Thursday, February 23, 2017

Derry and Ferry: Boston Prep 16 to Martha's Vineyard 20 (1/29-2/18/2017

Derry, Ferry and bears looking for berries.
Brendan, bear, me
A quick google mapping puts the distance from West Running Brook Middle School in Derry, NH to Oak Bluffs Elementary School on Martha's Vineyard at 119 miles (plus: there is a ferry involved).

However, I did it in 242 miles.

Derry's Boston Prep 16 Miler and the Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler are both world famous in New England as prep races for the Boston Marathon.  For me they bookended the last three weeks of training for the Malta Marathon.  I ran 19 out of 21 days for a total of 242 miles:

Hills of New Hampshire (1/29/17)
Race: Boston Prep 16 Miler
Location: Derry, NH
Goal Time: ???
Actual Time: 1:55:49

Crew before Derry:
Aharon, Kieran, Lisa, me, Seth, Shark Tank, Brendan, Urvi, Eva and Kari.

I had mild plans for this race.  But with both Derry and Martha's Vineyard so close to Malta, I chose to not "race" either.  I started out running with Brendan for the first few miles.  However, despite trying to keep the pace down, I was running too fast that early for him.  So, he convinced me to go on ahead around mile 3.

The next six miles I tried to race with the easiest part of Derry's "mildly challenging" course:

Mile 9, sees the first hard hill. steep and about two blocks long - blerg. I moved to the side and just shimmied the hill best I could.  Several people passed me and as we were to crest the hill one more woman went by.  The hill started down and I passed her right back.  I didn't think anything of it. However, she said something like: "Can't let a girl beat you, huh?"  I was a little taken aback. We are out here running 7 minute miles in a marathon training race.  Every race women beat me.  If its a local 5k: maybe 5 women.  If it's the Boston Marathon: maybe 500 women.  I tried to stay cool and deferential: "Nope, got my 225 lbs going downhill; you're just gonna pass me again on the big hill!"

At mile 10 and a half you hit the "big hill."  2 miles long and pretty relentless, Urvi called it "humbling."  Many (probably all) of the people I had passed since mile 9 and a half passed me up this hill - including the aforementioned woman.  My 7:05/mile average pace fell to 8 minutes/mile.

The course is mostly downhill from the top at 12.5 miles.  So I opened it back up to around 7min/miles.  The last half mile is a big sweeping turn around a horse farm (saw several sauntering across the fields.)  I realized that I was catching up with the woman from mile 9.  Some of me wanted to go chase her down and beat her.  Most of me didn't want to do anything stupid, like hurt myself trying to come in 65th place. Fortunately the conundrum was solved by a loose shoelace.  I thought for a minute, should I run and avoid the lace?  No.  don't hurt yourself 5 weeks out by stepping on a shoelace.  I tied my shoe and finished the last mile at a 7 minute pace.

Expedition Long Run (2/5/17)
Race: Super 5k
Goal Time: 20:00
Actual Time: 21:37
Placed: 2nd in Linebackers (after TomBWarrior was caught trying to win the division)

Urvi and I - with our low numbers thanks to Jim Rhoades - at Lowell Elks for Super 5k
(Sammy V. disguised as Gronk in the background)
Super Bowl Sunday rolled around and it was time for another long run.  I also was registered for Jim Rhodes' Super 5k.  Since that was in Lowell, I came up with a plan.

1) Run 1.8 miles from Central Sq to Porter Sq.
2) Take the commuter train from Porter to Concord
3) Run 16 miles from Concord Center out to Lowell via the Bruce Freeman Trail
4) Race the Super 5k

All of that happened.  Oddly, my 5k plan did not.  6:30/miles lasted for about 1/2 mile.  But got in 21 miles for the day!

And, Patriots won!

Pat Patriot and I after the game
photo by Andy M.

Snowy Long Run and Brunch (2/12/17)

Urvi was planning to run 13 miles with Lisa and Amie.  I was planning on running 18-20, then we'd all meet in Harvard Square for brunch.

Urvi stuck with her plan; I stuck with brunch.

Ferry Trips, non-growlers and 20 miles (2/18/17)
Race: Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler
Goal Time: 2:25:00
Actual Time: 2:28:19
Placed: 2nd Clydesdale; 4th age group

Nichole, Dennis, Victor, Brian T, Urvi, BLav, me, Bolt, C-A, Culla, Tim, Erin

I had a plan for this race.  I was going to do 8 miles easy at around 8 min/mi.  Then I was going to finish with 12 at marathon pace ~6:45/mi.

None of this happened.

I ran the first 5 with the "Yellow Wall": me, Tim, Erin, Nichole, Deb and Old Sean.

At mile 5, you turn back out onto the main coast road in Oak Bluffs.  That's when the wind strafed us. Deb had some argument about how long we'd be in the wind, etc.  But I wasn't listening to Deb about wind: "fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again.” Deb, Sean and I took sail into the wind as Tim, Erin and Nichole took off in front of us.

After three miles, I caught a brief respite when Neil came out of nowhere to pass me.  I hung onto him through the worst of the wind and we caught up on life, etc.  After the relay area in Edgartown, we got a bit out of the wind and into the middle of the island.

Seth and Urvi
Around Mile 11, Deb with her workout for the race came by Neil and I.  I decided to get in some 7:05 miles with her. That didn't really happen but we did push it for about 5 miles.

Then the wheels came off.  From mile 16 to the end I just hung on, knowing that in 28-32 minutes, I would start tapering for Malta!

I came in under 2:30 - right behind Neil as he'd caught up and passed me.  I got inside to be informed that Kieran won!

TAPER TIME! En route back from the Vineyard
(There is now a ferry involved)

New Years Ski Club: Timber Creek Cross Country (1/1/2017)

The girls: Deb, Melissa, Shark Tank, C-A and Julie
I slowly and gingerly weaved myself to the side of the trail.  Near the edge, I threw myself into from the grooming trails.  That was the easy part.  Standing up again, took some doing.  Once I finally did it, the guy on the snow machine forced me out of my skis and onto the snowmachine for the last steep part of the hill.

Outside of that, we had a good day for my first Cross Country ski.


Deb, Jason and Korynn