Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Little Engine That Could

W/ my "dance card" pretty much filled for the upcoming weekend it's been omni important to get out there every afternoon his week,I came up short last week and would prefer a full 5/25 this week in order for me to kick it up a notch next week.
While there's still work to be done re feeling like a real runner at least I'm getting back to the realm of thinking like a real runner,it's been noticeable this week I'm focusing on what I'm doing rather than being on "auto pilot"looking to run the "blue line" on the course and save every second I can in order to get faster.
Last week w/ my conditioning being what it was it was no great surprise that any opportunity to stop or slow down was taken,crossing Chester Ave 5 times down 43rd St and  5 times up 45th St provided ample opportunity for that but yesterday saw me trying to stay in forward motion each time I came to Chester Ave....unless it was detramental to my general health and overall well being!!!

It's only a matter of time b4 the time honoured expression"I can piss faster than you drive" gets heard around Clark Park after 4pm during the week for those of you w/ sensitive ears who'd like to avoid such gutter language but like Chrissy Hynde sang in " Message Of Love" "We are all of us in the gutter,some of us are looking at the stars" and frankly I won't be happy till my star is back in full orbit!
Last week I could feel myself huffing and puffing after two loops but yesterday it wasn't till my fifth and final loop that I began to feel it,the slight incline up 45th St felt a little tougher,my legs felt like two rubber plants but throughout the run I was reminded of the classic Little Engine That could "I think I can,I think I can" as I continued to do my best Captain Scott on the Enterprise"I'm giving her all  she's got  Captain" over the final section of the run......

BOOYAH! 37 mins my fastest time to date his year including my three week stint back in early/mid January like I said it's getting there one run at a time.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Race Against Time

Another 5 miler,another 38 min quote the always quotable Monty Python in "Secret Service","still I was getting used to it by then"!!!
Depending on whos weather report you listened to rain was in the forecast for the afternoon/ evening,one report said 4pm or 5pm I was hoping for the latter and offered up a quick prayer to the weather gods in hope they'd listen.
Maybe it was the prospect of trying to be done and dusted b4 the rain that saw me complete another 38 min 5 miler,like London buses you wait forever for the bastard and then two show up together!!
A week ago I baulked at the prospect of running in the rain,a week later w/ a few back to back days under my belt I feel a bit more like the runner I know I am so I did my best Winston Churchill two finger salute to the weather gods and got out there and got after it.

I'm still a LONG way removed from throwing on my running singlet,lacing my trusty spikes up and heading to a track to "throw down" w/ anyone but it's all feeling positive,that said I'd not be breaking my hand patting myself on the back just yet,there's the oh so small matter of getting what at times feels like a baby Elephant off my chest as I'm looping around Clark Park removed,like I keep saying I won't win it all back in one day but  as long as the victories no matter how small  keep adding up I'll feel like I'm getting there one workout at a time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Spoiler Alert

I always feel if I get Mondays run in I have a fighting chance for having a decent week,maybe it's a bunch of psychobabble nonsense but if I miss Mondays run I feel it puts me "behind the eight ball" from the get go and if Tuesday gets away from me for any reason then there's a pretty good chance I'll stick a fork in the week b4 it'd even half way through,so having had one to many false starts to my season already I knew I had to be out there yesterday afternoon.....SPURS game or not!

Yep,as I mentioned on Thursday my day is often dictated by the Spurs fixture list and it just so happened we were the Monday Night game at 8pm back home,3pm here via ESPN2 so I knew when I got home at 4pm right on half time that if I parked my butt on the recliner to cop the second half the chances of me getting out the door at 5pm  to run were slim to none,granted it's lighter in the evening now and NOT undoable but I know me once I get cozy it's a bastard trying to get off the recliner so I did the responsible thing,set the dvr and didn't even tempt fate by checking the half time score when I got home,instead I got changed into my running gear and straight out the door,as a runner one should be committed.....and I don't mean to the nearest looney bin!!!

Maybe it was the prospect of getting done so I could hop in and out of the shower and then park myself on the edge of my recliner to hurl abuse at the tv during the game but I shaved a minute off my recent times,the proof in the pudding to that notion will come if I continue to run 38 mins for 5 miles,it's been a steady diet of 40 mins {8 min mile pace} since Jan w/ the occassional 39 min thrown in for good messure as time goes by getting into the realm of 7 min mile pace for 35 mins is the aim but knowing that after numerous 40/39 min times a 38 is under my belt helps convince me getting back to where I was is there for the taking I just have to work on it.

As for the game,we did it again,trailing 2.1 w/ 15 mins to go we tied it at 2.2 and I'd have been happy w/ a point given West Ham{Wet Spam as we lovingly refer to them!!} chose last nite to honour their former great Bobby Moore and were "well up for it" on the pitch and in the stands.......
89th min and God aka Bale got hold of the ball some 35 yards out and stuck it on his left foot,one touch,two touch.....BOSH!!! the ball flew into the top right hand corner of the Wet Spam goal and Spurs not only won but moved above Chelsea into third in the table,Spurs and yours truly both making a run in late Feburary....

Monday, February 25, 2013

Little By Little

Thanks to someone leaving the "sprinkler system" on almost all day Saturday my hopes of getting a 5 day/25 mile week went down the drain along w/ the rain,however yesterdays run allowed me a 4 day/20 mile week which is a vast improvement on the last three weeks put together.
I know I'm not going to "get it all back in one day" as has been evident from the grind at times to complete 5 loops of Clark Park but given there were probably more off days than training days over the last six months since Outdoor Nationals in August I'm going to have to "grin and bare it" untill such a time when it feels natural again.

Funny story #1, not two minutes into my run on Cedar Ave and I almost came a cropper thanks some "dynamic duo" and their dog,while anyone who knows me on Facebook will attest to my being a "cat person" I am not anti dog.....but you never hear of a runner being bitten by a cat out on their run or being tripped by a cat on its leash.... so it's a quick game of "Do I" A,stop and wait till an opening presents it'self?,B,swing wide and run out in the street? or C,slow down and wait till an opening on the sidewalk presents it'self? I went w/ C as it seemed to be the best bet..... only to go face first into some tree branches.....the moral of this story....the bark was worse than the bite!!!

Funny story #2, after my five loops around Clark Park I headed homewards along Baltimore Ave and Cedar Ave, as I said it the moment I'm feeling a little fangless and clawless as my time off has blunted the "Three S's,Speed,Strength,Stamina" but as I made my way along the 4600 block I spotted another runner some 50-60 meters ahead of me heading west along Ceder Ave and b4 the 1/4 mark of the 4900 block I'd passed him,a small victory but like I said I'm not expecting to get it all back at once.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Warming The Cockerels Of My Heart

The late Bill Shankley the former manager of Liverpool F.C. once said and I quote"some say football's a matter of life or death.....I say it's more important than that"!!
The older I've gotten the less I've come to believe that my team losing whatever game they happen to be playing is quote "the end of the world",that said there are some victories that are just too sweet to ignore!

Anyone who knows me knows "I bleed blue" for my beloved Tottenham Hotspurs or Spurs as refer to them more often than not, and anyone who's set foot inside my modest appartment will testify that if someones put a Spurs logo { a Cockerel atop a football} on it I own it,clock,towel,fridge magnet,razor you name it I own it and then there's the nearly two dozen replica Spurs shirts I've been collecting since the early 80's.
So it should come as no surprize that when  Spurs play things tend to grind to a halt,I work my weekends around our Premier League games factoring in the five hour time difference,3pm kick offs at 10am work well,12.45pm kick offs at 7.45am can be a little tricky {but I count my lucky stars I'm not on the west coast and looking at a  4.45am kick off!!!!} and 5.30pm kick offs at 12.30pm can be a blessing or a curse depending......and then come the mid week games!!!!

An 8pm kick off at 3pm here means I can be home in time for the second half which works great,however as was the case yesterday a trip to Lyon in France for a Europa League fixture meant a 6pm kick off there and a 1pm kick off here,"bunking off" from work early seems a tad irrisponsible these day{it has been done in the past though!!} so w/out access to a tv I was forced to follow the game on line......
Any soccer fan my age and older will remember that in the days b4 the internet  we had our ears pressed up against a radio to follow the Radio 2 commentary or 5 Live,there's nothing harder than not actually being able to watch the action and god forbid your team is losing as you sit there praying to hear those magic words"it's a goal"!!!!

Returning from my lunch hour at 2.15pm I hastly put the pc on BBC Sports and followed the second half updates.....crap we trailed Lyon by a goal and as time ticked down we were in danger of going out of the Europa League,rather than sit and shout obsenities at the pc screen I multitasked,listened to music on Spotify,checked stuff on another screen and periodocally came back to BBC Sports to check the updates.......
Whoever was posting them was not a Spurs fan,w/ 15 mins to go he/she asks "how serious are Spurs about staying in this tournament?" w/ 10 mins to go "at this stage Newcastle are moving on,Spurs are going out" w/ 5 mins to go"it's looking bleak for the men from White Hart Lane"..........
I was resigned to our fate an exit from the Europa League,one last check of the website b4 grabbing my Spurs fleece jacket and heading home.........................................................................................................
 90 min.GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!MOUSSA DEMBELE, SPURS GO THROUGH!!!!!
A rousing cheer of "fuckin' get in there!!!" from yours truly as I danced a jig in my office!!! and my beloved Spurs move onto the round of 16 and a date w/ Inter Milan in two weeks time.
And what does any of this have to do w/ running you may ask? well kids it's ten times easier to get into my running clothes and face sub zero temps and a nasty wind chill when your team has won than if they've lost...
C'MON YOU SPURS!!!!! another 5 miler around Clark Park but this one saw a song in my heart and a smile on my face inspite of the cold.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Just Do It

W/ the metophorical ink still damp from Tuesdays long overdue blog entry and all my talk of getting back into the fray I found myself in an all too familur sinareo  of sitting on my recliner watching Champions League football,nothing like making  a liar out of myself!!!!
In fairness it was raining but that in its self set off a whole debate in my mind.....cos lets face it I'd have looked pretty silly having a full blow conversation w/ myself!
I'm only looking a 5 mile runs for now as I focus on the 800m and 1,500m and frankly in the past I've ran 10 milerrs in the rain,the issue is as I've gotten older have I gotten softer or was I showing a modicum of  common sence and not running the risk of getting sick and potentially losing a few days/ a week of training......frankly three's been enough of that over the last  six months and once again I find myself w/ the proverbial tons of questions and no answers!!!

All however was not lost,in this "rebuilding" phase of my training I'm only looking to reestablish "good habits" ie coming home,getting changed and going straight out to run,a basic that has at times gotten away from me,in order to get back into that mode I feel if I manage 5 runs a week w/ 4 of them over 5 miles and 1 trip to the track on the weekend for repeats then by April I should{in theory} be ready to return to 6 day training weeks w/ 2 I said it sounds good in theory but it's also true that"theory and practice" is often the horse of a different colour anywho losing Tuesday was not the be all and end all of my week having gotten out there on Monday,but now having taken one day off and knowing that more often than not Fridays are my token rest day I was faced w/ the prospect of having to run "come hell or high water" Wed,Thur,Sat and Sun so despite sub zero conditions and a wind chill factor that wasn't helping any I headed out the door yesterday afternoon for my 5 miler around trusty Clark Park.
I feel I could do the Clark Park loop w/ my eyes closed it's become my "go to" route over the years but rather than go the "familuarity breeds contempt" route I find a sence of comfort in running a route I've ran so often over the past six years.
In a week that saw Michael Jordan hit the big 50 I guess it was no coincidence I should quote the old Nike mantra as I did my loops.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Don't Call It A Comeback

Bless me Father, it's been three months since my last confession.......
To quote the devine Beth Orton"Where Do I Begin"?,I have been running,maybe not not as much as I would like but there's been more running than there's been blogging over the last three months....I know that's not difficult!!
I haven't fallen out of love w/ running,I don't think I could even if I wanted to but the fact is for the first time in a long time running isn't the be all and end all of my life,maybe the oncoming freight train that is hitting the big 50 has something to do w/ it,maybe after 11 years of putting heart and soul into my training day in day out,week in week out my body has rebelled a little and said it's time to ease up a tad,I don't know in running as in life I don't have the answers,but I do have a lot of questions!!
In early January after being "inspired" to get back to doing what I do I managed three consecutive weeks of regular training 5 days a week,even managing two repeat sessions on the track{the first one was far from pretty let me tell you!!}but I knew well enough that"speed begats speed" and the only way I was going to get myself in race shape for Indoor Nationals was to make weekly/bi weekly trips to the track.....easier said than done in the dead of winter!!

And then just like that,the wheels fell off over the next three weeks I lost vital and valuable training to the weather,weather related illness and general "life getting in the way" issues when I ran yesterday it was the first time in 13 days and if I didn't already know it my chances of going to Landover for Indoor Nationals had gone w/ that lay off.
I'm sure in five weeks time when"the clans all gather" in Landover I'll second guess my decision to not only pull the plug on Indoor Nationals but also  pull the plug on the whole indoor season,however I only have to cast my mind back to Boston 08's Indoor Nationals when I had eight weeks recovery from my stress fracture to recall the painful wrong choice I made that year in going,I said after that painful experience I'd never go to a Nationals under prepared so I'm sticking to my word.

I'd like to use the next six weeks between now and the end of March to get back into the habit of getting out there five days a week and training w/ one day set aside for repeats,if I can do that then come April I feel I'll have given myself a base to build on and hopefully set myself up for the outdoor season.
Over the past few weeks I've received several emails and messages via Facebook asking what's been going on w/ my lack of running,hopefully this answers those questions and hopefully I'll see most of you guys at a track meet soon,till then it's "nose to the grind" time and time to knuckle down in training....and blogging!!!