Sunday, April 20, 2014

My final thoughts before Boston

As I sit here at my parents house in Dorchester waiting for the Marathon Monday, it's hard to think back at what happened at last year's Boston Marathon. New England has a very tight and supportive running community, where running isn't just an activity - it's a way of life that defines its people. Having attended the Boston Public School system and being so familiar with the Boston running scene, my immediate reaction was to jump on the bandwagon and say I wanted to run Boston in 2014. However, I was a week due for surgery to remove a benign tumor on my right knee. Anyone who has done a marathon knows that it takes a lot than just will power to run one.

With the manhunt for suspect, my surgery was postponed to a few weeks later. After surgery, I felt so much pain in my swollen knee that I thought my marathon career was probably over. On the other hand, while I felt sorrow for myself, I started to think about how difficult of a  road to comeback some of the bombing victims were going to face, emotionally and physically. During this time, I really started to find  some strength and motivation because of them. To think that some of the victims were badly hurt and were already thinking of a comeback to doing the marathon was inspiring to me. I took a day off and returned to work on crutches the next day.

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Inflamed right knee post surgery (May 2013)

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A few weeks after surgery (May 2013)

Because the the tumor in my knee was so big, the doctors had to cut through a lot of skin which left a lot of scar tissue in my leg. I did a lot of physical therapy, used the alter-g treadmill at Fitzgerald Physical Therapy, added weight training and finally made a comeback to racing in the summer. I raced from summer to January of this year, but still had some pain. It wasn't until I returned from one of my races in India that I knew I had enough. My coach, Gary Gardner, recommended me to see a chiropractor (John Donovan) in Lowell to help see if he could get me to my full training routine, which for me is being to do several high intensity workouts without having to take days off because of pain/injury. 

Level Renner 10k  (Aug 2013)  First PR race since surgery 

After seeing Dr.Donovan for a few weeks,  I immediately noticed some changes in my body! I was able to do hard workouts AND recover from them and go hard again the next day - something I was not able to do for a long time. With that said, I gradually increased my training volume and intensity. It wasn't until early March that I finally made my decision to run Boston. I added in hurdle mobility, weight training, hill repetitions, tempo runs and long runs at various lengths and paces. My body responded very well. I've pretty much done almost every workout I did in 2011 (when I ran 2:18), either at the same intensity or higher. Because of that, I've set my goals very high for Boston: to run 2:18:00 to get the Olympic B standard. Although I know it will be very hard on the tough Boston course, I believe it is doable if I run a smart race.


New Bedford Half Marathon (Mar 2014) Longest race since surgery


Finally, I couldn't end this post without thanking my #1 support, my family - who have been there through the ups and downs and through it all. In addition, my coach and adviser, Gary Gardner, for being very patient with me throughout the years and never giving up. Dr. Donovan, for giving me new found strength in my health - and the countless support from close friends and extended family.

Also thanks to my team, Whirlaway Racing, for welcoming me with open arms and some of my very generous sponsors and supporters from the entire UMass Lowell community, PUMA, Energybits, Segterra and Swiftwick!


My bib for 2014 Boston Marathon

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Week 10

April 7 Monday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles + ART
April 8 Tuesday- 13 miles w/ 10x3min hills
April 9 Wednesday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: Massage
April 10 Thursday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 15 miles w/ 2x6miles at MP w/ 1 mile float (31:28-5:59-31:28)
April 11 Friday- AM: 5 miles +hurdles PM:12 miles + ART
April 12 Saturday- AM: 5 miles PM: 10 miles
April 13 Sunday- 15 miles at 90% MP (1:27:24) + ice bath

Total 100 miles

This was my last week of workouts before Boston. Next week I will do one easy "dress rehearsal" 5k tempo at MP and then just easy short runs before the marathon. This will also be my last blog before the race. I think this block of marathon training has gone pretty well. I did the best I could to prepare. I feel very good going into it, however execution on race day will have to be just as critical as preparing for the race, especially on the tricky Boston course. You can follow me during the race at www.baa.org. I will be wearing number 50. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Week 9

March 31 Monday- 10 miles + weights + ART
April 1 Tuesday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 12 miles
April 2 Wednesday- 15 miles + weights
April 3 Thursday- 15 miles w/ 10 mile tempo (first 5 miles at 90%MP 5:59-5:57-5:53-5:48-5:46 last 5 miles at 105% MP 5:09-5:05-5:00-4:52-4:46)
April 4 Friday- AM 5 miles + hurdles PM: 12 miles + ART
April 5 Saturday- AM: 5 miles PM: 13 mile Charlie Speeding fartlek (5min-1-2-4-1-3 w/ 5min steady in between) on Boston Marathon hills (1:10:19, last mile 4:58)
April 6 Sunday- 19 miles on Boston Marathon course

Total 111 miles

I was very tired at the beginning of this week because of the 16 mile tempo I did on March 30. I skipped the Tuesday hill workout, felt OK on the Thursday tempo, but extremely good on Saturday's Charlie Speeding workout. Spedding is a fun fartlek workout which I've done in the past and is usually a good indication of my fitness and I'm glad it went well. I the next 2 weeks I will start to cut down on the volume intensity. I will try to keep things steady while allowing myself to recover very quick.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Week 8

Mar 24 Monday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles + ART
Mar 25 Tuesday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 13 miles w/ 10x3min uphill
Mar 26 Wednesday- 12 miles + weights
Mar 27 Thursday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles pm: 12 miles w/ 5 mile tempo (25:17)
Mar 28 Friday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 12 miles
Mar 29 Saturday - 12 miles + ice bath
Mar 30 Sunday AM: 7 miles w/ race (An Ras Mor 5k, 14:40) PM: 17 miles w/ 16 mile tempo (1:24:57) splits every 4 miles: 21:32,21:25,21:17,20:40

Total 115 miles

This was another very solid week in my build up for Boston. I finished 2nd to Jeff Veiga at the An Ras Mor 5km in Cambridge, MA. I felt strong in the race. We went out at a conservative 4:49 pace, we picked things up in the middle mile, I took the lead with 800m to go but then got outkicked near the end. I probably could have tried harder, but certainly didn't want to risk an all out sprint in the cold rain with heavy marathon training legs under me. I felt like I recovered very quickly after the race and was pleased with how I bounced back to get in the 16 mile tempo, which was a major workout  I needed to do. I was able to run this workout 2 full minutes faster than when I last did it in 2011 (the year I ran 2:18 marathon). I feel like I'm in a good position heading into the last 3 weeks of training before the Boston Marathon.Now I need to make sure these last 3 weeks are as flawless as possible to be sure I go into the race fresh and ready.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Week 7

Mar 17 Monday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles + ART
Mar 18 Tuesday-AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 12 miles w/ 9×3min uphill
Mar 19 Wednesday: 14 miles + weights
Mar 20 Thursday: off (recovery)
Mar 21 Friday-AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM 21 miles w/ 4x4mile w/ 1 mile float recovery: 21:12 (5:59) 21:08 (5:50) 20:59 (5:59) 20:41~19 miles in 1:41:50, took 3 GU vanilla gels
Mar 22 Saturday- 10 miles
Mar 23 Sunday- 20 mile long run on Boston Marathon course:
554,543,532,528,542,529,535,531,527,531,532,520,530,531,531,518,530,534,521,511~20 miles in 1:50:21

Total 102 miles w/ 1 day off

Good workouts this week. Felt surprisingly good on Sunday given that Friday's workout was extremely hard and that it was an unplanned tempo run in full sweats and trainers. I've now decided to run the Boston Marathon and I'm looking forward some exciting training ahead.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Week 6

Mar 10 Monday- AM: 5 miles PM: 10 miles + weights + ART
Mar 11 Tuesday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 12 miles w/ 8x3min uphill
Mar 12 Wednesday- 13 miles + weights
Mar 13 Thursday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 12 miles w/ 5 mile tempo (25:20)
Mar 14 Friday- AM: 5 miles PM:10 miles + ART
Mar 15 Saturday- 10 miles + ice bath
Mar 16 Sunday - 17 miles, New Bedford Half Marathon, 1:05:52, Splits from GPS watch:

(5:03, 5:10,5:06, 5:03, 4:46, 4:48. 4:44, 4:50, 4:51, 5:02, 5:14, 5:12, 5:15)

25:08 at 5 miles, 49:23 at 10 miles

Total 104 miles

Good race, bummer not to be able to close out the last 3 miles, but extremely happy with the time and win. Back in 2011, I hit 10 miles in about 49:45. I was a bit faster this year at 10 miles but the wind made it very hard to push those last 3 miles.  Hopefully with longer tempos, I should feel stronger. Considering that in 2011 I was 13 weeks into my training, I definitely think there is a lot of room for improvement.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Week 5

Mar 3 Monday-10 miles+weights+ART
Mar 4 Tuesday- AM: 5 miles+hurdles PM: 13 miles w/ 7x3min uphill
Mar 5 Wednesday- 5 miles
Mar 6 Thursday-AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles
Mar 7 Friday-AM: 5 miles PM: 13 miles +ART
Mar 8 Saturday-AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 13 miles w/10mile tempo (52:24)
Mar 9 Sunday-20 miles, 2:03 (63/60)
Total 104 miles

This was a good week. I would have liked to get in a few more miles but was really busy with some other more important life commitments. However, it was an extremely productive week. I did my fastest ever 10 mile road tempo. Back in 2011, I ran low 53min in a group setting. Doing low 52 alone this past week is a huge confidence booster as I continue to make my comeback to the marathon. I was hoping to keep 5:18 average but was able to hold 5:14 on a hillier course and feel very comfortable. More importantly, I was able to come back and run a smooth 20 mile the next day. This is even more significant because it means my body is not only absorbing the workouts but also recovering well. This upcoming week I'm racing the New Bedford Half Marathon. I'm hoping for a PR or a performance that will indicate that I'm ready for a marathon within the next few months. We shall see!!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Week 4

Feb 24 Monday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles + ART
Feb 25 Tuesday- AM: 5 miles + hurdles PM: 10 miles w/ 6x3min uphill
Feb 26 Wednesday- 13 miles + weights
Feb 27 Thursday- AM: 5 miles PM: 12 miles w/ 3x3mile at MP and 1 mile float: 15:56 (5:57) 15:46 (5:59) 15:27
Feb 28 Friday-10 miles+weights+ ART
Mar 1 Saturday-AM: 5 miles PM: 13 miles + hurdles
Mar 2 Sunday- 18 miles,  1:50
Total 106 miles

Good week of training. Finally over 100 miles and I hope to stay there for a while. I added the hurdle mobility this week which I believe will benefit me tremendously as I keep on increasing the miles.  I will try to have at least 2 medium effort and 1 hard effort each week.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 3

Feb 17 Monday - 5 miles + weights
Feb 18 Tuesday- AM: 5 miles PM: 10 miles w/ 5x3min Uphill + ART
Feb 19 Wednesday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles
Feb 20 Thursday- 12 miles w/ 5 mile tempo (25:48)
Feb 21 Friday- AM: 5 miles + weights PM: 10 miles + ART
Feb 22 Saturday- 10 miles
Feb 23 Sunday 15 miles w/ Jones 10 mile race (2nd 50:51)
Total 87 miles

Three weeks ago I told myself that if I could run sub 52 minutes at Jones, it would be a good start to marathon training. Even though I lost by 8 seconds (to Eric Ashe who just ran 65:01 Houston Half), I was very pleased with my effort. The course is very hilly and it was longest race I've done in 2 years! Overall this was a great week of training with a solid mix of workouts, weights and doubles. I'm looking forward to continuing to increase my mileage and put in the strength work that I need in order to get back to the marathon. I'm feeling the healthiest I've been in several months thanks to Dr. John Donovan, a chiropractor nearby Lowell that I've been working with. Now time to keep puttig in the work. Until next time....