Friday, February 29, 2008

Three Cheers For The {Not So}Fighting Irish

Bit of a weird one today,that whole Feb 29th thing to begin w/ coupled w/ the culmination of "the week from hell",if Monday through Thursday had seen me getting tarred and feathered then today was the 16 pound sledge hammers getting broken out as work went in for the kill.
W/out getting too caught up in all the work crap....that,s what it is at the end of the day crap I,m proud of the fact througout all the lows this week I somehow kept a lid on my volatile emotions,no mean feat when you,re as "celtic cursed" as I am,it must be in my paddy dna to get angry but somehow right royal rollockings were strangely absent from the loading dock all week,maybe I was just too tired to get angry,maybe I,m tired of gettting angry,maybe I,m tired of the masses expecting a firework show when things go pear shaped,or maybe I should keep listening to Kate Voegele and Missy Higgins on my ipod.
Which leads me to my running{finally this after all a running blog!!!}GP said he wanted a 5 miler,an easy mile and a half to open, half a mile of striders,2 miles of fartlek and a mile cool down,for this I needed something w/ some omphf on my ipod,Linkin Park seldom let me down,there,s enough angst and anger to get me firing on all cylinders but some hints of subtlety to soothe even the most savage celtic pagan so that I don,t go off half cocked,I shanked one workout this week I could ill afford to blow this one.
I,ve got to say by workouts end I was pretty pleased w/ my afternoons work,where I,d been somewhat conservative in my pick ups last week on the fartlek section today I was managing a good 10 to 12 per loop at 5 second intervals which I think is what GP had in mind when he set this workout,if Wednesday had seen me leave Franklin Field beaten today I left Clark Park beaming,20 miles for the week w/ a 5 miler on tap tomorrow morning b4 attending the PACTC lunch to pick up my Male Runner Of The Year award.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

That,s Why I Have A Coach

Following yesterdays hugely frustrating repeat session I had doubts about even running at all today,my legs which had failed me so badly last nite felt like two lead weights from the time I woke up,it took a couple of hours of walking at work for them to begin to loosen up but coupled w/ below freezing temps I couldn,t see getting out there this afternoon.........................GP had other ideas!!!!!!
The long and the short of it was he felt I needed to suck it up,bundle up, grab my ipod and get myself over to Clark Park and run 4 miles,I had no problem w/ that afterall isn,t that the point of having a coach?
It,s all well and good been patted on the back and being told well done by your coach but once in a while you need to be kicked in the rear effectivly that was what GP,s email was and I had no problem w/ it,I,m sure there were times Jumbo Elliott had to crack the whip w/ Eamonn and to GP,s credit after I said I,d run the 4 miles he emailed me back to say I should be greatful Spurs hadn,t beaten Chelsea 5.0 or I,d be doing 10 miles!!!!
I,m glad I got out there and ran the 4 miles,it was nowhere near as cold as I thought it was and by the time I finished my legs felt better than they had almost 24 hours earlier,I,ve said more than once that left to my own devices I,m my own worst enemy and today would,ve been a prime example of that,is this the corner I needed to turn?

The Lesser Of Two Evils

The game plan was to hit the track Tuesday to conduct a 3x1,200m repeat session.........however mother nature had other ideas and I was faced w/ a choice of either attempt a track workout in the rain or ride it out for a day and see what Wednesdays weather would bring,granted it,d be colder and windier but it would be drier and since I feel I can ill afford to waste any track workouts I opted to burn my rest day early in the week in the hope it wouldn,t come back to haunt me.....................................
There were tell tale snow flakes falling as I made my way to Franklin Field but it was going to have to snow a darn sight harder than this to put me off,the plan was a couple of 150m to get some snap in my legs b4 3 1,200m repeats 1st lap 1.15,2nd lap 1.30,3rd lap 1.15,3 mins recovery and repeat twice.
Following my stretches and mile warm up I got ready for my 150s GP said anything between 25 seconds and 27 seconds was good,28.76 for my first,I,ll cop to being distracted charging down the straight by the snow flakes as they fell,what can I say it seemed some how poetic but I,m sure reading this GP will think of it as more pathetic than poetic,he may have a point,my second 150 was 24.95,no snow flakes to distract me this time!
It,s been a while since I,ve done 1,200m repeats,back then the formula was 4.05,4.05,3.50 w/ splits of 70,75,and 80 seconds,of course I wasn,t coming off of a 5 week lay off back then.1.19 for the opening lap 4 seconds off,1.31 for lap 2 but a disappointing 1.25 for the third,the writing was on the wall.
Repeat#2,1.24,1.35,1.24 I just didn,t feel my legs had any zing in them,by the time I compleated repeat#3 in 1.27,1.36,1.28 I was besides myself w/ anger,I can,t recall ever walking off of a track following a repeat session feeling this disconsolate,I knew the road back would be tough but this just flat out sucked.
I hope this is the turning point for me,w/ 5 weeks to go till Indoor Nationals I need to be making strides forward not treading water.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Infected Mushroom

The prospect of a 7 miler was never an issue,the prospect of having to do it via 14 loops of Clark Park was but then my team mate Ray stepped in w/ a unique cd to help get me through it.
On the ride home from Landover Ray asked if liked techno music,I,m not a big fan but listening to "Vicious Delicious" by Infected Mushroom I must confess what I heard I liked so Ray said borrow it,download it onto your ipod.
What,s interesting about Infected Mushroom is they,re from Isreal,Ray travels to Isreal for work quite a bit and heard the cd,who knew there was such a thing as Isrealie techno?,of course I kidded Ray about having visions of him getting his groove on in nite clubs in Isreal on his trips there but frankly when you can blister the 200m and 400m like Ray can we should all be getting jiggy to "Vicious Delicious"!!!
W/ said cd downloaded to my ipod I made my way to Clark Park,it was a nice change of pace not to be bundled upto the nines for a run and dispite the mind numbing prospect of 14 loops of Clark Park I set the tone early on,track one of the cd is"Becoming Insane"...I kid you not but it helped get me on my way.
By lap 9 and again on lap 12 the "mushroom" effect was begining to wane a little more so from a mental aspect not the physical side,I needed something to lift me,just getting through this workout would be enough,the prospect of seeing Kate Voegele at World Cafe Live tomorrow helped and then the memory of Spurs skipper Ledley King leading the Lillywhites up the steps at Wembley to hoist the Carling Cup quote Flavor Flav of Public Enemy...."yeah boy!!!"and suddenly lap 14 had been compleated.
Last week I put in 19 miles,22.5 the week b4 and w/ no meets this week I,m curious to see what kind of milage I,ll log but after this weekends races I realize what I need is to increase my speed,tomorrow,s a 3x1,200m repeat at Franklin Field let,s hope it,s another piece of the puzzle.

Gold,Silver And Bronze Under The Terrordome

Hard on the heals of Saturdays mile at Eastern Regionals in Landover Maryland it was up Route 70 today through the Pine Barrens and over to Toms River New Jersey for the New Jersey C,ships and the 800m.
When I rewrote my indoor schedule to accomodate my stress fracture the idea was to pick back to back meets to replicate the Indoor Nationals schedule,Mile on Saturday,800m on Sunday and although my schedule has since altered to run the 3,000m on the Friday and the 800m on Sunday GP saw no need to deviate from the back to back race weekend to help get me ready,even if it meant me having to do the unthinkable......miss a cup final w/ my beloved Spurs!!!!!!!!.
As much as a bleed blue for my beloved N.17 warriors I,ve missed too many races through my injury to be able to blow off this one,I,d known since we clobbered "the enemy" in the semi final on Jan 22nd that the Carling Cup Final and the NJ C,ships both fell on Sun Feb 24th and there was little I could do about it......the delicious ironic twist{and we all know how deliciously ironically twisted I am!!!!!}was we were playing Chelsea....GP,s team,on the same nite as the Oscars could Hollywood have written a better script???
By the time Chuck and I arrived at Toms River it was 12pm,5pm back home in London,the game should,ve been over,when GP and I met he asked if I wanted to know the score....I did and I didn,t,if we,d won it,d be a boost to my morale,if we,d lost I,d have to haul myself up by my shoe laces for the race....ah what the hell!!!
GP told me last time he checked it was 1.1 and w/ the aid of his Blackberry he could look up the latest,ll have to imagine the tension setting music......2.1 to Spurs......but the game was still in extra time.By the time GP checked again it was official,we,d won 2.1,our first trophy in 9 years.....and I,d missed it.
Credit to GP he was a good sport about it....although I can,t help but feel had Chelsea had won 2.1 my workout for tomorrow would,ve been a nice easy 3 miler on account of my back to back races,suddenly we win and it,s "7 miles tomorrow"I type this w/ a smile on my face cos GP knows I,m only teasing,his actual quote was "shoot for 4 or 5 miles but if you,re feeling ok 7 would be good".
As for my actual race I,d rather not get into all the bruhaha about which heat I,d be allowed to run in,let,s just say I,ve yet to run a NJ C,ship meet where there wasn,t drama,I got into heat two but it was touch and go if I,d get in,the field was practically lining up on the starting line as I was allowed to join them,here goes nothing!!!
The game plan was to just go after it from the gun,if yesterday had been about easing my way back in in the paddling pool today was a full blown cannonball into the deep end,splash,drown or swim to shore!!!
I came through 200m in 30 seconds,great if I weren,t weeks behind where I,d like to be but I needed this test to see where I was,400m in 62 seconds,I knew lap 3 would be the killer and it was I,m not even sure what I came through 600m in but I knew I was feeling it,in an indoor 800m that 3rd lap is key,today I failed but two weeks from now when I run the 800m again at the Mid Atlantic C,ships I hope to much stronger and faster and then again three weeks from then in Boston at Indoor Nationals I aim to be even stronger and even faster again.
6th out of 10 runners in 2.13 is not going to scare anybody right now,I,ve got 5 weeks to drop 10 seconds if I,ve any hope of adding to last years Indoor 800m bronze but if I didn,t think I could pull it off I wouldn,t be going.
Dispite my woeful 2.13 I earnt a gold medal since I was an out of state runner,2.13 and gold feels kind of cheesey but considering I had to drop $42 to race today I had no problem picking it up on my way out,gold for me,a hard fought bronze for GP in his 3,000m and a nice shiney silver Carling Cup trophy for my beloved Spurs,it,s all good!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Back To The Scene Of The Crime

It,s 10 weeks since my stress fracture and being the poster child of irony it should come as no great surprize I chose to return to the same venue and race the same distance as I did on Sun Dec 16th, Prince George Indoor {PGI} and the mile.
It,s been a while since I,ve felt such a sence of nervous trepidation going into a race as I did today,I know every runner says "I don,t know what to expect going into my first race of the season"and while technically this wasn,t my first race of the season it was my first race* since my stress fracture{*technically Millrose Games was my first race post stress fracture so maybe I need to refer to today as my first race at my natural distance since the stress fracture}whatever I was still anxious about the outcome.
I hadn,t given much thought to time,splits or even how I was going to approach the race I just knew I had to get out there and run and hope things would take care of themselves.
I didn,t pay much attention to how many of us lined up at the starting line,I do believe they combined the 40-44 and 45-49 age group into one heat,there were only 2 of us in the 40-44 age group,somehow I got the pole which I didn,t particularly want since I,m not confident enough to go gun to tape just yet,the one stratagy I did have was to go out easy for the opening few laps to feel my way back into racing,going down the back straight on the opening lap I was 3rd b4 being passed by a runner whom I have a history w/,at the risk of dredging up old issues lets just say the adage "I have Irish alzheimers,I forget everything except the grudge" is seldom far from my matter what this guy was NOT going to beat me.....w/in a lap I overtook him for 3rd place.
By now the lead two had gotten away from me and I was in no mans land,I knew I needed to give chase but my killer instinct isn,t there just yet,off of splits of 39.35,36.18,36.75 and 37.74 I went through 800m in 2.30.02,while I felt comfortable it,s not like I,m pushing the envelope either and I know that god willing that will come in time as long as I keep putting in the work in training.
Unlike 10 weeks ago when the final 2 laps were agony today I was at least able to finish comfortably,splits of 36.92,38.37,38.62,35.85 brought me home in 3rd place,second in my age group in 4.59.78,at least todays 3rd place finish saw me break 5 minutes....not to mention walk off the track not hobbling.
It wasn,t earth shattering but it was never going to be or meant to be I had to start somewhere and where better than where it all began to unravel,w/ this one under my belt and out of the way I can turn my attention towards tomorrows 800m at the New Jersey and see where that goes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Love Is The Seventh Wave

What a difference a day makes,kill mode at work had been replaced by kind mode and I was able to get my workout in b4 sundown since there are no jobsworths on duty at Clark Park telling you when you can or cannot run.
GP had emailed me w/ his thoughts,feelings and observations on last nites repeat session,the thought I came away w/ most of all was his surfing analogy,how a repeat not quite going to plan is like getting knocked off your surf board,you get back up and try again,if that wave knocks you off you get back up and you keep on getting back up till you eventually surf your way into calmier waters,it,s a simple analogy but an effective one.
As for todays workout it was a fartlek run 4 miles, easy opening mile and a half, a mile and a half of short bursts of speed followed by a easy mile.Dispite snow flakes begining to settle on the ground just b4 5pm I got myself over to Clark Park to get the workout in,w/ a rest day tomorrow and an easy day Friday this was my last chance to push it a little b4 my weekend of back to back meets.
The mile and a half of short bursts of speed was fun,I,d earmarked 5 points on the loop where I,d pick up the pace for 10 seconds and work on my knee lift and leg turnover,it felt good to do that again and soon I hope that knee lift and leg turnover will return full blast to my workouts,all in good time.
As much as I,d like to run tomorrow I feel I,ll benefit from a days rest,who knows maybe even a early nite since I,ve been up till 11pm/11.30pm the past two nites posting my blog,the seventh wave is about to take me to bed,sweet dreams

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It,s Just One Of Those Days

The savvy readers among you will know that,s a Limp Bizkit lyric,those of you familiar w/ me and or that lyric will gather the mood I was in,for the rest of you I recomend checking out Limp Bizkit's second album ''Significant Other"track four"Break Stuff"then you,ll know how I was feeling.You may ask what,s that got to do w/ my running?for me it has a lot to do w/ it,rightly or wrongly I,m someone who feeds off of emotion,be it good or bad,it,s funny to read old diary entries and come across entries where I had a really bad day at work only to parlay it into a blistering run home afterwards,ah those were the days when I used to run on the roads,it,s a year since I was diagnosed w/ shin splints which saw the end of road running for me,but I digress.
Following my frustrating day it was home to a quick change and out the door,ipod at the ready w/ a healthy or unhealthy dose of Limp Bizkit,Eminem and Public Enemy to jack me up for my repeat session.First glitch of the evening Kim the regular security guard was off,whenever she,s not there it,s a problem,when Kim's on duty if the Penn athletes are done she,ll let you on the track no problem, I got to Franklin Field at 5.10pm only to be told there was no access to the track till 6pm which lead me to walking around for half an hour,only to be told we couldn,t use the track till 6pm.....this dispite the fact there was someone running in lane one,now either he was a VERY old senior,or the dean of admissions or visible only to me!!!
Bottom line it was 6pm b4 I got to run,not only had all my angst worn off it was now colder and darker,if Kim had been on duty tonite I,d have been heading home at 6pm w/ my workout done in the day light and w/ my full head of steam up.
The repeat on tap tonite:2x150m,6x300m,2x150m,the twist{notice how GP loves to throw a twist into my repeats??!!}5 seconds less recovery per 300m,65 seconds after #1 and so forth down to 40 seconds for the last one.
150m#1 target time 24 secs,split 24.82,150m#27.70,I was guilty of not focusing hard enough plus having to deal w/ a strong head wind down the straight.The 300s were meant to be done in 56 seconds,#1 57.22,#2 55.29,#3 57.73,GP said the key was to remain fluid throughout and for the first three not only did I feel fluid but I began to feel like I was ready to take on the pain threshold,sadly this feeling didn,t last.
Repeat#4 59.71,#5 60.94 and #6 61.22,I think the shorter recoverys began to take their toll,I finished the session of w/ 2 150s at 26.14 and 29.35 b4 my mile cool down.
Yes I,m disappointed it went south on me at the end but at least it,s another repeat under my belt and I kept at it dispite it going south,this is still only my third repeat workout since Millrose so it,s still early on in my return to training,GP thinks hopefully by the begining of March I should be back something like my old self and the only way I can make that happen is to keep plugging away at my repeats and not letting a few slower splits get the better of me.
W/ double duty at meets on tap this week that,s it for repeats till probably next Wednesday,here,s hoping back to back races this weekend gives me a confidence boost.

Monday, February 18, 2008

It,s A Good Job I Don,t Suffer From Vertigo

A new week and a new challenge to kick it off,a 7 miler,further than I,ve ran in quiet a while but one I felt I was able to undertake.
In fairness GP had said to me shoot for 7 miles,if by the time you get to 5 or 6 and your not feeling it call it but I,d made up my mind it was going to be 7 miles,that,s 14 laps around Clark Park which is tough on the head more than the legs but if Allister Cragg could run 25 laps around the Tyson Center in Arkansas to win the 5,000m then I could run 14 times around Clark Park in University City to compleat a 7 miler.
Thank god for my ipod!!!I could not,ve imagined trying to do this run w/out it,I needed something up tempo and found just the band to help me,Status Quo,I realize to some it,s a case of Status who? but if you grew up when and where I grew up then Status Quo were like royality,good old South East London boys wowing their audience w/ a unique brand of rockin blues,bless their cotton socks 2008 marks their 40th anniversary and they,re still at it,I guess the old adage is a true one"you can take the boy out of South East London,but you,ll never take the South East London out of the boy"
On lap 3 it began to rain briefly but soon stopped only to return w/ vengence on lap 9,by this time I was too close to making it to a 7 miler to bail and dispite the rain,the dark and the wind I hung in there to compleat all 14 laps and give my weekly milage a jump start.
Granted I wasn,t cranking out the laps at any great pace but I was remarkably surprized at how easy it was to run 7 miles,just over 4 weeks ago I was huffing and puffing to run a mile at St Joes{ah the good old days when you could actually get on the track at St Joes!!!}and now here I am cruising through 7 miles w/out a worry,I could,ve easily added another mile or two but after 14 laps I was getting dizzy so I called it a nite

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Ah Sunday,a day of rest...........phis!!
Off of a 13 hour sleep....yep that,s not a typo,I crashed out at 8pm last nite and woke at 9am this morning,a testimony to my second week back at work and my second week back to training I knew it was up and at it following a much needed cup of coffee and an updating of ye olde blog.
Blast!!!upon arrival at St Joes it was a quick about turn,lacrosse practice meant no access to the track,how I long for the not so distant days when Franklin Field was open on a Sunday.Had I,ve known St Joes was going to be off limits from the get go I,d have made my way to Roxboro from jump,but these things happen and if there was one plus from all my criss crossing over the city it was that I got to listen to 3 whole cds on my ipod which now means I can delete them to make room for more half full baby.
As I stood at 3oth and Market waiting for the #9 to Roxboro I cast envious glances at the runners on Schuykill Banks getting their run in,how lucky they were to be able to just get out there and run probably w/out even realizing it,but I knew for me I had to get to a track and nail my second repeat session of the week.
The one thing about Roxboro even if it,s a hike to get to is that 9 times out of 10 I can do what I need to do when I get there w/out too much in the way of interference and following my stretches and mile warm up to the battle anthems of Queen "Gimme The Prize"and "One Vision"it was showtime.
GP had given me a 4x1,000m repeat w/ a slight twist,90 second laps per 400m and a 45 second closing 200m,3.45 per 1,000m,but here,s the twist,less recovery time per repeat,60 seconds after the first,50 seconds after the second and 40 seconds after the third....AND I was instructed to push as hard as I could over the final 400m and make repeat#4 faster than repeat#1,maybe I should,ve played something off of the "Mission Impossible" soundtrack on my mile warm up!!!!
Repeat#1 I opened w/ a 1.26 1st 400m followed by a 1.33 for 2.59 at 800m and then threw in a 47 second 200m to clock 3.46.00.#2 I surprized myself w/ an opening 400m of 1.24 followed by a second 400m of 1.32 to clock 2.56 at 800m,a 46 second 200m brought me home in 3.42.33.
It was either a reaction to a slightly faster second 1,000m and/or the 5o second recovery but I was feeling it early on repeat#3 as my splits bore out,1.27 for the opening 400m followed by a 1.36 400m for 3.03 at 800m w/ a 48 second 200m,3.51.60,w/ only 40 seconds to catch my breath there was precious little time to dwell on things like slow splits,oxygen debt or muscle fatigue.
1.29 for the opening 400m and I knew I was meant to be bracing myself for an all out assault when I reached 600m,2.18,as much as I wanted to be able to grind it out and spill my guts out onto the track it,s just not there yet..............but give it time,this time two weeks ago I was just coming off of an emotional 400m at the Millrose Games,last week I only managed half a repeat workout so to be upto 2 repeat sessions in a week is a slow but steady return to where I want to be,I know it can,t all be won back overnite but each week I feel a bit stronger and a bit faster.3.03 at 800m,a 1.34 400m,a 42 second final 200m to clock 3.45.04,1.27 for the final 400m and slightly faster than the opening 1,000m of 3.46.00.
Gp had stressed the most important thing about this repeat session was compleating it,Mission Accomplished then,a couple of my splits were off but I,d gutted it out and w/ Indoor Nationals 6 weeks away I,m begining to feel more confident about my chances.
Up next a return to races w/ back to back meets next Saturday and Sunday,GP and I have already began to draw up a schedule for the upcoming week to continue to build upon last week and this week.
22.5 miles for the week,6 days of training,it,s begining to feel like I was never away from this and that,s a feeling worth it,s weight in gold.

Strange Phenomena

It,s been a week of strange firsts,my first 5 day work week since the first week of November and if that wasn,t enough I went in for half a day on Saturday which lead to my 3 miler around Clark Park at 3pm.
I,d have prefered to have ran first thing in the morning,it,s not so much a case of getting it over and done w/ more being able to get on w/ the day w/ the knowledge that it,s taken care of but unlike Spring,Summer or Fall the whole natural daylighting issue threw up logistical barriers that I,d rather not tackle,it,d be just my dumb luck to trip and fall in the dark and throw another injury into the mix just as I,m recovering from my stress fracture.
Of course a mid afternoon workout means factoring in the whole lunch/no lunch issue,I know,I know,running should come w/ a slogan like"Running a simple matter for complicated people"when you think about it how hard is it to put one foot in front of the other and keep on repeating the process? but as runners we all know it,s so much more than that,if it were that easy everybody would be out there doing it!!!
The run it,s self passed by w/out any drama or trauma,not only did it feel weird to be out running in the middle of the afternnon but also to have to dig out my sunglasses to combat whatever that big orange ball in the sky was too.Job done it was an easy afternoon on tap as I ready myself for tomorrow mornings track workout.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mellow Jam

Following last nites repeat workout today was a recovery run,GP suggested an easy 5 miler which was 2 miles more than I would,ve planned for myself but I,m happy to increase my weekly milage,by weeks end I,m looking at being over 20 miles which isn,t alot but during the summer my weekly milage was usually 25 miles so to be at 20 miles in week two of my return to training isn,t too shabby.
GP also strongly recomended "no Judas Priest"on my ipod while doing the rounds at Clark Park,he needn,t have worried I don,t think I could,ve cranked up the pace even if I wanted to but b4 the end of todays 5 miler I was greatful for that soreness in my legs from yesterday it meant I,d pushed myself and I,ll take that kind of soreness anytime.
Conditions underfoot were much easier than Wednesday which was just as well given not only was I stepping up an extra 2 miles but also I hadn,t ran more than 3 miles since Dec 9th,I,m pleased to say I came through todays challenge w/out any problems,tomorrow will see me drop back down to 3 miles as I attempt to tweek my threshold level going into Sundays track workout.
My final thought comes from a Moody Blues lyric{Moody Blues were my musical choice for todays run}in the song"Story In Your Eyes""Listen to the tide slowly turning,wash all our heartaches away,we,re part of the fire that is burning and from the ashes we will see another day"
I,m looking forward to another day.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Return Of The Glory Glory Nights

At long last this week a chance to get to the track for a much needed repeat session after three days of crap weather.
After a self inflicted wound last Tuesday cost me my first repeat workout the following day and sheer bad luck cost me again on Saturday I was keen as mustard this evening to get this one in.
The first sign things are getting better was the fact I could do a mile warm,that may not sound like a big deal but prior to my stress fracture a mile warm up and mile cool down was standard practice leading upto Millrose and last week the best I could manage was 800m so it would seem my strenght and stamina are coming back.....I just need to work on my speed.........................
Granted tonite I was well down on my 400m and 600m target times but the fact I was able to complete all four sets was a huge boost to my confidence.
Repeat#1 1.25 at 400m 2.10.01 for 600m followed by a 34.45 200m,not earth shattering but last week my opening repeat went 1.21,2.05,34.94,#2 1.25,2.09.90 w/ a 31.85 200m
Unlike last week when the wheels flew off after #2 I had the strenght to continue tonite,1.28 2.13.81 and 33.18 for my 200m.Final repeat,1.25,2.11.59 and my fastest 200m of the nite 31.
54 clearly a sign that I can summon up the will at the end of my workout now if i can just work on the opening and middle!!!
Following a slow but satisfying mile cool down I made my way home beaming w/ the knowledge I,d made a significant start to my repeats,I know I,ve still got a long way to go but I feel tonite could be the spring board to getting me back to where I was pre stress fracture,granted one swallow does not a summer make......yeah I wasn,t affraid to go there but all journys have to start somewhere and hopefully tonite was the begining for me.
On a day that saw yet another in a long line of unmemorable Valentine,s Days I took solice from the fact that while I may not,ve enjoyed love in the traditional sense I got to indulge in the 4 things I love most of all,running,music{mad props to Colourbox,Public Enemy w/ Anthrex and Kid Rock for getting me pumped on the way to Franklin Field and Judas Priest,how could I resist "Judas Is Rising" and Iron Maiden for making the long walk home afterwards less painful}Spurs winning in a UEFA Cup tie and writing about it in my blog......take that chubby little cherub!!!


After mother nature had scuppered any hopes of any kind of a workout on Tuesday I was anxious to get out there in some shape or form on Wednedsday,I settled for an easy 3 miler around Clark Park following my final appointment w/ Ira.
The good news is my stress fracture is 95% healed,I,ve been saying to people for the past week who,ve asked me about it that it feels better than it did but it wasn,t 100% so at least I know now that that,s not just wishful thinking on my part it,s almost healed compleatly,Dec 19th seems a long way back but to have the all clear to get back into my training{even if I have been training "unofficially" for the past four weeks!!!}is a huge boost and not just for my conscience!!!
I got an early test on how my foot was when I hot footed it from Ira,s office to nearby Bethayers in eight minutes to catch the 3.30pm R3 back to Philly,trust me standing around till 4.24pm for the next R3 when it,s this cold and damp is not an it was good to see if the old fast twitch muscles would respond when called upon!!!!
The real running for the day took place once I got home,since mother nature couldn,t make up her mind as to what she wanted to do I opted for Clark Park rather than Franklin Field,a prudent move as three laps in it began to rain turning heavy going into even heavier going,at least my 6 cross country races last year helped

Monday, February 11, 2008

That,s So Unexpexcted

We all know the old joke"a funny thing happened on the way to.........."well that,s kind of how my day started.
A brisk day was on tap from the time I rolled out of bed and I knew last weeks unseasonably warm temps were about to be replaced by more traditional early February conditions but for a brief moment today I was able to bask in the warm afterglow of the news that I,ve been nominated for National Master Track Athlete Of The Year.
......I think it was Kate Bush who said it best when she sang"wow,wow,wow,unbelievable"if my Mid Atlantic Masters Track Athlete Of The Year Award had been somewhat expected this really came out of left field and saying I,m honoured is putting it mildly.I,m not sure who I,m nominated against or even when the final decision will be announced but if I win or if I don,t it,s another remarkable achievement based on last years phenomenal season.
Like I said in that brief moment I was able to feel a warm glow which was about the only time all day I was able to feel warm,jaysus it was cold out there today,so cold in fact GP told me to switch my track workout for 3 miles around Clark Park,when a guy who spends as much time as he does surfing says it,s cold then you know the ber factor is up there.
I conducted my brisk 6 laps around Clark Park by 5pm while it was still light,by lap three the feeling began to return to my finger tips as I got my groove on to a live Alarm cd I,d downloaded onto the ipod a few weeks back.There was always something quiet magical about The Alarm live,great passion,overflowing w/ emotion just what I needed to get through my coldest training day this winter,time will tell regarding the National Master Track Athlete Of The Year if I,m"Marching On"

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Tigers Waiting To Be Tamed

Opted against going out to St Joes again today to try and nail this so far elusive 4x 600m-200m repeat,to do it today would mean switching up my rotation for the upcoming week where as if I went for an easy run today I theory at least go hard Mon,Wed, I said it sounds good in theory but I know too well that theory and practise is often a horse of a different colour.
Once again said easy three miler{6x Clark Park}was conducted sans stop watch but w/ ipod as I try to disprove the myth that "you can tell an Irishman anything......but you can,t tell him much"!!!!Coldplay provided my musical sound track for the morning and gave me much pause for thought.
"God Put A Smile Upon Your Face" I,ve been so greatful to get back into training this week,it hasn,t always gone to plan but the fact I,ve been able to conduct six days of training and log some miles has been quite a blessing.
"Fix You"It shouldn,t be overlooked that I,m still recovering from a stress fracture,while much of my focus this week has been on getting out there I can,t under sell the fact that my foot is still healing and I need to be as mindfull of that as I am of a return to speed,strenght and stamina.
"The Hardest Part"Accepting that I,m all the way down at the bottom of the laddder and that it,s going to take time to work my way back,ego and pride will need to be kept in check as I slog through the opening weeks of training.
"Clocks"NOT for the obvious reasons you might think,yes you could make a reference to Mondays slow 3,000m and Tuesdays unwise timed 3 miler,but I threw "Clocks"into the mix because of the"Tigers waiting to be tamed"line.
Dispite it not always going to plan this week I,m glad to have gotten through it,let,s see what my second week has in store for me?

Neither Dublin Or Doubling

Following a day of cross training it was up and at it first thing on a Saturday morning,I can,t recall the last time I laced them up on a Saturday morning to do the rounds around Clark Park but that bleary eyed just woke up feeling seemed the same as usual.
I opted for Staind as my musical choice to help me conduct my easy 2 miles,felt there,d be just enough edge to their music and lyrics to get me going w/out launching into a full blown all out tiger attack.
Ironic that on the first Staind track"It,s Been Awhile" the lyrics"but everything I can,t remember,as @#$^ed up as it always seems,the consequences that I,ve rendered I,ve stretched myself beyond my means" came across loud and clear in my ipod ear buds,had I not stretched myself beyond my means on Tueday I wouldn,t be looking at pulling double duty today,oh well consequences I,ve rendered you could say.
Easy 2 miler taken care of it was home to a cup of coffee,oj and yogurt and some footie to wile away the hours till my track workout,took great joy in watching my beloved SPURS beat Derby 3.0 away and continue the Juande Ramos revival.
Off to Franklin Field to reattempt my 4 sets of 600m-200m repeats,uh oh!!!a lacrosse game meaning no access to the track.....bugger!!!
After some quick on my feet thinking I opted to swing by the track at St Joes after I,d taken care of my domestic list of to do chores first in the hopes of still getting this repeat session in..........HOWEVER upon my arrival at St Joes I was informed by the security guard I couldn,t use the track while the womens soccer team were practising on the infield.
This all goes back to Tuesday and my unwise decision to try lamping a 3 miler but like a wise man once told me"you can do anything you want in this just have to be prepared to pay the price that goes w/ it"
So there you have it a blog entry containing the profane and the profound a yahboo sucks to those who think I,m only as deep as a puddle,I prefer to think of myself more akin to Doctor Who,s Tardis,not much to look at from the outside but once inside you,re amazed by what,s on offer.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Easy Tiger

I guess the fact that post run I came home,showered,made dinner and crashed out by 8.30pm speaks volumes as to how tired I was,not only have I been trying to contend w/ a return to training but also a return to work this week.
After yesterdays aborted track workout thanks to Tuesdays 23 minutes of madness I knew today was the old "less is more" mindset,something as runners we seem to have a problem w/,I don,t think I,m the only athlete afflicted w/ this.Anyway swoping stop watch for ipod I headed over to Clark Park to conduct an easy 6 laps around.
It should be pointed out at this point in time my ipod does have a stop watch mode in it,s settings but I,d given my word that today would be a recovery run....RECOVERY RUN,yes the devil is in the details,besides even if I,d wanted to run faster I don,t think I could,ve as my thighs were feeling the effects of Tuesday.That said I wasn,t sure I could trust myself to play something from the more angst fueled collection of songs off my ipod so I skiped over the likes of Korn,House Of Pain,Linkin Park,Limp Bizkit in favour of something more relaxed and mellow,eventually plumping for the relaxing sounds of Concrete Blonde to keep me company.
I did for a split second consider hitting the shuffle button and seeing what would come up but knowing my luck one of my battle anthems like "Fuel" by Metallica,"The Prayer" by Bloc Party or "Gimme The Prize" by Queen would,ve come on and I,m not sure I could have resited the urge to crank it up a tad,it,s a bit like that old Calvin And Hobbes comic strip where Calvin goads Hobbes to the point where Hobbes launches into a fully fledged attack upon him,the final frame of the strip sees Calvin somewhat dazed and confused from his mauling citing"You can train Tigers but they never lose their natural instinct to attack"and that,s me.
I,ve said time and time again I don,t know what it is to run slow it just seems alien to me but I also know that there are times when for the greater good it has to be done so I shuffled around Clark Park to the relaxing vibe of Concrete Blonde and by runs end felt much the better for it.
Hopefully today puts me back on schedule,tomorrows workout is still to be determined b4 a duel workoutout on Saturday to have me back on pace.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Man W/ The Plan

If you,re wondering who the Sligo yoke is next to me it,s none other than my coach GP.
We,ve known each other for almost two years and in that time not only have we shared alot of laughs but more importantly ''Geep" has help transform me from a good road runner to a top notch masters track athlete,I seldom miss a chance to praise him for my rapid rise through the ranks,initially it was his guidelines of what to run and what not to run in terms of distance and then races.
Arguably it,s his repeat workouts that have transformed me from a 4.40 miler to a 4.25 5th Ave Mile Champion,from a 2.05 800m runner to a 1.59 800m National Champion so it,s no great surprize I went to the sage one again in the hopes of lowering my current 3,000m pr of 9.38 and nailing a spot in the Masters 3,000m Invitational at the USATF C,ships/Olympic Trials this coming June/July.
Following my 3 miler around Clark Park yesterday GP and I finally sat down to draw up a repeat that would help me w/, that the plan of attack was a 600m/200m repeat that went like this 1.16 through 400m,1.54 at 600m,30 second recovery,200m in 34 seconds,3 minute recovery repeat three more times.
Sadly as I,ve often eluded to in my blog when I,m left to my own devices it,s a receipt for disaster and yesterdays reaction to my woefully slow 3,00m on Monday came back to bite me in the rear today.I knew early on today during work my legs were sore from yesterday and the fact I,d ran back to back for only the second time in the last week, however undaunted by this I still walked down to Franklin Field this evening to have a crack at it.
Following my stretches and warm up laps it was straight into it,1.21 at 400m on my way to a opening 600m of 2.05 b4 a 34.94 200m,room for obvious improvement but not a bad start.1.25 for the next 400m as I clocked 2.07 at 600m but could only follow up w/ a 41.99 200m....the writing was on the wall.
GP and I said we,d shoot for 4 sets but if I could only manage 3 that,d be a start,sadly I paid for my bravardo from yesterday and pulled up at 400m on repeat#3,I just didn,t have it tonite and loathe as I am to walk away from the track w/out finishing a repeat session I knew tonite flogging a dead horse was pointless.
I,m angry w/ myself for being so gung ho yesterday,there was no need for it other than wounded pride after Mondays poor 3,000m but it cost me a much needed repeat workout today and having missed several weeks of training and all important track repeats I can ill afford to blow the ones I,ve got at my disposal now,mark my words an error in judgement like that won,t happen again it was a rookie mistake by someone who,s far from a rookie these days.
Believe me when I say tomorrows 6x Clark Park will NOT be timed it,ll be a nice easy recovery run so that I can return to Franklin Field Friday and attempt this repeat again,w/ better results I hope.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

When Haywards Field Might As Well Be Haywards Heath

I realize only two people I know who read my blog will get the title but that,s ok,it,ll be an in joke between me,GP and Jules.
On a day that saw my delicate system shocked into returning to work I also made a return to 3 mile runs around Clark Park,more often than not an easy day after a repeat workout but since yesterday was a straight up 3,000m theory if not in time then today would be a harder than usual 3 miler.
It felt good to be doing the rounds on the lower half of Clark Park again after an eight week layoff and felt even better that I was able to get said run in b4 dusk,glass half full on my recent stress fracture induced layoff I,ve missed seven weeks of winter weather,glass half empty I feel like I,m just starting out my season.
I had no preconcieved ideas about splits or overall time,just crank out six laps as best I could,3.46 for lap 1,7.50 for lap 2 and 11.44 for lap 3,23.28 pace.I was feeling the effects of my recent lay off and will continue to for the next week or two but each day I can get out there I,ll get a little bit stronger and a little bit faster.
Can,t recall my 4th lap split,one of these days I,ll get a stop watch that recalls splits,if I weren,t so busy criss crossing the country for races and meets I could stump up for one,all in good time.19.46 at lap 5 time to crank it up if I could,something vaguely resembling knee lift and leg turn over tried to kick in rounding the bottom turn and while it wasn,t my tried and trusty kick finish it,s reasuring to know those qualities are lurking just below the surface,another week or so.
23.29.59,just off the projected 23.28 time my half way split hinted at,again far from earth shattering but I,ll keep working at it and working at it till the three S,s return.
W/ repeat workout in hand for tomorrow it,s back to Franklin Field for some speed work,the Eastern Regional/NJ C,ship back to back weekend is only 17 days off,sooner rather than later I,m hoping for warp speed captain not the current warped speed I,m churning out.....way to go get the Star Trek bloggers on board!!!!!!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Onto the Next Challenge

W/ Millrose over I can now begin to look at a bigger landscape even though "technically"I,m only meant to be doing pool running and stationary bike training till next Thursday,time it has been said waits for no one and to that end I need to try and regain the three S,s Speed,Strenght and Stamina and soon.
First up in three weeks time is a double header,Eastern Regionals on Feb 23rd followed by New Jersey C,ships the following day,the plan was prior to Friday the mile at Eastern Regionals and the 800m at New Jersey however the lure of that Masters Invitational 3,000m in Oregon in July during the Olympic Trials has gotten me thinking that maybe I,ll run the 3,000m and 800m at Indoor Nationals in Boston at the end of March in the hopes that I,ll run a fast 3,000m time there and dramatically improve my current pr from 9.38.35. and boost my chances of an invite.
W/ that in mind I set off at lunch time for my final workout during the day time as I,m returning to work tomorrow after almost seven weeks off due to my stress fracture.While I,m not giddy w/ antisipation about returning to the work force it is time and also it,ll help get me back into a routine,work,training,blog,sleep,repeat.
Having floated the notion of the indoor 3,000m to GP prior to my workout but as of lunch time not having heard back from him I opted for a straight out 3,000m,there,ll be time enough for repeat workouts over the coming weeks today was just about putting in the distance.
I had no preconcieved ideas re:splits,pace etc just grind out a 3,000m and go from there,I was under no illusions as to how ugly it would be and to that end can,t say I,m horrorfied by my slow lap times,1.31@400m,3.11@800m,4.56@1,200m,6.38@1,600,8something @2,000m,10.22@2,400m12.08@2,800m and 12.47.41.@3,000m
Far from earth shattering I know but I,m still working my way back to fitness,on the walk home I figured out there was 22 weeks till the Masters Invitational in Oregon so ample time to lower todays starting mark,however in order to get myself into contention for a decent Indoor Nationals 3,000m time I,ve only got 8 weeks and the clock is already ticking,I would guess tomorrow will be an easy 3 mile recovery run followed on Wed by either a set of repeat workouts or another 3,000m on the track this time at 6pm not 11.30am,reality is starting to creep back into my day to day exsistance and while I may outwardly seem to shun it not too far below the surface I,m openly embracing the fact that normality is returning,we,ll see how soon todays 12.47.41 starts moving towards 9.35.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Audere Est Facere

For those of you not up on your latin the translation from the title is"To Dare Is To Do"......I only know this because it,s the motto of my beloved Tottenham Hotspurs but it feels appropriate somehow.
Were this any other track meet I don,t think I,d have ran given my recent stress fracture and the fact "technically"I hadn,t been cleared to run by my foot doctor who when he finds out I ran is likely to have a few choice words for me,team mate or not,that said as a fellow runner I think he could fathom the magnatude of my desire to run at the Millrose Games and I,ll deal w/ any or all fallout when I go back to see him on Feb13th.
I rode upto Trenton w/ my good friend and fellow master runner Lorraine Jasper who was anchoring her team Athena in the womens race that preceeded ours,and while any time spent in the company of a beautiful woman is not to be taken lightly traveling up together didn,t allow me time to get too deep into my head in the hours leading upto the race.
We met up w/ Chuck,Ray and Scott at Hamilton on route to Penn Station in Manhatten and arrived around 3.35pm,an hour later we were allowed into Madison Square Garden,although not allowed on the hallowed 4 lane 145m board track,making the fact we were able to run on it two years ago even more special and unique.
After saying my hellos to the fellow masters athletes I,ve grown to know over the past three years and sharing a few moments w/ my coach GP who I should point out was an opponent on the Shore AC A team I began to jog as best we could in the limited space behind the track,I was putting the finishing touches to my stretches when the call went up for the Mens Masters 4x400m relay runners to report to the paddock,this was it.
We,d opted w/ a line up of Scott leading off,Ray second,Chuck third and yours truly anchoring and while anchoring is an honour it,s fair to say under these circumstances it was more strategic.I couldn,t blame my team mates for wanted to protect their chance to forfill their Millrose Games dreams,this was never just about me,it never should be on a relay and while I would,ve been majorly upset if they,d have said my place on the team was prehaps a liability I would,ve understood,albeit begrudgingly,it never came to that,Scott,Chuck,Ray and I have been through a lot together as team mates and on relays and I hope have a few more adventures still ahead of us,whatever our own personal goals were tonite we are a team and I wanted to repay my team mates faith in me by running the best I could.
I,d love to quote splits and blow by blow accounts of each leg of the relay but the truth was just like the Penn Relays it all happens so quickly,just like my 06 Penn Relays debut I tried to take it all in in case I never made it back while hoping I would.As anchor leg I was positioned at the far end of the home straight away,I customarily blessed myself as I do when I step on and off any track and as is my custom b4 a race I got down on one knee and said a quick prayer to God,the venues may change but the prayer is always the same"dear God please help me run to the best of my ability and do your will amen"I rose from the track,blessed myself,a double fist pump to the heart and a kiss of the fingers b4 a skyward bound jesture to the heavens,pre race rituals over it was time to focus on the race.
I think Scott brought us through in 5th b4 handing off to Ray who may,ve gotten us upto 4th b4 his hand off to Chuck,2 and 3/4 laps of the track later I took my place in lane one waiting for the baton,a clean hand off and I gave chase to the anchor legs of Southwest Sprinters and Central Park Track Club who infairness were well clear of me,going into the race I honestly thought it,d be Southwest,C.P.T.C.and 2nd Wind duking out the top three places w/ ourselves and the two Shore AC teams scraping for the minor places.
I had no idea where or how close Shore AC A,s anchor leg Bob Andrews was behind me but to be honest I was just trying to focus on running my leg,3rd at the bell all I had to do was hold on for another 145m and the improbable would become reality a medal,something I never considered in the build up as there was enough going on to begin w/ w/out adding medal aspirations to the mix.
The finish line at Millrose is halfway up the track not like the traditional end of the straightaway but tonite sadly for me it was 20/30 meters too far,I was never going to try and get up on my toes tonite,I couldn,t risk putting any more pressure on my still healing stress fracture and my lack of conditioning took it,s toll.In the version of the race I,d ran over and over in my mind I,d come off that final turn and storm to the finish line just like Eamonn had seven times between 1977 and 1987,in reality I,d given all I had coming to the home straight only to have Bob Andrews get by me and nab the final medal 3.52.04 to 3.52.52.
Now b4 the obvious gets stated,yes I,m painfully aware that Eamonn finished 4th in 2 Olympics and also that I,d defied all sorts of obstacles and barriers tonite just to be on the track so I have no right to be churlish about missing out on medal that b4 the gun went off I,d given no creedence to winning,but that,s the runner I am,never settling for second best,I do believe it,s in all runners dna to always think "what if "following a race no matter how great a performance,tonite was no different.
After reuniting w/ my team mates I got to share in some post race celebrations,I don,t think we,d dared think the race could,ve gone so well under the circumstances but it had,I thanked Scott,Chuck and Ray for having faith in me to get the job done and also help forfill my dream of running the Millrose Games.Gp congratulated me and joked how I,d put him in the precarious position of being forced to root between his friend/athlete and his own team mate,he was proud of me and my efforts and so was I.
So what next?after the dust settles tomorrow GP and I will look ahead to Indoor Nationals in eight weeks and begin to draw up a battle plan but in the bigger scheme of things and to answer a question Scott had posed prior to tonites race,what else is there on my running list?Well there,s World Masters in Finland next year and again in Sacramento in 2011,to run at famed Haywards Field in Eugene{I,m 3 seconds off of a quallifying mark of 9.35 that,d make me eligable for the Masters exhibition 3,000m event this July at the USATF National C,ships/Olympic Trials}and to come back to the Millrose Games,this time fully fit and who knows maybe snag a medal?
Two years ago I ran here at the Millrose Games which was more than I could,ve dared dream way back when I first started to run,now I,ve raced here so the next step is to medal here,in running as in life you should always dare to dream,sometimes dreams come true.

Friday, February 1, 2008

No Rain On My Parade

W/ two hours to go b4 I leave for New York I sit here a mixture of nervous excitment and stoic calm,not even the grey skies and rain outside can dampen the flickering embers of that competive fire that,s slowlybut most definitely going to work it,s self into a inferno come race time but there,s time a plenty for that here and now it,s a time for quiet calm and reflection,tonites race may only be less than a minutes worth of work but it,s been a lifetimes worth in the making.From humble origins on a old cinders track in Charlton Park where my track days began in the summer of June 1976 to now the majestic Madison Square Garden and the Millrose Games it,s been quite the odyssey......but let me tell you I,ve still got bigger mountains to conquer but like they say that,s for another time here and now it,s Millrose.
So many differing thoughts and emotions are racing around inside of me as I write this,so much I,d like to write but I,ll keep it to myself till tomorrow when I sit and reflect on what I hope will be one of the all time great moments of a great running career for now I,ll leave you w/ two for me poignant thoughts.
The first is a set of lyrics from the band Bloc Party,"The Prayer" has become something of a battle cry for me over the past twelve months and w/ an opening verse and chorus like this you,ll see why"Lord give me grace and dancing feet and the power to impress.Lord give me grace and dancing feet let me outshine them all.Is it so wrong to crave recognition?second best runner up Is it so wrong to want rewarding? To want more than is given to you,than is given to you?
Tonite make me unstoppable and I will charm I will slice,I will dazzel them w/ my wit.Tonite make me unstoppable and I will charm,I will slice I will dazzle,I will outshine them all"
Finally and I,m sure no sure no great surprize an Eamonn Coghlan reference,whilst looking through last years program to celebrate 100 years of the Millrose Games I found his entry for the 1983 meet"After missing the 1982 race w/ a stress fracture and achilles problems,the popular Eamonn Coghlan easily wins his fifth Wanamaker Mile"
Now I,m no astrologer but come on,Millrose,Eamonn,stress fracture is it me or are the stars aligning?we,re about to find out.