Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Top Cat,s Top Ten Races 08

For the third year in a row I sit here b4 you to list my top ten races,even in an injury shortened year{32 races between Feb 1st thro Dec 28th} I had to sit and go over the entire year to not only pick ten races but also put them in order.....submitted for your approval a trip into the Top Cat Zone!!!!

10, University Of Deleware 800m,my first outdoor non relay race of the season,I went in hoping to run a respectable 2.06,I came away w/ a 2.03.07. 3rd place finish and the belife that I could be a medal contender at Nationals in Spokane in three months time,all great journys begin somewhere my 08 season began here.

9,Swarthmore 800m,having failed to get under 2.10 over 800m indoors in Feb and March this December 21st 2.03.01. performance told me dispite a frustrating lack of speed work in recent weeks I was back to the 800m indoor prowess I,d shown in 07.

8,NJ C,ship 8k XC dispite high caliber xc races over 5k and 6k there were those who felt at the longer 8k distance I was punching above my weight....they thought wrong!!!

While I didn,t claim a club record or course record I did set a pr and take top masters finisher w/ my 8th place 28.16.62.

7,Penn Relays 4x4,three years in and the thrill is still very much still there!

Thanks to an Olympic year the crowd swelled to 49,000 which will always do wonders for your performance,thanks to Daryl overtaking the Shore AC third leg coming off the final turn I got the baton in 7th and began to give chase to the anchor legs of Mass Volocity and Alabama Express.

Coming off the final turn and w/ real estate running out I caught and passed the Mass Velocity anchor,6th overall in 3.49 and a 55.1 split.

6,NJ C,ships 1,500m,my only mile/1,500m defeat in the outdoor season and I still believe had I,ve kicked at 200m to go and gone for the win instead of kicking at 150m in hope of moving from 4th to 3rd I would,ve caught the winner,that said it was an epic final turn and home straight!!!

5,Masters 5k XC C,ship,a race I wasn,t originally scheduled to run and a race I probably had no right expecting a great return on...............that,s why they call me"Prime Time"baby!!!!
9th overall in 16.49.4,sadly like Saratoga b4 it the course in N.Carolina was just short of 5k so I couldn,t claim this as a sub 17 5k,that said it was still a great performance.
4,Millrose 4x4,the race I,d dreamt of all my life was not about to be derailed by a pesky stress fracture let me tell ya!!!
Much has been said of this race since it took place 0n Feb 1st and yet it still feels like yesterday,to race the same hallowed boards my "holy trilogy" of heroes Ronnie,Marcus and "The Chairman" still means EVERYTHING to me I just wish my lack of conditioning hadn,t cost us the bronze...............but I,ll be back to claim what,s due to me in 09 or me on that!
3,Masters Nationals 800m,just like I wish I could rerun the closing 200m of the NJ Cship 1,500m I wish I could rerun the second lap of this race.
In my mind it was always going to come down to a duel between Neil Fitzgerald and I and it was always going to be about the 400m split,61 seconds, slower than I,d been going through my opening laps since Deleware so I put the hammer down,the problem w/ that was w/ 400m to go Neil had time to react and regroup and he caught me 60m from the line,an epic race have been beaten by the younger faster runner on the day was no disgrace.
2,5th Avenue Mile,to have won it in 07 was beyond my wildest dreams, to return 12 months later and not only defend my title but also obliterate my pr from 4.25 to 4.12 thanks to splits of 64,64,63,61 and a 1,500m split of 3.56. is something that,ll stay w/ me forever,but believe me I,m not done yet!!
1,Masters Nationals 1,500m,going into Spokane I had hopes of returning w/ two National Champion golds{not including the 4x800m}if however I could only have one I,d have picked the 1,500m over the 800m dispite being defending 800m champion since I,d never won the big one at 1,500m not even in high school,runner up in 78 and 79.
If I,d kicked too soon in the previous days 800m final I got it balls dead accurate in the 1,500m unleashing a ferocious kick w/ 200m to go to claim my first major 1,500m title in a pr time of 4.10.78.while it would,ve been nice to have gone sub 4.10 that,ll come in time this was about saviouring the moment and the victory.

One Last Time/Food For Thought

Final run of the year today,wasn,t looking too hopeful at lunch time w/ some snow flakes falling but by the time I,d excused myself one last time from ye olde loading dock and got home just after 4pm mild mannered{yes I,m taking the piss!!} loading dock foreman by day gave way to running machine Top Cat and while I wasn,t clearing tall buildings w/ a single bound I was rounding Clark Park at a decent rate of speed one last time in 08.
As I compleated my tour of duty I thought about the year that,s about to expire in less than three and and a half hours it started w/ my foot in a cast and a few concerns about making it back to the high level I,d reached pre stress fracture in 07 and would I return to that level?
The answer was a resounding yes,dispite being only two days removed from my surgical boot I forfilled the dream of a lifetime and raced at famed Madison Square Garden in the Millrose Games,a dream come true,sadly a not surprizing lack of conditioning cost us third place off the final turn but I had no grounds to complain,I had no right being there and yet there I was flying in the face of it and defying the odds.
Millrose proved to be the only highlite of my disappointing indoor season, I was glad to see the back of it and turn my attention to outdoor track,Penn Relays in front of almost 50,000 fans was another highlite reel not just for the year but in my career.
4x4 duties taken care of it was time to focus on my marquee events the 800m and 1,500m/mile and how!!!
A 2.03.07 800m followed by a pair of 1,500m victories in 4.21 and 4.14 took me into June on a high that never waned,when a 2.03.72 800m is considered a setback you know you,re cooking,my only 1,500m/mile defeat of the outdoor season saw me clock a 4.12.65. b4 clocking a 2.02.45. 800m.
July saw two final races b4 my trip to Ireland and also my final tune ups b4 Nationals a 4.28.9 mile and a 2.00 800m,no wonder I enjoyed a weeks worth of running along the beach in Ballybunion humming the theme to "Chariots Of Fire"
August and everything in Spokane, a tantilizingly close defeat in the 800m final 1.59.51-1.59.82 but a career first 1,500m title in 4.10.78. and a third consecutive 4x800m gold,track was winding down as I began my yearly six weeks of hill repeats on Belmont Plateau,track swansong a 4.31.83. mile at the Wisahickon Wanderers meet.
September and all my hard work for the season paid off, a stunning 4.12 5th Avenue Mile victory to cement my growing reputation as a masters miler and then the unexpected bonus of a XC season I never imagined, a 6k pr b4 heading down to N.Carolina to compeat in XC Masters Nationals where against all odds I finished 9th,three days later I finished 3rd at the Catholic League 5k C,ships on Belmont Plateau b4 notching another pr this time over 8k at the NJ XC C,ships,as my coach "Charlie Dibble" later pointed out my success at XC was all the more remarkable by virtue of the fact we,d done nothing specific towards XC and yet here I was clocking pr,s and setting club records.
November, redemption over the 5 mile course at VCP in "Bad Boy" followed by a sub 17 3 miler the following week,sadly the peak of my XC season dispite two more races later in the month,just as my stress fracture had proven how life can and will throw you a curve ball my work schedule was thrown for a loop as situations out of my control dictated my day to day routines,dispite the industrial spanner in the works I managed an 8th place at Brandywine and a course pr b4 a 6th place at the testing 8K Belmont course.
December,indoor track,not so much a false start in the 4x4 more of a non start but a week later when improvisation became the mother of necessity I clocked a a far cry from the indoor 800m races I tried to run in Feb and March b4 rounding out the year w/ a hard fought 4.39.41. 1,600m.
While my credo in life is"It,s All About The Run" away from training and racing the highlites were Spurs winning the Carling Cup,a weekend in New York to see The Cure b4 racing,going home to "the motherland" Turkey reaching the Euro semis,rediscovering my love of THE ALARM and of course meeting "The Queen Of The Slipsream"
As 08 winds down and 09 gears up thoughts turn to a new year,new challenges and new blog entries,run or no run manana I,ll address some of them tomorrow.
My final thought on the year that was goes out to the neysayers and haters{you know who you are}you can tell an Irishman,you just can,t tell him much......POGUE MAHONE,that,s gaelic for "kiss my arse"!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On The Seventh Day

My my,what do you know I got my whole run in while there was still some vestige of daylite,lost in the shuffle of the holidays last week was the fact that if I,m not mistaken after Dec 23rd it starts to get darker a little bit later,not by much at first but slowly yet surely so that,s something to get excited about.
Had Franklin Field not been off limits tonite would,ve been a good nite for a track workout,it,s looking more and more like Friday now,I fear New Year,s Day is going to be a wash for a run of any type as the mercury isn,t expected to get much above freezing,while a pisser short term I need to work in a rest day somewhere otherwise I,m looking at going into the first of the "Thursday Nite At The Races" series next week on the back of 16 days straight training,there is such a thing as overkill.
Phew hard to think tomorrow is New Year,s Eve,a whole that pesky leap year Feb 29th extra day has been and gone,some food for thought for tomorrows blog entry,the highs,the lows,the good,the bad,not too much ugly it,ll be mulled over.

Monday, December 29, 2008

E.B.S....Early Bird Special

A little slight of hand and swift of foot today meant I was home by 4pm and off to Clark Park for ye olde 5 miler,it,s gonna be a real shock to the system manana when I have to run at 4.30pm when it starts getting dark,oh well it,s been fun!
For the longest time I was under the impression that Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile was Jan 17th,it,s actually the following weekend the 24th which will allow me an extra week to get ready,it does mean I can,t run the 3,000m at #2 of "Distance Nite At The Armory"that Thursday but unless one is Barbie one can,t have everything can one!!!
Six days in a row now I,ve been able to run,all jokes aside I,m enjoying the consistancy but w/ New Years Day threatening to be only 32 degrees I may well have to invoke a rest day there and halt my streak at eight days,I had hoped to hit the track at St Joes on Thursday in a symbolic "start the year off as you mean to go "jesture,that may now have to wait till Friday.
All that said the weather could change between now and then,we,ll have to see,one thing I do know Wednesday nite my Top Ten Races of 08 will get written after weeks of humming and harring I,ve gotten not only my 32 races of the year whittled down to 10 but I,ve also put them in order.....stay tuned!

TC,s Ok In Md

Or how I laid to rest my PGI ghosts!!!
Starter for ten it ended up being a 13 hour day for less than 5 mins work,that said a road trip w/ 4 team mates and members of our "sister club"Athena can never be frowned upon even if the end result won,t make Wednesdays year ending Top Cats Top Ten list.
Off of two less than flattering performances here at PGI I was determined to put that right Sunday,I also wanted a chance to test out the new mondo surface b4 March,s Indoor Nationals ergo hitting the road by 6.30am to get down to Landover by 9.15am to run the mile.....or as it ended up a 1,600m.
By the time we finally got around to the mile/1,600m it must,ve been gone 11am,I,d stretched and warmed up and waited patiently for the open/masters heats which when they eventually came around were split into two heats,sub 5, plus 5,I should be greatful they didn,t make the masters run separately but there were 20 athletes in the sub 5 heat which is one thing but the fact they wanted to run a 1,600m and not a mile meant there was always going to be a major cluster f ** k going into the first turn,sure enough the runner inside me almost went down as we hit the turn and could quiet easily have turned the field into a house of cards,w/ hindsight the next time I,m in a race w/ that many runners going into the first turn make sure I,m all the way on the outside of the starting line.
Jesus I,ve heard of running w/ the pack but this was like running w/ the herd!!! it took me till the back straight of the third lap to get out of lane three by which time I,d opened w/ 34 second splits to clock a 68 second 400m.
By now the lead two runners were well clear as I moved clear into third, I was well and truly in no mans land as I now had to run against the clock,today would,ve been a good day to wear my new stop watch that records splits as I don,t recall my 200m splits,I do recall 2.18 at 800m.
Third in 4.39.41 w/ a 1,500m split of 4.23,I,ll aim to improve upon that Sunday at The Armory where I doubt I,ll have to race in a heat of 20,I can,t say my PGI experiences in the past 13 months have been stellar,here,s hoping in 12 weeks time at Masters Nationals that changes.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I Am The Milkman Of Human Kindness

Yes folks another training run,another bloody Billy Bragg reference!!!
Give the full slate of Boxing Day and Sunday footie fixtures I found myslf at a bit of a loose end today w/ no footie to watch,and while sorely tempted to don my Celtic jersey and head downtown to see which of the Irish bars were showing the time honoured "Old Firm"punch up......sorry match up between Celtic and rangers aka"the glasgow scum" I thought better of it,hard to be in the season of"peace on earth,goodwill to all men"when you,re shouting religious bigatory across the bar at the orange bastards rooting for rangers{sidebar Celtic won 1.0 at rangers...HA HA!!".}
A much safer practice was to finish up ye olde grocery shopping and go look at new laptops,although the latter proved to be a bit of a futile exercise what w/ the holidays and all that,clearly laptops were a hot item this xmas and rather than buy what they had for the sake of having one I,ll wait till Best Buy{shameless free plug for hook me up you feckers!!!}replenish their stock.
Another afternoon 5 miler,4 days in a row,to quote Ryan Adams"Easy Tiger",and unless something goes pear shaped on the way to PGI in Landover tomorrow morning a 5th consecutive day of running is on deck.
If tomorrow,s a race then tonite,s a carbo loading dinner,Muscles,Linguini w/ Texas Toast,a look back at the breathtaking Olympic Opening Ceromony{which I missed due to being in Spokane for Masters own Gold quest}and the highlites of Scott McDonald scoring the winner for Celtic.......everybody sing w/ me"oh it,s a grand old team to play for,oh it,s a grand old team to see,and if you know you,re history it,s enough to make you,re heart go........"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Boxing Day

One of the few things I miss from back home is Boxing Day,that time honoured tradition of eating leftovers and enjoying a full slate of footie.
Over the past few years I,ve somehow managed to finagle the day after Christmas off to have a pseudo Boxing Day of sorts,it looked like my run was coming to an end untill I brought up the fact I gave up two vacation days in November to bail out the loading dock at work so I was rewarded w/ days off today and next Friday,kudos to my boss Joanne for giving me those days off.
No slouchlike lying in till 10.15am this morning,no siree,up by 8am to watch Spurs Fulham, a disappointing 0.0 draw but there you go!
W/ the extra day off at my disposal I chose not to take a zen like attitude w/ the recliner and the remote and went food shopping b4 the late soccer game Villa coming back from 0.2 to draw 2.2 w/"the scum"whee!!
Off to Clark Park for another 5 miler,steady on three training days in a row,excuse me if I don,t dig out my Billy Bragg "Back To Basics"cd!!!
Rumours abound of am showers manana,I may be forced to wait till the afternoon again to run,as long as I can that,s really all that matters.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Reviving The Tradition

"The christmas you get you deserve"-"I Believe In Father Christmas" Greg Lake
Merry Christmas,Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa,holiday greetings to one and all.
For the fifth Xmas in a row and if memory serves me correctly the ninth since 85 I,m spening it alone.
A wise man{my father}once told me when I was younger"xmas is what you make it"for whatever reason over the years I,ve chosen to treat it as "any other day"this year was no different although for once I actually wanted to embrace all the good that comes w/ the holidays,who knows if I continue to wipe my slate clean from the ghosts of christmas pasts the ghost of christmas future may well make my christmas present a memorable one,I think I,m worthy of one memorable christmas.
In 05 I broke w/ tradition and actually ran on Christmas Day for the first time ever to accomodate house sitting in East Falls and going home to Port Richmond to feed Calvin and Hobbes,in 06 I ran from the apartment on Cedar Ave to City Hall and back for another 6 miler.
Sadly that tradition came to a grinding halt last Christmas due to a stress fracture and a cast on my foot!!however this year I have a clean bill of health so post lie in{10.15am....I know what a lazy bastard!!!!}and breakfast and a check of all the foot news back home it was time to reach out to "La Famalia"following the debarcle of the past two years it was nice we could chat this year,my family accept the fact it,s a glorified rest day for me and don,t brow beat me over my lack of preceived holiday spirit.
W/ said 5 miler in the bank now it,s a shower post blog,a spot of Chinese for dinner and a couple of movies on tv.
Lyrically I,ll let Oasis have the last word:
"Sailing down a river alone,I,ve been trying to find my way back home,but I don,t believe in magic life is automatic but I don,t mind being on my own"
"Listen Up"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Let The Spirit Move You

Hallelujah! after almost a week of crap weather I was able to get out and run today,take away Sundays race and it was six days since I last laced them up.
The weather gods claim it,ll be better weather the next few days so fingers crossed I can at the very least get out and train between tomorrow and Saturday b4 heading to Landover on Sunday to race.
A strange phenomenon has come over me the last few days......I,ve actually embraced the holiday spirit,now either I,m getting mellower in my old age,a weather induced lack of running has set off a chemical inbalance,"The Queen Of The Slipstream"is a bigger influence on me than I realized,or maybe a combination of all three w/ a little bit of that old holiday magic sprinkled in for good effect.
Not only have I wished co workers,delivery drivers and others happy holidays the past few days,but I,ve meant it,rather than find the negative aspect of the holidays as is more often my won,t I,ve tried to embrace the good feelings the holidays can bring,case in point for the previous 9 xmas,s at work I,ve avoided the storeroom xmas lunch like the plague,today I made a point to not only attend but go around the table and shake hands w/ everyone and wish them a merry xmas,very unlike me but you know what,it didn,t kill me and I,m glad I did it,who knows there may be hope for me yet!!!
Since it was Wednesday,YES "The Queen Of the Slipstream"came to visit me today,my get out of jail free card when I handed "her majesty" her gift bag of presents and she had none for me was that every week we,ve spoken since Aug 12th has felt like my B,day,Xmas,New Years,St Paddy,s Day and Halloween all rolled into one,it,s one gift I hope continues to keep giving throughout the coming year,that said my fair lady if you,re reading this and you still want to give me something for Xmas I,m rather partial to the two disc dvd of "Casablanca".
It,s almost midnite here,5am back home,millions of children will be waking up soon to see what Santa left them under the tree,I hope you get want you asked for.
Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Road To Indoor Nationals Starts Here

I hadn,t planned to race the Dec 21st meet at Swarthmore,"Charlie Dibble"is not a big lover of the facility,I on the other hand being a shameless romantic have sentimental ties to Swarthmore,it was here on Jan 9th 2005 I ran my first ever indoor race,an unearth shattering 10.26.50 3,000m,how times.....and distances have changed!!!!
Following on from last weeks heartning 400m splits I began to think about coming here for the 800m,problem was getting"Dibble"to give me his blessing,mother nature and my powers of persuasion aided and abetted that and so rather than mess w/ freezing rain and temps hovering just above freezing for outdoor mile repeats it was off to Swarthmore for a fast 800m indoor.
Part of my persuasive plea bargining to "Dibble" was that given how fast I,d cranked out 400m splits last Sunday I could in all probability come here and post a fast 800m time,use that as a seed time for Indoor Nationals{13 weeks and counting!!!}and then focus on the mile for the next three meets b4 coming back to the 800m in late Jan/early Feb and try and improve upon whatever I ran today,"Dib"gave me his blessing and here I was primed and ready!
I seeded myself at 2.02,an honest seed time/expectation,first indoor meet of the season and all that,coming off of a injury shortened indoor season in 07/08 w/ no great 800m times to show for myself I was hell bent on laying down a marker today,I think I did.
Lining up on the inside lane w/ the remaining 6 runners in heat 1 I knew to get out fast from the gun down the back straight and give myself as clear a start as possible,what surprized me was the tall purple clad Roman Catholic high schooler who blew by me on the home on indeed!!!
I thought I heard 26 seconds for the first lap to be honest I was focusing on the back of this kids vest,58-59 was the 400m split, a brisk pace but one I felt comfortable to handle early season or not,w/ two laps to go I began to increase my pace,down the back straight I closed the gap on the high schooler who moved off the insideof lane but clearly wasn,t giving me the room to overtake him inside,rather than play possum I attacked b4 the bend and began to drive up the home straight to the bell.
Missed that split,1.28-1.30 I,m gussing it was all about the final lap now,it seemed my move had broken the high schooler as I cruised to a comfortable 2.03.01 winning time,a nice start to the 08/09 indoor season and a decent seed time to put for Landover on March 22nd w/ time to hone and sharpen my speed.
For the next few weeks I can look at the mile to get ready for Hartshorne first,Masters Invitational 1,500m second,Indoor Nationals third................oh it,s on now baby!!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mexican Moon

Somewhere b4 lunchtime I was convinced today was a full moon,there was however no evidence of this on my 5 miler around Clark Park at 5.30pm!!!
Madness,Mayhem and Mexicans{just go w/ me on the last one ok!}seemed to rule the roost on my loading dock and yet I was able to smile and crack jokes throughout,given I,m two days from what would,ve been my wedding anniversary that,s kind of remarkable.
Any of my regular readers know that Erica anniversaries tend to offset my dark side and yet on this THE biggest of all my Erica anniversaries I,m surprizingly non plus about it.
I,d like to credit that to"The Queen Of The Slipstream"but in fairness that,s not the whole story,for once I think I just want to let go of the past,"respect your past,but don,t keep living it"I,ve had 22 years to grieve,morn,be angry,upset,pissed off whatever,as I,ve said of recent issues that,ve plagued me,draw a line in the sand,move on,get over whatever it is and move on.
An email from an unlikely source informed me Franklin Field is closed to the public till Jan 13th.....a winner for the holiday WTF Award if ever there was one!!!,granted tonite I couldn,t have ran there as planned as it was 4.25pm b4 I left work,remember,madness,mayhem,mexicans!!!but what I,m suppossed to do betwenn now and Jan 13th is beyond me re repeats,I,m looking into other options,I,ll check out St Joe,s if the weather this weekend cooperates to see if that,s an option.
Final thought,Spurs recovered from a 0.2 deficit to draw 2.2 at home to Spartak Moscow this evening and reach the last 32 of the Uefa Cup,an early xmas present for the N.17 faithful............or Hanukkah gift..........we are Yids afterall!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Going Old School

After yesterdays rain/sleet/freezing rain/snow................we don,t know what the bejaysus it was it was a joy to be able to get back out and run this evening.
An easier than most day at work meant actually getting out on time for once..............I know ,what a novel concept,that and not having any post work chores meant getting home by 4.30pm,so w/out haste I was changed and out the door pronto to get my 6 x Clark Park 5 miler in,the first three loops were in daylight,a rare commodity these days.
Opting for a track workout wasn,t an option this evening,I knew a transatlantic phone call was on tap tonite,I don,t have the luxury of seeing my clan on a regular nor semi regular basis so those phone calls tend to see me work my schedule around them not vice versa,as always it was good to catch up w/ my cousin John,fingers crossed work and weather will afford me a track workout tomorrow.
It was a shame today wasn,t a go for 4x400m repeat,not only had the work gods smiled upon me today but so to had the weather gods and frankly after a lunchtime visit from"The Queen Of The Slipstream"aka"My Girl Tuesday"{yes she,s back to visiting me on Wednesdays again!}I feel I could,ve lit up Franklin Field tonite.
I can,t...........or more,s to the point won,t divulge the inner most details of our conversations but I will confess to this much,we were w/out a doubt seperated at birth because we are SOOOOOO alike it,s not even funny and to quote a Rod Stewart lyric"You,re essay,you,re glamour,please pardon the grammer,but you,re every schoolboys dream,you,re Celtic,United but baby I,ve decided you,re the best team I,ve ever seen"
"You,re In My Heart"

Monday, December 15, 2008

Start As You Mean To Go On.............Hopefully!!!

Wishing to build upon yesterdays repeats I was eager to get out and run this evening.
Work and weather cooperated,a nice easy day and unseasonably temps meant,no hat,no gloves,sleeves rolled up tonite.
W/ "Charlie Dibble,s"ringing endorsement still on my mind,quote"what the hell are they putting in your Cornflakes"{I,m more of a Frosted Flakes man personally!!}I went about easing the gunk out of my legs from yesterday,they say "no good deed goes unpunished"and if the soreness in my calves and hamstrings were any indicator I was plenty punished thank you,but like I said to Scott inbetween repeats yesterday"no pain no gain!"
I got my invitation to Hartshorne Memorial Mile today,I also need to contact Mark Cleary re the Masters 1,500m invitational in Boston at the USATF C,Ships March 1st,indoor season is here,my first scheduled race is at PGI Maryland Dec 28th, a sence of symmetry in some respects PGI Dec 16th last year was when I first suspected I had a serious foot injury,3 days later I was diagnosed w/ a stress fracture on my left foot and my first race back from injury not counting Millrose was at PGI on Feb 23rd.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Good Ending To Another Week That Wasn,t

Another week lost to the three w's............Work,Weather and Wankers!!!
Knowing a track work out was on tap this afternoon I kept telling myself I could use this as a springboard into next week,rather than dwell on what didn,t happen this week and frankly after todays blistering simulated 600 repeats it,d be a boot in the nads NOT to kick on from here.
Conditions were surprizingly mild at 2pm when we met up at Wisahickon High School,no rain meant access to the outdoor track............I,d almost forgotten what one looked like it,s been that long!!!
After a mile warm up and the sheading of some layers it was "have at it time"5x 400m,200m jog,200m 400m jog,Scott asked me what pace I thought take the opener in,I answered honestly when I said 70 seconds................HOWEVER!!!
Maybe it was not being on a track in 5 weeks,maybe it was the feel good factor of seeing Chris Friday after he,d gotten the all clear to return to work in the New Year or maybe I just wanted to see what I,d lost over the past weeks but I blasted the opening 400m in 63 seconds,I think Scott was too out of breath to bitch me out b4 I lead us through a 28 second 200m.
I apologized for the briskness of the opener,I just suck at judging pace to begin w/ and having been away from repeats for a few weeks didn,t help,I suggested Scott lead out the second set,150m in I felt the need to pick up the pace,65 seconds followed by a 30 second 200m.
Delvin and Dave backed off and told Scott and I to do what we had to do,Scott later bitched Chuck out for sticking me w/ him.!!!!!
60 seconds for the third 400m followed by a 28 second 200m,I was as surprized as I was impressed,61 seconds/28 seconds for the 4th,I warned Scott I wasn,t holding back on the final 400m.......
58 seconds followed by another 28 second 200m...............GOD DAMN!!!
Clearly my lack of repeats over the past 5 weeks hadn,t deminished my speed,but b4 I get too carried away breaking my hand patting myself on the back,lest we forget I,m a miler and I need to get back into a regular routine of 600m/mile repeats and soon.
Silver lining time,granted the industrial size spanner into my routine of late has been ........a pisser to say the least,however having gone full tilt since the begining of April through early November maybe I needed some down time,there,s a LONG season ahead,I would never take time off of my own recogisence so maybe the break in training was devine intervention.
God willing work and the weather will cooperate w/ me this week,I,d like to get to the track Tuesday and Thursday evening and since I don,t imagine racing at Swarthmore next Sunday prehaps a series of mile repeats................what a novel concept!
To quote THE ALARM"I never left,I only went away"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Life Is Full Of Surprizes

It,s said life is full of surprizes....................BOO!.........ok just kidding but more often than not life will catch you off guard.
Back tracking to yesterday,on a frigidly cold day on the loading dock it was always going to be a hard job to get out and run post work,frankly any day that sees me keeping the shutters down,all three heaters on,the heater in my office on and me wearing a coat you know it,s cold!!!!
Frankly by the time I got done and hit the post office to pick up my new"Millwall-No One Likes Us,We Don,t Care"t shirt{you can take the boy out of South East London,but you,ll NEVER take the South East London out of the boy!!!}it was gone 5pm and the temps were below freezing,it wasn,t happening,more,s the pity.
Aside from missing a run I also missed a chance to share that oh so cherrished time honoured soccer terrace ditty when your team wins away leading upto the holidays,following our 2.0 win at West Ham I know the traveling Spurs fans were singing this one"Jingle bells,jingle bells,jingle all the way,oh what fun it is to see Tottenham win away"when the final whistle blew...............
Moving onto today,surprize #1{by the way I wasn,t surprized Spurs won at West Ham!!!}how much warmer it was today compared to yesterday,down right balmy,heaters off,no coat,no ski hat,however according to the weather it was expected to rain come 4pm which would seriously compromise my run.
Surprize #2 after several weeks of Wednesday visits "My Girl Tuesday"showed up on a Tuesday,I was pleasently surprized,and caught a little off guard I will add,mercifully she didn,t walk in on one of my all too frequent foul mouthed black hearted savage celtic pagan tirades,but even if she had of given our friendship I don,t think she,d have been surprized or minded,a huge tick in the plus colume!!!
Sadly work was too hectic for my liking again,lunch wasn,t an option and another in all too long line of in at 6.30am,don,t sit down till 3pm days meant a track workout was foolhardy at best,I did manage a five miler around Clark Park.
As always it felt good to be out running but given I have an outstanding social commitment tomorrow I won,t be able to run making yesterday a bigger disappointment....however they are calling for rain so maybe I couldn,t run anyway,knowing that there was no run on tap manana I was able to open up the throttle at the end of my run and I have to say it felt good.
Work and weather permitting I,d like to get to the track either Thursday or Friday.....wouldn,t that be a pleasent surprize!!!!
"The door opens as another one closes,my love for you is softly spoken"
''Coming Home"
The Alarm

Sunday, December 7, 2008

...Another One Opens...........Sort Of!!!!

Hell of a transitional period from xc to indoor track,23 hours....they say the seasons are getting shorter!!!!
Given my choice I,d have prefered to have gone to Seton Hall for this 4x400m relay,however to do so would,ve meant Scott and Ray probably couldn,t have ran which would,ve made it kind of pointless,in the end it didn,t matter as human frailty ultimately decided the outcome.
For the record I,ll state my dislike of the Glen Mills track/facility ergo my desire to run at Seton Hall,however I,m not that high and mighty not to be a team player and run where we chose,sadly it never got that far,after a blistering opening leg by Ray 56.4 and Kudos w/ a capital K to Delvin for pulling him Scott and Nick began to duke it out,I,m fairly sure when Scott handed off to Bobby it was a 1.55 split.
Coming off the top turn Bobby popped a hamstring,and that was the end of that,no anchor leg for me today and no chance to improve upon our Penn relays split,we have to let it ride on the wings of fate now to see if we get into January 30th,s Millrose Games.
Obviously I feel sorry for Bobby,his first race for us and this happens,I,m sure time will heal the physical and emotional wounds of today,on the plus side Delvin will be a major asset to our 4x400m team when he turns 40 and Nick proved today he,s more than capable of holding his own,it remains to be seen if we get into Millrose first,Nick turns 40 in January,if we don,t make Millrose Penn ought to be doozie,making the team might be a battle and a half now as we have strenght in depth.
Dispite not being able to race today I was able to get my requsit miles in to give me 30 for the week,cold comfort I know but I prefer to look for the silver lining these days.
Tomorrow threatens not to get above freezing,unless that changes I don,t see me getting out there to run,we,ll see how that plays out.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

As One Door Closes.....................

The end of the 08 xc season,a record 8 races,very unlike me in previous seasons but I,ve slowly learnt to embrace xc and will confess to actually missing it now that it,s over...........although there is potential for two winter xc races in late Jan/early Feb,however this time last year while I was making plans for the winter it all came crashing down around me on Dec 19th when I was diagnosed w/ a stress fracture so I could be forgiven for not crystal ball gazing too much.
Originally todays race was slated as a 10k over the old Belmont course,however that never happened but frankly 5 miles was more than enough believe me!!
Conditions were brisk,at least the sun was out but the wind had a tendency to cut right through you when it blew,I was taking no chances,2 pairs of gloves{I have the world,s worst blood circulation in my fingers}long sleeved dri fit shirt and tights.....I drew the line at thermal socks....but I was tempted I will confess!!!
The race in fairness was over b4 we went up Flagpole the first of three times,the three youngest runners quickly went to the front,followed by Chuck,Bob and I,one other brave soul went w/ and got between Bob and I however I overtook him as we got half way up Flagpole and when the cut back at Nursery allowed me to check where or who my nearest rivals were he had fallen back behind both Bob Reynolds and Pete Hessen two team mates from GPTC.
6.03 at mile 1,I was in no mans land Chuck and Bob were well ahead,equally far behind were Bob R and Pete,I was safe for 6th overall and 3rd in the 40-49 age group and w/ a 4x4 on tap for tomorrow I pretty much hit cruise control.
19.18 at 3 miles and 20.03 at 5k I now entered the unknown for the final 2 miles,I,d never ran the 8k or 5 mile course here so it was a little like running blind,I had a vague idea but wasn,t 100% certain where I was going!
I needen,t have worried I kept going in what seemed like the right direction untill I hit Nursery and knew instinctivly where the course would lead me.
One final assault up Flagpole,free wheeled the down hill and glided over the final 400m to clock a respectable if not earth shattering 31.56.98.
6th overall,3rd in my age group and medal #15 for the season,#119 for my career,in retrospect my 08 xc season has been far greater than I could,ve dared to wish when I lined up on the starting line at Stockton College for the Osprey 6k 10 weeks ago,some of my 8 xc races will make their way into my year ending Top Ten Races{hopefully a Top Ten list NOT to cause conflict eh Dib??!!}but for now that,s it for xc,I often say xc season serves as a bridge between outdoor track and indoor track,well folks indoor season begins manana w/ a 4x400m relay at Glen Mills.

Friday, December 5, 2008

There,s Only One Keano*

*{Especially since Robbie left Spurs for Liverpool!!!!}
Agh!Groundhog Day revisited Thursday I,m sorry to report,another in at,leave at 4.50pm day,never sat down till normal departure time so surfice to say,no trip to Franklin Field nor a jaunt around Clark Park,frankly I was too bleedin knackered plus it was starting to rain and I couldn,t risk getting sick.
Mercifully today yeilded an easier work day for yours truly,which given the previous three day"let,s kick the ever lovin shite out of Top Cat" palooza was indeed a blessing!!!
Asides from catching a well earnt..yea much needed brake I was also able to naff off half an hour earlier than usual,no self respecting soul in their right mind could begrudge me that right?after a 10 hour day Tuesday,10 and a 1/2 hour day Wednesday and almost 10 and a 1/2 hour day yesterday it,s hardly a crime I had it away on me toes at 3.10pm instead of 3.40pm is it??,it,s not like I,m the poster child for the EBS{early bird special} everyday of the week,when did I last do the Richard Gough?{the off}....ok I,ve used up my quota of cockney cliches for leaving early!!!
One plus for getting away from work 30 mins ahead of schedule was being able to conduct my 5 miler in daylite, a rare comodity these days,sadly Tuesdays rest day and yesterdays too knackered day have probably left me high and dry for a 30 mile week given my weekend schedule,hey ho!
Tomorrow see the curtain come down on a very good xc season for me,it,ll be interesting to see how I handle the 5 mile course at Belmont,from what I,ve been lead to believe it,s a beast of a course,come gun time at 1pm I guess I,ll find out first hand.
In closing I must draw attention to the sad news yesterday that one of my heroes Roy Keane has stepped down as manager of Sunderland football club.
Roy Keane embodies everything I strive for,play hard,have an over riding desire to win and be the best you can be,be uncompromising,match your desire w/ the ability to speak your mind and stand up for what you believe no matter whos feelings may get hurt.
Two of my all time favourite Roy Keane quotes are"Failure to prepare,prepare for failure"and"people were not happy but life goes on,nobody died"
The fact that Keano is from"The Rebel County".....that,s County Cork for the non paddy reader just adds fuel to the fire,sure jaysus if he was from Wexford,Sligo,Louth or any of the 32 counties that make up Ireland{YES 32 NOT 26!!!!}I,d still think he was the bees knees,football/soccer will be a poorer place w/out Roy Keane but rest assured we,ve not seen the last of Keano....or heard the last from me either!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Crushed By Volume

Sad to report that work has once again returned to full blooded kick my arse mode,I antisipated the proverbial"cheque being in the mail"yesterday and wasn,t wrong either so much so that it was gone 5pm b4 I arrived home and frankly making it to the track was gone, w/ it,I needed to factor a rest day into my week so......I could always make up for it today w/ a trip to Franklin Field post work.....cha!!!!!!!!
I arrived at work at 6.30am,I didn,t leave till 5pm,in fact I didn,t sit down till 3.50pm....15 minutes after I meant to be done for the day,THAT,S how busy my day was,clearly a track workout was out of the question but dispite the late hour of my arrival home I still went out and cranked out a 5 miler.
In spite of the arse kickin' I suffered at work today I,m proud of the fact I stuck to my new principle of not allowing work to dictate my whole day,I couldn,t do anything about the sheer volume I faced today,on an average day I,ll get close to 100 pieces from UPS,yesterday was 126,today was 206................YEP 206,no wonder I didn,t park my keister till 3.50pm.
It wasn,t all doom n gloom,"My Girl Tuesday"showed up,actually she,s the girl formerly known as"My Girl Tuesday"the past few weeks have seen my new favourite day of the week become Wednesday and thus she,s now become "My Girl Wednesday",whatever day she graces my loading dock that,s the best day and the best half an hour of my week.
Dispite a workload that would,ve had a saint cursing like a sailor,I took time out to laugh and joke w/"MGW"and while her ultimate departure always saddens me,I feel better for that half an hour that we share each week it makes me feel no matter how bad it is at work my world is a far richer place thanks to her.
The feel good factor from her visit continued throughout the afternoon,dispite it being close to 6.30pm I still managed my run and the other great love of my life Spurs booked their place in the Carling Cup semi finals thanks to a 2.1 away win at Watford.
Here,s hoping the feel good factor continues tomorrow and that I don,t get my arse served to me on a plate and that I can manage a trip to Franklin Field for a repeat workout.....hope springs eternal!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Returning To The Straight And Narrow

I knew after yesterdays workout it was important to run today to get some of that soreness of my legs,I also knew that since I was pulling double duty again this weekend I,d have to work a rest day into my equation,I was tempted to make it today....but I didn,t and that tells me I,m getting back to the place I was leading upto my unexpected mini break in mid November.
The fact I could galvinize myself to get out there tonite rather than burn my rest day right off the bat told me mentally and physically I,m getting back to where I was not too long ago and w/ indoor season edging closer and closer that,s right where I need to be.
Lost in the shuffle recently was my invitation to the Hartshorne Memorial Mile,a land mark race for me in 07 as it marked my first invitational Masters event and also announced my intent at this level,of course this time last year I received an invitation which I promptly accepted only to suffer the cruelest of fates a stress fracture in my left foot which ruined my whole indoor season...but thankfully not my outdoor season,I often said my early spike in form in May was probably due to an inforced rest thro late Dec and January,not that I,m endorsing stress fractures or any injuries,I,m just saying when life gives you lemons you sometimes have to find the silver lining in those situations and move on.

In Circles

Although the indoor season dosen,t kick off till next week we got a jump start this Sunday thanks in small part to the rain and a larger part the Philadelphia Boys Choir...............I,ll explain!!!
It had been universally agreed upon that we the GPTC relay squad.........yes squad,we now have strenght in numbers would meet up at Wisahickon High School to workout at 1.30pm......mother nature had other ideas,however all was not lost there was always the indoor track.........ah problem there was obviously the school had been locked since Wed evening and we didn,t have the alarm code,once we opened that door we were going to trigger that alarm........bugger!!!
As Chuck and I sat in the parking lot watching the rain bounce of the window shield we noticed several cars pulling into the parking lot...jeez I knew we had strenght in numbers today but really..........................turns out the Philadelphia Boys Choir were giving a performance in the schools audatorium so the alarm had been turned off,we could now enter the gym w/out fear of being arrested for trespassing..................don,t ya just love it when a plan comes together!!!
Asides from the usual suspects ................and NO I don,t know who,s Kysier Sosa amongst us!!!!!Chuck,Scott,and Ray we were joined by Delvin,Bob,Daryl,Dave,Jack and Bryant, had Neil,Sean and Nick shown up we,d have had 3 4x400m teams!!!
On a 12 laps to the mile track we opted to do 300m repeats,roughly 2 laps per 300m x10,obviously on a small tight track we had to split into two groups,Scott,Bob,Delvin,Ray and I in group 1,Chuck,Daryl,Dave,Bryant and Jack in group 2.
As ever when Scott and I go mano e mano it,s no quarter asked or given,I swear my success in 07 at Nationals was a direct result of all the head to head clashes Scott and I had in late 06,thro 07,seriously it,s like the Olympic trials we when go head to head,I know I have to bring my A game to the workout everytime and today was no different.
Over 10 300m repeats I was averaging 40 seconds,not too shabby for my first track workout in over three weeks.
Not only did it feel good to be back on a track but also back w/ my track brethren,next Sunday sees the Indoor season kick off,we have a 4x400m relay at Glen Mills and aim to lower our Penn Relays time to improve our chances of getting into MSG for the Millrose Games on Jan 30th,it sucks that I have a tough 5 mile xc race the day b4 but I don,t have to go full tilt there.....oh shit who am I kidding I know damn well when that gun goes off I,ll be going all out,if an ice bath post race is required then so be it,we,re talking Millrose Games afterall.
32 miles for the week and 5 workouts 1 race..........."I Never Left,I Only Went Away"