Monday, December 26, 2011

This Week in Running 12.19 to 12.25.11

Monday - 12.75 w/ Ben
5 x 5 min pickups w/ 1-2 minutes recovery; each pickup got harder and faster
Tuesday - 6
easy recovery day
Wednesday - 13.25
tempo run; raining at end
Thursday - 11
great run; fast
Friday - sick
24 hour bug wiped me out
Saturday - 4
stomach still iffy
Sunday - 5.5
I love the early, early Christmas morning run

For the Week
52 1/2 miles
4 core workouts
Analysis: The bug on Friday foiled my week.  Between Friday and Saturday I was probably about -17 (I was planning on about 4-6 recovery miles on Fri and 16-17 on Sat).  I was feeling better on Sat but the stomach was still iffy and my body wasn't quite right.  Did I wimp out?  Maybe.  But, I'm better now and hope to have a strong week.  The first half of this week was really good; it just ended on a down note.  I'm looking forward to a great training week between Christmas and New Year's Day.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This Week in Running: 12.12.11 to 12.18.11

Monday - 10.25
2 x 10 min pickups w/ 3 min recovery
Tuesday - 5.25
easy recovery run
Wednesday - 11.5
run of the week; averaged 5:43 pace for 7 miles; this was a good hard tempo progression run
Thursday - 8.5
7 hill repeats; the hill was a shade of 60 seconds; a "baby" hill workout at 3/4 speed
Friday - lifting
chiro visit in am
Saturday - 16.75
excellent med-long run w/ Kevin Gray
Sunday - 7
slow and cold

For the Week
59 1/4 miles in 6 runs
5 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: Very happy w/ Wednesday's progression run.  Good confidence builder that I can hold a respectable pace in practice.  By the end of the progression, I was sub 5:20 and I'll take that for mid-December.  Saturday was another excellent run.  At no point did I struggle.  Just clicking off the miles.  This was a cutback week, so I wasn't worried about volume but I did want to maintain or increase my current intensity.  I feel I did that.  Plus, a good bill of health for Mika.  Only area of concern: quads a touch tight.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

This Week in Running: 12.5 to 12.11.11

Monday - 10
w/ Ben
Tuesday - 7 
faster than normal for an easy day
Wednesday - 12 
tried to make this a tempo; ran as fast as I could in the cold rain storm
Thursday - 9 
dead legs
Friday - nothing more than some corework
Saturday - 20
major bonk but still did 20
Sunday - 9
best run of the week
For the Week
67 miles
5 core workouts
Analysis: For the first time in a long time, I had back to back horrendous runs (Thurs and Sat).  Quasi-interesting note: if I bonk during a run, I usually recover from it pretty quickly.  By 1500 I was ready to go for another run (of course I didn't).  When I have a great run, I'm usually beat for the rest of the day.  That's keepin it on the level I suppose.  

I'm trying to hit 70 miles per week.  3 short this week.  The plan is to do 40 during the week and 30 on the weekend.  That won't happen next week, though, b/c it's a planned cutback for the current mesocycle.  Mesocycle?  You can read about macro, meso, and micro cycles in the next issue of Level Renner.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This Week in Running: 11.28 to 12.4.11 w/ GNRC Ho Ho Ho Race Report

Monday - 10
5 x 2 min pickups; 1 hard hill; 1 5:55 mile
Tuesday - 6 easy
Wednesday - 11 tempo
working hard in the dark for 6:20 pace, I was wearing shorts though
Thursday - 10.5
gutted this one out; running 6:00 pace by the end just to finish it
Friday - lifting
Saturday - 16.25
5k race: 1st in 16:24
did a little over 5k for a w-up then ran the rest of miles as part of an extended cooldown.  Race report below.
Sunday: 12.5 miles
slow mode
For the Week
66 1/4 miles
5 core workouts
1 lifting sequence

GNRC Ho Ho Ho 5K Race Report
The Skinny
5k time - 16:24* (didn't click my watch @ finish and official results seemed inaccurate; I don't think I ran a 46 sec downhill last .1)
place - 1
pace - 5:20-ish
splits: 1 - 5:26, 2 - 5:16, 3 - 5:13
The Report
I jogged the out-and-back course as a warm-up and felt ready to race.  The temp seemed to be getting warmer so the CMS singlet and shorts became a no-brainer.  No extra gear needed.  After a few snappy strides, it was time to get on the line.

A few guys started like they were shot out of a cannon when the "Go" was signaled.  I was in about 5th in the first tenth.  By about a half mile, I was in third and watching Keith Neal and David Woodruff running together.  They turned in a 5:15 first mile; I was 11 seconds in arrears but feeling good.   I was keeping my eye on these guys and started to push my pace ever so slightly.  At the rotary turnabout, I felt myself getting a little closer.

Now on the way back to the finish, I was headed into the traffic of the runners still on the way out.  I liked the jumble this caused and kept the heat on.  With all the congestion, I don't think Neal or Woodruff knew I was closing.  By 2 miles, Neal had stretched out on Woodruff, and I came through that split at 10:40 with Woodruff two seconds up.  At this point, I started thinking about the win.

Still feeling strong, I started to close the gap on the leader.  I was pushing up an incline and with about .3 or .4 to go, I made the pass.  Neal didn't die easy.  He kept fighting.  I, fortunately, found another gear and started to turn it over.  I kept the pedal down all the way to the tape.  I was pretty happy with my kick.

The awards ceremony was short and sweet.  For the win, I got a medal and a certificate for a pair of new balance sneakers.  To say the least, I was psyched w/ my award.  Mike Gilio and the Greater Norwood Running Club did a good job putting on this race.  Later in the day, I trekked to Brockton for the Jingle Bell Run.  So it was a Ho Ho Ho am and a Jingle Bell pm.  I guess the holiday season is upon us.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

This Week in Running: 11.21 to 11.27.11

Monday - 10.75 w/ Ben
12 x 1 min hard pickups; felt good to get the legs moving.  First time in a while.
Tuesday - 6 easy ones
Wednesday - 12.5
tempo trail run in the rain; the puddling slowed down the pace
Thursday - 10
finally got moving at the end
Friday - 4 easy
jogged to and from the gym
Saturday - 20
good run throughout with the last 5 the fastest
Sunday - 8 easy

For the Week
71 1/4 running miles
3 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: 3 high quality days: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday (some speed, a tempo run, a long run).  The rest of the days were less difficult/taxing.  Glad to hit my winter weekly mileage goal of 70.  Having a few days off from work helped me reach that goal.  It won't be as easy next week, but this is a good week from which to build.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Jingle Bell Run

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This Week in Running: 11.14 to 11.20.11

Monday - 10. Got dark quick; stuck running on roads
Tuesday - 7 min bike. Mika visit in am
Wednesday - 10.75.  Ran 5-10 faster than I raced last Saturday.  I knew I was in better shape than that.  Good progression run.
Thursday - 9.5.  Ran w/ Martin on a raw dog day.
Friday - lifting sequence
Saturday - 15.  1st 10 sucked; last 5 better
Sunday - 8.  Dead legs.

For the Week
53 1/2 miles
70 min bike
4 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: This was a planned cutback week after 3 building weeks.  Wed and Thurs were the best and fastest runs, and then I was dead over the weekend.  Broke in a new pair of sneakers on Sunday (new balance 1080); too bad the run wasn't better.  Take away for the week: by the end of Wed's progression I was down around 5:20 pace.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Level Renner Issue #4 Is Now Available....For Free

Nov/Dec 2011

Level Renner: Nov/Dec 2011

Level Renner: the premier underground magazine of New England Club Running. Profiles on local elite athletes, articles on performance and nutrition, commentary on all things running. Keep it on The Level and don't ever underestimate the power of the palindrome.

Find out more on MagCloud

This Week in Running: 11.7 to 11.13.11

Monday: 9.75  hammered it; sub 5:30 by the end
Tuesday: 10.25  gliding @ 6:20 pace; got dark quickly
Wednesday: 9.5  easy run w/ ins-and-outs on the track for 1.5 miles
Thursday: gym for lifting
Friday: 12  easy
Saturday: 12  w/ 5 mile race (Edaville Rail Run 29:06 for 1st OA; report to follow)
Sunday: 14.5 easy on technical trails

For the Week
68 miles
4 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: This was a much better week than last week.  Where last week was a slog-o-rama of runs, the runs this week were easier and faster.  I'm accomplishing my goal of getting a good base down while slowing increasing the pace.  I'll try to write a race report of the Edaville trail run later in the day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Week in Running: 10.31 to 11.6.11

Monday: 10.5 not as fast as I wanted it to be
Tuesday: 5 easy day
Wednesday: 12 not as fast as I wanted it to be
Thursday: 10 not as fast as I wanted it to be
Friday: off/lifting
Saturday: 18 it was cold this morning
Sunday: 8 felt good

For the Week
63 1/2 miles
5 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: I'm not running as fast as I would like to right now.  I'm not doing any speed work and perhaps that's why.  I am just looking to lay down a solid base at this point in the training.  That's the goal for October and November.  I'm looking to get in some good miles with limited risk of injury.  No jinx there I hope.    I have a goal to run 70 miles per week without it being much of a big deal.  Once I can do that, I hope the speed with come (through workouts of course).  I want to get to the point where I do 30 miles on the weekend (20/10) and 40 miles during the week.  Wish me luck.

Congratulations to my CMS teammates for winning the open team title in this year's USATF-NE Grand Prix.

The next issue of Level Renner should be out in another week or so.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

This Week in Running: 10.24 to 10.30.11

Monday - 11 (progression; sub 6:00 @ end)
Tuesday - 3 w/ 40 min bike
Wednesday - 11.75
Thursday - 10 (steady tempo)
Friday - lifting @ gym
Saturday - 17
Sunday - 7.5

For the Week
60 1/4 miles
4 core workouts
40 min on bike
Analysis: Tried running some trail on Sunday morning.  Wow, was it bad.  The snow itself wasn't the problem.  The weight of the snow was the problem.  So many downed trees and limbs.  It'll be a while before the trails are clear...Saturday's long run was good.  I'm hovering around 7:00 pace.  Two good runs on Monday and Thursday.  I was going sub 6:30 on Thursday and it was feeling easy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

This Week in Running: 10.17 to 10.23.11

Monday - 10.25 w/ Ben Nephew
Tuesday - 9.25 tempo
Wednesday - off (core only)
Thursday - 5.75
Friday - off
Saturday - 16 @ Cape Cod Marathon Course
Sunday - 7

For the Week
48 1/4 miles
4 core workouts
Analysis: Two evening obligations at work turned this into a cutback week.  First run w/ Ben in a long while and it was good to talk some shop w/ him.
On Saturday my friends were getting married on the Cape, so I got up early on Saturday morning to check out the CCM course.  I ran miles 26-15 backwards.  My take: oh crap.  The course is tough.  Sure, 24-26.2 is pancake flat but about 18 to 23.5 is a bear.  A big rolling, non-stop up and down grizzly.  This is not the type of course on which you PR or run for time.  This is the type of course that you race your competition, not the clock.  To all your GPS studs who are racing next weekend: I wish you the best.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This Week in Running: 10.10 to 10.16.11

Monday: 9
Tuesday: 3.25 w/ 40 min bike
Wednesday: 10 (tempo)
Thursday: 8 (slow/no energy)
Friday: 7 (see Thurs)
Saturday: off (work obligation)
Sunday: 15.25 good ones

For the Week:
52 1/2 running miles
40 mins on the bike
4 core workouts
Analysis: Two good runs.  Two bad runs.  I'm getting in shape.  I paid my dues for two straight runs after the 10 mile tempo on Wed.  I don't care; it was worth it.  I need to get used to running faster again and if that means back to back skunks then so be it.  Today's 15 was encouraging.  Hitting sub 7:00s and felt strong at the end.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

This Week in Running: 10.3 to 10.9.11

Monday - 7.5
Tuesday - bike 70 mins
Wednesday - 8.25 
Thursday - 9
Friday - lift
Saturday - 14.5
Sunday - 8.25

For the Week
47 1/2 miles
4 core workouts
1 lift
70 mins on the bike

Analysis: Feel like I'm starting to turn the corner with the back injury.  Happy bout that.  The pace is slowing working itself down.  That's good too.  Tried a little experiment this week straight out of Joe Donnelly's training log.  I woke up at 0300 on Wed and Thurs to get the runs in before work.  It felt awesome to have the run down before 0500 but I don't think it's sustainable b/c I wasn't really able to help get the girls ready for school.  Trying to make it all work. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rome Blvd Road Race

The Skinny
5 mile time--29:39
place--5th (division 2nd)

The Report
I started off conservatively because I didn't know how my back would react.  I've been running all slow miles lately and haven't been feeling that great.  Pleasantly, the back felt fantastic.  I still played in cautiously over the first mile but passed a bunch of people that went out too hard.

I told myself to just keep it in control for the first 3.  At around 2.5, I noticed a couple of guys starting to come back to me.  I passed one at 3 and the other at a little before 3.5.  This actually made me feel better and I kept going.  I turned the corner at 4 and heard the timer yell "24."  So I made up the 18 seconds or so that was putting me over 6.00 pace.  My buddy and sometime trainer partner, Martin, was up ahead and I caught up to him too.  Like me, he is coming off an injury and really wasn't racing.

I tried to take it easy the last mile, full knowing this wasn't the race too be a hero, but the 5th mile was my fastest.  I'll take that.  The best news of all is that I ended this race feeling pretty good.  I have been running so slow in training lately; it just felt good to open it up a bit.  And the back seemed fine during the race.  The real test will be tomorrow.  I hope it's not back to square one.  Cross those fingers.

Post-race was good.  My friend Dan was there and he was making his debut as a road racer.  He put up a respectable performance.  No doubt he'll be doing a few more in the future.  For 2nd place in my division, I won a foot massage roller.  Add it to the collection!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

This Week in Running: 9.26 to 10.3.10

Monday - 7.25
Tuesday - bike 70 mins
Wednesday - 6.75
Thursday - 6.75
Friday - lifting
Saturday - 11
Sunday - 8.25 w/ race

For the Week
40 running miles
bike 90+ mins
5 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis:  Slow miles for most of the week and my back was sorer than I thought it would be and that stunk.  I was getting pretty depressed by my lack of progress and my runs had been pretty boring as a result.  You can only go on so many slow runs, especially when they are accompanied by discomfort.
The highlight of the week was definitely the Rome Blvd Road Race.  I felt much better than I thought.  I had very little back discomfort.  I took the race out slow, but at 3 miles was able to pick it up and pass three guys.  Now, I wasn't racing this race--I was treating it more like a tempo--but I felt good, and that's all I care about right now.  Maybe CCM is still a possibility?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

October Issue of Level Renner Available Now!

Level Renner Issue 3

Level Renner: Level Renner Issue 3

The 3rd issue of Level Renner is hot with commentary on all things running: water stops, double-dipping, marathon peaking, and so much more. Three great New England athletes are featured: Joe Donnelly, Brett Ely, and Jim Pawlicki. You want to find out what tough runners do and how they think? The…

Find out more on MagCloud

Sunday, September 25, 2011

This Week in Running: 9.19 to 9.25.11

Monday - bike 70 mins
Tuesday - 7 miles
Wednesday - 3.5 miles
Thursday - 5 miles
Friday - lifting
Saturday - 10 miles
Sunday - 5 miles

Some easy biking accompanied each run just to up the total cardiovascular time.  I also got in 5 days of core work.  I'm trying to emphasize the lower back and hips as this needs to be a point of emphasis after the current injury.  The lower back is still sore when I run but it is manageable and sometimes the discomfort is more in my right hip than my lower back.  I have been killing myself with a trigger point roller 2x a day and I think that is helping.  Jen gave me a a deep tissue massage on Thursday and that helped too.

I was somewhat surprised to get 30 miles this week.  I had absolutely no mileage goals.  I did not worry about speed b/c I just wanted to feel "healthy."  Still holding out hope for CCM.  Good news: my legs feel like they are in shape.  I had some bounce in my step despite the sore back.

For the Week
30 1/2 miles
probably about 2 hours of biking
 5 core workouts
1 lifting sequence

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Weekly Update 9.12 to 9.18.11

Turns out I impinged/inflamed the sacroiliac joint.  That's what's been causing the pain.  Apparently, when excess stress is placed on the joint, the surrounding muscles tense up and spasm as a protective measure to prevent further damage to the distressed area.

I have been able to start running some easy miles.  I probably did fifteen or so miles over 4 runs this week.  The back can handle the bike without much discomfort.  In another week or so, I intend to be "back" to somewhat normal miles with the hopes of salvaging a respectable fall racing season.

Rehab measures include lots of foam rolling on the lower back and hip, stretching both areas (IT-bands), icing, and heating.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Lower Back Pain

It's been two weeks and the right side of my lower back at the hip and top of the butt is still sore and tight.  I've been rolling (but probably need to do more), icing, and heating.  I've also been on a steady stream of ibuprofen, which I am now abandoning.  Don't like putting too much of that stuff in my body.  I feel like not much recovery has been made in these last two weeks.  I'm going to Mika, the chiro, on Tuesday.  Hopefully, he can straighten me out.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Week in Running: 8.29 to 9.4.11 (Injury)

I ran once this week.  Monday 5 miles.  After seeing a chiropractor on Wednesday, it turns out that I strained a muscle in my lower back on the right side.  It's been sore for the entire week.  For treatment, I have been doing the usual RICE routine plus some massaging with the stick and foam roller.  I incurred a similar injury to this almost three years ago to the day.  The only difference being that in 2008 the injury affected my left side.  It's a bit sore to walk right now but I seem to be able to bike without much discomfort on flat roads.  Too bad I don't enjoy biking as much as I do running.  I pretty bummed about this.  Looking back from the 2008 running log, I was sidelined about a month all in all.  I don't think this injury is as severe as in 08 so I'm hoping for a quicker recovery.  I'd still like to do CCM, but I need to get in some quality work.

Why do I think the injury happened?  I think it was a combination of two things: 1) I had been lifting a lot of heavy objects leading up to the injury (helped my sister move, moving yard stuff around before Hurricane Irene, constantly picking up the kids who aren't getting any lighter), 2) my mileage and intensity was at his highest for the year.  That amalgam stirred up together left my lower back susceptible and here I am now.  Back on the shelf.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chapter 44: Treadmill

Beads of Sweat is a novel about running.  This chapter chronicles one boy's run on a treadmill.  I think it is one of the best in the whole novel.  What do you think?

When a priest gives a sermon, he can proselytize for fifteen minutes but a member of the congregation may only take with him one sentiment, one phrase, one word. Sometimes that aphorism is taken in context; sometimes it is not.
Ryan Jenkins heard that he wasn't running because the uneven terrain of a cross country course would jeopardize the healing of the ankle. Only a slight twist could put the susceptible ankle back into ice baths. He got to thinking that if today's race was on a mondo track that he'd be racing. He didn't hear the other things the priest had to say and in his defense Hartman could have been more forthcoming with the full platform of reasons as to why the star pupil was being withheld.
So he broke into the Dank Tank. Avoiding the school police was the breeze he knew it would be and he didn't have to worry about tripping any alarms. The tank had nary a motion detector nor security camera. The only thing he had to concern himself with was the actual entrance. Doors were locked but the bunker style windows were open. Del-like, he got in. It took him six minutes and he nearly reinjured his ankle due to his awkward landing but in another dozen he was on the treadmill.
He thought like his coach. He had one objective: make it hurt. Over a week had elapsed from his last good running sweat and to him that was unacceptable. Yes he did the bike and swam the pool workouts but like the boss said, There's no substitute for running—another maxim taken slightly out of context.
He wanted eight hard miles. He told himself to make it a progression run that started at 8.5 mph and ended at the mill's top speed. He didn't know what that speed was but he wanted that belt smoking by the end of it. He visualized himself as David Sommers from American Flyers, a movie he'd seen a hundred times, and told himself it was his time to work like that, to push it to the brink. Edge city man, edge city.
Three old machines stood in front of a wall of glass. The mirror had several small spider cracks and a longer diagonal one that distorted the reflecting image. On the left side a wooden shelf lay even with the bunker sills and supported an old boombox. On this boombox Smitty played his music at six in the morning. Jenkins decided not to turn it on. He didn't turn any lights on either. Didn't want any pigs sniffing around his workout. He wouldn't realize it until years later but that extra adrenaline rush of doing something that he wasn't suppose to do aided his workout tremendously and enabled him to kick the treadmill's ass.
He took the first mile easy. He had to test the ankle and make sure it could handle the load. He let the sweat form and roll off slowly. He often ran with a hat but today sans headcover he could feel the beads of sweat sprout on his crown and weave down through his hair. Two times he told himself to wait until he hit mile one to increase the speed but it was of no use. The ankle barely bothered him at all. Once or twice he even had to remind himself which ankle he sprained. He could have run today. He was repaired.
The odometer recorded a mile and he hit the up arrow until the mph number reached 9.0. 6:40 pace and still feeling as slow as molasses. He could feel himself entering the zone—easing into it like one does a hot bath—the only thing preventing complete immersion was his keeping an ear out for the school security cops.
That didn't last long. By four miles, he was running at ten miles per hour and inserted his earbuds. The music made him feel invincible. The speed was hard yet easy and the ankle held up fine. His reflection looked back at him in triplicate and he studied it from all three angles. A side mirror offered him a profile of his arm and leg swing. He tried to lift his knees higher and swing his arms more efficiently. The beat of the music helped him attain a steady rhythm of opposite arm-leg propulsion. So tuned in was he that he landed one step on the port sideboard of the treadmill. He totally forgot he was on the thing. He nearly fell off and broke the other ankle. Enough of that, he thought, and looked at himself dead on. He corrected himself as to stop his forearms from carrying across his body. He was sweating heavily at 4.5 and tactfully pulled off his “per aspera ad astra.” First he removed his left arm from its sleeve then the right. He had to reconfigure the headphone cord draping from his ear and tucked it into his wristband, which he was now wearing between elbow and shoulder. In this movement he thought of how he naturally slowed down on the road if he ever had to make an adjustment. Not on a treadmill. The machine was oblivious to any such human whim or fancy. It kept its speed. It did not falter. Jenkins admired this infallibility and became determined first to match it then to beat it. Both arms now desleeved, he tucked his head out of the neckhole and threw the shirt on a nearby nautilus apparatus. It landed right on a handbar; it did not touch the floor. He now looked at his pale svelte torso and it motivated him. His hairless pectorals were cut. A hundred fifty pushups a day will do that to a boy. Nobody knew how defined he was except him and a few x-c guys. His abs were equally chiseled No remnants of babyfat on this runner's stomach. With each step his ab skin zigzagged. Slant to the left. Slant to the right. Eight square blocks pressing up from under his skin. Runnels of sweat streamed down across his front and ephemerally pooled into the divot at his navel. Then the beads encroached into his coolmax waistband and dissipated into hot vapor. The headbob. Watch the headbob. A silent acknowledgment that would stay with him. Keep that head on a line. Didn't see it on SpringVale but he could see it now. Tamp it. Keep it in check. When he pressed the button to 11.5 he felt a twinge which he promptly ignored. It disintegrated as quickly as it was born. Fuck the pain, and he was referring to multiple discomforts now. The music made him say it. “Rearview Mirror” came through the wires and that last line made him increase the tempo yet again. This time as he pressed down he caught a shadowy image of himself of the treadmill's console. Just the shoulder and the top of his chest. He stared at it. His eyes moved from digital numbers to the shoulder and he made it just so he could see both simultaneously. He couldn't take his eyes of this image. What was wrong with him? In the solitary privacy of the dank he let himself become one with this narcissistic inclination. He thought what he was doing was badass. He thought this workout was badass. Something out of a Prefontaine movie. Nobody in the state was working as hard as him right now and he was going to relish that. Nobody can run with me. Nobody works as hard as me. He pumped his elbows and knees and kept his head perfectly still. Oh yeah, he cried, and flexed out his hands as though he were slapping those of spectators on Boylston Street.
At 7.1 miles Smitty's song came on the mp3 player. “It's a long way to the top,” Bon Scott sang. Damn right, Jenks said and hit the speed button once again. But it didn't go. He tried again but the number stayed at 12.0. He looked at the elapsed time but instead a message scrolled: “MAX SPEED ATTAINED.” What the fuck, he thought as he tried to run faster. He ran up into the frontbar of the machine. He wanted more but the machine could give no more. He raced passed the eight mile mark and kept pounding to the music. If I can't run faster, I'll run longer. Actually drove his legs harder into the treadmill's belt. Drove harder and harder and worked on perfect form and economy. I'm the machine, he told it.
Two songs later and Jenkins was still punishing it. Well over nine miles now and he was bumping into the frontbar again. He looked at the triplicate images. He was giving himself still more power. He ran on the front plastic casing at the top end of the belt. He looked at the orange numbers. His legs did something funny. For a second time a message scrolled on the console, a new message: CANNOT MAINTAIN REQUESTED SPEED...CANNOT MAINTAIN REQUESTED SPEED…

Ryan Jenkins' Treadmill Playlist

Rearview Mirror by Pearl Jam
Idioteque by Radiohead
Only by Nine Inch Nails
Double Vision by The Ponys
Underdog by The Dirtbombs
Black Jack Davey by The White Stripes
California Rolling by Kings of Leon
Clamp Down by The Clash
I’m Shipping up to Boston by Dropkick Murphys
Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin
And Begin by The Mooney Suzuki
Nine Milli Bros. by Ghostfaced Killa
Over and Over by Hot Chip
Elevation by U2

Monday, August 29, 2011

Level Renner Issue #2 Now Available!

September 2011
24 pages, published 29 AUG 2011
Level Renner is a journal of (new england) running for the olde school literary athlete. New England races are featured as well as literature related to running. The September issue also includes articles on performance and general running commentary and insight.

Friday, August 26, 2011

This Week in Running: 8.22 to 8.28.11

Monday - 11.5 recovery run; core
Started easy and felt best by the end of the run.  Low 7:00s.

Tuesday - 6 easy; core
Stride session after the run.

Wednesday - 12 in 87:xx; legcore
I wanted this to be a hard progression run but the legs just weren't cooperating.  Aerobically I was fine but my legs were cranky, esp the quads.  I think that steep downhill 3rd mile in Saturday's rest is still causing havoc on my quads.

Thursday - 12.5 in 92:25; core
Workout: 3 x 12 min w/ 2 min recovery
This was tough.  I was nowhere near recovered between each rep.  I was not on a track so ran on perceived effort.  Really hoping each repeat covered at least two miles.  The effort was there.  Classic cooldown bonk.  Spacey.

Friday - 4 easy; lifting w/ legcore
Easy day.

Saturday - 19.5 in a very slow time
I bonked.  If this was 10, I would've been fine, but it was 20.  Well, almost 20.  I was really dead on the second half of this run.  Not good.

Sunday - easy 7
Early morning pre "Hurricane" Irene run.  Body is feeling bad right now.  I need a cutback week to regroup.

For the Week
72 1/2 running miles
4 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
Analysis: Suddenly I'm feeling worn down and dead.  Need to take stock of things and get energized.  Maybe eat better too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chapter 39: Starkfield State Invitational

Beads of Sweat is a novel about running.  This chapter tells of the boys' first big invitational.

In his mind's eye, he circled this date on the team calendar.  Every since he typed it up on his old Smith Corona, he marked the day as the first true test on the schedule.  His veteran status made him sententious enough to know that the odds were pretty good that at least one of his men would be down or that something unexpected would happen: teacher strike, family tragedy, no bus pickup.  He just didn't think that Jenkins would be his foible.  He placed his chips on the Coetaine card and early on it looked like he was in the money but as he full well knew things could change on a dime, especially with a group of teenage boys.  Coaches couldn't control freak injuries (contrary to popular belief he felt they could at least partially control other types of injuries, overuse injuries, for example) but they could control the training.  Hartman brought them into this meet ready to dance.  He even eliminated a late week track workout so the boys would have something they hadn't had all year: fresh legs. They were by no means peaking for this race, that wouldn't come until Championship season, but the coach intended to use this performance as an assessment of the team current fitness level and as an instrument to inform him for the planning and adjusting for the team's next mesocycle.
In August he had told his boys to pay attention and that their legs would remember the course. It was the last run of camp, a controlled progression in which they got to see and feel and smell the course two times over. Now he'd see if his instructions were followed.
He debated but broke his team in two. The upperclassmen would run the D1 Varsity Race and his bluebirds the Freshmen Race. Paws might be ready to run varsity but Hartman thought it might do him and the others some good if they didn't get their butts handed to them, for once, by guys three or four years older than them. Might also be good for the older boys to see their guys hold their own against competitors in the same weight class. From warmup to cooldown Pereira was in charge of the pfb's; as always Hartman held the reins of the varsity squad.

09:20:00 AM Frosh Boys
09:40:00 AM Frosh Girls
10:00:00 AM D1 JV Boys
10:20:00 AM D1 JV Girls
10:40:00 AM D1 Varsity Boys
11:00:00 AM D1 Varsity Girls
11:20:00 AM D2 JV Boys
11:40:00 AM D2 JV Girls
12:00:00 PM D2 Varsity Boys
12:20:00 PM D2 Varsity Girls

-Your other job, Hartman told Pereira, is to keep him away from him...and Paul...the best you can.
But it was too late. Impossible to keep Mr. Hammond from barreling on up to him with extended bear claw.
-Good to see you Mitch.
-How are you Paul?
-I hope my boy runs fast enough for you today.
-He'll do fine.
Pereira saved Hartman by introducing himself. The latter caught Pereira's eye, gave him a wink and a pat on the back, and removed himself from the tercet. He had to go reiterate to Jenkins for the twentieth time that he wasn't racing today.
-But Coach I could win this meet. The team could win this meet. The team needs me.
-Would you rather win a meet now or in November? The ankle's getting better. Let's not jeopardize it on this uneven terrain. What you will do is act like a leader. You'll warmup with the varsity, set an A.B. tone, and make sure they're ready to go. Once they're racing, you'll be out on the course offering encouragement.
-Oh great. I'm a cheerleader.
-Or you can wait in the van.
Hartman told him how to do. Opened a window into how he thinks. Frosh race starts at 9:20. Watch that race and yell at your teammates. Start your stretching as soon as they finish. Make sure the bluebirds do a cooldown. Tell them they did a good job but only if they did. Take them with you as you warmup the varsity. Ask them questions about the course. Make sure the varsity listens to the answers. They could learn something. Now remember it's a fifteen-twenty minute jog that starts slow and finishes with a light sweat. After the warmup it should be no later than 10:25-10:30. Keep an eye on your watch. At this point dynamic stretches only. Leave them alone just before the race. Make sure they put on their spikes and unis and go to the bathroom. On the line at final call for a couple hard striders.

The frosh race was short. Only 2.2 miles. One big loop that crossed a wooden bridge. Not exactly spectator friendly. In the 5K race a coach could camp out at .4, sprint across the footbridge to see his harriers at 1.8, then hoof it back to the final straightaway. Hartman would only see his freshmen at the start and finish. They ran well. Paws led the charge, elbowing three guys out of his line in the first quarter mile. Gales witnessed it and bragged to those around him that he taught him that. In the end Paws took fourth, Sellberg seventeenth, Lee thirty-ninth, and Buck forty-fourth.

On his way to the line, Mr. Hammond took his son by the ulna.
-Remember what we talked about.
-Yessir, eyes averted.
-Good. Now go get 'em. Show 'em who's boss.
Paul sprinted away to catch up with his teammates. He had to break into their already formed huddle. Though he wasn't ready, Jenkins was speaking with vigor.
-...We know this course. We ran it at camp. We kicked its ass after a tough week. Twice. Remember that? Your legs will.
-Let's go. Let's go.
-We're a team. You don't need my legs to win this meet. No excuses. Run hard. Run tough. Never die easy. Jackets on three. One. Two. Three.
Hartman heard the primordial “Jackets” from one hundred ten yards away. Jenkins, he thought, had done his job. Two minutes later, a swarm of athletes set out straight for the dirtroad. He galloped out and over a small berm as he wanted to be as far down the opening straightaway as possible. The first Yellowjacket he saw was Spider, who positioned himself in the top ten. He was always a fast starter. Right behind him were Smith and to his chagrin Coetaine. Torres streaked by three seconds later then came Hamz, Kimihara, and later Wallan. Hartman said nothing as his harriers passed. Experience told him that trying to yell instructions into a crowded mass in the first half-mile of a race was an exercise in futility. Fifty meters down the road, however, he head Paul Sr. screaming at his only son.
-Get up there Paul! Get up there!
This advice ran contrary to what Hartman and Hamz had discussed in their prerace planning. The coach shook his head, spat, and made his way to his next viewpoint.
At 1.8 he saw what he was hoping not to see. Hammond had made a wild move and positioned himself way in front of Spidestrom and right at the back of the small lead pack of five. Hartman wondered how much energy he wasted in this uncouth move and hoped he had enough stamina and endurance to hang on. The plan was for Paul to sit for the first two then drop the hammer in the last mile. He always ran his best when he started conservatively and worked his way through the field. It's the only time he ran with any type of confidence. Now all that had gone to shit. The kid ran scared, looking back, hoping no one would come along and eat him up, hoping his dad would see him while he was still up front. Hartman could see the terror in the boy's face.
-Alright now Paul. Be cool. Stick like glue. Like glue.
When Hartman saw him next the adhesive had lost its stick. He'd be giving his best effort but still doing the skeleton dance. Etched into his mind an audio imprint of Hammond's father screaming mercilessly at his son. Go! Go! Go! What's wrong with you? Go! Go! Go! Don't you dare quit on me! Move it. Move it. Before it's too late. The imprint returned to him at odd times for the rest of the long weekend. It led him to an old story he read years and years ago. He found a copy in one of the filing cabinets in the basement and intended to give Paul a copy come Monday.
Despite Hamz's blowup, the team raced well and with the exception of Hamz they raced smart. Each man has his own style and each ran well in his style. Hartman let them be individuals through October and early November but once championship season started they were expected to adopt a singular team strategy. And the troops knew that if the general didn't trust you, you weren't running in the big ones. So for this meet Spider could start as fast as he wanted and Kimihara could be an even Steven. They were young and Hartman wanted them to learn about their bodies in ways inherent and intrinsic to them. Hammond learned in a slightly different way today.

Starkfield State Invitational Team Results: Top 5
1. Springfield
2. Woodbury
3. Norman
4. Norwood
5. Drexel Hill

Individual Results for Springfield

1. Franklin Torres    16:07
2. Adam Spidestrom    16:28
3. Reggie Smith       16:41
4. Hideo Kimihara      17:10
5. Malcolm Galiozzi   17:35
6. Paul Hammond       17:37
7. Sam Coetaine       18:01
8. Peter Wallan       18:29

Monday, August 22, 2011

Larry Olsen 10K

mile 1; photo by Ted Tyler
The Skinny
Place: 1st
Time: 35:32
Pace: 5:43

The Report
When I walked out my door, I noticed two things: 1)everything was wet, 2) it was humid.  Those two things stayed constant throughout the early morning and throughout the race.

After the normal prerace routine and a pleasant chat with Ted Tyler, who graciously gave me permission to use all his photography in Level Renner, I was off to the starting line.  There, a couple guys were making idle, nervous chat about how they were dreading the upcoming race.  Hearing that palaver, I immediately crossed them off the list of contenders.

I wanted to go in a controlled first mile.  I did with a 5:36.  At this point, I was running with Glenn Miller of TVFR and in second place about 10-20 meters behind the leader.  The second mile is all uphill and the leader, Keith Neal, started to slow a bit on the incline.  I felt strong and worked the hill taking the lead.  Now, this is where I started to think that the markers were off b/c I ran a 5:19 second mile and the thing was just about straight up.  The third mile, straight down, registered a 5:33 and I knew something was amok.  That combined with the fact that all of the mile markers were “conveniently” placed at landmarks (a corner, a trailhead, the exact midpoint of a bridge) made me believe that the miles were a little off. 

I was running solo as I headed into the trails.  I felt like I was alone but did not look back.  I wanted to try to continue to push the pace and thought I did so, but for those two trail miles I slowed considerably.  I’m hoping it wasn’t just me.  I’m hoping the trails contributed to the flagging pace along with those miles being a little long.  They felt it.

mile 5; photo by Ted Tyler
The last mile is all road and I came off those back to back 6:13’s with a 5:31.  This gave me some confidence postrace b/c I was hoping to average low 5:30s.  I crossed the finish line and the clock read a disappointing 35:32 (hoping for 34:low), but I once again felt good to lace ‘em up and race.  That give me a jolt in itself.

Surprisingly, I felt peppy on the cooldown and did a solid 4.5 on the trails.  Unfortunately, some woman fell in the trails and broke her arm and maybe nose (it was all bloody).  I was pretty out there but had to doubleback and let a race official know (there were no race attendants in the 2 mile trail section of the race).  After a call to 911, I was back on the cooldown. 

At the awards ceremony I picked up a medal and t-shirt (pretty cool Larry Olsen memorial).  I wanted a cup of water but they ran out…which leads to this story.  Immediately following my finish I went to the 5 gallon drum to get some water.  Once there, I found no cups.  I asked a woman with a back tattoo and she said they were “working on it.”  I was pretty hot and parched, so improvised.  I pulled the water bucket over to the table’s edge and tried to bend down low in an effort to quench my thirst.  Either the table was too low or I was too stiff but I couldn’t bend down low enough to imbibe the water.  Instead, I let some run over my neck and head.  The woman seemed concerned that I was doing this but didn’t say anything to me directly.  Then, post awards ceremony I was walking back to my car and heard the tattoo woman telling a story…about ME.  This is what she was saying: “That asshole who finished first dumped half the water on his head.  What an asshole!”  I heard her and jogged up to her.  “Hey,” I said.  “That was me.”  She immediately started to back off.  I said, “I wasn’t being an asshole (using her language back at her for effect).  I was just thirsty and you had no cups.”  “Oh, I just wanted to get some cups,” she said.  I said, “And I didn’t pour half the bucket over my head.  I was thirsty.  I just ran a race.  I’m not an asshole.”  She sidled up to me and kept saying she just wanted the cups to arrive.  But I bet if I wasn’t there she would’ve kept on calling me an names all the way home.  I’m glad I got to straighten her out in front of her friends.  But, damn tattoo woman, if you are in charge of the water, put some freakin cups out!  It ain’t hard.  Oh and here’s another thing: have enough water left so some people can have some after a cooldown.  Me and this poor old man could’ve used a second cup.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This Week in Running: 8.15 to 8.21.11

Monday - 12.25 in 87:44; core
Steady run w/ 10 x 1 min w/ 1 min recovery thrown into the mix.  Point of the pickups was to stimulate some neuromuscular systems that have been dormant for a little too long now.  Try to get some speed back in a relatively "safe" way.  It was raining but the weather was nice.  Real runners know what I'm talking about.

Tuesday - 3.5 easy miles; core
Dr. Mika visit in the morning.  Just a tune-up.  Nothing brewing.

Wednesday - 11.75; legcore
9 x "800" (Muddy Puddin specialty)
I did not do the repeats on the track.  I did them on a loop at a park which is composed of dirt and grass paths.  I have no idea the exact distance of the loop; I just start on a mulched path and end at a trimmed bush.   All reps were between 2:55 (first) and 2:46 (last).  I worked hard today and could feel my body start to get in shape.  Good run.

Thursday - 11 in 75:37; core
A good medium run that progressed down to 6:15 for the last mile and it felt pretty easy.

Friday - 4 mile jog; legcore; lifting sequence at the gym

Saturday - 12.75 w/ race
Larry Olsen 10K.  1st OA.  35:32 (two miles of trail; moderately challenging).  Race report to follow.
midway through mile 1; Photo by Ted Tyler

Sunday - 14.5 recovery run
The pace was slow but I didn't feel bad.  The trails today were pretty technical,which I think slowed me down a bit.  Still the body felt relatively good after yesterday's race.  I didn't bonk today (that sometimes happens the day after a race for me).

For the Week
69 3/4 miles
4 core workouts
1 lifting sequence
some easy biking w/ KJ
Analysis: A good week of training.  The miles are up around 70 per week now and the intensity is getting there.  I am still getting in shape.  Hope to see some improvement in race times soon.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Chapter 38: Team Dinner

Beads of Sweat is a novel about a cross country team.  Today's chapter recounts a festive team dinner held on the eve of a big meet.

Despite the blazing hot run and ruckus of yesterday afternoon, Hamz still showed up at Galiozzi’s house at dawn.  He didn’t beep.  He let the car idle in front of the house.  As he reached for the phone to text Gales, the junior came running out the door with a bagel in his mouth, another in his hand, and a backpack slung over his shoulders.
     -Want one, he showed his bageled hand.
     -I didn’t think you’d show up this morning.
     -I only showed up because I know how much you hate the Dank.  Especially on a Friday morning.
     -No shit.
     He punched at a few of Hammond’s presets and threw a chunk of his bagel out the window at an equally spastic squirrel.
     -You’re a piece of work.  Know that?  Give me half.
     He handed him the bagel.
     -You’re a real bastard yourself.
     He held out his fist.  It hung there for a long second before Hammond recognized it.  When he saw it, he bumped his knuckles on it.  All was right in their world again.

     Thirteen hours after thirty minutes of core work in the Dank Tank, the Devonshires, Hideo Kimihara’s sponsor family, hosted both teams—boys and girls—to a pasta dinner.  However, the weather being so warm it morphed into more of a pasta barbeque.  A pastaque as Deo called it.
     The Devonshires, a bit clueless about all things endurance but not so clueless not to know that pasta was a prerace staple, did their dinner to the nines.  They started with appetizers: bowls of almonds, tortilla chips with homemade guacamole, popcorn, a platter of fresh cut vegetables.  Strewn across the living room, dining room, kitchen, and deck, small groups of skinny runners hovered over the goodies.  Buck and Lee along with Ola and Monique nearly stuffed themselves before they sat down for their meals.  When they did finally sit down, they commenced with a garden salad with roughly six different dressings from which to choose, each bottle brand new.  Mrs. Devonshire, playing the dual role of hostess/waitress, circled the tables, both indoor and out, asking each guest it they would like fresh ground pepper over their greens.  Half of them had no idea what she was talking about.  Mr. D would’ve been helping out too, but he manned the outdoor kitchen, splitting his time between rotisserie chicken and hamburgers. 
     Novices to teenagers, the Devonshires vastly underestimated how fast and how much high school athletes could eat.  Spider and Smitty had long since polished off their salads and half loaf of Italian bread before poor Theresa finally got pepper on her salad. 
     -Slow down you animals, Casey admonished, this isn’t Cinders.
     They looked at her and slowed their jaws in an exaggerated manner.  
     The Devonshires were at least sage enough to set the drinks up at the tables in a serve yourself buffet.  The kids helped themselves and waited politely for the main course.  Give them credit, they knew their manners when the circumstance called for it.  Casey, known for her massive guttural utterances, didn’t belch once the entire meal.  A record for her.  She still, however, busted chops whenever the D’s were out of earshot. 
     Right as Mr. and Mrs. D were to finally place the platters of assorted meats and pastas on the table, Wallan, sitting alongside Lindsey and Sellberg, stood up.  Perhaps one course too late, but he still gently tapped his glass with his fork. 
     -Hey guys: can I have your attention for a minute? 
He waited for a hush to fall.  Even Mr. Devonshire halted the flipping of beef.  Wallan made eye contact with him and his wife.
-Thanks.  Thank you for having us this evening and cooking this meal for us.  And Lord thank you for providing us with this bountiful table.  Amen.
-And may we run fast tomorrow.
-Amen, louder.
-And thank you again Kimiharas.
-Amen, louder then sprinkled guffaws.
-Their last name isn’t Kimihara, you idiot!
-Well, you know what I mean.
-Idiots, Casey said.
The Devonshires really did make a big deal of the evening.  They sent Deo to school with invitations for everyone on both teams.  The gesture gave the event an air of magnanimity.  As such everyone responded either via call or text to Deo’s cell, the RSVP number.  Even the guys who told him in person still sent a text.  Each subsequent night since the release of the invites, Mrs. Devonshire would ask Hideo for an update.  He complied and was observant enough to notice for his visits at Cinders to know that Maggie and Katherine were vegans.  This information, of course, sent the carnivorous Devonshire couple into a bit of a frenzy that started with an internet search for vegan recipes and culminated with tofu, cannellini beans, veggie burgers, and rice pasta—all prepared in separate pots and pans—appearing on the table.
-Now where are Maggie and Katherine?
Fortunately, they both sat out on the deck at the circular table that abutted the rectangular one, the two joined together in the shape of a gigantic lollipop.  Mrs. D approached them and asked what they’d like: veggie burgers or pasta primavera with rice noodles and tofu or both?  The girls were touched.
-How did you know?
She proudly pointed at Deo and bent town between them to whisper “Cinders.”  They smiled.  When Katherine finally caught Deo’s eye ten minutes later, she gave him a smile and wink that left the sophomore with a tingle in his groin.
Dinner ended almost as soon as it had started.  Pounds upon pounds of pasta, meatballs, chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers, and tofu vanished in the span of thirty minutes.  All that was left was a mountain of dirty dishes.
-Do you guys want to watch a movie downstairs?
-I brought Hoosiers, Jenkins said.
-We should help with the dishes first, Lindsey said.
-Now don’t you even think about that, Mrs. Devonshire interjected.
-We have smores for dessert, Mr. D said, I could get the firepit going and we could toast some marshmallows.
-Let’s do that.
And they were off.  Off to the backyard looking for twigs and sticks.  They ran all over the yard.  Some broke into fencing matches with their branches.  Laertes and Hamlet would be proud.  Others searched endlessly for the perfect bough.  Coetaine challenged Torres to a smores eating contest.  Franklin accepted and won nine to eight.  Coetaine vouchsafed victory by placing and waving a white napkin on his marshmallow branch.  Amazingly, the Devonshires didn’t run out of chocolate, graham crackers or marshmallows.  Maybe because Hammond and Paws only had one each.  Or maybe because Jenkins didn’t have any.  He still thought he might run tomorrow.
-Hey Deo.  Get your guitar.
Deo scurried up the stairs to his room and brought down his acoustic. 
-What can you play?
-Only a few.  I’ve only been at it a little while.
-Play a song we all know.
Deo complied and after a minute or two the whole team joined the refrain of “American Pie.”  That’s how they spent the rest of the night: circled around a fire singing songs they all knew.