Sunday, April 24, 2016

Run For the Warriors 10k recap

Lately, there hasn’t been much desire for me to strap on my racing flats. If I were truly honest with myself, I have just been going through the running motions. I still run. I still work out at the Y but with no real since of purpose.

Some people might say this is a recovery period for me. In the back of my brain it feels more like a waste of my time.

Everyone needs a purpose or we just aimlessly wonder through our lives.

Anyway, I am digressing. I am here to talk about the “Run for the Warriors” 10k on Saturday.

So, if I recall correctly, Flavia posted mid week about getting a group together for the “Run for the Warriors” races on Saturday at the Charlotte Motor Speedway

Flavia has always been a huge supporter of our running club activities so if I could reciprocate, I would. BTW, Flavia, I really appreciate you getting this setup. You are the best.

Once I made my commitment, I set about looking for more information on the race. Two things: start time and course were where I went first.

Opening ceremonies were at 7:15 with the races starting at 7:30.

The course was another matter. Just one look at the course map online had me covering my eyes. It gave all appearances to be a runner’s nightmare with overlapping and loop backs sections. Fast forward to Saturday morning, I warmed looking to see at much of the course as possible but the marked course didn’t seem to match the online course map.

Then, just before the race, the race director attempted to describe the course. It didn’t help. Unless, you are super familiar with the speedway, it just sounded like turn left here and turn right here – so on and so forth.

On the plus, they were having a pace truck. With the fortune favoring the bold, I asked the race director if the truck was following the 10k or 5k course. She indicated it was following 10k course. At this point, I figured I would just have to run as hard as I could and hope I could keep the truck insight. I was running the 10k.

Side bar for second, having run a number of races at the speed way, I have always been puzzled as to why races stay in such a small area. After all the speedway is huge place. You could literally hold a marathon on the speedway grounds. Unless, the speedway is making them stay in a specific area, there should not be any reason for not spreading out.

Okay, back to the race now, LOL, the horns sounds, and Ryan rockets off the line. I quickly fall in to second place while sucking in the exhaust fumes along the way.

We weave long the front of speedway and then enter inside through Gate 1 using the pedestrian underpass to the infield.

We follow the truck up on to the track and down pit road to the far end. Then, we turn on to the track for the first of two laps running clockwise.

As we heading back along the track, I notice that Ryan and I are the only ones on the track. For that matter, there is no one on pit road and there should be.

Going along the back stretch, we see the other runners but they are all circling through the infield. Something was wrong and I knew it but at the moment, I hoped it wasn’t me.

For the better part of two laps, Ryan would throw in these tiny surges, and I would pull each one back. But with each turn, I felt better and better.

Coming around for the second lap, Ryan says his legs are done and lets me get a small gap.

Again, we are behind the pace track and head out of the track back through the pedestrian tunnel.

We make a long curve around the track on the side to climb the hill between turns 3 and 4 and run through the grandstands.

This is the mile where I began to falter. Maybe it was fatigue. I did run 14 miles with the PDS group on Friday morning. Or maybe, I am getting old and need to slow down.

Either way, shortly after mile 5, Ryan goes flying back by me. Clearly, running Boston on Monday hasn’t dampened his legs too much.

This is the point where I guess I was feeling a little bit sorry for myself. I didn’t even put up a fight.

My time was 39:58 which I believe was 2 second overall. Given the other runners ran varying distances, who really knows.

My Garmin recorded 6.55 miles but given that we run through the tunnel twice and ran under the grand stands, we probably covered another quarter mile or so.

Being this was an inaugural race, all I can say is - they have more than a few bumps in the road to hammer out before next year.

As for me and with all things given, it wasn’t that bad. Yeah, I was disappointed in my final two miles, but otherwise, I raced pretty well given that I am nowhere near race shape.

Now, may be my motivation will return to hit a few more races.


The Cool Down Runner







Wednesday, April 20, 2016


Not knowing what to say doesn’t happen to me very often, but on Saturday while cheering for the Racefest runners, it happened.

I was standing next to the greenway entrance taking pictures. When this woman, who is very obviously looking for someone, turns toward me and ask if these are the “Mediocre” runners.

My eyes probably grew large and mouth dropped open but no words came out. There was no answer that was adequate for the way she asked her question.

Mediocre isn’t a term that I relate to runners.

Her husband realizing the awkward moment that was developing between us quickly rephrase her question.

“Yes”, I responded. "The majority of the runners have passed".

He took, maybe I am assuming too much here, his wife by the arm, and they left for the finish line area.

It did remind of something that my daughter said to me of a while back. She always “thinks about what she is going to say before she says it”. We might all be a little better off if we followed her advice.

The Cool Down Runner

Racefest Cheer Zone

Every day each of us should strive to learn something new. It doesn’t matter what you learn, but the fact that you learned it is what’s important.

I live each day this way.

So last Saturday, I learned that there was an underpass on Fairview. In all my runs down this road, I never realized that this existed. You really had to look close and know where to look to actually see it.

If it hadn’t been for us doing the Charlotte Running Club Cheer Zone at here, I probably still wouldn’t have realized it.

Anyway, I had a great time. Mike announced that we were doing a beach. We dressed up the underpass with some lights and decorations. We set up some beach chairs and umbrella.

It was all to spice up the runner’s experience during this section.

I pulled out my camera and took some 700+ photos which are posted on our Charlotte Running Club Facebook page. They are free of charge so if you see yourself. Feel free to download it with my compliments.
I often wonder if people realize it, but it is the small things that make the world a better place. Cheering someone who isn't have the greatest day or just needs that little extra encouragement can make all the difference in someone life.
Never miss an opportunity to make a difference. No matter how small it is.
The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Foam Glow Run Recap

Checked another item off my running bucket list with the Foam Glow 5k Run/Walk Saturday night. Events kicked off around 7 pm with the pre race party. With close to 5000 participates, the Charlotte Motor Speedway had plenty of activity. The music was loud but once they kicked the base, oh, my chest felt like it was vibrating. Even 100 yards away, I could still feel it.

Then, they fired up their Foam Cannons. Now, this was an awesome sight to see. Four foam cannons shooting pink and green foam high into the air. There was so much foam being sent to the air that it looked like it was snowing. Instead of dissolving on the ground, the foam  in some places was 3 feet deep.

Our white foam glow race shirts absorbed the dye from the foam like there was no tomorrow.  Heck, even my skin was turning pink.

As we moved from the prerace party area to the starting line, my daughter comment that it looked more like a Susan B. Komen Cancer  Awareness Run than a glow run. Literally, it was a pink out.  

Once darkness settled over the speedway the race started with us going off in waves of 300 to 400 runners. Many sections of the infield were quite dark with the only ambient coming from the black lights scattered along the course.

There were 3 foam zones scatted along the 3 miles, and the foam was well over my head as we passed through them.

After the first one, I learned to keep my mouth shut while passing through the foam. It was pretty foul tasting stuff.

But it was very cool!

My daughter and I walked the entire course. Many runners went sprinting out but by 3 miles they had resorted to walking. Some were cutting the last part of the course to the finish.

Their post race party seemed pretty cool. We didn't stay long. Our cloths were soaked, and we had to hoof it back to our car to change. It was parked well outside the speedway.  

When I got where I could see my legs, they looked like I had a terrible sun burn. Even 3 days later, my legs were still a shade of pink.

Would I do it again? Mybe if my daughters asked me. It is a cool event, and it is definitely different.

It does make a nice bucket list item to check off.

One note, I don’t recommend buying the extra bottles glow liquid, or glow gloves or glasses. They spray more than enough pink foam dye into the air to turn any white shirt pink. Rather than the gloves and glasses most people were wearing the .99 cents glow sticks from Walmart.

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Itch

After being absent from Y for nearly 4 weeks, yesterday’s visit felt kind of nice. As I ready for a big race, I have to curtail my YMCA cross training activities. Otherwise, my race day effort becomes more of training run than race.

Then, after my race, my body and more than anything my brain needs some additional down time.

Then, once the itch starts to return, it is time to head back.

Yesterday evening’s workout was pretty simple - 30 minutes on the Stair Master which was followed by an hour covering a complete weight training circuit. I even added a few new machines. Every training cycle I change things up a bit. I have to do something new and different just to keep things interesting.

But also getting back helps me feel like some normalcy has returned.

After a few weeks I have my groove back. LOL.


The Cool Down Runner


Friday, April 1, 2016

Guest Experience

Why is he smoking along the running trail?

With my marathon in the books for this spring and my body and mind in the need of some away time, I headed for the one place where you can literally hide from the rest of the planet. This is Disney World.

Even thou, I was on vacation so to speak, I still had a running streak to maintain so I was still heading out the door for at least 4 miles each morning.

The Port Orleans Resort has a running trail which is overall a very nice place to get in a short run. I said “overall” it is a nice trail because there are places where Disney has designated smoking locations along it. Why they would have designate smoking locations along their trail is very perplexing to me. After all, they would seem to be encouraging runners to use it because on their maps, they label it the “New Balance Running Trail”.

I guess the real reason that this struck me as odd; Disney always seems to be at least 2 steps ahead when it comes to anticipating and providing their guest experience. How they missed this one I don’t know.

 The Cool Down Runner