Sunday, October 1, 2017

Novant Health 15k Race Recap

Temperaturewise, this morning was a great morning for running. On the other hand, windwise, conditions were less than idea.

At least we were not racing in temperatures like last Saturday morning. They were miserable to say the least.

However, before I dive into my race recap, I wanted to share a funny story about myself leading up to it.

Some time back in August, I signed up for this 15k. At the time, I noted that the race date was in October. Then, I pushed the thought on the back burner.

Earlier, this week, I popped open my inbox to find an email from Run For Your Life giving the detail race break down. I thought – how strange. They sent this out a full week before the race. They are really on top of this race stuff. Worked picked up, and I pushed thought into the background. However, in the back of my mind I could shake this feeling that something wasn't right. Strange, they would send this out a full week before the race. I didn't recall the date of the race from my registration, but I assumed it was the first full week in October.

Finally, I went back to the email from my registration and read through it. To my surprise, yes, the race was in October but the race date was the 1st. I flipped over to my calendar, and suddenly, the date dawned on me. The race was this Sunday i.e. today. How could I have screwed up the date.

Any way, I pulled up my training plan and shifted around my workouts to make things work with racing this weekend.

Tada, this morning I am standing at the 15k starting line. With any luck, my legs will not let me down.

We get a quick 5 second count down, and we are off. Laurie and Billy quickly move out to the front. They will soon be out of sight at least to the small group where I am running.

Four of us form in to a nice little pack. Two guys, who I had never met, wanted to be out front. I had not problem with letting them. The wind was nasty. If I didn't need to lead the pack so be it. The forth member of our little group was young lady from the UNCC 49ers XC team. This was her first 15k race. I remember her because she beat me at the StreetLight 5k back in July.

So the miles rolled back by. We would run a bit slower on the up hills, and then run a bit faster on the downhills. Somewhere between miles 4 and 5 she dropped back. I stayed with the two guys until between miles 6 and 7. We went in to this little side neighborhood. Actually, the run in was not that bad. The run out was another story. The hill was about 200 of super steepness. They opened a gap on me that I never make up.

Once we up on top, the wind was hitting us hard in the face. The harder I attempted to run the harder that the wind seemed to be pushing back on me. Miles 7 to 8.5 seemed to take a life time to complete.

I saw the sign saying 15k to the left and 5k straight ahead to the finish. I so wanted to go straight ahead to the finish.

Nope, I had to follow the 15k course. At least, I had the 5th place guy probably 30 to 40 yards ahead of me. He was my carrot. I keep chasing as if I could still catch him. Even thou, in the back of my mind, I knew my changes were slim.

I pass by mile 9 in just under 56 minutes. My brain is already calculating my finish time. I am urging my legs forward in hopes that I can do a bit better than my calculations.

I brought my Hoka/Charlotte Running Store jersey home in 58:03 which put me the first male master. Actually, one of the guys that I had been running was a master as well, but he finished in the top 5. They bumped him up and by bumping him up, they also bumped me up i.e. 1st place Master.

Having not raced in the roads in nearly 3 months, my goal today was sub 60 minutes. My hope sprang from the fact that I had been running bunches of tough trails. May be some of it would translate over.

Looks like a bit of it.

Kudos, to my 3 running buddies that helped me through the early portion of this race. The pace was perfect. My only wish is that I could have stayed close a little longer. May be next year.

Big shout out to Billy for taking home the win for guys, and Laurie K. for the latest. Both were in a league by themselves today.

Now comes "rest" for the rest of the day today, and then I need to get back to training. My marathon is a little over 5 weeks away.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wild Vine Trail ½ marathon

So this weekend I ventured out to the White Water Center for their Wild Vine Trail ½ Marathon. Great event but everyone endured tough conditions. Between the weather and the course, more than one runner including yours truly was “cooked” by the end.

Heaven only knows why they decided to start this race at 9:30. The temperature was well in to the upper 70s by the time we rolled off the line and well into the upper 80s by time that I crossed the finish line. I will say that for the first 5 or 6 miles, I was tolerating the heat fairly well, but over those last 7 miles, I was reduced to putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, when I crossed the finish line, I immediately went over to the benches and laid there for probably 30 minutes. I wasn't alone. Looking around, many of the runners were suffering. All any of us wanted was water and shade.

The early miles of the race suited my style of running which was probably why they let me pound away at the front. We made a circle of the main loop around the rapids before descending into the trails. Rolling along the South Main trail, we picked up the Carpet and Wedge loops. Then going by the Weigh Station loop, the 2nd place guy passed me. To my credit, I told him early on to not let me hold him. I guess finally he decided to take me up on my offer. Minutes after passing me, he had pulled away and was soon out of sight.

After the Lake Loop, we picked up the “but kicking” East Main trail. Twisting and turning, going up hill and down, all the while I was attempting to keep my feet underneath me. Throw in the fact, the heat made me feel like I had an 800 lb. Gorilla on my back. I was really happy to get through it without falling.

Plus, I was really surprised that I didn't get caught by another runner. I felt sure that my crawling up the hills would give someone the time that they needed to catch me.

Guess they were struggling as much as me.

Long story short, I ran 1 hour and 53 minutes. This was 40 seconds slower than my time 3 years ago. However, this time I moved up a few spots to 2nd overall, and I came home with 1st place in my age.

Take the tough days in stride and live to run another day.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, September 17, 2017

22 Miler LR 9-6-17

Following my usual weekend long run plans, I was cruising a long the trails at the White Water Center on Saturday morning. The last couple of weeks, I would repeat my first 10 mile loop. This way, life is nice and simple. On my second lap through my brain is nearly on autopilot.

But this week, I switched things up. I ran two different 10 mile loops. If I had desired, I believe I could have squeezed out a 3rd 10 mile loop with hardly any overlap. The WWC guys keep adding trail. I love it.
So why did a switch up my run pattern this past weekend.....

As we get tired, our ability to concentrate becomes more and more difficult. For this very reason, I pushed myself to do the more technical trails over the last half of my runs. Thus, knowing the course is far more difficult; I force myself to concentrate so much harder and longer. An ability which I believe can be enhanced in us all if we are willing to work at it.

But I digress.

Hopefully, these long runs will help me with my Marathon. The race is fast approaching with only 6 more weeks of training left to do. Seems like the weeks are flying by.

The Cool Down Runner

River Jam 10k Trail Race

Ok, my apologies here, but I need to vent on a particular topic.

Last Thursday evening, I jumped in the last trail race of the White Water Center River Jam 10k Series. Myself and a couple of other runners had been going back and forth over the first 2 to 3 miles of the race.

We had just passed by Wedge Loop exit and were running the long straight path section on one side of the open field. The trail takes a little detour here which is about a tenth of mile, but the section is single track and extremely technical. A lot of people who are just out running bypass this section and if you do, it cuts down both on the distance and time because the path is flat and shorter.

As we are coming of this technical section, there were a stream of runners moving ahead of us. They all had taken the short cut.

I was feeling a little frustrated at that moment to say the least. Passing them back on a road is hard, but passing them on a single track trail is way tougher. Over the next mile or so, I work my way by some of them but others, I never got a chance to run down. The combination of the time bonus from the short cut and then working my way back by these slower runners was just to much of an advantage for them.

I ended up 10th overall with a time of 49:35. This placed me 1st in my age group.

Thinking back afterward, did I miss a sign or something. Maybe I was the one that took a wrong turn. Maybe I should have went straight.

Later, I went back out to check the course again, yeah, I know. I should just let these things go, but this is not one of those times. When I got back to the spot in question, yes, signage did indeed direct us to take the side trail. This means that those runners not only ignored the signs but crossed the ribbon directing us to take the side trail. The only reasonable explanation that I could think is that the race map showed us bypassing this side trail. But still, they should have followed the mark course. Otherwise, why even mark the course in the first place.  

Here's the sad part of any race. All it takes is one runner ignoring the directions and going off course. Runners behind him will follow him like little ducklings following their mother. I suspect that this is what happen here, but I will never know for sure.  

Oh, well, I did get in a pretty good workout. At the end of the day, is anything more important.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Back to the trails - Long Run

After a summer of suffering in the heat and humidity, Saturday was another fine example of great fall weather. For the first hour or so, I could have worn a shirt.

But we all know this is great weather for running. I hope each of you is taking advantage of it.

Anyway, after racing last Sunday, and then running my long trail run on Monday, I was back on the trails at the WWC for my long run yesterday.

I wanted to clock 22 Garmin miles before quitting. To make this happen I attempted to pick a course which brought back around 20 to 21 miles. This way, I get a nice little loop around the rapids before quitting. Since I had been running the 15k Trail race loop, I decided to throw in both the Carpet and the Figure 8 loops. Using both of these loops, one lap was about 10.5 Garmin miles.

My first lap went fairly well, but I could tell with all the miles over the past week, my legs were “sorely” lacking in any pop. A couple of times on the second lap, my foot clipped a root, but luck was on my side. I didn't go down.

By the end, my quads were spent.

Hopefully, they bounce back this week. I am in full marathon training now so I don't need any set backs. Also, I have a trail ½ marathon coming up in a couple of weeks. They need to keep me up right and carry me the entire way.

Please keep you fingers crossed for me.

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Another Visitor Center to Visitor Center and back run

A couple of weeks ago, I tossed out the idea of running from the Crowder's Mt Visitor Center to the Kings Mt. Visitor and back in day. One way, this course is roughly 13 miles by the Garmin. Likely, the run is closer to 14 miles with all the twist and turns.

Fast forward to Monday, I didn't have any major plans so kind of last minute decided to head down and do it.

A few minutes after 8 AM, I rolled out from the Crowder's Mt. Visitor center. The past couple of times that I have made this run, it has been in mid July, and usually on a Sunday. The crowds were rather sparse.

However, on this day parking lot was over half full and hundreds of people were making their way up the slopes.

The first 3 miles are a bit of climb as I headed for the top of ridge line. Mostly, I felt my heart rushing along and sweat dripping from my forehead. A strange feel considering the temperate was a mere 61 degrees.

Along the way, I passed numerous families on their journey to the top. Some were slowing making their way up the slope. Others were standing or sitting from what I presume would be oxygen debt.

Gazing into their eyes as I passed them, I wondered what they thought of me. After all, here is a 50 year man running up a slope that they are struggling to walk.

Once I was up on the ridge line, the view was awesome. I could see for miles in all directions. Then, I began the long slow decent in to South Carolina and Kings Mt. State Park.

For the most part this is a nice wide trail for running. A few sections do narrow up and some get washed out a bit by the water, but otherwise, I could pretty much cruise along.

The Ridge line trail ends in the Kings Mt. Start Park, where I took a right for the 2+ mile run up to the visitor center. They had added one small section since I last made this run two years ago. The course veered away from the creek for a small distance before returning to pick up the main trail again.

Nothing much had changed at the Kings Mt Visitor Center, and the parking lot didn't look nearly as full as the Crowder's Mt. parking lot. I filled my Nathan water bottles, and within a few minutes, I was on the trail headed back.

Going out I never think too much about how much the course drops, but coming back I begin to take more notice of it.

The terrain tilts only slightly uphill but as I push further into the run, the slope steepens, flattens out, and steepens again. Until finally, I am in the last ½ mile of the climbing to the top and going from one rail road tie to the next. The ties are about 2 and half feet apart, and my quads are aching from the constant climbing.

Hitting the top, a feeling of relief sweeps over me. The climbing is finally done. Now, I have only 2 to 3 miles of running back to the Visitor Center. Of course, nothing is ever easy. I am tired. The course is super steep in sections. To keep from tripping and falling, I have to grab a tree. Tired legs just don't respond like fresh ones.

Some 4 hours and 30 minutes later, I pulled back in to the parking lot at Crowder's Mt. State park. My legs were covered in trail dust. I never realized how dirty they get during a run but I wear it proudly. Any one that sees me knows I have been putting in major miles.

Seems like very couple of years; I do this run. Every time, I am reminded that I should consider running from Kings Mt. to Crowder's Mt. and back. The run would be way easier but I never seem to remember that fact. May be I just like the ruggedness of running this way. This certainly test my lung power and stamina.

See you at the next Visitor Center to Visitor Center Run.

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, September 4, 2017

WWC Labor Day 15k Trail Race

So I was kicking around where I wanted to race over the Labor Day weekend. With all the miles that I have been piling up at the WWC, why not jump in their 15K race. Many of the trails used for the 15k were ones that I was already running.

Fast forward to Sunday morning, I headed off in wave one. We quickly strung out with a couple of guys putting a gap on the rest of us. This was fine with me. I had my plan for the race, and I sticking to it.

After an out and back along the western edge of the gravel road around the white water section, we hopped on to the trail. I had 4 guys on my “six” and pushing me to run faster. Two miles in, they were still on my tail. A couple of times, I gave them the wide side of the trail to pass. While I was open to letting them by, I was about to slow down for them. If they wanted it, they needed to muscle up the speed and take it.

With them not making any real effort to pass me, we settled into this pattern of my pulling away slightly on the uphill while they came pounding back on the down hills.

We transitioned to the south main trail. Here things flatten out and the trail widens. I expected a flood of runners going by me.

Yet, this didn't happen. By not plunging into the trail section in oxygen debt, I had maintained my breathing and lactic acid levels. Now, we were running long the river, and I was feeling good. Approaching the Wedge Loop, I sensed that I had gap. The Wedge Loop is only about ½ mile but it suites my running style. This allowed my to open my gap on them even further. Adding to my inspiration, the 2nd place runner was floating in and out of my vision at every turn. Nothing encourages a runner more than seeing a runner just ahead.

Within a mile, I reeled him back to me. Now, I was on his “six” and pressing him at every turn. I guess he didn't like the hoofs pounding at this back door because he pulled up and let me pass. Although thinking back now, I didn't believe that I was pressing my point that much because I knew the trail head was about to open up. Giving me my opportunity to get around him.

Entering the Lake Loop, I could tell that I had nice gap. As many of you know the WWC Lake Loop is my favorite. The terrain is pretty similar to running at McAlpine. Every cruise section, I pushed harder to hoping to keep my gap growing.

Trail running makes it tough to gauge distance. How well a runner can handle the terrain means more than raw speed. But when we crossed the parking lot for the final section of trail, I couldn't see any one close.

There were a number of 5k walkers finishing up. I nearly ran over a couple of them. Calling out  “a heads up”, I am coming. They never moved. In fact, they didn't move until I tapped them on the shoulder. They had their ear buds and were tuning out the world around.

Once out on the gravel section, I was free of the roots to run now. Loved their finish along the water on the island. They should have all of their races start and end at this location. In my opinion, everyone loved it.

I finished in second place 4 minutes and 37 seconds behind with a time of 72:34. The guy that I passed for 2nd place ended up some 48 seconds behind me.

My only glimpse of the leader was during our Wedge Loop, I was heading in while he was heading out. He was likely about 3 minutes ahead of me at this point.

Kudos to Adam and his entire WWC crew. They did an awesome job organizing the race, and gave away some nice swag to the age groupers. Interesting enough, the WWC races don't give overall awards. Not sure why, but it is what is.

Loved getting some trail time no matter what. Even with the temps in the 60s, the humidity was awful. My Hoka Race Jersey, shorts, and shoes were soaked. Who knows how many days will need to pass before they dry out.

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Long Run #7

Finishing up my 20 miles on my Garmin at the White Water Center on Saturday morning, I felt like I could go another 3 or 4 miles. That's what happens when the weather changes for the better. With the temperature in the mid 60s and a much milder humidity level, my body finally felt like running again.

To digress for a moment, Bobby and I were discussing how the heat and humidity seems to affect us more now a couple of weeks ago.  

Push the humidity up to 70, 80, or 90%, and going for easy run feels more like the last few miles of a marathon. Legs feel heavy and lethargic. Only sheer will power and muscle memory keeps them going when everything screams to slow down or stop.

One thing that I have noticed as I have gotten older, I sweat more. Not just a little, but a lot. May be my body through years of running had just adapted. However, I feel like the increased sweating is a double edged sword. Yes, sweating helps keep me cooler, but sweating also means that I am losing water – lots of it. More than I can put back during any run. This in and of itself can turn a decent run into a long slow march to the finish.

But enough about the effects of the summer heat and humidity. Fall is in the air. This means cooler temperatures, plenty of road races, and fall marathon.

So take advantage of this great weather and hit the roads or the trails.

As long as you are moving, nothing else is important.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trail Long Run #6

With the heat and humidity kicking runner's buts across Charlotte including mine, taking my long run back to the White Water Center trails made perfect sense this morning. About 7:30 AM, I loaded up and headed out.

This week, I needed to change up my usual plans. Instead of going out for one long run before returning to the parking lot, I made loops. Rather I made the 15k loops which composed the course for  the White Water Center race coming up in a few weeks.

Getting the terrain laid out in my head means I will likely run little faster on race day. However, today I found other motivation to be a little quicker.

Shortly after turning on the North Main trail, I was cruising along enjoy the morning when my eyes identified something that brought me to a halt.

Setting on edge of trail was nice fat copper head snake warming himself in the morning sunshine. Definitely, snakes are never part of my plans for a trail but occasionally, we do cross paths.

Once I could see he wasn't stressed i.e. looking for a nice lean runner's leg to bite, I gave him a wide berth and continued down the trail. Unfortunately, seeing one snake means that every odd shaped root which catches sun just right looks like a snake. Several miles passed under my feet before my brain stopped this ludicrous behavior.

Nine miles later, I made a quick stop at my car to load up on water and headed off again. I treaded lightly through the snake section but he most have moved on. Having a few Mt. Bikers flash by, he likely decided to find a better spot to work on his tan. He will get no objections from me.

After finishing up a my second loop, I headed over to the gravel path around the white water. With only a couple miles left in my long run, watching rafters seemed like a nice idea. At least this was better than staring at trees.

Looking at the Whiter Water Center now and 5 years ago, they seem like totally different places. They continue to grow and expand. Given the fitness craze that my people are on these days, the White Water Center makes for a ideal place to spend a lazy day for a fitness nut: flat water rafting in the morning, white water rafting in the afternoon, zip lining in the evening. If the mood hits, there also are plenty of trails and obstacles course to enjoy.

Definitely, they have a great place to get in a full day of fun and cool workout to boot. So check it out.

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Charlotte Running Company XC 5k

Boy, the humidity made running terrible this morning. I finished my warm up miles before the 5k race, and sweat dripped from shorts as if I had been standing in a rain shower. No amount of toweling off could keep it from coming back.

So this morning, I headed down Myers Park for the Charlotte Running Company XC 5k and High School Invitational Meet. The adults go off first at 8 AM. Then, starting at 9 AM, the kids get to run going off in groups every 30 minutes. Let me tell you, they are amazing to watch.

Adults run with caution. We totally understand that tomorrow is another day, and we are unlikely to push to the point that we put ourselves in harms way. Kids don't have that fear yet. They attack the up hills hard and even harder they attack the down hills with a reckless abandon. A fact made very evident to me while I was attempting to stay a couple runners likely not born before I ran my first marathon.

We start from the far side of the ball field. Run along a dirt trail until it pops out behind the school. We follow the edge of the campus until the course picks up the trail again. Some of course is rather rugged. Bone crunching down hills followed by heart pounding up hills. To make runner's life even more interesting, every type of surface is encountered on the course: from grass, dirt, asphalt, gravel, to concrete.

I had hopes of staying with Cory during the race but once we hit the rugged section, he opened up a lead that I never closed. When I came off the second loop, he was well out sight. He went on to beat me by some 50 seconds today.

I finished 6th overall in 20:45. This was a little better finish than my last XC race here a little over two years ago. Funny, my time was nearly same.

Kudos to Lamont from Myers Park High School, Start 2 Finish, and Charlotte Running Company for supporting this event. They did an awesome job making sure the race was organized, and this is all any runners wants.

While XC running has never been my real forte, the way this course challenges me keeps me coming back year after year.

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Long Run #5 – No trails.

With the off and on stormy weather for the past few days, the Whitewater Center Trails were closed today. So I was back on the roads for my weekly long run.

Why didn't I run the trails anyway? Well, during the early miles of my run, I contemplated this very question. The result, I came up with 3 reasons. Whether they are good reasons or not, I will let everyone else be the judge.

Reason #1 for not running on the trails, no one like being the trail cob web cleaner. Think about it. No one wants to be the first one on the trails. Catching a cob web across the face is just nasty.

Reason #2 for not running on the trails, didn't want to get busted for it. Yeah, I could sneak in and run the trails but with my luck one of the WWC guys would be out checking and I get kicked out of the center maybe even permanently. No point in taking an unnecessary risk.

Reason #3 for not running on the trails, this might actually be my best reason. The WWC team does an awesome job giving us all these trails and taken care of them. I should be respectful of their rules. If they feel the trails should not have runners, mt bikers, etc on them, we should obey them. Personally, I want these trails to be enjoyed for years to come. Tearing up the trails does no one any good, and likely gets additional restrictions imposed on their usage.

So how was my long run today?

The humidity was the worst this morning. Sweat quickly coated my skin and without the slightest hint of a gust of wind my shoes were soon making that “swooshing” sound of soaked running shoes. By 14 miles, my legs wanted to be done, and they still had another 5 miles to carry me.

But I stuck it out, and I finished my run. The ending was a bit ugly, but I finished it and will live to run another day.

See you on the trails,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Trail Long Run #4

So late Friday night the storms rolled across the Charlotte area. When this happens, they often close the Whitewater Center trails. However, come Saturday morning, they were showing all trails open. It must be my lucky day or so I thought.

Long Run number four had a few surprises in store for me. There tumble on the trail. There was a snake out and about. A new section was added to the Thread trail.

Where should I start.

Ok, let's tackle these in the order that they occurred.

First, the new trail section, I am headed out on the Thread trail. I was about to cross the service road when the path a head was blocked. No, I don't mean blocked like a trail fell across the trail. Although, after last night's storms, several trees had fallen cross the trail in different sections. No, in this case, someone had made a big “X” with two trees blocking the path a head. Veering left, they had created a new entrance to a whole new section of the Thread Trail. This was no small addition. I felt like I ran forever before connecting back up with the old trail. A couple of weeks ago, I ran this same course, and didn't hit 16 miles until I was back side on the figure 8 trail. With this new addition, I was well over 16 miles before I even reached the figure 8 trail.

I love the fact that the Whitewater Center crew is always adding new trails. This keeps things interesting. We all know runners love interesting things.

Moving on to my tumble, well with rain last night, there were a few slippery sections. About 17 miles into my run, I was getting tired and probably wasn't paying close enough attention to my footing. Well, I started down this steep slope when my right foot just went right out from under me. I rolled down the hill and on to my side. I immediately popped right up and looked around to see if anyone had seen me. I was more embarrassed than hurt. Brushed off some of the dirt. Did a quick head to toe sanity check and headed off running again. Luckily nothing was hurt. I kind of bounced down the slope and on to soft sandy pile of dirt.

So last item was my snake encounter. I am heading back to the trail head along the Parkway trail, and this guy passes me. He is just head of me when we round this bend and suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I see the huge black snake crossing the trail and heading up the embankment. I don't know. May be he never saw it. If he did, would have been nice to give a fellow running buddy a little heads up. Nothing like being totally surprised by a black streak crossing the path in front of me.

Otherwise, this was just another boring uneventful time in the woods. I will say the fatigue was really starting to set in over those final miles. For the first 9 to 10 miles, I felt pretty good and probably ran a little harder than I should have. I, then, paid for it over the later miles. Most of the time, I always save the easier trails for the end because I know that I am tired. I don't pick up my feet as well so on the easier trails I am less likely to fall. Although, may I proved this wrong by falling on the Thread trail.

With week number 4 for trails in the books, I need to switch up my trails again. Run them in some different combination. Like I said earlier, runners like to keep things interesting.

See you on the trails,

The Cool Down Runner.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Trail Long Run #3

Ok, so Saturday I headed to the trails to knock out my 3rd long run in as many weeks under the shady leaves of the forest. The morning started out a bit rough. For the first hour or so, the humidity was something awful. Within the first 20 minutes, my body was dripping with sweat. Then, somewhere around around 9 or 9:30 the humidity lifted, and the breeze picked up. From then. On, my run felt totally different.

Everything was stark contrast to the previous week when the heat seemed to radiate from every possible direction. I couldn't get enough water in me to rehydrate.

The week, the miles rolled along. By the time my Garmin clocked 18 miles, I was pulling back in to the parking lot, and still felt good.

Three more weeks, my body should become well adapted to the stresses of the trails. Let's hope some of this trail strength will cross over and show up during my road races.

I do my best to keep you posted on my progress.

By the way, been thinking about doing another Crowders Mt. To Kings Mt. Trail run. I didn't do one last year, but I feel like time is right for another one. Of course, I need to pick a good weekend for it. Maybe one here during Aug or September.

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Horse sighting

Finishing off my morning run by Northlake Mall this morning, I pulled up at the red light by Reames Rd. 

Normally; there is nothing of interest to see. Cars transitioning to where they need to go.

This morning, however, as I pulled up to wait on the pedestrian light to clear me, here sets a lady riding horse. Yes, that’s right – a horse. And as if she were in her car, she was messing with her smart phone. May be she was checking her FaceBook account. May be she was Twitting. May be she was “heaven forbid” ‘texting’.

We have a law about ‘texting’ while driving a car. I wonder – is there a law about riding a horse and ‘texting’.

The light changes and off she heads toward the mall.

Life is never boring.

The Cool Down Runner

Charlotte Running Club Summer Track Night

While the weather was still hot and humid, the summer storms that troubled us last year remained at bay this year. This gave the Charlotte Running Club the opportunity to produce an awesome event.

Runners began arriving around 5:30 PM. After picking up their numbers, the events soon kicked off with the 50 meters, proceeded by the 100, the mile, the 4 x 100, the 200, the 400, the 800, and the evening finished off with a 5k run on the track. Every event seemed to be stacked with numerous fast runners.  Seeing so many members come out to support our club is so overwhelming.

Success only comes through preparation and planning. Both were well illustrated last night because of the time and energy put in by Aaron. I for one will be sending him – major kudos for his efforts as well as well deserved slap on the back for a job well done.    

Charlotte Country Day also gets a big “Thank You” for being so kind in allowing us to use their track. They are a wonderful group to work with.

For those that missed this event, please be on the lookout for it next year.
See you in the summer of '18 for sure.


The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Whitewater Center Trails LR #2

Ok, as thermostat pushes to near triple digits these days, getting out the sun for a run is a priority.

So, if I don't have some hotels to cast a shadow, I had better have some trees. Right?

Yes, without a question, trees do help. Thus, this morning, I headed back to the Whitewater Center for my second long run in as many weeks. This week's run started on the East Main trail, ventured to the Parkway trail, then to the Academy, Thread, and Figure 8 trails.

At one point, I stumbled upon one of the Whitewater Center Water Coolers. This must have been heaven sent because the heat and my sweating were starting to have an effect on me. I filled my Nathan water bottles, and cooled my cap with cold water before continuing.

When I started, I planned for 18 miles. After my stop at the cooler, I had second thoughts. 15 miles would bring me back to the parking lot. Rather than carry on in the heat, I made the smart move and chose to wrap my long run at 15 miles. Live to fight another day.

As the heat continues its oppression on runners of the south, our local trails may be your only relief. That is, unless you are willing to get out of heat by running at 5 AM.

Check out the Char Meck Park & Rec's page for a list of local trails. Charlotte has some amazing locations; most are only a short driving distance. 

The Cool Down Runner

Hotel Shadow Running

Spent a few days enjoying the sand and the surf of Myrtle Beach this past week. If memory serves me correctly and let's hope it still does, this was my first visit to Myrtle where I stayed on Ocean Blvd.

Usually, when I visit the beach, I like to avoid the tourist traps, but this time, I signed up for it.

Looking back now, I must say that I like being able to walk easily to restaurants, the beach, and evening activities. We were even surprised by an evening fireworks show so off the pier.

But I digress here.

I kept the running light and easy this week. Rolling out bed at 6:45 and out the door by 7 AM, the sun was just high enough to cast some nice hotel shadows which helped keep the soaring temperatures at bay for a bit longer. Even better whether running north or south on the blvd, the wind seemed to be hitting me in the face. Let's face it. In the middle of summer, a head wind no matter mild is a much sort after occurrence.

Where did I run?
Well, Tuesday morning I was out exploring the lower half of the Myrtle Beach ½ marathon course. Wednesday, I explored the upper half of the course. I have run the Myrtle Beach courses numerous times but only this week did a allow myself to take in the sights of the run.

Slowing down and enjoying the moment does have it perks. Everyone should do it.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Street Light 5k – Concord, NC Recap

So after racing on Monday night at the Fire Cracker 5k in South Charlotte, I spent pretty much the rest of the week laying around. Thursday morning while browsing through a list of local races, the Street Light 5k caught my eye. Wild, that's tomorrow night. I was thinking that the race was next week.

Why not go race.

Fast forward to Friday evening, I headed toward downtown Concord.

The weather was typical for July. The temperature was in the mid 90s but it feels like 100 degrees. Throw in some oppressive humidity and not much wind and you have the making for a tough race – even for a 5k.

The Street Light race follows the same course as the Bunny Run 5k earlier this year. The first mile is fast, the second mile is pretty much flat along the green way, but the 3rd mile is the beast. In this mile, the course slowly climbs back up to downtown Concord. Along the way, we have a nasty set of switch backs just to make a runner's life totally miserable.

So I am finishing my warm up strides when I ran in to Brittney. If memory services me correctly, I hadn't seen her in a couple years. Not since, she was a senior in high school. She has moved up now. She runs for the UNCC 49ers XC team, and she brought a few of her buddies along with her to this race. Oh, they are going to make life interesting. I am sure of it.

As with most starts, the young guys go out pretty hard. In this case, this didn't do them much good. We round the first corner, and they suddenly break right and head down a side street.

There must have been a surprised look on my face because I didn't remember doing this any of my previous races here.

Suddenly, people were yelling for them to turn around. Having not made their mistake, I found myself in the front of the field.

We made it through the first mile in 5:33. Brittney, and her buddies were right behind me. By two miles, Brittney moved ahead of me, and her two buddies followed.

That last mile, the monkey was truly jumping on my back. My legs felt wasted climbing up the hill. Brittney put some 40 seconds on my during the last mile.

What a difference a couple of years make. She has become a stronger runner, and the training showed as she charged up the last hill.

Big Kudos to her and here 49er running buddies.

As for me, I went on to finish 4 overall and was the first male finisher in 18:56.

To wrap up this post, I want to send the Concord Park & Rec Dept a huge shout out for a job well done. I run numerous races during the year so I see the extremes both good and bad for how races are run. Those guys do a awesome job, and to beat it, they only charged $20 race day registration. That's why I believe in giving credit where credit is due. They deserve it. Job well done guys!!!!

The Cool Down Runner

Whitewater Center Trails

Ok, what has it been? Something like 18 months have passed since I took one of my runs to the trails. The time felt right again to chew up some dirt. Helping push my thinking in this direction has been these summertime temperatures.

How many 90+ degrees have we had lately? More then enough if you ask me.

I probably don't appreciate how much the shade really means until I am literally melting in the street on one of these hot summer days.

But I digress, the Whitewater Center trails were in awesome shape yesterday.

I cruised around the north trail to the figure 8 trail from the trail head. Off the figure 8, I picked both the Carolina Thread Trail and then Academy trails. I like these two additions. They connect off the existing trails and they roll along pretty well. By the time that I had finished off the figure 8 trail, I have put nearly 7 miles in my rear view mirror. These sections make for nice little run, and the trails are not overly technical.

After the figure 8 I finished off the rest of the north trail and headed into the south trail. I picked up both the wedge loop and the goat loop. The Wedge loop, I like. The loop is a nice easy rolling loop. The Goat on the other hand has more “but” kicking hills than I remember. After south trail, I headed right into the Lake Loop trail. The Lake Loop is probably my favorite trail to run. After all, the trail is probably the least technical of Whitewater Center trails. Also, I was getting tired, and on the Lake Loop, I am least likely to snag my foot on a root and hit the dirt.

After I finished, I picked up my cooler of water and headed over the shelter by the trail head to relax for a few minutes. Over the closing miles my legs were feeling it. I didn't realize how much until I stopped running.
I am way out of trail shape. The twisting and turning, uphills and downhills, brought this realization home. So I am changing up my training plans to do my long runs on the trails for the next couple of months. Once I get 3 or 4 weeks under my belt, my runs should start to feel a little easier.

In the meantime, let's just say that I am going enjoy these summertime trail runs.

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Fire Cracker 5k – South Charlotte 7/3/17

Thunder rumbled in the distance, and post race activities were spoiled by a steady down pour settling over the area. My walk back to my car left me soaked to the bone, but surprisingly, the cold, soaking rain felt awesome on my skin after hours of being in the hot, humid, and sticky weather.

Such was the life for nearly everyone that ran the Fire Cracker 5k in South Charlotte last night.

For past several years, my Fire Cracker 5k experiences were focused on volunteering for this race at the 2nd water stop.

This year Corey talked me into running. Then, why not? Getting in a race on or around our nation's Independence Day should be on everyone's bucket list.

Rumors were abound that this was a pretty tough race. With hot and humid July weather on one hand and a hilly coarse on the other, runners didn't get many chances for a reprieve.

The start was a bit crowded but the competitors quickly strung out. Aaron was quickly making his way to the front, and slowly but surely he was disappearing in to the distance. Around me was a bunch of runners. All were younger than me, and they all seemed to be full of energy and speedie legs.

Through the first mile, several were passing me on the downhills while I would pull them back on the uphills. Megan, Ben, Chase, and Rob yelled encouragement as we passed them several times during the race. Hearing encouragement from the sidelines is always nice. Sounds from the distance motivate me to push more when every part of my body is telling me to slow down.

Just before 2 miles, we hit what is perhaps the steepest and hardest hill on the course. One guy pulls over and starts walking. Lower my head and pumping my arms, my focus is on one single solitary objective – reaching the top of the hill.

After 2 miles, the course calms down with only a few small rollers of hills to overcome. My legs felt the best that they had the entire race. Helping me along was the fact that I was still passing runners.

With less than a quarter mile left in the race, I was were I wanted to be – at the front of our group. I have always found my chances are much better when being on the front of a group than hanging off the back.

Nearing the finish line, I could still fell them pressing hard just behind me. Then, there was the expectation that someone would come sprinting by me. Corey was back there somewhere. I fully expected him to put in a strong finish.

Making the last right hand turn, I was sprinting as fast as I could humanly pick up and put down my Hoka racing flats.

My time was 18:31 which I was extremely happy to have run, and I finished 3rd overall.

Later, I got a chance to look at the results. 2 seconds back were 2 more runners. Another second after them was another runner. 4 seconds after him was the last runner in our group. If I had let up even for a bit, I could have easily went from the 3rd to 8th place in the blink of an eye.

May be this is why humans don't have eyes in the back of their heads. Do we have any business worrying about the things coming up behind us when we should be solely focused on the road in front of us.

Kudos to S2F for their efforts. The race was well organized and the course was well marked which has come to be the norm for their races.

Kudos to Aaron for upholding the Masters division by taking home the win.

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to two of my Charlotte Running Company/Hoka Race teammates: Mary Kate, and Stacy. They ran a strong race together and finished in a dead heat. Congrats on your awesome efforts ladies. Great work!

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Summer Storms

Walking into Walmart, the sounds of thunder rumbled in the distance. The passing thought registered - would the rain arrive before my shopping efforts concluded?

My question was answered only a few minutes later. The beating of the rain against the Walmart sky lights echoed throughout the store. If I had been at home, I could have curled up for a good afternoon nap. The sound made even the most alert person sleepy.

So after picking up a few more items, I finish my shopping, checked out, and headed for my car. The exit from the store was crowded. People were waiting out the rain in hopes that the storm would pass quickly.

This isn't the part that struck me as interesting. Staying dry is important to everyone. Right?

More so, the gender of the individuals waiting is what struck me as interesting. Nearly 90% of those waiting were women. So out 10 individuals waiting only single male was waiting. As I stood there observing not only the people around me but the rain blowing sideways across the parking, more than one male passed through ranks of women and headed out into the storm to their cars.

So why would males head out into the storm and women deemed it better to wait out the rain? Granted my entire theory here may well be flawed. But flawed or not, stopping for a second and really examining the world around us is something we all should do from time to time.

Some of the reasons I pondered: women tend to shop more than men, men tend always be in a hurry, etc.

Of course, one should consider the fact that women are likely smarter than men. Showing a bit more patience means staying dry. Possibly men are only thinking of the short term gains like getting home while women take the long term view – not wearing wet clothes for the next couple of hours.

Ok, enough observing, time for me to head out into the storm. Life moves pretty fast, wasting it watching the rain fall doesn't seem like a productive use of my time.

Oh, yeah, before going, the primary reason women don't venture into the storm while men do, well the answer simple and is as old as time itself. They are made of sugar and spice. Everyone knows that sugar and spice dissolves in water. Right?

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, July 1, 2017

When you don't know the race course

Do race course directions really help?

We were getting our race instructions just before the start of the Freedom Run 5k, and I could not help but smile. I wanted to relay this story because I found it somewhat humorous, and hopefully, you will as well.

As we lined up for the start, the race director is giving us the rules of the road for his race. Part of his prerace speech included a turn by turn break down of the course. Go straight for two blocks and turn left. Go another 3 blocks and take another left. Go 5 blocks and take a right. Cross over the road and take the city trail. Stay left at the lake and take the right over the bridge. Go up the hill and follow the path around the base ball field. So on and so forth.

Hopefully, you are getting the picture by now. This course had more than a few twist and turns on it. By the time that he finished his description, course sounded like a 5 mile course rather than a 5k course, and I said as much out loud which invoked more than few laughs through the field.

For the local runners, his directions made total sense. I am sure of it. They know the local roads probably by heart. For me, I stopped following after the 3 left turn. I could only hope that they marked the course well.

From my personal experience, I find any directions beyond the course is out and back unlikely to help me later during the race.

Why do race directors often feel the need to do give these turn by turn instructions. I often wonder if it is out some sense that the course isn't marked very well. From a runners perspective, a course should be marked based on the assumption that no one knows it. Better to say look for the signs marked on the road or signs at each turn. Follow the KIS method (Keep It Simple). Runners will follow signs well during the race just don't expect them to think too much along the way.

The Cool Down Runner

Freedom Run 5k – 6/24/17 – Oakboro, NC

Running along the trail and around the baseball field during the Freedom Run 5k in Oakboro NC, an old memory resonated from the back of my mind. I signed up the week of for this year's race, and the thought never dawned on me that I had run in Oakboro before this year. Yet, as I circled the lake and then looped around the baseball field, the memory came roaring back that I had done this same course years ago.

My time wasn't nearly as impressive this year – 19:04. While the heat and humidity has something do with it, my age and training had more do with it. Still, I was happy to grab the win. They gave a nice fire department plaque to the winners. A nice gesture given the race was organized by the local fire department members. Kudos to them. They did a great job with the race.

Maybe this is a sign that I am getting older, but I really like these small town races. In some ways, this takes me back to when I started running. The lines to the porta potties were short. Everyone was up for a conversation either before or after the race, and people hung out for the awards. And, if you wanted, the race director was readily available to talk about the race.

Don't get me wrong here. Big races have their own perks, but I often feel that with larger races, the runner gets lost in the shuffle. Runners are expected to show up, race, and leave as soon as possible afterward. The entire process is an organized procession of events planned to give an experience and get you on your way. May be the what I see missing from the larger races is the personal touch. They are much more business oriented. Having helped organize multiple races. I understand this part of the picture.

Of coarse each of us is driven by our own long list of needs and desires. What I am looking for in a race isn't likely to exactly match with the runners standing on either side of me at the starting line. As long as I am checking off most of the items on my list, this usually gives me plenty of reasons to return for another year.

The Cool Down Runner

Charlotte Summer Track - Wraps up for '17

Yes, another year of Summer Track in Charlotte has come and gone. Runners this year were rewarded with some of the best June temperatures in recent memory. This past Tuesday night, the mercury in the thermometer barely pushed over 80 degrees. The real benefit to the runners came in the way of super low humidity. Personally, I was very envious. The June weather couldn't have been nicer.

Our Summer Track wrapped up with Championship heats this week. Tim handed out medals to the top three runners in each of the events from the 100 meters to 5k. Bert took home top honors in the 1 mile while Chad took home the win in the 5k with a time just over 16 minutes.

While I would have loved to be out there running each and every event. Volunteering this summer came with its own rewards. Giving back to help Tim and Tom put on this series helped encourage them to keep the series going for many years to come. Volunteering, furthermore, gave me numerous opportunities to make new running friends and cheer on old friends who still have the desire and the speed to push their bodies. Steve and Corey showed the way for our masters group, but more impressing were the efforts of Terry and Bob. Watching them run gives me hope that the effort of going out the door for run will never overcome my desire for the run.

From me to each of you track speedsters, thank you for coming out on Tuesday's nights. Hopefully, you made some great memories and will be enticed to return next year.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Summer Track – Make up night

After last week's Summer Track Meet washout, the make up night was this past Thursday night. As one might have expected, the turnout was lighter than expected. But on the bright-side, the only water hitting the track came from the sweat produced by the runners. Which I guess; is a good thing.

The low turnout didn't deter an enthusiastic group of runners. The highlight of the evening was Matt's 4:28 mile. Watching someone who is really good at what they do is awesome experience. Matt and another guy, who I cannot remember his name, run together for the first 3 laps, but I could tell Matt had more in the tank going into the final lap. Sure enough, going down the back stretch he kicked it into another gear.

Quick heats of the 400, 800, 4 x 100, and 200 followed. The last heat of the evening was the 3200 meter run which Chase won just under 11 minutes.

During one of the breaks in the action, Tim and I were chatting about the fact that next week is the last week of Summer Track. Our first meet went off the day after Memorial Day, and 4 more weeks of Summer Track were to follow. Now, with one week left time seems to have flown by. Mentally, I know that there are 24 hours in the day, and 7 days in the week. Sometime life is so busy, we don't realize how fast those minutes turn into hours and how quickly those hours turn into days and weeks.

I am reminded that our lives are short, and not a minute of it should be wasted. Live the most out of every day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Summer Track – Session #3

For the second week in row, the rain poured on us. Yet, this week the thunder and lightning remained at a distance. Letting us get a full evening of activities completed.

Several groups brought out their young kids so the 50 and 100 meter runs were super busy. James ran a 4:28 mile. Bert followed close behind him. Spada keep the 50+ group honest by nearly running a sub 5:20 mile.

This week’s activities culminated with a 5k run. Bert again showed a yeomen’s strength by running a 15:28 in a solo effort. Second place was nearly 90 seconds back. Nathan, who is part of the Running Works program, and Rich fought through the steady rain that descended on the track to finish well.

Much appreciation goes out to all of the runners that attended.

 And a special kudos goes out to the runner's parents. Mary Kate’s kids knocked out some great time 50 and 100 meter efforts. Chase appears to have captured the running genes from both sides of the family. He roars down the track with a smile on his face.  

Summer Track continues with a makeup event tomorrow night - 6/22/17 – 6 PM. We will follow the usual schedule of events finishing off with the 3200 meter run.

See you then,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summer Track Makeup night 7/22/17

Hot, Muggy, and a good chance of an evening thunderstorm are not the only items on the agenda this week.

After last week’s washout, a double feature occurs with this week. Tomorrow night, we have the usual Tuesday night track activities. Then, just some 48 hours later, area runners will have a second chane to put their track skills to the test. Yes, this week we have a rare opportunity to run fast, and then attempt to run faster 48 hours later. How many times have you run a race, and over the next day or two wished that you could race again. Well, here’s your chance.

·         The make-up date for Tuesday, June 13 rainout is Thursday, June 22.

·         Those who paid for entrance into Tuesday, June 13 can participate at no charge either June 22 or June 24.  If you still have it, please bring your bib from the 13th.  If you do not, please email ahead of Tuesday so she can prepare a new bib for you.

·         We will run the 5000M on the 20th and 3200 on the 22nd

·         Any future rainouts will not be made up.


The Cool Down Runner

Thursday, June 15, 2017

RfYL Summer Track Week #3 – Washed Out

Hot summer days often end with huge evening thunderstorms. Take Tuesday evening earlier this week for example, our setup was ahead of schedule. But an ominous feeling hung in the air. Dark clouds covered all of Charlotte. Thunder rumbled in the far distance. Keeping our fingers crossed that the storms would pass us by was the most we could do.

Maybe a tell-tale of things to come, the sprinklers on the foot ball field kicked on while I was setting up the clock and soaked me down.

The 50 meter races ended up being the only on track action for the evening. For shortly afterward, the lightning flashed which put an end to our efforts. The wind picked up and within 15 minutes the skies opened up.

For those that don’t know, high school tracks have similar rules to outdoor pools. If thunder and lightning occurs, all on track action stops. Everyone is directed to seek cover. Action cannot resume until 30 minutes after the last thunder and lightning occurs. Runners need to remember; rules like this are put in to place for their protection. Getting struck by lightning is not going to be a fun experience.

On the bright side, Summer Track is scheduled to happen two more times here in June so don’t miss out. Runners on Tuesday evenings come by Myers Park Track. Registration starts at 5:30. Races start shortly after 6PM.


The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Grizzily 5k Race 6/9/2017

Last night, I ran the Grizzly 5k in Gastonia, NC. Going in to this race, I thought I could run an 18:20, may be evening an 18:10. My training has been going well, and my runs had me thinking it was possible.

Right from the start, my breathing felt labored. Which this in its self isn’t unusual, who runs a 5k and doesn’t feel the strain while running hard.

But the effort never felt any easier, and to compound my problems my legs felt extremely flat. The second mile is a gradual uphill grind, but it shouldn’t have felt this hard considering the pace that I was running. My hopes hung on the fact that may be coming back, my legs would kick into gear.

Yes, they did but only slightly. I was only 10 seconds quicker on the 3rd mile when in reality I should be been even faster.

By the time I was turning into the ball park, my legs were turning over but were doing so on autopilot.

I finished 2nd overall while running 19:01 for this course.

What I cannot explain is how off my game that I felt.

Running is all about cycles. We have ups and downs. Right now, I seem to be in a down cycle, and I am struggling to find the escalator for the up side.
Just have to keep working hard.


The Cool Down Runner  

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer Track Week #2

Was the weather today awesome or what?

Standing the curb in front of my house this morning, I was about to step in to the first stride of my run when I couldn’t help but let my mind wonder for just a second. Letting the savoring thought of this great weather fill my body with energy, and hoping every other runner in this world was having the same experience.

Let’s be honest here. How could this be the first week in June.  June weather is not known for low humidity, nice breezes, and awesome temperatures.

Following that first step were more steps. Each was carrying forward the goodness from that  very first step.

But I digress.

I am here to talk about last night’s track meet. I guess I took too much for granted. Last week, everything seemed to go off flawlessly. This week, I had my first major screw up.

For the 100 meters, we had what looked like a false start yet, the sprinters kept going. Afterward, Tom and Tim decided to run the 100 meters again. So I needed to reset the timing machine. Our single timing machine needs to be reconnected to the 8 hand held individual lane timing. Then, I was in the middle of explaining how it all works to our 8 volunteers when I hear the gun sound. The sprinters were already roaring down the track when I looked up and cringed. I haven’t started the clock. All I could say is that “I am sorry”. Crawling under a rock was pretty much what I felt like doing. I should have waived Tom off until I was ready. I didn’t.

I couldn’t change what happen. Making apologies was all that I could do to the sprinters and make sure I was ready for the next events. The rest of the evening moved along with no other major mishaps. Later after the two mile run, we did another heat of the 100. Actually, we had two heats. At first, we had only a couple of runners up for doing another 100, but by the time everyone gathered, we had 10 runners interested. This time, I had my volunteers ready, and we captured all of the times without any issues.

Life experience is a cruel teacher. Often forcing us down the more difficult path in hopes making us better, this certainly taught me a lesson. I have no plans on repeating it.


The Cool Down Runner.  


Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Run For Your Life Summer Track Meet 5/30/17

The start of summer track in the Charlotte area officially kicks off the beginning of summer for our runnning community. If you didn’t know this, then you already missed the first night. Yesterday, Run for Your Life held their first “All Comers” track series meet last night at Myers Park High School.

Registration opened at 5:30, and events kicked off at 6:15 with the 50 and 100 meter runs. 6 minute+ milers raced around 6:40 PM with the sub 6 minute guys going off 6:50. James ran a sub 4:30 open mile. His legs were a blur coming off the last turn and heading down the final straightaway.

The 4 x 100 is always a special event and draws teams from all age groups. This event especially pulls in my attention because unlike most events in track and field, the relay events provide a team aspect to running. Seeing a group of runners work as a cohesive unit to transfer the baton around the track creates a lot excitement.

After a couple heats of the relay, the 400, 800, and 200 heats ran. Ending the evening was the 3200 meter run.  Here, three lead runners making a mad dash for the line. Great seeing the next generation of runners out on a Tuesday night showing off their running abilities.  

More information about Run for Your Life’s Summer Track series is available here.

As a heads up, kids run the untimed events for free. For just $10 and $7 students, you can run any or all of the events.

Kudos to Tim for sharing his equipment for the series and to Tom for being the meet director. They have been doing this for many years now, and our running community hopes to have their continued participation for many years to come.