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Monday, December 13, 2010

Southpark Turkey Trot 8k Race Recap


I apologize in advance for the delay in my lack of posts as I've been extra busy with coaching middle school wrestling (I am a wrestling fanatic!)

So the week of the Turkey Trot e-mails started circulating from some of my running buddies trying to soften me up by saying really nice thinks about me...Ha!

We (Bill Shires, Michael Heafner, Billy Shue and myself) decided to meet at the starting line the morning of the race for a 2 to 3 mile warm up. Everyone seemed to be feel reasonably well and we managed to pick up the eventual winner, Bert Rodriguez, as he warmed up with us as well.

After watching my son take 3rd overall in the mile, it was time for the 8kers to line up!

All of the usual suspects were out along with some out of towners in to take part in some bread breaking later in the day. (then of course you get Dallas and Detroit). I didn't realize now that there is actually a 3rd game that day?

So anyway, the gun goes off and I shoot out on a mission! Now you have to understand, I have been racing Bill Shires on and off for the last 16 years (we are the same age) yet we had not raced at all in 2010. Usually, we are separated by 10 seconds and he usually comes out on top. I knew he was coming off of a 2:40/41 double so I knew what shape he was in. I also know how competitive he is so I knew I had my hands full.

Within a half mile, I was running with Michael Heafner and we were cruising. After the mile mark, Bill gets right behind me and he seemed content to draft off of me and I enjoyed dictating tempo in the early stages of the race. It wasn't until the 3 of us were on Sharon just past the 3 mile mark that Mike does his best Marvin Lee Aday impression "like a Bat out of Hell!" and puts 10 meters on the 2 of us! I was having no part of that so I just hung out. Bill saw that I didn't react so he tried to bridge the gap which he eventually did by the 4 mile mark. I was still back a ways...

When I made the right onto Colony, I started to feel good and I decided to go after Bill. I had a little less than a mile to catch him. Mark Hadley was cheering me on along with a whole host of very nice people. I was gaining on him. When I made the left onto Morrison, I still had a half mile of uphill running to try and catch Bill. I thought about all of the residual junk that clearly must have been in his legs (from his 2 superb marathons) and that there was no way that he could hold me off!

I'm working and driving and gaining on him as we're getting closer to the finish and just as I was about to pounce...Paul Mainwaring decides to give me a shout of encouragement which was great except for the fact that it jump-started Bill to take the shot of adrenaline/dopamine/testosterone/cortisol and bury me buy a second! It was epic! Loved every minute of it...

Gotta give a big shout out to the following: Danny White of RMS for the support, Scotty D for putting on such a wonderful event, Tim Rhodes, CRC, and Bill Shires for always bringing out the best in me...Thanks!

Question: What 3 songs are referenced in Kenny Chesney's song "I go back"?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Runnin' with the Shoe!

Billy Shue that is...

I had a blast on Saturday morning running the last 10 miles of the Thunder Road Marathon course with Billy as we were cruisin' 6 minute pace. Man it is nice when you actually feel good during an effort based run.

My goal for the 10 mile tempo run was anything under 60 minutes.
The actual was:59:55 feeling rather spritely (is that a word?)

Billy and I met up at Dowd (formally Central) Y on Saturday morning @ 7am and after some procrastinations, we were off for a 3 mile warm up to the 16 mile mark of the course (10 miles for Billy). What made this run even more special was the fact that there were so many runners out taking part in the second Thunder Road preview run.

The course took us on the other side of uptown through the Plaza-Midwood and North Davidson sections of Charlotte and then we finished up on 2nd. Having lived here for almost 16 years, I'm embarrassed to say that I was not familiar with the area. This was evident with the fact that I had to keep asking Billy when we should turn (I'm sure that he was getting annoyed, yet he would never let me know it since he is such a nice kid...hey, he is 20 years younger than me!)

So anyway, we're climbing up Hawthorne and I see Caitlin Chrisman and I had to give a big shout out since I was feeling so good! Good to see her...

No more workouts this week because I'll run Turkey Trot on Thursday and Footlocker on Saturday. Easy 7 milers the rest of the week.

A special shout out to the Charlotte Running Club for their great newsletter and the energy that they bring to the Charlotte Running Community!

Question: Why did Jimmy Carter "pawn" our athletes back in the Summer of '80?

Jay, you can't answer this!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First workout since NYC and noteable Richmond performances!

Since the New York City Marathon, I have strictly focused on 7 mile recovery runs with one longer run last Saturday with Billy Shue. Muscle cell trauma (soreness) is just about gone completely.

This morning I planned on running with the Miner Crue yet it would have been difficult to get back home in time to go with my son to the middle school for the Father's Coffee in the gym.

So last night I decided to run on the treadmill at work at dark thirty!

The goal: 10 miles in 60 minutes with a 1% grade
The result: 10 miles in 60 minutes with a 1% grade (as Mark Hadley would say...a callousing effort!) It was work and I noticed with my foot strike that I still land slightly with my heel with a braking motion. How counter productive this is! I wish that I could land on the balls of my feet with my feet under me.

I believe that this is how Alberto Salazar is trying to correct (change) Dathan Ritzenhein's gate. I am not saying that that is a bad thing. I hope that they find success with this approach. AlSal has always been a tinker with all things running (think DMSO!)

10 mile progression run with the Shoe on Saturday from Dowd...should be fun!


Paul Mainwaring- 2.35:11 running very even splits. The Captain and his coach were justifyably proud! Having trained with (run behind) Paul at least once a week over the last 6 months, I can tell you that he is driven, consistant and thoughtful. Outstanding result!

Jason Holder- 2.40:28 running with stomach discomfort. Jay went with higher mileage this cycle and posted some outstanding workouts over the last 3 months. He was ready...the new PR proved it!

Aaron Linz- 2.41:32 while grinding his way through the streets of Richmond! A new PR! While he is pleased with the effort, he knows that there is more in the tank (those are his words)...

Also...OBX Marathon:

Bill Shires- 2.41:33 running the first half in 1:18 and change having just completed his last marathon some 6 weeks ago! Amazing stuff from the 45 year old and an inspiration to me...

Congratulations guys!

Question: She hails from Marblehead, Mass., just ran her first marathon in 2:28 which was good for 2nd overall @ NYC. Who is she?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New York City Marathon Recap!

The Numbers:

90th: American Man (Made the leader board)
247th: Overall Place out of 44, 827 finishers
2nd: Finisher from North Carolina
2:48:17: Finish time
15th: Age Group Place

The Preparation:

I thoroughly enjoyed my training cycle for this race! It was so much fun to be able to A. train with all of the strong runners of the Charlotte Running Club on a weekly basis and B. to do 2 quality workouts a week with 2 or 3 recovery days in between each hard workout (I need that!)

The Goals:

1.) Break 2:50
2.) Take what the day gave me (you never know how you are going to feel)
3.) Get as close to 2:40 as possible
4.) Top 10 in my age group
*Grade: 80% (we will actually get a grade from the race report) We'll see what they say?

The Support:

- My wife and kids were at home in Charlotte tracking me on the computer and on the Blackberry to see how I was progressing and my wife could tell that it was a grind during the second half. She was there for all of my 2:30 marathons when I was in my late 20's and early 30's so even at 45 she still expects me to hit the half in 1:18!
My parents and siblings in Jersey get so into this race for me and their support is just awesome. From picking me up at the airport to taking me to the expo to driving me to the race start and all of the "breaking of bread" that we did was very memorable.
My best friend Gary who had me over to his estate after the race so we could watch his Cardinals against my Vikings (we won!) and enjoy all the pizza that we could! Very nice...and then to go on the computer to check the results and see that I made the USA leader board (albeit 90th American)

Friends- How sweet it is to receive so many e-mails with kind words from so many like minded peeps! Great stuff...

The Race:

So I'm hanging out at my corral at Fort Wadsworth in Staten Island and I run into Michael Kahn and we had a blast chit chatting as we were waiting to make our way up onto the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for the start. We get up onto the bridge and after the obligatory runner introductions by Mary Wittenberg (the race director who is a very shrewd women...she managed to get Geb!) we were off!
The first mile is strait up the bridge and then down the other side. As I was climbing, the wind was so strong that it was blowing me to the side (I know that I'm only 160lbs. but come on!) Saw the clock and I was over 7 minutes...oops! From then on it was a grind.
I never really floated any of the miles away. I had to work for each one. I did what I could and eventually got to the 5 mile mark in just over 31 minutes.
One of my mini goals was to run each of the 5 miles in about 31 minutes so when I saw the clock I thought OK!
Kept running and never really ran with anyone on a consistent basis. Some guys would draft off of me for a bit and me off of them as well. Got to the 10 mile mark in 62 and change. I'll take that...
I wanted to make sure that when I got to the Brooklyn Bridge at 13 that I was running reasonably well (a couple of people passed me and I passed a couple of people)it was a wash...
Got to the half in exactly 1 hour and 21 minutes. What do we always do at the half? We double it! Well, you actually have to run the second half...imagine that!
Got to the 15 mile mark in 1:33 and change so still doing reasonably well considering that the whole race was a grind (it was very windy). Now at 15 I(we) have to climb up the Queensboro/59th Street Bridge which is a long way up and then I relatively steep way down (this is where I broke Haile and he dropped out...Ha!) I still have my sense of humor...
Anyway, as you're going down the bridge you have to brace yourself for Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" that will be pulsating through your veins once you pounce on First Ave! Boston fans...imagine Wellesley yet deeper and for 3 to 4 miles...Nuts!
So I get onto 1st Ave. (let me say that the energy on Forth Ave. all over Brooklyn was high octane!) and I immediately start hearing people yelling my first name and no, I did not have it on my bib! That was very neat...


This was a very big concern for me because at my last 2 NYC marathons I have gotten 2 massive stitches under my right rib cage at the 18/21 mile mark. I had my oatmeal at dark thirty and that was it along with water. Some my big question is...when am I going to take my Gu? I never eat anything in Charlotte before or during a race and never have a problem. I asked Megan Hovis and she said that she likes to take 1 Gu at mile 18. That was my plan.
So I pull it out at 18 and just hold it in my hand. I'm afraid to take it! These stitches are debilitating!...
Over the Willis Ave. Bridge and it was into the Bronx at the 20 mile mark. That is when I saw 2:06 and change (I was expecting 2:04?) Oh well, as I always say..."you run the first 10 miles with your head, the second 10 with your legs, and the last 10k with your heart!" At 20 and a half, I decide to start taking the Gu and I made it over the Madison Avenue Bridge at the 21 mile mark and that's when she returned for the 3rd time in 3 years. I immediately threw the rest of the packet to the side of the road and dug deep (no pun intended). I grinded the last 5 miles through Central Park and did what I could (passed some and got passed by others). I pride myself on consistency, durability, dedication and running a mature race...I was suffering!
Made it to the finish...


Mary Wittenberg and her staff of the New York Road Runners Club who organize the New York City Marathon deserve a gold medal for the job they do to make this day the success that it is. This was my 7th year running "New York" and it just gets better and better as it gets bigger and bigger. That bearded Jew from Romania (Fred Lebow) is looking down from up above and he is smiling (and probably shedding a few tears as well) for the chaos in the city that he started some 40 years ago...Enjoy!

Question: no question for today...enjoy the fact that you are able to run!

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Last Stress Workout...4x5, 3x1

After my strong workout on Saturday, I followed that up with a 7 mile recovery run on Sunday and easy 7 milers on both Monday and Tuesday. This set me up nicely for this mornings workout...

It was 4 days out from the big one and I wanted to keep my metabolism up and keep the pop in my legs. So for this morning, embedded in a 7 mile run I ran 4 X 5 minutes with a 2 minute jog (stolen from Mark Hadley by way of Jay Holder). I followed that with 3 X 1 minute with a 1 minute jog (stolen from Bill Shires). I felt good.

For the rest of the week: 6 easy on both Thursday and Friday, and 4 easy on Saturday morning.

Itinerary for the weekend: Playoff game on Friday night, early run Saturday, shower, oatmeal, say goodbye to family, neighbor drives me to airport, brother picks me up in Newark, takes me to packet pickup (Jacob Javits Center), to parents and to spend the day with my huge, beautiful family (they all come into the city to watch), my brother drives me straight to the Verrazono/Narrows Bridge Sunday morning, chill until race start for me which is 9:40am (runner track me #1236), run strong for 26.2, sister drives me back to Jersey, enjoy rest of day with family (my wife is going to be planting pansies with her Blackberry, and having beeps go off every 5k), fly back on Monday morning, wrestling practice and parent meeting on Monday afternoon, we'll hope for the best...

For the New York City Marathon, there are 3 waves plus an elite womens start. The elite women go off at 9:10am (this race serves as the womens marathon national championship), 9:40am is the elite and sub elite mens start (me), and 2 more waves after that in 20 minute intervals. It is a little crazy because our staging area is at Fort Wadsworth, and then about a half hour before the start, the organizers herd us onto the bridge and that gets a little tight...

Thanks to all of the club members who have helped get me to this point. They include: Paul, Billy, Aaron, Caitlin, Jay, Megan, Mike, Ben, Jordan, Stan, Mo, BMac, Chris, Meagan, Bill. I appreciate it...

Question: What famous "sub" spokesperson will be running Sunday with 44, 000 other runners?

Monday, November 1, 2010

10 mile progression run...8 days out!

I've always done a 10 mile tempo/progression run the week before a marathon as a test to see where I am at.

This past Saturday I met up with Billy Shue who brought along Kent Morris and Michael Heafner to help out with the workout. The plan for me was to work my way into the run and hit 60 minutes or just over if I wasn't on. We met up at McMullen Greenway in South Charlotte and it was brisk. After a 2 mile warm up and some procrastinations (they call it stretching...ha!) we were off...

I thought we got out reasonably well, yet when I looked at my watch right at the one mile mark it showed 6:44 (dang), no worries...

We started progressing from there and I think the second mile was just under 6 minute pace.
The splits were as follows:

1 - 6:44
2 - 5:56 (12:40)
3 - 5:50 (18:30)
4 - 5:46 (24:16)
5 - 5:44 (30:00)
6 - 5:46 (35:46)
7 - 5:50 (41:36)
8 - 5:47 (47:23)
9 - 5:45 (53:08)
10 - 5:42 (58:50)

From the second mile on it was work, yet it never got harder than work! A good sign I think...

Billy and I worked really well together and here is how it went:

We're together at 1, Billy surges and puts 2 meters on us, I bridge the gap by 3, we run together to the turnaround at 5, we're still together at 6, I hear him laboring (I was as well, albeit not too bad), I get a gap on Billy, he catches me at 9, at 9.5 he throws in a surge, which I cover, with a quarter to go, he throws in another surge and finishes 3 seconds up!

Very nice to have Kent and Michael out there. Very cool to to see BMac at the 2 and 8 mile mark! I high fived 'em at the 8 mile mark. The second to last piece...

Had a nice workout with Jason G. Holder on Tuesday for 3 X 25 minutes w/a 5 minute jog...tough!

Since I am only doing 2 workouts/week and 5 easy/recovery days, I feel as though I am tapering each and every week. Therefore, I am really not tapering for my race on Sunday. I have really been focusing on my 2 key workouts for the week and keeping my mileage at about 65/week. We'll see how this prepares me for Sunday...

My next post will be somewhat of a prediction...

If you are runner tracking me, My bib # is 1236, and you can go to the NYRR website.

Question? What was Abebe Bikila's (my inspiration) bib # in 1964 in Tokyo?

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Marathon Simulator

On Tuesday I ran my first stress workout of the week solo and it consisted of a road 10 miler with 7 X 5 minutes w/a 2 minute recovery jog embedded (did reporters during the Afghan/Iraq conflict make that word vogue?) in it. Following that, it was 3 easy/recovery runs of 7 miles each which took me about an hour to run.

Although, knock on wood, I rarely get injured, in the last 2 weeks I've had my share of kinks (L-O-L-A!) First, when I ran the 10 by 800 behind Jay and Paul: I pulled my hamstring on the push off of #1. Second, on an easy 7 miler, my left foot developed a pain that came on at mile 2 and was gone by mile 6 (oh well). Third, my lower back started to mildly hurt last week. Forth, I felt like I had a rock in my throat last week that made it difficult to swallow (it's almost gone). OK, I'm done complaining.

I tell you all of this to try and explain why I did not complete my simulator this past Saturday. My plan was to run 10 miles on the roads (it was mostly the Racefest course by my house), then jump on the treadmill at work/school for 10 miles, and then run a 3 mile cool down to home.

Actual: 10 mile road run in 1:14:00 (nice and comfortable)
8 mile treadmill run in 48 minutes (6 minute pace) 1 % grade
3 mile cool down back to my house...

The concern for me was that I planned to do 10 miles on the treadmill and I fell short. I was frustrated for a couple of hours afterwords, and then I realized that it was my body's (central governor) way of telling me that I was done (sore throat?)...

A nice 'n easy 9 mile recovery run yesterday an and easy 7 miler this morning should set me up nicely for tomorrows stress workout...

Other stuff: The Yankees are done, the Vikings stink (they are my 2 favorite sports teams) Out to dinner on Saturday night at a nice burger joint on East Blvd. spotted Jordan Kinley (my son was impressed!)

Question: What Carolina Panther was a 3x High School 400 meter sprint champion?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Lungstrong 15k Race Recap

Saturday was a beautiful day to run what turned out to be almost 9.5 miles according to most everyone's Garmin. Since I don't wear one, it was 9.3 for me in 55:12 @ 5:56 pace for 1st Master and 15th overall. 5 more workouts until the big day and I'm looking forward to each one!

It was a beautiful rolling course over the streets of Cornelius and around Lake Norman with a whole host of CRCer's coming out to put on a good performance. They included: Jordan (who came straight from his Ekiden race in Japan), John (who picked off my good friend Rich at the 8th mile...no relation to M & M!), PMain (who just gave himself and his coach a huge confidence boost for Richmond with his performance), Jay (I use to beat Jay...that was then, this is now, I knew he was ready after his 800m workout on Wed.), Aaron (he and I found the good parking spots), BMac (tellytubby to follow!), Billy (are the PR's ever gonna stop for this kid?), the Crockfords (just back from ChiTown), the Hadley's (Alana would claim top honors for the women), and the Hovis' providing the cheering section!, etc.

Personally, I opened up with a 5:58 mile and just kept each of the 9 miles under 6 minute pace and felt reasonably well doing it. I Got to run with Doug Campbell, Chad Crockford and Greg Issacs during the run which really made the race fly by...went home and had a nice 'n easy 7 miler with the dog (I am not a dog person but it's 3 against 1!) SOL...

This week I have a 6 X 5 minute w/ 2 minute recovery workout on Tuesday and a 10 mile road run followed by a 10 mile treadmill run at 6 minute pace and 2 c/d on Saturday (22). 5 easy/recovery days to fill in the week.

Question: He won the 5ooom, 10,000m, and the marathon at the Olympic Games of Helsinki. Who is he?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

2 X Cherokee 10 milers...7 with the dog!

This past Saturday, I ventured over to the Dowd Y to run an old standby called the Cherokee 10 miler. I would run this 2 times to get my longest tempo/marathon paced run 4 weeks out from New York City. Unlike Dathan Ritzenhien, I didn't have to travel to the Nike campus to do it! Ha!

I knew that I was flying solo on this run, and therefore, I had to do all the work myself. Up at 5am, I started the first 10 miler at 5:40am (very early) yet it will be 9:40am come race day, so naturally, my heart rate will be a lot higher to start (that is a good thing).

I stopped at 10 miles, had a Gu, drank some water, and started the next 10 miler. Here are my splits:

1st 5 miles: 32:15
2nd 5 miles: 31:22
3rd 5 miles: 31:34
4th 5 miles: 30:49

Total time: 2.06:00...reasonably pleased!

I was disappointed with the overall time as I would have liked to have gotten closer to 2 hours. Having said that, I was very pleased with how I felt and how I kept my foot on the gas. It was early and dark...

Drove right home, had oatmeal and fed the dog, then took the dog on a 7 mile run in 56 minutes for a total run of 27 miles!

Easy 7 miles for Mon., Tues. and Wed. and then 10 * 800 with the fast guys...should be fun!

Question: Who is the only female marathoner to run 2.15?...sick!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Randolph Road Hill Repeats

This past Tuesday was my first stress workout of the week (I am currently only running 2 stress workouts a week). I only had 2 recovery days since Saturday's marathon paced run and I could have used 3! I wanted to save the 3 for this Saturday's 20 miler (2 X Cherokee Rd. loop from Dowd) Anyway...

Back in 2000 when I was preparing for my assault on the Charlotte Marathon, every Monday I would go to Randolph Rd. (it was convenient since we lived in Cotswold at the time) and run up and down the section from just past Shasta up to Sardis Rd. I thought it would be a good idea to do this workout as another simulation of what I would be experiencing in the big apple in 4-5 weeks (that would be those 5 bridges that we have to run up!)

Each repeat takes about 2 minutes to climb and 3 minutes to descend and I ended up running 11 repeats for a total workout of 10 miles. I focused on climbing aggressive and yet staying smooth at the same time. Looking forward to Saturday...

I don't know if I mentioned this or not...Caitlin Chrisman qualified for the 2012 Women's Olympic Marathon Trials to be held in Houston next January! (Megan Hovis already qualified) I get to run with both of them usually once a week...how cool is that! Bill Shires, 45, just ran a 2:40 at the same race...what a remarkable result! Mike Beigay ran a strong 2:47 and is already eyeing his next one!

Question: Who is the only man to finish 4 Olympic marathons?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Big Three! Chrisman, Shires and Beigay...

This post was supposed to be about Jay and Stephens' marathon paced run on Saturday, and after what transpired on the streets of downtown Minneapolis on Sunday, you can read about it at the end of this most important post.

The results are in from yesterdays Medtronic Twin City Marathon:

8th Overall woman: Caitlin Chrisman, 24, Charlotte, 2.41:52...$3, 750. Qualified for the 2012 Women's Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston (she'll be joined by Megan Hovis, and maybe even...?)

10th in the 45-49 age group: Bill Shires (85th overall), 45, 2.40:o2 (splits of 1:19 and 1:20!) Awesome!

17th in the 30-34 age group: Mike Beigay, 32, 2.47:16...very strong run!

Having watched them train first hand, I am still so happy, proud, inspired and in awe of what they were able to do with their legs, head and most importantly, their hearts!

Congratulations fellow CRC'ers...you made us all proud!

On Saturday morning @ McMullen: Jay Holder cranked out 16 miles at 5:56 pace. I rolled though 15.2 miles at 6:03 pace. We were singing "Teenage Dream" on our cool down because we got hit with the runners high!

Special thanks to Ben Hovis, Aaron Linz, and Mark and Bryce Hadley for their moral and liquid support. That was huge!

Question: What place did Lasse Viren get at the Moscow 10 thousand?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

10 miles, 60 minutes, 1% grade, treadmill...tough!

So after Saturday's race effort, I had 2 nice 'n easy 7 milers that served as muscle massagers...

This set me up nicely for this mornings stress workout. What made this workout difficult was the fact that I ran it from 5:30am to 6:30am and I only got out of bed at 5am. I did have a good night sleep (the Packers lost!)

The workout was a marathon paced run on the treadmill. The speed was set at 10 miles an hour (six minute pace) for 60 minutes. The key for me for this workout was to have the incline set at 1% (I know that it doesn't sound like much, and it isn't, yet at times you feel like you may go off the back if you don't keep your foot on the gas. I didn't fall off!

At 30 minutes some negative thoughts started to creep in to my head but a good song on the ipod squelched those thoughts and I was able to roll on. I was pleased with the effort and I plan to do one more workout on the treadmill (I'm thinking 13 miles at 6 minute pace w/a 1% grade) We'll have to see how the progression goes...I would do it at 8 in the morning. Yet another piece...

Easy 7 milers the rest of the week to be set up for Saturday's "jaunt" with Jason G. Holder and Co. We'll see how long we can hang...should be fun!

Question: What Duke grad from San Fran won Sunday's 5th Avenue mile?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hit the Brixx 10k Race Recap!

Last Saturday, it was back to seeing all the familiar faces at the races!

The venerable who's who of Charlotte running included: Hadley, Kinley, Rogers, PMain, Crockford (x2), Holder, BMac, Shue, Harris, Austin (x2), AA, Rose, etc. Notable absentees (report to the principal) included: Nedlo, Isaacs, etc...

In the spirit of full disclosure...we had a football game in Raleigh on Friday night and I did not get home until 2am and then to bed at 3am (no milkshake! Since running with Megan, I've become lactose intolerant...whatever!) Anyway, since my legs have been feeling really good as of late, I wasn't too concerned about the short sleep.

After running a nice and strong 60 minute marathon paced run on Tuesday with Caitlin and Jordan, I had 3 easy 7 milers for the rest of the week leading up to the Brixx...

I parked at the Dowd so that after the race I would have a guaranteed cool down. After I picked up my bib 'n chip, I warmed up with Alice Rogers and got to hear her play by play of the Blue Ridge Relay from the previous weekend. She assured me that the vans were odor free (I was thinking not so much!) Right before I got to the line, I said hi to Tim and Mark and wished Alana good luck. I was thinking 5:50 pace...

The gun goes off (actually someone dropped their hand) and we were off. Kinley goes to the front, and this time, 4 or 5 people go with him. Hadley is all alone for the women. I'm with Chad. We settle into a nice rhythm, and for the first mile and a half, we pick a few people off. As we were cresting 7th, I was not able to stay with Chad and he got away (it was a very good day for him). After going by Harris Jr. for the first time this year, I had my sights set on Alejandro (sore foot) who I wouldn't catch until the 6th mile and finish a respectable 9th overall. I was pleased with the effort and the pace (5:51). Yet another piece of what is the NYC marathon puzzle. 10 mile marathon paced run in the morning...

Notable performances were turned in by Jordan, Paul, Jay (who thought the course may have been long), BMac, Billy, Chad, Alana, Alice and Danielle!

After tomorrows MP run, I'll have 3 easy/recovery days before Saturday's simulator at McMullen. Please join us if you are able...7:30am for a 1 mile warm up, 16 miles at marathon race pace, 3 mile cool down...go Bears!...I'm a Viking fan...

Question: Back in the 60's, what great American distance runner ran 350 miles a week for 6 straight weeks and later on in life went awol on his family?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Davidson Half Marathon: Race Recap!

I had a long tempo/marathon paced run scheduled for this past Saturday so when I saw that there was a half marathon up in Davidson, I decided to run it.

I am really enjoying my training and especially only doing 2 workouts a week. I am on a 7 day cycle which allows for 2 recovery days for one workout and 3 recovery days for the other workout. I could really use an 8 day cycle but functionally that doesn't fit into my schedule (certainly no complaints here).

After Wednesday's workout with Paul and Jason, I ran 2 very easy 7 milers to be somewhat fresh for Saturday's thirteen point one.

This race was neat in that you could see online who was entered into the race. In looking over the entrants, I decided that I would finish in 5th place. 1 through 4 would be: Jay, Aaron, Tim, an unknown and then me...

I parked on Griffith so that I could make my getaway after the race (no joke: I ended up getting home at 9:31am). I had to walk the dog and my son had a football game (he's starting to figure it out...very cool!)...Budic, get ready!

As I was running up to get my bib, I saw Aaron and Jay who had just completed their pre run of about 8-10 miles(?) I got about a 2 mile warm up in...felt o.k. Got up to the start line and tucked in behind Justin Breland (would go on to finish 2nd overall) and he gave me a sip of water...

The gun goes off and I immediately "settle" in to 6 minute miles which I clicked off rather comfortable for the next 13 miles. It was a hilly course (my interpretation) and I just ran behind a guy on a bicycle until the last turn.

Besides feeling very comfortable, the highlight of the run was at the turnaround when Aaron and Jay were screaming for me (that was neat), and then the rest of the run all of the other runners were saying very nice things to me (oh to feel like Jordan Kinley for a day!)...ha!

The race director said that he would mail me all my goodies...

Yesterday was neat 'cause I got to run a ten miler at McAlpine with Megan Hovis (somehow she got me to run an extra 3) and I got to hear all about her Australia marathon experience (Houston qualifier!)...an easy 7 this morning as Caitlin Chrisman and I are doing 60 minutes at marathon pace tomorrow morning...great stuff!

Question: What great American marathoner never broke 2:10?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Brit, A Journalist, Lansdowne...and Me!

So after Saturday's simulator, I had 3 days of easy 7 mile runs to aid the rejuvenation process...

This set me up nicely for what transpired this morning: 3 X 13 minutes of strong running, with a 2-3 minute recovery.

The players involved were myself, Paul Mainwaring (looking sprightly) and Jason G. Holder (aka...the Jaunting Journalist).

After a couple of miles of warming up, some butt kicks and stretching and a little procrastination...off we went!

Now is when I am supposed to tell you what pace we ran for each 13 minute segment. And since I don't where a Garmin...I can't! And frankly, I could care less! I have always been an effort based runner, and I won't change now (unless, of course, someone gave me a Garmin...ha!)

We all had run this workout a couple of months ago and I tell you that to show that when I got to the point of where my watch had read 13 minutes then...this time I was at 12:20. I was covering more distance.

Paul looked like he was driving through the whole workout. Jay looked like he would lead Paul early and then tuck in behind. Although they both gaped me pretty early on the first 2, I was hoping that I could catch Jay on the 3rd one...he was too strong!

I need to take a moment to thank Mark H. for having me do this workout and focusing on some turnover. I think it will set me up nicely for my next effort. After another 2 easy days of 7 milers, on Saturday I will run 13 miles at marathon race pace in Davidson. Another piece...

Question: Who finished 2nd in the 1988 Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship presented by Bud Light and his 12 year old daughter just ran a 16:48 cross country 5k against college athletes?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marathon Simulator!

On Friday night, our football game did not get over until 11pm and I did not get home until midnight. And with my milkshake, I didn't get to bed until 1am. That, however, was not going to stop me from taking part in what transpired on Saturday morning in Huntersville!

About a week ago, an e-mail from Bill Shires started circulating regarding a planned 10 mile warm up, followed by a 12 mile marathon paced run, and finally a 2 mile cool down. I immediately thought of 2 things: #1. this is exactly the type of workout that fits into my training for New York and #2. when Ryan Hall and Terrance Mahan were training for London '08, they would focus on their "marathon simulator" run. Their plan was 10 @ 6 min. pace, 10 @ 4:55 pace,and 2 cool down.

On Saturday morning, I pulled into the Huntersville Business Park at 5:20am and immediately spotted Mike Beigay. Caitlin and Jay followed. Followed by Paul, Nathan, Derrick, Adam, and Bill. What a group...I was stoked!

The 10 plus mile warm up was a nice comfortable pace and I got to chat with Adam who I just met that morning (very nice). I thought Jay was a little quiet and I asked him if he was getting himself ready for the second loop...he was! I asked Paul how his breathing was and he said that he felt like he was walking...oh boy! As for my first loop, I was feeling pretty good. I couldn't get a read on Bill (it doesn't matter with Bill...he always brings it!) Caitlin was chatty...and fit!

After we got our Gu, water, bathroom breaks and flats...here was the plan:

Nathan (super nice expectant guy who I also just met that morning and would take pictures of us on our second loop and supply Gatorade and bananas) and Derrick (I thought was AJ) would sit out the second loop.

Paul and Jay would absolutely "rock" a 58 minute 10 mile tempo! And...

Mike, Bill, Caitlin, Adam and myself would do the 12 miler...

Mike was awesome especially when he threw in a 5:57 uphill 3rd mile that left us all somewhat gassing. I recovered quickly and decided to throw in a surge of my own. Caitlin was glued onto my right shoulder blade until she turned right to go on and run 10 miles at 6:10 pace (which, incidentally, was my pace for the 12 miles). Bill would go on to run a total of 28 miles! Adam looked good the whole way to think about a sub 3 for his next one. A mile and a half cool down to finish the run.

Special thanks for all of Nathan's support! That was a nice touch. Thanks, also, to all of the runner's for bringing their A game. Another piece of the NYC puzzle for me...

In looking at my training from last year, I was doing 3 workouts a week plus a long run, and 3 10 mile recovery runs. This year, I am doing 2 runs a week and that includes my long run, plus 5 easy 7 milers. My training is sort of based off of Kyle and Drew Shackleton's training for their last marathon...lots of marathon paced running.

For this week my 2 workouts are: a 3X13 minute interval workout on Wednesday morning, followed by a 13 mile tempo (marathon pace) run up in Davidson on Saturday morning.

I would appreciate any comments regarding my training...thanks!

Question: Who was the first man to break 27 4 10?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New York City...Dialed In!

After reading Mark Hadley's lastest post, I was inspired to write my own!

Mark has a crafty way of articulating what all of us distance runners are experiencing. In his latest post, Mark talks about "callusing" your mind so that you can better handle the demands of marathon paced runs.

The day after I ran Greekfest (20 seconds faster than last year), I started my New York City Marathon training in earnest. First of all, because of the solid 5 thousand, I went into my specific training with a bit of confidence.

That first Sunday run a week and a half ago with Caitlin and Jordan was almost an hour and a half of marathon paced running. It was difficult, and it was a start. 2 easy days of 7 mile runs followed.

That set me up for my 12 mile tempo run on the treadmill at 6 minute pace for 72 minutes of solid running (no hills and no wind resistance). Another 2 easy days followed.

Last Saturday, it was time for a hilly, solo, road 20 miler. Mark talks about 3 different paced long runs. On this one, I wanted to do the steady 7 minute pace one. 2 hours and 12 minutes later, the run was completed...I was pleased. Another 3 easy days followed (1 solo and 1 Miner's run).

This set me up for this morning's run which was a 10 mile tempo run at marathon pace of about 6:15/mile. My actual time on this hilly run was 1:02:40...not bad. I was supposed to run with Caitlin(tight calf) as she'll be back on Saturday.

Saturday's run will be 10 miles at around 7:30 pace, followed by 12 miles at marathon race pace, 2 mile cool down.

So after 8 months of 300 plus miles a month and 3 workouts a week and 4 easy days of 10 mile runs, I am now doing: 1 long mpr, 1 long run (1 MPR option), and 5 easy 7 milers...

Comments on my training? Thanks...

Question: Who can tell me why , in 1998, their were 2 movies about Steven Prefontaine made?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Treadmill Tempo Run

My plan on Wednesday morning was to do a 10 mile tempo run on the roads.

I guess I was watching too much U. S. Open tennis on Tuesday night because when I woke up Wednesday morning my Timex had the time at 6:36 ante meridiem. My first thought was that I had a nice "lie-in"...British speak for sleeping in!

After quickly doing the math, I realized that I would not be able to get my early morning jaunt in. So after taking the kids to school and getting to work (one in the same), I readjusted my plan to do my 10 miles on the treadmill. I am a big fan of the treadmill (as I am a fan of hills, long runs, barefoot running, sand dunes, track workouts, etc.)

Let me say briefly that I understand that running on the treadmill does not carry the same degree of difficulty as the roads or the trails. Having said that, you also cannot let up!

Incidentally, the Alaskan Christine Clark trained exclusively on the treadmill for the 2000 Olympic Marathon Trials (which she won).

After getting my ipod all set up, I hit start and went right to 10 miles an hour. After a bit, I realized that my breathing was controlled and my form seemed relaxed...I was having a good run. After a half an hour of this, I readjusted the workout to make it a 12 miler. I, therefore, finished 72 minutes after I started...pleased!

As I said on Facebook (that right, Spada is now on Facebook), that workout was 1 piece of the New York City Marathon puzzle!

Thoughts of the treadmill?

Question: Who stayed with Hicham El G. when he took down Nourredine Morceli's mile record back in '99?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Various & Sundries

I was starting to feel like my sleeping had gone to the dogs! (sorry Jay)

Thanks to Caitlin for getting me to post again (truth be told, ever since I returned from my New Jersey trip, work has been very busy with football 2 a days and the start of school). That's my story and I'm sticking to it...speaking of Caitlin...

I had the good fortune of meeting up with her and Jordan at McMullen on Sunday for a marathon simulator that was all about Caitlin's fitness (and boy is it improving). She ended up running 15 miles at about 6:10 pace with her last mile right at 6 minutes (good stuff)

Jordan Kinley...my domestique! (let me explain) During the aforementioned simulator run, at around mile 6, Jordan could sense that I was losing contact with the group. What does he do? He falls back to me, gives some words of encouragement, and within a minute I'm back with the group! (all I could think of was Armstrong climbing the Alps and Roberto Heras coming back to bring him back up to Jan Ullrich)

Greekfest 5k recap: Last Saturday was the Greekfest 5k (was there a runner in Charlotte that didn't know that?) Anyway, all of the players were out including Richard Falcone (looking fit and NOT 40) and as Richard and I were warming up, we ran into JoKin and I introduced them and we continued our warm up together. I was secretly hoping to dip under 17 minutes (I would run 17:03 good for 14th place). I had my great usual battle with Meagan Nedlo who is so tough. She ran the last mile with Caitlin and I could hear her telling Meagan to "catch Spada"...it was neat. Good performances were had by Kinley, Falcone, Paul who was "knackered", BMac, Aaron, Billy, Chad, Pezz, Meagan, Alice, Alana and Danielle from Jersey! Hit the Brixx is coming...

If you look at the right hand side of my blog I have a section called "recommended reads" where I list running books that I have read. While it does not look like I update it very often, I am reading constantly. I am half way through reading "Lore of Running" which is 1,000 pages. When Men's Health or Running Times comes, I'll put the book down and read the whole magazine. Having said all of that, I just finished reading "Open", which is the autobiography of Andre Agassi who was one of my favorites. I broke from tradition since it is not a running book. I did this because whenever Andre needed to get back in shape, his friend and trainer Gil Reyes, would have him run up and down "Gil Hill" right outside of Vegas (I remember that at the time). Long story short...read the book!

Miner's Run: This morning I took part in the Miner's Run which takes place every Tuesday at 5:30am and you can meet at either Old Bell of PDS. This morning's run included Stan (under 18 at Greek), Bill (fresh off of a nasty trail 10k), Mike (picture taker at Greek and getting stronger by the week), Paul (starting his Richmond build up), Billy (keep the pr's coming!), BMac (with his devastating kick), and Jinnie and Mo!

Nike Air Pegasus'...$75, Timex Ironman watch...$59, Hit the Brixx entry fee...$20, watching Jordan run a 200 meter repeat last Tuesday morning on the track...priceless!

If you remember the commercial over the summer during the Tour de France on Versus where you had a group of athletes sitting around a coffee table in the living room. They were discussing what was essential that they carried when they were riding their bike. Bob Roll said it was a Bazooka, Dean said water, Levi said it was his headlamp, and for all of them it was their "Road ID". Well my son just got me the "Road ID!"...I love it!

With only 2 races to go for the RFYL Grand Prix series, some interesting sub plots are forming: Can Billy Shue crack the top 5? Does Alice or Meagan win it for the women? Can Brian, Stan or Chad win their age group? We'll see...

A special thanks to Mark and Bryce Hadley for supplying water and Powerade last Sunday for the run...it really helped!

Now that my New York City marathon training has commenced, I'll be focusing on long tempo's (10 to 18 milers) and long runs (easy, steady or easy with a hard finish). I'm done with the short stuff!

Question: What former Michigan Miler just ran a 3:41 in Europe (he's coming back)?

Friday, August 6, 2010

"Who says you can't go home?"

I know that P Diddy says, "it's all about the Benjamins" but for Spada it's all about the family!

Last week I had the annual good fortune of taking the kids up to Florham Park, New Jersey (my hometown) for a week of family, food and fun, and of course...running. I come from a very large German/Italian/American (and sometimes I wish African (see Kenya/Ethiopia)) family and watching my kids interact with all of their cousins is priceless.

We drove up right after the Run For Your Life 4 Miler. My wife stocked us with a bag of goodies from Dean & Deluca. Although I was disappointed with my race, that feeling was gone once I hit 77 North, and looked in my rear view mirror and saw 2 kids in the back seat with earphones on their heads and smiles on their faces.

Record time was made on our ride up as we pulled into my parents driveway 9 hours after we departed Charlotte. My mother was so surprised at our early arrival that she decided to take us out to La Piazza for pizza and calzones (imagine that AND what a great way to kick off the trip).

Sunday morning came and that meant it was time for me to head down to Bedminster for a 13 mile run with my old friend and running buddy Gary Rosenberg (who is now working for Garmin). Well Gary brings with him a who's who of past New Jersey state champions in XC and track...what a group! It was hotter than Hiati and I lost it with 5 to go. Oh well...

Breakfast, Church and then all of the family came over for a wonderful meal and good conversation...

Before I left for New Jersey, I made it a point to set up runs with various people/former training partners, etc. So Monday came and my dad and I drove to Loantaka park to meet Filipo (a nice guy originally from Manchester) who my dad had befriended a year ago. We had a wonderful 8 mile run together and we both discussed our New York City marathon experiences. This run was performed at a very generous pace as I knew that I had a big one the following night...

"Phil" drove me back to the house and came inside to break bread with the Spada family...good stuff! He left and we decided to do it again on Friday...

Monday afternoon was a calzone lunch and ping pong at my sisters house a short drive up in Booonton Twp. and I was treated to a jam session by my nephews which for this rocker was a treat (my kids thought it was too loud).

No run on Tuesday morning since I would be meeting my old club mates from the Sneaker Factory that night in Morristown. Tuesday was reserved by my brother for a day in spectacular NYC! My daughters #1 focus for New York was Dylan's Candy Bar (Dylan is the daughter of Ralph Lauren) and when my brother informed her that we would spending most of the day in southern Manhattan island (i.e.- Chinatown/Little Italy) she was not too happy. However, my bro rallied and we ended up spending 45 minutes at a place that would have made Gene Wilder gush! Great shrimp ceasar salad at a nice Italian restaurant for lunch in Little Italy and good conversation followed.

After dropping my kids off at my other sisters house, I headed over to the South Street entrance to Loantaka Park in M'town for my annual 8 mile progression run with the Sneaker Factory. One of the highlights for me is the drive over when I get to listen to WABC's Mark Levin (author of Liberty and Tyranny). My goal for the run was to chill for the first 4 miles, which I did at 7:30 pace. Then I wanted to hit 24 minutes on the way back (it hit 23:30 and felt reasonably well), and then another easy 2 mile cool down. Over to my brothers for pizza...

Wednesday was my lone solo run which consisted of an old 8 mile Florham Park/Madison loop that makes you do a lot of reminiscing. After a great breakfast it was off to the Jersey Shore which for us would be Spring Lake. To get to the shore, you have to take the Garden State Parkway which is in pristine condition...a beautiful ride. On a side note, there is a little question that people will ask you if they hear that you are from New Jersey...what exit? So anyway, I had my friend (actually my cousin's cousin) drop off a surf board at the hotel for my son which was greatly appreciated. A long day at the beach was followed by dinner at Vic's in Bradley Beach with my friend who lives in Manasquan and then it was on to Jenkinson's boardwalk in Point Pleasant where my son won his sister that big teddy bear (it was actually a pink pig). As we're leaving the boardwalk there were batting cages and my son asked me if I was going to hit. I use to always do the batting cages with my friends when I was a kid and pretend I was Don Mattingly (crouched over the plate). Some munchies and off to bed...

Thursday morning came and my cousin's cousin met me outside the hotel at the crack of ba- Jesus for an easy 8 miler that would take us on the boardwalk and thru the towns of Avon, Belmar, Wall, Manasquan and Spring Lake Heights...beautiful! We said our goodbyes and he said that he would be yelling for me on 1st Ave. come November 7th! Then it was a nice breakfast on the porch at the B & B that we were staying at followed by some more beach time. Thursday night let the kids sleep over at another set of cousin's and they had a big time.

Friday morning had me running with Phil again for another easy 8 miler (He seemed surprised at how easy a pace we started out) at the park. After Sunday's heat furnace, the weather the rest of the week backed off which was nice. Side note, those of us running Blu Points...it's gonna be hot! Friday afternoon I took the kids to my Aunts house (the house was built in 1789) and she gave us a nice tour and it was the house that my father grew up in...

Visited with some more family and friends the rest of Friday and I managed to have my nephew set up a 10 miler with me and the local running stud in town for Saturday morning. After about 10 open ended questions, he finally opened up and revealed to me that he is a fan of Bernard Lagat. To breakfast at the Florham Park Diner (why are there no diner's in Charlotte?) and we said our goodbyes to everyone (not before my kids got their 30th scratch off game!) and it was on the road.

I'll be back on the 6th of November to go to the Javit's Center to pick up my packet for the marathon...

Question: Who sang duet with Jon Bongiovi on today's post title (good luck Danielle)?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"...somewhere in the swamps of Jersey!"

Actually, New Jersey is a beautiful state and I think it gets a bad rap because most visitors fly in an out of Newark Airport (or it could just be Snookie)...

On Saturday, at the conclusion of the Run For Your Life 4- miler, I'm heading up to New Jersey with the kids to spend a week with the Spada Clan (annual event). It's a big family and the week is already filling up and will include: Bagels, Pizza and Calzones (favorite food) and Lasagna (it's awesome and yet my wife's is actually better...sorry Mom), a day in NYC with my brother and his wife (my kids have already named 5 stores that they want to shop in), going to Spring Lake (Jersey Shore), out to dinner with my cousins cousin, followed by the boardwalk at Jenkinson's in Point Pleasant, an 8 mile progression run with my old running club (the Sneaker Factory from 15 to 20 years ago)...how cool is that!, etc. etc.

When I get back from Jersey, it'll be August 1st and that will be 3 months out from the New York City Marathon and I will begin my preparation (hopefully with some help from the Hovis') Speaking of training:

I have not felt good recently, and yet I did manage to have a fairly decent workout on Tuesday with Paul, Jay and Aaron. The workout was 6 X 1600 all in at 5:30 followed with a 1 lap recovery...not bad.

We'll see what Saturday brings...

Question: Today's post title refers to what Springsteen song?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

McAlpine run...McAlpine fun!

Caitlin set up a workout at McAlpine of 6 X 1200 meters with a 3 minute recovery using the 3rd mile of the cross country course.

Met Meagan and Jordan, and Paul, Thomas, Billy and Justin at Old Bell and ran towards the course where we picked up Caitlin and Stephanie (Pezz) Pezzuli and continued our 3 mile warm up to the 3rd mile of the course. Paul and Jordan were going easy and, therefore, not taking part in the workout. Got to chat with Jordan which is always enjoyable.

After some last second procrastinations, we were off for the first one. My plan for the workout was to chill out for the first 2 by hanging back in the rear. Stick my nose up front for #3 and #4, and then open up on the last 2. I wanted to assess everyone's cadence, form, etc. Meagan and Caitlin dictated tempo on the first 2 and did a phenomenal job...the boys and Pezz tucked in behind.

For #3, I decided to get up front and run with Meagan (she is awesome!) and help out. Well, Meagan says, "Here comes Spada" and at that point I gave it a little gas and opened up a little gap. At this point, my guess is that Pezz saw this happening up front and wanted to get in on the action. So Pezz starts to go by me and we end up finishing together. It was only #3!

As we are recovering, Pezz sees my signet ring and asks me where I went to college (obviously she thinks its a college ring), so I say Montclair State University and I graduated 22 years ago. To which she says...that's impossible! You're 30 right? Plus 15! Anyway, I have to think about #4, to which Pezz is our leader and Thomas is starting to stick his nose up front and Meagan and I battled all the way to the line (Billy also wanted a piece of the action). #5 starts and Pezz goes to the front yet again, Meagan tucks in behind and now I got a battle on my hands with Caitlin and Billy (at the end, Caitlin would have none of Spada (she was awesome) Still one to go...

#6 was the last one, and I think it is safe to say that everyone wanted to finish up front. The pecking order was Stephanie, Meagan, Billy and me and Justin. Great workout as it was nice to run with such a fine group...

Monday, July 5, 2010

The week in review...

Training update:

Sunday: 6/27- Aaron sent out an e-mail to meet at McMullen at 7:30am last Sunday and when I got there and it was already 90 degrees, I looked at Aaron and said, "7:30...Really?" There were about 10 of us and we started out not much slower than 7 minute pace. We ran to the end of the greenway and got up on the road and when we did that I could hear a lot of heavy breathing. People would surely be falling off the pace shortly (A pace that was set by Jay and Aaron). I played the role of the great former British middle distance star, Ian Stewart...never leading...always following! With 4 miles to go, the leaders decided to bring the pace down to just over 6 minute pace and I was the only runner able to maintain contact. By the time we finished, 14 miles later, a solid progression run was completed! Good stuff...

Monday: 6/28: Just an easy, uneventful 8 mile run with the ipod...

Tuesday: 6/29: As of late, I have been doing some of my workouts with Aaron and Jay (great training partners who are both about a zip code in performance outcome ahead of me). I certainly appreciate the fact that they let me tag along. For this workout, we met out at McAlpine and ran a couple of miles on the roads before we started the workout portion at the Old Bell entrance. Mike Beigay and Caitlin Crisman joined us for a marathon pace run of 45 minutes. What we ended up accomplishing was 7.2 miles in 43 minutes which was about 6:03 pace. That pace would put me just under 2:40 for NYC on 11/7. Maybe a stretch and you gotta dream big! It was warm out there and I want it to stay hot so that when the weather breaks in the fall when marathon training kicks into full gear, we'll feel that much better.

Wednesday:6/30: Just an easy 8 miler with the ipod (Jovi, the Crue, White Lion, and Jordan Sparks (?)...

Thursday: 7/1: Got an e-mail from CaitCris to meet her at McAlpine and when I showed up it was actually Thomas (who I've never run with before) and Meagan Nedlo (again, never run with and she was coming off of a 16:59 just 36 hours ago!) About a mile into the park we caught up with Caitlin and Justin and ran to the start of the XC course to start the workout which would consist of 14 X 1 minute followed by 1 minute and 15 second recovery. I must admit, when I heard this workout my first thought was...what am I going to do with minuters?" Since I hadn't run with these peeps before, what I decided to do was hang in the back and just assess the situation and see how everyone looked. Well, the girls set a visciously fast pace up front and it was all I could do to stay close behind. This went on for about 7 reps and one of the things I noticed was how Meagan's feet never seemed to be on the ground (it was rather impressive). After 7 reps, I decided to stick my nose up front and help share the effort with Caitlin and Meagan. This went on 'til the last one when I just needed to clean out the pipes! A good workout was had by all...

Friday: 7/2: Another easy 8 mile recovery run with the ipod...

Saturday: 7/3: Usually I run long on Sunday and since it was the 4th, Caitlin reached out to see if anyone was willing to go long (17 miles) on Saturday instead. I figured that I would be the only one showing up at the Monroe Rd. entrance to McAlpine. Boy was I wrong! Jordan, Ben, Mike, Caitlin, John, Jason, Paul and myself. At one point I looked at Paul and said...can you believe this? What a group...

The weather was cool for this run and the pace was comfortable UNTIL I was talking with Jason and we looked up and the pack was 10 seconds ahead of us. We finally caught up as we were in the 6:30 range and Caitlin was rolling. We still had the course to run and that is when things got fun. Jordan made a break (he hadn't had an effort based workout since his 14:59 4 days before) and Mike and Caitlin followed. I finally got a second wind and was able to go by them and go after Jordan (NOT!) Still a good long progressive run...2 hours of tennis in the afternoon...Prefontaine after that and then the Tour de France on Versus...great stuff!

Sunday: 7/4: A 10 miler at 8 minute pace and beautiful weather...

Monday: 7/5: Just an easy 8 miler because we're getting after it tomorrow...

Question: Since there is so much happening in the world of sports including the World Cup, Wimbledon, the Tour, Prefontaine...what performances have impressed you?

For me it was Rafa and Wheating...

Friday, June 25, 2010

How often are you "ON"?

This past Tuesday I had the good fortune of running a mile repeat workout at McAlpine with Aaron Linz, Jay Holder and Ben Dyke. Aside from my 20 miler on Sunday, I felt like I was coming into this workout relatively fresh. When we arrived at the parking lot, I heard from Jay that Caitlin was under the weather (I was hoping to run with her). Therefore, I knew I was going to have my hands full trying to hang with the big boys.

Since it was Tuesday which is Miner's Run, I decided to get some extra warm up so I headed up towards PDS to meet some of the Miner's. I met up with Mike Beigay and Ben and that's when I talked Ben into running our workout (always recruiting). When we got to the parking lot, the 4 of us immediately ran to the 3rd mile of the famed Footlocker cross country course (lest I remind you how fortunate we all are to have this wonderful course in our back yard).

The workout: 5 X 1 mile with a 2:30 recovery followed by 2 X 400 meters.

As usual, before we started I got my mind ready. We all got to the line and Aaron said, "Let's go boys!" Immediately, Jay and Aaron went to the front, and Ben and I tucked in behind our fearless leaders. I stuck right behind them for the whole mile as we hit 5:37 (good start...1 down). As we approached the start of the 2nd mile I thought, "you stay with them!" We hit the 2nd mile in 5:27 as we were separated by inches. Upon completion of the 2nd mile, Paul Mainwaring was jogging when I looked him in the eyes and said...I'm on!" I did this because it is so rare for me during a workout or race to have it...today I did.

I knew I had more after the second mile so I was determined to stay with Jay and Aaron for the 3rd mile which I did as we hit 5:22. At this point, Ben said that he would sit out #4 and jump back in on #5. I still had more in the tank for #4 so I made a decision to not let Jay get away from me. Again, we finished separated by inches as we hit 5:16. One to go as I felt like I was going to have to go to the well. You can all guess what Jay and Aaron yelled at this point..."UNO MAS!"

We all got out well on #5, as we were together until the start of the minor hill. At this point, Jay and Aaron put 2 seconds on me which they held (and I maintained) until the finish as I hit 5:14. We finished up with 2 X 400 meters that we equated to glorified strides. 2 mile cool down to finish.

I felt compelled to write this article because it is so rare for me to feel really good/to be on on any given day. Specifically, it amounts to feeling good about once a month. The rest of the time it is a grind. This can mean heavy breathing, legs that want to go into the ground, big arm swings, etc.

My question is this: How often are you ON?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Vibe That is...The Charlotte Running Club!

The purpose of this blog entry is my attempt to pay homage to just some of the members that make up The Charlotte Running Club.

I was at a race last summer and as I was cooling down I overheard some guys talking about a tempo run that was going to take place the following Saturday at McMullen Greenway. As soon as I heard that I thought..."I'm there!" When I got there I couldn't believe what I saw...10 super fast runners! I was stoked! I recollect that the workout was an 8 miler and I finished last in about 47 minutes and I was happy about it. My only connection to this group was Ben Hovis (he and I had coached together 10 years ago at PDS, he is still there and I'm at CCDS). Other then Ben, I knew no one. Ben introduced me to a couple of the other runners.

After that first tempo run, somehow I hooked up with Jay Holder for a repeat 800 meter workout at the Dilworth Road loop. Another awesome workout was had. Jay is one of the original founders of the Charlotte Running Club (along with Caitlin Chrisman and Aaron Linz).

My initial meeting with Caitlin was in a highly aerobic state as we were battling the 3rd mile at Greekfest together (she smoked me!) and then my son met her at the Grand Prix banquet. Very cool...hopefully, I will make it to next Thursday's 6am run from Dowd to run with Caitlin and Co...

I can't remember when I first met Aaron and what struck me was how much energy he has (I thought I was into it!) We have had some classic workouts over the last year and it has been fun. One of Aaron's main objective with the club is to make everyone feel welcome and a contributor to it. Last week, Paul, Bor and I were fortunate enough to watch the opening Cup match between England and U.S.A. (something other than running...imagine that!)

A couple of months ago, my kids and I went to Rabecca Tomasson's house for her monthly pasta party and I got a chance to meet some of the club members there. The food and fellowship were phenominal...

Over the winter, some of us club members started the now infamous "Miner's run." This run is held every Tuesday morning @ 5:30am and leaves from the PDS parking lot and we run down into McAlpine usually for a 10-12 mile run (be careful: the pace has a tendency to progress). The cast of characters on this run may include (and certainly not limited to): Mike Beigay (runs a 5k with a baby jogger faster than most of us run solo), Paul Mainwaring (my current training partner and a great Brit), Ben Hovis, Megan (see below), Bill Shires (the top masters running in N.C.), Mo Campbell (2009 Thunder Road Marathon champ), Stan Austin, Aaron, Jay, Billy (who sets P.R.'s by the week), Mike Kahn, etc...

Let me go back over 2 years ago: the gun goes off to start the Elizabeth 8k and I settle in with the top female and an Aussie on a bike. Me, who talks to any and everyone (my wife calls me the mayor), asks the woman what her name is and she says, "Megan!", to which I respond, ("oh, Megan Hepp!" We proceed to run the next 4 and a half miles together until she decides to slam the hammer down on me! That night, my wife and I go to a wedding engagement/going away party and who do we walk in with...Megan and Ben (what will become) Hovis. Megan and I have had some wonderful long runs together and most recently last Sunday at Beatty Park. Megan finished 12th at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Women's Marathon Trials. Good stuff...

If you peek over to the right hand column of my blog you can see what a running geek I really am (Love it!) A club member, Paul M. noticed all of the books that I had read and asked if he could borrow one (a book club was formed). If you ever read my Athleticore entries, you'll see that I sometimes run with the likes of Rhiannah, Miley, Marshall, and Co. Jay picked up on this and the "ipod" exchange was initiated! It certainly helps the solo runs fly by...

Over the winter there was about six inches of snow on the ground and I met up with some of the members out at McAlpine for a long run and a guy shows up on a mountain bike with his daughter (it was Mark Hadley of MPR fame and his daughter Alana (37plus minute 10 K @ 13). Mark is a very generous person with his knowledge of all things running and he is never hesitant to offer you advice. You can ask Paula Radcliffe and Kara Goucher what they think of Alana...wow!

Just recently, the Division 2 Track & Field Championships were held at JCS University and club member Meagan Nedlo (current GPx leader) finished with All American status for the "5 &10!"

Some of the other members that I have met/ran with over the last year include (so far): Chad and Danielle Crockford, Boriana Bakaltcheva, Billy Shue, Jordan Kinley (2009 Thunder Road Marathon champ), John Compton (standout for Wake/PDS), Dan and Val Matena, Alice Rogers, Brian McMahon, and plenty more.

When you show up at a Grand Prix race or any other race for that matter in Charlotte, there is electricity in the air because you see so many faces that you know and people that you train with and are getting ready to do battle with that it makes it so special.

The Charlotte Running Club is a group of semi-competitive, passionate runners who enjoy running and want everyone around them to experience to many benefits of this life long sport...thanks Charlotte Running Club!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quad City Runner...

Last night, my daughter and I ventured over to Myers Park High School to run the track series put on by the Charlotte Track & Triathlon Club. And what a night of running it was...

While my daughter was content to run the 100 meters and the 4X100 meters, I was a little more ambitious (crazy?) and ran the 1 mile, 400meters, 800meters and the 2 mile!

We got to the track at 5:40pm and I immediately started jogging to try and get the kinks out from my 2 hard weekend workouts. Did a 3 mile warm up and then put the flats on. I did another 2 miles of drills, strides, exercises, etc. and then watched my daughter run the 100 meters (very cool).

Paul Mainwaring came out, along with Jordan Kinley (he would pace Paul for the first 3 laps of the mile), Brian McMahon (to run the 8oom and the duece), Meagan (to watch), Pender (mile), Danielle and Chad (very nice couple and Chad would smoke me on each of our 3 meetings), and a few other characters...

The first event was the mile and when people asked me what I was hoping to run I would say sub 5:20 (secretly I was thinking inside of 5:05 and close to 5 flat, sub 70 sec. for the 400 meters, sub 2:30 for the 800 meters, and as close to 11 minutes for the 2 mile. Here are the results:

1 mile run: 5:04

400 meters: 64 sec.

800 meters: 2:25

2 mile: 11:01 (5:30, 5:31)

Pleased with the effort and determination to run 4 hard races, disappointed with Father Time!

I have to give a big thank you to the following people who let us blokes come out and run these races: My sponsor, Tim Rhodes, Tom Deming, Lana Torkildson, Al Pearman, and everyone else who helped out (we are very fortunate). All we have to do is put out!

A nice and easy 8 miler this morning with the ipod (Mathers, Snoop, Train, etc.) and tomorrow there will be another workout with: Aaron, Jay and Paul. We'll be getting after it at McAlpine and the workout will consist of 3 X 11 minutes...

Question: Today's blog title refers to what '90's hip hop/rap group?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Great Harvest 5K: Race Recap

The 4th race in the Grand Prix series and 3rd for me.

3 hard workouts in the previous week with Paul M. leading up to this race which seemed to be a bit much for me.

Parked my car at the library and jogged the mile to the Piper Glen Shopper Center to get my # and chip. Ran back to the car for more warm up and ran into B-Mac with a new do!(rockin'). Warmed up a little with him and then I saw Paul with headphones on! He goes..."Stephen...I'm crankin' Bon Jovi!" Jon Bongiovi is from Sayerville (NJ) and I'm from Florham Park (NJ) so we got the Jersey connection and Paul is grew up about a mile from Motspur Park west of London (how cool is that?).

Make my way to the start and we got: Issacs, Compton, Shue, Kinley, C'Ford, and what really stood out for me was how strong the women's field looked (including but not limited to: Rogers, CaitCris, John, Walther and Nedlo...

Gun goes off (actually it was a guy from the bread company with the apron on who does the standard routine of "r, s, go!"...I had heard that the first mile was tough so I took it very conservative (maybe too as I hit 5:46), and then it hit me that I needed to start getting after it and press the pace.

I look over on the far side of the road and there is Megan Hovis and how can I resist not giving her a "High Five?" back on the gas as I move up from 45th to 9th place. After I passed Chad C., we quasi decide to work with each other(I think). Hit the 2nd mile in 5:29 (11:15). Made sure that I acknowledged every runner that I saw. Chad had a little more than me at the end. Nice race for him.

10th overall in 17:31...

Top 10 men: Kinley, Compton, Mainwaring, MacMahon, Harris, Issacs, Arreola, Crockford, Poindexter, Spada

Top 5 women: Nedlo, Chrisman, Rogers, Crockford, John

Ran back to the car and went home, had oatmeal and took my son back to the finish (we parked in the shopping center because I was dressed like a civilian and I did wonder if I was going to get a ticket). My son and I got muffins at Great Harvest (gotta support the sponsors) and then went to the awards. Mainwaring wondered what the heck I was doing there...

Got to talk to some of the usual suspects. John Compton gave me his whole race in detail and said he gave JoKin a battle for 2 miles and then tried to surge up a hill yet it was actually Jo that did the surgin'...I received a recap from Billy as well...

See you at the Tiger...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ritzenhein sets AR for 5000 meters!

I know that this happened in August of '09 (Zurich) and as I was watching it today during lunch, the last 2 laps had me in tears! The way in which Dathan ran his last 5 laps faster than everyone in that high class field was captured brilliantly by the announcer, Tim Hutchings (one of my favorites). If it is inspiration that you seek, check out the video of this race on "you tube" by simply googling "Dathan Ritzenhein"...enjoy!

Speaking of great races with phenomenal finishes, check out the final of the men's 10,000m from Sydney (2000). I have it on tape from Bud Greenspan's collection and I never get tired of it!

While checking out my e-mail messages this morning after a fabulous 11 mile Miner's Run with the crue (Motley), I received a nice follow up e-mail from Weldon Johnson (of Let's run.com fame)...very cool!

Hat's off to Solinsky, Eaton, Derrick, Gay, Blood, Acosta and everyone else who has preformed so well recently...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tempo @ Micky D's...

Check this out! Overslept, got up at 6:20am and made it to McAlpine at 6:29am (God's honest truth!), Aaron, AJ and Paul were gracious enough to wait for me. I did a couple of small loops around the parking lot (warm up?) and then we were off!

6 miles in 34:49 and then a 1 mile recovery and then a mile in 5:39 and I was back at my car. The workout was awesome. We all got out well and then Paul made a break from us at around 2, and Aaron was nice enough to hang around me, then he put a gap on me and I was able to get back to him and I kept going past him and made it to the turnaround and then stayed strong to the 2 mile mark (6 miles in 34:49 and 34:13 for Paul I believe), and Aaron was just a tick behind me. A 1 mile recovery followed and then 1 mile back to the lot in 5:39 and Paul was there at the finish to cheer me in, and I turned around and there was Aaron. It was nice that Aaron and AJ came out and joined us. I'll do just an easy 8 at McAlpine tomorrow morning because we're getting after it on Monday...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RMFY Twilight 5K Race Recap

This was the 3rd race in the RFYL Grand Prix series and 2nd for me.

I parked at the Dowd Y so that I could make my break after the race (mother in law in town). I ran the mile over to packet pickup on Tyron (bib and chip), and then went outside to meet Billy for our warm up. No Billy, no worries. I ran the course easy and felt ok. Actually, I was really tired from the day and the week. And that was fine.

Although it was a night race and I always run at 5:30am, there was electricity in the air and on the streets of uptown Charlotte last Friday night!

It was a different cast of characters from Skyline...and no short on talent. Maybe a top 10? Steve Shonts (50) said something to me about what Masters were there (uh, my mindset is overall). I spotted Kinley, Paul, Aaron and Brian on the sidelines, and scores more getting ready to get after it. I felt confident and fit (albeit tired). When I saw Paul, he was giddy (and it was because there was a Budic sighting) and he had his flats on! Purser and Shue, Rogers and Bor...

After the baby joggers went off, I went over to Tim Rhodes (sponsor) and thanked him as I always try to do. 2 signs of the cross and the gun went off!

The first mile was flat and straight and into a head wind and I failed to latch on to the pack in front of me. It simply was not my pace. All of the runners of similar ability were in that pack and I saw Budic just hangin' out! I was working hard and breathing heavy and with a good attitude. When Budic left the pack, I started to work my way up. One by one, I started going by each one of those pack members. Froelick, Purser, Shue, Arreola, etc. and going after Budic. This took me all the way to past the 2nd mile.

First mile was 5:31 and the 2nd mile was 5:29 as I hit the 2 mile mark at 11 minutes. That was ok, however, we still had that 3rd mile to contend with.

From the gun I could feel that my form just wasn't relaxed and it really became accentuated during the 3rd mile. Going up the hill during that 3rd mile, Lat went by me (which usually doesn't happen), and I went with him a little bit and not really (he would finish 3 seconds in front of me).

As I made the left hand turn for the long straight for the finish, the crowd support was fantastic and yet I thought that they could not all be cheering for me. Sure enough, Alejandro was trying to catch me and on this night I would have none of that. He was extremely gracious afterwards.

Although the race started at 7pm, I made it HOME by 7:44pm! Quick shower and a nice dinner with the family. Well of course I kept checking my BlackBerry to see the results (I've resigned myself to the fact that no one is going to call me...Ha!). Top 10?...I was hoping...10th overall @ 17:23!

Top 10 (men): 1- Kinley (sock God), 2- Bender (Kinley would have none of that), 3- Bailey, 4- Mainwaring (training partner), 5- Askey, 6- Isaacs, 7- Harris, 8- Budic (workout guru), 9- Purser (got me), 10- Spada (hangin' on)

Top 5 (women): 1- Rogers, 2- Walther, 3- Mercer, 4- Bakaltcheva, 5- John

1,900 runners...good turnout.

See you at GH...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"It was carnage!"

I knew I was tired. This was a butt kicker! Met Paul at P.D.S. for a track workout. Three and a half mile warm up and then a mile in 5:23 which I was pleased with, and then a 1 lap recovery and then 2 X 1K which were brutal and I even had to walk the recovery and then start again with Paul, and then a 6 hundred, followed by a final 1K, and then I ran right home and made it back by 6:29am 'cause my wife and daughter were leaving at 6:30am (I was more impressed with leaving my house at 5:20am, running to P.D.S., doing the workout with Paul, and running home by 6:30am) then I was with my effort with the workout...it was carnage...I could not even jog the recovery...I'll try to recover by Friday night...I can't imagine that people are training this hard...however, that is only part of it and I will not get the benefit without the recovery (super compensation)...we'll see...
Journal edit

Monday, May 3, 2010

That was tough!

The following workout on Saturday came from Paul (by way of Tim Budic):

I ran 2 miles on my own and then met Paul, Billy and AJ (first workout with AJ) at McAlpine for a tough one! Another mile and a half warm up and then a 3 miler that I did in 17 minutes on the dot (and it was pretty close to all out/very hard) as I was 10-12 seconds back of Paul (no complaints there), and then an 800 meter recovery which I needed all of, and then a mile in 5:30, followed by another 800 meter recovery (again, I needed all of it), and finally another mile in 5:40 and then a mile back to the car (the girls were getting their hair done for the 1st communion mass). Very pleased with the effort, disappointed with the second mile that was 10 seconds slower than the previous, and very pleased with my assertiveness on the 3 mile tempo. Overall I give it a solid B! Great to have the guys out to share the pain with...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I stayed with Paul!

I always feel good after a run and after a good race I feel even better. Needless to say, after Saturday's race I was pretty stoked and decided to go a little longer on Sunday (22 miles). Paul had e-mailed me asking to run 10 with him and then I ran another 12 on my own which included 7 at the park and then the 4 back to my house. Boy was I JUNK on Sunday afternoon (my quads were like jelly!)...

Monday I went out early and ran an easy 10 miler and it took me about a mile to get going. That doesn't bother me for 2 reasons: One reason is that it meant that I was/am tired from stress that I put my body through/under, and two, after reading Toby Tanser's "Train Hard, Win Easy", it seems as though the Kenyan's do it on most of their progression runs (there would be no progressing for me on this morning). Meanwhile, my legs are still jelly. Two other points, one is that I know that I have 4 easy/recovery runs this week (thanks again Mark!), and more importantly, I needed to get ready for Wednesday(this) morning's workout...

Tuesday morning I met up with the crew for our "Miner's Run" which included Megan (coming off of a 60 minute 10-miler up in D.C.), Bill Shires (fresh off of his World Duathlon qualifier!), Mike Beigay (3 days after a 5k road PR) and Paul (more on him later). The pace was quicker than I would have liked and I managed to hang. I got 11 miles in...quads still like jelly! That 22 miler took me 2 hour and 40 minutes so I guess it was like running a marathon...

So we have our conference meet on Monday and I had a communion rehearsal last night so I didn't have dinner until 9:30pm and then a milkshake at 10:30 with Fox News. As I take the dog (not a dog person) for a walk, I check my e-mails (nobody calls me anymore and boy do I need to get used to that!) and there is the e-mail from Paul M. And it wasn't from Paul...it was from Budic! Oh no!!! Now Tim doesn't know me but I still guessed his 10 mile time from last week (I think I was off by 5 seconds). Anyway, the workout called for: 4 X (1K/400m)- 400m jog between rep/ 3:00 rest between set. (sorry for you non-track geeks that can't follow the jargon). Truth be told, I have no business running with Paul as he is in a different class than me (he is very gracious non the less)...

We decided to meet over at Providence Day's track and since I got up early I decided to run the 3 plus miles over there (smart move)...Paul did the same. When we got on the track, we immediately went into 4 strides (a la Brad Hudson) and I noticed that I was able to stay with Paul on the last one (was that a good sign?) I didn't know...

Here's the workout:

1st set: 3:14/75 (right on his tail)...wow!

2nd set: 3:10/72 (right on his tail)...o.k.

3rd set: 3:06/72 (right on his tail)...that was really tough!

4th set: 3:05/72 (2 seconds back on each)...I tried.

Paul...you lead like a champ!

2 easy days are in order...

thanks for reading

Monday, April 26, 2010

CPCC Skyline 5k Race Recap

The CPCC Skyline 5k was the 2nd race in the Run For Your Life Grand Prix series and first for me since I was skiing in Utah for the Shamrock 4-miler.

I communicated with Billy Shue via e-mail (God forbid someone uses the tele!) the day before and we decided to meet up for a nice warmup. Since my daughter had a soccer game at 9:15am and the race started at 8am, I had to position my car so that as soon as I finished the race and removed my chip, I could make my getaway! I ran the mile to registration to get my bib #4 (only because I finished 4th last year in the Grand Prix Series) and chip and met up with Billy.

As soon as we started our warm up (we ended up running the course before the race), we saw a pack of runners coming towards us and we decided to keep doing our thing. Speaking of the pack, there was a buzz brewing about who was going to show up and the field did not disappoint! The course was up hill gradually the first mile, slightly rolling/flat the second mile, and then downhill the third mile. At least that is my interpretation.

Since I have been involved with the Charlotte Running Club, I am recognizing more and more faces (still a bunch I don't know yet). About 5 minutes before the race starts, Caitlin Chrisman came up to me and asked me what I was planning on running. Not to be sarcastic or flippant, I told her that I would let her know my time as soon as I crossed the finish line. I do this simply because you never really know how you are going to feel on any given day (I was going to feel good on this morning...more later).

So we get to the starting line and all the studs/studetts are out, and the baby joggers are going off 2 minutes before us. I point out Amy Kattwinkle who was the Megan Hovis/Caitlin Chrisman of 10-15 years ago (2 or 3 Olympic Marathon Trials). Right before the gun goes off I take a deep breath, bless myself (I think I got that from Dave Conception who was the SS for the big red machine back in the '70's) and accept the fact that I am going to be experiencing a high level of discomfort for the next X amount of minutes.

The gun goes off and I get out well with good turnover and I'm running very relaxed. As I said earlier the first mile is a gradual incline and I'm working hard and yet I know that when it levels off, I'm still going to have good turnover (you know the feeling?). I actually high-fived 2 people on the side of the road (a technique I use to stay relaxed) and I came up on Amy K. and patted her on the back and we had a few words. Hit the mile in 5:40...

Now we've leveled off and I can see Billy and Brian up ahead (why can't I run with them, so what if they're 20 years younger). It took me to the 2 mile marker to catch them. I made sure that I passed them with authority. I hit the 2 mile in 11:10 (5:30 for the second mile). I'm still racing at this point...

The first quarter mile of the 3rd mile was level before we ran down Elizabeth and close to the finish I see Megan who tells me to get on it! Which I did. I hit the 3rd mile and the clock shows 16:30 (so my 3rd mile was 5:20) and I don't think I can run a 29 second point 1 (more like 36) and I hit the finish at 17:06 good for 9th place...

My splits: 5:40, 5:30, 5:20, :36= 17:06

I have to give a big thank you to the following: Tim Rhodes and his crew for an awesome race, Paul Mainwaring for the Tuesday workout, Billy Shue for the warm up and race, the spectators on the course including Megs and Co, Mark Hadley from MPR for getting me to do my last hard workout on Tuesday and 3 days to recover (Hey Mark, I use to do Mon. and Wed. hard)...

Got to my car and made it home with time to spare...thanks for reading!

Results (Men): 1-Kinley, 2-Matena, 3-Compton, 4-Hovis, 5-Mainwaring, 6-Beigay, 7-Issacs, 8-Harris, 9-Spada, 10-McMahon.

Results (Women): 1-Chrisman, 2-Rogers, 3-Walther, 4-Matena, 5-John, 6-Bakaltcheva.

Question: For those of you that ran, how did you enjoy the race?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

CRC Pasta Party Recap

Last week I saw on the E-newsletter (what became of the telephone?) from the Charlotte Running Club that there would be a pasta party Friday night at Rebecca and Corbett Tomassons' house. First of all, it was awesome and thanks to the hosts for their generosity. I had only met them one other time about 2 years ago at another party at Jason Philbin's house (can you guess what we were doing?). Of course, we were watching the 2008 Womens' Olympic Marathon (shocking!). I brought my kids and we stopped at the Teeter and picked up some goodies and headed over before 8pm. They live by the 500 meter mark of a very popular Charlotte workout course for interval/repeats which is pretty cool. The food was great and plentiful (stuffed shells and pasta) and they had a trampoline for the kids. Saw a couple of familiar faces (John Compton who just ran a 53 minute ten miler in Washington, Ben Hovis who also just ran 53 minutes at the same race, Jay Holder who was having his last meal in Charlotte before he was heading up to Boston for some race he would be running on Monday) and definately a lot that I have not met yet. I stuffed myself, enjoyed the company, and still got my kids home before 9:30pm (Hey, it's a lot for me just to get out!). I'll hope to be at the next one and thanks again to the Tomasson's...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The power of a good song!

Over the last 20 years of running, I've gone back-n-forth with wearing headphones and not wearing them. I'm always a little concerned about losing my hearing (it might have to do with the fact that I like rock and I like it loud!). When I first started I use to carry a brick (Walkman) and the big 'ol headphones that use to accompany it. Lately, a 1 inch square (ipod) and ear pods and it's like wearing nothing at all. For sure, I ONLY listen to music when I am out for an easy/recovery run or long run...never on a workout day or with a partner or the group.

So last Sunday I'm out for a 20 miler with the ipod on and the music is just making me feel like I'm floating (this went on for two and a half hours). It was unbelievable! One of the songs I actually replayed 5 times (it was that good). Let's get to it...

Here are a few of my favorites: Winning (Carlos Santana), Southern Cross (Stephen Stills), Rock Box (RunDMC), Kickstart My Heart (the Crew), anything by Guns 'n Roses, Vital Signs (Rush), Runaway (gotta have Bon Jovi), Do you believe in love? (Huey Lewis and the News), Disturbia (Rhianna), Party in the U.S.A. (Miley Ray Cyrus), Don't Know What You Got Till It's Gone (Cinderella), You Shook Me All Night Long (AC/DC)...wait a minute!

Is there a bad song to run to?

Question: I need you all to help me fill my ipod. Therefore, if you would please share some of YOUR favorites? Thank you...

Friday, April 9, 2010

Book Review: The Perfect Distance: Ovett & Coe

I read a lot of running books and if you've ever noticed the right hand column of my blog I have a section titled "Favorite Running Books". A running buddy of mine, Paul Mainwaring (a cool chap from the U.K.) noticed the section and asked me if I ever read "A Perfect Distance: Ovett & Coe...and their record breaking rivalry?"...to which I replied..."well no!" I certainly remembered their battles in the '70's and 80's so I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Paul asked me if he could borrow "Steve Scott: the Miler" so on our next run we swapped books. It was an interesting swap because Scott from Upland, Ca. use to always race against the two Brits. A book club was started...

I enjoyed the book immensely and it makes for an easy read when you are already familiar with a lot of the characters (runners). What was interesting for me were some of the expressions that the Brits use to express themselves. My experience with British dialect was Dr. Watson's famous question to Holmes..."are you going sir?" (Lord) Sebastion Coe was in a unique situation in that he was coached by his father...Peter, and that is what he called him when they were working out on the track. There are many memorable quotes in the book and the one that really hit home for me was from Peter Coe...

"People make a basic mistake: they train to train, they don't train to race!"

Busted! I felt at that moment that he was speaking directly to me. As for Ovett, he was extremely talented and competitive over a wide range of distances both over the country, the roads and of course, the track. The book focused a lot on both of the runners upbringing and parental support/influence. I point this out because it makes you appreciate a lot more of why people are the way they are...

Question: I will be heading to either Barnes & Noble, Joseph-Beth or Border's at some point this weekend to pick up a book. What running book do you recommend?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

"Kiawah"...and all this nostalgia!

We moved to Charlotte in '95 and I knew that that would make it more of a challenge to continue running the New York City Marathon (since we lived in Jersey, that was my home course). It would be another 13 years before I made it back. So I started looking for a marathon to focus on in '96 in the Charlotte area and found the Charlotte Observer Marathon to be run in Jan. of '97. In preparation for that race (and any marathon for that matter) I like to do a couple of half marathons. In October, I ran the Governor's Cup half marathon in Columbia and still needed one more to complete my preparation. I think it was in the Running Journal or maybe through Larry Frederick, and either way, we found the "Kiawah Island Marathon/Half Marathon and 5k"...where is this in Hawaii? We didn't know anything about Kiawah...

The half went well (1:13 and my wife was 3rd in her age group) and prepared me for my Charlotte Marathon debut which also was a success. PR's, multiple "Pelican's" (which is the awesome award that each top 5 finisher gets), and numerous vacations later...Kiawah holds a special place in our heart!

For Easter weekend, we went back and stayed at the beautiful hotel that opened in Aug. of '04...the Sanctuary! For some reason, on the drive down I started to get extremely nostalgic/sentimental...who me? It all started with the drive. Driving to Kiawah Island is simple enough...1 1/2 hours to Columbia, 1 1/2 hours to Charleston and then 30 minutes down that road. "That road" is 17 miles long and consists of Main Road, Bohicket Road and Betsy Kerrison Pkwy and for the most part it is a funky 2 lane, moss tree covered "keep your eyes on the road" stretch of pavement. I couldn't help and think back to the first time we drove it on a Friday night back in '96 so we could check in for the following days "Half". I was fit...

My workouts for this weekend were as follows:

Saturday: 5 miles in 30 minutes on the treadmill in the fitness center (I know what your thinking...Spada, you went all the way to Kiawah and ran on the treadmill?) and it was a very difficult 30 minutes...after that it was breakfast and then an awesome 1 hour tennis match with my daughter. After we finished, an older gentlemen asked my daughter if she was going to be the next Sharapova...to which I responded, "she's got the look, we'll see about the game!...not very nice. Jacuzzi and frisbee followed by dinner. That lawn outside is the perfect place to throw the disc.

Sunday: The 20 mile Easter Sunday morning long run! Phenomenal...I started at 5:30am in the dark and eventually got to see the sun rise (beautiful!). As I was running, I could not help and think back to all of my battles with Hurley, Annan, Clark, Hyde, Bonfiglio, Okeburg, Kaplan and all the rest. We had some good battles. My course for those of you that are familiar with the island...I got onto the bike path and made a left and went all the way down to the round-a-bout when you first turn into Kiawah, I then turned around and ran all the way back to the "Ocean Course" at the other end of the island, I then turned around again and headed back to the Sanctuary. What a run. The songs on the i-pod really got me into a nice rhythm and I was able to do the 2nd long run that Mark Hadley from MPR recommends (steady). On a side note, the reason why a lot of us stopped doing this race is because Tim Rhodes has the Thunder Road Marathon on the same weekend...gotta support the locals!

Monday: After a 3 mile warm up, on the bike path in front of Night Heron Park it was time for the Ben Hovis inspired "Hammer 400's" workout! By now you know the drill...20 x 400 meters, with a 30 second walk/recov. and every 5th one is run hard. It went reasonably well, and then a 3 mile cool down back to the hotel. Shower and breakfast followed and then we all went to the beach/pool (I had a vanilla smoothie and it brought me back to when Hurley and I would have the Sanctuary make us milk shakes after our races!)...good stuff...

For those of you who have been to Kiawah, hopefully some of what I have blogged about brought back some good memories for you as well. For those of you who have yet to visit...put it on your to do list...

Thanks for reading...

So my question is this: Where is that place for you that you've been and when you return, it gives you that feeling...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"10 in 60"...and other training runs...

I'll explain the title of today's blog in a bit but first I'd like to go back and set it up:

Thursday: You know how on television they'll be a show that will be very successful and then after a few years they'll be an offshoot (meaning one of the characters will then have their own show). Some examples are Fish from Taxi, Kelsey Grammer from Cheers, Kate Walsh from ...alright, you get the picture. With the Charlotte Running Club, Tuesday morning is the "Miner's Run" out at McAlpine. A stout group of runners(Ben, Megan, Mike, Paul, Mo, Bill, Stan, etc.) with me usually bringing up the rear (I'm good with that). Another runner and I realized that we live close by so we started a Thursday morning 10 miler together and it has been awesome! The pace is an easy/steady 7:15 to 7:30 (courtesy of Mark from MPR) and we're just cruisin' the south Charlotte streets.

Friday: Friday consisted of another easy/steady/recovery "shake-out" 10 miler. What I am trying to do is set myself up for a nice strong effort on Saturday morning (hence the 2 easy days). On Friday, I'm also e-mailing and making/receiving phone calls trying to figure out if I am going to have some training partners for the hard effort or if it is going to be solo...it was solo!

Saturday: Saturday's run is the subject of today's blog. Do any of you have a workout or run that is just a tried and true staple of your running diet (training)? For me, every since I started running back in '91, that run has been "10 miles in 60 minutes". For some strange physiological reason, I have been able to run 6 minute pace over the last 20 years. So Saturday I jumped on the treadmill, set the speed at 10.1 and just cruised for an hour (I am well aware that without the undulation of the roads AND wind that it is not the same as being outside). When I finish, I always feel good about that workout.

Sunday: I got an e-mail Saturday night from a CRC member, Megan Hovis, letting me know that a group would be meeting out at the main entrance of McAlpine Park on Sunday morning...done! And what a group it was...Beigay, HovisX2, me, Val, and along the way we picked up Jordan, John, Mark and Alana (17:09 @ 13!) and Brian for a nice and steady 20 miler at 7:20 pace. I am well aware and very grateful/appreciative that we live by and are able to run at McAlpine which each November hosts the Foot Locker High School cross country South Regional Championships.

Monday: Although my steady training partner, Rock, wanted a workout, I talked him into a nice and easy 10 miler at 7:30 pace (I'd say smart after Saturday and Sunday).

Tuesday: The "Miner's Run" now has to meet at PDS because if you were to park at the Old Bell entrance to McAlpine...you will be towed. And what a group we had on Tuesday...check this out: Megan (2:37 at the '08 marathon trials), Jay and Aaron (starting to fine-tune for Boston), Mike (2:44 at Disney), Bill (2:43 just a week and a half ago @ 45), Ben (a 1:12 half recently in Concord), Paul (he and I may have started a book club/exchange...I gave him Steve Scott, the Miler and he gave me the Perfect Distance...I made out better!) Mo (current Thunder Road Marathon Champ) and me. Another steady 10 miler (I ran the last half with Mo).

Wednesday: Today's run was a solo effort. In the middle of a 10 miler, I did 5 minutes hard followed by a 2 minutes recovery jog and I did that 7 times (reps). I'm trying to get use to/motivated to do hard workouts alone. The one thing that I truly like is that I am able to dictate the pace. Don't get me wrong...I love being pulled along by the pack/group.

Thanks for reading...

So my question is this: What workout do you have in your arsenal that has always been there and you find yourself going back to it (maybe to see where your fitness is)???