Sunday, October 28, 2012

It Doesn't Matter.......

Mon. - 5mi. -  sort of too fast
Tue. - 7mi. - 10 x 200 @ CHS.  All at 35 and 36.  Great conversation with Coach H afterwards.
Wed. - 8mi. - good fun in the woods on a dreary birthday afternoon (which all of my immediate family forgot about!!).  Pachaug from Green Fall Pond is rough. Crossover then Nehantic back.
Thu. - 0. 
Fri. - 6mi. - should've been longer but life caught up with me.
Sat. - 6mi. - easier run to my parents' house for a Kids' Halloween Spooktacular.   Made sure they had beer there and I drank a lot of it in case there was a beer drinking prize. Think I won.
Sun.- 8mi. - Charlestown FOP 5K.  2nd OA. 17:12.  I worked hard and I'm a tiny bit disappointed.  WTAC all over the place today.  Wind made it tough. Still good fun.

--> I know I haven't been doing weekly mileage reports on here but my life is just not very exciting lately.  I run-- between deviant behavior.  I try not to lose fitness.  But I was reminded today of why it was all fun when I ran against/with WTAC guys.  Today's short race was a harbinger of what is to come -- time to get ready for windy running.  Who among us doesn't want to run at least a little bit in the inclement weather that is fast approaching?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Iron Oxide Removal

Looking back through my running log, the last time I did legitimate speed/track work  was 21 August with Jonny at Chariho.  My how time flies.  I've stated in a previous post that I feel sluggish and slow right now, which is really probably more mental than anything else.  The marathon feels pretty much out of my legs and I've nothing really to focus on in the immediate future other than a 5k in a few weeks and L'il Rhody Runaround in November.  With that in mind, I headed to the track to try my hand at a few 400s.

When I pulled into the lot I was discouraged by the sight of a girls JV (or possibly even middle school) soccer game about to commence.  Is it creepy to have a balding, "old man" running laps around the track in front of teens and their parents?  Probably.  But Muddy's gotta do what Muddy's gotta do.

After a 2 mile warmup I set out for (initially) 8 x 400.  After the first one I realized the plan would more likely be 6 x 400, possibly even 4 x 400 if sh*t got really bad.  I managed to run 6 x 400 (all at 75 and 76) with easy, 400 recoveries.  My form sucked on the last 2 but what are you going to do?  Ignore speed work and strength training for 2 months and that's what you get, ding dong! Alas, I can't complain too much. Although rusty, I did hit my targets. On the final lap of my cooldown, a young girl along the fence yelled out "Wow! How many laps is that?".  My response was clear and concise: "Enough."

The highlight of the afternoon was talking to Coach Haberek after the workout.  He's a great guy with tons of wisdom and a man who really just loves to talk running.  After chatting about intervals, marathons, conditioning, and a plethora of other things, he offered me the opportunity to workout with the team.  "We run a lot of 800s but if you're doing 75s you'll fit right in."

I didn't know he was watching and clocking my splits.  Not sure if I should feel honored, humbled, worried, happy, or a little of all four. Either way, I doubt teenage boys would want a creepy dude training with them.  Plus, on that lung searing, lactic acid producing final 800, who would I be able to commiserate with about intervals and then dream about the delicious pale ales I was going to imbibe when the workout was over?  I think there are laws against that sort of thing.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trail Amnesia

This morning I ran with Jonny and Gazelle in Pachuag.  We met up and started at Green Fall Pond through the ravine. 

After winding around the pond (along the orange trail) we picked up Nehantic until we switched over to Patchaug-Nehantic Crossover trail.  After turning onto Patchaug, we hoofed it up to Beach Pond where we proceeded to move rather quickly along Rte. 165.  I think our pace was elevated here because: 1.) It always feels good to briefly stretch your legs out and turn them over before ducking back into the woods and 2.) because roads suck and all three of us wanted it over quickly. 
Upon reentering RI and the woods we picked up Tippecansett trail before following it back down near the Boy Scout camp.  In the end we probably did about 17 miles (2:10:XX).  Nothing stellar however, I really, really, really enjoyed this run.

Man, I needed this one. Apparently, I had forgotten how awesome "leisurely" runs with friends on trails can be.  DeMar training had me so focused on pace, hitting splits, and consistently running roads that I didn't realize how much I missed this.  This was truly the first run since my marathon that I felt great the entire time (probably the first run since the marathon that I smiled a lot too).  As a result, I'm really looking forward to more jaunts in the woods over the course of the next several months. No goals.  No specific distances. No worries. 

Running is supposed to be fun and doesn't always have to be focused.  Although, as I type this, my racing flats are sitting across the room, silently mocking me, asking me 'when exactly was the last time I did speedwork?". 

Oh well.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Humble Pie

After two days off, some stretching (even a little is a major accomplishment for me), a lot of stick rolling, and some beers and Vitamin I; I felt ready to head out for a short easy shuffle on local roads.The marathon was more than 2 days in the past.  I felt great today at work and found that I could go up and down stairs with only a modicum of effort and pain.  I must be "recovered" and ready to start shaking out the legs so I can get back after it.

Wow.  3 lonely, slow miles of fatigue, burn, stone legs, and frustration. Post run I found myself a whimpering, whining, little bitch again.  My poor, poor muscle fibers.

Perhaps I need another zero or two, a lot more rolling and stretching, and copious amounts of beer and Ibuprofen.

Until next time......

Monday, October 1, 2012

Clarence DeMar 26.2

Yesterday I ventured through 5 out of 6 NE states to meet Greg and Jen, my gracious hosts for the 35th Annual Clarence DeMar Marathon.  It's a very small marathon in the southwestern region of NH that starts in Gilsum and ends at Keene State College in Keene, NH.  This year, only about 300 runners or so were expected to compete in the event.

I met the Hammetts at their house before we drove over to Stoddard to stay at Pard's Love Palace in the hills near Pitcher Mountain.  We relaxed, ate some sweet homemade burritoes, drank a few beers, and turned in early. I slept great and awoke at 0415 to Greg cooking breakfast in the kitchen.

After nervously pacing around, we drove over to pick up some crazy fit guy named Wolverine.  Jen dropped us off at the start and after some small talk and my usual "Oh shit, I'm not ready for this" last second jitters, the gun fired and we were off.

I made sure not to go out too fast as I knew there was some great downhill action the first couple of miles.  I settled in with about 5-6 guys that appeared to be running my pace and we started clicking off the miles.  We moved back and forth with one another until the first decent uphill during the 4th mile.  2 of the guys slowed down here to take it easier up the hill but I wanted to keep the effort the same, despite having the pace drop.  I pulled away from them and never saw them again (until the turnaround at Surry Dam).

The first 1/2 of the marathon was by far my favorite as you spend a substantial portion running along the Ashuelot River.  Around mile 5, the pack of three guys I was hanging with picked up the pace.  I let them go here as I was keeping an honest 6:30 pace and was definitely not ready for  running 6 and teens (will I ever be?). From here on out I basically ran solo and was alone with my thoughts and suffering.  Good times.  I began fatiguing a little bit around mile 8 or so and this was really disheartening.  I began to worry a little bit knowing that was not really a good sign.  However, as with life and everything else, it ebbed and flowed and I was able to remain calm and carry on and start feeling better again.

Around mile 11-12 the course makes a sharp left hand turn and you climb up and run across the Surry dam.   It ends at a turnaround cul de sac and you return back along the top of the structure.  This is pretty cool for a few reasons: you get to see the runners ahead of you and behind you (as you return back) and the view is pretty sweet.  As I entered onto the dam, Wolverine passed me.  I uttered encouragement but I don't know if he heard/recognized me.  I didn't really care as it was here that I began reeling in one of the guys in the 3 pack that had left me earlier.  He was slowing a little and I was able to make up ground. I figured I'd get him soon enough.

Surry Dam, minus the runners.

I crossed the 13.1 mile/halfway mark in 1:25:XX, just several seconds back now behind the guy in front of me.  The thought of "Wow, 2:50 pace" popped into my head briefly but my quads reminded me that was not going to be possible.  Don't do "future math", just focus on what's in front of you.  Be here now.  We begain running along Brettwood Golf Course and I was able to pass the guy just ahead of me as we climbed up a long, drawn out hill (one of the longer ones on the course).  It always feels good to pass people on hills. I didn't see or hear him again.

The race kept on keeping on as we wound around and through the western part of Keene.  Around mile 16 I caught up to a kid that told Greg at the start that he was going to try and run a 2:30 (!!) and hang with him.  Obviously, if Puddin' catches you, you're a hurting unit.  He seemed delirious.  I offered up some cliche words of encouragement but they went unheeded.  Again, I didn't care because a few moments later the 5th separate comment was thrown my way about my "awesome shoes" (ugly, neon blue and gree Asic Gel Lyte 33).  Whatever.

All alone on side streets, I consumed my 3rd Gu, knowing that somewhere around here there was supposedly an aid station that offered up Gu replenishments.  I never saw it (did it even exist?).  Unfortunately, here I started to wear down.  This was strange because in my marathon last year I felt pretty solid until mile 22 before my soul was crushed by "The Wall".  It was definitely a new experience to instead slowly waste away a little bit at a time.  Some complicated man math and thinking added to my angst because I'm a believer in the power of exponents.  In other words, I feel like this now, I'm really effed around mile 23 and beyond as my pain simply doubles, then doubles again, ad nauseum.  However I managed to push the thought out of my mind.  Worrying is like a rocking in a rocking chair--you can do a shitload of  it but it still gets you absolutely no where.

The fade and burn continued through a park (Wheelock?) and along a bike path.  I continued feeling shittier and shittier until I finally caught another runner.  It was a guy who looked really strong earlier form the original pack of three amigos that had pulled away from me.  He turned and said something as I pulled up to him, sometime early on in mile 22.  I asked him about the phantom Gu stop and he said he missed it too.  I complained that I was dying and he offered me one of his.  I declined, stating that I didn't want to take his last bit of fuel.  He informed me that it was cool, he had 2 on him. Absolutely awesome, dude! Thanks!!  I possibly owe him my first born child in return.  I gobbled it down and as I pulled away he joked that he would try to keep me in his sights.  I laughed a little bit at the thought of me pulling away from anybody at this point.  However, as we entered the cemetary portion of the course here just prior to the mile 23 marker, I realized I was putting some distance on him. 

Ah, the cemetary-- how appropos.  At mile 23 it was so fitting as it was the place where Muddy (and many other runners I'm sure), go to die.  The Death March  had begun around mile 22.5 (see splits), but it was full fledged in the graveyard.  I wondered why marathons weren't 22 miles--sounds so much nicer than 26.2!  As we wound through, there was a decent winding downhill which really ripped up my quads big time.  I knew from a partial drive through of the course the day before that there was a short, steep ball buster of a hill, followed by an immediate down hill and then another short, upward dream crusher.  What they lacked in length/distance they certainly made up for in timing/location.  At any rate, I managed to survive, still all alone, and turn back out onto the roads and shuffle up to the 24 mile marker.

OK,  it's soul searching time.  "Only 2.2 miles.  Anyone can run 2.2. miles".  Although the spectators/course marshalls were doing their best to encourage me, all I could offer up were grunts and spitting.  I hated every single one of them at that point.  The fatigue and pain in my quads was substantial and my pace had slowed quite a bit (again, see splits below for absolute and definitive verification).  I struggled through mile 25 and began mentally chanting "All right, dickhead, only 6 laps around the track left."  Suprisingly, despite really, really hurting, I was able to pick up the pace, (at least it felt that way despite what the numbers say),  along main street and at the mile 26 marker, kids ringing bells and yelling and screaming enabled me to push it (slightly) and finish upright and smiling.

Unfortuantely, as I turned onto the Keene State campus, I heard the announcer call my name and hometown.  Also, as an added bonus, when you sign up online they ask you to provide a piece of information that is interesting--something the announcer can say about you as you finish.  I had provided a tidbit of trivia that I had forgotten all about until I heard something to the extent of: "He is a writer for the new running magazine 'Level Renner'."  On cue, I decided to try and throw up the LvL gang-sign (guess I'll post it another time for a visual).  I failed miserably as in my brain drained state, I couldn't figure out how to do it, although, admittedly, I've practiced dozens of times as a joke for my wife and kids.  Can't wait to see the pictures of me looking like an idiot doing a joined hand, flipping of the bird motion to the crowd around the finish line.  What an a-hole.

Ultimately, I finished 5th OA in 2:54:53.  My splits below (overall results here):
1. 6:22
2. 6:40
3. 6:35
4. 6:35
5. 6:23
6. 6:34
7. 6:30
8. 6:28
9. 6:32
10. 6:32
11. 6:37
12. 6:31
13. 6:15 [1:25:28 @13.1]
14. 6:39
15. 6:45 (golf course hill)
16. 6:17
17. 6:40
18. 6:32
19. 6:38
20. 6:37
21. 6:26
22. 7:13
23. 6:55
24. 7:15
25. 7:13
26. 7:18
Finish: 2:54:53

I was greeted by Greg (2nd OA), Boj, and a lot of the other Keenyans where I stumbled around, rehydrated, ate a little and marveled at how crappy I felt. A new PR and some sore hips and quads.  Although I thought several times during the last 4-5 miles "Who the f*#k would ever do this voluntarily?", I'll probably run some more marathons......maybe. 

But seriously, who in their right mind would find marathons to be "fun"?!?! I really think that training your body for 10 miles - 1/2 marathon is the way to go.  It offers up everything: weekly speedwork, creative medium runs, trail runs, tempo runs, long slow runs, and everything in between. It also gives one the flexibility to jump in just about any race, of any distance (within reason), at any time, and be fairly successful.  Right now I feel slow and sluggish, heading into some upcoming 5Ks and future short races.  

Anyway, it's over.  But the moral of the story is this: marathons are just idiotic and simply for those people who are gluttons for punishment.