Sunday, January 31, 2010

Tips for Running when the snow and ice is everywhere

After the 38 miles and 5 hour of running on snow and ice this weekend, I believe I have earned my introductory running license to give some advice on running in these conditions.

So here goes.


  • My first piece of advice is be safe. But if you are tempted to test yourself outdoors then be careful.
  • Expect to run slower
  • If you have a reflective vest, you should wear it. Visibility for drivers is always difficult and adding a reflective vest can make the difference between being seen and not being seen.
  • Choose low traffic roads, business parks, and/or developments – Developments work better because they tend to have nice wide roads and people don't tend to speed.
  • If the ice looks smooth go around it.
  • Choose ice that looks rough or is snow covered because it gives more traction to your running shoes.
  • If you are going to be out doors for hours, choose a course that puts the last ½ of the run with wind at your back. A cold head wind late in a run will chill you to the bone.
  • If your hands get cold, try the "Grabber Hand Warmers". I usually get the 10 hour brand and slip them into my gloves about 10 minutes before I head out the door. My gloves stay toasty warm for the entire run.
  • They also make a brand for the feet, but I don't use them for a couple of reasons. Number one, I don't like the lump feeling in my shoe under my feet. And, two, my feet just never get that cold during a run.
  • If the wind is really blowing, go with the ski mask. If there is not much wind, try the Vaseline on the face.
  • Running on ice is much like trail running. I use my hands and arms for balance.
  • If you do fall, take a second feel out your body. If nothing seems to be hurt except your pride, you can try getting up and walking first. Then if everything seems fine, try taking a few running strides.
  • Take a cell phone along – just in case of a fall and you cannot resume running – it gives you a life line.
  • Many times the wintery roads tend to narrow up so you end up running closer to the traffic. Make eye contact with the driver and give them a wave and a smile. You would be surprised how much room they will give you when you try this approach.

Hope these tips help with you with your running,

They certainly helped the Cool Down Runner this weekend.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wrapper on Myrtle Beach Training

Conditions were slick but much nicer than yesterday morning. There was more than enough ice for me, but as long as I watched were I was stepping, it was runable. More info will be coming on winter running in later today in another post.

But best of all, it puts a wrapper on the heavy lifting for my Myrtle Beach Marathon. I can now focus on the keeping the intensity up, lowing the miles, and best of all resting up.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Marathon

With conditions only looking to get worse for running this weekend, I headed out the door for my last long run before Myrtle Beach. Several hours later, I was safe and sound back home after having just completed a 28 mile run in the snow, sleet, and freezing rain.

Normally, I would never recommend anyone do a run like this under such adverse conditions but then, I never listen to my own advice.

Conditions were tough overall, but conditions varied depending on where I was running.

The first 12 miles were kind of fun. Running in the snow was a new and different experience. But from about 15 on, I started to get little tired and the wind, snow, and sleet pushed me to get to the finish as quickly as possible.

Most of the time, it was like running on the beach in soft sand. A few of the bridges were the worst because they had more slush than frozen snow. The most similar situation that comes to mind is if you compare it to running in mud. You have to think about pushing down and you have to focus on picking up your foot and keeping the shoe on the foot because the shoes tends to want to stay down in the slush.

Since the wind was coming out the north, I made sure to run the 1st half of the run with the wind my face. Only a few times, when I turned on some side streets did I encounter the wind over the 2nd half. Definitely, this was a big helper and kept me from getting too cold during the last 10 miles.

On a side note, I had this happen before, but not in a long time. With the freezing rain and sleet it tends to collect on my eye lashes. Every few miles I had to reach up and brush it off. When the ice starts to collect, you can feel it.

Traffic was not too bad either. Most people moved over to give me plenty of room. Only in one situation did one driver decide to drive right up next to me. And, I guess he assumed that I didn't see because he blew his horn as he passed.

My energy levels were good throughout the run. I took a Gel every 5 miles except mile 27. With only a mile left, I didn't really need it. The rush to get home and out of the cold was enough motivation alone.

The post run effects are the worst now. I am dog tired, but I did muster up enough energy to walk a mile or so this evening. I didn't want to hit the cold again, but I knew the walk would help with my recovery.

Tomorrow is another day and there is another run to do.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Friday, January 29, 2010

Showdown in the Snow - Postponed

Word circled quickly around Charlotte that the Winter Flight 8k will be postponed until Feb 21 at 2pm. Definitely, this was the right decision for the race committee to make. We runners would risk life and limb to get to race. And, the weather looks like it will be rough across the charlotte area for the next couple of days.

On a side, I was a little disappointed that Peter and I couldn't complete our wager this weekend, but Peter decided to ship me the MBM hoodie and shirt anyway. If you are worried, don't. Our wager is still on, but it is just a delayed a few weeks. Although, Peter's odds just got better. I will only be 6 days removed from MB.

Now, as I head into the weekend, I have to figure out how to get in my workouts. Since I am not racing, I thought I might do a 6 mile tempo tomorrow. The ugly part is that I may be doing it on the DREADED – Tread mill.

Then, I have may last long run before MB which is 28 miles. They say it is going to be 14 degrees on Sunday morning and with the frozen snow and ice. I expect nothing less than an adventure while I try to stay upright. I could never do 28 miles on the tread mill.

Wish me luck as I try to survive this weekend.


Cool Down Runner.



Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dual in the Snow

Last night the Facebook messages were flying fast and furious between Peter Ascuitto owner of Vac & Dash Running Store in Albemarle, NC and me.

Subject of the messages culminated in a throw down between Peter and me in the snow this weekend at the Salisbury Winter Flight 8k.

At stake a Vac & Dash hoodie and shirt that Peter created for the Uwharrie Runners entered in the Myrtle Beach Marathon.

Oh yeah and a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for Peter.

Here's how the wager goes.

First, I have to give Peter 13 minutes and 10 seconds. If the difference between our times is more than 13 minutes 10 seconds I win. If it is less, Peter wins.

If I win, I get that nice hoodie and shirt for free from Vac & Dash. But, if I lose, I have to buy the hoodie and shirt from Peter and at the April Fools 5k, I have to bring him a box of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.

Personally, I think Peter is sand bagging me on how fast that he intends to run. But in the interest of a friendly wager, I agreed. It is all in good fun anyway.

Now, here's where it really gets interesting.

If it snows this weekend and we run in the snow, my time will probably suffer more than Peter's which is bad news for me.

And if the snow is bad enough that the Race Director postpones the race until the 21st of February, it will be equally bad for me because it will only 7 days after Myrtle Beach.

On the hand if the snow swings north, Peter should be prepared and bring a large size hoodie and shirt to the race. I plan to be wearing them around after the race – win or lose (LOL)


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Winter Flight 8k – Take 2

I just got word that the unknown fast runner is Chad Newton from near Ashville, NC that is coming to the Winter Flight 8k. And, some added information from other sources that Chad ran 25:50 in GA last week so yeah, I say he has a pretty good shot at the state record – assuming we don't have to dig our way through the snow Saturday morning.

And on the snow note, David Freeze emailed me that they would update the web site with the race status in the event of bad weather. And they were not planning any type of postponement until something actually fell and it started to get slick.

So I would suggestion if the snow starts falling, check the website for an update before leaving.

Here's David's email address. I don't usually share email addresses on my blog but in this case David put his address on the web site and on the Winter Flight 8k Flyer so I am guessing that he is okay with me sharing it.

- Here's an additional update that I just got via Peter A. from Vac&Dash

"Should the race be postponed, the new race date and time will be Sunday afternoon February 21st at 2 PM. All pre-registrations will be honored.

Thanks - David Freeze - President SRR - Race Director Winter Flight 2010



Cool Down Runner

Winter Flight 8k

This weekend I am planning to run the Winter Flight 8k as my final tune-up race before heading to the Myrtle Beach Marathon in 2 weeks. That is barring Mother Nature putting the snow block on it.

I was hoping to make a strong run at the Master's Road Runners Club 8k Championship. But I am not so sure now. I emailed David Freeze who is the race director for Winter Flight and who I have known for years. He reply email made my jaw drop. He said there was a huge group of masters coming out for this event and he had talked to one individual who was planning to make a run at the State Record which is under 26 minutes. I was like "Wow". I cannot match that kind of effort. Maybe I could push down into the 27s but there is not a snowballs chance of me running a sub 26 minutes time – no pun intended considering the expected weather conditions on Saturday morning.

But I am not deterred. I will still go into the race and run hard. If conditions are bad and I think it only plays into my hands because the race will turn from a speed effort to a strength effort. And with my marathon training, I am less like to wear down if we are prodding through the snow.

Check back to my blog on Saturday afternoon to see how I did.


Cool Down Runner.

18 Miler

This morning was my last mid week long run before Myrtle Beach Marathon and I was dreading the 18 miler. Fortunately, Theoden, Mark, and Jon came out and helped pull me long. Mark, Theoden, and I met at the University Y and headed toward the greenway where we met up with Jon. From there it was a combination of the greenway and business park paths before heading back to the Y. We had to drop off Theoden and Mark before heading out for another 11 miles. Or at least I was heading out another 11 miles. Jon was looking to do 30 today and if I remember correctly, he was pushing 120 miles for the last 5 days.

So for all the dread that I had forecast for this run, it turned out pretty well.

I hope the same can be said for the 28 miler that I am doing this weekend.


Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Every workout now seems like a monster to tackle. My body was dragging this morning when I pushed out of bed, dressed, and headed over to the track so I could meet Nathan for some mile repeats. Truly, there are days when I ask myself why I do it.

Nathan is like a Timex watch. He was off and running fast from the first interval. Me on the other hand, I am slow starter. It takes me a few miles to get warmed up.

Nathan was probably a good 10 seconds ahead of me on the 1st interval. For the 2nd and 3rd intervals not so much maybe he was ahead by 5 seconds. 4th and 5th my body was finally warmed up and I was able to stay on his shoulder for a couple of 5:37 miles. He then asked me to lead out the 6th mile which I helped him bring home in 5:35.

He opted to not join me for the 7th mile repeat. It was probably for the best. My legs and arms were screaming to stop as I felt totally out of sync for the first 3 laps. Only on the 4th lap did I start feeling better. I guess I was just going through a bad spot.

Overall, I did the workout a little faster than I wanted or even expected to do. I tend to find it is easy to fall into a groove when I am working with someone. Maybe this is the reason why I never seem to get as much out of myself when I do these workouts solo.

Next up, I have 18 miles in the morning on the Mallard Creek Greenway. Circle by to join me for some of it if you have time. I will be starting around 6AM from the Y.


Cool Down Runner

Monday, January 25, 2010

Putting my affairs in order

Myrtle Beach Marathon is now less than 3 weeks out so it is time to focus on those last minute tasks. So I thought it would be a good idea to share some things that are on my plate with everyone.

We all pretty much get the fact that we want the last week going into a marathon as easy and stress free as possible. To make this happen, we need to start making plans early in the process.

This brings me to my own preparation.

  1. Make sure all of my travel arrangements are in place: hotel, rental car. There is nothing like finding out at the last minute that there are no cars available or your room has been reallocated. Also make sure I have my confirmation numbers. In this case, I am printing out my car and hotel reservation numbers.
  2. Shoes and Running clothes for race day. This weekend I was over to TrySports where they hooked me up with some new Brooks Racing Flats. My plan is to give them a test run this weekend at Winter Flight this weekend. Assuming everything goes well, I will use them at Myrtle Beach. But if it doesn't then, I have time to get a fall back plan in place.
  3. I am heading down a day early so I will be running in Myrtle Beach. This means that I need to pack extra running clothes and shoes. Also if you are staying over a day, the same rule applies.
  4. Start checking the Race website. Look for any last minute updates, schedule changes, and/or course changes. Anything can come up at the last minute. The sooner that I am aware of the changes the less stressful it becomes.
  5. Race Day Gels or Energy Drinks. I like the Power Gels – Chocolate flavored so I hit my local TrySports store to pick them up early. This avoids crossing my fingers that they have them at the expo.
  6. Depending on the race that you are entered, you may have received letter that needs to be presented at packet pickup. Or if you registered online, take a copy of the receipt with you. It is always good to have proof when they cannot find your name at packet pick up.
  7. Sleep, there is nothing like it. I will start trying to hit the bed ½ hour to an hour early. Sleep banks can be built up and used the night before a race. I rarely sleep much the night before a race. I usually to anxious.
  8. Start checking the weather. Usually does a 10 day forecast, but by looking at the currents conditions, you can get a sense of the average temperatures.
  9. Finally, start making a packing list. This helps keep you from forgetting something like extra safety pins, glide lubricant, etc.

And remember, keep the week before as stress free as possible.

Some marathon planning tips from the Cool Down Runner

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spring Edition of the Idiot Run

This morning I was off to Albemarle for the spring addition of the Idiot Run. For those of you that don't know, the Uwharrie Running Club has this tradition of running from the Y in Albemarle to the top of Morrow Mt. and back. Typically, they have a spring and fall edition.

I did my first spring run 2 years ago and I kicked off my Myrtle Beach Marathon training with their November run last year. So I guess it is only fitting that I finish off my Myrtle Beach training with another run.

The Idiot Run starts at 5:30 AM but I was already headed to Albemarle by 4AM. I had 24 miles scheduled today so my plan was to put in 4 miles and then run the 20 miles to Morrow Mt. with everyone else.

I was finishing up the first 4 miles when I came around the corner of the Y. Darn, they have already left. Luckily, I was only a few minutes behind and caught up quickly.

The first hour is pretty much in total darkness. Just about the time, we were climbing the mountain; there was just enough light see the road.

We ran the first 10 miles in about 75 minutes. There was some good conversations along the way, but then things got down to business on the way back.

At one point I crested this mile long hill and my Garmin flashed up the split 6:43. My eyes flashed on over to the heart rate – 155 BPM. While I felt tired, the legs felt pretty good. I went on to run uphill miles 21 in 6:23 and 22 in 6:18. With 2 miles left, I felt it was time to shut things down.

The next 2 miles were in 6:41 and 7:10. My heart rate dropped down into the 130s and I felt pretty good. All of this is a very good sign going into my marathon in a few weeks.

I hung out for as long as I could. And I apologize for having to leave early, but I had to get back to Charlotte to pickup my daughters.

If you get a chance, the Idiot Run is well worth the trip to Albemarle.

I have now done it 3 times and hope to return in the future.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner.



Friday, January 22, 2010

10 mile progressive tempo today

Running progressive tempo runs solo is never easy and it doesn't make it any better when the weather is not cooperating. This morning the drizzle and a wind made conditions tougher than I really wanted for my tempo run. But I have to take what Mother Nature gives me because this is the way it works on race day.

For the first couple of miles, I felt really sluggish. This I attributed to my massage at Massage Envy last night. The massage was good but the lin

Miles 4-7 things started smoothing things out and the legs felt better. Miles 8-10 were some of my fastest miles.

Overall, the workout was good but not great. I clocked in a solo time just over 64 minutes.

I was lazy and ran on the roads near my house so I spent quite a bit of time running up hills.

Tomorrow, I have 24 miles and then I have one more hard week before my MBM taper starts.


Crossing my fingers that injuries stay away


Cool Down Runner




Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hill Bounding

Headed over to my favorite hill by Mallard Creek Elementary School for some hill repeats this morning, but rather than doing some hill sprints which is my usual Thursday morning workout, I switched it up a bit.

This morning, I decided rather than do hard sprints up the hill that I would focus on hill bounding.

You might be asking what the difference is so let me see if I can explain the difference as I do them.

When I am doing hill sprints, I typically choose a shorter hill, preferably on dirt, and relatively straight. Starting from the bottom of the hill – it is a hill sprint remember – I sprint up the hill as if I were running the last 100 meters of a race. I focus on good form and trying to stay relaxed. Once I reach the top, I slowly jog back to the bottom. Usually, by the time that I reach the bottom my breathing has returned to normal.

For hill bounding, I do something a little different. I am less concerned with the overall speed as with the hill sprint and more concern with bounding from one foot to the other. If you are looking for a quick comparison, imagine the bounding that occurs during the triple jump event. The exaggerated stride that occurs just before the runner leaps into the sand pit. Take this same image and imagine doing the same bounding but going uphill.

I usually do between 6 and 10 repeats depending on where I am in my training cycle.

Essentially, hill bounding could be considered strength training for the legs. When done right, the effects can be felt from the hips down the entire leg and into the foot.

So the next time, you want to shake up your training, try some hill bounding.


Running ideas from the Cool Down Runner.




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Running Boost Brain Power

Before heading out for my 16 miler this morning, I was laying in the floor stretching in front of my TV. As usual I had WBTV on so I could catch the weather and local news.

I was listening more than watching but my attention perked up when one of the announcers's started a segment about "Running Boost Brainpower".

In the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences it was reported that running effects the hippocampus which is the part of the brain that is responsible for learning and memory. You can read the article at the following link - Web Med - Running Improves Brain Power.

Interestingly, I don't really feel any smarter. In fact, at 23 miles of a marathon, I usually think this was really a dumb idea. LOL.

So I am wondering – Does anyone think they are smarter now than before they started running?



Let the Cool Down Runner know


Batman’s Utility Belt for Runners

This morning Jonathan Savage one the area ultra runners allowed me to join him for a few miles of his Wednesday morning run. It is always an interesting time when Jonathon and I met up for a run and today was no different.

We were probably 7 or 8 miles into our run when I mentioned something about a race getting close to being full. Jonathon quickly spoke up and said that he was intending to be a pacer for the race and most likely needed to register before it was closed.

Normally, this is where most conversations between runners would end – with a mental note being made to look into it.

Not Jonathan, he whips out a recorder while we are still running and starts dictate into it. At the time, I was more awe struck than anything. In the numerous years of running, this was the first time that I ever had this happen and mind you, I have been running for a while.

At this point, the resistance to ask was killing me. I wondered what else he might have. So over the next few miles, Jonathan told me about some of the other items that he had in his Runners Utility Belt in addition to recorder: BlackBerry, water purification tablets, iPod, etc.

I mean I have carried stuff on my runs but I never carried anything like Jonathan.

But what I can say, he is a portable office on legs. I am sure if I asked, he would have a printer and papered stored away somewhere.

Definitely, it makes me look forward to our next running adventure.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

3x3m with 2x400 between each tempo

This morning I headed over to my favorite parking spot of the Mallard Creek Greenway only to find that it has been roped off. This was really disappointing because now, I had to circle back and park at the Y.

Well, when you get handed some lemons, you just need to make some lemonade.

So I entered the Greenway from a different point and essentially run my 3mi. tempos and ¼s backwards from what I was expecting.

In reality, the workouts probably went a little better. The back half of each tempo had more of a down flavor to it which is always nice.

For the record, this morning I was pounding out the following workout: 3 x 3mi with 3 min recovery with 2 x 400 with 1 min recovery between each tempo. That makes a grand total of 10 miles of hard running on the greenway.

Unfortunately, I walked out the door without my heart monitor this morning so I was basically going by feel and my breathing to judge how well I was doing.

My goal for the workout was to run just a tick under my goal marathon pace and which was about what I did. The really nice part now as I look back this workout was that I ran each tempo progressively faster. But this makes sense, since I am notorious for being a slow starter.

Friday I have a 10 mile tempo and follow it up Saturday with a 24 mile run. Then, next Tuesday I am doing an alternating 1 mi., 2mi, 1 mi., 2mi., and 1mi.

This makes for an interesting last 2 week of running before I start my taper into the Myrtle Beach Marathon.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Born To Run

Just a few minutes ago, I finished reading Christopher McDougall's book "Born To Run". So while everything is still fresh in my mind, I wanted to get this post out.

A while back I heard several runners discussing "Born To Run" so when I ventured by Borders Book Store last week, I picked up a copy.

I thought I was going to be reading about the Mexican Runners called Tarahumara. But the book only gives a brief glimpse into the Tarahumara people and their running.

Chris's book tells story of Tarahumara's encounters with Americans and American culture as well as American Ultra Runners heading south of the border for race with the Tarahumaras. Throughout his book, Chris weaves into the story line stories of other runners and coaches as well as some of the science of running to explain a lot about the history of running what makes us able to run as we do.

I found the stories to be both interesting and sometime even funny. Some the stories go into such detail that many times I had to flip back and reread some of the pages two or three times to clearly understand the concepts Chris was explaining.

But what I really got of the book is some people truly love to run and thoroughly enjoy the feeling derived from running. Through his book, Chris tells of people who have truly found that inner peace that so many in this world are in search of. I think this is so true whether you are a Tarahumara runner, an elite runner, or someone who just enjoys going their front door to feel the air on their face.

If you get a chance, swing by the book store and pick yourself up a copy. I am promise you that it will be worth the read.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Chris Lamperski

Earlier this weekend, I was out running with a group of guys and someone ask me if I had read Théoden's Blog about Chris Lamperski. I had to be honest and say no. Somehow, I had been hidden in my own little world of running/work and Theoden had slipped a post to this blog by me.

But the discussion carried on as they described Théoden's column and the comments related to it. Let's just say some of the comments were not positive.

After our run, I came home and pulled up the Théoden's blog to read his column for myself.

First, let me say that I consider Chris a friend and wanted to share my thoughts on Chris. If you are wondering, I could have posted my comments on Théoden's Blog, but I wanted my comments to come out from the Cool Down Runner. This way there would be no mistake to who posted them. The internet can be like the dark of night; hiding in the shadows is made so much easier.

Anyway, I don't know if anyone has ever considered me undedicated or inconsistent. They may have but they just didn't tell me.

I know there are periods in my life when I didn't train very hard or race very frequently. In fact, if you look at my racing through the years, you will see that I didn't race for a couple of years and then followed it up by only racing once in the next few years.

Does this make me an undedicated or inconsistent runner, I think not. Life and other priorities have its ways of getting in front of running. That is just a fact of life that we all have to accept. Not all of us are paid athletes.

But back to Chris, I had a chance to watch Chris run and race many times; does he have untapped potential. The short simple answer is "Yes".

Will he ever reach his full potential? Well, that is for Chris to determine and not me. Should I judge harshly if he doesn't. The short answer is "No" and here is why.

Life doesn't always grant us the opportunity to reach our full potential. How many Kenyan runners never grow up to run because of family, location, or tribal culture. How many American kids finish high school or college runners enter the workforce only to run sporadically or pickup running again late in life long after their prime years. That's a ton of unfulfilled potential and doesn't make any one of these people undedicated or inconsistent.

In my humble opinion as long as Chris is happy with his life and he is training the way that he likes, we should be happy for him.

As one final take away, this world has enough people willing and able to tear us down. Maybe instead of offering a discouraging remake, try offering a word of encouragement.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.



Friday, January 15, 2010

8x1000 with 400 recovery

Before I head into another weekend of long runs, I was out this morning for one last stressor workout. Originally, I had slated a 4 x 8 minutes with 2 minute recovery over the course of 12 miles, but it would have been a total drag to do by myself.

Nathan tossed over in an email that he was doing 8x1000 with a 400 meter recovery at Bradley Middle School track on Friday.

It didn't take me to long to switch up workouts i.e. doing 4x8min alone verses 8x1000 and being pulled along.

This call was pretty easy.

After few more email exchanges we were all set.

Our warm up would start at 6:30 AM which would include a couple of miles.

Then, we move on to the track for the 8x1000. My hands were very cold at the start, but between the sun coming up and the intervals, my hands started to warm up.

I have run track workouts many times and with others, but this would be the first time for a track workout with Nathan. I was interested to see how he handled it.

This is what I found it out.

Nathan likes to go out pretty hard the first 100 meters before settling into the interval. I am little different. I tend to start slow and build over the course of the interval. So needless to say, Nathan was gapping me by 5 yards or so on the initial lap. He tends to run intervals with even splits where as I start slow but try to finish progressively faster.

He ended up leading the initial intervals, and I took my turn leading the some of the middle intervals.

Around intervals 5 and 6, I was starting to struggle somewhat. My arms and legs seemed to want to tie up. But during intervals, 7 and 8, I kept my focus on staying relaxed, watching my form, and controlling my breathing. This really helped and I felt much better which showed when my intervals picked up a little.

Overall, I was pretty pleased with this workout. There was good effort and speed coming out of my body and I hit my mileage goal of 12 for the day.

Up next Tuesday, I will be doing 3 x 3mi with 2x400 between each one. As for a location, I like Mallard Creek Greenway for this one. There is nice flat ¼ mile section and I can do a little out and back for the 3 mi. tempos.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hill Sprints

Today, it was an easy today for me. Nothing really hard was on the agenda.

Around 7am my run started with 3+ easy miles over to a dirt hill next to Mallard Creek Elementary School. Once there, I did 7 hill sprints which are roughly 100 meters in length to the top of the hill. This was followed by another 3+ miles back to the Y.

With all of the other hard workouts that I do, this one is short and intense. And best of all, it leaves me feeling energized at the end. Maybe because, it is just enough to get my heart up but it is not enough to actually overload my body with lactic acid.

Oh yeah, hopefully this will be the last day for a while that we have temps in the 20s. I am so ready for spring.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Slow Running

Early this morning I was out for a 16 mile run and was running much slower than I was expecting. It wasn't that really felt tired, but I just didn't feel like running any harder. And with no one along to urge me to run faster, I just settled in to whatever felt comfortable.

When I got home, I started looking through my running log to see what my training pace was over the past several years.

One of the things that I noticed is when I switched my training to more of a marathon type training schedule, my overall pace started to slow.

The biggest switch that I have made was adopting a mid week long run. After I made this switch, my progressive long run became a lot more difficult. Mostly because I was not recovering fast enough.

Also I noticed that when I started through my taper period and post marathon recovery, my training pace picked back up.

So the question, I am raised to myself; should I change my weekly marathon training schedule to run faster across more days or keep it the same – run hard on the hard days and run easy on the days.

I cannot see that it is hurting my race performance so I am on the fence about making a major change.



Tales from the Cool Down Runner.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

5x2 mi. followed by 6x200m strides

The temperature was a little late dropping into the 20s this morning but it did make it. Not to be deterred, I headed out for my scheduled workout of 5x2 mile with a 2 minute recovery followed by 6x200 meters with 10 second recovery.

I wanted to do this workout on the track but for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to go to a track so I headed over to the world's largest tread mill a.k.a "The Huntersville Business Park Loop". This loop is about 2 miles in length, has plenty of street lights, and has a nice wide pavement area for runners to use.

I was hoping for a speedy workout but things don't always work out the way I want. The first couple of intervals went pretty well, but on the 3rd interval, I started tying up. The tying up got worse during the 4th and 5th intervals and slowed my times by about 10 seconds.

I finished off the workout with 6 x 200 meters strides. They were not pretty but I completed them anyway.

Once the tying up starts and lactic acid sets-in, you just have to work through it as best you can.

In hindsight, I should have probably pushed this workout out another day or two. This would have given my body more time to recovery from my ½ marathon on Saturday. Sometimes, I try to do the same things that I did when I was 25. While the mind is always willing, my body knows better and sooner or later raises an exception back to the brain.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner.



Monday, January 11, 2010

Cold Weather – using Vaseline as insulation


Last week, I said that I was going to provide some feedback on using Vaseline to insulate your hands and face against the cold weather.

Saturday morning I got my opportunity for a real test. The temperature was 22 degrees at 8 AM with light breeze – maybe 8 to 10mph.

Before my race, I coated my face and hands with Vaseline. For my face, I didn't provide another covering. Other than, I did cover my ears with a running head band.

For my hands, I used a pair of black thin Brooks's gloves.

By first mile, my hands were going numb. At two miles, I was pulling my fingers back into the body of the gloves and curling them into a loose fist.

For the next 10 miles, I ran with my hands curled into a loose fist. Around 10 ½ miles, I tried extending my fingers back into the fingers of the glove but they almost immediately went numb.

From there until the finish, I just kept them curled up in the body of glove.

My face seemed to fair much better. While we did hit a head wind at times, my face remained in pretty good shape.

So here are my conclusions.

For your hands, 22 degrees is way too cold for this test. Maybe, if the temperature was in the upper 30s or 40s, it may have produced better results.

For your face, Vaseline was huge help and definitely worth the extra effort to apply it to your face.


Tips from the Cool Down Runner


McLeod ½ Marathon Race Recap

After debating for more than 2 weeks about running the McLeod ½ Marathon in Florence, SC, I finally signed up just a few days before the event.

The drive down from my house to Florence is about 2 ½ hours and I arrived about 6:45 AM. That meant that I left around 4 AM. Ugh, early morning races are rough.

When I started my warm up the temperature was 24 degrees and when I checked the temperature just before the start it was 22 degrees with a light breeze. This made selecting the appropriate clothing difficult. I ended up running using my compress shorts, calf sleeves, long sleeve short, my TrySports shirt, gloves, and a band that covered my ears. Oh yeah, I used my Brooks running gloves.

Being that it was extremely cold and not knowing anyone else in the race, I didn't set any real great goals other than the obvious one, I wanted a good hard effort.

Standing at the starting line, I am pretty sure that this was the coldest race that I have ever attempted and maybe the first time that I ever crossed my fingers that the temperature went up doing the race.

The 5k and ½ started at the same time with these 4 high school runners going hard the first mile. One of the runners was a female runner. She would pull away from the other two by two miles.

At the mile, I was third in the race overall and by two miles; I was running 2nd in the race. I would catch the lead runner before the 5k and ½ courses would split.

Just before the split between the races, one thought crossed my mind why didn't I sign up for the 5k race. But that thought got pushed aside and I headed off down the trail on the ½ marathon course.

As I was about to enter the rails to trails section of the course, I heard some foot steps behind me.

Yep, there was someone about 25 yards behind.

For the next mile, I kept hearing footsteps. By 4 and ½ miles, I took a quick peek out of the corner of my eye on a turn, and had maybe a 40 yard lead.

For the next 3 miles, the footsteps continued but when I got the next chance to peek over my shoulder there was no one in sight. I guess the footsteps echoing in my ears were my own.

So I concentrated on chasing the lead bike for the remaining miles.

Danny White of RMS commented that he been measuring a lot of courses recently, and this was one of the best that he had done.

I cannot speak for the scenery, but I would consider the course more rolling than flat and it has good two miles of trails in it.

From about 11 and ½ to 13+ miles, the trail is mostly single track which was lots of twist and turns. Some were even 90 degree turns.

The race provided water at 3 locations during the race, but I passed them by. I did take one Gel just after the mile, but I didn't take any more Gels. My hands were so cold that I couldn't bend my fingers.

After the race, I warmed down by myself along the course and encouraged the other runners coming into the finish.

I checked the temperature again after my warm down, and it was 35 degrees. It really didn't feel like it. The wind chilled me right to the bone.

For snacks, they had cookies, Snapple, coffee, and hot chocolate. The race shirt was long sleeve running shirt with the event logo on the front.

They didn't really have an awards ceremony. They just called everyone up and handed out the wards when you told them your name.

Setting here now, I was pretty happy with the race. I walked away believing that I left a lot on the table. Running alone for the majority of the race, in such a cold temperature and wind, and with the tough single track trail section, a 1:16 time would not be out of the question for me.

I have 5 more weeks to go before Myrtle Beach Marathon and plenty of work to do, but the outlook looks promising.

As my Chinese fortune cookie said "I have to stay the course if I want to reach my goal"


Tales from a cold and tired Cool Down Runner.






Mile Split

Total Time





















































13.1 (actual distance 13.25)




Sunday, January 10, 2010

Uwharrie Year End Banquet

A few years ago I joined Uwharrie Running Club and when I can, I make the hour or so drive over to Albemarle, NC to partake in their activities. Last night was my first opportunity to attend their yearend banquet.

80+ people came out which is an awesome showing. The banquet was held in the fellowship hallow of the local church. The club provided the ham and everyone brought a side dish or desert.

Yours personally brought two side dishes and a huge appetite.

Looking at the serving table, there was plenty of food, deserts, and drinks for everyone.

The evening started off with a few introductions and points of order, and then everyone was turned loose to eat.

Honestly, I would take this type of dinner over and professionally done buffet dinner.

Peter was circling the room like a politician talking with everyone as he moved from table to table. I hope he got a chance to eat but I doubt it.

On a side note, I have to give him major kudos for all he puts into both running community and this club.

After a great dinner and some good conversation, there was a final good bye to the '09 Club Officers and an introduction of the new club Officers for '10.

There was also a discussion of the 101 and 202 running classes as well of the creation of two new classes 13.1 and 26.2 which are targeted at preparing people to run either a ½ or full marathon.

Next, they moved to handing out the mileage awards. While we already know who achieved their goals, getting the opportunity to be seen and recognized in front of your peers is something special.

Next, came some video presentations from the numerous races and events put on by the club.

As the meeting drew to close, I got my change to catch up with a few people that I had only met by email, facebook, or at a race.

All clubs should be so lucky to have such active members.


Definitely, the drive over was well worth it.



Tales from the Cool Down Runner with a full tummy of food for the drive home from Albemarle.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Okay, it was really cold this morning

After finishing my workout, I headed over to the soccer field for Tabata workout. During the run there was some wind hitting me in the face but boy, was it blowing across the soccer field. By the end of the Tabata workout, the entire side of my face was totally numb. I was working my mouth open and closed just to make sure it still worked.

When the weather man said the arctic temperatures were going to arrive this morning, he wasn't kidding.

On a side note, I followed a link from Theoden's Blog about winterizing yourself for a run.

One of the interesting suggestions from the article that jumped out to me was using Vaseline. Coating your hands with it will help keep them warm during coldest days.

Since tomorrow it is expect to really cold – "Polar Express" type cold. I am going to give it a try.

My plan is to cover my hands, cheeks, and nose with Vaseline. In case you are wondering my back up plan is to tough it out if it doesn't work. Wish me luck.

Look for a report tomorrow or Sunday afternoon on it.



Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some additional Cold Weather Tips for Runners

Tonight's weather report on WBTV doesn't look good. The weatherman says we are in for potentially snow (more likely rain) and temps dipping down into the teens for consecutive days. Having been around Charlotte for 20 years now, never before has it been this cold for this long if memory serves me correctly.

This takes me back to when I was traveling to Providence RI. Pretty much the entire month of January, the thermometer never rose above 10 degrees.

This made running outside a testament to both mental and physical fortitude.

But it also made me figure out how to dress such that my body was neither sweating nor freezing.

You are probably already aware of the standard type of tips like dressing in layers and dressing such that you are little cold at the start because your body will warm up after the first couple of miles.

There are a few other tips that have kept me warm many cold mornings so with the cold temps here I thought I would share.

  1. Use a Toboggan (sock type hat)and make sure it fits snuggly to your head and covers your ears. There is nothing worse than one that lets cold air in on the ears
  2. Try using Mittens. When the fingers are spread apart, they tend to chill much faster.
  3. And when you switch to Mittens, try picking up those heat packs used by hunters. They usually run about a dollar for 2 and last about 10 hours. Dicks, REI, or Bass Pro Shop have them. Sometimes you can find them at Walmart. If you want the mega pack, BJs has them.
  4. Socks – you know unless it was wet and cold, I don't switch out socks. My crew cut Thorlo Running socks seem to work just fine and honestly, I don't ever remember my feet being cold.
  5. Head liner or Ski Mask. I have one and usually wear it once or twice a year. It all depends on the wind. If it is blowing or you are running near traffic, it will keep the checks and nose toasty warm. If the wind isn't blow, I can usually skip it unless the temperature dips into the single digits.
  6. This is for the guys. There are certain areas on a guy's body that need a little extra protection if you know what I mean. I don't know where I found these but I have a pair runner-wear that has a wind breaker cover which covers the mid section. On a cold windy day it does the trick.
  7. As far as tights and coats, I usually skip the Gor-Tex jackets. I like everything to be pretty tight fitting when it is really cold. But I do like clothes that can be up zipped. This way if I get too hot, I can let in some cooler air. Also if you saw my earlier post, I survived quite well on Tuesday with just the 2XU tights. Running causes the legs to produce a lot of heat despite the cold so only in rare cases such as single digits or high winds do I need some extra to cover them.

Well, that's my thoughts for tonight. If you are running in this weather, I hope my suggestions help and above all stay warm and safe.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner.

20 Degrees this morning

Turning on the TV this morning, the weather man on WBTV said the temperature was 20 degrees in Charlotte. That may have been true where he was setting. But outside my house, it felt much colder.

As usual, putting my Michelin Man running outfit, it was time to head out the door before the sun comes up. The first couple of miles were a bit rough. My body was really feeling the cold set in but then the body started to warm up and the rest of the run were manageable.

For the most part the wind wasn't an issue until I got out onto the sidewalk of the route. There the cars were flying by so it was similar to having a 20 mph head wind. Good thing I took my ski mask with me. The nose and checks stayed toasty warm.

Now, for the hard part, according to the weather man we are going to have even colder days during the weekend.

So when you roll over in your nice warm bed on Saturday and/or Sunday morning and peek at the clock which says 5:01 AM, think warm thoughts for me. I will either be doing hard run or a long run, but rest assured, I will be running outside.


Tales from the Cool Down Runner.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2 XU Compression Tights

This past weekend while I was in the TrySports Store, I picked some 2 XU Compression Tights. They retail for about 140 dollars but TrySports has them for about 110 dollar. That is a lot for running tights but then again, I wanted them for the compression aspect.

This morning I decided this would be the perfect test for them. The temp was in the 20s and with a little wind. Making conditions are bitter cold for Charlotte.

As you would expect putting they were a bit rough to put on.

These compression tights fit like the doctors gloves – very snug.

Being that they fit like a second skin, I hardly noticed them while running.

And other than the first few minutes of feeling the cold during my warm up, I never felt the cold again. To me this was really surprising. I thought for sure they would not handle the cold very well.

After the workout, and much like before the workout, they were a bit hard to get off. Since I am like the compression characteristic this is something that I will have to live with.

If you get a chance, I would recommend going by the store to try on a pair.

On a side note, I learned that 2XU material has a about 450 hours of sweet wear so when you finish with them, I would suggesting going ahead and washing them out.

Stay warm tomorrow morning.

Tales from the Cool Down Runner

One very hard workout

This morning in the freezing temperatures I may have done one of my hardest workouts ever.

I know you are dying to know what the workout was just look at the next section.


  • 4 mi. tempo with a 4 min. recovery
  • 2 x ¼ mi. with 1 min. recovery
  • 2 mi. tempo with 2 min. recovery
  • 1 x ¼ mi. with 1 min. recovery
  • 2 x 1 mi. with 1 min recovery
  • 1 x ¼ mi. with 1 min recovery


To be totally honest, I didn't come up with this workout myself. I actually found it on Tim Budic's Blog when he posted some of his old marathon workouts. The first time that I read it, I knew it was one that I wanted to try.

For this workout, I headed out to the Huntersville Business Park. With a 4 and 2 mile tempos, I could not bare the idea of running that many laps on track. Pretty much it would have been like being in the spin cycle.

For the 4 mile and 2 mile tempos, I did the big outer loop. This loop includes several up hills and down hills but the run essentially starts and finish in the same location. The quarter mile repeats were run against a hill so I was either charging up the hill for 1 and 3 quarters. 2 and 4 quarters were downhill.

If you totally up the mileage, you get 9 miles of hard running. That's definitely a lot. What I really struggled with during the workout was the cold temp. I was bundled up like the Michelin Man which caused me to struggle a little. With the extra clothing, I just couldn't get my arms working normally.


Workout Item


Avg. Heart Rate

Max Heart Rate

4 mi. tempo




¼ mi.




¼ mi.




2 mi. tempo




¼ mi.




1 mi. tempo




1 mi. tempo




¼ mi.





Looking at the splits, I also suspect that I was starting to get a little lactic acid build up. I really started to tail off during the last couple of intervals.

As I am setting here, I am really glad this is the only time that I have to do this workout during this training cycle.



Tales from the Cool Down Runner.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cold Weather/Heart Attack

This morning as I laid on the floor doing my core workouts before heading out into the cold, I was listening to WBTV news. One of the stories, they discussed was the relationship between cold weather and heart attacks. It seems that the cold weather causes body to constrict the blood vessels to keep the body warm. Based on what I gathered from the news story this can induce a heart attack when combined with strenuous activities

Here I was about to go out into the cold and do a strenuous activity – running.

This brings to mind the story of a friend - "Brian Trotter". A few years ago he was running with several friends when he had a heart attack. Luckily, they knew CPR and saved his life. He was fortunate that he wasn't running alone when the heart attack occurred.

This makes me wonder if we all should run every run with someone. I don't how many runs that I have done alone and on remote trails. If something had happened, it would have been days or maybe weeks before someone might have found me.

If you are out running the next few days, you should do the following: stay warm and run with a buddy.

But rest assured, since you reading this post, I returned safely. Years of running the cold weather teaches you how to stay warm and yet not get too hot.


Safe Journeys to you from the Cool Down Runner.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

’09 Results from my Summary Track Series

  • CTTC Summer Track 6.16.09 1 mi. 5:16
  • CTTC Summer Track 6.9.09 1 mi. (heat 2) 5:29
  • CTTC Summer Track 6.9.09 1 mi (heat 1). 5:20
  • CTTC Summer Track 6.2.09 1 mi. 5:13

Summary of ’09 Cycling Time Trial Results

Below are the results from my '09 Cycling Time Trials. The '10 race schedule will be coming soon.


  • CTTC 10 Mile Time Trial - 24:52 Lowes Speedway 9.30.09
  • CTTC 10 Mile Time Trial - 25:23 Lowes Speedway 8.26.09
  • CTTC 10 Mile Time Trial - 28:40 Lowes Speedway 8.5.09
  • CTTC 10 Mile Time Trail - 28:03 Lowes Speedway 7.15.09

Summary of ’09 Road Racing Results

Below are my '09 Road Race Results. In the coming week, I will be working to post my '10 racing schedule.

  • Shamrock 4 Miler - 22:48 8 OA 1 MM - NC 3.21.09
  • Young Life 5K 17:06 1OA - Lowes Motor Spdwy - NC 3.22.09
  • Waxhaw 5K 17:22 2nd Waxhaw NC 4.24.09
  • Twilight 5K - 17:26 9th OA Charlotte NC 5.8.09
  • Skyline 5K- 17:16 6OA 2nd AG Charlotte NC 4.25.09
  • Beach Blast 5k - 17:15 1OA Albemarle, NC 5.9.09
  • King Tiger 5k - 17:19 9th OA Charlotte NC 6.6.09
  • China Grove 5k - 17:27 10th OA 1MM China Grove, NC 6.12.09
  • Tour De Kale 5K, - 17:50 3rd OA Denton, NC 6.19.09
  • Blue Points 5K - 17:16 15 OA 1 MM Charlotte, NC 8.8.2009
  • Run For Your Life 4mi - 22:49 10th OA 2 MM Charlotte, NC 7.11.09
  • Yiasou Greek Fest 5k - 16:58 10th OA 2 MM Charlotte, NC 8.29.2009
  • Midnight Flight 5k 16:55 13 OA 4 MM - Anderson, SC 9.4.09
  • Midnight Flight 10k 36:17 12 OA 3rd MM - Anderson,SC 9.4.09
  • Hit the Brixx 10k - 35:39 6 OA 1 MM - Charlotte NC 9.26.09
  • Lung Strong 15k - 54:19 8 OA 1MM Charlotte NC - 10.17.09
  • OBX Marathon Outer Banks NC 2:43:45 7 OA 1 MM 11.8.09
  • Turkey Trot 8k - 28:12 14 OA 1st 40-44 11.26.09
  • USATF Team XC Championship 10K 37:47 135 OA 31st 45-49 Lexington, KY 12.12.09

Living the Dream

Fittingly, my first post of 2010 should be about someone chasing their dream.

About three years ago I met this runner at race. He seemed to be full of boundless energy and motivation both in his work and his running. His name was Cody Angell. He worked at Run for Your Life at the time but later he moved over to TrySports where he has been an integral part of pushing the Charlotte store to new heights.

Over the past couple of years, I have watched as he learned about running and himself.

He pushed himself to the point where his times have gotten extremely fast.

Then, last summer he took up the challenge of the Duathlon and qualified for the World Duathlon Championship here in Charlotte. Leading up to the race he and his wife hosted an elite runner from Australia.

This Elite Duathlete would later invite Cody to come over for a month and work with him in Perth, Australia. During this time, I was able watch many of his exploits in Australia via his blog post. He seemed to excel with this opportunity.

Cody just arrived back in Charlotte from this trip before Christmas.

After arriving back in Charlotte, Cody posted that he has some big news to announce.

Today, I got a chance to chat with Cody about his big news for a few minutes.

This elite runner that invited him over to Australia for a month had now offered him a job.

Cody has accepted his offer and plans move to Australia to work full time for him. In addition he already entered in a Thailand Duathlon in March as a professional so obviously Australians are seeing the same thing that we have know about Cody for a while.

Cody has called this opportunity "Living the Dream" and I couldn't be happier for him. He has an opportunity to shine while doing the things we do as an after work task full time.

Cody heads back to Australia in February for good.

If you get a chance, stop by TrySports to say bye and wish him luck.



Best Wishes from the Cool Down Runner.