Sunday, March 30, 2008

Kings Mountain National Military Park run

Now is when I really regret not having cable TV in my life, as the real start of opening season has dawned. I guess it's just something I'll have to get used to, alas.

Went on a long, long trail run today down on the North/South Carolina border (about 40 minutes south of Charlotte) in Kings Mountain National Military Park on their ~16 mile trail loop. The drive down was replete with music to get me pumped up for a run I thought would kill me and a plethora of cop cars in the last 2-3 miles of the drive that got my sufficiently scared to slow down. It was much colder today than it's been this past week and I ended up starting the run with a beanie (overkill), gloves, under armor, long sleeve running technical shirt (overkill), and 2 hand held water bottles (something that was so weird for me, carrying shit in my hands while running). I packed a nutri-grain bar away in between my skin and my under armor, hoping that the packaging wouldn't rub me the wrong way and still be edible in about 2 hours (I had been under the impression that the 16 mile run would take 3+ hours).

There was a group of 7 of us gathered in the Welcome Center parking lot getting ready to go for an epic trail run. We started off and it ended up being me, Todd (a local house-flipper) and Tim (an ultrarunner that organizes events like races and these runs every Sunday) followed about 5-10 minutes back by Ned (works for a non-profit in South Carolina).

We started out a pretty swift sub 7 minute pace for the first hour or so then slowed down at about mile 8-10 to a more pedestrian (and manageable) 8+ minutes per mile. The trails got much hillier in the second half of the run; walking up some of the steeper stuff proved more efficient than trying to waste energy by running up the inclines.

Finishing 16 miles in just over 2 hours (2:12) was somewhat disappointing but then I realized that it was actually pretty fast given that a) it was my longest run ever and 2) it was run on some difficult trails and 3) I never stopped my watch for the 3 breaks we took that lasted a total of about 5-7 minutes I would guess. So I'm pretty happy with that pace.

There's a 22 mile run next week that I am contemplating attending...22 is a long ass way.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Inaugural Race for the Chase 5k

The "Inaugural Race for the Chase 5k" in Athens was a little chilly but I managed to get 1st in a race that sadly only featured 150 entrants. I believe there were only 2 guys in their twenties (including myself) that came to race, which is understandable in such a college town. Who in their right minds, within the ages of 18-24 would be up at 7am on a Saturday morning?

The race started off pretty slowly, with a group of about 5 guys off the front immediately. Everyone except for the guy I was behind sounded like they were breathing quite hard. For about a mile I stayed with the guy who eventually came in second. The first big hill came up and I took the lead, making sure I kept my strides short and my breathing controlled. I kept up my 'speedy' pace for the next mile and passed the 2 mile marker at ~11:40 or thereabouts. So my pacing was exactly where I wanted it to be for a 5k: around 5:40 for the first 2 miles-ish and then cranking it up in the last mile+.

So things were going smoothly and I was just cruising along when I managed to turn right as opposed to going straight like I was supposed to. I went about 50-60 yards the wrong way before I heard the shouts of "You were supposed to go straight!" So I angrily turned around and got back on the right track, all the while cursing under my breath (hopefully...). The guy behind me, who I had managed to put about 30-40 seconds on in about a mile to a mile and a half had caught up until he was only about 30-40 yards behind me. I was pissed but still managed to hold on to the lead spot. He kicked at the end to make up some more time on me but I knew he wasn't going to catch me so I didn't speed up at all. I felt like I had a good bit of juice left in me at pretty much all times during the race; I never felt as though I was going all-out.

Kat and Jeremy were nice enough to wake up early to take pictures and cheer me on, even though as opposed to shouting that I went the wrong way they just said "What an idiot!" Typical. Not a bad race; I PR'd by a little over a minute but the hilly nature of the course and my wrong turn didn't help much. I still think that on a flat course I can go sub 18. That did not happen today, sadly. Next time...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Red Sox

So I retract what I said previously. I now know more about the situation and have decided that the Red Sox are not a bunch of d-bags (at least from this recent event). They still are d-bags in general but managed to stand up for what is right this time.

I'm running a 5k in Athens on Saturday morning. I have no idea what the course is like, but I'm going sub 18. Depending on how I feel, maybe close to 17:30.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Regular Season

It's sooo close!!! I've been freaking out about how badly I need baseball season to start and it's almost here!!

Also, I like how the Red Sox coaches were complaining about not getting the money they were 'promised' to go to Japan (as a stipend) at virtually the same time the majority of Yankee regulars were playing the Virginia Tech baseball team in a game to benefit those hurt or touched by the tragedy that occurred there last year. Way to go, Sox.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Shamrock 4 Miler

My original goal when I signed up for this race was to break 24:00, which I actually did manage to do. Over the past week or so however, my expectations raised and I was hoping I could snap 23:00. I think that I could have but I went out way too fast. Oh well.

The start was crowded with both runners and baby joggers and I got stuck behind 2 baby joggers right when the gun sounded the start of the race. That pissed me off a little bit because they should have been off in a separate staging location or something of that sort. They take up too much space to intermingle with the runners. So that made me angry right at the start, not a good thing.

I got on the heels of Mike Moran, a New Balance rep here in Charlotte that I ran with last Wednesday who I knew raced fairly conservatively in the first half of the race - something that was part of my plan - with the hopes of either just staying with him (he's fast) or maybe even passing him in the second half sometime. I felt like I was pushing it really hard right from the start and was on the edge of being above 95% and wasn't sure why I was so strained because I thought I was running my goal pace of 5:40. No, I was not. We hit the first mile marker and the sign clicked onto 5:15 right as we passed it. I actually said "F***" out loud (although not loudly) and immediately slowed down to what I thought was around 5:45ish pace.

From there to the 2 mile marker I felt pretty solid. I felt like I still had an extra gear if I really needed it for the end and I was never breathing super hard (don't get me wrong; it hurt but it was manageable hurt). The course then proceeded to kick my ass with what seemed like about a quarter to half mile hill that just completely sapped my legs. 2 guys passed me and it took me a couple of seconds to recover at the top. I got back into a rhythm and stayed about 20-30 yards behind a guy who if someone asked me I would never say looked fast but...he apparently was. Not that many people were at the finish by the time I got there so it was a somewhat lame hooray moment.

No aches or pains though, just felt slow at points. My 5k split was right around 17:30ish just off the top of my head. I think sub 17 is totally possible on a 5k. This course was, dare I say it, rolling. It had some decent ups and downs.

I also just found out from looking at the results page that they gave me the 3rd place age group trophy (20-24) when I should have gotten 2nd. Those bastards!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Thursdays are never fun because you feel like it should be Friday but Fridays aren't even real Fridays for us since we work Saturdays so that basically makes Thursdays useless. No Thursday night partying like back in my glory days in college so long ago. So sad

Monday, March 10, 2008

Last week

My training log for last week was pretty ridiculous.

Monday - 8 mile recovery run in :57

Tuesday - 4.5 Treadmill Progression (5 minutes @ 7:30, 5 @ 7:00, 5 @ 6:30, 5 @ 6:00, 3 @ 5:30. Recovered before last one)

Wednesday - 7 mile recovery run in :51

Thursday - 4 mile warmup @ ~7:15, 4 miles @ 5:42, cooldown

Friday - Mile repeats: 25 min warmup, 3 X Miles (5:46, 5:42, 5:39), cooldown

Saturday - Off

Sunday - 12 miles in 1:27

I had NO idea how much the workouts would take out of me, especially the Thurs/Fri ones. I was hoping to do 4 mile repeats but I honestly just couldn't make myself do it. My legs were so dead and it was extremely difficult to get into any sort of rhythm on any of the miles.

Even with the rest day Saturday my legs still felt completely dead Sunday. No soreness, just a ridiculous lack of energy in them. By mile 10-11 I was having a hard time getting up hills on the trail. Even though I felt completely dead I was still managed to average a 7:19 pace, which I was very surprised to find out about post-run. I felt like I was hitting 9 minute miles on my last loop.

That was definitely the hardest week of running I've had so far and with the race this Saturday I'm trying to makedamnsure I toe the line completely fresh. I'll probably only hit 30 or so miles this week (if that) to be positive of my levels of freshness.

Once this race is over I'm going to start going above 50 miles/week to try and get in shape for some longer races. I still have a 5k scheduled for late April but I'm not going to train specifically for that. I want that to basically end up being a speed workout for that week. I'll taper but not in the sense that I'm tapering for this race. Of course, I say all that now but who knows how I'll feel about it in a month?

My long term running goals for this year are to do at least one half marathon this summer and a marathon later on in the year (Oct-Dec). If I do end up moving to Philadelphia I'd really like to try and get in on the Philly Marathon. All of this depends on so many factors that it's hard to even fathom what kind of shape I'll be in this fall, let alone this summer.

I'm going to start try and incorporating some mountain biking into my training to make sure that I'm not completely 100% running all the time. Duathlons and triathlons are also in the mix, but I'm really not in cycling shape at all. Mountain biking duathlons would be awesome if I could manage to find any or get in the mood for one.

Weather is awesome.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


2 movies I highly recommend: "Sunshine" and "Waitress"

Watched them over the past 2 days and thoroughly enjoyed both of them. "Sunshine" was actually my favorite movie so far of 2008 (not that it was released in 2008, that's just when I watched it). That includes movies I've seen for the first time such as "Good Night and Good Luck," "Once," "The Lookout,"and "Ratatouille." Each of those is admittedly a totally different type of movie but "Sunshine" was awesome. I was completely wrapped up in the story, literally sitting on the edge of my seat for the last 30 minutes of the film. It had its flaws but the story was pretty badass. Watch it.

I'm starting to feel really good on my runs. This may just be in my head but my legs and lungs feel very strong right now. 7 minutes per mile is now a full-sentence conversation pace run. The rest of my body needs to cooperate now that my fitness is coming along well. My stupid stomach won't get on pace (great pun, I know) with the rest of me. It's not something that slows me down to any noticeable degree but it's definitely something that would be better off not happening. Duh. I supposed if that's my only complaint about running, I'm not doing too poorly.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


The warmer weather brings with it some new considerations for running I haven't thought about in a long time. On Sunday and Monday - both days were right around 65 to 70 degrees - I ran a combined 20 miles and did not hydrate myself properly. I lost a ton of weight just because I sweat so much and never replenished my bod. This caused me to feel very tired all of yesterday afternoon with a mild headache running pretty constantly in my noggin.

Of course, given the predictability of Charlotte's weather it may get back down to 40 again next week so I won't have to think about proper hydration as much on my runs.

First race of the season is a week from this Saturday, so that's exciting. It's a 4 miler, which seems a somewhat non-traditional distance to race but given that I run/race that distance almost every Thursday I'm pretty used to the pacing. I'm shooting for a goal time of sub 24:00 with the bonus goal of doing 4 miles of sub 6 minutes. Of course if I accomplish the latter I'll obviously accomplish the former... The second goal is there to make sure I try to stay consistent with my pacing. I'm not sure how I feel about negative splits in a race this short but I'm pretty much going to go out hard and just hold on tight. I'd like to place in my age group. It might happen.

I also got some badass new racing flats from Asics. They are, according to their manufacturer, the lightest racing shoes Asics has ever produced for the US market. I got one of the last 3 pairs in my size off so that must mean they're pretty popular. I haven't gotten to take a mini spin in them but I'm going to try and get a couple of miles in them before the race. They look super fast. Just what I need.