Tuesday, April 28, 2009

CTS 849: Stone Mountain or bust: completed!

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- Today I finished the last segment of the Atlanta-Stone Mountain PATH, something I'd always wanted to do. It was cool passing by Milepost 18 into the park.

It was a cool day but the heat still made the run difficult. On the way back, I had to stop by the Texaco at E. Ponce de Leon and Mountain Industrial for some Gatorade. This is one of the advantages of running in urban areas -- you can get sports drinks when you want them!

I parked at the parking lot in downtown Stone Mountain and made my way back to Clarkston, turning around where I left off at the English Oaks apartments.

Here are the previous stories, including today's.

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Temp: 67 degrees
Gear: SST (Beltline), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus AP/D2.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

CTS 847: Lake Peachtree

PEACHTREE CITY, Ga. -- Today I did 9 holes of frisbee golf here with the intention of getting my running in on one of the many golf cart paths in the area.

I ended up going on one that went around Lake Peachtree. It was a nice find. For a while I was following the "10K" signs by the Peachtree City Running Club, but when the path and the signs continued when the lake made a bend, I decided to play it safe and just run around the lake.

Still it was a nice 3.5-mile run. Rolling hills on the end of the run leading back to the library and city hall.

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Gear: SST (Atlanta Falcons, white), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D2.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

CTS 844: Stone Mountain or bust, part 3 (N. Clarendon-Clarkston)

CLARKSTON, Ga. -- After a decent recon of the PATH on the way back from my run around Stone Mountain on Wednesday, I felt like I could go back and knock out another segment of the Atlanta-Stone Mountain PATH.

I parked in Clarkston and made my way on the local roads toward North Clarendon Road, where I left off a few months ago. (Here are my previous entries on the Stone Mountain PATH, including today's post).

It was an ok run, only a couple hills. Between Milepost 12 and Glendale Road is probably the worst condition of the PATH that you'll see on the entire trail. It's a bunch of gnarled asphalt.

Someone crashed into the PATH stop sign on the southwest corner of the North Decatur/Church Street intersection.

I made my way to North Clarkston and came back. I ran forward to the entrance of the English Oaks apartments on Church Street and came back to give me a 5.5-mile run.

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: SST (Hawks/Shock), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D2.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CTS 843: Stone Mountain Cherokee Trail

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- It's been a while since I've worn my trail running shoes.

About a month ago, I walked the Cherokee Trail with a friend and wanted to come back.

Wow. Even with minimal elevation, it is hard work! There are plenty of roots and rocks to dodge on the trail. Trail running shoes are like armored running shoes -- it would have been unpleasant to step on some of the pointy rocks and roots along the way.

Still, it's a pretty beautiful run- you run next to the mountain, alongside a lake.

Maybe not something I'll do all the time but I'm glad it's here and close to where I live.

I drove back along E. Ponce de Leon and was able to scout out the Atlanta-Stone Mountain PATH. I think I might try to knock the rest of this trail out in the near future.

Time: 10:15 a.m.
Temp: 68 degrees
Gear: SST (Georgia Tech), shorts, Adidas Torsion trail running shoes

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CTS 842: Silver Comet (Hiram to memorial and beyond)

HIRAM, Ga. -- I lost a frisbee golf frisbee at Deer Lick Park yesterday so I had to get it. After I retrieved it I wanted to try out another frisbee golf course in Dallas, Ga. and saw that the Silver Comet trail was nearby.

So in between courses, I stopped at the Hiram parking lot and ran six miles. I didn't want to run much more than that because of my long run yesterday.

It was super nice and calm. Maybe one runner going westbound as I was coming back in. A few riders.

After about 2.3-2.4 miles from the Hiram parking lot is the Jennifer Ewing memorial for the cyclist killed in 2006. I had covered this story for my news organization and I thought it would give me chills going back.

But it didn't. The thing that seemed so odd to me is that this area is not as remote as I, a person who had never been on the Silver Comet at the time, thought it was originally.

Just a truly senseless thing.

Time: 1 p.m.
Temp: 68 degrees
Gear: SST (Ketchikan), Nike shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D2.

Monday, April 20, 2009

CTS 841: Silver Comet (Mableton to Powder Springs)

MABLETON, Ga. -- I've tried to make a point of doing a long run during my days off so today I returned to the Silver Comet Trail, picking up near where I left off last time in Mableton.

I Googled the directions for the Silver Comet Depot Bicycle Shop. There's a nice parking lot there so I parked there and headed up the trail.

Really pretty canopy of trees that nearly seem endless. After a few miles there's a pedestrian bridge you go over.

I could feel my right knee at the start of the run but my legs were in a pretty good rhythm not feeling any kind of pain later on.

I made the parking lot near Powder Springs then turned around and headed back. I liked that out that way there were only cyclists and no runners.

Time: 5 p.m.
Temp: 72 degrees
Gear: SST (Race for Research), shorts (ING half marathon), Nike Air Pegasus/D2.

Friday, April 17, 2009

CTS 838: Raptor one-five to Bemis

Borrowing a page from BSG, I call long turnaround runs Raptor one-five missions. Basically I'll use the Hammer of Dawn and run for a certain distance and then turn around at that spot and return.

The first time I did it was the other day when I ran 10 miles on the Silver Comet.

Even before this trip I had in my head I would get a long run in at Bemis Woods. I didn't want to do another 10 mile run so soon, as it really took a while to recover from it.

So I settled on 8 miles. Instead of leaving one of my parents' cars at the forest preserve parking lot, I decided I would just run from home and turn around when the Hammer of Dawn said 4 miles.

It's nice being able to run a bit of distance again because it means I can go places.

Not too bad down the flat grid rows in my parents' neighborhood. It was a little tricky crossing Ogden Avenue into the Bemis Woods entrance because the traffic is so bad.

I was happy to be back on the Salt Creek Trail and dutifully turned around at my spot (I was glad I didn't run farther).

All in all a pretty nice outing. I was pretty wrecked from yesterday's run but felt really refreshed today.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 48 degrees
Gear: LST (Brookfield Zoo Run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus/D2.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

CTS 837 -- Back to Hamburger U.

OAK BROOK, Ill. -- Today I did about 18 holes of disc golf in the Chicago suburbs and decided to run on the 4-mile loop around Hamburger University.

It's a good indicator of my fitness, since the last time I ran it was in September 2007.

While I was running on it I thought of how I've been running on this for 13 years -- I used to run it during my lunch breaks when I worked for a weekly newspaper out here.

I've run in it in the snow and the cold. I used to fear the hills but they're really nothing to me now.

McD's has cleaned up a lot of the goose poop on their portion of the path, which I appreciated.

Time: 4:15 p.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: SST (MGM), shorts, AP/D2.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

CTS 835 Middlebear H-Loop

Today I was feeling frisky so I decided to tackle the Middlebear H-Loop. It turns out it's the first time in nearly 14 months.

The reason is many times when I get to the turn off on East Ponce, I would opt to go home.

But this time, maybe because of the recent 10-miler on the Silver Comet or the ING Georgia Half-Marathon, I decided to run a longer run.

Having run it, I can tell the quality of my running has changed. L1 really kicked my butt. I passed another runner up L2 and then on L3 I could feel my leg muscles not completely used to this hill.

It's an interesting balance between training and training too hard. I'm pretty sure, though, that these runs will be added to the rotation as I continue to work through the spring.

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: SST (Bally's), shorts, AP/D2.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CTS 830: Wanted it to be an easy day...

I thought today would be a slow day but like in the Big Lebowski, this aggression won't stand.

Some guy passed me as I was casually going down Orme and while he took a few steps ahead I gauged his ability to run: the love handles under his shirt, slight calf muscles.

So when the hill to Monroe came, I put it in second gear and dusted him and kept it up to the park.

At the park I made my way up the Middle Earth steps and for the first time since the construction accident at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, made my way through there. Looks like they've put in a really cool car bridge.

Then I came down Piedmont and onto Morningside and back to Highland.

Didn't want to run that hard (the last part of the run is all uphill) but was glad I could do it.

Time: 11:45 a.m.
Temp: 68 degrees
Gear: SST (Race for Research), shorts, AP/D2.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

CTS 829: Silver Comet 10-mile

SMYRNA, Ga. -- It's been 6-1/2 years and I had never found my way to the Silver Comet Trail until today*

One reason was that I was never sure where to access it and I am very unfamiliar with that part of the 'burbs.

So I drove around for a while but lucked out and found a sign that said "Silver Comet Trail" and then "Silver Comet Trail parking" that led me to Milepost 0.

It was fun -- there weren't so many people out and I decided I would run out five miles and then turn around and come back.

At first I didn't really like the angled nature of the path of the first mile or so. My legs were really fighting me -- and later I think I discovered why-- it's a slight grade but totally uphill!

I was happy to meet up with the Mableton trailhead at Mile 4.2 but I decided I'd still continue on until I hit 5 miles on the Hammer of Dawn.

When that happened, I turned around and was pretty pleased it was all downhill the rest of the way.

Ten miles was arbitrary -- I felt that I really had to push it at the end of the ING Georgia Half Marathon, so I should do less miles.

I think my current range is about 8-9 miles. Inside the last mile to go I had to worry about leg cramps.

But I got it done. It will be an excellent place to train and explore from here on out.

Time: 2 p.m.
Temp: 53 degrees
Gear: LST (Ted's), shorts, AP/D2.

*To run on the trail, that is. I did cover the grisly killing of the cyclist for my news organization a few years back at around Mile 16.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

CTS 828.5: Back in the cold

I wasn't satisfied with the last run so I headed out around the park just before dark. I up-armored with a windbreaker, but had to unzip it by the 2-mile mark.

Time: 7:15 p.m.
Temp: 44 degrees
Gear: windbreaker, CFLST, SST (UNLV), shorts, AP/D2.

CTS 828: No longer cold-acclimated

OMG. Short run today made brutal by 44 degree weather. Ugh.

Monday, April 6, 2009

CTS 827: The cold is back

Chilly, windy day this morn. Slept a little late, so made the run short, a grocery-getter. Had to bring out the long-sleeved gear.

Time: 12:45 p.m.
Temp: 46 degrees
Gear: CFLST (William's run), SST (Airport 5K), shorts, AP/D2.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

CTS 826: Effortless effort

I'm liking my daily 3+ mile runs down around the park and back up again. It's strange since normally i don't like being repetitive in routes but this gives me a kind of consistency for easy days.

I also like it when I'm able to piggy back my bike commute. I learned in the Competitive Runner's Handbook by Bob Glover that the time spent in other activities like cycling should count as an alternate means of miles.

That is, I don't count them toward my weekly running mileage but know that I've done the equivalent of extra running miles via walking or cycling.

Today's run was pretty much effortless. These are the kinds of runs you always want to have. The focus is good, the legs are good, the breathing is good and the time just goes by.

The one drawback was that when I started out this morning it almost seemed like it was going to be too hot to run. Turned out perfect.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

CTS 825: Yard sales

Every now and then there are yard or estate sales in my neighborhood and of course a cat can't resist seeing what's out there.

I went to one on Virginia Ave. and then headed to Piedmont Park. But there was some kind of walkathon going on there, so I rounded the high school and then made my way over to two other garage sales.

At the third one I found a copy of Freakonomics ... and something that I needed but wasn't looking for, a mirror to replace the one that fell and broke off of my bedroom door. I'm happy I was able to replace that for ... $3. lol

My right knee felt a little bit funny during the run but nothing that would keep me from running tomorrow.

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 62 degrees
Gear: SST (Bridge to Bridge run), shorts, AP/D2.

Friday, April 3, 2009

CTS 824: Park run, a haircut

Ran in the extremely cool weather today. No problems with the right knee but 1.5 miles into the run, the muscle above my left shin was acting up again.

It went away after my haircut.

Am thinking of using the last part of the ING half marathon (Park to Ga Tech, up to Marietta) as possibly part of longer training runs.

I'm pretty happy though with my mileage. The other day I checked myself on the scale and I had dropped 7 pounds. w00t.

Time: noon
Temp: 58 degrees
Gear: SST (Beltline), shorts, AP/D2.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

CTS 823: Bragging rights

Today the weather was perfect for running -- kinda misty, kinda cool. I went out and cut it short because my right knee felt banged up and I didn't want to push it.

Today at work a colleague who didn't run in this year's half-marathon asked me how it went. He asked my time and mentioned that he ran the course a minute earlier when he ran it last year.

I had to point out that my time when we both ran the course two years ago still was more than two minutes faster than that.

I'm pretty sure had we both been running in this version of the race and I saw him, that minute lead would have dwindled to nothing. I guess I'm competitive like that.

But it's fair to say this year I won -- he DNP. Last year he won -- I DNP. Two years ago, I smoked him by 17 minutes.

Truth is I am happy I just did the race. Maybe I should train harder to be able to run the half in the same time that I would a 5K or 10K.

But I just like running. It's not the time that matters.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CTS 822: Back to normal

This morning's run around the park was the first run that I've had since the half marathon where my legs didn't feel spent.

I'm pretty happy about how things went. Would love to just increase my mileage. Am thinking of getting a year pass to Stone Mountain Park and running the trail there.

Would love to have trail running shoes again...

Time: 12:15 p.m.
Temp: 64 degrees
Gear: SST (Race for Research), shorts, AP/D2.