Sometimes, the best thing for a runner can be rest and recovery, especially with the stress pounding the pavement can put on one’s body.
For University of Maine sophomore Riley Masters, a little bit of R and R was just what the doctor ordered.
Masters, who missed most of his cross country season for the Black Bears with an inflamed knee, has showed he is back and better than ever this winter. One of his highlights included breaking his own school record in the 3,000 meters, running 8 minutes, 14 seconds in a meet at Dartmouth College earlier this winter.
“It feels great. I was so nervous coming into the season,” he said. “Now that’s all behind me and I’m just ready to go get ’em, I guess.”
Masters steadily worked his way back into race shape late in the fall, winning two local races in resounding fashion.
He won the Turkey Trot 3-miler in Brewer in 14:31 just before Thanksgiving while capturing the Epic Finale 5K race in Bangor in 15:48 a couple of days after Christmas.
“Because I didn’t race cross country, I felt that I should get back into a racing mentality,” Masters said. “It was really beneficial having that racing edge back.”
Masters has also qualified for the IC4A championships in the 1,000 meters with a 2:29 clocking, and the reigning America East individual champion in the 3,000 is gunning for bigger and better things later in the season.
“I’m hoping that I can squeeze into NCAA championships in either the 3K or the mile,” he said. “Hopefully, I can run some fast times in the 3K and the mile to get into some big meets.”
As excruciating as it was for Masters not to be able to race throughout the fall, the fact he was able to bounce back speaks volumes.
“It makes me feel a little more comfortable now that I was able to bounce back from an injury,” he said. “For a while I felt like I was never going to be able to run fast again. Because of that, I’m a lot stronger mentally.”
If there’s one lesson that can be learned from Masters’ injury, it’s that rest is as pivotal to success as mileage and intervals.
“I feel like every runner needs to let their body recover,” he said. “I was training pretty hard last year, but I’m back now running faster than I ever have before so everything kind of worked out.”
For now, Masters is putting an emphasis on plugging some miles — he got in a solid, nine-mile run on a unseasonably warm Wednesday — while trying to steadily peak in speed workouts.
“Right now I’m just trying to take it slow,” he said. “I’m really just getting threshold or interval work in, get the legs moving, get used to the track, try not to push it too hard.”
Meanwhile, Black Bears’ sophomore Jesse Labreck of Oakland punched her ticket to the USA Indoor Track and Field Championships in the same Dartmouth meet in which Masters ran his 8:14 3K.
Labreck qualified in the 60-meter hurdles, posting a time of 8.50 seconds.
The USATF Championships are March 6 at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston, traditionally the day after the New England Interscholastic Championships, held at the same facility.
The Black Bears return to action Friday at the Boston Indoor Games at Reggie Lewis.
Moore raising money
Training outside year-round in this state is no easy task, especially once the brutal January weather kicks in.
But don’t tell that to Windham’s Blaine Moore.
The 30-year-old ultramarathoner has taken on a One More Mile for Sunshine Challenge this month, in which he is running a mile longer every day in an attempt to log 500 miles during January.
As of Jan. 20, he had put in 218 miles and has dodged everything, from snowplows to snowstorms, cars to subzero temperatures, in a goal to raise $4,500 for Camp Sunshine, a one-of-a-kind national retreat in Casco which serves children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.
Moore even celebrated his 30th birthday Jan. 15 with 15 miles of running.
He stated in an email that he wakes up early to run prior to work, either running on the trails at Twin Brooks Farm or local snowmobile trails, then puts in more mileage on the streets of Portland during lunch.
Moore provides daily updates, including video blogs, on his Web site, www.1moremile-forsunshine.com.
He is a coach at the Maine Running Company in Portland, and is a veteran of 13 marathons and three ultra-marathons.