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Each year, one of the highlights of the Millrose Games is the High School Invitational Mile for boys and girls. In order to earn a place on the starting line, athletes must run a time that will get the attention of the race selection committee. This year, DyeStat will follow five runners as they try to earn an invitation to the February 1st race.

Below is the blog for Conestoga Valley PA senior Vince McNally

Vince was extended an invitation to the Millrose Games HS mile based on his 4:08.99 at last year's Nike Outdoor Nationals.

Week 5

This is it. The final week, reaching a finale at Madison Square Garden. On Monday, I did a tempo/kinda workout with alternating 800's for 4 miles. The first 800 of every 1600 on the track was supposed to be in 3 minutes, followed by the second 800 in 2:40. I warmed up with 3 miles before averaging 2:59.9 for the first 800's and 2:39.4 for the second 800's. Then I cooled down with 3 miles. Oh, I can't forget the lifting-did that before the run.

For Tuesday, I'm gonna brag a little bit. Here in good old Lancaster County we have our own running legend Mark Amway. Mr. Amway comes out to run with me every now and then-he started this during the fall cross country season. He is a good fella that has taken the sport of running to heart and is part of most running activity around these parts. His famousity (I don't think this is a word) stems from his involvement with the marathon during the mid 80's to early 90's. I deserve a slap on the wrist for this, because I can't remember exactly where he finished in his best Olympic Trials performance, but it was somewhere in the teens. He also has a personal best of 2:16-something for his signature event. Outside of that though, I admire him and his contributions to the sport of distance running and enjoy going on distance runs with him. Back to the training, I covered 11 miles on Tuesday, in a sluggish 77:31 minutes, if my math skills serve me right.

Wednesday was a day to slack, and slack I did. I saw my girlfriend on Wednesday and went with her to her college. She goes to Millersville University which is about a half hour away. We got to her dorm room and I just crashed. I finally woke up and it was 5 o'clock. I tried to rally myself together-I even put my workout clothes on-but idleness set in. To sum it all up, I was a bum on Wednesday.

Thursday was a little better. I went for an easy 10 miler-that's right, a 10 miler-and lifted after I was done running. It took me 73:50 minutes to finish my run. I knew what I was doing before the race on Friday, I knew that the other guys were probably fitter than I was, but Indoors again is a mileage race for me. So I might have compromised my race a little, but in the grand scheme of things, I'll be better off for it come Outdoor.

Game time. I left school on Friday at 12:15 for the Affinia Hotel next to Madison Square Garden. My head track coach and I rode up and reached New York in a little over 3 hours. We settled into our hotel and suited up for the evening's events. I ate at this little corner bagel deli and then walked over to the Garden. We got there kinda early and watched the race-walkers up until about quarter after 8. My coach and I then went under the stands to the warm-up area for the athletes and set up shop. I started warming up around 8:30 by jogging circles around the area allotted us under the stands for 21 minutes. I stretched, did some striders, and was called into the holding pit until we were allowed to run onto the track...

During the race I just wanted to hang out at the back and get pulled along for as long as possible. It was a good thing, since my buddy Nick got a little ahead of himself and pulled us through somewhere around 60. I guess Peter Dorrell took over and did us a favor by putting a little slack in the pace for the next half-mile. As the last quarter came up, the one fella from Danbury slipped back and I moved ahead of him. My mistake at Millrose came right after that. I should've started an assault on the main pack instead of hanging back until 3 laps to go. As Nick Crits drifted back after his torrid start, I finally started to push for the finish. By then though, the main pack was too far ahead, and I was left eating their dust.

When I finished, I had a feeling I had met my goal of 4:20. I regained my composure too easily and knew that if I had a better bearing on the 160 yard track, I definitely could have run in the 4:18's. 4:17 could have been possible if only I had stayed with the main pack and hung on. Overall, Millrose was an amazing experience that I am glad to have been a part of. For the sake of tradition, I totaled 9 miles on Friday by cooling down with a 35 minute run.

Saturday I got up at quarter of 9 to go for a 10 mile run in order to make up for the run I missed on Wednesday. I didn't want to get out of my bed, being that it was so comfortable, but a lot of things were riding on this run such as: my shoes would be shot after reaching 500 miles, I would finish the week with 50 miles, and I would be able to run in Central Park. So I got up. And I ran. And I finished my run at the revolving doors to Affinia Hotel. The End.

I would just like to say job well done to everyone who was in the race. It was neat racing all of you at the Garden and good luck with the rest of your seasons. To everyone who has read my blog and the others' blogs, thanks for tuning in and good luck with all your endeavors too.

Week 4

- I got back from the mountains and ran to school. I met my coach there and did a five mile tempo run at six minute pace. When I woke up at the mountains Monday morning before coming home, it was two below zero. By the time I ran, it was hovering in the twenties and was windy. I accumulated nine miles total.

Tuesday- Just another straight run. This one was nine miles. It was still cold.

Wednesday- After lifting, I warmed up for two miles before the first real workout of the season. Still, it was strength-based in nature, but it managed to whup me. I was supposed to alternate each 200, running the first one in 32, then the next in 55, and so on, till twelve fast ones had been completed. Total it is a three mile workout. I averaged 31.8 per fast 200, and 55 per each recovery 200. I had to dig through the last four, but now at least I have some semblance of speed before jumping into Millrose.

Thursday- I'm a little sore. I didn't do those 200's in spikes, but my calves are still a little tight. Today I did a distance run of ten miles.

Friday- I'm still a little sore, but at least it's a good sore. After lifting again, I finished out the week with an eight mile run today. Totals for the week are forty-five miles, and 450 miles on my shoes.

Week 3

- 20x300 (avg. of 56.3 per 300);nothing serious, just pace work; 8 miles total

Tuesday- Straight distance run; 8 miles

Wednesday- 2 miles at 6 minute pace on track, continue into next mile and do five striders; 8 miles total

Thursday- Distance run; 9 miles

Friday- 3000 at Franklin and Marshall; 8:52.8-9

I'm sorta in a crunch for time, sorry about the sub par entry, but this is the gist of how my last week went. Good luck to everyone in their races.

Week 2

In my third week of running, I finally ran five days from Monday through Friday. This weekend I had the opportunity to just kick back. Yesterday (Saturday), I went hunting with my dad and Pop-Pop. We saw about fifty deer, none of which we were able to shoot. It was a rough day, as we stomped through greenbriars and 'pickies.' I can look at my hands now and they resemble someone's hands that got too close to an unfriendly cat. Oh well, hard work doesn't always pay off right away.

Anyhow, on Monday, I did my first run that wasn't just a straight distance run. I warmed up with two miles; I ran four miles in 23:56 for a beginning tempo run; and I cooled down with one mile. I did this after I lifted in the weight room. My legs felt fine, but it seemed as if my breathing wasn't quite perfect yet; if I would've tried to talk to someone, I wouldn't have been able to do so comfortably for very long. Total mileage for Monday: seven.

On Tuesday, I ran in gym for about three miles and then four after school. At our school we have to wear heart-rate monitors to make sure everyone is exercising to the same effort level. For awhile, I had a 'B' in gym, so I chose to run above the heart-rate zone--for extra credit--which is required when you run for twenty minutes. For twenty minutes, the seniors in personal fitness are supposed to be in the seventy-five to eighty percent of maximal heart-rate. I'm still seventeen, so I set the heart-rate monitor at 152 to 162 beats per minute. Because of this, the gym runs can get kinda quick. On Tuesday, it hovered around 6:35 per mile.

Wednesday was a normal day. I lifted in the weight room, walked over to the start of our grass loop, and ran about seven miles in 48:18.

I ran with the fellas on Thursday, which included a little bit of road-running. I try to stay off the road whenever possible. That leaves me with my school grounds, Lancaster County Park, and Baker's Field to run on. Most of the time I just run at the school, since I'm already there when school lets out. But once a week, I try to get to either the park or field to break up the monotony of repeated grass loops and bfls. So on Thursday, I ran about four miles on the road with Mike Winalski (a.k.a "Winski"), Matt Cunningham (a.k.a CunninTiggles), and Jordan Schmalhofer (a.k.a Jordan?), before finishing out the rest of the eight mile day on grass loops.

I lifted again on Friday. After I lifted I ran six grass loops in 39:43. Before you assume that I must have been flying, I have studied the grass loop extensively. The grass loops is probably the most familiar part of the Conestoga Valley Distance Project's training regime. It is .95 miles, and roughly seventeen seconds short of a mile (depending on how fast a runner is going). The extent of the analyzation of the grass loop is seen in the path made by those who run it. This path isn't dirt yet, but the grass remains permanently down along the grass loop. Therefore on Friday, the actual pace of the run was more like 6:54 per mile.

Totals on the week include: 35 miles of running and 365 miles of running on my Brooks Adrenaline GTS.

Week 1

The week before this week, I got out for four days, Monday through Thursday. I ran five miles each day, nothing fancy. Easy math yields twenty miles for this week.

In my second week of running after taking a 16-day reprieve from Footlocker Finals, I ran five days, starting on Monday, skipping Tuesday, and then running through Saturday. Nothing serious happened this week; the only run that stands out is a distance run of eight miles. The other runs were six miles each, except for Saturday, which was four. Total mileage for the week: thirty.

For me, Indoor Track is a base-building time to gear up for Outdoor. The hardest stuff I'll do is manageable intervals with short rest. Alternating 200's are a specialty, running them in 32 and then 55 for 3200 meters on a track. I'll probably do 300's in the same fashion before Indoor is over also. Obviously, this isn't hard anaerobic work, just strength intervals to keep me in touch with my speed.

Tempo runs are important too. I'll probably start out at six-minute pace at four miles and get just a tad faster while stretching the tempo runs out to six miles. These are slower tempos than what I'll do once the Outdoor season comes.

Basically, my mode of training for Indoor is low-key, distance-based running. The days I'm not doing an alternating 200 style workout, tempo run, or distance run, are just straight runs; I start my watch and stop it after I've run a certain amount of mileage. I'll do all of this on a five day week of running, usually Monday through Friday.

The only other training I do is lifting weights through Indoor. The lifting is geared for muscular endurance where I'll start off at three sets of twenty in December, and by February be at three sets of fifteen.

The only race I will do before Millrose is a 3000 at Franklin & Marshall College on Friday, the eighteenth of January.

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