Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Moderately Challenging 16-Miler

Last Sunday I made the drive up to Derry, NH for the 17th annual Boston Prep 16 miler. Let's go through the mental checklist that preceded this endeavor.
  • Training for Boston? Nope
  • Running double digits? Not really. Well, I had one 10 mile run in the last 4 months.
  • Well rested? Let's simply say that I really should work on that whole 8 hours thing.
  • Healthy? Yes? A person gets a little winter cough now and then. Sure, healthy.
  • Easy Course?
Moderately Challenging
Easily influenced into doing stupid things.

I arrived at around 9:00 and was going through the typical pre-race steps (bag pickup etc). Eventually bumped into Luau. We were waiting on one or two others, and eventually ran into Jeremy just before heading down to the race start.

Me, Jeremy, and Luau before the race
Before the race, I had planned to ditch the outer layer and just go with the long sleeve tech and wind block layers at race start. You can see how well I stuck to that plan.  Consequently, I ran hot for a good portion of this race. However, with temps in the low-to-mid twenties, I was happy to have the layers later in the race when I slowed down to walk.

My plan, if you could call it that, was to run the first half somewhere between 9:30-10:00 and then slow down when necessary on the hills later in the race. Chip timing provided splits at 5, 10, and 13.1 miles. For the first five miles, I was definitely on plan - 47:49 (9:39). I actually remember thinking at around the 10k mark - "this course isn't that bad". Lots of rolling hills and downhill stretches made it pretty easy to maintain a  9, even 8-handle at times. But I knew I'd need to start slowing down as I approached the 10 mile mark.

Just before the 10 mile mark there was a huge hill just after a water-stop. I took one look and started walking. First, 10 miles was the longest I'd previously run, and I knew that I'd need to the breaks if I wanted to even get to 16. Second - this hill was steep. Part of me just automatically reverted to VT50 mode, and began power walking without thinking. This was fine by me. I clocked in at the 10 mile mark at 1:38:33 (9:52).

Over the next few miles, I came to understand why many people consider this race more challenging than it's New England Winter counterpart - Stu's 30k. The hills just don't stop. None of them are particularly brutal, but they just keep coming. I had quite a few walk breaks during this section - playing telephone pole tag and just running how I felt. The half-marathon mark was 2:15:02 (10:19).

The last few miles of this course are actually quite nice. If you have anything left after the hills. I thought I'd try to get a 9-handle back for the last 2 miles, but kept running into some back cramping that slowed me down to a walk several times.

At the beginning of the race, I told Luau & Jeremy to look for me around 2:40, and so I finished in around 2:46:13 (10:24), just about where I thought I'd be.

Happy with this race for several reasons - see the check list above. My achilles and post-tib were a little sore on Monday, but that's to be expected with a big jump up in mileage and all those hills.

Now I'm really looking forward to Stu's 30k in March, so I can really compare the two races.

Until next time - run, run, run.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Snowy Trail Shots

Some shots from snowy trail run last Friday...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Your Infinite Potential

I find inspiration and motivation in many places. One of my most frequent sources is in a one or two line lyric in a song. My musical tastes can be probably best be described as eclectic. I vacillate between blissfully running on the trails listening to Fleet Foxes and banging out tempo runs on the pavement with underground rap in my ear buds.

This past weekend, on my ten miler, I was listening to a playlist I had made up for the Freezer Five race. Before heading out, I added a bunch of tracks on to the end of it - mostly classic/indie hip-hop tracks. After an hour or so, the underground classic Come Clean came on. I ran along, reminiscing about times hanging out back in the day listening to grimy east coast hip hop in the late 90s with my DJ friend Shawn, when the following words entered my brain.

I'm a true master, you can check my credentials. 'Cause I choose to use, my infinite potential...

That got me thinking. That phrase - I choose to use my infinite potential - bounced around my cranial cavity and would not escape.

I thought about how far I have come personally. Back in the day, at 350 lbs, I'd get winded simply walking up the 3 flights of stairs leading to my apartment; where I spent many an afternoon and evening sitting out on the porch, drinking 40s and eating junk, listening to music watching (and often mocking) the group of guys gathered to play soccer in the elementary school field across the street from my apartment. Fast forward to now - I'm out running 10 miles on a January day, in shorts, just because I wanted to get in a double-digit run. How on earth did this transformation occur?

Choice.

One day, I woke up, and chose to change my life. It was not easy at first. No change is. But the capacity for great change is within us all. And when you find that spark, and nurture it, you can achieve amazing things.

It's just a matter of choosing to use your infinite potential.

Will you make that choice?

Monday, January 2, 2012

First Trail Run of 2012

A few pictures from the first trail run of 2012. January 2nd and I was in shorts again. Loving this weather, but I'm sure the snow will come soon enough...



Sunday, January 1, 2012