Weekly Summary – 111 miles in 11 runs. A fantastic, if a bit crazy, week! Lots of sunny miles in Texas, Arizona, and California with friendly faces old and new thanks to the HOKA athlete summit. Got my butt kicked on the trails w/ Walmsley and the Cowboys, got some good speed in with NAZ Elite, and even hopped in a trail race where I got humbled by some real studs. Happy to be feeling healthy and heart is full from such a joyful week.
Oh and hey if you’re reading this and don’t know about STRIVE, you should probably check ’em out. I lead groups through the mountains of Peru on a journey of running, service learning, and adventure. If you’re interested, join us this summer, when we’ll once again have programs for High School and Internships for College students, and even 10-day trips for adults and families.
Lastly, I’m very grateful to support from Outback Physcial Therapy here in Somerville, MA. Dr. Ithamar Jokowitz has been a great help in analyzing my gate and physiology and helping me put together a specific strength-training regimen to really dial things in. If you’re interested in improving your running mechanics, enhancing your recovery, learning about what injuries you might be at risk for, or even get your VO2 max tested, he’s definitely the guy to see in the area!
Lunes, 9 de Diciembre, 2019 – 11:30am: Took an uber out to Black Canyon Trailhead to meet up with Jim Walmsley, Eric Senseman, and Tim Freriks for a run on the Black Canyon 100k course (in reverse). Plan was to do about 40km w/ Senseman and Jim with an option to bail and do about 14M w/ Tim. Felt okay at first but the trail was (for me) fairly rocky and I’d never run anything like the pace we were running on that kind of terrain. Was dancing all over the trail and just expending a lot of energy. Already felt pretty tired by the hour mark and Senseman was dying and Jim was way ahead, so decided to cut early which was a very wise decision. The unevenness of the terrain was also irritating my ankles a bit, so gutting out another 18km or so of trail wouldn’t have been prudent. Really humbling how quickly these guys move over this terrain, especially down hills. And, to them, this is super gentle and smooth! Yikes. Much to learn!
Finished w/ the last 5km or so on a beautiful dirt road which climbed continuously up to the highway where Tim had parked and Patrick was waiting for us. Lovely day but definitely got worked. Did drills and 4x strides on the road before heading out.
Total run 23km in 1’51’40.
PM: OFF. Made it to Scottsdale just in time to grab some delicious ramen and then get cleaned up and hit up the HOKA welcome coctail hour. Great times and met some great folks including Pete Kostelnik, Cam Levins, Will Gerkin (Aggies, Harvard Alum), Karl Meltzer, et al.
Martes, 10 de Diciembre, 2019 – 07:15: Ran w/ a ton of HOKA athletes and local retailors. Very cool to have a giant pack of blue swarming the streets early in the morning! Ran a nice easy out/back alongside the highway to about 30’ out and then turned back and headed another direction w/ Anna Mae Flynn and Jared Hayzen. Good conversations with lots of folks on this run including Sage, Wardian, Jared, Anna Mae, et al. Finished easy back to the hotel, no strides. Total run 15.5km+ in 72’.
16:00: Ran w/ Cam Levins (!) and Sergio Reyes. Felt decent and ran same out/back as this morning (though hugged the canal and stayed on dirt). Very cool to chat w/ Cam about his history, NOP, etc. Finished w/ 6x strides which felt good but made me feel very slow running next to Cam. Ha! Total run 9.5km- in 40’30.
Miercoles, 11 de Diciembre, 2019 – Sparknotes: 20x[1′ @ 2’45-3’00, 1′ off at 4’00-4’30] w/ NAZ gang on grass.
06:20: Up early and warmed up in the dark for a session w/ the NAZ Elite Squad. Jogged over to a park about 4km away and finished w/ a lap around to get to 5km warmup. Stopped and did drills and strides just as dawn was breaking. Workout was 20x 1’ on, 1’ off. I had no idea what pace we would be running but Coach Ben Rosario told us to shoot for ~70”/400m pace as we were about to get started.
We had a big group w/ like 5 NAZ guys, me, Jim Walmsley, Sergio Reyes, plus Sage Canaday and even Mike Wardian for a couple reps. Pace felt pretty quick, especially given that we were running on grass — we did a large rectangle loop around 2 soccer fields w/ a tiny bunny hill between them — but hung on well. Just tried to get through 10x reps and stay engaged near the front of the group. Jim and I led one rep which was fun. Rec was much slower than I expected, well over 4’20 pace a few times and got slower as the workout went on. Our overall avg slowed after the first few minutes. I was told that the reps got quicker but they all felt pretty fast to me.
Managed to hang on well and finish w/ the gang for 11km+ in 39’ (3’32 avg).
Cooled down longer w/ the group and then solo w/ Jim another mile or two. Lovely morning and nice to have so much work done by like 08:30.
Total run 23.5km in 1’36’30.
14:30: Ran w/ Jim and Cole Watson easy out/back to the desert trail. Nice easy run and nice to run in the heat and sun of the early afternoon. No strides. Total run 10km- in 43’30
Jueves, 12 de Diciembre, 2019 – 09:00: Ran w/ Sage Canaday and Joe Grey after a fun but VERY late night (for me). Felt surprisingly decent on the run. Great conversation w/ those 2 and had a nice run down the desert path just out/back, only a couple sloppy parts. Finished w/ light drills and 6x strides w/ Joe and Sage on asphalt. Total run 16.5km+ in 72’.
16:30: Ran with Anna Mae from the new hotel in downtown PHX. Explored a big nearby park a bit and then found a canal path with a nice dirt shoulder and ran out/back a bit on that and then back to the hotel. Finished w/ drills and 4x strides in the parking lot on asphalt. Total run 9.5km- in 41’.
Viernes, 13 de Diciembre, 2019 – 4x [400m @ 67.0, 100 jog @ 27, 200m @ 33.0, 100m jog @ 27, 200m @ 32.8, all avg], 400m b/w sets @ 1’55.
08:45: Ran w/ Pete and Anna Mae over to the track where Pete will run tomorrow for 24 hours — jesus. Nice and slow 3km and then another 2km quicker on the grass infield solo. Felt good. Stopped and did drills and then 4x strides in carbon rockets.
Workout plan was to do a few sets of 400/200/200 w/ short rest between reps, longer rest between sets. Wanted to keep the volume low on this one as I am trying to race on Sunday and have been pretty tired this week from a lot of fun (and had a solid session on Wednesday morning).
Started out and surprised myself hitting 66.1 for the first rep. I decided to keep it fairly continuous and jogged 100m between reps which I figured should take around 30 seconds (ended up being more like 27.x). 200s in that first set were 33.x. This ended up being 1km sets and I hit the first one quick in 3’07. Took 400m jog and then did it again.
The rest of the workout was very consistent w/ the 400s at 66-68 and the 200s at 32-33. Rest was 25-29 sec only and then 400m jog b/w sets in around 1’55-57. Still not able to break 32! But this workout was way better than the some of the goal 5K pace work I did in the last few weeks. I couldn’t break 68 in that first 400m work I did w/ Ashe at Harvard w/ a lot more rest.
Finished 4 sets feeling good and like I could do more, so stopped there. Cooled down easy on the grass and then back to the hotel. Total run 15.5km in 67’.
400 m (1’06.1) 1’06.1 (1’07.0)
100 m (0’28.5) 1’34.6 (0’27.5)
200 m (0’33.1) 2’07.7 (0’33.0)
100 m (0’26.4) 2’34.1 (0’27.1)
200 m (0’33.5) 3’07.6 (3’07.6) (0’32.8)
400 m (1’56.9) 5’04.5
400 km (1’08.1) 6’12.6
100 m (0’27.1) 6’39.7
200 m (0’32.8) 7’12.5
100 m (0’27.2) 7’39.7
200 m (0’33.1) 8’12.8 (3’08.3)
400 m (1’52.7) 10’05.5
400 m (1’07.0) 11’12.5
100 m (0’25.9) 11’38.4
200 m (0’33.5) 12’11.9
100 m (0’26.9) 12’38.8
200 m (0’32.0) 13’10.8 (3’05.3)
400 m (1’56.1) 15’06.9
400 m (1’06.6) 16’13.5
100 m (0’28.5) 16’42.0
200 m (0’32.4) 17’14.4
100 m (0’27.7) 17’42.1
200 m (0’32.7) 18’14.8 (3’07.9)
16:30: Easy run solo from the hotel down around the park and then out to the canal path. Ran out/back and then finished on the roads back to the hotel. Felt good, no residual soreness from the morning session. Did drills and then 4x strides which felt very good on pavement in the parking lot. Total run 9.5km+ in 40’.
Sabado, 14 de Diciembre, 2019 – 10:20: Up early to fly from PHX to SBA (got to see Pete quickly at McD’s where he was eating his pre race meal). Tired but got out the door once we arrived at Kris Brown’s and ran solo down to the water and then out/back on the waterfront bikepath a bit. Stopped at SBCC track on the way back for some nostalgia and strides. Felt pretty decent once I got warmed up (on both the run and strides), especially since I had no coffee this AM. Finished running easy up a big hill to finish at a grocery store, ethio, and uber home. Lovely day, but very windy. Total run 10.5km in 46’.
XT: Sat in Kris’s normatec boots for a while after the run and dozed a bit which felt great.
PM: OFF, pre-race so taking the afternoon off. Fun time hanging around w/ Ben Bruce and then Anna Mae, Kris Brown, his GF Catrina, Amelia Boone, and Chris (?). AMF and I ended up getting a budget hotel room for the night as we were both exhausted and wanted an early night and KB’s house was very full. Drove over there around 5pm and just got some dinner from whole foods and legit passed out at like 19:30.
Domingo, 15 de Diciembre, 2019 – Sparknotes: Spartan Trail Champs “Half Marathon” (22.2km w/ ~500m of gain/loss), 1’20’05 (3’36 avg). Got curb-stomped by some much faster, fitter, and more experienced bubs.
08:30: Race day at Spartan Trail Championships. Woke up around 05:30 and drove over w/ Anna Mae, Kris Brown and Katrina. Got there around 07:20 and check-in was going very slow, a bit of a cluster-wut. Finally got numbers and had only about 25 min to warm up. Jogged 10’ from the car out to the course start and then on the first km or so of the course, which was MUCH less smooth than either of us expected. Really uneven/lumpy grass. Hoped it would smooth out after this initial stretch!
Got to the line and did drills and a couple strides and Kris told us they’d probably push the start back 10’, so took my time, did a few more strides, peed 10 more times, etc.
Finally got to the line and we were off.
Got out all right but within the first 200m, we hit a steep but short downhill/uphill on the lumpy grass and I got swarmed by like 30 guys. Took it very easy on this stretch as I knew it wasn’t worth spraining an ankle today. Still hit 1km in 3’10 and was well behind the leaders. Shortly after the 1K, we hit the more buffed out dirt road that I was expecting and a nice flat/gradual uphill and I began to move up smoothly.
Actually felt really good at this point and moved into a chase pack in the top 10 as we went up the biggest climb on the course. Found myself easily passing people on the uphills and the lead pack (Ben Bruce, Andy Wacker, Chad Hall) were still within a few seconds. I felt good as we reached the top of the hill but then got swarmed again on the downhill.
This began a pattern of being swarmed and passed by a bunch of bubs on the downhills and then working to close the gaps and yo-yo back and forth on the climbs. The descents weren’t technical or even that steep and I felt like I was running quickly, but clearly I wasn’t running fast enough.
So, basically, I kept giving up more than I was getting back. There were approximately 7 significant hills and by the time we got to about 15km, I realized that I was out of the top 10 and there was still more down than up left and I honestly just checked out a bit mentally. I was still running decently well, but I knew that the last 3km would be bad for me as we would retrace our steps, with the biggest downhill on the course and then that first/last km on the lumpy grass.
I focused on form and just trying to relax and stay smooth and, as expected, lost like 3 or 4 places in the last 3km. I’m not sure where I finished but definitely outside the top 10 and maybe even top 15.
This was seriously humbling and also a reminder of the basic economics lesson which I’ve learned before that when there’s decent money at a race, good people usually find a way to hear about it and show up, even if it’s not super well publicized.
Finally, I did enjoy some parts of this race. Beside the competition, there were a few moments of real lovely nature and peace way up high in the hills with a great view of the valley and mountains beyond it. Not something you always get with road racing!
I actually didn’t feel too bad after this one, probably since I really did check out a bit in the last third of the race, so after wandering/standing around for a while (and a failed cool-down attempt w/ AMF who was not having it), jogged some sad laps around the parking lot, since I figured I wouldn’t have time to double later in the day and it was lovely out and the parking lot was nice dirt and grass. Finished 10km in 45’.
Total run was 34km in 2h13. More work tomorrow.
PM: OFF. Great last afternoon before heading back East. Went to Kris Brown’s Cuban restaurant for a while, had some great food and cocktails with AMF, Kris, Catrina, Amelia Boone, Ian Sharman, Ben Bruce, Amanda Basham, and a few others. Some great conversations w/ some amazing folks. Headed back to Kris’s place after and drank some red wine, talked about books, played cards against humanity, and then headed to Kris’s friends’ airbnb to hang out in their outdoor jacuzzi. Came back after a few hours and hung around a bit before crashing in Christian Adam’s camper-van around midnight. Great day. Full heart.