On Saturday, September 8th, Level Renner will be at Bryant
College University for the Shawn M. Nassaney Memorial Race. As was explained in the intro blog post, this race and cause is quite meaningful to me and this is the last in a series of blog posts appearing here leading up to the race.
The 2011 race was held on September 10th (results here), and this is my account of it as I recorded it in my training log (edited for grammar and logic, per usual). This one is different from the others in that it was more than just a race, but also a big workout day for me as well. So this post could a workout piece along with a race report.
Once the calendar hit September, I really had started to focus on my looming marathon date: October 16th, which was the Baystate Marathon. I had raced quite a bit this past summer and my fall race calendar was pretty jammed up as well. I was a little nervous about having all these races so close together right before taper time. It didn’t really leave much room for workouts. I could have skipped a race, but that wasn’t ideal. Acushnet (9/5) is one of my favorites, the Nassaney race (9/10 )is quite meaningful and then the CVS 5k (9/18) was a championship race.
I was talking about this with a good friend of mine (Todd) and he suggested tacking on a workout after the race. At first I was hesitant, but then after thinking about it I warmed up to the idea. I had heard of elite runners in the area doing this in the past so perhaps this is what was needed to help get me to the next level.
First, I had a race to run. Once again we seemed to have almost perfect weather for the event, with temps in the 70′s accompanied by clear a sky and a light breeze. Goal for this race was to take it out hard, maintain a good pace on the hills in the woods, and then recover enough to finish up really strong around the flat fields up top. Part of those goals was to finally go sub-16:00 and that beast of a course and to win.
The race used to be held on the Sunday of homecoming weekend, whenever that happened to fall. This was the first year in which the race was to be held on the second Saturday of September, in conjunction with Bryant’s collegiate races. What unfortunately happened was the football game was rescheduled for today and noise from the game and the announcements created a bit of confusion. The start/finish/post race festivities all take place right by the football stadium, and when you have a game going on it’s hard to compete with the announcements.
The race starts at 1:00, and at 12:55 I found myself at the water table getting some fluids and talking to an old teammate, and noticed that there there didn’t seem to be the feeling of an imminent race in the air, no sense of urgency. Instead of being on the line, people seemed to be scattered a bit. My friend told me “I just heard that they’re going to push the start back to like 1:30, or at least until they get settled since there’s so many people still registering”. So I think to myself, “I guess I should jog around a bit to stay loose”. Luckily I’m all in my racing gear and ready to roll. I jogged behind the start line and strangely saw what appeared to be a group (smaller than usual) lining up to start the race. Curiously I jogged over to see what exactly was going on. As I got up to the line I hear “runner’s set”. Oh shit. I fumbled to get my watch going. It just barely turned on, no sat signal, as the gun went off.
Still somewhat confused, I dart out to the front…and the race was over (I was never challenged). I don’t quite know what any of my splits were, and I couldn’t quite go by time because they also altered the course slightly from the way it’s been run the last few years. All I know is, I opened it up on the field and pushed the downhills going into the woods, hoping that would give me a fast first mile. I kept pushing in the woods, through the hills and turns, and then worked the final uphill. I made sure to make it hurt over the last portion on the flats up top. Despite the lack of splits, competition and with the pre-race shenanigans, I dropped damn near twenty seconds off my PR on this course (final time was 16:24). Can’t complain.
I took a quick break to give an interview after the race (with Steve Mazzone), then grabbed some water and headed over to the track to finish up the day’s load. The total break was 8-10 minutes, which was a little longer than I had wanted to take. My wife, mom, and Godparents were all at the race and also came over to watch the madness, along with my friend/coach/whiskey brother Todd.
The workout Todd and I agreed upon was 3k-2k-1k, but to approach it cautiously. It wasn’t until I was done racing and still felt good that we decided to move ahead with it. If things didn’t feel right in the workout, I was to stop. Here’s how it went:
3k in 9:25 (5:04, 4:21)
.6 jog recovery in 4:58
2k in 6:06 (4:56, 1:10)
Recovered nicely for this, and felt pretty good doing it. I was surprised at how strong I still felt immediately after the race and wanted to see what else I could do. Only thing was my left leg (hamstring/glute) was tightening up, so I stopped while I was ahead.
On the 3K I had to go WIDE twice, like off the track wide, since the whole lacrosse team was in my way. They were practicing, and the field isn’t enough space for those turds. They were congregating in lanes 1-4, then had a triage center set up in lanes 5-8ish on the back stretch. Twice on the back stretch i had to go wide and run off the lined track to get around it. I wasn’t happy with that, but was happy to see my splits were still pretty good despite that.
Not all lacrosse players are bad, but I’ve had enough encounters with them on the track to know that they’re pretty oblivious to their surroundings (and the actual purpose of a track). I’m sure they’d take exception to me doing strides in the middle of the field as they were trying to practice, or just standing in front of the goalie while I took a drink of water. I’ll never understand why I see the lanes of the track so cluttered with lacrosse players and gear, but the actual sidelines of the field are almost empty. Oh man, don’t even get me started!
That tightness that made me stop is essentially what brought me down, although that wasn’t the moment it happened. It slowly crept in, and now I have a torn hip labrum. Hooray for me. Anyway, I would recommend trying something like this, but to be very cautious about it.
Things to note about this year’s race: the race (starting with last year’s) is now held in conjunction with Bryant’s collegiate invitational XC races (schedule and registration here). It’s been a few years since we’ve had studs like Keith Kelly, Matt Pelletier and Roland Lavallee show up and get on the line, but hopefully we’ll see some increased competition (and numbers) this year. Hope to see you there!
That’s enough from me and my races, let’s here from you now! Send us your race reports and share them with Level Legion.