The Story

Distance running can be thankless, isolating, and physically debilitating. Why do it, then? I put in the work for those days when everything clicks into place, when my body seemingly forgets it's limits and the run becomes effortless. I'm also working towards overcoming a year-long injury and training for the Olympic Trials Marathon in February. This blog follows that story and beyond, however it may happen.

Friday, July 15, 2016


Getting on the Strava train. More curious about it than anything. Another motivator is that I want people to be able to view my training if they're interested, and it's really hard to share workouts on Garmin. I'm not really sure how it all works yet but I'm sure I'll get the hang of it soon.

Monday, July 11, 2016


I'm getting there, and in a way, I'm more fit than I thought I was.

Running a few miles a week transitioned to 5 or 6 at a time, then 7, then 8, then all of a sudden I'm comfortable running 5 days a week almost totally pain free. I'm not getting ahead of myself here, because I know my hips and groin still have some old kinks to work out before truly being 100%, but I'm really making some progress.

The impetus for this progress was a dedication to doing core work almost every day. Planks at first, then some more difficult plank-type stuff involving hip movement, then ab work with an exercise ball. I still occasionally feel my right sided "sports hernia" pain, but it's drifted further into the background as I've gotten stronger and put more emphasis on glute and core strength. Like I said in my last post, I need to do this core stuff, otherwise I can't run the way I like to.

Speaking of running the way I like to, I recently did an impromptu fartlek on the roads a few days ago. After a 10 minute warmup, I did 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 3 times, with 1 minute rest in between at a max 172 heart rate. 172 is typically my way upper tempo (zone 3) heart rate. Actually it's pretty much in zone 4. I was able to hit these segments pretty fast though, getting down very close to 5 minute pace for most of the time. I don't know exactly what each segment average was, but I was pumped to be able to do that with very little discomfort.

The next day I felt some tightness in my hips and took it easier. I went to a yoga class yesterday and ran nice and easy today, only about 4 miles.

My plan going forward, I think, is to keep feeling my way towards being healthy for the rest of the month. At that point I'll assess to see if I'm happy with where I'm at, or if I want to train more specifically for something else down the line. My heart is in racing, so I think I already know the answer to that...
From my photoshoot with Zelus Beer Company!


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Back in the game

Heeeeeeeey everyone! Long time, right?!

Feels good to be back in the blog game. So much has happened since my last post, I don't even want to get into it. Maybe bullet points will suffice, except that seems awfully pretentious. Maybe I'll just write it out and see what happens.

After the Trials in February, my body was in really rough shape. The injured spot on my upper hamstring/groin area was totally trashed and I had a tough and uncomfortable time even walking around for the few days following the race. I totally shut down the running for a full three months, which was obviously way necessary. During that time, Ali and I traveled to Seattle, Vancouver, and drove back across the country, visiting my Uncle Bruce and my cousins in Colorado along the way.

We are officially back in New Hampshire, and have been back here for a few months. Ali is doing a contract OT job in North Conway again (like she did last fall), and I started a new job as a rep for Feetures socks for New England. So far the job is great and the company is awesome. I am doing a lot of traveling visiting different accounts across the region, but am able to sleep at home most nights, which is definitely nice. So hey-- if you've never tried Feetures running socks, or even if you have and you already know how killer they are-- go out and get yourself a pair! You won't be disappointed. There's my shameless plug for the day :)

Running wise, I'm getting there. I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't have some good news to share, right? I've been slowly building up my running since we got back from the west coast. I started with small 2-3 mile runs, and have worked up to doing 6-7 miles a couple times now. The injury that debilitated me leading up to the Trials is about 99% gone, which is a rip-roaring relief. The thing that's holding me back now is a general sense of instability in my hips. I also feel a slight/sometimes more than slight pain on my right side, mirror image of my sports hernia I used to have on my left. It's not nearly as bad as my previous sports hernia, and I am confident I can manage this one through core strengthening. I had this same discomfort before and was able to work through it by building up my lower core. I can do that again. I need to work on my core to be a runner. There's no two ways about it.

The last news I'll share for now is about this photo shoot I did yesterday with Zelus Beer Company. Alex Leuchanka and I were the "athletes" doing the shoot, which was on the freakin' Mt. Washington Auto Road. Unreal day, and I had a ton of fun hanging with AL, the photography team and Geoff from Zelus. The beer itself has a cool concept going for it-- they're developing and marketing beer to the runner/triathlete/general endurance athlete who also enjoys drinking beer. And that's most of us, right? I can personally say so, at least. They add more electrolytes and some protein to their beer, which is supposed to aid in recovery post run. While I don't know the inner workings or details of the beer just yet, and I don't really know if you can technically call it a "recovery beer," but I like the idea of it regardless. They're supposed to launch sometime in August, and you better believe I'll be keeping an eye on them until then.

Happy to be (sort of) back in the game!


Friday, February 26, 2016

Recap and Reflection

I've tried to start a post detailing my race at the Trials a couple times now. I only got a few sentences in because it felt so overwhelming. But that was probably for the best. Now that I'm a couple weeks removed from the whole weekend I feel like I have a little more perspective which might make for a more interesting post.

I got to the hotel in downtown LA on the Wednesday before the race. Arriving on Wednesday for a Saturday race was by design because when I booked the tickets I was fully anticipating to be coming from New Hampshire. Adjusting to the time change and weather would have been a much bigger factor coming from the east coast. Alas, our plans changed for the better and Ali and I are in California already, so all we had to do was drive from the SF area to LA. Turns out this wasn't an easy drive. We hit total stop traffic for about 45 minutes but made it in about seven hours total.

The hotel was fancy shmansy. Big time. The lobby was massive with huge ceilings, multiple bars and cafes. I saw all the "big name" runners and coaches starting on Thursday. Shalane, Meb, Galen, Amy Cragg, Desi, Salazar, Ritz, and plenty of others I'm probably forgetting. That was pretty cool.

I was feeling very odd going into the whole thing. I've never gone into a race not expecting to finish and it was weird. In fact, I've never DNF'd in a race in my life, and here I was knowing I would have to DNF several weeks, if not more, ahead of time. It was like going into a test knowing you were unprepared, never bought the book to study from, and there you were on question four and didn't know the answer to anything yet. That was my mental state while I was doing my uniform check on Thursday.

Which reminds me... regarding the injury: I want to be clear that it was 100% brought on by a combination of factors, NONE of which were our actual drive out to California. I don't want people to think that was a factor at all in creating the injury. I clearly felt the pain the night before we left and at the time I was hopeful it wasn't a big deal. That same pain is essentially the same right now, over two months later despite my best efforts to rehab it on my own. Even if the car ride did somehow make it worse, my body had plenty of time to rebound post car ride, and it didn't. No doubt I tweaked it by running and running alone.

(Did that sound defensive?)

(Yeah. Maybe. I think so.)

(Well, it is what it is I guess. I get weirdly frustrated when people are misinformed about this kind of thing.)

(How do I change the vibe of this post now that I've gone off on this rant?)

Cat pics?

This is one of several cute little cats that wander around our neighborhood here in Vallejo

This was at Frog's Leap Winery. My favorite winery we've visited so far. They had a huge garden you could walk around while sippin' your favorite Cabernet. This was taken last weekend (after the race).

Ok, there we go. Feeling better already! Now, on to things that matter. The race.

I woke up on Saturday morning feeling happy. I treated it like any other race morning, listening to horribly awesome pop music and lots of 2009 era Akon and Jason Derulo. Getting breakfast, putting on my shorts, shoes, race number, it was all a familiar process. The difference was that I had greater mental urgency to take it all in. Under normal circumstances, I think I would have missed a lot of the so called "experience" because I would be too hyper focused on myself.

I walked down to the area of the hotel where athletes and their support crews were convening to walk over to the starting area together. It was about a six minute walk. Ali and I walked over there together, which is when I said goodbye and went into the "athlete" area. I couldn't help but feel kindasortaalittlebit cool when I was walking in there.

I had about an hour until the race started so I found a spot in the shade and relaxed. I made sure my shoes were all tied correctly and drank some water. Scanned around the area for other runners I knew. Ate a small gel. I listened to other people's conversations. Sipped on some more water. Exciting stuff, I know. The things that go on in that athlete area-- whew! Thrilling.

Yep. There's the singlet I wore. I couldn't wear my fave Runner's Alley singlet because of USATF restrictions on logo size. Lame. Some people who didn't know about the rules had to literally duct tape over the logos if they were too big

Anticipation grew for the race start. People started to leave the area to warm up and I elected to do a short, say 200 meter jog around the street to wake my legs up a little bit. I was feeling pretty good and the 1000mg of ibuprofen I had taken a couple hours prior was helping my pain level. So much, in fact, that after I took my first few steps of the warmup, I thought the pain was gone entirely. Nah. No such luck. I felt that familiar little twinge of pain and decided to save my running steps for the actual event.

The vibe of the race start was emotionally intense but also super relaxed. I was about 2/3 the way back in the pack among people who were probably 1) Half marathon qualifiers who didn't know their limits in a marathon 2) People who were hurt and/or out of shape or 3) Guys who were respecting the temperature and not wanting to go out fast. This interesting mix of runners made for a pretty chill starting zone. People were chatting with each other and taking it all in.

Once the gun went off my adrenaline shot through the roof. I was suddenly sprinting through the starting line and blown away by the noise coming from the crowd. I strategically placed myself on the right side of the starting line so I'd be able to see my whole support crew. They took some pretty cool photos of me during this initial mad dash.

Swingin' wide around the corner. Not running the tangents 

 The coolness of the start erased any physical pain I might have felt

Knowing I was there solely for the experience of it, I allowed myself to look around and look at the crowd more than I probably ever have during a race. Combine a very casual attitude with an unforgettable moment like this and I couldn't help but smile a little bit. I thought about all I'd done to get here and that made me happy.

I completed the first two-ish mile loop and considered dropping out right then. I was still feeling OK though, and I was still running with a lot of people. So I decided to keep going. I was probably running 5:20 pace through two miles. Ridiculously fast for the level of fitness I was sporting. My heart rate was in the high 180s and hovering at 190 when I glanced at it and never once dipped lower than that during the whole race.
Coming through the first two mile loop. Still running with people but starting to grimace a little bit. The reality of my situation is about to come abundantly clear.

At about 5K, I was toast. My leg was hurting by that point and I thought again about dropping out. The problem with that, logistically, is that I would've needed to walk back the mile or so I just ran. I didn't like that idea so I just kept running. The pain was manageable and I wasn't in dire straights just yet. 

The far end of the first loop was about the five mile mark. At that point I was heading back home anyway, and again, I didn't want to have to walk, so I just kept running. I slowed down, running closer to 6+ minute pace at times trying to conserve myself. There were a few people for me to run with, but not many. Everyone around me was either out of shape or dealing with an injury just like I was. There was a cool camaraderie in that and I appreciated having people around me to share in the agony of it.  

After passing 10k I was gassed. I was finally getting close to the start line again but I was overheating and visibly limping at this point. I ran very heavily with my left leg, trying to protect my injured one as much as possible. Coming back across the starting line I got a little mention over the loudspeaker. The announcer said something about me being from little old New Hampshire which I really loved.

The end of the line for me

I love this picture. Taken just after I stopped running. My ultimate support crew

Finally stopping was a massive relief. I was really hurting and had never pushed this injury quite so hard. I was exhausted and felt like I'd basically ran the whole race. My left leg, having taken the brunt of the effort, was also wrecked. I was relieved to be done with it both physically and mentally.

I watched the rest of the men's and women's races from the sidelines. It was crazy to see how devastated some people were from the heat. I've never done particularly well in the heat, so I probably would've been right there with them had I run the whole thing.

That evening I got to spend a lot of time with my Bucknell friends who also came to support me. Looking back, it was pretty amazing that so many of them made it here from across the country. Awesome friends that I'm so lucky to have.

That about sums up my race. From the runner's perspective, it was a very cool thing to be a part of.

Family selfie sitting in the sun by the hotel pool

Right now my biggest goal is getting healthy. The injury is getting a little better. Right now (two weeks removed from the race) I'm feeling like it's back to it's "pre-race" level of discomfort. I can walk around without a noticeable limp and do most daily tasks without thinking about it very much. The question is when I'll be able to run. I'm looking into doctors around the area here but am inherently skeptical of almost all doctors when it comes to running injuries. I'm also wary of how long that process can take.

My goals beyond getting healthy are unclear. Part of me would love to come back and run the Trials again in four years (assuming I can qualify). But another part of me, now that I'm a little more removed from the weekend is feeling a little less sure about that goal. I don't think getting back to the Trials is as big a priority as I originally thought. Think about it like this-- I've got a finite number of high quality competitive marathons left in my body. Sure, coming back and running well at the Trials again would be cool, but would it be that much better than, say, running London, or Boston, or Chicago, or Berlin? I'm not so sure. Those are awesome marathons too. Consider also middle of the road local marathons like Vermont City, or Manchester, or Hartford, some of which I could conceivably win outright. Also very appealing. Or what about ultras? I could do well there and I know I'd have fun with it. I also might enjoy the ratcheted down level of intensity and shift in focus. Or I could go the other direction completely and focus on half marathon or 10k specific training. Who knows. I guess what I'm saying is there are a lot of choices out there in this sport and I'm not going to limit myself, because it's not necessarily ALL about the olympic marathon trials anymore. It was for a while, but now I'm turning the page. I've hit the big ol' reset button. Once I can run again I'll follow my gut and do what feels right.    


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pre race

Finally here. Not how I'd hoped I'd feel the night before the trials, but it is what it is and I'm feeling upbeat about it. I do have those familiar pre race butterflies going. It's different though. I'm obviously worried about my injury and how far it'll allow me to run tomorrow. There's a lot of unknown there and that's really dominating my thoughts right now. I'm wondering how long I'll be able to hold up and how fast I'll be able to run. 

My main goal is to enjoy it as much as I can with the circumstances. I know it won't be my day tomorrow but I really think I'm ok with that. I've spent weeks mentally preparing for this reality and I'll do the absolute best I can with what I've got. If I can walk away with that feeling, it's a success and definitely something worth celebrating. 

My secondary goal is to finish the first little two mile loop. Boom. 

My third goal is to complete the first full "lap," basically an 8 mile loop. That's the absolute farthest I can imagine myself going, which is a big stretch considering I haven't run that far in about 6 weeks and running is still very painful. I'll be relying on a lot of adrenaline and Advil to pull that one off. So I'll call that my reach goal. 

The race will be on NBC at 1:06 eastern time! I'm wearing an all white singlet and black shorts. Thank you everyone for reading and being supportive of my running and blogging. There will be plenty of other races in my future!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016


I got an email over the weekend asking trials qualifiers to officially "declare" for the race. I wasn't sure how to react to seeing the email at first, and sort of avoided it for a few hours before finally reading it. These kinds of things are exciting when training is going well, but quite the opposite when they haven't been "going" at all. At the time I still hadn't been able to run more than a few minutes here and there, and the idea of declaring for a marathon seemed ridiculous and impossible. (Well, that's because it is both those things!) I knew I wouldn't be able to complete the race, but I decided (with some help and encouragement from friends) that being on the starting line is something that I've earned; it's important even if I have zero intention or ability to actually cross the finish line. My goal is to get as much experience out of the weekend as possible, and being on the starting line should be a part of that. I ran the time to deserve to be on the starting line. Even if I know completion is more than a pipe dream, I now have every intention and every motivation to get up that day, put on my singlet, treat it like any other race morning and get my ass to the starting line with everybody else. It was a nice conclusion to come to and I find myself looking forward to the race more now that I've got that figured out in my own head.

In other news I was able to run for 30 slow, nonstop minutes today. Probably 7:30-8:00 pace. It wasn't without significant pain in my upper hamstring/butt, but it was tolerable today. The injury itself seems to be staying pretty much the same-- the other conditions of my body (flexibility, strength, motivation) being in alignment seem to at least allow me to get out there and run for a reasonable distance at a reasonable pace. It did wonders for my mental state, no doubt about that. Hopefully I can keep things consistent and be in a good spot for the start of the race in about 10 days! 


Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Overall, my progress towards running again has essentially halted over the last week and a half. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining, but that'll be a hard emotion to avoid in this post. Since those few days of running I did about 10 days ago I've found myself almost back at square one. To catch myself (and my faithful readers out there!) up... here's how it's been playing out.

I got a deep tissue massage (the second one I've gotten since this happened) and ran twice the next day. This was...oh.. around the 14th of this month. The first run was horrible, the worst it's felt. It felt like it was going to pop out or something. Am I being dramatic? Perhaps. Anyway, I needed to limp about a half mile home in the rain. Sucked. After getting back, I stretched out and started to feel better. I made it about a quarter mile into my next run when I was forced to walk again due to pain in my hip. That was a rough setback.

After that I took a couple days off. Admittedly, I lost a little bit of rhythm in my day to day attempts at running, walking, or doing strength work during this time. Some days I took off entirely, while others I would attempt to run. Every few days I would do strength work, but I lost the consistency and focus I had back when the injury initially happened. I think the day to day pain wore me down a little bit. And those couple days of forced walking didn't help either. The idea of going outside only to walk back 10-20 minutes later was more than a little disheartening and something that I think I subconsciously wanted to avoid. So I did, until today.

I got over the hump and did a run/walk this morning. Turns out, to no big surprise, I can still only handle a minute or two of very slow running before my limp gets bad enough to force me to walk. For what it's worth, I still felt good about trying it. Going out and walking for 40 minutes is a small thing, but I appreciated being able to breathe fresh air and at least reestablish a base line for potential future improvements. I need to keep taking it a day at a time. Not giving up yet.