Thursday, December 31, 2009

Closing Out 2009

Time: 74:07
Distance: 11.30 miles

W/u: 20:52 for 2.80 miles
W/0: 1k, 1 mile, 1k, 1 mile, 1k, 1 mile, 1k
C/d: 23:42 for 2.84 miles

Meagan was itching to do a workout so I came up with something that would benefit the two of us. I figured that if she was going to do mile repeats, I could turn her intervals into my recovery. I just needed a distance to run hard in between her efforts. I haven't run repeat Ks in a while and today seemed like the perfect opportunity.

We warmed up to the San Diego High School track where we were once kicked off by Meb's high school coach. He's clearly done wonders for the program as currently the school has no track. When we were here a little over a year ago, the track was crappy but still surfaced. Now it's just crappy without a surface. The infield of the track is amazing as Field Turf did an amazing job outfitting the facility. However, some genius decided to get rid of the actual track. There is now just a 400 meter asphalt loop. No lines for distances, no lanes either.

We tried to make the most of the situation figuring it was like running on the roads except without traffic. I was going to be alternating between 1,000 meter repeats and 1 mile recovery intervals. Just before leaving the condo, Jeff sent me the next training block. I was doing some quick marathon pace calculations and learned that 5:30/mi is 2:24:12 pace and/or 3:25/k. Knowing this I hoped to run relaxed 3:25 kilometer repeats and pace Meagan on her 3 x mile workout. Splits:
3:13.26, 5:56,
3:04.13, 5:45,
3:03.48, 5:33,
2:56.57 for 29:33 and 5.66 miles. (5:13 average)

Great relaxed workout. I wasn't expecting to run a 3:13 opener which set the tone for the rest of the workout. The mile recovery efforts went well and Meagan dropped the pace accordingly. I can tell that the legs are very fresh because they had a bit of pop when I transitioned to sub-5 pace. This is an early workout for what is to come in the New Year. Very pleased to end 2009 with today's workout.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Time: 31:54
Distance: ~4.5 miles

Another run through Balboa Park this evening. Nothing too interesting to report. Very similar to last night's run.

Balboa Park

Time: 58:23
Distance: 8.01 miles
Pace: 7:17

Meagan and I were out the door this morning and off to Balboa Park. We did a loop similar to yesterday's except we didn't focus on the Footlocker course quite as much. The route did take us back up Upas St. which is definitely a hill of legendary status. It's no Lombard Street, but for San Diego it works.

There is talk about doing a mini workout tomorrow at a local high school track. My dad has returned to Palm Springs with the car which means getting to the beach is unlikely to happen. Fortunately, the Hillcrest area of San Diego provides us with basically everything we need.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Minutes on the Feet

Time: 30:18
Distance: ~4 miles

I put in a few miles around Balboa Park this evening. I had forgotten at how low the airplanes fly overhead as they approach the San Diego airport. It's so low that if you had a tennis racquet and ball, I bet you could serve one up to the pilot. That's completely hypothetical of course as I wouldn't want to create a Sully Sullenberger experience on the west coast.

I felt miserable this run because for lunch Meagan and I met one of her friends from TCU. Amy, a cop in Chula Vista, knew of a good Mexican restaurant right around the corner from my dad's place. Ortega's had a great carnitas dish that I devoured along with a healthy dose of chips. I was still full four hours later when I was out on the roads. My iron stomach was cracking a bit under the pressure.

Oh, one last snipe at Meagan. Remember all those books she has read this vacation? Well they haven't increased her trivia skills one bit. I dominated her in a came of Trivial Pursuit (Genus Edition). I filled out my little pie holder while she managed to get one piece in hers. Meagan threatened to walk out a couple of times during the competition, but I promised her a quick execution if she retook her seat. Either Meagan is just looking at the words and turning pages, or she's "reading" the wrong books.

Dr. Ryan Graddy

Time: 66:54
Distance: 8.96 miles
Pace: 7:28

The future Dr. Ryan Graddy met Meagan and me over at my dad's place in Hillcrest. He might claim to be terribly out of shape but not too long ago he ran a killer marathon in Philadelphia. I never gave him the proper congratulations on the blog, so it's only fitting to do it now. Graddy finished Philly in 2:32:35 which earned him 17th place overall. It looks like after going through the half in 1:18:11 he started hammering the pace to finish with a second half of 1:14:24. That's a huge negative split and a great effort for his first marathon.

Former Brown runners have now run some pretty solid times at the marathon distance. I don't want to do all the research, but off the top of my head:
Jeff Gaudette - 2:22:02 (Chicago)
Nick Neely - 2:24:xx (Austin)
Pat Tarpy - 2:20:xx (NYC)
Ryan Graddy - 2:32:35 (Philly)
Owen Washburn - 2:36:02 (Austin)
Mike DeCoste - 2:34:39 (Eugene)
Me - 2:27:19 (OKC)

This morning the three of us ran through Balboa Park and found the Footlocker course. Ryan grew up in the area and has raced on the course several times during high school. Meagan and I could never find the exact location or the route on previous visits. It was nice to finally put that mission to rest. Dr. Graddy flies out early tomorrow morning and, unfortunately, we won't be able to run again. It was great to catch up during the run while we had the chance.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Running in Balboa Park

Time: 55:05
Distance: 8.28 miles
Pace: 6:39

My dad, Meagan and I arrived in San Diego right around noon. We immediately made a stop at Einstein Bros for lunch and then spent the rest of the afternoon doing our individual tasks. I worked on setting up store appointments, my dad bought a tv and Meagan was probably reading. That bookworm has finished nearly half a dozen books since she's arrived in California. No book is safe from her nerdy mission of becoming the smartest person in the world. She's perhaps the female equivalent of A.J. Jacobs who once read the entire Encyclopedia Britannica from A to Z. However, he writes books about it and gets paid. He's also a Brown graduate which means he's already one level above Meagan in terms of intelligence. Though, you can't knock Meagan for trying.

Before the sun went down I was able to get out the door with the braniac in toe. We took a spin through Balboa Park and then I finished up solo. The run was good and I'll be interested to see if we can find the Footlocker course tomorrow with Graddy.

Treadmill Morning

Time: 34:04
Distance: 5.0 miles

Meagan's parents were leaving later in the morning out of Ontario which meant an early rise. I didn't want to run on the dark streets of Palm Springs and opted to hit up the treadmill. I had an almost enjoyable run on the 'mill a few nights ago and figured it wouldn't be too boring. I joined Meagan in the fitness room where she continues to cross-train. The music was selected and I began a short run at a 1.5 incline. I felt comfortable in my stride making sure not to float too much over the belt. It's easy to take advantage of the treadmill if you bound up in the air allowing the belt to pass by underneath. I finished the run with a sub-7:00 average which is always nice to see.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Week in Review

Time: 539:57
Distance: 78.20 miles

I finished out a solid week of training while on holiday in Palm Springs. It has been nice to catch up with friends and family during this downtime. I've been fairly successful at getting the legs prepared to take the next serious phase of training come 2010. I know that I will be on the road a lot through the months of January and February but I believe that I can fit in an early morning run and then a late night double with a store's training group.

Prior to the Aerial Tramway

Time: 43:03
Distance: 6.01 miles
Pace: 7:09

We had to fit this morning's run in before I cooked breakfast (flapjacks) and going to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Meagan has begged for someone to take her to the top ever since she started coming to the desert. I've refused because my two previous trips were enough. Now that the Nedlos were in town, Meagan found someone to take her to the top of the mountain and I felt it necessary to play host and tag along.

Standing in front of the old tramway cars that didn't rotate.

Being transported to the top in the new rotating tramway cars.

Snow and elevation at the top. I should have bought a coffee to boost my EPO production.

Overlooking the desert from the top of a snowy mountain.

You don't find pine trees in the desert and there aren't any cacti on the mountain.

I couldn't find the motivation to run in the afternoon so I relaxed and watch football.

*photos courtesy of Meagan Nedlo

Fairway Workout

Time: 38:34
Distance: 5.50 miles

W/u: 15:14 for 2.01 miles
W/o: 6 x fairway with short jog
C/d: 7:49 for 1.o mile

I stated in an earlier post that it's time to start running a bit harder when I start to feel like doing long strides. Originally, I wanted to go to Palm Springs High School and run a few 2-hundos on the track, but Meagan wanted to run on the golf course. I figured I could just to long strides on the fairways and not have to worry about hitting splits.

I warmed up to a portion of the course furthest south and then I selected my route. I was going to run a short loop and do pick-ups on the fairway. Each uptempo section was probably around 275 to 290 meters and I hit splits of:

47.89 for .17, (1:24), 50.28 for .18, (:52), 47.91 for .18, (1:40), 45.40 for .17, (1:27), 46.08 for .18, (:55), 47.20 for .19.

Meagan commented on how hard I was breathing at the end of the workout and it's definitely the fastest that I've run in a few months. It was nice to stretch out the legs and focus on turnover this evening. I kept focused on my form and arm carry that tends to break down when the body gets tired. I was meaning to incorporate some more speed and hill sprints into my training during the final few weeks of the year, but I got sick and then ran a marathon which interrupted organized training. Coach Jeff will be getting me some workouts and a schedule soon though.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Calorie Burner

Time: 43:17
Distance: 6.01 miles
Pace: 7:11

Last night my pops outdid himself with a Christmas dinner for the ages. I was still full when I woke up and went for a morning run with Meagan around Palm Springs. I have been in the mood for doing something a little harder to stretch out the legs, so I wanted to run easy this outing. I know when it's time to get back to training when I feel like stepping on the track to run long strides or a short workout. This morning served to get the body back in motion.

Back to the food...

The dinner party (not the movie) started with hors d'oeuvres and champagne (not Andre) in the early evening. The drink was stellar and snacking was great, but the meal itself was top notch. We started with a light salad featuring pomegranate, gorgonzola cheese and almond slivers. Following was prime rib, mashed potatoes, green beans along with peppers and almonds, rolls and Texas wine courtesy of the Nedlos. (I'm trying to make this quick and in doing so, I'm not giving each dish its proper accolades). Everyone was sated but dessert in the desert had to be served. Cheesecake sent from Laura's in Mt. Pleasant, TX made an appearance, as did coffee from Koffi. The food and company made for a great end to the day.

Needless to say, the run was very casual in the morning.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Morning

Time: 71:01
Distance: 10.18 miles
Pace: 6:59

Meagan's leg
has been feeling a lot better since we have been in Palm Springs and that mean I have company for part of my runs. We ran up to Ruth Hardy Park and then ran back down to the condo complex. Meagan's calf had to have been feeling good because she dropped a 6:48 mile in the middle of the run on a downhill section. I added on a few extra miles before calling it a morning.

A few hours later we were in Ontario, CA picking up another set of parentals. Gifts were exchanged and I came away with a bunch of gift cards and a Garmin nuvi 265. I now have two registered Garmin products, one helps my running and the other helps me find running stores.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hot Sunny Christmas Eve

Time: 67:09
Distance: 9.59
Pace: 7:00

Meagan and I ran together for the first six miles on the route from a couple of days ago. It's certainly not the best route but I know it's close to the distance she wanted. After dropping her back off at the condo I continued on for a few extra miles. I'm feeling really good on runs these days which is a good place to be when the new year comes.

A little after getting back from the run, Roger took Meagan and I on a hike. The trek was only a mile to the top but it was really steep, and the views were amazing. Of course, I brought Mr. Garmin along to measure the length of the outing and calculate the altitude. Unfortunately, the Garmin's altimeter is not the best and I don't fully trust the 1,205 ft. reading. I will probably be sore tomorrow from all of the braking on the descent.

The golf course where Meagan and I run.

Simba watching over his kingdom.

The view from the top.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Evening on the Golf Course

Time: 35:36
Distance: 4.90 miles
Pace: 7:16

Meagan and I laced up the shoes this evening prior to the sun going behind the mountain. We wanted to take advantage of a nearby golf course that isn't too far from the condo. Once getting to the grass we made several loops around the fairways and greens. It was nice to run on a soft surface again as it has been a few weeks since I've made the trip out to McAlpine. Palm Springs doesn't have a great trail system and most of my runs are on concrete or asphalt. Over the years I've put together some pretty decent training blocks here in PS and this seems like it's the start of another one.

Training Continues

Time: 56:46
Distance: 9.11 miles
Pace: 6:14

I did the same run as yesterday morning only this time with flats. Sometimes I like to go for a run with racing flats just to keep the body used to running in a very light weight shoe. As a result, the pace of the run was faster and a little more relaxed. I hit splits of:

7:01, 6:35, 6:27, 6:21, 6:21, 5:56, 5:49, 5:54, 5:45

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Unlucky Thirteens

Time: 26:55
Distance: 4.02 miles

The poor weather continued here in Palm Springs as a wind storm sneaked its way into the canyon. Palm branches littered the streets and dust blew everywhere. I wasn't interested in running through the windy conditions so I hit up the development's fitness center. There are three treadmills, a couple of ellipticals and a few other cardio machines.

I was surprised at how good I felt on the 'mill. I was able to look out the window and see patrons at Koffi while seeing a reflection of my form. I tried to keep my arm swing symmetrical and knee lift balanced. Normally a 4 mile jog on a treadmill is absolute misery but I could have easily gone longer.

While on the treadmill I did a little observation of my turnover. As the run progressed, I toggled the speed buttons faster. I started counting my right leg's foot plant for a minute's duration. At roughly 6:45 pace I was taking 81-82 strides, at 6:20 pace it was 82-83 and at 6:00 pace I took 83-84 steps. This tells me that my stride length is getting longer while my turnover stays about the same when the pace picks up. I have done a bit of reading and know that the world's elites take 90+ strides/min and the very best on the track will take closer to 100 strides/min. It would be an interesting coaching method to design workouts based on turnover rather than pace or heart rate.

My morning run of 9.11 combined with this evening's 4.02 got me to unlucky 13.13.

Rare Morning of Rain

Time: 57:43
Distance: 9.11 miles
Pace: 6:20

Yesterday I posted about how it never rains in Palm Springs and that it was an ideal location for Hollywood stars to spend the weekend. Well, that wasn't entirely true because it occasionally rains in PS, just like it did this morning. I have been here a few times when the desert receives rain. And let me tell you that the city is definitely not set up to take it. The streets immediately start to fill up with water as there are no gutters.

In early 2008,
Owen gave me a hard time on a run because I promised great weather and it was raining in PS. I tried to convince him that it wasn't really raining and supported my argument with a simple equation: rain precipitation on shirt > sweat precipitation on shirt = rain. That is, if the water falling from the sky soaks your shirt more than the sweat soaks your shirt, then it's raining.

The rain had stopped by the time I left the house. I put in about 6 miles before starting to feel really good. It helped that I ran down a huge hill and the pace dropped from the 6:35 to 6:45 range to low 6:00. I was about .75 miles from the house and was really relaxed so I just took off. I started hammering the pace while keeping the form and breathing as comfortable as possible. I wanted to see what I could run for a final split and ended up hitting 5:16. Since I started hammering a little over a quarter mile into the mile, I figure I was running sub-5:00 pace to close the run out.

Splits: 7:07, 6:44, 6:41, 6:35, 6:35, 6:05, 5:56, 5:58, 5:16

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dark Early

Time: 29:59
Distance: 4.29 miles
Pace: 6:59

If you thought it got dark early in Charlotte, you should come visit Palm Springs. For those who aren't familiar with southern California, Palm Springs is a resort-ish community about 110 miles east of Los Angeles. The city gained fame in the 1940's when the movie stars of Hollywood looked for an escape. Occasionally, a star of current relevance comes to "the desert," but mostly citizens here in PS are sure to point out Liberace, Bob Hope or Sonny Bono's old homes. It's a little sad, but kind of cool... if you grew up on black and white television.

Anyway, Hollywood stars chose Palm Springs because of its close proximity to LA and, more importantly, the weather. The San Jacinto mountain range has 13,000-14,000 foot peaks and is located just to the west of the city. The mountains prevent storms coming off the Pacific Ocean from raining on the desert community. Tourists come to Palm Springs during the winter months as the weather is predictably warm. While the mountains create an ideal microclimate of warm weather, they also produce an early nightfall. Once the sun drops behind the peaks around 4:30 pm, its immediately a few degrees cooler and notably darker. By 5:00 pm the stars are coming out and at 5:15 it's obsidian.

I didn't bring a headlamp on the trip so I spent tonight's run on familiar territory. I tried running on a golf course for about a quarter mile, but didn't want to step in a sand trap. I may have spotted Tiger Woods practicing his swing while avoiding the paparazzi. I unfortunately didn't have a camera because I hear the tabloids are offering $300k for his picture. Hopefully I didn't ruin my chances for an early Christmas present.

Palm Springs Sunshine

Time: 65:54
Distance: 9.48 miles
Pace: 6:57

Meagan and I ran the first 6 miles together around the streets of Palm Springs. It was actually cool enough for me to wear a Craft long sleeve top. Hopefully the sun will be out the rest of the week and I can go sans shirt on some of these runs. No shirt in the middle of winter? Only in Palm Springs.

I dropped Meagan off around 45 minutes and ventured back out for another loop. I was able to drop the pace gradually and finished the run with a mile under 6-minute pace. The three days off last week have definitely helped get my body recovered.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Week in Review

Time: 278:51
Distance: 36.80 miles

I have managed to get the body back to a point where I feel like it is ready start training. The only indication that I ran a marathon last weekend is the slight tightness of the calves. I took three days off this week, but managed to complete seven runs. I will be excited to put in some miles around the flat roads of Palm Springs and through the trails of Balboa Park.

Taking a Zero

Time: none
Distance: none

I had an early morning flight from Charlotte to Chicago which meant no running beforehand. The weather worries on the east coast were playing havoc on flights arriving at O'hare. The flight Meagan and I were supposed to be on was delayed several hours but I finagled our way on to an earlier flight. In getting to LAX, Meagan and I had plenty of time to make our flight to Palm Springs which was going to be a problem had we stayed on the original flight out of Chicago even before the delay. The final leg was in a crop dusting express plane that managed to get over the San Jacinto mountains with a few thousand feet to spare. A little under of 12 hours of travel later, we were in Palm Springs without the luggage but happy to be in warm weather. The bags arrived a little after 9 pm and I was already passed out in bed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Doing a Loop

Time: 40:55
Distance: 5.30 miles

Meagan and I did the standard one loop around Freedom Park this evening. I was feeling good after a day of multiple cups of coffee. There isn't much to report about tonight's run, simply time on the feet.

RFYL Miles

Time: 37:09
Distance: ~5 miles

I didn't venture out and onto the roads until after dropping Meagan at work. I started the watch from RFYL's Dilworth location and made a loop that I've done in the past. When I was running down Euclid, I recognized that this was right near the halfway mark of Thunder Road. Just a week earlier, I received cheers from the group playing tennis at Dilworth Elementary. Today, they shot me a couple of glances but without the police escort, they paid little attention.

I ran through Freedom Park, entering from the opposite side and made my way back to the car at RFYL. I could tell that my legs are definitely fresh from the two days off. The calves are still a tiny bit tight, but a good stretch and self-massage will take care of that.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Best Weather Ever

Time: none
Distance: none

I opted out of a run today because the weather wasn't conducive to running comfortably. If I hadn't just run Thunder Road I may have ventured out into the storm, but since I have the luxury of taking some downtime, I decided to stay in bed. I'm now looking over my shoulder and can see Allen Strickland running me down.

I spent the day driving around Charlotte visiting Omega Sports stores. I was supposed to have BalegaGirl along, but the weather prevented her from driving down from Hickory. I saw the Huntersville, Rivergate, and Arboretum locations for the first time. I was impressed with their shoe wall as Omega stocks many of the same brands and models carried by run specialty accounts. Furthermore, I'm confused as to why a run specialty account would stock apparel that is being sold around the corner for much much less. For instance, a Brooks Podium shirt is being offered at Omega for $15 when MSRP is $28. You know what that is... a helluva deal.

I wrapped up the day at the Park Road Shopping Center near my house. I had a good conversation with the Omega district manager who was excited to see a rep from Fuel Belt and Balega. I managed to arrive home just as the weather turned nasty and I was glad to be off the roads. I think the Karhus will be laced up tomorrow.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Shipping Day?

Time: none
Distance: none

I finally lost a bit of motivation today and decided not to run. I probably needed to take a day off or two in order for the muscles and bones to fully regain strength. I saw that Theoden posted a video on his page:

Feel free to mute, I'm no David Cook fan. Did you see it? You gotta pay attention right at 3:00. Also, how did Paul Mainwaring have enough energy to celebrate like he scored the winning goal to put England into the World Cup final? Dude, you just ran a huge PR in a marathon and you're fist-pump-jumping. Awesome.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cold Night Miles

Time: 39:45
Distance: 5.30 miles

I had a busy day hanging all of my new Craft samples. The shipment of FW10 arrived late Tuesday night and it was like Santa came early. Two pieces that really stand out are the PR Weather Jacket in "bright red" and the Flex Hood Full Zip in "pipeline." I'm excited to hit the road and start showing the new line.

The Weather Jacket is wind/water proof and won't create that clammy rubber suit sensation.

Flex Hood with striped hood. The lighting makes it look a little purple instead of bluish gray aka "pipeline."

Guess what run I did this evening? Yup, standard loop through Freedom Park. I felt good but the legs were quite cold. The temperature plummeted once it got dark and the 42 degrees when I left were probably down to 37-38 degrees when I finished.

Baby Steps

Time: 38:06
Distance: 5.30 miles

This blog is starting to look pretty lame as I have run the same route multiple times this week. Usually, I like to mix things up and get some miles out at McAlpine or run over to Myers Park High School, but I am still in the recovery phase. If I'm only going to run five miles, then I don't see the need to drive 15-20 minutes out to McAlpine. I'd rather save the gas money and keep Al Gore happy by running from home.

Each run is better than the previous as my legs are slowly regaining strength from the marathon. I'm really pleased at how the body has responded post-race. I was a little worried that Thunder Road would alter my training significantly by me needing to take several days off to recover. Luckily, that hasn't been the case and I will continue to run easy until I feel confident that I can start hammering away.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ways to Hype Thunder Road 2010...

Time: 41:55
Distance: 5.30 miles

Meagan and I repeated my run from earlier this morning and the run largely centered around how Thunder Road could be bigger. We had the idea of using Oklahoma City or Tulsa as a model because they both are good sized cities, have a strong running community and don't offer prize money. In 2010, Oklahoma City will be in its 10th running while Tulsa will host its fifth race.

Stay tuned for some thoughts on how I think Thunder Road can double it's size in 2010.

Surge in Hits

Time: 39:06
Distance: 5.30 miles

I see myself doing lots of short runs through Freedom Park this week. I've been pleased at how each day my calves and quads are a little bit less sore. I'm not doing a good job at massaging the lower legs as I would like. It's great to know the marathon hasn't taken too much out of me. I definitely won't be doing a workout any time soon though. Perhaps the heat of Cali will prompt something a bit quicker.

Since being profiled on Theoden's blog, I've received a huge surge in blog hits. I typically get 20-30 visitors a day depending on whether or not I have updated this bad boy. On Saturday I had 42 visits, on Sunday it was 74 and then on Monday it reached 298. 298! That's crazy for me to think about. Thanks for reading everyone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gentle Shuffle

Time: 41:55
Distance: 5.30 miles

I was able to run with Meagan for a few miles after she got off work. I had a slow start to the day, but gradually became less sore as afternoon rolled around. When I dropped Meagan off at RFYL I saw a much more relaxed Tim Rhodes who was giving out high fives and chatting with customers. I also met Raul who helped time the race on Saturday. Raul knows my boss, Paul, from living in Texas and being connected to the running scene.

When it was time to jog I let my body tell me if I could go five miles. I felt pretty good by mile two and had a good time recapping parts of the race to Meagan. It's about time that I sit down and do some searching of the intertubes for a race early next year. I need to give the half marathon another crack and would like to run a fast 10k on the roads.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Week in Review

Time: 560:55
Distance: 84 miles

The accumulation of miles over the months and years of training allowed me to run sub-2:30 yesterday. It was definitely unexpected but I know the dedication out on the roads allowed me to accomplish such a feat. Since winning Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon I have slowly started receiving a few emails of welcome and congrats. The biggest honor has been the write up on Théoden Jane's blog. I was able to share my impression of the race and it was posted for all to read.

I discovered Mr. Jane's blog a short time after moving here to Charlotte and loved that someone at the Charlotte Observer was covering the local running scene. I was impressed to see how many local races there were available each weekend. It also should be noted that Mr. Jane is the entertainment editor at the paper, so when he drops a reference to Montell Jordan, I shouldn't be surprised. How could you not follow a blog which recaps local races and quotes one-hit-wonder hip-hop/r&b artists from the mid-90's?

I leave you with this...

Sideways Down Steps

Time: 23:25
Distance: ~2.5 miles
Aqua Jogging: 20 mins.

I decided to leave the house this afternoon and step on the pain train. I jogged gingerly over to Queens University where I was able to do a bit of aqua jogging. I've been told that the pressure of the water can help sore muscles recover. I'll do anything at this point.

My opening mile on the run was a few tic under 9 minutes and I wasn't about to pick it up. I was content to shuffle along the Sugar Creek Greenway. The downhills are the most painful moments right now as my quads have to absorb the impact fully. It will take about a week for the runs to be enjoyable again. Until then there will be a few light runs, stick massages and hopefully a little stretching.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Thunder Road Marathon Race Recap

Time: 2:29:39
Distance: 26.2 miles
Pace: 5:43
Place: 1st

Two for two. (Photo taken by Diedra Laird)

Grab a cup of coffee, this is going to be a long one.

It wasn't until Thursday when I started entertaining the idea of running Thunder Road and it really wasn't until Friday when I decided to toe the line. My training hasn't gone well for the last few weeks and I felt I needed something to jump start my focus on the sport. Running is a simple sport that many athletes and coaches make too complicated. My approach for Thunder Road was going to be one of patience and toughness. I knew that my body wasn't prepared to run 26.2 miles at a personal best pace, but mentally I was comfortable with going out for a really long training run.

To reinforce my casual approach to Thunder Road, the night before I cleaned our refrigerator of week old leftovers, drank a Pabst Blue Ribbon and two glasses of inexpensive Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and ate a plateful of holiday cookies. It was a relaxing evening spent at home, but certainly not the straight edge approach I normally take when gearing up for big races.

I was excited to wear the Craft/Karhu uniform for the first time. I found the kit in a box of samples I obtained a few weeks ago. I already posted about the pair of Karhu Racers that I would be wearing, also, for the first time. Before leaving the house a little after 7:00 am I pinned two Strawberry Kiwi carbBoom! energy gels inside my shorts. Later I would stuff another packet of gel in each one of my Craft Performance Gloves. I was going to have to rely on the carbBoom! to get me to the finish line. It is almost inevitable to bonk the final six miles when you haven't done the long runs, so my hope was to stay fueled up on the natural ingredients of the four Strawberry Kiwi gels.

Meagan dropped me at the corner of the finish line and I spotted race director Tim Rhodes. He looked stressed and too busy to joke with me asking "how long is this race?" I scurried up to find the start line as I only had about 20 minutes until go time. Inside the convention center I changed into my snug racing flats, stuffed my extra clothes in my Fuel Belt backpack and ran down to the expo floor where I left my stuff with the Brooks rep, Brian Leonard.

I made it to the start line with a few minutes to check out the hitters. It looked like most standing at the front of the crowd were running the half marathon, but there were a few who looked capable of running sub-2:40. The national anthem was performed and the Nascar race car revved it's engine. We were off!

I spent the first few miles feeling the pace and judging the effort. My plan for Thunder Road was to run with the leaders through the halfway mark and then evaluate the race, effort, and benefits of soldiering on to the finish. There were no guarantees that I was going to finish, but at least I wanted to get some fitness benefit from the run.

A group of half marathoners shot to the front and formed a pack while the rest of us settled into about 1:20/2:40 pace. At least that was the buzz for target times in the group. I was asked by a reader of my blog what I was shooting to run. I can't for the life of me remember his name, and if he's reading now, my apologies. Not a great way to keep readers, but I wanted to give you a shout out.

I ended up settling into a groove with Greg Isaacs. We had never met before but he seemed to be holding a good tempo and we became partners for the race's early miles. This was Greg's first half marathon and I would later get a ride to Run For Your Life from him after the race. I learned that he also graduated in 2006 and that he ran for Clemson University.

The splits on Mr. Garmin were telling me that I was clipping along below 1:18 pace. I predicted that the leaders would hit the half somewhere around 1:18 to 1:20. My breathing was comfortable, my form was relaxed and my feet weren't too impaired. I knew Paul Mainwaring was looking to run about 2:40 and he seemed to also be running well near the front. I took a break from this post to read his recap of the race. He finished well under 2:40 with a new personal best/record of 2:38:16 and third place finish. Congrats.

The first 10k was excellent in terms of the neighborhood support, the gentle hills and the cool weather. I tossed an old shirt at five miles and donned the singlet with pinned number 1758 for the first time. I took my first carbBoom! around this time and found the flavor to be sweet. My "spinach" would serve me wonders today.

My pre-race plan sort of went out the window when I latched onto Greg. We worked our way through a few runners who had gone out a bit too hard. One of those guys told us that all the other runners ahead were half marathoners, so I assumed by 10k I was in the lead. Not necessarily what I planned for or wanted, but if that was the case I'd take it. Needless to say, I was a bit shocked when around mile eight I reeled in a guy wearing Race Ready shorts, Ravennas and a t-shirt. I wasn't so much shocked at his race kit, but rather when I asked him what he was looking to run and he said, "oh, I'll take 2:30 something." Wait, 2:3x? He's gone out pretty hard for a half marathon over two hours. I quickly glanced at his bib number and saw that it wasn't the green and white of the half, but the yellowish orange of the full marathon.

My attitude immediately changed because now I felt like I was in a race. The competitive instinct was triggered and my "long run" mentality started to fly out the door. If this was going to be a "race" then let's start throwing in moves to check fitness. Truly silly ideas for me to have at mile eight of 26.2, but that's what happened. For about 10 minutes we ran stride for stride and I became worried that I was going to fade late in the race. However, I gained a few steps on a hill just before crossing over Selwyn Ave. to jump on Queens Rd West.

Greg had ditched me by this point and I was running solo down the "Booty Loop." Looking up I could see the flashing lights of the police escort, a couple half marathoners, and pockets of spectators. The manager at Run For Your Life- University, Kara, wished me luck from the median. And, best of all, Meagan came out to cheer at the corner of Wellesley. She asked how things were going and I just gave her the "so-so" gesture. I was in the lead, I was only 10 miles in and I was having thoughts of being caught from behind.

At 11 miles I realized a guy on a bike was shadowing me. I asked, "are you assigned for me today." He was as long as I stayed in the lead. "Well, if we were going to be friends then I should know your name." Dennis and I became a duo for the next 90 minutes. Since I didn't get to thank him after the race as he pulled off about 150 meters from the tape, I'll do it here. Thank you Dennis.

Getting to 13.1 miles meant I was halfway home. I crossed the mats at 1:15:14 and figured I was eff'd. Who rolls out a 75 minute half on a rolling course to start what was only a marginally good idea? -->This guy<-- I was prepared for things to get interesting later on.

I got a boost of energy from the drummers near the Panther's stadium. I tried to keep tabs on the runner in second place (who I now know was Josh Beck). He was still within striking distance if I were to crumble late in the race. Near mile 17, I spotted Jay Holder, co-founder of the Charlotte Running Club, and told him he better not jump in and help those behind me. Normally, I wouldn't care, but the last 9-10 miles were no certainty. Getting caught from behind after 2 hours of running would suck. Jay ended up helping Paul to the finish.

I felt fantastic running back through Uptown on Trade St. I dropped splits of 5:30, 5:35, 5:35 and 5:30 from miles 15 to 18. The feeling was short lived as the stretch along N. Caldwell/Parkwood/N. Davidson was utterly terrible. The crowds were thin to non-existent, there was only one water station and the slight breeze made it's presence known. My mood improved a little once I made the turn into the NoDa neighborhood. There were a couple more groups of spectators sprinkled on 35th St. and near The Plaza.

Mentally the race would be over at 24 miles. If I could make it to 24, then I knew I could run for 15 more minutes and enjoy the moment. I climbed the hill at Hawthorne and could see Uptown in the distance. I still had mental images of "The Crawl" but was confident I was going to make it to the line. My breathing was still very comfortable which tells me that my aerobic base is still strong. However, you can't fake 26.2 miles of pounding. My quads and calves were suffering with each step and I could tell my toes wanted freedom.

Just before the turn onto N. McDowell St. I saw Aaron Linz riding his bike. He encouraged me to break 2:30 which I had some interest in doing, but I wasn't going to throw down the final mile. I was interested in cherishing the moment and playing to the crowd. But, there was no crowd. There were no spectators until about 200 meters from the finish. That was a huge disappointment on the day. I don't want to get on the negative train, but another disappointment was the post-race experience. I basically crossed the line, grabbed a Powerade, turned in my chip, was handed a medal, congratulated second place and then walked off to change clothes. A few others acknowledged the run, but for the most part if was a ho-hum atmosphere.

Approaching the finish in my Craft/Karhu racing kit. (Photo taken by Diedra Laird)

I spent the next 30-40 minutes wandering around looking for the awards ceremony. Finally, when I did find it in the back corner of the race expo with Greg Isaacs and Billy Shue (first time meeting Billy who was excited about his huge PR) it appeared to be over. Only a small group of Try Sports athletes were milling around and about five others who were looking for results. I was cold, tired and the stiffness was starting to set in. I didn't have a ride home from the race and when Greg said he lived near RFYL I asked for a lift. I left before the marathon awards ceremony which looks poor, but finding another 50 minutes of comfort Uptown would have been difficult. Simply put, I apologize for not sticking around.

I got dropped at Run For Your Life where Meagan was working for the rest of the day. I've run two marathons and she has missed the finish of both! I'll give her credit for cheering earlier thought. I chatted with a couple customers and received congratulations a few more times before going home to soak in some Epsom salt.

Today's performance was greatly unexpected and a time I can be proud of. I thought I had a chance of running with the leaders and perhaps winning, but to dip under 2:30 was a treat. My coach, Jeff, and I are in the process of perfecting two new training programs. Look for an issue of Runner's World featuring "40 days to victory" and "The Swine Flu Method."

I had a great time being out on the roads of Charlotte. Thanks to everyone who played a role in making the race possible.

You done with that coffee yet?

Yea, the shoes were definitely too small, but they worked great.

Splits according to Mr. Garmin (a little off from the course mile markers):
5:46, 5:59, 5:51, 5:45, 5:51, 5:38 (36:11 at 10k),
5:40, 5:42, 5:36, 5:37, 5:33, 5:40, 5:38 (1:15:14 at 13.1 miles),
5:36, 5:30, 5:35, 5:35, 5:30, 5:40, 5:39 (1:54:08 at 20 miles),
5:45, 5:45, 5:38, 5:38, 5:44, 5:37, 2:16 for final portion that Mr. Garmin registered as .40 miles, 2:29:41 for 26.40 miles according to him.

Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon

I need a nap and will post in more details tomorrow.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Karhu Racer Test Run

Time: 10:28
Distance: ~1.5 miles

A few days ago I started toying with the idea of running Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon. I haven't trained specifically for the event, run longer than 16.8 miles in over 4 months and had the swine flu two weeks ago. It sounds like a great idea. I need something to jump start my training and get me focused on the runner I want and know I can be. I also would be able to rock some Craft, Karhu and Balega gear during the race. Meagan was able to hook me up with an entry because she knows people at Run For Your Life and, if anything, it would just be a very very long training run.

The Karhu Racer with Finnish flare.

This afternoon I busted out the Karhu Racer's for the first time. The shoe isn't available until the spring which means I have the sample. It's a great shoe, firm but smooth transition and a sweet look. However, it's sample size. I wear a 10.5 running shoe, sample size is 9.0. Yikes! I jogged around the Montford Rd. area for 10 minutes trying to decide if running 26.2 miles in a shoe that is nearly 2 sizes too small was doable. It's already a terrible idea for me to run the full distance, but to run the full distance with really small shoes, that's just asking for trouble. Oh well, Meagan doesn't think I'm a genius anyway.

Avis Run

Time: 54:45
Distance: 7.62 miles
Pace: 7:11

It's cold here in Charlotte. I'm not complaining though, at least there is no snow on the ground. I think it was 27 degrees when we left the house this morning to visit Avis which is where our run commenced. It was an easy two miles back near the house and then we ran through Freedom Park. It's those damn FP miles that make you strong.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uncreative Title

Time: 55:08
Distance: 8.63 miles
Pace: 6:23

I can't think of a name for this post. I definitely miss the days at Brown when every run had a name. My favorite was the "Pineapple" or "PC" loop, but there were others. The classic ten miler was St. Rays a.k.a. McCoy, Seekonk, Long Seekonk, Bird Feeder, Bike Path, Dragon, and Lincoln Woods. I'm missing some but those days are long gone. Our names weren't creative but everyone knew the loops and when we decided to run Dragon everyone understood where to go.

Anyway, I need to name my runs so that I can just write Pine Cone or Boombox or Orange Sneaker. Short Freedom Park, Medium Freedom Park and Long Freedom Park are terrible, but that's essentially what I do.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Jus' Running

Time: 67:07
Distance: 7.95 miles
Pace: 8:19

It was take your girlfriend to work day. Meagan didn't have class tonight and wasn't on the schedule to work which meant she was my travel companion for the day. We first drove to Hickory, NC where I visited with Carol at Balega HQ. After a wonderful lunch at her husband's restaurant Youssef 242, she introduced me to the staff at Fleet Feet Hickory. We were running behind schedule but still had plenty of time to visit two accounts in Asheville.

I dropped in Foot Rx Running and ended my day at Jus' Running. I wanted to finish up with Norm and Jane at Jus' Running because earlier in the day I called and asked if they had a training group this evening. Most store training groups that meet after the shop closes for the night run four, maybe five miles. Not these guys. They were lacing them up for a solid eight. Shit.

I wasn't concerned about pace but eight miles on the dark roads of Asheville? Let's run. Meagan and I ran with Norm, Jay (who is also the Ultimate Direction rep), Jay's wife, and a guy who recently won the local 5k. I could look up his name in the result, but I'm feeling lazy. It was a nice run and we got to see parts of downtown which was hopping on this Wednesday night.

Meagan turned back early but the fellas and me ventured on. I learned a lot from Norm and Jay about the running community and other local business. This is definitely a group that I will plan future work related activities with.

No Watch, No Worries

Time: 67:14
Distance: 10.30 miles

I purposely left the house this morning without Mr. Garmin because I wanted to ignore the splits. I'm pretty good at relaxing into a run and letting the body become accustomed to the pace, but I'll admit sometimes I start playing games with the watch. I wanted to avoid having to run a faster split each mile and that's why Mr. Garmin was left on my desk. There isn't much to report about this morning other than feeling good out on the roads.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Modified Freedom Park Loop

Time: 56:16
Distance: 8.58 miles
Pace: 6:33

I didn't have that much time this morning to fit in my run. Actually, I started sending off emails and downloading files for work and didn't get out the door in time. Today I was giving my first ever clinic on Craft apparel to the owner and staff at Fleet Feet Winston-Salem. I had to make sure I knew what I was talking about and I spent some time learning which products they had brought in.

My run was basically my standard loop through Freedom Park but I cut a portion out. I thought the run was going to be in the 7 mile range so I was surprised to see that I managed a little under 9.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Gentle Recovery Miles

Time: 39:36
Distance: 5.40 miles

Meagan and I repeated the run I did this morning. It was still a tad on the chilly side when we got out there. I felt a little better this afternoon in terms of being less stiff. The pace was casual and the company was nice to have.

Time on the Feet

Time: 37:17
Distance: 5.30 miles

I ran a short loop through Freedom Park. I'm definitely feeling the number of miles I ran over the weekend. I took the run nice and slow trying to relax into a comfortable pace. It wasn't warm out either so I got geared up with some quality Craft apparel.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Week in Review

Time: 605:50
Distance: 90.68 miles

Finally a solid week of mileage. I didn't manage to fit in a workout this week but I'm happy with how the week turned out. The mileage was greatly enhanced with 30 miles over the weekend. Meagan is probably going to yell at me as soon as she sees that I topped 90 miles, but I can take it. She's just jealous that my two day Sat/Sun total is more than her weekly total. Who is the injured one again? Not this guy. (Knock on wood).

Rental Return and Run

Time: 81:20
Distance: 13.07 miles
Pace: 6:13

I took the rental back this morning and started my run from Avis on South. I first jogged back toward the house so that I could stash the receipt and then I headed off in the direction of Freedom Park. I decided to run my standard loop which is just over 10 miles. That plus the rental add on gave me just under 13 miles. I spent the last few seconds circling the parking lot to obtain a solid distance.

I felt good but not great. I went out with some of Meagan's friends last night and probably ate a little too late. I slept fine and was able to drink some coffee before heading out the door. I will be a little sore later in the day but I'm pleased with the number of miles this weekend.

Splits: 7:11, 6:43, 6:31, 6:26, 6:20, 6:10, 6:07, 6:05, 5:57, 5:56, 5:58, 5:50, 5:44.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reedy Creek at Umstead State Park

Time: 112:54
Distance: 16.62 miles
Pace: 6:46

Last night I stayed at the luxurious Motel 6. Just because I have a job doesn't mean that I've made it. I noticed on my drive to Tom Bodet's best that Umstead State Park wasn't too far away. I decided in the morning to run in the park before visiting more stores.

I found the Reedy Creek lot without a problem and noticed there were already have a dozen cars already parked. I asked a group of women about a loop that I could run and they suggested the Mills something loop. I took their advice but found the trail to be filled of roots, rocks and damp leaves. It was a cold and drizzly morning which was not conducive to running fast on a sinuous trail. At about 20 minutes into the run I came across a main road and decided to turn right. I was headed in the direction of the parking lot and not too far away from my car when I spotted three guys clipping along. I was going to have to find another 40 minutes of running and was thankful that some decent runners were out and about.

I introduced myself and we got to talking about running, North Carolina, collegiate athletics, Umstead Park and more. Turns out that Liam Revel ran at Boston University during my time at Brown. He was a 3:50 1500 meter runner and still logs close to 100 miles a week. We had a good laugh about Jochen Dieckfoss, a German, who also ran at Boston University and was a stud cross-country runner and steeple-chaser.

Joe attended the University of Rochester in New York and is currently studying at Duke. He was a 5k/10k guy in college. Next year Joe will start work at Deutchebank so I assume that he is getting his MBA. I'm embarrassed to admit that I can't recall the third guy's name, but I never really heard it when we made introductions. He was very quiet throughout the run.

The trio was putting in 10 miles on the day and I had already logged nearly five when I joined them. They ended up running closer to 12 which means I nearly hit 17 miles. I was definitely fatigued by the end of the run, but was pleased at how I handled the hilly terrain. I probably would have struggled to find another five miles if I were to go it alone. Funny when five miles would have been tough and an extra 12 doesn't seem so bad.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Bull City Running

Time: 49:42
Distance: ~6.5 miles

I left on my first trip to visit stores in my territory this morning. I started with a quick visit to Off'n Running in Greensboro and then I was off to the Research Triangle area. I dropped in The Athlete's Foot Raleigh, Fleet Feet Carrboro, TrySports Cary and finally Bull City Running. It was a long day, but a fun and successful one. The objective of the trip was to meet the staff and check out the store.

I purposely went to Bull City Running last because they are a great account for me with inventory of Craft, Karhu, Balega, Fuel Belt and SweatVac. They carry nearly everything I represent and I'll be grateful to continue the already strong relationship between the store and The Genesis Agency.

I fit this run in with George who works at Bull City Running along a green way in the dark. He was planning to put in 30-35 minute, but we were having such a good conversation that we decided to go longer. I'm pleased that today's running didn't interfere with work and I know that training will be possible when on the road. George is an interesting guy as he graduated from Furman, attended the seminary and was ordained at Myers Park Baptist (across the street from Queens), and works part time at Bull City Running and R.E.I. His parents still live in Charlotte and his wife is from Norman, Oklahoma. Small world. I look forward to running with George in the future.

Blew My Brains Out

Time: 63:18
Distance: 10.33 miles
Pace: 6:07

You ever have one of those really satisfying sneezes where it feels like total relief and relaxation has been achieved? What about experiencing a similar effect when you blow your nose? This morning I had one of the grossest, but most successful nose blows on the run. It felt like the snot was coming from the back side of my brain. Seriously. That's the only way I could describe the sensation. I am almost certain that the swine flu left my body with a couple of powerful snot rockets.

I hope you weren't eating anything while reading that. I promise not to be nasty the rest of the post. I felt like running a little harder this morning so I ventured out the door wearing a pair of flats. I toyed with the idea of doing a fartlek, but thought better of it. I simply let the pace drop as my body became more relaxed over the course of the run. My splits were: 6:57, 6:33, 6:15, 6:09, 6:11, 6:02, 5:59, 5:59, 5:45, 5:39.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Night Double

Time: 34:50
Distance: 5.30 miles

I did my loop through Freedom Park from the house this evening. It was dark and not warm but I still managed to find the time. I'm glad I ventured back out on to the roads for this run. I need to stop using the cold and dark as an excuse. If it's cold, dark and rainy then a double is questionable. The trifecta is never a good time, but two of the three isn't so bad.

Morning 10 Miler

Time: 65:18
Distance: 10.33 miles
Pace: 6:19

I didn't double last night because the weather never got better. One run in the rain was enough for me. As a result, I felt pretty good out there this morning. The legs felt well recovered running through Freedom Park and doing a loop of Booty. I'm trying to fit in at least 10 miles in the morning so that if something comes up in the afternoon I can be content with my day's effort.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Charlotte Running Club Run

Time: 51:44
Distance: 6.82 miles

Meagan was calling me crazy after this one. I got up around 5:30 to start getting ready to meet with a group of runners from the Dowd YMCA. The running buzz here in Charlotte is all about the Charlotte Running Club. A few other local bloggers have profiled the group so I won't repeat what they already have documented. It was my first time meeting with the group mainly because they run so damn early. Why get up to run at 6 am when you can run on your own at 9 am? Most of the members work in Uptown for banks or insurance groups and have to be done when I would usually be getting started. Anyway, I wanted to give this thing a try.

The run was led by Aaron Linz who made sure everyone knew the loop. I was content to run along in the group of eight runners. I had a pleasant time minus the rain, cold and darkness. I'm not committing to meeting every week because 6 am is a rough start, but I do like knowing it's an option.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Night Double

Time: 34:27
Distance: 5 miles

Once all my gear was organized and I was finished with the TGA conference call I felt it was only appropriate to get in another run. It was dark out but not drizzly this time. I fit in my loop through Freedom Park which was empty at 6:30 this evening. I made it home with plenty of time to spare before Obama's Afghanistan speech.

A Legitimate Effort

Time: 65:23
Distance: 10.27 miles
Pace: 6:22

This morning's run is my first legitimate effort since running on the Terre Haute xc nationals course. I was determined to put in 10 miles this morning and that's exactly what I did. It felt good to be back out running a familiar loop.

I spent the rest of the day organizing all of my samples. I went to Space Saver which is like a bootleg copy of The Container Store and purchased several tubs. I had to make two trips to buy bins because I have so much stuff. I really need to look into getting a storage unit.