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