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.

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