Saturday, April 21, 2018

Christina Latini Memorial 8K

Last week, the racing itch was back so I headed for the Start 2 Finish website in hopes of finding a race near by. As I scanned the list of upcoming races, the Christina Latini Memorial 8K caught my eye. I followed their link out to their website.

All I can say, no parent should ever have to lose a child. I have three daughters, and I cannot image losing one of them. To learn more about the foundation that Christina's parents have created in her honor, please check out their Operation Sweet Tooth website.

Fast forward to this morning, I made the short drive to Huntersville. The course was covered plenty of the roads that I have ran many times in years past. I was looking forward to seeing them again.

They sent a huge group of the F3 runners off first, and then, we left one minute later.

But just before the start, I bumped in to Chris and later Karin. They along with their two kids were doing the 2 mile fun run. Good to see them again. May be two or three years have passed since we last crossed paths.

So on the horn, we were off. This was my first race in my new On CloudFlash racing flats. In full disclosure, these were my first miles on them at all other than some warm up strides. Thus, aside from feeling out how my body was going to respond from doing nothing more than eating, working, and running for the last few weeks, I was breaking a new pair of racing flats.

These On shoes have a different feel while running or racing, and my brain is still wrapping itself around this feel.

At the first turn, I took a quick peek to see who my pursuers were. No one was close. Looked like it was going to be me, the hills, and the lead cyclist for the rest of the race. I pushed on. Some of the hills felt hard, but helping matters, the temperature was as close to ideal as possible this morning. Cool and dry is just the way that I like it.

Miles 2, 3, and 4 flew by. Compared to miles on trail, these road miles seem to zip by. I found myself crossing the street, and charging up the last hill on the sidewalk of the 5th mile. The finish line was around a bend in the road, and I didn't check my watch until it was too late. I sprinted for the finish but came up just 2 seconds short with a 30:01.

I was happy with the results. I felt like I have more under the hood, and I am looking forward to my next race to see if I can get it out. 

Big shout out to my On CloudFlash shoes. The ride of this shoe is definitely growing on me. I am looking forward to more chances to test them out this summer.

As I wrap this post, I want to give a big shout out to the race organizers. For an inaugural race, they did an awesome job. The course was tough, but well marked and accurate. Everyone received a finisher medal and a nice shirt. Plenty of post races food, and they had timely awards. They definitely checked all of the “must do” race boxes.

Sorry, I wanted to share one last item. We have all gotten goody bags from races. Pretty much anything is fair game for these bags. Nearly always, it is stuff that we know what it is. For the first time, there was something in my bag, I have no idea what it was or how to use it. I looked at it. Played with it for a few minutes, and I put it down on my desk. I have absolutely no clue. I am totally stump.

Anyone else ever gotten something in their goody bag that totally stump them as to its purpose?

Happy Trails,
The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trail Tan

So over the last week, Charlotte has pretty much dried out. With the rain all but a distant memory, the trails at the Whitewater Center have become a nice soft powder. Now, throw in a warm spring like day, and you get what I like to call a “Trail Tan”.

It isn't as much of a brown tan as it is an orange tan.

So what is a trail tan you may be asking yourself? Well, it is a thin layer of dust that accumulates on my legs over 18 miles of trail running.

Any more, if I don't get at least a little trail tan on a run, it likely wasn't much of a run.

See on you on the roads,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

On Shoes - Cloud Flyer

Our Charlotte Running Company Race Team recently moved to using the On running shoes. Yesterday, I picked up my first pair – the On Cloud Flyer. This morning, I took them for my first run.

With any new shoe I go through three phases: uneasiness, feeling it out, and acceptance.

The first phase is uneasiness, I don't know the shoe so I don't know how my body and especially my feet will react to it. Is going to be a shoe goes in to my rotation or is one that sets on the self to gather dust and end up at Good Will. And, yes, through the years, quite a few of my shoes went down this path.

The second phase is “feeling it out”. In those early steps, what my is landing like? What does it feel like to land on the heel? Or landing on the fore foot? How is the toe box? How does the arch feel? Is it too low or worse too high? What are the strings like? Will they stay tied? All of these things signals sent back to my brain during this phase.

The last phase is “acceptance”. This usually happens about 6 or 7 miles in to run. By now, I will either like the shoe or hate it. Legs and more importantly my feet will made this decision for me.

One the warnings that some of my fellow team members told me about is the soles seem to love collecting rocks. This was a question that I even asked the Reps about last night. He assured me that the sole was built to expel rocks. As luck would have it, I was about 5 miles in to my run this morning, and sure enough, I got a rock stuck in the sole. I needed a breather in any way so leaned on a sign and pulled out the rock to continue on my run.

Aside from this small side bar, I was fairly impressed with these shoes. The Cloud Flyer has a light yet responsive feel to it for a stability shoe. I find a lot stability shoes seem to feel stiff and heavy. I will definitely keep it in my rotation.

Next up, I am looking forward to putting their Cloud Flash racing flats to the test. At 7 oz, they are on the heavy side for most of my previous racing flats. Weight as with looks, can be deceiving. The only way to decide for sure is during a race. So look for me on the roads sometime in the next few weeks. Check out those yellow flashes that I will be sporting. 

If you like to learn more about the On shoe brand - click here.

See you on the roads soon,

The Cool Down Runner