Monday, March 25, 2013

Race Review: James H. Lamb Memorial Scholarship Road Race

Race season is officially in full swing. With my third race in three weeks it's great to be back at it on a regular basis.  The race this week was the James H. Lamb Memorial Scholarship Road Race.  It was a 5 mile course in Taunton, MA.

So for the registration and fees concerning the event. Pre-Registering it was only $16 and Day of Race Registration was $20. This was great pricing for a race of this distance. Usually they are more expensive.  The lower price however did not affect the S.W.A.G. (Stuff We All Get) bag given out to runners. Included in the bag, was a long sleeve t-shirt, sun glasses, a water bottle, a stop watch, and a few other items. It was surprisingly impressive for a race that only had a total of 79 participants.

As for the course itself it was a nice loop that started and ended at Coyle & Cassidy High School. The course went passed Hopewell Park, down towards the old Leonard Elementary School, a left onto Fremont St. and then down some strides and back past Leonard Elementary school and back the way we came. There were two water stops and every mile was marked and had a timer. The course itself had quite a few hills and some were steeper than others, but overall it was a great course to run.

The best part of this race was the after racing in many different cities and towns in Massachusetts, I finally manage to run on in my home town! It was a great feeling to run it and feel a certain sense of pride to race in the city I grew up in. I finished the race in 43:06 which is a personal record for 5 miles outdoors.

I am taking this weekend off from racing,but I will be back to racing when Riley and I conquer the Great Bay Half Marathon.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Training while Sick

Even though it's technically spring, winter doesn't look like it's leaving us any time soon here in New England. It's like we're north of The Wall up in here! (If you don't get that reference, I'm not sure if we can be friends.) 

With the weather stubbornly hanging in the 40's longer than usual, tons of people are getting sick. I've been teetering on the brink of sickness all winter, but luckily (*knock on wood*) I haven't been hit yet. However, I know that if I do end up getting sick, how detrimental it can be to my training.

I came across this little rule of thumb while researching marathon training last spring. There is a trick to training while you're sick, and it's pretty easy to remember:

If your sickness is above your neck, it's OK TO TRAIN!
This includes...
  • Headaches
  • Head colds
  • Sinus infections
  • Etc.
If you're feeling dizzy or faint, get your rest, but if you just have a cold or a mild headache, it's typically okay to lace up and hit the road.

If your sickness is below your neck, it's NOT OK TO TRAIN!
This includes...
  • Stomach bugs
  • Fevers
  • Chest colds
  • Etc.
These are ailments that usually take a long time to recover from, and your body needs all the energy it can get to fight it off. The best thing to do is to take a few days off to let your body recover. If you still feel the need to exercise when you're experiencing a below-the-neck sickness, try something low-impact like some band exercises or yoga.

Obviously, I'm not a doctor, and this rule probably won't work for everyone, but I find that it's a good way to figure out if I should push through the pain or sit out a day or two. Gauge how you feel, and go from there, and if you're really not sure, check with your doctor or athletic trainer before continuing your training regimen.

Good luck, and stay healthy! Spring will come soon! (I hope...)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Race Review: New Bedford Half Marathon 2013

Yesterday, I ran the New Bedford Half Marathon in New Bedford, MA with my friends Arianna Magee and Joe Nusca. For them this was their first half marathon. For me, it was a follow up to the Hyannis Half Marathon with the hope that it would good much better than that one.

The day of the race was already much better than it was for the Hyannis Half Marathon. Instead of it being raining, windy and cold it was sunny with wind gusts. A much better setting to be running a race in.

There were 3135 runners in this race, but even with this many participants parking was not an issue at all. They planned for the large crowds and had ample parking spaces available.  The biggest pre and post race issues for this race were the lines for locker rooms (pre-race) and the festivities (post-race).

Before we discuss post-race though on to the race itself. With such a massive crowd and a highly popular event this race was amazing. Part of the course took us by the beaches and harbors in New Bedford.  It made for a very scenic race at times. With it being in a decent size city this view did not last for the entire race, but it certainly made it better when I got to see it.

However, the two toughest spots for this course are stated in the course description itself. There are two hills that are rather long and up the level of difficulty for this race. The first hill is at mile 3. It is by no means the steepest hill a runner will encounter, but it tends to be a long hill with a steady incline. The second big hill comes in around mile 12. This was a rather difficult hill due to fatigue and soreness in my legs, but I managed to conquer them both.

Another really cool aspect to this race was the crowd turnout. New Bedford takes a lot of pride in this race and you can see it with the spectators who are there cheering on the runners. It was easily the largest turn out fro spectators I have experienced yet.

All-in-all, this was probably my favorite race so far. Between the crowds on the street, my time and just the overall feeling at the end, I have never felt more accomplished when finishing a race. When I crossed the finish line I yelled "Yes!".  That's the only time I have have ever done that.

In the my resulst were a chip time of 2:13:24.  This average of to a minute per mile time of 10:11.  This was 12 minutes faster than my time for the Hyannis Half Marathon. Such a great improvement and now, I am looking forward to the Great Bay Half Marathon on April 7th.

Race Review: Ras na hEireann U.S.A. 2013

     Last weekend I ran the Ras na hEireann U.S.A. in Somerville, MA. This was a fun 5k to run that was made even better by running it with my friends Brianna Strunk and Nick Fernandez. There was a very big turn out for the race as well. It was easily the biggest turn out I have seen for a 5k yet. It turns out there were 4435 participants.

     Even though there were that many participants races day went smoothly. This was aided greatly due to the fact that race bib and t-shirt pick up were made available during the week leading up to the race. While I did not personally go to pick up my bib and t-shirt, Brianna had picked them up, I was told it was a rather smooth process and that is a good sign for a race.

     Now, back to race day.  We arrived in Somerville at around 10 o'clock and headed to the starting line around 10:30 with the race starting at 11.  It was a very St. Patty's Day themed crowd.  At one point while waiting for the starting gun, we were hitting a beach ball around.

     Now for the race itself.  Having run a race in Somerville last October, I was not to surprised by the course. It was very similar to the previous race with the starting and ending points only a street away from the previous race.  The course itself is a relatively flat course with only two hills that may cause issues for some runners.

My results for this time was a 28:15 with an average minutes per mile of 9:06.  As for where I placed within the group itself I was 1595 out of the 4435. Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the finish of this race. It was a very fun run with a good time.

     Part of finishing this race included receiving a finisher's medal and specials at some of the local bars in the area. We tried to go to a one of the bars that had the specials the lines were outside the door and they did not seem to be moving fast at all. We did find a nice little pizza place to eat though. The Davis Square area does not lack for restaurant options.

I highly recommend anyone who likes running to do this race next year!

Monday, March 4, 2013

All Strengths No Weakness

Hey everyone! I just wanted to write a quick post to let you know that a fellow Lasell Alum, Hector, has launched his own fitness blog called All Strengths No Weakness! Make sure you go check it out if you want to read some in-depth articles about general fitness, dieting and training, without such a big emphasis on running like us crazy kids over here at VStR.

Welcome to the Blogosphere, Hector! :)