Saturday, May 31, 2008

Free runner glory!

While on a bike ride today I saw a guy doing what I assume was free running, except it was a lame-o version that looked absolutely ridiculous and caused me to laugh out loud. He was in front of this church and he'd jump over what might have been a 2 foot ledge and equally high shrubbery (I really just wanted to say shrubbery, except you have to say it like in Monty Python for the full effect) onto the grass lawn beside the stairs with his hands all up in the air celebrating his astonishing feat. He then ran around in front, up the stairs and jumped over the shrubbery again - a jump that was in all seriousness shorter than a hurdle. It was really, really amusing because it seemed like he was a) having a great time and b) really into it; 2 things I don't understand at all. I feel like parkour would only be fun if you're really, really good at it (i.e. the dude from Casino Royale). To be mediocre or below average just makes you look like an idiot because you just run around and crappily jump from one object to another and probably sprain your ankle/wrists/knees multiple times with absolutely nothing to show for it. Practice somewhere no one can see you dude, not on one of the busier streets in Charlotte.


Summer weather is really here; it's redonkulously hot here in Charlotte. It makes running and doing just about anything outside way more taxing. My tan lines are going to get ridiculous working outside in sleeveless shirts but it's important to embrace things like that; it makes me who I am.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


So a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. I've started a new training plan and traveled down to Biloxi, MS to participate (with all the other Habitat AmeriCorps) in the Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter Work Project.

The week in Biloxi was a lot of fun, albeit frustrating at times. All of the Charlotte AmeriCorps were put on different houses, with a few exceptions. So we all worked with a bunch of strangers who, for the most part, knew less about the construction process than we did. The House Leader on my house in particular seemed to have little knowledge as to the efficient use of people throughout the process of building the house. There were many times in which people were just standing around doing nothing because she did not know how to 'flow' from one stage to another. It seemed as though one thing had to be completed before moving on to something else. But we ended up getting as much (if not more) done than the majority of the other houses in the new construction groups (Biloxi had 10 new houses being built, Gulfport had 20 houses in rehab work, and Pascagoula had 20 homes also starting from scratch).

Our days consistently began before it was light out; I got up every morning except for Tuesday at 5:45am to get on the shuttle to breakfast/work at 6am (on Tuesday they changed the schedule so that we had to be ready to get on the bus by 5am or so, yucky). Breakfast was always a nice segway into the day because those of us from Charlotte that were building in Biloxi could sit and talk before the work day started (there were 4 of us). Work started around 7-7:30 and we worked until lunch which usually ended up being around 12 at the same place we ate breakfast (a sort of staging area for everyone working in Biloxi). When our house leader finally felt as though she had worked all of us hard enough in a day we'd hop back on the shuttles to head back to the hotels for dinner. Usually everyone ended up eating around the same time so the Charlotte crowd got to hang out during this mealtime, which was nice.

We'd usually get back to our hotel rooms between 730-8pm so that left little time for anything (at least for me because I go to bed wicked early) before bedtime. I ran twice on the hotel treadmills while I was down there but it was lame and unsatisfying. Oh well, the week was definitely a lot of fun. It was nice that it was so well organized and supported, but I suppose that comes with the Carters. Everyone involved in Habitat absolutely loves them. It's kind of insane.

Got back last Saturday (May 17th) and had a short week at work due to Memorial day weekend.

This week was probably one of my hardest weeks of training, culminated by a 16 mile trail run (Kings Mtn State Park again) on Sunday to get in 55 miles. Fun stuff. I'll be feeling that these next 2 weeks.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Right Moves for Youth Twilight 5k + JCWP

Friday was my second real 5k of the 'season' and it didn't disappoint. Well, not too much at least.

The start was in downtown Charlotte at 7pm on a Friday night, which can be a very crowded time in Center City. I didn't look around too much for a place to park and just turned into the first garage I saw that was $5 and near the race start. I pull in and punch the ticket machine and the attendant walks over and says "That'll be $5 cash please." I tell him I have no cash and he tells me he'll hold onto my ticket while I park and go get money from an ATM (nice of him). So I park then run around looking for a Wachovia ATM which was about 2 blocks away then run back and give him my money. I then proceed to run to the start to try and pick up my chip but realized it was so crowded it would take foerver to get my chip and I'd run out of time to change my shoes and get ready for the race, plus I had conveniently forgotten my bib and could not remember what number I was.

So, I run back to the garage and navigate my way through one of the more complicated parking garages I've ever seen to get into my car and put away my wallet and water while changing shoes and grabbing my bib. I then run back to the start, get my chip and do a warm up with 2 guys I regularly run with that I ran into walking around the start line area.

So the start time rolls around and we try to make our way up to the front but can only get within 15-20 feet of it, which really pissed me off. There were a bunch of people taking up space that were going to be yogging along at 7-8 minute miles that had no business being up in the first few rows of people. So I fumed a little bit and when the dude shouted go I was stuck behind people for the first 10 feet or so before sprinting around them and getting on the fast train. For the first mile of the race, which was very slow (for the leaders, not me) I was with the lead group of about 5 guys, including me. When the first mile went by in 5:30 I felt pretty comfortable with that pace but knew that if there were any surges or uphills I'd be dropped from that group so I slowed a bit over the next mile and was passed by Megan Hepp (12th @ Olympic Trials, crazy fast). I hung onto her for a little bit then let that go (so sad) and got back into what I hoped was 5:40-5:50 pace (although I don't really have any idea). Only 2 more guys passed me the rest of the race so I did hang onto 10th but I got a terrible side stitch, a result of a hard, hot day at work with little to no water. We roofed a house that day in 80 degree weather and that definitely didn't contribute to helping me get a fast time 3 hours after work. The side stitch lasted for about a mile (2-3ish) and I just couldn't push myself hard enough to stay with the 2 guys that passed me.

All in all it was a good race for me time-wise and place-wise but I know I'm faster than this. My next 5k won't be for several weeks so I'll have some good training under my belt by then.

17:49 (10th overall, 9th Male, 1st 20-24 yrs)

All of the AmeriCorps are leaving to go down to Biloxi to work in the Jimmy Carter Work Project for the next week in about 7 hours (hooray). Hopefully that'll be a good time, not sure how much running I'm going to be able to get in though sadly.