Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Chesterfield Gorge 50k

I was not signed up for this race until very recently, but knew I wanted a longer, harder than training effort run prior to VT 100k.  This race seemed right up my alley; low key, not technical, mostly shaded, reasonably close to home and put on by Amy Rusiecki.  I also needed my volunteer hours for VT and since this race had runners running upwards of 100 miles, there was plenty of time in the day and night after I ran to get those hours in.

I knew the course was rolly, but no big hills, so it seemed reasonable to think running under 4 hours would be doable.  I had a stretch goal of 3:45 in my head, but didn't really know what to expect until I got on course.

Hanging at the 7.75 Aid Station

The race started at 6am and the course runs out on River Road for 7.75 miles to a turn around and comes back.  I would do this two times for 50k.  When thinking about the double out and back, it was just a matter of running the first out and back reasonably relaxed and then trying to run a bit faster the 3rd leg and then hoping to finish strong coming back to the finish.

The race starts and the first little bit is downhill.  One dude went out a tad ahead of me, but we settled into pace pretty quickly.  I was initially thinking 7:30 pace, but pretty early on the GPS was reading around 7:15s, so I just went with it, making sure I felt easy and not really pushing any of the small ups or downs along the way.

I felt pretty good separation after a couple miles, I took advantage and jumped off the trail for a quick pit stop and then got back into my groove.  The last part of the road is a more exposed area, which got pretty warm later in the day, but at this point it felt nice to be in an opening at is was breezy and still a little overcast. My first 7.75 was 54:33

The trip back was pretty uneventful.  I started seeing the people that were heading out to the turnaround, which made the race slightly less lonely, I waved and said good job to everyone each time we passed.

My main goal for the journey was to stay relaxed and easy.  At this part of the run it was easy to get too fast.  Far enough into the run that I was all warmed up and feeling good, but plenty of race left that I could do some serious damage if I got carried away.

I arrived back at the start/finish area and made a loop around the turnaround bush in 53:44, topped off my bottle with some Coke and down the hill I went to start my last out and back.

The route on the way out was generally more down hill than the way back.  I took advantage of that on the last out lap.  I Wasn't trying to run much faster than the previous section, but I guess I started to smell the barn so to speak.  That lap was 52:15.

I again just topped off my bottle quick and got back to work.  The exposed area was a bit warmer now, but it was definitely easier running then further up the course where there were generally more rocks etc.

I would guess that somewhere around 5 miles ago I finally felt like I was working a bit harder than I had been, but I never felt like I was struggling too much.  I was pretty sure I would be under 3:40 at this point and just ran hard all the way though, finishing in 3:34:55.

So, this was a great effort and I actually passed though the marathon split faster than Boston....even the BS GPS marathon split.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out at the 7.75 mile turnaround aid station volunteering until around 9:30 pm.  It was a beautiful day to be outside, but I was super happy to get back to the hotel and get some sleep.

It took me a while to actually finish writing this, but now a few weeks later, training has still been going well.  Since Chesterfield I have run two 25+ mile runs and a 20 mile run, with two good solid training weeks.  This week will be a back off week and then I will start the final push towards VT!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

2019 Boston Marathon

This was my 4th Boston Marathon.  I definitely do not have a love affair with Boston like a lot of people.  To me, the race is a pain in the ass.  Logistics suck and if it is a bad weather day it can be miserable waiting for the start.  We were almost in that boat this year, but the weather gods were nice and we didn't have to stand in a downpour.

Since I have not been in shape to run a good marathon since running 2:36 in 2015, I was back in the 7th corral, which I actually didn't mind because I never had any ambitions to run fast at this years race.  I basically signed up because I knew we had a good group going and it felt like a good year to do it.  I was hoping I would be in better shape by the time the race rolled around, but I was never able to get anything going...the lingering pain in my hip and weekly PT sessions left me less than excited about my daily runs.  With that said I had some glimmers of hope.  A few solid longish runs and a decent Foxboro 10 Mile race.

The week leading to the race was filled with a group message we have along with wetaherman extraordinaire Fred Campagna.  He kept giving us updates and also provided links to his newest venture, www.runweather.com.  Check it out!

Race day was down pouring and thunderstorms while waiting to head up to Hopkinton, all ended up clearing by the time we got  to thew athletes village and so the wait in the portajohn line began.  30 or so mins later and it was time to head down to the start.

Zak decided to come back to the 7th coral and run with me.  Since we were both going to suck, we figured we would do it together!  Interesting note with Zak.  He has now signed up for Boston 4 times and this was the first time he was able to race it, between 2 stress fractures and a baby, the Boston marathon curse was real for Zak (why did I agree to run with him?)  The Jinxed Unicorn tried to get him in the morning too, on his way to meet us a branch flew into his car knocking his windshield wiper off and then our bus from Hopkinton to....HOPKINTON, got LOST. 

Anyway....the race.

The 7th corral has some tight running.  The other 3 times I ran Boston I was in the first corral and although there are a lot of people there, it opens up way quicker then the 7th...the 7th corral you are continuously passing people or being passed.  There are far less people to pass up front, so it opens up into clear running room quicker and stays that way.

So, basically we were running on top of people at least through 9 miles, then there was a bit more running room.  Zak and I stayed together through 14 or so, he seemed to be having a rough patch and as I found out later, he stopped to use a portajohn. 

From 14 to 25 miles the race was pretty uneventful, I was getting slow and feeling like shit.....this feeling started early and just kinda got slightly worse the rest of the race.  Right around 25ish I saw Mike Daniels near the side of the road, hands on hammy, never a good sign.  Finally the ol' right. left and the roar of the crowd on Boylston.  I was happy to be done, happy to run easy on the slight downhill to the finish....and then....I feel someone go by me sprinting....it was Zak.  He had finally caught back and was moving pretty well.  It took me a second to comprehend that it was him, then I gave chase....swearing the whole way.  How dare he make me run hard at the end of this race and hurt more.  I caught up to him and passed his ass.....then slowed down and we went over the line together.  It was pretty funny...it was the two of us sprinting down the final stretch swerving in and out of people like 2 little kids in a crowd.

After that we met up with everyone, found out Dave finally broke 2:40...yay....got the hell out of Boston and got to eating and drinking.  Although there were a few mins in the race that I thought "man I would rather be at work" in the grand scheme of things, it was still a good day.  My race sucked, Boston will never be a race I like....but I was out there running with a bunch of people and got in some miles for the day.

Onto the next...