Thursday, January 31, 2008

A New Chapter In Not So Ancient Irish Millrose History

After yesterdays all important workout came todays as equally all important easy jog just to get any soreness out of my legs b4 tomorrow.
There was of course me being me a method to my madness in going to Franklin Field,aside from a friendlier surface to jog on there was also the now time honoured tradition of touching the plaques of Jumbo Elliot,Ronnie Delaney,Marcus O Sullivan and of course "The Chairman"Eamonn Coghlan for good luck b4 any major race/championship that I run in.
While it,s fair to say I probably have no business being on the track tomorrow evening given my recent stress fracture anyone who knows me will vouch for my lifelong admiration of Eamonn Coghlan,growing up I would watch his races on tv while keeping a scrapbook of all his press cuttings,inteviews pictures etc,NEVER in a million years did I think the day would come when I,d maybe not follow in his illustrious foot steps so much as be able to say I,d raced on the same hallowed boards of Madison Square Gardens at the prestigous Millrose Games where he won Seven Wanamaker Mile titles.
Two years ago I was the alternate runner on an alternate team that traveled to New York in the faint hope we,d crash the party,sadly we didn,t however we did at least get to run on the track,a dream come true for me but I left Manhatten that nite a little unforfilled,I still hadn,t raced at MSG,now some 28 hours away that dream is about to become a reality.
While my current physical condition doesn,t exactly scream ringing endorsement for any form of running right now the lure of a lifetimes dreams,hopes,desires and ambitions being answered is enough of a carrot to dangle in front of me to have spent a week running up and down my basement stairs from 30 mins to 55,ditto for the ab crunches on the abdominal ball and why I,ve been at the track Sun,Mon and Wed this week.
This is it,everything I,ve ever wanted as a runner just two train rides away,in the city that never sleeps my dream is about to come true
Slainte Mhath

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Falling Or Flying

After yesterdays wise decision to turn around and head home when my foot and a few other factors didn,t hang far enough over into the plus column for my liking today there was no turning back,no second guessing,no room for error, time to prove to myself if no one else I was ready willing and able to take on the task at hand and forfill a lifelong dream/ambition of racing at Madison Square Garden in the Millrose Games,it really was now or never in terms of one last workout to give myself some sort of fighting chance on Friday.
Mercifully my foot felt fine,the days rest had soothed my sore leg muscles and the grey overcast conditions had been replaced by blue skys and sunshine,albeit w/ a healthy dose of a strong wind.......all the better to drive me down the home straight he said hopefully if not somewhat unrealistically,muchlike the old days of running on the either drive on the Art Museum Loop where one thing was a given,whichever way you ran the wind was always in your face the same can be said of Franklin Field,back straight,home straight,bottom bend,top bend you,re always fighting the wind.
The game plan was a 3 lap warm up,some stretches and some strides 150m in 25 secs,60 sec recovery followed by another 150m in 25 secs or under b4 launching into 2x600m,the target time of the first was a 1.17 400m followed by a second 4 mins later this time w/ a target time of 69 secs at 400m and then off of 4 mins recovery 2 final 150m target times 22.5 for the first 21 secs for the second and a three lap cool down.
150m#1 23.45,#2 24.49,not bad,w/ 145m laps at MSG it,s somewhat comforting to know I,m capable of reasonable 150s on my lonesome,fighting the wind,at least come Fri there,ll be no wind,a banked track, indoors, people to chase and hopefully people chasing me and while at 6.01pm MSG won,t be packed to the rafters I,m hoping to feed off of the crowds energy like I have so many times b4,for me there,s always something special about racing in New York and I,ve talked long and I hope eloquently in the past about taping into "the spirit of Eamonn Coghlan" where better than MSG ''The house that Eamonn built" and when better than now.
Next up the two 600m,when I crossed the line both times I understood the mindset of GP to get me to run 600s,sure I was breathing heavily and slowing b4 the line but I,d ran 200m over the distance I need to race this Fri,a shrewd bit of coaching by GP,while I may,ve hung my head at the compleation of 600m #2 the important and psychological thing was I,d ran two back to back 600m and that should make for an easier convertion to one 400m in 2 days time,for the record my 200m/400m/600m splits were:43,1.23,2.06.17,44,1.26,2.11.50.
Closing out my first repeat session in seven weeks I managed 2 final 150s in 26.70,26.17 b4 a three lap cool down to call it a day.
Ok so w/ the exception of my opening 2 150s my target times are down but I think the fact I came through w/out any bad reaction to my foot is a major plus and the fact I was able to compleat the workout is another,any and all positives I can take w/ me going into Friday are welcome.
Fingers crossed I,ll wake up tomorrow feeling no ill effects from today and ready to tackle a 2 mile soft jog to loosen my muscles and then it,s just a question of marking time off untill 6.01pm Friday evening.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When Caution Is The Better Part Of Valour

I opted out of todays planned workout at the eleventh hour.
Both my mother and coach GP were at pains yesterday to tell me to be careful w/ my comeback and I,d given my word to GP that I,d halt my workout if my foot didn,t feel right during the prepossed workout....fact was I never even got to Franklin Field today.
My foot didn,t feel right in the area of the fracture as I walked down Hazel Ave,by the time I reached 46th St I was having second thoughts about continuing and after stopping twice I decided to turn around and head home,if in doubt don,t.
Aside from my foot it was grey and overcast a little slick underfoot,I need my footing to be 100% b4 I can commit 100% to a workout in my present semi delicate stage of recovery,also after two track workouts in the past two days after a six week absence it was no great surprize my upper leg muscles were a little sore so factoring all that in I felt it best to hold off a day and reschedule my prepossed 2x150m,2x600m,2x150m workout till tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gotta Start Somewhere

A big week,after yesterdays mile I was eager to see how I,d do today,having proven to myself I could run but more importantly run pain free it was now time to try and crank up the pace.
Left to my own devices anytime is always a recipe for disaster but especially where my running is concerned so I enlisted the help of coach GP to advise me on the do,s and don,ts for this week.
Like I said left to my own devices I would,ve considered 50m repeats yesterday,100m today,200m tomorrow and 300m Wednesday w/ a blow out 400m Thurs,but when I didn,t hear from GP b4 I left for Franklin Field due to him not returning from his commentary duties at the Miami Marathon till the wee hours I elected to just run one 400m today untill he and I sat down to discuss a formula for the up comming week.
Taking advantage of the fact I can access the track during the day time I hit Franklin Field just after 11am to utilize the day light as oppossed to next week when I,ll be back to the 5.30pm use of the track.
After a few stretches and a one lap warm up I launched into my one 400m for the day,64.56 far from earth shattering but I,ve got to start somewhere,it may not,ve been fast but at least it was pain free and later in the day GP emailed me and we talked at lenght not only about the upcoming week but also about the bigger picture and Indoor Nationals in 8 weeks time.
While time wise today was very little to write{or email}home about it was a start,and all great journeys have to start somewhere,we,ll see what tomorrows GP inspired workout brings.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

One Small Step For Mankind,One Giant Leap For Macphisto

Well the good news is I ran for the first time in six weeks this morning and must say it felt pretty damn good to be back on a track again.
Today was always about just getting back onto a track and trying to run,although I still feel a tad unnatural when I,m trying to walk w/out the boot I was pleasently surprized that from my first strides on St Joe,s track I felt something close to natural and although my mile was just a jog it felt so good to be back in my natural enviroment again.
Today was never going to be about speed just getting the mechanics going again and while the limbs and muscles aren,t quite responding to the brain waves yet I believe they will in time.
Tomorrow I,ll return to Franklin Field and look to build upon todays breakthrough,I,m waiting for GP to advise me on what kind of workouts if any I can/should try between now and Friday.
Today was huge for me,I look to build upon this and go from here

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Athlete Of The Year

Growing up one of the sporting highlights of the year for me was always the BBC Sports Review Of The Year.As a kid it was always a thrill to relive the year in sports but as I got older I grew to appreciate what it meant for the winner of the Sports Personality Of The Year to be recognized by your peers as the best and what that intailed so when I was voted Mid Atlantic Masters Track High Performance Athlete Of The Year for 2007 I was indeed humbled and honoured to have such an award bestowed upon me.
At a time when I,m hoping to relaunch a season that,s yet to get up and running muchless off the ground this was a timely award,today was the first day since the stress fracture I hadn,t had my foot in a cast or boot in almost 6 weeks,I didn,t want to have to shuffle upto the podium in my protective boot to begin w/ and w/ d day 5 days away and counting it,s time to start getting used to wearing both running shoes again not just the right one.
Tomorrow will see the somewhat nerve wracking prospect of going to the track and seeing what it feels like to try and run,I have a few days to see if I can crank out a decent 400m in the hope that I can not only anchor the team but also forfill a lifetimes ambition of running at Madison Square Gardens in the Millrose Games,the clock is truly ticking it a question of if I,m physically able to do what my heart and soul have been willing me to do for the past week,time which may or may not be on my side will tell.

Friday, January 25, 2008

The Road To Millrose Is Paved W/ Blood,Sweat & Tears

For the worrymongers out there the blood and tears were metaphorical,but believe me the sweat of which there was bucket loads of was real!!!
Having been forced to miss a days training on Thursday due to too much going on I was eager to have at it today,I wasn,t too upset at missing a day,afterall I don,t wish to overdo it and having been hard at it on the steps and w/ the ab ball since last Fri I didn,t feel a day off was too much to beat myself up over.
Having gotten the official word that were in{the three best words in the english vocabulary right now....."officially you,re in"}to the Millrose Games it,s time to totally focus w/ a week to go,GP always talks about the importance of good grub and plenty of rest leading upto a major race and this coming week will be no different,gone will be the nites of burning the midnite oil watching tv and reading,respectable nites from here on in,good grub is always top of my list and my entire rehab has seen me stick to my regular diet,it,s like the old Juma Ikangaa quote"the will to win means nothing w/out the will to prepare"
One final foot pun intended on today,55 mins of step aerobics is along time so I loaded up the cd player w/ 5 Pogues cds hit random and began my workout......I,m not sure if The Pogues and step aerobics......or any kind of exercise{unless it,s lifting 16 oz curlers.....think about it and get back to me!!!!}go together but trust me,there,s nothing to get my pagan blood going like The Pogues and if that,s what it takes to spend 55 mins running up and down the basement steps then so be it!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

And Then There Were Six,Followed By Five!!!!!!!!!!!

Still no official word on Millrose but this came across the wire yesterday,Synergy have had to pull out meaning it,s CPTC,2nd Wind,Southwest,Shore AC A&B and PACTC.
I,m continuing my step aerobics and abdominal ball workouts,from modest beginings of 30 mins each on Fri today I increased them to 45 mins, and also modified the manner of my step aerobics,I couldn,t see doing 45 mins on only the bottom two steps of the basement so it was up all eleven steps and will continue to use all eleven steps as I continue to increase my workouts by 5 mins per day.
How,s this for dedication?due to a later start than planned my 45 mins on the ab ball coincided w/ the kick off of the Spurs arsenal{aka 'the scum"}game and the first of our two goals came while doing ab work,tempted as I was to hold that pose the prospect of 90 mins was a tad too rich even for my pagan blood!!!!!
I needn,t have worried,the boys took care of business 5.1,oh how frickin sweet it was,honey never tasted this sweet,to do the enemy was one thing,to do them at The Lane even sweeter and in a cup semi final to boot,not to mention gain our first victory from our North London rivals since Nov 7th......1999.....I,m like one of these helium balloons someones let go of and I,m all the way up in the ceiling.
Better get grounded tomorrow,50 minute work outs as Millrose will be only 9 days away.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Still no word out of New York regarding our place in the Masters 4x400m relay at the Millrose Games but this didn,t stop us from getting together Sunday afternoon to work on handoffs and a running order.
I felt it was important to be there period but also time spent w/ my teammates tends to cascade down into a deep reservoir of desire and determination to be in the best shape I can be to take my place on the team once we get the official word it,s a done deal. Running is still a no go,I did think about taking my running shoes w/ me but opted not to temp fate plus I don,t think the guys would,ve let me run even if I had,ve.I did attempt two hands from Chuck but clearly hampered by the boot it didn,t work so I opted to call splits as Scott,Ray,Chuck and Rick attempted 20 second laps of the indoor track,believe me we were all greatful for the use of the indoor facilities period but since I had to stand and watch I was more greatful than most trust me!!!
Prior to today I had begun a work out regimen in the basement,step aerobics and ab crunches w/ the abdominal ball,30 mins on Fri,35 mins Sat,I,ll increase my time by 5 mins per day till I,m upto an hour on each,it,s the best I can do untill I can access a pool or not,I have to be in some sort of shape to anchor the relay on Feb 1st two days after the boot is retired.............of course we still have to hear from the powers that be on that..............................................................................

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

Well It,s been a week since the dreaded cast was removed and replaced by the much more user friendly boot but I still have another two weeks till I,m officially given the all clear to begin training again which in of it,s self is a tough enough cross to bare but factor in the quite possible reality that this year finally at the third time of asking we{PACTC} could get into the prestigious Millrose Games and you could forgive me for not wishing to lace them up right here and now and get myself down to Franklin Field to begin my rehab and getting myself into race shape period but also Millrose Games shape.
Officially Millrose is still "unofficial"no word has been given on which 6 clubs will fill the allocation for the Masters 4x400m but of the seven eligible teams Shore AC has an A and B team,surely the powers that be will only allow them one spot leaving the other to us???
First things first we have to get in,if and when that happens I need to find a local pool to begin pool running and resistance training...who knew sitting around at home could be this thrilling??

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Off W/ The Cast,On W/ The Show

That deafening sound you may,ve heard at 2.40pm yesterday afternoon was me breathing a huge sigh of relife at the removal of the cast on my left foot,if I never have to wear a cast again it,ll be too soon!!!!!
So phase one of my rehabilitation is over,onto phase two,I,m going to be wearing a boot for the next three weeks which hopefully will allow the fracture to heal compleatly,meaning that on Wed Jan 30th fingers crossed I should have a clean bill of health and Ira's blessing to begin training again.............................WHEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Obviously I,m not out of the woods just yet but at least I can start to plan my indoor season,albeit an abridged one,the whole Millrose Games issue as ever remains a live one,we need to get into the Feb 1st meet to begin w/ and between now and then I need to find a local pool where I can do some form of exercise to get me in half decent race shape.
Looking at the slightly bigger picture if I can start pool running now it,d give me a leg up on my prep for Indoor Nationals at the end of March,w/ the boot coming coming off on Jan 30th I,m looking at 8 weeks to get myself in race shape so any jump start that pool running would give me b4 then would be massive.
One feather in my cap yesterday was stepping on the bathroom scale and seeing I hadn,t gained any weight over the holidays/during my 3 week lay off,score one for the guy w/ horns for sticking to his diet and being disciplined,now I need to find a local ymca w/ a pool and go from there.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

07 Top 10 List

Alright,drum roll please,after a season of 49 races I narrowed the list down to fill out my top ten.
10 Swarthmore Indoor 800m
All great journeys start somewhere and where better to kick off the 07 season than my opening indoor race of the year.Due to scheduling conflicts I arrived at Swarthmore too late to run the mile which meant for a change of pace I could run the 800m fresh....and how!!!
2.03.88 a then indoor pr for me and a second place finish,who knew what the next 11 months would bring.
9 Brandywine 5K XC
Tempted as I was to make this an all track top 10 credit where credit's due this was one of my best xc performances ever.
In a season that saw me embrace xc as my "off season" bridge between outdoor and indoor track I ran my best ever Brandywine race to finish 8th overall and set a course record for me 19.10.66,a far cry from my 2 prior races here,a testimony to my new found attitude towards xc.
8 NJ C'Ships 1,500m
My pre Nationals 1,500m race,a chance to run a decent time to put myself up there amongst the top ranked runners at Nationals in a months time.
4th overall,1st Masters in a new pr and new club record 4.15.74 but also a confidence booster at a distance I hadn,t had much exposure at.
7 Indoor Nationals 800m
Following the heartache of the previous days dnf{a first ever in 31 years}in the mile I bounced back w/ avengence in the 800m to salvage a medal.
2.04.58 and 4th are hardly noteworthy in a season of faster times and higher place finishes but to pick myself up from the floor some 20 hours after the lowpoint of my entire career and leave Nationals w/ a bronze thanks to a non American runner in second was memorable.
6 Masters Indoor Invitational 800m.
Going into this race my hopes were for a sub 2.00 time,judging from the caliber of the field that was not unrealistic,I went into the race w/ the 6th fastest 800m time but surprized even myself by finishing 2nd in 2.02.75,setting a new indoor 800m pr but still awaiting that elusive sub 2.00.
5 Armory Indoor Mile
For me the night everything changed,having never ran faster than 4.39 for a mile, indoor,outdoor or on the road I could not have predicted what was about to unfold that night in January.
4.33.09 and a victory were one thing,but the pr and club record were the icing on the cake,looking back almost a year to the day I can,t help but feel the belife that I could become a top flight 800m/miler from sitting in the stands at Outdoor Nationals some four months earlier was coming to fruition.
4 Nationals 1,500m
I knew I had a shot at this,the 4.15.74 I,d ran a month prior convinced me I could live w/ the leaders and I almost had a unique 800m/1,500m double,as it was I had to contend w/ 3rd overall but a silver medal thanks to yet another Canadian runner.
I,m proudest most of all for the way I responded off the final turn to reclaim 3rd and the silver on my way to yet another pr and club record.
3 Hartshorne Memorial Indoor Mile
Continuing to cement my reputation as an indoor miler I finished second in a race I thought at best I might get third.
Almost as if on a continuous loop tape in my mind I,ve relived my epic battle off the final bend and up the home straight w/ Anselem Lebourne,4.29.46-4.29.59,yeah it was that close,and at the risk of repeating a theme in this list yes it was a pr and club record.
2 No #2 because I couldn,t seperate these two performances and thus went w/ a joint #1
1 Nationals 800m and 5th Avenue Mile
Going into Outdoor Nationals my targets were very much defined,bottom line to come away w/ 3 medals to round out my career tally at 100,slightly more ambitious was to win my first ever National Championship title.
Never in my wildest dreams did I think my first ever title would also yeild a sub 2.00 800m time but my 1.59.17 did just that,in one foul swoop I,d broken the magical 2.00 barrier,set a pr and club record and earnt my first ever individual gold,how sweet it was and maybe in any other year would,ve been the out right winner of race of the year..........................however
5th Avenue Mile
From the moment I,d crossed the finish line in the 1,500m in Maine I began to prepare for 5th Ave Mile,while some may,ve wound down their season I continued to focus and plot my all out assault on this the most prestigious of races.
While I always belived a pr/club record was there for the taking I don,t think I ever dreamt that I ,d win but it was one of those days where I got everything right from where I lined up on the starting line to how I attacked the first half of the race.It still defies beliefe that I won period but also in 4.25,another day when the tried and tested belife that an Irish miler can be King in New York City rang true.

Monday, January 7, 2008

If It,s The First Sunday In January It Must Be Swarthmore

To be honest the prospect of going to a track meet to watch rather than compeat is not one that I,d normally undertake.................................................HOWEVER when you,ve been stuck inside for almost 3 weeks and have only been out six times in 17 days you,ll jump at the offer of a ride to Swarthmore trust me!!!!!
Aside from my obvious gratitute to my teammate and friend Ray aka Baron Von Javelin for the offer of a ride out to Swarthmore{it,s times like these when you discover who your real friends are..........I,m not going to name names here,but in my diary............forget about it!!!!!!}I was doubly greatful for the chance to spend my 4th 1st Sun of Jan at Lamb Miller Pavillion,it was here in 05 I made my return to track and my indoor debut w/ a gutsy 10.26.50 6th place finish.
Asides from being out of the house for a few hours it was good to back in a familiar enviroment,go figure w/ almost three weeks of free time to myself I,d somehow always found an excuse not to update my blog and yet now I,ve posted two entries w/ my overdue Top Ten Races Of 07 coming tomorrow,being around my team mates,friends and fellow track brethren was just what I needed and while I was a tad envious of those fortunate enough to be able to compeat I know my time will come,yesterday was the nudge I needed,today I finally used my pc for something other than downloading music on my new ipod{cheers Seebs n Reebs!!!}and my {some may say unhealthy }obsession w/ Georgie Thompson,Keira Knightly and Stacy Keibler,tomorrow I,ll post my Top Ten,Wed sees the cast being....well cast off................. :) and from there we,ll have to see.

Not So Much A Winter's Break,More Like A Stress Fracture

I realize there,s been no activity on ye olde blog for a few part since there,s been no activity in my running since the Dec 19th diagnosis of a stress fracture.....a modern day version of a lump of coal in ones christmas stocking!!!!!!
To fill in the blanks here,s a cliff notes timeline of events:Tue Dec 11th on the 6th and final 600m repeat I began to feel a discomfort in my left foot,it felt as if my laces were tied too tight but I knew that wasn,t it.300m in my foot didn,t feel right and I took the wise precaution to bag it right there no sence in flogging the proverbial dead horse at the end of a repeat session,after changing out of my brand new racing flats into my regular running shoes I began my customary mile warm down,only to pull up after 2 laps,clearly something wasn,t right.
I emailed my coach the following day and told him what was going on,he said it sounded like either a bone out of place or soft tissue,either could be cured w/ rest,ice and Advil,ergo me taking a few days off of training.
Sun Dec 16th an indoor meet at PGI Landover Maryland,what should,ve been a routine mile ended up w/ me limping through the final 2 laps in 5.03 and in considerable pain,putting weight on my left foot was like treading a camel through the eye of a needle,clearly this injury was worse than I had first thought.
Mon Dec 17th emailed my teammate Ira who happens to be a foot specialist,he in turn emailed me back to say from my discription it sounded like either Planters Fasciitis{gulp!}or a torn fascia{double gulp!!}but he,d have a better idea after he,d examined my foot.
Wed Dec 19th noticed discolouration at the base of my toes prior to making my way to my app w/ Ira,upon noticing this also Ira changed his diagnosis to a stress fracture,a fact he was able to confirm by placing his thumb on my foot,I nearly went through the ceiling,the xray was mearly a formality at that point.
Said fracture was severe enough to require a cast for my foot for three weeks due to it,s nature and location,a bum note to end what had been a career season for me.I can be objective enough to say I,ve been blessed throughout my career to be mainly injury free,that said alarmingly in the past 18 months I,ve suffered a torn adductor,shin splints and now a stress fracture,old age I guess!!!
The prospect of three weeks in a cast was not one that filled me w/ the joys of the season.......oh who am I trying to kid,I,m a miserable git aroud the holidays to begin w/,this just added to the Victor Meldrew mindset,but glass half full thanks to 8 yrs at Einstien I had enough sick time to cover the three weeks while I,m in a cast.
And that dear reader/readers is where I,m at, on Mon Jan 7th 2 days away from a return to Ira,s office to remove said cast......................EUFRICKINREAKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!and to go from there,I can,t sit here and talk about training schedules and revised race schedules untill after Wednesdays visit when I,ll know the extent of how well said fracture has healed and how long I will have to wear a soft cast,rest assured I,ll be posting a report late Wed/early Thurs to update you on the outcome,till then join me in some positive thoughts and prayers.
Peace Out