Thursday, October 28, 2010

4 x 3 minutes

After spinning in the easy gears since last Saturday, this morning I was ready to shift into the big ring. At least mentally, I thought I was ready.

It seems like every run these days that I need to run a few miles before knowing if my legs are up for anything faster.

This morning Nathan and I headed back to the neighborhood where we did 6 x 2 minute last week. But today, I changed things up a bit by doing 4 x 3 minutes with 1/2 recovery.

Nathan has been great on these runs. With his rested legs, he runs just far enough in front of me that I have someone to chase. Honestly, it is like have the carrot out in front. I am struggling but I don't want to quit.

Definitely, it is a great way to start the day.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

So So 16 miler

Going to bed Monday night, I had high hopes of what Tuesday would hold. Boy, did yesterday turn out just the opposite.

The morning started when my alarm went off at 4:01 am. But before I could roll out of bed, I heard the rain pounding against my roof.

My plan was to run with the Miner's Group but running at a wet, soaked, and possibly pouring Mc Alpine didn't seem like the best of ideas.

So I pushed the alarm to the off position and went back to sleep. I guess that is where my day started to go downhill.

I woke a few hours later and did a quick catch up on work email from the night before. This was followed by core workouts and weights before pulling myself atop my bike which was setting on my trainer for 1 ½ of riding.

Then, it was off to work where I was jumping from one task to another and from one meeting to another. I started to wonder if I would ever get finished.

Sometime after 5pm, I finally was able to push away and head out the door for 16 miles. Initially, I had plans for doing a 5 mile tempo, but in the first mile I realized that was not going to happen. But I thought I might be able to muster enough mental strength to do 10 x 1 minute after a solid warm up. Except that after 6 miles, neither my brain nor body seemed willing to pick up the pace.

So I just prodded along until I had finished all 16 miles and return home. I grabbed a quick bite and headed off to bed. Why prolong the day any longer. Hitting the bed early means that tomorrow I will most likely rise early, fresh, and ready to go.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


What is pressure? Many people can and will describe pressure any number of different ways, but pressure to me is the intangible feeling that we must do well in our exploits. This is not an overt type of pressure. We feel it because all want to do well and want other to see us as doing well and to be accepted by our peers.

Where is this pressure originating? The origination of type of pressure can come from a number of sources. Most of the time, it comes from our closest friends because they are the ones who both know us best and know what we are capable of achieving. But, they are not doing it to make us feel bad, they only want us to do well.

How should we react to this pressure?

Well, this is truly the million dollar question. Everyone reacts to pressure differently. Some people find ways to avoid while others use it as the fuel they need to push to be even better.

Sometimes I feel like other people have preset expectations of me. They expect me to go out every time and be at my best.

But sometimes, I would like to just go out just run or race.

Last night, I was having dinner with some friends and we talked about how fast my time was at Twin Cities and how many miles that I put in per week.

I often think back to my first years of running. I would show up and run a race with the only expectation being that I would get a new T-Shirt and put in some miles.

Somewhere along the way, this transitioned into racing becoming more like work and less like the reason that I started.

All this occurred because people expected me to be better and I wanted to be accepted, but I wanted to be better myself.

Do I still feel pressure today? The answer is "Yes"; I do. But being a little older, I have grown to understand that while running is a major part of my life and provided with me many proud moments, it doesn't define who I am as a person nor does it define whether I am a successful at life.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Seems like just like yesterday I was tapering for Twin Cities

Seems like just yesterday that I was tapering for Twin Cities, but now, instead I am tapering for OBX. The more that I think about it. Tapering does not really seem to make any sense when I was just finished tapering a few weeks ago.

Then, throw in that 6 weeks is not a lot of recovery between marathons. Especially when most experts are now saying that we should only do no more than one marathon per year.

Maybe running two marathons so close together is a bad idea. I know many people do it and some do it with even less recovery time.

But I have not been able to get the idea out of my head since I first tried it in the spring by running both Myrtle Beach and Tobacco Road. Well, sort of, Myrtle Beach was canceled and I did a long 20 mile run.

So I will find out in 2 ½ weeks if my body can withstand the effort.




Monday, October 25, 2010

Tobacco Road 10 Miler 10.23.10 Race Recap

A while back, Peter B. and I decided to skip the running of Army 10 miler because the logistics just were not working out for either of us. Then, in my never ending search for events, I came across another race in just the right spot between Twin Cities and OBX: The Tobacco Road 10 miler.

A few emails later, Megan and Ben were on board for the trip with Mike on the fence. Then, through some strange turn of events Mike actually made it into the race after it had already closed. If you are interested in his story, you will have to ask him.

But clearly, the stars were looking down on him because he ended up winning the race. Megan made the women's winner work pretty hard before coming home in 2nd place. I did my best to hold up my end of the equation by finishing 5 overall and winning the Master award (well – sort of – more about it later on)

With the race being in Cary, NC we decided to drive up Friday night and stay in a local hotel so that we would be fresh and ready to go on Saturday morning.

This was the 3rd year that this race had been held, but in my opinion it still has a few logistic issues. First, the start is about ½ mile away from the packet pick up area. The parking is in yet another location while the finish is in still another location.

Port-a-jons, this is a must for every running event. They had enough port-a-jons, but they were all at the race packet pick up area. With the starting being ½ mile away, there wasn't much chance for a last minute pit stop. Just my opinion, but I would like to see some of the port-a-jons at the starting area.

We all cruised around trying to get warm and stay warm as the temperatures were in the upper 30s. Megan finished her warm up first because the ladies went off first at 8:50. The men went off at 9AM.

Having two different start times was nice and a necessity because once the runners hit the trail there isn't much room. Also having two different start times, gave me a chance to compare the size of the men's and women's fields. Normally, I guess that I have come to expect more men than women at race. However, in my opinion, the women clearly outnumbered the men in this race.

Mike and I watched Megan head out and then finished with some last minute strides before the race start.

Then, we were off. Two guys jumped out fast. There were about 6 of us making up a 2nd pack. Mike was moving up during the first mile and ½. And, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to stay with him. Clearly, his legs were fresh and ready to go. He moved into 2nd place with 3rd place guy was right on his shoulder. I was not really closing on them.

The course was your average out and back course. We ran a little past 5 miles so that the finish could remain on the trail. The start of the race was on the paved road. Of the two halves, the first 5 miles was the faster with more downhill than uphill. But just like that old adage, "what goes down must come up" (to paraphrase) we had to come back up the hills to finish.

My 5 mile split over this section was 28:50. Right before the turn, I saw the leader coming followed by Mike and the 3rd place guy close behind him. However, unlike Twin Cities, Mike had that look in his eye. The look that means I am feeling good and have plenty left in the tank. And, the leader was starting to look like he was struggling.

On the way back, the course had two long uphill sections. One this first one, I ran a 6:06. Then, miles 7 to 8 and ½ ran pretty before starting the last mile and ½ climb.

I could feel my legs starting to tighten up. The outside of my left quad was feeling it the worst.

Just before the finish, I heard Ben yelling for me and I could see the orange cones. I was never happier to see the finish of a race.

A few more warm down miles with Ben, Mike, and Megan topped off the day.

We then headed over to the packet pick up area where they were having the awards ceremony.

The post race snacks were not that bad: figs, bananas, apples, pretzels, and sports drink. Also they had the deep fried chicken sandwiches from Chick-fi-la. I cannot remember the last time, that I had something deep fried. Definitely, it has been a while. They went down okay, but soon my stomach came back with – "you shouldn't have eaten those".

Now for the awards explanation I promised earlier.

This was the RRCA 10 mile championship race and was something that I very much wanted to win. But upon checking the posted results, I learned that I wasn't the first Master's Runner. The honor actually went to the guy that finished 2nd to Mike.

Here's the strange part. When they called out the awards, they gave him 2nd overall. Then, they called the Master's Awards which they gave to me. And, they gave me the RRCA of Master's Championship. No mention of the fact, that he broke the Master's course record or that he should have been the RRCA 10 mile champion. Personally, I feel kind of bad for accepting the RRCA award that I didn't earn.

Race directors break down the awards as they deem necessary. This is something that I cannot control. I know because there has been more than once that I have walked away on the short end of the situation. Shortly after the race, I was talking to Mike about coming back next year. I want to take the title without an "*" after my name.

After the awards, we all dropped back by the hotel before heading back to Charlotte. I have to say, it was great car pooling with Ben and Megan. After the race while Ben drove, I found myself a nice comfortable spot in the back seat and took a nap. An hour or so later, I woke feeling pretty good and ready for a snack. So any time that Ben wants to drive me to a race, I am all for it.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner




Super Compensation Training cycle complete

For the last two weeks, I have been working through a super compensation training cycle. During this 14 day cycle, I ran 175 miles.

  • Two long runs: 20 and 24 miles
  • Two tempo (or race) runs 5 miles and 10 miles
  • 2 hill workouts: 8 x 1 min. and 8 x 2 min.
  • A fartlek session of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 with ½ recovery
  • 1 road fartlek: 8 x 2 minutes

Between these days I usually did an easy recovery run covering some distance between 7 miles and 16 miles at or near 8 minute pace.

Also not to be left out, I have been on my bike. During the first week, I rode 76 miles – roughly 25 miles per day on M-W. The 2nd week, I rode roughly 20 miles M-W. One occasion, I jumped in with a group for their ride, but most days I just rode alone. Most of the rides, I try to average about 17 mph. These rides don't need to be too hard because they are basically recovery rides from my morning running workouts. Th-Sunday, I skipped riding my bike because I was either running a tempo or racing on Saturday.

By Sunday when I finished my 24 mile run, my legs were completely spent.

But now that it is over, I can concentrate on my taper for OBX which is in just 3 short weeks.

This was the first time that I tried something like this cycle. Most programs use a 3 or 4 week cycle and spread the workouts out more. But my feeling is that if I can push really hard for 2 weeks then break for a week, I can come back again with another hard 2 weeks. Mentally, it is easier to handle because you don't push to the point where the legs really want nothing but rest.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Tobacco Road 10 Miler up next

With one marathon in the rear view mirror and one looming just over the horizon, what better way to bridge that gap than with a 10 mile trail race.

The Tobacco Road 10 miler is on the Tobacco Road Trail which is the same trail where I did the Tobacco Road marathon this spring. Thus, I have a good idea of what the race will be like.

Going into the race, my major concern is rest. Three weeks is not a lot of recovery time and when you couple that thought with the last 2 weeks having my mileage in the mid 80s, my legs are probably not up for a really hard and fast 10 miler.

Realistically, my goal time would be anything around 62 minutes. Hard enough I have a solid effort but not hard enough that I end up hurting something.

The race starts at 9 am for the men so the temperature should not be a real issue. And, with the women's race starting at 8:50, it will be much like some of the predator runs that Megan, Mike, and I do.

Megan is actually worried that Mike and I might catch her. Rest assured, Megan unless Mike and I run a 50 minute 10 miler we are not going even come close.

I am definitely looking forward to the adventure tomorrow.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Thursday, October 21, 2010

6 x 2 min – cruise intervals

This morning, I decided to stay local for my workout and Nathan was kind enough to join so that I wasn't doing it solo.

After a 2 mile warm up we headed for one of the slower wakening neighborhoods. As it turns out, this little neighborhood near the business park was perfect for running this workout. Like most neighborhoods, it is mainly a loop with just a few crossing streets and at 6:30 in the morning the streets are very quiet. About half of the workout took in some up hills while the other half provided some nice down hills while helped really getting the legs to turn over.

Each interval was followed by a 1 minute recovery.

Nathan was a good sport and gave me something to chase on each one.

12 minutes is not a lot of hard effort but it was perfect this one. I wanted to impression upon the muscles that they still needed to run fast because this weekend, I will be racing a 10 miler.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Downhill repeats

Okay, now that I have Boston on the horizon for my spring marathon. It is time to put some thought into my training plan.

Having never run Boston, I am relying on others for details about the course. This being said, there are two things that are commonly known about the Boston course - lots of downhill running in the early part of the race which is followed a heart stopping series of hills that can totally obliterate the quads to the point where even walking hurts.

Adapting to the course will be key to running a successful race.

Thus, there are two specific types' workouts which I will include in my marathon: downhill mile repeats and hilly marathon paced runs.

Everyone is familiar with uphill repeats but downhill repeats have their purpose as well. They help harden the quads to the extra pounding that comes with downhill running.

Therefore, in my training plan, there will be downhill repeats every 3rd week. And, I know the exact hill for them. In the Huntersville business park, the back side of the main loop has roughly 1 mile of downhill. Then, it will be an easy jog back to the top. Probably 4 to 5 miles of these downhill runs during each session will help build in the resistance that I need.

Then there is the marathon paced run. Most likely, I will be doing 3 runs just like this fall: 8, 10, and 12 miles. Each run will be preceded by a 10 mile warm up. I'm not sure of the location yet, but I will be looking for something that parallels the middle section of the Boston course.

If anyone is interested in syncing up on training plans, let me know.

The workouts definitely go faster if there is a group.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How did you decided if you were going to run the Boston Marathon

Well, I heard this morning that all of the open slots for the Boston Marathon are now filled. To those that got their qualifying time and got in, please accept my congratulations. For those that didn't get in or are still working toward their qualifier, hopefully this just provides more motivation to training harder and to attain their Boston goal next year.

As many of you know, I have been on the fence about doing Boston for some time now. Even when the registration process opened yesterday morning, I wasn't impatiently waiting for the registration button to be enabled. Secretly, I guess I was hoping it would fill up before I checked the web site and I then could use that as my excuse for not registering.

1pm rolled around and I tried accessing the registration web site. Sure enough, it came right up. Maybe the stars were aligning or something. Anything is possible.

Sitting at my desk, I pondered what to do.

So I reached into my pocket for a coin. "Heads" I go to Boston, "Tails" I don't. And, no, it wasn't a 2 headed coin. It was just good old hard American coin currency.

I would flip the coin only once and let lady luck direct me where I go next. Up in the air the coin went. I caught it in my right hand and immediately slapped it across to the back of my left hand. I paused for just a second and then uncovered it. "Heads" I was going to Boston.

At this point, I went through the registration process and clicked submit. I was registered.

Some people may look at my decision making process and think ill of me, because of the trials and tribulation that they are enduring in their quest for their ultimate goal of running Boston, but then, I shared how I decided to enter Boston. Before you judge me too harshly consider the number of other people that entered Boston and to what end they traveled in their decision to enter Boston.


Monday, October 18, 2010

8 x 2 minute hills

This morning Megan, Mike, and I were at Mc Alpine for 12 miles with 8 x 2 minutes on Boyce hill.

Megan was starting her Boston Training plan today and what better way than with hills. She was doing the shorter version of our workout - 8 by 1 minute on the hills, but she would also push up the hill pretty hard. But at the same time she looked relaxed and smooth with each stride.


My task for the morning was chasing Mike and Mike has bounced back from Twin Cities really well. From my vantage point, he was bounding up the trail. It is easy to tell when some is feeling pretty good. In this case Mike was ripping up the steepest parts of the hill. There is one little section about ¾ of the way up the hill and he would just spurt up and over.

Me, on the other hand, my climbing was less spectacular. Each time up the hill, my legs were giving me a lot grief during this section. Much of the time, it seemed like nothing in my body was cooperating. Perhaps, the best part of the workout was coming down the hill after the last interval and looking at my Garmin. The realization set in that we only needed a ¼ more of running to finish off 12 miles. Yes!!


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Sunday, October 17, 2010

5 mile tempo during a 14 mile run

Saturday morning Caitlin, Mike, and I met up at Mc Alpine Greenway for a few miles with a 5 mile tempo thrown in the middle. Well, Mike and I did this workout. Caitlin opted for something slightly shorter: an 11 mile run with a 4 mile tempo.

Our warm up consisted of 5 miles before starting the tempo. To avoid making a U-turn on the course, initially we headed toward Old Bell and took one of the back loops before heading back and finishing along the 1st mile of the Mc Alpine greenway 5k.

My plan which I shared with everyone was to do a progressive tempo starting at 6:50. Being just two weeks past Twin Cities, my body doesn't need or want too much stress.

So what happened?

Well, we hit the first mile in about 6:16 and then we proceeded to churn through the next 2 miles. Caitlin pushed slightly to the front since she was finishing at 4 miles. This did little to slow the pace as we went through the next mile in 6:01. From this point, it was just Mike and me. For some reason, the pace felt like we were slowing down. No idea why it felt this way.

But then, my Garmin flashed the alert mile split: 5:58.

Oh, well, my progressive tempo turned into a much faster workout.

However, it was good still good. Having Caitlin and Mike come out for the workout gave me that much needed support that I would have otherwise been missing.

And, isn't this the type of thing that runner do for one another.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Thursday, October 14, 2010

20 miles with 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 surges

Headed out early this morning for my 1st 20 miler since Twin Cities. The first 10 miles were on the open road fighting the traffic before I made the right turn into the Huntersville Business Park. Then, I started in with the fartleks. 5 minutes with a 2 ½ minute recovery was first one. The remaining intervals were the same with ½ time recovery.

Funny, once I finished with the workout and headed for home, the pace felt so much easier. That's a real nice feeling.

One other interesting point, I was coming up McCoy Rd when I saw this guy in the in distance stopping and opening his driver side car door. Only when I got closer, did I realize that it was Nathan. I haven't caught up with him for a run since Twin Cities. But I am sure that we will.


Random thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, October 11, 2010

Supercompensation Training

One the ideas that I have been reading about is Supercompensation Training. My understanding is that I basically pack a lot tough workouts into a short training cycle and then spend a recovery week. Adjusting the concept a little, I am going to use the idea as the basis for my OBX training plan.

Between Twin Cities and OBX I have 6 weeks. Breaking this down, I have 1 week of recovery after Twin Cities, 4 weeks to training, and then 1 week leading up to OBX. So in reality I have about 2 ½ weeks of the 4 weeks in which I can effectively train decently hard and still have time to recover before OBX.

So my plan is over the next 2 ½ pack perform 3 stressor workouts. I will do at least 1 long run per week and pick-2 of the following workouts each week: short fartlek, long fartlek, short tempo (5 miles) long, long tempo (10 miles). By the end of these 2 ½ weeks, I will most likely be dragging but then, I get a chance to taper back. If all goes well, my legs will feel like running another 26 miles and not walking.

Check back because I will be posting how my training is going.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Running

8 x 1 min hills this morning

I have not posted my 6 week marathon training plan yet but here's a brief tip of the ice berg. My schedule called for 8 x 1 minute hills this morning and I was thinking about where to run them. Then Megan dropped me an email last night to see if I was interested in 12 this morning at McAlpine this morning.

Yeah, I responded but I had to do 8 x 1 minute surges. Although, I may have forgotten to include in my email that those were 8 x 1 minute surges on a hill. Never the less, Megan decided to join me for a few of them even thou she was still sore from here weekend trail race – by the way – congrads on your win Megan.

The repeats went pretty well. My legs are still tender from the Marathon – especially my right hamstring and calf. This just gives me another reason to ice them down.

All totaled, we, well, I completed 12 miles. Megan finished off another mile.

It seems to me that she is rounding into pretty good running shape. The rest of the ladies around Charlotte had better watch out.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Friday, October 8, 2010

Marathon Training Plan

Before heading off on the next training period, I wanted to share a few thoughts on my Twin Cities Marathon Training plan.

Back in June, I was putting together my plan and posted something about it on my blog. Specifically, I touched on the subject of my past plans always pushing my fatigue levels to the max. Mark Hadley pinged me with the idea of switching my training cycles from 7 to 9 days. Here's a link to Mark's website if you are interested in reading more about his training concepts.

At first, I was hesitating to switch. After all, I had run for 25+ years using a 7 day cycle so changing up my training route was not easy to accept.

But the more I thought I about it the more I liked the idea. I mean sometimes breaking out of an old mold is the only way to improve.

Therefore, I went back through my training plan and changed it to use 9 cycles instead of 7. Once I had a fair idea of what I wanted to do, I asked Mark if he would take a look and make any suggestions. Mark sent back some ideas and I added those to my plan.

Then, I promptly went out and cracked 3 ribs the first of July. This threw a monkey wrench into my training.

I still tried to follow the plan but it was 6 weeks before I could do any real hard workouts. Basically, I could not do the intensity but I followed the distance laid out and keep putting in the miles.

About the middle of August, I was finally able to start training with the intensity that I wanted. I only raced a few times: 1 x Duathlon, 1 x 5k race, and 1 x 10k race. None of these races gave me any real good indicators of the kind of shape that I was in.

I also did 3 marathon simulation runs and 2 of the 3 I really struggled.

But I stayed with the plan and followed through with each workout. Crossing my fingers on race day it would all pay off.

And, it did.

Using 9 day cycles is little tougher for the average working stiff. While I can schedule many of the runs as I want, more often than not, the long runs end up being during the week. Getting up early became a priority if I wanted to get to work on time.

On the other hand, running an easy recovery day on the weekend lends itself to more family time which I will freely admit is nice.

Oh, in an effort to come completely clean here, the plan that I sent to Mark didn't include everything that I was doing.

I guess I conveniently left out all of the cycling workouts. Most weeks, I was cycling 5 to 6 days per week and hitting about 250+ miles per week. Thus, while I couldn't run hard during July and early August, cycling was provided me with a lot of good cardio. The difficult part was that it took a while to shift from riding hard to running hard. This to me explains why none of my lead up races went very well.

Now, I am working on my training plan for OBX. I might post it for everyone to see sometime next week.

Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner







Thursday, October 7, 2010

Marathon Photos

Most marathons this present day and age have one or more photographers capturing images of the runners as they pass. This in itself is a wonderful thing. Capturing an image while in full flight can help preserve a memory for ever.

However, this post is not about how or why marathon organizers bring in photographers to photograph runners. This post is about something entirely different.

If a runner is lucky, he or she will have their picture taken at least once and hopefully several times over the course of a marathon. This past weekend for example, my image was taken some 25 times between the start and the finish line.

As I was looking through the images something struck me as odd. One would expect a progression of body language and facial expressions over the course of a marathon. In the first mile, body and face expressions one would expect to be relaxed and smooth. As the race nears the middle portion, perhaps the body would start to show some strain. Once one has passed 20 miles, well, one would expect stiffness to appear both in the body – especially the shoulders and face.

Looking at my photos I saw exactly one thing – strain. The grimace on my face never changed throughout the entire race.

Maybe next time, I will think about smiling for the camera. Nay, that would be a waste of extra energy that might push me under 2:40. LOL



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Brooks Silence – Marathon Shoe?

Prior to the Twin Cities Marathon considerable thought went into which racing flat should I wear. For my spring marathon, the Brooks Silence was the shoe of choice.

However, that race was not exactly the smoothest on my feet. I came away with blisters in the fore foot on both feet. But I chalked this up to the fact that I didn't break them in beforehand.

So when I selected the Brooks Silence for my Twin Cities Marathon, I decided on putting them through several break in runs.

During each of my three Marathon Simulator Runs, I wore the Brooks Silence so come race day I thought that I was all set.

When I got back to the room Sunday, I noticed that both feet were very sensitive in the mid foot. But of course, I had just run 26 miles so what else could one expect.

But after further examination, I found there were very small blisters on both feet in exactly the same place as from my spring marathon.

Most blisters are in and around the toes but usually not the mid foot.

Now, my quandary – should I continue to use the Silence or switch to a different race flat. I only have a few weeks to decide so I need to decide pretty quickly.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Running with fastest women around and the boy down under

Got an email from Caitlin yesterday asking if I was interested in joining a group running this morning at Mc Alpine. Normally, my presence is at the Miner's Run on Tuesday but this week, I was having trouble pushing out bed. I felt kind of bad for missing/skipping out so I sent back an email saying "sure, I was in".

At 6:45 Megan H, Caitlin, and soon to be headed down under Chris L. showed up. Always, it is good to catch up with people that you haven't seen in a while. It has been 2 or 3 weeks since I had seen Megan and I don't remember the last time that I saw Chris. It had to be sometime back in the summer.

Megan seems to be bouncing back from her back issue last month. Chris, well, Chris is Chris and he sounds pretty excited about going to Australia for a year. Being young and single is the perfect time to see the world and Chris is jumping at this chance as he should.

Caitlin looks to be recovering pretty well.

As we were running along this morning and I was listening to the conversation, I made a mental note to write something for my blog today. What about? Well, something that I find kind of funny. Caitlin is in her twenties. Her body can take the hard running and just keep going. Yet, she is taking it easy this week. I, on the other hand, my body probably has more miles on it than Caitlin's car. I am tired, sore, and probably should be taking more rest days, but no, I was out pounding along for 7 miles on Monday. In fact, I will probably end up running 7 miles every day this week.

Sometimes, the old and wise should take a note from the young and free. It is okay to kick back once in a while.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Day After

My legs didn't feel that bad when I rolled out of bed this morning but as the day went on both hamstrings felt tender and the quad was stiff.

Pushing off running until the end of the day was probably a bad idea. After taking off work Friday, my inbox was over flowing which meant spending an long day in setting in front of my computer screen. That only seemed to make things worse for my legs.

Going through my stretching routine, both legs felt swollen along with both ankles and feet. Definitely, it was a bad idea to come home last night. Ah, live and learn.

But the run wasn't that bad. After just a few miles, the soreness and stiffness seemed to abate which I guess is a good sign. 7 miles on the day after the marathon with no ill effects is always a positive sign.

For now, there will be no hard running this week.


The current state of the cool down runner.

Caitlin’s Races to an Olympic Trials Qualifier Time

Wow, shortly after I crossed the finish line Sunday, I heard the announcer calling Caitlin's name. At the time, I didn't know it but she had just qualified for '12 Olympic Trials which is an awesome accomplishment. So now, I get to train with two Olympic Trials athletes on a regular basis – Megan and Caitlin. How many people can say that? Well, how many people outside of the Charlotte area can say it.

But to drop back for a second, and actually think about it, this was her first marathon. Typically, first marathons are characteristically full of "Trial and Error" with a large portion chalked up to a learning experience.

Remembering my first marathon, I jumped in with no marathon training and came home with a very painful 2:50 on the old Charlotte Observer Marathon course. I had run for a number of years but literally knew nothing about the marathon other than it was 20 miles longer my usual 10k races.

Caitlin showed the right kind of wisdom. She consulted with others. She put together a training plan and did her homework – lots of it.

Sunday morning, she indeed showed that she is ready to step up to the Marathon distance on a National Level – 8th overall women

Setting in the elite tent after the race, it was remarkable how fresh she looked. I would say she could have done another 10 miles. And, quite possible so since she ran a negative split the 2nd half of the course. And when you take into consideration - the harder section of the course is the 2nd half and especially the last 10k, she ran amazingly well.

Congrads, Caitlin on your time and your Olympic Trials qualification. You did your home work and got an "A" on your test Sunday.

Here are Caitlin's splits from the marathon:


Race Time

Time of Day

Overall Place

Division Place

Sex Place

















































10-10-10-10 Run

Peter of the famous "Vac &Dash" Running store in Albemarle, NC is holding the first and only 10-10-10-10 Run of this millennium. For those of you that don't get it, this Sunday is the 10th month, 10th day of '10 of this millennium so the best way to celebrate it is with a 10 mile run.

Peter is putting on a run in Albemarle, but I cannot make it over but I still wanted to do it and hope there are others that want to join me for a run here in Charlotte.

Right now, I am thinking either the Davidson Trails or McAlpine – Old Bell entrance @ 7 AM Sunday morning.

If you are interested, let me know.

So come out and run the 10-10-10-10 Run of this millennium. This will be your only opportunity to do this type of run in your life time. LOL


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Twin Cities Race Recap – What I wouldn’t give for 1 second 10.3.10

Oh, what I wouldn't give for just one second. I ran 26+ miles and just missed breaking 2 hours and 40 minutes by one second.

In all honesty, I didn't lose that one second in the finish sprint. Most likely, I lost it somewhere along the course. Perhaps, I lost it in the first mile, taking a turn too wide, or not pushing up one of the hills on the course. In fact, I could have made up that one just about anywhere, but when it comes right down to it, I just missed it and that's the breaks.

One of the reasons that I went to Twin Cities was because this race was the Masters USA Marathon Championship. To me, this meant that the very best Master's Marathoners would be coming out race and I wanted to see how I would stack up on a national level and against other Top Master's runners. Call it a man thing or a runner thing, but we all compare ourselves to others and we all want to know how we stack up. This was my chance to see how I stacked up.

So on that front I believe faired pretty well. I was seeded 120 and finished 85 overall and 80 out of 4817 males. Among all Master's runners I finished 15th. Within the 45-49 age group, I finished 10th and who could have predicted that the winning in my age group be 2:16 and the top 5 would all run under 2:35. Who says that people get slower as they older? Certainly, it doesn't look this way at Twin Cities.

Back May or June, I was running Caitlin, Mike, and Megan. They were all kicking around the idea running Twin Cities. I hadn't given it much thought but when I pulled up the web site, I noticed it was the Master's USA Marathon championship. I didn't know if I would qualify as an elite master's runner so I contacted the elite master's coordinator. She asked me for listing of my times and races that I had run. I sent back a list of my times and races. She was able to hook me up with an elite entry and so that started what was a great weekend.

Friday morning, I arrived early in St. Paul but they already had our hotel rooms ready. Then, I headed up the elite hospitality suite to pick up my race packet and grab a snack.

Hanging out the hospitality suite was simply awesome. I got to meet lots of other runners. I meant one coach of the women's Polish team. I meant some runners from Russia and I met many of the open and Master's runners.

It is really cool to set around and listen to them talk. It is really funny to listen and learn that they experience and struggle many of the same issues that all of the rest of us face: family time, injuries, fatigue, diet, etc.

Friday afternoon, I circled by the Expo. Twin Cities has a huge Expo. One best qualities of this Expo was the venders coming out to share info on their products. I learned more two hours than probably the last two years of Googling on the internet.

Friday evening, it was off to dinner with Caitlin and her parents, and Mike and his family. It is easy to see where Caitlin gets her enthusiasm for running; her parents seem to love running. Mike's baby girl is growing and hanging on to her daddy. Watching them, I think she has Mike wrapped around her little finger. LOL

Saturday morning, Caitlin parents gave us a ride out to the 22 mile where Mike, Caitlin and I ran to the finish. Seeing the end of the race course was really good because it helped knowing what the last miles were like and where the steepest sections of the course were located.

Saturday afternoon, there was the USA T&F rules meeting. All elite runners were required to attend or the runner would disqualify from the race. This is where they told us that we might be selected for a random drug testing and that we needed to have an ID with us if we were selected. In the end, I was not selected, but I did have my ID with me – just in case.

Saturday evening, I grab a quick bite and the pre race pasta dinner. It was a catered affair. Nothing really fancy, there was a couple of different kinds of pasta, salad, bread, and deserts. The veggie sauce was really spicy.

Then, it was back to the room to watch a few more hours of TV before heading off to bed.

I didn't sleep much Saturday night. There were a ton of butterflies in my stomach this time around and about 4 am, I was already up and getting ready.

About 5:40 I headed down to the lobby and to the buses that took the elite runners to the start. I sent a text to Caitlin about the buses and settled into my seat. Side note, when did they start putting seat belts on school buses, these buses had them.

For the elite runners, we had the run of a basement room at this church. There was plenty of room to spread out.

7:45 came. I had changed into all of my race stuff and had my drop back packed to drop off. 7:50 came and I made one final rest room stop. This was followed by some pre race striders.

I lost track of Caitlin at this point. And Mike was lined up with the Citizens races so I positioned myself right on the starting line. For some reason, I thought there was wave start and Mike would be starting 3 minutes after us. Where I got this idea, I don't know.

There were 2 commands – runner's ready and go.

I had setup my Garmin to show my current pace. First glance told me that I was running 5:30 pace so I started letting people go by me.

Wearing the TrySports outfit, I guess I stand out. Along the course, I got lot of comments about my Tri –Top that I wearing and my Brooks Silence shoes. Lots of people liked the McDonalds colored racing flats flats.

I heard Caitlin say something to me and when I looked around there she and Mike were – so much for getting a 3 minute head start on Mike.

I keep checking my Garmin's pace, but it was very erratic as the satellite signal jumped around/between the buildings.

At the mile, I thought I was slightly ahead of Mike. Then, somewhere during the next miles I lost him. I thought that I was ahead of him until reached the 5k point. There, the pack started string out and I caught sight of him up ahead. I wasn't sure where Caitlin was at this point.

Slowly, I tried reeling Mike closer. It was tough. Mike was exactly making it easy.

Around 5 miles, I was within about 5 meters of him and was trying to settle into a nice rhythm.

By 7 miles Mike was really laying the wood to the fire at this point. I was trying to get close enough to say "Hey, we are running to fast" but I couldn't get close enough to him. Between mile 7 and 8 we hit this hill and Mike hit the hill hard or at least harder than I wanted to take it. At this point, I decided to let him go. Dropping miles under 5:50 were not going to do me any good because I knew that I would be paying for it later.

Mike moved out to about 75 to 100 meters of ahead of me which gave me an opportunity watch him while I tried to keep him in sight. One of the things that I noticed, Mike and I run with very different styles. Mike tends to run more in the center of the road and likes to be on the front of groups. When he comes up to a group, he immediately moves to the front. Me on the other hand, I like to run the tangents and am happy to just set behind or on some ones shoulder.

Around 11 and 12 miles, Mike started to come back to more me or maybe I was just being al little more efficient running the tangents.

By the ½ half way point, we were back to gather again and running about 6 minute pace.

15 miles saw a group of runners come up to us and start to pass. They were only running a couple of seconds faster so I latched on to them. Mike and I were running side by side then out of the corner of my eye, I didn't see him anymore. I wasn't sure what was happening but there wasn't time to think about it. My focus was on staying relax and staying in this group.

Over the next 4 miles, we stayed in this tight net little group. However, around 20 miles they started break up and I just tried to stay with whoever was going the fastest.

Once we past the 20 mile mark the course heads up hill. At first, it is really steep but then, turns into a long grind up Summit Street. These miles were really tough; mile 23 had another steep section which was followed by another steep section in the 26 miles. Now understand, steep is relative but after 23 and 26 miles it doesn't take much to fall into the steep category for me. Thus miles 23 and 26 were my slowest miles: 6:26 and 6:30. Even thou, the other miles were up hill, I still managed some decent times splits: 5:53, 6:05, 6:15, 6:14, and 6:15.

With ½ mile left there is the only downhill in the last 10k. This is where I made the rookie of all mistakes. Instead of leaning forward going down the hill and letting my quads do the work, I leaned back and this caused my hamstrings to balk. They started to cramp from the breaking action so I had to ease out of it until I was down to the flatter sections. There I switched back to using the quads and was able to pick up the pace again.

I could see the clock and was digging with everything that I had left. But the seconds were agonizingly ticking by and the clock was not slowing for me. I crossed under the finish line at 2 hours and 40 minutes even. So when I say what I wouldn't give to get one second back you know what I mean.

Even thou, my goal time was around 2:45 when I saw that I was going to be close, I pushed on through the pain. I wanted that sub 2:40 really bad.

As I was heading to the post race tent, I heard the announcer calling out the elite women as they finished. One name registered – "Caitlin Chrisman".

Later in the tent, she told me she finished in 2:41 and change – along with a negative split of the course which was awesome for a first time marathon run and qualified her for the 2012 trials.

We chatted for a few minutes. Caitlin looked like she could have gone another 10 miles.

Shortly thereafter, I headed back to the hotel for an ice bath, to pack, and head back to Charlotte on an afternoon flight.

Honestly, going into this race I expected to run no faster than 2:45. After all, I lost so much time to cracked ribs in July and August. But on Sunday morning, Mike took it out hard and I tried to stay with him which probably dragged me out much faster than I would have run otherwise. So in essence, I have Mike to thank for my time. "THANKS!!!, Mike"

On the race front, the Twin Cities guys know how to put on a great race. They are well organized and their people are keen on seeing that every detail of their event is perfect. The course is decent. There are some hills during the first 19 miles but nothing is very long or very steep. There are plenty of flat sections where runners can just cruise along. The course does have a lot twists and turns so staying along the tangents is very important. I did my best to run the shortest path but my Garmin still showed that I ran 26.52 miles. The tough section of the entire race is the last 10k. It starts with a steep climb of about a 1/2 mile, then there are a few other short steep sections, but most of the last miles are spent running up Summit Street which is just a long straight up hill grind. It isn't steep but it really tugs on the quads and makes them burn. I passed lots of runners during this section. Some were walking while others were on the side of road trying to stretch out cramping hamstrings.

Here's a general break down of my splits based on the mats placed along the course.


Race Time

Time of Day

Overall Place

Division Place

Sex Place
















































Here's a splits from my Garmin. My Garmin says :05 seconds but that was because I forgot to stop it when I was sprinting for the finish line.





Sunday, October 3, 2010

Last minute prep

No more runs, no more sleep, it is just about time to race. And if you are wondering, normally, my stomach doesn't have butterflies, but for some reason there is a flutter in the pit of my stomach this morning.

Maybe it is being around runners. Somehow it must be having an effect on me. The excitement that they are exhibiting has rubbed off on me.

I will do a little stretching and use the roller in the room, but everything else I will do in the last hour before the start.

The buses start rolling to the starting line at 6 AM. Which means; I should be heading down starts a little early to claim my spot. The elevator will be super busy and I wouldn't want to miss my bus.

Before I sign off, best of luck to Caitlin and Mike. They are in great shape and this appears to be wonder day for running. They are going to put up fast times. I am absolutely sure of it.


Last minute thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Just a few hours to go

I am done for the day. Yes, all the long runs, fartleks, bike rides, strides, and intervals are now behind me. The only thing left is to see how all that hard work has prepared my body for running yet another marathon.

Only a short time ago, my ribs were cracked and thoughts of running Twin Cities seemed to be going up in smoke.

Now, setting here in the hotel, there isn't anything else to do but let the seconds slowly tick off until race time.

This morning Caitlin, Mike, and I did the last 4 miles of the marathon course. Many thanks need to be given to Caitlin's parents for providing the chauffeur services for our run.

There has been a lot talk about the hills during the last 5 miles of the course. My take is there is only a short couple of stretches where tackling the hills will be tough. The other sections are long gradual climbs. My preference is for the long gradual climbs. They drag on the quads but the effort is nowhere near the effort needed on for a steep uphill when the legs are really tired.

After a little Tabata run near the finishline, we parted ways.

Later in the day, I saw Caitlin and her parents at the USAT&F meeting. All USAT&F athletes with the potential to place were required to attend this meeting. Much of the meeting was spent reviewing the course – such things are water stops, medical assistance, etc. Also they went over the rules and regulations including the potential for drug testing. They say the selection process is random. Most likely, by the time that I finish, they will have packed up the drug testing and headed off.

There is one final pasta dinner from 5 to 7 tonight. I might slide down and see what they have. I probably will not each much because I have pretty much topped of my tank.


Oh, signing off for a while to take a nap.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Travel Day

Yesterday was a travel day for me which meant that it started early – 3:30 early.

First, there was the quick but easy 6 mile run, shower, last minute packing, and a snack before heading to the air port. My flight was out at 7:40.

Then, there was the 2 hour uneventful flight to the Twin Cities. Those are the best kind of flights. The baggage reclaim process was a little more difficult that expected. Delta has plenty carrousels but not many US Air.

This was followed by a 15 minute ride to the hotel which was great. There were two other female marathoners in the van. PRs and expected times were already being tossed around – like to 2:40 and 2:42 – fast, fast, fast.

At the hotel, they already had my room ready which was great. No waiting around was needed.

After unpacking, it was time to pick up my number and venture up to the hospitality suite which was fantastic. Lots of runners came by which gave me a chance to meet some of the other Masters runners.

One of the guys runs 130 miles per week and run in the 2:20s for a marathon. Shaking my head and asking how did he do it? Simple, he explained. He doesn't have a full time job. Ah, some of the perks of doing what you love and being really good at it.

Then, it was off to the Expo where I met up with Caitlin and her parents.

The expo was really nice. There were plenty of exhibitors and my "goodie" bag was full of samples on just the first pass.

After that, it was back to the room and rest for a few hours before dinner.

Dinner was at a little place down the street that Mike found. It was one of the dinners where setting back and just listen as other people tell their running stories or just talk running in general - Mike's family, Caitlin and her parents. What most people would call a perfect way to spend an evening.

By the way, this was my first time meeting Caitlin's parents and it was easy to see they were big into running. Now, it is easy to see where Caitlin gets it from.

Before long it was time to head back to the room, where a movie, some relaxation, and hitting the bed were awaiting me – rest, rest, and rest.


Heading off to sleep – it was a perfect start to the weekend.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner