Race #336 – Jimmie Johnson 5k – Huntersville, NC – 05/22/16

jjf_avatar_wht_400x400It’s one of my favorite 5k races of the year! Since running this last year I’ve touted it as one of the best, and along with some other friends from the Gaston County Runners who ran last year we brought along a pretty big crowd from the GCR this year, making it one of our “must do” races of the summer.

 

Highlights:

  • Course that loops through Birkdale Village a couple times, allowing spectators to cheer on their family and friends numerous times before the end.
  • Some of the best post-race food you’ll find at any race! This year there were delicious crepes (I had strawberry and Nutella), fantastic barbecue with homemade mac & cheese, Blue Bunny ice cream, and more!
  • Nice swag for all runners including a great shoulder sling bag and high quality water bottle.
  • Great photos: Download free photos for Facebook or buy prints for as low as 19 cents (4×6). A printed 8×10 is just $1.99.
  • Excellent awards for overall and age group winners.

2016-JJ5K-start

 

Race Number:  336

 

Race Name:  Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5k

 

Location:  Huntersville, North Carolina

 

Date:  May 22, 2016

 

Race Rating: 115

 

Top 25 Overall:

2016-JJ5K-top-25

My Age Group (60-64):

2016-JJ5K-age-group-60-64

 

Jimmie Johnson handed out the awards and posed for a photo with all the winner!
Jimmie Johnson handed out the awards and posed for a photo with all the winner!

 

Weather at Start:  Cloudy 63 degrees, 77% humidity.

 

Click Here for Race Results

 

Click Here for Race Photos

 

Click Here for Race Website

 

My Stats:

  • Time:  22:10
  • Pace:  7:08
  • Age Group:  1 of  11
  • Overall:  62 of  421
  • Average Heart Rate:  160
  • Maximum Heart Race: 174
  • Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:25  (74.51%)

 

2016-JJ5K-richard-finish
You can download an internet size photo from this race for free, or buy an 8×10 for only $1.99.

 

***************
* 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)
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
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
9 – 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
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
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
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
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:  115

2016-JJ5K-GCR-group
Jimmie Johnson joined us for a group shot after the race!
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Race #293 – Jimmie Johnson Foundation 5k – Huntersville, NC – 04/26/15

2015-04-26-JJ5K-LOGO

2015-04-26-race-start
Two-time Olympian Anthony “Fam” Famiglietti was the overall winner of the race with a time of 14:44 (that’s a 4:44 pace)!

Some friends told me this was a good race so I decided to run it this year. They were right. It was a fantastic race and it’ll be right at the top of my list next year on races to run.

 

It was seasonably cool at the start, and somebody pointed out that it was 48 degrees, the same number as Jimmie Johnson’s race car. That’s pretty chilly for me so it was back to wearing tights, which I detest, but I like cold legs even less. I’m hoping that’s the last race until fall where I have to winterize myself.

 

What a great race though. I’ve run several races centered around Birkdale Village but I still forget the layout and how to get there, so I plugged it into the GPS and made sure to arrive early enough to register for the race and finding both the start and finish line, which on the map looked like they might be quite a distance apart. Fortunately it was an easy jog between the two of maybe a tenth of a mile.

 

Jimmie Johnson usually runs this race but he couldn’t make it this year because the NASCAR race in Richmond was postponed to 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. I was looking forward to racing with him but I’ll try again next year. He’s a faster runner than me so I may not have seen him in the race anyway.

 

The course was fairly flat with no huge hills in the first 2 miles, but that changed with one huge climb in the third mile. After getting to the top of that big hill though it was smooth sailing with a downhill to flat finish for the last half mile or so. I felt pretty good and finished in 21:37, which was 20 seconds faster than my 5k last week, and lately if I’m under 22:00 I’m happy.

2015-04-26-jimmie-johnson-LOOT

One of the great perks of this race was all the stuff that was free for all runners. Of course, the T-shirt is always expected, and this was a nice tech shirt. But in addition to that, every registered runner got a nice sling shot backpack with a zippered main compartment and a side mesh water bottle holder, as well as a nice water bottle. After the race there was a great barbecue meal (all you wanted!) with slaw and macaroni and cheese. Then there was a display of “Meta Health Bars” where they were giving them away, not individually and not even by the box, but by the case! I saw people carrying the cases but still felt like I should ask before picking up a whole case, so I asked the girl in charge and she said absolutely, take a whole case, so I picked one up (60 bars) and took it to my car. There were stacks of cases so I appreciate the generosity of the Metamucil Company, but I couldn’t help thinking that maybe this was a temp worker who they told to give out individual bars or maybe boxes (of 6 or 10). I hope that’s not the case and the company was just being generous, and by the way, they’re delicious… and healthy!

 

In addition to all that, I won the 60-64 age group and also received a $50 gift certificate to Dick’s Sporting Goods, a really nice pair of Under Armour ColdGear Tech gloves (retail $35), and a Mission EnduraCool cooling cap (retail $25). This was one of the few races I’ve ever run where I ended up better off financially after the race and beforehand.

2015-04-26-richard-in-race02
Finally, there were photographers at several locations in the race. The pics are great, and while the photos aren’t free, they’re really cheap and are being sold through SmugMug. As someone who runs a lot of races, I’m constantly frustrated by the big race photography businesses that charge anywhere from $20 to $40 for a single photo. To me that’s a ridiculous amount to pay and it would have to be a Pulitzer Prize winner for me to pay $20 or more for a race photo. If there is a decent picture of me at a reasonable price I try to always buy at least one photo to show my support of low-cost race photography. The price of these photos started at just 19 cents for a 4 x 6. There were a couple of me that I liked so I bought an 11 x 14 ($6.25) and an 8 x 10 ($2.49). If you ran the race, please check out the photos and consider purchasing one or more. The quality is great and we need to support reasonably priced race pics!

 

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos

Click Here for Race Website

My Stats:

Time:  21:37
Pace:  6:57
Age Group:  1 of  5
Overall:  37 of  311
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  16:56 (76.2%)

2015-04-26-awards-60-64-podium-PRO

***************
* 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
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
7 – 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 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
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)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
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)
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
2 – 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
5 – Prices: (1)expensive (3)reasonable (5)cheap
7 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.): (0)no (1-10)yes (*Lo-Res Photos were free)

PARKING
0 – 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
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:  108

 

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Race #281 – Huntersville 5k – World Record Tether Run – Huntersville, NC – 12/13/14

It was my slowest 5k ever, but all for a good cause. According to organizer and Charlotte Running Club president Bill Shires, the world record for the most people tethered together for a 5k race was 116. That was a record Bill was confident we could break and he spent several months planning a strategy and gathering people to run. There wasn’t a time requirement but it was imperative that everybody stayed tied together until every runner crossed the finish line.

With the great organization and pre-planning we easily broke the record with 178 runners crossing the finish line. We were all tethered together with a system of bungee cords that was well thought out, and the biggest challenge was being sure that nobody tripped or  came loose from the tether system. Any disconnection at all by any runner would have disqualified us.

Of course, the speed was dictated by the slowest runner. I was in the front row and everybody up there was wishing we could go a little faster, but there were one or two runners farther back who had a hard time keeping up so we would walk whenever we had to. My final time of 43:13 landed me in 10th place out of 13 in the age group but it was the first time I had run a race where there was really no pressure at all to be fast and it was a lot of fun to hang with a group of almost 200 people throughout.

All of the information is being submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records and hopefully we’ll make it into the record books!

Click Here for Race Results

Official Race Photos:

Click Here for Race Website

Bill Shires, president of the Charlotte Running Club, was the brains behind the world record attempt.
Running friends Bob Nelson, Rick Gagnon, Butch Holt, and me.
Getting tethered together before the race.

With running friend and fast chick Sharon Davis.
We ran the Ugly Sweater 12-mile unsanctioned race the following day together
as a tempo run at a 7:30 pace and she was the 1st overall female.
A bunch of friends from the Gaston County Runners helped set the new world record
including 8-year-old Martin Inman, who is quickly becoming a fast runner like his dad Andy.

***************
* 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
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
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 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
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)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals (HM only)

POST RACE
7 – 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
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – 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
5 – Swag: (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent (Hoodie for HM runners)
0 – 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:  100

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Race #262 – HFFA Firecracker 5k – Huntersville, NC – 07/05/14

This was my third time to run the Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics (HFFA) Firecracker 5k but the first time in three years. There was one noticeable difference from the two previous races: the race this year was less than half the size that it was then. In 2009 there were 401 finishers and in 2011 a whopping 471 finishers, but this year only 152 crossed the finish line. I’m not sure why the race has shrunk so drastically, but possibly the result of new races that have sprung up since then, most notably the Run for Your Life Spectacular 4-Miler and the Charlotte Firecracker 5k, which are both fairly new and popular races (although the Charlotte Firecracker 5k was canceled at the last minute this year because of severe thunderstorms). Anyhoo, this is an enjoyable race on a good course and if nothing else it was nice to be able to compare my present running times with those from previous years. This year my time of 21:19 was a little slower than 2011 (20:23) but a little faster than 2009 (21:39). 

Age Graded Equivalents:
2009 – Age 57 – 21:39 – Equivalent Time: 17:52 (72.19%)
2011 – Age 59 – 20:23 – Equivalent Time: 16:32 (78.01%)
2014 – Age 62 – 21:19 – Equivalent Time: 16:51 (76.58%)



My Stats:
Time:  21:19
Pace:  6:52
Age Group: 1 of  3 
Overall:  21 of  152
Average Heart Rate: 163 
Maximum Heart Race:  171
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 16:51 (76.58%) 
***************
* 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!
3 – 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
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 ($150 1st; $100 2nd; $50, 3rd)
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent (Gift Certificates – $20, $10, $5)
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
My friend and GCR runner Matt Longworth was 1st Overall and won 150 bucks for 16 minutes of work!
POST RACE  
5 – 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  
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
1 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes
PHOTOGRAPHY  
0 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
2 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!
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
TOTAL:  84
The local fire department saw to it that the kids didn’t get overheated in the Super Soaker 100 yard dash!
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Race #199 – Huntersville Half Marathon – Huntersville, NC – 12/09/12

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for a December half marathon. This was the second year it was held and I missed it last year because it was held on the same week we were in Hawaii. I signed up a couple months in advance at a bargain price, and I was pleasantly surprised by how well the race seemed to be organized. The only real issue I heard from runners is that there are a few places in the race where we’re running on some narrow roads where the traffic was fairly heavy. I noticed those areas myself but didn’t have any problems with it, although it did cross my mind that it wouldn’t take much for a disaster to occur. One runner told me that a driver came up in back of him and started blowing his horn. Other than that, everything was great and it’s a race I’ll look forward to running again in the future. I thought the course was great except for those high traffic areas, with most of it being through up-scale quiet neighborhoods with wide streets. There are a lot of rolling hills throughout the race but nothing major. The long-sleeved tech shirts are nicely designed and will be one of the few race shirts I’ll actually wear, and in addition to medals for all of the half marathon finishers there was also a Brooks running hat that’s fantastic! I felt like the value of the hat and shirt was just about enough to cover the cost of the race. With half marathons getting so expensive and this one being about half the cost of the Thunder Road half, I’d rate this one as a “best buy” among local half marathons.

A little less than two weeks ago I decided to go on a vegan diet. Yup, no meat, no milk, no cheese, no eggs — actually nothing derived from animals. It’s controversial and even frowned upon it seems, but I’ve long been at least sympathetic to the belief that we shouldn’t kill animals just because we like the way they taste. A running friend, Bob Heck, recommended to me at the 2011 Turkey Trot that I watch the movie “Forks Over Knives.” I hemmed and hawed for a year, then stumbled across the movie on Netflix the week after the 2012 Turkey Trot and watched it. “Forks Over Knives” is not actually a movie about animal cruelty but about how a 100% plant-based diet is beneficial for your health. By the time I finished watching the movie I announced to Linda that I’m ready to adopt a vegan diet, and of course she pooh-poohed the notion as soon as I brought it up. I like it though, and it hasn’t been that difficult so far to stick with the diet. Actually, “vegan food” is for the most part just regular food such as fruit, vegetables, grains, and beans. It’s the same stuff I’ve been eating except now I’m eating more of the plant-based food to replace the animal products.

Honestly, the results so far have been mixed. On one hand, I feel spectacular compared to how I’ve felt over the past few months. If you’ve kept up with me at all, you know that for the last three months or so I’ve had a lingering feeling of malaise. The doctor said I had acute bronchitis and asthma and put me on a prednisone dose pack and some asthma medication but it really didn’t seem to help at all. Within a week of starting the vegan diet I felt like I was 90% better. The only symptom I’ve had is still just a little bit of congestion, and that’s a huge improvement.

Going into this half marathon I was optimistic although I wasn’t expecting any miracles. I still have a hamstring issue that no amount of dieting is going to cure. My mileage has also been lower over these past few months and I hadn’t run more than 10 miles since my last half marathon in late October, so I’m not in the greatest shape for a half marathon but I did feel much better going into the race than I would have if I had not started the diet. For the first 3 miles I really felt great.

You can see from my split times (above) that it wasn’t much more than 3 miles into the race that the wheels started coming off. The downward spikes in the graphic below shows the times that I walked. I counted 10 times that my pace went below 12-minutes per mile, and you can also see that as the race progressed I walked more and more.

Around 11 or 12 miles into the race I felt as bad as I’ve ever felt in a race and that includes the two full marathons where I hit the wall. I’m not sure if it was low glycogen or low protein or low mileage, or maybe a combination of all three, but it was definitely a miserable feeling. I didn’t consider dropping out but I did think about just walking the rest of the race. I’m glad I stuck with it though, and in the end my time of 1:42 wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. I still need to make some changes, but I’ll try to do it without slitting the throat of a farm animal. I went out and bought some vegan protein powder that I’ll be adding to my diet and I think I need to be sure I’m getting enough carbs too, just in case my problem was more a glycogen deficiency, which is what it felt like. But what do I know? Not much, I’m afraid, but I’ll keep trying to get it right.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Professional Photos from Carolina Snapshot

Click Here for Facebook Photos from Bill Shires (562 pics!)

My Stats:

Time:  1:42:00
Pace:  7:47
Age Group:  3 of  6  (50%)
Overall:  82 of  564 (14.5%)
Average Heart Rate:  166
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:   1:22:31  (71.76%)

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* RACE RATING *
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Note: I made a few adjustments to the rating system as of 10/27/12 to give races a chance to score more rating points, so it can be futile to compare an older race with a newer one. Hopefully the different items on the checklist will inform you of what you need to know about a race. I’m still trying to keep it as objective as I can. The total points points possible are more than 100 but I’m trying to fine tune it so that good races end up in the 85-100 range. It’s too much trouble to go back and make changes to the old race ratings, but one of these days after all of the fine tuning is done it may be much easier to compare races with each other.

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
2 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
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)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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
3 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 – 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
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)no  (2)yes   (3)fabulous door prizes!
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
3 – Food for Race Participants: (0)none  (1)some  (3)adequate  (7)a feast!
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes

REST ROOMS
2 – 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
2 – 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
2 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
5 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics! (See above)

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

WEBSITE
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

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 (the hat!)
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes

TOTAL:  95

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Race #133 – Firecracker 5k – Huntersville, NC – 07/02/11

After last week’s DNF debacle in Oakboro I was anxious to get back out to a race this weekend and put all of that behind me. This was our first race in two years at the HFFA (Huntersville Family Fitness & Aquatics) and I didn’t really remember the course the race took, so it was nice to be reminded that it’s a fairly flat course. It does go up and down some but it’s mostly long, gentle slopes, and to make things even better it’s both a downhill start and a downhill finish.

I’m now in my third week since I’ve returned to the Weight Watchers program. The 10 pounds or so that I had gained since I did my best running back in the fall of 2009 had me running increasingly slower times. I had been trying to watch my diet a little bit, but that never works, and even with all of the running I managed to add about a half pound or so every month.

In the three weeks of my new Weight Watchers program I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see that the new guidelines since I’ve been away from WW are much better than the old program, which is saying a lot since the old program was better than anything else I’d ever seen or tried. Over the past three weeks I really haven’t been hungry at all, and most importantly, I’ve managed to lose about 7 of the pounds that I had gained, so I feel like I’m really back on track for the first time in a while.

I knew that with the lost weight I should run faster, and nothing less than running a race would really give me an idea of whether it’s working or not. I felt really great compared to how I felt at China Grove three weeks ago, where I ran my slowest 5k in eight months (21:44) and felt awful as I was doing it. It was at China Grove where I decided I had to get back to Weight Watchers if I wanted to really get myself straightened out.

I’m excited to say that my plan worked, and after just three weeks of an improved diet but no changes in my training, I went from my slowest 5k in eight months to my fourth fastest 5k ever at 20:23!

I’m definitely not through losing weight, but of course I’d like to settle in at a weight that is optimal for me. Right now my Body Mass Index (BMI) is about 21.4 and I’m thinking I might run my best at a BMI somewhere between 19 and 20. The only way to know for sure is to try it, so over the next few months I’ll be trying to get to that level and see if it’s a good place for me.



Click Here for Race Results


Click Here for My Race Photos on Facebook


Click Here for Race Website (Photos coming soon after race)


Race Rating:

8 – 1-10  Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
7 – 1-10  Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10  Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10  Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10  T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6   Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5   Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6   Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7   Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10  Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10  Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10  Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10  Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5   Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
4 – 1-10  Bathroom Facilities (Indoor bathrooms but no porta-potties)
0-10  Other

TOTAL – 96

Race Stats: 

1st Overall Male:  Brad Popple (15:43)
1st Overall Female:  Michelle Hazelton (18:31)
Total Finishers:  471

My Stats:

Time:  20:23
Pace:  6:34
Splits:  6:02 – 6:51 – 6:47
Age Group: 1 of 7 (55-59)
Overall: 48 of 471

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Race #43 – Firecracker 5k – Huntersville NC – 07/04/09

Finishing at a time of 21:39, I set a new personal record for the 5k. Celebrations ensued all around the country with fireworks displays, parties, and God knows what else. I was a little embarrassed by the outpouring of support since it was only 2 seconds off my old PR, but hey. When I mentioned it to Linda, she shot down the notion that any of the hoopla was over my new PR. Instead she said it had something to do with somebody named Joey Chestnut eating 68 hot dogs at Coney Island. Yeah right.
Either way, it was a fun race. It was the second race we’ve run at the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatic Center (the first one was the Fall Harvest Run back on 11/08/08), and on the way home Linda mentioned that both of those races have been two of her favorites. It’s really a nice facility and they do a great job with the races out there. Once again the T-shirts were high quality technical material shirts just like in the Fall Harvest Run and are among the best you’ll get at any race.
The race course is a good one: quite a bit of downhill over the first mile, and a gentle upward slope over the next mile and a half or so, finishing on a gentle slope downward. I took off pretty fast at the outset and passed several people that I knew would be nipping at my heels, so for the remainder of the race I was too scared to walk (probably a good thing) because I could just imagine them thinking, “I’ll catch that guy as soon as he runs out of gas and starts walking.” So I managed to keep going and didn’t get passed by too many people (or maybe I’ve blocked it out of my memory). One of my heel-nippers, Brenneman Thompson, did catch me about 200 yards from the finish and left me in the dust. Lucky for me he’s in the 50-54 age group.
Post-race food was good — sub sandwiches, bagels, and coffee — no fruit but I’m tired of bananas and oranges anyway. The awards ceremony was great and in addition to nice medals the age group winners also received gift certificates to Dick’s Sporting Goods. I came in 2nd and got a $10 certificate, I saw a 1st place winner had a $20 certificate, and I’m not sure about 3rd place. There was a really entertaining DJ on hand who did a nice job of encouraging the runners during the race, then getting some dancing going while we were waiting for the race results, and then did a good job with the awards as well.
I took a lot of photos after the race and have included 266 of them in the slideshow including some of the dancing, the kids race, and runners as they were finishing. The original size large photos (3000 x 4000 pixels) can be downloaded for free by clicking on the slideshow then downloading whatever you want from Picasa.
7 – 1-10 Website (Informaton, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
9 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
0 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
8 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
8 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
5 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
4 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0-10 Other
TOTAL – 96
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Race #12 – Lake Norman Turkey Trot – Huntersville NC – 11/27/08

In anticipation of eating too much later on, we decided to work it off in advance by running the 5k at the Lake Norman Turkey Trot in Huntersville. The weather was freezing — about 28 degrees when we arrived — and not much warmer at 8:00 a.m. when the races started. The three races (5k, 10k, and half marathon) started a few minutes apart and everybody ran the same the same route — one loop for the 5k, two loops for the 10k, and four loops for the half marathon. The race was run on the roads of a large office complex, and being Thanksgiving Day all of the offices were closed so there was no traffic to contend with, but there was also the absence of the great scenery you get in a lot of races with routes through historic neighborhoods and beatiful natural areas and that sort of thing.
After the race the food was pretty good — lots of bananas, Dunkin’ Donuts, Gatorade and bottled water — although some coffee or hot chocolate would have been nice to go along with the donuts and to thaw out the frozen runners.
Linda and I lucked out once again and both got 1st place in the 55-59 age groups (male and female.) The awards ceremony was supposed to be at 10:30 so at 9:45 we went to the Starbucks up the street and, wouldn’t you know, by the time we got back they had started the awards ceremony early and we missed our awards. We were able to get them afterwards along with some other people who also went to Starbucks at the wrong time. The awards were excellent though — nice quality plaques with large letters and graphics.
Race Rating:
6 – 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
5 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
4 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 – 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 – 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
6 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 – 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 81
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Race #9 – Fall Harvest Run 5k & 10k – Huntersville NC – 11/08/08

Since pictures seem to be in short supply for most of the races I decided to take my camera with me and get some photos of the Fall Harvest Run held at the Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics Center. I uploaded them to Picasa, which I’ve never used before, but I think anybody interested can download them for free. It’s just a miscellaneous bunch of photos of people from the race. Since I was in the 5k I didn’t get started taking pictures until after that, but a lot of people are included in the 92 pics. Click on the picture below to view all of them.
 
All of the fastest guys my age were in the 10k, thus opening up the door for me to sneak in 1st place in my age group (thanks fellas!). I also had my best time by just a few seconds — 25:27. At the beginning of the race I had set my Garmin 305 to finish in exactly 25 minutes. I ran the first mile in 7:19 but the pace was too much for me so I slowed down some, figuring a slower pace might be preferable to cardiac arrest.
The food was good afterwards — sub sandwiches, bagles, candy (left over from Halloween I guess?), and there was also coffee, which I appreciated. No fruit though. The T-shirts were nicely designed technical shirts — first time I’ve seen that, but I’m new at this stuff. A pleasant surprise nevertheless.
On the race rating, I deducted a point from the course because of having to share the road with cars. I’m always a little jumpy with cars passing me up from behind, and that was the case for part of the race (maybe a mile or so).
Race Rating:
6 — 4/6 Number of Participants (4 for less than 100; 6 for 100 or more)
8 — 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 — 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, stating winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 — 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
9 — 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 — 4/6 Race part of “Run for Your Life Grand Prix Series” (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 — 4/6 Online Registration (6=Yes and 4=No)
6 — 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
3 — 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
4 — 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 — 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
6 — 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 — 3/7 Age Groups (7 if 5-year groups; 3 if 10-year groups)
5 — 1-10 Bathroom Facilities
0 — 1-10 Other
TOTAL – 85
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