Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Cats Top Ten Races 09

As has become my won't since 06 at years end I write my top ten races of the year,due to my achilles tendon injury in May I had a curtailed season,23 races in total,however I still feel I can present a top ten w/out filler,so submitted for your approval.......

10,Masters Winter Nationals 8K XC,since I got serious about track I've embraced xc,for so long my least favourite type of running.
As a rule xc races tend to be 5k,but now and again an 8k gets thrown in for good measure,in spite of being at a distance not really in my comfort zone nor on a surface that favoured me I still produced a top notch performance,and while not a pr I did snag braggin' rights for the club w/ a late sprint to overhaul Bob Rimkis at the line w/ a 28.50.8.

9,Millrose Games Masters 4x400m,after the emotional race of 08 when I shed a surgical boot two days b4 the race I didn't have it all smooth sailing getting to Madison Square Garden this year,but once I got there I was able to put all that behind me and anchor the team to a place finish thanks to a 56.2 400m.

8,Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile,one second slower and a place below my 07 debut but anyone present at Barton Hall in January will tell you my epic come from behind charge up the home straight to snatch third place in 4.30.1. was a sight to behold.

7,Thursday Nite At The Races#1 Mile,four days after I'd pr ed here in the 1,500m I returned to The Armory to notch a track pr for the mile{my 5th Avenue Mile of 4.17 from 08 still tops my all time list}
Just as I had in the 1,500m I finished 3rd,a precursor for Hartshorne and Indoor Nationals in 4.28.1.suddenly a 4.25 track mile seemed doable,my achilles had other ideas for this year....

6,Armory Holiday Meet 1,500m,first race of the season and a pr 4.09.2.,what is it about me and running in New York City?
Having missed out on a sub Spokane as I revelled in the moment that was my first major 1,500m four months prior this was most welcome if not a little surprising given my lack of speed work leading up to the race.

5,Penn Relays Masters 4x400m,there was a feeling going into Penn this year that going sub 3.40 was capable for this foursome,in spite of the worst possible lane assignment lead off Ray Parker handed off to the ever reliable Scott Landis,unlike 07 no near botched hand off to Daryl Johnson and when DJ handed off to me I set about my task w/ gusto,a relaxed opening 200m b4 kicking like a mule at the bottom turn and running a pr 53.6. as the team set a new club record,3.38.9.
W/ a new stable of younger 400m runners coming thro at GPTC I keep saying my days of running the Masters 4x400m are numbered,if this was my last Penn Relays till I turn 50 I went out in style.

4,5th Avenue Mile,when I returned to training on July 27th I had ten weeks to get ready for 5th Avenue Mile,to be honest I wasn't 100% convinced I'd run it,certainly after my 4.49.02. three weeks earlier I could've been forgiven if I'd said "it's not gonna be my race this year"
However w/ my mother Eileen here in America to visit New York City I wasn't in a position to back out of the race even if I wanted to.
Fear not"the spirit of Eamonn" and tapping into the source of energy that is running in NYC for me were in full effect that day as I surprised myself w/ a 4th place finish and 1st in the 45-49 age group w/ a 4.34.

3,Mac C'ships 800m,Having twice ran 2.05's already at The Armory after a pair of 4.30.miles b4 hand I returned to my favourite track and my favourite city looking for a good final race b4 Indoor Nationals and also notch a good 800m time.
What I got was a 2.01.1. an indoor pr and my 4th fastest 800m of all time to give me a top four of a pair of 1.59s,a 2.00 and now a 2.01.

2,Masters Invitational 1,500m,w/ designs on a top three finish in Lahti at Worlds it was ultra important to lower my 1,500m pr,I felt a 4.05 would put me w/in touching distance of gold,4.07-4.09 in the shake up for silver so I headed to Boston for the Masters Invitational knowing that the great Tony Young was in the field.
Tony shattered the World Record w/a 3.57. that afternoon and pulled me to a pr in 4.07.4. in second place.
At the time I was a byline in a World Record,little did I know it wouldn't be for the last time in 09.

1,Armory Holiday Meet 4x400m,ok,so my 2.05.8 was hardly my best performance or fastest 800m of the year,but given it would make up 1/4 of a new World Record thanks to a 2.01.4 by Scott,2.02.8 by Bob and a 1.57.4 by Nick it's hard not to rank it #1 for the year.
From a Usain Bolt like 26.16. opening 200m to a grind of a closing 36.55. 200m I only ended up 2 seconds off the 2.03. I thought I'd run.

It's a very different year ending top ten from the one I hoped I'd be writing this time last year,no Outdoor Nationals,No Worlds but to be a part of one World Record and to own another is also something I couldn't have imagined either.
Here's to 2010 and all that it brings.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

From PR To WR,The 09 Season In Review

Or,the year I wanted to be World Champion but had to make do w/ a World Record.
The year could not have gotten off to a better start, on Jan 4th at The Armory I set a pr for the 1,500m w/ a 4.09.27.eclipsing my 4.10.78. from Spokane four months earlier.
Four days later I returned to The Armory and set another pr this time 4.28.1 for the mile followed by a 2.05.8 victory in the 800m,considering the lack of speed work I had under my belt these were impressive times.
I had to settle for third at the Hartshorne Masters Memorial Mile two weeks later in 4.30.14. but the real story of my race was my dramatic lean at the line to edge out Dan Franek 4.30.14. to 4.30.22. believe me if you've seen the photos of the finish it was that close!
January ended w/ a 4th place finish at the Millrose Games Masters 4x400m,4th again,but this year I wasn't just coming off a stress fracture as I anchored us in 56.2 to a 3.46.94. a marked improvement on 08's 3.52.54.

Next up was a complete change of pace as I heading to Derwood Md for the Winter Nationals Masters XC 8K,a distance and a terrain out of my 800m/1,500m comfort zone,that said I more than held my own as I finished a respectable 33rd out of 142 and clock a pr 28.50.81. thanks to yet another furious finish.
I was mildly disappointed w/ my 4.30.91. mile at The Armory b4 winning another 800m in 2.05.

March began in dramatic fashion as I shaved two seconds off my 1,500m pr w/ a 4.07.49. some 10 seconds behind the winner Tony Young who shattered the World record,little did I know it was not the last World Record I'd be a part of this year!
Finally a fast 800m 2.01.17. at The Armory at the Mac C'ships,my 4th fastest ever 800m and my fastest indoor 800m,the stage was set for Indoor Nationals in two weeks time.
After getting sick at Indoor Nationals in 07 and still recovering from my stress fracture in 08 I wanted my third Indoor Nationals to be something to remember.
I came away from Landover w/ 2 bronze medals in the mile 4.34.43. and the 800m in 2.02.64. b4 anchoring our 4x400m relay to gold in 3.46.75. thanks to a I commented to my team mates Scott,Nick and Ray as we cooled down"being a National Champion never gets old".

W/ indoor season over it was time to get ready for the most important outdoor season of my career,I had almost a whole month of uninterrupted training b4 my outdoor debut a 4.32.08. mile victory after I opened in 60 seconds,I was instructed to take it out hard from the gun!!
Two weeks later in front of another 47,000 crowd at Penn Relays I anchored the team to a club record 3.38.93. thanks to a pr 53.6. things were ticking along nicely,little did I know I'd reached the high point of my outdoor season four months too soon.
A nagging achilles tendon issue flared up two weeks later as I hobbled to a 4.13.38. 1,500m at Swarthmore,the painful walk home confirmed my fears there was a problem and thus began five weeks of treatments and not being able to train or struggle thro training,all the while the clock was ticking down towards Lahti and Worlds.....tick tock,tick tock.

After losing three weeks of training and another week of speed work the final roll of the dice came on June 16th,w/ Worlds now five weeks away and my opening round of the 800m six week away I had to nail my 4x400m repeat,my splits were very little to write home about but despite two weeks of not running my achilles bothered me at the end of the workout.....a minutes silence please,my dream of being a World Champion has just died.

Over the next six weeks I was forced to wear a surgical boot,I couldn't run at all although I did buy a bike to allow me some sort of training routine so that upon my return to training I wasn't starting from scratch,I still recall that tentative first mile on July 27th,the time of 5.49.06. was nothing to write home about but the fact I got through it pain free was worth its weight in gold.
On August 10th I clocked a 4.59.10.mile at my 6th attempt which I then lowered to 4.54.51.on the 17th,life in the old dog yet I'd say!!

W/ 5 weeks till 5th Avenue Mile I began to crank up my training,first my first 4x1 mile repeat followed by my "in and out"400s a repeat workout that had been a huge part of my 5th Avenue Mile titles in 07 and 08.
To gauge where I was I took the road trip to Langley Va to run on Labor Day,neither my 4.49.01. mile or 2.10.76. 800m were anything to write home about but it felt good to race again after over four months,but frankly the 4.49.mile didn't fill me w/ much hope of anything special at 5th Avenue in three weeks.

If this were a video montage they'd cue up Phil Collins's hit "Against All Odds" as I finished 4th overall in 4.34. but took the 45-49 age group category,granted not the overall 40-49 race like the last two years but in all honesty this was far more than I could've asked for.
Sadly a week in running is a long time, eight days later I crapped out over 5k,I wanted to brake 17 minutes and believed the six weeks of 5x1,00m repeats would help me to do that,not for the first time in my career I got my pacing all wrong over the opening 1k and 1 mile and blew up to a win some,you lose some.

I'd already opted against xc racing for the fall,my achilles was still recovering,post Syracuse and the Masters National 5K C'ships I got back into my racing flats,I'd tried to wear them six weeks into my recovery but found out the hard way it was too much too soon but now w/ 12 weeks recovery under my belt I felt it was time to test the waters again and I saw the difference in my splits.
October,November,December saw a steady diet of 6x600m,5x1,000m and 4x1mile repeats,the return to"The Death Zone" aka 6x600m would get me ready for the 800m and help me on my 4x400m relays,I'd enjoyed the 5x1,000m so much in preparation for Syracuse that I kept it in my rotation and the 4x1mile much like the 6x600m was a bread and butter repeat.

On December 6th I kicked off the indoor season w/ a 57.08. 400m at Seton Hall in the hope of posting a 400m time good enough to make the upcoming Millrose Games masters 4x400m relay in January,I did hope to run an 800m the following week at nearby Haverford but got sick so when I headed back to The Armory to end the year where it had begun I wasn't 100% sure what 800m shape I was in,I hoped 2.03,that's where I kicked off the last indoor season at on Dec 21st at Swarthmore.
By now we all know what went down on Sunday,not only did we take the American Club record for the Masters 40-49 4x800m but we also took the American record which as later found out was the World Record.

And there you have it my year,in spite of my injury I managed to notch 23 races and tomorrow nite I'll list my top ten,but one final foot note,of the six 800m races I ran this year four were at The Armory,2.05.8,2.05,2.01.17, spooky is that to begin w/ a 2.05.8. and end w/ a 2.05.8?

Keeps Getting Better

W/ the ink still drying on Sundays World Record and the smile on my face still beaming I went about my day still on a high,while I always hoped one day to set a World Record and don't think I ever stopped to think what that would actually feel like.
Seeing two articles on Ken Stone's Masterstrack Blog and on Pete McGill's "Younger Legs For Older Runners' was one thing,but then to see the comments both there and on my blog made me realize just what Scott,Bob,Nick and I had achieved.
At lunchtime I got an email from Andrew Wagaman from the Allentown Morning Call asking if I could call him for an article he was writing.....WOW!

For one I'm not accustomed to being interviewed,twice after my Hartshorne Masters Memorial Miles and also after my Masters Nationals 1,500m in Spokane last Summer so it was quite an honour to be asked by Andrew,why he picked me I don't know but he did so I answered his questions w/ all the honesty that I could,it was a brave move of Andrew to ask an Irishman to tell him what he though,anyone who knows me knows I'm not shy on giving my opinion,I hope when the article goes to print{tomorrow I think but don't quote me on that but I'll keep you posted}my answers come across as being honest.

I'll have one eye online tomorrow to see if the article has gone to print,and another on the weather,I'd really love to hit the track and train,it's been almost two weeks period plus I'd like to shift gears from 800m mode to 3,000m mode for Sunday,World Record or not I can't rest on my laurels as Sunday will go along way to getting me ready for next Thursday and the 2 miles at The Armory.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Perfect Symmetry

How fitting,the year began at The Armory on Jan 3rd,it ended at The Armory on Dec 27th,also my first major Masters title came in 06 in the 4x800m in Charlotte N.Carolina,I ended the decade w/ another 4x800m.
The plan was to go after the American Club Record which was 8.15.29. which was set 21 years ago by West Valley Track Club,we felt we could go for it w/ myself,Scott Landis,Bob McGinty and Nick Berra all more than capable of running 2.03 per man,and w/ that we headed to New York City and The Armory for a chance to rewrite history........and then some.

By the time we finally got onto the track we were more than ready,track is alot of sitting around waiting to run,I guess the trick is how to fill that time,while all of us were focused on going after the record the mood was relaxed and lite.
B4 I go any further I have to thank the B relay team,it was one thing for us to go after the record but those 4 guys Phil Reiley,Delvin Dinkins,Chuck Shields and a late stand in Tom Fitzpatrick all gave up the chance to run an individual event in order to help push us,one of our team mates Dennis had injured himself a week prior and we were hurting for an anchor on the b team,manfully stepping upto the plate was Tom Fitzpatrick who offered to anchor after his 1,500m....which finished prior to the relay,we owe Tom period,the fact he's not a GPTC runner made his offer even more valuable.
The order was Scott to lead off,Bob,Me and Nick to anchor,again mad props to meet organizer Derrick Adkins and announcer Ian Brooks who took the trouble to not only get the details from Chuck on the record we were chasing but also a little info on each runner,Ian announces most Armory races I run and knows how to get the crowd into it,they were very much the fifth man for us.

From the gun Phil and Scott duked out a mano e mano tussle w/ Scott going through his 4 laps in 31.92,59.01,1.29.50,2.01.43 {31.92,27.09,30.49,31.93.} w/ Phil giving Scott all he could ask for,seamlessly Bob and Delvin continued the duel as now Bob reeled off 200s of 28.39,30.09,30.89,33.47. and again Delvin was right there,my turn,just like Charlotte in 06 third leg on the relay,a new role for me but one I was more than happy to fill believe me w/ the stable of middle distance guys we have I'm gonna be hard pressed to make the 4x400m and 4x800m teams as I now own the distinction of being the "old man" on the team at 46.
Did somebody call last orders? cos this Paddy went off like a man possessed,how possessed??try an opening 200m of 26.16.!!!!sweet jesus!if I can't cut the mustard at 800m and 1,500m anymore maybe there's a future for me as a 200m runner,Paul Hession you're on notice,your position as Ireland's #1 200m runner is under attack!!!!
Clearly I couldn't hold onto such a brutal pace,29.59 for the second lap a 55.75 400m{can this be counted as my 400m split for Millrose?....anybody....!!!}b4 a third lap of 33.45.I was gassed.
In a solo 800m tying up over the final 200m only hurts you,I could not let my team mates down,I dug deep to get the baton around in a painful 36.55 but at 6.09 the record was there for the taking and very much in the capable hands of Nick.

What followed was a clinic in how to run even pace.....something I need to try once in a while,29.84,29.82,29.00,28.67. each split faster than the last and Nick crossed the line in 8.07.48.we'd shattered the 21 year old American Club Record by8 seconds.
It's not every day you're asked to do a lap of honour,but hey it's not every day you brake an American Club Record either,we also took down the American Record of 8.07.6,not to mention shatter the old GPTC record of 8.30.42.which Scott and I had been a part of in Charlotte in 06 at Nationals.
As we caught our collective breath and shared congrats w/ one another,the B team who'd been so instrumental, and from well wishers Chuck was off making sure all the i's were dotted and the t's were crossed,believe me you've NO Idea what paper work you have to go through to get a record submitted so it can be verified and sanctioned,to a man we on the A relay can never repay Chuck for his attention to detail and selfless pursuit of officials and mounds of paper work that go into this,don't forget our women set two American Records this year,us guys were biding our time for the right moment!!!

Photos posed for complete w/ hip numbers spelling out our time and w/ the club banner we hit Coogan's for a celebration,in over 3 and a half years racing here at The Armory I'd never been there,then again I'd never set an American Club record either!!
More symmetry! turns out Scott had just this year lost his High School 4x800m record this year after 30 years and now he'd earnt an American Club record,and it turns out that Coogan's has a tradition,they hang from the rafters the vest of schools,clubs etc who brake records at The Armory,and we just so happened to have an extra vest.....why?because I thought I'd lost mine so I asked Chuck{who else?} if he'd bring one so that IF we broke the record all four of us would have GPTC vests on for the photos.....and now there's one hanging in Coogan's!

As we reached the parking lot Ray called,just like our historic 06 4x800m relay Ray wasn't a part of it but we called him post race,anyway today he returned the favour and was pleased for us w/ our new American Club record......................
10 mins later Ray called back,he was on the World Masters Athletics web site,the World Record for Indoor Masters 40-49 4x800m was....8.07.6....we ran 8.07.4............................WORLD FRICKIN RECORD BABY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Even w/ the American/American Club record that needed ratification,ditto then for a World Record,but holy shit a World Record!!!I said this year my three "to do" things w/ my running were:World Champion,World Record and to run at Haywards Fields,one down two to go!
Clearly some rethinking needs to be done on my Top Ten races of 09 list for New Years Eve now!
Oh yeah,for the record the average 800m time per man for the four of us was 2.01.9.

Two Words...............World Record

Right now I'm still reeling from the fact I didn't get home till 11.30pm and had to be back up by 5.30am but when things settle down I will sit and do justice to the fact myself,Scott Landis,Bob McGinty and Nick Berra are now proud owners of the World Record for Masters Indoors 40-49 4x800m thanks to a 8.07.4 yesterday at The Armory.
Trust me,more to follow!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Erica Strange Has A Lot To Answer For Let Me Tell Ya!

Obviously no running of any sort thanks to mother natures almost two feet of snow Saturday,I hadn't planned to trek down to Landover to PGI for Sundays meet anyway but now I'm well and truly up shits creek w/out said paddle.
No track around is habitable I should imagine,I had scheduled a workout at Temple's track today b4 the snow and Lower Merion on Thursday....just wishful thinking now.
Sidewalks are seldom an option and that's w/out a ton of snow and ice on them,Chuck sent an email that one of the guys on our b relay turned an ankle Sunday which puts the b relay in jeopardy now this Sunday at The Armory.
I guess the best I can ask for is to stay shape mentally,stick to my healthy regime of nutrition and maybe throw in some sit ups,ab crunches and push ups to stay "in the zone" b4 we attempt to rewrite the history books Sunday afternoon.

Away from running I've surprised myself at how well I've handled "the holidays"thus far this year,seldom my favourite time of year ever somehow thanks to some "Alfie Moon" mindset I've been able to keep the blues,the blahs and more importantly the ghosts of xmas past at arms lenght this year.
Sunday would've been Erica and I's 23rd wedding anniversary,our marriage lasted two years and too often in the past 21 years I've retreated into a defensive shell leading upto our Dec 20th wedding anniversary and Jan 5th anniversary of when we first met some two years earlier.
It's w/ no sense of irony then that the past few days and I suspect the next few weeks will slip by w/out rancor thanks to another Erica,Erica Strange.

A few Saturdays ago I found myself at home one afternoon flicking thro the channels looking for something other than college football and stumbled upon reruns of "Gilmore Girls" an old favourite of mine now being reaired on Soapnet.
Following ''Gilmore Girls" came "Being Erica" a Canadian show about a regular women Erica Strange who thanks to her therapist could go back to her past and alter the events that in her mind shaped her got me to thinking.........never a good thing but hey!
I spent sometime thinking what would I change from my past?my drinking for one,and to a degree meeting Erica in Jan 85 and then this weekend it hit me.
Xmas Eve 04 four of us from work hit a pub at lunchtime to celebrate the holidays,me my brother,Lynn and the girl of my dreams Jean.
Long story short over a few pints of "Dutch Courage"I somehow plucked up the nerve to ask Jean out,it's only taken weeks/months and yes I hijacked Xmas as a valid excuse to tell her how I felt,I still remember the red rose I gave her in an empty tin foil box covered in xmas wrapping paper,anywho,she said yes.............sadly she never showed up that nite,12 nites later I met Erica for the first time and the rest as they say is history....
SO my "Being Erica" moment if I had a therapist like "Dr Tom" would be to go back to Xmas Eve 84 only this time Jean would show up,who knows how different my life might've been if that's the path my life would've gone instead of meeting Erica on Jan 5th 85 and setting off a chain reaction that lead me to leaving London in October 87 for Philly.

Life is full of these "what if's" I accept that but sometimes it's ok to step outside the parameters of your life and question the time honoured "if only",Jean Whittle if you're still out there I care about you still to this day,and even though I quit drinking 21 years ago I'd still love to meet you for that drink we never managed Xmas Eve 25 years ago.
Merry Xmas.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Not Great,But It'll Have To Do.

After the disappointment of Monday's 600s I was forced to scrap Wednesday's proposed 5x1,000m repeats when the mercury plummeted,38 degrees is one thing but when it feels like 28 that is very much"a horse of a different colour" and truth be told if I hadn't be in the position to conduct my mile repeats this afternoon I doubt very much I'd have been able to workout today.

I opted to train at 2pm,the latest I've ran on a Friday since my return to training at the end of July,back then it was important to be on the track no later than 12.30pm b4 the temps went into the 90s,today I wanted to maximize the afternoon sun that at best was going to top 35 degrees...but unlike the last two days was going to be 35 degrees not 25 degrees,that said it was still ski hat,gloves and jacket conditions.
#1 mile,1.18,1.23,1.23,1.15-5.19.90.I had hoped to open in 1.17 and hold onto that pace but I could tell it was going to one of those days from the get go.
#2 mile,1.21,1.25,1.26,1.19-5.31.57.Clearly the cold was not only effecting my muscles but also breathing in such cold air into my lungs wasn't helping any either.
#3 mile,1.22,1.28,1.25,1.19-5.34.84.Considering I had to restart this mile after my first lap didn't register due to my watch not starting thanks to my gloves this wasn't a bad repeat.
#4 mile,1.18,1.26,1.26,69-5.19.95.A good start,a crap middle,a strong finish.
I knew I needed to open strong but I had hoped my middle laps wouldn't be as slow,it was almost identical to #1 mile,the 6 seconds I lost on laps 2 and 3 I made up for on the final lap.

Obviously this was slower than I had hoped for but it was also down right cold,there was a considerable dip in the temperature at the end of the session at 2.40 than when it began at 2pm.
Today was my final Franklin Field repeat till January 12th,for the next two weeks I'm looking to use Temple's track on Tuesdays and Lower Merion's on Thursdays,I haven't thought about the following week,the old,cross,burn,paint,jump from that bridge when the new year rolls around.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not What The Doctor Ordered.

Ok so I need to fill in the blanks from the tail end of last week first.
My Thursday repeats got ye olde kybosh when the weather men and women said the 38 degrees felt like 28.................YEAH I was going out in that much less doing repeats where there's three mins of walking around in between repeats!
Track meet or no track meet on Saturday I wasn't about to risk getting sick......and yet half an hour after getting up on Saturday my nose began running.....and that was all that ran on Saturday,I wasn't about about to go toe to toe w/ college runners at Haverford feeling under the weather.

So I entered the week looking to not only correcting two lopsided weeks of training from races or non races but also maximize my last whole week of training, in the next four weeks I have three weeks of meets to round out the year and kick off the new year,plus w/ winter well and truly here even though it doesn't officially begin till next Monday the potential to lose days to the weather is higher and higher.
Another sign it's winter,the goalposts at Franklin Field are down,football season is over it'll be field hockey,lacrosse and soccer that will rule the roost on the infield now till late summer.
Stretched and warmed up,conditions were mild but long sleeves and tights were the natural choice for apparel.
#1 600m,73,36-1.49.28.Nothing like cutting it fine!I had hoped to open in 70-72 and then ease over the closing 200m
#2 600m,74,35-1.49.00.The mildest of improvements but I wasn't firing on all cylinders.
#3 600m,74,36-1.50.98.Jesus!I know it's 1.50 and under but this was a tad too close for comfort,clearly I was struggling
#4 600m,75,35-1.50.29.The writing was very much on the wall,for a split second I considered making it 4x600m but I'm not the poster child for bailing when it's going tits up..........
#5 600m,1.16.........I knew at 400m in 76 seconds I was below par{insert Tiger Woods joke if you so feel}the telling factor was that while I always feel off a 76 second 400m I can still dig down and throw in a 33-34 200m tonite I didn't have it to try,obviously I was below my best.

I did try another 600 but when I could only clock 66 seconds at 300 I knew it was time to give up the ghost.
Maybe I was still feeling the lingering effects from Saturday,or maybe I just had an off nite,either way it was a disappointing feeling to walk off the track knowing I'd been unable to close out the deal.
Thankfully nites like this are few and far between so hopefully come Wednesday when I return for my 5x1,000m repeats I can get back to an even keel.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

If This Repeat Was A Movie,It'd Be "A Bridge Too Far"

Ok,so in terms of suspense I've ruined the ending but in the words of Aerosmith in "Amazing"
"Life's a journey,not a destination".......
Unlike last week no rain and no forgotten warm ups to derail my workout,trust me I was grateful for both especially my warm ups,at 5.20pm it was beginning to get a bit ber,ok laying on the track to conduct stretches didn't help but I could see my breath when I exhaled and my hands were feeling the chill,the difference between tonite and say two weeks ago was tonite it was 43 degrees and falling as opposed to 43 degrees and holding,post mile warm up it was ski hat,gloves,jacket and tights weather....and probably will be most of the winter from here on in.

#1 1,000m,1.13,1.20,39-3.12.74.Yikes! the 73 second opener was a bit too brisk and I slung the brakes on to make sure there'd be gas left in the tank at the end of the session.
#2 1,000m,1.15,1.19,37-3.11.69.I knew tonite was not going to see a repeat of my Thanksgiving Day heroics when I went 5/5 at 3.10 and under but if I could go 3.12 and under I'd be pleased,after all repeats are like snowflakes,no two are ever the same.
#3 1,000m,1.16,1.18,37-3.11.84.So much for snowflakes!I felt I'd found my groove and now all I had to do was stay there for two more repeats.
#4 1,000m,1.16,1.17,38-3.11.93.I knew if I went out in 1.16 I was good to go,to this point minus my opening rush of blood 1.13 I'd been Mr Consistency.
#5 1,000m,1.21,1.23,37-3.21.99.What's the word I'm looking for here.....???? I know it's BOLLOCKS!!!!
When I came through 400m in 1.21 I knew the gig was up,w/ hindsight if I'd attacked the first turn instead of adopting a relax and aim for a 1.16 I might've put myself in a better position at 400m to attack the final 600m,oh well.

Sure 4/5 isn't all bad,I'd ran evenly throughout the first 4 splits only to have it all unravel on me at the death but given the conditions I couldn't be too harsh on myself.
W/ this one under my belt I can look forward to an easier workout Thursday{4x600m}as I get ready for my 800m at Haverford on Saturday afternoon.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Road To Boston Begins Here

"This train is bound for glory,this train,this train is bound for glory,this train
This train is leaving town,hit the road and getting on down this train is bound for glory,this train"
Bound For Glory-The Alarm.

All aboard!the train now leaving platform 1 is bound for Boston and Indoor Nationals at the end of March,stopping at Seton Hall,Haverford,New York,Swarthmore,Deleware,Cornell,and Tom's River............
Yes folks the indoor track season is here,punctuated by the winters first snow fall the day b4!
Like all seasons,indoor,outdoor,road or xc it's always hard to know what to expect of yourself much less what you're capeable of so getting that first race under your belt is always a plus.
Adding further intrigue to the mix was my choice of distance,400m,I hadn't ran an open 400m since Outdoor Nationals in 06,I usually limit my 400s to relays but w/ a new stable of masters 400m guys on our team it was rightly decided that 400m relay selection would be based on current 400m time,ergo yours truly opting for a 400m today.
Post a decent 400m time and be done w/ it and hope it's good enough to make the Millrose team,if I need to come back to it and record a faster split b4 team selection,sobeit.

I'd forgotten how long a day at a track meet can be,I left home at 7.20am,arrived at Seton Hall by 10.30am,waited till close to 1.30pm run and returned home by 6pm,an 11 and a 1/2 hour day for 57 seconds worth of work......and I wouldn't trade it for the world!!!!
Last years indoor season was meant to kick off at Seton Hall w/ a 4x400,we ended up going to Glen Mills instead and I never got to run as our third leg pulled up w/ a hamstring injury and I had to wait another fortnite to kick off my indoor season...w/ a 2.03 800m,hopefully a good omen for next week at Haverford.
It felt good to back in my spikes,I hadn't worn them since May 11th at Swarthmore when I ran a 1,500m,little did I know it would be my last race of the outdoor season at the time,by the time I began my return to racing at Langley on Labor Day I couldn't risk wearing my flats much less my spikes,as simple an act of lacing up my spikes my seem on face value there was a comfort level of feeling my running was back on schedule.

While 400m is hardly my distance I felt that by picking a distance I'm not familiar w/ for my season opener could work to my advantage,w/ the 800m/1,500m/mile I know what to expect of myself,400m I've really no idea,I put 56 seconds as my seed time which felt honest and put me in the 7th of 12 heats.
I was drawn in lane 1 of 5,sadly lanes 2 and 4 were no shows and w/ all due respect to the runner in lane 3 who only ran a 1.21 this was a two man race between myself and the runner in lane 5.
I opted for a standing start,let's face it I don't run enough 400m races to perfect a crouched start and or try to get comfortable in blocks and I doubt I'll lead off any 4x400m relays to need to get used to blocks either.
My reaction to the gun was good,it has to be in a 400m when there's so little time or real estate to recover,off the first turn it was a two man race and I felt comfortable.
No clock at 200m or anyone calling splits unofficially I was told 27 seconds,the plan pre race was to run a relaxed opening 200m and come on like gang busters over the second 200m.
Hitting the final turn at 300m I began to feel the pace,thus far I'd been well inside my comfort level,perhaps a more competitive heat would have forced me to another level but it was what it was,I chased the leader up the home straight 56.71-57.08.

I wanted a 56 second time,ok I wasn't far off and all time my 57.08 ranks #10 on my 400m times.
Considering this is not my distance and this was my opening race of the season I can be reasonably pleased,it remains to be seen if I'll have to revisit the 400m to earn my spot on the Millrose Games 4x400m team,for now it's time to get ready for the next race an 800m at Haverford on Saturday.
The journey has begun.

Friday, December 4, 2009

If At First.............

So much for returning to a Mon,Wed,Fri rotation this week!
Monday and Wednesday got rained out and a Tue/Thur schedule went the way of the ark when I discovered I'd left my warm ups at home on Tuesday,I may have thick skin but I have very thin blood and frankly indoor meet or no indoor meet this Sunday I wasn't playing chance w/ the potential for catching a chill w/out them.
So I arrived at Franklin Field on Thursday more than ready to "throw down" this was my last workout b4 Sundays 400m at Seton Hall to begin w/ and after the day I'd just had I was happy to be setting foot inside "The Death Zone" because at lunch time I felt I'd be setting foot inside a "cage match" at work....
W/out getting too far down the TMI Highway let's just say that if"B" ever talks to me the way he did at lunchtime again he'd best be wearing a protective cup if he does so!!!

A mild evening but I was taking no chances this close to a race,long sleeves and running tights were the order of the day, following my core strength stretches and mile warm up it was time "to let's get ready to rumble" to speak!!!,seconds out,round 1
#1 600m,75,33-1.48.65.Emm not a rip roaring start by any means,75 is slow to open and over 6 x600m you don't really want to be firing off 33 second opening closing 200s
#2 600m,69,34-1.43.92.A leap of 5 seconds,so much for my previous weeks of consistent pacing,had I undone everything already after only 2 repeats??
#3 600m,72,35-1.47.25.Somewhat of a bench mark for my 600s,at last I felt I'd gotten my pacing right,could I maintain it?
#4 600m,75,33-1.48.82.In my previous 12 600m repeats I'd not had 1 75 second 400m split,now I'd ran 2 in the first 4 of tonites repeats.
#5 600m,74,34-1.48.25.I wasn't exactly up against the ropes but I was probably getting warned by the ref for holding{yes I know another fight reference,but you have NO idea how badly I wanted to kick "B"s arse at lunchtime!!!}
#6 600m,77,34-1.51.11.Well I knew my inconsistent pacing would come back to bite me in the arse sooner or later.
I hoped I'd come through 400m in no slower than 75 but 77 was too much to ask,glass half full at least I went down swinging at 1.51 and a 34 second closing 200m rather than mail it and run a 36/37 second 200.

Sure I'm disappointed not to notch another 6/6 sub 1.50 but w/ any failure to "do the business" comes a steely determination to nail it next time out,when that'll be remains to be seen.
I'm hoping to race at Haverford next Saturday and by racing at Seton Hall on Sunday means my rotation will be Tue/Thur and w/ that means I can hardly go balls to the wall on Thursday,chances are Tue will be 5x1,000m b4 some 400s on Thursday but that's a question for next week for now it's time to focus on Sundays 400m at Seton Hall.