Saturday, July 20, 2019

Never Doubt Yourself

Charlotte is in the midst of a full summer time heat and humidity event, and I am feeling every bit of on my long runs. I finished up a 22 mile trail run this morning, and I couldn't have completed it if I hadn't drank nearly a gallon and half of water. Actually, it was Tailwind. I have to have those electrolytes and glucose to keep me going.

As I was churning through those final miles, I was wondering which was worse: the building fatigue in my legs, suffocating heat and humid surrounding me, or pouring of sweat off my body. I really hate hearing my shoes go "swoosh" with every step.

Mentally, I find these summer time runs to be some of the hardest to endure in my training. I find myself questioning why I am out there. Of course, I also question why I am out there in Jan when it is 25 degrees, but then, the heat of summer seems so far away.

But I have to keep reminding myself that the work I put in now will help me this fall. The mental toughness that carries me through each of these runs will make strain of those fall race seem so much easier.

So when you are out there, and you start questioning why, just remember, these runs give you the mental toughness to overcome anything that you will face this fall. 

Never doubt yourself.

The Cool Down Runner


Sunday, July 14, 2019

Think Safety First


This morning, I was running along the South Main trail at the Whitewater Center enjoying another one of Carolina’s best hot and humid summer days. For the most part, the trails were quiet. There was the occasional runner or mt. biker but as I said, the trails were otherwise quiet.

While cruising along next to the river, I heard mt. biker coming up behind me. I instinctively moved to the left to let him pass. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him passing. Then, as if in slow motion, I could see him falling. Mentally, I tried to make sense of what I was seeing. Momentum carried my several steps down the trail where I came to halt and went back to help.

The guy had rolled out in to the trail, but what caught my eye was his 3 or 4 year old son lying next to the handle bars. Both seemed to be okay. The boy never cried.

Apparently, a brier snagged his handle bar and pulled them down.

They both got back on the bike and headed off as if nothing ever happened.

I spent the rest of my run thinking about it. I was reminded of the many times that I had taken my daughters on bike rides. Albeit, I never took them on a mt. bike ride.

I admit that I done a few dumb things while running and riding. There is an inherit risk to life and health anytime that I stepped outside my front door. Putting myself at risk is one thing. However, I never have or would put my daughters at risk. Yeah, I know that I can have an accident anywhere. That doesn’t mean that I should go looking for it. The risk of an accident on a mt. bike on a trail exponentially higher. I guess that I just cannot imagine why he would even doing it.

Strange isn’t how each of us view the world.

Growing up, I never wore a helmet or gloves. Yet, I learned there was a better way. I always wear a helmet and gloves now, and when my daughters ride, I make them wear both.

So maybe we do learn. Maybe we do learn from the generations before us what we can do better.

Let’s hope so.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner


Friday, July 12, 2019

WWC River Jam – July Edition


I got out of my car yesterday at the WWC to face a shearing heat and oppressive humidity. I don’t think that there is any way that I could have felt more lethargic warming up.

When I feel this way, the negative thoughts of why I am doing this have their way with me.

Luckily, the storm clouds pushed into the area just before race time. This helped drop the temperature a few degrees but the rain stayed away. 

However, the shade cast by the clouds made the trail oh so dark. At some point, one might even consider wearing a head lamp.

Standing at the starting line, I wondered how much having run a 50k just 7 days ago would leave my legs with a heavy feeling.

Everyone jumped out quick as we circled the channel.

Six of us were running together when we entered the trails. Over the next couple of miles, Troy, Evan, and I worked past them.

We stayed together. Hitting the Lake Loop, I expected one or both to push past me. I gave them a several opportunities to pass. They never took me up on it so I settled in to lead our little group.

Exiting the trails into the gravel parking lot, we were all running hard. Evan and Troy pushed ahead of me at the hill by the upper parking lot.

They gapped me topping over the hill, and I was not sure that I could catch up.

Evan was pushing on but Troy, I caught by the bridges. I encouraged him to stay with me. On the other hand, Evan was putting just too much distance on me. I was not going to catch him.

I crossed the finish line in 46:51 which was actually one second slower than I ran in June. Having Troy and Evan with really helped keep me rolling along much faster than I would have otherwise. This placed me 4th overall and 1st in my age group.

This brings me to 3 River Jam races down and two more to go this year. I am racking up races faster than I did last year.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner



Thursday, July 11, 2019

Sleep Deprivation


Sleep deprivation is not something that is typically a concern with my races. Even if I am running night race, the length has never been more than few hours.

Recently, I was talking with another ultra runner, and she was giving me a few tips to use in my preparation. Sleep deprivation caught my attention real fast because getting shuteye was not on my radar. Hearing her describe what it was like, I can only image the feeling of fatigue at 70 miles in the wee hours of morning. I suspect that body will just want rest. My eye lids will want to drop over my eyeballs, and my quads will just want it all to stop.

To prepare for it, she suggested working all day on a Friday, then running all night Friday in to Saturday morning. Rarely, do I dread doing something. In this case, an exception may be in order. 

I am already wonder which will be harder: staying awake or staying moving.

I am not sure of the exact weekend, but it will be sometime within the next two months.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Garmin Band Woes


For the last decade, Garmin GPS watches have been my “goto” device for tracking my runs. I remember measuring a mile against a surveyed mile one time, and my Garmin flashed the auto lap right on the mile mark. So, I cannot argue with their accuracy.

Where Garmins come up lacking is in my opinion the quality of their bands. Numerous times over the years, I have replaced or returned it to Garmin to be replaced or had them send me a new band so I could replace it myself. Only once do I remember them covering this cost.

Take for example my current Garmin watch. I have had it for just about 2 years. In this time, I fixed the band in the first year. Here just last week, I was putting it on, and the band broke again.

This is most frustrating to me. If I wore my Garmin for every run, every day maybe I could see the see the wear and tear on it. I wear it may be two or three times per week. That’s a little over 200 days of running. I want to believe, no I have to believe that any watch band should stand the wear and tear of running for more than 200 days.

Oh, well, I guess I will see what it takes to fix it again. Next time, maybe I will look at some other GPS watches. Isn’t like that I am asking for a lot. I just want a band that will last at least as long as the battery on the watch. Is this really too much to ask from any maker of these type of products.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner



Sunday, July 7, 2019

Tailwind Usage follow up


For the Big Butt 50k, I fueled almost entirely on Tailwind. I say almost entirely because I did take a few other items that included salt. With temperatures around 100 degrees, I was sweating profusely. Letting myself get low in electrolytes would have doomed my race.

After testing Tailwind during a training long run, I wanted to test it during race. I wanted to know how my stomach would handle it in a more stressful workout.

My race result was similar to my training run. I had no stomach woes. During the race, I went through over 9 liters of Tailwind. Thus, I was pretty happy with it.

I am still a big fan of Nunn, but I am slowly becoming Tailwind fan. On the plus side, I can buy a huge bag of the Tailwind powder for around $35 off of Amazon. Nunn runs about $7 for 10 tablets. For a long run, I can easily run through a couple of the little bottles of Nunn. I have been through 3 long runs using Tailwind and have barely put a dent in the bag.

For those looking to try something new or switch to something different, Tailwind is worth a test. I like getting the powder and mixing it myself. This way, I can control the consistency of it. The few other times that I have tried Tailwind in the past, the taste was too syrupy for me. Mixing it myself let’s get the taste just to my liking.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

  

Friday, July 5, 2019

30/20 Run


As I am putting together my 100 mile race training plan, I have been looking at number of different training plans. On a side note, there are so many plans that I could have my pick. However, in my case, I am attempting to merge concepts which I think will work best for me.

This is where the idea of a 30/20 run originated.

So what is a 30/20 run? A 30/20 run is where a runner goes 30 miles on the first day. The second day, the runner goes another 20 miles on those tired legs.

Yesterday, I ran the Big Butt 50k so this gave me the 30 part of the run. This morning, I was up early to knock out another 20 miles.

Let’s just say that I could still feel the fatigue in my legs. The first 5 were okay. The second 5, I felt it more. The 3rd 5, my legs were hating this idea. The 4th 5, I wondered what numb skull came up with this idea. Of course, there is always the numb skull was doing this run – mainly me.

Setting here now, I can see the value of these type of runs. Although, I am not so sure of the cardio value. To me, the real value here is how it callous the mind. We all have these imaginary boundaries which we limit us. Learning to keep pushing through those tough spots is the real value here. Realizing, the body has more to give. We just have to figure out how to dig it out.

It is like that tough teacher that you had in school. They pushed you to learn something that you never realized that you were capable of learning. We are all capable of more than we will ever realize.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Big Butt 50K Race Recap


I was back in Lancaster, SC for the Claude’s Big Butt 4th of July 50k race this morning. My hope; I was prepared. Based on the Weatherman’s forecast, today was expected to be a hot one. Hot, it was.

When I finished, I checked the temperature display in my car. The display read 106 degrees. I felt every bit of it.

Claude shared via email that the race time was being moved back to 6:30. However, the Ultra Signup website had 7 AM so the start was delayed.

The temperature was already in the low 80s, and I was sweating just standing at the start.

Finally, Claude blew his whistle, and we were off.

Claude’s 50k consist of 5 x 10k loops with us starting in the center and doing an out and back loop first left and then to the right of the start.

By the mile, I was leading, but more importantly, I was sipping from the CamelBak at every mile. In full disclosure, I was training through this race so my legs didn’t have much pop in them.

The first 10k went by smoothly. Being familiar with the course from the last year, I knew exactly where the turns were located.

With the sun on the rise, the temperature were going up. I started to feel the weariness in my legs toward the end of the 2nd lap.

At the end of the 2nd lap, I grabbed a 2nd CamelBak from the car. I also downed a 16 bottle of water, and I grabbed some ice to dissolve in my mouth over the next mile.

I had enough water in my CamelBak to do laps 3 and 4 but I decided that quick stop was needed at the end of lap 3. I toweled off the extra sweat, sip some more water, and grabbed more ice.

After lap 4, I pulled out my last CamelBak and headed off.

Lap 5 was one of those times where I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Helping to keep me going was the encouragement from the other runners. This is something I found awesome about Ultra races. There is so much support exchanged between the runners during the race because we all know what the others are facing.

I picked up the win in 4 hours 17 minutes and 9 seconds. Everyone was struggling with the heat. Most runners were reduced to walking or run/walking. Some were struggling with cramps. Some came in between laps and set under the tents to cool off.

Last year, I thought this race was hot, but in comparison, this race was way hotter. I have total respect for every runner there today. They all showed so much determination and drive.    

Kudo’s go out to Claude and his support team for putting on a great race. He does an awesome job taking care of the runners.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Tailwind


Ok, the obvious thought that comes to mind when I hear the word “tailwind” is a nice breeze pushing me down the trail. However, this is not the right type of “tailwind”. No, in this case, I am talking about the “Tailwind” used by athletes during exercise.

My past experiences with Tailwind have not been good. I never liked the taste or the consistency. However, I do have to admit one thing. I was always trying Tailwind that someone else prepared. After hearing about Justin’s experiences last weekend, I decided to give it another try, but this time, I would make up my own blend.

Friday, I followed the directions for making up a blend of Tailwind. Basically, 2-3 cups (cup comes with the bag of Tailwind) goes into 24 ounces of water. For my first test, I decided to use just 2 cups per 24 oz.

After spending a few minutes stirring, I tasted it. It was okay. Orange-Mango taste was not overwhelming. Honestly, I would have liked the flavor to be a bit stronger. At least, I didn’t get it to thick.

Today, I went 22 miles in 91 degree heat while drinking Tailwind. The run went fine. Interesting part, with each drink on the first sip hitting my tongue, the taste reminded me of an artificial sweetener. The taste quickly fades as I continued sipping.

I am looking at using Tailwind over Nunn in some situations because I want feel like my body takes in liquid calories easier than taking in solid foods. No, I am not swearing off solid foods. I just want options, and the only way to figure these things out is real time experimentation.

My testing will continue so stay tune for more posts.

Tails from the trail

The Cool Down Runner



Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Summer Track WK #5 – Championship Week


The Summer Track Series wrapped up its final week. With both all comers and championships events being held, runners walked always with another year of great memories and a few walked away with some nice medals.

Highlighting the evening, Caroline Yarbrough lighten Tim’s pocket by $100 dollars. She won the Women’s Championship mile with a time of 5 minutes and 10 seconds. I got a chance to chat with her after the meet. She is a recent graduate from Davidson College and will soon be heading off to New York to start a new job. I am sure the $100 will come handy with her move. New York is not known as a cheap city.

Over the last several weeks, I saw runners of all ages make circles around Myers Park track. I saw runners walk away from their events “pumped” at their efforts. I saw a runner which we needed us to call the EMTs to help. I saw runner giving his all only to pull a hamstring. I saw young kids asking if they could borrow a baton to practice for the 4 x 100. I saw kids running the 50 and 100 meter who don’t yet understand the concept of staying in their lanes.

Best of all, there was this one little boy who was maybe 3 years old. He had just finished running the 50 meters. I handed him his ribbon for finishing. He looks up at me, and in the softest voice says “thank you”. Then, he reaches out and hugs my leg.

I had no words. He had just melted my heart. He had just made my day.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner  

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Walk before you have to


Since signing up for Tunnel Hill 100 miler, my reading on this subject has jumped to new levels. I thought that I knew a lot about running. So far, I feel like a newbie. In some ways, I know that I am.

One of the ways that I have been learning is via Youtube videos. One video that stuck with me was where this guy talks about his experience. One of his suggestions was to walk early on in the race so you have something for later in the race. In simplest terms, take walk breaks to give the running muscle a respite. This extends out one’s ability to run much longer. The real meaning struck home with me during the Vertical Mile race. I was walking up the hill and running around from the top to the bottom. The run walk run strategy seem to work well for me. My 2nd fastest lap was my last lap. Meaning, I still have something left in the tank.

How I transition this to 100 miles? I still don’t know but I have a few more months to figure it out.

Tails from the trail

The Cool Down Runner   

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Summer Track WK #4

Week number 4 of Summer track saw warmer temperatures greet the runners. Again this week, Fit 180 turned out in force. We did have one new face. I didn't catch her name but she wore a Davidson Wild Cat singlet. She ran 5:14 for the mile, and she didn't look like that she was running hard. I think she was setting herself up for a money run in the Championship mile next week.

Summer track ends next week so make sure to take advantage of it. There will be open events in addition to the Championship events.

See you at 6pm next Tuesday.

The Cool Down Runner

June 35 Miler



Keeping with my long run plan for this year, I knocked out my June long run. Justin joined me at 5 AM for my first 17 and ½ mile lap which we knocked out in about 3 and ½ hours. My second lap was solo and slower. The temperature rose and the humidity kicked into gear which contributed to slowing down. Throw in the fact that lactic acid was also rearing its ugly head. I felt that at the end I was just putting one foot in front of the other to “will” myself forward. I could only wonder if this is how I will feel during my 100 miler later this year. I hope not but I fear that it might come to be.

Tails from the trail

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Summer Track WK #3


Week number 3 of summer track found us enjoying some of the best summer time temperatures in recent memory. Plus, we had a fearless leaders Tim and Tom back this week.

The events started promptly at 6 PM with the 50 meter dash. We move to the 100, and over 6 minute file, and an under 6 minute mile.

The 4 x 100 was filled with the runners from Fit 180. They also filled the 400, 800, and 200 events. We finished the evening with dual 3200 and 5k heats. We could be more important that seeing runners of all ages making circles around Myers Park Track.

In the 5k, we had two runners break 17 minutes.

Two weeks remain for the Summer track so anyone interesting in getting a fast mile time with the help of other pushing you along, be at Myers Park on one of the next two Tuesday nights.

Trails from the Track,

The Cool Down Runner  

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Vertical Mile Challenge Adventure Race


This morning, I headed for a little place just above Hiddenite, NC called Rocky Face Recreation Area. This was the location of the Vertical Mile Challenge Adventure Race. I will be the first to admit. This race is both a challenge and an adventure.

The race is a 2.2 mile loop consisting of trail meaning rocks, roots, and did I say rocks well think more of each and asphalt. I barely realized that I was on the asphalt. Oh, yeah, and a flight of stairs. The asphalt is maybe 150 yards and is the staging area for the race. In fact, we ran through start finish 8 times. Many runners and families to setup tents and their own refueling stations.  Although, this was not really necessary. The aid station at the start/finish was super well stocked. A second station at .5 miles in to the race had water and Gatorade. Perhaps my favorite, the aid station on the climb was stocked with water.

About 5 minutes before 8 am the race director called us together and went over the prerace instructions. 

However, he was so soft spoken that even just 10 yards way, I could not hear a word that he said. I could see his lips moving that was it.

About 8:05, he sounded the horn, and the race started. There was a huge crowd running, and they went out fast.

I had watched the race video and did some back ground reading on this course so I had a reasonable idea how tough it was going to be.

For the number of runners, the course didn’t string us out fast enough before we hit the single track trail. I was in a long conga line with perhaps a 100 or so runners ahead of me.

A few guys: that I knew Justin and Chris had disappeared in to the sea of runners ahead of me. In truth, I was quite happy with where I was and how fast that I was running. I didn’t know this course so I wanted to use the first lap to get familiar with it.

Sure enough, a ½ mile in to the race, we came out the trail and on to a rocky cliff face which had to be every bit of 30% to 40% grade. Everyone immediately started walking. Interestingly, the rock face seemed to get steeper with each passing lap.

This section is roughly half mile but when I looked up all, all I could see is more rocky cliff face staring back at me. It seemed to go on for ever.

We passed by the aid station. Then, we pop in to a wood for a short section before heading back out on the cliff face again. I will say that the view was spectacular. Although, I didn’t have much time to enjoy it. I was too busy filling my lungs with air.

Once we reached the apex of the climb, we started our downhill decent. Another truth here, while the climb tough. It is manageable. The downhill portion is a risk to life and limb. The trail is splintered with rocks, roots, sharp switch backs, and open descending cliff faces. Just before finish of the decent is a stair case with uneven steps. The entire second mile just encourages you to run hard. I saw several runners go down hard. One runner was evacuated by the EMT after a hard fall. I will also say that the race had EMTs stationed all over the course to provide support.

Finishing the first lap, I had a pretty good understanding of the course layout. From then, the laps seemed to fly by. Partly because I was started to catch some of those that blasted out the first lap, and 2, I was memorizing the rocks and roots along the course. Also, helping was that I was flip flopping with a few other runners. I would catch runners on the flat or hill. Then, they would come flying by me on the descent.

On the forth lap, the leader caught me. I chased him until we hit the cliff face. Then, I watched while he ran up the cliff face. I couldn’t match his efforts nor did I want to. I had my strategy, and I was sticking with it.

Laps 5 & 6 flew by. I was catching runners and lapping others. On lap 7, I caught up to Justin on the climb but he flew back by me on the descent.

Starting lap 8, I felt good. I caught Chris on the trail to the climb and Justin on the climb. Going up the climbs, I always choose the most direct route but I noticed that many of the runners were doing a zig zap pattern. Perhaps, this was easier on their quads. I don’t know but it did make it more difficult for them to stay with me.

Topping out, I had only the descent left to run. I had finished lap 7 in 2 hours and 38 minutes. In back of my mind, I wondered if I could break 3 hours. I could but it would mean taking some risks, but it also meant leveraging the experience of the last 7 laps. I ended up running my second fastest split of the race on the last lap. I finished in 2 hours 59 minutes and 22 seconds placing 12 overall.
I feel like my slow but steady strategy had paid off. I felt great the entire race and survived the grueling climb 8 times and the adventure of the descent 8 times.

These guys do an awesome job with the race and as long as you remember to pick up your feet, you will be good here.

Wrapping up this post, let me share couple of more notes. In some ways, because the descent is so steep, I think this is actually harder on my quads than the climb. Like Boston, you are running a lot more downhill than you are actually climbing.

My other note is don’t drink the lemon green colored stuff in a cup. They had cups of Gatorade setting on the table. I picked a cup thinking of the Gatorade taste. What hit my tongue was salty dill pickle juice. I couldn’t swallow and spit it back in the cup. I am not sure how anyone could drink it.

There you have it. By finishing my first Vertical Mile race, I became an honorary member of their Vertical Mile Club. An achievement, I am quite proud of to have accomplished.

Lap 1: 22:35, Lap 2: 21:38, Lap 3: 22:14, Lap 4: 22:52, Lap 5: 22:32, Lap 6: 22:49, Lap 7: 22:50, and Lap 8: 21:49

Total Running time: 2:59:22

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner
  

Friday, June 14, 2019

River Jam 10k June Edition ‘19


With the rain coming down in gobs earlier this week, my expectations for getting some dry tails didn’t exactly work out for this race.

To start with, the Whitewater Center did landscaping over the winter, and they created this nice lush green area for events. I guess to take advantage of it, they decided to move the start/finish back yet again. I jokingly asked them when they were going to change the 10k-ish to a 7 miler.

So back to race, there was a big group jumped out quick at the start. Knowing the trails were slick, I was taking my time or so I thought.

We hit the trails, and we dropped down on the South Main trail. As it nears the river, the trial bears to the left. I knew it was slick in this section so I was hoping to hug the inner edge. No such luck. I attempted to plan my right foot, and it was like I took this long lazy slide. Down I went. Mud covered my left side from my foot to my shoulders including my arms and hands. I bounced up as several runners dashed by me.

Back running, I attempted to take stock of the situation. While I was doing this, I was also attempting to shake off the extra mud that I was carrying.

Slowly, I chased down some of the guys in front of me, but I was minding my “p”s and “q”s with every sharp corner.

No more falls happened which was a good thing.

I finished 4 overall, first in my age group, and ran 46:50.

I will take it. The running weather was awesome. Anyone not out there missed a great evening for a race.

Next up is the Vertical Mile on Saturday. I have never done it before so I am expecting this to be an adventure.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner


Thursday, June 13, 2019

100 Miler

I clicked the "process" button on Ultra Signup web page, took a deep breath, waited for the screen to confirm my submit, and then, I asked myself what did I just do. 

Yes, I committed myself to running to no not running a marathon, no not running a 50 miler, but running a 100 mile race. That's like 4 marathons back to back to back to back. 

I am excited and a little scared at the same time. 

So which 100 miler did choose. That would be the Tunnel Hill 100 miler in Vienna, IL on November 9th, 2019. I wanted something where my focus could be just on finishing, and not on tripping over roots and rocks. I can only imagine how tired that I will be over the last 50 miles. For that matter, how tired I will be over the first 50. 

The race is held on a crushed gravel rails to trails coarse. They have loads of first time 100 milers so I will have company during the race.

I am sure in the coming days, weeks, and months that I will have loads of blog post detailing my training and prep for it. 

Tails from the Trails

The Cool Down Runner


Sunday, June 9, 2019

Summer Track WK #2


Week number 2 of summer track was a bit of a learning experience and a responsibility distribution since the top brass were out of town. Tom and Tim had other commitments so the rest of us filled in the gaps. I hope everyone that attended the meet had a good time. We did our best to keep the event flowing in an orderly process.

The FIT 180 group came out so they skewed the overall age curve. They did push us over the size bubble so we had two heats of mile. Otherwise, we pretty had the regular number of heats.

Coming up next week is the 5k on the track so anyone interested in running a flat 5k, here is your chance.

Tuesday night, Myers Park Track. The first event starts at 6pm.

Tails from the track,

The Cool Down Runner

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Summer Track – WK #1


The on again, off again, on again Myers Park HS Summer track series was back on, and the first meet was held last night.

With all the indecision surrounding whether this series was even going to occur this year likely had an impact on the turnout last night.

Summer Track Series at Myers Park High School has been a long standing tradition with years of blood, tears, and a lot of sweat poured in to that track. Not to mention, Tim and Tom have put in a great deal of time and effort in to making sure that it continues. I know of times when they struggled against all odds to keep it afloat.

I am a big supporting of this series for several reasons. One, I ran this series for many years, and always enjoyed those 5 nights in May and June. Two, Summer Track has been, is, and should always be part of the Charlotte Running culture. It needs to remain so. Three, two things are needed to make it continue. One is runners so circulate the news. Tuesday night’s at Myers Park at 6 pm is the place to be. Second, one can never have enough volunteers. I would love to be charging off down the backstretch, but I find it equally important to help make sure others have this same opportunity. This is why; you will see me out there each week helping. Tom and Tom take the lead so if I can do some small part to help them and give them a reason to keep putting this event on, I want to do.

See you at the Myers Park HS Track next Tuesday 6 pm

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, May 27, 2019

Another day of heat

The trails were quiet and hot today when I headed out for my long run. I drank nearly a gallon of Nunn to keep from wilting under the 91 heat.

So stay hydrated.

The Cool Down Runner.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

WWC Memorial Day 8 mile trail race


Hot and humid were the words of the day. The temperature was pushing the low 80s when I stepped out of my car this morning.

By race time, it had to be pushing the low 90s. Wow, how fast have we jumped into the summer? Plenty fast, indeed.

The 5 & 8 mile races started together so it was a bit confusing to sort who was running what race. I ended up mixing it up with a 3 different guys during the race. One got away from me when we passed by the towers. The second one got away from me on the backside of the Lake Loop.

I could definitely feel the heat. Even running under the canopy of the tree, the heat was bad. I grabbed a cup of water at 5 miles. After taking a sip, I poured the rest over my head. It felt awesome, and I wished that I had taken several more cups.

The course was a different and a little longer than last year. Instead of dropping directly on to South Main after entering the woods, we ran further on North Main before circling back to pick up South Main.

I was happy to see that the maintenance crew cleaned up Toilet Bowl loop. Several trees were across the trail last weekend, but they were gone today. Kudos to them. They do an awesome job keeping the trails clean.

I finished 4 overall in 62:52. This was about a minute slower than last year. Considering they changed up the course and last year was much cooler, I felt like I had pretty good race overall. I picked up a nice WWC metal water bottle for my first place in the 50-54 age group.

Next up on my calendar is the Vertical Mile in 3 weeks. This is a new race for me, and this should be an interesting race. I don’t know which will hurt more my lungs or my quads. I suspect that they both will hurt equally bad.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Black Diamond Head Lamps


A few weeks ago, I was admiring the new Black Diamond Head Lamps at REI. I especially took note of the extra 75 Lumens that these new lamps had over my two existing Black Diamond head lamps. I made a mental to pick one up soon.

Later this year, I have several night trail races on my calendar. My two head lamps have served me well in the past, but there is no such thing as having too much light during a night trail race.

Today, I was back in REI for something else, and I circled by the Black Diamond lamps to admire them a bit more. The first thing I noticed when I walked up to their display, they were having a 25% off on these head lamps.

I couldn’t resist and it fell right in my price point.

When I got home, I tried it. I don’t remember the weight of my existing lamps, but this new one is definitely a bit heavier. I suspect most of it is from the extra AAA battery. My older lamps use 3 while this new one uses 4 batteries.

Next step, I want to do a test run with it. Nothing long but just enough of a run to get a sense of how this new lamp sets on my head while running.    

Look for me to share an update on my experience.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Solo 50k


A few months ago, I started planning my summer schedule, and I wanted to do a 50k each month fromMay through September. When I could not find a race that lined up with my schedule, I decided that I would just make up my own run.

Saturday at 8 AM, I headed off on my 50k run. I decided to use the WWC 50k course since it makes a nice 10ish mile loop. I can then resupply my Camelbak after each lap.

Of course, when I started planning this adventure run, I didn’t plan on it being a 50k run on the first 90 degree day of ’19.

I went through nearly a gallon and ½ of Nunn plus a copious amount of snacks along the way.

Even with the warm start to the morning, the breeze made my first lap feel good. On the second lap, things definitely warmed up. I had thoughts of quitting. But I couldn’t. I wanted to push through it. I needed to push through it.

I made a point of drinking every half mile. I took it easy and just worked each mile, and I tried to not think about it.

Somewhere around with 3 to 4 miles left, the realization finally started to set in that my legs were going to carry me to the finish. They were tired, but they did what I asked them to do. This was my longest run of ’19 so far.

Most importantly, I checked off the first of my 50k or more runs of this summer. This run definitely put some confidence in my memory bank. I have bigger plans for later in the fall, and this is just the first step in making those plans come true.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Aero Runner Treadmill



I was at the University Y working out on Monday night, and I saw that they were testing out a new type of tread mill called an Aero Runner.

An Aero Runner is not like you normal tread mill. There is no pace setting feature on it. I just jumped on and went for a run. The tread mill automatically adjust up or down to whatever pace that I am running. If I had to compare it to something, it is like attempting to run on a barrel in water. I found myself grabbing on to the bars from time to time. It is a definitely a bit of adjustment from your normal thread mill which runs at a set pace. I do like the belt and the structure of it. The bed is of a concave design.

If you get a chance, check it out.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner


Deep Tissue Roller

Recently, I picked up a new Foam Roller. For years, I have used a Trigger Point Roller, and I have gotten some great use out of it. However, with time and age, it has taken a beating.

My Trigger point roller has a smooth surface, and my legs have grown use to it. This new roller is quite the contrast. This new roller has a knobby surface. The first time I rolled my legs over it, I wanted to cry. It dug in to spots that I didn’t even know were sore.

I have been using it regularly now. I think that is good to shake things up once in a while. My old legs need all the attention that they can get.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Stumpy Pond Trail ½ Marathon Recap 5/11/19


Today, I headed down to the Ann Springs Greenway for the Stumpy Pond Trail ½ marathon. I have not run on the Ann Spring Greenway in years. Add to it, I have never run on some of the sections of this race so I was going to be doing some new exploring.

Running was going to be rough for this race. The temperature was in the mid 70s but making life miserable for all of us runners was the humidity. It was absolutely awful.

The course was marked pretty well. There a few long sections where I could have used some confidence markers. However, after the race I was talking with one of the guys that marked the course. He told me that they didn’t believe in confidence markers. I understood him but just because he didn’t believe in them that doesn’t mean that they would be nice to have for the runners. After all, in those long sections with no markings, I am left question if I missed something along the way.

We had a long leadout in to the trails so the runners well strung out as we entered. I settled in to a comfortable pace and worked the trail. There were no real long climbs but boy does it roll. In some sections, I felt like a yo-yo.

I was churning along through about 7 miles when we finally turned to head back to the finish. This section of the trail had no wind blowing, and I was starting to overheat badly.

Those final miles were a struggle.

I finished in 1:51:41, placing 6 OA, and 1st MM. I hadn’t won a MM in several years, and I was pleasantly surprised to win it.

I was glad that I did this race. I spend a lot of time running on the WWC trails. Getting the chance to run some different trails is always nice. I would venture down there again for another run.

Overall, most of the trails were very runnable. There were only a few sections where they got technical, and I had to really watch my footing.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Friday, May 10, 2019

WWC River Jam 10k – May Edition



Warmer days are here again so that must mean one thing. The WWC Thursday night River Jam races are back on again.

Last night was like a reunion. So many faces that I hadn’t seen since last September. I shook a lot hands, and I caught up on what has been going on with everyone.

So let’s get down to the details.

They moved the race start/finish back a short distance but otherwise, the course was pretty much the same.

The overcast cloud hinted of rain but the course was pretty much dry. I had no issues running in my racing flats.

Everyone seemed to be going out hard, and I felt that I was struggling to keep up. I hit the trails right behind Andrew, and I had another guy on my “six”. We worked those first couple of miles with each one of us taking a turn towing the others along.  

Over by the WeighStation trail, they both got in front of me. I was doing my best to main contact. We turned on to the Lake Loop. I could feel the pace increasing. However, my legs were not handling it well. By the time, we hit the back side of the Lake Loop, Andrew and the other guys started to gap me. With the growth along the trail, they were soon out of sight. It wasn’t so much that I was slowing down as they were running faster.

By the time we exited the trail and headed to the finish, they were well ahead of me.
I ran 46:34 which was about a minute slower than last year. I don’t know where that I finished. They didn’t post the results on the monitors, and the results have not been posted on their website. Hopefully, they will do it soon.

Being that I was over a minute off of my time from last year means I have 4 weeks to get a little better i.e. a little faster.

We shall see.

Don’t forget that the River Jam races are the 2nd Thursday for the next 4 months. If you are looking for a little running, a little music, and a little food, the WWC is the place to be.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner

* Updated. WWC Race team posted the results. I finished 8 overall and 1st in the 50-54 age group. 

               

Thursday, May 2, 2019

No 19 Summer Track


Sadly, I was copied on an email from Tim explaining that our local summer track series normally held at Myers Park High School was being canceled for ’19. Expectations were set that the series would return in ’20.

From what I understood reading the email, Myers Park Track or Stadium was undergoing some type of maintenance which would not permit it being available for the series.

Tim even went so far as to look for other venues which were similarly located to host it but he couldn’t get one locked down.

I am sure that summer track series will missed throughout our entire running community. Each year it gave us to a chance to once again feel the need for speed, see faces that we don’t often see, and swap stories. But all this will just have to wait until the summer of ’20, and by then, we will have twice the number of stories to swap.

See you at summer track in ‘20

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, April 29, 2019

Tuckfest Marathon Challenge



Walking back to my car Sunday morning after the 5k, I unpinned bib #321 for the last time. A deep breath escaped my lungs as a wave of fatigue that I had been pushing aside finally rolled across my body. 5 races from a 5k to ½ marathon on the trails in 4 days is a lot of running. No change that. 5 races in 4 days is a lot racing.

I am glad that I did it.

We experienced just about every condition possible: cold, heat, darkness, and rain.

Two 5Ks were run under awesome conditions. The night time 4 miler turned was probably the toughest. What should have been an easy course turned hard after the rain. Water and mud made running more difficult. Fallen trees turned it into an obstacle course. The heat and humidity of a noon time ½ marathon tested just about everyone’s limits. The quarter marathon was run under cool conditions yet the trails were a bit slippery. My ding here, the race had to be long. A quarter marathon is what 6.60 miles. I had well over 7 miles on my Garmin.

All this aside, the WWC guys did an awesome job, and things pretty much ran smoothly. I give them a lot of credit because someone had to go mark all those races. This took a lot of time on someone’s schedule.

So the question to ask now. Would I do it again? Likely, I would. They call it a marathon challenge but I ran more the 30 miles in those 4 days. To run all those races, it only cost me $50. That’s $12 bucks per race, and I got a nice WWC Tuckfest T-shirt. I don’t know where else any runner could do this. Plus, I got to check out a bunch of other cool activities over the course of 4 days.

I’d definitely recommend checking it out next year

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Tuckfest - Day 4 - 5k Recap


One tired pair of trail shoes were laced up for the final time, and I was headed to the starting line of for the last event of the Tuckfest trail races.

I ignored the desire to skip the warm up, and I used the course for my “get ready” miles. I just hoped that my body would take it.

The 5k course was the same as the 5k course on Thursday evening so I was familiar with it.
The downhill start had everyone sprinting hard. I worked my way around several runners just before we hit the single track. I felt that I could run faster but I was struggle to make it past a several runners. The course is extremely narrow and as such doesn’t provide a lot of opportunity for passing.
Mile one was gone before I realized it. Mile two was a bit tougher but my legs felt better than I expected them. I want to attribute this to my warm up miles. Given my other no warm up races left my struggling through the opening miles.

The final mile has 4 nasty hills in it. I had caught up to the 2nd place runner, and we spent the final mile going back and forth.

We climbed the final hill and were heading back to the Pavilion when he blew past the left turn going to the finish. To his credit, he didn’t miss the turn. There was no yellow arrow telling him to turn left.
Even thou, he was maybe 10 yards in front of me, and I could left him just continue on while I finished 2nd, I didn’t even hesitate. I called out for him to turn left. I would hope someone would do the same for me. 

He beat me by a few seconds but calling out to him was the right thing to do. When I look at myself in the mirror, knowing I always try to do the right thing is important to me.  

My time was slower than Thursday night. I ran 22:43, finishing 3rd overall, and 1st 50-54. I took home my first Tuckfest Medal. Which by the way, were awesome looking medals.

My legs are now ready for a few days of R&R

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Tuckfest – Day 3 – Quarter marathon.



I sleep about 4 hours last night. I woke up about 4 AM, and my mind was just churning so I got up and got ready for the race.

The temperate was awesome this morning for running. My car’s temperature gauge said it was 45 degrees. I felt chilling waiting for the start but once the race went off, I loved it.

However, I wished my legs felt better.  I struggled through the first 3 miles before my legs came alive, and I started pulling some runners back.

The race was billed as a quarter marathon but my Garmin said that I ran closer to 7 and ¼ miles.  I had expected that it would be long. We were running the Frigid 10k course which is pretty much the same course, and we were now finishing at the Pavilion rather than the boat docks. The Frigid 10k was nearly 6 and 3/4 miles. 

I clocked a time of 59:14 for 11 overall and 1st in the 50-54 age group. I was hoping to run a bit faster but my Garmin told me that I ran the same pace as my ½ marathon yesterday. Some days, I have to take what my body gives me.

Now, I have just the 5k left in the morning. I suspect that I will be hurting. My legs feel dead, and I am going to need several days of easy running to get over this adventure.

Tales from the Trails,

The Cool Down Runner



Tuckfest – Day 2 – Nighttime 4 miler

After the ½ marathon, I stuck around to watch some of the other Tuckfest events. About 7:30 PM, I headed for my car to get ready.

The day was a day of transition. The morning was humid and warm. The afternoon had the storm front roll through. An hour after the storm finished, the temperature was down, the wind was gusting, and the skies were a clear blue.

The moment that the race started I felt slow. I spent the first mile adjusting my head lamps. It takes time to get the lights set at the right angle. The trails were wet and muddy. They told us that the storm had blown down some trees on the Lake Loop. Broken branches were everywhere. I came around several corners to find myself having to come to a halt and crawl across a downed treed. In another section, I waded through water.  

I was just about finished with the Lake Loop when I came up on a woman running with no light. I don’t know how she was finding her way through the woods. I would have been running in to every tree on the trail. I told to her to stay with me, and I would get her out of the woods. We ran together until we got back to the lite parking lot. I just couldn’t leave someone hanging. That just wouldn’t be right.

Incidentally, she looked me up the next day to thank me for my help. She was telling me that she had a head lamp but the batteries had run down.

The 4 miler turned in to about 4 and ¾ mile race on my Garmin and part obstacle course. I finished in the 35:46 for 9th overall and 1st in the 50-54 age group.

Soon after the race was over, I headed home. I needed to refuel for the races in the next two days. More so, I wanted a shower and sleep. I was tired.

Tails from the trail

The Cool Down Runner

Tuckfest – Day 2 Recap - 1/2 Marathon


My Tuckfest quest moved to day 2 with the noontime start of the ½ marathon. The temperature was in the low 80s. I am not use to this type of warmth yet. Also, I was kept my warm up to a minimum since I did not want to add any unneeded miles on my legs.

So what happen?

Well, I was sluggish out of the gate. My legs felt a bit sore and stiff, and they were heavy from the racing the 5k last night.

By the time, we turned on to the Academy Trail, I was feeling the heat. Sweat was getting in to my eyes and burning. A big group took off setting a hot pace. In fact, they going so fast that ½ mile into the race, they took off running the Figure 8 backwards. No idea what they were thinking but they quickly realized their mistake and bushwacked their way back on to the right trail.

About 5 miles, my legs started to feel loose, and my pace picked up. I was slowly running down some of those that couldn’t handle the hot early pace. I felt even better once we go out along the river because the wind was blowing. This cooled me off even more.

I finished off the Wedge Trail, and headed for home. They still had us running around the backside of the parking lot to keep us away from the traffic.

I finished in 1 hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds placing me 7 overall and first among the 50 to 54 age group.

Big congrats to Chris on winning the race. He ran the distance in an hour and 41 minutes or about 7:41 pace. That’s amazing. Also saw Daniel E who came in 1:45 to finish 3rd. He passed me on the Academy Loop and continued to move up.

Shortly, after I finished, a storm front rolled through, and the rain poured. Two women were telling me about their experience since they were caught in the storm at about 8 miles.  I was standing under a tent, and I thought it was going to be blown away.

After the race, it was time to eat and catch some of the events. They had this Mtn. biker who can do some pretty awesome balancing. Then, I caught the Deepwater climbing. Those men and women made it look easy, but it has to be super hard. It was definitely something that I am not putting my bucket list.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner


Friday, April 26, 2019

Tuckfest Quest – Twilight 5k


Last night I started my Tuckfest Quest with their Twilight 5k. If you are wondering what is my Tuckfest Quest. Well, during the Whitewater Center’s Tuckfest weekend, they organize 5 different trail races in the 4 days. There is a 5k on Thursday evening, a ½ and 4 miler on Friday, a quarter marathon on Saturday, and another 5k on Sunday. The 4 miler on a Friday is a night race starting at 8pm and makes for a long day on the trail but a fun one.

Everyone was fresh and full of energy right from the start last night, and we all hit the trails hard. I was running with 5 other guys for most of the race. I never did get away from them, and I finished a scant few seconds in front of them in 21:46, placing 4th overall, and 1st in my age group.

Once my race was in the books, I headed back to my car to start refueling. With so much racing over the next few days, I know the importance of keeping my energy stores restocked.

Today will be tough thou, the ½ marathon starts at noon. Then, I will have roughly 6 hours to rest before my night race. If rain holds off, I am hoping to spend the afternoon at the WWC and watch some of the other events.

If you get a chance, check out the events this weekend.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

My Brother is joining the cause



In my family, I have also been the solo runner. Neither my dad, mom, nor brother ever ran that is until recently. I guess my brother’s doctor finally got through to him. That and he has been put on BP medicine.

At the beginning of the year, he signed up for a gym membership, and he has been working out 5 days per week. Honestly, I am proud of him. His weight is down over 20 pounds in 3 ½ months. 

Earlier today, he ran his first 5k time trail with his group in 32 minutes and 30 seconds.

How far will he go, I don’t know. What I do know; I am excited to watch his progress, and I hope that he finds the joy that I have known for years.

Tails from the Trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, April 15, 2019

Boston Marathon - thoughts



I streamed the Boston Marathon today. Anyone with an interest in running likely had their eyes on this race. My self, the memories of it took me back to my race. Albeit, we had a little better conditions.

What I enjoyed most was watching the 2 different racing strategies playout.

In the women race, they let the leader go either because they thought she was running over her head and would come back to them or because they just felt she was going to run way faster than any of them. I too had my doubts about her strategy. They were saying the temperatures were going to rise, and once a runner’s set their entire book of matches on fire by running so hard, there is no coming back from it. The “hot” early pace did appear to have some effect on the leader, and the 2nd place runner seemed to have a lot left in the tank. She just waited too long to use it. She cut a lot time off during those last 3 miles but she just ran out race. That happens. Like I said, it was interesting to watch and see who had the better plan.

The men’s race seemed to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. No one seem to want to really step up and “own” the race as was evident by the large number of runners hanging around late in the race. Even when it was down to the final mile, 3 runners were still in contention with any of them having an opportunity to win. To see the move for the lead before Boylston Street, I thought that he would wait a little longer before making his move. Once on Boylston Street, there is still a long ways to run to the finish. Watching them both of them push so hard after having run so hard for so long was amazing. He clearly gave it his all in those final few meters. Watching the postrace ceremony, two of Boston’s finest where helping him walk around. I could feel his pain right through my TV.

Next year, tune in to the marathon. Nothing is more motivating than watching those runners stream over the starting and then hours later stream over the finish.

Makes me think about doing Boston again.

The Cool Down Runner
  

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Back Solid Food again


Following my dentist’s instructions, I have been on a soup diet for the last few days. On a cold day, I like a good bowl of soap. Makes me feel warm.

Eating a bowl of soup more often, it just doesn’t cut it.

That’s why yesterday was so nice. I finally got to eat something more meaningful. Yes, my gums are still sore but getting better with each passing day.

I dropped the ibuprofen on Wednesday.  In my case, my dentist over exaggerated the pain. If I had taken the drugs that he had recommended, I am not sure if I could feel anything.
Of course, there is one thing that’s tough to swallow.  He has me rinsing with warm salt water 3 times per day. Think of being at the ocean, a wave rolls in to shore, and catches you with your mouth open. 

That’s exactly what it taste like. Fun, fun, fun.

So the recovery is going well and should be in my rear view mirror in a couple of weeks. Should be perfect time as I am looking to kick off a busy May of racing.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

  

Buckets of rain falling


I needed 20 miles yesterday, and I watched as the rain came down. Not just come down but the rain poured. 

When I could felt like it was slacking off just a little, I finally pushed out the door. A quarter mile later, I was soaked head to toe. I no longer found any need to steer clear of mud puddles or for that matter, the torrent of water running off.

I waded through a couple of places where the water was ankle deep. One place it was up to my knees. The last place that I arrived to find one of the two foot bridges had been carried away. This time I erred on the side of caution and headed the long way back. Recognizing one’s own limits is important. The risk was far greater than the reward getting to the other side.

Be safe when crossing a stream. A fast moving current can knock a runner of their feet and send him or her floating way.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Busy week outside of running

I am getting all of my body maintenance done this week. Tuesday, I crossed my wisdom teeth off my todo list that my dentist had been after me to do. Today, I crossed of my biometric screening. My employer gives me a kick back on my insurance if I have this yearly screen. Just reminds me of the Disney's circle of life kind of thing. The biometric screening reminds me that I don't need those McDonald's hamburgers any more, and I should be eating a salad. My dentist keeps my teeth in great shape so I can eat those salads.

In my 20 and 30, I never thought much about this kind of stuff. I worked, run, ate, slept, and repeated it. Now, it is all about the little things to the old engine running.

Make sure you are doing those same little so you can keep running for years to come.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

100 days 1000 miles

100 days in to 2019, I topped 1000 miles today. Actually, I have 1005. If I can stay on this pace, I should run somewhere in the 3600 mile range for 2019. That will be slightly more than I ran in '18.

I hope everyone else is getting in their miles and running well. The weather is perfect now that the rain has stopped.

No excuses. Go run.

Tails from the trails,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Losing some wisdom



During my last check up, my dentist suggested that I have my wisdom teeth removed. This has something do with how my teeth were meshed together. I am not expert here but she felt it best so I agreed to have it done.

Today, I had the two on the right side removed.

They offered to put me under for the procedure and offered me several different types of medication to deal with the pain. I refused all of it. I prefer to know what’s happening, and pain happens for reason. It should never be ignored.

The procedure was less stressful than I had imagined. Probably the worst part, he put this huge needle in to my gum to further numb it. Nothing like seeing a huge need come at me. 

The top wisdom tooth came out in one piece. The bottom tooth came out in two pieces. They gave me some gauze and after care instructions. I was in and out in less than 45 minutes.

The numbness wore off in about 3 hours. I noticed a little swelling but nothing major. Aside from a couple of ibuprofen, I haven’t taken much else.

In truth, I felt worse after running marathon.

Now, the hardest part, I am on soft foods for a next few days. I’ll share what that’s like on Friday.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner



GPS locks up


               
Last Saturday, while on my long run, my Garmin’s GPS suddenly locked up. However, the Garmin didn’t totally lock up but just the GPS distance tracking stopped. The time was still running.
I was about 18 miles into a 20 miler when the Garmin flashed up a lost Satellite warning, but it quickly went away. A few minutes later, the same message popped up but again when away. This time, however, the Garmin stopped recording any distance but the time kept running. I stopped and started it. I recycled it. Nothing would work.

When I finish, I did a hard reset. This time it loaded and start tracking distance again. Never have I had anything like this happen with any of my Garmins.


Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Snow in April

Saturday, I was finishing up my long run, and the temperature was pushing the mid 60s. The thought crossed my mind that I could soon put away the gloves and long sleeve shirts for a few months.

Then, Sunday was cooler, and Monday, it was still cooler.

This morning, I stepped out on the door on the 2nd day of April to see huge snow flakes coming down. Over the next hour, the wind blew hard enough to chill me down, and the snow changed over to sleet.

This is not what I expected heading in to April.

Warm days will be here soon enough. I just wish we got more of the middle of the road weather. Goldielocks weather, not too hot, and not too cold, but just right.

Tails from the trail,

The Cool Down Runner

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Where do I put my car keys?

Saturday, I was cruising during the race when for some unknown reason, I reached out down to where I kept my car key in my shorts. I squeezed my shorts, and I sudden feeling of panic rocked through my brain. I did not feel my key.  That’s bad feeling, but when running, I think it is 100 times worse. Finding a lost key on a trail has got be next to impossible. May be it was that intuition feeling that saved me. I felt round my shorts and then realized that string hold my key had come loose. It had then slide further down. If not for checking for it, I would have likely lost it somewhere over the course.
I never had this happen before. Usually, I have shorts which have a nice pocket that keeps my key safe.

But this started me thinking, I wonder where others keep their keys. I have seen other runners put their keys inside the gas lid, on top of their tires, behind their tires, or under the bummer. I always thought this was kind of dumb thing to do because it is easy place to look. Worse, is the fact that they put it on their tire or under their bumper right in front of me. I don’t see this as a good way to keep it a secret.

Where do you keep your key while racing?

Tails from the trails

The Cool Down Runner

Monday, March 25, 2019

CamelBak Hydration Vest vs. Nathan Handhelds


There are two ways learn either through my own trial and error or by watching others. I was looking around at the start of the marathon on Saturday, and I saw a pretty even mix between runners using a hydration vest and runners using hand held bottles.

Numerous races I have used the hand held bottles, but last year when I got into doing some seriously long runs, the hand held bottles just didn’t cut it. Since then, I have found that I prefer the hydration vest to the bottles. Mostly because, I like to have my hands free. Plus, I think having the water on your back creates a better center gravity for running on a trail. Where I am constantly readjusting my balance. Throw in that with most vests, they have a pocket which I can stuff in some food to enjoy on the run.

Like myself, I think for most people it is a manner of personal choice.  Which feels the most comfortable when you are going to be away for hours at time.

One benefit the vest, I can exchange one vest for another and keep going. This is what I did on Saturday. I had already pulled off my vest, I then opened my cooler, I pulled out my loaded vest, I dropped in the old one, I closed the lid, and I was off running. No fuss. My water and snacks were ready to go. No fumbling to load anything up during race. This reduces things that I have to figure out when I am tired, and things that I can screw up or leave behind during the race.

This is all free advice, and along with, I suggest testing out your ideas during your training runs. 
There will always be little “gotchas” along the way.

Tails from the Trail

The Cool Down Runner

Saturday, March 23, 2019

New South Trail Marathon Recap 3/23/19



Today, I ran my second New South Trail Marathon at the US National Whitewater Center. I finished 4th overall in 4 hours, 8 minutes, and 34 seconds. This effort placed me tops in my age group. I am happy to get in another solid run this year.

My day started with me leaving the house a few minutes after 6 AM for the short drive out to the WWC. One of the perks of running this marathon, I get to sleep in my own bed, and I only have to drive about 20 minutes to reach the WWC.

Time passes quickly. I placed my drop bag in the designated area. Chatted with Dave, Jenn, and Jenny for a few minutes before heading to the starting line.

Because the temperature was in mid 30s, I wore a thin pair of gloves. They were just enough to ward off cold. Later, they came in handy to whip away the sweat.

The course changed in a few places from last year. Due to construction along the channel, we entered through the North Main trail to Figure 8, and they changed the Parkway trail so instead, we ran up the parking lot road to the Academy trail.

The leaders were out quickly. I settled in to 4th overall by mile 5. From then, I was solo for the rest of the race. It is a lonely way to run a marathon but then this is the way of trail marathons tend to go done.

The race does come with some nice perks. The race hoodie was awesome. Fits like a glove. Postrace for the marathoners, they had a pasta lunch. This was definitely worth it. Nothing like finishing a race, a full spread of food is put right in front of you.

I did hear that one runner got turned around in the parking. Not sure how this happened, they had setup plenty of cones and barriers to direct us across the parking. The other weird happening, I was churning along on the thread trail when I met up with another runner heading in the opposite direction. But he was wearing a red marathon bib. I did a double take because it did throw me off to be meeting someone wearing a marathon bib. I don’t know happen to him. I kept going in the opposite direction.

I did do one smart thing today. I took my reclining lawn chair. After the race, I found myself a comfortable spot, and spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing and cheering on those coming to the finish. Felt good give some other support.

Tails from the trail.

The Cool Down Runner


Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Washington's Farewell Speech

While I found my passion in writing software, I have always had a passing interesting in history. The adage "we either learn from history or we are doomed to repeat it" has always stuck with me. During my college life, I took more than few history courses. And through the years, I have found myself drawn to history documentaries.

When my daughter went through school, we never talked much about history. She would tell me about her classes, and how she was doing but we never got into philosophical discussions.

Once she entered college, history became a topic of interest to her. So much so that one of her two minors will be in history.

Her interest in history paired with my passing interest in history has formed a connection between us that I never expected. Now, when she has a history assignment, she often shares her assignment with me. I'll read the same passages, and we talk about the passages and her assignment. I guess that I give her a sounding board. I don't know if helps or not. I hope so. Personally, I have found my self looking forward to each new assignment that she is given. 

Just this last week, we read George Washington's Farewell Speech. As I set here still digesting his words, I cannot help but reflect how much of his warnings still ring true today. Two hundred plus years later, America continues to face those same challenges. This takes me back to the adage that I started this post with. Are we really learning from history or are we just in an endless cycle doomed to a world that Washington warned us about.

The Cool Down Runner

the channel runs green

So Saturday, I was among the mass of people at the WWC for their go green revival. Mass is really an understatement. They closed the entrance to the WWC so people were parking at the near by school and walking the nearly two miles into the WWC. I guess most didn't realize the trail short cut into the WWC,.

But the cool part of the experience was when they dye the water green. Not just any green, but a  florescent green. The color green which might glow at night. It is a cool sight to see the water slowly  makes it way around the channel to the basis.

Tails from the trail.

The Cool Down Runner