Monday, June 29, 2015

Charlotte Running Club Summer Picnic ‘15


 
Our club’s summer picnic was so awesome that I don’t know where to start.

Flavia couldn’t have picked a better day when she started working on this event. The temperature was down from our regular norm of 99 degrees. The humidity was nearly not existent. It was about as perfect as it gets for a southern summer day.

Throw in a couple of great backyard chefs: Rob and John. A big, group of friends each one having brought a dish to share, a few games: a little volleyball, badminton, and corn hole, and you have the making of a relaxing Sunday afternoon.

But really our club is a about the greatness of friends and family. Our picnic is about getting to know each other better and getting to know the husbands, wives, and children that support us in our efforts. It is about realizing that there is more to life than working out. It is about the strong bonds that we build and help shape who we really are in this world.

 

Relax and enjoy the day,

The Cool Down Runner  

Friday, June 26, 2015

Charlotte Summer Track Wk #5

The Fast and the Furious

If I remember correctly, Bobby posted a picture of the temperature on Tuesday evening – 102. That’s not from the track but from his car. The black Myers Park track, I suspect, was easily several degrees warmer. And, it showed as the perspiration rolled from the bodies of the runners as they ran events from 50 meters to 2 miles.

Speed and determination
Remarkable, runners were still posting fast times. Tom and Tim kept things running smoothly and efficiently.  Even with a nice crowd of runners, all events were over and done by a little after 8pm.

Time to Run
I always like to call out a few runners that I saw. Chase at roughly 18 months of age ran his first race – 50 meters. He clutched his mother’s hand and carried his usual smiling face the entire way. JB and Bob, who are both in their mid 60s showed that age is only a state of the mind. JB ran some awesome sprint events. While Bob nearly broke 6 minutes for the mile and ran 2:50 for the 800.

Awesome form. We should all
be so lucky
Watching these great individual efforts only inspires me to work harder.

Running Works finest
Next week is the last week of our local summer track program. They call this Championship week which is where the fast runners from the previous 5 weeks square off. However, don’t be discouraged. There will still be open events as well for those of us that are not the fastest.

Reckless Running at it
best
Special note, my understanding is there will not be a 3200 next week. There will be the 5000 on the track and there will be a special 4 x 400 event after the 500.





This was the coolest looking runner at the meet.
Sporting a head band, shades, and cool singlet.
What's not to like.
Mark your calendars and show up to some of the best in Charlotte take their changes on the black 400 meter paper clip.



 

 
 
 
Our photo album and videos from this week's meet are available on our club's FaceBook page.

Enduring our summer heat,

The Cool Down Runner

 

 







 




Monday, June 22, 2015

Beach Running

This past weekend, I got away for a few days. I have to say that it was really nice to set and watch the waves roll up on to the shoreline. There is just something mesmerizing about sound of the waves crashing against the beach.  

Of course, going to the beach would not be the same without the oppressive heat and overwhelming humidity. Literally, I could just walk out the hotel front door and the sweat would just roll down the sides of my face. I couldn’t go anywhere without carrying a towel.

Walking around in that weather is bad. Running around in it is even worse. Most mornings I was headed out the door before 7 AM. The sun would just be cresting over the horizon making for an awesome view of the sun rise.

Best of all, I would just run in a straight line until I got tired. Then, I would turn around and run back. Some days, the head wind slowed my progress. Other days, the wind assisted my journey. While out there, there were people running and on bikes everywhere. I was very much reminded of the time that I spent in San Diego. Now, there is an awesome area for exercising, but I have to say that Jacksonville isn’t far behind. I could certainly find myself going back another time.

I do recommend staying at the Marriot on the beach. In 2 minutes I was out of my room on the beach. Towels and chairs are available so you don’t even have to pack anything. I even rented some body-boards to ride the waves. Often, I am fascinated at how fast my daughters catch on to anything water related. Sometimes I wonder if they are more fish and human.

 

The sound of waves hitting the beach,

The Cool Down Runner

 

Charlotte Summer Track Wk #4



My apologies, I am nearly a week behind on this post.  Shortly after last Tuesday night’s event, I headed out for a beach trip. A little time away helps return focus to the world around me, but I digress.  

Runners were suffering at new level that I hadn’t seen lately. The air temperature hovered at nearly 100 degrees. I suspect the black surface of the track was even hotter.

You could just tell by the looks on every runners face. The heat was getting to them.

People were soaking water from the coolers. One of the Myers Park guys broke out the wet fans to circulate the air and blow a mist. The temperature between the fans was some 20 degrees cooler.

For this week, I went video crazy. I tried to get lots of the starts and finishes as possible. To see these videos check out the Charlotte Running Club FaceBook page.
Week #5 is tomorrow night and the final week is June 30th. Make sure to take advantage of one or both of these weeks.  

Beat the heat. Run in the shade,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, June 15, 2015

Volition America ½ Marathon Course preview run


On Saturday morning, I got a chance to do a course preview run for the Volition American ½ marathon coming this fall with Dennis, Whitney, Jim, and Todd from the Mooresville, NC Charlotte Running Company store.

We started from the Food Lion on Brawley School Rd and headed toward the lake. The course is basically of an out and back design with three little neighborhood loops to flush out the full 13.1 miles.

They are advertising it as one of the flattest courses around Charlotte. If you want to compare it with any of the following ½ marathons: Racefest, Corporate Cup, Thunder Road, Huntersville 1/2 , then I would say this one is pretty flat.

Based on what I experienced Saturday the first say 6 to 7 miles are flat to downhill. Now, there were a couple rises, but they were hardly noticeable. Returning, there is nothing really steep, but there are several sections where you have a long slightly uphill grind. As our conversation floated from one topic to the next, we even talked about whether it would be better to push hard doing the first 6 to 7 miles trying to bank some time or run conservative to have the strength to push on the up hills. Of the group, we were kind of split on which strategy would work best.

They already have close to 500 registered and are hoping to have over 2000 by race day.

Personally, I have penciled the Volition American Half Marathon in on my calendar. Between Dennis, Whitney, and Todd, this is going to be one whale of a race. I recommend you do so as well.

 

Simple thoughts are the best,

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, June 12, 2015

Chewed up and spit out.

You never really know how good of shape you are in until you run with someone faster. Then, the realization sets in pretty quickly.

This morning we ran what is becoming our normal Friday PDS hot yoga loop route backwards. The pace fluctuated between 7 and 7:20 per mile depending on whether we were going uphill or downhill for most of the loop. The pace didn’t feel hard. Mostly, there was just some warning flares being thrown up by the left hamstring. Then, coming up Sardis Rd Paul picks up pace. Suddenly, my breathing goes from comfortable to uncomfortable. My legs go from hurting to complaining.  I so wanted to stick with him as he picked up the pace but I just didn’t have the conditioning necessary to do it.

Now, some people might be upset that Paul was pushing it up the hill. Yes, we all hurt a little more when this happen. However, me, I wanted it. I needed it. The only way to get better is to challenge myself and to push harder. Running with other faster runners is a great way of doing just that.  I will take getting chewed up and spit out any day because I know when it comes to race day; I will be stronger for it.

Simple thoughts are the best,

The Cool Down Runner

 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Finding my stride

Yesterday evening my daughter wanted to start some off season conditioning and drills so we headed over to a nearby high school soccer field.

She wasn’t entirely convinced that warming up was necessary. After all, the temperature was easily pushing 90 degrees at 6 PM, but she tolerated me that it was necessary.

We did a mile easy run around the track. Then, we followed it up with a 10 x 100 meter strides. We finished off our running portion of the workout with form drills: high knees, butt kicks, etc. Honestly, the running did me as much good as her.  Since my hamstring injury I have put as much distance between me and any speedy workout as possible. But yesterday, while I didn’t feel fluid and smooth during my strides, the warm fuzzy feeling of running faster felt awesome.  

I am already looking forward to our workout next week. Hopefully soon, my confidence will rise enough that my racing flats will once again make their way out of my closet.

 

Keeping it simple and real,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Charlotte’s Summer Track Wk #3

Summer track last night received more than its fair share of heat and humidity. Just how bad was it; you might be asking? Well, sweet was rolling down the sides of my face and my only task was to press a button when runners in my lanes crossed the finish line. Now that’s hot.

One of the more interesting aspects of summer to track is to look at the demographic makeup of our participating runners. By and large, you are going to see the majority of the field made up of adult males. Adult women make up a fair portion of the field. This is usually followed by a
contingent of high school runners – albeit somewhat smaller group than adult women. Perhaps the largest group, I never officially counted, are boys and girls under the age of 15. Personally, this is something that we all should be excited about seeing because these are our next generation of runners.    


Changing subjects for a moment, there was a group of women from the Carolina Masters track and field club taking part in the 4 x 100 event. It is good to see that
word is spreading around our Charlotte Summer Track program.


Last night events were wrapped up with the 5k track races. With a fair size group, we saw several runners in the 16 and 17 minute range. More runners finished in the 18, 19, and 20 range. While it was still hot, once the sun set and without any major wind, this was a pretty good night for a track race.

More track will be available next Tuesday night so don’t miss it.

 If you would like to see additional pictures, check out the Charlotte Running Club's Summer Track Wk #2 Album. Sames goes for the video from last night. Everything can be found on the Charlotte Running Club FaceBook page.

 
 
 
 
Simple thoughts are the best.

The Cool Down Runner

 


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fine!

If you are looking for another running related topic today, I am sorry. I have strayed yet again.

Today, I would like to talk about the use of the word “fine”.

The word “fine” has several variations depending on how it is used as described by Google…..

See these examples below…..

fine

adjective

1. of high quality. "this was a fine piece of filmmaking"

synonyms:          excellent, first-class, first-rate, great, exceptional, outstanding, quality, superior, splendid, magnificent, exquisite, choice, select, prime, supreme, superb, wonderful, superlative, of high quality, second to none; More

2. (of a thread, filament, or person's hair) thin. "I have always had fine and dry hair"

synonyms:          thin, light, delicate, wispy, flyaway

 

noun

1. very small particles found in mining, milling, etc.

adverb informal

1. in a satisfactory or pleasing manner; very well. "“And how's the job-hunting going?” “Oh, fine.”"

verb

1. clarify (beer or wine) by causing the precipitation of sediment during production.

2. make or become thinner. "it can be fined right down to the finished shape"

 

Yes, these describe all the ways that the English language has for the use of the word “fine”, but I really want to talk about another variation not described above.

This is the variation where the word “fine” ends not with a “.” but ends with an “!” point.

Let me set the scene for you. Hopefully, it will help you understand what I am talking about.

Let’s say that you are having a conversation with someone. In this conversation, you are having a disagreement. This disagreement goes on for several minutes or until one or the other of you finishes with the word “fine”. And, clearly the use of the word “fine” is not meant to be with a “.” at the end, but you know in the back of your mind that it is the “fine” with at least one “!” and possibly more if this happens to be your wife or your girl friend. Based on the expression on her face, you can probably figure that there is some type of “!” multiple on a sliding scale involved. The harsher her expression, the greater is the multiplier.  

This is also about the point in the conversation where it abruptly ends but is by no means finished or is the disagreement settled.

As I try to figure what the real meaning for this usage of “fine”, I have come to only one conclusion. It means that I agree to disagree. I am neither surrendering nor admitting that I am wrong. And, I am certainly not admitting that you are right.  

Like most people I have had my fair share of these arguments over the course of my life, but I have always avoided the use of the word “fine” because I don’t like the taste that it leaves. Although, I have had it used against me more than once. And honestly, it doesn’t taste much better even if I didn’t say it.

During your next conversation when it feels like a “fine” moment, rethink your possible answers. Do something different and unexpected, you might find the results a lot more palatable.

 

The simple thoughts are the best

The Cool Down Runner

 

 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Learning


Running is a good time to catch up with your buddies that you haven’t seen in a while, but sometime it is also a good chance to hash out some totally unexpected topics.

A few weeks ago, our conversation swaggered over to a discussion on learning. Specifically, does the ability learn start to peak between the ages of 25 to 30? Now, this took me a minute to think about before I responded.

But the short answer is yes, I do believe for most human beings our ability to learn reaches its peak around these ages. This is not to say that you stop learning after 30. Far from it, I truly believe that we all continue to learn throughout the rest of our lives. It is just that after we start to settle in to life and we develop preconceived expectations about how things should work. As we are growing up we don’t have these expectations so we merely accept that this is the way it is. But once a particular path is learned then we seemingly struggle with learning new pathways. It isn’t that we cannot. But because we expect it to work a certain way; it doesn’t come easy. We also get more frustrated during the learning process. We can and should be able to learn it but we just might take a little longer to modify our existing learned pathways to deal with the change.

By now, you are probably wondering why am I talking about this or what does this have to do with runners. This is an excellent question.

To be honest, I don’t really have a good analogy that comes back to run. I just thought this was an interesting topic and wanted to share. 
But I will leave you with some food for thought. The next time, that you buy a new electronic device, don’t make assumptions about how it works.  Just accept how it works. You might find the process goes a whole lot easier.

 

Simply thoughts are the best.

 

The Cool Down Runner

  

  

Friday, June 5, 2015

Rolling out PD Friday mornings


Paul and David were rolling out of PD for their long runs this morning so a few of us that were not going as long joined them for a portion of it.

With a morning temperature in the low 60s for June, one cannot argue with it. This morning I felt the best that I have felt in weeks. As hard as it is to believe when my alarm went off at 4 AM, I wanted nothing more than to just go back to sleep. But no, I committed to running so by golly I was going.

Having a large group is always kind of nice. You get to move around during the run and talk to different people. Usually, we run 2 abreast on the sidewalk which is plenty of room. Thing shuffle around as we turn and hit neighborhood streets. These are more accommodating as we spread across the road.
 
Best in Running,
The Cool Down Runner

 

 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Summer Track Wk#2 2015

 
What a difference that a week makes. Last night scores more runners of all ages were testing the metal at our local summer track meet.  This is just awesome to watch.

They couldn’t have asked for or received a better evening for running in June. With a few rain drops falling and slightly over cast skies, the temperature was way down.  Granted the overwhelming humidity made things a bit sticky but otherwise, a very nice evening for running.

From Jinnie, Stan, and Noah, to Bert, Mark, Rich, Cory, Allen, Sophia, and Bob to the guys from Running Works it was like an all-star cast.


My personal favorite is always the mile. The test between strength, speed, and stamina really shows in this event. Watching 4 x 100 event is equally rewarding. Young, old, mixed teams; they come in all shapes and sizes. Relay races really get the juices flowing. There were so many heats of the 400 and 200 that I lost count. At one point, Tim was helping Tom by lining up runners before the previous heat was finished. And, who could forget Eric running heat after heat after heat of the 400. The evening finished off with the 2 mile event which gives runners one last chance to hit the track. Some use it as a warm down. Others like racing it. Everyone comes away having a good time. 


Next week the 5k is the last event and also is the qualifier for the Championship week’s 5k. This is your chance to run one of the flattest 5k in Charlotte. Come on out and say hi, and remember to smile for the camera.

 





Best in Running,

The Cool Down Runner

 

 

 



Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Knocking out a mid week long run

Normally, I wouldn't say that a 14 mile run on an early Tuesday morning would be my long run for the week, but right now it is. Luckily, Paul and Megan joined me and made a warm, muggy run bearable. Luck was even more on my side than I care to admit. Within 15 minutes of finishing our run the rain showers sweep across Charlotte soaking everything in its path.
As for the run, it went pretty much as expected. For 8 miles or so, I felt pretty good. Then, my quad started acting up. What do I mean by acting up? Well, it almost like a cramp but isn't. For the most part, it feels this way when I am climbing hills. The longer and the steeper the hill the more that I feel it. Whatever I did to my hamstring or maybe the side effect of running on an injured hamstring has left my quad in this nasty state. Granted, with each passing day it feels stronger and better but I am now approaching 10 weeks. I want it to be healed.  
They say that climbing the mountain is the fun part of training. At this point, the base of the mountain is my goal. Then, I will worry about climbing it.
Climbing the mountain one day at time,
The Cool Down Runner


 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Get your BQ Training here.

Talking with Mike Moran last Thursday evening, he was telling me about a new training program that he and Todd are bringing the Charlotte running scene. This new program is designed to help individuals achieve their Boston Qualifying times for 2016.

Yes, that’s right. They are looking for runners that are willing to train through the southern summer heat and run one of the last chance marathons before Boston registration opens this fall.

As I pondered the concept, I thought about some of the reasons that Mike talked about. One thought that kept coming back to me time and time again, we need to get more Charlotte runners going to Boston. Heck, I would love to see Charlotte area have the biggest group of runners going to Boston of any major US city.

If you are interested learning more about this program, reach out the Mike or Todd. Both work at the Charlotte Running Company. Although, it is my understanding that the Charlotte Running Company is affiliated with their training program.

 Best of luck to you on your training for a Boston BQ,

 

The Cool Down Runner