Sunday, September 24, 2017

Last 3 Weeks- Weekly Logs: September 4 to 10, 11 to 17, 18 to 24

I somehow got very far behind on this blog. Since Injury Fund, I had three races and three regular weeks of training. I may end up copying my Strava descriptions for many of these because I don't remember them in detail.

September 4 to 10

Monday: 5 Miles

Easy Labor day run from home. Felt like complete garbage the entire time, which was not enjoyable.

Tuesday: 6 Miles

Hill workout, 2xFingers. First set felt mostly good, second set was very tiring. I definitely felt slower on set 2, but never extremely slow. Average pace was 5:49, the fastest I have ever done any hill workout. That part felt good. Difficulty: 3/5.

Wednesday: 7 Miles

Easy local loop from the school. Felt pretty heavy so didn't see the need to push it today.

Thursday: 6 Miles

Hill workout, 5xPark. Wasn't thrilled to do this the day before Stavros, which made me a little nervous we might take it easy at Stavros. They did cut it back to 5, which helped. Park never really feels good and I felt heavy and struggling from the start. Despite my struggle, I broke my record for fastest average pace on park (5:56), which was not only encouraging but would start a trend of significantly improving on hill workouts. Difficulty: 5/5.

Friday: 7 Miles

Stavros Beach Race. After warming up, I realized that my time would not be originally what I wanted (about 15:30) because my coach wanted me to run the first half only moderately hard and the course seemed much slower today due to a strong wind and a couple rocky or soft sections closer to the breachway. I still wanted to take a crack at the 16:20 CR as I felt the 50 second gap between all-out and CR would be doable with taking it easier and the slower course. My plan was to negative split, going out in 5:30, then running 5:20, 5:20 (16:10).

This worked very well going out. I felt smooth and comfortable, slowly picking it up without losing any speed annoying rock obstacles. I hit my first mile just sub-5:30 and was progressing even further. I only needed about a 5:26 average pace to break the record and I was confident I could do so. The turn was more brutal than I possibly could have imagined. It was an instant struggle. It didn't take long for my pace to drop and drop, and suddenly my goal was thrown out the window. After a while, I even had to throw sub-17 out the window. Finished around 17:12 in one of the hardest (and certainly windiest) last miles I've ever- 6:10. Super disappointing result. I couldn't believe how slow the actual time ended up. Going from a low 16s 5K to a high 17s in less than a week.


Saturday: 6 Miles

Varied things up for a pretty fun practice, but unfortunately it was another workout when my legs were begging for recovery. Went to Bradford preserve and did repeats on the lower field. About 4x650m field repeats w/90s recovery at 5:00 pace. Not sure on distance. Felt pretty good, but first one was strangely tiring. Difficulty: 2/5.

Sunday: 5 Miles

Tried town forest for something close, but still different. Liked how the trails were marked as I can't follow unmarked trails, but thought the majority were bland and many times overgrown. Disappointed as I didn't find a single trail that wasn't overgrown or a single trail that I liked. To make matters worse, I lost my car key in there as well which is a first.

Weekly Total: 42 Miles
YTD Total: 1,650 Miles

Weekly Highlight: Hill workouts were very solid, and I was happy to make big improvements in my average pace.

Weekly Lowlight: Stavros, a race I had been looking forward to for a long time, ended up having the slowest and least enjoyable course in years.

September 11 to 17

Monday: 8 Miles

First dual meet at St. George's. Main competition was Chariho. I felt terrible all day and pre-race, so I really just wanted to win here, but I knew it would be a grind as Chariho's runners have improved tremendously since last year and have actually beaten me on their best days.

I was a little nervous and no interest in running. I was surprised how close they stuck to me. Big group right on me for the first mile, which wasn't very enjoyable and kept me nervous. First mile was decent in 5:07, but I felt terrible and it only got slower and slower after that. The chase pack managed to drop to 1, but he was only a couple meters behind and he was staying right there. I wanted to put in a surge, but I had absolutely nothing. The gap remaining even on the downhill and when he caught me on the up, I knew it was over. I had no response. I lost, and now it was only a matter of how many others would catch me. Surprisingly, he didn't pass and once we got back on flats he fell behind again. I was still convinced he would outkick, but my chance did go up. Suddenly, he felt really far back after the 2-mile mark (about 10:37). I slowly made my way in but had zero energy or strength. 16:50. The time seemed horrible, but after looking at total elevation gain (250+) I was more pleased with it. It turns out Chariho runners had a plan to run the first two miles hard, then drop off. Weird. Not sure if I would have taken the win in an actual race or not.

This picture sums up how I felt the whole race.

Tuesday: 0 Miles.

Took a much needed day off.

Wednesday: 8 Miles

Was still sore today and was glad to have an easy run rather than a workout. Thighs were extremely sore going out, but after a couple miles, it got much better and I began to run very comfortably for the rest, feeling better as I went on. 

Thursday: 6 Miles

Hill workout, 8xHillview. Didn't feel great, but kept the trend going and broke my PR for fastest average pace on the hill (6:07). Difficulty: 4/5.

Friday: 5 Miles

Got to miss school for some college visit, which created an opportunity for some cool runs in NY and VT. First one wasn't so enjoyable, as it took place in the deep, dark forest. Had some trouble with vision on this- could barely see anything in the dense, dark forest. Pretty cool wide easy double track. Pace was super slow (9+) just because of how dark it was. Fairly hilly- 700+ ft elevation gain.

Saturday: 8 Miles

Returned to the same location with the intention of doing one of the hills hard. Ended up running up a mountain first (Prospect mountain) with unreal views, doing a short but fast road workout on the auto road (4x50ft gain), before taking a steep trail down and then running down the auto road for two miles (-8% grade) at sub-6 pace (not taking hard, just so steep). Enjoyable diversion, one of the most unique runs I've ever done (going from 12+ min pace to sub-6). Difficulty: 2/5. Nearly 2000 ft elevation gain.

Sunday: 6 Miles

Extremely boring/exhausting run at Stratton mountain. Paled in comparison to yesterday's run. Sunday was a crap day in general.

Weekly Total: 41 Miles
YTD Total: 1,691 Miles

Weekly Highlight: Saturday's run was a lot of fun as there's no better feeling than reaching the top of the mountain and savoring the amazing views.

Weekly Lowlight: Monday's meet was just a new level of feeling terrible during a race. Not sure if the struggle has ever started in the first quarter mile before.

September 18 to 24

Ocean State Invitational this week, big opportunity to get in a solid effort.

Monday: 7 Miles

Track workout, 22x200 @33s w/30s rest. Usually 200s are the one thing that I can get through easily on the track, but I just wasn't feeling it. It was exhausting for nearly all of it. Hit my splits well, but never felt great. Difficulty: 4/5.

Tuesday: 8 Miles

Legs were very trashed, so I took it slow and tried my best to recover.

Wednesday: 8 Miles

Similar to Tuesday, once again my legs felt very tired and I took it easy.

Thursday: 7 Miles

Tried something different for a change, we met at one of the coaches house and did a hill workout near there. It was 2xForrestal (long but not steep), 3xMidway (a little steeper, but short). Midway felt easy, Forrestal was exhausting. Legs got heavy but I had a lot fun doing something different. Liked the peaceful neighborhood feel. Difficulty: 3/5.

Friday: 8 Miles

Easy shakeout before Ocean State. Felt mostly good but heavy. It was very windy out which made the run more difficult.

Saturday: 10 Miles

Ocean State Invitational. Overall, it was a fun day. This is one of my favorite meets out there. I've done since 7th grade and am somewhat sad to leave it. I always feel terrible and am extremely nervous pre-race, yet I felt fantastic and wasn't nervous at all this time which was a pleasant and welcome change. 

This helped me feel more confident than usual. My coach wanted to take it out easier and take somewhere in the chase. Everyone went out fast, and I didn't have the best start. It was bunched up and uncomfortable for the first quarter mile, but I quickly made my up to a good spot. There were many soft sand sections that were difficult to run through. Went through the mile in 5:00, about 10 seconds behind a gigantic lead pack that was possibly 20+ people. Started passing left and right, working my way all the way up to 6th. Felt smooth, comfortable and confident, perhaps the best I have felt in a race since last outdoor season. The passing was halting by more soft sand and I ran with a couple guys for the last mile, going back and forth. I was a little tired in the last mile and let up too much. I was able to push myself at the end. One of the guys beat me, I held off the other. I felt like I had put in a very solid, so seeing the clock tick past 16:10 was extremely disappointing. Finished 7th in 16:16. The effort I put in felt really strong, but the time didn't reflect that. I'll take it for now, but am waiting for some kind of breakthrough in time. Today's breakthrough was just feeling much better.

Sunday: 0. Day off.

Weekly Total: 48 Miles
YTD Total: 1,739 Miles

Weekly Highlight: Fun hill workout on Thursday.
Weekly Lowlight: Feeling garbage Monday-Wednesday.

Next week, I have two dual meets, Tuesday at Middlebridge and Thursday at Bradford Preserve. 

I did not check this post for spelling/grammar errors, so please excuse them.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Summer Wrap-Up

The summer is awesome. There's lots of downsides (heat, humidity, bugs, crowds), but the freedom and general rest (school break) makes it an enjoyable of couple of months. I tried to make the most of it for running by getting more enjoyable runs in. For racing I tried to cut back to avoid end of the season fatigue, especially as this is senior year now. While this approach kept running easy/simple and I still got plenty of fun races in, it didn't feel right as I just seemed to miss out on a lot. I'll take for this year, but am hoping 4-5 races the whole summer is not a regular thing for me.

In total, I got about 4 all-out races in, 6 including the fun run and pioneer ridge, and 8 including moderate efforts at Alaska Men's Run and Wahaneeta. I never had any downright terrible races like last summer, but at the same time I didn't accomplish much of anything either. Here's how I would rank those races, from worst to best (not including moderate efforts).

6. Capital City Classic 10K
Concord, NH
Time- 34:42
Place: 5/459

It's interesting how my only PR of the summer ranks dead last as the worst performance of my summer. The 10K is a distance that is a privilege to race for me, with my limited availability for road races and the rarity of the race usually making it difficult for me to get a race in. I made sure this summer to get in an opportunity to run this distance. I felt that 5:15-5:20 pace was a good target for me, but I simply did not have enough running since outdoor track ended or enough endurance in the longer distance. To add on to that, it was an absolutely horrible day for racing with temps in the high 70s and a near 100% humidity. Had the weather been decent and I had trained for this, my actual time being two minutes off goal time would have been terrible, but it wasn't the right day to run so I can take being way off for now and wait for a better time to pursue a time. The mistake here was not planning out training/race schedule better, not the race itself. As for the race, I blew-up big time, starting out in 5:12 and going all the way up to 5:55. I would not do this race if I could re-do the summer.

Grade: C+

5. Pioneer Ridge Vertical Mile
Palmer, AK
Time- 1:29:44
Place: 14/72

I'm not sure what to say about this one. I'm definitely glad I did it, as it created a new challenge that I enjoy and want to try out. The brutal factor was off the charts with a constant 21% grade, so I don't know how to rank myself on this performance. During the race, I felt like I was doing terrible and nearly gave up halfway in, but at the same time I completed an entirely new type of mountain race and broke a PR for elevation gain in a run. I was glad to complete it, but nearly the whole way it seemed like I was wimping out and not pushing it to my potential.

Grade: B-

4. Bobby Doyle Summer Classic
Narragansett, RI
Time- 26:52
Place: 13/357

Bobby Doyle was the only real road race I went into with a specific goal and the proper training to achieve that goal. Coming my faster 5K effort (about 5:05 pace), I figured a time in the low 26 range would be doable. Went out hard and started to fade badly miles 2 and 3 before recovering somewhat to save me from a terrible time. Wasn't thrilled with my pace and certainly wasn't content with my overall time, but some of that had to be the brutal 100% humidity as others ran similar pacing. Not a PR, but not PR conditions either.

Grade: B-

3. Loon Mountain Race
Lincoln, NH
Time- 1:05:20
Place: 11/462

In terms of shaving off time, I wasn't as successful as expected. I took off only about 30 seconds (converted, longer course this year) but the better part of my race was how it felt. Last year as my first mountain race it was a struggle as I simply had never attempted to run such steep grades. I figured it would be similar this year, but I actually found much of the course to feel somewhat easy and managed to hold my own on the ups. While not a huge time difference, walking much less and feeling better seemed like a big improvement.

Grade: B+

2. Run with the Beavers
Chepachet, RI
Time- 1:05:48
Place: 4/123

I came back with my sole goal to improve significantly from my terrible 2016 race. I was successful. The first lap felt really smooth and enjoyable. The second lap was tiring but nothing like last year and was faster than anticipated based on how I was feeling. I was happy with my time- a 7 minute improvement from the previous year. It felt like I had redeemed myself, but since I came out mostly for fun, running well here didn't mean much to me (at least compared to other races).

Grade: B+

1. Westerly Fun Run (Week 6)
Westerly, RI
Time- 16:21
Place: 1/120

One of my goals this summer to break the CR at the Westerly Fun Run. With only a 16:30 for time, it doesn't seem hard but the amount of turns make it a slower course (people usually run 0.08-0.15 more miles than 5K) and it would take a sub-16 effort to beat this. I wanted to get in a fast 5K and went for it. Went out hard and controlled and stayed fast enough to keep 5:06 average pace or faster the whole time. Managed to get it at 16:21, but the accomplishment was the converted time here: at or below 15:50. Felt good to run that fast, was happy to feel mostly smooth while doing it and thought pacing was smart as well.

Grade: A

This summer seemed like a good way to combine fun races without going hard too often. I would've liked to crack some more PR's/fast times but for this important season maybe it was right. Next summer I want to change things up and try some different races. Here are some possibilities/thoughts right now:

-Mt. Washington (always wanted to do this but would have to make it in by lottery and work with my track schedule)
-B.A.A. 10K
-Beach to Beacon 10K (again, would have to get in lottery)
- Run 4 Kerri
-Destination race
-Road 5K
-Westerly Fun Run

That's a year away, but those are my thoughts right now. Whether I do any or all of them could completely change by that time. I really have no idea on other races either.

The summer wasn't all about racing and one part of it was training. I increased my mileage overall and ran over 50 miles nearly every week with my top one at 67. While I was glad to break my weekly mileage, it never felt like I was pushing and I could always do more. I did track workouts most Thursday and doubled most Tuesdays/Thursdays. Aside from that, I got to try out new places which was always fun exploring. While I didn't do these unique runs as often as I wanted, it was blast doing them. See some of the highlights below (in photo form):

Weekly Mileage Breakdown (click to enlarge)
Run for Sam at Bradford Preserve, Mid-June

Beavertail State Park: Jamestown, RI, Mid-June and Mid-August

Groton Roads and Poquonnock River Boardwalk: Groton, CT, Late-June

Henderson-Swasey Town Forest: Exeter, NH, Late June

Breakheart Pond: Exeter, RI, Early July

Santa Monica, CA, Early July

Denali National Park and Preserve, AK, Early July (and the rest of Alaska)

Papago Park: Phoenix, AZ, Mid-July

Devil's Hopyard State Park: East Haddam, CT, Mid-July

Ragged Mountain Memorial Preserve: Berlin, CT, Late July

Wadsworth Falls: Middletown, CT, Late July

Green Falls: Voluntown, CT, Mid-August
Newport Cliff Walk: Newport, RI, Mid-August
While I got to do some fun and unique runs, I would have liked to do more and there were far too many days where I felt I just settled for some local run when I could have went out and explored. Here's a list of places I do want to run at sometime in the near future (maybe next summer):

-Fort Getty and Fort Wetherhill State Park: Jamestown, RI
-Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge: Middletown, RI
-Colt State Park: Bristol, RI
-East Bay Bike Path: Barrington, RI
-Castle Craig: Meriden, CT
-Sleeping Giant State Park: Hamden, CT
-Talcott Mountain State Park: Bloomfield, CT
-Nehantic State Forest: East Lyme, CT
-Pachaug State Forest: Voluntown, CT
-Mt. Monadnock: Jaffrey, NH
-Long Island: Orient Point, NY
-Block Island: New Shoreham, RI

Cross Country Expectations

Right now, I'm focusing on the present which is my final HS XC season. My junior year for running wasn't as big as I expected. Cross Country went well overall but I was unable to convert my two months of success into a strong post-season. I had great races here and there in indoor, with plenty of good ones but others that were a bit off. Overall, it wasn't a huge improvement over sophomore times and unfortunately, hardly anything happened in outdoor as I spent the good portion April and May recovering from a back injury. I was way off on original time goals exiting the season.

I'm hoping to make my mark with a strong season. So far, this is my schedule. I don't know how many I'll actually go to.

I'm excited for all the dual meets, Stavros, Ocean State Invitational, and the East Bay Challenge. Hoping for strong finishes at Class, States, and New Englands as well as running well in either the Nike or Footlocker Northeast regional meet (post thanksgiving, both in NY). I have little interest in Injury Fund, Avenger Invitational, or Brown Invitational. The Woods Trail run sounds neat, but I'd rather race the new pumpkins 8K.

My main goals for this season are:

1. Fast Times

While obviously some courses are slower than others, I'm hoping to break 16 as much as possible if not break 15:50 as well. Both Goddard Park and Ponaganset seem like the fastest courses, so hopefully I can run respectable times there. I ran 16:01 at the Glen last year so I want a time around 15:45 there this year. On my home course, I would like to run around or faster than 16:20, and for the rest I'm not exactly sure what to expect.

2. Top Places

After a disappointing 8th at the state meet last year, I want to move up. I want to make top 3, but would certainly be satisfied with top 5. I should be able to pull out a win at the Class B championships, and hopefully can run top 10 at New Englands. I'd like to place top 10 at a regional meet and qualify for Nike or Footlocker nationals but my fitness level would have to greatly improve for that to happen. Hopefully, I can win several RI-only meets and possibly all of my dual meets.

3. Strong Races

While I want to run consistently, I certainly hope to have some races that break my expectations and will be memorable in my future. Last year, it was running a 16:01 at the East Bay Challenge. I want to have a least a couple races this year I'll be remembered for.

The summer offseason is over, but makes way for another competitive year of cross country.

Injury Fund- Weekly Log: August 28 to September 3

XC started last week, but ramps up a little with the Injury Fund Carnival serving as a first meet. Unlike the other injury meets (for track), this one unfortunately lacks the enjoyable and low-pressure environment, instead serving as a invitational-like meet for all rhode islanders where fast times are expected. While I don't enjoy this one, especially factoring in the awful EG two-loop course, I'll try my best to get a win and a fast time in.

Monday: 7 Miles.

Woody Hill in the morning with Dad. Enjoyable run. I used to dislike Woody Hill trails but am beginning to enjoy it more and more every time. Usual start at Bradford Preserve, and ran a little further in this time, opting to explore some of the new but enjoyable (and technical) NEMBA trails. Coming back on Hansel and Gretel is always a treat. Tired at first, but felt good after a few miles.

Tuesday: 6 Miles

Missed practice, so had to do my workout earlier in the morning from the high school. I wasn't looking forward to this, so just wanted to get it over with quickly. This was not one of the best workouts. I felt super heavy on the warm-up, which wasn't great going into a fast hill workout. It was 7xPark. I started off decent enough, but the heaviness only got worse. About halfway in, I started to struggle and the times began to slow significantly. By the end, I had recorded some of the slowest splits (for me) ever on the hill and had absolutely nothing left. Even dropped a whole mile off on the cool-down. Difficulty: 5/5.

Wednesday: 7 Miles

I get bored running from the high school so often, but since it was my first official distance run since June, I made a familiar route feel fresh (Canal/Springbrook). I had no intention of going hard (especially with trashed legs), but managed a sub-6:30 without ever feeling out of my comfort zone. Really enjoyed this one.

Thursday: 7 Miles

Track workout. Saw/heard that we would have 5x800 and I wasn't looking forward to that. I was hoping the recovery or pace would be generous enough to make it doable, but was really dreading it. The splits were very doable, but the short recovery would keep it a harder effort. 5x800@ 2:28 w/60s recovery. As I thought the pace wasn't too taxing and I was actually fast on most, but was increasingly tired going into each one. 1-3 felt pretty good, 4 was the turning point where I was feeling it. Got a little more recovery before 5, but that didn't keep it from being a total struggle. Was surprised to have a fast 400 after 5 mins recovery post-5x800. It went all right, was pretty smooth but I was dead afterwards. Splits: 2:23/2:23/2:24/2:25/2:26/60. Difficulty: 4/5. Hard, but not brutal.

Friday: 6 Miles

Easy run before the meet. Felt really comfortable once again, but still tried hard to slow down the pace as much as possible. Legs were heavy and felt weird.

Saturday: 9 Miles, Race Day

Pre-race was all garbage. Didn't get a whole lot of sleep and was having GI issues/stomach sickness, combined with the fact I never liked this meet anyway made me less than enthusiastic to race. However, there were a couple positives. I got to run in the first boys race of the day at 9:30 (hate waiting around and running mid-day) and the course was changed to rid of the two-loop format. I was facing LaSalle which made a win unlikely and the new course change was supposed to be slower, so I wasn't sure to adjust my goal or throw it out the window.

I went out more contained than usual, still taking a lead but not overdoing it. It didn't take long for a huge pack to form behind, which was a little annoying. The first half mile was nice, before turning onto a soccer field. That part wasn't my favorite- pavement crossings both ways and the field itself was soft and had sharp turns. It didn't help that there was a bunch of guys sitting on me, breathing down my neck. They seemed content with me setting the pace, even if I had already started slow. Didn't get the mile split which was frustrating. I think it was around 5:05. Max DiMuccio and I went back and forth with the lead, but I mostly held it. It didn't feel like I was running very fast, but I never felt an extra gear to tap into and didn't make a move. I started to get start tired before mile 2 and was passed by three guys- Joe DosReis, Max, and Dom Campagna. Joe has an insane kick and I wouldn't be surprised to lose to him, but I go back and forth with Max and usually beat Dom so I wanted to hang in there. For some reason, despite going out much slower I still lacked an extra gear to make something of the race and they gapped me by 10 meters or so. 2 miles in 10:22, which seemed disappointingly slow. The gap continued to open, but surprisingly I was left in the race and only 20-30 meters behind. In the last 800, Max and Joe pulled away more. I knew they had beat me and Dom still had a decent gap on me so I was almost content to just jog it in. He started to come back a little and I managed to snap out of my wimpy state and muster any remaining strength to run him down. It wasn't much of kick, but I managed to pass Dom. I was running scared, but I guess he was tired at that point because I held him off.

3rd in 16:21. Seemed awfully slow, but I don't know how much the course had to do with that. I was happy to be within 10 seconds of two runners contending for the state title (Joe- 16:11, Max- 16:15), but a little disappointing I never had an extra push in the second half and settled for letting them go. Not an excellent start, but I'll take it for now. I was a little worried Joe and Max had run easy and still beat me, but in Joe's interview he said it was hard effort on a slow course, so that made me feel a little better. Full Results here. Photos are by Milesplit RI.

Sunday: 8 Miles

Woody Hill recovery run with Dad and Tom. Pretty similar route to Monday, but was not feeling great and it was pouring so it was a lot less enjoyable today.

Weekly Total: 50 Miles
YTD Total: 1,608 Miles

New feature: Weekly Highlights/Lowlights and Next Week's Preview

I've always wanted to have an easy recap at the end of the week and follow other's formats of a weekly highlight, but never got it together. Hoping to keep this a regular thing, but wouldn't be surprised if I forgot in the following weeks.

Weekly Highlights: Wednesday's distance was nice to get back into a faster pace, but even nicer to feel very comfortable doing so. Hoping to have more runs like this.

Weekly Lowlights: Tuesday's workout just seemed like a disaster. Not what I expected at all, and a pretty bad blow-up mid-way.

Next week should be pretty light, with just one fun race at the end: Charlie Stavros Beach Race. Hoping to hammer and run at or near 15:30. Probably a workout either Tuesday or Wednesday.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Start of XC- Weekly Log: August 21 to 27

Unfortunately, the summer offseason is over. While I have 2 weeks before school starts, running freedom has (mostly) ended and now I am chained to the boring schedule that my coaches create: hills, track, school runs, and not much else.

Monday: 5 Miles

Went to Bradford preserve and got in an easy but enjoyable singletrack run. Ran the cross country course first before adding on the pumpkins section. Had a lot of fun running hansel and Gretel (although when is that not fun?).

Tuesday: 7 Miles

Was supposed to have Monday and Tuesday workouts, but was never informed of what they were so made up my own: 4x800 @5K (2:30 target/5:00 pace) w/400m recovery. Ran over to Avondale pretty late in the day (6:40 PM) as a warm-up, before doing the workout on the Avondale road loop. Did not realize how windy it would be, but the workout went smoothly. Each one felt uncomfortably fast, but went by quickly and for the most part, I was under target pace. It got tough at the end as I started to hit the wind in the final 200, so 4 seemed like enough this time. Splits: 2:29/2:27/2:28/2:25. Difficulty: 3/5. Cool-down back home hurt as I was pretty heavy and exhausted by then.

Wednesday: 10 Miles

Went to practice expecting an easy 6 mile distance run before heading over to Stonington to get in a decent effort at the new fun run, but was surprised to hear that I had a timed mile. I was feeling especially weak before and on warm-ups, so I wasn't too thrilled. Ended up doing surprisingly well. My goal was to crack 4:40, but I wasn't confident I could do that. Ended up going out in 70, which felt good but seemed awfully slow. I had to pick the effort up and was no longer comfortable going through in 2:20. I gave it what I could the last 800 and somehow closed in 2:14 to run a 4:34, a big surprise and within 10 seconds of my actual PR. Huge surprise to negative split it, I usually go the other way around. Felt much better, but trashed on the cool-down.

The fun run after was pretty awesome, but my legs were not. Hung with the leaders for a little bit but my heavy legs were not reacting so well, so I fell back, recovered mile 2 and then did what I could to pick off people in the last mile, which felt mostly good. Ended up moving from 6th to 2nd, finishing only behind Chris who had a good lead on the whole field. Loved the whole thing except the track start/finish. The two way traffic was a little annoying, but understandable to make the 5K distance without sacrificing trail running.

Thursday: 7 Miles

Narragansett hill workout, 5 repeats. Legs were not so great but I felt better than expected and put in a consistent, solid effort that wasn't too slow. It got tough starting with the 3rd one, but fortunately I didn't let up too much. Difficulty: 3/5. Longer CD to make 7 for the day.

Friday: 8 Miles

Went to Boston for some college tours and squeezed in a run on the Charles River bike paths next to BU. It was interesting to see the amount of path there available for running in the city but I wasn't very impressed as they were always so close to a road and usually pretty crowded. I can't imagine biking there. Once again legs were a bit crap. Added on an easy 3 miles at home later, which felt much better as I took it pretty easy.

Saturday: 6 Miles

10x400 on the track w/90s-120s recovery @69s each. Was terrible with the pacing on this one, ranging from a 64 to a 71. Can't remember the exact splits but they were something like: 71/68/64/67/67/67/66/65/67/66. They felt okay- since it was only one lap it was never brutally hard but each was somewhat tiring and didn't feel that great. The longer recovery really helped. The last three hurt. Was dead on the cool-down and didn't run much extra.

Sunday: 0 Miles. First off day in a while. Wanted to run, but probably best to take a day off now.

Weekly Total: 43 Miles
YTD Total:  1,558 Miles

I have my first meet next Saturday. Hopefully that will go well, but not looking forward to it. Not proud of this weekly total, but I simply do a lot less in season with less freedom and motivation.

Bobby Doyle Summer Classic 2017

The summer is absolutely loaded with competitive road racing, and even Rhode Island has its share of races. Most notably, the late July/early August trio of road races stand out above the rest. Those three are The Blessing of the Fleet 10 Miler, Run 4 Kerri and the Bobby Doyle Summer Classic, all one weekend after another and located in southern rhode island. It’s common to see fast paces at all three, which drew me in for the trio in the past two years. This year was a bit different as I wanted to cut back on the number of races I did. I ended up just running Bobby Doyle this year. With only one race left on my schedule, this one worked the best for many reasons. It gave me the most recovery following my July races, I felt that it was the best distance to attempt a PR at (of the three), I didn’t have the training to go long and the numerous amount of changes made it interesting (unlike Blessing and Kerri which were just slightly different editions of the same race). This year was non-Grand Prix which would be neat to not see that insane depth of the field and the weather would be better than last year’s unbelievably horrible conditions (mid-80s degrees, near 100% humidity). The biggest selling factor was the course change. The old course was a bit strange with 15+ turns and consisted of two out and back lollipops while the new one minimized turning (about 7) and had many long stretches of fast roads (similar to blessing).

Given my sub-15:50 effort at the fun run a weeks ago, I thought low 26s was doable. My goals went something like this:

  1. 26:00 (5:12)
  2. 26:20 (5:16)
  3. 26:40 (PR, 5:20)

I also wanted to place well, but wasn’t sure how the field would shape. Top high schooler was definitely on my mind but nowhere near as important as my time goals.

I basically assumed the conditions would be favorable because of the generally cooler summer this year, but I knew differently this year when returning drenched from a warm-up. I was able to get bathroom problems out of the way, but generally felt pretty sluggish pre-race.

Soon enough, we were on the line. Saw lots of familiar faces. The start was similar to Blessing, only slightly further up the road. The entire first mile was almost exactly the same as Blessing. Ideally, I wanted to go out just under 5:10 but didn’t know how much faster it would be with the downhill. I lined up in the front row, wanting to be in a good position. Soon after, the officials announced the right side (my side) was for elite women and I had to move to the center, taking a second row spot instead.

I really had no idea how much the competition would change with the event not being grand prix and felt second row was fine but soon found myself weaving my way around people when the gun went off. It only took a couple hundred meters to secure a spot where I wanted. My watch ticked under 5-minute average pace. I figured it would slowly move back up and it didn’t feel too taxing at that point, so I wasn’t worried about going out fast. Even if I did crack 5 the first mile (comfortably) some of that would be from the downhill and I would put some time in the bank. Besides, recent Cumberland graduate Ben Drezek and Toll Gate runner Nik Reygadas were at or near my pace and if I wanted to challenge for the high school crown (for some reason, 2017 graduates are included) I wanted to keep them within striking distance. Ben was a true distance runner who goes out hard so I wasn’t surprised he was ahead, but Reygadas was more of a 800/1500 runner so him being ahead of me was a surprise. The pace wasn’t too difficult but legs were a bit heavy so it wasn’t easy either. I hit the mile in 4:59, about even with Reygadas and about 5 seconds back from Ben.

It all went to crap after that. I knew there would be an inevitable slow the second mile (both from going out fast and the slight uphill) but was expecting around 5:10. I was suddenly much more tired than I should be at this point, as the ridiculously high humidity and my mistake of going out fast was already setting in. I monitored my pace and while it slowed significantly, I was responding a whole lot less than I should have been. Still, with people going out even harder than me I was passing people. I got ahead of Reygadas and started to slowly reel in Ben. I was surprised to pass Trevor Crawley, who was likely running easy.

The turn onto Windermere pretty much marked the end. I hit mile 2 around 5:20, which was pretty slow as it is. I knew windermere with a narrower road, not greatly paved path and slight uphill would be the section to dig deep and focus, but I never counted on feeling this terrible. Mile 3 was a disaster. I was counting on hitting the 5K no slower than 5:15 pace and trying to maintain/hold on from there to PR (at the very least), but I slowed so much the time ticked over 5:20 average pace. Not even at the halfway point, I really thought sub-27 was out of the question and I’d really have to hope not to hit miles over 5:40 pace. Ben was hurting more than me and I managed to get past him. Went through 5K in 16:33, with a third mile around 5:35.

Turning did feel a little nicer, but at that point I knew my time was not going to be good. I somehow regained enough to keep the pace from dropping further and got back down to a mid-5:20s pace. Trevor Crawley went by me and if I had more in the tank, holding onto him would have been the push I needed to get back into the race (and he closed hard enough to run low 26s). I didn’t have enough and he went by with ease. I did everything I could to come back from my mile 2 blow up and while a major improvement, I simply didn’t have the strength to run fast enough splits to make a PR possible. Mile 4 was 5:25.

I was in 9th at the 5K, and while the possibility of a top 10 finish sounded appealing I did not count on several guys negative splitting the race. A group of 3-4 guys went by me and were quickly gone as I had no response. Most picked it up the last mile, but not me. I slowly ran it in trying to muster more strength but it took all my effort just to maintain this 5:20 pace. The entire mile was not enjoyable, with long stretches and an open sun section or two. Even in the half mile, I still had nothing. South Pier felt like it was going forever, even hitting quarter mile. I figured I wouldn’t break 27, but the finish came quicker than expected and I ended up finishing in 26:52. 13th OA.

I had very mixed feelings on this result. I was not satisfied with my overall time, but was both happy with getting the high school crown and was glad I recovered somewhat from my fade to still break 27. Given the humidity, it may have been unreasonable to expect low 26s. I was definitely a bit disappointed I didn't PR, but with the high humidity and me going so fast hurt me more than expected. I did enjoy the new course, even if it wasn't a great day to race it. I have no idea when I will be able to attempt the 5-Mile distance again, nor do I know if I will race this next year. I'm hoping to vary up my races next summer, and right now it doesn't feel necessary but I'll have to evaluate that next summer. Another stacked edition of Bobby Doyle has once again come and gone.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

End of Offseason and Wahaneeta- Weekly Log: August 14 to 20

Unfortunately, my offseason is over as XC starts the following week. Tried to make the most of it by getting in a few fun runs and running the Wahaneeta Trail 5K, which I missed last year as it was later in the XC season.

Monday: 6 Miles

Easy recovery (from Bobby Doyle) on Stonington HS roads and trails. Got to check out the new fun run course as well.

Tuesday: 8 Miles

Road workout in weekapaug. 4x(200/200/400). Not sure were the  splits were but legs were complete trash and every single one felt terrible. Provably around 4:45 pace for 2s and 5:00 pace for 400s. Difficulty: 4/5

Wednesday: 8 Miles

Westerly fun run. Unfortunately the final one. Went for 6 minute pace but with Keith McAteer taking it out and both Chris and Tom passing me, I got sucked into a much faster 5:40 pace and gradually picked it up the pace but still felt crappy. Glad to finish top 3.

Thursday: 13 Miles

8 in morning at Green Falls section of Pachaug. Expected fun single-track, but unfortunately so much of it was poorly marked or maintained that the run was overall just okay. Felt good in nicer high 50s tenperature. Pachaug trail was terrible, Nehantic trail was a lot of fun. Tried to hammer the first technical section (green falls road to dam), but I guess I stopped too early and didn't get on it.

5 in PM exploring the Wahaneeta course. Still had trouble following it but did enjoy a few sections.

Friday: 9 Miles

Went to Newport early and ran the whole cliff walk, making a loop from the YMCA and returning on Bellevue Ave. Scenery was awesome but the path, at many points concrete was not enjoyable. Legs started to die as Bellevue ave was also strangely cement.

Saturday: 7 Miles

Wahaneeta trail race. Went for an 80% effort here. My plan was sit on the leaders lap 1, take off and hammer lap 2. It was super humid which made things harder as well as being a bit slippery. Tom led most of the first lap while Muddy and Dad lingered slightly behind. It felt surprisingly exhausting as I felt like this should be easy. I made a huge surge to get a good lead and the gap quickly opened. Felt mostly good lap 2 but a bit sloppy on the technical section, and probably could have been faster there. Finished 1st with a CR of 20:05. I was happy to break the record but a little disappointed not to crack 20, especially as there were many places where I could have taken off some time. Probably could have cracked 19 had I raced it. Hopefully I can come back next year and take a good chunk off that time.
Starting off

End of lap one w/Tom

Coming out the orange trail before finish.

Absolutely hammered the last 50 meters.

Sunday: 8 Miles

Tiring road loop in Stonington, with a small section of Barn Island. Felt exhausted. Legs felt pretty good at start, but only got heavier and heavier. A bit faster than I wanted as well.

Weekly Total: 58 Miles
YTD Total: 1,516 Miles