1 2 5

Marathon Recovery

How to Recover from a Marathon

Guest Blog by Jeff Gaudette of RunnersConnect

Recovering from a marathon is a critical component to a perfect training plan that runners often neglect. Unfortunately, if you don’t properly recover from your marathon, you’ll increase you injury risk and limit your long-term potential – making it harder to break your PR and stay healthy.

marathon recoveryAs a running coach, I’ve heard all the arguments from athletes wanting to jump back into training or racing immediately after their race. More often than not, runners who do not follow a proper post marathon recovery plan find their subsequent performances stagnating or they suffer from overtraining symptoms.

To help guide you to the proper marathon recovery plan, this article will outline the science behind post marathon fatigue, so you can feel comfortable knowing you’re preparing your body for optimal performance down the road. Then, I am going to provide you with the optimal post marathon recovery plan to help get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

Marathon Recovery – The Science

Marathons are tough on the body – there’s no way to sugar coat this fact. Muscles, hormones, tendons, cells, and almost every physiological system is pushed to the max during a marathon race. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Boston qualifier or it’s your first marathon, 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles and your body has undergone tremendous physical duress. Here is a list of some of the scientifically measured physiological systems that are most effected after a marathon and how long each takes to fully repair.

Skeletal Muscle

Muscles soreness and fatigue are the most obvious case of damage caused by running the marathon distance. One scientific study conducted on the calf muscles of marathon runners concluded that both the intensive training for, and the marathon itself, induce inflammation and muscle fiber necrosis that significantly impaired muscle power and durability for up the 14 days post marathon. Accordingly, it will take your muscles about 2 weeks post marathon to return to full strength.

Cellular damage

Cellular damage post marathon, which includes oxidative damage, increased production of creatinine kinase (CK) – a marker that indicates damage to skeletal and myocardial tissue, and increased myoglobin levels in the blood stream (which often results in blood being present in urine).

One study concluded that CK damage persisted more than 7 days post marathon whileanother study confirmed the presence of myoglobin in the bloodstream post marathon for 3-4 days post race. Both of these studies clearly indicate that the body needs at least 7-10 days of rest post marathon to fully recover from the cellular damage caused during the race. These markers, along with a suppressed immune system, which is discussed below, is the primary reason that the optimal marathon recovery schedule avoids cross training the first 2-3 days.

Immune system

Post marathon, the immune system is severely compromised, which increases the risk of contracting colds and the flu. Furthermore, a suppressed immune system is one of the major causes of overtraining. A recent study confirms that the immune system is compromised up to three days post marathon and is a major factor in overtraining syndrome. Therefore, it is critical that you rest as much as possible in the three days following a marathon and focus on eating healthy and nutrient rich foods.

The research clearly indicates that the marathon induces significant muscle, cellular, and immune system damage for 3-14 days post race. Therefore, it is essential that all marathon runners have a 2-3 week marathon recovery protocol that focuses on rest and rejuvenation of these physiological systems.

Marathon Recovery – The plan of action

We’re going to outline a nutrition, rehab, cross training, and running plan for the 3 weeks after a marathon. This rehab plan is guaranteed to help you recover faster and return to training as quickly as possible.

Immediately post race

The immediate post race recovery protocol can be a little difficult to plan ahead of time, so I wouldn’t stress about it pre-race. Focus your energy on pre-race nutrition and race strategy. These notes are simply to give you some guidance after the race.

After you cross the finish line, try to get something warm and get to your clothes. You’ll probably get cold very quickly, and while it won’t help you recover, getting warm will sure make you feel a lot better.

Try to find something to eat. Bananas, energy bars, sports drinks, fruit, and bagels are all good options. Many marathoners can’t eat soon after finishing, so grab a handful of items and make your way to friends and family.

When you get back to the hotel room, you should consider an ice bath. Fill the tub with ice and cold water and submerge your lower body for 15 minutes. You don’t need the water too cold, 55 degrees is optimal, but anything colder than 65 degrees will do. After your ice bath, you can take a nap or walk around to try and loosen the legs. At this point, you’ve done about all you can do for the day. Relax and relish in your accomplishment.

Days 1-3

Running: None

Cross Training: none

Recovery Tips and tricks:

  • Soak in a hot tub for 10-15 and stretch well afterwards.
  • Each lots of fruits, carbohydrates, and protein. The Carbs and protein will help repair the muscle damage while the fruits will give you a boost of vitamin C and antioxidants to help combat free radical damage and boost your immune system.
  • Light massage will help loosen your muscles. Don’t schedule a deep tissue massage yet, just a gentle effleurage massage or a light rolling with the stick.

Days 4-7

Running: One day, 2-4 miles very easy

Cross Training: Optional – Two days, 30-40 minutes easy effort. The focus is on promoting blood flow to the legs, not building fitness.

Recovery Tips and Tricks:

  • Continue eating a healthy diet
  • Now is the time you can get a deep tissue massage if you have areas that are really bothering you or that are injured.
  • Contrast bath your lower body. To contrast bath, take large trash cans and fill one with hot (hot bath temp) water and the other with ice water (cold enough so some ice still doesn’t melt) and put your whole lower body into the cold. Hold for 5 minutes and then switch to the hot for 5 mins. Repeat 2 or 3 times, ending with cold. This helps rush blood in and out of the area, which facilitates healing.
  • Epsom Salt Bath. About an hour before bed, massage your legs out with the stick or self massage and then soak in a hot/warm bath with 3 cups epsom salt and 1 cup baking soda for 10-15 minutes. After the soak, stretch real well and relax. This always perks up my legs quite a bit and you’ll also sleep great.

Days 7-14

Running: Three or four days of 4-6 miles very easy.

Cross Training: Optional – Three sessions total. One easy session and two medium effort sessions for 30-45 minutes.

Days 14-21

Running: Begin to slowly build back into full training. My suggestion is four to five runs of 4-8 miles with 4 x 20 sec strides after each run.

Cross Training: 1 easy session, 1 medium session, and 1 hard session of 40-50 minutes.

Don’t worry about losing any running fitness during this recovery period. First, it’s much more important to ensure proper recovery so you can train even harder during your next training cycle. If you don’t let yourself recover now, you’ll simply have to back off your workouts when it matters. Likewise, you won’t lose much fitness at all. In my experience, it takes about 2-3 weeks of training to get back into good shape and ready to start attacking workouts and planning races.

Try not to schedule any races until 6 weeks after your marathon. I know you may want to avenge a disappointing performance or you’ll be coming off a running high and you’ll want to run every race under the sun. However, your results won’t be as good as they might be if you just wait a few weeks and let your body recover and train a little first. Patience is a virtue, but it will pay off in the end.

Our RunnersConnect memberships and our Personal Coaching plans will take care of all the guesswork in training and walk you through the  entire marathon training process. Sign up now to get a jump on your Spring marathon.


About the author: Coach Jeff Gaudette is a 2:22 marathoner and has been a running coach for the past 7 years. “I love coaching and I have a passion for translating highly technical training theory to the schedules of the runners I coach. I don’t believe in ‘secret’ formulas or ‘patented’ coaching systems, just intelligent, adaptive and experienced coaching”. Join the 2,500+ other runners who rely on RunnersConnect for the latest running research and training information.

Get more great training advice and tips at the place where this article originally appeared RunnersConnect.com.

Brooks On The Level

Brooks NERC

Brooks is teaming up with the New England Running Company to hook one lucky subscriber up with a pair of shoes and an accessory in this month’s giveaway. The winner will get to choose from the wide selection at the New England Running Company store. If you don’t live anywhere near the store, don’t worry. The prize can be shipped to you.

As always, the contest is for subscribers only but there will be chances to gain additional entries via social media. For instance, any subscriber who mentions us or retweets us on Twitter will gain an additional entry. On Facebook, all you have to do is share one of our status updates. While we’re throwing links out there, be sure to follow both Brooks and New England Running Co on Twitter too.

We’ll give the goods away sometime next week (before Halloween). Until then, you can find the latest and greatest Brooks gear at the New England Running Company in Beverly, MA.

Barnicle Gears Up For Frankfurt

Chris Barnicle just recently finished 12th overall and was the third American at the BAA Half Marathon, running a 1:04:29 and attaining the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon ‘B’ standard. Chris currently lives in Mammoth Lakes, CA and competes for the prestigious Mammoth Track Club.

Before running for the professional club, Chris competed for Coach McDonnell at both the University of Arkansas (undergrad) and University of New Mexico (grad school). If we go back even further, we’d see that Chris got his start at Newton North High School in Newton, MA. Ah, another local runner making a splash on the national scene. With Chris in town for the big race, we got in touch with him for a quick interview.

Chris lurks over an opponent's shoulder at the CVS 5k back in '08. Damn, we need to get more up to date photos. This one courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

Chris lurks over an opponent’s shoulder at the CVS 5k back in ’08. Damn, we need to get more up to date photos. This one courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.

How had training been going and what was your PR coming into it?

My training had been going really well. I’m preparing for my first marathon and had a really good stretch where training was just perfect for a few weeks and my confidence was really high. But at the same time, I hadn’t really started a taper and was coming off a 110 mile week at 8,000 feet where I live in Mammoth Lakes, California and the Sunday before had hammered a 24 mile long run that was still in my legs a little bit on race day. My PR for the half marathon is 62:43 from the Philadelphia Rock and Roll in 2011, which is a blazing fast course compared to the BAA Half.

How did it feel to run so well on your home turf?

Coming back to Franklin Park to race for the first time since 2004 to race was incredible. The last time there was for the Class A Eastern Mass Cross Country Championships. The night before Boston got hit with a nearly a foot of snow and racing the next day in those conditions made things interesting for sure. My high school team, Newton North, came up with the win which gave us the confidence to win the next weekend at the state championship so coming in with that blissful memory made racing there even more enjoyable. With my legs a little tired from marathon training I didn’t know what to expect. It was a great moment when I came into White Stadium and the announcer told the crowd I was a Massachusetts Native. The crowd definitely carried me a little bit when they heard that which is always incredible.

How did the race progress for you?

Going into the race and knowing that my legs were a little tired and that the course was more challenging than other half marathons course I’ve raced on I just decided to go out on PR pace and hope my strength might carry me to the finish. Aaron Braun and I raced together clicking off about 4:45 pace through 7 or 8 miles. Around nine miles coming over some of the hills past Jamaica Pond the legs were definitely regretting those earlier quicker miles. I just did my best to hang on as much as possible after that. Coming back into Franklin Park Zoo my legs were really hurting. Some of the tight turns in there really stress the body after running 12 miles before, but I tried my best to keep strong and get to the finish. I’m still shocked out how fast Lelisa Desisa ran on that course. On a fast course I definitely feel like he could have challenged the world record.

How often do you come back to Boston to race?

I don’t come back home to Boston to race enough. Usually when I come home around Christmas time I jump in at least two BU mini meets. I’m not always in the best shape that time of year but the BU indoor track is faster than any other track in the country so it’s always fun to jump in a race there and see if the legs have any turnover. This coming April though I’ll be racing the Boston Marathon which is a dream I’ve had since I was fourteen and started running.

What’s coming up?

Coming up is the Frankfurt Marathon where I’ll make my debut at the distance. I’m going into the race with goals but also will walk away from the race with a new respect for the distance that I’ll carry with me to the 2014 Boston Marathon where I know the experience from Frankfurt will support me to a great performance back home in one of the most prestigious races in the world.

Welcome Back, Mayor’s Cup

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 10.58.20 AMSunday, October 27 at 10 a.m.

Cost: $25.

Cross country is back at Franklin Park, baby! The world was a dark and scary place without the Mayor’s Cup last year, but we can rest easy knowing that it has returned for 2013. The 2013 USATF-NE XC Grand Prix is almost done, but you still have two chances to line up with your teammates and battle it out on some softer surfaces. Details on this Sunday’s race are below:


6 to 10-year-old and under boys and girls race:   10:00 a.m.
11 to 12-year-old boys and girls race:   10:15 a.m.
13 to 14-year-old boys and girls race:   10:30 a.m.
Women’s 5K Championship Race:   10:50 a.m.
Men’s 8K Championship Race:   11:15 a.m.
Franklin Park 5K*:   12:00 p.m.

*Entrants should be capable of running 5K under 45 minutes. Minimum age for participation in the Franklin Park 5K Open Cross Country Race is 15-years old


Youth Races  –  $10.00 (day of event)
Adult Races  –  $25.00 (day of event)

You can find all the info you need right here on the BAA website.

2013 USATFNE XC Grand Prix Schedule, Scoring, and Rules






Thomas Chamberas 6k

Carlisle MA


WMDP XC Festival 5k/8k

Stanley Park, Westfield MA


Wayland XC Festival 5k

Wayland MA High School


Mayor’s Cup 5k/8k

Franklin Park


USATF-NE XC Champs 6k/10k

Franklin Park


The series offers cash prizes for top athletes in both the open and masters categories in addition to team cash prizes.


The 2013 USATF-NE Grand Prix consists of 5 events, cumulative scoring.

  • Must have 2013 USATF membership.

  • Must run at least 3 races to score in series.

  • Must run USATFNE XC Championship race to score in series.

  • Higher place at NE Champs is the tiebreaker

  • Mayor’s Cup Championship for open runners

  • Mayor’s Cup 5K for aged 40+ runners

  • Traditional team cross country scoring system

See usatfne.org xc GP Series page for complete rules and results.



If you would like to promote your race or race series with us, contact kevbalance[at]levelrenner[dot]com.

Ryan Hall Documentary Update

In light of Ryan Hall dropping out of NYC, one big question came to mind: what will come of his as yet unfinished documentary ‘41st Day’? Funding for the project was raised through a Kickstarter campaign, but the project has stalled since Hall hasn’t completed a marathon in over two years now.

In 2012 Hall DNF’d in the Olympic marathon and then didn’t make it to the starting line in NYC (the race ended up being cancelled, but he pulled out before the storm interfered). The woes followed him into 2013, where he first withdrew from Boston and now NYC once again. This begs the question: Is Hall really hurt or does he just not want to finish this movie?

Word is that the frustrated filmmakers have sold the rights to the footage and edited material they have to Michael Bay and Paramount Pictures. With these rights, Bay will finish it as part of the plot of Transformers IV. How will this be done? It remains to be seen.

Details of the script are hard to find as of yet. Bay is being tight-lipped about it and for good reason. He’s taken a beating over leaked details on future projects like the TMNT reboot and even the adult entertainment industry was upset over the unnecessary explosions and subpar dialogue contained in his own “unauthorized” sex tape. If the porn industry thinks your dialogue is terrible then you should really consider a career change.

So far the plot revolves around one of two scenarios: in one, Mark Wahlberg is somehow in outerspace where the shape-shifting robots battle it out in a fast-paced and unclear fashion, for some reason that a baffling amount of people will pay to see. The other scenario is all of the Transformers team up and return to Earth to prevent Shia LeBouef from impregnating Megan Fox.

Wahlberg has been seen running quite a bit lately so it makes sense if Hall and his story are being worked in. A trending rumor is that Optimus Prime mistakes Hall for Megatron during a training run and liquefies him after a very brief battle. Marky Mark then vows to win NYC in honor of Hall, in what ends up being a very poorly written attempt at an emotional, motivational speech.

As news of this starts to leak out, Ryan Hall is considering shifting the focus of his Steps Foundation from helping people to get clean water in Mozambique to stopping Michael Bay. “The thought of Michael Bay ruining my own personal story, much like he’s ruined everything else that he’s touched, is horrifying. It’s more painful than watching my Olympic dreams vanish on the streets of London.”

As far as the poor souls who invested in the documentary, the studio hasn’t confirmed anything yet. When we reached out to Brian Goldner, the CEO of Hasbro, he stopped rolling around in a pile of money to say that “each investor will receive a ticket to an advanced screening of the new Transformers movie, along with an extra large popcorn. The Bumblebee-themed popcorn container doubles as a vomit bucket, which most test audiences ended up using.” Sounds classy.

Bay did go on the record to say that “we’re done with all the robot action and shooting is coming to a conclusion soon.” Off camera he went on to say that, much like with the first three, he’ll just stitch it together in some way that makes it watchable and that he didn’t have time for fluff like plot, dialogue and strong character development.


In all seriousness, we wish nothing but a speedy recovery for Ryan Hall. Injuries suck and we don’t want to pile onto the guy’s problems. If anything, this was just a good opportunity to rip on Michael Bay. That guy generates more hazardous material than the coal industry. I got tricked into seeing Pain & Gain and I’m still bitter about that. And although quotes were written in jest, I’m pretty certain that I’m not too far off on my guesses for the movie.

Blazing Debut For Matthews

The 13th Annual BAA Half Marathon was held back on October 13, 2013. With so many thirteens in that last sentence, it seems it would be an unlucky event. Not for Katie Matthews, who pretty much nailed it on her first attempt at the distance. Katie, who ran for BU and now runs for Saucony, ran a 1:14:29. That earned her a 6th place finish amongst the ultra competitive elite women’s field and also 28th overall. Most importantly, Katie earned the “B” standard for the 2016 Olympic Trials marathon.

What did you think of your first half marathon?

My first impressions of the half marathon are that it is a lot more tiring and uses less strategy than a 10k and doesn’t really call up any speed like in a 5k…it basically felt like a tempo run that was never going to end but with really long hills in there too. It was fun though because it’s less “intense” than a shorter race and it draws on different aspects of training such as mental strength and sustained focus. I think that these longer distances are where my future in this sport will veer towards, but I still want to get in some fast 5ks, 10ks, and maybe another 3k even in the next few years. The B.A.A. Half was such a fun event and I loved being able to run my first one right here where I live and am familiar with the area…although I had no idea we ran through the dirt paths in the zoo at the end, that was a surprise!

Was a trials qualifier one of the goals? is the marathon next?

I didn’t know that runners could qualify for the marathon Olympic trials in a half marathon, nor did I know that I even had the qualifier until I read it on Twitter later that day.  So it wasn’t my goal at all. My goal was just to finish the race! (Only slightly kidding!) I missed one of my best friend’s birthday parties the night before the race so I was going to be really upset if I missed going out for nothing! I don’t have any marathons planned but hopefully in the future I will try one. The majority of the advice I have been given from my coach and experienced elite marathoners is to be patient in waiting a few years to tackle that beast. I think that I have a LOT of work to do before I could run a fast marathon and recover from it healthily.

How far into the race did the leaders start making moves?

If you consider Kim Smith’s 4:45ish first mile “moving” then the leaders started making moves in the first mile! I ran with Kristen for the first 6 miles are so, and we came through about 4:58 which was still fast. The leaders were a good bit ahead of us by mile 4 or so. At the 6th mile she told me she was going after the runner ahead of us so that is when I was more or less alone from the women and ran with a few of the guys around me which helped me out.

What do you feel you need to work on most after this race?

Finishing this race was a wake up call for just how much I still have to work on.  For example, I was hesitant to go with Kristen at that 6 mile mark because I didn’t know what the end of such a long race was going to feel like and how badly the hills would affect me. I am going to start introducing some longer workouts into my training and maybe some long runs. I decided to run the half marathon about 2 weeks before the race, so I did a few 13-14 mile runs/workouts in those weeks but I don’t typically run that many miles in one run. I don’t feel like I have that sustained strength yet that is so necessary in these races, I was so tired at the end! I want to be able to run the entire race at a faster pace and then still finish strongly and competitively. Also, I should run up more hills on a regular basis…those were killer.

Up next?

The .US champs in Alexandria, VA (12k Champs) and then the Manchester Road Race which I run every year since it is local to my home in CT.  Then I’m pretty sure I will be getting back on the indoor track come winter.

If you hadn’t seen it, this is the interview we did with Katie and Rich Peters after New England’s a couple of weeks ago, on the eve of her half debut:


By Ian Nurse, DC

I love hills. I always have. I’ve never felt comfortable on a track trying to keep pace with my teammates but give me a hilly course or a few Summit Ave. repeats and I feel like I can hold my own. That’s why in the winter of 2012 I knew something was wrong when those hills I used to devour became my biggest fear and challenge. Over the span of a few months the slightest of inclines would seem like a mountain, and I was routinely losing my breath on hills that I used to bound up.

“I must be getting sick,” I reasoned to myself. However, I never got sick, nary a cough, sniffle, or fever. Despite the lack of symptoms, I felt chronically fatigued. It became an effort to get out of bed let alone run a few easy miles. Finally, I gave up on the impending sickness theory and went to see my doctor and have some blood work done. The result of which would lead me to an important understanding of a condition that according to recent studies affects over 50% of runners: iron deficiency anemia.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.38.01 PMAnemia literally means a deficiency of red blood cells. However, there are many different types of anemia that can affect us: pernicious, aplastic, and sickle cell to name a few. As runners, we are most susceptible to iron deficiency anemia. Why is that important to runners? Well, as I’m sure most of you already know, red blood cells contain an iron-containing protein called hemoglobin that is responsible for carrying oxygen to our muscles. Less hemoglobin means less of that vital oxygen that we need to carry us up and over each and every hill.

So why are runners more susceptible to iron deficiency anemia? There are actually a few different reasons. First of all, the action of running literally breaks red blood cells with every foot strike. Termed “foot strike hemolysis,” red blood cells are damaged as the foot hits the ground and, thus, after thousands of steps, hemoglobin can be dramatically reduced. A second reason is that iron is lost in small amounts through sweating. While the numbers aren’t enormous for each run, when added up over the course of a long, hot summer, the loss becomes significant. Lastly, as runners we are often overly health conscious and, therefore, tend to shy away from consuming the best source of absorbable iron: red meat. While there are other sources of iron (including dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, egg yolk, and oysters), the far and away leader in terms of most readily absorbed comes in the form of heme iron which is derived from animal proteins like ground beef.

Unfortunately, the detection of iron deficiency anemia is a little more complicated than a simple blood test. Most doctors screen for anemia by drawing blood and performing a complete blood count (CBC) in which the red blood cells, hemoglobin, and hematocrit are measured. With iron-deficiency anemia, one’s hemoglobin and hematocrit will be on the low side (termed hypochromic/microcytic) but may not fall outside of the established levels. Thus, one’s doctor may not even diagnosis anemia in the first place and, further, won’t have a direct measure of one’s iron levels. For this reason, it is imperative that you ask your doctor for BOTH a CBC and an iron panel. The iron panel will provide the most important number for runners: the total stored iron, also known as ferritin. While there is some debate, most agree that ferritin levels below 40 ng/ ml for men and 30 ng/ml for women are significant enough to affect running performance.

Screen Shot 2013-10-23 at 10.37.32 PM
While it can take years to deplete the body of iron, unfortunately, it also takes time to restore what has been lost. Thankfully, with the proper diagnosis and the help of supplementation and proper nutrition it usually only takes 6 months to replenish one’s iron stores (in other words, to feel back to normal bounding up those hills). Deficient runners should include 60 mg of iron in the form of ferrous sulfate via a liquid or pill supplement into their daily diet while trying to restore and just 30 mg while trying to maintain normal levels. However, one must be careful to avoid calcium, coffee, and tannins from tea and wine for the hour before and after as they hinder iron absorption. To further aid absorption, iron should be taken with vitamin C and a vitamin B complex. I try to take mine first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. It’s also important to have your ferritin levels re-checked after 3 months. Failure to absorb iron could be an indicator of a more significant digestive issue such as Celiac disease, while excessive levels of iron can become toxic.

While it was a long road back, I’m happy to say that I love hills again. Actually, with my iron levels back to where they should be, I love them even more now!

Ian Nurse is The Level’s resident doctor. He ran 2:25 at Boston this year. This article originally appeared in the Sep/Oct 2013 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen). Feature image courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Duncan, Fitzpatrick Win in Wayland

GBTC Wayland

GBTC team shot from Wayland. Courtesy of Tom Derderian.

Sean Duncan and Sidney Fitzpatrick were the big winners at the Wayland XC Festival, which was held back on October 13th. That was the latest in the USATF-NE XC series.

Sean ran a 15:45 and Sidney ran 18:00 for their wins (full results here). The GBTC men topped the host HFC Striders squad by a score of 21-56. One of the victorious GBTC’ers, Caleb Evanter, contributed a solid write up about the event:

It was a fun race. It was very much a cross country race, in that the distance was relative and there were hills and turns and uneven footing. There was no pavement and no cars visible from the course. The first mile goes around some baseball and soccer fields and is flat after a hill at the very start. The second mile features a short steep uphill and a stretch on an undulating trail that seems better suited for mountain biking. The third mile is basically the first mile backwards. The finish is 300 meters on a track.

Sean Duncan took the lead from the start and had a gap on the field from the beginning. From my spot behind them in the race it looked like Justin Lutz and the rest of the chase pack let Duncan take it out and tried to make up the ground at the end of the race. Lutz probably gained some ground during the final mile, but not enough to make it a race. He was comfortably in second. My splits were about 5:13, 5:35 and 5:49 for the final 1.1. I moved up on a bunch of people in the final two miles so that shows that probably most people ran significantly slower over the more challenging second mile.

Ryan Irwin was considerate enough to not give me a go of it with a sprint to the finish. Men and women, open and masters all raced together. There were 10 and under and 11-14 races too. Before the race Sydney Fitzpatrick asked us about whether or not to wear spikes on the course. Given that she won, I assume she made the right decision. Finally the Wayland XC Festival was notable for having four Caleb’s run in it, two in the 11-14 race, one who came in 3rd in the 10 and under race and myself.

Although New Balance Boston didn’t field a team for the race, Sydney Fitzpatrick did her best to make sure the green & white was noticed. For her efforts, we got this from Sydney:

The goals Coach Green gave me was to just go out, compete, and remind my body about the feel of cross country racing again. I feel like I ran a very smart race, and knowing who Steph Reilly is, my goal was to conserve energy early on, work my way up to her, and put myself in a position to win. I felt really strong during the race, and was able to execute today. I am very optimistic about what myself, and my team can accomplish this fall at the upcoming invitationals (Mayors Cup, New England’s, Club Nats). Training has been great thus far this fall. NBB has some great depth this year, and I feel more than lucky to have so many teammates to workout with on a regular basis. We are all very motivated and looking forward to the rest of our fall season.

We weren’t lucky enough to get something so detailed from Sean Duncan, but he did take a break from one of his epic workouts to tell us: “The victory was quite satisfying. All I do is win. My ultimate goal is to win a race in every town in America, and now I can finally cross Wayland, MA off the list.”

Okay, maybe Sean didn’t say that. We just needed to squeeze one more quote in, real or imaginary. As far as the team scoring went for the ladies, the Millenium Running team led by Jennifer Mortimer took the title, followed by the WMDP and GBTC squads, respectively.

Next up on the circuit is the Mayor’s Cup, which will be this coming Sunday at Franklin Park. More to come on that one.

Mile to the Marathon: The Weekend

Once again, the weekend was choc full of exciting race action in the area. We want to highlight a couple of those here, and perhaps we’ll have even more on them later on in the week. One event that really jumped out at us was the inaugural Franklin Park Mile, which was held on Sunday, October 20th. The race, which is put on by the Forest Hills Runners, is a “community organized running event that is open to all.”

Times were slower, but hey…it’s cross country! “It turns out that a rolling mile is not necessarily the fastest,” said race director Owen Kendall. You don’t need track-fast times to get excitement though. “The women’s race had a phenomenal finish,” continued Owen, “with Jen Flynn (6:07) leading the entire way after racing a 5k that morning, before being outkicked at the turn to the finish line with 50 meters to go, but holding off a final charge by Alyssa Charney (6:09), who ran at Vassar.” Kim Lockwood beat both of them, winning with her 6:05.

Pat Fullerton won with a 4:24, and thought it was an “awesome event” with “the theme of community certainly very evident.” While it wasn’t near a PR for the sub-4 minute miler, it was “just a workout for hopefully big things to come this weekend at Mayor’s Cup. Ive been doing really long hard strength workouts since cvs 5k (long for a miler ) and it has already paid off as I ran a 4.62 mile race in Townsend, MA at 4:46 pace (23:45 for an 8k) so it was nice to get some speed in and be even more sharp for sunday without killing myself.”
Sounds like Pat is ready to crush it at Mayor’s Cup. As for the future of the event, Owen said “it’ll be fun to see what happens when there are several fast people pushing the pace when this race starts making a name for itself.  I think it has a lot of potential to be fast, but also to support the development of a running culture in multi-ethnic neighborhoods that haven’t traditionally produced distance runners.”
The event, the cause and the underlying goals of the race all seem like something we can get behind. Looking forward to 2014 already! Might have more to come on this.

The 3rd annual Green Stride Newburyport Half Marathon took place the same day. The top five men and the first two women were all names that were largely unfamiliar to us and from either Schenectady, NY or Malden, MA, which made us think that they could be part of the same training group. The winners were Feisa Ayele Megersa (Malden, 1:05:12) and Pauline Muchiri (Schenectady, 1:14:39). As you can see, pretty damn fast.

The fastest of the Legion was Dan Vassallo (6th overall, 1:08:54) and Andrea Walkonen (3rd woman, 18th overall, 1:18:28). We shot a few questions over to Dan to shed some light on the race. Dan led off with this, which we loved:

I’ll try to answer your questions and provide some commentary without sounding too much like a petulant child who can’t deal with losing. But you have to realize I ran a baseball blog for five years, and I hold myself as an athlete to the same standards as the ones I wrote about on the blog. Anything less would be unfair and hypocritical.

On to the questions:

Who were all those guys up front?

I have no idea who the guys up front were. I didn’t even know that there was a group of African guys who rip out of Malden. I just remember that one of them was little, one of them looked almost exactly like Ray Allen, and all of them completely took off at 5,000 meters. I was more than happy chilling in a group of seven, running between 5:10 and 5:20 pace, and that’s exactly how it was for the first three miles. The only problem was, they went (and, if you do the math, I guess some of them ran in the 49s for the last ten miles – even on a good day, that’s not a realistic time for a stiff like me) and I didn’t. I kept myself between 5:10 and 5:20 the whole time. I clearly had no additional gear. Maybe due to Nahant. More likely due to lack of toughness. Perhaps I no longer remember the effort necessary to run a 1:08 low or 1:07 high like I wanted to. This may make sense because, despite fancying myself as a guy who has the potential to qualify for the Olympic Trials in the marathon, I have not broken 1:08:50 in the half since November 20, 2011. It might be your journalistic obligation to point out this plain fact.

Vassallo on his way to victory in Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

Vassallo on his way to victory in Nahant, courtesy of Krissy Kozlosky.

How’d you battle with them?

I battled with them poorly. The first three miles, all of them (mostly Shuttlesworth) decided to throw a 45-second half-hearted surge, maybe to try to drop the weaker runners. But the whole pack responded and stayed together for the first 5K. But once they decided they wanted to actually run, it was over. I went from leader to out of contention maybe over the course of 300 meters. They dropped one guy with whom I battled between miles 5 and 10 and from whom I eventually pulled away. I guess not throwing in the towel and letting him run away was a silver lining – that and the fact that I didn’t die. You can’t die if you’re not alive in the first place. I ran very even splits, but unfortunately these even splits were between 5:10 and 5:20.

Has training been going well?

Training has been fine. Recovery from Nahant has not quite been as bad as recovery from a marathon, but the first few days felt pretty similar. Right now I am just trying to stay healthy for a year, and I’m now at 7 months without suffering an injury that warrants a layoff.

Are you ready to rock n’ roll at the Manchester Marathon?

I will resist the urge to say something pejorative about a certain road race series’ lack of support for elite runners in response to you asking if I’m ready to “rock ‘n’ roll.” But I am looking forward to running with my CMS teammates, providing depth and an insurance policy for my team, and making sure my personal worst in the marathon is something I do on my own terms. If any of your readers is interested in having a quasi-reliable pacer for a 2:32 to 2:36, I might be their guy on November 3rd. I am focusing on a November marathon, but that November marathon will be taking place in 2014.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that he resisted the urge.

One other big one from the weekend was the Baystate Marathon. We don’t have much besides the names of winners here, unfortunately. Well that, and a tweet from the big winner:


Thanks for checking in, Rob! Rob ran a 2:33:22 for the win. Nina Caron, who at the ripe young age of 53 ran a 2:55:59 and not only bested all the other seniors and masters, but was the top woman overall. Quite impressive!

Joe Ryan of Medford, MA and Christy Kirk of Sudbury, MA won the half in 1:11:50 and 1:25:26.9, respectively.

Another big weekend in the books!

The Rise of an Autistic Runner

by Kevin Sheehan, intro and editing by Allison Lynch

Meet Kevin Sheehan. You might know him as the very blonde and very pale runner on the Greater Boston Track Club. This is rather common within the Caucasian runner demographic, and thus still leaves you with a lot of GBTC faces to choose from. Let’s narrow it down. Kevin has a mustache. Kevin is always meticulously up to date with weather information and statistics, just in case you want to know what Tuesday night practice will look like. His interests include checking weather from the National Weather Service website (NWS), playing golf, blueberry yogurt, shrimp scampi, and Galen Rupp (naturally). You might have gone for a few runs with Kevin, seen his name in the USATF results, or passed him by on the bleachers at a track meet. But if you’ve ever met Kevin, you can immediately tell that he is a unique character who takes running very seriously.

Kevin is a high-functioning Autistic individual who joined Greater Boston almost a year ago, and has been on the track (and XC courses) ever since. He is mainly a distance runner, but he also enjoys competing in sprinting relays when he can. Because the Autism spectrum is so vast in terms of development, it is a peculiar disability to relate to. Autism affects verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and general awareness and intellectual interest. Depending on the outside stimulus and the biological capability of an autistic child, a significant amount of progress can be made in the early stages of diagnosis. Kevin belongs in the latter. When you meet Kevin, you will not view him solely as “an autistic person,” because his relationship with his so-called disability is one of appreciation, as opposed to resentment and awkwardness. Likewise, you start to appreciate his attitude, instead of relegating him into a zone of social discomfort, which is often an initial response people might have. Here, Kevin shares his story on why his Autism is actually a form of motivation, especially when it comes to running. Enjoy:

When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with Autism. As a young child, I was extremely active and loved any activity that involved motion, like going on the tire swing and spinning for what seemed like hours. I also had no fear of heights and would climb my swing set, to the tops of trees, and even over the fence around my yard. However, growing up I also had seizures at school and at home that I couldn’t control; usually three or four a month. So, I had to be put in a Special Educational class with other autistic children who had learning and speech problems like my own since the seizures caused a delay in my development.


A dual meet against East Bridgewater, junior year of High School.

In 4th grade I had made enough progress and was able to be integrated into the mainstream classroom. I started to learn more, and my social abilities and communication developed. I started to make new friends and slowly built friendships and relationships with my improved communication skills. For kids with Autism, maintaining relationships is often a difficult skill because it requires social awareness and accountability. Once college came around during my freshman year, I had broadened my social skills enough that I could to talk just about anyone I wanted to without much hesitation. From that point on, my disability of Autism became a useful strength instead of a weakness that helped me push forward and adapt to life itself. Sometimes I use this phrase when speaking to companions I knew from high school, college, and from coaching Special Olympics who have mild to severe learning disabilities. I do this to give them confidence the way my disability has done for me.

If they somehow find a cure for Autism, I would never want it to be taken away from me because it has gotten me so far in life. I don’t think I would be the same person, no matter how “normal” a life without Autism would be. It has made me an honest person who gives everything a 100% effort to reach my goals and always look up towards the endless sky. I’d like to share my story and explain just how valuable my disability has become, particularly in relation to my favorite sport: running.

It all began in 5th grade during my middle school years. My Special Education teacher suggested that I try track and field because all the other autistic students in my class were doing it too. At first, I had no idea what it was until the Special Ed teachers who were coaches explained it to me. The events I did throughout middle school were the 50m, long jump, 4x100m relay, and 100m. Track seemed to be a good fit for me because I had a variety of events to compete in; up until then I was used to not being very successful in other sports my classmates played.

The Special Olympics helped me receive recognition and, more importantly, respect from students who didn’t think I was capable of doing a sport. Back in middle school, kids would tease me because a few students thought that my Autism made me an easy target for their jokes. At that point, I didn’t really consider my Autism as a huge difference from other students; it was just a part of me, and I had never done anything wrong to the other students. However, being a part of the Special Olympics track team changed all of that. Not only did I have such a fun time being with my teammates, but it also allowed me to set running goals and fuel my passion for running that I’ve continued through high school and college up until now.

To me, running has been a successful builder and motivation tool to push myself beyond my perceived limitations. Not only has it allowed me to achieve personal records and satisfying race experiences, it has helped me achieve my life goals such as graduating high school, college, and one day grad school, because it has always added an underlying consistency to my days. Once you learn how to embrace your perceived limitations, these skills become the best attribute for you to be successful in life.

Events that solidified my determination occurred in high school when students teased me, bullied me, or even embarrassed me for how serious I was into the sport of running. During my junior year, when my school didn’t have a boys’ indoor track program but had a girls’ indoor track program, I decided to train with the girls’ team. This got me in the best shape for my outdoor season, which did have a boys’ team. This probably confused most of the girls on the team because I was the only guy who trained with them. But that never stopped me from training to get faster for my outdoor season. That instance has helped me prove that I’m not afraid to achieve what I want to do and to use my hard work ethic to get there. The more I surprise people who doubted me in the past, the more it gives me confidence to go faster and farther in reaching my life goals. That mantra got me to be a scoring athlete during my sophomore year of high school for Cross-Country, and for my junior year for outdoor track. It has also got me to be a captain for Cross-Country and track my senior year. By the end of my senior year in high school, I got an award at my school banquet for the Bulldog Pride Award: “Male Athlete that never gives up.”

My future running goal is to do the Boston Marathon. I’m going to give it a few more years so I can get some half marathon and long road racing experience, so that I feel comfortable running long distances at marathon goal pace. I also want to finish my education from graduate school for Atmospheric Science at UMass Lowell first. I figure the time commitment and focus for marathon training is something I’ll need to do outside of being in school to be a Meteorologist for the government.

My big influences who have motivated me to reach my goal for Boston are BAA’s Anthony Crudale (2:36:00 autistic marathoner), and my Uncle Robert Somers, who got me into long distance running in the first place, and did Boston multiple times in the late 80’s to mid 90’s with a PR around 3:21:00. When Anthony Crudale’s told me about his marathon times, it gave me the motivation to do a marathon. It also showed me that runners from the low end the spectrum can run for success too. My goal is first to beat my uncle’s record so that I can now own all the best running times for my family.

For the time being, I am going to continue getting faster on the roads, gearing up for cross country, and training for the track seasons. I would like to get my mile, 3k, 5k times down to 4:30, 9:30, and 16:40 with the same type of training that I have been doing since joining Greater Boston Track Club. I believe being on this team will help me reach those running goals, especially because I get to train with more experienced competitive runners who enjoy the sport of running just as much as I do.

Kevin and Allison both run for the Greater Boston Track Club. This article was originally published in the May 2013 edition of the GBTC newsletter The Wingfoot Express

Contact Form Powered By : XYZScripts.com