Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ultimate Runner – Anticipation

After months of waiting the fun finally begins for me with my first ever Ultimate Runner Competition tonight. When I first signed up for it, I thought I had a fair idea of what I might encounter. After the numerous emails from the guys at Twin City Track Club (TCTC) about what to expect, I am just crossing my fingers that I am ready.

Five solid weeks of running our local summer track series should have prepared me. However, it has been the constant reminder emails about pulled hamstrings in the 100 meters which is the next to last event that most concerns me.

I remember my last hamstring pull and I definitely don’t want to repeat it.

Over the past week, there have been several emails about the seeding of runners.  The race organizers gave the registered runners one last chance to adjust their seeding times before setting the final heat assignments. Seeding times are extremely important in an event like this one. Getting in a heat where the other runners are either slower or faster can make achieving a fast time much more difficult. This is why that I was so excited to be in heat one. They typically run 11 and 14 people during a heat with the exception of the 100 and the XC 5k where we all run together.

Being in the first heat means I know exactly when I will go off for the mile heat. This also means that I will have the most recovery before XC 5k starts.

Anticipation is building; I cannot wait to get started.


Sharing one thought at a time,


Cool Down Runner




Friday, June 27, 2014

Runner’s Study – Finished

Wow, has it really been 6 weeks since I volunteered to be part of Garrett’s Runners Study. Yeah, I guess it has.

Everything started with a Max Vo test which really rocked my quads and calves. Then, dutifully for the next 6 weeks I sent a recap of my weekly workouts in to the study.

My first 5k Time Trial came during week five. After which I found myself staying in the control group. The control group would not be tapering which was a pity. I thought I really need a nice taper. Anyway, I continued my mileage for two more weeks and finished up my second 5k time trial this past Monday evening.

Conditions were exactly the same as my previous time trial. I ran a mile on the tread mill before putting on the mask to measure my oxygen usage. This lasted four minutes. Then, I was free to finish off the time trial. My first 2 miles were run at six minute pace. Then, I dropped the pace for the last 1.1 down to 5:52 pace. I was roughly 20 seconds faster for this time trial than the previous one. I suspect it had as much to do with me understanding how to use the tread mill better the second time around.

I finished with a nice cool down on the tread mill to complete my daily mileage. Garrett asked me to complete a final questionnaire and I was done. Start to finish, I was there maybe an hour.

Overall, I have to say that this was a pretty neat experience. I had never participated in a study before so it was all very interesting. Not to mention I learned a great deal of which included my Max Vo value and Percentage Body measurement. This was all good information to know.

Before leaving I did ask Garrett if I could get a copy of all the information that they collected on me and a copy of the study when they published it.

I am looking forward to reading it.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Track #5 – Championship Week

Runners seem to be confused by the last week of Summer Track being advertised as Championship week. The general consensus among most runners is that this week is just for the fastest men and women in each event to run.

This is only partially true. Yes, there is a heat in each event for the fastest 10 qualifiers from the previous 4 weeks to run. There are also one or more open heats in each event for runners, however. Now, there are two exceptions to this rule. The 3200 and 5k events are single heats. Nonqualifiers can still run in them.

Another point worth clarifying, if there are not enough qualifying runners in attendance for the Championship heat, they allow nonqualifiers to run in the Championship heat. This is exactly what happened for the Championship Mile heat last night. The eligible runners didn’t show so several of us were allowed into the heat. Note, we were told beforehand that we were not eligible for Championship title if one of us won the heat.

Now my point in sharing this is not that I want to change the system. As far as I am concerned, the system works just fine as is. I merely want to share how the system works in hopes that others will be educated by the information. With this information hopefully more people will be interested in running during the final week.

Summer Track is very much different from road racing. I get ready. I run.  Then, I rest and get ready for the next event. I run one event and beat someone. Then I run another event and they beat me. In between we chat and just have fun talking about the heats that we just ran. The atmosphere is just so different, and one that I found to be very enjoyable. I truly wish more runners would consider trying it.

Alright, I am finished with my public service announcement about Summer Track for this year. Time has come for me to talk about my experiences last night.

Well, let’s face it. Last night, I wasn’t exactly at my best. I wish I had some really good excuses to share which would explain it but I don’t.

My heat for the 100 was with the ‘Fast’ boys so they were finished by the time that I was at 75 meters. I was still happy with my 17.02. .

They ran the open heat of the mile and then the Championship Mile. Since there weren’t enough qualifiers in attendance for the Championship mile heat, they let some of us nonqualifiers run in this heat. To be honest, I was grateful. I always want to run against the fastest.

I got out quickly during the first 50 meters and settled in behind Cory. Through the first quarter mile I was a stride behind him. Through 600 meters I was still maintaining the gap. Then, we went off into the 3 and 4 turns and my legs just simply refused to respond. Cory and the other guys opened an every widening gap between us. My split for 800 was about 2:33. I tried to “will” my legs to go faster. I tried picking up my knees. Nothing seemed to be working. Chuck goes by me on the last lap. He is clearly a great night.

I finish with a 5:14.74. This is still a solid mile time for me.

Next up is the 400 meters. Of the 8 runners in my heat only 2 of us are older than 15 years.  Surprisingly here, I run 72.81 which was my fastest time of the 5 weeks.

My 800 time was 2:36. After the first lap my legs just went into finish the heat mode.

My 200 time was 37.76 which was pretty much on par with rest of my 200 times. There is one puzzling aspect to my 200 times. My 100 times are in the 17s so running two 100s back to back shouldn’t my time be closer to a 34. For some reason, it is not.

Championship week is the only week where they run both the 3200 and 5000 on the same night. Going into the evening, I had intended to run the 5000, but when given the 3200 option, I choose it and then planned a mile cool down to finish off the evening.

With most of the fast guys opting either for the mile or the 5000, I found myself leading the 3200 after the first lap. I quickly fell into a nice rhythm and clicked off two 5:39 miles. Thinking about it now, it seems so funny to me. During my mile race my legs just didn’t have it. Drop the pace 20 seconds per mile and my legs didn’t balk at all. I did enjoy winning the 3200 and getting a Championship medal for my efforts.

In hindsight, I have had a fantastic time running summer track this year. There were weeks where I enjoyed some great “highs” and other weeks where there was some “lows”. Best of all, I made a how bunch of new experiences and new friends while catching up with old friends.

I couldn’t finish up this post without giving Tom a huge “thanks” for running the meet each week. He keeps everyone organized and the heats moving right along. Then, there is Tim and his entire crew from Run for Your Life. Who without their willingness to organize this event we might not have a summer track program so “thank you” guys. We do appreciate all of the hard work that you put in to make our summer track program happen.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Last night of Summer Track

Wow, has June flown by or what. Seems like just yesterday that we finished with the Memorial Day weekend, and I was preparing for my first night of summer track.

Now 4 weeks have passed with me running what I have been calling the “Running Gauntlet”: 100, 2 x heats of the mile, the 400, 2 heats of the 800, the 200, and finishing it off with a 5000 on the track.

I am sure it comes as no surprise. After running this workout, going to sleep isn’t a issue for me. I am out as soon as my head hits the pillow.

Like all good things, summer track season must come to an end.

For me, I have accomplished many of my goals, renewed old friendships, and made new ones. Along the way, I have truely had a fantastic time.

Tonight is all about going out and having one last bit of fun before saying good bye to the track until next year.
Join me if you can - 6pm Myers Park HS..


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, June 23, 2014

Eating for evening races


June is track month for most area running clubs. Our spring marathons are behind us. The thermostats are pushing the upper 80s to the 90s. The humidity is so bad that we start sweating just by looking at our running shorts. Running track events are a great chance of pace and can help kick start those legs after all of those grueling marathon miles.

Most of these track events take place during the evening hours. Thus to be ready for my evening workout,  I am watching what I eat. Eat too many calories and I am left feeling sluggish. Eat too few calories and I don’t have the energy to perform at my best.

What is the right mix?

Everyone is different so what I am about to say works decently well for me. For someone else, this system may not work at all. So don’t look at this as much as a guide but rather part of your “food” for thought – pun intended.

When I think about my eating plan, I break it in to 3 parts: what to eat, when to eat it, and how much to eat.

What should I eat?

For my prerace meals, I like to include lots of white bread bagels and some fruit. Both are easy for me to digest and have worked their way through my stomach by race time. They also keep my blood sugar level even and reduce my urges to consume lots of sugary foods. Staying way from foods like meats is also at the top of my list. Meats take a long time to digest. For most runners, this process is a lot of trial and error. Some foods work well for them while others don’t. For example, I can eat a cup of grapes and do a hard tempo with no ill effects. Eat an apple and I will be looking for a rest room with in few miles

When should I eat?

 My last meal will usually be about 6 to 7 hours before I run. Personally, I like my stomach to feel empty when I am racing. There is nothing worse to me that the feeling that my stomach is bouncing during my race. Usually, 3 hours out from the event, I will have a very small snack just to maintain my blood sugar levels. Less than 3 hours if I am still feeling the need for something, I will switch to watered down Gatorade or Powerade. I will usually stop this about an hour out from my race.

How much to eat?

How much to eat is a really good question. I prefer to keep the portions small. The faster my stomach clears out the better. Again everyone is different so the amount of the food consume definitely varies per person. I once watched a friend “eat” an entire Subway sandwich two hours before a race and then run an awesome time. I was in awe that he could do it with no ill effect. I also think that you can train your body to handle foods better. Practice makes perfect so before launching into a different prerace meal take time to try out certain foods during your training runs.  

 Good luck with your prerace diet. The keys to success lie in the details of your planning.


Sharing on thought at time

The cool Down Runner

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Twin City Track Club Summer Track Meet

First, I would like to thank the Twin City Track Club for letting me join their Wednesday evening track meet. They hold their summer meets at the Hanes park track which is open to the public. This was my first visit to the track and Hanes Park so I was rather interested in checking it. I really appreciate how friendly all of the TCTC members were to me.

Their summer track events are slightly different from what we run here in Charlotte. They start with the mile, followed by 400, 800, 100, and then the 2 mile cross country. Other than the 100, the heats are run water fall style. They are pretty efficient at it. The entire event took about an hour to complete and this included the 2 mile event.

The Hanes Park track is an older track with an aged black rubber surface on it. There is a tennis court in the middle of the track. There is no shade at all on it. This explains why felt like I was a sweat box. The black surface just radiates up heat much the same way that Myers Park track radiates heat.

From the whistle my legs simply had no drive in them. I am not sure if it was the heat, the track meet the day before, or my diet. It could be all three of them. My first mile was in 5:24.49 which pretty much felt easy to me aerobically. I did notice that no one else runs more than one heat. I was the only one from the first heat heading to the line for the second heat. I actually didn’t drop off as much as I expected for the second mile with a 5:39.42.

I ran the second heat of the 400 and finished with a 74.75. I ran the second heat of the 800 in 2.44.35.

Interestingly, they run the 100 later in their sequence of events. They were telling me that they see lots of hamstring pulls during the 100. I image so. After 3 events longer events, the legs are starting to fatique. The 100 really yanks hard on those hamstrings.

They finish the evening off with a 2 mile cross county. The course is a combination of track, road, gravel road, grassy, single track trail, and dirt road. They describe the loop which I suspect was more for my benefit than everyone else. This gave me a rough idea of where we were running, but still there was some turns that I wasn’t sure about.

I caught up to Trent during the first mile but still let him set the pace and course until I knew the rest of it. Once we made the last turn, I passed him and cruised along the trail back to the finish in the 13:07.87.

Thinking ahead, this was a great precursor for my Ultimate Runner Competition next week. Getting the lay of the land helps reduce of the race day stress and lets me focus solely on running.

Again, I appreciate the TCTC guys for letting share in their summer track. I certainly enjoyed.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Summer Track WK #4

Running in the summer time there is no getting around the heat. Yesterday, at our local summer track meet at Myers Park the temperature was easily in the mid nineties.

Any sane person would have probably skipped running a bunch of track events. I just cannot count myself among them. I was present at the starting line and ready to run.

Over the course of the evening I found myself swinging between highs and lows. Some events, I felt good and ran well. Other events, I didn’t have it and of course, I ran slower.

The turnout was probably the lowest of the three previous weeks which meant the events went faster than usual.

My 100 meter time was 17.46 which is pretty much on par with my previous weeks.

I ran the first mile in 5:09.43. Keeping with my plan, I pulled in behind Cory. My problem was with my legs. They just didn’t want to cooperate. Cory was already opening a gap on me by the end of the first lap. Then, a couple of more runners came through. John came powering through.

The gap grew over the first 3 laps. Cory came back a little over the last lap but the distance was too great for me to overcome. Next week is my final week so I may just try to bury myself to stay with him on the first three laps. Who knows what might happen on the forth lap.

I barely had time turn in my 6 place finisher card for mile 1 when they were already calling us back to the line for the second mile.

Strange as it may seem, the second mile seem so much easier. Albeit I was running slower. My legs felt better. They responded with a solid second mile in 5:38.21

The 400 meter came right up and to my surprise, I ran 73.50 which was my fastest 400 yet during the series.

I basically took the 800 off running 2:38.17. When I came by for the first lap, I could already tell my time was going to be slower. Truth be known, I could have jumped in the 2:30 and below heat of the 800, but I like to honor the breakdown. Thus, by running the slower heat I didn’t push myself as much to maintain contact.

Following the 800 was the 200. With no real explanation, I ran my fastest 200 of the series. Like I said, my legs bounced back and forth between feeling well and bad.

Usually by the time, the 3200 arrives my legs are ready for the evening to end. This time, however, rather than let my legs languish, I tried to push them through the first few laps. They responded well enough to give me a nice 11:26.08 time.

Overall I am pleased with my runs this week. I thought I might be able to run the mile a little faster but it was still a solid effort. The rest of the events, I just hope to survive.

Next is week of Summer Track is Championship week. This is where they crown the champions in each of the events. This will also be my final tune up before heading to the Ultimate Runner Competition. My plan will continue to be using the Summer Track series gauntlet of events to complete my preparation.

Wish me luck,


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Monday, June 16, 2014

Jim Law Track Meet

On Friday evening I was back on the track at UNCC getting ready for the 3000, 800, and 1500.

On the ride over my car said the temperature was hovering roughly around 85 degrees.  May be so, but down the field, it felt so much hotter.

My warm up was nothing more than a very slow jog but I was dripping with sweat. I was about ready to finish my warm up when they called down to the track and told us that all events would be delayed by 15 minutes.

Rather than continue to do laps I opted for some dynamic warm up drills. Finally, we were ready to start. Kevin took the pace out fast for the first 400 meters. I caught him during the second lap and kept pushing hard.

I could tell that I was struggling. Possibly from the heat or possibly from the hard week of running, my legs just felt extremely sluggish. I wasn’t tracking my splits but I certainly felt like my laps splits were slipping over the second mile.

I finished in 10:29, and then slowed to a walk. I felt light headed from my effort. I kept walking and got some water but still felt pretty wasted.

My next event was the 800 which was still over two hours away. Then, my 1500 event was another hour after it. To get away from the heat, I found a nice spot on the grassy infield to rest.

Maybe 20 minutes later the storm clouds arrived and the lightening started. They sent everyone off the track and into the parking deck for safety reasons.

Between the delayed start and the delay for the rain, it would probably be late into the evening before they ran the 800 and 1500. Honestly, after the 3000, I didn't feel much like sticking around.

The 3000 had drained me more than I realized. Rather than test my limits, I changed to my trainers and headed out for a cool down run.

I really hate that I missed running both the 800 and 1500. Both events are ones that I really enjoy. However, sometimes it is just better to walk away when conditions are just not right.

Maybe I will be back next year.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool  Down Runner

Friday, June 13, 2014

Running Shoe inserts

During my daily runs my mind wonders from thought to thought with no apparent connection between them. Then, one thought sticks long enough that it makes its way in to one of my post.

Yesterday’s thought was about running shoe inserts. Running shoe companies have to be spending million in research each year. Each one hoping they have the shoe that consumers want.

All of this money being spent to improve the shoe yet they don’t appear to pay any attention to the shoe insert. I realize there are a number of aftermarket inserts for running shoes, but why not delivery our running shoes with a better insert. After all most shoes have a price range from $100 to $180. Could not some of it be spent on delivering a better insert?

 Personal experience from years of running has taught me that most running shoe inserts work well for maybe a couple of runs. Then, they take on the impression of my foot. From this point forward, all of the shock absorption comes out of the shoe.  The insert becomes nothing more than a cover protecting the bottom of my foot from the shoe.

As runners I guess we have grown to accept this as common practice but I would love to see it changed.


Sharing one thought at time

The Cool Down Runner






Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Track WK #3

Tuesday evening I traveled to Myers Park High School for the third week of summer track. The turnout was down slightly from the previous weeks. The threat of a summertime evening thunderstorm was very prevalent. While warming up around the track the dark clouds were ever present and the thunder rumbled in the distance. For a few minutes, a passing shower did pelt us with a light rain. The resulting effect may have dropped temperature a few degrees but the resulting humidity made if feel even worse. Because once the rain had passed, the sun came right back out.

Similar to previous weeks, my warm up had me making circles around the track. I occasionally had a few other runners drop in to run alongside for a few laps.

All evening I had been wondering if I had anything in my legs. After all, these events would be part of my third hard day of running in the row. Sunday, I competed in the Powerade Games Track Meet. On Monday evening, I ran 5k time trial for the runners study. Here, I was again attempting to push my body to go just as hard.

Realistically, my only goal for the evening was to do the mile hard and endure the rest of the events. I thought, no scratch that, I hoped that my legs could carry me to a good mile. More than anything my fingers were crossed that it would be close to last week’s 5:10 mile.

Of course, I had to start the evening off with the 100 meter run. My 17:53 was no real surprise and was pretty much my "par" for this event.

Next up was the mile. The mile is really the only event of the entire evening where I feel that “pit” in my stomach bubbling. To me the mile is really the defining event for runners because it seems to be the meeting grounds between the sprinters and the distance guys.

Tom fires the starter’s pistol. Almost immediately Chuck and Cory appear in front of me going into the first turn. Heading down the back stretch I force myself to stick with them. We round the turn for the first lap and they start to stretch things out on me. I keep pushing but the gap continues to open. Cory is hanging tough with those guys, and I just cannot match their effort.

The third lap goes down and my legs are screaming at me to slow down but probably not as much as my lungs are screaming at me to stop.

Cory has dropped back from his group. Mentally, I take note of the fact that Cory is dropping back from his group, and I am closing on him. This seems to help me shift my focus from the strain of running to closing the distance between us.

We run out of race before I can close the final few meters, but I finish with a time of 5:07.30. I am elated with my effort. Again, the last few years the fastest mile that I have been able to run was 5:11. Now, in the past two weeks, I have run faster twice. I am certainly happy about it.

 The excitement dissipates quickly. My card needs to be turned in before I start my second mile. We head off on the second mile before my breathing has even returned to normal. Thinking back to my first week, I ran 5:19 and 5:36 for the miles. The result of running the first mile so hard is that the second mile is much slower. My time is 5:50.  

I try to stay loose for the 400 but we have a number of heats in the 400. My legs start to stiffen up and I can only manage a 76.51.

We do 2 heats of the 800 which I run in 2:34.02 and 2:46.58. I am happy with these times. The fatigue in my legs continues to grow but both times were very much in line with my times from the previous weeks.

I have only one more event before the 5k on the track which is the 200 meter run. Pretty much like the 100 meters, I am just out there doing the 200. I freely admit that I am not fast enough to do this event but I still enjoy the effort. My 200 time was in 38.76.

When I finished, I start the long walk around the track for the start of the 5k. Twelve and half laps are what it takes to complete a 5k on a 400 meter track.

Like most people my sole goal was to complete the 5k so I had a qualifying time for Championship week.

We head off and I settle in to running 89 to 90 second quarters. Why 89 to 90 second quarters? Well, my legs seem to be agreeable to this pace. For the first couple of laps Matt and I are running together. Then, I began to ease away from him. I catch a few guys over the next couple miles. Surprisingly, I feel pretty good until the final two laps. Then, my legs really wanted to give up and glide in. To keep on pace, I force myself to focus even harder. I finish with a time of 18:49.4. No, it isn’t a blazing fast time but it is a time that I am happy with.

To wrap up three days of good fast running, I could not be more pleased with my efforts. Three weeks ago I could only hope that I would run close to my 5:11 mile from last year. Now that I have met this goal, everything else is just gravy. I am so looking forward to next week’s mile race. I have nothing to lose from here on out.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Runner Study 5k Time Trial

On Monday evening I was over at Queens University to do my 5k time trial for their runner study. I am now 4 weeks into the study. The next two weeks runners will be split into two groups. One will significantly taper their miles while the second group will continue to maintain their mileage and level of intensity.

I fell into the later group which I guess is the good thing. Tapering is something that I found hard to do any more. Yes, I know it is good for me but I have this mental block that says I am somehow losing fitness.

Anyway, I warmed up with three miles beforehand on the Booty Loop before heading upstairs to the university’s fitness center for my time trial.

Garrett explained the process to me as follows.

I would be running a 5k at roughly my race pace. At about a mile into the time trail I needed to put on a mask so they could measure my oxygen content. I would need to wear the mask for about 4 minutes and then take it off. From this point, I would continue my run to 3.1 miles.

After getting fitted for the mask prior to the start, I assess how the tread mill was setup. Then, I started my time trail. Anyone that has run on a tread mill knows they don’t just start at a specific speed. They kind of build up speed as I keep pushing the “faster” button.

Roughly a minute and half into the time trail I am finally running along near my usual race pace.

After a mile of running I step off so Garrett can put the mask on face. Granted I am soaked in sweat and breathing heavily while he tries to position the mask. The mask goes on pretty easily, and I attempt get back on the tread mill. Mind you, I didn’t stop the tread mill so for the 5 seconds or so while Garrett positions the mask, the tread mill is “hauling butt” at the same pace that I left it.

My first step back on the tread mill and I nearly “face plant”. My legs are in no way ready to resume my original pace. Quickly grabbing the bars to maintain my balance I avoid falling.

 For the next 4 minutes I sound very much like Darth Vader. Makes me wonder if this where they got the sound effects for the movie. Breathing was hard before the mask. Now, breathing is even harder.

I suffer through the 4 minutes and hand the mask back to Garrett. This time I remind myself that the tread mill is still flying and I settle in by holding the bars.

The last mile or so goes by quickly. Without the mask, my breathing now seems easier. I finish the time trial in 18:57. If I take out the minute or so that the tread mill required to ramp up, it was pretty much in line with the 5k races that I have been running lately.

I finished with a couple of easy miles on the tread mill to cool off. Garrett needed me to complete some paper work and I was finished.

With the Time Trail, cool down, and paper work I was in and out the door in roughly an hour.

I did learn that my body fat percentage is 6%. As part of the test, they do a body fat assessment. Later the same evening and after a few Google searches, I learned that I have the body fat level of a teenager.  Between 2-4 % is considered essential body fat for men. Between 6-13% is considered athletic for men on the BMI scale. Just for kicks I looked to see what the idea “Healthy” range was for men my age. The charts suggested 23 to 35%. 

This is all good information and special thanks to Garrett for allowing me to participate in his study.  One can never learn too much about their self.


Sharing one thought at time

The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Powerade NC State Games at UNCC’s Irwin Belk Track

Sunday morning my racing adventures took me to UNCC’s Irwin Belk Track for the Track & Field portion of the NC Powerade State games.

This was my first ever Powerade State games so I had no idea what to expect. For all I knew there could be hundreds of runners in attendance.

While there were a lot athletes present, most were in the sprint events with several more sprinkled across the field events. The distance events just don't draw a crowd.

During my warm up, I spotted Cory jogging to the track so we made a few laps to catch up. The events were to start at 10 AM, and the event schedule showed the 3000 race walk and the 3000 meter run starting around the same time. Cory and I were trying to adjust our warm ups accordingly. Reality was the 3000 meter run was to come after the 3000 meter walk.

I needed a break anyway. My warm up miles were starting to mount up. Once they made the first call for the 3000 meter run, I headed for the infield to do so some strides. I like to flow right into the events. This stopping and starting are tough on me.

Finally, we were ready to run and they combined both the men's and women's 3000 together. I am in lane one and Cory's in lane two. Cory is running slightly ahead of me for the first couple of laps. Then he surges out over the next two laps. He was gapping me by maybe 20 to 30 yards.

I was running about as hard as I could run so there was nothing left to do. I just watched as he appeared to be pulling away. Then, about 4 laps the distance stabilized. Catching him was probably out the question, but keeping it close spurred me to keep pushing. Then, with 3 laps left, I realized that I was closing on him. Coming around with about 2 or so laps left I passed him. From then on, I just ran as hard as possibly could.

Something about seeing my name listed up on the score board in first place, I don’t know. It just feels good. Feels like I got a good effort out of my body.  I was decently happy with my time 10:14. This was 11 seconds faster than my 3000 in April.

Rather than run any more miles, I just walked around while watching 100 and 100 hurdles. Soon they called us up for the 800. There were some fast 800 meter runners and they were gone quickly. I ran 2:36 which was 2 seconds slower than my run on Tuesday night at Summer Track.

Throughout the morning the skies were threatening to drop rain on us. Every so often a few drops of rain hit my head and shoulders.

Then, as we lined up for the 1500 the skies finally opened up. When it rains, it pours. In hindsight, I should have left my sunglasses in my bag. Between the rain and my sunglasses fogging up, the world was a blur. Forget trying to make out the time displayed on my Garmin. The only thing that I could make out was the inside railing.

I love it. Cory yelled encouragement for me from his safe and dry place under a tent.

The rain formed puddles of water all around the track.  My racing flats could have easily been mistaken for sponages because they seemed to be soaking up all of the available water. The lone brightspot came from the rain bouncing off my hot and tired legs. Even thou, my shoes were heavy my legs found the energy to keep driving forward.  

The winning time for our heat was in the 4:30s, and he was gone from the start. I finished second in the 1500 with a 5:07 mark.

This just goes to show that I am nothing if not consist. I ran 10:14 for the 3000 and ran 5:07 for the 1500.

I picked up a nice medal for my efforts in the 3000. I probably won one for the 800 and 1500, but I had to dart out after the 1500 for plans with my daughters.

I hope that I can parley this into a faster time on Tuesday night. I would love to break 5:10.

See you Tuesday night at Summer Track.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner


Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Track WK #2

Starting my first laps around Myers Park track, my legs didn’t exactly have the bounced that I had hoped. Instead, they just seemed to be loping along. Long ago, I learned to ignore much of how I felt before a run. The thoughts alone can sabotage my efforts. Focus on the racing and the rest will almost certainly sort itself out.

Last week, the turnout for this meet was decent. This week the number of runners had to be at least double. This was especially true of the runners under 18 years of age.

I got things started with the 100 meters in 17.11. This was full second faster than last week. It is always nice to get the sprint out of the way first. Then concentrate on the running.

Next up were two heats of the mile. We had a big group, and it was crowded the first lap. I ran most of it in lane two. By lap 3 the runners were stringing out pretty well. I was passing a few runners yet a few runners were passing me. There was really no net change in my position in the race. Coming off the last turn this kid pulls up beside me and then surges for the finish. He was probably no taller than 4ft but had just run 5:09 mile. I checked to results this morning. He is a mere 11 years old.   I was just behind him with a 5:10 which is the fastest mile that I run at summer track in several years.

There was barely time for me to turn in my position number when Tom was calling up the second heat of the mile. My legs had not fully recovered from the first heat as we started the second heat. There were a few adults in this heat. Otherwise, the average was between 10 and 17. As I expected, they all went sprinting out for the first 150 meters and then, they hit the wall.

I was still working to recover from the first heat, but did manage to run a 5:42.

Nothing major happed in my 400 meter run. I ran a 74 which was pretty much in line with my performance from last week.

To my surprise, they ran two heats of the 800. Of course, I ran both events: 2:34 and 2:42. Like the mile, the second 800 was tough to manage.

The 200 meters had a huge number of runners. My 36.72 was pretty much par for the course.

We finished off the event with the 3200 instead of the 2 mile this week. Most of the race I ran with this 13 year old kid. Either his coach or his dad was calling splits from the sidelines and encouraging him to stay with me. I had caught him after about 2 laps into the race, but each time that I pulled up beside him he would surge ahead. This went on until we had 2 laps left. I pulled up but this time no surge happened and I moved ahead of him.

I finished with an 11:31 time for 3200 which would roughly be 11:35 for 2 miles. This was a huge 20 seconds faster than last week.

I was pleased with my overall effort. I ran nearly 6 miles in intervals from the 100 through the 3200.  My legs hadn’t felt the best starting the evening but they still perform well.  There are just 3 more weeks before the Ultimate Runner Competition.  There is no resting now. I have to charge ahead if I want to be ready.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner



Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Something Different

Runners are some of the most goal oriented people on the planet. Whether the goal is to complete a local 5k or run a marathon. They may even have aspirations to run a 100 miler. The point is that they set these goals for themselves and then juggle, balance, and prioritize their lives to meet the challenges of achieving them.

When the calendar turned from ’13 to ’14, I let me myself ponder over a list of potential races. To be selected, these races needed to create a special experience. To be special, these had to be races that challenged me but just in a different way.  

Two races or should I say events came to mind: The Ultimate Runner Competition and the Dopy Challenge.

Thinking about it, these two events couldn’t be any more different.

 The Ultimate Runner Competition is made up of several track races all in one day. They culminate the evening with a cross country 5k race.  This competition has been around for a number of years but for one reason or another I never made it a priority to enter. Often, I wouldn't think about it until well after the registration date had opened. Then, when I checked, the race would be full. Of course, allowing just over 100 runners, they would clearly fill up fast. This year, I got myself an early place in line.  

The Dopy Challenge is completely on the other end of the spectrum. This event consists of 4 races on 4 successive days: a 5k, a 10k, a ½ marathon, and a full marathon. A runner has to be a little “Dopy” just to think about taking on this challenge. The Ultimate Runner Competition will leave me tired. The Dopy Challenge, I suspect, will leave me exhausted.

Signing up presented just as much of a challenge. I was warned early on that the Dopy Challenge fills up fast. While Disney takes a larger number of runners, there is also a much larger pool of runners to wanting to do this race.

Again, when the registration opened in late April, I got in line. Actually, it was more literal than you might believe. When I clicked the registration button on “”, they told me that I was like “67” in line to register. I would be redirected to the registration page as soon as possible. I would then have a certain time period to complete my registration. Needless to say, I wasted little time typing in my personal info and adding my credit card number. But I did get in.

So now you know. My too big events for this year are the Dopy Challenge and Ultimate Runner Competition.

The Ultimate Runner Competition is coming up in just a few short weeks.

I have some time before taking on the “Dopy Challenge”. It kicks off in January of ’15. It will be my first race(s) in the 50 to 54 age bracket.


Wish me luck.

Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner