Tag: The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

London Lacking Sleep, But Not Resolve

The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

Four Weeks to Go: A Check on Training

The 118th Boston Marathon is now just under a month away. The Legion has been training through one of the toughest and coldest winters we have had in a long time. With Spring now officially here, though Winter not quite gone, training is starting to reach its peak. The Legion has run some great races, put in some solid long runs and have had some bumps along the way. This week we look at how things are going and what their weeks have been like at this high point. You can see we all are in this together but we all have different ways of getting there. Our hope is that you continue to be inspired and encouraged by the Legion and that four weeks from now we can share our common goals of being a part of this great event in whatever way we are able! Now, onto the logs:

Anne London

Boston Legion LondonThe fact that Anne gets in any miles while taking care of her new baby is an inspiration to me and I hope to you all. She has been the testament to doing whatever it takes, but keeping a great balanced perspective on training vs real life. Thanks, Anne.

Training update: “If you don’t sleep enough, you’re not going to run well.”

This is what I’ve learned over the past two weeks during my training. I have been really struggling recently to get the mileage in due to being incredibly overtired. Little munchkin has had a bad head cold, so mommy has had late nights soothing a sick kid. This has translated into sick days for me and trying to catch up on sleep when I can…jogging when I have the energy.

I have managed to have some strong “long” runs on the weekends (13M and 16M), maybe due to the fact that my legs have been super fresh due to the reduced workouts during the week. I guess this is the “mini taper” before the big taper, right?

Still on track for my 21 miler this coming Saturday. I hope to have another strong training run (and to sneak in some REM cycles as well beforehand).

Millett’s Setting PR’s on the Way to Boston

The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

Four Weeks to Go: A Check on Training

The 118th Boston Marathon is now just under a month away. The Legion has been training through one of the toughest and coldest winters we have had in a long time. With Spring now officially here, though Winter not quite gone, training is starting to reach its peak. The Legion has run some great races, put in some solid long runs and have had some bumps along the way. This week we look at how things are going and what their weeks have been like at this high point. You can see we all are in this together but we all have different ways of getting there. Our hope is that you continue to be inspired and encouraged by the Legion and that four weeks from now we can share our common goals of being a part of this great event in whatever way we are able! Now, onto the logs:

Aly Millett

Aly likes to keep it simple, though there is nothing too simple about a 72 mile week in March, including a nice PR at the half-marathon. Keep up the good work!

Training recap week of 3/10

Total miles: 72.1

Boston Legion MillettMonday: 10.3 miles easy, 730ish pace

**Tuesday:  Total miles: 17

5 mile warm-up to Reggie Lewis + 3.6 mile warm up with GBTC

Workout: 1 mile at 5:48, 400m jog rest, 3x (4×400) at 1:22 pace. 200m jog between each 400 and 400m jog after set. Followed 3 sets of 1 mile at 5:45. Easy 1.5 mile cool down.

Wednesday: Total miles: 6 easy around river at 730ish pace

Thursday: total miles: 6.5 easy on treadmill 8 min pace

Friday: total miles: 12.2 easy in Miami!

Saturday: total miles: 3 easy

Sunday: total miles: 17.1

2 mile warm up; New Bedford half marathon: 1:19:55; 2 mile cool down.

**I did this workout with a few of my teammates: Kerri Leonhardt, Nicole Casey, Hope Rantham (all training for Boston), and our miler Alyse Rocco. We went into it knowing it would be long but thinking the 400s would feel pretty easy considering the pace wasn’t too fast.

It may have been my 8+ mile warm-up, but the second 200 of the 4′s were much harder than I expected. My legs and feet were pretty achy the whole workout and it seemed comparative to the end of a 22-miler or even marathon race. Getting into the last mile interval, we thought it would be tough but also knew we would be slowing back down to 6min pace. It ended up feeling surprisingly great - went out in 45 for the first 200 and ended up going negative every lap to run 545ish. It was a great confidence booster knowing we only wanted to go out in 6 minutes for the upcoming half marathon on Sunday. A workout the week of the race may not directly impact fitness level on race day but it definitely gave us all the confidence to go hard into New Bedford. All four of us that ran this workout and at New Bedford had significant PRs on Sunday.

Rivera: A Runner and a Gentleman

The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

Four Weeks to Go: A Check on Training

The 118th Boston Marathon is now just under a month away. The Legion has been training through one of the toughest and coldest winters we have had in a long time. With Spring now officially here, though Winter not quite gone, training is starting to reach its peak. The Legion has run some great races, put in some solid long runs and have had some bumps along the way. This week we look at how things are going and what their weeks have been like at this high point. You can see we all are in this together but we all have different ways of getting there. Our hope is that you continue to be inspired and encouraged by the Legion and that four weeks from now we can share our common goals of being a part of this great event in whatever way we are able! Now, onto the logs:

Jose Rivera

Jose has a plan and is sticking to it. Always hard at work, he explains here how to balance a planned routine with some often chaotic travel. Nice work.

Boston Legion RiveraLast weekend while many of my friends were running the New Bedford Half, I stuck to my training plan and ran a scheduled twenty miler. It was a run mapped out by a friend in her hometown of Holland, MA. She ran with me and a few other people met and ran with us at different parts of the course. This run was one of the hardest runs I’ve done in quite some time. I didn’t realize there were mountains in Holland; it was damn hilly! Having company on this run really helped a lot.

This week I had to travel to NYC for work. Traveling while in training can get tricky but I was able to get three nice runs through Central Park and through the very busy streets of the city. Though I prefer to run the mornings, these runs had to be done in the afternoon because of my work schedule. I love running in the city!

Ran 5 miles on Tuesday, 7 Miles on Wednesday and another 5 on Friday.

This weekend’s long run is only 12 miles. Looking forward to an easier run than last week!

And we have a special treat this week. Jose’s friend and training partner Joanna submitted something for us to share with everyone:

I have been running with Jose since last fall. I had put a message up on the CMS facebook page looking for running partners in the Webster, MA/Thompson, CT area after the clocks changed and it was dark in the evenings. I also had trouble traveling to Worcester to meet others as it was 20-25 minutes from us.
I was slower than Jose but he offered up quickly to join me a few times a week so I would feel safe running in the dark. He had just come off running Baystate and didn’t mind at all running slower than his usual pace. If it wasnt for him, I wouldn’t have gotten through this winter running as much as we did.
Jose isn’t just a running partner, he is a gentleman. He always runs on the outside, very considerate and protective. He looks out for the people he runs with. After we started our group, the Tri-Sate Running Group, we found many more friends looking for runners looking to make it through the winter.
Jose is a motivator. I have gotten much faster this winter instead of slower because he runs with you and pushes you a little if you need it. He is very social and talks the whole time whether it’s about running or personal stuff. We had a slow runner join our run one night and he patiently ran and walked and talked with her until she finished. He leaves no one behind.
We run alot of the same races and we cheer each other on, support each other, brag about each other and congratulate each other. He is in the best shape ever and he is so pumped for Boston. This race means so much to him, and everyone here on the Tri-State team are so excited to see him finish and hopefully PR!
-Joanna Anderson and all his running friends at Tri-State!

Graham’s Toughening Up For Boston

The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

Four Weeks to Go: A Check on Training

By Tim Ritchie

The 118th Boston Marathon is now just under a month away. The Legion has been training through one of the toughest and coldest winters we have had in a long time. With Spring now officially here, though Winter not quite gone, training is starting to reach its peak. The Legion has run some great races, put in some solid long runs and have had some bumps along the way. This week we look at how things are going and what their weeks have been like at this high point. You can see we all are in this together but we all have different ways of getting there. Our hope is that you continue to be inspired and encouraged by the Legion and that four weeks from now we can share our common goals of being a part of this great event in whatever way we are able! Now, onto the logs:

Scott Graham

Scott is our seasoned veteran when it comes to marathon training, but even he still learns to go with the flow, enjoy training and makes sure to listen to his body.

I don’t really like to be a slave to a fully structured training plan.  I guess many years ago I was but these days I try and listen to my body and manage my training based on what it’s telling me…except for long runs. Those are scheduled and never missed.

Over the years I’ve done countless long runs on the Boston Marathon course. My club, the Greater Lowell Road Runners, makes this task very easy for runners. We all met up early Saturday morning in Chelmsford. An army of volunteers drove the runners down to Hopkinton and set us free. On these organized runs, every 3 miles or so the club sets up water/Gatorade tables and keeps track of all runners and also provides a sag wagon if need be. When we reach the 21 mile mark at BC they collect us and drive us back to our cars in Chelmsford. So all a runner has to do is, well RUN. How hard could that be? The club provides this service for the month of March, so we usually get five good runs on the course (maybe that’s why GLRR won club of the year this year…).

Graham GLRR Team Boston Training
Anyway, last Saturday’s 21 mile run on the course went very poorly for me. I started out with the lead group but by mile 3 I was dropped and running alone. Most people might think that that’s an awful way to do a long run, but not me. I believe it makes you mentally tough. You have to remember you are out there to put time on your legs and harden your mind. Every runner goes through difficult points in a race and if you’re mentally tough you can work through them. So I ran alone for most of the run and was passed by a couple of other GLRR members. Good that I got my one bad long run out of the way.

Sunday: Ended up being a rest day. My legs were just too dead.

Monday: I was still feeling the long run so I did 2.2 miles on a treadmill. I know it doesn’t even seem worth it but this accomplished 2 things for me. First, it got me running. Second, I was able to kick up the pace toward the end so it forced me to really lengthen my stride and pick up my turnover rate.

Tuesday: I was ready to get back to work: 5.5 miles.

Wednesday: Another 5.5 miles.

Thursday: Ran in the morning. It was raining, but my training partner (Peter Floss) and I got out and did a hard 6 miles.

Friday: We decided to take it very easy because the long run on Saturday was looming over us. So 5.5 very easy was in order.

Graham GLRR Boston Marathon training
Saturday
: Another GLRR long run. Once again I started with the lead pack but this time I was able to hold on until mile 10 and didn’t really start dropping back until mile 17.5 at the turn on Comm Ave.  I struggled through the hills but managed to finish only a couple of minutes behind the leaders. Twenty-one miles in the bank and I felt good.

Sunday: I felt good enough to get out and do 5.5 miles just to get my legs moving. A huge improvement over last week.

Harvey Looks Back at Jones

Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

February Race Recaps: The Level Legion has been hard at work training through one of the toughest and coldest winters of late. Fitting then that the Legion be equally tough and ice cold on the start line of their February Boston tune-up races. Whether one is trekking through the New Hampshire snow, winning a debut 20-miler, representing the hometeam at a local race, pushing along a 5 month old companion or simply putting in the steady work, this past month has brought along some great races. You have already heard from Scott, who decided that if you can’t beat this winter, might has well don the snowshoes and have at it. Now we bring you some more perspective on just how racing has been fitting in to the training plan as Boston inches ever closer.

Brian Harvey

40th Annual Jones Group Realtors 10 Miler (2/23/14) - 4th place, 51:41.8

A couple weeks ago I ran the 40th Annual Jones Group 10 Miler out in Amherst, the first stop on the USATF-NE Grand Prix. From past training cycles, I have learned that I should not race too much as I end up becoming tired or flat by the time of the goal race. Therefore, I decided to use this race as a hard workout and a good way to get an extended effort at goal marathon pace. The plan was to do an extended warmup (8 miles) and go right into the race with minimal rest.

For the race, the plan was to do 8 miles at 5:15 effort and then hammer the last 2 miles if I felt good. The Amherst course is hilly so it was difficult to find a rhythm but the average pace came out pretty close to goal for the first 8 miles (5:09, 5:08, 5:46, 5:22, 5:21, 4:56, 5:07, 4:44 — 5:12 avg). I was in a good pack for much of these first 8 miles including Eric Blake, Neel Tarneja, and Brian McNamara. At the 8 miles mark, I could see Dan Vassallo less than 100m or so up ahead. I closed the gap on him some over those last 2 miles (5:18, 4:49) but ended up finishing about 12s back. After the race, I went directly into a 4+ mile cooldown to get to 22 mile total for the day.

Overall, I was pleased with this effort and it provided me with a good confidence booster in my preparation. Up next for me is the Gate River Run 15K national championship in Jacksonville, FL on March 15th. I’m excited to be traveling and competing in the team competition with fellow BAA Unicorns Tim Ritchie and Sam Alexander against many of the best runners in the country!

London Goes for a Sunday Stroll

Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

February Race Recaps: The Level Legion has been hard at work training through one of the toughest and coldest winters of late. Fitting then that the Legion be equally tough and ice cold on the start line of their February Boston tune-up races. Whether one is trekking through the New Hampshire snow, winning a debut 20-miler, representing the home team at a local race, pushing along a 5 month old companion or simply putting in the steady work, this past month has brought along some great races. You have already heard from Scott, who decided that if you can’t beat this winter, might has well don the snowshoes and have at it. Now we bring you some more perspective on just how racing has been fitting in to the training plan as Boston inches ever closer.

Anne (and Catherine) London

Super Sunday 5m (Cambridge, MA) - 49:07

I ran the Super Sunday 5 miler on February 2nd and finished in 49:07.  Not my fastest 5 miler by far, but my fastest AFTER running 6 miles before the race as a warm up and pushing a baby stroller :-)   I needed to run 11 for the day, so I met up with my MS Society and NACHO teammate Kate before the race to get some sunny miles in along the Charles.  Once we arrived at the race, we met up with other NACHO runners, along with my husband Brian who had arrived with the little one.

This was going to be the baby’s longest run to date, and biggest event to navigate with a stroller.  We managed to sneak in towards the back of the pack, and had to make a quick pit stop to unlock the front wheel…much easier to steer that way!  Catherine slept the whole time, not a bad way to run a 5 miler!  My next race will also be a race with her, Craicfest 5K on 3/16.  That will be the day after a 13 miler with the MS Society, so another jog for the two of us!  Running with her is a lot of fun!

Editor’s note: The Super Sunday 5 Miler was held back on February 2nd in Cambridge, MA and was won by Nate Jenkins (surprise surprise) in an unchallenged 24:22. Karen Roa was the first female in 28:56, and was also 33rd overall out of over 1,500 runners. Random side note: toss up for best team name in this one between the Brighton Bangers and In It To Drink It. Good luck to Anne at the Craicfest! That’s the same weekend as New Bedford, so we’ll have a lot to report on.

Rivera Gets a Big PR at Stu’s 30k

Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

February Race Recaps: The Level Legion has been hard at work training through one of the toughest and coldest winters of late. Fitting then that the Legion be equally tough and ice cold on the start line of their February Boston tune-up races. Whether one is trekking through the New Hampshire snow, winning a debut 20-miler, representing the home team at a local race, pushing along a 5 month old companion or simply putting in the steady work, this past month has brought along some great races. You have already heard from Scott, who decided that if you can’t beat this winter, might has well don the snowshoes and have at it. Now we bring you some more perspective on just how racing has been fitting in to the training plan as Boston inches ever closer.

Jose Rivera

Stu’s 30k (Clinton, MA) – 137/393, 2:34:09 (8:16/mi)

Boston Legion RiveraThis past weekend, I ran Stu’s 30k as part of my training for Boston. This is a club race and it’s a must do if you are a Central Mass Strider and if you are running Boston.

I ran this race last year and I really struggled. This race has quite a few hills and the last hill on this course did me in last year. This year I was determined to conquer Stu’s and finish strong. Luckily for me, I had two friends keep me company throughout the whole race. Our conversations (it was mostly me talking…. LOL) made the time fly by at least for the first half of the race. The second half, though still running strong, was less talking and more focusing on running.

I found the race a bit easier this year than last year. When I came up to that last hill, physically I was spent, but mentally I kept on pushing. As I approached the finish line, I could see my wife and kids waiting for me, I could see a couple of my friends cheering me on. What great feeling that was! I crossed the finish line at 2:34:09 - a 9 minute PR from last year!

Everything was perfect about this race. The weather was right, traffic was light, there was enough water stops and the volunteers did an excellent job! Can’t say enough about the volunteers! CMS did a great job putting this race together! I was very pleased with the outcome.

Next race on schedule for me is The Tri-Valley Runners “Boston Tune-Up 15k”, though I might add one more race somewhere between now and then.

Editor’s Note: Francis Cusick (1:48:58) and Steph Reilly (2:05:21) won Stu’s 30k.  Word is that Steph won’t be returning to New Bedford to defend her crown this March. She may want to reconsider after winning this one. Good luck to Jose at the Boston Tune-Up 15k!

Millett Wins Black Cat 20 Miler

Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition

February Race Recaps: The Level Legion has been hard at work training through one of the toughest and coldest winters of late. Fitting then that the Legion be equally tough and ice cold on the start line of their February Boston tune-up races. Whether one is trekking through the New Hampshire snow, winning a debut 20-miler, representing the home team at a local race, pushing along a 5 month old companion or simply putting in the steady work, this past month has brought along some great races. You have already heard from Scott, who decided that if you can’t beat this winter, might has well don the snowshoes and have at it. Now we bring you some more perspective on just how racing has been fitting in to the training plan as Boston inches ever closer.

Aly Millet

Black Cat 20 Miler (Salem, MA) – 1st Place, 2:11:18 (6:34/mi)

Boston Legion MillettI decided to run the 20-Miler back on New Year’s Day when I was working on my race schedule in preparation for Boston. I knew I wanted to do a race longer than a half at some point, and the picking is pretty slim with that requirement alone. I had heard good things from some friends about the Black Cat and the timing was right, so it was a go!

My initial hopes were just to run a decent 20 mile run: go out more or less like a long run, (7:15ish pace) and pick it up the second half if I was feeling it. I actually haven’t gone over 16 miles yet in my training for Boston, so really the initial intent was just to get a good day of mileage in. The race however, played out a little differently than expected.

I had a bunch of my GBTC teammates racing with me; a handful of 20-milers and a couple 10-milers as well. Alyse Rocco was running her first 10-miler and said she was just going to start out at around 7:00 pace and pick it up after a couple miles. I decided that sounded good to go out in, and we ended up right around 6:50 for the first mile or so. Alyse went off as I expected her to do and as I got warmer, (it was very cold out that morning) 6:40′s started feeling just as easy as the 6:50′s felt in the beginning.

I stayed right around 6:40 for the majority of the first 10 miles, with a couple of slightly faster miles but nothing crazy. I made a mental note that I would not speed up a huge amount until at least the halfway point. Right at the 10 mile mark is where I hit my runner’s bliss. It started feeling effortless speeding up to 6:30′s and 6:20′s. I felt as strong as I could have felt for miles 10-18. The effort was at least even (possibly lesser) compared to the first 10 miles while going 10-15 seconds faster per mile. Even miles 19-20 were pretty great, I just felt the tiniest bit of fatigue in my right hip flexor which slightly affected my stride. All and all though I finished out the last two miles right at 6:40ish pace and was very happy with the win and clocking in at 2:11.

One of my teammates always tells me how much she loves 20 mile races and if a marathon was 20 miles long she’d be awesome at them - this was my first 20-miler and I have to agree - 20 miles is just the right distance to not hit that horrible wall that is the marathon…I also learned that I am more aerobically fit than I thought - 6:34 pace felt what I thought 7:15 pace would feel like! My next race is the New Bedford Half Marathon where I hope to PR (current is 1:21:07) and if I go under 1:20, I’ll be a very happy runner!

Good luck to Aly in New Bedford! We’ll be there to cheer her on.

Snow Not Stopping Graham

The Level Legion: Inside The Race

Last we left the The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition, they were providing some insight into their recent training for the Boston Marathon. With just over six weeks to go now, we’re getting close to taper time. However, it’s the perfect time to get in races for various reasons, whether it be for a marathon pace workout, changing things up with a dose of speed, or even just for a confidence booster. With every race, each runner has their own unique story to tell.

Scott Graham just competed at the Dion US Snowshoe Championships in Woodford, VT over the weekend. Scott ran a 68:15 for 10k and finished 142nd. Here’s the story, straight from Scott:

If there is no report then it didn’t happen. Well then, I guess it really did happen.

Boston Legion GrahamSo lets start with my training for the prior week to set the stage.

Saturday - I went out on a 14 mile run all over Concord, MA. It was a great day and I felt super. After that, I spent the next few hours breaking up the iceberg I had going on in my driveway. I didn’t want to be viewed as the village idiot any longer. After I finished up my back was a little tight.
Sunday - I went to do an easy 5 mile run with the group. I was hurting but no rest for me.
Monday - 9.6 miles
Tuesday - 9.4 miles
Wednesday - 6.2 miles
Thursday - a very easy 4.1 miles
Friday - day of rest.

My back at this point was in major revolt mode. Sleeping was difficult. So I decided to start taking Advil every couple of hours to see if I could loosen it up enough for the race. The bad part about advil for me is it really goofs up my stomach. But I figured I could run with a goofed up stomach and couldn’t run with a locked up back. Advil it was.

Now I needed to pack for the race. Not knowing what the weather was going to be at race time I decided to pack EVERYTHING; I had a big duffle bag ready to go Friday night. Earlier in the week I also did a quick check on my Dion snowshoes. Good thing I did because one of the bindings was on the hairy edge and I figured I might need a set of deep cleats for the race. I got on the Dion website and saw that they were out of the deep cleats. NOOOO! I called up Bob Dion to see what could be done and he assured me that all I would need was my ice cleats and he could put a new set of bindings in the mail right away. Try that with Tubbs or Redfeather! The bindings showed up Thursday night and in one minute I had them changed. The shoes looked FAST. My equipment was set and I was ready to go.

Saturday morning started early. Real early. I was up at 4 AM. My back felt OK, not great but runable. I went through my race morning routine and was on the road at 5 AM. A quick stop a DD for 2 bagels, 2 Cokes and a banana and I was on my way. When I left the house it was 5 degrees. I was a bit nervous about what the temperature would be in Woodford, VT but I couldn’t control that so I had to put it out of my mind. As I drove through central MA I noticed that they didn’t have half the snow we had. That was a bit different. Then once I turned north on rt 91 things started to change. Snow was piling up and it was getting colder. I noticed at one point my dashboard read -8. I arrived in Woodford 2.5 hours after I left home. No traffic makes for a quick ride.

I checked in and found a nice warm spot in the lodge to stretch and relax. Soon it was time for the junior race. I checked my watch and it went off right at 9 AM exactly. I love it when a race director does that. The kids ran a 5K course that wound around the base of the mountain, and the kids ran great.

Next up was the senior women’s race. Once again the gun went off right at 10 AM to the second. Right from the gun Amber Cullen Ferrira took the lead (a Westford, MA alumni). We saw the women a couple times before they headed up the mountain to complete the bulk of the course. Amber was already taking total control of the race even in the early stages.

With about 800 yards left to the race we could see them coming back down the mountain. To say Amber was in the lead would be a HUGE understatement. She was in the lead and 2+ minutes later came the second place woman. Amber was amazing. The second place woman was another runner from acidotic RACING, Kristina Welts. So aR took 1st and 2nd. Not too bad for a bunch of hicks from NE.

Now it was time for me to get ready. My right foot was already complaining about being cold. I took off my trainers and changed up my socks. Both items were wet. No wonder my foot was cold. Now was decision time. What to wear? It seemed to be warming up. So I went with the under-dress this time. I knew I would be getting hot as I climbed the mountain. So I went with a base layer up top and my acidotic Racing singlet. For pants I just went with some sporthill sweats. On my feet I wore my racing flats with a pair of short gators. On my hands I had a pair of light gloves with a thin pair of mittens. To top it all off a poly hat. I was ready for speed. Well I was ready to slog up the mountain.

I went outside and did a quick warm-up. A couple of quick strides up one of the hills did the trick. I knew the race would start on time so it was time to line up. I seeded myself back about two-thirds of the way. This was a national championship and I knew I didn’t want to get in the single track area and clog up the course. The race director said a couple of words and pointed out one thing out that held true. He said “This is a New England-style course. It constantly changes. Lots of ups, downs, wide open trails and single track. You will never be able to get in a rhythm on this course”. So true.

Right at 11:30 the gun sounded and the field went out like it was black Friday at Walmart, where they were giving away free donuts to the first 50 customers at the midnight opening. In the first 100 yards I think I was already 100 yards behind the leaders. Holy Cow this was a fast field. We wound around the base of the mountain then hit our first steep climb. It was short but it already caused some people to walk and clogged up the trail a bit. About 8/10′s of a mile into the race we finally headed out to start the 2.5 mile climb up the mountain. The climb was mostly on single track and this caused a lot of conga lines. Once again, people who went out too fast were clogging up the trail. I didn’t mind, I had seeded myself exactly in the right position. The trail was tight and it was impossible to pass with out the person in front of you stepping aside.

We weaved back and forth across the mountain. I was holding my own but I was starting to get tired. In fact at one point one of my snowshoes caught the edge of the snow bank and I went down. DAMN!!! One of my major goals was to see if I could complete the race with out falling. NOPE!!

We finally reached the top and I was looking for some rest going back down. It wasn’t happening. First the single track down the mountain was always twisting and turning so you had to stay focused and run in control or you’d be making snow angels face down. Second, the race director Tim decided to make sure you had great views by running you UP towards the top a second time. I don’t know about the rest of the runners but all I saw was the snow under my feet because I was so beat up.

A couple of times we hit wide open areas to run and I was able to let the “big dogs run”. With about 2K to go I noticed a couple guys up ahead were coming back to me. I told myself ‘I need to catch these guys’. If they were in my age category I would be pissed at myself for not trying. Time to light up the engines. I started pushing hard. Two kilometers is what, 1.2 miles? GO OLD MAN GO!!

I knew I had to catch them before we hit the switch back part of the course going down the final hill. I knew I wouldn’t be stable in that area. I caught them and tried to stretch out my lead.

1K to go. Here comes the switchbacks.

Sure enough they were all chewed up with lots of deep holes. I was stumbling all over the place like a drunk during an earthquake. I could hear the guys catching me.

Viger Graham Snowshoe Nationals

Graham hits the switchbacks very ‘gracefully’. Courtesy of Joe Viger Photography.

With a quarter mile to go I was back on level ground and there were 3 guys right on my tail. Lets see what these legs got left. I did a full systems check: legs feel good, breathing was under control. Funny but climbing the mountain I was a mess. It seems my breathing has not been so good the last year. I have good endurance but once I need to take in a large volume of oxygen I just can’t expand my chest enough. But it was go time.

I started to dig deep. I had nobody in front of me so it was all about holding off the guys behind me. What we had left was in the shape of a backwards S, with the first 2 sections being flat to down hill. I knew I could hold them off on these sections. The third section was up a slight hill, and here is were I figured the race would be won or lost. The final section was down the same hill we just ran up. Here we go!!!!

First section, they are about 10 yards behind me. Hold steady.

Second section, still 10 yards back. OK it’s go time. Drive that stiletto into their hearts and give it a twist.

My legs responded and I was flying up the hill. I took a peak over my shoulder and they were shat out my back door. I turned the last corner to the finish and I could see they were all dropping further back.

Drive to the finish. Leg responded again. Where were these legs going up the mountain? I crossed the finish line and was dead tired. I grabbed my knees and just wobbled for a couple of minutes.

I knew I had given it all I had but the competition was off the chart. One thing I wanted to make sure of was that I didn’t finish DFL. Success!

I went back into the lodge and changed up quick. I was soaked and I knew if I stayed in these wet clothes I’d be a shivering mess in short order. I’m glad I packed everything. Now it was time to check the results. I didn’t have to wait even a second; by the time I got back outside they were posted. I was 8th in my age category and 142nd over all out of 213 male runners. WOW, I don’t think I’ve ever finished in the back 1/3 of any race but then again I’ve never run in a national title race before. I was satisfied.

Now for the hardest part of the day: driving 2.5 hours back home. I bought a couple of Cokes to keep me awake and listened to an audio version of “Born to Run”. Go figure!!!

A good day was had by ALL.

Graham Enjoying the Journey

by Tim Ritchie

The Level Legion: A Quick Look into Training

Last we left the The Level Legion: Boston Marathon Edition, they were telling you a bit about why they are racing the Boston Marathon. Now, let’s take a look at how they are doing so far. We are 8 weeks away from the big day and everyone is well underway with their training. Each of our runners has a unique approach to training and our hope is that you can find some comfort and encouragement in their responses. We have here a quick check in on our runners’ general outlook on their training to date and a sample of what their weeks have been so far. Enjoy and keep up the good work, runners!

Scott Graham

Boston Legion GrahamI really enjoy the training. Years ago I learned that the race is the reward for all the training, but the training is where a lot of the magic happens. The bonds you form with the people you train with are very special. I joke with my wife that I spend more time with my training partners than her. You really get to know your training partners; you know all about their families, their likes, dislikes, struggles, work, strengths and weaknesses. You support them when they are struggling because you know they will be doing the same for you at some point. They become your closest friends. I’ve had two very close friends over the years that I’ve done thousands of runs with: David Katz and Peter Floss. David is taking Boston off this year but Peter will be toeing the line once again.

Last week I was sick so it was a very down week with only 13 miles. But overall I’ve been averaging 40+ miles a week with a high of 60 miles. I’ve also been able to get in 5 long runs at this point and plan to start doing 18+ milers next week.

Here is a sample look at one of Scott’s February weeks:

Monday: Easy 8 - 10 miles.

Tuesday:  7 miles, 1 mile warm up 5 at tempo, 1 mile cool down

Wednesday: easy 5.

Thursday: Track workout - 1 mile warm up, 6x 800 with 400 rest, 1 mile cool down.

Friday: easy 5.

Saturday: 15 miles.

Sunday: easy 5.

Contact Form Powered By : XYZScripts.com