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

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Back for another run

Rain rolled through Charlotte for the past couple days so I didn't hold any high helps of hitting any thing other than the all weather trails at the White Water Center. However, to my surprise, the trails were open today.

For the most part, they were in pretty good shape. there were a few rough - how should I say this -"muddy spots" but there was nothing that a somewhat sure footed runner couldn't navigate.

With S2F trail races coming up next weekend, I am looking forward to getting a "shape" check to see how may training is going.

After getting back from Disney, I spent the next several days making up for lost sleep, and then I got taken down by nasty head cold last weekend. But things are looking up now, and I am looking forward to starting '18 off on a positive note.

I just need to convince my legs of it. We shall see.

I guess the craziest thing is this the weather. One day, the temperature is 12 degrees. A few days later, the temp is near 70. In one run, I don't even sweat to another run where I feel like a snow plow pushing the humidity aside. This is one of the blessing of living in the Carolinas.

Just a wait a few days, and the weather will change. That is except for the summer time where it is just hot, hot, hot, and more hot. LOL.

See on the next run,

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, January 7, 2018

15 degrees

Only the most hearty of souls were taking to the trails this morning. I have to count myself among these lucky few individuals who choose to brave the cold temperatures, which has settled over the Charlotte area.

I am not sure what the difference was between yesterday and today, but my face was tingling this morning. The tingling didn’t go away until I hit about the 40 minute mark of my run.

After my little tumble on the trail yesterday, I was happy to make it through unscathed today. Mainly because I stayed away from the rougher trails, and hit the trails covered in pine needles.

That’s it for my trail every day report.

On a side, I want to give a shout out to Mr Spada on his awesome run yesterday at the Frosty 50K. At age 52, he once again showed that he can still get it done. Logging a time just over 3 hours 30 minutes all done with temperatures hovering well under the freezing mark.

Congrats on your on your effort, Steve. Job well done.

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, January 6, 2018

12 Degrees

After a couple of weeks away from the trails, I was itching to hit them again. When I say “hit” them, I mean this thinking figuratively rather than literally.

Funny how thinking something makes it come true.

A little more than three miles into my run on the East Main Trail, a rock jumped up and grabbed my foot. I stumbled forward landing on my right side. Almost immediately, I set up. Flexing my hand, arm, and shoulder, I wanted to make sure nothing was broken.

Luckily my kissing of mother earth left me with nothing more than a bit of soreness that lasted for the next few miles, and black and blue bruised ego. I am pretty sure in a day or two my ego will be back to normal.

One of the changes that have really shocked my body is the temperature. Last week I was setting on the beach where it was nearly 80 degrees. This morning, I stepped out of my car where temperature was hovering around 12 degrees.


That bites.

I actually broke out some of my really cold weather gear. I have several pairs of extra heavy tights and tops. They have proven their worth numerous times over the years. However, while living Charlotte, I may only wear them once or twice per year.

Anything above 20 degrees is really too warm to wear them. As most runners know, on a cold day there is nothing worse than sweating only to turn into the wind and get chilled to the bone.

Fortunately, trail running keeps most of the wind at bay, as the wind tends to rise up and over the trees.

The roads, however, are another story.

On Thursday, I was finishing up a road run which takes in a long straight section. The wind was blowing “O” so hard. My pace was grind nearly to a halt while I attempted to push through it. Chill from the wind cut right through my clothes.

If the weatherman is earning his paycheck, we should be out of this deep freeze sometime next week. As funny as this sounds, I am looking for to lows in the 30s again. Getting outside will feel quite bommy again.  I cannot wait.

Here’s hoping that your running is going well, and you are staying warm among these extremely cold days.

The Cool Down Runner


Friday, January 5, 2018

Welcoming in the New Year from the Happiest Place on Earth

Well, at least this is what their brochures say.

Watching the ball drop in Times Square on TV to welcome in ’17, I decided that I wasn’t going to watch ’18 come from my TV set.

So in June, I started laying down plans to visit Walt Disney with plans to welcome in the New Year from the Magic Kingdom.

With the beach portion of my winter break over, I drove over to Orlando, Fl. We checked in to the Caribbean Beach Resort, and then headed for downtown Disney or Disney Spring for those new to the lure of Disney.

As always, we had dinner at the Rainforest Café. Then, we headed over the “The Void” where we went through a VR interactive game. For those in to VR games or better yet, into Star Wars, this is a must do. The entire experience takes about 30 minutes. We got to ride a skiff, battle with Storm Troopers, and finally battle with Dark Vader.  Everyone that came away the experience talked about how cool it was.

Saturday morning, we were off to Animal Kingdom. Disney opened the new Pandora section during the summer so I wanted to check it out.

Since I had fast passes for Avatar Flight of Passage, we headed for the stand by line to ride the Na’vi River Journey. In the weeks leading up to our visit, I was been monitoring the wait time for these rides. Often, they stretched from 3 to 4 hours or more. So we hit the park soon as the gates opened, we got in to the ride before the lines began to build

Both rides were neat to experience. To me, the Na’vi River Journey was much like Small World with a Pandora skin on it. Cool to see, and something to mark off my bucket list. However, the Avatar Flight of Passage is really the must do ride. This is another VR type of ride where we experience what it is like to ride on the back of a Banshee. The closest other ride would be Soarin but only if you were riding solo and only with single seat. I highly recommend doing it, but get there early. The standby lines were super long.

After this we did Everest and the Dinosoar Ride. We did Primeval a couple of times, and the Safari ride. We did it once during the day, and twice at night. Disney didn’t use to offer nighttime rides. Animal Kingdom usually closed around 5pm during the winter months. Now, the park stays open until 10 pm.  True, the lighting is isn't all that great, but Disney has some lighting. But best of all, the animals are up and moving around especially, the lions. I can only remember a few occasions where I have seen them up during the daytime.

We caught River of Lights show, and then hit a few final rides before calling it a night a little after 10 pm.

That night, we slept fast and quick because the following day was New Year’s eve. For a whole year, I had waited on this day and to be in this place. I didn’t want to waste a second of it.

The Park was to officially open at 7 AM. 6:45, we were walking through the gate. Actually, the sun hadn’t even come up yet. From 7-8, were the extra magic hours for resort guest.

Once we scanned our bands, we were off riding rides. We were off and on rides for the next 3 hours or so. From 7 to 11, it was pretty much a blur. But I do remember getting a text alert that the Magic Kingdom was closed to new guest. They had reached max capacity around 11:30 AM. I believe it.

We were in Frontier Land and going to the Haunted Mansion just after the afternoon parade. From where we were to the entrance into the Haunted Mansion was may be 50 yards. It took us at least 30 minutes to make our way through the crowd. People were literally standing still. The two way traffic signs weren't very clear. Plus, throw in a few thousand strollers and wheel chairs. Movement pretty much grind to a halt.

But this was nothing to what was to come.

By 10:30 pm, they were directing people way from Main Street and circle in front of the castle. The cast members kept telling us that these areas had reached capacity. 

We managed to wiggle into a space on the left side of the castle. For anyone with personal space issues or don't like a crowd, this definitely isn’t the place to be. There was plenty of pushing and shoving. I was packed into a sea of people in all directions.

I saw more than a few people bale and head for less crowded areas. Personally, I loved it. I stood there fascinated to watch how people reacted to be in such close quarters.

At 11:50 the fireworks started and went on for about 9 minutes. Then, there was a count down to midnight before a second wave of fireworks started. These were some of the best fireworks that I have ever seen in person. At one point, fireworks were going off in a full 360 circle around the Magic Kingdom.

For a guy who is a big Disney fan, I thought this was an awesome experience. Everyone should do it at least once.

Once the fireworks were over, the park was still open for another hour. We hit a few more rides, caught the light show on the castle, and took a bunch of pictures. A little after 1:30 AM, we strolled out of the Magic Kingdom gates. From open to close, we had spent more than 18 hours in the park. We spent another hour getting back to hour hotel room. I finally lay down to close my eyes and with little effort, I was fast a sleep.

I started taking my oldest daughter to Disney when she was 2 years old. We have been back at least once every year, and some times several times during the same year. Nearly, every time I came in fresh and rested but left tired and sleep deprived.

I wouldn’t trade those tired days for nothing. Although, I will say, it is actually harder now. When my daughters were young, they would fall a sleep so I could rest during the day at the park. Now, they are all nearly grown young women who can stay up with the best of them. I am now the one that needs a nap.

Of course, on the ride back to CLT, I glanced over to see all 3 of them fast a sleep. It reminded me of so many of our Disney adventures together.

Once last note, Disney is awesome place to take your kids. It is also somewhat expensive and tiring, but can you really put a price on the memories that you make with your kids. The days pass more quicker than you realize. They will so be grown soon enough and gone out into this big world that we all live.  Before they are gone, take some time and make a few memories with them. You will never regret it.

The Cool Down Runner