Tag: Issue 11 Nov/Dec 2012

Hrynowski Tops Age Group in Baltimore

E-J Hrynowski made the trek down to Baltimore back on October 13th and won his age group in the marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival. E-J not only topped all the seniors, but he also beat any masters and placed 7th overall with his 2:49:23. Impressive. Here are some thoughts from E-J on the accomplishment:

“Since I’m on the wrong side of the half century mark, I decided to run marathons in different states in case I really lose touch with reality and try to join the 50 state club. I’ve run all of New England, New York and Pennsylvania so I decided to move down the East coast. Since I beat the Boston qualifier by (way) more than twenty minutes at Boston this year, I didn’t have to rule out a challenging course. Original goal was to go to the Charm City and finish ahead of all the Senior Ravens fans as revenge for the AFC defeat, but after the bombings I decided that revenge of any kind would not be an appropriate goal. Looking for a more positive alternative, I settled on a revised motivator of running Boston Strong. I hadn’t bothered to check previous year results, because you never know who is going to toe the line. I couldn’t come up with a time goal because the course profile looks like a rollercoaster with a net down in the first half and a net up in the second. Because I couldn’t come up with a time, I decided that placing in my AG would be the goal and posted it in a group forum on RunningAHEAD.com. Even if it’s known only to a small corner of the interwebz, I find that posting a goal can create a bit of additional accountability.”

To help the Legion get to know E-J a bit better, here’s a profile of his that was published in the mag:

Day in the Life

E-J Hrynowksi had tried running a handful of times throughout his life, but it never stuck. He repeatedly fell prey to the neophyte’s mistake of “too much too soon” and couldn’t keep with it. Then something happened: “My marriage came crashing to an end in early 2000, and as I crawled from its wreckage I started walking almost every day.” In time, the walking became running and Hrynowski has been with it ever since. He attributes the steps at the Wachusett Reservoir Dam for his (re)birth. 10 sets a day. 2000 up. 2000 down.

Late to the game, he ran his first race at the age of 39. His selection: The 2002 Carson 2-miler in Chelmsford. He debuted in a modest 14:44. After that, he started surfing the web for running advice and his training elevated to something a bit more serious. Before long, he adopted a philosophy that has served him well: “Run lots, mostly easy, sometimes hard.”

Moving into 2005, the infamous Applefest was Hrynowski’s first half marathon in which he ran 1:48.10. He jokingly states that he learned in an invaluable lesson in that virginal trot: “Check the course elevation profile before submitting a registration.”

By the time 2007 rolled around, E-J was a fixture at the Tuesday Night Good Times 5k series in Lowell, MA. He’s run 107 of them since then and that number would be higher if his foot did not have an unfortunate encounter with a lawnmower blade. Despite the mishap with the grass cutter, he ran his first marathon later that year. Still relatively untrained (only 664 miles from January to November), he ran 3:36.26 at the inaugural Manchester City Marathon. He was hooked.

The Greater Lowell Road Runners entered Hrynowski’s life in 2008. It was the conclusion of the Tuesday Night Good Times 5k series and Glenn Stewart was offering up a free membership to the club. “Accepting the invitation,” says E-J, “was one of the better decisions I’ve made because it led to great runs, Grand Prix races, and great friendships. It’s an awful lot of fun trying to chase the young guns at Angry Chicken track workouts.”

Among his favorite workouts is a midweek half marathon with hill repeats in the middle of it. He usually does this workout with teammates. Must be some good camaraderie among them because he’s done the workout 114 times since 2010. As you can tell from the specificity of the numbers herein, Hrynowski displays the obsessive numbers geek precision common to runners. So much so that he ran 120 miles in the final week of 2011 to make it an even 3000 for the year.

Hrynowski MasonHis favorite races are 1) Stu’s 30k and 2) New Bedford Half Marathon. His favorite rehydration beverage is Pabst Blue Ribbon. His defense: “Nate Jenkins keeps it real with PBR, so I’m in good company.”

E-J Hrynowski achieved all his PR’s in 2012. Here they are:

5k – 17:02
5 miles – 28:58
13.1 – 79:18
30k – 2:00.24
26.2 – 2:50.04

0500 wakeup
0545 breakfast (bagel, yogurt, cereal, coffee)
0700 arrive at work (black coffee and dark chocolate)
1000 eat lunch at desk (cold cut sandwich, nacho chips, granola bar or cookie, dark chocolate)
1200 actual lunch break, often nap in car for 30 minutes
1300 snack time (applesauce or snack size fruit cup)
1600 home from work, gear up and run
1900 dinner (pasta and meatballs, casseroles, etc)
2000 go online; check the wonders of Facebook
2200 goodnight

Weekend usually consists of a day off or short easy run on Saturday and a long easy run or race on Sunday. For races, I have a frosted poptart about 45 minutes before the gun and will usually do a couple easy miles with some strides. No warmup for marathons, I just walk to the start and let adrenaline do its thing.

This article originally appeared in Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Level Renner. Because of that, E-J’s PR’s are probably a little quicker by now. Anyway, get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen). 

WMDP Struts Their Stuff

The Chicago Marathon

the western mass distance project struts their stuff in the midwest

“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.” – Haile Gebrselassie

[Editor’s Note: This was submitted by an Anonymous Wolf about the WMDP team’s experience at the 2012 Chicago Marathon. Since we’re in the midst of fall marathon season and Chicago was just last weekend, we thought it was appropriate to re-share.]

WMDP in Chicago
Chicago, IL – The men of the WMDP Wolves toed the line of the 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th, 2012 with vague expectations. We expected it to be long. We expected it to be painful. We expected it to change us as runners. However, what we did not expect was the degree to which each of these expectations would be met.

The race was the reason for the formation of this rag tag group of Western Massachusetts runners. As with any training plan, this one began with a base and became more defined throughout…and so did the powder blue of the WMDP. What started off as a reason to send sarcastic emails and trash talk to each other progressed into serious training advice, Grand Prix wins, and a large group of teammates descending upon Chicago on October 7th.

The gun went off and we immediately grouped together like penguins in an Arctic storm. The feel was intimidat- ing, but much more bearable with the group. In an event requiring such mental strength the age old saying “two heads are better than one” holds true, and eleven heads are even better than two.

The first 8k passed by like we were standing still. It was more a game of consciously selecting our pace, constantly checking with each other if the group agreed. I am unsure if there was any passing going on, though there may have been hundreds of others still around us. All that’s clear to memory is turning to Dave, turning to Kevin, turning to Nico, looking for a quick nod at each mile marker. It was shortly after this point that Duncan let the group ahead drag him in their wake. We opted to hang back. It would later become clear that everyone involved made the right decision.

The next portion, 10k through 13.1, seemed to be a one mile transition from floating to tempoing. The pace remained perfect and the now group of four looked smooth. As a foursome we now rolled through Chi-town alone, feeding off the “Western Mass!” yells that occurred every 1200 meters or so, compliments of Sean Duncan’s warning ahead. We imagined floating off the back of Coach OB’s little green Tacoma, rolling through the country roads of Hadley listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival. Becoming aware of where we were in the race and the crew I was rolling with, I began to get a little giddy, maybe displaying more comfort than was warranted.

Entering the third quadrant of the race, the group was cut down again. This felt a lot like the end of a long summer at summer camp. We were approaching the infamous 20 mile mark and the cool, calm, and collective four had to dismantle. Enough piggy-backing. It was now a long and lonely battle we each had to bear…alone (and that’s not easy for a pack of wolves).

I’ve heard about the wall. I’ve also wussed out in races ranging from 1 mile to the Half Marathon, but I can say with 100% honesty: I did not bag this. This just happened. I found the wall.

Mile 23 felt like someone from the crowd ran out and gave me a bear hug, one which the spectator decided to hold tighter and tighter through each remaining mile and not let go. The difference in the end of the marathon and the end of a 10k is in the 26.2 you’ve earned so much more of what’s behind you. Fading in a 10k with 1200 meters to go results in a bad feeling, may be a bad time, but another opportunity next week and only 5.5 invested miles. A marathon, however, is your baby by mile 23. You’ll fight to the death to protect it.

As we congregated at the finish line, watching our teammates pour in and crowd the finish chute with blue jerseys, I must say I was living my best running experience to date.

“Four under 2:30!”… “Six under 2:34!”… “Peabody! You crazy bastard!”… “Eight under 3:00!”… “Get me an IV of beer… seriously…”

We shared a large portion of that race as a unit; we all had similar experiences (confirmed through conversations that followed), but we all came out with a different number. The number is more than a PR; it’s the title to an entire story.

I can’t tell the story of my teammate’s numbers. I imagine there were loud drums in the background of the story titled 2:24:59 (Sean Duncan) as it was told in a heroic war-like setting. The story of the 2:33:20 (Matthew Peabody) taught a message of dedication and self-belief, an inspirational story to say the least. The story of 2:25:43 (Kevin Johnson) was a comeback tale teaching lessons in maturity and control.

At the end of the day your marathon PR will by no means change the world, but it will change yours, and that seems a significant enough change to me. Many could RUN one, I recommend RACING it.

An anonymous WMDP Wolf wrote this article. This article originally appeared in Nov/Dec 2012 issue of Level Renner. Get your free subscription today (box in upper right portion of screen).

Nov/Dec 2012 : Issue 11

The 2012 November/December issue is chock full of motivational material that will get you through a harsh winter of training.  Get great insights from not only our writers but our featured athletes as well.

As always, the digital copy is free, but if you would like to purchase a hard copy you may do so via the hp MagCloud site.


Table of Contents

To Download the Nov/Dec 2012 Issue Click Here

  • Editor’s Note & Letters 
  • Lane 1: Performance
    Uphill Strides, 
    Negative Splits w/ Newbould
  • Lane 2: Body Shop
  • Lane 3: Nutrition
    Spaghetti Squash
  • Featured Event
    Chicago Marathon
  • Level Profiles
    Jose Ortiz
    Brielle Chabot
    E-J Hrynowski
    Josh Ferenc
  • Lane 4: Commentary
    Pushing Your Limits, T-Shirts, Spousal Running
  • Bits
    survey, music, miscellaneous stuff
  • Cape Cod Marathon
    mini photo journal
  • USATF NE GPS Recap
  • Back Page
    Learn the Legion

Negative Splits: The Brandon Newbould Session

Depending on where you are in the world, the mythological creature goes by a different name.  In the Himalayas, the Tibetans refer to it as a Yeti.  Right here in North America, over in the Pacific Northwest, it’s more commonly known as a Sasquatch or Bigfoot.  Being as far away from those hotbeds of ‘squatch sightings as we are, I was not a believer…until I raced one.

The encounter took place at the Stowe 8 Miler up in Vermont, way back in July of 2011.  About six miles into the eight mile race, I felt a presence creeping up on me.  I was surprised to see the Sasquatch pull up alongside me and a brief panic set in.  I feared the worst as I was feeling quite beat at this point and the Sasquatch looked strong.

We battled fiercely over the last two miles, and I was very impressed not only by how great of a competitor he was, but also by how much he pushed me.  That dual was one of the reasons that I ended up joining his team a couple of weeks later.  Sasquatch turned out to be just a nickname given to Brandon Newbould by his Whirlaway teammates because of his Pacific Northwest roots.  While it may be just a nickname, the guy truly is a beast.  Brandon is one tough SOB and here’s an inside look at one of his training sessions.

The Workout:

Workout: 10 x 700m @ 4:50/mile pace with 700m recovery @ 5:50-6:00 pace.

Note: 700m @ 4:50/mi pace comes out to a 2:06.  The 2:06-2:09 range he ended up hitting in these (as you’ll see below) works out to a 4:50-57 mile pace.

Brandon’s Take:

The 700/700 workout was the second in a series of training sessions to take place over the course of 10-12 weeks leading up to some goal races.  The workout is race-specific but directed as a training stimulus toward the lactate-shuttling mechanism.  Workouts are spaced about 10 days apart to allow for recovery and supercompensation, which is important, because the workouts become very challenging if adaptations are not taking place.

I’ve been doing these workouts with Dan Hocking, who is pretty much just plain better than I am.  It’s a good situation for me, trying to keep up with that guy, and some days it’s a good situation for him as well.  The first workout in our series was a good day for me and I ended up pushing him on the last few reps.

The workout series is Dan’s idea and came from some material he gained from a clinic with Renato Canova.  I like to train the lactate shuttle with fartleks and hill fartleks anyway so it worked out well for me to join Dan on this series.  Dan wanted to make it 10k specific, so that’s the race pace in the workout, and it also determines the progression of distance.  The workout is a continuous effort, alternating segments at race pace with segments at a good aerobic clip.  There are so many different terms for it, so I’ll avoid all of them and just give it some numbers: Dan and I keep the recovery at 5:50-6:00 mile pace.  This is not a tempo pace, but not jogging either.  The workout series goes like this: 600m/800m, 700m/700m, 800m/600m, 900m/500m, 1k/400m.  By the end, you’re basically running your race at goal pace (10x1k) with 1-lap recoveries in about 85 seconds.

This is one of the bigger workouts on my plate right now and I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to it when I woke up in the morning.  I must have jinxed myself on the last session, because I remember Dan and I both remarking how miserable it would have been doing this one alone.  Well, Dan wasn’t feeling well so I was looking at a solo effort in the afternoon.  I ran on the Phillips Exeter track, which was windy (as always, this time of year), but beggars can’t be choosers and conditions weren’t really going to make it any easier to complete.

This is the second year since I moved out here that I’m trying to train and race through a spring (as opposed to recovering from Boston) and I’ve learned quickly that allergies factor into that.  Last year I didn’t know what was happening to me so I just bulled forward and got slower and slower until whatever pollen affects me finished its work and went away.  For me, allergies seem to affect my recovery from workouts more than anything else, and I wasn’t sure where I was at for this one.  This year I’m determined to be a little more mature about things, which mostly works with the schedule, and I have a baby coming any day now anyway so training will be dialed back one way or another pretty soon.

Coming into this workout, I had about a month of training that was lower-mileage to rest for or recover from the first Grand Prix races.  Last week I had come back up to 100 miles, with a long run/workout on Saturday.  That was 20M with 3 x 2mi tempo in the second half, and I was a little tired still from that on Tuesday.  My first 700m was encouraging, because I had enough pep in my legs to go out a little too fast.  I dialed it back and ran 2:08 (looking for 2:06-2:09) without feeling too bad.

During the first workout with Dan I was convinced after the second repeat that I needed to go one more and then stop, it felt so hard.  That day, I felt better as we went somehow, and completed the workout in relatively good shape.  Still, I didn’t want to start too hard on this one, especially alone.  With the nature of the recovery, an excited early pace comes back to bite you pretty quickly.

I came back for the next repeat in 2:09, which was on the slow end.  That showed me that this was going to be a tough day, because the splits weren’t coming very easily.  At least I had the benefit (and curse) of being on the track.  The wind was hitting pretty hard, but at least on the track it was balanced with the tailwind.  With Dan we hit the roads and he calibrated his watch to beep when we hit our distances, and we only ran two or three of the reps on the track to start and finish the workout.  I lack the technical savvy to calibrate my own watch for 700m, so that meant all track for the workout.  I ran the first 5 reps backwards to counter the stress on my legs from 9 miles of turning one direction.

The next repeats went 2:06, 2:07, 2:08, and with that was the last one, I knew wasn’t going to see anything under 2:08 after that.  I was barely recovering this time during the 700m at 6:00/mile pace.  On the first workout with Dan, we had 800m recovery and I felt like I was clearing the lactate much more quickly than that, and we were keeping it at 5:50/mile pace that day.  For some reason things weren’t working out that way for me this time, so the workout was starting to get pretty tough after I hit halfway.

At this point I’d love to serve as an inspiration to my Yankee comrades and say that I pushed through and blazed the final reps in an astonishing negative split.  Now, I don’t exactly know what “Keeping It on the Level” means, so I’ll figure that it’s akin to keeping it honest.  And the honest fact is, I shut the workout down early.  That’s just the damn truth.  I’m not a guy to wimp out in a tough situation, and that’s also the damn truth, so “be[ing] smart out there” as Dave (Kazanjian, owner of Whirlaway Sports) likes to say doesn’t come easy for me.

As far as trying to decide if I was really smart or wimped out, well, St. Peter can just fill me in on that one at the Pearly Gates.  What I do know is, on the 8th repeat I realized I needed to dig deeper than I like to in training to hit my split, and I was choking down my bacon and eggs while trying to transition into 6:00 pace instead of walking the recovery.  I figured I could run the last two, or at least one, under 2:10, but I might have to go to the well to do so, and that would be kind of a dumb move.  With my fall marathon ambitions ended by the fifth stress fracture of my career, fresh into my 30th year, I’m strongly motivated to avoid the dumb moves.  God knows I’m not getting an Alter-G for Christmas so that means making good decisions on the track.

As a coach I echo Bill Bowerman in telling the athletes to finish a workout “feeling like you’re got another one in the tank.”  I was already probably beyond that point and I don’t want to be made a liar, so I’m okay with where I left things.  I ended up at 7 miles for the workout, 14 total for the session.  The next workout in the series will probably happen this weekend and maybe that will be a better day.

That’s great stuff from Brandon.  Lessons are learned and progress can still be made even on a day as tough as this one, and The Level was lucky enough to have Brandon share his insight on it.  A lot of people probably would shy away from featuring a workout of theirs that they had to cut short.  Brandon has an open-ended invitation to Intervals, so sometime in the near future we’ll hopefully be featuring a monster workout that he crushes.  We were also fortunate to get some post-workout thoughts from Dan Hocking:

While tempo runs definitely have their place and I still like Jack Daniels’ Cruise Intervals, I have become a big fan of these types of intervals which teaches the body to clear lactate (lactate shuttle development) and buffer/clear associated excess hydrogen ions (handle blood acidity) while running at a moderate pace. These workouts allow the athlete to run a considerable time at goal race pace. You can’t run more than ~20 minutes at goal 10k pace during a tempo run or it becomes a 10k race. These workouts also teach the athlete to be comfortable with changing paces, which is common in most non-rabbitted races. The nice thing about the series is that it gets progressively harder with increasing volume at race pace and less rest while the total volume stays the same. By the end, you know you can race at that pace. 
While the workout series is designed specifically for the track, Brandon and I have mixed it up, with half on the track to determine pace, and half on the roads by effort. We have adapted this method because we are primarily preparing for road races rather than track races. 
I think Brandon covered most of the main points. I’ll just add that technically Renato Canova starts the series at 400/1000 then progresses to 500/900, and then to 600/800. I did the 400/1000 way back on February 8th, replaced the 500/900 with other workouts preparing for New Bedford, and then Brandon joined me for the 600/800 on March 27
Dan provided some very good information here to support what Brandon wrote, and is deserving of his own segment in the near future.  I think this may already be running too long, so I’ll just say that I highly recommend following the links above and reading up on what Dan has to say about it
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