Wednesday, February 29, 2012

4 mi. Tempo, 5 x 800, and 1 x 400 – just a day’s work for your average runner.

This morning my training plan had me running a tempo run plus. So I darted across Charlotte to McAlpine to pickup Ultra Running Legend Jamaar and new minted ultra runner and sometimes sand bagger Megan (LOL). More about the sand bagging comes later in the post if you are wondering.

We headed up to Old Bell for the start. The 4 mile tempo would be run down the standard McAlpine 2 and ½ mile straight away and then out across Margret Wallace and finish at the 4 mile point along Harris Blvd.

Megan gave me this really sappy story about being tried and slow. I bought in hook, line, and sinker. We changed it to a predator run and I would give her and Jamaar a 90 seconds head start. (Not one of my better decisions)

Waiting patiently for 90 seconds is hard but I was good to my word. I round under the Sardis Rd. Bridge and looked down the trail. I could see the pink coat dancing along in the distance. Like a mule with a carrot out front, I started the chase.

About two miles I saw Jamaar stopping to tie his shoe. Actually I think he was feeling guilty and wanted to let me catch up. Because by 2 ½ unlike the mule, I quickly realize the carrot was getting any closer and if I was not mistaken, it was getting smaller in the distance. By the time, I passed Jamaar and crossed Margret Wallace the carrot was completely out sight.

I would not see the carrot again until the 4 mile point.

But the pull was good for me, I logged 6:35, 6:22, 6:23, and 6:24 miles. And for little Miss Sand Bagger (LOL) the loads and loads of miles appears to be making her pretty fast.

On the way back, we did 5 x 800 with a 400 recovery. Something I realized today, Jamaar has some wheels. He could just blow by us. My legs could never do that – not even 20 years ago.

The first couple of 800s my legs felt horrible. I felt like I couldn't get them to turn over at all. The 3rd 800 they just started to feel better. I tried to focus on relaxing and calm my breathing. The focus seemed to work because I felt better and stronger with each of the last 3 intervals.

Having not done anything months, I feel like I am really out practice and it is only slowly coming back.

Big thanks to Jamaar and Megan for helping with this effort. Having someone watching makes me dig a little harder when I might ordinarily slow down.


Sharing one thought at a time,


The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

NEWTON Gravity – shoe review

This past weekend, I swung by TrySports to check out the Natural Running Clinic being held at the store. They had people from Mike's Performance Therapy, Meredith giving insight into the Timex Watches with GPS, and of course the subject of this post NEWTON shoes.

I talked to the Mike and the NEWTON rep about the shoes and the tried on a couple of different pairs there at the store. They felt decent on my feet. This was the first time that I ever tried NEWTONs.

After doing a few short strides and talking with the Rep again, I decided to take the plunge. NEWTON talks up the whole idea of running on the mid foot and providing cushioning needed to do it.

Some of the shoes I have been wearing lately seem to feel paper thin after just a few miles of running and I thought NEWTONs would be interesting to try.

I settled on the NEWTON Gravity. The shoe is a neutral trainer and weighs in at 9.1 oz. in a size 9. My size 12 probably is pushing 10.5 oz.

The price is on the steep side at $175 dollars a pair but the rep pretty much guaranteed me 600 miles of running in them.

Monday, I went for my first real run in them.

The first couple of miles, my running felt awkward. I was landing on my heel and my fore foot felt like it was jacked up in the air.

But I began to adjust. I tried landing more on the fore foot and landing level on the foot pads. This did change my stride or at least it felt like it. Shorter strides felt the best.

The rest of run went fairly smoothly. I did notice toward the end of my run that my Achilles felt funny and so did my calves. I suspect shortening my stride had me compensating in other ways.

Definitely, I will not be wearing these shoes every day, but once or twice per week just to change things up will probably be the plan.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner




Monday, February 27, 2012

Charlotte 10/4 Miler Water Stop Report

Saturday, TrySports took over a stretch of road to provide H20 for the runners in the Charlotte 10 and 4 mile races. Thomas, Paul and his 2 daughters, myself, and 3 other girls who doing this as part of their community service work began our setup just after 7AM. Mike K. then showed up with his son. Stan came by as did Rob D. and Justin. Megan and Meghan made an appearance. John F. also made an appearance but looked mighty cold. Glen was there to help with music and some of the picture taking.
For those that don't know the temperatures were in the mid 30s with a solid wind blowing against us. Definitely, the fingers were left with a tingling numb feeling.
Racing for our TrySports team, Delena, Michelle, and Mo made a great showing by going 1, 2, and 3 overall for the women.
We cheered, played music, handed out water, and otherwise did our best to lend the passing runners all the energy we could as they headed forth in the last mile of their respective races.
Delena, Michelle, and Mo even came back after their races to hand out water. Mo looked so cold standing there with a cup of water in her hand. I will be the first to admit Charlotte has some tough fast woman and I am certainly glad they are on our TrySports team.
Lastly, I want to share my personal appreciate to everyone that came out Saturday morning and volunteered their time. You made a difference.

Sharing one thought a time,
The Cool Down Runner

Friday, February 24, 2012

TrySports H20 Oasis for the Charlotte 10/4 miler tomorrow

If you are running the 10 or the 4 miler tomorrow morning, I will be looking for you. Our TrySports Ambassador team is helping with the water stop along Endhaven Lane near intersection of Orchid Hill Lane.
If you are coming by, we will definitely give you some water. If you are lucky, we give take your picture. And if you are really lucky, we will film the fluid motion of you running by.
So be on your best behavior and make sure you smile when see the TrySports colors on the road ahead.

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

8 mile tempo - review

I keep trying to make some progress but I feel like with every forward step, I am getting pushed back two or three steps.

Yesterday, I headed out for an 8 mile tempo. My legs were felt stiff and heavy. While my knees just plain hurt.

Makes me feel like I am not even moving at all.

Seems like from the waist down I am just struggling. Everything just hurts.

I keep hoping that magically one morning I will wake up and all will be right with the world. My legs will actually feel like running hard again.

Definitely, the workout yesterday didn’t show it but there is always hope – I guess – for today and tomorrow.

Split Time Moving Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace Calories

Summary 1:08:18.3 1:08:09.0 10.01 304 334 6:50 6:49 4:58 1,173

1 7:54.9 7:45 1.00 37 65 7:55 7:45 6:19 116

2 6:50.1 6:50 1.00 23 13 6:50 6:50 5:45 117

3 6:47.6 6:47 1.00 80 26 6:48 6:47 6:09 119

4 6:26.7 6:28 1.00 22 49 6:27 6:28 5:57 117

5 6:40.3 6:39 1.00 46 8 6:40 6:39 6:03 118

6 6:38.8 6:39 1.00 10 15 6:39 6:39 5:56 117

7 6:23.3 6:23 1.00 21 39 6:23 6:23 5:34 117

8 6:18.8 6:19 1.00 61 44 6:19 6:19 4:58 116

9 6:25.0 6:25 1.00 0 39 6:25 6:25 5:36 117

10 7:50.5 7:52 1.00 5 37 7:51 7:52 6:16 119

11 :02.4 :02 0.01 0 0 6:25 5:19 7:57 0

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sore Quads

Going back a few months, in days after OBX, I felt like it was time to get back in the weight room. For the better part of year or more, my weight routine consisted lots of core work, push up, set ups, some dumb work and using bands.

None of this work really did anything for my legs.

Why nothing for the legs? Well, there are two main reasons.

The first reason is because running and/or cycling put enough load on my leg muscles so doing the extra leg work on an already tired muscles just didn't make too much sense to me. The second reason is just about every time that I started doing leg work in the weight room, I got injured. Quite possibly this is why I believe so strongly in the first reason.

In the months between OBX and Disney, I wasn't running anything hard or high mileage, so I thought I would give my legs some weight work.

This is when the soreness started to appear in the quads. Putting just about any weight on the machine left my quads begging for relief. Running wasn't any easier.

At first, I thought the soreness was due to me not lifting in a while. I kept at it though Disney with pretty much no relief.

After Disney, I missed some days working out and my quads didn't seem to be so sore. Although separating out marathon recovery soreness and walking around Disney soreness can be difficult. Then, I jumped back on it and the soreness returned.

That's when I decided to skip the quad press for a few more days. Again the soreness abated.

Now, when I go to the weight room, the other muscles get a good workout including the dreaded hamstrings which get an extra workout, but the quad get the time off.

As much as I hate to admit it, running loads of miles had beaten me up pretty good.


Sharing one thought at time,


The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, February 18, 2012

6 mile tempo but I stopped in my tracks on this one

Few things will bring me to halt and make me start back peddling, but during yesterday's tempo run that is exactly what happened.

But let me back up for just a second and start from the beginning.

On Thursday evening, I looked at my Friday schedule and realized it was going to be a very busy day. Rather than try to squeeze in an evening workout, I opted to go for extra early run. Just "getter done" as the Larry the Cable guys says.

So on Thursday afternoon, Nathan emailed me about his workout. He was going a little longer and a little slower, but at least I would be starting out with someone. This makes me get out bed on time and get my "but" in gear.

We met up at the Huntersville business park. 5:15 came and we were off and running. Between the darkness and the fog/heavy moisture, my headlamp wasn't beaming at its brightest. Two miles in, we started increasing the pace.

Mile one was covered on Stumptown Road. Dodging cars made for an adventure as I either headed for the side of the road or moved across into the other lane. To the credit of the oncoming drivers, they couldn't see any better than me and were on top me before realizing it.

Mile two came just after the turn off on 115. Two 630 miles down and my body was starting to settle into a good rhythm.

Mile three took me along the Main Street in Huntersville and then back out on 115 again. Main Street Huntersville is quiet in the predawn hours, but route 115 has a study flow of traffic.

Up comes a right turn and I am headed down by the Huntersville aquatic center. I am just passing by the front of their building when through the fog I see what appears to be a black and white cat crossing the road. Something here struck me as odd because cats don't usually run across the road with the tails up in the air. The yards between us began to disappear and when I was maybe 10 yards away, my brain suddenly recognize what it was and sent signal out to my entire body "STOP"!!!!!!. I totally put on the brakes and came to a complete halt. I even started to back pedal away. This was no cat but a real live ready to shoot "skunk". The tail and body appeared to be in prime firing position.

Back way my brain was telling me no uncertain terms. Give him as much room as he or she needs. Tempo runs sometimes need a break in the center anyway. This is especially true if there is a chance of getting sprayed by skunk.

May be he was just giving me a break or maybe he just didn't consider me worth the effort. Either way, I am very grateful.

The rest of the run was not quite as fast as the first four miles. It seems that once you see a skunk then you start seeing them everywhere. My brain was being a little to vigilant.

Anyway, I still mustered a pretty decent 6 mile tempo with a 2 mile warm up and 2 mile warm down. A big thanks goes out to Nathan for helping me getting the first 2 miles rolling.



Sharing one thought at time,


The Cool Down Runner



Friday, February 17, 2012

Inside or Out

I don't know; sometimes blog topics just come out the blue.

Today, I was thinking back to a conversation about should runners their wear shorts over or under runner tights. Personally, I wear my under. Why? Well, think about it this way. Would I wear a pair shorts over the pair of jeans. I probably wouldn't. So shouldn't shorts and tights be treated the same way?

Wear them under.

But to each his own and if I see you wearing them over, I promise to not laugh or say anything but I might just smile a little – on the side of course.


Sharing one thought at time,


The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2 x 2 mile with a 3 minute recovery

6 days and one long run later, my training plan had me doing a little 2 by 2 mile with 3 minute recovery yesterday.

Had the option of doing this workout in a few different several places, but opted for McAlpine. My legs seem to work much better when they don't have to handle the rebound of the asphalt. The workout started from the 5k starting line and headed toward Old Bell. I spent quite a bit of time dodging between the Army ROTC students out for their morning workout.

Clocked the first mile in 6:16 and then I tried to really settle in for the 2nd mile. I finished it in 6:23. No feeling of exhaustion or that I couldn't go any further. 3 minutes passed then it was time to head back from Old Bell.

My legs felt sluggish and my hamstring and glut were flaring just a little. I hit the first mile in 6:17 and then liked in the in first interval, I tried to settle. The next mile was clocked in 6:24.

Standing at the finish, I definitely felt like I had more in the tank but was happy to have completed this one without any issues and wanting more.

Baby steps are happening but good steps.


Sharing one thought at a time,

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, February 10, 2012

10 Day Cycle – Training Plan

The month of February continues to march forward and my spring training plan continues to unfold. When I started planning for the spring of '12, I laid out a plan based on a 7 day cycle. However, as I have gotten older, the 7 day cycle just didn't seem to be doing the trick. A couple of years ago when I was heading into the Twin Cities Marathon and on some good advice from Mark Hadley, I tried a 9 day training cycle. The training leading up to Twin Cities wasn't awe inspiring but on race day all of those workouts bared their fruit and I nearly broke 2:40. I was just a couple of seconds shy of doing it.

Thus, I went back to the drawing board and updated my training plan to use a 10 day cycling. I am a couple of years older and the extra recovery day makes even more sense now. My game plan was to alternate up tempo workouts with long study runs. Another way to think about it is I run a long run roughly every 6 days and I run up tempo run every 6 days. One could also look at my plan and see that I do a stressor workout every 3rd day, but by keeping LR situated in the middle, this allows me to stay well on the aerobic side of the training. The remaining days are broken up into either 10 or 7 mile runs. If I do a long run, I will do 10 miles the next day. If I do a tempo run, I will typically follow it up with a couple of easy 7 mile runs.

Today, I finish my first 10 day cycle and I am happy to report that the training is coming along nicely. Two long runs and a tempo run have been completed. No one run was super fantastic but neither were there any really bad runs. Most runs were right in the middle of where I thought I should be at this point.

Tomorrow begins the next 10 day training cycle and it starts on a tough note. I will be running 2 x 2 miles. Look for a report on this workout over the weekend or early next week.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Starting a little up tempo work

The last couple of weeks I have been setting at my keyboard a ton, but I am just not getting much time to write on my blog.

Mainly because the last few weeks have been a blur - with an extended board meeting, then the club race, and then Ultra 10k/50k where some friends were running. Throw in some stuff that I am doing at TrySports – Palmetto Relay and 10/4 race H20 stop we are trying to get organized, and then there is the structure that we are trying to put into place for the ambassador team. We met for a "lessons learned" meeting from the CRC 8k race. "Ugh". Then the 1st of February arrives and the Mileage Program stuff needs to get done, and let's not forget the weekly race results that I pull for the club.

And that's just the side work; I have been doing. My actual paying job has kicked into high gear as well.

Makes me even more tired just setting here typing this post.


Well, February arrived and it is time to begin a new training cycle. My hamstring is coming along very nicely but it is not totally 100% yet. People tell me it really takes a long time for a complete recovery from a bad hamstring pull. Guess this is one of those injuries I just have to ride it out.

That didn't stop me from trying a little up tempo workout Sunday morning during my 10 miler. The first 3 miles I let my body get warmed up nicely, and then I started picking up the pace. Mile one went by in 6:43. Mile two went by in 6:45 slightly up hill. Then twin 6:41 miles for 3 and 4 as I started to settle in to a rhythm. Followed this effort with a nice 3 mile cool down and called it a day.

Total running time was 73 minutes.

This wasn't my best start ever but it was a start. The first step in any process is determining where the bottom is located. Once I know where the bottom is, I can start the journey upwards – climbing the ladder one step at a time.

Next up, I am hitting the roads early in the morning for a 14 miler.

I could go on tonight but I just wanted to share a few quick thoughts before closing down my notebook for the evening.


Sharing one thought at time,


The Cool Down Runner

Monday, February 6, 2012

Charlotte Ultra 50k and 10k Race Report

Saturday morning saw the first official Ultra race with in the Charlotte City limits to my knowledge. The race was held on the Mallard Creek greenway and comprised of two races a 50k and a 10k.

Both races went off at 8 AM which coincidently was just about the time a steady drizzle began to fall. The 10k runners would make a single lap of the course while the 50k runners would repeat the same course 5 times to make the full 50k distance.

A strong contingent of runners from the Charlotte Running Club came out to display the strength and depth of the club. Club members Ben Hovis and Carolyn Maye won their respective 10k races in 34:38 and 42:08. While club members Mark Carbone and Megan Hovis won their respective races in the 50k: 3:25:31 and 3:44:11.

There were a total of 37 runners for the 10k and 46 runners for the 50k.

Some other notable finishers were club members Val Matena in 3:51:59 and Theoden Janes 4:18:54. Theoden kept saying that he was planning to drop but somehow managed to hang on. His effort bodes well for his upcoming marathon in Columbia, SC next month.

Meredith Dolhare who is a fellow member on our TrySports Ambassador team struggled through some tough times during the race but with a strong mental attitude finished in 5:00:50 seconds. This is a lead up to Meredith's next big race which is a 126.2 mile race from Baton Rouge, LA to New Orleans, LA along the levy. That's a long way to run if I do say so myself.

By my estimation, the area's for ultra distance went off pretty well. Expect it to grow more next year


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner