Sunday, March 27, 2016

Ashland 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Some days you wake up and you feel great and think you can conquer the world.  March 19, the day of the Ashland Half Marathon was not one of those days for me.  I woke and felt lousy.  The Boss had to work because it was a Saturday and tax season doesn't take days off for races so I had to head to the race solo.  The night before I had a 3 mile shakeout run to keep the legs loose
and didn't feel too great.  Everything was sore and stiff, my back, my legs, pretty much my entire body.  I pretty much chalked it up to pre race jitters as I Frankenstein'd my way around the neighborhood.  I got out of bed  about a half hour earlier than planned thanks to this guy.
I made myself my usual smoothie for breakfast and headed out, really feeling kind of BLAH.
I got to the race, grabbed my number and chatted with a couple folks in line to use the porta potty.  I headed back to my car and told myself over and over again that once I got moving, I would relax, find my stride and it would be all good.  At the same time I had a lot of doubt that I would get close to my half marathon PR of just over 1:50.  I have run this course maybe 4 or 5 times now and it is a hilly course.  I had run the same course last October and ran about a 1:55.
I got out of the car and ran about a mile for a warmup.  I have definitely found that running warmups before races has helped me get my head right.  ***Please keep in mind that when I talk races, I am not fast enough to win(at least not right now ;), I am really racing against myself.***
We lined up at the start and off we went. At the mile 1 marker I looked at my watch and saw that the pace I had run was much slower than I wanted it to be and it was then that I decided to not look at my watch again and just run base on feel.  It took me about 4miles to finally get into a groove that felt like I had run before.  At mile 5 I grabbed a drink of water.  At mile 6 I ran into a guy I had run with back in the October race.  Nice guy.  I think he recognized my beard.  I didn't recognize him because he had a mohawk  back in October(his kids idea) and now his hair had grown back in.  We chatted a bit and I took off to the next water stop and had a Gu and some water.
At mile 10, there is a short, steep hill that everyone hates.  I had decided that if I started running up it felt my self slowing down  too much I'd just walk it.  I knew the last 3 miles were a couple rolling hills and a nice slow downhill at the end that would allow me to pick up my pace a bit.  I figured the energy I would expend trying to run up the hill wasn't worth the small difference in time I would have saved since I would have blown out my legs and might not have had anything left for the remainder of the race.  I might have been wrong but it felt right at the time.
I felt like I cruised through the last couple miles, passing some folks along the way, exchanging words of encouragement.  Since I am a little heavier(180lbs) and shorter (5'7) than a lot of runners, I always try to push hard on the down hills.  I consider it my gravitational advantage over some of the lighter runners out there, and this race ends with a low slow decline so I feel like it's right up my alley. (Skip to the 1:40 mark in this video)
I got to the finish and was shocked to look at the clock and see a time of 1:46:08!  A new PR!  I couldn't believe it.  For a day that started out a little rough, it finished better than I expected.  I guess at some point I need to just get out of my own head, and let all the training I have done take over.  Some days you are gonna have it, and some days you aren't and apparently some days you are going to feel like you don't have it and if you push through things will turn in your favor! 
I want to give a shoutout to the organizers of the race.  The course is always well marked and the food at the after party(no beer, but that's ok) is always really good.  The atmosphere is great and all the volunteers and racers are super friendly and that's really what it's all about!  Kudos to all the other runners out there crushing it!  Happy running!  Next post will be a little different as I will talk a little bit about why I run. 
Thanks for reading this longwinded post!  See you soon!     

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Where does the time go?

Yikes!  It's been about four weeks since my last post.  Falling behind already.
I guess I'll get right to it to get caught up.  The last post I wrote was right before a 10 mile race I was running.  I was hoping for a PR.  My previous best time at the 10 mile distance was 1:31:00 from 2015.  Granted that was my only previous race at the distance, I wasn't exactly sure how it was going to go.  As luck would have it, it turned out to be a nice day and I was able to push hard consistently throughout the race.  I finished with a new PR of 1:19:21, about 12 minutes off of last year's time.  My goal was to run a 1:20:00 so I was very pleased with the results!
Here is a pic from the finish.  One of the better pics of me running, since I usually look like I am taking the last breath I'll ever take.
Here is a pic from the 5 miler a couple weeks earlier.  Looking a little rough in this one!
Shortly after the 10 miler, my buddy Mac and I headed to Vegas to see Iron Maiden play.  I'll leave you with some pics from that awesome weekend(that I am still recovering from)!

Wasted Years
The sign that leads to the Las Vegas sign!
Storm Troopers!
Is that beer big enough?

Red Rock Canyon
Iron Maiden Preshow
Iron Maiden fans tool over this bar!

Iron Maiden Live!
Thanks for checking out the blog.   The next one should be up in a couple days.  I'll write about the 1/2 marathon I ran this past weekend and get a little deeper into why I run.  Please feel free to leave comments, follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook if we aren't friends already. 


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Back on the Run!

Last week I wrote that in 2016 I wanted to set some new PR's and listed my current PR's.  My first opportunity to take care of business came on Sunday, 2/7/2016.  The Boss and I headed in town for the Super Sunday 5 Miler in Cambridge.

I looked at my list and saw that my 5 mile PR was 37:30 and thought to myself, "Crap, that seems kind of fast."  I have been running a lot lately, following my coaches training plans mixing up long runs and speed work and hitting the gym.  I've dropped some weight lately, cleaned up my diet a little in the hopes that helps me pick up a little speed. I figure if I'm dragging 177lbs around instead of 187lbs, I should move a little faster :)
We got to the race and it was pretty chilly out.  Not a surprise for an early February race but we have been getting unseasonably warm weather around here.  My coach Chris Vargo ( had set my day up for me.  When I first signed up to run I had asked him if I should run it as a training run or go out and run it hard.  He told me to run it hard so here we are.  I had a 2 mile warm up with a couple strides prior to the race, then the 5 miler, and then a real easy 2 mile cool down after.  I saw the mileage and thought "2  mile warm up?! I never ran warm ups at all until I had a coach."  Coach knows best.  That's why he is a coach.  Off to warm up I went.  Finally race time came up, and we were off.  I knew I would have to really push my pace and thanks to the warm up I was able to start of quick right off the line.  The course was a pretty flat straight course and that helped me keep a consistent. 
Around 2 miles I passed a guy who was nice enough to say nice job to me which was followed by "but more importantly, great beard!"  That made me laugh a little as I huffed and puffed and kept moving.  Around mile 3and 1/2 I started to feel the pace wearing me down I felt like I was starting to slow down but I decided to just try to run through it.  Only a little over a mile to go.
 I figured there was no way I was going to make it.  I made it to the finish and didn't see the clock.  I stopped my watch, grabbed 2 bottles of water and took off for my 2 mile cool down.  It was a bit of a walk/run since my legs felt like junk.  It wasn't until I caught up with The Boss that I finally looked at my watch and realized I had PR's the race! 37:23 is my new PR. The old was 37:30. I was pretty surprised considering I felt like I had slowed down considerably near the end. After that, I figured it was time to celebrate.
Nothing like a few shots of beer to warm you up on a chilly day after what turned out to be a pretty good race!

Up next is the Old Fashioned Ten Miler.  My current PR for the 10 mile distance is 1:31:37.
Here is the link if you would care to join us at the race. 
Hopefully we will see you there!!!
Old Fashioned 10 Miler 2014
Oh yeah, on a side note, last Tuesday I got to meet this guy.  WWE Hall of Famer Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

And yes, his fist was bigger than my head.  Have a great week!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Where Have I Been and Where Will I Go In 2016 -- The Year of the Goal

   I came out to this site a few weeks and was shocked to see that I hadn't posted anything since 2013. I was talking to a friend when I first tried this Blog thing and he had told me, "Keep them short or you will burn yourself out" and he was right.  One of my goals for 2016 is to start this back up and make it a weekly thing.  Read if you want, let me know if you enjoy the posts and comment if you don't.  I am all for constructive criticism.

*Since this is the first post in a couple years it will be long winded.  The next post will be shorter.  I promise!
   I have to imagine there are plenty of people out there that I am friends with on Facebook and Twitter that are sick of seeing posts about my runs and that's fine. I get it.  The reason I post is because I find other people's  inspirational, and if a post of mine inspires one person to go out and try something new and get physically active, then that makes me happy.

   2015 was an interesting year for me.  In January my dad passed away.  I feel like he had been struggling with his health forever.  From a heart attack in his early 40's to a bypass in his 50's to dialysis and a kidney transplant and his eventual passing in his 60's.  I saw my dad go through all of this and at some point I decided that I would not fall into the trap that so many of us 9 to 5(really more like 8 to 5) folks do and sit on my ass all day and then go home from work and sit on my ass some more.  It all seems kind of standard for people that work in an office job.  After 20 years of sitting at a desk, your body changes shape, you gain weight, some of us become follically challenged. Some things you can control and some you can't.  I decided to control what I could.  That's a big part of why I run and why I workout.

   In March I lost a friend of mine named Norman. Norman was an awesome guy who had a profoundly positive impact on the people he met through his work and his everyday life.  I don't think there is a day that goes by that he doesn't pop into my head because we had so many conversations about so many different things.  I miss him a ton and it hurt so much to lose him and my dad last year.

   In April I ran my first ultra.  An ultra is any running race longer than a marathon.  The Boss and I ran our first marathon in November of 2014 so I figured I would piggyback the ultra.  I ran the TARC Spring 50K(roughly 31 miles).  I use the term ran loosely since it took me almost 7 hours to complete.  Throughout the race, when I felt tired and sore and wanted to stop, I could almost hear my dad and Norman urging me on, and busting my balls about why someone would ever run for that long.  I also had my wife(The Boss), my sister and my buddy BJ at the race to cheer me on which helped keep me going.

   After the ultra I kind of lost a little something.  I was not sure what it was. A lack of focus, a lack of motivation, maybe an overload of sadness once the training was done?  Whatever it was really sucked.  The Boss and I ran the Mayflower Brewery 1/2 Marathon in July and that race just sucked the life out of me.  I had still been running a lot but I just felt like I had nothing left in the tank and really felt awful after the race.  I felt like I needed a change.
    So... I hired a coach!  I figured why not.  I love to run, I wanted to get faster and at the time I was slowing down.  I messaged Chris Vargo on FB, exchanged some emails and the next thing you know, he is writing up training plans for me and giving me tips about racing and training.  I ran three 1/2 marathons at the end of the year and I had picked up enough speed to set a new PR.  I felt like having someone helping me out with training and setting race goals reinvigorated me.

2016 Running Goals
My goal is pretty simple I guess.  Set some new PR's.
Here is a list of my current PR's pulled off of
I am running the TARC Spring 50K again this April so I am confident I will be able to finish faster than last year.  I am also running another marathon in May and I am hoping to knock a good chunk of time off of my first one.  The Boss and I are running a 5 miler this Sunday and the course is flat and fast so it will be my first shot at that one.  We'll see how that goes.  The PR is from 2008 when I was "young" and "fast".



5 Mile

10 Mile

1/2 Mara



Thanks for reading!  I'll talk to you next week!