Tuesday, April 30, 2013

7 x 3 minutes with 1 minute recovery

I stayed on the roads today and went 7 x 3 minutes with a 1 minute recovery. There was nothing fancy about the workout. It was just some good hard nose running. The kind of running I hope will make me stronger over the 5k distance.

My workout started with a 3 mile warm up and then, I launched directly into the 3 minute repeats. For this workout, I turn off the auto lap feature on my Garmin and switched to the view that displays both the split elapse time and elapse distance.

During the 3 minute interval I will occasionally peek at the elapse time and slow once it hits 3 minutes. I don't usually hit the split button. I will let it run for the entire recovery before hitting it again. This way the split numbers match exactly with the repeat numbers. This just makes my mind work a little less during the workout. In fact, it allows me to totally tune out any worry of counting the repeats.

At various times, I will wear my heart monitor and include it on the same display. Today, I wasn't in the mood to wear it. I find when I am more tired that I tend to not wear it. In some sense, I guess, it would become even more apparent that I wasn't pushing as hard as I should otherwise be pushing.

Overall, today's workout was decent. The humidity was up and the clouds for the most part kept the sun at bay. I could feel the tug on the hamstrings and the lactic acid burning in the quads.

I will chalk this workout up as another stepping stone in my "get the legs turning over" initiative.


Sharing one thought at a time,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, April 29, 2013

Thoughts about the Run Your Heart for Boston 2.62 hour

Rob posted on our club's FaceBook event page that our Run Your Heart for Boston 2.62 hour run would be held rain or shine. There was rain through out the night but this didn't deter 400+ runners from coming out and helping us make a huge contribution to the Gross Family. Rob sent me an email this morning with the total. With some last minute donations, yesterday's run brought in over $17,000 dollars. This is just fantastic.

When I stop and think about it, this just totally amazes me. In less than 10 days, an event was organized and setup. Food, Water, Gatorade, and PowerAde were gathered. Online registration was step up. Shirts were ordered and printed and oh yeah, like I said earlier. There were over 400+ runners who showed up. We literally took over the McMullen Greenway.

This just goes to show what a "BIG" heart our Charlotte Running Community has. I feel so fortunate to just be a part of it.

To each person that participated yesterday, I want to personally "Thank You" for taking time out of your day to give back.

Additionally, I want to single a few special individuals that contributed huge amounts of their time and energy to make this happen.
  • Rob Ducsay
  • Stephanie York
  • Wen Norvel
  • Johanna Curry Remes
  • Matt Bush
  • David Munger
  • Chad Randolph
  • Phyllis Neiah
Our world is shaped by people that are willing to make a difference. Yesterday, these individuals demonstrated just how true this statement is.

To each of you – "THANK YOU"

Sharing thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner





Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sandy Feet 5k

So many years have passed since I last ran in Matthews, NC that I have lost count. This made the selection for a weekend race easy for me. Matthews is only about 35 minutes of driving time for me.

Meaning I was there in plenty of time for the race.

There is an old saying "don't make assumptions". This is exactly what I did this morning. The race information said they were using their regular 5k certified course. I took this to mean the same course we had used when I last ran it. I even did my warm on that course. Image my surprise when I was told "no, this is a different" course. Sight unseen, I headed off the starting line.

Each turn would be a new adventure for me.

Two guys quickly zipped out front on the gun. I thought I would settle in behind them but within 300 yards, they were already fading. From there, I just followed the police car, and silently said a pray. I hoped he knew where he was going. My Garmin beeped at the mile and flashed up a split of 5:26. At the next turn, I peeked over my shoulder. There wasn't a sole in sight. We made the loop around by Covenant Day School. Ugh, I had forgotten how much up hill was in this section. My Garmin beeped again: 5:36. I finished the loop by the school and headed back for downtown Matthews. Another check over my shoulder at the turn told me that I had this one. Mile 3 went by in sluggish 5:48 and I finished in 17:43.

I crossed the finish line and then waited for the other runners to finish. Today, I wanted to give each a "high-five" as they finished.

The race organizers did a decent job with the race. The course had one water stop and plenty of course monitors and police presence. Post race, there was Gatorade and water along with bananas and bagels. The awards were prompt and I was pulling out of the parking lot by 9:30 AM after an 8 AM race.

I give the Sandy Feet 5k race a "thumbs up" and the course gets a "thumbs up" as well.


Sharing on thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Friday, April 26, 2013

10 x 600

My legs have not been cooperating lately, but this didn't stop me from dragging myself out for another interval workout. Yeah, I know I complain a lot about my legs, but they are my legs and this blog gives the changes to blow off the stress about them.

Anyway, this week I did a 10 x 600 with 1 minute recovery. As my usual pattern, about three intervals in to the workout, I started to find a little of my MoJo. Then, I settled in to run some consist splits the rest of the way.

I am pretty sure my body hasn't fully recovered from my stomach bug a week ago. I lost about 5 pounds over just a few days. Now, I feel okay starting out on my runs but once I get over an hour, the fatigue really starts to hit home. My legs end up just barely coming off the ground during each stride. I hope another week and they will start to feel normal again. I really want to hit a few more of those Dilworth speed loops with "The Captain" on Tuesday mornings.

Good thing the days are turning warmer. I really like the no gloves and singlet weather arriving again. Summer is coming and is going to be good this year.


Sharing one thought at a time,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tar Heel 10 miler

Saturday morning I was standing at the starting line of the TarHeel 10 miler for the 2nd year in row. Last year, I was coming off the Palmetto Relay. This year was coming off a stomach bug which left me laying on the couch and shivering.

I watched as the announcer raised the American flag and they play our national anthem through the Kenan Stadium sound system. Considering the events in Boston earlier this week, I held my hand across my heart; the music rang in my ears, and I thought how lucky I am to live in this great nation. Then, we held a moment of silence for those impacted by the events in Boston. The silence was deafening as each of us thought about the victims of this terrible tragedy.

The announcer gives us the final countdown, and we are sent on our way. There's only about 7 feet of running room so until we exit the stadium, I am raising my quad high to avoid stepping on the guys in front of me or getting clipped from behind.

I spot Michael Dwomoh at the start. He is coming off racing at Boston on Monday. He could be tired, but he has been known to run marathons on back to back weekends. I know he will be tough. The first mile I try to settle and not lose touch with Michael. I cover it in a little over 5:30. I know I am out too fast so I try to settle more. We circle back by the stadium and then run through it.

I just about clip this woman who is paying no attention to the speeding runners passing her.

Once out of the stadium, Michael is about 20 yards ahead of me. Over the next couple of miles, I finally close the distance. Then, we start the same cat and mouse game that Caitlin and I play a few weeks ago. He pushes hard up the hills, and then I pull back the distance on the downhill. This continues until we reach the 6 mile where I start to open a small gap.

I know Laurel Hill looms ahead. I try to open as much of a gap as possible.

We make the right turn just past the 8 mile mark and head up the hill. The change in grad is unbelievable. Suddenly my heart is racing and my quads are burning. Michael burst by me. I can do nothing. I cannot respond to his surge. I try to mitigate the loss of distance. My confidence sinks. I know cannot do it.

The hill grinds on. I cross the second Laurel Hill mat. Michael probably has 25 seconds on me now. The hill goes on for another 200 yards before it levels out, and I make the turn back toward the stadium and the finish.

My legs felt terrible climbing the hill, but as soon as I cross the top, I feel good again. Michael is looking back to see where I am. I don't know if I can catch him but at least I will make him sweat it all the way to the finish line. I tear down the hill. Michael crosses over to the other side of the cones. I follow to run the tangents. I am closing the distance. I make the right into the stadium loading dock. The distance has narrowed but I am running out of time. I enter the stadium and the distance is just too much to make up.

Michael crosses the finish line in 60:09 and I finish in 60:18. I was happy and disappointed all at the same time. I wanted to beat Michael, and I came oh so close. I ran 60:18 but wanted to break an hour. On the other hand, the previous week I had been horizontal my couch for the entire weekend. Running 60:18 was an awesome effort, and I needed to be happy with it.

Also I finished 25 overall and 2 Male Master and 2 USA T&F Master. Those are solid results, but I know I am capable of more. I just need to find that next level.

I know I was disappointed with my time but I looked back at my time two years ago here. I ran 60:48 so I was faster yesterday. I also looked at my Laurel Hill time, and I was 2 second faster climbing it. Honestly, I don't know what to think. I am 2 years older. I ran faster so why do I feel like I lost. My competitive nature just doesn't allow me to settle anything less than giving my absolute best.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, April 19, 2013

Benefiting Boston and Gross Family

The out pouring of support from the Charlotte Athletic Community is awesome. For those individuals wanting to show their support there are a number of activities taking place.

Please take a moment and show your support by attending one of these events.

Gross Family Support Fund:

For those wanting to support the Gross Family - Be Strong Stay Strong


TrySports will be holding a 2.62 run/walk on Monday, April 22, 2013 for "One Fund Boston". They will also be donating 26.2% of their sales on Monday to this fund.

Here are details to TrySports Group Run 2.62 event - Blakeney Location

Charlotte Running Company:

Charlotte Running Company is donating 100% from "Runners love for Boston" T-shirts to the Be Strong Stay Strong fund.

Run For Your Life:

One Monday, April 22 @ 6:30 PM, the Run for Your Life stores will host memorial runs at all four locations to show their support and raise money for the The One Fund.

Charlotte Running Club:

On April 28th, the Charlotte Running Club is organizing a 2.62 hour run on the McMullen Greenway. This is a joint effort of CRC, Davidson Timing, Vac & Dash and the Charlotte Runners (SLRC). 100% of the donations from run will be given to the Gross Family. More information about this run can be found via the CRC FaceBook Event


Thinking of Boston daily,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, April 15, 2013

Send my thoughts and prayers to Boston

My thoughts and prayers are with the runners, their families, and the people of Boston tonight. No one should have to endure events such as those occurring today.

Events like today truly sadden my heart when I hear about them. The sadness hurts even more when someone chooses to make a "statement" that involves a sport that I love so much. Running unlike any other sport on this planet allows us to run in the footsteps of heroes both past and present. No place is this truer than at one of the most historical road race in America – the Boston Marathon.

Many sports took years, decades, and yes, even sometimes generations or more before they accepted everyone regardless of their race, creed, color, or walk of life. Running never had to endure these hardships.

As runners, we treat everyone as an equal.

The real lose is that someone has chosen to strip away this last bit of innocence. They have targeted a sport that maybe the most pure ever.

Time will pass. Streets will be cleaned. Building updated. However, today will be long be marked as darkest hour in the history of the Boston Marathon and we should never forget those that were lost and injured today.


Thoughts and prayers,

The Cool Down Runner

More of the same

So Saturday, I was lying around most of the day. There wasn't much desire to eat or do anything. Finally, I dragged myself over and put on my running shoes and went for my run. Never once did I step in any mud, but physically, I felt like I was. I put one foot down. I picked up one foot and then I repeated the process. About the only bright spot, I reached the edge of my drive way.

I came inside, took a shower, and lay on the couch for the next 3 hours. The temperature in my house is probably 75 degrees, but I was covered up with two blankets. I barely had the motivation to pick up the remote. Mostly, I dozed on and off during the entire time. Sleeping during the day is something I rarely do. Once I am up, I am almost always up. Thus, if I am napping and the sun's still up, there is definitely something wrong with me.

At some point in the evening, I found the energy to eat a small bite and finally drag myself off to the bed.

I hoped that sleep would make me feel better.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Stomach Bug

This morning I had plans of running the Earth Fare 5k in Asheville, but it never materialized. Thursday night, I came home and felt pretty tired so I head straight for bed. Things just got worse. I was up and down the entire night. I went for my run the next morning and felt like as running on low battery. I dragged myself to my desk and worked the entire day. 5pm came, and I dragged myself over to my couch where I dozed on and off for the next seven hours before heading for bed.

It wasn't until noon today that I started feeling better.

Weird, I didn't really feel bad on Thursday. I felt a little tired but then I spent the previous three days in Richmond. I figured it was just part of traveling and working longer hours.

I am just glad to be feeling better. Being sick is no fun.


Sharing one thought at time,

Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Struggle of traveling and running

When I am traveling, my running has to always be done in the early morning hours. Once the business day starts, I never know how it will unfold. I never want to put myself in a situation where I would miss my daily run.

There is also the difficulty of running in an area that I am unfamiliar. In the dark, all streets corners can look the same.

This is the main reason I stick to courses with very few turns. If I can get a course with no turns, I will take it.

Add on top of it, my runs all need to originate from the hotel. In the early morning there just isn't time to drive to some area where the running might be better. I have to deal with the area around the hotel. Good or bad, it is what it is.

Fortunately, my hotel here in Richmond sets right near Broad Street. I can come out of my hotel and turn right. The road just goes on and on. The first 3 miles have some good sidewalks. Then, the sidewalks end and the road narrows to just two lanes. One other advantage to morning runs, the traffic doesn't pick up for a few more hours. Most drivers spot my orange running shirt and move over to give me plenty of room. I say "most". There are always a few drivers that for some reason they believe in crowding me. Who really knows what is going in inside their brain?

Yesterday, I did my 10 mile recovery run and turned at the sign "1010". Interesting, the half way point of my 10 mile run would be at the route marker displaying "1010".

This morning, I need to crank things up with a fartlek workout. This particular fartlek is a pretty tough one. It's a ladder workout of 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 with 1 minute recovery. This workout is very much like a long tempo, but because it is broken up with a 1 minute recovery, I tend to run each interval harder than I would if I were running one long tempo run. Intervals 8, 7, 6, and 5, my legs felt pretty good. Starting with 4, the lactic acid in my legs started to build. The 1 minute recovery was no longer doing the trick. The final few miles of the run flatten out. This really helped. Also helping was the intervals were getting shorter and shorter. The mind can easily be convinced that it can handle another 3 or 2 or 1 minute(s) of stress.

Overall, I give my workout a "B" grade. Given the conditions I had to work under, getting in a decent workout is better than getting in no workout at all. Next week, I am back to the Dilworth Speed Loop.


Sharing one thought at a time,

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, April 6, 2013

BB&T 8k USA T&F-NC Endurance Series

I made my first visit to Greensboro for a road race ever. Yes, as hard as it may be to believe, I never raced in Greensboro before this morning. It was just around 6:30 when I rolled into the parking deck and then went in search of the race morning packet pickup.

I didn't have to look too far because they were already open for business.

Packet in hand, I went back to my car and got comfortable until it was time to warm up.

With only a slight wind and a cool morning temperature, conditions were ideal for racing.

As I finished up my warm up and was doing some strides, I saw Caitlin finishing her prep work. We exchanged "waves" and went to finish the last of our prerace rituals.

I was hanging slightly back and as we walked to the starting line, I came up beside her to wish her luck. She asked what kind of pace was planning to run and I honestly said "I don't know". Really, I didn't know. This would be my real racing effort in months. In looking over the course before the race, I knew it was hilly. I wasn't setting any real expectations.

I also knew that Chad and John both Masters runners would be here so I hoped that I be in the mix. If I was lucky, maybe I would snag a 3rd overall masters award.

We get the final countdown and we are off. The start is on a road that is 5 lanes wide so there is plenty of room for everyone.

Chad starts to pull ahead. Caitlin is slightly ahead of me with John running right beside her. I tuck in at this point. I wanted see how my body was feeling. To my benefit, the first mile aside from a small hill is all downhill. We pass the first mile. I see Caitlin check her watch. I just ignore my watch. No need. My breathing told me everything that I needed to know. Caitlin starts to push the pace and I follow. The ladies with her dropped back and so does John.

We turn left to make the loop around the park. Caitlin surges up the hill. I cannot match her hill surges but once we crest the top either she eases up or I am fighting back. I am not sure which. We start this trend over the few miles. She surges going up the hills then I pull it back once we are over the top. We finish the park loop and return to the road that runs back to the finish. We pass three miles and I wonder if I can stay with her for another two miles. Already in the back of my mind, I know the last mile is nearly all up hill.

We are cranking along during the 4th mile. We hit the one little rise and strangely Caitlin doesn't surge up it. I actually pull even and pass her. Stilling thinking I have this long climb to the finish, I bury myself trying to create a gap. No such luck. She is hanging just off shoulder like a dog with a bone and doesn't want to let go.

We make a right and go around this little park. Caitlin is still just behind me. I look at my Garmin. I have only half mile to go. At almost the same instance that I look at my Garmin, I suddenly feel my quads starting to tighten up. By the time, we run to the main drag again, Caitlin has a few yards on me. I never recover that distance. I don't look back to see if anyone is closing. I focus on trying to close the distance to the waving red hair. She nips in me in the final half mile by a couple of seconds.

The only thing I might have done differently is not bury myself during the 4th mile. Like they say "Hindsight is 20-20". It was a good race and fun race. Caitlin and I don't race together very often and when we are evenly matched, I really enjoy those opportunities.

Having someone to race against really forces the mind to focus on formulating a strategy to outwit and outlast them. The passage of time really seems to disappear while this is happening.

Statistically, I finished 7 overall and 2nd male masters to Chad. Chad ended up running 27:11. I finished in 28:41. Not bad when I take into consideration that this was a tough little course. Other than the last mile, my splits never varied more than a second – either 5:40 or 5:41.

In the USA T&F-NC competition, I finished 4th overall and 2nd Masters.

It was a good day all around.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wanted 8 x 800 but settled for 6 x 800

Maybe just a measure of experience was talking to me this morning when I called it quits at 6 repeats instead of the desired 8 x 800s that I wanted.

Yesterday afternoon, Paul posted on Facebook that he was doing 6 x 800 on the Dilworth speed loop this morning. After a few comment exchanges, I was on board.

This meant that I was rolling out bed at 4 AM so I could be at the Dowd Y for our 5:30 AM departure. Man, the sound of the alarm was a nasty reminder that I should not make such early morning commitments.

Shortly after 5, I headed for the Y. 5:30 on the nose, I see Paul and Joe – Joe's new or just returning to CLT after spending some time in Atlanta.

We make the circle over near Caitlin's house to see if she interested. With no signs of her on the Charlotte city streets, we made our way to the Dilworth speed loop.

After some 3.5 miles, we are finishing our warm up with some strides when this guy comes around corner. Has it really been nearly a month sense I last ran with Mike in the morning. He had some lame excuse about an over turned truck on 85-77 ramp. Not sure if I was buying it. LOL.

I should make this clear. I believe this is the first time that I did intervals with Paul so I deferred to his lead.

I ran the first one: 2:49. I feel like I am running hard, but my legs are stuck in second gear. The next one is in 2:46, and the third one is in 2:45. The fourth is 2:43. I like the way it is going. Each interval, I stay decently close behind both Paul and Joe during the first 400, but on the second 400, they would gap me.

I ran the fifth interval in 2:46. There nothing left in the tank. On the sixth interval I ran 2:48. Mike goes flying by me. I want to think that he just saved it up for the last interval, but sadly, I know it was just me. That's when I decided, I wasn't doing the next 2 intervals. I am two weeks into running much harder intervals so the speed will come. I just have to be patient and let it return.

Overall, the workout went well. I just need to keep with the plan. Oh, the plan. Everyone needs one. Right?


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner