Better Late than Never?

Well my last post (in October) started with an apology for it having been a month between posts, so I suppose now I shouldn’t even bother trying to apologize for the many month gap here. I hope no one has been holding their breathe for updates from me, as you are surely seeing spots by now if you are. Overall, really not too much has happened though. Lets break it down a bit to make my life easier.

Academics: First semester finished out well overall. Things got a bit hectic at the end as they always do, but I was able to pull off a 4.0 for my first semester of Graduate School, so I can’t complain at all. This semester is shaping up to be a bit busier from the get go with a staggering 9 credits this semester (still can’t get used to not having class all day long)! Physiology of Exercise and Statistical Methods for Human Performance only meet on Monday and Tuesday nights, but have work to keep me going throughout the week. I am also enrolled in an online Methods of Coaching class which gives me plenty of reading and reflecting to do during any down time I am able to find during my days. Overall they are going well so far though, and there have already been a few papers and not so short “short assignments” to keep me busy. The real fun begins next week with my first Physiology of Exercise exam!

Running: The biggest reason I never updated my blog at the end of last season was due to the fact that my races significantly dropped off after my Fort Hays big PR. I did end up having the awesome opportunity of repping the ASU singlet at our conference championship meet, but the 8000′ of elevation was not as kind to my legs as the 2000′ that I excelled in at Kansas two weeks prior. The story was the same for me at conference and the regional meet in Denver two weeks later, where I struggled personally, however the Adams State men pulled off narrow victories in both the RMAC and South Central Region meets. My dream of competing at the national level in XC was dashed, however our Men dominated the muddy field to handily take the NCAA Division II National Title. After a short week off to recover from XC it was finally onto track. I battled some knee pain through the end of December and heading into January, and strained a hamstring trying to run fast in the 10 degree Tamworth weather while I was home, but otherwise have had some quality training heading into this indoor season (although I do not have any eligibility left).

After some very solid workouts at sea level while visiting my old UMD team I was feeling good and ready to roll, however elevation hit me hard again as soon as I got back to Alamosa. It took a few weeks, but I am finally getting back into elevation shape and hitting some solid workouts up here again. Last weekend was my first mile of the season, and even though it was at the highest collegiate track in the world (yes, the world), I felt confident going in. Not even a 15 second conversion could help as the open race that I was in went out in 39s for the first 200 and was a fairly pedestrian 2:25 high through 800m. I ended up finishing in 4:42 (converts to 4:27 and change at sea level), which was not quite what I wanted, but at least I was able to somewhat finish hard even though I did not feel great. A year ago I had my breakthrough 4:11 performance anchoring our SR DMR team, and I honestly feel like I am in better shape than I was then, however at this point I don’t think racing at elevation will allow me to run anything too fast until I get better used to it. A home meet next weekend is next on the horizon, so hopefully I will be able to be in a competitive heat and finally run a time closer to what I know I am capable of.

Work: Work is pretty much the same old. Still doing tutoring of all varieties and running Intramurals. Tutoring puts my math and physics skills to a test daily, and makes me realize how much of those classes I have already forgotten. That’s about it for work.

Life and Stuff: I am still alive, so that is a good sign! Still just learning, running, living, and eating. Lets be honest though, mostly eating. I am slacking on food pictures this time around (sorry Mallory!), but have started using cookbooks so stuff is getting pretty fancy! Stir fry is always a favorite still, but so far have also been utilizing the crock pot more, with cheesy chicken last week and chili last night! I think I am still a long ways away from catching up to my mothers cooking prowess, but I am trying! It was very nice to be able to go home for a couple weeks and see everyone over the holidays. Family holidays are something you take for granted often, but moving across the country and missing them made me realize how special every opportunity to see those you love really are. While I was left alone all day during the week I was able to visit my grandparents to hang out, help out, and play some serious cribbage! I have to admit I did get skunked by my grandmother, but from what I hear the cribbage gene comes from her side of the family, so I should have expected that from her!

Not many of my friends from HS still live in MWV, but I saw those who still do, and spent New Years in Boston with others who now live there, so it was nice to see them as well. I was also able to spend 5 days down in Dartmouth to hang out and train with my UMass track friends, which is always a wonderful experience. Training out here with one of the best teams in the country is an awesome experience, but it is always good to go back and run again with the friends, teammates, and coaches who made me into the athlete I am today. Another great part of my time on the East Coast was me smartening up and asking out the girl I have liked for over a year now. Lucy and I got close at the end of my last year at UMD, but with me coming out here it was a scary time to get too attached. 5 months and 2000 miles between us didn’t change the feelings we had for each other, so I have entered the world of long distance dating! She has already booked a trip out here to explore Colorado for spring break, so the wait isn’t too long until I get to see her again.

Other than all that I am still pretty busy between class, work, and running. A few new hobbies I have picked up (or re-picked up really) are rubik’s cubes and learning to program. I have always enjoyed playing with the rubik’s cube, but have picked it up again recently and slowly getting faster and faster at it. Programming is something I have always wanted to do and have tried to pick up a few times, and this time it is programming apps for Android that peaked my interest. I have a lot to learn and not a lot of free time to learn it, but this is something I have always wanted to learn, so hopefully before long I will be advertising my own apps on this blog too!

So I really hope it is not another 4 months before I update this, and if it is keep bothering me and I will get to it eventually!

A New Job and a New PR

First off, I apologize (to my mother mostly) for the fact that it has been about a month since my last post. I have been busy, yet at the same time haven’t had much to write about. Strange how that works isn’t it?

So I got myself another job to keep me busy, this one being a Graduate Assistant position in Intramurals. Basically I help another GA run the intramural program, with my being in charge of dodgeball and an indoor soccer tournament this winter season. We are in charge of all the advertising, recruitment, rule-making, scheduling, etc. so it should be keeping me busy while I am not running/tutoring/learning/blah blah blah. It also comes with a fancy office! I am waiting on my name tag for the door, then I will post some pictures (hopefully not in a month again)

Football from the Deck

Football from the Deck

So now, for my running friends… a new PR! The team (minus the top 5) spent our long weekend last weekend driving 8 hours to Kansas to run in the Fort Hays Invitational, finally my first trip back to sea level since getting to Colorado. My training had been going well, and Coach and I thought 25:30 was a realistic goal on a good day. After going out in 4:49 for the first mile (2 seconds off my high school mile PR!) the group settled in slightly and I was feeling pretty good. The middle part of the course had some little hills, but overall the course was hard and fast. I went through 3 miles in 15:02 and knew it was going to be a good race. I started to pick people off in the last 2 miles, and was incredibly surprised to see 24:xx on the clock as I was coming down the last straight away to the finish. The clock was a blur as I finished, but I was pretty sure I never saw it hit 25:00 and was psyched to find out later that I ran 24:54, for a 1:08 PR from a year ago at Conn College. This time also put me 4th on the team for the day, which means I was the 9th man on the team overall. 9 guys race at the conference meet in two weeks, so I am hoping I get another opportunity to race and hopefully close that gap. I was only 15 seconds behind our 7th man, which is a huge improvement over the minute plus I was behind just a month ago.

Our October Uniforms

Our October Uniforms

Other than working and training, it is pretty much the same old stuff. Classes are going well overall, and we are officially past our halfway point in the semester. Not too many grades have been posted yet, but so far I am doing very well, and hopefully I can continue that trend. I am about to be late for work, so will leave you with some more pictures of my cooking until next time, which I promise will not be a month away!

Crockpot Attempt #1

Crockpot Attempt #1

All-American Meal

All-American Meal

Winter Is Coming

So, by popular demand (and by that I mean my mother), here is the shirt I won at that Colorado College meet. One more shirt means I have to laundry less often!


                 Top 16

Again, not much too exciting has happened since my last update. A lot more running, some more learning, some more teaching, all that fun stuff. I am definitely getting used to the elevation and heavy training loads and starting to get even stronger, which is a great feeling. I have had 3 or 4 workout in a row where I have felt stronger than any workout previously, so am taking that as a good sign.

The top guys are at the Paul Short Invite this weekend, so those of us left behind here are getting together to watch it online and hopefully watch ASU prove to those D1 schools that we are for real. It is going to be awesome watching guys I have been training with every day on a big stage against some of the best runners in the country.

I don’t think I ever mentioned this here before, but another kid on the XC team moved into the empty room in our apartment and our new thing is actually making dinners, which has been an interesting experience. I have upgraded from simple pasta or soup to making things like stir fries, which are definitely a lot better than my previous meals. Another of my roommates, Josh, also broke out the deep fryer this week and has starting making homemade french fries, which have become very dangerous as he puts plates of them out and anyone who knows me knows that it is very hard for me to ignore food that is placed in front of me.

I can cook! Kinda...

        I can cook! Kinda…

The picture above is of our first stir fry attempt which included: chicken, spinach, rice, peppers, and our secret seasonings which made it all the better. This picture also brings up a good point about Christmas Ideas! I don’t know when the last time I asked for anything for Christmas (other than running shoes) was, but this year I am starting my list early and letting you people know I would love a nice non-stick pan. I make a breakfast sandwich almost every morning (they are too good to not eat constantly), and cleaning my old pan is a chore every morning. So this year you guys can’t tell me that I didn’t give you anything to get me for Christmas! Side note: Asking for cooking instruments for Christmas makes me feel old…

And now to make sure that my loving Mother is happy, I will include two more pictures. The first is proof that I am indeed eating well, and the second is some Colorado scenery that was the finish of our run last Wednesday. Not too bad a place to finish up a nice midweek 13 miler!


Two XC Runners + Two Hours + Two Stores = Lots of Food


                                                           Fort Garland, CO

Oh, and the title (other than an obvious Game of Thrones reference) is referring the fact that multiple of our morning runs this week has been below 30 degrees and snow has fallen on the mountains surrounding the valley. This is just the start of what I am told will be easily the coldest winter I have experienced. Oh boy!

Movin’ on Up

Saturday was our second meet of the year, and another opportunity to see where I stack up on the team. It was about a three hour drive to the Springs on Friday afternoon, but eventually we got out and ran the course, which was in a very nice little park with hard packed gravel paths which were great to run on. After our run and a nice chicken fettuccine alfredo at a restaurant in Colorado Springs we settled into the hotel and had our athlete meetings with Coach. My goal has always just been to improve, and when we sat down in the hotel Friday night Coach agreed that just trying to get more confident and acclimated to the altitude will lead to significant improvements in itself.

Saturday morning was the typical race morning, and we got to the park and did our normal warmups. I could feel the hard weeks prior still, but was mentally very ready to race. The race started with a whisper of a whistle, so our whole team got off to a pretty terrible start. Me being at the back of our team in the box got a particularly poor start, and for the first 800m or so was stuck behind some kids who were running far slower than I would like to. I eventually made my way around them, and around the one mile mark the race really began for me.

The second mile was slightly uphill, so the pace wasn’t much faster, but I was definitely gaining on people. Around the halfway mark of the race I was feeling good, so I picked it up and started to pick people off slowly but surely. I felt surprisingly strong with about a mile and a half to go and saw Austin ahead, so surged a bit to catch him and urged him on to work with me to the finish. We passed quite a few kids in that last mile, and around mile 4 someone told us we were in 25th and 26th, which was higher than I thought we would be. Coach was yelling at us with about 400m to go to catch the kids in front of us, so we both ran hard to the finish and in the end he outkicked me by a second (he has run 1:53 for the 800, so I wasn’t too surprised by this).

At the finish he went by a kid with ~20m to go and the kid gave up a little bit, which let me go by him as well. This turned out to be a significant difference, as this put me as the 16th collegiate, which means I won my first shirt of my D2 running career! The time was only ~8 seconds faster than Vigil even though I felt much better, but after looking at results the great majority of people ran slower at this meet than our first, so it is surely a sign I am headed in the right direction. After the race coach told me he was very pleased that I was progressing, and to just keep working hard because he knows I have big improvements to make. That helped my confidence greatly, as it is always nice to hear that after a race. I was 7th man on the team (with the top 5 not racing) so I am slowly creeping my way up the ranks. The team was second overall to Mines (who is ranked 5th in the nation) by about 15 points, which is a pretty solid showing without our top guys racing.

After the race we got to go to Chipotle, which is not in the valley so this was quite the treat for the team, and then headed back to campus. Saturday night was a relaxing night hanging out with a couple guys from the team, then headed back to the apartment to watch the football team almost make a very impressive comeback from 28-0 in the fourth quarter. Sunday was the usual day: morning long run, football, football, and football. Gotta love Sundays!

I won’t be racing again for a month, so I can imagine these next couple weeks will be pretty serious training weeks. That next race is in Kansas at about 2000 ft elevation, and usually has some very fast times. With another month of good training and acclimation I am very excited to see what I can run here, and this will be a good indication of where I am at as compared to last year!

P.S. – Planned on having a picture of my new shirt I won, but unfortunately left it in the van after the ride home, and have yet to get that back from one of the coaches. So stay tuned for that!

Fish and Free Kicks

So I guess since I have slacked and it has been a week since my “Three Week” post, it has now been a month! Not too much has changed really, just continuing to occasionally go to class, run like crazy, and tutor to make some money. Not a bad gig if you ask me!

Turns out a lot of people here struggle with Chemistry, so I have about 8 hours a week of just tutoring Chemistry, which is a blast from the past for me since I haven’t taken a Chemistry class in four years. I am also tutoring for Organic Chemistry, which is even more interesting because I haven’t taken and orgo chem class in 22 years (read: I have never taken one). So instead of feeling useless whenever I have to tutor, as I did on the first day when I found out the class I was tutoring was all organic chemistry stuff, I started to teach myself instead! Strange concept: teaching yourself something specifically so you can teach others… but so far it is somewhat working! I have been doing Orgo Chem lessons on Khan Academy (which is awesome if you have never heard of it) in my spare time, and somewhat enjoying learning it even (yes I know I am weird). When I can’t take anymore chemistry I take a break and am also learning how to program in JAva on Khan Academy, which is a little more fun, but also pretty irrelevant as far as my degree goes. However, it does let me do cool stuff like write a program that draws random fishes! (Yes, this is my most impressive Java accomplishment yet, but give me time).

Pretty Impressive Huh?

Academically it pretty much continues to just consist of doing research and preparing for a lit review, so the vast majority of my work outside the classroom is finding, reading, and synthesizing research articles. Again… pretty fun stuff. We had a quiz in Biomechanics which was partially on stress, strain, and elasticity which I learned about ad nauseam during Engineering school, so I feel like I had a bit of an upper hand on that one.

And then there is running, and oh is there running. Without a meet last weekend we were pushed pretty hard, which included an interval session, the aforementioned hill extravaganza, a broken tempo workout, and a long run which included a half-marathon PR in the middle of it for good measure… all adding up to my first 110 mile week. After that brutal long run we backed off a bit on Monday, but we were back at it Tuesday for my first track workout here (everything else has been on the roads). I don’t want to divulge the exact details (it is a staple workout of the program, and therefore quite secretive), but lets just say it involved lots of reps with little rest at a pretty fast clip. Lets just sum it up and say I redefined the meaning of heavy legs with the 245 pounds of lactic acid that I am pretty sure built up in my legs during that one. On a positive note we have backed off since then, with only single easy runs each day, so the legs have recovered quite nicely. On an even more positive note, we got free shoes! The team is sponsored by New Balance so we get to try out the latest and greatest from them, and anyone who knows me know that free shoes are my second favorite thing (behind free food obviously).

New Balance 880v4

This weekend we head up to Colorado Springs to run in the Colorado College Invitational, which should be another good place to see how my body is reacting to this training. There are 7 or so guys running for 4 spots left to head to Pennsylvania in two weeks for the Paul Short Invitational (a HUGE race at sea level = fast times and great competition), so there should be some good competition among the guys on the team, not to mention the other 10 teams that are going. I will be sure to keep everyone posted on how that goes!

3 weeks already?

It just dawned on me that as of today I have been in Colorado for three weeks. It seems like I just got here, but at the same time it feels like I haven’t been home in forever. Strange how that works.

Anyways, things have started picking up steam here, which has been keeping me busy. My tutoring is up to a whopping 11 hours a week now and covers math, chemistry, and anatomy so far. Never in the world did I think I would be in Graduate School tutoring in anatomy and physiology, strange how things can change so rapidly.

Last Saturday was our first XC meet of the year, and it was an… interesting experience. The race was quite a learning process for me, as I found it to be quite different than racing at sea level. I was in the middle of the pack for most of the race, and honestly felt pretty good, but also like I couldn’t go any faster. Not sure if that was the elevation, or just it being my first XC race in a while, but it was a strange feeling. The results got messed up and I am not on them, but I finished about 30th overall (and 15th for ASU… heck of a team) in about 27:35. The time is obviously not my best, but depending on which conversion you use it is about equal to 26 low-to-mid, which is quite ahead of where I was last year at this time. After my first 100 mile week and it being my first race at elevation, I am pretty happy with that.

Since the race we have been cranking out the miles, and I finally had a workout Tuesday where I actually felt decent. Still far from feeling good, but it is definitely an improvement, and shows that things are slowly getting better. I never thought I would be able to handle 100+ mile weeks, but honestly I feel pretty good so far. I guess slow recovery runs and actually getting sleep for a change is quite helpful!

Yesterday we went to Pinos Creek, which was my first mountain run here. After about an hour drive we got to our starting point, which was halfway up a 6 mile climb and already at 9,950 feet. That first 3 miles were some of the more painful miles in my running career, as we climbed to 11,000 feet as I was gasping for air and seemingly dragging my legs along with me. After that the hills were rolling up to about 11,150 feet, which was a beautiful run with some very nice views of some Colorado mountains which helped the legs roll along very nicely

The view on the way down

The view on the way down


Working Man

So I guess the honeymoon period where I can just pretend I am a professional runner is over. We are diving right into this thesis business, and have a literature review due next week, which means from now on I am constantly reading scholarly articles and learning as much as possible about prospective thesis topics. As a running geek it will probably not come as a surprise to anyone that I am looking at the role that running shoe geometry and design plays in the forces applied to the lower leg during running. It is early on in the process ,but I have found some good articles, and am excited to hopefully get to use some of the testing equipment in the lab here on campus. 

I also got myself a job as a Math and Science tutor on campus, only a guaranteed five hours a week if no one books appointments, but I figure it will at least keep me busy and put a little cash in my pocket for food and what not (read: food and shoes, thats really all I buy). I actually start today with a brutal 1 hour shift in the Math Lab, not sure if I will be able handle so much at once (yes, I am being highly sarcastic).

Running at this point pretty much goes day-to-day, some days I feel great, some days I don’t. My legs feel fine even with the high mileage, it is just my stomach that is hit or miss. It tends to get worse the faster we run, so workouts have been a struggle so far, but hopefully this will go away as I get acclimated to the altitude. Speaking of altitude I picked up a copy of “Altitude Training and Athletic Performance” for some ‘light’ reading. Not sure if it will help me at all, but I enjoy reading about that kind of stuff so it should be a good read regardless. First meet is Saturday, and I am more than a bit nervous. I am excited to race again, but nervous that my stomach is going to act up again and it won’t be a true measure of the shape I am actually in. 

So, after much persuasion from my loving Mother, I finally took some pictures of the apartment to share with whoever may be following this. So… enjoy!

Living Room

Living Room



Not a bad view from the kitchen

Not a bad view from          the kitchen

Keeping the Sox faith

Keeping the Sox faith

Look Mom, I decorated!

Look Mom, I decorated!

Where the magic happens

Bedroom view

Bedroom view

Week One Complete

Well I can safely say I survived the first week out in Colorado. So far it has been pretty laid back, as even though classes started, you never really do much the first week. My one homework assignment got postponed due to some technical difficulties, so overall I haven’t had anymore than reading to do outside the classroom (so far). 

With academics getting off to a slow start, I have really been able to focus on running, which makes me pretty happy. Last week was my first 100 mile week, which ended with the team taking a weekend trip to Blue Mountain Ranch in Florissant, CO. It had all the summer camp feel; old cabins, introduction activities, ropes course, games, etc., with the obvious running aspect thrown in. The cabins where we started our runs were at 8300 feet, and on our long run Sunday we got up to 9000 feet for some beautiful views. The running was a little hilly, which I found out hurts a lot more at elevation, but overall the runs were great and I actually felt better there than back in Alamosa. 

Overall the Camp experience was great for me, as I actually know people’s names now, which is a nice touch when you spend 2 hours a day running beside them. Sunday’s long run brought me to a smidge over 100 miles for the week (I included strides to get over the hundo mark), but my legs still feel great. If nothing else, being out here has taught me the importance of taking your easy days easy, as it makes recovery actually possible.

I still haven’t really gotten around to fully unpacking/decorating my room, as I am still trying to figure out what I am going to need and what I can do with stuff, so those pictures will still have to wait. Watched my first ASU preseason football game from the porch last week, and am looking forward to being able to watch some games from the comfort of my apartment this Fall. 

The Grind Begins

Been a couple days, but not too much has really happened. Have been more or less been living the runner life. Running, eating, sleeping, running some more. In the 5 days since I started running with the team I have run 68.8 miles, which is a bit of a jump from what I have been doing, but feels good so far. The elevation is definitely beating me up a little bit, but it’s exciting because I know that in the long run (no pun intended) it will help me out.

Time trial was rough as I still hadn’t recovered from driving across the country, but I made the cut, so that is all I wanted. Since then we have just been doing easy mileage, with the distance runs being nice and slow thankfully. Love finally being back with a team again, even if I hardly know anyone yet.

First day of classes were yesterday, so I had my first Biomechanics class. Pretty boring first day stuff, but the class seems like it will be interesting and I’ll learn some good stuff, so I am excited. 

First workout was today, and it went better than expected. Fartlek workout out on a nice hard packed loop. Ended up being just over 24′ of up tempo stuff with a little over 7 miles at 6:20 pace for the whole workout. Mixed it up with the second group after 10 or so guys broke away. Was probably working a little harder than most of them, but it was good to be in the mix and running with people.

Room is slowly coming together, will post some pictures when it is deemed picture worthy.


Set off at 7am again planning to finish this trip today. Had about 820 miles to go, and was convinced to get it done and get settled. Easy going for the first while, breezed through Kansas City and onto the great fun of Kansas… It was nice to mix it up and get off I-70 for the first time in a couple hundred miles, but those roads are just all kinds of boring. Saw a tiny town once every hour or so, but that was about it.



At one point we realized we needed to start looking for gas. The GPS was not working great, no cell service, and no people or town in sight. We eventually set the GPS on one town 11 miles off the road, but when we got there it did not look very promising. Found Main Street, which turned out to be a old dirt road about half a mile long, with nothing at all on it, far less a gas station. At this point the gas light had been on for a while and we were getting anxious. Drove and drove and finally found a life saving Loaf n’ Jug in La Junta, because apparently that is the thing around here.

At least there are nice clouds

At least there are nice clouds

Pretty easy going again after that. Got a call while we were in Kansas from an Assistant Coach and found out the time trial was Saturday morning, which made the rest of the ride pretty much just me being nervous. Fun times. Finally got to Colorado and that was pretty darn flat for the first hour or so too. Then suddenly the mountains started to appear in the distance and everything started to seem real. The last hour and a half or so was beautiful, just terrain completely different than New England, which I loved. Was wondering when we would start gaining elevation, then all of a sudden we went up a mountain pass and hit 9500 feet with some awesome views, which there are no pictures of.


RT Day Three 265

Finally some mountains


And a sunset for good measure

Finally got into Alamosa at about 8:00 and drove around and took a mini tour of the campus. Was walking around and there was some people outside, and one of them comes up and asks if we want s’mores. Short story shorter, she is my RA. What are the chances of that? It was dark and we were hungry, so we went and got dinner and called it a night to get ready for 8:30 practice!