Wednesday, July 27, 2016

CRC's Summer Track Night

Our local Charlotte weather men were calling for a temperature of over 100 degrees yesterday, and we were prepared with ice, coolers, plenty of fluids, chairs, and tents as we headed into our club’s track night. However, it was Mother Nature who kept us off balance. Several storm fronts rolled through. There was never much in the way of rain but plenty of lightning and thunder in the distance.

For the safety of the runners and guest, we cleared the track, and asked all of the runners to head back to their cars. We would signal when the all clear sign came.

This came roughly an hour later, and we kicked our events into high gear.

Aaron stepped up to organize a lot of the pre-event stuff as our meet director. Then, last night, he led our charge to get our runners through as many events as possible.  

The most disappointing part happened when a second storm front rolled through around 8:10 PM. This forced us to cancel our 4 x 400 and 5k events.

Wrapping up, I want to send a big shout out to Steve, Rich, Mike, Stacy, Gurmit, Paul, Adrian, Bobby, and Bev. My apologies, if I missed anyone.

You guys filled in wherever needed, and helped make this evening a great success for our club.

Over time, our club is slowing getting a reputation for putting on great events. Much like a lump of coal turning into a diamond, it takes time and the right amount of pressure. Come next summer, I truly believe CRC is at the right point and time to lead our local summer track series.


The Cool Down Runner



Monday, July 25, 2016

Lazy Summer Days

I certainly hope everyone is enjoying these magnificent summer time days. I know I am. Ok, maybe not so much while running but if I am just out walking, I love it. There is something about the feel of a heat and not just any heat like the dry oven heat but rather the moist heat of summer that causes a bubble of sweat to trickle down the side of my face while I am setting in my lawn chair.

All I have to think about is setting back, stretching my legs, and sipping something cool while the puffy clouds pass slowly overhead and the day lazily drifts away.
The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Gastonia Grizzlies 5k

This weekend I was to have raced in Winston Salem at the Beat the Heat 5k, but life has a way of redirecting us sometime. Instead I found myself standing at the starting line for the Gastonia Grizzles 5k.

My car registered a temperature of 100 degrees, and with a 6 PM start time, it was not going to dip much below that during the race.

We started down the 3rd base line, and we ran across home plate on our way out of Sims Park. Not necessarily the best of starting locations. The edges of the mats were sticking up making everyone watch their step or risk tripping. Then, there was the 4 ft wide gate through which we were to exit. Ok, one, two, maybe 3 runners could pass through at the same time, but it soon backlogged up with runners.

Once outside the park, we ran up a gravel road to a side street. From there, we ran down to the local greenway. On the greenway, it was a two out and backs sections.

There was a bunch of people in front of me as we entered the greenway, and it was hot. My legs felt like they had already run 20 miles. But it wasn’t just having an effect on me but on everyone else too. They were slowing down. I passed this young kid who was leading about half way up the long incline to the 2nd turn around. However, once I was by him, he stuck to me like glue. I couldn’t shake him coming back. Then, at the steep hill just before we entered Sims Park, he made a great move which I couldn’t cover. He got out about 15 seconds on me. Between the gravel road and the grass around the outfield, I couldn’t muster anything to catch him.

This may well have been the hottest race conditions for a 5k that I have ever raced.

A couple of hours later, I was setting down to eat, and I just looked at my food.  I wasn’t even hungry, but I was tired. All I wanted to do was sleep.

After a certain point, the heat seems to zip all of my energy.   Leaving me with the feeling, I am going through the motions.
Before ending, I do want to give a shout out to all of my Gaston County Running Buddies. They turned out in force for this race, and it was good to catch up with them.
The Cool Down Runner






Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pace vs. Distance - Summer Runs

How does the heat affect your summertime runs? This was a great question that was recently posed to me during one of our Tour De Charlotte events. The question its self isn’t new to us weathered runners but to the new breed of runners coming into our sport, they haven’t caught on to the effects that the heat has on their bodies.

My particular take on the issue goes a little something like this.  

Based on my experience with higher temperatures three things happen. First, my heart jumps up to handle the extra stress of the heat. More blood will flow near the skin to help cool my body which means less going to muscles to reoxygenate them. Less oxygen means means my muscles will tirer quicker. Third, I will begin to sweat which is my body's way of attempting to cool off but depending on the weather, this can mean water running off me rather than evaporating.

What does all this mean? Well, we have to have to accept that either our distance needs to be shortened or our pace needs to slow. The only way to maintain both is to do the obvious – get in better shape.  However, this easier said than done during the summer.

So which is better running less distance but at the same pace or running slower but the same distance? Sometimes, I like to answer a question with a question. What are your goals? What races are on your upcoming schedule?

If you are running nothing but 5k and 10ks, then running a shorter distance but at the same pace or a little better is most likely the way to go. However, if say you are looking for a Labor Day Boston Qualifier, you are going to be pounding out the miles, the choice of running slower but going the distance makes the most sense.

I’ll throw out other request to you. Make sure you are seeing your family doctor regularly. Running in general puts a great deal of stress on your body and your heart. The summer time heat surely elevates this stress. As the commercial says, you should always think “Safety, safety, safety” first.


The Cool Down Runner


Monday, July 18, 2016

Soaked Runnning Shoes

What’s the worst part of summer time running? Is it the heat? Maybe, there are days where I feel like it would be cooler to stick my head in an oven. Is it the humidity? Possibly, there is nothing like being 5 minutes into a run, and you look like you have been running 2 hours.

For me, the wet shoes and socks are the worst part. Somehow, the constant squeaking of my soaked shoes and socks remind me of just how hot and tired that I am really am.  Just how much I really wished that I was finished. Water is literally dripping off both them, and it takes days for them to completely dry out.

On the brightside, fall will be here soon enough.

The Cool Down Runner

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Doldrums of MidSummer

Lately, I have been dragging myself through the morning heat and humidity for run and usually over the same course.

For reasons that I cannot explain, my brain will switch into auto pilot mode during these runs. The rest of my miles pass pretty much without any mental involvement on my part. Sounds funny doesn’t it. It also sounds a little dangerous as well.

So today, I switched up my course a bit. It was good thing too. There was more shade along this new course, and my body seemed to respond better during my run.

 Maybe this all has something to do with the doldrums of midsummer, but like I have always said. Change is a good thing. Change makes you better. Change makes you stronger. Embrace change as a way to reach the next rung on your ladder of success.

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Recovery Time

Eight weeks of speedwork is just about the max for me. After starting my first speed session at the beginning of May, the last week of June was a good week to put a done stamp on it.

While I only raced twice during this stretch, my legs felt trashed. To the point where my quads were extremely sore. Yet, I still don’t have a reason for why they are so sore, but they are. But, this isn’t my normal soreness. Rather, it is very similar to how my quads feel right after a marathon. Where walking down steps can take a bit more effort.

So the best remedy for me is to go out and log some easy miles. Give my body a chance to bounce back to normal and feel good heading into the fall where cooler weather and good racing are usually found.
See you on the roads, 

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Just a bit jealous

Steve was back from his recent trip to the Olympic Trials last week in Washington. So this morning, we synced up for a run together, and boy did I get the full scoop.

To say the least, I was a bit jealous of his trip.

Between the pictures that he shared and the stories he told, I don’t know how any runner wouldn’t be.  In fact, this morning, I barely said a word for the entire 7 miles.  Steve and Aaron literally geeked-out for the entire run.

It didn’t bother me one bit. I was glued to their conversation.
And, it is always a pleasure to run with Steve and Aaron.

BTW - Maybe I will think about making the trip west in 4 years.


The Cool Down Runner

Monday, July 11, 2016

Concord Street Light 5K Recap

Concord Park and Rec. Dept organized their Street Light 5k for last Friday night in downtown Concord. Similar to previous years, the temperature hovered near 100 degrees around the starting time, and the humidity created a lather of sweat on my skin that just would not go away.

Again, similar to last year, the start of race unfolded much the same way. Lots of people made use of the downhill first mile for a fast start. Even with the coolness of the greenway, their legs must have grown heavy from the heat and humidity and by the first mile, I grabbed the lead.

Back along the greenway and through the park, my legs too were feeling the heat and humidity. The first couple of miles on this course are pretty nice but the 3rd mile is a bit of a bear as it climbs back up into downtown Concord. It is gradual at first, but it then gets steeper. This is followed by a set of switch backs. And, when you think you are over the top, you turn on to the street only to realize there is yet more climbing to do.

Once I reached the top of the hill, my legs were done. There wasn’t even a sprint to the finish. My time was 18:31. Considering the course, the temperature, and the humidity, this race went about as expected. Although the win was an unexpected surprise.

The shirt was nice. The duffle bag was even nicer, and the awards were better than last year.

I ducked out right after the awards and right before the rain hit to head home. At least I thought I was. After making good time through the pouring rain to the interstate, I was just passing by Concord where the road widening is taking place.

Here’s where everything came to a halt. Traffic was at a standstill. After 20 minutes, I just turned my car off and took a nap. About an hour and half later, I heard the cars around me start up. Within a few minutes, we were moving again.

A tree had fallen into the road which caused all of I-85 to come to a halt.

The sad part of all this, when I was pulling out of the parking lot after the race, I decided to head for I-85 because I thought it would have been faster than 29 on my way home.

Food for thought, every decision no matter how big or small has consequences. Choose wisely.


The Cool Down Runner



Wednesday, July 6, 2016

One run but 2 experiences

Ok, I got a little lazy after celebrating the 4th of July, and I didn’t head out for my run until Tuesday evening.

One thing is certain these days. Afternoon runs could well feel like I am running on the sun. Leaving the cozy comfort of my house where it is a mild 70 degrees. Stepping to the curb, mind you, I have not started running yet, the perspiration is already bubbling to the surface. With each step, my feet feel like they each weigh 10,000 pounds.

Of course, I am coated with sun block, a hat, and sunglasses. Not sure how, but they seem to magnify the sun’s energy rather than repel it.  Ok, maybe the sunglasses were working but the rest definitely do not.

 Then, as if out of the Wizard of Oz, the weather shifts a 180 degree halfway through my run. The non-existent wind becomes the stand you straight up kind. Next, flashes of light and the rumbling of thunder in the distance lead me to believe I am going to get wet and soon.

Turning into the next neighborhood, I was met by a wall of water. Holding my hands over my eyes in a vain attempt to shield them from the rain, only one at a time was working, and then it only works for a few seconds after a wipe away the rain.

Of course, the 130 degree road temperature quickly turns much of the falling rain into a steamy bath engulfing my legs.

Maybe I caught a break at this point. My shoes were soaked with sweat so neither the rain nor the steam bath had much effect on them.

As quickly as the rain came, it was gone. Rolling up to my drive way there was but barely a few drops falling.

The humidity was still gosh darn awful, but at least the rain gave me something else to think about and alleviated the oppressive heat for this day.

The Cool Down Runner