Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oatmeal and Almond Butter

After my nutritional clinic a few weeks ago, I made a mental note try on the suggestion of mixing oatmeal with Almond butter. When I first heard it described, my first thought was "yuck". How could one mix these two foods? Maybe I am just too old school in how I view foods or maybe I am just too different.

But I am also someone who is willing to step outside my tiny little box and try something.

Yesterday morning, I mixed up a nice bowl of oatmeal and then mixed in the a little almond butter. Then, after giving the oat meal and almond butter a chance to intermix, I started to chow down.

I am not going to rush out to either invest in an oatmeal factory or start growing my own almonds, but the taste was better than I expected. Maybe even a lot better than expected and I will probably try it again.


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The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Foot Locker

Saturday morning started early so we had time to circle back and catch the Foot Locker races at McAlpine. I cut my run short at 10 miles and then only caught the open and freshmen races before heading out. But it was cool to see so many people out racing on a great Saturday morning just days after Thanksgiving. I wish I could have stayed to see Alana's race. From the Facebook post, she appeared to have a solid race that earned a trip to the San Diego next month. Gotta love winning a trip to the warm weather of southern California in the winter time and getting a race thrown in for free. Good Luck to her as she prepares for it.

Also I have to give a "shout out" to see Steve. He raced NY marathon, Thunder Road Half marathon, Turkey Trot 8, and the Foot Locker 5 and ran them all with real good times. Staying healthy is worth just about anything.

Lastly but not the least, I have to give Jamaar a shout out. He was doing his long run Saturday morning, but thought enough of his fellow runners to bring presents. He handed out Peppermint Stick Gu courtesy of Run For Your Life. Thanks Jamaar for the "Gu" and bringing the holiday spirit out to our runs.




Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Trot 8k Recap

Over the last few years, I have run the Annual Charlotte Turkey Trot 8k race. Each time the lungs have burned and the legs shook and refused to run any faster. This morning was entirely different. I was just getting warmed up during the first mile. I cruised easily through the 2nd and 3rd miles as if I was the only person on the course. The 4th mile felt as if I had a couple extra gears that I could use if I wanted them. The 5th mile was up hill and into the sun but I was all alone as I stroll smoothly and easily across the finish line.

That's what it is like when you are run the course an hour and half before the actual race.

Today was not about running but rather watching others run.

First I saw Butch who is working toward getting another Running Journal Title as well as running a marathon in Charlottesville, VA next week. Saw Rocky both before and after his race. He mentioned that his hamstring was giving him trouble as well. He ran just under 26 minutes. I wish my hamstring gave me that kind of pain.

Saw Billy Shue. No race for him. He was riding Chris' mt. bike along the course. He also mentioned that he and Carolyn are now an official "item". Couldn't have happened to a better guy. I think his smile touched to each ear.

Saw the Staley family and the Seavers. Saw Chris, Glen, Michelle, Thomas, Matt, Alex, Pete, Jerry C., Steve S., Chuck, and Aaron. Saw Dan. He said look for Val. She is dressed in pink. Just for the record Dan, there were 8000 people racing and at least 3000 were wearing pink. Sorry, I never say her.

Sorry and a bunch of other people.

As much as I like racing sometimes it is nice to watch others race.



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The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hamstring Curls

Setting here typing on my key board, I am trying to come up with a good analogy for my current hamstring experience. In all honesty, there doesn't seem to be a single parity that looks just right to me. So when nothing fits, sometimes the best approach is to just move forward without one.

With any injury the muscle is weakened and my hamstring injury is no exception to this rule.

What I didn't know was how much the injury had weakened it.

That is, not until last Friday when I went by the Y.

I crawled on to the hamstring weight machine lying in the prone position and tried doing some very simple hamstring curls. I put 30 pounds on it and first attempted it with my left leg. No issues, I was able to do it. Then, I tried it with my right leg. I couldn't budge the weights. I then lowered the weight to 20 pounds and still no luck. Finally I removed all of the weight from it and still nothing.

Certainly I was feeling a little dejected at this point. I am right handed and thus right leg should be the dominate leg. Under normal conditions, my right leg would have been able to curl more weight than my left leg.

Clearly, this little exercise illustrated how much strength that I had lost and why my recovery/running has been such a struggle. This little test also showed me how much work that I needed to do.

As I laid there wallowing in my own despair, I resolved to spend at least 2 days per week in the weight room working my hamstrings.

Strength is not given but is earned.

Now, my road is clear in front of me. Hamstring curls will be part of my weekly routine going forward for the foreseeable future.



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Monday, November 21, 2011

Megan’s Clinic @ Fleet Feet

After running nearly 12 miles of running with Megan and Jeff over the Huntersville ½ marathon course, I wondered over to the Fleet Feet store to listen in my Megan's Clinic.

Megan is a registered dietician and was giving the group of runners gathered plenty of insights to help them with their training, pre, and post race diets. In fact, I learned a few things myself like – how much water I should be drinking and how often, some things about making better food choices, what to eat with my oatmeal, and oh, yeah, what state doesn't have a McDonalds in the capital – New Hampshire – right?

All kidding aside, the clinic was very informative both in the information that Megan provided and in the questions that were asked during the clinic.

Adding further evidence that a good diet is very important, one of Megan's clients was at the meeting – Jack. Jack stood up and gave a personal account of the 50 or so pounds that he had lost since Megan has been helping him with his diet.

That's the type of evidence that is hard to ignore.

Make me want to eat better. I fall of the wagon way to frequently.



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15 miles + 2 x 3k Turkey Trot

I thought I would share a little of how my morning went today.

The day started off pretty good since I had it off from work. Next up, Megan and I headed out on the McAlpine Greenway for 15 miles at 7:30 pace. I started to get a little tired toward the end especially when she dropped the pace under 7 minutes for the last mile. My hamstring and hip just didn't have the get up and go. One of these days, the healing will be complete and once again, my legs will feel like digging at the dirt beneath my feet.

After we parted, I headed over to CDS to run with my daughters. The school was doing a 3k race for each grade so after chasing one lady around for 15 miles, I moved over to chasing 2 other young ladies for two 3k races.

Becca's race was first up and when they said go, she launched off the line like a rocket sprinting down the road. Maybe a quarter mile later, I finally caught up to her. My legs struggled to resume running after my earlier efforts.

Becca's is only 9 years old and doesn't run much beyond what they do in her class. But she stayed strong. She stopped at both water stops along the course and was the first girl in her class to finish.

And just as I was finishing Becca's race, Natalie comes sprinting up to me and tells me that her class is about to start their 3k race. No rest for the tired, I jog over to the start again. Natalie and I are standing there as they give us a few last minute instructions.

I say to Natalie – let's take it out slow. To my surprise, she listens to me. Possibly it is the first time ever. The rest of her class takes off sprinting, but by ½ mile, we are passing her class mates in droves.

Natalie's runs the entire away and doesn't take any water. She finishes as the 2nd girl in her class – just behind the first place girl.

The school was lucky today because this morning was absolutely perfect for them to have this run. Most likely, they will have this for years to come.

For those that don't know my daughters don't really run. So a few weeks ago, they told me about their schools Turkey Trot race and asked if I was come down and run with them. There were a few butterflies in my stomach when they told. I have been waiting years to hear them ask me this question.

I try to be different from most parents. I don't push my daughters to do sports. If they ask me about trying a sport, I tell them that I will support their efforts. Running really has never been one of the sports that they have wanted try. They seen me run well and win races, but they have also seen me limping around and icing down various parts of my legs. Definitely, I am not a poster child for a running endorsement.

That's partly the reason that I was so ecstatic about running with them today.

Running may never be the sport they enjoy doing but as long as they are active and healthy, I will be happy with whatever they have a passion to do.



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The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Charger Tune-up

After heading off to Santa Scramble last year, I was back helping Ben Hovis with his Charger Tune-up at the PDS track yesterday afternoon. The high school boys and girls headed for Foot Locker next Saturday morning were going through one of their final few workouts.

Ben had organized the runners into 4 boys' heats and 2 girls' heat. He did his best to coordinate the runners so they would be running with others of comparable times.

There were some boys that went under 10 minutes for 2 miles and a couple of girls that went under 11 minutes for two miles.

One of the most interesting aspects to me is watching them run. When I am running other people, I don't notice their gait quite as much. This is probably because I only see them from one perspective – behind.

But while watching these kids make their way around the PDS track, I marveled at how easy they make running a 9:50 mile to 10:50 mile look.

As for the support crew, Mike, Andrea, Megan, and I helped with the timing and tracking runners during each of the events. We left Ben free to start the races and help provide prerace and inrace commentary.

Other than the initial hiccup during the first heat with my using of the Ben's Mac, the timing went smoothly.

I shot a little footage that I have posted here. Forgive the fact that I was a little slow flipping over my camera.
Watch live video from Cool Down Runner on



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CRC – 11-20-11 Board Meeting

Okay, I have to admit this was the first CRC board meeting that I have attended. Thus, I was a little unsure of what to expect.

A few people wondered in after a short group run and Aaron was soon calling the meeting to order. He went over a bunch of stuff including who had been elected to the board for the '12 year.

The top four vote getters will serve a 2 year term while the remaining 4 members will serve a 1 year term. My understanding is that the '12 board will also choose 2 additional members from the at large group to complete a 10 member panel for the board.

The '12 board members are listed below:

  • 2 year terms
    • Ben Hovis
    • Caitlin Chrisman
    • Billy Shue
    • Aaron Linz


  • 1 year term
    • Bill Shires
    • Mike Beigay
    • Emily Barrett
    • Jamaar Valentine


Other topics discussed include budget, a timing clock, due amounts, RRCA membership, and USA T&F membership.

Billy Shue gave a breakdown from his treasurer perspective. Aaron then went over a few more things and opened the form for questions.

He adjourned the meeting and everyone then milled around for a short time discussing a multitude of topics.

There are roughly 600 members by my last count in the club and according to Aaron about 47 percent of them voted in our election. That's a higher percentage than the number of people voting for president in our last election. I will not take this tangent any further beyond saying people must think more about who is running our club than who is running our country.

On a personal note, I appreciate everyone that voted for me and I want to maintain an open door policy. If there is something that you would like to see in the club, let me. I make sure it gets discussed in our board meetings. On the hand, if there is something does not seem right; let me know that as well. All topics are fair game.

Our club will only be a good as the members that are involved in it so it is up to each and every one of us to voice our opinion.


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The Cool Down Runner


Friday, November 18, 2011

North Meck Cyclo Cross Series

Having a rest week this week has left me board as can be so Tuesday I decided to ride up to North Meck Park and check out the North Meck Cyclo-Cross Series.

The series takes place each Tuesday night in November except for the week of Thanksgiving.  
This past Tuesday was shorts and t-shirt weather so around 6pm I drove up to the park. The races were already in full swing.

Rob Morgan, one the bike mechanics from TrySports who frequently rides in these events, filled me in on the details.

Basically, they have a 1 mile long course mapped out with huddles where each cyclist needs to dismount and run over. Otherwise, they ride their bikes.

The course navigates around the baseball fields at the park.

With the lights turned on under the night sky, the settings for the race make it pretty cool to watch.

They have multiple races and welcome riders beginning to advance.

Makes me want to dust off my mountain bike and try it in two weeks.

For more information on the series check-out the following link: North Meck Cyclo-Cross Series.

The races are timed and awards are given.

They even provide food as you can see by the below picture.

Video From the North Meck Cyclo-Cross by the Cool Down RunnerIf you are in the area, the next event is slated for the 29th of November.

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The aroma from waffles fills the air and makes you hungry just watching.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanks for running our marathon

Having only run a small number of marathons in comparison to other runners, my perspective is not as broad as most. However, during my most recent OBX marathon the people along the course were saying something that I hadn't heard while running any other marathons.

Typically, people along the course yell encouragement to the runners as they pass them by. Often, the phrases might be "Good Job", "Looking Good", "Almost there", "Finish Strong", "finish is just ahead" to list a few.

The people along the OBX course were shouting something different. They yelled "thanks for running our marathon". How different is that?

When people use a word that I am not familiar or say something unique, my ears will suddenly close around what they are saying. Words used outside the norm are used for a specific reason and attention should be drawn to them. These people definitely captured my attention.

In this case, those five little words can make all the difference in one's day.

Far too often the word "thanks" comes flowing out of our mouths with no explanation. Making it almost to a point where most people expect it and all the while ignoring it.

But when one adds an explanation to the end of the word "thanks", there is clearly a difference. The explanation provides the person on the receiving end with a clear and specific reason for your appreciation. Intern, they will get that "warm glow" that comes knowing that someone is really acknowledging their efforts.

To the people along the OBX course last Sunday morning, I want to say "thanks for making me feel at home in your community." even if it was for the day.

For those of you reading my post today instead of giving the short "thanks" to someone, try giving the long "thanks …….." to someone and see how much better that it makes them feel.



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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Unofficial Aid during a marathon

This morning I wanted to share something that happened during my running of the OBX marathon. At the time, I was more frustrated by it than I am now, because I was in the moment and being in the moment tends to heighten one's level of concerns.

I was just a few miles into OBX when I joined into this group – running with 3 other guys. Nothing really new about this, runners will often form packs and work together during race. As I was running with them, I took note that they must all be running together for reason since they each were wearing the same type of singlet. It was easy to assume they were together as part of some greater plan.

We chatted briefly – exchanging names and goals for the race.

Then, we settled in for long haul of working mile after mile.

Maybe 4 or 5 miles into the race, this guy rides up on this bike and starts handing them fluids and gels. A few miles later he appears again and then during the trail section he appears giving them aid during the race. At this point, I had dropped back so I cannot say if he continued this trend throughout the race. And, I will not make any assumptions either way.

Whether they sensed my concern at this rather overt effort of support is unknown. They did offer to share their drinks with me.

Similar to the group mentality when doing something contrary to one's expected belief system, viewing the action from an individual's perspective the action is viewed negatively, but if everyone shares in the wrong, the behavior somehow seems acceptable.

For my part, I respectfully declined their offers. Drinking some else's fluids could have a detrimental effect on one's race performance.

But really to me, I have principles that I followed. I want to live and fall by my own accord.

If this type of aid had been offer to every runner in the race, then I would have gladly accepted it. But in this case, the aid was being provided for only a few and my conscience would not allow me participate.

Being clear about this is important. Taking gels, fluids, etc not provided by the race itself is acceptable but in my opinion under only one condition. I have to have them with me from the start. When the gun goes off, what I have is what have for the race.

For example, during my marathon I often take Power Gels, but I will only take the Gels that I am carrying or if it is offered by the race support crews.

After the race, I talked to those guys a couple of times. They seemed like nice guys. But I didn't mention the support along the course. Sometimes, the best approach is move past it.



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The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

OBX Marathon 11/13/2011 Recap

Standing on the edge of a very long journey and looking forward at the road ahead, the thoughts of this being a bad idea were still prominent in the back of my mind. But the gun sounded and we were off. From that point I focused on doing what I could and then taking what was given to me. That's how my OBX marathon experience unfolded.

But let's take a step back and look at the entire weekend. Mike, Megan, and I headed out to OBX on Friday. Many hours of driving passed quickly as the conversation jumped from topic to topic to topic. Of my 4 trips to the Outer Banks, this was by far the easiest. Mike took on the chore of designated driver and Megan kept the conversation moving. While I had the good fortune of having the hours pass listening. But every once in a while interject some bit of banter or what I felt was an interesting bit if information. Either way, they humored me all the while.

We arrived in the afternoon and swung by the house to change. Before heading out for our run, we dropped by the Expo to pick up our packets. Lots of interesting stuff to see at the Expo, we didn't stay long. Time for a run, we headed for the trail section of the marathon course. 6 miles on the dirt felt good to the feet but to me felt hard on the body.

Grocery store and then we headed back to the house for dinner and a running movie – The Long Run.

Saturday we headed over to the activities occurring as part of the OBX weekend – 5k, 8k, and kid's fun run. We followed this with another swing by the Expo. I picked up some gloves – just in case Sunday morning was a little too cold for my hands.

Then, it was back to the house and another running movie – The Runner – starring David Horton and his PCT (Pacific Coast Trail) speed run of the trail. Dinner followed and then another running movie Hood to Coast Relay.

Watching this movie drew us into the experiences of several teams that were running the relay from Mt. Hood to the beach of the Pacific Ocean. From this movie a quote would come that changed how our Mike and I now view the world. The quote goes something like this – "You only regret what you don't do". And, this single quote would have a major impact on the rest of our weekend.

Mike who had been battling a cold all week spent most of Saturday on the couch sleeping. He had pretty much convinced himself into not running OBX.

Come race morning, both Megan and I encouraged Mike to take his stuff to the start. Maybe it was the previous day's extra sleep or the atmosphere of the impending start, but Mike and I were talking about him running and I said something about the quote from the Hood to the Coast Movie – "You only regret what you don't do". He admitted the same quote had been bugging him as well. By the time that I returned to the car from a rest room break, (Longer than expected – I caught up with Pete Kaplin for a quick conversaton – he was making a run at the 55-59 age group record) Mike was pinning on his number. He would run with Megan and just see what happens.

With the echo of the gun passing in the distance, the 3 of us along with 1400+ runners began our adventure by foot to Manteo.

The opening 3 miles have a slight uphill grade to it. There was a pack of 3 guys and I quickly dropped in with them. We hit the first mile in 6:26 and I could feel the twining of my hamstring and waited patiently for it to seize up at any time.

After two more miles, we topped out and were running on the flatter sections of the course. I tried to relax and stay comfortable. The miles were not difficult but the 6:08 to 6:15 pace was tapping into my reserves.

We made our way through the greenway section and got a great view of the intracoastal water way. Then we back in the neighborhoods and soon we were running by the Wright Brothers Monument.

The miles were growing heavy on my legs. We passed 10 miles and in the dirt road and trail sections of the course. By this time, we had caught up with the 3rd place runner and were running as 5 guys strong. Miles 11 and 12 passed in 6:32s but they were starting to open a gap on me. Any other marathon, I would have tried to find the energy to stay with them. However, my hamstring kept telling to hold what you got.

A couple of more guys came up and passed me just before the half way point. Then, we were back out on the roads. This is the point where OBX gets out on the open highway. Long stretches of road where one can see for miles. Also this is the point where the runners are no longer shielded from the winds by the houses. They have no choice but to take the winds head on. On this day, the wind was blowing about 8 to 12 mile per hour. The force wasn't enough to stand you up, but the drag was felt throughout my body.

I had been alone since the half way point. My miles had dropped to 6:45 pace. I kept thinking – just hold what you have. Don't push, but just don't slow down.

I negotiated the final two neighborhood loops at 6:45 pace and 20 miles soon passed. The road really starts to open up here. We begin a 3 ½ mile trek over the intracoastal water way and over the 4% grade bridge.

The wind really starts to wear on the runners including me at this point. Plus, not having done much hard running since August, I felt like I was at the mercy of the running gods. My pace pushed over 7 minutes. With no houses to shield us, the wind chills the body and causes the legs to tighten. Things are helped along as the lactic acid makes the muscles feel stiff and the feeling of fatigued grows.

My trek up 4% grade was struggle. Then, these two women on bike came up saying first woman – please move the right. I didn't have the heart to look back – more than anything; I just wanted to be finished.

But I did wonder who it was. Potentially, the lead woman could have been Heather. She works out of the TrySports store at Wilmington, NC. I thought about asking one of the women the bike what the lead woman's number was. I knew Megan's Bib number, but I wasn't really expecting it to be Megan. Her goal was about 2:59.

Then the pass occurred. Glancing to the left, I see that it is Megan. She was looking strong and tells me to come on. I believe I mumble something unintelligentable back to her. She soon moves away and I am left alone with my thoughts of just getting the finish. Off the bridge, I feel another runner starting to pass me. Mike is having a decent day for a sick guy after all.

He passes me and I try to stay with him, but legs just will not respond.

Turning off 158 for Manteo, the wind is finally at our backs for the first time in 25 miles. More instinct than mental strength guides me through this mile. Mike is a short distance head of me and I see he is running the wide side of the road. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why.

Closing through the final mile, I realize that I am actually closing a little on Mike. We pass 26 miles and hurt has already passed the point of screaming. Mike is just ahead but I decide effort is not worth the additional pain.

Mike crosses the finish line 7 seconds in front of me. He immediately goes for the wheel chair and they wheel him to the Medic tent. I follow grabbing some water and getting my medal. Pain of running has ended but the body was still struggling.

Going back to the quote " you regret what you don't do". Mike didn't regret running the race. He finished 2nd in the Open USA T&F NC marathon Championship and I finished 3rd in the Open and won the USA T&F Master's marathon championship in 2:57:04 and 13 overall. Do I regret not chasing him down – regardless of the pain – may be a little, but I was also very happy for him and have great respect for his effort and his determination.

We both battled our inner demons and finished only 7 seconds apart. Megan scored the open women's title and USA T&F NC Women's Marathon Championship title. By the way, Pete just missed the 55-59 NC age group record but did grab 3rd place in the USA – T&F NC Master category. Good Job Pete.

After the awards ceremony, we made our way back to the house.

Megan and Mike headed over to the ocean for a little ice bath. I tried to talk myself out of it. Soaking in the salty ocean water, let me be first to say if you don't already know this, the Atlantic Ocean water is cold – very cold – 50 degrees cold. I was the last one out and my feet and legs were absolutely numb.

From there, we cleaned up and started our drive back to Charlotte which was filled with music, talk about the race, and a ton of other stuff – making the ride feel far shorter than it actually was.

When all's said and done, the day was a good one for the Charlotte Crew.

Setting here now and getting a chance to reflect upon the race, my right hamstring really never did melted down. Many times, it felt like it was close. A few times, I could feel my left hamstring wanted to cramp. The other factor that was brought home to me is my right hamstring is still not extending properly. My right foot got a blister just behind the mid foot which is a strange place to get one. My suspicions – the cause is a change in landing patters due to my overly tight right hamstring.

In reality the missed two months of good training was really what made me suffer to the end. That and I clearly went out too hard for the conditioning of my body.

Don't get me wrong. I was happy that I finished and didn't break down into a walk. That was my worst fear going into the race.

At the end of the day, I finished OBX standing on my own two feet and was able to walk away. That's a good effort any day of the week.



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The Cool Down Runner



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Packing for Race Weekend

Packing early must be a woman thing. Megan asked me earlier in the week if I had started packing for OBX. When I take my daughters to Disney, they start packing at least 2 weeks beforehand. Pack, unpack, and repack again. Check, recheck, and double check.

Me, I follow the typical male tradition and pack at the very last minute. I don't know why; I guess it is just something in my DNA. Anything else I don't have; I buy. LOL.

But whether you pack early or wait until the last minute, making sure that you have everything that you need is very important. Forget your singlet or shorts and you are in a little trouble. Forget your racing shoes and you are deep hot water. There is no getting around it; you are in trouble.

Thus, I thought for this post, I would create my OBX packing list (at least the main items) so here goes:

  • Brooks T7 Racing racings
  • TrySports Tri Top
  • 2XU Compression shorts
  • 2XU Compression calf sleeves
  • 5 Gels for race day
  • 2XU Quad Sleeves
  • TrySports Jacket
  • Brooks running tights
  • Brooks NightLite Racing socks
  • Advil
  • Lubricant
  • Bio Freeze
  • Gloves
  • Kinesio Tape
  • 2 extra pairs of trainers for Friday and Saturday's runs
  • Extra Running Clothes and Socks for Friday and Saturday's Runs
  • Phone, computer and power cords
  • Tooth brush, etc.
  • Nunn
  • Extra Bag for race morning
  • Running Movies for the trip down
  • The Stick
  • Wipes

As you can see the list gets pretty long, pretty quickly so I had better get started packing now.



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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2X Quad Sleeves

Last week I was in TrySports looking for a new pair of compression shorts for OBX. As I was browsing through their selections, I noticed a new item on their shelves – 2X Quad Sleeves. As I thinking about it, I guess that I have seen people wearing them; I just didn't realize what they were wearing.

Quad sleeves could be worn under your compression shorts or you could just wear them with regular shorts. They function pretty much like arm sleeves.

Jeremy helped measure my quad so we dial in the right size. Unfortunately, TrySports didn't have a pair in my size in their store. But they staff was great in tracking down a pair at another store. They then had the sleeves shipped to charlotte for me – no additional cost.

I have them now and plan to test them out tomorrow morning. If the test goes well, I will wear them on Sunday morning during the race.

A little extra compression on my hamstring will allow me to run a little further and crossing my fingers all the way to the finish.

Definitely, I want to give a shout out here to Jeremy and the entire TrySports staff for going the extra mile in getting me a pair of 2XU Quad sleeves before OBX.


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The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A little encouragement is always good

This morning we were talking about our race plans for OBX. Megan, I guess, is getting a little tired of me whining during our runs or maybe it is just the discouraging way that I am saying it. Usually, our conversations are the other way around. I am the one telling her that each workout is but a step in the climb up the pyramid toward your goal race. Maybe my turn has finally come to take some of my own medicine.

Up until now, I have been worried about when my hamstring will come unglued.

I promise to now shift my focus to the positive. I am going to run within myself from the start to the finish Sunday morning. If my hamstring hurts more, I will adjust on the fly and keep going. Ice and rest will await me in Manteo.

I have to admit one thing. Four weeks ago, I couldn't do our workout. I just hobbled back to the car. Three weeks ago, I did ½ of our workout. Last week, I again did half the workout. Each of those previous 3 weeks, I tried to hide the pain with Advil. I have not taken any Advil since Saturday. Today, we ran 10 miles in 75 minutes. Yes, I could feel the discomfort in the hamstring, but nothing like the previous weeks.

There are always positives in every situation. Just sometimes, I have to work a little harder to find them.



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Monday, November 7, 2011

OBX Marathon – the mother of all core melt downs coming

I was watching the NY marathon yesterday and happened to flip over to Facebook during the race. Someone had posted that the women's leader was either going to set a world record or have an epic melt down during the 2nd half of the race.

So I watched the rest of the race with interest to see how she would run.

For the record, I would be happy to melt down the 2nd half of any marathon and still run 75 minutes for it. I don't know about the rest of the world, but 75 minutes isn't even room temperature. I don't really consider that a melt down at all.

Anyway, with the inspiration of NY in the rear view mirror, my attention now turns to OBX this week.

Maybe it is one of the dumbest things that I have ever done, but I am stilling planning to go to OBX and still planning to run the marathon.

For anyone interested in seeing a monstrous melt down, all they need to do is watch my race this coming weekend. The question isn't if my hamstring is going to crumple in the dust, but when will it crumple. Will it be at the 5k, 10k, 10 mi, or the ½ marathon?

Personally, I am giving pretty good odds that it will happen between 10 miles and the ½ marathon point.

So why do it? Well, why not?

Remember the tire commercial where the guy shows a balding tire and says you are riding on borrowed time. Meaning, your tire could blow out at anytime.

I am taking this commercial a step further. My tire has already blown out and I am now driving along on that little donut of a tire that they say you should only drive at speeds no greater than 35 mph but you are still trying to do 65. Yep, that is me.

So you should look for me in the passing lane at OBX limping along somewhere between 0 miles per hour and 65. I will probably be closer to 0 than 65.


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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Athletes for Alex 5k Recap 11/5/2011

A few years ago, a little boy named Alex was riding with his parents when another driver hit their car. Alex died as a result of the accident, but his memory is now living on through the people in that community. Today's 5k race was to raise money to create a soccer field which when built will be named for Alex.

Often I believe I am the same person that I was 20 years ago or even 10 years ago, but I am not. Time has changed who I am and how I see the world. It has made me all too aware of how short life really is and that we need to live each day to the fullest. Every child should have the opportunity to grow in to adulthood and losing even one child hurts us all.

This morning I was racing in the Athletes for Alex 5k in Lincolnton, NC which is just about 40 minutes from my house.

Riding by the bank, the temperature read 31 degrees. With the wind blowing, the temperature felt even colder. I don't know how many layers that I had on but it didn't feel like enough.

We all headed for the starting line at 9am. But due to timing issues, we got delayed for about 20 minutes. The temperature didn't warm up much in those 20 minutes, but I sure did cool down. The wind was blowing right across the starting line and chilled my previously warm limbs to the bone.

Finally, word came and we were ready to start.

We ran across this field in front of the school and then over to the track before heading out on the road. Standing around let my hamstring cool off enough that it was very unhappy when I tried to shift it into high gear.

My first mile was 5:46, and then 5:43. The last mile turned up hill and into the wind. My hamstring didn't like the hill at all and felt like it had a huge knot in it. I slowed over the last mile and finished with a time of 17:50 which was first overall.

The guys from Racing Toes and Big Kahuna Timing put on a pretty good event. Plenty of food and water were available after the race including sausage biscuits, Powerade, cold tea, and coffee. Along the course, they were giving out bottles of water, bananas, and apples within sight of the finish line. They opened the doors to the gym so we had a warm place to stretch and a clear need – warm bathrooms.

They even had a 2 bike rides and a kids biathlon for a full day of events.

I give them a lot of credit for providing multiple forms of exercise so they have something for everyone.


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Thursday, November 3, 2011

One “key” found

I'm changing into my running shoes as Ben comes out of his house this morning. It seems they have worked out the details for Megan to have a car for the day since she was in the losing mood yesterday. First, she lost her house key during our run. And, based on Ben telling of it, she lost her car key later in the day or evening. I am not sure which.

Talk about having double trouble. That's a lot of bad luck for one day.

I don't ask too many questions of Ben – figuring that I will get the full scoop over my 16 mile run with Megan. Sure enough, she goes into the details. Honestly, I am not sure how she does this stuff. It just seems to happen to her. I mean she even gets chased by an Owl while the rest of world only get chased by dogs. I am surprised that she even goes outside at all. LOL. (just a little good natured teasing here)

Anyway, cutting to the chase, we split up at 16 miles and I head back to my car which I had parked at Ben and Megan's house. As I am doing the cut through, I notice something red lying on the ground. I don't know – instinct or just nature curiosity, I kick it with my shoe. Sure enough, it is a key.

Okay, first thought, does everyone in this neighborhood make a habit of losing their keys?

Bending down to pick it up, I realize it's a Honda car key.

Pushing the lock button on it, the lights on Megan's CRV flashed. Okay, that was pretty much expected once I realized it was a Honda key.

Next dilemma, 20 minutes before Megan gets back, so should I leave the key where she will find it? I scrapped that idea pretty quickly, I just waited.

Better to put the key in her hand, than leave it on the front door stoop. She might miss it. Then, she would go and buy another key if I didn't reach her by phone beforehand.

Sometimes, it is just better to not be in a hurry and never leave a stone unturned.



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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

6 x 1 mile and 4 x 800

My hamstring has been feeling better and is allowing me to "somewhat" take on a few harder workouts. With this in mind, Megan and I headed to the track for another "monster" workout early this morning.

Her Coach sent a workout of 10 x 1 mile with 1 minute recovery. At first, I thought it was 10 by 1 minute which is not that bad. Thinking about it now, 10 x 1 minute seems downright easy compared to 10 x 1 mile with a 1 minute recovery. Ugh. We would probably have left blood, sweat, and tears on the track except that it was 30 degrees. Everything was frozen including the blood in my veins.

Okay, I had already agreed to do this workout so I had to decide on how much.

I finally settled on 6 x 1 mile with 4 x 800 which in its self is a pretty hard workout.

Megan and I would alternate leading miles for the first 6 x miles and then, I would lead out the first 800 of each of the last 4 miles.

My hamstring for once was not fighting me too badly, but I had no punch in my step.

I hit the first one in 5:58, then 6:00, 6:03, 6:13, 6:08, and 5:58 – each with a 1 minute recovery. All through these, my heart rate was running really high and was not recovering in 60 seconds.

I then lead out each of the 4 x 800 just under 6 minute paces. They were not quite as hard. The extra recovery helped. But I really felt like I was struggling to keep my head above water.

Megan, on the other hand, was killing the workout. The only mile which she did 6 minutes was the 2nd one. The remaining intervals she ran below 6 minute pace. That's a pretty tough workout even if you don't factor in the fact – she only took a one minute recovery. She essentially ran a 10 mile effort just under 59 minutes for a workout. I couldn't have done it even if you have given me 5 minutes between each repeat.


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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pre race showers

Okay, before you go off and think I am heading off to races – stinking that is not the point here.

Maybe there are some people showering before they run races and maybe some people don't.

If I am racing in the morning, I topically don't shower. For whatever the reason, the shower leaves me feeling rather sluggish or maybe a better description is feeling lethargic. When I start running, my legs just have that heavy feeling.

What got me on to this topic has been – you might have guessed it – my hamstring. A hot shower seems to make the transition from walking to running much less painful. I am all about less pain. So while my hamstring feels better, the rest of me feel like junk.

Interestingly, outside of this hamstring issue if I am running an afternoon race or doubling – two races in one day, I don't seem to get the same feeling. In fact, many times, I will run the afternoon race faster than morning – assuming the courses are comparable.

Maybe I will start trying some of the heat packs. This could be another option.

Also I welcome any other ideas as well.

-btw – I always shower the night before.



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The Cool Down Runner