Monday, May 30, 2011

The hard work restarts today

With a 6am start looming for my Memorial Day run I was just about to hit the sack early when a message popped up in my inbox. It was from Tim and yes it contained the new schedules taking me through to the Masters 10k in July. Early night plans were scuppered as I excitedly scanned down what was in store for me for the next couple of months. I've enjoyed being 'rudderless' and doing whatever seems appropriate week to week since the Richmond 10k but it was definitely time to get some focus back in my training and 'get back on the horse'. Thanks Tim! 15 mile 'long run' to get me kickstarted this morning followed by a mile race and some kilometer repeats on Tuesday evening...

M- Off
T- 11
W- 7 (strides)
Th- 10
F- 7.5 (including 1k at 5k pace)
S- 11 (including 5k xc race in 16:31)
Su- 5

A second successive 'down week' with the mileage and workouts light. I enjoyed running all these runs apart from Sunday's with different friends each day. Saturday's race was a 5k in Mcalpine that I jumped in hoping I could win without killing myself with the added bonus that I could jog to and from the start line. All boxes were ticked and as a bonus I picked up a new pair of shoes. A bride this week.

The only 'down' part of the week was watching my beloved Man U getting absolutely murdered by Barcelona in the Champions League Final. What a team Guardiola has, Man U light years behind and plenty to ponder over the Summer.

Happy Memorial Day all. Remember to take a moment to thank and remember all those who have fought and continue to fight for us to protect our freedoms. Amen

Monday, May 23, 2011

Week in review

M- off
T- 10.5 including 4*1600,4*200
W- 8
Th- 7.5
F- 5
S- 8.5 including 5k in 16:20 am/4 pm
Su- 6.5

Total- 50 miles

This week called for a down week and the legs appreciated it. I’m actually taking another very low key this week too. It is a long season and it is important not to just hammer it all summer as there is only one thing that is going to lead to! With my new Training Plan leading up to the Masters track 10k due to start next week Ithought it would be an ideal time to kick back for another week and be ready to hit it hard when I get the new schedules next week

Great Harvest Bread 5k

Another GP race, another runners up placing. After 4 events (3 2nds and a 3rd- could I have come second in that race had I not raced a 5k the night before? Probably) I am currently top of the standings (as John Compton kindly decided to forego the Skyline 5k) and running faster times than this time last year. This is promising as last year I was able to kick on and run a 2:35 marathon in the fall.

Having said all that I must admit that I felt kind of blah after Saturday’s race. I ended up being 50 seconds behind the winner and over 40 seconds in front of 3rd place- that’s a pretty lonely 5k! Most of the same protagonists were present for this race as at Twilight. There were two key differences at this race though. Firstly, it was clear from the outset that John was on a mission to run fast as he shot up the hill out of the gate at a sub 5 minute pace- at least at Twilight I had been able to keep him company for half a mile. Secondly at Twilight I felt Aaron was breathing down my neck the whole race and I was running scared, whereas on Saturday I looked around after 200 meters and no one was near me. Chad (who went on to finish another solid third place) had said to me as the gun went off, “have a good race”, I responded with a “you too” and that was that, I was in for just over 16 minutes of solo running!

I eventually finished in a time of 16:20 which on paper is a little disappointing but seeing as my Garmin had an average pace for me of 5:09 (compared to the official 5:14- for some reason the race organizers deem it necessary to finish this race with a sharp left uphill turn into a parking lot instead of finishing the race on the main straightaway) and that I ran solo on a hilly course, I’ll take it I guess.

Afterwards I had fun warming down and hanging out with friends and notching some nice bread and cookies as prizes. Nice start to the weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Repeats in the rain

This morning was a reminder of how the simple act of putting on a pair of shoes and running with friends can be so satisfying and enjoyable! The original plan had been for myself, Jay, Billy, Mike and Steve to meet up at 5:30 at Old Bell and head over to the last mile of the cross country course and do some mile repeats. Typically on a Tuesday I run easy on the Miners’ Run and then workout after work but as this week is a down week for me I am not running any doubles.

Jay was planning 5 at 5:20-5:30 pace as his recovery from injury continues apace. I was going to help him through the first three and then take off on the 4th one on my own. With GP race 4 coming up on Saturday there was no need for me to do 5 repeats and the 4th would be a good indicator of my current fitness. I was then going to finish with 4 200s while the others did the 5th repeat, just to get some turnover work in on tired legs.

Well as it happened it rained incessantly here all night and was still raining when we met up. All of a sudden the stuffy 70 degree, 90% humidity morning weather we were becoming accustomed to had been replaced by cold heavy rain. Mcalpine was out of the question as it would have been too muddy, so we had a gametime decision to make. Sack the workout until tomorrow or get it done on the track up the road. We decided to go with the latter, although the former was a close second at the time!

So the five of us headed up to PDS and got it done. It was dark and rainy, our shoes were soaked and the track was waterlogged, but we all met our workout goals and had a good time doing it. Oh for running with friends and a great start to the day!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Week in review

M- off
T- 7/strides am/10 inc. 20*200 pm
W- 5 recovery
T- 9/strides
F- 4.5 am/7 inc. 5k race in 16:09 pm
S- 5 recovery
Su- 15 steady state (6:27 average)

Down week next week hurrah!

Always the bridesmaid

After taking what seemed like yet another podium position at a GP race without taking the W on Friday night, I decided to take a quick look at my GP race history since moving over.

In 42 races to date I have placed in the top 5 34 times but only crossed the line first ONCE!!!

I have summarized the races below. It is high time I got W number 2, just need to make sure a few key players don't turn up for a race!!


8/27/2005 Greekfest 5k 11th 16.33
9/24/2005 Hit the Brixx 10k 3rd 34:30
10/22/2005 TJs 15k 3rd 51.24


3/18/2006 Shamrock 4 miler 5th 21.03
4/22/2006 Skyline 5k 3rd 16.21
5/19/2006 Twilight 5k 4th 16.02
7/8/2006 RFYL 4 miler 6th 21.46
8/5/2006 Blue Points 5k 2nd 16.30
8/26/2006 Greek Fest 5k 3rd 15.55
9/30/2006 Hit the Brixx 10k 3rd 33.31
10/21/2006 TJs 15k 3rd 51.26

Grand Prix 2nd overall behind Marchinko


3/17/2007 Shamrock 4 miler 3rd 21.14
4/28/2007 Skyline 5k 4th 15.57
5/12/2007 Twilight 5k 3rd 16.15
6/22/2007 Summer Breeze 5k 4th 15.54
8/4/2007 Blue points 5k 4th 16.22
8/25/2007 Greek fest 5k 7th 16.21
9/29/2007 Hit the Brixx 10k 7th 35.07
10/20/2007 TJs 15k 2nd 51.59

Grand Prix 3rd behind Marchinko and Budic


4/27/2008 Skyline 5k 4th 16.12
5/9/2008 Twilight 5k 1st 16.20
6/7/2008 Tiger 5k 4th 16.32
7/12/2008 RFYL 4 miler 2nd 21.41
8/2/2008 Blue Points 5k 4th 16.22
8/23/2008 Greek Fest 5k 2nd 15.53
10/18/2008 Lungstrong 15k 12th 55.39

Grand Prix 2nd behind Marchinko


3/21/2009 Shamrock 4 miler 5th 21.58
6/6/2009 King Tiger 5k 4th 16:52
10/17/2009 Lungstrong 15k 7th 54:02

Grand Prix DNF


3/20/2010 Shamrock 4 miler 13th 22:38
4/24/2010 Skyline 5k 5th 16.20
5/7/2010 Twilight 5k 4th 16.43
5/22/2010 Great Harvest 5k 3rd 16.36
6/5/2010 King Tiger 5k 3rd 16.35
7/24/2010 RFYL 4 miler 2nd 21.31
8/7/2010 Blue Points 5k 7th 16.13
8/28/2010 GreekFest 5k 4th 16.03
9/25/2010 Hit the Brixx 10k 3rd 34.12
10/16/2010 LungStrong 15k 5th 50.55

Grand Prix 2nd overall behind Kinley


3/19/2011 Shamrock 4 Miler 3rd 21:19
4/30/2011 Skyline 5k 2nd 15:53
5/13/2011 Twilight 5k 2nd 16:09

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A non running post!

On the eve of my 12th wedding anniversary I've decided to go all 'non running' on you and tell you a bit about how Lisa and I ended up together. No idea why you'd be interested in any of this but we were reminiscing a bit today and i thought it would be quite amusing to put some of our story into the blogosphere. So if you want a Twilight recap (I came a strong but distant 2nd behind Compton in 16:09) ignore the rest of this post and go elsewhere!

On Friday March 12th 1998 I had finished another week at the PricewaterhouseCoopers mill and headed out for the usual night on the town with my flatmates- a few pre-game beers and some pints and clubbing in Chelsea. Staggered home about 4am, grabbed an hour's sleep, quick shower and out across London hungover on the Tube to Stansted Airport to meet up with some work colleagues for a 'bonding' trip to Dublin.

I had only decided to go right at the last minute. I couldn't really afford it but a previous girlfriend I had dated while I was on my year abroad in College and who I was completely besotted with lived in Dublin and we had arranged to meet up if I came over. Sure, she was going to be with her boyfriend but screw it I wanted to see her!

A quick flight to Dublin, drop our bags off at the Youth Hostel we were staying at and straight to the nearest bar in Temple Bar. Man U were playing Arsenal in a championship decider at Old Trafford so the Guinness was soon being thrown back. A late winner by Marc Overmars for Arsenal made me thoroughly depressed and more Guinness seemed the appropriate response. My friends all disappeared off to do a bit of sightseeing, I stayed at the Bar and spent the afternoon with the 'love of my life' and her boyfriend who was an annoyingly good bloke.

Fast forward a few hours and I was in another pub, back with my mates now. I got another round from the bar and stumbled and spilt the lot on the way back to our table. Apparently an American girl called Lisa had watched all this ridiculous scene and thought I was cute (she must have had a thing for embarrassingly drunk Englishmen). Two hours later we happened to be in the same Night Club and her buddy came over to chat me up. As I was unable to converse at this point she soon gave up on me but somehow her friend (Lisa) managed to engage me in conversation, telling me about how much she loved the Verve and Radiohead. Finding something in common must have sobered me up a bit and we got chatting. I thought she looked like the lead singer from Republica, cute!

By the end of the evening I had ascertained that Lisa was also on a weekend jaunt with friends and that she currently lived in London working as a Nanny for a rich American family in Kensington. Numbers were swapped and we said we'd meet up the following weekend. By the time I'd got back to London of course I'd lost the piece of paper with the number on. Oh well, that's a shame, she'd seemed really nice but plenty more fish in the sea, etc. etc. Much to my surprise I got a phone call on Wednesday night (an English girl would NEVER call!) and we arranged to meet in a pub at the end of her road on Saturday night.

She only lived a couple of miles away (so I thought) so I decided I'd walk. Of course I'd misjudged the distance and ended up having to run for about a mile to make it in time. This was pre 'running days' so I was gassed when I got to the pub but at least I was 5 minutes early. Lisa had apparently been watching for me from her house so her first post Dublin sighting of me was me bent double outside the pub trying to get my breath back. I went into the pub praying she'd be a little late as I couldn't really remember what she looked like so I wanted to find a table near the door where I could sit and watch people as they came in. Five minutes later Lisa walked in and I vaguely recognised her! We had a good laugh that night, went to watch 'Good Will Hunting' together the next day and that was that!

Within 6 months I'd moved out of my bachelor pad and we'd moved in together in a dingy flat in Battersea. In January 1999, romantic as ever, I popped the question kneeling in front of her in our kitchen, slipped my $500 Argos (think Sears) solitaire ring on her finger and May 15th we got hitched at Wandsworth Registry Office! We had booked our honeymoon to Turkey but Lisa's passport didn't get sorted on time so we had to cancel that and ended up honeymooning on Jersey, a small British island situated just off the North coast of France. Twelve years later and here we are, two beautiful daughters and a new life in Charlotte. What a lucky chap I am!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Another weekend, another 5k race

It's that time of year again! This week it is the turn of the Twilight 5k, third race in the RFYL Grand Prix series, with the twist of it being held on a Friday evening rather than Saturday morning.

I'm excited to race, there's always an extra buzz for the GP races and the fact that it's held on a Friday night uptown adds to the occasion too. The course itself is tough and that combined with the usually oppressive heat and humidity means that people generally run 10-20 seconds slower here than they do at Skyline which we ran two weeks ago. The first two miles are flat and potentially fast but then you start climbing with about a mile to go and there's no real let up until the finish. For some reason the wind always seems to pick up around the football stadium too so the last mile becomes one hard slog to the finish. If you are going to get photographed in this race make sure it is during the first two miles!

I have a mixed relationship with this race. The first time I ran it I had a storming race in 16:02 which was actually faster than I had run at Skyline the previous week. Since then my times have progressively gotten slower though, culminating in last year's chastening 16:43 during which I honestly thought I was walking towards the end. On the plus side, however, I do have fond memories of the 2008 race, when I ran 16:20 and garnered my one and only Grand Prix race victory to date.

I won't reveal my tacics for this year's race in this forum but suffice to say I don't plan to go through two miles in 10:34 like I did last year!

I'm actually coming off the back of a pretty awful workout the other night when I did some 200s on the track but the heat and humidity was getting to me and I felt very sluggish. That heat and humidity isn't going to go anywhere so I'd best man up and get on with it, starting tomorrow night hopefully!

Good luck to any readers who will be out there tomorrow night and I'll see you after the race!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Week in review

M- 5 easy
T- 7 easy am/11 including 800/1000s on track pm
W- 5 easy
T- 6 easy
F- 13 including 8 progressive tempo am/massage pm
S- 5 easy
Su- 12.5 including 5k race in 16:13

Total 64 on 8 runs

Happy with the week and looking forward to no run tomorrow and another big race uptown on Friday night

Happy Dad's Day!

I've had worse days! Before I go any further I do want to stress that knowing that I would be racing today and then watching the Man U Chelsea game we celebrated Mothers Day yesterday so don't worry Lisa had a nice weekend!

Today started with victory in the Falafel 5k by a full three minutes. I jogged to the start for my warm up, ran a controlled 16:14 (Garmin measured 3.06 but who's counting?), jogged another circuit for my warm down, almost missed the awards as they held them early, picked up my $50 Omega Sports voucher and 4 free cupcakes from Polka Dot and jogged home. I really enjoyed the race and it was neat running on roads that I run on practically daily. The course was rolling but fair and the event very well organized. I hope this is one that stays on the calendar and I can try and defend my crown next year!

Then it was home to watch Utd despatch of Chelsea handily and virtually clinch the league title.

A happy day indeed...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Taking advantage of the temps...and a training partner returns

This week has been pretty solid so far capped today by a decent progressive tempo effort. We had a sudden fall in temps after some storms passed through earlier this week so Wednesday morning I even had to root through my Fall running gear and grab a long sleeve shirt to wear!

This morning I rose bright and early to meet up with a fast crew (Spada, Jay, Alex, Billy and Mike B) with tempo runs on the agenda. Billy had 40 minutes at about 6 minute pace on tap, so Steve and Mike joined him, Jay was looking to do 8 miles progression, starting in the 6s and finishing in the 5s. I chose this one!

As alluded to above it was a perfect morning for a run. It was crisp and dry and just about warm enough that I could get away with running shirtless. We rolled up to the (in)famous Lansdowne loop and immediately got to work. Billy, Spada and Mike settled straight into 6 minute pace, while Jay, Alex and I dawdled about 20 seconds off the pace just trying to find an early groove that we could cut down from.

Now it must be mentioned here that Jay is only just back doing workouts after an arduous winter of injury woes. I was able to help him back on his first track workout this year on Tuesday night and now we were tempoing together. Great to have him back!

I eventually covered the 8 miles in 46:48. That's an average of 5:51 miling and given that we didn't dip under 6 minute pace until the 4th mile definitely one of my better workouts! Normally when I try a progressive run I go out too fast leaving myself too tough a base to speed up from but today we nailed it pretty much perfectly. The progression was 6:22, 6:13, 6:02, 5:49, 5:46, 5:42, 5:28, 5:26 and the 4 mile splits were 24:26/22:22. Given that the second 4 miles were definitely a net uphill and that I was wearing trainers rather than flats I'll take this!

Next up I am entered into a small local 5k on Sunday that I plan to run as a hard effort and hopefully not need anything more than that. I couldn't pass it up as a) it is local and I can run to the start for my warm up and b) my Company continue to reimburse us $25 for any running races we enter so it's free!

I am looking forward to getting a massage tonight. First one in ages. It is something I would love to have more of in my schedule but unfortunately they are not cheap!! Hopefully I can get some kinks knocked out. My left calf and achilles are a bit sore right now and my glutes on the other side are not liking me at the moment. Nothing much to worry about I hope, just getting old and a good reminder to keep on top of my exercises, self massage and stretching!

Looking forward to the weekend, helping Lisa relax and get spoiled on Mothers Day and also the huge match when Man U take on Chelsea on Sunday am in what will effectively be the League decider. I'm confident....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Week in review

M- off
T- 7m am/5m plus 5*1200 pm
W- 6m
T- 9m (strides)
F- 4.25m (strides)
S- 5m plus 5k race in 15:53 am/5.1m shakeout pm
Su- 8.1m recovery run

Total- 56 miles on 8 runs, 1 race, 1 workout

Skyline Run 5k

So, shortly after my post the other day expressing my hope that a few notable absentees was going to make my quest to notch another Skyline print all the more manageable, Ben posts a status update on Facebook announcing the creation of a team of him, Bob Marchinko and Brad Popple for the race. Now this made things interesting as I fully expected all three had a shot at running sub 16. Given that my combined record against Bob and Ben is probably somewhere around 48-2 in their favour, a top three finish was now certainly going to have to be earned.

The day before the race I thought about the set up of the course, the competition I was going to be facing and the favourable weather conditions in the forecast and came up with my tactics for the race. The plan was to gun it from the start, take it out hard, try and stamp some authority on the race and hang on for dear life on the last downhill mile. So I did.

As soon as the gun went off I hit the front as we headed up the hill towards 7th Street. My tactics had made an immediate impact as Bob shouted after me "What happened to easing into the race, Paul?!" I think my early injection of pace had thrown them off guard a little.

Right on 7th and the long drag up towards the mile mark and beyond. I hit the mile in 5:09. I could hear someone close behind but didn't want to look over my shoulder and see who it was. I had fully expected more people to be right there but it appeared I only had one close pursuer at thi point.

Just past the halfway point I discovered that the pursuer was Bob as he pulled alongside me. The old Paul may have taken his foot off the gas at this point and settled in to try and keep 2nd place but not today. I actually put in another little surge and created a gap again. We hit the 2 mile in 10:16 and had 'just' the downhill mile to come. Some quick math in the head and a sub 16 definitely looked a possibility. As we turned on to the last 500m descent to the finish I could hear Bob catching me and lo and behold he soon came past me. I tried to respond but was pretty much all out already and he soon had a five yard gap which he kept through to the finish.

So 2nd and 15:53, fully 29 seconds faster than I ran this race last year and a very satisfactory performance. Obviously I was pleased to get the top three finish but the most pleasing aspect of the race was how I executed the race. I was far more aggressive and less passive than usual and it worked- definitely food for thought for future races.

Oh and I'm now leading the Grand Prix standings haha!