Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 1,369: More headphones

After having good experiences with the Sennheiser PMX 70 headphones (my first pair lasted 13 months and my second lasted 20 months), my most recent pair already has developed a short in it after a month and a half of use.

So I've ordered another pair, hoping that the 5-9 business days it will take to arrive from will come before I leave for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

If not, a cat will make do.

Today I ran down Piedmont Avenue to the United Way building to donate some Atlanta Falcons tickets. Then I came back up Highland to the PATH and ran back home. I feel pretty good, am just wondering if it'll be enough for the marathon.

Time: 9:10 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 1,367: Publix sponsors the Georgia Marathon

Today before work I headed downtown and made my way over to Centennial Olympic Park. The event was basically a news conference to announce the new sponsor of the Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon, which for the last four years was run by ING.

The race organizers invited up to 200 people to register for a short fun run (advertised as a 1/2 mile but actually was only a 1/3 of a mile) and a T-shirt and goodies afterward).

Even walking up to the registration tent, it was pretty obvious who would be sponsoring -- Publix. It was on the tents and on the side of the goody bags "Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon."

At the same time, it was their event so I decided to not Twitter and Facebook it to the world.

Publix has been a good sponsor of races in the area. For this year's ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon, they gave out nice reusable grocery bags plus a training log filled with about $30 in coupons, meaning you were getting back a good bit of your registration fee for the race.

For the Peachtree Road Race, they've always given out food and cold drinks, usually Powerade and Cokes or Diet Cokes (which I've come to appreciate!).

After the announcement we all ran around part of the perimeter of the park behind the Falcons mascot and a couple of dignitaries. The organizers gave out great goody bags, which consisted of a reusable grocery bag filled with a lunch (turkey wrap, chips, cookie, apple and bottle of ice tea) and our free T-shirts, which are awesome technical Ts with the new logo.

It was a nice afternoon event to be a part of and I can't wait for next year's race!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I've registered for the Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon!

Finally pulled the trigger and registered for the 2010 Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon.

As Zappos is the sponsor, the $10 promo code ROCKWITHZAPPOS worked and is good until Nov. 28, I think. Yet the savings is negated entirely by the $11.04 Active network processing fee. Yikes!

The goal will be to earn the "Desert Double Down" medal for running both the Las Vegas Half Marathon and the Rock'n'Roll Arizona Half Marathon on Jan. 16, six weeks later.

It's a pretty smart move by the Competitor group, which runs the series of marathons and half marathons around the country. They're taking a page from video game play to encourage people to earn "achievements" by running in more than one of their races in a year.

For example, you can earn a 26.2 miles Rock'n'Roll encore medal for running in two of their events in a calendar year.

Day 1,366: Trouble at Tabby Crossing

On the Summerfest 5K route (and the ING Georgia Marathon route) I call an intersection "Tabby Crossing" after seeing a tabby cat cross there once.

Today, when I was running the Summerfest route, there was big trouble at Tabby Crossing! I saw a bunch of people dressed up in SWAT gear and I passed by a guy in a business suit with a black bulletproof vest marked "Police".

The several semi-trailers plus assorted wires and lights meant that it was some kind of filming for a show. As I ran up Stillwood, just past the Mile 20 marker for the Georgia Marathon, I confirmed this with an actual Atlanta police motorcycle officer. He didn't know what TV show it was for, though.

It's always interesting to see how your regular route changes from day to day.

Time: 9:30 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 1,364: Doug Kessler Lightning 10K

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. -- This was my first running of this 10K race, which is a nice community event tied to the Sandy Springs Festival.

I didn't have any goals in this race, I just mainly wanted to run well. Last year this race was on the same day as the Big Peach Sizzler 10K and so I chose the Big Peach race. Unfortunately I feel their shirts are ugly, an opinion confirmed in my mind as I saw someone wear last week's Sizzler 10K shirt at the start line of this race!

The start felt a little congested and it set the tone for the out and back course. By the first mile I was able to free myself up a little.

Mt. Vernon Highway is a pretty drive, lined with trees and a few Civil War history markers. It mainly felt like it was downhill the first half of the race and then rolling hills/uphill for the last half!

Still, this felt like it was to my benefit. I pretended the race was the Big Peach Fall Five Miler, which has its share of rolling hills.

I used the muscle above my left knee as an indicator of fatigue. It felt really good so I kept pushing and attacking the hills. I had a pretty nice kick at the very end of the race and just made it under the 50 minute time to qualify for Group A of the Peachtree Road Race. This would be my third consecutive race qualifying for Group A.

I can't really say how this will prepare me for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon but it's good to be in running shape leading up to the bigger event.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia, Red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 1,362: Virgin London Marathon notification nears, a 1-mile race

Today I received an e-mail from the Virgin London Marathon saying in a week's time "accepted" and "rejected" notifications for entry into the April 2011 race will be sent via mail.

Very suspenseful but it's very unlikely I'll be accepted -- only 1,000 overseas entries will be taken.


In other news, I think I'll sign up for the Oct. 24 Morningside Mile race, mainly because it's $20 to enter and they offer up a technical T-shirt! I've never run just a single mile in a real race format, although in cross country in high school I remember us doing a mile to see how fast we could go. I think my mile was in the 6-minute range.

Interestingly enough, there's another 1-mile race tomorrow in Midtown Atlanta -- the Midtown Mile Road Race. It used to be you'd never hear of races of this distance and now there's two!

Would also be interesting but I'm signed up for the Doug Kessler Lightning 10K in Sandy Springs.

Today's run was a very pleasant course around Piedmont Park. 70 degrees is pretty wonderful for a run.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (N. Carolina), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 1,361: A 1/2 mile race (free)!

This afternoon I received an e-mail saying that the sponsor for the 2011 Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon would be made at noon Tuesday in Centennial Olympic Park.

Even better, they're having a 1/2-mile race (maybe around the park?) for the first 200 registered participants, including a bib, free T-shirt and post-race snacks!

How can I pass this up? It's 1). free and 2). near where I work!

So hopefully I signed up in time!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 1,357: Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon

KENNESAW, Ga. -- This was supposed to be a tuneup race for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Instead, the Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon's hilly course turned into a great run, my fastest half marathon in Georgia and my third fastest half marathon time.

I got up early in the morning and got out there pretty early. But I didn't find it at first, because I turned down Cobb Place thinking I would easily find it. I didn't. It was just dark and there weren't many cars out.

So I turned around and turned back on to Barrett Parkway and turned into the next shopping center. There a few cars were turning into it and I followed them -- I found the place. I had plenty of time before the race started, maybe 30 minutes or so.

I started out slowly, not wanting to get out too fast because the 5K race started at the same time. When the two races split at 1.9 miles, I found that the course was heavily rolling.

The race director warned of the "hill" in between miles 5 and 6. This was true, there was a hill. It wasn't bad to plan for and climb. But there was another, steeper hill between miles 6 and 7.

In doing my training for the Chicago Marathon, I've tried to stay away from lots of hill climbs. But everything seemed ok today. After about three miles I found myself able to accelerate on them at will. I started at the back and passed person after person in the race. I thought I would pay for this at about mile 10 but I was able to keep on going.

The end of the race goes back into the shopping center. I made a bad mistake when I came close to the finish. You have to do a full loop of the shopping center before turning into the finish. I started my kick early and then realized that I couldn't yet turn into the finish -- I still had a whole lap to go!

This was ok though, although I didn't really have any kind of kick at the end.

All in all, it was a great community race and maybe a nice race for someone doing their first half marathon.

Time: 7:08 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees (?)
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia Red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 1,356: Running into a 5K

When we ran this morning and crossed North Highland, we saw a bunch of runners with race bibs assembled at the fire station. It turned out this was the FirED Up! 5K, which judging by the cones along our route, uses a version of the Springfest 5K course.

Luckily the race hadn't started yet and we were able to run the route without any interference along the way.

Now that I'm reading the description, maybe I should have signed up -- preregistration was only $20 and that included a technical T-shirt.

Maybe next year.

Time: 7:58 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach Sizzler 10K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 1,354: No Bison Stampede this year

The last two years, Ted's Montana Grill here in downtown Atlanta has had a great October 5K event -- the Ted's Bison Stampede.

What's great about it? It has a nice community atmosphere. Last year they handed out bison-horned fuzzy baseball caps to wear during the race (although myself and others didn't wear them). After the race, they hand out bison sliders and Sweetwater Brewing Co. gave out samples of beer.

It even received a small write-up in the races section in an issue of Runners World last year.

It's been a fun time for me, with the 7 Bison Sliders I had after last year's race and a great year during the inaugural race even though I left my race bib in the car minutes before the start.

But this year there's been no word. Only information and write-ups on previous stampedes on the Internet.

I e-mailed the race organizers from last year's event and received confirmation that the chain decided not to host it this year.

Too bad! I hope Ted's reconsiders hosting this wonderful 5K in the future.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Day 1,353: Lottery abandoned?

Today I wanted to find out when next year's Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler is. It's April 3.

More importantly, it looks like on the website that they've abandoned this year's lottery entry process.

Being "bounced" out of the lottery wasn't much fun, although I received a free race entry because of it.

Now it just says that notifications will go out a few days before the registration opens in mid-December and that the 12,000 race limit is expected to fill up quickly.

I imagine the lottery process wasn't very fun for organizers or participants.

I'd like to get in the race next year, expecially since the Atlanta Braves will be in town that weekend to play the Washington Nationals and start off a new season.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Day 1,352: A two-watch system

Before Friday's 20-miler I realized that the Hammer of Dawn had no juice so I used my replacement Garmin Forerunner 405 that had 54 percent battery life in it.

Now I'm making a point of keeping both at full charge, because I never know when one will have power and one won't.

Comparing the Garmin Forerunner 205 (which no longer is being sold?) and the Garmin Forerunner 405, they both have advantages and disadvantages.

Garmin Forerunner 205 (The Hammer of Dawn):

+ The display is large enough to see your distance and split times in addition to the overall time.
- It can take a longer time than the Forerunner 405 to find a satellite signal.

Garmin Forerunner 405:

+ Quicker to find satellite signal
+ Uses wireless downloading of workouts to Internet
- Touch bezel can be hard to use
- Split times and distance displays are too small for the watch.

I think I'll try to use the Hammer of Dawn more often because it's such a workhorse. And it's a lot more difficult to accidentally stop the watch during a workout with it than with the 405.

Today's run involved me running to the Edgewood Shopping Center to pick up some auto glass cleaner at Target. I always like browsing the store. It wasn't too hard to run back with the bottle of cleaner, although I had to switch hands from time to time.

Time: 9:45 a.m.
Temp: 70 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Day 1,349: Last of the 20s

This morning I got up and out a little later than I normally have. The Hammer of Dawn was completely out of charge and I contemplated not doing the long run until Saturday when I discovered my Garmin Forerunner 405 that the factory sent me to replace my previous one had 54 percent charge.

I headed down the way. It was pretty cool out. No FOX News truck that was out at the 17th Street bridge like last week.

I made the Atlantic Station turnaround and headed up Peachtree. Like last week, the cooler temperature meant I didn't get into my Gatorade mix until about 6.8 miles. I drank half of it there and then another quarter at my building at about 8 miles and then continued on and did the Georgia State loop and drank the rest when I returned to the building at 9.34 miles.

I probably drank another bottle of water as I changed my shirt. Ate another GU pack (Blackberry, which isn't as good as TriBerry) then headed on my way.

Along Marietta Street, I didn't realize my Forerunner wasn't on for about three-tenths of a mile.

At 5th Street and Spring I drank some of my water as I waited at a long stoplight. Near the half-marathon mark by the HIGH Museum of Art, I ate a small sample bag of Sport Beans.

I was pretty dehydrated when I stopped at the grocery store in Atlantic Station, drank another bottle of water here.

Usually at this point I'm pretty psyched about finishing the run, because a lot of it is downhill.

I entered the park and decided this time to not use the restrooms by the dog park. It didn't take me long to convince myself that I needed to, about at 18.6 miles. Thankfully they have many restrooms in the park!

I was dragging at this point but happy that I only had less than 1.5 miles to go.

This run seemed harder than the last but I wasn't nearly as sore as the first time I did a 20-miler. I'll just have to focus on good running in the remaining days before the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

But for now, I'm thankful to taper.

Time: 6:20 a.m.
Temp: ??
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom), SST (Inman Middle School 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 1,348: Atlanta Half Marathon course announced

The Atlanta Track Club today announced its half marathon course. It looks to be a pretty flat one, starting at Turner Field and passing by Centennial Olympic Park on the way to Atlantic Station and Piedmont Park.

It then comes back toward downtown, going along historic Auburn Avenue and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site, turning on Boulevard and coming back past Oakland Cemetery before returning to Turner Field.

This course has the potential to be fast. I'm glad they came up with a nice downtown course that complements the route used by the Georgia Marathon/Half Marathon.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Day 1,342: 20 mile run

Today was my third 20 mile run in preparation for the Oct. 10 Bank of America Chicago Marathon and my sixth of seven long runs for the race.

When I started out I could tell this one wouldn't be as easy as last week's 20. I really struggled the first three miles and my right knee didn't feel right -- no pain but just different. It righted itself after the fourth mile.

I had eaten a small square slice of lasagna and had some Diet Coke before the run. I felt thirsty pretty early, at four miles, although I didn't drink my Gatorade mix until I was on Marietta Street, at about 6.7 and 7.4 miles.

I continued on and did the Georgia State loop before going to my office for water and a shirt change. I ate a GU pack then and then set on my way.

At 10th and 14th streets I drank most of my water. I was a little thirsty going into the turnaround at Atlantic Station but knew that I'd be able to get some water soon at the grocery store.

There, I drank a bunch of water (two sips of about 20 seconds each and a third of 32 seconds) and then refilled my bottle.

Going back wasn't too bad. I decided to turn into the park to the dog park and was happy for the restrooms at 17.75 miles. Drank about half of my water bottle here.

On the way back, I could have used some Sport Beans. I didn't think I needed another GU pack but this time I could have snacked on the jelly beans, which I didn't bring this time around. Just goes to show that you really don't know what you'll need or use on a run, so it's better to have a good variety.

Time: 6:11 a.m.
Temp: 68 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom, Champion C9 gray), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/C.