Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hydration Vest

Yesterday was hot, and the weatherman was calling for more of it today so I knew that I needed to drink and drink more. Nothing tanks a run like being dehydrated.

This leads me to talking about my new Hydration Vest. The idea of running a 50 miler this fall has me exploring all types of new things these days.

Before today, I had always used handhelds. For whatever the reason, they always seem to be more comfortable, but as I start to stretch my long runs out and in the heat, water plays an enormous in how well my runs go.

Over the last couple days, I have been test fitting my Hydration Vest, adjusting the straps, wearing it around my house to see how it felt, and practicing how to drink from it.

This morning, I headed out for 10 miles with 2 liters of water strapped to my back. Getting the feel of it was a little awkward. I had straps pretty well fitted so the vest didn't bounce around. But with every foot strike the water jostled inside the pack. I also realized the purpose of the straps to keep the drinking hose from bouncing around. Then, after a few miles, the sound the water began to blur into the background. To the point, I no longer noticed it by the end of the run.

I was drink at every mile today, and in an 90 minute, I had drank nearly a liter and half of water. Even thou, the temperature was close 90 at the finish. I felt good. No signs of thirst. Actually, I didn't even need the two extra bottles that I brought with me as backup.

I'll get a better test run in next weekend when I take it out for 18 miles. But from the signs I am going to like using it, and with more hot summer days ahead, I will make good use of it.

The Cool Down Runner

Gummy Bears

So, let's just say that I was too lazy about getting to the store this past week, as such I was lacking my usual supply of Sports Beans or something to throw a little energy at my system during my long run. This only dawned me while I was packing for my Saturday long run on Friday night.

While I am not a fan of Gummy Bears, I have heard stories that some some ultra runners use them. So on the way over for my trail run, I stopped by a gas station to pickup a bag. Actually, I grabbed two bags since they are 2 for $2.

If you are wondering what flavors did I chose, well, I chose the multi flavored pack. Although, I have to say, they all pretty much tasted the same.

One advantage, I do like about them. They don't get stuck in my teeth as I chew them. For the most part, I couple of quick chews, and they are ready to swallow.

One aspect that I was expecting but didn't get was an overly sweet sugary taste. In fact, I hardly tasted the sugar at all. I have found during my runs as I tire, I like strong flavors but I don't like any thing overly sweet. The sweetness just seems to leave me with a sickening feeling.

With my first Gummy Bear test run in the books, I don't know that I am going to become a pronounced user of Gummy Bears on my long runs, but you have to admit at 2 bags for $2 which easily gives me enough Gummy Bears for 4 long runs, the price point is right.

Never be a afraid to test something new. Just don't do it in a race. LOL.

The Cool Down Runner

River Jam 10k, May Edition

So the summer time is nearly upon us, and the River Jam 5k/10k race series is back for another year at the Whitewater Center. Last year, I only made one of their races. This year I put myself on notice by signing up for all 5 races.

This particular Thursday evening happen to be noticeably warmer. During my rerace run down by the river, I could feel the humidity rolling off the water. That was part of what was on my mind. But more concering; while casting my eyes toward the shy, I could see dark clouds looming in the distance. As race time neared, spotty drops of rain could be felt. I just hoped they held off until after the race. 

The 5k and 10k races start together and run for much of the same course. At the Lake Loop, the 10k runners take a right on to the Lake Loop Trail to add the additional three miles. The 5k runners head straight back to the finish by the channel.

In past races, I had always went out hard and then was gassed by 2 miles. This time, I took my time and positioned my self further back as we entered the South Main Trail. Several runners were ahead me so I picked my spots to move up. In a couple of places where the trail opens up, I throw in a couple of hard surges. May be too hard of a surge.

I had passed Andrew about 2 miles, but he passed me back about 2.5 miles. Just before the Lake Loop, I passed him back. He followed me for perhaps the next 1.5 miles. Then, he passed me one last time and took off. I wanted to stay with him but those two surge earlier took more out of my legs than I realized.

By the time I came out of the woods, Andrew had put a good 30 to 40 seconds on me.

Say what you want about the trails at the Whitewater Center, having the finish going around the channel is awesome. Most people might not realize it but this section is net downhill. Meaning, we all probably finish a little better than we should. I guess that's the trade off for busting “but” on the trails.

My time was 45:23 for 6 OA, and 1st in my age group. Overall, this is a nice start to my summer racing season.

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Christina Latini Memorial 8K

Last week, the racing itch was back so I headed for the Start 2 Finish website in hopes of finding a race near by. As I scanned the list of upcoming races, the Christina Latini Memorial 8K caught my eye. I followed their link out to their website.

All I can say, no parent should ever have to lose a child. I have three daughters, and I cannot image losing one of them. To learn more about the foundation that Christina's parents have created in her honor, please check out their Operation Sweet Tooth website.

Fast forward to this morning, I made the short drive to Huntersville. The course was covered plenty of the roads that I have ran many times in years past. I was looking forward to seeing them again.

They sent a huge group of the F3 runners off first, and then, we left one minute later.

But just before the start, I bumped in to Chris and later Karin. They along with their two kids were doing the 2 mile fun run. Good to see them again. May be two or three years have passed since we last crossed paths.

So on the horn, we were off. This was my first race in my new On CloudFlash racing flats. In full disclosure, these were my first miles on them at all other than some warm up strides. Thus, aside from feeling out how my body was going to respond from doing nothing more than eating, working, and running for the last few weeks, I was breaking a new pair of racing flats.

These On shoes have a different feel while running or racing, and my brain is still wrapping itself around this feel.

At the first turn, I took a quick peek to see who my pursuers were. No one was close. Looked like it was going to be me, the hills, and the lead cyclist for the rest of the race. I pushed on. Some of the hills felt hard, but helping matters, the temperature was as close to ideal as possible this morning. Cool and dry is just the way that I like it.

Miles 2, 3, and 4 flew by. Compared to miles on trail, these road miles seem to zip by. I found myself crossing the street, and charging up the last hill on the sidewalk of the 5th mile. The finish line was around a bend in the road, and I didn't check my watch until it was too late. I sprinted for the finish but came up just 2 seconds short with a 30:01.

I was happy with the results. I felt like I have more under the hood, and I am looking forward to my next race to see if I can get it out. 

Big shout out to my On CloudFlash shoes. The ride of this shoe is definitely growing on me. I am looking forward to more chances to test them out this summer.

As I wrap this post, I want to give a big shout out to the race organizers. For an inaugural race, they did an awesome job. The course was tough, but well marked and accurate. Everyone received a finisher medal and a nice shirt. Plenty of post races food, and they had timely awards. They definitely checked all of the “must do” race boxes.

Sorry, I wanted to share one last item. We have all gotten goody bags from races. Pretty much anything is fair game for these bags. Nearly always, it is stuff that we know what it is. For the first time, there was something in my bag, I have no idea what it was or how to use it. I looked at it. Played with it for a few minutes, and I put it down on my desk. I have absolutely no clue. I am totally stump.

Anyone else ever gotten something in their goody bag that totally stump them as to its purpose?

Happy Trails,
The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trail Tan

So over the last week, Charlotte has pretty much dried out. With the rain all but a distant memory, the trails at the Whitewater Center have become a nice soft powder. Now, throw in a warm spring like day, and you get what I like to call a “Trail Tan”.

It isn't as much of a brown tan as it is an orange tan.

So what is a trail tan you may be asking yourself? Well, it is a thin layer of dust that accumulates on my legs over 18 miles of trail running.

Any more, if I don't get at least a little trail tan on a run, it likely wasn't much of a run.

See on you on the roads,

The Cool Down Runner