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The comeback begins (from Wisdom Teeth)

I’ve spread a lot of rhetoric to younger guys about having confidence, not freaking out about fitness after small setbacks, so after taking this whole week off for wisdom teeth surgery, I had to take a page from my own book. While a whole week off may seem like a lot for wisdom tooth removal, the post-op manifestation of oral dry-socket made my recovery both extremely slow and extremely painful. Like, I still needed oxycodone to go fall asleep 5 days later painful. Was not awesome.

Anyway, a week after looking like I did in this post, I’ve put my nose back to the grindstone. After a few days of short singles, I still ended up pulling out over 60 miles in 6 days in the first week back. It was definitely a grind, and some of those first runs were ridiculously hard for what they were (eg 8 miles, HR >160), but there were also some high points in my last week of running.

Mark, who I believe I referenced in my last post and will reference soon again, runs a cross country camp for high school runners in Saint Louis, and I got the opportunity to sit on a college runners panel and speak to them with other old Missouri runners like Adam Roderique and Austin Del Rosso of Tulsa, Diane Robison of Arkansas All-American status, and a bunch of other people I’m sorry I forgot.

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Big River Running Camp

Later in the week, one of Mark’s old co-workers had a cross country team from Chicago coming in to run at Castlewood–the best trails in Saint Louis–so after some trail running with absolutely breathtaking views (albeit on the hilly, rocky trails I normally avoid, that Ray would end my life if he ever saw me on them), I had the opportunity again to hang out with them, talk about why I love running, show up their coach with my PRs (at Mark and another of his friends’ request, as he apparently rubs it in their face all the time), and of course, promote this club. These kids were really cool–they clearly loved running, as they were taking time out of their summer to run in some city 5 hours away from home–and they had a coach who cared about them, so this was a really rewarding experience.

But of course, it wouldn’t be a blog post of  mine without some sort of workout info. The Guru asked us to put a lid on the details, but suffice to say I went to the track and did a tempo run with Noda, who was doing 2 x 2mile at 5:05-5:15 pace, working the pace as he could during each rep. It was a rainy 7 am, so I had to bring a Ziploc bag for my phone, but I obviously did it for the gram. The workout went well. It was a bit of a grind, but I hit the paces as prescribed and really felt solid in the last mile–unlike the last two efforts, this felt pretty easy once I got to the end. Maybe this is only because it was cooler outside, but I’m not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth.

After the workout, I crushed some light hurdle drills to practice not falling next time I’m trying to hit a trials standard. You can find them on the gram.

On the cooldown, Noda and I ran into our high school coaches and got to hang out with them, as well as pacing the boys to a mile time trial. Can’t say I’m hugely optimistic about the performance of a team whose top runner is running 5:50, which is probably slower than some of their girls, but they seemed like a nice group of kids. Was also cool getting to look at this again:

record board

It’s basically the board of Amos by now, but we’ve still got that team record in the 4×8 😉

Shouts out to Liam and Shane for their awesome race in Narragansett, and looking forward to seeing all the old boys when I’m back in PVD next week. Not sure when I’ll race, but I’m hoping to get out on the roads sometime soon. Maybe Bobby Doyle??

Later!

A Few Takeaways from The Blessing of the Fleet

Shane and I had the distinct pleasure of taking on our first race of the summer last night, braving 10 miles down by the beach. Here are a few things we took away.blessing footage 1

*** Photo credit George Ross @ RaceRhodeIsland.net

Ten Miles is a Long Way to Go

10 miles in the training log doesn’t compare to a 10 mile race. It’s a long way to go, and a large amount of time spent working your threshold. However, while the running is tough, you can also use it to your advantage, because you’re working at a pace that’s within your control. Unlike a 5k, which is short and fairly straight forward, a 10 mile race is long enough where you go through ebbs and flows. Shane and I both found ourselves cruising through some miles, working through others, back cruising again, working, cruising… In the end, I think you may be able to use longer distances to your advantage, even if it’s a tough day. Which brings me to…

Knowledge is Power

This year, thank god, I ran smart. Shane and I went out with a pace in mind, found a rhythm, and worked away at a solid rate. What we didn’t do was try to go out at a pace we knew we couldn’t handle. Compare that to last year, when I didn’t enter with much of a plan and, to my extreme detriment, didn’t listen to my body. I was toast by mile four and suffered the remaining six; it was rough, but it was an important lesson to learn, and I knew not to do that again. Knowing the race, having a plan, and listening to my body all led to a positive experience.

The Blessing is what running, to me, is all about

If you’ve ever had the privilege of running the Blessing, then you know just how special the event is. All walks of life convene at a small little middle school in Narragansett, amidst an evening ocean backdrop, in the late July heat, to test themselves. Ten miles isn’t the local church 5k, so it takes a certain level of motivation to get yourself out there, regardless of ability. Still, this year the Blessing had nearly 2500 finishers; that’s 2500 people who wanted to go out and collectively engage in pain. Whether your goal is to break 60 minutes, crack 2 hours, or just finish, the level of joy you get for accomplishing it is the same for everyone. There aren’t many sports that can give you that.

Go Rhode Island

Any race that doesn’t end by the beach just can’t compete. Sorry.

-Liam

The pet wolf is well, thanks for asking…

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Blog post #2 for this guy. With regards to training/racing etc, not much interesting is going on. Myself and Lam (Liam Hillery) race the Narragansett 10 miler this Friday evening, July 29th. Your thoughts and prayers are with us.

The wolf is doing great. Since my last post, he has really morphed into what you expect a dog to be (peeing on everything, barking at other dogs, chasing squirrels, all that jazz). Again, getting him to sit, stay etc has been tough. On the bright side he’s a pretty lazy wolf that just likes to float around on Instagram (@the_golden_life_of_desmond).

Joking around and having a laugh is all well and dandy, however there is something serious I need to bring to everyone’s attention. The Irish and UK readers of this blog will be fully aware of what is going on. The North American readers, and that one lad from Vietnam who visited our site will be clueless as to what is going on. Specifically in America, everyone is preoccupied with issues that have been labelled as important, like the U.S presidential race, rendering themselves completely blind to the real threats in the world. I am of course talking about the great 21st century seagull terror epidemic. In my own hometown of Waterford, Ireland, there’s one gull in particular that has been patrolling the streets of the sunny southeast.His name is Jonathan. Pictured below.

 

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Jonathan has been swooping down to personal space invading levels and terrorizing locals for nearly 3 years now. I’ve been a victim of the attacks many times when I’ve been out running. And this is just one seagull. There have been plenty of incidents throughout the country. The whole world seems totally consumed with the Trump vs Hilary and T.Swift vs Kim K, without batting an eye towards the greatest threat Ireland has had for years. Even our senators are crying out for help:

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It pains me to see Ireland struggle on while my American friends turn a blind eye towards it. Please send some thoughts and prayers to Lam and myself for that 10 miler, then get some more, stamp them and forward them on to the victims of the seagull attacks in Ireland. We need as many thoughts and prayers, open letters, statuses, changed profile pictures and any other social media aid we can get.

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Thanks for reading.

Ps: Frank Grimes is returning in the new season of The Simpsons. Buzzin’.

GlnY1lJS

 

 

A Death in the Family

Well, this has been a rough week. I started by getting my wisdom teeth removed, which is a less than pleasant process. After getting knocked out and having a dude forcefully pull all four of those suckers from my head, I was more than ready for a few days of rest and Oxycodone before flying back to Providence for the Brown Summer social gathering (party with a number of alums and team members who come from all around the northeast for the weekend celebration.)

Unfortunately, as soon as I got home from the surgery, I got a call from my father. My grandmother, Shirley, who’d been in hospice for the last six months or so, had just passed away.

The last few days have been a bit chaotic: flying to Florida on short notice for the funeral (at which my sister gave a beautiful eulogy), trying to wean myself off of the more extreme painkillers, and generally looking like this:

At the very least, getting to spend time with the family has been a blessing. I haven’t seen any of my father’s brothers or sisters in years, and even if he watches Fox News and is voting for Donald Trump, I love my grandfather (and my uncle, for that matter) unconditionally as family. Therefore, even in my grandmother’s death she brought us together, and having us together would have brought her the greatest joy besides, maybe taking photos of all of us.

I haven’t eaten much or run in the last few days, so there’s no updates on that front. I’ll probably run 6 miles when I’m off this oxy.

grandma

Must have been their 60th or 65th

All that’s left to say is, I love you Grandma, rest in peace, keep being you.

Baseball, Barbecue, and the Next Tempo

What a week!

Honestly, this was a pretty poor week of running. Well, I put in solid work, but none of it felt particularly good. Part of this is probably due to my running 89 miles this week in only the third week after my down time and dietary debauchery. Part of it is also probably due to traveling 12 hours in 2 days on the train, and part of it is probably due to a crap double on Thursday. I’d gone out for 12 at my favorite trail of all time: Castlewood State Park. Instead my run was marred by mud, debris, and fallen trees from a storm the night before, so I cut the run short and decided to do a 4/8 double. Which was of course ruined in the evening when a thunderstorm broke out midway through my run. Yeah.

The highlight of the last 7 days was easily my trip to Chicago. A few months ago, Brown xc alum Skip Friedlander posted a notification that he was selling his season tickets to Cubs games. My  Great Aunt Linnie, her son, Delbert, and his family live in Chicago. While I didn’t see him that frequently growing up, I’d always looked up to Del when I was a kid, so when the opportunity to find an excuse to start filling the same role for his two-year-old son arose unexpectedly, I jumped at it. While it required me to wake up before 5 am to put in 4 miles before a 6-hour train ride (and while we ended up taking my 8-year old cousin John because Delbert’s wife, Regina, thought Kingston would be too energetic to sit still for a game), seeing my Chicago family and getting to play the role of cool older cousin was awesome. I got to be part of John’s first professional sports game and his first ride on the el (although though he did try and tell my sister and Aunt the “Tostitos Story” after I’d told it at the game); I got to build the connection and love my sister and I have with our family in Chicago, and I had a beautiful 15-miler alongside lake Michigan on which I threw in some cool sub-6 miles on my way home. As sappy as it sounds, all these things mean the most.

As for workouts… this Sunday I was supposed to do the same tempo run I’d done on Tuesday–5 miles at 5:05 pace. The thing is, not only did I have a family barbecue planned for Saturday, but I already had plans to hit the club on Saturday night with the boys. Sorry Ray, but I had no choice but to do the workout a day early on short (still 3 days) rest.

Unfortunately, this tempo was a solo effort in every sense of the phrase. Besides the groundskeeper and some old white lady out for a fitness walk, I had nobody to keep me company through 5 miles of 76s on the Ladue track (it also means I have no workout photos). Fortunately, the weather was a bit less oppressive than the week before, so I didn’t feel complete crap from the beginning, but the effort still didn’t feel especially great. Because of the aforementioned forest/storm related incident causing me to postpone it, this was the day after a 12-miler as well. For those of you interested, splits were:

5:04.96, 5:03.33, 5:03.58, 5:06.38, 5:05.09 for a total time of 25:23.34.

No need to fret about that 5:06. I thought I deserved an easy mile after the first few were fast, so I tried to throw in a few 78s on the 4th. HR was still kind of high (~160) at the end. I think it’ll get substantially easier when it’s not so hot.

After the workout, I wanted some soft-surface running, so drove a mile to my High School (our track is under construction) to grab a cooldown on the back fields. I mention that because our back fields look like this:

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The track’s off in the distance past another field. Still costs less than half of Exeter

After the workout, Saturday was awesome. My Cousin, Godcousin, Grandmother, and my boys David Lambus and Chris Floyd all came to our house for food and funk music. We ate and danced and swam (yeah, I have a pool). A lot of people drank; some people drank a lot. Everyone had a good time. I also got a sweet bracelet from Chris, who makes them as a hobby, that allows me to rep both my schools simultaneously.

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At night, we met up with my friend Mark (you’ll hear awesome news about him later), his friend Diane (a former Arkansas All-American on the track), and a few other people for Karaoke. I’ve been told our rendition of Kool and the Gang’s “Ladies Night” was less than impressive, so once we’d adequately embarrassed ourselves, we went to the grove (an area with a lot of bars and clubs in St. Louis) for St. Louis’s World Naked Bike Ride afterparty. Alas, my days of running around naked in public are over, as we missed the main event, but I always have a good time going out with the boys in Saint Louis.

Anyway, I’ve finally made it back home from Chicago to prepare for my wisdom teeth removal tomorrow. I’m still finding joy in my running every day-even 15 milers and 4 am runs haven’t made me hesitate when walking out the door. While I’m looking forward to having a couple drugged-up days off, I’m in a good place with my training, having fun, and ready to hit the roads for some race money.

Stay tuned for big sponsorship updates, wisdom teeth madness, and my recent decision to become a Celtics fan. Sullinger is my boiiii. (Note: I have recently been informed by three people that Sullinger no longer plays for the Celtics. Jae Crowder is my new boiiiii #locs)

Until next time,

J

 

 

 

We want YOU to support Rhode Island’s Newest Track Team (via social media)

As sub-elite post-collegiate athletes, finding sponsorship money to continue a career is far from easy. Many national caliber athletes around the globe struggle to find funding for their athletic endeavors once the rug of the NCAA is swept out from underneath them.

Consequently, a crucial part of post-collegiate running for many of us is creating a personal brand to share our narratives –and some stuff from the people who sponsor us–with friends, family, and the running world through mediums like social media and blogs. We want to make you feel like part of the chase for Olympic Standards and US trials, through every 10 second PR and every Youtube-worthy steeplechase fail.

With that in mind, the Ocean State Athletic Club was founded by athletes in Rhode Island–Shane Quinn, Jordan Mann, Liam Hillery–to help athletes chase, fund, and document their athletic dreams.

If you’ve been invited to this page, please feel free to “like” it, share it, or to check out our website/blog, and learn more about us. If you feel compelled to invite your entire friend’s list to like the page, we certainly won’t stop you. Every little bit of exposure helps, and it would mean the world to us.

Thanks,

The men of Ocean State AC

“The lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep”

IMG_0004I usually cringe at people talking about themselves online, so actually participating and posting a blog is difficult for me. However post-collegiate running is here and I’m somewhat poor (Providence College GA salary). So here’s to the whole, ‘getting yourself out there’ business.

I was thinking about what to actually write my blog posts on. The obvious choice would be an update about how training is going, what I’m working towards, and any upcoming races. I also thought about taking a page out of Julian Oakley and Ben Connor’s book and posting updates on my workouts/training sessions online. Although I will touch on all that fun stuff, I pride myself on having a life that is not just about running–although it is a big part of it! I’d like people to find out about me, the person, more so than the athlete.

With that being said, here we go!  I’ve been back fully training  for around 5 weeks or so now following a pretty injury plagued 5th year at PC. It has not dampened my spirits fully though, as I have my eyes set on the European Cross Country trials for Ireland in November. An honorable man once said, “winter is coming” and once it is here, I’ll hopefully be fully prepared for some 10k cross country action. To prepare even more for the inevitability of winter, and the end of the long summer (sweet mother I’m melting) myself and my girlfriend have got ourselves a Direwolf. The vicious beast’s name is Desmond, and he rarely leaves my side. It’s been a fun adventure with him so far. You can keep up to date with his shenanigans on Instagram @the_golden_life_of_desmond. He has his first day of obedience school Monday. Having done some research on the behavior of these beasts, it was clear we needed some professional training, “A direwolf will rip a man’s arm off his shoulder as easily as a dog will kill a rat.” Yeah….so we don’t want that to happen.

Looping Westeros back into training again, I’ve done a few tempo runs so far, and will attempt some 600’s tonight with my fellow bannerman of the house Treacy, Liam Hillery. If there are no more posts from either of us after this workout, we’ve probably melted. I was once told that “Fire cannot kill a dragon”. Well, it can certainly kill a couple of pasty Irish lads, and this 90 degree heat may well just do it.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, Valar Morghulis.

Shane

Because It’s Not Just for Mad Dogs and Englishmen

“That’s what you’re training for?” While I’m omitting explicit language and not talented enough to justly convey the fluctuating volume of my super-Italian, super-animated, and evidently super-stunned landlord, I can say his jaw hung for a brief moment after Julian and I casually dropped that we were not, in fact, training for the Olympics in August, but rather had our eyes on the CVS 5k and a half-marathon, both in the fall. I’m sure he has no disrespect for the roads and those who brave them, but he seemed distinctly disturbed that anyone would hop out the door to run 16 miles under a thick, muggy, 93 degree sun when the end reward of months of work is that race that finishes in front of the mall.

Fair point Dante, but I respectfully disagree, at least in my own case. Channeling a little David Foster Wallace circa 2005, I can’t sit here and pretend to have any inkling as to why anyone does anything, and I refuse to generalize, but I like to think I at least know why I do things [close friends may disagree]. In that vein, I’m going to challenge Dante, because I agree, my place when I cross the finish line in front of DSW – or well, anywhere – is a terrible driving force for days and weeks and years of stepping out the door. There’s far more to it.

Up until recently, running was so defined: a three season cycle, teammates, “Providence College” on the front of my singlet, big races on the calendar, time barriers in the mind – the rewards made sense. Four good college years and a fifth year to sign off, and what do we have now? Well, Dante, now we have pure running with the frills of organized athletics stripped away; in juxtaposition with the mindless tedium of the working world, running is an escape, and a damn good one too.

I’m not really sure how to best describe the feeling, but if you’re reading this, you’re probably either a runner, so on some level you get it, or you’re a friend who’s just being nice… sucker. But at this stage, the rewards of my running are in the rhythmic strikes of a long run; they’re in the energy boost I feel after 8 miles early on a Saturday morning, or the meditative, revitalizing cleansing I receive from 60 minutes of fresh air after 6 hours of staring at a computer screen.

There’s some proverb about things being about the journey, not the end result. For me, running is like that… literally. The physical journey of each run and what I go through on them can work wonders. In 8 miles my rotten mood can vanish; I can actually have more energy finishing a run than when I started. In 16 miles, on a 93 degree July day, I can soak up the sun and the sweat, the trees and people passing by, and get blissfully lost each and every time my foot hits the ground. So no, Dante, there’s no way my mind is off fantasizing about crossing the DSW line in September. There are far better reasons to open the door.

-Liam

Summer’s First Workout

After the NCAA track season, I took a week of down time in which I granny shuffled about four miles at 7:30 pace (optimistically) every other day. After that week, I went into Ray’s office (Ray is my coach) to get a training schedule, expecting/hoping with all my heart to have another week of easy running.

Instead, the schedule prescribed 50 miles the first week, 70 the second, and, while the third week is incomplete, it started off with a couple 13 mile days and featured a 5 mile tempo at 5:05 pace on July 12. After a brief moment in which I contemplated protesting the brevity of my rest period after the long, emotionally draining NCAA season, I said, “Thanks for the schedule, see you in a couple weeks” and left. Great.

So now I’m home in Saint Louis and the 12th has finally arrived. I called in a few old friends to hang/work out with me. Of course, only three people showed up, but fortunately, they all happen to be pretty great. My high school teammate Chris Noda came, along with the old UCity legends Tom Kenyon and David Lambus.

 

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Here were the workout plans:

  • Jordan: 5 miles, 5:05 pace. 76s all the way through.
  • Noda: 5xmile at 5:05, with 5 minutes rest.
  • Tom: Jump in whenever for as long as possible. Get to work at steakhouse by 9.
  • David: Take photos. Jump in once he’s made us look sufficiently cool. Take more photos after.

We showed up at 6:30 am to beat the heat. Unfortunately, at 6:30 am it was a blistering 85 degrees and 90% humidity, so we were sweating balls by the time the workout started. Needless to say, it was a pretty rough experience. Still managed to complete the workout as expected (splits 5:05.70, 5:05.72, 5:05.25, 5:04.19, 5:02.01, with the last mile fast because I misread my watch in the last 200) but was less consistent throughout than I would have liked to be (some miles could be 77, 78, 75, 74). It was much more difficult than this workout would normally be, and I seriously considered breaking the thing up halfway.

Here are some photos of us having the time of our young lives. My locs were coming undone, but still managed to hit that blue steel:

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I started off last summer with 4 miles at 5:15 pace, so it’s definitely a step forward to be this fit at the beginning of a base phase. Not sure how much all this translates to running really fast next year in July, but I’m pleased enough with it and excited to get on with the rest of training.

As a final note, where are the road races where I can start making some paper in Saint Louis? One of my friends–Mark–who is a race director said people just don’t care about elites in the city, but I really need them to. My funds are looking a little scarce right now.

Until next time,

Jordan

So it begins

Today the Ocean State Athletic Club has officially taken off! While we are already training diligently for the upcoming year–the first in some of our postcollegiate careers–we are finally beginning to organize for sponsorships, donations, and publicity. A small amount of support would go a long way for athletes of our level, so hopefully we can pull something off for our group here in Rhody!

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