Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hometown Glory

Yours truly running a race in Philly is somewhat of a "media event"........yours truly running a road race........a double whammy but you know me  I like "as much bang for my buck" feel free to insert a "Sign Of David" reference I dare ya............
My last non mile road race was the Rothman 8K 5 years ago like then my choice to run a road race was the time honoured "take one for the team" deals.
The Rothman 8k is the final race of the 9 month Road Race Grand Prix series and it's often hanging in the balance if the club{Greater Philadelphia Track Club} can win the series or at least place,this year we went into the final race in pole position but prior to that on the way home from Saratoga for Masters Nationals 5K XC C'ships last month one of my travel companions and Road Race team captain Tom Jennings asked if I'd consider running.......prior to that I hadn't planned to but it's always nice to be asked period and plus an 8k road race would "beat me up" less the the planned 15K XC at Van Cortlandt Park tomorrow so I duly signed up and "took one for the team"

Gotta say when you answer the alarm at 4.55/5.09am during the week the prospect of getting up at 6.15am on a Saturday to race is a bit of boot in the nads,perhaps 10 years of running track has made me soft we tend not to to have to be up that early.....but how often will I wake up at 6.15am have a pre race cup of Earl Grey and a banana leave at 6.52am and do my pre race warm up by jogging the 2.5 miles over to the start for a 7.30am start?........probably a year if I sign up for the 2016 Rothman 8K........!!!!
A little brisk at that early hour,37 degrees according to "old faithful"{Peco Tower} didn't feel the need to bust out the gloves but did dig out my Ireland hat,Ireland half zip jacket,knee length running tights and long sleeve Spurs warm up short below my white Greater Philly Track Club singlet,arrived at the start at 7.17am enough time to swop hat for bandana and throw my half zip and Spurs three quarter length bottoms into the baggage area and mosey over to the starting line for the 7.30am gun.

Bit of a "fustercluck" at the start but w/ almost 2,000 runners that was to be expected,still had room to "take a knee" and offer up my pre race prayer b4 a stirring rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" and the gun.
Given I didn't want to go off "half cocked" I wasn't too overly concerned that I had to weave in and out of clearly slower runners in the opening 400/600m by the time I rounded Logan Square my path was clear.
I missed my mile split.....too busy sharing a "high five" w/ outgoing  Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who has been an avid supporter of running here in the "city of brotherly love and sisterly affection" I hope incoming mayor Jim Kenny is as avid a supporter of the citys runners......
12.05 at mile 2 a little over 6 min mile pace but I felt comfortable one thing I had noticed in the opening two miles was I wasn't picking off runners ahead of me w/out being overtaken......could I continue this to the finish?

Missed the turnaround time a mixture of thanking Channel 6 Weather Woman and fellow runner Cicely Tynan for a glorious morning to run......yeah I know she had bugger all to do the the actual weather but hey she predicted good conditions and we got them.
I also had one eye on one of my teammates Chuck Shields ahead of me,b4 making the turn I counted four fellow GPTCers ahead of me,the first three were long gone but Chuck was in my sights and by mile 4 I not only reeled him in but went by him as I clocked 24.10.
Less than a mile to go,could I go sub 30.00??? granted this was going to be the slowest of my 9 8ks all time.........but feck off I hadn't ran any of them at 52!!!!!
Continuing to pick off runners ahead of me I closed in on the finishline along the Ben Franklin Parkway,shit track,road,xc you always wanna finish strong period I still live by that old Carl Lewis quote "I just wanted to know I left it all out there on the track" but seeing the Irish Tricolour on the otherside of the sidewalk gave me that extra ompff to cross the line in 29.48.

Officially 92nd in a field of 1,907, third in the 50-54 age group which I believe earns me an age group award but frankly post race all I wanted to do was grab my gear from the UPS truck{shameless plug since Candice works for them!!!} and jog the 2.5 miles home to give me a 10 mile day.........frankly breakfast w/ Candice post race was the best award this "Shamrock Warrior"  could ask for.....that said I look forward to receiving said award in the post...or via UPS!!!!!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Guy Walks Into A Nite Club,Meets His Soulmate......A True Story*

*All Fact,No fiction,Names Have Not Been Altered To Protect Identities

So as  far as yesterdays 12 miler went,more of the same from Tuesday,out day 4.30pm,home by 6.15pm 58 degrees at almost 6pm dark by the time I made the turnaround.
There was the almost unsavory incident of nearly becoming somebodys hood ornament at 38th St{what is it about that crossing,I nearly broke my wrist on some numbnutzs bike handlebar back in June?}
Thankfully my catlike reflexes saved me and while I was LESS than thrilled by the incident the  memory of "cuz" peering up at the red light after I'd given him the "death stare" and him saying "sorry sir" as he backed up took the sting out of the matter,no harm,no foul it could've been worse although the fact I deliberately wore a bright yellow Spurs Under Armour training top to be seen in the dark and he still almost ran me over does irk me somewhat......maybe he was a gooner,spammer or rent boy???

Frankly nothing was going to ruin my evening given yesterday was the four year anniversary of the nite that changed my life.
On Friday November 4th 2011 I laid eyes on my girlfriend Candice for the very first time......was it "love at first sight?" very much so and while we never spoke that nite mainly cos I didn't know what to say to her it was the spark that lit the flame that would take almost four years to ignite into a smouldering passion I like to refer to as my life.
B4 anyone gets all over me about turning Kevinrunningfree into a "Dear Abby" coloum let me state that while not a runner Candice is very much  a driving force behind my present drive to be the best runner{and human being} I can be.
It's been entirely too long since I last had "someone in my corner" in my life as well as w/ my running and I look forward to the upcoming track season and running infront of Candice,she knew I was a runner when we began dating but I never talked myself up about my 4 National Championship titles etc so it was somewhat of an eye opener the first nite she came to my place and saw all my medals trophies and plaques.

Off the back of an average track season dating Candice has added the intensity to my training that was probably lacking over the past 12 months,I'm not about to sit here and make bold sweeping predictions about what I'm gonna do in the upcoming 2016 season but I do know w/ Candice by my side and in my life I feel ready to tear it up on the track and putting the work in the past few weeks and w/ ten weeks to go till my 2016 season debut I feel confident my 40th anniversary season could be spectacular.........

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

There's A Darkness On The Edge Of Town.......

First afternoon/evening run since the clocks went back on Saturday night.
Since this was "not my first rodeo" I knew what to expect by the time I reached the turnaround at mile six half a mile from Falls bridge I antispiated the skies to be fallen if not 100 % then pretty darm close to it........I wasn't wrong!!!

Out the door a tad b4 4.35pm conditions were sunny and mild....hard to fathom it's early November,and yes while the "currant bun" was out in all its glory I knew I'd be finishing the run in the dark so no point donning the shades although it's still bandanna conditions......however ye olde baseball cap and  thermal ski hat are an arms length away when the time comes.

Again as is my won't I didn't wear my watch on the run I was out the door by 4.35pm and back by 6.15pm 1.40 a little over 8 min mile pace although I probably eased off the pace a tad on the in bound run once darkness me that was the only thing I wanted to fall!
I was tempted to see what time it was when I reached the 6 mile turnaround but figured what was the point? it's going to continue to get darker sooner and sooner as each night/week passes.

The important thing was I got this one under my belt,I know what to expect tonite when I repeat the 12 mile route and again tomorrow when 11 miles will be the "distance du jour"
As I rounded the Art Museum I got my first glimpse of trusty Peco Tower as I made my way south bound along the Schuylkill banks 5.49pm and 53 degrees, the coolest evening I've ran for a while......and it's only gonna get cooler but in order to be "firing on all cylinders" for the Indoor Season I need to put the work and the miles in now......even in the dark......

Monday, November 2, 2015

What Do You Mean,Do I Celebrate Halloween???????????

The one true Pagan holiday on the calander...YEAH I celebrated it!!!!!!
I went into Saturday needing another 14 miler to round me off at 50mpw.......some of you may say"why not do 13 Friday,14 Saturday and 6 on Sunday to get my  full 5 day/55mpw"?????
Knowing I was going to "Dracula's Ball" on Saturday till 2am didn't exactly have me chomping at the bit to get up whenever on Sunday to run then factor in the chance to see the restored 50th anniversary showing of "My Fair Lady"  you can see where a "ah feck it" attitude came from!!!

As it was my Saturday 14 miler not only rounded off the week at 50 mpw but also the month at 183 miles my biggest monthly total all year which now stands at 1,230.
Given the week of Nov 9th thro Nov 15th is my "week 9" week off and had I stuck to 40mpw I could've probably kissed my 1,500 mile yearly target goodbye{last year I fell agonizingly short by 22 miles..........bollocks!!!!!!} but now w/ the prospect of seven 55 mile weeks between now and years end I'm looking at a potential 1,615 which allows some "wiggle room" if I miss a few runs from Tuesday thro Dec 31st.

I didn't get out till gone 3.15pm which allowed things to warm up a little compared to the more traditional morning long run,frankly I was just happy to out putting the miles in.
There seemed to be a neighbourhood Halloween Party along Baltimore Ave below 46th alot of neighbourhood kids in costume going door to door for Candy......enjoy it little ones cos when the sun went down the adults were coming out to play!!!!!
Not too many folk out on the drives between 3.15pm & 5pm maybe off "trick or treatin" w/ their kids but I was happy to have less pedestrian traffic in my way,if Fridays closing miles were a "dig deep mentally and physically" exercise thern Saturday saw me return to my swashbuckling,gangbusin' "get the fuck out of my way or I'll run ye the fuck over" 8 min mile pace.

I welcomed having to dig a little deep Friday it served as a reminder that you can't just show up and "mail it in" somedays you have to work at it and on those days you get your rewards...a bit like a running version of "trick or treat" I guess????