Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Drymax Running Socks

What has it been? Maybe, it has been a month since I last posted a product review. I know it has been a while. Well, at the Biathlon a couple of weeks ago they threw a pair of DryMax socks into my Goodie bag. Never before had I worn or even heard of this particular DryMax brand.

With nothing invested, why not give them a chance?

I read through the materials. They have this 3D fit. I am not sure what this is all about, but it sounds good. They have an anti-blister system. Being a runner anything that is anti-blister perks my interest. They have cooler feet technology. With the temperature in the Charlotte area pushing into the mid-90s, having cool feet is a winner in my book. The last feature is anti odor control. This isn't a huge issue for me but still for some people I am sure it is big plus. Some people are always interested in the material used to make the socks. In this case, DryMax socks are composed of 48% Drymax Olefin, 36% Polyester, 10% Elastane, and 6% Nylon. Overall, they talk a good game.

Then, I took them for a run. No blisters occurred. The socks are much thinner than my usual Thorlo Socks. I tend to like the extra cushioning that the Thorlo provide but the DryMax ride wasn't bad. My workouts were neither long nor hard so there is still something testing that would need to occur for say an 18 mile run or perhaps a tempo run. Both workouts can push ones feet to the extreme.

The one drawback for me is the cost. Looking them up online, they run about $35 dollars per pair. I guess it all goes back to the quality vs. quantity debate. In this case, $35 might be a bit much for a Mini Crew pair of running socks.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Leg felt like junk all day yesterday

Everyone has days like this and my turn came up yesterday. My legs just felt like junk. Both legs were stiff and sore. More than anything, they were stilling feeling the effects of my Sunday long run.

What to do? Well, I limped, slogged, or whatever adjective that fits and still means I was emulating the motion running for 7 miles. Of course the effort was still enough that sweat beaded up on my forehead and combined to create enough perspiration for it to drip from my chin.

And this was before the thermometer hit 90s. With legs feeling so bad riding my bike was going to be option so my daughters and I headed for the pool. The water was cool, not ice cold, but it was definitely cool. Ah, this felt like just ticket.

Definitely, getting into water was tough. The transition into cold water is never easy. But after about 30 minutes my legs seemed to feel better.

I hope yesterday pool treatment was enough to shake them out of this funk and ready to run a decent mile at the track series tonight. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 30, 2011

Summer Track Series – It must be summer time

Run for Your Life has taken over the Charlotte Summer Track this year and after a year off, I will be back running the series again. Will I break 5 minutes for the mile? Not sure, I haven't been doing any speed work and the legs are not feeling especially fast.

All I can say is that I will do what I do best go out and run hard.

First Gun goes off at 6pm at the Myers Park High School Track tomorrow night 5/31/2011 and the mile heat will start at roughly 6:45.

If you can, come out and run. If you don't want to run, at least come out and cheer your friends. They will be sweating hard as they churn around the track in the heat.

50 Meter Dash (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heats all 5 weeks)
100 Meter Dash (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heats Included all 5 weeks)
1 Mile (1609 Meters)
4 x 100 (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heat Included – all 5 weeks)
400 Meters (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heats Included all 5 weeks)
800 Meters
200 Meters (Kids Heats 10 & Under Untimed Heats Included all 5 weeks)
3200 Meters (except June 14)
5000 Meters (June 14 Qualifying and June 28 Championship)



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Sunday Morning Long Run

Sunday morning I met up for a long run with several members of the Charlotte Running Club. There isn't anything unusual about this for me, but the higher than normal temperature definitely made for a different run. Yesterday marked one of the first Sundays where our run began and the heat/humidity made me feel like midsummer were already here.

We covered the first 10 miles in 75 minutes. By the time that I reached 18 miles I was not exactly tired, but water deprived. My clothes were totally soaked. If someone were looking at me, they would have thought I had been fire hosed down.

Luckily I had packed plenty of water in my car and began pouring it down my throat as I tried to cool off after my run.

I know "the feelings of exhaustion" will pass once my body adjusts to the hot days but getting there is not easy. All anyone can do is be patient, slow down, and drink lots of water.

Roughly, it takes around 14 days varying person to person for the heat acclimation.

If the weatherman is right, my heat tolerance is going to get plenty of opportunities for adjustment this week. Nothing but 90 degree days are in the forecast.

Regardless of the time that you run, don't forget to hydrate.


Thoughts from the "Hot" Cool Down Runner



Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1st Annual Lincolnton Biathlon Recap 5.21.2011

The 1st Annual Lincolnton Biathlon started at 8 AM and I was hoping that I was ready after a long hard week of work and training.

To level set the situation, the event was described as a 5k race with a 20 mile bike ride over rolling hills with scenic views. My translation was hilly roads with lots of climbs. After driving the bike course before the race, maybe I need to work on my translations.

Clearly there were some hills, but nothing really bad. This was the perfect course for my TT if only I had brought it. But let's not jump too far ahead of myself just yet.

I got there early enough that I got to meet Cameron. He's the race director and appears to be an all around nice guy. We were able to chat for a few minutes before he had to head off to attend to his duties and myself to setup my bike in the transition area.

Smaller races typically don't assign transition spots so I had my choice of places. I selected a spot closest to the exit point for the bike transition.

With my bike in place, trainers on my feet, a warm up run was next in my prerace routine.

The 5k course was decent. If I had to compare it to another course that I have run, it would be the one from Rock Hill. There was some curb hoping and a loop around the middle school track, followed by a loop on the local roads with a section on a dirt road. Really there was only one hill on the course which started just before 2 miles and ended just before 3 miles.

Cameron pulled everyone together just before the start to explain the rules and the same guy that started the Denver 5k race was starting us. How you might ask did I know; well, because he used a special phrase that I remember well. It was something along the lines of "taking off faster than a 4 year old at Wal-mart". As you might image this is one of those memorable phrases that I have heard used to start a race.

So we were off and the first thing that I noticed there is another guy in a TrySports Jersey. Up this point, I cannot ever remember seeing another TrySports Jersey in a multi sport event – at least a local one. I guess I am just racing in all of the wrong places.

There was a big group headed out in front of me. Slowly, I started to work my way through the runners over the 1st half mile.

Just before the mile, I had it down to two guys.

I didn't realize until after the race that they were 14 and 17. The last guy hung tough. We were trading the lead back and forth several times before I got away heading up the hill – not by much.

Roughly 17:20 was my time for the 5k. 51 seconds were spent somewhere in the transition area.

Then I was out for my bike ride.

Going into the race I set two goals for myself. Run a time under 18 minutes for the 5k and bike under an hour for the 20 miles. With the first goal accomplish, I started working hard on the second one.

I was riding hard but I wasn't any match for the guys with TT bikes. They just cruised through the course.

I was first into the transition area but would lose 5 spots over the bike course.

I would finish in 1:14:21 and 6 overall. By the way, I used two Garmin during race. One I had my wrist and the other was clipped to my bike. One Garmin had me riding 19.9 mph for the 20 miles while the other had me at 20.0 mph. Time wise, I was under my goal of hour for the ride so even thou, I got passed a lot, I still felt mission accomplished.

My overall assessment was that Cameron did a really good job with the race. The courses were well marked and volunteers helped at the corners.

If someone is looking for a multi sport event, you should give the guys in Lincolnton a chance.

In case you are interested, I recorded some in-race video. The 5k video was pretty good, but I cut off video from the bike portion. Watching me looking from my Garmin to the empty road ahead and back to my Garmin didn't really add anything. Also after you have watched the video a couple of times, the vertigo issue does seem to go away or maybe my eyes are just adjusting to it.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner


Thursday, May 19, 2011

Running Shirts – time for another clothing shift.

Folding my running shirts this morning, the thought suddenly occurred to me. I have probably have enough running T-Shirts to last the rest of my life. No I am not expecting to die any time soon. At least I hope not.

No, I am talking about the trend of every running race, Tri, Du, etc to give their participants a running shirt printed end to end with the sponsor names and the race name.

Not long ago, the regular old cotton T-shirt was the standard. In fact, the cotton T-shirt has probably been the standard since the beginning of "running". I suspect even the Greeks gave a running shirt in the runner's goodie bag. I know I have several hundred neatly folded shirts that might see the light of day once every couple years.

Why the shift?

My guess is somewhere through the last few years the material for making running shirts has gotten cheaper and race directors had an epiphany. Their race T-Shirt were being taken home and being stored in a lock vault never to be seen again.

This doesn't do much for getting the name of the race and the sponsors out in the public eye by using the runners as walking billboards.

I have no idea who the first race director to make this leap was. But when this leap was made, runners began moving, changing where they stored their shirts.

My running shirts are kept in a nice neat stack that until a few years probably consisted of half dozen shirts. Now, the stack of these shirts is nearly two feet tall.

With this shift it left me pondering the question, what are running stores now doing with all their running T-shirts.

With my more than ample supply, I have not been in the market for a running T in a good long while.

My guess, they are sub-marketing their shirts to race directors now.

Still this leaves me extra large number of both Cotton T-shirts and Running Shirts.

This is when a 2nd thought occurred to me of which is my limit for the day. Is there the potential for another clothing shift? Could I get race directors to start giving running shorts instead of shirts? I could use a few extra shorts. A size medium works for me. Race Directors please take head. I know the shirts might be easy but right now, I need shorts. LOL.


Just a thought from the Cool Down Runner

Friday, May 13, 2011

Carolina Cycling Time Trial Recap 5/11/2011

Wow, Charlotte Motor Speedway has one of the biggest TV sets that I have ever seen. During the April Time Trial, they have the jumbotron in place but last night they had it turned on for everyone to see. There was no sound, but the just the sheer size of it is absolutely awesome to watch.

But enough about the jumbotron, let's move over to my time trial.

Yesterday was a long day at work and I guess my energy level were running at less than max by the time I pulled into the speedway. My legs felt sluggish and heavy during the warm-up and as soon as they would let me; I headed for the starting gate. I just wanted to get it over.

The first mile was in 2:35 which is pretty good considering that I am going from 0 to 25 mph. Rather than follow my usual pattern of pushing the big gears down the back stretch and lower gears up the front stretch, I settled for something in the middle where I could generate a higher cadence. For the first 5 miles, this seemed to be working so I got a little greedy. The next mile, I drop down a couple of gears. My legs went from sluggish and heavy to just plain heavy and slow. Maybe I should have shifted back to an easier gear but instead shifted into a smaller gear. Miles 6 and 9 were my slowest two miles by five seconds each. The other miles were pretty much on par with my April ride. Thus, the extra time from miles 6 and 9 pushed my time to 24:57.

In hindsight, maybe using a lower gear and spinning my legs faster was the best option. I should have stuck with it.

After the TT, I rode a few more miles in the infields, loaded up my bike, and headed home.

Rather than be disappointed in my time, I looked at the positives. My ride was a solid effort and a decent workout. Better yet, I am healthy and will be back to try again another day.

Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TT tonight

Jimmy Johnson doesn't get first dibs tonight. I will be the one making circles around Charlotte Motor Speedway in the 2nd event in the Carolina Cycling Time Trial Series. All thou my speed will nowhere near his 180+ mph, I am sure our pulse rates will be roughly the same at about 180 bpm.

The last race went off just over a day after Boston and my legs were feeling rough. Now, just about a month has past and my legs feel roughly the same.

What does mean?

Well, my guess, Tom T. rode about 30 seconds faster than me during the last TT and he did Boston as well. I need to dig deep and try to ride a little faster. 24:47 was the mark last time so unless I want to hear it from Tom, I had better get my time down at least 30 seconds.

May the wind be with me tonight.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Powerade Tri the Rock Duathlon Recap 5.7.11

Yesterday morning I loaded up my bike and headed to Rock Hill, SC for the Powerade Tri the Rock Triathlon and Duathlon.

Everything started last night after a long day at work. By the time that I had completed my prerace logistics i.e. packing clothes, shoes, accessories, and pre test ride of my bike it was nearly 8pm and I still had to have dinner.

Let's just say that when my head hit the pillow, I was out and didn't wake up until my alarm sounded at 5:01 AM this morning. Upon which, I loaded up a few last minute items – cold Gatorade and water bottles and was on the road by 5:15. At 5:55 I was pulling into the parking lot of the Rock Hill Y. Expectations were that I would be one of the early birds. After all, when I looked at the race info, the race didn't start until 8 AM.

Typically, if I can, I will try to pre-ride the course and if this isn't possible, I will at least do a drive over the course. This morning, I just wasn't able to fit it in. This was a decision that would come back to haunt me later in the race.

By 6:50 I had my bike stuff setup in the transition area and was heading out for preview of the run course. There were a few extra turns, some grass sections, some side walk sections, and some neighborhood sections, but all in all, it wasn't a bad 5k course. It wasn't hilly at all.

Around 7:20, I rolled back to the transition area and heard them giving the swimmers and runners the prerace instructions. OMG, were they starting now? Actually, no, I had all of 8 minutes to hustle back to my car and switch over to my racing flats. Luckily, I had already put on my race number and just needed to switch out my shoes. There wasn't any need for extra strides or accelerations before the start because I got them all in going between my car and the starting line. I pulled up just as they were getting lined up only to learn, we would be delayed by 3 minutes. Well, at least, I got a chance to catch my breath.

Looking around at the start I saw Wes. We had raced together last week at the University Duathlon. I had barely nipped him during that race and I wasn't so sure about it this week.

Finally, we were off. They had to synchronize the run and swim starts. Some guy took off. Neither Wes nor I knew him. He was fast for the first ¼ mile, but I had run him down by the turn around.

I made it back to the transition area at the same time as the first swimmers. I pulled off my shoes, grabbed my headed helmet, and headed out. This week I was trying something a little different. I clipped my shoes to the bike beforehand and ran to the mount line bare foot. This is the first time that I had ever tried this technique in competition. I must admit something. Pedaling, putting on your shoes while riding down the road was far easier when I practiced earlier in the week. Doing it while out breathe and trying to get out fast, well, this isn't as easy as these guys make it look in the videos and in the big time races.

Needless to say, my goal was accomplished on the shoe front and going forward I will continue to work on this technique. I will get it mastered sooner or later – hopefully sooner but most likely later.

Wes was right behind me coming out the transition and would soon pass me on the road. Try as I might; I could not seem to match his speed on the bike. He was probably a minute and ½ ahead of me at the turn around.

The fog was unreal this morning. I couldn't see more than 50 yards ahead of me. For the first time that I can remember, my bike was actually soaked. Water was actually dripping from the bike over the last 8 miles of the ride.

Toward end of the ride, the fog was lifting so everything looked different. There was this one funky "Y" shape intersection where 161 and 601 split. I started down the wrong way so I had to make a U-turn come back and then U-turn on to the correct road to reach the transition area. Fortunately, they didn't access us a penalty for leaving the course. Possibly they thought the time we lost was penalty enough.

There are a couple of other points about the bike course that I would like to make. I had thought the bike course was flatter than it was. This led me to use my disk wheel which wasn't one of my better ideas. The course was actually very hilly with lots of long up hills and long down hills. Dragging my disk wheel along was like dragging along a ball and chain. In retrospect, I should have switched over to my Zipp wheels. I chalk this up to a lessons learned for next year.

Back in the transition area, I am trying to rack my bike and change my shoes when the race director comes up to ask about the off road course riding that we did. Well, maybe this wasn't the right time for him to be asking, but I answered his questions and then head out for the 5k run. One of the guys from the Tri matched up with me. We ran for about a ½ mile together when I guess he decided to let me go.

I couldn't see anyone in front of me and by two miles I was all alone. With nothing really to chase at this point, I put it in cruise mode and headed for the finish.

The results posted at the race for the Duathlon were a little screwy. They had this guy in the Clydesdale division beating both Wes and me. I was like "What". Only Wes and two other guys had passed me on the ride and I am pretty sure both of those guys were in the Tri and not the Du. What made it even more screwy was that he didn't have any time for the first run leg and his total time reflected the sum of his bike leg, transition time, and run leg. Yes, those math skills of being able to add something up in your head were put to good use. I brought this to the attention of the race director and he said that he would take care of it.

So I see now that they have corrected it on the posted results online.

Overall, I was happy with my run legs, disappointed in with the bike leg (I thought I could go a little faster than 22 mph for 16 miles), and really happy with the T1 transition. It stunk that I went off course during the ride, but I blame myself. I should have known the course.



Bib No

















Bill Shires



















Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Thursday, May 5, 2011

TrySports Store - new look and feel

Yesterday after work, I headed over for our weekly Wednesday TrySports group ride. This week we shifted locations slightly as the Charlotte TrySports store moved just a short distance in the same shopping complex to a new location. I thrilled with what I saw. They had literally grown out of their old location. This new store has plenty of room and even has a separate area for the bike shop.

In talking with all of the TrySports gang and the people coming by for the first time to see the store, everyone had nothing but positive praise about it.

If you haven't been by the store, drop by this weekend to check it out. You will be amazed at the changes they have made.


Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day Biathlon Recap 5/1/2011

Yesterday morning I was headed toward Morganton, NC to do the May Day Biathlon. This is not your normal "ski and shoot" type of event. No, in this event we exchange skis for running shoes and weapons for an aero bike shaped to go fast like a bullet.

The race organizers put on a well orchestrated event. There is plenty volunteers and police support along the both the run and bike courses so I felt very safe in making a high speed turns. While the run course was closed to traffic, the bike course was open to traffic. Only once did I have someone pass a little close for comfort. But who knows how long they had been behind me. With an aero helmet, I cannot hear anything except the roar of the wind.

I kept to my normal routine of picking up my race stuff and studying the course maps. Then, it was time to setup my bike area and get in a warm up.

The parking lot was starting to fill with competitors and some familiar faces were in the crowd. I got a chance to catch up with Mitchell and Mike L. before the race.

My warm up included a run over the 5k course and then it was time to switch over to my racing flats. A few more striders were used to loosen up my tired legs and I headed to the starting line.

The Biathlon and the 5k races start at the same time. This is one of those races where it is a little more difficult to single out your competition.

Right from the gun, I tried to settle into a groove and work toward clicking off some decent miles: 5:33, 5:34, and 5:49. I covered the last .17 in 55 seconds.

The transition took me 54 seconds because I have been having some trouble getting my shoes clipped into the pedals. This is something that I really need to work on correcting.

The bike course is tough with some monster hills along the course and a really nasty one as we climb the hill beside the dam. For a while I thought was doing all right but as more riders caught me, I started to get this sinking feel. The one that tells you it is just not your day. My bike leg was over in 57 minutes and 22 seconds.

Thinking about the results, I was a little dejected by my effort. Later with the Garmin Training Center, I was able to compare results from the race last year with the race this year. I knew my run time was slower, but I thought my bike time would have been faster.

Here is all little of what I determined. The run course last year measured at 3.16. This year it measured 3.17. This is based on two different Garmins: 305 and 310XT. Now, I am assuming the start, finish, and turnaround locations remained roughly the same from last year. My .1x time was exactly the same but I covered the 3 miles 27 seconds slower.

My transition time was 5 seconds slower which in and of itself isn't bad for me, but it could be faster if I work on the shoes.

Last year, the bike course measured at 19.40 miles. This year, I measured it at 19.39 so there was not any extra distance being ridden at least by me. My bike time last year was 57:07. This year, I rode 57:18. So instead of averaging 20.4 for the 19+ miles, I averaged 20.3.

Again, more time was lost to the overall goal of being faster.

So my time roughly 41 seconds slower than last year.

When I break down the raw statistics, I wasn't that much off from last year. But it doesn't stop the feeling that I could have done better. I guess what really punctuates this point is that I finished 6 overall last year and 13 overall this year. I know this is the wrong way to look at it. I mean no one can control who enters the race so basing my success or failure exclusively off this statistic is really stupid, but I cannot help it. This is just the way that I look it. I am a competitive guy so to me the overall results are just as important and the overall finish time. Again, I know it is stupid to look at it from this perspective.

Just for the record, I don't recommend that anyone else take this perspective of the race efforts.



Thoughts from the Cool Down Runner