Thursday, June 15, 2017

Summer Racing Preview

As outdoor track has ended once again, it's time for the unofficial summer season of racing. While many times undesirably hot, the summer provides an opportunity for me to choose my races. I'm able to do all sorts of unique events rather than doing similar track/cross country races every single week. I've thought about what races I want to do this summer and have come up with the following tentative schedule:

This schedule includes seven possible races with an interesting variety of location. Last year I basically raced every weekend but this year I'll just race enough to make my four summer racing goals:

Goal 1: Run a fast 10K

While it may seem the easiest to attempt the usual 4 Mile, 5 Mile and 10 Mile PRs this summer as each is conveniently located within half an hour of home as well as having great competition at each race (Kerri, Doyle, Blessing), each of those PRs is decent enough that I can be satisfied with it. However, my 10K PR stands at a slow 38:32, run at a very humid Race for the Cure 10K in Manchester, Vermont two years ago. This is much slower than what I am capable and want to run a 10K as fast as I can. I want to run about 5:15-5:20 pace, around a time of 33:00. Two races popped up. Neither are local or convenient, but for some reason 10Ks are very hard to find.

Capital City Classic- June 24th. This road 10K looks like an attractive, well-designed course. The competition wouldn't be great and there's a chance I might run alone, but with such few options available, I may end up racing this.

BAA 10K- June 25th. The BAA 10K would serve up incredible competition, where I'd likely not even crack top 50. The course is flat and fast and I could just latch onto a group without having to constantly worry about pace. The problem with this one is race logistics. It would be difficult to get to boston common by 8AM for the race, but expensive to spend the night there. Additionally, the entry fee is an insane $65.
Goal 2: Run a fast Half-Marathon
The half marathon is another PR that is need of an update. I have not raced the distance in 3 years and my PR stands at 1:26:14, 6:35 pace. Considering I ran 5:46 pace at Blessing, I think I could be possibly run 5:40 for the half and take off up to 13 minutes off my PR. Blessing is a great race and I'll be sad to miss it, but it's worth it to get a fast half marathon in. I'm hoping for a time around 1:14. After plenty of searching, there's really only one good option:

John and Jessie Kelley Half Marathon- August 5th. Not only is the race the most conveniently located, but its also completely free and is the only New England half marathon in July or August that consistently draws in very fast runners.  The race was changed from 11.6 to half for this summer and it seems like the perfect opportunity to run a fast half.

Goal 3: Run fun trail/destination races

Racing trails is something I am not experienced in, yet almost always thoroughly enjoy. The 10K and Half will serve as my two road races and after that, I'd like to spend my remaining races on the trails. I've come up with a few I'd like to do.

Loon Mountain- July 2nd. This was one of the most fun events I've ever done and I'm excited to return in 2017. Mountain running is something that is brutal, yet more enjoyable than any other type of running and I'd like to get a few more on my plate every year.

Alaska Men's Run- July 8th. While in Alaska this summer, this local road 5 miler is conveniently in Anchorage when we are staying there. I'll likely make this an easy effort and not run any faster than 5:40 pace, but either way it should be an enjoyable run.

Pioneer Ridge Vertical Mile- July 9th. Pioneer Ridge is another mountain race located near Anchorage and climbs about 4,500 feet. Any new trails usually brings a fun experience, and in a place like Alaska this seems like a fun race.

Image result for pioneer ridge vertical mile

Wahaneeta Trail 5K- August 19th. I missed out on this event in 2016 as it was during XC season, but since it was moved two weeks earlier, I'm hoping to race it this year. I don't know if I'll go hard at this, but hoping to be there.

Goal 4: Race Less

I completely overdid it last summer, running over 10 races. I'm cutting many of the usual races out of the schedule this year to make room for new ones and specific races to target big PRs. This year, I won't have more than 4 all-out efforts and no road 5Ks. I am hoping to race one of the fun runs to break the CR, hopefully against Chris Garvin, but have no idea when I plan to do that.

This summer schedule is much less packed than usual, but hopefully each individual race will be more meaningful. Hopefully my two hard road efforts will turn out well and at the rest I can either run easy or just be out there for fun.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

New Englands/End of Season- Weekly Log: June 5 to 11

Final week of the season, hopefully run a fast 3200 at New Englands but overall looking forward to getting away from school running and onto the summer.

Monday: 6 Miles, Hill Workout. 5xNarragansett. Legs felt wobbly/heavy and never really could get going on any of them. Not smooth at all. Splits were slow. Difficulty: 4/5.

Tuesday: 7 Miles. Local loop. Went to bed with a sore throat Monday night and woke up with a cold Tuesday. Sniffling and congested all day which made for a pretty awful run. Running cleared nothing instead making all sorts of new symptoms- aches (everywhere), chills and extreme weakness. Only did two pickups as I was feeling so awful. Fortunately, I never felt anywhere near as bad as Tuesday for the rest of the week. Unfortunately, it still hasn't fully cleared up writing this a week later.

Wednesday: 5 Miles, Track Workout. 6x400 @68 w/30s recovery. Really tough as I was once again congested making it very difficult breath and the short recoveries weren't doing me any favors. Since it was only 6 and the pace wasn't blistering, I got through it but it was unpleasant. Difficulty: 4/5.

Thursday: 4 Miles, Track Workout. 6x200 @34 before a "smooth" 400 @60. 200s felt okay, not hard but not smooth either. 400 was much easier than expected. Overall, this was much easier than the previous day and did not have any difficulty this time, a promising sign before New Englands. Difficulty: 2/5.

Friday: 6 Miles, Final track practice of the season, an easy 5-miler shakeout. Local flat roads at about 7 pace, but strangely just a few miles started to feel extremely weak and struggled the rest of the run. I seem to have one random weak/feel awful run once every few and it's somehow more unpleasant than many other symptoms.

Saturday: 4 Miles, New Englands.

The bus was a ridiculously early 6:45, but I didn't run until 2. I hydrated well the day before and during the day, but was not prepared for how hot it would actually be race day. We arrived at Norwell High School at about 9, got settled. It seemed okay at first as we had a shady spot, but I wasn't looking forward to the four hour wait before warming up. It was a long, awful wait. It's one thing waiting around when comfortable and ready to race, its another entirely when its near 85 degrees and I'm feeling extremely weak. Every time I went to go watch a race on the track, I went from shade to open sun and started to roast. It was eventually time to warm-up, and I was tired. After some more running, I felt a little better but there was a weakness I couldn't shake. I poured water all over, especially but my skin still felt very hot.

Headed over to the start much later than I would have liked. I only got in 2 or 3 strides and suddenly on the line. I was feeling about the race. Last year I did really well and I remembered similar (weak, tired, not wanting to race) at that race. I was in the slow heat, but unlike indoor, it was probably where I belonged and I was fine with it.

Gun went off. Plan was to run consecutive 71s and try to pick it up in the last 1200. As soon as we went off, my sticker (number) felt off from uniform, which was a little concerning as I believe that's what they use to time. I had another a hip, but was a little worried. Others had stickers falling off as well. It was a little jumbled at first, but eventually I was able to get near the front. Ben, Jackson and I (RI group) led (I was third, close behind) for the first 800 in 71, 2:23. I wasn't feeling great but not bad either. At the third lap, a Vermont runner went by us and picked it up a little. Jackson and I went with him, but Ben dropped off. It felt fast and wasn't at all comfortable. I actually started to feel weak at that point. That lap was a 69, and another 71 brought through 1600 in 4:43. The rest of the race was brutal. It was another of the races where the sudden weakness hit me and I had no energy, so the pace took a hit. The rest of the race was a combination of 73s and 74s. I was so tired and just counting down the laps. Vermont guy took off and Jackson and I ran together for while. I felt that I was just on him so I made a move to go around with 1200 to go, but it was very difficult and he passed me right back. I had nothing in the last lap and Jackson pulled away. I hadn't paid attention to the time and got hopeful when the clock came back into view. Then the hope was diminished as I saw 9:24, already slower than last year with still almost 100 meters to go. Crossed in a disappointing 9:40, placing me 14th overall.

At first, I was very unhappy to end the season that way. I had raced well in the heat many times, but this time totally bombed. Looking back, I think it was the waiting around for several hours (4+) that made me so weak during the race. I hydrated and prepared the same for Run 4 Kerri and Hendricken 2016 (two 80+ degree races), but in those I warmed up almost immediately after arriving and there was no long period of just waiting.

I'll have to take this result for now- even if it's not what I wanted. I won't hit the track again until December, something I'm happy about although that means not hitting satisfying times for 6 months. I'll hit a few races hard this summer with the focus being an August Half Marathon but still try to have fun with it before a big senior year of running. A week off before I resume again on  Friday 6/16.

Sunday: 0

Weekly Total: 32 Miles
YTD Total: 892 Miles

Thursday, June 8, 2017

States- Weekly Log: May 29 to June 4

Week of states. Obviously not in the shape I expected to be coming in due to my back injury, but happy to make it this far. Doubling up: 4x800 at 2:10, then 3000 at 6:10. Glad to both as the 4x800 can serve as a warm-up and I'll have less waiting around.

Monday: 7 Miles. Early morning hills, 5xField Street, 1xPalmer. Wasn't feeling great as I didn't get much sleep but still gave a decent effort. Wasn't easy. Difficulty: 4/5. Watch glitched wheb uploading and run was somehow deleted.

Tuesday: 7 Miles. Local looping for a distance run. Started out okay but slowed the entire run as my legs got heavier and heavier.

Wednesday: 6 Miles. Track workout. 6x400 @68 w/45s recover. Was pretty much right on for each. Not too difficult but not super comfortable either. Followed with a fast 400 at 62, which wasn't too bad at 59. Difficulty: 2/5.

Thursday: 5 Miles, more track. 200s are usually easy, but not here. 8x200 @33, break, then 2x200@29. Really struggled and did not feel smooth. Recovery was about 45s/90s. Difficulty: 3/5.

Friday: 7 Miles. Comfortable shakeout, but tight/sore calves. Ran on white rock fields which felt great but returning to asphalt wasnt easy.

Saturday: 6 Miles, States. 

Got there at a ridiculous early time of 11 even though the first event was at 2. Hydrated well and ate a little less as it was the shorter even first and I planned to refuel between races. Eventually the wait was over. I used the bathroom frequently before and was having to go after the warm-up. First warm-up was on the track and it didnt feel great. Felt fast and tiring. Second warm-up was a little better before a few strides. I became really nervous in the 10 minutes before. I really wanted to hit a PR (2:02.9), but wasn't sure how likely that was. I had only run 2:05 at Hendricken and had produced no PR's this season. At hendricken the problem was the second lap was too slow. I wanted to go out hard again in 58, but this time make sure I realy push the 3rd 200 so my second lap won't be too slow. 

I was really nervous waiting around. The field was really fast and both Jon and Aaron were in last before I got the baton. That was a little surprising. I went out hard and caught Prout and Burillville early before making my way towards the next group. At the homestretch there was some wind which was worrying but I told myself to relax and just hit the next 200. I pushed through and passed Scituate. With 200 to go, I was preparing to pass LaSalle. I knew it would be tough on the curve. When I went for the pass, I suddenly locked/tightened up and could do nothing through the end as I remained a few meters behind. Nick ran a strong last leg as he maintained position and was only passed by at strong Scituate runner at the end. I did not feel like I had run well, so I was surprised to hear 2:01.8. Felt good about it and went through in 57. 

After 30 minutes of leg pain, chest pain and some throw up, I started to eat and drink again to get ready for the 3000. Despite having a lot of time, it went by quickly and soon enough I was warming up again. I felt very weak on warm-ups and became nervous/dreading the race. My thoughts were not positive at all, as I imagined myself fading badly and not even breaking 9. I tried to relax but wasn't looking forward to the race.

Strides were rushed and I did not give myself enough time to do them. As soon as I took my sweats off we were called over to jog to the start. The weather had been strange all day, with some rain and clouds and at other times hot and sunny. It became hot and sunny right before the 3k so I went back quickly and splashed some water on my head. It was incredibly nervewracking until we started. The plan was to run 71s the whole time, try to get a time around 8:50 and make top 6.

The race went out slow, but I wasn't agressive at the start and got boxed in. I knew this race and needed to be in the front so after letting myself go to the back, I worked my way up to the front. I stayed in 4th behind DJ, Ben and Jackson. They weren't going too fast, about 400 in 71 and 800 in 2:23. This was a little worrying as the pace might slow greatly, but I had no interest in taking the lead. I passed DJ to move into 3rd. My coach yelled that the pace wasn't fast enough and I would have to take the lead, but I wasn't comfortable, the track felt hard and passing was unusually difficult/exhausting. This would not be an easy race and I was really going to have to hang in there. We went through the mile in 4:46. At 3 to go, I got really tired. I did my best to keep the pace going but it wasn't really a race where I could fast. DJ took the lead and put a gap on the field shortly after. I moved into second at one point and tried to push. I slowly became more and more tired just wanting it to end. At the bell lap, the inevitable passes happened and I moved from 2nd to 5th. I tried hard to kick but knew I wasn't getting any places back and was in jeopardy of losing my spot. I managed to just hold on to 5th, running 8:54.04 (similar to last year where I ran 8:54.02). Two other guys also ran 8:54.Timewise, I wish I had been a little faster but was satisfied immensely with place. 

Was pretty happy with the meet overall, especially the PR in the 4x800.

Sunday: 7. Easy on Bluff Point and Haley Farm double track path. Enjoyable, scenic and felt good besides soreness yet it felt like it was taking forever. Good place to run.

Weekly Total: 45 Miles
YTD Total: 860 Miles

I will be the slow heat at New Englands which is not my preference but expected. Unfortunately, I've come down with a cold this week and am not sure how it will affect me race day.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Hendricken Invitational- Weekly Log: May 22 to 28

Since I've missed so much of the season, I haven't run any fast times at all. While a few weeks ago, I thought it was all over, the injury finally went away (at least running) and I was able to return to normal training. While my time at Class for the 3K was quite slow, Hendricken will be my final chance to make something, even if its just getting back to where I was sophomore year of outdoor or just breaking 9 in the 3000 or just making sure I have additional racing opportunities, of this season. At Hendricken, the schedule is different and the 3K is actually one the first events and while I can't relax when I get there, I get the satisfaction of not waiting around for 3+ hours. Additionally, I'll be able to go in completely fresh and not a few hours removed from another race effort. Last year, I placed second in a then great race of 8:57. I'll pretty much be looking for the exact same thing this year, to break 9 for the 4th time and get the automatic qualifier for states as well as securing as top seed. The competition, while not as great as I hoped, should be sufficient. The big contender is Burrillville's Jeff Pichie, a senior who has a huge breakout this season, going from 9:25 indoors to 9:01 recently and winning invitationals against strong Hendricken competitors. I imagine he'll be going for the sub-9 mark as well and as much as I'd like to win, he certainly has the advantage with a 20 second better season best. Additionally, there's LaSalle's Domenic Campagna, East Greenwich's Jeffrey Pedersen and Chariho's Evan O'Neill and Garrett Miller (both beat me last week for the first time). All four of them will no doubt be strong competitors, but I'm guessing will be closer to 9:10 than 9:00, so I probably won't be seeing them unless I'm really feeling it. This race isn't just break 9 or bust, but I certainly can't be running a 9:15 or a even a 9:10. I also feel that training recently has gone well and I'm ready to break 9. Usually, I go out fast but here I want to keep it consistent with mostly 71s and some 72s. Fortunately, the hot weather that usually plagues the meet is gone tomorrow, with temperatures in the low 60s and clouds. Things have been feeling good lately and I think if I somehow feel great the whole race and am able to have a kick as well, I could even break 8:50.

While it's really about the 3K, I'll be coming back in the 4x800 a few hours later. Hopefully I can run at least 2:05.

Monday: 7 Miles, Hill Workout. 6xNarragansett. Happy not to have a brutal track workout, but this was more difficult than expected. Absolutely pouring out and while definitely preferable over the hot weather of last week, I was soaked which made everything heavy/hard to move as well as harder to breath. Started out okay, got very tough during. Difficulty: 4/5.

Tuesday: 8 Miles. Fairly normal route, incorporating Margin Street, Beach Street and looping in the cemetery before watching the Freshman state meet. Not hard on pace, but felt weak halfway through and wasn't comfortable after that. Some heaviness, likely from the hills.

Wednesday: 8 Miles. Ran the Stonington high school roads/campus, which made for an enjoyable diversion. Once again, the pace wasn't fast at all as my calves felt sore and tight, but felt really good otherwise and just coasted.

Thursday: 6 Miles, Track Workout. I was guessing most would have fast 200s as they are training for the 4x800/800, but that I would have a longer, slower workout. I was right and was just hoping not to have 800s again as those were tough and I didn't want anything brutal two days out. Fortunately, it was 8x400. It was at 70 w/45s recovery. Recovery was short but they felt pretty comfortable besides making my calves more tight/sore. I hit mostly 67s/68s easily. At 6 we took a break and instead I had an all-out 300. I ran it in 41, which wasn't anything great but acceptable enough. Difficulty: 2/5.

Friday: 7 Miles. Took it easy and felt pretty good although the calves were tight/sore again. It wasn't too bad, better than anticipated and better than they felt post-workout the day before.

Saturday: 8 Miles, Hendricken Invitational. Drank more water than usual the day before and race day.

I woke up feeling more tired than expected. Ate a normal breakfast on the bus, before getting off and preparing for my race. I got initial bathroom breaks out of the way, before having 50 minutes to relax before starting warm-ups at 10:20. I figured my race would go off at 11:30, which meant I did have time to relax and wait around, but it would be well worth it as I'd be done fairly early on in the meet. As I thought about feeling smooth and consistent during the race, I was more confident this time around- I had felt mostly good all week and running 72s didn't seem too difficult. However, not feeling great on the warm-up didn't bring it up at all. The time went by quickly, and before I knew it, I was doing my final strides and check-in. 28 athletes were crammed into one heat.

Gun went off. Unsurprisingly, Jeff Pichie went to the lead immediately. Dom went right behind him and the two formed a lead "pack" not too long into the race. I was boxed in right away as pretty much the whole field went out fast. Since I wasn't planning on going with the leaders right away, I wasn't concerned, but it was a little uncomfortable being so close to so many people as well as being kicked. In the first 200, I was able to get out and was in third place in the inside of lane one. Soon after I was passed and once again locked into the position, but after another 100, I was back into third, leading the chase pack. Leaders had about 10 meters on us, but I was content not running with them. Leaders went through in 69, chase pack in 70. Without much effort, I slowly caught up to the leaders and made myself a third member of the lead pack. The first 1K was run at 70-72s pace, but the next two laps would be slower at 73s. I ran behind Jeff and Dom, completely unaware the entire field was only 10 meters behind me. Going through 4 to go still very comfortable gave me some confidence that the race was going well for me. After another 100, Jeff slowed down a little and Dom took the lead. It was a little surprisingly and I suspected that Jeff wasn't feeling great or was tired of leading. It seemed that he really wasn't feeling it as instead of getting right on Dom, he stayed a couple meters back. At 3 and a half to go, I was content just sitting there, but to run a fast time and have a shot at the win, I had to make my move. I made a surge on the curve, which was a little tiring but took the lead. On the straightaway, it was much easier and I started to open up a gap. I was running 70s/71s now and the gap became big, even up to 40 meters at one point. Despite feeling comfortable and taking off, I pretty much immediately grew tired. My fastest lap in the whole race was the lap I made my move, and splits were slightly slowing each lap. I was pretty tired as I hit the bell lap and only was able to close in 71. I felt like I was pushing hard, but not going that fast. I had built up a big enough lead to keep the win, but the gap closed significantly in the final lap, especially the last 100. Had there been one more lap, I probably would have been caught.

8:57.3, 1st overall. Exact same time as last year in the meet. Everyone closed hard, and there were 6 guys under 9:10 and 12 under 9:20. Amazing depth in this field and many big time PRs. I was happy to break 9, but a little disappointed at how much speed I was lacking in the final 800. Had I closed in 68s instead of 71s, I would have run around 8:51/8:52 instead. It felt good to win. Pretty much all of wins (which they are few of) have come from going out hard and building up a huge lead, but this was perhaps the first time I took off mid-race. Overall, very happy with the performance. Huge improvement over last week's 9:21, and even though it shows that I was just as fast at this point, it feels pretty solid for missing some training and racing due to injury.

Full Video Here

Moved up to 4th in rankings, and hoping to place top 6 at States. Ben Drezek was clearly battling through injury/pain in both of his races, so not sure if he'll be competing next Saturday. I'm hoping to run consistent 71s at the meet and clock a time of 8:50. I'm hoping it doesn't too fast and that I won't have to do any pacing in the first half and can just latch on a group.

The 4x800 was maybe two hours later. At the meet, I drank about water bottles. Not sure I was really thirsty or just trying to hydrate better, but I had to use the bathroom frequently, which was annoying. Despite using it before heading over to the 4x800, I suddenly had to go again but didn't have the time. We were ranked second behind Bishop Hendricken, but really not sure where we'd end up. I was supposed to anchor, which I wasn't thrilled about as I didn't want to the one to give up positions. I hadn't been feeling great after the 3K, but felt a little better warming up again. I decided that I would be satisfied with 2:04/2:05. We got off to a great start in third place as our leadoff ran a big PR of 2:06. Our second leg started out well but experienced hip pain in the second lap and dropped to 6th, but still ran a respectable time of 2:10. When he had 200, my coach yelled for me and our 3rd leg, to switch places. While 3rd was my preferred position, I became very nervous as I was running in 30 seconds instead of over two minutes. I grabbed the baton and went. I went out at a pace that felt right and made a surge to get around Classical, Prout and Lincoln who were all next to each other. Scituate and Hendricken were up ahead but a had a good gap. Going through the line, I knew my second lap wasn't going to be great. I was already very tired and I had a whole another 400 to go. The second lap was brutal and I definitely felt the effects of going too fast. I wanted to catch up, but didn't really have anything. Somehow, Scituate and Bishop Hendricken were running as slow as I was and I caught the Scituate runner and moved into second. Handed off to Nick for the last leg. I ran a 2:05, a time I was okay with but not thrilled how I ran. 58/67 is not a great a way to run and I certainly wished I had gone out a little slower. Nick ran a 2:05.4 anchor (as a freshman) and we were passed by a strong Scituate anchor (likely 2:02 or faster) and placed third in 8:28.1. This placed us 9th in the state ranking, so we qualified for states. Top 6 go to new englands (and 6th is only 5 seconds above us), so we have decent chance at making that. I don't know if I'm running it at states, but I hope to and hopefully be a few seconds faster.

Very solid day overall.

Sunday: 7 Miles. Big river exploration for the first time ever. Super cool trails, but felt tired and the run didn't go by quickly.

Weekly Total: 51 Miles
YTD Total: 815 Miles

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.