Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Cat,s Top Ten Races 08


For the third year in a row I sit here b4 you to list my top ten races,even in an injury shortened year{32 races between Feb 1st thro Dec 28th} I had to sit and go over the entire year to not only pick ten races but also put them in order.....submitted for your approval a trip into the Top Cat Zone!!!!

10, University Of Deleware 800m,my first outdoor non relay race of the season,I went in hoping to run a respectable 2.06,I came away w/ a 2.03.07. 3rd place finish and the belife that I could be a medal contender at Nationals in Spokane in three months time,all great journys begin somewhere my 08 season began here.

9,Swarthmore 800m,having failed to get under 2.10 over 800m indoors in Feb and March this December 21st 2.03.01. performance told me dispite a frustrating lack of speed work in recent weeks I was back to the 800m indoor prowess I,d shown in 07.

8,NJ C,ship 8k XC dispite high caliber xc races over 5k and 6k there were those who felt at the longer 8k distance I was punching above my weight....they thought wrong!!!

While I didn,t claim a club record or course record I did set a pr and take top masters finisher w/ my 8th place 28.16.62.

7,Penn Relays 4x4,three years in and the thrill is still very much still there!

Thanks to an Olympic year the crowd swelled to 49,000 which will always do wonders for your performance,thanks to Daryl overtaking the Shore AC third leg coming off the final turn I got the baton in 7th and began to give chase to the anchor legs of Mass Volocity and Alabama Express.

Coming off the final turn and w/ real estate running out I caught and passed the Mass Velocity anchor,6th overall in 3.49 and a 55.1 split.

6,NJ C,ships 1,500m,my only mile/1,500m defeat in the outdoor season and I still believe had I,ve kicked at 200m to go and gone for the win instead of kicking at 150m in hope of moving from 4th to 3rd I would,ve caught the winner,that said it was an epic final turn and home straight!!!

5,Masters 5k XC C,ship,a race I wasn,t originally scheduled to run and a race I probably had no right expecting a great return on...............that,s why they call me"Prime Time"baby!!!!
9th overall in 16.49.4,sadly like Saratoga b4 it the course in N.Carolina was just short of 5k so I couldn,t claim this as a sub 17 5k,that said it was still a great performance.
4,Millrose 4x4,the race I,d dreamt of all my life was not about to be derailed by a pesky stress fracture let me tell ya!!!
Much has been said of this race since it took place 0n Feb 1st and yet it still feels like yesterday,to race the same hallowed boards my "holy trilogy" of heroes Ronnie,Marcus and "The Chairman" still means EVERYTHING to me I just wish my lack of conditioning hadn,t cost us the bronze...............but I,ll be back to claim what,s due to me in 09 or 10....trust me on that!
3,Masters Nationals 800m,just like I wish I could rerun the closing 200m of the NJ Cship 1,500m I wish I could rerun the second lap of this race.
In my mind it was always going to come down to a duel between Neil Fitzgerald and I and it was always going to be about the 400m split,61 seconds, slower than I,d been going through my opening laps since Deleware so I put the hammer down,the problem w/ that was w/ 400m to go Neil had time to react and regroup and he caught me 60m from the line,an epic race 1.59.51-1.59.82.to have been beaten by the younger faster runner on the day was no disgrace.
2,5th Avenue Mile,to have won it in 07 was beyond my wildest dreams, to return 12 months later and not only defend my title but also obliterate my pr from 4.25 to 4.12 thanks to splits of 64,64,63,61 and a 1,500m split of 3.56. is something that,ll stay w/ me forever,but believe me I,m not done yet!!
1,Masters Nationals 1,500m,going into Spokane I had hopes of returning w/ two National Champion golds{not including the 4x800m}if however I could only have one I,d have picked the 1,500m over the 800m dispite being defending 800m champion since I,d never won the big one at 1,500m not even in high school,runner up in 78 and 79.
If I,d kicked too soon in the previous days 800m final I got it balls dead accurate in the 1,500m unleashing a ferocious kick w/ 200m to go to claim my first major 1,500m title in a pr time of 4.10.78.while it would,ve been nice to have gone sub 4.10 that,ll come in time this was about saviouring the moment and the victory.

One Last Time/Food For Thought

Final run of the year today,wasn,t looking too hopeful at lunch time w/ some snow flakes falling but by the time I,d excused myself one last time from ye olde loading dock and got home just after 4pm mild mannered{yes I,m taking the piss!!} loading dock foreman by day gave way to running machine Top Cat and while I wasn,t clearing tall buildings w/ a single bound I was rounding Clark Park at a decent rate of speed one last time in 08.
As I compleated my tour of duty I thought about the year that,s about to expire in less than three and and a half hours it started w/ my foot in a cast and a few concerns about making it back to the high level I,d reached pre stress fracture in 07 and would I return to that level?
The answer was a resounding yes,dispite being only two days removed from my surgical boot I forfilled the dream of a lifetime and raced at famed Madison Square Garden in the Millrose Games,a dream come true,sadly a not surprizing lack of conditioning cost us third place off the final turn but I had no grounds to complain,I had no right being there and yet there I was flying in the face of it and defying the odds.
Millrose proved to be the only highlite of my disappointing indoor season, I was glad to see the back of it and turn my attention to outdoor track,Penn Relays in front of almost 50,000 fans was another highlite reel not just for the year but in my career.
4x4 duties taken care of it was time to focus on my marquee events the 800m and 1,500m/mile and how!!!
A 2.03.07 800m followed by a pair of 1,500m victories in 4.21 and 4.14 took me into June on a high that never waned,when a 2.03.72 800m is considered a setback you know you,re cooking,my only 1,500m/mile defeat of the outdoor season saw me clock a 4.12.65. b4 clocking a 2.02.45. 800m.
July saw two final races b4 my trip to Ireland and also my final tune ups b4 Nationals a 4.28.9 mile and a 2.00 800m,no wonder I enjoyed a weeks worth of running along the beach in Ballybunion humming the theme to "Chariots Of Fire"
August and everything in Spokane, a tantilizingly close defeat in the 800m final 1.59.51-1.59.82 but a career first 1,500m title in 4.10.78. and a third consecutive 4x800m gold,track was winding down as I began my yearly six weeks of hill repeats on Belmont Plateau,track swansong a 4.31.83. mile at the Wisahickon Wanderers meet.
September and all my hard work for the season paid off, a stunning 4.12 5th Avenue Mile victory to cement my growing reputation as a masters miler and then the unexpected bonus of a XC season I never imagined, a 6k pr b4 heading down to N.Carolina to compeat in XC Masters Nationals where against all odds I finished 9th,three days later I finished 3rd at the Catholic League 5k C,ships on Belmont Plateau b4 notching another pr this time over 8k at the NJ XC C,ships,as my coach "Charlie Dibble" later pointed out my success at XC was all the more remarkable by virtue of the fact we,d done nothing specific towards XC and yet here I was clocking pr,s and setting club records.
November, redemption over the 5 mile course at VCP in "Bad Boy" followed by a sub 17 3 miler the following week,sadly the peak of my XC season dispite two more races later in the month,just as my stress fracture had proven how life can and will throw you a curve ball my work schedule was thrown for a loop as situations out of my control dictated my day to day routines,dispite the industrial spanner in the works I managed an 8th place at Brandywine and a course pr b4 a 6th place at the testing 8K Belmont course.
December,indoor track,not so much a false start in the 4x4 more of a non start but a week later when improvisation became the mother of necessity I clocked a 2.03.01.800m a far cry from the indoor 800m races I tried to run in Feb and March b4 rounding out the year w/ a hard fought 4.39.41. 1,600m.
While my credo in life is"It,s All About The Run" away from training and racing the highlites were Spurs winning the Carling Cup,a weekend in New York to see The Cure b4 racing,going home to "the motherland" Turkey reaching the Euro semis,rediscovering my love of THE ALARM and of course meeting "The Queen Of The Slipsream"
As 08 winds down and 09 gears up thoughts turn to a new year,new challenges and new blog entries,run or no run manana I,ll address some of them tomorrow.
My final thought on the year that was goes out to the neysayers and haters{you know who you are}you can tell an Irishman,you just can,t tell him much......POGUE MAHONE,that,s gaelic for "kiss my arse"!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On The Seventh Day

My my,what do you know I got my whole run in while there was still some vestige of daylite,lost in the shuffle of the holidays last week was the fact that if I,m not mistaken after Dec 23rd it starts to get darker a little bit later,not by much at first but slowly yet surely so that,s something to get excited about.
Had Franklin Field not been off limits tonite would,ve been a good nite for a track workout,it,s looking more and more like Friday now,I fear New Year,s Day is going to be a wash for a run of any type as the mercury isn,t expected to get much above freezing,while a pisser short term I need to work in a rest day somewhere otherwise I,m looking at going into the first of the "Thursday Nite At The Races" series next week on the back of 16 days straight training,there is such a thing as overkill.
Phew hard to think tomorrow is New Year,s Eve,a whole year..plus that pesky leap year Feb 29th extra day has been and gone,some food for thought for tomorrows blog entry,the highs,the lows,the good,the bad,not too much ugly it,ll be mulled over.

Monday, December 29, 2008

E.B.S....Early Bird Special

A little slight of hand and swift of foot today meant I was home by 4pm and off to Clark Park for ye olde 5 miler,it,s gonna be a real shock to the system manana when I have to run at 4.30pm when it starts getting dark,oh well it,s been fun!
For the longest time I was under the impression that Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile was Jan 17th,it,s actually the following weekend the 24th which will allow me an extra week to get ready,it does mean I can,t run the 3,000m at #2 of "Distance Nite At The Armory"that Thursday but unless one is Barbie one can,t have everything can one!!!
Six days in a row now I,ve been able to run,all jokes aside I,m enjoying the consistancy but w/ New Years Day threatening to be only 32 degrees I may well have to invoke a rest day there and halt my streak at eight days,I had hoped to hit the track at St Joes on Thursday in a symbolic "start the year off as you mean to go "jesture,that may now have to wait till Friday.
All that said the weather could change between now and then,we,ll have to see,one thing I do know Wednesday nite my Top Ten Races of 08 will get written after weeks of humming and harring I,ve gotten not only my 32 races of the year whittled down to 10 but I,ve also put them in order.....stay tuned!

TC,s Ok In Md

Or how I laid to rest my PGI ghosts!!!
Starter for ten it ended up being a 13 hour day for less than 5 mins work,that said a road trip w/ 4 team mates and members of our "sister club"Athena can never be frowned upon even if the end result won,t make Wednesdays year ending Top Cats Top Ten list.
Off of two less than flattering performances here at PGI I was determined to put that right Sunday,I also wanted a chance to test out the new mondo surface b4 March,s Indoor Nationals ergo hitting the road by 6.30am to get down to Landover by 9.15am to run the mile.....or as it ended up a 1,600m.
By the time we finally got around to the mile/1,600m it must,ve been gone 11am,I,d stretched and warmed up and waited patiently for the open/masters heats which when they eventually came around were split into two heats,sub 5, plus 5,I should be greatful they didn,t make the masters run separately but there were 20 athletes in the sub 5 heat which is one thing but the fact they wanted to run a 1,600m and not a mile meant there was always going to be a major cluster f ** k going into the first turn,sure enough the runner inside me almost went down as we hit the turn and could quiet easily have turned the field into a house of cards,w/ hindsight the next time I,m in a race w/ that many runners going into the first turn make sure I,m all the way on the outside of the starting line.
Jesus I,ve heard of running w/ the pack but this was like running w/ the herd!!! it took me till the back straight of the third lap to get out of lane three by which time I,d opened w/ 34 second splits to clock a 68 second 400m.
By now the lead two runners were well clear as I moved clear into third, I was well and truly in no mans land as I now had to run against the clock,today would,ve been a good day to wear my new stop watch that records splits as I don,t recall my 200m splits,I do recall 2.18 at 800m.
Third in 4.39.41 w/ a 1,500m split of 4.23,I,ll aim to improve upon that Sunday at The Armory where I doubt I,ll have to race in a heat of 20,I can,t say my PGI experiences in the past 13 months have been stellar,here,s hoping in 12 weeks time at Masters Nationals that changes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Am The Milkman Of Human Kindness

Yes folks another training run,another bloody Billy Bragg reference!!!
Give the full slate of Boxing Day and Sunday footie fixtures I found myslf at a bit of a loose end today w/ no footie to watch,and while sorely tempted to don my Celtic jersey and head downtown to see which of the Irish bars were showing the time honoured "Old Firm"punch up......sorry match up between Celtic and rangers aka"the glasgow scum" I thought better of it,hard to be in the season of"peace on earth,goodwill to all men"when you,re shouting religious bigatory across the bar at the orange bastards rooting for rangers{sidebar Celtic won 1.0 at rangers...HA HA!!".}
A much safer practice was to finish up ye olde grocery shopping and go look at new laptops,although the latter proved to be a bit of a futile exercise what w/ the holidays and all that,clearly laptops were a hot item this xmas and rather than buy what they had for the sake of having one I,ll wait till Best Buy{shameless free plug for them...........now hook me up you feckers!!!}replenish their stock.
Another afternoon 5 miler,4 days in a row,to quote Ryan Adams"Easy Tiger",and unless something goes pear shaped on the way to PGI in Landover tomorrow morning a 5th consecutive day of running is on deck.
If tomorrow,s a race then tonite,s a carbo loading dinner,Muscles,Linguini w/ Texas Toast,a look back at the breathtaking Olympic Opening Ceromony{which I missed due to being in Spokane for Masters Nationals...my own Gold quest}and the highlites of Scott McDonald scoring the winner for Celtic.......everybody sing w/ me"oh it,s a grand old team to play for,oh it,s a grand old team to see,and if you know you,re history it,s enough to make you,re heart go........"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

One of the few things I miss from back home is Boxing Day,that time honoured tradition of eating leftovers and enjoying a full slate of footie.
Over the past few years I,ve somehow managed to finagle the day after Christmas off to have a pseudo Boxing Day of sorts,it looked like my run was coming to an end untill I brought up the fact I gave up two vacation days in November to bail out the loading dock at work so I was rewarded w/ days off today and next Friday,kudos to my boss Joanne for giving me those days off.
No slouchlike lying in till 10.15am this morning,no siree,up by 8am to watch Spurs Fulham, a disappointing 0.0 draw but there you go!
W/ the extra day off at my disposal I chose not to take a zen like attitude w/ the recliner and the remote and went food shopping b4 the late soccer game Villa coming back from 0.2 to draw 2.2 w/"the scum"whee!!
Off to Clark Park for another 5 miler,steady on three training days in a row,excuse me if I don,t dig out my Billy Bragg "Back To Basics"cd!!!
Rumours abound of am showers manana,I may be forced to wait till the afternoon again to run,as long as I can that,s really all that matters.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reviving The Tradition

"The christmas you get you deserve"-"I Believe In Father Christmas" Greg Lake
Merry Christmas,Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa,holiday greetings to one and all.
For the fifth Xmas in a row and if memory serves me correctly the ninth since 85 I,m spening it alone.
A wise man{my father}once told me when I was younger"xmas is what you make it"for whatever reason over the years I,ve chosen to treat it as "any other day"this year was no different although for once I actually wanted to embrace all the good that comes w/ the holidays,who knows if I continue to wipe my slate clean from the ghosts of christmas pasts the ghost of christmas future may well make my christmas present a memorable one,I think I,m worthy of one memorable christmas.
In 05 I broke w/ tradition and actually ran on Christmas Day for the first time ever to accomodate house sitting in East Falls and going home to Port Richmond to feed Calvin and Hobbes,in 06 I ran from the apartment on Cedar Ave to City Hall and back for another 6 miler.
Sadly that tradition came to a grinding halt last Christmas due to a stress fracture and a cast on my foot!!however this year I have a clean bill of health so post lie in{10.15am....I know what a lazy bastard!!!!}and breakfast and a check of all the foot news back home it was time to reach out to "La Famalia"following the debarcle of the past two years it was nice we could chat this year,my family accept the fact it,s a glorified rest day for me and don,t brow beat me over my lack of preceived holiday spirit.
W/ said 5 miler in the bank now it,s a shower post blog,a spot of Chinese for dinner and a couple of movies on tv.
Lyrically I,ll let Oasis have the last word:
"Sailing down a river alone,I,ve been trying to find my way back home,but I don,t believe in magic life is automatic but I don,t mind being on my own"
"Listen Up"
Oasis.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Let The Spirit Move You

Hallelujah! after almost a week of crap weather I was able to get out and run today,take away Sundays race and it was six days since I last laced them up.
The weather gods claim it,ll be better weather the next few days so fingers crossed I can at the very least get out and train between tomorrow and Saturday b4 heading to Landover on Sunday to race.
A strange phenomenon has come over me the last few days......I,ve actually embraced the holiday spirit,now either I,m getting mellower in my old age,a weather induced lack of running has set off a chemical inbalance,"The Queen Of The Slipstream"is a bigger influence on me than I realized,or maybe a combination of all three w/ a little bit of that old holiday magic sprinkled in for good effect.
Not only have I wished co workers,delivery drivers and others happy holidays the past few days,but I,ve meant it,rather than find the negative aspect of the holidays as is more often my won,t I,ve tried to embrace the good feelings the holidays can bring,case in point for the previous 9 xmas,s at work I,ve avoided the storeroom xmas lunch like the plague,today I made a point to not only attend but go around the table and shake hands w/ everyone and wish them a merry xmas,very unlike me but you know what,it didn,t kill me and I,m glad I did it,who knows there may be hope for me yet!!!
Since it was Wednesday,YES "The Queen Of the Slipstream"came to visit me today,my get out of jail free card when I handed "her majesty" her gift bag of presents and she had none for me was that every week we,ve spoken since Aug 12th has felt like my B,day,Xmas,New Years,St Paddy,s Day and Halloween all rolled into one,it,s one gift I hope continues to keep giving throughout the coming year,that said my fair lady if you,re reading this and you still want to give me something for Xmas I,m rather partial to the two disc dvd of "Casablanca".
It,s almost midnite here,5am back home,millions of children will be waking up soon to see what Santa left them under the tree,I hope you get want you asked for.
Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Road To Indoor Nationals Starts Here

I hadn,t planned to race the Dec 21st meet at Swarthmore,"Charlie Dibble"is not a big lover of the facility,I on the other hand being a shameless romantic have sentimental ties to Swarthmore,it was here on Jan 9th 2005 I ran my first ever indoor race,an unearth shattering 10.26.50 3,000m,how times.....and distances have changed!!!!
Following on from last weeks heartning 400m splits I began to think about coming here for the 800m,problem was getting"Dibble"to give me his blessing,mother nature and my powers of persuasion aided and abetted that and so rather than mess w/ freezing rain and temps hovering just above freezing for outdoor mile repeats it was off to Swarthmore for a fast 800m indoor.
Part of my persuasive plea bargining to "Dibble" was that given how fast I,d cranked out 400m splits last Sunday I could in all probability come here and post a fast 800m time,use that as a seed time for Indoor Nationals{13 weeks and counting!!!}and then focus on the mile for the next three meets b4 coming back to the 800m in late Jan/early Feb and try and improve upon whatever I ran today,"Dib"gave me his blessing and here I was primed and ready!
I seeded myself at 2.02,an honest seed time/expectation,first indoor meet of the season and all that,coming off of a injury shortened indoor season in 07/08 w/ no great 800m times to show for myself I was hell bent on laying down a marker today,I think I did.
Lining up on the inside lane w/ the remaining 6 runners in heat 1 I knew to get out fast from the gun down the back straight and give myself as clear a start as possible,what surprized me was the tall purple clad Roman Catholic high schooler who blew by me on the home straight..........game on indeed!!!
I thought I heard 26 seconds for the first lap to be honest I was focusing on the back of this kids vest,58-59 was the 400m split, a brisk pace but one I felt comfortable to handle early season or not,w/ two laps to go I began to increase my pace,down the back straight I closed the gap on the high schooler who moved off the insideof lane but clearly wasn,t giving me the room to overtake him inside,rather than play possum I attacked b4 the bend and began to drive up the home straight to the bell.
Missed that split,1.28-1.30 I,m gussing it was all about the final lap now,it seemed my move had broken the high schooler as I cruised to a comfortable 2.03.01 winning time,a nice start to the 08/09 indoor season and a decent seed time to put for Landover on March 22nd w/ time to hone and sharpen my speed.
For the next few weeks I can look at the mile to get ready for Hartshorne first,Masters Invitational 1,500m second,Indoor Nationals third................oh it,s on now baby!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mexican Moon

Somewhere b4 lunchtime I was convinced today was a full moon,there was however no evidence of this on my 5 miler around Clark Park at 5.30pm!!!
Madness,Mayhem and Mexicans{just go w/ me on the last one ok!}seemed to rule the roost on my loading dock and yet I was able to smile and crack jokes throughout,given I,m two days from what would,ve been my wedding anniversary that,s kind of remarkable.
Any of my regular readers know that Erica anniversaries tend to offset my dark side and yet on this THE biggest of all my Erica anniversaries I,m surprizingly non plus about it.
I,d like to credit that to"The Queen Of The Slipstream"but in fairness that,s not the whole story,for once I think I just want to let go of the past,"respect your past,but don,t keep living it"I,ve had 22 years to grieve,morn,be angry,upset,pissed off whatever,as I,ve said of recent issues that,ve plagued me,draw a line in the sand,move on,get over whatever it is and move on.
An email from an unlikely source informed me Franklin Field is closed to the public till Jan 13th.....a winner for the holiday WTF Award if ever there was one!!!,granted tonite I couldn,t have ran there as planned as it was 4.25pm b4 I left work,remember,madness,mayhem,mexicans!!!but what I,m suppossed to do betwenn now and Jan 13th is beyond me re repeats,I,m looking into other options,I,ll check out St Joe,s if the weather this weekend cooperates to see if that,s an option.
Final thought,Spurs recovered from a 0.2 deficit to draw 2.2 at home to Spartak Moscow this evening and reach the last 32 of the Uefa Cup,an early xmas present for the N.17 faithful............or Hanukkah gift..........we are Yids afterall!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Going Old School

After yesterdays rain/sleet/freezing rain/snow................we don,t know what the bejaysus it was it was a joy to be able to get back out and run this evening.
An easier than most day at work meant actually getting out on time for once..............I know ,what a novel concept,that and not having any post work chores meant getting home by 4.30pm,so w/out haste I was changed and out the door pronto to get my 6 x Clark Park 5 miler in,the first three loops were in daylight,a rare commodity these days.
Opting for a track workout wasn,t an option this evening,I knew a transatlantic phone call was on tap tonite,I don,t have the luxury of seeing my clan on a regular nor semi regular basis so those phone calls tend to see me work my schedule around them not vice versa,as always it was good to catch up w/ my cousin John,fingers crossed work and weather will afford me a track workout tomorrow.
It was a shame today wasn,t a go for 4x400m repeat,not only had the work gods smiled upon me today but so to had the weather gods and frankly after a lunchtime visit from"The Queen Of The Slipstream"aka"My Girl Tuesday"{yes she,s back to visiting me on Wednesdays again!}I feel I could,ve lit up Franklin Field tonite.
I can,t...........or more,s to the point won,t divulge the inner most details of our conversations but I will confess to this much,we were w/out a doubt seperated at birth because we are SOOOOOO alike it,s not even funny and to quote a Rod Stewart lyric"You,re essay,you,re glamour,please pardon the grammer,but you,re every schoolboys dream,you,re Celtic,United but baby I,ve decided you,re the best team I,ve ever seen"
"You,re In My Heart"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Start As You Mean To Go On.............Hopefully!!!

Wishing to build upon yesterdays repeats I was eager to get out and run this evening.
Work and weather cooperated,a nice easy day and unseasonably temps meant,no hat,no gloves,sleeves rolled up tonite.
W/ "Charlie Dibble,s"ringing endorsement still on my mind,quote"what the hell are they putting in your Cornflakes"{I,m more of a Frosted Flakes man personally!!}I went about easing the gunk out of my legs from yesterday,they say "no good deed goes unpunished"and if the soreness in my calves and hamstrings were any indicator I was plenty punished thank you,but like I said to Scott inbetween repeats yesterday"no pain no gain!"
I got my invitation to Hartshorne Memorial Mile today,I also need to contact Mark Cleary re the Masters 1,500m invitational in Boston at the USATF C,Ships March 1st,indoor season is here,my first scheduled race is at PGI Maryland Dec 28th, a sence of symmetry in some respects PGI Dec 16th last year was when I first suspected I had a serious foot injury,3 days later I was diagnosed w/ a stress fracture on my left foot and my first race back from injury not counting Millrose was at PGI on Feb 23rd.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Good Ending To Another Week That Wasn,t

Another week lost to the three w's............Work,Weather and Wankers!!!
Knowing a track work out was on tap this afternoon I kept telling myself I could use this as a springboard into next week,rather than dwell on what didn,t happen this week and frankly after todays blistering simulated 600 repeats it,d be a boot in the nads NOT to kick on from here.
Conditions were surprizingly mild at 2pm when we met up at Wisahickon High School,no rain meant access to the outdoor track............I,d almost forgotten what one looked like it,s been that long!!!
After a mile warm up and the sheading of some layers it was "have at it time"5x 400m,200m jog,200m 400m jog,Scott asked me what pace I thought take the opener in,I answered honestly when I said 70 seconds................HOWEVER!!!
Maybe it was not being on a track in 5 weeks,maybe it was the feel good factor of seeing Chris Friday after he,d gotten the all clear to return to work in the New Year or maybe I just wanted to see what I,d lost over the past weeks but I blasted the opening 400m in 63 seconds,I think Scott was too out of breath to bitch me out b4 I lead us through a 28 second 200m.
I apologized for the briskness of the opener,I just suck at judging pace to begin w/ and having been away from repeats for a few weeks didn,t help,I suggested Scott lead out the second set,150m in I felt the need to pick up the pace,65 seconds followed by a 30 second 200m.
Delvin and Dave backed off and told Scott and I to do what we had to do,Scott later bitched Chuck out for sticking me w/ him.!!!!!
60 seconds for the third 400m followed by a 28 second 200m,I was as surprized as I was impressed,61 seconds/28 seconds for the 4th,I warned Scott I wasn,t holding back on the final 400m.......
58 seconds followed by another 28 second 200m...............GOD DAMN!!!
Clearly my lack of repeats over the past 5 weeks hadn,t deminished my speed,but b4 I get too carried away breaking my hand patting myself on the back,lest we forget I,m a miler and I need to get back into a regular routine of 600m/mile repeats and soon.
Silver lining time,granted the industrial size spanner into my routine of late has been ........a pisser to say the least,however having gone full tilt since the begining of April through early November maybe I needed some down time,there,s a LONG season ahead,I would never take time off of my own recogisence so maybe the break in training was devine intervention.
God willing work and the weather will cooperate w/ me this week,I,d like to get to the track Tuesday and Thursday evening and since I don,t imagine racing at Swarthmore next Sunday prehaps a series of mile repeats................what a novel concept!
To quote THE ALARM"I never left,I only went away"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Life Is Full Of Surprizes

It,s said life is full of surprizes....................BOO!.........ok just kidding but more often than not life will catch you off guard.
Back tracking to yesterday,on a frigidly cold day on the loading dock it was always going to be a hard job to get out and run post work,frankly any day that sees me keeping the shutters down,all three heaters on,the heater in my office on and me wearing a coat you know it,s cold!!!!
Frankly by the time I got done and hit the post office to pick up my new"Millwall-No One Likes Us,We Don,t Care"t shirt{you can take the boy out of South East London,but you,ll NEVER take the South East London out of the boy!!!}it was gone 5pm and the temps were below freezing,it wasn,t happening,more,s the pity.
Aside from missing a run I also missed a chance to share that oh so cherrished time honoured soccer terrace ditty when your team wins away leading upto the holidays,following our 2.0 win at West Ham I know the traveling Spurs fans were singing this one"Jingle bells,jingle bells,jingle all the way,oh what fun it is to see Tottenham win away"when the final whistle blew...............
Moving onto today,surprize #1{by the way I wasn,t surprized Spurs won at West Ham!!!}how much warmer it was today compared to yesterday,down right balmy,heaters off,no coat,no ski hat,however according to the weather it was expected to rain come 4pm which would seriously compromise my run.
Surprize #2 after several weeks of Wednesday visits "My Girl Tuesday"showed up on a Tuesday,I was pleasently surprized,and caught a little off guard I will add,mercifully she didn,t walk in on one of my all too frequent foul mouthed black hearted savage celtic pagan tirades,but even if she had of given our friendship I don,t think she,d have been surprized or minded,a huge tick in the plus colume!!!
Sadly work was too hectic for my liking again,lunch wasn,t an option and another in all too long line of in at 6.30am,don,t sit down till 3pm days meant a track workout was foolhardy at best,I did manage a five miler around Clark Park.
As always it felt good to be out running but given I have an outstanding social commitment tomorrow I won,t be able to run making yesterday a bigger disappointment....however they are calling for rain so maybe I couldn,t run anyway,knowing that there was no run on tap manana I was able to open up the throttle at the end of my run and I have to say it felt good.
Work and weather permitting I,d like to get to the track either Thursday or Friday.....wouldn,t that be a pleasent surprize!!!!
"The door opens as another one closes,my love for you is softly spoken"
''Coming Home"
The Alarm

Sunday, December 7, 2008

...Another One Opens...........Sort Of!!!!

Hell of a transitional period from xc to indoor track,23 hours....they say the seasons are getting shorter!!!!
Given my choice I,d have prefered to have gone to Seton Hall for this 4x400m relay,however to do so would,ve meant Scott and Ray probably couldn,t have ran which would,ve made it kind of pointless,in the end it didn,t matter as human frailty ultimately decided the outcome.
For the record I,ll state my dislike of the Glen Mills track/facility ergo my desire to run at Seton Hall,however I,m not that high and mighty not to be a team player and run where we chose,sadly it never got that far,after a blistering opening leg by Ray 56.4 and Kudos w/ a capital K to Delvin for pulling him Scott and Nick began to duke it out,I,m fairly sure when Scott handed off to Bobby it was a 1.55 split.
Coming off the top turn Bobby popped a hamstring,and that was the end of that,no anchor leg for me today and no chance to improve upon our Penn relays split,we have to let it ride on the wings of fate now to see if we get into January 30th,s Millrose Games.
Obviously I feel sorry for Bobby,his first race for us and this happens,I,m sure time will heal the physical and emotional wounds of today,on the plus side Delvin will be a major asset to our 4x400m team when he turns 40 and Nick proved today he,s more than capable of holding his own,it remains to be seen if we get into Millrose first,Nick turns 40 in January,if we don,t make Millrose Penn ought to be doozie,making the team might be a battle and a half now as we have strenght in depth.
Dispite not being able to race today I was able to get my requsit miles in to give me 30 for the week,cold comfort I know but I prefer to look for the silver lining these days.
Tomorrow threatens not to get above freezing,unless that changes I don,t see me getting out there to run,we,ll see how that plays out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

As One Door Closes.....................

The end of the 08 xc season,a record 8 races,very unlike me in previous seasons but I,ve slowly learnt to embrace xc and will confess to actually missing it now that it,s over...........although there is potential for two winter xc races in late Jan/early Feb,however this time last year while I was making plans for the winter it all came crashing down around me on Dec 19th when I was diagnosed w/ a stress fracture so I could be forgiven for not crystal ball gazing too much.
Originally todays race was slated as a 10k over the old Belmont course,however that never happened but frankly 5 miles was more than enough believe me!!
Conditions were brisk,at least the sun was out but the wind had a tendency to cut right through you when it blew,I was taking no chances,2 pairs of gloves{I have the world,s worst blood circulation in my fingers}long sleeved dri fit shirt and tights.....I drew the line at thermal socks....but I was tempted I will confess!!!
The race in fairness was over b4 we went up Flagpole the first of three times,the three youngest runners quickly went to the front,followed by Chuck,Bob and I,one other brave soul went w/ and got between Bob and I however I overtook him as we got half way up Flagpole and when the cut back at Nursery allowed me to check where or who my nearest rivals were he had fallen back behind both Bob Reynolds and Pete Hessen two team mates from GPTC.
6.03 at mile 1,I was in no mans land Chuck and Bob were well ahead,equally far behind were Bob R and Pete,I was safe for 6th overall and 3rd in the 40-49 age group and w/ a 4x4 on tap for tomorrow I pretty much hit cruise control.
19.18 at 3 miles and 20.03 at 5k I now entered the unknown for the final 2 miles,I,d never ran the 8k or 5 mile course here so it was a little like running blind,I had a vague idea but wasn,t 100% certain where I was going!
I needen,t have worried I kept going in what seemed like the right direction untill I hit Nursery and knew instinctivly where the course would lead me.
One final assault up Flagpole,free wheeled the down hill and glided over the final 400m to clock a respectable if not earth shattering 31.56.98.
6th overall,3rd in my age group and medal #15 for the season,#119 for my career,in retrospect my 08 xc season has been far greater than I could,ve dared to wish when I lined up on the starting line at Stockton College for the Osprey 6k 10 weeks ago,some of my 8 xc races will make their way into my year ending Top Ten Races{hopefully a Top Ten list NOT to cause conflict eh Dib??!!}but for now that,s it for xc,I often say xc season serves as a bridge between outdoor track and indoor track,well folks indoor season begins manana w/ a 4x400m relay at Glen Mills.

Friday, December 5, 2008

There,s Only One Keano*

*{Especially since Robbie left Spurs for Liverpool!!!!}
Agh!Groundhog Day revisited Thursday I,m sorry to report,another in at 6.26.am,leave at 4.50pm day,never sat down till 3.40pm.....my normal departure time so surfice to say,no trip to Franklin Field nor a jaunt around Clark Park,frankly I was too bleedin knackered plus it was starting to rain and I couldn,t risk getting sick.
Mercifully today yeilded an easier work day for yours truly,which given the previous three day"let,s kick the ever lovin shite out of Top Cat" palooza was indeed a blessing!!!
Asides from catching a well earnt..yea much needed brake I was also able to naff off half an hour earlier than usual,no self respecting soul in their right mind could begrudge me that right?after a 10 hour day Tuesday,10 and a 1/2 hour day Wednesday and almost 10 and a 1/2 hour day yesterday it,s hardly a crime I had it away on me toes at 3.10pm instead of 3.40pm is it??,it,s not like I,m the poster child for the EBS{early bird special} everyday of the week,when did I last do the Richard Gough?{the off}....ok I,ve used up my quota of cockney cliches for leaving early!!!
One plus for getting away from work 30 mins ahead of schedule was being able to conduct my 5 miler in daylite, a rare comodity these days,sadly Tuesdays rest day and yesterdays too knackered day have probably left me high and dry for a 30 mile week given my weekend schedule,hey ho!
Tomorrow see the curtain come down on a very good xc season for me,it,ll be interesting to see how I handle the 5 mile course at Belmont,from what I,ve been lead to believe it,s a beast of a course,come gun time at 1pm I guess I,ll find out first hand.
In closing I must draw attention to the sad news yesterday that one of my heroes Roy Keane has stepped down as manager of Sunderland football club.
Roy Keane embodies everything I strive for,play hard,have an over riding desire to win and be the best you can be,be uncompromising,match your desire w/ the ability to speak your mind and stand up for what you believe no matter whos feelings may get hurt.
Two of my all time favourite Roy Keane quotes are"Failure to prepare,prepare for failure"and"people were not happy but life goes on,nobody died"
The fact that Keano is from"The Rebel County".....that,s County Cork for the non paddy reader just adds fuel to the fire,sure jaysus if he was from Wexford,Sligo,Louth or any of the 32 counties that make up Ireland{YES 32 NOT 26!!!!}I,d still think he was the bees knees,football/soccer will be a poorer place w/out Roy Keane but rest assured we,ve not seen the last of Keano....or heard the last from me either!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crushed By Volume

Sad to report that work has once again returned to full blooded kick my arse mode,I antisipated the proverbial"cheque being in the mail"yesterday and wasn,t wrong either so much so that it was gone 5pm b4 I arrived home and frankly making it to the track was gone, w/ it,I needed to factor a rest day into my week so......I could always make up for it today w/ a trip to Franklin Field post work.....cha!!!!!!!!
I arrived at work at 6.30am,I didn,t leave till 5pm,in fact I didn,t sit down till 3.50pm....15 minutes after I meant to be done for the day,THAT,S how busy my day was,clearly a track workout was out of the question but dispite the late hour of my arrival home I still went out and cranked out a 5 miler.
In spite of the arse kickin' I suffered at work today I,m proud of the fact I stuck to my new principle of not allowing work to dictate my whole day,I couldn,t do anything about the sheer volume I faced today,on an average day I,ll get close to 100 pieces from UPS,yesterday was 126,today was 206................YEP 206,no wonder I didn,t park my keister till 3.50pm.
It wasn,t all doom n gloom,"My Girl Tuesday"showed up,actually she,s the girl formerly known as"My Girl Tuesday"the past few weeks have seen my new favourite day of the week become Wednesday and thus she,s now become "My Girl Wednesday",whatever day she graces my loading dock that,s the best day and the best half an hour of my week.
Dispite a workload that would,ve had a saint cursing like a sailor,I took time out to laugh and joke w/"MGW"and while her ultimate departure always saddens me,I feel better for that half an hour that we share each week it makes me feel no matter how bad it is at work my world is a far richer place thanks to her.
The feel good factor from her visit continued throughout the afternoon,dispite it being close to 6.30pm I still managed my run and the other great love of my life Spurs booked their place in the Carling Cup semi finals thanks to a 2.1 away win at Watford.
Here,s hoping the feel good factor continues tomorrow and that I don,t get my arse served to me on a plate and that I can manage a trip to Franklin Field for a repeat workout.....hope springs eternal!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Returning To The Straight And Narrow

I knew after yesterdays workout it was important to run today to get some of that soreness of my legs,I also knew that since I was pulling double duty again this weekend I,d have to work a rest day into my equation,I was tempted to make it today....but I didn,t and that tells me I,m getting back to the place I was leading upto my unexpected mini break in mid November.
The fact I could galvinize myself to get out there tonite rather than burn my rest day right off the bat told me mentally and physically I,m getting back to where I was not too long ago and w/ indoor season edging closer and closer that,s right where I need to be.
Lost in the shuffle recently was my invitation to the Hartshorne Memorial Mile,a land mark race for me in 07 as it marked my first invitational Masters event and also announced my intent at this level,of course this time last year I received an invitation which I promptly accepted only to suffer the cruelest of fates a stress fracture in my left foot which ruined my whole indoor season...but thankfully not my outdoor season,I often said my early spike in form in May was probably due to an inforced rest thro late Dec and January,not that I,m endorsing stress fractures or any injuries,I,m just saying when life gives you lemons you sometimes have to find the silver lining in those situations and move on.

In Circles

Although the indoor season dosen,t kick off till next week we got a jump start this Sunday thanks in small part to the rain and a larger part the Philadelphia Boys Choir...............I,ll explain!!!
It had been universally agreed upon that we the GPTC relay squad.........yes squad,we now have strenght in numbers would meet up at Wisahickon High School to workout at 1.30pm......mother nature had other ideas,however all was not lost there was always the indoor track.........ah problem there was obviously the school had been locked since Wed evening and we didn,t have the alarm code,once we opened that door we were going to trigger that alarm........bugger!!!
As Chuck and I sat in the parking lot watching the rain bounce of the window shield we noticed several cars pulling into the parking lot...jeez I knew we had strenght in numbers today but really..........................turns out the Philadelphia Boys Choir were giving a performance in the schools audatorium so the alarm had been turned off,we could now enter the gym w/out fear of being arrested for trespassing..................don,t ya just love it when a plan comes together!!!
Asides from the usual suspects ................and NO I don,t know who,s Kysier Sosa amongst us!!!!!Chuck,Scott,and Ray we were joined by Delvin,Bob,Daryl,Dave,Jack and Bryant, had Neil,Sean and Nick shown up we,d have had 3 4x400m teams!!!
On a 12 laps to the mile track we opted to do 300m repeats,roughly 2 laps per 300m x10,obviously on a small tight track we had to split into two groups,Scott,Bob,Delvin,Ray and I in group 1,Chuck,Daryl,Dave,Bryant and Jack in group 2.
As ever when Scott and I go mano e mano it,s no quarter asked or given,I swear my success in 07 at Nationals was a direct result of all the head to head clashes Scott and I had in late 06,thro 07,seriously it,s like the Olympic trials we when go head to head,I know I have to bring my A game to the workout everytime and today was no different.
Over 10 300m repeats I was averaging 40 seconds,not too shabby for my first track workout in over three weeks.
Not only did it feel good to be back on a track but also back w/ my track brethren,next Sunday sees the Indoor season kick off,we have a 4x400m relay at Glen Mills and aim to lower our Penn Relays time to improve our chances of getting into MSG for the Millrose Games on Jan 30th,it sucks that I have a tough 5 mile xc race the day b4 but I don,t have to go full tilt there.....oh shit who am I kidding I know damn well when that gun goes off I,ll be going all out,if an ice bath post race is required then so be it,we,re talking Millrose Games afterall.
32 miles for the week and 5 workouts 1 race..........."I Never Left,I Only Went Away"

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moving The Soddin Goalposts

Ah that newly aquired time honoured post Thanksgiving tradition the Brandywine XC 5K race.
I came in w/ slightly deminished expectations today given what I,ve lost in training over the past three weeks but rather than run up the white flag{NEVER!}I sought a different approach to the race,rather than my usual all out blitzkrieg from the gun I opted to take it out easy for the opening half of the race and once Maintainence Hill had been negoiated try to pick up the pace over the final 1 and a 1/2 miles.
From the gun I worked my way up to 10th as GPTC held 4th{Chuck}5th{Bob}and 8th{Jeff},after the first turn on the course I moved upto 8th and then 6th as the Blue and Red procession now went 4th thro 7th.
5.36 at the opening mile,I never had a pace goal in mind but along the creek Jeff and one other runner went by me,no need to panic,w/ the always uncompromising Maintainence Hill ahead I knew to hold my ground till the downhill.
As the first downhill presented it,s self I had company Brian O Driscoll moved along side me,Brian and I have had some great road race battles over the years so I was all too aware of his credentials.
12.11 at mile two a 6.35 mile I had a 2 second lead on Brian,it was important to retain 8th spot.....or so I thought!!!
Working off the slight uphill I tried to put some distance between Brian and me but he wasn,t going away w/out a fight and when he almost drew along side me as we were a quarter of the way into the long straight away alongside route 92 I found a second gear and put daylight between myself and him for good this time.
Jeff and his shadow were too far ahead of me to make any inroads it was now a matter of me verses the clock,pre race I,d said if I could go sub 19 mins for the first time ever here I,d be happy,alas it wasn,t to be,19.02.22 and 8th overall,my best ever finish here and my fastest ever time.
The misery than began to pile up,in 06 my team mate Adam finished 9th and just missed out on the prize money that only went 8 deep,last year I finished 9th and just missed out HOWEVER the organizers this year opted to only go 7th deep so yet again I got fecked out of prize money,and in keeping w/ three of the previous four years no luck getting my race tag pulled out in the post race drawing for numerous running apparel,gift certificates or gold watches,ah no big but I won,t deny the prize money issue left a bad taste in my mouth,granted 8th might,ve only been worth $10 but $10 is $10 especially when you,re paying $20 to enter in the first place.
Rather than dwell on the negative I chose to focus on the positives,a good race a course pr,and time spent w/ my team mates,we my not be the best team in the Mid Atlantic division but we have the best team mates a runner could ask for.
Eight miles for the day puts me at 28 for the week w/ my track workout w/ the relay squad on tap manana,it feels like SS Top Cat has righted it,s self,no longer taking on water and moving full steam ahead,keeping one eye out for icebergs and rough seas....eye eye captain!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Heavy Words So Lightly Thrown

Ok so I didn,t run yesterday,in all honesty I didn,t feel like treking all the way up to St Joe,s and also the prospect of giving up my first compleat day to myself in god knows how long was too great a temptation,besides I,m pulling double duty this weekend between the xc race at Brandywine Sat and a trackwork Sun so I needed to factor in a rest day either yesterday or today,since today saw me have to work then the very real prospect of an all too rare day at home when I didn,t have to leave the house{a fuck off day as I love to refer to them,I stay indoors and fuck off everything that needs to be done outside!!!}was too great to turn down.
After a bored shitless day at work...........don,t get me wrong after the previous two weeks I,ve had a slow non eventful 9 hour shift was right up my street and thanks to ye olde internet all my xmas shopping is now done I was happy to get out and run tonite,an easy 5 miler.
For a while today I thought this blog entry might end up as a PSA for Alzheimers disease,it,s been three weeks since my last race and I,d almost forgotten that feeling the day leading upto a race,it reminds me of an old Calvin and Hobbes strip when Calvin antagonizes Hobbes into a full fledged attack and a battered Calvin laments how tigers never forget their killer instincts,that,s how I feel,coiled and ready to pounce come race time tomorrow morning at 10.50am.
Tomorrow will be my 4th Brandywine XC 5K,each year I always say this and the NYRRC XC 5K are the two xc races I,d like to be in top xc shape to run,three weeks ago I was in fine fettle for the Van Cortlandt Park race,I only hope my two week blip in training won,t hinder me tomorrow,each year I,ve improved in my performances,three years ago coming off a runners up spot at the Forbidden Drive Turkey Trot 5 miler two days earlier I had my arse handed to me on a plate in this race,15th in 19.14.73,the second half was painful!!!,in 06 I finished 13th in 20.04.81,50 seconds slower but two places better,last year I ran my best ever race here 9th in 19.10.66. and if memory serves me well earnt a 8th or 9th spot in my Top Ten races of 07,we,ll see what tomorrow brings.
In a week when I,ve gotten back to basics and not allowed work to dictate my day to day exsistance it,s ironic that I should choose The Smiths as my lyrical inspiration,often associated w/ all things melancoly it,s funny I should site them as inspiration in a week that saw me return to my happy go lucky,laughing joking persona but a classic track off their debut album"Hatful Of Hollow" was very much my soundtrack for the day.
"All men have secrets and here is mine so let it be known,for we have been through hell and high tide I think I can depend on you.
And yet you start to recoil,heavy words so lightly thrown but still I,d leap in front of a flying bullet for you"

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fences Mended,Run Ran,List Checked

I took the last of my transatlantic fence mending phone calls this evening,for the time being all,s well w/in the Thomson,Roche,Coan,Brewster,Forde clans,how long it lasts is anybodys guess,if we get through Xmas /New Year I,ll be impressed.
Since another transatlantic phonecall was on tap tonite a trip to Franklin Field wasn,t,and besides there was no guarantee Franklin Field would be open,in fairness I wouldn,t have a problem w/ them closing the track early the nite b4 a holiday,it,s Thanksgiving a family holiday when families sould be together,in a ironic twist of fate even though my family is 3,500 miles away and don,t celebrate Thanksgiving I took steps this week to get close to them and allow them to get close to me,who knows there may be hope for me yet,I even wished co workers and delivery drivers a Happy Thanksgiving today.....and meant it.
My run was another confidence booster,the past few days have seen me get back to basics,proper sleep,proper nutrition has afforded me the energy to get out there and run dispite continuing to have to do the work load of two by my lonesome,a refined attitude at work has meant me not leaving my job engulfed in a sea of red mist where I can hardly see straight or congregate verbs and while I,ve lacked speed work for three weeks I feel I,m ready to return to the track tomorrow morning to have at it over 8x200m repeats.
Ok I,m not the poster child for any holiday muchless Thanksgiving but it,d be remiss of me not to think of things I,m thankful for this Thanksgiving so here,s my top ten list of what I,m thankful for this Thanksgiving.
10,Clark Park for providing a nearby location for my 5 mile runs
9,The prospect of a new place to live b4 years end
8,Music for soothing the savage beast w/in me
7,Harry Redknapp for reserecting the fortunes of my beloved Spurs
6,The prospect of three months of my job running better w/out The Deacon knawlsing it up
5,A friggin day off tomorrow
4,Having an ultra cool boss
3,Being able to run as well as I do
2,My"Girl Tuesday"for everything she brings into my life
1,Top neurosurgeons at Einstein for saving my best friends life
I spoke to Chris for the first time since he left the hospital 3 weeks ago,all things considered he seems to be doing well,no word on when he,ll be back but I,m just happy to hear from him and that he,s feeling better.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Who We Be

"My mother,my father,I love em,I hate em,wish to God I didn,t have em,but I thank God that he made them"
"Who We Be" DMX
It felt like the ideal set of lyrics given the subject matter,although just like I paraphrased w/ Chuck D yesterday today I felt that my family were like DMX,S mother and father.
Two weeks ago when it began to go pear shaped for me I felt w/ the notable exception of my brother aka "Our Kid"my family ran for the high ground,supossedly you can count on family in a crisis.................nobody told my family evidently but rather than flog a dead horse,when they began to gravitate back into orbit rather than be petulant and shun them I chose to keep the lines of communication open even at the expence of much wanted repeat workouts.
W/ fences mended I headed out to Clark Park for an easy 5 miler,again I felt strong at the end of the run,another encouraging sign as I ,ve now put three back to back to back 5 milers in since Sunday,I,ll look for a fourth tomorrow,I have one more transatlantic fence to mend otherwise a trip to the track would,ve been on the cards,we,ll save that for Thursday morning.

Transatlantic.

Oi! at the very least work was an easy day....the cheque however is very much in the mail I fear for manana and Wednesday,we,ll see how well I stick to my"for who,for what"attitude then!!
I had hoped to hit the track for 200m repeats today and then 400m repeats Wednesday......fate it seemed had other ideas!!
I can try to switch up my rotation to Tue/Thur.................and please b4 anyone says "but TC what about Thanksgiving?"let me state for the record I an NOT the poster child for the holidays......let me take it one step further and paraphrase how Chuck D felt about Elvis in"Fight The Power""it never meant shit to me"
I have a big race two days after Thanksgiving,it,s not like I can pig out so I,ll eat lite that day,besides I don,t do traditional the whole big Turkey meal don,t phase me atall.
My easy 5 was rewarding in the respect that unlike Fri and yesterday I wasn,t huffin and puffin at the end,hopefully my conditioning is working it,s way back to where it was pre shit hitting the fan!!!
It also helps I,m eating and sleeping properly,I said at the tail end of last week I was sick of my running being effected by work,if a thicker skin,a hard hat,protective cup and a care a little less attitude are needed to faciliate that so be it.
We,ll see if transatlantic phonecalls bollocks up my plans for a repeat workout tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A New Direction

In a week I saw more turmoil on my job than I cared for I ended the week on two good notes,a Spurs win and more importantly a training run.
Granted I didn,t get out till 3.30pm but I got out there to run,that,s what matters,I almost blew it off but somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear the disaproving voice of my late father telling me to"cop myself on",it,s bad enough I,ve failed to do a repeat workout in two weeks but last week I only managed 3 5 mile runs and this week was only 4 but glass half full it,s a step up on last week and that,s the momentum I aim to build on going into the final two xc races of the season.
Granted I may have to alter my tactics for Saturdays always challenging Brandywine XC 5K to compensate for the dip in conditioning these past two weeks has caused but I feel ready to get back to do what I do very well,be ruthless and uncompromising in training so I can be ruthless and and uncompromising come race day.
As is becoming my wont these days I,ll leave the final words w/ Mike Peters,not an ALARM song but from Mike,s solo career b4 resurecting THE ALARM in 03.
"I set about the systematic destruction of the world I built up,I set about the systematic destruction,the deconstruction,from new emotion,a new reaction,a new location,a new vocation,from new destruction comes new creation"
Ground Zero

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lord Of The Rings Aint The Only Trilogy Ya Know!

Oi vay!I didn,t get out to run period on Thursday,could,ve been something to do w/ getting to work at 6.25am and not leaving till 4.50pm....ya think???
And that dear readers is where I,ve drawn the third and I hope final line in the sand,work has for all intense and purposes been feckin up not only my life but also my running............this cannot continue,two people left my loading dock w/ hurt feelings yesterday,the former had it coming for eight years and can whistle dixie for all I care,the latter I was sorry to see leave in tears but frankly her reaction to my reaction brought this on going Greek tragedy to a head.
Having come to terms w/ the whole "My Girl Tuesday" situation and come to terms w/ the whole"La Famalia"situation I now feel duty bound to do like wise w/ work,my brother always says"it,s great you care about your job but they aint giving out medals for it so why should you care as much as you do?"and you know what.....he,s feckin a right!!
I bust my gut for what?the old Ricky Waters"For who for what"mindset seems correct,taking it another step forward the classic line fron John Bender in my all time favourite movie "The Breakfast Club" also seems appropriate"how comes Andrew gets to get up?if Andrew gets up we,ll all get up,it,ll be anarchy.....it,s out of my hands",coupled w/"screws fall out all the time,we live in an imperfect world"sum up any job,there aint enough tea in China,sand in Arabia,snow in Siberia or zeros on my pay cheque for me to continue giving my heart and soul to and job that not only dosen,t care but continues to reach inside of me and yanking more of my heart and soul and guts out w/out ever putting anything back in....enough is enough.
Yesterday was a banner day...I actually got out on time for the first time in two weeks and was able to begin my 5 miler around Clark Park in daylite,as cold as it is this week that,s a plus,frankly it was too feckin cold this morning to run,I went out at lunchtime w/ two sweatshirts on and felt the wind cut right through me,I,d like to think "Dibble" would endorse my choice not to run in this,I,ll try again tomorrow afternoon when it,s meant to be in the 40s not just above freezing.
I hope come 6.30am Monday but more importantly throughout the day I remind myself that it,s only a job,I,m all for doing my job but frankly when I see nobody else as committed or concerened about the catalog of cock ups and the Andrex bog roll of those who don,t care then why should I continue to crucify myself,John Mellencamp once said and rightly so"you,ve gotta stand for something,or you,ll fall for anything"for me I think it,s time to sit this one out till they change the bleedin song.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful

"The juice of a carrot,the smile of a parrot,a little drop of claret,anything that rocks,Elvis and Scotty,days when I aint spotty,sitting on the potty,curing smallpox"
Reasons To Be Cheerful-Ian Dury
I realize compared to some I have it good,that said for every step forward I take I feel I end up sliding two steps backwards,it,s hard to be or feel positive when your constantly being knocked down.
After three non running days I,m pleased to report I laced em up Mon and Wed and cranked out 5 milers,Tuesday wasn,t an option as time constraints forced my hand,God willing Sunday I,ll make up for it......albeit after the Spurs Blackburn game at 8.30am!!!
A wise man once told me "not all of life,s rewards have to be on a grand scale"that,s why I take solice in the little things that bring me joy,my weekly interactions w/"My Girl Tuesday"for starters,I think of that Robert Palmer song"She Makes My Day"it,s amazing how much milage I gain from our conversations,glass half empty if we spoke like that everyday my woes would melt away,alas ours isn,t that kind of relationship,glass half full that half an hour a week we share is simply the best half half an hour of each and every week and I,ll scrap to the bitter end w/ anyone who would deny or begrudge me that small window of delight.
I,m wrestling w/ the notion of hitting the track tonite,I want to but frankly the mental and physical battering I,m taking here at work makes me feel it,ll be counteractive,if I bag the track I will at least do 5 miles around Clark Park.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Declaration

Trust me the title I had in mind was"Mama Told Me There,d Be Days Like These"......but evidently not my mother......believe me when I tell you, you don,t want me to go there!
As the week from hell winds down I finally feel I can draw a line in the sand for this week,"What Doesn,t Kill Me Makes Me Stronger"they say..............sweet jaysus after this week I must be feckin Mr Universe!!!
What,s done is done,I feel no need to rehash,or relive any of it,I,m moving on,I,m starting w/ a clean slate at work tomorrow,and dito for my running,it,ll be Wednesday b4 I can hit the track since I have two concerts Mon and Tue,since my vices are limited,booze isn,t an option,drugs are NEVER an option,and as for getting my leg over.............well the chance,d be a fine thing I,ll be rockin out to AC DC manana and Susan Tedeschi Tuesday.
I want to take a brief moment to dedicate "Tower Of Strenght"by The Mission to"My Girl Tuesday"again w/out going into excruciating detail she singlehandedly turned my b,day around,in a week I almost lost both Chris and her I,m considerably blessed to count both of them as my closest friends first and formost and my best friends outside of the realm of running.
And so to my running.....this is afterall a blog about my running,at a time when THE ALARM are providing my musical salvation I close w/ these lyrics,one of several I could,ve chosen,fear not lyricophiles I dare say other ALARM lyrics will work their way into my blog over the coming weeks and months.
"Cos if I run fast enough,I can leave all this pain and this sadness behind"
''Rain In The Summertime"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fair Weather Ahead?

Although the actual weather sucked today,my day compared to yesterday was sunny and bright compared to the preceeding 24 hours,I don,t think my first projectile was thrown till almost lunch time today,a far cry from yesterday!!!
The weather had eased up enough to run come this evening,however since this evening was another in a week long of late finishes it was too late to hit Franklin Field by the time I arrived home at 5.45pm,ergo another 5 miler around Clark Park.
Chris left the hospital today,he sounded happy to be headed home again,I,ll miss not going up to his room in the afternoons but I,m delighted he,s home now.
Two prime examples of our friendship,I finally got around to checking my voice mails at work this afternoon,the first message was from Chris Monday morning just be he went to the OR I have a good idea what he was going to say to me,the second was when I hugged him and said goodbye as Chris left the hospital,he thanked me for my concern this week,that,s what friends do,they look out for one another,at a time when I,m taking a long hard look at the word"friendship"at all it means I don,t have to second guess my friendship w/ Chris.
One final thought on this evenings run,it was my last as a 44 year old,I turn 45 tomorrow,please no big hurah,I hate my b,day and the only reason I bring it up is at 45 I move up to a new age group,45-49.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Living On A Knife Edge

It is said that the nites you don,t feel like running are the nites you really need to get out there and do so,having blown off last nite since my head and my heart weren,t in it I forced myself to get out the door just b4 6pm this evening to do my tour of duty around Clark Park.
First things first I,m delighted to say Chris is doing ok,I,ve spent the past two afternoons w/ him in his room and he,s recovering from his surgery,no word on when he,ll return to work but I,ve told him I don,t expect him back this month,sure I need him back asap but he just had brain surgery,he,ll be back when his surgeon says he,s good and ready.
For those of you who prayed for him and his family,thank you.
Aside from the emotional turmoil of not having Chris to back me up this week,the loss of his physical presence is sorely being felt,I had to work an extra hour last nite and this evening to try and catch up and while last nite I said screw it,I knew based on the events of today I had to run tonite,even Chris told me get out and run tonite when I recanted the exploits of the past two days to him,it wasn,t lost on on my walk home from Clark Park that I spotted a full moon in the sky.
W/out getting too deeply into my personal life today marked another in a long line of chapters of failure in matters of the heart,you,d think I,d leant my lesson by now but even after a five year hiatus my most recent forary "where angels fear to tread"ended as it always does in disappointment and while my diary will be the venue for me to vent my spleen and purge my soul I,ll say this much in closing,I gave "My Girl Tuesday"two chances,she shot me down twice,three stikes my work in baseball but I don,t care enough about "America,s pass time"I only care about "Top Cats pass time"which is running.
At a time when I,m updating my cd collection of a seminal 80s favourites The Alarm this gem off their sophmore album "Strenght" feels like art imitating life,or is it the other way around?my head is too @#$*ed up to tell the difference.
''Memories come flooding back,the bitter pain of disappointment,of once of having love but now I only feel loss,I,m living on a knife edge at the end of the lite,taking all the hard sell,I,m looking for a lifeline,on a knife edge,I,m looking for you now"
''Knife Edge"

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Long Week Just Got Longer

After last weeks short week it was ultra important that I kicked off this week on the right foot by getting my easy 5 miler under my belt right off the bat.
Aside from the physical desire to get the run in it was of mental and emotional value also,w/out divulging too much personal information my coworker,wingman,emotional/moral compass and best friend Chris had to have brain surgery this morning to remove a cancerous tumor that was found in his skull over the weekend,he,s fine,surgery was successful,he,s recovering in ICU for the next few days and should be on the mend in the near future,for those of you so inclined please say a prayer for both Chris and his family tonite and tomorrow.
W/out Chris around my workload just doubled,shit happens,Chris,s general well being is far more important but obviously a physically demanding job just got a lot tougher period but also in a week I,m scheduled to run 6x600m,2x1,000m and 4x1mile repeats it,s going to be a factor,just how much remains to be seen.
Get Well Soon Chris

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Bronx Tale

It,s hard to fathom that today was my 7th race at famed Van Cortlandt Park in just three years not a bad return for someone who has only began to embrace xc running in the last two years.
Such was my desire to run here the first time in the 05 NYRRC XC 5K that I ran a week after the Athens Marathon,trust me you don,t want to run at the "East Coast Mecca"of xc running a week after a marathon!!!
Three months later I returned to run"Van Cortlandt Lite"as the 4x 2k loop for Winter Nationals was dubbed,not surprizingly my 06 NYRRC XC 5K not off the back of a marathon the week b4 went much better.
Last year I got my first taste of the 8k xc course as"Bad Boy IIII" chewed me up and spat me out,however a week later I returned to run 14 seconds slower than the year b4 but yet snag a 3rd place age group award at NYRRC 5K XC,and now here I was for the 08 version fresh off of last weeks 29.57.22.Bad Boy V and looking to bring down the curtain on my 40-44 career w/ another great performance.
Like last week the regular distance had to be altered,today became a 3 miler instead of the traditional 5k,.1 of a mile less to run!one thing not altered from previous years was the conditions,sunny and mild,a blessing in early to mid November.
3 mile warm up over I stretched b4 stripping down to race gear w/ 10 mins to spare,I spotted my two fellow Irishmen from West Chester John Cummings and Connor O Driscoll and said my hellos and wished them both good luck.
From the gun I was pleasently surprized how near the front of the field I found myself,rounding the second flagpole b4 entering Cow Path I counted off 17 runners ahead of me,untill exiting the back hills I was never lower than 20th,it didn,t dawn on me till post race that the reason I was as far up the field was probably the fact after back to back 8k and 5 mile races I was back down to 5k,much closer to my comfort zone,though in fairness I feel I proved over the past two weeks I,m capable of moving up in distance and handling my business.
As ever the uphills on the back hills proved to be demanding,the latter half of mile two is mostly uphill,but once I hit that first downhill it is very much all downhill for the final mile.
Off of the final downhill John Cummings blew by me,try as I might I couldn,t go w/ him,I guess that,s the difference between John,s 50 miles a week training and my 30 miles a week training,then again I,m sure John isn,t running 1.59 for 800m,4.10 for 1,500m,4.17 for the mile so horses for courses there!
Making the sharp right out of the back hills onto the final downhill I propelled myself downhill as fast as humanly possible,18th again,John was away for slate but"Shirtless Joe" whom I,d battled w/ along Cow Path was w/in range as we entered the final 600m,try as I might I couldn,t overhaul him,however he overtook 16th place inside the final 100m which seemed to brake him,w/ real estate running out I managed to overtake him to claim 17th right b4 the finish line.
17th overall,3rd in the 40-44 age group and anothe plaque and w/ an impressive time of 16.45.71,I was hoping to go sub 17 today and I tend to think had today been 5K I,d have gone sub 17 for the first time as a Masters runner,knowing how tough the Brandywine course is it,d be wishful thinking on my part to think I,ll get it there..............but stranger things have happened!
Managed my three mile cool down w/ John and Connor{three Irishmen in New York City..who knew??!!} and my fellow GPTC team mates Chuck and Bob to round out my weekly 30 milage at 30 miles,not bad off of two missed days of training and I returned home w/ 5 minutes to spare b4 the Man City Spurs game came on,the revival under Arry Redknapp continues,a 2.1 win to move us off the foot of the table,not a bad day

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Going The Extra Mile

The key components in todays easy 6 miler were easy and the extra mile I threw in.
After last nites successful repeats and tomorrow,s race GP was at pains to stress the need for an easy run today period,factor in the additional mile I threw in at the end and you could see why and where he had a reason to be cautious,he needn,t have worried,I,ve never been the best first thing after I wake up runner ever and these days I,m greatful my early morning runs tend to be of the easy/recovery varity since mileage not speed are the primary goal and my pace tends to be just a notch above"soft shoe shuffle"
The extra mile came from my desire to still notch 30 miles this week dispite missing two days,upon compleation of todays 6 miler my weekly tally resides at 21 miles,my game plan is a 3 mile warm up,3 mile race,3 mile cool down tomorrow or at the very least a 3 mile warm up,3 mile race,1 mile cool down b4 coming home and if needbe crank out a 2 miler,I would prefer to do it all at Van Cortlandt Park period as the prospect of a 2-2&1/2 hr car ride home does little for the limbs knowing four loops of the lower loop of Clark Park are still required....plus Spurs Man City is on at 4.30pm!!!.
Anyways this is all food for thought for manana,today I feel a feet up,catch up on my dvr,d tv shows,dinner,Footie Tonite,shoot the proverbial w/ GP,cop"Juno"on Cinemax at 10pm kind of evening is on tap,sounds like a plan to moi.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Positive Negative

It always feels good to be on a running track,the fact tonite was the first time since last Thursday made it feel even better than usual.
Off of a short week I was determined to make my sole repeat for the week count.....but not at the expense of Sundays race,ergo a 2x1,000m repeat,last week I,d managed to go 2.52.37-2.55.37,I was hoping to improve on that.
Conditions were ideal,shorts and tshirt weather,you have to grab those days w/ both hands in November,w/ my warm up miles,stretches,mile of strides taken care of it was time to have at it.
I usually look to open in 70 seconds and tonite was no different as I went 70,72,33-2.55.10.a good start,although if I could alter anything about it I,d angle towards a 31 second closing 200m for a 2.53.10.split.
Mild conditions or not I made sure to throw my jacket and 3/4 lenght bottoms on during my 12 minute recovery,I couldn,t risk getting a chill or allowing my muscles to get cold period,muchless w/ a race on tap Sunday.
#2,70 seconds to open is ambitious,granted I managed it last week but tonite I went negative mad style,72,70,30-2.50.28.my first negative 2x1,000m repeats in eons{June 26th to be exact!}
so I,m pleased w/ that.
Granted this week has been up and down,invoking early rest days and rain but tonite is a confidence and moral builder going into the weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Day Late,A Dollar Short,But It,s Ok

No run yesterday, a little too much rain for my liking plus an outstanding family commitment needed taking care of,no opportunity to talk about Obama,s victory{yea!}and Guy Fawkes Nite,although Spurs provided fireworks of their own tonite.4.0 at home to Dynamo Zagreb......boom!
An easy five miler this evening,I,ll do a 2x1,000m repeat session tomorrow{rain permitting}granted my three repeat session has gone for a burton this week,but w/ a little hustle I may still get my 30 miles in this week,glass half full I,ll be rested for Sundays NYRRC XC 5K

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Listening,Change,Brass Ring

No workout yesterday,remembering what GP has said in the past about listening to what my body was telling me it told me yesterday that I was still feeling the effects of my weekend trilogy so rather than run a half hearted,half arsed 6x600m repeat or a going thro the motions 5 miler I opted to invoke my rest today at the start of the week and come this evening I felt all the better for it.
Granted my 3 repeat week went out the door w/ last nites decision to bag the 6x600m but I,m ok w/ that,upon discussions w/ Dibble this evening we,ll modify tomorrows 6x600m to 75/30-1.45s I think they,re doable,the 30 sec closing 200s will aid and abet my potential 4x400m relay coming up at Seton Hall on Dec 7th as GPTC seeks to improve our Millrose Games chances on Feb 6th.
Dispite drizzle and the now earlier darkening skies I got my 5 mile run in b4 going off to cast my vote,who I voted for is my business,all I will say is even now in 2008 we as Americans or in my case Irish Americans should not overlook the fact we live in a country where freedom to vote is given right,you only have to look at the debarcle of recent elections in Pakistan and Zimbabwe to realize how fortunate we are and we should never take that for granted.
As the nation awaits the outcome of one of the most eagerly awaited elections in decades I also have to wait for an outcome I,ve been working towards for the past few months,I had hoped today would put me over the edge but fate,the cruelest of mistresses intervened and I,m left still trying to grasp the brass ring,what,s another week I ask myself?,anything in life worth having should be something you fought for,earnt,not had handed to you on a silver platter.
"Even when you see me fall,my heart won,t let me down,because I know there,s better things to come,oh yeah and when life gets tough and I feel like heading off I hold onto a distant star
I,m thinking about all the things I,d like to do in my life"
"Distant Dreamer"
Duffy

Monday, November 3, 2008

Because It Matters

After compleating the third part of my weekend trilogy Duffy and Coldplay I was more than happy to not set the alarm for this morning,choosing to take advantage of the extra hour in bed,trust me I needed it!!
Having managed a two mile warm up and mile cool down I still required a 2 mile run to round out my weekly milage at 30 miles,I waited till mid afternoon and post chores to "lace em up"and hit Clark Park for two big loops and one small loop to log my two miles.
So why did it matter so much?to the untrained eye I,m sure there,s little difference between a weekly tally of 28 miles as oppossed to 30 miles but it mattered to me,why?since April for the past 31 weeks I,ve logged 26 30 mile weeks,my last non 30 mile training week was way back in mid May{technically mid September in the week leading upto 5th Avenue Mile and also the week of Nationals but both of those were stratigic}and I believe in the old adage"if it aint broke don,t fix it"even if the English major in me knows that gramatically that,s incorrect,the runner in me knows it,s balls dead accurate!!!
This coming week sees me tweak things slightly,doing my best Billy Bragg and going"Back To Basics"three repeat sessions per week for the next three weeks b4 a two week interuption to accomodate my final two xc races.
Glass half empty,the clocks going back means it,ll be darker earlier,glass half full I,m a week closer to indoor season..............any craic regarding Irishmen and empty glasses will not be taken lying down!!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Over/Under At The 30 Mark

Following a nite of grooving to The Sisters Of Mercy it was up early{5.45am early....:( }to get to Willow Grove to meet Chuck and Neil on our way to famed Van Cortlandt Park for the fifth running of Manhatten Track Club,s Bad Boy 8K XC.
Next Sunday marks three years since my VCP debut but this race saw me in the best xc shape of my life,last years race was one of the worst races of my career,probably my worst ever xc race but buoyed by Sundays 28.16.62 at the NJ C,ships I was confident of a much better performance.
The conditions were as different as chalk and cheese,last years overcast grey skies and biting wind were replaced by sunshine,blue skies and dare I say it a tad warm come gun time at 11.30am,in a field exactly half the size of last years I got into my stride early on,due to renervations to the soccer fields where the traditional starting line is all races now have a different start,subsequently the mile markers are now off....less splits to recall!!!
I feared my long week at work plus last nites rare nite out and subsequent early start may come back to haunt me,certainly going up the hills on the back hills felt taxing but I caught some major air on the down hills and went thro the finish at 5k in 18.03.
I knew Chuck was close to me b4 exiting the back hills and whether it was legit or not Armondo Olivara from CPTC told me Chuck told him he thought he,d beat me last week over 8k,he was clearly "well up for it" today and inbetween the first and second flagpoles Chuck made his move.
I knew to maintain my unbeaten run this xc season over Chuck I,d have to stay close to him,my superior finishing strenght would count for little if Chuck opened a sizable gap on me,and entering the cow path I overtook Chuck and picked off two runners to put some bodies between us as we went up Cemetery Hill.
Last year I felt I was dying up Cemetery Hill but I knew I had to work the up hills,Chuck is a demon on the downhills,ask Bob Rimkis and I could ill afford any margin of closure on my lead over him.
Cresting the final uphill I almost felt I was running on the spot,mercifully I couldn,t hear Chuck gaining on me as I flew the final two downhills to the final 600m path to the finish,switching my focus from what was happening behind me,I began to focus on the two runners ahead of me"I pity anyone ahead of you w/ 400m to the finish"wrote Ray in an email Friday and for the 5th time this xc season I proved it,s not just on the track I possess a kick finish,reeling both of them in I reached the finish in 28.57.22,my pre race target time was 30.00,dispite passing those two runners inside the final 250m I just missed a top 30 finish,33rd,but for the second week in a row first masters runner which earnt me a brand new Timex stop watch....which unlike my present one takes splits..........freakin sweet!!!
Even sweeter, another club xc record,the race was meant to be an 8K however w/ the soccer pitch renervations and new start the race was altered to a 5 miler and like the Osprey 6k I was the first GPTC runner to finish hence another xc club record and another in a long line of New York City big races for me,next stop on the Top Cat fall tour right back here for the NYRRC 5K XC next Sunday,w/ all this success at xc I need to add John Treacy to my list of great Irish inspirations,long b4 his Los Angeles 84 silver medal in the marathon Treacy was a two time World XC champion in 79 and 80 which earnt the nickname "The Mudlark"for his love of xc,it,s hard not to run in NYC w/out an Irish point of reference but for all nationallities compeating in the New York City marathon tomorrow this Irishman wishes ye all the best of luck being a two time finisher myself in 90 and 03.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick Or Treat

Happy Halloween all,it should come as no great surprize I celebrate Halloween,it is afterall the one true Pagan holiday on the callender!!1
My easy 5 miler was an interesting one against a backdrop of young trick or treaters and revellers returning from the Phillies victory parade,who dosen,t love a parade? 2 million Philadelphians by the sounds of it,and while I,m pleased for the city I have to say todays festivities caused me a fair share of aggro,another"ahem sickness"call out on my staff and then a war of attrition to get home,a 50 min commute took me an hour and 50 mins,a 20 min trolley ride from City Hall took an hour,I couldn,t even get on the first two #34,s as it was I had to squeeze my way onto a #36 in order to get home when I did.
I realize I must come off like The Grinch or Oscar the Grouch but the fact is 2 million people showed up for a parade today,how meny people cut/ditched school,called out from gameful employment to do so?and most of these "front runners"seldom bat an eyelid for the Phillies,think I,m being harsh?the numbers don,t lie,2 million at the parade,but what,s the average attendence at a regular Phillies game?
Sermon over I,m off to The Troc to"get my goth on"Sisters Of Mercy are playing,seeing The Sisters is always a treat but on Halloween to boot??!!,there was a time when the whole head to toe in black,sullen and morose was my regular mo,these days I prefer colour and sunshine and smiles in my day to day exsistance,that said one nite of woe is me,dark and brooding shoe gazzing won,t kill me.....afterall next to candy isn,t Halloween all about dressing up as someone else for the nite???

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking The {Top}Cat Out Of Catastrophe

Other titles up for consideration tonite included"arsene arsene,What,s The Score?","Mama Told Me There,d Be Days Like These"I also thought about"A Mexican Funeral In Paris"the first two make sence,the third is a title of a Shane Macgowen song I haven,t been able to get out of my head all week....the title,not the song....
A wise man once told me"you can do anything you want in life.....you just have to be prepared to pay the price that goes w/ it",I guess sometimes you have to pay the price for other people,w/out mentioning names somebody decided they would be"ahem,sick"Tuesday believing the Phillies would clinch the World Series Monday,the parade would be Wednesday and they,d be back to work today.....as we all know the weather pushed the schedule back so now I,m doing the work of two people to accommodate this individuals"ahem sickness" and frankly my butt was dragging come 2.30pm,the prospect of a repeat workout seemed less than thrilling.......
However,running into a team mate on the subway home gave me a second wind and a dozen Inxs tracks on a mix tape b4 leaving for Franklin Field put some extra pep in my stride as I arrived for my 2x1,000m repeats,my last 2x1,000m four weeks ago weren,t great,2.49.76-2.57.09,which lead to the infamous"Bollockingate"email I never got from Charlie Dibble,I wanted to make sure there be no cock ups and no bollocking tonite.
#1,69,72,31,-2.52.37.I aimed for 70,70,32-2.52 so I was pretty darn close,I felt I ran w/in myself and there,d be no repeat of Oct 1st.
#2,70,75,30,-2.55.37.ugh,that 75 ballsed everything up for me,granted tonite was a major improvement on the last time out but it could,ve been better,I think mentally I fell down on lap 2,physically I felt fine,the fact I could close in 30 seconds sat well,so all in all not a bad nite.
November is a day away,w/ the notable exception of the final week when there,s a race on the 29th which will force me to cut my repeats to two that week the remainder of November will see mother nature permitting three repeats per week,right on schedule,October was all about keeping the motor running,November,it,s time to rev it up,December a few road test b4 I hope to burn rubber in January,Febuary and March,here,s to life on the open road.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Twenty One Years Is A Mighty Long Time

After yesterdays washout I was happy to be back out running again today,opted to keep the Monday,Wednesday,Friday Clark Park rotation,knowing there,s a good chance I could be out here again Sunday if I don,t add 5 miles of warm up and cool down to Saturdays race to log 30 miles for the week
Easy run a bit ber,but dry I guess unless you,re Barbie you can,t have everything.
Today is the second of two pivitol landmark anniversaries w/in two days for me,21 years since I left home to come to America,the old saying goes"you can take the boy out of South East London,but you can,t take the South East London out of the boy"a fact punctuated by the fact I recently requested the soccer shirts of Millwall,Charlton and Crystal Palace as upcoming b,day gifts from my family,I figured after a 21 year absence I need to remind myself where I came from,and while the afore mentioned clubs represent my old stomping ground I still can,t quite bring myself to order a Dulwich Hamlet,s jersey{Dulwich is my birth place}due to the pink and blue colour scheme!!!
While South East London will always be home for me,I have to say Philly has done right by me for coming up on a quarter century,they say"home is where the heart is"if that,s true then my black savage celtic pagan heart does indeed belong to Philadelphia......although technically roughly seventy miles just outside of Philly,or am I confusing that w/ my hearts desire.........
I hope the Phillies can clinch the World Series tonite,this city has been crying out for a major championship since it,s last one,the Sixers in 83,we,ve come close, Phillies 93,Flyers 97,Sixers 01,Eagles 05 so dispite my allegencies to all teams Boston I will indeed for once"root,root,root for the home team"tonite..............GO PHILS!

Rain Stops Play

It wasn,t just the Phillies and Devil Rays who got rained out,I opted....wisely not to run today,after a frigid day on the loading dock I really couldn,t see me getting out there to run period muchless easy run/track workout.
Glass half empty my 3 fast workouts{2 repeats 1 race}schedule had gone for a burton I do still have the chance to log 6 days and 30+ miles by running Sunday,glass half full a day to rest and relax at home,took a nap,put my feet up,relaxed in front of the tv and no burning the midnite oil watching the World Series .
The sun will come up tomorrow....at the very least the rain will stop,game 5 will be concluded,I,ll run and life as we know it will carry on

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

In Loving Memory

An easy 5 mile run this evening,w/ the clocks about to go back this Sunday the days of coming straight home and heading straight out for my training run will be my mo again,however w/ all rules their are exceptions,and Oct 27th will ALWAYS be one of those days as that,s my late father Kevin,s anniversary and I make a point of going to church to lite a candle in his memory.
It,s hard to believe it,s 24 years since he died,I still recall vividly that last nite we spent together on Thurs Oct 25th 1984 two guys knocking back several pints of Guinness and shooting the breeze w/out a care in the world,little did anyone know we,d never get to do that again,two days later I came home to find Kevin had died in his sleep at a mere 51,I,ve tried not to carry a chip on my shoulder these past 24 years that my dad was taken away from me too early,he still had so much to teach me.
My love of running stems from Kevin,ditto for my never settle for second best,in running or in life and dispite being born into a Chelsea supporting family my love of Spurs also comes from Kevin,who chose "The Lillywhites"because Danny Blanchflower was one of the first Irish players to come to England and establish himself.
Far from being an Ivy League grad Kevin taught me some of life,s finest lessons"life,s too short and we,re only passing through and we,re never coming back so you may as well enjoy yourself""don,t be a punk and start trouble,but always be a man and stand up for yourself"and prehaps my favourite"if you can,t be yourself,don,t be anyone"
I miss Kevin each and every day,his anniversary just reminds me how long it,s been since we last saw one another,I,ll close w/ a set of lyrics that 24 years ago struck a chord then,still do and were the words I had on Kevin,s headstone,Stuart Adamson of Big Country wrote "Tall Ships Go" in memory of his late father who was lost a sea,I read that interview a week b4 my own father died,Stuart said the only only time he ever heard his father was in his dreams,and I,ve been dreaming for the last 24 years
"I hear your voice and it keeps me from sleeping,why must it always be dreams when your voice comes to me"
Love and best wishes,Dad,gone,Never to be forgotten,your son Kevin xoxo

Sunday, October 26, 2008

For Your Honour

A pivitol race in my xc season,#4 of the 8 on my schedule and also the first of three successive weeks of racing.
I,d never ran at Deer Path Park b4 and I,d only one previous xc 8k race to my credit,a disastrous Bad Boy last October at VCP{irony alert,my next race......Bad Boy!!!}
Conditions were ideal,come 10.30am the temps were in the high 50s/low 60s and sunny,from the gun I moved up behind the leaders into 5th b4 dropping back to 6th as I clocked 5.34 for my opening mile.
Having jogged the outer loop pre race I knew what to expect and where to expect it.....that said I compleatly missed the 2 mile marker as it came b4 a tight turn where I was focusing on taking the tangent and not the spray painted sign.
By the time I reached 3 miles on the second loop in 17.01 I was dueling for 8th place,when I got dropped for 9th I allowed myself a quick glance back to 10th,it was Chuck who was yelling at me to go after the 8th place runner whom I been dueling and duking it out w/ for most of the race,w/ hingsight I wish I,d dropped the hammer on the final downhill on the second loop like I had on the first,subconsiously I think I knew I need to compesate for the extra 2k I was running today.
24.42 at 4 miles both club record and course record{27.51-28.01} were going to be hard to bring down and although 8th place was getting away from me he passed 7th b4 the final turn......a grassy 100m straight to the finish,my cue to dig deep and haul in the now fading 8th place runner b4 the finish,8th in 28.16.62.
I had hoped for a 27.45 plus time,it wasn,t to be,no club record,no course record,however a pr ecilpsing last Octobers woeful 31.21.17. and not only an age group win but first masters finisher overall,medal#14 for the season,#118 for my career.
A nice touch post race,beer,burgers and hot dogs and a nice day for it,a gamble when you,re holding a race at the end of October.
Home to watch my beloved Spurs notch their first win of the season under new boss Harry Redknapp,all in all a good day,period but one my father Kevin would,ve appreciated.
There,s a Dave Matthews Band song off of "Everyday" called "Dreams Of Our Fathers"the chorus goes so
"I don,t want to wake up,lost in the dreams of our fathers,oh it,s such a waste child to live and die for the dreams of our fathers, oh I must confess yes memories of wonder about this,this love I possess lord,it must be the dreams of our fathers"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Setting My Sights

An easy 5 miler this morning to "lay the table"so to speak for tomorrows race.
After Thursdays shot of adrenaline that was my mile repeats"possibly you,re best ever"said Charlie Dibble I,m hopeful that tomorrow I can bring down either the club record for xc 8k,27.51 or at the very least the club course record 28.01,"Mr XC"Chuck owns both records,interestingly set in 04 and 06,who am I to tamper w/ recent history...........
Based on recent mile repeats and my 6k xc pr/club record of 20.12 I have to like my chances,granted Osprey was pancake flat,I,ve no idea what to expect of Deer Path Park tomorrow,I will naturally get a "lie of the land" pre race manana,rembering the old running adage"the will to win means nothing w/out the will to prepare"
8K is a little out of my comfort zone,but the 6k told me I,m capable of running further than I,m used to faster than prehaps even I expect............and I have high expectations to begin w/ let me tell ya!!
I have a target time in mind,tomorrow will see if I nail it,hit it out of the park,fall short or miss it compleatly,since I don,t do pre race boasts I,ll keep that number to myself,I will as ever be 100% brutally honest post race.
W/ Monday being my late father Kevin,s anniversary I need no more motivation to perform"the ould fella" was a xc runner back home in Cork in his youth,he will expect nothing less of me than to perform to my best and to give 100%,so here,s to a pr/club/course record,top three age group award and three vital points for my beloved Spurs at home to Bolton,the latter I have no control over,the former.....oh it,s on.........