Tuesday, June 30, 2009

CTTC Championship Mile

Time flies when you are having fun and tonight was no different. My daughters and I ventured over to Myers Park HS for the Final Week of the CTTC Summer Track Meet.

Being that it was the final week in the series they ran a modified schedule of events but the primary events were the Men and Ladies Champ miles, the Master’s mile, followed by the open and later the 5K track race.

My reporter hat was not on correctly so I didn’t get all of the times and names of the runners. But for the Championship Mile, Chris brought home the glory for TrySports. He was closely followed by Matt Yost a.k.a the phoenix as he rose from nowhere last week to run a sizzling 4:38 and backed it up tonight with another sub 4:40 to finish 2nd to Chris.

Angus McBride (hope I spelled his name right) took home the Master’s mile in about 5:13.

My apologies to the ladies, I totally missed out on their race – pics included.

The 5k pace appeared to take on a tactical strategy rather than a speed burner. Brian M. who had been very fast in the mile opted to only run the 5k and seemed to be keeping a close eye on Chris through out the race. Chris was doubling back to run the 5K as well. Entering the last lap, Brian pressed the gas pedal to catch a slowing Chris going down the back stretch to finish 2nd. Chris would finish 3rd. I didn't catch the name of the winner but he looked smooth and relaxed finishing in 15:51 for the victory. On a side note, but he may have been challenged by Ben Hovis an elite area runner. But Ben was denied entry due to a limit on the field size for the 5k to 25 runners.

Here's quick video of each lap on the Championship Mile.

Lap 1

Lap 2

Lap 3

Lap 4

CTTC Summer Track - Final Week

The last CTTC Summer Track meet is tonight. I know it will be a major disappointing to everyone, but I am not racing tonight. I am going to provide as many cheers and encouragement to our team as possible.

If you have not come out to watch the track meet, tonight is the night to do so. Always on the last night of the series, they have the Championship mile. In this race, they bring together the 10 fastest milers from the preceding weeks for one final mile race. In addition tonight, they are changing the 2 mile race to a 5k on the track. They are only letting in a limited number due to it being a track race. The cost is $5.00. I am not sure if they have reached their limit yet.

Word through the grapevine, is that Chris will be doing both the mile and 5k. I have heard Brian might be focusing on the 5k but I cannot confirm that rumor. Then there is the resurfacing and in fantastic shape Matt Yost. He has been AWOL for almost a year but comes out of nowhere with a 4:39 last week. Maybe being a fire fighter makes you faster. I may have to check into it. :)

See you tonight.

Monday, June 29, 2009

If I were in charge

Most morning, I usually turn on WFNZ Sports talk radio so I can get my daily sports fix. The MAC Attack is as informative as it is funny. Today, as usual they have some interesting topic which I am sure they hope will inspire callers to the station. I am not much of a radio caller, but this morning topic did prompt my post for today.

Their topic of this morning was ‘What would you change if you were in charge of your favorite sport”.

As you might have guessed running would be my sport and a couple things quickly came to mind.

If I were in charge of Track and Field, I would work with the Networks to show more coverage of the distance events. Showing just the last 2 laps of the 5000 or 10,000 events doesn’t do enough for me.

However, I am realistic so I am not expecting an end to end showing. We have all grown up accepting commercial breaks during any events that we watch on TV. I would be happy with seeing every 4th lap, 5k split and the final 4 or 5 laps. After all, I can spend 4 hours watching NASCAR and they do pretty much the same thing. They go around in circles.

The other change that I would like to see is having separate starts for women and men’s road race events. Pretty much the time has come for women to have their own race starts and not be shrouded in masses of men. Additionally, it gives women the opportunity to have their races unfold without it being unduly influence.

Now, before you blow my idea out of the water, yes, I know the logistic are probably a nightmare to do on a local level. But what if you started a 5k 10 or 15 minutes before the men’s race, it is very unlikely that any men would catch them.

I have some other things that I would like to the change, but these two came to mind first. If you were in charge, what changes would you make?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Somnio - 2nd Test Run

No waiting for me, I got an email from Mike that Ben and Megan were back in town and wanted to do a long run this morning in Davidson.

Checking my closet of shoes, I pulled out my Somnio’s shoes for their 2nd test run a little early. There was no use in waiting and if they couldn’t stand the load better to know it now rather than later.

Ben took us out to the Fisher farms trails and I must say they are some nice trails.

As for my Somnio’s shoes, they got dirty but felt really good on my feet. Normally, I feel tired during later stages of these runs, but today, I finished off the last few miles of the run at 7 pace. My feet felt the same whether I was running on the trails and the roads. Definitely, these shoes are giving me the right feel.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Somnio - the first test run

You never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression and the Somnio’s Exact Change made a good first impression on me. Even thou, I wasn’t using the exact inserts for the shoe; they still felt good on my feet.

The only other shoe to come close to this feel on my feet was the New Balance 1223, but they have phased out this shoe with the NB 1224. But the 1224 don’t feel the same way which is why I am searching for a new marathon distance training shoe.

Now that I have run in the Somnio “Exact Change” I found the shoes that I have been searching in the sea of running shoes.

During my first test run, I ran from the University Y down to the greenway and back. The run took me through grass, dirt, gravel, pavement, and road pavement. Usually on the road pavement is where my feet feel the worst. Probably, the side effect of running on slanted roads. But in this case, they seemed to feel better.

If you are thinking about checking out the Somnio running shoes, the only local store carrying Somnio Brand is Peter’s store Vac & Dash in Albemarle. I have hoping Chris, the Somnio Shoe Rep, gets someone to sign up in Charlotte but if he doesn’t, I will make my pilgrimage to Albemarle for them.

When you go by to check them out, you should expect to try a size smaller. This is opposite of most running shoes. In most running shoes, the shoe runs a ½ to a full size smaller. Ironically, the Simno Exact Change runs large. Now, I don’t know if all their shoes run large or it is just the Somnio Exact Change, but it is just something to keep in mind when you try them out.

Next up will be a 10 mile run next week and that will be followed by a trail run. I have all the proper inserts by that point, so I should have the exact feel that I want.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Somnio Running Shoes

At the Uwharrie Running Club Social on Tuesday Peter of Vac and Dash introduced me to Chris Phillips. Chris is the shoe rep for Somnio Running shoes in North Carolina.

Meeting Chris was unreal because of the enthusiasm that he has about Somnio Running Shoes. I have since got the full spill about the shoes and will be giving them a try.

The concept behind Somnio Running is that you fit the shoes to the runner rather than the usual method of fitting the runner to the shoe.

If this doesn't make sense to you let me explain. With most running shoes that they look at your running gait and shoe wear and then try to find a shoe that fits your needs.

With the Somnio, the process starts similarly by looking at your gait, wear patterns, and arch but from this point, the process differs.

Somnio shoes come with adjustability. They have specialized forefoot and heel inserts as well as insoles that help adjust the foot, ankle, knee, and hip for running.

Chris was kind of enough to lend me a pair to try out so over the next few weeks, these shoes will go a real test. I try them on long runs, short runs, and trails.

With each run, I will post how it goes.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

When to run

Yesterday evening I headed for the trail. I was looking for something new and different. But after about 7 miles, I aborted the last three miles on the trail. I opted instead for the roads. Even thou, it wasn’t that hot, I felt terrible.

Now, I am looking at another afternoon i.e. evening run today. And I am already dreading it. Maybe, I will head by the Y and take a dip in the pool afterwards.

I got to jump start my motivation some how.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Uwharrie Running Club Social

The Uwharrie Running Club held a run, pool, and ice cream social party on Tuesday night at the Piney Point Country Club in Norwood, NC. Normally, I only get to see these guys on race day so when I saw the email from Peter, I put this event on my calendar.

I didn’t make it in time for the run, but I was able to hit the pool with my daughters and get some ice cream. There is nothing like ice cream and good conversation to make a great party. By the way, I had a scoop of chocolate and vanilla/oreo mix – very good.

My daughters loved the diving board and I gave it a try as well. I don’t think I will add the diving board to my regular training. I am feeling a little stiff this morning. Okay, I am feeling a lot stiff but it was still fun and the water was perfect.

It was definitely well worth the trip and my thanks to the Uwharrie Running Club for putting on this event and inviting me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ben and Megan’s Wedding Review

Weddings might not be considered a running related topic but when two runners get married; I think that is enough of a connection to put on my blog.

Saturday night Ben and Megan, two my TrySports teammates got married. The wedding was beautiful at least from my male perspective and just about the right length 30 minutes. I had heard that Ben’s father could sing and got a firsthand opportunity to hear him sing at their wedding. It was definitely a nice touch and I thought made it more memorable.

From the moment that the doors opened and Megan started down the aisle, they both were smiling. I thought Megan was a lovely bride and Ben is a lucky guy.

After the ceremony, we were off to the Uptown Atrium for the reception. As evening turned to dusk, the light came in from above and formed a beautiful atmosphere. The atrium was a wonderful place for reception.

There was plenty of food, drinks, and people enjoying their self. And, yeah, there was plenty of dancing. Chris came out to strut his stuff but got thumped by someone’s grand dad. I am not exactly sure who. But he took Chris down in the final dance off. Chris was yelling something about the “fix” was in. But from my view Chris lost fair and square. :)

While I am on the topic of dancing, this was my first opportunity to see Chris dance in person. Definitely, he has some talent.

There was plenty of other dancing and an interesting one involving the bridesmaids + Megan. I am not sure but from where I was sitting Ben might have been blushing.

There was some to the traditional stuff - Garter and Bouquet throwing. And the ceremonial putting of cake on the bride and groom's faces.

Someone had spent a great deal of time putting together a power point displaying a number Ben and Megan’s photos. Great idea, I have to remember that one.

The party was still going strong when I left. Some of us have to run 14 miles early the next morning – also being that it was father’s day and the longest day of the year. I didn’t want to waste a second of it.

Congrads and Best Wishes to both Megan and Ben Hepp :)

Tour De Kale 5k 6.19.09

Oh, the joys of running evening races in the summer. Friday evening I traveled to Denton, NC for their Tour De Kale 5k.

Getting outside of Charlotte, you would think the temperatures would not be as bad. As I drove into Denton, the temps were in the 90s and the humidity left me feeling sticky.

Warming up for race confirmed all thoughts. It was too hot for racing. Maybe it was even too hot for running. Usually my heart range is between a 100 and 120 during my warmup. This night it was pushing 140 and I felt like I was barely moving.

Heading for the starting line, I settled on my game plan. I was going out hard and hang one. Definitely, it was one of my dumber ideas.

I hit the 1st mile in 5:16 and was in 4th place. Sweat was rolling off me so I grabbed a cup of water at the drink station. I missed the memo about the water being chilled. I dumped it over my head and was like “wow” that was cold.

I was probably 15 or 20 seconds behind Bob and Alejandro nearing the turnaround. Bob reached the turnaround first, but maybe the heat affected him because he ran several yards passed it. This allowed Alejandro to close the gap. Through 2 miles, I was 10:46 having covered the 2nd mile in 5:40.

Then, there was the monster 3rd mile. And, I am not saying monster because the 3rd mile tougher because it has only a slight hill in this mile. No, this mile was monster because I swapped out carrying the 50 pound bag of rocks for a massive dump truck. My legs took on a thick and heavy feeling that I couldn’t shake. No matter how hard I tried, they would not turn over any faster. It was one of those times where the mind was very willing but the body was in survival mode. My Garmin popped up the alert - 6:15 and I crossed the finish line 39 seconds later in 17:50. This was still good enough for 3rd place. Checking my splits, I saw at one point my heart rate hit 204. This was just lovely. No wonder my legs felt so heavy.

I suspect everyone was experiencing the same problem. Between the heat and humidity, there wasn’t any way to keep the core body temperatures down.

After the race, my strength felt zapped. I really don’t like making excuses other than to say that I just didn’t get it down.

I still enjoyed the race and the people of Denton do a wonderful job with this 5k. This is pretty much the reason why I am willing to drive 1 ½ hours to run it. Most likely, I will be back for the 5k next year and I am hoping to add their Tour De Kale bike ride to my list of activities in Denton. I might not shoot for the 100 miles, but I believe they have something like a 30 and 50 miles. Either one sounds like fun.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Shirt vs. No Shirt

I have not met Theoden in person yet, but I did see him at the CTTC Summer Track meet Tuesday night. If you are not familiar with Theoden, he is the Entertainment Editor for the Charlotte Observer. He started running last fall and according to his blog, he is or plans to cover the Charlotte running scene. I am still waiting on this to happen but then that is something to blog about at another time.

Any way back to the point, Theoden has been hitting the local racing circuit and writing about it plus a few other topics. Being new to running, he is attempting to bring a new runner’s perspective to the transition of non runner to runner.

In his most recent post, he addresses the topic of going topless. To be specific he discusses going shirtless for men and a sports bra for women.

Since I on occasion will run without a shirt, I had to throw in my two cents. And putting my comments in his blog just didn’t seem like enough for me.

To be honest, I never gave it a great deal of thought until reading Theoden blog. Growing up my dad regularly went without a shirt during the summer time so I guess I just came by it naturally.

So when do I run without a shirt. Well, once the temperatures cross the 80s barrier, I usually lose the shirt. When I am running with a familiar running group, I will lose the shirt. When I am racing, I will lose the shirt. Usually, I like to stay as cool as possible when racing. On the other hand, if I am running with a new group, I usually wear a shirt. Maybe it is just the fact that I am meeting new people or maybe I am just not ready to share everything on the first date. :) Being a little shy on the run is not a bad thing.

Do I think it okay to run topless or with a sport bra. The short answer is yes. This is a free country and as long as you are not bothering anyone so be it. And along with saying this I have seen plenty of ugly painted houses. Not one time have I went to the door and suggested the owner paint it.

Live and let live.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

CTTC Summer Track - Week 3

I headed over to the Myers Park High School last night for the CTTC Summer Track meeting. After feeling bad last week, I was definitely feeling better. This week I only took on two events: 1 mile and 4x100.

In the mile, I ran 5:16. Breaking down the quarters I ran 71, 79, and 2x78s. The tough part was taking in enough air. I felt like I was gasping for air the entire way or I was at least gasping for air after the 1st 200 meters.

My oldest daughter opted for a friend’s birthday so this left us one short for the 4x100. Stan was kind enough to stand-in and help us out. Thanks – Stan. (pictured to the right)

Other news and notes, Brian ran 4:41 for mile just behind the winner in 4:39. Stan's running continues to be on the raise with a fast 5:20 mile. In the 800 Ben got his first sub 2 minutes of the season. It is amazing to watch people run that fast on TV, but it is even more amazing to watch them run like this in person.

Maybe it is time to recharge the running batteries. Each year as I near the end of June, my race times slow. It is one of those tattle-tail signs that my body needs some good aerobic running. Everything will bounce back after a couple of month of steady daily runs.

Monday, June 15, 2009

China Grove Main Street 5k 6.12.09

One hot, fast night was happening in the China Grove Main Street 5k Friday. The race started at 9 pm and the runners went out hard. Ryan Wood was leading the way. He posted a time of 14:58 just 10 seconds off the course record. The women were not to be out done with Amber Moran going out fast and posting a time of 17:39.

Lana Torkildsen took home the female master award with a swift 22:30. I posted a 17:27 just ahead of local master’s ace Milton Matheny. Milton is working his way back from a foot injury but seems to be plenty fast.

RMS provided the race timing and results

Dave Freeze did a nice write up in the Salisbury, NC Newspaper.

Other news and notes, during the warm up, we took the opportunity to pre run the course. At around 1 ½ the bugs were so bad that you had to cover your eyes. Fortunately, during the race, those bugs disappeared.
Post race, there was tons of fruit, cookies, water, and Gatorade. Oh, yeah, plenty of good music.

After the race it is always a good time to catch up with people that you have not seen in a while. I got a chance to talk to Bob M for a few minutes. His foot appears to be healing nice. He ran 15:58. Also I got a chance to chat briefly with Stuart Moran about his London marathon. Margaret Hagerty was at the race. Margaret is a local master’s running legend, but I guess she has finally reached the age where they no longer post her age in the results. I just hope to be running if I make it to her age – let alone still competing.

As for how my race went. Well, okay I guess. I had felt bad all week. I came down with a stomach bug on Tuesday and felt like I had been struggling uphill in every workout. Going out the first mile, I thought I was running really hard, but the clock only showed 5:29. The 2nd mile I was catching people who had went out too fast. I thought it would be a faster mile, but it showed up at 5:35. The 3rd mile I was running hard and throwing in surges but passing by the 3 mile mark, I clocked a 5:42. Finally, I crossed the finish line in 17:27. I guess it really wasn’t that bad considering how bad that I felt. I usually don’t like to make excuses. I go out race as hard as I can. There are just times went things go better than others.

Overall, I have great Kudos for the 5k race committee and the entire China Grove community that support and come out to see this event. It is the type of thing that keeps me coming back for years to come.

Friday, June 12, 2009

RFYL Grand Prix Power Rankings

A few weeks ago, I made a note for my self to blog about the topic of runner power rankings.

I wanted to figure out if I could come up with a system that would allow me to compare runner performances across different ages in the RFYL Grand Prix races.

So in the preceding weeks, I started pooling information from various sources. I pulled the list of runners from each of the first four GP races. I did some research about how todo age graded comparisons. I pulled down a list of the age graded factors for distances 5k to 15k. Also I tracked down the world best times for 5k, 4m, 10k, and 15k. If you are asking why these distances, well, these are the distances of the various races in the GP series.

Putting all of this information and along with using an age graded formula, I was able to create a power ranking for each runner in each of the four GP races. I then averaged the four power rankings from the first four races to give an overall average GP power ranking.

In coming up with this process, I set the following criteria.

1) I would only use RFYL races in my power rankings
2) To be fair, you had to participate in the four races.

Through the first four races only 78 males had run every race.

Various websites treat power ranking differently. I used the information from the following site, (Age Grade Levels) to illustrate where our power ranking fit in the overall picture.

I only did the power ranking for the men but if someone is interested in the women's power rankings, I will generate and post those standings as well.

100.0 = World - Record Level
over 90.0 = World Class
over 80.0 = National Class
over 70.0 = Regional Class
over 60.0 = Local Class

RFYL Grand Prix Runner Power Rankings

* Note this was updated on 6.15.09. I missed a couple of people from the Twilight race. So the count of males running all of the races is 80 rather than 78.

Name - Age - Power Ranking
Bill Shires 44 81.5
Stephen Spada 43 80.75
Tim Friederichs 46 78.75
Jason Holder 25 78
Robert Boyer 47 77.75
Robert Miller 36 77.75
Jack Hill 59 76
Alejandro Arreola 27 75
Greg Isaacs 25 75
George Adickes 51 74.75
Mark Cox 39 74.25
Louis Messina Iii 63 73.5
Frank Ford 60 73
Jerry Sofley 62 73
Bubba Anthony 61 71.75
Keith Ritzel 51 70.75
Kevin Ford 40 70
Richard Hefner 57 70
Robert Heck 41 69.75
Sam Baucom 50 69.25
Michael Murphy 68 69.25
Ryan Lacjak 43 68.75
Mitchell Rippy 46 68.75
Billy Shue 25 68.75
John Chambers 32 68.5
Chad Crockford 27 68.5
Ty Ziegler 43 68.5
Steve Austin 62 68.25
Stan Austin 32 67.75
Brenneman Thompson 50 67.75
Bill Allen 59 67.25
Dexter Pepperman 33 66.25
Chad Chambers 33 66.25
Todd Hartung 40 66
Daniel Rutter 34 66
Matthew Stapleton 42 65.5
Clayton Venhuizen 37 65
John Williams 44 64.5
David Lamothe 39 64.25
Sean Scott 27 63.25
Andrew Bishop 35 63
Dan Stowe 57 62.75
Mark Summers 53 62.5
Mike Dismuke 53 62.25
Ryan Watson 28 62
Jason Krull 35 61.25
Ryan Rainer 28 61
Peter McKenzie 32 61
Stephen Price 53 60.25
David Harris 40 60
John Ghiz 42 58.5
Finian Curran 39 58.5
Jerry McBride 46 58
James Thomas 35 57.25
Keith Young 57 57
Tom Sinclair 35 56.5
Philip Sanford 26 55.5
David Mohr 50 54
Greg Verner 45 53.5
Christopher Mazza 34 53.25
Chris Beckstead 34 52.25
Paul Dunlap 41 52
Bryce Hadley 8 51.75
Edward Falco 28 51
George Spantgos 53 50.75
Paul Prochaska 42 50.75
Eric Bergman 25 50.5
Jeff Fisher 29 50.25
Kevin Harper 33 50.25
David Young 53 50.25
Tom Davis 32 49.25
Lee Holder 37 48.75
Jason Gardner 30 48.5
Eric Babbitt 28 48
Chris Davis 35 47.25
Tim Haney 37 47
Jay Audino 38 44.75
Stephan Rothwell 38 44.75
Matthew Harrison 34 43.5
Ryan McLaughlin 28 39.75

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Coming of Age

I now feel that I am beginning to come of age as athlete. No, maybe I am not in the same sense that some professional athletes do. More in the sense that I am starting to realize the passage of time on my body.

When I was my twenties, I relished the challenges of competition. As I matured into my thirties, I chased ghost of PRs passed.

Now, that I have reached my forties the seconds are starting to turn into minutes, the minutes into hours, the hours into days, the days into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months into years. As the old saying goes “Time waits on man”.

I think the age of maturity comes when your drive to excel depletes your desire to do so. On that day competition is no longer important. From that point forward, you simply choose to do something different.

I often wonder if the reason older runners stopped racing was because they could no longer compete at a level they expected of themselves. But as I start to cross that threshold, I think I am starting to understand. They didn’t stop racing because they can no longer do so. No, they realize that they have reached their pentacle of success and I suspect many moved on to other challenges in life.

Is this wrong? No, I don’t think so. Challenges in life are what make us get up in the morning and motivate us throughout our day. And the act of taking on new and different challenges bring a freshness and newness to life that we all need.

When I am going to taking on these new challenges, I am not really sure. Yes, I have started across that threshold. But, no, I have not lost my drive as yet.

Top 10 Favorite Races

Through the years, I have run hundreds of races.

A few weeks ago I came with the idea of putting together a list of my 10 favorite races. Initially, I thought it would be a simple but after having run 100s of races through the years picking out just 10 to be on my favorite list was no small feat.

So after much deliberation, I finalized my list to the races below.

1. Reindeer Romp 5K – Uptown Charlotte in conjunction with Thunder Road
2. Santa Run 5k – Downtown Concord
3. Shamrock 4 miler – South Charlotte
4. Run for Your life 4 miler – Dilworth Area – Charlotte
5. Waxhaw 5k – Waxhaw, NC
6. June Bug 5k – Frank Lisk Park, Concord, NC
7. Main Street 5k – China Groove, NC
8. Crazy 8 – 8k – Kingsport, TN
9. Beach Blast 5k – Albemarle, NC
10. Young Life 5k – Lowes Motor Speedway, Concord.

I choose these races for various reasons which I described below so if you found it boring you can skip the rest of this post. :)

The Reindeer Romp is run in conjunction with the Thunder Road marathon. There are usually a huge number of runners –usually in the thousands. I like doing it because I enjoy the Christmas season and seeing everyone dressed up in seasonal colors helps with the enthusiasm for the event.

The Santa Run 5k is run in conjunction with Concord Christmas parade. I have always enjoyed this race because it is only the only event around where you will run in front of 12 thousand yelling people and the course is super fast as well. My all time fastest time for a 5k was recorded on this course.

The Shamrock 4 miler is the first race in the RFYL GP series. 4 mile races are rare and when I get a chance to race one, I usually sign up.

Waxhaw 5k is a Friday night race. The course is pretty decent and but the best part is the food afterwards. They give away some great BBQ. This makes the trip south of Charlotte on a Friday night worth it.

June Bug 5 is another Friday night race and is held at Frank Lisk Park near Concord. The race is put on by the Concord Park and Rec guys who do a wonderful job with the race. The course is about 80% dirt path and 20% road. After the race, they give away plenty of freebies, 3 deep in the awards, and lots of pizza, cookies, and soda.

The Main Street 5k is yet another Friday night race held in China Groove, NC. I guess that I just enjoy running on Friday nights. This race typically is a fast yet hot. And has a good selection food and drinks for post race consumption.

Crazy 8’s is something different. Yes, it is another night race but it is on Saturday night and goes off at 10:08 pm. It is a super fast course and lots of runners. The course is usually lit with the candles. It makes for a great night time race in the heat of the summer of Kingsport, Tennessee.

Beach Blast is put on by the Uwharrie Road Runners club. It has grown to have more than 300 runners in just a few short years of existence. Peter A. from Vac and Dash heads up this effort and always leads the way by having a first class race. I ran the race twice and have two beautiful Gords to show for my efforts.

Finally, last but not least is the Young Life 5k. Growing up my dad was a huge NASCAR fan, I continue to following the sport today. So when I get a chance to run a race on a track where the NASCAR stars run, I try to do it. This race is run entirely on the track and is composed of 2 laps around the track and finishes by going the opposite way up pit road. For me, it is just the experience that keeps pulling me back to this event.

There I hope you enjoyed my 10 ten list.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

CTTC Summer Track – Week 6.9.09

Around lunch yesterday I started feeling bad and did not feel much like running mile repeats at the Summer Track meet. However, my daughters really like running the 4x100 so I pulled my stuff together and went anyway.

There was a smaller turnout this week so the events were moving faster. Most of the fast guys from last week took the week off. Brian came out and still ripped a good mile all while running alone.

I was feeling anything but good and it showed. I ran 5:20 in the first heat. I thought I might do better by running the 2nd heat since I was warmed up. No such luck, I ran 5:29 in the 2nd heat. Thinking afterwards, I would have been better just taking the evening off, but then that is not my style.

Two of my daughters ran the 2nd heat of the mile. The oldest ran 8:45 and the middle daughter ran 9:08. Although, I think she would have broken 9 minutes but she stopped to help a little boy who had fallen off the track. She has a heart of gold.

I don’t want to leave this out. My daughters and I completed against the older kids in the 4x100 again. We were last by a large margin, but I am very proud of them. They never gave up and the never quit running.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

King Tiger 5K 6.6.09

After several hot days, the rain finally arrived in Charlotte on Thursday night and Friday morning. A few hours passed with the hot sun burning down in the afternoon and then more rain followed Friday night. However, Saturday morning dawned cool.

This was much different from the proceeding year’s King Tiger run. With temps in the 60s everyone was excited by running Saturday morning.

Close to the end of my warm up, I looked up and was surprised to see Chris L. coming long the road. I had no idea that Chris intended to run today. Definitely, having him in the race gave TrySports a good opportunity to push for the win.

7:30 rolled around and everyone gathered at the starting line. Baby joggers were off first followed by everyone else 1 minute later. Although, I could have used a little louder “Go” command as Tim just yelled “Go” from 40 yards away.

Chris gathered speed early and appeared to be positioning himself well for the middle miles. Likewise, I was running with Greg and Steve. Passing through the mile, I was feeling a little better than expected and had this strange idea of trying to stay with Greg even thou he is about 25 seconds faster than I am for a 5k.

By 2 miles from what I could see Chris was starting to open a gap. Greg was definitely pulling away from me, but I was getting a little gap over Steve. Turning up the worst hill on the course, Nathan came up on my shoulder looking very strong.

He gapped me easily by the top of the hill. I thought I might be able to recovery on the downhill side, but Nathan caught the runner in front of me and they started racing. This pretty much ended any chance that I might have of catching him.

Turning the last corner, it was a quick spring to the finish. 17:19 as I passed under the clock. This was good enough for ninth overall and first male master.

Thinking back maybe I should have tried to stay with Nathan up the hill. But that is “could-a-would-a-should-a” type of thinking. I didn’t and that is how the history books will record it.

After doing the course again with Nathan, Bo, Stan, and Jinnie + doggie, I headed over to the awards ceremony. Like last year, they gave Martial Arts belts as age group awards. Now, I have two of these belts but I am still not sure what to do with them.

And Chris did win the overall with a 16:16. So TrySports Team ended the day by taking the open male and master’s male titles.

Going into the race, I was clearly expecting Steve to blast away from me. Much like he did during last year’s race. I am still not sure why he didn’t. I didn’t get a chance to ask him afterwards. The next GP race is not for another 5 weeks. My legs should be completely recovered in that time.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Racing on Autopilot

In this month’s issue of The Running Times magazine, there is an article about improving your marathon efforts. Within that article, they discuss runners going on auto pilot during the middle of races.

I can certainly identify with this concept. Sometimes in smaller races where I am literally running by myself, it is all too easy to shift the focus away from racing and on to something more pleasant. Although the side effect of this is usually a slowing of the pace.

In reality, in any race the hardest parts are not the start or the finish, but it is the middle miles. At the start everyone is bunched together so it is easy to feed off the energy from others. And at the finish, you have the clock ticking. I have never thought of anything more motivating than trying to get the finish as soon as possible. But those middle miles are tough as you are trying to grind out the effort and know there are still more miles to come.

Are there ways to avoid going on autopilot? Well, I have a few.

The easiest way is look for a bigger race. When you have more people around you, you tend not to use the auto pilot mode. Mainly, this is because you end up racing these people i.e. competitive spirit. That competitive spirit is in all of us and is great for getting the most out of our selves.

Another technique, that I like to use, is to pick a point and run to it and then pick another point and then run to it. With each point, choose a different approach for reaching that point. Maybe, you can try striding to it – Try lifting your knees. Or maybe, you can surge to it and cruise to the next point. The idea being that you keep your mind focused on the task at hand which is to race.

A variation of the above technique is just running a consistent pace overall and throwing in 1\4 mile surges at each of the miles in the middle of a race, it can reduce your overall time by seconds in the end.

So the next race that you run, try avoiding the autopilot mode.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

King Tiger - Course Review

Yesterday, I took the opportunity to do a run over the King Tiger 5k race course. Honestly, I was left wondering how you can create a loop course that is mostly uphill, but somehow this course seems to feel that way.

The first mile is mostly uphill. The 2nd mile has some rolling hills but with a ¼ mile of downhill around the 2 mile mark. The 3rd mile starts with pretty decent uphill and then flattens out with a slight downhill about 2.5 miles. Although I have to say that I barely noticed it during my run yesterday. There is a nice little uphill just before the 3rd mile mark. The last tenth of mile has a nice slight downhill pitch so it should be good for a nice sprint finish.

I would not put this course on my list of courses where PRs could be set, but if you run it right, you can definitely catch some people that slow in the 3rd mile.

Last couple of notes, this course has a lot turns so watch the tangents and follow you sight lines. Like many developments, you will encounter road islands. This course has 3 different road islands. You will want to take the first one to the right, the second one to the left and the 3rd one to the left.

And Good Luck Saturday

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

CTTC Summer Track - Week 1

Last night, I drove across town to Myers Park High School for the CTTC Summer Track Meet. They have serveral events ranging from 50 meters to 2 mile.

I usually do at least 2 events. This year I ran the mile and the 4x100 with daughters.

Driving in you can see the registration table and there was a long line. I can never remember there being such a long line in the past, but this was actually a good thing. This meant there would be a good number of runners coming out to support these meets. In trying times, support to an event means everything.

As I warmed up for mile, I found time to chat with Steve and Pete among others. It was a perfect because it gave many of us time to catch up. Most of the races, we only see each other at the starting line and then everyone splits soon after the race.

After the 50 and 100 events, it was time for the mile. They split us into 2 groups and for better or worse I was in the fast group.

I ran the first two quarters I ran about 75 seconds, but then the ugliness marathon started to set in. I ran the next 2 quarters in 80 and 83 for a 5:13. Not bad and definitely it was better than I expected. I was following Steve for the first 2 quarters but then he was able to run the same pace or better for the last two quarters.

My daughters ran the mile in the 2nd heat. The oldest ran about 8:49 and middle daughter ran about 8:53. The youngest ran 10:35 which is great for a 6 year old in her first mile race. I am taking a wait and see approach if they want to run the mile next week.

Right after the 2nd heat of the mile came the 4x100. My youngest daughter ran the first leg. I ran the 2nd leg. My middle daughter ran the 3rd leg and my oldest daughter ran anchor leg. We finished 2nd to last but it didn’t matter; it was great fun doing something with them.

Needing to cool off, I ran a few more laps on the track to shake off any lasting lactic acid in the muscles.
I watched a few more events before heading off to Fuel Pizza for some refueling.

-btw my daughters sleep like rocks last night. :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Summer Track

Tonight, Summer Track series begins. I wish my legs felt better because I am still feeling the effects from the marathon 2 weeks ago. The quads are much better but sore. My left hamstring is still tight but improving.

I will go out tonight and hope to run a good race. Maybe I can run btween 5:15 and 5:20. It is hard changing over from running marathon miles to running stand alone miles. The legs take a while to recovery and adjust to the new pace.

Also I am looking forward to running the 4x100 with my daughters. We were out practicing last night. They have the concept down but with a 6, 9, and 12 year old the speed and teamwork is still a work in progress. But one day in the not to far future, they will be faster than me.

Also you might see me jumping in the 800 and/or the 2 mile. Everything depends on how I feel.