Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Race Recap: Salem Lake 30k Trail Race

Every year Winston-Salem's Twin City Track Club puts on a notable 30k (as well as a 10k) trail race, which was held this past Saturday.  It's a mostly flat out-and-back course that consists mostly of hard-packed dirt, with some asphalt greenway thrown in at the midpoint.  It covers most of the perimeter of Salem Lake, hence the name.

DARTers Adam Mayes, Chris Jones, and Mike MacIntyre participated in the 30k this year, and kicked up some serious dirt.  They were kind enough to provide a race recap.

Adam:  "The weather was gloomy and there was a light rain during the entire race.  The course had a few wet areas that probably slowed us down a little.  It was my first time doing that race and first time running those trails.  I enjoyed it, although I wished that the weather would have been better.  I know that I started out too fast but I figured that I could hang on at the end.  Thats exactly what I did.  I started out running something like 6:20 a mile for the first few miles.  But then I backed it down close to the halfway point and started doing some 6:45 and 6:50 miles."

"Chris and I discussed the water stops.  We both agreed that the people working the water stops pretty much had no experience working a race before.  We even passed a group of workers walking to a water stop before they even had a chance to set it up.  So, we were just out of luck at that stop.  I have to agree with Chris that this is a great training race for a fall marathon."

Chris:  "It was a gray day at the lake on Saturday.  This is usually a beautiful place to run...and probably ranks among my favorite places to hit the trail.  About 10 years ago Runner's World actually ranked the Salem Lake trail among the Top 50 running trails in the US.  But on Saturday, everything was shut-in with fog and a dreary mist.  Fortunately the trail wasn't too bad as the drizzle had just started, and temps were cooler than they had been earlier in the week which was nice.  Nearly 1,000 runners turned out for the 30K or the 10K - so quite a crowd amassed in the unusually dark morning hours at the East Winston lake.

Personally, I was about 1 minute and 30 seconds off of last year's time.  Everything kinda fell into place last fall...and I had already run a low 1:18 half up in Pittsburgh prior to Salem Lake last year so I had a good gauge of what kind of shape I was in endurance-wise.  Felt OK through 14 or so and didn't have much left after that.  I think my half-marathon split was 1:20:30 or so; the last 5.5 wasn't too pretty.  

Advice to Davidson Area runners attempting the race in the future - bring two gels for the 30K due to somewhat limited water stops / opportunities to refuel."

Did I mention that Adam and Chris kicked dust?  Chris nabbed fourth overall and first in his age group with a time of 01:56:03 while Adam took 12th overall and second in his age group with a time of 02:03:47.  Way to go!

While Mike had a good time at the Salem Lake 30k, he experienced some duress prior to the race, which fortunately didn't keep him from going the distance and then some, as you'll read in his recap:

Mike:  "Started the Salem Lake 30k Trail Run 2 hours late (long story), but I finished 19.0 miles (another story) in 3:42:33 after walking 5 miles before starting (another story that is part of the 2 hours late story).  For the first 5 miles of the run, it was fun as I got to cheer on all of the runners on their way back to the finish.  After that I saw no one, but they did leave the Gatorade and mile markers up.  The good news is that I forced myself to do it even though it was just me, and the better thing is that they gave me a shirt and a number without paying since I got there so late.  The best news is that I now feel that I can complete a marathon after run/walking 24 miles. 

Yes there were some parts where I questioned my decision to start running in the first place, but once I got back on the trail around mile 12, it got much better.  Note to self: next year I will buy a set of trail shoes to protect my feet."

Dealing with adversity is the key to a successful race.  Mike cast off the negative, embraced the positive, and therefore not only finished the race but had a good experience.  Good job, Mike!

Have a race report you'd like to share?  Send it to the Davidson Area Running Team.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Race Recap: Hit the Brixx 10k & 5k

The annual Hit the Brixx 10k & 5k run/walk was held under cool and misty conditions this past Saturday.  This event is somewhat unique in that one can run the 10k and then, time permitting, run in the 5k.  There was also a kids' fun run at the end which was my five-year-old's first race.

Generally speaking, the 10k course started with a downhill section, then uphill, then downhill again, and finally a series of uphills leading to the finish line.  That is typical for most Charlotte-based races, and was also true for the 5k.  There were more participants (869 finishers) in the 10k than in the 5k (509 finishers).

There were several DARTers in attendance, including Kara Pettie (51:10 in the 10k), Jim Crotts (43:51 in the 10k), Laurie (1:01:29 in the 10k) & Chad Randolph (50:13 in the 10k and 23:00 in the 5k, pushing James in the ubiquitous baby jogger for both races), and our newest member, Wayne Eckert (50:12 in the 10k).  If you were there for one or more of the races, sorry I missed you and lemme know so I can post your name.

Post-race pizza provided by sponsor Brixx and beer provided by Carolina Beer and Beverage made it a worthwhile trip.

You can find results of both races here.

Wayne Eckert

Jim Crotts

Laurie Randoph with son James

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Race Recap: Run for Green 5k, 10k, & Half Marathon

Congratulations to DARTer Kathy Rink for winning overall female for the Davidson Run for Green half marathon held this past Saturday!  Kathy cranked out an unofficial time of 1:34:25.  Way to go, Kathy!  Also participating in the 13.1-mile race were Chris Alexander (1:39:13), Chris Brown (1:40:47), Chris Flaherty (1:49:25), Heather Bellemore (2:11:58), and Mike MacIntyre (2:27:37).

As for the newly added 10k, there were some familiar faces including Bobbi Luster (55:21), Natasha Marcus (57:09), and Allyson Greenwood (1:18:49).

In the 5k division, Chad Randolph (a.k.a. Yours Truly) took 1st in male 40-44 while pushing his five-year-old in a jogger in 22:25.  Steve Hauser ran a solid 27:19.

Normally after a race the DART blog would mostly consist of a general recap and a mention of participating DARTers.  In the case of this past Saturday's Run for Green 5k, 10k, and half marathon, the post will instead provide grounds for discussion, particularly of the half marathon.

About a month prior to the races there was an open question regarding the route of the half marathon; mainly that the bulk of it winds through a large residential area, which isn't what one normally thinks of as green space.  The question was whether or not there is another viable route that would be more scenic.

More recently an anonymous reader gave their race recap, which echoes part of the first comment.

Anonymous said,
"There is almost nothing good that I can say about this race. Without a doubt, it is one of the least interesting half marathon courses I've ever run. It is sadly ironic that this event - which is held to support the conservation of open space - takes place almost entirely in one of the worst examples of urban sprawl that you are likely to encounter. Plus, they charged an extortionary late fee of 33%, and on top of that, no t-shirt for race day registrants. You have to hope that they treat their other donors a little better. No way that I'll ever be back at this event."

All good points worthy of consideration.  While I ran in the 5k and not the half marathon, much of my training occurs along this course so I feel somewhat qualified to chip in.

I'm not enamored with the half marathon route either; I like starting and finishing downtown and running on the greenway- heck, I even like running up Patrick Johnston Lane(!)  However, going through River Run can be uninspiring (perhaps familiarity breeds contempt in my case).  As for alternate routes, it'd be hard to put together thirteen miles and stay within the confines of Davidson.

As for the race day price increase, that's pretty standard.  As for the t-shirt, I got one, but it's from last year (suggestion- don't print the date of the race on the shirts, as it's like getting a Christmas ornament with last year's date on it).

If you ran the half marathon, what did you think of the course?  How was your experience overall?  What about the 10k, which was new for this year?  How about the 5k with its new route?  Let's hear about your experience (and not your opinion of someone else's experience).  In other words, constructive criticism.  Add to the comment section or send an email to

Monday, September 14, 2009

Update to the Davidson Cross Country Trail Post

I've added a couple of paragraphs at the end of June's Davidson Cross Country trail post, suggesting a route that will give you about 8k's worth of running.  Thanks go to reader JimmyMac for inquiring.

Chad R.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Races in Familiar Places: Historic Mooresville 5k

It was a beautiful day to run a 5k in downtown Mooresville, with sunny skies and temps in the upper-60's.  This was the fourth year since its inception, and this time around the course had changed.  Whereas in years past runners would enjoy two trips up E. McLelland Ave. next to the Willow Valley Cemetery, road construction on Church St. enjoined something a little different.  This year's course took runners up and down historic downtown, with a tough uphill around mile 2.6 on E. Center Ave.

Several DARTers were in attendance, including Chris Brown, Steve Hauser, Chris Flaherty, and Laurie & Chad Randolph.  Below are some pics of the race:

Steve Hauser
Chris Flaherty

Chris Brown, Laurie & James Randolph

Chad, Laurie, & James Randolph
Complete results can be found at:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Races in Familiar Places: Aquesta Bank/PostNet 5K Run/Walk

Fellow DARTer Mike MacIntyre mentioned another upcoming local race that's truly worthy of your consideration.  It's the Aquesta Bank/PostNet 5K Run/Walk, and will take place on Saturday, Oct. 10th at 9:00a.m.  The race will begin at the Aquesta Bank on Jetton Rd. in Cornelius and finish at Jetton Park.

The race is intended to "raise awareness and funds to fight a horrible disease that most people know by the name Lou Gehrig's", or ALS.  Dennis Coogle, the owner of PostNet in Jetton Village, was recently diagnosed with this disease.  He and his wife Sherry are teaming up with Aquesta Bank to offer a family-friendly 5k run/walk.

A fundraiser will be held on October 8th.

For more information and to register go to:

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Race Report: Lynch's Woods 50k Trail Race

Some say that trail running is more akin to dancing than it is to road running.  Having to account for your every step by watching out for rocks, tree roots, water crossings, stinging/biting insects and other unsavory creatures makes you tread lightly.  Rather than muscling through a road course, trail running forces you to vary your cadence.  Going faster while trail racing is usually a recipe for disaster - slow and steady will finish the race.

That was what I was thinking about as I was heading down to Newberry, SC for the inaugural Lynch's Woods 50k trail race, which was held on Sunday, Sept. 6th.  Lynch's Woods 50k is part of a series of annual races put on by Terri Hayes, an ultrarunning veteran who now gives back by putting on such races.  Terri states that her intent is for people to complete her races first and foremost, and to put a lesser emphasis upon competing.  To that effect, there's no set cut-off time, no entry fee (though donations are gladly accepted), and there's no commemorative t-shirt nor swag.  So what do you get for your efforts?  A sense of accomplishment of course, but also a challenging course, friendly volunteers, camaraderie, well-stocked aid stations, and a unique finishers' medal.

Lynch's Woods is a park nestled nearby downtown Newberry, SC, and is composed of 286 acres of heavy woods.  There is a fire road on its outskirts and miles of single-track within, primarily used by horse riders, mountain bikers, trail runners, and hikers.

And so around 7:30a.m. Terri gave us the go ahead and all 49 of us took off.  Terri also ran the entire course, a cool thing that isn't something you see race directors do very often.

The course consisted of five loops.  The first loop was on the fire road that circled the park and the remaining four were repeats of a hilly 6.8-mile trail, completely single-track.  At some trail races that start with single-track, participants get bunched up at the beginning and passing gets to be tricky.  Having us start with the wide fire road allowed us to spread out nicely so that by the time we entered the single-track we didn't have to jostle for position.

The inner four loops were pretty tricky so I had to keep my eyes on the path constantly.  Imagine a lightly used deer trail meandering up and down through the woods and that pretty much describes it.  Throw in a couple of small stream crossings for good measure.  Add roots and rocks and pine cones.  Being somewhat clumsy at trail running, I managed to trip and fall down at least six times, three of which were full face-plants.  There was company in my misery, as I saw several other runners sporting bloody knees.

I finally "heard" the rhythm of the trail and managed to hang on for a 6:42 finish, putting me squarely in the middle of the results.  While I would have liked to have gone faster, I was afraid to, as every time I sped up I ended up tripping on some immovable object like a rock or root.  Slow and steady finishes the race.

Summary:  A super-low-key 50k in a scenic setting which offers much more than material rewards.  Best for trail nerds.

Equipment of note:  My new Inov-8 f-lite 230's, Injinji toe socks, 12 gels, about 20 Endurolytes (I lost count), eight bottles of whatever was available at the aid stations, Oreo cookies, and green grapes.  Après-run, I stopped by McDonald's for a 1/3 lb. mega burger of some sort.

Chad R.
Davidson Area Running Team

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Charlotte's Greekfest 5K Race Report

DARTer and local speed demon Chris Jones gives his recap of last week's Greekfest 5k race, which was held in Charlotte.

"I enjoyed my first Greekfest 5K this past Saturday. Temps were in the high 60's but without the oppressive humidity that was in place throughout most of August. A whopping 1,278 runners took part in the race - clearly this is one of the most popular Charlotte area 5Ks of the season.

Rumor had it that the Dilworth area course was flat and fast, and it lived up to its billing. When the gun went off, runners streamed down East Blvd, enjoying the nice gradual downhill which lasted most of the first mile. I was out in 5:14, which was a little fast....but given the downhill nature of the first mile, I was OK with that time. Several runners must have been in the 4:40 range - a really smoking pace to attempt to maintain. Mile 2 included a deceptively gradual uphill on Kingston St and masters runners Bill Shires and David Dye powered past me, leveraging their great endurance base to blow past people on the slightly tougher part of the course. I was through Mile 2 in 10:42, slowing down but realizing that if I held it together I could break 17 minutes. At Mile 2.5 we turned back up East's a tough stretch but I like the fact that you can reel in the finish line because it is in sight the whole time. I barely made it past fellow Charlotte Running Club members Bill Shires and Kent Morris, but never caught David. All three of us were very pleased to go sub 17 minutes. I ended up running a 16:52, good for an 8th place finish.

This was a really fun 5K and I recommend it to fellow Davidson Area runners looking for a really fast end-of-summer 5K time. I'd like to congratulate Adam Mayes - he ran the course in 17:21 to capture another impressive PR. This guy is PR'ing in every race he runs right now. Awesome job Adam! Jim Crotts also ran a solid time of 20:10, chasing down Grand Prix points to repeat his impressive Grand Prix division win last year. There were probably some other DART runners out was a HUGE crowd! "

Friday, September 4, 2009

There's a New Marathon in Town - Blue Ridge Marathon on the Parkway

Fellow DARTer Chris B. just informed me of a new marathon (and half marathon) taking place on April 24, 2010 in Roanoke, VA called the "Blue Ridge Marathon on the Parkway". I realize that this isn't exactly a race that's local to the Davidson area, but it's less than a half-day's drive.

The marathon was created to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway, which connects Shenandoah National Park in VA with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in NC.

The race begins and ends in downtown Roanoke and appears to be quite challenging as well as scenic. Scenic in that most of it takes place on the parkway proper; challenging in that there will be a lot of hill climbing, especially in the first 15 miles.

I'm mentioning this marathon and half right now as I'd imagine that it will fill up quickly. So if you're interested you should register quickly. Here's the official link:

The Roanoke Times profiled the new race, and you can read about it here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Fall is for Racing

Now that the oppressive heat and humidity have mercifully abated for a few days, it's time to think about the fall season, and especially racing. I was talking to DART member Whitney this morning, who was doing speed work with her running buddy Jean. Whitney is prepping for the Ridge to Bridge Marathon to be held on Sat., Oct. 24th. Other DART members prepping for fall races include Mike M. (OBX Marathon) and Heather B. (I forgot which marathon, but I know it's in the fall) I personally am in last-minute preparation for this Sunday's Lynch's Woods 50k in Newberry, SC.

In looking over my calendar for upcoming local races in Sept. and October I see the following:

Sept. 5: Valle Crucis 7 Miler, Dash For Don 6k (Huntersville)
Oct. 10: New River Trail Run 50k (Fries, VA)
Oct. 17: LungStrong 5K/15K (Cornelius)
Oct 31: Pumpkin Run 8K Road Race & 2K Fun Run/Walk (Mooresville), Runway 5K Run (Charlotte International Airport)

I'm sure I've missed a few, so if you know of any additional local races in Sept. or Oct. please let me know. DART members, what are you prepping for this fall?

Chad R.