Monday, February 22, 2010

New England Championships...

Sunday morning despite being incredibly distracted by my new Blackberry I soloed down to Boston for the New England Indoor meet at Harvard. Walking in the door I had a bit of an urgency in my stride because for one reason or another I felt as if I was late. I met up with Greg, Najam, and Jeff and they expressed their concern over my lateness. Normally I am the first person at the meet and there have been a few instances that the doors were still locked.

My warm up felt good but I could already tell that my legs were feeling pretty flat. The original plan was for Najam and I to try and rip a fast mile but I quickly realized that anything under 4:15 would be a major success considering the heavy volume I have been running since Terrier. There was no doubt that I still had the lingering feeling of the 8 x mile in my legs. After a good set of 75-meter striders I thought I was as ready as I could be so I headed to the line. I had the pole because of my 4:08 seed time but I knew I would be holding on for dear life the first half of the race. About 250 meters into the race I knew that the race was going to be a struggle. Coming through in 63 for the quarter was comfortable but I knew that was all that was in the tank. By the time I approached the half mile three guys including Najam already had a significant gap. Three quarters passed in 3:14 so I knew that if there was a chance at running 4:15 that I would really need to charge. The final 200 of the race went well and I was able to bridge the gap back up to Najam but I had left it way to late. Within a few minutes I was ready to roll on our cool down without a trace of lactate in my system. Looking back at the race I feel as if the pace was knocked back to 4:22 or so that I could have kept trucking to an 8:10 3000.

Our cool down was pretty awesome along the banks of the Charles. Obviously every Boston area runner must loath this run at times but I always find it invigorating. I added on a few loops of the football turf to get in 30 minutes bringing up the daily total to 11 miles. After a quick snack and some Powerade it was back out the door for another 15 minutes around the turf to prepare for the 3000. As we walked back into the field house I started to get a very funny feeling that I have been getting to know all to well. Due to the lack of any quality nutrition throughout the day I could feel the Bonktoberfest knocking at my front door. Rather than fight the bonk I decided to embrace and explore the terrifying feeling with the knowledge that I could experience this in the marathon. When I stood up from putting my spikes on I had a major head rush and need some Powerade to get myself centered. Jeff hooked my up with a FRS energy block and Greg convinced me to down a cookie before heading to the line. We decided that the best course of action would be to run 70 pace for as long as possible to transition to the longer road races on the next few months.

Reluctantly I had the poll again for the 3k despite having an incredibly passive feeling about the race. Off the line I got a pretty good push in the back from Harry Norton and almost went down on my face. Doing my best Bode Miller impression I managed to get my feet back under me which helped the field avoid a call back. We opened up in 2:20 on the money and despite my massive bonkatopia I was feeling smooth and in control. The Dartmouth boys moved over the next kilometer and I let them go without much thought as I kept to my plan of 70 second pace. In the third kilometer things slowed ever so slightly but I felt relaxed and smooth. With 300 to go I got the spark of motivation as two runners attempted a pass. I held them off into the turn and as I got past the pole vault pit I noticed Norton 15-meters ahead with his hazard lights on and in full distress. Thinking back to the contact off the line I decided to throw down over the last 100 to pass him. Harry looked back through the turn and attempted to move but for one reason or another he had no answer. I coasted though the line in 8:43 feeling completely at ease. I jogged directly to my trainers and within two minutes Greg and I were back out on the roads for the last three miles of the day.

On the cool down I revealed to Greg my mileage for the day and week. I explained to Greg that I was not going to chase numbers right now and that I was going to end my week with 98 miles. Previous versions of my training would have seen me push past reason to get the all important triple digit week. Right now control is the one of the most important pieces of my training. One year ago today I was sitting on a bag of ice with an anti-inflammatory patch on my back wondering what the heck was going on. Today I am sitting with a cup of Peruvian dark roast fresh and ready to attack a long run.

Overall yesterday was an amazing day of training. On the surface a 4:16, 8:43 double is nothing to get excited about but given my recent training I am pumped. The fastest interval I have run since Terrier was a 2:23 tenth 800 so expecting a blazing performance would have been silly. I was pleased with both of the races but what was more exciting was how great I felt following each race. I am starting to get the feeling that I am exceedingly fit and ready to have some great performances between 10k and the half-marathon. I could not be more pleases with how my training is going right now and am extremely excited about the Grand Prix 10 miler next Sunday in Amherst.

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