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Lost & Found

Running With Mike Carlone

Can you forget how to go fast? Most runners would agree that the answer is yes. For some of us, it’s easier than others. Go a few months without touching that edge, and you’ll find yourself questioning how you ever ran that hard in the first place.

This is the situation in which Mike Carlone finds himself. After two years of chasing marathon and ultra-goals, this collegiate miler is searching for the kind of natural speed that once came more easily. He joined us for No Days Off in the early stages of his return to shorter distances. A rust-buster race was on the calendar for the weekend, a mile on the indoor track at BU. He knew it was going to hurt.

It’s a different kind of hurt than he’d become used to in marathons. In Berlin, he’d gone out with hopes of hitting the Trial’s standard, running 69:40 for the half, only to watch the time slip away from him a few miles later when the lead women flew by, their pace car flashing 2:20:08. A ragged march to the finish line of a marathon is one kind of pain, the searing of lactic acid in the final lap of a mile that you’re not quite ready to race is another.

So, there’s work to be done this winter. Mike, raised in California, has lived in Boston for more than six years, which has meant training through 2015’s record-breaking snowfall and 2018’s arctic freeze. That doesn’t mean, however, that he’s grown used to the cold. He tolerates it, embracing the benefits of that toughness come race day. You’ll often find him out on the Charles after work, logging miles in the dark, chasing that floating sense of speed that darkness can imbue. 

Mike’s first morning workout with us was an 8-mile progression run on the snowy roads near Great Brook Farm State Park. He told us, as the run began, that the park was the site of his first cross country race. Long ago, before he really knew what fast felt like. 

Running isn’t linear. We learn and find, then we forget and lose. The goal is just to be a little smarter and a little wiser with each new beginning and every new day. 

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