Monday, March 28, 2011

New World Record!

This past weekend I was proud to witness history unfolding as I watched many of my friends, new friends and teammates churn out lap after lap around the PDS oval in pursuit of the 100*5k world record. It all started at 6am on Saturday morning as Ben Hovis launched the assault with a 16:04. Just over 30 hours later and the record was in the bag. Average pace? 5:58 per mile/18:34 per 5k. Not bad for 100 different runners all from the same city right?

Fastest was in form speedster Johnny Compton who powered around the track in 15:12 while 14 year old phenom Alana Hadley skipped over the puddles in the Ladies' fastest time of 17:08. There were many other notable performances and it would be unfair to single any others out as I would forget other equally notable performances if I did so. Not one person was late for their run even throughout the night when the weather was at its most merciless. I was watching/timing/lap counting between 10 and 3 am and the rain and chill was unrelenting.

The best part of the whole event for me was meeting new people whose names I had seen before but now had a face to place next to them. The old Facebook friend confirmer button has been going into overdrive since Sunday afternoon! It was a joy to spend so much time with a bunch of people all sharing the same passion.

Go CRC! I hope I can represent well this weekend when I return to Richmond for the 10k!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dodged a bullet?

I really thought my stupidity last week had blown my Richmond chances, but after 4 days of complete rest and TLC on the calf I felt confident enough to give it a test run on Thursday. 2 uneventful, cautious miles later and I was hopeful that the worst of the injury was behind me, a hope that was all but confirmed on Friday when I ran 4 more incident free miles.

A note to Coach was sent and I was told to try 60-80 minutes on Saturday. If that went well we would come up with a revised run-in to the race next week. I am now in relieved possession of that schedule after a solid ten miler this morning. Phew!

My run this morning was early- on my way to watch the first couple of hours of the Charlotte Running Club's 100 by 5k relay record attempt. Good luck everyone!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Biting off more than I can chew

I woke up Saturday morning feeling pretty decent all things considered. I went for a quick jog around the neighborhood and the legs actually felt fine, a little sore but seemingly nothing untoward. I headed off to the race and got a good warm up in. My legs even felt like they had a bit of ping in them as I was doing my strides! I lined up for the race and had a quick check on who was there. John C who was going to crush it and Nick F who I expected would try and hang with John were going to be the first two out of the gate and I was going to stay out of that! Then there was Brian on his ‘home course’ and the ever competitive Aaron who I thought would form the second group and I fancied I could probably hang with these guys. Other than that it was the usual faces.

Sure enough Nick and John shot out of the gate on their way to a 9:38 split for the first two miles! Aaron and Brian followed and I hung back about ten yards behind just feeling myself into the race. By the end of the race I had worked myself into third place with a good solid race behind a fading Nick and a dominant John. 21:19 and happy with that in the circumstances. I warmed down with John and Aaron and a few others and the calves were sore but manageable. I figured a couple of easy/rest days and I would be fine for the last push in towards Richmond. Bang, Sunday morning and I woke up with that all too familiar feeling in my right calf. I think it’s just a strain and there won’t be any long term effects but still Richmond is very much in jeopardy now.

I’m disappointed and annoyed with myself because I’m the idiot who thought he could get away with two races so soon after each other (especially with one of them being in spikes) but shit these things happen and I don’t think it was THAT crazy to race twice, after all I‘m very fit at the moment. So we’ll see what the next few days brings, I’ll keep you posted….

Friday, March 18, 2011


Happy to PR and just about to head out for 4 more miles of pain! Here's a quick race recap from my training log before I do the 4 miler!

Right calf was a little sore before the race so was a little concerned but could tell in the warm up that it wasn't going to be a factor and felt pretty good doing my strides etc. while we waited around to start.

About 25 of us toed the line so it was chaos at the first corner. I was trying to get to the kerb and out of trouble as soon as possible but spent most of lap 1 in lane 3 and lap 2 in lane 2!

Race settled down a bit on the third lap and I found myself in 5th place at the front of a big bunch with the top 4 strung out ahead. Happy to see the clock reading 3:04 at the k and 4:55 at the mile as I was feeling pretty comfortable.

Reeled in 4th place pretty quickly. Any time someone from behind would pull alongside me I would try and relax and hold them off- I guess I prefer just running on my own than sitting on someone!

Went through 3k in 9:18 and knew a PR was on the cards as long as I didn't screw it up in the last 5 laps!

I was definitely starting to work a bit harder now. One guy went pretty smoothly past me but I overtook someone else falling back to stay in 4th. As I hit 800 to go I worked out as long as I went under 2:36 I would get the pr. I was fighting it now but held off the guys behind and closed in about 70 I think.

Very happy to get a pr. If I ran a couple more of these I think I could go faster in the right race but I'll probably just stick to the roads again for a while!

Warmed down with a BW guy who knew Tim trying to flush out some crap before toeing the line at Shamrock 10 hours later!

k splits


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Don't be afraid to use it

I was pretty pumped after Sunday’s workout. Exhausted but pumped and seeing it as tangible proof that I’m getting fitter by the week. Coach summed it up best though (as ever) by telling me that it seemed to him that I was in great fitness right now, don’t be afraid to use it! So that is my mantra going into my 5k tomorrow night. Even though I’ve ‘trained through’ this week (after all my main eye is on the 10k in Richmond in two more weeks) the plan is to lay it all out there tomorrow night and notch a good time. I’m hoping I can get myself into a good group and get pulled along by them. Last time I ran a 5k on the track I was solo the whole way and that becomes a bit of a chore when you are running 12.5 laps! I’m also going to break the race down into kilometre segments rather than miles- 5 kilometres seems a lot more manageable on the track than thinking of it in terms of three miles plus 200 metres!

So that race will be all over by around 10pm tomorrow night. Then it will be a question of warming down correctly, scarfing some food down and heading home for a few hours sleep before the RFYL 4 Miler Grand Prix opener on Saturday morning at 8am! I really like this race. It’s a tough rolling course and being the first race of the Series always seems to attract the big guns. My best race I ran there was back in 2006 when I ran 21:03 and I think if I wasn’t doing the 5k Friday night I would have had a shot at going under 21 at this race but as it is I am assuming my legs will be trashed from the race and I’ll be making up the numbers with a good view of all the racing going on at the front. I’m essentially running the race solely as it is a GP event and would cost me the points if I didn’t turn up. I’d be watching it anyway so I might as well be out there on the course in some shape or form!

We’ll see. All I know is that come 8:30 am Saturday morning I will need a nice long nap. Chances of that? Minimal to nil!!

Monday, March 14, 2011


The key workout I have been re-visiting every couple of weeks during this training phase has been the 6 or 8 mile tempo run followed by a 1600 and a 1000 at the track. It’s the first time I have done these type of workouts and I’m finding them very beneficial. This is how they have progressed over the last couple of months….

1/22 6 miles @ 5:47, 5:15, 3:14
2/5 8 miles @ 5:45, 5:10, 3:11
2/19 6 miles @ 5:48, 5:03, 3:08 (followed by some 400s)
3/13 8 miles @ 5:35, 5:05, 3:04, 3:04

Now I just need to put this progression into good work at the actual races themselves!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Diary of a good week

Hi all. Another week in the books at a decent if tiring one at that. Got my last really long run and hard workouts out of the way and am looking forward to racing the next three weeks.

The week began with a solo 9.3 mile effort on the roads in my new shoes I had won at the race. I clipped along at an average sub 7 pace and was impressed by the shoes. they have a lower profile than I have been used to of late but I like the better feel of the road you get with these type of shoes so will take the numbness in my forefeet while I get used to them!

Tuesday saw the usual Miners/track double. The track workout was a fairly light one after the race at the weekend. I did 8 400s with a 2 minute recovery. The first 4 I wore my flats and hit an average around the 70 second mark, the last 4 I threw on the spikes and managed a 66 average. I still feel awkward in my spikes and as if I am not exploiting them to their full potential but they're still certainly faster than my flats.

Wednesday I had a lie in (especially for Steve that one!)and just ran an easy 5 at lunch time with my co-worker buddy Ryan. He ran a sub 40 in his second ever 10k last weekend and over the summer I'm going to help him get his 5k time into the 18s hopefully.

Thursday I had decided was going to be long run day so that I could move the second workout of the week back to Sunday. Not only that but as I would be running to work and Lisa was going to have to come and pick me up, I would be doubling and running half way home in the evening. I still wanted to meet up with my usual Dowd am buddies so mapped out a route whereby I could run from my house to the Dowd, meet the guys and run half of the remaining ten miles to work with them. This worked out well although my legs were very tired by the end. That will be the last time I run for over 2 hours in quite a while I would imagine though! The legs had recovered pretty well by the time I ran my 5.3 after work and so hit over 24 miles for the day.

Friday I was able to take completely off knowing I was still going to be on track to hit the goal of 75 miles for the week. I met the Friday runners group that hang out at The Burger Company for lunch and also signed up to run for the store again this coming season. This was the prize I won for coming second overall in the GP series last year and it's the last season they are handing out sponsorships as a prize so I had better make the most of it! I am very grateful for the opportunity to represent the store and am looking forward to picking up my new race shirt next week!

Saturday I got up early and took a trip down memory lane running the old 7.5 mile loop through Mcalpine that Tim and I used to run before he upped and left Charlotte. I ran in the Defyance again and again enjoyed the ride. I got home just in time to get the kids up and head out to watch the Corporate Cup Half and Relay. I had fun just hanging out and watching a bunch of my mates racing and cheering them on. In a series of notable performances it was 14 year old Alana Hadley who once again deservedly grabbed the headlines with a 1:21 win in her first ever Half (on a very challenging course!)

This was the second year running I had watched this race but this year was in much happier circumstances as last year I had planned to run this race until a calf strain two weeks before put paid to that. It is nice sometimes to be able to just kick back and watch everyone else race. I haven't had to take any significant time off since last year's race- this is definitely the longest injury free period of running I have had since I started running!

Today was the climax to the week and was a pretty daunting workout of an 8 mile AT tempo on the Lansdowne loop, jog to PDS track and run a mile in 5:10 and 2 kms in 3:03, all with 400m jog recovery. Luckily I had recruited the company of Rocky Falcone to help me out and help me out he did indeed. We hit 44:43 for the 8 miles having gone through the 10k in sub 35 and then laced up the spikes to hit 5:05, 3:04, 3:04 on the track. I was exhausted but very satisfied with the workout. As I write this Sunday evening my legs are still very sore from the workout but I'm not running until after work tomorrow so hopefully they will be showing some signs of life again by then.

I ended up running 75.5 miles for the week and am looking forward to this week with Tim coming into town Wednesday and Thursday, the track meet on Friday night and the 2011 GP opener on Saturday less than 12 hours after that! I will preview both races later in the week but if you want a good Shamrock 4 miler preview in the meantime, check out Brian's blog....

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Get Your Rear In Gear 5k

Time: 16:16
Position: 1
Assessment: Adequate

So I had a decent enough run on Saturday. My main goal was to win and I achieved that. I would like to have been a bit faster (seeing as I hope to go faster than that pace for a 10k in less than a month!) but as I ran the race on my own and the second mile was very tough I need to put the time in perspective.

The day started with Lisa dropping me off three miles from the start line so I could warm up while she went ahead and parked. The girls were both running in the Fun Run so I was able to watch that before my race. A few strides and mutual good lucks with Aaron and we were off. Having scoped the start line for any other potential rivals and not seen any that I knew, I soon locked in side by side with Aaron. Up front, my new friend from Friday lunches at the Burger Company and fellow non-American, Bjorn 'Storming' Norman, had taken it out at a very rapid rate.

We turned on to 4th which was a long downhill and soon pulled alongside Bjorn. I had been expecting Aaron to go tearing off down this hill with me hanging on for dear life but I actually found myself pulling away from Aaron, early signs that maybe he wasn't going to have one of his better days.

After about half a mile of this downhill we turned on to Kings and began the long climb that would take us through the best part of mile 2. My Garmin beeped at 4:56 at the mile mark which was fast but not unexpected when considering the course layout. I passed Caitlin who was out watching and taking pics and continued grinding up the hill, happy in the knowledge that once this was out of the way it was a pretty flat run in to the finish.

I passed Thomas on the bridge back over Independence and hit the second mile in 5:26 (!). Thomas had said that I had about a 60 yard gap so I just kept up a hard pace during the third mile pretty safe in the knowledge that the victory was mine unless I fell apart. After a third mile of 5:16 and a 38 second sprint down into the finish area, I crossed the line in 16:16. Aaron followed 26 seconds behind. We quickly shook hands before he headed straight off a la Spada to Mcalpine where he was due to do a workout with one of his runners! Bjorn easily clung on for third place and was very happy with his time. I chatted briefly with Theoden and a few other guys I knew and waited for the awards ceremony. I was invited on stage to receive mine which was a free pair of shoes from Omega Sports (I picked up a sweet pair of Brooks Defyance today).

I had decided I would run home from the race to make it 14 for the day and mean I only need do 5 today to meet my mileage goal for this 'down' week so with pretty sore legs I headed home and it was actually a pretty decent run.

Later on that evening I made the most of a rare 'Hall Pass' and met up with a bunch of guys at Taco Mac for beers, wings and nachos- diet of champions! Aaron bought me the Guinness he owed me after the race and a good time was had by all, especially my Tarheel fan friends!

Today I enjoyed a much needed lie in before watching a dreadful performance from Man U against Liverpool. It was raining heavily outside and was one of those days you just wanted to stay in, so we did! At about 1pm I decided to head out for my quick run. Got drenched but legs felt okay and ready to hit another 75 mile week this week...

Saturday, March 5, 2011


A win and an okay time on a tough course. Fuller recap to follow

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Cathartic workout

Most people who know me here probably don't realise how passionate I am about sports other than running. I don't have a College to hang my hat on and of the big three sports here I love watching football but don't follow any particular team, I can take or leave basketball and definitely leave baseball!

My big sporting passions were left over the pond when I came over. I am a huge Man United fan, have been since I was 8 and used to regularly attend games. I watch all the games I can catch on the Fox Soccer Channel and ESPN and whenever they are playing midweek I follow the games on the BBC at work! I also get very passionate about watching England play pretty much any sport, especially our 'big three', football, cricket and rugby.

What has this got to do with running? Absolutely nothing! Just gives a bit of context to my workout on Tuesday. I was sitting at work at 4:30, winding down for the day and starting to think about the 7 minutes of pain on the track I had ahead of me. Man U were playing a huge Premiership game against arch rivals Chelsea and were standing at 1-1 with a few minutes left. I would have happily taken a draw but disaster struck as first Chelsea won the game with a disputed penalty and then Captain Fantastic Vidic got sent off and will now miss our next crunch game at Liverpool on Sunday.

So I left for the Dowd to get ready for my workout in a foul mood! I jogged down to the track for my warm up, spikes in hand, and passed Theoden and Thomas who were also going to be at the track doing their thing. I put my spikes on for the first time since last summer and did a few strides to try and get used to running in them again before I started my workout. The mile (well, 1600m) passed in 4:46 and was faster than prescribed despite the fact that I never really felt that comfortable in the spikes. I walked around for 10 minutes and got pretty much fully recovered for the 800. I was happy to hit this in 2:13. I ran the first lap solo in 66 and Thomas joined me for the last lap and I was consequently able to hold it together for a respectable time and a decent workout that went SOME way towards cheering me up after the Chelsea result. A jog back to the Dowd and I was done for the day,

So this week I'm getting some freshness back into my legs after the last month or so of hard work. Monday I took completely off and the rest of the week other than the workout has been and will be very easy, leading into the race on Saturday. Looking forward to see where I'm at when I race. Plenty of smack going back and forth between myself and a certain CRC Chairman and close friend who will be towing the line alongside me. Should be fun!