Monday, June 30, 2008

Still The Best Part Of My Day

There was a time not so long ago that a bad day at work would be instantly dealt w/ by a run home,that was b4 I got serious about track and running on the roads became a thing of the past,these days I have to temper my temper till I get home than it,s off to Franklin Field or Clark Park,tonite I had to wait a little longer as I had post work chores that needed my instant attention b4 I got home, into my running gear and cranked out a training run.
It almost felt a shame that as tomorrow,s a race this evening was only an easy 3 miler,I could,ve used a 5 miler to blow off some of the angst and anger today had placed squarely upon my shoulders but I,ll be sure to save something for roughly 6.30pm when the gun goes off tomorrow nite for the mile,I,m hoping to run a fast time time,based on recent 1,500m times a 4.30 is not out of the question,I,ll seed myself at 4.35 and hope that conditions and compitition will afford me a decent crack at a fast mile time.
Chances are it,ll be late when I return from Plymouth Whitemarsh tomorrow nite so a blog entry is pushing it but if the stars align and I get a brisk mile time under my belt I may say what the hell and burn the midnite oil to blog it,stay tuned to see how it plays out.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

That,s Just Sick

I don,t know what else to say about this mornings 4x1 mile repeats other than @#$%! ada!!!!!!!
I was up by 8.30am threw my morning java into my to go mug and headed upto 52nd St to cop the 52 which drops me right off at 54th and Overbrook for St Joes.
Uh oh!!! I could see as I walked to the track that the infield was all ripped up and as I entered through the gates I read the sign that the track was closed till September...................bugger!!!!
All was not lost however Chuck was already there and he suggested Chestnut Hill or Roxboro,I voted for Chestnut Hill,till Neil said Lower Marion which was closer still....Lower Marion it was,w/out either Chuck or Neil today I,d have been up the creek w/out the proverbial paddle,Franklin Field wouldn,t open till 12pm and I wanted to be done by then period,never mind the heat,it was already 82 degrees at 10am and as Neil pointed out it,s always several degrees hotter on the track.
Stretches and mile warm up taken care of it was mile repeat time it was agreed ahead of time I,d run mine at my own pace and Neil and Chuck would work together at their pace,probably a prudent move since I went through the opening 400m in 65 seconds!!!!just as I,m so often prone to do I come out of the gate all guns firing,it,s not a calculated thing on my part,please nobody turns around and says"I think I,ll run the first lap in 65 seconds.
2.17 at 800m a 1.12 lap followed by a 1.14 third lap 3.31 at 1,200m b4 closing in 1.11 to clock a 4.42.73,................that,s just wrong!!!!!
Where did I go from here?I still had three more mile repeats to do it was going to be interesting to see how I,d cope.
69 seconds for the opening 400m,followed by splits of 1.16,1.18,1.15,4.58.18 my first two miles both sub 5.
In time my aim is to go out that hard and be able to hold on,I,m not there yet but I believe in time w/ the right amount of training and discipline I will get there,I wasn,t entertaining notions of all sub 5s today but in the words of The Cure"Maybe Someday"
If I wanted the 4th and final mile to be brisk I was going to have to take a little off the third mile,1.13,1.18,1.20,1.15,5.06.87,it,s hard to be picky about a 5.06 mile being your slowest!!!!
One last mile,I knew just like that second 1,000m the other nite,attack it from the first bend and believe you could go sub 5,1.10 at 400m,encouraging,2.28 at 800m,a 1.18 split close two my second mile splits when I went 4.58.18.
Down the back straight of lap three I told myself to get ready to kick w/ 200m to go on the final lap,3.48 at the bell a 1.20,a final lap of 1.12 or under would get me sub 5,down the back straight I began to lenghten my stride I wasn,t going to have a blistering kick on this last lap but if I could drive and keep driving I,d be close.
Off the final turn and the lenght of the straight away between me and the finish I drove w/ everything I had...............a 1.11 lap,4.59.49,YEAH BABY!!!!.
Last summer post Nationals,pre 5th Ave I remember doing mile repeats w/ Matt at Franklin Field and going 5.07.22,5.06.81,5.09.12,5.02.11 which was bloody impressive,but this this morning was a beast of a different colour.
When GP and I spoke post workout he was full of praise for me,I thought he might,ve questioned the "wisdom"of going out in 4.42.73 for the opener but he said it matches the level of my intentions for where I want to go over the next few years.
Post workout I conducted my mile cool down,30 miles for the week thanks to 6 miles today,a rest day tomorrow and a well earnt one I feel this week,Tuesdays 6x600m 6/6 sub 1.45s,Thursdays 2x1,000m 2.53.31-2.50.96 and todays mile repeats,3/4 at sub 5.
My workouts for the week are done,my blog is done,my food shopping is done,all that remains is to cook a !@#* off bowl of Chicken and Rice{I,m a Irishman remember,we don,t do small measures it,s not in our dna!!!!} kick back feet up and cop the Olympic Trials,Maria Mckee once sang"Life Is Sweet"this week it has been,but Monday kicks off a whole new one and I need to be sure I,m ready to meet it head on.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Shift In Gear

Following last nites heroics on the track it was time to drop down a gear this evening to take care of a easy 5 mile recovery run,w/ a 4x1 mile repeat session on tap for the morning not to mention the heat this afternoon it wasn,t a hard option to drop the pace.
It felt strange to be done so early on a Friday,I don,t know why,I,ve had Saturday meets where obviously my Friday run was an easy 3 miler,Henderson was a Friday meet,I guess my Mon,Wed,Fri rotation made it feel strange not to be on the track this evening,last Friday I was on the track but w/ my schedule about to get thrown for a loop it,ll be July 25th b4 I next grace the track for a Friday workout.
It,s been a while since I got up early on a Saturday for a track workout but tomorrow and next Saturday it,s mile repeats at St Joes,I recall hitting St Joes early on Sat June 16th last year for a set of mile repeats and clocking what was then a fast set,5.14.90,5.12.10,5.07.59,5.06.77,my most recent mile repeats were on May 25th when I ran 4.55.69,5.07.66,5.06.13,5.06.63,let,s see what tomorrow brings

Thursday, June 26, 2008

One Workout At A Time

Tonite I hoped to buck a recent trend of starting out hard and then hanging on for my second 1,000,I just needed to shave a little off that first repeat.
Conditions were favourable,warm but not excessivly hot or humid and not too much wind,following my stretches and warm up it was time to go for it.
Having opened in recent weeks w/ laps of 67/68 seconds it was pleasing to clock a 1.10,in the general scheme of things this was right on pace,I followed up w/ a 1.11 split to clock 2.21 at 800m and threw in a respectable 32 second closing 200m,2.53.31.
I knew the first bend of the second 1,000m would set the tone for the entire 1,000m too timid and I,d be chasing the game so from the starting line into the first turn I attacked the turn and was rewarded w/ a 69 second opening 400m,now the trick was to hold onto that pace.
1.12 for my second lap,remarkably another 2.21 800m,if I,d been pleased w/ my 32 second closing 200m on repeat#1 I was about to become gob smacked...........29 seconds...jaysus,2.50.96.
Not only my fastest set of 1,000s but also I managed to run my second 1,000 faster than my first.
Sadly due to my schedule it,ll be almost a month b4 my next 2x1,000m repeat but this evenings times and performance will keep me going till July 23rd

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

End Of The Line/Pretending To See The Future

Obviously I,m disappointed at Turkey's defeat in the semi finals of Euro 08 this afternoon,it,s been one hell of a ride and I feel long after Sundays final people will still be talking about Turkey's improbable run to the semis a la the 2002 World Cup when they reached the semi finals also.
Throughout this tournament not only did Turkey represent the"little engine that could"mentallity but they played w/ a desire and passion and above all heart of a lion,that,s what makes them so attractive to me,desire,heart passion,three components I bring in spades to my running,I look forward to Turkey,s World Cup quallifying campaign begining in September......judging from their performances in Euro 08 their opponents won,t!!!!
Following last nites exploits on the track an easy 5 miler was on tap.
Post run GP sat and talked at lenght over the phone for the first time in a few months,I shared my vision for my three year plan to go to Sacramento in 2011 and I hope return a World Champion.
Right now my focus is on Spokane and Spokane only,5th Ave Mile is on the horizon but I can,t begin to focus on that till after the 1,500m final at Nationals but I have to have one eye on Lathi Finland, July 28th marks a year till next years World Masters,a wise man once wrote"the future is as uncertain as it is unwritten"I believe you make/write your own history,for me I hope it,s very much a work in progress,the next chapter is tomorrows 2x1,100m repeats at Franklin Field.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Gary Sobers

Ok to fully appreciate the title I need to give most of you a Cricket 101 lesson,pencils at the ready there may be a test at the end!!!
The highest score you can make in cricket is a six,kind of like a baseball home run,the batsman must hit the ball out over the boundry w/out it touching the ground,still w/ me....good,a bowler gets six balls per over,way back in the late 60s,maybe early 70s Gary Sobers became the first cricketer ever to hit six sixs off an over,I,m not sure if that feat has ever been duplicated I,m not
Wisden{another cricket reference,Wisden is the Cricket bible if you like}but it,s one of those great sporting landmarks................and what has this got to do w/ running you ask?..............well tonite I went six for six in my quest to get my 6x600m repeats all under 1.45...............hence the Gary Sobers reference.
Three weeks ago thanks to having Neil to push me I went 5/6 on my repeats,the funny thing was going into that repeat I was still using 1.50 as my target time,that evening convinced me to drop my target time to 1.45,two weeks ago on a solo mission I went 3/6,last week again flying solo I went 4/6 so when Neil offered to join me tonite I hoped to at least go 5/6.
Conditions were warm when we got under way at 6pm,jesus I did it again,having Neil to push me I opened w/ a brisk 64 second 400m b4 easing up over the closing 200m to clock a 35 sec split,1.39.77,the first thing I did was say sorry to Neil I did not mean to go out that fast but as I told Neil that 64 didn,t phase me,I,ve gotten used to fast opening 400s on my first 600.
Frankly the 66 second 4oom on repeat #2 surprized me too,I knew to ease down on the closing 200m and threw in a 36 second 200m,1.42.32,so far so good.
I wanted 68 second splits at 400m and got one on #3,a 35 second closing 200m put me at 1.43.30,could I hold onto this pace for three more 600s?
68 seconds again followed by a 34 200m,1.42.43, four for four,this is where the wheels fell off last week but tonite I was running evenly where as last week each opening 400m split crept up each repeat.
Neil had pulled up at 500m on repeat #4 and elected to sit out #5,I was confident of getting through this one on my own inside 1.45,another 68 second 400m followed by a 33 second 200m,1.41.04,faster than my last three splits,5/6,did I have it for one more?
At the 200m mark I was feeling heavy legged from the knees down,approaching the 400m mark Neil drew along side me,would I respond or fold?67 seconds at 400m,it was there for the taking if I could dredge up every last ounce of energy I had,again Neil drew along side me w/ 100m to go and again I responded switching to lane 6 so as not to be forced to slow down w/ two runners ahead of me I drove to the line 33 seconds 1.40.23, six for six but unlike Gary Sobers final shot which cleared the boundry I just fell to the track after crossing the finish line.
I owe Neil big time for tonite,having him there period was huge but never more so on that final repeat.
W/my rotation about to take another twist next week due to a Tuesday meet it,ll be Thursday b4 I next take on a 6x600m repeat,Neil won,t be available to help me so I,ll have to try and go six for six alone,I love a challenge and I love going 6/6,bring it on!!!

Monday, June 23, 2008

All Change

Obviously off of a Sunday race today was a recovery run,it felt strange not heading down to Franklin Field for my 6x600m on a Monday but that,s onething I,m gonna have to get used to for the next few weeks.
Next week and the following week I have Tuesday meets which means an easy three miler on the Monday,the following week I,ll be in Ireland so it,s July 21st and 28th b4 my schedule returns to the tried and tested Mon,Wed,Fri rotation............just in time for Nationals!!!!.
I enjoyed this evening 5 miler after a long weekend it was nice to have an easy run tonite b4 amping things up again tomorrow w/ a visit to "The Death Zone"6x600m @1.45 per repeat.
Neil has offered to join me again,the last time we did 6x600s I went 5/6 in my 1.45 and under quest I look forward to hopefully going one better tomorrow.

New York Trip

By my own admission I work hard,train hard and when the chance comes along play hard,the latter doesn,t present it,s self too often so when this weekend came along and presented me w/ the chance of a New York double header The Cure at Radio City Music Hall Saturday nite and the MAC C,ships at Ichan Stadium Sunday morning I pulled out all the stops to make it happen.
Since this is a running blog I won,t go into too much detail re The Cure @ Radio City Music Hall,I will say they were AWESOME,having seen them on the second nite of this tour here in Philly on May 10th,that nite they played for close to three hours performed 35 songs,23 of which made up their set followed by 3 encores and a futher 12 songs I had an idea what to expect some six weeks later.
I got a 2hr 55 min gig,their set was 2 hrs long w/ 25 songs followed by three encores consisting of 10 songs w/ such a major back catalogue of material it,s always dangerous to go into any show saying I want to hear this this and this,w/ The Cure I always hope to hear three songs"Strange Day""Disintegration" and "A Forest"tonite I got"A Forest"the first song of their third encore,a song they didn,t sing here in Philly,on the subject of which of the 70 songs they sung here six weeks ago and this weekend in New York they only repeated 20 at both shows.
Traditionally The Cure tour every four years,it may take that long for me to recover from both shows on this tour!!!!!
Off of a short nites sleep roughly five hours it was up at 7.30am Sunday morning to get over to Randalls Island and Ichan Stadium,on a morning I sooooooooooooo needed a cup of coffee to jump start my engine I had the misfortune of getting quiet possibly the worst cup of coffee I,ve ever had the misfortune to try and drink,how bad was it? I poured 3/4s of it into a trash can b4 catching the bus from 125th and Lexington Ave to Ichan Stadium.
I arrived at Ichan at 8.20am Chuck was already there to run his 3,000m which was the second event on the schedule,the 800m wasn,t till later which gave me time to relax a little, say hello to the various Central Park Track Club runners I know from my numerous races in New York and also get reaquainted w/ GP.
W/out going into major detail GP and I have just been on diferent wave lenghts of late,the greatest compliament I can pay him is that I,m still using his workouts it remaims to be seen what our futures hold in terms of continuing to work together in the near future and or long term but for one morning it felt good to shoot the proverbial,warm up together and take each others splits{GP ran in the 1,500m,the winning time was 4.08 and I watched from the stand wondering what if I,d opted for the 1,500m today,would I,ve broken the sub 4.10 mark in that race?a question for another day}
The 800m finally got called,three heats,I opted against running in the Masters race as I felt it would,ve been detremental to both the field and myself to try and run a 2.03 against a field that at best might muster a 2.10 and I,m not trying to be arrogent when I say that,Mike Potter from CPTC wished me luck in the open race"do it for us masters runners"and another CPTC Masters runner thanked me for moving up to the open heat"I hear you,re a killer at 800m"he said"yeah I,m running 2.03 this season" I replied"I think 2.23 will win our heat" he responded.
I got seeded 8th of 9 in heat 2 w/ my 2.03 that should give you an idea of the level of opposition I had elected to take on,Chris Potter another CPTC runner I,ve had the privalige to race several times over the past 18 months also moved up from the Masters field.
Once again my reaction to the gun was good and I got a clear start,thankfully not a repeat of my last 800m race at Henderson I was able to position myself on the outside of lane one coming off the first turn and settled into my stride right away.
Third at the bell I made a point to look up at the clock on the scoreboard 59 seconds,for the third time this season I,ve gone thro the bell in 59 seconds,12 months ago that might,ve phased me,these days I don,t even blink.
Coming off the turn Chris Potter passed me I knew Chris had ran a 2.02 this season and at the start of the race I,d toyed w/ the idea of tracking Chris early on however I got such a good start to my race that notion bit the dust.The back straight at Ichan is tough,you don,t notice it on the opening lap but anything from 800m upwards you can,t help but feel the wind coming up off the Hudson River,I didn,t want to get boxed in on the rail so after Chris passed me I moved out to the outside of lane one in case somebody came up along side of me,passing 200m to go I moved by Chris to reclaim 3rd and watched the lead two runners trade places w/ each other,I felt I might catch one if not both of them,off the final turn I got caught by a CPTC runner and just b4 the finish line another runner just edged me,believe me I,m not happy that two guys caught me b4 the line but considering I,m almost 45 and they,re however young they are I can,t be too hard on myself.
5th in 2.02.45 a seasons best and my second fastest ever 800m,two weeks in a row I,ve turned in #2 performances on my all time list,job done,I ,d used NJ C,ships and MAC C,ships to post good seed times for Nationals and that,s what I got.
W/ another six week of training still to come I feel I,m in great shape for Nationals,I still have two low key meets to come at Plymouth Whitemarsh next week and the week after and that,ll probably be my lot for races prior to Spokane.
All in all a great weekend.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Turkish Delight

It was a toss up between Selling The Drama or Turkish Delight for todays title,either would,ve worked,given my love of all things plan b it,s no surprize Turkish Delight won out in the end.
What can I say about todays game?having come from behind vs Switzerland and then even more dramatically vs Czech Rep it seemed the gig was up today,0.0 after 90 mins and so to extra time in which Turkey looked the better side in the 118 minute of the 120 to be played, back up keeper Rustu made a howler of an error to gift Croatia a goal that looked to have sealed their quote Liz Taylor in an old White Diamonds advert"not so fast von ryan"w/ 120 mins on the clock and w/ extra time going into added time Turkey won a free kick inside it,s own half,Rustu the goat 90 seconds earlier punted the ball up field into the Croatian peanaly area and up popped Senturk the "lifeguard" as he,s known for his ability to come off the bench and save left hand corner..................1.1..............''GOODNITE VIENNA!!!
The Turks held their nerve in the penalty shoot out converting all three as Croatia missed two of their first three spot kicks and when Rustu saved the 4th it was all over Turkey advance into Wednesdays semi final vs favourites Germany,most have the Germans into the final already,Turkey weren,t expected to beat Czech Rep or Croatia but here they are into the semis,I wouldn,t write them off just yet,nor would I write them off if they go a goal down to Germany in the semis............even if Germany scored in the 90th minute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Suitable fired up from that I headed to Franklin Field for my 2x1,000m repeats,conditions were near ideal warm and sunny,not too hot next to no wind and almost the entire track to myself.
After my stretches and extended warm up{losing out on my mile repeats Wednesday put me a mile behind schedule however I figured an extra lap on my warm up and extra lap on my cool down plus Sundays race would along w/ an easy 3 miler tomorrow plus a mile warm up and mile cool down Sunday round me out to my weekly 30 miles}it was have at it time,two weeks ago in the pouring rain I went 2.52.02-2.54.09 what could I do tonite?
Opening w/ a 68 second first 400m I was confident of a fast split,2.19 at 800m a 1.11 lap I powered to a 31 second closing 200m,2.50.75 my fastest ever 1,000m repeat.
It would,ve been easy to have eased up given I have a race Sunday morning but I opted to give it my all again on repeat #2,opening w/ a 1.11 400m,I then believe it or not clocked another 1.11 lap,2.22 at 800m b4 closing in 32 seconds for a 2.54.99 split,my best ever set of 1,000s.
Hopefully Sunday there,ll still be fuel in the tank to pop out a fast 800m,w/ seven weeks to go still till Nationals I believe I can still get faster.
Chances are tomorrow there won,t be time to blog an entry b4 heading upto New York so it,ll be Sunday evening b4 I sit here again and hopefully regale you all w/ tales of my weekend in NYC,The Cure and the MAC C,ships.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Apologies for no blog entries Tuesday or Wednesday,Tuesdays easy 5 miler was followed by a quick shower and shave a hurried bite to eat and off out the door to the Camden riverfront to catch Iron Maiden in concert.
Since this is a running blog and not a music blog I,ll keep the Maiden points short and to the point,1 THEY ROCK!!!,2 w/out Iron Maiden there,d be no Kevinrunningfree,sure I,d still have a blog but w/ a different title,and three watching Bruce and the fellas the other nite I was amazed at their energy,here,s a band almost 30 years into it,s career who,s members are in their late 40s early 50s and they still have incredible energy.
After an evening of throwing devil horn salutes and playing a mean air guitar it was home to catch my beloved Boston Celtics capture their first NBA title in 22 years{funny thing their last title came in 86,I moved to America in 87................emm.............}anyways big ups and mad props to boys in green,when they traded for KG and Ray Allen to add to Paul Pierce I though NBA champs in 2 or 3 seasons,Eastern Conference this year NBA Finals next year,NBA Champs the following year...............shows what I know!!!,much celebrating from Beantown to the Barrowlands the home of my beloved Glasgow Celtic,the reason I fell in love w/ the Boston Celtics is that my first ever soccer kit was a Glasgow Celtic kit the same reason why I also root for the San Antonio Spurs after my love of Tottenham Hotspurs.
Wedneday,Happy B,day Hobbes,the old kitty celebrated his 14th b,day yesterday,I,ve had "his nibs"since he was 6 months old I,ve watched him mature from a rambuncious kitten to a mellow cat still prone to the odd mad half hour or so when Cat Nip or Tuna is involved but on the whole he,s a good cat and an even greater companion to me all these years,as my mother loves to point out"not many humans put up w/ you for 14 years"...................thanks mum!!!
Since this is a running blog and not a Hobbes blog.....................I had planned to hit the track for an all to rare 4x1 mile repeat workout,sadly my mile repeats often give way to my race schedule as has been the case over the last 3 weeks however w/ my schedule presenting me w/ a rare Sunday meet I thought I,d take advantage of this tonite and get some mile repeats in..........upon arrival at Franklin Field I was turned away due to some stinkin baseball camp,ger!!!!!so much for the best laid plans of mice and men.
I had to settle for a 5 miler around Clark Park,thanks to my ipod I had some live Iron Maiden to get me well and truly jacked up and each loop saw me throw in some substanstial bursts of speed making sure this was not your run of the mill easy 5 miler,I unleashed a closing 200m kick finish that was Coghlanesque if I do say so myself as the closing bars of "Running Free" helped drive me to the finish.
Thursday an easy 5 miler today,tempted as I was to chance my arm and see if Franklin Field was available I figured I,d stick to my Mon,Wed,Fri,Sun rotation,fingers crossed there,s no baseball camp tomorrow.
My planned NY Trip weekend is still on tap,The Cure Saturday nite at Radio City Music Hall followed by the 800m at Ichan Stadium on Randalls Island in the MAC C,ships Sunday morning, add the ongoing European Championships{GO TURKEY!!!}and the release of the new Coldplay cd it,s been quite the week for me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Erica and Running,My First Love And My True Love

When I was first getting sober some twenty years ago my counselor often refered to me as "the history major"for my knack of remembering dates and anniversaries.
At certain points in each year Erica anniversaries crop up and tend to dictate my mood/moods for a week or so,June 16th is one of the bigger ones,if it was just her b,day I think the day would pass just like any other...........however back in 1985 on Erica,s 21st b,day we got engaged and that,s why for the past few years the week leading upto June 16th has seen me act like the proverbial "bear w/ a sore head",most casual observers can,t tell I,m extra testy that week,at best I,m as cuddly as a porcupine,at my worst I,m as pleasent as I,ve been told but the fact of the matter is 23 years from our engagement and almost 20years from our subsequent divorce I don,t think I,m ever likely to find a love like the one I had w/ Erica and if your wondering what this has to do w/ running I,m coming to that.
Erica was my first love and probably the reason why after all these years I still carry an olympic size torch for her,running is the thing I love more than anything else in the world,in the general scheme of life it,s running,music,soccer, the holy or unholy trilogy depending on how you look at it and at a time when things I,d hoped would happen haven,t it,s been easy to commit myself heart,body,soul and mind to the grand plan of getting ready to step upto the next level w/ my running.
Over the next three years my focus will be on the World Masters C,ships in Sacramento in July of 2011,it,s a long way off but journeys have to begin somewhere so here and now sees the start of "The Master Plan"
6x600m tonite to kick the week off,it was looking a bit iffey there for a while during my warm up and stretches if I,d get the repeat in b4 the heavens opened,having conducted 2 2x1,000m repeats in the rain this summer already I,m no stranger to the heavens opening on me,for tonite at least the weather gods smiled on me.
Opting to continue w/ my new target time of 1.45 for my 600s I kicked off in a comfortable manner,68 seconds for the opening 400m followed by a 34 second closing 200m to clock 1.42.20,start as you mean to go on.
1.10/32 for the second repeat,1.42.59,if I could just hold onto this pace throughout the workout I,d be golden.
1.11/31-1.42.82 jaysus talk about consistant,my only concern was my opening 400m split was creeping up each repeat,forcing me to crank out the closing 200m to keep inside the target pace.
1.12/32-1.44.56,just inside,at least I,d bettered last weeks 3/6 tally and was still on pace to equal my previous weeks effort when I went 5/6 but I could tell my legs were beging to feel heavier than when I started out.
1.14/33-1.47.38................agh!!!!! repeat#5 is so often the fatherless child of repeats on the 6x600m, my feeling is providing you can get through the 5th intact sheer will and determination not to mention some guts and sheer bloody mindedness will carry you through the 6th repeat,fail at the 5th and you,re a little deflated going into the 6th and final repeat.
1.16/36-1.52.15.....thud the sound of the wheels falling off...........johnny nollocks,what can I say I gave it my all and came up short,however I take pride in the fact I,ve stepped up my "Death Zone" target time to 1.45,there was nothing to be gained by keeping it at 1.50 and while I,m a tad disappointed to fall short of my 6/6 I,m confident in time it,ll come,just as 6/6 at 1.50 took time back in the begining of my 6x600m repeats.
It would be remiss of my not to close w/out some further mention of Erica on her 43rd b,day,believe my when I say "Titch"where ever you are I hope you,re happy and please know I,ll always hold a place in my heart for you.
Of the several songs that always remind of her I pluck this one from the several "Songs In The Key Of E"
"There,s nothing I can say there,s nothing left to do,it,s just that lately I feel so damn lonely when I think of you
And it may seem selfish now but I,ll hold onto the memory untill all this fear is washed away
Do you believe in love?do you believe in life? cos I believe a little part of you inside of me will never die"
"Do You Believe In Shame"
Duran Duran

Saturday, June 14, 2008

When Irish Eyes Are Metric Miling

"They said it,d be something special in New Jersey"
Bono when U2 played The Medowlands in 87 on The Joshua Tree Tour.
For the third time in three years a spectacular performance at the New Jersey C,ships for yours truly.
Going into todays race I was hopefully but not over confident of my chances,it,s been a long week since my bumpy ride in the 800m at West Chester last Friday followed hard on the heals by 4 days of extreme heat which put the kybosh on a repeat workout Monday or Tuesday,and when I finaly did hit the track Wednesday I felt the track hit back.
Slated for a 3.15pm start I opted against heading upto Monmouth w/ Chuck for his 5,000m since that was going off at 10.10am,I couldn,t see getting there at 9am and killing 6 hours till race time,so I took the train to Trenton where Ray kindly offered to pick me up and drive up to Monmouth.
It was a little after 1pm when we arrived and we set up camp under the bleachers of the main stand,trust me it was a warm day and shade was vital,I heard tales of woe from a few runners regarding the heat on the track from earlier races but I opted not to concern myself w/ the fact I,d be running in the middle of the afternoon.
2.30pm soon rolled around and it was time to warm up,was I ever greatful for my USATF baseball cap to keep the sun off my head during my mile warm up,by the time I,d done my stretches it was 2.55pm,I headed for the infield and got ready,16 of us in the field,the plan was whoever took it out from the gun go w/ them,5th going into the first turn and a long way back to 6th,I,d gotten off to the start I wanted.
67 seconds at 400m 2 CPTC guys out front followed by one runner then a gap to 4th and then me,I was feeling comfortable,2.16 at 800m a 69 second lap and the first CPTC runner pealed off,obviously there to pace his team mate through the opening 800m,now I was 4th,the pace was close to what I,d ran 2 weeks ago at Widner but this was a different type of race altogether.
3.26 at 1,200m a 1.10 lap at this stage my main thought was getting into third place,rather than kick w/ 200m to go I bided my time till 150m b4 making my move,as I pulled along side the 3rd place runner he responded and we both went wide to lap one of the back markers,my momentum carried my passed both runners and suddenly entering the home straight I felt the 2nd place runner from CPTC was there for the taking,I continued to close the gap on the leader but sadly ran out of real estate,2nd in 4.12.64,my second fastest ever 1,500m thanks to splits of 67,69,1.10,46.
W/ hindsight I wished I,d began my kick w/ 200m to go now,maybe I,d have caught the winner who ran a 4.11 but I won,t quibble w/ my time, place,or overall performance,this was one of my best ever 1,500m races,second only to Nationals last year in time and performance.
An interesting foot note,this years NJ C,ships came 3 weeks earlier in the callender than last year,on July 7th last year I ran 4.15.74 b4 running a 4.11.73. four weeks later in Orono,today I ran 4.12.64,Spokane is still eight weeks away my dream of going sub 4.10 got a little bit closer this afternoon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Double Dip

First of all apologies for no blog entry yesterday,I did run,the tried and tested 5 miler/6 big loops of Clark Park,I ended up having an early nite, 8pm early and will confess to feeling the benefit of an extra three hours of sleep last nite,hopefully this bodes well for tomorrow.
A former mentor of mine Tony D always stressed the importance of an early nite 2 nites b4 a race and it,s something I,ve tried to put into effect when I can.
Today being a pre race day meant the tried and tested easy 3 mile run putting me at 23 miles for the week,the game plan is after my mile warm up and 1,500m race I,ll have 25 miles for the week and to get a 5 mile cool down in post race thus allowing me a day off on Sunday,I haven,t had one for two weeks so rather than be forced to take a rest day early on next week now I,m looking good to go............providing I take care of business after tomorrows race.
And what of tomorrows race?in the past two years my NJ C,ship meets have yeilded pr times and club records,in 06 it was a memorable 800m victory my first ever over Scott and my first ever 2.03. 800m time, 2.03.61,weeks later Scott not only beat me at the Mid Atlantic C,ships but also took my club record w/ a 2.01,a record I then took back last year at Nationals w/ a 1.59.17.
Last years NJ Championships saw me take the club record for 1,500m w/ a pr time of 4.15.74 a pr and club record that lasted just under a month b4 my 4.11.73 at Nationals,I,ll have to go some tomorrow to beat that but frankly I favour a fast race,tomorrow not only marks my second to last 1,500m race of the season{Nationals being the last}but also marks my second to last chance of going sub 4.10 for the 1,500m one of my pre season goals,we,ll have to see what happens.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Cold

B4 I get into the meat{no pun intended}and potatoes of my workout I have to give a big shout out to Turkey for gaining sweet revenge on Switzerland in this afternoons European C,ship soccer.
For the past six years now since World Cup 02 one of my very best friends has been Volkan a delivery driver at my job,I discoved in 02 he was Turkish after one of Turkeys World Cup games and since then we,ve been the very best of friends,it,s a way of life for us to discuss soccer or football to us europeans each and every morning,I,ve learnt more about Turkish soccer in the past six years than I could,ve ever imagined,Galatasaray have become one of my adopted club sides and hell yeah I,m rooting for Turkey at this years Euro C,ships.
Two years ago in a World Cup playoff game Switzerland beat Turkey in a contentious affair, Switzerland went to the finals,Turkey stayed home,players from both countries were fined and suspended for what can best be discribed as "heated" exchanges after the final whistle,since Switzerland were a host nation for this years Euro finals there was no chance of Turkey meeting the Swiss unless they faced off in the Euros.....cue the draw for the group stage made back December......Switzerland and Turkey,I think it,s fair to say todays date has been circled on many a Turkish callender and or day planner!!!!
Turkey won 2.1 thanks to an injury time winner,revenge is sweet not only beating the Swiss but also beating them in Switzerland and knocking them out of the tournament,oh happy day indeed.
As for my workout, a tough one after four days w/out speed work I was hoping to snap back w/ my 6x600m but I think the heat from the past 5 days took it,s toll,my splits were:68/34-1.42.59,69/35-1.44.03,1.10/33-1.43.31,1.14/31-1.47.42,1.15/34-1.49.49,1.17/34-1.51.42.
Going into my 4th repeat I just felt dead from the knees down going into that first turn,had I,ve been shooting for 1.50s it wouldn,t have been a bad workout but in lite of recent splits I went for 1.45s and as you can see the wheels came off from#4 onwards.
No sense beating myself up over it,the thing about troughs is they make you appreciate the peaks when you hit them and hopefully come Monday when I,m next back doing a workout I,ll be able to apply what I learnt today into doing better.................yes the glass is always half full.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Prayers For Rain

Another day of 90 degree plus heat,another day of putting a track workout on hold,however if the weather forcast is to be believed,rain is on the way to cool things down and w/ any luck tomorrows temps should be back down in the 80s and a trip to Franklin Field for 6x600m repeats should be on.
Granted it,s been a pain the last two days to have to settle for easy 5 mile runs around Clark Park but as I,ve said b4 and probably will do again,adversity presents it,s self in several forms,heatwave,rain storms,track closures,change of rotation,having to deal w/ unsavvy track users etc etc,the key is how you deal w/ it.
Me sitting in the basement for the past two days moaning about the heat advisory that was in effect would be one thing,me altering my schedule and not being so hung up on"it,s Monday I have to on the track for a 6x600m repeat"is another,in running as is in life having a schedule is one thing,being flexible w/ it is another.
I,m hoping after 4 easy 5 milers since Saturday I,m ready to amp things up a few notches tomorrow afternoon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

You Can Run And Hide

Another day of 90 degree plus heat and this time no luxury of an early morning run.
Clearly a track workout was not an option,I could just imagine the searing heat coming off that track at 5.30pm so opting for the old"caution is the better part of valor"approach I decided to nix my track workout in favour of a 5 mile run around Clark Park instead.
It takes alot for me to nix a repeat workout but in conditions like these I felt I was potentially doing more harm than good by going to Franklin Field if I couldn,t do a track workout I should at least get out and do a 5 miler and keep my weekly milage on pace,it dosen,t look like this heatwave is going to end untill Wednesday thus nullifying any hopes of Tue/Thur/Sat rotation,however w/ the potential for a Mon/Wed/Fri/Sun rotation next week it wouldn,t be the end of the world to only manage a Wed repeat and Sat race this week,however that said I need to focus on this week and worry about next week when next week gets here.
Dispite the heat todays run served as a release from the brick oven temperature my work conditions represent,as if that wasn,t enough to deal w/ the whole debarcle of my club changing it,s name issue rose to the forefront today,at the risk of getting on my soap box here I don,t give a toss what we,re called,I joined a running club to run not get bogged down in the politics of it all,this whole situation if handeled correctly from the get go could,ve been avoided,instead there,s now talk of meetings and discussions.......sort it out amongst yourselves and let me know the outcome when your done.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Beating The Heat Again

Another morning for setting the alarm for 8am to be out b4 9am to take care of business and round out another week of weekly milage at 30 miles.
For as long as I can remember running first thing in the morning has never been my strong suit,my earliest log book dating back to 1984 has a fair share of early morning dnfs,how times have changed!!!
Granted these days w/ my focus on track my tactics have changed,more often than not an early morning run these days is a recovery run/easy run where the focus is to just get out and run and not worry about pace/speed/time which makes my task a lot easier.
I,m still not a big lover of having to up early to run on non race days however,I have no problem cutting my cloth accordingly to make sure the run gets taken care of period,if I,m not going to allow a deluge{Wednesday}to keep me from a workout I can,t very well throw in the towel because the mercury is rising,so it,s the lesser of various evils,don,t run.....NOT an option,wait till the evening which is a dangerous option,or just set the alarm early lace em up and just get on w/ it.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Early Bird Special

W/ the threat of temps going into the 90s today I sought to beat the heat by getting up early to crank out my 5 miler around Clark Park.
Up and out the door by 8.45am it was already begining to warm up so I daren,t have imagined what it would,ve felt like had I,ve set out any later in the day,granted the majority of my loop around Clark Park is shaded and a good 80% of it is on the grass but even so it still had to be be ran hence the alarm being set for an ungodly 8am on a non race weekend day.
One such advantage of quite literally rolling out of bed and heading straight out the door to run is you,re not fully awake enough to realize how bizarre your actions are,and yet dispite this jolt to my system I found myself to be able to reflect on last nites race and be able to process it over my six loops.
Yes I could,ve ran it differently but the fact remains I didn,t and all the "what if,s"in the world aren,t going to alter the outcome,what I did learn was should another 800m race crop up like the one I ran last nite I,ll know what to do and as importantly what not to do,it,s done w/ now,file it away in the memory bank and begin to get ready for next Saturdays 1,500m at Monmouth in the NJ C,ships.
B4 then I still need to take care of tomorrows 5 miler to round out another week at 30 miles,again it looks like I,ll have to be up early to avoid another hot day so this evening it feels prudent to kick back and relax knowing the alarm will be going off again at 8am.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Good But Not Great

I guess it says something of my ability when I can turn in a 2.03.72 800m and be disappointed.
Having sat here five times in the last ten weeks after good races and been upbeat about my times and performances it,s hard to sit here and feel something I don,t for this evenings race,yes it was exceptionaly hot still at 6.15-6.20pm when my race went off but I won,t cite that as an excuse,yes it,s possible I left a little too much on the track at Franklin Field this week but I don,t think I,d go back and do anything differently in training this week even if I could.
Seeded 12th in the fastest heat{seed times 1.55-2.03 and I seeded myself at 2.03}I was on the outside of the starting line,for once I had a good reaction to the starting gun something over the 800m I,m not always able to say and going into the first turn I found myself out in lane 3.......somewhere I,d end up staying for almost the entire first lap,briefly going down the back straight I considered putting on a spurt to hit the front if only to get me on the inside lane,I didn,t and found myself continuing to be forced out wide.
29 seconds at 200m and 59 seconds at the bell,so far so good,finally at the bell I was able to get over into lane 1 and went through in 3rd or 4th,maybe even 5th,having finally gotten into the inside lane I now found myself being passed on the outside,at 44 I was giving the field a major age differential,I,d say most of the other 11 runners in this heat were college runners and I should be pleased w/ the fact I tried to live w/ them.
I just didn,t have it off that final turn,I,d been forced to run an uneconomic race on that first lap and I couldn,t find that gear change coming up the home straight.10th out of 12 runners in 2.03.72 not the worst time in the world,it ranks as my 8th fastest ever 800m but I was hoping for better period,not to mention looking for a fast seed time for Spokane,the on again,off again 4x400m relay at the MAC C,ships looks like being back on again meaning I,m now looking at the July 8th Plymouth Whitemarsh meet as my final 800m race to get a faster seed time than the 2.03.07 I ran at Deleware.
I,m sure come tomorrow I,ll find some more positives from this evenings race but for now it isn,t sitting well w/ me,sure next week there,s another race but it,s possible that it,s another four weeks b4 I race another 800m and that,s a long time to mull over what didn,t go quite to plan this evening.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Days May Change,But The Song Remains The Same

After yesterdays adventures on"the high seas"it felt good to back on dry land today to conduct my pre race easy three miler.
While the day of my actual race day may change the preparation is still the same,easy three miler followed by a big bowl of pasta w/ texas toast,granted having to race on a workday is not my idea of ideal preparation for a race but tomorrow is the first of three days this summer track season I have to deal w/ that so all I can do is hope the work gods smile on me tomorrow and I can be as mentally if not as physically sharp for a race.
Having opened my account for the outdoor season five weeks ago at Deleware w/ a highly impressive 2.03.07 800m I,m curious to see what I can do tomorrow after five weeks of pretty good workouts,aside from the scheduling issue there are the usual tangables to consider,conditions,competition,how I feel on the day and importantly how I race,I,d like a faster time than my 2.03.07 just for seeding purposes at Nationals but if I don,t get it tomorrow there,s always the fall back of the MAC C,ships in New York in two weeks time as it looks less and less likely we,ll field a 4x400m relay there leaving me the option of the 800m,however that,s a race for another day right now I need to be focused on tomorrows 800m,one race at a time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In My Element In The Elements

I believe the song goes"Mad Dogs And Englishmen Go Out In The Midday Sun"I guess today was a case of"Mad Dogs And Irish Half Milers/Milers Go Out In The Evening Rain"!!!!
For me the question of the day wasn,t will I get my workout in but will I get my workout in b4 the rain,the answer was yes....and no!!!
By the time I arrived at Franklin Field just after 5pm and began to stretch the rain began to fall,my feeling was I was here now and since I was already getting wet there seemed little or no point turning around and heading home w/out doing my workout,as I,ve said b4 and will continue to state, the difference between standing on the podium at Nationals and standing next to it is working out on an evening like this,nobodys gonna hand me a medal muchless a National Champion title in Spokane I,m gonna have to work for it and earn it and evenings like this go a long way to earning it in my book.
Already soaked after my stretches it was time for my mile warm up and mile of strides,it was kind of neat to feel like I was hydroplaning across the track,warm up compleat it was time to ditch my sleeveless running shirt and glasses{I could hardly see out of them}and tighten my baseball cap and go for it.
67 seconds for my opening 400m,I usually look to clock 1.10 so I was pleased w/ that,2.19 at 800m a 1.12 400m b4 closing in 33 seconds for the final 200m and clocking 2.52.02,last week I opened in 2.52.56 off of splits of 69,1.13,30.....not in the pouring rain I hasten to add!!!
Given I have an 800m race on Friday I could,ve opted to ease up on my second 1000m repeat but frankly I was having fun out here in the rain w/ the track all to myself,the faster I ran my repeat the sooner I could get done and get home and dry off..........full steam ahead!!!!
68 seconds for my opening 400m,that,s pretty brisk for a second opening 400m rain or no rain,I followed up w/ a 1.12 400m to clock 2.20 at 800m and 34 seconds to close on the final 200m,2.54.09 my fastest set of 1,000s to date this season.
After my mile cool down it was a joyful walk home dispite being soaked to the skin,running this fast tends to take ones mind off of such things,and having opened w/ a play on words from a song title I,ll close likewise,John Lennon once said"Happiness Is A Warm Gun" after this evening"Happiness Is A Warm Shower And A Warm Bowl Of Soup"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


I,ve said more than once that the most important run for me is the recovery run,after another brisk track workout yesterday it was of the utmost importance to get out there today and take care of business w/ an easy five miler so that come tomorrow I can hit the track for hopefully another fast track workout,any thoughts of feeling tired will have to be put on hold till afterwards.
Another hot day in the low 80s,even running at recovery pace my bandana was soaked by the time I compleated my 6 large loops of Clark Park.
It,s days like today I,m greatful for spending a little extra money on sleeveless dri fit shirts,I can recall not so long ago having sweat soaked sleeveless cotton shirts just hanging off of me after a workout,god bless dri fit.
My music of choice was live Clash,a move inspired by the arrival of Steve Ovett,s biography in the mail today.
I,ve always stated my unweavering support of Eamon Coghlan,he simply was/is and always will be my main inspiration in running but growing up in England when I did and being a 800m/1,500m/miler it was hard not to be inspired by the big four,Seb Coe,Steve Cram,Peter Elliott and Steve Ovett,each brought something to the table in their events,what I always liked about Ovett was his blue collar working class ethics on and off the track,I may,ve cursed him when he beat Eamon in the 1978 European C,ships 1,500m final in Prague but you had to admire his guts in Los Angeles in the 84 Olympics where dispite battling bronchitis he compeated,hurling himself across the finish line in the 800m semis to reach the final only to finish last.Dispite being stretchered away from the Coliseum that evening he returned to battle through two rounds of the 1,500m only to drop out w/ 350m to go in the final suffering from chest pains,seven races in nines days w/ bronchitis Ovett was no quitter,it was that hard nosed tough as nails attitude that drew him to me and why providing I time it right his biography will be my reading material come early August in Spokane.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Misery Loves Company

It,s rare I get the chance to do a track workout w/ someone else but Neil and I have talked for a while now about hitting Franklin Field together so following our 1,500m race and cooldown run we hatched a plan to do 6x600m this evening.
It was another warm evening when I arrived at Franklin Field,being a new month I,ve now upped my stretches to 12 each,each month I,ll add another,July will be 13,August,14 and September will be 15.
Knocked out my mile warm up and mile of strides b4 launching into the repeats,3 weeks ago I opened w/ a 66 second 400m,last week was a 64 second 400m so it doesn,t take a rocket scientist to figure out today was a 62 second 400m,it remains to be seen if I go 60 seconds next Monday!!!
Knowing that last weeks opening 64/31 left me wanting very early on into my repeats I didn,t hammer the closing 200m opting for a sedate 34 seconds 1.36.63
Unlike last week when I went 64-1.15 for my first two 400s todays margin wasn,t as vast,67 seconds followed by another 34 second closing 200m to clock 1.41.77,this had shades of two weeks ago at Roxboro written all over it when I went 5/5 b4 crashing and burning on my 6th repeat.
A third sub 1.10 opening 400m this time a 69 second 400m b4 a 35 second 200m 1.44.05,although my closing 200s weren,t blazing last week I had 2x31 seconds and 3x33 seconds I was looking good for a potential 6x600m at sub 1.45.
1.10 for 400m #4,I knew a 35 second 200m would give me 1.45 and that,s what I got 1.45.63,granted my closing 200s were slower but not a 1.46,1.47,1.48,1.49, 600m in sight,roundabouts and swings peeps,roundabouts and swings.
1.13 for the 5th 400m,I was going to have to go some to get under the 1.50 mark,I notched a third consecutive 35 second 200m,1.48.93,so much for all 1.45s and under but in fairness I went into this evening looking at sub 1.50s,maybe it,s time to think about lowering my target time?
Last one, 1.11 at 400m,if you,ve got it to give give it now,all evening Neil had stuck close to me through the opening 400m which was the push I needed,I found my third 34 second 200m to close in 1.45.49 to complete a very satisfying workout,arguably my most consistant to date and judging from my reaction upon arriving home when I was happy to lay down and contemplate nixing dinner and showering in the morning in order to give the zzzzzs a right good seeing to now sooner than later,just like in my workouts I found a second wind,showered,fed and I can go to bed and dream of 1.45 600s.....sweet dreams.