Thursday, April 18, 2024

Looking back - April 1989

 35 years ago – April 1989: I lowered my mileage down to 328 for the month, mostly because I was aiming for a good run at the Boston marathon.  This was my first shot at the marathon, and I trained very hard with a goal of breaking 2:15. The week prior to the marathon I headed to New York City for the second annual Ekiden Relay.  This was a big money race that had teams from each of the 50 states and some international teams. Somehow, I ended up running the shortest leg of the relay a 7.5km (4.41 miles) dash through Central Park.  I ended up running the 2nd fastest time of the day 20:44 (4:42 pace), our team took 4th place, and I came home with $3,000.  The others on the team were Tim Gannon (14:10-5k), Paul Gorman (10.1k -9th pl), Dennis Simoniatis (9.3k-2nd pl), Wally Collins (10k 30:12, 10th pl).  Nine days later I lined up at the start of the Boston Marathon.  This was my first Boston and my first Marathon (I’ve done more than 50 races of the marathon and beyond since then).  I joined 5,122 others on a 67-degree day.  I felt great through 20k, and still pretty good through 30k, but the last 10k was just brutal.  My splits were 31:10, 32:10, 33:10, for the first 30km.  The last 12.2k took me 45:32 (5:59) pace but it was a lot worse than it sounds.  I staggered across the line and was promptly escorted to the medical tent and from there to the hospital.  Over 10 pounds of IV fluid later I was released.  Ouch!  I ended up finishing in 2:22:03 for 17th place.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Looking back - April 1984

40 years ago – April 1984: I only ran 255 miles with five days off due to a badly sprained ankle during the start of my sophomore outdoor track season at the University of Lowell.  I opened the month with the Fitchburg relays 5,000 meters.  We used to call it the “iceberg relays” because it seemed to always be cold and rainy at this early season meet.  Dennis Simoniatis and I planned to tie, doing the race as a hard workout.  We ran splits of 4:41, 4:48, and 4:38 for a 5k of 14:32.  Twelve days later I ran my first 10,000 meter track race at the BC relays.  My goal was to break 30:30 which was the qualifying standard for the NCAA National championships (D2).  I ran splits of 4:44, 4:50, 4:49, 4:50, 4:52, 4:56, and 70 for a 30:12.  That put me over a minute behind the winner (Dartmouth’s Sapienza 28:55).

Couldn't find a college pic of me and Dennis, but here were are going 1 - 2 at New Bedford in 1993


Sunday, April 14, 2024

Week Ending - 04/14/24

 Passed 160,000 miles lifetime this week.  14 weeks this year and my lowest week was 82 and highest was 94.  Still having issues with my left ankle but getting it checked out this week.  Pretty amazing week with the eclipse, skiing, some great runs, and biking in weather that felt like Spring.

Week - 85

Month - 169

Year - 1291

Life - 160,022

Bumped into Warren Angell on the XC ski trails

Sunrise eclipse day

Sunset eclipse day

Darkness in the middle of the day

Looking back - April 1980

45 years ago – April 1979: I ran 127 miles and took 7 days off during the first full month of outdoor track during my freshman year at Billerica High School.  I raced six times, mostly in dual-meet races.  I started the month with a third place 2 mile versus Central Catholic (11:47).  Five days later I lowered my PR by nearly a minute running a 10:50.4 and placed fourth in a meet against Dracut on our home track at the Marshall Middle school.  Two days later I ran a 11:00 2-mile against Tewksbury and followed that up a week later with a 10:58 versus Wilmington.  After that I ran a 2:25 for a half-mile leg in the Class Relays.  I closed out the month with an uninspired 11:18 2-mile in a dual meet against Andover.  In all I scored 14 points towards my letter.  I’m not sure how many points you needed but I ended up getting the outdoor track letter (a large green “B”).

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

CARS (Capital Area Race Series) race #1 - SEA 5k

 Due to injuries I hadn't done the CARS the last two years.  I was looking forward to getting back to racing in the Concord area again this year.  The Kezar Lake squad (Ernie Brake's club) looked strong so this year I'd signed up with the Northeast Delta Dental squad.  The team scoring is based on the top 3 Age Graded points, so it should be a good competition.  I haven't been feeling great with the major concern being my ankle which is always giving me some pain.  Lately it has been quite bad and since it has been 2 years since I last saw my podiatrist it is time to go back.  Still, I'm training pretty hard and my mileage is solid.  My hope was to run around 19 flat (and hopefully under).

I got in a nice warm-up/course preview with Ernie, Scott Clark, and Tim Cox (and his youngest son Broden).  It was nice catching up with the guys and commiserating about getting old and so many injuries and niggles. Right before the start Tom Raffio (NEDD) gave his prerace instructions and a birthday shout-out for me. In my honor, he also bought 250 donuts from Brothers for everyone to have after the race.  I also got a nice gift basket (in a Nike shoe box) from Kara and her girls with a bunch of gift cards (donut related) and a box of Capn' Crunch!  Sarah also gave me a big cookie and got Governor Sununu to honor my birthday with a proclamation and a flag flown over the Capital Dome!

Now I had to race!  I went out in 10th place and by 440 yards in I'd moved up to 9th.  Ernie Brake was a half-step behind as we hit the mile in about 6-flat (Garmin split).  Ernie pulled around and really accelerated at 1.7 miles.  I lost a couple of steps and thought the race was over.  We had a bit of a headwind at that time and Ernie tucked in behind Max Goupil.  I got back up to him at 2 miles (12:10) happy with the split and that it was a RACE.  By 2.5 I had a step on Ernie and we'd dropped Max.  I had visions of beating Ernie but he had other thoughts as he eased by me with 440 to go.  I had no reaction and struggled into the finish 4 seconds behind Ernie in 9th place running 19:11.  I knew Ernie would be me in the age graded as well as he is 2 years older than me.  I was disappointed with the time but happy that I gave all I had on this day.  I'm hoping to give Ernie a good race in 2 weeks when the next CARS takes place at NHTI.  Onward!


Monday, April 8, 2024

Week Ending 04/07/24

 My ankle has been shit for almost 2 months and this week was no exception.  I managed 84 miles despite the snowstorm and the ankle crappiness. I also raced at the end of the week.  More on that later.  Needless to say as my ankle goes so do I.  

Week - 84

Month - 84

Year - 1206

Life - 159,935

Monday, April 1, 2024

USATF NE 15km championship

 I decided to give the Frank Nealon 15km race a go as I'd turned 60 just a couple of days prior.  I'd done the race a couple of times (it has been part of the USATF NE grand prix series for a few years) but not enough times to be burned out.  I was a bit nervous as I haven't done a race longer than 5 miles in the last two years but was hopeful that muscle memory would carry me through.  I wasn't exactly feeling great as I'd driven 1,400 miles from Zephyrhills to Haverhill in 30 hours from Thursday 4am to Friday 10am.  A restful week in Florida at my parents house gave me hope that I'd banked enough sleep.

Healthy snacks my folks gave me for the ride home

Rocking the 1990 Track Suit

I arrived in Upton at 9am and quickly got my race number and headed out for a warm-up.  I figured with the longer distance I only need to do a couple of miles to loosen up.  Boy, I was feeling beat doing the first mile of the course.  Every little up-hill was a struggle.  Not a good sign.  I changed into my race flats, gingerly tightening the laces as my left foot has been killing me the last few weeks.  I decided to wear a long-sleeve CMS top and gloves as it was 40 degrees and the wind was howling (over 20 mph with gusts to 35).  Another easy .7 of jogging got me to the start line.  I felt bad as teammate Dave Harper came over to wish me a happy birthday and he tripped on the poorly marked curb!

I headed to the start line and counted back about 20 rows which would put me in around 200-250th place which would be about right based on past results.  I was hoping to run under 61 minutes and thought if I had a really good day I might be able to approach 60-flat.  As I lined up I looked around and spotted Terry McNatt (CSU), Alex McHenry (GMAA), and John Barbour (GLRR), which meant I was about where I should be.  It was quite crowded during the first mile and I passed the marker in 6:36 which was MUCH slower than I'd hoped for.  I felt lousy and figured I was in for a long day.  Over the next mile I reeled Terry in and we ran together to the 5k mark (20:30).  I was feeling a bit better and started picking off people.  I locked in with a younger Somerville RR guy and we rolled along reaching 10k in 40:40 and I began thinking that 61-flat would be do-able.  The rolling course and wind took its' toll over the last 5k, I didn't exactly fall apart (20:35) but lost the battle with 61 crossing the line in 61:15.  I ended up taking 4th in my new age group placing 201st overall in a field of about 650.

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Week Ending 03/31/24

 This week involved a lot of travel and after doing a 10 mile run on Tuesday I never felt very good.  At times I felt downright awful. My cranky ankle (crankle) was really bothering me.  It has been ramping up over the last couple of weeks. I managed 83 miles was my third lowest this year but not exactly a "rest" week.  I'd hoped to get in a decent run at the 15k championship which would be my first race as a 60 year-old.

Week - 83

Month - 369

Year - 1,122

Life - 159,853

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Driving back from Florida

 I left Florida at 415am on Thursday with the plan to finish the drive by noon on Friday.  I was kind of rushing it a bit as I wanted to be back with enough time to stretch my legs and get some sleep before the USATF 15k championship on Saturday.  I'd end up making the 1,400 miles in almost exactly 30 hours.  I only stopped 3 times on Thursday to run and then got to NJ by 11:30 pm.  I slept for a little less than 4 hours and was on the road again on Friday at 3:15 am and stopped another 3 times for runs.

I'd planned out a couple of runs but kept the planning a little looser as I wasn't sure exactly where I would sleep (or how long).  I wanted the first stopped to be after Jacksonville with my hope being I'd be early enough to miss any commuter traffic (I was).  I rolled into Crooked River State Park at 8am and was reluctant to get out of the car as it was pouring rain and 59 degrees.  I had hoped to check out a "tower" but had some trouble finding the correct path and ended up mostly doing a 4 mile run on the road.

Next up was a quick ride to Richmond Hill GA for a run in Fort McAllister state park.  Again my quest was a tower.  It turned out to be a nice trail, but quite muddy.  The tower was just a small observation tower overlooking the marsh.  After the trail I also continued on the road (scenic) out/back to the camp ground.  Nice park!

Now I had a LONG nearly 300 mile drive to Lumberton NC and Britt Park/Lumberton Greenway.  It was quite windy on the raised path along the Lumber River.  My legs were stiff from the driving and my ankle has been giving me grief for a few weeks and has really ratcheted up the pain.

I was thinking I'd run again on the Mount Vernon Trail near Washington DC but it'd be dark by the time I got there and I decided I was done running for the day.  I took a quick gallon jug shower in the park and hit the road.  I cranked up the music and slurped from my 2 liter of Mountain Dew to stay awake as I'd already been going for 12 hours and had another 8 or so to go.  I kept waffling on whether I wanted to stop at the Fennimore rest area in NJ or push on past NYC.  Again, traffic was my concern.  I decided that it'd be pushing things if I went past 11:30 so I ended up setting up shop at Fennimore.  I made a nice nest in the rear seat/trunk and sort of drifted off until 3:15 am.  After chugging more Dew I was on the road.  Three hours later I arrived in Hamden CT for a running on the Farmington Heritage Canal Trail.  I'd parked at this spot last year but this'd be a new run as I was headed north on the trail this time rather than south.  I was greeted with a chilly 40 degrees and a blustery wind.  It really took most of the run to warm-up and get to feeling something like real running. Part of that was probably running in the dark and part from the driving and lack of sleep.

Now with day dawning and me yawning I made my way back to Massachusetts with a stop in Marlborough for a run on the Assabet River Rail Trail.  I'd run on some sections of this trail but not this one, where I did a nice out/back run to Hudson MA.

I continued on to Plaistow NH to finish this 1,400 miles at Jiffy Lube for an overdue oil change.  I got in my final 3 mile run of the day while they worked on the car and had a quick stop at Pinnacle Physical Therapy to say "hi" to the gang.