Longest Run of 2020 so far

Sometimes a long run doesn’t go as planned. I thought twelve miles would be good then dropped back to ten. One wrong turn and I ran almost 14 miles! 19 degrees turned out to be the least of my worries!

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Sunday was the Melrose Running Club’s 6th long run of 2020.

I’ve missed the last two runs due to conflicts with races. On February 2nd we ran the Super Sunday race and on January 26th, we ran The Great Stew Chase 15K.

My weekly miles have been pretty low so far and my longest run this year was The Great Stew Chase at 15K or 9.53 miles for me.

The full long run this Sunday was 16.2 and I decided that 12 miles would be enough for me. You really don’t want your weekly long run to by twice as long as any of your previous week’s runs.

I’ve read that the long run should be no more than six miles longer than your longest week day training run. I find that a tough rule to follow.

At shorter distances you can get away with increasing your long run to 150% of your longest weekly run.

So you could go from running 6 mile training runs to a 9 mile long run. You can definitely go from running fours to a 6 mile long run.

The key is to take the long run easier than your shorter week day runs.  Most of us would not run a half marathon at our 5K pace. The same thing applies to your weekly long run.

Longest Run of 2020

When I reviewed the 16.2 mile route I figured that I could cut it back to twelve miles easily.

At about 5.5 miles I took a right and the long run people turned left. My plan was working.

I made my way back to the water stop and had two cups of Gatorade/water and headed out. One of the long runners left the water stop just ahead of me and I followed him. I knew there was a turn coming up that I always miss.

I made the turn and Mike Sikkema caught up and passed me. I managed to keep Mike in sight long enough to see him take the right turn onto Main Street/ Rt. 28 in Stoneham.

Sunday Long Run 6, longest run of 2020This took us along the back side of Spot Pond. I didn’t think of it at the time, but I wanted to go straight and run the front side of the pond.

That was my crucial error.

I was now running by my self but knew where I was and all of the turns.

Soon after the wrong turn my watch chimed in for mile eight.

After I left the long run group I decided that ten miles was a better idea than twelve.

This route is very hilly and my quads were beginning to feel it.

When my watch hit eight miles on the back side of Spot Pond, I knew I was in trouble. There was no way to turn this run into 10 miles from this point in the run.

I had left my phone in my car and only had $5 in my pocket. There was no way to bail on this one.

A Bridge Too Far

As my watch hit nine miles I went under a Rt. 93 bridge. It was definitely a bridge too far.

My pace was still pretty good at 9:24 but I was fading fast.

The next turn was a left onto Elm Street in Medford and another hill. I then took a right onto Highland Ave at the rotary by Flynn Ice Rink. I thought there was a water stop there, but I didn’t recognize the car.

I avoid trying to open trunks of unknown cars.

It was a cold day, so it was okay.

As I continued down Highland I knew the next turn would put me on East Border Road. This is another hilly section which would dump me onto the freakin Fellsway East.

When I got to the second rise in the hill on East Border Road I decided to walk. I hit mile 11 just after cresting that hill and began to run down to the intersection.

Mile eleven came in at 10:34. At this point I wasn’t too concerned with my pace. I was more concerned with surviving to run another day.

I wasn’t cold or depleted but my left knee was beginning to act up. My body just wasn’t prepared for this many miles.

I took the left onto The Fellsway and cursed my self for not turning left at the rotary instead of right. With that turn I would have run about twelve miles and avoided these bloody hills!

I walked some of these hills and ran the down hills as best I could. While running down the last Fells hill I hit mile twelve. That was my stretch goal for the day and I knew I had at least another mile and half to go!

I ran to the intersection with West Wyoming Street and was able to cross the street quickly. Traffic was light and people let me go.

I was now on the home stretch and my knee was telling me to stop.

After mile thirteen I decided to walk. I was beyond anything I had planned and who cared anyway?

As a runner approached I waved and they didn’t even acknowledge me. I guess you don’t look like a fellow runner when you are walking.

As I neared the rail road tracks I started running and kept on until I turned the corner onto Main Street. My ankle and knee were both killing me. Than I “ran” in the last bit to the finish but didn’t have the juice to round it out to 13.75.

13.72 miles was quite enough, thank you!

Hydration and recovery

I went into Brueggers, got an ice coffee and sat with friends for about ten minutes before heading home. As I sat there I could feel both calves getting ready to cramp.

On the way I drank a BodyArmor sport drink which has electrolytes and a variety of vitamins.

After a nice hot shower I applied some arnica gel to both knees and slipped my Body Helix knee compression sleeve onto my left knee.

I recently reviewed the Body Helix compression wraps. I’ve been using the knee wrap for a few weeks as needed and it seems to help.

I don’t get a commission, but you can get 10% off any Body Helix Compression Wraps you buy with code BH10RUN.

I hope you had a good long run this weekend and one that went according to plan.

Run well my Friends!

Andy

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Running and Chewing Gum

Running and Chewing Gum is an easy way to make a long run enjoyable by avoiding a dry mouth. It’s really quite easy to do.

These days, most of us are multi-taskers. But can you run and chew gum at the same time?

It seems the only way to keep up with the never-ending demands on our time is to multi task. It may be as simple as putting in a wash and then cooking supper. While cleaning the kitchen as I wait for the food to cook. With the BBC News playing in the background, getting me up to date with the world.

These tasks are more of process and time management. Chewing gum and walking is the proverbial physical coordination test.

Running and Chewing Gum

Doing two physical tasks at the same time can be challenging.

Try rubbing your belly while patting the top of your head. Now do it faster. Now rub you belly in the opposite direction! Now switch hands!

Chewing gum and doing most anything else is much less taxing than this exercise. Chewing gum is done pretty much unconsciously.

Because it is so effortless is why people joke that you can’t do anything else and chew gum. It’s a very low bar!

Often while I run, my mouth will get dry. Sometimes my throat gets horse and it’s difficult to get words out. Even drinking water doesn’t relieve these issues for me.

This Sunday I had a pack of gum in my car. I decided to have a piece before the Sunday Long Run to knock back my coffee breath. Then I forgot I had it in my mouth and started running.

During the entire eight mile run I barely noticed that I had gum in my mouth except at water stops. Then I had to avoid swallowing it with a cup of water.

As I drove home I realized I had run the entire eight miles, about 70 minutes chewing gum. “I guess I can walk or run while chewing gum” I said to myself with a chuckle.

It’s really not that big of a deal.

Most runners don’t run with gum. Many worry they will swallow it or inhale it. It can also get in the way when you take a gel or other food and beverage.

I’ve run a few races with gum and one of my running buddies does it often.

Because I had gum in my mouth, my mouth never dried out and my throat felt fine for the entire run. I was even able to carry on a conversation with the two people I was running with.

Without the gum my mouth and throat would have been too dry to talk after a few miles.

Sunday Long Run Week Ten

This week the Sunday Long Run was sixteen miles. The long run ran out Main Street from Brueggers in Melrose, looped Lake Q and headed down Nahant Street to Breakheart Reservation for a hilly loop of the park.

I didn’t run last Sunday because of an odd hip pain. I only ran a 2.5 mile test run up to the bank and back on Thursday to see what was going on. Oddly enough, my left knee acted up on that run but my hip was fine. After a mile I could have done 10K.

I’m beginning the 10-week road to Philadelphia right now, so I decided to play it safe and run eight miles.

This early on I don’t need big miles and I need to make sure I’m okay. It’s better to deal with an injury early in the plan than later, but you do have to deal with it.

I ran with Aine and David Lunney this week. Two relatively new club members. David is training for his first half marathon, the Newburyport Half Marathon on October 20th.

Since I could talk this week, we were able to have a good conversation about running. I’ve been running since 2003 so I can answer most questions and have plenty of advice. I also tried to keep quiet and let them talk!

Running and chewing gum worked well for me this week. Hopefully I didn’t talk Aine and David’s ears off!

Do you run with gum? Besides water, do you have other ways to keep your mouth and throat from drying out?

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Sunday Long Run 2019 03

Sunday Long Run season is in full swing. It may be brutally hot but it is time to get ready for our fall marathons.

Sunday Long Run number three is in the books!

I missed Sunday Long Run two because I was away visiting relatives in Maine. I’m told that it was hot, humid and miserable last week. This week didn’t feel great either!

The Sunday Long Run

Because it has been so hot the past three weeks, a group of runners has been going out early. The club run begins at 8:00 AM, but these early birds leave sometime after 7:00 AM. That hour can make a big difference in the temperature when you finish.

When I arrived this week only a few people were going out early so I waited for the 8AM crew.

We had about 20 runners with an additional dozen or so early runners.

The course was pretty strait forward and flat. We ran from Bruegger’s on Main Street in Melrose out to Lake Quannapowitt, loop around the lake and head back. The official distance was 10.7 miles for the long run.

A lot of people ran shorter distances for various reasons including the heat.

Within the first mile I started running with Bobby Taylor. He’s fairly new to the club and is a solid runner.

Bobby made a good call early on and moved to the right side of the road to get into as much shade as possible.

The first mile clicked off in no time. I was surprised how quickly it seemed to go by. Our pace was 9:02, so no land speed records were being set!

We settled into a comfortable pace around 9 minutes and it seemed to work.

Sunday Long Run Crew at water stopSoon enough we got to our water stop at Nick’s pizza in Wakefield. The shade was nice and so was the cold water!

Jim Carson is away so Gail Severt and Courtney Koschei managed our water stop. Angels!

It ain’t Death Valley

We were sweating pretty good by this point, which is a good thing. I took two cups of cold water and nothing else.

I’m trying to teach my body to burn fatty acids for fuel instead of carbohydrates. I’ve been doing this for a while on long runs but I’m not sure it is doing anything. I probably need to dial this in a bit more to make it work.

Running through Wakefield Center the heat seemed to build. We also had less shade. We popped across the street to be on the lake side of the road.

I had hoped for a breeze off of the lake, but it was fairly minimal. Any breeze felt good though.

As we ran around the lake we encountered a lot of people out for their Sunday morning walk. It’s great to see people being active, but it does make for a crowded side walk.

I had hoped for a water stop in the Comverse parking lot, but not this week.

Instead of looping the parking lot behind their building we stayed on the side walk. I wasn’t sure how much the loop would add but by this point neither Bobby or I felt like pushing it.

There is some shade on the North Avenue side of the lake, but not much.

Andy Nagelin and Bobby Taylor Main Street in WakefieldThe heat was beginning to take it’s toll on us. North Ave has a small hill after the hotel and I told Bobby we should slow down a bit. Our average pace was 9:01 and I hoped to drop it down to 9:05 by the time we  hit the top of the hill. We hit 9:03 when the hill leveled off.

As we turned onto Church Street I mentioned to Bobby that there was a water fountain. We stopped for a rest and Bobby used the fountain. I still had plenty of water in my bottles so I just enjoyed the break.

I love it that Wakefield has a water fountain at both ends of the lake. I’ve used them several times.

As we turned onto Common Street we hit mile 7 at a 9:34 pace. It felt like we were working a lot harder than that.

At the intersection in Wakefield Center I was ready to cross the street even without a walk light. I was roasting and the sun was killing my sunburn from Saturday. But, there was a cop at the light so I pushed the walk light button which I am always loath to do.

The water stop was now only about half a mile away. I couldn’t wait to get there!

Sunday Long Run SuppliesThe ladies had cold water and bags of ice! Courtney filled my water bottle with ice and it was awesome.

Bobby said he was going to slow down for the last few miles. We started out together but I pulled ahead a bit.

I ended up reaching Bruegger’s shortly before he did. I ran around the building to get 10.8 miles.

Inside the gang was hanging out, enjoying the AC, cold drinks and some food. I got a large iced tea and hung out for 20 minutes or so.

I’m off to Orlando on Monday so  I had to get home and pack. Nothing worse than forgetting your shoes or hot weather casual shirts.

After Kayaking for five and a half hours on Saturday and running almost eleven miles on Sunday, I’m spent.

My bags are packed and this blog post is written. It’s time to veg-out in front of the TV!

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Sunday Long Run 13 2019

March is over with Sunday Long Run 13 in the books!

Last weekend I ran the On The Run Half in Old Orchard Beach, Maine on Saturday. Then the next day I ran 16 miles in from Hopkinton. I would have run further but my left knee started bothering me and I had more than enough miles for the weekend, thank you very much!

Tapering with Sunday Long Run 13

The peak has been reached and taper time is on. Last weekend I ran 29.34 miles over two days which is an all-time high mileage weekend for me.

I felt it through the middle of the week. I ran 4.34 Tuesday night with the club, but not another step until the Sunday Long Run. I’ve never felt that wiped from a weekend of running. Even a marathon. I don’t think it was so much the distance but that I had no recovery time between events.

Sunday Long Run 13 2019, Boston Marathon TrainingI’m not sure that running three or four halfs a month is a good idea anymore. The run in Old Orchard Beach was basically flat, but I had a slower time than Malden. Malden had more “hills” and a large crowd of 5K runners to deal with on the last lap.

So now it is taper time, but not vacation time.

Taper time has to be managed just like training and a race plan. It’s only two weeks, but they are important weeks.

I’m as fit as I’m going to get for Boston. Now it’s about maintenance, recovery and injury avoidance.

My overall pace for the week thirteen run was 9:14 for 15 miles. If I was really paying attention and dialing things in this would have been closer to 9:30.

We ran plenty of hills and I felt good. I even practiced running down hill. This is something new for me but something that I think is important. You can’t use a down hill to your advantage if your legs aren’t prepared to run it.

Running down hill is about conditioning and control. If you’re not conditioned you will blow out your quads. If you loose control you could get hurt.

Taper Time in Boston

With the marathon now two weeks from Monday, it is time to be careful. Shoes or slippers in the house. All the time. I will also run in the street and not dark sidewalks at night. I’d rather take my chance with a car than heaved pavement.

It is time to recover. All of us have picked up an ache or pain somewhere over the past three months. I usually have something wrong that busts my confidence.

This year I don’t have any major issues. My cardio isn’t great, but I can manage that.

My knees are as good as they’ve been in five years, maybe ten. No muscle strains or cramps either.

Everything is just coming together.

I even hit my goal weight of 180 lbs on Sunday! Totally unexpected. I just haven’t been able to get rid of the last few pounds gathered over the holidays.

Besides my last Sunday Long Run, I plan to run three times a week but less than six miles each time. Maybe 10K just so I can feel like I hit the mark.

For March I ran 130.93 miles. So close to 131. But that would have been so close to 135 and on and on. You gotta call it good sometimes.

March 2019 was my second highest monthly mileage month. In September 2014 I ran 141.2 miles. So pretty close.

I’ll take 130.93 and no injuries any day!

April will be a lower mileage month. I’m tapering for the first two weeks and after Boston I’ll take most of a week off. So, maybe 50 miles including the Marathon.

Taper well my Friends and be careful out there!

Andy

Running Towards Boston

Running Towards Boston and Other Goals has been going well. Somehow I’m still injury free and enjoying the run. Winter running can be brutal, but it’s what we do!

Training for Boston and Other Goals

It’s hard to believe that February is finally over. It may be the shortest month on the calendar, but it is also the coldest and usually the snowiest. 

I’m counting down the days of March all ready and waiting for Spring!

I’m also counting down the days to The Boston Marathon on April 15th. We are basically down to six weeks to Boston.

My training has been going well. I’m not putting in crazy miles, but I am being more diligent with my running.

I run every Sunday morning and Tuesday night. Several times I’ve run twice on Tuesdays. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m also running more from my house.

Last week I ran in an area of my town that I’ve only driven by before. It was cool to see the parks, a church and many old homes I’ve never taken much note of before. I even discovered a street with original brick paving! 

Over the holiday months of November and December I managed to keep my base miles above 60 miles per month. That’s a rather pathetic 15+ miles per week! I ran 18 miles last Sunday.

But having that base to build on allowed me to bump my miles more than 30% in January and another 22% above January in February.

I should be able to get more than 100 miles in March. Then two weeks of taper time insanity!

Boston Marathon Training, Winter Running, Running Towards Boston The 2019 Grand Goal

Besides the joy of running races at will, feeling good and remaining injury free, I have a grand goal for 2019.

It’s a simple yet challenging goal that I’ve mentioned before.

My 2019 Grand Goal is to average 3 running miles per day all year. If I do that I’ll get to 1,095 miles for 2019.

Mathematically it’s a simple goal. 3 is an easy number to remember.

Falling Behind and coming Back

January is a long month and not just because it’s the dead of winter! I only managed to run 79.99 miles and that comes out to only 2.58 miles per day.

Most people give up on their New Year’s Resolutions by the second week of January. I managed to stick to my pursuit throughout the month, but I came up short.

Increasing my miles by 30% is pretty good, but not good enough.

February is a short month but it still has four Sundays. I managed to run three of the Sunday Long Runs. I missed one Sunday for the Super Sunday 5 Miler. I’ll count that as a speed work out. It was.

Then I spent a week in Orlando for the HIMSS19 conference. I managed a 16.2 mile Sunday Long Run on February 10th and hopped on a plane to Florida. 

During the conference I managed one four-mile treadmill run one evening. It wasn’t much but I felt great afterwards. It’s so hard to get in any exercise while travelling for work.

Throughout February I was behind my 3 mile per day goal. Each Sunday Long run got me closer, but I was still behind.

Running Towards Boston , Marathon Training

Tuesday night I ran 6.25 miles and was within 3 miles of my goal. I didn’t get in a run on Wednesday but I did manage to run 3.44 miles on the treadmill today, February 28th.

That brought my miles for the year to 177.73. Adding January (31 Days) and February (28 Days) my denominator was 59. 177.73/59 = 3.0123 miles per day!

I’m just so slightly ahead of the curve! 0.73 miles to be exact.

March has 31 brightening days so I need to run at least 93 miles to stay on target.

With any luck I’ll get on the treadmill March 1st and bang out four or five miles to get March off to a good start.

How are your 2019 goals going? Are you training for a major spring race? 

Run Well my Friends and don’t give up!

Andy

Sunday Long Run Seven

Boston Marathon training continues through the coldest days of the year with Sunday Long Run Seven. As I run towards my April goal, my 2019 goal remains in focus.

Boston Marathon 2019 training continues with Sunday Long Run Seven.

This week we ran 14.3 miles and had 546 feet of elevation gain. Somehow this seemed harder than last week’s 16.2 mile run with 616 feet of elevation. And my pace was slower  this week by 13 seconds per  mile.

It was a little colder than last week, but it was still below freezing last week.

In any event, I got in my miles and ran some good hills. All of this will serve me well on April 15th when I make my 9th official run to Boston.

The Sunday Long Run

I got up in plenty of time and had my coffee and toast. So I was properly fueled and hydrated. I managed to dilly dally enough to get to Melrose only 15 minutes before the run. I’m usually one of the first to arrive.

Maybe I’m still recovering from a four day conference? I thought standing was better for you than sitting? I stood for almost three days.

My watch took a bit to lock onto the satellites, so I was the last person to take off for the run. Before we hit one mile I caught up to a bunch of people and began to look for people running the full distance.

There were probably 20 people going full, but I could only keep up with some of them!

I knew I had to keep the person in front of me in view so I wouldn’t miss a turn. That meant I had to keep my water stops brief so I wouldn’t loose any one.

Last week I ran with someone most of the run. This week I spent most of my time alone. I think that made a big difference in my run. When I run with someone I tend to talk a lot and that makes the miles just melt away.

When I run by my self, I don’t have anyone to push me or distract me from my watch!

This week’s run was similar to last week’s run and I pretty much knew where I was going. But not all the time!

Melrose Running Club, Sunday Long Run SevenSince I didn’t have a plane to catch, I hung around at Bruegger’s for a while and enjoyed the company of my fellow runners.

My go to drink is iced coffee with milk or cream. After my DEXA scan, I’m paying more attention to my calcium intake.

The little bit of fat and protein in the milk doesn’t hurt the post run recovery either.

We take over about half of the restaurant after our run. A nice cup of coffee, a bagel or sandwich really hit’s the spot after a long run.

We don’t just talk about running, but it’s a very popular topic!

The Year So Far

I know that a lot of people have a running streak goal, Even if they only run a mile in a day, the streak continues. For me, running every day is way too ambitious.

For 2019 I set a more attainable though still challenging goal of averaging 3 miles per day. That will get me beyond my year goal of running 1,000 miles.

I often run around  800 miles per year, sometimes close to 900. But I’ve never run 1,000 miles in a year.

In 2018 I ran just over 802 miles for an average of 2.2 miles per day.

So far this year I’ve run 134 miles over 48 days for an average of 2.79 miles per day. In January my average was 2.58 miles and for February, so far, my average is 3.19 miles per day.

Averaging 2.79 miles will get me to 1,018 miles and reaching 3 miles per day will get me to 1,095 miles.

Next week’s long run is 18.1 and I have two more Tuesday night runs that will be over 6 miles each. If I manage to get in another 4 or 5 miles on the treadmill at work I’ll hit my goal for February.

The March is on!

For March I have 3 half marathons, a 5K, four Tuesday Night Club Runs and at least one Sunday Long Run of 14.8 miles.

With a few additional runs I should be able to hit my goal of 3 miles per day. Since March is the last full month before the Boston Marathon I’d like to kick my mileage to over 100 miles, possibly to 120 miles.

It is well within reach.

You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned much about marathon training. While I’m doing the long runs, keeping my mileage up and watching my diet, I’m not following any particular plan. I’m certainly not running 100 mile weeks. I rarely do.

How is your marathon training going? Do you follow a plan or do you just increase your miles and spend more time thinking about running than usual?

Run well my Friends,

Andy