Thursday, December 26, 2013

The 2013 Club National XC Championship

1st lap of 5. Ken Goglas to my left, me wearing camo head band in honor of Andrew Capizzi. Dense racing over rough ground! Photo by Michael Scott
I write to inspire and amuse.  When you race with poor tactics, it is hard to talk about it. But I have to be honest, we have to look at the ugly truth. I started way too hard in this race. I told myself "Run 50-80m hard and then settle in". Given that the first turn was a straight line and about 350-400m out, around a tree into a 90. The starting line was not that wide for 400+ runners; I figured this made sense. Instead, I probably kept rolling for more like 150-200m into the steep incline and went into oxygen debt and ran like shit for all but the last mile. Arguably I ran well in the last 1000m, but was pained to see a clump of about 20 runners that were just a bit too far ahead for me to catch. It's a hard thing traveling to an important race and flat out blowing it.  I should know better, I'm 32yrs old, I've been racing for 18yrs.  But shit, I'm human too, right?

The upside is, a handful of my teammates had a pretty good race, and good for them! Two Men and One Woman inside the top 100 finishers (Chris Johnson, Ken Goglas and Cheyenne Ogletree). From where I battled within the race, I saw Matt Eder, Joe Zeoli, and Will Appman all run well. Joe kept a steady pace throughout, picking off the fast starters (like me). Matt battled with Will and I in the last 600m and ultimately laid down the hammer to outrun us both. And Matt, Will and I all passed 2-3 men each in the last 200m I believe. Also, all 18 men and 12 women, and 2 coahes, and Bill Zeoli(Joe's Dad), had a good time in the town of Bend, and just being around all of the other runners. I'd never been to Oregon, so it was a dream to go for a Championship race. Honestly, I never dreamed I would have a chance to race in Oregon on a team in a race like this. We really had a lot of fun!
About 50m from the finish, and yes, I beat #1752, his beard was no match for mine. Photo compliments of Michael Scott.
This was the toughest XC course that I have ever run. It was designed with intentional contour and challenges that resembled a cyclocross or motocross course.  It was a lot of fun being in a race where you can hear the ground rumbling under 800+ spiked shoes.  3600ft over sea level and a tilted, twisted, hilly, muddy course were tough. I got my assed kicked. 280th of 410, my time was 36:20. Next yr yr.

And now one more photo, because this is what teammates do:
About 2seconds before this, Paul went down, but Josh and Matt helped him up quickly. Ted is on the far right. In a crazy race like this, it's good to have some teammates nearby. That's XC! Compliments of Michael Scott

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Going to Portland: Coffee, Beer, and Trail Running

Photo by Richard Jensen
Photo by Richard Jensen
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah. We've all heard, "Portland has great coffee shops, breweries, and restaurants".  I'm looking forward to checking out a few of those. I like me some coffee, I'll even say I like a variety of coffees.  But in looking at the greenery they've got just on the edges of this city, I'm more excited for that.  Looks like some very good running to me. I'll take some photos of my own, and will be sure to post em' up here when I get back.  Looks like that end of season "break" is going to have to wait a couple more days.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Ashenfelter 8k: race report

Ashenfelter is an awesome race!  I have run this race in 2009, 11', 12', and again this year, 2013.  My own performances have been mixed each time I have run it (25:51, 26:15, 26:49, and 25:52). But I am always eager to go back.

Reasons I like racing the A8K:
1-A fast competitive field comes out to run-Random Africans you've never heard of, Collegiates home for T-day or recent College grads, and the GSTC army of running clone-bots, they can all be found here!
2-Cash Prize (small but effective, that's what she said!) to the top 3 overall
3-Top 3 finishers in each AG get a nice commemerative jacket
4-Top 100 finishers get a beautiful painted coffee mug
5-Shake hands with one of the oldest living American Olympian's, Horace Ashenfelter! He won gold in the 3,000 steeplechase in the Helsinki Summer Olympic Games in 1952!
6- You will see all your favorite NJ club running friends on Thanksgiving day when everyone is in a good mood!
7-There are lots of snacks that you would want after running an 8k road race!

The conditions today were tough, 15-20mph winds here and there, one seemed to find me just as I ran up a hill after the 3rd mile mark.  The temperature was about 28F at race time. I was in half tights and short over them, insulated arm sleeves, a racer beanie, and some duct tape over the end of my shoes so my toes didn't get too numb (it helped a bit I swear!).  I didn't feel terrific, I'll blame poorly timed eating from last night.
The start: Note guy on left w/neon vest and orange glasses, he knows what my palm feels like in the center of his back. He had no business standing there if he couldn't react any faster than he did. He finished about 7-8mins behind the leaders, that is a selfish racer, not cool!

How it all went down: The first 1/2mile was a weird scramble with a few pretenders in the way and trying to be in mix.  This is typical.  However, then as the true competitors for the top spots formed up, they all suddenly slowed down. It felt like we went from a 5:00pace to 5:40pace. after 3seconds of this, I made a surge ahead to maintain the pace.  So there I was in the lead for about 100m...and the pack of about 8 runners went by me and we all cruised through 1mile in 5:05-5:06.  They surged away and split 5:00 for the next mile, and a few were probably quicker than that.  I on the other hand wasn't feeling great rather suddenly, and obviously slowed down to a 5:16. So from about 1.2 until aout 3.5miles I was rather alone and just chasing a gap, fighting to figure out if I had it in me to close it back up or to even just maintain and not fall further back.
 Just after passing the 4mile mark, some audibly loud breathing behind me, got louder. I knew someone was close, and I knew I couldn't do a whole lot about it. I could tell I was losing a step. This breathing was so distracting!  As we climbed the last incline in the course, we made our last turn back onto Ridgewood Ave, and then he was alongside me.  I looked over to my right, it was David Nash, a very good runner in his own right.
Nash and I ran either side by side or with me 1/2 a step ahead for most of the last 1000m.  Just when I thought I could surge enough to break him, he'd respond and get right back on me.  The one last surge with about 80m to go was enough to get some separation, and still his last effort was very nearly successful. Sometimes a competitor will drag you out of a rutt when a race looks like it will end in worthless disaster. I ran the last .972miles in 4:58, which is a 5:06pace. Compared to when I ran 1 second faster in 2009, this was a faster last "mile" by about 8seconds.  More importantly I beat Nash for 9th overall by .04seconds! This is the closest margin I have ever beaten someoen by I am pretty certain.  So here's to you, David Nash! I would have probably wouldn't have performed as well without you pushing me all the way into the line. After we each caught our breath, we came face to face and congratulated each other on a great effort. We were both glad for it. You have to trust me, moments like that on a race course are more rare than you'd think. We gave each other something that only two true athletes can give to each other, everything that they have left down to the wire.

Getting close the end, fighting to hold off the always competitive David Nash

1 second later he nearly got me, i held him off by .04 seconds, 10th is mine! Thank You for a great race David Nash!

Lead pack at 3.5miles, L to R Chris Croff, Chris Johnson, Mystery-African-Guy#1, Andrew Brodeur, Stephen Mennitt, and Mystery-African-Guy #2. Things spread out not too long after this I imagine. These guys are not slow.
 My reaction to a 25:52: Given several factors, I am frustrated but as usual, further motivated to keep working and fighting. Finishing 9th against this field is good, but good is the ugly, talks-too-loud, annoying cousin, of great. I missed getting a pr by 2seconds...grrr.  However, if not for the guy chasing me the last mile, and this were a 10k instead of 8k I believe I would have held out to the end\ with another 5:10 mile there instead of one 5:06 mile that accelerated in the last 1/4mile considerably. So, this still bodes well for the Club National 10k XC race coming in mid-december. So, to coin a new phrase, I'm finding seeds in the bird shit.

Further implications in regards to Club National 10k XC: Had I run the kind of race I'd hoped for, I might have caught one of my teammates, and been an arguable 8th man for the "A" team. But it is fairly apparent that I will end up on "Ze B squad".  Maybe, "The B squad leader"? If you've seen The Life Aquatic w/Steve are now having a light chuckle. If you haven't, watch it (or at least the scene below), read this again, then chuckle lightly.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Keeping Promises

Runner's set goals for themselves. Part of achieving certain goals is looking at these as a promise to oneself.  If you can't keep a promise to yourself, what good are you?  Some of my goals are as arbitrary as; "going sub fill-in-the-blank", sometimes it's placing "top 5" in a certain race. The toughest one I've found is running a set number of miles in a calendar year.  If you set that bar high enough, you're going to find that there isn't room for excuses or bullshit. Why does a runner set the goal of running X miles? Because it means you are doing more work and more work means faster race perforamces.

For 2013, I went as far as making it a new year's resolution to run 3,001 miles.  Why the extra one?  For good luck!  Today, I eclipsed the my highest yearly mileage total from previous years. In 2008, I ran 2,863 miles. The 9.5miles w/Ken Goglas, puts me at 2,866 miles so far.  I'll make it to 3,001 and then some. I'm 94 days deep into a running streak, and liking it.

This yr wasn't as smooth a year of training as I'd hoped for, and currently I'll complain that I'm having some struggles with my right foot.  But all in all, the year up till now has been very good.  There have been a lot of mornings were I ran alone feeling exhausted and sluggish, but infinitely glad that I did it anyway.  There have been workouts that I went into feeling like I would run poorly, and yet they went surprisingly well.  More than anything you have to keep that promise to yourself every day, and being sure that you understand that there is no making up for days that you didn't run when you could have.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Raynaud's Disease: how a runner deals with it

I first heard of this condition about a year ago. Honestly, I've had thousands of conversations about people's various running-related health issues while at work in one of numerous running shops. Much of it is seeming to blur into my memory, but naturally, some things will stick in your mind. I do recall hearing someone use this name, one I'd never heard of before; and so I was naturally curious.
A woman mentioned it rather matter of factly, she called it a syndrome.  I suppose it sounds less scary to call something a syndrome rather than a disease. A syndrome sounds like you were unlucky and just got stuck with it.  While people will almost immediately wonder if a "disease" you have is contagious.  Raynaud's is NOT contagious! The Mayo clinic has a good informational page about it online here.
She simply said, "Your hands get cold very easily and can't warm up!" In a nutshell, that's it. How ironic, just as this lady is telling me about it, I simultaneously start to suffer from it! Maybe this explains why my Mother says she is cold all the time? Lame.
This is roughly what I'll experience. Yup, it's uncomfortable both to feel and see.

I know you're going to click that link and take notes...but I'll go on.  While it is not completey undersootd, it affects the extremities.  Simply, your fingers and toes get very cold, because they are losing circulation in response to exposure to cold temperatures.  Usually, it affects only one or two fingers or toes on each hand or foot. I have it. Another cause is stress.  Tough brave runners like you and me go out and run all winter long. If you're training hard, you're cold and stressed. While many of us run for stress relief, some of us train hard.  When you hammer it, surely an epsiode is going to happen.

It happens often enough, that I'm fitting someone for running shoes, and they'll complain "My hands get very cold!" or "I hate running in the winter my toes get cold easily".  For years, I thought, "These people are soft." "What a bunch of crybabies!" I mean, ya' know, just put on gloves or mittens and suck it up! Run faster and you'll heat up! Layer up, it's not like you're crossing Siberia, you'll live!  I'm thinking, this has to be one of those "rich-people diseases", you know the kind that you only find out you have if you're wealthy enough to go for multiple Dr's visits to get a diagnosis for something that isn't that big a deal.

However, in recent years, my body is clearly going through changes (I have a feeling I'm going to get some wisecracks for that one!).  This condition will begin to show up in people age 15 to 30, lucky me, I got it on the late end! So, maybe these folks have it too and they just don't know it?
My fingers and toes simply start to lose circulation when temperatures start dropping.  Even if I start a run when it's 55 degress, if the temp drops 3-4degrees and the wind is blowing, I am likely to loose some dexterity in my fingers by the midway point of the run.  If I start a run at the freezing point, forget it, it's game over for my hands.

 If I fail to layer effectively, I have about 10minute until my hands are going numb.  I've lost count of how many times I've ended a Sunday morning Long run with my pinky fingers numb on both hands.  Even after the car is warmed up and I have the heat blasting; my fingers and toes (again, some not all) will look like something that recently arrived at a morgue. Even if I'm indoors quickly, showered, and dressed warmly, the circulation still doesn't return for quite a while.

Did I see a Doctor and get a diagnosis? No.  Do I need to do this? For now, I think not.  If I were experiencing other odd symptoms, or if it were truely as severe as some image I've seen on the web, I might want to get checked out. The signs are obvious enough once you experience it enough times, especially if you're the only person who is wearing gloves and still complains that their hands are cold!

Potential long term risks: If the problem is severe enough, it could lead to complete closure of arteries to the area, creating a for necessity of amputation to the affected extremities. But these cases are rare.

How this affects your running and related life stuff:
Q: How fun is it to try tying a loose shoe lace with cadaverous fingers?
A: Not much.

Q: How easy is it trying to dig for a key out of a pocket when you can't operate those same lifeless fingers?
A: Not at all.

Q: Do you think it will be enjoyable when your hands feel like they are slowly going to freeze off of the rest of your arm?
A: I assure you, it will not be.

Q: Cooking after an episode of this?
A: Quite difficult.

Combating this problem:
  1. Wear multiple layers of warm clothing, start warm and shed a layer: Starting a run in the cold, when you feel cold already is a bad thing, it makes it very hard to get your body temperature regulated when you're loosing too much heat.
  2. Wool socks for your toes: There are some very well designed wool running socks on the market, I have some from several different brands.
  3. Wear a light, loose glove and a light loose windshield mitt over it: Avoid compression around your wrist. Also, be sure that you do not overtighten your watch strap over outer layers of clothing!
  4. Bring handwarmers: maybe just one and switch hands if your hand starts to get too warm. Sounds like a lot of work, but on a long run you won't mind the distraction.
  5. Duct tape over the mesh of your running shoes: If you don't own water/wind resistant running shoes, this is a cheap, messy, yet effective method to keeping your toes dry and warm through a greater portion of a winter run. It's not perfect, but it's helped me a lot in desperate times.
  6. If running away from home, stash warm dry clothes in your car, change out of wet things immediately! Straightforward, simple.
  7. Move about 600-1000miles South of New Jersey: If you don't mind a lack of diners and people toting hand guns, this could be the easiest solution.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The 2013 Giralda Farms 10k: Gettin' a Pr, gettin' paid, and beating rivals

Among the many Road Races in NJ, the Giralda Farms 10k and 5k is one that I had yet to take part in.  I've been racing on the roads regularly since 2005.  Given the USATF-NJ Long Distance Grand Prix series schedule of Championship races for the Open age group, Giralda has just never made the list for me.
The race offers open unrestricted prize money. Which, until this year, I have not felt certain of having a shot at.  This touches on a subject that affects a very small number of runners, how much money is enough to get you to a race you wouldn't otherwise bother with?
Moments before the start of the race. Photo compliments of Thinnmann.
If the money you win is the same amount of money as the entry fee you paid, you're not really winning anything. Trying to look at this as "glass half full" irritates me slightly.  I think that race organizers have been trending toward stinginess in this, or laziness in attempting to convince sponsors to help out with this end of things more.  I mean, it's a sport, we're competing.  It's not a poker tournament, "getting your money back" is just...lame.
That all said, knowing the scene a bit, given months of solid training and improved fitness, and lack of a fall marathon, it seemed like a good time to give this race a shot. It paid off! 3rd place, $100.  I had to beat some fast guys to do it too!  David Nash, Atilla Sabahoglu, Ben Clarke, Dominic Kiralyfi, Rich Burke, and none other than Abdelaziz Rochdi (wait, that's Youssef Rochdi! yea buddy, we know it's you, what's with the fake name and now you're suddenly 35 when last year you were 29? BUSTED!! What's your game? This guy has some splain'n to do!)

I'd heard that this course was hilly, yup, no lie, it is, take a look at the cousre profile here.

Note, I measured it long with this tool, I might have erred slightly.

As for the 10k and running it: I wouldn't rate this as a day I felt great, but I had my mind set on competing hard. The first mile is almost entirely downhill, so much so that, you almost don't truely benefit from it because you sort of need to put on "the brakes" or you'll just pound it out of yourself early. I was in 3rd after 30m and remained there the whole time, gradually fading away from Mennitt.  At 1 mile I was at 5:15, feeling controlled, the winds were rough and from there I couldn't exactly get rolling.  Through 4miles I was on pace for roughly 33:10, at 5miles I was still holding steady in 26:42.  I was saving something for the last 1000m which is uphill. I did not anticipate, nor could I avoid a sea of runners who were running a much slower pace on this loop course. Having done my very best to manuever it, and having to shout a warning ahead just once, I finished strong in 33:14 officially. A pr by 17seconds.

This is less than what I expected for this day, but the winds were gusting around 20mph. So I'm pleased with the effort for the day.
But again, 1-PR+$100+beating a few guys I have never beaten on the roads before= a good day.

So, the GSTC men swept 1-2-3 in the 10k, and in the 5k, 1-5! The Women's Master's 40's team finished 4th, which is great! A year ago, GSTC didn't have 4 women in their 40's! Also, the GSTC Wmn's 50's team was 7th (yes, 7th scores points in the Club Grand Prix Championship)!  There were many great achievements at this event for our club and I'm sure there were also many among the other running clubs in our great state!

There was an avid crowd of supporters and running fans, the Rose City Runners were the organizers of this event. I know a number of them, all good people!
Here are some scenes from the 10k action!

L to R Atilla Sabahoglu of CPTC, Mike Anis, Stephen Mennitt, Chris Croff.  Croff blasted to the lead immediately, Mennitt gave chase, and I tried to keep them in sight. In the end it was Croff, Mennitt, Me, and Sabahoglu was eventually 8th.

Somewhere in the 2nd mile of the race I believe, being chased by David Nash and Atilla Sabahoglu

Taking flight toward the finish line! Beards enable flight, it's true.

No idea why I can't get this rotated in the right position. But here it is, a nice new mug to remind me of a great running club in Madison, NJ. The other side of the mug has the name and date of the race on it. Now, It can live in the cabinet with my Ashenfelter 8k mugs!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

It isn't all about running

Why do we write? Why do we speak? There are hundreds of languages that humans speak. What's the point?  For sure, we want to be heard. We want to express ourselves, to be understood.  I like to talk about running.  But I like to talk about a lot of other things too.  There are things that I want to hear. So I listen.
I am a surely a runner, and most people I know make that association right away.  I've found I have to hang out with other runners, because at least we get bored of asking each other about running. So, we will do and talk about other things once in a while.
For instance, my housemate is learning Spanish translation. He is very fascinated with language, and we have some great conversations about words and various languages, roots and origins. Good for the brain.I'll have to say that once in a while, I need to remove my mind from running. I need to be a bump on a log. Move little and just think.  Maybe pick up my guitar, read a comic book (don't pick on me, some of them are really well written!). Or go somewhere, get a snack, watch some people. Do something, experience something, as long as it isn't running.
A happy dog! What could be better?

A shadow of my former self. If you want to get philosophical, you are a different person every day. You aren't who you were yesterday.

There is a lot more to all of us, what we like, what we do, where we've been, who we are. People just need to remember that. I'm more than a runner. And so are you.
Who are you? Who am I? I am fairly sure that I know the answer to that in my mind and in my heart. Running is maybe just my favorite way of putting it out there, but there is so much more.
With that, I bid you all a good day. And now, I am going to take my parent's awesome dog, Fonzie, for a walk, because I love him.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Oregon Trail

Commuting in a 10yr old Honda Civic w/138k miles and worn out struts to work 35-40hrs a week and running 100miles in that same week, is tiring. Yes, I put out another 100mile week (103 to be precise), but I have to admit, it will likely be the last one for the year. With the remaning races and roughly 8 weeks in the calendar yr, I'll have to start cashing in the chips soon. This is not to say, "I've found my limit", rather, "I'm in a good place and know I shouldn't push beyond it for now". Keeping things in check around 80-85mpw would be wise.

Last night, with my GSTC teammates, Ken Goglas, and Steve Mennitt I prodcued an effort in a workout that was unprecidented in any of my previous training.  I know we were battling a bit in this workout.  Or maybe it's only in my head, because I'm the one battling to stay close to them.  Our team is deep and figuring out who will be part of the A team, B team, and perhaps C team for the Club National 10k XC Championship in Bend, Oregon will be a series of tough decision. I'm working on making those decisions more difficult for our Captains and Club President.
Behold my lack of graphic desgin abilities! Or some 3rd grader's attempt at a history project. Note: Currently the members of GSTC are searching for the Oxen, as it appears they have wandered off during last night's interval workout.

2 miles at T pace-10:22-this felt smooth, no lie.
4x1k at 8k race pace-3:00, 3:02, 3:02, 3:01-too fast, oops.
4x200 at mile race pace-30-32ish-yea, oops again.
Still, I feel good today. Onward ho!

The trail to Oregon is long. The pace has been grueling, if our flights are delayed, we might have to ford the river...

Friday, November 1, 2013

No Fluke, Crushing the XC

We all "pop" a good one, now and then. Well, some of us do. It has always seemed to me that I seldom do. But, I've been running well this yr, and people are taking notice. Post race conversations with competitors have been a bit longer than usual. It's nice to get some recognition for your hard work.
Far Left to Right: Sean Donohue, Ted Doyle, Paul Matuszak, Matt Eder, Me, Ken Goglas, Mike Fonder. There are a couple other people in this photo, identify yourselves! This was just before the end of loop 1 at the 8k nj xc champs race. Note: Like me, Paul has a beard, he beats most others due to his beardpower.

Oct 20th-On a course that was claimed to be short(and I honestly don't care if it was I still ran fast as hell), I "popped" a 15:35 for "5k", finishing 4th.  This was remarkable to me. I felt strong through the whole race.

Oct 27th-Before anyone could recover from the shock of seeing me beat some well accomplished runners the previous week, I ran 26:00 for 8k. I'll admit, my case was overstated, but not by much. Ken Goglas beat me by 16 seconds (coincidentally the same gap he beat me by in the previous week's 5k race), and Mike Fonder just ran away from us in the last lap (25:20)  Let's not ignore, I ran 26:53 on the exact same course last yr. I am pleased with this result.

Putting things into perspective: the past three months I've been like a ticking clock with my training, I expected 25:30-40 for the 8k if I felt good. Honestly, I felt weird. Not bad, just not all that good either.  If 26:00 on a rough day is what happens, I can live with that...for now. Anyway, I finished 3rd, and I'm stoked about that. In both races I beat guys that I figured I wouldn't.  After the 5k, I stepped onto the starting line for the 8k telling myself, "I can win this race"! I don't frequently feel that way. Confidence can do a lot for you in racing! Am I satisfied? Not

As I've said before, there is more honor in the fight than there is in the win. Some may have been surprised, and some may doubt it, but results don't lie.  Cross Country is my thing, and I'm crushing it.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mid-fall Update on Training, Racing, and staying Inspired

At the midway point in the USATF-NJ 5k XC Open Championship at Deer Path Park in Readington, NJ. There are 6 runners pictured here, look closely, and you will see an extra foot/lower leg.. From L to R: Mike Dixon, Will Griffin, Eric Dubois(piece of his leg and head anyway), Mike Anis, Steve Mennitt, Ken Goglas

So, it's October 23rd.  The Club National 10k XC Championship is now less than 8 weeks away.  I ran the Paul Short XC Invitational on a hot day in 26:36. This is slower than what I produced on a chilly day in 2009 by 9seconds. Two huge factors here, heat and density of field. It was about 78 and rising when I started, probably 80 when I finished. This Open race had 516 runners in it, the majority of which were Collegiate guys, and they always start fast. It's only natural at a huge race of this sort that people start out hard. Well, I didn't exactly. My opening mile was 5:18, probably slowed by taking the turns wide to avoid getting tripped and pushed and others runners who were already redlining and settling after 1000m.  The results page has mile splits, a very cool thing to have in a race like this.  So, apparently, I was in roughly 350th position. I finished 87th. Take a look at this excerpt from the results below:  full results from Open race here
67        Peter Drews, Sr                 5:14    26:27    5:20  Williams College     
68        Matt Hassett                    4:57    26:27    5:20  Georgetown R C       
69        Elias Howard, So                5:11    26:29    5:20  Dickinson College    
70        George Oliver, So               4:54    26:29    5:20  Cornell              
71        Ryan Lee, Sr                    5:12    26:29    5:20  University of Richmon 
72        Sean Leighton, Sr               5:00    26:30    5:20  University of New Ham 
73        Pat McLaughlin                  4:59    26:30    5:20  Unattached           
74        Andreas Kellas, Jr              5:15    26:31    5:21  Army                 
75        Connor Strynkowski, So          5:06    26:31    5:21  Cornell              
76        Stephen Keith, Jr               5:01    26:32    5:21  Lehigh University    
77        Ryan Cooney, Fr                 5:02    26:32    5:21  Lehigh University    
78        Joe Beveridge, Sr               5:11    26:33    5:21  La Salle University  
79        Ryan Chiesa, Fr                 4:55    26:33    5:21  University of New Ham 
80        James Beacham                   4:55    26:33    5:21  Unattached           
81        Daniel Salas, Fr                5:01    26:33    5:21  Dartmouth College    
82        Michael Lederhouse, Fr          4:48    26:34    5:21  Georgetown University 
83        Tucker Hamilton, Fr             5:06    26:35    5:21  Brown University     
84        Kirk Webb, So                   5:06    26:35    5:21  University of Pennsyl 
85        Tyler Erhard, Sr                5:08    26:35    5:21  Bucknell             
86        Louis Saviano, Sr               5:00    26:35    5:22  University of New Ham 
87        Michael Anis                    5:18    26:36    5:22  Garden State Tc      
88        Alec Brand, Fr                  5:05    26:38    5:22  Shippensburg         
89        Jason Hartman                   5:28    26:38    5:22  Unattached           
90        Robert Biro, Fr                 4:55    26:38    5:22  University of New Ham 
91        Ed Sheridan                     5:09    26:39    5:22  Unattached           
92        Zachary Simmons, So             5:12    26:39    5:22  Dickinson College    
93        John Corona, Sr                 5:06    26:40    5:22  University of New Ham 
94        Dan Swain                       5:12    26:40    5:22  Una                  
95        Matthew Lutcza                  5:08    26:42    5:23  Unattached           
96        Victor Allen, Jr                5:12    26:42    5:23  University of Pennsyl 
97        Michael Kurvach                 5:03    26:43    5:23  Unattached           
98        Connor Clark, Fr                5:01    26:43    5:23  Dartmouth College    
99        Stephen Schelander              5:04    26:44    5:23  Sstc                 
100       Noah Williams, Fr               5:17    26:44    5:23  Williams College     
101       Tyler Scheving, Fr              5:09    26:45    5:23  University at Buffalo 
102       Mike Garrity                    5:08    26:45    5:24  Unattached           
103       Austin McGinley, So             5:06    26:46    5:24  Shippensburg 

67th was 11 seconds ahead of me, 103rd 10 seconds behind. This is the sort of competition that you dream of as a post-collegiate athlete.  Having done some more runner-nerd math, I calculated that I passed a runner on avg every three seconds from the 1mile mark to the end of the race!  Yep...I think that is cool.
More recently, was the USATF-NJ 5k XC Open Team Championship. GSTC, ran the show, we took the first 5 spots on the Men's side!  Individually, I finished 4th in 15:35! I beat some guys who whipped my ass at the Liberty HM, really it was just the sort of thing that I would never expect.  I've been traning and racing with some of these guys for years. When you keep getting beat by the same people again, and again, you might start to believe, "Well, he's just better than me." It is hard, but we have to remind ourselves that this is just a defeatist rationalization for a lack of hard work and patience.  Every dog has its day. So when you finish a race with someone in your sights that historically has left you in the dust, it gives you renewed strength!

Anyway, I figured I was fit enough to run at least 16:05, 15:55 if I ran a smart race.  This was a huge breakthrough race for me. My previous best XC 5k race was 16:22(RVRR summer series July 21, 09'), and my best on the Deer Path course was 16:23(2012)! More runner-nerd math: 16:22-15:35=47seconds.  At age 32, after competing for 18yrs.  I know a lot of runners that have run for many yrs; none of them ever told me about the time that they ran a 47second 5k XC pr when they were 32.  I can go, faster I'm sure of it. Sidenote: Yes, I heard the course is a bit short, but I'm comparing times on this same course, so it's a solid case for analysis.

Workouts and general aerobic runs: have suddenly gone off the charts, 8k worth of intervals are often totalling somewhere around 25:00-25:20. In previous yrs, this sort of workout I would perhaps at best have totaled 26:00 and with longer recovery times between each interval.  I go out of my way a bit to run with Chris Croff, Jacob Edwards and Chris Johnson in Summit or the Watchung Reservation, a lot of days I feel like somone is pulling me along a touch faster than I'd like, but those are the days you get a little better. Also, I never felt good enough to go and run doubles the day after workouts.  This bodes well for the upcoming USATF-NJ 8k XC championship on Sunday. 

Inspiration: I love running, watching African's win marathons is cool.  But I also enjoy watching boxing.  Welterweights and Middleweights most of all (140-147lbs and 151-160lbs) currently seem to be where the best guys are to watch.  Recently, I have watched Ruslan Provodnikov fight Timothy Bradley(a fight he very narrowly lost by majority decision) and Mike Alvarado. Alvarado was in two brutal fights against Brandon Rios(who is now slated to fight Manny Pacquiao on 11/23).  Provodnikov is the type of fighter that "takes two shots to give one". I identify with this sentiment. Early on, Alvarado was throwing more punches and landing at a better rate. But as the rounds wore on Provodnikov's heavy shots took their toll on Alvarado, who went down twice in the 8th and was nearly down again the 10th. He did not come out to answer the bell for the start of round 11.  
Provodnikov beating the tar out of Alvarado. photo courtesy of

As a runner, I don't fancy myself to be too slick.  I just grind it out, like Provodnikov. I train hard, and I stay focused on hitting the target, even if it means I take a pile of punishment in the process.  I'll keep coming at you, hurt and tired, that's the only way I know.

This is what it looks like when you've won a fight against Mike Alvarado, no one said it would tickle. Photo from

Friday, October 4, 2013

Consistent Mileage Increase

 60, 68, 64, 73, 80, 62, 59, 71, 74, 85, 74, 86, and already this week 73miles(haven't run today yet and still have tomorrow).  Those numbers represent how many miles I ran in each of the last 12 weeks.  The highest totals in 5yrs. If you've been reading, you may recall the mention of a 100mile week recently. That was a Wednesday to Wednesday stretch. The Sunday to Saturday 100 is coming soon, I mean hey; this past week all it would have been is getting my ass out the door 7 minutes earlier and keeping it rolling for an extra 7mins. Had I done this, the 100 would have happened.

OK, so what happens when you run 100miles in one week? Somewhere from unseen speakers, a wicked guitar verse begins to ring out in the distance. Perhaps "Getting Strong Now" or "Going the Distance", or something embellisingly dramatic that has nothing to do with running? Nope, back to reality.
What about 120, 140, 160, etc? I mean, I have been saying I'm going to run to work(nearly 14miles away from home), and like so many other things in my life, I've procrastinated on this. But here I am writing about it, so I think this is the cry-wolf moment that I can't back down from. It looks like I'll be saving some money on gasoline very soon.

Of course, you don't want to run yourself to a breaking point. Rest/recovery and nutrition are paramount in all this.  But there is much to be said for consistently putting in time that you haven't committed to something ever before. 50miles with 3 quality efforts per week could be more effective than 100miles with 1 quality day. However, 100miles with 1 or 2 "quality" effort is subjective the idea that one should be acquiring fitness at the most accelerated rate for readiness for frequent competition. To have more patience in this would allow for a large build up of the aerobic system for greater endurance. I am comfortable with this idea, and not feeling pressured to run "hard" 3-4 days a week any longer.

There are 13 weeks left in this yr, I would like to run no less than 60miles in the last two weeks of the yr, in each week previous to that I figure on an avg of 85 from here on. I'll need to do some exploring to make this happen no doubt. Thankfully there are plenty of great trail systems in NJ that  I have yet to get into.
Convincing myself that running 40-80mins, sometimes twice per day, is a doable thing; has been a surprise. A yr ago, I would struggle to convince myself to run for 70mins at the end of a day. Getting out the door before work, was just hard. I love to run, but what can I say? I was struggling mentally, and often. Personal circumstances were just making running half a chore. Many have joked about running "being my mistress", well if it got in the way of some things. Then damn some things! I like running...I like it... a lot.

Running, yup.
 I believe much is possible. I can commit more to running. She is good to me. So I will.

the image above is property of

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Terrible Unicorn is Slain! Let the training...continue.

Anis-1 Unicorn-0.  If you'll be in Hopkinton on April 21, 2014, I will see you there, and we'll go for a run to Boylston Street in Boston. Beers to be had somewhere downtown afterward.

For those who enjoy a retelling of a mythical tale(with "historical" reference!):
 Well, while it may not have been written in the history books; it is well known that George Washington was faced with a difficult decision on December 25/26, 1776. Cross the Delaware and attack the Hessian troops qaurtered in Trenton...or find the Great Unicorn of the Delaware River. So, his choice is well known, and perhaps was the best choice for that day. But, the Unicorn has mocked us with it's carefree magical frolicking ever since. Life is hard, and darn it that Unicorn has been just making it seem a bit unfair! That is until, it met the challenge of the bearded one!

Cleverly diguised as a "marathon", the hunt for the Great Unicorn began on the morning of August 18th, 2013. Roughly 130 brave souls lined up armed only with gps watches and energy gels. The Unicorn watched from across the river grazing on local greenery, amused by what appeared to be a bunch of silly wanderers with numbers written up on paper which had been pinned onto their shirts. What a curious sight for this beautiful and terrible Beast!

Once the runners began, in 3 separate waves spread 30 seconds apart; a strategy employed by General Santa Anna in the slaying of the Chupcabra in the days following the battle of the Alamo Feb 23-Mar 6, 1836.  The Strategy might have proven successful, if not for one man's unrelenting surge to the front! Mike Anis! For the first time in its existence, the Unicorn felt the sick pain of fear, and all that it could do was to run for it's life. The Unicorn could never have expected a negative split run, and eventually was caught! Anis' beard reflected the piercing rays of the sun back into the eyes of the Unicorn! Now blinded, it could no longer run. It knew its time was at an end, and thus it accepted its fate and burst into flames! Then handily winning the race, Anis hauled the broiled carcass back to finish line and shared in the bounty with all in attendance!

Ok, so story time is finished. So, for real, recently training has been pretty darn good. I've run more miles in the past 7weeks than at any point since Sept/Oct of 2008. More miles do not always equal gains, but the truth is many faster runners than I have done a lot more mileage than I have. How much faster or stronger can I get? There is surely one way to find out, run more.

Recent Highlights:
Aug 18-Win the "Chasing the Unicorn Marathon" in 2:37:05, got the BQ. 3rd fastest marathon among 8, 1:19:13/1:17:52 splits. Felt good, recovered in a few days.
Sept 4-11-Ran 100miles in 7 days for the first time in 18yrs of competitive running.
Sept 17-Had a great workout, the kind that lets you know a PR is coming and no one can stop you
Sept 22-Newport Liberty HM, finish 10th, time of 1:12:15, this is a PR by 42seconds(Shamrock 08'), my GSTC teammates also produced some impressive performances, inspiring stuff.
Cruisin' on the towpath in PA! Gettin' after the Unicorn and taking home the W!

Supplemental training: standing fearless in the face of a waterborne Rottweiler!

Start of the Newport Liberty HM Sept 22, 2013 pictured all clustered up here: Chuck Schneekloth, Sean Donohue, Kyle Price, Dennie Waite, Jon Lindenauer, Mike Anis, Stephen Comanto, Will Griffin, Ryan Johns, Peter Schaeffing. Sorry if I missed anyone here. All fine competitors!

Winning a marathon is a special thing, a true thrill. I surely didn't look at a calendar on Jan 1st and say to myself "This yr, I will win a marathon. Yup, I'll just go and do that then." I mean really, who wins a marathon? How often does that happen in life? I can always say I won it, and no one can eeevvver take it away from me. The five friends who came to see me race were better support than if I had thousands of screaming maniacs every step of the way. Rob Decarlo, Tiff Schwartz, Erin Higgins, Jeff and Hardina Blough; I can not thank you all enough for being there on that day!

The month between the marathon and the Newport Liberty half was a solid block of patient miles with some ambitious workouts. I can't say what the workouts were in detail, spies could be reading this! Or perhaps I've decided this post should not revolve around "nerd stuff" like workout statistics.
 So I knew this HM would go well. And while I didn't feel terrfic on this particular race-morning, I know I can't complain too much, as runners say, "a PR is a PR"! But I think I'm faster than this race has shown. I'll just have to be patient for the next racing opportunity.

One thing is for sure, after about 4miles of letting us beat him Will Griffin ran away from me like I was going backwards. Also, Sean Donohue is hard to catch, couldn't do it this time, give me another 13.1miles and it could be interesting.  More importantly, I've been very consistent, and I'm excited about running all the time now! About getting together with other dedicated runners that I know, about hard workouts and solid long runs! About the planning and the recovery, and just tuning my body for going far as quickly as I can make it go!

Next up: 5k XC!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Div I hit list and the Hunt for the Great Unicorn

I'll be hitting the big 3-2 on Aug 28th. 32yrs...old? Naaah! 32yrs strong is more like it! It's prime time baby! The best yrs of running are ahead, and I've been doing it a long time, and I'm ready for another push.  There is often a pile of focus on young talent or the older folks who seemingly defy logic and stay fast way longer than most.  But here I am, 10yrs past collegiate running and faster than ever.
     I recently ran the Westfield Pizza Run(which has changed its name a few times). I think it used to be called the Downtown Westfield Pizza Extravaganza, and now it's just the Downtown Westfield Pizza Run, or maybe just Dowtown Westfield 5k.  Marketing...snore!  I had decided to skip this race after they cancelled it 10mins before the start in 2007 due to passing lightning. I had run it 2005 and 2006, finishing 17:37 for 33rd and 17:02 for 20th. The regularity of me finishing in the top 20, 10, 5, or 3 of fairly competitive road races has increased over time, but the thrill of each finish has increased only a marginal amount at times.
Anyway, things change, working in town and getting a free entry(peanuts for the Elephants) makes it easy. So, I ran the race.  An element of excitement about a race like this is that, there are talented HS and college runners nearby; and with 2800 runners, you can expect it to be a bit more competitive up front.  Still, these years later, I didn't expect to feel left in the dust and alone finishing 6th. In 2006 I dreamt of what it would be like to finish 6th in race like this, and thought, how much of a badass I would feel like if I could do that. There are compliments here and there, and being modest about this with people I don't know well is an odd thing to handle.  I mean, I'm not getting paid to do this anyway right? These aren't diamond League races.  But I just want to kick ass and take names!
From my perspective, many local fall and spring road races tend to lack depth at the front of the field. Mid-July is a time when the collegiate studs are home and in a base phase of training, the time when I strike like a Cobra!
Tuesday night 7/23-RVRR summer series XC race #4*-Christian Gonzalez NJ/NY TC-Rider U/Franklin HS-1st, Stephen Mennitt GSTC/formerly Rowan Univ/Edison HS,Mike Anis(me)-3rd, Darrel Gooding-FDU/Franklin HS-4th
Finishing 3rd, gettimng the AG record, yes I knew I had it, and so I reached for my watch. Steve is fast, and beats me all the darn time!
Wednesday night 7/24 Downtown Westfield 5k-Won by the speedy Chris Heibell-Loyola/Immaculata HS-1st, followed closely by the work horse Chris Croff-formerly of Southern Conn St, DJ Thornton-Nortre Dame/Union Catholic HS, Ryan Scrudato-Marist College/Westfield HS, Andrew Kirna-Bucknell/Westfield HS, Mike Anis 6th, John Kirna of Bucknell-/Westfield HS 7th, Robert Marczydlo XX univ?/Westfield HS 8th, Ryan McGann-William and Mary/Cranford HS-9th, Alan Eke-Oklahoma Univ/Union Catholic-10th

That's four Div I kills this summer alone, I also beat a couple of Div III guys(guys I know and like), but of course, I'm not going to brag too hard there, the Div I guys are the ones that you would expect to walk all over me.  Tell me I 'm racing and no one else is, eh, perhaps to some degree.  If I look back this yr, I might be over 5 already. If I can get 5 in a single race, I think that is the same as a fighter pilot's "Ace" status. I think the shot comes once this yr, the Paul Short XC Run on Oct 5th in the Open Race. I don't care if those guys are "JV" or "walk-on" if they wearing the singlet of a Div I school, and I beat them...they just got hit! Don't get me wrong here, I know all these guys a bit, I've done casual running most of them here and there, they are quality runners.  Part of the fun this time around was going on a warmup and cooldown with these guys, it's nice to make nice with everyone, ya know? All of them are fun guys and I appreciate running and working with them at the store, they are just as passionate about our sport as I am. But I'm still psyched about outrunning them(in season or out). It feels good to place well against quality opponents.  So the hit list will grow, because...
"That's what I like about college dudes. I keep getting older, they stay the same age! Yes they do, yes they do!"
Also: Long runs have been 19, 20, 21, 18, all with dashes of 5:50-6:10pace mixed in them, this Aug 18 marathon could be good, I'm gunning for the W. If I do, it will be my first win in a marathon.
I will chase this guy, and if I catch him, I will slay him and eat him. Unicorn blood+beards=invincibility!
*Gonzalez sets course record in 16:15, I finish in 16:25.52, setting the much sought after 30-34 AG record! Women and children rejoice across Middlesex county! Men nod in approval and offer hearty hand shakes amidst a triumphant slow clap, beer flows like wine and peace is achieved between fans of opposing afterwork sports teams.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Catching up, moving on through pain, getting faster and having some fun

Club National XC Championship 2012, the last time I toed a starting line with Andrew Capizzi.
It has been a little while since I've posted up here. Yes, my lower back still sucks and hinders me to whatever point, but lot's has happened and I'm running well enough. I lost a teammate, friend, co-worker in June, that took the wind out of my did for a lot of us within the running community throughout New Jersey, surely I'm understating. Most of you who might be reading this, already know the story, so I'm not going into that again.  When I stop and think for a moment, I realize, we raced the Track East Region Club Championship six days after Andrew's passing and then the club National Championship two weeks after, it amazes me. Especially in the case of Kyle Price and Ken Walsh, my incredible teammates and fellow Ramapo Alums. Kyle, Ken and Andrew are best friends, and it pains me to know they are now separated by life and death. The bond they had as teammates and friends is one that I understand better than any other.  Kyle pressing on and training and racing through the pain was if nothing else, inspirational. Ken, like me, is a smoldering volcano, and this will boil inside his heart for all time, and it will push him to greater accomplishments as a marathoner.  I mean, it's all we can do.  You know, it's said that a chain is only as strong as it's weakest link, well Andrew was a strong link.  Do we see the chain as broken? Mending this is difficult, but we band closer together, and we remain strong.  And I know we all feel the same, in that we hate the thought of stepping onto a starting line together without Andrew there.  His spirit will run alongside us in Oregon this December, I'm not done with this whole running thing yet. The feeling we got from being Ramapo Roadrunners doesn't have to stop since we've graduated or left, and the same goes for any other runner. That is one big reason that I race with Garden State Track Club, because it's something many of us understand. The pursuit of a dream, the pursuit of excellence and victory!

And the show went on:
Regionals: 3k sc-10:07. And we win the Regional title!
Nationals 3k sc-10:08-8th overall(1pt scored!) and we win the National Title!
July 2nd-19.1mile run, last last in 6:15 in some serious heat, thanks for the company Steve Mennitt!
July 4th Firecracker 4mile in Cranford-21:41-4th outkicked by a 17yr old kid(that'll happen), but finish well ahead of Mark Del Monaco, love you Mark!
July 9th RVRR Summer Series XC 5k race #3-16:38, 2nd to Mike Dixon(16:32). Will expand on backstory here, this is a good one.
July 10th-Beer Mile-8:33, not a fast time, but a win. And winning in Beer Mile is more rewarding than most bullshit road races! I've got a belt and a jacket and neverending glory!
Knock Knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange ya' glad that the liner of my shorts isn't worn out? Club Nats 3k sc, not a fast race for me, but 8th counts, and 8th I was!
Me, Dixon, and Tony Lopez, three guys who ran for the same team and drank a lotta' beers together a long time ago. Still running!

It was like this for 2miles, but Dixon got the best of me...again!
I fought for it the whole way, it felt like a good day to rip it up
Once again National RVRR Beer Mile Champion! Invite me to your birthday party, and you will be a National Birthday Champion by association!

The Summer Series XC story: These races have been under the radar for 25yrs I believe(maybe 30?) We have returned to the original location of Donaldson Park, and although the course has changed; and in my opinion it could stand to have some tweaks to make it better. It is damn good to be home. For 6yrs we raced in Beuchluch Park in New Brunswick, a faster course, albeit a quasi-xc course(run on a cinder path where about 15-20% of the race is on paved asphalt). Skipping some boring details, we're back to Donaldson, where I began my XC racing career! With the new course due to park "improvements", comes new course records.  The first two races in the series were won by un-inspiring performances in the high 17min range(17:46 I recall).  I decided, I'll have none of that. While I couldn't reasonably compete in the those races with track club nationals approaching, I planned on showing up for race#3 to smash this soft record to pieces...but so did Mike Dixon.  So, we had a good battle out there. He ran 16:32.5, I was 16:38.  He can't go the next race. You gotta' be in it to win it I always say! So, in two weeks I'm getting after it, running a smarter pace early on, and I'm going to get a hold of that record, which by default will be mine until next June! So, there's some heat in the kitchen now. Anyone want that record? Wanna' race? Come n' get it!

Up next: buncha' long runs, Summer Series race #4 "The quest for the record", another beer mile, and "Chasing the Unicorn" Marathon on August 18th to qualify for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon in 2014, my birthday(Aug 28th), there might be some wild shenanigans in the works...grillin' chillin' and Beer 5k?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recent Racing, Travels, and Training

May 9-12: New Orleans: Bourbon St is insane. The bars don't close as far as I can tell. Bachelor and Bachelorette parties everywhere, lots of silly people doing silly things. Pretty much what I expected it all would be. I somehow managed to run once, 5miles, saw a few bits of the city that I wouldn't have otherwise. But let's be honest, sleep wasn't happening. My friend, Ken, is getting married. Ken likes to drink...So drink we did. Little sleep for three straight nights a healthy athlete does not make. But the world stops for no one.

May 13th: Chester, PA-Widener University(proud owner of the worst/hardest track I've ever raced on), So, I got back late Sunday night, and slept a full night...finally, and then I met up with Peter Bolgert and the Dan's of Princeton(Ebanks and Lewis), fine athletes and a swell buncha' fella's. From PU we shared a ride to Widener. Which for some reason, was hosting a meet that would have been at Swarthmore College(a place with a good track, or so I'm told). The Men's steeple had 20 runners in it! That's a huuuuge heat for a steeple race. I got caught up behind some inexperienced guys, just like a traffic jam, they hit the brakes and either you do too or swing around. Both take up more energy and time.  Check the results out below. I'm not disgusted, I mean, I felt like crap(post nasal drip/laryngitis starting up), it was also about 45degrees at race time. All in all, not a disaster, just wish I'd maybe finished 2-3 spots further up.

May 15th: 4x1600@Threshold pace w/1min recovery and 4x200@mile race pace w/200jog recovery. I probably went a bit too hard, but somehow didn't feel tired despite the advanced state of my illness. 5:20, 28, 18, 19 and 200's in 31, 31, 32, 31. Yeah, I'm not a 4:10 miler, but it didn't hurt. This was a great effort I think, and I say this as I sit here coughing 4 days later... Oh and I signed up for a Marathon August 18th, Chasing the Unicorn in PA, near Washington's Crossing, out and back for the day one BQ, figure I'll cruise a 2:44:50, no need for a heavy effort in mid August. That's the story for the time being.

Below are the results from last Monday's race at Widener(hosted by Swarthmore? weird)

Men's 3,000m Steeplechase
Place Overall Name Year Team Time Score
1 1 Thisle, Paul Unattached 9:02.99 -
2 2 Roza, David SO-2 Haverford 9:23.90 -
3 3 Cason, David JR-3 Guilford 9:25.00 -
4 4 Broderick, Brian SR-4 NYU 9:26.51 -
5 5 Rittenhouse, Abram JR-3 Bridgewater (Va.) 9:27.42 -
6 6 Price, Kyle Garden State Track Club 9:30.28 -
7 7 Budman, Josh SR-4 Johns Hopkins 9:32.36 -
8 8 Bolgert, Peter Garden State Track Club 9:32.54 -
9 9 Weller, Ross Unattached 9:35.94 -
10 10 Garrity, Mike Unattached 9:36.96 -
11 11 Cutright, Daniel Unattached 9:37.78 -
12 12 Showalter, Joshua FR-1 Christopher Newport 9:38.30 -
13 13 Zeffer, Collin SR Delaware TC 9:43.46 -
14 14 Schatz, Jared FR-1 Messiah 9:55.40 -
15 15 Anis, Michael Garden State Track Club 10:00.29 -
16 16 Richard, Daniel SO-2 Christopher Newport 10:03.54 -
17 17 Turner, Bradley SO-2 Christopher Newport 10:04.96 -
18 18 Cooper, Sam FR-1 Elizabethtown 10:16.96 -
19 19 Howell, Billy SO-2 Ramapo 10:20.71 -
20 20 Obrien, Christopher Unattached 10:44.18 -

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Steeplechasing away from the past and into the future

Things have worked out in the past month that my opportunities to race have been more limited than I would have liked. But I did get to see some great racing action at the Larry Ellis Invitational a few weeks ago. Also, I'm glad to say, everyone I know who was up in Boston for the marathon was safe, I'll be figuring out how to shift myself back into marathon training in the late fall. I've run Boston 3 times, and like many other competitive runners I'm emotionally struck by recent events...I'll be in Boston in April 2014.

For now, shorter speed workouts have been going well. I'm running faster intervals than ever before, excited, pleased, but never satisfied. Answering the question of, "How fast can I go?" a couple times a week is still fun for me.
And in other news: I started a group run at the Westfield Running Company. 
Group Run info on Fb.  I love love love running on grass and gravel. So, come join me and others if you are nearby and looking for a Thursday Run option! We go for Frozen Yogurt afterwards too!

Now that I'm done plugging a work related thing...
Once again, my brain goes into its time machine: The last time I competed at the College of NJ, was the Spring of 2004, my last season of Collegiate running. I ran a1500 in 4:30.22 that day, and 6 days prior in the CTC Championship(at DeSales University)  I'd run my Collegiate best steeple of 10:41.While I have the memories still fairly fresh in my mind, it often feels like a distant memory of a past life. 21yr old Mike owes 31yr old Mike, but we all know the debt can never be repaid. As we forgive others' we must forgive ourselves and know we can make life(and running) better. But I'm leaving that guy in the dust and recesses of my memory, he's not training hard enough.

Back then, I revered the TCNJ meet as a high quality meet, one that I felt almost unqualified to run in. Hiding out in the 5th or 6th heat of 1500m was fine by me on that day. Being at meets like this made me both nervous and inspired.  Now, like then, I'm just damn glad to be at a track meet, toeing the line with other athletes and seeing who is the better man.  Incredible to think, nearly 10yrs later, I've cut almost a full minute off of my 3k steeple time. That's right kids, I got another PR! Training is going fairly well, but someone please remind me when you see me, to do some hip and glute strength exercises. The lower back scenario isn't improving, grrr, grumble. Anyway, Take a look at the fun photos below
When you aren't fast enough for the Larry Ellis Invitational at Princeton Univ., you go and watch anyway. Filming 800's and 1500's for GSTC, and hangin' with, Dharan, Pete, and Pete's friend

Here we go! TCNJ Lion's Invitational this past Saturday 4/26

Early on I was a bit too quick, but still finished in 9:52.85, a new pr by about 2seconds.

Somewhere in the last 1000m, "Wisconsin Pete" Bolgert...surging away from me. 
Bolgert-1  Anis-0

NOTE: I do NOT own this song as it was copyrighted by WMG. Steeple...Jump! Get it? Happy Tuesday!