Sunday, September 28, 2008

North Carolina Here I Come

Following a whirlwind week of 5th Avenue Mile,my name getting mentioned in Masterstrack blog twice and finishing second at Osprey yesterday I opted to switch race plans in a fortnites time,instead of doing the Radnor Steplechase 5K XC race on Sun Oct 12th I,ll head down to Greensboro North Carolina to run the Masters XC 5K C,ships.
Having talked it over w/ "Charlie Dibble"last nite I,m gonna ride the wave that,s currently taking me to highths I,ve never been at in my 32 year career and take on the best masters XC 5K runners and see where the chips may fall,I owe it to myself to see how I stack up against them period not to mention run my second ever sub 17 min 5K and my first as a masters athlete.
Granted it,s a hike to North Carolina but it,s a road trip w/ my team mates so the "proverbial cheque,s in the mail............ok I did online registration"is taken care of and now I need to begin prep for my next race.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Blue Eyed Jersey Devil

I already used the Bono"they said it,d be something special in New Jersey"quote this season at Monmouth but today at Stockton College over xc I proved that the "Garden State"is a happy hunting ground for me
Ideal xc conditions in late September,grey but cool,a flat 6k course and I was rearing to go.
From the gun I eased my way towards the front of a 50 strong pack,Chuck and I were the only non college runners in this race which was an open race for college males,I kept a close eye on where Chuck was in the opening 200m but as the field begun to funnel onto the narrow path I moved my way forward,a lead pack of Richard Stockton runners had hit the front and I felt comfortable getting up there w/ them.
W/ last years winner begining to establish a convincing lead I passed two of his team mates b4 the 1k mark,3.02,the kilometer split threw me for a brief second b4 I was able to get my head around the notion,I,m used to 400m splits and or mile marks.....old habits die hard.
Comfortably in second place I clocked 6.16 at 2k,suddenly my pre race target time of 24 mins seemed way too soft,I was on pace for a 20 minute time,I clocked 9.42 at 3k,the leader was putting himself out of sight but I knew I had a shot at a top three finish,I was aware of the close proximity of 3rd and 4th,all I had to do was hold on.
I don,t recall seeing a 4k mark,even when Chuck and I jogged the course post race I never did see it......of course I never saw the 1 mile marker either!!!!
I was joined by the third place runner b4 we hit 3 miles,he asked if I was the leader,I told him there was another runner ahead,we ran along side one another b4 he overtook me,I saw the 3 mile mark,16.03 having jogged from roughly the start to the 3m mark pre race I now knew what to expect for the final kilometer.
16.41 at 5k...whoa,something to bare in mind.........still third and 4th place nowhere near in sight I felt I had things in hand,I ,m proud of the fact that when second place missed the right hand turn on the approach to the finish I was nobel enough to yell"make a right" and allowed him to catch up and then overtake me to reclaim 2nd place,I wanted second but I wanted to come by it honestly.
Making the final turn and getting on to the grass I knew to rev up my kick,as we rounded the hammer throwing cage I had enough room on the inside to make my move and as the home straight and finish line appeared I kicked for home.
Second in and club record in one shot,a nice mornings work if I say so myself,second overall and a medal to boot..............nice!!!!
As Chuck and I jogged the course as a post race warm down we discussed the prospect of me ditching Radnor in favour of Masters Nationals down in North Carolina,I,m leaning towards Nationals,yeah it,s a hike but w/ my profile higher than it,s ever been right now I need to continue to ride the wave,where better than Nationals,based on todays performance that sub 17 min 5k is there for the taking,I told Chuck I,m leaning towards coming to Nationals,I need to talk it over w/ "Dibble"and see what he thinks,I think he,ll endorse the road trip to Nationals,I,m also thinking he,ll endorse a day off tomorrow,twice around the course today plus a 2 mile warm up came out to 10 miles,giving me 30 for the week,we,ll see what he says on both counts.
Oh yeah this just struck me,I think the reason why New Jersey has become a happy hunting,s where Zakk Wylde,s from,coincidence??I,ll bet my Philadelphia chapter of the Black Label Society it isn,t.........peace

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rubbing Shoulders W/ The Masters Elite

Dispite on and off drizzle today and a later than usual start I still kept my appointment w/ an easy 5 miler,a wise man once said and I quote"you don,t change what took you to the big dance"and on a day when I was mentioned in the same breath as Tony Young,John Hinton,and Pete McGill I was hardly going to blow off a training run,late or drizzle.
To be spoken of along side three of the top Masters milers is indeed an honour and a reward for all my hard work,dedication and sacrifice this year and at a time when "outside the lines" matters both good and bad could easily blindside me I refuse to let myself be compromised,having reached that plateau I now need to kick on,ergo no let up in my schedule.
Tomorrow sees me embark on a 8 race xc season,2 more than last year,my track reputation will count for nothing at Osprey which suits me,I,ll be forced to work as hard as the next runner and I hope that if I do what last year would seem unimaginable and defeat Chuck in a xc race I,ll earn albeit by semi default another club record.
By virtue of tomorrow being my first ever 6k race xc or road it,s a pr,by virtue of the fact it,s a some what anomaly distance whoever finishes first between Chuck and I will earn the club record,like I need more incentive....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

One Last Time

Week 6 of Belmont hill repeats and right back where we started,Thursday nite and 6 x flagpole,for the record on week one I went:2.02.08,2.02.17,2.04.43,2.02.29,2.00.67,1.50.47.
There was the threat of rain going into the evening but it didn,t keep either Chuck or myself from showing up,xc workout in xc conditions,for the first time in three years I had a shot at going 6/6,a 50% chance of showers was not going to deny me that!!!
We were joined tonite by Nick,he,s a new member of GPTC and a brave soul to join Chuck and I on the sixth and final week of hill repeats but as Nick said afterward you,ve gotta start somewhere,to whit I chimed in w/"pain is temporary,glory lasts forever"
1.57.29. for repeat #1,5 weeks and a 5 second improvement,2.01.46.a marginal improvement but an improvement no the less.
2.01.34,a 3 second improvenment,a ringing endorsement to my strenght training for the last 5 weeks,2.01.55,again marginal improvement on week#1s #4 repeat,I knew I wasn,t going full tilt and yet I was still faster than 5 weeks ago.
2.00.66,almost identical to 5 weeks ago when I clocked 2.00.67.,and so to the 34th and final hill repeat of the 08 season,1.48.70,2 seconds up on my #6 repeat 5 weeks ago,I do declare these hill repeats over and w/ 8 xc races coming up in the next 11 weeks we,ll see how well they,ve prepared me beginging Saturday at Ospray over 6k

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not So Hip

Following last nites workout I was experiencing discomfort in my right hip,in fairness the discomfort had been there for the past week,it felt like a bruise w/out any bruising,in fairness it never hindered me last week,muchless on Sunday,however on repeat #2 or #3 last nite I began to feel an increase in the discomfort level and upon arrival home walking up the basement steps was painful,fast forward several hours to this morning and I again experienced discomfort walking up the subway steps,time to bust out the ice packs and aleve once I got to work and email GP.
His advice was to keep icing it,keep taking anti inflamatories and skip tonites recovery run,when we eventually spoke just b4 lunch time I was pleased to report the ice and aleve had worked wonders and upon discussing the nature and location of the discomfort GP was able to diagnose it as IT related and suggested a stretching exercise I could do tonite to help me recover.
If I,m going to have to suffer an injury be it major or minor I,d rather it be now post season,it remains to be seen if I run tomorrow,period but it,s also possible the weather gods could hold my fate in their hands,we,ll have to see which way the wind blows manana.

When Life Gives You Lemons.......

Fueled by a fire created in my opinion by the gods having a laugh at my expense I arrived at Franklin Field on somewhat of a mission.
The plan tonite was 4x600m,the idea was to reduce the volume but also reduce the target time,1.42,in time I,ll move back up to 6x600m at 1.42 and would imagine eventually drop my target time to 1.40 and prehaps below.....that sub 4 minute mile GP and I talked about Sunday won,t just happen I,ll have to work for it.
Following my stretches and mile warm up and mile of strides it was time to in the words of T Rex"Get It On"
After weeks of 400s at 59,60,61 seconds on paper a 68 second opening 400m followed by a 32 second closing 200m shouldn,t have been a problem,however I knew I had had to show up tonite,I couldn,t just mail it in
I opened briskly,67 seconds at 400m and a 30 second 200m,1.37.80,I knew I needed to ease off a little which lead to my downfall,whileI,d been able to focus on shorter repeats of 150/100/150 on my In and Out 400s over the last 5 weeks it was a lesson in concentration tonite to focus on 600m and I was guilty of letting my mind turn off on the bottom bend of the first lap,72 seconds at the bell I knew I,d have my work cut out for me now,a 32 second closing 200m gave me a 1.44.25,if I hadn,t opened quite so briskly prehaps I,d have had the legs for a 1.42 repeat on #2,oh well.
W/ my focus now 100% I opened repeat #3 w/ a 70 second 400m b4 closing w/ a 32 second 200m,1.42.40 that,s ,more like it!and I ended the session w/ an almost identical repeat,71 for the opening 400m,31 seconds for the closing 200m,1.42.91.
Not a bad nites work as I begin my off season,start as you mean to go on I believe

Monday, September 22, 2008

Onto The Next Phase

Three thoughts that took the box seat in my mind today,1,now that my outdoor season was over it was time to start thinking about the upcoming xc season begining this Saturday,2,in order to forfill my dream to become World Champion next year I will need to look at fundraising and sponsership something I,ve never had to concern myself w/ b4 but I,ve never been in a bonified position to challenge for the title of World Champion b4 either so whatever it takes to get me on that plane to Lathi next July.
The third thought was how the running gods had smiled on me today,following a Sunday race I,m always forced to go to a Tue,Thur,Sat rotation and as luck would have it this weeks Belmont hill repeats are scheduled for Thursday,not Wednesday as usual this week, and this weekends xc race is set for Saturday......prehaps winning back to back 5th Avenue Mile titles grants me favour w/ said running gods,but like any gods you never want to make them angry,something to ponder manana when I hit Franklin Field for 4x600m as the post 08 track season begins w/ one eye on the upcoming indoor season ergo a track repeat workout.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

..........We Salute You

The photo is outside MSG after todays 5th Avenue Mile,ironic that there,s a photo taken of me in the same spot 18 years ago b4 the New York Marathon,my love affair w/ New York never dies,a point I,ll make lyrically at the end of this entry.
I arrived at 80th St and 5th Ave at 9.40am some 80 mins b4 race time,conditions were typically idelic for late September in New York City 76 degrees and sunny,after picking up my race #,chip and t shirt I had my brief Blair Waldorf moment on the steps of The Met{if you don,t watch "Gossip Girl"you won,t get that reference,sorry}b4 stretching and doing a mile warm up.
GP and I had planned to meet at the start b4 the race but when he didn,t show up I didn,t panic I was focused on my race,we,d meet up post race.
I learnt a vital lesson at Nationals about relaxing b4 the 1,500m final,I was too uptight b4 the 800m final so today was about being focused but loose,how loose?when I saw my friend Lorraine doing her warm up I said to her"of all the road races,in all the cities,in all the world,you,ve got to run in mine"Lorraine,s been injured most of this season this was the first time I,d seen her since Mid Atlantic C,ships on May 31st.
Upon reaching the start and getting a good place just behind the line I was joined by Conor O Driscoll and Neil Fitzgerald,I turned to them and said"three Irishmen in New York City,what are the chances of that???"
When the gun went off I quickly got into my stride and was surprized how soon I got a clear run,one advantage of doing this race three years in a row is I know the course like the back of my hand,I,ve learnt to stay on the right hand side of 5th Aveune rather than weave from left to right.
GP and I had originally planned to for me to go through 400m in 65 seconds and 68 seconds for the second quarter,2.13 at the half,based on my last three repeat workouts I felt a 64/67-2.11 split was possible so imagine my surprize when I saw 64 at 400m and 2.08 at 800m,back to back 64 second splits.
I,d already gotten clear of the field and was now on a mission,I always believed I could win the race and I also believed I could go sub 4.20,w/ a 2.08 800m split I was on pace for that,there would be no let up.
As I closed the gap on the pace car to the point where it had to speed up to get from in front of me{I swear I,m not making this up!!}I could hear one of GP,s quotes"don,t leave inferior competition in the race"I used the downhill to full effect begining to pick up my pace b4 the crest of the hill,3.11 at 1,200m a 63 second split,this was way faster than I had thought it would be.
I was well clear of the field and I could see the finish line,unlike last year I saw the 1,500m mark,3.56....whoa!!!,I told myself on the walk to the start today there,d be no"living the moment a la Nationals"right through the line today,I was going to brake 4.20 and how..........4.12,after braking the tape I allowed myself a banshee like howl of delight b4 getting to my knees to kiss the ground and then offering up thanks to God for the victory and pr/club record.
The first person to greet me post race was GP "Charlie Dibble in da house!!!"how fitting,Dibble and Top Cat together in New York City!!!
It meant a lot "Dib"came up for the race period but also that he passed up a major Chelski game live on tv for me,it speaks volumes of our coach/athlete relationship/friendship,it,s always good to know who your friends are and that they,ll go to bat for you.
Following my 4 mile cool down I met up w/ GP and his son Luke down by the finish,I looked up to my left to see Bernard Legat heading upto the start,I rushed over to shake his hand and wish him luck,he thanked me,wow,add Bernard Legat to Jeremy Wariner of the top flight athletes I,ve met this year,and in a show of utter class dispite being on his way to the start Bernard took time to pose for a photo w/ GP,s son Luke,I,d heard great things about Bernard Legat from people who,d met him and today he showed that all those things were true.
Following his narrow finish line defeat to Nick Willis Bernard jogged 80 meters from the finish to wave to the crowd,he stopped right infront of where GP,Luke and I were,I got on the on of the line as he shook hands w/ fans and shook the great mans hand and hugged him"you,ll get him next time I said""I hope so" he replied as he smiled that great great smile of his.
While the race was done my day in Manhatten wasn,t after a trip to FAO Schwartz w/ Luke we hit Central Park where GP and questioned how my official finish time was called 4.17,the official finishline photo should show the clock above the finish line at 4.12,sure 4.17 ain,t shabby,it,s a pr and I believe an age group course record.
We talked about Worlds and how,ll we,ll make that happen,if means sponsership and fundraisers,we also talked about the upcoming xc season and indoor season as prep for next season.
This was the first time we,d seen each other since MAC C,ships on June 21st three months ago and it allowed us a chance to have a man to man heart to heart,what we discussed is not for public knowledge,what I will say is long b4 he was my coach GP was my friend,I hope he,ll continue to be both for several years to come.
Home by 7.30pm,some 14 hours and 15 mins after I,d left this morning,a 14 hour round trip for just over 4 mins work but today was more than just about my race,to quote "the poet of New York Lou Reed""oh what a perfect day,I,m glad I spent it w/ you"God willing next year my mother Eileen will be here to see me go for a third 5th Avenue Mile crown.
Riding back to Philly on the 5.57pm R7 from Trenton I watched the sun go down and made the metaphorical link to the sun setting on my outdoor season,I know that,s deep for a black hearted born again savage celtic pagan such as I but when you listen to as much Coldplay as me it,s inevitable that Chris Martin's "Soul of a poet"lyrics rub off on you.
Of my 7 1,500m/mile races this summer I won 6,I said at the time of my second place finish at Monmouth at the NJ C,ships if I,d have begun my kick at 200m that day I may,ve caught the winner,but hey 6/7 ain,t too shabby.
Sept 17th is 6 months post/pre St Patrick,s Day so we,ll leave it to an Irishman Bono to have the last word,on the ride upto Manhatten today I dug out my New York Marathon 2003 mix tape{I used to make mix tapes for all my marathons so the New York Marathon tape seemed ideal listening material today},the lead off track is"New York" by U2
"Gonna put the women and children first,cos you,ve got an unquenchable thirst for New York"

Friday, September 19, 2008

For Those About To Rock 5th Avenue.............

While there,s still a humming in my ears from Lemmy and co last nite I,m in otherwise great shape for the task at hand tomorrow morning.
In keeping w/ the four basic "food groups" that I need to get through this thing we call life,I,m writing 1,about running 2,listening to music 3 and about to watch footie 4 even though my beloved Spurs don,t play till tomorrow,I may be home from New York in time to catch the end of the game tomorrow or at the very least catch the highlites.
I picked up AC DC tickets this morning for their Philly show Nov 17th,I,m looking forward to a little "thunder from down under"in nine weeks time,as for matters a little closer to hand,here,s hoping for a little"twenty one gun salute"tomorrow at roughly 11.04 am

Fire It Up Let The Engines Roll

Long b4 taking on the roll of"conscientious objector"{us citizen or not if we go to war I,m off to Canada!!!}I was a Boy Scout and as a Boy Scout I was taught to "Be prepared"so it was a good job I checked the schedule for use of Franklin Field for tonite b4 leaving there Tuesday evening,if I hadn,t I,d have been S.O.L.not what I needed for my final tune up going into Sunday,s race.
Dib and I had decided on a 6x200m workout for tonite two weeks ago and not being able to access Franklin Field was neither here nor there,I could simulate 200m repeats along Clark Park,and not have to wait untill 6pm to do so,fair play.
After a mile warm up I launched into my 6 x200s,since it wasn,t on a track I didn,t time them,I think "Dibble" just wanted me to "warm up the jets"so to speak and following 3 laps at 2 repeats per lap I threw in a 3 lap cool down to give myself a 4 mile workout for the evening.
It felt funny to be doing the small loops of Clark Park again,it,s been a while since I did them,may be a while b4 I do them again.
Alrighty then I,m off to do irreparable damage to my hearing and go see Motorhead at The Electric Factory,while some may question a my taste in music and b my timing I respond w/ a that,s why Baskin Robins makes 32 flavours and b following recent events I need a venue to blow off some steam,hell it,s not like I,m gonna be front and center in the pit moshing and as long as I hear the gun go off Sunday at 11am I,m ok w/ a little risidual ringing in my ears!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

If Venting Was An Olympic Event I,d Be Golden

I realize today,s a rest day but force of habit I,m here at my blog,in light of the bombshell that was dropped on me from a great height last nite I could,ve used a run today.
W/out getting into too much detail my hopes of going to Lathi Finland next year for Worlds were dealt a major hammer blow as an already tight financial budget has gotten an awful lot tighter and dare I say it out of my reach.
Granted Worlds come every two years so my not being to go next year isn,t the be all and end all,Sacremento 2011 would be a lot easier from a fiscal standpoint but who,s to say I,ll be in the shape I,m in now two years from now??
I haven,t written off next years Worlds,I still feel it could happen but last nites extract from the "Book Of Reverlations" has for all intents and purposes thrown an industrial size spanner into the works.
First things first I need to be 100% focused on 5th Avenue Mile Sunday,post race GP and I will sit down and map out a blue print for next season Worlds or no Worlds, begining the following Saturday w/ a XC 6K at Stockton College b4 then I have 200m repeats to take care of tomorrow,I look forward to be able to run.

Strenght Over Speed

Week #5 of Belmont hill repeats and like week#1 a back to back situation,not the worst thing in the world but not the most ideal w/ 5th Avenue Mile coming up this Sunday, however as in running as is in life it is what it is and dealing w/ it head on was the only way to go.
Coming off of yesterdays inspired In and Out 400s and yes it was whom I refuse to divulge{somethings are better kept to ones self I feel!!}I went into todays 3x Parachute and 3x Flagpole w/ a cautionary word from the now recovering "Charlie Dibble"who felt strenght rather than speed was the watch word of the day,he was to get his wish but more by accident than design!!.
Upon arriving home I found myself trying to multitask getting ready to leave,packing my bag,getting changed and catching Champions League highlights,upon arriving at Belmont I realized I,d forgotten to put my stop watch on...............please feel free to insert the ditzy comment if you feel so compelled,however more by accident than design I,d set myself up for the workout GP wanted for me,I can,t stress enough that my oversight was just that an over sight,I,m not that me!!!
Twice around the outside loop b4 heading into the back woods for our final romp up Parachute untill the Catholic League 5k on Oct 15th,Chuck said he thought my first 2 repeats were in the 1.33 region,about what I,ve been running the front side of Parachute in the past two weeks.
My 3x Flagpole according to Chuck were probably,2.04,2.01,1.51,not bad considering I wasn,t going flat out.............I,ll save that for next weeks final hill repeats,6xFlagpole.
A well earnt day off tomorrow,I just discovered my beloved Spurs are going to be on tv in the afternoon as we begin our quest for a 4th Uefa Cup,looks like moi will be heading home straight from work to catch the end of the game b4 tackling grocery shopping,a slightly different way to spend my Thursday afternoon, as a wise man once said"varity is the spice of life"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Change Of Seasons

As was evident by the floodlights at Franklin Field being turned tonite for the first time this late summer/early fall I was also reminded how the seasons are changing prior to my trek to Franklin Field this evening for my In and Out 400s.
Cast your mind back to mid May and a blog entry I wrote about Chelski losing the Champions League final on penalties to Man Utd,at that stage I was 6,7 weeks into my outdoor season w/ only two races under my belt in the outdoor season,fast forward some four months later,my outdoor season is winding down w/ one final race,5th Avenue Mile left to run this Sunday and today saw the begining of the group stage of the new Champions League which will weave it,s way from now untill mid May of next year,by which time I will have compleated my xc season,indoor season and begun my outdoor season,time nor the seasons stand still.
I might,ve been a day late w/ my final In and Out 400s but trust me I was far from a dollar short!!! following 150m repeats of 21.03, and 20.86, I then set about my 4x400s,last time out I went:60.29,60.49,60.81,61.18 tonite I went 59.24,60.00,59.88,60.00,2 60 flats is amazing,I was 2 100th,s of a second of going 4x400m at 59 seconds,that,s pretty amazing if I say so myself.
Now for the mile,last week I ran my best mile split in these repeats of 5.15.97 and tonite befitting my sixth and final time on this particular repeat I went w/ splits of 1.20,1.22,1.23,64 to clock 5.09.54,I,ve come a long way from week ones 6.02.04.
Given the track is off limits Friday evening this will be my final track workout b4 5th Avenue Mile,I couldn,t have asked for a better send off....oh yeah and as omens go Chelski won their opening Champions League game 4.0 this evening,don,t bet against them going all the way to the final in the Olympic stadium in Rome come May.

Monday, September 15, 2008


Boy if it isn,t one thing it,s another at Franklin Field,two Fridays ago I couldn,t access the track due to a JV football game,last Monday,dispite the fact the Penn athletes were done by 5.30pm the football team were being lead through their paces on the infield and the coach instructed it was a "closed practice"meaning no access to the track till 5.50pm....fine if the track was open till 7.30pm/8pm but when it,s closing at 7pm that,s barely enough time to get my stretches and workout and cool down in,tonite I arrived at Franklin Field at 5.30pm only to be informed the Lacrosse team were working out on the infield till 6.30pm,meaning I,d get half an hour to do my workout till 7pm..............yeah right!!!!
Rather than pout,be petulant,or just plain poed I came home dumped my bag and hit Clark Park for my 5 miler,I,d rather run something than nothing,granted it wasn,t the repeat workout I wanted but I can,t not run,short week or no short week I still need to be out there ergo the 5 miler.
It now remains to be seen how the rest of my week shakes out,do I attempt back to back repeat workouts tomorrow and Wednesday? or ditch one of them,personally I,m in favour of back to back repeats and then taking it easy for the rest of the week,we,ll see what ''Dibble" recomends if he,s recovering from his 105 fever,get well soon GP,this is the week I need my coach.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

And On The Seventh Day.....................

I didn,t rest for once.
Fridays rain took care of that little detail for me,no big in the general scheme of thing,having handled my business yesterday w/ my mile repeats today was an easy 5 mile recovery run to round out my weekly milage at 30 miles.
A slightly later start than usual as I took advantage of a lie in for once,rest is one of those components we can overlook if we,re not careful and I,ve worked too long and too hard to be bitten in the arse by not paying enough attention to detail and the little things.
I,m sure this week like any week leading upto a major race/championship meet will seem to drag and will also see me overly protective of health and well being issues,GP had mentioned working in an extra rest day to this week which I,m kean to take come Thursday as it,ll allow me a jump start of food shopping instead of doing it all on Saturday,a jump start on that Thursday means an easier trek to the grocery stores Sat,which in turn leaves me more relaxed Saturday period not to mention free to check out the PDR Philadelphia Distance Run expo Saturday during the mid morning/early afternoon.
I,m looking forward top my final hard track workout tomorrow,my last In And Out 400m/mile workout,hill repeats at Belmont on Wednesday b4 200m repeats on Friday.
I have the Motorhead gig also Friday to take my mind off of Sundays huge race,but rest assured when that alarm goes off at 4.45am next Sunday I will be ready.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


The title is from a Black Label Society song"Strenght,Determination,Merciless,Forever" it can also be considered a mantra for my running,being strong both mentally and physically,driven to succeed,ruthless in my persuit of forfilling my goals,and wanting it to be long term,I,m not interested in being hot for a few seasons,I want to build and leave a legacy.
Another BLS song title sprung to mind for yesterday"Demise Of Sanity"cos believe me yesterday was"one of those days"!!!!
The fact I couldn,t hit Franklin Field yesterday was one thing,the fact it rained so hard even an easy run was out of the question was another,trust me I needed a run yesterday after my day at work..........jeez louise,it had to have been a full moon!but since a running workout was not on the cards trust me the stereo speakers got one hell of a workout!!!!!
Up semi early this morning,though not as briskly as last Saturday I rose,made java and headed to Haverford for my mile repeats,a slight twist to them this week,only three to begin w/ and the opening two were suggested by GP to be slower than sub 5 pace,leading nicely to the finale which also had a twist.
After yesterdays "cats and dogs" rain and last Saturday,s "soup" it was pleasent to be able to work out in a text book mid September morning,warm sun,no humidity,mild breeze.
Post stretch and mile warm up it was repeat time,I figured 1.17 pace throughout would give me a 5.08 pace,pretty much what I wanted,opening in 1.13 I figured not to worry inevitably my pace would slow over the remaining three laps
1.21 on lap 2,a little slower than I wanted,although I was balls dead accurate for 2.34 pace.
Somehow lap 3 got away from me,1.24 not only much slower than I wanted but also much slower than I,ve been running of late,knowing that the final mile was scheduled to be my"coup de grais"I didn,t go after it on the final lap,1.21 for a 5.19.54 mile,I wasn,t thrilled by that time.
Repeat #2 an opening lap of 1.16 seemed a better start,however once again when forced to run slower than I,m used to or would like my pacing goes heywire,I might,ve been guilty of not focusing 100% but I throw that out there as a maybe and lap 2 was a 1.21,followed by a 1.23 seriously can you remember when I last ran mile splits that slow?
A modicum of respectability w/ a closing lap of 1.14 to close in 5.14.90 but still not really in the 5.08 range I wanted,now for the one that really mattered.
GP,s instructions were fast opening lap64,65,66,moderate 2nd and 3rd laps,fast closing lap,64/65 pace
Boom!!! a 66 second opening lap,I could live w/ that,1.23for lap 2,1.19 for lap 3,3.48 at the bell,rounding the bottom bend I visualized having another runner along side me and this helped me to begin my patented "Hornby Train Set" move,slowly amp up the speed till a point where you turn that dial as far to your right as it will go and "go like the clappers"
I knew b4 reaching the 200m mark I was flying and was not surprized to clock a closing 400m of 64 seconds and a mile of 4.52.45.
Last Saturday I closed in 64 seconds for a 4.50.51. mile off of splits of 72,76,78,64,today I,d managed splits of 66,83,79,64,shave that 83 to a 79 we,re talking 4.49 mile.
As ever I,m at the mercy of GP,s take on the workout,granted not my most consistant of recent weeks but hopefully those opening and closing laps on my final mile will please my coach,I know they pleased me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Gospel According To Zack Wylde

Another recovery run and another easy day,it,d be all too easy somedays to just blow off the recovery run but I don,t,aside from being the ldeal bridge between one hard repeat to the next I also know that to be the best runner I can I have to be out there day in,day out no matter what,it helps that I consider it routine and not a chore,it also helps when an icon from a compleatly different realm talks about it in his walk of life.
Enter one Zack Wylde,guitar god and general hero of mine,what turned me onto Zack and his music was a quote when he was inducted into the Rock Walk Hall Of Fame two years ago,"w/out God in your life and w/out family you have nothing" this day on Zack has become something of a role model to me.
Granted I don,t play the guitar but I,ve always said my running was a god given talent,a quote such as Zacks is powerful stuff period but if you were to judge a book by it,s cover you,d come off all wrong w/ Zack,yes he,s an axe welding,beer guzzlin,trucker cursin, s.o.b...........HOWEVER the God and family stuff is gospel to him,read his sleeve notes or see Black Label Society in concert if you doubt me,the point I,m trying to get across is just because you look and act a certain way doesn,t mean you can,t have faith and beliefs.
Here,s another great quote from Zacks bio on his web site,sure he,s talking about playing guitar but it,s a quote that can be applied to anything,I apply it to my running:
"You never turn your back on practicing,that,s what got you to where you,re at.You could be the heavyweight champion of the world but you,ve still gotta train,you,ve still gotta focus on what got you there.When you lose sight of that then everything just falls to shit.I,ll tell ya brother I talk to God everyday and thank him for everything I,ve got"
At a time when I,m enjoy a relaxed tranquil period in my life it,s funny how Black Label Society and Motorhead fuel my workouts,you may not dig Black Label Society,s unique brand of guitar rock but you have to admit Zack Wylde preaches a heady message and that,s what makes getting out there day after day a choice I don,t have to think twice about.
The gospel according to Zack has ended go in peace.....and kick some major butt....Amen!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Over The Hills And Far Away

Week 4 of Belmont hill repeats and the first of back to back 3x3,tonite both sides of Parachute next week 3 x the front side of Parachute b4 3x Flagpole b4 the week 6 swansong of 6x Flagpole.
After a two mile warm up Chuck and I headed into the back woods to begin this weeks bill o fare,Chuck joked that we should"write down our times no one would know any differently if we actually ran or not"I responded w/"yeah but where would the fun in that be"reading between the lines Chuck wasn,t ready for tonite but I was and to that end I offered to take out all 6 repeats,an offer Chuck was happy to accept.
Last year I went:1.40.57,1.22.89,1.40.18,1.22.45,1.36.73,1.20.65,my most consitant set of hill repeats last season,sofar in weeks 1,2 and 3 I felt I,d be the model of consistancy no just at Belmont on the hills but also in my mile repeats and In And Out 400s.
1.33.74 for #1 my range last week went from 1.29.58 to 1.37.45 so I was somewhere in the middle.
1.23.38.for my opener on the back side of Parachute,I remembered what GP had said prior to this evening about taking it easy on my hill repeats,5th Avenue Mile is 10 days away now is not the time for throwing caution to the wind.
1.34.67.for #3 in keeping w/ the 2 1.34s I clocked last week on repeats #3 and #4
1.22.73.very much in keeping w/ last years splits. close the front side of Parchute and very consistant if I say so myself.
1.17.17. to close out the session,I made my mind up to go after the final repeat to end the session on a high note b4 taking a well earnt mile cool down w/ Chuck,we laughed at the prospect of going 1&2 at the Catholic League xc 5k here in 5 weeks time although the new date Wed Oct 15th is the third date for the race,I fully expect to show up next week for week #5 of Belmont hill repeats to learn a 4th date for Catholic League xc has been set!!!!,not only could Chuck and I go 1&2 we could well be the only 2 runners to show up for a xc race at 5pm on a Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No Rain On My Parade

The prospect of a recovery run this morning was looking bleek at best when the heavens opened around 10am,however good things come to those who wait and trust me I,m becoming an expert on that of late,some six and a half hours later yours truly was out doing the rounds along Clark Park to get my 5 mile recovery run in.
I,ve said several times b4 in this blog the most important run for me is more often than not the recovery run after a repeat workout or race, a chance to flush out any risidual gunk in the legs and prep for the next day.
GP gave me a ringing endorsement for last nites In And Out 400s,I feel it was my best one yet of the 5 I,ve conducted.
Anyways I,m gonna take full advantage of an easy evening,big arse bowl of fish and pasta some tv and feet up,tomorrow it,s Hill Repeats 6x Parachute 3x each side,I,m hoping things develope well enough during the day that I,m doing my best Kate Bush impression.........'Running Up That Hill,And Make A Deal W/ God"come 6pm

Monday, September 8, 2008

Played This Scene Before

Another of"'those days"the type that crop up from time to time and test your physical and mental metal,it,s how you cope w/ all that that ultimately dictates your workout,I can,t allow myself to feel mentally or physically tired during the day no matter what,s going on,once the repeat is over let the chips fall where they may but untill then I,ve gotta be all business all day and judging from my splits I passed this test w/ flying colours today.
20.27 and 21.15 for my 150s,consistant w/ what I want and a nice set up for the 4x400m.
I opened briskly,22,13,25 for a 60.29,I felt I was a tad brisk on my opening 150 and if I could correct that I,d be ok.
22,13,25,60.49 almost a carbon copy,except I took off a second from the opening 150m,like last year I feel I,m getting to grips w/ theses in and out 400s as I reach the latter weeks of them,23,12,25,60.81,if I could maintain this form I felt a 4th 60 second 400m split was mine for the taking......
As I waited patiently for my 5 minute recovery to elapse a runner passed me in lane 5 I hoped by the time my remaining 35 seconds has ticked off he wouldn,t be a factor.....24 seconds at 150 and 11 seconds at 100m{35 secs at 250m}it was go time,I looked up ahead of me and saw the same runner meters ahead of me still in lane 5,would I pass him b4 I reached the finish?As I reached the final 50m I knew I was going to pass him the question was inside or outside,in fairness to him he heard me coming and pealed off to the inside to allow me to hold my line in lane 5 but that split second of hesitation cost me a 4th 60 second 400,61.18
While ticked at that I was privately proud of my consistancy,I feel I,ve come a long way in 5 weeks w/ my 400s and clearly also in my closing mile.
Week 1 physically that mile was tough,ditto for mentally as I clocked 6.02.04,week 2,5.48.48,week 3,5.17.90 thanks to having Neil to push me,week 4,5.26.69 tonite laps of 1.20,1.24,1.26,65,5.15.97 and I feel I could,ve gone faster and can go faster,a nice feeling w/ one final week of In and Out 400s on tap for next Monday

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Elements 0 Top Cat 1

I,m not a morning person at the best of times so when ye olde alarm went off at 5am I could,ve been forgiven for not actually being "Suzie ray of sunshine"this morning.....
Several wacks of the worlds greatest invention......the snooze button!!!! later I arose at 6.30am very much a man on a mission,but first.......................COFFEE!!!!!!!!
Suitably fired up it was off to 30th St to jump the 8.19am R5 to Haverford,I couldn,t be 100% sure that the gates at Lower Merion High School track would be unlocked this early b4 9am so I went 1 stop further up the line to Haverford............and yes that,s one step closer to my "spiritual home"Villanova,I knew there were no gates to worry about my only concern was a soccer game on the infield,I needn,t have worried....yea!!!
The skies were grey and ominous as I got to Haverford and for a nano second I thought about ditching my stretches in favour of jumping into a mile warm up b4 my 4x1 mile repeats..............I quickly copped myself on and disregarded such a frivilous notion,I preach the importance of pre and post warm up routines and swear by my stretches,aside from the bollocking "Dibble" would,ve given me I also know better than to fly in the face of fate period muchless two weeks b4 5th Avenue mile,rain or no rain I would stretch.
Sticking to the time honoured plan I wanted to go out in an opening lap of 1.15 and aim for sub 5 minute miles and gradually make each repeat faster,it had worked last week even though the opening mile was 5.01.06 and the second mile was 5.00.15.
1.16 for the opener,I could live w/ that,1.18 for lap 2,2.34 at 800m and another 1.18 lap to put me at 3.52 at the bell, a 68 second lap would see me at 5 mins..........somehow I could only muster a 70 second final lap,5.02.27,I was not shy at voicing my displeasure at this.
Granted the air quality was heavy,heavier than it,s been for a while and also this is a track I,m not used to running on but even so I wasn,t happy w/ a 5.02 opening mile,and yes I know several runners would kill for 5.02 mile,sorry I,m not one of them.
1.16 for the opening lap on mile 2,followed by another 1.18,only this time a 1.17 on lap 3, a 69 second last lap for 5 mins...............71 seconds........!@#! 5.02.17
Prehaps I was guilty of not focusing 100%,I should have no problem churning out a 69 second closing lap,I won,t use the excuse it,s because it was early morning I wasn,t firing on all cylinders,I,ve done early morning Saturday repeats at LMHS and not had a problem w/ being focused.
By the time repeat #3 began my sleeveless dri fit shirt was hanging off me like a damp towel,I don,t think I was this soaked when I took a face plant into the Atlantic Ocean on July 16th in Ireland!!!!,do not interpret this a me copping a plea just stating a fact,the air was thick and heavy,per "Dibs" credo the first lap of mile 3 needed to be a little faster than miles 1&2,1.12,I then clocked my slowest mile of the session w/ a 1.19 but still managed my fastest 800m split 2.31,1.18 and finally a sub 3.50 split at1,200m 3.49,.............yet another 71 second closing lap 5.00.56,ok not sub 5 but also not on the plus side,I was going for it on the final mile.
1.12 again to open,b4 a 1.16,2.28 at 800m I tend to think I do better when my pace begins fast,it,s just a question of bringing my strenght upto par so that repeat #1 can match repeat # whatever depending on said workouts,I,ve learnt not to come out all guns blazing on the first if I want to still be gunslinging come the finale and I know the essence of repeats at their purest is to gradually make each one faster than the one b4.
1.18 on lap 3,3.46 at the bell,sopping wet dri fit shirt,heavy air,less than 100% focus be buggered,I was going to "have at it",last weeks finale saw a 64 second final lap and a 4.53.47 mile,today I managed another 64 second closing lap but a record low 4.50.51 closing mile.
All in all a good mornings work,granted the opening two miles could,ve been a shade faster but I,m hoping "Dibble" will look at the consistancy of each mile and the fact I got faster as the session wore on.
I returned home just prior to lunch time w/out so much as a drop of rain,till I had to leave half an hour later to go food shopping,given the choice of rain on my workout or rain whilst food shopping the latter wins hands down.
31 miles for the week and a well earnt rest day manana,5th Avenue Mile is two weeks away.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Best Laid Plans................

Ger!!!,in fairness it,s been a while since my training routine got scuppered,that didn,t make it any easier this evening when upon my arrival at Franklin Field I was greeted by the Track Closed sign due to some footbal game being played on the infield.
Had I,ve known ahead of time this was to be the case I,d have made alternate arrangements,however having been away from Franklin Field for a week this was news to me and I was forced to return home for an easy 5 miler around Clark Park instead.
Whilst rounding Clark Park and mumbling and grumbling to myself I had to remind myself that had tomorrows Battle Royale gone ahead the mile repeats would not have been an option and in the words of Coldplay"Everything,s Not Lost"there,s the option of mile repeats hopefully tomorrow or should the weather not cooperate Sunday and while either sinareo presents issues they are it has to be said small and not insumountable issues to deal w/.
Time and again I,ve said that in running as is in life you,ll be faced w/ adversity,it,s how you deal w/ it that counts,I,m hoping to rise early hit the track at Haverford and be done my 4x1 mile repeats b4 10am and b4 the rain, wish me luck

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Life,Love,The Persuit Of Happiness,It,s A Balancing Act

A nice easy 5 mile recovery run this evening,almost an hour later than usual since I did something out of character and did something post work pre workout.
I am as I,ve often stated a creature of habit,I prefer to get done work,come home ,get changed and get out the door right off the bat to take care of my workout be it repeats or recovery run,that,s fine but in running as is in life,it,s all well and good having a schedule but you need to be flexible w/ it also.
The reason for my post work juant was to hit the TLA on South St to get my Motorhead ticket for Fri Sept 19th,again as I,ve stated more than once on these very pages,it,s all well and good being driven,focused and determined w/ my running but I need to balance my life so that while running is #1 it,s not the be all and end all,I don,t want to forsake everything else and end up resenting the fact I put such a high premium on my running,all things in moderation,had 5th Avenue Mile been on Sat Sept 20th as I originally thought there,s no way I,d have seen any concert the nite b4,now that 5th Avenue Mile is on the Sunday I,m free to get my groove on Friday nite at the Electric Factory,I figure a little kick arse music Friday b4 hopefully a little kick arse racing on Sunday,balance it,s a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

3 By 3 Times 6

Week three of the hill repeats and tonite Chuck and I were joined by Fred Kenny who usually comes out once a year on our 6 weeks of hill repeats,personally I thought Fred could,ve picked an easier set of repeats than 6x Parachute but that,s just my opinion!
Last year on said repeats I went:1.36.14,1.35.02,1.40.51,1.35.20,1.44.76,1.33.01,I felt more than capable of improving on those splits tonite based on my opening two weeks here.
An honest miscalculation of the finish cost me on #1,I stopped a couple of meters shy of where the finish is and watched in horror as Chuck flew by me to the actual finish,the first hill repeat he,s beaten me on this season,my 1.31.98 would,ve been somewhere in the 1.33 region had I,ve realized the finish was slightly further ahead of where I stopped,we,ll call it 1.33.98 w/ an * next to it.
No such worries on repeat #2 as I clocked an official 1.31.64,I was already well up on last years times,having traded off on taking out the first two repeats Chuck again suggested I take them out since I looked to be faster than him,it,s almost as if Chuck was handing the torch over to me,Chuck IS xc running and while three good repeat sessions does not make me the finished article where xc racing is concerned I can,t help but wonder what the upcoming xc season may have in store................if any of the races I picked ever happen!!!
Battle Royale has already been 86ed,it may or may not be rescheduled,Osprey 6k may not happen according to Chuck,Catholic League 5k has to be rescheduled and it sounds like it could be on a week day,so that,s up in the air,Bad Boy 8k and NYRRC 5k may be cancelled as the outside fields at Van Cortlandt Park have been ripped up,so that,s 5 of my 8 xc races there,it remains to been seen if the prepossed Surekill 10k goes ahead in Dec......oi to the vay!!!
Repeat #3 1.34.87,at first I thought I might,ve been guilty of not focusing 100% on the hill section of this one but when I ran #4 in an almost identical 1.34.85 I realized maybe I was just getting a little tired,again I was ahead of last years splits.
Repeat #5,1.37.45 my slowest of the evening but still some 7 seconds faster than last year,one more to go,an all out attack on this one which yeilded a 1.29.58,probably my fastest ever spilt for Parachute.
A mile cool down on the outer loop to round out tonites milage at 5 miles,I,m on pace for a 31 mile week.
Easy 5 mile recovery run tomorrow,b4 4x1 mile repeats Friday now that Saturdays Battle Royale has been cancelled,next week 6x Parachute but rotating between the front and back,tonite was all on the front next week #1#3 and #5 will be up the front w/#2,#4 and #6 on the back hill,the same hill we finished last weeks 4x Nursery/Parachute on

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Pardon The Interruption

Oi!why is it on those rare occasions I find myself in a position to talk w/ somebody at work about running I always seem to get interupted by someone asking me some redundant question I have no right to be asked but because I,m the one on the loading dock I,m fair game for said question?
I don,t think there,s an answer to that I just needed to get it out of my system,otherwise it,d been a good day all round,capped off w/ an easy 5 mile recovery run{sans hecklers!!!}.
Hill repeats tomorrow,the dreaded 6x Parachute,given I won,t be racing up Parachute on Saturday at the now 86ed Battle Royale I,ll be left to ponder what might,ve been,but such is life,tomoorow also marks the half way stage of hill repeats,3 down 3 to go.

Monday, September 1, 2008

What,s The Story,Morning Glory

The holiday may,ve changed but the principle was same ,on Memorial Day while the masses were either at the shore,at the mountains or at cook outs I was over at Clark Park taking care of a 5 mile recovery run following a set of mile repeats the previous day,today it was off to Lower Merion high school track to conduct my in and out 400s.
Up and out the door by 9am to hit 30th St for the 9.49am R5 to Ardmore,I didn,t think Franklin Field was an option today and rather than take that chance I made a bee line for LMHS,s track believing that would be,plus this track has become a happy hunting ground for me and my repeats this summer.
There was a sigh of relife as I rounded the corner and saw the track being used by fellow runners meaning it was game on re my 4x400s plus my mile once I got through my stretches,{new month so each stretch is increased by 1,now I,m upto 15}mile warm up and mile of strides.
An advantage of doing the in and out 150m/100m/150m- 400m on this track was the markings are more conventional as oppossed to Franklin Field where they,re all over the gaffe,today I was able to mark off the 50m mark from the starting line,meaning when I reached the 200m start down the back straight I was at 150m,running the turn would give me an accurate 100m mark leaving me the home straight and the first 50m of the top turn for the second 150m.
I wanted to take it out easy early on w/ the hope of maintaining the same pace more or less throughout,I,d been going through on my opener in 22s on my way to opening 400s of 58,58,60,today I went 24,12,24 to clock 60.67,taking a little off that first 150m had afforded me a 400m of 60.67,still way ahead of the 66 seconds GP had first recomended when we revived this workout,in fairness it,s because I,m caining the middle 100m,while my previous in and out 400s could,ve been questioned due to prehaps questionable 150m/100m/150m marks there was no question today they were balls dead accurate and compared to the Franklin Field version of this weekout maybe they,re not that far off.
Almost identical second set of splits,24,12,25-61.77,I probably could and should,ve gotten a second 150m at 24 seconds but w/ a jogger coming clockwise to my anti clockwise on the track in lane 1 I think I allowed my focus to dip for that split second,even so 61.77 was highly respectable.
23,12,24 for repeat #3 for a 59.33 400m,not only were my 150/100/150 splits consistant but obviously that meant my overall 400s were consistant also,one last push would I reap the benefit of consistant pacing going into the finale?
24,13,24 to clock 61.66,last time out I went 60.07,58.56,60.03,62.84 so I feel today was an improvement,as ever the final word will be w/ GP.
I have to be honest,I,m finding it easier and easier to run this mile 8 minutes after my 4 in and out 400ms,and while todays 5.26.69 is marginally slower than the 5.17.90 I clocked on Aug 20th it should be pointed out I had Neil to push me then,today was a solo mission.
1.22 for the opening lap,w/ Neil just off my shoulder on Aug 20th I opened w/ a 1.21,the pace slowed slightly on the second lap 1.30 unlike the 1.21 last time,4.26 at the bell thanks to a 1.34 split,now for the fun and games,since week 1 on these repeats GP has been keen for me to "ctb" the final lap,wk 1 69 secs,wk 2 66 secs,wk 3 66 secs,today............60 seconds,I said after wk 1 when I didn,t go all out on that final lap I would crank it up, wk2 it was at 250m to go,wk 3 300m to go today from the bell.
All in all I felt this was a good workout,as I said b4 untill I hear from GP the jury is out,it,ll be interesting to see how the land lies between us given the 1.1 draw between his Chelski and my beloved Spurs,much good natured banter has been exchanged both b4 and after the game so we,ll see what,s up w/ that when we eventually catch up w/ one another.
Happy Labor Day