Thursday, June 30, 2011

Batting A Thousand/Emil The Great

My 1,000th blog entry here on Blogspot since transferring from AOL People Connection on Nov 30th 07.
I'd like to thank everyone who reads Running Free be it on a regular or semi regular basis,I've often said writing a blog is a bit like being a late nite DJ as you can't be sure if anyone is actually listening to you,thanks to all the comments I get I know someone is reading all this so thank you...even the haters your comments just serve as fuel to the fire.

Rather than wait till tomorrow I did the online registration for Nationals today,earlier this week only 3 runners had signed up for the 5,000m and only 2 for the 10,000m,including myself the entries stand at 9 for the 5,000m and 6 for the 10,000m,we'll see what activity happens tomorrow b4 the 5pm deadline.

And so to my run,wow did I ever luck out w/ my choice of 10,000m icons,the great Emil Zatopek.
In London in 48 he took gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m b4 hitting the triple trifecta in Helsinki in 52,gold in the 5,000m,10,000m and marathon.
One of my favourite Zatopek stories is from the 52 Olympic marathon after 15k he turned to the leader and then World record holder and Jim Peters and asked him what he thought of the pace"I think it's a little slow" said Peters.....if he was trying to psych out Zatopek he failed,Zatopek took off and won the gold,Peters dropped out.
Another great Zatopek story involved Ron Clarke the Australian distance king who for all his world records only had an Olympic bronze in the 10,000m(Rome 64) to show for his efforts
In 66 Zatopek invited Clarke to Prague to race in either a 1,500m or 3,000m race,as he prepared to fly back to Australia Zatopek pressed a small package into Clarke's hand,Clarke always tells how he thought Zatopek was giving him something to smuggle out of the then occupied Czechoslovakia,upon checking the package Clarke was blown away to unwrap Zatopek's Helsinki 10,000m gold w/ the inscription"You deserve this",hard not to be impressed by such a gesture.

In the spirit of Zatopek I attacked my 6 miler tonite,early splits of 3.45,9.01,13.58 lead me to believe something fast was on tap,21.26 at the turn around,my only concern was last Monday I went out in 21.40 only to come back in 22.17 for a combined 43.57......
No such worries this evening,perhaps the fact I haven't ran a 6 milers since last Wednesday and won't run another hard 6 miler till July 19th spured me on to a negative split of 21.26/21.21 for a seasons best time of 42.47.6. a full 54 seconds faster than my June 14th 43.41.7.
I felt strong tonite,maybe all the added Vitamin C is doing the trick,as the first half of the year draws to a close tonite I hope a stronger,faster second half is on tap.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Little By Little

So a recap of last nite's 5,000m at Icahn.
Of the 14 races I've ran in the first half of the year 9 have been in New York,what can I say like a moth to the flame I'm drawn to the Big Apple.
I've been spoilt in the respect that all but one of those races were w/ a ride up and back from Sean but it felt good to get back to my roots last nite and take the Megabus to and from Manhattan and the subway to Randall's Island,big shout out to my buddy Tom Fitz for peeping that 103rd St bridge was out that would've been a boot in the balls getting there to find out I couldn't walk over,it meant going to 125th and Lexington and taking the M35 which was a bit of a ball buster but bottom line I got to Icahn w/ 25 mins to spare and back to Penn Station w/ 20 mins to harm,no foul.

Mile warm up b4 the womens 5,000m got underway which allowed me an extra 20 mins,54 men on hand so 3 heats of 18 runners,I never considered heat 2 given my times are sub par right now but I'll be curious to see the winning time from heat 2......if the results get published,my only gripe w/ the Tueday Nite Speed Series this year is a lack of results online.
Got a good start and a clear run into the first turn and came through 200m in 37 seconds and 400m in 75 seconds,I was 12th or 14th.
As the opening laps clipped off I tried to stay in contact w/ a small group of runners just ahead of me,I didn't want to end up in no mans land and came through the opening mile in 5.09.

By now I was inbroiled in my own "race w/in the race" w/ a couple of runners who helped me keep an honest pace,shades of my last 5,000m at Swarthmore in May where my time was sub par but I raced well.
10.39 at 2 miles a 5.20 mile,in spite of being a warm evening I felt comfortable,as I've become more accustomed to 5,000m races( this was my 8th in the last 14 months)
Runners were starting to come back to me over the closing laps as the on going tussle between myself and one of the Urban Athletics runners continued to swop places.
Kudos to the time keepers at 200m for calling out lap splits even if now I don't remember them,I also forget what I came through the bell in.

Down the back straight I had to move out into lane 2 to pass a runner but stayed there as the final assault w/ the UA runner was about to unfold,by focusing on him I forgot to make a mental note of my 3 mile time,if for shits and giggles it was 16.10 that would've been a 5.30 mile but I'm guessing,as it was coming up the home straight I launched a final kick to overhaul the Urban Athletics runner for 12th in 16.48.9.
Sure I'm disappointed to register my slowest time of the year but at least now I know where I stand heading into Sacramento and Worlds,I do still have 4 weeks till Berea and Nationals.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record everything I do now is geared towards the 10,000m at Nationals based on last nite I believe a sub 34 10,000m is there for the taking,where that would stack up at Nationals remains to be seen but we're going to find out soon enough.
While it's always more fun to ride shotgun in Sean's Mini on the ride home I enjoyed the ride home on the Megabus w/ my ipod and jamming to a few albums by Bryan Adams and 10,000 Maniacs as I reflected on a good nite at the races on a sub par first half of the season,let's see what the second half of the season brings?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Due to the extreme hour(1.23am)my full post on this evenings 5,000m at Icahn will have to wait till later on today after I rack up some zzzs.
For now the cliff notes read:
12th out of 17 in 16.48.9.
Opening 200m in 37 seconds
Opening lap in 75 seconds
1st mile 5.09
2 miles in 10.39(5.30 mile)
I'm disappointed my overall time was a seasons slowest BUT everything I do now is geared towards the 10,000m at Nationals and on a wing and a prayer 16.48 could come out to a 33.36 10,000m,my pr is 34.44........
More to follow

Gun Fight At The Last Chance Saloon

Ok so that's maybe a bit over the top for tonites 5,000m race at Icahn Stadium in New York but never let it be said my blog doesn't provide a flair for the dramatic!!!

It's fair to say my 2011 outdoor season has failed to get off the ground,my season opener at Upenn on April 2nd set the tone for what it must be said has been a major disappointment this outdoor season,following a 6 week period b4 my next race at Swarthmore I went backwards even though I felt then and now I was well trained(little did I know what was going on w/ my body}when I ran another lackluster race at Ichan on May 17th I suspected something was up and the death nail was that woeful mile at Henderson on June 3rd which brings me to this evening.

I have no idea what to expect of myself tonite,that's not me being coy or hedging my bets,I just don't know what to expect,this is my first race in almost 4 weeks and my first race since discovering that my piss poor form thus far outdoors was down to low ferritin levels in my blood,it'll be interesting to see what this evening yields,it will give me an idea what to expect next Saturday in Sacramento at Worlds and maybe a pointer to the 5,000m at Nationals in 4 weeks time,wish me luck I've passed the point of turning back it's going to be what it's going to be,good,bad or ugly.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Making Plans For Nationals*

Hopefully someone will leave the light on for me!
*Not to be confused w/ the XTC song"Making Plans For Nigel".

Although my departure to Sacramento and Worlds is now just 9 days away I have to get my ducks in a row for Berea and Nationals in just over 4 weeks time.
My plans took a major hit when my wingman Sean"that's Doctor Harbison to you" had to shelve his plans to go due to a season ending pelvic fracture(ouch!!!),there went my ride and roommate in one foul swoop.
Fortunately the club{ Greater Philadelphia Track Club} tend to send a decent number of runners to Nationals each year and Chuck was gracious enough to offer me a ride up....and back to Cleveland now I just needed to find a hotel and w/in my budget.
Therein lay the problem,alot of the cheaper hotels required the fee now and between still having to pay the registration fee for Nationals by Friday plus a week in Sacramento money was in short supply.......God Bless Tom Bodett and his Motel 6 chain

Granted Motel 6s are very basic but at $39 a nite you get what you pay for.....but you don't pay for it till you check in which allows me a few more pay cheques to secure the 5 nights.
I dodged a major bullet w/ one hotel I looked at online,I won't name them but they were offering a cheaper rate than Motel 6 and while I weighed up the pros and cons of committing $209 I technically don't have right now I happened to check the customer comments.........jaysus I realize not everyone is going to like a hotel,a movie,a cd etc but this hotel got slagged off something chronic,soooooooooooooooo glad I didn't book a room there.

As is my won't the day b4 a race no run this evening but a huge brontosaurus bowl of Linguine and Clams w/ Texas Toast,got my bag ready and now it's time to put my feet up and relax b4 heading up to New York tomorrow afternoon for a 5,000m race at Icahn,not only is it my last race b4 Worlds but for several it's a final race b4 Club Nationals next weekend so it could be a lively race,as long as I can improve on my sub par times at the Upenn and Twilight meets in April and May I'll be happy.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A Little Fine Tuning

Nice easy 8 miler out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway just after 10am this morning to round out another 35 mile week.
Conditions were overcast when I set off and I thought shades were a bit too much,however the sun came out early on into the run and frankly I could've used them but if that was the biggest issue I've had to deal w/ today or the past seven days then I've got it pretty damn good I'd have to say.

While out on my run I committed my upcoming week to paper,I usually sit down on Sunday and write out what I want the following week to look like and while often the weeks may be written "mentally" I never commit anything to paper until the week of and even then I write them in pencil just in case I need to change anything.
Case in point the need to return to the realm of 2 visits to the track per week,I had to back off from this when it was clear something was not right w/in my system and while I've not only been able to get to the root of that problem I also feel now is the time to go all Billy Bragg and get"Back To Basics".

Starting this week and for the next four weeks w/out tampering w/ my mileage as I am officially tapering for Nationals I can get 2 workouts on the track in even if for the next two weeks it means 1 race/1 repeat I can still squeeze in 6 repeats between now and July 23rd b4 departing for Berea.
Talking of Berea and Nationals this is the week all hell will brake loose in terms of who's going to Nationals,for the past few weeks I've monitored the status of entries for my age group to get an idea of who else is going,things have been slow to say the least,as of today only 3 entries for the 5,000m and 2 for the 10,000m but w/ the 5pm deadline for entries this Friday I know this time next week that'll be a different kettle of fish altogether.

Rest day tomorrow b4 heading to New York on Tuesday for the final Tuesday Nite Speed Series at Icahn Stadium,my last race b4 Worlds and I hope a chance to improve on the two Ferritin blighted 5,000s I ran in April(16.21.1) and May(16.25.9),it will also give me an idea of what I can expect of myself in Sacramento a week from Saturday b4 Nationals three weeks later.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

One Step Forward,Two Steps Back.....Again!!!

It's been said a week is a long time in masters track,after the highs of last week and the fact this week for whatever reason/reasons I've failed to match what I was able to do last week I'd have to agree w/ that.
After last weeks 5.21.1-5.20.9.-5.20.3-5.17.4. I was hoping to kick on from there today w/ mile repeats again.

Following last weeks schedule of getting up at 7am,leaving for the track by 8am and arriving by 9am and all done by 10am I was up at 7am again today and out the front door by 8am to arrive at Temple's track by 8.40am,6 lap warm up b4 switching into my flats and time to have at it again.
Mile #1 1.21-1.25-1.24-1.14-5.24.8.The 1.25/1.24s in the middle of the repeat clearly hindered my hopes of a 5.20 mile,I said last week I need to eliminate those 1.24/1.25 splits if I want these 5.20 miles.
Mile #2 1.20-1.23-1.23-1.14-5.20.7.A little more like it,nice to see those 1.14s in there,getting to 5.20 is one thing,getting to 5.10,5.05,5.00 and below will require some work.
Mile #3 calves were both a little sore going into this repeat,something I didn't encounter a week ago,also if I turned those 1.23/1.24s into 1.20s I'd have been looking at 5.18,food for thought.
Mile #4 1.22-1.27-1.26-1.18-5.33.4.No bite or zip in my legs on laps 2 and 3 as I had to settle for a lackluster 5.33 final mile

As is often the case as soon as the workout was done the inquest began,was last week a one off?did I just not have it this week?do I need more repartition in my workouts? and so the time honoured 20 questions began.
If and it's a big if, if I do need more repartition in my workouts my schedule is kind of working against me but it is doable to get on the track twice a week,next week I race Tuesday but can back here Saturday,the following two weeks get a little tricky w/ flying to and from Sacramento but are doable if I tweak my schedule, leaving the week b4 Nationals as my final week w/ 2 trips to the for thought.
As I rode home on the subway a line from "Sometimes" by Midnight Oil struck a cord w/ me
"sometimes you're beaten to the call sometimes,sometimes you're taken to the wall,but you don't give in"
Words to live by.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yellow And Green W/ Envy

Systematically over the last few years a number of my "running to do" wishes have been checked,as a marathon runner I ran the big marathons I set out to run:London,New York,Boston,Chicago and Athens,I also got under the 2.50 barrier after times of 2.54,2.55,2.56 thanks to a 2.48.49. in Chicago in 02
Switching to track in 06 I then began to set about achieving the following:run at Penn Relays,run at the Millrose Games,medal at the Millrose Games,be a National Champion,win 5th Avenue Mile,set a world record leaving only two things unchecked,become World Champion and run at Haywards Fields.

Sadly the issue of low ferritin levels in my blood this year knackered any outside chances I had at Sacramento,I doubt very much I'll be in Finland for World indoors next winter or Brazil in 2013 for the next outdoor Worlds so we'll have to see on July 14th where the 2014 Indoor and 2015 Outdoor Worlds get awarded too.
I do still harbor ambitions of running at Haywards Field,sadly it won't be this Sunday in the Masters 1,500m race during the USATF Nationals/World Championship trials,it was always going to be a big financial ask to swing Eugene,Sacramento and Berea in 6 weeks,that said in a pinch I'm sure I could've but that said my recent 4.54 mile only equates to a 4.36 1,500m and frankly I don't want to embarrass myself at the mecca of American track.

Fingers crossed there is always next year,there hasn't been a Masters exhibition men's 3,000m since 08 at the Olympic trials so hopefully next summer my current 3,000m pr of 9.07.1. will be good enough to get me in if the powers that be go w/ a 3,000m,that as they say is for another day and I wish my fellow masters 1,500m men and 3,000m women all the best this Sunday in their respective races.

Easy 4 mile this evening,I've learnt to embrace my easy days and save myself for the harder days,tomorrow is a rest day b4 a return to the track on Saturday for mile repeats.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Flying Finn

In the modern era of track and field Paavo Nurmi was perhaps the first superstar, over 3 Olympics in the 1920s he won 9 gold and 3 silver medals including gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m in Antwerp in 1920,gold in the 5,000m and 1,500m in Paris in 1924 and gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m again in Amsterdam in 1928,no wonder he earned the nickname The Flying Finn.

Had to contend w/ heat and humidity this evening on my 6 miler,loath as I am to make excuses the fact was on Monday it was a comfortable 78 degrees w/ low humidity,this evening it was 86 degrees w/ considerably more humidity,but what do you expect here in Philly in mid to late June? it's likely to get much hotter in July and August.
Hoping to learn my lesson from Monday I took a little bit off my opening splits,3.49,9.25,14.22 on my way to a 22.40 turnaround,a whole minute slower than Monday but 10 seconds off of my debut split of 22.30 when I opened my 6 mile account w/ a 45.12.6. back on June 5th.
I knew off a near 23 minute split that a 4th consecutive sub 43 minute time wasn't on but I wanted to soldier on and do the best I could.

Having been plagued by intestinal issues towards the tail end of my runs on Monday and Tuesday I was delighted to get through this evening w/out issue,the last thing I need right now is another complication w/ my running.
Made the inbound 3 miles in 22.54 for a combined time of 45.34.7. which ranks 5th fastest of the 10 6 miles I've logged since June 5th.
Obviously there's room for improvement but somewhat frustratingly it'll have to wait untill next Thursday as I return to the racing realm next Tuesday at Icahn Stadium over 5,000m.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Trip Down Nostalga Way

An easy 4 miler this evening to keep things ticking over until another 6 miler tomorrow.
Last week I started to think about the 6 milers I used to run back home between 81 and 84 b4 I began to get more adventurous over 10 milers and longer as I moved up from 10k to 10 miles,half marathon b4 my marathon debut in 85.
My first 6 milers in 80 came on the back of an Easter vacation to Ireland,long b4 10k became the distance du jour I was just curious to see if I could run 6 miles so I mapped out an out and back course from where I lived to Blackheath roughly 3 miles away,it probably took me 50 mins(what the fuck I was 16 and only used to running a mile!!!)by 81 I'd brought that down to 37.58 b4 34.59 in 83 33.14 in 84,32.41 in 85 and finally 31.49 in 87.

I can still visualize the route I used to take:from the corner or Lewisham High St and Roxley Road make a right,down Lewisham High St to Belmont Hill,up Belmont Hill b4 hanging a left into Blackheath Village(picture above)down and up through the village b4 a right and eventually onto Prince Charles Road and across Blackheath towards the corner of Greenwich Park(marathon runners may recognise Blackheath and Greenwich Park as the start of the London Marathon.
Right onto Charlton Way at the corner of Prince Charles Road and Charlton Way which then morphed into Vanburgh Park.
At the corner of Vanburgh Park and Strathden Road stood the Royal Standard pub,this was half way....rather than pop in for a swift half I would make a right on Strathden Road and head back towards the heath,crossing Shooters Hill Road Strathden Road then became Prince Of Wales Road which would lead me back into Blackheath Village,down and up through the village and a right onto Belmont Hill.

At the foot of Belmont Hill there was maybe a 100 meters b4 that section of road became Lewisham High Street and now the race for home against the trusty old enemy the stopwatch began.
Notable landmarks in that final mile and a quarter(give or take) St Savours primary school and church where I went to school and served as an alterboy.....stop laughing ye feckin' heathens!!!,Ladywell swimming pool the Fox and Firkin pub(where many a brain cell was overworked into submission over the years!!!)Memorial Gardens and Lewisham Hospital or aka St Elsewhere cos you'd want to be treated anywhere but there!! b4 making a left onto Roxley Road and coming to the finish inside 10 meters.

Who'd have thought that run would be the foundation of my career,it's been 31 years since I began to make that run a standard run,I've often thought about rerunning it whenever I get home next,of course I'd have to run it in reverse from Blackheath to Lewisham and back given my mum lives in Blackheath but who knows in the next year or two maybe I'll get that chance?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Heroes From My Past

I sat alone w/ the dreams of children weeping willows and tall dark buildings
I've caught a fashion from the dreams of children but woke up sweating from this modern nightmare,and I was alone no one was there I was alone no one was there
I caught a glimpse from the dreams of children,I got a feeling of optimism

Dreams Of Children-The Jam

My love of all things track and field both as a runner and a fan began 35 years ago in the summer of 76,as a freshman in high school I set freshman records in the 400m and 800m finals winning both and for good measure won a silver in the high jump,it was around the same time I began watching track and field not just on tv but at nearby Crystal Palace the national running center in London.

I went to the British Olympic trials on two consecutive Saturdays and remember seeing Brenden Foster win either the 5,000m or 10,000m final,later that summer in Montreal"Big Bren"as he was affectionately known won a bronze in the 10,000m final behind Viren and Lopes it was one of the few medals the brits won on the track in 76 and it made the likable Geordie an early hero in my book,Foster was the flag bearer of british distance running on the track after the likes of David Bedford and along w/ the likes of Mike McLeod,Tony Simmons,Dave Black,Nick Rose,Tony Staines etc.

I have 6 quality 6 milers left between now and Nationals as I try to hone my speed,strength and stamina today saw me attack it early on as my unofficial splits of 3.56,9.04 and 14.04 lead me to believe something brisk was on tap,I wasn't wrong 21.40,the question was could I hold on to that pace?

Sadly no,I didn't falter by much but my inbound 3 mile split was 22.17 for a combined 43.57.3. still my third best time over the out and back course and will mean going out a little more conservatively on Wednesday and seeing if I can deliver the goods in the second half to try and better today.

As a music fan it would be remiss of me not to say something about the passing of Clarence Clemons aka "The Big Man" in Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band,the first time I saw The Boss at the old Wembley stadium on July 4th 1985 on the Born In The USA Tour the thing I came away w/ was the interaction between Bruce and the band,especially Clarence,it wasn't just Bruce Springsteen it was Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band,"Jungleland"will never sound the same again w/out "The Big Man",there is a darkness on the edge of town tonite.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Best Week In A While

Nice easy untimed 8 miler this morning to round out my week.
Slowly but surely I'm working my mileage back up,24,30,30 and now 35,granted I'm 20 miles off the 55 miles a week I'd like to be at(and will be again)but keeping in mind Worlds is just under 3 weeks off I'd be tapering anyway.
This was a pivotal week in training for me,two very good 6 milers and a good repeat on the track,I'd have to go back to my 4 weeks of 55 mile weeks w/ 2 repeats in between the Upenn meet on April 2nd and Swarthmore on May 14th for this kind of form and also my last 8 miler was May 12th.

The blue print for next week will be a carbon copy of the week I've just had 6 milers Monday and Wednesday, easy 4 mile recovery runs Tuesday and Thursday,rest day on Friday b4 4x1 mile repeats on Saturday and an easy 8 miler next Sunday.
There's still a ton of work to be done between now and Nationals in a little over 6 weeks time but positive steps in the right direction now will go along way in making this week a turning point in my season

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Toweling Off,Not Throwing The Towel In.

It's been three and a half weeks since my last set of repeats anywhere and two weeks since I last set foot on a track,frankly after the debacle that was my mile repeats at Temple on May 24th I fully anticipated yellow police caution tape around the track when I arrive there this morning at just b4 9am, as my morale and confidence took a battering of GBH proportion that afternoon and my reputation was almost bludgeoned to death.
Having ran 2 good 6 milers w/ easy 4 mile recovery runs to follow and a day off yesterday I went into today's 4x1 mile repeats w/ some confidence,granted I was only looking to run 5.20 pace but considering what went down on May 24th(5.13.7.-5.34.1-5.55.8.-6.10.7.)5.20 would be a quantum leap.

I was up early to facilitate a track workout,up bt 7am,out the door gone 8am and down to the track b4 9am, a few like minded souls also had the same idea but by the looks of things I wasn't going to have to wrestle for lane 1,6 laps to warm up b4 getting into my flats and having at it.

Mile #1 1.20-1.22-1.24-1.15-5.21.1. A good start,I wanted that 1.20 to kick off and got it,the funny thing is I felt I was running slower!!it's going to take a while to get from 800m/1,500m mindset to 10,000m mindset but I have 7 weeks.
Mile #2 1.20-1.21-1.24-1.15-5.20.9. Consistent which is good,over the coming weeks I'd like to eliminate those 1.24s
Mile #3 1.21-1.20-1.22-1.17-5.20.3. Was a tad concerned to open in 1.21. fearing another collapse like May 24th but it proved to be a minor blip on my repeat.
Mile #4 1.17-1.24-1.21-1.15-5.17.4. Minus a "brain fart" on lap 2 when I went to sleep mentally this was a good final repeat and tells me there's"more meat on that bone" as we get closer to Berea and Nationals.

All in all a good workout,I'd said prior to stepping on the track this morning 1.20 per lap/5.20 per mile would be a good place to start and I achieved that so now the trick will be to do a little better next Saturday.
Clearly this week of 6,4,6,4,repeats and easy(untimed!!!!)8 miler tomorrow has bore fruit(I need all the Vitamin C I can get.....LMFAO!!!!!!!)so a replica of that is very much the blueprint for next week and seeing where that leaves me 6 weeks out from Nationals.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mixed Emotions

He waits for her to understand but she won't understand at all,she waits all night for him to call but he won't call anymore
He waits to hear her say forgive but she just drops her pearl black eyes and prays to hear him say I love you but he tells no more lies
He waits for her to sympathize but she won't sympathize at all, she waits all night to feel his kiss but always wakes alone
He waits to hear her say forget but she just hangs her head in pain and prays to hear him say no more I'll never leave again
How did we get this far apart?we used to be so close together how did we get this far apart?I thought this love would last forever

Apart-The Cure

A day of very mixed emotions indeed,Precious is 10 months old and I've had her for 6 months,she's grown so much in 6 months,not such a "little girl" anymore,I've recently taken to calling her "Babs" cos she's such a Funny Girl !!!!

As a Boston based sports fan I'm overjoyed that the Bruins have ended a 39 year drought for the Stanley Cup and joined fellow New England teams atop their respective sports, in the last 10 years the Pats have won 3 Super Bowls,the Red Sox have won 2 World Series and the Celtics added another NBA title to their storied history leaving only the Bruins to make a clean sweep of things.

They did it the hard way,winning in 7 and overtime in round 1,winning in 7 in the Eastern Conference final and the Stanley Cup in 7 having trailed 0.2 and 2.3 no wonder the Canucks fans took it so badly!!!

Today also marks the 25th anniversary of getting engaged to my ex wife Erica on her 21st birthday,I've said over the years that Erica anniversaries either go unnoticed or hit me between the eyeballs like a 2by4,being the 25th anniversary I kind of knew that this year Erica's b'day was going to strike a cord w/ me.

I can still picture the quaint restaurant in Greenwich(South East London not New York or Conneticut) where I asked her to marry me it was one of the happiest days of my life but sadly unlike novels and movies this fairy tail didn't have a happy ending,I've shed a number of tears over the years at the fact I did such a piss poor job at my marriage and "Apart" by The Cure sums up how things went from being so good to so bad so quickly.

Not that I think for one second Erica reads my blog,or thinks about me that often but I do wish her a happy b'day and hope that she's happy in her life these days.

In keeping w/ Tuesdays easy untimed 4 miler I went the same route this evening,I need to get out of that mindset that every training run is the final of the Olympic Trials,Saturday sees a return to repeats after three and a half weeks since my dramatic collapse last time out and Sunday will be an easy untimed 8 miler to round out the week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Seeing A Man About A Dog

I remember when I was younger how adults would use covert expressions when they didn't want me to know what they meant,"it fell off the back of a lorry"implied it was stolen,"in the family way/a bun in the oven"an unplanned pregnancy and the time honoured"seeing a man about a dog"which could've meant absolutely any bloody thing but was the term used when you didn't want people knowing what exactly you were doing.
I took today off work,my boss granted me a sick day after the shenanigans of Friday and Monday and actually suggested taking two days off but I felt a day was more than enough.
Should anyone ask me tomorrow where I was today I shall happily inform them I was"seeing a man about a dog" and leave it at that.

Still no sign of my bloody debit card,week to ten days my arse! I went to my lending establishment today to get enough money out to pay my rent and go food shopping, a happy landlord and a happy kitty kat plus no left overs for a couple of days for yours truly,food,Gatorade,Vitamin C tablets and another gallon of Tampico a delightful orange/mango concoction I've been guzzling the last two weeks which seems to be doing the trick I must say.

Out for my 6 miler just after 2pm,inspite of feeling sluggish in the opening few strides I went through 2 miles in 14.19,very close to Mondays split.
22.00 at the turnaround,I could attribute my 10 second deficit to having to swing wide of a mechanical digger along the sidewalk of Cobbs Creek Parkway by Carpenter St.
Again I felt strong on the inbound 3 miles,if I was going out hard and fading away in the second half of the run I'd be worried but yet again I notched a negative split 22.00/21.45 for 43.45.7. only 4 seconds slower than Monday and another day of being closer to 7 min mile pace w/ something close to knee lift and leg turnover at the finish of the run.
Clearly yesterdays easy untimed 4 miler was the right thing,more of the same is on tap tomorrow w/ a rest day on the schedule for Friday b4 a return to the track on Saturday for mile repeats.
Three weeks from today I'll touchdown in Sacramento,seven weeks from today ditto for Berea so far this week I feel a tad more optimistic about Worlds and Nationals,long may this continue.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Survival Of The Fittest

Kicked it a little old school today{after yesterday at work it was nice to know it's all I kicked!!!!}w/ an untimed run over 4 miles.
In 07/08 when I only logged 30 miles a week my days in between track repeats were always easy untimed 5 milers where my coach's mantra to me was"no matter how slow you're going,it's probably too fast!"
Too often we as runners are governed by the stop watch and too hung up on times so it was nice to just go out and run for the sheer love of it this afternoon,sure after cranking out a brisk 6 miler yesterday there was a temptation to see how fast I could run a 4 miler but if the mood takes me I can bait that hook Thursday since Friday is scheduled as a rest day b4 a return to the realm of repeats on Saturday.

I'm still feeling the fallout from "Disaster Day" on June 3rd,bad enough I ran a humbling 4.54 mile that evening but on my way out to Paoli I lost my debit card and work id.
I cancelled the old debit card and asked my bank to issue a new one last Monday and was told it would arrive w/in a week to ten days.....
As of today{8 days}said debit card is like the proverbial the mail,I've exhausted the left overs in my fridge I need real food so tomorrow it's back to the bank to see how much they'll let me w/draw w/out my debit card,$100 would allow me a trip to the food store not just for me but for Precious,the little girl needs to eat too,if her cute face doesn't win them over she could always bite them like she just bit me!!!,talk about bite the hand that feeds!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Out For Blood

Don't feel like Satan,but I am to them so I try to forget it anyway I can
Rocking In The Free World-Neil Young

It's 31 years almost to the day that I left high school and I've spent most of that time in the workforce,one thing I've learned is that from time to time you're going to have a bad day,the hope is the following day will be a better one............
I deliberately glossed over the horror show that was Friday in the hope that today would be a better day,I was sadly wrong!
Again w/out going all FYI I walked into a myriad of cock ups just like I did on Friday which frankly had me on a blood lust not seen since the days of the geezer in the picture,Vlad The Impaler whom it is though Bram Stoker based the novel Dracula on.

To say Vlad liked blood would be a bit like saying Attila The Hun had"anger management" issues,he was a bad boy but one well worth doing some history research on if you like you villains to be blood thirsty and all conquering,anywho like Vlad I was on a one man rampage baying for blood this morning.
I'm not proud of it but sometimes to get your point across you have kick a few chairs and turn over a few tables or the equivalent thereof to get people to realise how seriously pissed off you are,I left it in no uncertain terms this morning I was pissed and out for blood and amazingly by mid morning a lot of the problems that had blighted my morning were being resolved.
In fairness you can only play the "Vlad" card once in a blue(or blood red)moon and now that its done it's hopefully time to move on,tomorrow as they say is another day and I for one will be hoping for a better and less furniture moving one!!

W/ all that anger and angst still coursing through my system the odds of a brisk 6 miler were favourable this evening and I'm pleased to say I didn't disappoint!!!
It didn't hurt that the conditions were close to idyllic moderate heat and low humidity and early indications were a fast time was on,I went through 2 miles in 14.18 and reached the turn around in 21.50,40 seconds faster than my previous best the concern was not "bonking" in the inbound 3 miles as I'd barely eaten all day.
I was a second off of identical splits,back in 21.51 to clock 43.41.7. a full 2.06 faster than yesterday and also 2.31 faster than my previous best of 45.12.6.
After weeks of grinding out 7.30 mile pace to be closer to 7 minutes was a huge lift to my confidence,granted one good run doesn't mean all is well w/in or signal a legitimate run at the 5,000m at Worlds but to have knee lift and leg turnover at the end of tonites run was a welcome return and I look forward to building on this.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Snakes And Ladders

It was once said"a week in masters track is a long time" frankly a day can be just as long as I found out over the weekend!
Since I wasn't planning to go to the Mid Atlantic C'ships to begin w/ long b4 my piss poor form made sure that any race in my immediate future was almost futile a weekend of 6 milers out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway seemed to be the agenda.

Following Friday's 46.01.6.I felt like I'd turned a corner.....only to record my second slowest 6 miler of the week some 21 hours later,while the heat had dropped off considerably the humidity was still hanging around,so much so that come Sunday morning another 21 hours after the fact my dri fit sleeveless top was still damp!!
I felt I was on for a fast time Saturday after eyeballing my watch at a couple of"'unofficial" splits along the route,I reached the turnaround in 22.41 which was my second fastest turnaround split........however the humidity took it's toil over the second half of the run as my combined splits of 22.41/24.53 came out to 47.34.7. bringing me back down to earth after Friday's semi impressive 46.01.6.
W/ hindsight I probably attacked the opening couple of miles too aggressively,I might've ran a decent 4 miler off that pace but right now 6 is the name of the game.....back to the bottom of the pile!!

Sunday proved to be a different kettle of fish,conditions were not only cooler but less humid when I set off just gone 10am,good practice for the 10,000m at Nationals which is scheduled to go off at 10am as Roy Keane used to say"failure to prepare,prepare for failure".
Having gotten my fingers burned yesterday by going out too hard I paid close attention to my "unofficial'' splits today on route to a 22.55 turnaround,in the 6 day of 6 milers since last Sunday my turnaround splits have been:22.30-22.55-23.48*-22.54-22.41-22.55.*(it was 96 degrees that afternoon for crying out loud!!!!)reasonably consistent and based off of the 46.41.3. and 46.01.6. I'd ran off of previous 22.55/22.54 turnarounds another 46 min time looked on the cards.
Quite how I managed a negative split of 22.55/22.52 for a combined 45.47.7. is beyond me,I did feel strong over the second half of the run and as a true believer in the adage of"there are no coincidences" the fact I had several choice words for "Speed Racer" at the intersection of Cobbs Creek Parkway and Whitby Avenue when they not only had the gaul to make an illegal left hand turn on a red light but then toot their horn at me in the middle of said intersection as I'm crossing on a green light may've helped me pick up the pace in the final two miles....for those curious as to my reply to said horn tooting I believe "Speed Racer" was reliably informed that the next time that happened said steering coloum would be ripped out of the car and shoved up their arse.......trifle ye not w/ very pissed off possums!!!!!!!!.

So another 30 mile week as I continue to map out a strategy that I hope will see me in comparative shape for the 5,000m/10,000m double in Ohio in 7 weeks time,another tweak of things this week should see me upping my mileage to 35 miles w/ a repeat thrown in for good measure,let's see if an increase in Vitamin C will help me get back to the level of running I expect of myself

Friday, June 10, 2011


Interchanging mind control come let the revolution take it's toil if you could flick the switch and open your third eye,you'd see that we should never be afraid to die so come on
Rise up and take the power back it's time the fat cats had a heart attack,you know that their time's coming to an end we have to unify and watch our flag ascend so come on
They will not force us they will stop degrading us,they will not control us we will be victorious so come on


Sometimes in life it's best not to react to a situation when the emotions are at their rawest,this will be a much different entry than the one I would've written w/out a good nights sleep on the matter that's for sure!!

The best thing that can be said about the day and the work week is they're over and a few days away from the brick oven that I work in may allow me to cool off,Monday's another day and a whole new week and providing I can get out to run again over the weekend it should help defuse the situation.

I'm not going into a long diatribe about the ills and woes of my job,I just can't be arsed,let's just say that getting a tattoo on my forehead that says"People only listen to me when I fart" was a serious consideration yesterday!!!! but hopefully a few days away from the situation and a few 6 milers will give me a different perspective and a much better attitude when I go in Monday morning.

As for Friday's run,after two days of cooling my jets I was happy to be back out along Cobbs Creek Parkway for my out and back 6 miler,even if it meant having to detour fallen trees along the course,downside it probably cost me a sub 46 time,plus side it'll make life hell for the ATV and bikers who treat CCP like a bike path not a sidewalk.

I reached the turnaround in 22.54 and came back in 23.07 to record my second fastest time 46.01.6. since I began this current batch of 6 milers last Sunday,on Monday I went out in 22.55 but came back in 23.46 so even w/ the fallen trees I still picked up 39 seconds,at this stage of the game even the smallest and seemingly most insignificant gains are a big deal to me as I'm trying to rebuild my self belief,I'm not ready for the pipe and slippers just yet!!!,oh and for the record it was only 87 degrees yesterday afternoon when I ran....yea!!!

Survey Says

Fe Total 66(40-175 nl)
Iron Binding 364(250-450 nl)
Ferritin 22 (20-380 nl)

So there are the results of my recent blood test,a big shout out to my bud Seano for setting that up and pushing it through so quickly,proving that old adage in life to be true"it's not what you know,it's who you know"
My ferritin level could be a little higher,I think some Vitamin B12 will help w/ that but other than that my current dip in form points to over training,something I've never experienced in 35 years of running and why it had to happen now is beyond me,but hey life goes on,right now I have to make the most of a bad situation and go from there.
4 weeks till Worlds,7 weeks to Nationals all I can do is try and prepare myself as best I can and hope for the best.
Let the floodgates open!!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Such A Strange Girl

You're such a strange girl I think you come from another world,you're such a strange girl I really don't understand a word
You're such a strange girl I'd like to shake you round and round,you're such a strange girl I'd like to turn you all upside down
You're such a strange girl the way you look like you do, you're such a strange girl I want to be w/ you
I think I'm fallin',I think I'm fallin'in,I think I'm fallin'in love w/ you,w/you

The Perfect Girl-The Cure

Uh oh! anytime I'm quoting The Cure it can only mean doom,gloom and a goth complex....ha ha! Another heat advisory warning in effect today as we notched our second heatwave in two weeks{a heatwave constitutes three consecutive 90 degree plus days}and while we registered 99 degrees today I saw 98 on the billboard in the Fresh Grocer parking lot at around 4pm which meant another day I wouldn't be running again today.

So what to do on these afternoons?for me I caught up on some "Being Erica" episodes on my dvr,I have all 12 epps from season three on my dvd player which next to the wheel might just be the greatest invention since the wheel period but especially when they aired at 11pm which is well past my bedtime,I'm hard pressed to watch a show that begins at 10pm....I might be awake when it begins,still being awake when it ends at 11pm is another!

While a fourth and final season has been green lighted in its native Canada this year a concern this side of the border is that Disney owned Soapnet channel where "Being Erica" airs will be going off air which leaves those of us who follow the exploits of Erica Strange in a quandary as to how we're going to see this show play out.....sure there's buying the season on dvd but as they say,that's for another day.

I did read that an American version is being planned which fills me w/ dread,sorry to say most American copies of tv shows from England tend to be......{pause as I try to be diplomatic here...}pants basically.....sorry w/ the exception of "The Office" most US remakes are two bob and having seen the hatchet job that's been done on favs such as "Ashes To Ashes""Skins" and "Being Human" I don't expect Canada's best export since Ice Hockey to fair any better.

Well slightly cooler temps are being called for tomorrow so less tv and more running talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Place Your Bets

As a rule I tend to ignore heat advisory warnings and just go out and run anyway but 96 degrees at 4pm seemed to be flying in the face of it today so I sat this one out,as I said yesterday I've ran 12 days in a row and 14 days in the last 15 so some down time didn't feel like it was the worst thing in the world I could do.

So while we wait for things to cool off and await the results of my blood test I ponder what the Vegas odds makers have on the results of said blood test,even money on over training or low blood counts or shorts odds on me being over the hill and fit for the knackers yard??
Chances are tomorrow won't be any cooler so I doubt I'll manage a run again but maybe two days off at this stage of the game{4 weeks to Worlds,7 weeks till Nationals}is just what the doctor ordered???......but not my I'm still on a waiting list to get an appointment w/ him!!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blood Makes Noise

Blood makes noise it's a ringing in my ear, blood makes noise and I can't hear you in the thickening of fear
I think you might want to know the details and the facts but there's something in my blood denies the memory of the acts
So just forget it doc I think it's really cool that you're concerned but we'll have to try again after the silence has returned
Cos blood make noise it's a ringing in my ear,blood makes noise and I can't really hear you in the thickening of fear

Blood Makes Noise-Suzanne Vega

W/ obvious apologies to Pete Townsend and his "Give Blood" song I let Suzanne Vega have dibs on this one!
Finally after much piss balling around in the last seven days I got my blood taken today and sent off to the labs to be analyzed,the 64 billion dollar question will I hope get answered in the next day or two,I hope to have the results back by Friday at the latest.
Another hot one this afternoon,I saw 90 degrees on the billboard in the Fresh Grocer parking lot prior to my run,I think it was only 75 degrees on Sunday so I can handle my times going up also,out in 23.48,back in 24.26 for 48.14.7. granted I should just be happy to be out running right now and not hung up on time but after 35 years of running it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks!!!

Rumours abound of a 97 degree day tomorrow,maybe just maybe time to invoke a rest day,while my mileage has been on the low side the past two weeks I have ran 12 days in a row and 14 days in the last 15 we'll see what tomorrow brings which has become somewhat of a mantra of late.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Something About Mountains And Mohamed

Hopefully I took a step closer getting my blood checked today,it's not a done deal yet{is it ever where health care is concerned??!!} but fingers crossed tomorrow my blood should be on it's way to the lab and I'll be a step closer to getting to the bottom of this now long running saga,hard to treat a condition when you don't know what it is exactly.

The schedule for Worlds was announced today....providing I'm not advised to miss it my 5,000m is due to go off at 7.35pm on Sat July 9th,as Ashley Tidsdale used to say on the now defunct"Hellcats"positive outcomes only!!!
To that end another 6 miler this evening, a little down on yesterdays time but in fairness it was warmer....for a split second I almost copped the Fabio Capello plea"I was tired" but that was a crock of shite in the England Switzerland game and after the World Cup debacle and I refuse to stoop that low,for the record yesterday I went 22.30/22.42-45.12.6 today I went 22.55/23.46-46.41.6.
Over 6 miles and w/ getting my blood drawn let's see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Good End To A Bad Week

Back tracking slightly,I ran 4 miles yesterday afternoon,I wasn't expecting to run to be honest given how I felt after the mile race at Henderson the evening b4 but after watching the Prefontaine Meet from Eugene I felt inspired enough to throw on my running gear and knock out an impromptu 4 miler which I didn't bother to time.

Went w/ a 6 miler today to round out my weekly mileage at 30 miles,a far cry from the 55 mile weeks I had been knocking out not too long ago but an increase on the 24 I had last week so that at least is a positive in a week of very few positives it has to be said.
I've had a lot of strange thoughts this week,at one point in time I considered switching flights from Sacramento to Portland and switching the 5,000m at Worlds for the 1,500m Masters exhibition at the USATF Nationals/World Championship trials.....however my woeful 4.54 mile at Henderson told me that a 1,500m right now isn't on the cards.
I had planned/been advised to step up my mileage to 6 miles this coming week and given that I was on 24 miles going in to today I always felt a 6 miler was on the cards today which lead me to ponder the potential for a 5,000m/10,000m double at Nationals.

Since the 5,000m at Worlds is a lock,I can't switch distances even if I wanted to and it'll serve as my only race prior to Nationals I'm considering the 5,000m/10,000m this of course is all based on the results of my blood test, until I get them I really can't make too many plans,here's to tomorrow and getting my ducks in order to allow the blood test and getting to the bottom of this sorry saga.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Nightmare Continues

In a scene that's become all too familiar this season I sit here post race offering another post mortem on yet another race that just didn't go to plan,to say it's soul destroying is selling the drama short but clearly tonite underlined a belief that"somethings not right" w/in my slender frame but we'll get to that.

I seeded myself at 4.30 which I felt was reasonable given a pair of indoor 4.33s in January and February and it earned me a spot in heat 5 of 6 against a field of 13 high school athletes.
Although my reaction to the gun was good I was relegated to the back of the field as we entered the first turn,not to worry I thought in order to clock a 67 opening lap I didn't need to go out all guns blazing.....
I was gobsmacked to hear 71 seconds for my opening lap,while I didn't feel I was straining to run that the fact was I only had one gear and this was it.
72 seconds for the second lap 2.13 at 800m.....great if this was a 3,000m or 5,000m not so great for a mile and clearly the hope that dropping down in distance would cure my ills of late had proven unfounded.

76 seconds for lap 3 as I cast a lonely figure adrift at the rear of the field,was the temptation to step off the track and bag it great? the Pope a catholic? is the sky blue??is water wet???
All I could muster was a final lap was 75 seconds to record a woeful 4.54 mile,this was slower than the 4.49 mile I ran at Langley Virginia in my first race post achilles injury 2 years ago.
My team mate and friends who'd been present to bare witness to this horror show were quick to add words of comfort on a bitter blow to my hopes that this was the race that would turn things around for me.

So what now?as it stands the 5,000m at Worlds is 5 weeks off,the temptation is not to go but the thought of eating a almost $600 plane ticket doesn't sit well so I may as well go,suck it up and try to make the most of a bad situation.
As for Nationals in 8 weeks?I refuse to throw in the towel just yet but clearly off of a 4.54 mile my 1,500m time would only be 4.36 clearly not medal worthy.
The other issue of continuing to race let alone run will{I hope}become much clearer b4 the end of next week,one way or another I'm getting that blood work done so that we can get to the root of the problem and go from there.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Dream Mile

While no one is likely to mistake West Chester and Henderson for Norway and Oslo,nor will the Pennsylvania Distance Festival be confused w/ the famed Bislett Games at the equally famed Bislett Stadium tonite sees a chance for me to end my nightmare of an outdoor season thus far w/ if not a dream mile then at least something resembling the time I should be capable of running


The great thing about athletics is that it's like poker,sometimes you know what's in your hand and it may be a load of rubbish,but you've got to keep up the front.

Words to live by from 2 time Olympic 1,500m champion Seb Coe

Thursday, June 2, 2011

God Complex????

The drawback of having a blog in the public domain is that you leave yourself open to haters and "rent a loonies" world wide,the list of snide comments on my previous blog entry bare testimony to that,sure that's why there's a delete button but I left those on there to underline a point.
I love the "you think you're a running god" put a smile on my face for sure and while I leave myself wide open for a barrage of more barbed and snide comments from "Anonymous"{really???? the spelling is a dead giveaway} live by the sword,die by the sword.....hit the delete button.

Easy 4 miler this evening keeping in mind tomorrow is a race,out in 15.11,back in 15.19 for 30.30 smack in the middle of the 7 4 milers I've ran since last Friday.
Added another race to my June list,the Saturday in between my two Icahn races there's a meet in Homdel New Jersey and a open/masters mile which would give me a June schedule of:mile,1,500m,mile,800m between the 3rd and 28th,let's hope for a successful beginning tomorrow nite....and a god like performance!!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

A Return To The Golden Years?

While I make no bones about worshiping at the house of the Irish middle distance running,Ronnie Delaney,Marcus O Sullivan and Eamonn Coghlan it would've been nigh on impossible to grow up in London in the late 70s early to mid 80s as a middle distance runner and not look up to The Four Horsemen Seb Coe,Steve Ovett,Steve Cram and Peter Elliott.
Given my on going issue w/ getting a doctors appointment/prescription for a blood test{more on that to come}I was reminded of Seb Coe in 83.
Leading up to the first ever World Championships in Helsinki the Olympic 1,500m champion began to lose races to guys he had no right losing to,he also began to struggle in training,here was a runner near the top of his game who was diagnosed w/ Glandular Fever....and that's what scares me right now that until I get my blood checked who knows what may or may not be going on w/ me.

To that end I used what little influence I have at the hospital to try and circumnavigate the whole doctors appointment issue,it was suggested I just get a referral from my doctors office to set up the blood work,I thought/hoped I could just get a prescription from a doctor to set that up......and then ran into a bunch of health care red tape,basically because of my health coverage I need a particular type of referral/prescription....which I don't have,at this point I may need to get my doctor to fill out my script go all the way to Jefferson to pick it then take it back to my hospital to allow them to do the blood work,that may or may not reveal what's going on w/ me,on that score let's see what tomorrow brings.

At least my run was straight forward enough,despite the 95 degree heat I clocked a 29.44,out in 14.59,back in 14.45,another sub 30 and another day w/ a bit of zip in my legs.
I'm on par for a 30 mile week,in 07 and 08 my golden years when my prs at 800m and 1,500m were 1.59.1/4.10.7. I was only clocking 30 mile training weeks,granted my 3,000m and 5,000m times were nothing to write home about but at this point in time w/ 8 weeks till Nationals I'll settle for the 800m and 1,500m....a lot of Coe,Ovett,Cram and Elliott races on You Tube coming up!!!