Friday, May 30, 2014

Summer Track Wk #1 5/27/14

After weeks of anticipation, I was finally getting my feet back on the Myers Park track.  Those first few laps felt awesome.

As I have shared in previous post, I am using our local summer track meets to prepare for the Ultimate Runner Competition later this month.

On Tuesday, I put myself through my first real test for it. I wish I could say that my results were impressive but they were not. I felt like I was still a little hung-over from the trail race on Sunday. There was definitely some lingering soreness in both of my quads. It is all about taking what my body will give me. I still ran as hard as possible.

Luckily, I had a couple of running buddies willing to be on my race plan. Cory and Stan were doing all of the events with me.

First up, I ran the 100 meters in 18:43. Cory and Stan were seconds in front of me. My legs really don’t like sprinting anway.

Next up, I ran two heats of the mile: 5:19.23 and 5:36.65. I felt like I got out slower than I would have liked in the first heat, but I still seem to fall off quite a bit. The second heat felt easier but then, I guess it should. I was 17 seconds slower. There was about a 90 second break between the heats.

The 400 meter run came up next. I caught Stan between the 3rd and 4th turns. I felt like I was sprinting hard and was expecting him to come flying by me any second. The 74.04 time was still pretty decent for me.

The 800 was tough. I was 79 for the first quarter and 82 for the second quarter for a 2:41.36. I felt like this was where the wear and tear started to show up in my legs.

My 200 was pretty much the same as my 100 time just doubled - 37.67

We were finishing up the 200 as a storm was rumbling just north of the Myers Park area. The skies were threatening to soak us with rain. This caused the wind to blow into our faces heading down the backstretch. I am still trying to decide if this was a good or bad thing for the 2 mile. The head wind made me work harder, but certainly having a nice breezing blowing in my face felt good against the summer heat. I was pretty much running 90 second quarters until the last ½ mile when I dropped it down to 87s which explains my 11:54.02 time.

My goal for this summer track series is to break my 5:11 miles that I have posted the last two years. Considering how my legs felt last night and I still ran 5:19. I firmly believe a sub 5:11 is achievable. I have four more weeks to prove that I am right.

I would like to end this post my thanking Tim and his Run for Your Life crew for keeping this Summer Track alive. There was a time a few years ago when it might have disappeared from the Charlotte race scene. Tim stepped up and made it happen. We would all do well to remember it.

I also need to give Tom a big shout out. Track meets can easily drag on unless someone staying on top it. Tom did an excellent job keeping the events moving. No one appreciate it more than I do. Getting a break between events is nice but my body doesn’t respond well to extended breaks.

See you next Tuesday night.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Whitewater Center Memorial Day Trail race

First, I would like to send my congratulations to Adam and his entire Whitewater Center staff for putting on a great trail race. Every time that I visit the Whitewater Center they have either made an improvement to the facility or expanded their trails. Businesses investing in themselves show what is really important. They are giving people what they want and enjoy. By doing so they are enticing people like me to return again and again. In my opinion yesterday was a great sign that their hard work is paying off. They had a great turn out.

As for why I was at the Whitewater Center yesterday, I was running their eight mile trail race. Each weekend either Saturday or Sunday, I typically do my sixteen mile long run. Being a Memorial Day weekend getting company for a long run can be hard. Thus, I opted for mixing my long run in with this trail race.

My trail running has been few and far between lately. This would be my second trail run this year. Previously, I have to go back to last year some time to find another one. Trail runs can be fun. Running on the roads is such a repetitive action. Stride after stride occurs will very little variance. On the trails, I am twisting and turning. I am going uphill and downhill. I am making sharp turns left or right. Trail running just forces my muscles to work more and differently than in my normal road runs.

After getting my packet I headed out for some miles over part of the trail which we would later be racing. I have to give these guys credit. The course was marked. Every turn was marked with either green or orange arrows and in most cases ribbon was used to clearly tell the runners which direction to proceed.

Nearly seven miles into my run I made my way to the starting line with just a few minutes to spare.

I saw Chris and Cory warming up.

Adam gave us a quick count down and we were off. The start didn’t seem particular fast. I watched as Chris and Cory plus a few other guys started to separate from the rest of us.  After an easy half mile or so we hit the trail. I fell in behind two other runners.

Watching them run reminded me that trail runners and road runners attack courses differently. I like a nice even pace. Each downhill they were simply flying. I could not keep up. Yet, on the uphill I would draw them back. At least on the flatter sections, I could hold my own.

The first four miles or so were along the more technical sections of the Whitewater Center trails. I have a love/hate relationship with this section of the course. There are parts that have a ton of roots and rocks which make running difficult. Then, there are nice soft pine needle covered sections that I just love to run on.

From four to seven miles we ran along the lake loop. Again there are a few roots but lots of pine needles and relative flat and open. I took up leading our group. I was doing well until my legs started to feel the effects about fourteen miles in to the run.

With about mile to go in the race both runners surged back by me. I let them go. There was no point. I was clearly on a different agenda. I need to get to the end.

We popped out along the back side of the Whitewater center and finished with half mile run back to the bottom part of the facility.

I finished with a couple miles cool down on a section of the trail that I hadn’t previously run. Then, I headed over for the awards.

My legs were completely spent.

I placed 9th overall, first in the 45-49 age group, and ran 60:30 which is about 7:30 pace. I am happy with my effort.  

Like I said this was a great race and I had a great time running it.

Look for Adam and his crew to put this race on again next year. Also theyWhitewater Center has a number of free Thursday evening runs and trail races this summer so check them out.


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The Cool Down Runner



Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Track starts tonight

Summer Track returns tonight at the Myers Park High School Track. I find it hard for me to believe that a year has passed since I last made some laps around it.

The sprints kick off at 6pm. The mile starts at 6:45. And of course, I will be in attendance.

Below, I have included the scoop on the events for anyone that is interested.

Later this month, I will be in Winston Salem for the Ultimate Runner Competition.  In this event, runners score points based on their times from the 100 through a XC 5k. For years, I have always wanted to do this competition so I decided this was to be the year. When the registration opened in April, I was quick to sign up. They only take just over 100 runners so this event fills up fast.

I am using our local track series as preparation for it. Aside from the relays and the 50 meters, I plan to run the 100, 200, 400, 800, mile and 2 mile.

I hold no illusion about my speed. My legs have very few fast twitch muscles and they certainly don’t “fire” like they did during my younger days. However, for 100, 200, and 400 I still like running them. I just try to “not” blow out a hamstring.

Up for a challenge please join me this evening.   


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The Cool Down Runner



Run For Your Life Summer Track Series


Tuesdays - May 27, June 3, 10, 17 and 24. 

6:00 PM = First Gun

6:45 PM = 6 Minutes & Under 1 Mile Heat


Myers Park HS Track


All Comers


50 Meter Dash (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heats All 5 weeks)

100 Meter Dash (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heats All 5 weeks)

1 Mile (1609 Meters)

4 x 100 (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heat All 5 weeks)

400 Meters (Kids 10 & Under Untimed Heats All 5 weeks)

800 Meters

200 Meters (Kids Heats 10 & Under Untimed Heats All 5 weeks)

3200 Meters (except June 10)

5000 Meters (June 10 Qualifying and June 24 Championship)


Qualifying May 27, June 3, 10, & 17 plus  Open Heats June 24.

Championship Heats June 24.  Except for the kid’s 10 & Under untimed heats,

- See more at:

Monday, May 26, 2014

McAlpine closing Tuesday morning

Saturday morning during my run the dust began to cover my running shoes with each stride that I took. Funny, how this happens.

But I am going to miss this particular dust.

Especially considering McAlpine was one of the first places that I ran and raced when I first moved Charlotte in the fall of ’89. Since then I have visited many times and have grown love getting in all of those dirt miles

Earlier this week, the word came out from the Park & Rec’s Dept that two mile section of McAlpine from the Old Bell entrance to the first weir would be closing for major upgrades on Tuesday morning. To keep exercise enthusiast like me out they will be erecting barricades.   

Charlotte has several nice greenways spread through the city, but I consider McAlpine special for few reasons.

This is the only place in Charlotte where I can get in more than a mile on dirt. From Old Bell down to and around the Cross Country Course and then back makes about seven miles. Throw in the miles around lower Boyce and there’s another mile or so added on.

Some people refer to McAlpine as a trail but tripping over roots or stepping around rocks doesn’t really occur very often on my McAlpine runs. Really, this greenway is more like a dirt country road. The path is wide enough a car to driven and there is two main ruts worn in by runners and cyclists as they transverse it.

Then, there is the fact that the course is marked in quarter mile increments. When I am looking for a workout and the local school tracks are not available or if I am just looking from something different, McAlpine is the perfect alternative. I can run anything from quarter mile to two miles and know my splits related to my effort. There is no other place like in it in Charlotte.

I am going to miss being coated with dust this summer and maybe next summer too.



Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner





Saturday, May 24, 2014

Enduring the afternoon heat

Most days I am out the door early for my runs but on Thursday I decided to push my run to the evening. By the time that I laced up my shoes and pushed out the door the temperature was easily hovering in the upper 80s. Honestly, I was not really looking forward to these 14 miles.

May be I was just creating my own self fulfilling prophecy because I felt sluggish and slow from the very first step.  The way my legs felt; I could have been running on a sandy beach somewhere.

Perspiration began crawling down the side of my forehead before my Garmin flashed the first mile split.

I could have turned the run short and headed back, but sometimes I tend to let myself gut out a tough workout. Sometimes, I even feel better once my body gets a few miles in motion.  

Unfortunately, this was not one of those days. After nine miles my body simply felt like it had run out of energy. The gas light was on and the gauge was reading near empty.

The last five miles were tough.

After the run I took a few minutes to examine my splits. For the first nine miles, I was hitting decent splits but “gees” it didn’t feel like it. Over the last five miles I noticed something interesting. Usually running splits will vary depending on whether I am running uphill or downhill. In this run they varied more by whether I was running in the direct sunlight or in the shade. There was a much as thirty seconds difference.

Trust me, as much as an afternoon run sounds nice. Getting it down before the world heats up is a much better idea.


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The Cool Down Runner

Friday, May 23, 2014

Hincapie Gear

Recently, I was in TrySports and picked up their new TrySports cycling kit. Why pick up a new kit; you may ask? Well, this year they switched up venders and went with the Hincapie brand.  

Plus, I like the design on the kit. Sporting some new TrySports colors is always nice.

After work yesterday evening, I got my first chance to try out the jersey and bibs. Personally, I like a nice snug jersey. There is less loose material to catch in the wind while riding. I prefer the cycling bibs over the cycling shorts because the jersey’s pull up in the back when I am down in the drops. I guess I am little modest.

I am here to report no major issues with the gear. Both worked as expected during my ride. When looking for cycling shorts/bibs, I look at the seat. A lot of time is spent in the seat while riding so getting a pair of shorts or bibs with a comfortable fit is very important. I was very happy with it.

One change that I would like to see is a jersey that only half zips instead of the full zipper down the front. I just think this looks better and cleaner.  

Definitely try on the gear before buying it. The gear tends to run a little big. Normally, I wear a medium and in even a large. With the Hincapie gear, I am found that I needed a small and in one case an extra small.

I have a couple of more pieces to try out but it will have to wait until next week.


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The Cool Down runner


Thursday, May 22, 2014

4 sets of 1 mile and 2 x 200

If it is Wednesday, then I am nixing my early morning sleep for a chance to run with a group at PDS. At 5:15 Megan and I headed out for a little warm up. A second group led by Paul was leaving at 5:30 so we circled back to mix in with them.

Not sure what time we actually reached the track. But after a few strides, I was ready to get started. To my surprise, Caleb opted for our workout over the 800s workout with Paul’s group.

Based on my workout a couple of weeks ago, I felt like I was capable of running in the 5:55 to 6 minute range.

Megan, Caleb, and I headed off for the first set. We quickly went single file with Caleb letting me set the pace. I was trying to set an even pace and used my breathing to tell me if it was too fast. I figured Caleb would take over if he felt like running faster.

We finished the first mile together. I clicked my Garmin to save the split – 5:38. Wow, I was not expecting this time. We hit the 2 x 200 to finish out the first set: 41 and 42.

Mile 2 was pretty much the same Caleb settled in right behind me until we came off the final corner on the 4th lap – 5:36. My 2 x 200 were in 42 and 41.

Again Caleb followed me until we came off the final turn when he pulled alongside to finish – 5:32. Caleb and Megan were flying in the 2 x 200s. My splits remained consist at 41 to 42. They were both dipping up the 40 second mark for the 200s.

My legs were starting to have the lactic acid burn in them, but with just one more set to go, I tried to ignore the desire to slow down.

For 2 laps, I felt pretty decent and tried to keep the pace similar to the earlier intervals. However, on the 3rd lap I was starting waiver a little. I could feel the pace slipping. Caleb really helped when he came up earlier than usual and started forging ahead. Taking my que from him I tried to match him stride for stride over the remaining distance.

We finished in 5:32 with my 2 x 200s in 42 and 43. My tank was pretty empty at this point. A short cool down followed. I didn’t want to do too much. After all, we were already at nearly 11 miles.

We caught up with Paul’s group for a few additional minutes of their cool down run.

With the temperature hoovering around 60 degrees and a little muggy, this still turned into an awesome morning for running.
The assist from Caleb and Megan made it all the better.


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The Cool Down Runner




Monday, May 19, 2014

Max VO2 Calculator

Garrett’s runners study has generated lots of buzz during local runs and on FaceBook for the runners around the Charlotte area. Most runners understand that Max Vo2 is an important indicator of running performance. However, not everyone has access to testing equipment. 

There are other options for “guess-a-mating” one’s Max Vo2 value. A few Google searches yielded several websites that provide Max Vo2 calculators.

Most if not all of these sites use Jack Daniels’ formulas for calculating Max Vo2 values. Some factored in age. Some factored in body weight. Nearly all of the sites factored in a recent race to use as the base line.

Since I know my Max Vo from my recent test, I decided to compare it with the values coming out of these various calculators. I found the one on to be accurate for me. Here’s the link to their Max Vo2 Calculator page.

During my recent Max Vo2 test, my Max Vo2 value was 59.9.

Using my race time from the Wrightsville Beach half marathon of 1:18:00, I plugged these values into the Runners Web Max Vo2 calculator. The results were as follows:


·         VO2 at this pace

o   52.26 ml/kg/min (87.0% of max)

·         VO2 MAX

o   60.07 ml/kg/min


I choose this half marathon time because I felt this was my best effort given the conditions, training, and recovery. As you can see the results fall right in line with what I received during an actual test.

Everyone should know that numerous factors can effect race efforts: race course, temperature, recovery etc. While you can choose any race to do the estimation, try to use a race where the effort was your best. Avoid races having a warm temperature or you are not recovered for a good race. Almost assuredly your Max Vo2 values will be lower.


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The Cool Down Runner







Saturday, May 17, 2014

Double Workouts

Caleb, Michelle, and I were in the middle of our 16 mile run this morning when the subject of double workouts came up. Michelle shared that she had a tempo scheduled for this afternoon. This was probably a bad move on her part because almost immediately, Caleb and I jumped in with our opinions.

Driving home the thought occurred to me that this would be a great topic for my post today.

First, please don’t take away that I am against double workouts for runners. These types of workouts definitely have their place in our training plans.

However, Michelle's situation today in my opinion put her at a greater risk of injury.

Michelle was to run a second tempo workout during the afternoon today. Therefore, I am assuming that she was expecting to have an easy run this morning.

However, the three of us were not running all that easily. Our average pace was between 6:40 to 6:50 over the second half of the Thunder Road Marathon course. For those not familiar, the Thunder Road course is definitely not flat. The second half has more its fair share of rolling hills.

Thus, instead of logging a few easy miles and then a tempo in the afternoon, Michelle was literally doing two very intense workouts with in a short period of time.

The first one was a long sustained effort, and then a second one which was expected to be shorter more intense effort.

In my opinion, this sets up a perfect scenario for an injury to occur. Running 17 miles under these conditions will leave her tired and probably a little muscular “tight” by the afternoon.  Attempting a hard tempo run will really pull on those tried tight muscles. This leaves her muscles very susceptible to a “pull” like a hamstring “pull”. She would then be sidelined for months while her injury recovers.

Running double workouts can be good for a runner, but they need to make sense.

Run hard in the morning, and then have a shakeout run in the afternoon. This is ideal. This helps work out the soreness that might be occurring and flushes lots of blood to those recovering muscles. Another option is to get in some “easy” miles in the morning, and then make the afternoon workout hard. Yes, the legs will be a little more tired than usual. Running with tired legs isn’t a bad thing. This helps with the mental training as much as the physical training. The key here is the amount of miles put on the legs and the level of fatique. Thus, keeping fatique in check is very important.

Please note I am talking about training workouts only. Multiple races in the same day or relay races fall in to a completely different category.  

I will leave you with the parting thought – “Train hard but smart”. Remember your goal is be at the starting line of your race and not standing on the sideline watching it.


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The Cool Down Runner








Friday, May 16, 2014

400s @ PDS

My alarm clock was making so much noise Wednesday morning that my eye lids had little choice but to roll back. 3:31 is an usual hour to rise, but there was a purpose behind enduring this unsettling noise waking me from an awesome slumber. The alarm was to propel me out bed for an early morning track workout with Megan.

I needed the extra time to work through my morning routine and then make my way down to the PDS track.

Fast forward to PDS, Michelle, Megan, and I got in a good 4 miles of warm up before hitting the track just about daybreak.

The workout on tap was 3 sets of 4 x 400 with 200 recoveries between each interval and 400 between each set.

My first couple of intervals hit 80 seconds. Then, I ran an 81 second interval with Aaron running alongside.  From this point, I dropped them into the 79 second bracket. Then, it was into the 78 second bracket. The final two intervals I ran in 77 seconds.

By and far, this was the quickest that I have run a set of intervals since ’10 or ’11.

The next step is for me to download the results from my Garmin so I can look at the heart rates. This will tell me a lot about how much that I was venturing into the “red” on this morning.

David, Paul, and Aaron were also at the track rocking a different workout. I was only able to jump into one interval with them.

While they were doing a different workout, just having someone else on the track really helps with my workout. They don’t even have to be watching me. Just the fact that they might be spurs me to keep pushing.

One more week of standard intervals and then my training really changes up. On 5/27/14 starts our local summer track series at Myers Park. This year I am using it as a training baseline for the Ultimate Runner competition which I am doing at the end of June.  

Definitely feel like I am making progress.


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The Cool Down Runner

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Staying motivated

Staying motivated isn’t easy. I have struggled more than a few times with putting on my running shoes and heading out the door.

How do I stay motivated is one the most common questions ask of me. I don’t know. Maybe people think I have discovered some secret formula for staying motivated.

I will say that being a self motivated person helps. Throughout my life, I have always found this internal drive to succeed. May be it was the work ethic that my parents instilled in me from a very young age or maybe it is just in my DNA. For whatever the reason, place a goal in front of me and then watch me chase after it.

But even the most self motivated people still struggle. Life, work, family we are all surrounded by people pulling at us. Making time to run can be really tough.

Sometimes the only option is to get up at 3:30 in the morning. Start the day before even the Army thinks about getting out of bed. Getting it down before the world has a chance to snatch up your attention.

 From time to time people press me on the question of motivation. My best advice is simple and straight because I believe in the KISS (Keep it simple stupid) approach to life.

If life is getting a bit too stressful, don’t make running yet another stressor to it. Forget about doing workouts. Forget about doing long runs. Forget about trying to prepare for some upcoming race.

Head out the door and do the 1, 2, 4, or 6 miles that time permits. Make the miles easy. Motivation always seems to be easier to find for a run if I am not planning a hard run or a long run. Expecting an easy run is a good way to get the brain to go along with it.

Then, just let life play its way out. As time permits return to training hard again. This may take a week or two or three. It could be several months. Taking a mental break from hard training is well document to be a good thing. Not mention our bodies need a well deserved period of downtime. Yes, some fitness maybe lost, but nowhere near as much where running was stopped altogether.

So don’t sweat the low motivation. In time it will return.


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The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Beach Blast 5k

Going to Albemarle is always a fun adventure for me. My frequent trips have allowed me meet and get to know many of the runners from the surrounding area.

Thus, there should be very little surprise when I loaded up my racing flats and headed off early Saturday morning to Stanley County.

The course has not changed since I first ran here back in ’07. Even if Peter didn’t mark the course, I would know it by heart.

There is a nasty hill around the first mile and then another about two and half miles into the race. Last year, I was lucky enough to bring home the win in 17:52.

I was hoping to do the same this year, but I also had to be honest with myself. My plate had been full in the week leading up to this race, and I had just raced 12 hours before.

Seth and I got out together and soon passed all of the other runners. On the first nasty hill, Seth opened a small gap on me. I was able to pull it back once we topped the hill. I kept pushing things until we hit the second nasty little hill. If there was anywhere for Seth to make a move, this would be it.

We are about ¾ of the way up the hill, and Seth makes a strong move. My legs were spent. The effort was just not in me to match his surge. He opens a gap as we crest the top of the hill. I try catching up on the downhill side but the gap is just too big and we are too evenly matched.  Seth wins in 17:47 to my 17:52.

This was a nice win for him. I know he has been working hard to improve and his efforts were reward nicely on Saturday morning.

I was also pretty happy with my run. I had finished second overall, and I also won the RRCA Masters 5k Championship. This was a nice little perk for all my efforts.

Peter, Vac & Dash, as well as all of the Uwharrie Running Club deserve a huge “Shout Out” for their efforts. A well run and well organized race is what draws runners back year after year. I look forward to many more Beach Blast 5ks for years to come.


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The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

First outdoor ride of the year

The temperatures have been pushing up in to the 80s and low 90s in the past few weeks. Each time it does, I want to push my bike out the door for a ride. Yesterday, the day finally came.

Aired up the tires. Cleaned the chain. Checked the brakes and the shifters. Then, after work I headed out the door.

The warm temperature was everything that I had been imagining. It felt absolutely awesome to be cruising along.

The only real adjustment was settling my nerves to the traffic. Riding indoors I lose the feel for what it is like to have a car buzz by me at 55 mile per high and 2 feet away. The momentary shift in the air rocks both me and my bike.

What makes this a special experience is that I am usually on a two lane road. The road is usually just wide enough for 2 cars to pass. If I am riding along the white line, any pressure from the air automatically tries to send me into the grass. Road bikes don’t handle well once they enter the grass so it is rather important that I maintain my riding line. Above all, I stay on the asphalt.

Asside from dealing with the passing cars, my ride went well. I rode up to the Huntersville Business Park and did some laps. On the north side Charlotte this is the place to ride. The lanes are wide and they have cycling lanes. This is the precise reason why many cyclist can be find riding there are all year around.

During the dark months of winter, the street lights provide more than ample lighting for riding.

My ride last just over an hour yesterday. Even this morning I am feeling it in my legs.

There will be no riding today but assuming the weather cooperates, I will be out for another ride on Wednesday. After a couple weeks of solo riding, I should be ready to jump in a few group rides and get myself a real workout.

I am looking forward to it.


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The Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 12, 2014

Twilight 5k Recap

A long busy week for both work and CRC stuff kept me from thinking too much about the Twilight 5k last Friday night.

This was a probably a good thing for me. Otherwise, I would just over “think” it.

Ran a nice warm up over the course with Summor, Billy, and Paul. The new course has just two real turns on it. The first one was on Tremount, and the second was on back on to Tryon. Running over the course beforehand, I liked how it was laid out. Although, I did notice that it was slightly uphill going back toward the uptown.

The race was to start at 7 AM, but we all got a flash email saying the start would be delayed to 7:15. This was pushed back even further. I am guessing we started closer to 7:35.

Standing around is tough. My heart rate drops and my body starts to cool off. What am saying is – “I am finding it much tougher to go from 0 to 60 these days”.   

Finally, the cops loaded up their vehicles and Tim gave us the countdown to 0. Just before the start, I took one last glance over to see where Spada and Cory were standing. The start was quick. Cory moved over in front of me so I immediately made my way to his shoulder. At the Skyline 5k Cory jumped out fast. I felt like I had to work overtime to make up the difference. This time I wanted to stick much closer to him.

The entire first mile Cory would surge. Then, I would pull back the distance. Just after the mile, I started to pull ahead. I didn’t want to look back because I knew either he or Spada would be chasing hard. Making the turn on Tremount, Billy was right in front of me. Rather than worry about someone catching me, I wanted to run after Billy. I pulled even and then dropped back before we made the turn back on Tryon. I pulled even again with Billy but he surged back ahead. My legs were starting to struggle a bit. Billy is about 5 yards ahead of me. We cross over West Blvd. I hear people yelling. We cross over Morehead. This guy, who was mostly dressed in black, went flying past me and by Billy. Tim was setting in the middle of the road. Billy passes on one side while I pass on the other. My legs are building up with lactic acid. I know my done stamp is coming soon. The burning question, can I hold on?

Any second, I am half expecting either Spada or Cory to come sprinting by me. At three miles, I can now see finish line. I work to find another gear. The finish draws closer. I concentrate on Billy’s back and use him to “will” myself to sprint for the finish.

My Garmin reads 17:38 which is good for 5 overall and 1st Male Masters. Along with it Paul, Billy, and I came the open Men’s team award for TrySports.

Given what conditions could have been, the storms blowing through cooled the temperatures down a little but left most of us feeling moist and muggy race.

The age group awards were awesome. The flashing trophies are pretty unique. Everyone seem to want one including me.
Aside from the rain delay, it was a rather nice evening.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Spirit of racing and competition

After the Beach Blast 5k this Saturday, I was talking with the top Grand Masters runner and the topic of chip vs. gun time came up.
He was telling me that he has lobbied successfully for the USAT&F to allow prize money payouts to be based off of the chip time rather than the gun time.
He went on to share his reason behind lobbying for this change.
During the Wrightsville Beach Marathon he was placed in a starting corral well back of the starting line. Thus, he didn’t have an opportunity to start with the other runners racing for the USAT&F-NC prize money.
I have run enough races to understand his concerns. At the same time, I do not agree with his argument for two reasons.
First, by allowing chip time to be used, I could literally start anytime during race as long as I finished early enough to be scored in the awards. This also means that while everyone else starts from standing position, I could potentially do a running start. The mat just registers that I have crossed it. There’s no knowledge of how fast I am running at the time.  Think about the difference in time need to go from standing to 5:30 pace. Then, think about hitting the mat while already running at 5:30 pace. It could literally mean several seconds in time saved. We all know that even one second can mean a lot during a race.
My second reason goes to the spirit of racing and competition. When I run a race, I want to know that I am racing the guy next to me for a position in the race. Chip time allows someone race the race differently. There is no end to the ways that a runner could twist this ability. Runners possibly use a larger field to spur them along or shield them from the wind on a windy day – just to name a few. The thing is that he could beat me but we never actually race together. If we were racing together, there is a possibility that I would have raced differently. Maybe I would have lost to him, but at the same time, I could have beaten him. Using chip times to score this race makes this scenario not only possible but probable.
In my opinion, races should not score the overall finish positions for race based on chip time. Technology advances are great, but let’s keep this one pure and stay with scoring races by “gun time”
Sharing one thought at a time,
The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, May 10, 2014

CRC had turned 5 years old this week.

Happy Birthday CRC.

On Thursday night, I met up with a bunch of our CRC club members for our CRC Birthday Group run at Triple C Brewery. Hanging out with friends on a warm evening and talking a little “smack” is always fun. Throw in a run and it becomes even nicer.

We had a great turnout. With an out and back course along the light rail, runners could easily choose distances from a 4, 6, or 7 mile for their run. I kept my run fairly short since I was racing the Twilight 5k the following evening.

After deviating for a few minutes to watch some runners racing on a side street, I brought out our CRC Birthday cake. The cake must have been good because an hour later there was maybe 2 pieces left. I was about to throw it away when Michelle and Danielle began yelling my name. They wanted the last two pieces.  Another second later, those two pieces would have been in the trash can.
I really appreciate Laura and Allen for letting just join in on their Thursday evening run. I would also like to thank Triple C Brewery for hosting this event.
Sharing one thought at time,
The Cool Down Runner

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Ladder workout at McAlpine

On Wednesday morning Megan and I headed out for a ladder workout on the McAlpine Greenway. With most of the park marked off in quarter mile intervals, McAlpine is an ideal location for running intervals when a local track is not handy.

Our workout the day was a descending ladder workout: Mile and quarter, Mile, ¾ of mile, Half Mile, and a quarter mile.  

Having spent a lot time walking around for the “All Around Miler” on Tuesday evening, my legs were feeling just a bit tired. I just hoped that it didn’t cause my workout to fall apart.

For the first interval, we headed toward Old Bell. 7:17 seconds later I was done. After a quarter mile recovery, we headed back on the mile repeat. This one was in 5:55. We did the ¾ mile interval through the shady sections of the course in 4:24. The change in temperature even in the early morning hours was fantastic. But at the same time, my legs were really feeling the fatigue. I finished the half in 2:56 and the quarter in 1:26. The lactic acid was pretty much overflowing inside my legs.

We finished with a mile and half cool down.

With all that I have going on this week, it felt good to just focus on running and let the rest of the world be external for a while.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CRC All Around Miler

Yesterday, our Charlotte Running Club put on our All Around Miler event on the campus of UNCC. The event ended up being small. We had just 11 runners, and just as many supporters. Side note, I was glad for the additional people because they helped make things go smoother.

I remember Peter telling that they had something like 3 or 4 guys come out for the first Idiot run. Now, they have well over 100 people.

How many fortune 500 companies started from humble beginnings?

Starting small is a good thing.

The organizers – namely CRC get time to figure out the logistics. Thinking about how something will work is one thing. Knowing how it works is quite another.

Last night I learned a great deal about race logistics and will use that knowledge to plan better for next year.

Here are some of the most important things that I learned:

·         15 minutes from one race to the next sounds good but in reality is near impossible to make happen. While I had the courses marked before any of the races started, there is still the need to walk from one starting line to the next.  Scoring 10 people doesn’t take that long, but we still needed about 25 minutes between race starts.

·         When I was picking up marking paint, I grabbed a couple of cans of bright lime green paint. The lime green works great for marking the asphalt and ok for marking the dirt. It is practically invisible when marked in the grass. I should have stayed with the bright orange.

·         Scoring the event should have been easy. Right? I just plug the values into Excel. Let it add the columns and do a sort on it. Everything was going great for the first 7 runners. Then, Excel starts formatting the values differently for the remaining runners. Try as I might, I couldn’t get the formatting to work correctly so I could then sort it. Finally, I resorted to manually summing their mile times. In the end, I was able to figure out the totals and then the awards, but I will definitely be doing something different next time.

All in all, the evening was hot but nice for running. Everyone had a good time and most important of all, every runner walked away with an award.
I do want to especially thanks Tim for taking so many pictures. Ed and UNCC for hosting our events. When I think about runner friendly community organizations, clearly UNCC tops the list.


Sharing one thought at time.

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Max Vo Test - Complete

Got my first Max Vo test last night at Queen’s University. Garrett – Caitlin’s husband is doing a study and looking for runners between 18 and 30 or 40+. Since I qualified in the latter group, I signed up.

The first step in the runner study was to get a Max Vo test performed which I did last night.

To set the stage, I delayed my running workout until yesterday evening. I didn’t know how much running that was involved during the test. Plus, I wanted to be as fresh as possible.

I arrived a few minutes early and completed their paperwork.
Then, it was time for the "test".
First, they strap on a face mask that looks little like what a fighter pilot might wear. By wearing this face mask, they could measure my oxygen content during the test. Then, they started me out on a small hill and basically at walking pace on their treadmill. Every three minutes they increased the steepness of the hill and increased the pace. I walk through the first two increases and started to run during the third increase. Initially, I tried walking during the third increase but the steepness of the hill and the pace are just fast enough that walking was not comfortable. Starting out I was able to talk through the face mask but by level three I am focused solely on the display. More effort required more concentration. In full disclosure I have only been on the treadmill for about seven minutes but the sweat is running down both sides of my face.

They tell me before we start that I can tap out anytime by grabbing on to the side bars. By level 20 on the incline, I am ready to tap out. My quads are burning and I am breathing heavily. About half way through I reach for the bars.

The entire test took less than 15 minutes. My Max Vo level was 59.9 and I was working at like 89% of my aerobic threshold.  

Later, I was thinking more about the test. I wish that I had asked more questions about the actual test. If I had known that we were going to jump right in to the test and the test was going to be so short, I would have went for a run prior to the test.

Assuming everyone went into it cold like I did then the results then we were all tested under the same conditions. However, I would like to know what my levels would be if my body was warm up and ready for this type of physical challenge. Maybe I will look into another test.  

Garrett still has openings for Masters runners so if you are interested, reach out to him at

Kinesiology Queens -

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 5, 2014

TrySports May Day 5k

Saturday morning I got a chance to see Jesse and Bert race. Usually my only view of them is from the back and then only during the first mile of the race.

I volunteered to help out at the TrySports May Day 5k and got the course marshal job less than ½ mile into the race. Jesse went flying by me with Bert in hot pursuit. Not far behind came the rest of the racers.

Less than 2 minutes into the race and my job was done. I hightailed it back up to the finish area with my camera in hand.

Before long Jessesmade the corner and headed for the finish line. Bert was close behind. I believe Jesse got him by 6 or 7 seconds.

Like my races, the runners started trickling in. First, they was in ones and twos. Then, there was a steady stream.

With my camera in hand, I positioned myself behind finish line and took plenty of pictures. Later I posted them on the Charlotte Running Club FaceBook page so runners cold tag themselves.

Everyone likes a nice finish line photo. Most photography companies want $20 to download a HD quality photo.  Taking pictures is fun to me, but even better is giving them away for free.

To my knowledge everything went smoothly for the race. There was music, food, awards, a decent race shirt. Racing Toes did the timing and posted the results soon after the race.

Volunteering is a good way to give back to running. Most people don’t realize if races didn’t have volunteers, most races would not happen.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, May 2, 2014

Adventure Runs II @ TrySports

We pitched our table and CRC banner up at the Adventures Run held at TrySports last night. Similar to last month the weather was great but windy. I opted to leave the big stuff at home and just go with what I could tape down.

Chatted with the ladies from FlyWheel and Nathan. Really cool to hear about some of the stuff that they have in the works. Got my picture takened with Jennifer while she was riding one of the demo FlyWheel bikes.

Jennifer was telling me about their Wednesday evening spin and run bricks. As hard as a break workout is, I love the feeling from accomplishing both in one workout. I have to check it out during the summer. For those that don't know, there is a FlyWheel at the corner of Providence and Sharon Lane. This is where I go for my FlyWheel Classes.

To to the event itself, news of the brews and food brought out a larger crowd this month. Kat sent everyone off around 6:35 with maps and little plastic bags to keep their tickets dry. Runners could hit as many spots as they wanted. Some were with in a mile and half walk. Paul had a hand full of tickets when he returned so he must have every spot on the 5 mile course. Oliver, Brent, Alex, and Jessica keep thing rolling at the store while the runners were making their rounds.

Kat had a huge table filled with items to give away.

The store also gave away an adult cruiser bike. The bike had to be a $400 dollar value. If it keeps growing in the next month or two, they will have a hundred runners. Then, they will need to make good on their promise to give away a tread mill.

I like the direction that Kat has the SP store headed. They are definitely getting their self noticed.

The next Adventure Run is set for 6/5/14 at 6:30 PM. If you have any questions about these runs, definitely reach out to the stores. I am sure they will be happy to answer any questions.  

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner




Thursday, May 1, 2014

Change of Pace - Fartlek Intervals

With the thunderstorms rolling through Charlotte late in to Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, the track workout that Megan and I were planning didn’t happen. Instead, my workout shifted to a Fartlek interval workout near my house a little later in the morning.

Our original workout had been a 2000, 1600, 1200, 800, and 400 workout. In its place, I ran 6 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute.

Fartlek style of training is called “free play”. My guess it derives its meaning from the fact that there is no track involved.

I have used these workouts off and on over the years, but since I often do them solo, I struggle with them.

To make a fartlek workout really effective there needs to be a group of people so they can push one another. Like it or not, peer pressure can make us perform at a level higher than expected.

Unlike a track there is neither a precise starting and ending point nor an elapse time from my watch to give instant feedback to how well my lap was run. Fartlek workouts just don’t give this type of feedback.

Still in a pinch it can and it will suffice.

Because of the distance covered during the workout, my warm up and cool down were shortened to a mile each. The remaining mileage was accumulated from how hard that I ran the intervals and how easy I ran during the recovery phases. By the way, I took “half” recoveries for each one.

I would give the workout a “C+” or maybe a “B-“. I felt good but not great. I will be back to the track next week. "Free play" was nice but I need hard feedback for my running.


Sharing one thought at time.

The Cool Down Runner