Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Build-Up

If you guys have been following any of my social media posts recently, you'll know that it's been going pretty darn well for me since my last blog. 

Last race for me was the Aramco Houston 1/2 Marathon, which served as this year's USATF 1/2 Marathon Championships.  It was there that I made my first big step in the right direction in quite some time.  Dropping my 1/2 marathon PR from 1:04.41 to 1:03.23.  

I may seem underwhelmed about the result, but for me, it was just a step toward where I want to be in LA, not the end result.  The LA Marathon is the basket where I'm putting all my eggs this winter.  

Training has been going really well.  I'm handling the volume and the workouts MUCH better this time around, and have been able to really nail a few good ones.  The key for me at this point is to just keep my eyes on the prize, and keep this consistency going through February.  

It can be scary knowing that you're in the best shape of your life.  Terrifying in fact. It's comfortable here in my moderate performance world.  There's no pressure or expectation when no one knows your name.  But comfortable is not where I want to be.  Uncomfortable is where my dreams lie, it's where the glory is.  

From now until March, I need to come to terms with the fact that I'm ready to take the next step in my career.  I'll stand on that line in the city of angels and be ready to embrace the discomfort.  I'll be ready to weather the grinding pain and agony that comes with the marathon.  I'll be ready to start that race one man, and finish as a different one.  

I just have to get to that line in one piece.  Only a few more 130+ mile weeks stand in my way.  I am so ready.  

Nick Hilton
The Moderately Talented Distance Runner

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Chocolate Milk, Diamonds, and Clubs!

Being an unconscientious blogger is not a good thing.  So I apologize for my lack of updates over the past few months. 


Radio silence aside, it’s been a good few months since the last update.  When you last heard from me I was down for the count with a stress fracture in the sesamoid bones (who knew those even existed?) of my right foot.  Well after four weeks of cross-training and chomping at the bit, I was able to start training again!

Albeit, cautiously at first.

After a few light weeks, I was able to ramp it up and get in some workouts, and actually stick to most of my fall racing schedule that I set up pre-injury.

First, I was honored to be able to compete in the Run 10Feed 10 event in NYC on September 21st.  If you don’t know what Run 10 Feed 10 is, then look it up (or check out the link above). Essentially, it is an awesome series of races that raised millions to feed hungry children across the country.  I was partnered up with Chocolate Milk for the event, and was honored to be able to promote smart recovery as well being able to attend a fantastic event.  If you haven't seen it, look for yours truly in the December issue of Men's Health.

The Rock and Roll Savannah Marathon was next on the schedule.  Post Run 10 Feed 10, I was able to really put together a solid block of training, which led me to believe that I was ready to handle the marathon distance once again.  The point of Savannah for me was to erase the memories of Eugene from my brain, in order to line up at my next marathon ready to go after a fast time.
I must say, it was certainly a successful venture.  I ran 2:21:33, not a PR, but a very good day considering my build up.  I spent much of the race running 2:17-2:18 pace feeling very strong,  which I think bodes well for my future marathons.   Along with running well and feeling good, I was also able to take him the victory and course records, which to me were the cherries on top of a positive day.  There's a good article on the event linked above. Post race interview HERE

The people of Savannah were incredible, and I was fortunate enough to spend some time talking with the crowd and taking pictures, along with sharing our stories from the race.  Always good to connect with other runners.  Thanks Savannah!

Post Savannah was all about recovering and trying to run some easy workouts to prep for the next race on the schedule.  For me this was a big one.  I cut my post-collegiate running teeth in Northeast Pennsylvania, and had to opportunity to meet many great people and run some awesome races in the greater Scranton area.  First was Dino Oberto’s Run for the Cannoli, second was the Berwick Run for the Diamonds on Thanksgiving Day. 

I lined up that day ready to run hard, and I did, but got out kicked in the final mile of the 9 mile race and lost by under a second.  It was the closest finish in the race’s 100+ year history. Ouch.  After that, I knew I would be back to secure that win.

I went into the race this year with the mindset that I was going to run hard, and not give anyone the chance to outkick me.  I pushed the first four miles, opened up a gap, kept pushing, and was able to feel the glory of crossing the finish at the Run for the Diamonds in first place.  To me this was a big one, and one that I’m incredibly grateful to experience. 

Now, I’m back in Flagstaff, looking forward to the next event.  For me, it’s the 2014 USATF Club Cross-Country Championships, which will be held at Lehigh University.  This event is incredibly important to me, because it is one of the rare occasions that my club, Team Run Flagstaff Pro, gets to line up and competes as a team.

We’ve been spending a ton of time together on the roads, trails, and off getting ready for this event, and there is some really positive energy on this squad.  I absolutely can’t wait to line up next to these guys. 

That will all go down on December 13th.

Thanks to the incredible outreach of support following my wins at Savannah and the Diamonds.  I can’t truly express what it means to me to hear from all you guys, and how it continues to motivate me to keep pushing my limits.  Thank You.

Nick Hilton

The Moderately Talented Distance Runner.

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's Been Awhile

A lot has happened since I've last updated this blog.

Since then I ran a PR of 14:12 at the Mt. SAC invitational, crashed and burned at the Payton Jordan Invitational 10k, running 29:35, recorded a top 10 finish at a US road championship, crashed and burned in a marathon, and found out that I had a stress fracture in a sesamoid bone in my right big toe. 

So right now I'm at the tail end of taking four weeks off from running to get this toe healed up and ready to roll again. 

Let's step back and talk about some of the things that have gone on this summer. 

First, the positives!

PR's!  I've essentially re-written the "Personal Best" column of my running resume, thanks to some of my performances this spring.  29:00 and 14:12 weren't as fast as I was hoping for coming into the season, but they're both a significant step forward in the right direction for me.  We didn't try to peak for either of those races, but trained through instead, so that leaves me to believe that there's more in the tank for the next time I step on the track.

Which leads me to positive #2.  Next season I'll be returning to the Steeplechase.  It's been a few years since I've hit the barriers, but I think that it's high time to go back to the track race I love the most.  I think with my progressions in other events, that a big jump in the steeplechase could put me in a position to be competitive on the national stage.  Time will tell, but I'm confident that it will work out.

Positive #3: First top 10 finish at a US Championship!  I ran the US 25k championships a week after tanking the 10k at Payton Jordan, so considering how bad that race went, and how bad I felt most of the week leading up to the race, I was pretty pleased with the outcome of the 25k.  I think that if I went in fresh that a better finish would have been possible, but we live and we learn.  That was a lesson that I learned throughout the spring, after a few frustrating finishes.

The big negative of the spring, and of 2014 thus far, was the Eugene Marathon.  I had my best solid block of training leading into the race, and even though I had a few hiccups, I was confident going into race day.  It was simply not my day.  We went out pretty conservatively and on pace for 2:17, but I could not get comfortable and couldn't get relaxed.  I was trying to convince myself that whole way that it would turn around and that I would have a good patch, but it just didn't happen.  By 13.1 I was feeling pretty waxed and started to slow, and by 17 my race was pretty much over.  I limped in to a 2:33 finish, and with my tail between my legs, came back to the mountains.

Trina and I met a few days later and talked about the race, and talked about my training.  We agreed to adjust some things and take a different approach with my next training block. 

After the meeting, I was taking some time down.  I had had some pain in my foot for awhile, so I decided to go get it checked out. 

Turns out there's a stress fracture in a stupid little sesamoid bone in my right big toe. 4 weeks out. 

So that's a bit  of hiccup in my training, but I've been cross-training my buns off, and am really REALLY chomping at the bit to get back on the roads again. 

Soon. Very soon. 

Then it's time to train for some breakthroughs. 

Nick Hilton
The Moderately Talented Distance Runner

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cruising Through Racing Season

Here we are in the meet of track season!  (I hope SOMEONE gets that pun.)

First two outings were solid.  3:52 in my season opening 1500 at ASU.  Considering the fact that I've done 0 speed work, I was relatively happy with the race.  It could've been better, but it also could've been worse. 

After that race, I hit a pretty hard wall in training, and it was definitely affecting me in my workouts the next week or so.  I found out that it's really not terribly feasible to run high volume weeks, and pair them with high intensity track work. 

Trying to push through those weeks set me back a bit and had me feeling a bit run down.  Luckily we took a day off, backed off the volume, and my legs came around in time to feel ok for the Stanford Invitational 10k. 

The 10k was a good effort for me overall.  Landed a 52 second PR, and ran 29:00.  (I actually PR'd through 5k as well, 14:25, but hopefully that one doesn't last long). 

I was with the pace until 8k, and then began to struggle a bit.  Ran splits of around 70-72 through the last few laps and closed in 65-66 to try and salvage a good time.  Thankfully it wasn't a fiery crash and burn, just a slow die off.  I think I can thank my current aerobic fitness for that. 

Check out the video HERE 

So we've backed off some on the volume, and am now hitting the pool a few times a week to supplement.  My legs are definitely coming around, and feeling much better.

Had my best workout in awhile down in Sedona this week, running 6xmile cruising from 4:43 down to 4:39, feeling relaxed and in control.  That bodes well for my fitness, and indicates that I'm ready to break through and run another good PR. 

Next week I'll be heading out the famous Mt. SAC Relays, the site of my best race of the 2013 track campaign.  We won't be backing off too much for this one, but I think that regardless of how my legs feel, I'm going to post a good time. 

After Mt. SAC it's two weeks to the Payton Jordan Invitational, where I'll chase down another big 10k PR. 

All roads point to Stanford on the 4th, than the US 25k Championships on 5/10 where I'll try to land my first top 10 US Championship finish. 

If you haven't checked them out, check out some of my recent blogs for other sites!

5 Reasons to Get Pumped for Competitive Running

Oiselle Rising: A Profile of the Women's Apparel Company that's Shaking Up the Track and Field Community

The Moderately Talented Distance Runner

Friday, March 21, 2014


Today kicks off an exciting time of the year...


This year we're going to pick it up where I left off last year, the 1500.

It's going to be UNcomfortable. For a few reasons.

1.) I'm training for the 10k-Marathon this season.  More mileage + less speed + 1500 = PAIN

Well that's actually the only reason.

Regardless of how unpleasant this particular race is going to be, I'm still very much excited for it.  Going off of how surprisingly well I raced throughout the indoor season, I'm hoping to at least run close to my PR tonight.

Even though the speed might not necessarily be there, I'm a lot stronger than I ever have been, and I'm hoping that carries me through this race.

As my coach likes to tell me Strength = Speed.

Funny enough, my last race was exactly ten times as long as the one I'm about to run.  That was the Mountain to Fountain 15 down in Fountain Hills, AZ.

That race was a pleasant surprise, as I took 2nd place (behind Olympian Andrew Lemoncello), and also brought home hundreds of beers (literally) and a pretty good pay day.  Giving me some confidence heading into 10k season.

On a side note: If you live in the Flagstaff-Phoenix Area, you gotta run the Mountain to Fountain 15k next year.  Fun course, GREAT prizes (Chipotle and BEER), and it's incredibly well organized.  One of my favorite road races to go to.  Awesome people.

While I'll miss the roads, I'm certainly excited to run some PR's and beef up my track resume a bit (it's pretty laughable in the 5k-10k column).

The schedule for the next 2 months:

Tonight: Baldy Castillo 1500
Next Week: ASU Invitational 5k (tempo run)
Week After That: Stanford Invitational 10k (Sub 29)
2 Weeks Later: Mt SAC Invitational (Sub 13:50)
2 Weeks Later: Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational (28:40)
6 Days after that: USATF 25k Championships (Top 10)

The Moderately Talented Distance Runner

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Start of a Great Year

Time to do some catching up.

In brief, here are my last few weeks.

BU Valentine: 18 sec. 3k PR: 7:57

USATF Cross-Country Championships: 19th Place

USATF Indoor Track and Field Championships: 3k- 13th Place.

Needless to say, it was an exhilarating few weeks there.

The PR was great, especially considering the lack of specificity at this point in the season.  We've been focusing on strength, so to get out and run a huge PR gave me a big dose of confidence.

The next 2 weeks were OK.  The experience was great, and getting the opportunity to run with the big boys was great, but the finishes were not.  Next time I line up at a US Championship, I want to contending for a top spot, and not just running off the back.

I'll have to wait until May for that opportunity though.

The performances of the winter, I think, set me up for a great spring.  Originally, my goals were to crack 14 min. in the 5k, and 29 in the 10k, but considering recent times, I think I need to raise the bar a bit.

How about, 13:45 for 5k, and 28:40 for 10k.  That seems a bit better.  '

Training continues to go well, and I continue to stay healthy (knock on wood).  If those trends continue, than I'll be heading into outdoor with a lot of confidence.  I've been able to get many weeks over 100 miles while continuing to have good workouts, so I just need to keep this momentum going.

Next up for me is the Mountain to Fountain 15k in Fountain Hills, AZ just outside of Phoenix.  It has a strong field, but I believe that I can hang in contention and put up a good fight.  My strength is definitely there, I just need to translate it onto the roads.

If you haven't checked it out yet, take a look at my weekly blog for the iRunnerblog.  I write the column titled "The Running High", and its an opportunity to see me write about something other than myself.

I've heard from a lot of people after my run at the US Indoor Champs, and it was fantastic and I can't thank everyone enough for just being out there and following.  Hopefully I can keep it up.

Also I want to thank the companies that have been helping me out thus far this year.  I've been added to the Powerbar Team Elite roster for 2014, and I'm truly exciting to be representing such a great brand.  Also a thanks to Swiftwick, for keeping my feet happy, and supporting me!
The Moderately Talented Distance Runner

Monday, February 3, 2014

Train...Train...Train... RACE RACE RACE

Hello all!

I'm not too sad to say that the winter out here in Flag hasn't been nearly as rough as the one that my east coast brethren are dealing with.  There's not much better than a 50 degree day in late January to get you pumped up for training.

Not that I need anything to help me get pumped.

Left to Right: Adam Vess, Forrest Misenit, Me
Training is going excellent.  Been putting in some really good weeks (past 3 were 105,110,115) and getting in some really good workouts.  Not to mention a solid little mile race at altitude. 

Last weekend me and a few of my TRF pro bros decided to have a little fun and knock some rust off, so we entered the mile at the recent NAU Invitational. 

I haven't touched much speed work, so I was just hoping to compete with the guys and have some fun with it.  Video is below, I'll spare you the details and let you check out the action for yourself.

Since then I've just been grinding out some miles and good workouts, getting ready for a fun series of races. 
8 mile SS @ Buffalo Park: 5:17 avg.

This weekend I'll head out to Boston to run a 3k, with none other than Adam Vess, and attempt to run under 8:03 and qualify for the US Indoor T&F Champs.  I'm not keying up for this one too much, just want to get a good quality race in.  At the very very least, I hope to knock off an old PR of mine (8:15). 

What I'm really getting ready for are the US Cross Country Championships in Boulder on 2/15.  I've been putting in the miles, and a lot of strength work to prep for this one.  I've had some of my best tempo efforts since I've been up here, so I think I'm really rounding into form at the right time

After that is hopefully US Indoor, which would be a nice bonus to finish off the winter season. 

Just want to stay healthy, and stay fit.  A big spring is to come.

If you haven't seen it yet, and want some different insights from yours truly, check out my other blog: 

My column is titled: The Running High

The Moderately Talented Distance Runner