The bad news is pretty bad: A police officer accidentally led Charlotte's Matt Jaskot (a 1:16 half-marathoner), Cornelius' Adam Mayes (a 1:24 half-marathoner) and eight other runners in the wrong direction. All 10 of them were toward the front of the pack at the time; all 10 of them did not finish.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
With the date ... you get nervous because you have no idea if the person likes you. You contemplate the countless scenarios of how the date could play out. If the date goes bad, you want to get it over with sooner. If the date goes great, you maybe get a kiss at the end. And afterward, your friends call you to see how it went.
So as I headed up to Salisbury on Sunday for the Winter Flight 8K -- my first race in more than three months -- I was experiencing some of those same butterflies. I was nervous because I had no idea what kind of racing shape I was in. I contemplated the countless scenarios that could play out. If the race went bad, I'd want it to end ASAP. If the race went great, I'd hopefully wind up with a trophy at the end. And afterward, I knew my friends would call to see how it went.
Anyway, here's my recap of the day's events:
After the warmup, we made our way to the start line to check out our competition. It looked like there were at least four girls who looked capable of running sub-30:00, including 13-year-old Alana Hadley, who has won several races in Charlotte over the past year. Immediately before the gun, I gave fist bumps to friends and foes around me for good luck. The race director blew the horn, and we were off!
I could feel two people on my shoulder, but instead of worrying about them I focused on staying relaxed through the first mile. I settled into a groove with Alana, Molly Nunn (a former teammate of mine at Wake Forest), and some guy in a red shirt. It was nice to settle in behind Red Shirt Guy so that I could get a slight break from the wind. After awhile, I could feel the pace slowing and knew I needed to make a move. Luckily, after the first mile, there was a decent downhill, which is where I pushed down and left Red Shirt Guy and the two girls.
After the move, there were two other guys about 20 meters ahead that I could focus on for the next two miles over the rolling hills. I got a boost of energy when I saw my friends Chris Jones and Todd Mayes standing at the top of the second big hill, especially because they told me that it flattened out from there.
However, not long after that I ran into yet more hills. To take my mind off of them, I focused on the guy that I was reeling in. After climbing one final 400-meter hill in the last mile, we turned back into the Catawba College campus, where the course dropped down before veering onto the track at the school's Shuford Stadium. I felt fantastic considering the heat and the hills.
As I rounded the last turn on the track, I saw the clock ticking away -- 28:37, 28:38, 28:39 -- and I pushed harded so that I would get my reach goal of 28:50-ish. As I stumbled through the chute, I was directed to a table where a woman wrote down my name and time (28:51) with a pen on a piece of paper. Very old-school, but very cool at the same time. I felt like I was in high school again. [Editor's note: Caitlin was the top female finisher, and sixth overall out of 250 finishers. Her average pace was 5:48 per mile.]
After meeting up with Jay (who finished third overall) and winner Bert Rodriguez, we cheered as several more of our friends from Charlotte entered the stadium. Then I went for a cooldown run with Molly, Alana (for a bit), Jay, Boriana, and Bert. We talked about how we each felt at different parts of the race, and about how none of us wanted to run up another hill.
The awards ceremony took place in the college gym and the trophies were probably the biggest I've ever seen. I also won $100! Not bad for my first date -- oops, I mean race -- of 2010.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
The problem with knowing so many speedy local runners is that I often feel pretty slow.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
If you've never raced a 5K -- I mean really truly raced one -- here's an experiment you can do right now to get an idea of what it's like: Hold your breath for as long as you possibly can ... and then when you can't hold it any longer, hold it for another 30 seconds.
Most notable recent finish: Third at the 2009 Thunder Road Marathon in Charlotte.
5K strategy: "My race day strategy starts with picking out a goal finish time range, based on the course, how I've been training, and the weather. Then I review the course map to get a feel for how to break up my mile splits. I write out my goal splits and time, and bring them with me to the race. I never, under any circumstance, eat or wear something new on race day. I like to do an easy two-mile warmup, followed by some strides to get the legs turning over. Once the race starts, I focus on staying relaxed and picking people off. When I hit the third mile, I always tell myself, 'You’re running slower than you think, pick it up.' I may not always pick it up, but I try."
5K PR: 17:09 at the Mt. Mourne 5K in January.
5K PR: 15:27.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Here's a bunch of assorted racing news, most of which appeared earlier this week on my Facebook Fan Page:
- Several area races taking place this weekend. Two are makeups: The Cupid's Cup 5K, postponed from last Saturday due to the snow, is now set for 8 a.m. this Saturday in Dilworth; and the Winter Flight 8K, postponed from Jan. 30 due to the weather, is now going off at 2 p.m. this Sunday in Salisbury. Also this weekend: The UNC Charlotte Homecoming 5K takes place at 9 a.m. Saturday on the UNCC campus (details are here), and at the same time, on the west side of town, the first annual hardCORE serious trail runner 8k is being hosted by the U.S. National Whitewater Center (details are here). The weather forecast is currently favorable, so we should be running this weekend...
- Early registration for Charlotte's Thunder Road Marathon is now open. Prices are $75 for the full marathon, $45 for the half and $25 for the 5K. Race day is Saturday, Dec. 11.
- New race announcement: The Sandy Feet 5K and Fun Run will be held in downtown Matthews on May 1 (same weekend as the Matthews BeachFest). Click here to register or for more details. Proceeds will be donated to local charities that support individuals with developmental disabilities and Special Olympics. Also, organizer Jen Lynch is in search of sponsors. Got a business in that area that you want to promote? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Need help with your form? At 6 p.m. Wednesday, TrySports Charlotte (9830 Rea Road) will host a discussion/demonstration by Performance Therapy's Mike Danenberg on "how to run biomechanically efficient." You'll be able to practice what you’ve learned (and get feedback on your form), so come dressed to run outdoors. RSVP to email@example.com. A similar workshop will be held at the same time NEXT Wednesday (2/24).
- Help a good cause and maybe win some cool swag! Reader Laura Buchanan -- whose almost-2-year-old daughter suffers from an extremely rare genetic brain malformation -- is training to run the Cooper River Bridge Run in March to help raise money and awareness for Joubert Syndrome. Check out how to donate/enter a special raffle by clicking here.
- An update from a Palmetto200 Relay spokesman: "We have 32 teams -- 28 full and four ultra teams, including around 5-10 from the Charlotte area. We are really excited about the response we have from up there. Registration is now $1,200 for full and $600 for ultra, until March 30. We expect to have 40-50 teams for the race."
Thanks to Peter Asciutto -- the owner of Vac & Dash in Albemarle -- for contributing this report about Saturday's snowed-out Myrtle Beach Marathon:
The Myrtle Beach Marathon Expo was buzzing with excitement. Snow was on the way. The 5K race would start at 7 o'clock Friday night, with the Marathon and Half Marathon starting 12 hours later. According to the forecast, snow was guaranteed. There was no mention of ice, a runner's worst nightmare, as the temperature was to stay above freezing.
What a marketing coup for Myrtle Beach, I thought. Snow is so rare for the resort town. To have it fall the night before the marathon would make for a memorable race for the thousands of runners that traveled in for the 13.1- and 26.2-mile races. I was thinking of my friends, Angie Greenlee, John Bates and Sherri Swaringen being able to say they ran their first marathon in the virgin snow at Myrtle Beach.
I was a part of a group of 65 runners from Stanly County who made the 180-mile trip for the weekend races. Just after 6 p.m. Friday, we got word that the city was going to decide at 10 p.m. whether or not they would have the Saturday-morning races. You've gotta be kidding, I thought.
A group of us went to watch our buddies run the 5K, and 15 minutes before it started, the snow started dropping. It was great. By the time we walked over to the finish line at Coastal Carolina Stadium, the white stuff was falling heavy. The stadium lights enhanced the beauty of the winter evening. More than a dozen of us cheered on our 25 friends as they ran down the finishers' chute.
Leaving the stadium, we expected the race to go on. Just after 10 p.m., city officials cancelled the dreams of many. "Unbelievable," I said to my friend Rick Johnson. "It never ceases to amaze me how society changes plans based on what the weather might be, rather than what the weather actually is." We couldn't understand why they couldn't move the race to 8 or 9 so they could make a better decision in the morning. [The start originally had been set for 6:30 a.m.]
Using Facebook and cell phones, we got the word out that we would go to the start on Saturday morning and run anyway. When I stepped out the door just after sunrise, I knew city officials had screwed up. Sure, there were three inches of snow on the grass; however, there was not speck of snow on the roads. It never stuck to the warm surface. Conditions were perfect to run. Let me repeat, since Myrtle Beach Officials are stating otherwise: Conditions were perfect to run!
A dozen of us joined hundreds of other renegade runners participating in the "unofficial" version of the Myrtle Beach Marathon and Half Marathon. I did get some memories out of the experience.
My friend Emily Thompson stumbled and flattened out like a pancake on Ocean Boulevard. She left some DNA on the road, and has the battle scars to prove it. Road conditions were good, she just tripped. Around Mile 5, I thought I was going to have to find a place to write my name in the snow; fortunately, I came upon Porta-Potty.
Around Mile 7, Rick and I stopped and took pictures of two female runners from Greenville making angels in the snow. One of the ladies was four months pregnant. Around Mile 9, we saw another friend, Rita Phillips, driving by and flagged her down to bum five bucks to buy Gatorade at the Quickie Mart.
I did get a pleasant surprise when we finished, as race officials were handing out medals to those that ran that morning. It's the first Half Marathon medal I've gotten for running 11.8 miles.
Even though I had fun making the most of the cancellation, I still felt somewhat empty. I got the feeling that many runners felt the city didn't do what they could to deliver what they promised. They had no backup plan, so they jumped the gun on canceling the race.
Even after the fact, city officials didn't get it. They were all over the news saying that they were concerned about the safety of the runners. They even criticized us for hitting the streets, saying it was dangerous to do so with no support from the city. One of the official quotes was that if their decision prevented one person from getting injured, then cancelling the race was worth it.
This is in a city where they allow people to swim in the ocean where each year a few of them drown and others get bitten by sharks!
Now the City of Myrtle Beach has a marketing nightmare on their hands. It's going to be interesting to see what happens next year. My guess is that runners will be very hesitant to spend hundreds of dollars on travel and risk their investment of months of training going to a city that pulls away the red carpet when the going gets tough.
Peter Asciutto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Friday, February 12, 2010
"We regret to report that the BI-LO Myrtle Beach Marathon has been cancelled for tomorrow, Saturday, February 13. The city staff has monitored weather conditions and delayed making a decision as long as practical, in hope that the forecast would improve. Unfortunately, the forecast consistently calls for snow accumulations overnight, raising concerns about the safety of all involved in the marathon."The marathon course is not completely closed, which means that runners and cars must safely co-exist on city streets. Given the potentially dangerous surface conditions which may exist tomorrow morning, that would not be the case. Safety is paramount for the runners, motorists and volunteers who assist, as well as for city employees who set up the course and monitor the intersections."The BI-LO Myrtle Beach Marathon is valued by the entire community, and we do not make this decision lightly. We are disappointed by the cancellation, but believe this action is necessary to ensure the safety of our guests, volunteers and staff members."
"We consulted with the City of Charlotte, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, and our race management team, and made the decision to reschedule the 6th Annual Cupid’s Cup 5K & Fitness Walk to ensure the safety of participants and volunteers. We are truly sorry for the inconvenience, but feel conditions may not be favorable for a road race in the morning.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
This week, in honor of Valentine's Day, I've been featuring a series of short love stories -- as told by a local runner whose relationship was forged on the asphalt.
Closing us out is LANA TORKILDSEN, 43, of Matthews:
"I moved to Charlotte in 2001 for personal reasons and tried to establish myself in the Charlotte running community. I met Tom at a running club a couple of months later. At the time, I was already involved in a relationship, but was glad to meet other runners through his connections. For a couple of years, I would see Tom in various races and chatted with him from time to time, but my most memorable moment was when he would race by me in his purple tights. I knew he raced every weekend and thought he was insane.Lana Torkildsen is the current president of the Charlotte Track and Triathlon Club.
We fast forward to the day before the Turkey Trot in 2003. I saw Tom again at the expo and started chatting with him again. We were both single at the time, and our friendship was merely platonic. I was surprised when he asked me out after the Turkey Trot, so we went on our first date on Nov. 29, 2003. Cupid’s arrow hit its mark on this date, and we were inseparable. He proposed to me the following month on New Year’s Eve.
We were lucky to find a place to hold our wedding on Valentine’s Day in 2004. When we were planning the wedding, we decided not to get too extravagant -- and being untraditional individuals, we wanted to do something different. So we had a 2.2-mile fun run/walk at Francis Beatty Ford Park, with the ceremony and breakfast reception held afterward. We had T-shirts made up with the logo “I Do 2.2” with our pictures on them, to give to our wedding guests. In fact, we normally wear these T-shirts during the Cupid’s Cup race -- which we will both be running on Saturday.
This Sunday, Valentine's Day, will mark our six-year wedding anniversary!!"
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Between now and Thursday, in honor of Valentine's Day, I'll feature four short love stories -- as told by a local runner whose relationship was forged on the asphalt.
Up third is EMILY MALONE, 28, of Charlotte:
My husband and I didn't fall IN love because of running, but it certainly brought us closer together. In the fall of 2007, we had been dating for two years, and I had just gotten started with running.Emily Malone is the author of a popular healthy living blog, which you can check out by clicking here.
Casey was already in good shape and a fast runner, but he hadn't done any training or races. Despite my longest distance run only being a 10K, my best friend and I signed up to run a full marathon after her father passed away from lung cancer. Since Casey was a good runner, I asked him if he would consider doing the marathon too, so that we could go through the experience and ups and downs together. Without a second thought, he signed up too, and made an even bigger additional commitment -- quitting a 10-year smoking habit. Going through training together brought us even closer together, and made us both fall further in love with each other, as well as with running.
During training in March of 2008, Casey surprised me with an engagement ring the night before the Emerald Miles 5K in Cincinnati. I ran the next morning with all my family and friends, a huge smile on my face, and a sparkly ring on my finger. In May of 2008, we all ran our first marathon -- the Flying Pig -- and shared the joys of our success together.
The following year, while once again training for the Flying Pig Marathon, Casey and I celebrated our engagement anniversary by running the 2009 Emerald Miles 5K, and this time we both won age group awards! He placed first, and I placed second -- an accomplishment I never thought possible having just started running less than two years ago...
Despite protests from our family and friends, we decided to train for the 2009 Flying Pig Marathon, just SIX days before our wedding. We found that training during wedding planning gave us something other than the wedding details to focus on, and kept us level-headed and relaxed. Running was the perfect stress-reliever, and long runs gave us the perfect escape to spend uninterrupted time together. The Sunday before we got married, we both ran the marathon in personal-best times, and had amazing "runners highs" going into our wedding weekend. I would do it again in an instant!
Here we are two years and nine combined marathons later, once again training for our favorite marathon in May, and looking forward to celebrating our first wedding anniversary. Running didn't necessarily bring us together, but it gave us a shared love for a sport that has changed our lives and our health in so many ways. This year we are celebrating Valentine's Day with our usual Sunday morning long run, which just happens to be 14 miles!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Between now and Thursday, in honor of Valentine's Day, I'll feature four short love stories -- as told by a local runner whose relationship was forged on the asphalt.
"Dan and I met in the fall of 2002, my junior year of college. I had only started running two months prior, as a means for losing weight. As we got to know each other, we began running together.
Eight months later we began dating ... and running! We ran a few races together prior to getting married in 2006, and only after we were married did we become more serious about the sport.
We’ve had the joy of bringing home awards at our local 5Ks, and running much larger races together: Thunder Road, OBX, the Turkey Trot, the Childress Klein YMCA Corporate Cup ... although now I spend most of my time chasing him, as he is much faster!
My 2010 goal is to complete a marathon, and even though Dan’s pace exceeds mine, he’s committed to helping me accomplish my goal. I’m very fortunate to have a runner in my life -- who supports me in all I set out to do!"
Monday, February 8, 2010
"In 1986, I was a senior in high school and being recruited to come and run cross-country and track for the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). During my recruiting trip, I was supposed to be shown around campus by a freshman runner from Charlotte, N.C.
The first day, the coach and she got the location mixed up; the second day she and the coach got the time mixed up; so she and I never met, and I was escorted around by someone else.A year later, I arrived at Ole Miss and finally met Jennifer DeCann -- and within a few months, we began dating. Four years later, we graduated and got married. That was in 1991. Now, almost 19 years and thousands of running miles later, we are still happily married and have three great kids, two of which are also runners.Running has been good to us."
Runners line up on East Boulevard, about 300 meters west of Queens Road, and head west up East. The first 1,000 meters represent a steady (but not too steep) climb, then the route turns right onto Dilworth Road East. After a quick downhill -- about 400 meters long -- everyone turns left onto Romany Road; another gradual climb leads runners onto Park Avenue briefly, then the course turns left onto a flattish part of Euclid Avenue.
Getting bored? Snap out of it, because here comes the unique part: After two blocks along Euclid, everyone turns left and gets back onto East ... and for a mile and a quarter, it's virtually all downhill to the finish.
"A strong runner who has paced themselves through the earlier miles can potentially run a negative split, which will set them up nicely for a fast time," says Scott Dvorak, race director and owner of Charlotte Running Company. "I'd have to say that's my favorite aspect of this course. I love to see the runners storming down East Boulevard!"
Dvorak says he would rate the course about a 6 on a 1-to-10 difficulty scale, but adds: "I would say that the course does have PR potential. The hills are gradual and come early enough that there is time to recover for one of the fastest finishes in the state. Anytime you have a race where the last one-third of the race is all downhill, there's potential to run fast!"
Registration for the Cupid's Cup 5K is $25 (or $20 for the 1.5-mile Fitness Walk). Register here.
When you gotta go, you gotta go.Christopher Lamperski visited a portable toilet -- during the race -- and still won the Critz Tybee Run Half-Marathon.Lamperski, who turned 28 on Saturday, finished the 13.1-mile course on Tybee Island in 1 hour, 13 minutes, 4 seconds. Wes Hutcherson, 26, of Atlanta, finished second in 1:14:31."At Mile 4, I didn't feel so great," said Lamperski, of Charlotte, N.C. "At Mile 8, I knew I didn't feel good at all. And at (Mile) 11, I said, 'I have to stop.' I told the course people in front of me that I had to stop very, very soon."Race officials directed Lamperski, who was leading the race, to the nearest portable toilet."I looked back and I didn't really see anybody behind me," Lamperski said. "He said I had a minute-and-a-half lead, so I went ahead and stopped. That's never happened before. I've never had to stop in a race. I trained to run the race at a faster pace, so I had a good lead."When Lamperski returned to the race, he was unable to break the 1:11:30 mark that he set as his goal. He also failed to break his personal-best 1:12:40.But as word spread of the situation Lamperski overcame to win the race, people were in awe."That's never happened here before. That is a first," said race director Robert Espinoza, smiling as he shook his head in disbelief.Espinoza said Lamperski's "pit stop" was within the race's rules."Absolutely, it's within the rules," Espinoza said. "We actually had a spotter on a bike watching him ... well, not watching him literally, but making sure that he didn't take a shortcut or anything like that."Yeah, it's within the rules. He took a bathroom break and that's fine. He had a big enough lead, and he still looked fresh when he finished."Lamperski traveled to Tybee Island with five runners, all members of a team named TrySports. He wore a red headband that read "Pain Train" and a shirt that read "Believe. Achieve.""We always say, 'Come jump on the Pain Train,' so my buddies got that (printed) on there," he said. "We wear that, and our motto is 'Grind to shine.'"
"The race weather was perfect as far as temperature, but it was extremely windy unfortunately. ... I ran solo for about 12.25 miles so it wasn't a whole lot of fun for me because I just kept my eye on the cars and moped in front leading. My watch time with stopping was 1:12:18, but I think that I had a few extra seconds in there because I didn't start and stop it immediately. I am debating on whether or not to give another half marathon a shot with a more competitive field. I have a sub-1:11 in the tank, but I just need to figure out if I can schedule it in after Cupid's Cup."
Friday, February 5, 2010
UPDATED INFO at 10:28 a.m. Friday!
- - -
UPDATED INFO at 10:07 a.m. Thursday!
From Tom Walsh at TrySports: "We are going on with the TrySports fun run (Haiti fundraiser) -- rain, shine, snow, sleet or ice! Crossing our fingers and hoping for the best!"
From Jay Holder of the Charlotte Running Club: "The Dollars for Distance event is going to be rain or shine. We talked about moving it back, but ultimately decided runners are a pretty crazy group and will come out in the rain."
Also, in regards to the latter event, I just got an e-mail from Eimear Goggin of the Charlotte Running Club. She says if you can't make it to McAlpine Park on Saturday but still want to contribute, just keep track of the miles you do that day in your neighborhood or at your gym, then arrange to get a donation into a club board member's hands. E-mail email@example.com for details on how to do that. If you're injured, she says, you're welcome to show up Saturday and sponsor another runner.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Here's a bunch of assorted racing news, most of which appeared earlier this week on my Facebook Fan Page:
- The first annual hardCORE serious trail runner 8k will take place at the U.S. National Whitewater Center on Saturday, Feb. 20. For runners who want to get a preview of the course, there will be a practice run this Sunday (Feb. 6) at 10 a.m., weather permitting. (Please check www.usnwc.org before heading out to make sure the trails will be open.) This 8K course "contains roots, hills, rocks, uneven dirt and possibly muddy surfaces." On Feb. 20, gun time is 9 a.m.
- The Valentine's Day 5K in Denver, N.C. allows pairs -- whether they're married, dating or just friends -- to compete in a special couples division. It's on Saturday, Feb. 13, same day as the Cupid's Cup 5K in Dilworth. Worth considering if you live in the LKN area ... or just want a race with a smaller-town feel. (Thanks, Lauren Barker, for the tip!)
- Speaking of the Cupid's Cup, 5K entry fees go up $2 on Saturday, from $23 to $25. Meanwhile ... Entry fees for the Alston+Bird LLP Corporate Cup increase pretty significantly on Saturday -- from $20 to $30 for the 5K, and from $35 to $45 for the Half Marathon.
- The first Run the Creek 5K is set for Saturday, March 20. Course will traverse the rolling hills of Highland Creek, proceeds benefit my friend Scott Campbell's wonderful Garrett's Wings foundation, which supports terminally ill children and their families. (Scott lost his son to Infantile NCL in 2007.)
- Runners who are registered for the Uwharrie Mountain Run should have received an e-mail this afternoon stating that the 8-, 20- and 40-mile races scheduled for Saturday are ON. Keep your fingers crossed for reasonable conditions.
- Registration for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon -- set for 10-10-10 -- is now open.
- Race Carolina Events is now on Facebook.
- Ever wished there was a Girls on the Run-type program for boys in Charlotte? Well, your wish has come true. Spring registration is now open for Let Me Run, a boys running club that starts meeting in late March and culminates with the Right Moves for Youth Twilight 5K on May 7. Oh, and organizers are in need of coaches. For details, see the Web site.
- And finally: In the photo below, Amelia Slagle of Davidson hams it up for Runner's World Magazine after running a 3:03:47 at the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando on Jan 10. In the Charlotte Running Club newsletter, she's quoted as saying: "They pulled me aside at the end of the race and asked me to sign some sheet of paper and I was so delirious I had no idea what it was for. And then they ...brought me in a green room to take pics!"