Disney Dopey Challenge Finisher, Charlotte Running Company Hoka Race Team, Guinness World Record Holder, USAT&F -NC State Age Group Record Holder, Spartan Runner, Charlotte Running Club Member &Email Me
Yesterday evening, Eric, Pete, and I were chatting and our
conversation as most conversations for runners do they ventured in to the area
of PRs or Personal Records.
Pete was talking about one of his PRs and made the statement
about it being on a legit course.
For some unknown reason, this statement sent me wondering
about my own PRs. Since I started racing in ’83, I kept track of every one of
my races: the time, date, race, awards won, etc. During this time, I have run
some decent race times that I am very proud to talk about.
Again, going back to Pete’s statement, I was left wondering.
When I ran my first road race in ’83, I wasn’t even wearing
watch. I depended on the race organizers to record and tell me my time. I don’t
remember exactly but it was probably a year or two later that I began using a
stop watch – mostly for capturing my mile splits during a race.
For the next 22 to 25 years, I ran numerous races using only
a stop watch. Only in the late 2000s did I make the move to using a Garmin.
My first encounter with GPS watch came at the Greekfest 5k.
This guy behind me had this massive looking watch strapped to his wrist. It had
to weigh 2 pounds so of course; I had to ask him about it. These days, I wear a
Garmin around, albeit not as big, without thinking about it.
In all those years running without a Garmin, most races I
never questioned the race distance. If I ran 10 to 15 seconds faster, I had a
good day. If I ran slower, I had a bad day. As with anything there are some caveats.
On a hot day or hilly course, I expected to run slower times.
As a runner after a couple of 5k races, we have a pretty good
feeling for our level of conditioning. If we suddenly ran 1 minute faster, we
don’t know for sure but we will often suspect the course of being short.
I am still left wondering how many of my races were on legit
courses. I mean it was the ‘80s. How many race directors just drove the course
with their cars to mark it off?
Should I put an “*” beside those races and say these were
the advertised distances. The actual distance was not verified.
Then, again, does it matter to any other than me. In any one
of those races I ran the course the same as everyone else. A time was recorded
for my effort. The awards were given out based on our finisher times. The rest
is just a part of history.
Races display the hard work for the rest of your running,
Ever think that an injury will just not go away. This is
exactly where I am right now. My hamstring was on the mend but somehow over the
last 4 weeks it has reared its ugly head again.
The first of the month my running was good. My only
complaint was this nagging Charlie horse feeling in my left quad. The only way
to describe it would be to say it felt like a huge bruise. After a 5 or 6 miles
it became painful similar to the way cramp would feel.
From all indications, my quad seemed overly tight so I went
about loosening it up.In process I got
more in the bargain than I needed or wanted. My quad loosened up but
immediately my hamstring began complaining again. This shouldn’t be any
surprise to me.Our bodies are all
counter balanced with one muscle relaxing while another muscle is contracting.
It is all a circle of life analogy.
The harder runs make it hurt more. Each run starts with the feeling of my
hamstring held in a tight grip. Then, it shifts up into the glut after a few
miles. Around five or six miles, my quad starts to get in on the act.Beyond 6 miles the pain floats between the
quad, the hamstring, and the glut. Never once do all hurt at the same time.
Strangely, once I am finished with my run, the pain is gone.
I am not bothered by it walking, laying down, or sitting.
The pain isn’t debilitating,
but it does hold me back. I feel similar to finishing a 20 mile run. My
breathing is fine. I, however, don’t have the will push any harder. In the back
of my mind, if I push harder, I could end up hurting it more.
I know in time it will heal. However, being patience has
never been my strong suite.
I race around Charlotte as the mood hits me, but I enjoy getting out to race in other communities. See some new faces. Make some
new friends. Check out some new areas.
Over the weekend, I drove up to Winston Salem for the Beat
the Heat 5k. Having run numerous races organized by the TCTC, I know their
races will always be top notch and attract a strong field of competitors.
Saturday evening’s race was no different.
There were plenty of runners competing which had participated
in the Olympic trials. There was one runner which had just wrapped up competing
in the PAN-AM games earlier in the week.
Skipping forward, the “Beat the Heat” course is one you either love or hate.
For spectators, it is great. Runners pass near enough that they can be seen
several times. For runners, for me personally, the course is a tough one. The
opening mile is okay. There is a small climb but it has ample downhill to make
up for it. Roughly, around a mile and quarter the course turns up hill. There
are a couple of false flats over the next mile or so but runners are essentially running
uphill the entire way.
Perhaps it is poetic justice or perhaps it is the race
organizers way of playing a joke on the runners but when I passed two mile
point, I noticed this grave yard to the right of road. How appropriate was it? I
would say extremely appropriate. My legs were dying. My lungs were gasping for
air. Oh, yeah, my glut and hamstring hurting badly.
Yet, I would not allow myself to give in to the temptation of
slowing down nor dare shall I say that ugly four letter word – “quit”
Once we topped the hill, the last half mile consist of a set of gentle
downhill rollers to the finish. If a runner has any mojo left in their legs, this is
the section to use it. The guys around me throw in surge while I do my best to
pull them back after each surge. My glut and hamstring provided no help by
sending a constant stream of pain impulses to my brain. At three miles, Joe
throws one massive surge and goes flying back by me. There is nothing left in
my legs today. Throw in the glut and hamstring complaints and I am ready for
the finish line.
I cannot explain it but doesn’t the last .1 of mile seem to
take forever. Life moves into slow motion between 3 miles and 3.1 miles. Too bad race clocks
don’t slow down to match.
I finished 36th overall. This placed me second in
the Grand Masters’ division for the USAT&F standings. I ran 18:13. Joe, who
surged past me in the last tenth, finished in 18:09. He won first place in our
Grand Masters’ division. So close yet so
Helping out runners this year was the weather. Normally,
July gets plenty of hot and humid evenings. This year the temperature was in
mid 80s with a nice breeze blowing. I cannot say if it improved times overall,
but at least the running was bearable.
The Charlotte area was well represented. Chad ran in the
16:20s and scored an age group award. Alana had a great race to finish 2nd
overall among the ladies in 17:20.
TCTC, the Beat the Heat 5k organizers and volunteers did a
fantastic job putting on this race. Their efforts keep this race on the top of
a runner’s must do list year after year so kudos to them.
Did you race this morning? If you did, you are ahead of me. I will drive up to Winston Salem this evening for Beat the Heat 5k.
If I had to guess, you are well on your way to having a great weekend. As for me, I will only be having 1/2 of a weekend. The first half will be spent avoiding any hard task so I will "hopefully" race well tonight. This leaves just one day to break free and do a fun activity or two.
Don't waste any more time. Get started today with your end of week break.
Charlotte is in the middle of the hottest summer on record. Could
runners be facing any worse conditions to start their training for an early
fall marathon. Cranking out a 20 miler is tough enough. Cranking it out when
the morning temperature is 75 degrees before the sun comes up, is even harder.
A side from starting runs way earlier i.e. before the sun crests
the horizon and staying well hydrated, there isn’t much else for one to do.
May be trying running on a tread mill in doors. A few
friends that I know have taken this approach. Although, I don’t understand how
they do it. Tread mills in my opinion borderline on cruel and unusual
punishment. A 20 miler on a tread mill can easy approach between 2 and 3 hours or more.
How many Seinfeld, Friends, or Big Bang Theory reruns can
one person truly watch? Here’s hoping
they have a Netflix account to help them through it.
Recently, I read an article about breaking up long runs. For
example, instead of doing a 20 miler, the article suggested doing 2 – 10 mile
runs separated by 8 to 10 hours.
As we run of course, we get tired. A tired runner is less
efficient i.e. meaning their forms starts to break down. This can be very true
during a 20+ mile run. The theory behind the split long run is getting 2
quality runs. During the 2nd run there will still be a certain level
of fatigue, but there should be sufficient recovery time to allow the runner to
keep good form during the run.
Could everyone do this method? It isn’t likely. Most working
class runners are also time crunched runners so getting in a 2nd run
would be considered a luxury. Having the ability to fit in 2 – 10 milers in the same day
means these runners live in a utopian runner's society.A society we would all love to live.
Whatever training method you use, just make sure to be
safe.As tough as a cold day is for training,
a hot day can easily put you in the hospital.
This change began several months ago when Scott, one of the
Charlotte Running Company Owners, reached out to me. Life moves on and change
is always good so I agreed to come on board.
Since then, he, Flavia, and I have been working on the
formation of our team which has been a really exciting process for me.
Our team has fantastic team members, and I am looking forward to
wearing our Charlotte Running Company Race team colors in some local races
around Charlotte. Look for us to be racing alot and especially if the race has a team category.
When you see me from now on, the jersey colors will be in
Green and Black.
On a hot day there is nothing more freshing than nice ice cold
Popsicle or maybe two or three of them.
This all started a couple of years ago when Rob had the
inspiration to create our CRC Brain Freeze Run.
Each year during one of hottest days of summer our club
members gather to eat popsicles and run. This club tradition has runners eating
a Popsicle before starting a 4 mile run. Then they eat a Popsicle at miles 1,
2, and 3.
This year Omega Sports off Park Rd stepped up to host our
event. We are very appreciative of Dan and his Omega Sports Team for helping us out.
For those wondering, there was no running and popsicles for
me. I set up shop to crew our 1 and 3 mile popsicle stations.
Watching hot and sweat runners arrive to quickly devour
their second Popsicle was pretty cool to watch. Most put it away quickly, and
they headed on to the 2 mile station. Fast
forward to mile 3, the ice cold Popsicle was not looking quite as inviting. Runners
were taking a bit longer to eat them.
There was a report or two of runners leaving their popsicles
along the course because they couldn’t hold them down. How they kept them down in the first place, I
will never know.
Big thanks to Flavia for organizing our event and Joe, Dan,
and Billy for helping crew our Popsicle stations. Nothing happens without good
people making it happen.
During the warmer months my sweat level increases in what seems
like an exponential rate mainly between May and Sept. My shorts are dry for may be a
mile into my runs. By the end of my runs, they are completely soaked. Typically,
they are dripping water as I walk back to my car.
While wearing soaked shorts isn’t fun by any means. Having
sweat run down in my eyes is even worse. The burning sensation makes a hot run
These days I have gone to wearing a baseball cap during my
runs but even caps don’t do much after a certain point.
So I am always looking for something new.
Back in June while channel surfing I stopped on some random channel
showing an Ad for the EndurCool – Multi Cool. After watching the commercial, I
decided to try it.
Ok, now, I am struggling on how to best describe it. May be
the close analogy is comparing it to a neck gaiter. The material is similar to
what is used for compression shorts and calf sleeves.
The package comes with instructions for 12 ways to wrap it
around your head and neck. I use the skull cap and neck skirt variation.
From my personal experience, the EnduraCool works well. Sweat
no longer gets in my eyes.For the most
part my head and neck seem to stay cooler since they are now covered.
Additionally, EnduraCool material provides SPF 50 protection so I don’t have to
worry about getting a sun burn.
Post runs, I hand wash it, and then, hang it up to dry.
Currently, they only come in blue and pink. EnduraCool is
available online or at Lowes. I purchased my EnduraCool at Lowes because I
wanted to look at it before I made my purchase.
At $24 the cost is a bit pricey, but I do like the convenience
What was I thinking when I registered on race day for the
Street Light 5k. The thermometer on my car showed a temperature of 102 degrees.
If this does not dissuade me from racing, nothing else will.
Stepping to the starting line, a nice thick layer of perspiration
covered my skin. I wasn’t expecting much based on my recent training and the heat. Thus, I
definitely checked my expectations at the door.
During the first
mile, I moved slowly up to 4th place over all. My only real goal was
to win my age group if possible. Then, the racers ahead of just seemed to slow
down. Shortly, after the mile, I moved in 3rd place. Before the turn
around, I moved up to 2nd place. Then, after the turn around I
passed the leader. Between the heat and his fast first mile, I suspect his legs
felt quite heavy.
Having raced this race before, I knew exactly what to
expect. The 2nd mile is fairly flat but the 3rd mile is truly
grueling. The course climbs and climbs. A set of switch backs come next, and
when it feels like it is over, the course hits the main road and goes up hill again.
For a 5k, this one is absolutely cruelty
I looked over the edge of the switch back to see if the
second place runner was in sight. Nothing caught my eye.
Confident the race was going my way. There was nothing left to do but focus on getting to the finish. Rounding
the final two corners, I headed for the finish line. There was nearly a minute
before the next runner arrived.
My effort was solid for me again given the conditions and my training.
I ran 18:18. My first mile was 5:27, 5:48, and 6:36. Best of all, I got a much
Now, my attention turns to the “Beat the Heat” 5k later this
month. I expressly ran this 5k because it very much parallels the start time
and weather conditions for the “Beat the Heat” 5k. Let's hope if gives me an edge.
Saturday, I drove up to Mooresville for the Volition Preview Group run
II. Whitney, the race director, and Todd, the Charlotte Running Company manager
for the Mooresville store, along with Dennis, owner of Queen City timing, have
been organizing these monthly group runs over the expected race course.
We left the Food Lion on Brawley School Rd. around 7:30 and
headed out toward the point. If you read my previous post, you will remember that the course runs down
toward the lake. There are three small neighborhood loops near turn around.
Then, everyone heads straight back to the start.
While Saturday morning was again extremely warm, Todd,
Dennis, and Whitney made sure everyone in the group had multiple opportunities to hydrate
with four water stops along the course route. Two of the stops had Nuun as
Equally exciting was to see the size of the preview run group take
a huge jump. More people are hearing about this race.
From what I heard, they are planning two more preview runs.
There will be an August edition and a September edition. Potentially, the
September run will be a simulator run over the first 10 miles with a 3 mile
cool down back to the start.
Race and registration information are available by clicking here.
Getting out the door will be easy tomorrow. I will run my second preview run over the Voltion 1/2 marathon course. Special thanks to Dennis, Whitney, and Todd who have organized this second preview run from the Food Lion on Brawley School Rd. in Moorresville.
This run is open to everyone and there should be a number of people running different paces. There will also be H20 along the course so you can stay hydrated on what is expected to be another hot day in Charlotte.
They say a camera adds 10 pounds to a person’s frame. They
might want to add – a camera also adds 10 minutes to a person’s pace. Watch my video and you will see it.
A couple of weeks ago with my camera in hand, I recorded my
strides and form drills during an evening workout.
There are no super secrets here. Strides, high knees, and
butt kicks constitute the entire workout along with a warm up and cool down
More so, recording the workout allows me to go back and see where
my running technique needs improvement. We all slack a little bit and the only
way to see if I am slacking is to watch myself while running.
In the video, there was several areas right off the bat which
need changing. One big one was my shoulders. I have a bad habit when running of
pulling my shoulders up. When I do,
it tightens up my back, traps, and neck muscles. This really affects how well that I run. Occasionally during my long
runs, these muscles can even cramp up on me. Then, there was my less than stellar
ability to either get my knees higher or actually get the heels of my shoes to
touch my gluts. One day, I wonder if I will even be able to move.
The point of this blog is – make use of your smart phone or camera.
Record your workouts. Later take a look at your form. Cameras don’t lie and can
be a great tool for helping make you a better runner.
How was your morning run? If you were running here in
Charlotte this morning, you most likely felt like you were in the side of a
7 miles in to my 10 mile run with Megan, Steve, and Aaron,
we were headed up Sardis Rd back to PDS. Sweat was dripping off my nose, my
hands, and just about everywhere else. My running shorts were absolutely
soaked. Pressing the concede button seemed inorder. I was toast. Or to use a steak analogy, I was
well done. Actually, I was blacked on the edges.
I have to say that most of the year Charlotte is a awesome
place to run. But there are those occasional hot and humid summer days that
just leave me drained.
This morning just happened to be one of those days.
Ok, so several months have passed and I finally worked up
the nerve to test my hamstring in race again. Besides, sometimes, I need to
blow out the pipes and get a feel for my current conditioning.
Megan, Paul M., and I knocked out our warm up run over the
course, and then we went our separate ways to finish final preparations.
Paul and Chad were coming off racing the Fire Cracker 5k in
south Charlotte the night before. Actually, this was Chad’s 3rd race, I believe, in 5
days. He also ran the Championship 5k on Tuesday night at our summer track meet
in 15:57. I knew these guys were going to head out pretty hard.
Gathering on the starting line, the butterflies should have been turning over in my tummy
while we awaited the final countdown. But other than the constant doubt if this
was really a good idea, I just tried to ready myself for the task ahead.
Having run this course a few times, I know about the fast
first mile, the uphill next mile and half, and the fast downhill finish at the
The horn sounded, and we bolted from the starting line. Andy, one
of the Gaston County Runners, was a few steps ahead of me as we all charged
down the hill. In the back of my brain, there was too much thought going to my hamstring.
I could feel it twitch from running faster than I had run in months. Then, we
settled on the ½ mile flat section that runs to the first mile marl. Paul N. (different Paul) passed me and I
focused on staying right behind him.
Thoughts of my hamstring slowly faded away when we hit the long
climb on the course. Paul and I picked off a couple of guys. Turning left on
115, Paul opened a gap on me. My legs just wouldn’t respond with any more
We finally made the right to head downhill and back to HFFA.
It was going to be close. There was a clock at the 3 mile which told me just
one thing. Sprint if you want that sub 18 minute 5k.
I stepped on the line at 17:54 so I am pretty happy with my
race. I had fully expected to run 18:30 or slower. With no ill effects coming
from my hamstring, I couldn’t have been happier.
I actually finished 6th overall and won my age
Major “kudos” go to Jones Timing Company. Not only were the
results available and awards given out before 9:15. They started them 30
minutes early – actually before we finished warming down.
We also learned that HFFA is retiring the Fire Cracker 5k
and starting the Red, White, and Blue run next year. Excited to see what they
do with it.
Based on how this race went, there is a good possibility that
I will race again this month. I need something else to blow out a little more
dust before I head into “Beat the Heat” 5k the last of this month.
Charlotte has been overtaken by a rainy overcast morning as
we head into a holiday weekend. Once the forth is in the books, runners will
probably be looking for races to do. Others like me are starting to plan out
their race schedules with a fall marathon in mind.
Unless you are running on a trail, anything more than a 10k
in the summer time just isn’t feasible. The heat is just too much. Our bodies
are tuned to run but they really struggle when most of the blood normally used
to power our muscles is instead sent toward the surface of our skin to help
cool our bodies. Then, there is just the normal recovery time from a hot run. A few days ago
I jumped on my scales after a run. I had to step off and back on again just to
make sure it was reading correctly. During the run my weight dropped 10 pounds.
Drinking copious amounts of H20 isn’t easy so taking in enough to recover from
losing 10 pounds can be even more difficult. And, if the water doesn’t get
replenished before the next run, then this run starts with a deficient.
This is the point where spiraling downhill can occur. Hitting the bottom probably means walking.
My favorite way to replace these missing electrolytes is
with Nunn. Drop a Nunn tablet into a bottle of water, let is dissolve, and then
give it a good shake. I get the electrolytes without the loads of calories.
The Nunn gives the water some flavor and helps my body
recover much quicker than if I just use H20 alone.
Just remember the more you run, the more you need to be
concerned about hydration. Being
dehydrated can definitely affect your performance.
Our Charlotte Running Club is now an official Guinness World
Records Title Holder. Yesterday afternoon, an email arrived in my inbox stating
that the Guinness Records Manager had accepted my application i.e.
documentation, pictures, videos, etc as proof we broke their record for most
linked runners completing a 5k race - 179 Runners strong.
What is not to feel good about? I am now an official world
record holder along with a 178 of my fellow runners that helped me
achieve this huge accomplishment.
They say to do something that you love, and you never work a
day in your life. Truth be known, it doesn’t really matter how many hours I
spent making it happen. The fact is that we did make it happen and a Guinness
World Record now resides in our great city of Charlotte and with our very own
Charlotte Running Club.
I am so thrilled for our team, our city, and our running club.
If you would like to see Guinness's listing of our record,
please click here.
If you were member of our team and would like to buy a
participate certificate from Guinness, there is an id and code that is needed
to be able to purchase it. Either email or message me on FaceBook and I will provide you with this
Guinness charges $25 for this participate certificate.
Over the last 5 weeks Charlotte has smothered with the most
oppressive heat possible. Our Tuesday night track series often left runners
wondering if they were actually running on the sun as the heat zapped the strength
from their bodies.
Last night was nearly a complete 180. With the temperature in the
upper 70s and a humidity that didn’t leave them sweating most runners found a
bounce in their step.
The rest they say is history.
Start of the Open Mile
I saw some great efforts and great times last night. Chase
led Bert out for about 600 meters and then Bert had to do the rest himself. His
legs were pumping hard as he crossed the finish line with a great time. Steve,
who has been nursing a quad injury, was back and running hard last night. He
and Cory were battling for most of the mile race. Stan was back from vacation
and was looking both fit and fast. Bobby and his daughter were pushing hard to
lower their times for the summer. Andrew
led the open mile followed by Allison. If memory serves me correctly, this was
Allison only week running in the series but she was also the fastest female with
a time around 5:17.
In the 800 for either 60 to 64 or 65 to 69, a runner broke
the US National record 2:26 (I think). Like I said, runners were flying last
The two big events of the evening were the 5000 and the 4 x
400 relay. Starting with the 5000, with the exception of a couple of laps Chad
led wire to wire to win in 15:57. He looked strong the entire way. Danielle was
calling splits for him and kept him on pace with each passing lap. David, who
was looking for a 20 minute time, settled for a 21 minute time but still had a
fantastic effort. Both Mike and Eric ran strong 5000 as well.Stan, Lisa, Rob, and
Carroll opted for the 3200 event which started at the same time as the 5000.
They equally ran strong and well.
The night ended with the 4 x 400 teams. Relay races are some
of the most exciting races to watch because it is probably the only time in
a track meet where the word “team” effort plays a true role in the outcome of a race.
The race was close but the Meredith’s Running Works team showed that they have
some serious leg speed with a 4:12 (Don’t quote me) time.
Before wrapping up this post, I feel I really need to
editorialize one point about our local summer track program. There is a lot of hard
work that goes into making this series happen each and every year. Whether
runners say it or not, I have to think they truly appreciate Tom, Tim, Steve,
and the rest of the RFYL gang that puts on this series. They do a fantastic job
and dont' get enough credit for their efforts.
100 Meters Sprint
But if there was one thing that I could change, it would be
how they market their Championship week for this series. To runners that don’t
have a history around Charlotte they think this week is only for the fastest
runners. While, yes, there is typically one event for the fastest from the past
4 or 5 week (like this year), there are still open events. The way this final
week is marketed; runners just don’t realize it, and most of the time they just
skip the Championship week. I have lost count of how many times that I have
been asked about Championship week and what it means. The explanation literally just rolls off my
tongue as if on a record player.
Otherwise, we have one of the best summer track programs
around, and hopefully, it will remain strong and vibrant for many years to