Morton Mile - Dublin

Last Wednesday evening was the Morton Mile held in the Irish National Stadium in Dublin. The field was composed of mostly Americans and was very competitive. The race went out a bit slower than anticpated and clocked around 3:02 at 1200m. The race broken open with 400m to go and I ended up getting knocked around a bit and losing some momentum and finished in 5th place. I was fairly happy with the way I ran but was a bit disappointed to not have been able to finish a bit higher. I feel like I am learning something new each and every time I step foot on the track here in Europe. Part of me knows that to get the big jump I really want will take time and more training. I am excited to pursue this at the next level!

After the race, we were invited up into the pub that is located trackside. We enjoyed some sandwhiches provided by the meet and visited with some of the locals who came to watch the race and take part of the annual event. It was a unique setting; old and young together sitting around, some drinking a pint, and everyone was telling stories about the old days - I enjoyed that experience.

The next day we headed into the city centre of Dublin and took a bus tour passing many of Dublin's historic sites, including Trinity College (which hosts the Book of Kells). Our major stop was the Guiness Storehouse where we took the tour and sampled a bit of the beer that they make there. Arthur Guiness signed a 9000 year lease for what amounts to about 45 dollars a month to rent the land where the brewery sits. As of today, the lease is only in its 225th year! After the tour we went to get sandwhiches at one of the local's favorite shop - it was really one of the best sandwhiches I have ever had.

After a couple days in Dublin, I took the bus up to Belfast. I was able to meet up with a couple of my friends who are also racing the British Miler's Club event here in Northern Ireland. I will post more about Belfast tomorrow!



Liam and I on one of the bridges over the canals in Amsterdam.

I was able to make it up to Amsterdam for the weekend where I met up with my buddy Liam who is over here racing the european season as well. The apartment he is staying in is in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam which is one of the oldest and most prestigious neighborhoods in the city. Amsterdam is a beautiful city with canals that divide the buildings and the streets and allow boats to be a prime form of transportation. When I arrived, we headed out to a cafe to grab some lunch and some cappacinos and expresso -both were quite good but I have to admit I am ready for a big cup of joe back in the states. On our way to the cafe, we passed Anne Frank's house which was only about a quarter mile from where Liam is staying.

From there we spent part of the afternoon exploring the city and then came back and made some dinner at Liams apartment - pasta, broccoli, and chicken. That evening we went out again walking for a bit. Of course we ventured into the world famous Red Light District to check out the sites. It was one of the most interesting and bizarre places I have ever been. After the stroll through we headed back to the apartment and crashed early!

The next day we got up and made some breakfast and went out for some coffee at a more "american" style shop. While they still do not have a standard cup of coffee (as all of their coffee drinks use expresso beans) we each were satisfied with our latte and cappacinio. The afternoon was spent watching Tiger perform less than impressively in the British Open and saw a South African take one of golfs biggest prizes.

Later on, we went to Central Station and hopped on a tram that took us to the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam where the 1928 games were held. The Netherlands National Championships were being held at the stadium so we made our way to the adjacent practice track to do our workout. After the warmup, I completed 4x200 and a 300 all at around my goal 1500m pace. I felt great in my workout and I am ready to race in Dublin and Belfast!

My next post will be from Ireland as it is my last day in the Netherlands.. I have really enjoyed my time here and look forward to coming back next year!


keeping myself entertained

Today was a day of leisure. I slept in and waited til the afternoon to do my 35 min run. I am finally starting to feel recovered from my races. Two in just three days is more than I am used to but I'm glad that I was able to run Liege even though it was last minute. The rest of the morning was spent reading and drinking some coffee (expresso).

After breakfast, I washed my clothes and put them out to dry. (I have never used a clothesline before but think that I may try to start at some point). After I set up my clothes, I was chatting with my girlfriend, Anne, and mentioned the clothesline. She reads these design blogs and told me that it reminded her of something that might be posted in them. As a joke, I decided to take a photo that might appear in one of these blogs. Very artsy, no? She was happy to let me know: I failed.
Why do I include this, one might ask? Well, I feel that it displays the length that elite runners go to keep themselves entertained without wasting energy doing 'more active' activities.

Anyway, back to business. I went out for my run doing my usual loop around the city wall and then decided to head down a few streets that I haven't yet explored. I got a little lost and ended up in a garden just beyond the street I was supposed to turn onto to get back to the house. Wasn't too big of a deal though because it only caused me to run about 5 minutes extra. Tomorrow I will work out at the track - most likely a decent amount of volume and some strides.

Soaking up the last bit of time I am on the European mainland before heading to the Emerald Isle next week!


Liege 3k

M 3k F01 3k | 2010 Liege Meet on Flotrack

Last night, I raced in a 3000m in Liege, Belgium. Liege is about 90 min southeast of Hulst near the German and French border. It is much more hilly than the land in and around Hulst where I am staying. The track is perched at the top of one of these hills. There was a beautiful view from the warmup field that is carefully terraced into the hillside. I arrived at the meet with plenty of time and went behind the stadium to catch some shade and hang out before it was time to warmup. Several other American runners were also here so it was nice to catch up and hang out with some people from back home.

The race went out very quickly as there were several top level Kenyans hoping to run seasonal as well as personal bests. The 3000m is a bit of an 'off-distance' because it is not run at major, national or international competitions. More frequently this distance takes the form of the steeplechase. Runners who choose to stick to the flat races enjoy the rare chance to run this distance.

I stuck in the back with the American pack and waited until about 600m to pick it up. Perhaps I was a bit careful, but I was pleased with my finish. I would have liked to have run faster but a big portion of this trip is focused on becoming a better racer and finisher. I did not execute that well in Brasschaat but felt that I bounced back two days later with a solid effort in the 3k. Although, I must admit it leaves me wanting more but that is not a bad thing because I still have at least one more race in Belfast, UK on July 24. (1 mile)

The overall experience of this race was great. The atmosphere was electric - the place was packed and people were on their feet almost the entire time. You could tell it was a social gathering, they played music (lots of techno and american top 40) during the races. Beer and snacks were served. If I didn't know better I would have thought I was at a baseball or football game back in the states.

Photo day

A view down one of the streets. Shops, outdoor cafes, bakeries, and Gelato. And of course bikes.
The running/walking path that winds along the top of the city wall. Roughly 4k in length.

One of the three entrance tunnels into the fortified city center of Hulst.

A view from the town wall - homes in the foreground and the town basilica in the distance.

Above is a photo of one of the Hulst's windmills located on top of the town wall. In the foreground is my borrowed bicycle.

A few thoughts on Hulst

Hoya Alum in Brasschaat, Belgium. From left: Liz Maloy, Andrew Bumbalough, Maggie Infeld, Liam Boylan-Pett.
1. We went to the center city Basilica on July 9th (huge cathedral type church in which the old town is constructed around). It was beautiful, build around 1420 and had a bunch of stained glass. One of 22 in all of the Netherlands..

2. Gelato is good, they have it in the Netherlands (which I didn't know). I had it for the first time since landing in Europe today (there will be plenty more stops at this place). I decided on Pestatio and Hazelnut flavors. The ladies serving it were very nice and were surprised to hear english and even more surprised that we were from the United States (due to the fact that Hulst is such a small town.)

3. EVERYTHING here is in Dutch. I mean, I guess it makes sense because we are in the Netherlands. But I went into a bookstore today, hoping to find at least maybe a newspaper in English. Fail. Ha, It's cool that we are in a small town that is so authentic but it would be nice to be able to read a sign from time to time, or a menu, or maybe the labels on the back of the packages of food. While most everything is written in Dutch, almost everyone speaks English.. . EVERYONE rides bikes.

4. I made an omlette this morning and Michel (our host) was impressed with the size of it and the effort I was putting into making breakfast. I get the idea that breakfast in the Netherlands as well as Europe is more simple and smaller portions.

5. Ran on some trails on July 9th on the outskirts of the town. Went out and back for about 10k. It was built on a berm about 3 meters off the ground hundreds of years ago so that they could see the enemy coming from miles away. All you need to see long distances is 3 meters of elevation because this country is so flat. But also very beautiful.

We are in the 'suburbs' outside the town wall which hosts all the cool stuff, shops etc. we are only about a 5 min bike ride from there and I make the trip about twice a day to do food shopping and just to get a coffee or hang out. Luckily, we each have a bike to use but some of them are 'female bikes' which have a slanted bar rather than the straight across one. Consequently, when you are riding one of those as a male you get weird looks from people, especially the kids.. ha