Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Preview

It's finally time to return to Hinson Lake for another 24 hours of running around and around and around the Lake. Last years race was a big success with RD Tom Gabell and his volunteers doing a great job. The weather also cooperated with near perfect conditions for late September.
Last year was a special event for me. On one hand, I was having a great time running with such a great group of people. On the other hand, I was running with thoughts of my training partner Karla as she was fighting her battle with cancer. I ran in her honor and raised money in her name for cancer research. Many of the participants as well as other friends and family made generous donations to the cause. I was promised some bonuses for exceeding 100 miles and I had my own goal to run over 100. During the night my pace had slowed and I was not going to make it if I didn't speed up. Somehow with prayer and thoughts of Karla and all my supporters, I was able to find the strength and actually picked up the pace the last several hours and finished with 103.3 miles.

You can check out my report and photos from last year here.

I look forward to this years race, confident in my training and I hope to improve over last years distance. It will be great if Karla can come run some more this year, especially now that she is cancer-free and not have that worry on my mind.
Last year an amzing 14 runners went over a hundred miles and this years race looks to be even more competitive than last years. If possible , come out and join in the fun. I'm sure Tom would welcome some volunteers, especially in the deepest hours of night. And if you can't help come run a few laps with me.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Autumn 2007

Well the calender says it's Autumn anyway, but with the high humidity and 90 degree temps, yesterday didn't feel like the Fall. Not too much going on since the half-marathon. My training has been going well. The best thing is that I have been able to run several long runs on Saturday with Karla. She is getting stronger all the time now and it's so wonderful to be able to train together again. After running alone for so many years I had gotten used to having her along for company. I also have a pretty regular run on Thursday's or Friday's with the lovely Jenn. What a lucky guy I am!
The NCRC has been having a series of runs on Thursdays along the Greenway in Raleigh behind the Carolina Ale House on Creekside Dr in Raleigh. I'm not in charge of those but Olga and Josh are doing a fine job of hosting the runs. It is a pretty section of the Greenway along Crabtree Creek.
I started working 10-12 hours a week at The Athlete's Foot store in Cameron Village two weeks ago to fill some idle hours. Even Ultraman can't run all the time. I'm enjoying working with the customers, talking running and shoes, and the young NC State students that I work with are a nice group and a credit to their generation.
Training overall is going well but I've been dealing with some PF since early August. I'm treating it more aggressively now that I know what it is and hopefully it will be better soon. I've been tapering for Hinson Lake since an 18 miler last weekend with Karla. Frank joined us for 12 miles and a friend of theirs, Eric ran 16 with us.
Well, enough rambling for now. Check in a few days for a Hinson preview

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Danville Half Marathon

This race was to be a test of my fitness for a Boston Qualifying attempt at Richmond in Nov.
I scored a big fat F minus.
I really wasn't feeling too confident about running strong here and with the forecast for another hot day above normal, I had no illusions of running a fast time. I was just hoping to run a good steady marathon pace and use it as a building block. None of the usual suspects would be running with me today but I was very happy to have the Trail Angel as my traveling companion. I picked Laura up in Garner at 5:30 am and we had a most pleasant drive up to the Virginia border. The trip passed quickly and despite a minor navigational error that caused us to take a tour of the north side of Danville, We arrived safely about an hour before the 8:30 am start. Katie Markley was there waiting for us and we also saw new MTC member Lisa Howell and met her husband Mike. There were also several others from the Triangle area. I was a little surprised to see a few other ultra friends, Brian Clark and family as well as Roanoke residents Jay and Anita Finkle and Neal Jamison.
We headed over for packet pick-up and then went for about a 3/4 mile warmup before making our way to the start. The beginning was on a short ,and not steep hill next to the old Southern Railway Depot. We lined up behind the 5K runners and I made sure I didn't get caught up with them so as not to start too fast. The sun was already beginning to bear down and it was humid.
The half-marathon shared the same course with the 5k on two out and back spurs along city streets and back to the park at the depot. It was a fairly flat and fast first 3 miles with the only hill being a couple of 100 yds long just past the 2 mile point. I was very close to my planned overall pace and feeling good and relaxed as we crossed over a nice abandoned railroad truss bridge to the other side of the Dan River. The rest of the course would be another two out and back spurs on a paved greenway along the river.
My energy seemed to ebb and flow over the next few miles. I felt ok but it was getting hot. I was enjoying the views of the old dams and mill sites along the river and also seeing the other runners as they came back from the turn-around. By the time I hit 6 miles I was already slowing down and I knew it was going to be a tough second half. Fortunatly there was some shade over a good part of the next few miles and although it offered a little relief , my pace continued to deteriorate. We came out of the woods near 9 miles and had to do a loop and back around a big field on a construction site in the sun. By now my race was done and I just hoped to be able to finish at my training pace.
I stopped at the 10 mile aid station and ate a gel and drank two cups of gatorade but even that couldn't help and my pace slowed as I began a rapid meltdown. The last 5k got pretty ugly and I had to take a few short walk breaks in the last two miles . I was glad to get this one over. Everyone seemed to struggle with the heat and humidity but there were still some successes. Laura and Lisa both won their age groups and Katie finished second in hers. The awards ceremony was held in the shade in an ampitheatre so we enjoyed some of the post race pizza and some cold Pepsi Max. Another Pepsi Max for the road assured that Laura and I would be alert and loquacious on the ride back to NC.
Despite the tough conditions, it was a very nice event and I would certainly return in the future if it fits my schedule. I didn't get any photos although I wish I had. If I had known I'd be so slow I would have run with my camera and gotten some nice shots along the river and some of the old railroad buildings. Laura did take a few and you can link to her photo album here.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I've always looked forward to September since I began running. Of course as a child, September was always dreaded because it meant returning to school, but as an adult runner, I quickly learned to appreciate the coming of cooler weather. Already the mornings are feeling better and my run this afternoon was only in the low 80's. August 2007 was officially the hottest month in the Triangle area since records have been kept. The average daily temp was over 84F and there were 30 days out of 31 that went over 90 with several over 100. No wonder my running was such a struggle lately.

August was still a great month in many ways although I didn't compete in any races. I did get in some good mileage and workouts. It was especially nice to be able to do several long runs with Karla again. I had missed running with her so much during her treatment and recovery. Also have been able to do several others with Jenn and look forward to many more. And although I didn't run any of the August series, it was fun directing them and holding the special Ultraman Joey contest each week.

This weekend I will be heading up to Danville Virginia for a half-marathon. I had not planned on doing it but I will not be able to run the Blue Ridge Relay as planned earlier so I was looking for another option and this seeemed to be a good choice. It will give me a chance to see how my progress toward a Boston qualifier this Fall is going. It looks like The Trail Angel and Katie will be running also and maybe some other Raleigh area runners. Look for a report after the weekend.