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Monday, March 28, 2011

CRC's 100x5k Record (pending) Run...Spada's take!

If I were to use my standard line of, "it was awesome", in describing this past weekends events of the CRC's pending world record run of 100 runners times 5 thousand meters, I would be doing a huge disservice to the coordinators of this massive undertaking and the runners that ran, and Ben Hovis would probably role his eyes!

Since I was running an easy 10 miler Saturday morning, I thought it would be a good idea to run to PDS (4 miles away) and catch the start of the record attempt. Smart move! Although it was not Barbados weather, there was an electricity there as I made my way to the infield to get a close up of the morning's first runner, Ben Hovis, as he was completing circuit after circuit of 77's! As Ben was still running, I was able to run with the day's 2nd and 3rd runner, Megan Hovis and Mike Beigay (my replacement) and keep them company with their warm up. As well, I got to chat with Aaron Linz who was acting as lap counter (certainly no easy task!) Time to go...

After running to work to get lacrosse set up, I ran home for some breakfast, and then it was time for my daughters soccer game. After the game, my son had lax practice, yet I had to go back to the track to check on my club mates. My son just wanted to know when Jordan Kinley was running! As I saw how the weather was progressing, I felt for the runners who were slated to run Saturday afternoon into Saturday night...oh boy!

I was plenty rested Saturday, as I knew I had a big morning ahead of me with acting as captain, along with John Filette, for the 6am-10am Sunday morning "shift". John, a very nice grad student at UNC, and I were responsible for making sure that our 10 runners were ready to go. To make sure that I was warmed up, I decided to run to PDS Sunday morning. Before leaving, and since I did not have a CRC logo-ed singlet, I decided to red magic marker my stomach (abs was my nick name in college some 25 years ago!) so shorts, arm and calf sleeves and a cap were all I needed...

As I approached the track at PDS Sunday morning, the first person I spotted was Richard (you all know him as Rocky) Falcone and he was gettin' geared up! By the way, I loved how serious everyone seemed to be taking this event! Rocky proceeds to drop a 15:56 to get us yet another 1 % closer to the record. After watching Richard, I went over to one of the start/finish areas and had a nice chat with Billy Shue and Alex Wernikoff who had both already completed their runs in PR fashion...

On the other side of the track were standing Aaron Linz (yet again), Mike Beigay and Emily Barrett in full support regalia! After watching Jamaar Valentine run his leg (g's off!), I had the pleasure of cooling down with him (and he told me that he enjoys reading my blog and it was a pleasure meeting me...really? More than likewise! As I continued my warm up, I spotted a female who I thought might be Christine Witte (one of the runners that I was responsible for)...it was! She looked fit, and I would find out later that she was...

It's almost go time. The runner who went right before me was none other then Jersey girl Rebecca Tomasson and I was able to warm up with her and have a nice chat with her about all things New Jersey! So she takes off like a bat out of Heck and I look at Aaron and we were both like "I hope she doesn't die!" She stayed strong the whole way with such determination because I knew she was hurting! "Spada, you're up next!"...

When Rebecca was on her last lap, that is when I stripped down to my shorts. Since I hadn't raced since Thunder Road half in December and I am on my 13th straight 83 mile week, I wasn't exactly sure what to expect. However, recent workouts told me that I could hold 5:30 pace...I averaged 5:31...not bad! I took it out from the gun and tried to put up with as much discomfort as possible. "The cheering that I received from the 20 other like minded runners that I passed on each circuit was chilling !" Now I can say..."it was awesome!"...take that Hovis...Ha! Enough about me...

Caitlin Chrisman and her posse came out to see my last 2 laps and I was able to do part of my cool down with her. Next up was some easy running with Daniel Eggers who ran for Charlotte Christian and was getting ready for his 5k portion. We got to reminisce about his quadruple that he ran on this very same track some 10 years ago (800m in sub 2, 4x800 in sub 2, a 2 mile in 9:53 and a 1600 in 4:33...good stuff! Next up was a 4 mile cool down with Eric Bilbrey. What happened all weekend is that you would see someone running who you didn't know, then you would start cheering for them by name, and then you would meet them afterwards. Very cool...

So anyway, Eric comes up to me after he runs and says, "Caitlin said that I should run with you because you know how to pace"...ok, I'll play! We had a nice run down to McAlpine and back and I get to find out that Eric was a 15:30 5k guy running club for UNC out of Tennessee...

It was now 10am and time to run home for some breakfast after running 22 miles. Not a bad little morning!

Although my son had a lax game that afternoon, I just had to go back and witness the trio of: Jordan, Megan and JC. They put on a show. A bunch of us including: Max (laxer), Paul Mainwaring (some said he never left), Michael Kahn (stitch at mile 1) Bill Shires (some said he had the toughest conditions) were on the infield kicking around the soccer ball as the runners were up to their neck in blood lactate!

Notable sightings included (and certainly not limited to): Larry Frederick, Scott Greenapple and Larry Seavers! 

A special thanks to all of the organizers of this very memorable event, to Providence Day for the use of the track, to the timing and video production company, to Ben Hovis and Aaron Linz and Emily Barrett for all of their hard work and coordinating efforts...Great job! Get that paper work to Guinness!

Question: Does anyone know if there will be a list of some kind that lists all of the splits for each and every runner?


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Corporate Cup & Shamrock out...Barbados in!

First of all, congratulations to all of you who ran in these recent races...you all put up some fine performances!

I had originally planned on running these 2 races to kick off my 2011 racing campaign. When we set up our Spring break trip to Barbados, it turned out that those 2 Saturdays would be our travel days. No complaints here...

Since we were leaving early on a Saturday, I decided to do a workout on Friday before we left. I went to the track and did 12 quarters with full recovery (1 lap), certainly nothing fancy. Then Saturday morning, I just did a steady 10 miler before my shower, oatmeal and car ride to the airport. When we arrived in Barbados, I was determined to do my easy and long runs on the sidewalks. It was challenging at times because the sidewalks are so suspect. I could open up a cement mixing business...ha!

So Sunday morning I head out for my 2 hour plus long run. Can you say hot and humid? Oh boy it got tough out there. Fortunately I was running at dog pace. Anyway, I made it back to our room and proceeded to eat and drink the rest of the day and night. I absolutely love vanilla smoothies!

Monday I decided to leave a lot earlier so it wouldn't be so hot out there. I ended up running a 10 miler easy.

Tuesday, I jumped on the treadmill to do a workout because I didn't feel like I would be able to stress myself on the roads with all of the cars and the suspect sidewalks. I decided to do 10 hill repeats at 10 miles an hour with a 5 % incline (for 2 minutes) followed by a 2 minute recovery flat. 10 of those is pretty tough...try it sometime!

Wednesday I did my first medium long run ever. I ran for 2 hours and 5 minutes and called it 17 miles. Thursday was another easy 10 miler which set me up for Friday's second stress er workout of the week:

I ran a 10 mile progression run on the treadmill in 57:55. I started at 6 minute pace and it took me a long while to get somewhat controlled. Then I just started rampin' it up...pleased to be done!

Saturday morning was another easy 10 miler before a little more time on the beach before it was time to come back home (to reality)...

Barbados is a neat Island in the West Indies. It gained it's independence in 1966 when it had been previously ruled by the British. 70 % of the tourists to the island are British. It is about an 8 hour plane ride from England and about 4 hours for US. The people are generally friendly and I managed to befriend a few of the locales who invited my son and I to watch some "footie" which is a term for soccer and we took them up on it! Very coll...    

 Question: What Barbadian sprinter won a medal at the Olympics in the mid-90's?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mile Repeats!

Since my wife and I had a "come to Jesus" 6 months ago with regards to the beep of the house alarm waking her up at 5am every morning, I have moved my runs to a more functional 8am start time. The goods news of this is that I am not falling asleep at my desk at 3pm. The challenging part is that my mid week stressor workout has to be done solo. Not to mention the fact that I no longer take part in the Miner's run. The treadmill is my new training partner. This brings me to this past Tuesday's workout...

I didn't know what to expect or how I was going to feel/respond to this workout since I had a hard effort on Saturday, a long run on Sunday, an easy run on Monday and I planted 9 shrubs on Monday night! Having said all of that, I decided to go with mile repeats as opposed to hill repeats. I like hill repeats because they put pressure on my circulatory system and force me to run with economical form like no other. I like mile repeats because they are mentally and physically challenging for over 5 minutes. Not to mention the fact that you induce mitochondrial proliferation...put that in your pipe and smoke it...Ha! So mile repeats it was...

My goal was to run (5) 1  mile repeats all at 5:27 pace (11.0 mph) and at 1% incline. All with a quarter mile jog. Mission accomplished. I've done this workout a few times now and it's funny because when I started I would use a 10 minute interval which was giving me four and a half minutes to recover. The miles are still very challenging, yet I am able to recover a lot sooner to the point where I am only needing to take a quarter of a mile or less to recover. That is good stuff that is in turn giving me more confidence with my tempo runs with the horses on Saturday.

Yesterday and this morning consisted of 2 easy 10 milers, before I work out with the varsity sprinters of my High School's track team Friday afternoon. A little speed session in store...should be fun! I'll go for an easy 10 miler early Saturday before we jump on the plane...

I was very sorry to hear the sad news surrounding Sally Meyerhoff's tragic accident. I believe she was a teammate at Duke of both Shannon Rowbury and Kelly Fillnow, and Caitlin Chrisman had a memorable encounter with her at her Olympic Trials qualifying race...Say a prayer!


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Running long w/ Kahn, Ballentine, Martin and Clayton

For the first 6 Sundays of 2011, I ran a steady, hilly and solo 20 miler. After 6 weeks, I bumped it up 2 miles to a 22 miler. I just finished my forth week of this and I believe that I will continue to increase the length of this long run by 2 miles every 6 weeks up to when I start my New York City marathon training (I'll keep you posted).

Having done all of these runs solo, you could imagine how happy I was to see an e-mail circulate that a group would be meeting up at the Central (Dowd) Y for a Corporate Cup preview run at 7am. Since I usually leave my house at around 6am, I could run the 7 miles to the Y and do the loop with the group. Perfect...

My timing was perfect as I ran up to the steps of the Y at 6:59am and looked into the eyes of 4 sick runners!

They were: Kevin Ballentine (who I had never met before), yet we shared a love of lacrosse
Michael Kahn (who specializes in knocking large chunks off of his PR!)
Jason Martin (a talented local), and Clayton Venhuizen (?) who's name I knew yet had never met

Although the weather was miserable, we had a blast! It rained all day on Sunday, yet that could not keep us like minded folks from doing what we love.

Mike is planning on running the half marathon on Saturday that we previewed Sunday and as we were running up a hill, I would make a comment about how I would be thinking about his struggles as I was headed to Barbados! This was the same half that Jay Holder won last year with a solid 1:15. He'll be back...

With all of the rain that landed on me Sunday morning, my ipod did not survive the onslaught! I lost Cinderella, Poison, Marshall Tucker, Run DMC, Dire Straits, Bon Jovi, etc...I could go on and on!

Question: What was Deena (Drossin) Kastor's highest World Cross Country finish?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

2 By 4 Miles w/ the Horses!

So the call went out earlier this week by way of Coach Ben Hovis trying to recruit some studs for a workout out at McMullen consisting of (2) Four mile repeat/tempo runs with a 5 minute respite there in between.

I have to admit, when I saw who was going to show up, I was a little overwhelmed (Spada...you're in over your head!) So anyway, the players were Hovis himself, John, fresh off of his 70 minute half marathon Compton, and the always speedy Richard Falcone, and this 45 year old slug...that would be me!

We met at the park and did our 2 mile warm up. Got back to the lot for about a half mile of strides. A little more lallygagging and we toed the line...Go!

My goal for the 4 mile repeats were 23 minutes each. Actual: 22:18, 22:54

I have mixed emotions about the results (certainly not the effort). I am pleased that I was sub 23 on each one, yet I am somewhat disappointed that I wasn't more consistent with the times of each. Clearly, I went out a tick quick. Having the horses there really pulled me just out of my comfort zone (certainly not a bad thing).

I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to run behind 3 of Charlotte's finest distance runners and I don't take that opportunity lightly...so thank you guys! They all rocked their workouts...Wow!

Still haven't raced since December's Thunder Road half marathon and no races on the horizon. My first race looks to be the 5 thousand on the track @ PDS on March 27th. We'll see...

Question: (This is odd)...What bumper stickers are people now putting on their car to show how far (and slow...ooch!) they've run?       

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Work bouts...a la Jack Daniels!

I followed Saturdays tempo with a long run on Sunday. I started this 22 miler knowing that I was not equipped with fuel/sugar/Gu, etc. So the question became...when would I bonk? I had passed a few people who had their Iraq belts on and they probably had all sorts of goodies in there. It wasn't until I was leaving Glen Eagles and making my way on to Quail Hollow that I was starting to hallucinate. It was at this point (mile 18) that a driver pulled up next to me and said, "Spada, you wanna doughnut!" He was kidding, yet my answer was...give me a doughnut! He didn't believe me at first. After he realized that I was very serious, he proceeded to tear the sticker off of the box of Krispy Kremes and handed me 1 glazed doughnut. I took it and was on my way and I hoovered it! No...I did not get a cramp! After an easy 10 miler Monday morning, it was time to go back to work for Tuesday's stress-or...

My goal was to do 10 hill repeats on the treadmill but this time with only a 2 minute recovery instead of the usual 3 minutes. Mission accomplished! I hold the speed for the hill portion at 10 miles an hour or 6 minute pace and the incline is at a 5 % gradient. Try it sometime...Jack Daniels equates those numbers with a 4:44 pace. I have no idea, yet it's a nice workout and you very much feel like you could fall off the back at any moment...

I ran an easy 10 miler this morning, I'll have another 2 easy 10 milers on Thursday and Friday before Saturday's monster workout...can't wait! Won't you please join us...

My training is actually starting to give me some confidence...dare I say that it is about time! I am very grateful that I am able to run so consistently and injury free...very appreciative!

Question (I know that I shouldn't ask this!)? What is up with Chuck Sheen?