Thursday, September 26, 2013

Belk’s Brigade 5k – It’s the small things that impress runners the most

When it comes to races, I truly believe that it is the small things that make the most difference.

Earlier this week, I opened my mail box to find a large envelope from the Belk’s Brigade 5k.

Inside, I found my award from the race, and I found a fantastic hand written note from Kathi Belk congratulating me for winning my award and thanking me for running her race.

I did not ask Kathi to send me my award. Nor did Kathi did she have to do it, but she did.

Why more race directors do not take this approach; I do not know. In our world today there is pretty much a race of some distance every weekend and more often than not, multiple races in the same day.

The reputation of a race can make or break it from a financial perspective.

Having a good reputation means when runners are spending those long runs together, the stories that they swap about races carry a lot of “weight”. Having a positive story to share makes other runners think “I might want to run this race”.

I commend Kathi for making this effort, and I urge everyone to check out her race next year. The race is usually on a Saturday afternoon around 5pm in September at Frank Liske Park in Concord, NC.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Counting down my workouts

Every marathon cycle seems to be the same. I look at my training plan, and it looks like I have plenty of time to prepare for my marathon.

Then somehow magically I am doing the final few workouts.

Presently, I am now down to two hard workouts and one semi long run left.

This past Tuesday, I was out running my 24 x 1 minute on and off. I never thought much about it but this workout takes me about 10 miles to complete.

I ran some good splits and some slower splits, but again, this workout was performed on the road. My course has me running up hills and down hills and on some flats.

One of things that I do not like is how sluggish I am starting out. I have talked over and over about it. For the first 3 or 4 miles, I feel like am dragging an anchor. Then, just as suddenly, I start to shift. I start to feel better. The pace picks up. My stride feels more fluid.

I remember the days when I could just roll out of bed and hit the road running. Now, I seem to need an hour just to get my blood pumping.

Word of advice to runners on getting older, do not do it. Plan to stay young. This will be the best decision that any runner can make.  LOL


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The Cool Down Runner

Monday, September 23, 2013

Run the Valley 10k - Trifecta Challenge and RRCA 10k Champion

Boy, when I said the title to this post, I said a mouthful. This may be one of the long post “titles” for me ever, and I owe it all to Peter at Vac & Dash.

Peter and his crew put on another great Run the Valley race on Saturday morning.

As I was planning my marathon schedule out, I always like to schedule a good hard race two weeks before my marathon. Usually, I run an 8k race but when I saw they moved Run the Valley back a week, I decided to sign up for the 10k. I usually run the ½ marathon, but it would not have been the wisest of plans this fall.

Later, I saw that the Run the Valley race would also be the RRCA-NC 10k State Championship. This just gave me another good reason for running. Add on the fact, it would be the 3rd race in the Vac & Dash Trifecta Series. I was now completely sold.

Thus a little after 5 AM this Saturday, I was cutting through the night time air on my way to Badin, NC.

I watched the ½ marathoners roar off the line at 7:30 and then, went to make final preparations for the 10k start.

Everyone was lined up and ready to go at 8 AM. Peter gave us the final countdown. I had Seth on side, Bobby on the other side, Richard and his video glasses standing just behind me. There were a few other guys to our left.

For those that have run the Run the Valley course, they will know the hills along the course. For those that have not run it, I can only describe the course as “NOT” flat. In fact, I wonder why they call it Run the Valley when I mostly feel like I am climbing lots and lots of hills. LOL.

We head out and I am slowly gapping the guys behind me. Coming up to the mile, I suddenly realize that I have not switched my Garmin to auto lap. Out of reflex, I hit the lap split button. Mile two arrives, I hit the split button.

Looking down to check my split, my Garmin displays my one mile split. Suddenly, the realization dawns on me. I hit the stop button instead of the split. Darn it. Now, I have no idea how fast I am running.

With no other option, I just run hard and hope for the best.

I hit the turn around and grab a cup of water. Because of the way the ½ and 10k courses overlap, I have been catching a few of the ½ marathoners.

Now, that I am heading back, I see them again and I meet the 10k runners going out. I try to acknowledge each one as I pass.

I see the Seth, Bobby, and Richard.

By 4 miles, I have passed all of the 10k runners and for the next mile, I am running solo.

I pass the 5k turn around, and, I start catching the 5k runners who started 5 minutes after we did.

I am weaving my way through them.

The last mile at course seems to take forever. I suspect it is because the course is mostly uphill.

I pass the school on my left and I see finish line ahead. Peter calls my name as I come toward the finish line.

I crossed the finish line but have no idea what I ran. The clock says an hour and five minutes. Later, I see on the results sheet that I ran a 37:42 for a solo effort on a hill course. Deep down, I wish it were a little faster.

This wasn’t a speed day but it was a good day for me.

I won the 10k race, the Trifecta Challenge, and the RRCA-NC State 10k Open Championship. For my efforts, I got a huge trophy, back pack, head band, a wall plaque for the Trifecta Challenge, and will be getting an RRCA-NC 10k State Championship trophy in the mail.

I also want to give a big shout out to Bobby for finishing 4th overall and winning the Grand Masters award. Keeping the awards in the family, his daughter Nicole gets a big shout out for finishing 3 overall female in the 5k.

She appears to have gotten everyone of Bobby’s running genes.

Lastly, the Badin race crew from the course monitors and volunteers to the awards, they put on a top notch race. This is why I pass by several other races along the way to run their race.


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The Cool Down Runner





Friday, September 20, 2013

Runner's Wave Recovery

Does anyone know about the phenomenon known as the “Runner's Wave Recovery”? This is just an idea that I have been crossed my mind, and I thought I would share it on my blog.

So what is it? Well, let me try to explain it.

Think about this way. At the end of a hard trying session, you are gearing up for a specific big race. The race goes okay but not perfect. Your body just doesn’t seem to be feeling need to “paw” the ground and run hard. Then, just as strangely, 2 or 3 days later suddenly the workouts feel easier. There is that extra spring in the “Runner’s Step”.

This is what I mean by a runner’s recovery wave.

Taking the day easy right before the race or big workout doesn’t really help. Well, it helps, but “yes and no”.

In my opinion, the process of recovery is much more fluid and takes much longer to show up. It is like a wave of water hitting the shore line. The wave starts as a tiny movement of water, but as it travels, it gets bigger. The same can be said for a recovery day. Take a single recovery day and tomorrow, you probably will not feel much different. Take a couple days, things really start to feel better. Even if you only take one day, the next day probably will not feel any better but by probably Sunday or Monday, you should see some improvement. Granted, I am making a lot of assumptions here. First, and for most, recovery all depends on your training. I am assuming that you are training pretty hard. Also I am basing my ideas around how my training goes. How I feel after taking a down day.

Therefore, the next time there’s a big race on the calendar; don’t use the last couple of days to back down for a recovery. Use the weekend before to back down and then roll into the race running hard.

Try it and see if it makes a difference


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The Cool Down Runner


Thursday, September 19, 2013

1 x 2 miles followed by 4 x 1 mile

Let me start off by saying; I am glad that my taper period has finally arrived. As much as I like training and training hard, I like getting a chance to see what I can do.

I did not realize until this past week when I looked at my log, I had been running 80+ miles since May. Granted, I was not specifically focus on marathon type of workouts. However, I was pushed a lot of miles through my legs and much of it being up tempo.

I guess there is little wonder why my legs have felt pretty dead.

But I digress. I am here to talk about my Tuesday evening workout. Yes, I waited to run until Tuesday evening. Evening runs are a rarity for me. I like being up, out, and getting it over while most of the world still awaits the sounding of their alarm clocks.

The weather was fantastic for running. Actually, I felt a little cold during the workout which only added to make it better.

I started off with a mile warm up and then launched into the 2 mile interval. The split was decent and definitely faster than usual. After a mile recovery, I was off on the first of 4 by 1 mile repeats each with a ½ mile recovery. To be honest, the last 1 mile interval turned into a 1.5 mile interval just so I can see what would happen.

Although, I was not hitting career marks, I was pleased. My legs still do not have the “pop” that I am wanting, but my average heart rate is lower so I think it will return over the next three weeks.

I finished with about 15 minutes of walking.

Here’s a little tip of running wisdom. Stopping right after running hard is never a good thing. The body needs the opportunity to slowly return to normal. Our bodies are not like cars. They don’t go from 0 to 60 in 2 seconds and they should not be stopped from 60 to 0 after a hard run. My mind always thanks me for it because a few hours later, I am moving around pretty good and I have avoided the onset of muscle stiffness which happen by just stopping.


Best of luck with your running,

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The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Doctor Who Run for my 28 miler

On Saturday, I ran my longest run which is 28 miles for this training cycle. I could have run it solo, but I chose instead to run it as part of Phyllis’s SLR Doctor Who 50k Run at McAlpine.

Before I get into my recap, I want to give Phyllis some “kudo”s. She organizes these events. They bring out all kinds of food, drinks, and plenty of people. This leads me to believe that she needs to take up the race directing profession. She gets more people to come out to an event with basically “0” budget for advertising and food.

Phyllis does a great job making these things happen, and the Charlotte Running Community is lucky to have her.

For Saturday's run, Phyllis had mapped out roughly a 10k loop that included a major portion of the XC course and all of lower Boyce.

The course had only one hill it but it was the steep side of Mt. McAlpine. Actually, when I am running a very flat course like this one, I start to look forward to the hill. My quads like the little change in usage even if it is only for a few minutes.

A few people started early but most of us started at 7AM. With only a "fanfare" twenty to thirty began their Doctor Who 50k trek.

I ran with Megan and few others for a couple of loops. I ran with Chris for a while. I ran with Brian Trotter for a while.

Interesting story here, a couple of years ago I beat Brain at a 5k in Belmont. Then, later in the same year he beat me in a half marathon that I was using for a long run. Since then, he has refused to race me heads up at any distance.

Later in the day, I see on FaceBook where he says something about beating me by an hour. Yeah, I guess he did finish before me, but he was running 20 miles not 28. I found it strange how he left out some of those important details like we ran different distances. LOL. I still want a heads up race with him. LOL.

As the early morning turned into mid morning, it got down to just me running solo over the last 10k and half.

My legs were getting stiff. I could especially feel it in my hip flexors.

Overall, it was a solid day. I went through the marathon point in 3:25 without too much strain. All in all, it was a good day. I spent the next several hours just hanging out. What else could a runner need?

Before wrapping up, I want to give Jeff a shout out. He ran the 50k in 3 hours and 50 minutes. This run and the WWC 50 miler are all part of Jeff’s training for a 100 miler later this fall. “Kudo”s to him for his efforts on Saturday.


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The Cool Down Runner



Monday, September 16, 2013

400 meter speed session

A few years ago when housing developments were springing up like dandy lions around Charlotte, they were building a brand new one near my home. They put in some nice roads and sidewalks. They even added street lights. However, the economy took a nose dive, and this development was left as basically a paved loop.

I have run by it numerous times and often wondered if it would work for as a nice speed loop for me. With a little 12 x 400 workout slotted for last Friday, I figured I would finally check it out.

After a 3 mile warm up, I headed into this (un)development and picked my starting corner. I would be using my Garmin to check the distance so it would be an approximation. My plan was run a quarter and then take a 10th recovery.

I ran ¾ of the loop which turned out to be a quarter mile, and then got my 10th back to the same starting point. Wow!!

I am not sure how they knew it but they built the perfect loop for my training purposes. There is zero traffic and has a built-in recovery distance.

I have only one “knock” against it. The loop is not completely flat. The back side has a small raise running from one corner to the next. This means, I run the first side and the third sides slightly downhill.

I will take it.

As for my workout, I was sluggish for the first couple of intervals but quickly worked my way down to running 79s by the finish.

Glad to have this one in the books.


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The Cool Down Runner



Friday, September 13, 2013

Runners hitting the weight room

Through the years, I have gone back and forth on runners hitting the weight room. Mainly, my reasoning falls into the following arena. More muscle mass equals more weight, and the additional weight slows a runner ability to run fast. As runner, I want to run fast.

To look at me now, I do not embody a runner with bulging biceps or huge pectoral muscles.

In opinion, there are two reasons why not.

One, my focus has never been to bulk up. As runner, I consume protein regularly but not in the quantities needed for muscle building beyond the norm. Nor have I spent the number of hours in the weight room that I have spent running.

Two, when I do lift, I lift for endurance not power. My routine includes lifting a high number of reps at a lower weight with multiple sets. I use the same practice for both free weights and machines. The majority of my routine hits the upper body but I also do lower body as well. I do not do as much with the hips and legs because they already take a huge load from running. This is not to say, one should not include them. Regular maintenance for the legs and hips is a good thing.

During my racing season, I will usually limit my lifting to a maintenance cycle of two days per week with just one set. In the off season, I will usually hit the weight room three days per week.

Depending on the number of people at the Y, my workout usually takes about an hour to complete  

Back to my original supposition, do runners need to lift weights?

My answer today is “Yes”.

If running is the goal, lifting will help. Lifting for endurance would be my recommend approach. Use this line of reasoning. Most likely no runner will ever ask their bicep to lift 100 pounds while running, but he or she will ask their bicep to work itself a 100 or 1000 time or more during a run or race. Strength built through resistance training helps that bicep become more efficient.  In those last 6 miles of a marathon, the legs will be tired, but the arms can still be used. Most coaches will tell their runners to pump their arms late in a race and the legs will follow. They are right, but the arms need to be strong enough to accomplish this task.

One part thought….

What I wrote above is for runners in general. For older runners, hitting the weight room is absolutely the right thing to do. As I have aged, I have noticed a fall off in my own muscular strength. By visiting the weight room, I feel that I have been able to slow this muscular atrophy. At least it appears so from my racing. Yes, my times have slowed, but compared to others in my age group, my times have not fallen of as much.


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The Cool Down Runner


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Last big training week before Wine Glass

I headed in to my 8 mile tempo on Tuesday knowing that I could now count the number of hard workouts left in my marathon training cycle on one hand. My mind knows the end is near.

Later as I was cooling down, I was feeling rather pleased with the way my tempo went which has run counter to the rest of my training during this cycle.

Letting my mind wonder for just a bit, I arrived at the following conclusion.

Often during a workout or race, the mind will always keep a little something in reserve. The body is never allowed to reach a fully exhausted state, and only a few individual truly ever reach this state. If this could happen during a training run, I wondered if it could occur during a training cycling. Could the mind hold back the body because of the enormity of the training being undertaken. Then once realizing the goals was within reach, release the body to run free.

I don’t even know if this is really possible. For all that I know, this could just be a foolish thought that popped into my head. But the idea does just seem reasonable.  

I hadn’t done anything that would make my runs suddenly be better, but my tempo was definitely better. My heart rate which I track during my training was much lower. My splits were consistent through the entire run with the fastest split being record during the last mile. May be it does have some credence.

Next up is a quick speed session on Friday and then 28 miles of running on Saturday during the “Doctor Who” 50k. This will wrap up my major training for Wine Glass, and I will have only 3 weeks of taper survive. I can do it that is the easy part.


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The Cool Down Runner





Wednesday, September 11, 2013

24 miler with a not so fast finish.

Ask any marathoner if he or she is going to do another one the moment they just finish, and probably 90% of the answers would be a resounding “no”.

While the pain and suffer are fresh in the mind, repeating the effort seems out of the question. Give it a few months and the pain subsides. The memories of the stress fade. The desire returns.

Much the same can be said of my training right now. Funny how easily I forget the tired and sore legs that come with all of the marathon mileage.

This was never truer than on this past Saturday afternoon. I was looking to do my 24 miler with a fast finish workout so the idea of running 19 to 20 miles and then running a 5k sounded perfect. I guess in theory it does sound perfect. In reality, it was not.

A combination of the temperature being in the upper 80s with plenty of humidity, and a loose dirt and grass circuit left me setting behind my CRV drinking water as fast as I could.

I started my running around 2:30 PM and had a little over 19+ miles by the time of the 5k race. The first 10 to 15 miles did not feel that bad. I had already drunk over 40 oz of a Nuun/H20 combination and was taking my cliff blocks.

But the miles were starting to add up.  At 19, I was not feeling the greatest. In fact, I felt pretty much dead on my feet.

The horn sounded, and I had to “will” my “feet” to move.

About a mile into the course, we turned on the grassy section and I had nothing. Even going downhill I was not making any headway.

Back to the trail and then back on the grass again, I was moving forward but mainly it was on “autopilot”.

The course finished with a 200 to 250 meter uphill stretch. It could have been 2 feet for all that I know. My head was hung forward. I was staring at the ground.  Several guys went sprinting by me. I only momentarily paused at the finish line before heading off to find some more water. I soaked down another 3 bottles which did little to help me.

I finished off my run with a “slow” 2 miles and as I said, I just sat behind my CRV.

I did it to myself.

In my opinion the more miserable the training, the better the mind is able to handle the stress of race day. In my case, I feel like I have stressed my mind enough for one training cycle.

I am sharing this post because we all go through tough marathon training cycles. Knowing good days and bad days happen to everyone make life a little easier to bear.

Remember what goes up must come down, but what goes down must come up as well.



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The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Finding inspiration

Mondays are tough days for me. An early run and then, getting back into the swing of things at work, it is pretty easy to understand why I find little motivation for heading out the door again after 5pm for another work out.

What was I to do?

It dawned on me to use my iPod and take a little music along for the workout.

First, I had to scramble around to find it. Next, during the afternoon, my iPod needed to be charged up. Fortunately, I can charge and sync it with my computer to freshen the list of songs at the same time. I got lucky on this one. 

Hearing some music helped make the difference. I started with some up tempo songs in order to get me going. The middle part of the work out, I played slower songs to help me pace myself. Finally, I moved back to some fast and motivational songs like “Eye of the Tiger” to push me to the finish. Did it help? Yes, absolutely.

I was trying to remember the last time that I used my iPod. Six to eight month have definitely passed. Most of the time, I like to draw my strength from with in, but there are occasions where music definitely helps. Music gives the mind some extra drive to get it over the hump of getting rolling.

Every person finds inspiration where they can.

It is less important what does the inspiring than the fact that it does inspirer.
Today music was my inspiration.


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The Cool Down Runner  

Monday, September 9, 2013

Shout out to the BRR Team Captains

Now that the dust has settled on the Blue Ridge Relay, and the runners are recovering from awesome efforts, I would like to give a shout out to the team captains.

Looking at the relays from the outside, most people see just the outstanding performances put in by the runners. Yes, they are to be congratulated for the efforts.

However, there are the unsung heroes that make every relay team go. These are the team captains. They work tirelessly behind the scenes for months recruiting runners, replacing runners, and praying their runners don’t get injured in the final weeks before relay. Team captains fret over everything. They organize the vans. They print the leg guides. They take care of the supplies for the runners.

Basically, they deal with all of the teams logistics that not just get the team from the start to the finish, but get them to the starting line in the first place.

To these individuals, “Thank you”. For without these individuals, there would not be any relay teams.


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Thursday, September 5, 2013

30 days until the Wineglass Marathon

I have been struggling through many of my workouts this training cycle so when I glanced at the Wineglass website and saw that there was only 30 days of training left; I had one of those deep “sighs”. The kind of sigh that says “I have been working hard but I still have so much work to do”. I am just setting here and pondering the fact that I am just 30 days out from my next marathon. The calendar doesn’t lie. Yes, there are just 30 days.

I don’t have any doubts about being able to complete the race, but I am just not sure about my time goal. Like I said; my workouts have not gone well. I have not been hitting the kind of splits that I need to be hitting.

This was most evident during my 15 miler last Saturday and was made even more apparent during my 3 x 2 mile workout yesterday.

It all goes back to the expectations that I set for myself. Our friends and running buddies set some expectations for us. My problem is that my expectations of myself are so much higher than anyone else could even think about setting for me.  I expect myself to go out each and every time and do well each and every time. Yes, it is very frustrating. No one can be on every time.

So what’s my other option? I should stop racing, and therefore wouldn’t need to put in these hard training miles. Yeah, I guess this is an option. For some people, this is alright. It just isn’t an option that I am ready to entertain right now.

Sorry about the emotional dump today, but honestly, this makes me feel better once I have it out of my system.
Just 29 days left of training. I need to make the most of them.


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The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Charleston Distance Run

Most runners avoid three things whenever possible: heat, humidity, and hills. I was lucky enough to have plenty of all three during my race on Saturday.

I have run the Charleston 15 mile Distance run multiple times during my running career starting in my early 20s including the last three years in a row.

When I remember back to those early runs, I remember being cold at the start. The last 3 years have been anything but cold. Labor Day seems to bring a wave of heat and humidity to Charleston area. Combine this with some hills and it is just an ugly combination.

Although, I felt like I prepared well for this year’s run. I had spent a great deal of time working out on hills and doing extra sets box steps. I had planned many of my runs to hit the hottest and most humid parts of the day. It is a miserable way to train but I had hopes that it would better prepare me for this race.

Come race morning, I checked the weather report – 100% humidity. My CRV told me the temperature outside was 72 degree so there wasn’t much need of a jacket.

The race starts near the Capital Building on Kanawha Street by the river. They ignite the wick on the cannon, and a hush falls over the field while we await the firing of the cannon.

My two miles of warm up noted that I was sweating a lot, and I only felt better when the wind hit me in the face. Unfortunately, we were running in the opposite direction.  

We made the city loop and started across the bridge. Bryan Harvey, another masters runner, and I are running together. We pick up another guy along the way. Just before 4 miles, we hit the infamous “Capital Punishment Hill”. I quickly grind through my gears. I am looking for something comfortable to climb this darn thing. We pass the 4 mile mark. This hill seems to go on forever. It isn’t exactly straight. It bends to the right so I think I am at the top but really I am not. I still have quarter mile or so to run.

I guess someone thought it would be humorous to put a sign at the top that says “Capital Punishment Hill Ends”. Really, it does not end. It turns left and heads into what is probably the toughest part. The hills are not as long but they are steep. The kind of hills that make me put just one foot in front of the other. Bryan and I were still running together but he was starting to gap me. I keep thinking that I would keep it close and catch back up on the downhill.

The course has an ugly decent for about a mile before heading back into downtown Charleston. 

In the previous two years, I had used my Brooks T7 and Nike Free shoes during this race and each time, my quads felt like butter by the time that I reached the flats of the down town portion of the course.  I have often thought that the uphills tenderized my quads and the downhills cooked them right into a “well-done” state. This year, I opted for my Brooks ST races.  My hope was to save my quads with the extra “shoe support” so I would have something for later.

I hit the flats and had nothing. My quads felt pretty much the same way. I was ready to be done.

And up to this point, we had pretty decent cloud cover. At about 9 miles the clouds cracked open and the sun burnt down on skin.

We run on a street over from the river so the nice little wind off the river was blocked.

Usually during races, I drink very little. Right from the start, I was drinking. I was even a little concerned that I would get that “slooshy” feeling in my stomach. I guess I lucked out on this one. It never happened.

I did use one trick that I read from one of Mark Hadley’s post. I grabbed some ice and held it in my hands while I ran.  I am not sure how much it was helping, but at least the thought of something cool made me feel better.

I passed 10 miles, rounded the block, and headed north again on Kanawha street. The breeze was still there but it was at my back and not enough to help. It was just enough to make me feel like I was in a sweat box.

I go from aid station to station drinking water and grabbing ice. The sun goes way and in the distance I can see dark clouds rolling in. Somewhere around 12 suddenly, the wind switches and suddenly, I am getting this massive head wind. Isn’t it enough that I am hot, sweaty, and tired? This is like kicking dirt in my face.

I make the right and pass the 13 mile mark. These are my least favorite miles of the course. Not because they are the last two miles but because it runs through the warehouse district. There is nothing to see but boring buildings.

My Garmin flashes up another split. I do some quick calculation and realize that I can break 1:40. I guess I just need something small to focus on. This goal seems to work.

This guy catches me and then gaps me by 10 yards. We run on a side road next to the interstate, and then make a right and then the left toward the stadium. Here a police officer directs the guy in front of me to keep going straight. That’s strange. The blue arrows that we have been following say to turn left. I ignore what he told the other guy and make the left.

Yep, this is the right street, but it takes me a second and I slow just to make sure. With some renewed confidence that I am headed in the right direction, I make my way to the finish.

Entering the track may be the best part of the race. I hear my name being called over the PA system. I know I am going to complete another 15 mile race.

I finish in 1:39:17, 18th overall, and first in my age group. Each year, I seem to be getting slower. This was the slowest time of the last 3 years.

I crossed the finish line and was handed two cold towels. I put one around my neck and draped the other head. I then walked over and lean against the stadium. I was tired. This lady comes over and asked me if I am all right and if I want some place to set down. I thank her but say “no”. This isn’t my first hot race. I know that I need to keep walking and keep drinking so this is what I do.

First, I down 3 cups of water and 1 cup of Gatorade. I walk around the stadium and pick up a couple more bottles of water. I quickly soak both of them down.

I swing by my car for some clothes and head off to the showers.

There is nothing like a shower to make me feel better.

The storm starts to roll in with a lot of thundering and lightening. Rather than hang out for the awards, I head to my car and home.

The race started at 7:35. By 9:45 I was finished, showered, and headed home.

As I drove back down 77, I wondered if I would return next year. Honestly, I think I am ready for a Labor Day break from this 15 miler. Maybe I will go someplace else next year or just maybe, I will not do anything.

If I don’t go back, I will miss it. Having grown up in West Virginia, I like going back. There is always an old face or two that I enjoy seeing again along with the new friends that I make along the way.

For now, I have some 360 days to think about it.


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