Dec 27, 2014

2500 miles

Today I completed a goal for 2014. I exceeded 2500 miles running in one year. As of my run this morning my total was 2502. Due to a couple of injuries that slowed me down I almost missed the goal. Since my last injury I realize more and more that its the running I enjoy not actual pace or speed. When resting my broken body and not running it was like withdrawal. Couldn't wait to get back on the roads at any speed. Times like that made me aware that the activity of running was far more important than increasing my speed.

Crossing 2500 miles is great but another milestone is just as interesting. Total miles in 5 years is now over 8,000! By end of 2015 I should be over 10,000 miles. If someone 5 years ago had told me I'd be reaching such mileage I never would have believed it. The other stats from Garmin are just plain mind boggling. Calories in 2014 = more than 366,000! Calories in 5 years is more than 1.1 million!

Today was a great run because of the milestone and the weather. A perfect morning as the picture below demonstrates.
Sunrise in Whigville CT
 So I'll finish out the year with a few average runs and start again on January 1st. Now I must look at potential races for next year and get some rough training schedule together for any big races.

Dec 21, 2014

Norfolk Pub 10 Mile Road Race

Saturday was my first time running the Norfolk Pub 10 Mile Road Race. It has always been called one of the toughest 10 mile races in Connecticut and I can see why. The course is an isolated road through the forest. It has numerous rolling hills throughout of which a couple are quite steep. I loved the course including the tough hills which made the race interesting. This was the longest "race" that I ran since the Hartford Marathon in October. My recent heel and leg problems are definitely behind me since no issues developed. I was a little sore but nothing like what it was in November. I had decided to take it easy and listen to my body during the run. If any pain started I would slow down or even walk. Never had an issue and ran the entire race. My finish time was 1:48 with an average pace of 10:47. Happy with the result. Many of my running clubs were there. The photo below has most and as you can see its a fun group of people with varied levels of expertise with running. Fun day for all.

Dec 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.

Dec 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.

Oct 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.

Sep 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.

Jul 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.

Jul 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.

Jul 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.

Jul 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

Jun 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.

Jun 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

Jun 21, 2014

10 miles Sessions Woods

Today I started out to do a 5-7 mile run. Once underway I thought it would be a good day to do the trails at Sessions Woods in Burlington so I headed in that direction. It was a perfect weather morning with temps in the 50's, clear blue skies, and no humidity. Not bad for the first day of summer. I did several miles inside the park and stopped by the lake for a picture. It was quiet and peaceful. I was glad I chose not to listen to music. After leaving the park I felt good which encouraged me to keep going for a full 10 miles. Saw several other runners who were also taking advantage of this perfect day.

10 miles Sessions Woods by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

Jun 10, 2014

8 miles in Bristol

Nice run today. I did 8 miles at a 10:27 pace. Misty and drizzly but good running conditions. Needed a good one after the 5 mile disaster run on Monday.

8 miles Bristol by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

Jun 8, 2014

Litchfield Hills 7.1m road race

Ran in the Litchfield Hills Road Race today. Distance was 7.1 miles. This was a town wide celebration around a great race. There were thousands of spectators and runners on a very hot(87f) day. I had heard this was a special race and it held up to its reputation. I hadn't pre-registered so I arrived early to make sure I got in. Our Debticonn group was well represented with more than 10 members in attendance. We gathered by the starting cannon before the race.

Debticonn (run169towns) before the race
Lots of activity on the green with families setting up blankets and enjoying the festivities. Many runners were "elite" professionals which was obvious by their looks and their results afterword. The course was a mix of streets, paths, trails, and parks. Many residents lined the course to cheer us on. I did OK considering the heat until "the hill" on Gallows Street in the 6th mile. It was enormously steep. I tried running it but walked about half way up. My finish time was 1:09 which was good. I was 27th or 72 in my age group.

 Garmin results below:
Litchfield Hills 7.1m road race by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details
Official results below:
Great aid stations and great food after. I will definitely come back next year.

Jun 5, 2014

8 mile run in Bristol

8 miles Bristol by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

Nice run in a light drizzle. Went for 8 miles to have high mileage as the weekend approaches. Shooting for anothe 50 mile+ week.

Jun 1, 2014

Iron Horse Half Marathon

The Iron Horse Half Marathon in Simsbury CT was my 19th half marathon and a good one at that. I finished in 1:57:49 which was not my best although any half under 2 hours is great these days. I finished 9th/18 in my age group. The weather was great as is most June days. Temps around 50f to start and high 60's at the finish. Several thousand runners in all between the 5K, 10K, and half marathon. 13.1 Iron Horse Half Marathon by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

Many of the Debticonn club members were in attendance. I didn't meet all of them because of the crowds.

Some of the Debticonn runners post race
I was determined to be under 2 hours which meant I had to maintain a 9:00min/mile pace or better. Most of my race was in the 8:40-8:55 range. I was comfortable at this pace which is important if I am to shoot for a 4 hour marathon at Hartford this year.  My summer training will focus on improving my average speed. I plan on doing actual speed work in August and September. I slowed down a bit between 9-12 miles which was puzzling because most of that was flat yet I felt good. Can't complain with a sub 2 hour result.

This was a picture of me just before the finish line. My final mile was back to a good pace below 9min/mile.

Just before the finish. Note the barefoot guy behind me.

May 29, 2014

8 miles Univ of Albany

The Univ of Albany is my favorite place to run. Across from the hotel I stay at, it has well lit paths of either concrete or crushed stone. Local neighborhood streets add variety to the run. 8 miles Univ of Albany by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details

May 26, 2014

13.1 mile run Bristol.

13.1 mile run Bristol by mtaricani at Garmin Connect - Details Long run to start the week so I can take off next Saturday before the Iron Horse Half. Hope to make that a PR.

May 4, 2014

Last week was the Lake Waramaug Jack Bristol 50K Ultramarathon. This week was the "Run For The Cows" Half Marathon.

Lake Waramaug 50K. Another banner day for weather and overall race. For the 2nd year in a row I ran with the small crowd of ultra runners from around the country. Ray Krolewicz, a well known ultra runner, was there in all his glory. Being boisterous and very happy to run yet another ultramarathon. He has run this one since the 1970's. At one point he was behind me singing away as he ran. When I reached the final turn we passed and he said if I pushed I could break 6 hours. So I did and came in at 5:59. My average pace was 11:11 per mile. My game plan was to stay at or around 11 minutes/mile so I guess I followed the plan. Last year I lost precious time hanging out at aid stations too long. This year I spent a total of 11 minutes eating compared to 25 minutes in 2013. I did very well and felt great at the end. My pre-race prep was 2 days of easy carb loading, nothing crazy. Lots of water. On race morning I had a small bowl of Flax cereal, a banana, and my UCAN drink. During the race I focused on pretzels, chips, and bananas. My race fueling "recipe" seems to work.
After the 1st out and back.
Under 6 hours...barely!

Adam Osmond, Wanda Hodson after the race.

Run For The Cows Half Marathon.  Once again the New Pond Farm and Ole Foods put on a very enjoyable race. Good food, unique setting, and a great crowd made for a fun day. The goal was to stay at 9:30 or faster per mile. My finish time was 2:06:25. Pace was 9:28. In my age group I was 5/13. Same pre-race breakfast as above. Would have been a little faster but had to take one bio-break. From amenities to course design this is one of my favorite races.
Post race.  John MInerva, Sergio De Sousa, Jose Luiz

Mar 13, 2014

End of winter.....beginning of hard training

This very cold a snowy winter is coming to an end. The Polar Vortex(s) have made these past three months challenging for any runner. But my triple layered, thermal, mish-mash of running stuff kept me toasty warm. Strangely enough I was warmer running than sitting at home with a quilt wrapped around me. Even though most claim my lack of body fat is the cause I think hard running is like having my own personal internal furnace.

My runs have been easy going trots than burned calories and maintained a basic running "fitness" but did little else. The spring race season is underway and the grand daddy of my race schedule, the Jack Bristol 50K ultra, is just 6 weeks away. After running well at People's Forest 17 mile and Colchester Half Marathon it became clear I could improve my speed. Endurance isn't even an issue. Speed was what needed improvement. I'm determined to get back to where I was in 2011-2012. With each daily run I focus on "10" meaning I must maintain a pace somewhere under 11min/mile or in the "10s". So far I have been successful in doing just that. Some runs went better than expected with my body in overdrive. I can maintain sub 10/mile pace when all is well. I find that staying positive and mentally telling myself that I can run faster and faster. Staying positive is the trick. It works.
At the Colchester Half Marathon

Brickyarders running at Rogers Orchard--10 miles

Bolton 5 Mile Road Race-Debticonn(run169towns) group

Above are some pictures from recent successful races. Colchester Half and the Bolton 5 Mile Road Race. Great runs and felt great at the end. So much so I didn't need to take the day after off from running which was the routine in the past.

The next 5 weeks are for Jack Bristol. I am targeting 6 hours for a finish time. Totally achievable and if I do it will be 20 minutes faster than 2013. Might even win the age group!

Jan 19, 2014

Good One! People's Forest 17.1 miles

This was a good race for me. Have to brag since I was 8 minutes faster than in 2013. This "race" was the People's Forest 17.1 Winter Series race by the Hartford Track Club. Always cold but in a great venue. People's Forest State Park where thecourse runs up one side of the Farmington River and down the other side. Two loops around an 8.5mile course. Beautiful scenery with little traffic.
Pre race at People's Forest
Since my disaster marathon at Newport in November 2013, I have worked at hydrating myself more thoroughly before and during the race. I also make sure I carb load, eat in the morning, and do enough gels during the race. It paid off today by allowing me to have the best run in a year. Not record breaking by any means but my best time at this race and a consistent pace. My time was 2:49 with a 9:51 pace. Last year I finished dead last with a 2:57.

I focused on staying under or at 10/mile. Mission accomplished because I stayed under 10 except for two individual miles. Bio breaks. Therefore this was even a better time considering the need to stop. The most satisfying part of the race was at mile 12. Something tol;d me to turn on the power which I did. I was in disbelief as I flew down the road. It soon became apparent I would have no problem staying at my pace goal. Fluids....drank a bunch the day before and 20+ ounces pre race. Did UCAN as well. I carb loaded yesterday and had breakfast 3 hours before the race. During the race I did a gel every 5 miles. Felt great the entire way.

I hope this can be repeated at upcoming half and full marathons. It was a "good one"today.

Jan 4, 2014

Cold one

Everyone has heard about the bitter cold that settled over New England. Warnings were everywhere that it was dangerous and frostbite was possible if one was not careful. I like a challenge and figured that I would attempt a run in these conditions. The temp as I started the run was -6f and it warmed up to 3f by the time I finished.  Thus the picture below.
Jan 4, 2014 in -6f temps
I have run in frigid temperatures many times before and know how to dress appropriately. The key to staying warm is wearing many "layers". Double gloves, triple shirts, double pants, double socks, a balaclava, and two hats. Preparing for such a run takes about 15 minutes because of all the clothing and making it all work. I did 11 miles throughout Bristol and Burlington. As I ran along the roads I gave many something to talk about today. I'm sure there were many stories that went something like..."I saw a crazy old man running in this cold". I was toasty warm throughout the run. The only issue was my beard and iPod wires became encased in that ice blob under my chin. I could not remove the balaclava for about 15 minutes because it needed to melt. Garmin map of the run is below:

This has been a crazy week with the holidays and wacky weather. I managed to get in 44 miles as of Saturday and will do more on Sunday. My goal is to keep mileage high to be better prepared for some winter half marathons that are coming up.