Race #420 – GOTR Spring 5k – Gastonia, NC – 05/05/18

The Girls on the Run 5k is the highlight of a program designed to help elementary school girls develop self-respect and a healthy lifestyle. It’s also part of the Run Gaston race series so it’s open to all runners. It was a warm and humid morning (64 degrees and 88% humidity) which seemed to affect the times of most of the folks I talked to after the race. I was slower too, but being the warm weather lover that I am, it seemed like perfect weather to me and my lack of speed is probably more due to aging and a not-so-great diet.

Race Number:  420

Race Name:  Gaston County Girls on the Run Spring 5k

Location:  Gastonia, North Carolina

Date:  May 5, 2018

Race Rating:

Winners (Top 10):

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos on Facebook by Megan Hitchnins Photography (68 photos)

Click Here for Race Photos from Gaston Gazette (38 Photos)

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  24:40
Pace:  7:56
Age Group:  1 of 5
Overall:  7 of 479
Average Heart Rate:  156
Maximum Heart Rate:  167
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  19:04 (68.11%)

Photo from Gaston Gazette

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun 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
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
0 – 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)
0 – 70+ group (1)
0 – 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)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals (*for GOTR)

POST RACE
4 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – 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
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
5 – 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
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
2 – 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:  73

Race #419 – Mount Holly 10k – Mount Holly, NC – 04/28/18

Formerly called the Mount Holly Springfest 5k, a couple years ago a 10k was added and it’s now the “Run Mount Holly 5k Downtown Dash and 10k River Run.” I’m not sure why, but as the name has expanded the crowd has contracted, and this year there were only about 120 total runners in both races, which is considerably fewer than there used to be when it was just a 5k. Most likely the major factor in the smaller race size is the number of races that are now available to choose from. I’ve also heard that not as many folks are running races as a few years ago, so a smaller turnout for all races is not surprising.

With a half marathon planned for next weekend I decided my best option would be to run the 10k, especially since it allowed me to squeeze out an extra point in our local race series. This would test my increasingly bothersome arthritic right knee a bit and at least give me an idea of how I should feel halfway through the half marathon. Not great but we’ll see.

One problem came up during the race. The course wasn’t marked as well as it should have been. At one point in the industrial park we ran through, I almost ran the wrong way. There was nobody close enough to see in front of me and I wasn’t sure whether to go left or right on a wide portion of pavement (not a parking lot and not a street, but something in between). I had to stop and ask the runners in back of me. Fortunately someone saw the faint white markings on the pavement that marked the course. So it was marked, but not well. There should have been some signs with arrows, especially when there were no volunteers at intersections. I talked to a few other runners who ended up off the course at another location and ended up running an extra half mile in the 10k.

Race Number:  419

Race Name:   Run Mount Holly 5k Downtown Dash and 10k River Run

Location:  Mount Holly, North Carolina

Date:  April 28, 2018

Race Rating:  70

Winners (Top 20):

 

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  49:04
  • Pace:   7:54
  • Age Group:  1 of 1
  • Overall:  17 of 39
  • Average Heart Rate:  161
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  170
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  37:46 (70.75%)

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun 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.]
0 – 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
0 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
5 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – 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
3 – 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
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
3 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
3 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
0 – 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
2 – 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
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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  70

Race #418 – Community Foundation Run 5k – Gastonia NC – 04/14/18

Formerly called “Run for the Money,” Gastonia’s largest race of the year is the Community Foundation Run, in which runners compete to get extra money for their favorite nonprofit groups in the county. The runners don’t actually get any money themselves but direct extra money to their chosen charities. Overall winners get $1000, first place age group winners get $300, and second place age group winners get $150. I won the 65-69 age group for my chosen charity, Gaston Residential Services. My wife’s sister is a client of GRS and they provide a great service for her and for Gaston County.

This year the race course changed some previous years. There are now fewer turns along the way, which is good, but the rolling hills remain. It was the second race in the Run Gaston series, and with the first race being on the previous night there were only a handful who ran both races.

There were around 800 finishers in the 5k results, but there were several thousand untimed walkers in the 2k, so it was a huge crowd. It took a while for the results to be compiled and for the awards ceremony to start, but there was plenty to do and see while waiting.

Race Number:  418

Race Name:  Community Foundation Run 5k

Location:  Gastonia, North Carolina

Date:  April 14, 2018

Race Rating:  104

Winners:

Course:

Elevation (by Mile):

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Lots of free pics available taken from the start/finish!

My Stats:

Time:  23:30
Pace:  7:35
Age Group:  1 of 3
Overall:  84 of 797
Average Heart Rate:  157
Maximum Heart Rate:  168
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:10 (71.49%)

 

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
0 – 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
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
0 – 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
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
3 – Design: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option: (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
x – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
10 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  104

Race #417 – Cherry Blossom 5k – Cherryville NC – 04/13/18

This was my 7th time running the Cherry Blossom 5k, held in conjunction with the Cherry Blossom Festival. It’s a pleasant small-town race that I look forward to each year. It’s a Friday night race and every year that I can remember it’s been nice and warm (just like I like it) but not too hot. They always have pizza after the race, which is a plus, and there are plenty of local friends competing.

This year it was the first race of the local Run Gaston race series, which should have drawn more runners. Unfortunately with a big competing race the next morning in Gastonia kept the crowd small, and the increased registration cost of $40 leading up to the race kept even more runners away. There was quite a bit of discussion about the race and it didn’t even affect me since I registered well in advance at a lower cost, but I was assured that next year the price to run would be considerably lower.

I’ve heard runners say it’s a hilly course, but that’s something I haven’t noticed. Sure, there are several ups and downs in the race but that’s just normal for this area. Not every intersection had volunteers but all of the turns were marked well so I didn’t hear of anybody getting off track, which has happened some in the past in this race.

There was a photographer, which is a good thing, and the photos were reasonably priced at $7 for a digital download. Oddly though, the same photographer worked the Community Foundation Run the next day and all of those photos were downloadable for free. I’m not sure why there would be a charge at one race and not the other, and I’m not complaining since the $7 is quite reasonable for race photos these days,  but it does make me wonder why photos at one race are free there is a charge at another race. Maybe there was an agreement of some sort with the race directors, but I don’t know.

The photos aren’t free, but reasonably priced at $7 for a digital download.

Race Number:  417

Race Name:  Cherry Blossom 5k

Location:  Cherryville, North Carolina

Date:  April 13, 2018

Race Rating:

Winners (Top 20 Overall):

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

My Stats:

Time:  23:48
Pace:  7:39
Age Group:  1 of 3
Overall:  8 of 66
Average Heart Rate:  158
Maximum Heart Rate: 167
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:24 (70.59%)

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun 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
5 – 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
0 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration: (0)no (3)yes

RESULTS
0 – 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)
0 – Top Overall M/F: (0)none or first only (2)top 3 or better
0 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no (2)yes
3 – 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)
0 – 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)
4 – 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
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no (5)yes
5 – 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
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
2 – Part of race series or Grand Prix: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:

Race #416 – Cooper River Bridge 10k – Charleston SC – 04/07/18

It’s by far the largest race in the Carolinas, and one of the largest races in the United States with around 30,000 participants each year. I’ve always had it on my radar but for one reason or another I missed it every year until now. This was its 41st year and it’s organized beautifully with every aspect from the expo to the post-race party running smoothly.

For all of its grandeur, it’s a bit much for me so I probably won’t be back anytime soon, but not due to any faults with the race. Lately I prefer being home over traveling, and I enjoy the small local races as much or more than larger destination races.

The race itself was a lot of fun. The bridge was tough and even though I tried to stay within my heart rate goal, I couldn’t do it and keep any momentum at all so I just did my best, walking for 30 seconds or so three different times while going up the bridge. Coming down was a lot easier, of course, and the crowd support in Charleston was great. The post-race party was spectacular, with plenty of free food (I had barbecue, muffins, fruit, watermelon, and donuts) and lots of entertainment.

I’ve lost enough speed over the past couple years that I knew I didn’t stand a chance of placing in the top 3 in my age group, but from past results I figured top 10 was a possibility. I finished 8th out of 386 in the 65-69 age group with a time of 47:58, so I was pretty happy with that. Fortunately I qualified to start in the 45- to 50-minute corral, just ahead of the masses in the corrals behind us so there wasn’t a problem with there being slow people to have to dodge.

My wife Linda’s first race in a while… She did great!

Next week marks the beginning of the Run Gaston series, which is 18 local races in Gaston County where I live. I’m looking forward to settling into the small-town races.

Race Number:  416

Race Name:  Cooper River Bridge 10k

Location:  Charleston, South Carolina

Date:  April 7, 2018

Race Rating:  125

Winners:

Course:

Elevation:  *Note that the elevation as measured by Garmin is not correct because it doesn’t measure the height of the bridge but rather the ground (or water) underneath the bridge.

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  27:58
Pace:  7:43
Age Group:  8 of 386
Overall:  1140 of 27,447
Average Heart Rate: 163
Maximum Heart Rate: 173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  36:55 (72.38%)

Thanks to Tim Baucom for catching a photo of me along the course!

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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
5 – 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
9 – 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 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
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
5 – 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
10 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 – 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: (1-5)
2 – Material Quality: (1-3)
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
5 – 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
2 – Plenty of spaces [remote]: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking [remote]: (2)yes (0)no

OTHER
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no (2)yes
5 – 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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:   125

Race #415 – Bunny Run 5k – Concord, NC – 03/31/18

There were quite a few races to choose from this week but I’ve always enjoyed the Bunny Run and race-day registration was only 20 bucks, so I figured it would be worth the 40-mile one-way drive from home. The course is interesting, with the first mile being predominantly down the same huge hill that makes the Santa Scramble so fast, followed by a flat mile on the greenway, and finishing with a tough final uphill mile back to downtown Concord.

I had a specific goal in mind for this race: to go back to the heart-rate training that I used for many years, dial back my heart rate about 10 beats from where I began 8+ years ago since I have a theory that my heart rate is decreasing about 1 beat per minute each year, and see what happens. I don’t remember exactly but it’s probably been over a year since I’ve run a race without walking and most of the time I’ve walked many times (maybe an average of 5 times in a 5k). This time I tried to stay around the 155-157 range as opposed to 165 in past years. It worked out well, and I’m happy to report that I ran the entire race without feeling an overwhelming need to walk, and even in the last mile (uphill) I was able to hold on and keep running. I wasn’t any faster than I have been with the walking, and I didn’t expect to be. Knowing that I would be naturally slower if my target heart rate dropped by 10 beats, I was prepared to be slower, so I was actually pretty happy to finish in about the same time that I’ve been running in a 5k, but with much less misery during the race. I felt comfortable enough near the end to push up past 160 on my heart rate, but by then I felt confident enough to know I would finish without walking.

Next week’s race is the Cooper River Bridge 10k, and largest race in the Carolinas with over 30,000 runners. I’ve already snooped around enough to see that my age group competition is tough and I don’t stand a chance of winning the age group. I’ll actually be lucky to land somewhere in the top 10, and it looks like top 20 might be a more realistic goal for me, which isn’t that bad considering there are more than 400 runners in my age group. I’m not really too concerned about how everybody else does and would just like to run under 49 minutes, which is a little bit of a stretch for me right now in a 10k. I do plan on keeping my heart rate under control again and would like to finish without walking just to see if I can do it.

Race Number:  415

Race Name:  Bunny Run 5k

Location:  Concord, North Carolina

Date:  March 31, 2018

Race Rating: 81

Winners (Top 10 Overall):

Course:  First mile downhill, second mile flat, and third mile uphill.

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time: 23:38
Pace:  7:37
Age Group: 1 of 5
Overall:  18 of 231
Average Heart Rate: 155
Maximum Heart Rate: 163
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 18:16 (71.09%)

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

RACE COURSE
0 – Chip & Gun 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
6 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=spectacular!
0 – 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
5 – 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
0 – 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
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
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
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
2 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL: 82

Race #414 – Elizabeth 8k Road Race – Charlotte NC – 03/24/18

Now in its 32nd year, the Elizabeth 8k Road Race is Charlotte’s oldest race although this was my first year to run it. I was pleasantly surprised that the pre-race activities were held inside the Hawthorne Recreation Center so there was some protection from bad weather, although it wasn’t needed this year since the weather was dry and temperatures not terribly cold.

I rode to the race with my friend Ron and we arrived early because of the warnings about limited parking. It turns out there was plenty of parking right by the starting line. The finish line was on the other side of the park but not more than a quarter of a mile or so.

Once again I walked quite a bit during the race, which is no surprise anymore. A few days after the race somebody mentioned the heart rate training that I’ve done ever since my second year of running. As I thought about it, I realized that I’ve put that method on the back burner and have rarely used it in races lately. I have a theory that each year my maximum heart rate probably goes down about 1 beat per minute. When I began the heart rate method that I use around 9 years ago my goal in races was to hit a heart rate of 165 and hold that throughout the race. It worked great and I had quite a bit of success with it, but over time it’s become less effective and harder for me to do. If what I suspect is correct, over time that insignificant 1 beat per minute per year has probably increased to about 10 beats from what I started out at, so instead of targeting a 165 heart rate I should probably be targeting a 155 heart rate! So if I’m correct, I’ll be much more comfortable and be at what should be my normal speed if I lower my target rate to the more realistic goal of 155. I might push it to 157 but then I should probably back off a little. Sadly, in doing that I know my speed will be slower, but it’s slower anyway and that’s probably why I’m feeling the need to walk multiple times in every race. Very possibly I can do better overall by lowering my target heart rate, so that will be my goal in my next race to see if it works.

I’m only two weeks away from an important race for me — the Cooper River Bridge 10k — so even though I was going to take next week off from racing I think I’ll search for a 5k to run and test out my heart rate theory.

Race Number:  414

Race Name:  Elizabeth 8k Road Race

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

Date:  March 24, 2018

Race Rating:  96

Winners:

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

  • Time:  38:26
  • Pace:  7:45
  • Age Group:  1 of 5
  • Overall:  102 of 636
  • Average Heart Rate:  158
  • Maximum Heart Rate:  166
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  29:36 (71.64%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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)
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
5 – 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)
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
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

OTHER
2 – 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
0 – 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:  96

Race #413 – Leprechaun Loop 8k – Davidson, NC – 03/17/18

Just like the previous evening, it was 70 degrees so this was a perfect race for me, especially since I thought it might be a good opportunity to make up for all the walking I did in my 5k the previous night. So that didn’t happen, and once again I found myself walking early and often during the race. I hope I’m overreacting, but it makes me think that a consult with a cardiologist might be in order just to see if something besides old age could be slowing me down. I might do that soon just to be sure everything is still ticking correctly.l

Despite it being my slowest 8k ever except for the one where I got lost and ran more than a mile out of the way, I did enjoy the race and actually won the 60-and-over age group.

One oddity: They didn’t have T-shirts, but instead had green socks with the sponsor’s name (Summit Coffee).

Race Number:  413

Race Name:  Leprechaun Loop 8k

Location:  Davidson, North Carolina

Date:  March 17, 2018

Race Rating:  69

Winners (Top 10):

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  38:28
  • Pace:  7:44
  • Age Group:  1 of 8
  • Overall:  44 of 185
  • Average Heart Rate:  158
  • Maximum Heart Race:  167
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  29:37 (71.58%)

 

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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!
0 – 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
5 – 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)
0 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
0 – 14 and under group (1)
0 – 65+ group (1)
0 – 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)
0 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

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

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

T-SHIRTS
0 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
x – Design: (1-5)
x – Material Quality: (1-3)
x – 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:  69

 

Race #412 – S. Ray Lowder Spring Spirit 5k – Lincolnton, NC – 03/16/18

The daytime temperatures were great this weekend and there were two evening races (one on Friday and another on Saturday) so I decided to run one or both of those instead of the usual Saturday morning race. First up was this 5k in Lincolnton at Ray Lowder Elementary School, which unsurprisingly included a lot of kids from the school running the race. I like having lots of kids involved although it can get a little crowded at the starting line.

I felt good with the warm weather but less than a half mile into the race I ended up walking on the first uphill climb, and several times after that as well. I’d like to cut the walk breaks down but for now I’ll just try getting to the finish line. My finish time of 23:42 was an improvement over last week, so there’s that, but I’m hoping to drop a few more pounds before next month’s Cooper River Bridge 10k and hopefully improve my pace a little before then.

Race Number:  412

Race Name:  S. Ray Lowder Spring Spirit 5k

Location:  Lincolnton, North Carolina

Date:  March 16, 2017 (Friday 6 p.m.)

Race Rating:  83

Winners (Top 10 Overall):

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  23:42
  • Pace:  7:38
  • Age Group:  1 of 3
  • Overall:  17 of 231
  • Average Heart Rate:  150
  • Maximum Heart Race:  167
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:19 (70.89%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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!
0 – 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)
0 – 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
5 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0-9)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes [*for kids] (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 – 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
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

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:  83

Race #411 – BB&T Corporate Cup 5k – Charlotte, NC – 03/10/18

I decided to take a load off my knees by running the 5k instead of the half and it was probably a wise decision. During my first mile, which was fairly flat, it felt kind of like the first year I raced, when in the first mile of every race I questioned my sanity for attempting to race for 3 miles.

I managed to settle down a little over the following 2 miles and although it wasn’t fast by a long shot, I did manage to finish in an upright position, so mission accomplished.

This is a big race with about 3,500 participants in the 5k, half marathon, and relay half combined, and there is a lot of corporate sponsorships, making it one of the big race event of the year in Charlotte. It’s also nice that both the pre- and post-race festivities are held inside the Wells Fargo Atrium and runners can park in the Wells Fargo parking decks, so if the weather’s bad the only time you need to be outside is for the race itself.

Race Number:  411

Race Name:  BB&T Corporate Cup Half Marathon & 5k

Location:  Charlotte, North Carolina

Date:  March 10, 2018

Race Rating:  95

Winners:

Course:

Elevation:

Weather at Start:

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

My Stats:

Time:  24:28
Pace:  7:53
Age Group:  1 of 8
Overall:  142 of 1580
Average Heart Rate:  159
Maximum Heart Race:  170
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:54 (68.66%)

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

RACE COURSE
3 – Chip & Gun 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
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
3 – 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)
0 – 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)
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
6 – 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
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
0 – 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
2 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
0 – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  95