Thursday, January 31, 2013

Half-Marathon Boot Camp: Workout #2

AM: 3 mile w/u + strides
Target: 10x2 mins. hard w/1 min. jog recovery
Actual: Above
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 9 miles
PM: 4 miles easy
Daily total: 13 miles

I've just about decided to quit even remotely trying to assess, predict or plan for the weather this winter. I had originally been instructed to run some hard 800s on the track today, but that plan was scrapped in a hurry once I realized the wind was gusting at 25-35mph throughout most of the day (and, in fact, had blown upwards of 50mph the previous night). Fortunately--and equally strange--it warmed up into the 50s by the time I was ready to knock out the workout around lunchtime, so while I was likely to get swept away in a funnel cloud and deposited somewhere in the vicinity of Oz, at least I wouldn't acquire frostbite while doing so.

With no workout mule, no Garmin and therefore no tangible speed/distance measurement, there's really nothing quantitative to report about this effort. I managed to navigate the wind well enough to have it at my back or side for the majority, but it was still a nuisance at best.  If Tuesday night's objective was to get comfortable maintaining 10-mile to half-marathon pace, today's was to run fast on tired legs--something I feel confident I accomplished, even with nothing and no one to hold me accountable.

Oh, and by the time I headed out for my double five hours later the temperature had dropped to 20 degrees. Somehow I wasn't surprised.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Half-Marathon Boot Camp: Workout #1

AM: 5.5 miles easy
PM: 3.5 mile w/u
Target: 4x400m strides; 5k tempo, 5x2 mins. hard
Actual: 84, 84, 80, 83; 1.8k @3:33/k (5:42/mile) pace, bathroom break, 6 min. jog/break; 4k @3:33, 3:35, 3:35, 3:33 (5:45/mile pace avg.)
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 10.5 miles
Daily total: 15 miles

Monday night snow meant slick streets on Tuesday morning which morphed into a mushy, gloppy mess by Tuesday evening. Definitely not ideal workout conditions. Due to reasoning I can no longer recall, we decided to take to the 'ol Marblehead neck for this effort instead of traversing our normal Salem loop. This meant the tempo would be considerably more rolling than would facilitate fast splits, but seeing as my upcoming half-marathon is just as hilly I suppose it's fitting.

In a nutshell, this was hard. Whether it had to do with the late hour, the chilly temps, the slushy and unusually busy roads or some combination of the above, at any rate I felt like I was sprinting pretty much the entire time. The situation was nothing if not worsened by an urgent bathroom detour, which had the potential to derail the entire workout. Fortunately Jordan redirected on the fly and punished me with a relentless pace on the hilliest section of the route. I was wheezing and gasping to an embarrassing extent for much of the final 4k section, but I held strong and somehow managed not to get dropped.

Time for a quick recovery and even quicker turnaround. Bootcamp workout #2 happens Thursday! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

(Down) Week in Review

45 miles
1 day off
0 doubles
6x10 mins. core
5 days in SLC

There's not much to say about this week. I predicted it would suck, and it did. The fact that I'm proud of myself for getting up every morning at 5:30 and slogging through 45 minutes on the hotel treadmill is in itself indicative of the sad state of affairs. I would've loved to explore some of the reportedly sweet trails near downtown SLC, but the necessity of early morning running plus the constant inversion led to icy, nasty roads and even nastier air quality. I do find it more than a little ironic that despite being in town for a trade show called Outdoor Retailer I spent no more than a grand total of 45 minutes outside the Salt Palace or my hotel the entire week.

I snapped this photo while driving (well, sitting at a stoplight) to the convention center on Saturday morning. That would be smog, not fog, clouding my view. Gross.

On a positive note, my legs should be nothing if not well-rested and recovered leading into next week. (The rest of my body, not so much, thanks to a particularly cruel redeye trip that involved a 3.5-hour flight to JFK, then  3.5-hour wait at JFK at the crack of Sunday morning for a mere 45-minute final leg back to Boston.) I'll need all the spring in my step that I can find since I've asked Jordan to put me on a crash course bootcamp schedule to ensure that my fitness is somewhat respectable for the Mercedes Half in three weeks. Time to get serious. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Week in Review

90 miles
4 doubles
16-mile long run
6x10 mins. core
3 runs in NYC
4 AFDs

I'll admit, this week might have been a tad aggressive. Ninety isn't anything new, but this is the first week since pre-Philly that I've attempted (and arguably succeeded) executing two big-girl workouts and a decent long run. But with great company and perfectly acceptable weather the entire weekend, it was hard not to get carried away. The week culminated in a huge, CRC-esque long run in Central Park with an eclectic cast of characters including Jerry's Kids, Jay, some of his UA teammates, the lovely ladies' NYAC contingent of Sarah, Katie and Heidi, plus my long lost buddy and former couch-surfing roommate Dave Nightingale. In a distinctly cowardly fashion, the boys let the ladies lead the first 40 minutes of the run only to instantly drop us with one quick charge up the Harlem Hills. Fine by us. The final hour would've been torturous for my exhausted legs had it not been for the beautiful weather and great conversation, but Sarah and Heidi held me accountable and refused to let me bail too early. Tough love.

As pleased as I am with this week, I'm dreading next week's inevitably lackluster training in equal measure. Tuesday morning I'm taking an early flight to Salt Lake City for Outdoor Retailer, and between the work schedule and the weather my running will likely be nonexistent. I suppose I'm due a down week, but this one promises to take that premise to the extreme. Even if/when my running suffers, I'm still going to try to stick with a new goal--some might call it a resolution--of devoting 10 minutes a day, six days a week to stretching/core/rehab/prehab. Mario Fraioli, an industry acquaintance of mine and editor for Competitor Magazine, tweeted this a few weeks ago as a goal of his for 2013. Ten minutes a day sounds like nothing, but added up over the course of the year it totals 52 hours! With my mileage intentionally lower than during this fall's marathon training, I see no reason why I can't carve out a measly 10 minutes per day for the "little things." I have no idea if this will make me faster, but if it contributes to keeping me healthy and consistent then I'm sold. So far--and granted, we're two weeks in--it's been a piece of cake, but next week will be my first true test.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Central Park Workout With Sarah

Fri AM: 4 miles
PM: 10 miles w/Jay in Central Park

Sat AM: 3.5 mile w/u
Target: 3 miles @6-6:10; 1 mile @7ish; 2 miles @5:50-6; 1 mile @7ish; 1 mile @5:40-50
Actual: 3 miles @17:35; 2 miles @11:37; 1 mile @5:40ish
2 mile c/d
Total: 13.5-14 miles

For a rare treat, I'm spending an entire weekend in New York doing absolutely nothing work-related. I'm sure Betsy invited me to her baby shower hoping I would just send an elaborate and expensive gift without actually showing up, but (un)lucky for her all it took was the promise of a few good group runs, quality time with my favorite news producer and a $48 fare on Jet Blue (helloooo, Popcorners) to seal the deal: NYC, here I come!

Friday was an absolute blast. I arrived at Jay's just in time to make us late to meet Jerry's Kids (an Oklahoma-to-NYC transplant) for a run in Central Park. Fortunately we bumped into him midway through and shortly thereafter stumbled upon a solid and previously undiscovered bathroom location, making the run a win on all counts. Upon returning to Jay's, we were so cold--yet so thirsty--that we were forced to double-fist wine and coffee (with Bailey's) while waiting for Jordan to arrive and discussing Facebook etiquette nuances, the details of which are unprintable here at Jay's behest. After taking turns reveling in what is "probably the best shower in New York City," the three of us headed out to eat, drink and be merry with friends for the remainder of the evening.

Saturday morning, at the leisurely hour of 9:30, a group assembled at Columbus Circle with varying agendas in mind. The entourage I'd envisioned for Sarah's workout somehow dwindled down to myself, her and Jordan (always the queenmaker, never the...queen?), and despite some mid-week bravado our enthusiasm was greatly diminished due to, well, apathy. And also the ridiculous wind. We'd previously discussed starting the first, relatively slow interval in the park and then meandering down to the West Side Highway for a completely flat second half, but the promise of a 25-mph headwind quickly dissuaded us. Instead we would take on the undulating terrain of the park, hopefully avoiding the brunt of the wind. To give us a nice boost out of the gate, we set out down a generous downhill with the wind at our backs. Hitting six-minute pace should be no problem, we reasoned.

We split 5:40. Whoops.

As Sarah said shortly after her watch beeped, "That was the easiest 5:40 I've run in a while." Sure, but 5:40 wasn't the problem. Everything thereafter was--at least for me. Sarah seemed to have an easy time sticking close to Jordan's heels, but I struggled mightily from there on out. Maybe the previous day's mileage was a little aggressive at this stage in my training, maybe I'm a big baby, or maybe I'm simply just not very fit yet--whatever the reason, I spent the remainder of the workout straining toward the singular objective of not getting dropped, a goal that was met with varying degrees of success. Even omitting the Harlem hills, Central Park is no joke, nor was the wind that still seemed to find us deep within the protection of the Manhattan skyline. By the end of this effort I was frustrated and thoroughly exhausted, but at the same time pleased with my resolve to keep pushing despite getting my doors utterly blown off. I trust the process and am well-acquainted with the work it takes to get back in shape after an extended down period, but that doesn't make it any more pleasant in the moment. Still, it was fun to work out with Sarah and will provide a good excuse to gorge myself on finger sandwiches and chocolate-covered deliciousness at this afternoon's baby festivities.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

"Yeah, That Was Just Okay."

AM: 8k easy
PM: 2.5 mile w/u
Target: 8k tempo @5:45-5:50 mile pace (3:35-3:40/k); then 5x200m on/off strides around the Triangle
Actual: 8k @29:19 (3:40, 3:40, 3:41, 3:43, 3:39, 3:37, 3:40); 5x200m on/of
1.5 mile c/d
Daily total: 15+ miles

The title is a direct quote from Coach Jordan, always ready with a Hallmark-worthy sentiment where my running is concerned. But tact aside, his comments are always truthful and accurate, which I respect. Tonight was no different; the workout was just okay. But, as he also accurately states in his own recap (thank goodness he's running (and blogging!) again so I can lazily link to his posts when I don't feel like doing my own), the one impressive/redeeming aspect was that even after feeling inexplicably horrific from the gun, I stayed calm and positive and gradually settled somewhat comfortably into the pace--even agreeing to finish out the final two kilometers when he offered me a rare out.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Week in Review, or "That Time I Ate a Donut in the Middle of a Long Run"

85 miles
3 doubles
3 runs in Boston
3 runs with Emily

This post could've just as easily been titled "That Time I Ran 386 Laps Around the Harvard Parking Lot with the BAA," or "That Time Emily and I Found Out We Aren't As Out of Shape as We Thought." All three of these monikers are equally accurate, and all three effectively comprise the main takeaways from this week's key runs:

Sunday morning: 15-15.5 miles easy on the Boston Marathon course from Cleveland Circle with the BAA ladies (plus Jordan). About an hour into the run, the group had splintered into a handful of different groups, leaving Jordan and Emily and I standing in front of a Dunkin' Donuts somewhere in Newton. What can I say? Nature took its course, and the next thing I know the three of us were passing around a dense, gooey, double chocolatey frostedy donut while still running. It may have gotten a little messy, but no worse than when I clumsily try to rip open a gel packet during a race (and far tastier). Heartbreak Hill didn't stand a chance thanks to the ensuing sugar rush.

Saturday morning: ~13 mile progression run with a huge BAA crew around...the Harvard parking lot. Or, technically, the "Sheatock loop," so named for (or by, or both) the BAA's fearless leaders Carly and Terry. Given that the river path wasn't remotely frozen I'm still unclear as to why we insisted on spinning like an army of deranged hamsters around a 1200-meter loop, but at any rate the company was worth it.

Wednesday night:   
2 mile w/u
Target: 6x1000 w/1:30 jog @3:35 (5:45/mile pace); 4x500 @faster w/1:30 jog
Actual: 6x1000 @3:33, 3:31, 3:25, 3:26, 3:24, 3:21; 4x500 @1:39, 1:41, 1:38, 1:39
1.5 mile c/d
Total: 8.5 miles

Jordan pulled Emily and I through this workout on the Sheatock loop, and I think it's safe to say all of us were pleasantly surprised at how well it went considering we were basically dodging cars in the dark in the middle of a glorified parking lot. Excluding a baby fartlek last week I haven't worked out in over a month, and as per usual Emily claimed to be "terribly out of shape" after an extended trip home for the holidays. Fortunately we were able to average 5:30-5:40 pace on the 1000's with relative ease; only when I transitioned into the 500's at the end did I feel the telltale ragged breathing and burning legs that signify a dip into uncomfortably difficult territory. During one of our recovery jogs, Emily made me vow to hold her accountable and guilt her into working out for the remainder of the winter. It's always worth it once we're out here, she added. Tonight was a great start.     

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another Bout of Laziness, Another Guest Blogger

Full disclosure: when I received Jilane's email about donating to her half-marathon fundraising cause, I immediately knew that I wanted to chip in...not just because of some altruistic sentiment or desire to support my friend (although those kernels of compassion do indeed exist somewhere inside me), but because of her pledge to devote an entire blog post solely to commemorating our relationship. And given that the only update to Green Lightning Running within the past month was written by someone else, it's clear that I've yet to muster enough momentum in this new year to actually get back into my regular blogging groove. So, if Jilane wanted to volunteer to pen my next installment for me, then consider my checkbook open.

Brown Senior Week 2008: where the best friendships begin
In fairness, deferring to Jilane in this regard is fitting. After all, as she mentions, we began our marathoning (and blogging) careers together over four years ago, in June of 2008, when Jordan casually made the fortuitous suggestion that Jilane and I ask Coach Jeff "G-Unit" Gaudette to script our first ever marathon training plans. As Jilane so graciously neglects mentioning, this resulted in her crushing our then-ambitious sub-3 hour goal and me dropping out somewhere around the Lincoln Memorial, but nonetheless my competitive distance running drive was sparked and, more importantly, our lifelong friendship was forged. Without Jilane and Jeff there would be no Green Lightning Running, no graduate career at Queens, and arguably no Olympic Trials.

Great minds inadvertently matching at Penn Relays in 2010

Summer 2008: I knew we would be best friends given that we shared the same favorite activities--running and drinking lots of wine
So, if you're interested in taking a walk down memory lane to see how it all began, check out Jilane's ode to Team MJ. If you feel compelled to donate, she'll fabricate a glowing story about you as well. And hey, if we've learned anything here, it's that you never know where that first blog post can take you. 

NYE 2009 in the OC

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Meagan Nedlo's Long-Overdue Blog Post, Meta Edition

Meagan Nedlo’s Long-Overdue Blog Post, Meta Edition

Interviewed by Jon Gugala

Meagan Nedlo: Hello?

Jon Gugala: What’s up?

MN: What’s up.

JG: Hey, so why haven’t you updated your blog?

MN: Wait, are we doing this right now? I haven’t updated because I’m lazy, I think. Also, busy. But primarily lazy.

JG: Do you not have anything to say?

MN: Do I not have anything to say? I have lots to say. Actually—

JG: Why haven’t you said them then?

MN: Well, there’s really not much to say, running-wise. I mean, if people want to hear what I got for Christmas . . .

JG: What’s going on with running?

MN: Oh, well, I just got back into running this week a little bit more consistently. Actually, I’ve been tracking my mileage, so I hit 75 this past week, and I’m looking at a schedule for the spring.

JG: And you think no one wants to hear about that?

MN: Well, other than that, I’ve really just been doing enough hot yoga to stave off obesity long enough to get through the holidays, and I don’t know how much there is to write about that.

JG: OK, but there’s also another accomplishment: You fit into your dress for your friend’s wedding.

MN: It was a Christmas miracle, yes.

JG: Christmas miracle, black dress.

MN: Yeah, there was a clasp at the top that was a little touch-and-go throughout the night, but the zipper did stay zipped, and that’s really all that matters.

Confirmation of the successful zipping. Oh yeah, and Caitlin looks decent too.
Further proof: from the front.

JG: Yes. So it’s a new year. What’s on your race calendar?

MN: The first race I’m going to do is the Mercedes Half Marathon in February in Alabama. Two years ago I ran that marathon and qualified for the Trials, and then last year I ran the half and won it. So it’s obviously a special event to me, and so I’m going to go back.

Actually, last year, when I won the half, it was so cold—the coldest race I’ve ever run—that they interviewed me right after the finish, and my mouth was frozen to the point where I couldn’t talk. And it was quite embarrassing. And when the interview was over, I was relieved that hopefully it wouldn’t be shown in the news, or at least that none of my family would see it. And then the newswoman told me that it was live.

Are my arms up? I wouldn't know. I can't feel them.

JG: Well, at least you had good Craft-brand baselayer, right, since you work for Craft?

MN: I did have the Craft baselayer—not that I could have enunciated that if she had asked me. But hopefully they could just see it on my shirt.

JG: So was your Craft baselayer not working then?

MN: Well, I didn’t say that my core was cold. I didn’t have the baselayer in my mouth, so . . .

JG: OK, fair enough. So, that’s your first race back. What else is there?

MN: See, I told you it’s not that exciting.

JG: Let’s go back to why you haven’t updated your blog.

MN: Because I was with my parents for Christmas, and they just recently upgraded from dial-up internet, so it’s not necessarily the most reliable. I still don’t think they have Wi-Fi.

JG: So that’s what you’re going to blame it on.

MN: And then the power went out on Christmas, because we got snow in Texas. That’s reason number two.

JG: How’s your workout mule, a.k.a. boyfriend, Jordan Kinley?

MN: Healthy, so that also is a Christmas miracle. I’m actually going to work out tomorrow [Wednesday, January 9] with my friend Emily, who lives in Boston, runs for the B.A.A., and Jordan might drag us through as Queen-maker, as he is accustomed to doing. Maybe I’ll write an update about that.

JG: What’s the workout?

MN: I don’t know yet. There’s some people working out at Harvard on the indoor track, but that’s an injury waiting to happen for me. So I’ll just run outside where it’s slippery and snowy. Pick your battles, I guess.

JG: Yeah. What else is there? There was something else.

MN: Are you typing this right now?

JG: No. I’m recording it, though.

MN: It sounds like you’re a court reporter in the background.

JG: Yeah, you didn’t . . . What was I . . . [Bad word]. I had another question . . . [Very bad word]. Nope, it’s gone.

MN: Was it about my workout?

JG: No.

MN: Harvard?

JG: Oh, yeah, you didn’t talk about running with Abbey D'Agostino [a junior at Dartmouth, and fifth at the 2012 Olympic Team Trials 5,000-meters] in your blog, have you?

MN: Oh, yeah. No, because I haven’t blogged since then, really.

JG: So you’re working out with Abbey D'Agostino.

MN: Yes. So by proxy, I should probably be at 15:30 shape right now [for 5,000m].

I met her at this cross country race the day after Thanksgiving, and it turns out she’s from a town right next to where I live, and she was home for six weeks for the break, which sounds like a long time, but I guess these Ivy League schools are a little lax with their time off.

She was home and we got to run together a lot during the week. I’m only 10 years older than her; I think she only called me “Ma’am” once or twice.

JG: That’s good.

MN: We’re totally, like, peers.

JG: So you can credit your 2013 campaign to Abbey D'Agostino.

MN: Yes, exactly.

JG: Are you guys Facebook friends?

MN: We are.

JG: How long have you been Facebook friends?

MN: With Abbey D'Agostino? [JG: Notice how you can never just call her by her first or last name, but always together.]

JG: Yes.

MN: Well, if we met the day after Thanksgiving, probably since the day after the day after Thanksgiving. I’m not, like, a creepy stalker.

JG: Do you follow her on Twitter?

MN: No, is she on Twitter?

JG: I don’t know.

MN: I just recently learned how to tweet, so following people in itself is still something that I’m getting caught up on. I think I have 100 people that I follow. How many people do you follow? Like, 1000?

JG: I try to keep the follower/follow ratio lopsided, so I like to go five or six to one. So I think I follow 150 people maybe. You always want more people following you than you want to follow, because that way you feel better about yourself.

MN: Yeah, I’ll have to look into that.

JG: So what would you want to say, how do you want to close to all your blog followers?

MN: So, to my dad? Well, I would like to say that I’m healthy [and] I’m apparently not too fat, since I was able to fit into the dress. Although I haven’t had much excitement to report in the last month, I think that 2013 is going to be a good year. And a skinny year, more importantly.


Jon Gugala is a freelance writer based in Santa Cruz, California. His writing has appeared in Runner’s World,, and elsewhere. He’s on Twitter (, as is Meagan Nedlo ( Unfortunately, Abbey D'Agostino is not.