Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Charleston Distance Run - Race Recap

Returning to the Charleston Distance Run on Labor Day weekend has become a bit of home coming trip for me. 30 years have passed since I first laced up my running shoes and hit the streets of Charleston for their 15 mile run. Back then, life was far simpler.

I guess this is why I was leaning against the fence and soaking up the view of Laidley Field in the predawn hours. From the glow of the stadium lights across track and the finish line to the illumination of the gold colored dome on the Capital Building the feeling of nostalgia were welling up inside of me.

Life seems to move pretty fast. You need to slow down and enjoy it once in a while or it will pass you by.

In grand CDR tradition, the race starts with the firing of a cannon on the Capital Building steps. For the first 5 miles, my focus goes to settling into a nice pace. We ran along Kanawha Street, turned the corner near the Civic Center, then turn left again on Virgina Street, and the run on to the bridge which crosses the Kanawha River. This is an arched shaped bridge and presents each runner with their first real hill test for the miles ahead.

Rounding the corner, we run passed the sign explaining where the start of “Capital Punishment Hill begins”. This is the type of hill that gives most runners a nightmare. Arching your head back, fog hides the top from view. Heck, even thou there is another sign which says “Capital Punishment Hill ends”,  the hill doesn’t end. Runners make a left hand turn and then continue their climbing. Here the fog is really thick. Runners 25 yards in front of me are lost from sight.

My training for the last month has been nothing short of abysmal. But I push those thoughts away. On race day, you have what you have. You cannot improve it, and you cannot change it.

The hills seem a little steeper this year. Quite possibly, the addition of another year to my life might be the reason why.

People are encouraging, and I find that while I am not running as well as I have previously, I am enjoying myself a bit more.

Cruising down hill and back over the Kanawha River I am at 8 miles in to the race and have 7 pretty much flat miles to go.

As I am running down Virginia Street to the Capital Building, the shade seems different this year. While the sun is shining brightly, there is more shade on the course than last year. I cannot explain it, but this is how it seemed to me.

In to the Capital Building parking lot and around the back to exit, I crossed 10 miles in 67:34. Considering, I was 34 minutes and change at 5 miles, this makes me feel pretty good.

I have 5 miles left – 3 of which are along the river. This is one of my favorite sections to run in all of Charleston.

We make a right as we near the Civic Center which marks roughly the 13 mile point. At this point the bueaty of Charleston changes. Miles 14 and most of 15 mark my least favorite of the course. Mostly, I see lots of the backs of buildings, the underside of freeways, and oh, yeah, there is a correctional facility. I don’t ever remember seeing it before Saturday. Mayb it is new.

My legs wanted to tighten up badly. Even with my conscious effort to keep them relaxed. The long corridor of buildings which make-up the road to the entrance to Laidley Field seems like it takes forever. Suddenly, I bounced out on to the track. Even thou, the rubber on the track has aged; it still gives a slight bounce to my legs. The announcer calls my name, age, and city over the PA system.  He goes on to tell everyone that I am the oldest finisher so far. Not sure how I am should feel about it.

Coming to the finish, I feel better than I have in several years. With a time of 1:41:05 and place of 11th overall, I placed me 1st in the 50-54 age group.

Only minutes later, the track was now alive with excitement as runners streamed in to the finish. I stopped, listened, watched, and soaked up the atmosphere.   

Yep, this had turned out to be a pretty good day after all.
Life is about making the memories so make the most of them. 

The Cool Down Runner



Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Injury Reserve

Saturday morning, my first 20 miler in a while went pretty well. Sunday morning, I headed out for 10 miles and from the first few steps there was a dull pain on the medial side of my knee.  At the time, I thought it was nothing more than some residual effects from working around my house on Saturday afternoon. Monday morning, the same dull ache continued, and I noticed some swelling and the area was painful to the touch as well. Tuesday morning, I had a mid week 14 miler planned. I made it to 12 miles before calling a halt to the run.

The pain was effecting my stride and nothing good ever came from this situation so I walked home.

I guess this puts me on the injury reserve list for a while. How long I am not sure.
I'll hobble a few miles each day. The streak must continue but otherwise, I'll let it heal.
The Cool Down Runner

Monday, August 1, 2016

A 20 miler on a cloudy Saturday morning

After postponing this run for several weekends, last Saturday morning I finally muscled together the necessary mental drive and forced myself to run 20 miles in this summer time heat.

There was even a token effort on my part to get out the door at an early hour. However, with the temperature already hovering near 80 degrees and the air thick with humidity, 6 AM seemed to be more late than early.

At least part of my run went off before the sun truly crested over the tree line.

For most part this was a rather quiet run. George A did jump in while I was passing through Huntersville. Rolling along Main Street, I noticed this guy pull in to a driveway ahead of me, and the run across the road. As I was passing him, he jumped in to run along with me. His face looked familiar but I couldn’t place the name. George lives in the Huntersville area and was heading for a run on the Davidson College XC course. We chatted for a few minutes and then he ran back to his car. His visit was an unexpected but a much appreciated distraction from what was otherwise a hot and tiring run.

The return trip home was less eventful. For the most part the sun stayed behind the clouds until I hit the 17 mile mark. Allowing me to feel better than I would have felt otherwise.

Hard to believe but I am roughly 12 weeks out from the Marshall Marathon in Nov. Where has the year gone.

The Cool Down Runner



Wednesday, July 27, 2016

CRC's Summer Track Night

Our local Charlotte weather men were calling for a temperature of over 100 degrees yesterday, and we were prepared with ice, coolers, plenty of fluids, chairs, and tents as we headed into our club’s track night. However, it was Mother Nature who kept us off balance. Several storm fronts rolled through. There was never much in the way of rain but plenty of lightning and thunder in the distance.

For the safety of the runners and guest, we cleared the track, and asked all of the runners to head back to their cars. We would signal when the all clear sign came.

This came roughly an hour later, and we kicked our events into high gear.

Aaron stepped up to organize a lot of the pre-event stuff as our meet director. Then, last night, he led our charge to get our runners through as many events as possible.  

The most disappointing part happened when a second storm front rolled through around 8:10 PM. This forced us to cancel our 4 x 400 and 5k events.

Wrapping up, I want to send a big shout out to Steve, Rich, Mike, Stacy, Gurmit, Paul, Adrian, Bobby, and Bev. My apologies, if I missed anyone.

You guys filled in wherever needed, and helped make this evening a great success for our club.

Over time, our club is slowing getting a reputation for putting on great events. Much like a lump of coal turning into a diamond, it takes time and the right amount of pressure. Come next summer, I truly believe CRC is at the right point and time to lead our local summer track series.


The Cool Down Runner



Monday, July 25, 2016

Lazy Summer Days

I certainly hope everyone is enjoying these magnificent summer time days. I know I am. Ok, maybe not so much while running but if I am just out walking, I love it. There is something about the feel of a heat and not just any heat like the dry oven heat but rather the moist heat of summer that causes a bubble of sweat to trickle down the side of my face while I am setting in my lawn chair.

All I have to think about is setting back, stretching my legs, and sipping something cool while the puffy clouds pass slowly overhead and the day lazily drifts away.
The Cool Down Runner