Monday, August 31, 2009

Charlotte's Greek Myth

Saturday morning was the 'flat' Greek Fest 5K race. This race is flat by Charlotte's standards. The race is run around the Greek Church in the Dilworth neighborhood and draws runners who are hoping to set a new 5K Personal Record (PR). This year it drew almost 1,300 runners.

The course starts in front of the Greek Church on East Blvd and runs East on East Blvd (down) then turns right onto Dilworth Rd West, which is mostly flat, but there is a small hill or two. Then the course turns left onto Dilworth Rd East, then left onto East Blvd, which is flat to slightly up hill. You then take a quick right onto Park Rd and then a very quick left onto Kingston Ave, which is a long slow incline (about .34 miles). Then you turn left on Lyndhurst, which is flat, then left onto Worthington which is a nice long slight decline (about .43 miles). Then you repeat the Dilworth loop and finish by running another slight incline up East Blvd back to the church. The hardest part of this course is the ending. The incline is probably the same as the Kingston stretch, but you can see the finish line the entire time. And it appears to move out of your reach with every step!

Last year I managed a 24:47. This year I managed a 27:24. I did everything wrong. Didn't get enough sleep. Didn't get out of bed early enough. Didn't seed correctly (entirely too far back! I was 30 seconds off the start line!). I gave up at the 1 mile mark when it said I was running about 8:40. I don't think I was awake for any of it.

But I ran into several friends afterwards who had done very well. They were very happy with their time and most had run a personal record. I joked that next year when I look up my time, I'll know I can beat it. So basically, I set up a slam dunk for next year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Never Easy to Say Goodbye

Tonight I'll be saying goodbye to an old friend when I run the Wednesday night CRC course for the last time. I've run this course every Wednesday (that I was in town and not injured or resting) since 2004. It's been a great course with some good hills but there are a couple of confusing spots and we tend to lose new people. The new route will be longer, less confusing and with easier stopping points to accommodate runners needing shorter distances.

I'm a bit nostalgic about this course because it's been the one constant in my running life for the last 5 years. It's been my favorite for all that time, too. It never drew a large crowd and it never developed a consistent following. But it was always there and it was always a challenge. I have a lot of fond memories about this course, but some bad memories as well.

So I guess next week when I run the new course it will be like turning a page. Gaining a new friend with new challenges. I have a feeling, especially given the condition of my foot, my old friend will leave me with something to remember him by tonight.

Monday, August 24, 2009


So I ran the Miles of Mooresville on Friday night. I ran an 8:05 for the first race, the one mile and a 17:20 for the second race, the two mile. For the third race, I hung out, had a couple of beers and took pictures of my friends who actually ran the race. It was a tough night to push it. It was really hot. I don't know the official temperature, but I imagine it was somewhere near 90 and was hotter than the last Miles of Mooresville.

So Saturday when I woke up, in addition to being hungover, my left foot hurt so bad, I thought it should be removed! Luckily I had a massage scheduled and she worked that foot and leg the entire hour. I was able to ice it a couple of times and do some stretches later that day. I continued icing and stretching it Sunday and have iced it a couple of times today and the pain isn't as bad as it was. But I am still in pain.

I read on the internet that when you have plantar fasciitis, you shouldn't run for 6 weeks. OR, you can continue to run and treat the injury, but it will take 3 to 6 months to heal. I'm choosing the running option. I have 4 miles planned later today. I also have a 5K this weekend, a half marathon in mid-September and a 30K trail run at the end of September all planned. Should be interesting...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Healing, Vacay and a Car Review

So I haven't run since the Blue Points 5K, because I wanted to rest my feet. I got these huge calluses on my feet while training for the Flying Pig. I was hoping my doctor would cut them off at an appointment last week, but she suggested new shoes and said a podiatrist would have to cut them off. Um, what? I went to CVS and bought a tool that shaves them and they're doing much better. I think the one on my left foot was starting to cause plantar fasciitis. But after taking a break for a week and a half, my feet are doing much better and I'm considering running the full marathon in Nashville in April.

I spent last weekend on the Isle of Palms outside of Charleston, SC. I love this beach! It's not cheesy like most of them and is the perfect place to relax and party. This was my second trip this year. I went with four of my girlfriends to see the Pat McGee Band play at the Windjammer. We tried a new place called Acme Cantina on the island this time. It was ok. But I was pretty much just eating shrimp salads all weekend as I didn't have much of an appetite. It's interesting what not running does to my body. I'm not as hungry and I have no appetite. The concert was awesome. He really put on a great show. We'd been drinking all day and were pretty drunk by the concert. I remember laughing so hard, but I can't remember about what. Yes, it was a great night! I took a lot of pictures, but my friends won't allow me to share them. They're funny like that.

I love renting cars. It's a great way to test drive a car for an extended period. Not that I want to trade in my vehicle. I love not having a car payment and it's in pretty good shape. But if something should happen, I want to have an idea of what I'd like to get next. I've decided my next vehicle will be a compact with great gas mileage. I spend 99% of my time driving to the gym, to the run, to the store and to home, so luxury isn't a necessity. For this trip, I rented a hatchback and was given a Toyota Yaris to try out. It's possibly the world's smallest rental car! I think it's very cute, though. I'm sure I was just driving the base model so many options were missing. I'm not big on power doors, power windows so not having those wasn't a big deal. However, the radio, or speakers left something to be desired. I think this model only has speakers in the back and that really isn't sufficient. This model also didn't have cruise control. I know this feature costs extra and you rarely use it, but when you do, it pays for itself. Another thing I didn't like was that the speedometer is in the center of the console. I understand this is a European feature, but I didn't care for it. Not being a luxury vehicle, the ride was a bit bumpy and there was a lot of road noise on the interstate. It also lacked the pull out power you need in an around the town car. The gas mileage was great and it got us from point A to point B and back, but it's not my next car.

My next race is in two days when I'll do the last Miles of Mooresville for this summer. Friday night in the rockin' ville! This time we have a larger group going and plan to hit Brickhouse in Davidson afterwards. I plan to do what I did last time and run full speed for the one mile and two mile races and then run the three easy for the mileage. I'm really looking forward to getting back out and running!

This pic is of the sunset on the island from the restaurant Boathouse at the end of the island near Sullivan's Island.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Oh yeah...

This past weekend I ran the Blue Points 5K in downtown Charlotte. It started and ended at the Panthers stadium and the route was one big loop. One big hilly loop! The course had to be reversed due to construction limiting one street to one lane. The course was reversed so that the 1200-1300 people were more spread out when we had to merge into one lane.

This reversal meant that we would run from Mint Street (flat) and turn left onto Morehead, where we would run down for about half a mile and then enjoy rolling hills for another half mile. Then turn left onto Kenilworth where we enjoyed a slight downhill to flat for about a quarter of a mile. Then we turned left onto Stonewall. That's when it got interesting. There we climbed for about three quarters of a mile and then we ran rolling hills for another 3 quarters of a mile. Then we began a quarter mile climb and ran through the construction area. This was a little unnerving because the pavement was torn up and there was some dirt and some water. The ending was flat.

It was a tough course, but I felt oddly strong the whole run. I finished in 26:33 and was number 494 out of 1,273 finishers. Pretty decent finish for me.

Again, you see something interesting in every race. This race I got passed by a blind guy. He was running alone with his stick infront of him. I've seen a blind guy in a race before, but he was running while holding someone's arm. I don't know how this guy avoided potholes! We actually passed each other a few times and at one point he yelled out 'is this where we're in one lane?' Several of us yelled out 'no' and he said 'thanks' and then moved to the far right lane. I was amazed at how well he could run without being able to see. I never saw him bump into anyone one or trip or fall. At the two mile mark I yelled out the time and he said 'thanks' and seemed pleased with his time.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Song Remembers

On my way to the gym, a radio station played Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam's song 'All Cried Out.' This song is 20 something years old and reminds me of when I moved to Charlotte with my parents and sisters. We lived in an apartment in East Charlotte (an area I now know to avoid) and a little girl at the apartment complex could sing this song better than Lisa Lisa. She had a beautiful voice and every time she was around we asked her to sing this song.

For some reason this memory led to another memory about another song that in 1992 was every other song on radio station Gorilla 95.1 (now known as Kiss 95.1, but still just as cheesy); 'Freak Me' by Silk. In the Spring of 1992, I was in my second semester of my freshman year at UNCC and all my close friends were at other colleges. So one weekend I drove to Greensboro to visit my friend Crystal at UNCG. Saturday night we went to a dance club called Daddy-Os, which was probably the only club in Greensboro at the time. We were having a great time, the DJ was playing great dance hits and then suddenly we were all asked to clear the dance floor. The dance floor was dark with a mirrored disco ball spinning star shaped light on the floor and the back wall. Three male figures walk onto the dance floor. Two guys are dressed in black pants, black button-down shirts and thin black ties (all ties were thin back then). One guy was dressed in a purple suit with a black button-down shirt and a thin, purple tie (if you can recall the outfits Color Me Badd wore circa 1991, he looked like that). When the music began to play 'Freak Me' the three figures began to dance slowly, smoothly and lip-sync (YES! LIP-SYNC!) the words "Freak Me Baby, ah yeah, Freak Me Baby..." The ladies in the club began shrieking in delight (yeah, DELIGHT?!). As I stood there with my eyes wide-open and my hand covering my gaping mouth, my friend excitedly said 'OH! I'm so glad he's doing this while you're here! It's so awesome!' I might not have blinked the entire time because the image of a guy with a long, curly mullet and his two skinny 'back up dancers' gyrating seductively while lip-syncing into fake microphones is still burned into my brain. At some point I think I overcame my shock and cracked up. Towards the end of the song I remember my friend saying something like 'Now, normally I wouldn't find him attractive, but when he does this I think he is so sexy!'

I remember thinking 'Ah, so that's why there's so many lesbians in Greensboro!'

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Strange Dream

If I have even one drink of alcohol, I will have strange dreams. Last night I hung out with some friends and had a few beers and all night I had strange dreams.

In the most notable one, I was invited to this house for a party. When I got to the house, I couldn't find parking for my Jeep, but then I remembered that in prior dreams in these situations, I can pull a plug and deflate the Jeep and fold it to fit in my pocket. (I wonder if GM has considered building a car that can do this?) I walked into this strange house and was greeted by a man. I asked him who's house it was and he said 'I don't know, but everyone will be here soon.' The house reminded me of one of the bungalows on East Blvd that's been converted into a boutique. It had hardwood floors and antique furniture in the very small rooms throughout. And there were French doors that led into the dining room. Then people started coming in dressed in Halloween costumes, but they were actually there for a wedding reception. Pretty soon the bride and groom came in and I knew the bride, but not well enough to be at her wedding reception. Then I realized that I was just wearing a t-shirt and shorts and everyone else was dressed really nice and I hadn't brought the couple a gift!

The dream changed when I found it ridiculous that the Jeep would deflate automatically, but not re-inflate automatically.