Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Next Stop Baton Rouge*

Final week of prep b4 heading to Baton Rouge for Indoor Nationals on March 12th
Thus far this winter it had for the most part been plain sailing,I was concerned only allowing 12 full weeks of training through the Winter may cost me a day here, a week there but w/ the noteable exception of the one Saturday when the snow bollixed me on my repeats I have thus far been lucky w/ the weather

Monday 6 Miles
The downscaling of miles continued w/ the first of two 6 milers....it will be a jolt to the system post Nationals when I resume 10-12 milers during the week but for now I'm enjoying the shorter runs

Tuesday 6 Miles
As is my won't w/ back to back runs of the same distance I switched up from South St bridge/Schuylkill Banks on Monday to Powelton Ave and the Art Museum today
Very little to blog/report other than running "on the backfoot" a little w/ a mile race at The Armory on Thursday,no point "leaving it all out there" today and having nothing for my final tune up race.....

Thursday Mile
Thursday Nite @ The Race #4
Fresh off my  5.06.85 last week at Ocean Breeze I was hopeful of a quicker time tonite, I figured the banked track at The Armory tonite would help shave a few seconds off of last weeks time when they didn't bank the curves over in Staten Island
Heat #5 seeded 16 of 20,according to the heat sheets a dozen or so 5.00 milers so while a larger field than I'd have preferred{15-16 would've been my preference but hey.....I'm just the runner why should I have a say in matters}.... I figured it'd be a competitive heat
20th when the field merged at the top of the home straight I didn't even see the infield clock for   my opening split{40.0}
Off the bottom turn I knew I had to move up the field for fear of being in a bottleneck for the next few laps and thanks to a swift change of gears I moved up the field b4 the next turn
I'm not sure of my exact position at that time as I went thro 400m in 1.16.6 and 600min 1.53.7
On either lap 3 or lap 4 I hit the front, was I looking to win? not really it was more of a "let's see what I can run move" that happened to propel me from hunter to hunted
2.30.8 at 800m this was where I'd find out where I was in terms of speed,strength and stamina
3.08.6 at 1,000m,3.46.5at 1,200m and 4.24.6 at the bell
I was aware of another runner coming up on my outside going into the top turn on lap 7 but didn't yield or buckle if he wanted it he'd have to earn it
I forget when he passed me but he did and coming off the final turn 2 more runners went by me,again I didn't run up the white flag and crossed the line in 4th in 5.02.38
My splits were:40.0-36.5-37.1-37.1-37.7-37.9-38.1-37.7
Pretty feckin' consistant if I do say so myself,equal to a 4.44.38 1,500m it also  threw up the question was a return to the rank and file of Sub 5 minute miles doable?
Off tonites performance I'd have to say it is....however of the three meets remaining on the indoor circuit the next 2 races are 1,500s w/ a "all or nothing" final crack at things at Ocean Breeze on March 26th in the Miles Mania Grand Prix Finals..........,said date has been circled on my calendar...

Saturday Repeats
One final early morning trip to Haverford for Intervals b4 Indoor Nationals but believe me my weekly visits to Haverford will continue post Baton Rouge
Another brisk morning w/ the omnipresent wind down the back straight......but to quote a Monty Python sketch"still I was getting used to it by then"......

Still having issues w/ laps 2 & 3 in the mile,that needs a dramtic improvement post Baton Rouge

A bit more like it as I began to get to grips w/ the back straight and top turn wind

At this stage I was 8 seconds up on last weeks times but wasn't ready to"mail it in"just yet....

Yes! continued my streak of negative split 800s asitwas pointed out to me pre race at The Armory by my good friend Mark Williams "the strength is there"

Looks like I'll have to wait a while longer for a sub 2 600m but it's coming

No decending 400s again butfingers crossed come late March/early mid April the wind willhave stopped battering me throughout the repeats and I can see each 400m get  faster

18 seconds faster than last week, a  nice way to sign off of repeats pre Nationals

Sunday 8 Mile Tempo Run
Opted to go early this week as my monthly Facebook Live "Philly Nicholson 90" was due to air at 2pm
Aided by the clocks going forward I hit Boathouse Row at 9.40am....technically 8.40am and it felt a tad brisk for someone like me w/ piss poor circulation,for the opening 2 miles I questioned my choice to leave my gloves at home but by mile 3 I was no longer concerned by that
Time:55.24.8 off 6.56 mile pace
If indeed "good things come in threes" then my final race,repeats and tempo run b4 Nationals were testimony to that
Season's best time for the tempo run,but I am looking to go faster and eventually go 8 for 8 on sub 7s

Have I done everything I can to put myself in medal contention next weekend in Baton Rouge? I believe I have,all that remains is to fly down to LSU and put it allon the line next week.....

Tuesday, March 3, 2020


So down to the final two weeks of training for Baton Rouge and Indoor Nationals,less volume same intensity

Monday 10 Miler
The final double digit run of my training program an out and back along trusty Kelly Dr to kick the week off
Any thoughts,hopes,dreams,wishes,desires of this being a "run of the mill" training run almost came crashing down around my ears w/ just over a mile to go......
I was aware my left shoelace had come undone and while the over riding temptation was to say feck it w/ just over a mile left I thought it better to  play safe and pull over to the side and retie it rather than tempt fate and potentially have all my hard work over the last 11 weeks blow up in my face.....
Laces retied I begun to resume my run along the sidewalk......when some feckin Lance Armstrong wannabe comes flying up on my right hand side w/out so much as a "on your right!!!" and almost took me out.......
Ya motherfucker you.......IF you're too Chickenshit to ride on the road at least have the feckin decency in ya to let those of us on the sidewalk know you're coming while you live out your Tour De France Time Trial fantasy........
Arsehole,Lance Armstrong only had one testicle.......if I'd have caught up to ya ye'd have had none.....

Tuesday 8 Miler
The only issue going into this one was would the rain scupper my plans altogether or force me to tweek the miles in favour of a slightly longer recovery run on Friday......
Mercifully the much touted rain held off and once out the door it was no longer a question of if but when I got my out and back 8 miles in along Powelton Ave and W.River Dr done
W/ the notable exception of two more Tempo Runs I won't be logging anything more than 5s or 6s now till post Indoor Nationals

Thursday Indoor Mile
Against a backdrop of self inflicted turmoil I headed back upto Ocean Breeze on Staten Island to make my long overdue debut in the Miles Mania series
For the past couple of years Miles Mania has provided either an alternative to Thursday Nite @ The Races at the Armory or welcome addition for those inclined to get the most out of the Indoor season,having gotten a "lie of the land" in terms of making my way up here a few weeks ago I now felt confident of finding  my way in the dark on a Thursday evening.
Putting 5.04. as my seed time I was seeded in heat 2,38 seconds per lap x 8 would equal 5.04......saying it and doing it,well that's a horse of a different colour now isn't it......
In a field of 10 or 12 I was 5th off the starting line and came through the opening 200m in 39.6
Down the back straight I moved into 4th and came through 400m in  1.16.4 a 36.8 split
1.55.2 at 600m off a 38.7 split I'd now moved into 3rd and was keeping close tabs on the Garden State runner who lead the field
2.34.6 at 800m off a 39.4 split,5.04 was there for the taking....but so was the win,having occupied the rear of the fields in my previous mile,1000m,800m and 3,000m races tonite felt like an actual race and not a race against the clock as I moved into 2nd place.
3.13.9 at 1,000m a 39.2 split,3.52.8 at 1,200m off a  38.8 split
4.31.4 at the bell off a 38.6 lap ,it was time to see what I had "under the hood"
Closing in 35.4  I crossed the line in 2nd place in 5.06.85,7 100ths of a second behind the winner in 5.06.15,out in 2.34 back in 2.32......
It's a far cry from the 5.14.82 I opened the season w/ on Dec 19th and is worth a 4.48 1,500m time going into Nationals
Ironically tonite the track was flat,the turns weren't banked,which given the Carl Maddox track in Baton Rouge will be flat suited me,I have another indoor mile next Thursday at the Armory,we'll see what difference banked turns will make then.

Friday 5 Miler
Easy/recovery 5 miles out and back along Powelton Ave to 31st St at lunchtime to get any lactic acid out of my legs b4 returning to the track on Saturday for my repeats

Saturday Repeats
I knew it was going to be brisk out there this morning so since I had some leeway w/ time I pushed the repeats back an hour from 8am to 9pm
While the extra hour helped combat the cold,it did feck all where the wind on the back straight and  top turn was concerned.....

A second down on last weeks time,once again laps 2 & 3  were slower than I'd like

The 1.30s were an indication of how brutal the wind down the back straight was,that said I was only 4 seconds in the hole......

The 1.34 on lap 2 just killed not only the 1,000m but now put me at +14 compared to last week.....

Despite  a painfully slow opening 400m I maintained my streak of negative splits in the 800......

At this stage it was just about seeing it through to the end.....no matter how bitter that may be.....

3 and 4 should come w/ an * next to them.....upon compleation of #3 I discovered my Garmin never started recording the repeat so I took my 3 min recovery,reran #3 and then ran a 5th 400m to get a 4th split
In the words of Bob Dylan"Idiot Wind".......

Sunday 8 Mile Tempo Run
To complete my 6 day 40mpw the trusty 8mile tempo run around the Art Museum Loop
Mercifully at 4pm temps were warmer than 9am yesterday morning.....and there was no wind to speak of
Time:56.30.5 off 7.04 mile pace

25 seconds down on last week which is frustrating but considering it looked like a 57 min time was on the cards when miles 4,5 and 6 all came in at 7.14 I can take some solice for "not mailing it in" and making a fist of it over the closing two miles

Another week in the books,another week closer to Baton Rouge and Indoor Nationals,let's see what next week brings

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Once More W/ Feeling

Another 5 day/50mpw......and final one as this week sees the time honoured taper going into effect as Nationals are just over two weeks away

Monday 12 Miles
I was fully aware this week that once Thursday was in the books there'd be no 12 milers on my docket till the end of March as I prep for the "Triple Crown" Allstate 15k,Big Sur Marathon Relay and Broad St.
Highlight of the run.....home and hosed b4 6pm....in daylight,it's been coming and w/ the advent of shorter runs the next few weeks and  the clocks going forward soon I'm probably done my runs in the dark

Tuesday 12 Miles
As is my won't w/ back to back runs a change of  venue,Powelton Ave and West River Dr,other than my 8 mile tempo runs I guess I won't see much of West River Dr for a while,seemingly the "poor relation" to Kelly Dr I've grown to be fond of the "isolation" along West River a time and place to think about the challenges ahead

Thursday 12 Miles
Mercifully a rest day inbetween 12 milers this week,that said at this stage of my build up to Nationals back to back to back 12s are easier then they would've been in mid/late December
After warmer temps Monday & Tuesday Thursday was a reminder that we are still in Winter and the heavier long sleeve running shirt was under my half zip jacket along w/ the hat and gloves today,I've worked too long and too hard to play fast and loose w/ the weather now at the business end of my preparation for Nationals

Saturday Repeats
A slightly later start than I'm used to, a 7.30am Spurs game stuck a fork in my 8am rendezvous w/ Haverford but w/ hindsight prehaps a blessing as it was a tad feckin ber again first thing in the morning,at least by lunchtime things had warmed up as I tackled my repeats

Another "so so" opening mile,yes 4 seconds up on last week but still not sub 6 like weeks 2 & 3

Glass half empty that 1.31 second lap....glass half full  7 seconds quicker than last week......

My second fastest 1,000m this season,while my opening mile time still rankles w/ me the trend of getting quicker 400s per shorter repeat is pleasing.....since I'm not Barbie I guess I can't have everything!!

I knew heading into the two lapper that in recent weeks I've managed negative splits so opening in a lively 1.24 I wondered if that trend would continue....81 seconds later I got my answer w/ another negative split and seasons best 800m repeat

Another slower opening lap than I'd have liked but still another seasons best time,is a sub 2.00 600m on the cards b4 Baton Rouge?

Where do I begin to unpack this....
Thought I'd "shat the bed" on that second quarter only to rebound w/ only  a second slower on #3 and then drop another 1.13.4 on the finale which is my fastest 400m time this season

Sunday 8 Mile Tempo Run
Another glorious afternoon to out running around the Art Museum Loop
Time:56.05.6 off 7.01 mile pace
Only 8 seconds off of last weeks time but that soddin' 7.27 split on mile 7 fecked it all up, as each mile/split clipped off I believed I was going to improve on the previous weeks 55.57.7 only to finish in front of the Art Museum steps and see 56.05.6....and then check my splits to see that mile 7 was my undoing
Again glass half full no room for complacency going into next weeks tempo run.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

It's Official......

Yes dear reader I can confirm yours truly the Shamrock Warrior has thrown his bandana into the ring for this years Indoor Nationals in Baton Rouge
When I took my running sabatical between June 2016 and May 2017 the plan was always to return to track and Nationals....in running as is in life sometimes things don't always go to plan,lest we forget the  cock up of biblical preportions that was the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon and then the Bursitis issue in 2018 that delayed my plans to return to the track last season.
Anyways that's all ancient history now and while most of the 2019 season was about closing in on medal #200 the plan of attack was always two fold,get to 200 but also prep for Indoor Nationals.....

Tuesday 12 Miles
After the epic 15 hour round trip to Staten Island on Sunday{for just over 10 mins work......} I was a little tired to begin w/ so when the heavens opened that sealed my fate for Monday,now in this my second to last full week of 50 mpw I was faced w/ the prospect of another back to back to back 12 milers.......water off a ducks back at this stage
After a down week in mileage the week of Staten Island I was cognizant how much faster tonites run was,usually I aim for 9 min mile pace so it's give or take 1.48 for 12 miles,tonite I was back home w/in 1.40......at the time I put it down to eagerness to get a run in as it had been over a week since I'd gotten out there......

Wednesday 12 Miles
As is my won't w/ back to backs I switched things up tonite and hit West River Dr,another evening where the "loneliness of the long distance runner" mindset seemed to ring true as my 6 miles along the drive from the Art Museum to Strawberry Mansion bridge never presented another runner......but to quote a line from a Monty Python sketch"still I was getting used to it by now"......
Evidently Tuesday increase in pace wasn't a one off,out by 4.20pm home by 6pm,maybe now in week 9 of my training I've bulit up the required speed strength and stamina I've been aiming for

Thursday 10 Miles
Slight change in plans,a slightly later start than I'd have liked due to a trip to the bank to transfer funds into my checking account for tomorrows deadline for entry for Nationals meant I was closer to 4.30pm when I set off so mid run I envoked my inner paddy and said "Feck It".....10 miles today and just tack on an extra 2 miles after the tempo run on Sunday
Daylight had gone by the time I arrived back on my doorstep at 6pm but it's looking like I could be getting home before dusk next week, as of Saturday sunset is now 5.38pm.......

Saturday Repeats
Jaysus!!!!! 15-17 degrees at 7am when I left home to hit the track at Haverford,fuck me it was cold!!
I did have the option of a slightly later start then 8am as Spurs didn't play till Sunday but I'm a creature of habit and I've grown used to getting up at 6.30am and being out the door by 7am and on the track by 8am and done and dusted just gone 9am,as my mentor the late great Villanova track coach Jumbo Elliot famously said to his athletes" eat at the same time,train at the same time,sleep at the same time......and goddammit shit at the same time if possible"
My concession to the cold was to abandon my usual 3/4 length compression shorts and  bottoms in favour of running tights and tracksuit pants,this coupled w/ the cold air may've been why my times/splits were slightly off

Last time out I was miffed that my mile wasn't sub 6.....2 weeks ago it wasn't this feckin' baltic out here!

Christ,after 2 repeats I was already at +13.....it was going to be"one of those days" I could tell!!

At least my splits were getting quicker or I was getting used to the cold......

As has become my won't a negative split for the 800m and the 800m was the highlight of my workout

Always a plus to see semi decent times in the 400 splits

Not earth shattering by any means but frankly I was just happy to have faced the below freezing temps and gotten my repeats in
The +36 doesn't sit well but hopefully things will be warmer next Saturday

Sunday 8 Mile Tempo Run
Christ!!! after the Baltic cold of Saturdays repeats my Sunday tempo run at 3.45pm was  conducted in mid 50 degree temps
Last time out 2 weeks ago in my season debut over the tempo run I went 58.43.6 off 7.20 mile pace,today:
55.57.7 off of 7 min mile pace
2.47 quicker and a nice rebound off of somewhat disappointing splits on my repeats

Another 5 day 50mpw......thanks to an easy 2 mile jog down Powelton Ave post Tempo run,one more week of 12s and 50mpw before I taper for Indoor National......all roads lead to Baton Rouge

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

It's All Part Of The Masterplan

Well it took nearly five years to run at Ocean Breeze on Staten Island but I can add it to the roll call of places in NYC I've ran
Sunday saw the USATF NYC vs NJ Open/Masters meet a meet I considered last year but didn't do....12 months later I was signed up for the 3,000m
Unlike meets I've run at The Armory & Tom's River in NJ  the field was set by time and not age which was a double edged sword, I'd be in w/ the open runner and runners from 30-54 but in theory this would pull me to a faster time
Had they split the field at open/49 I'd finish higher up the field but probably slower{for the record the winning time of heat 2 was 11.30.48}
10 of us toed the starting line and it would be the first and last time the field would be close......
Going to the rear of the field I realized w/in 100m I was going to get gapped if I didn't move up and moved into 8th but the lead 1-7 were already strung out,w/ hindsight prehaps I should have gone w/ them......

Going in I seeded myself at 10 mins in order to run that pace I would need 40 seconds per lap or 3.20 per 1,000m
My splits finished:41.6-38.9-39.4-40.3-41.2-41.2-41.7-42.2-41.1-43.2-43.7-43.5-43.3-37.8 my 1,000m split was 3.21.7 and 2,000m in 6.50.4{3.29} and I covered the final 1,000m in 3.32

When the dust had settled my  takeaways from the race were as follows: slower than I was hoping for however I believe I'm capable of running faster, were  I not in "no mans land" I feel my splits would have been a second or two faster per lap putting me closer to low 10s
Yes I won the 55-59 age group by some 27 seconds but there are sterner and stiffer tasks ahead
Ocean Breeze while a bitch to get to is a fine track facility and I hope to run there again b4 the Indoor Season ends in March.

Back to the drawing board? no I have almost a month b4 Baton Rouge,come Saturday I'll have an idea of the fields for 55-59 and who I'm up against and where I need to sharpen my speed

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Feelin' The Need For Speed

A wise man once said"it's not when you face adversity,it's how you deal w/ it when you face it....." so off the back of a triple let down the week prior I went into this week "armed to the teeth" to correct that......

Monday 12 Miles
Nice easy out and back along Kelly Dr to Colombia bridge to kick start the week and banish the previous days sub par repeats at Haverford

Tuesday 12 Miles
Act two of a "three act play" this time favouring West River Dr
As is often the case next to no one out on West River Dr,but in fairness when I looked across the Schuylkill to Kelly Dr I didn't see too much activity going on over there either
Nice touch by Boathouse Row to light up each boathouse in Purple to morn the sudden loss of local hero/legend Kobe Bryant....R.I.P.

Wednesday 12 Miles
Back to Kelly Dr this evening as I completed the "Triple Header"
One theme of each run so far, noticing how light it stays as we come to the end of  January.
I can pretty much get to mile 9 of a 12 miler by 5.30pm off a 4.15pm start b4 losing daylight
Knowing it'd be the weekend b4 I ran again I could officially call it for January mileage...206,back to the realm of respectability again after 218 in September and 194 in October

Saturday Repeats
After the "shit show in the snow" two weeks ago and being feckin windswept last week I was eager to nail these repeats period but w/ a Sunday race on tap the following week I wouldn't be back out to Haverford till Feb 15th......no pressure....

Pleased w/ the 1.27s to open and close,not so happy w/ the 1.34 on lap two which ultimately cost me a shot a sub 6.......

Not feckin' sure where that 1.23 to close out the 1,200m came from but fair fuckin play to me
Having gone +3 to open after the mile my 1,200m now had me at -4........

After battling the wind on the back straight and top turn a week ago it was a joy to be able to work on knee lift and leg turnover down the home straight this week

When I opened in 1.26 I figured negative splits might be a stretch......I thought wrong!

A solid opening 400m,get that closing 200m to 36 and lower and it's back to sub 2s........

A little up and down like an EKG chart for my liking but all respectable quarters at the end of a solid repeat session

The previous week had seen me go +64 on the previous splits,today was -53......trending in the right direction as they say.....

Sunday 8 Mile Tempo Run
It had been a while since I'd last done the 8 mile tempo run around the river but w/ a decent amount of 50mpws under my belt since the start of the new year now felt like the time to resume them
7 min miles x 8 miles was 56 mins.....a tad too rich for my blood right off the bat,8 min miles x 8 miles was 64 mins.....setting the bar too low so 7.30 mile pace =60 mins was the target
7.20 mile pace
Not a bad way to open my 2020 account on tempo runs and a legit target to chase in two weeks time when I renew hostilities w/ the Art Museum Loop again

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

He's A Rebel And A Runner

Bugger! a sub par week,a tick over the 800m time I was looking for, a sub par interval session and "Mother Nature" fecked me over for 4th consecutive 50mpw.......otherwise a good week!!!

Monday 12 Miles
Jaysus it was Baltic out there this afternoon!
Given it was a race week I opted to get my longest run out of the way first knowing it was Brass Monkeys out there
Threw my sleeveless hoodie on under my running jacket to keep the wind off my face,dug out the running tights,went w/ heavy duty gloves and would rue not doubling up on socks as by mile 4.5 I could feel the tips of my toes getting numb
There was however a satisfaction in knowing tomorrow was now only 10 miles......and it'd be feckin warmer!!!

Tuesday 10 Miles
So remember back in late September/early October I had a week of encountering all kinds of creatures on my runs that week......add a Possum to the list now....
Just beyond the South St bridge where they extended the Schuylkill Banks upto Christian St there's a footbridge where I encountered the Rat back then.....tonite my foe was bigger and uglier{ God must have been in a pissy mood when he created the Possum....just saying!}
Thankfully for both of us a wire fence separated us,I didn't need this ugly bollix going after my ankles and he didn't need a size 10.5 running shoe going up his hole!
It's almost 10 years since the infamous "Possum Gate" war of words between Joel Dubow and yours truly in case anyone has forgotten him likening me to a Possum........

Thursday 800m
Thursday Nite @ The Races #3
12th  Seed in heat 4 w/ my 2.20 seed time the field was comprised of 2.14-2.20 runners although only 9 of us toed the starting line
Off the top turn I moved into 8th place as I opened in 35.98 I was hoping for 34s...
35.46 for a 1.11.4 400m splits
Mr fecking consistency a third 35 second lap,35.89 for 1.47.3 at 600m
Kicked like mule over the final lap and passed runners 6 & 7 on the back straight but ran out of real estate up the home straight to reel in 5th
33.6 split for a 2.20.98 finish that was rounded up to 2.20.99....
Hindsight is a wonderful thing,I wish I'd been more aggressive on that third 200....that said would I have dropped a closing 200 in 33.6........

Fuck Sake! A week removed from the snow that banajaxed my repeats I got to my front door at 7am to be greeted by pissing down rain....that shite was coming down sideways!!!!
No point trying to run period in that much less intervals and w/ a prior commitment on tap for the afternoon I had no wiggle room.........
Insult to injury yer man reading the local weather tells us "no precipitation in the forecast for the next seven days".....that's fuckin' grand!

Sunday Repeats
Two choices,do repeats at the expense of my long run,or vice versa either way I wasn't getting my 50 miles in this week.....
Since last weeks repeats in the snow were a shit show and in two weeks time I have a race on the Sunday which puts a spanner in the works for a repeat that weekend I felt it was prudent to go w/ repeats over a long run.......
So the good news the track had dried out from Saturdays rain of Biblical proportions the bad news the fecking wind was fierce along the back straight and top turn

Sub 6 but last time out I went 5.53.....last time out I wasn't doing that mime shite down the back straight and top turn either!!!!

While I was only 4 seconds down after the mile any hope of making a fist of it went out the shaggin window now

Shamrock Warrior is getting angry.......


 A sub 1.30 opening 400......to quote Monty Python"still I was getting used to it by now"....

At least I didn't "mail it in" and managed to get each split faster than the previous one....albeit by the skin of my teeth on #2

Insult to injury my 3/4 mile cool down was me running back to the Haverford train station to catch the 10.51am train or wait an hour till 11.51am
Upon boarding the train I instinctively went to my phone to pull up the National Hurling League results.......BOLLOCKS!!!!! Cork lost their opening game by a point......and hit 17 wides.......t'was that kind of a shaggin week I guess.....