Sunday, August 29, 2010

’10 USA 10K Trail Championship Recap 8.28.10

Yesterday morning, I headed north for the USA 10k Trail Championship in Laurel Springs, NC which also doubled as the USAT&F NC Champion. From hear-say and video off of YouTube, I knew this was not one of your run of the mill trail races. Based on what I gathered; it was tough. How tough? Well, that is what I was about to find out.

Since I heard a lot about the course, I wanted to view some of the trails beforehand. Often, it is better to know what is coming and then be surprised. During my warm up miles, I turned off on the first trail and before I went 200 meters, I was sliding on my "but" down the hill. From that point on the rest trails was nothing less than an adventure. Before my Garmin read 1 mile, I was been running on the trail for 17 minutes.

With about 30 minutes to go to the start, I circled back by the car and picked up my trail racing flats. Yes, I have a pair trail racing flat. Racing flats are like ties. A pair is needed for every occasion.

Then, it was up hill to the starting line. In fact, everything is up hill. Just making my way to registration table was a ¾ mile walk up hill.

Before the race, they called out the fast guys: Bobby Mack, Ryan Woods, some 13 minute 5k guy with white race shoes, and Chad Newton. My first thought was this a trail race or track meet.

We got a few last minute instructions on the marking of course and location of the course marshals.

Then, the gun sounded. Man, these guys took it out hard for a trail race. We ran across a ¼ mile of a grassy field before hitting an old rooty fire road and by the mile point were on a single tract trail. I noticed that everyone was walking and I passed a bunch of guys going uphill. We must have climbed for what seemed like forever. My quads were burning and breathing was labored. My arms were tingling.

Then, we turn down hill onto the 2nd trail. I realize here and now that I am not a trail runner. These guys were sprinting through the woods like they had just stolen something. I don't even remember how many guys passed me. Then, we hit the next hill and they started walking again. I passed a few more but not quite as many this time.

By time we hit the 3rd hill which I have no idea how long it was I finally joined everyone else. Surprisingly, walking up the hill in this case was just as fast as running. My breathing became less labored and my quad didn't burn quite as bad but my nose was running and my eyes watering. I could have even been slobbering for all that I know. But back to the walking, I call this type of walking "monkey walking" because the hill is so steep that my hands literally touched the ground in front of me.

Then, we hit another downhill and they were off sprinting away from me again. There was one little section of asphalt road just after the 4 mile point. This was the only point during the entire race where I felt pretty decent.

We turn onto the last trail section just before the 5 mile point. My Garmin said that I had been running for 44 minutes. This section had a number of switchbacks as the trail descended steeply. Making matters worse, the trail was no more than 6 to 8 inches wide.

Then, we turned uphill for a final time. This is where we hit maybe the toughest section of all. The trail simply disappeared and there was long section of flat rocks that we had to climb up. The only way to climb it was on all 4s. At one point, I glanced at my watch while climbing and my heart rate was 174 bpm. Just imagine barely moving on all 4s and having a heart rate that high – simply incredible.

After the rock crossing, we had pulled ourselves from tree to tree through the next section. We had to pass between this huge rock and large tree with maybe a 12 to 20 inch gap. I guess they expect most runners to be skinny and this was their way of testing them. Finally, approaching the top we could break into a walk and coming off the trail there was still a quarter mile up hill on grass to run before getting to the finish.

Through the course, I counted at least 3 and possibly 4 stream crossings. I don't remember how many trees that I jumped over, climbed over, climb under, or hug in order to circumvent. On some turns, I grabbed the trees so I didn't end up going off the side. Other places I was not even sure there was a trail because it looked like they had just cut the ferns down and raked the moss to the side.

Crossing the finish in oxygen debt and tired, a 10 year little girl politely asked me if I wanted a 32 oz. Polar Bottle. Sure I said with a smile.

A lot of credit needs to go to the race crew. Never once did I feel that I was off the course. Even thou, I heard some runners complain about it. Almost the entire course was marked with blaze orange ribbons which were no more than 25 meters apart. If some runners got lost, they were not paying attention.

Oh, yeah, my time was 57 minutes with a 13 to 14 minute last mile which placed me in the middle of the pack at 33 overall. 7 minutes slower than my goal but then that goal was set without a real understanding of this course.

Was I happy with it; most definitely. I am not a great trail racer and I never will be. I don't run enough trails and based on off of yesterday's experience, I definitely don't run enough technical trails.

From my perspective, I like running trail with the key word being running. Racing on trails takes on a whole new meaning to these guys and I give them their due. They are absolutely great at it.

For me, my future plans are to stick to the asphalt jungle and to never again say cross word about the trails at OBX again. They should be considered asphalt after what I experienced yesterday.

On a side note, normally my legs might start to feel sore 24 hours after a hard effort. By yesterday afternoon I was already feeling sore and today walking down steps really hurts.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Friday, August 27, 2010

Up Next Continental Divide Trail Race

Tomorrow, I am heading up to Laurel Springs for the Continental Divide 10K Trail Race which doubles as the USATF-NC Trail Championship. From what I hear and understand, this is one of the toughest trails around.

Looking at the results from last year only 1 guy broke 40 minutes and Aaron S. ran like 43 minutes. Aaron and I hooked up a few years ago in a 50k. Aaron is talented runner and capable of running very fast times.

I am a little more realistic with my goals for this race. I don't race trail races very often and I certainly don't expect to go at break neck speed tomorrow.

My primary goal is to stay up right for the entire race. My secondary goal is to try to break 50 minutes. I suspect both goals will be difficult to achieve.

Watching video from last year, I saw runners walking up some of the hills. This really tells you how tough the course really is.

Wish me luck for tomorrow.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, August 23, 2010

Watching other Runners

On occasion I get to venture out and run with other runners and this past weekend was no exception. Saturday, several of us hooked up for a tempo run and then I met another group on Sunday morning for a nice 11 miles.

Running with others often gives us a chance to catch-up and see how things are going but it also allows us some insight into how their training is progressing.

Take for example, my tempo run with Mike and Megan this on Saturday. Mike has run several marathons before but sometimes, it take a little personal discover before we figure out how to run them faster.

Mike has been going through this process over the last year and he is in shape to knock down a really good one.

This became evident to me during the latter stages of our Marathon Paced tempo run this past weekend. Mike started dropping 5:50 miles not early in the workout but late in the workout. He was ticking off 5:50 miles for 16, 17, and 18, and probably ran mile 19 around 5:55. This was about the time that my Garmin heart rate monitor started beeping which was a red flag to me that it was time to let Mike go. Watching him bound up the hill and toward the finish, it was pretty easy to tell that he still has plenty the tank.

Granted, one workout doesn't make a Marathon but key workouts are great indicators of great fitness. In my opinion, this was key workout and has me thinking Mike may run at least 2:40 in Twin Cities.

Oh, to everyone else – the Cool Down Runner is always watching even when others don't realize it.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Life in old legs

This morning, I found a little life in these old legs. Megan, Mike, and I met at the Huntersville Business Park for a 22 mile run with a 10 mile tempo run thrown in the middle.

First off, the first 10 miles were uneventful. That is other than my legs feeling really tired. We cranked out the first 10 miles in 75 minutes.

Then, the fun started.

Several weeks ago, we ran this loop as part of an 8 mile tempo run. Basically, the course has some good up hills in the first 3 miles and then is rolling to flat over the remainder of the course.

To make the course 10 miles, we just extended it down to and around North Meck. High School.

So around 7:00 AM we were off. Mike, being the fast man up, took the lead while Megan and I dropped in to follow. Or to say it a little differently, we were trying to hold on.

Mike did a good job over the first 3 hilly miles running some 6:24 miles. Then, as the course flattens out, he dropped a couple of 6 minute miles.

With each passing mile, I was monitoring my heart rate. I didn't want to punch through the top too quickly and flame out before the end.

Here's where things really started to get interesting. I look down at my Garmin. My heart rate is 175. Ugh, okay I am getting a little tired. My Garmin then flashes the mile alert: 5:50. Now, I know why I am feeling terrible and my why heart rate is so high. And, keep in mind; this was mile 15 of a 22 mile run.

I am thinking Mike is going to let the pace slide for the next mile but no, we pop another 5:50 mile. Okay, this was mile 16. How many more 5:50 miles does Mike have and can I hold on for any more? Mike goes on to run another 5:50 for mile 17 and 6:01 heading back through the hills in the business park for mile 19.

About this time, Mike knows we just passed the 9 mile point when hears my Garmin beep and ask about the beep. I couldn't lie to him. The beep was an alert that my heart had just passed 180.

So it was time to let up. I cruised home maybe 50 meters behind Mike with a 61 minute 10 mile tempo. Megan was just a few minutes behind.

We then took a couple of miles for a very easy cool down run to bring the total mileage to 22 miles.

Heading into this run, I never expected to run 3 x 5:50 late in a 22 mile but it was a good confidence booster for me. I feel like my legs might be starting to round back into running shape after spending much of the summer riding my bike.

Next up, we have 12 mile temp on 9/11/10 which I expect to be just as interesting. If you are around and want to join in let me know.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Thursday, August 19, 2010

12 miles with 16 x 1 on/off

For those of you that think all I do is ride a bicycle now, here's a news update. I do still run.

Over the last we days, I did 22, 11, and 12 mile runs along with 17, 39, and 19 mile rides. Monday was my long run for the week at 22 miles. Tuesday was an easy recovery 11 miles and yesterday. Well, yesterday was 12 miles with 16 x 1 minute on/off thrown-in in the middle.

This string of days has pretty much left my quad trashed.

I was recently reading an article about anti-inflammatory medicines. With my recent bout with cracked ribs, I have been taking anti-inflammatory advil to help with the pain.

Funny, an hour or so after taking them, I felt great. My legs didn't feel sore and I could ride really hard. Only hours later when the effects would wear off that I felt like a truck had hit me.

I have never been one to take any type of medicine unless absolutely necessary and for a very good reason. If something is wrong, the pain signals to the brain that hey something is up and attention needs to be paid to the problem. Ignoring the issue only leads to it getting worse.

Advil was masking how hard that I was working and that I was not giving my body time to recovery properly.

Just so you know, I am listening to my body.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Washed out by the Rain

Yesterday evening, the clouds were looking dark as we began our rollout for the TrySports group ride. Most everyone were keeping their fingers crossed that we could still get the ride completed before the rain reached us.

However, our hopes were dashed around 14 miles when the rain drops started falling. The rain was very light at first, but it steadily picked up and was more than enough to make the roads really good and wet. Thus, riding a bicycle became a lot more dangerous than normal. This is especially true with a group ride.

So instead of making the turn toward Waxhaw we headed back to the TrySports store.

Most of us got wet, but not totally soaked.

With the temperature still pushing the 90s, the falling rain actually felt pretty good.

Oh, well, maybe next week we get dry night. With the skies getting dark sooner, we don't have many more evening rides of 30+ miles left this year. At least we do not with natural light. We have to adjourn to nearby business parks where some artificial light will help us see the way.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tour De Elvis Metric Century 8.14.10 Recap

110 riders rolled off last Saturday morning for inaugural Tour De Elvis ride. Our rollout went off at just after 8 am with a police escort out of town.

I had run the Tour De Elvis 5k the night before and then rather than drive back and forth between Albemarle and Charlotte, I just stayed the night at a local Hampton Inn.

Staying was definitely the right choice because I was up at 5:30 for an easy 7 miles. Then, I packed up my car and headed for the Tour De Elvis Ride start.

Driving up, I guess I was expecting a bigger group of riders, but then, I have not done that many rides to be a good judge.

The police escort out of town was really nice. Everyone kind of rode out together. Only once we got beyond the city limits did the pace start to pick up.

There was this one kid on a bike road bike that was as big as he was. When we hit the first hill and the pace went up rather than down. I looked over at him. He was already working really hard. I thought welcome to the world of group rides. He soon disappeared off the back.

There were perhaps 15 of us in a pack.

With every ride, it takes to time understand how the ride organizers mark the course. In this case, they painted tiny directional arrows on the road and placed signs at the turns. However, the signs were right at the turns so on more than one occasion we blew right passed it.

Some were over near Richfield, there was a strange set of directional turns that lead to the rest stop and followed by a U-turn. Some of the guys, I assume, knew the course avoided the little U-turn. By the time, we realized what was happening they were at least ½ mile ahead.

Another guy and I then hooked up a few miles later and we rode the last 40 miles together. We caught a few of the riders that dropped off from the lead group but ended up about 5 minutes behind them. Catching 8 guys riding together is so hard when there is only two of us.

Some of the towns that we rode through were: Richfield, Badin, Norwood, and New London. There are some nice roads to ride in Stanley County. There were no really long hills along the course – at least nothing longer than a mile. A few sections, the traffic was pretty heavy, but most of the sections were nice quiet country roads. There were a few instances where dogs sprinting out, but luckily, this never occurred during a climbing section.

After the ride, the race organizers provided grilled hot dogs, chips, cupcakes, Gatorade, and sodas for everyone.

We finished the ride in 3 hours and 10 minutes, covering 63 miles, and averaged about 20 mph for the ride. And fortunately for everyone, the clouds stayed overhead for most of the ride which kept the temperatures down.

Before ending this post, I want to give a shout out to Peter and his Vac&Dash crew. They did the fantastic shirts for both the 5k race and the Saturday morning ride. And, if anyone is interested, Peter's store also maintains a nice supply of "iBike" shirts which I think are kind of cool looking.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Monday, August 16, 2010

10 Ten Miler Transfer

Peter B. and I had signed up for the Army 10 miler in the spring. We were hoping to organize a team for it, but the event sold out quickly.

Peter chased the 2nd option of trying to buy some transfers. The organizers of the Army 10 miler allow you to transfer your entry to another person if you cannot make. After several months of trying, Peter finally gave in. We were not going to be able to buy any transfers so all hopes doing the team competition for this year went out the window.

A few weeks ago, Peter B. and I decided that we would just sell our entries.

This is what brings me to the topic of this post.

I knew the Army 10 miler entries were in high demand, but I didn't know just how much until I posted as a seller on their website. Within minutes, emails started rolling into my inbox wanting to buy my entry. Wow, I thought selling my entry was going to be easy, but then, I started reading each of the emails. That's when it hit me that this wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. Each email included a comment from the potential buyer. One email was from a Commander trying to buy an entry for each man in his platoon. As I kept reading, each email writer made a case why I should sell my entry to them. Some were running the Army 10 miler for brothers, family, and friends lost or injured during the recent wars. Some of the reasons just made your heart go out to them.

I finally settled on this one woman. Her husband had been badly wounded and was recovering but he had set a goal of them both finishing the Army 10 miler together. He and she had been training together in hopes of achieving their goal. Long story short, he was able to gain entry via his military status. However, she was unable to get one via him being in the military and by the time she found out, the open registration was sold out. So I am happy to say they will now be running the race together. And rather than send me the entry fee back, I ask her to take the entry fee and make a donation to the wounded warrior program. The donation would be a much better use for it than anything that I could do with it. My one favor that I did ask was that they take a picture at the finish and send it to me. Sometimes a smile is all the payment that any of us really need.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tour De Elvis 5k Race Recap 8.13.10

Peter and his Vac&Dash crew plus the Uwharrie Running Club keep upping the ante when it comes to putting on good races. I had the pleasure of running their inaugural Tour De Elvis 5k last Friday night.

The registration area opened at 6:30 and the race started around 8pm.

I picked up my packet and then met up with Stan and Jinnie for a run over the course. Jinnie had it the toughest since she was tethered to their dog. I felt for their dog. Between the hills and the stifling heat, I knew how bad that I felt so I can only imagine how their dog felt. But that little dog hung tough and finished our warm up.

By race time, my running shorts were totally drenched.

The course starts on the greenway but the starting line extends into the street. Many of the 193 runners took advantage of the wide starting area and filled it from side to side. The first ½ mile is mostly flat, but then it starts to turn up hill. The climbing continues until you reach the Stanley County YMCA. This is followed a loop around a couple of blocks before heading south on 1st street. Once we make turn on W. Main, it downhill and flat. Just before reaching 52, we took a right turn on to the greenway picking it up from the other side. Once we made the turn, we could see the red numerals of the finish clock. This was perfect because nothing motivates a runner more than seeing the finish clock.

For those that are interested, my Garmin measured the course at 3.13. And this is based off my attempt to run at much of the tangent as humanly possible.

After the race, I didn't need really need a cool down run but I did a few miles any way. 14 miles were totaled for day.

The post race party was great. There was plenty of Elvis music playing in the back ground, lots of pizza, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and jelly doughnuts.

The awards were Elvis medallions.

As for my race, I was a little disappointed. My time was 17:53 which was a second slower than when I ran with cracked ribs 4 weeks ago at Beat the Heat 5k. Checking my heart rate, I averaged 172 with a high of 178. So definitely, something is still not right.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tour De Elvis

Later today, I am off to Albemarle, NC for the Tour De Elvis. The folks in Albemarle are putting on a 5k tonight at 8pm and then following it up with bike tomorrow morning. The bikes rides include a 40k, 60k, and 100k starting at 8 AM Saturday morning.

When I first heard about the events, I was pretty set on doing the 100k ride, but as I thought more about it, I decided why not do both.

I guess I felt a little guilty from skipping out on Peter's Beach Blast race in May. Thus, I am now trying to make up for it.

My training plan has today scheduled as a stressor day but instead of doing some repeats, I am opting for a 3 mi tempo and then I will follow it up with some 4 to 6 x 1 min on/off.

Since I have not been to Albemarle in a while, I am looking forward to a fun time. Jinnie and Stan are meeting me at 7pm near the starting are for a little 3 mile warm up. This will be a good chance for me to hear some more of Stan's coyote calls. No real goals going into this race. My tempo plan is to keep a nice steady hard pace all the way through the race.

Afterwards, I will grab a few hours of rest. Saturday will start early for a 7 mile run before heading out on their 100k bike ride. I have no idea what the course is like, but my plan is to just blend with the group and hang on.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Secure your equipment

On Tuesday nights, I regularly ride with a group from Inside Out Sports. Most the time, these rides are hard but uneventful. However, this past Tuesday night, we nearly had a major pile up.

We were charging up the hill over by the air port. Up ahead of me, I noticed one of the guys on a Tri bike taking a drink from his water bottle caged on the back of his seat. Normally, this is no big deal. Guys drink all the time.

In this case, he didn't get the bottle caged well and it popped out. With 30 to 40 guys charging up a hill riding two a breast, everyone was scattering. I tried maneuvering away but it was if the bottle had a mind of its own. It was bouncing right toward me. Fortunately, my front tire centered the water perfectly and the tire rolled right over it.

No one else went down and the water bottle, I assume, got kicked to the side of the road.

Which brings me to my point, when riding a bike; one should never let their attention drift even for a second. The consequences can serious not only for yourself but for those riding with you. Secondly, make sure that you secure anything that you are carrying with you. This is especially true for water bottles. A full water bottle rolling under a front tire can easily cause a rider to go down.

So stay sharp and secure your equipment at all times.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.

Running is an event of inches

I heard this quote early this morning and it made so much sense. All sports have some mental aspect to it. This is never truer than with running. We can train our bodies to withstand the strain of running any event from 100 meters to ultra distances, but if we don't have the 6 inches between our ears focused properly, then it will all be for nothing.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Long Run with a little tempo thrown in

Last week Megan said that she and Mike were doing an 18 miler with 8 miles of tempo thrown in, I immediately jumped on it. Certainly, running with somebody else makes those miles go by so much faster.

My training plan had 20 miles so I was down to PDS a little early. Better to get in the extra mileage before the workout than afterwards. It is always a drag to keep putting the miles when everyone else is finishing.

A big group of us started out together and then we split into smaller groups with Jay, Steve and their group doing some speedy stuff. Chris and Billy were doing still different workouts.

Oh, by the way, Stan and Jenny if you are reading this post, nice work with the animal sounds this morning, but you guys know pay backs are coming. LOL

So after 10 miles for me, 8 miles for Mike and Megan, we were off on the 8 mile tempo from the Old Bell entrance. We headed down the greenway through McAlpine entrance. Then, we made a left and headed up the Harris Blvd section of the greenway. A mile and ½ later, we made the turn and headed back to the Old Bell entrance.

I reached down and push my Garmin from pace view to heart rate view. My heart rate was slowly climbing into the 160s and then 170s. With a mile left, my heart rage was pushing 175 which I think is kind of high for me considering that I was only running about 6:20 miles.

Overall, I was not feeling bad, but pushing any harder would only have pushed me into the red zone and probably have tanked the rest of the workout.

So I don't know maybe it is just the heat, maybe I have not adjusted to the harder runs, or maybe I am just getting older and the slowing down process is starting. I hope it is one of the first two item and not the last one.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Union YMCA Duathlon

After missing out on a couple of chances early in the summer, my Duathlon racing got kicked into high gear on Saturday morning in Union, SC.

If you are not familiar with the town, Union SC is about an hour and half south of Charlotte.

I packed up everything Friday night except my Garmin which I was recharging. Then, I promptly walked out the door Saturday morning without it.

This was probably as it should be because all I really wanted to do was go hard and have a good time. Leaving my watch at home only reinforced that notion.

About 6:40 I rolled into the YMCA parking lot and headed for the registration area. The line was already the door. People were picking up their packets and then getting their body markings. Normally, this activity goes pretty fast but they only had one person doing each task so it does take a few extra minutes for everyone to move through the line.

Just a short time later, it was back to car and time to get ready.

Aired up my tires and pulled together my transition stuff. The transition area was starting to fill up with bikes. My first order of business was locating my bike rack which was near the front of the bike exit. It took only a few minutes preparing my stuff in the transition area and then it was back to car. This time it was time to switch over to my racing shoes.

Low key races can be a lot fun, but don't expect the course to be exact.

The advertised distance was 1 mile run, 14.5 mile ride, and 5k run. When we ask about the distances, the guy organizing our start said the distance all depends on which car was used for the measuring.

Well as long as, we all have to do the same distance so does it really matter.

The race director came out and gave us a few last minute instructions. Then the Tri-guys headed toward the pool and du-guys headed toward our starting line.

Looking around at the start most of the guys in the Duathlon were my age or older except for one guy. Because everyone has the age on the back of their legs, I knew he was 19.

And, I fully expected him to take off at the start. I mean he is 19. At 19, you can do those things.

Boom the gun went off and he jumped out for about 100 yards and then, he just slowed down. By the time, we hit the turn around; I was maybe 30 yards ahead.

Heading back to the transition area, the tri-guys were already headed out on the bike course. First one, then 2 more guys.

A few more were entering the transition area when I entered it.

Having not practiced any transition stuff in months, it felt like I was taking a long time.

Out on the bike course, things were tough. There was a cross wind so I was wondering all over the road. I caught two of the tri-guys about 3 miles into the ride. I saw the leader when I passed the 6 mile point and he was coming back at the 8 mile point.

I would never see him again.

The bike turnaround was the first time that I got a chance to see how close everyone else was too me.

Best guess, there was about ½ mile gap between myself and 3rd and 4th.

There was a little left hand turn coming back into town which gave me a chance to check over my shoulder. The surprise of someone passing you just before the transition area is just plain bad – for me that is. Surprisingly no one was even close.

I was in and out of the transition area decently this time. Only one of other bike was there which as a strange feeling compared to my other duathlons.

Then for the next mile, my legs were turning over but were pretty numb to everything.

I am not sure who laid out the 5k course, but the last half is really tough. There were short steep downhills followed by long gradual up hills. Definitely no one would describe this as a speedy course.

Up to this point, we had a nice cloud cover, but just as I headed out for the 5k run, the sun started to push through the clouds.

The temperature rose fast. Sweat was running off like someone had dumped a bucket of water over my head.

They didn't have a clock at the finish so I had to wait until the results were posted. "On the Mark" timing did the scoring for the event. They were reasonably fast with the result being posted within a few minutes of the finishes.

My splits were 6:12 for the first mile, 40 seconds for the first transition, 40:15 for the bike leg, 34 seconds for the 2nd transition, and 19:05 for the run. My total time was 1:06:48.

My bike was the 2nd fastest of the day with an average just under 22 mph. My 5k run time was the fastest of the day by nearly 2 minutes.

I was happy with my bike time, but I wish my run time as better.

Picking up the Duathlon win was very nice even though I am not sure that really earned it.

The awards were gift cards so I will be heading out to "Inside Out Sports" to spend my card later this week. I guess there is some irony in getting a gift card to a competing store.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner



Thursday, August 5, 2010

New 10 mi. TT PR

Well, last night the weather was hot and windy at the Speedway. Around 7:10 I rolled off on my 10 mile TT. When you are doing such a short event, you don't really have time to think much about it. But you do have to be ready to go and go hard from the start.

A 10 mile to me is much like running a mile race. There is no time to settle in. One needs to be at the top of their game right from the start.

I arrived later than usual at the track, but I got a chance to put in a few miles before the festivities got rolling. The wind was on the ugly side of the track in my opinion. What I mean by this is that the wind was blowing down the front stretch and the wind was a combination of a crosswind and tailwind down the back stretch.

As I rounded the corner in turn 4, the wind started really picking up and continued all down the front stretch. Only once I got between turns 1 and 2 did the wind move to my side and back.

For the first couple of laps, I was struggling. I was trying to push too big of a gear down the front stretch. There were 3 or 4 guys around me. They would pass me on the back stretch and then, I would pass them back on the front stretch.

My legs felt like I was grinding them into the ground.

So for miles 4 to 5, I started down shifting going into turn 1 and holding it all the way through the middle of turn 1 and 2. Allowing my legs to spin in a lower gear was just trick. Suddenly, I was able to pull away from the guys around me. I was no longer losing the time that I gained down the back stretch. My average speed was climbing as well.

First, it was 24.5, .6, .7, and finally .8 over the last few miles.

I knew by the average speed; I was on a PR pace, but I didn't know by how much until a crossed the finish line in 24:13. This was 32 second PR over my last ride in July.

At the finish, I was dripping wet with sweat and exhausted.

The statistics from my heart monitor showed that I averaged 168 bpm with a max rate of 198. Over the closing miles, my heart rate was pushing a solid 178 bpm.

Clearly, this was not an ideal night for fast times, but something is working for me, and I hope it continues in the same fashion.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Carolina Cycling TT tonight

In just a few hours, I will be flying around the high banks of Charlotte Motor speedway on my bike. Well, I might not be flying and I might be on the high banks, but the legs are feeling decent which means maybe, possibly a PR night.

But for that to happen, let's hope the clouds stay overhead to keep the temperature down and the wind settles this evening. A lot of both usually make conditions less than ideal at the speedway.

This will be first time for my new disk wheel has circumferenced the track so I have a lot interest in seeing how that shakes down. Everybody tells me that aero champions weight every time. I certainly hope it does.

My PR is 24:45, but my goal time is 22:24. I have some work to do, but then this is why we all have goals. We need something to work towards. Achievements mark the foundation for human growth.


Wish me luck,


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

15 miles with a Predator thrown in

This morning I was out for the Miner's run for the first time in weeks. Rumors were a bound that the group was dwindling in numbers. However, there was a huge crowd out this morning. As I looked around, there was a regular "whose" "who" from the charlotte running community running down Sardis Rd just before dawn.


For my part, I was hanging in the back and trying to take things easy. My legs are not accustom to these morning adventures and pushing then too hard would only drop me in a hole soon than later.


This was doubly true because Mike, Megan, and I were doing an 8 mi warm up to be followed by a 5 mile Predator run, and finish it off with a 2 mile warm down.


Most everyone dropped off at the start of the McAlpine 5k course so they could start their 7 mile tempo. Mike, Megan, Ben D., and I stayed together for another 8 miles where Ben headed on since we were stopping for our tempo.


Yesterday, Mike and I were exchanging emails and had decided on making this a predator run.


Megan and I would have a 1 minute head start and Mike would be chasing.


So Megan and I headed out. Mike has been running really well and I was pretty determined to not let him catch me in the first mile.


With that mind, I had my heart rate up pretty high which was probably too high for this run.


At the mile turn, I still had a sizable lead, but Mike didn't seem too worried when we passed. I did my best to put on one of those "I can run this pace for 50 miles" "looks" even if I couldn't.


By the time, we made the turn at 3 miles, Mike was breathing down my neck. The effort to stay ahead of him pushed me a little too far across the red line.


Megan was also doing her part to add to my stress levels because she was just behind Mike.


At about 3.25 miles, Mike moved passed me and I tried to latch on him. Mainly, I wanted to stay with him as long as possible but also in hopes that he pull me away from Megan. Well, this idea didn't work out well for me at all. Mike soon dropped me and I started hearing footsteps from behind.


I had no plans to look because this is a dead giveaway that I was trouble.


The steps grew louder but by this time, we only had ¾ of mile left. If Megan was going to catch up to me, she would have to earn it today. LOL.


Mike had pulled away quite easily after passing me. He probably ran sub 30 minutes for run. I was 31:24 with Megan just a few seconds behind.


All in all, this workout definitely contributes to my efforts of moving in the right direction.


On a side note, next time Mike will need to give us at least a 90 second advantage.


In case you are interested; the point of predator run is that everyone should finish at roughly the same time with the slightly faster guys chasing the slower guys. Definitely, predator runs change the perspective of a workout and give the workout a lot more focus.




Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Monday, August 2, 2010

Marathon Paced Run

On Saturday, Nathan, Jay, Mike, and I met at the Huntersville Business Park for a Marathon paced run. Nathan was tempo director and did a good getting the logistics handle as well as the course layout.

Mike and I headed out first because we wanted 10 miles before the tempo. We swung around and picked up Jay and Nathan.

We finished the first 10 miles in 75 minutes. This was a little tough on me. I hadn't run this hard since May. Possibly, it took a little more out of me than I thought.

We circled back by the parking for a little H20 before starting the tempo.

Jay jumped out quick. Nathan, Mike, and I wear together. Then around 3 miles Nathan and Mike started to put a gap on me.

Being this was my first serious run in months; I thought I was hanging on pretty well.

They gradually extended their lead over me through the last 5 miles.

On a side note, Jay didn't know the area very well so Nathan had to yell directions from behind. If I didn't have to breathe so hard, I would have had to laugh because it was kind of comical to watch.

I met up with everyone back at the parking lot. Then Nathan, Mike, I headed out for a short cool down.

In all, Mike and I hit 21 miles. Jay did 16 miles and Nathan 18 miles.

Honestly, I was dreading the tempo and would have probably opted out if I hadn't committed to running. But afterwards, I was glad that I did it. Just having a other along for the same adventure made the entire effort a little easier.

We said out goodbyes, and I headed home for a little recovery and bike ride.

About 10 am my bike and I headed out the door. My plan was to get in 45 miles.

Then somewhere on the upper side Huntersville, I was starting to feel a little better. I jumped over to our 50 mile course.

With the clouds keeping the temperature in the mid 80s, I keep going.

By the time that I finished, I had tallied 63 miles ride. This was a little longer than I wanted for the day but it meant that my Sunday would be a lot easier which is always nice.

Also it would be my last long ride before my 100k Metric Century in 2 weeks.

Right now, my legs are pretty much toast, but with a few days of recovery, I should be fine.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner