by Antony Scott
It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog. There’s been a lot going on, mostly good, some bad, but thankfully nothing ugly… yet. After getting the Brooklyn Half out of the way back in May I was able to redeem the balance of my post Boston marathon rest days – insert big smiley face here!! I was ready for a few extra down days, but that was all it was going to be having signed up early for a few key races over the summer. I have mixed feelings about training in NYC over the summer. While I like the fact that one doesn’t have to get so bundled up as is the case during the coldest days of winter, certainly if the last two winters are anything to go by, I find training in NYC during the hottest days of summer grueling. Given the choice I would rather run in frigid weather over the sweltering humidity any day of the week. That said, hard packed snow/ ice on the running trails/ roads is a completely different story.
My goal for the summer training was to focus on some shorter distance races (Mile – 10k) with the goal of PRing in as many as possible. I always try to PR in every race and have been pretty successful at it since taking my running seriously this past 3yrs. Since racing the Brooklyn half in May of this year, I have had 5 races and PRed in all 5. How long would this streak continue? I should have sensed that this would come to a halt at some point but I was only too happy to continue placing a check in the box.
Knowing I would not be racing in one of my favorite races this year, the 5th Ave Mile, I was eager to find a meet that offered this distance as I fancied my chances at dipping under the 5min mark. I was able to rustle up a DMR team for the Henwoods Hounds to compete at one of NYRR’s Tuesday Night Speed Series in which I took the anchor leg and was able to hit my target with a 4:58. Not ground breaking by any means but it’s very satisfactory on a personal level and a 9 second PR from what I ran in the 5th Ave mile in 2014.
There would be another 3.5 weeks before August rolled around where two more big races were on the calendar 1) NYRR Team Champs and 2) Percy Sutton 5k. The Percy Sutton 5k is not a huge race for many, but for me it is an important race for a few reasons… It was my first race since teaming up with my coach, John Henwood so I treat this race as somewhat of a marker of my progress under Coach Henwood. Also, Harlem is where I have lived for over 10yrs, it’s where Judy and I introduced our daughter Melody to the world, and though England will always be my home, I am one for living in the here and now… so, right now, Harlem is my home.
It was a good race with better than expected weather, though not optimal. Still, if you run a PR in any race that is progress. 17:44 was what I got for my efforts, which I was happy with, though my prep was somewhat interfered with the previous week. I was feeling a sharp needle pain in my hip during my long run and decided to bail out 9 miles into a 21 miler. With The Chicago marathon a mere 8 weeks away an injury at this stage would be a huge setback. The only sure way to rule out it being a stress fracture was to have an MRI, so it was a huge exhale moment to learn from my specialist, Dr. Duggan, that the results came back negative. I guess I got very lucky and the 2.5 days rest may well have saved my backside!
Fast forward 2 weeks and some strange pain in my foot appears out of nowhere. Ironically, again 5 days before my next race, the Chippenham Half in the UK. I have become better at paying close attention to these little niggling pains but one never really knows the extent of an injury until it is properly medically assessed. It was absolutely necessary to take the smart approach again… 1) stop running, 2) get it checked out and 3) get an MRI if necessary… I did all 3 and thankfully there was no stress fracture/ stress reaction so another silver bullet was dodged. Hugs all around to my medical team for getting me treated right away and getting another MRI turned around in super quick time, given I was flying to the UK the following day. While there was some slight swelling the injury was not that serious and could be managed with some icing, which I did for the next few days… all the way up to the morning of the half in fact.
The Chippenham half was a race I had been looking forward to all summer and it was all the more special as my family would be there to support me, some of whom have not seen me race before. Also, it had been 3yrs since I last saw my sister, niece and nephews so I was really geared up to see them and for having a great race. I had my eye on placing in the masters’ category and based on the results from 2014, it was possible that I could maybe snag 3rd place. I got out to a comfortable start and was holding 6min pace through the first 3 miles. I settled back and enjoyed the scenery at this pace and held firm through mile 10. After a shaky mile 11-12 I was back on pace for the final mile and a quarter and closed out the race for 14th place in 1:20:26. This equaled my best half time, which I had set in the Brooklyn half in May. As much fun as I had in this race, it’s always good to kick back post-race with family, friends and cold beer. I was very happy to be polishing off a chilled can of Heady Topper, which I packed with me from a recent trip to Vermont… it never tasted better!
I have been back in NYC for a week now and training was going well, but I seem to have aggravated my foot issue. I am not quite sure what this means but timing could not be worse. It seems to be responding well to cross training and rest days, so I’ll take those as positives. I just want to get Chicago out of the way, at which point I will figure out some tweaks to my current training format and see how we do as we ramp up for Boston 2016.