Friday, November 30, 2007

Cross Country: 3rd, 2nd, 1st

Bronze: It doesn’t look like an update will happen for the USATF-NE Cross Country Grand Prix points total. One harrier didn’t receive points for a race allowing my closest competitor to come in second, by one point. For third master a medal is awarded.

Silver: My wife takes second master in her USATF-NE XC Grand Prix series.

Gold: Our Town High School girls cross country won the state meet and recently the regional. They are heading to Oregon to compete in the Nationals. Congratulations!

Fall Marathon or Fall Cross Country for a Fast Boston Marathon voting is shaping up with some interesting results; would love to hear your comments.

Training: am, Post Office Run, 6M, 42:07, 7:01\mile, 21:55 out and 20:12 on return burning out some of the carbon in the last 1200m.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Apply This to That

Training for the mind. It's one thing to read about being calm and smooth while striding through the marathon miles and another to see fluid in motion. Sheer power.
Click here for one of my favorite running videos

THAT (see my blog for the video here)

Personally, mental training should be started early to engage thoughts in the end goal. This thinking should bring reasoning to the daily "workout with a purpose."

Didn't have a choice in pulling back this morning as the knees had no lift. Probably a cumulative effect of yesterday's work and doubles. One decent pickup on the hill to the school. Made a mediocre effort to run 7:00\mile pace for the last mile to find myself crashing in the last 100 meters. Mostly a bad run and just wanted it over.
Yesterday: pm,Haynes Loop,5M,34:24,6:53\mile
Training: am,37,Willow Guzzle, 10M, 1:16:15 7:37\mile

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

New Rhode Island Racing Venues

A new marathon in Rhode Island on Sunday, May 4, 2008.
For you tri-guys see July 13, 2008 IronMan 70.3.

My wife and I ran our first ultramarathon at the Nifty-Fifty in RI. What a fun way to spend the day.

Training: am, Morse Road, 44:07, 7:21\mile

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Boston Marathon Tip #1: How to Carry Gels

This is a new weekly series to provide my readers, few there are, and more selfishly me tips for the 2008 Boston Marathon. Generally, they may be tips for any race, but this is my blog so they are called Boston Marathon tips.

Recently I commented on a 2007 Boston Marathon 2:42 marathoner about how to carry four gels during the race. If you like the energy gel boost, flavor, or distraction, four is plenty. You can set a plan to take one before each water station allowing tossing the wrapper in a bucket. Try something like miles 8, 13.1, 17 and 22. It’s best to try this out in training and your tune-up races.

Where to Put the Gels:
Running shorts pocket = maybe two max
Arm pouch = you won’t catch me with one
Pasting to the bib number = never seen it done, it would be too weighty
Pin to the singlet = seen this and it can’t be comfortable
Special shorts with special gel pocket = shows you take gels (RaceReady brand)
Mike recommends using shorts made by Brooks that have small, half-depth pockets on each side just behind the side-seam. They close with a tiny velcro tab and don't catch any air. Pin the gels inside them so they don't accidentally fall out.
Alternative is to sew your own pocket in the shorts.
Put them inside your hat, in the front.
Belt Pouch = recommended by Patrick - something like the Amphipod "RaceLite
From the populace you can read the RunnersWorld forum on this topic.

Mark’s Tried and Proven Method:

  1. Use two medium size safety pins, they tend to stay closed better, one for each inside waist band of shorts pinned off left and right hip adjust for comfort.
  2. Pre-tear a small amount of the gel pouch to make it easier opening in the race.
  3. Each pin can hold two gels. Depending on pouch size, some get too heavy and will pull shorts lower and also have bulky material.
  4. Have singlet tucked in under shorts with gels next and then shorts to prevent chafing.
  5. When grabbing, with two hands, while running the small tab will stay in place while pulled.
  6. Always hold from top to keep gel in the pack and not messing on your fingers, gloves, face, etc.
Training: am, Battle Road Trail, 10M, 1:13:09, 7:18/mile

Monday, November 26, 2007

Take Twelve Minutes off Your Boston Marathon

In about nine weeks starting from my injury recovery on September 13 to Thanksgiving Day’s 5K race.

The Progression:
9/30 Topsfield 8K XC – 30:05 marathon of 2:57:55
10/7 Wayland 5K XC – 18:14 marathon of 2:57:45
10/28 Mayor’s Cup 8K XC – 29:27 marathon of 2:54:11
11/4 Amherst 5K XC – 18:04 marathon of 2:56:08
11/18 USATF-NE’s 8K XC – 28:21 marathon of 2:47:41
11/22 Stow Gobbler 5K – 17:00 marathon of 2:45:44

The above race times are from a changing plan that went from a fast Fall Marathon to half-marathon then cross country and settling on base training with cross country races. The races were used as the speed quality and recovery weeks. Evolvement can be contributed to injuries and available time.

Your equivalent performance at one distance can easily be projected to another with the McMillan Running Calculator. Keeping in mind these are all races less than 10,000 meters and obviously will need marathon training. What McMillan’s calculator does offer to the runner is a moving sense toward a faster time. Stop by Running with Lydiard to get a take on this and my question to the Mystery Coach.

Last year I ran an October 2:52 marathon and a December 5-miler for an equivalent of 2:52. This year’s results were (distance-time-equivalent marathon) 10M-62:03-2:53:47, 13.1M-78:08-2:44:47 and the Boston Marathon-2:49:13. Boston I ran 1:22:20 at the half on pace for a 2:44.

Ahead is four weeks base training of primarily easy running and building the long run allowing a good break from racing. I’ll be shooting for a weekly average of 70-80 miles. Then start a 16-week marathon program the last week of December. This will probably have peak mileage right about 80, but with 2-4 quality runs.

Training: am, 40s, light rain, Morse Rd hills, 45:34, 7:35\mile-not easy pace or recovery pace, it’s in the gray zone, felt fine, skipped doing a double yesterday.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Another 2.5 Miles Needed

Have you tried the new feature at Typically I map a run on the USATF Running Routes being a member. Recently I came across Google’s new drag and drop blue line. Awesome, it saves time, great customization, a real nice service and faster than zoom, pick and poke the old way. Be sure to watch the cute tutorial, it's short and helpful.

Weekly Review
Total Miles: 70.0
Number of Workouts: 11
Stretching: most pre and every post run, new program
Yoga: none, did some speed strength and a new idea
P\U, S\U: coming back around, should try numbers for next week
Last eight days saw two races and one long run of almost two hours, it’s time to cut back.
Issues to Note: right Achilles cleared for NE’s, right hip still limited range, tight groin. Fell on stairs hanging a picture and slid down three treads on Tuesday.
Next Week Goal: Easy running.
AM: 27, Local roads and hills for 14.0M in 1:54:35 for an 8:11\mile ‘ recovery’ pace
A short shakeout will bring the week’s total to 70 miles; my magic mental number.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Run a Relay or Fast Half Marathon? -in Japan-

Look ahead for my Monday post about taking twelve minutes off your marathon. For now, I am providing two links of some phenomenal running on the other side of the earth.

I’ve run a few relays and they were fun with plenty of camaraderie. This one here though is at an all different level. I can say I have heard of the Chiba Ekiden Relays, but never bothered to read about them until Brett’s post. Thanks to another Canadian.

If at any point you think you are fast relative to the field ponder this post by Brett in his recent race. I am sincerely humbled.

Training: AM, Haynes Loop, 17 degrees, 5 miles, 39:22; PM, treadmill, 8 miles avg. 7:25\mile

Friday, November 23, 2007

With Downeast Running

A brisk 30-something morning was my real-world encounter with this fellow marathoner. Starting at the standard street drain cover on the non-standard measured ARNWR long loop we were off running for the next 87 minutes.

The run, consistently conversational took us through McMansionville, crossed a State highway, past the lacrosse field and into the wildlife of the reservation. No half-stepping competitive running here, just sharing the knowledge as two students of the sport expound ideas and experience.

Uneven surfaces, 800 meter pine needle trail, one duck hunter, a bridge under repair, private runway, Kenyan like road, climbing a fence, trail signs, a large gravel pit, the State Firefighting School, a good hill with soft footing to dream about doing repeats, no trespassing sign, parking lot, gate (2nd one), Patrol Road, abandoned homes by eminent domain, pond not-fished much and *secret fartlek training* (only provided in person) with the finish back at the street drain.

Bagels, coffee, tea, more stories and it’s a good way to start the full day of Christmas shopping. Thanks for the run Andrew.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Stow Gobbler 5K

I’ve never met him and it was my second race against Pepi. This time he almost pissed me off, but it’s Thanksgiving. And I am thankful for many non-running related things, although running is on an uptick, so thanks there also.

A damp raw morning with overlying fog provided a sleepy hollow affect on Old Bolton Road for the start of the 1st Annual Stow Gobbler 5K. Two cross country high school brothers came up the idea, planned, certified the course and organized the race held at the new Bose facility.

Obviously, a course record was at stake when Pepi crowds me on the starting line, I shuffle over and wonder what his problem is. "One, Two, Three" shouts the boy’s mom and then a man fires a pistol to start us off. First mile I go from around tenth to fourth. The usual high schools cross country kids are out like a whip only to be winded at the first sign of an incline.

It’s Pepi now in the lead behind the police cruiser with flashing blue lights, some guy who looks like he doesn’t belong, and then me running alongside a kid that I keep encouraging to work together. About halfway, I tell him to stick with it as the two in front are falling off the pace. I am also telling myself that this is already almost half over. First mile went down in 5:20.

We hit mile two around 10:59 and soon pass the number two guy, in a short while it’s me chasing with the thought of sub-17:00 minutes. I mentioned this goal to my old friend Gary at the start and he conceded to a sub-18:00; he has two more races planned for the weekend.

Back across the Great Road and Pepi has begun one of about twelve “look over the shoulders”. What’s he doing? Is he laboring? The gap is closing, still thinking sub-17, but this could be a win.

My wife and son give me a pick up as I am now two strides in front turning left to loop the parking lot in the last half mile. I hug the inside lane running clockwise around the building, Pepi is trying to run on the inclined curb to pass, unusual. More looks from Pepi as he is caught in my peripheral vision as a straightaway opens. It’s not over, this guy is messing around. We have one last left turn at three miles and a slight downgrade to smoke the finish.

Barb is yelling “GO MARK” as the two of us rocket to the tape, my kick is good. But, Pepi’s got another gear and is moving a stride ahead. Seeing the seconds click on the clock was more important than Pepi thrusting number one fingers high in the air crossing first.

I stop my watch, 16:59.55! Unofficially. Back slapping and congratulating my younger competitor and others I realize Pepi kept going. Okay, so he was just playing with me. I figure he was some 16:30 guy, non-marathoner, doing this for kicks and wanted a dramatic finish.

Turns out my official time is 17:00, Pepi gets my 16:59, ouch again, and the course record. Did he run the May Run for the Woods 5K in Stow? Yes, in a time of 16:25, right about that. How about marathon? Could I have him there? Yes, Boston 2007 my 2:49 beats his 2:51! Oh, oh, there he has a Boston 2:32 in 2006 and just ran a 2:31 at St. George in October at age 39.

Pepi, the Canadian living in America will continue to annoy me, only he will be a Master soon. Thanks for my new 5K Masters PR of 11 seconds. Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vote: XC or Marathon for Faster Boston Marathon Race?

In just winding down from a "first ever" cross country season I am pondering the title question.

I've ran Boston off and on about ten times with PR of 2:38. All of these races were preceded by a fall marathon. Now, as a masters age runner the intention is to train smarter and run faster.

A huge advantage I see in XC is the quicker recovery. Last year it took four weeks to build mileage up, which only left four weeks of base training. Then it was onto a 16-week marathon conditioning program. It seemed the body wasn't prepared for the work.

With XC, the miles can stay up at base level with every two-three weeks a pullback as a mini-taper for a race. The races serve as a built in rest mechanism and a quality workout.

Feel free to cast your vote on the right sidebar and post comments.

I'll try and put this up on as my first ever post there.

Training: easy 6m on Bowker Flats in 45:40

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2007 Boston Mayor's Cup Championship 8K

early on, pre-side stitch?
Feels like a sub-4 minute pace kick to the finish!
-note the difference in hand positions-
Photos Courtesy of, 2007 Boston Mayor's Cup Championship 8K Race
***first snow of the season***
Training: am,10.5m at an easy 7:53 pace, pm lt stretching and cardio

Monday, November 19, 2007

How I Ran an 8K XC Race a Minute Faster

Three weeks after my inaugural Franklin Park of 29:27 it dropped to 28:21. There were marathon base training weeks of 76.4m, 70.0m and race week of 62.8m and one 5K XC race (18:04-5:48\mile) the week after Mayor’s Cup.

The training shifted from a daily diet of long singles that were taking longer recover to twice daily easy running. In addition there were 2x\week of yoga, core work, stretching and introduction to speed-strength.

The race tactics itself may have played a major role in allowing the race to develop at a slower effort. The first mile this time was 5:31 vice a 5:18. Second mile was 5:51 then 11:32 for 3&4 while finishing the last in 5:25.

There was no side-stitching this time, determination and focus were the positives. For some reason “pick up the carnage” was quite prevalent as working through the runners spurred the pace along. Oddly enough I heard Brian Sell say something similar on a Runner’s World Video today. Good feedback from Coaching staff and supporters on course also helped.

I passed the salt n’ pepper beard guy around mile two pleasantly striding by him. Thoughts of is this a mistake as in “digging my own grave” and will he come back to haunt me later on the final stretch like Topsfield?

After the second time up Bear Cage Hill I had enough and was thankful for the fast downhill. Across the rooted section under the oak trees with a slight bump three runners in sight, one a teammate.

Around the baseball diamond backstop and floor it to the finish. Over the frozen solid core aeration plugs caught me looking down to keep from twisting an ankle.

The finish line arrived with me closing in on two harriers but not catching them, salt n’ pepper beard guy nowhere in sight! This was a new course PR for me by 66 seconds, nice.

Later in the week the USATF-NE XC Grand Prix results should come out. My wife and I ran our own calculations that put us at 2nd Masters. Awards will be medals. BTW, even after running a tough trail marathon last weekend Barb ran her fastest paced XC race of the series. If only I was half the runner she is!

Finished off the week with 62.8 miles for 8 runs.
Training: am-4m treadmill in 32:59, pm-4m treadmill in 32:29 with light core work and stretching.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Smoked the Votes!

2007 USATF-NE Regional Cross Country Race

Voting Results:

Unofficial Result-28:21 (5:42\mile)! A new Franklin Park PR for this Master. Olympian Mark Coogan wins the race.

It looks like we beat our Mayor's Cup average by 2 seconds. We were the 2nd Masters Team at NE's. Also, we should be 1st for the USATF-NC XC Grand Prix Masters Team.
more to follow later. . .

Video of the USATF-NE XC Championships (open race, not masters)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanks For Your NE's Voting!

You can very well change the battery in your HR monitor like I did. It's basically designed like a watch and really does not require sending it in if you have some mechanical aptitude and dexterity.

Thanks for your NE's XC votes. 10 so far. It will be interesting to see how the race comes around.

Observed one coyote in the Poor Farm Meadow Area

am: 41,windy, humid,raw, Haynes Loop 5M in 33:45 for a 6:45\mile pace -HR 139
noon: 46,windy,humid,Haynes Loop 5M in 31:42 for a 6:20\mile pace -HR 143

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Five Minutes Off Your Boston Marathon: Guaranteed!

Dr. Z guarantees five minutes off my Boston Marathon time running in the new orthotics. I took them on an easy five mile Haynes Loop at an average 6:30 pace\mile this morning to break them in.

Second run of the day was a treadmill mix with a few core exercises thrown in to build strength. 40 minutes for five miles with 2x .25m at 6:00/mile.

Yesterday was an easy 10 miles on the soft pine needle trails in the Reservation ranting with Kyle about this w\e’s Championship Race.

I should mention my earlier post about Coach Joe’s program where it looked as if it was upside down. Well, the Coach made a comment that his true goal is to set a Half-Marathon PR prior to Boston! Be sure and pay a visit as he just put up a ton of stuff on post-season training.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Boston Marathon 2007 Masters Awards

Boston Marathon 2008, get the fever...Looking at this 2007 article it places me sixth in the local area with a 2:49:13. Not nearly close enough to take a walk an award in the esteemed Copley Hotel. Take a close look at the race times for the number one and two, see what I see?

Well, just wasted a few minutes to find how many Masters are awarded. Five? Maybe a list somewhere? Bottom line is I need to run faster.

MJ here is my post on the Speed-Strength Workout.

Training: soft, rain soaked trails for an easy hour with mild temps, right achilles still flaring.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Right Achilles Tendon

The Stonecat Trail did a number on my right achilles tendon. You know something is amiss when trying to two leg heel raises and it's painful the first inch up. Time to ice and massage to get the blood circulating in promotion of healing.

I came across this Boston Marathoner's blog who promises a weekly post on his venture. It's good to see others are also starting to focus on the Patriot's Day race.

Coach Joe's training program reads upside down. Here is a coach (also Ultramarathoner) starting with speed workouts then medium distance and finishing doing endurance training for phases. Just the opposite of what I will do.

It kind of reminds me of the OldLobo and his Boston Marathon pursuit last year. OldLobo got injured, poor guy; it's a fine line for Masters runners to put the stops on when things could pull you off track.

Lastly, the timing frequency was interfered at the NYC Marathon losing thousands of marathoner's data. Read about it here. Was it intentional? What would jam the Chip timing system? Darn good reason to wear a watch at your chip races and display your bib number.

Training: Speed-Strength, one circuit, 3.75 miles. 4x.25m at 6:00/mi. pace on treadmill

Sunday, November 11, 2007

REPORT: Boston Marathon- Base Training

REPORT: Boston Marathon- Base Training
A recovery pace for three miles was hard to manage as my right Achilles was flaring from yesterday’s trail abuse. I stretched it about half-way to loosen and continue.

Back to the weekly reports as a tool to help reflect on what happened and plan for what’s next. Consistency will be the theme after next week’s race. Look for an average of 70-80 miles primarily at easy pace.

Weekly Review
Total Miles: 70.0
Number of Workouts: 10
Stretching: most pre and every post run
Yoga: two, been consistent for six weeks
P\U, S\U: pulled back muscle left side from raking\push-ups
Notes: Physically needing quicker recovery to perform at a higher level. Changing to double runs to have higher mileage and keeping the pace slower.
Issues to Note: right Achilles from trail running, right hip still has some limited range
Next Week Goal: Easy running with USATF-NE XC Championship race. Our B.A.A. Masters team is starting to shape up nicely.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Stone Cat 50-Miler\Marathon Trail Race

Another weekend and another race is a common theme this fall. It's exciting to be back in the throes of competition.

Today was sidelines for me as my bride powers through the trails in Willowdale State Forest to finish (unofficially) in second and first master for the women at Stonecat.

After spending two hours in the freezing cold chatting it up with ultrarunning fanatic Jamie it was my time to run a pace lap. My wife ran over 70 miles pre-race and I was having trouble keeping up, at least in the beginning. I had four layers of clothing up top that had to be adjusted before I could get a rhythm.

I found difficulties with the trail’s rocky, rooted, switchback terrain to manage a decent stride. Today will be called a Long Run for “time on the feet”. Tomorrow will be a simple three-miler shakeout to bring the week’s total to 70.

Yesterday: am\pm, double, 30’s, Morse Road @7:50 pace for six miles each.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Still: #2 Master: USATF-NE XC Grand Prix

Only one race left in the series. The New England Championships.

Yesterday: felt lousy as in low energy and no recovery

Today: AM: Easy sub-60 minute run.
PM: laid down 5 miles on the roads at a 6:39 pace. The effort seemed very marathon-like, a good stride pulling the leg under through the hills. It was nice, now how to figure this fits into base training.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Raw Rain

Within the first ten minutes of this trail run the heavens opened up and it poured a cold rain. Dodging puddles was no longer a concern, only the slowing pace. After five miles of the slugging sloshiness I threw in the towel.

Later, on this treadmill four miles were added to the log. What a sweet ride. How much does one of them cost?

Recovery seems to be the name of the game. Last week's mileage, two XC races of late have taken their toll.

9 total miles all at recovery or easy pace

Monday, November 05, 2007

That's Enough

Words expressed at the end of this morning's recovery run.

I've been thinking about the positives of yesterday's race:

  1. 10 seconds faster than previous 5K XC race
  2. Tougher course
  3. More relaxed
  4. Race week mileage came to 76 total miles
  5. Recovery allowed for medium distance morning after
10.5M at 8:06 pace

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Amherst 5K XC

Another USATF-NE XC Grand Prix race for us today. This afternoon Barb walks away with first Master and fourth overall female. A large loaf of bread was awarded to her. As for myself it was unofficialy 10 seconds faster than my last XC 5K.

Freestyle Farm, host site, is the home of our favorite course thus far. It's very picteresque with a beautiful 52 acre pond that the course loops. Described as technically challenging; it is. The water crossings, screaming downhills, and formidable uphills set on wide paths make for a fun afternoon of running.

unoficially, 18:04, 3rd Master and 12th overall.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Hurricane Noel-Nor'easter

We ducked out early this morning ahead of the blustery and rainy storm. Just an easy shakeout before tomorrow's xc race.

After checking the "free" nbc_marathon trials stream we were out the door to run Saturday morning errands. The "free" feed did show up but it was about the size of something I would watch on my cellphone, small.

2pm show was okay, then again, how much can you pack in to 30 minutes. Congratulations to Ryan Hall (2:09), Dathan Ritzenheim (2:11) and Brian Sell (2:11). I am totally impressed with one of our local favorites, Nate Jenkins (2:14) finishing 7th, one ahead of silver medalist Meb Keflizighi.

Our deepest condolences go out to Ryan Shay's wife Alicia and family. Absolutely unbelievable tragic collapse at 5.5 miles into the race.

Training: 4 miles in 30:15

Friday, November 02, 2007

#2 Master: USATF-NE XC Grand Prix

The points came out and the rankings put me right back at the number two spot! It pays to toe the line. The next race is a 5K XC this weekend up in Amherst, NH.

Good luck to the US Olympic Marathon Trials runners tomorrow in Central Park! Severe weather is in the forecast showing temperatures in the 40s, 20-25 mph winds and showers. Sounds raw and blustery which will certainly spice things up.

Training: 13.5M/8:09 avg. extended Battle Road Trail

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Look Like a WhiteTail Deer

A runner wearing a white Long Sleeve CoolMax top could certainly be mistaken for a bounding whitetail deer was my realization this morning. The deer looked like a healthy 8-pointer. I guess the scrapes and droppings are for real smack dab on my running trail, or theirs?

Notched it closer to the McMillan easy pace (7:09 - 7:39) for a 7:40/mile on 10.5 miles. It's acceptable considering there was some wind and I laid down 6.5 miles running with the stroller before yesterday's festivities.