Friday, December 31, 2010

Awesome Possum's Top Ten Races 2010

Since either 05 or 06 I've finished the year off w/ my top ten races of the year,32 to choose from this year,after careful consideration here are my top ten

10,Millrose Games 4x400m,In terms of an actual race there was little to write home about,the lead two teams anchor legs were well clear of me by the time I got the baton but the 4th place team were way behind me when I took off for my 2.5 laps of the hallowed boards of the Millrose Games at famed Madison Square Gardens and 4 years after I'd fulfilled the dream of a lifetime by running there and now had my much coveted Millrose Games medal and another of my"running to do list"items crossed off,several down two to go.

9,Indoor Nationals 800m,My third race in three days,could I capture my third medal?
How often since my Masters Nationals debut in Charlotte in 06 have I gone mano e mano in the 800m w/ John Hinton and Scott Landis?
While those guys were out in front I worked my way into third and hung tough to capture my third Indoor Nationals 800m bronze since 07 and my third medal of the weekend.

8,Upenn 5,000m,A launch pad to alot of my success this year,my resume lacked a decent time for 5,000m until April when I not only sliced 66 seconds off my pr but went sub 16 and captured the club record,and followed in the illustrious footsteps of Coglan,Walker,Maree,Ovett and Lagat,milers who made the jump to 5,000m.

7,Outdoor Nationals 1,500m,Upholding my fine record in the 1,500m at Outdoor Nationals 07,silver in Maine, 08 gold in Spokane and now silver in Sacramento,try as I might I couldn't reel in Jeff Mann up the home straight but it wasn't for the lack of trying.

6,Masters National 5K Road Race,Harking back to the Upen 5,000m on the track I knew I could add this club record to my list,biding my time during the summer I always felt this race could see me for fill that and I did,my only gripe was my 15.59 time was rounded up to 16.00.

5,Track Pentathlon 3,000m,My third pr of the year at 3,000m but my first outdoors,having begun the year at 9.38.3 I ended it at 9.07.7 and who knows what I might've been able to do if I didn't still have 4 more races on tap that morning,sub 9 has to be a consideration for 2011.

4,5th Avenue Mile,One of the hardest things in compiling my top ten list was where to place this race,I wasn't happy w/ my 4th place finish irregardless of it being another 45-49 win.
This is one of two races in my top ten that I'd like to "do over"knowing Nick was coming off of a hamstring injury at the Track Pentathlon I took it out hard from the gun only for the younger and faster runner to blow by me w/ 400m to go,live by the sword,die by the sword.

3,Indoor Nationals 3,000m,Having gone from 9.38.3 to 9.13.6 in my only 3,000m b4 Indoor Nationals I felt confident of a medal at Indoor Nationals so when I came to the bell in 4th place I knew I had some work to do.
I'd love to know what I covered the final 200m in,what I do know is I overtook third place Oscar Gonzales coming out of the bottom bend and hauled in second place Francis Burdett coming off the final turn to claim silver and at the time set a new pr of 9.11.4.

2,Outdoor Nationals 800m,The other race in my top ten I'd like to"do over"
6th and at the rear of the field w/ 300m to go I dropped the hammer and moved in to the lead in the hope it would be enough to win me the race....sadly it wasn't as eventual winner Mike Blackmore caught me half way up the home straight and pipped me to the finish,2.02.1. to 2.02.4.,yeah it was that close!

1,Outdoor Nationals 5,000m,I said at the time in late July this was my race of the year and nothing else happened between then and late November to make me change my mind.
Coming in I had the 3rd fastest time but felt I was looking at a 4th place finish behind Francis Burdett,Pete McGill and Mike Blackmore and after 200m we were the lead 4.
For once I didn't pay attention to my splits per lap or per mile which probably went a long way to my whopping pr.
W/ 6.5 laps to go Pete and Mike made a brake for it and I had two choices,try to go w/or tuck in behind Francis and hope to out kick him for the bronze....I went w/ plan a and it paid off w/ dividends.bronze and a huge pr 15.36.8.

Pretty Good Year

Easy 12 miler to finish off the year,which if I've done the math correctly means 2,221 miles for the year,my heaviest mileage in a year ever.
B4 I launch into my year ending Top Ten races here's a look back on the year that was.

Still on a high from the 4x800m World Record in late December I was soon brought back down to earth w/ a thud w/ a 10.16 3,000m,at first I thought my second half collapse was down to the track,but 4 days later at The Armory I had no excuses over the mile and faced up to the fact I needed to get back to basics,plummeting great depths means having to dig deep to scale great heights again and thus begun the long road back,culminating in anchoring the clubs b team to a bronze at the Millrose Games.

W/ the weather calling the shots I only managed one race but was happy to continue to up my mileage as thoughts spread to March and an all out assault on the club records for 3,000m and 2 miles b4 Indoor Nationals,having gotten used to running 30 miles a week I threw in a 40 mile week to prep for the Mac C'ships 3,000m

Huge pr in the 3,000m 9.13.6 and a return to club records,my next race also at The Armory was also a pr/club record over 2 miles but this was more by the skin of my teeth.
Indoor Nationals,three races in three days and three medals,silver and a pair of bronzes in the mile and 800m and another pr in the 3,000m

Outdoors,w/ the 3,000m and 2 mile records mine now for the 5,000m,at this stage of the season I was leaning towards the 1,500m and 5,000m as my distances for the summer at Nationals.
Another huge pr and club record w/ a 15.57.7. and then an insane idea.....add the 10,000m record,I hadn't ran a 10,000m on the track since 86 but I clocked a 34.43.3.

A reasonable 4.15 1,500m in New York b4 shaving a second off my 5,000m time in Swarthmore,and then a funny thing happened,my 5x1,000m repeats lead me to believe I still had a future at 800m and w/ that a rescheduling of my final pre Nationals race to add an 800m.

No pr in my 5,000m but a third sub 16,maybe a clock or someone calling lap times might have helped,another reasonable 1,500m b4 a time trial mile and then a 2.03.7. as I grew used to 45 mile weeks in training.

A month after my last race I kicked off my Outdoor Nationals w/ a bronze in the 5,000m and another pr 15.36.8.two days later I came that close to adding a third National Champion title to my list but had to settle for a silver in the 800m w/ a 2.02.4
The following day it was another silver this time in the 1,500m 4.14.4. b4 going one better than in Boston at Indoor Nationals and running 4 races in 4 days and winning 4 medals thanks to a gold in the 4x800m,my 4th Gold at Outdoor Nationals in the 4x800m.

A quiet month,I managed to cram all my races in to one morning at the debut Greater Philadelphia Track Club Track Pentathlon.
No point being the iron man of the track if you're not going to show up at the Track Pentathlon and after kicking things off w/ another 3,000m pr 9.07.7. I ran out the winner although things may've turned out much differently had Nick Berra not pulled a hammy in the 200m.

If it's September it must be 5th Avenue Mile,4th overall again and a modicum of revenge for Nick as he won the race but for the second year in a row 4th overall but 1st in the 45-49 age group

Ever since my first 5,000m pr on the track back in April I'd given thought to the road 5k club record,Syracuse proved to be the time and the place and while I suffered the cruel fate of seeing my 15.59.rounded up to 16.00{boo hiss!}I did at least add the club record to my tally

Continuing my base mileage that began in late October I notched 3 of my 75 mile weeks in November and added an age group victory at the Rothman 8K even though I feel well shy of the club record.

The end of base mileage and the return to repeats in mid December as I notched 4 good repeats to hopefully launch me in to the 2011 season.
We can look more at 2011 tomorrow and what the upcoming season might bring.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Is It A For Assassin Or H For Hitman In The Yellow Pages?

First run since Saturday,and sorely needed as you may gather from the title,w/out going in to too much detail let's just say there's trouble a brewing on the home front and leave it at that for now.
Sunday was a scheduled rest day w/ the intention of hitting the track Monday.....however a foot of snow put paid to not only the track but any form of running on Monday and frankly I felt the sidewalks weren't going to be user friendly Tuesday,maybe I could've gotten a run in yesterday but given the unrest in the house I opted against it but today the "cabin fever"had gotten to me and I knew I needed to run just because I hadn't in a few days plus the chance to "blow off some steam' was too good to pass up.

The last couple of days have warmed up meaning the foot of snow we got Sunday is melting and most sidewalks are clear enough to run on,I had the added bonus of leaving work at 3pm and being on the road by 4pm and getting most of the run in during daylight.
According to trusty old Peco Tower it was 39 degrees out there this afternoon a nice afternoon to run.
I had planned to hit the track tomorrow and maybe again Sunday....however it was brought to my attention that Temple's track is still under considerable snow so that's that idea gone for a burton,no big 2 12 milers either side of a 16 miler in Saturday plus today's 10 miles gives me 50 miles for the week in 4 days,having clocked 60 the last two weeks and w/ 2 races on tap at the end of next week I can consider this a mother nature induced taper.

So a mid morning 12 miler on tap tomorrow and then my Top Ten races of the year to blog to round out the year.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas You Get You Deserve

"They've got cars big as bars they've got rivers of gold but the wind goes right through you it's no place for the old
When you first took my hand on a cold Christmas eve you promised me Broadway was waiting for me
You were handsome you were pretty Queen of New York City when the band finished playing they howled out for more
Sinatra was swinging,all the drunks they were singing we kissed on a corner then danced through the night
The boys of the NYPD choir we're singing"Galway Bay"and the bells were ringing out for Christmas day"

Fairytale Of New York-The Pogues W/ Kirsty McColl

Seasons greetings all.
Christmas Day or not I still planned to run today for years I never ran on Christmas Day until 05 and again in 06,my stress fracture kept me from running in 07 but I was back at it in 08 but not last year.
Had I not've had yesterday off of work today would've been my track day and tomorrow would've been my long run,however...
I set off at my usual time of 10.30am early doors I wasn't seeing anyone else out there but gradually more runners,cyclists,rollerbladers and walkers emerged,always good to know you're not the only one neurotic enough to be out there on Christmas Day.
Briefly at 6 miles my left finger tips began to get numb but not to the degree that they were on Sunday,it's gonna be a long winter if that continues.

One thing's for sure as the weeks have gone by since my first 16 miler on Oct 31st I've grown used to the long run,I remember how knackered I used to be after my long run,I've grown used to it so much so that today post run and phone call back home to wish the family Merry Christmas b4 continuing my new Christmas Day tradition,going to the movies,last year it was "Nine" this year"The Chronicles Of Narnia,The Adventures Of The Dawn Treader"
Christmas dinner was Pizza and Ice Cream and then to round out my day the Doctor Who Christmas Special,my father once told me when I was young that"Christmas is what you make it"this year I made a great day out of it for myself,who cares I spent the day alone,I've spent the last seven Christmas Days alone but for once I wasn't that bothered....a Christmas miracle?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Xmas Eve

Xmas Eve not a "tubby"in sight,Thank You Santa a runners delight.............
Ok so I'm no Wordsworth or Shakespeare but it's not bad if I say so myself!
Back to the track today for a second crack at 10x400m,last weeks debut had gone pretty well and I was looking to build on that today.

A near deserted Temple track at 11am,three other hardy souls joined me in the sunny but mild conditions,as ever the wind down the back straight was a beast but I was determined to make sure I got the better of it today.
Warm up laps conducted it was time to have at it,the goal today was to keep all 10 400s at 68 seconds or under.....
#1 400m 69.4.Had I ran the home straight w/ an nth more conviction this would've been a 68 for sure.
#2 400m 68.2.No let down here,worked the bottom turn and back straight to fight the wind b4 coming off the top turn and up the home straight w/ a smidge more than repeat #1
#3 400m 68.2.More of the same the wind on the bottom turn was dying down but the back straight was still proving to be a beast,
#4 400m 68.1.Either I'd worked out the wind or it was dying down,maybe a bit of both?
#5 400m 66.3.Nice!I won't deny the string of 68s had me concerned that maybe there wasn't another gear to go to today,the 66 told me otherwise.
#6 400m 68.0.As w/ my three prior repeats I've done a good job syncing my knee lift w/ my arms,thus far today I'd been the model of consistency.
#7 400m 67.7.While last weeks 400s had seen more 67s coming in to #7 last Saturday was nowhere near as windy as today.
#8 400m 67.3.If Saturday had been a little up and down like an EKG chart today was far more consistent and w/ 2 more to go I was aiming to keep it that way.
#9 400m 68.2.No 69 second #9 like last week,keeping a 68 second average was paying dividends.
#10 400m 65.5.Way to finish it off in style,any thoughts of a mulligan on #1 had no gone out the window now!

All in all I was very pleased w/ today's performance,in fact all 4 repeats in the past two weeks have met w/ my approval and hopefully I can continue to improve on them.
16 miler on tap tomorrow to round out another 60 mile week and then hoping the proposed snow they're predicting doesn't fall,we'll have to keep out fingers crossed for that

Retro Run

The less said about work yesterday the better,I'll save all the unsavoury details for my diary but one plus of such a fucked up day was I was doing the Richard Gough....the off by 2.30pm.
Post chores I was in a rare position to hit the road by 3.45pm so I figured why not do the extended out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway for a change.
I haven't done a 10 miler along there since 2 days after the clocks went back at the end of November and I hadn't ran along Cobbs Creek since Dec 4th so it felt good to revisit the sight of so much of this years training.

At a time when the sands of time are running low on this year I find myself looking back on this past season and ahead to next season,this time last year I had my head up my arse w/ training but after the"bitch slap that was heard around the world" at The Armory on Jan 7th I got my head,my heart,my soul and my butt in gear and can look back on a very successful 10 season,as is my tradition come New Years Eve my Top Ten Races of the year will get blogged,I've had some time to workout which 10 of the 32 are going on my list.

Yea a day off tomorrow,much needed after the madness of the last two at work,a trip to the track for another 10x400m is on tap and a few chores and that's it for me,Xmas Eve already,this year flew by didn't it?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Best Part Of The Day

After a ball breaker of a work day getting out and running feels like the best way to deal w/ that stress so having had to man the fort solo today on the second to last delivery day b4 the holidays and work like a Trojan I was more than ready to get out there this evening for my 10 miler.
One plus of working through my lunch was "having it away on my toes" by 3pm and post post work chores I was on the road by 4.20pm.

Sunny and 38 degrees according to trust Peco Tower I was enjoying my run,going over South St bridge it looked like I'd get hosed by good old CSX Freight...yet again,jeez even when I get out early they find a way to be coming through the tracks at Locust St,however no detour tonite,by the time I made my way through Markward Playgrounds and over to the railroad tracks at Locust St it had continued up the track,so no up and over Walnut St bridge....tonite,tomorrow could be a different story!

Passed my friend and teammate Sean Harbison as I passed Lloyd Hall he was heading back southbound on Kelly Drive so it was a quick"hi and bye"I'm sure the good doctor and I will catch up at some point soon.
Felt like the wind picked up a little on the inbound leg,either that or the sun going down made it feel a tad brisker than when I set off,maybe getting my track workout in during daylight hours got me spoilt yesterday?

Tomorrow is looking like more of the same,I plan on"doing the early bird" again at 3pm since I know I won't be taking a lunch{sidebar my department is holding their holiday party tomorrow lunchtime.....seems that's all anyone can talk about downstairs for the past two days,I wasn't invited....I know you're shocked,stunned,gobsmacked and amazed....I wouldn't brake bread w/ them even if I was invited,choke on it you bastards I say}so once I've done what needs doing I'm outta there till Tuesday.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

TFZ..................Tubby Free Zone

Back to the Temple track but this time in the afternoon,it's been a while since I've done an afternoon repeat and after the next two weeks it'll be a regular part of the training routine.
I arrived at Temple by 3.30pm....not a "Tubby" in sight only one other runner who looked like he was doing 200m repeats,eventually three other runners showed up, this felt like a proper workout w/ only serious runners out here...a Kodak moment almost.

Mile warm up and then time for my 8x800m repeats,depending on which weather report you read today was going to be 40 degs.....where,when and for how long is any ones guess,I will say it was warmer than my evening runs and clearly arriving at 3.30pm and finishing up by 4.30pm worked well,when I used to work out at Penn in the winter I was lucky to get on the track by 5pm and more often than not it was pitch black by the time I was done.

#1 800m 1.13-1.15-2.28.9.After last weeks opener I felt 2.28-2.30 was a decent target so 1.14 per 400m would be good pace for that....start as you mean to go on.
#2 800m 1.14-1.15-2.29.8.So far so good,the key last week was even pacing,not something I'm known for.....
#3 800m 1.10-1.14-2.24.1Holy Shit!where did the 1.10 come from?I felt I was guilty of not being focused 100% on the first lap such worries on this repeat!
#4 800m 1.09-1.15-2.24.3.My first reaction after this was do I have enough fuel in the tank for the last 4?one way to find out!
#5 800m 1.13-1.15-2.28.9.Three to go,I'd take all three at 1.13-1.15 at this stage.
#6 800m 1.13-1.15-2.28.0.W/ the sun slowly setting off to the west each time I came off the top turn and up the home straight I knew I was close to eclipsing last weeks opener.
#7 800m 1.15-1.14-2.29.0.The first opening 1.15 lap,last week there were three so that's a step up.
#8 800m 1.13-1.11-2.24.1.What can I say"Built Forde Tough"!!Told myself going in to the final repeat to relax on the opening 400m and bring it home on the closing 400m,opening in 1.13 and closing in 1.11 I think I executed that plan.

Two weeks in and I'm pleased w/ the results so far but there's still work to be done however if this is me starting as I mean to go on it's a good start.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sometimes Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction

"I really shouldn't miss you,but I can't let you go"
My Life Would Suck W/out You-Kelly Clarkson

The debate of the day was would I make today or Thursday my 8 miler,since I'm leaving work early on Thursday I figured I could cop a tad more daylite Thursday so why not make that my 10 miler.
Once again my nemesis the CSX Freight beat me to the punch at the railroad tracks at Locust St by about 30 seconds so yet again it was up and over Walnut St bridge and down the steps on to the banks,to quote the always quotable Monty Python"still I was getting used to it by now"
Nice evening to run,36 degrees according to Peco Tower and now that{fingers crossed} my on going fight w/ the bank has been resolved{took the buggers long enough!}I can spring for my cold weather running gear because as cold as it's been,it's gonna get colder.

Dec 20th has in the past often been one of the darkest days for me,and that has nothing to do w/ it being the day b4 Winter Solstice,had things work out differently it would be my wedding anniversary but that as they say is another story.
Last year the anniversary took a unique turn,I fell in to the show"Being Erica" which if you're not familiar w/ is the story of a 30 something who by fate meets a shrink,Dr Tom who helps Erica relive some of her past failures by going back and re altering her past,so I did that one thing you probably shouldn't do and thought"what if"
12 days b4 meeting my ex wife for the first time on Xmas Eve 84 I was meant to meet a girl from work for a drink that nite.
I'd been in awe of Jean for a while but too shy to do anything about it but gave her a red rose for xmas and we had a few drinks that lunch time,we arranged to meet up that evening,however I got there late and thought I'd missed her,turned out Jean never made it but I didn't know that at the time.
12 days later I met Erica for the first and my life took a very different turn,so I thought "what if" Jean had've shown up that nite on Xmas Eve 84 and that's where the Kelly Clarkson lyric comes in to play,I really shouldn't still miss Jean after 26 years but here I am playing the ''what if''game,is it to defuse feelings towards making a complete mess of my marriage or wondering what might've been,?either way playing the 'what if' game can sometimes be a dangerous game.
Jean I still think about you and I hope you're happy.Erica I'm sorry I made such a mess of our marriage but after all these years it really is time to move on for me.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

One Down..............

So the first week of basic training is under my belt.60 miles and 2 repeats on the track.
16 miler today to round out the week,as is my won't I set off at 10.30am,I was thinking about that yesterday that in the winter months maybe pushing my Saturday track workout back a few hours might be prudent to maximize slightly warmer conditions,ditto for the Sunday 16 miler but it rather flys in the face of the time honoured adage"get it out of the way early and be done w/ it" however given the numbness my left hand felt around the 9 mile mark maybe I'll have to review that mindset.

I've said b4 I'm cursed w/ the worst circulation in the world,I often marvel at how other runners can be out there w/out gloves and sometimes in shorts,I didn't check the temperature b4 I left but my guess was much like yesterday it was hovering around the freezing mark and frankly probably didn't warm up that much over the 2 hours I was out there around the 9 mile mark I noticed my finger tips on my left hand were getting numb....meanwhile my right hand was fine and as the run continued the numbness began to work its way down my fingers,upon completion of the run my hand was feeling numb,meanwhile my right hand was fine.....I've no idea what the hell was going on there?

Other than my hand it was all tickety boo out there,unlike during base mileage when I'd come into my 16 miler on the back of 59 miles now during basic mileage I came in on the back of 44 miles so my legs were fresher,plus I'm no stranger to the 16 miler,this was my 7th in the last 8 weeks.
W/ this week under my belt I look forward to going into this coming week w/ more of the same.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

WWJD.......What Would Jumbo Do?

Back to the track again,this time for my long repeat session,10x400m w/ an 800m jog in between each.
The great Jumbo Elliot favoured this workout,although he had his runners do 20x400m w/ a 800m jog in between,my feeling is if I start out at 10 and slowly work my way up I can eventually get up to 20,the mindset being each month add 2 more 400s so come mid January should everything go to plan I'll be upping this repeat to 12x400m.....all in good time,let's get used to 10 first b4 we start talk of conquering that.

Conditions were brisk when I arrived at Temple around 11.10am,probably hovering around the freezing mark,at least the sun was out and and the wind was at a minimum,30 laps of running come out to 7.5 miles so I factored in 5 laps to warm up,5 laps to cool down would give me a nice even 10 miles and put me at 44 miles for the week w/ a 16 miler on tap tomorrow to round me out at 60 miles for the week,the bench mark mileage in a non competitive week,once races start,I'll have to tweak my mileage but I'm looking to keep a 55 mile a week mark even if it means running 7 days a week not 6,again let's walk b4 we can run.....

Stripped down to fleece and tights attire w/ the obligatory thermal gloves and skull cap it was"have at it" time.
Going in to today I felt if I could keep my 400s between 66-68 seconds that'd be a good start.
#1 400m 65.2.As the self proclaimed worlds worst judge of pace the opening repeat be it 400m,600m,800m,1,000m,mile is always crucial to proceedings,this was not a bad start if I say so myself.
#2 400m 69.9.No matter how many different tracks I run on and no matter how many of them post signs that ask walkers/joggers to use the outside lanes there's always someone who wants to walk/jog in lane 1,today was no different as"Tubby"made it very clear he wasn't yielding lane 1 to me,you'd have thought having gone by him 5 times on my warm up laps he'd have gotten the hint,but no,the rotund one wasn't budging from lane 1 so I had to conduct this repeat out in lane 2.....thanks you fat bastard,hope you get stuck down a chimney next Friday!!!
#3 400m 66.3.If I could hold on to this pace for the remaining 7 400s I'd be ok.
#4 400m 67.3.Once again I was forced to swing wide of "Tubby" but at least the majority of this lap was conducted in lane 1.
#5 400m 67.5.Half way there and feeling good.
#6 400m 65.0.Believe it or not another lap I had to swing wide of"Tubmeister" on the back straight,I think at this point I'd gotten so pissed off he hadn't gotten the hint I dropped the hammer a little on this repeat!
#7 400m 67.9.Now it was beginning to take it's toil but frankly that's what I expected,began telling myself the great lie all runners tell themselves on repeats that it's actually only 2 more to go because you know that last one call be as balls out as you can because afterwards it's all over.
#8 400m 68.1.Yea,Tubby"had exited the track during my 800m jog prior to this repeat.8 down 2 to go....even though I was psyching myself up for only 1 to go!
#9 400m 69.0.Couldn't pin this one on "Tubby" over the coming weeks this is where being consistent over the entire repeat is going to pay dividends and eliminating these 69 second 400s.
#10 400m 65.0.BOYAH!! way to drop the hammer on the final 400m.

So all in all a good start to my 10x400m repeats,clearly there's room for improvement still but to have notched 3x65 seconds,1x66 seconds,3x67 seconds,1x68 seconds and 2x69 seconds was not a bad start and I look forward to a second crack at this next weekend,since Friday is the holiday as far as work is concerned I should be able to access the track Friday not Saturday.....hopefully all the fat bastards will be getting ready to deliver presents......

Feels Like A Heatwave

A whopping 35 degrees this evening out on my 10 miler,time to start shedding layers me thinks...............
I probably shouldn't joke about stuff like this and be very grateful for the fact it was above freezing for a change.
Easy enough run,keeping in mind tomorrow is my long day on the track,10x400m and Sunday is my long run,16 miles I wanted to take it down a notch this evening so I'll be ready for the track tomorrow and frankly the slightly warmer temps helped in that respect.

So the year ending World Masters Rankings were published yesterday,it's amazing that my time in the 800m ranks me #2 in the US at 45-49 but only #15 in the world,and my #1 time in the 1,500m only ranks me#10,ergo the driving desire to be out in 24 degrees and snow yesterday!!!

Here are my times and rankings:
US Rankings
800m,#2 2.02.4
1,500m,#1 4.11.8
mile,#2 4.33.1
3,000m #1 9.07.1
5,000m #4 15.36.8
10,000m #4 34.34.3

World Rankings
800m #15 2.02.4
1,500m #10 4.11.8
5,000m #18 15.36.8

Clearly lots of work to be done between now and early July but that was why I spent 7 weeks doing base mileage prior to my three weeks of basic training b4 the indoor season kicks off on Jan 6th and something to ponder when I'm doing 10x400m in the morning

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Oh No He Didn't...........

Yes,I did run my 10 miler this evening in the snow and 24 degrees.
Looking more like "Nanook Of The North" than a runner I made sure to bundle up this evening to brave the elements,the irony being had I've ran Tuesday I could've taken today as my rest day,hey ho!

There was already a light dusting of snow on the ground when I set off at 4.35pm and early on the mindset of this run became"let's get through this in one piece",the sidewalks were ok but I noticed crossing roads that conditions underfoot were in places icy,something I would have to keep in mind on the inbound section.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a dozen or more other runners out there tonite,there always a sense of"thank God I'm not the only one out here in this" when you see other like minded souls when you're out running to begin w/ muchless in the snow and 24 degrees!
As I made my way through Markward Playground back towards the South St bridge I saw and heard another CSX freight train, trust me tonite was not the nite for standing around waiting for that to pass by.
Let's hope tomorrow is a little warmer yeah?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby It's Cold Outside.....But I Still Ran

Frankly it wasn't much warmer today than it was yesterday but I'd burnt my one rest day for the week so it was a case of bundle up and have at it.
Given the next two days will be mildly warmer than today I opted for my shorter run{8 miles} today and back to back 10 milers tomorrow and Friday b4 a return to the track on Saturday for 10x400m and then a 16 miler Sunday to round out at 60 miles for the week.

It's been a while since I've ran below 9 miles{On October 1st I ran a 6 miler 2 days b4 the Syracuse 5k,and since then it's been a steady diet of 9 milers,10 milers,12 milers and 16 milers} but I was glad for something a little shorter tonite as Peco Tower revealed it was only 29 degrees as I hit the Schuylkill Banks just after 5pm.

After seven weeks of base mileage it feels strange to only be at 14 miles on a Wednesday but as I move into the next phase of my training that's something I'll get used to over the coming weeks

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

TBC....Too Bleedin' Cold

W/ the mercury topping out at a "balmy" 26 degrees today the chances of me running were bulimic to anorexic trust me!!
Now that base mileage is behind me till next October I'm looking at running 6 days a week now so a rest day is on tap,however I didn't plan on it being today,I had hoped I could at least squeeze in my short run{8 miles} but in that kind of cold the thought of such harsh air going in to my lungs was enough to help me to wise up and say tomorrow is another day.
It'll still be below freezing but 5 to 6 degrees warmer so I think the 8 miler is on tap tomorrow w/ back to back 10 milers Thursday and Friday b4 a return to the track Saturday for 10x400m repeats.

In spite of being the self appointed poster child of all things"non holiday"I made a xmas mix tape for the girls in the Wound Center recently,I've been making them a mix tape a month for the last few months so since it is"the season"I thought a holiday mix tape wouldn't go a miss and I must confess even though some of my favourite holiday songs are on old trusty vinyl I was quite pleased w/ the mix I made,hope some of your favourites are on here:

U2, Christmas,Baby Please Come Home
Pretenders,2000 Miles
Wham, Last Christmas
Pat Benatar,Please Come Home For Christmas
Queen,Thank God It's Christmas
Cocteau Twins,Frosty The Snowman
The Alarm,So This Is Christmas
Kate Bush,December Will Be Magic Again
The Damned,There Ain't No Sanity Clause
Joss Stone & Elton John,Call It Christmas
Ramones,Merry Christmas,I Don't Wanna Fight
Waitresses,Christmas Wrapping
Side Two
Greg Lake,I Believe In Father Christmas
Eurythmics,Winter Wonderland
Run DMC,Christmas In Hollis
The Pogues & Kirsty Mc Coll,Fairytale In New York
Elton John,Step In To Christmas
Gloria Estafan,Christmas Through Your Eyes
The Kinks,Father Christmas,Give Us Your Money
Saint Etienne,I Was Born On Christmas Day
Bruce Springsteen,Merry Christmas Baby
John Mellencamp,I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause
AC DC,A Mistress For Christmas
Bryan Adams,Run Run Rudolph.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Track Season Starts Here

So I never made it up to Van Cortlandt Park yesterday for the Pete McCardle 15k xc,it was pissing down w/ rain when I woke up and the prospect of running 15 miles in that didn't appeal to me so I blew it off and while I did consider going out for a 10 miler in the afternoon after it had stopped I ended up not running period.
Rather than view the glass half empty w/ missed mileage last week I sought to look at the glass half full,this week was going to be my resumption of repeats and the original plan was to hit the track tomorrow after work,however since I wouldn't be feeling the effects of 5 5k loops of Van Cortlandt Park now then why not go today and take advantage of not only my day off but also warmer conditions,tomorrow is shaping up to be the coldest day of the week and certainly not a day to be standing around in between repeats.

After an 11 week absence from the track it was always going to be a baptism of fire today,I elected to go w/ 8x800m a new repeat for me.
It was a little after 10.30am when I arrived at Temple,no great surprise I more or less had the track to myself,following a mile warm up it was time to get down to business running tights and my Ireland fleece were the order of the day along w/ my trusty thermal gloves and skull cap.

#1 800m 1.12-1.16-2.28.2. I felt 1.15 per lap was a good place to begin,1.20 would have been too soft and while first workouts are often hard to gauge I had at least started as I meant to go on
#2 800m 1.15-1.15-2.30.9. A tad early to be talking about being"in the zone" but three weeks off and seven weeks of base mileage hadn't eroded my ability to run even tempo.
#3 800m 1.15-1.15-2.30.3. Three down,five to go,could I keep this going?
#4 800m 1.16-1.14-2.30.5. The first hiccup of the workout,a little dip in concentration on the first lap but w/out going in to my reserves I was able to haul it back.
#5 800m 1.16-1.14-2.30.2. More of the same.....w/out the lapse of concentration on the opening lap.
#6 800m 1.15-1.15-2.30.6. It was about now the thought"maybe I should've opened w/ 6x800m repeats"began to play over and over on my three minute recovery.....
#7 800m 1.15-1.13-2.28.7. Wow! One more and an ideal opener to several months of pressure....
#8 800m 1.12-1.14-2.26.7. When I was coming off the top turn I thought I was feeling the pace a little,on my 8th 800 that would be understandable...the 1.12 opening lap may also have had a lot to do w/ it...

To open w/ 2.28 and close w/ 2.26 was pleasing but to be so consistent in between was as equally pleasing,granted over the coming months I'd like to get a lot faster but as opening repeats go this was a good one,we'll see what Saturdays 10x400m has in store.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Grinding It Out

It's been a while since I had to dig deep in a training run to see it through to the end,for whatever reason today was one of those days.
Maybe the collective weight of 444 miles in the last 7 weeks caught up w/ me today?maybe the fact I have a race scheduled for tomorrow{rain permitting} forced me to take it down a level or two?or maybe just maybe I had one of those days where you just have to dig deep,grit your teeth and grind it out?

For once on a Saturday my run wasn't dictated by the Spurs kick off,we play tomorrow and I was on the road by 10.30am,even w/ the sun out there was a slight chill in the air and w/in the opening half a mile I found myself fishing out my gloves.
No worries having to detour around CSX freight trains today although I did have to switch sides of the road going over South St bridge,otherwise it was smooth sailing today.

Exiting Fairmount Waterworks w/ four miles to go I got my first"do I have the chops to finish this?"thought,I've experienced that on some of my recent 16 mile runs but not over anything shorter,however just like I've been able to grind out the last 10 miles of a 16 miler I had what it took to see off the final 4 miles even if I had to "work the lights" in my favour in the last three miles from South St bridge to home.

I'm hoping the rain will hold off tomorrow to allow me the chance to run the 15k xc in New York at Van Cortlandt Park,if it's pissing down at 6am when I wake up then the deal's off but as long as the weather is co operating in the early am I'll make my way to the Bronx to not only sign off my 7 week base mileage but also run my final race of the 2010 season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Doing The Early Bird.....And Liking It

After two days of sitting it out due to the first taste of winter I was back out there this evening to run 12 miles.
I hate to play the wuss card but frankly it was too frigging cold Wednesday and Thursday to get out there,it's one thing to deal w/ temps hovering around the freezing mark but when you spend most of the day working in what feels like a walk in meat locker and you struggle to get warm and or stay warm and then try and run it's an uphill battle,I'm reasonably confident if I worked in warmer conditions I'd be better equipped to deal w/ the harshness we've endured the last few days.

The fact today was mildly warmer than the last two days helped me get out and run this evening and also the fact that I was on the road by 4.10pm didn't hurt either,a full half an hour earlier than usual thanks to leaving work 40 mins earlier than usual by way of working through my lunch today and frankly I may look at revising my hours at work during the winter to leave at 3pm from now on till it begins to get lighter in the evenings,granted after this evening there won't be much in the way of 12 milers over the coming weeks but even at 10 miles getting on the road by 4pm might not such a bad thing,something to ponder.

Reached the turn around w/ the last vestiges of daylight still hanging on which made for a picturesque view of the river heading back towards Center City,hard to appreciate this in the dark.
Tonite was another nite I was forced into a detour around a CSX freight train,on Tuesday when I got to the railroad tracks coming back along the banks I had to wait as the behemoth of freight trains was slowly making it's way along the tracks,I couldn't even see the last freight car and gave up waiting and looped back to the Walnut St bridge,this evening as I crossed the South St bridge I saw another CSX freight train w/ no final car in sight another detour around Walnut St to get back on to the banks,here's hoping for no detours tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You Make Me Happy When Skys Are Grey

I opted to exercise my rest day option yesterday,it was whores heart cold out there and I was feeling slightly fatigued after 150 miles in 13 days,this now meant that in order to notch my final 75 mile week I'll have to log 12 milers between now and Saturday,for every action there's a reaction.

I can't say w/ any degree of certainty that today was any warmer than yesterday but I felt the rest day had done me the world of good,that and the fact I was bundled up to the nines{the first time I've worn my running tights in a while...and evidently not the last either},even w/ my thermal gloves on my finger tips were starting to get numb at the 10 mile mark but it was a case of sucking it up and finishing off the run.

A great night for my beloved Spurs,we finished top of our Champions League group tonite w/ a 3.3 draw w/ FC Twente while Werder Bremen did us a solid by beating Inter Milan 3.0,when the draw for the group stage was made in late August/early September I'd have happily taken 3rd place and a spot in the Europa League but here we are 6 games later top of the group and seeded going into the December 17th draw for the knock out stage,glory glory hallelujah and the Spurs go marching on

Monday, December 6, 2010

Not For The Last Time Afterall

W/ a 15k xc race at Van Cortlandt Park scheduled for next Sunday this was originally scheduled as my last Sunday 16 miler......however!
After some considerable thought I've decided to keep the Sunday 16 miler in my rotation even after I'm done w/ base mileage this week.

I quite enjoy the Sunday 16 miler,I may be singing from a different hymn sheet during the winter months but I am keeping in in my rotation.
Jumbo Elliot would insist on his runners running long on Sundays,in Eamon Coghlan's autobiography"Chairman Of The Boards" he talks of how after the first one he had to take a taxi back to Villanova and blowing off his Monday classes as he was knackered,after my first one 6 weeks ago I know how he felt but gradually over the weeks I've grown used to it and think it will continue to serve me well,since I'm borrowing another Jumbo Elliot workout once my repeats begin next week why not stick w/ what made the likes of Coghlan,Paige,Maree and O Sullivan such modern day greats??

Had a wry smile to myself on this mornings run,as a rule on my 16 miler I head up West River Drive,over Falls Bridge and down Kelly Drive but on my 10 milers I've been sticking to the Schuylkill Banks and out past Lloyd Hall and Boathouse Row b4 turning at Girard Bridge,as I came along the banks this morning I was considering going counter clockwise for a change up Kelly Drive and down West River Drive but I saw a group of a dozen and a half runners heading up West River Drive.....someone to chase for a change as more often than not I'm out there by my lonesome......however when they reached Sweet Briar Drive they hung a left,oh well.....
Coming down Kelly Drive at the 3 mile mark I looked up to see two runners ahead of me at St Joe's boathouse I passed the second of them w/ 2 miles to go till Lloyd Hall and never gave it a second thought until my approach to Lloyd Hall as I prepared to hang a right and rejoin the banks via Fairmount Waterworks I heard footsteps and after pealing off to my right I glanced over my left shoulder.....the guy I passed at St Joe's boathouse,he must've worked his arse off over the two miles to catch up w/ me......hunter and the hunted all w/in a few miles....another reason the Sunday 16 miler stays in my rotation.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Staring At The Sun

Sometimes I guess we take things for granted or just don't give them a second running in the daylight.
I was out reasonably early for my 9 miler along Cobs Creek Parkway by 10am and couldn't help but marvel at the daylight,I guess the fact I'm currently running every night during the week and doing most of those runs in the dark makes me appreciate the daylight that much more when I can run in it.

A pretty straight forward run,I'm sitting on 59 miles for the week w/ tomorrow's 16 miler to come to give me another 75 mile week.
Final foot note,seems England is in the grip of some early winter weather this week to the point where several soccer games were postponed today including Blackpool vs Man Utd which was scheduled to go off at 12.30pm here,w/ that falling by the way side the Birmingham Spurs game was moved up the schedule to fill the 12pm-2pm time slot,we drew 1.1 to keep us in 5th place and right now in a rare treat I'm watching Millwall Scunthorpe,nice to know can still visit my old stomping ground of South East London w/out having to leave my room.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Another 10 miler,another nite of 40 degrees and 50 miles for the week.
Having gotten spoilt last week w/ 5 of my 6 runs during daylight it was always going to be a shock to the system going back to running Monday through Friday in the evening,factor in 40 degree temps and you can see why getting my thermal gloves and skull cap was such a huge boost this week.

W/ 50 miles under my belt already I can at least look forward to 2 runs in the daylight over the weekend ,although the temperature isn't going to be much better than the last three days at least w/ the sun being out it'll feel warmer....he said hopefully!

A 9 miler tomorrow,for once my run isn't dictated by the Spurs game,for some strange reason it's not being shown till 5pm.....this does however mean having to avoid seeing the score till then...the lengths I'll go to to follow my beloved Spurs!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Shoes

Paulo Nutini may not have made it on to my"See You Jimmy" St Andrew's Day mix tape but I tip my thermal skull cap to him today as I got to brake in my new running shoes on my 10 miler this evening.
I was quite impressed w/ my last pair of shoes,Asics Gel Pulse that I sprung for another pair this time around,for most of the last 9 years I've favoured Asics I did have a brief dalliance w Under Armour earlier this year but I switched back to Asics in the summer.

40 degrees out there this evening,it's gonna get colder as I look to add some more cold weather running clothes to my wardrobe,I'd rather spend the money on cold weather running clothes than miss training runs because it's cold

On the subject of hot and cold Russia and Qatar the surprise winners today in the World Cup host vote in Zurich.
It was a double blow as England had bid for the 2018 and USA to host 2022 but neither won,hey ho.
And on the subject of Russia,I hope the loading dock doesn't feel like Siberia again tomorrow,I may need to start wearing my thermal skull cap and gloves at work also!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I realize taking another dig at the weather forecasters is a bit like shooting fish in a barrel but reading today's forecast yesterday didn't fill me w/ hope in terms of being able to run today and when I heard the wind and the rain first thing this morning I could've been forgiven for thinking today would be a wash out.

However come lunch time the rain stopped and now the prospect of notching another 10 miler this evening was very real.
Somewhat timely was the arrival of my thermal running gloves and skull cap,I put both to good use this evening,granted 44 degrees is hardly frigid but coming off of 61 degrees yesterday it was a sizable drop but thanks to my new gloves and skull cap I didn't feel it,money well spent I feel.

Funny story to finish up w/, heading out along Kelly Drive just beyond Boathouse Row I thought I heard someone yell "hey" but I couldn't be sure it was directed at me so I continued on my way to Girard Ave bridge which is my turn around point.
Suddenly I was aware someone was trying to catch up w/ me,I kept going but eventually the runner overtook me and my first reaction was "ok hot dog it's all yours"
The runner then slowed and turned around.....turns out it was my team mate Nick Berra!!!!
Nick was on a lay over in Philly{he's a pilot} and was out for a run,the chances of us running in to one another were remote but here we were,after the turn around we ran together till Market St b4 Nick went east and I continued south,there was a noticeable pick up in the tempo but what do you expect from a 1.56 800m guy!!