Thursday, April 17, 2014

Hay's in the Barn - 2014 Boston Marathon pre-race thoughts on training & race day

Where do I begin?  To start I read through last year's race report and it brought on the chills.  My mind has tuned out much of last year's race and filled it with the memories of what happened after my race was done.  It's a day I'll never forget.  One thing is for sure, this year's race will be unlike any other of the last 9 trips I've made to Hopkinton.  Different in many ways.  I'm excited that the whole family is going (and that Lauren will be running her 3rd Boston Marathon).  Excited to have some extra "leisure" time in Boston since we're headed up tomorrow (Friday) morning.  And oh yeah I have a race to run and I haven't really mentally processed that race yet.

This year's training cycle has been on like no other.  I started my build up back in December and I've had a great run of consistent mileage since the beginning of 2014. We had such a harsh winter this year and that really killed one aspect of my training: formal workouts.  With single digit temps and snow covered roads it was impossible to consistently get any form of workouts in.  On top of that I'm running the Big Sur marathon a short 6 days after Boston so my focus was more on getting a good mileage base than it was running fast at either of those two marathons.

Here's how my training stacks up to the last few year's worth of training cycles:

WEEK 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Week Ending
1 54 0 57 20 60 1/12/2014
2 53 0 42 45 55 1/19/2014
3 59 0 65 54 62 1/26/2014
4 61 15 65 56 60 2/2/2014
5 55 32 69 57 62 2/9/2014
6 65 34 53 53 61 2/16/2014
7 61 42 71 56 66 2/23/2014
8 62 47 67 51 70 3/2/2014
9 60 52 73 61 68 3/9/2014
10 57 55 70 61 62 3/16/2014
11 60 50 60 53 61 3/23/2014
12 70 57 72 63 70 3/30/2014
13 60 40 61 52 59 4/6/2014
14 46 41 50 30 46 4/13/2014
15 30 29 32 31 30 4/20/2014
TOTAL (MI): 855 494 905 743 892
BOSTON TIME: 2:47 2:51 3:04 2:53 ?
BIKE: (HR) 39 79 14 45 20
RUN: (HR) 108 59 108 87 115
TOTAL: 147 138 122 132 135

What is interesting about the above chart is how consistent my total training hours has been over the last four years.  What is also interesting is that my "lack of workouts" in the training cycle has led to a completely injury free training session.  As a friend of mine likes to say "speed kills" and I'm a believer!

So, what are my goals?  Well, priority number 1 is to take in all the sights and honor the victims of the attack.  Priority number 2 is to come out of it healthy and not too beat up for the Big Sur marathon the following weekend.  And lastly, ideally a sub 2:55 would put me >20min faster than my BQ time.  I'm also pulling for Lauren to have a great time in her 3rd trip from Hopkinton to Boston.

My race plan hasn't varied too much from last year.  This is one of the fastest fields ever assembled so I'll have plenty of people to run with at my pace.  I want to run a controlled first half and a consistent first / second half split.  My race nutrition is dialed in thanks to PowerBar.  You can read more about that in a great post on the Rev3 Triathlon blog.  

So, wish me luck!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Secret Weapon or Kryptonite?

Please find the updated version of this post at:

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The RUSH - Coming to a racetrack near you....

Your favorite triathlon series added a new format.  One that the whole family can participate in!

Check it out HERE.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back before going forward.....

Well, no better time than the last day of the year to look back on 2013 and see how I did on my "2013 Goals" set last year in this very blog.

I'll follow up with my "By the Numbers" and "The GOOD and The BAD" post in the coming days...

This sums up 2012 from last year's post: "So, not the best but not the worst either.  I learned a lot about myself last year, definitely one of the tougher years for me.  I'm using that to be smarter and more efficient now." 
And here's my goals from last year and how I made out meeting them.  It's always great to have goals, it gives you a sense of direction, sense of purpose.  It's not good to get too wrapped up in them though, they are just a guide, a rutter to steer you along.
Goals for next year (2013):
  • Get some damn momentum going!  Well, I think this mission was generally accomplished.  Coming off of 2012 my body was a train wreck from too many marathons.  While Boston wasn't my best time, I ran very well considering what I started with and what I put into it.  I ended up running really well in the late spring (and this Fall). 
  • Tackle B&B in the same weekend (Tour of the Battenkill 4/13 and Boston Marathon 4/15)  This one didn't happen, but as part of my goal below, this was destined to be a square peg in a round whole, and I let it go.
  • Actually train for the swimming portion of the triathlon!  Unless you count my two times at the pool the week leading up to Quassy, this one was a fail! What can I say, I can ride and bike out of my front door.  I have to DRIVE to a pool!  Maybe I need an endless pool?
  • Do some duathlons. This one was Mission Accomplished, although "some" doesn't quantify, I managed to get two of them in and secure a great USAT ranking.
  • Race my MTB once or twice. This one didn't happen (not by lack of effort).  But on the positive note, I did plenty of off road riding on my CX bike and had a successful 2013 cyclocross campaign!
  • Pick up a running client or two to coach.  Another Mission Accomplished.  At the peak of the season I had 4 people I was helping out.  A few of them have taken the winter off but plan to pick up again soon.  It was extremely rewarding to see my athletes excel mentally and physically.
  • Recognize the square peg and embrace it, continue to skip rides or runs to go watch the kids practice softball or soccer, because that is what really matters.  Mission Accomplished.  For the most part, if my training wasn't done by 7:30 or 8:00am, it didn't happen.  Rest of the day was family time.
  • Hit a few more REV3 races. While I'll be racing more REV3 events in 2014, I got to race Quassy OLY, Quassy HALF and Williamsburg HALF.  Williamsburg was a GREAT family vacation.
  • A running PR at one distance. Probably one of my best running races EVER, I ran a 55:48 at the Broad Street Run and finished 2nd in the highly competitive 35-39 age group.  This was coming off of the Boston Marathon, a 1:17 half marathon six days later and a big ride the day before.  I followed that up with a near PR at a 5k in September.
  • Continue to give back to the community through directing races.  Another big Mission Accomplished here.  The Superbowl 10k sold out again in 2013, we had 300 runners at the second annual Saucon Rail Trail 10k and we had record attendance at Town Hall Cross with nearly 500 pre-registered riders!  All combined these races generated >$10,000 for the HCM Foundation.
  • Stay healthy and keep on smiling.   I'll let you decide...see the pics below!

Happy New Year, have a great 2014!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Swashbuckler Cross - fun times at the PA Renfaire...

Another weekend of cross racing in the PACX series rolled around last weekend.  With a full weekend of "stuff" around the house, church, soccer games, etc, my hopes of making two races faded before Monday came to a close.  The question was, which of the two days?  Well, family time dictated a visit to the PA Renaissance Faire west of Reading, PA. It was a first time race held on (and through) the grounds of the Faire.  With first time races, you never know what to expect....and when you have no / low expectations good things can happen!

After a BEAUTIFUL drive through the beauty of the Fall colors, I arrived onsite in time to pre-ride the course before my race.  Got there, grabbed my number, got my race bike dialed in and headed out to scope out the course.  As I rolled around I was cataloging some "unique" aspects of the course.  A set of man made wooden stairs, a set of barriers, some dirt whoops with mud ruts in the bottom (a la motocross days), a REAL LONG sand pit through the jousting arena, plenty of asphalt, slick off cambers, power sections, mud, etc.  To be honest, I got a little nervous!!!
Dennis Smith caught me scouting the course out amid a beautiful backdrop.
I met up with a couple of old motocross friends and we pre-rode the course.  We came to the LONG sand section which I was sure would be a run section, and Nick and Travis rode it MUCH faster than I ran it.  Well, time to pony up and ride it!  I made it through cleanly each time after that.
This is the view entering the sand pit!
Our 1/2/3/4 Masters 35+ class was a relatively small field of 17 riders.  I picked my spot on the front row and after a few twitches the whistle blew.  It was a long, asphalt uphill start into a sweeping right hand turn then downhill into a tight, slick off camber.  I had a great drop and a great sprint with just one wheel even with me to my right as we entered the first turn.  Except, that wheel wasn't starting to I nervously yelled "RIGHT TURN" and the rider seemed to realize he had to turn right.  I had already set up in my mind how I wanted to hit the slick right turn ahead so I dropped in behind him and set up wide in 2nd.  He hit the slick mud and was DOWN.  I snuck to the inside and was suddenly leading the bike race.

I knew Nick was right behind me so I had no worries about him chopping me or taking me down.  I put in a solid, hard first lap nailing my lines.  We both nailed the sand section and as we closed in on the end of the first lap (long lap times, +/- 8:00) we hit a section that I knew Nick had more skills than I did.  I told him which line I was taking so he could sneak by.  We had nailed a real fast first lap and put a gap of 15 - 20 seconds back to 3rd already.  We rode together for the next lap and a half or so until I couldn't hang any more.
Nailing the sand section, I love the look on the spectator's faces! (Joe Mallis photo)
When we came through the finish line for the 3rd time we got some great news....the "2 lap" board!  I was holding the gap on 3rd place, but he wasn't taking it easy on me.  I knew I could suffer for 15 more minutes though.  Ended up 2nd about 20 seconds behind Nick and 30 seconds ahead of Dan.
A Pirate Ship for a podium, awesome!
Definitely one of my better rides and I feel that I'm getting stronger each time I race.  Learning things, building confidence and gaining some power in the legs.  It was a fun race and I was glad I went and supported it.  As I've said before, sometimes is the races where you expect the least that you get the most.

Looks like I'm sitting in 4th in the PACX series, so a few more races left including Kutztown and PA State Championships.  Can't believe how quickly the season flies by.

And Sunday confirmed my choice of days to race.  The kids love when I make them pancakes, we hit church then ventured out into the cold to watch both of them play some great soccer games.  Fall may be hectic...and may usher in the "blah" winter, but it is a great season!