Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Make Mine An Ennis

Dispite only finishing second yesterday in the Heptathlon Jessica Ennis will always be my "Golden Girl" in track and field
Blessed w/ the body of an angel and the face of a saint Jessica is full of Yorkshire grit and determination below that exquisite surface, a trait necessary for seven events in two days and I'm confident her "bad day at the office" in the Javelin which cost her a second World Championship gold will serve her well between now and next August when the Olympics begin in London.

If Team GB are smart they will make Jessica the face of the Great Britain track team,granted it's added pressure on the 25 year old lass from the Dales but she will be one of Britain's best hopes for Olympic Gold along w/ Mo Farrah,Dai Greene and Philips Idowu and I'm sure the disappointment of her silver will drive her on over the winter,ditto for Mo Farrah.

Today was a rest day in Daegu but no rest day for me,I get my rest day Friday so it was out for a third 8 miler on the out and back course along Cobbs Creek Parkway but at a much easier pace than yesterday.
Hard to believe tomorrow is September 1st,Labor Day weekend is this weekend,the unofficial end of Summer though Fall isn't scheduled till Sept 23rd,the fall semester at school begins next week,the fall tv season will begin soon and the evenings will continue to get darker sooner,as the sun sets on 2011 season I look to the fall to add some substance to a below par summer on the track.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I Love Lalova

"If there's a cure for this I don't want it,I don't want it if there's a remedy I'll run from it
Think about it all the time,never let it out of my mind cause I love you
I've got the sweetest hangover I don't want to get over the sweetest hangover"

Love Hangover-The Associates

I'm often asked why I'm so passionate about track and field......I'm sure the one picture of Bulgarian sprinter Ivet Lalova says more than any number of paragraphs could but for those of you still actually reading this and not googling Ivet here goes!!
4th in the 100m final in Athens 04 and 5th in the 200m final the future seemed bright for Ivet till a horrific leg fracture in 05 ruled her out for 2 years but after a semi final appearance in the Beijing Olympics 100m and second round 200m the speedy Bulgarian is back finishing 7th last nite in the 100m final and the only european to make the final,she begins her quest for the 200m final tomorrow.

As for yours truly it was my hard 8 miler this evening,hoping to improve on last weeks 47.16.3.
From the get go it was clear I was up for the challenge,a second faster at both my opening splits I then held a 15 second advantage from a week ago at 2 miles(Whitby Ave)b4 reaching the turn in 23.36......a full 30 seconds faster than last week.
Now came the 64 billion dollar question had I shot my load?......which is a loaded question after posting a picture of a major hottie Ivet Lalova on this blog entry......c'mon people minds out of the gutter please!!!!!

I was still feeling strong as I began the uphill approach to Whitby Ave and mile 6 and my form felt like it was holding true.
Remarkably I now held a 40 second advantage over last week as I clocked 34.04 and believed at least a sub 47 min time was on,it would remain to be seen if I could negative split again.
38.26 as I crossed Baltimore Ave it was going to be close to sub 47 but I was confident,I asked myself"what would Mo Farrah do?" in this situation as I found another gear and thanks to a little bit of luck w/ the final set of intersections and traffic lights I crossed the finish line outside the front door in 46.37.8.

Wow! another nite of sub 6 mile pace and another negative split 23.36/23.01 as I took 1.19 off of last weeks time.
Clearly a number of things are working in my favour the temps are alot easier to run in,I don't think I even checked to see what it was this afternoon,the daily dose of Vit C and Iron pills plus throwing in a weekly helping of Liver to help w/ the Iron deficiency plus a return to 50 miles a week all contribute to seeing my times for the last three weeks go:49.46.1-47.16.3-46.37.8.
The Bridge Run 10k is still 9 weeks away but if I can continue to stay illness and injury free who knows what's in store.
After any hard run I look forward to an easy day tomorrow.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Other Worlds

Having spent most of this year focusing on Worlds.....the WMA(World Masters Athletics) variety it's now time to focus on the IAAF(International Amateur Athletics Federation) version.
You can usually count on three events bringing the house to a grinding halt,the track and field portion of the Olympics,the football/soccer World Cup and the World Athletics Championships so from now until Sunday you can expect to find me glued to my tv catching up on the 5 hours of coverage I've dvr'd during the day.

One obvious drawback of the time difference from here to Daegu South Korea is that I have to not only dvr the highlights but also try to avoid the internet for fear of reading the results,I knew about Usain Bolt's DQ in the 100m and a couple of today's finals b4 sitting down to watch the races but if it means being a tad more selective w/ my internet choices during the day between now and Sunday,sobeit.

I did get out and run however World C'ships,Olympics,World Cup or not I still have to train so tonite was an easy 8 miler to jump start the week like it did last week,I'm hoping some of Mo Farrah's silver medal performance in the 10,000m rubs off on me tomorrow over 8 miles as I look lower last weeks 47.16.3.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hurricane Irene Nil Awesome Possum One

Sweet and merciful Jesus the rain stopped and Hurricane Irene has been and gone now.
I wasn't sure when I hit the zzzs last nite at 10pm what today would hold in terms of running,I figured it'd be a game time decision but upon waking up at 8.20am it seemed like the worst of the rain had stopped and by 11am after sitting through a painful 5.1 Spurs mauling at the hands of Man City I figured a run was the best thing for me!

The plan was an out and back along Kelly Drive for my 13 miler however upon reaching the Schuylkill Banks I was faced w/ my first obstacle,the Schuylkill River had crested its banks and subsequently the Schuylkill Banks were shut down,while I'm passionate about getting my run in I'm not a hard arse about public safety so w/ a quick about turn I headed back towards home w/ 2 options to complete the 7 miles I'd need to make this 13 miles.

Option one,hang a right on Cobbs Creek Parkway then hang a right on Spruce St and run back down to the South St bridge b4 turning back for home,or option two right on CCP turnaround at Spruce St and then back out along CCP to my 3 mile turnaround b4 turning for home.
My concern w/ CCP was that it's notorious for flooding and downed trees when the weather is bad but since I have to be back out there tomorrow for an easy 8 miler I figured today would serve as a recon mission.
I'm pleased to report no flooding and only one downed tree which I hope the Fairmount Park commission will have cleared if not by tomorrow then Tuesday.

So another 50 mile week in the books,here's hoping for a third but w/out all the drama of the last seven days beginning tomorrow w/ an easy 8 miler

Trial Of Miles

First of all apologies for being a day late w/ this entry,blame it on Irene!
Given what was on tap w/ the weather this weekend I knew getting my 3x2 mile repeats in on Saturday b4 the brunt of Irene hit was crucial,granted missing out on my Sunday long run will be a pisser if it doesn't happen but if I could only get one of the two runs in this weekend I'd have gone w/ the 3x2 mile repeats,having seen an improvement in my times last week I was keen to at least try and continue to press home that advantage.
I arrived at Temple just b4 10.40am,a little later than usual but wasn't too concerned w/ that my main concern was the weather holding during the repeats,the skies were grey and overcast but w/ a heavy air of humidity as I conducted my 6 lap warm up.

#1 repeat 1.20.5-1.24.1-1.26.2-1.22.1-1.24.1-1.24.8-1.23.1-1.18.7-11.03.7.Wow,my fastest 2 mile repeat to date(eclipsing my very first repeat on July 2nd of 11.08.4.)Clearly the key was even pace,was I tempted to drop the hammer on the final to get my first sub 11? sure but I wanted to look at the bigger picture,following my 11.08.4. I blew the fuck up but that was 8 weeks ago as a 3x2 mile rookie I feel I'm learning how to come to grips w/ this repeat now.

#2 repeat 1.23.4-1.28.3-1.29.5-1.28.0-1.28.6-1.27.4-1.26.7.-1.19.1.-11.31.3.I knew from the opening lap I wasn't moving as fluently as I had on the previous repeat but at least when I saw the 1.29.5 on lap 3 I knew the need to get my head back in the game and managed to keep the repeats below that over the final 5 laps.

#3 repeat 1.26.2-1.26.7-1.27.6-1.27.3-1.25.8-1.24.8-1.22.2-1.14.7-11.15.5.Yes! having talked about looking to erase the 1.30 laps a few weeks back I managed that today throughout the entire session which is something I want to build on but also the fact I rebounded from the 11.31.3. to drop a 11.15.5. is also very pleasing as in one session I notched my two fastest repeats.

The key now is to keep building on this,I have another three weeks of 3x2 mile repeats b4 a run of three back to back races so it's of the utmost importance to keep pressing home the gains I've been making in the past two weeks.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Land Of The Lost/Hurricane Irene

As I sit here getting ready for 4 hours of 80's tunes on Wxpn's "Land Of The Lost" W/ Robert Drake I also find myself w/ one eye on the weather this weekend.
Since Monday and maybe earlier than that the weather people have been tracking Hurricane Irene as she began working her way up from Puerto Rico,by the sounds of it the east coast is about to bare the brunt of a category 2 hurricane tomorrow evening heading into Sunday.

Sounds like Philly will get a right soaking on Saturday night going into Sunday I'm faced w/ the prospect of another Sunday long run going by the way side which pun intended and if it's absolutely pissing down the satellite dish probably won't allow me to watch much in the way of tv......good job I've got a ton of stuff on the dvr to catch up on!!!

Anyway in light of Land Of The Lost and Hurricane Irene here's a modern rock/80's Top 20.......submitted for your approval:

Eye Of The Hurricane-The Alarm
Gimme Shelter- Sisters Of Mercy
Blow Wind Blow-Alison Moyet
Windpower-Thomas Dolby
The Storm-Big Country
Like A Hurricane-The Mission
Reap The Wild Wind-Ultravox
Here Comes The Rain Again-Eurythmics
Shelter-Lone Justice
Like The Weather-10,000 Maniacs
A Common Disaster-Cowboy Junkies
It Can't Rain All The Time-Jane Siberry
Rain-Terrance Trent D'Arby
Songs From The Rain-Hothouse Flowers
Whistle Down The Wind- Nick Hayward
Who Can Stop The Rain-Thompson Twins
Happy When It Rains-Jesus & Mary Chain
Rain-The Cult
High Land Hard Rain-Aztec Camera
Hard Rain's Gonna Fall-Roxy Music

Stay safe this weekend,I'm off to the Land Of The Lost chat room to hang w/ my fellow 80's peeps

Thursday, August 25, 2011


After the balls up yesterday w/ my new shoes I had to get out there today to get a run in,the problem being I was scheduled to do hill repeats at Belmont Plateau and frankly the rain didn't seem to want to let up.
The problem w/ getting to Belmont is most of it's by foot after a 2 stop ride on the el and frankly if it was raining I'd look like a drowned rat b4 I got to Belmont Ave from 46th and Market so my back up plan was a 6 miler along Cobbs Creek Parkway,even if it was raining it wouldn't be too far from home.

As it was by the time I got home it had actually stopped raining so the out and back 6 miler along CCP was a go(as it turned out I could've gone to Belmont after all as it didn't rain but when I left the house at 4.15pm it looked like it was going to pour so maybe it was the right call)
When I started off the plan was 6 miles but early on into the run I began to toy w/ several permutations,if I left it at 6 miles today I'd still have to run 5 miles tomorrow to bring me level at 30 miles w/ 8 on Saturday on my repeats and then 12 on Sunday but to be honest I like a day off not just for a mental and physical rest but to get stuff done plus I'd end up running 13 days in a row b4 my next scheduled day off.

After a number of different options I went w/ 9 miles today which will allow me tomorrow off then an extra mile on Saturday(1.5 mile warm up and 1.5 mile cool down instead of the run of the mill mile warm up and cool down either side of my 3x2 mile repeats) b4 closing the week out w/ a 13 miler to make it another 50 mile week.
Sure it'd have been nice to duplicate last weeks 50 miles w/ 2 repeats but in another couple of weeks the option of hill repeats at Belmont won't be an option I began to notice how much quicker it's getting darker in the evenings recently,by 8pm it's already dark so you figure come mid October after the first three of my fall races 5th Avenue Mile,Syracuse and the Jack St Clair 5 mile xc it may be too dark to schlep all the way over to Belmont and back for hill repeats but that's a problem for another day right now I can look forward to a day off and "Land Of The Lost" on Wxpn tomorrow evening b4 Saturdays 3x2 mile repeats.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sing Blue Silver

What was meant to be a celebration of new shoes turned into a cautionary tale of what happens when you get too cute for your own good!

After a couple of pay cheques that wouldn't stretch to a new pair of running shoes I finally had enough money last week to replace my current pair of Asics Gel Speedstar 5 which have served me well,over the last 9 years Asics has been my running shoe of choice w/ very few dalliances from that,not sure how I stumbled on the Gel Speedstar 5 but it seemed to tick all the boxes,so much so that when the first pair were ready for the great running shoe resting place that I bought an identical pair and was tempted to go to the well a third time until I saw a stat that caught my eye.

One of the things that I love about the Speedstar 5 is how lightweight it is 8.9 oz.....however since the red and black model wasn't available at $69.99 and I didn't want to pay $89.99 I did some drilling around on the Asics page of Eastbay.Com where I buy all my shoes.

The same model but in silver and blue was only $69.99 so I figured why not save myself $20(or so he thought!!!) but they were women's shoes,I didn't see this as an issue and the fact the women's model only weighed 7.3oz I saw this as a win/win and promptly ordered my regular size 10.5.............

Said shoes arrived today....yea!!! time to discard my current everyday shoes(my former running shoes) to replace them w/ my current running shoes and break in the new shoes over an easy 8 miler,Precious seemed quite pleased w/ a pair of red and black shoe laces to play w/ and I wouldn't have to worry about squeezing any more miles into my current running shoes........or so I thought 2 miles into my run my toes were killing me and both my heals were rubbing on the inside of the shoes.

I guess a women's 10.5 is more like a men's 10 as my feet felt cramped inside of the shoes,I managed another mile b4 conceding defeat and turning round and walking very gingerly back home.

Clearly I need another pair of new shoes,either stick to men's 10.5 or if I want to get a slightly lighter pair go size 11 in women's,either way I'm stuck w/ a pair of slightly used 10.5's anyone is welcome to and now having to squeeze more miles out of my current pair of shoes b4 shelling out another $69.99 next week

Another issue is making up the 5 mile I lost tonite,so much for Friday being a rest day now although if we get the rain they're predicting tomorrow my hill repeats at Belmont could fall by the way side,guess we'll have to play it by ear and wait and see.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dream Into Action

It's not every day here on the east coast we get an earthquake but just b4 2pm while sitting on the lawn of the hospital taking my lunch hour I witnessed first hand the ground shake,it felt so surreal,at first it felt like the subway running below where I was sitting but considering I was sitting east facing west and the subway runs north to south along Broad St I knew it couldn't be the subway,5.8 was the official size of the quake down in Virginia that was felt as far north as Toronto and Atlanta down south.

After the earthquake I did a little ''earthshaking" of my own w/ my 8 miler,last week I clocked 49.46.1. and shaved 2.30 off of that this evening w/ a 47.16.3.
An ideal evening to run,80 degrees w/ no humidity,I hit my first split at Cedar and Cobbs Creek in 3.35 9 seconds up on last week.
8.41 at Baltimore Ave and 13.41 at Whitby Ave last week was 9.00 and 14.00 so providing I didn't go into the tank on the second half of the run I was on for a faster time.
Reached the turnaround in 24.06,32 seconds faster than last week could my first week of 50 miles have made that much of a difference???

34.44 at Whitby Ave 1.16 faster than last week,more importantly 34.44 at 6 miles means w/ 11 weeks to go till the Bridge Run 10k that 1984 pr of 34.53 should fold like a house of cards....maybe not the analogy to make after an earthquake but I've never said I had a politically correct bone in my body did I??
39 and change at Baltimore Ave I felt strong and full of running,up the final hill b4 hanging left on Cobbs Creek Parkway,43.20 at the intersection of Cobbs Creek and Cedar Ave,last week was 46.37 so I knew a faster time was on tap,when I reached the turnaround in 24.06 I didn't expect a sub 48 time but I clocked 47.16.3. when I finished,not only a 2.30 improvement on a week ago but also a negative split 24.06/23.10.

There still more work to be done here but for someone who huffed and puffed through 7.30 mile pace in late May/early June and went sub 6 today I'd say I'm heading in the right direction.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Happy Mondays

Let's face it,if it weren't for Mondays,Tuesdays would suck!!!
One of the things I love about my job is it's Monday to Friday,so when some blow hard from the Labs came over to the dock this morning blowing a major gasket about a non delivery on Saturday it was hard not to laugh in his face,DUDE! next time you go hunting for bear....make sure you've got bullets in the god damn rifle(not that I'm advocating hunting or the shooting of bears I hope you understand!),moral of this story get your facts straight and don't go off half cocked next time you come into my office looking to raise hell.

Easy 8 miles this evening,tomorrow I'll have a crack at last weeks 49.46.1. other than that a slow day w/ very little to report just waiting on my new Asics Gel Speedstar's to arrive.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

50 Not Out

At a time when England batsmen are notching double centuries at will verses India,Alister Cook,Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell I was happy to notch my own half century this morning thanks to a out and back 12 miler down to Columbia Bridge via the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Drive.
Ironically my last 12 miler came w/ my last 50 mile week(technically it was a 55 mile week) but since May 8th there hasn't been either but it was always in my mind once Nationals and the track pentathlon were over I'd rebuild my weekly mileage to 50 miles a week w/ a 12 miler on Sundays,that however got stalled last week w/ the rain and I had to make do w/ 38 miles,no such worries today as I was able to get out and get going at 10.30am.

Even though I had been a while(16 weeks) since my last 12 miler I was looking forward to it and as I cruised along the old familiar route,Cedar Ave,Baltimore Ave,Spruce St/South St Bridge,Markward Park,Schuylkill Banks/Kelly Dr it felt good to be back.
A couple of things have changed since May 8th,Markward Park is being renovated so a slightly different route through there today and a gate at the Conrail tracks at Locust Point which meant the old familiar detour along 24th St and up the steps to Walnut St and back down the steps off Walnut St Bridge,which I could've done w/out period but especially on the inbound leg when I was beginning to feel a little leg weary.

Having only just gotten back up to 8 milers post Nationals 3 weeks ago I always felt the extra 4 miles today could be an issue today but rather than pussyfoot around and make it a 10 miler I said feck it and went w/ the 12 miler and bingo I was able to grind it out over the final 4 miles today.
So 50 miles for the week,a tally I'd like keep going for the coming weeks and months till mid November when I'll bump it up to 60 for a 6 week period leading up to the indoor season but that's for another day,w/ one 50 mile week under my belt it's time to focus on the next one beginning w/ an 8 miler tomorrow.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Getting To Grips W/ Vertigo

If' it's Saturday then it's 3x2 mile repeats at Temple.
I was disappointed w/ last weeks performance but all the factors that I believe went into that{fatigue,having to run the day b4,a clunky stopwatch and not being able to eat b4 the run} were non existent today,I also hoped to build on the good 8 miler I ran on Monday and Wednesdays hill repeats.
Arriving at Temple just b4 10am conditions were ideal,warm but no humidity and no wind on the back straight{not always the case there}and next to nobody using the track which always helps, but when you're running 24 laps even more so!!!
Mile warm up and then showtime.

#1 repeat solid opener and very consistent,I came through the opening mile 5.40.2.,11.22.0 is my third fastest split to date.

#2 repeat for lap 6 over again!!not sure if that was a mental or physical let down but it would prove to be my slowest lap of the entire session,I said in week 2 once I began to eliminate the 1.30 laps on this repeat I would be getting somewhere,I'm that close,a 5.44.6. opening mile.

#3 repeat to a stopwatch malfunction I don't have splits for lap 3 and lap 7(sorry!) but again very consistent lap splits and a 1.13 closing lap(very nice!!).

In week 2 I went:11.21.2.-11.40.9-11.46.2. today:11.22.0.-11.24.6-11.30. and while I'm far from being where I need to be I'm getting there,fingers crossed tomorrow's planned 12 miler doesn't get rained out and I can log my first 50 mile week since early May,between the Iron pills,Vit C and nudging my mileage up I believe I can get where I need to be to have a decent crack at my oldest pr the 10k road,34.53 set all the way back in 84 in only my second ever 10k,more importantly I'd like to halt the up and down nature of these 3x2 mile repeats,weeks #1 and #3 left a lot to be desired,weeks #2 and #4 were marked improvements,let's see what next week has in store?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Once A Runner

Technically today is a rest day but having just finished John Parker's novel "Once A Runner" I had to comment on it.
Highly regarded as one of the best books about running I have to confess I'd never heard of it until earlier in the year when my friend and team mate Phil Reilly published his first novel "Chasing Ghosts" which will be my next read but while doing research on "Chasing Ghosts" I stumbled on "Once A Runner" and must admit fell in love w/ it.

I could relate to the trials and tribulations of Quenton Cassidy and Bruce Denton in Kernsville and look forward to reading the sequel "Again To Carthage",if you haven't read "Once A Runner" yet I strongly recomend it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting My Ducks In A Row

"Take time to see the wonders of the world to see the things you've only ever heard of

Dream life the way you think it ought to be see things you thought you'd never ever see

Take a cruise to China or a train to Spain go round the world again and again

Meet a girl on a boat meet a boy on a plane and fall in love w/out the pain

Everybody needs love and adventure everybody needs cash to spend

Everybody needs love and affection everybody needs two or three friends

These are the things,these are the things the things that dreams are made of

Take a lift to the top of the Empire State take a drive across the Golden Gate

March march march across Red Square do all the things you ever dared"

The Things That Dreams Are Made Of-Human League

Frankly if we get any more rain this week I fear my ducks my float off!!!

Pay day today(yea!!!)hopefully this time around the money in my bank account will say "I Promise To Pay The Bearer" not "I Hope To Pay The Bearer"!!!

I set my weekend in New York for the Human League and 5th Avenue Mile in motion,got my Human League ticket,booked a hostel in New York close to 5th Avenue and booked a round trip ticket on Megabus for $10,all I didn't do was order the new Human League cd,I figure that can wait till the next paycheck today I ordered the new OMD cd since I'm seeing them the nite b4 the Human League,on back to back nites I'll see the band who began my concert going in December 80 and a band I saw the following December.

As to why I have the two pictures posted atop the blog?when I first saw the Human League in 81 I wanted Phil Oakey's hairstyle,now 30 years later I have it.....ha ha!!!!

Easy 8 mile recovery run this evening after my hill repeats yesterday,coming off the first uphill I could feel the effects of yesterday.....god bless the easy day,and tomorrow is a rest day....god bless the recovery day!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

On A Mission.......

"A fleeting glance upon your silken face Medusa and you can turn my heart and soul to stone
Thank you for the memory and the lasting first impression,thank you for the steel that cuts to the bone
Over the hills and far away there's a place that's paradise where we walked,walked,walked,walked on in talked,talked talked of sharing dreams"

Over The Hills And Far Away-The Mission

Normally I baulk at referring to The Mission as The Mission UK but after posting the cover to "The First Chapter" I felt it was a little bland,where as the cover for The Mission UK had more going on so I added the second one....what the heck it's my blog after all!!

Any morning that begins w/ me feeling like a 747 pilot(where my feet don't touch the ground!!) and sees me dialing up Social Distortion on the ipod usually spells trouble w/ a capital T but thankfully the need to walk thro walls,shit nails,spit bullets didn't happen but it's always good to hear Mike Ness and Social D.

Off to Belmont Plateau this evening for a 5 week period of hill repeats,it remains to be seen if I continue w/ them post Syracuse but I have considered it a strong possibility,anyway to kick things off tonite the time honoured 6xFlagpole,my target time was 2.15 per repeat.

#1 repeat,2.12.1. A solid opener,it's always a crap shot on the opening repeat,going out too slow or too fast but this one felt right.

#2 repeat,2.13.4. More of the same on #2 it was just a question of getting the right line on the turn to Flagpole,I almost took a wicked header on #1 as the long grass covered a serious hole in the ground I didn't see.

#3 repeat,2.14.8. Another second added to the tally,I didn't feel there was any particular area I was letting this slip away from me.

#4 repeat,2.15.9. Dangerously close to slipping over the 2.15 barrier,there could be no margin for error now on repeats #5 and #6.......

#5 repeat,2.10.4.Nice! I didn't feel I did anything different on this repeat and felt I ran w/in myself,the trick now was had I left enough fuel in the tank for the finale?

#6 repeat,2.10.8. Heading up the hill towards Flagpole for the last time I could feel myself having to dig deep and while I'd have liked a mulligan on #4 after back to back 2.10's I knew it wasn't happening!!!

A good start to hill repeats,it'll be interesting to see what 6x Parachute yields next week and what week #5 produces when I return to 6x Flagpole in 4 weeks time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy B'day Precious

It sucks I never got around to replacing my digital camera that got stolen almost 16 months ago period but over the last eight months since I adopted Precious my now one year old cat it would've been nice to have documented her growth from tiny 4 month old kitten to one year old cat today
There is a photo of her on January 17th's entry "The Love Cat"(what can I say,cat lover and Cure fan to boot!!!) when she was 5 months old,trust me she's grown a lot since then,I doubt she could fit in between the keyboard and monitor now.
When I first adopted her at 4 months old she could fit in the palm of my hand....good luck trying that now although in recent days she's getting back into "lap cat" mode and curling up on my lap,something I thought she outgrown,one thing she'll never outgrow is being is Daddy's Girl Precious and I share a bond,I don't know if she can comprehend that I saved her from probably freezing to death that first nite I took her in or if she knows how close I came to being thrown out of the house for standing up to the landlord to keep her but the love Precious and I share is a strong love and I want to wish the "not so little girl" a happy first b'day today.

Easy 8 mile run this evening,after giving it a good seeing to last nite I was happy to take a relaxed attitude towards the run this evening period but w/ hill repeats at Belmont Plateau on tap tomorrow there was no need to go after another brisk 8 miler this evening.
No run would be complete w/out the "peanut gallery" of course,the idiot riding towards me on his bike who felt the need to yell at me as he rode by and my perennial favourite the idiots who want to outrun me.....grow up,piss off or both!!!
As for the picture of Clare Grogan, "Happy Birthday" was Altered Images breakout hit back in 81 and it introduced Clare Grogan to the world,I had a crush on her the size of Texas and since I couldn't post a picture of one kitten (Precious) I should at least post one of another!!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hold Back The Rain

"Yes we're miles away from nowhere and the wind doesn't have a name so call it what you want to call it still blows down the lane
People tell me I haven't changed at all but I still feel the same and I bet you've had that feeling too you can't laugh all the time
And if the fires burn out there's only fire to blame(hold back the rain)no time for worry cause we ride the outside lane(hold back the rain)
The clouds all scatter and we ride the outside lane(hold back the rain)not on your own so help me please hold back the rain"

Hold Back The Rain-Duran Duran
Yeah,yeah,yeah another Duran Duran reference but it was them or Milli Vanilli and "Blame It On The Rain" and frankly that shit ain't happening!!!
I was disappointed to miss yesterdays 12 miler but from the time I woke up (9am) till late afternoon (5pm) it was pissing down,I can hack running in the rain IF I've started my run but there's something about trying to run when it is chucking it down that I just can't handle,I'm not going to beat myself up over missing a run,trust me there are plenty of people out there who'll do it for me but the fact is over the coming weeks and months there will be beaucoup Sunday 12 milers and 50/60 mile weeks so chalk this one up as a loss and move on.
In lieu of my run I did get some much needed rnr,I went into the weekend saying I was in need of some rest and I got it.

Glass half full off an unscheduled day off I felt I could "go after it today" on my 8 miler,after 7 easy 8 milers since returning from Nationals 2 weeks ago it was time to amp up the 8 miler once a week and "give it some welly"....frankly at lunchtime when the heavens opened again I thought I'd be wearing wellies to run but sweet and merciful Jesus it stopped raining and I was able to get my run in.
I figured 50 mins was a reasonable target time 6.15 mile pace,a far cry from the 7.30 pace I was cranking out at the end of May.
My unofficial splits were 3.44{Cedar & Cobbs}9.00{Baltimore Ave}14.00{Whitby Ave} and 24.38 at the turnaround,49.16 pace.
I was feeling good and providing I hadn't bitten off more than I could chew I felt confident that sub 50 was on.
36.00 at Whitby,41.52 at Baltimore and 46.37 at Cobbs & Cedar I still had juice at the finish even if it wasn't a negative split 24.38-25.08 but it was sub 50, 49.46.1.

Over the coming weeks once a week I'll have a crack at continuing to lower that time,my plan is Tuesdays hard 8,Thursdays hill repeats,Saturdays 3x2 mile repeats.
One final foot note,yesterday was my 23rd sober anniversary,I don't like to brake my hand patting myself on my back but having spent so much of my life as a drunk prior to Aug 14th 1988 the fact I've been able to stay sober one day at a time for the past 23 years is a fate acompli and even thought I toyed w/ the thought that due to my low iron levels maybe I could drink Guinness on a medicinal level in recent months since I was diagnosed w/ a mild form of anemia I know that's my illness and disease and addiction talking to me,even after 23 years I'm not off the hook yet....I'll stick to the iron pills once a day and remain sober one day at a time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Long Haul

Having officially called time on my 2011 track season after Sundays track pentathlon I began to devise my fall season,phase 1 a 6 week hopefully uninterrupted period of 50 miles a week w/ no races and 2 repeat sessions per week,this would lead me upto 5th Avenue Mile, this then morphs into a 10 week phase w/ 7 races to take me to the end of November.....and then indoor track.
The plan for the next six Saturdays is lay a base of 3x2 mile repeats while I can train w/out worrying about races so this morning saw me resume my battle w/ vertigo.....24 laps plus another 8 thrown in for good measure w/ my mile warm up and cool down!!!!

I arrived at Temple's track a little after 10am,conditions were sunny and warm but at 86 degrees not too humid,that coupled w/ only a handful of people on the track meant the elements were in my favour for a decent workout.......

Repeat #1 1.23.2,1.30.3,1.29.2,1.30.9,1.30.6,1.33.1,1.32.3,1.27.5,-11.57.5.Not exactly the start I wanted the opening lap was solid enough but after that it kind of went into the crapper,it didn't help the wrist band on my stopwatch went kerplunk on me the other day so I was having to hold the watch like an old fashion stop watch(I know I'm having a series of 80's flashbacks right now but seriously!!!!)and I wasn't able to see my splits per lap,if I had've maybe I'd have seen seen the 1.30 splits and upped my pace.....or maybe I was just having an off day?

Repeat #2 1.26.1,1.31.0,1.31.9,1.36.2,1.34.2,1.36.4,1.39.0,1.28.6,-12.23.8.I knew it was shaping up as "one of those days" but rather than throw in the towel I figured I'd see it through to the bitter end,if nothing else next week I'll have a chaseable target time a la week 2 of these repeats when week 1 was also nothing to write home about.

Repeat#3 1.31.1,1.33.8,1.31.5,1.34.4,1.33.3,1.34.0,1.31.7,1.20.1,-12.10.3.A mild form of redemption,having come through the mile in 6.11.0 I knew I had to try and pick up the pace and did just that w/ a sub 6 mile to round out a some what disappointing repeat session.

My three weeks of 3x2 mile repeat so far read a little like an EKG chart:
The fact I came home and very uncharacteristically took a three hour nap probably underlines how tired I feel,my schedule has been a little unforgiving of late,sleeping till 9am this morning was my first lie in of sorts for a couple of weeks and since I'm pleading financial embarrassment this weekend I'm figuring a lot of downtime w/ my feet up outside of my 12 mile run tomorrow should I hope reset my body clock so that next Saturday I'm kicking the 3x2 mile repeats arse....not the other way around!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Rose Is A Rose By Any Other Name

Had to switch things up a little yesterday and today to accommodate my doctors appointment.
It's only taken 10 weeks to get an appointment w/ my doctor but it was worth the wait I've been going to see John for 13 years and yesterdays visit was proof why I go to see him.
He encouraged me to keep taking the Iron tablets but also expressed a concern my blood pressure was a little high and wants me to monitor that over the next six weeks till I see him again,he did an EKG test and sent me for a chest xray, and also wants me to have a follow up blood test in 5 weeks time prior to my next visit.
The upshot of all that was it was 6.20pm when I got home and a tad late for my 8 miler,so I switched up rest days and ran today.

I'd have preferred today as my rest day prior to a return to the track tomorrow for 3x2 mile repeat and then a 12 miler on Sunday to rack up a 50 mile week but I knew as long as I took it nice and easy this evening I'll be fine for tomorrow.
The other day it was brought to my attention that it was Duran Duran appreciation day,timely given I'd just gotten tickets for their 30th anniversary tour and got me to thinking back to the summer of 85 when Power Station and Arcadia put out albums.
Power Station featured John and Andy Taylor plus Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson and enjoyed hit singles "Some Like It Hot" and "Get It On(Bang A Gong) meanwhile Simon Le Bon,Nick Rhodes and Roger Taylor made "So Red The Rose'' which featured the likes of Grace Jones,Sting and Herbie Hancock.
It was once said "So Red The Rose'' was the best album Duran Duran ever made and to be honest I'd put it right alongside the first three Duran Duran albums,even today some 26 years later both albums sound great,"So Red The Rose" remains one of my all time favourite 80's albums and a staple on my ipod.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It Was A Good Day For Bruce

I've no idea if Bruce Rash is Australian and since I don't have a photo of Bruce I went w/ the above picture and title it's a little play on words and just a bit of pithy fun,if you don't like it you can always....pith off!!!

Coming into the second annual Greater Philadelphia Track Club Track Pentathlon as the defending champion I wasn't sure if I could defend my "Ironman" title,last year I was in much better shape but just like Worlds and Nationals b4 I owed it to myself to see what I could do.
Last year the format was:3,000m,800m,200m,1,500m,400m this year it switched to:3,000m,200m,1,500m,100m,800m or 400m.
Another change of format was the order last year we went fastest to slowest which put me in the first heat of each distance,this year I was in the last or second to last heat.

3,000m,My best distance and the race that set me up for victory last year,after a 77 second opening lap in second place I hit the front and never looked back,1st in 9.48.0. a far cry from the 9.07.1. I ran last year,this year I earnt 83.53 on the age graded scoring where as last year I earnt 89.07 and instead of leading I was second.

200m,After seeing my teammate Nick Berra pull a hamstring in the 200m last year I was hellbent on not going the same way,drawn in lane three in heat seven I finished 6th in 29.68. to score 73.89 a far cry from 27.35 and 79.63 last year,after 2 events last year I was 7 points ahead now I was 6 points out of first in third.

1,500m,I knew the only way to claw back the points deficit was to go out hard in my final 2 distance events so I opened the 1,500m in 70 seconds but couldn't shake Dana who laid in wait behind me till 250m to go b4 launching his kick to best me by 4 seconds,what the hell I was "spotting him" almost 20 years!
2nd in 4.37.9. and 84.36 points,compared to my 1st place in 4.19.0 and 89.67 last year,I was 8 points behind leader Lorraine Jasper but had reclaimed 2nd just ahead of Bruce 241.78-241.16

100m,The one distance I had no experience in,I can always dial up a hard final 200m on my repeats over 400m,600m,800m,1,000m,mile,2 miles but 100m?????Usain Bolt I am NOT!!!
6th again in 14.82 and w/ it any hopes of holding onto my title,I was now 11 points adrift of Lorraine and Bruce w/ only 72.60 to show for my effort.

800m, As a former and I hope again 800m runner I had to opt for the 800m over the 400m,once again Dana got the better of me taking it out hard from the gun, I heard 68 seconds at 400m and had another "young buck" Nick Geigle overtake me at 250m to go,but I sat in behind him till coming off the final turn b4 reclaiming 2nd in 2.18.9.
Last year I finished the 800m albeit the second event in 2.07.1. to earn 88.31points today I got 81.51.

When the final points were added up I was third in 395.90 just ahead of Larry Rechtin w/ 392.20,for the second year Lorraine Jasper was runner up 9 points ahead of me but 4 points behind the new champion Bruce Rash who won in 410.95
Props to Bruce he only completed three events last year but has been an active member of the GPTC this season and I'm pleased for him.....but don't get too cozy there Bruce,I'm coming for you next year!!!!

It'd be remiss of me not to thank all those involved w/ the event,the 44 runners who showed up to compete,some running distances they were not comfortable w/(sidebar Bruce's win proved a sprinter can win this event)the considerable efforts of Kyle Mecklenborg who has been the driving force behind this unique event the past two years,all the volunteers who gave their time to make sure the event ran smoothly,see you all next year!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stuck Inside My Head

I know I'm not the only person to deal w/ this,but ever get a song stuck inside your head that you can't get rid of?
''Nowhere Girl" by B Movie is one of a number of songs I own on 12'' vinyl but can't download to my ipod which means scouring the net usually Amazon to find,I did find a B Movie Best Of cd but read the mix was different than the original and after a 30 second sample I saw what they meant,somehow I ended up finding the Soundtrack to "200 Cigarettes" and boyah not only does it sound like the original mix(score) but a used copy of the cd is only 20c....(double score!!)
That's two down two to go,last year I found "Images Of Heaven" by Peter Godwin and now I need to find "Soul Train" by Swansway(found a copy of their Best Of on Amazon UK) and then "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag" by Pigbag,ye olde ipod will be sounding tres 80's!!!

Hit the track this afternoon for my first repeat workout since that 7am workout on July 23rd,I need to make the most of my mid week repeats now as last year once the fall semester began access to the track became a crap shoot till the weekends but maybe Chuck and I can do hill repeats on Belmont Plateau starting next week as a back up.
Mile repeats today,4x1 aiming for 5.20 per mile

#1 mile,1.20,1.25,1.20,1.18-5.23.0.Kind of went to sleep on lap 2 thinking of things I just shouldn't be thinking but otherwise a good start
#2 mile,1.19,1.25,1.23,1.19-5.26.1.Did it again on lap 2 but after a two and a half week absence from repeats I knew not to expect all the components to come back off the bat
#3 mile,1.20,1.24,1.23,1.18-5.25.4.Frighteningly consistent w/ repeat #2 and as w/ my other 2 repeats solid opening lap, laps 2 & 3 dipping b4 closing well.
#4 mile,1.21,1.24,1.25,1.14-5.24.0.When I came through 1,200m in 4.10 I knew I had to haul arse if I wanted to stay in the same time zone I'd been in and thanks to a 1.14 final lap I did.

Yes there's work to be done just to get to 5.20 per mile pace but while my track season may be over after Sundays track pentathlon I have plenty of weeks of repeats to get myself ready for my 10k assault in early November so hopefully this was a jump start to a late summer/early fall of weekly repeats.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Road Trippin' Again

First of all apologies for the lack of Track Pentathlon 411,at the time of "going to press" the results weren't available however they are now but since tomorrow is a scheduled track day(4x1 mile repeats) it'll have to hold over till Thursday......damn all this build up I better be able to deliver a kick arse report.......LOL!!!

More of the same again this evening following yesterdays recovery run over 8 miles tonite was an easy 8 miles.....what's the difference between a recovery run and easy run?.....very little!
So looking to continue the trend from the weekend after scoring Duran Duran tickets and seeing Berlin it looks like I'll be going to NYC to catch the Human League in September,and w/ it continuing a recent pre 5th Avenue Mile gig tradition!

Originally I was going to catch the Human League here in Philly at The Keswick in Glenside on Sept 21st b4 seeing OMD the following nite at the TLA however upon checking their tour dates I discovered Phil and the girls will be in Times Square on Friday at the old Nokia Theater(Best Buy Theater now) the nite b4 this years 5th Avenue Mile.
I don't like The Keswick to be honest(1 gig in almost 24 years here bares testimony to that tit bit of information!!!)plus it's a seated venue and for the Human League I want to be able to stand and shake my arse so since I have to be in Manhattan early Saturday morning for the race why not go up to New York Friday,see the Human League and stay overnite so I can be at 5th Avenue for the race?
In 07 I saw Motorhead 2 days b4 the race,in 08 U2 2 days b4 the race and last year it was James 2 days b4 the race,I could've kept the 2 day streak alive w/ OMD but I want to be able to dance and get my groove on for Human League so a NYC road trip weekend it is...........

Monday, August 8, 2011

Still Taking My Breath Away After All These Years

''I remember the letter wrinkled in my hand, I Love You always filled my eyes,I remember the night we walked along the Seine,riding on the metro"
The Metro- Berlin

Ok since this is Kevinrunningfree not Kevin80'sfree I should talk about my run this evening,in fairness there wasn't a lot to blog about it was an 8 mile recovery run following yesterdays 5 event track pentathlon,conditions were hot w/ a decent amount of humidity in the air,for an easy run my bandanna and dri fit shirt were doused in sweat by the end of my run,I have another easy 8 miler on tap tomorrow b4 returning to the track to begin my prep for "the fall classics,5th Avenue Mile and Masters 5K Road race"on Wednesday.
I had hoped to write my report on yesterdays Track Pentathlon but I'm still waiting for the official results to do that entry justice,hopefully tomorrow.

Alright so last nite and Berlin,to put things in perspective let's go back 26 years to the summer of 85,I had known my future and sadly now ex wife Erica for a few months when she sent me a cassette of Berlin's 2 albums "Pleasure Victim" and "Love Life" and I became a fan, a year later Berlin had a worldwide #1 hit w/ "Take My Breath Away" from the soundtrack to "Top Gun" and it seemed the world was their oyster and yet somehow the original line up never put out another album and fell off the face of the earth.
Moving forward to 2005 Berlin were one of several bands featured on VH1's "Bands Reunited" where the original line ups of now disbanded groups got back together,following on from that Terri Nunn the only member who'd done anything while the band was in limbo w/ her 91 solo album ''Moment Of Truth" took the legal rights to the name Berlin and w/ that a new life for the band,comeback album "Voyeur"live album "Sacred And Profane" covers album "4Play" and cd/dvd "All The Way In",the only thing missing was a Philadelphia tour date...........

I had read that Berlin or as they are being presented Terri Nunn & Berlin were opening for Inxs but frankly Inxs w/out Michael Hutchence is like Berlin w/out Terri Nunn and frankly not worth seeing,plus they'd only play for 35/45 mins as an opening act and they weren't playing Philly only NYC and Atlantic City......lo and behold prior to my trip to Cleveland for Nationals I went on Pollstar to check upcoming Philly shows and there it was Berlin at World Cafe Live by brainer I was going,after a 24 year hiatus since I last saw them.
I make no bones about my love for Terri Nunn as a female lead singer she's never dropped out of my top three,she has it all,looks voice,sexuality,Terri could recite the alphabet and I'd hang on every it's no surprise I was at World Cafe Live almost 2 hours b4 the show to secure a "front and center" spot in front of her microphone stand.
I've said in the past I've had several vivid dreams about Terri but like the old saying goes "reality outweighed the dreams"(but the dreams were awesome!!!!)

Opening w/ "Dancing In Berlin" and closing w/ "Masquerade" this was a tour de force of Berlin at their best,sure I was there to see Terri but Chris Olivas(Drums) Carlton Bost(Guitar) and Dave Schultz(Keyboards) made you forget that "back in the day" Berlin were a 6 piece.
I stood feet away from Terri as she sang and danced and at one point got on the shoulders of a bodyguard and walked into the crowd,when did you last see a singer do that?
At one point Terri invited a dozen fans upon the stage to dance w/ the band as she put her arm around one lucky fan the look on his face was priceless"I'm on stage w/ Terri Nunn and she's touching me"oh for a camera.
If you've ever been to World Cafe Live you'll know there are tables in front of the stage and Terri chose them as a mini stage to get closer to the audience and she stopped right in front of me,I'm standing there looking up at this goddess of a woman I've admire for years.....and she takes my hand for the remainder of the song,if I died on the way home I'd have died a HAPPY man!!!!!

Then b4 the end of the show Terri looked down at me,I know everyone say the lead singer was looking at them but I could prove it,Terri pointed at my tshirt a 1984 "Love Life" tour shirt Erica got me when she saw them at the Allentown Fair,I turned to show Terri the back BERLIN w/ Love Life Tour 84 and she smiled,only one thing could make this nite complete.
I wanted to wait after the show on the off chance I could meet Terri but it had been a long day,I'd been up since 4.30am and it was now 10.30am there was every chance Terri and the band would go straight to their van post show and that would be that.....enter my new BFF Chris Olivas.
I thanked Chris for a great show and complimented him and Carlton and Dave for their excellent musicianship anyway Chris and I got chatting for a few minutes and I asked him if he could get Terri to sign my cd booklet from her solo cd "Moment Of Truth" and Chris went backstage w/it,returning a few moments later to ask me name,when he returned my cd booklet it was signed Kevin,Thank You For Philly Love Terri Nunn.......I could've died and gone to heaven.
My parting comment to Chris was "you are truly a rock star in every sense of the word,don't be strangers coming back to Philly".
I hope it's not another 24 years b4 I see Berlin again,but if it is Terri will be 74 and probably still incredibly hot and desirable and I'll be there front and center hanging on every word.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Little Less Iron And A Lot Less "The Man" This Year

A more detailed account of this mornings 2nd Greater Philadelphia Track Club Track Pentathlon will be forthcoming tomorrow when I have more time to do it justice,for now let me congratulate this years winner Bruce Rash for his excellent overall performance over 3,000m,200m,1,500m,100m and 400m.
For my troubles I got third and $50 which will go towards a new pair of Asics Speedstar shoes as my current pair have 375 miles on them.
Well I'm off to World Cafe Live to see Terri Nunn and Berlin......providing I don't end up in jail for a crime of passion tonite being THAT close to Terri a women I lusted after in the 80's and 90's I'll double dip tomorrow w/ the Berlin gig and the Track Pentathlon!!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Getting My 80's Groove On

There are some advantages to being born in the early 60s,I have loose memories of the first Apollo mission in 69,my first World Cup memory was Mexico 70,my first Olympic memory was Montreal 76(I wish I'd been interested in running in 72 in Munich just have seen Pre in the 5,000m final)and because I turned 20 in 83 I have very vivid memories of the 80's and 80's music.
I make no bones about being a sucker for 80's music,a big chunk of my music collection is from that era:Altered Images,Bauhaus,Culture Club,Depeche Mode,Echo & The Bunnymen,Flock Of Seaguls,Go West,Human League,Inxs,Japan,Kraftwerk,Level 42,Marillion,New Order, OMD,Psychedlic Furs,Queen,Roxy Music,Spandau Ballet, TalkTalk,Ultravox,Visage,Waterboys,
XTC,Yazoo,ZZ Top to name but a few.

Yesterday I picked up tickets to see Berlin on Sunday at the World Cafe Live,to say I'm psyched is putting it mildly I haven't seen them since March of 87 when I still lived in London,I had the biggest crush on Terri Nunn back then and Wxpn DJ Robert Drake who hosts the excellent"Land Of The Lost" parties where he plays all 80's music is playing dee jay that nite b4 Berlin so it should be a great evening to forget any aches and pains from the mornings track pentathlon.
Tomorrow morning Duran Duran tickets go on sale,it's their 30th anniversary tour,I've been a fan since their second single "Careless Memoirs'' way back when in 81 and have seen the best thing to come out of B'ham since the M6 motorway on 9 previous occasions so I have to see them on this tour.
Of the 6 gigs I have on tap between now and mid October 5 are 80's bands,Berlin,Human League,OMD,Duran Duran and Howard Jones.

Easy 8 miler this evening to put me at 36 miles for the week,w/ the track pentathlon on tap Sunday I wanted a rest day tomorrow to begin w/ plus now w/ Duran Duran tickets going on sale it's nice to know I don't have to run.
I've enjoyed my 8 milers this week,they will be my bread and butter runs for the next few months as I aim to be back at 50 miles a week till mid November b4 switching to 10 milers and going to 60 miles a week as I head into winter.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Getting By W/ A Little Help From My Friends

The Four Horseman,from right to left,Dave Brown,Neill Clark,yours truly and Nick Berra,not sure why Dave is looking sooooooooo serious,the photo was taken after we'd won the relay!!!!
Another easy 8 miler this evening,no rain to dampen things tonight.

Took things a little easier this evening,all four 8 milers between Tuesday and tomorrow were slated to be easy runs as I aim to conserve my energies for Sunday's 5 race track pentathlon but somewhere b4 the turnaround I got caught up visualizing an up coming race and b4 I knew it my pace picked up,not a bad thing but when you're trying to conserve energy for a race or in my case 5 races it's not the ideal preparation.

Wanted to share this gem from yesterday,coming back to Cobbs Creek Parkway through what I always refer to as Cobbs Creek Park I thought I heard another pair of footsteps,maybe it was just me running through the rain but then I thought I heard them again,even at 5.15pm you can't be too careful so I glanced a look over my left shoulder.... yep somebody running behind me,it's rare I encounter that so I wasn't sure what to think....the lights on Baltimore Ave were in my favour so I went for it,if I was being chased I could lose my potential stalker as the lights changed,a few strides in on the other side of Baltimore Ave I looked over my shoulder and saw my team mate Bryant Nix laughing to himself.......we jogged the final mile discussing the upcoming races in Syracuse and Rochester and not the fact I thought I was being stalked!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rebuilding My Mileage

That's me and my buddy Ron from Missouri after he won a bronze in the 1,500m on Sunday,after getting 17th place in the prelims of Worlds in the 1,500m and only 16 advanced and then running slower than he expected in Thursday's 5,000m he fully deserved his bronze.....even if he did beat out my friend and GPTC team mate Neill Clark.

Anywho,having gotten all caught up w/ my races at Nationals yesterday allow me to fill in the blanks from the past week re training.
After 6 weeks of slowly bringing my mileage down(35,35,34,32,30,26)it was time to begin bringing it back up last week,prior to my departure to Cleveland I notched back to back easy 4 milers b4 a 2 mile jog on the Baldwin Wallace college track upon my arrival in Berea.
I managed a 2 mile warm up on the indoor track prior to the 5,000m final and 1 mile post race.
On Friday Ron and I partook in a easy 4 mile loop from our hotel,Saturday pre 10,000m final I did a mile warm up on the indoor track b4 a two mile cool down w/ Francis,Brian Pilcher and Adam Weiner.
Either side of the 4x800m on Sunday I ran a mile to round out at 31 miles.....technically 31.75 so let's call it 32 miles.

Monday b4 the drive home I retraced my 4 mile loop from Friday to jump start the week,as stiff as I was when we got back to Philly after a 7 hour drive,plus it was 95 degrees at 5.15pm when I got home,it was a darn sight cooler in Berea at 7am I'm glad I ran in Cleveland.
Yesterday I did my first 8 miler along Cobbs Creek Parkway since June 26th which will set me up for the rest of the week b4 Sundays Track Pentathlon which should give me 41 miles this week,a nice step ladder back up to 50 miles next week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summing It All Up

Now that the 2011 edition of Outdoor Masters Nationals is in the books I can sit back and say it was an unqualified success.
I've said it b4 but feel it bares repeating,for me Masters Nationals is "track camp for grown ups" it's not just about what happens on the track but off the track also.
At my first Nationals in Charlotte 06 I knew a handful of athletes from my 18 months on the Masters scene,in Charlotte I made new friends who I then saw 8 months later at Indoor Nationals in Boston and subsequently made new friends or got to know runners who eventually became friends and so the masters running "circle of life" turns.

I 've always said one of the things that makes the weekend fun for me is that we as a team at Greater Philadelphia Track Club all enjoy each others company and are a team in every sense of the word,for example on Thursday Ray Parker showed up at 9.30am to watch my race even though he didn't begin to compete in the Pentathlon till 12.30pm,I in turn was all done by 9.55am but stuck around till 4pm when Ray was all done his event.

There were some great soundbites all weekend between us,Ray insisting on paying for dinner after winning the silver in the M45-49 Pentathlon,Delvin getting some good natured ribbing from the team after he was selected for a random drug test after his 800m final,Nick giving me a hard time for all the meat on my plate after I hit the USATF Masters awards dinner for seconds on Saturday nite,the list goes on.

I for one look forward to the 2012 Indoor Nationals in Indiana in March(16th,17th and 18th..oh what a happy paddy I'll be !!!) and Outdoor Nationals in Illinois in July(dates yet to be confirmed)
Till the clans all gather together again...........................................................

Feels Like The First Time

"Love is like a high prison wall but you can leave me standing so tall,you are gold,gold always believe in your soul,you've got the power to know you're indestructible always believe in, 'cause you are gold"

Gold-Spandau Ballet

They say you never forget your first time,I remember mine like it was yesterday.......I refer of course to my first gold at Masters Nationals in 2006 in Charlotte North Carolina!!!
After a 6th place finish in the 400m prelims and then a 6th place finish in the 800m final I was looking at coming away from my Masters Nationals debut empty handed(side bar,since 06 I've made the podium in each event I've ran) until the 4x800m relay where w/ the help of teammates Russ Patton,Chuck Sheilds and Scott Landis we won the 4x800m and I notched my first ever Masters National Championship medal,I loved the feeling it gave me I abandoned my road running career to focus on track and more importantly Masters track.

A year later in Orono I rounded out my weekend w/ another 4x800m relay gold thanks to Russ Patton,Ray Parker and Chuck Shields and while Greater Philadelphia Track Club only sent 3 athletes to Spokane in 08 I didn't allow a little thing like that to deter me,going non club or ad hoc as it's known I got a foursome together of Francis Burrdett,Scott Pesch and Robert Van Cleve to win a third gold.
In my absence from Oshkosh in 09 GPTC won gold in the 4x800m thanks to John Patterson,Bob McGinty,Chuck Shields and Scott Landis and last year in Sacramento even though the M40-49 couldn't put a foursome together myself and Nick Berra went ad hoc w/ Francis Burrdett and Tom Fitzpatrick to claim the gold.
This brings us to Sunday in Ohio myself,Nick Berra and Masters Nationals rookies Dave Brown and Neill Clark made up a foursome,I joked w/ Dave and Neill about the proud record both I and GPTC had at 4x800m at Nationals and the need to not"fuck it up" which I then added"but no pressure guys" hey a little hazing for a rookie never hurts!!!!

We went w/ the order of Dave,Neill,myself and Nick at Chuck's recommendation,I had thought myself or Neill to lead off the opening two legs then Dave and Nick to anchor but given Dave's frustration at a pair of 6th place finishes in his 400m and 800m finals Chuck felt Dave would run w/ a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove.....he wasn't wrong!!
In a 5 team race we lined up alongside a team from So Cal(Southern California) two teams from TNT a Philly based team and a second GPTC side consisting of Chuck Sheilds,Carl Stocking and another pair of Masters Nationals rookies John Goldthorpe and Delvin Dinkins.
Originally Chuck had hoped to repeat last years M50-59 gold in the 4x800m but injuries meant in order to run as a team both Chuck and Carl would have to drop down to M30-39 along w/ John and Delvin to score as a club.

Dave lead off and quickly put daylight between us and the field,alas w/ all 8 of the team available out on the track there was no one to get splits(side bar the team only sent 10 athletes to Berra,Ray Parker had left on Friday after his silver in the Pentathlon and Tom Jennings had left after his 1,500m that morning) but w/ an overall time of 8.41. we averaged 2.10 per man and at 8.41 it's the second fastest Nationals 4x800m relay I've ran on.
Neill showed no signs of any discomfort from his early morning 4th place 1,500m and handed off to me w/ a commanding lead,for the first time since Charlotte in 06 I ran fresh in the 4x800m,I'm used to running the 1,500m Sunday morning b4 coming back for the relay.
In a season that's seen no outdoor 800m or 1,500m and only one god awful mile I could be forgiven for feeling a slight sense of apprehension,I did have an impromptu 4x800m relay at Icahn under my belt in May where I believe I ran 2.10. to draw inspiration from and it seemed to do the trick,Tom Fitzpatrick said from his position on the outside of the track I looked good so maybe my 800m days aren't over just yet??

Baton safely around I handed off to Nick w/ a big lead,having ran the 800m the day b4 and the 1,500m that morning I'm sure the last thing Nick wanted was to duke it out,he needn't have worried Dave,Neill and himself had given the club a comfortable cushion and w/ it my 5th 4x800m relay gold at Masters Nationals.
For the record our M30-39 team complete w/ two 50 year old runners Chuck and Carl finished 3rd overall behind TNT and won silver,what can I say GPTC....we know how to run relays!!!!

(Irish)Cream Always Rises To The Top

"Put on your shades cause I'll be dancing in the flames tonight,yeah baby it doesn't hurt cause everyone knows my name tonight alright
It's hard to feel the rush to push the dangerous I'm gonna run right to,to the edge w/ you where we can both fall over in love
I'm on the edge of glory and I'm hanging on a moment of truth,out on the edge of glory"

The Edge Of Glory- Lady Gaga

At the start of every season my goals are clearly defined,becoming National Champion at the Outdoor Masters National Championships is the huge carrot that helps me get through the peaks and troughs of each year but this year I could've been forgiven for thinking 2011 wasn't going to be my year.
I've still yet to win an individual gold at Indoor Masters Nationals(1 relay 4x400 gold,1 silver,5 bronze) and I passed on a trip to Albuquerque in March for this years Indoor Nationals and after my woeful 4.54 mile at West Chester on June 3rd I could've been forgiven for thinking that Berea Ohio for Outdoor Nationals in 8 weeks time was even a possibility much less getting on the podium or even returning to the realm of National Champion a title last associated w/ me after the 1,500m at Spokane in 08.........

I never gave up hope much less gave up training and while I fought against a backdrop of red tape to get a doctors appointment or a referral for the much needed blood work that would eventually confirm a mild form of anemia was to blame for my dip in form I never lost sight of my goals.
While publicly I'd gone on record to say"if I come away from Nationals w/ 2 bronze medals I'll be happy after all the crap I've gone through this season" publicly I believed in my heart of hearts I could win the 10,000m.
Some may say that was a bold statement for a runner w/ only 2 prior 10,000m races on the track to his credit but it's what I believed and in running as in life you have hold onto what you believe in.

As a Masters Nationals rookie at 10,000m I wasn't aware how previous years races had gone off but given the lower than usual turn out for this years event due to Worlds and World Senior games it was no surprise the fields had been combined to accommodate 6 age groups,although technically 5 as there were no takers in the M30-34 so 27 of us lined up on the track Saturday just b4 10.15am to duke out the 25 lap race.
Pre race the M45-49 stood at 6 entries but a notable dropout meant only 5 of us would contest the race,like in the 5,000m I'd done my homework to see who I thought would be likely to take up the early front running,Paul Manwaring a M35-39 runner from North Carolina by way of England and Brian Pilcher who'd ran the M50-54 5,000m were the two runners who's seed times stood out so it was somewhat of a surprise neither of them took up the lead from the gun but rather a runner from the M40-45 age group,whom I can only imagine had put NT(No Time) as his mark,why else would he have not registered on my radar?

Not to be pulled from my square I eased my way through an opening lap of 85 seconds,I had hoped for 80s but it was already warming up on the track and even though I'd ran two 3x2mile repeats either side of Worlds at 10am on a Saturday I had to make sure I was prepared for the heat.
Over a 25 lap race I forget where I moved to the front of the M45-49 age group,it was w/in the opening couple of laps I was 6th overall but more importantly 1st in my age group.
5.32 for the opening mile and 11.03 at 2 miles which is as close to even splits as you could ask for I'd established a good pace and rhythm which I was keen to hold onto.

Props to the officials for supplying a misting station on the top turn,I didn't bother w/ it as I felt running 6 miles in wet running clothes was a recipe for a slower time but that said if it helped runners from over heating fair play.
I did however take advantage of the two man water station on the back straight but only after every 4th lap and after two cups of water successfully "down the hatch" I them opted for water in the face to keep me cooled off.
My buddy Ron gave me my 5,000m split 17.25,potentially 34.50 pace,a shade off my 34.44 pr but hell I'd take it.
For me the trick to running 6 miles on the track would be to visualize my out and back 6 mile loop along Cobbs Creek Parkway so now having gone through 5,000m I had imagined making the turn towards home.

In my previous track 10,000m the sense of relief when I got to single digits on the lap counter was a huge lift and today was no different when I saw 9 laps to go,the only fly in the ointment was the lead 2 runners were about to lap me which meant I would have to keep adding a lap to the official lap counter.
As runners we are told we're responsible for counting our own laps which at 5,000m is no biggie but at 25 laps(I ran an indoor 5,000m earlier this year which was also 25 laps)you have to hope the officials have gotten your laps correct I've seen races where runners and officials have begged to differ on the official lap count,I did not want to become one of them today and to that end having Pete Taylor announce me as the "unofficial" M45-49 leader probably helped.
At some point a runner ahead of me dropped out so I was now 5th overall,an M35-39 runner lead w/ 2 M40-45 runners in second and third and Brian Pilcher the M50-54 leader 4th overall.

3rd overall overtook me w/ 2 laps to go but now all I had to do was stay on my feet and not get tangled up w/ runners I was lapping and I was home free,I forget what I came through the bell in but honestly it didn't matter I knew it wasn't going to be a pr but I could live w/ that and I managed my customary sprint finish up the home straight to finish 5th overall but more importantly 1st in the M45-49 age group in 35.27.4..........National Champion Again!!!!!
It's been a long time since Spokane 08 and my 1,500m victory,my 09 outdoor season got torpedoed by an achilles injury and last year in Sacramento after my hard earned bronze in the 5,000m Mike Blackmore and Jeff Mann both bested me for Gold in the 800m and 1,500m so this was a moment to savour.

The cynics,critics and haters will say it was lighter field than usual this year in Ohio,I for one won't dispute that,however what I will say is A I could only race who showed up and if somebody had to win the M45-49 10,000m why not me? and B I don't see an * next to the winners of the 76,80 and 84 Olympics when there were boycotts by the Africans in Montreal,the Americans in Moscow or by the Russians in Los Angles so........

Is this it for me at 10,000m on the track?I don't think so,granted I adopted the When life gives you Lemons make Lemonade mindset when the anemia meant I was only able to run 5.20 pace this season but I would like to make a fair fist of 10,000m on the track,I'm sure the turn out next Summer at Lisle Illinois for Masters Nationals will be bigger so let's see what I can do there,and while it's been fun getting ready for Masters Nationals on the track w/ only 7 weeks to prepare I'm not about to let all this hard work go to waste,my oldest pr is for 10k on the road,set way back in 1984 I ran's time for that pr to be put to bed so don't be surprised to see me in a 10k road race this fall.

Getting On The Podium

"There's saints and sinners life's a gamble and you might lose,there's cowards and heroes both have been known to break the rules
There's lovers and haters,the strong and the weak will have their day,we're devils and angels which one will I be today?

Winners And Losers-Social Distortion

During the course of my season I have been known to utter the following quote at least once,maybe twice"the difference between standing on the podium at Nationals and standing next to it is the difference between training or not training on the days you don't feel like it"
The fly in the ointment this season wasn't so much not wanting to train but being able to train at my best given my current condition.
Having committed to the 5,000m at Worlds in April b4 the deadline but knowing I was on a hiding to nothing in Sacramento I went out there w/ a "just run and have fun w/ it"mindset,my reward was to finish 14th in a seasons slowest time of 16.54.1,it was the best I could hope for given the circumstances but now three weeks later at Nationals I was hoping for better.

I knew in order to get on the podium for a bronze which again was the best I felt I could hope for would require a different type of race than the one I'm used to,more often than not and certainly in all 4 5,000m races this season I've adopted a gunslinger approach to the race,go out hard in sub 5 minute mile pace for the opening mile and hope to hold on,what this has resulted in is four races were I've ran slower than the last,16.21.8. at Penn,16.25.9. at Swarthmore,16.48.9. in New York and 16.54.1. at Sacramento,in order to reach the podium I would need to be the hunter,not the hunted.

After getting soaked to the skin in a pre race downpour conditions were grey and overcast come the 9.35am gun time,due to a lower than usual turnout for Masters Nationals the M45-49 and M50-54 age groups were combined,no biggie it just meant making sure I knew who the main contenders in the M50-54 were as they would no doubt be ahead of me in the overall race.
As for the M45-49 race pre race I expected Francis Burrdett,Mark Zamek,Damon Blackford and Jeff Mann to be my main rivals for that top three finish,the race scenario I had thought up was Francis and M50-54 runner Brian Pilcher would take up the running and I'd be in the pack working off of the other 4 M45-49 runners I'd sized up as my threat to that bronze......the gun went off,Francis hit the front.....followed closely by Mark Zamek w/ Brian Pilcher a little further back w/ an unidentified runner w/ him b4 a gap to Damon Blackford and then a string of runners including Jeff Mann and then myself......and the moral to this kids is in running as is in life always have a plan b lined up!!

Mark Zamek had finished 9th at Worlds a full 25 seconds ahead of me so any hopes of going w/ him to try and get silver had gone up in smoke,fortunately in the clerking tent pre race I'd identified Damon Blackford by face,by name I knew him as a 16.35 seed time but that'd do me no good out on the track if I didn't have a face to put to the name,as it was Damon was giving chase to the lead four,Francis,Mark,Brian and the as of yet unidentified 4th place runner the race was well and truly on.
I was some what miffed that there was no official timekeeper at the 200m mark giving out overall time,granted there was a clock at the finish but in a 5,000m race it's always nice to get that opening 400m split and subsequent mile splits,thankfully for me at least my teammates Chuck and Ray were calling out my splits 81 seconds for the opening lap on route to a 5.22 opening mile.

The glory days of 75 second laps and sub 5 min opening miles will I'm sure return as my iron levels return to where they should be but this was a race I knew I needed to run smart,at Worlds there was no pressure so I just went out and ran an opening lap of 74 seconds and a 4.59 mile,the problem being my head and body aren't on the same wavelength,my brain thinks I can hold that pace,my body knows different so in order to maintain my proud record of a podium finish in each race at Masters Nationals since Orono Maine in 07{7 races and counting not including the 4x800m relay}I had to go out conservatively,this would be a race of two halves,the first six laps and the second six laps.......

Making my way up through the field I'd put myself in 7th overall w/ 5 laps to go and coming out of the top turn I passed Jeff Mann on the inside,Kudos to Jeff he heard me coming and moved out to lane 2 to allow me to overtake 6th overall and as best as I knew 4th in the M45-49 age group,the mystery runner in 4th overall behind Brian Pilcher was still unknown to me,but at least Damon Blackford was beginning to come back to me.
I forget where I passed Damon I think w/ 3 laps to go,having reeled him in I was tempted to sit behind him but thought it better to go w/ the momentum I was building,back to back 5.22 miles had put me at 10.44 at the 2 mile mark and remarkably I ran a third 5.22 mile to clock 16.06 at 3 miles,how often do I run even splits like this???
Thanks to race announcer Pete Taylor the mystery runner in 4th place overall had been revealed,Adam Weiner....M50-54,meaning my 5th overall was actually 3rd in the M45-49 age group and as long as I stayed on my feet the bronze was mine.

By now Mark Zamek was paying for going w/ Francis and had began to drift back to the chasing Brian Pilcher and Adam Weiner had there had been more laps to go I might've been able to mount a serious challenge for silver but I'd said prior to Masters Nationals that a bronze was probably the best I could hope for today and I'd be more than happy to take that which is how it ended up,5th overall 3rd in the M45-49 age group w/ a time of 16.45.0. 15 seconds clear of Damon Blackford and only 8 seconds behind silver and Mark Zamek.
I'd also reversed an annoying trend this season of seeing each race get slower,9 seconds faster than Worlds thanks to running a much smarter race.

So back to back bronzes at 5,000m it's hard to compare each race as they are so completely different,in both cases the best I though I could hope for was a bronze so in both instances I got what I expected but in a year I thought I'd be hard pressed to have 10 races to fill out a top ten list come December 31st this one will be in there.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Take The Long Way Home

Greetings,I'm back from Cleveland w/ my haul of 2 golds and a bronze,kind of beat after three races in 4 days and a 7 hour car ride but I will start to blog my races tomorrow.
Did squeeze in a 4 miler b4 leaving this morning to get the week going,easy 8 milers on tap for the rest of the week b4 Sunday's Track rest for the wicked eh??