Monday, August 31, 2015

......In W/ The New

If it's late August in Ft Washington it must be the annual Greater Philadelphia Track Club Track know the event were seemingly sane people subject themselves to a 3,000m 200m 1,500m 100 400m or 800m race every half an hour.....yeah that's the one!
Having won the very first event back in 2010 I have competed in all but one of the Track Pentathlons since in 2013 when I was just starting to train again after my achilles injury and frankly 5 events when I was less than fit wasn't a plan,last year I finished a creitable 4th and looking at this years field I felt there was a decent chance of finishing in the top 5 and earning some prize money......

I didn't help matters I only managed two hours sleep the nite b4.......getting to bed at gone 4am lnowing the alarm was set for 6am is NOT text book prep but I did what I did for a reason.......that somewhere down the road I'll feel at liberty to explain but for now just know my reasons were GOOD bordering on GREAT.......................

Up by 6am and out the door by 6.30am to make the 7.11am train I was painfuly aware of the pain behind my eyeballs from a lack of sleep but armed w/  a "can do" attitude a LARGE cup of Earl Tea tea { IF Earl Grey ever ends up on the banned substance list I'm SO screwed!!!} and some bangin' tunes on my phone I made the 50 min train ride to Ft Washington and the track of Germantown Academy.

After picking up my race # and saying a few hellos I did a brief warm up w/ my good friends Mark Williams and Peter Brady who have become two of my best friends on the running circuit in the past two years,they were also two of the five other athletes I expected to be duking it out w/ over the upcoming 5 events.

Into my spikes,Bandana on it was "Showtime" turning back now!
5th in 10.12.8 and 82.76 points
I retract my previous statement re the 3,000m should be the 5th and final event......get that sucker out the way from the getgo!
Somewhat of a shocker two time defending champ Nick Berra dropped out three or four laps in w/ a hamstring injury,obvs I wish Nick a speedy recovery but as Nick along w/ Peter and Mark plus two previous champions Lorraine Jasper and Bruce Rash plus multi event specialist Vicki Fox were my compitition that was oneless threat to keeping me out of the prize money.

4th in 28.66 and 78.76 points
Given I average 32/33 seconds in my 200m repeats this was a nice bump in my times.
One of these years I'm gonna make good on my threat of learning how to use the blocks for the sprints and even work on my 100m and 200m starts......#Usainbolt

4th in 4.42.6 and 86.00 points
Prehaps my strongest event which was reflected by my points score at this stage I was trying to maintain my third place spot behind Mark & Peter and ahead of Lorraine,Bruce and Vicki.
W/ the 1,500m over it's pretty much gravy......

4th in 14.25 and 77.54 points
Thanks to Joe Manion next to me in lane 1 who ran a 14.06 I was able to  stay close and notch a decent time.....decent for a middle distance runner trrying to sprint!

3rd in 2.20.6 and 83.40
It's always easy to lift myself for the 800m it's my second favourite event PLUS it's the final event of the Pentathlon.
I knew I couldn't live w/ Mark and Peter who were locked into theit 5th private duel of the day but I put some daylight between myself and  other three 2 lappers

Post event we did a mass cool down....a very easy mile and a half b4 the results were announced
6th Lorraine Jasper in 403.77
4th Vicki Fox in 405.23
4th Bruce Rash in 405.23 *
3rd Kevin Forde in 408.46
2nd Peter Brady in 417.65
1st Mark Williams in 420.65

* First ever tie in the 6 year history of the event

I'll take 3rd.... I DAMN sure took the $100 prize money!
I need to check my times and scores from my 4th place finish from last year to see how they stack up and while 3rd dosen't make up for missing Lyon and Worlds it's another solid showing from the old man of the field representing all the Grey Beards out there!
Till next year?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Out W/ The Old.......

My first 10 miler since June 19th if I'm not mistaken and right on schedule to keep me on pace for my first 5day/40mpw since the start of June by the look of it.
As well as logging said 10 miler and racking up mile 34 of the week I also put miles 396-406 on my Sketchers Go Bionic shoes which after today will be "put out to pasture" and become my day to day footwear b4 Sunday sees me bust out the new Sketches Go Run 4s I bought a while back.

Should I crush my planned 5 day/55mpw 6 week off season schedule I will need a new pair of shoes again by mid October,I'll probably go w/ the Sketchers Go Bionics again as I really liked them,having made the switch to Sketchers at the end of last year I must say I really like them,I think they were considered a bit of a novelty when they first started making running shoes but when Meb Keflezighi is your spokesperson you tend to get taken seriously #gomeb

So back into the routine of middle distance runs,back into the realm of getting out there 5 days a week which lends to 40mpw,all good groundwork for three weeks time when the 6 week off season and 9,10,10,12,14 mile runs will rule the roost

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Still Climbing Jacob's Ladder

Continuing my climb back up the mileage ladder I notched  a 9 miler on Wednesday evening to put me at 24 miles for the week and 396 miles on my current running shoes,after tonites 10 miler I would imagine my new Sketchers Go Run 4s will debut on my mile/mile and a half warm up Sunday.

The steady daily mile increase in miles has proven easy enough although coming off the back of a few weeks of low mileage my legs are a little sore from  the spike in mileage but that's to be expected,providing I can take care of business this week and again next week and notch  5  day/40mpw the step up to 55 mpw come Sept 14th won't be such a shock to the system.

Nothing out the ordinary to blog from last nite,I can however report activiy on the campus of U Penn which confirms the end of Summer and the start of Fall,which also indicates my track season coming to an end,two more events b4 my 6 week "off season" and 3 race xc schedule for October/ November b4 I plan a rare foray onto the roads in December to tune up for the 2016 track season,proving if you stand still long enough you may miss something.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Running Away From What You Don't Understand

 I believe it was Roger Walters who once said and I quote"all in all it's just another brick in the wall"
and w/ that I upped my mileage another mile to get back to 8 miles,right where I was b4 the taper for Worlds.......and we all know how that ended up for me!!!!

At the start of the week the plan was  to go 7,7,8,8,4 to round me out at 34 miles going into Sundays Track Pentathlon albeit running Monday thro Friday......however as each day has passed since Sunday I've felt more comfortable upping my mileage, 6 miles Sunday,7 miles Monday and 8 miles yesterday so much so that I opted to go 9/10 Wednesday/Thursday,same mileage total of 34 miles but w/ an extra rest day Friday throw in for good measure now #smarterthantheaveragebear although if I'm running five races in 2.5 hours Sunday the question lingers how smart am I to begin w??

Yesterdays 8 miles felt fine,easy pace untimed,I don't forsee the step up to 9 miles this evening to pose any problems and it will be good to go 9/10 the next two runs as post 5th Avenue Mile on Sept 14th my weekly 55mpw will be broken down to:9,10,10,12,14 so getting 9s and 10s under my belt now will help w/ that transition.

Yesterday marked 30 years to the day I left Philly after my initial visit in the Summer of 85,it was one of the toughest days of my life back then but in the general scheme of things had to be done,30 years later Erica is an memory that tends to surface around the time of Erica anniversaries,ie Sunday mornings vivid dream about her 2 days b4 said anniversary,time tends not to stand still and maybe that's how it's meant to be,respect and remember your past but don't keep reliving it move on and make new memories........that's the plan.....

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Rounding The Turn For Home....

Ok so I've been a slacker in the posting entries department of late,so here's a recap:
Fri Aug 14th On the day I should've been compeating in the M50 1,500m final in Lyon I conducted my last run on my old stompin' ground in South East London.......
Actually most of the run took place over the river in East London.....what the fuck I figured I'd slum it for 40 mins!!!!{tough talk from a South East Londoner now safely back home in Philly some 3,539 miles away.....but far away from some Eastend gangsta type to put a hit on me.....hopefully!!!}

Upon my return to this side of the Atlantic the plan was to "hit the ground running"......alas the ground hit back and knocked me flat on my can!
Tuesdays planned easy 8 miler to shake off the rust ended up being downgraded to a 5 miler as a combination of jet lag and the heat and humidity did me in.

Sadly I lost my way a little the next few days,blame it on being "blissfully distracted" if you like but come the weekend the plan was to hit the track at Lower Merion Saturday and "go long" Sunday.....I did neither,however inspired by Usain Bolt's 100m victory in Beijing I did manage an impromptu 6 miler which served as a catalystic rallying call for yours truly.

W/ my competitive season winding down {GPTC Track Pentathlon this Sunday and 5th Avenue Mile two weeks later}it wuld be all too easy to say "feck it" and use the Lyon debarcle as an excuse to throw the towel in.......BOLLOCKS TO THAT!!!!!
I can do fuck all about Lyon and Worlds,that ship has sailed{SS Titanic anyone???} but IF  I'm serious about Perth next November I need to begin to lay the foundations now.
Clearly what I did in the last 12 months wasn't enough to lower my 4.21.4 from last year to be in w/ a remote shot of a bronze in Lyon,given the distance to travel to Perth next Fall I don't antispiate the caliber of Lyon where minus David Heath's freakish 4.01.5 the sliver and bronze were won in 4.15.8/4.17.0,that said they were still a country mile ahead of my 4.21.4 from last year and 4.24.9 this year SO I have my work cut out for me over the next 14 months and no better time to start than now!

Easy 7 miler to kick off the week,the plan is to notch 34 miles b4 Sundays Track Pentathlon where w/ a 1.5 warm up and 1 mile cool down I can log 6 miles for a 40mpw,it felt good to be back out on the Schuylkill Banks,Peco Tower wasn't displaying the time and temp last nite so I have no idea how hot it was....or wasn't but as August winds down and w/ it the "Dog Days" become a memory I know September and Fall are just around the next corner......I'm planning on meeting them head on,to quote an old Steve Earle song "The Revolution Starts Now"......

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I Was Always Kind Of Crap At Geography Anyway

SO...........I never made it to Lyon for's a long story but the jist of it is.....
I was unaware that French Immigration Law required a three month visa{although they seem pretty crap and keeping  immigrants out of the Channel Tunnel these days.....but I digress!}and my passport expires the day after I return to America,they weren't gonna "turn a blind eye" for little old me for 5 days and while I initially rejected the suggestion of the check in staff at British Airways to visit the US Embassy I took it under advisment from someone near and dear to me to put the crap of Monday behind me and get my act together,get my papers in order and  fly out a day late.......then at 5 am my mother comes into the bedroom to inform me she'd called an ambulance to take her to the hospital........
Really,I was going to say "ok well hope it works out well,phone my sister in Lyon and let me know how you make out,bye"!!!!!!!!!!!

Obviously running muchless going to Worlds was secondary at that moment in time,YEAH it sucks I've worked my butt off for the pass 13 months,made personal and fiscal sacrifices all for naught but could I have truly gotten my paperwork in order and then boarded a plane to France muchless compete at Worlds w/ my mothers health up in the air,I joke about being a Born Again Black Hearted Celtic Pagan but I'm NOT heartless,so I waited till my mother returned home a few hours later,thankfully it doesn't appear to be anything major or serious but given this time last year we though she may have bowel cancer and she was now complaing about her lower back bothering her could I be blamed for 86ing Worlds????

On Monday evening I took a reverse run down memory lane circa 1984-87 I would do a 6 mile run from where I lived along Lewisham High St,up Belmont Hill,through Blackheath Village,across Blackheath,around the Royal Standard pub and back.....the irony of ironies is my mother now lives a stones throw from the Royal Standard so I ran in the oposite direction,over the heath,through the village,down Belmont Hill and along Lewisham High St to Roxley Rd to the enterence to my old flat/appartment and then back
reached the turn a round in 20.18 and although I now had to circumnavigate Belmont Hill uphill on the inbound leg I still managed a negative split of 19.23 for a semi respectable 39.41 a far cry from the 31.49 I ran in 1987.....but I was 23 NOT 51 back then!!!!!

Today even though I should've been on the track in Lyon in the 1,500m I went out for an easy hour long/6 mile run using the old 10 minutes equals a mile template,I ran over Blackheath,down South Row,swung around back onto Shooters Hill Road and then back across Blackheath,took another road I'd never ran along all those years I lived here which brought me out atop Blackheath Village,down a quarter of Belmont Hill to a footpath I knew would bring me out on the far side of Blackheath{Blackheath it's self is HUGE and covers several acers of land}over to Greenwich Park and then down the road that runs to the left hand side of the park and past Our Lady Star Of The Sea.......the church I was baptised and christened in way back when,cut through Greenwich Park and up the steep mother of a hill on the Maize Hill side of the park,out through the gate and across the heath to where my mother now resides,all in all not a bad run if I saw so myself.

Hopfully I can squeeze in one more six miler Friday to round out at 18 miles,Worlds may not've happened but there's still the GPTC Track Pentathlon in 2 weeks time followed by 5th Avenue Mile 2 weeks later to shoot for

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Who Says You Can't Come Home{And Run}Again?

As long as I've know about travelling to Lyon and Worlds todays easy 5 miler aka "a trip down memory lane" has always been in my mind.
Given my mothers close procimity to my former high school and Charlton Park{shame we didn't live so close when I attended St Austin's RC Boys school circa 76-80 eh ma????} this easy 5 miler was kind of a no brainer and so just b4 11am I was out the door and heading down "Memory Lane"

Now granted St Austin's is no longer where it was,I've known that for several years and the old school was turned into flats/appartments but the old playing field where I not only played Soccer,Rugby and ran track is still there......beneath several feet of tall grass,I did numerous laps on that old grass track between 76 and 80 so I felt compelled to swing by "one last time" if even just for "old times sake"

Heading further up the street I made my way to Charlton Park,in some respects where it all began in the summer of 76 and the old "Sports Day" we used to have in high school.
To my considerable chagrin the old cinder track is now long gone,covered over by a grass field,I had hoped maybe it had been replaced by an all weather track but no,more's the pity......another piece of my past gone.

I opted for loops around the old soccer/football pitches,funnily enough this was considered Cross Country running for us in high school,in my mind I could still picture me and my class mates doing loops around while guys bitched about"sir being a dick" for making us do this while a few blokes disapeared behind trees and hedges to puff on an illicit Benson & Hedges ciggie in the hope they wouldn't get I said a trip down memory lane.

Next year God willing will be my 40th anniversary for running,said visit down Memory Lane might have had more clout then but I doubt I'll be heading to Perth via Europe for next years Worlds,if I go it will be via South America so better to get this nostalgia trip in now while I can at 39 years rather than not.

Home again after 50 mins to call it 5 miles,next run will be Tuesday in Lyon as I get a "lie of the land" funny how things turn out,39 years ago when I won my Freshmen 400m and 800m golds{and silver in the High Jump} if you'd have told me 39 years later I'd still be running.....muchless compeating at Worlds I may have laughed......I'm not laughing now!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Johnny Mcgrory.....The Trilogy

A third and final easy 4 miler out and back along the Schuylkill Footpath to send me on my way to Lyon and Worlds.
Yesterday saw the 800s begin,I would have liked to run the 800m also but aside from more time in Lyon there was alao the schedule,800m prelim,800m semi,rest day,800m final,rest day,1,500m prelims,rest day,1,500m final so I opted to go w/ the 1,500m.....I'm sure my legs will thank me later!

A comfortable 85 degrees,after several 90 degree plus days it's been nice to see things cool off a little.......knowing my luck my return to these shores on  Aug 17th will no doubt coinside w/ a return to "the dog days of August"....but I've got enough to worry about between now and then,getting to Lyon muchless the other 87 M50 1,500m runners all vying to get on the podium.....

While the mileage may've dropped and the pace slowed this week the always white hot intensity level remained on full,numerous cyclists/motorists have borne the full brunt of my"it's a fuckin' red light" mantra complete w/  middle finger jesture{like peanut butter you can't have it w/out jelly,they go together!!} also the pratt talking on her phone at the intersection of 48th and Cedar Ave while looking under the dashboard......YEAH I'm stepping off the sidewalk into the street while you're 100% focused on the road!!!!!!
And finally "Fido" trying to take a bite out of my leg as I ran by at the intersection of 50th and Cedar........13 months of blood,sweat and tears down the pan cos Fido's owner isn't paying attention to her surrondings.........

Bon Voyage!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Johnny Mcgrory The Sequal

Oh boy! it's been a while{thankfully!}since I had one of those days at work which required a much needed tension busting run post work.......yesterday was one such day it must be stated for the record!!!

I'll spare you the details but between the umpteenth call out from my co worker{who's also taking off Friday.....the same day I need to leave for the airport......!!!!!!} and my boss being about as much use as "tits on a bull" it's fair to say I wasn't having the best of days but ther prospect of a run,albeit only a 4 miler kept me sane enought till almost 5pm when at last I was able to feel the sun on my body and the wind in my face......prehaps the most rewarding moment of my day,GBTR #godblesstherun

Two down,one to go,another easy 4 miler on tap this evening b4 packing my bag for London and Lyon,tomorrow is "only a day away"...........
What? you were expecting some U2????

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Johnny Mcgrory

Will I tell ye the story of Johnny Mcgrory?Shall I begin it?Well that's all that's in it

Way back when,I bought the VHS tape of U2 ''The Unforgettable Fire Collection"  the promo videos off the album plus a short documentry on the making of "The Unforgettable Fire"
During the recording of the iconic "Pride{In The Name Of Love} Bono mentions to either Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois that he feels no sooner is in into the verse that he's into the chorus.
"It's a bit like the story of Johnny Mcgrory" says Bono"Will I tell ye the story of Johnny McGrory?Shall I begin it? Well that's all that's in it"
Basically it's over b4 it's even started.......which is kind of how I feel about my 4 mile runs,no sooner have I gotten into my stride I'm making an about face and heading home again,which is fine since I have back to back to back 4 milers ontap this week b4 flying to London enroute to Lyon for Worlds next week.

5pm b4 I was able to  get out there as I had work related stuff keeping me busy till gone 3.30pm b4 pre flight chores that needed taking care of.....then again it was only 4 miles which we've established is over in the blink of an eye.
It's been fun the last few days reading Facebook entries of fellow USA Masters athletes making their way to and arriving in Lyon for Worlds,my journey begins Friday nite w/ a 10pm flight home to London b4  a couple of days to unwind and then over the channel to France on Monday for Wednesdays 1,500m prelims......fingers crossed I advance to Fridays final but the closer we get to that the more I'll blog it.

For now a simple out and back along the Schuylkill Footpath,91 degrees,word has it next Wednesday in Lyon is going to be 95 degrees w/ the 1.500s scheduled to go off between 12.05pm and my 90 degree plus runs of late won't have been in vain will they.....!
Same distance,same Bat time,same Bat channel tomorrow!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Finishing Touches

So Thursdays planned easy 6 miler never happened,a combination of rain plus falling asleep in the recliner took care of that......maybe were I not in "taper mode" I'd have felt more inclined to get out and "get after it" once the rain stopped but w/ a day long trip to New York City on tap the following day it was prudent to get a trip to Aldi in.....or go w/out food/Gatorade/cat food/litter etc IF "taper mode" hadn't been in effect I think I'd have had no choice to to get out after Aldi but like I said w/ tapering in full effect missing a run didn't feel like the be all and end all.

An enjoyable time was spent all day in NYC on Friday culminating in catching the 8th and final U2 show at Madison Square Garden.
I've been a U2 fan for 34 years and this was my 13th show since seeing them for the first time back in November 84 the day after my 21st birthday and I have to say this was THE BEST U2 show I've seen,can't wait for them to come back again next year to either Philly or another New York Show.

Despite a 23.5 hour day{up at 5am zzzzs at 4.30am} I was up again by 11am and eventually out the door by 1pm for an easy 6 miler on Saturday  to nudge my weekly milage to 18 mpw.....I almost typed that w/ a  straight face.....
This left one final workout on the track on Sunday to finish the week off at 22mpw,a 6 lap warm up followed by 4x400m w/ 60 second recoveries followed by a 6 lap cool down.

Arrived at Lower Merion's high school track around 12.30pm,conditions were hot but NOT  a repeat of the "heat haze" coming off the track from mid June.
The goal coming in was 70 seconds and under for all four 400s...."go big or go home"went
Total time 4.41.91,just a hair off the 4.40 I was aiming for but close enough,a 4.41 mile equals a 4.23 1,500m which is a shade quicker than the 4.24.95 I ran in Jacksonville......

The "collective" hay is in the barn now,I'm as strong and fast as I'm gonna be heading to Lyon next Monday,I have three easy four mile runs on tap Tuesday,Wednesday and Thursday b4 Fridays flight to London,I do plan an easy 5 miler through Blackheath and Charlton as a shake out run Sunday and also a nostalgia trip as the route I plan is past my old high school and upto Charlton Park where this all began 39 years ago when I won the school freshman 400m and 800m.....who knew 39 years later I'd be heading to Worlds........?