Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Night Like This

My love affair w/ The Cure can be traced all the way back to the early 80's,it may not've actually been "10:15 Saturday Night" when I first heard them but it was a Saturday nite in the living room of my best friends parents house in either 82 or 83 when I heard "Seventeen Seconds" and "Faith" on a C90 cassette,I'd never heard anyone like them and thus began a relationship that's lasted almost 30 years and shows no sign of ending......if only the same could be said of my personal relationships!!!

Fast forwarding to 1989 and the release of their magnus opus "Disintegration" this was a game changer,I suddenly went from liking The Cure to becoming a fully paid up member and card carrying Disciple Of The Church Of Robert Smith so much so that a former girlfriend once accused me of loving Robert Smith more than I loved her....she was probably right,the fact is she's long gone and Robert and The Cure are still very much a huge part of my life.

It would be another 3 years b4 I got to enjoy seeing The Cure live at The Spectrum in 92 on the "Wish" tour but it began a run of 9 shows in 19 years and counting and it was also when I got to meet them,more by luck than design I happened to work at the hotel they stayed in for the two Philly shows and got to meet the whole band,Robert,Simon,Porl,Boris and Perry that signed picture is a treasured possession along w/ the one of Robert that I had matted and framed complete w/ "To Kevin Best Wishes Robert Smith" signed in case you're curious why I always write The Cure in orange that was the title of their first ever live concert video and ever since then I've always done that.....Robert got a kick out of it when he signed the picture.
For as long as I live I'll Cherish the conversation Robert and I had outside his room,just two guys talking football,shooting the shit.

In 96 I flew home to London to see the "Wild Mood Swings" tour at Wembley Arena having already seen them here in Philly earlier that summer,in 98 I had second row seats at The Tower,in 2000 the "Bloodflowers" tour at Tweeter Center followed by the Curiosa Festival also at the Tweeter Center in 04 and then back to The Spectrum in 08 on the "4.13"tour a show that impressed me so much I went to New York at he end of the tour to see then again at famed Radio City Music Hall.

As you can see there tends to be a four gap between tours so I was thinking 2012 for the next Cure tour when out of nowhere it was announced that due to overwhelming demand to their two Australian "Reflections" shows they would perform seven more shows one in London,three in LA and three in New York at The Beacon,no stranger to a road trip to see The Cure I made sure to secure a ticket for the third and final show at The Beacon on Sunday and made plans to stay overnite as I knew from past experiences that a Cure concert can last over three hours.....

"Three Imaginary Boys"''Seventeen Seconds" and "Faith" have never sounded so good,"Faith" is one of my favourite Cure albums so I tend to listen to that alot but it was good to go back and listen to "Three Imaginary Boys" and "Seventeen Seconds" again "10:15 Saturday Night" and "Three Imaginary Boys" are live staples of a Cure concert,"A Forest" is one of my three all time favourite Cure songs and ever since the live "Paris" cd in 92 "At Night" has become a favourite,on "Seventeen Seconds" it's an ok album track but the live "Paris" version ROCKS so to see them perform it live was extra special
''Primary" is another live staple off of "Faith" but to hear "The Drowning Man" and "Faith" live was worth the price of admission alone.

The encores were to die for,three of them,17 songs in total:World War,I'm Cold,Plastic Passion,Killing An Arab,Jumping Someone Else's Train,Another Journey By Train for the first encore
Descent,Splintered In Her Head,Charlotte Sometimes,The Hanging Garden for the second encore followed by
Let's Go To Bed,The Walk,The Lovecats,The Caterpillar,Close To Me,Inbetween Days and Boys Don't Cry for the third and final encore,I was almost speechless when I left The Beacon.....and that takes some doing let me tell you!!

Will there be a new Cure album and tour next year? we can only hope,there is the upcoming "Bestival 2011" double live cd from this summers Isle Of Wight show to look forward to next week and the original "Reflections" show from Sydney to look forward to on dvd sometime in the not too distant future.
Fingers crossed a well deserved place in the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame next year,we'll know in a few weeks if they've been elected,for a band written off after "Disintegration" in 89,"Wish" in 92 and again in 2000 w/ "Bloodflowers" they seem to go from strength to strength and frankly show little or no signs of slowing down or stopping.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lovecat Sighting In Central Park

Regular readers of my blog will know I'm no stranger to visits to New York City,this was my 10th trip this year w/ 2 more on tap in the next 5 weeks.
Granted most visits are for races and see me heading home straight afterwards but for my last trip the Human League,5th Avenue Mile double I stayed overnight and knowing The Cure concert would run late I booked a room at Jazz On The Park again Sunday.
In that time honoured tradition of ''Location,Location,Location" Jazz On The Park is right there on 7th Avenue and 106th St,Central Park is literally on it's front door,it was for that reason I booked it in September for 5th Avenue Mile.

Post concert and a nites kip I was up by 8.30am and dressed in my running gear to take full advantage of the chance to get a 10 miler in through Central Park,minus warm ups and cool downs either side of 5th Avenue Mile I've never ran in Central Park* so this was too good an opportunity to pass up.
*Actually I have,I ran 2 New York City marathons in 90 and 03 and I also ran a 5 mile race there in 03.
Blessed w/ great conditions I set off from 106th st through the park down to 59th st and Columbus Circle I was tempted to do several loops of the reservoir but A I'm not Dustin Hoffman in "Marathon Man" and B when you've got the whole of Central Park to run in to only loop around the reservoir is like being given the keys to the Playboy Mansion and only checking out one room!!!

I'd never ran in Central Park this late in the year b4 so to witness the leaves changing was kind of neat,on my way back up towards 110th st my route took me through the Central Park Zoo just at 9am so I got to hear the chimes and also see the lights and decorations being put up,for a non lover of the holidays to notice this is quite something trust me
Heading along 110th St I saw a runner wearing a Central Park track jacket,not unnatural for these parts but upon closer review I realised it was my good friend Sid Howard,a minute either way we might of missed each other.

I finished up my run w/ a loop of the reservoir to round out my 10 miler,who knows when I'll next get to run in Central Park but the memory of this 10 miler will last a while.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Road To Indoor Nationals Begins Through Central Park

W/ the Delaware Open now behind me and the 2011 outdoor season over it's time to get ready for the 2012 indoor season,although in fairness since I stepped off the track after my leg of the 4x800m relay at outdoor Nationals in Berea on July 31st I've been planning for indoors.
Following last nites Cure concert in New York City I spent the night in Manhattan and allowed myself the unique chance to run through Central Park this morning.
Over the next few days I'll elaborate on both.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

And The Good Lord Said,Come Fourth

Final outdoor race of the 2011 season and were it not for the Armory Holiday meet on Dec 26th{or Boxing Day as I knew it growing up} my season finale.
As I stated for the record in my previous blog entry I'd never had much luck at this race but I always said it would be nice to come into the Delaware Open w/ a good level of training under my belt,post Nationals I've logged eleven 50 mile training weeks{2 were actually 53 mile weeks} so even though I've eased off the gas a little in the weeks either side of The Bridge Run I felt coming into my first Delaware open since 08 that I was ready to set the record straight.

Starter for ten,who ordered the great weather?most of my memories of this race which is always ran the Saturday after Thanksgiving are of freezing my arse off,not this year sunny and warm,not sure of the official temps at 11am but it was singlet and shorts weather,no gloves or arm warmers today.
Pre race I jogged the new course,eighty sixing the creek and halving Maintenance Hill suited moi and the new finish meant a serious downhill to the finish line,yeah I could live w/ this!!

In a field of almost 100{official results show 99 finishers} I got out to a good start,Matt Sandercock took off like he'd been listening to Meatloaf......"Bat Out Of Hell" and the field gave chase I eased my way into 5th very early on and never looked back.
5.32 at the mile marker Matt was gone Greg Watson followed and though I didn't realise it at the time 3rd and 4th place runners Tim Suchler and Mark Kamaway were team mates from Inside Track.
I moved into 3rd as we cut back on to Maintenance Hill roughly half way up it,it's still a beast hill but I was moving well,could I really be 3rd???was this some sort of dream? 8th was best ever showing in 08,what about the lunatic who ran a 5 Mile Turkey Trot 2 days b4 his 05 Brandywine debut and was toast after the opening mile and finished 16th in 19.43.3?who in 06 finished 14th but in 20.05.0? or who finished 8th in 07 in 19.02.2?? or 9th in 07 in 19.10.6?.....well if this was a dream,don't wake me!!!!!

Freewheeling the downhill off Maintenance I closed some ground on Greg Watson but he opened up a lead on me I could never reclaim,Greg's tough,how tough? routinely each year he runs both the Masters and open races which are half an hour apart,if he's lucky he gets 10 mins recovery....and I think I'm hot shit cos I jog the course after the race as my cool down run!!
No clock or marker for 2 miles,along the long stretch that's known as Suicide I had Tim Suchler and Mark Kamaway breathing down my neck,I could've said feck it 5th is better than I've ever managed here go ahead chaps......but that really would be a dream so I hunkered down and dug deep.
Tim got me but I was hell bent on retaining 4th and using the downhill to the finish line I put daylight between Mark and myself,4th in 18.29.9. a 5.57 per mile average and finally a Delaware Open 5K XC race to be proud of.

There's a healthy debate amongst us who've ran both courses as to which is the tougher, the old course or the new course,I never broke 19 on the only course,then again I never came into Brandywine State Park w/ a slew of 50 mile training weeks under my belt either so I guess the debate will be ongoing.
It's been an up and down season after my 15.47.3. indoor 5,000m in mid January I felt a kick arse season was on tap but little did I know that anmenia was about to derail my hopes and dreams,the low point of my season was my 4.54 mile at West Chester on June 3rd from there there was only one direction and that was up and slowly but surely {or in my case surly!!}I've been clawing my way back,there's some signs of life now as I close out the year so I just have to keep doing what I'm doing,maybe fine tune a little bit here and there and who knows what's on tap in 2012?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Delaware Open 5K XC

Cliff Notes
4th overall
Best ever finish here,first time under 19 on this course
Longer version to follow

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


"Let it be beautiful when I sing the last song I will give you even my body spiritwalker
Let all the children kiss the sun before they sing their last song
I will give you even my body spiritwalker
Let the sun shine on me when I sing the last song I will give you even my body spiritwalker
Let all the children kiss the stars before they sing their last song
I will give you even my body

Spiritwalker-The Cult

It should come as no great revelation to anyone who knows me that I'm not the poster child for the holidays,but rather than piss all over them for those that actually enjoy them I'll just keep my feelings to myself but I think you can guess from The Cult lyrics where my loyalties lie in reference to Thanksgiving.....
Finally got out to run yesterday,an easy 9 miler,Monday got shelved due to a combination of the threat of rain,my stomach acting up and if I'm being 100% honest the Spurs Villa game being on(2.0 to Spurs to put us 3rd in the Premiership.......COYS C'mon You Spurs!!!)
Tuesday it just pissed out of the heavens and frankly by Wednesday I knew I wasn't getting anywhere close to 50 or 55 miles this week so I figured why not rest my legs for Saturday's Brandywine 5k xc race.

I've never had much joy or success at the Brandywine race in my 06 debut I went out way too hard in the opening mile and paid for it over the final 2.1 miles,I believe the quote in my blog was going up Maintenance Hill at roughly half way through the race I feared I'd fail my MOT and that AAA would have to come and pick me up!!!!
I fared slightly better in 07 but it was still nowt to write home about,at that stage I was still a 800m/1,500m runner on the track who only ran 30 miles a week in training I hadn't come to grips w/ 5k on the track,road or xc and in 08 when I felt I was coming into the race w/ a decent bit of training under my belt I lost a bit of my momentum due to having to work 9 hour shifts on the dock by my lonesome as my wingman Chris had undergone nuruo surgery in mid November.
That was also the year the bastards who organise the race moved the goalposts which I believe was the title of my blog entry.

The previous year I finished 9th and the prize money went 8 deep,in 08 I finished 8th..... and they only went 7 deep w/ prize money and don't even get me started on the post race raffle,one year 06 I think after I'd left my race number finally got drawn after all the really good shit had been claimed and guess what I won????an oil change.....sure the guy who doesn't drive wins a sodding oil change......bit like giving a non drinker a case of beer or a blind guy tickets to the Art Gallery!!!
In 09 I skipped xc races altogether coming off the achilles injury and last year I was building base mileage in the fall so I side stepped all the xc races on the schedule but this year I've ran 3 xc races St Clare,Rochester,Deer Park so it's full steam ahead to Brandywine on Saturday morning.

They've changed the course from when I last ran in 08 and 86ed running along the creek which is fine by me as that part of the race was full of rocks and slate,I always said of Brandywine that it's a race I'd like to run in good shape and frankly this year at my fourth crack at it I think I am in good shape,w/ the Off Road Grand Prix hanging in the balance between ourselves(GPTC) and our perennial rivals for the Off Road Grand Prix crown Rosemont Running Company there's a little extra at stake tomorrow so we'll have to see how it all unfolds when the gun goes off at 11am as my Grand Slam weekend begins to unfold.
Last Friday of the month tonite so....Land Of The Lost on WXPN tonite,Brandywine tomorrow morning,then my good friend Robert Drake is taking his unique 80's collection to Kung Fu Necktie tomorrow nite and I'd like to be there as most of the Land Of The Lost/Sex Dwarf crowd will be there and then Sunday The Cure are in New York at The Beacon performing their third and final nite of the Reflections tour as they perform their first three albums "Three Imaginary Boys","Seventeen Seconds" and "Faith",seriously who has time for Turkey,Football and Black Friday w/ all this going on???

Monday, November 21, 2011

All Hail The Gothfather

"You know the way it throws about it takes you in and spits you out
It spits you out when you desire to conquer it to feel you're higher
To follow it you must be clean w/mistakes that you do mean
Move the heart switch the pace,look for what seems out of place"

Cuts You Up-Pete Murphy

I've stated in previous blog entries that I was a late developer where xc is concerned but in 08 I ran the Deer Park 8k xc and fell in love w/ that course and that race then came the achilles injury to kybosh 09 and base mileage in 10 and 11 wasn't looking good either,the original date Oct 28th clashed w/ a trail race which meant my ride to Flemington was heading to Evansburg.....till the freakish weather that weekend when we got rain and snow and the USATF NJ 8k xc c'ship got cancelled,the tentative rescheduled date was Nov 5th....same day as the Bridge Run 10k and that had been my target race for ages so it wasn't looking like it was going to happen....till the race was re rescheduled for last Saturday,Chuck (Mr XC I swear that man is the only runner I know who uses track season to get ready for xc season!!)said he was going if I wanted a ride...hell yeah! and w/ that we were off to Flemington New Jersey.

Out to Flemington b4 10am which allowed enough time to register ($20 a far cry from the $45 the Rothman 8k was asking for this morning) and a jog of the main loop that makes up the course,it was pretty much how I remembered it from 3 years ago if only a lot muddier but it's a sad day when you start bitchin' about mud at a xc race,you might as well take up mall walking when that happens!

Opted for arm warmers and gloves even though the sun was out when the gun went off at 11am,the last thing I needed was my finger tips feeling numb on either of the two loops w/ said gloves and arm warmers in my backpack in the trunk of Chuck's car!quite why most of the 175 runners lined up to the left of the starting line when the course narrows at the top of the first hill was somewhat of a mystery to me Chuck and Brent as we looked for a straight run to the first hill,the course narrows a bit early on so it's key to get a clear start and I did just that,I knew from the Jack St Clare xc 5m at Belmont that I couldn't live w/ Brent.....I'm giving the guy 13 years but if I adopted the same tactics as I did at the Bridge Run and tucked in at the rear of the chase pack I could be in for a good day.

As the course unfolded I could see the leader already ahead of the chase pack of 9 runners w/ me back in 12th,w/hindsight I wish I'd gotten on to the rear of the pack as they might've pulled me along to a slightly quicker time,except for a brief battle w/ one of the Garden State Track Club runners as we duked it out for 11th I spent most of the 8k race in no mans land,there were no clocks or mile or kilometer markers out on the course so I've no idea of my splits,according to the post race results I ran 5.44 pace throughout the race.

I knew from our pre race jog of the loop where the mud was out on the course and made sure to keep my footing,heading into the second loop I could hear footsteps behind me and managed to keep my would be opponent at bay until we rounded the batting cages where he opened up a gap on me I was never able to close,back to 12th but every once in a while where the course would twist and turn I could check behind me where the 13th place runner was.....roughly the same distance behind me that I was behind 11th place so providing I stayed on my feet I'd be good for 12th.....that's easier said than done in xc racing as holes,mud,tree roots etc tend to pop up along the course but I kept my footing and finished 12th in 28.45.5.

Pre race I'd set a target of 28.30 so to only be 15 seconds off given the conditions underfoot seemed acceptable,12th out of 175 runners 4th masters finisher overall 2nd in the 45-45 age group and my second fastest 8k xc time, my pr was here in 08 28.16.6. all in all a good mornings work.....but my day was only half way through.

Pete Murphy has sung two of my all time favourite songs "Bela Lugosi's Dead" w/ Bauhaus and "Cuts You Up" from his "Deep" album,I was lucky enough to catch Bauhaus in 98 when they reformed only to split up again but Pete has continued to put out great solo albums throughout his career although his recent solo offering "Ninth" is his first solo effort in several years,the chance to catch the "Godfather Of Goth" or as we like to call him the Gothfather was too good to turn down....although driving back to Philly in the afternoon having gotten up at 7am and now looking at a few more hours on my feet didn't seem like the great idea I had originally dreamt up but you only live once and who knows when he'll next tour again......bollocks to being tired!!!

If I've learnt one thing in almost 31 years of concert going it's that it's often well worth getting to the gig early to catch the opening act,sometimes they blow(Yip Yip Coyote,Coyote Shivers) sometimes they go on to headline(The Alarm,Talk Talk) and sometimes they're really recent list of gigs have had several note worthy opening acts and tonite was no different.
The Hustle Club weren't originally listed on the bill but I enjoyed their high energy short set"Children Of The Underground" and "Fuck Shit Up" were two songs that stood out from the New York based 5 piece.
Five years ago when I went to see Placebo at The Electric Factory on the "Meds" tour She Wants Revenge opened,9 times out of 10 if you read an article on She Wants Revenge it'll mention Joy Division,kind of how almost all articles on Interpol do likewise,Interpol really impressed me when they opened for U2 this summer and second time around w/ She Wants Revenge I came away from their set as a fan of this California based foursome,I've already ordered their first two cds used on Amazon and in time their new offering "ValleyHeart" will find it's way onto my ''must have" list,while I doubt Hustle Club have any Youtube clips I'm confident SWR do,if you like your music dark,moody and w/ a dance vibe She Wants Revenge are worth checking out.

And so to the main event,Pete Murphy rocked The Troc no if,ands, or buts backed ably w/ a tight 3 piece band Pete and his band plundered Pete Murphy solo songs old and new and old Bauhaus favourites.
I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed that "Seesaw Sway" off of "Ninth" didn't make the setlist in Philly but "Peace To Each" and "I Spit Roses" both did and his encore alone was worth the price of admission,"Cuts You Up" and "Ziggy Stardust"
Watching Pete in full flow it's hard to miss the David Bowie and Iggy Pop influences and in a year we mourned the tragic loss of Mick Karn if you haven't checked out the 1984 collaboration of Pete Murphy and Mick Karn on "The Waking Hour" by Dalis Car you might want to give it the once over

Six Of One,Half A Dozen Of The Other

First up please forgive the tardiness of my entries of late,a full dance card this weekend meant not as much down time at home as usual and when I was home there was either a ton of stuff that needed my attention or I was taking a leaf out of Precious's book and taking a cat nap!!!

I'll do Saturdays race justice later this evening and give props to She Wants Revenge and Pete Murphy also but yesterday I went out for my Sunday long run w/ a twist.
Since it was the Philly Marathon and half marathon I figured the river was probably off limits since it's part of the marathon course so I revised the same 12 miler I used the last Sunday a big race in Philly conflicted w/ my 12 miler for the old PDR(Philly Distance Run) Rock and Roll Half Marathon.

Out by 10.30am on a sunny and warm day,I keep harping on about being able to enjoy t shirt and shorts conditions and sooner or later that train will have left the station for the last time in a while but while I can enjoy that I will.
Down to and across South Street bridge b4 turning and heading back,South St bridge is roughly 3 miles from my front door so there and back would give me my first 6 miles.
Clipping by the front door I continued on my way out to Cobbs Creek Parkway to run what's essentially my out and back 6 miler hence the title.

Heading up the hill in Cobbs Creek Park I began to second guess my desire to make this 12 miles,Saturday had been a long day getting up at 7am and getting to bed at 1.20am and now running 12 miles but I'm damn sure Mo Farah never bags the last 2 miles of a long run so I gritted my teeth and tried to ignore the "dead from the knees down" feeling going on..
After a few weeks off I'm back up to 6 days a week,50 miles a week again....just in time to make this coming week 55 b4 launching into three potential 60 mile weeks leading up to indoor track season,the seasons may change but the mileage keeps building........

Friday, November 18, 2011

Little By Little

'' Cause little by little we gave you everything you ever dreamed of,little by little the wheels of your life have slowly fallen off
Little by little you have to give it all in all your life and all the time I just asked myself why you're really here?"

Little By Little-Oasis

If Wednesday was about digging out my newly acquired half zip running top to combat the rain then Thursday saw me having to dig out a pair of 3/4 length bottoms as the rain had now been replaced by a somewhat milder afternoon and w/ daylight now fading much sooner than a few weeks ago I made sure to be warm enough for my 7 miler.

The only other noteworthy thing about today's run was the retirement of my Puma Ryjin's,following my 7 miler I had 406 miles on them and my new Asics Gel Speedstar 5 shoes just arrived,I'll look to brake them in on Sundays long run following Saturdays 8k xc race at Deer Park in Flemington New Jersey.

It's looking like back to back busy weekends for me,since my dance card is full on Saturday w/ the race at Deer Park first and then She Wants Revenge and Peter Murphy at The Trocadero the only chance I had to catch the new George Clooney movie "The Descendants" was after work and while it wasn't the greatest movie I saw this year{right now that's a neck and neck battle between "The Fighter" and "The Guard"} it wasn't a bad way to spend a few hours.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wrestling W/ My Conscience

Take one part being slightly neurotic{it comes w/ the territory as a runner}add being a headstrong driven individual,sprinkle in a fair size portion on Irish catholic guilt and mix them all together and presto,the ideal ingredients for yours truly out running 7 miles in the rain this evening!!!!

Given it had pissed down w/ rain all day the prospect of running seemed remote when I left work at 3.20pm,however exiting the el and walking home the heavy rain had stopped and was replaced by a fine soft misty rain that frankly held zero threat to my aspirations of getting some miles in.
Opting to brake in my new half zip running fleece I was out the door by 4.20pm and heading towards CCP I figured a 6 miler today and then maybe 8 along the river would bring me out at 30 miles tomorrow b4 a rest day Friday and then the USATFNJ 8K XC C'ships Saturday and 12 miles Sunday.

W/in a mile of the run the rain returned,I could just picture the weather gods laughing"Forde's out running,turn the sprinklers back on!!!!" but just like Magnus Magnuson on the old tv show "Mastermind" I've started so I'll finish, I kept going.
In fairness the rain was never that bad,I've ran far longer in much worse condition and I was glad I'd opted to run rather than bullshit myself that I was "saving my legs for Saturday"
After the turnaround it dawned on me that providing I made it through Cobbs Creek Park b4 daylight faded I could not only tack on an extra mile at the end of today but follow the same route tomorrow thus giving me 4 runs at 6,10,7,7 which comes out to 30 miles and another few days avoiding the clusterfuck that is Spruce St below 36th,I won't be so lucky next week as in order to front load my mileage early in the week b4 the off road finale at Brandywine I'll have to go 10,9,8 which not only means along by the river but down Spruce St....but that's for another day.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I Hope They Have Enough Guinness In Poland & Ukraine

As a man of my word I was out mid morning to get my 10 miler taken care of,I guess an upside to being low key/non plus w/ my b'day is not nursing a hangover or being bleary eyed from a night out on the town!!!
Post run I made tracks towards center city and enjoyed a venti Green Tea at Starbucks as I penned my latest diary entry and also began reading Tony Hadley's autobiography "To Cut A Long Story Short"
The plan was to read Martin Kemp's autobiography "True" next in the Spandau Ballet trilogy having read Gary Kemp's compelling "I Know This Much" first,however I'm still waiting for "True" to arrive in the mail and my brother kindly sent me "To Cut A Long Story Short" as a b'day present so I began reading that.

Spent an enjoyable afternoon at Fado's one of the Irish bars in center city watching the second leg of the Euro 2012 playoffs vs Estonia.
Having done the hard work in Tallinn on Friday beating them 4.0 tonite in Dublin was about being professional and finishing off the job which they did thanks to a 1.1 draw....or tie as my American brethren like to refer to it.
Making the finals of a major soccer tournament may come natural to the likes of Brazil,Argentina,Germany,Italy,Holland even England{most of the time!!}but for Ireland it's not something we can lay claim to all that often,I can recall in November of 87 not long after I'd gotten here that we reached the Euro 88 finals, a first and the beginning of the Golden Era of Irish soccer,Italy 90,USA 94 followed b4 a few barren years till we reached the 02 World Cup finals in Japan and South Korea.

For the past 10 years we've been nearly rans, a series of play off losses have kept us from "the big dance" but not this time,the Green Army are heading to Poland and Ukraine next summer,I'm under illusions of us winning the whole shebang although Greece managed it in 04 and Turkey went all the way to the semis in 08 so anything is possible but just getting there is a great reward for a small country w/ a limited pool of players to pick from....I just hope the powers that be have ordered enough Guinness for the thousands of paddies who are about to invade both countries to cheer on Trap's Army,we'll see who we play and where on Dec 2nd when the 4 groups get drawn.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Just Another Day

"Sleep on and dream of love,why?Because it's the closest you will get to love
The poor twisted child you're so ugly,you're so ugly,the poor twisted child
Please hug me,oh hug me
One November spawned a monster in the shape of this child who later cried
But Jesus made me so he should save me from pity,sympathy and idiots discussing me
Yes,I am a freak and nothing can make good or bad that's been done"

November Spawned A Monster-Morrissey

A toss up between Oingo Boingo's "Just Another Day" and Morrissey's "November Spawned A Monster" to celebrate my b'day,if celebrate is the right phrase.

I'm not a big fan of my b'day,it is as the Oingo Boingo song says "Just Another Day" so I try not to draw attention to it but I'm grateful to the family and friends who sent cards,emails and the extended "Facebook Family" who were kind enough to post on my wall,but other than that it's the same day as the day b4,I get up,I go to work,I come home,I go out to run,I come home I blog.

To that end this evening was a 6 miler along Cobbs Creek Parkway,since I have off tomorrow for the Ireland Estonia game I can get a 10 miler in to give me 16 miles,exactly where I'd be if I'd gone 8 miles,8 miles as usual,I will have to run 8 on Wednesday which is fine but I'd be a lot happier on that 8 miler down to the river and back if both sides of the sidewalk on Spruce St were open along Upenn and HUP{University Of Pennsylvania and Hospital Of University Of Pennsylvania} instead of piling everyone onto one crowded sidewalk but hopefully both sides of the sidewalk will be open sooner rather than later because I'm not sure how much longer I can squeeze 6 milers in along CCP b4 it gets too dark and looking at my rough draft for next weeks schedule 10,9,8 next Mon,Tue,Wed they'll all have to be down by the river.

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Be {Road}Trippin'

Even though today was a non running day there were a few things worth blogging......
First up London was awarded the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
I'm delighted on several levels,London had the 2005 championships only to lose them during the whole new Wembley stadium yea or nay to a running track issue,once a track was voted against and the whole new running track at Pickets Lock fell through the IAAF awarded the 05 c'ships to Helsenki{again!!}
Fast forward a few years,London beat out Paris for the 2012 Olympics and the new Olympic stadium was built,but always w/ the understanding that the running track would remain something that didn't happen after the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and while the likes of West Ham,Leyton Orient and even my beloved Spurs have all lobbied to get the Olympic stadium post 2012 I feel very strongly that London needs a state of the art running stadium,now we have one and it should remain a running stadium,don't get me wrong I love soccer but if clubs want a new stadium they should build one,Millwall and Arsenal did so why can't West Ham,Leyton Orient and Spurs?{and don't even get me started on how a North London club like Spurs could even consider moving to East London!!!}
Anyhow,while a trip home next summer for the Olympics is probably wishing thinking the prospect of a road trip for the 2017 World Championships is one worth considering.

Another road trip I won't be making next summer is to Poland and Ukraine for the 2012 European Soccer Finals but barring the mother of all collapses in Dublin on Tuesday Giovanni Trapatoni's Green & White Army{Ireland} will be there......C'mon You Boys In Green!!!
Having spanked Estonia 4.0 this evening in Tallin we are 90 mins away from our first finals in 10 years since the 2002 World Cup Finals and first Euros since 88.
I won't lie when the FAI{Football Association of Ireland} first appointed Trap as the new head coach a few years back I thought it was a mistake.....I'm man enough to say I was wrong only a blatant handball by that cheating French git Henry cost us a place in the 2010 World Cup Finals two short years ago and after the dust settles in Dublin on Tuesday it'll be interesting to see where Ireland play and against whom when the group draw gets made next month.

W/ all this to celebrate it was small wonder I went off to paint the town red{or green,or even red white and blue!!}
Being a HUGE Oasis fan back in the day I was saddened but not surprised when they broke up two years ago as Noel and Liam Gallagher's often public "sibling rivalry" came to a head and saw them call time on Oasis.
I missed Liam and his new band Beady Eye when they came to Philly in the summer in June or July w/ finances being what they were heading to both Worlds and Nationals and truth be told I thought I'd miss Noel's new band Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds as I was still pleading poverty when tickets went on sale......however thanks to a cash injection from the Bridge Run on Sunday and a tip off that there were tickets available tonite for $25 I had to have at it and got myself down to the Academy Of Music for the show.
Given Noel wrote most of the Oasis songs there was no shortage of material to accompany his debut album and a good time was had by all,if you're an Oasis fan I recommend checking out Noel's new band.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

In The Poppy Fields

"In the poppy fields we come and go,in the poppy fields we lose control
In the poppy fields where we come from,in the poppy fields we are gone
In the poppy fields I remember,I remember everything I remember you and I
I remember stones on a window pain,and how you cut my hair
I remember everything as if it were today,in the poppy fields I remember"

In The Poppy Fields-The Alarm

It's often said you shouldn't discuss religion or politics and it's also a widely held belief that politics and sport don't mix....and yet they seem to end up together like Bert and Ernie,Peanut Butter and Jelly or Rice and Beans.

This Sunday in England is Remembrance Day a day set aside to honour those who gave their lives during world war one and two,I recall standing in Memorial Gardens in Lewisham on many a second Sunday of November as a wreath was laid at the war memorial and I always wore my poppy w/ pride,watch any English tv show leading up to Remembrance Sunday and the hosts will be wearing a red poppy it's a mark of respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice so it's been a major sore point all week leading up to the England Spain game this Saturday.

The governing body of world soccer,Fifa banned England for displaying a poppy on their jerseys siting some bullshit rule but will allow then to display a poppy on their arm bands.......seriously somebody a Fifa made that a rule,let's not look into the mass corruption w/in the organisation lets ban a symbol that shows support for fallen war heroes,no wonder Fifa doesn't have a nativity play over the holidays......they can't find three wise men!!!

A nice easy 6 miler this evening,after three runs along the river I opted for the old out and back along Cobbs Creek Parkway this evening,I figured if I got out by 4.15pm I'd be home by 5.05pm while it was still light enough,I did however misjudge how cool it was after 3 days of 60 degree temps it was only 51 degs out there this evening w/ a heavy cloud covering,not quite jacket weather but a friendly reminder that we're heading closer to winter,looking forward to a rest day tomorrow b4 hitting the track on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Lean Green Running Machine

Yours truly heading towards the finish line at Campbell's Field on Sunday.
Another easy 8 miler out and back along the river this afternoon/evening,I know this weather can't last forever but I'm making the most of the t shirt and shorts conditions b4 the inevitable long sleeve running shirt and 3/4 length bottoms get broken out.
I'm also trying to utilize the daylight while it lasts,if I can get home by 4.05pm and out the door by 4.15pm I can get most of the run in b4 losing the daylight,I realize as each day goes by I lose a tad more daylight{roll on Winter Solstice} and pretty soon it'd be dark b4 I even hit South Street bridge but I'm trying not to think about that for now.

Still trying to confirm my next race next weekend I had originally considered the Rothman 8k but baulked at the $45 entry fee.....b4 I won $250 at the Bridge Run,there was talk of going to Van Cortlandt Park to run the NYRRC 5K XC next Sunday but that was only if we could get a team of 5 together and only three of us were game but now the twice postponed USATF NJ 8K XC C'ships at Deer Park have been set for next Saturday,I ran there in 08 and loved the course so if Chuck decides to go I'll gladly hitch a ride.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Everything Must Change

"And like a dream alive a reason,everything must change and like a world this earth and seasons everything must change"

Everything Must Change-Paul Young

It'd be all too easy to kick back now that I've gotten my 10k pr and say "that's a season" but I'm not the type of runner to sit back and rest on my laurels so it's back to the tried and tested 50 miles a week this week the only difference being my route.

I did say last week I thought w/ the clocks going back my runs along Cobbs Creek Parkway were coming to an end and sure enough sitting in my recliner on Sunday evening at 5.15pm I looked out the window to see it was dark already which was enough for me to switch my route from CCP to Baltimore Ave,South St bridge and along the Schuylkill Banks to the Art Museum and back.

This week will be a "basic" week 8m Monday,8m Tuesday,8m Wednesday,6m Thursday,rest day Friday,8m on the track Saturday including repeats I'm thinking 10x1,000m and then 12m Sunday as I look to rebuild my mileage back to 50mpw after two week taper.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Well Worth The Wait

Sunday Sept 11th 1983,my first ever road race,a 10k in Wimbledon South West London,my time was nothing to write home about a meager 38.58 but it was a start

I remember passing the All England Tennis Club where the tennis is played each summer and also remember being thrilled to get a medal post race.....from little acorns big trees grow....

Sunday July 15th 1984,10 months and two 6mile races later the landmark 10k that stood the test of time.

This was the race that taught me to have my bag packed the nite b4 as I over slept and had to run around like the proverbial headless chicken getting ready and rushing across London from my South East home to West London and White City for the race.

Finished 57th in a field of 228 in 34.53,little did I know then that my second ever 10k would hang around for 27 years as a pr....

Sunday November 5th 2006,in what would be my final road race outside of 5th Avenue Mile for three years I ran the Bridge Run in a disappointing 37.07.1.

After my first taste of masters track in 06 I'd made my mind up that track was where I wanted to run and road races would be not so much a thing of the past but fleeting.......

Sunday November 6th 2011,after winning the gold at 10,000m on the track in Berea this summer at Masters Nationals I had set my sights on the Bridge Run 10k as the race to erase my oldest pr in the books,just as I did last season after a breakout 5,000m on the track in April I bided my time till fall b4 laying waste to my 5k road pr now the distance was double,but so was the desire.

Armed w/ heartful of determination,a headful of belief and an earful of the Jesus & Mary Chain on my iopd I made the short train ride across the Delaware River over the same Ben Franklin Bridge I'd run the first three miles of the 10k on in just under an hours time.

Conditions were ideal sunny and 41 degs early November can be a crap shoot,I recall several years back in the precursor to the Bridge Run the old A To Z 10k{began at the Camden Aquarium and finished at the Philadelphia Zoo}my hands almost turning to ice crossing the bridge,to that end I packed gloves and arm warmers into my backpack,and while the gloves stayed put I probably didn't need the arm warmers after all but I was leaving nothing to chance,I'd waited long enough for this day,ever the boy scout "Be Prepared" $20 for a pair of arm warmers seemed a small price to pay if today was day I lowered my pr.

On the short walk from Campbell's Field to the start at the foot of the Camden side of the Ben Franklin bridge I remained calm, prior to my first masters National championship title my former coach told me"you've done the training have faith in your ability and the result will come" words to live by then in 07 so why not today?

Since stepping off the track at Berea after the 10,000m final on July 30th my focus had been on this race swooping mile repeats for 2 mile repeats on the track to get myself ready for this race.

In a field of over 3,000 runners it was important to get near the front and get a clear start if I had any hopes of getting my pr and w/ a relatively clear start I found myself latched onto the back of the lead group in 10th place

5.44 for the opening mile initially I thought it was slow given I went out in 5.19 at Syracuse but that was over 5k clearly even pace was going to be clutch,I averaged 5.32 per mile.

I dropped to 11th but wasn't too worried this was really about me and the clock.

13.11 at 2 miles and I'd slipped to 13th but stayed in contact w/ the two runners who'd overhauled me,one of whom was the first female.

Rather than let male ego get in the way I drew energy from the runners on the other side of the barrier who cheered for her and the three of us of us stayed close to each other.

16.41 at 3 miles just b4 the foot of the bridge a bit of quick mental math,2x 16.41 =33.12 +1.05 for the final .2 would give me 34.29.....PR....

W/ the bridge taken care of it was now 3 miles through Camden,having not ran the race since 06 I wasn't 100% sure where the course would lead me but it was well marked so as long as I followed the cones and arrows I'd be ok

The lead female runner was getting away from me but I'd passed one of the runners who'd peeled off the lead pack to move up to 12th.

21.52 at mile 4 for the first time I was beginning to feel it but as I passed the battleship that sits behind the Tweeter Center I thought about the nine 3x2miles repeats I'd done since the week b4 I went to Sacramento for Worlds and how no matter what I'd tried to give it all I had on the third and final's just 2 more miles.

27.32 at mile 5 I had two concerns w/ a mile to go,footsteps behind me and my right shoe lace coming undone.

I thought the footsteps might be Bob Schwelm I'd seen him behind me as I made my way back across the bridge and worried my grip on second place in the masters race might be slipping away,it turned out to be the second placed female runner who went by me after I stopped to tie my lace.

Ordinarily I'd have left my lace undone and not worried about it but w/ my race chip on my right foot I could ill afford to lose that given I was in "the money slot" in the masters race,it cost me a few seconds but it was a classic damned if I do,damned if I don't case.

W/ Campbell's Field in view I began to amp up the pace coming off the asphalt and onto the grass of the outfield I was grateful for my cross country experience and also grateful that there hadn't been rain in the last few weeks to make rounding the bases in the outfield a bit less difficult.

Rounding the last turn I saw the finish line and the clock.....34.21.......34.22...34.23....

13th overall and second masters finisher but more importantly a pr,it'd only taken 27 years and 51 attempts but I found my Excalibur and that leaves my 02 Chicago marathon as my oldest pr in my record books followed by my 03 8k,I don't plan on a marathon just yet so that just leaves the 8k to consider

Post race I caught up w/ my team mates,having switched to track in 06/07 I don't see many of the road runners anymore so it was good to mingle and catch up b4 the awards.

On top of the finishers medal{career medal #135 and counting} I got a plaque for being second in the masters race and a cheque......for $250,my biggest pay day as a runner ever,I'd gotten a few $100 prizes for winning road races but $,but more importantly a 29 second pr.

I said after winning the M45 10,000m at Nationals that the next thing was to lower my 10k pr on the road now that I've done that it's time to focus to lowering my track pr{34.43.3.} if I have any medal podium aspirations in Brazil in 2013 at the next WMA I need to get down to the low 33's so that's the plan,w/ turning 48 just a whisker away it seems prudent to spend the next 2 years running 5,000m and 10,000m outdoors on the track,lets see if the 10,000m track pr and 10k road pr lower,and by how much?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

At Last,At Last,At Last

Norcross Bridge Run 10k Cliff Notes
34.24. 29 second pr
13th overall
2nd Masters
Longer account to follow

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Keeping The Powder In The Keg Dry

I believe I explained the origins of November 5th/Bonfire Nite in my blog last year which should make the title self explanatory given my long awaited crack at tomorrows 10k.
While last week I had no say in not running on Saturday this week was a welcome day off which given I didn't get home till 2.50am suited me just fine.
While there's a lot riding on the outcome of tomorrow's Bridge Run 10k for me I've remained relaxed all day, finished off the Gary Kemp autobiography "I Know This Much" and went to the movies to see "Like Crazy"
I've never made any bones about being a "self confessed art house movie snob"if it isn't playing at any of the three Ritz movie theaters in Center City I tend not to see it,that said I won't not see a movie I want to see if it's not playing at The Ritz{case in point 50/50}but I like Art House movies and "Like Crazy" was a movie that appealed to me, basic premise English girl meets American boy here in America they fall in love and deal w/ all the hurdles a long distance trans Atlantic relationship comes w/ having been through that w/ Erica myself I felt the movie was "preaching to the choir".
I enjoyed the movie period plus it was a couple of hours I wasn't sitting at home fixating about the race the only drawback of going to see movies nobody else I know watches is I'll have no one to talk to about it w/ but such is life.

As is my won't I made a huge bowl of seafood linguine for dinner and have been downloading cds on to my new 30gb ipod and watching the boxing now but once that alarm goes off in the morning{go figure I get an extra hours sleep and have to be up at the crack of dawn!!} I'll be 100% focused on the race.
Hard to believe my 10k pr has stood all these years,July 15th 1984 in only my second ever 10k I ran 34.53 and in the ensuing 27 years it's stood the test of time more to the fact that from 85-05 I focused on marathons and from 06-09 I focused on the 800m/1,500m on the track, after my achilles injury in 09 I upped my mileage to add the 5,000m and following my bout of anemia this year I opted to move up to 10,000m for Masters Nationals in late July so it's been on my radar to run a road 10k b4 the end of the year,10ks have gone out w/ the ark these days so the Bridge Run was one of my only options,come 8.30am tomorrow morning we'll see if after 27 years and 50 10ks I can turn back time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Where The People Look Good,Where The Music Is Loud

If it's the first Friday of the month.....and I don't have family in town then it's the 80's dance party at Sex Dwarf.
After a frustrating day that felt like I was in my own episode of "Pardon The Interruption" I'm looking to blow off a little steam on the dance floor tonite,after 2.5 hours of trying to match po's when I first arrived at 6.30am from 9am through 3pm it felt like whenever I'd finally get a minute to myself it was ding dong Avon calling....I have a delivery for you..... granted I'm there to work not research Bowie cds online but when I start making a list at 9am that still isn't finished by 3pm I can't help but feel tad short changed.
Talking of cds I swear Sonic and Amazon are in cahoots together to get me to buy more cds,having kind of given up on so called music television months ago when I'm not watching anything on my dish I hit up the music stations,one in particular channel 839 Flashback/New Wave that plays 80's music anyway of late I find myself adding more cds on my list of cds to buy by artists I missed first time around
Two in particular have gotten inside my brain and refuse to be shown the door,"Boys" by Book Of Love and "Just Another Day" by Oingio Boingo granted I can get the cds they are on dirt cheap used(trust me w/ a list as long as mine you can't afford them new.....) but everytime I cross a few cds off the list a few more go on!!

Tonite should be a treat it's a tribute to B52's one of the bands I recall my childhood friend John Kelly introducing me to,John was a year older and was getting into the hip bands that I as of yet hadn't discovered between B52's,Japan,Ultravox{John Foxx era} and The Cure John helped shape my musical landscape in 79/80 and frankly 32 years later I haven't looked back.
W/ a race Sunday that means I have no run/repeats scheduled for tomorrow so staying the course tonite till 2am is an option if I chose,it' the 6th annual "Wig Night" so I have chance to let my hair down to speak I shall attending sans wig but maybe next year I can get creative w/ a wig and a pair of scissors and give myself that circa 1981 Phil Oakey look I always wanted.

Well what do you know Bowie just came on Flashback/New Wave.....I do believe this is where I came in.....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Beware Of The Cat!

Another easy 6 miler this evening another sunny low 60's evening I've made the most of them this week as it's all about to change after Sunday.
I'm looking forward to my two days off now b4 Sunday's race the old runners adage that"the hay is in the barn" should ring true prior to last week and this weeks taper I logged 10 weeks of 50 mile weeks w/ a few races and several hard 8 miles and 3x2mile repeats thrown in so I feel all the hard work has been done all I can hope is that I'm illness and injury free come 8.30am Sunday when the gun goes off and that the weather gods are on my side.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Footsteps In Gabardine

"Watching your window across the street we share eyes on your shadow you are unaware.
Picture a stranger footsteps in gabardine you sense the danger something unforeseen
Burning fires on your shore never open any door I'm wasting my time you don't hear my S.O.S.,the perfect crime to answer your S.O.S."

S.O.S.-Go West

Another easy 6 miler this evening in another glorious 61 degrees and sunshine.....I'm hanging on to these days cos as sure as Monday comes after Sunday I'm gonna miss the shit out of them when they go,probably next week after ye olde clocks go back

Not wishing to look beyond Sunday and my next race but it looks like I'll side step the Rothnan 8k here in Philly on Nov 19th in favour of the NYRRC 5K XC at Van Cortlandt Park the following day,the sticking point being the $45 entry fee,that's a lot of money and frankly needing new running shoes and needing flats for next season means that's $70 and $40 to shell out on top of $45 for Rothman,I'm not made of money and the fact when I went online today to book my trip to and from NYC for The Cure both Megabus and Bolt Bus have jacked up their fairs that weekend cos of Thanksgiving meant my trip cost twice as much as when I did the Human League/5th Avenue Mile trip in late September....grumble grumble!

On the subject of money for years I've searched for a cd of "Bangs & Crashes" an collection of remixes and live tracks by Go West that I've had on vinyl forever,it served as a stop gap between their self titled debut in 85 and their follow up "Dancing On The Couch" in 87,whenever I'd find a copy they wanted silly money for it,seriously we're talking $150,I spend that on groceries every two weeks for that kind of money I'd sing the songs myself and the would be seller could whistle for it!

Anyway a few weeks back more by luck than design I found a copy for well under $10,I couldn't resist and sitting in the lobby on my lunch hour the other day I sat almost in rapture as I listened to it for the first time in eons,I loved Go West their first two albums were great and while I've had them on cd for years"Bangs & Crashes" is about to get played once a week to make up for lost time.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Read It In Books

A nice easy 6 miler this evening,November 1st glorious sunshine and 57 degrees,gotta love it period but when you know that this time next month you'll only be running in shades,shorts and a tshirt in your memory you have to cherish it and make the most of it.

Major weight off my shoulders today,I've had a satellite dish for over 12 years now and wouldn't be w/out it.....or so I thought till a week ago when Direct TV said as of Nov 1st they were dropping their Fox channels including Fox Soccer and Fox Soccer Plus....half of what I watch on tv is on those two channels,I couldn't imagine no Football Tonite/Sky Sports News,Fox Soccer Report,EPL games Champions League,strewth even A League Highlights not to mention if FX went bye bye no more ''Sons Of Anarchy" "Justified" ''Archer" shit this season of "Sons" is bubbling up nicely w/ 5 more episodes and to think I could lose all this didn't bare thinking about
Anyway common sense prevailed between Direct TV and Fox Corp and all my Fox channels are still on so I don't have to switch dish companies....phew!!

Been reading the Gary Kemp autobiography "I Know This Much" for the past week,that old expression "can't put the book down" applies to this book.
As a huge Spandau Ballet fan right from the start in 1980 when "To Cut A Long Story Short" was released this was always a must read book for me but aside from getting an insight to the whole New Romantic movement from it's humble roots of Billy's in Soho where Steve Strange and Rusty Egan in 78 began it's also shed light on things I never knew.
I always knew that Gary Kemp and Clare Grogan were rumoured to be seeing each other but I never knew Gary wrote most of the "True" album about her.
I also wondered how a guy from Islington North London could write such a heartfelt and poignant song about "the troubles" in Northern Ireland on "Through The Barricades" and then I read how the guy who worked for Spandau selling their merchandise was from Belfast and how he was shot and killed by a British solider.
W/ the band up to their second to last album, acrimonious brake up and nineteen years apart and bitter court cases between Gary and his former band mates still to come b4 getting back together in 2009 still to come I'm eager to read Gary's account of all this,I've already ordered "True" his Brother Martin's autobiography and will also read lead singer Tony Hadley's autobiography "To Cut A Long Story Short" to complete the Spandau trilogy.