Saturday, July 31, 2010

Keeping The Tradition Going

Since my debut at Outdoor Nationals in Charlotte 06 the 4x800m has become almost a rite of passage if you like
In 06 it proved to be my first ever medal at Nationals and was also my first Gold,a year later in Orono I came into Nationals w/ 97 career medals,following my gold at 800m and silver in the 1,500m we won the 4x800m to give me medal #100,a year later in Spokane we{Greater Philadelphia Track Club} didn't have enough team members for a 4x800m so I went non club/ad hoc and thanks to Rob Van Cleve,Francis Burdett and Scott Pesch another gold at 4x800m so you can see why I was keen to run the 4x800m again this year.

Up until 2 days b4 Sacramento it looked like GPTC would have 2 4x800m teams,myself,Nick,Joe and Bob, in the M40 and Chuck,Sean,Mark and Joel in the M50 however Bob had only planned to run the 3,000m s/c on Friday and scheduled his flight home on Saturday which in turn meant Joe opted out as he was only prepared to travel to Sacramento to help out w/ the 4x800m.
I began to think about an ad hoc relay but clearly my 5,000m and 800m races needed my full focus,w/ them out of the way I had 3 hours to find three other M40 runners to form a non club 4x800m b4 the deadline for entries closed.
Team mate Nick Berra was an obvious choice but I wasn't sure if Nick wanted to run a relay,unlike me he had run a prelim in the 800m 2 days ago and still had a 1,500m so I would've understood if he said thanks but no thanks but he said he was down w/ it and frankly when you go recruiting for a 4x800m and you tell them Nick is going to anchor it's not hard to get people on board!!
Francis Burdett who had ran ad hoc w/ me in Spokane said yes and Tom Fitzpatrick who had ran on the b team at The Armory in December when Scott,Bob Mc,myself and Nick set the world record also said yes,done deal.

Given there were only 4 non club 4x800m teams maybe they could have ran club and non club together,I forget how many club teams lined up,w/ no disrespect meant to the other non club 4x800 it might've been a more competitive race for us,at M40 we were the youngest team and after the first lap of the lead off leg{Francis} it was over as a contest,but after 4 days of racing you never know what might happen but Tom who was the freshest of the four of us having only ran the 1,500m handed off to me.
I ran a 2.07 leg,{I must find out from Armondo what the other splits were},I handed off to Nick who promptly brought us home in first and gave me my 4th Outdoor Nationals 4x800m Gold and brought the curtain down on my Sacramento 10 Nationals.

I'm not sure I'll make it to Albuquerque for Indoor Nationals in March so it could be Berea Ohio next July for Outdoor Nationals when I next meet up w/ the clans again,I'm looking forward to it already.

Hay Ho,Silver

One final crack at an individual gold this year at Nationals.
I knew ahead of time Mike Blackmore wasn't going to run but there was still the three pronged threat of Francis Burdett,Pete Magill and Jeff Mann to deal w/,shades of the 5,000m all over again,at least w/ the 1,500m I have more race experience under my belt than the 5,000m.
Much has been made of the heat in Sacramento,the 5,000m went off at 10.45am,the 800m went off at 1.45pm and now the 1,500m was going off at 9.06am,others had it far worse than me that's for sure.

From the gun I think it was Jeff who hit the front,Tom Fitzpatrick tucked in behind him and Francis and Pete shadowed them w/ me in 5th always w/in a stride or two of the leaders.
Much like the 5,000m I was oblivious to the clock or the 400m splits but when the time keeper called out 71 at 400m Francis opted to inject some pace into the race and I moved by Pete to take 4th b4 passing Tom at 700m.
I thought I saw 2.02 at 700m but I could be wrong,ditto for 3.06 at 1,100m in some respects time was immaterial you only get one crack a year at a National title per distance,two if you run indoors and while a fast time moves you up the rankings in fairness a one off race is often the better forum for time at Nationals it's about making it to the podium{what was up w/ the lack of podium in Sacramento? don't get me wrong finishing in the top three and earning your medal is kind of what you work for but there's something special about an award ceremony and taking your place on the podium over just picking up your medal from the awards table}

Down the back straight w/ 250m to go Jeff struck for home,I gave chase in the hope I could catch him but I didn't have that explosive burst of speed that I so often use in my mile and 1,000m repeats.
Carl Lewis once said"I just wanted to know I left it all out there on the track" and for the weekend I know I can say that,I chased Jeff up the home straight oblivious to the fact Pete Magill was closing in on me as Jeff took gold in 4.13.9. I took silver in 4.14.4 and Pete took bronze in 4.15.1.

Am I disappointed I don't have an individual gold to my credit? yes but I can hardly complain about 3 medals in three races in 4 days period to go w/ the 3 medals in 3 races in 3 days from Boston at Indoor Nationals,after my injury last summer I couldn't have dreamt a season like the one I'm having{I'm not done yet,Track Pentathlon,5th Avenue Mile and Masters 5k Road Race still to come}

I also said I'd let my running do the talking after the fall out from Penn Relays and I feel I've done that,I stand by the comments I made in April and rather than take this as an opportunity to answer my critic let's just leave it at actions speaking louder than words.
The final roll call for M45 at Sacramento over 800m,1,500m and 5,000m reads as follows:
Mike Blackmore Gold 5,000m Gold 800m
Jeff Mann Gold 1,500m Bronze 800m
Pete Magill Silver 5,000m Bronze 1,500m
Awesome Possum Silver 800m Silver 1,500m Bronze 5,000m.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Deja Vu All Over Again

The fact I was lining up for the 800m final was remarkable in it's self,following December's World Reecord in the 4x800m I'd steered clear of the 800m{not because my opening lap of 26 seconds had mentally scared me I hasten to add!!!}I always said this season was time to step outside of my comfort zone so I moved up to 3,000m indoors w/ a view to moving up to 5,000m outdoors w/ no intention of racing 800m at Nationals..............and then on May 29th I ran 5x1,000m repeats in 3.02.9. 3.05.5. 3.05.3. 3.09.7. 3.05.3. and started to believe I still had wheels for the 800m and on June 14th went:3.02.0. 3.03.5. 3.01.3. 3.02.4. 2.57.8.,I hastily rescheduled my final pre Nationals race from a 3,000m to a 800m where I logged a 2.03.7. and entered the 800m hoping there wouldn't be prelims as they'd fall right after the 5,000m,a roll of the dice that paid off only 10 of us in the M45 800m and we were rolled to a final.....

Only 6 of the 10 runners declared,two notable scratches Pete Magill and Kevin Paulk so a 6 man final,I forget the exact lane assignments other than yours truly being in lane 1,my guess is that's a reward for the fastest seed time,frankly I'd like to see an Olympic/World Championships system in place where the fastest seed times/qualifiers get the middle lanes because what happens is in an 8 man race,7 runners are collapsing into lane 1 at the top of the back straight so unless you time it right you're not in front.

My reaction to the gun wasn't great I will confess,I've had better starts this season,but I've also had worse and by the time I made up the stagger as we broke at the top of the back straight I found myself at the rear of the field,not phased by this I made sure to move out into lane 2 to at least give myself a clear run....however the field was tightly bunched so much so that you could've thrown a blanket over the leader and covered the entire field,I was almost out in lane 3 coming up the home straight,tactically I wasn't having a good day and w/ hindsight maybe not having ran many 800s since my indoor season last year was coming back to bite me.

62 seconds at the bell,I was looking for 61 so at least that was going to plan,the problem was I was still at the back of the field and having witnessed first hand the closing speed of Mike Blackmore in the 5,000m I knew if he made a move I may be too far back to counter it......IF I could have a do over in the 800m it would be to have stuck to my pre race plan of sitting till 200m to go then kicking,instead I made my move w/ 300m to going from 6th to 1st in meters and shaking up the race.
Coming off the final turn I tried to find another gear...I didn't have it,my knee lift wasn't where I wanted it to be and I almost felt like I was running in sand,I sensed someone coming up on my outside and tried everything I had to hold him off................

30 meters from the finish Mike Blackmore went by me I tried to get him but I just couldn't,who knows how different the outcome would've been if I'd waited till 200m to go to kick,a question that will be asked over and over this summer,fall and winter,as I said when Neil Fitzgerald caught me in almost the same spot in Spokane in 08 when I kicked at 300m to go"live by the sword,die by the sword"
How close was the finish? Mike Blackmore 2.02.1. me 2.02.4. Jeff Mann

Am I disappointed I just missed the gold?hell yeah,that said given my lack of 800m races,5 in the last 16 months including Decembers 4x800m World Record I think Silver in 2.02.4.{5th fastest time of all time} is impressive and w/ a little more attention to detail and a few more 800m races under my belt I may get it right next time a title is on the line,lest we forget it took the great Seb Coe 8 years to finally win a major 800m title 1986's European C'ships after close calls in Prague 78,Moscow 80,Athens 82,Los Angeles 84 over 800m

Thursday, July 29, 2010

20 Second PR

The 5,000m at Nationals was the one race I thought I might come away from empty handed,while my trio of 5ks on the track in April,May and June had seen me run 15.57.7. 15.56.5 15.59.6 which in recent years would have probably been good enough for gold this year I found myself behind the likes of Francis Burdett{15.23}Mike Blackmore{15.48} and Pete Magill who despite his NT {no time} was still a force to be reckoned w/ as I laboured to a 17.16.7 last October in Syracuse at the Masters 5k Road Race C'ships Pete was running a 14.59.1....... so you can see why I wasn't as confident of a medal over 12.5 laps as I was over 2 laps and 3.75 laps,however that's why you run the races isn't it?

For all the horror stories about"the heat and the California sun" I have to say when the gun went off at 10.45am it was the least of my worries.....taking on these three 5,000m giants was enough to concern myself w/ thank you very much.
Remembering what my former coach had said to me prior to Spokane in 08 about not allowing anyone in between me and my targets I made sure to move up into 4th after the opening 200m and tucked in behind Pete,Francis and Mike.
I was so focused on the back of Mike's Bowerman Track Club vest that I was oblivious to the clock at the start and subsequently missed my opening 400m split and ditto for the clock at the finish though I kept hearing splits of 74/75 each time the four of us came through a lap on the bottom turn.

I think I saw 4.56 at the first mile,to be honest my main concern was staying in touch w/ these guys,I don't think I ever allowed more than 10 meters between Mike and myself,if they went all Young MC on me and"Bust A Move" I had to be close enough to respond.
W/ 4 and a half laps to go the race broke open,Pete made his move past Francis and Mike followed him,I had two choices tuck in behind Francis and hope to out duel him for the bronze or give chase and hope if Francis launched an attack I could repel him.....rather than play safe,I went for broke and struck my claim for bronze.

I still wasn't paying attention to the clock which may've been to my advantage,w/1,100m to go I felt my first pang of discomfort but at that stage of a 5,000m that's about right,Pete and Mike were a decent distance ahead of me but to be honest at this stage I was more concerned about"holding onto bronze"I had no clue where Francis was but I also had to recall how he reeled me in over the 3,000m in Boston over the closing laps b4 my blistering final 200m took me from 4th to 2nd and allowed me to past him coming up the home straight.

I know I looked at the clock as I went through the bell but have no idea what it said all I could think about was running the final lap as quick as I could and hoping it'd be enough to win the bronze,going into the final turn I had the birds eye view of Mike making his move to overtake Pete for the gold and made a note of Mike's finishing speed,I'd heard Pete say prior to the gun going off he was going to scratch the 800m and suddenly Mike Blackmore had become a bigger threat in the 800m in 2 days time.
Mike won in 15.25.7. w/ Pete 2 seconds back in 15.27.4. and me in third.......oblivious to my time and the fact Francis was further back than I realized,bronze not bad for a rookie at 5,000m if I say so myself.....

When I saw my time I couldn't believe it,15.36.8.......................a 20 second pr,in my last 5,000m I bitched about the fact there were no clocks and no one calling splits as I ran 15.59.6. and began to think I'd plateaued at 15.50s and began to write off my plans of running the 5,000m next year at Worlds,todays time would've gotten me bronze last summer in Finland and suddenly the 5,000m next summer seems very much on,who knows how much more time I can shave off of the 5,000m??

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Four Words That Sum It All Up

B4 I go into depth and detail about my individual races last weekend at Nationals I wanted to share some overall thoughts on Sacramento 10.
I've often likened Outdoor Nationals to"track camp for grown ups"and the fact that thanks my achilles injury last year I was unable to go to Oshkosh made my 5 days in Sacramento that much more enjoyable.

Sadly the heat and lack of shade made watching other races this year difficult,one of the things I've enjoyed at Charlotte 06,Orono 07 and Spokane 08 was watching my friends Sid Howard,Frank Condon and Nolan Shaheed run their races,this year I sought the limited shade until I was due to report to the clerk tent 10 mins b4 each race,lets hope next year at Worlds there'll be more shade.

Aside from my personal highlights I want to give a shout out to my good friend and Celtic brother Sean Harbison for his break through performance in the 800m heat shaving seconds off his 800m pr to advance to the final and help Greater Philadelphia Track Club make up three of the eight finalists,no mean feat if I say so myself.

On the subject of my club,we only sent 8 athletes to Sacramento and yet we scored 77 points,kudos to Chuck,Sean,Mark,Joel,Nick,Bob and Cheryl for all their performances"the little engine that could"indeed.

Two final thoughts,thank you to all the fellow athletes who came up to me on Sunday and congratulated me on my races,it's flattering to know my fellow athletes appreciated my"leave it all out there on the track" approach to racing,in running as is in life w/ me it's all or nothing.
As is my won't upon my return home to Philly the first person I called was my mother Eileen,asides from being my #1 fan she's provided emotional and financial support for me the last few years as I've chased my dream of National titles and medals so when the final thing she said on Tuesday was"I'm proud of you" it made the seven months of hard work all worth while.

Beginning tomorrow a race by race account of Sacramento 10 kicking off w/ the 5,000m.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Who Says You Can't Come Home?

Greetings sports fans,I arrived home a few hours ago from my exploits in Sacramento this weekend,when more time allows I'll blog my races and also what it means to me to make the yearly journey to where ever Outdoor Nationals are held.
The cliff notes version of this years Nationals is:
5,000m 3rd 15.36.8
800m 2nd 2.02.4
1,500m 2nd 4.14.4
4x800m relay 1st 8.57.8.

For now I'm gonna unpack my bag,hang up my medals,catch up on the 2 Spurs games from Red Bull Arena while I was away and enjoy my first pizza and ice cream since the end of April.
Over the next day or two I'll blog my races,for as great a weekend as it was{and believe me it was a great weekend!}it's good to be home.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Going To California

"Made up my mind to make a new start,going to California w/ an aching in my heart
Somedoby told me there's a girl out there w/ love in her eyes and flowers in her hair
Took my chances on a big jet plane,never let them tell you that they're all the same
The sea was red and the sky was grey,wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today
The mountains and the canyons started to tremble and shake as the children of the sun began to awake"
Going To California-Led Zeppelin
I'm two plane rides away from my 4th Outdoor Nationals since my 06 debut in Charlotte North Carolina.
After missing out last year at Oshkosh due to my achilles injury I'm eager to return to what I consider the high point of not only the summer but also my entire season,four days of competition,friends,team mates and great memories and this year the added ingredient,Sacramento is the host to next years Worlds so this is somewhat of a recon mission,to get used to the track,the stadium,downtown Sacramento etc.
It isn't lost on me that this time last year I was counting down the days to my return to training following my achilles injury,Monday July 27th,I can still recall my tentative first steps on the track that day hoping I could get through my mile warm up,mile, and mile cool down w/out pain and now a year later I'm about to tackle the 5,000m,800m,1,500m and 4x800m in four days.
I'm not sure if I'll have internet access while I'm in Sacramento,if I can post daily updates like I did in Boston I will,if not when I return next Monday I'll write a short entry b4 going into more detail next Tuesday.
Here's to Nationals and here's to my first west coast trip ever....I hope both are ready for me!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Day Closer

The countdown to Nationals edges closer as months and weeks now become days.
An easy 6 miler this evening just to keep the engine ticking over,yes there was a temptation not to run,it was hot and humid and there's always that"what if"thought lurking in the back of your mind as you run close to a major race but since the New York Marathon of 1990 and in some respect prior to that when living back home that feeling of getting out and running just a little is better than sitting around indoors counting down the days/minutes till race day.

One more day of work,one final run and then it's off to Sacramento bright and early on Wednesday morning,I'll share some thoughts on that tomorrow.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Playing Catch Up

Even though today is a stay at home and get things done kind of day I still find myself wishing for more time to tackle all the things that need doing b4 I fly off to Sacramento on Wednesday morning.

Between trying to make a dent in my dvr and all the stuff I have on there I haven't watched recently and also trying to make sure there'll be room to dvr the stuff I'll miss while I'm away{including the season finale of Doctor Who and the first episode of season two of Being Human} not to mention the two Spurs games at Red Bull Arena plus Rescue Me and The Choir.

Then there's the oh small matter of trying to get caught up on my diary,granted I'm looking at a long flight on Wednesday from Philly to Sacramento via Houston which should allow for beaucoup writing.....providing I'm awake enough given I have a 5.45am flight!

Alrighty then downloading tunes to the ipod is all that's left on the To Do list b4 calling it a nite.....all in day off yeah?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Come A Long Way

Sounds of laughter shades of earth are ringing through my open views
Inciting and inviting me limitless undying love
Which shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe
Across The Universe-The Beatles

Across The Universe was picked as a Karen Gillan lyric obviously, but I feel I've travelled a long long way from the guy who huffed and puffed his way through a 6 miler on January 8th.
Since that redefining moment in my season I feel I've gone from strength to strength and today's 8 miler not only brought an end to my week but also my prep for Nationals.
Yes I'll run Monday,albeit a very easy 6 miler and Tuesday will be more ceremonial when I go to Franklin Field so in essence this was it for me for Nationals.

Out onto Cobbs Creek Parkway by 9.40am I also had the chance to brake in my new Asics Gel 105's,yes Asics and I are back in partnership,in fact I'm eyeballing a pair of Asics Hyper XCS to replace my current running flats which I'll put out to pasture after 5th Avenue Mile at the end of September.

Post run it was a case of running around doing pre Sacramento chores so that tomorrow I can enjoy a Fuck Off Day,feet up, going through my dvr and watching a bunch of shows I haven't had time to watch and also clearing space to dvr stuff while I'm away{including the season finale of Doctor Who}I also want to download some tunes for the ipod the time honoured Led Zep classic
''Going To California" seems like a no brainer don't you think?

Alright multitasking time,Philadelphia Union vs Toronto FC on Abc and San Jose Earthquakes vs Spurs on ESPN,life is good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Nice N Easy

After another one of those mornings at work mercifully my day levelled off, by mid morning/lunch time things had settled down,it often seems the week b4 I fly off to Nationals all hell brakes loose at work,I already know what I'm walking into on Monday but frankly having gotten through this week Monday and Tuesday should be smoother sailing....he said!

Breezed through my 6 miler post work,wasn't phased by the 94 degree heat,it was only a six miler and since I'm in wind down mode I just paced myself to a comfortable run.
Tomorrow it's an early start,I'd like to get my 8 miler in b4 10.30am so I can take care of my To Do list of pre Nationals chores and leave Sunday free for a Fuck Off Day.

The World Cup may be over but it's pre season soccer, Spurs are here in the US ,go figure tomorrow they play San Jose Earthquakes b4 coming to New Jersey next week as I head out west...
Right now Celtic and Man Utd are duking it out up in Toronto,Celtic were in town the other night to play Philadelphia Union and Man Utd will be here also to play the Union the day I fly off to Sacramento and b4 we know it the new Premier League season will be under way.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

One More For The Road

One more week till Nationals,one final repeat,3x1,000m.
Not sure what the temps were at 4.15pm when I arrived at Temple but by the time I got done my stretches the sweat was rolling off me.....good prep for Sacramento next week I say!!
Given I was cutting down my 1,000s from 5 to 3 I didn't think it was an unreasonable thought that I might get all three at sub 3..................

#1 1,000m 1.10,1.13,32-2.55.6. Oh snap! talk about start how you mean to go on!!much like the reduced mile repeats on Monday I knew I could come out all guns blazing,the trick now was to make sure #2 was as solid
#2 1,000m 1.12,1.12,33-2.57.5.Two years ago when I was doing 2x1,000m repeats w/ 9 minute recovery my best was 2.53.3-2.50.9.the strength I've gotten from upping my mileage from 30 miles to 45/50 miles a week is paying off.
#3 1,000m 1.12,1.13,29-2.54.9.Having for all intense and purposes gone 3/3 w/ my mile repeats at sub 5 on Monday,this was even more satisfying,closing in 29 seconds was priceless and the fact my 400s were eerily consistent meant I could consider this final repeat workout b4 Nationals a success.

Tomorrow will see an easy 6 miler on tap,after tonite that was the plan anyway plus there's talk of it being 96 degrees so "easy does it" is the mindset.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Man For All Seasons

Between the numerous discussions on Ken Stone's Masterstrackblog. about up coming conditions at Sacramento next week and the day to day changes in the weather here it's small wonder I spend more time checking conditions on AOL Weather than usual.

Despite a shower on my way home I was not deterred by this and threw on a baseball cap and short sleeve running shirt b4 heading out the door just b4 5pm for my easy 6 miler.
The rain eased off early on into the run and actually helped cool things off compared to yesterday.
Yesterdays steeplechase water jump had been removed....well the tree has been pushed off to one side,the water hazard is still there and probably still will be when I return on Friday.

Tomorrow is one final trip to the track for 3x1,000m repeats come rain or shine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Grin And Bare It

"I wasn't ready for this it isn't something you'd miss
I'm gonna spit every word so that my hate can be heard
It's for the M.B.L.A. I wish them cancerous decay
That puts an end to their days
You know I wish them all dead"
I Wish Them All Dead-The Wonder Stuff

I should point out that quoting The Wonder Stuff is usually tongue in cheek,Miles Hunt always has a way of making light of grim situations.
So why the"I Wish Them All Dead"lyrics??? for the third time since March my two coworkers conspired to fuck me over,cliff notes version Chris decided calling out was fair game since"Three Dollar Bill" was scheduled back from his week off.......only fly in that ointment was "Three Dollar Bill"never showed up.....and muggins here got lumbered w/ the workload load of three people for the third time in five months,tomorrow ought to be interesting between the bitchin' about left over work from today and the possible if any fall out from our boss,I hope they both get written up personally.

In keeping w/ the mindset that"less is more" this week I ran an easy 6 miler this evening,the good news is almost three weeks after a tree fell on the path along the second third of the course it's been moved....only took three weeks but hey!....the bad news, three quarters of a mile along the course another tree has fallen across the path and after circumnavigating that there's a giant fuck off puddle,seriously it was like the water jump of the 3,000m steeplechase out there this evening!!!,my shoes might be dry by tomorrow evening!

Finally after much anticipation the schedule for next week's Nationals has been published,my races are:Thursday 5,000m @10.30am,Saturday 800m @1.45pm.Sunday 1,500m @9.06am and if we run a 4x800m relay that's also Sunday @ 2.05pm or 2.20pm depending if we have 4 guys to run as GPTC or non club if we don't.
The issue of when the 5,000m would be ran has finally been addressed,there was talk of some of the 5,000m races being ran in the evening but that's not happening{I never thought it would}but more importantly for me there's no M45 800m prelims,if there had've been I was looking at a 5,000m at 10.30am and then an 800m at 1pm,thankfully I don't have to worry about that now.

This time next week I'll be getting my bag ready to fly out to Sacramento the following morning,but b4 then it's another easy 6 miler tomorrow,one day at a time.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Know Your History

In running,as in life,left to my own devices I can be my own worst enemy so rather than go hog wild in my final week of training for Nationals I went back to my running log from my last Outdoor Nationals in Spokane in 08 to see what I did.
What I did two years ago was cut my repeats down and even though two years ago I was focusing solely on the 800m/1,500m where as this time around I'm going for the 5,000m,800m,1,500m treble that seemed the way to go so tonite I elected to do 3x1mile repeats.

Conditions were overcast when I arrived at Temple around 4.15pm,following a mile warm up and stretches it was go time.
#1 mile,1.14,1.16,1.16,1.12-4.58.3.Not bad if I say so myself,slowly but surely the sub 5s are starting to work their way back into my mile repeats.
#2 mile,1.16,1.19,1.17,68-5.00.2.Take away that 1.19 on the second lap and we'd be looking at back to back sub 5s,5 flat doesn't exactly suck though
#3 mile,1.16,1.17,1.18,68-4.59.1.And the first thought going through my mind at the end was"could I've gotten 4 at sub 5?"

There will be time a plenty post Nationals to work on that,for tonite I was pleased w/ not only the effort but the consistency,my slowest split was a 1.19 which cost me all three at sub 5 by a second,I know picky,picky,picky!!!
Hurrah,the schedule for Nationals has finally been posted,I'll talk about that tomorrow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ole Ole

A tip of my bandanna to Spain for becoming only the 8th country to win the World Cup this afternoon.
It wasn't the greatest of games but I doubt Spain give a toss,when all is said and done they are the World Champions until Brazil 2014.
Perhaps the biggest winner was South Africa,we've come a long way from the bad old days of apartheid and in this day and age it's hard to remember that it's only been the last 20 years that South Africa have been back in the fold of global sports.

After losing three days at the beginning of the week I was out there this morning for an all to rare Sunday morning 10 miler.
Unlike yesterday when I looked like a drowned Possum by the time I got done today was a beautiful sunny morning as I hit Cobbs Creek Parkway at 9.35am,but by the time I got done 65 minutes later I was drenched in sweat.....gotta keep that "zero body fat" somehow eh??

Final week of prep for Nationals kicks off tomorrow,hopefully the schedule for Sacramento will be published also.
Oh yeah,for those who love"The Beautiful Game" it's only 1,432 days till the next World Cup.......

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Prayers For Rain

"Nothing is sacred so give me your soul,nothing is wasted on someone like you
Somebody killed me and tore out my heart my love,somebody killed me because of you
And there's nothing I can do the media made you,there's nothing I can do cause you don't exist,you don't exist
Just images of heaven that take me to hell,images of heaven of something to sell
Images of heaven"
Images of Heaven-Peter Godwin

In a week that saw me lose three days of training to excessive heat I wasn't about to lose another day to the rain so in spite of a steady downfall when I woke up at 8.20am I was out the door by 9.25am w/ jacket and baseball cap on to deal w/ it.
Running in the rain doesn't phase me,I don't view it as trying to earn"hard man"points although I am working on my"Iron Man"status......{to be fully explained at a later date}.
I do however feel you can "earn your stripes"on days like these and as tough as it was out there this morning on my way to a 67 minute 10 miler one of the thoughts that kept me going was in two weeks time in what I imagine to be sunny Sacramento I'll be able to draw strength both mentally and physically from days like today when no matter how miserable it was out there I stuck to the task at hand and got my miles in.

There is the oh so small matter of the World Cup Final tomorrow,I'm sticking w/ Spain my pick to win it all way back on June 11th when the tournament began but if Holland were to win it wouldn't brake my heart,after all they were my dark horse for this World Cup.
So another 10 miler on tap in the morning{w/out the rain I'm lead to believe}b4 settling in for the final and a piece of history, a new name on the World Cup trophy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

What She Said

Another day to sing the praises of the makers of dri fit running clothes as I sweated bucket loads on my 62 minute 10 miler this evening.
I managed to dodge another potential thunderstorm this evening,at times the sky looked ominous and I kept waiting for the heavens to open,they didn't but w/ more thunderstorms in the five day forecast I may have to keep riding my luck to stay dry.

The powers that be at USATF say a schedule for Nationals should be available by Monday,there seems to be a debate as to when some of the 5,000m races will be held,it's possible some will be ran in the evening,I guess by Monday or Tuesday we'll know for sure.

After some debate I've decided to blog this,I've seldom been shy about voicing my opinion but this incident yesterday may well be one of the very few times in my life I was left speechless.
I'd commented on Wednesday how nobody had inquired to Chris and my well being after back to back 100 degree days,I'm not surprised by this in the winter when it's below freezing nobody bothers to see if we're ok but that doesn't make it right.
My initial reaction to seeing my boss in the doorway to my office was"did you take a wrong turn" it's the first time she's been up there since May 12th{I had to look that up in my diary}.
I bit my lip when she asked if Chris and I were ok....amazing now that it was 10 degrees cooler you could come up and inquire.....and then for THE work WTF moment of the year...........quote
"we were talking about you downstairs yesterday.....we figured as you run you're used to the heat,you've got body fat"......................
I was GOBSMACKED did you really just say that???so you can stand around and discuss the conditions on the dock downstairs in the storeroom where it's considerably cooler but you can't come up and check if Chris and I are ok???
And what about Chris?he doesn't run and no disrespect to Chris he isn't remotely close to "zero body fat"what was your rhetoric for him???

Like I said,flabbergasted doesn't come close to explaining how I felt and now you know why the other week I refused to break bread w/ them during annual inventory and why whenever they next have lunch downstairs even if I'm starving I'll refuse to join them,I'm greatly offended by that comment yesterday and a tad embarrassed that a comment so stupid was made.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Just Do It

After Sundays rest day and a three day heat induced hiatus I was back out on Cobbs Creek Parkway this evening to crank out a 10 miler in 62 minutes,I think four days off did wonders for me in terms of rest,I'm not sure it did my demeanour at work much good but hopefully the endorphin release I got this evening will make me a little easier to deal w/ tomorrow.

I found this running quote online yesterday that I wanted to share:
"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.
It knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.
Every morning in Africa,a lion wakes up.
It knows it must run faster then the slowest gazelle,or it will starve.
It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or a gazelle when the sun comes up you'd better be running"

File this one under DER! for the past few Thursdays I've been counting down the weeks to Nationals,as I was sitting in my room last nite I realized today marked TWO weeks till Nationals NOT three.....I never said math was one of my strong subjects!!!!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Dilly Of A Pickle

It's not often in life I can say"I was right" but I did say way back b4 the World Cup began on June 11th that Spain were my pick to win it all and Holland were my dark horse and come Sunday they'll duke it out in the final.

Another day of 100 degree heat,another day I had to sit out training,depending on who's forecast you look at tomorrow could and should be a go,put it this way when I go to bed this evening and when I wake up in the morning mentally I'll be ready to run,let's just hope the weather Gods and the running Gods are both on the same page.

In closing I'd just like to say from the bottom of my born again black pagan Celtic heart THANK YOU to the powers that be for checking on Chris and I the last two days when the temps hit 100 degrees and the dock felt like a brick oven,the concern for our well being was touching..................

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Less Is More/Orange Crush

I've often said it's not in a runners DNA to subscribe to the "less is more" theory but sometimes you just have to know when to say "easy tiger"
Sunday was a rest day and thankfully so as the current heatwave began,I knew if yesterday was going to happen it would have to happen early.....and getting up at 10.30am shot that down as it was already 88 degrees and well on the way to 96 degrees.
I'd know for days that today and tomorrow were going to be close to 100 degrees and w/out the luxury of being able to run early to mid morning I was going to be sitting a few days out.

I don't enjoy missing training runs....then again I don't enjoy heat stroke either so for a few days I'm grounded,having put in a lot of miles since the turn of the year I think a few heat induced rest days won't hurt me,in fact it could help me in Sacramento in just over three weeks time.

Big shout out to Holland for reaching their first World Cup final since 1978 w/ a 3.2 win over Uruguay this afternoon,not only is Hobbes a happy kitty that his beloved"Dutch pussycats" have made the final but yours truly is looking like a champ having picked the"Orange Crush" as my dark horse to win,if my pick to win it all Spain reach the final tomorrow verses Germany I'll be faced w/ a dilemma in Sundays final,let's see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I consider my soccer education to have begun in 1970,I went to my first ever game and that was the first World Cup I can recall some very distant memories of{when England won in 66 I was only 2!}
Over the past 40 years one constant theme shows up.....never bet against Germany!now granted prior to 1970 West Germany had had success but since Mexico 70 their World Cup finals record reads as thus:
70 semi final,74 winners,78 2nd group stage,82 runners up,86runners up,90 winners,94,1/4 finals,98 1/4 finals,02 runners up,06 semi finals
Since 72 in the old Nations Cup that then became the European C'ships or the Euro's as we've come to call them:
72 winners,76 runners up,80 winners,84 group stage,88 semi finals.92 runners up,96 winners 00 group stage.04 group stage,08 runners up.

Today's quarter final match up w/ Argentina was billed as one of the marque match ups to begin w/ w/out looking back at their storied World Cup rivalry:
86 final,90 final,06 1/4 finals w/ Germany holding a 2.1 edge winning the last two.
All three of those games had been close/Klose.....not today,4.0 to Germany which make their 4.1 dismantling of England look a little better now.
It'd take a brave man or woman to bet against Germany lifting another World Cup....but this is not me wavering on my pre tournament pick of Spain to win it all or Holland to emerge as the dark horse.

Notched my 6th 10 miler of the week at lunch time, tying my longest week to date having logged a 60 mile week at the end of April.
67 minutes but there seemed little or no point hammering it,I'd done what I'd set out to do this week and now it's a matter of taking next week on a day to day basis.
The 7 day forecast isn't showing much if any relief from mid 90 degree temps and unlike the back end of last week and Monday when I had the luxury of early morning runs I'm SOL this coming week so I may have to adopt a day to day attitude towards next week and even subscribe to the"less is more"mindset.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Crushed Brazil Nuts,Broken Ghanaian Hearts

Boy oh boy did the World Cup ever kick up a notch today in the first two quarter finals.
Holland,my dark horse to go all the way and win it all came from behind to stun the favourites Brazil 2.1,shades of West Germany 74{yes back then it was West Germany!!}when Holland beat the then holders of the trophy 2.0 in the semis,a defeat the Samba boys have since twice gained revenge for USA 94 1/4 finals and France 98 semi finals but today belonged to the Orange Crush
In the second quarter final Ghana were looking to become the first African nation to ever reach the semis....what a roller coaster of emotion,Ghana went 1.0 just on half time only for Uruguay to draw level 10 minutes into the second half.
Extra time and both sides were looking set for penalties until the final minute of extra time,Uruguay conceded a penalty,had a player sent off and up stepped Gyan who'd already scored two penalties so far in the World Cup w/ the game on the line up he stepped....and saw his spot kick crash back off the crossbar and thus send the game to a penalty shoot out.
Uruguay won the penalty shoot out 4.2 to advance to their first semi final since Mexico 70 but spare a though for Ghana a spot kick away from history.

Buoyed by such a heroic day of World Cup action I cranked out a 62 minute 10 miler,I'm not sure if the 40 minute delay from 4.40pm to 5.20pm made a difference but 62 minutes is my fastest time to date.
Tomorrows 10 miler will get squeezed in between the Argentina Germany-Spain Paraguay 1/4 finals which will mean running at lunch time,a small price to pay for enjoying one of the greatest sporting events in the world.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Devil{Is In The Details}

For a while now I've been monitoring the number of posts on my blog,knowing that 666 was coming,well as you may've gathered today's the day!!!
W/ hindsight I could've used the cover of Iron Maiden's"The Number Of The Beast" but in fairness I didn't think of that till after I'd found this picture.
Had today not've been blog entry 666 I might've gone w/ a 4/4 title,four weeks till Nationals and my fourth 10 miler this week as I close in on a 60 mile week.
Today saw another 63 minute time as conditions remain in the low 80s.....for now,according to the weather forecast we're looking at a return to mid 90 degree temps by Sunday but w/ Sunday as my rest day and a day off on Monday allowing me an early morning run I'll worry about that next week as I still have two more 10 milers to take care of this week.