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March 29, 2006

8 hills

Last night was a heartbreak hill night. 8 times light to light with a moderate recovery down the hill between each repeat. 1:49, 1:49, 1:50, 1:49, 1:46 (thanks mark), 1:46 (my fault), 1:51, 1:44 (blamimg Justin but it was all of us really). The group was Justin, myself, and Mark Coogan. Something about having an olympian in your group makes you want to make sure you don't waste his time. He drives all the way down from NH to workout with our group, so the last thing you want is for him to be sitting around with all his ex-olympian buddies saying "I thought those guys from reebok boston were tough runners, but it turns out they are all soft as cupcakes." Mark and Justin are getting into great shape and it is nice to have a group of three guys. It seems to make it easier when there are 3 rather than just Justin and myself. Hopefully, we can stay together and help each other get into great spring time shape.

Yesterday at lunch it was just a nobscott shake-out that I didn't even time.

This morning was another commute to work day. I have a day crammed with meetings so I ran in, lifted, and then will do a longer run home. This morning I think I took the most direct route into work, white pond to the railroad track bed. Not one hill on the whole route. It took me 35:37 with a last mile in 6:02 because I wanted to see how fast I could make it in running moderately if I ever have to run in and am a touch late. Looks like I could do it in 33 if I had to put the pedal down at max training pace. Don't want to race or tempo in when it is not on schedule. Somewhere between 5.2 and 5.5 miles I would venture to guess. Soon it will be warm enough to ride the bike into work. That will be a good day. 2 sets of lifting and 200 sit-ups (missed abs yesterday because of things have been busy here at work and had to boogie) felt good for the first day back to lifting. Whatever was bothering the lower left half of my back is gone. Lets hope I didn't do anything to make it worse.

That's all I got.

March 28, 2006

quick entry

Quick entry as Monday’s are busy busy busy around here. So busy that this is not getting in until Tuesday.

Saturday. Tempo:
Did the rare double loop Lincoln tempo.
Splits were: 5:21, 5:24, 5:12, 5:20, 5:16 (26:33 for 5 miles), 4:02 for .75, and 4:50 for the last mile.
(thanks for the splits Justin)

LSD: First 1:05 with Christy and the last 30 solo for 1:34. Did a nice loop through memorial forrest turning around about 1000 times. The trails are soft and shady. A little wet but I think they will dry out as spring arrives.

AM: Area 51 Code 371 in 31:40 with Christy
Lunch: Counter Nobscott in 45:40 with Justin. Could not lift because the back is still a little sore from all the lifting I have been doing through out the house. I will try for wednesday morning.

That is all. Have a lot to do. Hopefully Saturday I will run a cable up to the office and install a jack so I have access to the internet at home. Take it easy.

March 24, 2006

The Beautiful Commute

Yesterday was the first day I was able to run to and from work. What a great way to commute. All people should have the opportunity to live close enough to their jobs to run or bike to work. It should be some sort of bylaw in all contracts that the company will help the employee find a place within an 8 mile radius. Think about how much healthier everyone would be! There would be no more obesity because everyone would be fit. The green house gases emitted every morning and evening by rushing commuters would be brought down to such a negligible number all the tree huggin hippies would have to go complain about something else. We would all have more money because health insurance rates would plummet. So would automobile insurance because the busiest times of travel would 1/3 as busy. Not to mention all the money we burn in our combustion engines in the form of gasoline. All the energy scientists the oil companies are using could put their thoughts towards efficiently getting the hydrogen out of water, which would mean free energy for every country. Every person would be happy because we all know exercise reduces stress. It is common knowledge less stress leads to more sex (it doesn't hurt that everyone is fit and trim either), which obviously makes people more happy than they were before which was pretty happy which reduces stress even more. Less stress and more sex would lead to less tension and anger we see everyday for the smallest dumbest things ever. Less tension in the world would lead to less confrontation, which would lead to less fighting. Less fighting would mean working our differences out through dialogue and negotiation. Everyone knows dialogue and open communication prevents wars. And there it is, RUNNING to and from work ENDS WAR. Can it get any more transparent than that?

I hope to do it more often as the weather gets better and my schedule settles down. It was 43:37 in and 42:12 home. I am calling both of them 6 for a total of twelve. It reminded of my days in Framingham when I could run into work. I think I put about 3,000 miles on my car that year.

This morning Christy and I did Area 51 Code 3-7-1 (here is a map of the Assabet River Wildlife Refuge which I refer to as Area 51 because that is what a teammate of mine calls it and it just stuck) in 31:58. First morning I could wear shorts in a long time. At lunch today Justin and I did the counter nobscott with the hill in 46:31. Felt pretty good. Long tempo tomorrow so we made sure not to go too fast. I am not going to do any lifting today as my back as been sore from all the lifting and pushing during the move and subsequent furniture arranging. Distance runners do not make good movers. I bet football players would make great movers.

That is all until Monday. Doesn’t look like I will have internet access until next Saturday.

Remember, running ends war, so run a lot this weekend.

March 22, 2006

Back to the Track

The problem with going back to the track, after you haven't been there in weeks, is the first couple of laps feel uncomfortable. After the roads and fields I have been dabbling with, the track felt down right weird. The workout was 12 x 500 @ 1:25. Two sets of 6 with 90 secs rest between the reps and 4 mins between sets. Pretty good workout for only 48 hours removed from the ras na hEireann 5k. The legs felt less than stellar through 6, but then loosened up and I was able to go 1:23, 1:24, 1:22 for the last three with little problem. I tried to concentrate on relaxing and letting it be easy through out the whole workout with out tightening up or straining. Easier said than done for me.

Let me again reiterate the beauty of an empty, or nearly empty, Reggie Lewis. I did not have to go around anyone all night.

Yesterday at lunch Justin and I did the Nobscott shakeout in about 33 minutes. Three sets of the abdominal routine afterwards in the fitness center. It was about 15 miles total on the days running log.

Today at lunch Justin and I did a Counter Nobscott with the hill in 45:59. The pace was a little quicker than we had wanted which was my fault. I started talking about my car accident a year ago and insurance companies.

They always get me fired up. I feel like Mr. Incredible from the Incredibles. He works at that insurance agency and wonders why policy holders pay all the premiums and then have to take the company to court to get what they have been paying for. Last year my mustang got T-boned in the passenger side door from a guy who rolled through a stop sign making a left hand turn onto the street I was traveling on. The cop on the scene, everyone who saw it, all the reports, said it was the other guys fault. His insurance company denied my claim and then tried to get my insurance to pay for it. The long and short of it is I haven't seen a dime for my wrecked car and am now taking the other guy to court. His insurance agency has to defend him. To top it off, his insurance agency is in Texas which makes things really easy. The car insurance industry has a special place in hell reserved for it.

Anyways, no second run today. I promised myself to build up the mileage slowly and since mon and tues were doubles today is uno.

March 20, 2006

Ras na hEireann Redux American Style

First day of spring and it is 28 outside. Weird weather so far in 06 with a spring-like winter and a winter-like spring.

No internet connection at the new place yet so I will be doing brief work entries for the time being.

The new house absolutely rocks for running. I just run to the end of my street, about 45 seconds, and I am into Sudbury State park which connects to an endless amount of trails. This weekend I found a connection to Hop brook which you can connect to Callahan State park. I can go from Maynard to Sudbury to Framingham almost completely on trails with no more than 800m on actual pavement. Now, I haven't figured out a way to do it with any sort of loop or sense yet but that will come. The loops will just be Sudbury state park, Area 51 North or South (Assabet River Wildlife Refuge depending on which side of Hudson Rd you are on), Hop Brook, or Lake Boon.

Oh yeah, running. Yesterday was the end of the Irish festivities for me. The Ras Na hEireann 5k road race in Somerville was the final competition for a while. It was a good field and a very cold day. 14:59 which I will take just based on my absolute lack of any consistent running last few weeks due to the travel and moving. The race started out very quick for an uphill mile. I did not get any official splits because I think we beat the volunteers to the their marks but I guess I was at about 4:45. Vin Mulvey took it out in about 4:44 with Keith Kelley, Mark Kenneally and myself close behind. Then Mark Kenneally (4 time irish marathon champion) decided enough messing around and threw in a surge to about 4:40 pace and I couldn't hang and dropped from the group of three. About a half mile later keith Kelly took the lead and Vin dropped a out of the lead group. After that it looked as if the Kelly would win but I guess Kenneally strong armed him out in the last mile. I didn't see exactly what happened because I was busy telling myself to just crack 15:00 and take the moral victory. For March 19, it was a very cold, windy day. About 35 at the start with a 20 degree wind chill. Once I lost the pack, the wind became quite a pain in the butt. It was tough going alone, I had hoped that Jason would be up there but he is a busy dude and training is the last thing he has time for. That is my last competition for a while as today marks the start of my serious training for Penn Relay's and the spring season.

This morning Christy and I went on a great run through area 51 north in 32:07 for a nice morning shake out. 4.8 miles I believe but it is hard to gage in the trails.

That is all. It was supposed to be short. I started it at 7:15 this morning but with all the walk-in disruptions, typical of a Monday, I am ending it now at 11:10. Just in time for my run with Justin. Take care everyone.

March 16, 2006

Hometown: Hudson, MA

I'm back.

Just finished the move from Clinton to Hudson. I am happy to report today's morning commute took approximately 7.5 minutes. Which is by itself, by all definitions, a beautiful thing. Unfortunately, the move itself was a nightmare and I may or may not re-live that whole catastrophe in a blog entry later. Don't hold your breath though, I think it already took two years off my life.

No internet access at the new place yet so this is yet another on the clock entry. I don't think the fuse blocks will mind their brief selection break.

Yesterday was my first run in Hudson. I was only in Hudson for about 2 minutes because I live so close to the Sudbury border, but it starts and ends in Hudson, my new hometown. Across the street to the state park, a couple billion wrong turns, a few backyards, one dog, two deer, and an hour worth of running. I am calling 8.5 although it may be short, or long. Hard to say. The run scoped out the west side of Area 51 (used to be an old usaf/army training/testing ground for Natick labs but is now Assabet River Wildlife Refuge) and most of Sudbury state park. Tonight I will try to get to hop brook conservation area then to the railroad bed which leads to my work. Next Thursday we have a section meeting for a woman leaving the company so it will be my first attempt to run to and from work. I would like to take the trails but I have to figure out a way to get there efficiently. Should be an adventure for the next couple of weeks

March 12, 2006

the last dance

Today was the last sunday long run from 235 fitch rd. Unfortunately the complete crew couldn't make it due to an enlarged achilles and graduate work. Hodgie-san and I had a nice relaxing spillway loop run in 66 minutes. No, that isn't a long run, but I am crunched for time. I spent the rest of the day driving back and forth from Hudson, painting and taping. Nothing in the chore world is worse than taping. I would rather dig holes than tape.

I was really lucky here in Clinton to have someone of Bob Hodges level to run with and bounce ideas off of. It is not too often hacks like me get to go on weekly runs with a world cross/2:10 marathoner type of guy. I have certainly improved just trying to implement some his ideas and methods. I will have to find time to come out to the reservoir a couple of times just to get some more stories. They are endless even though they are told through some pretty labored breathing. I suggest anyone who is reading this and has some running related questions to send them to Hodgie. Chances are you will get some (softened for your benefit) philosophical form of "toughen up there wuss bag, this is how I ran fast, this is how anyone who ran fast ran fast. There is no secret formula. You do it or get out of the way. Good luck!" Which is what everyone needs to hear. Being told to take it easy and put your feet up doesn't get you on a world cross team. The only thing I will miss terribly in Clinton is not being .5 miles from Bob's house. With any luck, with my new place only .1 miles from state park land and the promise of a swim in the pool after the run, I will be able to lure him out to Hudson a few times a year.

I am off to bed. Entries will probably be brief this week as I enter the fun world of real estate agents and lawyers. Tuesday is the move day and Wednesday the closing day. Lucky me.

Bring the wallet!

March 11, 2006

Tempo Run

Saturday morning Tempo's are back and I couldn't be happier. I have always loved tempo's out of Lincoln train station. For some reason, they always make me feel strong. This morning we had quite the tempo group aiming for 5:05 pace for 4.6 miles. It was Justin, Brad, myself, and MarK Coogan. It is always nice to have a world cross, multiple national team member, casual olympian in your group to help motivate your effort. He told us some quick stories about the old tempo's he used to run with the old Nike group he used to belong to. He just turned forty and runs like a 22 year old. I pray I am that fit when I turn forty. It will be nice if he makes the trip down from Exeter, NH, where he coaches track, a few more times to run with us.

here are the split's:
1 5:00
2 5:18
3 5:05
.6 3:02
4. 4:42
(nice and even haha)
total time = 23:07

Felt very good during the workout even with last night celebration at the Celtics game. They were leading the whole game and then decided turnover's and poor shot selection was the way to go in the last 5 minutes. Good work boys.

Back to packing for me. Tomorrow will be my last long run from clinton so let's hope the trails are in good shape.

March 10, 2006

Robins Everywhere

Tonight I am heading into the Celtics game with my boy Tee so this is a rare work entry. I try not to mess around on the net at work but just a few minutes will not get me canned.

Counter Nobscott loop today in 45:46. The day was spectacular. Felt about 60 degrees out and was a perfect first 06' shorts and tee shirt day. We added some upper body lifting after the run in the fitness center. Monday begins the return to a structured lifting program. I am also going be about 15 miles closer to my gym so I should be more motivated to go and do some swimming.

Ok, back to work slackers.

March 9, 2006

Garage Treasures

This has to be a quick entry because I am not done in the garage and I have to cook dinner tonight because Christy is at class.

Back in from the cold, even though it is not that cold out. Tonight is pack the garage night so I am taking down my peg board and putting all my tools into my tool boxes and cases. I never even realized I had six jackstands. That would be one well supported hot rod with six stands under the frame rails. I used to love going through my Grandfather's garage when I was a kid. I think I am going to keep all my tools so my grandchildren can go through the old school tools I have now.

Today was a 46:40 Nobscott Loop. Three sets of abdominal exercises in the fitness center afterwards.

Told you it would be short.

March 8, 2006

Emerald Isle

I promised to write about the trip to Ireland last night and did not. Let's everyone know what my blog promises are worth. Thanks to everyone who left comments of congrats for the overseas effort.

We are actually moving on Tuesday so believe it or not we are quite busy. Last night I got caught up taking down some light fixtures and loading some electronics equipment into boxes. I have saved all the original packing for my electronics so everything is fitting quite nicely. Anyway, I apologize.

First off, yesterday I did get back to running after taking Monday off. I did a counter nobscott loop solo in 48:56. Nice and easy does it. Today I did the same loop with Justin in 46:50. Light lifting.

Finally, to the racing across the pond in Ireland.

The first race of the trip was the Armagh Road race. It is a 5k race which consisted of 5 laps of a 1k loop around the town square. A great feature of the race is it takes place at 8:30 at night. It is decently lit and a rocket fast course. We went out like gangbusters. I was towards the front and was thinking the whole time it couldn't last, only to see my teammate go to the front and drop the pace down a little more. The Russians and Americans were going toe to toe at the front. The lead pack went through the first 1k in 2:46ish and I came through in 2:52. On the next straight I lost complete contact so you will have to ask Hunter (2nd) or Thomas (3rd) about what went on at the front. I bet it was exciting to watch because I could hear the announcer talking about a group of leaders at record pace. I pretty much started slowing down, never dying and pushing it all out in a death crawl but the drive was gone as well as the fight. I finished in 24th with a 14:56 which was rather disappointing. I am going to qualify that though because boy did I have a rough couple of days before that. The flight over from Logan to Dublin was long and went through the night. Everyone told me "you can sleep on the plane, you won't even notice." Has anyone here ever tried to sleep for hours in a plane seat? It is almost torture to try and get comfortable in those seats. I got maybe 1/2 hour of sleep on the plane and then stayed up until 9:00 the next night to try and get on Ireland time. I had a bad feeling the entire day of the Armagh that my body and mind were not rested enough for a 14:30 effort and unfortunately my feeling was correct. It was still a good experience and I promised that it would not happen on Sunday at the Ras na hEireann.

We spent Friday in Belfast to do some shopping and look at some sights. We saw the majestic St. Anne's cathedral. It was a sight and the highlight of the sights for me. The way they designed the church with such huge stone columns and large arches made you feel so small and insignificant. Just walking into St Anne's make's a tingling feeling go up your spine. It was an odd feeling.

Ok, back to the racing, which is why a bunch of runner's read this blog anyway. Sunday morning was the Ras na hEireann at the Dunleer athletic fields. Not one hill on the course. Perfectly pancake flat grass fields soaked in mud. Very interesting to say the least. The course was roped all the way around so there was no wayward shortcuts or longcuts I heard so much about over in Ireland. The track was a 1500m loop to be completed 4 times for 6k. Before the race, Charlie Breagy, the saint who sends hacks like me on fantastic competitive trips like this, handed the American athletes about 20 flags each. We ran around and gave them out to little kids in the athletic clubs and they loved them. It was crazy because all the kids were clamoring for American flags. It was great because all over the course were little kids cheering for USA.

The senior race had about 60 people in it and all of the same international suspects from the Armagh on Thursday. The temperature was a comfortable 40 degrees with a steady 15 mile per wind out of the east. The race certainly had headwind and tailwind sections.


Off we charge into the first corner, a 90 degree left hander 100m after the start, pushing and a shoving in the mud and the blood and the beer. I got nicked on my left shin from a Scotsmans spike and that made me a little angry. Then there was a 350m straightaway and things got silly with the pace and I knew in my mind this was the race, go or be left behind. I went. Guns a blazing, hard as I could the entire lap. 4:24, about 14th place about 2 seconds behind the leaders. Was it a little crazy, yeah, probably, but we were about 15 seconds in front of the group behind us so you were either in the race or out of it 1500m in. As we approached the same corner and went down the long straight, 2 Russians (who ultimately went 1-2) threw in another surge forming a lead pack of 8 and a chase pack of about 6. Then the race played out in small groups of one or two for the rest of the way. I ended up getting out kicked by my teammate Blake Boldon and a Russian in the last 500m which pissed me off a bit because I really wanted to be in the top 10. Oh well, at least I wasn't last in the chase group and beat that scot who spiked me in the first corner.

For those of you still reading, that was my adventurous trip to Ireland. I may have left out a bunch of Guiness I may have had and some silly events that may or may not have occurred, but that is neither here nor there. I had a great traveling partner and great teammates to race and socialize with. I also picked up a new favorite swear saying, so please cover your eyes if you are adverse to such filth. "For Fucks Sake" is what I am now going to say when someone does something really stupid. Some crazy Irishman said it to me in a bar one night after I was telling him about how much I run. I almost died laughing. Great terms in Ireland and England. I will certainly be throwing in stories and experiences here and there so stay tuned.

So with that long winded entry, I will leave you to your internet surfing.


March 6, 2006

Spot On

Well, I am back in the good old USA and had a great trip over to Ireland. This will be brief because it is 3:00 in the morning for my mind right now even though it is only 9:00 here. This may or may not make sense but will give it a go.

The directors of the Armagh and Ras Na hEirann were absolutely fabulous to all of the international athlete's and treated all the international athlete's like royalty. I will give a more detailed race description tomorrow when my brain is back on EST. The Armagh road race was a 5k around Armagh town center and was a tough one. My legs were very tired from the straight 36 hour pull of travel the day before I didn't feel like my old self. Got kicked out the back after a 2:51 opening 1k. Then it was as if I was running with the E-brake on. Just no pop, fight, or speed in the muscles or mind.

The Ras Na hEirann went a lot better than the Armagh. One can tell just by the people who I got destroyed by on the roads but handled pretty well on the grass. I don't know why in cross country I find it possible to run so much stronger and harder. I was just luggage right after the cross race but it felt good to have a solid effort. It was a real thrill to run in a USA singlet as well. I hope to post some pictures once I get them out of the camera.

Here is a quick summary of the trip. Racing is hard at this level. All the American teamates came together for a great time and we all got along very well. The Irish are very welcoming and talk to every body about anything. Guiness is better in Ireland then here, much better. The Catherdrals were absolutely inspiring.

That's all for now. I have to sleep before I give myself a concusion passing out on this keyboard.

A bed, a bed.
My kingdom for a bed.