Friday, January 31, 2014

Order Of The Black

Ah Pay Day,how do I love thee?let me count the ways!!!
Yes folks that most sacred of days has arrived and w/ it the knowledge that not only can I pay the rent to keep a roof over my head for another month but also afford groceries to provide substanence over the new fortnite till Pay Day swings around again,not sure about it's good to be the king"  but not being destitute sure feels pretty darn good!!!
Right on time I hit trusty Eastbay's Outlet section for a new pair of running shoes as I'm close to 400 miles on my present pair so it was omni important to get a new pair.
As is my won't I ordered some new music to keep the "savage beast" at peace,the first Black Label Society dvd "Boozed,Broozed & Broken Boned" and a Black Sabbath cd "Reunion",what can I say I like my tunes to have a bit of edge and bite to them!!!

Having exercised my option to take a rest day on Wednesday it was back at it yesterday w/ another 8 miler,in almost tropical conditions at 27 degrees compared to the balmy 17 degrees of Tuesday I was out the door around 4.20pm,......just what was the orange ball in the sky???the sun you say!....WOW!!!
In a short space of time I've felt the difference in returning to 8 milers,at first I thought I was imagining it when I ran on Tuesday but the fact I took 4 mins off of Mondays time did point to that and again yesterday I felt stronger and on top of shaving another minute off my time I haven't felt as strong at the end of a run for a while......lets hope this transfers its self to fast times on the track when the final three pre Indoor Nationals races arrive,i have an 800m at The Armory on Tuesday nite b4 the deadline for entries on Feb 21st and then back to back races over the mile and 800m on Feb 27th and 28th also at The Armory,I'd like to think the 4.57.1 I ran last Saturday will be a distant memory even though it looks like I may have to use it as my seed time as it's my most recent mile time,my only other time is from Bloomington two years ago at Indoor Nationals at 4.42.4 and frankly thats as misleading as the 4.57.1 so I fear I'm "damned if Ido,damned if I don't"

One final footnote{not a play on words re my new shoes.....honest!}I wanted to mention this two weeks ago in a blog entry but due to "Gremlins" I lost my original draft and it didn't make my rewrite but the evenings are starting to get lighter,case in point even at 8 miles last nite I began at 4.19pm and by the time I finished it was still daylight albeit only just but the fact is we're half way through winter{you wouldn't know it from the recent Arctic Vortex but take my word for it!} so hopefully w/ the shortest month on the calender about to begin we're moving ever so closely to Spring......has a beautiful ring to it don't you agree??

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wind Of Change

17 degrees.....I laugh at you!!! having ran three weeks ago in 13 degrees I said anything warmer than that would mean I had no excuse not to run and frankly having ran in single digit temps on Sunday morning I didn't see any reason not to get out there yestereday evening for a second eight miler even if I looked like something out of the "Ted Kazinski Unibomber 10k Run" all that was missing was a back pack!!!
Having taken care of business on Monday lunchtime over 8 miles I didn't forsee any issues going back to back w/ 8 miles,as much as I want to hit the track for speed work I figured w/ 15 inches of snow last week the track at Temple wasn't an option right now,w/ the track and field program no more at Temple I can't imagine a groundsman muchless groundscrew out there shoveling and sweeping the snow off the track and I'm buggered if I'm going to Home Depot to buy a stiff broom to sweep it.....I'll take my chances that come Saturday if it's not clear its at least usable for 5x1,000m repeats.

Having slowly been working my way back upto  8 milers w/ 6.5 and 7 mile runs of late the extra mile hasn't proven an issue,I won't lie I felt a little leg weary over the closing mile on Monday but last nite I felt much stronger,graned in 17 degree temps you don't want to be hanging around but the fact I shaved 4 minutes off of Mondays time does indicate feeling stronger.....granted it was Shakespeare who famously said"one swallow does not a summers make" but hopefully whenever I next tackle the mile either next Friday at Penn State or more likely at The Armory on Feb 27th I won't fade away over the second half of the race.....and just the mention of Summer gives me warm fuzzies all over!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

You've Got Another Thing Coming

W/ the ink still wet no doubt on the latest version of my running obituary I was out the door at 12.15pm yesterday afternoon to log the first of three 8 milers this week on route to a 40 mile week and hopefully better results over the mile in my upcoming races.
Ever the track historian I couldn't help think back to Moscow 80 where Eamonn Coghlan finished 4th at his second Olympics and Seb Coe ran one of the worst races of his career in the 800m final to finish 2nd b4 rebounding six days later to win gold in the 1,500m final.

Unlike Lord Coe I don't have 6 days to rebound,I have 6 weeks which is probably just as well as I'm going to need each and everyone of those thirty runs/races/intervals to get me in podium shape for Boston and Indoor Nationals.
Following Saturdays race and my "walk of shame" from Barton Hall back to the hotel I took a long soak in tub and rewrote my training schedule thinking it was just longer repeats that were needed,adding the time honoured 4x1 mile and 5x1,000m repeats to my 6x600m and 4x300x200x300m repeats.....however after returning home on Sunday curiosity got the better of me and I pulled out my 2010 running log......

The paralles from 2010 to now are quite frightning almost "Twilight Zoneish" coming off an achilles injury,not doing the work that I should have early on in the Indoor season,getting humbled in a mile race and then getting my act together,upping my milage to 40mpw and winning a silver and two bronze medals at Indoor can't make this stuff up I'm telling you!
Having rewritten my training schedule,I then re rewrote it still looking to up my repeats to the longer sessions  BUT making sure I now have 40 mile weeks on the schedule,it explains why I fell apart over the second half of Saturdays race.

Having identified the problem i hope the next six weeks will allow me to right the ship so that upon my arrival in Boston in March I am in a position to challenge for the know how I love to prove my critics wrong and play the role of borrow Delvin Dinkins blog title  I need to "Up My Game" and it's VERY much game on!!!

Hitting An All Time Low....

Normally a three mile run period wouldn't be anything to blog....muchless write home about and the fact it was a ten times around the Best Western University Inn parking lot at  roughly three minutes a loop run even less......however!!!!
At roughly after 7.30am I made my way outside from the warm and friendly confinds of my room to the parking lot,I knew it would be cold and made sure to double layer w/ everything except my first error in judgement.
By the time I hit the second loop my finger tips were cold,not numb but cold,rather than fixate on it I clenched my fists and swore to see it through,having gotten out of bed and dressed to run I 'd done the hard part now to see it through!!!
At least w/ three minute loops they were over rather quickly and b4 long I was on #10 and promptly back inside the hotel,I had to run my hands under the hot water faucet in my bathroom to get the feeling back in my finger tips b4 heading down the hallway for a much needed cup of tea and a well earnt breakfast.....

It wasn't till leaving the hotel some 90 minutes later I discovered the temprature was NINE degrees!!!!!!!! not only  four degrees colder than my previous record low for running in BUT single I've got that on my running resume I guess???

The Show Must Go On

If it's late January in Ithaca then it must be the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile!
Lets face it the way I ever get on Ivy League campus grounds is through my running,back in the day my track repeats were all at Franklin Field at UPenn and now for the 5th time since 2007 I was back at's beginning to feel like home!!
Another plus of becomming a semi frequent visitor to Ithaca in January is getting used to the cold,I don't notice it as much now but dear God that first visit in 07......I remember running from the car into Barton Hall to escape the chill winds that blew around I just take it in stride!!

I arrived at Barton Hall around 11am after a comfortable walk from the nearby hotel which allowed me half an hours worth of volume 2 of Queen's Greatest Hits to get the blood pumping and the juices flowing,after check in I "decamped" at the end of the 100m finish and began to ready myself for my 12.15pm race.
Following a mile warm up out on the Cornell campus I stripped down to my race clothes and took my place on the starting line,my first M50 race......lets hope things improve on this less than auspicious debut!!

I knew not to go w/ the rabbit and 2013 M50 5th Avenue Mile champ Alan Wells but taking full advantage of my #2 seeding I got onto the rail going into the opening bend and claimed 2nd despite the best efforts of Sean Smith who tried to claim 2nd after we all know hindsight is a wonderful thing but if I'd been more aware of Seans credentials maybe I'd have let him have second and tucked in behind him....
36 seconds at 200m followed by a series of 33,36,37 laps for a 2.20 at 800m,things were ticking along nicely and when I clocked 3.00 at 1,000m I felt I was on schedule and for a brief second it looked like Alan was coming back to quickly things can change w/ a lap!
At 1,100m Sean went by me,he had hung tough behind me for 1,000m b4 making his move and now I was third.......till 1,300 when Casey Carlstrom went by me,unlike Sean I was able to keep close to Casey as we went through the bell in 4.19 but I just couldn't reel him in over the closing 200m and had to settle for 4th in 4.57.1..............................

Nobody like to lose especially me but I give Sean and Casey all the credit in the world for their races,Alan was simply too good for me today.
Watching a video of the race{a Hartshorne tradition at the post race awards banquet} I was impressed at Caseys race he came from 5th to reel me in w/ a lap and a half to go and will be a favourite in Boston in the M55 mile.....I'm just glad I don't have to race him there!!
As I told Pete Taylor after the race when he asked me my comments on my race "National Championships are NOT won or lost in late January" and the old adage that" you learn nothing from a defeat" is looking at it all wrong.
I learnt alot from this loss,namely "know your opponent" I didn't do any research on Sean or Alan prior to the race which cost me and is one of the downsides of not being "on the circuit" for the last 18 months.
I also learnt the hard way that 30 miles a week is NOT cutting it,I fell away badly over the second half of the race as my 2.22/2.35 splits indicate so clearly upping my weekly total back to 40 miles per week will I hope serve me better over the 6 weeks of training I have between now and Boston and Indoor Nationals,as for my Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile aspirations they will have to wait another 12 months....maybe sixth time will be a charm?

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Saints & Sinners

Well another day I was grounded,or at least chose the option not to run,I did strongly condsider an easy 6 miler but thought better of it,as is typical in the residential section of my run along both Cedar and Baltimore Aves there are sections of sidewalks that have been cleared and also sections that haven't been,for the sake of a few unscheduled rest days not to mention saving my legs for Saturdays race I thought it wise to sit this one out,and ditto for Thursday.

My biggest concern is the roads between Philadelphia and Ithaca for travelling on Friday and Sunday,fingers crossed I'll make my connections and arrive in Ithaca by 6pm tomorrow evening,my St Christopher will be getting packed tonite as I get my bag ready for the weekend.....I feel I may need it!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


It's been said b4 and will no doubt be repeated again"when you argue w/ Mother Nature she always gets the last word"......
As is my won't all year round I keep an eye on the seven day forecast to see what the weather is doing and see if I need to tweak things to accomadate the weather,a week ago all the weather people were predicting for Tuesday was extreme big we went through that two weeks ago,and while I did tweak my repeats to Saturday/Monday to deal w/ that I thought I was golden.....I thought wrong!!
Somewhere over the weekend a major snow storm developed and yesterday everyone in its path felt it's fury!!!

Still no official word on how much snow fell here in Philly,last I heard at 10pm we had 11 inches and it was still falling,so it's safe to say a foot at least.....GREAT!!!!
Needless to say yesterday fell by the wayside,I did prehaps foolishly think I could get out there and run however in the 10 block radius of 40th St to 50th St where the #34 trolley runs above ground on the rare times I could see out the windows I could barely see the sidwalk and thought better of it once I arrived home,one slip and not only could Hartshorne be in jepordy but maybe my whole season so I conceeded defeat and curled up on the recliner upon arriving home.
Frankly having missed one day of training on a race week where my mileage was built around that event I can now kiss goodbye any thoughts of a 30 mile week,the snow has now turned to ice and I'm not about to play "fast and loose" w/ my health or well being just  to say I logged x ammount of miles for the week.

I recall a previous trip up to Ithaca in 09 if memory serves me correctly where I had very little in the way of mileage that week due to the weather so it's nothing new to go into the Hrtshorne Memorial Masters Mile w/ low miles on the clock for the week,my bigger concern now is the bus ride to New York on Friday and then the bus ride from New York to Itacha at lunch time,remind me to pack my St Christopher medal w/ me as he is the patron saint of travellers....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In The Lap Of The Gods

If I'm being honest I'd have prefered another day b4 launching back into repeats but since the Weather Gods and Running Gods are on seperate pages{some might say they're in completly different books!!!} I had little or no choice but to return to Temple 2 days after my 4x300x200x300m repeats to have at it over 6x600m.

I arrived at Temple by's becoming somewhat redundant to say it was almost deserted but it was,conditions were grey but not as cold and windy as Saturday which meant losing my gloves and warm up pants following my mile warm up,while not expecting or even looking at a Quantum Leap from last Wednesdays times some improvement would be a reward.....

#1 600m
And somewhere in the background Whitesnake are singing "Here I Go Again"
At the time I didn't read too much into having to swing wide into lane 3 b4 200m to avoid a pair of "Junior Olympians" in lanes 1 and 2......however.....

#2 600m
To be  totally honest at this stage of the game if I could hold this pace throughout all six 600's I'd be more than happy but at two repeats into this particular form of torture/repeat that's wishful thinking,hopefully in a few weeks time it'll become reality

#3 600m
Again I was forced into lane 3 to avoid the "Junior Olympians" after 120m,while they have as much right to the track as anybody maybe they need to learn track etiquette and not jog in lane 1 when other runners are trying to run fast

#4 600m
The wheels fell off on #4 last week but it was a seperate set of wheel that helped me today....
"Bike Boy" decided riding his BMX on the track was a "good idea" and seemed to take great exception to this old relic outrunning him around the bottom turn between 200m and 300m

#5 600m
Clunk! the sound of my wheels falling off,but if I eeked out an extra sub 2.00 600m today then that's progress and this early on into my repeats I'll take any or all positives I can

#6 600m
While it's still somewhat of a kick in the teeth to be running over 2.00 for 600s at least I didn't "mail it in" on #6 today and tried to floor it to finish off on a strong note.

On initial observation I thought I'd improved on Wednesdays collective splits....however upon closer inspection I discoverd my times to be slower by 2 seconds......the 2 seconds I lost swinging out into lane 3 on repeats #1 and #3....
That said I did at least get 4 of the 6 repeats at sub 2.00 so that's a positive note to end on and it'll have to keep me going till next Tuesday or Wednesday when I resume repeats.
In the space of nine days I've logged  four repeats on top of my season opening 1,000m race at The Armory so in terms of speed work I've done all I can prior to Saturdays Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile,the rest is very much in  "The Lap Of The Gods"......

Monday, January 20, 2014

Shake A Leg

Following Saturdays 4x300x200x300m repeats I just needed to knock out a easy 6 miler to round out a third 5 day/30 mile mile week in three weeks.
Following the 8.30am Swansea Spurs game I was more than awake to face the run,stretched,dressed and out the door by 10.45am,not sure what the exact temps were but probably a little warmer than the 36 degrees I conducted my repeats in the previous lunchtime.

There were a few dozen hardy souls out there along the Schuylkill Banks as I made my way down to Lloyd Hall for the turning point of my 6 miler,having recently thrown in 6.5 and 7 milers to round out my weekly 30 mile target it felt like a mild "cheat" to be turning at Lloyd Hall and heading back down the Schuylkill Banks towards South St bridge.....If I felt any guilt over that {I didn't!!} I would have ample opportunity to make up for it on Tuesday and Wednesday when I'll be running out to the mile marker for my four mile turnaround for my two 8 mile 20 degree temps no less but having already ran a 6.5 miler in 13 degrees I have no excuse not to run

Ride The Wind

It is said "the devil is in the details"  so maybe it's a good job I pay attention to the details.
When I first heard the weekend weather forecast it looked like Sunday would be the better of the two days to hit Temple to get  my 4x300x200x300m repeats in......however looking ahead to the coming weeks seven day forecast it stated after Mondays 42 degrees anohe bout of Arctic winds were coming into the region from the North Pole no less....#friggingfreezing
So w/ that in mind I opted to make Saturday and Monday my day for repeats in 36 degree and 42 degree temps rather than Sunday and Tuesday in 42 degree/22 degree temps.

Over to Temple by 1.25pm the sun may've been out but it was a brisk one,as someone who is cursed w/ poor circulation to begin w/ I had to opt for thin knit gloves beneath my running gloves and for once I kept my warm up bottoms on over my running tights,one of the drawbacks of outdoor training in the winter is having to dress in layers,if that's what it takes to get the workout in then sobeit.
Following my 6 lap warm up......warm being the operative word here I ready myself for round two of 4x300x200x300m repeats and hoped to improve on last Sundays debut......
Give or take there was a 5 second  improvement on last Sundays overall times which was quite pleasing given the wind I had to contend w/ out on the track at lunchtime but once the repeats were in the bag and I concluded my 6 lap cool down I felt more than happy w/ the job I'd done,fingers crossed Mondays 6x600m repeats will be an improvment on Wednesday debut,and after that it'll be time to brace for the Northwinds..

Friday, January 17, 2014


Another seven miler to keep me on pace for a third 5 day/30 mile week and also a chance to expell any lingering crap in my legs from Wednesdays repeats.
In keeping w/ recent days the temps were unseasonably warmer than the average for this time of year,39 degrees yesterday which worked for me,sadly that litle respite in the weather is about to end,Saturdays proposed 4x300x200x300m repeats look like they'll be conducted in bordeline freezing conditions{yea!!!} and then Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday are right now all well below freezing and having gotten out last Tuesday in 13 degree temps I have little or no excuse NOT to be out there in 20/22 degree temps!!!

Renewed my USATF membership yesterday,last year I baulked on signing up as I kind of knew I wouldn't be heading to Maryland or Olathe for Indoor or Outdoor Nationals so the fact I signed up for 2014 means I should be heading to Boston and  Winston Salem this year.....if nothing else my mothers fridge magnet collection should improve by two and hopefully my National Championship medal collection!!!

Having already booked my round trip bus trip to Ithaca for next weekends Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile i made sure to take care of my round trip to bus ticket to New York for the weekend,ever the Boy Scout{Dib Dib Dib!!!} it's one less thing to worry about so I can focus all my energies on running the race next Saturday,and hopefully Saturday lunch time will see me tackle another set of repeats.....

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Keeping The Gun Powder Dry.....

Once again waiting an extra day for my track workout proved to be a prudent move on my part,Tuesdays rain was long gone by the time I set foot on the Temple track around 3.50pm yesterday afternoon,not sure of the temps but they felt similar to those on Sunday when I conducted my 4x300x200x300m which meant being able to go "minimal" where wardrobe was concerned,half zip jacket and running tights,I recall a 6x600m last January when I was bundled up like friggin' Nanook Of The North......

That old adage "one mans loss is another mans gain" seemed apt yesterday afternoon,while the track at Temple has always been the most accessable in terms of location being able to use it on a weekday has often been an issue as rightfully so the Temple track and field athletes have been utalizing it in the afternoons......however I read recently that Temple University recently cut funding to several of it's programs......including Track & Field which sucks for them but means I should be able to access the track post work on a weekday which will be huge for me moving forward this season,as it was I more or less had the track to myself again this afternoon a la Sunday morning.

W/ time being the issue as Hartshorne is now just over a week away and Indoor Nationals 8 weeks off my plan to increase my speed,leg turnover is 4x300x200x300 on the weekends and the always challenging 6x600m repeats aka The Death Cage during the week,it's not the easiest of repeats in my repertoire but is one of the most rewarding when it comes to the finished article over 800m and w/ 2 800m races on tap next month it's time to get the ball rolling b4 the March 16th M50 800m final in Boston.
Mile warm up b4 "once more stepping into the Death Cage"
#1 600m
A solid start,the 64 billion dollar question was had I "shit the bed" w/ such a strong opener?....
#2 600m
If I could hold onto this pace for the remaining four repeats I'd be ok.....
#3 600m
Look out below! sombody just dropped a Steinway Piano from a great height and it laded on me somewhere in the opening 400m.....
#4 600m
I kind of "mailed it in"over the closing 200m after a 1.22 opening 400m.told you that opening 1.14 was gonna come back to haunt me!
#5 600m
Marginally better but any 600m at plus 2.00 never sits well w/ me
#6 600m
Sliver lining a closing 200m in 37 seconds and  a faster overll time than #4 and #5

Obviously the last three 600s don't sit well,I knew it'd be a big ask on a week day to run fresh having been up since 5.30am and working till 3.15pm but such is the burden of  any athlete who works a full time job to help support their running,Peter Elliot used to work on roofs during the day b4 running in the evenings on route to his  silver in the 800m in Rome in 87 at Worlds and silver in the 1,500m in Seoul in 88 at the Olympics so I can't play the "I was tired" card.
Granted I haven't conducted 6x600m repeats in almost 12 weeks and on Oct 26th my times of:
1.50.2-1.55.4-1.58.8-1.58.7-2.04.9-2.01.4 weren't exactly setting the world alight nor was my first set of 6x600m back on August 31st:1.50.7-1.54.8-1.56.7-1.56.6-2.00.0-2.06.2 so I'm not going to beat myself up too much over the times.....that said next Tuesday or Wednesday I'd like to see an improvement on yesterdays times.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cryin' In The Rain

The best laid plans of mice and men........
Just like it was over the weekend my planned trip to the track at Temple for repeats was forced to be pushed back a day due to the rain{when you're dealing w/ Mother Nature she always gets the last word!!}
Frankly I'd rather wait a day and get better conditions than just "plough through it" for the sake of saying I got my repeats in so I sat out yesterday,it allowed my calves another day to recover from Sundays pounding over 4x300x200x300m.
Fingers crossed the good peeps at The Met have got it right and no precipitation today and I can tackle the always challenging 6x600m repeats aka "The Death Cage" this afternoon,one day of "Cryin' In The Rain" was enough for me.....

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Little Less Seb Coe,A Little More Rodney Dangerfield?????

Or when is a masters club record not a masters club record?
Easy 7 miler to kick off the week,it's not a calculated plan on my part to slowly ease my way back up to 8 milers but when the first 8 mile run crops up on my schedule(next week}I'll be ready for it after a bunch of 6,6.5 and 7 mile runs out and back along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Drive.
The calender may say Jan 13th but at 56 degrees it didn't feel like January out there,trust me that's an observation NOT a complaint!!!

I was a little peeved yesterday when I logged onto the Greater Philadelphia Track Club website to see my 1,000m race on Thursday nite at The Armory was not ackowledged as a masters club record,despite the clubs Facebook page announcement prior to the meet that the masters records for 1,000m  was "there for the taking".
Maybe this was an oversight or a "clerical error" on somebodys part or maybe the universe is trying to tell me something......afterall wasn't it Groucho Marx who famously said"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member"?????!!!!!
Having done my part and set the record I don't feel I should have to "brow beat" club officials to acknowledge the fact and yet while the 600m record set Thursday nite and the mile racewalk on Sunday are both not only credited as club records on the reults page they are also on the club records page mine isn't on either.........

Monday, January 13, 2014

Back In The Saddle Again

Seldom one to rest on my laurels it was back into the cut and thrust of things over the weekend.
As is my won't I took Friday off,if you're familiar w/ Eric Liddle's story in "Chariots Of Fire" you'll know he refused to run on Sundays as he prefered to observe the sabbath.....I guess as a born again black hearted pagan Fridays are my sabbath!!!!

I opted to do my easy 6 miler on Saturday and then my return to intervals after a 10 week hiatus on Sunday due to the differing weather conditions.
While Saturday was a "balmy" mid 60s it rained...alot throughout the day so much so that the prospect of intervals seemed better suited to a slightly less warm 40's /low 50's on Sunday so I dug out my old Post Office waterproof jacket and one of my Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile baseball caps to help keep the rain off of me.
In a week tht saw the unprecedented Schyulkill River freeze I had the rare sight of fog coming off the ice along the Schuylkill as I made my way down to Lloyd Hall for the first three miles of my out and back  six mile run,I ended up ditching my gloves after 2 miles and questioned the need for my half zip fleece beneath my waterproof{better safe than sorry I guess!!!} I also ditched my glasses b4 the turnaround as visability due to the rain was becoming an issue.
Other than that it was pretty run of the mill stuff a run to get the gunk out of my legs from Thursdays trip around the boards in The Armory and setting myself for a second 5 day 30 mile week providing I took care of business on the track on Sunday.....

Arrived at the trusty Temple track at 10.45am yesterday morning and more or less had it to myself,the few other runners opted for lane 2 which allowed yours truly lane 1 for my 6 lap warm up/cool down and 4x300x200x300 repeats.
My last repeats were some lack luster 4x1mile repeats on November 2nd ten weeks ago but rather than dwell on past indescretions I felt a clean slate and a new start was the way to go mving forwards.
I set myself a modest target,keep the 300s at 55 seconds and under and keep the 200s at 35 seconds and under,went:
All things considered not a bad start,like Thursdays race there's ample room for improvement but I feel if I can get myself to the track on the weekend to improve on my 300x200x300s and squeeze in a mid week 6x600 repeat each week I don't have a race I can lower my splits and get faster.

Another week in the books another 7/10 week,as my old grade school reports and high school reports used to read"Kevin can do much better once he applies himself"......

Back In The New York Groove Final Editors Cut

Ok enough dust has settled since Thursday nite for me to be objective re my return to competitive track so here goes:
Arrived at The Armory by 6.15pm giving me 45 mins to stretch and warm up and say my hellos,I must say by nites end I felt like I was in my own episode of "Cheers" where everybody knows your felt good that I could be away for 17 months and be made to feel so welcome,and while my recent musical taste has been that of a more classic rock/heavy metal by nites end I was singing the Linkin Park classic "Somewhere I Belong" as it felt right to be back in my racing gear w/ my running spikes on my feet.

I was drawn in heat four of the five 1,000m w/ a seed time of 3.10 which I felt was acurate if not a little generous,I harbored ambitions of going sub 3.00 but wasn't sure how doable that was,given my lack of racing in almost a year and a half,not to mention no speed work in almost 10 weeks and not quite 2 weeks of training under my belt........faint heart never won fair{Iron}maiden........
I'm not sure how many of us lined up in #4 I thought it was meant to be 14 but only 11 of us finished I was #10 and got the end of the starting line while a few runners were lined up in the box on the first turn.
Got a good reaction to the gun and got a clean start and got out into lane two coming off the turn and in 5th down the back straight b4 moving into 3rd coming up the home straight.
35 seconds at 200m,I was hoping to average 35s all the way which would equate toa 2.55 1,000m and more importantly a 4.40 mile but that's down the road some.
1.10 at 400m by now it was a three man race I was oblivious to whatever was unfolding behind me but quite honestly only worried about what ws going on in front of me.

1.47 at 600m a 37 second lap,w/ repeats on tap in the coming weeks I'm confident holding 35 second 200m pace is w/in my range.
2.24 at the bell another 37 200m but I'd moved into 2nd w/ 300m to go,while I may lack the strength and speed right now at least what the body lacks the head and heart make up for.......
I couldn't close the gap on the leader who would eventually win the heat in 2.53.0 and the 3rd place runner returned himself to 2nd w/ 100m to go he eventually clocked 2.58.1 to my 2.59.6 as I closed in 35 seconds.
3rd in 2.59.6 I had no place to complain all things considered and will take great heart from this debut.
The inevitable questions I had coming in had been answered and w/ the clock still ticking on Hartshorne(2 weeks} and Indoor Nationals{9 weeks} I feel by adding some much needed speed work into my weekly 30 mile a week training I can improve on Thursdays minorly successfully return to the track.

By default I'd earnt a pr as this was my  first ever 1,000m race and also by default I'd earnt a club record for the masters 1,000m although I do feel any number of our stable of 40-49 800m/1,500m runners could reduce that time.....that said I hope in a years time if and when Thursday Nite @ The Races features another 1,000m I'd be in sharper form.
As for my 2 miler it was more of a training run I had time to kill b4 my bus back to Philly at 11.10pm and frankly waiting around to run the 600m after the 2miles felt like too long between races,maybe I'd have done better w/  that as I trailed in dead last in heat 2 w/ a 11.59.3,the winning time in heat 3 was 12.00.5 so maybe I was just unlucky to get lumped into heat 2 but like I said it was basically a training run and a way to kill time b4 heading back to midtown to catch the bus.

Next stop Ithaca and the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile,have spikes{and an invitation}will travel!!!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Back In The New York Groove Cliff Notes

Thursday Nite @ The Races #1
Heat 4
3rd of 11
Pr* and Masters Club Record*

2 Miles
Heat 2
11th of 11

More details to follow
*Pr and masters club record on account of it being my first ever 1,000m race and no previous Masters club record

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Back In The New York Groove Prequel

After seven runs in the last nine days it felt strange not to be out running last nite but w/ a double header on tap tonite at the New York Armory in the rite of passage "Thursday Nite @ The Races" series it was obviously prudent to take a rest day.
Why the double header tonite you might ask? normally I only run one race but given the bus schedule back to Philly and the timetable of events at The Armory I'd be pushing it for the 9pm bus so w/ the next bus not till 11.10pm I might as well jump in the 2 mile race for a bit of strenght/speed work.

Going into any season opener there's always a sense of trepidation add in my first competitive race in 17 months,my first race since turning 50 and losing almost 2.5 weeks of training after my return from London and you can understand why it feels like "Swan Lake" in my stomach this morning.....that said I've always said "I'd be nervious if I wasn't nervious"  but I'm sure come race time as I toe the starting line I'll be ready for whatever comes down the pike this evening.........

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Dangerous Precedent

Well you can add this one to the old running resume,a 6.5 mile run in 13 degree temps!
I knew if I could survive the brutal cold at work{think meat locker!!!!}and didn't think too long about it and got changed and out the door as soon as I got home I was half way there.
Thermal Socks,check Regular Socks,check Running Tights,check Warm Up Bottoms,check Running Shirt,check Half Zip Fleece,check Heavy Duty Hoodie,check Thermal Running Gloves,check Ski Hat Check,signed waiver that I did this of sound mind and sound body......questionable......
Out the door by 4.20pm roughly when I left yesterday which should mean home again by 5.30pm ish providing it didn't go tits up on me.

First "Uh Oh" moment,crossing the South St Bridge I looked down at the Schuylkill was frozen!!!
In my 26 years here in Philly I think I've only seen the Schuylkill freeze once or twice b4 I recall one particular Sunday run along Kelly Dr way back when and seeing some brave soul on ice skates out on the river by the Girade Ave bridge it was that frozen!!!
Including myself I counted 10 other runners out and back along the Schuylkill Banks from the footbridge upto the end of Boathouse Row most of whom seemed releaved to see other like minded individuals also out running,they say it's misery that loves company but I tend to think it's neurosis that loves company if your a runner!!!
The coldest section of my run was the added half mile from Lloyd Hall to the end of Boathouse Row,the wind whipped up of the Schuylkill something wicked,I was happy to leave that behind me as I returned back down the Schuylkill Banks after passing Lloyd Hall.

"Uh Oh" moment #2,5pm and trusty Peco Tower kicked in w/ time and temprature,now yesterday was a "balmy" 37 degrees today.......fanfare please.....13 degrees!!!! fuckin ada!!!!!!
Having already notched 8 runs under my belt from Dec 28th thro yesterday I was confident of seeing out the matter in hand this evening period but in these temps a bonk/walk home was NOT an option trust me!
Home sweet home in one piece in give or take the same time as yesterday,not that time was ever an issue but geting through the run  safely was the primary objective and also hoping there's no long term/short term effect from running in such harsh conditions.
A final thought,having braved the harshest of eliments in 13 degrees I have NO excuses to run  in anything above that from here on in this remains to be seen if we get anything colder than yesterday,I guess we'll cross that {frozen} bridge if and when the time comes!!!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You Better Run

Always good to get the week off to a positive start any week but w/ a race coming up on Thursday even more so yesterday.
Thankfully most if not all the snow and ice from Tursday nite is now gone thanks in no small part to the rain on Sunday which made life  a lot less of a gamble underfoot as I conducted my 6.5 miler out to the end of Boathouse Row at the start of Kelly Drive.
Why the extra .5 you ask? since I like round figures{insert joke/rude comment here!} I set my week up as such Mon 6.5miles,Tuesday 6.5 miles,Wed rest day,Thurs 5 miles{warm up,1,000m,2miles,cool down,Fri rest day,Sat 6 miles/repeats,Sun 6 miles......30 miles.....
Tuesday promises to be a doozie w/ temps well below freezing and the wind chill factor making it feel like minus 20 degrees but w/ little or no room for manouvering due to Thursdays race schedule I'm forced to either suck it up or blow it off......not much of a choice really but such are the drawbacks of wanting to be the best at what I do.
Little by little I feel I'm getting there it was noticable last nite and Saturday afternoon that I'm "letting the clutch out" on the downhills always a good sign,I really couldn't on Sunday due to the sheets of ice underfoot,it would be foolish to tempt fate which might be the get out clause this evening around 4.20pm when I plan another 6.5 miler.....all this providing I'm not a friggin popsicle after 9 hours stuck on a loading dock at work!!!!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Through The Land Of The Ice & Snow....

Back to back 6 milers over the weekend to complete a 5 day/30 mile week,hopefully the first of several between now and mid March and Indoor Nationals,after Indoors I'm sure I'll reup my weekly milage to 40 maybe 50 mpw but for now 30 feels like it'll do the trick.
Saturday and Sunday could not have been more different in terms of conditions,very much "contrast and compare"
Saturday I made a point of waiting till 2.30pm in the afternoon to take advantage of hopefully warmer conditions,that said it didn't feel a lot different from the temps at 10.30am when I walked upto 40th St on a "provisions/recon" mission....a runner cannot live on Gatorade and Power Bars alone plus I got to check the conditions underfoot.
Some sections of the sidewalk were still icy so I knew where to exercise caution upto 40th St and back,attire for the day was ski hat heavy duty hoodie,gloves waterproof bottoms over my running tights and shades it might've been sub zero but at least the bright sun gave the illusion at least that it was warm.
There were several hardy souls out along the Schuylkill Banks also getting their run in which always makes me feel slightly less neurotic when I'm out there in less than favorable conditions.

Sunday, conditions couldn't have been more different,considerably warmer but grey and overcast w/ the omnipresent threat of rain when I left at 11.45am
Traded in my ski hat and heavy duty hoodie for baseball cap and rain jacket and also went w/ regular glasses as shades would've been a hinderence given the overcast nature of the day.
Also I needed to see what was underfoot,sections of the run were sheets of ice noticably leading upto 42nd on Baltimore Ave and the approach to South St Bridge and going over the bridge,at times I was forced to reduce my speed to a canter but "safety first" was the mantra of the weekend,while getting out on both days to run important staying upright was more important!

It was a good week training wise,granted there's work to be done but having put down a decent foundation I hope to build on that,3 days till the season opener,3 weeks till Hartshorne,9 weeks till Indoor Nationals.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Shock! Horror!! Probe!!! Forde in "three in a row sensation" film at 11,calling all major News outlets....ABC,NBC,CBS,CNN,BBC......feck it call Al Jazeera while you're at it this is Global!!!!!!
Ok so maybe that's a tad OTT but frankly if you can't poke a little fun at yourself then you're in sorry shape I think.
It was always my plan to run anyway but w/ the threat of major snow coming Thursday nite I knew it was kinda "shit or bust" maybe for the week,I can forget about hitting a  track on the weekend for some interval work and we'll have to see how Saturday and Sunday pans out for 6 milers.

I felt it was colder than it had been for the last two days in the short 2 block walk from the trolley to my front door on the way home from work and opted for the added layer of a heavy duty hoodie for my would prove to be prudent later on into said run.
So another 6 miler.....and yes for those paying closer attention to detail that's 3x6 miles in three days.....666........what can I say other than if the snow hadn't been on the forcast maybe Van Halen's "Running W/ The Devil" of Pink Floyd's "Run Like Hell" might have graced this entry......playing Devils Advocate or in my case Devils Associate I dare say both will show up in future blog entries.....cue Devil Horn salute from yours truly!!!!

I could've sworn I set out at the same time I set out on Tuesday{4.20pm} but it felt and looked a lot darker b4 I made the turnaround at Lloyd Hall,at 5pm on the nose trusty Peco Tower switched on.....and confimed it was 30 degrees a considerable drop in temps over the past two days,as is my won't Friday is a rest day and depending how badly it snows if I run Saturday it'll be 29 degs......yea,these are the days being endorsed by Johnny Walker or Jamisons don't sound like a bad thing but failing that the prospect of some hot Cider at the finish of my run kept me going.....which is a good thing cos the idiot building plumbers chose today as the day to look at the heat and upon arrival home there was no heat or hot water in my appartment.......and suddenly the third firey ring of hell seemed like a good spot to be!!!

I awoke this morning to a blanket of 6'' of snow.....GREAT!!! but compared to runners in the mid west and New York and Boston we've gotten off lightly so maybe I should count my blessings,I'll play it by ear tomorrow and see if a run is doable,the cold I can deal w/ it's the conditions underfoot that concern me,Sunday is meant to be 46 degrees so that shows promise and potential but I guess we'll be taking it one day at a time for the next few days......just as I began to build some momentum.....ger!!!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

In W/ The New....

Just as I ended the old year w/ a 6 miler i began 2014 w/ another 6 miler.....start as you mean to go on they say!!!
As for Tuesdays 6 miler it should be noted in the "Hall Of Shame" this was my first evening run since Nov 6th.......tsk tsk,bad runner,shame shame!!!! moving forward w/ Indoor Nationals 10 weeks away I need to get used to the evening runs again,glass half empty it's oficially Winter half full since Dec 21st and Winter Solstice the evenings are getting lighter.....ever so slightly so maybe by the end of the month I'll be home b4 the last vestige of daylight fades into the dark.

Always keen to kick the New Year off on a positive note I made sure to get myself out the door yesterday afternoon for my 6 miler,not being a drinker for the past 25 years I'm not nursing a major hangover New Years Day which helps and while it was 3.30pm b4 I braved the not so harsh temps {39 degs same as Tues}outside I can take heart from the fact I got dressed and got myself out the door,less than a week ago I may've blown it off......less than a week my desire to "throw  down" was AWOL now it's very much "front & center".
Another positive to take from yesterday while my 6 miler may not've been Prefontaineesque I at least finished it,last New Years Day I struggled to complete 2 miles around Clark Park....."from little acorns big trees grow" so they say!!

So what of this bright shiny new year? at this stage of the game I'm only looking as far as mid March and Indoor Nationals,after that I'll begin to plan out my Outdoor season but for now my tentitive schedule reads as follows:
Jan 9th 1,000m and 2 Miles
Jan 25th Mile
Feb 4th 800m
Feb 27th Mile
Feb 28th 800m
Mar 15th Mile
Mar 16th 800m

The chance to run 1,000m next Thursday is unique....of course when I would have prefered a mile I don't get one but I'll go all out in the 1,000m and then run the 2 miles for strenght work since there'll be time to kill b4 the bus back to Philly.
To quote my beloved Thin Lizzy "Are you ready to rock? are you ready to rip it up?"