BAA Half Marathon 2018

My 2018 BAA Half Marathon recap. It’s a long one!

2018 marks my 3rd running of the BAA Half Marathon and my second time running the BAA Distance Medley and the Boston Marathon in the same year.

The BAA Half Marathon 2018 is the final race in the three race Distance Medley and is more of an entry into fall running than the end of a season.

2018 BAA Distance Medley, BAA Half Marathon 2018
BAA graphic

There are many things that I love about this race. One of them is how easy it is to get to. I get on the Orange Line at Wellington Station in Medford and ride to the end of the line at Forrest Hills. I park my car and let someone else do the driving. No worries!

This year, due to construction, we had to get off at Copley Square and take a bus. When I saw the notice I thought it meant we took a T bus to Forrest Hills and then a BAA bus to Franklin Park Zoo.

With typical BAA efficiency, the BAA had their buses at Copley! It took about 10 minutes to leave the train and find a seat on a bus. The ride was about 15 minutes.

BAA Half Marathon Transport

My fellow Melrose Running Club runner Durm Cahill met me at my house around 6AM. It’s easier for him to park at my house for Boston area races. Usually we park at my office but this time we headed for Wellington Station and the Orange line.

I had two “Charlie” cards but did not know if either was valid. The MBTA expires Charlie cards after some period of time. My girls used to take The T into Boston for school, so some of my cards are more than five years old. But they do not date the cards, so you never know. 

They have several machines at Wellington to re-load cards. The first card I checked was expired. The second one was good but had a $0.00 balance. I was thrilled to use my credit card to load it up.

Last year all of my cards were expired and I had to buy a paper Charlie ticket. That ticket got us onto the train, but it rained last year. The soggy ticket jammed in the turn style reader on the way home, and a T employee had to let us through. I still think he thought we were pulling a fast one! 

This year we got through the turn style at Wellington and onto the platform in no time. After about six minutes the in-bound train arrived.

For a 6:15 train it seemed crowded to us. Wellington is the second stop for this train and the cars were already about half full. As we looked around we spotted a few other runners.

The transition at Copley was flawless and we arrived at Franklin Park around 7:20.

Since both of us were Distance Medley runners, we had access to a tent reserved for Distance Medley runners. 

BAA Half Marathon 2018 Prep

Durm wanted to go to the bag drop, but I wanted to check out the tent first hoping they had a bag drop there for us.

They didn’t, but they had reserved porta-potties and lots of food. In addition to bagels and Builder Bars they had coffee and cider donuts! Oh heaven! 

I grabbed two donuts and we headed for the bag drop. As I waited in line to get a zip tie for my bag tag I lathered up with sun screen. It was overcast in October but I’m all Western European. I can get a sun burn in a dark room!

The grass was wet and rutted for some reason. It looked like someone drove a truck through the muddy field the night before. So we had to be careful not to get our feet wet or step into a rut.

I’m pretty good at walking full steam ahead through a crowd, even with obstacles to watch out for. In no time we were back to the Distance Medley tent and checking out the food selection.

Bagels with cream cheese or peanut butter. Hot coffee and tea, Builder Bars, Gatorade and those cider donuts!

I got two more donuts and we headed for the porta-potty line. As we stood there we could see the line everyone else was in. It was a marathon length line and not moving.

In just about five minutes we were through the line and headed back for the food.

I got a cup of coffee and more donuts! The runner’s rule is to not eat anything new before a race. Now I’ve eaten cider donuts by the half dozen before, just never before a 13.1 mile run. 

I’ve never had an issue eating these donuts. But all good donuts have more grease in them than most runners need on race day. I still had about six of those sweet tasty little delights! And most of my coffee, of course! 

About quarter of eight we headed for the start line. About half way across the field we could hear the National Anthem. I took off my hat but we kept walking. I’m not sure what the rule or custom is on this one. I know I need to take off my hat, but do I need to stand still?

Running the BAA Half Marathon 2018

As we approached the start area we could see that the corral was full. All kinds of people were milling about outside of the corral or trying to get in. 

As we looked for our pace area we saw Allison Cunningham. She was looking for a way into the corral also. We saw two openings with people crowded around. The three of us decided to get with the group trying to get into the 8:00 to 8:59 pace group.

2018 BAA Half Marathon, Durm Cahill, Allison Cunningham

Allison tried to upload a photo but her phone dropped to one bar. She figured everyone else was trying to upload photos at that moment also.

In a few minutes they started the race. We didn’t move much initially but eventually began walking and then jogging.

It took about 90 seconds for us to cross the start line. By then we were doing a light jog. 

By the time we made our first turn we were running and had some down hill. Allison said good bye as we moved ahead.

My goal for this race was to run two hours or better. I ran The Smuttynose Rockfest Half at just over two hours. The BAA Half is a more challenging course with a lot more hill to run, but I had a lot left in the tank at the end of The Smuttynose Half.

At Smuttynose my goal pace was 9:30 and I ran 9:11. I was pretty sure I could run a 9:15 pace on this more challenging course, so that was my plan.

Durm wasn’t feeling great so he let me set the pace. The first two miles were under 9:00 and I was worried we were going out too fast. It was a lot of down hill but it’s still running.

Mile three came in at 9:03 so I felt I was getting things under control.

I had a great race at The Smuttynose Rockfest Half because I had a plan and I ran the plan. It turned out to be a bit conservative but I met my goal. It was probably the best half I’ve ever run. 

I’ve run faster Halfs but successful running is about being in control. You can’t get swept up in the excitement or someone else’s goal. It’s great to be a man and run your ass off to chase someone else, but it’s not so manly to flame out miles before the finish line.

I’m perfectly happy to set my goal and run my plan to achieve that goal. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does it’s a beautiful feeling. Hampton was an almost perfect execution. 

Based on that race I knew I could set my sights on a 9:15 pace and see what happens.

Running the plan

It’s tough to keep things under control when you feel good and people are passing you. It’s even harder when your running buddy wants to push harder.

Durm was cool with me reeling him in now and then. I just knew that bad things would happen on the hills on the way back if we blew it out early in the race.

As we ran along I tried to enjoy the parks and awesome houses we were running by. It’s not often that you get to run down the middle of The Jamaicaway and Riverway past Olmsted Park and through part of Boston’s Emerald Necklace of parks and waterways. 

We ran past Angell Animal Medical Center and I recalled going there once in the middle of the night on a Labor Day weekend with a sick cat. 

A little further down the road we passed The Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center. I had spent the previous week at a conference with a lot of VA folks so seeing the local hospital reminded me of the important work that they do there.

We hit mile four at 8:54. A little faster than the plan, but nothing too crazy. Durm seemed to be quieter than usual. I asked how he was doing and he said okay, but his breathing indicated otherwise. 

We had rolling hills on the way to the turn around and I knew it was down hill approaching the turn. That’s all good, but we had to turn around and run back up that hill!

Even with the downhill we had slowed a bit. As we approached the 5 mile marker and the timing mats, Durm said he was going to walk some after the clock.

I was worried and he said something was wrong when I asked him if he was okay. He said his leg was bothering him and that he might get a ride back to the finish!

There was a group of volunteers at the mile 5 clock and lots of people around so I knew he would be okay. I was still worried, but what could I do? Any EMT could do more for him than I could. 

We each said “see you at the tent” and we parted ways. 

On My Own

I run a lot of races by myself. Often no one I know is running or they are too fast for me. So running the next 8.1 miles by myself was not so strange. Plus I had thousands of other runners with me.

Running on my own allowed me to focus on my plan. I had spent more time looking at my watch than the scenery, but now I was even more focused on even splits and running smart.

The hills from mile 5 to mile 6 were minimal and I ran an 8:35 split. Then at mile 6.25 we hit a long slow hill and gained 63 feet.

I changed my gait and turn over to adjust for the hill. I love to run hills and the new pace felt comfortable.

I stayed away from all of the water stops and drank my electrolyte mix in the two bottles I brought with me. I figure this saves me 15 to 30 seconds for each stop I skip.

Going up the hill I took my second gel. I took half and swirled it around my mouth to help jump start the digestion process. About a minute later I took the second half and did the same. 

Mile seven ended just before the hill crested and came in at 9:10. Not too bad. I was still ahead of my goal pace and I must have passed fifty runners going up that hill.

I actually had to zig and zag around walkers and near-walkers going up the hill.

Did I mention that it was hot? Not July hot, but in the 70s and with high humidity. I started the race with a 500ml Poland Springs and finished that before 5K.

I was now being careful with my belt bottles. I didn’t want to run out or finish the race with much left. All part of managing the race. 

In the first few miles Durm and I could feel waves of heat. I’m not sure if it was rising from the pavement or if it was the wind. But we definitely felt heat.

Durm had 2 liters in his Camelbak and it was empty when he finished the race. 

As we pushed through mile eight I could feel sweat dripping off the back of my shorts. Early in the race sweat was running down my arms and with each arm swing water would whip from my hands!

Now my shorts were drenched like I had just stepped out of a pool. I couldn’t believe that it was October!

Mile eight came in at 9:00 and my overall pace was 8:58. I felt good and I was way ahead of my goal.

Mile eight to nine ran along The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Lots of rock, ledge and woods. Very unusual for Boston. 

We hit mile nine just after we re-entered The Franklin Park Zoo. My mile pace and over all pace were both 8:50. I knew there were hills ahead, but I was killing it!

At the intersection as you enter the zoo we took a right onto Circuit Drive. I recall this road from last year. It starts out paved but turned into a country gravel road where you had to watch your step. This slowed the pace and made it difficult to maneuver around runners.

Scattered all the way up the road in the zoo there were runners in various levels of distress. A few people looked to be in serious distress, others had cramps or had hit the wall.

I couldn’t believe I felt so good. My upper calf behind the right knee had a few twinges, but that was it. My hips felt fine and my knees were being very cooperative. 

With the mild incline I just tucked into my pace and kept moving past people. 

Where the road had been a mess before, it was now a freshly paved road! I missed the country road feel that we had before, but it was nice to just focus on running!

I knew this was a long out and back with rolling hills, but I was all systems go all the way.

At mile ten my pace was 9:05 and my overall pace was 9:02. With 5K to go I was way ahead of my goal.

We hit mile 11 in front of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital. I had run the out and back at a 9:06 pace. Not bad.

With two miles to go I began to think about breaking two hours.

My watch battery was low on power. Unfortunately the “Low Power” message over-layed my overall time. I could see the 1-hour but I could not see how many minutes! 

I figured as long as I saw the 1, the dream was alive!

Finishing the BAA Half Marathon 2018

With two miles to go I was feeling the fatigue. I had managed my supplies and pace very successfully. But I had run 11 miles and had 2.1 to go, or more. My watch had been hitting the miles about 0.1 mile early. 

I told myself 2.5 more miles to go. Just hold on and don’t kick too soon.

Mile twelve had a 64 foot climb and a lot of loop-ti-loo in the zoo. We also had to watch out for curbing and stone barriers put up to keep autos off of the newly paved Circuit road. Mile twelve came in at 9:23.

I told myself, 1.5 miles to go. I had done everything right so far. It was now time to lay it down and kick. 

Mile 13 had some hill and loop-ti-loo. We also had some narrow areas to run through. I tried to see these spots as an opportunity to back off a bit and re-group. 

For about half of mile 13 we looped around Playstead Field and entered White Stadium to finish on the track.

I hit mile thirteen about a quarter mile before the stadium with a time of 8:49! Wow! I didn’t think I had it in me. 

As we entered the stadium and got onto the track I took the second lane and owned it. I ran the last quarter mile at an 8:09 pace! 

I knew we were about two minutes behind the official clock and the official clock said two hours and change as I crossed. I knew all of this but still felt some disappointment. 

My watch said 1:58:54 and 13.25 miles. My official BAA time was 1:58:51 and I finished in the top third of my age group. 

Apre BAA Half Marathon 2018

As I walked along the track someone handed me a bottle of water and then someone gave me my medal. The BAA gives out some nice medals!

2018 BAA Half Marathon Medals, Andy Nagelin

I wandered along the track looking for the exit and the path to food. It wasn’t far and soon I was in the food tent. They had full-sized wrap sandwiches and huge bags of TERRA chips. 10oz bags! They also had cider donuts and Builder Bars!

I was thrilled. At the 10K there wasn’t much food and no going back for seconds. I I don’t think they had much more at the 5K. With a large sandwich and family sized bag of chips, you didn’t need to go back.

I had my hands full with all of the food. Imagine that! I decided to make my way to the bag drop. I was worried about cooling off and needed a bag for all of my stuff.

There was only one way into the bag area which added a bit to my walk. My legs were getting a little tight, so the extra walk was good.

The bag area was empty so I got through it quickly and headed over to get my race shirt. I saw people wearing them during the race and it looked nice. Navy blue with gold stripes on the shoulders and a well done BAA graphic.

With my race shirt stuffed in my drop bag I hobbled over to the Distance Medley VIP tent.

It was way cool. As I approached I saw people with white bibs talking to security. I waltzed in with my yellow bib a nod and a smile.

I don’t know if this is the first year they’ve done this, but everyone in the tent was ready to sign up for the 2019 Distance Medley.

Our own porta-potties, food and Sam Adams beer? That makes it worth paying a bit extra to sign up and pay for all three races. Now if they could have more food at the 10K and 5K I’d be a true convert.

I made my way down the food tables and got the last of the coffee. I got more of those awesome donuts, several more Builder Bars and headed for the beer tent.

They were carding everyone. I saw people with gray hair and wrinkles being turned away. You don’t see that often.

I got ID’d, got a bracelet, two beer tickets and they marked my bib. I think it is easier to get into the Pentagon!

BAA Half Marathon 2018, Distance Medley VIP tent
Love that Sam Adams!

Sam Adams was providing “Sam 76” in cold cans and coozies! I’ve got a draw full of coozies, but I still like to get them. 

They had standing tables and I found one near the front that had room for me. I instantly started a conversation with a couple and another guy who was there.

Everyone was having a good time and seemed to have a good race.

I texted and DM’d Durm with no response. I know he would be okay because the BAA always provides top notch medical support and he was at mile five when I last saw him.

When he finally showed up he didn’t look too bad. When I asked him about my messages, he said he had his phone turned off. I did the same during the race, but you get worried when someone drops out and then you can’t reach them.

Durm Cahill, Andy Nagelin, Sam Adams, 2018 BAA Half Marathon
Enjoying the BAA Distance Medley VIP Tent

Durm ended up finishing the race at 2:18. Not bad for a guy who thought he needed a ride to the finish line.

We hung out for about an hour for beers and conversation and decided to head for the buses.

As we walked up to the bus there was Alain Ferry of RaceMenu. He was telling everyone about the Howling Wolf Half. We did a high five and I said “Here’s my favorite race director,” to which he laughed. 

When we got to the Copley T Station the gates were open and they didn’t charge us. When we got back to Wellington there wasn’t anyone at the gate to charge us for parking either.

My wife tells me they have cameras and will mail me a bill based on my license plate. I guess I also get to pay a penalty. At 6:00 in the morning, I didn’t see any signs. As an infrequent user of T services I had no idea they changed the way they did things. But I’ll get to pay for it. 

Over all it was a great day. I was able to manage my race and achieve my goal for the second time in two weeks. I really feel great about that and I’m looking forward to The Howling Wolf Half!

Run well My Friends!

Andy

BAA Half Marathon 2017

BAA Half Marathon 2017The inaugural BAA Half Marathon was run in 2001. That year Wayne Levy (JAM) was the men’s champion at 1:10:57, and the women’s champion was Sarah Nixon (USA) at 1:21:16. Sarah was also the champion in 2002.

The finish times have steadily improved and in 2013 Lelisa Desisa (ETH) set a blistering course record of 1:00:34!

The BAA Half Marathon is now part of the BAA Distance Medley and a perennial favorite among runners near and far.

BAA Half Marathon 2017

Highlights from the 17th running of the B.A.A. Half Marathon

Kenyans Daniel Salel and Joan Chelimo swept the top spots at today’s 17th annual B.A.A. Half Marathon, presented by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. Salel completed the three-peat, running away from a large lead pack in the final two miles before breaking the tape in 1:04:31. Calling Boston her lucky city, Chelimo returned to the Bay State and earned a commanding victory in 1:10:31.

A total of 6,431 participants started the B.A.A. Half Marathon, including more than one thousand B.A.A. Distance Medley runners.

Courtesy BAA

My BAA Half Marathon 2017

Durm Cahill and I got a ride in from Cynthia Berger. We left Medford shortly after 6 AM and arrived at our parking garage around 6:30. The shuttle buses were waiting and in no time we were at the Franklin Park Zoo.

I’m usually the organization guy, but for some reason I didn’t have the BAA mail my bib to me. Fortunately the bib pick up line was short, and we were off to the porta-potty lines. Again, short lines.

Bill Ozaslan, Mayor Walsh, BAA Half MarathonI checked my bag at the bag drop and the three of us found a place to sit down and stretch a little. Around 7:20 we headed for the 9:00 minute corral. As we waited we saw Bill Ozaslan on his way to line up.

Shortly before 8 AM they played the National Anthem and there was a US flag on the start line structure for us to salute. The crowd was very respectful.

A little after 8 AM they blew the horn for us to start. Even with the crowd we managed to cross the start line within 3 minutes. Lining up properly this year really helped us take advantage of the down hill coming out of the zoo and we managed a 9:02 first mile.

We were so focused that the first mile snuck up on us just after we exited the Franklin Park Zoo.

The road was still under construction just like five years ago. Being a little smarter this year it was much easier to get over the bridges and mile two snuck up on us at 9:11.

BAA Half Marathon 2017Somewhere around mile two we transitioned from The Arborway to The Jamaica Way. This road hugs the shore of Jamaica Pond. With views of the pond on our left and some fantastic homes on our right we paid attention to our pace but not the distance. Mile three snuck up on us at 9:10!

Our goal pace was 9:30. At the Smuttynose Rockfest Half our goal pace was 10:00 and we ran a 9:40 pace. We felt confident in a 9:30 pace, but we were over running this pace as well.

We had started the race with Cynthia Berger but Durm and I had moved ahead on some of the downhills. Now we caught up to her on the Jamaica Way! We ran together loosely for a while and Cynthia pulled ahead. I was trying to maintain a pace.

Mile four had a lot of downhill and we managed an 8:51 pace. I did not feel like I could keep that pace and finish the race the way I wanted to. I told Durm to run ahead if he wanted to, so he headed off to run with Cynthia.

Somewhere between miles four and five I found Paul Locke. He was running pretty comfortably and I told him the pace I was trying to maintain. Just like me, he has a hard time maintaining a pace and ran with me for about a mile so I could pace him.

At about mile 4.75 we had a hair-pin turn and started heading back. Paul and I talked about how this was not the half-way point, even though a turn like that is often the half-way mark. He’s run the race a few times and remembered better than me the distance and hills we had to run once we got back onto the zoo property. Mile five came in at 9:13.

We were now running up hill and I didn’t want to push it. I was way ahead of my goal and didn’t want to strain anything. Paul moved ahead, and even at my pace I kept passing people.

The River Way turned into Pond Avenue in Brookline. I took my first gel around mile 5 and a little later took my salt capsule.

It was a warm day and I could feel the sweat dripping off of my hair and down my back. My shorts were drenched and I knew I would need the salt. Sweating profusely on a warm day is a good sign. When you stop sweating you know you are in trouble. But sweat also means salt depletion.

Mile six came in at 9:25 and I felt I had finally been successful with my pacing.

Around 6.78 miles they were handing out Cliff gels. The first one I grabbed was vanilla without caffeine. Further down they were handing out some fruit flavored gels with caffeine, so I grabbed on of them also. I could feel the little tug as I grabbed the second gel. Clearly they did not want me to take two.

Why do the gel companies seem to always hand out the most awful flavors at races? Why not hand out your most popular flavors?

Mile seven had 64 feet of elevation gain and I was beginning to feel fatigue. At mile seven my average pace was now 9:33. I had my watch set to display time, distance and overall average pace.

I find it more useful to show my average pace, which is my goal pace. Current pace fluctuates all over the place. At each mile my watch shows the pace for that mile which helps my gauge how I’m doing at that time.

We were now coming around the end of Jamaica Pond and getting back onto the Arbor Way. We had to run through two large rotaries and I tried to negotiate those turns efficiently.

In the middle of mile eight we ran next to the Arnold Arboretum, but at this point I was more focused on running and less so on the scenery. I had taken a second gel which helped boost my energy and mile eight came in at 9:08.

I knew we still had 5.1 miles to go and a good portion of uphill to run, but I was feeling strong. Mile nine was about as flat as mile eight and I managed an 9:14 mile and my average pace was now 9:15!

Just before mile nine we re-entered the zoo property. The hill we had enjoyed running down at the start, now faced us.

As I pushed up the hill I kept passing runners and quite a few walkers. I saw one person laying on the side of the road with three people checking on her. She had her legs up and I heard her answer “yes” when the EMT asked if she was diabetic.

I must have passed five more people laying on the side of the road. Others were leaning on light poles stretching hamstrings and achilles.

I couldn’t tell if they were noobs or just having a bad day. Either way, all of these people were having a bad day.

For mile 10 we gained 52 feet and my pace was 9:06 and overall pace was now down to 9:12.

Only a 5K to go I thought to my self!

At mile 10.20 we made another hair-pin turn. The road was in rough shape and I recall wondering if some of the money the BAA was donating to the zoo would be used to repair some of these roads.

Shortly after the turn I saw Paul Lock again. I must have missed Durm and Jeff Rushton when I was running up the hill.

I felt pretty good for having just pushed up that hill. After the turn I could see that the hill took a toll on many runners. There were more walkers now but no one on the ground.

As I ran along the rutted road I pulled out my last gel. We only had about 2.5 miles to go, but I wanted to make sure my legs had the juice to finish strong.

Mile eleven came in at 9:04 and my average pace was 9:06. This was just crazy. I was running well beyond my wildest expectations. I had the usual fatigue but nothing hurt and my breathing was fine.

Just after mile eleven we took a sharp right and headed up what seemed like a steep hill. We gained 58 feet in less than a quarter-mile. At mile 11, that’s steep.

The hill melted a few runners around me, but I pushed ahead. We were now running through the zoo. Some of the path was packed crushed stone and there were some divets to look out for.

We made all kinds of turns and you could smell the zoo. At one point I looked off to my left and saw two kangaroos leaping around in their pen. It brought back memories of my second marathon in Providence, RI where we also ran though the zoo near the end of the race.

As we ran past the butterfly cage and I chuckled when I thought how my oldest daughter is deathly frightened of butterflies. We also saw a huge aviary full of parakeets and other birds. I wondered how they got through Boston winters.

Probably 100 feet before we got to the gate to the running track I saw people walking! Didn’t they know we were almost done? I encouraged one guy to start running and he did. For about 100 feet he was actually in front of me. Jokes on me I thought. Then I passed him on the track.

The sensation of running on the rubber track was odd after pounding pavement for almost two hours. My tired feet felt new life.

I took the inside lane and put the hammer down. Now where the hell is the finish mat! I managed to run a 7:48 pace for the last 0.3 miles.

As I crossed the finish line I raised both hands in victory. The clock was turned off but my watch said 2:02 and change.

On a more challenging course I had improved my time by more than 4 minutes.

Apre BAA Half Marathon

After the finish line I could feel in my chest that I had left it all out there. I was a little short of breath, but better than at some other races. I found someone handing out medals and had to put in over my head my self. Then I searched for water.

I grabbed a 500ml and sucked it down. As I walked across the field I found a table with more bottles and grabbed another.

On the other side of the field I could see Durm’s purple singlet. He was hanging onto the fence doing some stretches. I headed for the baseball backstop to lay down and put my feet up for a few minutes.

It was tough getting down on the ground, but putting my feet up felt so good. After a few minutes we both struggled to our feet and followed the crowd to the food.

Cynthia left right after the race so we didn’t see her. We made our way through the food tents and got what we could. The hamburgers were pretty good and still warm.

Diarmuid Cahill, BAA Half Marathon 2017While eating our burgers we got in line to take our pictures with our times. We had mixed results.

After photos it was time to get our race shirts and pick up my bag.

The BAA had well organized shuttle buses to the Forrest Hills T station. On our way over I checked on my Charlie card. It was soaked and I tried to dry it out, but when I put it through the machine it got mangled.

Fortunately there was a T employee who opened the  machine and retrieved my mangled card. He didn’t seem to believe me when I told him it had $11 on it and we didn’t use it on the way down.

Andy Nagelin, BAA Half Marathon 2017He quickly used his badge to let us through and handed me my soggy, mangled card. I’ll never be able to use it, so The T just made $5.50 on me. Hopefully my donation it will help the trains run on time this winter!

As much as people bitch about The T, they often come though for hapless infrequent riders.

Durm kept checking the station map and I kept telling him we were starting at the end of the line and we could only go north from here. We were also going to the 3rd to last stop, so we could just relax and not worry about it.

We had fun talking to the other runners and even regular folks who were just curious about what we had been up to all day.

Race Results

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Running Year in Review

2012 was a challenging and rewarding year for my running. A brief recap of my running adventures through October, 2012.

My 2012 Running Year in Review

This has been a busy month and a busy year for me. I’ve run sixteen races this year and four races within the past 30 days.

The biggest challenge of the year was running the BAA Half Marathon and the ING Hartford Marathon within six days of each other. When I registered for the two races months ago I thought this would be a fun and interesting challenge.  I’ve run several marathons before but having a half-marathon within six days of the marathon would add a new twist.

I thought the closeness of the races would be my biggest challenge and then I got hurt. For six weeks I had to cut way back on my training and did mostly stretching and strength training as prescribed by my physical therapist.

twin lights
Finishing strong for a new Half Marathon PR 1:47:29

The last race I ran before my injury was The Twin Lights Half Marathon on May 12th. I surprised myself and set a new PR. When I did that I really felt like I was on the right track with my training and I would be able to PR in Hartford and maybe qualify for Boston. Then due to work and sickness I basically stopped training for three weeks and then came back to fast, and got hurt.

I started going to physical therapy about once a week and did all of my exercises as prescribed. I kept running shorter distances, usually no more than 3 miles at a time. My PT was okay with this level of running.

Earlier in the year I had signed up for the BAA Distance Medley. The day before the Boston Marathon I ran their 5K and then on June 24th I ran the BAA 10K. My leg never really hurt while I was running the 10K. There aren’t any hills on this course and I took it very easy just to be safe

In July I ran the VERT Sasquatch 2.4 mile trail race just to try out trail running and for the great party afterwords. I took it very slow again. On August 5th I did the Maine Lobster Fest 10K in Rockland Maine. There were hills and it was hot for this race.  I took it easy and survived that one.

On September 8th, I ran a leg of the Lake Winni Relay, 10.8 miles, at an 8:44 pace. This was the fastest and farthest I had run since May. My legs felt strong during the race and I did not have any unusual pain afterwords. This race really helped build my confidence back and told me that I was back on track.

On September 16th I ran The Lone Gull 10K and set a PR. On September 29th I ran the Granara-Skerry 5K and set another PR. I felt confident again and ran these races as hard as I could.  After Lake Winnie I wanted to see what I was capable of and how far my rehab had progressed. These races confirmed my progress and further boosted my confidence. I felt like I was ready for my challenge.

At the BAA Half Marathon on October 7th I did not set a PR, but I think I could have. I lined up late and got stuck in a huge crowd where I could not move. When there was room to run I threw everything I had into the race. At the end of the race I felt good about the race and I was pretty sure I had not aggravated my injury. That was key. If I had pulled the piriformis again I would not have had time to recover before my marathon.

The days between the BAA Half and ING Marathon I ran 4 miles Tuesday night and 5K on Thursday. I went to the gym and stretched three days and that was about it. My taper week was also a recovery week. Like most runners would, I spent that time pretty much obsessed with my upcoming marathon.

I tried to manage all of the details for race day, but as anyone who read my race re-cap, several items got out my control. If you would like to read about my stressful marathon check out this link.

I made some mistakes and learned some lessons. That’s all part of the journey. All of the details are available on my re-cap as referenced above. I’m no racing or organization expert but I’m always working on my process. I feel that the three keys to successful racing are

  • Getting the miles in
  • Physical conditioning/cross training/strength training
  • Developing and fine tuning your race routine

I’ll go into my thinking on this on another post. A lot of other runners have written some great articles on this topic.

At this point in time I have pretty much run my schedule for the year It just feels so odd not having anything to train for. I’m going to have to work on my motivation to keep up with my training, to stay motivated. That is the current challenge that I face.

How do you stay motivated when you do not have a race on your schedule?

Run well my friends!

Andy

Friday 5K Run

Esplanade 5K Run

I went out for a nice 5K run on The Esplanade this afternoon. My last training run before the BAA Half Marathon on Sunday.

It was in the mid-70’s and nice and sunny. Just perfect. I appreciated the fact that we wont have many more of these days and before we know it the cold weather will be here.

I wanted to go for an easy run and do about a 9 minute pace. As I ran over The Longfellow bridge I felt really good. No effort at all. When I hit The Esplanade I felt like I was gliding along. When my watch beeped for 1 mile I looked down and saw my pace had been 8:20 and that included going over the bridge, up and down the stairs and navigating oblivious folks strolling about. Mile two came in at 8:19. Way to fast for an easy run. I managed to reel it on for mile three and ran an 8:54 pace.

My total distance was 3.35 miles at an 8:31 overall pace. It was effortless. One of the easiest runs I’ve had in months.

Maybe things are falling into place for me and I will be able to finish this running season the way I had planned. I’d like to PR at the BAA Half Marathon this weekend. I feel like I can do it. On October 13th I have the ING Hartford Marathon and I’m a little worried. Six days is not a lot of recovery time, especially if I aggravate my injury.

I am going to go for it. I’m going to use everything I know about running and recovery and push my limits.

Run well my friends,

Andy

BAA Half Marathon Taper Time

BAA Half Marathon Taper Time

Four days to go until the BAA Half Marathon. I’m starting to get excited and my mind is more and more pre-occupied with the race. At this point I’m in taper mode and have been thinking about the clothes I might need. I need to be prepared for whatever weather we get on race day. I’m also taking an inventory of my GUs and other race food to make sure I have what I need.

Taper Time and Recovery Time

With only four days to go, I’m in maintenance mode. At this point any additional training is not going to increase my speed or endurance. If I sustain an injury this close to the race there won’t be any time for a recovery.

 It is time to be careful and try to take care of myself. I ran 9.29 miles on Sunday and 5.69 miles Tuesday night. I’ll probably do 5k Friday afternoon and that’s about it. Enough to maintain my fitness level and keep my legs loose.

My hamstring injury is pretty much behind me. It still hurts some times and I still get leg pain if I sit in my car for more than 45 minutes. But, the pain is not as bad as it used to be and takes much longer to hit me. My left calf muscle has been bothering me for the past week or so. As they say, there is always a pain, it just moves around.

Training and Therapy

In my last two races, a 10K and a 5K, I’ve set new PRs. I haven’t been putting in a lot of extra miles. I peaked at about 32 miles one week but have stayed in the 20-25 miles per week range for the past few months. I give a lot of the credit for my recent success to my physical therapy.

In addition to all kinds of stretching exercises my therapist has given me some good strengthening exercises. I’m working on muscles that I’ve never really paid much attention to, the glutes and all of the hip muscles. I didn’t really think these exercises would do more than help me recover, but I have no other explanation for my recent successes.

Strengthening these muscles has to be what is making the difference in my performance.
Most of the hamstring and piriformis work I have done has been stretching and not strengthening. The focus there has been to work out my scar tissue and get those muscles flexible again. I’m excited to see such amazing results from this effort. I never paid much attention to stretching before. I’m beginning to see the light though.

The Nugget of Wisdom

As I’ve mentioned many times before, if you do not stretch on a regular basis do not start a massive routine on race day while you are sitting around waiting for the start. Do not do anything new on race day. Nothing. It will mess you up. If you never stretch or only do some light stretches, doing 20 minutes of hard-core stretching is going to tear your muscles at the absolute worse time for this, minutes before a race. Don’t do it.

I encourage you to start a stretching routine and work it into your cross training or cool off routine. If you do it right and push yourself you will be amazed at the results. Just don’t start on race day, okay?

The BAA Half Marathon should be exciting. I’ve never run it before, but I know how well the BAA manages a race.

Run well my friends,

Andy

© anagelin 2012

Half full glass

Monday, monday

Monday I wrote about my disaster in the locker room where a bottle of spray-on sun screen discharged completely into my gym bag and ruined my brand new, never worn tie. I’m still determined to salvage the tie and I’m having some luck.

I ran 10K Monday morning before work and thought I was doing great. I’ve never run before work and I was able to knock a good piece of my weekly mileage off. Over the course of the day my right hamstring got tight and started to hurt. Every time I got up from my desk my leg was killing me. On the drive home my leg hurt so bad that my foot was getting numb! It was unbelievable. So while I thought it was a great thing getting in a Monday morning run I had actually just caused myself problems.

roller, running injury recoveryAfter supper Monday night I ran over to Marathon Sports and bought a Thera-Roll. People have been raving about these rollers and what they can do for sore muscles. After my killer ride home from work I was desperate and willing to pay “whatever the cost may be” to get some relief.

As I mentioned Tuesday, the guy at Marathon Sports answered all of my questions and let me try out all of the rollers until I found the one that was just right.

I’ve used the roller every night this week and it seems to be working. But I can’t tell if the improvement is from not running or from rolling. Probably a little of both. I’m going to keep using the roller and see what happens. People have an almost religious zeal for these things.  I’m also making an appointment with a physical therapist.

If you want to see what the roller is all about click on the photo.

I had my summer race season planned out in the spring. Part of it was running the BAA Distance Medley. This was the 5K the day before the Boston Marathon and now a 10K this weekend. So now I’m trying to figure out if my hamstring will allow me to run this race and if running this race is going to take me out of action for the rest of the summer. I know I can’t go for a PR and that just finishing is going to be an accomplishment. I’m taking it day by day right now.

Oh, and the third race in the BAA Distance Medley is the BAA Half Marathon the Sunday before the ING Hartford Marathon which is on a Saturday. So my hamstring is a mess, I have a 10K before I have enough time to recover and then I have a half marathon with barely enough time for a healthy runner to recover before a full marathon!

I know that injuries are just part of being a runner. Earlier this year I hurt my foot because I bought the wrong shoes. This time I was just being dumb, over ambitious and thought I was invincible. And at my age I’m supposed to know better! Ha!

Here is my pontification

I’m always hearing people talk about the glass being half-full or half empty. In my mind this congers up an image of people sitting around contemplating the “glass of life” and merely ruminating or stewing on it. Well isn’t that special.

I say pick the freaking thing up and drink down the glass of life! Half-full or half-empty, chug that bad boy down until it is dripping down your chin and you are gasping for air. I assure you, that you will find it quite refreshing!

Cheers!

Chug down the half full glass and enjoy life!