The Road to Boston continues!
I didn’t write about last week’s Sunday Long Run Number 4.
That was a hilly 14.6 mile slog over well trod roads. I climbed the equivalent of 70 flights of stairs or 754 feet and achieved an average pace of 10:11.
We ran the Fells hills in both directions, up Highland Ave and hills on other roads that Jim tossed in just to keep it interesting!
My hamstrings were tired and sore and my quads were maxed. On Tuesday night I cut my club run to 4 miles and my PT had to work on my knee Wednesday night.
Sunday Long Run 5
This is a pre-run group photo that Bobby Taylor posted on FB. I counted 39 people. A few are water stop volunteers, but I’m pretty sure we missed a few.
The weather was as good as it get’s in January for running: above freezing, no rain and no wind. Who could ask for more? How about a great group of people to run with and great support from Bobby and the team of volunteers he pulls together each week? Life is good!
This is Bobby’s photo with his stats, a nice 9:04 pace to run 6.53 miles in under an hour.
I knew I wasn’t going to be the fastest so I started first. One of the new runners who I didn’t know soon caught up to me but didn’t respond when I asked him how he was doing.
But I did run the first two miles with Marty Hergert, our club President. We had a good chat about club goings-on and life in general.
Just after mile two we turned onto Main Street in Saugus and our first water stop. This one was mainly for the short runners, but I stopped in for a drink anyway.
My knee was acting up and I was hoping the brief stop would alleviate the pain. It usually does, but this time it just went down a notch and not away.
Main Street Saugus heading out to Wakefield High is deceptively hilly. They are long and not really steep. In a car you would barley notice them as hills.
Just after mile four we reached Wakefield High and the first official water stop for the long-runners. Paul Locke was there and on my return stop Linda Field had joined him.
I had a nice chat at both stops, but my goal was to keep the stops short. I won’t be stopping during the Boston Marathon, hopefully! And your muscles always tightened up when you stop.
Running Breakheart Reservation
Leaving the high school lot we hit our next hill in about 100 yards. It’s not a bad hill, but we had many more in front of us.
I knew that Dorota Bulik was right behind me and expected her to catch me on the hill. But I was all alone most of the way through Breakheart Res.
We always loose count how many hills are in there and we always joke that they added a new one since last time.
Depending on what you call a hill there are four or five hills. Several of them are undisputedly hills. The third or forth hill climbs 80 feet in less than a quarter mile. Yeah, that’s a hill!
On each hill I rose up an ran on my toes at a quicker tempo and shorter gait. It seemed to work as Dorota didn’t catch me until that last hill, and she’s a much better runner than I am.
We both used the facilities at the ranger station and headed out.
Dorota used the flatter terrain on the outbound side to take off. After the water stop at the high school she took a short cut back.
But I did catch up to Joe Winslow before we left the res. and even saw Jeff Rushton at the water stop.
I left the water stop and didn’t see anyone until I got back to the parking lot.
Running it in
The water stop was at about 7.5 miles. It felt great knowing I only had five miles to go and I didn’t feel like I was going to die!
As I ran down Water Street/Route 129 in Wakefield I noticed many new buildings and renovations. It always amazes me how many small businesses there are. And how much construction is going on in every town.
Just after hitting mile 9 I reached Wakefield Center. Traffic was light and very few people were out.
My goal this week was to run a 10 minute average pace. My watch said I was at 10:04 pace as I ran down Main Street in Wakefield.
Everything felt pretty good so I decided to give it a push. Nothing too crazy but mile 10 came it at 9:53 and the last 2.54 miles were all under 9:45.
It was great to see my overall pace tick back to 10 minutes and then tick down to 9:57.
My last 2.54 miles were quicker than my first three miles, which is great.
It’s awesome to get near the end of a run and still have some juice.
Last week I was talking to Bobby Taylor about doing some speed work. I felt I needed some to improve my marathon pace, but was afraid of aggravating something. Over the past two years just about every part of my body has ached at one time or another. I’d rather run Boston slow than not at all!
Bobby suggested doing strides. As he explained them, you basically do your normal run but add speed surges for short distances. He does them near the end of a long run and it really helped him last year.
As I ran through Wakefield towards Melrose I ran four strides using light poles as my begin and finish markers.
I did these when the road was flat. No sense getting too crazy.
What I found interesting was that after I strided for probably 100 to 200 feet, I had to slow myself down. My legs wanted to keep up a faster pace. Not the stride pace but probably 30-45 seconds faster per mile than my goal pace of 10 even.
That was pretty cool.
It was also pretty cool that I didn’t feel like I was going to die or had to stop. And nothing broke! And my breathing hardly changed at all.
It was very encouraging and I will be incorporating this technique into a lot of my runs from now on.
One of the benefits of running alone is that you can do something like that and not kill your running buddy.
It’s hard to have two people feel the energy at the same point in a run. While I hate to slow someone down, I also hate beating the shit out of myself to keep up. Sometimes you have to be big enough of a man to let the other guy go.
Finishing Week Five
I felt pretty good running the last mile heading to the parking lot. This week was a shorter run, but I think it was just as hilly per mile. Fewer miles just meant less elevation.
When I got back to the parking lot I saw Erik Cann. He’s been running with us most weeks and usually I see him off in the distance!
He told me that he wanted to join our club and we talked about the logistics.
After we hung out a bit he headed to Café Nero and I headed to CVS to pick up a few items including something good to drink.
The total distance for me this week was 12.54. Erik had over 11 on his Strava app. We compared maps and we ran the identical route so we were both scratching our heads on that one.
My heart rate peaked at 178 and that was when I was running the first couple of hills in Breakheart. I hit 172 during one stride late in the run and my average was 156 bpm.
Garmin said “this activity had enough intensity to provide a stimulus to increase your maximum aerobic capacity. It increased your high aerobic training load.” It also said my aerobic load was 5.0 on a scale of 0-5.
While it’s good to push it and max out once in a while. The app said 5.0 is “overreaching” and that this can become harmful without enough rest between these types of runs.
But my anaerobic level was 2.0 which is at a “maintaining” level. This probably came about during my strides. These higher intensity efforts should only last 10 to 120 seconds. And my strides were probably less than one-minute each.
During my weekly runs I think I’ll start adding longer strides now that I know the parameters.
Overall, it was a great run, I learned a few things and I feel like it was a benefit to my training.
How was your run this week?