Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

Time: 31,546:52 mins.
Distance: 4,496.27 miles
Average: 84.18 miles per week

Damn, I just set the mileage bar for 2011 pretty high.

I can without a doubt say that 2010 was a banner year for consistency in racing and training. I never pushed the threshold too much which is how I was able to stay relatively healthy during the year. I only had three weeks that I would consider truly poor. Back in late February and early March my achilles gave me some troubles as I trained for a spring marathon. It's funny as I type this now my achilles is again giving me some troubles, but that's life when you're a runner.

In terms of racing, I ran two marathons that were both personal bests. I PR'd at the Tobacco Road Marathon by 2 seconds in finishing with a 2:27:17 and most recently I lowered that best to 2:24:46 at the Thunder Road Marathon. I ran the Racefest Half Marathon in 71:52 finishing second to Ryan Bender. The half distance is one that I'm not a fan because it's like a 10k but over twice as far. My first half marathon was painful and this wasn't much better. I think I'd rather run a marathon instead.

I also ran two 10 milers. The first took place a day after my half marathon at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler which I finished in 53:36. It wasn't my best showing at the fatigue from the half and drive to DC left me with little for the race. The other was the Folly Beach 10 Miler which I completed in 51:35. The course may have been a little short, but I was pleased with the effort nonetheless.

I ran a couple 10k races that weren't anything to write home about and a bunch of 5ks. I would bore myself and definitely the readers if I were to find notes on all of those. I'm also too lazy to go back and look for all of the RFYL GPx races. I'm bummed that the only time I went under 15:00 for 5k was on the track at one of the all comers meets. I really wanted to crack that barrier at some point. My best opportunity came in Providence, RI at the CVS Downtown 5k where I finished in 15:01.

The running highlight of the year other than my two marathons would definitely be the Izumo Ekiden in Japan. I had the pleasure of visiting the country for the third time this year and competing again. I somewhat redeemed myself this year from last year's embarrassment of a stage leg. The team had a blast and related nicely to one another. We also got to go on a run with Brett Larner of Japan Running News.

I can't finish without mentioning the great group of runners here in Charlotte. I made many great connections throughout the city all year long. It's been exciting watching the Charlotte Running Club grow and seeing attendance at weekend runs increase. It's been great working with the local stores like Charlotte Running Co., RFYL, TrySports, Inside-Out Sports, Omega Sports and Fleet Feet Huntersville this year. Twenty-ten was sweet, but here's to next year...

Running with Discomfort

Time: 37:58
Distance: 5.3 miles

I ran again this morning with slight discomfort in the achilles. I'm doing enough mileage to keep me sane and get blood to the region, but not enough to further injure the tendon. As I ran through Freedom Park Burt Rodriguez pulled up alongside me. We ran together through the park and then turned separate ways along Princeton. He mentioned he was running an indoor 5k at the end of the month.

More icing, massaging and Vitamin I throughout the day.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Run and Some Treatment

Time: 37:35
Distance: 5.3 miles

I ran a short loop through Freedom Park at some point today. My achilles was sore but not terrible. The next few days are going to be handled a little smarter in terms of not taking a day off and then running 70 minutes. How about a few 30-40 minute runs?

I also saw Ryan Danner in the afternoon. He used the Graston technique on my achilles and told me my right calf is incredibly tight on the later side. I was also hooked up to the stim machine and we cranked that bad boy up. If it were a boom box, it would have been at deafening levels. I left the appointment feeling better about the injury's progress and hopeful for pain free runs soon.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Day Off for Travel Back to the Q City

Time: none
Distance: none

There is nothing to report on the athletic front today. I didn't even think about going for a run after yesterday's 7 minute effort. I was content with the day off as I had a marathon day of driving. It was a long day of Mason --> Cincinnati --> Lexington --> Knoxville --> Asheville --> Charlotte. We hit major traffic twice and found ourselves completely stopped on the interstate. At one of these stoppages I did a U-turn and drove against traffic in order to find a median exit to the opposite side of the freeway. I then used the Garmin to find an alternate highway route and pass everyone. I never did find out why traffic was at a complete halt.

Another time the Garmin directed us to an old highway to get around a traffic jam. I had to drive 7 miles on a partly cleared two lane gravel road at 10 miles an hour. I was concerned about slipping on black ice and ending up in the creek down below. Fortunately for Meagan and I, the car handled the sinuous road like a champ and we passed all the traffic. Take that suckahs!

Status Update

This blog deserves an update of sorts, but not now. I have had to take a few days off over the last 10 days due to a sore Achilles. I caught the injury early enough so as to not do any major damage and the goal is now to be running healthy by January 1st. Hopefully that goal is achieved and I'm able to log even more miles in 2011. For now I'll go back to icing, eating Vitamin I, doing eccentric calf loads, resting and eating cookies or pie.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Still a Niggle

Time: 7:36
Distance: .8 miles

I made it less than a mile this morning on a run that was supposed to be with Uncle Dave, Meagan and Tim. We got about 4 minutes into the run and I knew the achilles was not going to cooperate so I pulled the plug. It's the worst when you think you are good to run and a mile isn't even attainable. I felt tempted to run a few miles solo because just when I got back to the house my leg felt a little better, but calling it quits was what had to be done in order to be healthy for 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cold Mason, OH Morning

Time: 70:42
Distance: ~9.5 miles

After having taken a few days off last week to allow for my achilles to recover, I felt it necessary to get back into a routine. I was up early enough to stretch and stick the leg in preparation for a run with Meagan. I wasn't sure how far I was going to to run, but I wanted to start the week off in the right direction. We ran around a few of the neighborhoods, near the tennis complex and through a few parking lots.

My achilles was only slightly noticeable during the run. It never really tightened up, but it also never got to the point where the discomfort was gone. Upon returning back home the achilles almost immediately started to give me problems. There was more pain developing throughout the day, but I was able to ice and massage at various points. The good news is that there isn't any significant swelling at the attachment. The 70 minutes of running was definitely a bit ambitious but the conversation was good and I wanted to be out in the cold.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 305:56
Distance: ~40.4 miles

Despite taking a good number of days off I still somehow managed to run over 40 miles this week. It helped that I started with a big double on Monday. The rest of the week was rather lame but I know I'm doing what is right for me to be healthy in 2011. I'm battling an injury that I've had before and it's important to balance taking time off and getting blood flow to the area with some light runs.

Achilles Pain Lingers

Time: none
Distance: none

The achilles wasn't feeling all that great today so I opted to take the day off. That Tyler really wore me out yesterday. I iced, massage, used the stick and stretched throughout the day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Young One Runs

Time: 49:50
Distance: ~6 miles

My little half-bro who is 8 recently ran a 5k in just under 30 minutes. He's been wanting to run with Meagan and I ever since we got to Mason. Today his Christmas wish was granted and he got to show us his talent. It was pretty damn cold but he managed to run just over 15 minutes with the two of us. He didn't even wear gloves because everyone knows kids can't keep track of those things. I was most impressed with his form as he looked like will be a miler when he's older. He had a nice arm carry, high knee drive and smooth back kick. I'll call it now, Tyler Vinson, state track 1600m champ 2019 and a repeat in 2020.

After warming up with T-Bone, Meagan and I ran another 4 miles with Uncle Dave and his buddy Tim. We looped around a few neighborhoods that were clear of traffic and snow. When we got back to within a half mile of the house, I opted to call it a day. The achilles felt pretty good, but I didn't want to chance anything especially in the cold.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day of Lazy

Time: none
Distance: none

I took another day off from running to allow the achilles to recover. I spent the day being a bum playing Wii with the younger siblings, making flapjacks, eating cookies, drinking pints and having laughs.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Day Off for Recovery and Travel

Time: none
Distance: none

Meagan woke up early this morning and got her but out the door for a run. I didn't. I slept in with injury. When I did get up my achilles was sore and I had a noticeable limp. Not good.

We drove from DC to Mason, Ohio today with an hour long stop in Columbus today. By we drove, I mean I drove because Meagan doesn't know how to drive a manual. It was a long day in the car but we were rewarded with a good visit with Kevin O'Grady at Frontrunner. I may not be the Karhu or Craft rep these days, but it's always good to make contacts in the running industry and those brands pay Meagan's salary. I still respect those brands and want them to do well.

The ultimate reward came upon arrival to Mason where I got to see family that I hadn't been around in over a year. We had a great lasagna dinner which started expanding my waistline. No running + holiday food = bad news.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DC Exploration

Time: 81:14
Distance: ~11.5 miles

This morning Meagan and I got out into a cold DC morning for some miles around the city. We both love running in the nation's capital because of all the monuments, bike paths and cool neighborhoods like Georgetown. The run started from Dave's and ran down Wisconsin to the bike path that leads into the mall. We ran by the Washington Monument, up the Mall, said hi to all schmucks on Capitol Hill and back the same way we came.

My achilles never felt good. I was trying to have a good time with the amazing surroundings but the lower right leg never felt right. I definitely shouldn't have gone 80+ minutes, but I thought things would have warmed up or my endorphins would have kicked in. This achilles business is not looking good and I'm going to have to monitor the situation a little more carefully.

I got home and immediately stretched, used the stick and iced. I may have even popped a couple Vitamin I's just for good measure.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Downfall in DC

Time: 43:58
Distance: ~5.3 miles

This morning Meagan and I left Charlotte and arrived in Roanoke, VA for an appointment. I showed Fleet Feet Roanoke my Orthaheel sandal line and then we grabbed a quick bite to eat at Panera. It was a nice way to break up the trip as we were ultimately destined for DC. Meagan has a Karhu and Craft wear test run at a City Sports location tonight which was the main reason for the trip.

The run group met up after dark for a jaunt from 19th St. to the National Mall, around the Christmas tree in front of the Capitol, past the White House and too the start/finish area. The snow that kept Meagan up in DC for an extra night had melted somewhat but was still on display in our nation's capital. I tried to avoid the slick stuff as much as possible, but at times I was running gingerly through ice. My achilles was tight the entire time running in a pair of my Karhu Racers. I had a hard time toeing off so I found myself sitting really far back on my heels. The cold, ice and hills didn't help my cause but I tried to remain patient during the run. Finally, around the 35 minute mark it felt like I was running normally. I didn't have any discomfort and was ready to start pushing the pace. However the run was almost over and I wasn't going to be that guy who kicks it in on training runs.

When I got to Dave Nightingale's pad I was sure to stretch, massage and ice the achilles. My only other real injury this year was back in February when my achilles gave me problems leading up to a spring marathon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Forget this One

Time: 70:00
Distance: ~9 miles

I had a good run this evening with Caitlin somewhere in Charlotte. I can't recall where we ran but I have a note that I wore a pair of Karhu Racers and felt good. Love that shoe, should just wear it all the time.

Morning Medium Miles

Time: 61:14
Distance: ~8.6 miles

This morning I ran in the New Balance shoe with Meagan on a Medium Loop. We ran nice and easy. I remember commenting that my lower right leg felt a little off somewhere near the 45 minute mark.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 403:41
Distance: 55.71 miles

This wasn't too badly of a week following the marathon. My streak of triple digits is gone, but the body is feeling like it's in a position to continue easy training for the rest of the year. I don't have anything on my calendar so there is little rush to get back into full mileage. I'm pleased with how the legs have recovered this week. Each day I loosened up more and strength returned to the quads. I spent the first few days walking down stairs sideways, but by Wednesday I was comfortable on the descent.

I had a good week up in Delaware at the GORE Hand Over Meeting and should be prepared for my 2011 Sales Tour. Missing out on a few of the activities (rock climbing) was a bit of a disappointment, but there will be other times for that.

McAlpine Long Run

Time: 96:46
Distance: 13.01 miles
Pace: 7:26

I ran this morning with Meagan and John Compton. There were probably some other people along for the ride but I can't honestly remember. I need to catch up on the blogosphere in a serious way so this is gonna be kept to the stats up above.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Next Generation of Charlotte Running

Time: 70:15
Distance: ~9.8 miles

W/u: 41:45 for ~5.5 miles
W/o: 3200m time trial with Alana
C/d: 17:30 for ~2.3 miles

Mark Hadley sent an email out a few weeks ago that mentioned Alana was running a 3200m time trial on the Saturday following the Thunder Road Marathon. I wanted to help out at the time, but didn't know what the body was going to feel like. A few days out I inquired if the effort was still taking place and, if so, where.

The stage was set for Saturday morning at the JCSU track. Caitlin, Meagan and I got in a little over 40 minutes on a cold and slightly breezy morning. We ran from Caitlin's house, over to the track and added on in the cemetery. The locked gates didn't detour the three of us or Alana, her father, brother or grandpa from scaling the fence. When you have a workout to do, especially a time trial, it's on!

I shed the outerwear and received the final instructions for the pace. We were looking for 79s which just a little faster than the pace I ran for the marathon. I could do this in my sleep right? Wrong.

My first lap was 82-83. I wasn't concerned, I just hoped Alana was able to latch on when I picked up the pace over the next 400 meters. I came through in 79 on the next lap, but didn't sense that the young phenom was right on my shoulder. I kept pressing and on the backstretch of the third lap I felt a gap developing. The pace slowed a touch through the mile that we hit around 5:22-5:25 (don't remember actual split).

Over the next 1600m I tried to get Alana to fully latch on and let me do the work but that attachment never developed. I would slow on the backstretch and she would catch up, but as soon as I thought she was on and I picked up the pace, I would glance over the shoulder and see a small gap form. The splits continued to slip, nothing awful, just not the 79s we were looking for. Meagan and Caitlin jogged around giving words of encouragement, brother Bryce filmed the run, Mark and grandpa cheered and yelled splits.

On the last lap Alana had a strong final 200m to cross the line in 11:00 flat. If I had known we were close to breaking 11 minutes, I would have tried to get things rolling earlier. Oh well. It was a good run regardless in unfavorable conditions.

I know Mark has received a bit of flak in the last few weeks on the message boards, but what I saw today was in total support of his athlete and daughter. I would suspect that those critical of Mark's coaching of Alana would assume that he's your typical over zealous dad living vicariously through a young talent.

Not true.

I've witnessed that dad at soccer games when I was a kid and recently saw it during one of my younger siblings baseball games. The parent's unwarranted frustration when a child isn't playing/running up to par makes everyone around uncomfortable.

There was none of that today.

I was partly responsible for the pace starting slow, but ultimately Alana didn't have a fantastic day. She ran well, but didn't live up to her expectations. She knew that she wasn't running the pace that she and Mark thought her capable of running. While the splits being read went from 79 to 82 to 86 there was never a negative tone in Mark's voice.

That impressed me the most.

Mark saw his daughter starting to fade off the pace he knows she's capable of running, yet he didn't give any signs of disappointment or discouragement. When the splits started to slow all of his recommendations were kept upbeat and positive. It was great to see the coach/athlete and father/daughter relationship being built up through running. I think if those critical of Mark were to have witnessed the time trial today, they would have little to fault him on.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Short and Solo

Time: 37:36
Distance: 5.3 miles

I only had time to put in a Short Loop this morning. I was off to Greensboro for some account visits and a customer appreciation event at Revolution Cycles. I raffled off a couple of pairs of Chrome shoes during the event which got people fired up. It was a lot of time in the car, but Christmas is right around the corner.

I wore a pair of Karhu Racers on the run and don't think I had any discomfort in the achilles.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Meagan Survived the Snow

Time: 61:00
Distance: ~8.6 miles

Meagan survived the snow and drive back from DC yesterday evening. She originally planned to leave a day earlier but was kept when DC got the flaky white stuff (not dandruff). Our run this morning was nice and relaxed. We caught up on our recent travels during a Medium Loop through Freedom Park and around the Booty Loop.

I wore the NB905s again. Around 40 minutes into the run I expressed how I thought my right achilles was bugging me. It wasn't a pain, but rather just a slight irritation. I wouldn't even call it an irritation at the time. I just noticed something was a little off. I had been noticing this sensation all week, but chalked it up to post marathon tightness. Not this time. I was pretty certain that whatever was going in my lower right leg was in part due to the shoe. At the time I wasn't concerned, but I told Meagan how the shoe just wasn't transitioning as smoothly as I would like. I was having a hard time at the final phase of my gait cycle, just as I went to toe off. This was simply the run that I started to think the shoe was a little off, but nothing more than that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Run with Caitlin

Time: 52:31
Distance: ~7 miles

Somehow my initial post of this run didn't get entered. It was really good and talked about how Caitlin fooled Brian Moynihan among other things. Since I'm still really far behind on the blog, I'll just say that we ran in Elizabeth for a little over 50 minutes. I wore my NB905s again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kids Waiting for the Bus

Time: 42:52
Distance: ~6 miles

I was out the door a little later this morning and this time I was solo. I didn't know it at the time but Golden Legs had beat me out of the hotel to start his run a few minutes earlier. Running solo while sore was fine by me as it allowed me to ease into the pace of the run gradually. I wandered aimlessly around a couple of Delaware neighborhoods and felt sorry for the kids who stood out in the cold waiting for the bus. I never had the pleasure of taking a school bus to school which means I missed out on being able to bully other kids for their lunch money. Isn't that what happens on school buses?

Just before I turned around I stumbled upon Gore's Barksdale facility which is more or less the welcoming center. It would also be where out meetings for the day would take place. The NB905s were on the feet again this morning and I didn't think much of them at the time. My legs, as to be expected, were sore from all the pounding during the marathon. Each day got gradually better in terms of walking and running.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Cold and Sore Morning in Delaware

Time: 42:41
Distance: ~6 miles

Despite posting this run from 2011, I remember it pretty clearly. It was the first real run after the marathon (the run on the treadmill last night was more or less a shuffle). I was up early and out the door into the cold air with Lee "Golden Legs" Greenberg and two other GORE Running Wear reps, both from Canada. I'm sure it was moderate in temperature for them, but for me it was freezing. The wind was blowing nicely and the darkness was only lessened modestly by my headlamp. We ran along a somewhat busy highway--busy for 6 am-- but I guess that when people drive to work in Delaware.

I ran in my new NB905s which wasn't important at the time, but played a role in my current state (injured to start 2011). I was glad to log just over 40 minutes and call it a morning prior to a day full of meetings and visitation of the GORE facilities.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 694:25
Distance: 102.34 miles

I ended up cracking the triple digits barrier for the 8th week in a row. It should be a little higher for both time and distance if you were to include the jog from the award ceremony back to Caitlin's and all the gimping around at McAlpine during the cross-country races.

The performance this week was a step in the right direction if I ever want to take a crack at running 2:18:59. That's still a long ways off (can't be too long though) and will require much more focused training. I have also come to realize that in order to run a fast time you must be on a flatter, faster course. I was forced to a crawl during sections of the Thunder Road Marathon late in the race whenever the course gained elevation. Maintaining pace on the flats or slight downhills wasn't a problem, it was just finding the power to push off on the uphills.

I probably won't hit 100 miles in the week for the rest of the year, but will be able to get back to those figures early 2011.

Treadmill Shuffle

Time: ~10 minutes
Distance: ~1 mile

I didn't get to recap much of the USATF Club XC meet in my Thunder Road Marathon entry and I won't really do so here. But, I can say that the ladies of CRC held their own against some firmly established club teams like the NYAC, BAA, and Atlanta Track Club. It was a great day for cross-country out at McAlpine and taking in the action was awesome. The men's race saw Dave Nightingale place 3rd overall and Queens' runner Mike Crouch one spot back in 4th. I struggled to get from the mile mark, to the base of the hill, to the backside of the hill on tired legs. At times I was so wrapped up in the running that I forgot about the stiffness in my quads.

The post-race awards banquet for the club race was at Whisky River (why is this place purposely misspelled?). I was in attendance with friends and got to mingle with some other buddies that I had completely forgotten to look out for in the race. It was good catching up with now Hansons-Brooks' runner Zac Hine (formerly of Cornell and was in Japan with me), Sam Luff now of the Georgetown Running Company (also went to Japan this year), Dave Burnham also of the Georgetown Running Company (attended Dartmouth but was on my recruiting trip to Brown when we were both seniors in high school), Lucas Meyer of the Boston Athletic Association (formerly of Yale and went to Japan two years ago) and of course Dave Nightingale who now runs for New Balance. The usual local suspects were in attendance including Caitlin, Meagan, Tanya, Mike and Sarah Porter (new local), Pezz, Paul, Compton, Thomas, Jenna and several more. I also met Ruth who helped Caitlin out at Twin Cities Marathon and her friend Addie Bracy. Lets also not forget Scott Simmons and Camille Herron (I know her from Oklahoma) who just won the Dallas White Rock Marathon.

Why all the name dropping? Well, with all the friends around things got a little out of hand. It was a fun time despite being in a terrible establishment. There is a definite reason as to why I don't patron the Epicenter. I was more surprised to see that people were paying the cover to actually attend a place like Whisky Dick. The whole night left me a world of hurt the next morning. I woke up feeling fine, just a little dehydrated. I didn't get to eat much of a dinner which was ultimately my downfall. I spent about an hour sitting in front of the tv drinking Nuun when things took a turn for the worse. I ended up driving the big white bus a couple of times before grabbing another hour of sleep. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal as I didn't have to run much today, but I did have to board a plane later in the afternoon.

I got my act together with enough time to shower, pack and get to the airport. I was destined for Philly where I would meet up with my boss and our rep from Chicago. We were all going to the GORE Running Wear and GORE Bike Wear sales meeting in Newark, Delaware. Delaware!? That's right the first state of the union. The night included a bite to eat at Geno's Steaks and a drop at the hotel. I got thoughts in my head that it would be good for me to shake out the legs on the treadmill and that's exactly what I did. While my boss was going to bed and the Canadian reps mingled by the fireplace, I hopped on the treadmill for an incredibly slow jog where I covered a mile in just over 10 minutes. By the end of it I was feeling a little less stiff and was able to stretch my tight calves.

Everybody loves a good cheesesteak.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Thunder Road Marathon Recap

The clock read 2:23:28 at mile 26 and I knew the record was out of reach. I had just over 50 seconds to run the final .2 miles in order to break the course record from 2006 set by Birhanu Wukaw of Fayetteville, GA. It wasn't going to happen so I shut things down for good. I knew it wasn't going to be easy, look at the record holder's name. I gave it my best shot, but ultimately my legs ached too much on the late climbs and the windy stretch to NoDa sapped me of energy. I acknowledged the crowd a couple times during the last hundred meters, glanced up at the clock and broke the tape in 2:24:46. One second per mile faster and I would have achieved my WBTV stated goal of breaking the course record.

Finishing Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon (photo by Kevin Miller)

Pre Race:
Rewind the morning a few hours to 5:00 am when I got up and hit the start button on the coffee machine. I quietly got my racing costume on as Meagan slept in for her own big race later in the day. My new GORE Running Wear kit resembled a cheap Darth Vader Halloween outfit-- minus the cape. I had black on black split cut shorts, Windstopper tights, a jersey, gloves, hat, vest and jacket. I was "murdered out" Rob & Big style. I slipped out of the house and drove over to Caitlin's arriving around 7:05 am. I had a little over a half an hour to walk over to the start line and finish my final preparation for the race.

The walk over to the convention center was longer than I expected. I eventually had to walk/jog the final half mile in order to feel comfortable with the having enough time. Upon entering the building there were bodies everywhere. People were crammed in the section just off S. College, but I found enough space to shed my layers and adjust my singlet. I just needed to find a bathroom and then it would be off to the start line. I headed outside with my bag, dropped it and went in search for a porto I had spotted earlier that didn't have a line. Well, it had a line now. I'm not one to wait to handle my biz so I darted back into the convention center looking for a proper facility. No luck. Lines, lines and more lines. No time for waiting. I headed downstairs and into the bowels of the convention center. Coincidence? I think not. I was backstage, literally underground where the forklifts are stored.

I made a quick ascent to ground level, checked my bag and looked for the start line. It wasn't on S. College as I was led to believe yesterday. I scrambled my way through the little park that separates Brevard and S. College only to be locked out from the starting area. About 100 meters from the start line I jumped the fence while the Star Spangled Banner played. It was about 7:41 at this point, plenty of time to get situated at the start. Wrong! Tim was doing his final announcements while I struggled to get my damn pants off. The elastic at the zipper at the bottom was really snug, but lucky for me Leonard Hilliard came to my rescue with a few good tugs. Paul Mainwaring attempted to hand me the No. 1 bib, but it was too late. I only had about 20 seconds to get settled and the runners were off. False start! Someone false started when the NASCAR car engine revved. Fortunately we weren't going by IAAF rules and nobody was disqualified from the field. Someone at RFYL really needs to invest in a starter's pistol.

Start of Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon
Pictured: Ethan Coffey (red), Billy Shue (orange), Stephen Spada (red), Me (grey) (photo by Kevin Miller)

The second time off the line was for reals and I repositioned the CarbBOOM! in my glove so that I'd be able to access it later in the race. I had Mr. Mainwaring to my left and a couple of half-marathoners in front of me. I ran relaxed down 3rd street and tried to let the downhill opening mile carry my legs without putting to much junk in them. The pounding felt smooth and I was breathing contently near the front. Mile one was hit in 5:22 which was a little fast, but considering the terrain I wasn't worried. The second mile allowed me to settle further into a groove of 5:35. I ran about 5 meters behind two guys running the half and watched Ethan Coffey open up a nice gap on the field. His red singlet and shorts became my target later in the race.

As Paul and I turned off Randolph Rd. and onto Colville we were working together. The tangents were being carved with precision and eventually we caught up to the second and third place half-marathoners. There was no time to admire the million dollar homes, but I did notice the cheering committee of Emily Barrett and Katie Robertson. I don't know what I was thinking, but I some how felt the need to drop a 5:18 third mile and follow it up with another 5:18 fourth mile. The neighborhood roads suited my early effort well and I was clearly feeling good. I grabbed water efficiently at the first water station and snagged another cup at the second. I remember it being really cold and I gasped once when the water hit the back of my throat.

Paul, a half-marathoner and I ran along Providence road keeping an honest effort. Our pace slowed to a 5:38 split for mile 5, but I wasn't worried due to the quicker opening miles. I became a little annoyed at one point when the half-marathoner was drafting off me up the hill. I thought it was a cheap tactic given he was running only half as far, but I wasn't going to slow down and change running positions. Instead I increased the tempo and dropped him by the top of the hill where Aaron Linz was encouraged Paul and I. During the turn onto Sharon Lane, I started hear the discomfort in Paul's breathing, but he was hanging tough. His slightly labored breathing is what actually gave me the motivation to continue with pressing the pace. It was early and Paul was setting the tempo, but I still went for the jugular.

The pace on the sixth mile dropped slightly back down to 5:20 and I crossed 10k in 33:40. Whoops! That was a little aggressive and Paul was done for the day. I believe he ended up running faster than he did at Hit the Brixx only a few weeks after posting a great time at the Richmond Marathon. Meagan had told me not to break her personal best during the opening 10k, but I guess I just don't listen.

My focus now shifted to closing the gap on the lead half-marathoner. I thought it would be cool to have the overall lead by the splitting point on the course. Ethan Coffey was about 30 seconds in front and I just stared at his back making certain to slice the tangents better than him. I rattled off splits of 5:25, 5:28 and 5:25 for miles 7, 8 and 9. I tossed my long sleeve shirt to Chad Crockford just before turning onto Sharon Road and a few minutes later I was cheered on by George "Monk" Linney and Jason Page of the Bull City Running Company. They gave me a boost of energy which can be seen in the splits during this section. The course also dipped down until coming up to cross Selwyn. I remember blowing my nose in my gloves and the lead biker offering me a tissue. I declined, but it was a nice gesture.

I started thinking about the first major split that I wanted to hit once on Queens Road. I was approaching 10 miles and wanted to be under 55 minutes (5:30 pace). Meagan and Jenna were in the center of the median cheering enthusiastically and snapped a few photos. I hit 54:21 for 10 miles and split 5:29. Just after the mark I spotted Queens' runner and German stud Simon Steutzel and his girlfriend Holly. They had made a sign, but I'll admit I don't know what it said. I was just glad to see them out there.

Approaching mile 10 along Queen Road (photo by Meagan Nedlo)

I took my second gel somewhere along this section. The first was around five miles as I like to start fueling early. I got CarbBOOM! down near mile 11 (5:29) and definitely before making the left onto Morehead. Everybody knows what a nuisance this road is during race. Need I remind you of Blue Points? Ironically, the best I felt in the race was during a 20 second stretch when rap music blasted. Running uphill, all of a sudden, I felt like surging past the group of kids with a quicker stride doing my best Sammy Wanjiru impression. This was the only point in the race where I actually felt like I was hammering and it was for a brief 100 meter section. I can't tell you the song, the lyrics or other specifics other than the fact the beat got me to hammer. Considering the uphill stretch I still split 5:34 for mile 12.

It was more tough running through Dilworth when the marathon split from the half-marathon. I was now truly solo running by Latta Park, but I knew the halfway point was approaching and I wanted to be in the 71:30 t0 72:00 range. In order to get back on a respectable pace I opened the stride down the hill along Euclid. I rolled past the tennis courts with the markers in sight. I was 5:37 for mile 13 and 71:35 at the half. I did a quick calculation and this put me on 2:23:10 pace. I was rolling! But, I was also starting to become fearful of the early opening miles. My stride was still efficient and everything seemed right, but there are always questions for the late stages of the race.

Jumping back on Morehead just prior to the Dowd YMCA sucked. No other way to describe it. I got to mile 14 in 5:35 and took a cup of water from Jason Martin. He handed it off perfectly and I nearly had a full 3 ounces instead of the 2 sips I normally get. I fell back into a rhythm on Camden and Tremont to split 5:23 for mile 15. Getting over to Mint St. was uneventful but I started to notice the wind. I wasn't sure if this was due to me tiring or if the wind was actually picking up. I had been off the line for about 90 minutes and it was time to take a quick evaluation of the body's systems. The feet felt good, breathing fine, arms working fluidly, the stomach was in okay shape, but the legs -- specifically the quads -- were getting heavy on any slight incline. South Mint is a slight incline.

Miles 16 and 17 were 5:35 and 5:33. I missed a water cup just after the I-277 overpass and was really bummed the drummers weren't stationed underneath like last year. Missing the cup was a little worrisome as it was a critical point in the race, but I hoped the gel I took during mile 16 would kick in soon. It felt like a crawl running along Trade St. to mile 18 but fortunately I quickened the pace just before the marker to hit 5:32. The wind funneled through the Uptown buildings made it difficult to maintain pace, but I was being cheered on by athletes heading out to McAlpine for the USATF Club XC meet.

The turn on Caldwell street was the start of my demise. I immediately felt the wind in my face and the incline over I-277 was a real minger. Caitlin, Jenna and Meagan were stationed just off 7th street. It was good seeing familiar faces, but I knew the stretch to NoDa would be lonely. It was last year and it would be this year. I managed a 5:32 for mile 19 which was good considering the hill. At the top of the hill was the wreckage from a recent accident. A BMW looked totaled and a woman was being ushered into an ambulance. I was starting to feel her pain.

Nearing 18.5 mile mark (photo by Meagan Nedlo)

Running to my doom (photo by Meagan Nedlo)

The road curved on Parkwood and Greg Isaacs was out on his bike. I think Matt Jaskot was out here too. I still hadn't made it onto North Davidson, but I was getting close. The stretch up to NoDa was pure suffering. Lonely, windy, industrial, hills would be key words to describe the 20 mile mark that was reached in 1:49:49 (split of 5:37).
I was slowing but still on pace through 20 miles to break the record. I wanted to be under 1:50:00 as that would give me 34:20 to get to the tape for the last 10k. I ran an opening 33:40 10k, but 34:20 would be hard to muster. I still had over a half mile until making the turn onto 35th and being in the heart of the fun and artistically minded neighborhood district. My quads had enough energy to maintain pace on the flats, but had nothing for the gradual inclines.

I made it through the wall this year! Last year "the wall" constructed of wood was still under construction when I passed by. I was a few minutes short of 21 miles and starting to realize the record was slipping out of my hands-- err legs. My splits for 21 and 22 were 5:43 and 5:42. In hindsight, that was the record. Right there on those two splits. I needed to average 5:31s and those two splits put me 23 seconds over pace. I had thoughts of packing it in right there and run to the finish at whatever pace it took to win not worrying about time.

However, I was tired but not exhausted at this point. My legs hurt a lot, but the lungs were in complete control. Breathing was never difficult late in the race. I also knew a fast section was approaching along The Plaza. Last year I clicked off a fast late mile for my under-trained legs. This year I hoped to become uplifted by seeing a fast split. It happened, but it wasn't enough. Mile 23 brought me back down under pace for a 5:29. At the time I couldn't do the math, but I needed to run the final 3.2 miles in 17:35 in order to take down the course best. I got to mile 24 with a 5:36 which was good given we turned back into the houses with few 90 degree turns. It was disappointing not being offered a pint, mimosa or bloody mary at the house party. With dampened sober spirits, I really just wanted to be done.

Running to the Hawthorne Hill aka "Take of souls" (photo by Troy Lee)

I felt better running down Hawthorne with friends yelling out. I don't know if Bob Heck was out there with his boom box, because I was in a daze. The Hawthorne Hill was only moments ahead and I knew this was the last battle on the course which caught me by surprise last year. Despite knowing it's position and tactics, it still put me in a dark place. It was my "taker of souls." I was done. It felt like I walked to the top and reaching the apex didn't ease the tightness . I couldn't find a rhythm upon hitting Central despite the mini-entourage of Caitlin, Jenna and Meagan again. John Compton and Garrett were a few hundred meters down the road. I remember Garrett yelling that I was an animal.

Approaching mile 25 and cheering section (photo by Caitlin Chrisman)

Wanting to be done (photo by Caitlin Chrisman)

Darth Vader attacks (photo by Caitlin Chrisman)

Nick Frank-esque glamour shot (photo by Caitlin Chrisman)

Better side (photo by Caitlin Chrisman)

Caitlin trying to keep up but getting smoked (photo by Meagan Nedlo)

Charlotte's skyline and mini-me (photo by Caitlin Chrisman)

I didn't get another split until the 26 mile mark. I'm pretty sure the 25 mile banner was stolen or never placed because nobody seemed to get that split. At the turn on to McDowell I heard Allen Strickland and Leonard yelling. Allen said something about my Karhu Racers. McDowell is ever so slightly uphill, mile 26 made it feel like a Morehead or Mt. Mitchell. Miles 25 and 26 combined for 11:06 (5:33 average), not bad considering the leaden legs.

The cheers got louder and looking up I could see the finish line a ways off. I also saw the clock at mile 26 also read 2:23:28...

Nearly finished with the race (photo by Karin Helmbrecht)

Glad to be done and cold (photo by Karin Helmbrecht)

Woman's winner, Danielle Crockford and sketchy dude in black (photo by Chad Crockford)

Post Race:
I was immediately congratulated by Donny Forsyth at the finish line. James Haycraft Kent Morris also escorted me to collect my belongings. My legs were shot and I needed to get warm. After getting in dry clothes I sat in the timing booth where it was warm waiting for the awards ceremony. I watched Danielle, Theoden, and others finish the marathon from the comfort of the hotel conference room. Eventually I made it out to the stage where the awards were presented at noon. I had been done for nearly two hours and was ready to get out to McAlpine. The crowd went wild as Danielle and I ascended the stage to collect our flag and flowers. Actually, there were maybe 50 people in attendance and it was rather lackluster considering the wait.

Remember how I parked at Caitlin's? Yea I had to rush over there in order to get my car and hit the cross country course for Meagan's race. I shuffled off in the direction of 7th and McDowell with a box of flowers in my hand. I ran backwards on the course and tried to encourage those runners still out on the roads. I found an efficient route to McAlpine that avoided the marathon course and made the start of the race just in time to start my watch. I could go on about how I tried to run around the park cheering on the CRC teams at USATF Club XC, but my fingers are numb.

Meagan's recap: Big Day of Racing
Caitlin's recap: Two Races, One City

12/11/10. The day Charlotte was the running mecca of the USA.

I was there.

Thunder Road Marathon Splits

Time: 2:24:46
Distance: 26.2 miles

I'll recap when I have a chance, but for now I'll put down my splits according to my watch.

5:35.63 (10:57.39)
5:18.93 (16:16.32)
5:18.26 (21:34.58)
5:38.56 (27:13.14)
5:20.43 (32:33.57)
33:40 at 10k
5:24.89 (37:58.46)
5:28.18 (43:26.64)
5:25.06 (48:51.70)
5:29.64 (54:21.34) - 10 miles
5:29.25 (59:50.59)
5:34.05 (65:24.64)
5:37.00 (71:01.64)
71:35 at 13.1 miles

5:35.31 (76:36.95)
5:23.44 (82:00.39)
5:35.31 (87:35.70)
5:32.31 (93:08.01)
5:32.69 (98:40.70)
5:32.00 (104:12.70)
5:37.12 (109:49.82 or 1:49:49) - 20 miles
5:43.38 (115:33.20)
5:42.81 (121:16.01)
5:29.81 (126:45.82)
5:36.44 (132:22.26)
11:06.14 (143:28.40) - 25 and 26 split
1:20.05 (144:48.45)
73:11 for second 13.1 miles
Official time 2:24:46

Thunder Road Result

Clock Time2:24:46
Chip Time2:24:46
Overall Place1 / 1290
Division Place1 / 88
13 1Split1:11:35

Get Ugly

All caught up on the blog...

Now it's time to race.



Let's hurt.

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Double? What!

Time: 39:04
Distance: ~5.3 miles

That's right I doubled the day before the race. Why? It's my routine to run twice most days. I got in the same run I did this morning and felt better about myself afterward. So there...

I spent today chilling at the race expo and had the opportunity to be on had for when Balega Sports presented Tim and Robin Rhodes with the Ubuntu Award. It was great seeing all the local runners at the convention center and chatting about time goals. Time for a little name dropping: Allen, Kevin, Leonard, Theoden arrived after a Fueling lunch; Jamaar and Christi are running their first marathon together; Kent is pacing the 3:00 group; Peter Ascuito and the Vac & Dash racing team are here and ready to go; Scott Helms is shooting for 1:54 in the half; Billy was nervous/excited; Emily, Mike, Aaron, Mark were all on hand at the CRC tent. I'm forgetting some others that I'm sure will come to me right after I post.

I should mention that I gave two corny responses to WBTV on the afternoon/early evening news. Jay Holder wasn't there, but he texted me that he would "be in my ear." I said that sounded kinky. It was a cool to see a little how the news factory operates live coverage. Jay just sent a guy with a camera, a mic and a couple lights. Next time I think Tim and I need a helicopter.

The run this evening was good and a little rushed in order to make it to dinner. The guys at Bull City Running invited Meagan, Jenna and I to dinner at a small Italian restaurant called Il Nido. It was tiny, like the size of a living room tiny. But, it was good and the casual conversation was awesome. Jason and George are both running club xc tomorrow and their might be a false start for $100.


Time: 38:38
Distance: ~5.3 miles

It's mini-taper time. Without looking, I believe this is the shortest I've run in quite some time. I ran on a loop that I did often this summer as a double and today it was nice to know I just had to move the legs. I shuffled through Freedom Park as efficiently as possible thinking about the race tomorrow. I tried to visualize as best as possible the important parts on the course and how I was going to feel.

I used the stick when I got home and did a little light stretching but nothing unusual. I'm going for the Thunder Road Marathon record tomorrow (2:24:20), but trying to view this as a long hard run. I want to manage the hurt in the rolling first half of the course and see if I can pick it up from there. I know having friends cheering out along the route will help boost the legs if the pace starts to slip.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Uptown Expo Double

Time: ~51:30
Distance: ~7 miles

I was in Greenville, SC most of the day visiting accounts and picking up a pair of shoes that I had re-surfaced. While I was at Run In, the guys told me about a co-worker who claims that running a marathon is no big deal and that any relatively fit person could do it. This guy has been doing Marine style workouts and running a little, but mostly strength inspired fitness stuff. The rest of the guys (three of whom just completed an Ironman) called his bluff and signed him up for Thunder Road. Look for Anthony (I forget his last name, but it's Italian in origin) to be hurting around mile 16. I'll try to remember and follow up after the race on this guy.

My other big stop came at Pedal Chic which is a new women's fashion bike boutique where the "roadways are the new runways." The store was having a ribbon cutting ceremony and serving drinks and snacks the rest of the evening. I couldn't pass up checking out the new shop located just off main street. It's a cool store worth visiting even if you're not a cyclist because it finds a niche in a market that is so often black bike shorts and a yellow top.

I raced home to Charlotte where I made it in time for the last hour of the Thunder Road Marathon expo. The Charlotte Running Club guys were just packing up as I arrived, but we chatted briefly. I hung out with Mike Moran of New Balance who hadn't gone on a run yet that day. When the entire operation closed for the night, we laced up the boots and headed out for some miles. I rocked a new pair of NB905 that I won at the Dowd 5k. We had a good conversation about all things running as we weaved through Dilworth and other side streets back into Uptown. Running through Uptown tonight reminded me that I need to visit center city more often especially now that all of the festive lights are out. We ran a little longer than I had planned, but it was a good run to end the day.

Getting Focused

Time: 60:57
Distance: ~8.6 miles

Just another standard run. I was sure to take it really easy and shuffled along. The legs are feeling good and I'm getting prepared to hurt during the marathon. I hope the legs have been hardened to the point of being able to withstand the beating over the final 45 minutes of the race. Only a few more runs left and it's go time.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Running with Red

Time: 76:42 total
Distance: ~11 miles

W/u: 34:23 for ~4.5 miles
W/o: Fartlek with Caitlin on Dilworth Speed Loop
C/d: 23:46 for ~3 miles

After getting an hour of running with James I went home and rested up. I changed out of my sweaty clothes and into some dry ones. I stretched a bit and massaged the legs with a foam roller and stick. I was out the door a couple tics before 11:30 to meet up with Caitlin for a light workout. She was doing a pre-race'esque/fartlek workout to get the legs rolling in preparation for Club XC this Saturday. The change in tempo would be good for me to get comfortable with running 5:20s for the marathon.

3:18 at ~5:20 pace (1:36)
2:05 at 5:22 pace (1:40)
2:02 at 5:12 pace (2:05)
3:17 at 5:25 pace (2:11)
2:16 at 5:18 pace (1:38)
1:15 for 400m

I felt really relaxed on all of the hard efforts, but more importantly I recovered within 20-30 seconds of stopping. Hopefully I can go out and click off some decent splits on Saturday letting the course dictate the pace, but inject a little speed when/if necessary.

Caitlin recaps this run in better detail on her blog.

Real Athletes with James Haycraft

Time: 61:14
Distance: ~8.6 miles

I got a text from Mr. Haycraft yesterday asking if I wanted to go for some morning miles. We started the run from my place and I showed him where legends are made on the Medium Loop. James tried to follow the official Booty Loop route, but I was sure to explain the "real man" long way. How come triathletes are always looking for the shortcut with their compression gear, carbon this, aero that?

The run was great despite another cold day in the Q City. We were both layered up nicely with some of the freshest threads you can find. I wore a new pair of GORE gloves and a goofy ass GORE pseudo-hat/beanie that came in the mail yesterday. James sported a quality Louis Garneau vest and some sleek orange shades. We looked like two clowns but at least we were warm when the wind wasn't blowing. How's that for alliteration!?

By the end of the run we were clicking off sub-7 minute pace and called it a day with about an hour of running on the legs. He ran off to Bicycle Sport and I geared up for run number two in less than 90 minutes.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Running Thunder Road

I've decided to toe the line at Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon. I suppose the "official" announcement came via the Charlotte Running Club's blog. In the interview I answer some of the reasons why I've chosen to try and defend the title. Instead of repeating those reasons here, I'll instead talk about my goals.

I want to run fast. How fast? I'd be happy with a time between 2:22 and 2:24. That means I'm going to have to hit the half a bit out of the comfort zone, something that I haven't really done in my previous three marathons. I would like to be between 71:30 and 72:00 on the day, but I just ran the first half of the course and realize it's hillier than I remembered. I still think it can be done. However, take a quick look at this ugly marathon mile pace chart. To reach my halfway goal, I'll have to average 5:27 to 5:30 miles. We'll see what happens.

If I can run between 2:22 and 2:24 feeling somewhat composed, I'll have to confidence to try shooting for the Olympic Trials time of 2:19:00. So actually 2:18:59. That's 5:18 mile pace which would put you at 53:00 (10 miles), 69:29 (13.1), 1:46:00 (20 miles). Those are all some stout splits that would have me walking by the finish line.

Ice Cold MAC

Time: 59:57
Distance: 8.75 miles

I met up with Aaron Linz at the Mecklenburg Aquatics Center for a few miles along the second half of the Thunder Road course. Originally Caitlin and I were going to run, but something came up and Aaron was able to step in. The temperature was quite low despite the sun being out. I opted to wear shorts just to see how cold running in 30 degree weather would be if that were the case on Saturday. It really wasn't that bad but I still want it to be in the 40s.

I was planning to get some more miles in this evening, but the TNT event at Fleet Feet Huntersville boasted some good pizza, beers and chocolates. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to snag a free dinner while chatting with prospective marathoners for the leukemia and lymphoma society. The other big perk of attending the meet and greet was the masseuse on hand. She worked my upper back that has been tight for a few weeks now. I must have been tight because she asked me several times if I cross train or swim. Nope on both. Just running here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

No Warmer, Same Outfit

Time: 71:18
Distance: ~9.5 miles

This evening I wore the same outfit as I did this morning. Gross, I know. I made sure to change my shorts and tights, but the shirt, jacket and gloves were all the same. Summer running isn't fun either, but at least the laundry basket isn't always full.

I met up with Caitlin over at her pad to start the run. We ran over to Morehead Ave. where we picked up Mr. Holder and then continued into Dilworth. The streets were dark, but that was all going to change for part two of my run.

Caitlin had to be home after only 5 miles because she's taking DWTS lessons. Meagan, back from her travels in Atlanta, was dressed and ready to go. I opened my sweet new early Christmas gift from Caitlin and situated it atop my head. It's a Petzl headlamp that will allow me to illuminate the streets and navigate them safely.

Meagan and I ran about 30 minutes before calling a night.

Layered Up to Run

Time: 80:17
Distance: 11.39 miles
Pace: 7:02

I've gotten soft. Not soft in the middle like Ozzie, but soft when it comes to running in the cold. It was around 32 degrees this morning when I got out the door but the wind chill made the "real feel" closer to 25. It's a good thing that I have the hook up on nice winter apparel because I couldn't imagine wearing some shoddy sweatpants and baggy jacket to run in. This morning I busted out a Craft baselayer top that features a GORE Windstopper panel on the chest. It's the perfect combination of the TGA, KNA, GORE relationship.

I started the run slowly and warmed up by mile two in Freedom Park. I looped around the Booty Loop a couple of times and called it a day. My hands and arms remained chilled but not uncomfortable. It's my hope that I will get accustomed to the cold soon because there is no way I could handle the Rhode Island winters from years ago. I better toughen up or this winter will be a long one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Week in Review

Time: 850:42
Distance: 116.44 miles

And to think that I wanted to get out the door for an extra 8 miles Sunday afternoon. Now that I've added everything up, I'll take the 116 and rest. This was my 7th consecutive week at 100+ miles and I'm feeling healthy and strong.

This week, I was able to help Meagan and Caitlin out in a couple of workouts while continuing my focus on mileage. I don't have any major aches or pains although my upper back has been tight for several days now. I also need to start doing a bit more core and using the foam roller. I've been better about massaging my legs after runs and using the stick whenever visiting accounts during the day.

I have some not so secret news for next week so check back Monday...

McAlpine Miles in the Cold

Time: 72:20
Distance: 10.01 miles
Pace: 7:13

Meagan and I met up with Tanya this morning for our run. We started from Boyce and ran 10 miles in McAlpine. The workout on Weds. has left Meagan achilles a little sore and I may have massaged it a bit too aggressively the other night. We turned back a few miles early and called it a day.

I had hoped to run again this morning with Caitlin, but when I got home that motivation was gone. I also hoped to run again this afternoon, but then it got windy and dark. The legs felt fine despite the big mileage yesterday so it's not the body telling me to pack it in. It's just me being a wuss.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

McAlpine for Round Two

Time: 88:57
Distance: ~13.6 miles (conservative estimate)

W/u: 31:29 for ~4.2 miles
W/o: 8 miles up tempo with Caitlin & Meagan
C/d: 10:31 for ~1.4 miles

I made it over to the main entrance just as a large group started their run. I quickly locked my valuables and set off chasing the group. I was only about 150 meters behind and was able to catch up when they turned around 1.25 miles. Another group had started from Old Bell and the entire crew totaled about 20 people. I remember seeing Alice, Danielle, Meagan, Caitlin, the Hovii, Compton, A.J., Lat, Thomas, Michelle, and the Fillnow sisters. Don't get your technical fibers in a twist if I forgot your name! The triathletes were even there as Turdbury and Haycrap decided to put on their running shoes and join the real athletes. It was cool being a part of two big Charlotte Running Club runs on the same day.

After about 4 miles of running the group broke off into clusters. I was going to help Caitlin run part of her 50 minute tempo. A big group decided to tag along and we all began together from the start of the Footlocker Course. I wasn't wearing my Garmin so I had to listen closely for when John's beeped. We were going to run about 4 with the girls and then drop the pace for another 4 miles.

12:27 (2 miles), 6:00, 6:15, 5:47, 5:31, 5:15, 5:40 for 46:57 total.

I was chilling for the first half of the up tempo workout and then tried to get things rolling the last half. As the pace got rolling I started to feel better and better. I decided with three miles to go that John and I should maintain for a mile, press mile seven and relax the final mile. I actually missed the split for the 7th mile as I was in the process of dropping John (sorry dude), and couldn't hear the split. We backed off and ran the final mile together before calling it a day. I don't think he knew that I was really at mile 24 on the day by that point. I'm glad that I was able to rattle off a 5:15 mile feeling somewhat in control with that many miles on the legs. I was glad to be finished as my hip flexors were starting to scream and the cold air had my glutes starting to tighten.

Thunder Road Course Preview

Time: 92:11
Distance: ~13

Last night while supporting Matt in his latest endeavor, Jay Holder told me that a big group was departing from the Dowd YMCA at 7:00 am. I was torn because I also wanted to run with Caitlin's group from McAlpine at 9:00. Why not do both?

I met up with Jay, Paul, Aaron, Billy, Spada, Jason Martin, Leonard Hilliard, B-Mac, Nathan and many more for a tour of the first half of the Thunder Road Marathon course. I had forgotten just how hilly the first part was. Last year I must have blacked out or purposely forgotten the tough parts of the race. The opening 13 miles are definitely rolling with no one section being particularly tough, it's just that very little is flat. It was a great group to run with and the conversations were great. The pace began to pick up around 9 and we held a solid clip until the very end.

Once back at the Dowd I passed out a bunch of Nuun water bottles and some tablets to share. I had a box of 50 bottles in my car that has slowly whittled down to friends and accounts. Today was the day that I gave away the last bottle. Yes! Now I just have to get rid of the other 50 bottle box in my storage unit. Yikes. Who out there likes Nuun?

I stood around for about 5 minutes and then made the decision to hurry over to McAlpine. There was another group to run with...

Friday, December 3, 2010


Time: 94:37
Distance: ~12 miles

I put on some of my new GORE Running Wear this morning and gave it a solid testing. It was in the low 30s when I started from Sarah Swiss' house. I hit up a new bike path that I ran on with George Linney a few months back. I managed about 30 minutes before swinging back by the house to pick up Meagan. We then ventured onto the American Tobacco Trail and wound up at Bull City Running before making the turn home. I warmed up nicely and felt good by the end of the run.

The rest of the day was spent visiting accounts in Raleigh. I had a great visit with the guys at Raleigh Running Outfitters who recently won the 50 Best Award. The day ended at the Philosopher's Stone where Mr. Matt Jaskot was having a beer marathon. He was the first patron when they opened and stayed all day. It was something like 10:00 am until 2:00 am with a total of 30 beers and a few shots. Don't worry, he's still alive though his liver is in a dark place.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Godiva Track Club & Bull City Running

Time: 56:11
Distance: ~7 miles

This evening I got to run with some members of the Godiva Track Club in Durham. Meagan was conducting a Craft baselayer and Karhu shoe wear test run. A handful of runners got to try out what Craft is all about and feel the ride of Karhu. I was able to tag along and run with the group through the hilly neighborhoods near the Tobacco Trail. The pace was quite brisk given the hour and weather. I believe it was in the low 40s but that didn't stop a few guys from pressing the hills and opening up small gaps on the group. I chatted with Jim who will be running at Club XC on a masters team.

Recovery Jaunt

Time: 62:46
Distance: 8.6 miles

Meagan and I logged some morning miles before packing up the car and heading off to Durham for a wear test run at Bull City Running. We ran nice as easy to allow for some good recovery in Meagan's legs after her big workout yesterday.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Fit Getting Fitter

Time: 58:36
Distance: 8.6 miles

I felt like 12 miles wasn't enough this morning so I went out for some more this evening. The fit getting fitter.

Meagan Visits the Well

Time: 94:36
Distance: 12.76 miles

W/u: ~20 minutes for 2.5 miles
W/o: 3 x 6 mins with 90 secs hard to start (3 mins rest), 4 x hill (1 min rest), 5 x pond (2 mins rest)
C/d: 15:51 for ~2 miles

Today was the day that I was hoping to send Meagan to the well. She ran incredibly strong and came back with a big bucket of water. I designed this workout specifically with Club XC in mind and wanted it to go well. Caitlin joined us for a good portion of the workout too during her lunch break.

The purpose of the workout was to simulate as much as possible the 6k race to be run at club cross. I wanted the first section to mimic the start of the race where 300 women will be battling for position. We began with 90 seconds run at 5:15 to 5:20 pace and then settled into a pace that took us through the mile in a solid clip. Hopefully the legs would be tired after the first three intervals and the lungs opened up because the hill was next.

Over at the hill we ran 4 x a loop that was roughly 500 meters long. We attacked on the uphill and tried to find the best route down as possible. Meagan will need to catch or distance herself come race day and I wanted her comfortable with both the ascent and descent. The rest was kept short on purpose to not allow the heart rate to fall.

The third section had us focusing on running efficiently and fast with tired legs. We looped the pond (roughly 600 meters) 5 times with 2 minutes rest. The goal was to be able to find that rhythm late in the race and be able to push through the hurting legs during the final 2k.

3 x 6 mins with 90 seconds hard -
6:00 for 1.05 miles (5:42 through the mile), (2:58);
6:00 for 1.08 miles (5:33 through the mile), (3:00);
6:00 for 1.09 miles (5:32 through the mile), (3:04);

4 x hill* -
1:52 for .32 miles (5:56 pace), (60);
1:51 for .33 miles (5:39 pace), (61);
1:52 for .32 miles (5:55 pace), (60);
1:54 for .32 miles (5:54 pace), (3:01);
*not sure why the pace isn't more consistent

5 x pond -
2:00 for .37 miles (5:30 pace), (2:01);
2:00 for .36
miles (5:29 pace), (2:00);
1:59 for .36 miles (5:30 pace), (2:01);
1:59 for .36 miles (5:27 pace), (2:00)
1:57 for .36 miles (5:23 pace)

Total of 58:45 and 8.26 miles at 7:07 pace. These are my totals and distance which include a little more jogging than Meagan.

I couldn't have been more pleased with how the workout turned out. I could tell that Meagan was uncomfortable with the first section especially with the 90 seconds hard. She hasn't done anything nearly that fast recently, but that's how the cross country race is going to be. There will be 300 women trying to fit on a 10 foot wide trail and if you're not in the top 50 by 800 meters, than forget about your chances for doing well. The hills went well and I hope she became a little more comfortable with running hard downhill. She closed out the workout running hard but relaxed at the pace she'll need to race at. It was great having Caitlin out there too. She was incredibly strong on the opening intervals and kept the pace honest for Meagan.

Meagan's recap.
Caitlin's recap.