2009 Grandfather Mountain Marathon

I last ran Grandfather Mountain Marathon in 2007 as a training run, and figured it would again be good for hill training. This time DJ joined PM and me, and a great time was had by all.

In 2007 I went out conservatively for the first ten miles, then ran a hard effort to finish up with 3:32. This time I stuck with a more even effort over the entire course, finishing in 3:13 and 13th overall. (However, still only 7th in the 30-39 age group).

Lots of recap and photos behind the link

Miles For Marines trail 15K

Tino, Hochberg, Janie and I drove down to SC last Friday for the first annual Miles For Marines 15K trail run. Intended as a fundraiser for injured U.S. Marines, the run is not formally a race, with no race numbers or formal timing. The course was through Westminster Park, private land owned by a Presbyterian Church, much of it on well-groomed trails and even a few miles of freshly mowed field grass.

I wasn’t exactly feeling up for a quick trail race, so I stayed well behind a lead pack of about 5 (which included Hochberg), and kept them in sight for about two miles. I found the paths reasonably marked, but apparently the lead pack did not, and took a wrong turn sometime around mile 4. Turns out I unknowingly led the race until about mile 7. (I thought it was strange that I was knocking down so many cobwebs!) One guy paced along with me for most of the race, and then left when another guy overtook us with a lot more enthusiasm than I had. So, I think I was third, and was happy with my pace, considering the workout my ankles and other underutilized trail muscles got. Hochberg ended up running too many extra miles to be happy, and Tino and Janie seemed uncomfortable with the terrain. I liken the terrain to Anne Springs Close Greenway, though the mowed sections were often slanted and tricky on tired ankles.

I give the volunteers a big thumbs-up; the event was very well-done to not be a formal race. Plus, it was for a very good cause. Next year I would encourage them to organize with a timing company (this course has the makings of a great XC race), but I will likely return regardless. Friendly people, great cause, good fun.

Myers Park Summer Track, final week

Last night was the final night of CTTC Myers Park Summer Track Series, featuring championship races for the top qualifiers from the month, and a 5000 meter race instead of the 2 mile. This was only my second visit, but I’ll definitely be at more of them next year.

I did reasonably well with a 5:24 mile and an 18:52 5K, slight improvements over my previous week efforts. I haven’t done speed work on a track since before I got hurt last year, so I have a lot to learn about pacing on a track. My current intention is to be able to break a 5 minute mile and to run the 5K comfortably in the 17s this time next year, so I have plenty of work cut out for me.

Very nice to see plenty of Crazy Leggers show up. Congrats to Dan “Duracell” Hochberg, who placed third in the master’s championship mile with a smoking 5:16. Very nice seeing Mike, Tino, and the entire Koos family all running events, and also having Julia and the Stewarts there to cheer us on.

Myers Park Summer Track

I’m late to the party, but Summer Track Series is every Tuesday evening in June at Charlotte’s Myers Park High School. Lots of fun, tons of events for both kids and adults, 50m all the way up to 2 miles.

I haven’t run on a track since late last summer, and was happy to run a poorly-paced 5:26 mile at the 6/23 event. (Honestly, I was a little surprised to run under 5:40). Looking forward to sane pacing and getting closer to 5:20 next week.

I was spent after the mile, but I ran the two-miler for kicks. Total dead legs, but ran a negative split, with first mile at 6 flat.

Funny note: The runner I was trying to hang with for most of the two-miler was a tiny TrySports girl apparently named “Mo”, so every lap there were lots of “Go Mo” calls from their team, followed immediately by the occasional “Go Bo”. I would have been laughing if I wasn’t desperately trying to keep from passing out. And, yeah, she kicked my ass.

Great to see lots of familiar faces out, and to have met some friendly new ones. See you next week!

China Grove Main Street Challenge 5K

On the reliable recommendations of a few past participants, I made the trek up to China Grove last Friday for the Main Street Challenge 5K. Plenty of local support (around 400 runners), and the late 9PM start time is novel. I convinced a couple of Hochbergs to join me, and the afternoon drive up I85 in their convertible was a nice start to the evening.

The course is an out-and-back burner from the small China Grove downtown. It starts on a long, gradual downhill for about half a mile, and there is a long, gradual uphill for the half mile at the turnaround. It was nice to warm-up jog the course along with some friendly folks before the sun dropped, though the flying bugs along the graveyard road were not an ideal pre-race snack (also didn’t appreciate the one that got stuck in my eye).

The course is fast, and I was hoping to stay well under 19; unfortunately, my legs didn’t have any speed in them come race time. I struggled the entire race and salvaged a 19:07. Friday night runs are awesome fun, but my body just can’t seem to get into gear for them. I shouldn’t complain much, as I was happy the time was good enough for third-place age group award.

Post-race snacks were quite good (I enjoyed a huge chunk of watermelon, a cookie, and a free energy drink, and people tell me the chocolate dip-and-sprinkle Krispy Kreme stand was a winner), and the tech tee event shirt will definitely fit nicely into my post-run shirt stack. The after dark, small town atmosphere was very friendly, and regardless of my time I’m already looking forward to the race next year.

Shout-outs to the friendly people I warmed up with: Dan was right behind me and good for a third in his age; Stan, Jinnie, and Bill from TrySports went home with hardware, as did Bobby. I also ran into Théoden, who set a nice PR and has a great account of the race on his blog. I suspect his daughter will be passing all of us in no time!

Pocono Mountains Run for the Red Marathon

It is not accurate to call the Pocono Mountains Run for the Red Marathon an easy marathon. It is a very fast marathon, but the descents are as quad-trashingly brutal as you will encounter. I can usually jog a day or so after a marathon, and I comfortably run a week afterward. After Pocono, I was having difficulty walking almost a week later.

So, what was my opinion of the race? I absolutely loved it.

Such a thing as an accidental personal best?

I’ve run a lot of organized marathons recently (five in the past six months), but most have been paced like long runs rather than all-out races. Each has been faster than the previous one; since I’ve been slowly recovering from some nagging injuries, this strategy has been good for me both physically and mentally. I’ve managed to stay focused with my recovery without piling on massive weekly mileage totals, and the events are fun motivation. It works for me, at least.

My splits and more photos behind the link

Mac OS X: 2D Dock in 10.5

I don’t mind the 3D look of the OS X 10.5 dock, but I often prefer the 2D look of the old dock. Plus, I prefer the more-obvious running app indicators from the 2D dock; I find these hard to see in the 3D version. Also, sometimes I just prefer the same look for my dock whether it’s right- or bottom-oriented. Also, hidden apps (⌘H will hide, not minimize, an app’s windows) can be configured to show as transparent icons.

From a terminal:

Credit should be given to macosxhints.com for this.