Sunday, December 27, 2009

Just runnin'

Enjoying this phase of the training. No set schedule, no specific workouts or mileage targets, just nice and easy running, ticking over until the hard work begins again. Being someone who likes structure and to know exactly what he's supposed to be doing on a given day, periods like this are unfamiliar to me but extremely gratifying!. At the same time a piece of me is really looking forward to getting back to a more formal plan in the coming weeks

Wednesday was 7 miles with some of the CRC guys from the Dowd, Thursday I took completely off, Christmas Day I waited for the rain to calm down a little before heading out with Aaron for 8 before sitting down to eat and yesterday was another 7. I ran a bit harder for this one, averaging a 6:25 pace and finishing off with some strides to start reminding the legs how to run fast again. Today again will be a random run, Lisa is going to drop me off on our way home from the Mall and I'll just run as long as it takes me to get home.

That will be 40-45 miles for this week. Next week I'll probably try and hit 50 on 6 runs and after that I'll probably ease back into full training. In the weeks leading up to Thunder Road I was hitting over 75 miles a week for the first time ever on a regular basis so without the need to run 2 hour plus runs in the next phase I would like to see my mileage around the 70 miles a week mark if possible.

Thursday I have pencilled in my first 'workout' of this phase. That will be 19 days post Thunder Road. I had already planned a 4 mile tempo workout for this day before we head off to the Beach for New Years and then Ben Hovis yesterday sent out a note asking for some company on his first workout back which coincidentally was going to be on Thursday too. He's planning a five mile 'progression' run so I'm going to jump in on that. A few of the big guns from CRC are lining up to hit this one too (Aaron, Billy, Jay and Thomas) and we're also trying to bring in sub 15 guy Bert Rodriguez who is in town this week, so it should be fun!

Hope everyone is having a great Christmas. We certainly are, the kids have had an absolute blast and that's what matters!



Thursday, December 24, 2009

Looking back, looking forward

Get yourselves a big mug of coffee or stop reading now, this is going to be a long one...

So another year draws to a close and as usual it provides a good opportunity to look back on life and look forward to the year ahead and beyond. In these increasingly hectic times it seems to me that my life currently comes down to four fundamental aspects: family, friends, work and, of course, running!

Out of those four, family is obviously predominant. They are my rock, my constant, everything revolves around them. Whenever I have a bad day or a bad race or something pisses me off I can come home and remind myself that the most important thing in life is right here. Equally when something is going well being able to share that with them just magnifies that feeling.

My girls continue to amaze me. Emily and Sophie are growing up so fast. Emily is nearly 7 going on 15. It's amazing to think that a couple of years ago I would still have considered her my baby, now all of a sudden she's an independent young girl reading, doing math, tieing her own shoes, making her own food and drinks, having sleepovers, the list goes on! Before I know it it seems I'll be vetting potential suitors LOL! Sophie meanwhile is as that great age where she's still my cuddly little baby but is picking up things so fast. Some of the things she comes out with make us laugh so hard! Of course, having all girls does get interesting from time to time. Sometimes I can come home and all three of my ladies are crying about something! Whatever happens though they will always be the most important things in my life and everything I do will revolve around them.

This year also saw sadness in my family further afield. My dad's father lost his brief battle with cancer and we and the world lost a great man who did so much in his life and touched so many. I was very sad that I wasn't able to see Grandad before he passed away but he was given a great send off and was surrounded by loved ones as he passed. RIP Grandad. My Dad's been sick too, spending the past three weeks in hospital with intestinal problems. Luckily it appears he has gotten better just in time for christmas and will be let home in time for christmas later today.

Sometimes being so far away from my family I feel I'm not doing enough to stay in touch with them and show my love for them and that is something I hope I can address going forward. We are all looking forward to our trip across the pond in April having not been able to make the journey this year....

On the work front there were significant developments recently. In October I took the decision to move from my then position. Additional stresses were being put on me, the long hours never seemed to be coming to an end and I was taking those stresses home with me, impacting on my life at home (when I was there!) and my running training. So I decided to hand in my resignation. I hadn't even lined anything up to replace my job and the prospects of finding any new job in the current environment was going to be very tough, but it was a decision that I had to take and I don't regret it at all.

Just as I was about to be on the job market again, my ex boss who now worked in a different part of the organisation caught wind of my departure and it just so happened that he was looking to fill a new role on his team. I accepted his offer and am enjoying my new role. I have had to take a not insignificant cut in my salary but am getting to see much more of my family now and at present my priority is them and not my pay check. Give me quality of life over monetary gain any time. As long as I am being challenged at work and am earning enough to give my family a decent lifestyle I will be happy, that's just the way I feel at the moment. I will never be someone who is so driven and ambitious at work that the rest of my life is negatively impacted. My family and even my running are far too important to me for that to happen....

Moving on to the friends aspect, it was always difficult when I first moved over 4 years ago leaving my best friends behind and making new friends over here proved a slow process. Slowly though through good friends Lisa has made and of course through my running activities I have begun to build a network of people I can call friends. I will look to forge deeper relationships in the year ahead. With the Charlotte Running Club blossoming and blooming and set to explode in 2010 I'm hoping some good friendships will develope from that, there are so many nice people involved in it all.

I miss my old mate Tim who moved back up to Cleveland over a year ago. We ran together virtually every morning and both having young families had two very similar priorities in life. Our two significantly contrasting personalities seemed to mesh well- we were very compatible I guess! I'm still in touch regularly with Tim and see him as much as I can when he is in the area on business. He also acts as my guide/coach on the running front and his advice and training plans have been a significant factor in my half and marathon PRs in the past 15 months. As we move in to 2010 hopefully Tim's guidance can carry on my development as a runner.

Which brings us on to the 4th factor in my life that I mentioned earlier- the omnipresent 'running'! It's very hard to explain the passion I have for running and the impact it has had on my life since I 'properly' discovered it back in 2001. Lisa certainly can't understand it, as she often reminds me, "I didn't marry a runner!!" Back then I was a beer swilling foootballer! Now I'm a runner who enjoys a beer!

I often hear the expression from people "Running defines who I am". I have absolutely no idea what that means, it seems such a vague concept! Regardless I would apply that definition to myself! Running means so much to me. It's my outlet for venting my frustrations, having time to myself, keeping in good, healthy shape, exercising my competitive instincts, meeting new people, pushing my body to the limits, the list goes on. Without running something else would have a very big void in my life to fill...

Looking back on 2009, a year that could have been so disappointing was salvaged by my thoroughly satisfying Thunder Road Marathon performance. After a year decimated by setbacks and disappointing races I was able to come good at the end, putting in two months of possibly the best training of my life and finishing it off with a huge PR at Thunder Road. When I look at my finishing certificate and it says Division Place: 1 out of 190, Overall: 3 out of 1412, it gives me a great sense of pride and reminds me that I'm reasonably good at my favourite pastime.

I'm currently in recovery mode from that race and looking to build on the great training block I had moving into the New Year to set up some fast performances in early 2010 and beyond. Looking back the past few years it seems that the winter has always been a slow season for me. i've either been injured or just ticking it over over this time leading to pretty slow Spring races and a consequent determination to get fitter over the summer. And although I have typically been able to get faster over the summers, it's taken a lot of hard work, hard work being carried out in 90 plus temperatures and ridiculous humidity of course!! Heading into the New Year this year things are different. I'm, touch wood, 100% healthy, I'm coming off the back of a confidence boosting marathon and I'm still (presumably) fit from my training for it. So the plan is to recover from Thunder Road over the next couple of weeks and all being well launch into another solid training block in January. There is a Half in Columbia I have set my eyes on at the end of February and then of course the Grand Prix starts. Having placed in the top three in that event in 2006 through 2008 it was frustrating last year not to be able to compete in it because of injury. This year I have got some payback due and plan to hit the ground running in March.

So if I can stay injury free the next few months then 2010 should be a great year. With the Charlotte Running Club growing so fast there will always be highly motivated, competitive guys to train and race with.

I've also made some changes to my training approach and maintenance between workouts which will hopefully address my inclination towards injury. Looking back at my training logs since I started completing them in 2005 it amazes me how much time I have missed. For someone who is a relatively decent runner my mileage amounts over these years are pitiful. 2005- 1,694, 2006- 1,902, 2007- 2,380, 2008- 2,167, 2009- will be around the 1,840 mark. May seem a lot to some people (non runners certainly!) but I bet if I looked at the training logs of people who typically finish around the same times as me in races they will have covered a bunch more miles than that. Unfulfilled potential? I think so....

Anyway, sorry for boring you with this lengthy post but thought it was a good time to reflect and look forward. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Year and enjoys what matters most to them at this time of year. Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Getting there

My legs seem to be coming round. I ran another couple of 5 mile runs Sunday, Monday and pushed it out to almost an hour today when I met up with the Charlotte Running Club guys for early acres in Mcalpine. We met at 5.30 and there were 15 of us! Unbelievable! Most had headlamps so I could actually see in Mcalpine for once. It was amusing seeing all the bobbing headlamps as we pushed through the woods. I just hung out at the back of the peloton running about 7:20 pace while the gazelles lit it up up front.

I'll probably hit around 40 miles this week (taking Thursday off) and will aim to run 6 days next week too. Once I get through that it may be time to start ramping it up again, we'll see.

Saturday afternoon I popped into the store to give Jay some thank you beers and bumped into Jordan who won the Thunder Road marathon. Was nice to meet him as I didn't get chance to on the day of the race! I'm sure he won't mind me advertizing his blog here....OK Runner

Another blog I want to point out is this Max performance running

Should be some good articles and discussions stemming from this....

Lastly I'll post the link to my photos from Thunder Road pics

If I take a loan out I may purchase one or two...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baby steps

Back 'running' again. Yesterday hit up Mcalpine early doors with the Budic for five very slow miles. I ran very cautiously, my calves still feel very fragile! Was great to catch up with Tim again. Very excited to see how his plans to go sub 2.25 go over the Winter! Coach for cash

Tim proceeded to complete the sale of his house and then set off back to Cleveland. More than 24 hours later he still finds himself on I-77 after getting snowed in en route and spending the night in a Walmart parking lot. Sorry bud!!

This morning I got up to run early but procrastinated and by the time I'd cooked some cinnamon rolls for the kids the smell was just too good to resist so I tucked in myself and put off the run till later. Eventually ended up running home from Walmart via Mcalpine once we'd stocked up on our Christmas food and reached our credit card limit. This ended up being 5 miles again, slightly faster this time at 7:30 pace but still being very tentative for now!

Enjoying this recovery business! If I run, all the better, if I don't it doesn't really matter! Can see this happening for at least a couple more weeks before I start to think about structuring my schedule a bit more again.

For those who haven't seen it yet here is a bit of David Cook accompanied footage of last week's marathon. Awesome!

Thunder Road

Thursday, December 17, 2009


So here we are five days after the Marathon and I haven't run a step, or done any other form of exercise other than walk the dog for that matter. The rest of the weekend was pretty much spent just shuffling about. My quads and calves in particular were so sore that shuffle pace hurt! It wasn't until Tuesday that I woke up and the soreness had noticeably started to ease.

Pretty much a reflection that I had taken my body past what it had been trained to do on Saturday- understandable when you look at the fact that I had only done about 8weeks proper training leading up to the race. As coach put it, we flirted with fire with the agressiveness of the program. I just about escaped unburned!

Now on Thursday my legs almost feel 'normal' again. I was going to leave it until Saturday to test the waters but Tim is in town tonight so we are going to hit up Mcalpine for an easy run tomorrow morning so we can do a post Marathon debrief and start planning the next cycle.

Speaking of which I've been thinking about next steps for the past few days and have come up with a plan that's got the appetite going again. Goal races will be a fast Half at the new Columbia Half Marathon at the end of February and then a dart at my 5k PR at the end of April at the CPCC Skyline race. Looking back the past few years it seems I keep reasonably fit over the winter, but then try and get fitter and fitter as the year goes on- which takes its toll when you are running in 90 degree heat and humidity every day! This time around I want to hit the start of the GP series as hard as possible and then maintain rather than build on fitness over the Summer.

I will definitely be looking to compete well in the Grand Prix series next year having had to sit out nearly every race this year. As far as marathons go I think I'm done for a while! Certainly nothing planned for 2010. Lisa wants me to do Disney in Jan 2011 so we can go on vacation straight after, but that's a long way off yet...

Sunday, December 13, 2009


2:38:16 for 3rd place overall.

The title of the post reflects my relief that I was able to achieve all I set out to do, but only just! By the end of the race I was riding that very thin line between marathon success and failure but luckily I was able to just about hold on!

I had an amazing day, without doubt the most satisfying, exhilarating, emotional and hardest running experience of my life. Now it's time to chill out for a while, put some weight back on and reflect on this and start thinking about next goals.

The day started with me waking at 2.30. Oh shit, early for me even! tossed and turned for a while but just got up at 3 anyway. Figured I could get away with a slightly bigger breakfast now. Had the usual big bowl of Chex, raisins and skimmed milk, hot cup of tea and a couple of hunks of left over Italian bread from the pre race pasta meal the night before. Dairy and a bit of fibre and caffeine seems to work well for me. Let's just say I like to empty myself out before the race!

I messed around on the computer for a while, watched an 'Everest' DVD and put my various layers of clothing on. It was 25 and still falling at this point- but this was to prove as cold as it got.

I headed out the door at 6 so that I could park easily. Found a place right near the start and also near the Westin Hotel where Billy had stayed the night before and had kindly offered me use of before the race! Spent the next 30 minutes or so with Billy in his warm room just chilling out, stretching and helping him pick what outfit/technology to wear out of the 6 choices available! Billy and I had done some workouts together leading up to TR and were both pumped and ready to hit the race hard.

We headed out for a little jog just to warm the muscles up a little and with 15 minutes to go were ready and waiting down on the start line. Sucked down a Gu and got to talk to a bunch of people who were racing, including Pete who I had coached and was just about to set out on his first Marathon adventure. Everyone was ready to roll, the nervous anticipation was building, we just wanted to 'start our engines'...

Five minutes to go and I had a nice place right at the front of the throng of racers (the beauty of a 'smaller' marathon!). I looked around to check out the potential competition. I'd heard that 2 sub 2:30 guys were starting but I didn't see them, most people seemd to be running the Half or had their numbers covered by their external layers. Did some light striders and finalized what attire I was going to start in. It was probably about 30 degrees with no wind which was better than we had expected, so I shed a layer or two and went with racing singlet, shorts, calf sleeves, Dollar store gloves and my light jacket over the top. This would be shed at the 5 mile mark where family was going to be watching.

Then it was time for the National Anthem which is a great touch at the start of the race- even a Brit had goose bumps, God knows what it would have been like if they had pumped out God Save The Queen!

All of a sudden we were off. Weeks of dedicated training and it came down to this, no turning back now, it was time to perform! Time to shine, no excuses...

Going into the race my aims had changed slightly from when I first decided to run TR. 2 months ago I had only just got back into solid training. Coach and I sat down and devised a plan with the main aim to beat my previous marathon best of 2:43:50 set on this very course three years before. However, despite my distinct lack of base, my training had gone as well as it could. I'd run three back to back 75 plus mile weeks, long runs of 22 and 24 miles at a good lick and a 'marathon pace' 18 mile run that I had blown out of the water. Coach thought I was at least in sub 2:40 shape and if I had a perfect day, sub 2:35!

Being the pragmatist I am we decided that sub 2:40 would be a realistic goal, which in itself was hard for me to believe, the way injuries had treated me the previous year. The plan was to hold back as much as possible on the tougher first half, go through in around 1:20 (6:10 pace) and negative split the back half. It didn't quite work out like that!

Mile 1 is downhill. 5:55. that's fine and actually slower than I expected it would be. Mile 2 5:57. Hmmm, that mile is uphill. But I'm running very relaxed and easy. It was already clear that 6:10 pace was not going to be followed! At this point everyone is just feeling each other out and trying to get into a nice rhythm. Brian Mcmahon and Greg Isaacs who were looking to go around 1:15 for the Half were safely up in the group ahead, I just hung out with some guys who were looking to go sub 1:20. They weren't from Charlotte so I enjoyed playing the 'local expert' telling them what they could expect from the course, etc. Aaron was out on his bike cheering out encouragement, all was good at this point.

Through 4 in 23:48, feeling like I was jogging. The bar had been set now of course and I was expecting sub 6 minute mile cumulative pace when I looked at the clock every mile (which is very easy to work out obviously- this probably isn't a good thing!). I knew mile 5 was a long drag up Providence to Wendover so I made sure I just maintained a nice even effort. I was hoping this mile would have slipped a bit otherwise I was pushing too hard. 6:06, perfect

This was where I dumped my jacket. Lisa and the girls were right there cheering and waving their posters, it was great to see them and a couple of other friends who had come out. This was the point where I had my first experience of the crowd effect. Felt like a rock star as a big group had formed and were whooping and hollering!

Then it was into the quiet of the beautiful Foxcroft neighborhood. This section and through to the bottom of Morehead we had identified as a section where you could really roll and so it proved. I was feeling really smooth through here clicking off the miles. Hit mile 11 in 65:43, still comfortably under six minute pace and feeling good. During this section I sucked down another GU (and had been taking on water at every station) and it did seem to give me a boost. I also came across the first other marathon competitor i had seen. he came rolling up behind us at about mile 7. I asked him what he was shooting for and he said 2:37 and moved ahead of our our group.

Then we hit Morehead. I knew this was an important part of the race. Not only was there going to be a couple of tough uphill miles but also the Half marathoners were going to be finishing and I would suddenly be alone. Going up mile 12 I moved smoothly past 2:37 guy and didn't stay with him I just rolled on. I pulled up alongside Steve Spada as he turned off to finish his race and we wished each other luck. I was now on Berkeley and it had gone quiet. A cyclist who was clearly a course guide pulled alongside me and was to keep me company for a while. I actually asked him if I was leading as I hadn't seen the two actual leaders at the start!

Through the Half in 1:18:34. Much faster than planned, but too late now and still feeling good. I kept rolling through 14,15,16 in 5:56,5:49,5:53 but was definitely starting to work hard now. This is a pretty desolate and bleak part of the course and that combined with the lack of crowd support really makes this a tough section even though it is flat. I took in my third Gu of the morning and looked forward to hooking up with Jay who was going to jump in for the last 10! Ran underneath the overpass next to Panthers stadium where a steel drum band were cranking out an amazing racket! I cheered them as I passed. Every bit of support now was going to be welcome!

No sign of Jay at Panthers Stadium where I was expecting him to jump in. Panic over, he's at the corner of 4th Street looking ready to roll! I was mighty relieved and happy to see Jay! We rolled through mile 17 in 5:56 getting some big cheers from Danielle and Chad and headed up Trade Street. This hill was a lot tougher than I remembered and I was now conscious that I was having to work hard to stay on pace. This mile was 6:11 my slowest so far.

Still, only 8 to go now and I had rolled on this part of the course in a training run two weeks previous. Miles 19 and 20 were 5:54 and 6:01 and I was through 20 in under two hours (1:59:45). All you've got left is a 10k now Paul, shouted Jay. "Hmmph" I assented. To this point we had tried to maintain conversations but Jay now asserted that I was to shut up and he was going to tell me stories. Through mile 21 down 35th Street in 6:05. Jay was relating some story about a July 4th night out. Sorry mate no recollection now of that story, but it was sure helping! On 35th a 'wall' had been set up in the street to 'push through'. I was determined I wasn't going to hit the wall but it was definitely touch and go at this stage! My fourth and final Gu was consumed and on I pushed.

This was actually a good section of the course as it was flat and straight and I could just zone out. We turned on to the Plaza and were now heading back towards the city. Jay was drumming up support from every person he could see. Miles 22 to 24 passed in 18:10. Somehow I was holding it together. Not that I knew this at the time. I wasn't even looking at the watch at this stage, scared as I was that it would only tell me bad news- I felt like i was running 7 plus minute mile pace now but I clearly wasn't. Phew!

Less than a 5k to go now but the infamous Hawthorn Hill was now looming. Two weeks previous I had flown up this hill and wondered what all the fuss was about. Now I knew it was going to kick me in the butt again! And it sure did. The hill is only short but is steep and carries on climbing as you turn back on to Central. I felt like I was practically walking when I got to the top! I let Jay pull ahead a little and reassured him that I was just pulling myself together for the final couple of miles. Luckily the crowd support at this corner was fantastic! Aaron was whooping and hollering from his bike, all I had to do was try and keep my focus and form and push through to the finish.

Mile 25 was 6:13 and I could smell the finish line. Along Mcdowell I was just counting off the blocks, my face a picture of pain. I had to get from 7th to 2nd before turning for the finish. Danielle and Chad made their 2nd welcome appearance on the sidelines and now I could hear the crowd support from the finishing line. Mile 26 6:20. I was sliding but nearly done. I saw the clock and it finally dawned on me that I was definitely going to be in the 2:30s. Jay peeled off, an awesome job done, and I milked the crowd's applause, waving my arms with them, jumping up and down, I felt like a rock star! I had my arms aloft as I crossed the line, I think that was the first time I had ever done that! Memories that will last forever.

I immediately went over to thank Jay and Scott and Lat came over to congratulate me. Then I saw the kids and Lisa and I got kind of sappy, emotional. What a race!

So I smashed my PR by over 5 minutes. My second half was 1:19:42 so I hadn't actually dropped that much from the first half, it just felt like I had while I was running it!

I tried to get warm and watched a bunch more people come in. Billy hitting one out of the park to run 35 minutes faster than he did last year, Mo winning the first marathon she had ever entered, Theoden smashing his PR and then Pete completing his marathon journey.

What an event Tim and the guys put on! The volunteers were amazing, the crowd support fantastic and the whole general feel good factor was tangible.

Thanks for reading. I am now very sore, looking forward to some down time and filling my depleted glycogen stores with every type of food I can find!



5.56 (Half 1:18:34)
1.16 (2:38:16)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


So here we are three days from the big day and I feel as ready to roll as I could be. I had a great quick trip over the Ocean, managed to keep to my training schedule and touch wood didn't pick up any bugs which was my biggest fear.

Ran my last mini workout yesterday, 7 miles including 3 in 18:00. Tried to feel in a groove for the three mile section and it went well. I could visualize running at around that pace fairly comfortably on Saturday, which is all you can ask at this point. Today I'm taking completely off and then Thursday and Friday I'll run a few easy miles with some striders, hopefully getting to the start line ready to roll with the glycogen stores full!

All eyes are on the weather forecast for the weekend which currently has 'wintry mix'- not good, however the latest suggestion is that it may arrive later than originally thought. I would settle for dry and cold at this point!

I do have a game plan for Saturday based on my knowledge of the course and my previous marathon here. The key is not to ruin my race over the first half and be in position to take advantage of the flatter conditions over the second half. Jay Holder has kindly offered to jump in at mile 16 to keep me company through the last few miles. I plan to rely on gus and water for my fuelling needs. Lisa and the kids are hopefully going to catch me at mile 5 and then at the end. i'm excited and just want to get this done.

Bring on Saturday!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Charlotte Running Club

Don't worry, you can read on, this isn't going to be yet another boring post about how my training is going! Regular readers of my blog (all three of them) may have noticed a signficant change in its style and content when I started focussing my posts solely on my training for Thunder Road a few weeks back.

Looking at my last few posts I hadn't realized how 'self absorbed' the blog had become. I mean by its nature a blog is pretty self indulgent, how else can you write about yourself without it coming across like that at times! But for the last few posts I realise I've mentioned nothing apart from my training for Thunder Road! While this may all be very interesting (or not!) the blog content will be changing going forward, so bear with me.

When I first started this blog a couple of years ago (pre Facebook explosion!!) the aim of it was to document the training and passion for running of a very busy father of two and to keep friends and family back in England up to date with how life in the US was treating me. After Thunder Road next week I will try and get back to that style of content.

Having said all that, I wanted to use this post to discuss how a significant development in the Charlotte running scene this year has made such an impact on the running and wider community here- the establishment of 'Charlotte Running Club'

When I came over to Charlotte in 2005 one of the first things I noticed as a runner was the lack of a real running community here. Back in England I had been used to running for a club, racing with them, training with them, drinking beers with them. Here it seemed running was going to have to be a much more individual affair. There was the Sharksbite runners club which did introduce me to some likeminded individuals and I'll always be grateful to Tim Long and the enthusiasm he ran that set up with, but even that was quite a disparate group and with Tim's departure the club seemed to split off into various groups and I lost touch with the 'group running' thing again.

Then earlier this year a guy called Aaron Linz dropped me a line asking me if I wanted to meet up for a run some time. I knew the name, had seen it near the top of local race leaderboards, so jumped at the opportunity to meet up.

Looking back in my running log it was March 29. I jogged down to Mcalpine parking lot, met Aaron, put a face to the name and was also introduced to the third member of our running group for that day, Jay Holder. I'd actually spoken to Jay briefly after a race a couple of weeks before so it was good to see him joining us that morning. During that 'getting to know you better' run we discussed the Charlotte running scene in general and all expressed our frustration that there really wasn't one 'home' for Charlotte runners to go to. Sure, there were different training groups all over the city that would regularly meet up for runs, but nothing pulling all these groups together into a bigger community.

At that point Aaron mentioned his desire to try and put an end to this by creating a Charlotte Running Club, a Club where runners of all abilities could hang out together, train together, share their passion for running together. I went home after a nice run that day wondering how Aaron's ideas and intentions could be put into action. Over the next few weeks I ran a few more times with Aaron and Jay and was also introduced to Caitlin Chrisman who seemed to have an even bigger passion for running than any of us (which is saying something!) and Aaron's grand plan started to take shape.

Under the thrust of these three guys (amongst others), Charlotte Running Club began to take shape. At this point, surprise surprise, up reared another injury and I spent most of the spring and summer laid up (as has been documented elsewhere in this blog!). Meanwhile, through the new medium of the omnipresent Facebook (!) I was following how the running club was taking shape. All sorts of people were coming together to train and race. Sunday runs were being organised with up to 30 people running together, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at the Dowd YMCA would have similar amounts of people getting together for a run, from 6 minute milers to 10 minute milers. Group track workouts started up. I was jealous I couldn't get involved!

Anyway, fast forward to the present and the Club continues to grow exponentially! People of all paces and abilities are meeting up to run together and share their passions. Runners who want to improve their performance are getting guidance from more experienced members of the club; already fast runners are reaping the benefits of training together and pushing each other on to bigger and greater things. Teams are entering verious races, both local and national- there's talk of a team entering the national XC champs next year!

Major kudos needs to go out to Aaron, Jay and Caitlin and everyone else who has helped get this off the ground. The Charlotte running community is a bigger and brighter place because of it. Here is the link to the website. Get involved in any way you can! Charlotte Running Club

This, combined with the impact of a blog and Facebook postings written by a certain Theoden James Theoden's Blog (who's worthy of his own blog posting which I may get round to later!) has created something really positive. Let's hope it continues to grow and grow.....

Anyway, enough about other people! It's 5.30 am, the rain has stopped at last and I'm about to head out for my last 'proper' workout before the big day in 9 days time. You'll hear all about it when I get back from my quick jaunt to England this weekend!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Preparing to succeed

"If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail". So says the famous proverb and as usual a metaphor that can equally be applied to running as to life itself. One of the many reasons I love this sport as much as I do is that it takes no prisoners. What you put in you get out, if you don't put it in you get nothing out, there's no bluff involved.

And so here I am 2 weeks out from Thunder Road and I think I'm as prepared as I could be considering all the crap I've gone through this year. Injury after injury made the end of 2009 and the first three quarters of 2010 a stop/start affair but since my broken foot healed I seem to have caught a break and put some solid weeks in. As a result, a season that looked to be destined for the trash can may unexpectedly end up with at least some salvation in the form of a marathon pr.

since my latest comeback mileage has been 11,22,36,44,51,56,58,69,72,59,76,76,75,60.

It was after the 69 mile week that I started to sniff Thunder Road calling, so it was straight on the line to coach Budic to draw me up a program to give me a shot at a PR come December. Six weeks later and I think I've got a shot. over that time I've been able to follow Tim's plan to a T. I screwed up one workout but other than that as usual Tim has had the uncanny knack of sensing what type of workout I need to get me fit and the paces I need to run the workout at to get the best out of it for me. No shortcuts, just hard, realistic work.

The first week of my 'taper' went well, with a good showing at the Turkey Trot on Thursday and a confidence boosting last long run today.

Workout 1- Turkey Trot 8k race (6th in 26:48, 1st in 35-39 age group



Goal was to try and hold around 5:20 pace and go sub 27, feel pretty strong and be competitive. All boxes checked. Held back a little on the first mile as I knew everyone else would go off faster than the pace I was targetting. Second mile was downhill and I picked off a couple of guys. The rest of the race I was on my own unable to get anywhere close to the group in front of me but conscious of Aaron gunning for me from behind. Miles 3 and 4 just tried to hold it together and was pleased to finish the last mile in 5:13. This was good training stimulus for the marathon too so all in all a good day.

Long run (18.8 miles with last 8 at MP)

Last big workout before T Road. Met up with Billy at the Y. we ran 5 miles of the course route before heading back to the Y to change into flats and suck down a gu. Rejoined the course to run the back half. After 5 more miles we launched straight into the last 8 of the course.

At that point we had covered 10 miles at 6:40 pace so we weren't hanging around as it was. The last 8 were meant to be at marathon pace but the first mile was downhill and I got a bit excited and ran 5:52. So now the tone was set for the rest of the run. Hit miles 2 to 8 in


Total for the 8 miles was 46:33 (5:49 average).

Am pumped right now. This was comfortably hard, I'm just hoping I didn't take it over the edge. I ran more miles than scheduled this week so next week I need to make sure I stick to the plan. No run tomorrow, easy 'group runs' planned Tuesday and Wednesday, only workout of the week on Thursday and 14 on Saturday

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taper time

Phew! Another 75 mile week and the taper is upon us. Seems a bit strange talking about a taper when my training has been so truncated but I know that cramming in one more intensive week would just leave me with not enough time to get rested up for marathon day and I still need to follow the tried and trusted three week route.

Had another good week though and am looking forward to cutting back the mileage and hitting my workouts hard. Next week I'm cutting down to 55 miles with one workout (Turkey Trot 8k race) and an 18 mile long run with the last 8 at marathon pace.

Marathon pace? Good question! I have some ideas but am meeting up with 'Coach' Tim tomorrow night and that will be one of our main discussion points!!

Anyway, this is how the week panned out-

Workout 1 (goal 3k in 10:20, 400 jog, 8*400 in 75-78 with 1:00 rest, 400m jog, 2k in 6:40)

Hit up CC track very early in the morning to bank another workout. Had some company in the form of Pete who was doing his Yasso 800s.

I had to run harder than I would have liked for the first 3k. the goal was 10:20 and I was playing catch up straightaway as my first quarter was 90 seconds! Still asleep clearly! Pretty much got it back on track to hit 10:23 by the end. Jogged 400m and then launched into 8 400s with a minute recovery. The goal for these was 75-78 seconds and this part of the workout went well as I hit 75,75,74,75,74,74,74,75 without ever really straining, just trying to keep it as smooth as possible. After another 400m jog it was time for the final 2k. Goal was 6:40 and I did 5 solid quarters around the 80 second mark to hit 6:41.

All in all a pretty decent effort. Legs felt good and I didn't need to go to the well like I did during Saturday's workout!

Included 4*100m strides during the warm up and down

Workout 2 (goal 10 mile 'staggered tempo' with 4 miles in 6:00, 2 in 5:45, 2 in 6:00 and 2 in 5:30)

Did this whole run in the fasttwitch 3, they will definitely be my marathon shoe! 4 mile warm up and then 10 mile 'staggered tempo'. Goal was to hit the first 4@6 minute pace, then 2@5:45, 2@6:00 and finish with 2@5:30. Although the quads felt pretty heavy from the last few days' miles, I was able to get this done and then some without ever really crossing that red line.

Hit 6;01,5:53,5:56,5:57

Long run (18 miles in 2:03:03 (6:50 pace))

Hit the roads at 5 to get my long run in early this week. Ran to work taking in the Turkey Trot course en route to check that out again before next week's race. Felt decent throughout . Most miles were in the 6:40-6:50 range. Quads were trashed by the end but no wonder having run 34 miles in the past 24 hours. Last mile (admittedly downhill) was 6:20 even though legs felt very heavy and unresponsive by this point. Only one more 'long run' to go!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another week in the books

So another week gone and pretty happy with the week's work. Being off work was nice, fun being able to take the kids to school, have lunch with Lisa, etc. So back to work tomorrow, refreshed and ready to see how the new role works out.

The week also saw the after effects of Hurricane Ida pass through. We had three solid days of rain and high winds so had to adapt the training around that- not having to work obviously helped with this! So I had to juggle around my workouts and they panned out as below. All in all I ran over 75 miles for the second successive week. Another 75 planned this week and then the taper begins....

Workout 1 (10 mile Tempo)

Glad to get this done considering the weather! Chose a route around the neighbourhood as I knew the roads wouldn't be flooded. Billy drove all the way down to join me too which was greatly appreciated.

Couple of miles warm up, quick change into dry gear and flats and straight into the tempo. Ran 10 miles in 59:26. Splits were very even except the first one which we ran too hard (5:48,6:00,5:55,5:59,6:00,5:56,6:00,5:57,5:57,5:55)

The rain wasn't actually too bad (although i was thoroughly drenched by the end and tights were starting to weigh me down!). Happy with how this turned out

Workout 2(Predator- 8 mile cutback starting at 6:00 and taking 5 seconds off per mile)

Was meant to be a cut down workout starting off at 6 minute pace and knocking off 5 seconds per mile but I got all my pacing messed up and the splits ended up being all over the place

5:50 (too fast despite trying to hold it back)
5:56 (back on track)
5:43 (picked it up too much)
5:52 (went to sleep)
5:39 (this was the right pace)
5:39 (couldn't go much faster at this point)
5:31 (picked it up as much as I could for the last one)

Total for 8 miles 45:52 (average 5:42)

Certainly went to the well in this workout but some more solid work in the bank, although disappointing that I wasn't able to follow the prescribed pacing/workout purpose

Long run (24.2 miles in 2:52:43 (7:08 pace))

Longest run of the Plan banked. Pretty happy with how it went. I didn't feel great to start with, I actually felt a little light headed so wasn't confident I was going to pull the run off but once I got through that patch I was fine.

Legs felt heavy on the last ten miles and I felt I was plodding but we were running about 6:50 pace when I looked at the splits after the run.

Ran almost all of the course. First half with Steve Spada, had a good chat with him, then stopped at the Y had a couple of gus and some water and picked up Jay, Justin, Billy and Ben for some company for the second half- thanks guys!

First half was about 7:20 pace, second half closer to 6:50. Would be nice to negative split like that on the day itself! It is a reflection though that the first half of the course is a lot more challenging than the second. If you can get yourself in a good position at the half you should be in a good situation for the second half.

Planning a day off tomorrow but still need to get 75 miles in and only a long run of 18 this week so I'll have to work that out

Sunday, November 8, 2009

5 weeks out

At the start of this week I must admit the prospect of 75 miles was a little daunting, but I got it done and confidence levels are rising.

Good and bad news in other aspects of my life. On the work front, my 4 year stint at Bovis came to a close on Thursday. My new job in a different area of the business starts next Monday. This week I have off so I can be a 'semi professional' runner for a week! The new job will be a breath of fresh air hopefully and less stressful than my previous role, to the relief of myself, more importantly my family and hopefully to the betterment of my running too!

On the bad news front my Grandad passed away during the week following a brief battle with cancer. A great, strong man who touched so many peoples' lives and experienced so much during his life, he will be missed greatly by all. Rest in peace Grandad....

Workout 1 (Track- 2*3 miles with 800 jog recovery. 1st 3m in 17:15 (5:45 pace) 2nd 3m in 16:30 (5:30))

Solid workout this am..

Hit 17:10 (5:43,5:43,5:44) and then 16:31 (5:32,5:29,5:30)

Held myself back on the first 3 miles and was pretty much in control for the second set too. Bookended the workout with 4*100m striders

Wore my brand new Fastwitch 3 and they were awesome, hopefully I have found my marathon shoe although obviously will need to test them on a longer run!

Workout 2 (5k race)

Won the race. Course was long. Went through 5k on my watch in 16:28 which is leaps and bounds progress from that 17:26 I ran a few weeks back. Easier course, perfect weather and a few 70 mile weeks saw to that, although I did run a bit faster than I thought i would and wasn't too taxed so all in all happy with the race. Took it out with Brian, was running pretty hard to go through first mile in 5:10. Got a bit of a gap and just tried to relax as much as possible for the rest of the race. Next 2 splits which both had hills were 5:22. As soon as I finished thoughts turned towards tomorrow's 22 miler on the agenda! Brian, Ben and Stan all ran solid races too on what was a perfect morning for racing!

Long run (22.4 miles in 2:36:18 (6:58)

That was actually my longest run (apart from the Marathon obviously) ever, putting the seal on the most miles I've ever run in a week- and all singles too. So far so good in the mad dash to respectable fitness for TR.

Ran first 12 on my own. Again up to Arborway to take in a few miles of the flatter part of the course. Legs were feeling yesterday to start out but did start to roll a little heading back to my house. Stopped there briefly to shed a couple of layers and take in 2 Gus and a bottle of Powerade (the fuel on offer at TR) then headed down to Mcalpine to pick up Aaron, Jay, Todd, Justin and Paul. Ran 10 with them pushing the pace a little towards the end. Legs were heavy but another good run in the bank and a good week in the books.

Another couple of hard weeks ahead but looking forward to them

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A weekend of two halves

A slightly strange week. This was a down week so I didn't run Monday and three of the other days were easy and short. The plan was to hit the two workouts hard and get a decent 20 mile run in. Had to settle for two out of three...

This week- 59 miles, long run, 2 workouts

Workout 1 (4*3*800 at 3:00,2:50,2:40,2:30- 30 seconds between the reps, 3 minutes between the sets)

This was a pretty cool workout and it went better than expected.

Hit(3.02,3.01,3.01),(2.49,2.47,2.50),(2.39,2.39,2.40), (2.31,2.35,2.35)

I knew that the workout really would be starting after the third set and so it proved. I was actually on pace through 400 to hit the goal time on the 11th rep but then the legs and form started getting a bit wobbly and I pretty much had to drag myself through the rest of the workout at 5:10 pace. Happy with this though. Legs are feeling good this week.

Before and after the workout I ran a set of 4*100m striders

Workout 2 (3*2 miles on Lansdowne loop- 2 minutes recovery. Goal 11:10s (5:30/5:40)

Fail... Didn't head out until the afternoon and I think therein lies half the problem. My body is used to getting it done first thing!

whatever it was, felt very flat and tired from the off today. Did the first 2 miles in 11.06(5.27,5.39) which was right on schedule for pace but not effort! was very tired already. did the first mile of the second rep in 5.40 and decided enough was enough, no point in flogging a dead horse with 20 miles on the schedule tomorrow am

rough with the smooth...

Long run- 20 miles (2:18:22- 6:55 pace)

Talk about a weekend of two halves! Much better run today. Took a pre run Gu, ran up to Arborway to run a few miles on the course, headed back to Mcalpine, took on some Gu and a water stop (10.5 miles) and set off to meet up with Jay, etc. for some company for the last part of my run. Hadn't reckoned with the rains last night splitting Mcalpine in two however so couldn't get across the bridges to meet them! Headed back out of the park, down Wingrave, Providence, Alexander, Brackenbury, Sardis and home. Felt decent throughout and closed the last five miles at sub 6:40 pace. Maybe I should precede all my runs with a diet of candy, hot dogs and beer!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

7 weeks to go

First week of the crazy 8 week training plan done. Each week I will summarize mileage total and key workouts- with goal and actual times.

This week- 72 miles, long run, 2 workouts

Workout 1 (3*2 miles with 2 minute recovery)

Hit the two mile Lansdowne/Wingrave loop with Ben for 3*2 miles with 2 minute recovery. The first mile is a net downhill and is fast, the second mile is pretty much all uphill and hard! We had talked about hitting 5.40-5.45 pace but that immediately went out the window as we ran 5.24 for the first mile, even though it didn't feel particularly fast. So I ended up working harder than originally planned for this workout but happy with the results.

Hit 11:05 (5.24/5.41), 11:11 (5.26/5.45) and 11:20 (5.36/5.44). Was with Ben through the first miles but then he would crush me on the hill. Oh and then he did a 4th! Happy with how the training is developing though...

Workout 2 (4 mile tempo on trails (6:00 pace), 1 mile jog, 6,400m tempo on track (5:45 pace)

Headed out in the afternoon which is always a bit weird but hit a fairly decent workout. Warmed up for a mile followed by 4 * 200m strides. Did the first 4 miles of the tempo at Mcalpine. Goal was 6:00 pace. Hit 5:45, slowed down so get closer to prescribed pace for next 3 (5:54,5:58,5:56), mile recovery to CC track, straight into second 4 miles (1600s) of tempo.

Goal for these was 5:45 pace but could tell immediately that this wasn't going to happen. Hit 5:54,5:54,5:50,5:46. Finished with 4*100m striders and a jog home.

To be honest I was absolutely zapped by this workout but I think it was more the accumulation of work the past few weeks than lack of current fitness. It was interesting as in Mcalpine I was having to hold myself back to hit the pace whereas at the track my legs just had no spark and I was dragging myself around.

Got it done though. Rest day tomorrow and a 'down' week ahead- I'm due one

MCM'ers did great!

Long run- 18 miles 'easy'

18 miles in 2:07:20 (7:04 average). 1st official long run of the 7 week charge. Ran 11 on my own (Alexander/Sardis loop and through Mcalpine) then met up with Ben, Caitlin, Megan and Matt for 5 or so and a couple on my own again at the end. Felt smooth on my own, then was just chatting, then the last couple of miles were hard going and legs felt heavy (not surprised). Was fully recovered from Wednesday though. Now just got to hope I can recover somewhat before tomorrow's workout.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The road to Thunder Road

Okay, call me crazy, but guess what, I'm planning an assault on Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon, Saturday December 12th. Before you all say stupid idea, sure route to more injuries, let's put this into a bit of a context and maybe you'll see where I'm coming from!

Back up to last post in September. I started running again on August 26th and built back very slowly. Weekly miles since then have been 11,22,36,44,51,56,58,69, on course to hit 70 plus this week. I ran a pathetic rust busting 5k on the 10th October in 17:26 and started hitting a few workouts. The following Saturday I ran a more encouraging 15k in 54:02. Okay so it was nearly three minutes slower than I've previously run but it was fairly under control and stuck to my pre race plan.

When I was able to follow that up the next day with 17 miles it got me thinking about Thunder Road again. Emails followed with Coach Tim and we decided to go for it. More emails back and forth followed and the Training Plan was determined. 7 weeks to go and training starts in earnest tomorrow with 18 miles in the am.

Why am I trying this? Why don't I just carry on building back slowly, maybe aim for the Half, stay healthy through the winter and shoot for a Spring marathon? Good question. But it feels right and after a year of travails on the trails at last I've got something to focus on. The thought of just running through the cold, dark mornings of Winter with nothing specific to aim for just didn't appeal I'm afraid....

This of course isn't going to be your typical marathon build up, far too late for that. The theme is going to be hitting the (twice weekly) workouts as hard as possible, doing the long runs nice and slow and running VERY easily on the other days.

So keep posted over the next few weeks. It could be a roller coaster of a ride....

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back at it

Have gingerly returned to training the last couple of weeks. So far so good. Ran 10 with the Charlotte Running Club crew today and things are looking up

Monday, July 27, 2009

Stress fracture

yep, went to the docs today and the xray revealed what I had started to expect. So foot is in a boot for the next three weeks while it heals. Bit of a bugger but at least I have some clarity on what's going on now and I should be fine again soon. I'm typically a good healer so we'll see.

Doc was a dick though. The conversation went something like this...

"So how did you do it?"

"I was running"

"So you're a runner?"


"How many miles a week do you run?"

"Quite a few..."


"Ummm, usually more like 60"

"Hmmm..." (with smug grin)"Maybe the human foot wasn't built to run 60 miles a week."

Cue biting of tongue!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Still sore

Not much progress on the toes to report. Still unable to run. Tested the waters last night, mainly because I got off work early, the family are away and I was bored, but could tell straight away that it was a no go. So got on my bike instead and got a sweat on for the first time in while. Rode again this morning, better than nothing I guess.

Still, even if I had been fit I doubt I would have run much this week. Work was crazy, pretty much 16 hour days until Friday! I should be done with the stupid hours now and am certainly going to enjoy a restful weekend!

What a dreadful year I'm having! Since last September it's just been 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I've had hip flexor, plantar, calf and now freaking toe issues, it's making me wonder why I'm so injury prone. Is it my shoes? I've always presumed a neutral shoe is the one for me with my high arches and up on the toes style. I should probably get my gait analysed for once! Maybe this afternoon- I'm going to the store to get some new shoes

This latest setback has made me think about what I can do to salvage this year. Originally I was going to try and get a fast 5k in before September and then jump in to a Fall marathon but this has put that out of the window! So here it is, the last chance for this season will be to pr at Thunder Road in December. Presuming I can start running again the next couple of weeks (no guarantee of that!) I will still have 4 months to get in shape for that. Not at all in my plans originally but needs must and this is something I can set my sights on

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Ah well, I was hoping that this post would be me previewing today's 4 mile race, ready to start rolling and be back competing again further up the field. Tuesday I rolled in a tempo workout and was feeling I was pretty much back to fitness and ready to take my training to the next step when bang, my injury curse struck again. I had just completed the workout with Tim and we were running back up to my house when my foot started to feel a little sore. It was a strange pain because it was on the top my foot along the metatarsals and I didn't really think much of it. However, an hour later and I was in pain! I couldn't work out what I had done, but my foot was so sore that I thought I might even have broken something!

Anyhow, a few days later and I'm not able to race today. Very frustrating as I was ready to really put a good race down. The foot is still sore, it appears I have aggravated the tendons along the top of my foot and I've got to wait it out while they get back to normal. Hopefully won't be much more than a couple of weeks out and I can quickly get back up to speed but we'll see. So I am officially out of the running for any of the money,sponsorship, etc. that goes with placing in the GP overall now too, which makes it doubly frustrating.

It was a rough week! My busiest week at work for a long time, not getting back home until after 11 most nights and still have to go in this weekend at some point. Looking forward to spending some time with the fam this weekend though as I feel I've hardly seen them at all this week!

Been enjoying the Tour though, some very interesting dynamics in Team Astana going on with Lance having a good first week but Contador showing yesterday that he's the best rider on the team. My prediction is that Contador will pull further clear of Lance either today or later on in the mountains and Lance will be happy to play the team support role (or so he will say!!)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Another good week

Hello again. Have taken a bit of a 'down week' this week but the two workouts I have done have been pleasing. Monday I took completely off, Tuesday I ran 11 easy while Pete was doing his workout, Thursday I ran 8 with folks from the Dowd, Friday was an easy 7

Workout 1 was on Wednesday am. I decided to spice up my usual 6 mile tempo by running 4 miles a bit harder, recovering for 1 mile and then hitting the last mile hard. The 4 miles went 5.51,50,48,36 and I ran 5.21 for the 6th mile.

Workout 2 was this am. A 5k 'time trial'. I ran 16.41 and felt pretty comfortable. Didn't look at my watch throughout, just ran by 'feel'.

I feel I'm getting to that point where I can start hitting the more taxing workouts again so after next week's 4 mile race I think I'll start hitting the old track again and start cranking those oxygen debt workouts again!

An easy 8 tomorrow to complete a 50 mile week and then back up into the 60s next week, including highly anticipated runs on Monday and Tuesday with Tim down from Cleveland!

Running, as usual, is providing a welcome respite from work at the moment. The pressure's on there as we report our year end numbers this week, so the hours have been long and will be all next week.

Other than that am excited to see the Tour start today. Lance and his Astana team mates had solid rides today although I don't know the final results yet.

Man U have made a couple of signings. Valencia from Wigan who by all accounts will be a welcome addition to the right side of our attack and then another one of Fergie's intriguing signings, Owen from Newcastle. Despite other peoples' reservations and claims that it seems a bit of a desperate move from Fergie having been spurned by all his other high profile targets I just have a funny gut feeling about this one that Owen will be a success and it could even pave his way back into the England set up in time for South Africa next Summer. We'll see.

Anyway, time to sign off, crack open a beer and toast July 4th- if you can't beat them, join them!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


That was my mileage in the end for this week after my workout yesterday and my long run today. A very satisfying week. Two decent workouts and nearly two hours on my feet today. This morning headed out to the Whitewater Center to run for the first time. Once over the mild contempt for having to pay five bucks in order to park I hit the trails on my own for 35 minutes while I waited for the other guys to show up, then did another 1 hour 20 when they turned up. Thoroughly enjoyed the run, the trails are excellent, really nice to work different muscles and systems and good to run with a bunch of other people- no way would I have run that amount of time on my own! It's funny though, there were eight or nine of us but because the trails are generally single track we were all running single file, so 'group conversation' is difficult! At one point as we were climbing a section with switchback turns every twenty yards or so it looked like we were the peloton making our way up Alpe D'Huez! Oh and we saw a f@cking big snake!

So the last 4 weeks have built from 40 to 50 to 55 to 65 miles. The week ahead I'm looking to cut back a little and consolidate my recent gains. So a light mileage week ahead but keeping the quality- tempo on Wednesday, 5k time trial planned next Sat

Friday, June 26, 2009


Long time no post! Figured my daily posts were getting increasingly boring so to spare you all that I'll just update this every now and then

So it's been a fairly decent week of training so far. My calves were very sore Saturday after the race so when i got up on Sunday I initially thought a long run was a no go, but with the family out of town I got in the car anyway and drove up to Latta Plantation to meet up with Jay, Keith, Jocelyn and a few other guys to run the trails there. Legs were fine but the Company and new trails certainly helped. Was good to hit up a new route and enjoyed running on proper trails for a change. I'll never be a trail runner though. I find myself spending most of my time looking at my feet making sure I don't trip. Did manage to fall once still! Ran for just under an hour and a half so called it 12 miles which made it the planned 55 for the week

Monday and Tuesday legs were still very sore so kept it nice and slow. Wednesday I felt recovered at last on my run with Jay and Caitlin from the Dowd and got over 10 in. Nice to run with others. I'm typically a bit of a loner when it comes to training but I'm trying to commit to meeting up with folks at least a couple of times a week. Certainly makes the 'daily grind' easier to face and keeps the motivation up. Over the next few weeks I'm hoping to get some solid miles in so the more company the better!

Thursday I felt ready for a workout again so I hit ten miles with 6 in the middle that came in at 34.40 which was pleasing and a bit of a confidence booster and today I just took it nice and easy again for 6. Fartlek planned tomorrow and then meeting up with folks again on Sunday to run at the Whitewater Center for the first time which should be fun.

Training seems to be coming round, long may it continue....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nice and hard

Well first the positives. I came third, was never passed in the race and felt I ran pretty solid- my splits were pretty consistent. The weather was frankly awful. when you wake up at 6 and it is already 73 degrees with dew point of 71 you know it's going to be rough! No excuses of course- I mean it's June, in Charlotte, what else do you expect, but talking to other runners afterwards and looking at some of the results, I think my 17 minute time was a lot closer to the 16:30 shape I thought I was in before the race (if that makes sense!!)

So onwards and upwards. Already got my next few weeks mapped out and am excited about seeing improvements over the next couple of months- at least I can't get any slower can I?

Girls have been away since Wednesday so I'm looking forward to their return tomorrow. Only problem is I've got to get out and mow the yard and that's not an enticing prospect in this weather! Hoping to take advantage of my temporary 'bachelor status' for one last time tomorrow, heading out to Latta Park for the first time for my long run with some other folks. Also going to take in my first Charlotte Eagles game tonight. Will be interesting to see what the standard is like

Post Script. Couldn't be bothered to go to the game in the end- will take Emily next week. And didn't mention earlier, Pete ran 22.14 for a pr. We thought 22 was definitely doable and 21.40 at a stretch so in the conditions it was a great effort!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nice and easy

Enjoyable run tonight. Signed up for Saturday's race and then ran a couple of loops of the course. May need to temper my 16:30 expectation! Weather forecast is not great for distance running and the first two miles has some significant hills. However, the last third of the race is either downhill or flat so the key is to get to mile three in one piece and be able to take advantage of the fast finish. Ran this course in 15:51 a couple of years ago which is a nice reminder to me of where I'm trying to head back too!

It was nice to run in the evening for a change, in spite of the heavy humidity that made my legs feel like sides of beef! Going to take tomorrow off and hit it hard and fresh on Saturday

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


did a repeat of last Thursday's tempo workout adding on 4 * 1 minute on/off at the end. Legs were pretty unresponsive today and it was a bit of a slog to be honest. was about 30 seconds slower than last week but the effort was solid and after hard runs Thursday, Saturday and Monday the slow down wasn't unexpected. Will take it easy now till Saturday. Lying in tomorrow will run after work and then probably take Friday off. Still plan to hit 55 miles for the week so that will dictate how long my Sunday run is!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday routine

The usual Tuesday 4.45 alarm call today for 4 miles at 5 before meeting up with Pete for his last workout before the race on Saturday. I had him doing 10 400s with 200 recovery so paced him round that, throwing in some striders for good measure. Total 9.2 miles at around 7.15 pace. Tempo planned tomorrow, then the girls are out of town for a few days so my running times and locations become a little more flexible!

Monday, June 15, 2009


So the morning workout went pretty well. headed out the door and after 15 minutes warm up, straight into 8*2 minutes on/off. Managed to run 2.9 miles total for the 16 minutes 'on' and the recoveries were 7.30 pace. Total run 7.5 miles in 51:40.

I have a confession to make....I'm going to run a 5k this weekend. Despite my comments last week, I have succumbed to the temptation. Couple of reasons. Lisa and the kids are going to be out of town so what else can I do on a Saturday morning?? Two, Pete will be laying down his new 5k pr and I would have been going to watch him anyway. Three,it's a low key race, no grand prix points, etc. so I might be able to place and get some confidence back. Four, the legs seem to be coming round nicely. My goal will be to be able to beat 16:30. We'll see.....

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I am an absolute master of it when it comes to running sometimes. Tired from yesterday's efforts and a busy day I didn't want to get up early this morning to run and we had a trip to the Zoo planned so needed to get going pretty early. So I was going to head out of the door and 8 and squeeze something in before we went but the legs didn't feel all that great and I was STARVING. So took the shoes off, heated up some left over pizza (I have the diet of a champion at the weekend let me tell you) and decided I would run after we got back from the zoo. So nine hours later, after three hours in the car, 6 hours melting in the Colombian heat and the usual day trip fare of burgers, fries and ice cream I headed out for my last run of the week. Eschewing the planned workout, I decided to swap Sunday and Monday around and ran a nice and easy 5.5. Still hit my planned 50 for the week and gave the legs an extra day to recover from Saturday's efforts, so hopefully I will wake up ready to hit my workout in the morning

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Where did that come from?!

Headed out the door at 5 this morning so I could get my 12 in before the kids woke up and Lisa could have a lie in. Certain amount of trepidation as haven't run over an hour for what seems like months! First mile passed in 7.30 and I figured I would just run nice and easy for an hour and then maybe pick it up if I was feeling good.

Well the second mile was 37 seconds faster than the first and it appeared I was beginning to roll a little early. Mile 3 6.30, 4 6.24, 5 6.21. I was feeling nice and easy though so just went with it. I was at the stage now where I would have been pissed off if I started running 7 minute miles again so the dynamics of the run had now changed! Mile 6 6.17, then 6.09, 6.04, 6.10, 6.13. From mile 8 onwards it was becoming a bit of a struggle and my turnover decreased and I was having to push harder. Mile 11 was a struggle in 6.25 but I finished strong with a 6.07. I was pretty spent afterwards but I'm taking all the positives from this run. I felt pretty comfortable throughout despite the fast pace. Now we'll see how that impacts my workout tomorrow and my runs in the days ahead!

Got home at 6.30 thinking I had about half an hour before peace would be disturbed but of course Sophie woke up immediately and my day began! Busy busy today. Discovery Place this morning, yard work and grill out this afternoon, possibly the zoo tomorrow

Total 12 miles in just over 1:17, 6.25 average pace

Friday, June 12, 2009

Today's numbers

7.34 miles in 51:37

Glad it's the weekend! 12 miler and fartlek workouts planned. Will be my longest run for months!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


So the workout went fairly well. I hit up the Mcalpine out and back at 5.30 am, jogged to the two mile mark then 6 miles 'tempo'(6.06,6.05,5.55,6.02,5.55,5.49=35:52). Felt pretty smooth but my resting heart rate is too high at the moment so everything is much more effort than it should be. I need to quit my job so I am not so stressed every morning when I wake up! Hip area feels fine, as long as i keep on top of the stretching it appears I'll be okay.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Confession time. I didn't run today. Reluctantly dragged myself out of bed at 5.15 and was just about to head out the door when I thought "F@ck it, I have a day off planned for tomorrow, let's take it today instead". So I filled my face with breakfast and got into work early. I had a load of work stuff on my mind anyway (as usual- grrr!) so at least I was able to address that. No excuses tomorrow now!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Apologies for the inevitable title but yes I ran 9 miles today. Did my weekly run with my first ever 'pupil' Pete where I run 4 miles then meet Pete and jog to the track and help him through his workout. Today I had prescribed for him 5*1000 with 400 jog recoveries. I thought it would be a useful guide to what he may be capable of running at the Summer Breeze 5k next week. The workout went well and he ran 4:20s on average. He's got his long run up to 11 miles as of last week too, so I am excited to see him race next week!

While Pete does his 400 jogs I fit in a couple of 100m strides while I am waiting so it works out quite well!

It was ridiculously humid this morning however and no sign of any let up for the next few days. Will make my planned workout tomorrow am interesting to say the least. This will actually be my first proper workout for a while other than the races I have been doing! And luckily it will be under 10 miles so the title trend can end.

Oh and hi to my new 'follower', Richard. That's three readers then...

Monday, June 8, 2009


Another beautiful morning here for running. Headed out early on a route I had never run before (which is a rare occurrence). Clocked 8 miles starting out at 7.30 pace closing the last couple in 6.30s. Felt pretty decent today and am looking forward to a good spell of training before my next race

Sunday, June 7, 2009


All the sevens today. Just over seven at just below seven, out of the way just before seven! Tougher workout ahead- taking the kids to Carowinds today!! Hip,groin,pelvis, whatever soreness not an issue this morning at all!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Better- but at what price?

Headed up to the University area this morning for the early (7.30 start) running of the King Tiger 5k. Resigned to mediocrity I had slept well the night before and the usual pre race adrenaline was strangely lacking. Had never run the course before so the warm up route was a gimme- check out the course. Weather was perfect, dry no wind, little humidity. Course was fair, reasonably flat throughout but a challenging long hill in the last mile.

Wasn't feeling all that great during the warm up, the hip was feeling kind of sore. As I was stretching while lining up at the porta potties the pain was pretty bad- to the extent that trying to bend my right leg past 90 degrees was painful! I was even considering pulling out of the race at this point, envisaging a potential first ever DNF if I did go ahead and race. Changed into my brand spanking new flats and did some striders and the pain had subsided, to the extent that I was confident that I'd be fine for the race.

And I was. The race went pretty well. I came 4th in 16.52 and actually felt like I competed, challenging for third for the first 2 miles and holding off a late charging fifth place runner. As soon as I finished I could feel the hip stiffening up and sure enough it was a very short and slow warm down that was necessitated. Since then the hip seems to be cooperating. I managed a couple of laps of the football field with the dog this evening, but we'll see what tomorrow brings. By the looks of it will certainly booking some time for some ART with Dr Duffy this week.

So a better, more promising race but concerns over an old injury flaring back up. Oh the ups and downs of running!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Field day

It was Emily's first field day today. It has rained incessantly for the past day so they had to switch everything inside but she loved it anyway. I took the day off work so I could spend the day with her. Sneaked in a run at 9 am though, and really enjoyed the cooler temps and rain! 5 miles in 33.35

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Why I am unfit

Checked my training log. Since October I have run an average 28 miles per week- that's effectively three runs a week.

Today I headed out to run 6 nice and easy followed by two fast miles. I went through 6 miles in 7-7.30 pace and then hit 6.14,5.59 but it was a much harder effort than it should have been. My hip flexor is very stiff when i wake up in the morning and this is definitely impacting my running as the muscles around there aren't firing properly. Something for me to keep an eye on. I'm trying to get into the routine every night of doing a wide range of stretches so hopefully i will get the benefits of that showing through soon

I have the day off work tomorrow which will be nice. We were meant to be going to Emily's first Field Day but that may now be put back to Monday because of the forecast rain

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy National Running Day!

Celebrated mine with just over 9 miles at 5am, helping Pete out with his workout again


So I hit the track last night. It took my level of fitness, chewed it up and spat it out with contempt! Didn't even break 5 minutes for the mile, decided not to even bother doing the 2 mile later on. Took a good, hard look at everything in my post 'race' analysis and have decided to lay off the races and track workouts at least until I get a reasonable level of fitness back. Unfortunately I am 'obliged' to race a 5k this weekend but once I get that out of the way it will be time to lie low for a while, get fit and return to racing when I'm better prepared.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rest day

Nice to lie in this morning. Really needed the day off. Hope legs will appreciate it tomorrow night when the plan is to jump in to a mile race at the Summer Track Series, then do the 2 mile race if I feel up to it.

As I was updating my race results this morning I noticed that I ran Saturday's 5k at a slower average pace than when I set my Half PR in Cleveland in September. Wow- how things can change!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Captain's Slog

Wasn't able to head out until this afternoon in the end and as is usual when I leave the run that late it was a pretty miserable one! Ran 7.3 SLOW miles in the fairly oppressive heat so hopefully flushed some crap out of the system from yesterday's race. That made it almost 50 miles for the week which I'll take

As I was finishing I decided to definitely take tomorrow off. My legs are seemingly very tired so i'm hoping a day off will get them back into shape for the next workout on Tuesday night when I'm heading to the track to run a mile and 2 mile race

Saturday, May 30, 2009


17.11. Slowest 5k since lord knows when! BUT, I expected it and I still enjoyed racing again. I knew I was in trouble when the old heart was pounding out of my chest during the warmup! I really am out of condition at the moment.

But isn't that part of why we love running? No short cuts in this sport, very little luck involved, if you're not fit you're not going to perform! Just adds to my motivation to get back to my best though! I'll get there

Friday, May 29, 2009


Excited to 'race' tomorrow! Plus it's on the trails I run on all the time- I'm going to run to the start from my house for my warm up! Obviously I'm in no kind of shape but it's good just to get on the start line again and get the adrenaline pumping!

Today's run? 5.33 miles nice and easy. Looking like I could get over 50 miles this week

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Wow, it's humid at the moment! Every step feels heavy, a trudge through a curtain of damp. Just getting it done. 8 miles today, at a shade under 7 minutes. Shorter run tomorrow then jumping into a rare 'cross country' race on Saturday am at Mcalpine. I would have been doing a workout there anyway so I'll pay for the pleasure instead! Obviously not expecting much but still looking forward to toeing the line again

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rough day

And it all started off so optimistically with a nice and easy run this morning. I ran 3 miles on my own, met up with Pete, who I am 'coaching', paced him through his 4*800 workout, threw in some striders while Pete was doing his recovery laps and ran home for a total of 7 miles in 50 mins.

From there the day went progressively downhill! Very stressful day at work, came out of a meeting with the CFO feeling I'd gone ten rounds with Tyson, looked at my screen and a buddy on the West Coast had decided to instant message me the following- "Looks like Man U went down". Thanks Justin! Salt, wounds, etc. So despite avoiding the internet and warning as many people as possible not to mention the game as I was recording it, I found out we'd been demolished in the Final. I haven't brought myself to watching any of the game yet. Apparently it was very one-sided so fair play to Barca, worthy winners and a formidable team.

At least tomorrow can only be a better day, can't it??

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Champions League Final

Huge match in Rome tomorrow night- Champions League Final between two teams who could justifiably be called the best two teams in the World. I shall be dvring it and watching it when I get home from work- pretty easy to avoid the score in the US compared to England! To be honest, Barcelona frighten the life out of me, the likes of Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Henry can tear you apart at any moment, but if we can defend well we've definitely got a chance.

By the way, why am I watching Orlando versus Cleveland at the moment? Got the alarm set for 5.15 for tomorrow's run

A day off or not a day off?

The weather has been pretty strange here in Charlotte so far this year. Rarely have the temperatures got up into the 80s yet and the rain has kept coming and coming. Somehow we are only one inch above where we should be at this point but that's bullshit- the gauge must be under some cover somewhere! Culminating in Sunday/Monday's aborted Coca Cola 600.

It's still raining today. This morning I stepped outside into a curtain of dew- pretty miserable conditions for running- even just wearing a pair of shorts at 5.30 in the morning! To add to the misery I really didn't feel like running when I woke up. The legs were really feeling yesterday's workout and I just felt really tired. Grinned and beared it for 5.3 miles at a nice 7 minute pace though and sure am all the better for doing that than taking the day off completely. Thoughts on days completely off rather than very easy days (which aren't actually easy because you feel like crap from the day before)? I've typically been one to make sure I take a day completely off once a week but could easily be persuaded otherwise!

Monday, May 25, 2009

New goals

Only takes me a few days of coming back from injury and i get all excited and start thinking about where I want to take the running. So true to form, this time I've got my eyes on a new 5k pr at Greek Fest at the end of August then a Fall marathon. For the moment I'm just enjoying being able to run every day again!


Enjoying the day off today. Emily still had school to make up for a snow day (?!!) so Lisa dropped me off with her and I ran from the school down through Boyce to Mcalpine and ran on the xc course there before heading home. The intention was to run a good hard tempo run so I put the flats on and was running pretty steady from the start. After 6.5 miles at a hard 6 minute pace I shut it down and jogged home the last mile and a half. felt pretty good all things considered and wasn't a bad first 'workout' for a while. Total 8 miles in 50:13

Sunday, May 24, 2009

More like it

Better today. The advantage of running with others. Met up with Jay and Todd and ran a nice and easy 8 miles around Mcalpine before heading home to the aroma of cinnamon rolls in the oven. Much better company than my ipod and the legs and lungs appreciated the slower pace. That made 40 miles for the week, which I certainly would have taken this time last week!

Just settling down in front of the football and then friends heading over later for pizza, chat and beers- got to love three day weekends!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Today's run was a slog. I was wondering why today felt so rough compared to yesterday and I couldn't wait to get to the Y and finish. My legs felt heavy and I was really having to push hard. Then I looked at my watch. I'd run the 7 miles at not far off 6:20 pace. When the first mile is 6:40 I'm bound to be setting myself up for a hard run at my current fitness level! So learn from that and slow back down! The humidity kicked my butt too. I ran mid morning compared to the usual 6am and it makes such a difference.

End of season

So the Premiership wraps up tomorrow. Not much excitement at the top, just Spurs and Fulham fighting for that last Europa Cup place. Different at the bottom, with any two of four teams still able to be relegated. Much has been argued about whether Hull have an unfair advantage as they are playing a Utd team that will bear no resemblance to the team that Sir Alex puts out on Wednesday. While most people seem to be saying that Hull don't have an advantage and it doesn't matter anyway the other teams should have done better over the other 37 games, I must say I have to disagree! If that was the case, why bother with a 38th game?! Oh look, you've earned your place in the League already, let's wrap up the season now!

So of course Hull will have an advantage because of the United situation! Having said that, the other teams can't complain after the game. What do they expect Ferguson to do? He's won the league already, he can put out whatever team he wants, especially with Wednesday in mind!

I'm just hoping Fox Soccer Channel will do some good coverage tomorrow and I get to see action from all the games

Friday, May 22, 2009


I don't like basketball. Hell, I don't even understand basketball. However, I know a few Cavs fans so always look out for their results and just saw Le Bron's clincher tonight as time expired. As I said, I have no knowledge about basketball but this guy is clearly a true star. Always impresses me when I hear him talk, always clearly on a different level to the other players on the court when I see him play. Rank him alongside people like Woods, Schumacher, Federer, etc. (in their pomp). Dominant in their sports, winners

Today's run

6.5 miles easy at Mcalpine before work. Felt really good and set me up for the day. Got off work relatively early ready for a nice relaxing long weekend....


So, what happened? Shortly after that post I was struck down with hip flexor/groin issues and back on the injury bench. Out went the 'stay healthy' and 'run some fast races in the Spring plans'!

Was starting to get slightly fit again in April running a mediocre but satisfactory 16:58 and just getting back into the groove when my trusty left calf blew out on me again. Four weeks later and I've managed to run every morning this week and am considering myself back on the comeback trail again. Let's do this!


To get started again, here's a snippet from my previous blog which summarized my running in 2008 and set the goals for 2009.

"Looking back on the year past it was mixed from a running point of view. I picked up a lot of niggly injuries this year but also got some good races in. January started with me carrying a knee injury that I had picked up after a November fall. Blew both calves out too in March so my planned track races didn't materialise. I got fairly fit between April and June and won/placed in a few races then took the plunge and entered the Richmond Marathon, which set the tone for the summer/fall training.

Under the guidance of 'Leg' I got very fit over the Summer. Nabbed my sub 16 5k for the year at Greek fest in August without doing any 5k training, then went up to Cleveland and smashed my Half PR. This came at a price however, as my pf flared up and put the mockers on running at Richmond. Training was effectively curtailed for a couple of months as was the blog.

November saw me inserting orthotics and getting back into training, which brings us to the present. I'm back in a good training block and feeling pretty good although the fitness seems to be taking longer to come back as I get older!

I don't have too many specific goals for 2009. The primary and immediate aim is to stay healthy. If I can manage that for a couple of months I should be set for some fast races in the Spring. I would like to run some 5ks on the track and have a go at those PRs. The second aim for 2009 will be to get another marathon under my belt. I won't plan for a specific race this time though, I will hop into one when I am fit and training is going well.

I would also like to hit 2,500 miles this year. Last year I only managed 2,167 after 2,380 the year before. I had 98 non running days which is ridiculous!"

Out with the old, in with the new

So the old blog is gone and here's the new one. I blamed the old one for jinxing me with injuries so we'll see how this one goes.

Warning to people who have happened upon this. My blogs are boring. They generally discuss running and not much else.

However, some people who used to read my blog have been asking me to get it going again and I like talking about running so I've started this one. We'll see how long it lasts...