Friday, March 28, 2008

Your Time Is Now

W/ my bag packed and my plane ticket in hand I,ll be out the door to Boston in an hour on my way to Indoor Nationals,something that didn,t seem possible 2 weeks ago,muchless 14 weeks ago when I limped off the track in Maryland w/ a stress fracture.
It,s been a long and at times exasperating build up,my lack of blog updates since March 17th was not a result of overdoing it on St Paddys Day,more a question of if I,d even bother going to Boston,w/out going into too much detail lets just say my demons have been locked away and the old adage about life,lemoms and lemonade rings true!!!!
When I step on that track this afternoon for the 3,000m it,ll be a result of God,s grace and GP,s insistance,they never gave up on me when at times I,d given up on myself,Monday was the first day I felt I ran w/ some desire and purpose in weeks and at long last I felt my heart was into this,I thrive off of emotion,be it good or bad,for a few weeks I felt like my heart wasn,t in it which probably accounted for some of my problems,hindsight is a wonderful thing but I look back to that ill fated back to back schedule at The Armory and Ursinus on March 7th and 8th as the catalyst of my recent woes.
Again w/out going into too much detail what,s done is done,all negatives have been banished from my mind{except the hope of negative splits!!!}what I may lack in my physical form I hope to make up for w/ my heart,courage,determination and if need be sheer bloody mindedness,the goal going into Indoor Nationals was to lower my pr in the 3,000m 9.35 and in doing so hopefully lower the club record 9.25,a bronze in the 800m would feel like a gold{last year it actually was!!!}all things considered,in both races I,ll have my work cut out for me but if I didn,t think I could do it I wouldn,t be going and that mindset is a compleat 360 from 2 weeks ago when I just felt like I was going through the motions and spinning my wheels.
It remains to be seen what this weekend has in store for me,right now my focus is on the 3,000m once I,ve ran that this evening I,ll start to get my head around the 800m on Sunday and come Monday I hope to sit down and account for my weekend pr/club record/bronze or not,much has happened recently some of which I can explain some of which I can,t but ever the poster child for a lyrical quote I,ll leave you w/ this from Oasis,s "Lord Don,t Slow me Down''
"It,s alright don,t be afraid,you,ve gotta keep dreaming in the bed you,ve made"

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pale,Paddy And Proud/Shamrocks And Shenanigans

A week,they say is a long time in politics,it,s also a long time in running.Following my 7 miler last Monday I found myself laid up and under the weather untill Friday when I began to train again w/ back to back 5 milers Fri and Sat.
Sadly Sundays fartlek run didn,t quite go as planned as I just felt I couldn,t get going and the first negative thoughts re Indoor Nationals began to manifest themselves.
Going into todays 6 miler there is still a sense of uncertainty regarding Boston and Indoor Nationals and while midnight tonite marks the first deadline for entries I still have a few days to weigh up the pros and cons b4 making a final decision.
W/ a few days in the company of my sister Lynn and brother in law Chris to look forward to I hope to find that spark to galvinize me towards Boston but maybe the launch pad could be today,St Patrick,s Day.
I come from a long line of Irishmen and women,my parents,grandparents,great grandparents and beyond all proud paddies whos memories I,d somehow sully if I didn,t celebrate March 17th,and while I distance myself from the masses w/ their green John Deere tshirts and even more offensive green beer{NO self respecting Irishman or woman will be caught dead drinking green beer thank you very much!}I celebrate in my own way,The Pogues on my ipod during my run,Potato soup and Corn Beef sandwiches for dinner,washed down w/ a few Mountain Dews and The Irish In America on The History Channel,ERIN GO BRAGH.
My final words come from my all time favourite Pogues song"Thousands Are Sailing" a song dedicated to those who over the centuries have come to America to seek a better life for themselves and I dedicate it to any of my forefathers who were not as fortunate as I
"Where,re we go we celebrate the land that makes us refugees from fear of priests w/ empty plates,from guilt and weaping effigies and we dance to the music and we dance"

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Running Free

W/ only two weeks of really hard workouts left b4 Indoor Nationals it was important to jump start my week.
In keeping w/ recent weeks GP had me begin the week w/ a 7 miler,I must confess the more often I,ve ran 14 loops of Clark Park the easier it,s gotten.......also it,s good practise for the 3,000m indoors at 15 laps.
Continuing where I left off yesterday I sellected Iron Maiden as my music du jour,and why not it is afterall when I came up w/ the name for my blog.
A funny thing about the song"Running Free",it,s not particularly one of my fav Maiden songs,for that we,d be talking "Fear Of The Dark"especially the live version but obviously the title and the fact I,m a huge Maiden fan made naming my blog after it a no brainer
So there I am 6 laps into my 14 laps and the live version of "Running Free" pops up on my ipod it,s almost 9 mins long w/ Bruce Dickenson really getting the crowd into it,I,ve said numerous times in my life often a live version of what was orginally an ok album/cd track can transform a song into something else,this evening proves that point once again and by the time the final track of disc 2 of"The Essential Iron Maiden" has faded out I,m all done my 7 miler,7 miles and full of smiles, a nice way to kick off the week.

Seeing Double

While I openly welcome Daylight Savings w/ both arms,did it have to be this weekend?Already sleep deprived from the New York/Ursinus double the last thing I needed was an hours less sleep,I,m sure I,ll feel differently as the week progresses and my evening workouts are compleated in daylight but for now crawling out from under the comforter at officially 9am,technically 10am was not high up on my things to give thanks for.
Semi sleep deprived and semi grouchy from the events of Ursinus it was all I could do to get off the futon get dressed and run,rare that I hurt my hand patting myself on the back but I was proud of myself for getting out there and putting in three miles,w/ that taken care of I could look forward to the other business of the day.............................or so I thought!!!!!!
Such was my frustration when I got home yesterday that I didn,t touch base w/ GP,to be fair I didn,t want to talk w/ anybody it wasn,t a matter of ducking my coach cos I,d ran a bad race,anyway when we finally caught up w/ each other late afternoon GP asked if I,d ran this morning,I was quiet pleased to say"yes I went out and ran 3 miles"especially as I didn,t want to run at all but like all good coaches they want to get the best out of their athletes,so I was dispatched to Clark Park again for a second three miler.
I was told I could curse him out all I liked while doing so,it never came to that,just like the other week when I,d bombed on the track on my 3x1,200m the nite b4 and didn,t want to run the next day GP convinced me otherwise and I felt I benefited from that nudge in the right direction so it was back on w/ my running gear and back out the door to run another 3 miles,nobody ever said getting ready for Indoor Nationals off an abbreviated season was going to be easy!!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

A Bad Day At The Office

The Lord giveth,and the Lord taketh away,after an encouraging 4.47.01 mile at The Armory last nite I went into Saturday lunch times 800m at the Mid Atlantic C,ships at Ursinus hopeful of more improvement,2 weeks ago my back to back mile/800m in Landover and Toms River yeiled times of 4.59/2.13,having taken a 12 second chunk out of that 4.59 last nite in New York I just wanted to see some improvement on Toms River,s 2.13,not a lot to ask right..............????!!!!
Hindsight they say is a wonderful thing,so,s good officiating....both were AWOL today,it,s seldom I blast the officials but today I felt they let me down twice,how do you run the womens races per event first all event long untill the 800m and then announce the mens 800m 1st heat on the track,w/out warning,you can call it sour grapes if you like but I wasn,t the only runner still in sweats/warm ups when our race was called.
Once again I was boxed out at the start and I need to get a little feistier on the starting line,by the time I shook myself clear of the pretenders, the contenders,Kyle,Pat and Scott were long gone,I had hoped to be the caboose to that engine,instead in an increasingly frustrating sense of dejavu I was in no mans land,4th in .....2.13,to quote a Bryan Adams song"Do I Have To Say The Words"
At the risk of coming off like a smacked behind I don,t want to sit here and reel off a list of the things that went against a good race/fast time today it,s a bit like when I used to play soccer on Sundays back in the day,on the days we won it didn,t matter how often the full back kicked lumps out of me,the missed/ blown calls by the ref,the missed chances....but lose and all those things mount up.
One step forward last nite,two steps back today,w/ no more races now b4 Nationals I,ve got to put all my faith and trust in my last two weeks of training begining Monday,once the send button gets pressed on this this race will be consigned to the record books w/out reference or second thought and I,ll leave it to Kate Voegele to put things in prespective:
"Don,t look away,don,t run away,hey baby it,s only life,don,t lose your faith,don,t run away,baby it,s only life"

The Magic May Be Missing,But The Thrill Is Still The Same

I could reel off a laundry list of things my stress fracture has cost me,speed,strenght,stamina,confidence and somewhere on that list would also be running at my beloved Armory in New York City.
It,s a little over two years now since I made my Armory debut at the MAC C,ships a love affair began that nite that has since continued,some of my best races and best times have been ran on this track and tonite saw me belatedly make my way upto 168th St and Fort Washington for a final chance to race there this indoor season.
I opted for the mile dispite the fact I,m not racing the mile in Boston at Indoor Nationals in three weeks time,GP has always supported my choice to run the 3,000m/800m double at Nationals and when we first began to plan for that right after Millrose it was jointly felt that of my 4 pre Nationals races/2 back to back meets that keeping the mile in there would serve it,s purpose in prep for the unique double I want to take on.....besides I love running the mile......and running an indoor mile...........................
Coming off of a semi disappointing 4.59 mile in Landover 2 weeks ago I was looking for a major improvement and seeded myself at 4.40 which earnt me 9th seed of 12 runners in the opening heat,using the california start I was on the outside of the track from the gun b4 the brake line just off the first bend,as the opening lap shook it,s self out I was probably in 7th going into the second turn,a 35 sec opening lap and it felt comfortable,ditto for a second 35 sec 200m,I,m not 100% sure of my 600m split but I went through 800m in 2.20,averaging 35 secs per lap.
From here on in it began to get a little tougher,I was not only relegated to 8th but then found myself cast adrift in no mans land again just like Landover 2 weeks ago,I don,t recall my final 4 splits,I do recall not having the will to fight for 8th spot going down the back straight which is SO NOT ME,minor places be damned I,m used to be able to dig deep at the business end of a race but I,m just not there yet........more,s the pity.
9th in 4.47.01 a 12 second improvement on Landover and the feeling I am at least moving forward,albeit slower than I would hope for,my 4.47.01 was at least good enough for a bronze in my age group so thankfully I didn,t leave The Armory or NYC empty handed.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Running Around{Clark Park}W/ Missy Higgins

Nice easy day b4 the serious stuff this weekend,another glorious day w/ the weather and while I don,t think old man winter is done w/ us just yet it,s hard not to get excited about spring being just around the corner,I,ll willingly lose an an hour of sleep this Sunday to gain an extra hour of daylite in the evenings.
After a spate of missed opportunties I look to be heading to my first gig of the year on Tuesday,Missy Higgins at World Cafe Live hence why she was on my ipod this evening,there,s something quite relaxing about her piano driven songs that made for ideal listening on such an easy run,however w/ the tempo going up several notches tomorrow in New York and again Saturday in Ursinus I doubt she,ll get much of a look in on my ipod again till Sunday when I look to ease my way through whatever recovery run GP has in mind for me.
Tomorrow excites me,New York,The Armory,so often a big nite for me last season,having been denied the chance to race there this season untill now the second to last meet available I have alot of making up to do,here,s hoping it,s a spectacular nite

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Pain Is Temporary,Glory Lasts Forever

W/ the first of my two races this weekend falling on Friday GP felt we needed to be back at it again today w/ an easier day tomorrow,he,s been preaching the "running when you,re tired"gospel for the past week and I,m begining to feel the benefits.
Todays bill o fare was a repeat of Fridays mile and a half warm up,half mile of striders,two miles of pick ups and mile cool down,dispite my legs feeling a little sore from yesterday I was eager to get over to Clark Park this afternoon and have at it,another sign that I,m getting back to the old me,it,s not like I,d dreaded my recent runs far from it after 5 weeks of inactivity I was chomping at the bit to get out there again and train but the fact that in the begining my times were slow and my results seemed to be taking forever to shine through meant it wasn,t always fun,now having I believe turned a corner I have a renewed vigor for my workouts.
W/ ipod at the ready and Live,s "Throwing Copper" as my soundtrack I launched into my mile and a half warm up,had to remind myself this was a warm up and not get too carried away as "Selling The Drama" and "I Alone" had me pumped.
My half mile of strides and opening mile of pick ups came during "Lightning Crashes" I,d forgotten how good this album was and when "All Over You" and "Shit Towne" saw me through the second mile I was feeling winded but in a good way,somehow todays 2 miles of 5 second pick ups felt better than Fridays.
I do believe the three S,s Strenght,Speed and Stamina are working there way back,but also mentally I,m in a much better place than I was a week ago and the fact the suns been out and the temps have gone up this week also helps.
An easy mile cool down as"Stage" and "Waitress" pushed me through the final two loops and I was done,I was still loving "Throwing Copper" so much I listened to the final three tracks"Pillar Of Davidson""White Discussion" and "Untitled" on the walk home and after I,d gotten indoors,an inspired choice to download yesterday if I do say so myself.
A nice easy three miler tomorrow,mile to warm up,mile of strides,mile to cool down,unlike two weeks ago when I wasn,t sure how I should feel going into my races this weekend I,m psyched and the fact Friday,s at The Armory to begin w/and is also the mile,well let,s just say U2,s "New York" and The Chieftains "Rocky Road To Dublin" will be getting played alot on my pod between now and race time Friday evening.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Never Overlook The Little Things

After Mondays rest day it was back out today, a tempo workout,2 miles to warm up,a mile of strides,600m,1,200m,600m,1,200m,600m strides and a mile and a half to round things out to a nice even 7 miles.
When GP first floated this workout I thought he,d want me to do it on the track but he was happy for me to do it around Clark Park even if it meant me "eyeballing" what I thought would be 600m and 1,200m.I,ve said more than once it,s not like I,ve gone around the lower loop of Clark Park w/ a measuring wheel from Home Depot,it,s roughly half a mile or 800m so figured what would make 600m from the where I start my loops and likewise for a 1,200m.
Conditions were great,I could,ve gone w/ shorts and a t shirt but keeping in mind how I got sick b4 last years Indoor Nationals I opted to go w/ my jacket and warm up bottoms,I feel like I,m starting to round into form right now the last thing I need is to get sick and lose even more valuable training time.
Also tonite I ditched my ipod,it felt I needed to focus on my workout,this wasn,t a lose your self in your music put in the miles workout this was a serious tempo workout,I even broke out the stop watch to count off my 3 minute recoverys between 600m and 1,200m runs.
After an easy 2 miles to get loose and a mile of strides it was down to business,GP had stressed form and strenght were the keys and not to worry about time,probably why it was easier to conduct this workout here rather than the track,I felt great on my opening 600m,on Sunday I felt for the first time since my injury that I wanted to dig deep both mentally and physcally,I feel like I,m starting to break through that glass ceiling.
My 1,200m probably wasn,t as prolific as my 600m in terms of speed/pace but I hope the effort was there,head straight,arms and legs pumping,I,ve noticed since Tom,s River 2 Sundays ago I,m getting up on my toes again,alot of the tell tale signs are starting to shine through.
Another solid 600m again I felt like I could dig deep,it should be inherent in my paddy dna to dig I come from a long line of ditch diggers and laborers,after the rattle the next thing we master is a shovel!!!
1.200m,again maybe not as fast as my 600m but when it came to "go time" inside the final 100m the instinct to drive and dig deep was there,little by little I,m getting there.
I,d almost forgotten about the 600m strides,I got done w/ my last 1,200m and started to think about my mile and a half cool down,good job I,d brought my piece of paper w/ the workout written down w/ me.
W/ all my workout done I was able reflect on a good evenings work and the hope that this weekend will see faster times in the mile and 800m in New York and Ursinus than two weeks ago in Landover and Tom,s River.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Turning The Corner I Hope

Having learnt a vital lesson two weeks ago I opted to go straight to Roxboro this morning to get my track workout in,it,s a long way to go and makes for a long day{left home at 9.20am,returned at 1.40pm but hey,it,s like I often say, at Nationals do you want to be on the podium or standing next to it???}.
Got to the track by 11am,conditions were favourable,sunny and mild,mild enough to shead one layer of clothing for once.
Following my stretches and mile warm up I was ready for business 3 in and out 800m repeats,starter for ten,fingers on the buzzers,no conferring{old University Challenge reference}46/36
GP.s request was to take the first 200m easy to try and hit that 46 second mark,I was gobsmacked to clock 39 seconds because I thought I was being more conservative than that,threw in a 37 second second 200 only a second off pace b4 manging a 44 second third 200 and rounded out the first repeat w/ a 34 second 200m.
3 min recovery and time to have at it again only this time it was 45/35,opened w/ a 43 a little faster than scheduled but hopefully I wouldn,t pay for it later,nor did I want to pay for my 34 second 2nd 200m.Oops!!proving I,m often a terrible judge of pace I slowed down a tad too much on my 3rd 200m,clunk!!51 seconds b4 flying to a 33 second closing 200m at least I felt like I was moving for a change on a repeat.Another 3 minute recovery and off to the final repeat 44/34. Brisk again on the opener 42 seconds followed by a 36 second second 200m,did it again on my third 200m 49 seconds slowed down but slowed too much b4 kicking it up a notch to notch a closing 200m of 34 secs,however my day was not yet done following a 10 minute recovery I had an all out 500m to conduct,GP,s instructions were 'put it all on the line'....I,m paraphrasing slightly but you get my jist I think!!!! wanted a 63 at 400m and 1.18 at 500m,but had to settle for 1.11 and 1.29 but it wasn,t for the want of trying let me tell you,today I walked off the track smiling unlike Wednesday when I thought I,d been a bit premature in booking my flight to Boston.Early March was when GP felt we,d turn the corner and I,m hoping this is the day,we,ll see next week but for now I want to enjoy today,the day I felt like I was getting back to the old me.

Thank You,re Mother And Get It Over W/

Following my early morning 5 miler it was time to get semi suited and booted and make my way to PACTC,S awards lunch where I had the honour of being named male runner of the year,following in the foot steps of Tom De Schriver,Chuck{twice}and Seebs,illustrious company and I hope this years winner will feel likewise when they get to pick up the award next year.
Blame it on any number of reasons but I chose not to give a speech when I got my award,I didn,t feel like I wanted to shout to be heard over the big screen tvs and other diners so I took a leaf out of one of Bono,s famous quotes and accepted my award and sat down.
Had I,ve made the speech I had hope to make these are the people I would,ve liked to have thanked.
Dave Thomas....yes dispite the fact after almost 3 years Dave still manages to mispronounce my last name I owe a debt to Dave and all the work he puts into PACTC, alot of great things have come from my time w/ PAC.
To all the men and women who,ve ran road and off road races for PAC it,s your efforts that make us a perenial top three finisher in the road grand prix series and winners of the off road series,those points equate to dollars which mean we can have awards lunches etc,the club can reimburse those of us who choose to go to Nationals and when Chuck puts together a relay on the track Dave cuts a cheque so thank you one and all for your efforts throughout the season.
To my track team mates,for every meet we,ve gone to,for each repeat session we,ve done on the track I owe you all so much,I especially want to single out Chuck,Scott and Ray for traveling w/ me and or rooming w/ me on numerous trips,I could,ve done it alone.....but where,s the fun in that?
To my mother and father Eileen and Kevin,thanks for the love and support from across the ocean and from heaven,I may have failed you in so many other areas of my life but as a runner I hope I,ve made you both proud.
Seebs I don,t thank you enough for allowing me to live in the basement of your house but it,s no coincidence I,ve earnt awards etc since I,m a stones throw from Franklin Field and Clark Park.
Coach GP,I,ve said it b4 but I,ll say it again,Steve Ovett had Harry Wilson,Seb Coe had his dad Peter Coe,Eamonn had Jumbo Elliott and I have GP.
God,w/out him I,d have nothing,I,ve always said my running is a god given talent,between my natural ability,GP,s coaching and God,s blessing I am where I am these days.
Eamonn Coghlan{if you didn,t see this coming you either don,t know me or have never read my blog}my career began in the summer of 76 by which time "The Chairman" was already making a name for himself at Villanova,from the time I saw him run for Ireland at the 76 Olympics I was a fan,if ever there was someone I wanted to idolize it was Eamonn.