Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Race Recap: Hit the Brixx 10k & 5k

This blog post comes to you courtesy of DARTer Marc Hirschfield, who ran in this past Saturday's Hit the Brixx 5k.  His wife Jo ran in the 10k, which preceded the 5k.

My So-Called Jogging Life...Hitting the Brixx, by Marc Hirschfield

Thanks, Marc!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Running in Darkness

As the sun crossed the celestial equator and moved southward I experienced the autumnal equinox.  Shadows moved across the land and I found myself in darkness, suddenly.

I ran as before, morning or evening, in diminished light.  I wore my headlamp and reflective vest like a good runner - see and be seen is my motto.  Only now something was different.  As I proceeded on my usual path, something else was out there.  I heard the rapid shuffling of feet, the rasp of heavy breathing, and the smell of something sweaty.  Was it an animal like a dog, coyote, or bear?  Or was it some sort of horrible monster such as a bugbear, goblin, or zombie?

Or maybe it was the Great Pumpkin?
Clad from head to toe in dark colors, it brushed past me with a barely discernible grunt.  At that moment my curiosity as what kind of beast this was turned into indignation.  It was no bogeyman, it was another runner!
As runners we are not only responsible for our actions but are also charged with being hyper-aware of our surroundings.  Stumbling around in the dark isn't a good idea.  Think about some of the perils of running in the dark:  other runners, uneven sidewalks, animals, and especially vehicles.  Do you really think that person who's late for work, with a cell phone in one hand and a cup of joe in the other, driving with their knees, is really on the lookout for ninja runners?

Not very bright...get it?

So make yourself visible when you're out there pounding the pavement during the twilight hours.  Sure, most running shoes have some reflective material on them and some clothing has reflective tags, but that's not enough.

Being able to see what's around you is pretty much some variation of a flashlight.  Most serious night time runners own a headlamp, which run on AAA or rechargeable batteries.  Look for one that's lightweight, water resistant, and puts out at least 55 lumens.  Expect to pay at least $39 for a decent headlamp.  Some reputable brands include Petzl, Fenix, Black Diamond, and Princeton Tec.  Your local outfitting store or REI will have a good selection.

Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp

If you want to get really specialized, put on a waist light which, as the name implies, has a band that goes around your waist instead of your head.  Some runners prefer this because they don't like the feel of the headlamp strap; others prefer having illumination come from the center of their bodies rather than their tops - a matter of better depth perception.  GoMotion makes waist lamp kits.

Finally, you can do it old school and carry a flashlight in your hand.

Be Seen
Unlike the Monty Python sketch "How Not to be Seen", being seen while running is very important.  Just because you see the car doesn't mean the driver sees you.

There are two primary means of being seen while running, illuminative and reflective.  Reflectivity is usually sewn or glued onto shoes and clothing in piping along seams or across broad areas.  The 3M company provides much of the material that goes into reflective clothing.  Most brand name running companies offer reflective clothing.  Unfortunately that's not enough so I recommend donning a reflective safety vest, akin to the ones highway workers wear.  Companies such as Nathan and Amphipod offer a variety of styles.

Reflective vest

Illumination is more than wearing a headlamp.  For added safety I recommend an L.E.D. light.  Most can be set to shine steadily or blink intermittently.  This light can be clipped onto a hat, hydration belt, or article of clothing.

Nathan L.E.D. light

And so once properly outfitted you can head forth into the dark knowing that your chances of getting dinged by a vehicle or nabbed by the Hound of the Baskervilles have been greatly reduced.

Things that go bump in the night.

Chad R.
Davidson Area Running Team

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Race Recap: Davidson Lands Conservancy's Run For Green

Congratulations to all the runners who competed in yesterday's Run For Green races sponsored by the Davidson Lands Conservancy.  I had the pleasure of volunteering in lieu of running this time around and enjoyed it immensely. 

At the half marathon and 10k start.

At the 5k start.

Check out Facebook page for more pics.  Complete results of each race can be found at http://www.queencitytiming.com/results.htm.

Chad R.
Davidson Area Running Team

Friday, September 17, 2010

Race Recap: Erie Presque Isle Marathon

DARTer Todd Hartung crossed another one off his list of running a marathon in each of the 50 states with his completion of the Erie Presque Isle Marathon last weekend.  Here is Todd's recount of the race.

"If you are looking for a flat course with beautiful views then Erie Presque Isle marathon is one to consider. I have run a marathon or 50K every month in 2010 except for the months of July & August.  Quick recap of 2010 to date includes the following races and locations: January- Frosty 50K Winston- Salem, February - Tampa Florida marathon, March - Atlanta marathon, April - Boston marathon, May - Buffalo marathon, June - Running with The Devil marathon - Boulder City Nevada, September- Erie marathon.

I always have the same set of goals when I run a marathon that include:

  1. Finish.
  2. Finish under 3:30.
  3. Qualify for Boston with a Sub 3:20:59. 
Erie Marathon would only have me reach my first goal of finishing as I crossed the line in a time of 3 hours and 39 minutes. I do have a goal of running a marathon in all 50 states and having never run in PA I did knock off another state. The weather was perfect and the course was pancake flat so I am not sure why I did not run faster. My legs were heavy and it felt like I  was running fast but my Garmin Forerunner 305 continued to remind me that I was out for a jog and was not racing.

I have come to enjoy the smaller marathons. The expos are never that impressive but they only take a few minutes before you have been to all three or four of the vendor tables. The pre race pasta dinner at Erie was excellent. It is always fun to attend the  pasta dinner the day before the race as you always meet so many interesting people. One was the guy who I met at the pasta dinner. He was 73 and this was his 9th marathon of the year. He has 6 more scheduled for 2010.  Yes, 16  marathons in 2010 at age 73. 

The small races never have a line at the bathroom. I wore my sweatshirt until the start of the race and then pulled it off and left it on a picnic table. After the race I walked over to the picnic table and put back on my sweatshirt. Something very nice about this type of race.

One drawback of the small town marathon is the limited restaurant selection at the airport.  Erie International Airport had two vending machines for my dining pleasure. 

Next marathon race is Ridge to Bridge in October.  Although I've already covered North Carolina several times, I hope that I will achieve the three goals listed above."

Way to go, Todd!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Changes to the Weekly DART Running Schedule

Hear ye, hear ye!  Beginning next week, Mondays' DART run will be no more.  It will be replaced by Tuesdays.

Thus, weekly DART runs will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday at 6am and Sunday at 7am.  Meet in front of CVS in Davidson.  Hopefully this will allow more people to participate.

Also, if anyone wants to head up an evening run please let me know.

Chad R.
Davidson Area Running Team

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Race Recap: Iron Mountain Trail Run 50-Miler

DARTer Jeremy Alsop recently completed his first 50-mile race, the Iron Mountain Trail Run, which took place near Damascus, VA.  You can read Jeremy's account of the race below.  Oh yeah - immediately after the race Jeremy did 22 pull ups, 75 push ups, and 30 sit ups.

"When I signed up for the Iron Mountain 50 mile Trail Race, I was a little hesitant that I would not be able to log enough miles to really be prepared for the challenge. Working 60+ hrs a week, spending time with family, unmotivated to do long training runs by myself- these are just a few of the reasons I was worried about being adequately prepared.  Never the less, I signed up so that I couldn’t talk myself out of it and would be forced to train for it or suffer.

After talking to some experienced ultra runners, they informed me that I should train for a 50 mile race as if I was training for a 50k. I completed 4 training runs between 20 and 25 miles; none of which were on trails.   Doubting that I had completed enough long runs, I listened to their advice telling me otherwise.  Thankfully, I found the Davidson Area Running Team, just as I was starting to increase my miles.  Finding a running group like that to complete long runs with was a huge help.  Not to mention all the advice I was able to gain from their running experience.

My beautiful bride Julie and I headed up to Damascus, VA Friday after taking a half day of work.  Damascus is quite a nice town; however, don’t blink because you will probably miss it.  It’s about a mile long with a population around 900.  I am not even sure I have seen a stoplight yet.  We have been able to walk everywhere and just about every store closes at 5pm.  We stayed about a block from the Creeper Trail and two blocks from the race start.  If you are ever in Damascus, I would highly recommend the Dancing Bear Rentals, which is where we stayed Friday and Saturday night.  I was a little skeptical because of the name, but they have very reasonable rates and the rooms were immaculate.   The owners Bob and Diane were very hospitable and we would stay there again in a heartbeat.

Fortunately, I was able to get a pretty good night's sleep Friday night and woke up Saturday morning feeling refreshed.  I actually got to sleep in compared to a normal day.  Waking up Saturday morning I was really nervous about how much I was going to suffer due to my lack of long runs but I couldn’t worry about that anymore.   I could not have asked for better weather.  The low was 48 and high of 75 and nothing but blue, sunny skies and cool, crisp mountain air.  After a short race briefing the runners toed the line and we were underway promptly at 7.  The first 4 or so miles of the race were on the Creeper Trail.  The race also had 16 and 30 mile options however all the runners started out together.  A couple miles in I had to remind myself that I was running 50 miles and not 16 as I found  I  was wanting to keep pace with the people  passing me left and right.

photo:  Elizabeth Minnick
I settled into a groove and the first 20 miles were pretty uneventful and I spent most of that time chatting with other runners.  It wasn’t until I was coming out of the aid station at about the 22nd mile that I had a stroke of bad luck.  I had just left the aid station when I reached into my pocket to take an S-Cap and I dropped my water bottle breaking the lid.  I then had to proceed the next 7miles holding my water bottle like an open glass.  With every step I took, my sports drink would bounce out all over my hand.  Those seven miles to the next aid station were the most unpleasant of the race, mainly because I was wearing more of my drink then I actually consumed.  When I arrived at the mile 28 aid station, ultra stud and original RD of IMTR  Eric Grossman was there and fortunately he gave me his to use.  Huge thanks to Eric because I would have had to go through that debacle until I reached mile 37 where I could pick up  my drop bag to get my hand held bottles. Eric ran the first 30 miles to make sure the trail was marked properly because there were reports that someone had taken down some streamers during the week before.  That was great as well, because I didn’t really want to get lost.   From mile 28 aid station to about the mile 33 aid station was the toughest climbing of the race.  So to not have to worry about a broken bottle was a huge relief.  I was feeling surprisingly great headed into the aid station at mile 37.  So great that I had to double check with the workers to make sure that it was in fact mile 37.  I quickly changed my socks, ditched my belt pack and grabbed my Ipod and two handheld bottles.  Knowing that I only had a half marathon to go and considering how good I felt I decided to cut loose and push myself hard the last 13 miles.

photo:  Jim Cobb
The majority of the race was all technical single track which I love because if you take your mind off the trail for one second you have a great chance of biting it hard.   So no matter how bad you hurt you cannot focus on the pain because you will fall.  Most of the trails were open to mountain bikers, horseback riders and dirt bikes.   Because of the horses, I think I dodged and sometimes stepped in more horse crap then I probably will for the rest of my life.  It was all over the place but I just thought of it as more rocks to dodge.

One of the things I was looking forward to most was competing in the Iron Mountain Man award.  This award is given to the official finisher who can do the most push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups within five minutes of finishing the race.  Your five minutes starts right as you cross the finish line.  My strategy was to stop right before the finish line for a few minutes while I regained my composure before I began.  So my time was actually five minutes faster, however I wanted to win this award almost as bad as I wanted to finish my first 50 miler.

After resting a few minutes, I crossed the finish line with an official time of 9 hrs and 10 mins.  Then the real fun began.  I completed 22 pull-ups, 75 push-ups, and 30 sit ups.  To no avail, somebody else beat me by about 30reps. I think if I had changed my strategy of the order I completed each exercise I may have had a better chance.  I was pretty disappointed  but  I can’t be too hard on myself though because I did finish my first 50 miler in 7th place overall and about an hour faster than my goal.  There is always next year for the Iron Mountain Man Award!

Special thanks to Kevin and his wife and all the wonderful aid station workers.  It was a great first 50-miler and I hope to be back next year."

Way to go, Jeremy!  Results of the race can be found at http://sites.google.com/site/ironmountaintrailrun/

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Area Races in the Month of September

Even though the temperatures in the Piedmont area don't reflect it, September is here.  That means that the fall racing season will be ramping up.  The DART calendar shows a smorgasbord of local events.  Find one that suits you and get out there!