Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Second Here,A Second There

Glass half full w/ tomorrows Thursday Nite @ The Races series getting rescheduled to next Thursday I found myself w/ the opportunity to squeeze in a repeat session I hadn't planned, and w/ that I packed my running gear into my running bag at 5am w/ the intention of hiting Temple's Geasey Field on my way home from work for 4x1 mile repeats.

I arrived at the track a little after 3.45pm,next to no snow on the track,nobody else using it far so good!
Mile warm up...warm being the operative word,the sun might've been out and causing a slight issue rounding the top turn b4 the home straight{frankly getting my bag ready at 5am Shades were NOT a top priority you'll be surprized to read!!!} w/ temps probably around freezing but upon compleation of said mile warm up it was off w/ the heavy duty hoodie,ski hat thermal gloves,long sleeved dri fit shirt,half zip under armour jacket,running tights and waterproof bottoms....which I could've probably ditched but that extra layer of warmth wasn't hurtin' any trust me!!!

Last time out over 4x1 mile on 12.30 I went:5.21.3 -5.28.9 -5.30.2 -5.30.4 what could I do today?

#1 mile
Leave it to yours truly to go out too hard on the opening lap,I had to hope I still had juice in the tank for the next 19 laps......

#2 mile
If nothing else I was being consistant,I'd still like to see laps 2 & 3 get quicker but they were marginally quicker than the 12.20 and 12.30 repeats.

#3 mile
I knew that 1.27 on the second lap was gonna come back to bite me in the arse,any hope of today being 4x sub 5.30 had just gone up in smoke because of it

Son of a bitch!Yes I'd gone sub 5.30 and shaved a second off of 12.30s collective time but what I would've given to have gone 5.30/5.29 over the final two repeats.

At the end of the day it's a second faster than last time,sure I'd prefer to be shaving more time off but given the conditions and the fact I did them off the back of a full work day I can't be too bent out of shape.
Given Saturdays forecast is for a high of only 22 degrees I may well revist this repeat at lunch time rather than the 4x400,mile,4x400,mile if it's gonna be that cold the less standing around inbetween repeats the better.....till Saturday....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Don't Believe The Hype

Yes was the start of my last jam so here it is again,another def jam but since I gave you all a little something that you knew you lacked they still consider me a new jack
All the critics you can hang'em I'll hold the rope and pray it aint dope,the follower of Farrakhan don't tell me that you understand untill you hear the man
The book of the new school rap game writers treat me like Coltrane,insane yes to them,but to me I'm a different kind we're brothers of the same mind,unblind
Caught in the middle and not surrendering I don't rhyme for the sake of riddlin' some claim that I'm a smuggler some say I never heard of ya
A rap burgler,false media we don't need it do we? It's fake that's what it be to ya,dig me? don't believe the hype

Don't Believe The Hype-Public Enemy

W/ heartfelt apologies to those in New York and New England who did get clobbered by the snow those of us here in Philly and in particular the I 95 corridor are somewhat bemused by the fact that inspite of a prediction of between 6 to 14 inches of snow what we got was basically a light dusting of the white stuff,in fact we probably got more during the day and even then only an inch than we got overnight when the worst of it was predicted.
Don't get me wrong,I'm not complaining I was more than happy to be able to get out yesterday afternoon and take care of  business over 6 miles.

However the snow in New York did cause Thursdays Thursday Nite @ The Races 2 to be rescheduled till the following Thursday,not the worst thing in the world, I've got a feeling the backlash of Mondays snow is going to be reflected at work come Thursday and Friday so "having it away on me toes" at 1.10pm Thursday to be in NYC for 7pm might be an issue this week.
Given Thursdays race is postponed for a week I need to rewrite my schedule,hence the 6 miler yesterday,the plan this evening is to hit the track for some  mile repeats,if I can't for whatever reason then tomorrow I'll knock out a 6 miler to keep me on pace for a 5 day/40mpw.

The run it's self was  easy enough,no snow underfoot at least untill the Schuylkill footpath and while I never did check the temps when Peco Tower lit up at 5pm my guess is 33/34 degrees and sunny which always helps.
You know what else helps? Sunset at 5.13pm,off a 4.23pm start I was back across the South St bridge by 5.06pm and still had daylight as I closed out the final mile and a half which unlike mid December and early January where I slowed down as viability was an issue now I can see the pavement beneath my feet and and continue as a reasonable pace,I was out and back w/in a hour unlike the 64 min pace I was clocking b4......let's hope there is still juice in the tank if I get on the track for mile repeats tonite!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Getting It Done

Having been away all weekend in Ithaca I now had to play catch up on my domestic chores,food shopping,laundry AND get a run in.....oh and did I mention it was snowing!!!!
Following two trips to Aldi and Fresh Grocer I was ready to get my 8 miler in,the snow was more of a nuisance than anything,kind of what I would've ran in on Wednesday if my stomuch hadn't derailed my plans.
Was it tempting to blow off the run? sure but knowing tomorrow could be off the books w/ all the snow they're calling for I thought it prudent to get today in while I could and worry about tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

Out the door by 2pm which on a weekday is  somewhat of an amomaly I was happy to have less crowded sidewalks around UPenn and HUP to contend w/ on my approach to South St Bridge and the Schuylkill footpath linking me to the Schuylkill Banks and eventually Kelly Drive.
That said there were a few hardy souls like me who were determined to get their daily miles in,it's always somewaht reassuring to see your not the only one neurotic enough to be out there running in the snow!
Not sure what the official temps were at 2pm,below freezing I would guess but w/ double layers on I was well insulated against the cold and b4 I knew it I'd made the turnaround just after Spring Garden bridge.

8 miles in the books,we'll have to see if this years version of "the storm of the century" reaks havoc on the rest of my week,having had to endure two sub 40 mpw in the last two weeks I'm keen to halt that slide but mother nature may have other ideas.....guess we'll have to see which way the wind blows and how much snow falls on Monday night?

Group Run

I had a few options available to me re the Sunday run,not run.....which frankly wasn't an option{is it ever???}wait till I got home which was also a non option as it would be 9pm b4 I got home,get up early and go for a 6 mile run by myself,or hitch my wagon to the 8am group run that had been impromptually thrown together at the last minute on Saturday evening.
8am seemed a more civilized time to run plus not doing it by my lonesome so I got up around 7am made a cup of tea and got dressed to meet up w/ the rest of us who were brave and crazy enough to run.

Along w/ myself I was joined by Mark Williams and three Toronto Track Club and three Athena track club runners:Paul Osland,Anne Bunting,John Helliker,Lorraine Jasper,Betsy Stewart and Cheryl Bellaire.
We must've looked a sight to the other non running hotel residents as we gathered in the lobby at 8am to head out into the sub zero temps for a 3 mile run,as I've said countless times runners are a strange breed and we tend to migrate towards fellow "birds of a feather" types.
Conditions were warmer than the single digit temps I ran in last year post race as I did loops around the hotel parking lot and unlike last year I was not having ran a better race than last year{which wasn't difficult!!!}this didn't feel like penence!!!

We found a nearby trail and after a mile and a half turned back towards the Best Western hotel to make it an easy 3 miler,everyone seemed happy to have gotten out and gotten a few miles in b4 we began our various journeys home  to Toronto,New Jersey and Philly.
A 4 day/22 mile week,kind of kicking myself to lose two 9 milers midweek when my stomuch was playing up but taking one last soak in my rooms Jacuzzi I wasn't feeling too much pain about that...or anything to be honest!

On The Podium

Pariah dogs and wandering madmen barking at strangers and speaking in tongues the ebb and flow of tidal fortune electrical changes are charging up the young
It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit,it's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it you can almost feel the current flowing you can almost see the circuits blowing
One day I feel I'm on top of the world and the next it's falling in on me,I can get back on I can get back on
One day I feel I'm ahead of the wheel and the next it's rolling over me,I can get back on I can get back on

Far Cry-Rush

Irrigardless of it being Nationals,Worlds,Invitational or just a regular race I always have what I call "Podium Mentality" a mindset of making it into the top three,be it a medal,getting your name in the paper or advancing to the next round a top three finish usually brings its own set of rewards and here at Barton Hall at the Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile since my 07 debut I'd managed three podium finishes in five races,the painful memory of last years 4th place finish and general bad race couple w/ below par preparation had stoked a fire in me for the past 12 months,to use a Jumbo Elliot quote when he coached my hero Eamonn Coghlan"you might beat Coghlan once,but you won't beat him twice".
Unlike last year I came in prepared,granted not firing on all cylinders just yet but Indoor Nationals were still 8 weeks away,if I could improve on last Thursdays 4.52.4 mile at The Armory I'd feel I was moving in the right direcion..

It says something that in my 6th visit in 9 years to Cornell and Ithaca I know the journey from the hotel to Barton Hall like the back of my hand,surfice to say I made the 20 minute walk on auto pilot and arrived at 11.05am w/ enough time to check in and decamp off to the side of the track b4 stretching and getting ready.
After the "culture shock" of my first visit here in 07 when the harsh cold almost took my breath away I've grown used to Ithaca winters and going outside for my warm up and cool down is no longer an issue,as I made my way around the campus for my 1.5 mile warm up I rethought my original pre race plan.
Seeded 4th behind Paul Osland,Mike Nier and Bill Zink I backed off of my original plan to tuck in behind Paul,w/ hindsight I wish I'd stuck to my guns,the outcome may have been different if I had of,instead rather than throw caution to the wind I went w/ the mindset that getting on the podium trumped going all in for a possible I said hindsight is a wonderful thing!!!!

A reasonable reaction to the gun,Mike and Paul got out quick behind the rabbit as I settled into 6th behind Bill Zink,Dan Bonthius and one other runner,I missed my 200m split mainly due to the fact I'd gotten myself trapped on the rail.
It's unlike me to do that I'm usually a lot better at avoiding that but like the mental errors I made last week at The Armory it's still early in the season and I'm working the kinks out of my game.....or at least trying to.
At 300m I tried to swing wide but the two runner behind me had now bunched up on my shoulder and I remained in 6th and stuck on the rail untill we reached 600m.
Finally I swung wide and moved myself into 3rd,for a moment I thought I may've "shown my hand" too soon as both Bill Zink and Dan Bonthuis followed me but I felt full of running and gradually put daylight between myself and them.

There was a sizeable gap between the leaders and myself and at this early stage of my season I'm not sure it's "in my wheelhouse" to run that hard to close that gap but I was gaining ground but truth be told I'd allowed too  real estate in the opening three laps to allow myself to be "in the mix"
I saw 2.27 at 800m,it was the only split I recall roughly 36 second pace,again I would like to be quicker but the plan is by Winston Salem and Indoor Nationals to be closer to my target time.
The second half of this years race was a lot more fun than a year ago when I just fell apart due to the lack of work I'd put in and hearing the bell I knew unless I tripped or pulled a hammy that 3rd place on the podium was mine.
In the end I was 3 seconds behind Mike Nier{4.48.62} and Paul Osland{4.48.97} w/ my 4.51.79 a second faster than last week at The Armory in 4.52.44 which is a faster track.

Obviously getting on the podium pleased me,another medal to the collection{#153 and counting}running a second faster was a delight as its in keeping w/ my "second a week quicker" mindset but also the nature of my race.
Granted had I stuck to my original race plan maybe I'd have ran quicker and maybe gotten second or even won but in the general scheme of things while building towards Indoor Nationals it's another step closer.
For the shits and giggles factor I'm 6 seconds quicker than a year ago,using that baseline can I shave 6 seconds off my 1,000m time of 2.59.61 on Thursday at The Armory???


Thursday, January 22, 2015

And If You Know Your History......

Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile History

2nd 4.29.46

3rd 4.30.14

10th 4.48.12

3rd 4.39.99

4th 4.57.11

?? ??????

So there you have it my previous record at Cornell's Barton Hall in the prestigious Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile.
For only the second time I'm making back to back apperarances at the "Winter Classic" as I not only hope to erase the memory of last years second half collapse but also return to the podium for a 4th time.
Interestingly 2012s 4.39.99 was the last time I went sub 4.40 indoors over the mile,I'm not sure I'm in sub 4.40 shape right now......then again I didn't expect my debut in 07 to be 4.29.46 either!!!! my point being strange things happen inside Barton Hall,you just never know!!!

Sadly I've been sidelined the last two days w/ some intestinal issues,nothing major but w/ the weather being what it was a threat of rain Tuesday and the snow yesterday I thought it best to sit those runs out,granted another 5 day/40mpw has bitten the dust but these things happen,fingers crosssed I can knock out an easy 6 miler this evening b4 getting my bag ready tonite for my early morning bus ride to Manhattan b4 switching buses for Ithaca,roughly 7 hours of bus rides but armed w/ a good book,my phone/internet and some "road tunes"the time should fly by.

I pretty much know my race plan.......NOT that I'm going public w/ it now but rest assured when it comes time to post my blog post race I'll spill the beans on if it went to plan or if as is often the case the race plan went out the window the second the starters pistol fired.........

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Know Your Enemy

Back tracking slightly I had to nix Sundays planned 14 mile long run,to use a cricket analogy "rain stopped play".
Don't get it twisted I'm not the type to shy away from running in the rain......I am English afterall.......however  the words long run and freezing rain tend NOT to fit well in a sentence period muchless the week of a race,so I had to settle for a 5 day 26 mile week #heyho

So onto this week,having wrestled w/ several options to accomodate Saturdays Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile I came up w/  4 times 9 miles plus the warm up, down for 4 miles and a 5 day 40mpw.....albeit at the expense of a repeat session.....a decision I did not take lightly but between calls for possible snow Wednesday into Thursday it could be another week I get screwed over by the weather to begin w/,on top the fact I  will probably need ALL my fast twitch muscles for Saturdays race!
While speaking to race organiser Tom Hartshorne via email yesterday he mentioned the following names had signed up for Saturdays M50 race:Paul Osland,Bill Zink,Mike Nier,Bill Bonthius,Joe Mora and Mike Mooney.
Obviously the two names that jump off that list are Paul Osland and Bill Zink while Mike Nier,Bill Bonthius,Joe Mora and Mike Mooney all provide an X factor as I know very little about them..

Easy 9 miler out and back along the Schuylkill Bank and Kelly Drive out towards Columbia Bridge,42 degrees and daylight till about 5.15pm by which time I was closing in on South St bridge on the inbound leg of the run.
It goes w/out saying I'm already mentally running Saturdays race over and over in my mind,while it's early in the season and names and reputations may not be as pronounced as say the summer the fact is if I have any designs of ending a six year drought at Barton Hall and finally winning a Hartshorne Memorial Masters Mile I may well have to dig deeper than I was prepared at this early stage of the new season to make that happen.....not the worst thing in the world when the bigger picture includes Worlds in Lyon in August truth be told but I wasn't expecting to potentially having to dig this deep this early into my season......time to bandy about that well worn Nietzsche quote....."what doesn't kill me make me stronger" note to self pack "big boy pants" when getting my running bag together Thursday nite............

Monday, January 19, 2015

Every Second Counts

If my biggest take away from Thursdays season opener was needing to shave 7 seconds off of my mile time between now and Indoor Nationals then Saturdays repeats proved to be just what the {running} doctor ordered!!

Unlike last week I kept my weekly Saturday lunchtime appointment at Geasey Field,arriving at 1.10pm I was suitable attired to handle both  the sun and wind w/ shades,ski hat and thermal gloves #evertheboyscout

Surfice to say I had the track to myself which always helps when there's 400s on tap,last time out a fortnite ago I went:67.97-68.11-70.03-69.03 for the opening 4x400s:1.23-1.30-1.30-1.23=5.46.3 for the opening mile followed by:70.71-71.74-72.90-73.04for the second set of 4x400s and then:1.25-1.30-1.30-1.18=5.43.0 for the closing mile.
I said at the time for an opening attempt at that repeat at least I now had a baseline so quote Chuck D of Public Enemy "base,how low can you go".......

#1 4x400m
Nice start shaving 4 seconds off of Jan 3rds effort

#1 mile
Eye Eye!!! another 4 seconds off,if the object of this was speed and strength I was hitting the nail on the head.

#2 4x400m

Granted I'm still losing  almost a second per 400 but I feel it's getting there,another 5 seconds shaved off and today my slowest 400m was 71.98 not 73.04....

#2 mile
Another 2 seconds shaved off for a collective 15 second second improvement on  my previous effort.

I said when I modified this repeat from 4x400/1 mile to 4x400/1 mile x2 that I felt it could be a good workout based on todays evidence I could be right,there's a way to go still but if I continue to keep shaving my 400s and lowering my mile splits I'll be happy w/ that

First Night Nerves

Because I chose to play the fool in a six piece band,first night nerves every one night stand
I should be glad to be so inclined,what a waste,what a waste but the world don't mind

What A Waste-Ian Dury & The Blockheads

Ah yes, the always testing first race of the season where you find out where you really are as compared to where you think you are,a bit like practice and theory being a horse of a different colour.
Arrived at The Armory w/ time to spare which always helps,after "decamping" off to the end of the track I was able to stretch b4 a mile and a half warm up on the famed felt good to be on a track again for the first time since August's Track Pentathlon outside of recent repeats.

Seeding is always an issue especially on the season opener,I was torn between 4.45 and 4.50......w/ hindsight maybe I should've gone w/ 4.50 but opted for 4.45,post race I was left to ponder that choice but hindsight they say is a wonderful thing.
4.45 put me in heat three of seven.....just!
18 runners per heat I was drawn 18th which put me on the outside of lane 8 on the second line at the start,at least I'd have a clear run the the 50m mark where we were allowed to cut in,got a good reaction to the gun and worked my way down the back straight in lane two as the field jockeyed for position.
35 seconds at 200m,couldn't tell you my position w/in the field but nearer the front than the rear I would guess.

Reeled off splits of 35,35,35,36 for a 2.21 at 800m,after that it becomes some what of a blur,I don't even remember my split at the bell.
11th in 4.52.44 a 2.21/2.31 split which is a little frustrating but at least now I know where I'm at as opposed to guessing.
Maybe 36 second splits would've been better but it's all academic after the fact,the bottom line is w/ my first race of the season under my belt I can look ahead to the next race next Saturday over a mile at Cornell knowing I'm closer to 4.50 pace than 4.45.
Yes I made some mental errors during this race,after longer xc races over 8k,10k and 15k I need to get my head around 200m laps and be 100% focused but that's what this race was about finding out where I'm at and working out what I need to do to get where I want to be.

4.52 right now but w/ 9 weeks till Indoor Nationals I have time to shave hopefully 7 seconds off my time to get down to 4.45,a second a week would put me at 4.43 which while right now might seem like wishful thinking is a doable goal,let's see what Saturdays race at Cornell produces,it's an Ivy League college so maybe I need to be a little smarter about my race plan!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Thursday Nite @ The Races Cliff Notes

Mile,heat 3 of 7     4.52.44 11th of 16    full version to follow shortly                                                                                                                            

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Devide And Conquer

Easy 4 miler to allow me to "have my cake and eat it" I can still get a 40 mile week in and race...even if having to go 4 and 4 either side of tonites race means a 6 day week.....
Out by 4.30pm,at least w/ it only being a 4 miler I'd be out and back b4 dusk and even though technically it was another sub zero run {31 degs} at only 4 miles the run was pretty much over as soon as it began.

So here I stand for the 39th year about to embark on another season of running,that old familur feeling of pre race nerves is about to kick in,you'd think after all these years I'd be used to it and it'd be the proverbial water off a ducks back but the fact is I still get nervous b4 that first race of the season,like I always say "I'd be nervous if I wasn't nervous".

While tonite is hardly the "be all and end all" race and time wise I still want to kick the season off on a good note,I set 4.45 as my seed time,anything faster will be a bonus,anything slower? well it depends how much slower,one thing's for sure the picture gets a lot clearer after the dust settle this to the races it is!!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Down By The {Frozen} Water

See this ancient riverbed see where all the follies lead down by the water and down by the old main drag
I was just some tow head teen feeling round for fingers to get in between down by the water and down by the old main drag
The season rubs me wrong the summer swells anon so knock me down,tear me up,but I would bare it all broken just to fill my cup down by the water and down by the old main drag

Down By The Water-The Decemberists

The "best laid plans of Mice & Men" or so it's said......the original blue print for the week was: 8 miles Monday,8 miles Tuesday,4 mile Thursday{1.5 mile warm up,mile race,1.5 cool down}6 miles Saturday{4x400m 1 mile repeat x2 mile warm up.mile cool down} 14 miles Sunday.......well all that went out the friggin' window w/ Mondays rain......ergo why when I write my weekly schedule I write it in pencil........
The rewrite looked thus:8 miles Tuedsay,4 miles Wednesday,4 miles Thursday,4 miles Friday,6 miles Saturday,14 miles Sunday,prehaps not the worst thing in the world,w/ Friday off work since I won't be home till gone midnite the easy 4 miler can be done mid morning/lunch time plus it'll help get any lingering gunk out of my legs post race b4 hitting the track on Saturday.

A "balmy" 28 degrees compared to the bone chilling 19 or 20 degrees I ran in last Wednesday,once again large sections of the Schuylkill River were frozen solid.....and I do mean solid as was eveident by the  large rocks sitting atop the ice a the foot of the footpath that links from South St bridge and the start of the Schuylkill Bank trail,you know it's cold when the river freezes over!!!

W/ an easy 4 miler on tap tonite this was my last chance to get some serious work in pre race,tonite will be more ceremonial than anything,maybe that's why I responded to the "challenge" thrown down by another runner.
I forget where along the Schuylkill Bank I overtook this runner but I became aware  of the fact she wasn't going away anytime soon,going up the ramp to South St bridge I worked the ramp to put some distance between us......which turned out to be for naught when I got held up at the red lite on the intersection of the on/off ramp of I 76 and South St but my responce to the walk sign{or in my case run!} sign put me back ahead of her.......till the next red light on the corner of 33rd and Spruce,she ellected to play "chicken" w/ the traffic where as I waited a split second to get the clear and safer run,I guess she wasn't reading from the "respect your elders" songbook.....
Speeding up to catch the green lite on the next intersection at 34th St I "opened it up" heading up Spruce St and heard what sounded like a groan from behind me.......if you want to run w/ the big dogs sweetie you best bring your A game there's still life in this old dog yet!!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie And Going The Extra Mile

There's the crime of passion and the crime of revenge but the worst crime of all is the crime of regret
Speak of the Devil and the Devil may speak of you why can't we let sleeping dogs lie

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie-The Mission

For the second Sunday in a row a Sunday long run w/ company,where as last Sundays run had been more accident than design this run had been planned........
I began blogging back in 85 I think,inspired by a former team mate,friend and for two years house mate Steve,at the risk of dredging up the past lets just say we had a falling out towards the end of 2008 and despite living less than three blocks from one another have untill now avoided one another.
In fairness Steve and I tend to run in "different circles" me on the track Steve on the roads but fate intervened in December as we were both on the M50 Greater Philadelphia Track Clubs Club Nationals teams.

Rather than perpetuate the long standing distance between one another I approached Steve,said hello shook his hand and wished him good luck for the race,in return Steve offered me a ride home post race,rather than "cut my nose off to spite my face" I accepted his kind offer and we chatted aimiably on the ride home,ok so it's not Isreal and Egypt sitting down to peace talks but it was a start considering how "frosty" things had become over the ensuing years this was progress.
I duly emailed Steve a thank you for the ride home and in turn Steve asked if I'd be up for sharing some Sunday long runs together.......Steve and I aren't likely to do repeats together and I'm not looking to go longer than 14 miles as Steve is potentially looking at a marathon later this year so sharing a Sunday long run felt like "middle ground" for us both.

We met up on the corner of my block at 10am,somethings never change ie Steve's high threshold to the cold,I had running tights and warm up bottoms on,Steve opted for shorts..... we must have looked like "the odd couple" as we ran alongside one another around the Art Museum Loop!!!
The morning air was brisk,the pace was comfortable and the conversation light as we made our way up West River Drive,over Falls Bridge and back down Kelly Drive.
Running w/ Steve is a bit like having your own GPS as he has an incredible knowledge of  the street in the area,rather than go back the way we came we went home via Mantua, a little change of scenery never hurts I guess.

I can't recall the last time Steve and I ran together probably 08,even as house mates we had seperate running agendas so runs together tended to be few and far between but this was a  nice change of pace and something that's probably mutually beneficial to us both,when the issue of the past came up we agreed the past is the past and neither one of us has any desire to rank it up,let it lay where it lays and rather than dwell on it lets put it behind us,one Sunday long run at a time.
Thanks to Steve's reroute thro Mantua I ended up w/ a 15 miler.....consider the extra mile my penence for bailing on Saturdays repeats!!!.

A 5 day/41 mile week and some fence mending thrown in for good measure......I'd call that a good week.

Caught In A Compromising Position........


Saturdays,given my choice are track repeats,but as I stated in my blog last Saturday at this time of year I tend to push them back to lunchtime/early afternoon to combat the cold.......
The "fly in that ointment" this week however was two fold, A Spurs vs Crystal Palace at 12.30pm and the fact that the days "high'' temprature was only going to be 19 degrees......
The Spurs Palace issue was an easy it and watch it when I returned home........however sleeping till 11am did rather throw an industrial size spanner into the works as I was now only looking at maybe an hours wake up and get ready time b4 departing for the frozen tundra that obviously Temple's Geasey Field was going to be.
Following Tuesday's snowy repeats I hadn't checked the status of the track and in fairness there was a 50/50 chance the track was still covered w/ snow and more dangerously ice,it'd be a kick in the nuts to get over there and find it unusable not to mention the waste of and hour and a halfs commute.

By the time the Spurs Palace game ended at 2.20pm the prospect of repeats w/ their stop start nature in 19 degree temps were frankly a tough sell,at least I was dressed to run  SO the compromise {see what I did there.....oh right your still eyeing up Kay Murray and googling her to find more racey me they're out there......or so I've been told!!!!} was to run an 8 miler,I would come up short on my 2 repeats per non race week  schedule but at least stay on pace for a 5 day/40mpw....
While out on my out and back along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Drive I couldn't help but feel it wasn't as cold as I was lead to believe,maybe it got above 19 degs?maybe I've become immune to the bonechilling temps?? or Frostbite had set in soon to be followed by Hypothermia????

I'm sure I'll kick myself for a day or two at baulking at a potential repeat session but at least I got out and ran

Thursday, January 8, 2015

20 Degrees....HA! I Laugh In Your Face

There is friction w/out fire when the passions spent as we shiver in the winter of our discontent
So little love left in our lives
Now we're standing in the shadows of a fading sun words like weapons the cold war touches everyone
So little love left in are lives
I am freezing,no love in the ice age whoa whoa I am freezing,no love in the ice age whoa whoa

Love In The Ice Age-Pat Benatar

Another fridged day but another day I gave  "Old Man Winter" the middle finger by getting out there in a mere 20 degrees and taking care of a easy/recovery 6 miler....take that you old bastard!!!!
It wasn't a day for the weak of heart a fact mirrored by only seeing 10 other runners out there along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Drive between 4.15pm and 5.21pm as I ran.
It was a day for "doubling up" two pair of gloves,thermal socks,regular socks,running tights,warm up bottoms,long sleeved shirt,half zip shirt,sleevless hoodie,heavy duty hoodie,ski hat,the sleevless hoodie fitted nicely under my ski hat which was the whole point of wearing it,trust me it served its purpose!!!

Needless to say running along the Schuylkill River was a joy w/ the wind whipping off of it but I did my best to block it out,thoughts of a roaring fire or at least the knowledge of hearing the water running through my heaters as I prepared to leave for my run served as a comfort to me as I froze my nads off,I'd have heat in my appartment when I returned home.....question was would I feel it???
Unlike Monday trusty Peco Tower was up and running at 5pm....BER 20 degrees as I made my way back west over South St bridge which made my brief exchange w/ some chav in his car at the corner of 33rd and Spruce that much spicier!!!

Pedestrians have the right of way whether they are walking or runing in my opinion so when I saw the green light on that corner I made up my mind I wasn't stopping .....Chav who also has the green light to turn from Spruce St onto 33rd St decides he also isn't stopping.......look areshole it's 20 degrees I'm outside,your  inside probably w/ your heaters on full blast,possibilly w/ heated seats maybe a hot beverage in your cup holder so why are you blowing your horn at me as I made my way across 33rd St?......the air was already blue enough b4 I added a FUCK YOU to it!!!!

Three 6 milers under my belt as I wanted it,another bitterly cold day on tap today ontop of having to work shorthanded in "the salt mine" which is why it was immperative I took care of business Tuesday and Wednesday,the prospect of coming home just gone 4pm and being able to thaw out rather than dress to the nines and tackle another run should be the fuel that feeds the fire at work today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

It's Snow Wonder They Call Us Running Folk Crazy!!!!

It's often reported in the "popular press" that runners are a unique bunch,a strange breed or just plan bat shit off our trolleys crazy.......I'm not about to disspell those notions!!!!
I'd known for a few days tha there was a threat of snow on Tuesday,the bigger issue was when and how much?

I arrived at work by 6.15am w/out a snow flake in sight.....however by the time daylight arrived so to had the snow,now it was a matter of how long it'd fall and how much we'd get.
Working in the equivalant of a meat locker at this time of year{the loading dock then magically transforms into a giant brick oven in the summer}isn't ideal to begin w/ but this is the price I pay for not paying more attention in high school way back when,but hey it worked for Sly in the first "Rocky" movie so.........

Up up and away by 3.20pm,I'd worn my base layer under my work clothes to keep warm and also brought my outer layer and running shoes w/ me in case access to Geasey Field was doable on the way home.......hardly a surprize nobody ws on the track when I arrived at  just b4 3.50pm.
The whole of the track and infield was covered by a blanket of snow which was still falling but I was here now......fortune favours the brave or so we're told but we're also told in the Queen and David Bowie classic "insanity laughs under pressure we're cracking" I'm mad by definition of being a runner to begin w/ so laughing in the face of insanity comes naturally I guess!!!!

Thankfully the drainage ditch around the track allowed me to workout where the edge of the track was,I drew a line in the snow w/ the heal of my runing shoe to mark a start/finish line,since the plan was 8x800m repeat I only needed to worry about my 400m splits.
Clearly my racing flats would be useless in the snow so I opted for my regular running shoes,hey Sketchers if you're looking for a new advertising campaign forget about Meb winning the Boston Marathon in a pair of Sketchers how about yours truly doing his track repeats in the snow in a pair????

Mile warm up taken care of it was 4pm,the sooner I begun the sooner I'd be done which w/ the whole daylight/dropping temps issue at hand the better.

#1 800m
It was evident time wasn't the issue here,just getting the suckers done was my #1 priority.

#2 800m
A far cry from the sub 1.20s I was running two weeks ago......then again I wasn't trudging through snow to do them so cut me a brake!!!!

#3 800m
I realize 8x800s are hard work to begin w/ but doing them in the snow in sub zero temps just added to the matter.....

By the time I clocked a 1.26 for the opening 400m of #4 I realized it was almost counter productive,why go "through the motions" of a second 400m for the sake of doing so when I could probably get more "bang for my buck" w/ I opted to finish up the session w/ 400s.
As a rule I don't switch repeats in mid session but these were extenuating circumstances you'd have to admit!!!!

My 10x400m went:

Leave it to yours truly to finish the session was a fast final repeat what can I say snow or no snow I want to go out on a high!
By 5pm the sun had set and for the first time in the session I could feel just how cold it was,my mile cool down couldn't end soon enough for me and while the prospect of doing a "Snow Angel" on the track at the finishline was tempting I opted against it......there was still a Subway and Trolley ride home b4 a hot shower and a steaming mug of Apple Cider......
Glass half full his was one for the ages {Snow Age???} glass half empty I have set the bar rather high for the remainder of the Winter......but I'll concern myself w/ that one day and one workout at a time!!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Paying The Toll For A Bridge Over Troubled Waters

In the dark of night those small hours uncertain and anxious I need to call you
Rooms full of strangers some call me friend but I wish you were so close to me
In the dark of night those small hours I drift away when I'm w/ you
In the dark of night by my side,in the dark of night by my side by my side by my side
I wish you were,I wish you were

By My Side-Inxs

Easy/recovery 6 miler to kick off the week,given my choice I prefer to kick the week off on a Monday period......given todays "balmy" 31 degrees was the warmest it was going to  be untill Friday you could see  my desire to get miles in today!
A few years back I invested in a heavy duty hoodie for days like this,running along the Schuykill it felt like money well spent let me tell ya!!
It has to stated for the record it's a heck of a lot easier to motivate myself to get out and run when it's only a 6 miler in these kind of conditions,I'm reminded of a story Bono tells in the documentry of "The Making Of The Unforgettable Fire" saying how they're into the chorus of "Pride" b4 you realize you've finished the verse
"Will I Tell ye the story of Johny Mcgrory,shall I begin it,well that's all that's in it" basically it's over b4 you know it......kind of like the 6 mile out and back to Lloyd Hall b4 you know it you're on the footpath along the Schuylkill off of South St bridge and hitting the the 2 mile mark,next thing you now you're turning around at Lloyd Hall and you're heading also helps getting out the door by 4.20pm it's still daylight which means it's a tad warmer althought w/ a "high" of 31 degrees not that warm it must be said!!!
Another sound investment recently was a gallon of Apple Cider,nothing like a steaming mug of hot Apple Cider post run to warm you up.

Jan 5th is another Erica anniversary,it's the night we first met,this year marked the 30th anniversary of that.
I can still remember that evening like it was only yesterday,sadly all the water that's gone under the bridge since then has washed away said bridge,if I had a dollar for the times I've said "if only I knew then what I know now" maybe just maybe Erica and I would still be together,ah hindsight you fickle son of a bitch.........

Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Worlds Collided

Another Sunday long run {14 miles} in the books  a second week of 5 days/40mpw w/ 2 repeats under my belt too....start as you mean to go on!

Thankfully the hail which later gave way to rain on Saturday had now gone,just grey and overcast conditions when I got out the door just gone 11.25am
A funny thing happened  roughly 3.5 miles into the run,I usually bitch and complain about how I'm always "swimming against the tide" running on West River Drive on Sundays during my long run when I became cognisent of foot steps behind me....I antispated said runner to blow by me leaving me in his or her wake but instead he drew along side me.
Gene asked me how far I was running,I said as this was my Sunday long run 14 miles and I'd probably "do the loop" although last week and six weeks earlier I'd  made the turnaround at Falls Bridge as from a psychological standpoint I felt if I could grind out 7 miles one way I could turnaround and do 7 more in the oposite direction but at some point in time I'd have to bite the bullet and "do the loop" seemed as good a day as any!

Over the next 6.5 miles Gene and I swapped our respective running "war stories" as we made our way up West River Drive,over Falls Bridge and down Kelly Drive towards Lloyd Hall.
Gene is about to run his third marathon in a few weeks time,and while I don't envy him tackling a 26.2 I do envy the fact it's in sunny and warm Bermuda while I'll be here freezing my nads off on the frigded Eastern Seaboard!!!
I told Gene some of my marathon stories,I'd like to think of more as helping the miles fly by rather than bragging, I also mentioned some of my post marathon track exploits.
The upshot of which was Gene asked if I'd be willing to speak  to some of the Run Philly Student runners Gene works w/.

Like Charles Barkley famously said "I am not a role model"  but I'd like to think as I now embark on my 39th season of competitve running that hopefully I have a wealth of running knowledge that may be useful to a new breed of runners just starting out,don't get it twisted I'm not saying I'm a running encyclopedia on all things running but over 38 years I've learnt what to do and what not to do where running is concerned and if I can pass any of that on to a fellow runner/runners then I'll feel I've given something back to a way of life that has enriched my life in ways I can't discribe.

When I continued my run home as Gene pealed off to wait for his second loop partner I was cognisent of my lack of knee lift and or leg turnover......and w/ good reason when I arrived home  at 1.02pm my time for 14 miles was a whopping 1.36 a far cry from the 2.12 I had ground out the previous Sunday......

I'll be checking the results of the Bermuda Marathon in two weeks time to see if Gene pr's,I wish him all the best not just w/ Bermuda but hopefully other great Marathons that I had the privilge to run  during my Marathon career between 85 and 05,New York,Chicago and Boston.

Early Bird Special

Left to my own devices this time of year I prefer to conduct my Saturday repeats around lunchtime as the weather tends to be a bit warmer than 10am,one of two things will force me to switch up....a 12.30pm Spurs kick off or bad weather so when I checked the forecast on Friday evening and it said rain after 12pm there was only one thing for it......get to Geasey Field earlier!!!

Suitable atired for temps hovering around freezing I was "suited and booted" and out the door by 9.20am and arrived at Geasey Field by 10.15am,not surprizingly given the conditions I more or less had the track to myself which is always a plus but w/ 400s on tap this was a session I needed lane 1 to myself.
Cast your mind back to post Outdoor Nationals/pre 5th Avenue Mile when I was conducting 4x400m repeats followed by a mile,I said then I could see that repeat staying in my rotation once track became my focus,well w/ a slight tweak I came up w/ 4x400m w/ a 4 minute recovery b4 a mile x2......cue demonic wha ha haa laugh!!!!!

Since this was my first time doing this version of the repeat I opted not to worry about splits,just throw Linguine at the wall and see what sticks....

#1 4x400m

A little disappointed to see #3 creep over 70 seconds but hopefully I have all season to work on that and bringing the 400m splits down.

#1 mile
Wasn't sure how realistic 1.20-1.25-1.25-1.20 pace was,again something to work on over the coming weeks and months.

#2 4x400m

Maybe it was predictable to lose a second per 400m off of only 4 mins recovery but I was determined to keep ploughing away even in hail.... yep hail as I conducted my second set of 400s!!!

#2 mile
Remarkably  shaved three seconds off my #1 mile w/ a final lap of 1.18,I'd have collapsed to the track were it not for the hail on the track I was that spent!

Not a bad start to this repeat,hopefully next time out I can shave  a second or two off todays splits

Friday, January 2, 2015

8 Down,1,470 To Go!!!

As has become a "rite of passage" over the past several years no New Year's Day is complete w/out a run of some sort to start the year off on the right to speak!
The original plan was to get the run taken care of early to mid morning not so much to get it out of the way but not to have it "hanging over my head" for the day......however the lure of a cooked breakfast proved too great!!!

It's rare I find myself in the position to enjoy a big breakfast,obviously weekdays are out w/ leaving for work at 5.20am and the weekends see repeats and long runs "ruling the roost" so I opted to push the run back to the afternoon post Spurs Chelski between 12.30pm-2.30pm,not only would it be much warmer then but I could also enjoy breakfast.....not some much having my cake and eat it more having my Saucages,Bacon,Hash Browns and Canadian Bacon  and eat it.

Bouyed by an emphatic 5.3 Spurs win I had an extra "pep in my step" when I eventually got out the door by 3.20pm for my 8 miler,conditions were sunny but brisk,not sure what the exact temps were at 3.20pm but I'm guessing high 30s 37/38/39 degrees,ski hat and glove weather for sure.
I wasn't the only one who'd waited till the afternoon to get their New Year's Day run in as I passed several other runners along the Schuylkill Banks and Kelly Drive just beyond the Girade Ave bridge where I make my turnaround for an 8 miler.

I have a whole year ahead of me but for now the focus is in my season opener in two weeks time at The Armory over the mile,in order to get there I have to focus on the day to day so while I have goals and targets as far off as September the only run that really matters is the next one....repeats on Saturday on the track,one day at a time,one run,one repeat,one race.......