Saturday, February 28, 2009

This Is Not A Drill So Prepare To Drop The Hammer.

Wow it,s been a while since I,ve gotten up early{7am}to conduct a run but w/ only a week left of winter this may be the status quo for the next several months.

I opted for an early morning run because like any given day you want to know the run has been taken care of and not have it hanging over you,the fact I,m traveling to Boston meant that w/ the run all done and dusted b4 I left I can now focus on my flight to Beantown and all that comes w/ it,checking into the hotel,getting my race credentials,getting a lie of the land{I,m no stranger to Boston so I know how to make my way around}etc.

I took this race on in January,having broken the 4.10 barrier w/ a 4.09.27. at The Armory,the next progressive step on the ladder is to run 4.05,I think there,s a very good chance of that tomorrow w/ the likes of Tony Young and Birger Ohlsson in the field.

Ken Stone of Masterstrack blog{he,s name checked me several times so I felt I should return the favour!!}has been fanning the flames of a world record attempt by Tony Young for the Masters 45-49 age group,the current world record is 4.02.24,the American record is 4.04.08 and I feel both could fall tomorrow afternoon,how close I can stick to Tony and Birger is very much the 64 billion dollar question as I,m gonna be running faster than I,ve ever ran b4 but I,ll never know unless I bite the bullet,besides looking at the bigger picture as is my proverbial won,t come summer and Worlds if I,m to stand any chance of making it on to the medal podium I,ll need to run faster than my current pr,s of 4.09 indoors and 4.10 outdoors,tomorrow serves as prep for that,afterall lest we forget
"The will to win means nothing w/out the will to prepare"and as a boy scout I was always taugh to "Be Prepared."

Friday, February 27, 2009

All Things In Moderation

After a rest day yesterday I was back at it again w/ an easy 5 miler this evening.
My trips to New York and Boston dictated the day today,living the "jet set life" has it,s price so it was gone 5pm b4 I got home and out the door to run this evening,in the general scheme of things no big deal and w/ the clocks going forward next Sunday even less of a issue.
I did opt to mix things up a little tonite,rather than opt for my regular 4 miles on the track I took the trail path less traveled along Cobbs Creek,as I,ve stated b4 running 4 miles on the track requires me to remained focused to count off each lap and tonite I wanted to be able to think about Sundays upcoming race,if there,s time in the morning b4 I leave for the airport{mercifully Philadelphia this time around!!!}I,ll share some thoughts about Sundays race.
For now it,s time to curl up in bed w/ a few more pages of Eamonn,s autobiography b4 answering the call early in the morning to log my last easy run for the week and depart for Boston,and who knows a place in Masters track history

Happy B,day Sid Howard

For the second time in three years I was forced to sit out week #4 and the final races of the Thursday Nite At The Races series at The Armory due to a Masters Invitational race in Boston on Sunday.
However this didn,t stop me from making the short 3 hour commute from Philly to Manhatten as I wanted the chance to not only watch some friends,teammates and upcoming opponents race but also wish"Mr New York City"himself the legendary Sid Howard a happy 70th b,day.
While the record book show David Bloomburg is the mayor of NYC there,s little or no doubt that Sid Howard runs NewYork City,I,ve been running here for three years now and Sid is as much a fixture of this city as the Empire State Building.
I wanted to share this story as it was my first encounter w/ Sid and The Armory,in March of 06 I ran my first ever race at The Armory,a Friday nite Mac C,ships,we{GPTC}had gone up to run the 4x400m relay as prep for the upcoming Penn Relays.
I elected to run an open 400m earlier and was placed in a heat w/ three other quarter milers w/ similar times,coming off the final turn some 10 meters down on the leader I showed New York the first signs of my kick finish prowess by catching the leader and outleaning him at the line for the win.
At the end of the meet Sid who,d never met me b4 but knew Chuck came over,shook me by the hand and said"of all the races tonite,yours was the best finish".....we,ve been friends ever since,and thats why I was at The Armory last nite in a non running capacity to wish Sid a Happy 70th B,day.
Big shout out to my friend and team mate Sean Harbison who ran a 4.51 1,500m a nice race my friend and cheers for the ride home,no kipping in my office post meet like last time!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It,s All Good

B4 the alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4.51am this morning I knew I was in for a potentially tough day,no Chris on hand at work and 4x1 mile repeats post work.
Even if Chris had been available to work the choice to opt for mile repeats was a brave one,in the past I,ve tended to do them on Fri,Sat,Sun when it,s alot easier on the body,but as I,ve said b4 and will say again,I am a miler ergo 4x1 mile repeats is my go to repeat even in a shortened week due to a race.
Yes I could,ve opted for the easier out and done 2x1,000m given my double work load but as the Happy Mondays once sang that,s just "Stinkin' Thinking",I doubt very much the likes of John Hinton,Tony Young and Pete McGill take the soft option in training and since they are the guys I want to be mentioned in the same breath as.....mile repeats it was.
A slice{of bread and butter prehaps???.........}of good fortune,not an "arse,plate,served" kind of day at work,any day you are doing a two man job by your lonesome it,s busy but I paced myself knowing what I had on tap this evening.
Also serving to fuel the fire was the news that for the second year in a row I,ve been nominated for US Masters Track Athlete Of The Year.
It,s an honour just to be nominated but to be named along side the likes of Bill Collins,Nolan Shaheed,Val Barnwell,Tony Young,Jeff Hartwig and Roald Bradstock is really something.
And so to my repeats,it was 5.10pm by the time I got ready for my opening mile,conditions were comfortable enough to ditch traditional winter wear,I told myself to attack that first turn on my opening lap and set the tone early,"Dib" and I had talked about running on "feel" this evening,don,t get too caught up w/ my pace just see how I felt as each lap/mile went by.
#1,72,81,80,73-5.06.05. Wow opening w/ a 72 seemed brisk but I felt comfortable as hell w/ that pace,I did tell myself to back off going into lap 2,no point coming out all guns blazing in the opener if you finish like a damp squib.
#2,74,81,79,74-5.08.87.Again another impressive opening lap helping to set the tempo and while I was 2 seconds per mile down on Saturdays splits Saturday I ran fresh today I,d put in a 9 hour solo shift in a physically demanding job,loading dock foreman isn,t sitting at a desk all day pushing bits of paper around my desk thank you very much!
#3,73,80,81,73-5.07.87.Holy Shit{It is Ash Wednesday afterall!!!}where as weeks 1 and 2 had seen the arse end fall out of my mile repeats on mile 3 today I not only ended that sequence but also ran a faster mile than my pervious one,I really am getting to grips w/ this repeat
#4,72,80,84,68-5.04.79..............OH HOW,D YA LIKE ME NOW!!!!
Unbelievable,opening in 72 seemed unreal and yet felt so natural,that said as I approached 800m in 2.32 I was feeling the pace which may explain that bastard 84 second split on lap 3,the only blemish on an otherwise near faultless nite,closing in 68 was sweet,and while the cynics may say "anyone can close in 68 off of a 84" I say had I,ve gone 82-70 or 81-69 I,d have been just as happy.
A fabulous nites work,a well earnt rest day tomorrow though I do plan to trek upto New York and The Armory to spectate at the final Thursday Nite At the Races series and wish my good buddy Sid Howard a happy 70th b,day.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Get The Balance Right

A few weeks ago when the weather wasn,t so good I was lucky if I could get out and run,speed work was a pipe dream but then once the weather began to be less harsh I was able to get back into repeats and after a hard repeat workout it,s always nice to have a nice easy 5 miler the next day,today was one such day.
Ironic really I was afforded an easy running day after yet another "Wrigleys Mint Gum" day at work.....double your pleasure,double your fun.
Chris called out,he suffered that cruelest of fates yesterday having his home burgled,I swear were it not for bad luck that man would have no luck at all,come St Paddy,s Day I,m buying him a fuck off bowl of Shamrocks and Four Leaf Clovers cos he deserves all the luck in the world after what he,s been through these past twelve months.
My run was non discript, I enjoyed having the chance to let my mind wander off and think about my up coming races which became a post workout topic of discussion w/ GP.
I laid out my race tactics for Sunday,the following Sunday and Nationals,what was said was strictly between athlete and coach but we,re in agreement w/ my tactics.
We also joked about my hopes of running into the devine Ms Kara Goucher at this weekends USATF C,ships, I don,t think she,s running which is probably a blessing for all and sundry......but if you get to read this Kara please email me!!!!!
Back to running,tomorrow,s mile repeats,my bread and butter repeat....four slices thank you very much.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I,d Like To Thank The Academy

B4 I get into the heart and soul of my 4x4 repeats I have to give a big shout out,big ups and mad props to Sean Penn and Kate Winslet for their Oscars last nite.
For Sean it,s proof that "once a bad boy,not always a bad boy"and for Kate,I felt she should,ve gotten an Oscar for her role in "Titanic" 10 years ago and thus the adage"good things come to those that wait"
And so to my repeats,I knew after last weeks "quantum leap"71.11,71.10,73.44,75.10 to 62.86,64.69,65.78,66.04. I couldn,t expect such a differencial this week,GP and I had talked at lenght last nite about the need to look for some consistancy this week on this repeat,65-66 seconds was the split he came up w/.
Conditions were brisk at 5pm,it was probably just above freezing so following my mile warm up I ditched my sweatshirt and warm up bottoms in favour of my winter workout uniform of choice,long sleeve dri fit and tights.The wind had died down thankfully by the time I started my 400s,everything thus far was working in my favour.
#1,66.53.pretty darn close to what I was looking for,where as last weeks 62.86. was probably too quick this felt ideal in the realm of consistant splits.
#2,65.35.finally a faster second split than my opener,granted I,d done that on my very first 4x4 repeats on Jan 2nd when I went 64.62,61.17,62.85,67.32.but as you can see it all went to hell in a hand basket after that and while AC/DC tell us"Hell Aint A Bad Place To Be"I was hoping to avoid a "Highway To Hell"............I can see the tabloids now"Top Cat Finds Religion","He Really Is Irish Catholic Afterall"
#3,65.52.marginally slower but still very consistant dispite the deminishing recoveries,I actually feel I,m getting acustomed to the shorter recoveries while still cranking out fast 400s,like any repeat the more I do it the easier it gets.
#4,66.72.granted a shade slower than #3 but still SO consistant overall.
Coming off the first turn I felt the physical and mental strain you,re supposed to feel on a 4th 400m in quick sucession,but I didn,t panic rather than look at it as 300m to go I broke it down into 3 100m sections,when I reached 200m the psychological knowledge that it was only 200m to go seemed to lift me,coming off the final turn I now had the lenght of the straightaway between me and the finish and I squeezed every last ounce I could out of my body.
All in all a great workout,even "Dib" said so,so it has to be true!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Timing,Is Everything.

Having seen my potential "fuck off" day today scuppered by the rain on Wednesday there was now potential that Sundays 6th day of training would also fall by the wayside thanks to the rain.
I awoke around 8.30am to grey skies and rain.....great,I sat in the living room w/ my coffee,oj and banana reading my 07 and 08 diaries for the same upcoming week just for shits and giggles to remind myself what was going on this two years ago and again last year.
An hour later the rain had stopped.............yea!!!,no two bites at the cherry for moi,I was soon into my running gear and off out the door to get my five miler in and complete back to back 30 mile/3 repeat weeks.
The run it self was nondiscript,4 miles around the cinder track w/ half a mile up and back,done deal,the sun began peaking through the clouds at 3.5 miles and as the day wore on I realized how fortunate I was to have chosen then as my time to run as on and off showers seemed to dominate the remainder of the day.
I can look back on the week w/ great satisfaction,30 miles again and three very solid repeat workouts.
The next two weeks see me in compitition on Sunday,Masters Invitational 1,500m in Boston next Sunday and 800m at the MAC C,ships at my beloved Armory in my equally beloved New York City the following week.
If the status of entry on the USATF website for the upcoming Indoor Nationals is anything to go by the 800m is going to be a real dog fight so it,s imperative I maximize the upcoming weeks in training begining tomorrow w/ my 4x400m repeats w/ deminished recoveries.
No resting on my laurals of what I did this week,tomorrow sees a whole week and the need to bring my a game to the track in the evening.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

From Midday Sun,To The Land Of Midnight Sun And All Points Inbetween.

Sun glorious sun greeted me when I surfaced from my well earnt 11 hour slumber this morning,I haven,t had much in the way of extra rest of late so it was important to factor that into the equation.
Suitable javaed and pressed into action mode it was off to the track on like I said a gloriously sunny warm day,these are the conditions as a runner you cherrish period,muchless in winter,a sign from the weather gods that we,re on a similar page these days after a few brutal weeks in mid to late January.
Half mile jog and mile warm up compleat it was showtime and I was ready to improve upon Sundays season opening mile repeats.
#1,75,76,79, a heck of a start if I say so myself,my first reaction was "wow that,s brisk",followed by a "have I gone out too hard too soon?"moment,we,d see soon enough.
#2,74,80,80,72.-5.06.93.well well what have we here?clearly my consistant week in week out speed and strenght routine is begining to pay off in spades.
#3,78,81,82,78.-5.19.93.Clunk! the sound of my wheels falling off,that said I,m actually pleased in some repects,if it all came together too easy too soon the need to work at it might deminish,what #3 told me was there,s still some work to be done and while a bit of a stone breaker I can take heart in not only not mailing it in but also improving on Sundays 5.26. third mile.
#4,78,81,83,70.-5.12.82. a ballsy final lap as I tried to visualize the final lap of my upcoming 1,500m/mile races,I kicked at 300m to go today,Sunday it was at 200m so I,m getting stronger.
All in all I take a great amount of pride and satisfaction from this workout,ok it wasn,t the "quantum leap"improvement my 4x4 repeat was from last week to this week,but it was never going to be,I,m tickled pink w/ splits of 5.05/5.06 which tells me I,m moving in the right direction.
I need to eliminate those 80 second plus laps for all round consistancy and I feel I,m getting there based on todays evidence,dispite a fortnite of compitition coming up I want to keep my mile repeats in my weekly rotation,they,d have to be on the next two Wednesday,that,s a topic for "Dibble" and I to mull over.
For now it,s another job well done,sit back and relax evening,I,ll leave my final words to Kathleen Edwards who I was fortunate enough to see last nite at the awesome World Cafe Live,ironic really given that I discovered Kathleen through listening to Wxpn back in 05.
"But the smell of the world came into my lungs,the sound of the gravel when my legs went numb.
And my heart nearly burst right out of my chest,and it felt so good to know I wasn,t dead."
Kathleen Edwards

Friday, February 20, 2009

Easy Tiger

Ah,the recovery run,a thing of beauty,after yesterdays 2x1,000m repeats and b4 tomorrows 4x1 mile repeats.
Following a few weeks of average and above average temps today was stark reminder that we,re still a few weeks away from Spring,so it was ski hat and glove conditions as I did my easy 5 miler upto Cobbs Creek,s cider track,4 miles on the track and a half mile home again.
As days go it was an easy one in every respect,easy work day,easy workout,following a few weeks of traveling I,m glad to be close to home this weekend,my globe trotting picks up again next weekend w/ a trip to Boston,New York the following week,New York again but in a non running capacity the weekend leading upto St Paddy's Day{c,mon it,s a no brainer or o'brainer if you like................a little paddy humour!!!!}and then Maryland for Indoor Nationals the following week.
To that end I entered my events online yesterday,the 800m and the mile,there,s talk of a 4x4 relay after the 800m,I,ll deal w/ that nearer the time,for now it,s total focus on the mile and 800m,which leads nicely to tomorrows mile repeats,I,ll be looking to improve on Sundays splits.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

That,s Brisk Baby

First and formost let me say right off the bat that,s not me trying to hook up an endorsement from Liptons it,s just a statement.....however should Liptons or any other company wish to sponser me I,m willing to listen to what they have to say we are afterall living in the days of the professional athlete,no more "under the table"payments,envelopes of cash being exchanged after meets{the chance would be a fine thing!}etc etc.
Following a rain day I was eager to have at it today,my first 2x1,000m repeats since Nov 7th,almost 15 weeks ago.
Dispite the sun being out and the temps in the low 40s that wind was cutting right through me and following my mile warm up it was decision time re what to wear come my repeats,I ditched my jacket and warm up bottoms in favour of running tights but kept a sweatshirt on over my long sleeve dri fit shirt.I didn,t want to risk getting sick now having being so careful yesterday not to run in the rain.
I set myself a target time of 3.00 per 1,000m factoring in,layoff,wind & cinder track,75,75,30 would cut the mustard and while I was miffed at yesterdays lost workout albeit a 5 mile recovery run I felt Gatorade bottle half full I was at least rested going into todays repeat.
I opened w/ a 74 second 400m,for once the pacing was as close to bda{balls dead acurate}as could be,76 seconds for my second 400m a 2.30 800m split and I locked up a 30 second closing 200m to clock 3.00.65 for my first 1,000m.
If I say say so myself that,s pretty good going,the question now was could I do it again?
Having thrown on my warm up bottoms to keep my legs from getting tight I elected to keep them on for the second 1,000m,the 13 minutes of time that had elapsed between the first and second was 13 mins of daylite and heat disappearing from the afternoon.
Woah Nelly!! 72 seconds to open my second 1,000m and trust me it wasn,t the wind at my back,I had to contend w/ a face full of wind on the home straight,77 seconds for the second lap,2.29 at 800m,could I go negative on #2???
Sadly no,I clocked a closing 200m in 31 seconds to register a 3.01.77,but all the same a feisty effort from the poster child of Feisty himself!!
A good evenings work.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who Will Stop The Rain?

After 11 workouts in the past 13 days I was forced to take my rest day for the week today and not Sunday as I had hoped when the much touted rain we were told we were getting arrived in the afternoon and 86ed any hopes I had of doing my 5 mile recovery run.
GP had stressed the importance of being smart when we spoke post workout yesterday,sure I could,ve thrown on waterproofs and gone out to run but why risk getting sick and lose several days of quality training for the sake of bravardo today?
It all falls under the umbrella{yeah I know lousey pun but hey!!!}of my continuing evolution as a runner,two years ago,maybe even a year ago I,d have been all gung ho about getting out there to run but as the bar has gotten higher so have the stakes and I can,t/ won,t risk losing a few days for the sake of one,again as GP stressed I,ve proven recently that I,m capable of turning in great performances w/ missed training runs.
Glass half full todays rain allowed me to quote an obvious Counting Crows song.
"Mama,why am I so alone?I can,t go outside,I,m scared I might not make it home
I,m alive but I,m sinking in if there,s anyone at home at your place why don,t you invite me in?
Don,t try to bleed me I,ve been there before and I deserve little more
I belong in the service of the queen I belong anywhere but in between,she,s been crying I,ve been thinking and I am the rain king"
''Rain King"
Counting Crows

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Four Quarters Sometimes Make More Than A Buck

For only the third time this year I went after my newest of repeats,4x400m w/deminished recovery,on Jan 2nd I went:64.62,61.17,62.85,67.32,last week I went 71.11,71.10,73.44,75.10.
This evening was about making an improvement on last week,unlike last week I had sun,racing flats,and the inside lane of the track,these simple things would bode well.
As is my won,t I went out too hard on my opener,sure I wanted to open well but the target time on the first 400m is 70.00,I went 62.86!!!
My first reaction was"oh shite,too fast"that said I was thrilled to see my basic 400m speed was still ticking over almost three weeks after the Millrose Games.
90 seconds later I was back at it,64.69,predictably slower than my opener but that was to be expected,64.69 felt respectable.
75 seconds recovery and 400m#3,65.78,I may,ve knawlsed up the workout in respect of executing it to the letter of the law but dispite deminishing recovery I was running consistant 400s.
The final 400m is tough,60 second recovery,at 200m I felt the shadow of a Grand Piano falling but still managed to kick off the final turn and drive up the home straight,Cobbs Creek,Ichan Stadium,The Armory,dosen,t matter it,s all about getting to that finish line.....66.04.
Wow! I was impressed.....severely in oxygen debt but none the less impressed.
Yes I still need to harness the fundemantals of this particular workout,deminished splits and deminished recovery but I,m pleased w/ tonites effort,next week there,s talk of adding a 2,000m/2,400m after the 4x400m,let,s get through the rest of this week first but I,m already taking it on board.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Keepin It Real

W/ all of last weeks good work behind me it was time to focus on this week and hopefully build upon my last few weeks of steady improvement in both milege,speed and stamina.
Following a tough repeat like yesterdays it was the time honoured easy run today....yea,a nice easy 5 miler on tap just after arriving home at 4.30pm.
While I may miss the friendly confinds of Franklin Field these days I don,t miss the general pissballing around they put the recreational runners through,you can,t use the track b4 6pm,you can,t use the track after 6pm,etc,I enjoy getting home getting changed and heading straight out to Cobbs Creek,s cinder track,when I eventually nail my first sub 5 minute mile there it,s gonna feel all the more sweeter.
W/ the advent of more frequent workouts has come more frequent conversations w/ coach GP/Charlie Dibble he was very praise worthy of my week and my mile repeats in particular,we talked about the upcoming week,4x400m tomorrow,2x1,000m Thursday and 4x1 mile Saturday and beyond,as I make my way through Eamonn Coghlan,s autobiography "Chairman Of The Boards,Master of The Mile"I realize how big a roll Jumbo Elliot and Gerry Farnan played in Eamonn,s career,a quote of Jumbo,s to Eamonn when he first arrived at Villanova rings true,"Just do the work and the success will come"I,ll be off to work again tomorrow afternoon,not so much punching the clock more checking the stop watch,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bluegrass And Kickin Arse

After a lenghty absence of 16 weeks I was finally able to return to my favourite of all repeat workouts today,my bread and butter so to speak,4x1 mile repeats.
Clearly such a layoff between my last set of mile repeats and today was going to have impact but I took great heart in the knowledge that I,d previously never began mile repeats this early in the last two seasons, May of 07 and April 11th last year.
I was also banking on the feel good factor of last nite to carry over into my afternoon appointment w/ the track.
In October of last year I caught Grace Potter & The Nocturnals at the TLA,in my 28 years of gigs I,ve tried more often or not to check out the opening acts,you never know what you,ll get and sometimes you are pleasently surprized,as I was that nite.
Cornmeal,a rollockin good 5 piece bluegrass band from Chicago opened that nite,I was instantly a fan,I,m not the worlds biggest bluegrass fan but I like good music and this 5 piece brings it in spades,I can,t recall if ever I saw a line up of drums,guitar,banjo,fiddle& upright bass but these guys{and gal,the devine Ms Allie Krall} blew me away that nite so when I learnt they were to play the North Star Bar last nite I was there.
PLEASE,check these guys out,either on their website www. or live the next time they,re in your neck of the woods,trust me you won,t regret it,and stick around post show to chat to them,5 of the nicest people you chould ever hope to meet,w/out a doubt the best Valentine,s Day I,ve had in eons......and that was b4 Allie hugged me and said Happy Valentine,s Day................movin on.....
Conditions were close to idealic this afternoon around 1.45pm when I arrived at the track,clearly I meant business,racing flats,tights and long sleeved dri fit were the uniform of choice,no need for added layers of running clothes to drag me 16 week sojurn from these repeats would take care of that I feared!!!
Mile warm up conducted it was the time honoured tradition of"have at it time"I knew this was going to be slower than I,m used to but in running as in life you have to start somewhere.
#1,1.17,1.21,1.21,1.11-5.10.20.A reasonable begining,would,ve liked to open in 1.15 but 1.17 felt comfortable plus I also knew the need to pace myself.
#2,1.16,1.22,1.23,1.16-5.17.40.overall a tinge disappointing but my opening and closing laps were respectable,I,ve got weeks and months to erase those plus 1.20 laps.
#3,1.19,1.24,1.25,1.18-5.26.68.the third one was always going to hurt but I,m proud of the fact I not only stuck at it and never gave up but also w/ retrospect to the fact I opted to jump right back in at the deep end,no pussyfooting around w/3x1 mile repeats my "cannonball"mentality is still alive and well!!
#4,1.16,1.22,1.22,1.13-5.14.04.the biggest satisfying factor on my final mile was a respectable opening lap and almost identical splits to #1.
Fingers crossed next weekend when I return to conduct my mile repeats I can build on todays performance,I won,t be coming off of late nites like I was Thursday after my Armory races or even later nite last nite at The North Star,granted today wasn,t quite the arsekickin I,d hoped it,d be,if anything it was my butt getting kicked but{no pun intended!}last year my year opening mile repeats went:5.14.05,5.15.86,5.17.58,
All in all a great week,6 days/30 mile for the first time since the last week of November,2 repeat workouts and a pair of respectable races,the starting line in Lathi for Worlds just got a little bit closer.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Thinking About Tomorrow

Having been easily convinced by GP to switch my 4x1 mile repeats to tomorrow today was a throw back day,in order to reach my full compliment of 30 miles for the week I needed 13 miles,tomorrow,s mile repeats will come out to seven miles,half a mile to the track,mile warm up,4x1 mile repeats,mile cooldown,half a mile jog home,leaving me needing 6 miles today.
The very real prospect on 5 miles on the track was not one that had me chomping at the proverbial bit,20 laps....strewth,time to hit an out and back I thought.
Since my diagnosed shine splints two years ago I,ve favoured softer surfaces to run on,also the reduction of my weekly milage from 40 to 30 has made it easier to do grass lined loops of 5 miles but today I needed to revist an out and back course,thankfully user friendly Cobbs Creek is a mere 5 blocks from my front door so w/ that I mind I strapped on the old watch and set off at a conservative 7 minute mile pace along the grass lined Cobbs Creek,proving once again it is indeed possible to have ones cake and eat it too.....providing it,s a low fat cake I hasten to add!!!
I reached my turn around point in 21.20 and turned back,it was a pleasent change to be able to see different scenery plus allow my mind to drift off to far away places rather than focus on the lap count for fear of short changing myself or running over my mark.
I ,d twice ran along Cobbs Creek w/ my former house mate Steve back in 06 and 07 so it wasn,t compleatly new to me but I will confess to finding the experience a pleasurable one,an easy 6 miler in the bag I can now focus on my first set of mile repeats since Oct 23rd which may well prove to be a major shock to my system but we,ll cross,burn,jump,paint that bridge tomorrow.
One final word on today,Happy Valentine,s Day to those fortunate to have a loved one and or signifigent other/others if you,re a Mormon!!!
"We spend all of our lives goin out of our minds,looking back to our birth,forward to our demise.
We spend all of out lives goin out of our minds,they live,they stood up for love"
''They Stood Up For Love"

Friday, February 13, 2009

You Know You,re A Runner When.......

Dispite sleep depravation you get out there to do your 5 mile recovery run.
Following a late nite and early morning 1.15am-6.45am I took on the work day and made sure I stuck around till my regular quittin time of 3.40pm.
I knew the ultra importance of getting straight out to run upon arrival home,dispite being bleary eyed and heavy limbed I got out of my work clothes and into my running gear to hit the Cobbs Creek cinder track for my easy 5 mile run.
While a small part of me wished I hadn,t burnt my rest day Monday I know that running today was just what I needed to remove any excess gunk from my legs from two races last nite,as far as being tired I can have an early nite tonite and a lie in tomorrow,GP convinced me to switch my 4x1 mile repeats to Sunday which makes more sense,tomorrow I can hit a 6 miler to keep me on pace for 30 miles for the week,wow when could I last say that?how about the first week of December,it,s time!

Hometown Glory/Beethoven,s Unfinished Symphony

I make no bones about my love of New York City,while Philly has been home for coming up on 22 years now and South East London will always be home after almost 24 years living there b4 moving to Philly there,s always been an emotionial link to the "Big Apple"I love the city,the pace,the vibe,the attitude.................the fact New York feels as Irish a city doesn,t hurt,it,s no surprize some of my best performances have come in New York and also at The Armory.
Having missed #2 of the awesome "Thursday Nite At The Races"due to my Hartshorne Mile committment and will also have to pass on #4 due to the Masters Invitational 1,500m in Boston I knew I needed to take advantage of this opportunity to race here,ergo the short train/subway ride from Philly to New York.
Following my warm up it was straight onto the infield to get seeded for the mile,I used my 4.28 from my last race here and earnt a fastest heat spot,......they weren,t joking about fast,dear god,the winning time was 4.13,my 4.30.91. while being #6 on my all time list for miling found me nearer the back of the field than my 4.28.1 from last month which got me a 3rd place finish!!! as my friend Atilla who finished second that nite said pre race"this is going to be like a college meet"....he wasn,t wrong!!.
My splits were:34.08,32.16,32.84,32.66,{2.11}34.92,34.48,35.39,34.58.and while tonite that would only get me 9th in a 13 man field it,ll probably be good enough for me to medal in 5 weeks time at Indoor Nationals when I take on guys my own age!!
W/ little turnaround time I was back on the track for my 800m,I used 2.03 as my seed time based on a 4.28/2.05 mile/800m double last month,had a wry chuckle to myself, when speaking w/ "Dibble" at lunch time prior to the race he mistakenly thought I was running the 800m fresh and suggested I go thro the 400m in 57 seconds...............cha!!!,we,ll save that for a later date eh coach???
I got into heat 3,I could,ve squeezed into the tail end of heat 2 but stuck to my 2.03 seed time,unlike the 1,500m at the Mac Meet on Jan 4th and mile/800m double in #1 on Jan 8th tonite I wasn,t as rested as I was back then and during the mile I was feeling the effects of Saturdays XC 8K.
2.05 again but no victory like last time,my splits were 30,31,33,31,that third lap cost me a shot at 2.04 at least,had I,ve moved to the outside of lane 1 on the bottom turn instead of waiting to get thro on the inside I might,ve shaved a second off of that 33 second split and built more speed and momentum going into the bell lap,that said hindsight is a wonderful thing and too often we as runner don,t use races to test out tactics as we get caught up in the race it,s self.
All in all a reasonably good nite on the track,it speaks volumes of my own high standards that I can be mildly disappointed w/ a 4.30.91. mile but I,ve said time and time again as runners it,s not in our dna to be satisified w/ whatever we run,no matter how good or how fast it is.
W/ the working portion of my evening taken care of it was time to shoot the proverbial,I,ve been coming to New York and The Armory for three years now so I know lots of New York runners,and my bi yearly trips to Indoor/Outdoor Nationals have allowed me to befriend several of Central Park Track Clubs members.
I once joked to a CPTC member when she asked if I,d ever consider running for them that being raised Irish catholic it,s against the grain for me to wear orange! b4 anyone attacks me I,m very aware CPTC also wear blue vests so I haven,t ruled out the possibility of representing them one day in the future.
I have alot of friends on CPTC,I hope after my anti orange quote I still do!!!it,s a double whammy as I,ve recently befriended super talented and super sweet Jill Vollweiler who as well as rocking the orange of CPTC also went to Syracuse making her an "Orangeman/Orangewoman"!!!!
Jill typifies all that,s good in Masters running,she can boast a 70.01 400m time through to a 2.55.16 marathon{in New York no less!!},no wonder she earnt CPTC,s Womens Masters Long Road title in 08.
Jill and I spoke prior to her 800m,I was surprized not to see her in the mile till she explained she was feeling her 16 miler over the weekend.
As a friend and as a fellow athlete I tried to help her mentally prepare for her 800m,my advice was simple"don,t over think it, just run"and in typical tenacious fashion Jill was able to run the 2.28 800m she set out to do.
My final words on the nite are from Adam Duritz and Counting Crows who I listened to on the way upto Manhatten,while I was tempted to quote Adele{Hometown Glory} I also have to point out the Beethoven,s Unfinished Symphony reference came from an oxygen debt comment I made post mile{you had to be there!}.
"I am not worried I,ve done this sort of thing b4,but then I start to think about the consequences because I don,t get no sleep in a quiet room and the time when kindness falls like rain it washes me away and Anna begins to change my mind
And everytime she sneezes I believe it,s love and oh lord I,m not ready for this sort of thing"
"Anna Begins".

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Man On A Mission

It,s been a while since I,ve been able to factor in a recovery day after a repeat workout but hopefully I,ll start getting back into the tried and tested routine of repeat,recovery,repeat.
My first observation upon arrival at the track was that the surplus surface water from yesterday had now dried up,rather than bemoan the fact it came a day too late for my 4x400m repeats I relish the fact that providing we don,t get any rain or snow between now and Saturday I,ll have the inside lane of the track for my 4x1 mile repeats.
Between now and then there,s the small matter of #3 of Thursday Nite At The Races at my beloved Armory in my equally beloved New York City and tomorrows recovery run.
Tonite at The Armory sees me race my last mile race b4 Indoor Nationals in 5 weeks time,I,ll probably jump into the second seeded heat of the 800m also,my next trip to The Armory{ sadly not for #4 of TNATR as it,s 3 days b4 the Masters invitational 1,500m at the USATF C,ships } for the MAC C,ships on Mar 8th will see me take a crack at a fast 800m.
New York City awaits,I can feel the antisipation rising already..............

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kickin It Old School

After almost 6 weeks since my last track repeat workout{Jan 2nd}I returned to the hallowed oval to resume my"need for speed"
For a brief moment "Murphy,s Law" looked to trip me,yesterday had been a sunny day but now at almost 5pm as I conducted my mile warm up the grey skies threatened to open,I felt a few spots of rain fall but thankfully Murphy remembered the old credo that"us paddies must stick together"and held off..thank you.
As I antisipated Sunday the outside of the cinder track offered the best line,the inside towards the end of the home straight and top turn still carried some surface water and rather than weave allover the track I opted for the best "straight line" I could find.
The surface also dictated my choice of foot wear,I stuck to my regular running shoes over racing flats,providing there,s no rain between now and Saturday morning I,ll favour my racing flats for Saturdays mile repeats.
I knew not to go out too hard on the opening 400m,in theory I,m looking at 400s of 70,69,68,67 w/ recoveries of 90,75,60 seconds,however as we all know theory and practise is very much a horse of a different colour period,factor in my inability to judge pace and there,s usually an accident waiting to happen.
71.11 for the opener,not far off where I wanted to be,it felt natural to be back on a track doing repeats again and I was pleased not to have gone out too fast like I did on Jan 2nd.
#2, 71.10 very much a feeling of de ja vu,physically and mentally I felt good and in control.
#3, 73.44 w/ 100m to go I began to antisipate the hurting I was going to feel on the next repeat w/ only 60 seconds recovery but I did a good job casting that out of my mind as I powered up the final straighaway.
#4,75.10 that hurting I expected came w/ 100m to go but I was able to dig deep to see out the session.
Granted my times were slow and proceeded to get slower but given the layoff between repeats,the condition of the track and the choice of footwear it wasn,t all doom and gloom,I have to start somewhere and this felt as good a place as any begin,we,ll see what improvements I can make when I revist this workout next Monday.
"It,s been a long time coming but it,s good to be back"
The Alarm.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Observe The Yellow Flag.

For the non Nascar followers among my readership,the yellow flag serves as a caution.
My left calf was still feeling a little tender yesterday,both calves were screaming after Saturdays XC Winter Nationals so rather than fly in the face of it I elected to go w/ caution being the better part of valour,it,d seem stupid to get wreckless now after weeks of being dictated to by the weather,and yet that was somewhat the sting in the tail,a glorious day weatherwise but I couldn,t take advantage of it,no big in the general scheme of things.
Elected to take advantage of now having pc and a phone line in my new home after a room switch and also begin setting my bedroom up to my requirements.
Put my sisters mind at ease w/ a transatlantic phonecall,since my move on Jan 17th I,d been sans phoneline and she was overplaying her "big sister"role and concerned about a lack of communication my end,relax sis I,ve not ran off to join the circus...............I just work in one 5 days a week Mon thro Fri 6.30am till 3.40pm ha ha!!!.
So going into today the Top Cat check list reads:calf recovered,check,sister called,check,bedroom laid out,check,4x400m repeat on tap this evening.........check....back tomorrow!!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Catch 22

Bookending my XC Winter Nationals were two five milers Friday and Sunday.
Friday was very much a case of the time honoured"for the sheer unbridaled joy of running"after three days of not being able to run,given the fact I had a major race Saturday it was an easy run to begin w/,the fact that half of the track was still covered in snow also made for an easy run.
Thanks to back to back warm days said track is now three quarters snow and ice free,since yesterday was a recovery run there was no need to go "hammer and tongs"but I did want to get a lie of the land re track conditions for either today or tomorrow in regards to a .....gulp.....repeat workout.......
I know,I know I shouldn,t startle you like that,it,s only been since Fri Jan 2nd but the time has come at least for this week to get out there and get after it,given I have a meet at my beloved Armory Thursday a repeat workout needs to be either tonite or at the latest tomorrow.
To conduct a repeat of any type on this track will as of yesterday require the outside of the track as the conditions are more favourable,there,s still some residual {melting}ice on the inside lanes towards the end of the home straight and top turn but it is possible to get a good lap on this track now so I,m leaning towards tonite and 4x400m w/ deminishing recoveries 90,75,60.
For the week I racked up 22 miles,finally some respectability,let,s see if I can log 6 runs and 30 miles this week?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

XC Winter Nationals

To quote the old Virginia Slims slogan"You,ve Come A Long Way Baby".
In 06 I ran my first ever XC Winter Nationals 8k,a semi respectable 29.25 to finish 59th in a field of 153 runners,fast forwarding 3 years and lite years in terms of performances and outlook I found myself relishing the challenge of this years XC Winter Nationals at Derwood Maryland.
Conditions were more akin to fall xc running than winter, 40 degrees and warm sunshine on a fairly firm footing 2k loop course.
Granted a xc race smack in the middle of my indoor season may seem a trifle out of place,but in fairness no more out of place than last weeks 4x400m relay at Millrose,400m,8k xc neither fit the profile of a 800m/1,500m runner w/ designs on a World Championship title come July/August but as "Dibble" says repeatedly it,s another step towards that and I could justify today as strenght base work.
On a loop course my concern was not to go out too briskly,rather than base my race on the actions of others I ran my own race and in the end it paid off w/ the proverbial dividends.
3.25 for the opening k I came through the first loop in 6.52,pretty much the pace I was hoping for,at this stage I lead the 8 man GPTC contingent only to be passed by Bob Rimkis b4 the first downhill,Bob and I had gone head to head 4 times last fall w/ a 2.2 record,I guess today was the old tie breaker.
Briefly Jeff Hayes challenged me on lap 2,usually when Jeff comes along side me he,s gone,not today I was able to repell his attack and also that of "Mr XC"Chuck although Chuck stuck around untill just past the 1k mark as I used the downhill to put some daylite between us.
14.10 at 4k,I always felt a time between 28.00-30.00 was there for the taking and I was feeling very much at home in the comfort zone,I was never far from the next runner ahead of me and equally never too far from the chasing runners,too often in xc races I wind up in "no mans land"not today.
18.00 at 5k,I felt I was right on pace,Bob was still w/in range which was crucial,my superior finishing speed would mean sweet fa if I allowed him too much distance and to help me in that I was now duking it out w/ Greg Caullier a runner I,d only ever bested once the 06 XC Winter Nationals at Van Cortlandt Park,very much game on.
21.30 at 6k and I felt I,d closed the gap on Bob,however he began to pull away from me at the begining of the final loop,I had to dig deep to stay in touch,25.23 at 7k I forged ahead of Greg Caullier on the downhill right after the 1k mark and that momentum seemed to thrust me forward,Bob had a good 10 meters on me and several runners between us but I knew entering the home straight it was going to be a dog fight to the finish line...............make that a {top}cat fight!!
Cheered on by my good friend Jules and several spectators I launched an all out attack in the closing 150m,it just felt like being on a grass track,this was"kitchen sink" time I wanted club bragging rights and by god I was going to have them,28.50 to Bob,s 28.51,shades of the final straight at Hartshorne again!!!
When the proverbial dust had settled my closing stats read 33rd/142 in 28.50.81,7th out of 34 in the 45-49 age group a big improvement on my 29.25 in 06 where I finished 59th out of 153 runners.
GPTC finished a highly respectable 5th out of 10 in the team scoring only a point out of 4th place,not too shabby.
W/ my work done for the day it was cool down time,talked to a good friend of mine Michael Strickland who,d finished 12th overall and my good friend Francis Burdett who I think finished 19th{Francis says he never reads my blog so does it matter if I short change him????}
Stuck around for the remaining races,saw the future of American middle distance running German Fernandez win the junior mens race and a branstorming finish to the mens 12k as Meb held off a fast charging Tim Nelson.
Home a little after 6pm some 13 hours after hitting the road,another Winter Nationals XC under my belt,another road trip w/ my club to look back and think fondly of and another step towards Lathi,a good days work if ever there was.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Snow Day

Well the good news it was above freezing today,the bad news was it snowed all day and frankly a run seemed questionable,in running as is in life"if in doubt,don,t".
I took advantage of my"snow day" to work on reading "Steve Scott Miler"I picked it up Saturday afternnon and will probably be done w/ it by tonite,it,s a great read an wonderful insight to the life of a then world class miler and will probably be the begining of my running related reading,Eamonn,s biography sould drop through my mail box any day and I,ll probably order the biographys of Sonia O Sullivan and Ronnie Delaney soon after{only a matter of time b4 Marcus,s sees the lite of day.....................mine on the other hand..........................!!!!!!!}
Past couple of days has seen me getting very into Counting Crows,I find lead singer Adam Duritz to be somewhat of a kindred spirit through his lyrics,check out either "August And Everything After"or "Recovering The Satellites",lyrically they are flawless.
"We couldn,t all be cowboys so some of us are clowns,and some of us are dancers on the midway we roam from town to town.
I hope that everybody can find a little flame me,I say my prayers then just light myself on fire and I walk out on the wire again"
Goodnight Elizabeth.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Making Hay While The Sun Shines

Steady on!!! back to back plus 50 degree temps and a fifth day in a row to run,starting to feel like a real runner again!!!!.
I knew a 5 miler was on tap b4 I set off,based on previous days at the Cobbs Creek cinder track a repeat workout wasn,t optional and probably won,t be this week due to the weather and my schedule but I,m just happy to be out running if I,m being honest.
Following my half mile jaunt from the front door to the track I began my 4 miles on the track,I had company today,another hardy soul had ventured out to log some miles,there,s always something comforting about seeing another runner when you,re out running,a companion in the madness if you like.
As a rule I don,t time my non repeat workouts but today I,d brought my newer stop watch that records splits to try and take lap splits,come sessions end I,m still no clearer on how to get my splits but I,ll eventualy get to grips w/ that.
An opening lap of 1.41 on route to a 7.01 opening mile,based on that I figured a 28 minute 4 miler was there for the taking as I splashed my way around the track,each day since Thursday the snow and ice has continued to melt,providing we don,t get hit too badly w/ snow tomorrow the track could be repeat worthy come Thursday or Friday,alas too close to Saturdays Masters Nationals XC Winter Nationals 8k,who knows maybe by next Monday I can begin to crank out repeats again.
14.10 at mile 2,a 7.09 mile,I found a line along the track to have firm footing for each lap,the latter half of the home straight and begining of the top bend are still icey but thawing out each day.
21.16 at mile 3, a 7.06 mile,now for the push a 6.44 closing mile or less would get me under the 28.00 mark,w/ the prospect of no repeat workout muchless prehaps no workout at all if the weather is bad tomorrow I opted to "have at it"over the final mile.
W/ the very real prospect of having to take on John Hinton and Tony Young in Boston in the Masters Invitational 1,500m on March 1st I cranked the up the pace for the final 4 laps,there,s still work to be done in that respect but I was pleased w/ my closing 6.22 mile to finish up w/ a 27.38.24 for 4 miles.
Jogged the final half mile home to rack up my first 5 miler since Jan 18th,it felt good to put in a full shift out there today,now I have to play the waiting game for the next few days to see if I,m able to build on this,I hope so.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Begining The Month As I Mean To Go On.

Eitherside of Millrose I was able to bookend two 3 milers,Thursday was sheer unbridaled joy at finally getting out to run,it also served as a recon mission to check the state of my Cobbs Creek cinder track,frankly if not surprizingly it resembled a speed skating rink more than a track,more Eric Hiden that Eamonn Coghlan me thought!!
Yesterday dispite sub zero temps I hit it again,my legs were a little sore from my cramped Millrose seats plus no thanks to Direct TV{YOU SUCK!!!! I,m switching to Comcast!!!}I had some pent up frustration to unleash,unlike Thursday only half the track was now covered in ice,but frankly 200m repeats ain,t getting the job done for moi,so..........a second three miler ensued.
Today saw more of the great thaw out continue but the home straight and top bend are still covered in ice,I threw in a four miler today to log a whopping ten miles for the week,but that,s eight more than last week so there!!!
For the S&G factor I timed my final mile on the track,more to get my brain and body used to faster workouts in the days weeks ahead,I went 1.46,1.38,1.49,1.23 to clock a 6.33.12 final mile,granted that,s not gonna give my opponents much in the way of sleepless nites but it was heartning to crank up the pace on a track in a non race for the first time since Jan 2nd.
W/ temps continuing to rise tomorrow I expect to be back,a five miler is the best I can aim for,I,d be surprized if the I,m able to conduct repeats on there b4 next weekend but that said all in good time after so much lost time in January I,m happy to be out running again.


W/ the dust now settled from an historic nite at MSG and the 102nd Millrose Games here,s my story.
First off I,ll avoid the trials and tribulations of my getting to MSG,it,s a long,dumb stupid fecking story that basically stems from needing a tin of Minced Clams on Thursday,aside from costing me a missed train ride to Manhatten it also cost me the unthinkable,a meeting w/ "The Chairman"Eamonn Coghlan,to do all that justice is too heartbreakingly close to home to reveal,those who know me well know how much that hurts.
W/ warm ups and stretches done{I can now lay claim to having laid down next to uber cute Amy Acuff,who amongst you can say likewise???!!!}I got myself ready for our moment in the spotlite.
Unlike last year our foresome arrived fit and ready to lay it all on the line,as I commented to Ray how fortunate were we to do this a second time,some athletes never race at Millrose and here we were again.
Much of the opening three legs are a blur at best,I recall Scott almost overtaking Shore AC,s lead off Keith Davies going into his final turn b4 Ray then moved us upto 4th on the second leg,Southwest Sprinters and CPTC were duking it out up front w/ 2nd Wind a few meters ahead of us,Nick maintained his ground and when I received the baton I had only one thought in mind catching the 2nd Wind anchor,I tore down the back straight like a man possessed I now had two laps to try and reel him in but it was going to take a miracle.
Undetered by this I continued to hammer the pace,I didn,t I realize last year how hard it is to run on this track,running a full 4 seconds faster this year undoubtedly made that difference.
56.2 an indoor pr for me,tied w/ a 2006 identical time from The Armory,I,d give the nod to this performance over that in a tiebreaker given the contrasting types of track.
As a team we,d finished 4th in a highly respectable 3.46.94. 3 seconds behind 2nd Wind,an indoor club record and only 4 seconds off our club record from Penn in 07,to a man we began planning this years Penn Relays,w/ this foresome we can probably go sub 3.40 I feel.
Never one not to cast an eye on the future our 3.46.94 here will put us in good position to return a third time next year,who knows maybe it,ll be "third time,s a charm"I covet a Millrose Games medal in my collection.
Back stage we savoured the moment,Millrose Games,Madison Square Garden,Manhatten....really does it get any better???