Tuesday, May 31, 2016

5 AM Speed Crew

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I love a good three day weekend as much as the next guy. I just love the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday combination much better than the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday combination.

For some reason that remains a mystery to me having a Monday off throws off my entire week. Each day arrives with the feeling that I should have already completed the task that lies before me. Or on the flip side, a task arrives before I am ready for it.

Take for example, there is our usual Tuesday morning PDS speed session that I have been attending. With Monday off and feeling a lot like Sunday, getting my brain wrapped around getting out of bed and driving to PDS in the predawn seemed wrong.

My brain yearns for another day to prepare.

Enough of my personal struggles to get the week started.

Jumped right in to Stacy’s short workout this morning: 2 x 400 80 sec. or better, 6 x 200, and finished off with a fast 400. Compared to last week’s 5 x 1 mile, this workout was a nice bounce back.

My 2 x 400 were sub 80 seconds. Unknown, what my 200 times were. I have checked my Garmin yet. I finished off the final 400 in 74 seconds which was the fastest quarter for me in nearly 18 months. I was very happy about this part.  

Big thank you for Stacy and Meg for allowing me tag along. Loved the workout. It was exactly what I needed to get some of my mojo back.


The  Cool Down Runner



Thursday, May 26, 2016

Lunge Forward 5k Recap

It took a few days for me to gather my thoughts about the Lunge Forward 5k this past weekend. No, there wasn’t anything drastic that happened. No, it is just a busy, busy, busy time for me.

So, after deciding on a race to blow some dust out of my tail pipes, I signed for the Lunge Forward 5k. There were a number of races around Charlotte this past weekend, but I choose this one because we are having our CRC picnic at the Park Road Park. Having never been to this particular park in Charlotte, checking it out seemed like a good idea.

The Lunge Forward team had a pretty nice little setup. We would start on of the road exiting the park and end the race in one of the park parking lots. Park Rd. rolls pretty good, but nothing like the neighborhoods. Steep up hills and steep down hills left my quads with more than enough burning.

At one point, I felt like leaning forward just a bit more and touching my hand to the road.

The escorting police car dropped off when I turned back on to Park Rd for the return trip to the park. Her parting instructions were to stay in the left lane. Well, I had to right half of the left lane since there were still runners heading out for their first mile of the course.

Nearing the end of these runners, there was a trailing police cruiser. Then, coming up the road was a semi truck. At first thought, I wondered if I should bale to the side walk. In a "me" vs. the semi, 10 out of 10 times, I would loose.

But before I did so, the police officer literally jumped out of his car and went to flag the semi driver down.

Well, at least now the semi was stopped.

Once past it, I had a clean run back to the park and the win. My time was a sluggish 18:34.

 I would have liked it to have been faster, but getting older means I have a lot more rust to get off.

Now, it is on to China Groove 5k in a few weeks. If luck is on my side, I might slip under 18 minutes.

  The Cool Down Runner




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Volition Am. Course Preview Run

Saw Whitney on Saturday, and she told me they were having the first of their Volition America ½ Marathon course preview runs the following morning.

Really appreciated the heads up because they had a nice turn out for a run out to the point. Among those attending, I got the chance to link up with Richard who I hadn’t seen for several years.  We ran together for nearly the entire distance. He put down the hammer over the last two miles, and I had nothing left to go with him.

Whitney and Dennis have laid out a rather nice course for this race. There are trees lining the majority of it. And, as you near the point, the traffic becomes nearly nonexistent. With three little neighborhood loops, we were at the turn around before we knew it. The return trip is nearly a straight line back to the Food Lion.

To read more about their Volition America ½ and 5k, click here.

Whitney plans a few more preview runs this summer. When she does, I’ll make sure to pass it along.


The Cool Down Runner

Mile Repeats

Saw in our group chat that Stacy was doing mile repeats. It wasn’t until this morning that I realized she was doing 5 of them. Guess I should have asked beforehand.

With my legs feeling it from a weekend of heavy running, I wasn’t sure that I was up 5 miles of hard running.

But I figured that I would go as far as possible and jog around while they finished.
We made a quick 2 mile circle to get the blood flowing and the legs warmed up.

Stacy led us out for the first couple of laps. Then, I picked up and led for the next 2 laps. She, Meg, and I finished right around 5:58.

After a 2 minute active recovery, Meg took us out leading the first couple of laps. Again, I pulled us along for the final 2 in 5:55.

After another 2 minute recovery, we were off on the hump interval. This time, I led the entire way finishing in 5:51.

The lactic acid was building in my quads. The feeling is unmistakenable.

2 minutes passed, and we were off again. This interval got an unexpected boost. Paul, Caleb, and Laurie were running 800s. They came around during our interval propelled us along. We ran 5:47.

My body was telling me that I should stop, but how could I. I needed to finish it. I agreed that I would through the 800 and see how I felt.

Meg took us through the first lap. I led us through the second. Coming around for the 3rd lap, Stacy pushed the pace on us.

What felt comfortable at 5:55 pace; felt a lot harder at 5:48. Stacy was finish 5:45 or :46.

Normally, I plan out my workouts so I know weeks in advance what the workout will be. It is refreshing to just show up and run some else’s workout.

Usually, I get a general idea of the workout the day before but don’t get the full details until the 5 AM the next morning.

Stacy has been awesome to let me tag along. For me, personally, it beats running intervals on my own. That to me is the hardest.
Running peer presure is the best.  


The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Stacy's Ladder Workout

Sometimes, rolling someone else’s workout is better than rolling your own. At least this is how I rolled this morning, when I jumped in with Stacy for her decending ladder interval workout.

We worked the 1000s together. My body was fighting me to feel properly warmed up. Even thou, the temperature was in the mid 60s. I couldn’t seem to feel smooth and relaxed.

Down the ladder went with 800s next. It felt good to not have that extra 200 meters.  Then, Steve jumped in for second one and led us start to finish.  Couldn’t match his pace – not today anyway, but it was still faster than the first one.

Further down the rabbit hole we went to the 400s.  The pace was getting faster for them. Me, I was stuck in 2nd gear. Laurie, who is notorious for saying she has no speed, clearly found her speed force this morning. She and Stacy were making quick work of both Steve and me.

For me, the bottom of the rabbit ended with our 200s. If I felt slow from the 400s, I felt really slow in the 200s.

That’s okay, “slow” is all relatively anyway.

The real value is in having others to push me. I had plenty of it today so “Thank you”.


The Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 16, 2016


Here it is mid-May, and the temperature is in the mid 40s. Who am I to complain? There will be more than enough warmer days over the next several months to offset this one. Besides, returning from a run while not dripping with sweat is nice.

Charlotte as a city would reach totally awesome status if all mornings were in the 40s and afternoons were in the 80s.

Will it happen? Unlikely, but I can dream. Right?


The Cool Down Runner   

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Bike

Last summer, I rode my mountain bike exactly once for the entire summer, and this was my only time on a bike. Yesterday, the weather was so inviting that I pulled down my road bike, pumped up the tires, and headed out for ride. The feeling of the wind in my face brought back memories of summers past where I was riding regularly.  

Maybe I am feeling a bit nostalgic but I missed those days of tearing down the road at 20+ miles per hour in pack of 30 guys.

The toughest part is explaining how this can be both tough nails to do and yet so much fun that I want to turn around and do it all over again.

But “fun” is an often over used word. Perhaps “satisfaction” is a better word to use in this situation. The sense of satisfaction in knowing that you have accomplished a difficult task lures you back again and again.   

Where do you find your sense of satisfaction?


The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Earlier Morning Workouts

Here’s the flow of my morning so far. My alarm goes off at 4:01 AM. For the next the 30 minutes, I move steadily from one task to the next. Not allowing my mind too much idle time to think about the task ahead. Doing so, would likely entice me to bail on my 5 AM workout.

My 4:31 alarm rings, and I head for PDS to meet up with Laurie, Stacey, and Steve. Not that I am nervous, but this will be my first track workout in over a year. Older legs don’t turn over as fast as younger legs. And, well, lately, my legs have felt quite a bit older.

Stacey and Laurie lead us through a 2 mile warm up. Then, it was time to hit the track. Steve and I end up jumping into Laurie’s mile repeats by running every other lap.

After 8 x 400s, he and I split off. I run a so-so mile repeat in 5:54.

We finished off the morning with a couple of cool down miles . All told, we started at 5:00 and were finished by 6:10. I was back home by 6:45.  

Yeah, extra sleep feels good but so does a workout like this morning. Big thanks to Stacey, Laurie, and Steve for making me accountable.

Now, I am off to work, and I already know I am off to a great start.


The Cool Down Runner

Friday, May 6, 2016

Looking back

A good running log can be a runner’s best friend. Being able to look back to spot trends and see what works and what doesn’t can be a huge benefit toward creating future training plans. I regularly use my logs to build my training plans.

Not sure why but yesterday, I was glancing back through some of my logs from 8 years ago and saw where I ran an 8 mile tempo run in 47 minutes and 11 seconds. It must have been a pretty good day. My notes didn’t go in to a lot detail but any time I ran a tempo run under 6 minute pace, things had to be going right.

But what really caught my attention was the time – 47:11. It exactly matched the tempo run that I did yesterday. The only difference between the runs aside from me being 8 years older – I only ran 7 miles yesterday.   

I am not totally sure why but for some reason, I just felt older. Steps get lost as we age but maybe once it gets to miles, the realization hits home a little harder.  
The Cool Down Runner