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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)???

Monday, March 29, 2010


#1.) Who holds the men's mile world record?Time?

#2.) Jock Semple tried to remove this women from the '67 Boston Marathon. Who was she?

#3.) In the summer of '81, this British duo traded the world mile record back-n-forth-n-back-n-forth. Who were they?

#4.) He wore a Timex Ironman watch during the '91 Supreme Court hearings. Who was he?

#5.) His marathon PR was almost 1 hour faster than Al Gore's when he ran for president. Who was he?

#6.) Phidippides ran from the plains of Marathon to what city?

#7.) She ran 10.49 in '88. Who was she?

#8.) In Rome in 1960, he smoked the field in the "15". Who was he?

#9.) She won World Cross 3 years in a row and then finished 3rd in the ten thousand in '92. Who was she?

#10.) Pretty tough...he threw in a 59 second lap in the early stages of the 5k in '88, nobody went with him, and nobody could catch him. Who?

...Good Luck!

Friday, March 26, 2010

"Run For Your Life" opens location @ Piper Glen (Charlotte, N.C.)

Tim Rhodes, the visionary owner of the specialty running store here in Charlotte " Run For Your Life" just opened a new store in the shops at Piper Glen in south Charlotte, N.C. This is a much bigger location for Tim and his staff since they grew out of their space at Stonecrest. So now there are 3 locations in the greater Charlotte area to serve all of your running needs: Dilworth, University and now Piper Glen. Said Tim, "Our #1 priority is helping people...we love what we do!"

Let's go back in time (shall we?)...Larry Frederick (3rd at the '74 New York City Marathon) came down from Utica, New York in 1989 and opened a Fleet Feet running store in Dilworth (next to Tally's Green Grocery). After growing the store with such likeable employees as Patty (his wife), Dana, and Kenny to name a few, Larry and Co. renamed the store "Run For Your Life". Tim came on board in '95 and thought he could lend a hand helping Larry with sponsorships and race scoring. The current Run For Your Life Grand Prix Series was formed in 1996 and is still going strong today. The name of their race company is Event Marketing Services and soon to be Run For Your Life Events. On Saturday's, my wife and I would show up with smoothies for everyone from Carolina Smoothies and Keith Hurley would bring pizza from Nurchies (what ever happened to them?). So eventually they grew out of the location by Tally's and they reopened at their current location in Dilworth (across from the American Red Cross) on Park Road. What does Tim say of Larry..."Larry wanted his employees to be loyal, and he gave that loyalty back ten-fold!"

Tim bought the store from Larry in '02 and it became official on Jan. 1st, 2003. As Tim recalls, "I may have been a little too optimistic at the time...I may not have realized how tough it was going to be!" Through perserverence, hard work and as Tim says, "surrounding myself with some pretty darn good people who know what the heck their doin'!", Run For Your Life has continued to grow and be an integral part of the Charlotte running scene. As a shoe store owner, what does Tim say about the latest barefoot/minimalist craze:"there are always going to be innovators, and I embrace the innovations."

Tim and Robin Rhodes mission is to help people...they have certainly helped me and a lot of other people here in Charlotte preach their motto..."it's your life, run for it!"

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Don't Panic!

If you've ever noticed the column on the right hand side of my blog, I have a list of some of the runners who have inspired me as well as some of the coaches who I have admired. One of those pairs was Bob "Gags" Giegengack and Frank Shorter. As a 7 year old in 1972, I can vividly remember Frank breaking away from the Olympic marathon field in Munich (he along with Bowerman may have helped create the first running boom). Frank ran for "Gags" in the 60's at Yale and in my research for this blog Frank said that "Gags" would encourage his runners/athletes to be their own coach. To be able to train on their own so to speak.

So last night when Rock (Rich Falcone) called me and said that he would not be able to make the workout...I knew that I would be running alone. Doing easy/recovery runs on your own with or without an ipod (I had a big 'ol Walkman in '76) is never a problem. However, when you have a hard workout planned and you rely on other training partners to help pull you along and they cancel, it can make you panic (think how can I possibly push myself?). After I hung up with Rich, I immediately thought about what Frank's coach had instilled in him. That got me motivated for the following mornings workout.

The workout was a 10 mile run that had 4 X 12 minutes strong with a 2 minute recovery in the middle of it. As usual, I focused on form (landing on the balls/flat of my feet, slightly forward erect torso, 180 plus turnover, and minimal arm swing), breathing and putting pressure on my circulatory system. Minus the spill that I took in the middle of #4, the workout went well.

Question: Who won the 1984 Women's Olympic 3000 meter race (the one where Mary fell)?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Miner's Run...(with one headlight!)

This morning I met up with Megan and Mo (and Paul for the first 2 miles) at Providence Day for our weekly "Miner's Run". This was a small group that included only 1 headlamp. Although we only ran the first 2 miles together, Paul Mainwaring and I managed to talk about his close races with my steady training partner, Rich Falcone, his tempo run at Shamrock last Saturday, his wife and my affinity for 80's British pop music, and I even told him that I started a blog. He was excited to check it out and said he would sign on...cool! Two miles later when we got to McAlpine, we said goodbye to Paul...Megan, Mo and I headed onto the trails. Megan seemed to have a bounce in her step and proceeded to run the next 8 miles in around 7:15 pace. Mo and I were content to just hang. It's always neat to run with these young, fast and accomplished runners that make you feel 20 years younger (me being 44!)...

p.s.- today's blog title has a reference to a mid-nineties pop rock song. What is it?

20 X 400 meters (on the street!)

Since I hadn't done an intense workout in a week and a half, by Sunday night I was itchin' to get after it! I gave Rich Falcone a call and he said he'd be at my house at 5:15am monday morning. Monday morning came and my watch said 5:20 (eek!). Fortunately, we had planned the workout the night before so I knew exactly where he would be, and he was there. After apologizing profusely, we continued on with our warm up. The workout is starting to turn into a staple and it is called the "Hammer 400" workout which I picked up from Ben Hovis. 20 X 400 meters (we did it on my street again this week) and every fifth one is run hard. I seemed to be gasping for air on all of the other ones as well. The recovery is a 30 second walk which seems to be just enough time to have the oxygen for the next one and not enough time to think about the pain/discomfort (no procrastinators). I was able to hang with Rich for the first 7 and then he started to drop the hammer. He runs so efficiently (he weighs 45 kg.) and he has no time for small talk, winers or the like. After he left, I did a mile and a half around the school...as hard as it was, it felt good to get a good workout in with a good friend...

Monday, March 22, 2010

...on the road again!

It must be my affinity for all things music because I'm finding that some of my blog titles are also titles of hit songs. As much as I enjoy running on and doing workouts on the treadmill, you can start to get cramped up after 70 miles in 7 days. So when I woke up Sunday morning (after an awesome ski week in Utah) I was really looking forward to a nice steady 10-miler with just me and my i-pod. Cruising seven minute pace while cranking out 3 Doors Down and Rhianna was just what the doctor ordered. Saturday night on the flight back I had set my watch alarm for 5am so that I could do a 20-miler. When I woke up Sunday morning and saw that I had slept 'till 7:30am, I simply changed my run to a 10-miler...oh well!

On a side note, as we're flying back to Charlotte, my son taps me on the shoulder and said that we should go to 5 Guys (burger joint) after his lacrosse practice on Sunday...his treat! How cool is that?

Greens (Yes!)...Blues (OK)...Blacks (Not so much)...

Last week we were fortunate enough to go skiing out west in Park City, Utah (Deer Valley Resort). Being the runner that I am, caution is my top priority. My wife and kids on the other hand (think Bode, Lindsay and Ted) have no problem speeding down the Wasatch Mountains. I was more than content to bring up the rear with my turns every 20 feet! The cool thing about Deer Valley (and there are a lot) is that there are no snow boarders (sorry Shawn) so you're pretty much free to cruise on down with minimal traffic. It was an awesome trip!

On the flight out to Utah, I was able to read the latest edition of Running Times (I love that magazine) from cover to cover. There are always well researched articles with minimal advertisements. They had a special section on minimalist running (wearing either a very light weight trainer/flat or no shoe at all (barefoot)). This was especially interesting to me because for Christmas I got a pair of Vibram (pronounced Vee brum) FiveFingers. I was intrigued by these "toe cut out slippers" after reading Christopher McDougall's Born to Run and the subsequent New York Times article on the benefits of running barefoot or with sandles as the Taraumara Indians in the Copper Canyons of Northern Mexico do. I fell in love with them right away and would were them 4 days a week out of 7 days running (I think I over did it). The idea/theory behind minimalist running is to engage your feet/legs (bones, muscles, tendons and ligaments) and arch which acts as a natural spring with each stride. With the Vibram's on, each run is an adventure because I am always seeking out grass to run on because it feels so good!

My runs in Utah (at an altitude of 8,000 ft.) consisted of 10 mile runs every morning on the treadmill at 9 mph. Obviously with the rarified/thin air, it is just tough trying to get that oxygen so I was just not able to do any kind of specific workouts. I could have run outside and since I wasn't familiar with the area, there was a lot of snow on the ground and there were no trail close by, I thought it was more efficient to just jump on the treadmill while the family was still sleeping.

On another running related topic, I had mentioned that Scott Foy was heading up to Boston to run the national HS indoor mile. Well I did get the e-mail from Scott...he ran a 4:26 which was good for the 5th fastest time in North Carolina this year! He said that he went out way to hard and paid the price...I call that being gutsy!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Saturday Long Run With Aaron Linz...

On Friday I received an e-mail from one of the founders of the Charlotte Running Club, Aaron Linz, asking if I would be interested in running part of a 20-miler with him. I jumped at the chance! I live 5 miles from McAlpine Greenway (which hosts the Footlocker South region for high school cross country every year since 1979). I ran there and met Aaron right at 6:15am (runners are so prompt!) and we proceeded to run the next 10 miles in lock step at around 7:30 pace (still don't have a Garmin). I think Aaron has more energy than I do, and I got to hear about his Thursday workout which consisted of 6 X a mile with a 1 minute recovery as he continues his preparation for next April's Boston Marathon. He is going to Charleston for the weekend and we 're headed to Utah for the week and as we got back to the Park we said our goodbyes and I ran the 5 miles back home to get the day started. Usually I do my long run on Sunday so it was a nice change to do it on Saturday (a bonus to have Aaron along for half the ride (I already did 2 workouts this week.

For the next week I will probably be on the treadmill each morning unless someone in Deer Valley can show me some good trails (with snow) to run on...

Friday, March 12, 2010

Running with the Falcones...

Since the Falcones have their young son Peter (who is in the tremendous 2's stage of his life) you almost never see Anne and Richard running together. So when Anne called me and said that her sister was going to be watching their son, I knew that meant that both of them would be coming to my house this morning for a comfortable 10 mile run (my new comfortable pace is 7:15 to 7:30 which was inspired by Mark at Maximum Performance Running). No sooner than 5 minutes later, Anne was questioning the pace thinking it was too slow (boy do I need a Garmin!). So I took them on a quasi new 10 mile course and we were cruising along until a side stitch/cramp came over Anne and we slowed it down a bit until it passed. Richard got a little frisky with about a mile to go so we upped the tempo slightly which was more than I really wanted. I felt good at the end and was very grateful to have both Falcone's at my doorstep at 5:30am on a Friday morning...

p.s.- Anne's side stitch took me back to mile 21 of the 2009 New York City Marathon I wish that pain on no one!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hammer 400's

This workout was taken from Ben Hovis (I think he mentioned that it was a staple of Scott Simmons out at Queens). I had done this workout 2 weeks ago with Ben and John Compton at Providence Day) and as hard as it was...I loved it! So on Sunday night when my usual training partner, Rich Falcone, called me for an early morning workout...I obliged.

The workout goes like this: you run 20 400's at a solid pace (roughly 80 seconds for me), and you take 30 seconds rest in between. Every 5th one (so #'s 5, 10, 15 and 20) you hammer! That's it...Rich came over at 5am (he had to be on the road early) and we did a mile and a half warm up around Country Day and then did the repeats down and back on my street. Rich is a very strong runner and he let me hang around on the 80's and then he would drop the hammer (so to speak) on the hammers! We then did a mile and a half cool down and I felt good about the workout. I like it for a couple of reasons: 5 miles of quality running, short recovery (no procrastinators!) and hard running when you're tired...awesome!

BTW- Scott Foy (a talented and driven runner here at school) just came by my office to tell me that he was leaving to head up to Boston to run the national indoor HS mile on Sunday. He said he would e-mail me if it went well (I hope I get the e-mail!)...

A good day to run...

The title of today's blog comes from a 2000 hit by country singer Darryl Worley of the same name. For me, every day is a good day to run. Today I had the good fortune of running with Maureen "Mo" Campbell who in a previous life was one of the star cross country and track runners at Providence High in the early 2000's. Last December Mo won Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon and this morning I got the play by play of her win on our 11 mile steady run...it was awesome! Mo and I are part of the "Miner's Run" group of the Charlotte Running Club that meet every Tues. morning at McAlpine Park and all of us wear headlamps. This group includes (and is certainly not limited to) Ben, Megan, Bill, Paul, Billy, Mo, Stan, Justin and myself. Anyway, so Mo and I got to talking and we realized that we live a mile away from each other so we hooked up for a run...pretty cool.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Recap

Saturday, March 6, 2010 was my first race of the 2010 season. A half marathon in uptown Charlotte, N.C. (our adopted hometown). My wife and I are originally from Jersey (Bon Jovi recently penned a song called "who says you can't go home?)...pretty cool. So I park at the Dowd Y and ran the mile to the start to pick up my chip. After running another mile including some strides I headed to the start and wished good luck to a lot of friends from the Charlotte Running Club (good people...and good runners). I had on my Run For Your Life singlet which is the store/company that sponsors me (thank you Tim Rhodes) and my new arm sleeves which I wore for the first time (there was a cool breeze and they felt great).

The gun went off and I immediately settled in and hit the first mile in 6:06 (I was hoping to run sixes the whole way). Right past the mile Chaz Hinkle caught up to me (another 44 year old) and we ran together until the 7 mile mark when he proceeded to put a ten second gap on me (he would hold that to the finish). At about the 4 mile mark my breathing was labored and my legs felt good (those feelings would remain to the finish). As I approached the 8 mile mark I saw an old friend on the side of the road (Chuck Spencer, a liberal, which I will not hold against for the sake of this blog) who told me that I was in 7th place! I knew that there were 2 relays teams ahead of me so if my math was accurate then that would put me in a podium spot of 5th place. I ran the next few miles under 6 minute pace which I knew was critical because miles 12 and 13 were straight up Morehead Steet (you can't get away from hills in Charlotte). Approaching the finish line I could see the clock and I saw 1:18 so I knew that I was going to get it...which I did!

2 things that really stuck with me about this race were: #1 How much work and passion that Tim Rhodes and his crew(and Larry Frederick before him) put in to make these races happen so that us blokes can come out and have a little competition. Thanks guys! and #2 The many people on the side of the road during the whole race who were yelling for me and cheering me on. I have been fortunate enough to have raced here in Charlotte for the last 15 years with some success. Good stuff...

One last note...when Max and I got back to my work and I had him go on the computer to look up the results and he said that I came in 5th and asked if that was the 5th Master and I said "no...5th overall". He also asked me if Bill Shires was in the race...

Top 5: (1st)- Jason Holder, (2nd)- Kevin Lisska, (3rd)- Billy Shue, (4th)- Chaz Hinkle, (5th)- Stephen Spada

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Miner's Run

Did the Miner's Run this morning with Ben, Megan, Mo, Stan, Mike, Aaron, Jay, Kaitlin, Justin and Billy. Most of them were the top finishers at last Saturday's Corporate Cup half marathon and relay. Felt good to run 9 easy miles after yesterdays 20 400's, Sundays 2 hour run and Saturdays 1:18 for the half (5th overall). My overall goal for this year is to run 2:40 at New York on Nov. 7th. I think that if I can get my half down to a 1:16 that that should be a good possibility. I'll be in a new age group (45-49) so that would put me in the top ten...that would be pretty cool! However, there are a lot of hard and well comprised training weeks that need to be strung together for that to happen. Having hooked up with this new group, the Charlotte Running Club, has been phenominal to say the least. The energy that these young studs have is contagious. My wife set up a skiing trip for us next week in Utah which should be awesome. I'll be careful not to do anything flamboyant as I don't want to break a leg! Hopefully my 8 year old will let me go down with her. I'll get my morning run on the treadmill at the fitness center before breakfast, and then head out to the slopes!

Monday, March 8, 2010

My Very First Web Log

I've been wanting to blog for a while now so here goes...

Let's start with the title: When I was 7 years old (in 1972) I was at a friends house watching a moment in Olympic history. It was Rome, 1960, and the announcer (a very dramatic David Perry) was telling me that 2 runners (bin Rhadi of Morocco and Bikila of Ethiopia) were leading the Olympic marathon. I was transfixed as I watched Abebe Bikila's expressionless face, economical form, and those bare feet! I was mesmerized by the drama of it all and the way that Bud Greenspan produces his Olympic videos really left an indelible mark on my psyche. I dabbled in all ball and team sports, rather unsuccessfully, through high school and it was not until 1991 that I caught the triathlon bug. That lasted all of one year and then in 1992 I stuck with only running and have been ever since. I set the New York City Marathon in the Fall of '92 as my first marathon. As I was running, I couldn't help thinking about all of the great marathoners that came before me including: Edelen, Moore, Shorter, Peters, Hayes, Bikila, Wolde, Pietri, Clayton, Kelley, Hill, Zatopek, Mimoun, Drayton, Waitz, Benoit, Salazar, Lopes, etc. My finishing time was 2 hours and 42 minutes. Over the past 19 years, I have have been fortunate to run 13 marathons with a best of 2:35 and in 2000 I won the Charlotte Observer Marathon (with my wife and son at the finish line!). The wonderful people that I have met through running over the years are too many to name. What a ride it has been...let's keep it going!