Friday, September 28, 2012

Alternating Miles workout

My workout was much earlier in the day yesterday so I was feeling pretty good before my evening came "crashing" down.

A few weeks ago, I did this alternating miles workout and blogged about it on my site. This week, I thought it was time to repeat the workout and see how I would do.

I ran over the same course as the previous workout and ran at roughly the same time of day.

7:12 – warm up mile

6:15 - on the gas

6:49 – off the gas

5:56 – on the gas

7:02 - off the gas

5:58 – on the gas

6:59 – off the gas

6:05 – on the gas

7:16 – off the gas

5:51 on the gas

Cool down walking – ½ mile

During my previous attempt at this workout, my warm up was 7:45, then 6:33, 6:10, 6:11, 6:09, 5:56.

My "on the gas" miles were all quicker in this workout. Maybe they were a little too quick because I was feeling a little more leg weary in the middle intervals. This left me running a few of the recovery sections slightly slower than I expected.

But the workout taken holistically was a nice win. I feel like all extra hard running is having a positive effect and getting me into the right kind of shape for a fall marathon.

Some years, I will repeat certain workouts and other years, I do all new workouts during my training phases. I don't know that there is one method that works best. Running new workouts leaves some doubt in my mind if I am improving, but repeating a workout can cut both ways.

In my case, I can definitely see improvement in the above workout. But the workout could just have as easily went sideways and left me discouraged.

In the end each runner must decided on what workouts to using during their training because the battle is not just improving the body but keeping the mind motivated as well.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Car Crash

Not very often do I venture far from the topic of running on my blog but when I do, the event is usually significant. Personally, sharing about a car crash, in my opinion, qualifies as a significant event. Please skip over if you don't want to know more. LOL.

Last night around 8:30 PM, I had just finished up our CRC Board Meeting. Leaving the Y, I usually have two options for getting back to I-77. I can take Moorehead Street or South Blvd to I-277 to I-77.

Last night, I choose the South Blvd option. In hind sight this was a really bad idea.

I headed out of the backside of the Y and waited until the cars coming down South Blvd to clear so I could safely turn right on to South Blvd.

I entered South Blvd and proceed toward the uptown so I could pick up I-277 north toward I-77. There is maybe ¼ mile between where I entered south blvd and where I need to turn left to enter I-277.

I put on my signal to move across to the inside lane. As I am merging across the lanes, I see a large pickup truck making a U-turn on the near side of the bridge. He is turning from my lane to head back south on South Blvd. He is clear of my lane and the traffic lights green in my direction so I am headed through intersection and probably going maybe 35 mph. It's late and I am no hurry to rush home.

I am just about even with the truck when all of sudden this white car pulls right out in front of me. I have no time to do anything. Bang. We hit and the next thing I know, I smell something burning. My hands and nose are hurting. And, both feet are on the brake. Both air bags deploy and I am setting there dazed more than anything. I see the other car has continued with its U-turn and pulled off to the side.

Still feeling stunned, the burning smell is overwhelming; I fumble with the seat belt to get it undone and push the door open to exit the car. For all that I know my car maybe on fire. As I get out, I think I am still trying to make sense of what just happened.

All I really know is that my hands are hurting, my nose is hurting and my ears are ringing like I am standing right next to Big Ben. In fact, my ears are still ringing this morning.

The cops, fire department, and ambulance all arrive quickly. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries to the people in her car because I hit them broad side when they pulled across my lane.

The wreckers come to tow our cars and I get a ride home.

Once home, I took some ibuprofen and wrapped my hands with some ice.

That burning smell is hard to get out of my head. I think it was nearly 4:30 in the morning before I could drift off to sleep.

Awake or sleeping, I don't know if I will ever forget the image of the car mere feet in front of me and that awful burning smell.

But I most thankful for the fact that no one was seriously hurt and that I was wearing my seat belt.

One never knows when trouble comes one's way so always be prepared.


-btw – the woman admitted it was her fault for pulling out in front.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, September 24, 2012

Run for Kid’s Cancer 5k Recap

Saturday morning, I headed for south Charlotte to run in the Isabella Santos 5k – Run For Kid's Cancer. Isabella is a little girl who lost her battle with this dreaded disease. Having children myself, my heart goes out to anyone that has lost a child. To create something to honor their memory and to help fight cancer so that other children are not lost to it is such a worthy aspiration in deed. From the looks of the race, Isabella will long be remembered and will help raise many dollars to fight cancer.

Moving along and talking about my own race pales in comparison to real purpose of this race.

Gathering at the starting line, our TrySports colors were on displayed in force. Assembled for this event was: Chris, Karin, Glen, Stefan, Stan, Mike K. and baby jogger (including Spiderman), and myself. Jinnie had accepted the official role as race photographer.

Once rolling, Carlos Perez from Lincolnton took off. Chris was in hot pursuit almost immediately. Glen and I were soon running side by side. I watched as Carlos made the first u-turn and Chris was a few yards back. Glen and I had been climbing this hill and I wasn't sure how my legs would feel once I hit the turn around. Those doubts were in the back of my mind that I might just run out of gas.

Carlos and Chris were well ahead of me as I moved in 3rd overall and passed through the mile in 5:38. Based on the distance between us, I didn't feel like I was going to be running them down and usually, my first mile is my fastest. From this point, I tend to slow down.

This 5k course is all about rolling hills. Nothing flat could be seen.

Sometime the strangest thoughts roll through my brain during a race. Just after the mile, it was the thought, that I only had 2 more miles to run hard. I guess after running a 15 mile and a 13 mile races, a 5k can seem rather short.

Mile 2 passes in 5:34 which also surprised me. But I also noticed that Carlos is slowing or at least the gap between us was diminishing. This is encouraging to me and I kept trying to push hard. Yes, the distance between us was growing ever closer but so is the finish line. I make a big push up the last hill but there is just too much ground to make up between us. He crosses the finish some 10 seconds ahead of me. I cross the line in 17:36 and I am really happy with the time and the fact that I closed the last mile in another 5:34.

Moments after the race, I'm headed back to my car so I can switch out my racing shoes for my training shoes. Along the way, I strike up a conversation with Clint Prouty who is a fellow master's runner. We ended up doing the course again as a cool down.

After the race, I hung out at the TrySports tent for a while and just checked things out. There's a ton of stuff going on from a silent auction, to a raffle, to a kids zone, and good music in the back ground. There is plenty of food (Einstein bagels and chick-fi-la), coffee, water, and Gatorade.

Every runners dream, good weather and a great race.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



Sunday, September 23, 2012

SLR Unsanctioned Race #3 Recap

News flashed across Charlotte a few weeks ago that Phyllis Neriah was again putting on one of her SLR Unsanctioned Races. This time, the race was an almost ½ marathon in honor Paul Ryan's much publicized marathon PR.

After checking out the race logistics, I thought, I can make this work. Maybe not easily but yes, I think it could work.

Fast forward to this morning and I am up at 4 AM to get ready for the race. I'm leaving the house shortly after 5 AM for the drive across Charlotte to the McMullen Greenway.

Yes, the race didn't start until 7:30 but I needed 22 miles this morning. And, I felt like this would be an excellent opportunity for me to get in a fast long run finish.

With head lamp, cliff shots, and hand helds in place, I took off for the opening 10 miles solo along the very dark and very scary McMullen Greenway.

78 minutes later, I was back at my car to reload with H20 and pin on my race number before taking off on the up tempo part of the 22 miler. After a few words from Peter and an acknowledgement of Phyllis' fantastic efforts, we were off.

I quickly settled in with 4 other guys. After a couple of miles, our group dwindled down to 3 of us by 3 miles and by 4 miles, two of us. And by the turn around I was running alone.

I hadn't planned it this way. I hadn't even switched out to my usual tempo shoes. Nor had I changed my watch to capture the splits. No, this was to be about effort and effort only. I did reload my water bottle so they would be their heaviest.

If I felt good, I was stay with the pace. If I started to tire, I would let the pace drag. It's all about feeling when to push and when to rest.

The miles coming back started to take their toll my legs and my feet. After all, most of the others in this race were just running 12 miles and hadn't been up for running a 10 mile warm up in 78 minutes before hand.

Around 20 miles, I could feel my legs really starting to ache and the muscles start to tighten up. Changing direction quickly was getting harder.

I was never happier than to see the finish line. The clock read 1:15:36 for the 12 miles which is around 6:30 pace.

There was some humidity but the temperatures were down and this made for an awesome run.

Aside from the fast finish effort, I also got to check out some other things. Like, can I easily chew a cliff shot while running hard? Then, there is idea carrying water during a race or hard workout which I never do, but today, I did.

The primary reason I was trying these things was that I wanted to see what it felt like. I have a 50k coming up in 3 weeks and I needed to figure out what to wear, what to eat, and what to carry. All of these things will come into play during my 50k. I wanted see what felt like to run hard for a long time and carry those darn "hand held" bottles. My honest opinion, I am not a fan. My "trapz" felt like they wanted to seize up. I could definitely feel the ache in them around 10 miles.

But all and all, the 22 miles run went off very well. For the entire 22 miles, I averaged 7:09 pace and came away with no blisters but a lot of soreness. Well, more soreness tomorrow, but you get what I am saying.

Anyway, this is enough about me.

Everyone should give Phyllis a huge "thanks" for stepping up and organizing these events. The commitment to time and effort should never be taken for granted. Then, there is Peter who makes the trip over from Albemarle to time the event and to print us out those great shirts. A big "thanks" goes out to Peter for this effort.

These are the people in our running community that set the standard for "making a difference".


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Honey Waffle Stinger

Last week, I was out and picked up some Waffle Stingers. They have become my crutch as of late. They are easy to carry and easily to digest as long as I take them a couple of hours before my run. And on the back side, they give my brain some extra energy so I don't feel so sluggish during my workouts.

Usually, I am Strawberry Waffle Stinger guy, but this past week, I decided to step out and try something new. I bought a couple of the Honey flavored Waffle Stingers. Yeah, I know, this really shows how much I am willing to step out. In this case, this was just a small step.

Trying to be as fair as possible, I tried the Honey Waffle Stinger over the weekend before a long run. To come totally clean, I am not real sure what "Honey" should taste like. After all, most of the honey that I have tasted – just taste sweet. There is no real flavor to it. Or it could be that my palate just isn't sensitive enough to make the distinction.

Nothing about the taste left me wanting to abandon my Strawberry Waffle Stingers. I guess for now; I will stick with the tried and true.

But don't get me wrong here, the Honey Waffle Stinger did its job just like the Strawberry Waffle Stinger, but sometimes it just comes down to taste and preference. For now, I am staying with the Strawberry flavored brand.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Badin ½ Marathon Race Recap 9/15/12

The organizers of Badin Race affectionately call their race "Run the Valley", but for those of us that signed up for the ½ marathon, we know this is a misnomer. We feel it should be called "Run the Mountain" because running up the side of Morrow Mt is no easy task.

The week after Charleston, I took a hard look at my training and realized two things were definitely missing: long hard tempos and lots of hill work. Thus, some changes needed to be made.

Enter, the Badin ½ marathon. For those that don't know, the Badin ½ marathon is brutally tough course. The course has tons of steep, rolling hills and then runners have to climb up the side of Morrow Mt to the very top. The legs get beaten into submission long before getting to the mountain portion course and then there is a nearly 2 mile climb to the top.

If this doesn't count for hill work, I don't know what does.

Beginning the week, I pretty much convinced myself to not take any down time and just train through the race. I had pretty much accepted the idea that I could crash and burn badly during this half.

Saturday morning finally arrives and I make the hour drive over to Badin. Yes, it is "Badin" and not "Basin" for anyone seeing my facebook post after the race. My phone likes to correct anything it feels is a miss spelling.

I headed up to the start and saw some familiar faces: Peter, Sharon, Richard, Linda, and a few others. There were about a 100 runners entered in the ½.

Going into the race, I have settled on a race plan. My goal is to run under 1:30 and if I averaged around 6:40 miles, I would be very happy.

7:30 arrives and we are off. We have gone maybe 150 yards when a black cat scampers across the road. I am not a big believer in omens, but why take any chances. I do as my grandmother told me and put an "x" on it. Don't ask me why, that's just what she always told me to do and to this day, I still do it. Yeah, I know it sounds dumb but she was a smart woman and if she did it, I shouldn't take any chances.

By the mile point, the race has settled into Brett Dixon and me running together – at least sort of. Brett runs the downhills hard and was gapping me by 15 to 20 yards. Then, on the climb, I would come right back to his shoulder. We pass the first mile in 6:12. This is faster than I had planned on running so I see no need to pass him or push the pace. We go back and forth. The second mile is 6:19 and the 3rd mile is 6:15. We reach the 4th mile which is a nasty little climb passed the 10k turnaround.

Brett had gapped me coming to the hill, but once on the hill I came back to his shoulder. This time the hill is much longer and I decide; let's get a little gap before the top.

Having run the Morrow Mt. road more than a few times, I know what is coming. We top over and just as I expected, he goes flying back by me. But now, the real climbing starts as we enter Morrow Mt. park.

Mile 4 had been a decent 6:24, but Mile 5 took 6:40. The climbing had started during mile 6 which was run in 6:27. Brett had dropped off now so it was left to me to climb to the top solo. Mile 7 pretty much has no relief in it. I clocked in at 7:27.

Mile 8 is downhill and I speed down the mt. in 5:59. Thinking Brett who appeared to be a good downhill runner might be making a comeback, I tried to keep the pressure on myself.

And, keeping my spirits up was seeing all the people climbing the mountain and yelling support to me. I did my best to give each a word of encouragement and "High 5" if they were appeared interested.

Back in the rolling hills, mile 9 was 6:11 and mile 10 was 6:06. Mile 11 was covered in 6:03. Now, I was back and running among the 10k runners. The 10k starts 30 minutes after the ½ marathon start.

Having lots of people helped kept things interesting.

My legs were starting to feel the hills now. Mile 12 was covered in 6:19 and Mile 13 was covered in 6:22. The final .21 took me a good 1:20 to cover. I crossed the finish line in 1:24:11.

My time was far better than I expected for the day.

As we have come to expect, Peter and Uwharrie Running Club did a superb job putting on this race. The shirts were fantastic. The race was started on time and the awards were awesome. The

results were posted after the race and online before I got home. There was a ton of food and drinks after the race. There were at least 5 water stops on the way out so plenty of refueling stations.

As races goes, the Badin has something for everyone one. There is even a festival afterwards.

Mark your calendars for the '13 edition.



Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hill Repeat x 8 no 6, you get the idea

Megan dropped me a txt about running hill repeats this morning. I don't know which I dreaded more running some more hills or running in the rain. After all, the weather man said there was 100% chance of rain this morning and I had run plenty of hills this past weekend.

During the drive over the rain was coming down pretty hard. Thus, I wasn't exactly bursting with enthusiasm to go running. But the skies parted when I pulled into Megan's driveway.

The rain ceased.

Well, at least things were looking up.

The last 2 weeks, I have been pounding the roads pretty hard: 95 miles the first week and 94 miles last week. Those weeks were bookended with a 15 mile and a 13 mile race. Throw in some hefty hill work and my quads are starting to cry "uncle".

Going into this workout, I had visions of doing 8 x 2 minute hill repeats, but by the time I reached 4 repeats; I knew I was done. I was running up the hill but without any intensity. Rather than just keep pushing, I opted for breaking off the workout and going with just 6 x 2 minutes. Better to realize, this wasn't from a lack of training, but from training too much. More rest is what's needed now. Give my legs a chance to bounce back.

I am sure my legs will thank me later, but right now, they are just sore and tired.

Maybe, I shouldn't tell them that I am running a 5k race this weekend. Let's just keep that our little secret for now.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, September 17, 2012

Badin ½ marathon – Garmin Breakdown

In case, there are those runner nerds that enjoy seeing how Garmin breaks down race statistics, I am posting what my Garmin captured from Saturday's race.

Map of the Crowders to Kings Mt Run

I finally uploaded my Garmin data to Garmin Connect and I thought would I would share this info with everyone. I had a lot of trouble finding detailed info online so this can at least be used as a starting point if others want to do the same route.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ladder Workout

Is anyone else enjoying these fall days? I freely admit that I am enjoying them.

What's not to take pleasure in. The temperature is in the mid 70s. The humidity is almost nonexistent.

There's the coolness in the air that lets me know – fall has arrived. There's no better time to be out running.

Anyway, I headed out for my regularly Tuesday up tempo workout. This week my training plan had mapped out a little ladder type workout. For anyone that doesn't know what a latter workout is well, let me explain.

A ladder workout is where you run intervals in an ever increasing length fashion until you reach the longest interval. From there, you descend back down usually matching the same intervals used on the way up. Although, it doesn't have to be follow this pattern – runner's choice. The recovery periods are typically half the length of the interval.

Today's workout went like this 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute. After each interval, I did a half of the interval recovery. For example, the 2 minute interval had a 1 minute recovery while the 6 minute interval had a 3 minute recovery.

My warm up covered roughly 1.5 miles and then I covered roughly 9 miles through all of these intervals. The warm down covered ½ mile with 20 minutes of walking – just to get rid of the lactic acid in my legs.

The first few intervals always seem difficult to me because my legs hate getting started, but once I do, then I feel like I found my rhythm. Through the 1-5 intervals, my legs felt good and strong. Once the 6 interval was in the bag, my legs started feeling the strain of the workout. By the time I was on intervals 3 and 4, my quads start to feel this "what I will call a numbness". They will continue to run but they tend to lose the feeling of freshness.

Once I reach intervals 2 and 1 on the back side of the ladder, I know that I am home free and will probably be digging more out than I expected. Once the last interval is in the bag, I slowed to an easy jog and headed for home.

Because this workout is on the roads and I don't measure the exact distance of each the intervals, I have to make some inferences. I remember the first mile was in 8:10 and the last mile was 8:05. My total running time was 1 hour and 16 minutes for 11 miles. With a little math, I know that I ran 9 miles in roughly 59 minutes – give or take. And I will take it any day. 59 minutes running hard ¾ of the time and recovering the rest of the time and still averaged under 7 minute pace. What else can say, but it was a good day for me.

Now, these legs need to recover and be rested for a big weekend of running.

See 'ya on the roads,


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Crowders Mt. to Kings Mt. and Back

I started checking out places that I hadn't run before and one of the places was Crowders Mt. Once the idea resonated as a good place for a run, I went about doing some research. I looked at the park trail map and saw that it extended to the South Carolina line. From there, I pulled up the Kings Mt. park trail map and saw that yes, the trails connected between the two parks. That's when the idea hit me about planning a run from Crowders Mt. to Kings Mt. and back.

More research showed that I could definitely run from visitor center to visitor center. Awesome, I could reload with water for the return trip. The research continued but mostly based on the Crowders Mt. side because they had the trail distances listed on their trail map.

With trail maps in hand, I started plotting out my course. From the Crowders Mt. visitor center, I would start with the Crowders Mt. Trail, then onto the Pinnacle trail, from there pick up the Ridgeline Trail. Roughly, I figured this would be about 8.5 miles of running.

Based on some other research, I figured the SC side of the Ridgeline trail was about 2 miles and then a short distance to the visitor center.

This should put me at 10.5 to 11 miles one way and 22 miles was my goal for the day. Ugh, I wish.

I had thoughts of doing the run in 3 to 3 and ½ hours.

After talking to Megan about it, she wanted in so 8 AM Saturday morning, we set off.

Crowders Mt. trail was pretty easy. The climb along the Pinnacle trail was ugly and steep and we were pretty reduced to walking as we circumvented the rocks. Humm, this left me wondering if my 3 ½ hour estimate had been too conservative.

Getting on the Ridgeline trail, we climbed down these 4 by 4 steps. This just tells how steep it was if they put in steps for it.

But once off this section the course still have some tough sections but it becomes more run able. We navigate across 3 road crossings. We run on a gravel section for a short distance. We even run on an old paved road for a hundred yards. I never did see a clear section saying that we were in South Carolina but I assumed we were because the trail flattened out and widened out.

But I knew for sure that we had hit the Kings Mt. State Park when the Ridgeline trail merged into the Kings Mt. main trail. Here was where a couple of eye opening realizations set in. The camp ground was 1.5 to left and the visitor center was 2 miles to the right. Decisions, decisions, decisions. What made the decision even more difficult was that my Garmin said that we had already run 10.5 miles. If my math is correct, we would be turning around at 12.5 when we reached the visitor so we would be running 25 miles by Garmin on the trail for total measured running distance. This definitely was not a pleasant thought. Garmin don't measure well on trails so we could be going 26 or 27 or even 28 miles. Especially trails with numerous switch backs as this trail had.

We decided on the 2 miles to the visitor center. This was the best decision. Bathrooms and water would be a waiting us.

We reloaded and headed back. The trip out had taken 2 hours and 5 minutes.

But now, the sun was starting to rise up into the sky and we spending a lot time climbing. We retraced our steps along the Kings Mt. trail back to the Ridgeline trail for the trip back.

We crossed 3 roads. We crossed over the gravel section and the old paved road section. We climbed up the steps. We transverse the rocks and finally enjoyed the 2 mile downhill back to the Crowders Mt. visitor center.

Total running time was 4 hours and 17 minutes.

My Garmin had 25 miles on it. Thinking about it just made me laugh on the inside. My quads hurt. My gluts hurt. My calves hurt. I was covered in dirt and oh so very, very tired.

But I was glad that I did it.

There is something about taking on difficult challenges and the great feeling of satisfaction when you complete it.

But one word of warning, I would not recommend the out and back approach. This is definitely makes for a long day. By the road, the two visitor centers are only a short drive apart so taking two cars and doing a one way trip makes a lot more sense for future runs.


Sharing one thought at a time,

The Cool Down Runner


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Alternate miles workout

Okay, my 15 miler is in the rear view mirror and it is time to start the next phase of training.

All week long, I have thinking over this workout and didn't decide on it until this morning.

I call this workout alternating miles workout.

Basically, what I do is a 10 mile run where I alternate one hard mile with one recovery mile. I start with a 1 mile warm up and then launch into the first mile repeat. Starting this way can be a little tough on my body because my body normally takes a while for all 8 cylinders to come online. I usually do this workout on the roads so it is over a rolling hill course. Also the miles are measured as the Garmin measures them. That's it.

The rest is about just running and recovering and then running again.

So how did today's workout go.


Warm up mile 7:45

1st repeat – 6:33

1st recovery mile - 7:11

2nd repeat – 6:10

2nd recovery mile – 7:02

3rd repeat – 6:11

3rd recovery mile – 6:54

4th repeat – 6:09

4th recovery mile – 7:07

5th repeat – 5:56

Total Running Time: 66 minutes.

Once I read that every workout should have a purpose and if you cannot explain the purpose, you probably should not be doing it. In this case, the purpose of this workout was to push my lactic acid level up in my blood stream. Additionally, this teaches my body to better handle the increased lactic acid levels. Furthermore, this workout does a better job simulating race condition than doing this as mile repeats on a track because on a track, I tend to run the recoveries a lot slower. In this workout I am roughly give myself a 1 minute extra recovery so I never fully recover from the lactic acid overload.

Another benefit of this workout is more of an intangible benefit. This is the mental toughness and confidence. If you can pull off this workout, you start to feel that you are going to be stronger later in races and it gives you the confidence that you can pull it off again if you have pulled it off once during training.

For those planning your workouts for a fall marathon, give this workout a try and let me know how it goes.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why a 15 mile race is is a good test distance for the marathon

Mike and I were talking about how our races went Saturday morning when I made the comment that 15 miles is a good test distance for a fall marathon. Out of that conversation, I thought I would share some of the major points with everyone else.

Why is a 15 mile race a good barometer for a successful fall marathon?

Well, I see a couple of reasons but first, let me fill in some back ground information.

In our case, we both are racing OBX which is roughly 8 weeks or 2 months out.

During those 8 weeks incredible gains can be made in both aerobic capacity and stamina.

But one has to know what changes are needed in order to adjust their training plan properly.

This is where a 15 mile race like the Charleston Distance run comes into play.

15 miles is longer than half marathon by 1.9 miles but that 1.9 mile can make a world of difference in how a body feels. As I approach 15 miles, this where my body transitions from burning carbs to burning fats. This is the section of the race where I am either starting to feel pretty good about my day or I realize my body isn't ready for this challenge.

If I have been doing my long runs then my body probably isn't hurting from the race pounding at this point. Usually, the quads and the feet start to feel the stress of the effort.

If I have been doing my tempo runs, then my body should be able to handle the lactic acid build and allow me to maintain my marathon race pace.

Addressing the stamina point first, I felt okay physically. The pounding of the race didn't bother me too much on race day. My legs were tired and a little sore but then I just ran 15 miles. I should not expect them to feel too great.

However, to the 2nd point, the body's ability to handle the lactic acid build up, I didn't fare so well here. Most everyone has run a race or a workout where their legs started to feel a little wobbly coming to the finish, but give them a 2 minutes and their fine. That's what happened to me Saturday. Those last 2 miles my legs were wobbly. In fact, they were a lot wobbly. My training schedule hasn't had a lot of tempo runs and in Saturday's race the lack of tempo runs showed up. At least partially, it showed up. A big mitigating factor was the humidity hovering between 92% and 100%. The body tries to cool its self by sweating but when the humidity is so high, there no place for the moisture to go. Without the sweat evaporating, runners tend overheat. So while the body is circulating the blood to the skin to cool it, there is less blood going to the muscles and lactic tends to build up in the blood stream. When it does, we all slow down.

Now, that I have a feel for what I need to do next in my training plan, I will swap out some of the shorter speedy workouts for some 8 to 10 mile tempos. OBX will be next test case where I will find out if it works. I'm crossing my fingers.

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, September 3, 2012

Charleston 15 mile distance - recap

Well, for the 2nd year in a row, I tackled the Charleston 15 mile distance run in Charleston, WV. Some said the conditions were better than last year. Personally, I believe the conditions were worse than last year. Race morning, the temperature was 72 degrees with 92% humidity. I was sweating before the start and was coated in sweat by the time we reached the first mile.

This year, Megan and Mike decided to join me for this little road trip. We headed up Friday evening and stayed there in Charleston. Then, we had just a short drive over to Laidley field where the race finishes. We then ran over to the start which was about ½ mile away.

They start the distance run a little differently than other runs. There are no instructions. There is no count down. There is just the firing of the cannon at 7:30 on the dot. I am standing at the starting line and say to Mike "I'm waiting on the cannon to fire". As if my words were the ignition, we hear the cannon fire and everyone starts running.

The 5k run, 5k walk and 10k walk have the right lane of the road while the 15 milers have the left side of the road. Mike and I are running side by side and running along with Esther Erb from Boone, NC.

Last year, I felt like I imploded toward the end of the race so this year, I was planning to be more conservative. Mike and I hit the first mile in 6:12. We hit the 2nd mile in 6:18 and start over the bridge. I notice that Mike slides behind us but I assume he is just settling in.

We hit the 3rd and 4th miles. I am running a little ahead of Esther. I cross the 5 mile point in 32:44. Not bad considering the last two and half miles were up hill.

We start to crest over the most difficult section of the course and hit a few of the downhills. I notice almost immediately that my legs feel dead. There is no pep in them.

I make my way down the last hill, back across the bridge, and hit the flats of downtown Charleston. This is where if a runner feels really good, he can chase a lot of people down.

I found that I was catching people but according my watch I was not running faster but slower. They were just slowing down more than I was. My 10 mile time was 64:34.

The last 5 miles were tough. I was churning along with some 6:20s and 6:30s through 13, but after the 13 miles, the wheels came completely off my car. I ran 6:59 and 7:05. I was never happier to hit the Laidley field track. I was dumping water over head and across my legs. Nothing was working. I round the last corner of the track and cross the finish line. There is no sprint to the finish in me. I just go from a slow trot to walking.

My time was 1:38:49 which was first in my age group and placed me 12 overall. At first, I am disappointed. I wanted to run faster and felt like I was capable of running faster. It was just that my body had other ideas.

After the race, I talked to a few other guys that I ran this race with last year and found that their times were 2 to 3 minutes slower as well. Later checking the results, many of the runners were off by a couple of minutes from '11. I have my suspicions that the humidity was the biggest reason. I know that I struggled when the humidity is really high. My body just does not cool as effectively as when the humidity is much lower.

15 miles is a tough distance because it just starts to push in to the world of marathon suffering. I guess this is why I keep going back because this race test me like no other race.


Sharing one thought at a time,

The Cool Down Runner