Monday, September 22, 2014

The Week That Wasn't And The Weekend That Was

So I guess I need to bring things upto speed,following Tuesdays 8 miler I ellected to sit out Wednesdays long run due to tightness in my left hamstring,normally I would have had the option of  taking care of business on Thursday.....however this particular Thursday there was the double whammy of not only the Spurs Europa League game in the afternoon but also a Stiff Little Fingers gig that nite at Underground Arts.
Take the SLF gig out of the equation and I could've gotten the run in but no point dvring the Spurs game if I'm not gonna see it till Friday at the earliest  not to mention having to try and avoid the score on tv/internet/social media so I sat it's off season afterall I can cut myself some slack can't I????

I was still feeling the effects of a 20 hour day from Thursdays SLF show when Saturday rolled around so much so that I blew off my track repeats.....I know I know,bad runner,shame shame!!!!,glass half empty NOT a habit I want to get into,glass half full the week was already gonna come up short so no need to beat myself up too much over it.
Sunday I did redeem myself by heading upto Lehigh University w/ half a dozen of the GPTCers to jog the Club Nationals 10k xc course again,I plan to be back there again in October and November so come Dec 13th and race day I should know the course like the back of my hand.

So I had to settle for a 3 day 28 mile week but in the general scheme of things I was  ok w/ that,given I was coming off of a 1 mile week the week b4 to leap to a 5 day 50mpw might've been a stretch too far so I'll consider this three day 28 mile week a stepping stone to hopefully a 5 day  50mpw this coming week.

The Stiff Little Fingers show was all that,when you've dug a band for 35 years to begin w/ that's pretty special,seeing them  still able to deliver the goods live and helping you relive those old memories from way back when is next to impossoble to put a price on and even if the 20 hour day kicked my butt on Friday it was well worth it.
Finally while I'm no movie critic I do wholeheartedly recomend "This Is Where I Leave You",the funniest movie I've seen in ages,my last foray to the cinema left me feeling cheated as the best bits of the movie were in the trailer which convinced me to see the movie but w/ "This Is Where I Leave You" I never stopped laughing.....two thumbs up!!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Days Of Europa League & Champions League

Easy eight miler to keep things tickin' along,I had talked about the making my Tuesday 8 miler a tempo run around the Art Museum Loop and while that's still a possibility moving forwards it didn't happen yesterday due to the fact since Saturday Mr Sandman has been kickin' my arse!!!
I'm not sure if it's the dip in temperature and the cooler air knocking me out or somebody switching my Chicken for Turkey but either way yours truly has been falling asleep in the recliner every nite since Saturday so much so that Monday post 10 miler I had to fight to stay awake till 9pm b4 calling it a nite w/out prepping ny bag for work if I was going to hit the AML on the way home from work and frankly at 5.09 am when I answer the call of the alarm I have about 10 mins to get washed,dressed,take my vitamins and get out the door by 5.20am to catch the 5.39am trolley to Center City on was way to work so there was no time to do that yesterday,no biggie I settled for an easy out and back 8 miler in the hope that come next week the Boy Scout in me will make sure  I'll Be Prepared for a tempo run around the loop.

Uefa Champions League kicked off yesterday which for a soccer nut like moi is mana from heaven....even if I have to settle for Europa League for my beloved Spurs once again,between now and May the top clubs in Europe will go mano e mano to determine braggin' rights in  European club soccer which means today is a training day and why tomorrow is a rest day as Spurs begin our quest for "Glory Glory Nights" tomorrow in Serbia vs Partizan Belgrade and yours truly will be parked on the edge of his recliner for 90 mins kicking and heading every ball.....some rest day!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Welcome To The Richard Gough{Off}Season

W/ 5th Avenue Mile in the record books I can call time on my 2014 season......more or less!
As of yesterday the next 12 weeks will be my "off season" where I'll up my weekly milage from 40 mpw to 50mpw in the hope of getting a bit stronger heading into next season
In that 12 week period I have penciled in half a dozen cross country races to keep things ticking over I know from previous experience that if I go longer than 6 to 8 weeks w/out a race I begin to lose focus on my training which has a tendency to see me slacking off which I can ill afford to do if I'm going to take a crack at the 1,500m in Lyon next August at Masters Worlds.

The blueprint for 50mpw is 10 miles,8 miles,10 miles 6 miles of repeats w/ a mile warm up and mile cool down plus the Sunday long run of 14 miles but this weeks long run will have to be on Wednesday to allow me another run at Lehigh b4 Club Nationals Cross Country in December plus Paul Short on October 4th which is the kick off of my xc races,and next week I need to switch things up w/ the long run and repeats to allow me a trip to......shock horror!!! New York City but we'll get to that closer to the time,basically I have two weeks of uninterupted training b4 two weeks of racing.

Kicking things off last nite an easy 10 miler, after a week off I have to say the old legs felt fresh....let's see if I'm still singing from that hymn sheet come Sunday!!!
Conditions were as close to ideal as you could ask for,71 degrees sunny and mild as I set off at 4.30pm,i did notice brown leaves on the ground just as i made the turnaround at the 5 mile mark b4 the St Joe's boathouse on Kelly Dr which reminded me that Fall is a week away.
Since I wanted my {Jaffe} cake and eat it I kept  9 minute mile pace for the run allowing me to get 10 miles in  at 90 mins and thus allow me to be home by 6pm in time for "ESPN FC"......amazing what we'll use for motivation!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Sort Of Homecoming

And you hunger for the time,time to heal desire time and your earth moves beneath your own dream landscape,oh,oh,oh on borderland we run and still we run,we run and don't look back I'll be there tonite
And your heart beats so slow through the rain and fallen snow across the fields of mourning lights in the distance oh don't sorow,oh don't weap for tonite at last I am coming home
A Sort Of Homecoming U2

I've talked b4 about my affinity to New York City,while I'll never be able to lay claim to "Native New Yorker" status the fact is since my first visit to The Big Apple in 1990 for the New York City Marathon I've been facinated by it to the point where I adopted NYC as my second home.....and somewhere along the line I feel New York City adopted me,Native New Yorker,nah Adopted New Yorker definately!!!
So how does someone like me who grew up South East London for the first 24 years of his life only to spend the next 27 and counting living in Philadelphia have such a love of New York City???? the answer my friends is NOT "blowin' in the wind" but lies deep in the heart of my heritage
Coming from a long line of "sheep stealers and cattle rustlers" NYC will always appeal to the Paddy in me,after all it's where the majority of my ancestors ended up after Ellis Island having crossed the Atlantic to escape the famine way back when.
They said "Paddy built the railroads" but I dare say he had a hand in the skyscrapers that make up the Manhattan skyline and lets not forget the percentage of New York's finest who are Irish,it's no wonder in his prime Eamonn Coghlan said running at Madison Square Garden was like running at home in Dublin w/ all the support he got in New York
So where does the Londoner in me fit in to Manhattan you ask? simple from the first time I visited New York City in 90 I felt the pace,the vibe and the attitude of the city reminded me of London which is probably why I keep coming back it's gone from reminding me of home to becoming a second home and at a two hour bus ride and often under $25 round trip it not only closer to home but a damn sight cheaper!!!!

Up at the ungoldly hour of 5.30am I had time for tea and some flatbread breakfast never go into battle on a empty stomach afterall!!! b4 heading over to 30th St to hop the Megabus to we pulled out from 30th St at 7.06am and I got off the bus at 7th Ave & 28th St at 9am....the quickest bus ride I've ever had to New York.....but frankly at 7am on a Saturday there should be next to no traffic on the roads!!!
W/ the best part of two hours to kill{gun time for the M50 race was 10.55am} I opted to walk up 5th Avenue,in the same way when I am home in Central London I tend to walk rather than jump on the tube and enjoy the sights,afterall I don't get to stroll 5th Avenue everyday plus ever the good Irish catholic I wanted to bless myself when I passed St Partick's Cathedral.....maybe a better Irish catholic would;ve gone in,said a prayer,lit a candle but hey I never said I was perfect!!!!

Upto The Met just above 80th St to pick up my race # and drop my bag off b4 a brief warm up and stretch b4 the always "fun" part of 5th Avenue Mile the start which frankly is a clusterfuck at best but add that they lump the men AND women's 50-59 age group together where as in all the other age groups they run men and women seperate just adds to the problems of getting a good start when the gun goes off.
After the initial bumpin' and bangin' I got a clear run on the right hand side of 5th Avenue{a plus of this being my 7th time running the race is I know all the nuances of the start} and hit the front w/in the opening 200m
68 seconds at 400m which was what I was aiming for.
Knowing the second quarter mile has a slight uphill I wasn't too concerned to see 2.22 on the digital clock on the pace car ahead of me a 74 second split.
Cresting the top of the incline at 800m I tried to "let out the clutch and freewheel" the downhill I didn't know how close anyone was behind me but I wasn't going to look over my shoulder and look either I had to hope I just had to hope there was enough daylight between me and the pack.

I didn't check my 1,200m split I think I was too preoccupied w/ working on my knee lift and leg turn over and trying to visualize a final 400m on the track like I had in the six Decathlete's Miles I'd ran in training since the 1,500m in Winston Salem at Nationals eight weeks ago.
Between 200m to go and the 1,500m sign Gerry O Hara blew by me on my left hand side,if this had been a cartoon this is where my legs would have turned to rubber as I felt them buckle,I was helpless to respond and could only give chase as the finishline loomed.
4.41 some 4 seconds behind Gerry but 6 second ahead of Connor O Driscoll,three Paddies in New York City I mean jaysus what were the odds!!!!!!.
Was I disappointed to lose the race inside the final 200m? hell yeah but all credit to Gerry who bided his time and made the decisive move when he had to,had I have know he had recently ran a 4.34 road mile I might have played hunter and tucked in behind him instead of hunted and trying to win it from the front.

Live by the sword,die by the sword I always say,I've won my share of races by hitting the front and taking control of the race but I've also come up short where someone has caught me b4 the finishline and today was one of those days.
My record at 5th Avenue mile reads:10th,1st,1st,4th,4th,8th,2nd no too shabby and after a two year hiatus from "The Big Dance" it was good to be back,a year is a long time but hopefully I'll be back next September to win a third 5th Avenue Mile,one thing's for sure I'll be back in New York City a bunch of times between now and then in the "City That Never Sleeps" dreams more often than not come to fruition and to take a final Bono quote from "Bad" I'm wide awake,I'm not sleeping......

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hotter Than July

The last thing I needed for my final workout b4 5th Avenue Mile was a subpar performance which is exactly what I got on Saturday,thanks in no small part to the Weather Gods who got one last laugh at my expense.
Maybe if I checked the local news at 6pm to cop the local weather instead of watching "ESPN FC"{#priorities} I'd have know Saturday was going to be hot as balls and maybe gotten up earlier to beat the heat,as it was when I got up at 8.15am it was already hot and humid and w/ hindsight I could've switched my track repeat to Sunday which ended up being much cooler but to have done so would have ate into my scheduled  six rest days b4 Saturdays race so either way I was damned if I do,damned if I don't and what I ended up w/ was a much slower mile time than I would've liked.

Arriving at an already hot and humid Geasey Field at 10.55am the only good thing about the heat was it kept the masses away so I at least had access to the inside lane for my final 2x150/4x400/Decathletes Mile.
Mile warm up taken care of I braced myself for my last crack at this version of the workout,come Monday December 15th when I resume track training mode there will be an amended version of this repeat in my weekly rotation,I'm dropping the 2x150s to go 4x400,mile,4x400m,mile but that's for another time
Last Saturday I went:24.00-23.56 for the 150s
for the 400s and
5.31.55 for the mile

Not much difference compared to last weeks splits and a far cry from the 22.61-22.83 or 22.88-22.79 I dropped back on  Aug 2nd and Aug 16th

If I could've held 67-68 second pace for all four I'd have been ok but clearly the heat off the track and the almost syrup like air quality was not conducive to such ambitions,all I could do now was see the workout through to it's completion

To be honest I was surprized to clock 1.24 for the opening 400m as I expected it to be slower but what I gained on merry go round I lost on the swings w/ 1.31-1.33 at 800m and 1,200m and while it'd would have been too easy to "mail it in" on the final lap I at least made an effort but frankly a 5.50.48 mile was NOT what I was looking for on my final mile b4 5th Avenue next Saturday.

Glass half full my  first four repeats of this workout were pretty soild and last week wasn't that shabby so I think I can cut myself some slack that my final workout didn't go to plan thanks to an unexpected blast of heat and humidity.
I won't be spending the week off leading upto 5th Avenue Mile second guessing myself on the back of one bad workout,taking a leaf out of Coach GP's playbook circa 07-09 "have faith in your training" I've put the work in all I can do now is relax and enjoy my week off from training but stay metally sharp so that when the gun goes off next Saturday I'm in the best possible position to run to the best of my ability and hope that's enough to earn me a third 5th Avenue Mile title.......

Friday, September 5, 2014

Postman Pat??? More Like Postman Pratt!!!

Final training run b4 5th Avenue Mile not including Saturdays repeats.
I was on the fence about doing this one,since I've switched from the lobby to the lawn on my lunch hour I'm not getting my "cat nap" at lunch and was nodding off on the trolley ride home to the point where the"do you really want to go out and run" voice began to get louder in my  head......upon getting through the front door I had all the incentive I needed to run.....and them some!!!!!!!

A couple of weeks back I began to upgrade my already extensive it must be said U2  collection,between 84 and 94 there was no other band for me and while my love of all things U2  waned between 94 and 14 they still not only remain an important band in my life but also the soundtrack of growing up so now that I had some disposable income at my disposal I thought it high time to not only fill in the missing cds/dvds from said collection but also upgrade as albums "Boy" thro "Acthung Baby" had all been reissued w/ a dics of bonus tracks......all of which I have but now there was the chance to have them all on one dics per cd not several as I had w/ cd singles.
The "Unforgettable Fire" and "Joshua Tree" both came as super deluxe reissues w/ bonus dvds in a nice boxed set,and while my "Unforgettable Fire" set arrived intact the same could not be said of my ''Joshua Tree" super deluxe yesterday........
As soon as I picked it up inside the front door I could see the tear in the jiffy bag it had been shipped in,I hoped for the best as I opened the jiffy bag but sure as shit the back of the box now looks like an accordion where "Postman Pratt" had obviously tried shoving it through the mailbox,it probably got stuck so he/she no doubt forced it through the mailbox hence the damage to the say I was PISSED was putting it mildly and frankly I needed to get out and run to blow off some considerable steam.......

Jesus christ if it didn't look like it would fit through the mailbox stick one of those "We tried to deliver" cards thro the mailbox and have me schleep over to the local sorting office to pick it up instead of just ruin the fucking box shoving it thro the mailbox which clearly didn't fit #shitforbrains
While the run did burn up some of the seething anger I harbored towards "Postman Pratt" the run its self wasn't w/out incident,while I might of been on my best behaviour Tuesday and Wednesday I was itching for an opportunity to spew some good old fashioned born again black hearted celtic pagan anti social commentary and didn't have to wait too long!!!!
Just after the turnaround at Lloyd Hall a trio of kids on bikes mistoook me for someone who was going to "cop a deaf one" to their childish comments,two things junior 1 I have tshirts in my closet that are older than you and 2 if the 50 year guy running is faster than the three kids on their bikes what's wrong w/ that picture???

Run over I surveyed the considerable damage to the box again,it looks fuckin hidious and frankly beyond repair but in the dvd rack where it'll sit it'll be harder to see....but I'll know it's there,let go and let God I guess but if you hear about a runner going postal on a mail carrier don't be surprized!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Punk's Not Dead.......But It Does Have A Nice 401K These Days.......

It's amazing the difference 6 degrees makes,after the sauna like conditions of Tuesday at 90 degrees yesterdays 84 degrees felt considerably cooler as logged another 6 miler out and back along the Schuylkill Banks making the turnaround at Lloyd Hall at the start of Kelly Drive.
It'll be interesting to see how the temps come down as the numbers on the calendar go up in September,I noticed on Tuesday nite I have to turn the living room lite on around 7.30pm and by 7.55pm it was pitch black outside already,how quickly the evenings have drawn in already.

Not much to report from the run,fairly bog standard,no pissing contests,no Geese attacks,no slaggging of pedestrians or motorists so I must be serious about saving all my energies for next Saturday!!!
So for the past week and a half I've been taking full advantage of the weather and sitting out on the lawn in front of the hospital on my lunch hour and jammin' to my music instead of sitting in the lobby being subjected to "muzak" from the Piano.....

For as long as I've been here at the hospital{15 years on Sept 20th} there's been a piano in the lobby,sometime last year some jobsworth  hooked up said joanna to a cd player that played piano versions of songs at first it was a novelty but after a while an annoyance,maybe enough peeps filed a protest and a cease and desist complaint as it stopped and being able to nap in the lobby became a rite of passage.......untill a few weeks ago when the dreaded "muzak" returned!!!!!
For a day ot two it seemed like a nice change of pace but by day three of the same fackin tunes{seriously how often can I hear a piano version of "My Heart Will Go On" and "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay"???!!}I said enough is enough and returned to the lawn,granted the wooden benches aren't as  comfy as the sofas in the lobby I now at least tend to stay awake to listen to my lunchtime tunes
Last week was a tip of the hat to Celtic Rock as U2,Big Country,The Alarm, and Simple Minds after my recent Echo & The Bunnymen gig ruled the roost and this week I returned to my punk roots w/ The Stranglers,Stiff Little Fingers,The Clash so far providing the soundtrack to my "lunch on the lawn" w/ The Damned and The Jam to get me though today and tomorrow......old punks never die....we just traded in our leather jackets and mohawks for   the corporate world,sell outs or buying into the dream?....your call!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Less Is More

Going the Joss Stone route I opted for the Less Is More mindset,having exercised my option for a rest day on Monday I began my three six milers for the week yesterday afternoon.
I toyed w/ the idea of making them eight milers but frankly at this stage of the season if I haven't put enough miles in since Jan 1st then there's a problem and anyways the whole point of a taper is less miles 3x6 miles plus my repeats on Sunday =22 miles will do for me,hoprfully that coupled w/ six days off from Saturdays repeats to the following Saturdays 5th Avenue Mile will see yours truly firing on all cylinders down famed 5th Avenue between 80th and 60th Streets

Another reason I'm glad I went w/ a six miler yesterday was the 90 degree temprature,trust me I was sweating like a you know what from the getgo at 4.30pm,after a milder than usual August September has kicked off on the steamy side....something to ponder next month when I start digging out the short sleeve running shirts!!!
Untill I take care care of the matter in hand{5th Avenue Mile} I can't begin to focus on my off season/xc season but it's out there waiting for me,I've given it some preliminary thought just as I've given my 2015 track season some thought and how I'll begin to prepare for that come Monday December 15th when I complete my off season/xc seson.....the legs might be resting but the mind keeps ticking over.....

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Listen & Learn

Oh it's not as bad as it seems,oh it's not as crazy as my dreams alright I know that I can make it through,I have no doubts as I talk to you......but then again
Why don't you listen to your heart,listen to your heart
Listen- Stiff Little Fingers
When I called "time of death" on Sundays long run at mile 5 I couldn't help laugh at the symmetry as the last time I crapped out on a Sunday long run was Memorial Day at the start of Summer......

As I made the 5mile walk of shame home I had time to ponder several issues,even w/ last weeks 38 mile week and this weeks 33 miles I still logged 169 miles for the month,eclipsing the 168 miles I logged in June which may explain the feeling of leg weariness I've had of late.
As my former coach used to tell me "listen to what your body is telling you" and clearly what it's been telling me this weekend is that it's tired.
I hastily rewrote my schedule for this coming week,starting w/ a rest day on Monday no sence in "spinning my wheels" and since the last two weeks have seen me reduce my weekly mileage I feel another week of lower mileage won't go amiss,frankly I'm angry w/ myself for NOT factoring in a taper in the build up to 5th Avenue Mile that should've been an automatic but for whatever reason/reasons it didn't register untill the universe intervened,sometimes left to my own devices I'm my own worst enemy but what's done is done now and even though I've gotten to it the long way around a taper is happening w/ a series of 6 milers Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday b4 my final repeat b4 5th Avenue Mile.

No Band On The Run.....Or On The Infield

After getting shut out not once,not twice but three times last week in my attempts to get on the track at Temple's Geasey Field you could have forgiven me if I didn't approach Geasey Field on Saturday w/ my fingers crossed,a lucky Rabbits Foot in my back pack and anyother good luck charm I could lay my hands on......
Making the left off Broad St walking towards 15th St I looked up to see a bunch of women doing jumping jacks on the infield.......unless the band were limbering up I was in good shape,don't get me wrong I'm not anti marching band in fact I love a good marching band.......just not on the infield of the track I'm trying to do repeats on!!!!!!

Mile warm up taken care of it was time to have at it,my last set of 2x150/4x400/Decathletes Mile on Aug 16th went:



I knew I was in trouble when I opened in 24.00 and frankly my 23.56 wasn't alot better,upon closer review when I got home these were my slowest 150s of the 10 I've done since I began this repeat on July 26th

When I only opened in 66.07 I pretty much knew based on the opening 150s this wasn't going to be my day,however that 64.94 gave me renewed optimism,however it was short lived,while the 67.14 was something I could live w/ the 69.28 felt like I was regressing back to my July 26th 400s where I went 66.07 66.71 68.43 69.02.

Decathletes Mile
I was pleasently surprized to open in 1.21 as I antisipated slower based on my closing two 400s and at 1,200m I was only a second down on August 16th 4.13 split and while I hardly feel closing in 1.17 is a bum note to conclude the workout in the 5.31.55 was four seconds down on the 5.27.83 I ran last time out,thus ending the run of successive quicker Decathletes Miles I'd had.

Maybe a two week lay off inbetween repeats lent its self to todays slower times?maybe I just had an off day? or maybe I do need to consider a taper w/ 5th Avenue Mile now two weeks out?