Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Return To The Promised Land

In a week that sees the new Bruce Spingsteen cd released,a Superbowl half time performance and the announcement of two farewell Philadelphia Spectrum shows it comes as no major surprize I picked a Springsteen song title as my pre Millrose blog entry does it??
For those new to me and my blog here,s the cliff notes version of what the Millrose Games and Madison Square Gardens mean to me.
In the summer of 1976 back home in South East London when my now 33 year running career began MSG and the famed Millrose Games might as well,ve been on the moon,I,d never get to run there......or would I???
Fast forward almost 30 years to Feb 06 and as the alternate runner on the alternate team I forfilled the dream of a lifetime by doing a few laps on the hallowed 145m boards that my hero Eamonn Coghlan had majestically made his own between 1977 and 1987 w/ 7 Wanamaker Mile victories, a dream come true...............but I was left wanting more.
Feb 08,thanks to a powerhouse quartet of Scott Landis,Ray Parker,Daryl Johnson and myself we,d ran our fastest ever 4x4 time the previous April at the equally famed Penn Relays and equally majestic Franklin Field we were going to the 08 Millrose Games at last..................cue a stress fracture on my left foot in mid December,cue The Sundays singing"Here,s Where The Story Ends".................WRONG!!
In a defiant jesture of mind over body and a modern day version of the flesh being weak but the spirit being more than willing I did the unthinkable and anchored us to a heroic 4th place finish but couldn,t help but wonder at the outcome had I,ve been fully fit,would I get another chance?if so would it be this year??would the final outcome be different next time around???
The first two parts to that question have been answered,it,s all in the hands of fate and in the feet of my team mates to make sure the third part of the equation gets answered tomorrow evening,the number three plays a major part in the whole story,but for that you,ll have to check back on Saturday to see how.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy B,day Queen TC

As I sit here and look out the window at the grey skies, and the once majestic snow slowly turning to slush the word crap springs to mind,crap weather,crap conditions and in terms of a run this evening,I,ve crapped out.
It,s not all doom and gloom however,today,s a special day it,s"The Queen Of The Slipstream"s b,day,I won,t reveal her age as it,s some what of a sore point w/ her today,but I,d like to think I,ve convinced her there,s still a lot of life to be lived yet for her.
For me it,s another day to exercise extreme caution not just w/ the conditions underfoot but in general,making sure I don,t get sick 2 days b4 my return engagement at Madison Square Gardens for the 102nd Millrose Games,hope springs eternal that tomorrow I,ll be able to get out and run period even if it,s a slow jog.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ber,Ger And Der

Back to reality,getting up at 5.25am and heading to work,the elite masters athlete weekend was well and truly over!!!.
Props from my peeps via email and my co workers who know that I run,I don,t hit people over the head w/ the fact I,m considered a big deal in the realm of masters miling,at the end of the day I still have to put in a full days shift here in the loading dock so that there,s a roof over my head,food on the table and money to afford me flights to and from my races when needed.
The temps dipped again,it,s SOOOOOOOOO frustrating,I did toy w/ the notion of getting out there for even just a 5 miler,however my road trip this weekend meant a stop at the food store to stock up was on tap and frankly the fact that at 4.45pm even w/ 2 pairs of gloves on my finger tips were really cold didn,t bode well for a run.
The 5 day forecast isn,t great shakes either,snow today,turning to ice,freezing rain b4 eventually rain tomorrow,I can pretty much stick a fork in today and tomorrow w/ the hope of an easy 5 miler Thursday b4 Millrose on Friday,as Chuck pointed out in an email Saturday we,re not going to get any faster this week so easy does it would be the way to go,I just want to get out and run.
In the week leading upto Millrose it should come as no great surprize that my screen saver is a picture of Eamonn winning one of his seven Wanamaker Miles{the cynics may wonder why "The Chairman"isn,t my permanent screen saver,I would counter that Eamonn,s signifigence is seldom far from my being!!}anyways,for a year now I,ve anxiously awaited his long overdue autobiography"The Chairman Of The Boards"which was touted for release in late 2008.............
Said autobiography was indeed released in Eamonn,s native Ireland b4 the end of the year,but as yet shows no sign of a US release................................................................................................................
HELLO!!!Millrose Games this Friday!!would it not,ve made sence to release it this week????I once joked my dream job would,ve been to write Eamonn,s biography,prehaps I should,ve offered to be the publisist instead,jaysus.
For the record I ordered my copy online from Ireland,I can,t wait to read it,I,m gussing it,d be too much to hope it,ll arrive b4 I leave for Madison Square Gardens Friday lunch time?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hitting The Road,Traveling Cross Country, To Run Track

This weekend began the 4 week travelogue portion of my season,Upstate New York,Broadway,Maryland and back to New York b4 a 2 week respite and then logging more travel miles to Boston,New York and Maryland in March.
While this was an Upstate New York trip it wasn,t w/out a brief stop in my second home,Manhatten on route from W.Philly to Queens to catch my flight to Ithaca,4 hours of train and subway/bus riding for a 45 min flight.
How rock star/elite athlete of me to fly in for my race,get picked up by a courtsey car and driven to the hotel that was paid for by the events gracious host Tom Hartshorne,forget Miller,THIS is the high life!!!!
Killed a few hours in my room watching tv and composing the latest chapter of"The Top Cat Chronicals'' for"The Queen Of The Slipstream"I need a back up plan in case this running lark dosen,t pan out so my plan b is to be a writer!!!
As is tradition on the Friday nite b4 Hartshorne dinner at Antlers,a chance to unwind from the trek to Ithaca and relax w/ some good friends and some good food and get ready for race day.
Saturday morning,a lite breakfast w/ my good friend Neil Fitzgerald b4 again doing the whole rock star/elite athlete thing and getting a ride over to Barton Hall w/ Tom Hartshorne,Pete Taylor and Nolan Shaheed,the race director,race announcer and overall meet top athlete,if this were a movie this sceen would have the classic Clapton/BB King "Riding W/ The King"playing in the background!!!.
Barton Hall hadn,t changed since my last visit,I gleefully took a warm up mile upon arrival,iroincally my first mile this week due to the below freezing temps back home in Philly...according to the tv show"It,s Always Sunny In Philadelphia"but it,s feckin freezing right now!!!.
Thanks to my trusty ipod the hour and a half till I began to stretch and warm up 45 mins b4 my gun time flew by,never underestimate the power of music,by the time "In This River" by Black Label Society" was over I was ready to get it on!!! and in a field this deep I needed to be.
Jim Sorensen,John Hinton,Alain Boucher,Neil Fitzgerald,Dan Franek a who,s who of Masters middle distance running here for the 42nd Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile.
My reaction to the gun wasn,t great,I got boxed in going into the first turn,the disadvantage of being seeded 4th and having runners 5th thro 10th coming in from my right,no worries,down the back straight I swung wide into lane 2 and moved up into 3rd,for a brief moment I considered getting tight on John Hinton,s shoulder but thought better of it,it,s still too soon in my season to be that gung ho,33,66 for my opening two splits,2.12 at 800m,pretty much where I thought I,d be,out front Jim Sorensen was blazing a trail that had even the brilliant John Hinton in his wake,something you don,t see everyday.
Down the back straight of lap 5 Dan Franek went by me,I know he has great middle distance credentials but I was taken aback by his mile prowess,at the bell I didn,t check my split,my only concern was overhauling Dan in the final 200m.
Rounding the final turn I moved out into lane 2 and gave everything I had,in 07 off the very same final turn I had to hold off Anselem Lebourne today I became the hunter,not the hunted,pulling alongside Dan w/ the finish line right in front of us I managed to out lean him,how close was it?4.30.14 to 4.30.22,the moral here..............race like a miler,lean like a sprinter!!!
The great Nolan Sheheed pulled me to me feet and offered his congratulations,at this stage I still didn,t know I,d gotten third,I congratulated John on his runners up spot b4 finding my good friend Alain Boucher who,d gotten his Canadien record.
As is now tradition a few words for Diane for the Ithaca Journal,post race and a chance to finally to meet the great Jim Sorensen,who joked I need to wear more green,hey if I could convince the powers that be at GPTC to switch to a green race uniform I,d be golden.............well greener!!!.
The thing about Hartshorne it,s not just about the race,it,s the whole weekend, and following a round of phonecalls including my mother{yes folks I,m 45 years old and I still phone my mum first thing after every race!}my club and my coach who was delighted w/ my performance considering my lack of milage over the last two weeks it was off to the nearby Country Club for the awards dinner.
I,m still a rookie at Nationals and Masters Invitationals but each one I go to I meet up w/ the friends I,ve made at the previous ones and make new friends,Dan Franek and I got to share a conversation as we watched a video of the race,the finish deserves to be on You Tube I,m telling you,maybe after the dvd,s get made and sent out it will be.
Prize money and a medal are great rewards for a top three finish but I enjoy the fact I get to give a speech,never shy of a word or two{according to my late father Kevin "I didn,t just kiss the Blarney Stone...........I enhaled it"I opened my speech w/ a line I borrowed from Kevin McMahon two years ago,"a lethel combination,an Irishman,a microphone and a roomful of people"
I questioned if Dan Franek had not read the script when he over took me on lap 5 but more importantly gave praises due to Tom and Rick for the exceptional job they do each year w/ this event,I hoped that I along w/ everbody else present would return next year.
Another tradition is that Tom invites everyone back to his house after the dinner,it,s a nice way to end the event,hanging out and chatting about running,all events should be this much fun,but that,s what make the whole Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile experience so unique,it,s unlike any other event out there.
Did my final rock star/elite athlete thing Sunday and got a ride to Ithaca airport from Tom who was kind enough to drop both Nolan and I off,I,ve know Nolan since Charlotte 06 Nationals,the man is as kind and genuine as he is awesome, a few moments in his company and you can,t help but feel good about yourself,the world needs more Nolan Shaheeds and Tom Hartshornes trust me.
Home again to a sub zero W.Philly by 4.30pm,a banner weekend,next stop Manhatten,Madison Square Garden and the Millrose Games,like the songs says"It Keeps Getting Better".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fire And Ice

Another day of training shot to blazes due to sub zero temps................. %^&*!!!!
W/ two HUGE race coming up in the next 10 days now is NOT the time to get wreckless,I,d rather wait it out a day or two than risk getting sick or worse hurt,caution is the better part of valor.
Away from the realm of running it,d be remiss of me not to mention yesterdays events in our nations capital,I make no bones of the fact I voted for Obama both in the Primary election and Presidential election,in my heart of hearts I believe he can make this country great again,these are exciting times we live in,God Bless America.
The official word is we,re golden for Millrose,Top Cat on Broadway,"New York,New York"will be getting beaucoup play on the olde ipod between now and then.
Sadly a conflict of schedules means"the other TC"won,t be able to join me that nite,I guess I,ll just have to be prolific in her absence,she did say that Penn Relays should be a go.....YEA!!!
The weather gods look to be having a giggle,it,s gonna warm up over the next few days.....while I,m in Ithaca.....and then get cold again upon my return,me thinks the weather gods and running gods need to get together and get on the same page.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Old Man Winter 1 Top Cat 0

Leave it to the weather to knawls up everything,asides from the no run of any discript yesterday I had killer title all lined up too,since schools were closed for MLK Day and I,d found a cinder track to workout on I was looking at a working title of "No School For The Masses Old School For Top Cat"....catchy eh? leave it to accu weather to balls that all up{I,m minding my p's and q's as ye olde blog is getting feature on Ken Stone's Master,s Track Blog quite a bit these days!!!}.
Having opted against a run of any kind by mid afternoon w/ the snow still falling you can imagine my disgust to the fact by the time I was walking home it had stopped,by now it was too late to re redo my plans,food shopping had replaced a run{I cannot live on Gatorade and Power Bars alone!!}and it was now gone 5pm,in these temps I want to be out the door by 4.50pm b4 sundown and the considerable cooldown.
However I had plenty to keep me warm and toasty,a copy of Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile starting line up,I,m seeded 4th behind John Hinton,Jim Sorensen and Alain Boucher.
Unofficial word out of New York,we,re in for the Millrose Masters 4x400m relay.............whee!!!
And the icing on my {New York}Cheesecake/Carrot Cake,tomorrow sees "The Queen Of The Slipstream"revert to her original persona of"My Girl Tuesday"..........the heat off of my smile as I write this could melt the ice outside................

Monday, January 19, 2009

Back Into The System

Ah!! to be able to get out and run again....and how!
Way back when{Oct 1st 06}I got my first taste of West Philly running,Seebs,Kevin Jude and Alan met up for their morning run and I tagged along,running up to Cobbs Creek and eventually back down Woodland Ave.
Somewhere in that vast empty vessel of a brain of mine I recalled the section along Cobbs Creek and a cinder track,fast forward to Jan 17th 09 eager to get a run in after 4 days of unreasonably cold temps I made a welcome venture outdoors.
Sweet,not only did I find the cinder track but check out this for good fortune,on my run from 58th and Cedar Ave to Cobbs Creek I found a laundromat and a catholic church.............proving once and again that cleanliness is indeed next to godliness...........or at least 3 blocks apart..........once an Irish Catholic,always an Irish Catholic.....who likes clean clothes!!!
I figured the 5 blocks up and short trek along CC to the cinder track is give or take .5 of a mile,4 miles on the track and said .5 of a mile home,bingo 5 miles.....who dosen,t love it when a plan comes together!!!
As for ye olde cinder track,I,m gussing it,s a full 400m/440 yard track,right on my door step minus 5 blocks,aside from my easy 5 milers I may take advantage of it for repeats untill Franklin field becomes more viable,we,ll see if it yeilds a 4x400m workout manana?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Making The Most Of It

Given that the next 4 days are looking way too cold to be out running period,muchless track workouts I made sure to take full advantage of the 43 degree temps this afternoon to knock out a 5 miler around Clark Park.
Given the debarcle of yesterday,and the fact I may not run again till Sunday if I,m lucky it would,ve been all too easy to blow today and the week off and say rest up................bullshit! I,m reasonable confident reigning world indoor and outdoor 1,500m 45-49 champ Jose Burrego dosen,t adopt such an attitude and while the eastern seaboard of the mid atlantic can,t compete w/ sunny Spain I need to be ready to train each and every day,at the drop of a hat if need be.
Tonite allowed me to visulize the upcoming Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile,as of today I don,t know who,ll be there so I need to work on several different potential sinereos of how that race might pan out and how I,ll deal w/ that,but as they say that,s for another day,for now I,m on weather watch.


The final 2 F,s stand for Franklin Field,since said facility is still off limits till Wednesday and then only open till 6pm thro March 13th you don,t need to be an Ivy League student to work out the first F,for those slow on the uptake it rhymes w/ sucking!!!
I feel it may be time to switch my track workouts to St Joe,s,I love Franklin Field but the agro trying to workout there isn,t worth it anymore,by the time I returned from there last nite it was 6pm,too late and too damn cold to be going out for a 5 miler.....hindsight being what it is,had I,ve know FF was a no go I,d have hit Clark Park upon my arrival home from first work day since Nov 7th w/ Chris along side,it,s AWESOME to have him back.
Losing 5 miles today is a pisser to put it mildly,the weather forcast from Wednesday onwards is NOT looking hopeful,as "Dibble" and I discussed Friday based on the fact I,m running late season times this early on we won,t fly in the face of it or temp fate w/ the conditions.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Half And Half

Technically I,m in limbo,half my stuff is still here on Hazel Ave,the other half over at the new house on Cedar Ave,I hate moving it,s that "up in the air"feeling,not being 100% sure where all my things are,had things gone better today I,d be 100% moved into Cedar Ave but I,m not and probably won,t be till next weekend,such is life.
One upside Clark Park is still my stomping ground so it was off out this afternoon to get a run in,laughingly I went "long" at 6.5 miles,I had 13.5 miles for the week so I figured the extra mile and a half today would give me an even 20 miles for the week.
Originally I was going to tack on three small loops after the 6 big loops of Clark Park that I conduct for a routine 5 miler,but at the end of the fifth big loop I opted for 5 times on the smaller loop,however I sliced or diced it it was going to come out at 6.5 miles on the day,20 miles for the week.
"The Big Fella"aka Chris returns to work tomorrow,while I,m obviously happy to have him back w/ a clean bill of health it does mean I can weather permitting return to hitting the track twice,three times a week depending on my race schedule
Based on recent pr,s at 1,500m and the mile my lack of speed work hasn,t hindered me too much but I want to get faster and the only way to do that is get on the track......I feel the need for speed!!!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Last Waltz

It remains to be seen if Fridays 5 miler around Clark Park was my final hurrah on my favourite 5 mile course.
This weekend I move,not far one block over and ten blocks up to the 57 hundred block of Cedar Ave,if Cedar Ave sounds familiar I lived on 46th and Cedar when I first moved up this way some 28 months ago,anyways it might be a hike to walk 10 blocks now to conduct ye old recovery run so I may utalize the nearer Cobbs Creek,this can all be worked out tomorrow or the next day.
If this was my final jaunt around Clark Park then let me say I,ve enjoyed my runs around there for the past two years,the onset of shin splints forced me to switch to grass and two years later my shins feel fine,I look to continue to stay off the side walks and protect my shines and if it can,t be Clark Park anymore,Cobbs Creek it is.
W/ the move on Saturday I doubt I,ll get out to run,Sunday is a stretch also but I ,d like to get out period muchless get a feel for my new location,fingers crossed Monday will see a return to the track at Franklin Field.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New York,New York,Dublin,Doubling

There,s something about "Thursday Night At The Races"at The Armory,I can,t explain it,something that brings together middle distance track runners not just from New York but New Jersey and Philly it truly is a remarkable evening and one I hadn,t been able to enjoy since Feb 8th 07.
The 4 hour journey from work to The Armory {2.20pm-6.20pm}seemed to fly by the old walkman/ipod routine plus my dairy not to mention a well thought out letter to"The Queen Of The Slipstream"not only kept me occupied but didn,t allow me to over think my races.
I seeded myself at 4.25 in the mile and 2.03 in the 800m,my recent 4.09.27. lead me to believe a 4.24 mile was doable.
I need to give a big up to Andy Elken for giving me his spot in the fast heat of the mile I was still stretching when they seeded it and probably wouldn,t have gotten in unless Andy offered me his spot,thank you bud!
I was oblivious to what the rest of the field had seeded themselves at which actually served as a blessing as it made me focus on my race and nobody elses,up on the second line again at the start which suits me I had a clear run as we broke after the first turn and quickly found my stride and a clear run in the 12 man field.
Scott was calling out my splits and I did check the clock on each lap but to be honest I don,t recall any of them,I do know that Sundays 61 second opening 400m set me up nicely for the race and lack of speed work be damned I felt right at home up front w/ the leaders tonite.
W/ two laps to go I moved into third but lack that little bit of top end speed right now to close the gap on these younger guys,but trust me it,s coming once I get back into a regular three speed workout/two speed workout 1 race weekly schedule hopefully begining next week I,ll maximize my strenght and hone my kick finish.
Third again in 4.28.1,it wasn,t till the ride home w/ Scott and Chuck that I realized not only was this an indoor pr beating my 07 Hartshorne time of 4.29.12 but also my fastest track mile eclipsing the 4.28.9. I ran at Plymouth Whitemarsh on July 1st,two pr,s and two club records in 5 days....only at The Armory!!!
W/ little time to recover I soon found myself back out on the track for the 800m,I knew not to put myself into the lions den of heat one,most of these guys were running fresh and to compeat w/ a 1.54 winning time I,d have to be fresh,2.03. earnt me a second heat.
Disaster almost struck from the gun,the draw had seen me pick lane 5 as we broke from the gun and I caught my team mate Scott,s heal a few strides into my start,it thankfully didn,t effect him but stood me up momentarily,I was cast adrif of the 7 man field going into the first turn.
To my credit I didn,t panic and still went through the opening 200m in a brisk 30 seconds,I believe we went through the 400m in 64,down the back straight I made a move of epic preportion "T" maybe the "Queen Of The Slipsteam" but I slipstreamed the entire field in the space of just over 100m,from 8th to 1st and w/ 260m to go I was away,too preoccupied w/ winning the race to look at the clock for my 600m split I was focused on my form and my speed,neither let me down and I finished a good 3 seconds ahead of Scott in 2.05.8 to notch my second 800m victory of the season.
I,m telling you there,s electricity in the air when I race in New York,I arrived home at 11.50pm to a message from "Charlie Dibble"wishing me luck and also expecting"Chairman Of The Boards"behaviour,I think he got it!!!
No #2 of "Distance Nite At The Races" in two weeks time as I need to save myself for Cornell and the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile two days later,I will be back for #3 in a months time,fingers crossed my next race in "The Big Apple" is the Masters 4x4 at Millrose in three weeks time.

A Taste Of Things To Come

Since independant wealth,nor an over abundance of days off from work are in overstock a blog entry last nite when I arrived home at 11.50pm was not prudent,I,ll address another stunning New York City performance later this evening,4.28.1. in the mile a pr and 3rd place finish
2.05.8. in the 800m and first place.
Seriously if I,m in the market for a third tattoo I think "I Love{Running}In New York" would be on the money!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It,s Just Not Cricket

On a day when English cricket was rocked by the resignation of their captain and the firing of their coach how ironic I should choose a cricket analogy to sum up my run....or lack thereof.
Very much a case of rain stops play again today,at least I,ll go into tomorrow nites"Distance Nite At The Armory"rested as I chase a fast mile time in my final race b4 Hartshorne.
Obviously it,ll be a late one tomorrow so it,ll be Friday b4 I can blog my exploits but based upon recent history in New York and The Armory it,ll be worth waiting for.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

You Make Me Happy When Skies Are Grey

As feared mother nature stuck her oar in today and put the kybosh on a run of any discription and threatens to do so manana.....................
So why the sunny disposition?let me count the ways shall I,1 Spurs beat Burnley 4.1 in the first leg of the Carling Cup semi finals and we,re 90 mins away from a March 1st Wembley final,2 my blog entry for PGI was reprinted in Ken Stone,s Masters Track Blog,the second time in two years my blog has featured{Hartshorne 07 being the first}on the daily Masters Track Blog.
3,I,ve gotten two comments on my recent blog entries,unlike someone like my soon to be former housemate Seebo who seems to draw comments like some draw breath on his blog I tend not to get much in the way of feedback so it,s always nice to see somebody has read my blog,mad props to a former running buddy/Evil Killer Bunny team mate Ian aka Lindsey Lohan who now lives in Brooklyn,he read my top ten and passed on congrats for my year,then a comment form Runsweeney who congratuated me on my 4.09.27. 1,500m at The Armory,nice to know my efforts were appreciated all the way down under in Australia,fair dinkum mate!
4,After a week w/out a visit from the love of my life{sob sniff :( }The Queen Of The Slipstream stopped by today to see me,another day when no matter how busy I am work grinds to a halt as we catch up w/ one anothers trials and tribulations of the past week or two in this case.
I swear the more we talk the more I,m convinced we were seperated at birth,we,re that much alike.
If I can,t run tomorrow because of more rain at least I,ll be rested going into The Armory Thursday nite for the mile/800m double.

Monday, January 5, 2009

After The Lord Mayors Show

Just like Eminem said in one of my battle anthems "8 Mile""snap back to reality"
Like all great races yesterday you should savour the moment but then move on so today it was the reality of a 5 miler around Clark Park post work in the dark at 5pm,these are the runs I,ve laid the foundations of my season upon,after a few weeks of work and weather knawlsing up my schedule I feel a new committment to my training now,I never lost sight of Worlds but post 5th Avenue Mile and my first 6 xc races when it should be pointed out reality came crashing down around my ears I now wake up every day thinking "World,s in July/August"
I can,t help but feel writing my reviews of the 08 season and my preview of the 09 season has heightened my awareness of what,s on the horizon and while there,s alot of miles between now and then and I need to focus on the next race first b4 looking at the bigger picture,that said one eye on the present,one eye on the future never hurt either.
I,d like to repeat my 4x400m repeats tomorrow,mother nature might have a say in that so we,ll have to see what developes

Pale,Paddy And Proud,Ole Blue Eyes Is Back

For me there,s something magical about running in New York City,w/ the exception of two 3 hour plus New York City Marathons,I,ve always turned in great performances in "The Big Apple"but never more so than on the track at MSG,5th Avenue Mile{yes I know it,s a road race but it,s a road race for track guys!}and my favourite venue in the world The Armory.
I always talk about the great Irish/New York connection and tapping into "the spirit of Eamon Coghlan"whenever I run in NYC but indoors over the mile/1,500m....c,mon!!
A downside of my stress fracture last December/ January was not being able to run at The Armory,in my humble opinion the mecca of indoor track on the east coast and maybe all of America,I came into this meet looking to run somewhere between 4.15-4.20 for 1,500m based on my 4.23 1,500m split the week b4 running 1,600m and seeded myself at 4.20 which got me into the fast heat.
14 of us w/ yours truly the elder statesman in a field of high schooler,I,m sure to the casual observer it wasn,t "youth getting served" more the old guy getting his arse served to him.........
Unlike the debarcle of last week I made sure to put myself on the outside of the starting line to avoid a repeat of a week ago and since runners 11-14 were moved upto the second line on the turn I got a clear run around the opening turn and positioned myself on the outside of lane 1 in third place.
I heard 61 seconds at 400m,a seven second improvement on last week and soon after I took the lead,not what I planned and tactically a bad move,that said today wasn,t about executing tactics it was about getting as fast a race as I could,there,ll be faster races this season and also more tactically astute races too.
I forget where I got overtaken all credit to him he hit the front w/ conviction and I couldn,t match his speed at this early stage of my season,if we were to run this race again in late Feb/early Mar I know I could answer that challenge,ditto for the second runner to overtake me,what I lacked in speed and sharpness I didn,t lack in inner drive, when a third runner overtook me I automatically responded not once but twice,first race of the year or not when third place was being wrestled away from me I dug deep to hold onto "bronze".
3.34 at the bell I felt strong enough to dig deep for one last 200m lap,rounding the final turn I looked up at the digital clock at the end of the track,4.04,50m to go dare I dream a sub 4.10 in my first race of the year?...."to dare is to win" according to the Spurs motto on the club crest....
4.09.27.......................holy mary mother of god!!!!when I won the 1,500m at Nationals in Spokane I ran 4.10.78 which was close to my peak in early August,my 1,500m split at 5th Avenue Mile was 3.56 so to run 4.09.27.on Jan 4th off of next to no speed work is amazing.
It,s a long season I can,t get carried away w/ this but yes it,s an unbelievable start to the year,I,ll enjoy it for now but come Monday it,s back to training for the next race which will be here at The Armory Thursday,based on a,500m a 4.24/4.25 mile is there for the taking.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pale,Paddy And Proud In New York City Abridged Version

3rd overall,1st masters.....but more importantly 4.09.27.
Full account to come tomorrow but to put it in prespective at last years World Indoor Masters 4.09.27. would,ve earnt me a silver behind the world record holder in 45-49 who won in 4.02.24.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Keep On Keeping On

An unexpected surprize in the old email bag this morning,a second successive Mid Atlantic High Performance Masters Track Athlete Of The Year award...the email not the actual award it,s self!!!
I say it,s a surprize in 07 I learnt of my award in early December,when Dec 08 came and went w/out word of it I thought someone else had won,turns out my efforts and endevours for 08 were recognized and now duly rewarded.
I,m greatful for any and all nominations and subsequent awards my running bring,to be regognized by ones peers is always rewarding,I,m greatful that "divisional politics" didn,t effect my nomination or subsequent victory,I,m only sorry I won,t be on hand to collect my award as it clashes w/ Hartshorne Memorial Mile,hey ho I won,t be the first awardee not to be present to claim his or her award.
An early afternoon 5 miler around Clark Park to clean out any leftover lactated acid from my legs that yesterdays 4x400m repeats that might,ve remained.
Dib gave me his honest opinion on yesterdays efforts,short term far from what was required,long term a step in the right direction if that sub 4 minute mile at 45 is about to become reality.
W/ workout and shower taken care of all that,s required is the time honoured tradition of getting my bag ready,having a big arsed pasta pre race meal,copping some FA Cup footie{big up to the N.17 boys last nite,much shite was talked b4 kick off and yet come the final whistle we not Wigan go into the 4th round draw.....YIDS!}and continuing to work on my running log,ah yes long b4 the days of the blog was my trusty running log which I still unhold.
The Armory and New York City beckon,s good to be alive!

Friday, January 2, 2009


It,s conventional wisdom when testing the waters to, A stick your big toe in and see how the water feels,B inch your way in slowly but surely of C take a running jump and cannonball it,three guesses which option I went w/ for my long overdue return to repeats???
Upon arrival at St Joe,s my first reaction was "good I can get on the track" which isn,t always the case here,after a mile warm up w/ much emphasis on warm I stretched b4 conduting a mile of strides and preparing for my 4x400m repeats.
The plan was open w/ a 70 second first 400m,take a 90 second recovery,run a 69 second second 400m w/ a 75 second recovery,a 68 second third 400m w/ only 60 seconds to recovery for the final 400m in 67 seconds.
Never one to judge pace nor pay attention to intermediate splits I made a point of checking my opening 100m split,I was aiming for 17/17.5 secs,I got 15 secs,31 seconds at 200m I tried to ease up on the home straight only to clock much for 70 seconds!!!
It was more of the same on repeat #2 and dispite telling myself to ease up I clocked a 61.17,it was going to take some doing to get the final two repeats to continue to come down period especially w/ deminishing recovery time.
At 200m on repeat #3 I felt the acid lactate in my calves, I still managed to finish strongly albeit in 62.85,w/ only 60 seconds to recover there was precious little in the way of time to think about anything.
At 200m in on repeat#4 that acid lactate build up in my calves became more pronounced,where I,d been able to cruise the botttom bend on the three previous repeats this time it was a struggle as was evident in my final 100m,where I,d flowed on repeats #1,2 and 3 this time it was a laboured effort,67.32.
While I,m a little disappointed in my final repeat overall I,m delighted to be back on a track and doing speed work,alas next weeks overall schedule isn,t favourable but from the following week I do feel weather permitting I can hit the track two or three times a week depending on my race schedule.
In general I,m pleased to be back in the mindset of repeats,I,ll stick w/ the 4x400m thro Jan b4 upping to the more conventional 6x600m come Febuary.
While my timing on the track needs some work,my timing getting off the track b4 the snow shower was priceless,the first tell tale flakes began to fall as I lumbered up the home straight one final time!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year,New Goals,Same Ole Top Cat

True to my word I took today off from training,if only thanks to a barometer that read 31 degrees,had the mercury risen higher I,d have been out at either St Joes or Clark Park,that said it was 2am b4 I hit the zzzs{not bad for just me and Hobbes....the other cat down here in the basement!!!}and 11.30am b4 surfacing today so prehaps the tone was set for an all too rare fuck off day,I think Thanksgiving was my last one b4 today and lord only knows when the next one is coming from!!!
Having reflected on the year that was in my previous two blog entries allow me to look ahead to the coming year,Jan knuckling down to hard serious training and rebuilding upon the solid foundations I laid in 08,successful ventures to The Armory,Hartshorne and Millrose.
Feb,more hard work on the track in training as I only have one scheduled meet at the Armory, however there,s XC Winter Nationals in Md to look forward to.March Masters Invitational in Boston,MAC C,ships in NYC and Masters Nationals in Md as Top Cat logs some serious travel miles!!!
April,outdoor track beckons,I antisipate a wicked Penn Relays for GPTC w/ the current crop of 400m guys we have on the roster,May kicking training up a notch for the summer,June warm up races at 800m and 1,500m,July Masters Nationals at 1,500m and the 4x800m b4 jetting off to Lathi Finland to take on the world.
August,hill repeats on Belmont Plateau in prep for the up coming XC season,Sept 5th Avenue Mile,October XC season,November,more XC but one eye on the up coming indoor season which kicks off in December.
It,s a lot to take on but it,s what I do,each year I set the bar a little higher for myself by my own acomplishments the previous,s fortunate heights don,t scare me!