Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keeping The Legacy Alive

5th gold in 5 years at Outdoor Nationals in the 4x800m relay,kudos to my team mates Dave Brown,Neill Clark and Nick Berra.
Driving home tomorrow will look to give full accounts of my bronze in the 5,000m and golds in 10,000m and 4x800m over the next few days.
Thank You Cleveland

Saturday, July 30, 2011

N C A........National Champion Again!

The wait is over!after my 1,500m Gold in Spokane in 08 I can call myself National Champion again thanks to this morning's victory in the 10,000m,a more detailed account to follow when I return to Philly

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hello Cleveland

Greetings sports fans,just a quick update,finished 3rd this morning in the M45 -49 5,000m and won my second bronze in 2 years w/a 16.45.0. time,finally reversing the trend of running slower in each 5,000m,16.54 in Sacramento 16.45 today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Off W/ The Horns,On W/ The Show,Next Stop Cleveland

Back to back easy 4 milers yesterday and today to keep the engine ticking over b4 the seven hour drive to Berea tomorrow b4 the 2011 Masters Nationals kicks off on Thursday.
Things kick off on Thursday morning at 9.35am w/ the 5,000m b4 the traditional rest day on Friday
I doubt I'll be back in Cleveland any time soon(no Lebron jokes please!!) so I'd like to visit the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame museum,while I doubt Cleveland is the rock and roll capital of the world it is where the powers that be have placed the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame museum so,when in Rome....
Saturday is the biggie for me the 10,000m,I've only ran 2 10,000m races until now so it's a big ask that my third ever 10,000m on the track is the race to put me back atop the podium at Nationals for the first time since the 1,500m at Spokane b4 the traditional Sunday 4x800m relay.

Since I'm sans laptop or Blackberry I won't be able to blog on a regular basis while I'm away but if I can access a pc from somewhere I'll post updates until I return on Monday to give a blow by blow account of the 2011 USATF Masters Nationals,wish me luck.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Outdoor Nationals,The Story So Far

Charlotte 06
400m 56.5 6th prelims
800m 2.04.7 6th final
4x800m 8.30.4 1st final

Orono 07
800m 1.59.1 1st final
1,500m 4.11.7 3rd* final
4x800 9.30.9 1st final
*3rd overall but awarded 2nd as 2nd place runner non US athlete

Spokane 08
800m 1.59.8 2nd final
1,500m 4.10.7 1st final
4x800m 8.44.6 1st final

Oskosh 09
Did Not Compete Due To Achilles Injury

Sacramento 10
800m 2.02.4 2nd final
1,500m 4.14.4 2nd final
5,000m 15.36.8 3rd final
4x800m 8.57.8 1st final.

So now you can see what I'm facing this weekend in Berea at this years Nationals.
For the first time ever no 800m and for the first time since my 06 debut no 1,500m but a first ever 10,000m.
Given all that I've had to overcome this season a pair of bronze medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m would be nice,anymore than that will be a bonus,it would be nice to keep the 4x800m legacy going w/ the help of Nick Berra,and Masters Nationals newbies Dave Brown and Neil Clark.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Trying To Beat The Heat

As Philly sweltered in triple digit heat yesterday as we endure our 5th heatwave of the summer(the official line on a heatwave is three consecutive 90 degree days) I was grateful of a scheduled rest day but w/ next to no relief in store today and another 100 degree day on tap I knew in order to get a workout in I'd have to be up w/ the dawn patrol.
Having just dealt w/ the heat all week and carried the freight all by my lonesome as my partner Chris enjoyed a well earned weeks vacation in Florida the last thing I really wanted to have to do was get up again at 5am but I also didn't want to end up in the Temple hospital EU w/ heat stroke so I got my sorry arse out of bed by 6am and began making my way cross town.

A rather ominous sign of things to come was the Fresh Grocer billboard at the corner of 56th and Chestnut St,at 6.25am it had the temperature at 84 degrees,in recent weeks(when I wasn't in Sacramento) when I'd do my Saturday repeats at either 9am or 10am it has been 85 degrees,that I hope gives you an idea of just how hot it is here right now.
I reached Temple's track just b4 7am,half a dozen like minded souls had also opted for the "early bird special",at least the bottom turn and back straight were shaded but in the hour I was there as the sun continued to rise the shade shifted,by 9am I doubt there'd be any shade available to anyone wishing to use the track.
Mile warm up and into my flats one last time b4 Berea and Nationals,ready or not 4x1 mile repeats coming up

#1 mile 1.21-1.25-1.21-1.17-5.24.3.Not a bad start to proceedings but was miffed w/ the 1.25 second lap I think a combination of mentally and physically falling asleep on the second lap cost me a decent split,clearly my other three splits were what I was aiming for.

#2 mile 1.20-1.25-1.24-1.15-5.24.8.I did it again!Started out w/ a solid effort only to see the middle two laps drop off the pace,b4 a strong closing final lap.
Someone had asked me the other day how my current condition effects my running,laps 2 and 3 are classic examples of not having the proper amount of oxygen flowing through my body I should not be huffing and puffing like I am off such slow pace,at this stage of my season w/ all the work I've put in I should be cranking out sub 5 minute mile pace.

#3 mile 1.23-1.26-1.25-1.17-5.31.5.The proverbial writing was on the wall when I opened in 1.23 and while I opened my 5th and final 1,000s in 1.23 on Wednesday I knew I only had another 600m to run then not 1,200m and another mile afterwards!!!

#4 mile 1.26-1.33-1.38-1.33-6.10.7.-From my first tentative steps forward on #4 I knew what was in store,no zip,no pop nada in my legs and when my stop watch confirmed an opening split of 1.26 I kind of mailed it in I knew physically I just didn't have it on this final mile and while it SUCKS to finish a repeat on such a down note at least I had the mental strength to see it through.

Post workout the inquest began,would I've done better to hold off another day to run?would I've been better suited to do another set of 5x1,000s?is that a mirage I see shimmering on the far side of the track???
Bottom line is once the toothpaste is out of the tube it's a bastard trying to put it back,this was not the final workout b4 Nationals I wanted but it's the one I've half full I won't be heading to Berea w/ delusions of grandeur now off a decent set of mile repeats thinking I'm all that!!

I can take some solice in getting myself out there this morning and at least trying to make a fair fist of things,I think I always knew that the odds of running fast or decent mile repeats at 7am were wishful thinking on my part but in running as is in life it's better to try and fail than to second guess ones self.
Since this is a final week of tapering I'm done at 26's going to be a real shock to the system post Nationals and the Track Pentathlon when I begin to re up my mileage to 40 and then 50 miles a week,but that's for another time,time to refill my glass w/ some ice cubes and some Green Hawaiian Punch and kick back for the afternoon,and while the temptation to pop "Lawrence Of Arabia" in to the dvd player is great I think something w/ Penguins and the South Pole where there's LOTS of ice might be a better choice.....stay cool my running friends

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hot As Hell

Most people who know me,and anyone who's worked w/ me will tell you I'm the only person they know who takes an escalator UP to work in the morning,not so much Devil's Advocate, more Devil's Associate,urban legend has it my head was shaved to see if a 666 could be found and the reason I sport a bandanna is to hide my horns....yes I am the devil!!!

It sure felt like Dante's inferno on the loading dock today,w/ a concrete floor,walls and ceiling it's like working in a brick oven to begin w/ and w/ temps hitting 98 degrees and a heat index making it feel like 105 I could be forgiven for giving short shift to feckin' ejits who're only on the dock for 90 seconds bleating about"turn the heat off".....the same feckin' gobshites who say"turn the heat on" when it's brass monkeys cold in the dead of winter,I'm there for 9 hours a day so just shut the feck up and leave me alone.....see I told you I was the devil off w/ the horns,on w/ the show!!!

Inspite of the heat I did manage to get my easy 4 miler in,anything above 4 miles at 4.40pm might've been asking for trouble,I felt 4 miles would be doable,despite being on asphalt the majority of the Cobbs Creek Parkway course is in the shade which always helps,never mind when it's 97 degrees!!!
Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day....just as well as there's talk of it being 100 degrees and it's quite likely I will try to hit the track around 6am on Saturday b4 it gets too hot,now if you'll excuse me there's an escalator heading down w/ my name on it........

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

9 Lives

Thankfully I didn't used up any of my nine lives this afternoon in order to get my 5x1,000m repeats in at 4pm on Temple's track.
According to trusty AOL Weather it was 91 degrees but would feel like 96 at 4pm and of course there was always the issue of the heat coming off of an all weather track but to be honest it didn't feel that bad out there.
My last 1,000m repeats were way back on May 3rd when I ran 8 of them,in fact my last set of 5x1,000m repeats were ran way back on March 26th and I went:3.05.2.-3.11.7.-3.13.9.-3.15.4.-3.12.5.
To be honest I went into today w/ no set time in mind,I felt 3.10 was a tad overly optimistic and something between 3.15-3.20 might be more realistic,following my 6 lap warm up and trust me I was warm enough, it was have at it time!

#1 1,000m 1.16-1.19-37-3.12.2.A nice start if I say so myself,the trick would be keeping that going for the next 4 1,000s.
#2 1,000m 1.19.-1.20-37-3.16.1.Hanging in there,having been doing 4x1 mile repeats and 3x2 mile repeats of late the shorter faster stuff was a bit of a shock to the system and let's face it my repeats of late had all been mid morning and lunchtime last Wednesday doing repeats at 4pm was a bit of a jolt.
#3 1,000m 1.21-1.23-36-3.20.7.The rot starting to set in? I know my breathing isn't where I'd like it to be right now due to my condition and I can feel my knee lift and leg turn over not where I'd like them to be but the old "silk purse,pig's ear"mindset keeps me from getting too down on myself,I can only do what my body allows me to,not what I want it to.
#4 1,000m 1.20-1.26-33.-3.19.2.At least my body knew the severity of a 2.44 800m split and the need to hail arse over the closing 200m in 33 seconds to stay under the 3.20 barrier,but 1.26 sucks for a split!
#5 1,000m 1.23-1.23-33.-3.19.3.When I opened in 1.23 I knew I needed to try and stay calm,while my form felt good I could tell my knee lift and leg turn over were below the level I'd prefer but much to my delight when I came through 800m in 2.46 I felt another decent closing 200m would do the trick,another 33 second 200m another sub 3.20 repeat.

Sure there's a long way to go,not just in my repeats but in my overall recovery{sidebar it's now 3 weeks since my doctors visit and 2 weeks since my blood work.....and I still DON'T have the results....remind me in November to change doctors offices and health coverage cos this shit ain't worth the over $50 a month I'm paying!!!!}so I'll take tonite in my stride,it remains to be seen how many more 5x1,000 repeats I'll do,as memory serve from last year by late August/early September access to the track at Temple became a crap shoot during the week once fall semester began and my weekend repeats will be geared towards the 3x2 mile variety but all in all tonite wasn't too was after all 91 frickin' degrees out there!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are You Gelling?

As an athlete you're always injured
Linford Christie

Long b4 my blog I kept a running log w/ all my races and training runs and on the inside cover of all my running logs I wrote inspirational running quotes,just recently I used the Juma Ikangaa quote and I'm sure the Carl Lewis quote I often throw out there will make an appearance soon,as for the Linford Christie quote,well I feel it's the truth.

Up until the age of 43 I felt my injuries were just niggles nothing major and then from 42......POW!!! torn left aductor,stress fracture in my left foot,right achilles and now a mild form of anemia so when my right heal began to feel tender on Saturday I didn't wait around to see if it was a passing phase,I looked up heal spurs on the internet(see it's not just for can be educational also.....!!!)and looked up symptoms of heal spurs,as a runner the fear of the dreaded Plantar Facilitis can never be far away so when gel heal cups were suggested I began to research them and found a pair at Rite Aid that I can buy when I get paid next(since returning from Sacramento I've been treading a fine line w/ my finances,as my late grandfather Francis used to say"funds are low" and the ould fella used to use the expression "financially embarrassed" to describe my current fiscal plight but come pay day new gel heal cups and Iron pills are on my shopping list.

Funnily enough on my easy 4 miler this evening I found 4 $1 bills early on into my run....George Washington seldom looked so good!!! and now post repeat tomorrow I can pick up a 64 oz Double Gulp of Gatorade and a gallon of Hawaiian me when it's this hot (93 degrees again today and it's about to get hotter the rest of the week) you want and need all the fluids you can get.
Inspite of the heat today I was able to get my 4 miles in,I think it'll be 1,000m repeats tomorrow and then wait and see what Thursday brings,I may have to wait till Sunday and it looks like I'll be getting up at my regular weekday time to hit the track b4 it gets too hot on Saturday but Like I said the other day let's just take it one day at a time and if I miss a day I miss a day,after all this is a tapering week.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Italian Job

In the early 80s there were a number of top 10,000m runners in the world Lopes,Mamede,Schildhauer and the man who pulled off the unique treble of European,World and Olympic gold, tracks version of The Italian Stallion Alberto Cova.
Werner Schildhauer must still have nightmares from Athens 82 European Championships and Helsinki 83 World Championships leading coming off the bottom turn only to see Cova spint by him in the final meters to claim both golds.
I still remember the 84 Los Angeles Olympics 10,000m as one of the first Olympic 10,000m races I watched,I don't think I watched Viren in Montreal in 76 and was probably consumed w/ hatred for Yifter in Moscow in 80 as a rival to my hero Eamonn Coghlan later in the 5,000m but in LA Cova once again played the waiting game sitting behind leader Marti Vainio until the bell lap b4 unleashing his customary kick this time at the bell and upon crossing the finish line pulled out a minature Italian flag from the waist band of his shorts as he did his lap of honour.
As a kicker myself it was hard not to love Cova,he could seem out of a race on the back straight and then BOOM 200m to go and he looked a sprinter not a distance runner.
A number of Italian 5,000m and 10,000m runners came on the scene after Cova and some had great success but none were able to reproduce Alberto's triple crown of European,World and Olympic golds which set him apart from the pack.

It was no surprise then I chose Alberto Cova as my final 10,000m hero b4 heading to Berea and Nationals next week on my final hard 6 milers tonite.
I wanted tonite to be as hard a run as possible being my last all out 6 miler b4 heading to Nationals and I didn't allow the 93 degree heat to put me off,setting off at 4.30pm I clipped off splits of 3.46,9.04 and 14.06 on my way to a turnaround time of 21.48.
I knew I was a little down on my previous turnaround split of 21.26 but that nite wasn't 93 degs and to be honest tonite was more about trying to visualize the upcoming 10,000m than anything,go out hard and try not to wilt in the heat.
W/ 2 miles to go I clocked 28.58 I knew a sub 43 time wasn't on the cards but I felt sub 44 was there for the taking providing I kept doing what I was doing and also trying to imagine the last 8 laps on the track next Saturday.
I managed a second half in 21.57 to finish in 43.45.4. my 3rd fastest 6 miler of the 12 I've ran since June 5th and a nice build up to my final week of prep,w/ extreme heat on the forecast it remains to be seen what kind of workouts I'll be able to get in but if there was a week to be forced to sit out a day or two this would be the week,let's just take it day to day and see what unfolds.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Getting Down To The Nitty Gritty

An easy 6 miler to round out the week at 30 miles.
While it was a short week w/ only 5 days of training due to tapering it was a long week having began things in Sacramento on Monday w/ a 6 miler b4 flying home Tuesday and getting on the track Wednesday for mile repeats b4 an easy 4 mile Thursday.
Had I not been tapering this week I would've had to drag my sorry carcass out there Friday for a 4 or 6 miler but thankfully off of only 4 hours sleep following the U2 show I didn't have to,I don't doubt were I not tapering I could've answered the call if need be.....but it was nice not having to!
Having gotten through the grind of 3x2 mile repeats yesterday it was nice to have an easy 6 miler this morning and put this week in the books as I get ready for my final week of training for Berea and Nationals.

There's talk of another heatwave this week which I'll have to keep an eye on,no point over doing things now this week w/ Nationals so close,things will kick off tomorrow w/ a 6 miler out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway,outside of my 2 repeats that'll be it for hard runs this week,there's that old adage about "not getting any faster in a week" which is true but for me my season lies a little beyond the end of the track season as I look to salvage something from a frustrating 2011 season ergo the desire to keep pushing the envelope.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Getting There,But A Ways Still To Go Yet

My second crack at 3x2 mile repeats and hopefully an improvement on my debut two weeks ago(11.08.4.-12.28.8.-12.26.1.).
Conditions were sunny and low 80s when I arrived at trusty old Temple track around 10.30am,again I'd timed this repeat to mirror the time I expect to run the 10,000m at Nationals in a fortnites time,all indications lead me to believe we'll go off between 10am and 11am,it still remains to be seen how many age groups they have to combine,my guess is 6 as the last time I checked the entry list for the 10,000m read:
M30-34 0
M35-39 2
M40-44 4
M45-49 6
M50-54 12
M55-59 6
I guess w/ Worlds all done and dusted tomorrow attention will turn to Nationals and Berea and my guess is by this time next week we'll know for sure.

Mile warm up,by in large I had the track to myself this morning....which is a big help w/ 24 laps to run!!!
Armed w/ my split button this time there'd be no not recalling lap splits this time around.

#1 2 miles 1.23.-1.27.-1.24.-1.26.-1.26.-1.23.-1.26.-1.22.-11.21.2.A good start,consistent splits which was always going to be clutch,came through the mile in 5.42.8.not as brisk as my opener 2 weeks ago but hopefully not a 1.20 drop off on #2......

#2 2 miles 1.25.-1.27.-1.30.-1.28.-1.28.-1.29.-1.27.-1.27.-11.40.9.More of the same,while no where near top end speed I feel in time I'll get there,it be interesting to see what kind of splits I rack up in August,September,October?5.52.0.for the opening mile and a 48 second improvement on my last set of 3x2s

#3 2 miles 1.28.-1.31.-1.29.-1.29.-1.32.-1.30.-1.30-1.13.-11.46.2.No that's not a typo,I closed in 1.13.!!!!(see what happens when you watch a bunch of Alberto Cova 10,000m races on You Tube!!)
I was really pleased w/ this final repeat,I knew from the get go my legs were feeling a little heavy so I was pleasantly surprised to clock a 1.28. lead off lap and though it was no major surprise to see some 1.30,1.31,1.32 splits creep in I have no real qualms w/ how I ran,in time I'm looking to not only erase any thing above 1.29 but also start working my way towards 1.25 per lap and eventually 1.20....and below if I'm lucky.

Overall this was a marked improvement on 2 weeks ago,last time out I came through the mile splits in 5.34-6.06-6.26-today went 5.42.8.-5.52.0.-5.59.4.
Somewhat frustratingly it'll be a month b4 I get to revisit 3x2 mile repeats,it'd seem to fly in the face of things to do another next Saturday a week b4 Nationals,and then the week after Nationals I have the Track Pentathlon on Sunday so all things being equal Sat August 13th(the kick off to the new Premier League season!!)b4 I get to see if I can continue to reduce my times,mid August thro late October should see a weekly effort on Saturdays minus a few races I have on the calender.
Nice easy 6 miler to round out the week tomorrow.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Worlds,2011 Sacramento,An Athletes Perspective

There are still another two days of competition left at this years World Masters Athletic Championships and come Sundays closing ceremony almost 5,000 stories to tell,here's mine.
Following my breakout year in masterstrack in 07 in Orno Maine I had no inclination to go to Rincone Italy for the 07 Worlds and truth be told Lathi Finland in 09 wasn't on my radar until after my 1,500m gold in Spokane Washington the following summer.
Sadly an achilles injury that May scuppered any plans I had to go to Finland and my recovery meant by the time the 2012 Indoor Worlds came about in Kamloops British Columbia I wasn't ready either meaning that Sacramento 2011 would be my debut at masters track at world level.

As we all know by now my training and racing has been hampered this season by my diagnoses of low ferritin levels in my blood,a mild form of anemia which may take 4 to 6 months to resolve so I was always going to be less than my best heading into Worlds and while the temptation not to go was great as I hate to compete at anything less than my best I felt I owed it to myself to see what WMA was like first that respect I wasn't disappointed.
I forget the number of countries that sent athletes to Sacramento,I'm sure when the dust settles an official figure will be published but I got a real sense of just how global World Masters Athletics was on my first day there when I went to pick up my race number and credentials and saw 2 athletes from Mongolia doing the same.....MONGOLIA!!!!!

That first day at the Sacramento State track{where last years US Masters Nationals were held} also provided me w/ my favourite moment of the games,in order to collect my race number and credentials I had to show photo id at the booth,obviously w/ so many countries competing the booths were set up by continents when I showed my photo id and gave them my name and age group I was politely informed"I'm sorry Mr Forde,the United Kingdom booth is next door"!!!!! at which point I showed the cover of my American passport and explained that even though after almost 24 years here in the states 24 years of living in south east London hadn't been somehow erased,I guess the old adage is true"you can take the man out of south east London,but you'll never take the south east London out of the man!!!!"

Despite being unable to race at my best I'm glad I went to this years Worlds,America hasn't hosted an Outdoor WMA since 85 in Buffalo and who knows when it will again,originally I had written off Porto Allege in Brazil in 2 years time but am slowly reconsidering that,I may if my 10,000m time holds up just go for a few days to run that.
I do hope very much to run in Perth in 2016,granted I'll be almost 53 in October of 2016 but age is only a number....even if it does put me smack in the middle of the 50-54 age group,I guess it's a bit like the old saying"how do you keep the kids on the farm once they've seen New York" having tasted Worlds once it's almost impossible not to want that experience again

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Running To Stand Still

"I want to run,I want to hide I want to tear down the walls that hold me inside,I want to reach out and touch the flame,where the streets have no name"
Where The Streets Have No Name-U2

Little by little my daily routine is returning to normal after my west coast excursion to Sacramento and Worlds,sleeping in my own bed for the first time in over a week,going to the track to workout,going back to work(work sucks but I need the bucks!!!)and also heading out and back on Cobbs Creek Parkway for an easy 4 miler this evening.

I opted for 4 miles since post work and workout I was hightailing it to Lincoln Financial Field the home of the Philadelphia Eagles and Temple Owls(wtf I use their track they deserve a shout out!!)to see my 13th U2 concert since 1984.

It never gets old seeing Bono,Edge,Adam and Larry,this was a show postponed from last July when Bono injured his jokes about trying to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders please!!!! but it was worth the wait.

A slightly muted day at the WMA Assembly for me,first Budapest not Valencia won the right to host the 2014 Indoor worlds(I'd have prefered Spain but haven't ruled out a trip to Hungary)then Lyon beat out Perth to host 2015 World Outdoors....%$#@ however in a interesting twist of fate the assembly voted to switch the rotation on Indoor and Outdoor Worlds so following Lyon in 2015 Perth will now host the 2016 Outdoor Worlds b4 a yet to be determined site hosts the 2017 Indoor Worlds.

Why the support for Perth you may ask? A I have several friends from "down under" in the masters running fraternity,B at each Worlds the Australian masters always have to travel the furthest to compete,don't we owe it to them to visit?C most Aussies know how to throw a party!!! and D I want to visit "the great southern land" and if I can have my Vegemite and eat it too I can now visit and look for any relatives I may have out I didn't have forefathers who were sent there way back when for crimes like sheep stealing and cattle rustling.....and run too.

Given my uncanny knack for illness and injury in odd numbered years(07 stress fracture of the left foot,09 right achilles,11ferittin levels low enough to bollocks up my outdoor season) it's perhaps a blessing to switch to even years for Outdoor Worlds.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

WMA M45 5,000M Race Report

To quote the Grateful Dead my journey to this summers World Championships was"a strange trip"
Beginning last February I began to get my head around moving up to 5,000m and subsequently began to train likewise,in April and May I ran back to back sub 16s (15.57.7.-15.56.5.) and felt I was ready for Nationals where I then ran a 20 second pr to claim bronze in 15.36.8. and cement my belief that 5,000m was my best chance to reach the podium a year later in Sacramento......or so I thought,following my silver in the 800m 2 days later in 2.02.4. I then thought that 800m was my best bet and thus began the plan to run the 800m this year at Worlds.......
By the time the deadline for entry for Worlds came in mid April my indoor form indicated that my better races had been over 3,000m and 5,000m,frankly 2.06 and 2.10 over 800m wasn't going to get it done and thus began the push for Worlds at 5,000m.

When my outdoor debut at 5,000m wound up at 16.21.8. I though I'd just ran a bad race but 6 weeks later when I could only muster a 16.25.9. I knew something was wrong,I just didn't know what and it took another three and a half weeks to be diagnosed w/ low ferritin levels by which time I knew I would not be at my best in just over 4 weeks at Sacramento and Worlds but said wtf and went anyway.
Based on my seed time of 15.36.8. I was selected for the seeded final,I think there were 56 of us split into 2 finals,28 for the seeded final,28 for the unseeded final,however come race day only 18 of us in the seeded final showed up,10 guys less to duke it out w/.

We couldn't have asked for a better evening to run at Hughes Stadium on Saturday,w/ a 7.35pm gun time conditions were ideal,the sun was setting over the stadium and the back straight was in shade.
The starting line positions were drawn prior to the discovery we had 10 no shows I had #25 which gave me an outside lane position ,if memory serves me only one other runner lined up on my outside as we toed the line.
From the gun I eased my way through the opening 100m where the field joined together my pre race goal was to get into the middle of the pack and just hold my ground,the last thing I wanted was to end up in no mans land.
I came through 400m in 74 seconds which is what I had hoped for,maybe w/ hindsight 80 second pace would've been better but I'd gotten into 10th which is where I felt I should be.

I came through the opening mile in 4.59,again w/ hindsight 5.20 pace might've been better but once the "toothpaste is out of the tube......"
I forgot where my position was now,the race had strung out and it was getting to the stage where unless I was overtaking the runner ahead of me I was in danger of falling into no mans land,it felt very similar to my last 2 5,000s where over the second half of the race I'd have to duel w/ another runner over several laps.
10.33 at 2 miles,a 10.34 split,I was having to dig deep over the final 5 laps as the back and forth between myself and the other runner I was battling w/ continued.
I forget on which lap I passed Mike Blackmore on the back straight.....he was walking I should point out and on the back straight w/ 3 laps to go the lead three runners,Francisco Javier Fontaneda,Sergey Perminov and Ben Reynolds went by me,my pre race aims were don't finish last and don't get lapped..... at least in 13th I wasn't going to finish last!!!
Just after the lead three went by me I made my move to overhaul 12th one last time and strike for home w/ 1,000m to go.

I missed the 3 mile split on my way to 12th in 16.54.1. once again I've managed to run slower than the race b4,a trend I'd like to see reversed come Nationals if I want to medal I'll have to.
Overall 12th was probably the best I could hope for under the circumstances,my pr of 15.36.8. would've put me in the mix,I always believed I'd have to run 15.26 to medal and the top three went:15.23.2.-15.27.3.-15.27.9.-,15.36.8. would've gotten me 4th......
David Moorcroft finished 14th in the 84 Olympic 5,000m final after coming in as a firm favourite but a pelvic injury put the kybosh on that,I can relate.
Yesterday I changed my screen saver until now it was Eamonn Coghlan winning the Helsinki 83 World Championships but my own World Championships modeled Eamonn's final Olympic performance in the 5,000m semis in Seoul 88 where he finished second last in the semis.

So that's my debut at Worlds,I may reconsider Porto Alegre in Brazil in 2 years time if I can make a fair fist of the 10,000m in the next 18-22 months.

Jet Lagged Be Damned

I knew irregardless of how I felt when I woke up this morning that a trip to the track was on the cards for a set of 4x1mile repeats,so up by 10am b4 leaving for Temple just after 11am.
Arrived at an overcast and gray track a little gone noon,I knew it was around 85 degrees which given the heat here in Philly for the past week and what I'd been dealing w/ out in Sacramento was a respite.

Mile warm up to get the juices flowing b4 the mile repeats,I had no real idea what to expect given yesterdays cross country flight but just like my trek to Sacramento for Worlds the only way to know was find out.
#1 mile 1.22-1.23-1.21-1.14-5.20.3.Not a bad start to proceedings,I'd have willingly taken 5.20 pace b4 hand so even w/ uneven if not consistent splits I'd gotten there....question was could I stay there?
#2 mile 1.20-1.24-1.22-1.15-5.21.5.Was a little surprised to clock 1.20 for the opening lap as I felt mentally I was all over the show a fact underlined by the 1.24 on lap 2.
Having gotten to grips w/ it mentally on the back straight of lap 3 I was able to close in 2.37 to clock a decent 5.21.,but judging from my breathing #3 was going to be a struggle.........
#3 mile 1.22-1.31-1.31-1.36-6.00.2.I make no bones about mailing it in on the final lap,having opened well in 1.22 the wheels soon fell off w/ back to back 1.31s and frankly the only thing worth salvaging from this was the fact I kept going and at least completed the repeat.
#4 mile 1.30-1.32-1.31-1.15-5.48.3.At the risk of putting lipstick on a pig at least I closed hard w/ a 1.15,granted it came off the back of some slow arse splits but at least I was able to find a change of gears to finish w/ a modicum of respect.

I'll take this repeat for what it was a chance to get some speed work in,more than I would've on a 6 miler out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway.
Thanks in part to a quirk in scheduling tomorrow is an easy 4 miler b4 a second rest day brought about only by the fact I'm tapering for Nationals.
Saturday will see me return to Temple for a second crack at the 3x2mile repeats,I'm hoping for better times than on my debut almost 2 weeks ago.

As for today?I was delighted w/ the opening 2 miles but wasn't surprised to see it tail off,at least I made the effort rather than opt out altogether,I have three more repeats on tap between now and Berea and Nationals,I need to make them all count.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Home....Is Where Cat Is

Well sports fans this time last week I was packing my bags getting ready to leave for the airport on my way to Sacramento and Worlds and now I'm home.
When time permits I will blog a full account of my 5,000m race and my overall experience at Worlds but for now it's time to unpack my bag,get my backpack ready for a trip to the track tomorrow(no rest for the weary!!!!) and enjoy some post race Pizza and Ice Cream while making nice w/ Precious who by all accounts has been a one cat wrecking crew in my absence.....and I always thought it was"while the cat's away the mice will play"not "while Dad's away the cat will run riot"!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

12th In The World.......

12th out of 18 in 16.54.1.,not what I had hoped for but all things considered it was the best I could do.
When the deadline for entries passed in mid April I had{on paper}the 10th fastest time so all things considered 12th is nothing to feel too bad about....yeah I hoped for better but it just wasn't to be.
I'm still here in Sacto till Tuesday,looking forward to some barnstorming 800m finals tomorrow nite b4 flying back to Philly Tuesday morning and hitting the track Wednesday morning/lunchtime for some mile repeats......gotta get ready for Nationals now in just under 3 weeks time.
A more detailed account not just of my race but my trip to Worlds will be forthcoming sometime next week but between flying home,doing mile repeats,going to see U2 and then doing another round of 3x2mile repeats it maybe the weekend b4 I can do them justice.

Thank you for all the support I've gotten via the blog and Facebook,while it's unlikely I'll go to Porto Alegre in 2013 for the next Worlds I'm hoping Perth wins the vote for hosting 2015 on Thursday so I can reload and try again to become a World Champion.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Greetings From Sunny California

Welcome sports fans,just a quick hello to let you all know I made to Sacramento in one piece.....along w/ my luggage,so far,so good.
Here at the track this morning to watch the 800m prelims and ponder,what might've been had I gone w/ the 800m as my original plan,we'll see what the 5,000m yields tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Next Stop Sacramento

Thanks in part to yesterday being a holiday and the fact I'm leaving for Sacramento tres early in the am I was offered today as a day's my arm,twist it.....ok ok I'll take the day off!!!!
I finally got my blood work done officially this morning,after the fall out from the woeful 4.54 mile at Henderson on June 3rd and having Seano pull some strings(what's the feckin point being in the Irish running mafia if there's no kick backs???) to get blood drawn there was still the wee matter of my official doctors visit last Wednesday which kinda got lost in the shuffle of things last week....blink and ye'd have missed it,anywho the upshot of my visit was a referral for more blood tests....only problem being due to my health insurance I couldn't get it done at my doctors office so I had to go to a Quest Diagnostic location to get it done,no worries since I had today off I got up semi early(I actually woke up b4 my 4.51am alarm normally goes off,christ only knows what time I'll be waking up in Sacramento!!!!) to be in their office just after they opened at 7.30am and was done by remains to be seen what these results will show.

Out for a final run pre Worlds,an easy out and back 6 miler along Cobbs Creek Parkway around 10.30am it was already 84 degs....but according to Accu Weather it's gonna hit 101 degs in Sacramento today......good job I have left over sun screen from last years trip for Nationals cos I'm gonna need it this coming week!!!
My bag is packed after going through my check list twice to make sure I packed everything so now all that remains is to spend some quality time w/ Precious b4 I leave for the airport.
Having side stepped Indoor Nationals this will be my first time leaving her behind on a running road trip so I feel a tad guilty about that but such are the perils of being a pet owner who twice,maybe three times a year goes off to pursue his running dreams,I'm sure I'll miss the daylights out of her while I'm gone and god forbid I see a tv commerical w/ a silver calico cat like I did last year when I left Hobbes behind and saw not one but two commericals w/ orange cats!!!

I wish I felt more confident going into Saturdays 5,000m race,after running 15.36.8.last July in Sacramento for Nationals I believed in my heart of hearts w/ a solid winters training and a good spring,early summer of racing under my belt a 10 second improvement and maybe outside shot at a bronze was on isn't what it's often advertised as,after an indoor 15.47.3. in January I thought I was on track(no pun intended)however fate can be a cruel and fickle mistress and after a series of slower than expected races dating back to late Februry,early March it took until early June to discover my ferritin levels were shockingly low hence the sub standard times I've logged.
In running,as is in life you play the hand you are dealt,kinda got a bum hand if you ask me but at least I'm able to go to Worlds this time around,two years ago my achilles knackered my ambitions of a 800m/1,500m double in Lathi Finland so I guess glass half full at least I'm going to Worlds this time around,even if it means not at my very best.
While it sucks to be less than my best for any race,it's doubly frustrating for it to happen at Worlds period,I can't see me going to Indoor Worlds in Finland in March nor the next Outdoor Worlds in Brazil in 2 years time,we'll have to see how the WMA assembly votes on July 14th for the venues of the 2014 Indoor and 2015 Outdoor Worlds.

Alrighty then this is moi signing off,as I'm sans laptop or Blackberry there will only be blog updates if and when I can access pc time,I did read in the athletes hand book there will be pc's available at the main venue for athletes to use so hopefully I can squeeze out an update or two but God willing I'll be home next Tuesday evening to give a blow by blow account of my trip to Sacramento and Worlds,wish me luck I think I'm gonna need it!!!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Patriot Games

Happy Independence Day.
While I'm no stranger to running on a holiday I think this was only my second ever repeat workout on a track on a holiday,I'm no stranger to racing on July 4th,a few 15ks out at Downingtown and a 5k over at Haddon Heights....back in the day.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't enter this morning's 4x1 mile repeats w/out a sense of trepidation,the last time I attempted back to back repeats on a holiday weekend was Memorial Day of last year and after a solid set of 5x1,000m on the Saturday:3.06.9.-3.03.7.-3.04.9.-3.06.6.-3.00.0. I returned two days later to run my 4x1 mile repeats in:5.07.1.-5.06.7.-5.27.3.-5.11.4. which frankly look brisk compared to what I'm running them in now but at the time were below the level I was used to and frankly the last thing I needed b4 jetting off to Sacramento and Worlds was a bad set of repeats.

Conditions were warm when I arrived at Temple just after 10am,judging from the fair size crowd on hand getting their exercise in this morning alot of peeps looked to be hoping to put an edge on their cookout appetite for this afternoon,hey if that's what it takes to get you on a track who am I to sit in judgement??
Mile warm up b4 switching into my racing flats and showtime:

#1 mile 1.18-1.21-1.20-1.15-5.14.4. Colour me surprised!!! My only concern w/ such a brisk by recent standards beginning was the last time I kicked off w/ a 5.13.7. mile the arse fell out of the remaining three repeats(this was pre blood work and low ferritin level)none the less,I hoped I hadn't shot my load so to speak.
#2 mile 1.21-1.22-1.21-1.16-5.20.0. I could've been forgiven for not expecting such consistency after the grind of Saturday's 3x2 mile repeats,little by little I feel I'm getting there,I may not be at my Awesome Possum best at Nationals but my sights are a little further down the road right now and this is the platform to getting there.
#3 mile 1.20-1.23-1.21-1.18-5.22.4. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop but here I was still putting together decently consistent laps,granted I'm a long way from 5th Avenue Mile speed but w/ 12 weeks till then I can expect to keep chipping away at these times.
#4 mile 1.21.-1.25-1.25-1.18-5.27.6. I knew the proverbial cheque was in the mail re 1.25 splits coming the fact I held them at bay until the 14th and 15th quarters is a credit to me and the fact I was able to close off a 1.18 is a feather in my cap.

So no disastrous final repeat pre Worlds.....yea!!!!! and a confidence booster on several levels,granted I won't be doing much in the way of 2 repeats in 3 days upon my return from the west coast but post workout I realized at Nationals I will need to race twice w/ in three days so maybe my final set of repeats pre Berea should be 3x2miles on a Thursday and 5x1,000m on a Saturday......something to ponder over a Hot Dog and a Hamburger later this afternoon........

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Easy Does It

Out just gone 9am this morning to take care of business over 6 miles to round out my weekly total to 34 miles, a slight drop from the back to back weeks of 35 miles as I begin to taper for Nationals in just under 4 weeks time.
I can look back on this past week w/ mixed emotions,a good race but poor time in my 5,000m debut at Icahn Tuesday,a seasons best for my out and back 6 miler along Cobbs Creek Parkway on Thursday and I think the jury is still out on yesterdays debut at 3x2mile repeat,it'll be interesting to see what my next set of 2 mile repeats yields.

Off to the track tomorrow morning for 4x1mile repeats,I wouldn't consider such a workout were I going into Worlds as a contender but since I find myself as an also ran I need to focus my efforts on Nationals and that means two visits to the track each week leading up to my departure for Berea on July 27th.

Since it is a holiday weekend I'm looking to relax a little and enjoy some down time b4 pulling out my check list to make sure I have everything packed b4 my departure to the airport on Wednesday morning

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A New Version Of The Old Scene

To win means nothing w/out the will to prepare
Juma Ikangaa

Firstly props to Aerosmith for the loan of the title and to my mate Dave Sweeney for the suggestion of a 3x2 mile repeat to prepare for the 10,000m.
Unlike previous Saturdays when I've gotten up at 7am to leave home by 8am to be on the track and ready to run by 9am today I backed things up by an hour so that I'd be on the track by 10am....roughly when the 10,000m will go off at Nationals in 4 weeks time.....and NO this does not mean I'll run 5x1,000m on Monday at 7.35pm to simulate the 5,000m final,while 7.35pm feels kind of weird to be racing factor in the 3 hour time difference from west coast to east coast and I've had beau coup races at 10pm running at The Armory in New York!!!!!!

Conditions were warm but that was what I was banking on,I worked up a sizable sweat on my mile warm up b4 getting set for my first ever 3x2 mile repeat.
I had no real idea what I should be shooting for,over the coming weeks and months this will be my go to repeat so hopefully post Nationals in August,September,October I'll be able to make sizable inroads into today's debut.

#1 2mile 1.21-1.25-1.23-1.25-1.25-1.27-1.22-1.20-11.08.4.Not a bad start,need to work on getting those 1.25/1.27 splits out of there,but otherwise reasonably consistent.
#2 2mile 1.26-1.33-1.25-1.42-???-???-???-1.27-12.28.8.I felt it right from the get go on this one very heavy in the legs,not much in the way of knee lift or leg turnover.
Forget what my overall time on laps 5 and 6 were hence the ??? lap 7 ended in 10.59.
#3 2mile 1.37-1.38-1.43-1.28-???-???-???-1.18-12.26.1-From less than auspicious beginnings I was able to pick up the pace,again trying to recall all 8 laps times proved to be a bit of a logistical nightmare and for future 2 mile repeats ye old split function on the stop watch may need to be brought into play,clocked 11.08. for lap 7.

So not earth shattering by any stretch of the imagination but when my 4x1 mile repeats began in ernest in May of 07 my debut went:5.26.8.-5.28.2.-5.25.5.-5.08.5- b4 I began to knock out 4 sub 5 minute miles on a regular basis some 14 months later(ah,those were the days!!!!)so hopefully w/ lots of painstaking practice my 2 mile repeats will also work there way down,beginning I hope in 2 weeks time post worlds.
Easy 6 miler tomorrow to round out the week at 34 miles as the taper for Nationals gets under way.

Friday, July 1, 2011

This Time Next Week

This time last year Dallas was as far west as I'd travelled in my 23 years here,now in 5 days time I'll be in Sacramento for the second time in just under a year.
Obviously I wish I felt more hopeful about my chances in the 5,000m but in running as in life you have to play the hand you're dealt so I'll go along for the ride and look to use the experience to my advantage whenever I next get a chance to represent the Stars And Stripes at World Championship level(on July 14th the locations of the 2014 World Indoors and 2015 World Outdoors will be voted on.....(please,please,pretty please Perth for 2015!!!!!)but as they say that's for another day.

The 5pm deadline for Nationals passed this afternoon just after I completed my easy 4 miler,it remains to be seen if any mail in entries or final deadline entries next Saturday swell the ranks,as of right now there are 11 of us in the M45 5,000m,a pair of recognisable names Francis Burdett and Jeff Mann,still only 6 of us in the M45 10,000m which means at this rate they will combine the M30-34,35-39,40-44,45-49,50-54 and maybe 55-59,we'll have to wait and see.

Back to the track tomorrow, to prep for the upcoming 10,000m a new repeat, 3x2 miles it'll be my first time w/ this repeat so we'll have to see how I deal w/ it.