"Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about." Oscar Wilde

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The downs and ups.

After once again fading into obscurity and not posting for a lengthy period I am returning with an elusive blog entry. What people would criticise as poor continuity I would rather view as kindness. I only subject yourselves to good material. A clockwork, weekly blog would be manufactured and repetitive right?

Anyway, this blog comes at the end of my second cross-country season in the United States of America. It was a season of stark contrast to fall 2010 on both a personal and team level. Where injuries blighted my progression last year, the team matured and accomplished unprecedented things. Namely our first ever team ACC crown and a second place finish at the national level. In 2011, as a group, we were unable to reproduce those highs. We had a brilliant team effort at ACCs and saw ourselves come up short against a solid NC state outfit. We then went on to nationals and saw our chances of replicating a podium finish disappear amongst injuries and adverse circumstance. For myself the 2011 cross season was a much-needed boost after over a year of underperforming. To finish 16th place at the NCAA cross has been the result of nearly two years of training here. A rollercoaster ride that has seen far more troughs then peaks. I suppose that is the nature of the NCAA in that the level of competition far exceeds that of England, and even Europe, yet there can still only be one victor in any given race. I’m just thankful I kept at the grind and, true to form, hard work is always rewarded.

After nationals there was the possibility of a return home for the Europeans floating around. It was something I’d loved to have done but with UKAs policy of ‘no trials race no selection’ it was an impossible ask. Mainly due to the fact exams are coming up soon and missing three weeks of class would just be unacceptable. For that reason I finished my season and had a much needed down week of training. A cheeky little jaunt to Atlanta for thanksgiving was the new plan of action and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend the time.

So the Christmas season has officially started with the commencement of ABC’s 25 days of the aforementioned and, even at 21, I’m rather excited for the festive period. With a return to England immanent and any running competition ceased until the New Year my brain seems to already be away on vacation. Unfortunately, being a student-athlete, I have the little obligation of academics to fulfil and exams upcoming in a week. For that reason I’ll be wrapping up this instalment (yes that was an awful Christmas pun) and bid you all farewell! To anyone taking exams soon good luck and for everyone travelling home to be with loved ones stay safe!!


Friday, September 30, 2011

The first outing.

So the summer months rolled by and its time for the fall championships in the NCAA. In amongst the mass pages of literature devoted to college football (American) I believe a sparing few should be committed to that little known sport; cross country.

First and foremost, being back in Tallahassee is a great laugh! The new freshman and changing dynamic has been a breath of fresh air; hopes and aspirations of emulating or even improving upon cross 2010 have already taken root. Fortunately absurd notions of growing mediocre facial hair remain untouched, for which I am most happy. The prolonged days of chilling in a hotel have prompted me to rekindle this waffle of sorts, however, once the season gets rolling more valuable information about rankings and form will appear . . . That’s a fib ☺. A truth is that with the new room mate Breandan (question king) O Neill and Kenny (eat his body weight in goldfish crackers) Jesensky the good times shall be fast and frequent!

A feature of my blog in the spring was a bit of mass banter with one of my training partners at the time Ciarán Ó Lionáird. The Irish press would have you believe his friends refer to him affectionately as Mad Len, I would say this is mainly false and the affectionate names more commonly used will not appear on this blog (blag). Just keeping it PC! Anyways it must be said his running prowess grew in tandem with his flailing mullet and he did inspirational things in the twilight months of the summer! Theres the big shout out.

Back to the present. Standing on the precipice of my second cross-country season across the pond the nerves and excitement are beginning to build. The dreary, British-like, weather currently plaguing the South Bend couldn’t be more apt for our first outing. The garnet and gold will be pulled on and the lads and I will get to work!

Until next time.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Road Trip

Despite the meandering nature of the Garmin supplied for our road trip Kenny managed to traverse four states and guide us safely to chapel hill. The fact, post race, the device guided us to a non-existent Italian nearly lead to a test of its product warranty, however the few deft blows dealt to it seemed to re-align its senses and the return home through Atlanta went seamlessly. With a vast soundtrack provided by obscure radio stations such as radio Augusta a newfound love for mediocre hip-hop was kindled within the group. Racks by YC had to be the pick of the bunch for myself.

As for the meet itself I ran a 3.44; disappointing. A 62 first lap and being baulked at the bell by a rather dim opponent who saw space where non-existed lead to a stuttering race. Unfortunately, the fact speed endurance has been somewhat neglected from my training meant the lactic built up from constant accelerations and decelerations lead to a slow 45 second last 300.

However, for the rest of the team there were some big PB’s. Smyth ran a 3.45 that has guaranteed him a spot in the regional meet, and in the 5k there were standout performances from Nick and Seth, providing an exciting finish to the late night event. (Nicks pb coming after a 30 minute 10k only 48 hours earlier!) The breakthroughs are testament to the hard work put in by all the lads in the distance squad where no one has sat back on their laurels, since the second place finish at national cross, but increased the work ethic with the newfound belief that performance brought.  Also a track list featuring artists such as the xx belting out in the background throughout the races was a definite win by the organisers up in UNC.

Since returning to Tally we’ve been hit by a nice cool spell of weather with highs in the 70s farenheit (20s celcius for you’s back home). This has allowed us to train of an afternoon and gain some much needed shut eye after a long weekend. With the summit of the collegiate season almost upon us I’m starting to get rather excited and a little nervous, all the diligent preparation has lead to the first round of the national meet, also known as regional’s, in just over a week up in Bloomington!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summer Vibes

As of Monday I was living my life in blissful ignorance as to the existence of a most peculiar creature known as a minipig. Google image minipig if you’re yet to experience the wonder. The notion of a piglet that never grows is quite disconcerting; one could quite easily lose the thing in your morning brew or in the case of @Mad_Len your mullet, which would be very disturbing for all parties involved. To think the lad would buy one and spend his hard earned post season money on anything other than coke products is absurd!

Anyway the weeks been going well, summers in full swing and I’m enjoying the tally vibe, all be it the swathe of humidity that seems to have enveloped the town as of late is quite distressing. Surely what has to constitute as coaches golden rule, ‘Beat the Heat’ has never been more applicable! Through his ambition to get one over the weather, Ciaran and myself have managed to wangle an extra day up in North Carolina. The drawbacks of an 8 hour drive, seem quite minimal when you’re with task master @KrJrUnFaSt and the self proclaimed king of banter; mad len.

My free hours have become somewhat comparable to the time Rooney spent on the pitch last world cup without scoring and I have managed to accomplish a variety of menial tasks. The hairs been cut, I improved my white mocha consumption and have linked my twitter account to said blog. Its only Wednesday!

On an athletic note I’m looking forward to racing the 1500 up in Chapel Hill on Saturday, a distance I used to frequent on a regular basis, which has now become a novel exercise in ‘stepping down’. I can honestly say the 5k has none of the appeal of the distance that produced such English greats as Cram and Ovett and the meet will be as refreshing as Yoghurt Mountain on a 90 degree day in Florida.

Take it easy,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Penn Relays and the first week of summer.

After flirting with the idea for a while now I've finally taken the plunge and decided to write my own blog. Hopefully, it will be a useful tool for those of you who care to see how Im doing in my endeavours on the track and provide insight as to the other aspects of my character. If you ever have any questions about the stuff I write feel free to leave a comment.

With the culmination of finals myself and Kuba (Jakub Zivec) headed off to Tallahassee regional airport to join up with the other members of the 4xmile squad in Philadelphia. It would be nice to say it was a seamless travel but anyone who flies Delta, especially through Atlanta, knows that could never be true. After a missed connection and reroute through Detroit, where we got a cheeky shakeout in running the full length of the terminal, we eventually arrived in Philadelphia. Our arrival at the airport coincided with the return of soldiers who'd just finished a tour in Iraq. To see the reunions of families with their sons, daughters, fathers and wives was both humbling and touching. They do an amazing service and deserve mad recognition. 

After the travel we got our heads down and it came to the meet itself. As a squad and individually the race could've been somewhat better, we finished with a time of 4.27, 8 seconds off the win. I ran the third leg with a split of 4.02 but got the baton too far down the field to be in the hunt for the golden watches. Aside from the race the meet was brilliant! 50,000 track enthusiasts packed inside the historic Franklin Field was something else, we treated ourselves to a nice philly cheese steak, had a reunion with old friends, and were even able to have a gander down south street for a spot of shopping. Great success. As an aside one should make sure they know exactly what Sheraton they're staying in when in downtown Philly, as there are a couple, and a 20 dollar parking fee seems somewhat steep to find out you're in the wrong place!

A few snaps from Philadelphia.

I returned to Tallahassee safe in the knowledge class was on the back burner until the end of August, which allowed me to get in a great weeks training. I hit a 90 mile week, unintentionally carried away I guess but we'll see how that works out for me. I had two solid workouts in the form of a tempo and a longer track session, and also had a chance to kick back and watch the seminole twilight meet hosted at our track. The only downers on the week is the fact Man Utd both progressed to the final of the champions league and all but ensured the title with a win over chelsea. This will provide you with a good laugh http://twitter.com/#!/HowardWebb_MUFC

All in all the first week of summer was epitomised by running, recovering from running and refuelling for running. But with the great lads on the team it's an easy lifestyle to lead.

Thanks for watching,