Sunday, October 1, 2017

Novant Health 15k Race Recap

Temperaturewise, this morning was a great morning for running. On the other hand, windwise, conditions were less than idea.



At least we were not racing in temperatures like last Saturday morning. They were miserable to say the least.



However, before I dive into my race recap, I wanted to share a funny story about myself leading up to it.



Some time back in August, I signed up for this 15k. At the time, I noted that the race date was in October. Then, I pushed the thought on the back burner.



Earlier, this week, I popped open my inbox to find an email from Run For Your Life giving the detail race break down. I thought – how strange. They sent this out a full week before the race. They are really on top of this race stuff. Worked picked up, and I pushed thought into the background. However, in the back of my mind I could shake this feeling that something wasn't right. Strange, they would send this out a full week before the race. I didn't recall the date of the race from my registration, but I assumed it was the first full week in October.



Finally, I went back to the email from my registration and read through it. To my surprise, yes, the race was in October but the race date was the 1st. I flipped over to my calendar, and suddenly, the date dawned on me. The race was this Sunday i.e. today. How could I have screwed up the date.



Any way, I pulled up my training plan and shifted around my workouts to make things work with racing this weekend.



Tada, this morning I am standing at the 15k starting line. With any luck, my legs will not let me down.



We get a quick 5 second count down, and we are off. Laurie and Billy quickly move out to the front. They will soon be out of sight at least to the small group where I am running.



Four of us form in to a nice little pack. Two guys, who I had never met, wanted to be out front. I had not problem with letting them. The wind was nasty. If I didn't need to lead the pack so be it. The forth member of our little group was young lady from the UNCC 49ers XC team. This was her first 15k race. I remember her because she beat me at the StreetLight 5k back in July.



So the miles rolled back by. We would run a bit slower on the up hills, and then run a bit faster on the downhills. Somewhere between miles 4 and 5 she dropped back. I stayed with the two guys until between miles 6 and 7. We went in to this little side neighborhood. Actually, the run in was not that bad. The run out was another story. The hill was about 200 of super steepness. They opened a gap on me that I never make up.



Once we up on top, the wind was hitting us hard in the face. The harder I attempted to run the harder that the wind seemed to be pushing back on me. Miles 7 to 8.5 seemed to take a life time to complete.



I saw the sign saying 15k to the left and 5k straight ahead to the finish. I so wanted to go straight ahead to the finish.



Nope, I had to follow the 15k course. At least, I had the 5th place guy probably 30 to 40 yards ahead of me. He was my carrot. I keep chasing as if I could still catch him. Even thou, in the back of my mind, I knew my changes were slim.



I pass by mile 9 in just under 56 minutes. My brain is already calculating my finish time. I am urging my legs forward in hopes that I can do a bit better than my calculations.



I brought my Hoka/Charlotte Running Store jersey home in 58:03 which put me the first male master. Actually, one of the guys that I had been running was a master as well, but he finished in the top 5. They bumped him up and by bumping him up, they also bumped me up i.e. 1st place Master.



Having not raced in the roads in nearly 3 months, my goal today was sub 60 minutes. My hope sprang from the fact that I had been running bunches of tough trails. May be some of it would translate over.



Looks like a bit of it.



Kudos, to my 3 running buddies that helped me through the early portion of this race. The pace was perfect. My only wish is that I could have stayed close a little longer. May be next year.

Big shout out to Billy for taking home the win for guys, and Laurie K. for the latest. Both were in a league by themselves today.

Now comes "rest" for the rest of the day today, and then I need to get back to training. My marathon is a little over 5 weeks away.



The Cool Down Runner










Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wild Vine Trail ½ marathon

So this weekend I ventured out to the White Water Center for their Wild Vine Trail ½ Marathon. Great event but everyone endured tough conditions. Between the weather and the course, more than one runner including yours truly was “cooked” by the end.



Heaven only knows why they decided to start this race at 9:30. The temperature was well in to the upper 70s by the time we rolled off the line and well into the upper 80s by time that I crossed the finish line. I will say that for the first 5 or 6 miles, I was tolerating the heat fairly well, but over those last 7 miles, I was reduced to putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, when I crossed the finish line, I immediately went over to the benches and laid there for probably 30 minutes. I wasn't alone. Looking around, many of the runners were suffering. All any of us wanted was water and shade.



The early miles of the race suited my style of running which was probably why they let me pound away at the front. We made a circle of the main loop around the rapids before descending into the trails. Rolling along the South Main trail, we picked up the Carpet and Wedge loops. Then going by the Weigh Station loop, the 2nd place guy passed me. To my credit, I told him early on to not let me hold him. I guess finally he decided to take me up on my offer. Minutes after passing me, he had pulled away and was soon out of sight.



After the Lake Loop, we picked up the “but kicking” East Main trail. Twisting and turning, going up hill and down, all the while I was attempting to keep my feet underneath me. Throw in the fact, the heat made me feel like I had an 800 lb. Gorilla on my back. I was really happy to get through it without falling.



Plus, I was really surprised that I didn't get caught by another runner. I felt sure that my crawling up the hills would give someone the time that they needed to catch me.



Guess they were struggling as much as me.



Long story short, I ran 1 hour and 53 minutes. This was 40 seconds slower than my time 3 years ago. However, this time I moved up a few spots to 2nd overall, and I came home with 1st place in my age.



Take the tough days in stride and live to run another day.




The Cool Down Runner





Sunday, September 17, 2017

22 Miler LR 9-6-17


Following my usual weekend long run plans, I was cruising a long the trails at the White Water Center on Saturday morning. The last couple of weeks, I would repeat my first 10 mile loop. This way, life is nice and simple. On my second lap through my brain is nearly on autopilot.


But this week, I switched things up. I ran two different 10 mile loops. If I had desired, I believe I could have squeezed out a 3rd 10 mile loop with hardly any overlap. The WWC guys keep adding trail. I love it.
 
So why did a switch up my run pattern this past weekend.....

As we get tired, our ability to concentrate becomes more and more difficult. For this very reason, I pushed myself to do the more technical trails over the last half of my runs. Thus, knowing the course is far more difficult; I force myself to concentrate so much harder and longer. An ability which I believe can be enhanced in us all if we are willing to work at it.



But I digress.



Hopefully, these long runs will help me with my Marathon. The race is fast approaching with only 6 more weeks of training left to do. Seems like the weeks are flying by.



The Cool Down Runner

River Jam 10k Trail Race

Ok, my apologies here, but I need to vent on a particular topic.



Last Thursday evening, I jumped in the last trail race of the White Water Center River Jam 10k Series. Myself and a couple of other runners had been going back and forth over the first 2 to 3 miles of the race.



We had just passed by Wedge Loop exit and were running the long straight path section on one side of the open field. The trail takes a little detour here which is about a tenth of mile, but the section is single track and extremely technical. A lot of people who are just out running bypass this section and if you do, it cuts down both on the distance and time because the path is flat and shorter.



As we are coming of this technical section, there were a stream of runners moving ahead of us. They all had taken the short cut.



I was feeling a little frustrated at that moment to say the least. Passing them back on a road is hard, but passing them on a single track trail is way tougher. Over the next mile or so, I work my way by some of them but others, I never got a chance to run down. The combination of the time bonus from the short cut and then working my way back by these slower runners was just to much of an advantage for them.



I ended up 10th overall with a time of 49:35. This placed me 1st in my age group.



Thinking back afterward, did I miss a sign or something. Maybe I was the one that took a wrong turn. Maybe I should have went straight.



Later, I went back out to check the course again, yeah, I know. I should just let these things go, but this is not one of those times. When I got back to the spot in question, yes, signage did indeed direct us to take the side trail. This means that those runners not only ignored the signs but crossed the ribbon directing us to take the side trail. The only reasonable explanation that I could think is that the race map showed us bypassing this side trail. But still, they should have followed the mark course. Otherwise, why even mark the course in the first place.  



Here's the sad part of any race. All it takes is one runner ignoring the directions and going off course. Runners behind him will follow him like little ducklings following their mother. I suspect that this is what happen here, but I will never know for sure.  



Oh, well, I did get in a pretty good workout. At the end of the day, is anything more important.





The Cool Down Runner








Sunday, September 10, 2017

Back to the trails - Long Run


After a summer of suffering in the heat and humidity, Saturday was another fine example of great fall weather. For the first hour or so, I could have worn a shirt.



But we all know this is great weather for running. I hope each of you is taking advantage of it.



Anyway, after racing last Sunday, and then running my long trail run on Monday, I was back on the trails at the WWC for my long run yesterday.



I wanted to clock 22 Garmin miles before quitting. To make this happen I attempted to pick a course which brought back around 20 to 21 miles. This way, I get a nice little loop around the rapids before quitting. Since I had been running the 15k Trail race loop, I decided to throw in both the Carpet and the Figure 8 loops. Using both of these loops, one lap was about 10.5 Garmin miles.



My first lap went fairly well, but I could tell with all the miles over the past week, my legs were “sorely” lacking in any pop. A couple of times on the second lap, my foot clipped a root, but luck was on my side. I didn't go down.



By the end, my quads were spent.



Hopefully, they bounce back this week. I am in full marathon training now so I don't need any set backs. Also, I have a trail ½ marathon coming up in a couple of weeks. They need to keep me up right and carry me the entire way.



Please keep you fingers crossed for me.



The Cool Down Runner