Monthly Archives: April 2016

High quality mile repeats today!!!

Saturday  at the Penn Relays from home.

Started off the day with ‘breakfast at Penn’ and prepared for my workout. The goal was to get it in around midday before the big races happened this afternoon.  I heated up and loaded up with layers before I headed out.  It turned out the sun broke through and the temperature rose and I was way overdressed, but that’s better than being under dressed as I made clear in my previous post.

By the way, I did make a video titled “The Importance of Warmup,” but it was too long to post on this site.  It is however on Facebook, and on YouTube and on Twitter.   So if you’d like to take a look you can find it at Robert F. O’Rourke on Facebook,  Robert O’Rourke  @bobbyo43  on Twitter and I don’t know how you find it on YouTube. I know it’s there and I will find it today . I’m going to make a short video and try to upload it today. But I digress again.

The workout went very well.  I warmed up for two miles with a few pickups.  Stripped off a few layers and set out to run some repeat miles under 8:00.   I will have to run at 8 minute mile Pace to break 25 minutes for 5K . My original goal was 3.   Mile #1 was pretty comfortable in 7:47.    Then three minutes rest and Mile #2 was a less comfortable 7:52.  I decided to end there  on a positive note. If you have read my previous posts  you will understand that I believe getting beaten by a workout has no positive outcome.

Those are the fastest 2 training miles I have ever run!    
I think my fitness level is improving.  My aforementioned 5K test in May will be very interesting.

No Achilles tendon discomfort during this workout!

Post workout protocols in place except no ice for the time being..   Chocolate Milk,  Banana, green tea with tart cherry juice cocktail and a healthy lunch.



A.m. HR  – 54 BPM
Weight   – 152 pounds
I -Mad –  2.5

Sleep – 6.5   Must do better,  up too late working on blog.

Workout – four and a half miles on cinders with interval miles at 7:47 and 7:52.

Reluctant run today

  • Friday at 9 p.m.

“Blood runs cold

I feel it in my bones”

Def Leppard

I just returned from a very reluctant run.  Spent the whole day procrastinating;  finally got out, too late.  It was too cold, too dark, raining and just plain ugly.  I had on my many layers and my legs were warm.  I never took off any of my clothing; ran with my hood up. My Garmen says I ran 2 & a half miles in 32 minutes.  That is pretty weak. (I ran 11:44 for two and a half miles in high school.    56 years ago    Is that really possible?)  But, I digress. It’s better than getting nothing in at all not a rough day.  Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be more accommodating, and I am determined to get in that  mile repeat workout on the cinders.  The best hope is for me to do it in the early morning  while the endless 1600m meter relays are being run  at Penn, before the good high school and college championship races begin after 1 o’clock.

I hope everybody is having a better day than I am on the running front.

It is Penn Pelays weekend!


A.M.HR  – 54BPM

I-MAD – 2

WEIGHT  – 153#


Workout  – 2.5 cold rainy miles

The importance of warm up

I’ve been watching Penn relays again today for about 8 hours now.  I have resisted going out for my run because I keep getting caught up in another race.   Now I have to wait to watch the high school competitions that occur between 5:30 and 6:20.

Now today has been a raw, rainy day in at Franklin Field and in Jackson.  In the course of the Flotrack broadcast the commentators were mentioning how cold it was and how smart athletes need to be about their warm-up and how difficult it is at the Penn relays. It’s always amazing to me how young athletes resist the idea of wearing sweatpants during warm-up.  I could blog endlessly on this topic , but instead I have decided to vlog.  VLOG is a new word I just learned from my daughter, Kristen.  It is a video blog.  If I get it to work you will find below a vlog directed by Arlene and made by me.

We made the video and tried upload it. However my WordPress site tells me that it is too too big to place on this site, there is a limit of 64 something megabytes something. So we will have to do some adjustments and see if we can get it back up. I thought it was pretty good and that people might enjoy it .  We  will see. Right now I am off to do my workout before it gets too dark.

Indoor recovery day

April 28th, Thursday,   6:30 p.m.

“Stormy Weather “

Decided to take my own advice today.  It was all so rainy and cold, a perfect day for an indoor workout and binge-watching of the Penn Relays..  So I went to the clubhouse,  during endless girls 4x400m HS , for a full body workout with no impact.  I did light lifting set in the weightroom and rode the bike for 20 minutes.  After that I headed into the pool for a half hour of swimming and finished up with 15 minutes in the hot tub whirlpool.  That work that usually makes me pretty tired and gets me into better early for a good night’s sleep.  Tomorrow I will be back on the  cinders for some quicker work.

The hits on my blog have grown to over 300 in the last 2 days thanks mostly to the work of Rob.  So keep reading and sharing.


A.M.HR  – 52 BPM



WEIGHT – 153#


Penn Relays for whimps

20160429_134710This weekend is as every track enthusiast knows Penn Relay weekend. I have attended the Penn relays since 1957 almost without missing a year. I ran 4 times. I have loved every minute of it. If you read one of my earlier blogs, you will find my comments about how my first visit to Penn relays really changed my life. However for these days I am a bit of a wimp. I have a pretty large screen TV at home. I can buy the entire Penn Relay program on Flotrack for $19. I can see every single race for 3 days, morning, noon and evening. It’s like being at trackside!  I can do this while having breakfast, lunch, dinner and $1 Bud Lights. I make hot dogs for myself to get that Stadium feeling. But I don’t have to drive to Philly. I don’t have to pay for parking or get a ticket, which has happened many times. I don’t have to pay $40+ for a ticket to sit in uncomfortable seats and get badly sunburned. My couch is really soft. Even though all of those are part of the Penn Relays experience, I’m a wimp. So I am sitting here watching the Penn Relays and not getting out on the road to run. I have to make a decision at some point to get to my workout. So, if you can’t make it to Franklin Field, look up Flotrack and buy the entire experience for $19. Have fun: I am!

By the way I watched the North Hunterdon Girls run the 4 by 8 this morning and Hillsboro’s four by four comes up in five minutes.

Lots to report today


April 27th,   Wednesday,   10 p.m.


Above  (Tap address.) is my new favorite picture taken by Arlene today and submitted to her Camera Club photo contest.

This blog is getting a little crazy.  My son, Rob, posted stuff all over Facebook and Twitter today about my blog.  The number of people who checked in rose from a high of 22 – at this moment standing at 270 hits.  I am shocked!  I hope these folks come back and keep reading.  Exciting. ……

I  read a report this week which cited studies that have proven that running invigorates the brain, especially and more importantly the frontal lobe. That is an area that controls rational thinking and problem solving.  So, as I was running my 5 miles this evening I let my brain wander and came up with some interesting thoughts.  I guess I can say that some of those crazy things I’ve been writing are the product of  an invigorated brain.  YES, I ran another five miles  this evening , once again to my surprise.  I guess I am getting back to where I was  in St.Augustine ugustine last month. Remarkably the Achilles tendon discomfort for the entire run was at 0. I will have a word to say about that in a moment. The time for a total run which was quite similar to yesterday was 56:28.   But the last four miles there in 42:15 with a final mile of 9:28.  This was one of those really exhilarating runs in beautiful 60 degree weather and overcast sky . I had that floating feeling throughout with no leg soreness at all.


Now I will share my thoughts on why my Achilles tendons were not aching this morning or during the run today.  Yesterday I had run 5 miles on the hard roads.  I was certain I was going to have sore and tight tendons  this morning and have to take the day to recover.  However, I woke this morning and had almost no discomfort in the Achilles area on either leg for the first time in weeks. I allowed my frontal lobe to contemplate this remarkable turn of events as I ran today. And I came to the conclusion that the answer had to be ice. Or should I say the absence of ice.  For the first time in weeks I did not ice my Achilles tendons after my run.  What made me change my procedure?   I have reread Dr. Mirkin’s post about ice a number of times.  In his article he cites 10 years of research that have proven that ice has no impact on healing or recovery.  Ice will reduce pain while it is applied.  But ice has the opposite effect according to Dr. Mirkin’s studies. It actually prevents or impairs the healing process. You would have to read the article to fully understand the physiological and scientific, biological reasons for this.  But the data and research suggest that it is true. So, yesterday I did not ice my Achilles tendon and today I had the most comfortable run with no discomfort in my lower legs.  Can one day prove that ice is a deterrent to recovery and healing?  No.  However, I have run 10 miles in the last 2 days and my tendons right now are feeling fine, and no icing.  There is one variable that I have not controlled for and that is speed. The miles I have run in the past two days have been in the 10 to 12 minute  range except for the last mile today.   I will continue to monitor, and I will report on the results after I have run some 8 minute mils and some pickups at a faster pace.

I am thinking about a non impact day for the morrow.

I thought that passed through my wandering brain along my 55 minutes of running tonight was about the concept of “The Slapper.”  I was reminded of this phrase while speaking with Coach Jim O’Connor at the Somerset County championship meet last Saturday.  When Jimmy my assistant we always had a lot of fun with the boys because they had come up with the concept of “The Slapper.”   I cannot remember which runner came up with the term,  but he described an opponent who was racing behind him and he could hear him slapping the ground with each stride.  So this phrase became a common source of derision on our team.  Of course anyone who slapped the track when they were running, either a team member or an opponent,  immediately became known as a Slapper.  But over time the word grew and the concept expanded to encompass anyone who we felt was an inferior athlete. It would be not uncommon to hear someone say when we arrived at a meet, “There’s no way these guys are going to beat us, they are a bunch of Slappers.”  And of course to call a teammate a slapper was a huge insult.  What actually made me think of it today was I had been complimenting myself on the feeling of floating and taking veritably silent foot strikes during the run.  Now of course,  I never encouraged guys to  deride opponents or teammates, but I think perhaps the  idea of the negative meaning of slapping had a positive impact on my runners.  It may have in fact helped to improve the efficiency of their running when they made specific attempts to run softly and not pound the track or the trail.  So the the concept of The Slapper survived a couple of decades, and Jim O’Connor and I laughed on Saturday remembering how much fun we had hearing kids talking about Slappers back in the North Hunterdon days.  Then one of the triple jumpers we were watching came slapping loudly down the runway and both of us looked at each other and said, “Slapper .”

Finally, I want to thank everyone who read my posts today and liked and shared my blog on Facebook and on Twitter. The number of hits is astounding to me and I hope that it continues. It would be my dream come true to have this site become a place of discussion among all runners. senior, middle-aged, young adults and teenagers.  I will continue to tell my story. And I would love to hear anyone else’s stories.

Tell me your stories.



I-Mad  –   1 today!

a.m. HR – missed

Weight  – 152#

Sleep – 7 hrs

Workout – 5 miles  in  56:22

   1 –  16:15  walk & jog

2 – 10:55.   3 –  11:13,

4- 10:52,  5 – 9:28!

HR after run  126 BPM

No more Junk for me.

April 26th,  Tuesday,   10:30 p.m.


Stormy skies today kept me away from the track meet at Liberty High School this afternoon.   I waited all afternoon and finally saw a  break in the clouds.   I did manage to get in a 5-mile run to my surprise around the neighborhood.  The miles did get quicker as I got more warmed up.  Throughout the run my quadriceps were feeling sore and achy. It finally occurred to me that this was the obvious result of my first bike ride on the boardwalk yesterday.  Once I realize that, I stopped worrying about it.  The temperature was about 55 degrees, total overcast sky and a gentle mist in the air.  It was quite pleasant running.  The five miles took exactly one hour. The splits are posted below in the workout.   Along the way I began thinking about my previous argument lauding the benefits of so-called junk miles.  Running miles today just at or under 12 minutes made me conclude that I needed a more positive name for these kinds of miles.  So I decided to make a acronym from the benefits that I stated when writing of junk miles.
Continue reading No more Junk for me.

The Coaching Years 1974 – 2012

IMG_1323Winning wasn’t everything, or the only thing.  But it sure was fun!


It is a daunting task to attempt to capture 38 years of coaching a single post. The idea of this blogging adventure was never to talk about my coaching career.   There are truly thousands of memories.  Each athlete was special, each competition thrilling. The coaches that I worked with and competed against became special friends each.  For 24 years at North Hunterdon we had successful season after successful season.  Some were spectacularly successful.   I am proud of everything we accomplished.  But perhaps the nicest thing that anyone has said to me was a compliment  from a good friend, Roger Shutack.   Roger coached basketball with success, intelligence and class for many years at North.   I have a great deal of respect for Roger’s knowledge of sports in general. That is why his compliment was so meaningful to me.   In a conversation we had after I retired he said,

“Bobby you weren’t just successful, you changed the game. Not many coaches can say that in any sport.”

I’ve been fortunate to receive many honors  for the success of my career as a running coach . But I, honestly, can’t think of a higher compliment.  Now, I would bet Roger doesn’t even remember saying that to me.  But just the fact that a fellow coach might think of my career in that manner fills me with pride.  And I like to think he’s right!

Someday I may decide to write a  biography of my coaching career with all of its successes, failures, great characters and stories.  But that is for another time.

In February  of 2011, at the age of 69, I decided it was time to get fit again. Then, in March of 2016, I decided to write about the trials and joys of training  and eventually competing as a plus70runner.   So here we are.