Masters Superstar: Sean Wade

Ever wonder how the best over-40 runners train? Well, Houston's Sean Wade is probably the best Masters runner in the US at the moment and he posts his daily workouts on his excellent The Kenyan Way website. Wade, a New Zealand native, competed in the 1996 Olympics and has a personal best of 2:10:59 in the marathon. He hasn't slowed down too much since then, most recently winning the Masters 8K Cross Country Nationals in San Diego a few weeks ago. In addition to being a competitive runner, Wade coaches hundreds of runners in the Houston area as well as others online. You can print out a sample training schedule on his website. Just plug in a recent PR and the program will calculate appropriate training paces for you. Wade seems to advocate moderate mileage with a good mix of long runs, speedwork and tempo runs.

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Viva Las Vegas

Just got back from Vegas with my wife. I stopped drinking whiskey over three years ago, but I still had the urge to pose next to this Wall of Fame at a cool low key bar called the Freakin' Frog near the UNLV campus. It looks like a hole in the wall from the outside, but it has an amazing selection of microbrews and imports. For a in-depth summary of our trip, visit my wife's blog here.

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The Situation - Why I Can't Relate

An oldie but a goodie from the Situation's 2003 Elephant Stone debut "The Reece Nasty EP". Shameless self-promotion? Sure! So buy the damn thing already.

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Gouchers Make Liz Smith again!

Adam and Kara Goucher were mentioned in Liz Smith's nationally syndicated gossip column for a second time on February 15th!

Here's what Liz had to say:

WE TOLD a while back about the hot running couple, Kara and Adam Goucher. They are beautiful, smart, ambitious and, well - they run fast! (Glam like Posh and Beckham, only less annoying.) The Gouchers are under contract to Nike, and have had even more visibility thanks to Kara's recent big wins in Japan and in New York's Millrose Games.

Now the dashing pair of athletes is being repped by Hal Lifson, who did his PR wizardry for the likes of Nancy Sinatra, Raquel Welch, Lesley Ann Warren and Jackie DeShannon. Lifson also toiled for years as a celebrity scribe. But the culture shift to mean-spiritedness drove him out of that world. (He's working on a book about his tabloid and glossy magazine days.)

Lifson is especially high on the potential of Ms. Goucher, whom he often compares, charisma-wise, to Julia Roberts. He says, "When Kara gets her Wheaties box, that'll be just the beginning!"

More on The Gouchers on their Nike Blog page

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Winter Road Race!

Ran the West End Tavern Chili Bowl 5K race in downtown Cleveland this morning and had a very solid race in some pretty brutal conditions. I ran 17:44 (5:42 per mile pace) for 4th overall and 1st Master (ages 40 and over) in a field of over 800 runners. It was about 15F and windy at race time. Even though I was dressed in my winter racing gear (compression tights, top, hat and gloves) I was still cold as hell as I finished my last pre-race strides. The course wasn't the easiest either. In the past the Chili Bowl run was held on a flat, fast course in Westlake. This year it was moved downtown. In addition to the always rough downtown Cleveland wind, the new course had two decent climbs -- going over the Superior Bridge into Ohio City and then coming back over the Bridge into Cleveland. Anyway, enough bitching since everyone else who ran suffered just as much as I did! I ran a very solid even paced race, hitting 11:30 at 2 miles and then running the last mile in the mid-5:30s before the final .12 differential that makes it 5K. Overall, a nice rustbuster and a good start for 2008. Can't wait till it gets warmer! I feel like I'm in as good of shape -- if not better -- as I was when I did 17:22 in the fall but that race was on a pancake flat course in perfect 50 degree weather.

Oh yeah, they do give you a nice bowl of Chili after the race too!

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Adorable: Footnotes - Best of (92-94)

Adorable was my favorite band of the mid-Nineties, so much so that I named my fanzine after their scorching second LP single “Vendetta,” and still use the Vendetta pseudonym for my writing to this day. Formed in Coventry, England in late 1990, Adorable was lumped in with the then-thriving UK shoegaze scene upon signing to the ultra-trendy Creation Records imprint. That said, their sound was much more aggressive than the likes of Lush and Ride, mostly resembling a more manic version of Echo and The Bunnymen, largely due to vocal similarities between Piotr Fijalkowski and Ian McCulloch. Like the latter, Piotr wasn’t afraid of running his mouth, making for some highly entertaining press interviews back in the day. While it is a little weird to see a Best-Of from a band that only released two albums, it should be noted that Against Perfection and Fake have both been long out of print and this collection of all seven of the group’s singles, key album tracks, and several B-sides flows remarkably well, demanding repeated play even from hardcore fans who have heard this all before. Footnotes perfectly balances the punk-fueled early classics like “Favourite Fallen Idol,” “Homeboy,” (see video above!) and “Sunshine Smile,” with later gems like the intoxicating early New Order-inspired “Vendetta” and the introspective, majestic pop noir anthems “Submarine” and “Lettergo.”

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Threshold is a Masters Runner's best friend

This winter I've been doing a lot of threshold work and the results have been really paying off. While my overall weekly mileage is a little lower than it was last year, I'm doing my Tempos and fartlek runs much quicker, while still holding back enough that I'm not running myself into the ground. I've been consistent as hell all winter with 3 key workouts each week. In addition to being inspired by the quality over quantity approach in the Bannister books I recently read, I borrowed this training idea from an article I read about Mike Scannell, who is from Michigan, and one of the country's top Masters runners in the 5K - 10 mile range. He only does about 30 miles a week, but his 3 key workouts are all Tempo/Threshold-type stuff. Today I did a 4 mile tempo in 23:39 going 6:07, 5:55, 5:49, 5:48 and it felt really easy. Earlier in the week I did my Moneghetti Fartlek workout, which consists of short surges at 2-mile/5K race effort with equal time rest breaks at about half-marathon race effort. It's a 20 minute workout in all and I hit the 3 mile mark in 17:26 going 5:48, 5:49, 5:49. Right now 5:50 pace feels as comfortable for me as what 6:05/6:10 did for me last year, so I'm very excited to race soon. I'm thinking about jumping in a 5K on Feb. 16 -- weather will be a high of 26F -- and will definitely do a 5 mile on March 15.

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The Libertines - Time For Heroes

Looking at Pete Doherty now, it’s hard to believe that he was once the poetic leader of the most exciting band in Britain before drugs, Kate Moss, and even more drugs destroyed him. Now with the release of a ‘proper’ Best-Of album on Rough Trade Records, Time For Heroes, it feels like a little piece of history has been cemented, and that saddens me. The Libertines exploded on the London scene in 2001 with the fantastic single “What A Waster,” and soon followed it up with the equally stunning Mick Jones-produced debut Up The Bracket. A long with the Jones studio connection, the band sounded quite a bit like The Clash, circa London Calling, as well as another legendary punk-era band with a chemically troubled frontman, The Only Ones. In addition to the striking vocal similarities between Doherty and Strummer/Jones, songs like “Tell The King,” “What Katie Did,” and “What Became Of The Likely Lads” have a similar down and out romantic vibe to Clash classics like “Lost In The Supermarket” or The Only Ones’ immortal “Another Girl, Another Planet.” Even if you already own Up The Bracket and the second and final self-titled album, Time For Heroes is still highly recommended for some non-LP bonuses, including “What A Waster” and it’s crushing B-Side “Mayday.”

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Training Update

I haven't been posting these as much because I figure anyone who is interested can read my workouts on my Training Log link. That said, my running has been going really well. I've had some really solid workouts over the past few weeks, including a very easy feeling 24:04 4-mile tempo run last week and a session of 3 x mile with 2:00 rest in 5:48, 5:40, 5:35 in very cold and windy conditions this past Thursday. Really looking forward to racing soon. I may jump into a winter 5K in 2 weeks and will definitely race the St. Malachi 5 miler in mid-March, which is the first big race of the season here in Cleveland.

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The Tamborines - Sally O'Gannon EP

I first heard The Tamborines a few years ago when I was visiting San Francisco and a pretty connected friend of mine played me a bunch of cool stuff by some then unsigned bands from the UK, including The Morning After Girls, The Lea Shores, and The Tamborines. He was also kind enough to make me a sweet CD mix, which I have been playing to this day. At the time I did not know that The Tamborines, though based in London, were actually from Brazil because damn if they don’t sound like the perfect marriage of the early Dandy Warhols and Ride. Fronted by former fanzine editor Henrique Laurindo on vocals and guitar and Lulu Grave on percussion, organ and synth, the band shines on this spectacular all-too-brief four-song debut EP on Planting Seeds Records. The title track and “Come Together” are amazing rave ups full of shimmering guitars and soaring melodies, while “Be Around” has a gentle Byrds-like vibe. The fourth track is a demo version of “Sally O’Gannon,” and while more raw sounding than the proper version, is still quite compelling. Apparently a debut album is in the can. Can’t wait to hear that because the two non-EP tracks on The Tamborines’ MySpace page are flat out amazing.

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