Monday, August 31, 2009

Greek Fest 5k – Rewind 16:58

On Saturday morning many of Charlotte's fastest men and women came out to run the Greek Festival 5k. Caitlin Chrisman and Ryan Bender took the top honors for the women and men. Jill Vincent and David Dye were equally fast in winning the Masters awards.

With a fast opening mile, everyone was surging from the start – myself included. The lead runners were sub 5 minutes for the first mile. I passed through the first mile in 5:12. The 2nd mile on Kingston was slightly up hill and I was starting feel it. I slowed about 5 seconds with a 5:17. As we started circling around the Dilworth loop my lack of speed workouts was starting to show up. BothGreg Isaacs and David Dye were starting to gap me. Greg's 16:12 and David's 16:40 were after awesome closing miles. My last mile was 5:36 and as I was passed by the 3 mile mark, I realized that I could still slip just under 17:00. So between 3 and 3.1 I was digging hard and pumping my arms. Hitting the line, I pressed the button on my stop watch and saw the finish time was 16:58. This was the fastest time this season and for that matter, it is the fastest that I have run in 2 years for a 5k.

Thinking back now I have no idea how I ran this fast. Honestly, I was expecting to run about 17:10 which was more in line with my current training.

As I was looking around in the finish area, I saw both Steve Spada and Mark Cox. They had run excellent times as well. Steve bounced back from his performance at Blue Points with a 17:24. Mark knocked out a quick 17:32

After race, Greg, Steve, David, and I warm down together for a few miles. This gave us a good opportunity to chat. I found out that David was already in the middle of his speed work as he readies himself for a fall marathon. This made me feel a little better since I have only been doing base miles. But also David's 16:40 time left me looking at my training plan. I realized that I needed to step up my game if I am going to stay with him.

During the awards ceremony, I was talking with Chris Jones. I had to admit to him that I didn't even see him pass me. I was concentrating so hard on getting to the finish that I didn't even see either him or Kent Morris push their finishing kicks into over drive to pass me. Talk about being totally focused on the clock.

I also wanted to bring up an interesting topic that was circulating the crowd of runners at the awards ceremony. For the awards, the race organizers were giving out 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons. In addition, all of the age group winners received a puzzle. Many of us were left just as puzzled by the awards. This is my attempt at some subtle attempt at humor.

One other note, I met a few more people that have been reading my blog. I am still in awe that other people actually find anything that I write interesting enough to read. But best of all, having a blog has done one thing for me. My blog has given me the opportunity to meet a lot of new people so in my mind this makes my efforts worth it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

CCTT @ Lowes Motor Speedway Rewind

Last night my athletic journeys took me out to Lowes Motor Speedway for the Lower Motor Speedway 8.26.09 Time Trial Series put on by the Carolina Cycling Time Trial Association. This was my third attempt at time trialing which I am still looking to figure out.

To chronological the events, I arrived a little after 5pm and picked up my number and chip. Because of the Team Time Trial everything was being bumped up 30 minutes. For me this meant I would be riding at 6:17 instead of 6:47. It also meant that the sun would still be beating down on the track and keeping the track temperatures close to or above 100 degrees.

Putting my bike together and pumping up the tires came next and then, it was time to head out on the track to warm up. And with just a few minutes to spare, I finished my 10 mile warm up. I headed back to the car to change into my new aero helmet, take a gel and some water.

Time was moving too fast and I had to make a dash to the starting line in order to make my start time.

The support crew member held my bike while I clipped in and then I heard the beeper counting me down. When it dinged, I took off.

For the first 2 laps, I rode on the drops. I was trying to stay as aero as possible. If there is one thing that I am learning about riding a bike, it is you need to present as small an area as possible to the wind. That is if you want to go fast.

After two laps, I forced myself to switch to my aero bars. I am still not entirely comfortable riding in the aero position, but unless I force myself to do it, then I will never get comfortable. So for the next five laps, I stayed in the aero position and rode as hard as I could. I like riding on the aero bars but boy it is hard to control the bike.

To my knowledge, only one other rider passed me during my time on the track. In contrast to my other time trials when I was getting passed quite regularly.
Coming around on the final lap, my left hamstring was really stinging but it was just one of those things you have to push out of your mind and focus on the getting to finish.

The finish line came up fast and as I crossed it I checked my watch: 25:23. This was nearly a 3 minute improvement.

Heading back to the car, I poured in the water and pretty much inhaled a Power Bar. I was hungry.

Tomorrow is a running so to keep the legs loose and work out the lactic acid, I headed off to the warm down track and did another 10 miles. After riding 10 miles so hard, those final 10 miles felt really easy.

I put my bike away and changed clothes before heading out to watch some of the Team Time Trial. The Team Time Trial really looked like a blast and is something I want to try next year. I just need to find three other guys willing to ride with me. But I have year to find them.

Below, I have posted my lap splits and heart rates – avg. and max. for anyone that is interested.

Lap split (1mi) – Avg. Heart rate – Max Heart rate record during each lap.
2:45 138/151
2:42 154/159
2:27 160/165
2:27 164/166
2:31 164/168
2:33 166/169
2:26 166/168
2:28 169/170
2:35 171/173
2:23 172/176
10 Mile time - 25:23
Avg. Mph 23.6 Max Mph 27.8
Avg. Heart Rate 162 Max Heart rate 176

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time Trial and 5k Race = busy week

This week is turning into a rather busy week for me. Work is definitely picking up and on the athletic side, things are picking up as well. On Wednesday night, I will be heading over to Lowes Speedway for the 10 Time Trial and then early Saturday morning, I will be running the Greek Fest. 5k.

The Carolina Cycling group is putting on their next to last cycling time trail and they are having both an individual and team time trials this week. I had given some thought to getting together a team for the team trial but I couldn't find 3 other guys in time so I am only entered in the individual time. It was a little disappointing but still, I will get to see the team trial. Maybe next year, I see about putting together a team.

Then, on Saturday morning, we have the 7th race in the RFYL GP series. The series is shaping up very well with lots of runners looking to solidify their overall and age positions. With the Greek Festival 5k being one of the fastest races in Charlotte, lots of people will be looking to run as fast as possible and gain as many points as possible. I will be definitely running hard. Both Mark and Steve have been keeping the pressure on me all season. I don't foresee them letting off their intensity as the GP series comes to a close. And, I suspect we will be battle for the Master Title right down to the last event.

Using running to avoid sluggishness after the cycling

Lately, I have been doing more and more cycling to supplement my running mileage as I head into my fall marathon preparation. I like cycling because it gives me a good 2nd effort during the day and doesn't add to the pounding on my body.

But cycling has had at least one impact on my running. When I do a 30+ mile ride, I found that the next day my legs really feel sluggish for the first three or four miles of my run. For several weeks I tried extensive stretching after the cycling in hopes that it would help. Then last week, I decided to come back from ride and just do a couple of miles running. I wouldn't do anything hard. I just wanted to get the legs to turn over.

Wow, it was tough. As I headed out for the first mile, I knew my legs were turning over, but I could not really feel them. For the better part of mile and half passed before I could actually feel like I was running. Then, the next day I head out for my run as usual. But this time, I didn't have the sluggish experience. My running felt much smoother and my first few miles were much faster.

I don't know if this fluke or something new that I discovered about my body. It gives me hope and I will be continuing the experiment this week.

This is something you to think consider if you are doing cross training this fall.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Dumbest thing done while running

Theoden just did a post about me on his blog in Runnin Fool - Run, Theoden, Run column today. To gather information for his column, Theoden sent me a list of questions to answer. One of the questions was what is the dumbest thing that you have done while running.

After some 20 years of running I have done a lot of dumb things while running but one probably tops the list.

In the mid '80s I was running with the Marshall University XC team in Huntington, WV. On one particular day, we were out for a 10 mile run when one of guys decided it would be a good idea to cross the bridge between Ohio and WV. But no, we couldn't just run across the bridge, we had to across the top of the super structure of the steel bridge.

Always willing to accept a challenge, I followed the guys in front of me.

One side, I could look down on the traffic flowing across the bridge and the drivers looking up at us. On the other side, I could see the Ohio River roaring underneath. If I had stumbled at any point, it would have been disaster. Falling on the bridge, I would have likely been run over by car. Falling in the river would have been equally as bad because I couldn't swim at that time.

Today to this day, I still don't know exactly why I did it. So I chalk it up to one of those stupid things we do in our youth. Everyone in their twenties thinks they are invincible.

-btw - My congratulation goes to out to Theoden for the work that he has been doing to bring some light to the running community here in the Charlotte.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Greek Festival 5k – Course Preview

In little over a week, everyone will be heading into the Dilworth area for the Greek Festival 5k.

To my knowledge there is no expected road work that will impact the course but just for kicks maybe we should suggest to the Run for Your Life guys that we run the course backwards. Just kidding Tim.

No, for those of you that are interested, the Greek course is one of the fastest in Charlotte.

You have a nice sloping downhill for the first mile. The 2nd mile has some uphill along East Kingston before turning left on Lyndhurst. Then you take another left onto Worthington. This will be the place where you will want to turn it loose. Then you have one final Dilworth loop before heading back up East Blvd to the finish. This is one of the toughest finishes around because you can see the finish line and will most likely be in oxygen debt the entire way. Every year that I have run this race, I always reach East Blvd taking shallow breathes and legs that feel like they are going to fall off.

But, I always enjoy running this race because of the number of good runners that come out. The more runners that you have around you the more likely you are to be pulled along.

If you have not registered yet, you still can sign up online or you can sign at the store through Friday. However, I'd avoid waiting until the last minute. You might not get a T-shirt.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Look

As athletes run their faces speak volume about their efforts. But one of the most common looks shared across nearly every athlete is the "The Look"

"The Look" is the expression on an athlete's face when the realization sets in that they are going all out and they are not going to win.

It is an expression like no other and shared by all athletes from elites, to people running in the local 5k, to the school kids running the class fitness mile.

It's the "The Look"


Breaking-in and rotating Running Shoes

This weekend I stopped by TrySports to pick-up a new pair of running shoes. As soon as I returned home, I was pulling my news shoes out of the box to wear around. This helps break in the running shoes and also helps work out any kinks in the shoes. You never want to find 2, 3, or 4 miles into a run that the shoe doesn't fit exactly as you expected it to.

My typical breaking in process is to wear the shoes around for a few hours and make sure to lace them as you would if you were running in them. Then, when I am happy with the shoes, I date the shoes and put them into my standard rotation of running shoes where they stay until I deem passed the point for running. You may wonder why I date them. Well, I could use the date to approximate the number of miles that I have run in them. If my knees are ankles start aching, I checked the date on the shoe. It is probably time to remove the shoes in question from my regular running shoes.

For of you that don't know I have different shoes for each day of the week and for different types of runs. For example, if I am going out for an easy run, I have a certain shoes to use for these efforts. If I am doing speed work, I have a lighter type of shoes to use. If I am doing a long run, I use a heavier, more cushion, and stable type of shoe. And unless absolutely necessary I never run the same shoe on consecutive days and by and large I only run in the shoes once a week.

This helps extend the life of shoe because it gives the materials used to make the shoe time to recover after a workout.

-thoughts from the shoe gods.

Combining Talent with Heart and Desire

This morning, I popped up my inbox to see an email from "The Science of Sports". In the email, they discussed how scientists were trying to analyze Usain Bolt's World Record 100 meter run and use that information to predict how fast a human could potentially run. I seem to recall a similar type of effort to analyze Haile Gebrselassie's marathon effort last fall.

All of these efforts by scientists remind me of a story that I once heard about a politician. Around the 1900, this politician suggested that the US Patient office should be abolished because in this politician's opinion everything that could be invented had already been invented.

Just imagine, here we are some 100+ years later and all of the advances that have been made.

Setting down and trying to predict the limits to human beings seems like a pointless effort to me.

When an athlete comes along that combines talent, heart, and desire, they do phenomenal things in their chosen craft. Usain Bolt is one of these athletes. Others that come to mind are Lance Armstrong and Michael Phelps.

And, our job should be to marvel and enjoy watching their accomplishments.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

McMullen Creek Greenway Tempo Run Rewind

All week long emails have been circling about a temp run at McMullen Creek greenway. This morning arrived and about 15 people showed to up run.

You know something special is happening when this many people come out just to run.

We started off with an easy 2 miles warm up and followed it with 8 miles at tempo pace followed that by running 2 miles easy for a warm down.

The warm up miles were just an easy out to the mile mark and back to the parking area at McMullen. The cool down miles were the same – just an easy 2 miles.

The tempo run went out to the 4 mile mark and returned back to the start. We were a little fast on the early splits 6ish for the first mile. But we reined in the pace for a next couple of miles and pretty much hit the right on target between 6:10 and 6:20 miles at the turn around.

I took my turn at the front and towed the pace along for the next two miles. Then at 6 miles, it was turn it loose time. Some people picked up the pace and pushed it through the finish.

For myself, I was just interested in maintaining my pace and finish feeling strong and smooth. It helped that Megan and Steve Spada were running just about the same pace. We encouraged each other all the way to the finish.

We averaged 6:12 per mile. My max heart rate was 189 and average heart rate was 168. During the last couple of miles, my heart rate was running around 172.

Considering that I have done nothing in the way of speed efforts, I was extremely pleased with my effort today.

As we ramp up to the OBX marathon, I hope I can make this work out a regularly occurrence.

-btw thanks to Chris, Glen, Ben, Megan, Mike, Steve, Jay and others helping me get through the tempo run.

And thanks to all the people that gave us a little extra room as we ran on the greenway.


Friday, August 14, 2009

How do you spend your day off?

As the day winds down, I thought I would share how I spent my day off. It wasn't an ultra exciting day but to be honest, it was fun.

Well, the day started out 4:45 AM this morning. I had emailed Nathan last night to see if he wanted to get in any early run this morning. Nathan is another early riser so I can usually count on him wanting to hook up just about any morning for a run. We met the Huntersville Business Park where we ran 7 miles together. Nathan broke off and headed home. I headed into the parking lot and finished the 7 miles with Tabata workout. Followed it with some easy stretching and headed home.

I spent the next 3 hours refueling before heading out for a 26+ mile bike ride. Most of my bike rides follow a loop around my house. This way if I get tired or have a flat then I don't have far to walk home. You can insert your laugh or smile here :) .

Compared to other rides, today's ride felt rather easy. I guess I am saving something considering that I have a big tempo in the morning.

I was back at my house by 12:30 and grabbed some lunch. After cleaning up, it was off to TrySports to pick-up some much needed running shoes and catching up the TrySports crew. Jin was fantastic and fixed me up with just the shoes that I wanted.

I wish I could have spent all afternoon hanging out the store, but I wasn't finished with the workouts for the day. On my way home, I stopped by the Y outdoor pool for a quick swim about 3:30 pm. The water was a little cool but it felt really good on a tired body. I then hung out for a while before heading home and dinner.

I wasted the rest of the evening eating dinner and watching a Netflix movie.

I will be hitting the bed early to night. Tomorrow's tempo run should be a dozy and I will need all of the rest that I can get.

Well, this is how I spent my day off with three different workouts to stress the body, plenty of food to refuel the body, and a nice movie to entertain the mind for a few hours. And to be honest, I don't really feel tired but I will probably fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.

Good night to all.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Women's Age Graded Power Rankings

After my last post, I received a request to post the Women's Age Graded Power Rankings.

So if someone asked, you need to follow through. - see below

If you don't see your name in the list, let me know. I only posted the runners that have run all 6 GP but I have the everyone's power rankings per race and will send them out if someone wants to know.

Name Age Gender PowerRanking
Toni Cruz 57 F 77.66666666666667
Danielle Walther 28 F 74.83333333333333
Sharon Allen 55 F 74.5
Hayley Whisonant 23 F 70.66666666666667
Tiffany Brown 31 F 69.83333333333333
Karen Wilder 41 F 67.16666666666667
Jolanda Hengstman 48 F 66.83333333333333
Shannon Fowler 36 F 66.16666666666667
Sheri Nemeth 51 F 64.83333333333333
Meg Greene 12 F 64.66666666666667
Maria Dehaas 36 F 63.5
Christa Phipps 36 F 62.333333333333336
Cara Musumeci 28 F 61.833333333333336
Amy Ayrault 28 F 61.833333333333336
Cathy Spencer 58 F 61.5
Marti Shroads 48 F 60.5
Laura Mlecz 30 F 58.5
Becky Philo 37 F 58.333333333333336
Michelle Campbell 46 F 56
Ann Renne 47 F 55.833333333333336
Leslie Barnes 49 F 55.333333333333336
Jill Farar 36 F 55.166666666666664
Christi Hirsch 32 F 53.333333333333336
Joy Oxendine 42 F 52
Lillie Newton 36 F 51.666666666666664
Linda Hefner 56 F 49.5
Donna Dudish 45 F 46.666666666666664
Shannon Williams 33 F 46.5
Kelly McKenzie 28 F 44.5

Tempo Run Saturday morning 7 AM

The week is winding down and I am starting to look forward to the weekend. This weekend will be a little different from most as I will be running in the 1st bi-weekly Megan's OBX Tempo Run. Ben designed these workouts into Megan's marathon training plan to help her prepare for OBX marathon in Nov. but it gives all of us a chance to get together for a good hard workout.

This particular tempo run will be a shorter effort - only 8 miles but it will have the characteristics of a FA ultra: no entry fee, no water, no shirt, no splits, and no awards. The tempo run starts at McMullen greenway 51 entrance around 7AM on Saturday. The plan is to run 6:10 to 6:20 miles for the first 6 miles and then turn everyone loose for the last 2 miles. Potentially, the last 2 miles will be the most interesting. We see who has anything left and who is in early marathon shape.

For yours truly, I plan to hang on or try to hang on for the first 6 miles and then watch as the surging begins.

So far, I know Megan, Mike, Steve, Ben, Jay, and Dan will be running. Hopefully, there will be a few others out as well.

To prepare for it, I have been putting in some extra stretching this week and getting a deep tissue massage tonight. And other than a couple of Tabata workouts, I am not putting in any hard efforts this week.

Goal, Survive the run.



Marathon Training Runs – Group Style

As marathon season is fast approaching many of us are heading out our doors for long marathon training runs. Like most people, I tend to do most of these runs solo for a couple of reasons: most people are not up for running between 18 and 24 miles on any given weekend and with most of the daylight hours booked up – taking care of my daughters, running in the early morning hours is the only time available.

However, last weekend, I took advantage of a rare opportunity and met a huge group of runners over at Latta Plantation. Many of them were preparing for a fall marathon so we both were looking to knock out a long run on a Sunday morning.

I cannot begin to tell you how much faster the time goes running with a group over doing solo runs. Aside from the commitment that gets me out the door in the first place, being around other people that share a common interest, goal, and an understanding of what it takes to achieve it, makes the experience all the better.

If you are training for a marathon, check the local running clubs for group runs. Definitely, it makes the long runs easier but it doesn't have to be limited to long runs. It could be a tempo workout or track workout or maybe just a recovery day run. For whatever the reason, it seems when runners do things together, the mental and to some extent physically the effort doesn't seem as hard.


Thoughts from the cool down run.


Cologne or Perfume – Before the workout

Let's just say, I'll bet you are wondering what this has to do with running. Well, to be frank, it probably doesn't have anything to do with it but I thought it would be interesting.

This morning, I was running on the North Meck. Trail when this mt. biker rode passed me. Being that the rain yesterday cleared the air, all of the smells were quite clear. That was until this mt. biker passed me. Then, it was like "wow", I am not sure what brand of cologne that he was wearing but clearly it was strong. Then on the return trip, he rode passed me again leaving me to bare the scent for nearly a mile before the air cleared.

But as struggled to inhale some fresh clean air, I began to wonder. Do men and women put on cologne or perfume before workout? Typically, this is not something that I notice but I guess this guy spilt the entire bottle on himself before heading out. To leave that kind of trail behind him, he must have.

Maybe a little cologne or perform can be a good thing but be judicious with the amount. You really don't want to give those round a headache.



Thoughts on a beautiful morning on the trail.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Trail Running and Life are so similar

In running trails, you just put one foot in front of another. Similarly, you have to take life one day after another. And just like Trail running, in life you have to watch out for roots or you will trip and fall.

Blue Points 5k - Age Graded Power Rankings

For anyone interested, I generated the power rankings after the Blue Points 5k. It looks like we still have 80 males set to run all of the RFYL GP races.

Again, if you are not familiar with these power rankings, I take the times from the GP races and adjust the finish times based on age graded standards. Then, I compare that with the world best time. This yields a value as a percentage of 100 percent.

Roughly, it breaks down to 90 and above - elite class, 80 and above national class, 70 and above regional class and 60 and above local class.

Incidentally, I just post the male power rankings but I can send out the female power rankings if anyone is interested.

Bill Shires,44,81.8
Stephen Spada,43,80.8
Tim Friederichs,46,78.6
Jason Holder,25,78.4
Robert Boyer,47,77.8
Robert Miller,36,77.75
Jack Hill,59,76.2
Alejandro Arreola,27,76
Greg Isaacs,25,76
Mark Cox,39,75.4
George Adickes,51,75.4
Louis Messina Iii,63,73.8
Jerry Sofley,62,73.6
Frank Ford,60,73
Bubba Anthony,61,72.6
Keith Ritzel,51,71
Kevin Ford,40,70.8
Robert Heck,41,70.6
Richard Hefner,57,70.6
Mitchell Rippy,46,69.6
Michael Murphy,68,69.6
Billy Shue,25,69.4
Chad Crockford,27,69.2
Ryan Lacjak,43,69.2
Sam Baucom,50,69.2
Ty Ziegler,43,69
John Chambers,32,68.8
Steve Austin,62,68.25
Brenneman Thompson,50,68.2
Stan Austin,32,67.75
Bill Allen,59,67.25
Daniel Rutter,34,66.8
Chad Chambers,33,66.4
Todd Hartung,40,66
Matthew Stapleton,42,65.5
Clayton Venhuizen,37,65.4
John Williams,44,64.6
David Lamothe,39,64.6
Dan Stowe,57,63.2
Sean Scott,27,63.2
Andrew Bishop,35,63.2
Mark Summers,53,63
Ryan Watson,28,62.4
Mike Dismuke,53,62.25
Dexter Pepperman,33,62.2
Ryan Rainer,28,61.8
Peter McKenzie,32,61.6
David Harris,40,61.6
Jason Krull,35,61.25
Stephen Price,53,60.25
John Ghiz,42,59
Finian Curran,39,58.6
Jerry McBride,46,58.4
James Thomas,35,57.8
Keith Young,57,57.2
Tom Sinclair,35,57
Philip Sanford,26,56
David Mohr,50,54.6
Christopher Mazza,34,53.6
Greg Verner,45,53.6
Paul Dunlap,41,52.4
Bryce Hadley, 8,52.4
Chris Beckstead,34,52.25
George Spantgos,53,51.4
Eric Bergman,25,51.2
Edward Falco,28,51
Paul Prochaska,42,50.75
Jeff Fisher,29,50.6
Kevin Harper,33,50.4
David Young,53,50.25
Tom Davis,32,49.6
Jason Gardner,30,49.4
Chris Davis,35,48.4
Lee Holder,37,48.4
Eric Babbitt,28,48.4
Tim Haney,37,47.4
Stephan Rothwell,38,45
Jay Audino,38,45
Matthew Harrison,34,43.5
Ryan McLaughlin,28,39.75

Monday, August 10, 2009

Presbyterian Criterium ‘09– Rewind

On a hot Saturday night, thousands of people came out to watch some racing. This time it was not in cars and wasn’t at Lowes Motor Speedway. No, this time the racing was in downtown Charlotte on a blocked off course and the competitors were on bikes.

The racing featured a women’s race at 5:30 and a men’s race at 7pm. I arrived a little late and caught the last hour of the women’s race. But there was some great racing and finish with a sprint.

This video was shot during the intermediate laps.

This video was shot as the women sprinted for the finish line.

I am not a cycling expert but it looked like a lot of attacks were happening with one break finally succeeding mid way through the race. This break lasted until the last couple of laps when one rider jumped away and rode the last lap alone.

Watching bike racing on TV is much like watching NASCAR on TV, you cannot get a true appreciate of the speed and excitement from the race unless you are watching it in person.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Blue Points Shirts – get yours while they last

True to their word, I was able to pick up a Blue Points shirt after the race. I wonder if they had enough for everyone.

But on that note, I will sign up for Greek, Brixx, and Lung Strong early so I do get a shirt. I suggest that you do the same.

Blue Points 5k - Rewind 8.8.09

Yesterday, the sixth race, Blue Points 5k, of the RFYL Grand Prix was held over by Bank of American Stadium in down town Charlotte, NC. Due to road work on Stonewall just passed Tryon, the course ended being run in the reverse direction. Several people were worried that by running the course in opposition direction that they might be running a longer course. Rest assured, in comparing my Garmin records from last year and this year, I ran the exact same distance – 3.14.

And major "kudos" need to go out to the race organizers for realizing the bottle neck 1300 runners would have had if they had headed up Stonewall and been funneled down to one lane. The complaints about running up the Stonewall hill would have been nothing compared with the number of runners complaining about trying to pass through a 5ft wide section of road.

For my own personal assessment of the race, running the course in reverse was definitely tougher. While Stonewall plateaus in several sections, the road continues to raise even passed Tryon. This leaves the runners with a shorter downhill section to the finish and less room to sprint past a follow competitor. Mentally it is also tougher because the B of A stadium is visible from the 2 mile mark which makes you want to push the pace even faster.

During my warm, Steve and I hooked up for prerun of the course. Which I suspect, was good for me. Seeing how the hills were laid out on Stonewall help hone my racing strategy.

Going out with an even pace and banking a little time down Morehead St, I was able keep a slight lead over my follower Master's competitors as each of us tackled the hill in our own way.

Milton M. came down from Salisbury to race. Milton has been around years and is a solid runner no matter what the race distance is. Mark Cox was close behind Milton and Steve Spada quickly followed those two.

After race Peter B. and Pete K. were up for some cool down miles with me. Having a group to run a cool down with makes the post race recovery run all the more enjoyable. We ended up running about 5 miles

So now, there are 3 more races left in the Grand Prix: Greek, Brixx, and Lung Strong in roughly the next 10 weeks. Everyone will be looking at where they are in the GP standings and will try to figure out if they can move up a few spots. Still other people will probably be headed to track in hopes of finding that last ounce of speed that they need on race day.

Good luck to everyone and you only have 3 more races the GP this year.



Friday, August 7, 2009

Blue Points 5k - out of T-Shirts

I headed over to RFYL to sign up for the Blue Points 5k. I procrastinated signing up to the last minute. I guess a really paid for my delay. After signing up, they told me they had run out of T-Shirts, but I could come by after the race to the registration area. If they had any shirts left, I could pick up one.

So if you planning to sign up this evening, don’t plan on getting a T-Shirt until tomorrow maybe.

But, if you preregistered, you are still in luck. They do have your shirt.

Good luck to all that are racing tomorrow.

Blue Points 5k –going the opposite direction? You don’t say

I just finished reading Theodon's blog about the organizers changing the direction of the Blue Points race due to the road work on Stonewall.

It reminds me of another race where they ran the course one way on odd years and the other way on even years. The start and finish were in the same place just the direction changed based on the year.

Now, we will fast forward to Blue Points. It should be interesting running the course in the opposition direction. Without doubt, the first mile will have more incline and then going down Morehead which is a steeper decent than Stonewall should give the quads a greater pounding. You will not feel it until you start back up Stonewall and have to look up the 1 or so of incline which is a pretty straight incline and see your competition either coming back or pulling away. – Depending on your perspective

The really true test will be the runners that save enough in the first half of the race that they can really challenge Stonewall hill.

Another concern that might affect some of the runner’s race strategies, once you top over Tryon, it is a shorter running distance to the finish line and with considerable amount of debt, it will be the runners that want it the most making gains in this section of the course.

I am certainly looking forward to it and I am looking forward to seeing how I match up with Steve S. and Mark C. on this new course.

-btw if anyone is interested, I will be leaving the starting line at 6:45 for a prerun of the course and after the race, I usually try to do a warm down over the course if anyone is interested.

Let me know.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Carolina Cycling Time Trail @ Lowes Motor Speedway 8/5/2009

Yesterday evening, I traveled to Lowes Motor Speedway for my 2nd Carolina Cycling Time Trial. I was hoping to break my previous PR and get a chance to use my new aero bars.

Things don’t always work out as you plan.

I arrived early and was able to get on the track for some practice with the aero bars. But then a summer storm rolled in a delayed everything for about an hour. Carolina Cycling officials scrapped the regular starting order and just brought everyone to the line by the color.

The rain was still falling when I started and the track was soaked with puddles everywhere. This kept me from testing my aero bars in competition. I just didn’t felt comfortable using them on the wet track.

When I hit 5 miles in 14:45, I knew I wasn’t going to PR this night. Starting cold, the first 5 miles were my attempt at a 2nd warm up. My 2nd 5 miles were better and I hit the 10 mile mark in 28:40. I was a little disappointed in not breaking my PR but given the conditions I had did my best and was at least happy with the effort.

Carolina Cycling has 2 more time trials: one later this month and then one the last of September. This gives me potentially 2 more chances to break my 28:08 time.

For those you that might be interested, Cody got lucky. The track was drying out by the time he went out and I believe he rode faster this time. I didn’t get to see his ride because I was on the inner track riding a cool down ride. Definitely, he was excited about his effort.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

“The Stick” weapon or healing tool

If any of you saw my face book post Sunday night, you are aware that I took my “Stick” with me on a business trip earlier this week.

While passing through the security check point at Charlotte Douglas, I was questioned extensively about the “Stick” and shown the X-Ray of my luggage. Subsequently , they pulled my luggage from the X-Ray machine and I was escorted to an area where my luggage could be opened and examined. They then removed the “Stick” from my luggage and looked at as if it were some type of Moon rock. Several minutes of discussion pursued and then my “Stick” was given a complete wipe down so it could be checked for explosives. Then, after more discussion and an additional explanation from me, they decided my “Stick” was safe enough to pass but suggested that I mail it home before boarding my return flight.

Later at the hotel, I thought back to the X-Ray video that I was shown. I suspect the reason that my “Stick” stood-out was that I had put it at an angle in my carry-on bag. So for the return flight, I decided to test a theory. Besides if they confiscated my “Stick”, I could use a new one anyway.

So on the return flight instead of placing the “Stick” at an angle; I placed it in alignment with the metal bars that run down the back of my travel suit case. Heading into the baggage check, I followed the normal procedures and sent my suit case into the X-Ray and promptly walked around to watch from the other side. Low and behold, my suit case got a clean bill of health and I was headed my plane a happy camper.

For those of you that travel - note to self, if you take your “Stick” in your carry-on luggage, don’t place it at an angle across your clothes. You will almost certainly go through a baggage check and your “Stick” could get confiscated.

-btw – TSA workers during the entire process were extremely nice and although, they were just a little confused as to the purpose of the “Stick”. I guess there not many runners that work in the TSA at Charlotte Douglas Airport.

Also my "Stick" is safely at home now but will probably not be making any more business trips with me anytime soon. At least no trips where I will be flying.

Laws enacted for Cycling

I am sorry; I am not trying to turn this into a cycling blog but sometimes there are just cycling topics that are worth posting a blog.

Since I was traveling this week, I regularly get the USA-Today paper by my hotel door in the morning. Skimming through the paper, I came across an article about laws being enacted for cyclist. Most of these laws were pretty straight forward like "giving a cyclist 3ft of room while passing". I understand it and makes sense even thou, I have had people pass me much closer than 3 ft. While I was not happy about it, I survived.

But this was not the law that puzzled me the most. No, the law that most puzzle me makes it illegal to throw something at a cyclist. Now, let's take just a second and think about this statement. It is illegal to throw something at a cyclist. Doesn't common sense tell you in the first place that this probably isn't a good idea?

I mean, one person is probably going down the road at 20, 30, or more miles per hour and then throws an object at another person. How much common sense does it take to know that this something should not be done? I guess more than I am giving people credit for.

And even if a state doesn't have a law, isn't throwing an object at someone in this situation enough to get you arrested. In my mind, this is an attempt one's life and should be treated as such.

So I give my apologies to everyone for jumping on my high horse about this topic.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tails from the Road

After two days in Richmond VA this week for work, I am getting ready to head home this evening. For the most part, my running has been uneventful which works best for me.

Monday morning, I was up and out the door for 8 miles at 6 AM. Taking a left in front of the Hilton, I headed toward downtown Richmond along Broad Street. When traveling, I tend to stay on the same street for as long as possible. When you don't know the area and start taking lots of different streets, it is very easy to get lost. I did that once in Providence RI. It was not much fun. The road is wide and the traffic isn't very heavy. However, the only ambient light comes from the surrounding businesses. It might be a tough route to run during the winter months.

This morning was a 12 mile run so I took the right along Broad Street and just keep running. Along the way, I passed numerous restaurants and shops but most of this passed rather quickly and soon I was running in open country side. These are the kind of roads that I like best with plenty of clean air and few cars. Running before the sun comes provides a different experience. The temperatures are cool, the hills don't look as steep, and the road looks different. Sometimes, I think I have run too different roads as night changes over and becomes day.

Ah, time to sign off now and head for work.