Monday, September 27, 2010

Hitting the Brixx

Miles Run:  Saturday:  5K, Sunday: 9.25

"Charlotte is hilly" - overheard a few times during the race
Saturday was the Hit the Brixx race sponsored in uptown (downtown to us Yankees) Charlotte:

They had both a 10K and a 5K separated by an hour and 15 minutes so both Jo and I had the opportunity to run.  Jo took the 10K since I was going to be running Sunday anyway.  It would be interesting for both of us since we had both been sick and basically took almost the whole week off.

Sponsored By Brixx

We headed to downtown Charlotte early Sunday morning.  I never get over how easy it is to get into and out of Charlotte.  Always a breeze.  Found a parking spot in a lot right around the corner from the start line.  We let Jo go get her chip, while Julia and I parked.  Turns out that Brixx validated without even buying anything! sweet!  Stopped to get my chip too.  On a side note, there seem to be 2 main timing companies in the Charlotte area that run the races (who shall go nameless).  One seems to stick with the old chips that you attach to your shoe, and then in a moment of exhaustion at the finish line need to take off and return.  The other one has something called the D-chip which is a strip of plastic with a bar code on the back that is the chip.  You don't have to return it.  I tend to like that type better, but I'm sure there are reasons why each company uses the one the use.
Jo ready to go

Crowd before the 10K

Anyways, it's always fun to do a race downtown.  There's something about the level of excitement, for me anyways, that seems to be higher than other races. There was a pretty big crowd lined up and ready to go.  And they were off!  J

10K start line

o and I had been debating who would take the 5 and who would take the 10.  When I moved to the finish line and looked at the hill the 10K'ers were coming up, I was kind of glad I went with the 5, since I still wasn't feeling great.  As I sat at the finish line, I noticed that there were a lot of younger runners coming in pretty quickly.  Wish I could get my daughter to like running again.

Anyways, a little later than expected, we saw Jo coming up the hill.  She was pretty winded, but pretty happy considering.

Jo bringing it home
Next up was the 5K.  My plan was to take it slow as a training/recovery (from what, I have no idea) run.  So i resolved to just take it easy.  Well, the course was downhill for the first half mile, so of course I got to the first mile at 8:45, which seems to be the same pace I have every race these days for the first mile.  However, this race had a much different elevation profile than the ones I've done recently (see it below on the map).  So the second mile was a little slower, and my third mile was brutal.  Not only was it all uphill, but there was a price to be paid for the late start at 9AM. It hit about 94 degrees here in Charlotte Saturday, and while it certainly wasn't that hot during my third mile, it sure felt like it.  I was coming up the hill, and just felt that blast of hot coming off me that means i was overheated.  I've had that feeling a few times before.  Not good.  Wound up walking a little bit. That's where I heard the "Charlotte is hilly"  comment.  Guess I wasn't the only one surprised by the hills.   Finished in under what I had originally planned, but still couldn't help feeling disappointed.

After it was over, we got to go check out the vendors.  I'm starting to be on a first name basis with the guy from the great harvest bread company, since I see him every week.

The highlight (at least for Julia) was the Brixx pizza and pasta buffet.  She was in heaven!  I was good and completely abstained from everything except some whatever.  At least I accomplished something!

Overall a great time in Charlotte.  A good race.  Well organized and fun.

After the race, we headed to my new home away from home, the Dowd Y to shower and change and then headed to UNC-Charlotte for the international festival. It's our 3rd straight year, and it continues to be a good time.  Lots of food, and foreign culture.  Fun.

Before heading to Julia's youth group meeting , we popped by run for your life, so Jo could check out some clothing.  Walked in and there was Chad from the davidson area running team manning the counter.  Got to talk to Chad for a few minutes before a college track team showed up en-mass, all looking for shoes. Got me thinking about working at the store myself.  The only problem in my head is that fact that I've basically run in the same shoes for the last 18 years (is it really that long?  Geez)

Overall, a great day.

In case anyone wants to try out the run, the 5K course is below.

Sunday, i was tempted to go down to Davidson to run with the DART crew, but realized if I went out fast with them for the first few miles, I'd probably be shot for the rest of the run, so I stayed home and ran.  It was actually cool, if not chilly, perfect running weather.  After just being sick, I was planning on doing no more than 6-7, but I guess I was feeling ok, and I went a bit extra and got 9.25.  An amusing incident occurred as I was switching my water bottles around.  I moved my used bottle to the left side, and the new one up from the back on the right side.  About a quarter mile on I noticed the empty was missing.  I went back a little bit to find it, but couldn't and kept going before getting caught up and messing up the run.  Funnily enough, after I got home and stretched I took the truck up Brawley looking for it, and it was lying as neat as you please in the middle of the sidewalk.  Bottle recovered!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Nothing a little Rammstein won't cure

Miles Run:  Sunday: 0, Tuesday:0, Wednesday: 0, Thursday:3

As you can see from the above, there's a whole lot of zeroes.  Thanks to a combination of Jo and my boss coughing and sneezing on me, I got sick.  Either a bad cold, or the flu.  Had a fever, everything hurt, runny nose, congestion, etc.  So in the best interests of trying to minimize the damage, I took a few days off.  If it goes to my chest, I'm screwed.  Luckily, it doesn't seem to have (so far)

So I got around to Thursday and was feeling quite a bit down.  Was thinking about taking the day off as well, even though I knew I had the Hit the Brixx race coming up Saturday.  I was waffling back and forth, and generally, when I waffle like this, not working out seems to win.  On the ride home, I was looking for something to listen to, and was scrolling through the ipod.  Got to the R's and there was Rammstein.  Gotta love a band that plays German Industrial in (mostly) German, and has a tendency to set themselves on fire in concert.

 Found "Du Hast" and let it fly.

 The rocking pace perked me up and made me decide to run after all.  Headed for Davidson College to the running trails there.  I decided to do the 5K.  It was tough, and my breathing was labored, as expected from the congestion, but I did it.  And that's all that matters.

So a big shout out to Rammstein.  Thanks guys!

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's almost like living in a real city!

Miles Run: Tuesday: 4 Wednesday (run 1): 4 (run 2): 2 Thursday: 4

Well, Tuesday's run was on the treadmill and I'm pretty sure no one cares about that, so, moving on....

Wednesday, after a 1 week absence, I was able to get back to running with the Davidson Area Running Team  .  Once again a great group of people.  So the big difference from last time was the fact that here in Charlotte it gets light pretty late.  So since we start at 6, most of the folks have headlamps.  So i had to purchase my new piece of tech:

Yes, I look  a bit dorky with this thing on, but honestly, as long as the cars see me, and I can see the road, that's all that matters.  It was a bit of an adjustment using the headlamp.  At the start of the run I had the light facing almost straight down, but as the run progressed, I was moving it further and further ahead.

At the start of the run it was 60 degrees and about 85% humidity, so you could see your own breathe.  We start out uphill pretty fast, and i was sucking wind almost instantly, thinking that i wouldn't make it too far at all.  I made it with the group about as far as last week.  But Chad stayed with me until the 4 mile/6 mile split to make sure I didn't make the same mistake as last week, and wind up falling.  When we were running together he told me he runs 65 miles a week!  That is not a typo!  65 miles.  wow. So i finished up that run and made my way back to the start to spend a pleasant visit with the team at Summit Coffee.  A good time.

On Thursdays, Julia is in dance class until 8PM, so i have some time to run.  I wanted to do something different so I headed over to the Dowd Y in downtown (even though they call it uptown) Charlotte.  Interestingly, I've spend more time in the past 2 months at the Dowd Y, which is 35 miles from my house, than i have at the Lowes Y, which is 3 miles from my house.  During the day i used map my run to come up with something around a 4 mile run through Charlotte.  It involved a little bit of looping but I came up with this:

Got to the Y, parked, and set off.  The first thing that i noticed was the people.  It was 5:30PM and people were leaving work for their commutes.  I'm never in Charlotte at this time.  Usually, it's weekends or later at night, when the city is like a ghost town.  Seeing all the people, I almost felt like i live in a real city.  Almost. Another interesting part was the stopping and starting.  When I lived in New York City, it was just a fact of life starting and stopping with all the traffic lights.  But down here, where I live, there's not a lot of that.  But there is in downtown.  It was kind of fun in a strange way.  The last big thing I noticed is that Charlotte is really, really hilly.  As I ran up and down the streets, it was up the hills, down the hills, over and over.  My calves were hurting on the uphill, and after it was over i noticed that my toes were hurting from the downhills.  It was definitely nice to do something different.  Got to even go back to the Y and sit in the hot tub for 10 minutes before showering and going to pick up Julia.

So, today's moral: Go out and do something different.  If you run a lot in the same place, run somewhere else, expand your horizons, who knows what you might see or discover.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sorry Mother Earth, I tried

(or, oops, I did it again)

Miles Run: Saturday 5K; Sunday :10.3 miles

Saturday was the Historic Mooresville 5K. This is the third year, that we've be in NC, but only the first time I was getting to do it. The first year was Johane's turn and she came in second in her age group, and last year we were both sick.

This year, through the good graces of our friends the Marino's (and their daughter Alyssa), someone watched Julia, so we could both run.

The race started at the Mooresville Public Library, where we greeted by the following sign:

The best part is that the race was at a LIBRARY!  I mean come on people, turn around, walk back inside and get the dictionary out.

Anyways, the race started and I was right behind Jo.  So, I got these "special" shoelaces.  I got them for earth day, and they're colored green and made of recycled materials.  I thought I was helping out.  However, within the first 1/2 mile, my DOUBLE-knotted laces untied.  I spent about 20 secfonds getting them tied, while watching Jo head off into the distance.  Started going again, and around the 2 mile mark, the other shoe untied.  Double knotted again.  So Jo finished almost 2 minutes ahead of me.  Now, granted, she is running better than me these days (and has been for a while), and it was a hilly course, but I was not happy.  After the race, i stopped at run for your life to pick up some new laces.  So, sorry Mother Earth, I tried, but i can't have laces untying;  The race was nice, but a bit hilly.  Who knew that NC was so hilly?  Still finished faster than the greek festival race, which was pretty flat, and didn't have to stop to tie my shoes.  Got to hang with our friends at the end, and got to meetup with some of the Davidson Area Running Team.  Glad I started running with them.  Even something silly as knowing other people at the start and finish is nice.  So that was Saturday.  I briefly considered running home for the race to do my long run, and get it out of the way, since it was low humidity and clear, but i was tired from the race, so i waited until Sunday.

As far as "oops....", we finished the race, checked the results and saw that Jo came in fifth in her age group, so we thought nothing of it and left. Well, one of the wonders of road racing is the fact that if there are people in your age group that finish in the top 3 overall or top 3 masters (for us old people), they are removed from the age group pool. I guess the point is that way they can't win 2 or more medals, and the wins are passed around. So there was one woman in Jo's age group who was in the top 3 overall and 2 who were in the masters top 3 overall. So Jo wound up second in her agre group. Which we only found out when Laurie called us to let us know that Jo had won, and she picked up her medal! Of course, Jo also got a door prize of a free road id, but we weren't there to collect (d'oh!)

Of course Sunday morning came around to great me with 94% humidty, my favorite.  So i headed over to the point.  I planned on doing a 9.5 mile run that i had mapped out (below):

But instead by the end it wound up being 10.3.  I didn't map out going back to the car twice to call Jo, to tell her to come over to do her run!.  Anyways, again, i was surprised at how hilly NC is.  Tried something new this time, by using GU halfway through the run instead of at the beginning.  Not sure if it worked, but I made it through, so...not going to argue.  Got to see some HUGE houses, some nice views of the lake, and a LOT of pavement.

Overall, considering it's been at least 3 years since a run this long, not bad.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

If I can do it, so can you!! (and Shana Tova!!!)

Miles Run: Tuesday:4, Wednesday 4 (run 1), 2 (run 2), Thursday:4

Let's see, not a very interesting week in terms of running. Tuesdays I pretty much always wind up running on the treadmill, so that was Tuesday.

Wednesday, Jo traded back to drive the bus, so she could have off for the Holiday, so i didn't get to run with the Davidson Area Running Team, which was quite disappointing. Had to settle for another 4 on the treadmill in the morning. Later on in the day, though I did get to start working on 2 a days and hit the treadmill for another 2. Since I didn't get to do speedwork with the Davidson Team, I did a fast paced couple of miles.

Thursday at least I finally got to go outside. Even though it's Rosh Hashonah, I need to keep up my miles, so i did a soft 4 down to the marina and back. It was a clear beautiful morning, and on the New Years Day (for us Jews anyway), I got to stand next to the lake with no one on it, in the morning sun, and just look at the beauty of it. Very very nice.

On another note, active has put up this article on fall marathons:

It shows the best 21 fall marathons in the US, a few of which I've done. So, if I can do it, you can do it. So let's get out there people!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mile run: Thursday: 4.07 Saturday: 7.68

I've been trying to get my base going. Trying to get up to at least 20 miles a week. And I've been there for about 3-4 weeks now. But I've noticed my old friend, the aches and pains bug has appeared. Not sure if it's because of the fall i took the other day, the fact that I'm older so it takes longer to recover, or what it is, but it feels like the aches and pains have definately set in.

Thursday, for quite a change of pace, I actually got to run with Jo. Now that may not seem like much of a big deal, but trust me, it is. Julia was in ballet and both Jo and I had no other plans on a Thursday, which is unheard of. So we met in Davidson and I showed her the trail I had run with the Davidson Area Running Team the day before. My calves were already hurting before the run, probably because it's been awhile since I did a fast run like that. Not since I left NY anyways. And then I did the same run the next day. Man, my calves were really hurting. Plus it was 97 degrees and humid. I also felt a bit our of sorts from the fall. Just a weird feeling. Probably need to go see the chiropractor again. But it was nice running with Jo.

Friday I hit the gym to try to get the weights thing going. Another something that's contributing to aches and pains. Been a while since i hit the weights and I definately felt the soreness.

Saturday, Jo woke up early and headed to Birkdale to meet up with the Birkdale meetup group. I figured I'd just run short on the treadmill. But it was cool and clear this morning. A huge break in the humidity, so I thought I'd wait and see if it held up till she got back. It did, and I headed out around 9. The air felt so good, it was an amazing day. I did my planned 4 miles loop, and then decided to extend it. My calves were hurting and I started thinking that if I got my long run out of the way I could maybe take tomorrow off. Definately want to be recovered enough to go out with the DART group again on Wednesday. So I threw in another 3.7 miles for a total of 7.68. Not bad. Of course about 3 blocks from home, i started getting a stabbing pain in my foot. Made it home and took off my shoe to find that all the skin on the side of one of my toes had gone missing. Great. Probably take tomorrow off!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

D.A.R.T.-ing (and falling) around Davidson

Mile run:  Tuesday:4,  Wednesday: 4

Today I got to do something new.  I heard about a group in Davidson called the Davidson Area Running Team  ( that has runs almost everyday of the week in Davidson.  I got in contact with the head of the group (Chad) and he gave me the info on the group.  The day i was focused on is Wednesday since (as of now) Jo is driving the bus in the afternoons so I'd be able to go over there.  They run at around a 8 minute mile pace, so this would be the perfect opportunity for me to pick up my pace.  I've really slowed down since I left New York.  Van and Marky really took me under their wing, and had me running some of the best times of my life up there.  I think of Mark pushing me to PR's in both 10K and 5K on the same day 2 hours apart.  That was crazy.  And of course the 6 hour drive through the 33 inches of snow with Van to get to Killington.  I miss those guys.

Anyways, fast running was the order of the day. So i met the group at the CVS in Davidson at 6.  Just a really friendly, nice group of people.  We headed off down the main street towards the greenway. They definately took off, and i got the old feeling I had when heading off towards the Brooklyn Bridge in the old day.  I was huffing and puffing pretty quickly.  Chad was ncie enough to stay a little bit back with me, but we weren't more than about 20 feet behind the main group.  I was able to stick with them for about a mile and a half which was better than i expected.  Once we hit a big uphill though I was done keeping up with them.  Chad gave me the directions to meet back at the start and off he went.  I threw the headphones on and followed the road.  When i got to the bottom of a hill there was a gravel path up ahead and a road to the left.  The street name didn't look familiar so i wasn't sure what to do.  So I walked over to the gravel path to see what was ahead that way, and of course, with my great ankles I wiped out.  Went down hard, and cut open both of my hands, and my knee.  So i decided that no matter what I was avoiding the gravel.  So i went back on the road, and surprisingly, it brought me back right where I was suppossed to go.  Of course I ran the last 2 miles with blood running down my leg and hands.

Leg after cleaning off the running blood

Hand not looking too bad after I cleaned it up.

After the run was over, we went to Summit Coffee, where as a newbie, I got my drink bought for me by Chad.

Overall, a good time, and i look forward to many more runs with the D.A.R.T. team.

Map of today's run: