Race #379 – Belmont Classic 5k – Belmont NC – 05/27/17

I always look forward to the Belmont Classic 5k and this was the eighth time I’ve run it, which is probably the most times of any race. Part of the appeal to me is that it’s always the Saturday before Memorial Day, and maybe it’s one of my favorites since it’s local and so many of my running friends are there. It never seems to be without controversy for one reason or another, but this year things went much more smoothly than last year, when a policeman stationed at one of the turns sent everybody the wrong way, resulting in disaster (I ended up with an “official” time of almost 40 minutes last year).

 

I managed to come away with 1st in the 65-69 age group this year with a time of 22:50, but not without some competition. Both Jerry Price and Walt Talley finished not far behind me, both in under 25 minutes. I was happy to be under 23:00 again. Not sure how long that will last.

 

A few hours later Linda and I went to a cookout at our son David’s house in Charlotte. As the kids played in the pool and the women talked about things that women talk about, some of the guys played basketball. In my younger years basketball was my game, and I had a pretty good jump shot if I say so myself. I played lots of pickup basketball games at the park with the younger guys right up until age 45 (20 years ago), and I decided at that time I should probably retire or risk a major injury. Well, all of that kind of slipped my mind as I tried to revive a little bit of the glory of my youth. Oh, I can still shoot, and jump, at least a little bit, but within about 12 hours of this ill-conceived notion that I still had what it takes on the basketball court, my back was killing me. As I write this five days later, I’m still out of commission. I’m walking gingerly and haven’t been able to run at all over the past five days.

 

I was planning on running one of my favorite races this weekend — The Charity Chase Half Marathon in Hickory — but there’s no way that will happen at this point. My best hope right now is that I’ll be able to run the Grizzly 5k next week, but for now I’m on a day-to-day basis as far as whether or not I’m able to run. At age 65 I always have it in the back of my mind that I may be one injury away from hanging up my running shoes, but I’m gonna hope this is not the one. Oh, and in the meantime I’ll stay away from the basketball court.

 

Race Number:  379

Race Name:  Belmont Classic 5k

Location: Belmont, North Carolina

Date:  May 27, 2017

Race Rating:  91

Winners (Top 25):


Course: Downtown Belmont and surrounding neighborhoods. Two big hills, one in the first mile and one in the third mile.


Elevation:


Weather at Start:  Sunny, 70 degrees, 3 mph WNW wind, 78% humidity.

Race Results:

My Stats:

  • Time:  22:50
  • Pace:  7:21
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall:  24 of 206
  • Average Heart Rate:  164
  • Maximum Heart Race:  173
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:48 (72.92%)
Always lots of friends in attendance at this race!

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent ($$$)
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
7 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
1 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
2 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   91

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Race #321 – CRC Winter Classic 8k/4k – Charlotte, NC – 01/30/16

2016-CRC-winter-classic-LOGOAfter a month-long layoff with no races and no fast running, and for the month of January only about one-third the number of slow miles that I normally run, I eagerly returned to racing this past weekend. Although I’m still wearing a special brace to keep it in check, my Achilles tendinitis is much improved. Of course I’m at the age that as soon as one thing is fixed something else goes wrong so my current issue is the worsening symptoms of osteoarthritis in my hips. It’s something that has built up over a few years and will most likely eventually relegate me to taking photos at races instead of running them. There are no guarantees either way though, and I’ll keep running for as long as I can then I’ll switch to Plan B when the need arises.

 

The CRC (Charlotte Running Club) Winter Classic 8k is both the RRCA and the USATF North Carolina state championship cross-country race and draws top runners from across the state. I’m not a trail runner but the one at McAlpine Park, where this race is held, is wide and smooth and a course where a roadrunner like me can be comfortable. There were still some muddy spots in the grass next to the course from last week’s snow and ice storm but the trail itself was almost completely dry.

2016-CRC-winter-classic-RRCA-and-USATF

Fortunately for my comeback there was a 4k race added this year which was 1 loop (as opposed to 2 laps in the 8k) around the cross country course at McAlpine. I felt pretty good as far as all of my muscles and joints were concerned, but shortly after the race began my lack of recent training became apparent and I stopped to walk 3 or 4 times during the short race just to catch my breath. I finished in 18:44 (7:32 pace) just behind my friend Rick, who was delighted to beat me. This was my first 4k race since it’s an odd distance, and while I wasn’t thrilled with my time, I thought that if I do this 4k every year this may be the fastest that I ever run it, so I’m just glad to be back at the races even if I’m a little slower.

 

I’d rank this race among the best of the winter races in the Charlotte area. Held at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, it usually provides some relief from the freezing cold morning temperatures. The shirts are fantastic hoodies although my lovely wife decided this year to sneak over and switch my blue one for a purple one while I wasn’t looking so she could wear it instead of me. With plenty of pizza after the race in the beautiful McAlpine Park setting as well as top notch organization by the Charlotte Running Club, it’s a favorite among local runners.

2016-CRC-winter-classic-me-and-rick
Chased my friend Rick (#537) all the way to the end… Never did catch him.

Race Number:  321

 

Race Name:  CRC Winter Classic 8k/4k

 

Location:  McAlpine Park in Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Date:  January 31, 2016

 

Race Rating:  110

 

Winners:

8k:

2016-CRC-winter-classic-8k-winnersjpg

4k:

2016-CRC-winter-classic-4k-winnersjpg
2016-CRC-winter-classic-course-map

Course: Cross country trail, mostly flat and wide. No single track so there’s plenty of room to pass. The 4k race was 1 loop and the 8k race was 2 loops.

 

Elevation:

  • Gain:  34 feet
  • Loss:  28 feet
  • Minimum:  573 feet
  • Maximum:  604 feet

 

Weather at Start:  55 degrees, 30% humidity, 7 mph South wind

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Photos on Facebook

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats (4k):

Time:  18:44
Pace:  7:32
Age Group:  1 of  6
Overall:  13 of  100
Average Heart Rate:  164
Maximum Heart Race: 172
Age Graded Equivalent Percentage:  67.93%

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
1 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
5 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
8 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
6 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

2016-CRC-winter-classic-shirts-and-medal
Fantastic shirts and finisher medals for both the 4k and 8k!

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Design: (1-5)
3 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
9 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  110

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Race #320 – Belk Bowl 5k – Charlotte, NC – 12/27/15

PrintIt’s been almost two weeks since I ran this race and I was finally able to drag myself to the computer to write this blog entry. For the past month or so I’ve been dealing with Achilles tendinitis, and knowing that, I shouldn’t have run the Belk Bowl 5k. I had already registered in advance though for both Linda and me, and since it was unusually warm for a winter day in Charlotte I decided to run it.

 

It’s really a fun race, with a mostly flat course and pre- and post-race activities held in the Wells Fargo Atrium in uptown Charlotte, so most years when it’s freezing outside the warmth of the atrium feels great. It wasn’t needed this year, but it’s always nice in there nevertheless. This year the race was at the same time (it’s an afternoon race) as an important Panthers game so the crowd was down from previous years, but there were more than 200 runners so it was a decent crowd. There was a lot of great free food after the race and the age group awards were really nice (an insulated cooler seat that can be folded and stored) although the Belk gift cards weren’t quite as generous as in previous years. There was also a great custom medal for award winners though so very nice awards overall. Linda and I both got 1st place in our age groups so that’s always fun when it happens.

 

I did okay considering I hadn’t been running much and had gained a few pounds. My Achilles held up fine during the race but shortly afterwards I was limping. I took a day off and ran 3 miles two days later but the outcome wasn’t what I was hoping for. My situation was worse than ever and I decided to take 10 days off running completely before I try it again. I’ll be giving it a try in a couple days (this Saturday — January 9th) and if I’m healed up I’ll gradually build back up to speed on running. If the problem recurs I’ll have to take more time off. It’s not my favorite time of the year to run anyway so it’s not as difficult for me to take time off right now, but I’ve been itching to run for the past week so I’m really looking forward to getting back out there. I’m really not feeling any pain although there’s just a slight bit of tightness in my left Achilles that I’m hoping is just part of the healing process.

2015-belk-bowl-5k-linda-and-me

It’s not likely that I’ll run any races in January but I’ll just have to see how things go. I don’t want the Achilles problem to take me out of running completely so I’m trying to be as patient as possible. I’ll be 64 next month and of course it takes longer to heal as you’re older, and I’m a little afraid that the longer I’m out the more likely I’ll be to not make it back into running at all. Guess I’ll just wait and see what happens.

 

Race Number:  320

 

Race Name:  Belk Bowl 5k

 

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

 

Date:  December 27, 2015

 

Race Rating:  98

 

Winners:

  • M:  Christopher Capps — 15:49
  • F:  Alice Rogers — 18:01

 

Course:  One of the flattest 5k course in Charlotte with gain/loss of less than 100 feet.

 

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  88 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  59 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  725 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  802 feet

 

Weather at Start:  70 degrees, cloudy, and 88% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  22:51
  • Pace:  7:22
  • Age Group:  1 of  8
  • Overall:  19 of  233
  • Average Heart Rate:  166
  • Maximum Heart Race:  178
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:08  (71.63%)

 

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
x – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
8 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
7 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no (*parking was free in the WF lot)

OTHER
2 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  98

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Race #319 – Islamorada Half Marathon – Islamorada, Florida – 12/13/15

2015-islamorada-starting-lineI’d never been to the Florida Keys and always wanted to go, so when I saw this new half marathon I jumped at the chance. It fit in perfectly with my plan (since abandoned) to run at least one race in Florida every winter. The race was fine overall, but for me personally it was a bit of a disaster. I started out fine, but just a couple miles into the race a nagging pain began in my left Achilles. It got progressively worse throughout the remainder of the race and I struggled just to finish the race, ending up with my slowest half marathon since my very first one back in 2008 (except for one where I was pacing someone else).

 

This was a first-year race and there were some things that could definitely be improved on in the future. The biggest drawback I can think of is the lack of photos. It’s a beautiful setting but there were no race pics available for sale or otherwise. Also, there were awards for the top 2 (two) finishers in each age group. The “awards” were more like items like socks, water bottles, etc., sitting on a table that you could choose from if you were an age group winner. I knew in advance there wouldn’t be an awards ceremony because I had read this on their website:

“Please note we will NOT have an award ceremony.  We feel those are boring and hurt the post race party atmosphere.  After all, you’re in the Florida Keys and will have just completed an awesome event.  We feel it would be wrong of us to pause the celebration.”

 

That’s a little odd, and a decision they should reconsider in the future. It’s not so much the award itself that runners want, but the moment when they’re recognized as being at the top of their age group. A lot of competitive runners like that sort of thing.

 

Another issue is that as I write this, 10 days after the race, the official website still doesn’t have a link to the results. I was able to find them through the Facebook page, but not everybody knows to look there.

 

It was hard to enjoy the beauty of the Florida Keys with my aches and pains, and after the race I limped back over the bridge where I parked, at least a half mile back to my car. I don’t mind so much that it wasn’t a great race experience — that’s not uncommon when you race a lot — but I’m a little scared that at my age I might have an injury that I can’t overcome. As I write this it’s been about 10 days since the race. I limped around for a week, then over the past three days I’ve been able to slowly jog a total of 3 miles without a lot of pain, so I’m hoping I’ll be able to get back to where I was previously over the next couple months.

 

Except for the injury, the trip to Florida was great. Linda and I drove down to Key West and spent one day and we stayed at a great place in Florida City, which is just Southwest of Miami and at the entrance to the Keys. We wanted to take one day just to explore the Everglades but we waited too late and on our last day there it was raining, so we spent a couple hours there under an umbrella as we explored one of the boardwalks that ran through the edge of the park.

 

I love the warm Florida weather and Linda agreed that we could go back every winter for a race, but as I get older all of the traveling isn’t as much fun, so for now just staying home and running local races (if I’m able to) sounds more satisfying and it’s also cheaper, so I’m looking forward to being able to run again with my local running friends.

 

I’ve still got quite a few races scheduled but I think the 16 half marathons I ran in 2015 were probably way too many, so I’ll definitely be cutting most of them out for 2016. Right now I’m hoping to just be able to run a 5k before too long, and that will depend on how much the Achilles improves.

 

Race Number:  319

 

Race Name:  Islamorada Half Marathon & 10k

 

Location:  Islamorada, Florida

 

Date:  December 13, 2015

 

Race Rating:  81

 

Course:  Out-and-back on the Overseas Highway (US Hwy 1), partly on the road itself and partly on the walking/biking path on the side of the road. Miles 11 and 12 were on the old highway that is now a side road. The course was flat except going up the bridges, and the wind on the way back when on the bridges was probably 20-30 mph.

2015-islamorada-map

Elevation:

  • Elevation Gain:  14 feet
  • Elevation Loss:  14 feet
  • Minimum Elevation:  0 feet
  • Maximum Elevation:  10 feet

 

Weather at Start:  75 degrees; 89% humidity; 9 mph E wind gusting to maybe 20-30 mph on bridges.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  1:51:59
  • Pace:  8:32
  • Age Group:  1 of  3
  • Overall:  24 of  297
  • Average Heart Rate:  168
  • Maximum Heart Race: 176
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:29:02  (65.58%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
4 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
1 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
8 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted online within 24 hours: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Easy to find results: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
0 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
1 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
4 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
0 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
0 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  81

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Race #301 — American 4-Miler — Charlotte, NC – 07/04/15

2015-american-4-miler-LOGOA nor’easter blew through Connecticut last Sunday, and the wind and rain persuaded me not to run the Fairfield Half Marathon that I had been looking forward to while visiting my daughter and her family in the area. A day later I ran an easy 10-mile training run to make up for the lost mileage and could barely walk afterwords. It crossed my mind that maybe in some cruel twist of fate my 300th race would be my last, but I woke up the next morning and was able to walk again without much pain, so life returned to normal.

 

Normal for me lately isn’t quite what it used to be when nothing hurt. Besides a hernia that’s plagued me for the past couple years, I now seem to have a hip problem. I’m avoiding the doctor for now, but my Google diagnosis seems to indicate a possible acetabular labral tear. That could be completely wrong since more testing would be needed to know for sure, but I think I’ll just keep running until it hurts too much to run. My pace is off about 20 seconds per mile from last year, which I can live with, and the pain is more annoying than debilitating, so I think I’ll just stay in denial for the time being and maybe it’ll go away.

 

2015-american-4-miler-Number-of-Runners-graphThe American 4-Miler is part of the Run for Your Life Grand Prix series races and is a fairly big event with more than 800 finishers. The name has changed since I last ran it two years ago (it was the July 4th Spectacular 4-Miler then) and I think the course is different, but my memory’s pretty much shot when it comes to remembering race courses, particularly in Charlotte.  As you can see in the graph above, there was a huge increase in the number of participants this year.

 

Just as in the King Tiger 5k a few weeks ago, the 60-64 age group was loaded with some fast people and I barely squeaked into the top 3 of the age group because Jerry Clark won 3rd Masters with his blazing fast time that was (as always) in the neighborhood of a state age group record. Bob Nelson and Dave Forrest (who placed 4th in the age group of the 2013 New York City Marathon) both ended up finishing about 50 seconds ahead of me, so I could see them both throughout most of the race but never could really make much progress on catching them.

 

2015-american-4-miler-60-64-age-AND-mastersjpg

 

The post race festivities were really nice and included a good band and lots of tents set up where you could get food, information, etc., but I mostly just hung out and talked to different friends who had run the race.

 

AmericanShirtsOh, and I gotta mention the shirt! It was a blue tech singlet with the race logo and after 301 races it goes down as one the greatest race shirts ever! It’s comfortable, fits perfectly, and in my opinion looks fantastic, so it’ll go into my rotation to wear every week until I ruin it, which hopefully will be a while. I actually considered changing into this shirt before the race, which is something I’ve never done, but it’s definitely race-worthy! My wife Linda couldn’t run the race because she’s in a boot due to a broken foot (ouch!) but she was registered so I picked up her shirt and she loves it too.

 

Race Number:  301

 

Race Name:  American 4-Miler (formerly the July 4th Spectacular 4-Miler)

 

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina (Park Road/Dilworth area)

 

Date:  July 4, 2015

 

Race Rating:  103

 

Winners:

  • M:  Bert Rodriguez (age 35) — 20:47
  • F:  Alice Rogers (age 37) — 23:16

 

Course:  A few ups and downs but no major hills. Elevation gain: 125 feet; Elevation loss 121 feet.

 

Weather at Start:  Overcast, 75 degrees, and 78% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Photos

 

2015-american-4-miler-Marathon-Photos-screen
I’m glad to see professional quality photos in the local races. These start at $13.95 for a single shot, so they’re kind of expensive although some race pics in big races are much pricier.

 

My Stats:

Time:  29:26
Pace:  7:22
Age Group:  4 of  16
Overall:  91 of  816
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  177
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  23:03  (73.1%)

 

2015-american-4-miler-richard-finish-from-jaime
Thanks to Margaret McDonald for catching a photo of me crossing the finish line.

 

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

 

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads: (0)yes (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
2 – Posted promptly online: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website: (0)no (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+): (0)no (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no (5)yes

AWARDS
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
5 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
5 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
2 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
1 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes

PARKING
2 – Close to Start: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no (2)yes, some (5)excellent
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
10 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10) (10 extra points for one of the best race shirts ever!)

TOTAL:  103

 

 

 

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Oh My Aching Back!!

guest-blogger-helen-behn(This is a post from our special guest blogger, Helen Behn.)

According to the American Chiropractic Association, 80% of people will have back pain at some point in their lives. Does being a runner increase or decrease the ACA statistic? Do you often wonder if running helps or contributes to back pain? While there have been studies and direct correlations between running, temporary spine shrinkage, and other low back pains, there are other claims that active people are the least likely to have back pain and that more movement is good for your back.

Regardless, the answer to this question is not so easy to figure out. However, I think we can all agree that even runners deal with back pain from time to time. When we run, our intervertebral discs act as shock absorbers in our back. Extended, repetitive movements, (e.g. running) can further stress those discs and cause back pain.

There are many different reasons that can ultimately lead to back pain. The most severe reasons derive from disc issues: herniations, slipped discs or degenerative disc disease. Arthritis, the loss or breakdown of disc tissue, can also cause pain in your back. But the most common type of back pain is muscular.

For runners, muscular back pain can be caused by something as simple as the wrong shoes, poor form or insufficient warm-up time. More than likely, however, runners deal with back pain due to core strength or flexibility issues, tight hamstrings or hips, which cause added stress on the spine.

For me, I love to run, but in the past had trouble managing the aftermath of back inflammation and pain. I would get caught in a vicious cycle of exercise vs. treatment. Since there’s no “one-size-fits-all” solution to solve back pain, I’ve created my own recipe of widely accepted methods to help minimize my back pain so I can keep going.

  • Stretching before and after a run, especially focusing on hamstrings, hip flexors and back muscles.
  • Warming up & easing into a run. I always walk for 5-10 minutes before I move into a slow jog and then steadily increase my speed with distance. I often do the reverse as part of my cool down too.
  • Consciously activate my core muscles to help me run and use my whole body, not just my legs.
    • Pilates has taught me to ‘tighten my inner suspenders” which automatically makes me rotate my hips forward, lessening pressure on my spine!
  • ICE my back after a run. Icing my back reduces inflammation making it easier for me to do another workout the following day. But icing my back is not a convenient or easy task. It’s hard enough trying to find time to fit in a run! To be able to ice (or heat) on-the-go, you may want to check out the Spand-Ice Revive Tank. Spand-Ice has created the therapeutic Revive Tank to help back pain. The versatile and practical design integrates cold / hot so now you can relieve back inflammation and muscle pain while staying mobile and active!

With proper awareness and preventative measures, you can reduce the risk of recurring back pain or injuries. I want to be able to keep running as I get older, but in order to balance a healthy relationship between exercise and recovery I know the key components need revolve around core stability and icing therapy. I hope this blog post helps you too to #Keepgoing

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The Old Man and the Knee

After 96 pain-free races and over 3,000 miles of no injuries in a little less than two years of running, this old man finally had a reality check this week. Race #97 was supposed to have been the Bele Chere 5k in Asheville. Instead, I hobbled around Martha Rivers Park Saturday morning as I’ve been doing all week. This time I managed to do the Grandpappy Amos for 2.3 miles before giving up.
There is a rule of thumb that almost every runner knows and most runners adhere to: Never increase your mileage by more than 10% in a week. It’s one of the first rules of running most of us learn, and until recently I followed it religiously. For some reason though, about three weeks ago I decided that maybe it didn’t apply to me. Uh… probably not a great idea. I had been running 40 miles a week for a while and decided that adding another 10 miles wouldn’t be any big deal.  It worked fine for the first two weeks, but by the third week things started to unravel on me. I had to cut the 18-mile run to 11 miles and all of a sudden I developed an intermittent pain in my right knee. Part of the time it would feel fine, but all of a sudden I would land a certain way and get a painful dose of reality. In the beginning, if I kept running for a few minutes it would go away, but it was becoming more frequent as I kept running.
I’m slowly jogging a couple miles now each day and I have an appointment at the Gaston Rehab Running Performance Center this coming Tuesday so I can get an accurate diagnosis and hopefully get back on track. Only time will tell, but I think it’s just a temporary setback and a minor problem that needs some rest and common sense, neither of which is one of my strong points.
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