Wednesday, March 31, 2010

#3,#6,#3/Blue Sky Mine

A gloriously sunny day after the drenching we took yesterday and a nice easy 9 miler to keep things ticking along.
The end of Indoor Season's rankings were on Masterstrack today,thanks to my weekends worth of work I finished the indoor season ranked#3 over 3,000m,#6 over the mile and #3 over 800m,not too shabby if I say so myself,but as I said after stepping off the track at Reggie Lewis on Sunday it's time to start preppin' for outdoor season.

Too often in the past there's been too long a gap between my last indoor race at the tail end of March to the first outdoor meet in mid to late April if you're lucky,no such worries this year,I have a 5,000m on Saturday afternoon at Franklin Field at the UPenn meet.
After countless repeat workouts there since Jan 06 it's gonna seem unique if not a little strange to race there,granted I have 4 years of Masters 4x400m relay experience to draw on but frankly those 54-56 second laps blow by SO quickly it's hard to take it all in,it's like the Johnny McGrawry story
"Will I tell ye the story,of Johnny McGrawry,shall I begin it,well that's all that's in it"it's over b4 it's even began so 12 and a 1/2 laps ought to be interesting even if the stands aren't packed w/ 40,000-50,000 cheering fans....oh and did I mention this'll be my first 5,000m track race since 05?
Time {literally}will tell if I make it back to Franklin Field for the Olympic Development 5,000m at Penn Relays,Saturdays time will go a long way to determine that....but as I oft like to quote,one race at a time,and never look beyond the race right in front of you.

Oh I almost forgot to wish those of you who celebrate it a Happy Passover,just because I was raised Irish catholic dosen't mean I'm not cognisant of other religions,a happy and peacefully Passover to those of you who observe it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Blame It On The Rain

Well so much for today being the day to catapult me back into my regular routine,the alarm went off at 4.51am{I know madness!!do the good people in Strasbourg at the Court Of Human Rights" know this goes on???}up by 5.27am{god bless the snooze button,along w/ the dvr and ipod and pc the greatest invention since the wheel!!}and out by 5.35am,into work by 6.25am and the inevitable mound of emails on my work pc after 2 days off{48,of which 36 were instantly deleted}and of the 12 remaining I'd say half were work related half were personal.
As the morning wore on the back and forth of emails from my team mates kicked into overdrive,the 4x800m guys began mulling over a crack at the American Club Record for outdoors{since we OWN the World Record for indoors!!!} I believe a race is tentatively set for June.

It's also that time for me to draft an outdoor race schedule,I only raced 10 indoor races from December 6th to March 26th and Indoor Nationals so I'll use that as a blueprint for April thro mid July b4 Outdoor Nationals on July 22nd,I have a vague idea of the races/meets I'd like to run but as today's rain proved the best laid plans of mice and men....
So much for my 9 miler this evening and so much for the 70% chance of precipitation today,it rained all damn day and the wind driving it made for crappy conditions on the dock at work and no run when I got home....ger!
Should the weather behave for the rest of the week I can still get a 40 mile week in and my 5,000m race at Penn on Saturday,one of the 8 to 10 races I plan to run to get ready for Sacramento and Outdoor Nationals.
Let's hope for better conditions tomorrow.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movin' On To The Great Outdoors

When I stepped off the track at Reggie Lewis following my 800m yesterday lunch time I knew the 09/10 Indoor season was over.
Overall I can deem it a success and not just based on my three medal haul over the weekend,lest we forget the World Record in the 4x800m,the bronze at Millrose or the two prs/club records in NYC in March.
It's also important not to gloss over the lows,failure to make the A team for Millrose and thinking I wouldn't even be running at MSG in late January,the arse kickin' I took over 3,000m at Swarthmore on Jan3rd,the"bitch slap that was heard around the world"at The Armory on Jan 7th or the painfully sub par Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile on Jan 23rd but to get to the highs I had to endure the lows,in running as is in life sometimes you have to go through the eye of the hurricane not over it,under it or around it,sure you may get battered,beaten,bruised and bloodied,but chances are you'll come out the other side a better person for it.
B4 closing the chapter on Indoors and this weekend,a few final thoughts from"The Gospel According To Top Cat"
To the doubters,the naysayers and above all the haters sorry I'm not finished,sorry you wrote me off after the injury,sorry you were penning my obituary after The Armory on Jan 7th and sorry you thought I couldn't claw my way back{wanna know how I really feel?cop a load of Jay Z's "Encore" that's what I think of you}I was built Ford tough the e on the end of Forde means extremely!!

How was I able to run three races in three days and medal in all three?,a couple of reasons,the extra mileage helped for sure,post 3,000m I asked fellow triple eventer at Indoors and good friend Steve Chantry what kind of mileage he regularly runs in the lead up to the 3,000m,mile,800m at Indoor Nationals and he told me 80 miles,granted Steve will run twice a day but even so 80 miles is going some period much less for a runner in the 55-59 age group!
Another feather in my cap was the lack of pressure on me,too often in the past{07 &09}I've clocked high profile races prior to Indoor Nationals and drawn the glare of the spotlite,this time around I flew very much under the radar and while only my previous performances drew name recognition I had no inward expectations much less outward expectations.

Of the six previous Masters Nationals I've competed at I doubt I've ever been as relaxed as I was this weekend,how relaxed was I?had I've been any more laid back I'd have been a feckin' ironing board!!!
Seriously off track this weekend I was as loose as could be,laughing,joking,relaxing but it was all business once I stepped on the blue six lane banked track at the Reggie Lewis Center.
Sure I had a decent 3,000m and 2 mile race to my credit in recent weeks but I hadn't ran an open 800m all season and my last mile was only a 4.48 hardly awe inspiring?? and yet I came away w/ a silver and a pair of bronze medals to take my tally of Masters Nationals medals to 6 Gold,3 Silver and 5 Bronze since Charlotte 06.

Today post blog I was able to dodge the raindrops long enough to get a six miler in along the out and back on Cobbs Creek Parkway,I know a 6 miler,what a slacker!!but since I had the day off work I could sleep in a little,write my blog,check in w/ my #1 fan{my mother Eileen} and go out for an easy shake out run,rather than burn my rest day today.
A good friend of mine who knows something about running the 5,000m{15.14.6. at Worlds last summer earnt him 4th in the M40 but would now win him the M45 which was ran in 15.14.9.!!!}advised me to do no speed work this week leading upto the 5,000m at the UPenn meet at Franklin Field on Saturday so it was 6 today,9 tomorrow,9 Wednesday,6 on Thursday,a rest day Friday,the race Saturday and a 10 miler Sunday and I'll have 45 miles for the week,yes folks the outdoor season is upon us,let us embrace it.

2010 Indoor Nationals Or Three Days,Three Races,Three Medals And One Heck Of A Good Time In Boston

Alrighty then,here it is my review of this years Indoor Nationals at Boston's Reggie Lewis Center.
Friday I left home at 7.30am,landed in Boston at 11.30am,checked into my hotel by 12.30pm and arrived at the Reggie Lewis Center by 3.30pm
W/ my race going off at 4.50pm I had ample time to check in,declare and get myself situated,given this was my 5th visit here it's not like I don't know the lie of the land.
Even on a lite day of competition there were still dozens of familiar faces present,since I missed out on Oshkosh and Outdoor Nationals last summer and some folks didn't make it to Landover for last years Indoor Nationals this felt like a catching up of sorts.
My good friend Nolan Shaheed won the M60 3,000m and I was quick to acknowledge his race b4 heading out for my warm up.
As I was looking to reverse a trend from previous Indoor Nationals I went out the front door not the side door and also clockwise not anti clockwise for my loop,it may sound like daft superstitious nonsense but since I was forced to do my pre race Franklin Field ritual in reverse the day b4 kissing the plaques of Jumbo Elliot,Ronnie Delaney,Marcus O Sullivan and Eamonn Coghlan in reverse order why not try something different and hope for better results?

Three quarters of the way around I ran into my good friend and the man I expected to be my main rival for the Gold Francis Burdett,Francis not only came in w/ 8.58 pr but also Gold at the recent World Indoor C'ships in Kamloops but until we crossed the line to enter the track we were friends,once you enter the playing field though it's a different matter
20 mins b4 gun time we gathered to get our hip and chest numbers,Francis was clutching his right hamstring,in the freakiest of accidents returning from our warm up Francis had tripped over a pole at the foot of the steps and injured himself and upon taking our place on the track for stride outs I asked how he felt"if I drop after two laps I won't be surprised" was Francis's honest answer.
This is why you should never go into a race w/ only one race plan,on those 9 and 10 mile runs in the last four weeks I visualized different race scenarios just because you have to have a back up plan in case things don't go to script,clearly now trailing Francis was not a plan.

From the gun I got a good reaction and from my 3rd place on the starting line I eased into the first turn and tucked in behind John Noland,Oscar Gonzalez and Chris Chisom,when we reached the 150m mark and the runners on the outside lanes were allowed to cut in Pat McCarthy took the lead and I was 4th at 200m in 36/37 seconds.
The next few laps clicked off at a decent pace,38.0,36.4,37.2,37.2 it was on the 5th lap that I took control of the race.
I was comfortable in 4th but wanted to get up onto leader John Noland's outside so I swung wide on the top turn to past Oscar and Chris however they countered my move and bunched up,did I tuck back in behind them?stay out in lane 3 along side them? or ease by them and John to take the lead?

I opted for the later even though I didn't want to be out in front w/ 10 laps to go but as I've often said b4"once the Genie is out of the bottle"
I proceeded to click off 4 laps at 36.7,36.7,36.9,36.3 as the race now entered it's second phase,I forget when Oscar,Chris and somehow remarkably Francis went by me,suddenly I found myself in 4th and on the outside looking in this was very much not in the script.
As I came through the bell I saw 8.40 on the clock,in New York in both the 3,000m and 2 miles on March 6th and 19th I'd laid down a fast closing 200m to set pr's/club records and my feeling was I'd worked too damn hard over the last 11 weeks not to mention in today's race to leave empty handed.

I dropped a closing lap of 31.3,I caught and passed Oscar b4 coming out of the bottom turn and flew down the back straight in hot pursuit of Francis,as we entered the final turn I remembered one of the several race scenarios I'd visualized in my build up to today and remembering a quote from Craig Mottrom at a Reebok Games here a few years back he said coming out of the final turn if you get up into lane 2 it's almost like a sling shot up the home straight and 40 meters from the line I caught and passed Francis to take second and silver in 9.11.4 and take 2 seconds off my recent pr.
Obviously the race would've had a different outcome had Francis not been injured but as I often say"you can only race who shows up"and to take that a step further you can only race who shows up and in the shape they show up in.

Kudos to Francis for gutting it out and props to Chris Chisom for being the sleeper in the field,9.06 is an impressive time,if memory serves me Chris was the defending M45 champion from Landover.
Post warm down I collected my medal,I honestly felt in the build up to today a sliver was attainable and I now had a second Silver Masters Nationals medal in my collection but more importantly a medal at my new and prefered indoor distance over 3,000m,not to mention a new pr/club record,no wonder I enjoyed my post race meal at Olive Garden b4 an ice bath and bye byes

Saturday Up early{7am}to partake in breakfast at the hotel b4 a relaxing few hours in my room b4 heading over to the track by 10.40am for my 1.08pm mile.
W/ more events on the schedule today the arena was a lot busier than yesterday and w/ events going on either on the track or infield there's always a buzz going through the Reggie Lewis Center,hell if it were upto me we'd have Indoor Nationals here every year!!
By 12.10pm after watching Nolan Shaheed win another M60 Gold in the mile John Noland and I went out for our warm up,warm being the operative word as Boston was it's usual chilly self,the first words from the pilot yesterday were"the temperature in Boston is 33 degrees" and while I'd had the good sense to wear my tights and long sleeve dri fit under my warm up and pack a ski hat just in case I hadn't brought gloves{so much for being a Boy Scout and being prepared!!}

Not surprisingly Francis had scratched from the mile,no point in risking more injury period much less jeopardizing the outdoor season,granted one less threat to my medal aspirations but there were still some legit milers on hand,one of whom was the great John Hinton.
Since my Nationals debut in Charlotte in 06 John and I have been duking it out over 800m and the mile both at Indoor Nationals and Hartshorne Masters Memorial Mile,I'd never beaten John my head to head record was 0.9{0.10 including a Masters XC 5K} could today be my day?

Again I got a good reaction to the gun which was just as well given the bumping and banging going into the first turn,John Noland almost went down in front of me as we went into the first turn but I managed to get clear albeit on the rail and as things settled down
Not sure what my opening 200m split was but I was 6th entering the back straight,I swung wide and around 2nd thro 5th on the top turn to tuck in behind John as we came thro 400m in 1.10/1.11 but down the back straight I got swallowed up by the pack and had to repeat the move off the top turn again.

A slow 800m split 2.23,I heard somebody yell"this is 4.46 pace" but if the opening 800m had gone out slow now things were about to ratchet up several notches as John put his foot down and I gave chase.
Not sure when Dave Matherne went by me to relegate me to third but I glanced over my shoulder to see where 4th place was and I was clear,having raced yesterday and w/ an 800m to come tomorrow I could afford to ease off the gas slightly,though that said my closing 4 laps went:35.0,34.3,33.2,32.0.

Again another strong final 200m,who knows if I could've caught Dave if I hadn't ran yesterdays 3,000m but I had a bronze to show for my efforts and a seasons best 4.38.1 also,out in 2.23,back in 2.14,how's that for a negative split!
Post race I cooled down w/ John Noland and Adam Harder and got their perspective of the race.
After picking up my medal John Hinton and I shared a few minutes together,like I said w/ Francis once the race is over the mutual respect you have for one another can come through,I like John Hinton a great deal,he's a true champion and a gentleman,we've had some great races and I hope we have several more over the years,John's been MIA for most of the last year but I told him Masters track was a better place for having a fully fit and healthy John Hinton back in it.
W/ my days work done I could now relax and watch friends and team mates compete,there were some awesome 400m races b4 the 4x800m relays went off,sadly the schedule at Indoor Nationals doesn't favour a chance for us to run a 4x800m as at least three of us run the mile{the schedule at Outdoor Nationals isn't much better as the 4x800m comes right after the 1,500m on Sunday}
Kudos to the W40 and W50 teams who broke world records in the 4x800m,I know all 8 ladies reasonably well and it was fun to watch them race and celebrate their records.

Another ice bath, a quick check of the footie scores online{2.0 to Spurs!!!}a blog tweet{thank you Holiday Inn Express for having Internet access in the lobby} and dinner w/ Ray Parker team mate and split taker,his friend Michael whom I've know since Boston 07,Tom Cawley who I met at Hartshorne this year,his son George and Danny Kelly a friend and team mate of Tom's, can never have enough paddies around the dinner table in my humble opinion!!!
Food was great,the craic was even better,this is the other side of Masters Nationals I,ve grown to embrace,you run your race and then go out to dinner it was a tradition that began in ernest in Orono in 07,but in Spokane 08 instead of being just team mates it became team mates and friends and has grown since then,missing out on Outdoor Nationals last summer was a kick in the teeth as a runner,missing out on the social aspect of it an even bigger downer.
W/ my mission 2/3rds complete I had an earlier nite than Friday since I had an earlier race on Sunday.

Sunday Again up by 7am for breakfast, a shower and over to Reggie Lewis,w/ a 12pm race I needed to be there by 10am.
Ah ha! the third shift had arrived team mates Scott and Chuck had driven up yesterday evening to run the 800m today and give the Blue and Red of GPTC a few more members in it's ranks,boy we've come a long way since 07 when only myself,Ray and Russ Patton were the only members of our team here,off the top of my head this year we had twelve,still small compared to other clubs but by jaysus what we lacked in depth we more than made up for in talent trust me!

Myself,Scott,Jason C and Kent Lemme went out for a warm up together,Scott and I would be going mano e mano in the M45 while Jason and Kent would do likewise in the M40.
Warm up completed,hip and chest numbers collected{declaration had been taken care of b4 leaving yesterday}I now had to ready myself for one last race.
My mantra coming in was simple,one race at a time,people had asked how I thought I'd feel come Sunday and the 800m,my third race in three days,truthfully I didn't know how I'd feel,the fact was between increased mileage,ice baths and reasonable expection levels from myself I felt good.

I knew there were a few guys capable of unhinging my 3/3 hopes,team mate Scott Landis and Jim Watts were running fresh,Gladstone Jones and David Jones were capable of beating me,however David scratched as his 60m,200m,400m,800m proved to be one event/several races too much and Gladstone scratched after aggravating his hamstrings in the 400m final yesterday so as we lined up on the starting line it was from the inside,John Hinton,myself,Scott Landis and Jim Watts.
Another good reaction to the gun as I got out quick,Scott bolted by me to get behind John and I tucked in behind them oblivious to what was going on behind me.

I forget what the 200m split was and nobody took splits either but it was a fast honest pace,I felt if I could get third and bronze I'd be more than happy.
At some point on the back straight Jim Watts fell he was the one guy I felt could threaten my plans but unbeknown to me 4th place in the mile David Esposito was now tracking me in 4th and it was him not Jim Watts who was moving upto my shoulder as we hit 500m
I sensed someone on my outside but even though we were on that killer third lap of an indoor 800m and I was on my third race in three days my weeks of extra mileage paid off in spades,I found another gear and repelled the challenge.

Third at the bell I was feeling good,the weeks of 40 miles and that 50 mile week a fortnite ago over the last four of five weeks,the ice baths the fans cheering all gave me the wheels I needed and just as it should've been in Charlotte 06 when I had the 3rd best time for the 800m but finished 6th this time I finished behind John Hinton and Scott Landis for third and bronze.
I couldn't resist making the three finger gesture as I reached and crossed the line,three races in three days and three medals,oh how sweet it is!!!!
2.04.2 a seasons best...albeit by default as this was my first 800m all year and in fact my first 800m since we broke the world record for the 4x800m in December.
Talking of which w/ Scott and I having done our part now the younger guns of the 4x800m team Nick and Bob were about to run....and how!

Another 800m clinic by Nick 1.56 and Bob Mc took third in 2.00 no wonder the topic of discussion on our warm down along w/ Chuck who finished 7th in the M50 800m was a crack at an outdoor 4x800m this summer,the World Record might be a bit rich for our blood,but the American and or American Club Record are doable thought I feel the American Record is probably also the World Record but that's for another day.
Given I had a 4.30pm flight and the relays weren't going off till 3.20pm a 4x400m was out of the question for me and neither Scott,Nick,Bob,Ray or Daryl were up for it either.
I said my goodbyes to my team mates and friends,Chuck and Scott kindly drove me to the airport,I can only imagine what the drive back to Philly would've been like based on the high jinks and shenanigans that went on in the car from Reggie Lewis to Logan International.

I've said it a million times but it bares repeating,I love my team mates I could not imagine running for anyone else nor running against these guys it is a unique bond that runs thro Greater Philadelphia Track Club and makes us what and who we are.
And w/ that another indoor season comes to a close,if you'd have told me on Jan 7th when I was humbled and humiliated at The Armory off a 4.51 mile that 11 weeks later I'd leave Boston and Indoor Nationals w/ three medals and a new pr/club record in three races in three days I'd have to ye to feck off out of it but through hard work,spirit and guts and determination I turned my season around.

At last I have an Indoor Nationals at Boston to be proud of,listening to the Dropkick Murphys on the way up and Floggin' Molly,The Pogues,and U2 over the last three days my inner paddy was more than ready to come out to play!!
Thank You to Pete Taylor for introducing me as All Ireland b4 each of my races,I appreciated it.
To the friends I got to hang w/ and watch and the new friends I made,I wish you all a safe journey back home where ever home is,I look forward to Sacramento in July when"the clans all gather"again,YES Masters track is a bit like Running Camp for Grown Ups sure the medals and pr's/club records,world records,American records are great but there's something about all gathering together for a few days and competing and enjoying being in one anothers company that makes the time,travel,expense,training and sacrifice ALL worth while.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Home Sweet Home

Well I'm back from Boston and Indoor Nationals w/ 3 medals,a pr,another club record and alot of stories to tell,to do them justice will mean waiting till tomorrow after I've had a nite to sleep in my own bed and let the dust settle on a memorable weekend in Beantown but trust me you're gonna enjoy my report.
Till then some much deserved pizza and ice cream and a chance to decompress.....

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Blog Tweet

Mile,4.38.16. 3rd, seasons best
A bronze medal to go w/yesterdays silver
800m to come tomorrow
Ice bath and dinner then bed

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blog Tweet

3,000m 2nd in a pr 9.11.42,4th at the bell,explosive final lap 31.32 to win silver.
Just got done dinner w/ teammates Ray,Cheryl and friend Michael.
Off for an ice bath and bed,mile tomorrow.
Sweet dream and a silver medal
So buying a dvd of the race!

Looking For A Mulligan

"For Boston,for Boston thy glory is our own,for Boston for Boston tis here the truth be known
And ever w/ the right shall thy heirs be found till time shall be no more and thy work is crown'd for Boston,for Boston for thee and thine alone"
For Boston Dropkick Murphys

07 Indoor Nationals Boston
3.24.07 Mile DNF
3.25.07 800m 2.04.9 4th

08 Indoor Nationals Boston
3.28.08 3,000m 10.01.6 11th
3.30.08 800m 2.12.0 8th

09 Indoor Nationals Landover
3.21.09 Mile 4.34.2 3rd
3.22.09 800m 2.02.6 3rd

So there you have it,far from impressive,the dnf in the mile was my first ever and to date only dnf,I knew I was sick coming into the meet but didn't realize how sick,the decision to drop out was gut wrenching but tactical,what little juice I had left I'd need for the 800m the following day and thanks to a non US runner finishing 2nd I was awarded a bronze for my 4th place since these after all are the USATF Masters Nationals

A year later coming off my stress fracture I had grave misgivings about my entry,w/ hindsight I wish I'd stuck to my guns and not gone,I knew I wasn't in race shape as was woefully exposed,lesson learnt never go to a major championship unless you're firing on all cylinders

Last year I earnt 2 bronzes in 2 hard fought races and finally had an Indoor Nationals worthy of my ability,ironic it should come at a venue where in individual races I'd never done particularly well.

In Boston's banked Reggie Lewis track I have a pair of runners up places in Masters Invitational races 07 in the 800m 2.02.7. and 09 in the 1,500m 4.07.4. but as of now I've yet to put it together over a Masters Nationals weekend......ergo the need for a mulligan

In 07 I probably peaked too early for Indoor Nationals{a rookie error going into my first Indoor Nationals}and then got sick,in 08 I learnt the hard way that 8 weeks was enough time to run,just not run fast.
Last year again I may've peaked too early b4 gutting out my two 3rd places finishes.
This year I got off to a late start w/ my indoor season,the clunk that was heard around the world on Jan 7th was my arse being handed to me on a plate in the mile at The Armory but it awoke a sleeping giant and for the past 10 weeks I've whipped myself into I think the best shape I've been for an Indoor Nationals......Gentlemen start your engines..........

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Shippin' Up To Boston.............

But not looking for my wooden leg..............if you're a Dropkick Murphys fan you'll get that line if not don't worry,but it's no surprise I'm quoting the Dropkick Murphys if I'm heading to Boston.
Back in the day I ran three Boston Marathons,91,01,05,91 was at the time a pr{2.54.32.}all three were sub 3 hour.
In 07 after switching to track I began what has now become a rite of passage to visit Beantown each winter,sadly that run is about to come to an end,next years Indoor Nationals is in New Mexico and 2012 will be in Indianapolis so unless the USATF Indoor Nationals is held in Boston and there's a Masters Invitational at one of my distances my streak of visits to Boston each winter will end at four.

Last years Indoor Nationals at Landover saw me finally put together a decent Indoor Nationals,07 and 08 in Boston were very little to write home about,last year I finally put that to right but it'd be nice to do that in Boston,I have 2 runners up finishes at Masters Invitationals there in 07 and 09 but only a bronze from the 07 Indoor Nationals 800m to show for my four races in two years,Boston is my second favourite city behind New York{yes I gravitate towards Irish cities!!}and since Indoor Nationals may not return there till 2013 so it'd be nice to leave there this year w/ something to show for my 10 weeks of hard work.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cravin' Pizza

Another easy 9 miler this evening,this time under clear blue skies which saw me back in shades,shortsleeves and shorts mode as I did my extended out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway,funny to think it'll be Monday b4 I next get out there again.

Two more days till Indoor Nationals and four more days till I get to sample the joys of Pizza and Ice cream again,I always give them and Mexican food up in my build up to a major championship and while there's no scientific evidence that not eating them helps my performance level it's a ritual I've gone through over the years not just in track but back in my distance running years.
There's something quite rewarding about tucking into a Pizza after my major races,a sence of having earnt it,but given the busy April schedule I've lined up for myself there won't be much in the way of making up for lost time so I'll have to make the most of Sunday's Pizza and Ice Cream and Monday's Mexican and Ice Cream.

I got so caught up in my run this evening that it wasn't till I got home that I though about the FA Cup 1/4 final replay between Spurs and Fulham, a quick check of the pc and Spurs 3 Fulham 1 and we're into the semi finals on April 11th...I feel a song coming on..........
"You are my Tottenham,my only Tottenham,you make me happy when skies are grey
You'll never dear how much I love you,till they've taken my Tottenham away"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Givin' The Ipod A Good Workout

The week of Nationals,Indoor or Outdoors is always the same,I run the full spectrum of emotions,angst,nerves,tension,worry,excitement,etc etc.
As a wise man once told me in the week leading up to my first Penn Relays"you're not going to get any faster in the week of the race"so this week it's more about what I don't do.
Given the Style Councilesque nature of "My Ever Changing Moods"it's probably a solid bet that my trusty ipod will get quite the workout this week,having upgraded from 4gb to 16gb recently I now have more songs at my disposal and in a week when my moods change like the wind it's good to have more music to suit them.
The Battle Anthems"Fight The Power" Anthrex w/ Public Enemy,"Irish Blood English Heart"Morrissey"Pump Up The Volume"Colourbox,the mellow anything by Coldplay,the inspirational U2, The Cure, Inxs, and of course Jay Z,Linkin Park and Linkin Park and Jay Z together,seriously nothing gets my blood pumping like "Collision Course" a wicked mash up if ever there was one,but don't take this humble blogger's word for it,check it out for yourself.

After getting rained out yesterday I kept one eye on the sky today,trusty AOL Weather said 30% chance of precipitation in the afternoon and I kept having visions of getting home from work and the heavens worries,the rain held off and I took care of my 9 miler w/ consumate ease,had today gotten rained out I was SOL for my 30 miles this week,which may not've been the end of the world but at least now that's one thing less to worry about in the lead up to Friday and Boston and my 4th Indoor Nationals.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Strange Day

"And I laugh as I drift in the wind blind dancing on a beach of stone
Cherish the faces as they wait for the end a sudden hush across the water and we're here again
And the sand and the sea grows I close my eyes moving slowly through drowning waves
Going away on a strange day"
Strange Day The Cure

From the time I woke up this morning it was a strange day,remember a week and a half ago when I mentioned getting beaned in the head and then the knee when a roll of industrial size saran wrap rolled off the cage and fell on me....well the first thing I felt this morning b4 my feet touched the ground was a tenderness in my right knee,I swear I'm not making this up!!!
Then as I returned from the OR I get on the elevator w/ a med student who proceeds to start sneezing,this is all I need the week of Nationals!!!
Any morning I click on My AOL to check the weather and it says 100% chance of precipitation I realize the chances of me running are slim to none.....and then it dawned on me as I recalibrate my weekly mileage minus today.....that in my haste to pad my mileage leading upto Indoor Nationals this weekend I hadn't factored in a rest day....DOH!!!

Mother Nature took care of that little problem for me,I can still hit 32 miles this week even w/ three races over the weekend,I did toy w/ the idea of trying to get out there this evening but not only did the weather seem to change every five minutes but also due to a lot of running around this weekend I hadn't hit the food store{another plus of not running this evening,groceries!}
Seriously trying to run 9 miles w/ only a Banana to eat all day is hardly a good idea any week much less the week of Nationals,but hopefully all the craziness is behind me now.

One good note today,my application for an invitation to run the University Of Penn track meet on Saturday April 3rd has been accepted.
Given I do 90% of my track repeats at Franklin field and I can now race there is in a word supercalifragalisticexbealidoshes...........let's see Spell Check check that!!!{no suggestions...really!}
To do justice to all that in tails requires more focus than I'm prepared to give,b4 the U Penn 5,000m there's the Indoor Nationals 3,000m,mile and 800m,this time next week when Indoor Nationals is over I'll begin to focus on the outdoor season and my first 5,000m race since 05.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

All Roads Lead To Boston

"Don't pity this poor immigrant my eyes were open when I caught the boat
All I wanted was your shelter and maybe just a little hope
But you turned your anger on me for the courage that you lack I don't want your half arsed freedom you can have the whole deal back
So now I'll tell you something let's get this straight from the start don't call me harp"
Harp Stiff Little Fingers

And so Irish week comes to an end but the spirit of Pale,Paddy and Proud lives on!!!
Like last week a 10 miler to round out the week,but in keeping w/ the taper mentality 40 miles this week.
Conditions were sunny and warm when I hit Cobbs Creek Parkway at 11.35am,like yesterday I opted for my sleeveless shirt,and like yesterday it was suitably drenched in sweat b4 the end of the run.
If yesterday had been an easy run today was a notch above as I cranked up the intensity on the uphills today,it's a mark of how far I've come in the last 10 weeks,through all of December and the first two weeks of January I managed only 51 miles in 6 weeks,over the last 10 weeks I've gone27,30,30,30,30,40,36,40,50,40,take the 6 lowest weeks and it comes out to 183 miles, or the difference between a 10.16. 3,000m on Jan 4th and a 9.13.6. on March 6th.

This coming week is all about containing my energies for the up coming weekend and Indoor Nationals in Boston,a lot of rest,plenty of hydration and fluids and 4 easy runs Monday through Thursday b4 flying up to Boston Friday morning.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Movin' On To The Next One

"She is liberty and she comes to rescue me,hope faith her vanity the greatest gift is gold
Sleep comes like a drug,in God's country,sad eyes crooked crossed in God's county
Naked flame,she stands w/ a naked flame,I stand w/ sons of Cain
Burned by the fire of love,burned by the fire of love"
In God's Country U2

First up,apologies for having to combine two reports into one but frankly not getting home till 2.10am meant a blog entry on my race was highly unlikely.
Up by 10.20am,most weekends I need a good hour to kick start the engine,today I took three,more due to a live Spurs game at 11am till 1pm{we won 2.1 to hold onto 4th place and the final Champions League spot}but also to recover from another long evening in The Big Apple.
B4 I relive last nite a quick nod to today's workout,an easy 9 miler,w/ the emphasis on easy,as my former coach often reminded me post race workout"no matter how slow you're's probably too fast"and w/ that in the forefront of my mind I took full advantage of a beautiful summer like lunchtime in mid March{did we turn the clocks forward more than an hour last Sunday??}to ease my way through my 9 miler to put me at 30 miles for the week w/ a 10 miler on tap tomorrow.

So back to last nite,we arrived at The Armory at 5.30pm and yet it was close to 10.30pm b4 I set foot on the track to run,the meet got put back half an hour to allow people stuck in traffic time to get to the meet so ok it would've been a 4 & 1/2 hour wait which would've been long enough but the fact the powers that be decided to split the field into two heats,not by seed times but by age dumped me into heat two.
I would've preferred heat one,the younger guys would've pulled me to a fast time which was the whole idea but I saw no point in debating the issue w/ the official,once they've made up their mind that's it and why use up energy asking them to change their mind when you know they won't?
That said it was crystal clear come the end of heat one that runners in that heat should've been in heat two and vice versa but I'd made my mind up once the dye had been cast to focus on my race and not ponder"what might've been"

Another good reaction to the gun,gotta stay on top of that just because it's a 16 lap race doesn't mean I can zone out,if it becomes habit forming over 3,000m and 2 miles it'll become habit forming over the shorter distances.
I tucked in behind Armondo and let him pull me along,the plan was sit tight for the first mile and go from there.
We went through the opening lap in 40 seconds{you have to allow for the extra 9 meters} b4 dropping down to a 37 seconds and 1.17 at 400m and thus began a metronomic 37 seconds per lap pace,although we went through the opening mile in 5.02.
I was hoping for 4.50-4.55 pace but providing we stayed on pace a 10.04 was on tap and I'd sneak under the club record which was all I cared about.

I forget when the eventual winner went by me,for the longest time I though team mate Neil Clark was on my tail,I briefly worried that if he out muscled me b4 the line he could claim the club record,this proved unfounded as Neil dropped out.
Laps 11 through 15 proved to be tough going,12 through 14 were 39s and I'd now fallen to 4th though frankly position was the least of my worries,hanging in there was my main concern.
As each lap went by I clocked the time on the scoreboard but frankly I was too focused on holding it together to worry about where I was in relation to the club record.
9.32 at the bell,just like two weeks ago I was able to launch into a furious kick over the closing 200m,going into the final turn I reclaimed 3rd and drove hard up the home straight to the finish line.
I glanced up at the clock and saw 10.06 and though I'd missed the record,however Ray had me at 10.05.6. but in his words"I was all the way over on the other side of the track"
I sat patiently and waited for the scoreboard to post the times......9.56 for the winner,10.02 for Armondo.......................3rd place.................10.05.58.

By the skin of my teeth I'd taken the club record 10.05.8. to 10.05.5. as Chuck joked w/ me "it's not so easy"he was right and I can thank my final lap of 33.6 for sneakin' under the old record.
I also have to thank my team mates for their support,Ray and Sean down the back straight and Chuck and Dave on the infield at the top bend,their support was a big help and the fact I had someone to share the record w/ unlike two weeks ago made it a little bit sweeter.
Cool down completed I picked up my bronze medal,an added perk from the evening,it was never about the medal,next weekend however is a different story,but a podium finish is always welcome.
Home by 2.10am after we drove Neil to Ardmore since the last R5 had long since stopped running and a chance to reflect,granted not a Jay Z lyric worth performance but not only another in a long line of memorable NYC races but also another club record.
On the track I own the club records for 1,500m,3,000m and 2 Miles,prior to Nick coming along I also owned the 800m and mile records but it's because of Nick and Bob Mc and soon Dave Brown that I'm moving up to the longer distances and now that I have the 3,000m and 2 mile records it's time to eye up the next one,5,000m,16.29.7.based on tonites 5.02-5.03 10.05. 2 miles I have to believe a sub 16 min 5,000m is on HOV said"Onto The Next One"

By The Skin Of My Teeth

I sit here this morning the new owner of the club record for 2 miles......but only just!
10.05.5,just shaving the 07 record of 10.05.8.
More detailed report to come later after my 9 miler

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Return Of The Thin White Duke

"So come back Billy,won't you come on home come back Mary,you've been away so long.
The streets are empty,and your mother's gone,the girl's are crying,it's been oh so long.
And your father's calling,come on home,won't you come on home,come on home.
Come back people,you've been gone a while,and the war is raging through the Emerald Isle.
That's flesh and blood man,that's flesh and blood all the girls are crying,but all's not lost.
The streets are empty,the streets are cold,won't you come on home,come on home.
The streets are empty life goes on, one day we'll return here,when the Belfast Child sings again"
Belfast Child Simple Minds

After the rancor that was my work day yesterday things settled down to near normal today,frankly the arse kickin' I took yesterday coupled w/ my 9 mile run and early nite set me up for a low key day today......minus my simmering/seething anger towards one individual who clearly was hip to that fact and gave me a wide berth and if he said ten words to me all day I'm being worked for me trust me!
I had to humble myself and apologize to somebody who bore the brunt of my anger yesterday,he was cool about it and realized I was having a bad day,eating humble pie is never easy but saying nothing when you know you were wrong is worse.

An easy 4 miler at Franklin Field this evening,complete w/ the three s's shorts,shades,short sleeves,can't recall a March where I've been able to rock the shorts look,thankfully there weren't too many people on hand to witness my paleness!!
So,hopefully I'm primed and ready for tomorrow,after two chances to take the club record at 2 miles were snatched out from under me in January and Febuary here's to third time's a charm and a belated St Paddy's Day,I always talk about "taping into the spirit of Eamonn Coghlan" when I run in New York so two days after St Patrick's Day and w/ a club record up for grabs,here's to another Chairman like performance tomorrow night.

Belated St Paddy's Day/What It Means To Me To Be Irish

"In Manhattan's desert twilight in the death of afternoon we stepped hand in hand down Broadway w/ the first man on the moon.
And "The Blackbird"broke the silence as you whistled it so sweet and in Brendan Behan's footsteps I danced up and down the street.
Then we said goodnite to Broadway giving it our best regards tipped our hats to Mister Cohen dear old Times Square favourite bard,then we raised a glass to JFK and a dozen more besides
when I got back to my empty room I suppose I must have cried
Thousands are sailing again across the ocean where a hand of opportunity draws tickets in a lottery
Postcards we're mailing of sky blue skies and oceans from rooms the daylite never sees where lights don't glow on Christmas trees and we danced"
Thousands Are Sailing The Pogues

So apologies for no blog I wasn't off painting the town green in honour of St Paddy's Day,nor did I gorge myself on Bacon & Cabbage after my run,the sad truth was my two co workers decided yesterday was the ideal day for them to both call out sick and muggins here got lumbered w/ the workload off three people on the loading dock......needless to say I got well and truly mullered and after a 10 hour work day I still had a 9 miler on tap,which it must be said was much needed to relieve my stress level,I was well and truly "cream crackered"...knackered so I naffed off to bed by 8.15pm,not one of my more memorable St Paddy's Days in recent years......but in keeping w/ the sign of my fridge door that I xeroxed from a magazine years ago"I have Irish Alzheimers,I forget everything except the grudge" I plan to take next years St Paddy's Day off which is a I may as well take the Friday off as well.............we'll see how those two like it then....Gobshites!!!

Anywho as I had planned to write yesterday,being Irish is a huge part of who I am,ok I wasn't born in "the ould country"but unlike alot of these wannabe Irish not only have I actually been there....I can also find it on a map for christsakes!!!!
Named after my father,my grandfather and the man himself I won't be mistaken for an Italian anytime soon...........Kevin Francis Patrick Forde........
One of my earliest childhood memories is of my christening photograph hanging on the living room wall,the Irish Tricolour on one side,England's Union Jack on the other,from a very young age Kevin and Eileen taught me to respect the land of my birth but also remember the land of my ancestry,it was one of the many great life lessons they installed in me during my life.
Asides from a name that couldn't be anymore Irish if it tried there could be no mistaking where my loyalties lie these days,my shamrock bandanna and shamrock running socks that I always wear for my races,my love and devotion of Ronnie Delaney,Marcus o Sullivan and the Governor Eamonn Coghlan despite growing up in England as a middle distance runner in the era of Coe,Ovett and Cram.
The dozens of Ireland Soccer,Rugby and Cricket jerseys hanging up in my closet,I know we'll never win a World Cup or European Championship but this doesn't diminish my love of"The Boys In Green",we're a proud nation,a nation that's taken all that's been thrown at us,tipped our heads back and laughed and said"is that the best you've got?"

I realize it's now March 18th and perhaps"unfashionable"in some quarters to be displaying a sense of Irishness................unlike the masses who've now moved onto the"next thing"I'm still Irish,like the rest of my countrymen and women,we're Irish 365 days a year....and in the case of a leap year 366.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Who's Ready For Pale,Paddy And Proud?

"I don't know where love has gone and in this troubled land desperation keeps us strong
Friday's child is full of soul w/ nothing left to lose there's everything to go
And I know what they're saying it's a terrible beauty we made and we made our love on wasteland and through the barricades
And I know what they're saying as our hearts go to our graves and we made our love on wasteland and through the barricades"
Through The Barricades Spandau Ballet

This was it,my final track workout b4 Boston and Indoor Nationals since Friday is a race,and since Friday is a race tonite had to be a 3x1,000m not my usual 5x1,000m
Yowzer!I couldn't believe how nice it was out there this evening,if I'd know it was going to be this nice I'd have busted out the tshirt and shorts and shades,note to self,put them in my bag for Thursday's easy 4 miler as it's going to be 65 degrees again....not sure if the world is ready for my pale self but brace yourself cos it's have been warned!!

After my mile warm I was able to do my core strength stretches for the first time in weeks,it's hard to do them when the track is wet,covered in snow or rock salt,one plus of the weekend of rain,the snow and the rock salt are gone,here's to months of core strength stretches.
#1 1,000m 68-1.14-38-3.00.96.As usual,I didn't plan to go out that hard,clearly 3x1,000m is a one off,post Indoor Nationals it'll be back to 5x1,000m so why not go out hard and hang on for dear life,after all wasn't the point of upping my mileage to see how fast I could run?
#2 1,000m 1.13-1.13-35-3.01.01.Wow!going out hard in 3.00.96. was one thing,coming back off of 2 and a 1/2 minutes recovery and going 3.01.01. is pretty swift if I say so myself.
#3 1,000m 1.15-1.19-35-3.09.81.Not surprisingly slower than my opening two but I hung in there....let's be honest 3.09.81. doesn't exactly suck!!!

Mile cool down b4 being able to stretch out my achilles,another thing I haven't been able to since December,it's hard to sit and stretch in the freezing cold,there were nites in January when I'd get done at 5.50pm w/ Franklin Field closing at 6pm so...
It's spring,it's t shirt and shorts weather,I can do both sets of stretches b4 and after my repeats and tomorrow is St Paddy's is good!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Irish Eyes Not Smiling At More Feckin Rain

"We were halfway there when the rain came down of a day I ay I ay and she asked me up to her flat downtown of a fine soft day I ay
And I ask you friend,what's a fella to do cause her hair is black and her eyes are blue so I took her hand and I gave her a twirl and I lost my heart to a Galway Girl"
Galway Girl-Steve Earle.
Sweet jaysus,when the choice of foot wear is flats or flippers you know it's damp.....seriously I thought I'd have to develop feckin' gills the way it's been raining since Friday!!!
When the AOL Weather says there's an 80% chance of rain all day you know even the luck of the Irish in the lead up to St Patrick's Day isn't probably gonna help you get a run in and so it turned out.
After a long dry spell during the early afternoon I got myself mentally ready to hit Franklin Field for 5x1,000m repeats....however at 3.40pm as I grabbed my running clothes out of my bag on the way to get changed I saw the rain cascading much for that I thought.....upon leaving work at 3.50pm the rain had eased off...should I go back and grab my bag and head to Franklin Field???
Imagine my horror when the el emerged from underground at 40th St{7 blocks from Franklin Field} and no rain......bollocks!!!!
Not only had I pushed back my track workout till tomorrow but I'd left my bag w/ my running gear at now I couldn't even do an easy run at 6,8,or 9 miles.....gobshite!!

However as I sit here now listening to cars driving through the surface rain I can see that oh so feckin annoying on again/off again rain....make yer feckin mind up will ye,rain or don't rain but please stop pissballin around{sidebar I'm watching Liverpool batter Portsmouth 4.1 in the Premiership it's.....raining goals.....Liverpool are raining on Pompey's parade and since Pompey are going down to the Championship I guess that's the end of their Premiership...reign.....see what happens when I can't run!!!}
Glass half full today's DNS may actually work in my favour,obviously Friday's 2 miler is the focal point of my week so w/ a bit of rearranging of the old schedule and a look at the 7 day forecast being oh so favourable I could do the following:
Tuesday 3x1,000m a bit of speed work but at a reduced rate than the 5x1,000m I had planned for today,Wednesday easy 9 miler,Thursday easy 4 miler,Friday 2 mile race,Saturday 9 miler,Sunday 10 miler....40 mile week.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

50 Not Out

As I've said more than once,I am the poster child for all things Plan B so when yesterday got rained out I knew that today in all likelihood would be a 10 miler,thus giving me a 50 mile week period but also my first 50 mile week since probably 05,06 saw me beginning to back off of road races and while I did run 3 1/2 marathons I doubt I got close to 50 miles a week,so you'd probably have to go back to October of 05 as I prepped for the Athens Marathon for a 50 mile week in training.
Conditions fluctuated all morning,I woke up at 9am{technically 8am but the clocks have gone forward here.....YEA I'll willingly lose an hour of sleep for 7 months of extra daylite} it was overcast but forward to 10.30am and the skies opened and the rain was coming down.
By 12pm it had eased off and while I could wait it out a little longer if need be I said wtf and had at it,after all isn't that what baseball hats were created for....keeping the rain off your head??!!

Off in the distance I could see the grey sky getting lighter and in fact by the time I reached the turn around the sky was much lighter and the rain had stopped,all it needed now was the sun to come out and we'd possibly have a rainbow.
W/ the rain easing off now the second half of the run proved to be easier,although I did ditch my glasses since I couldn't really see much through them w/ all the rain.
So,another 6 day training week and another big mileage week in the books,from here on in I'll begin to taper for Boston.....which arguably has echoes of my marathon days but these days I'm ALL about the track trust me.

50 miles is a lot of mileage for me, at least but I feel I came through it w/ flyin' colours,in two weeks time as indoor season ends and I begin to transition to outdoor I'm going to be looking at all of April being devoted to 5,000m track meets and I'll probably need 50 mile weeks,somehow I'm going to have to work at least two repeats a week in,maybe one in a race week so 10 milers may well become the norm,but that as they say is for another time.
W/ this week in the books I can now begin to focus on the upcoming week,a reduction in mileage{a projected 40 miles on tap}but more importantly a final tune up race b4 Boston and Indoor Nationals and another shot at a club record this time over 2 Miles.....oh and did I mention it's Irish Week as the holiest of holy days St Patrick's Day is Wednesday....Begorah indeed!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Suck It Or Suck It Up

Given the way my day was going I could've been forgiven for thinking a run was not on the cards,against a back drop of steady rain throughout the day I also had to contend w/ getting beaned on the head by an industrial size roll of saran wrap which then landed squarely and unfairly on my knee cap{7am is never too early to let rip w/ a full blooded torrent of celtic black hearted paganism' me!}
At lunch time I chipped a tooth and nearly choked on my oatmeal and w/ the rain still coming down it wasn't looking like a run to elevate any of my woes was going to happen.
At least I was able to watch the morning session of the World Indoor C'ships online,alas Direct TV doesn't carry Universal Sports so actually watching them on tv this weekend isn't going to happen which kinds sucks,it's a World Championship and it's not on regular tv,I'm grateful to universal for being able to cop it online at work,not sure it'll be possible at home over the weekend due to having slow arse dial up....heyho!
Anywho big ups to David Gillick for reaching the 400m semis,if he could medal that'd be awesome
Back to my day sucking Nick Symonds got DQed in the opening round of the 800m for a lane violation,he was a legit medal contender in Sunday's final in my opinion.

On the walk home from the el stop the rain had stopped/eased off,I didn't need to think twice,I got home by 4.25pm and was changed and out to run by 4.35pm,I was going to have my 5th 8 miler and if the weather goes tits up over the weekend I at least have another 40 mile week in the books.
Amazingly after yesterday's "grind it out" 8 miler I glided through today's run,maybe it was the two hour power nap after yesterday's run that helped,{it helped stay up till 11pm to catch back to back episodes of "Archer" on FX possibly the funniest show on tv right now}but whatever it was I felt comfortable out there today.
That said after the turn around I was fighting a head wind and a steadier down fall of rain,it's been a while since I've had to battle the elements and again it's a testimony to me on how far I've come over the last 9 weeks that I was able to deal w/ it.

The 64 billion dollar question is what will the weather do tomorrow? if it's pissing down forget it,if it only rains like it did during my run this evening I'll make the trip to Lower Merion for my 5x1,000m.
Expanding the "Blueprint" if I can't run tomorrow then Sunday I may go for a 10 miler to give me 50 miles for the week,the whole point of this week was to do my 5x1,000m after my 5x8 miles,if I have to take a rest day in between then why bother,I'd rather go for the half century for the week and then nail a 5x1,000m on Monday giving me my hard track workout 4 days b4 my crack at the 2 mile club record next Friday at The Armory.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Eight Is Enough

8 miler #4 in the books under grey skies this evening.
Sooner or later I knew fatigue was likely to set in,I had a 9 miler on Sunday b4 launching into a week of 8 milers and it came as no great surprise that I was feeling the effects this evening.
That said that was part of the plan,we can all be "world beaters" when everything is going well and "tickety boo" it's how we react to a little adversity,in my case fatigue.
The past two afternoons I've had a hard time keeping my eyes open in my office,I knew my late nite Saturday{2.20am}and up by 10.30am b4 staying up till 12am to watch The Oscars would probably catch up w/ me sooner or later,the"cheque was very much in the mail" this afternoon.

Having said all that I did what I had to do this afternoon,there was never a question of bagging the run,I had said all week this 45 mile week would be about running on tired legs today proved to be one of those days and I was able to dig deep,grit my teeth and grind it out,in fact half way through the inbound 4 miles I felt I was picking up the pace,over the past month as I've upped my mileage I've gotten stronger,that said upon returning home I lay down for a nap that lasted almost two hours,very unlike me,but clearly I was feeling beat.

The odds on me running tomorrow look good,Saturday on the other hand...I may well rue making it 8 milers not 9 milers,the plan was 5x8 milers b4 5x1,000m 45 miles for the week,if I get rained out Saturday I do have the option of Sunday,this however would throw off next weeks rotation but there I go again worrying about next weeks schedule when this weeks has some unfinished business,dialing it back a notch let me get through tomorrow first b4 tackling the weightier issues of this week and or next week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pretending To See The Future

To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift" Steve Prefontaine

Another 8 miler in the books this evening as I continue my step up in mileage.
I have one eye on the 5 day forecast as rain seems to be the word du jour from Friday onwards,we'll just have to play that by ear and hope for the best and if need be make adjustments to my schedule.
In running as in life it's seldom wise to look too far beyond the end of your nose,that said I'm one of those type of people who like to have an idea of what lies ahead,my main focus is on next Fridays 2 mile race at The Armory and hope that I can take the club record of 10.5.8.
After that it's Boston and Indoor Nationals the following weekend,and while I'm fully focused and committed on my three,possibly four races there trust me when I say following my final race on the Sunday be it the 800m or the 4x400m relay I'll be ready to transition to outdoor track...and how!

Normally there's a few down weeks b4 outdoor meets surface but I've already lined up three meets the first three weekends after Indoor Nationals.
I said leading up to last Saturday's 3,000m that providing things went well I'd probably consider moving up to 5,000m this outdoor season so for my first three races in April I'm looking at college meets over 5,000m w/ the hope that not only can I lower my 2005 pr of 17.03 but also the club record of 16.29.7,off of a 9.13.6 3,000m pr I have to believe I'm capable of getting down to 15 minutes and providing I can do that them maybe just maybe I can convince the powers that be at Distance Nite At Penn Relays that I'm worthy of a place in the Olympic Development 5, frickin' awesome would that be?

First things first I have to lower my times so on April 3rd I'm looking to race at either Franklin Field or Stockton{I'm leaning towards Franklin Field as it's closer to home and my home track}
on April 10th there are meets at Delaware and Ichan Stadium{leaning towards Ichan}and then April 17th University Of Delaware,fingers crossed I can get into a meet each weekend and lower my 5,000m time,how boss would it be to run the Olympic Development 5,000m under the lights at Distance Night at the Penn Relays?

Looking further ahead and the reason for the Steve Prefontaine quote,I said once I set my sights on the club records for 3,000m,2 Miles and 5,000m I may have to consider the 10,000m,as of yet there is no club record,mainly because most track meets don't offer the 10,000m.
My best bet would be Outdoor Nationals which next year will be in Illinois,they'll be in June to accommodate Worlds in early July in Sacramento so I could go to Nationals in Illinois to run the 10,000m.......or I could cross off the second to last of my running to list stand outs...go to Haywards Field Oregon and run the 10,000m at the Haywards Fields Masters Classic in June,if I'm gonna run at Haywards Fields it's gotta be a distance race and since Indoor Nationals is in New Mexico next March chances are I'm not going so the money I save then could pay for Haywards,but that's all in the future,closer to home it's another 8 miler out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway tomorrow,granted not as glamorous as a 10,000m at famed Haywards Field but necessary if I'm gonna get there

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

No Jacket Required

Another 8 miler,another glorious afternoon to run it in,so glorious in fact I ditched my jacket,judging by how sweat soaked my dri fit shirt was at the end of the run it was the right choice.
If I was guilty of downshifting a gear yesterday due to tenderness in my legs today I kicked it up a notch,I could feel on the outbound 4 miles I was cruising at a decent speed and after the turn around I was able to maintain that speed,and also still have some juice at the finish.

I've gotten a lot of props from my team mates for Saturday's pr/club record,several emails and a phone call,it's a far cry from last summer when I got injured and felt like nobody wanted to know me.
Granted I'm in much better head space now than last June,I'm healthy and injury free and running well but I want to go on record and say how much I love my team mates,to me we are every bit what a team should be,we're there for each other,we like hanging out together and we're supportive of one another,I'm sure that's the way NY Flyers,CPTC,Shore AC feel but it's a unique feeling.
Bob Mc and Nick two of my fellow World Record 4x800m team mates were very encouraging w/ their emails telling me it was good to see me back to my old self,those guys were there at the high point when we broke the World Record on Dec 27th and the low point my god awful Hartshorne Masters Mile on Jan 23rd,I'm looking forward to seeing them and the rest of the Greater Philly Track Club posse in Boston,hanging out at the track,watching each other run maybe having dinner together and in some cases racing against each other and w/ each other in a relay,the club's come a long way since my first Indoor Nationals in Boston 07 when the entire team was Ray and I.

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Shoes

"Hey I put some new shoes on and suddenly everything is right,I said,hey I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling it's so inviting
Oh short on money but long on time slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,and I'm running late and I don't need an excuse cause I 'm wearing my brand new shoes"
New Shoes Paolo Nutini

As you may've gathered I broke in new running shoes today,after racking up 440 miles on my last pair of shoes it was time to get a new pair and after 9 years of being an Asics man I switched to Under Armour.
Why the change? well after my injury last year Asics didn't feel they wanted to continue to endorse me so I switched to Under Armour................ok so that's bollocks!!!,the truth is w/ increased milege from here on in I wanted a slightly lighter pair of shoes my old Asics were 12oz where as the Under Armour Spectre were 11 oz....and the fact a $90 pair of shoes were going for $50 also swayed me,who knows if I stick w/ Under Armour or return to Asics but for the next few months it'll be Under Armour.

Armed w/ my new shoes I hit the out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway for my first of five 8 milers hopefully between today and Friday,I say hopefully because there's talk of rain on Friday but we'll cross,burn,jump,paint that bridge nearer the time,as for today it was clear blue skies and temps in the upper 50s this afternoon.
I was tempted to ditch my jacket this evening but kept it on albeit w/ my sleeves rolled up,I was able to ditch my tights for the first time this year,hard to believe it's early March...clearly mother nature has worked on her pr after a brutal Febuary!!!

Took things easy this evening,not sure if my legs were feeling a tad tender from Saturdays race{sidebar kudos to Chuck for posting my 3,000m on the club records section of the clubs website and for Dave for giving my record a write up, check it out if you like} and or I was feeling the effect of a 40 mile week but as the week goes on I'll look to up the tempo,the whole point of this week is to get 5 x8 milers in Monday through Friday b4 hitting Lower Merion High School Saturday for 5x1,000m repeats.
Well that's it for now,I'm off to enjoy my guiltiest of guilty don't go there! "Gossip Girl"returns at 9pm,what can I say Chuck Bass is my hero!!!
You Know You Love Me

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Empire State Of Mind

"New York,concrete jungle where dreams are made of there's nothin'you can't do now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new,big lights will inspire you let's hear it for New York,New York,New York"
Empire State of Mind-Jay Z and Alicia Keys

Ah shit!anytime I'm quoting Jay Z you know I did the business up in NYC!!!
Let me back track first,this morning inspite of not getting home till 1.30am and not hitting the zzzzs till 2.20am I was up by 10am,and out on the road by 11.20am to do my 9 miler to round out my weekly mileage at 40 for the week.
Prior to my run I did my online registration for Masters Indoor Nationals,I'd deflected questions as to what events I'd compete in in Boston till after my 3,000m yesterday,now that I know I've got the chops for the 3k it's the 3,000m,mile and 800m.
And so to yesterday............

It was a long day for just over 9 mins worth of work but I wouldn't trade it,out by 10.45am and over to 30th St train station,knowing a long day was on tap I grabbed lunch b4 taking the R7 to Trenton at 11.49am and then catching the NJ Transit train to Penn Station at 12.59pm and arriving in New York by 2.35pm.
The only minor glitch of the day was the C train not running,no worries hopped the E to 42nd St b4 switching to the A train and arriving at The Armory by 3.15pm,however it was closer to 7pm b4 I ran.
Killing time between 3.15pm and 7pm was no problem,although I was only one of three Greater Philadelphia athletes here I knew several of the Central Park athletes and Shore AC in attendance, a perk of being no stranger to running in New York.
Given how glorious the weather was outside I did my mile warm up outside running around the block,passing Coogan' I didn't stop in for a "swift half " or a pint of Guinness!! but I did think that maybe I could've double dipped this weekend,Mac C'ships Saturday and Coogan's 5K Sunday,maybe next year.
Clearly I wasn't rushing back to Philly for Sunday's Mid Atlantic C'ships at Glen Mills, I despise Glen Mills but I was willing to make myself available for a 4x4 or 4x8 relay....however due to time constraints there were no!!! how can you have a Championship meet w/out relays??? and they wonder why I boycott the Mid Atlantic C'ships,put it at a decent venue and maybe I'll show up to compete.

It was decided to combine the masters,open and women's 3,000m into 1 race,there were only 2 women to begin w/ and frankly 18 athletes on the track for a 15 lap race isn't a big deal,I was seeded 10th and lined up on the second line.
For once my reaction to the gun was good but my one mistake was when we broke at the beginning of the back straight,being lined up in lane 4 I went around the four athletes from the line up ahead of me,that second I lost going wide into lane 5 instead of inside them into lanes 2 or 3 cost me from getting onto the end of the lead pack which was already strung out,effectively I was in no mans land too far off of 7th but clear of 9th and the rest of the field.
Why there was no clock at the start/finish line is beyond me,for a championship meet I expect a running clock,I'm sure all athletes competing over 400m and up would echo that sentiment.
I clocked 36 seconds for my opening lap,BDA...balls dead accurate,I then clocked 1.11 at 400m,after that I can't remember my splits.

I forget on which lap I lapped my first runner but I do want to give props to the lead female runner, coming up the home straight she heard me coming and moved out to lane 2 to allow me to pass her,kudos for knowing your track etiquette young lady.
I wasn't immune to being lapped, the leader Chris Pannone passed me w/ 5 laps to go on route to a 8.27 winning time.
It almost threw me off for a split second,Ian Brooks announced there were 4 laps to go but he was referring to Chris but for a split second I though I had 4 laps to go,luckily I quickly realized I had 5 laps left.
The draw back of no clock meant I was running blind the last couple of laps,once Chris crossed the finish line the running clock on the scoreboard stopped so I had no idea what my actual time was.

Going through the bell lap Chris and Atilla had already finished,coming off the top turn I saw two runners ahead of me whom I already lapped,since I was going to have to pass them out in lane 2 I dropped the hammer for the final 150m,but crossing the finish line I didn't know my time.
W/ that strong finish two things spring to mind,the increase to 40 miles a week{Thank You Francis and John for drilling it into me that I needed to up my mileage} hasn't blunted my speed as I've gotten stronger but also it harps back to getting detached from the chase pack early on,who knows the outcome of my race if I'd gotten up w/ them,lessons learned for next time,there's nearly always a next time.

I did my 3 loop/mile cool down outside of The Armory b4 returning to get changed and bounce ideas off of Atilla who finished 2nd,he's a 3,000m/5,000m guy who gave me some pointers for my training,not radically different from what I'm doing now but they will make a difference.
Finally the moment of truth,the results were ready,8th place in 9.13.66.
I'd slashed 25 seconds off my pr of 9.38.35 and 12 seconds off the club record of 9.25.4 and answered questions about moving up to 3,000m and more than likely 5,000m outdoors.
Upping my mileage to 40 miles a week has worked though I may need to add more but for now I was going to enjoy the moment b4 getting my head around my next race 2 Miles here at The Armory{where else??} and the the 3,000m at Indoor Nationals.
I turned down an invite to Coogan's albeit reluctantly as I knew I was looking at a long enough nite commuting back to Philly.

Out of The Armory by 8pm I was at Penn Station in time to catch the 9.01pm NJ Transit train to Philly to catch the 11pm R7 back to 30th St and potentially be home by 12.30am,however fate intervened.
Sitting on the platform at Trenton I got talking to Melinda a Villanova senior{I know what are the odds right??}who was arriving back from Antigua via Newark International airport,like I said we got chatting as it helped pass the time but when Melinda mentioned trying to be back to 30th St by 11.49pm to catch the R5 to the Main Line and Villanova I knew that chances were we'd arrive just after the R5 had left....unless it was running late....what the frick it's always running late when I take it to Ardmore to work out at Lower Merion.
Sure enough we got back to 30th St at 11.52pm and the R5 was on time and already gone,in fact I think it passed us as we were approaching 30th St.
I wouldn't have felt right leaving a woman by herself for almost an hour at 30th St so I offered to sit w/ her till the 12.49am R5 came in.
Sure I'd miss the final el train of the night and have to take my chances w/ the trolley and or nite owl bus but after a day when so many of my prayers were answered I felt the need to give something back so I sat w/ Melinda till the 12.49am R5 showed up,I wished Melinda all the best w/ her final semester at Nova and said I'd be thinking of her come Graduation in May,Melinda wished me good luck w/ my running.
At a time when I can't buy a date to save my life it was nice to know that fate still exists and if I believe in it enough who knows Ms Right could still be out there.
Home by 1.30am,wrote a blog blurb to report my pr b4 emailing Chuck to let him know the club website needs to be updated w/ the new 3,000m club record.

Eye eye!Spurs had drawn 0.0 at Fulham in the FA Cup 1/4 finals at Fulham so we get another crack at them and a place in the semi finals at White Hart Lane on March 24th and even got to cop the highlites at 2am on Fox Soccer Report b4 calling it a nite thus bringing down the curtain on another memorable New York race,no wonder it ranks as my second home.

Ancient Irish Track History Rewritten

8th overall,9.13.66
25 seconds off my pr
12 seconds off the club record
As of now 22 hours b4 the deadline for Indoor Nationals the second fastest 3,000m in the 45-49 age group.
Full report to follow,off to bed now
9 mile run and online registration for Indoor Nationals later on today

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Rewriting Ancient Irish Track History

Here's my 3,000m resume
9.1.05 -10.26.5 Indoor
2.26.05-10.07.0 Indoor

12 races over 29 years....hardly prolific but in fairness 3,000m has always been one of those distances untill now.
For the first time ever I feel I've mentally and physically prepared for the distance,the proof of that will be revealed when the gun goes off this afternoon.
Priority #1 will be to lower my pr,9.38.3,if I'm to have any shot at a medal in Boston in three weeks time at Nationals I need to be faster than I am right now.....
Priority#2 lower the club record from 9.25.4.something in the 9.20 realm should earn me a medal ergo the need to run as hard a race as humanly possible this afternoon.

There have been a few false starts this season,#1 of the Thursday nite meets was meant to be a 2 miler but I couldn't secure a ride home,#2 the 3,000m was 2 days b4 the Hartshorne Masters Mile,#3 my ride had to renig due to the second snow storm and I also blew off the New Jersey C'ships 3 days later so now here we are the Mac C'ships/Eastern Regional Open C'ships,in recent weeks my weekly milage has gone up from the 800-1,500m 30 miles a week to 40 and 36 miles,after today I'll be at 31 miles for the week w/ a 9 miler on tap tomorrow,I feel I've laid the ground work,now to reap what I've sowed

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Let The {Fun And} Games Begin

Easy 9 miler this evening as I wrapped up my 9th consecutive day of training,something I couldn't have imagined 4 to 6 weeks ago,another sign I'm back to where I should be,physically and mentally.
I'm looking forward to a rest day tomorrow so I can be fresh and race ready for Saturday,I'm still on tap for another 40 mile week.
I had to register online for the Eastern Regional Open C'ships aka the Mac C'ships,not sure how that changed in the last week and a half or so but it's done now,the deadline for entries is tomorrow at 11am,as of now there are 11 of us in the open 3,000m w/ a range from 8.31 to 11.22,I only saw 2 or 3 other age group entrants,I'll probably be the old man of the field but that's ok, a few weeks back my good friend Francis Burdett ran a 8.58 3,000m at Harvard in an open meet,he finished 9th but was the first masters runner,hopefully that's a good omen for me,clearly it worked for Francis as he won Gold today at the World Indoor Masters M,45,another of my friends and in the case of Nick in the M40 800 team mate won Gold yesterday,congrats to them.
Yes I wanted to be there originally but between the achilles injury last summer, and how slow my return to full training was not to mention the lack of funds to go to Kamloops there was no Indoor worlds for me this year,granted a disappointment but if my next three races at Eastern Regionals Open,Frontrunners and Indoor Nationals go to plan the disappointment of not going to Worlds will be considerably less.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Time Waits For No Man

I must be getting wiser in my old age,not only did I get my hard work out for the week in on Monday but I also cut back my workout today four days b4 my race.
Just like my aborted attempt to run 2 miles on Feb 11th 2 days b4 I opted for a tempo run,same mileage as my 6x600m workout but w/ less effort,mile warm up,2 mile tempo run alternating laps,steady,fast,mile cool down.

Making life easier on me this evening although more by accident than design was the fact I'd left my stop watch/watches at home,this was an over sight I hasten to add,last nite I was taking multitasking to a whole new level:eating dinner,writing my blog,sending emails,downloading the new 9.0 ipod software so I can sync my new 16GB ipod,and watch the Ireland Brazil game,surfice to say when I crashed out at 10am I'd overlooked putting my watches into my running bag,an oversight I didn't realize till 5.35am as I left for work,I wasn't going to miss my bus by high tailing it back for them,nor was I going to either switch the workout to tomorrow or blow it off,I'd just have to do the alternate laps the old fashioned way....count them off.

One thing that did go right today was the weather,the touted snow turning to rain never materialized and although the skies were overcast when I hit the track at 5pm it was still mild enough to keep my ski hat and gloves in my bag.
For what it's worth my 200m splits on laps 2,4,6 and 8 were:42/35,42/33,41/32,40/34,like I said it wasn't an exact science,who knows what they actually were but as long as I can deliver 36 second splits per lap on Saturday that's what really matters.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Get In,Get Out Of The Rain

For a few seconds on the way home it looked like lightning would strike twice w/in a week and I'd get rained out on a Tuesday,however it wasn't to be and I was changed and out the door by 4.50pm to conduct my 9 miler,complete w/ baseball cap on me bonce just in case it did rain.
There were intermittent spots of rain on the way out and back but nothing that would be of major concern and certainly nothing that would've made canceling the run an option.

It's amazing to me how easily I've made the transition to 8 and 9 milers in recent weeks,I've come a long way from the guy who huffed his way through his first 6 miler in eight months back on Jan 8th.
I added an extra wrinkle to tonite's run,during my week of back and forth 8 milers along CCP I used the hill opposite Catherine St each time I passed it to give me 4 up hills and four down hills,I thought about adding it over the weekend but opted against it,tonite and from now on on my way out and on my way back I'll utilize it.

Clearly tomorrow's forecast is a concern,snow turning to rain,I will pack my bag tonite w/ every intention of hitting Franklin Field on the way home for my tempo run,but we'll have to play it by ear and see what conditions are like,having had to squeeze all of Febuary's training into 5 day training weeks I'd like to start as I mean to go on in March and get back to the more traditional six days a week

Monday, March 1, 2010

In Circles

''Where were you when the stars went out?the sun went down everyone stayed in.
Where were you when they burnt the flag?the shit hit the fan everyone said"man"
I revolve around the sun,I'm high on life I'm overcome,nothing else matters everything counts
In the here and the now in these moments as we speak as I live and I breathe in circles"
In Circles-Mike Peters

Happy St David's Day to any Welsh readers out there....not that I think for one second the likes of Charlotte Church or Catherine Zeta Jones read my blog....but Charlotte if you're reading me......
The Mike Peters lyrics is part tip o the hat to St David's Day but also a play on the fact tonite was my first track repeat since Feb 4th,also a 5x1,000m.
Conditions were great,46 degrees and sunny,I ditched the ski hat and gloves but continued to wear a base layer under my warm ups,it may be another month b4 I ditch the warm ups but one advantage I had tonite was sunset wasn't till 5.52pm,from here on in till late October I should be finishing my workouts in daylite.

Last time out I went:3.26.18,-3.18.06,-3.15.82,-3.13.81,-3.15.85.I was concerned that a 25 day absence from repeats may have an effect tonite.....I needn't have worried!
#1,1000m 1.13-1.19-40-3.12.83.The last thing I needed was a 73 second opening lap but w/ my typical deft precision I went out like the clappers over the opening 400m and had to throw the brakes on for the closing 600m...good to see my ability to misjudge my opening pace is still there after over three weeks off...
#2,1000m 1.16-1.19-39-3.14.11.A little more respectable and responsible this time out,going into this repeat this evening I felt 3.15 was a good average per 1,000m to shoot for and this was close to it.
#3,1,000m 1.17-1.19-37-3.13.18.Coming off the final turn I felt I picked it up to notch another 3.13. split just like#4 last time out,question was when would that opening lap of 73 seconds come back to bite me in the arse?
#4,1000m 1.18-1.20-37-3.15.94.I knew I had to find the right pace off the bat,too slow and dig a hole for myself,too brisk and deplete the reserves b4 the 5th and final repeat,shame about the 1.20 creeping in,it says a lot when I bemoan a 1.20 split in my 1000s
#5,1000m 1.19-1.19-34-3.12.80.BOYAH!! Anytime you close faster than you opened is great but considering that my middle splits weren't too shabby either this was a great repeat period much less off a 25 day layoff....the 115 miles in between haven't hindered that's for sure.

Given I'm racing Saturday it was omni important to get my one and only repeat in today or tomorrow to allow ample recovery time,getting it in today gives me a great platform to build on for the rest of the week,the mileage route is working for me,a few good repeats per week should set me up nicely I think.