Boston 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Going Back To Your Roots

Jan 30th, 2011 - It was almost exactly a year ago today that I participated in my first GLRR group run from Gold's Gym in Drum Hill. I can't recall the last time I ran from this location, but it might have been almost exactly a year ago today.

I went back to my roots this morning and ran with some of the same people that I ran with back then.

Today's group included Glenn, Frank, Fil, James, Mike B., Jill, Paul K., and Andy C. We were all running different distances and paces, but pretty much over the same course: Drum Hill to Chelmsford to Tyngsboro to Lowell and back to Drum Hill via Technology Drive, 3A, Dunstable Rd., Westford St. back out to 3A, Tyngsboro Bridge, Sherburne/Varnum Ave, School St/University Ave/Aiken St., Pawtucket St, Wood St, Westford St, and finally, the finish at Courthouse Lane.

My plan was to get in at least 18 to get myself up to 70 for the week and 250 for the month, both of which would be personal highs. Goal pace for today was 7:15 when I started, but that always changes depending on how I felt during the run.

Weather was mild with temps in the low 20's at the start, so I opted for the shorts and calf sleeves. I went with one layer up on top per Jim Rhoades' advice since two layers trap in moisture. It was the perfect advice as it was just enough for the temps and I stayed dried and cool throughout the run. Thanks, Jim!

I took off with the group a little after 8AM and opened it up a bit at the end of Technology Drive and when we got onto the long stretch into Tyngsboro. Much less traffic out here and the shoulder wasn't too bad considering the amount of snow that we've been getting.

These were my old stomping grounds when my parents use to live near Dunstable/Westford for over 10 years, so it was like running down memory lane. I later discovered that Jill lives less than a mile from where my parents use to live, basically in the same development. It's amazing that I never ran into her during one of our workouts in the old neighborhood!

I was so nostalgic that I took a detour up the steady hill on Chandler, around mile 4, and then up another steeper hill on Joco Dr before running past my parents' former abode. This detour tacked on about a mile and put me roughly 5-8 minutes behind everyone else at this point.

I figured that an 18 mile run would be kind of boring without a challenge, so now my goal was to try to catch as many of them as I could before the end of the run. This gave me a chance to lay down some marathon pace miles (6:30's) over the next 5-8 miles in order to catch up. I figured that I'd be able to catch some of them by mile 10 and the rest by mile 13 if they were continuing at their original 7-8 minute paces.

I caught glimpse of Glenn in his orange jacket after the first hill on Sherburne at mile 9. I passed him, Paul, and Mike a little after that and I continued on for another two miles before catching James, Fil, and Jill running 7:30's at mile 12. Frank was about a quarter mile down the road and I ran with him for about a minute before passing him at mile 13. Frank quickly mentioned that he hadn't seen Andy for quite some time, so I knew that it was highly unlikely that I'd be able to catch Andy who was "only" doing 16 today.

I continued down the boulevard and headed up towards the UML north campus before crossing the University Ave bridge for the turn home. This part of the route always puts me to sleep due in part to the fact that I basically lived on this stretch throughout most of last year and in a previous running life. Very boring.

Things got more exciting by Market Basket on Wood St where there was more street traffic and hardly any running room on the shoulder. I just ran as hard and as fast as I could just to get through this short stretch in one piece.

I got back to the Gold Gym's driveway entrance at exactly mile 17, so I had to tack on an additional mile along the first part of the Carson 2 Mile course to hit 18. I purposely red-lined myself over the final mile to see what I had left in the tank and managed a 6:11 to put me right at 6:50 for an overall pace.

This ended up being my fastest 18 mile training run ever.

This was my first lone long run in a long time, so it was a nice mental test to see if I was ready on that front. I felt fine throughout the run, but more importantly, I stayed focused and was very comfortable with the pacing. The miles once again just came and went with ease, which is a sign of a great run.

Looking forward to coming back here again next year for the 3rd Annual Gold's Gym Group Run.

Since tomorrow is a rest day (gotta do some drinking and eating at the GLRR club meeting tomorrow night), I'm closing the book on Jan '11 with 250 miles (7:30 pace).

This is the most mileage I've put in for one month since August (237) of last year when I was getting ready for RTB Ultra/Hartford/Baystate/JFK. 


Frank Georges said...

Nice run today. This looks very similar to the type of long runs and weekly mileage I could do when my marathons were in the low 2:50's. Picking up to marathon pace for 10+ miles is a good idea. I also like that you are seeking out as many hills as possible.

I think you will have a legitimate shot to break 2:50. You have the ability.

Keep up the 70-80 mile weeks. They can help now but they are most important in late March and early April. I'd say you are ahead of schedule right now for where you need to be to run 2:50.

BadDawg said...

What Frankie said. Impressive stuff J, keep it rollin'.

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