 M 4/87 24 CHICOPEE MA 31:57 5:20
8 MICHAEL BROUILLETTE 10 M 2/133 32 HOLYOKE MA 32:29 5:25
9 THOMAS O'GRADY 1167 M 5/87 25 LATHAM NY 32:43 5:28
10 ZAC FLORENCE 1274 M 1/32 18 EAST LONGMEADOW MA 33:06 5:31
11 ETHAN NEDEAU 37 M 3/133 37 AMHERST MA 33:09 5:32
12 BRIAN MCCORMICK 906 M 6/87 20 WILBRAHAM MA 33:25 5:35
13 TIM MAHONEY 11 M 4/133 31 HOLYOKE MA 33:27 5:35
14 BRENDAN KANE 106 M 7/87 20 EAST LONGMEADOW MA 33:41 5:37
15 MYLES MCCARTHY 904 M 8/87 20 SOUTHAMPTON MA 33:42 5:37
16 EDWARD PARROT 690 M 2/191 40 AMHERST MA 33:59 5:40
17 AARON STONE 1131 M 9/87 27 GREENFIELD MA 34:04 5:41
18 PETER FRATINI 226 M 3/191 45 WESTFIELD MA 34:30 5:45
19 JEFFREY HAYES 1057 M 10/87 25 ARLINGTON MA 34:37 5:47
20 ROBERT LANDRY 1074 M 4/191 42 LUDLOW MA 34:46 5:48

Friday, November 19, 2010

“To all Masters Runners desperately hanging on to the dream... Good luck at your Turkey Trots!!!”

That tongue-in-cheek jab kicked off an entertaining and often humorous thread on the popular message board a year ago. Of the many post was this gem:
“Hard to resist the Turkey Trot bait here. I'll be running my 47th in a row Thursday. I won't attempt to describe how these streaks get under one's skin, but they certainly do. I can relate to most of the original poster's observations. I'll add that I run the second, uphill mile 75 seconds slower than the first mile (pitiful, in other words) and that I regularly get passed by h.s. boys wearing grass skirts.

Still, I wouldn't trade this day for any other in the year. I've been running long enough that I've stopped apologizing about it. It's not the only thing that I am, but it's a big part of who I am, and I'm okay with that. I'd rather be slow, graying me than a lot of other people and a lot of other things.

The Why Race? question is interesting. It's not required after all. I can be a runner without being a racer. My wife is always advising me to be "more moderate in all things." And she's smart, this is good advice.

But you know what? A person can get too much of this moderate stuff. Who wants to live a life that's always safe, controlled, aiming for the middle path?

Every once in a while I still want to feel the burn. To push to the limit. To be near collapse when I cross the finish line. Sure, I already know the result: It will be shown that I'm older and slower than I was yesterday and the day before that. I don't need a race to tell me these things.

But a race says I'm not ready to surrender. It says I'm going to keep struggling to squeeze all I can out of this life. It says I'm not checking out of here until I've given it my all. Yes, I know I'm gonna die some day.

But I have a good feeling about tomorrow's race”

- Amby Burfoot
Chief Editor, Runners World
’68 Boston Marathon Champion
and nine time Manchester Road Race Champion, held each Thanksgiving Day

Posted on 11/25/2009