Thursday, May 18, 2017

Return to Racing (Again), Class B Championships: Weekly Log- May 15 to 21

I became injured back in april and missed three meets because of it: two dual meets and the classic classic. None were important to me and I was racing at Schomp, so I wasn't worried. After becoming reinjured/hurt at Schomp, I then missed Southern Division Championships, the Loucks Games and the Moretti invite. All of those I wanted to go to. While it may be unlikely I'll PR or qualify for nationals this season, this week confirmed that I still do have some season left and it likely won't be interrupted by injury. Physical therapy stretching seems to be working, as my legs and back have been feeling really good while running.

Class B on Saturday at Home, 10 AM. No performance list released yet, but I know I will have competition in both of my races- 1500 and 3000. Hoping to win my first class title in the 3K, hopefully with a time of sub-9 that will get me into States. There are at least two guys capable of going sub-9:10 or faster, so I wouldn't say have a big advantage here. I would be okay with losing if it meant a fast time. The 3000's definitely my race, so the 1500 will serve more as a warm-up. I guessing Mars will run hard and I'll try to stick to him. I really am not sure of a time I want to run. I have no idea where my speed is at and whether I can pull a great race in 4:06, a strong one especially with my injury and go sub-4:10 or run another 4:13/4:14 (or worse?). I think sub-9 will be doable if its not too hot and hopefully I can go under 4:10 as well (may be my last 1500 of the season).

Monday: 8 Miles. Regular distance run + four Narragansetts, which were tiring. Pretty much skipped the cool-down altogether. Boring roads once again as I have used my pretty much any appealing route from the high school repeatedly. No back pain.

Tuesday: 6 Miles, Track Workout. First since early April. 10x400 @70 w/60s recovery and 3-min recovery between 6 and 7. Felt good right away and they didn't start to hurt until the 5 or 6th one. The break made me feel better as No. 7 was a 64. 9 and 10 were tough, but I got through them. Overall, this is a hard workout that usually I struggle with but this time I had no back pain and was more comfortable than I would have been pre-injury. Big confidence booster. Slowest split was a 68, most were around 67. Difficulty: 3/5.

Wednesday: 8 Miles. Another local roads distance run, this time extremely hot. Stopped several times, including in Library to pour cold water over my head and get a drink. Not an enjoyable run and not enjoying this heat.

Thursday: 7 Miles. Felt awful on warm-ups as it was scorching out. Relaxed myself as I knew it would be an easy workout with nothing longer than 400s and likely a set of 200s in there. I was correct in that prediction for everyone else, however I had 4x800 @ 2:20 w/90s recovery. I wasn't looking forward to it. They were more comfortable/enjoyable than expected, with one and two not feeling too hard. Third one hurt and was slower and the heat only stayed so coach allowed me to finish with 2x400 instead of the last 800. Surprisingly, it wasn't that much easier. Splits: 2:18 (67/71), 2:17 (68/69), 2:20 (69/71), 69, 67. Difficulty: 4/5. Really feeling it afterwards and had an extended cool-down. Ran to the library to cool-off before running shirtless and barefoot in the fields at Wilcox Park.

Friday: 6 Miles. Another scorcher and really felt this one. Just a couple miles in, was already really exhausted and taking breaks. Went to margin for some shade, but still felt really hot there. Shirtless gave some relief, but was so tired I dropped a 7-miler down to a five. I had sore/tight calves that were bothering me and my back was suddenly hurting again. Not a good sign. Hoping to sleep it off.

Saturday: 6 Miles, Class B Championships.

As usual, a long wait before racing the 1500. I ended up warming up earlier and longer than usual. My eating/drinking was off as I didn't know when the running events started and when I did I rushed both. It was very annoying constantly having to use the bathroom within half an hour of my race (even within 10 minutes). As I stated earlier, I didn't really know what I was going for in the 1500. I was hoping to run with Mars as long as possible, and hopefully get top three. Time-wise, I wanted to break 4:10, but really had no idea what kind of 1500 shape I was in and wasn't even sure 4:15 was going to happen. I was disappointed to find out both my coach and Mars expected me to lead.

After a good wait, it was time. Gun shot off and the usual sprint for positions occurred. For the first 100, Mars had a slight lead but wasn't going hard so I took over. Unfortunately, he was content to sit on me. I struggled keeping the pace even. Started out in 64/65, but dropped down to 68/69. There was some wind on the backstretch that didn't help. I was tired, but not totally dead. I tried to go, but never really had the energy, strength or motivation to put a real surge in the pace. And with Mars just running for the win, I couldn't rely on him. As usual, I was dog tired in the last lap and had nothing for a kick. Mars passed me with about 300 to go, but it was clear he still wasn't even pushing. He looked back frequently, as if he only wanted to have a slight lead to win as easy as possible and conserve energy for his next race. I hadn't felt contact from anyone else the entire race, but soon enough the outstanding Classical freshman Conor Murphy (I race his brother Joe last year frequently) caught up and blew by me. With 100 to go, I had thought I had third locked up but then I heard a 3rd guy coming up on me. I really wanted that 3rd place, all-class. I may have settled for losing to both Mars (inevitable) and Conor (probably couldn't have done much), but I would be very disappointed with a 4th place finish. I mustered up every ounce of strength I had. Chariho's Ed Golas was right there. I saw him right next to me and was ready for the pass, but I had just enough ground to hold him off. 3rd overall in 4:13.7. (Mars-4:11.0, Conor- 4:12.3, Ed-4:14.0).

I thought I had finished a little bit faster. I was neither thrilled nor disappointed with the performance. I certainly would have preferred to run faster, but it's clear that I lost a good deal of fitness with missing so much training. I felt that it went okay. I was somewhat happy I took top three and beat my time from Schomp, but also a little frustrated that Mars and Conor took me down easy and I ran more than 3 seconds faster last year while placing second.

The 1500 was decent, but largely forgettable. I had now raced two 1500s post-injury, and it was clear that I wasn't going to have any progress in the event. I wasn't sure if I'd fare better when dropping down to the 800 or bumping up the 3K, but was glad to have the chance against some strong opponents. However, I completely underestimated how much racing the 1500 would take out of me. I was absolutely exhausted with a burning chest pain and difficult breathing/dead legs. I knew I had some time, but was hoping to have as much recovery as possible. I wanted to drink some water and Gatorade to help recover/rehydrate before the 3K but I was still dead, and even half an hour after racing I knew I would throw up anything I drank almost immediately. After 45 minutes the sun came out and made everything hot again. I found some nice shade, starting to slowly sip water and tried to relax in the time I had left. I was very tired and had lost a lot of enthusiasm for the race. Originally, I wanted to attempt to crack 9 and pull off a win, but now with my new exhaustion and the heat, I'd be happy with sub-9:10 and top three, maybe a little slower. I stretched for a while in the shade, drank some water and Gatorade and tried to recover. I did a couple laps around the quad to see how I felt/warm-up for the 3000, and as expected, they weren't easy at all. Got final bathroom breaks out the way, some more stretching/shade with Aaron (also racing) before finally heading over.

I was nervous because I wasn't feeling great at all. Strides felt okay. I was hoping I could feel good/run a decent pace until at least two go and then gut it out as much as possible for the rest. I was anticipated a difficult race, but feeling tired pre-race doesn't always translate into feeling awful during. As far as I knew I had at least 5 other guys looking for a 9:10 performance: Kyle, Garrett, and Evan from Chariho, Hayden from Barrington, and Andre from North Providence. The two I was really worried about was Kyle and Hayden.

Part of my performance in the 3K usually depends on what point in the race I stop feeling comfortable. My best races (sub 8:50 performances at Yale and New Englands Outdoor) came from feeling great the whole time and even having a rare kick. I still had good performances (8:57 at Hendricken, at Outdoor States with 8:54, 9:03 at Indoor Division) feeling good until 1200-800 meters left. Sometimes I can even tough it out if only the 1K is comfortable. However, any race where I'm overly tired/feeling it in the first 800 usually does not end well. The first 200 has always been comfortable and easy. Until this race. Right from the gun, something was off. We went out in a 33, but it felt fast. Hayden took it out, which wasn't surprisingly because I predicted he would win the race. After 300 meters, the pace had slowed down and I took over. When we went through in 72 (38s-39s 200), I knew sub-9 was already not happening, at least for me. I was already uncomfortable. I wasn't going very fast at all, and Kyle took over from there. He picked it up from but wasn't running a blazing pace, yet it took a lot of effort just to stay with him. Over the next two laps, I became weaker and weaker and realized how dead my legs felt. Eventually, I was so tired that I couldn't run with Kyle anymore and he opened a gap. Since 5 to go, I had considered dropping out and my pace only got slower and slower. At a certain point, I had slowed down so much that Evan caught me (never lost a single race in HS to him) and opened a gap as well. I didn't even have enough to maintain top three. Garrett (never lost to him period) flew by in the last lap as I closed in a pathetic 77. I was pretty sure Hayden was next, but I actually had a bigger gap on him than expected. 4th overall in 9:21.00. The 3K is usually tough, but this was downright brutal and one of the hardest I have ever run.

Initially, I was extremely disappointed, almost devastated. This was the race that mattered, and I was so far off. I was destroyed by people I rarely lose to in the distance. Instead of taking my first class title or a respectable runner-up, I couldn't even get top three in a race that I probably could have won freshman year. I couldn't hang on to a slow 73s pacer. My time was slower than what I ran as a freshman. I was nowhere near the 9-minute barrier and wasn't close to 9:10 either. In indoor, my time from Yale ranked 2nd in the state. This season, I'm 26th.

After a few hours of reflection, I realize while far from a great race, my performance was not quite as bad as I thought at first. All three of the Chariho runners were completely fresh, while I had done the difficult 1500-3000 double. I still ended up beating Hayden, who had a similar struggle finishing 5th in 9:37. Most importantly, I had missed almost 4 weeks of essential training and racing. I didn't have all the past experiences of doubling up at meets. I didn't have the races or training to be able to go under 9:10 comfortably, like in indoor. I don't see how I could have run much faster in the race.

This was a defeat, but I was clearly expecting far too much out of myself without realizing how much doubling up and missed training would limit me from running fast times. This 3000 was tough, but a learning experience.

I don't know what's next. It's difficult to expect much progress in my remaining meets but also difficult to accept that I don't even have the fitness now to match any of my goals or even my fitness from last year at this time. This season I wanted to run 1:58, 4:04, and 8:35 but times of 2:05, 4:11, and 9:05 are more likely. Hendricken invitational next Saturday will likely be my next meet, but I don't know what I'm running and it could be my last this season.

Sunday: 7 Miles, Groton X-Town recovery.

Super fun trails in several different parks/preserves but got weak in the final miles and was happy to finish. Was surprised at the amount of spider-webs and small bugs out in the woods, but then realized that's part of the summer (almost) trail running. Glad to get back to trails, and these were certainly some good ones.

Weekly Total: 48 Miles
YTD Total: 764 Miles

More Reflection/Thoughts:

This was a very up/down week. I got past some struggles I've been having for a while, but unfortunately brought some new ones. A listing below:

  • Finally past the back injury
  • Able to race again
  • Got through two track workouts without much difficulty
  • Legs felt mostly smooth and loose throughout the week
  • Full, regular week of running without any interruption (first since early April)
  • Back still hurts bending/straightening (doesn't affect running)
  • 3000 felt short of expectations, both time and place wise
  • Fitness is clearly not what it used to be/where I want it to be
  • Heat is back, and more draining than ever

Last Two Weeks: May 1 to 7, May 8 to 14

Quite a bit happened involving running these past two weeks. My back injury has been very on and off, feeling great sometimes but awful others. So far, it's been a cycle of healing and feeling normal but then totally messing it up again when trying a workout or race. Besides one race and two hill workouts, I haven't done anything fast since April 15.

May 1 to 7

Monday: 8 Miles. Moderate river road loop (Pawcatuck). Back tightness and leg fatigue were present most of the run, so this wasn't enjoyable or smooth. Saw a chiropractor after practice, who pushed on parts of my back to realign my spine (which would happen again Tuesday and Friday).

Tuesday: 8 Miles. Beach street, riverbend cemetery and roads around there. Felt okay: some back pain and leg fatigue/weakness. Nothing out of the ordinary route-wise.

Wednesday: 7 Miles. Went to watch the last dual meet at Narragansett and did a moderately-paced flat loop on some of the blessing roads. Back didn't feel good at all, but overall I felt much better than I had the last two days besides some foot discomfort (although still breaking in new shoes).

Thursday: 7 Miles. Canal/high street loop, nothing exciting, but the real development was my back felt suddenly much better than usual. Cruised at moderate pace again feeling pretty good. Strides bothered it a little bit, so just took them easy.

Friday: 6 Miles. Ran easy and shorter than usual, yet had leg fatigue and back discomfort when unexpected. Apache neighborhood roads, pretty boring route. Decided to skip strides altogether to try not to make things before race day.

Saturday: 7 Miles, Schomp Invitational. Schomp is always a really stacked meet in all three distance events- 1500, 800 and 3000. In other words, it's the place to run fast times. I ended up not being able to do the 4x800 as I was taking the SAT until early afternoon, but still arrived in time for the 1500. I didn't know what to expect, but wanted a sub-4:10 time to give me confidence to run faster times later in the season. I talked to other guys in the race, and it seemed many were shooting for that same goal. I was nervous, but less than usual. I wasn't feeling great as my warm-ups and eating schedule were thrown off from me arriving a little later than usual and I felt weak and full on warm-ups. Strides felt fine however and after a long wait, our race was about to go off.

With such a stacked field, I was hoping I could tuck into the middle of the pack and just run there for the whole race. I was the 10th seed so I had to cut in a bit. I went out fast but comfortably from the gun and immediately found that the lead was mine, if I wanted it. I had no interest in leading, especially at this stage, so I slowed down a little and allowed EG's Hank Perretta to pass. I stayed right on his shoulder for the next lap before deciding that the pace didn't feel fast enough and took over control. We went through 400 in about 65. I felt that I made a surge on the backstretch and the pacing was going well, but was very surprised that no one would pass. I felt really good and thought the race was going very well. I still had the lead with 800 and tried to keep pushing. At 600, I still felt comfortable and ready to kick and thought the race may be mine. Shortly after, I lost the lead. Even though I thought I had been running fast I was only clocking 68s and I had no response to being passed. It was over. 4 or 5 guys went right by and were moving while I was suddenly really feeling it and couldn't muster any additional strength. I didn't end up having anything that lap and closed in a 68, while the leaders closed sub-60. I went from 1st to 9th and finished in 4:14.8.

I have never lost some many places in a track race before, and certainly never done so when leading. Disappointing and unexpected. Not only was it a bad performance, but it reactivated my back pain. On/off as usual, but bending it seriously hurt. I still went through and ran the 4x400 in 57.8, but had some discomfort while doing so and the pain that evening.

Sunday: 1 Mile. Planned 8 on the bike path in SK, but was immediately greeted with extreme discomfort/pain despite feeling much better when waking up. Tried stopping, walking and stretching but after a half mile decided to turn around and get back. Walking was pretty much just as painful as running so forced myself to run back. Went to urgent care later, where I was told I couldn't run at all until cleared by an orthopedic.

Weekly Total: 44 Miles
YTD Total: 678 Miles

May 8 to 14

Monday-Tuesday: 0 Miles

Wednesday: 5 Miles. Cleared to run again but scheduled to go to Physical Therapy. Only high-6s and flat roads/paths in Ninigret, but back was extremely tight and uncomfortable and my legs had all sorts of weird pains that were slowing me down. Nothing like Sunday, but not exactly encouraging.

Thursday: 7 Miles. Went back to the bike path to get the run in that I attempted Saturday. Had some weakness and some back tightness, but after a few miles I was feeling really good. Splits were fast, with a enjoyable and comfortable Mile 6 in 5:42 the highlight (downhill smooth roads with shade). Enjoyable and feeling better besides having to run with keys and phone in hand, which was extremely annoying.

Friday: 8 Miles. Thought I may have a shot at racing Saturday, but disappointed not to see my name on the performance list. Normal east ave run, not too hard on the pace. Pick-ups afterwards felt pretty good.

Saturday: 8 Miles. Ran the bike path again, this time from the Narragansett side. Really fun route and once again run started out weak, but gradually felt better and overall was comfortable and enjoyed it. Nowhere near as fast as Tuesday, but overall a good start to the day. Some back pain/tightness.

Sunday: 10 Miles

AM 8 with Dad on Sakonnet Greenway grass trails in Portsmouth. Wanted to get off the asphalt without getting onto uneven or slow terrain, and this seemed like a perfect choice. It wasn't. It poured Saturday night and a large portion of the trails were soaked, including ankle-deep sections. Overall not bad, just not a great day to come here.

PM 2 Breaking in Spikes on the track. .5 Warm-up, 4x150 strides in each new spike: New Balance MD800v5 for mid-distance and Saucony Endorphin for distance. NB felt good, but the three-ounce endorphin's felt a thick sock, or in other words there wasn't much too them. Will have to get used to that as I will race with them Saturday.

Sorry for the late posts. Will do better with keeping this updated next week.

Weekly Total: 38 Miles
YTD Total: 716 Miles

Racing 1500 and 3000 at Class B Championships on Saturday. 10AM at Westerly.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Weekly Log: April 24 to 30

Week following my back injury: unfortunately missed two meets.

Monday: 5 Miles, Fingers. Back felt completely fine, but I was a bit heavy and tired on this workout. Difficulty: 4/5.

Tuesday: 7 Miles. Enjoyable Matunuck loop with mostly light rainfall, occasional downpours. Felt really good and cruised at low 6s pace. Saw a doctor for the first time, who gave me medicine prescriptions for pain relievers and muscle relaxers.

Wednesday: 0. Based off the doctor note's, my coach told me take two days off and try to pool run instead. YMCA was only open in evening for public swim, so I biked instead. Some back pain, but I think that was from the bike and not my injury.

Thursday: 0. Mix of swimming and pool running. Swimming was uncomfortable, pool running hurt. Missed my first meet.

Friday: 7 Miles. Out and back on old Hopkinton and old cemetery road. A little uncomfortable, but back didn't hurt too much.

Saturday: 6 Miles. Similar to the day before, but felt a little better. This time in Weekapaug.

Sunday: 7 Miles. Went to watch the State Police and got a nice Narragansett run in as well. Felt very good and got to check out the canochet farm trail and Narragansett track.

Weekly Total: 32 Miles
YTD Total: 634

Overall, the distance runs were fine but straightening my back hurt often and while there may have been some improvement, not as great as I would have hoped for.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekly Log: April 17 to 23

Interesting runs with week off from April vacation and short NY/MA trip.

Monday: 5 Miles, Buttermilk Falls. Out hotel was near some ugly looking roads and only had sidewalks to run with a view of cars, so it was very relieving to find that there was a state park less than a half a mile away. Not only a state park, but one with great scenery and an amazing stair climb. It's part of the Cayuga Trails 50-Miler (which looks like an awesome race, but I'm not a huge fan of two loops). This run was one the best of the year, at least so far. I hate just doing 5, but the initial stairs ascent was at a brutal 13% and climbed up a mile. My legs didn't have much after that. While it became much easier and less scenic after, the rest of the trails were still very enjoyable. Back problems from Saturday were present, but I had discomfort instead of pain and most of the run I felt fine.

Tuesday: 10 Miles, More NY Running

Ithaca seems like a great place to run trails. I really wanted to check out Robert H. Treman State Park, but we had to run early in the dark so brutal climbs without much vision wasn't a great option (I'll definitely go back sometime in the future).

The first run was early morning, mostly in the dark on the Cayuga waterfront trail. A nice, about 7 mile paved biking running path. Unfortunately, it was not actually on massive Cayuga lake, but on a much smaller inlet. However, it was a fine route and one of my favorite terrains. I wasn't feeling great on this one and was actually okay with just 5.

Run #2 was much better. This run was mid-day at Green Lakes, a State Park east of Syracuse. There seemed to be a variety of terrain and places to run, but this was a quick run so we stuck to the main flat dirt path around the scenic lakes and added in a rolling hills grass path to get 5. Felt great on this run and could've kept going easily. There was an additional 5-10 miles of trails on the west of the park and 37-mile long Erie Canal trail was just across the street. I definitely would like to return to this general area of New York for more running.

Wednesday: 6 Miles, MA.

The Mount Holyoke Range always seemed like an amazing run, and I always hear about how brutal the Seven Sisters Race is. It was pretty cool to actually run in the range, but unfortunately I didn't like it as much as expected. The trail itself wasn't usually scenic and the difficulty of the Metacomet-Monadock trail was just a bit too high, at least for my tastes (maybe more fun in a race). The view on the top was rewarding, but the flat trails after that didn't seem any better than something I would find locally. There were a few highlights and great spots, but for the most part it wasn't what I expected. I later learned the seven sisters is on the other side. This was a pretty solid run and I was glad to try out a new location, but it simply didn't compare to the NY runs.

Thursday: 7 Miles, Back in RI.

Hillview repeats, 7x. Felt pretty horrible as I somewhat expected. First two went well (and I set the CR) but after that they got gradually slower and most of times were bad. My coach thought I did well, but I didn't really have much on this one. On the bright side, first time with no back pain doing something fast.

Friday: 7 in Mystic, easy paced road run with Dad.

Explored some new roads but wasn't anything outstanding. Felt good enough at the end to run my final mile in 5:52. One of those last-minute runs. Would have liked to run river road, but distance and time didn't really work out. Next time.

Saturday: 3 Miles.

Started a track workout. Didn't finish it. Despite feeling fine all week, on the hills, and during the warm-up my back started to hurt badly again and I only got through two 600s of 4 (and there were 5x400 after). My coach had me run an easy road run, but that wasn't going well either and I only got a mile in before coming back. I think this is the first workout I've ever not finished in any on my seasons.

Sunday: 0. Day off to try to rest.

Weekly Total: 38 Miles
YTD Total: 602 Miles

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Starting to Return with a Couple More Meets- April 10 to 16

Usually, I'm in great shape coming into the season, but this season is different. Indoor went pretty well, and I was hoping to come in just a little slower than I left off. With new PRs of 2:02, 4:07 and 8:44 (1500/3000) set in the indoor season, I was hoping to achieve 2:05, 4:10 and 9:05  in the first few weeks/dual meet season to have the confidence and ability to match those PRs when the first big meets after that. And after that, PR season.

This season has not gone as I hoped. I've felt less in shape than ever and have had the most difficulty starting up in any season ever. My first meet felt short of expectations and I really wasn't where I wanted to be. This week changed my outlook, at least a little bit.

Monday: 8 Miles. Felt terrible at school all day (tired) and was prepared for a brutal run. Surprisingly felt great and ran much faster than I expected. Somewhat enjoyable East Ave, Cemetery and Babcock (minus the sand and sidewalks).

Tuesday: 6 Miles, Track Meet. This was our second dual meet. I expected to run the 1500 and 3000. Against EG and WW. I knew EG had some good distance runners, and certainly expected some competition. I didn't know if I'd get any in the 3K as only Jackson would be a strong competitor and I had no idea whether he'd do it or not.

Jackson ended up not running due to Injury, so I was running 1500, 800, and 4x400. The 1500 was going to be a solo effort, while the 800 was stacked with nearly the whole EG squad- including 3 or 4 sub 2 runners. I doubted the race would go sub 2, but I was hoping to get a top position and run around 2:04. I knew the competition would greatly help. As for the 1500, I was hoping to keep it controlled and consistent and never settling too much. I didn't think my original goal of 4:10 would happen given last week's time and the lack of competition but I still hoped for a sub-4:15 effort and improvement over last week.

Again, like last week, I was very nervous. The dual meets used to be fun. Perhaps it's my lack of confidence and fast times this seasons that's making me nervous. I also think outdoor is the most intense and serious season of the three. I didn't want to blast out and wanted to make sure I kept going laps 2 and 3, but that plan went out the window immediately. I hit the 300 in a ridiculous 46 and the rest of the race was pretty much a disaster. I never felt terrible but got tight early. I was trying to push through as best I could but instead of hitting 67s and 68s I was hitting 70s and 71s. When I finished, I was hoping for a good time but didn't feel that I had run fast. It felt slow and I just wanted to it to better than last week's. It wasn't. 4:18.8. Super disappointing.

Fortunately, the 1500 didn't take too much out of me and I was able to recover pretty well. I couldn't have asked for a better field in the 800, at least in a dual meet. Immediately, it was a tight race. I already cut someone off and was pushing/kicking others. I found myself second in fifty meters but felt too comfortable and decided to make a move into the lead. I passed Kyle Martinez and took the lead, but didn't hold it for long. Quentin Viera took the lead after a just a couple seconds and was moving. I knew he had more leg speed than me, but wasn't willing to let a gap form so early and followed his lead. It felt good for another 100, where Hank Perretta passed me. The pace was starting to feel really fast but it wasn't too hard yet. I pushed to stay up there. Coming down the homestretch I noticed that Quentin was pulling away from Hank and I made a move to pass Hank, which took a good deal of strength from me. The second lap was brutal. 500 meters into the race, I was really feeling it. My entire body tightened up and I slowed significantly. Quentin pulled away with ease, and the passing began. First, Colin Ciancolo passed at about 500 meters, then Dante Prosseda at 600, and finally I was passed by Kyle at 650 meters. I had gone from 2nd and possible contender to 5th and fading badly in just 150 meters. Hank nearly got me in the last 30 meters and I felt him coming, but I ended up having enough to take 5th.

I wasn't feeling very good about my race at first. I felt that the first lap went well, but since I felt so slow, been passed many times and faded, I thought I had a run a terrible time. It was very pleasant surprise to hear 2:04, which was just about the time I was looking and a far better result than any of my previous times this season. That race will go down in my memory as the best dual meet race I've ever been in. I later found out that I went out in 58, which explains things. I want to break 2:00 as soon possible, and certainly felt that this was a step in the right direction.

In the 4x400, I was run down by a West Warwick runner (54s) to place our team 3rd instead of 2nd (57.3s for my leg). I was okay with the time but didn't feel great about losing a place.

Wednesday: 7 Miles. Had a horrible night after the meet, and this run was even worse. Felt like I was dying the whole time. Warm day, and I felt like I was baking. Couldn't go any faster than 7:20 pace and took a long break at the library to attempt to recover.

Thursday: 6 Miles, Hill Workout. Despite feeling awful on Wednesday and feeling tired the whole week, I felt amazing on these two sets of fingers. I felt strong the whole way, despite getting tired and heavy in the second set. Last time, the entire team was right on me. This time, they were a good hill's length away. Felt great about this one. Difficulty: 3/5.

Friday: 8 Miles. Really didn't feel like running, but fortunately got to run with Sam. Enjoyable loop through Winnapaug and Misquamicut. Went by quickly, felt comfortable and weather was pretty great too.

Saturday: 4 Miles, Track Meet. This was an odd track meet between Westerly, Stonington, East Lyme and Windham. The original plan was for me to run 4x800, 1500, 800 and 3000 with the 1500 and 3000 somewhat easy. We learned that Windham a couple of fast runners, including a 4:19 1600 meter runner so I would run his events- 1500, 800, and 3000 hard. I was a little disappointed not to run the 4x800 and wasn't looking forward to three events not too far from each other.

I didn't take it out as hard this time and let Windham's Alexander Korczynski take the lead. I ran right behind. We went out in 48, much better than Tuesday's 46. Despite a more relaxed pace and not leading, it got uncomfortable quick. After 600 meters, the lead pack was alexander, me and then an East Lyme runner. I felt bad about not doing any of the work up front and tried to make a move into the lead, but Alexander responded and I didn't have enough to push more and try and get around. I went back to second. I tried to stay with him as long as possible, and it was about 300 meters to go where he began to pull away. I didn't have much of a kick and he beat me easily by 3 whole seconds. I wanted to know my time. I heard him say his time was 4:09, so I was thinking I ran 4:13-4:14, which I would be satisfied with. I was hoping the gap wasn't any bigger than that. My time was 4:11.8 (he ran 4:08.8), which I was really happy with. 7 seconds faster than Tuesday and a sign that I'm not totally out of shape right now.

I had some back pain walking over to get my stuff, but it didn't seem too bad. When I started to do strides before the 800, it really hurt and I couldn't really finish the stride either. My coach told me to stretch it and after it did improve I was done competing for the day. Alexander ended up running about 2:03 and 9:30 (1st in 800, 2nd in 3000 to the same East Lyme runner from before). I was happy with my 1500, but definitely disappointing I couldn't do either of my next planned events as I would have liked to run 2:03 and 9:15.

Sunday: 0. Back pain still present. Hopefully will improve. Stretching it is awkward and doesn't seem to help much.

Weekly Total: 39 Miles
YTD Total: 564 Miles
Much happier with this week's races. Not everyone went well, but I feel that I'm starting to get back towards where I need to be. Not thrilled with this new back issue.

Friday, April 14, 2017

First Meet- Weekly Log: April 3 to 9

Kicking off the first meet home on April 3rd against NK and EWG. As usual, ran the 1500 and 3000.

Monday: 6 Miles, Dual #1.

Was looking for about times of 4:10 and 9:05. I feel like both, while not PRs, would be really good starting points for me and give me a good amount of confidence heading into to this season. I also felt that both weren't overly aggressive and doable.

After having a tough start and not feeling great or fast my first week of training and experiencing an a good headwind on the backstretch even though it was calm all day, I set B goals of 4:15 and 9:15, but secretly hoped for much better.

I was surprised to race both Sam Toolin and Ethan Wyllie, both of whom agreed they weren't feeling in top form either. I knew Toolin would beat me, but not sure how Wyllie would play into the race. I wanted to play it safe at the beginning and go out conservatively in around 66 seconds for the first quarter (on pace, just not really fast). Everyone took it right out and I had to go much faster than expected to take the lead without being challenged. Toolin got right on me and stayed there. There were other guys there at first, but they dropped off at 300. Going through 300 felt too fast and I slowed up a notch. I didn't receive any splits during the race but felt that the pace was just right. Ended up going through 400 in about 65. I felt really comfortable and felt the pace was perfect for the next two laps. At 200 to go, I still felt pretty good and tried to give it my all at the end. For a second, I thought I might have a chance but Toolin took off that last 200. I was feeling really good about the race and I thought I had run around 4:12. It was very disappointing to hear 4:16.

At first, I was pretty upset, being a whole 6 seconds off my goal. The more I thought about it, I think I could've run much faster. I just didn't push it enough and stayed comfortable instead. The 1500 took a lot out of me and I never really felt prepared to run the 3K. I had different degrees of tiredness, but even minutes before the race I wasn't feeling ready.

My plan was to try and run 72-74 second 400s the whole time to get a time of 9:15 or faster. I went out a tad fast in 35, but only because people were right on me. They dropped off quickly, and it went downhill from there. The only splits I hit in my target range were the first few, and they gradually got slower and slower. 74 seconds per lap already seems pretty slow for me for a 3000, but here those were my best laps and I was hitting 77s and 78s. It was only a few laps in where my legs started to feel really tired. I didn't feel super weak, but I could never overcome that leg fatigue. As one of the coaches from another gave me splits, I knew I was slowing. I heard 8:48 with 200 to go, and I figured 9:23 was possible. I picked it up a little, and was told I ran 9:22. The weird thing was, I was barely even tired after I finished yet my legs were dead during the race. If 9:22 wasn't bad enough, I later found I actually ran 9:28, slower than my freshman indoor PR.

After having a week to reflect on this, the 1500 wasn't too bad of a race. I wasn't used to racing outdoors, and still turned in a decent time in what was probably only a moderate effort. The 3K, on the other hand, was very disappointing. My PR is 8:44 and I want to run 8:33-8:35 this spring, so to be nearly a whole minute off that starting up is really discouraging. I'm sure things will only get faster, but I feel that a 9:28 would be slow even if I was told to jog it.

Next week, I should be doing the same events with good competition from East Greenwich. Hoping for times of 4:12 and 9:15 to get back on track. No more 3Ks over 9:20.

Tuesday: 7 Miles. Expected to have dead/sore body parts, but was surprised to actually feel pretty fresh. Just a few miles into the run, which wasn't even that fast, I got super weak and it only got worse. Took a break at my turnaround point, where a lady asked me if I was okay which was somewhat humiliating (guess I should starting taking my breaks in isolated woods) before bringing it back (unpleasantly).

Wednesday: 5 Miles, Hill Workout. Was feeling really crappy going in, but was happy to hear we had fingers, which are quick and interesting. I didn't feel like I had much, so my plan was to pull away/hammer in the first two hills then coast. It didn't work. Everyone was pretty close and I never really opened up the gap. My pace indicated that I did fine, but my lead and my coach did not. Didn't have a lot in the second set. Difficulty: 4/5.

Thursday: 5 Miles. Practice was cancelled as it was pouring all day. I didn't really know what to do. An off day certainly wasn't an option, but I had almost no interest in going for a cold rain run. I just wanted to get it over with, so I took a option somewhere in the middle of normal training and off day, a short and easy 5-Miler starting and ending in Avondale. It wasn't awful, but it wasn't fun either.

Friday: 6 Miles, Track Workout. Planned for Saturday, but I was taking ACT's on Saturday so I had to do it Friday. Conveniently, about 4 others couldn't make it Saturday. 22x200 @32-33s w/30s recovery, 5 min break (although it was more like 7) after 12. My legs didn't feel too bad, but with the super short distances it wasn't a brutal one, although far from easy. Difficulty: 3/5.

Saturday: 7 Miles. Ran in the afternoon after a stressful test-taking morning. Didn't feel like running, but enjoyed this one- felt great and enjoyed an awesome route in fantastic conditions. Ran somewhat fast for the first time in a while.

Sunday: 8 Miles. Waited a long time before starting (3:30PM start on a Sunday) and ran a mix of roads and trails, starting from Stonington Borough. It was kinda lame and kinda hot.

Weekly Total: 44 Miles
YTD Total: 525 Miles

Monday, April 3, 2017

Starting Up Again- Weekly Log: March 27 to April 2

First real week of outdoor track for me. It had a few highlights, but mostly just convinced that I had lost some fitness between indoor and now.

Monday: 6 Miles. First distance run for me. Chose a simple beach street/cemetery route and was surprised to get extremely weak just a few miles into the run. Stopped to catch my breath and recover, but didn't feel any better during a break. Ran in while very uncomfortable.

Tuesday: 6 Miles. 5xNarragansett in the cold rain. Wasn't feel great during the warm-up, and didn't feel too awesome on the first couple. Felt very comfortable after a few more and was able to maintain and then pick it up at the end. Difficulty: 3/5. Big confidence booster. Fastest average pace on hills ever.

Wednesday: 8 Miles. CT Asher loop. Felt heavy and couldn't really get the pace below 6:50. Overall, didn't feel too great on this one, but not quite as bad as Monday.

Thursday: 6 Miles, track workout. I thought Saturday was just a nasty one and then we'd have a break, but Thursday was nearly as difficult. 6x400 @68 w/60s recovery sounded tough, but I figured I could get through that and I'd be able to coast through everything after that. There was a nasty wind on the backstretch that played a factor in the workout. The 6x400 was all right. They were challenging and I felt decent but not great. I had some trouble catching my breath in the later ones. We had a 5-minute break 800/600/400/200 at 69s pace. I was hoping not to go long, and wasn't looking forward to this. The multiple lap distance were really tough for me, I was feeling it and I missed my splits, especially in the 600 where I wanted to quit badly. Difficulty: 5/5.

Friday: 5 Miles. Hill workout. Didn't want a workout the day after, but the condition was that we wouldn't have practice Saturday if we did this now so I was onboard. Dogged it somewhat, once again raining. Had the plan of at least taking it out easier than usual and seeing how I felt. Felt good on the first few, but got really heavy after that and struggled quite a bit. Difficulty: 4/5. 7xPark.

Saturday: 7 Miles in Green Hill, SK with Dad. Got to finally explore trustom pond and while small, it didn't not disappoint. Fantastic views and awesome trails. Definitely will return. The roads were actually very pleasant as well. Some heaviness.

Sunday: 6 Miles. Shakeout on Mason's Island. Fantastic weather. Took it easy at 7:05 pace. Was super consistent, although not really on purpose. Good run overall. Flatness and scenery were especially nice.

Weekly Total: 44 Miles
YTD Total: 481 Miles