Thursday, December 6, 2012

The 2012 Mill Cities Relay

The Mill Cities Relay is a 5-leg, 27.1 mile race from Nashua, NH to Lawrence, MA. It began in 1984 as a way of celebrating the end of the local road racing season and determines bragging rights among the 21 participating Merrimack Valley Area running clubs. The race starts not with a starting gun, but with the drop of a ceremonial brick. The five leg distances are 5.6, 4.9, 2.5, 9.4 & 4.7 miles and points are awarded to teams in each of the 15 age/gender categories. Teams finishing in the top 3 get a trophy brick with a small plaque on it. After 29 years of competing, my running club The Gate City Striders has received enough brick trophies to build a small house!

Friday, November 23, 2012


Curley Goulet
Over the course of the year I have run some BIG IMPORTANT races including: The Boston Marathon, The Pineland Farms 25k, The Stone Cat 50 Miler, and nearly every race in the New England Grand PrixSeries. So, last weekend I decided to mix it up a bit and run a LITTLE IMPORTANT race – The Curley Goulet Memorial Novemberfest Trail Race and Party

The Curley Goulet Novemberfest is organized by members of my running club – The Gate City Striders. It is named after the deceased former president of Club National.  Curley opened the doors of his club on Pine Street in Nashua to all Striders who affectionately referred to it as "church" for over 25 years. And, in that tradition of giving, all the proceeds from Novemberfest benefited one of Curley's favorite charities, the Nashua Children's Home

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

50 Miles from Home

I signed up for the Stone Cat 50 Miler back in June of this year and then spent the next 5 months trying to wrap my mind around it. Being nearly twice as long as any official race I’d ever done, I was both excited and overwhelmed by the sheer “bigness” of it. So many questions bounced around my brain as I formulated my plan of attack. How should I train? What pace should I run? What shoes should I wear? How long will it take? What should I eat? And, the biggest question of all: What exactly happens beyond that mystical 26.2 mile mark?

Well, now that I’ve done it, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. 

Running 50 miles really isn’t all that hard!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Perfect 10’s

10 miles is probably my favorite distance to race. I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because I’ve had some good experiences in the past. Whether it be at the Foxboro Old Fashioned 10m (a traditional Boston tune-up for me), or at the now defunct Run for the Border 10m (where I set a tailwind-aided, never to be duplicated, dream-like PR) I generally seem to do well with this distance. Of course, for every “rule” there is the “exception” and my 10m exception would have to be the Yankee Homecoming race. I NEVER do well there. Too crowded, too hot & too late in the day!
Another reason I like the 10m distance is that it’s long enough that the pace required to maintain even splits throughout is just slow enough to allow me to breathe fairly easily – unlike a 5k or 10k. But, the entire race takes just over an hour which is short enough so that my legs don’t start to feel like concrete cylinders – unlike a Half Marathon. I’m sure there’s some physiology that explains this phenomenon, but for now, I’m content in knowing that, for some reason, the 10 miler is my “sweet spot”.

This month, I ran two very different ten mile races, on two separate continents and both were perfect in their own special way.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Executive Summary

August and September were pretty busy months around the Wade household. Between the end-of-summer vacationing, sending two kids off to college (one to London), sending one kid off to first grade, not to mention dealing with a precocious 2-year old who’s very much enjoying pushing his parent’s buttons at the moment, there wasn’t much time (or desire) to write. There was, of course, time to race. There’s always time to race ...

Below is a quick recap of the races I’ve done since last I wrote:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Appalachian Dreams - Part I

15 years ago I became keenly interested in the Appalachian Trail. The Appalachian Trail (or the AT as it’s commonly known) is a hiking trail marked with white blazes in the eastern United States and it extends 2,184 miles between Springer Mountain in Georgia and Mount Katahdin in Maine. I had only been hiking for a few months and had just recently begun running. But of course, like anything else I’m interested in, I became obsessed with it and devoured all the pertinent info about it I could find. In this case, that began with a trail map that I bought which extended from the floor to the ceiling of my dining room!

Every year thousands of thru-hikers (or people hiking the entire trail at one time) start from one end of the AT (usually Springer) and make their way to the other end. Only about 1 in 4 makes it the whole way on their first attempt. Some take as many as 8 months to complete the journey while others complete it in as little as 3. The un-official record for the fastest “supported thru-hike” (or, a hike with a little help from your friends) is 47 days by Andy Thompson in 2005. That’s more than 46 miles a day! The “unsupported” record is 60 days by Ward Leonard back in 1990. An equally impressive travel rate of 36 miles per day!

Appalachian Dreams - Part II

Cascade Brook
By the time my Lonesome Lake dinner ended so had the rain. I ambled down the Cascade Brook Trail on my way to the notch. I got mixed up a couple times on which way to go because everything along the river looked like a trail. It was stunning how much of this area still showed signs of the devastation from Hurricane Irene. Even one year later, the rocks and dirt lining the brook looked like they’d been scoured clean by a torrential flood. One section was missing a bridge that had simply been wiped out by the fast flowing wave of debris. Still amazed by the awesome power of nature I reached the base of Mt. Liberty - my final climb of the day.

The front that had moved through had brought noticeably cooler temps. I was grateful for this on my last, brutal, 2 1/2 mile climb out of Franconia Notch to the Liberty Springs tentsite. The seemingly never ending trail eventually did and I pulled into my final pit-stop at about 6:30 pm. 12 ½ hours after I started. Not bad for a 27 mile hike! I found an open tent platform, changed out of my wet hiking gear and set about putting up my hammock. It went up surprisingly fast and even more surprisingly didn’t come crashing down when I climbed into it. I ate a couple pumpkin cookies that I bought at the hut, drank my recovery shake and settled in for the night. A very LONG night!

Appalachian Dreams - Part III

Eisenhower, Monroe & Washington beyond laid themselves out before me like a promise. And, the 360 degree, 100+ mile visibility of the surrounding Valleys allowed me to see just how far I’d come in my quest to make that promise a reality. The trail stretched out across the ridge like only Able Crawford could have imagined. With some 12 miles to go, and countless views to devour, “before I sleep” I hopped, skipped & jumped back onto the trail and made my way to my next destination - Lake of the Clouds.

Lake of the Clouds
The excitement of being part of the Alpine Zone “playground” gave a real boost to my confidence (and my pace). As a result, I pulled into Lake of the Clouds Hut only about an hour after coming over the top of Pierce. I grabbed a Powerbar, some lemonade (as the day was starting to heat up) and re-filled my hydration pack before heading back out to tackle the “Ole Rockpile”. I’ve been to the top of Washington probably a dozen times, but this proved to be the best day yet for a summit attempt. Unfortunately about a thousand people, or so it seemed, had the same thoughts!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Bear Brook Trail Marathon

I’ll be honest, the first time I heard about the BearBrook Marathon & Ultra at Bear Brook State Park in Allenstown, NH I thought to myself, “A 26.7 mile race, on those brutal trails in the middle of the summer and height of the deerfly season?! No F’n way! Who’d be crazy enough to sign up for that?!”  Well, as it turns out – me!

In my never-ending pursuit to become a stronger runner (or injure myself beyond repair) I put my name in the BBM hat just three days before the race. Hmmm. Deciding to run a marathon at the last-minute with no specific training, build-up or taper. Where have I heard that one before? Anyway, at $26.70 the price was certainly right and I figured it would be a good way to get a long trail run in (with support) as I work my way up to the 50-Miler in the Fall.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Ultra-met Challenge

I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been much more interested in running long than running fast. Maybe it’s because, as I age, I’m finding it near impossible to come close to my previous race PR’s - despite the fact that it feels like I’m training harder than ever! Maybe it’s because I seem to keep breaking down when I try to run too fast. Or, maybe it’s because there’s just something inside me that likes to see just how far I can go!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Progress Report

Seeing as though we’re almost exactly half-way through the calendar year I thought I’d take a look back to see how I’m doing on my Running Goals for 2012.

Training Goals:

Stay injury free for the duration of 2012.

Grade: C+ Only one semi-injury and the 3-week duration was fairly manageable. Still, I’d really like my hamstring problems to be behind me once and for all.

Get my weight below 180 (184 currently) and keep it there for the year.
Grade: B-  Got to 180, stayed there for 2 weeks, now back up to 184.
It would be a lot easier if the cookies, chips and ice cream didn’t call me by name!

Add more (and varied) cross training exercises to my training routine.

Grade: B+  Been swimming, biking, trail running and have even spent some time at the gym. Shocker!

Learn to swim. Not just treading water, but proper swimming technique.

Grade: A-  Took a class. Began slowly but have really improved as I’ve started to figure some things out. I really enjoy it and I'm looking forward to my first open-water swim later this summer.

Summary: For the most part I've been pretty happy with my training so far this year. I'm averaging more miles per week than I ever have in my 15 years of training. And with the biking and swimming it's been a very good mix of workouts. Certainly not bored.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Stepping Back

Rock Bottom. Ground Zero. Nadir. All-Time Low. These are not words that one would wish to use to describe the results of a recent important race or, in this case, a series of recent important races. But, that’s exactly the sort of lingual ballpark I find myself in after my current string of personal worst performances capped off by this weekend’s USATF-NE 10k Championships in Newton, Mass.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Tourist Season

"I am a Passenger"
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. After last year’s “Lost Season”, 2012 was to be my big comeback. I planned it out. I did all the phyiso work. I ramped up my mileage carefully over the winter. I cross-trained like a mad man. I built a pretty strong base. I threw in some hill & tempo work. And I even added some track intervals recently to sharpen my speed. But, despite all my hard/smart work, my spring racing season has been nothing short of a bust.

I’ve signed up for, and run, a bunch of big races with top-notch runners to help push me to achieve the success that I was hoping for. But instead of stringing together a handful of PR’s it’s been one PW after another. For some reason, I just can’t seem to get on track and these races (and racers) have passed me by like I’m standing still. Just sitting by the side of the road watching the world go by and helpless to do anything about it. Honestly, it’s been more of a tourist season than a racing season.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Double Trouble

I ran two races in consecutive weekends (one almost exactly twice as long as the other) but both with nearly the same result - The Bedford Rotary 12k & The Pineland Farms 25k.  Two races, so different in character yet so similar in feel that it was almost like they were the same event.  This blurred together race - let’s call it “Bedland” (or better yet “Pineford”) - was the start of what I hoped would be a late spring/early summer string of success, building upon the quality training that I’ve been doing recently.  Unfortunately (I seem to use that word a lot these days) this was not the case.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Training Daze

Not much happening on the racing front since my latest debacle at Muddy Moose.  Although I do have a series of races scheduled in the coming weeks including the Bedford 12k, Pineland Farms  25k, Newton 10k & Hollis  5kSo, lately it’s been all about the training. Some good, some bad and some bizarre...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Muddy Moose Trail Race (Short)

Last weekend I packed up the family and headed up to Wolfeboro, NH for two very special events.  The first was a memorial service for my Step-Grandmother Arlene “Gigi” Jillette who passed away earlier this year at the ripe young age of 98.  And, the second was the Muddy Moose 14 Mile Trail Race.  This race was one that I’d been eying for a few years and since we were going to be in the area anyway, it seemed like a good a year as any to do it.  Unfortunately, as it turned out, I’ll need to make a return trip to the “Borough of Wolfe’s” if I’m going to check this race off my to-do list.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill

One year ago today, I tore my hamstring on an easy training run in the woods. The accident happened the day after watching a thrilling Boston Marathon and (by no small coincidence) the day after my quickest tempo run ever. It’s been a long, difficult road to recovery since that fateful day and when given an opportunity to run this year’s race I quickly jumped at it.  Because running Boston (at least in my own twisted mind) was my little way of saying - I’m back!

Unfortunately, the weather gods had other plans.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Sounds of Heartbreak

Hello Boston, my old friend,
I've come to run with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
The obsession that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of Heartbreak

In restless dreams I ran alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
'Neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my Nike’s to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
The Citgo Sign
It blew my mind
And touched the sound of Heartbreak

In Monday morning’s light I saw
Ten thousand runners, maybe more.
People talking without listening,
People stretching without warming,
People taking leaks that toilets never share
But no one dared
Disturb the sound of Heartbreak

Fools said I, You do not know
Heartbreak like a side-stitch grows.
Hear my words that I might teach you,
Take my gels that I might feed you.
But my words, by screaming coeds drowned
And echoed
In the wells of Heartbreak

And the people bowed and prayed
To the running god they made.
And the statue flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the plaque said, the words of the dropouts
Are written on the Green Line halls
And Med Tent walls
And whisper'd in the sounds of Heartbreak 

Sung to (and stolen from) "The Sounds of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel

Thursday, March 29, 2012

10 Things

10 things I’ve figured out since I re-started learning to swim:

  1. Goggles are very important.
  2. Ear plugs are important, but not as important as goggles.
  3. A nose plug is not important and actually quite annoying.
  4. A swim cap is also not important but still very cool.
  5. Swimming with your mouth closed (the entire time) is hard and stupid.
  6. Lifting your whole head out of the water to breathe is not recommended.
  7. Breathing with a right side head turn is hard but with the left side it’s easy.
  8. Kicking should be continuous and not once every swim stroke.
  9. Kick turns are cool but physically (and genetically) impossible for me to do.
  10. My shoulders, neck and upper back hate me for trying this.
Oh, and I still have no fucking idea what I’m doing.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

New Bedford Half Marathon

At the start of the year, The New Bedford Half Marathon was to be my “Goal Race” for the Spring of 2012. I geared my early season training plan around it in order to peak for the March 18th race date and hopefully run a new Half Marathon PR. And, while my training did go pretty well for the first 2+ months of the year, I realized after the 10 miler that a HM PR (1:23:06 or better) was a little bit beyond my reach at the moment. So, going into the race, my "new" plan was to put in a good, hard effort and just have fun with it.

As usual, the start at New Bedford was crazy. It took me a while just to worm my way up through the tightly packed corral area to a place where I thought I should be, pre-start. The temps were near ideal – Sunny, 45 degrees and almost no wind. Of course, we were standing amongst the taller buildings in downtown New Bedford, so any wind was bound to be somewhat minimized. That was not to be the case, as it turned out, down by Clark’s Cove and New Bedford Harbor. But, more on that later …

Friday, March 9, 2012

Square One

Recently I decided that it would be a good idea to expand my cross training world to include swimming. Lord knows why. I waste enough of my time exercising, really, without including time driving to an aquatic facility, flopping around in a pool for a while, then driving home. And then, probably catching a cold from going outside with wet hair.

Anyway, that “X-T World Expansion” began this past Monday evening at the Nashua YMCA. I signed up to participate in a Tri-Swim class (or in my case - Try Swim) to help me learn proper swimming technique. The class is taught by a burly guy named John, who clearly has no idea what he’s in for with regards to teaching me how to swim.

Monday, February 27, 2012

DH Jones 10 Miler

This past weekend I ran the DH Jones 10m in Amherst, MA. This race was the first of seven in the 2012 New England Grand Prix and was also the first GP race that I’ve run with my team since the Red’s Shoe Barn 5m in April of last year. Gate City had nearly 50 runners signed up to run and everyone seemed psyched to get the season started. So, to say that I was super-amped up for this race would be a very mild understatement.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Give and Take

In running & racing jargon, once a runner reaches the ripe old age of 40 they move up to something called the Masters Division. I’m not sure why they call it “Masters”. In the 15 years I’ve been running, I certainly don’t feel like I’ve “Mastered” anything yet. However, as a Masters runner I have learned that I need to be flexible – both in my training and my racing expectations.

When I started running at the age of 29, I could hammer every workout day after day and nearly every race I ran seemed to bring a new PR. If I trained (and raced) the same way these days I’d end up getting injured more than I already am! So, I’ve learned that a certain amount of flexibility (a give and take if you will) is required for both my running longevity and my overall sanity!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Running on Faith

Long distance running requires a certain amount of faith; Faith that your weekend 20 miler will be worth getting up at 5:30am for; Faith that you’ll be able to complete the day’s workout in its entirety, despite what your legs are telling you; Faith that the driver coming at you with a cell phone in one hand and a tall vanilla latte in the other is not going to plow you over.

Long distance racing requires a whole other level of faith: Faith that your finely-crafted training program will deliver you to the starting line on race day in the best shape of your life; Faith that the pace which felt slow and difficult during your 10 mile training run will now feel light and easy during your marathon; Faith that when you push yourself to the limit, you can achieve your goals.