Training Week 3/25

April 2, 2013

Training for the week 3/25 to 3/31 was about getting healthy from an injury sustained during the Race For The Cupcake 5K and, if I did, logging at least 50K in distance on the weekend as a last training run for the Boston Double.

While getting healthy took all week, and while the long, long weekend run was in doubt until Friday, I did both, the latter to the tune of a 35 mile run. On top of that, the run somehow got rid of the hamstring issues (upper and lower). Funny how that sometimes happens!

But the prize for the week was the 35 mile run. Better yet was that I felt in control and ran every step, completing the distance in 4:47 time @ 8:11 pace. I went through marathon in 3:35. I learned that for the Boston Double, which I am doing as training for TARC 100, my key summer race, I’ll want to go a little slower so that I can feel better for the second 26.2.

In addition to all of that, check out this article in which I was mentioned:

Delicious Fun

Folks, that’s what it’s all about!

Week 3/25

Mon: 4 miles, slow, injured – beach
Tues: 3.5 miles, slow, injured – beach
Wed: 8 miles, easy – road
Thurs: 6.5 miles, easy & slow – road
Fri: 4 miles, easy but better – road
Sat: 35 miles in 4:47 (8:11 pace) including marathon in 3:35 – road
Sun: 2+ miles, slow, recovery – road

Total miles: 63 miles

Quality Workouts

Saturday: 35 miles
o OUT – 17.5 miles in 2:26
o BACK – 17.5 miles in 2:21
o Marathon Split: 3:35

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to recover from last weekend’s long run. There’s not much else on tap. I have Doyle’s Road Race on Sunday, but I plan to throw it away, mainly because last time I raced — at the Race For The Cupcake a little over a week ago — I got injured, and I don’t want to derail the Boston Double nor TARC 100 that follows. Other than that, I plan to coast from here until Patriot’s Day (Boston Marathon and the Double).

Beer of the Week

Pretty Things Fluffy White Rabbits – Pretty Things sums up this beer far better than I could: “The beer is 8.5% abv, with Saaz, Styrian Goldings and Strisselspalt hops added aplenty. Fluffy mouthfeel: yes, really!  There’s a faint sweetness with tropical fruit undertones. Fluffy White Rabbits is a very ‘Pretty Things’ take on a Triple.” And it’s true. This is a solid take on a Belgium-style hopped up Triple. I will be getting this beer again, although I must say that there are a few better beers out there. Still, it’s worth a try; you will not be disappointed.

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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
Intervals:
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.


Green Papaya Marathon

March 18, 2013

Green Papaya Marathon
North Reading, MA to Waltham, MA
Thursday, March 14 2013

Results
26.2 mile marathon-distance run
3:26:35 (7:53 pace)Route: here

Run Report

Between jobs and with a lofty summer goal in the TARC 100, I decided to use my unstructured time away from work wisely by getting in a marathon distanced run. When Heather told me that she was meeting her brother for lunch mid-week at the Green Papaya Thai restaurant, my mind started working and, after playing around with gmap-pedometer.com, I had my goal. I would run marathon distance from my house in North Reading to the restaurant in Waltham.

Starting at my house, I ran due west straight into a rather steady and chilly headwind. Due to the cold morning (made colder by wind chill) and two days in a row with 10+ miles, including one with speed, I struggled for the first 8 to 10 miles with my pace in the low 8:00’s. Although I was not looking to run fast — or any given pace — low 8:00’s was rather slow, and it didn’t exactly feel smooth.

I followed a route west on Rt. 62 straight into the town of Bedford, where I hooked up with the Minuteman Bike Path. By this time I started feeling better and was running a pace comfortably in the 7:00s. Took MM bike path south into the well-known town of Lexington, where I then went due south-west toward Waltham. One trip around a reservoir and I reached my destination at the Green Papaya Thai restaurant, where Heather and her older brother were waiting for me. We had a nice lunch. Then home.

Pace started in the low 8:00’s and progressed faster to the mid 7:00’s, all comfortable. Best part was that I could have logged more miles, especially if I eased back on effort a bit. This bodes well for my attempt at the Boston Double.


Training Week 3/11

March 18, 2013

Training for the week 3/11 to 3/17 was solid. Goals were to get in a semblance of speed work and log marathon distance, which is exactly what I did with speed on Tuesday and the Green Papaya Marathon Run on Thursday. The hope was to have a high mileage week since next week will be down as rest (and vacation).

Although the Green Papaya Marathon was run at easy pace, it was still a struggle for the first 8 miles, as I was not recovered fully from Black Panther Marathon and racing The Ras in the prior week. Still, I finally warmed up as the temperatures followed suit — or maybe it was the other way around. Finished feeling fairly strong but definitely in control with the ability to keep going, which bodes well for my shot at the Boston Double and, a few months later, TARC 100.

Week 3/11

Mon: 5 miles, easy – road
Tues: 11.5 miles, social/speed – road
Wed: 5 miles, easy – road
Wed II: 4.5 miles, social – road
Thurs: 26.2 miles, Green Papaya Marathon, 3:26:35 (7:53 pace) – road
Fri: 3+ miles, easy – road
Sat: 15 miles, social, hilly – road
Sun: 5.5 miles, social – frozen trails

Total miles: 76 miles

Quality Workouts

Tuesday: 11.5 miles including 4 x 1+ miles plus equal parts social:
o WU – 45:09 social run on regular Tuesday route
o 4 x 1+ miles @ 10K pace or slightly slower
Intervals:
6:45, 6:37
6:43, 6:44
*1 & 3 were the same, 2 & 4 same.
**Started losing power on last (4) interval. As you can see, I was also 7 seconds slower than first time around (2).

Thursday: Green Papaya Marathon, 3:26:35 (7:53 pace), 26.2 miles
*Took awhile to warm up in body, so each 5K was progressively faster with fastest at the end. Best part was that although I felt not so good in the first 8 miles on this fairly rolling hills course, I got it back under control and finished strong in mind and body.

Saturday: 15 miles over hilly route with friends. Charged a few of the longer hills.

Next Week

Goal for the coming week will be to rest. Nothing more.

Beer of the Week

Ommegang Hennepin – Those who know me well know that I love just about everything out of Ommegang, the brewery near Cooperstown in upstate New York that focuses on Belgia-styled ales. Hennepin is full-bodied and slightly hoppy and crisp, a very good take on a Saison Farmhouse Ale, weighing in at 7.7% ABV. Hennepin is among my all-time favorites. I enjoy it better than even Boulevard and many of the others. This is another that will not disappoint. But be careful; the alcohol can sneak up on you.


Rás na hÉireann 5K

March 13, 2013

Rás na hÉireann 5K
Somerville, MA
Sunday, March 10, 2013

Results
5K (3.1 miles)
Finish: 18:03 (5:49 pace)
31st place overall of 5000
3rd place Master 40+
Mile 1 – 5:46
Mile 2 – 5:47
Finish – 6:28 (5:52)

Race Report

Just as Irish eyes start smiling each March with the advent of St. Patrick’s Day, so too does the Rás na hÉireann USA 5K, a race otherwise known as “The Ras”. Only, in this case, the Irish eyes smiling were those of Bernie, my Irish friend, as he comes knocking on my door for the Clock Tavern pub team in honor of “The Baker,” someone who loved this race more than most.

As I have in previous years, I told Bernie to sign me up. The Ras has become among my all-time favorite races in the Boston area. It is way up there with Eddie-O’s Cambridge 5K events and Doyle’s. Although I was excited for the fun to be had, I was a little apprehensive — or perhaps curious is a better word — of my race fitness, especially after just coming back from a lower calf injury that had sidelined me of fast running for nearly 3 months.

How would my legs spin up on a 5K? Could I get under the Mendoza line of 18 minutes flat? I was excited to find out but not all that hopeful.

Knowing my race pace fitness was not where it had been at the end of last year when I was running mid 17-‘s for the 5K (17:30 @ NR Turkey Trot, 17:38 @ Yulefest), I decided to get to race site early and warm up by doing a full loop of the course. I felt decent enough but just didn’t seem to be smooth when striding out to race pace or faster. My breathing was okay, but I was a bit ragged. My knee often felt as if it would give out, as happens when I’m not fit.

Ras na hErieann USA 5K – Nervousness on the starting line in Davis Square.

After a few more strides by the starting line in Davis Square, I was as ready as ever, so I wiggled into the starting corral three rows from front and waited for race start. That’s when Todd Callaghan, a friend from mountain running, said, “Hey Thor!” I had been wondering where Todd was, as I know he does this race every year, and I know he is the guy to chase for me for the Master’s crown. Todd clocks in the 16’s for 5K’s, slightly out of my league. But I like racing with him because I can usually gauge my fitness by how close I stay to him. Either way, seeing Todd on the starting line meant that I was now shooting for 2nd place Master. 1st was his.

Before long, the race was started. Off the starting line I went along with 5000 others. Unlike in prior years, there was very little jostling, no elbows, and mostly clear path. As I got up to speed relatively easily due to such a long warmup, I couldn’t help but note that this was surprising because it was obvious that there were more people around me this year over most, which meant I was a little slower. My fitness really was a bit off. Damn.

Over the course of a gradual up hill first mile, I settled into pace. I was breathing hard yet just on the edge of control. The hill has a great way of selecting placement in race by ability, and this hill was honest enough to do just that. By the time I got to the top, most runners were in place; there would be little passing the rest of the way. I went through Mile 1 in 5:46. A little slower than I’d like. No matter, I was still running hard and now focused on being efficient with all movement forward and all energies pushing me on.

A minor victory, I got by two guys who looked to be in my age group. The gray hair gave it away.

As the course makes it’s way through a traffic circle en route to the second mile, I passed two more runners. I tend to be a slower starter, even when warmed up, so I knew that I’d nip a few with nobody or very few passing me back. And that’s what happened.

Me being a slow starter isn’t exactly true. The truth is that others are fast, and they fall off pace, even if just a little. I tend to run races with fairly even splits. It’s because my strength isn’t about getting out the gate fast; my strength is being able to hold onto the pace I get out with for longer than most. I honestly don’t run much faster. This is what I thought about as I passed one more.

Just beyond Mile 2 (5:47), the course takes a right and sweeps down a fast way. Instead of thinking about the finish and how much distance was left, I stayed in the zone, stayed focused on being efficient, and spent my awareness on trying to close the gap to a few runners ahead of me.

This strategy worked well, as I closed the gap to 10 seconds before the final turn and hill on the course. From there until the end, a section that is arguably the fastest on the course, I was all-out, but so were they. I gained very little time on them, though none moved ahead, and nobody passed me from behind.

The final stretch was long, perhaps .75 miles, on a gradual down hill. It’s too early to kick. But I kicked anyway. I wanted to break 18 minutes, and this was my time to grab back seconds, as I knew I ran well with my current abilities, but I also knew that I was a bit slower than normal.

Kicking early meant that I had to be in control both physically and mentally. I stayed focused on form as I ran as hard as I could without tipping the over the edge of control. I pretended I was doing Top End Speed pacing on the Treadmill, running as fast as I could, focusing on keeping my center of gravity under me, not over-striding, and being strong yet fast and efficient and running on top of my feet.

Lucky me, I was able to hold on. Finish came in 18:03. I thought I might get sub-18, but it wasn’t happening. Not today. Victory of sorts came as I took 3rd place Master 40+. So I didn’t run as fast as I had hoped, but I did get a Top 3 spot among the old guys, a goal of mine coming in.

As I had streamed into the finish line, I was surprised to see my friend Samantha (Sammie Girl!) on the side of the road cheering me on. After I finished, we regrouped, and that’s when I talked her into a cool down run. It was an unexpected very nice treat.

Not long after that, we got our Irish (and Guinness) on. The Ras proved fun once again!


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.


Black Panther (Cat) 26.2

March 7, 2013

Black Panther (Cat) 26.2
Salem, MA
Saturday, March 2, 2013

Results
26.2 miles
Finish: 3:06:53
Marathon #84
Marathon-A-Month #17

Race Report

SONY DSC

Two and a half months after pulling up lame with injury in the lower calf, deep within the Soleus muscle, on the side of the Chelmsford Bike Path in early December while on a run with my bud’s Dave and Jay, I was finally able to get back to health and running hard.

During this time I was (somehow) able to keep my marathon-a-month streak alive by limping through the New Year’s Boston Marathon when my injury was at its peak, and then by doing the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50K, where I miraculously came in 2nd place overall even though I could not run any faster than an 8 minute mile. Neither of these were smart, but I did them nonetheless to the tune of the streak at 16!

This meant I needed #17! Insert Black Cat 20.

A quick study of the course map showed that I could double up on a portion of the course (mile 3 to 6, including the turnaround at 4.5) plus an additional .1 miles per doubling) so that I would get marathon distance in a timed event where the clock at the finish would read my marathon finish time.

My goals coming in were to notch another marathon and after a warm up test my legs with marathon pace effort.

And that’s what I did.

When the race started, I was well in the pack chatting socially with friends and fellow Goons: Jen, Ann, Karen, and a few others.

By mile 1, I eased into a slightly faster pace, perhaps running a comfortable 7:45 to 7:30.

That’s when my buddy Tim came from behind to my side. Tim and I chatted together and with those around us through to the turnaround at 4.5 miles on this double-looped course.

Mile 5 came in a total time of 38:30 (7:42 pace). By this point, it was time to get into marathon race pace effort. I qualify race pace *effort* since I didn’t plan to look at my watch to see the actual pace I was running. I just wanted to get to the same effort of when racing a marathon. I figured with me having had no quality runs through most of December, all of January, and nearly all of February, race effort would be slightly slower than my true marathon pace (6:50).

In hindsight, I was probably running 6:55 to 7:05 in those middle miles through to 24.

The first loop was smooth yet uneventful. I came through in a time of 1:13:56 (7:23 pace). Pace for those five miles was 7:05.

Now making my way out on the second loop to the turnaround, I started counting runners in front of me as they were coming back. I was surprised that although I was running easy, or at least had been running easy for the first five miles, I was pretty far up in the race, and there looked to be few, maybe two, Master runners ahead of me. Even though I was sure I could catch several of these runners by the end of the loop, I decided that there was no glory in this race in finishing high up and that I should stick with my original plan of logging marathon distance. Spying results after the race was over, I learned that I would have been 2nd place Master runner. But no matter.

To the turnaround I went, back .1 miles beyond mile 16, and then as I should have continued straight, I turned around to do this 3.1 loop again. And then I did it again.

To this point I was running a touch easier than marathon pace effort. I figured I was on target for a 3:10 marathon, maybe 3:08 or perhaps 3:07, fastest. I was within myself but now working quite hard, as expected. What wasn’t expected, mainly due to ignorance, was how hard running a marathon really is. I say ignorance because I do this often. I set myself for wanting a goal, such as logging a marathon, without thinking about the pain that comes with it and the amount of work required to see it through.

The work came for me as I passed mile marker 15, which for me was mile 21.2. I was buoyed when I realized that I was on my way to a decent marathon time and that I was actually feeling in control. Part of this was to be expected, as my effort was purposely just shy of marathon pace effort, but part was a little surprising (in a good way) due to the length of my absence with injury.

By mile 24.2, the day was finally catching up with me. I was still in control, still powering forward, but now feeling as if my pace was falling slightly. I didn’t fight it too much, as I wasn’t there to bury myself but rather to get in an honest marathon-distanced run.

Mile 24 (7:01), 25 (7:13), and 26 (7:17) went quickly enough.

As I rounded the final corner with the school and the finish line in sight, I wondered what the clock would read. To this point I had not looked at the race time, nor did I know my pace, so the gift was the prize of seeing the clock for the first time.

I hoped it was a 3:0x. In my heart I knew it would be.

Finally, the clock was visible. It read 3:06:53 (7:07 pace).

Photo credit Brent Doscher