Craicfest 5K 2015

March 16, 2015

Craicfest 5K
Cambridge, MA
Sunday, March 15, 2015

18:30 (5:58 pace)
12th place overall
1st Master (40+)

Race Report


My goal coming into this race was to see where I was at speedwise in my quest at ridding myself of dead legs. Plagued with the well-earned dreaded dead legs for the last two years, it had gotten much worse last May after stockpiling marathons to get to number 100 and then doing a June 100 miler. My legs — and the speed in them — were dead, long gone. I not only could not spin the legs up fast like I used to, but even a 4 mile run felt like 8. Since running across the Grand Canyon this past October, I’ve been doing all of the right things in attempts to correct the problem. A month ago, finally, I started getting life back in my legs. I kept working on leg speed and was hopeful of at least getting under or near 19 minutes flat for the 5K. However, in the last two weeks leading up to the race, I had some key workouts that felt smooth, my pace was solid, and I was running on top of my feet, something I hadn’t done in a long time. When I’m running on top of my feet, my legs are spinning fast and I’m feeling smooth, I’m running fast or at least on the faster side. Because of this, in the week leading up to the race, I secretly hoped I could get down well into 18’s, perhaps even to 18:30. Even though I had a target number that would tell me where I was at, I would race this all out and not leave a second on the course. So although I had a time that would tell me a lot about where I was at, I didn’t have a target because I was going to run as hard as I could and see where the chips fell.

After pinning on my bib (race bib #1 — it’s a long story) and stripping down to shorts, I got out on the course to insert some strides. Although I did not feel smooth, I was getting on top of my feet. I eased into the strides due to a hammy that had been grabbing since the Tuesday prior. After roughly a mile and a half of strides, I squatted down on the side of the road and did 20 jump squats. I’ve found jump squats are great at aligning and stretching the muscles in the legs, especially for me with dead legs. A few more strides and it was time to get into the gates.

In a field of 1500 runners, I lined up three rows from the front. I figured worst case I was a top 25 finisher, so I had no problem bellying up there. In previous years without dead legs, I would have moved up a row or perhaps even two. But there looked to be some fast guys. I’d be lucky if I could get a top 15 or 10.

The starting gun cracked into the air and off I went. On top of my feet powering as fast as I could, I had a good enough jump and pull that there was no elbow bumping. I was focused on staying on top of my feet, assessing my hamstring, maximizing spring off my feet through my arches and onto the hammies, and being as smooth as possible. I knew that many of the 25 runners in front of me would come back. After 30 seconds, many came back. Another 30 seconds and I was in top 20. Another 30 seconds, now a quarter mile into the race, I was top 15.

Mile one came in a tick under 6:00. I had found a smooth pattern at top speed that kept me motoring but also kept the hamstring at bay. Uneven pavement would often throw me off. I would maintain a quick turnover even though I wasn’t getting much string in my stride until I found that pattern again. By then I had moved into top 15. The field was strung out and there was very little to no passing.

Mile 2 came in a tick under 6:00 pace. I was very happy that I was not falling off pace. And I was very happy that I was under 6:00 pace, something I honestly did not think would happen. Up the road I saw a collection of three guys and decided I would catch, pass, and finish ahead of all three. I bore down, focused on running as fast as I could, and varied leg speed and strength based on the terrain to maximize my stride, spring, and pace. I closed the gap to those guys, with one dropping back. I passed that guy and closed the gap farther. I could still see the lead vehicle, a police car, not too far up the road, and at that point I knew I was having a great race with the goods I had. I moved into 12th place, which is where I would wind up as I crossed the finish line in 18:30, which was good for 5:58 pace. At the time of crossing, I wasn’t sure of my placement in the old man category, but I could not remember seeing any grey hairs or bald guys up ahead, so I was hopeful of a Masters win. An hour later the RD, a friend of mine, found me to show me the results. I took the win.

This was a great race for me. I honestly ran hard, smart, and efficient. I didn’t feel as smooth as I would have liked, but I think that was more the hamstring than my dead legs. Half way through the race as I was sucking wind and listening to my lungs wheeze with some soon-to-be-sickness from one of the kids, I could not help but give smile because, truth be known, I really missed racing, being a part of a race like this, and running fast and well. It’s an amazing feeling that keeps me coming back. And it keeps me doing what I need in order to get the zip back in my legs.


Training Week 4/1

April 9, 2013

Training for the week 4/1 to 4/7 was about laying low, recovering, and staying out of the way of speed or anything else that might aggravate the hamstring attachment issue I re-injured a few weeks back at the Cupcake race on the beach.

For the most part, I did just that, though I didn’t exactly get myself to feeling any better in the attachment area. Another down week will hopefully get me back in order before the Boston Double on Marathon Monday!

I capped the week off pushing my boy in the jog stroller at Doyle’s Road Race. It was our first race together. We ran 37:57 for 5 miles, which was good for 7:35 minute miles. Not bad considering my first mile was 10 minutes and second wasn’t much faster, while getting stuck all the way in the back of the pack for this 1,600 runner field. Last mile? 6:05 minute miles! We were flying!

Also, stay tuned for something pretty cool. Hint: Boston Globe/… videographer… Boston Marathon! 🙂

Week 4/1

Mon: 4 miles, slow – road
Tues: 6 miles, easy – road
Wed: 8 miles, easy – road
Thurs: 4.25 miles, slow – road
Fri: 5 miles, easy but better – road
Sat: 11.5 miles in 1:38:58, social – trails
Sun: 6 miles total, Doyle’s Road Race – road

Total miles: 45 miles

Quality Workouts

Sunday: Doyle’s Road Race, 5 miles, 37:57 (7:35 pace)
Splits: 9:47, 14:44, 7:13, 6:05
*Started in back of race, stopped once in first mile, once in second mile. Second mile split was probably 8:30, while mile 3 was likely 6:15. Four had climbing in it, hence the slowdown to 7:13, and five was flying down hill. I dreamed about mile 5 years ago before I ever had a kid.

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to lay low and get ready for the Boston Double!

Beer of the Week

Mayflower 5th Year Anniversary Ale — Mayflower Anniversary, a limited-batch release double IPA made with five distinct hop varieties, has to be among my new all-time favorite IPAs. Who doesn’t like a double IPA? And this one, weighing in at 8.2 ABV, is to die for. Head right now to your local liquor store and pick up a 22 oz. bomber of it. You will NOT be disappointed. I promise!

Training Week 3/18

March 27, 2013

Training for the week 3/18 to 3/24 was about recovery. Although I did take the week easy with mostly short and very slow runs, recovery was sidetracked due to an injury — really a re-occurrence of an old Hammy Attachment issue — brought on by racing a 5K on the beach. The good news was that I won the race (Race For The Cupcake) by clocking sub-6 minute miles on the soft sands on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. This was the 4th year in a row in which I have now won a race.

Week 3/18

Mon: 11 miles including 3 x 2 miles @ mild tempo pacing, speed – road/track
Tues: 3 miles, snow, slow – road
Wed: 5 miles, easy – road
Thurs: 5 miles, social & slow + 2 miles @ 5K race pace – road
Fri: 3+ miles, social & slow – road
Sat: 5 miles total including overall win @ the all-beach course of Race For The Cupcake 5K – beach
Sun: 2+ miles, social & slow – road, injured

Total miles: 34 miles

Quality Workouts

Monday: 11 miles including 3 x 2 miles:
o WU – 16:36 (jog to track)
o 3 x 2 miles @ mild tempo pacing
o CD – 19:30
1 – 6:26, 6:25
2 – 6:27, 6:24
3 – 6:41, 6:38

Saturday: Race For The Cupcake 5K, 18:27 on all-beach course, first place overall.
*Took 5K race pace and the lead from the gun and never looked back on this out and back course on the hard-packed sands along water’s edge. Would have clocked ~18:15 had I not stopped to run in with Jake, the Race Director.

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to get the hammy back to health so that I can resume the plan toward TARC 100. If I can get back to mostly health, I’ll lace ’em up for a low key 50K on the weekend.

Beer of the Week

Atomium Grand Cru – I have always had a thing — a good thing — for Grand Cru styled beers. Atomium by Brouwerij Van Steenberge N.V. was a solid take on the style. It reminded me a lot of the other more popular take on this style, perhaps the yardstick for which these are measured, Duval Golden Ale. You got more a feel for the honey in this beer, as is popular with this style, than the alcohol content, though weighing in at 8.0% ABV, you had to be careful because the beer was good enough to take your mind off it. I really enjoyed this beer even though I’ve had better. I would definitely get it again. And I would love to try this on tap someplace.

Training Week 3/4

March 11, 2013

Training for the week 3/4 to 3/10 was solid. Goals were to recover from Black Panther 26.2, which I did [somewhat], and get back on spinning the wheels, which I did on three separate occasions.

A solid mileage week in spite not logging a long run. No worries, though. Most importantly is that the Soleus injury that prevented me from running at or even near pace for the last 2.5 months is now totally under control.

On top of that, I was also able to hit it hard at the Ras na hEireann 5K, a race I do every year with friend Bernie and Clock Tavern in memory of The Baker. Although I ran a decent enough time (I should be in the 17’s), clocking 18:03 for 3rd Master 40+ and 28th overall of 5000, I was able to feel my lack of speed fitness, as I did not feel smooth but was still able to muscle through. It actually felt awesome to race again. Love riding that wire. It’s my drug.

Week 3/4

Mon: 4 miles, easy – road
Tues I: 5.65 miles, social – road
Tues II: 7.3 miles, TM speed including 5 x 1 mi @ 6:15 w/incline chg – treadmill
Wed: 8 miles, near tempo – road
Thurs I: 4 miles, easy – road
Thurs II: 6 miles, TM top end speed 2 min intervals starting @ 5:30 and dropping to 5:15 – treadmill
Fri: 3 miles, easy – road
Sat: 6.5 miles, easy – road
Sun: 11 miles, including Ras 5K in 18:03 (5:47 pace) – road

Total miles: 55 miles

Quality Workouts

Tuesday: 7.3 mile speed session on the TM in 50 min (incline @ 1%):
o WU – 4 mins @ 7:47 w/ a pick up or two to warm legs up
o 5 x 1 mile @ 6:15 w/middle two minutes at 5% – w/4 min jog

Thursday: 6 mile speed session on the TM in 40 min:
o WU – 5 min @ 7:47
o 7 min @ 6:00 pace
o 2 min @ 5:30 pace w/3′ jog
o 2 min @ 5:24
o 2 min @ 5:18
o 2 min @ 5:15
o 2 min @ 5:15
*Wanted to go to 5:12 on last interval, but belt started buckling at 5:15 making it too dangerous. No worries, though, as I might not have been able to hold it anyway.

Sunday: Ras na hEireann 5K, 18:03 (5:47 pace)
o WU – 4 miles
o Mile 1 – 5:46
o Mile 2 – 5:47
o 5K – 6:28
o CD – 4 miles

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to get back the zing in the legs and log some miles, preferably marathon distance somewhere.

Beer of the Week

Pretty Things Jack D’Or – Jack D’Or, pronounced Jack Door, is a Saison Americain style of beer weighing in at 6.5 ABV and only 57 IBUs. It is a very good take on saison and will do any Belgium fine. Backing its cause is that Pretty Things is a great supporter of Cambridge 5K events, and although I love Eddie O’s races and will support him in any race he puts on, this beer would still be high on my list. But I must say, it was through Cambridge 5K, specifically Yulefest in Harvard Square, where I was introduced to not only Jack D’Or but also Pretty Things. I pick one of these up on a regular basis. It’s that good. Next I need to get my hands on White Fluffy Rabbits by Pretty Things.

TransRockies – Reason #11

August 16, 2011

When running a fine line never felt so invigorating… Go ahead, jump!

Photo credit: By Kevin Arnold/Courtesy TransRockies.

TransRockies – Reason #10

August 15, 2011

Because it is more fun when shared with another:

Photo credit: By Kevin Arnold/Courtesy GORE-TEX TransRockies Run.

Training Week 6/6

June 12, 2011

Training for the week 6/6 through 6/12:

Training for the week went much better than expected, mainly because I started the week still straddled with allergies that had me at low energy — a carryover from the previous week — but started springing back to life feeling better each day. I went from plodding through my daily runs to running hills and actually feeling strong.

A good week like this couldn’t come at a better time, because with less than a week to go until Mount Washington Road Race (Saturday, June 18), it is nice to feel human on the run again. I still hold to my earlier beliefs in that I am probably stronger this year over last year, but I am slower. So although I will try to beat my time running up the rockpile on Saturday, I will not be upset if I come in slower, as metrics show me that I am indeed slower. Either way, it’s great to be feeling strong and energetic after a few weeks of the opposite

The week went like this…

Mon: 3 miles slow, low energy
Tues: 5.65 miles social, low energy
Tues-double: 7 miles HILL REPEATS, 6 x Spickett Hill
Wed: 6.5 miles including HILL CHARGES, 10 x School Grass Hill
Thurs: 5 mile social trail run, easy
Thurs-double: 8 mile TRR Run, HILL REPEATS, 7 x Nashoba Ski Trail
Fri: 4 miles easy
Sat: 11 miles MOUNTAIN REPEATS @ Wachusett

Tues (7 miles road):
o WU – 5 min
o 6 x Spickett Hill (x:xx, 3:44, 3:44, 3:49, 3:59, 3:52)

Thurs (8 miles trail w/Jay):
o WU – 20 min
o 7 x Nashoba Ski Trail (3:00, 2:58, 3:01, 3:04, 3:02, 3:04, 3:05)
o CD – 20 min

Sat (11 miles road @ Wachusett Mountain):
o WU – 5 min
o 1 x Mile Hill Road (7:39)
o 3 x Steep section way to Summit (9:30, 9:35, 9:35)
o CD – 20+ min run down mountain

Coming off a few weeks of low energy due to allergies, this coming at a time when my body was very tired from training for MWRR, I approached these key workouts with caution and a goal of not pushing more than my body can handle. So in my hill repeat workouts, I ended the last repeat when I was still pumping strong rather than forcing an extra one or two. I like this approach and have mostly used it on and off throughout my running days, because it leaves you feeling strong and motivated rather than beating yourself into submission, because, really, after so many repeats all you do is drive the stake deeper, where gains diminish.

This was a good reminder to myself for the next phase of my training that will take place after Mount Washington. Instead of logging stupid miles on the trail, long miles after the  point of gain, where diminshed returns rule, I will cut out, done. I’d rather enter TransRockies slightly under trained rather than tired and sore.

The upcoming week will be light. I will stick with mostly social runs (easy) and stay easy myself. I will treat this week as dual purpose taper to Mount Washington Road Race and a break before my next phase of training for TransRockies.