Saturday, August 30, 2008

Don,t Take The Bait

A nice easy 9am 5 mile recovery run this morning to round out my week at 32 miles and finish off the month.
I was thinking this last nite but never got around to mentioning it in my blog,while I was conducting my mile repeats on the track at Franklin Field the Penn Quakers were being put through their paces by the football coaches,just as my season is winding down theirs is about to begin,by the time I begin to amp up for indoor season their season will be coming to an end.
I got heckled this morning on my run,first time in a while,it happens I tend to shrug it off,answering back means the idiots have won but I allowed myself a wry smile when "Bozzo" made his "you need to run faster than that "bone headed quote,he wouldn,t know the difference between a recovery run and a recovery room and will never know how fortunate he was to have caught me in the right frame of mind,the savage celtic black hearted pagan in me seems to be dormant right now,long may that continue,but don,t let the blue eyes fool you,w/ Motorhead occupying majot air time on my walkman/ipod it could be a matter of time b4 "Built For Speed" gets replaced by "Killed By Death" as my current battle anthem,there I,ve given you all fair warning!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Man For All Seasons

The grey skies and threat of rain were never going to be enough to deter me from my appointment at Franklin Field this evening for my 4x1mile repeats.
Having gained an extra set of mile repeats next Friday now that Saturdays Battle Royale 4 mile xc race has been cancelled I wasn,t about to lose this weeks cos the skies were grey and while I felt a few tell tale drops of rain during my stretches conditions remained as they were,grey and overcast.
GP and I had elected not to tinker too much w/ the mile repeats,sub 5s,maybe try to start out at the high end say 4.59 and work on bringing my splits down per repeat,"Dibble" also suggested the 1st lap of mile 3 to be fast and the last lap of my 4 to also be fast,on any given track or for that matter hill repeat I,m always looking to "ctb"{cain the bejaysus}out of my last lap/repeats,tonite would be no different.
I wanted to open w/ a 1.15 1st lap...........bang right on the money,in time I,d like to be able to run the opening three laps at 1.15 per lap and then drop down to a 1.13,1.12,1.11 closing lap to put me in,4.56 range,however it wasn,t to be tonite,my slowest lap of the session 1.20 followed by a 1.19 leaving me at 3.54 at the bell,I closed in 67 seconds but missed a sub 5 barely,5.01.06 and like a bad meal this did not sit well w/ me!
A mild improventment on #2,1.15,1.19,1.19,67 to clock 5.00.15, again not sub 5 but faster than the previous split
Keeping in mind the plan to pick up the pace on mile #3 I opened w/ a 71 second first lap b4 once again seeing my pace drop to 1.19,1.18,3.48 at the bell I pulled a Usain Bolt and hit cruise control for the final lap,another 71 second lap,a 4.59.36 mile.
At least each mile was getting faster even if I,d failed to go sub 5 on the opening two,a 1.14 opening lap b4 laps of 1.18 and 1.17,3.49 at the bell"ctb"time as I threw down a 64 second final lap to clock a 4.53.47 final mile,quite possibly my fastest closing mile ever in mile repeats.
All in all not a bad nites work,if I,d just missed my sub 5s by the slimest of margins I had at least brought my splits per mile down on each repeat.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Following The Plan

After two hard days it was a nice change of pace to enjoy an easy 5 mile recovery run this afternoon,one of the subtle differences I,ve been able to make this year is treat my easy/recovery run as just that,no taking the stop watch to time it just put in the requisit miles at a comfortable pace and save my legs and my energy for tomorrow and the next repeat,which will be 4x1 mile.
I noticed last Thursday on the walk home from Belmont how the evenings are begining to get shorter,this week returning to work I,m noticing how it,s not fully daylite when I leave the house at 5.55am, a sure sign summer is drawing to a close, a fact further puncuated by Labor Day this weekend,my glorious summer is coming to an end and w/ that means the end of track season and the transition to fall and cross country.
Based on my first two weeks of hill repeats I,m optimistic about the upcoming xc season,granted two good hill repeats does not a great xc season make but I,ll get an idea of where I,m at early on next Saturday when I race Battle Royale at Belmont,last year I finished 19th in 24.55.21. so any improvement on that will be welcome.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two Thumbs Up

First and formost,after reading my blog I received a positive email responce from coach Charlie Dibble/GP,dispite going out 5 seconds faster in the opening lap GP prefered to look at the bigger picture,a 60 second opening 400m in the mile followed by splits of 70,71,70,not 70,81,70 as I wrote last nite means a different tact at 5th Avenue Mile,something GP and I will discuss over the next few weeks but something I won,t be mentioning in the blog............afterall I never know who might be reading it leading upto 5th Avenue Mile!!!!
As for tonite,week #2 of Belmont hill repeats,4x Nursery/Parachute,last year my splits were:2.14,2.06,2.25,2.07,tonite I went through them in 2.13.06,2.16.38,2.14.91,2.01.48,not a bad nites work if I say so myself,I went into the session a little tired off of a few hectic days at work plus last nites race but none the less was able to block that out for the less than nine minutes of the workout!!!
Chuck took me on the old"Surekill"course for the cooldown, Dave Thomas has talked about bringing back that course for a 10k xc race this December,frankly I think there,s more work needed to make that happen than Dave realizes but we,ll see.
My more immediate concern is tomorrows 5 mile recovery run b4 Fridays 4x1 mile repeats.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Curtain Call

And so it was, this glorious outdoor track season of 2008 came to a fitting conclusion w/ win #5 as I also extended my winning streak at the season ending Wishahickon Wanderers to four in a row.
Since tomorrows Belmont hill repeats are on tap GP talked me out of the mile/800m double and had me focus on just the mile which was sound advice.
His prerace plan was 65 secs for the opening 400m,1.38 at 600m and a closing lap of 64 seconds,in his own words"I don,t care what you run the middle laps in"actually he didn,t give me a 400m split he told me 1.38 at 600m I think I felt 65 secs at 400m sounded right.
Seeded #1 w/ my 4.28 from Plymouth Whitemarsh on July 1st I knew I,d be the one pushing the pace,fine by me,however I misjudged my opening pace and came through the bell in 60 secs....,opps,as I often remark in these cases"the genie was well and truly out of the bottle now"w/ training partner and team mate Neil coming through in 65 seconds I was well clear and now had to focus on the clock.
1.35 at 600m on route to a 2.10 800m split,70 seconds for the lap,I came through the bell in 3.21,I had hoped to go 65,68,68 to clock 3.23 at the bell but my opening 400m of 60 secs had taken care of that and I,m sure I,ll be hearing about it,81 seconds is a slow split and though I managed to close w/ a 71 second last lap to clock 4.31.83 I couldn,t help but feel had I ,ve gone out 5 seconds slower in 65 I might,ve come back 5 seconds faster on the bell lap in 66 seconds....should,ve,would,ve,could,ve.
I,ll take the 4.31.83,and I,ll take the win and if I have to take some flack from GP for not running better splits then so be it,at the end of the day I was w/ no slight on the field running by myself against the clock w/ no one to push me.
Track season is over,but I consider my outdoor season officially over after 5th Avenue Mile,after tomorrows hill repeats it,ll be back to Franklin Field Friday for mile repeats.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two Parts Motorhead,One Part Status Quo

Life after the Olympics began w/ an easy 5 miler as I prepare for tomorrow,s traditional end of season Wishahickon Wanderers track meet at Roxboro.
Having had an outdoor season beyond my wildest dreams it would be nice to finish it off w/ a fast time in the mile tomorrow evening and if I can win the race also it,d continue my winning record at this meet.
In 05 I won an epic 5,000m race,my first track victory in 26 years and prehaps the spark that lit the flame for me to return to my first love in running,track.
06 fresh off of Nationals where I,d made up my mind that running track was where my heart lay I won the mile b4 last year adding the 800m to my tally,w/ Belmont hill repeats on tap for Wednesday it,s a case of one and done manana,by the time I do a mile warm up,run the race and throw in a 3 mile cool down I,ll have 5 miles for the nite which is enough heading into 4x Nursery the following evening.
Should time permit when I return home I,ll blog the race.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Top Cats Top Ten Olympic Track & Field List

Now that the Track and Field events in Beijing have been compleated here,s my top ten list:
10 Women Marathon,Romania,s Constantina Tomescu 38 years old and busting open the race at half way to win,a brave move in any marathon let alone in the holy grail of marathons and continuing the fine Romanian Olympic womens distance running legacy.
9&8 Women 5,000m & 10,000m, a notable double by"the babyfaced assasin"Tirunesh Dibaba the first woman ever to do so in the Olympics.
Props to Shalane Flanagan in the 10,000m a bronze and an American record and to Kara Goucher for her pr finishing 9th
7&6 Mens 5,000m & 10,000m,another Ethiopian double thanks to Kenenisa Bekele,two Olympic record times and a place alongside several Olympic greats who,ve managed the 5,000m/10,000m double including Emil Zatopek in Helsinki 52,Volodmyr Kuts in Melbourne 56,Lasse Viren Munich 72, and Montreal 76 and Mitrus Yifter a fellow Ethiopian in Moscow 80
5 Mens Marathon,props to Kenya,s Samuel Wanjiru ending his countrys hard to fathom no Olympic Marathon gold medal saga,
On top of his victory came an Olympic record time beating the previous record set back in Los Angeles in 84 by Carlos Lopes,spare a thought for 4th place finisher Ethiopian Deriba Merga, a lead runner throughout most of the race,overtaken by his countyman Tsegay Kebede w/ 250m to go and missing out on the bronze medal by 21 seconds
4 Womens 3,000m Steeplechase,instant immortality for winner Gulnara Samitova Galkina,the first ever Olympic woman 3,000m steeplechase champion............ and a world record to boot,she also reached the women,s 5,000m final,respect.
3&2 Mens 100m & 200m,what more can be said about Usain Bolt?Ialways knew this guy was the real deal but c,mon,3 golds and three world records,mad props!!!
1 Womens Pole Vault,YEAH!!!!! give it up for my girl Yelana Isinbaeva,not only Olympic gold but another world record to boot,"Izzie,s" list of major c,ship pole vault medals began w/ a bronze in the World C,ships in Paris in 03,Olympic gold Athens 04,World C,ship gold Helsinki 05,European C,ship gold Gothernburg 06,World C,ship gold Tokyo 07 and now back to back Olympic gold Beijing 08,also only4 other individual athletes{the USA mens and womens 4x400m relay} were able to retain their titles from Athens,Kenesia Bekele mens10,000m,Andreas Thorkildsen mens Javelin,Veronica Campbell Brown womens 200m and Francoise Mbango Etone womens Triple Jump.
Till London 2012........................

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Home Straight

Up and out b4 9am this morning to crank out my easy 5.5 miler,continuing where I left off b4 Spokane and Nationals w/ 30 mile weeks.
I have the luxury of a rest day tomorrow,given I race the mile Tuesday at Roxboro I,ve made sure to give myself a nice easy build up, following back to back repeat workouts on the track Wednesday and on the hills Thursday I,ve now had back to back easy runs and have a rest day tomorrow b4 another easy run Monday,remember"the will to win means nothing w/out the will to prepare"
One more day of Olympic track and field to feast on tonite,b4 tomorrows final day of compitition,Kenny Egan fights for gold for Ireland tomorrow after Paddy Barnes and John Sutherland won bronze yesterday,good to see us finally on the medal table.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nice And Easy

Up and out by 9am to conduct my 5 mile recovery run this morning,leaving me a 5.5 miler tomorrow morning to round out my week at 30 miles.
It,s been neat to be able to do my workouts early/mid morning this week,nex week will see a return to the norm,evening workouts and no staying up till the wee hours watching the Olympics but hell if I haven,t enjoyed both!!!
W/two more days of track and field to come I,m still looking at my top ten list of Olympic Track and Field highlites,by Sunday I should be able to post said list.
Fingers crossed today,three Irish boxers have semi finals bouts,a defeat means a bronze but a win and they fight Sunday for a gold,my hopes and prayers are w/ Paddy Barnes,Kenny Egan and John Sutherland,the Fightin' Irish indeed,Erin Go Bragh!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

If It,s Late August It Must Be Time For Hill Repeats

Ah yes that time honoured tradition I,ve been proud to be a part of for the last two years has rolled around again,Belmont Hill Repeats.
I missed out on week one last year when the Wisahickon Wanderers track meet got rained out on the Tuesday and was rescheduled for the following day,god bless Chuck he went off to Belmont and did the 6xflagpole repeats by his lonesome b4 driving over to Roxboro to watch the end of the track meet,I,ve often said of Chuck"he,s the only man I know who uses track to get ready for cross country"!!!
As is often the case on these repeats it was just Chuck and I,it,d be nice if more of the team showed up for these hill repeats but that said it,s kind of neat just to be the two of us,tonite,s bill o fare 6xflagpole the same repeat that,ll close out the hill repeats in 5 weeks time,since I missed these repeats last year on week 1 I didn,t have a base time or target time to shoot for,Chuck said he thought he was running them in 2.05 last year,that was good enough for me.
We usually rotate who,ll lead off each repeat Chuck took the 1st and I was somewhat surprized to pass him on the first hill on route to a 2.02.08,I learnt the hard way in 06 when I began Belmont hill repeats that you don,t go nuts on the opening repeats if you want to finish strong and on my first lead off repeat I controlled my pace to clock a 2.02.17,2.04.43 on #3 my slowest of the session,that said it was inside the 2.05 barrier and I bounced back w/ a 2.02.29 on#4
I was feeling good,Chuck kept telling me how smooth I looked and honestly I felt I was running at a comfortable controlled pace.
#5 and I clocked 2.00.67,I will confess to feeling the pace oh so slightly at 3/4s of the way to the top of the hill b4 the sharp left along the flat towards said flagpole but there was no stopping me on the 6th and final repeat,1.50.47, a good evenings work if I say so myself

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Getting There

A quick turnaround due to Belmont Hill repeats tomorrow and also the desire to get 6 In And Out 400m repeats under my belt b4 5th Avenue Mile,next Tuesdays meet at Roxboro means Mondays scheduled repeat session falls by the way side so back to back 400s and my third set inside 6 days.
By now I was hoping to have if not gotten the workout down pat to be at least more consistant,in places today felt like an improvement,still not quite the finished article but as each session goes by I feel like I,m getting it right a little bit more than the time b4.
I was joined by my team mate and good friend Neil again today,Neil has become a regular at my workouts of late and I always appreciate him coming out to join me and give me that push I need.
Big improvement on the opening 150s,20.49/20.08 my target times are 21/20 and this was by far my most consistant set of opening 150s to date
GP had stressed the importance of the closing 150m on each 400m to me Monday,while I,d been clocking fast splits thus far each 400m got slightly slower,58,59,59,60 last Friday,58,59,60,61 on Monday,the key today was to try and take a little off the opening split and get faster on the next three,I didn,t quite execute that today but I was reasonably pleased w/ my overall performance.......however I,ll be more pleased on Monday Sept 1st if I can improve on what I did today.
My splits went:22/12/26=60.07,22/11/25=58.56,23/11/26=60.03,24/14/24=62.84 as this is being blogged BC........Before{talking to}Coach I can,t say what GP,,s take on this is,if nothing else at least my closing 150m split was faster than my opening three.
Big spike improvement on my closing mile,given it,s a 5.29 target time that I,ve failed to get close to this lunchtime thanks to Neil I went through the opening lap in 1.21,well inside the 1.30 target time,a second 1.21 followed to clock 2.42 at 800m,I was feeling comfortable and although I only clocked a 1.29 third lap I still went through the bell in 4.11,a huge improvement on the 4.43/4.42 I,d managed previously.
As "Dib" likes to remind me this workout is all about the final lap,Friday I cranked it up at 200m to go,Monday I cranked it up at 250m to go today I took off at 300m to go,I said each session I would look to lenghten the distance of where I,m taking off,again I clocked a 66 second final lap to finish w/ a 5.17.90 mile,here,s hoping when this repeat gets revisited on Sept 1st I,m strong enough to go at the bell,all in all a good for the post workout inquest w/ GP.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Easy Day,Easy Run

Having finally managed at the 4th attempt to stay awake till 2am to catch the Olympic Late Show last nite/this morning it was not surprizing then I felt like rolling over when my 8am alarm went off this morning,no big I eventually joined the "land of the living" as my late father Kevin would say at 10am time for a lite breakfast during the Olympics b4 heading out at 1pm for my 5 mile recovery run.
We,re at the half way stage of the Track and Field events so I,m compiling a list for my Top Ten Olympic Track and Field moments to be posted Sunday,I was thinking about a Top Ten Olympic list but frankly after the opening ceremony and Michael Phelps 8 golds that,d only only leave room for one more!!!
GP and I talked last nite re my 400m repeats,going into tomorrows repeat session I know what I need to do to improve upon my workout,as it should be in the realm of athlete/coach conversations there was open dialogue between us,in GP I have a coach not a cheerleader,he,ll praise me when I,ve earnt it,correct me when I need it,watching Jenn Stuczynski,s coach last nite after her silver medal in the pole vault I was greatful NOT to have a coach like him,ok the stakes are different at her level compared to mine however I felt he was unfairly harsh on her.
My final coaching thought comes from the late Peter Coe,Seb,s father and coach who once said"The thinking must be done first,before the training begins"long b4 I kept a blog I kept a running log and on the inside front cover I would write down great running quotes to inspire me,I still keep a running log but only to record my race and training schedule,however the inside front cover still serves as a place for quotes and Peter Coe,s will be taking it,s rightful place in there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

New Time Slot,Same Results

Ah the bliss of a week off,how awesome to wake at 9am have breakfast,catch the Olympic Late Show on my dvr and then head down to the track for my workout,I could get used to this.......what I can,t get used to is no pay cheque every two weeks so this week will be very much a one off for the time being!!!
I arrived at a warm Franklin Field by 11.30am to conduct my stretches and mile warm up and mile of strides,having discussed w/ GP the rights and wrongs of Fridays first crack at this workout I went into my lunchtime routine knowing what was expected of me.
19.76 for the opening 150m,no misjudging my pace there unlike Friday and while my second 150m came up a little shorter,20.34 I felt I had kicked things off nicely.
Since I,m posting this entry b4 GP and I talk about it it remains to be seen how he feels about the 400s,I,m clocking them faster than the workouts are required so does he comend me for running faster 400m splits or chastize me for not getting the exact 150/100/150 splits correct?....I,ll have to get back to you on that one after we talk tonite.
For the record I opened w/ a 22.11.25 split to clock 58.52 and followed this up w/ a 23.11.25 split to clock 59.83.
If you,ve ever ran at Franklin Field you,ll know it,s laid out differently from your conventional track anywhere else,while my start and finish are at the same point and I,m reasonably confident my opening 150m mark is correct since it,s where I conduct my opening 150m repeats I can,t stake my life nor bet the house on the 100m and 150m marks I,ve eyeballed on the track being balls dead acurate since I,m clocking 11 and 12 second 100s that could be off meaning my second 150m is actually longer since it,s meant to be in the 22/23 second range,the bottom line is it,s a full 400m from start to finish,of that much I can be sure.
22.12.26 for a 60.20 third 400m b4 a 23.12.27 closer for a 61.73,all four well inside the 66,66,64,62 range I,m shooting for.
Now for the closing mile,GP had told me post workout Friday that he wasn,t overly concerned w/ the first three splits on this mile he just wanted me to run the final lap as hard as I could,I opened w/ a 1.37,3 seconds down on Friday for what that was worth,a second lap of 1.35,3 seconds faster than Friday and my overall time was only a second slower than Friday evening,3.42 at the bell a 1.30 lap and I was a second faster than 3 nites ago,now for the fun and games,Friday I was guilty of not going flat out on the final lap I picked up the pace along the back straight on route to a 69 second closing lap,today I was able to begin to increase my pace w/ 250m to go b4 launching into my kick w/ 200m remaining as I clocked a 66 second final lap and a 5.48.48 mile,come Wednesday I want to be able to start amping up my pace earlier than 250m out,300m out would be nice and so and so forth to the point when this final lap will be no different to any other final lap I run in a track workout.
Due to the time honoured Belmont Hill Repeats begining this week on Thursday not Wendesday and next Tuesday seeing the traditional curtain call to the track season at Roxboro for the Wisahickon Wanderers meet my schedule and rotation is going to be oh so slightly tweaked,Wednesday will see a repeat of the In And Out 400s as next week I,m looking at meet,hill repeats back to back Tuesday/Wednesday b4 Mile repeats on Friday,the following week I lose my Friday mile repeats to Battle Royale the following day b4 hopefully a week of Mon,Wed,Fri In And Out 400s,Hill Repeats and Mile repeats,followed by a Mon/Wed 400s/Hill Repeats b4 5th Avenue Mile,although slightly convoluted I should manage 6 In And Out 400m repeats in my six week build up to 5th Avenue.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Rounding Out The Week

Having lost a day Monday due to flying home cross country I was looking at back to back easy 5 milers over the weekend to round out my milage at 30 miles for the week,I actually ended up w/ 31 which is fine.
I was up earlier than usual Sat and again today to take care of business,being the Olympic junkie that I am I wanted to be done w/ the run and my food shopping trips b4 10am so I could sit and watch the Olympics all day.
To that effect I,m off work all week so I can enjoy the track and field coverage from Beijing,granted the 12 hour time difference throws some logistical problems into the melting pot but I,m determined to avoid the newspapers,news coverage and most of all my pc so as not to know the results b4 I get to see them on tv.....yeah I love the Olympics that much,it is for me"The Greatest Show On Earth", and to that end I have some track coverage from last nites late show between 12.30am till 2am that I dvrd to watch so I,m off to catch up w/ that.

Getting Down To Business

Ok I,m finally getting back upto date w/ ye olde blog,since my return from Spokane on Monday I,ve conducted an easy 5 miler Tuesday,my second ever 4/4 sub 5 minute mile repeats Wednesday,an easy 5 miler Thursday b4 Fridays In And Out 400m repeats.
GP gave me these repeats last year as part of my prep for 5th Avenue Mile and it was always a given I,d revisit them this year the only difference being GP had tweaked the repeats slightly to try and get me to run faster this year,ever the coach that man,that,s why we work well together,he knows I won,t settle for second best I know he won,t let me,Dibble and Top Cat,what a combo!!!!
Following my stretches and mile warm up and mile of strides it was time for the workout,2x150m,21 seconds for the first,a 250m walk jog b4 the second one w/ a target time of 20 seconds,I haven,t done 150m repeats since April 3rd so on my first I wasn,t sure how to judge my pace and only managed a 23.28,not good enough,but knowing what I did wrong on the first I made sure to correct that on the second one and went 20.49,that was more like it.
A three minute recovery b4 the in and out 400s,four of them,my target times for the first two were 23.20.23 for 150m,100m,150m a 66 second 400m I went 22.15.21 for 58 seconds.....start as you mean to go on I guess?,I followed that one w/ a 23.11.25 for 59 seconds following my 5 minute recovery.
#3 was 22.20.22 for a 64 second 400m,I went 22.12.25 to clock another 59 second 400m b4 the fourth and final one,22.18.22 a 62 second 400m,I went 23.11.26 to clock 60 seconds.
I now had an eight minute recovery b4 my closing mile,4 and a half minutes into that recovery I lay down on the track w/ my legs up against the wall to try and drain the lactate acid out of my legs,the mile splits were1.30,1.27,1.25,67 for a 5.29 mile,god now I know how Pentathlon and Decathlon athletes feel after 4 and 9 events and have to finish on a 1,500m.
Aside from the physical discomfort I had to overcome the mental side of it,I,m used to running my mile repeats much faster so I had to try not to get caught up in all that.
1.34 for the opening lap,4 seconds off pace,b4 a 1.37 second lap,10 seconds off pace,though w/ just under 200m to end of that lap I felt a mental and physical bell went off inside of me that I was able to run faster than I actually was,a 1.32 third lap b4 closing in 69 seconds and as I told GP post workout I could,ve gone faster,he instructed me to do so next time out as well as trying to fine tune the in and out 400s.
It,s always hit and miss on a new repeat or going back to a repeat you haven,t done for a while,hopfully come Monday when I return to this repeat I,ll be able to make the adjustments I need to.

Nationals A Post Script

W/ the dust now well and truly settled on the 08 edition of Outdoor Nationals I want to add these final thoughts and obsevations.
For me Nationals isn,t all about Gold medals,National Championship titles,pr,s/club records,granted that,s a huge part of it and why I work so hard year round to put myself in a position to try and achieve them but Nationals is also about meeting up w/ the friends I,ve made since my Nationals debut in Charlotte in 06 and making new friends.
In 06 I didn,t know too meny people,however w/ a team mate like Chuck who,d been a regular at Nationals for a few years he introduced me to some people who I met up w/ at Indoor Nationals the following March and then again at Orono last summer.
Subsequently I now know several masters athletes and this year at Boston and again at Spokane I not only caught up w/ these friends but also made new friends also, it,s like that tv commercial for USATF that gets shown during track and field when Deena Kastor says "I love this sport,I will always be apart of it"a sentiment I echo,in fact my final words at this years Nationals to So Cals,s Mark Cleary were"see you Landover in March when the clans all gather again" Till then I,ll be marking off the weeks and days.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

And Then Another Gold

Following the 800m final Rob Vancleve asked me if I,d be interested in a Ad Hoc 4x800m relay.......oh hell yeah!!!I have a love affair w/ the 4x800m relay at Nationals.
In Charlotte in 06 I got my first ever National Championship Gold thanks to the 4x800m relay along side my team mates Chuck,Russ and Scott,it was that first ever trip to the medal podium at Nationals that convinced me track was where my future lay in running,I liked being a National Champion and a year later in Orono I took my first ever individual gold in the 800m b4 adding another 4x800m relay gold thanks to Ray,Russ and Chuck,last years medal was also my 100th ever in running so you can see why the 4x800m relay at Nationals has a special place in my heart.
Going into Spokane I didn,t think about a 4x800m,PAC or as we now go by Greater Philadelphia Track Club was only sending 3 athletes,myself,Ray in the Pentathlon and Sean in the 45-49 1,500m so I didn,t think it was on the cards.............cue Rob post 800m final preposing a 4x800m relay I said if he could find 2 more guys I was in,enter Francis Burdett and Scott Pesch,Francis had won the 5,000m and gotten silver in the 10,000m,Scott had finished 2nd to Francis in the 5,000m and would eventually get bronze in my 1,500m race,and thus"Team East/West" was formed,Francis and I representing the east coast,Rob and Scott represent the west.
We sellected a running order of Rob,Scott,Francis and I,all the credit in the world to Rob for not only putting the team together but also stepping up big time,clearly suffering from getting sick a week prior to Nationals Rob had gotten 6th in the 800m but had suffered a tough day in the 1,500m yet he duked out the lead off leg w/ fellow 800m/1,500m runner Sid Sullivan and brought us home in second w/ a 2.13,Scott now had to duke it out w/ 45-49 bronze 1,500m medalist Rodney Zook,Scott hung tough to clock a 2.11,Francis was matched against Dave Albo who had became a new friend of mine on this visit to National,Dave was giving a sizable age difference to Francis and Francis handed off to me w/ a 2.15 split,we had a sizable lead.
I opened w/ a 58 second 400m b4 easing down to a 66 second closing lap to notch my third ever gold at the Masters Nationals in 4x800m,like last year I came away from Nationals w/ 2 golds and 1 silver and now in three years I,ve won 5 golds and 2 silvers and I,m hoping if only for another crack at a 4x800m gold next year in Clearmont I may well make the trip down to Florida{the dates for Nationals have yet to be set,rumours abound of early July which would serve as the final part of my build up for Worlds in Lathi Finland in late july/early August}next year.

............And Gold

The game plan coming into Nationals was always two Golds in the 800m and 1,500m,having missed out in the 800m by 3 100th's of a second I was now twice as determined to win the 1,500m,however to do so I would have to buck a lifelong trend of having never won a major 1,500m race.In high school I finished runner up in my junior and senior year and aside from my Mid Atlantic 1,500m victory on May 31st I had no major metric mile victories to my felt like the day to rewrite history!!!! Yesterday I arrived at the track uptight and tense this morning I felt calm and relaxed,no dropping my bag off and sequestering myself today,I hung out in and around the athletes tent and the surrounding area,took advantage of being able to get a mile warm up in on the track b4 the womens 1,500's b4 heading off to the softball/baseball field to stretch and get my mile warm up in. While doing my mile warm up I ran into the great Nolan Shaheed who like me yesterday had been beaten for the gold in the 800m,we shook hands and wished each other good luck in our respective 1,500s,warm up taken care of I returned to the athletes tent to await the call to the track for my race. Having seen my good friend Frank Condon win his 1,500m I then saw Nolan also win his,the omens were good and as my age group was being lead to the track Nolan and I passed each other,we exchanged fist bumps and Nolan told me"now it,s your turn"I didn,t need any extra motivation but this was special when a living legend of masters track like Nolan Shaheed does that you have to feel inspired. While Neil Fitzgerald was always my main threat in the 800m I knew in the 1,500m Sean Messiter possed a threat to my 1,500m aspirations,I knew exactly how I was going to run this race,Sean and I were seeded #1 & #2 and lined uptogether on the starting line,and just like in the 800m Warren McCulloch would prove to be a wild card,one of these days the Canadien athletes who compeat at Nationals will be listed on the entries,it,s a disadvantage to us not knowing what they,re bringing to the race/races and also a tad disrespectful to them. Down the back straight Warren got himself in between Sean and I but I didn,t panic, I knew exactly how I was going to react,we went through 300m in 51 seconds,right on pace,last year in the 1,500m my 300m,700m,1,100m splits were 50,2.00,3.06,at 500m I swung around Warren to put myself on Sean's heals,there was never a inkling to go to the front,I was only ever going to make one move to the front and that was at 200m to go,2.01 at 700m everything was going to plan sofar,how often in a race can you say that? My eyes got as big as dinner plates when we reached the bell,3.10 I couldn,t believe my good fortune,coming into today Sean had a seasons best of 4.11 and I owned a 4.12 from the NJ C,ships as well as a pr of 4.11.73 from last year,I was 400m away from forfilling a lifelong ambition of a major 1,500m title. For a split second w/ 300m to go it felt like Sean was getting away from me,again I didn,t panic just stepped it up to get the distance between us close,as Sean crossed the 200m mark it looked like his head began to roll from side to side,my cue to unleash a kick of biblical preportions,how prolific was it?I clocked a 60 second final lap w/ a closing 200m of 27 seconds on my way to victory,I was going to add the 1,500m National Championship title to last years 800m and reverse a lifelong trend of being the bridesmaid but nevert he bride at 1,500m. I probably could,ve gone sub 4.10 today had I not began to celebrate my victory w/ a double fist pump some 20m from the line,as it was I clocked a pr and subsequent club record w/ my 4.10.78,the sub 4.10 will come trust me,I wanted to live the moment of becoming a National Champion again. After thanking God for my victory I fell to the track in a moment of relife and release,all my hard work over the last 19 weeks had been repaid,I sought out runner up Sean Messiter and thnked him for making it an honest race,it took guts to try and run a 1,500m from the front like he did and just as I had rolled the dice yesterday in the 800m and come up short because a runner of Neil,s caliber was lying in wait today I had executed my race plan w/ aplomb. Why was the 1,500m so special to me?asides from never having won a major 1,500m title,I thought back to Charlotte 06 as I sat in the stands waiting for the 1,500m race to start I told myself"next year you,ll be out there running it"and now two years later I,m National Champion at 1, I ,ve NEVER been shy about my love of Ronnie Delaney,Marcus o Sullivan and the guv,nor Eamonn Coghlan,their exploits at 1,500m are legendry and while I,m nowhere near in their league I do feel a sence of accomplishment as an Irish miler today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I arrive in Spokane hoping to not only defend my 800m title from Orono but also try to duplicate what John Hinton had done in 06 in Charlotte, win both the 800m and 1,500m titles.
In the 800m I always knew Neil Fitzgerald of Central Park Track Club posed my biggest threat coming in w/ a 1.57 seed time,my pr was last years 1.59.17 so in order to beat Neil I was going to probably have to pr.
Thursdays semis were waived as only 11 of the now 17 of us{I only counted 14 on the schedule online}declared,like last year a double edged sword,one less race to run but now I sat around from Wednesday till Saturday waiting to race.
Saturday arrived and when I reached the track at 11.15am I declared and learnt hip numbers were being given out at 1.45pm now that I had a time frame to work w/in I knew how to kill the next two and a half hours,ipod in hand I calmed myself listening to Coldplay,s "Parachutes" as I walked the perimeter of Spokane Fall Community College keeping myself to myself.
Come 1pm I retreated to the baseball/softball field behind the track to stretch and do my mile warm up b4 returning to the athletes tent to receive my lane #,3 and walked to the infield of the track to await our call to the track.
Somehow dispite 11 of us declaring on Thursday the field was now 12 which meant a waterfall start,in the general scheme of things no big deal,we,d brake at the first turn instead of running the first bend in lanes,Neil was in lane one,his team mate Gladstone in lane two and me in three,I,d have my two main rivals on my inside,my reaction to the gun was good again as we broke for the first turn.......out of nowhere from one of the outside lanes Warren McCulloch from Canada got inbetween the CPTC guys and me......this was not in the script and remembering what my coach had told about not allowing anybody to get between me and my main rivals in either race I bided my time till 300m when I swung wide of Warren to move up on the outside of lane one as Gladstone and Neil lead us to the bell.
I,d said all along the bell was where this race would be decided,I,ve been going through 400m in 59 seconds all season,anything faster and I,d be treading new waters,anything slower and I,d be licking my chops.........61 seconds at the bell.
I never thought twice about it,I struck for home,it,s a ballsy move but it felt like the right one to make,I had no idea what reaction was going on behind me I had a clear track ahead of me and I was prepared to run all out to get to the line ahead of the field,w/ hindsight I wish maybe I,d waited till 300m,maybe 250m however as I,ve been known to say on more than one occasion"the genie is out of the bottle now"I also wished I,d found another gear at 200m to go but I was truly putting my pedal to the metal as my 58 second closing 400m bore witness.
W/ 60m to go Neil came up along side me,I tried to find another gear but I didn,t have it,Neil hit the line in 1.59.51 w/ me just a hair behind him in 1.59.82.
I done all I could to retain my title but my best wasn,t enough to beat Neil,I always said if I ran my race I,d be hard to beat,I have to give all the credit in the world to Neil,w/out him in the field I feel confident I,d have won but it was no disgrace to be beaten by him,on the day we were the only two 800m runners to beat 2.00,my second sub 2 in the 800m at Nationals.
Was I disappointed?yes,I came to Spokane to win both the 800m and 1,500m but as GP would later tell me at least l lost running my race and to run 1.59.82 off a negative split was nothing to hang my head over.
At least I could smile that come the medal presentation on the podium there were two Irishmen atop in gold and silver,last year winning the 800m may,ve subconsciously forced me to drop my intensity level b4 the 1,500m final,now having lost this final I was hungry for gold in tomorrows 1,500m.

Twenty Years

An easy 5 miler around Clark Park this afternoon as I get ready for a return to in and out 400m repeats tomorrow.
Today is a landmark day for me,twenty years since I quit drinking,believe me when I say everything good in my life today comes from this,on Aug 13th 1987 I sat on the window sill of a rat infested house drinking my last drink and 20 years later I,m celebrating another National Championship title,I,ve come along way one day at a time and dear God please let it continue,one day at a time.
"There are twenty years to go,a golden age I know but all the past will end too fast you know,there are twenty years to go,and meny friends I hope,though some may hold the rose,some hold the rope,that,s the end,that,s the start of it,that,s the whole and that,s the part of it,that,s the high,and that,s the heart of it,that,s the long and that,s the short of it,that,s the best and that,s the test in it,that,s the doubt,doubt the trust in it,that,s the sight and that,s the sound of it,that,s the gift and that,s the trick in it"
''Twenty Years" Placebo

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I,m Getting There I Swear

Well another day that,s gotten away from me,it,s almost 10pm too late to be writing detailed blog entries from Nationals,I,d rather take another day or two and do it right than rush it for the sake of it.
I did conduct a 4x1mile repeat this evening,any thoughts that I might be easing up post National were soon set to one side,4.55.53,4.58.01,4.58.04,4.53.25 a second 4/4 sub 5.
Post workout GP and I talked at lenght about the build up to 5th Avenue Mile and next years World Masters,the ground work needs to be done now but we,ll really get down to brass tacks post 5th Ave.
In light of that Friday I,ll begin the in and out 400m repeats that I deployed so successfully last year,in defence of my title I cannot rest upon my Nationals laurals so it,ll be full steam ahead.
w/ an easy 5 miler on tap manana{christ I,m starting to sound like GP now!!}I,ll have more time to I hope post at least my 800m blog entry from Spokane,at least w/ next week off to cop the track and field from Beijing I,ll have the time to eventually post accounts of the 800m,1,500m and 4x800m relay.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Coming Soon

Having returned victorious from Spokane yesterday I,d love to sit and recant my epic weekend for you all now,however the truth is following an unscheduled 4 hour delay at Salt Lake City on my return from Spokane yesterday I lost valuable pc hours yesterday and frankly today I,m paying for my cross country flight,awoke in Spokane at 4.30am,crashed out here in Philly at 12.30am,to do my blog entries justice I need to be far more awake and and be able to go into great detail to do both races justice.....what can I say I,m Irish,we don,t do things by half,we are afterall a nation of great storytellers so tomorrow when I,m more awake I will report on my epic 800m and 1,500m me for those of you unfortunate not to have witnessed them first hand you,re in for a treat.

Monday, August 4, 2008


My final workout b4 Nationals and of all things a film crew on hand at Franklin Field.......not for my benefit I hasten to add though I was tempted to pitch the screen play of''Miles,Medals,Memories"the Kevin Forde story......but we,ll save that for another time I guess!!!!
Given that this was a low key workout the fact that said film crews presence meant lanes 5-9 at the 200m mark were blocked by the high jump mats and a varity of film equiptment was strewn across the track in lanes 5-9 meant my workout would be slightly compromised,were I still two/three weeks out from Nationals and looking to do 6x600m repeats I think I,d have been somewhat ticked at the intrusion as it was I saw it as a minor hiccup on my evening.
Following my stretches and mile warm and mile of strides it was time to have at it,2 600m repeats,I knew from 200m through 250m I was going to have to cut across from lane 5 to lane 2 b4 cutting back to lane 5 again so my 400m splits would be somewhat off but since this was hardly a be all and end all workout I wasn,t going to be too ridged about it.......however I wasn,t prepared to run the whole 600m in lane 1 knowing full well my time would be false due to the inside 4 lanes being short.
62 seconds at 400m b4 a closing 200m in 32 seconds,1.34.47,I hadn,t planned to go quite that fast and while my 400m split may,ve been "lite" by a second or two due to the swerving across lanes I had to be pleased w/ the closing 200m split.
66 seconds at 400m on#2 and again another dig deep final 200m split,this time 31 seconds to clock 1.37.37,again I,d probably have to add a second or two to make each 600m legit but I think I,d have been looking at 1.36/1.37 for the first,1.39/1.40 for the second.
Did a 6 lap cool down to even out the sessions milage at 3 miles,I will return tomorrow for an easy 3 miler,probably the time honoured mile warm up,mile of strides,mile cool down b4 getting ready to depart for Spokane.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

An Even Dozen

Up and at it by 8.45am this morning,an easy 5 miler around Clark Park to round out my weekly milage at 30 miles again.
Not only 12 weeks in a row but also 14 times in the past 15 weeks and 16 times in the 19 weeks of build up from April 1st untill now.
Post workout GP and I finally caught up w/ each other and discussed the week that was and the upcoming week,GP feels there,s no need to go after another 600m time trial Monday prefering I stick to the game plan of 2x600m and while I,m still a tad miffed over yesterday I feel he,s right.
It was interesting to hear Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps talk about how this week leading upto the Olympics has dragged,it,s hard to believe that 19 weeks have elapsed since Indoor Nationals ended and I began to turn my attention to all things Spokane and Outdoor Nationals and now it seems the days get longer as my departure day gets closer.
Tomorrow will be a @#$% off day,those rare days I really don,t have to do anything,some catching up w/ stuff on my dvr and that,s about it,r&r is the key word of the day.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Do Over Required

Not exactly how I wanted my second to last workout to go,amazing how a simple workout, a 600m can be well and truly banajaxed by two people oblivious to track ethics.
Having gotten through my now newly extended stretches I went through the motions of a mile warm up and mile of strides,it was during the mile of strides I felt I was going to have a problem.
Let me state for the record I don,t feel because I run as fast as I do that I have any devine right to any lane on any track be it lane 5 at Franklin Field or the inside lane anywhere else,I respect other people using the track and only ask that they yeild the right the right of way to any athlete about to overtake them,for as long as I remember that,s been the code of conduct on any track.
I knew I had to attack the first turn to set the tone early and felt I,d gotten a good rhythm going,I opted for lane 6 since a slower runner had been using lane 5 during my mile of strides,I was only running a lap and a half it wouldn,t kill me to switch lanes for once................
Coming off the first turn I looked up along the back stretch,two walkers were now occuping lanes 5&6 ahead of me,I felt there was enough room on the inside to sneak through in lane 5,no worries,I reached 400m in just over 59 seconds.
Going into the final turn disaster was awaiting me in the form of slow jogger in lane 5,during my mile of stride I must of passed him three times always going wide around him,this time w/ roughly 120m to go w/out looking he veers over into lane 6,forcing me wide out into lane 7,sweet jaysus I was all over the sodding track this evening like chicken shit on a farm and I only ran 600m!!!!!!
1.32.19 and I was NOT happy...........let,s just say something rhyming w/ johnny nollocks and begining w/ a b was to be heard quite loudly at the finish line.
In running as is in life adversity is always going to present its self,it,s how you handle it,I compleated my two mile cool down to put me at 25 miles for the week and the prospect of an easy 5 miler tomorrow morning will round out my weekly milage at 30 miles for the 12th week in a row.
Prior to this evening the game plan was to run 2x600m on Monday,given that I,ve logged dozens of sub 1.45 600s over the last several weeks I,m more inclined to take another crack at the 600m time trial..............and hope to be able to conduct it all in one lane this time.