Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Back and Forth

I started 2013 off with the rather ambitious goal of setting road PR’s for every distance from the mile to the marathon. However, an early and persistent calf injury kept me from being able to get the quality speed work I needed, so I decided to change course (literally) and do more trail races and mountain runs. Fortunately for me, it turned out to be one of the best and most enjoyable years of running that I’ve ever had!

Here are a few of the highlights from this past year:

Ran a total of 3018 Miles – my second highest ever.
Completed 19 races – 9 road, 6 trail and 4 mountain.
Ran a Course PR at the Boston Prep 16m.
Did my first ever Century (100 mile bike) ride.
Had a great 7 Sisters – Probably my best race of the year.
Ran a gravity-aided 17:33 5k PR* at the Hollis Fast 5k.
Had my first ever 90 & 100 miles training weeks.
Ran a Course PR at the Bear Brook Trail Marathon.
Completed 7 WMAC Grand Tree Series races.
Finished 12th overall and 4th in my AG for the GT.
Ran/Hiked all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4000 foot peaks.
Qualified for Boston again – with 14 1/2 minutes to spare.
Helped guide GCS to our 6th straight Mill Cities Championship.

As outlined here, I hope that 2014 will be the “Year of the Ultra” as I try to complete my first ever 100 mile race - in late October. So, pretty much everything I do this year will be working towards achieving that goal. Interspersed amongst the Ultras, will be some of the Gate City Strider club races in both the New England and New Hampshire grand prix series.

As always, I expect that there will be a few bumps along that road, but hopefully I’ll be able to handle them with quiet dignity and grace. If not, I hope at least to make it seem that way. :)

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hitting The Wall

In the sport of marathon running, the term “Hitting the Wall” refers to a point in the 26.2 mile race where a runner suffers from a depletion of glycogen stores in the muscles, resulting in a sudden loss of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue.  I have run dozens of marathons over the years and have had this happen to me nearly every time.  Recently though, it feels like I’ve hit a very different wall.  It feels to me now, like I’m hitting the wall of life.

In marathon racing (and training) “The Wall” is very real and comes almost without any discernable warning.  One minute you’re clicking off the miles with relative ease, and the next, you’re barely walking.  And so it has been lately with me in my life outside of running.  Things have been going along relatively smoothly these past few years, and now for some reason it seems like I can’t get out of my own way.  I feel like my energy has been zapped and I’m staggering to the finish line.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Darkest Day

December 21st, five years ago today
The earth did have its darkest day
The winter solstice marked the time
A brightest light was snuffed away

The jumbo jet fell from the sky
While ornaments were hung on high
Innocent victim of a terrorist act
A senseless cause for one to die

Family and friends could not believe
This joyous season now one to grieve
The trip abroad with much to share
Memories lost we'd not retrieve

Stoic and strong we had to try
But played the songs with teary eye
Classmates and some not seen in years
Gathered together to say goodbye

Goodbye to one so young of age
A too our youth we turned the page
Saddened so that each had passed
A sense of loss combined with rage

Though solstice has the longest night
Day with scarce amount of light
It also brings a ray of hope
That those to come will be more bright

And if an answer's to be sought
For this wicked evil wrought
Give your love to friends each day
That’s the greatest lesson taught

Written in 1993 and dedicated to my friend Steven Boland who was killed  in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21st, 1988. 

If you liked this poem, I have a few more over here.