Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Drought Ends

You know, internet, I didn't mean to take a long hiatus from this thing. I ran a good 10 miler a few weeks ago and was all set to write a content blog that weekend. Then I missed it, then it was finals for summer classes, then I started a new job. . . and here we are. I'll give a nice long update now, but first, I want to mention that Johnny Kelley the younger is no longer with us. A legend in the New England road racing scene, Kelley won the 1957 Boston Marathon and represented the USA twice at the Olympic Games. He was also an alumni of my school, Boston University. I walk by his picture every time I go into the track locker room. His other highlights are too numerous to mention here and his influence on more than half a century of runners in the area is too vast for me to truly do him justice. I refer everyone who reads this blog to Amby Burfoot's wonderful reflection on Kelley, which you can find at

As for my last month, it began very promisingly after the heatwave and unfortunately went south from there. I ran a ~70 second PR to win the Blessing of the Fleet 10-miler in Narragansett, RI (running 52:08) and thereafter had trouble with my left piriformis and sciatica-like symptoms. I got the troubles under control in time to run the Falmouth Road Race without any pain whatsoever, but fell apart after two miles and ran 37:13, which was some 10 sec/mile slower than I averaged for the 10-miler. It was, as usual, a fun weekend, but I was disappointed to run poorly. Fortunately, the real racing hasn't even begun yet, so I'm focused on making this last collegiate cross country season the best it can be.

Here's what I got up to:

Monday July 25: 2PM- 5.5 mi: up to the BC Res, around once, and home at a sad, crawling short of shuffle. 9PM- 7mi river loop also pretty slow and easy. I wanted to go at 7 but it was rainy and I ate dinner instead. 6.5 total (the loop is short)

Tuesday July 26: 4:45PM- 4mi easy in NH (doctor's appointment, routine checkup)
9:30PM- 3+ up, 3xmile with 800 jog, 3+ down. I did this workout kinda weird(ly?). I did the whole first mile "hard" (about 5k effort) then jogged my 800 in ~3:10, then did the second mile with the first and last laps at ~tempo-y type pace and the middle 800 in 2:24 for a time of 4:59, then jogged another 800 in ~3:10 before finishing the last mile going 77, 75, 70, 67 for 4:49. The workout was 4 miles total in 20:59. It was 70 deg out and windy, so much more comfortable than it's been lately. I gotta get in the habit of running at like 7:30am so mornings stop getting away from me.

Wednesday July 27: 11:30AM- 4mi very slow, felt tired, heavy, but mostly hungry.
6:30PM- 10mi easy with Joey, some with James and Peter. All dizzy and stuff because I didn't eat enough today, but I ground it out.

Thursday July 28: 6:30PM- 81min easy tending toward moderate with Peter, Joey, and guest star Teddy V of Northeastern. I did not intend on running this far or averaging 6:20 pace, but I felt good and it wasn't hot out, so whatever. We ran all around the downtown and saw some attractive ladies. 12+ miles

Friday July 29: 9:30AM- 3mi at about 9min pace, with the middle 2 barefoot on the track. 5:30PM- 22min up, strides, 10-mi road race, 20min down with Joey and his HS teammates. The race went well- after about a half-mile, the pace slowed as people settled in. I felt fine at the initial pace, so off I went. I ran the first 5 miles pretty aggressively for my fitness level and the wheels came off at about 6 miles, but I was able to hold on for a 7 second win after being ~25 seconds up at 5mi.

Splits I remember:

5:04 (5:04)
10:16 (5:12)
15:20 (5:04)
20:35 (5:15)
25:47 (5:12)
31:06 (5:19)
36:20 (5:14)
41:32 (5:12)
46:58 (5:26)
52:08 (5:10)

Miles 6 and 9 had these ~100y long gradual hills, which felt like friggen mountains at that point. Sub-52 was right there had I been tougher on the hills.

Saturday July 30: 11:30AM- 4mi easy with Sean and some with James, ran really slow. My calves were fine, surprisingly, but my quads felt like I had tried to and succeeded in squatting the world. 5PM- 7mi easy with the Trethewey, still felt like my quads had gotten electrocuted.

Sunday July 31: OFF, tired, covered in blisters, and sore- but mostly lazy

Tot- 82

Monday August 1: 2PM- 4mi easy after class, hot out, quads still pretty ugly, but my blisters felt much better. 7:30PM- Fresh Pond once from the house with James, really slow. Quads still sore, stomach upset.

Tuesday August 2: 7PM- Joey, Peter, and Rob were doing a workout, so I ran up to the BC Res and around it a bunch of times while they worked out. Still felt sore, but today was under 7:00 pace. 11mi total

Wednesday August 3: 11AM- 4mi nice and easy before class. 6:30PM- 10 mi easy with Peter and the first half with Eric, 67min total. Left butt/hip was really sore. This was the beginning of the piriformis that hated me.

Thursday August 4: 7:30PM- 10 with Rob on the Fat Cat loop then a short addition to get 11 on the day. Left hip still sore, but not as bad as yesterday. I thought it was cause I was limping on my blister foot, but who knows these things.

Friday August 5: 6:30PM- 3.5 up, 8x~500 section of hilly trail on the Pinkerton course with jog back, 3+ down. My left hip/piriformis was really going nuts today; the cooldown was miserable. Running uphill seems to be good for it (more range of motion = more stretching?) so I did some net uphill surges on trails.

Saturday August 6: 11:30AM- 7mi moderate on a hilly loop, had some pain in the butt/hip but mostly it was just tight. 7:30PM- 8mi moderate on more or less the same course (I went home a different way to get in another mile) with only the odd spike of pain and mostly just moderate tightness in the butt/hip. Going to town on my ass with a tennis ball (. . . ladies) seems to have been helped. I didn't get any numbness or "oh god the white hot pain is making me buckle" feelings and after the run it didn't hurt much at all, so I was pretty hopeful at this point.

Sunday August 7: Did 2, hip killed, turned around and limped home. Sad panda.

Total: 79

Monday August 8: 5:30PM- 13.5 miles: 3 laps around Fresh Pond with Peter at a good clip (6:20 or so for the whole run, I think). After one lap we ran into a runner from Brown and rolled with him for a while. The hip mostly behaved, so that was cool. Today, also, was my 22nd birthday.

Tuesday August 9: 8:30PM- 2 classes, work orientation, didn't have time for shit til late. River loop with Rob, 15min at 2mi, then 6:15 pace the rest of the way, more or less.

Wednesday August 10: 11AM- 7 mile river loop pretty slow. My piriformis doesn't feel "injury" hurt, but it is "holy crap all that rehab" hurt. I looked up some exercises that are supposed to be "challenging" if you have a weak piriformis, and I could barely do more than a few reps. Nice weather, though, and no nerve "buzz" or numbness. 6PM- A lap around Fresh Pond, flying today. 8.5 miles with no watch, but I was wailing on it.

Thursday August 11: OFF. One of those days that sneaks up on you with stuff spaced out so that I could have been late to some stuff and squeezed in two 5-6 mile runs at various points about 3 hours apart, but I never did. Rats.

Friday August 12: 12PM- 6.5 mi easy with my younger brother on the river, nice weather. Last lingering hip stuff was GONE baby! 7:30PM- To JP around and back with 6x2min hard, 1min moderate in the middle just to turn the legs over a little. I went back kind of a different way for a little add-on. 9mi total

Saturday August 13: AM- 4mi easy before driving down to Falmouth with Peter, Rich, and Cordaro the Born Again. PM- 10mi easy, some with Peter and Kev, the other bit with Max Darrah, with whom I stayed that evening before the race. My teammate Rich Peters was one of the pacers for the Elite Mile the day before and therefore I say all the credit for the 10 sub-4 performances belongs to him.

Sunday August 14: Falmouth Road Race- 3 up, 7mi race 37:13 for God knows what place. I hit two miles in 10:10 with one of my teammates, but while Peter went on to roll a 35:45, I fell well off the pace and got picked off by the top two women finishers several miles later. I have yet to beat the first woman at this race, and I suppose I have to wait another year to try. 3mi down. Again, though, Falmouth is too fun a weekend to let a bad race ruin it- but a run like Peter's would have been just the icing to make it perfect. C'est la vie, right?

Total- 84 miles

Monday August 15: 7PM- 10mi very slow, 75min, on the river through a downpour with James. I was in an extremely bad mood, but James refused to allow me to stay that way the whole run.

Tuesday August 16: 6:55AM- Usually I round up to the nearest 15min, but I wanted to brag about getting this one started before 7am. 4mi easy, quads still sore. 6:30PM- Two laps around JP from the house with a stop at the TTC to do 4x150 and a 200 fast. Hip a little sore near the end, very tender after when I was stretching. Quads still sore, but I hit a good pace regardless.

Wednesday August 17: 6:30PM- 4+ up with James, 3x4x200 with 200 jog between reps and an 800 jog between sets. I averaged 31.4 for the first 10 and then ran the last two in 29.3 and 28.1. It felt good to open up a little and to know how easy this workout was, despite the fact that my legs were still rocked from Falmouth. 3+ down.

Thursday August 18: 6:45AM- 3mi easy, mostly barefoot on Nickerson, no time for more because I had to take a dump during the run and it killed like 10min. 8PM- 10mi moderate solo, felt good, last few reasonably hard.

Friday August 19: Woke up late, no time for a morning run. After work I took the bus to Derry. 8PM- No legs or light for a workout (friggin Derry barely has street lights) so I just wailed on it for 9 hilly miles.

Saturday August 20: 3:30PM- 4mi barefoot on Hood Field, 28:24, with Kevin, who is leaving for the University of Portland out in Oregon in 3 days. We had a barbecue for him and I didn't get out to run again, which was fine because frankly, my allergies were going nuts and I didn't want to deal with them.

Sunday August 21: 12PM- 7mi moderate over a hilly course in Derry, crushed the last 4mi without really meaning to, but I didn't have a watch on it. 7PM- 6.5 easy on the river, tried to keep things a little slower today because most of my runs this week have been quite fast.

76 miles, not a great week, but I started tutoring at a summer enrichment program and missed some doubles. This week will be better.

Take it easy, everyone, and rest in peace, Johnny Kelley. You will be missed.


  1. Thank you for remembering of Young John.

    Good luck and take care.

  2. Walt, I sniffled a little when I heard the news and read Amby's reflection. I walked into the kitchen and said to my mother "Johnny Kelley died" and even she was horrified to hear. My grandfather, who ran track in HS but not college, would have been at BU at about the same time as Kelley and knew he was really something special. Granpda was said to hear the news when we visited him on the way back to my apartment in Allston. A sad day for the sport- but wouldn't Kelley be touched to know how many people, most of whom he never met, were affected by his loss.