Friday, January 26, 2018

Fartlek Workout that was more

So to mix up some of my training, I headed out for a 10-mile fartlek workout yesterday. I like those on the gas off the gas workouts. The run gears was starting to kick-in. My legs felt loose, and I was rolling along.

A little after 6 the mile point, I glanced down at my Garmin. For whatever reason, it went from ½ battery life to giving me the nearly out of battery message.  I don’t understand how this happen. The darn thing should have had enough of a charge for a 10-mile run.

Anyway, because this was a Fartlek workout, I wasn’t following any particular known route. If my Garmin completely died, I would be guessing at the final distance, and I hate guessing.

What else could I do? I had to pick up the pace.

Funny note about the Garmin, when it dies, there is no last second cry for help. The screen simple goes gray.

Sweat pouring, lungs burning, I pushed on. I hit 7 mile still it hadn’t died. I hit 8 miles, and it still had life. At 9 miles, it was still recording. Could I make it?

Any second, the last ounce of energy would be gone from the battery.  9 and ¼ miles, still life exists. 9 ½ miles, still life. I was now literally glancing from the road ahead to my Garmin every second fully expecting the flame of life to be whiffed out.

9 and ¾ miles, I might make it. Finally, the 10-mile split popped up.


I made it.

After my run yesterday, I left my Garmin on. How much of the battery life could be left. The little flashing battery was just pulsing. Yet, I just looked at it just now, and it is still on.

Just so you know, I am not chancing another run with it until it goes back on the charger.

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Day After

Well, I thought about sneaking on to the trails today, but my body was struggling. I felt sore all over. Thus, I settled on just 10 miles from front door. The run was easier on my brain than my body.

Clearly the holiday buffet tables were too kind to me. I feel like I am still carrying most of it around with me.

But with a race under my belt now, I need to get down to some serious running and training. My running schedule really picks up over the next two months.

See you on the roads,

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, January 20, 2018

S2F 13 Mile Trail Race at the WWC

I finished up ’17 with a trail race so it is only fitting that I start ’18 with a trail race.

When I arrived this morning at the WWC, the temperature was a frigid 23 degrees. My hands went numb with in minutes of stepping out of my car.

I did nice little 3-mile warm up run to check out some of the trails. I wanted to gauge how messy that they were going to be before hitting them during the race.

For those runners in the 4 miles, they were lucky. The extreme cold made the trails slippy in places but otherwise frozen. Those running 9 miles race were just finishing in the window time where the trails were turning to mud. Those of us that where not smart enough to run the 9 mile race and were tacking on 4 more penalty miles, the trails were softening up fast. At each turn and downhill, I just hoped my foot plant's stuck. For the most part, they did, but on a few occasions, I did go slip sliding. I never went down but I did do some tree hugging.

Breaking down the race, we started in the parking lot. Then we did a few sections of the parking lot before, descending down along the white water’s edge before entering the North Main Trail.

Watching these guys bounce down the trail as if they were on a dry clear road was remarkable.

I was doing all that I could just to stay up right. Up and down, back and forth we went. I was pretty happy to have the North Main trail behind me.

But enter the South Main Trial

A lot of the South Main Trail is in the shadow of the sun so here we were running through the snow. Up the Carpet Trail, back on to South Main, then up the Wedge, then back on to the South Main, up the Toilet Bowl before taking the South Main Trail back to the split for the 9 and 13-mile races.

During this part of the course, I was thinking back to all of the races that I have run. I cannot ever remember running a race in the snow. Technically, I guess that this is my first.

Through the first 9 miles I had going back and forth between being in oxygen debt and not. The results left my quads feeling used up.

Going up the Wedge, I glanced over to see Corey coming off of it. I could not resist yelling some encouragement to him. Then coming up to the split for the races, I was catching him but so were many of the 9 mile racers. Again, I throw another round of encouragement at him. 

Of course, I got some encouragement of my own from Meredith and the entire Running Works crew. I needed it. I was felt like I was running on fumes.

Starting into the last 4 miles, the trail was slick and snow covered. We turned on to the East Main Trail but with a nuance. We were going to run it backwards. Ugh I never run it backward. While I recognize most of the trail even in this direction. Running it backward, I don’t know the right angles to take at each corner. This slowed me down even further.

With about 2 miles left, the lead woman and another guy caught me. I offered to let them pass. But she was like “You are setting the perfect pace". Inside, I was thinking, “if you only knew, I feel like I am falling apart”.

With about a mile left, I caught sight of a guy that had been keeping just out of my sight most of the race.  I was quicker on the hills and flats than him, but he could descend like nobody else. I freely admit. I am poor a descender on the trails. This guy was taking full advantage of it.

Yet, the last mile just enough that I was closing. I was dragging my cold and tired body over hills faster than I wanted. Along with me, I was dragging two other runners.

I eventually ran out of race but only by 10 seconds.

I finished 8th overall in 1:41:59 placing me 1st in the 50-54 age group.

The snow affected more than just the trails for this race. Apparently, they shipped the shirts via UPS. After being told they could pick the shirts up in Atlanta since they were delayed by the snow, and then driving to Atlanta, they were told the shirts had already shipped out to Charlotte. Yet, when they went to the UPS depot here in Charlotte, they were told that they couldn’t pick them up. Well, at least I will give them an “A” for “trying”. Their back up plan – Runners can pick them up at the S2F office on Monroe road or have it shipped to them. Kudos to them for making this right.

Then, there were the awards ceremonies. The 9 mile awards were to start at 10:30, and 13 mile race awards were to start at 11:30.  At 12:50, I was finally called up to receive my award. The 9 mile awards were stopped after the first couple of awards all together. Then, they seemed to be struggling in the 13 mile awards.  They were jumping around between the age groups which I think that this only confused everyone including those calling out the awards. Now, I understood why they did it. Those first in their age groups could pick from swag on the table.  However, this only delayed the entire process as runners pondered over what to pick. However, I didn’t really have this problem. The 50-54 age group was pretty much last so my choices were either XS gloves or XL gloves. LOL. I am not complaining. My daughter will get a nice pair gloves. J It is not all about me.

Overall, I had a good day. This race will help me shake up my training plan and showed me some places where I need to improve. Now, I just have to dig-in and get myself back in shape.

Kudos to S2F for keeping it together during "trying" times.

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Charlotte Snow Day

Huge snowflakes filled the air here in Charlotte today which was awesome to see.  

And with each passing the second the pull to hit the road only grew.

So by the time that I made my way on to the streets, a good 2 to 2.5 inches covered the ground. I loved it. This was just like running on trails. A nice soft bed of snow cushioned each foot strike against the ground.

10 miles and 80 minutes later, I didn’t want it to end, but work beckon. I needed to answer the call. From time to time the rest of the day, I would glance out the window.

Watching each snowflake lazily drift to the ground can be somewhat of an hypnotic effect. Lulling me into wanting an afternoon nap. Luckily, the steady stream of emails and building list of todos kept me alert and moving forward.

Still, these are the days where if I still did doubles this would be one of them.

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, January 15, 2018

Living the Sauna Life

This morning the temperature was a crisp 25 degrees when I edged out the door for my run.

Those first couple of miles can feel a bit cold as my body shifts from enjoying the warmth of the inside to having to generate my own body heat during a run.

Then, when I finish, my body needs to readjust. Most days a nice hot shower usually does the trick. This wasn’t working for me today.

But as I headed back to my locker at the Y, I was walking past the sauna. I had the time so why not spend a little time in the sauna.

I pulled open the door and stepped inside.  Man, 190 degrees never felt so good. I spent the next 20 minutes setting on the bench just soaking up the heat.

Stepping out was still an abrupt change, but at least now, I felt nice and warm.

On these cold days, I wish I had a sauna built right into my house, but for now, I will settle for the one at the Y.

Feeling the warmth in the Sauna,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, January 14, 2018

New trail section arriving at the WWC

With some time on my hands today, I decided that I should kick up a little more trail dust where possible. I say where possible because even with the sun out, the temperature was barely sniffing 32 degrees. Although, I did get in a little slip sliding in a few spots, but they were few and far between.

But let’s get to the reason for my post.

With my S2f racing coming next Saturday, I fully expect their 13 mile course to take in some of the East Main trail. In preparation for it, I wanted to check out the route on last time.

A few weeks back, I had been out on this trail, and I noticed another trail paralleling it. The trails never connected up so I figured WWC had something in mind for it, I just wondered what. 

Today, I came up on this same section, and surprisingly, they had connected this new section up with the East Main trail. The winds down to Parkway Trail, then out along the main road leading to the WWC entrance before veering back toward the East Main Trail. All in all, I would say this new trail section is about 2 to 2.5 miles along. The trail is rough at the moment. From the looks of it, the Mt. Bikers have made an appear on it. In some sections, it has not even been scraped out. I had to follow the orange ribbon tied in the trees to stay on the course. But give it a couple months. With an entrance off the East Main and the Parkway Trails, I expect this trail to get plenty of use.

Definitely, I am going to add it to my regular routes.

Big kudos to the WWC guys continually adding new trails for all of us to enjoy.

The Cool Down Runner