Monday, December 15, 2014

Big Hills, Better Heel

This past weekend was full of running. Saturday I volunteered at the Roxbury Marathon and Sunday I ran 11 miles including some big Burlington hills.

Roxbury....I had to be honest with myself and drop out of the Roxbury Marathon due to my nagging heel injury. Could I have run it? Sure. But I would have exctended my recovery time or possibly worsen the injury. So I did the next best thing which was to volunteer. Working a water station is always interesting. It gives you the chance to see a variety of running styles and attitudes. As a runner I always stress and work hard during a race. It was refreshing to see people having fun, enjoying the weather, and not caring about how they were doing. I was even surprised to see a couple of elite runners stop and chat at my aid station. Later I saw that some of them finished in the top 5.

Sunday hill run...Sunday was a planned long run to test my heel. This past week saw great improvements in my recovery. I headed out up to GW Turnpike and the on the rolling hills to Nassahegan Forest. Good steep inclines and declines to test the heel. I then went and ran up Taine Mountain Road which is one of the greatest inclines in town. I had done it once before. I did it without any problem. Then headed home. At the end I had done 11 miles, the most since the Hartford Marathon in October. My heel was a little sore but not bad. The remainder of Sunday was a trip to Long Island to see our daughter Meghan, Jason, and the grandkids. Had a nice day which also allowed my heel to rest. Today, Monday, I was on the roads again with a simple 7 mile run and at a decent pace. My road to recovery is almost complete so its time to begin planning 2015.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Been a while.....

At the 2014 Hartford Marathon I seriously injured my heel. It was sore before the start but got worse to the point I barely finished. I ran a few weeks post marathon and even entered a few races. Dumb. My mind would not accept what the heel was saying..."stop running for a while". Eventually I did stop and saw Dr Sullivan at Orthopedic Associates. Had an x-ray. No major or obvious fracture and most likely a subtle stress fracture. He recommended I not run and do cross training. I did. That was the easy part. The hard part was dropping out of the Roxbury Marathon which I love so much. With a big waiting list and an injury it was the right thing to do. At the RSNA in Chicago I started some small runs. It felt good with a little soreness after each run. This week I ran the Santa Made Me Do It  5K in Bethlehem at a decent pace on hills. The light at the end of the tunnel was in view. The injury was healing slow but sure.
Finishing the Santa Made Me Do It 5k in 27 mins. I'm OK with that!

This positive outcome has allowed me to plan for 2015. I signed up for the Colchester half Mararthon, Bolton 5 mile run, and should be in the Peoples Forest 17 mile run. This injury has made me realize several things....that I can take time off from running without losing any fitness....that I need to focus on health and ability not speed.....that being able to run outdoors at any speed is better than making stupid decisions and causing injury. I have fun with the Run169town group and Brickyarders so I need to take care of myself to ensure I'm running far into the future. This weekend I will be at a volunteer cheering people on. Enjoying my hobby in a different way. There are plenty of other races in my future.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The 2014 Hartford Marathon and a bad heel

Just one of those the only statement to make after the 2014 Hartford Marathon. Rainy, cold, sore leg, and an awful finish time. It started off positive with our 169 Town runners gathering around the Lafayette Statue across from the State Capital. Meghan and Capstone photography took some groups shots the we lined up for the race.
Pre race...pre bad marathon. Run 169 Town group
This was my third time at Hartford and had trained hard all year to have a decent result. What is "decent"? In my mind anything 4:30 or better would have been great. Previous finish times were 4:14 and 4:24 so it was not out of the question. My last two marathons, Roxbury 2013 and Newport 2013 were 5 hours. Surely I wouldn't do another one. My plane was to stick to a pace around 9:30/min. If I could do that a "decent" time was possible. Initially I was sticking to the plan. Hovering around 9:30-9:45. OK and I felt great. About half way through I slowed significantly. Not sure why because I felt great and occasionally could muster up a sprint for a quarter mile or so. Even kept up with the 4:30 pace group for a while. After reaching the turn at 17 miles in South Windsor my pace continued to drop off. My right leg was sore but not excruciatingly so. Just couldn't get the energy. I hadn't hit the wall and in fact noticed I felt really good. Can't explain it unless the painful leg somehow caused me to take it easy.
Somewhere in the middle of the race.
Capstone took a bunch of pictures. I swear some of them, altough stills, look like I'm running with a limp. Some look like I'm in pain. But I forged ahead hoping to at least come in just before the five hour mark. I probably finally hit the wall at 21 miles. I noticed a definite weakening at that point. I lasted a long time because I trained well, tapered well, and took plenty of nutrients during the race. I had a small breakfast 3 hours before the race of Flax cereal, a banana, and coffee. UCAN before the race and a gel every 5 miles. Also drank lots of water. Probably too much since I had two bathroom stops.
At the finish
Finally the city skyline was in sight as I crossed the Connecticut River which meant about 2 miles to go. I plugged along into the city then rounded the final turn to the arch. As I ran to the finish I saw Meghan taking pictures. She yelled "what happened"? I explanation but I yelled back "it's finally over"! That is the best way to close out a bad race. Finish time was 5:06.

All in all it was a disappointing finish but felt good to get another full marathon in the books.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fall Races

As Fall begins so does the intense race schedule. The New Haven Road Race 20K on Labor day is sort of the start to a crazy race schedule.  In the picture below are two Connecticut running icons, Bill Tribou and Lee Bradley. Both inspire runners by being ambassadors for the sport and show one can enjoy running at any age.
Two icons...Bill Trbou(L) and Lee Bradley(R) in New Hven. 
Every year a slew of popular races challenge us who have trained all summer. My main fall races are New Haven Road Race, The Hogsback Half Marathon, The Hartford Marathon, and the Roxbury Marathon. I worked harder at training for these than in the past. Weekly mile totals have been in the 50-55 mile range. I've smartly managed to have more days off than usual. Common running wisdom insists that days off are key to doing well and staying healthy. As I write this it is a day off post Hogsback Half.
Start of the Hogsback Half

David Roach and I after the race
Lea Crown had a PR at Hogsback
Yesterday's Hogsback was my 22nd half marathon. This has to be one of the best halfs in the state. Just the right size(@500 runners), great course along the Farmington River, and just well run. My finish time was 2:10. I will be back next year.

My stats are building as I have 6 full marathons and 3 ultra marathons. Ironically I have more half marathons completed than 5K races. My finish times are getting a bit slower which is OK since my age is getting a bit higher! Finish times don't bother me as many know, I just love getting out to run. Realizing I can run 13.1, 26.2, or 31.1 miles at 60 years of age is good enough for me regardless of the time I cross that line.

Next up is my 3rd Hartford Marathon. Less than two weeks means I start my taper of running miles. Hope to have a good one and finish under 4:30. Being conservative because I have been over confident in the past.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thursday is "hill repeat" day in my training schedule. Over the past six weeks I have incorporated hill repeats is various ways. Always do at least 4x200m on steep hills and sometimes 6x200. Tough to do depending on the incline. Today I ran through Whigville and did the repeats on the road next to the reservoir. After I continued on to Sessions Woods then back home.

This weekend I'll do some medium long runs of around 10 miles per day since I did 15 miles last Saturday. Soon I will take on a 20 miler.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Marathon training

Marathon training is underway with just 11 weeks to go until the NU Hartford Marathon on October 11th. I actually started several weeks ago with more focus on running technique and speed. It is beginning to pay off.

My daily runs have no changed dramatically except that on two days, Tuesday and Thursday, I started speed work and hill repeats. These two methods of training are recommended by most runners for increasing pace and endurance. On Tuesdays I do sprints for 400 yards six times in a row. I usually average under 2:00/mile with my fastest so far at 1:47. Good for me but slow by most measures. On Thursdays I incorporate hill repeats. The actual technique varies from week to week as I run different hills. I decided not to  time them separately because of this. But typical hills are 400-800m in length with no walking between them. Very tough after 3-4 loops. I run my usual 5-7 miles on other days. Today my long weekend run was on the Farmington River Trail along the river. Even though I love hills and trails it has become apparent those are not good for training before a flat road marathon. For the remaining 11 weeks I hope to stick to the trail so that my body and legs are in top shape. My hilly road runs are good but frequently I am running a downhill which may be impacting my overall performance. No downhills in the Hartford Marathon!

Today was a good run. Totaling 15 miles at an average pace of 9:55/min. It was a beautiful run along the river and through Collinsville center. Perfect temps as well. I made sure to drink plenty of fluids, included electrolytes, and one gel. I'm making sure to properly fuel during these runs which has been my downfall in previous marathons.

Monday, July 14, 2014

It's been three weeks since the start of my formal marathon training. Tuesday is speed work day and Thursday is hill repeat day. Speed work has been more enjoyable than I thought it would. It's actually fun to try to improve each 1/4 mile. I have done as many as six repeats so far. I hope to expand to the longer "800's" in August. Has it helped my speed? Maybe just a bit which is reflected in my weekend 5K in Cornwall CT. My finish time was 25:13 which is far from a record better than the 26+ times seen in the past year.
The Garmin map below is the Cornwall PharmaCares 5K result.

The day after Cornwall I went out for a long run. Started out intending to do 15 miles but the hot and humid weather got to me. Had to cut it off at 11 miles. Today I started the week with a nice 6 mile run. probably the worst of the year with a very uncomfortable temp and humidity. Chart below.

Not many races in July and August. The focus is on the fall for the Hogsback Half and Hartford full marathons. Will just plug away at training and hopefully improve.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

6 miles in Bristol

Perfect weather for running. Did 6 miles at a 9:50 pace. Best part was not a single bug "bugged" me.

Garmin results--> Untitled by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, June 29, 2014

12 miles in the Burlington Hills

12 miles in the Burlington Hills by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

Great weather for a run. I needed a long one so I headed out on my Burlington Hills route. Up to the center of town and back. Early so there was little traffic.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

5K CT Pet Fair and a 5 Mile Run

Woke up today intending to run long. At least 15 and maybe 20 miles. As I lay in the dark drinking coffee I started to think of the 5K at Hubbard Park in Meridan. Could decide whether to do it or stay home and run long. After much thought I decided to combine the two. Run 5 miles and then off to the 5K race. My plan worked perfectly. At the park, prior to the race, I met up with some other Debticonn members.

Debitconn members..Darrel Netto, Mike Feinberg, Sergio Sousa, Tim Beach.
There were about 200 runners which  expected. Good to possibly place since not too many in my age range.

This course starts up a hill, then levels off, then back down the hill. Nice course where my hill training pays off. My pace was good considering I ran 5 miles a few hours before the 5K. On the first and main hill I pushed hard passing several other runners. It always feels good to pass people on a hill! Once on the flat top I kept my pace around 8:30 and never let up. Picked it up on the downhill to the finish and ended with a 26:10. My usual time for a 5K.
Fast Track Timing Results

We had to wait for results since the timers messed up on many ages. But when the awards came I placed 3rd in the 60-69 yo age group. Not a bad day.

5K CT Pet Fair by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Detail

5 Mile Run in Bristol