Monday, March 31, 2014

Red Rain

In for a penny,in for a pound goes the saying so having dealt w/ the rain over the short stuff on Saturday there was little or no excuse for not taking care of businesss on Sunday over 12 miles my now traditional Sunday long run.
As has been my won't over the past several Sundays the time of my run was dictated by the time of the Spurs game yesterday being an 11am kick off hence not running till 1pm which actually served as a blessing since it was raining pretty hard between 10am and 1pm but began to ease off as I headed out the door at 1pm...the rain may have esed up the sky matched my mood......grim and gray!!!!
4.0 to Liverpool at times it looked like men vs boys out there and while it may be a tad premature to crown Liverpool champions w/ 6 weeks to go in the season it would be hard to begrudge "The Reds" their first title in 24 years.....althought I dare say Chelski and Man City fans may feel otherwise on the matter,one way or another we'll know who gets the title on Sunday May 11th.

Opted for my regular rain jacket today as oppossed to "Mr Bulky" aka my old Royal Mail waterproof jacket that I've been using in recent rain effected runs it served it's purpose keeping me relatively dry while I was out there for 12 miles out and back along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Dr.
Needless to say only the hard corp runners were out there today and I passed a few dozen while making my way out towards Falls Bridge,whatever race they maybe prepping for,Clear Air 5k,Boston Marathon,Broad St 10 miler in the upcoming weeks they weren't willing to allow the rain to interfere w/ their training and I'd have willingly taken my baseball cap off to salute their determination if it weren't keeping my head dry from the rain!!!!!
No regatta this week....probably a good job too as it didn't exactly seem like Rowing weather,muchless spectating weather however one group who seemed nonplus by the rain were the Geese that make their home either on the Schuylkill or it's banks as they were out in force this afternnoon as I took care of bussiness

Like last week I thought I might rue my bravardo for electing to go "sans gloves" on the run on the way out to the 6 mile turnaround I was feeling the effect of not only the rain but also the wind whipping up off the Schuylkill but also like last week I noticed after making the turnaround it stopped being an issue,maybe w/ 6 miles to go my  only focus is finishing the run!
Also somewhere between mile 6 and mile 8.5 I noticed it had actually stopped raining.....this however was short lived as by the time I reached mile 11 the heavens opened again.....cue the time honoured Monty Python quote"still I was getting used to it by then!!!"
Once again I managed to go sub 2.00 for the run w/a 1.59,it might've been closer to 1.58 but I lost a good minute at the front door trying to open the zipper on my rain jacket pocket to get my key out,hey ho!
I'm amazed that be it easy run,recovery run or long run my goal pace is always 10 min mile pace and yet over 6 miles,8 miles and 10 miles I always fall short of 60 mins,1.20,1.40 mins but yet over 12 miles where the target is 2.00 I've gone 2.00,1.55 and 1.59 in the past three weeks on my Sunday long run.........

Another 5 day/40mpw in the books my third in a row but more importantly a week w/ 2 repeats in the mix,it's be nice to get another 6 of those between this coming week and weekending May 11th as I prep for my Outdoor season opener on May 15th

Run Between The Raindrops

I'd known since midweek that the weekend was going to be blighted by rain but I was determined to get both my repeat and long run in to complete a third 40 mile week in a row so when I awoke at 7.45 am Saturday morning to rain on the bedroom window it came as neither a surprise nor deterant,god damn it I was getting my 5x1,000m repeats in even if I had to get soaked in the process!!
Following my pre run Saturday ritual,a cup of Rosey Lee and two episodes of "Eastenders" it was  time to consult the wardrobe as to which running attire/rain gear would suit me best,even though it's a little on the big and cumbersome side my trusty Royal Mail waterproof jacket was going to be my best bet for keeping the rain to a minimum,you know what they say " you can't make omelets w/out breaking eggs" and you can't run in the rain w/out getting wet,all I could do was try and play the hand I was being dealt and make the best of it.

Arriving at trusty if not sodden Temple track at 10.25am I was delighted to see I would at least have the track to myself.....only the hell bent or deranged would be out in conditions like this, a couple of sprinters were using the outer lanes of the home straight while  a group of young Marines were being put through their paces on the outer lanes of the back straight.....everyone had the bit of the track they needed as for once I'd have the inside lane to myself for a workout.
Following my 6 lap warm up it was into my racing flats and into 1,000m mode.

#1 1,000m
Since I resumed the 5x1,000m repeats in August I've set a bench mark of 1.20-1.20-40=3.20 to shoot for,this was pretty darn close

#2 1,000m
Second lap got away from me but otherwise all things considered I was pleased considering the rain.

#3 1,000m
A modicum of satisfaction shaving 2 seconds off of #2,at least I wasn't "mailing it in" as I hydroplaned around the track

#4 1,000m
Fatigue set in but w/ only 1 set left I felt I could dredge up 1 final 1,000m

#5 1,000m
There's something comforting about that final repeat irrigardless of distance,knowing you can throw everything you have left at it and be done for the day.

Clearly there was no point comparing this to my previous set of 5x1,000m repeats from Feb 1st when the bottom turn was still covered in snow making the 200m-300m/600m-700m section a crap shoot so I have to go all the way back to October 12th for my next to last 1,000s and on that day I went:
3.19.1-3.20.7-3.24.3-3.33.9-3.29.2 which means I was 5 seconds slower today,considering the 24 week gap between the repeats and the rain I can't be too upset,hopefully in two weeks time when I revisit the 5x1,000s it won't be raining!!!!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Iron Man

Having at one time set a club record for 10,000m back in 2010 and then won a National Championship at 10,000m in 2011 not to mention winning the inaugral Greater Philadelphia Track Club Track Pentathlon in 2010 I thinks it's fair to say my "Iron Man" credentials have been earnt,so running for the 9th day in a row wasn't really a stretch.....although my legs may have begged to differ!!!
I can't tell you when I last logged 9 days back to back.....but I hope it's awhile b4 I have to do it again it wasn't a planned thing more a quirke of circumstances and while I had the option of taking a well earnt rest day yesterday b4 tackling my easy/recovery 8 miler I figured feck it,run and be done w/ it and also have back to back days off b4 returning to the track on Saturday.

I feel it's a sign of where I'm at now compared to a few weeks ago when I couldn't buy a 40 mile week if I tried that I'd say to hell w/ tired legs and 36 degree and high winds and get out there rather than bag it and try again the following day,pretty much once I got out the front door I had this one"in the bag".
Dejavu from Monday 36 degrees and sunny but the wind was a constant especially along by the Schuylkill,I noticed how choppy the waves were as I passed the end of Bouthouse Row at 3 and a 1/4 miles into the run looking out across the river.
For once I didn't check the time b4 I left,this was one run I wasn't going to concern myself w/ time,pace,speed etc etc this truly was a recovery run where I just wanted to focus on putting the distance in and frankly the final 2 blocks home up Cedar Ave have seldom felt as satisfying as these two,I can enjoy an afternoon at home in the recliner today post work.

Remember last Thursday when I said I thought I'd gottena clean bill of health from my recent Biometric screening.....I may have spoken a fraction too soon.
After returning home from my easy 4 miler that afternoon the mail had arrived and w/ it the results of the previous Fridays Biometric screening while everything looked good my doctor had this to say  re my iron stores:
"Your iron stores are w/in goal,however they are on the lower end ot the spectrum I would continue to take your Iron Pills once a day and we can check them periodically"
Somewhat of a 360 from our initial conversation in January during my phyical when he suggested I could stop taking them but I'm not going to cry foul or issue "malpractice" threats,frankly adding an Iron Pill to my daily intake of vitamin B,C,D,E,Fish Oil,Calcium, and Magnesium is neither here nor there but it does lend weight to my beliefe a few weeks ago  when I was feeling sluggish on my runs that  my my iron levels were off....proof that knowing your body is clutch when it comes to preventive medicine matters

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Words To Live By

A few years ago I read Junbo Elliot's biography and came across this great quote that not only struck a cord w/ me at the time but is something I've tried to adhere to so much so that I wrote down on a sheet of A4 paper and made copies of it and posted it in my appartmrnt in the living room,bedroom,bathroom,kitchen hallway and on the inside of my door so that I'll always see it and that it will inspire me to get out there and run period but especiaaly on the days I might not be 100 % committed to the cause the quote read:
"To strieve to be world class demands payment of a bitter price but the serious competitor must be willing to pay it,even if he hates it because he must be convinced thatthe rewards justify his sacrifices"
Jumbo Elliot
It seemed approrpriate for yesterday as I was looking at a trek across the city to Roxborough in order to access a track,my last midweek foray to nearby Temple was rebuffed and frankly I can ill afford to miss any more training than I already have so if I have to schleep out to Roxborough each Tuesday in order to get the first of my two weekly repeats in b4 hitting Temple on Saturdays then so be's a pain but like Jumbo said.......

A 45 minute bus ride from Center City to Roxborough meant I was there by 4.35pm,the track isn't visable off Ridge Avenue when I first get off the bus till I get three quarters down Hermitage St so there's always that fear I'll have gone all that way for nothing if the track is in worries today,not only was there no activity on the track but the one thing Roxborough has over Temple is a might sound trivial but for those of you who've ever gotten  to a track for a workout in need of a bathroom you'll know the importance of a Portajohn........
Another issue going into today was the weather,when I left work at 3.20pm the first miniscule snow flakes were beginning to fall tht wasn't the issue I could deal w/ that my concern was the fact I'd left my ski hat and gloves on my bedroom radiator to dry off from Mondays easy 8 miler and being cursed w/ poor blood circulation and no gloves was a concern,that old adage "if it's cold enough to snow" was  foremost in my mind but I was here now and frankly not knowing how bad the snow might be overnight{there was talk of 1" to 3" inches} I couldn't risk blowing off today in fear of tomorrow being a non starter.
Had there not been snow in the forecast I might've sat today out,having ran seven days in a row might not have been the  best prep for a set of repeats but I'd rather take my chances of running slower than last time out than not being able to run period,when your constantly being reminded of that Jumbo Elliot quote in your appartment it's hard not to say "fuck it I'm doing this"!!!!
Mile warm up concluded it was "have at it time" for 4x1 mile repeats

#1 Mile:1.23-1.29-1.30-1.26=5.48.1
10 seconds down on my effort 10 days ago but I told myself not to worry over 16 laps it's about being consistant for the duration not throwing in a handful of fast laps here and there

#2 Mile:1.25-1.31-1.31-1.24=5.51.2
Last time out I said if I could eliminate those 1.30 plus laps I'd be making headway after 2 repeats I had 3 already I only had 4 in total for the entire repeat on March 15th and they came on the final two miles....

#3 Mile:1.23-1.31-1.31-1.27=5.52.2
Having ballooned upto 6.02.6 on #3 last time out I was pleased w/ the 10 second improvement here,I was only at plus 3 seconds in the over column for a combinded time,what did I have left in the tank?

#4 Mile:1.23-1.31-1.31-1.21=4.46.7
Booyah! A closing lap of 1.21 period but also my fastest repeat of the four to end things on a high and shave 6 seconds off of the March 15th effort:5.38.6-5.48.4-6.02.6-5.55.3.

Clearly there's still work to be done,I need laps 2&3 to be quicker but this is a positive step in the right direction for me and justified my trek to Roxborough.
One final thought,the snow flakes had gotten bigger as the workout  went on it never really bothered me period but also in the back of my nind was the comforting thought that a few miles across Philly on the Mainline at Villanova  back in the day Ronnie Delaney,Eammon Coghlan and Marcus O Sullivan all probably conducted workouts in the snow under the watchful eye of Jumbo Eillot......if it worked for them why not me?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Moving Onto The Next Stage

W/ the dust now starting to settle on my Indoor season it's time to switch gears and get ready for the Outdoor season,I've ear marked May 15th as my season opener at Icahn Stadium as my Outdoor debut......I know what were the odds of me racing in New York City?????!!!!!!!!!!
Anywho I have 8 weeks till then and providing "old man winter" is done fuckin' w/ my training and I can avoid illness and injury I should get 7 weeks of uninterupted 5 day/40 mpw training under my belt between now and then to put me in better shape than the Indoor Season.

Kicking this week off was an easy 8 miler my 7 day in a row to run but I've gotten used to it......what was a shock to the system was the 36 degree temps that I had to run in!!
Somewhat foolhardy on my part post run on Sunday when I did laundry I put my warm up bottoms and half zip fleece top away thinking I was done w/ them till late October/early November... they along w/ my ski hat and thermal running gloves were very much the running attire yesterday although thanks to the old "current bun" {sun} I could don my gave the  illusion it was warmer than it actual was.....whatever it takes right?

I was mildly disappointed to only clock a 1.26 for this run,early indications ie looking up at the digital clock on Peco Tower at  my 2 mile, and 5 mile splits had me believing a faster time was on tap but it wasn't to be,maybe the fact this was my 7th day in a row of running or maybe the knowledge that repeats are on tap tomorrow cused me to slow down but it's still a far cry froma few weeks ago when I had to grind out a 1.34 8 a wise man once told me" not all of lifes victories have to be on a grand scale"...

You Can Run From Your Past,But You Can't Change It

"But when it comes right down to it there's no use trying to pretend,for when it gets right down to it there's no one here that's left to blame,blame it on me you can blame it on me we're just sugar mice in the rain"
Sugar Mice- Marillion
I couldn't tell you when I last ran six days in one week,muchless six days back to back......I can however tell you the last time I logged back to back 40 mile weeks last week of June,first week of July.......2012........
It was another later than usual run on Saturday it was 3pm b4 I got out the door due to logistical issues and Sunday it was 1pm due to the Spurs Southmpton game,after this Sunday I believe we're done w/ Sunday games till May 11th and the final game of the season so it'll be back to 10am 12 milers.
After the 68 degree temps on Saturday it was a bit of a shock to the system to drop down to 48 degrees.....this however didn't stop me from opting for 3/4 length shorts and short sleeves.....I did however leave my shades at home as the sun was not an issue like it was on Saturday and for a brief while along Kelly Drive I wondered if I'd pay for my bravardo as my fingers and forearms were feeeling the chill however prior to the turnaround at the 3 mile marker{three miles to Lloyd Hall and from there each 1/4 mile is marked off hence Lloyd Hall being the rurnaround for a 6 miler,the mile marker being the turnaround for an 8 miler,2 mile marker being the turnaround for a 10 miler.....etc etc}I stop noticing.....either frostbite had set in or I'd gotten used to it!!!

Like last Sunday there was a regatta out on the Schuylkill which meant added pedestrian traffic along Kelly Dr between Columbia Bridge and St Joe's Boathouse but like last week I can't say it slowed me down......far from it as it would turn out!!!
If I'd felt a little "leg weary" over the final 2 miles yesterday today I felt comfortable in my third 12 miler of the year it's become my "distance du jour" now for the Sunday long run although I was guilty of switcing off mentally over the final mile or so and figured last weeks 2.00 time wasn't on the cards.....having left at 1pm imagine my surprise to see 2.55pm on the clock when I opened my front door.....
Having opened my account at 2.07 over 12 miles on Feb 9th I've now gone 2.00 last week at 1.55 this week,clearly the effects of back to back 40 mile week training is paying off,here's to another 40 mile week this coming week.....but over 5 days if possible!

As the lyrics portray Sundays date held a certain significance it was 29 years to the day my now ex wife Erica moved to London to live w/ me b4 we got married in December.
As most of you know I struggled w/ alcoholism for a number of years b4 eventually getting sober in 88 sadly that life altering event came too late to save my  marriage and there's seldom a day that goes by when I don't kick myself for drinking my marrige to Erica away.
Just as our relationship was kind of a fairytail romance{we were pen pals who met on her visit to London in 85 and feel in love which resulted in her leaving Philly in 86 to live w/ me in London b4 we moved to Philly in 87 b4 our seperation and divorce in 88} the fact remains fairytails tend to only exsist in movies and novels and the reality was I wasn't capable of loving anyone or anything that wasn't alcohol back then,again bluring the lines of reality IF  I could turn back time and do it all differently I would,I may have been too bitter and nieve back then to think I'd regret drinking my marriage away but here we are almost 26 years later w/ world or regret,like I said you can run from your past but you can't change it......more's the pity.....

Monday, March 24, 2014

2014 Indoor Season By The Numbers

Recovery 8 miler on Saturday,it allowed me to get any leftover crap put of my legs from Friday nites 1,500m and also kept me on pace for my 40 mile week.
It also allowed me a chance to reflect on the 2014 Indoor Season that I 'd just concluded,6 races over 11 weeks here's the data:
Jan 9th 1,000m NYC Armory 2.59.6 3rd of  11
Jan 25th Mile Cornell 4.57.1 4th of 8

Feb 6th 800m NYC Armory 2.16.78 7th of 13
Feb 27th Mile NYC Armory 5.02.4 17th of 19
Feb 28th 800m NYC Armory 2.14.11 6th of 9

Mar 21st 1,500m NYC Armory 4.32.58 13th of 14

Over 6 races I'd say I batted 500 the 1,000m,the 2nd 800m and 1,500m were acceptable, both mile races and my first 800m were awful but like I always say you can learn something from a defeat,Cornell taught me I needed to be back upto 40mpw and while it took 6 weeks I finally got there #nothankstoyouoldmanwinter
The second mile I discovered my brain and my body were on different page,maybe even different books in terms of where I was at at that time of the season and the first 800m was a reminder to not only get a good reaction to the gun but also be mindful of basics ie DON'T get trapped on the rail.

Of the three good races the 1,000m was my first race in 17 months and I said if I could go sub 3 I'd be happy w/ that,the second 800m I ran  a much better race than Feb 6th period and also shaved 2 seconds off my time and the 1,500m I was only 2 seconds off my projected time.
Now according to USATF Masters Rankings I have the #2 M50 800m and 1,500m times this year and #10 for the mile but I think some of the Indoor Nationals times are missing from that list so I'm taking it has a definative list but second over 800m and 1,500m for my age group dosen't suck

Going For The One{Thousand,Five Hundred}

So for the final time this winter a short trek up to Manhattan to The Armory for an Indoor meet......I swear in a previous life I was a Native New Yorker......or maybe in a future life I'm coming back as one.........
It's a small price to pay for the opportunity to run on one of the best indoor tracks in the country and I must confess the bus/train rides up and back allow for a lot of music to be listened to which is never a bad thing,the "bill o fare" this trip Aerosmith,Status Quo,Pantera and Alice me if Pantera don't get the competitive juices flowing to race then you should retire on the spot and take up Mall Walking!!!

I was caught between two trains of thought re what distance to race over, having had a modicum of success over the 800m in my last race dropping from 2.16.78 to 2.14.11 there was a temptation to see if I could continue to lower that......or see where I was at over 1,500m and also have a "bench mark" time heading into the outdoor season.......
Scheduling kind of won out the 1,500m was up first while the 800m was second to last.....on my previous Frontrunners meet in 2011 I opted for the 800m and sat around for 5 hours b4 I raced....the 1,500m it was then!!!!.....not that  this didn't present logistical isues,as it was I had to cut my warm up short by a lap and didn't have time to stretch out my achilles pre race but frankly going into my 38th year of racing if I'm not prepared for these issue now.....when???

Having seeded myself at 4.30 I earnt the "honour" of being the old man of the field at 50 other than John Milone at 41 the field ran 19 through 39,better to seed myself honestly and make a fair fist of it than use a slower seed time and "dog" the second heat.
14 of us on the starting line,10 across the line and 4 of us me included on the next line up the turn,in an indoor 1,500m that suited me once we broke at the bottom of the home straight I'd be on the outside of lane 1 and would potentially allow me a clear run.
The game plan going in was to try and keep even 36 second pace for a 4.12 at 1,400m and then 18 seconds for the closing 100m for a 4.30 so I wasn't going to get caught up inwhat was going on ahead of me,just run my own race and hopefully run a decent time.

I heard 36 seconds at 200m and 1.11 at 400m and frankly after that the splits became a blur more importantly I had runners ahead of me and behind me so I felt I was in a race and not "no mans land" as the laps quickly went by,b4 i knew it I heard 4.15 at 1,400m I was just off pace and dug deep to cover the final 100m in 17 seconds for a 4.32.58 time 13th in a field of 14.
To put things in prespective heat 2 was won in 4.48.35 in a field that went from 17 through 75 so heat 1 was where I needed to be,does it suck finishing second last? hell yeah but in running as in life sometimes you need to check your ego at the door and at least I now have a legit 1,500m time moving forward this Spring into the Summer.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Arse On The Way Out

Oh the unbridaled joy that I felt at 12.57pm yesterday........Spring officially arrived, to say it's been a "Long Cold Winter" is selling the drama short,prehaps my first indication of what a foul Winter we had had in store was the 3'' of snow that fell on Dec 8th the day  I flew home from London that not only disrupted my flight but also cost me the first week of training upon my return......a trait that would then play itself out repeatedly throughout the Winter.

Still it's done now and while we could still be in for some cold weather{the weather peeps are predicting snow for Tuesday and Wednesday......#ohbollocks} the bad days will be be the minority.....he typed hopefully as we exit March and enter April.
An easy 4 miler on tap which is a bit of a cock teaser to be honest,no sooner do I feel like I'm hitting my stride as it's time to turn around at the foot of the Schuylkill Banks footbridge and head back home but it's better than doing loops around Clark Park for 40 mins.
At least w/ 40 mins I had time to think out my race stratagy for tonites 1,500m,having had a less than steller seasons debut over the mile in January at Hartshore and then had an absolute "brain fart" of a race at The Armory at the end of Febuary I need to run smarter over 1,500m to sign off on the Indoor season w/ a modicum of satisfaction,w/ out "showing my hand" pre race what I will say is providing I take a leaf out of my playbook from the 2011 Outdoor Nationals 5,000m where I won a bronze I could be on for a semi decent race/ time and maybe snag a medal even........clock's ticking only 11.5 hours to go till race time.....

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Wetter The Better.......

Having burnt my rest day on Monday due to the snow you can imagine my horror when I discovered there was a 45% chance of rain between 4pm and 6pm

Clean Bill Of Health

Easy 6 miler to kick the week off,shades of dajavu as last Tuesday was a 6 miler also...however on that day it was an unseasonably high 63 degrees,had to settle for 46 degress this Tuesday,not that I'm complaining considering Monday had been 32 degrees and snowing......
Remember last week I was complaining about feeling slugish and fatigued? well I guess it wasn't anything abmormal as on Friday I had blood work done at my doctors office and as of today they haven't gotten back to me to say "don't plan any vactions too far in the future or start ant long books" so I guess I'm ok and maybe it was all in my head......which lets face it is a dangerous place to begin w/!!!!

I can't imagine my new regime of vitamins has made such an instant difference,prior to Saturday I was taking Calcium once a day but upon the recomendation of a fellow M50 masters runner I've now added Vitamins B,C,D,E, Fish Oil and Magnesium and while I believe over the course of time they'll help I can't imagine that only 4 days into them they alone have made ALL the difference,I'd like to think that getting out on a regular basis day in day out is helping also,for what it's worth Tuesdays 6 miler was a 67 min time......identical to last Tuesdays time so while I haven't gotten any faster I'm not getting slower which wasn't the case a few weeks ago over 8 milers.......

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tell Me The Legends Of Long Ago

So much for Mondays 6x600m repeats as we got snow.....again!!!! and so much for Monday being Green for St Paddys Day!!
Loathe as I am to miss a Monday run as I feel it always puts me behind the 8 ball for the week and the potential of an 5 day/40mpw there is also the wrinkle this week of it being a race week w/ Fridays 1,500m at The Armory at the Frontrunners meet as I call time on the 2014 Indoor Season.

Having just gotten a full week under my belt the last thing I needed was losing a day to the snow but I can't control the weather so now I'm looking at back to back 6 milers on Tuesday/Wednesday w/ an easy 4 miler on Thursday followed by Fridays race,an 8 mile recovery run Saturday and finishing the week off w/ another Sunday 12 miler......the observant amongst you will see that actual comes out to a 6 day/40mpw but the only way around that was to make the Tues/Wed 6 milers 8 miles and w/ a race on tap for Friday I opted for lower milage even if it meant throwing in the easy 4 miler on Thursday......all that could've been avoided however w/ 6x600m repeats on Monday but "Old Man Winter" opted to stick his fuckin' oar in again.....dare we hope one last  time this winter.

Spent my down time Monday listening to some Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher to celebrate my heritage,trust me and Bono would back me up on this one,there'd be no  U2 w/out Thin Lizzy and Rory Gallagher.......

No Fanfare For This Common Man

Hallefrickinujah!! for only the second time this winter and not since weekending Feb 2nd did yours truly manage a 5day/40mpw.
While I'll stop short of breaking my hand patting myself on the back I will say this moving forward this week  needs to be the rule and not the exception if I have any notions of having a competitive outdoor season,hopefully w/ this one under my belt and the advent of Spring{and dear God Springlike weather!!!} I can make this not so much a habit but have it become routine.

Up and out the door by 10.05am conditions were sunny but mild{code for ski hat and gloves!!!} when I left for only my second 12 miler of the year,however I aim to make the Sunday 12 miler my "long run" going forward,frankly running a number of 8 milers during the week{usually twice} and then "going long" over 10 miles on Sunday seems like a cop out so from here on in the plan is to make Sunday a 12 miler.
There was a little bit of activity along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Dr although w/ a regatta on the Schuylkill river that meant extra pedestrian traffic along Kelly Dr between Columbia Bridge and St Joes boathouse but nothing that caused me to slow down.....far from it,on my previous 12 miler on Feb 2nd I shot for 2.05 and clocked 2.07 so imagine my delight at clocking 2 flat on Sunday.
Granted I wanted to be home for the 12 noon Spurs arsenal kickoff.....#whybother but the fact that in this past week I've managed to lower both my 8 mile times and now my 12 miler as well as take 15 seconds off my previous 4x1mile repeats hopefully means it's starting to gell......but b4 we get carried away on a wave of premature euphoria lets see what next week brings........

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Been A Long Time Comin'.....

FINALLY!!!! six weeks after I last set foot on a track{other than my 3 races at The Armory in Feb} I was back for repeats.
Having established in my previous entry that didn't actually go to college I guess I can't use the line" If Irony was on the curicular I'd have been a Major in it" but on the very day I showed up for mile repeats on the track the M50 Indoor Mile was being contested in Boston........w/ several more of these bad boys under my belt I may've been there to throw my hat into the ring......there's always Outdoor Nationals which is 18 weeks away......

By the time I arrived at Temple around 2pm it was warm enough for shorts and tshirt following my mile warm up.given I hadn't managed repeats period in 6 weeks and 4x1mile repeats since Nov 2nd{19 weeks} I went into these 4x1mile repeats w/ zero agenda,just do them,hope for the best and let the chips fall where they may......

#1 600m
A reasonable start,the question was how well could I continue/maintain this pace?

#2 600m
Prehaps predictably slowing down but  my mindset was as long as I kept the 1.30s out of the equation the sub 6.00s would remain intact.....

#3 600m
Not  a great surprise if I'm being honest but something to work on over the coming weeks and months.

#4 600m
At least I was able to finish strong and didn't just "mail it in"

Overall not a bad start,granted there's room for improvement but for the record this was a 15 second improvement on yprevious 4x1mile repeats on Nov 2nd.....lets hope it's NOT another 19 weeks b4 the next set of mile repeats.....

Three Down,Two To Go!

Having managed to "snatch defeat from the jaws of victory" and number of times recently in terms of a 5 day/40mpw I was hell bent{for leather????}to make sure this week would be different......
It wasn't lost on me on Friday that I should've been flying upto Boston for this weekends Indoor Nationals but obviously w/ all the training I'd lost over the winter it wasn't worth going.....however I did keep my day off request from work in ergo the rare lunch time run not to mention even rarer  Friday run.

Having done a "recon" mission to the supermarket prior to my run I was able to guage the conditions and work out attire,having gotten spoilt w/ 53 and 63 degree temps on Monday and Tuesday Thursday dropped dramatically to 29 degrees and frankly w/ the "saftey net" of a Friday run in my back pocket I figured fuck having to suffer another below freezing run when I didn't have to subject myself to it,w/ Spring less than a week away I figure "Old Man Winter" probably has at least one final parting gift for us.b4 he's done this Winter.

Obviously at 12.45pm there weren't the numbers of runners out along the Banks/Kelly Dr as I'd had Monday and Tuesday evening when it was also sunny and warm.....and yet I shaved another minute off my time.1.23,like the Robert Plant song says "Little By Little".....
It wasn't all plain sailing,exiting Markward Playground I almost "took a header" on a slab of paving stone that's not flush......thanks to my catlike reflexes and semester of Interprative Dance at Goldsmiths College I stayed upright.....ok so I never went to college,muchless took Interprative Dance but scuse me for making lite of a near fall,the irony being that that section of sidewalk just beyond Markward Playground was almost my downfall a number of times when we had snow and ice on the ground and now w/ them gone I still almost went arse over me w/ 2 miles to go on Sunday on my 12 miler I'll be looking for that slab of uneven paving stone.....

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Best Laid Plans,Yada,Yada,Yada

Seems fitting to use a Pat Benatar lyric as my musical pick for this blog entry as I just begun her 2009 autobiography "Between A Heart And A Rock Place" the otherday.
Hoping to build on Mondays good 8 miler the plan was to hit the track at Temple after work for 5x1,000m repeats,outside of my 3 races in Febuary I haven't been on a track since Feb 1st.......guess what I still haven't!!!!

W/ the last of the recent snow  now melted I thought I'd have no worries accessing the track in the afternoon as I had earlier this winter b4 the snow kicked in since Temple had cut its Track and Field program in imagine my horror to not only find the track in use{not sure by whom if Temple no longer has a Track program?} but also the gates to the track were locked{which is a first}whoever was using the track wasn't about to let "Joe Public" stick its nose in......
Not sure if this was a one off or if it's about to become a regular/semi regular afternoon thing,having thought I'd rid myself of the weekly hike to Roxborough to use the track out there like I have every spring since 05 it would seem I'll have to get used to that half empty it's a hike and a half full lots of time for reading which should never frowned upon.

So in a classic case of "life immitating art" and the lyrics of "You Better Run" very much much front and center in my head I headed straight home and back out the door tout sweet for a 6 miler.
Having already gotten dressed to run thinking I'd be doing repeats the time I'd lost detouring via Temple didn't matter so much period but w/ daylight savings time in full effect I needn't sweat the 30 mins difference as I made my way down Cedar Ave along the route well travelled
64 degrees ensured shorts,short sleeves and shades and a ton of activity out on the Schuylkill Bank when I got there just after 5pm,I felt comfortable ie no effects from yesterdays run in fact I felt so good I could've ran an 8 miler but having originally set out to run 6 miles{1.5 warm up 5x1,000m repeats,1.5 cool down=6 miles} I thought I'd stick to the plan,hopefully I can take care of an 8 miler this afternoon....but if I get caught in a down pour in the final 2 miles of that 8 miler I'll rue that choice

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{No More}Fear Of The Dark

Well at least untill Daylight Savings ends on Nov 1st!!
In fairness running in the dark probably hasn't been an issue since late January......but did you really expect me to pass up a photo op of my beloved Iron Maiden??? c'mon the blog is "Kevinrunningfree" named after the debut Iron Maiden single "Running Free"!!!!

While we're still officially in Winter you wouldn't have know it yesterday,53 degrees and sunny,tempted as I was to give "Old Man Winter" the finger and go w/ the "Three S's" Shorts,Shades,Sleeveless I figured that miserable old bastard probably has one more bout of bad weather to dump on us b4 Spring so I just opted for shades.....however I was able to run sans ski hat,gloves,heavy duty hoodie and running tights under my warm up bottoms......I probably could've gone sans half zip warm up top but having avoided getting sick all Winter now didn't feel like the time to "fly in the face of it"'s not like I haven't missed enough training this Winter??!!!

I guess I should address last week,having been forced to sit out Monday due to 3.5'' of snow I logged back to back 8 milers on Tuesday/Wednesday and looked set to log only my second 5 day/40mpw of the Winter.........
Thursday I didn't have it mentally or physically,no biggie I'd try to run 8 miles on Friday to stay on pace..the only fly in that ointment is I don't run on Fridays on a regular basis and once again by the time I got home mentally I wasn't "Up" for it.
I still had a shot at a 40 mile week IF I ran back to back 12 milers on the sounded good in theory but you know the old adage about "theory and practice being the horse of a different colour" and you also know what they say about "If"......
Fatigue was crreping into the picture I went to bed at 9.30pm on Wednesday,8.30pm on Thursday and then slep from 12.25am till 10.15am on Saturday which really threw an industrial size spanner in he works for Saturday as there were domestic issues to negotiate on top of the run and w/ that he first 12 miler went for a burton and frankly a run of any length on Sunday seemed futile.

I'd like to address the fatigue issue,granted I'm not conditioned to the level I'd like to be which may explain why a three in a row had a degree of difficulty normally not found for me on Thursday but I am due to have my blood checked again to see if there are any abnormalities at work again circa 2011 when Anemia disrupted my season......I DO NOT want to have to go back to running 10,000m on the track again so off to he lab for blood work again for moi by weeks end/early next week.
As for yesterday s run,I've said on countless occassions in my blog,failing to kick the week off on a Monday often leads to a week not only have to look back to last week for the evidence of that mindset so w/ 53 degrees and sunshine how could I NOT run?????

Strike one,having to run the dock single handedly as my coworker took off for a family funeral,strike two no lunch hour as a byproduct of working solo on the dock,and then losing the battle w/ Mr Sandman on the trolley ride rome.....was this the fatel strike three?.....was it fuck!!
W/ the sunshine beating down on my face as I put my front door key into the lock I told myself"you're a cunt if you don't run today" and having ran like a cunt over the mile on Feb27th I knew I had to get changed and get out there w/ the quickness.
Once I got dressed and out the door I felt fine,it's been a while since it's been this warm and that in of its self is a huge psycological boost to motivation,I keep telling myself everyting is a process right now,I need to get into a routine of 5 day/40mpw training which in turn will elevate my levels of stamina,speed and confidence which will go a long way to helping me return to a level of running and training I'm acustomed to.

The warmer weather means not freezing out along the river,nor bundling up like "Nanook Of The North" to combat that,w/ warmer weather comes more runners which will being a good thing in general also means more targets to chase while out and back along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Drive,so it will come as no great surprise that last nites time for 8 miles was my fastest all winter.
While I've always stressed that times on my easy/recovery runs is neither here nor there the fact is my 4 most recent times have been slower than the "benchmark 1.25" I shoot for:1.34,1.32,1.27,1.31 so imagine my delight at a 1.24 last nite,providing I can "deliver the goods" this afternoon on the track over 5x1,000m repeats I'll feel I've maybe turned a corner and prehaps this "Winter of my discontent" is coming to end in more ways that one.....

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Run To You

Ok I know what you're thinking,what's New Years Day's Ashley Costello got to do w/ running???????????
frankly nothing even though in this bloggers humble opinion she is Fit As Fuck!!!1 but hey freedom of choice,freedom of speech,freedom of expression,my blog I'll post whatever I feel fit to do so....and god damn she's fit!!!!!

So for those of you still actually reading this and NOT Googling Ash Costello here's how yesterday broke down,despite feeling tried from the moment I woke up at 5.27am and fighting a losing w/ Mr Sandman on the trolley ride home I resisted the urge to blow off the run and got myself out the door by 4.18pm for another 8 miler.
It isn't lost on me that as I try for only my second 5 day/40mpw this winter in early March I should actually be tapering for Indoor Nationals but it just hasn't worked out that way this season,however that said each day I can get out there and log valuable miles now is going to benefit me down the road this season,sure I'd like to have been going to Boston for Indoor Nationals and or Budapest for Indoor Worlds but there's still a lot of racing to be done between May and December and the only way to make sure I'm part of that is to grind it out now till it becomes second nature.

42 degrees wow,had I have known that I'd have left the gloves and heavy duty hoodie behind but having avoided getting sick thus far this winter I don't wish to play fast and loose w/ the weather as we're only 2 week away from Spring,the last thing I need now as I build mometum and confidence is to be sidelinded by illness.
Not as prolific as Tuesdays time,1.31 to be honest time is immaterial right now,getting into the groove of running 5 days a week and logging 40 miles each week is the goal,the times will come once I get into that pattern and the only way to do that is to keep plugging away,three for three tonite?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Know When To Hold Em.....

It's often said that "Patience is a virtue" and that may well be true,it certainly worked in my favour yesterday.
Following a sluggish 8 miler on Saturday I nixed Sundays scheduled 10 miler......sometimes the old "less is more" mindset works beter than just going through the motions and the fact I slept for 10 hours on Saturday nite into Sunday morning{1.15am -11.15am} highlighted my need for some oppossed to GNR!!!!!!!
The 15th snowfall of the winter on Monday made my decision not to run that much easier,I figured why not wait another day,the sidewalks would be clearer,the temps would be warmer and hopefully two days rest would rejuvinate my legs and hopefully propell me to semi respectable terrortory for 8 miles.

As I set off just after 4.20pm I could be forgiven for not feeling justified in that choice,the sidewalks were far clearer than they would have been some 24 hours earlier and I almost rued not switching to shades as it was unseasonably sunny for once.
I think Monday's high was 20 degrees so 28 degs yesterday had a almost "tropical" feel to it.....and it's scheduled to get warmer as the week goes........who knows  maybe a trip to the track on Saturday for repeats is on the cards.......I know I've been out in the heat for too long but WTF it is almost Spring afterall!!

Right now everything is a process,I need to get that day in,day out,week in ,week out 5 day/40mpw schedule down pat,w/ that will come not only consistancy but also the "Three S's Speed,Strength,Stamina" which should then lend themselves to better times both in training and racing,last nite saw me return to the realm of semi respectability for my 8 milers,I'm used to averaging 1.25 for 8 miles and 1.45 for 10 miles so logging a 1.27 felt like a positive step in the right to repeat that this evening and again tomorrow I said it's a process,Rome wasn't built in a day and how long did it take for "Chinese Democracy" to get made eh???

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Manhattan Project Side Two

Some twenty four hours after my self inflicted public humiliation at The Armory over the mile I returned to the "scene of the crime" to run the 800m and try and reclaim some self respect not to mention build some confidence and momentum going forward.
While tonite and my indoor swansong here in three weeks time at the Front Runners meet are indoor races I'm already planning for the outdoor track season and these final two races are as much about hoping to return to the realm of respectability as anything,while I can boo hoo my lack of form thus far to a bad winter and 17 month hiatus from competitve racing the fact is over my first four indoor races I've done very little to convince myself I have a right to sit at the table w/ the upper echelon of M50 masters 800m and 1,500m runners,if that right has to be earnt then tonite felt like as good a place as any to start earning that seat....

I was seeded #1 in heat #2,ironically Getulio Echeandia was seeded #9,ironic because at 50-54/45-49 we bookended a field of open runners inbetween us.....some of whom didn't look like they'd hit pubity yet but given the seed times of the 55-59 and beyond field in heat #3 it would have been crule to have put either of us in that heat.
I got a good reaction to the gun this time and held my postion on the rail going into the first turn,a number of the younger guys went by me but at 50 that's to be expected at least I wasn't dead last down the back straight like I was three weeks prior to tonite.
I couldn't tell you my position at 200m or my exact split I saw 31 seconds on the clock which seemed fast but when I came through 400m in 62 seconds it indicated back to back 31 second splits,after Thursdays "brain fart" mile I told myself to run tonites 800m as aggressively and maybe I could get a semi decent time.

Lap three of an indoor 800m is always interesting/dangerous......tonite took that a tad to literal for my liking!
Going into the bottom turn the runner ahead of me clipped the runner infrot of him and  spun perilously close to me as he tried to regain his form.thankfully I was alert enough to the situation to avoid a wipeout but then going into the top turn as I overtook another runner to claim 5th the runner behind me caught the back of my spikes,touchwood I've never gone down in a track race in my  38 year career but tonite w/in the space of 100m I'd dodged 2 bullets.
1.38 at the bell in 5th I was aware Getulio was breathing down my neck and while I don't have that explosive final 200m kick just yet {but trust me I'm working on it!!!} I did all I could to hold him off untill coming up the home straight,glass half empty I'm disappointed to get overtaken in the final half full at least I made him work for it.

6th in 2.14.11. a two second improvent on my previous 800m effort and an overall much better race,providing I can keep taking two seconds off of my 800m times per race I should be "in the conversation" come Wake Forest and Outdoor Nationals in 20 weeks time.
I'm not sure when my next 800m race is,probably late May at Ichan in the "Twilight Series" which hopefully means beacoup repeats between now and then to ensure a faster time and not getting passed in the final 100m......a nite after one of my worst races ever I hope this is a turning point in my season......

The Manhattan Project Side One

Originally the plan was to run back to back races at The Armory to prep for Indoor Nationals and simulate the schedule in Boston,mile then 800m.....however I opted against  a trip to Beantown given the lack of form and loss of training this winter that said I still planned my mile/800m back to back races last Thursday and Friday for shits and giggles and a chance to get a few more races under my belt.....after the cock up that was my Thursday Nite @ The Races 800m on Feb 6th it was evident I needed them!!

Seeding myself at a generous 4.50 off my last indoor mile at Cornell {4.57.1} I wound up in heat 4 of 10 each heat was stacked w/ 20 runners per heat which while maybe too big 10 heats was enough to be getting on w/.
Given the #4 spot I had a decent run into the first turn,got a good reaction to the gun and got clear as we broke down the back straight,I was 4th or 5th as we came throught the opening lap in 35 seconds,I hadn't given much thought to splits pre race but 35/36 seconds per lap seemed right.
I heard 36 at 2 laps and again at 3 laps w/out ever looking up at the clock on the scoreboard by which time I'd worked my way to the front of the field,w/ hindsight I wish I'd gotten the bad start to the 800m  in this race because I had no business being up in front of the race.

I didn't check my 800m split but maybe should've checked my ego as I now suffered the humiliation of going backwards through the field,over the final 4 laps I went from 1st to 17th of 19 runners and clocked a woeful 5.02.4.............
Once again it was painfully pointed out to me that I don't have the strength and stamina over the second half of the mile right now,since Hartshorne no thanks to work and the weather my weekly mileage totals have been 40,30,10 and 8 which underlines that point only too well.
Glass half empty I brought on an arsekickin of public humiliation tonite w/ my gung ho attitude,glass half full rather than guess where I'm at at least now I know and now I can build from my weakness.