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Why can't you be a normal person?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Thursday, May 10, 2012
in Training

If you have trained for a big event at some point someone has asked "Why do you do this?" Don't you wish you were a normal person that didn't have to train everyday? Why do you inflict self-induced torture upon your body by swimming in 60 degree water, running in cold/snow/rain, cycling in 90 degree heat...etc. I have asked myself this question many times. Many times I have asked myself this question while I was in the middle of a "self inflicted torture" session.

In 2001 I had completed a little over 100 races in my career (see Race History) and reached a point where I was sick of all the early morning workouts and long training sessions. All I wanted to do was to be a "normal" person. I had been training for something my entire life and just wanted to eliminate the pressure and daily grind of training and racing. I dreamed that "normal" people live pressure free lives and do not have all of the self-induced pressures to continuously train for events. Finally I said, "That's it. I quit. I am now retired." I stopped working out and started living my life as a normal person. Over the course of the next few months my weight climbed from my training weight of 175 to a high of 199. I had a chocolate chip muffin and a regular coffee every morning on the way to work and couldn't care less about what races were going on next weekend.

As the months progressed I would occasionally take in the smell and freshness of a beautiful morning and remember how awesome it was to run in the early spring. A couple of times I drove by a lake or saw a group of cyclists and thought about how fun training and racing for a triathlon can be. As the summer came and went these thoughts started to become more frequent. As the 2001 fall racing season began I really started to miss training and racing. I finally figured out that being a normal person wasn't all that great. I really missed the excitement and challenge of competing in triathlons/road races which was a big part of my "normal" life. I missed the way my body felt when I was in great shape. I missed everything about my old life. I found out that being "normal" is different for everyone.

In November I decided to get back into racing. I was 25 pounds over weight and hadn't worked out in 10 months. After a few weeks of running, on Thanksgiving Day 2001, I entered the Turkey Trot at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport Massachusetts. This is a 5k race on hard pack trails in the park. This race turned into a real eye opener as I really struggled during the race and almost had to walk at the end. I completed the race in 24:06. This was by far the slowest 5k race I have ever run and to this day is the slowest recorded 5k time by your VTR host. I worked hard over the winter and ended up competing in 24 events in 2002. I would like to say my form came back quickly but it didn't. I truly did not regain my form for several years. Now when I am extremely sore after a tough race and someone asks me if I wished I was a normal person and didn't have to put myself through all of the effort and pain to compete my answer is simple....What do you mean?..I am a normal person.

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Looking for a Good 10K Road Race?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
User is currently offline
on Thursday, April 26, 2012
in Road Races

My sister-in-law (pictured on the right with Good Times 5k PR medal) has been asking me for months about where she can find a good 10k road race to run north of Boston. Of course, being the VTR expert, I thought it would be easy. After searching several race calendar websites I came to the conclusion that there really are not many 10k road races out there. I also checked my race history and noticed that of the 370+ races I have completed, only 7 of them have been 10ks. Interesting? I guess I don't really like the 10k distance. Anyway, after searching and discussing for a few months we finally found a great 10k road race right in our backyard, The Westford 10k Road Race (See video below.) I have never completed this race but on the same day they have the Westford 5k Road Race which I have done a couple of times. I loved the race but as someone who is not a big fan of 10ks, I always opted for the 5k.

Running the Westford 10K Road Race

After deciding on which 10k to run the next question was how to run this course successfully . Of course, she followed my advice to View The Race Before You Do the Race. From the video you can see this course is not easy. First you start on a slight downhill, leave the school grounds and then have to run up a short but tough little uphill to the Town Common. Once you get past the town common, you now have an incredible downhill to handle. Trust me...you will not encounter too many races in the Boston area with a downhill like this one. The real  key to this downhill is to keep your legs under you and let the hill do the work. You don't want to overcook your legs but you do need to run faster than you normally would on this stretch of the course. You will need this "free speed" during the last mile of this course. Once the road levels out there are a few miles of rolling terrain where you will have a chance to settle into your normal race pace. I would be a little conservative through this stretch. The middle part of this course is not flat but there are no major hills to contend with. The toughest part of the course is the last half mile stretch of road on Main street. There is a very short but abrupt downhill as you take the right from Flagg Road on to Main Street. Use this as a "springboard" as you start the hill. Once on the hill you have to really dig deep to maintain your pace. This hill is going to feel a lot longer than a half mile. After reaching the finish at the Town Common there is a festive atmosphere and some really nice awards for each race.


If you are in the area on May 6th check out the Westford Road Race. Take on either the 10k or 5k. You will not be disappointed. Visit our race page for more info about this event or visit the Westford Road Race website.

What do you think is the best 10K road race? 

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