Saturday, December 31, 2011

Day 1,826: Five consecutive years of running

This morning I ran with sweetie, our usual route in Virginia-Highland.

It marked five consecutive years of my daily run streak. During that time I've run 6,326.96 miles, for an average of 3.46 miles per day.

I remember when I started the streak on Jan. 1, 2007. It didn't really dawn on me what I was doing until I reached 50 consecutive days.

Running everyday has added a semblance of order to my life. I knew (and still know) that if I stop, it's very easy for me to let a week, then a month, then easily a few months go by without taking a single step in running shoes.

I always thought I'd quit sometime. Just not now.

Props go out to the wife, who has steadily maintained her running, even now at 27+ weeks pregnant. She even runs faster than non-pregnant couples in their 20s who we passed this morning.

We stopped at Alon's Bakery to buy some cookies, jam and a gift card. We took turns carrying the box of cookies along the old Summerfest 5K route on the way back home.

That was just my first run of the day. Because the traffic gets so crazy downtown for New Year's Eve, I decided to just be dropped off to work today and then wore running shorts, a technical shirt and a windbreaker.

I ran home. I've done it twice previously for Falcons night games. Both times it was much colder.

I ran along Peachtree, the city's main drag. It was pretty cool to see lots of people out for the holiday. Some wearing costumes such as king's and queen's crowns, others just dressed up.

When I got to the 10th Street intersection, I marveled at the skyscrapers that make up Midtown now that were nonexistent when I first moved to the city nine years ago.

It was neat passing my old apartment building near Piedmont Park and I thought of my old night route on 10th to Virginia Avenue and along North Highland Avenue all the way to Manuel's Tavern and back.

Running is such a part of my existence here in Atlanta. Most of the city's main streets have been raceways for me in the past. Other streets are well trod training routes.

The 3.75-mile night run gave me 1,469.13 miles for the year, much less than the 1,600+ I pulled in last year. But it's given me great memories with a 10K PR (Charles Harris 10K) in February and lots of great races with sweetie.

I'm looking forward to the New Year but must admit it will be hard to top 2011.

Run #1:
Time: 10:19 a.m.
Temp: 48 degrees
Gear: Long-sleeved T (Braves red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Run #2:
Time: 9 p.m.
Temp: 49-50 degrees
Gear: Technical T, long (Big Peach 5 miler), T-shirt (Thrashers green), Marmot windbreaker, shorts, Adidas running shoes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Day 1,823: It's frigid out!

This morning when we ran it was 33 degrees out.

I decided to wear what I wore last week when we were in Richmond, Va., for the holidays -- basically two long-sleeved technical shirts and my Marmot windbreaker.

It's still shorts weather. :)

Anyway, by the time we reached 1.25 miles, I had to take off the windbreaker. I was fine the rest of the way, although my left hand was pretty cold. Maybe I can bring one glove next time?

Running when it's that cold is interesting because it takes a lot to get me out the door, but once I do, it's pretty easy. I never heat up or overheat, and the running seems effortless.

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 33 degrees
Gear: Technical T, long (x2), Marmot windbreaker, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Day 1,821: That Zen way of running

When I was in cross country in high school, I was always amazed that my coach was a non-competitive runner. He just liked running just to run.

Today, I feel like I'm that way, but with a twist. I've taken that experience and made it my own. But I think I'm smart enough to not take on those who are faster than me while severely making things difficult for those who aren't faster than me but want to test me anyway.

It's the running that makes you wise, doesn't it?

Fast is nice, but if you want fast, buy a nice car -- and deal with the speeding tickets. With everything, there's a nice zone where you'll keep up your enjoyment and it won't bother anyone.

Every now and then, I'll look at this blog, or even my results on Athlinks. What does it all mean? Should I be faster? Should I be slower?

In the end, I focus on the slow times and think of how hard it was for me to come back into running, into races. I'd accepted the really slow times as a factor of age and figured, so be it.

I never could have guessed there'd be personal bests down the road, or my consecutive day streak.

But what I remember from those days is how much I enjoyed being out there, how much I enjoyed just being able to do a 5K, a 10K, even if slowly.

That enjoyment is the sweet spot of things, whether you're a turtle or cranking out PR's left and right.

But you don't want to forget the enjoyment, and the satisfaction of things. Because when you look back, all you'll see are numbers.


Today's run was my basic butterfly loop, a 4 mile course in the neighborhood. It was laborious, as it usually is the day after I'm on a plane flight, or sitting in a car driving from Richmond, Va., to Atlanta.

With the run, I crossed 400 miles on my current pair of shoes. The cool air prompted me to make a Runner's World recipe -- red lentil and black bean soup.

Time: 10:30 a.m.
Temp: 50 degrees
Gear: T-shirt, short (Beat the Street for Little Feet 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 1,795: Coldest run so far!

I thought yesterday's 9.5-mile run was chilly. Today was even chillier. When I got up it was 28 degrees.

Luckily by the time I was ready to run, the temperature climbed to 31 degrees. I was able to research prior runs via this blog, and I ran in weather this chilly last December in the Grand Canyon.

It was crisp out, but my gear was good. That's been one of the main purposes of this blog, to keep track of what to wear in all kinds of weather.

Time: 8:15 a.m.
Temp: 31 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Half Marathon 2010), Tech T, short (Asics blue), Marmot windbreaker, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 1,789: The day after

Today's run was less speedy than the day before. We ran up to Little Five Points and my right leg didn't really have too much bounce to it.

Eventually, on the way back, my legs felt better but my hamstrings felt sore near the knees immediately after the race and slight soreness continues.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 44 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Nike black), short-sleeved T (Beat the Street for Little Feet 5K), shorts, Adidas shoes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 1,788: Atlanta Half Marathon

So today came and all I was really thinking about this race were the hills from last year that did me in.

At the time, I still had a nice race -- it was at the time my fastest half-marathon in Georgia and my third-fastest time overall.

But every race is different.

This year, mainly thanks to my slackness and needing to do long runs to make 30 miles for the week, I'd put in a bunch of long run time in -- a 14-mile run in August, a 12.5-mile run in October and an 8.5 mile run as recently as last week.

The race started out and I told myself to take it easy. I did this even as lots of people passed me left and right. I was just enjoying the run as it went from Turner Field to downtown past my office building to Atlantic Station.

In Midtown, I didn't push myself up the 14th Street hill like I did last year. It even seemed to me to be a much smaller hill than I thought it was last year.

Even through Piedmont Park, I just ran and enjoyed everything. I laughed when I saw some dude accelerating to the exit gate of the park -- I was thinking like, dude, you have no idea what you're in for.

And then came 10th Street. This is the start of the brutal inclines of the race. This hill pretty much goes up to Juniper, where the turn is. Then it's rolling hills all the way to Auburn Avenue.

Last year, this was where I started to fall off my pace.

On 10th Street, I let myself accelerate through the crowd -- it felt good, even though I knew more hills were in store.

I did the same for the entrance hills on Juniper through about 5th Street. I run so much of this course on other routes, it felt natural.

I made a slight mistake in thinking that on Courtland Street we'd have to go over the overpass near Georgia State but was relieved when I saw that Auburn Avenue came right before it.

This was around the 9 mile mark. Usually I'll eat a GU gel here -- it will last for about 4 miles. But I felt pretty good and decided not to take one. I also did not drink any water/sport drink for the entire race.

On Auburn Avenue, my pace was good and cautious. I ran down through the short tunnel on Boulevard thinking that the next hill -- Boulevard leading to Memorial -- was coming.

It turns out the hill continues on Moreland. No worries. I fell into pace behind a pretty quick girl as the course continued on Moreland to Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Things continued to go great. I knew at this point, only two main hills remained -- the double stack on Mitchell Street before Capitol Avenue and the I-20 overpass on Hank Aaron Drive.

When I got to the overpass, I could see the 1:50 pacers ahead of me. Even running pretty fast it was hard to catch up.

But I passed them with maybe .2 of a mile left in the race. The finish was strong and I was pleased with my sub 1:50 time.

Later today when I looked at my Garmin Connect data from the races, I notice something significant. In 2010, I logged fast times through mile 7 out of Piedmont Park and then started to lose my pace.

This year, I ran at a steady pace (about 8:30/mile) through mile 7 and then ran 8-minute miles the rest of the way.

Saving your energy for the hills when you need it is definitely the way to go.

Time: 7:35 a.m.
Temp: 42 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Big Peach 5-miler), Tech-T short (Asics blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 1,787: A new pair of shoes!

I just ordered a brand-new pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ 28s from

My current shoes have more than 306 miles on them and I should have a new pair to break in before I run up 500 miles on the old ones.

Normally I'd troll the Internet to see who has the cheapest Pegasus shoes, and that's usually an older season's pair. But now, about once a year, I'll have enough points on My Coke Rewards to get a $50 Nike gift card.

In doing so, I can buy the latest shoe for the price of what I'd normally pay for a previous season's shoe.

It takes me about a year to get enough points (drink enough Diet Coke) to do so, but it's been worth it. I last bought a pair of Nikes this way on Nov. 10, 2010, but I didn't blog about it here.

It takes a long time to accumulate the points, but just like running day after day, it's worth it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 1,786: A spartan expo

Today before I went to work I walked over from my office building to the Marriott Marquis to get my bib number and T-shirt for Thursday's Atlanta Half Marathon.

This year they changed the location of the expo from the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead to downtown. It makes sense as the start and finish of this race is now in Turner Field.

Everything went pretty smoothly, from getting my bib number to T-shirt. I was surprised though, at how small the rest of the expo was. Normally you see lots and lots of vendors. There are great free samples and it's a nice atmosphere, especially at the Rock'n'Roll half marathon series, in which Brooks has their carnival-esque displays that include freebies, from knit gloves and hats to T-shirts and water bottles.

My wife and I joke about how for the Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon they even had a mock-up of a grocery store at the expo, as if it were a demo for people who had never seen an American grocery store before.

Anyway, the Atlanta Half Marathon expo served its purpose. I bought a GU energy gel from the Big Peach expo store and returned back to work.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 1,739 12.5 mile run

Today I needed to catch up on my miles for the week and thought about doing a long run, using the ING Georgia Half Marathon course.

It was my first long run since my 14.1-mile run on Aug. 26 and my 14.5-mile run the week before that was the longest run that I had done since the Oct. 10, 2010 Chicago Marathon.

Today the weather was just right (56 degrees/90 percent humidity). At many parts I didn't feel like my legs were really in it but I think they had enough to see me through the end.

I cut through on Highland/Baker and N. Highland Avenue and likely could have done another 14-mile run had I continued on the ING course but since I didn't have to, I didn't.

Another nice run in the books!

Time: 9:26 a.m.
Temp: 56 degrees (90 percent humidity, but I didn't feel it)
Gear: T-shirt, short (orange Nike Peachtree), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 1,721: Time for long sleeves

Today before the run my phone said it was 56 degrees, which meant long sleeves.

Since the streak (and this blog), I've developed a system to tell myself what I should wear during a run.

Over 70 degrees: Technical T-shirt, short sleeves
60-70 degrees: Cotton T-shirt, short
50-60 degrees: Long sleeve T-shirt, cotton
40-50 degrees: Technical T-shirt, long
30-40 degrees: Technical T-shirt, long under a cotton T-shirt, short sleeves, likely running pants instead of shorts

Anyway, that's the general rule. I've drifted away from it in the last few years knowing that I can wear less warm clothes for chillier temperatures, but usually when the season first changes, warmer is better.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 56 degrees
Gear: Long sleeve T-shirt, cotton (Run the Reagan Half Marathon), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 1,710: Will run for a biscuit!

This week, Chick-fil-A is offering a free breakfast selection. You have to register in advance and I chose today.

They did this before, or at least I did this before, when they rolled out the spicy chicken sandwich.

I reserved the same location, the Chick-fil-A at Colony Square, and headed off on my Atlantic Station run.

I basically made sure I turned around before IKEA first before stopping to get my chicken biscuit.

I should say I've never had trouble running immediately after eating. I learned this when I trained for the 2000 Portland Marathon.

And sure enough, no such worries. I basically ran home, tummy happy, knowing that I would be able to check a few things off today's to-do list.

Time: 8:42 a.m.
Temp: 63 degrees (90 percent humidity), drizzle
Gear: T-shirt (Atlanta AIDS run 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 1,707: Will run for ice cream!

Many times I'll need motivation to get out the door. Sure, there's the streak and I know I'll at least get a mile in, but exactly when is the real issue.

I've been known to waste an entire hour just thinking about the different routes available before I head out. Or I might get distracted by what's on TV or checking my e-mail.

Deciding what to do for today's run was pretty easy. One of my four-mile routes runs right by Jake's Ice Cream, one of the best in the city!

In the past we've stopped there in the middle of the route to cool off and eat some fresh ice cream.

Today I decided to do the next best thing, to order a couple of pints. I brought a fanny pack for the occasion and they fit perfectly. There wasn't a lot of bounce with the pints, so the run back was ok.

About 17 minutes later, I was home with the delicious afternoon snack!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 1,668: It's hot out!

Last night into early this morning I stayed up to watch the Braves play the Pittsburgh Pirates into 19 innings. Then, at 1:30 a.m. I went to bed.

It threw me off enough for me to have a very late start. Part of it was procrastinating that I'd have to run in the hot. Part of it earlier was procrastinating that no matter when I left it would be the same temperature as it was earlier in the morning (75 degrees).

It turned out to not be true. By the time I came back from my 4-mile run it was 90 degrees with 60 percent humidity.

The good news is, and the reason why I'm writing this, is to let myself know that even at 90 degrees, the run wasn't too bad. I ran the whole time as opposed to took little stops along the way and found that only parts of me were sweaty. I had to wipe sweat out of my eyes, it was in my hair but my back and most of my shirt was dry.

It was just when I stopped that my body turned into a furnace!

Time: 10:35 a.m.
Temp: 90 degrees (60 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T short (CS red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 1,655: Bring out the water

Today was the first day that I brought water along with me, although I really should have the day before.

I use an amphipod bottle that carries 16-20 ounces and rests on my back as I run. It's what I used during marathon training runs and during the Bank of America Chicago Marathon last October. It works.

At about 3 miles I was in the middle of the Emory University campus and started to drink some of that cool water that I carried along with me. I knew I'd have probably another mile or so before I would head back, so I drank about half of that.

In Lullwater Park, I drank all but a swallow of the bottle. I'd hoped that I'd find a water fountain out here or even somewhere outside on the campus but no such luck.

It didn't matter as after drinking the water, I felt pretty cool inside and my outlook was pretty good.

Once I got back I was pretty happy to have air conditioning and all the cool drinks I could gulp down.

Time: 8:01 a.m.
Temp: 84 degrees (77 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T, short (Chicago Marathon), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Day 1,646: The Peachtree 10K as a training run

With the wife's knee still iffy and a very warm start to the Peachtree 10K facing us, I settled into this year's race thinking what I usually think about this event: It's a reward for a year of running.

That's because with 60,000 people, the race can be a mad dash of runners and walkers, something that's usually not pleasant.

But as I described in last year's column on the Peachtree, being in the very first wave -- Group A -- has its privileges. First you start when the gun goes off, so you have the advantage of the coolest possible temperature to start.

And next, no one really walks at the start when you're in Group A, making it nice that you don't have to dodge people.

This year I basically wanted to have the wife dictate the pace of the run and I would keep up.

It turned out to be a really pleasant thing. It reminded me of our training runs and when the hard hills came I opted not to just charge up them when I met them.

By doing this, I was rewarded with lots of energy and no trepidation when the second set of hills came near Mile 5 and right down to the end of the race.

We were able to finish together, which was my goal. Our time was only three minutes from last year's and given that nearly everyone I know ran a few minutes slower than last year because of the heat, that was a great thing. The race would qualify us for Group C of next year's event but my Group A status should last for a few years and I'll definitely be back at the Charles Harris 10K in Tucker in February to try to requalify.

One nice touch of this year's event is that we were able to get into the Atlanta Track Club sponsors tent area after the race since we joined the ATC this year primarily to have a guaranteed Peachtree 10K entry instead of having to do the lottery.

Inside, Waffle House was giving out either a sausage or an egg and cheese biscuit. The ATC also gave out a Peachtree Road Race insulated lunch bag, which was nice, and the water they had was much colder than what was given out to finishers.

In the regular finishers area, the peaches were back and I enjoyed the Blue Bell ice cream sandwiches. Also back was my favorite -- a Diet Coke to cap off a nice running season.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 79 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (CS blue), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Day 1,642: Breaking in some new shoes

Today I decided to wear my new pair of Nike Air Pegasus+ 27s, since my current pair has more than 275 miles on it.

After the first mile I had a little bit of pain under the arch of my right foot but it went away. The shoes felt pretty good.

Maybe a decade ago, it used to take me about 70 miles before my feet got used to a new pair of shoes. They'd be in a lot of pain until the shoes were broken in.

These days it must be the manufacturing process. It's nice to wear them right out of the box.


I procrastinated to get out of the door and the difference was about 10 degrees -- from 75 degrees to 85 degrees during my run.

Still, I felt pretty good. I crossed into Piedmont Park and it looks like preparations for the Peachtree are underway with two huge rows of porta-potties already in the bowl.

Anyway, I feel good about the upcoming race and am looking forward to peaches, ice cream and a Diet Coke at the finish line.

Time: 9:35 a.m.
Temp: 75 degrees to 85 degrees (82 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T short (Publix Georgia Half Marathon '11), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27/A.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Day 1,638: m's route

Three days ago I was in a pretty good mood and wanted to do a 6+ mile route to try to trim off the week at about 30 miles.

But then I got stung by yellow jackets and it didn't happen. Today I had a couple errands to do taking care of my geocaches, so I decided to combine them into one trick, using my wife's great Piedmont Park route.

I've been reading the book Born to Run about ultramarathoners and it's really inspired me to think about how I run and to run how I feel like it. I've even thought about what it would be like to run in those shoes designed to be like barefoot runners.

Today I really felt like I was running for fun, carrying various geocache containers to three cache sites and having a good time. It was hot but I felt like I had a pretty good focus. I drank some water at the Piedmont Park fountain before the bowl at about 6 miles.

Time: 9:44 a.m.
Temp: 88 degrees (57 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T short (Doug Kessler 10K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

My Forerunner 205 is dead! (again)

Today I got up and early to hunt a geocache at Mason Mill Park. I noticed my Forerunner 205 finally had charged after a few days and I set out with it.

But it would not turn on. I think it quickly loses its charge after being out of the charger.

Luckily I still have my Forerunner 405, which I've mainly used for races and out of town stints. But I might have to go to the more reliable watch now.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 1,636: The Day After

Today's run was 1,000 times better than yesterday's, particularly in that I did not have to walk home two miles. Walking sucks!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 1,635: Anaphylaxis

This morning I maybe had run about 50 feet when I felt an annoying stinging sensation in my leg.

I looked down. It was a yellow jacket. There were a couple of others further down the leg, all stinging me.

Then I looked down and saw there were three more each on the tongue of each shoe.

I tried to brush the one on my leg away and then decided to dart back to my driveway where the garden hose was.

That didn't seem to get them off of me so I decided to scrape them off with a piece of bark. One of them flew up and stung me again before I decided to just mash the ones on my shoes into little pieces.

By this time the wife had come outside. Everything seemed ok -- I felt fine and the stings hadn't even swelled up.

So I continued on what I thought was going to be a 6.5-mile run. During the run, I felt crazy itchy on my head. And my right hand looked white for no reason.

I kept running. After more than a mile, I stopped for a second and realized that I couldn't really hear very well out of my ears.

I continued on and tackled the huge hill on Rock Springs Road. I had to stop at the top because I felt tired.

At this point I noticed it was getting hard to see. Things on white backgrounds were very bright and it looked like some kind of Technicolor video gone awry.

I walked down the hill and then turned back on Morningside to walk home the same way I came -- about 2 miles.

I didn't have my cell phone on me so I hoped for the best. I didn't feel dizzy, just a little itchy and there was that thing with the vision.

By the time I got home my vision was a lot better. But the only thing I could do was to just lie down -- every time I got up I felt woozy and it was impossible to really eat anything.

Unwittingly, I'd just suffered from an anaphylactic reaction from the stings.

I'd received nature's version of "a foul to give" -- a sting with no penalty -- in my summer after my sophomore season of college. While working on a landscaping crew, on my last day of my job there I'd been stung on the nose by a yellow jacket. It hurt like crazy but I'd only suffered a swollen nose.

Nearly 20 years later, this came back to haunt me, as it turned out my immune system had been waiting and ready with a vengeance for the next time this toxin came around.

I consider myself pretty lucky, as some people lose the ability to breathe and can die from this kind of anaphylactic reaction.

Hours later I feel better but still can see the hives from earlier in the day and also feel like my innards are all jumbled up.

My future likely will include carrying an epi-pen around just in case and being wary of insects with stingers.

It's pretty surreal this happened, but again I'm just glad since it could have been much worse.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 1,631: First really humid day of June

Today I got an early start out for a run around Piedmont Park. And it felt muggy, more so than any day so far this year.

I guess this will be how it is from now on. If it's anything like the past, I'll have to bring extra T-shirts along with me on runs as well as water.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short, shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Day 1,630: Father's Day 4-miler

I'm not sure why I have a sluggish response to race days. This morning I really didn't want to get up and was thinking that I could have used the extra time in bed.

But I ambled out of my place and drove down to Turner Field to participate in the Atlanta Track Club's Father's Day 4-Miler. It's the first time I ran in the race.

I don't think I've ever run in a four-mile race before, even after 22 years of running. I've run a 6K (3.6 miles) and an 8K (4.8 miles) but no distance in between.

When I checked in for the race, I was given a bib and a D-Tag chip timer, which was nice.

About 15 minutes later, the race started on Hank Aaron Drive really without warning - you could just see all the heads in front of you leaving.

The start was extremely crowded. I made my way around lots of people and thought this was a pretty slow start. No matter, since when am I ever going to use the results of a four-mile race for anything? So I was surprised after the race when I saw my first mile was 7:40.

After the first turn onto Fulton Street, it goes downhill pretty quickly. Like many other races I had people flying by me, only to get passed on the hills later on. But pretty quickly, the hill starts going up and I had really good acceleration on this hill.

The rest of the way I basically settled into a good pace. I'd run around Grant Park before but was unsure of how the course went. I think familiarity with a course is a big advantage in how well you'll do.

Case in point when we turned from Georgia Avenue to Hank Aaron Drive along the side of the stadium. Unsure of exactly how far the run would be inside the stadium, I waited until just before we entered the outfield. I know now that I should have started to kick maybe as soon as we turned onto Hank Aaron.

That's because the final bit after turning onto the outfield was extremely short. Instead of ending at home plate as the race description advertised, the finish really was just a little past first base.

No matter, it still was a really fun race that I look forward to participating in again!

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees (humid)
Gear: Tech T, short (Big Peach Sizzler 10K 2009), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 1,629: The proposal, a year later

A year ago today I proposed to my then-girlfriend after we ran to the top of one of the hardest hills in the city.

It's one of those unforgettable life experiences that has led to even better things, including our marriage last month.

A few weeks later it led to my fastest Peachtree 10K time, 48:14. In October, I ran a marathon PR, 4:06:23, in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

In November, I set a 5K PR of 22:20 at the Race2Recycle in Piedmont Park and this past February I set a 10K PR of 46:34 at the Charles Harris Run in Tucker.

We've done races on the road -- the Rock'n'Roll half marathons in Chicago, Las Vegas and San Diego. And twice we've done the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler in Washington.

From year to year it's difficult to say what kind of running you'll be able to put forth. I know this from being a mid-pack runner to no runner at all to a runner again. But I'm thankful for my sweetie for keeping my running enthusiasm going.


If I ran right when I woke up I could have taken advantage of temperatures similar to last year when I proposed -- a nice and crisp 71 degrees. When I ended up running, about 8 a.m., it already had climbed to 76 degrees but was still ok for running.

With the Father's Day 4 Mile run tomorrow, I didn't want to push too hard but I still wanted to make sure I got my miles for the week.

So it was an easy route to Whole Foods and then another loop to Freedom Parkway to get the job done.

Time: 8:06 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (CS yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 27.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Day 1,623: Signed up for Father's Day 4-miler

I've signed up for the Atlanta Track Club's Father's Day 4-miler. The race on Sunday starts and ends at Turner Field, including a sprint to home plate.

I think in past years, laziness has had something to do with me not jumping in this race. This year, there was a bit of momentum, especially because the event is free for track club members and I re-joined the club this year to not have to go into the lottery for the July 4th Peachtree 10K.

It seems each baseball club in MLB has their own 5K race and this must be the one for the Atlanta Braves, as you register through their website.

For track club members, it looks like you get a $10 value as they only charge you if you want the extras -- $10 for a performance shirt and $12 for an Upper Box seat for the Rangers-Braves game later in the afternoon. (That combo costs $32 total for non-members). There's a $3 online charge, which isn't great but it is what it is.

The race goes into and around Grant Park, which I've never run in for a race. My friend Sham had mentioned the race and I finally decided it should be something I should do.

So here's to this Sunday!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 1,622: Snakes on the Trail

MABLETON, Ga. -- I was running along the Silver Comet Trail today when I saw a couple of older ladies veer out of the way of what looked like a stick in the middle of the path.

Then one of them turned to the stick, which was wriggling its way across the path, and said, "Go on. You know there are bicyclists coming, don't you?"

In nearly half a year of geocaching and being in the thickest brush imaginable and turning over rocks and logs, this was the first snake I'd seen. And this one out in the open.

We gathered that it was a brown snake. Still it had an asp-like face that would have made me think twice if I saw it in the woods.

Although I came out here in March and found a few 'caches, I hadn't really found caches on the trail in any organized manner.

So last night I looked up where a bunch of caches would be and decided on the first segment from the trailhead to Floyd Road. I decided to park at Floyd Road and run in.

Going out was easy -- there was usually a geocache every .2 or .3 miles or so, with the max .8.

Coming back was interesting -- that meant I had to run about four miles straight, after having run four miles out.

It wasn't bad, the 'Comet has a gradual incline. It was a lot warmer than when I started out so I just had to pace myself. I was happy for a cooler of cold Diet Cokes waiting for me at the end!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Day 1,615: Time to unwind (Oh, man!)

This morning I decided I'd do a short route and started down the street.

That's when I forgot I'd just run a half marathon the day before with less preparation than what I'm used to.

My muscles were so tight that I only went two-tenths of a mile and then turned around, knowing that even the short route I had planned would be too much.

Yet I still ended the day with nearly four miles run.

I decided after that to turn my run into a geocaching run and so I went to Decatur and Tucker, where my legs started to unwind with that start-again, stop-again pitter patter of the cache hunt.

My last run of the day (five different runs on the watch) was a there-and-back jaunt to the post office to pick up a package. On the way there, this old man says, "A mighty hot day to be running."

I thought of a lot of smart-ass things I could have said but only now know the truth: It's a mighty hot day when you're not prepared.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Day 1,614: Rock'n'Roll San Diego Half Marathon

SAN DIEGO -- When I don't run very much and then find myself before a big race, I always think of the Centralia Half Marathon.

I jumped into that race in Washington state in November 1999 as a way to tune up for the Suzuki Seattle Half Marathon later that month.

My longest training run for it was 4 miles. Basically I did pretty well until mile 10 and then seriously hit the wall and eked out 3 painful miles.

In the 62 days in between the April 3 Cherry Blossom Ten Miler in Washington, D.C. and this race, I'd run more than 5 miles on two occasions -- I ran 6 miles on the morning of my wedding on May 7 and I managed a 7.75-mile run on June 1, 4 days before the race.

So I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

To my surprise, everything was perfect for this race. We stayed at a hotel just two blocks from the start, right across the street from Balboa Park.

The course was pretty gentle, with only a small amount of hills but very generous downhill slopes.

It was cool, about 61 degrees at the start and not humid. It got even better around Mile 4 when we ran on a deserted (closed-off) Highway 163. Later on, on the plane ride back, I heard a woman behind me say she didn't like this part of the race. But it gave me a post-apocalyptic feeling, running on a highway that anytime else you would never want to be here.

Plus being in a valley and shaded, it was even cooler than the start. I could see people's breaths as we ran down the highway.

The music was amazing in this race. In the two Rock'n'Roll races (Chicago, Las Vegas) that we've run in, the music has been forgetful at best. There was at least one band I did a double take thinking they sounded so good I wouldn't be surprised to hear them playing before big stages in the future.

Another nice West Coast element was a Japanese taiko drum group playing near one of the cloverleafs we had to negotiate. That was helpful, since it was easy for me to pace myself to each beat of the drums.

Coming from Atlanta's oppressive humidity, I think I was heat acclimated in ways that would not be possible for locals. I had water just twice, starting at Mile 6 and another around Mile 9. The sunny day did not seem hot to me at all and this June race in many ways reminded me of the ING/Publix half marathon series in Atlanta.

So all in all, with a race both of us thought might be difficult for us, we both did very well in. Like all of the Rock'n'Roll races, it was very well put together and it went even farther to be one of my favorite halfs that I've done.

Time: 6:21 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (CS yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 27.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day 1,610: Happy National Running Day

For me many times I think of a particular route and it gnaws on me until I finally do it.

Today that route was the run to Atlantic Station, which was part of my training strategy for the Chicago Marathon last year.

Today it was pretty hot (90.8 degrees, 55 percent humidity). It was bright so I wore sunglasses.

I didn't bring any water, although I thought about it a lot. But I knew that if I needed to, I could stop by the Publix at Atlantic Station and there are water fountains in Piedmont Park and John Howell Park.

So everything went pretty much as planned. Near the end, after mile 7 or so I could have used water but I was happy that I made it back. I wasn't totally soaked like I will get later on in the summer, so no need to carry two T-shirts for now.

Time: 9:22 a.m.
Temp: 90.8 degrees (55 percent humidity)
Gear: Tech T, short (Chicago Marathon), shorts, Adidas running shoes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 1,600: Solving a multicache at Emory

I had forgotten today was my milestone day -- 1,600 consecutive days of running. Instead I did what I normally would do -- planned my day around a geocache.

This time there was a multi-stage geocache at Emory University's Clairmont campus. Instead of running the full 3+ miles one way, I decided to park on Lullwater Road and then run the rest of the way there.

It ended up being nearly 2 miles to get there. I was certainly puzzled by the cache and fried at the same time given the high heat.

I found the cache accidentally as I was on my way back, dejected. So it made for a lucky find!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Day 1,597: Hot again

Went for a 3-mile run in Inman Park today. I just checked the weather, 67 degrees, but it felt hot.

Plus it was bright enough that for the first time in a long time I wore sunglasses. I might have gone the entire year last year without doing so.

Time: 9:54 a.m.
Temp: 67 degrees
Gear: Tech T short (UNC), shorts, Adidas running shoes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 1,588: Running in the airport

SAN FRANCISCO -- On our way to Sydney, Australia and needing to get in a mile run to continue the streak, I decided to run inside the International Terminal of the airport.

At the time there weren't a lot of people around and I started up from the gate, ran down the long concourse and then double backed towards the gate where we left our OGG-SAN flight.

It was the first time I ran in an airport without luggage and needing to get somewhere. I was happy that you see people running in airports all the time and no one seems to mind.

I broke a light sweat although I don't think the Garmin watch picked up a signal inside the concourse. But 12 minutes of continuous running ought to buy me a mile, since it's a slower pace than my worst mile and I was running all the way.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Day 1,585: A wedding, a 6-mile run

LAHAINA, Hi. -- On the day of my wedding, I was up early, having gone to bed only four hours earlier after hanging out with Gnome and Sham in my hotel room at the Grand Hyatt in Lahaina.

It was pretty early and I only thought I'd be able to eke out a 1-mile run. But as I started along the beach parks next to the hotel, I saw that the town of Lahaina wasn't too far away (about 3 miles away to be exact).

And a geocache that I wanted was there, so I headed out to it. It was fun running along the sandy parks, which had interpretive trail signs here and there.

After a mile, I reached the road and started along it. It was nice that it was so early there weren't many cars or people out. I reached my destination -- the lighthouse at the piers in town, snapped off a quick picture and made my way back.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 1,584: The honesty of strangers

KULA, Hi. -- The day before our wedding we got a late start on the day. Namely, I wanted to do some geocaching and wasn't able to link up with the fiancee, who was staying at the Kula Lodge with her parents and sister.

But we finally did get a run in, on the road that leads to a ranch that Oprah owns. It's a pretty peaceful small road in the middle of really lush green grass. Some friendly horses there too. It's a pretty popular spot with local walkers. Yet it's still a decent workout with two good hills on the route and an elevation of about 2,850 feet.

When we finished with the run we got into my rental car which I parked at the Fong Store. We went back to my uncle's farm to shower and get ready. After a while I realized that my driver's license and credit card were not in the running shorts that I was wearing.

I was convinced they were somewhere in the house because I really thought I'd dropped them off after we got in the house.

This was not to be. So we got back in the car and went back to the Fong Store, more than an hour after we finished running.

The fiancee went inside and sure enough, someone had found the cards (I must have dropped them pulling out my rental car keys) and brought them to the store owner. They were waiting in an envelope for me. The owner had contacted the police for them to pick them up, thinking that somehow the person who lost them would eventually try to call around to see if they'd been turned in.

I'm grateful for the kindness of strangers and it's a good reminder for me to keep track of my things during a run.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Day 1,583: Back in Maui

KULA, Hi. -- Went out for a short run today on Lower Kula Road where I usually have run over the years when I'm in town.

Nice and cool to start out, but my first run after a long airplane ride is usually brutal. Coming back up from 2,700 feet to 3,000 after the turnaround was a little different than what I'm used to.

But we did it! Also helpful was to find a geocache right near our starting point.

Time: 6:12 a.m.
Temp: 71 degrees
Gear: Tech T short (Chicago Marathon), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Day 1,574: I've registered in the lottery for the 2012 London Marathon!

I didn't get in for this year's marathon, so I might as well try for the next year. Realistically though, my chances are slim -- I think they only pick about 1,000 overseas runners.

But unlike other marathons, the lottery for this race is free and they only take the 65 pound fee when you are accepted.

Today's run took me down Ponce de Leon, through the Whole Foods/Home Depot shopping center to the Midtown Art Cinema shopping center, through Midtown and around Piedmont Park.

Very humid.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 66 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, short (Charles Harris '11), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Day 1,571: Beat the Street for Little Feet 5K

Pete the cat is pretty well known around these parts and when we saw that the Beat the Street for Little Feet 5K would have him on our race shirts, we knew we had to run in it!

The 5K course is pretty nice, starting around Coan Park in Kirkwood and goes out on part of the Trolley PATH trail and on DeKalb Avenue. The last half mile is all downhill, which gives you a screaming finish.

We started out on a pretty regular pace and the course soon goes uphill pretty quickly. I ran very comfortably and it wasn't too long until the end was near on the PATH trail. I kicked to the finish in the last .5 mile to make sure I wouldn't get outkicked at the end.

Great weather, nice course. My Garmin data shows 3.11 miles, so pretty accurately measured for a community 5K as well!

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 57 degrees
Gear: short-sleeved T (Carolina grey), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus +27.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 1,567: Jesters Creek Greenway

MORROW, Ga. -- Last week I'd done a bunch of running near the house. Today I went down to Morrow to look for some geocaches along a greenway in Clayton County called the Jesters Creek Greenway.

What I liked about the trail is that you can access it from a library parking lot off of Battlecreek Road. It isn't too long before you get some really nice scenery, including some boardwalk bridges, lots of trees and some pretty cool rocks.

I turned around about at 1.65 miles off of Mt. Zion Road and then did .4 mile past the turn off for the library on the way back to give myself a four mile run.

I saw a few runners and walkers along it so it didn't feel isolated at all.

That's part of the fun of geocaching, to find new places, especially to exercise!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 1,551: Cherry Blossom Ten Miler

Standing in front of the Washington Monument after running in the Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler
WASHINGTON -- Last year when I ran in the Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler for the first time, it had been only three weeks since a pretty hard ING Georgia Marathon in which I suffered calf pain at mile 15 and had to gut it out to the end.

This year I was coming off of a half marathon in which I felt like I couldn't accelerate very well.

The race started fine, although the first mile was amateur hour in that there was a lot of people cutting in front and jockeying. Didn't anyone tell them this was a ten-mile race?

So I basically took it easy. By mile 3, I was surprised where the time had gone. Around mile 5, I was introduced to the bitchiness of the region when I accidentally dropped a pen and slightly turned around, only to have some girl kick the bottom of my shoe. Pretty ridiculous when she complained.

But it fired me up. I decided then I was going to have a nice race. When we got into East Potomac Park for the last half of the race it was beautiful. Cherry trees line the road on both sides.

At mile 9.5 with the incline, I had a bunch of energy to speed up it and it didn't feel as daunting as the year before (where was all this energy previously?)

But the one thing that mattered was that sweetie and I ran through the finish line hand-in-hand.

The funny thing about this race is I ran it 2 seconds faster than I did the year before. How's that for consistency?

Time: 7:42 a.m.
Temp: 41 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon), Tech T, short (yellow), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 1,551: Wilbur Farm Trail (Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve)

LITHONIA, Ga. -- Today's run took me to a spur of the Arabia Mountain PATH trail, the Flat Rock Spur off of Evans Mill Road.

Off of the bike path is a 1.6-mile trail that leads to an old farm that was purchased by the Nature Conservancy and added to the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve.

You go on a trail that leads up a hill and then you're let out onto this green, grassy clearing with an old silver barn at the bottom of it.

It's a trail that easily I could see as part of a state park or even a national park but here it's a county gem that you can access for free.

The trail goes right by a ruined farmhouse (I'm a little surprised it isn't completely fenced off) and then an idyllic pond.

The Wilbur Farm Trail then connected with the Boomerang Trail that I passed yesterday on the PATH. I took it and then jogged back to the Flat Rock Spur.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 1,550: Arabia Mountain PATH, part II

LITHONIA, Ga. -- Today I decided to park at the Davidson-Arabia Mountain Nature Preserve and take the PATH trail from there.

Already I thought it was much better than when I visited Panola Mountain State Park. The PATH trails here give you a nice diversity of the wilderness, from a granite rock trail (that's off the PATH bike trail) to forest trails that have a few waterfalls like you see above.

The one thing that detracts from this beauty is ... gunfire. At first I thought it was some careless locals plink shooting in the country but there is a police firing range near the park. So don't be alarmed.

I made my way from the Nature Preserve to somewhere around Milepost 6 where there was a spur for the Laurel Creek trail.

I didn't even come close to getting all the geocaches here, so I'm sure I'll be back!

Stone markers guide your way along the Mile Rock Trail

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 1,549: Arabia Mountain PATH Trail (Panola Mountain to Lyons House)

A view of Panola Mountain from the Arabia Mountain PATH Trail

STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. -- Today I decided to return to Panola Mountain State Park to run along the Arabia Mountain PATH trail in search of a few geocaches.

I didn't have a lot of time before I had to return to go to work and I actually made that time tighter by missing the turn from Snapfinger Road to Alexander Lake Road.

But I got there and put out my Georgia State Park Pass, which I've used seven times (or $35 in parking fees) since I bought it at Sweetwater Creek State Park.

Anyway, I started running and right away was impressed by this section of trail. It's very serene and full of interesting sights. Right away you see an old farm. Then around another curve are two long stone chimneys rising with the trees.

At about a mile, the PATH crosses a long bridge over South Creek.

Because I only had a limited amount of time, I couldn't go any farther than my second cache which was near an old Civil War-era abandoned house. When I turned around to return back along the path, I got the great view of Panola Mountain that you see above.

I got a four-mile run out on a gloomy, overcast day that easily could have ended up being just a one-miler.

Time: 10:54 a.m.
Temp: 54 degrees
Gear: Long-sleeved T (yellow Cherry Blossom Run), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 1,541: The Publix Georgia Half Marathon blitz

Early this morning was the start of the sign-up blitz for the 2012 Publix Georgia Half Marathon and Marathon.

For this past race, my fiancee and I took advantage of last year's promo blitz -- our entry fees for the 2011 race were $25 each, which is the typical price for a 5K race that doesn't give out goodies such as a technical T-shirt and a finisher's medal.

This year the price was nearly as good. The first 100 people to sign up got 50 percent off the registration and the next 100 got 40 percent off.

So that meant $25 plus an $8 fee on I tried to sign us both up but it would only process one registration from my computer.

Who knows what we'll be doing next year but it's still to a good cause, a good race if I somehow don't run in it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 1,539: Publix Georgia Half Marathon

For several years now, this course has been a big monkey on my back. When I ran in the inaugural ING Georgia Half Marathon in 2007, it heralded a return for me to half marathons. It was my first one in nearly a decade.

As I came over the Peachtree/Ellis hill, I had a chance to break two hours. I finished in two hours, three seconds.

In 2008, my running shape wasn't enough for me to tackle this race again. The course had changed from Peachtree to back behind Georgia Tech and starting and finishing in Centennial Olympic Park downtown.

When 2009 rolled around, I had just enough fitness to run in the half marathon but not enough to run solidly. I finished in 2:03.

Last year, I decided at the last moment to tackle the full marathon. With my training, I wondered how I would have done in the half marathon.

This year, I finally had my chance and had several nice things going for me -- I ran under 1:47 in the Run the Reagan Half Marathon last month in Snellville. Then I went on about a week later to break a PR in the 10K with the Charles Harris Run that had stood for 13 years. Last weekend, I placed first in my age group -- something I'd never done before -- in the O'Highlands Jig and Jog 5K.

The start was nice -- it was about 61 degrees and overcast. It seemed a little fast for me but I decided to go with it.

By mile 3, my fiancee had a six second lead on me and by mile 5 this grew to 46 seconds. I decided to run my race.

Unlike other races in the past, however, I never found that extra gear to accelerate. I had no mile splits in this race under eight minutes. Although it felt comforting to pass a lot of people in the last mile, this wasn't going to be a fireworks kind of race for me.

In the end I finished in 1:51:23, which is way better than the last time I tackled this half marathon and is keeping in par with other halfs I've done recently.

My mileage hasn't been as good lately as I've chosen to taper for races and the races have come one after another. I'll have to get back on track soon.

It's a good barometer for me to make sure I keep my training in check as I pursue other hobbies at the same time.

Time: 7 a.m.
Temp: 61 degrees
Gear: Tech T, short (North Carolina), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 1,531: O'Highlands Jig and Jog 5K, a first!

Today my fiancee and I ran in the annual O'Highlands Jig and Jog 5K in our Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

Although I didn't run the hilly course in PR time, I did do something I'd never before done in any race -- place first in my age group.

We started the race sort of easy. It ended up being a 7:30 pace. The next mile was similar and I had saved enough to start to kick around the last six-tenths of a mile.

I guess it was enough. The second and third place people in my division were about 30 seconds behind me.

I was 17th overall in the men's division (about 500 people of both sexes in the race). My fiancee did even better -- she was third overall for women in the race and placed first in her age category.

I ran in the race last year even though I knew it was so close to the ING Georgia Marathon.

I'm still glad I did. This year, with even the Publix Georgia Half Marathon before us, I'm happy I participated in such a fun community event.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 41 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long, Tech T, short (Junior League St. Paddy's Day 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus 27.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 1,528: A run in the rain

A bunch of soaked gear after this morning's run. Thankfully my smartphone was in a Ziploc bag.

I was procrastinating where to run today when I saw a new geocache popped up only a mile from where I live.

It had only been raining lightly and my running shoes already were wet from searching for a geocache near Emory earlier in the day. So I headed out and by the time I got to the find, some serious Hollywood-style rain poured out of the sky!

Luckily it was warm enough (56 degrees) that being soaked didn't feel bad. I signed the log then turned around and made my way back along the Freedom Park PATH. One of the nice things about being soaked is you don't have to worry about dodging puddles.

At least I had a windbreaker that worked part of the way and a good hat to keep it out of my face.

Time: 10:45 a.m.
Temp: 56 degrees
Gear: Long-sleeved T (Shamrock Run, Portland), shorts, windbreaker, Jager hat, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Day 1526: Back on the Silver Comet

HIRAM, Ga.-- Was out at Sweetwater Creek State Park and decided to do a run on the Silver Comet Trail. Basically went down Thornton Road until the Home Depot in Hiram and turned to get to the trailhead.

The last time I was out here running it was like 95 degrees out. The last time I ran on this section it rained at the turnaround with 5 miles to go.

Today it was just pleasant and it made me wonder why I haven't come out here more often.

Time: 11 am
Temp: 45 degrees
Gear: Tech T long (Atlanta Marathon promo, Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon training), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Day 1,519: A (short) run on the Westside

One of the great things about geocaching is getting to run on running paths around the city that I didn't even know existed.

One of those was the PATH's Westside trail. I had to access it on the way to The Battle of Utoy Creek geocache.

Atlanta's history is often funny. When it comes to locations of historical significance, many times you wouldn't ever know it. I guess that's part of living in a city that experienced a major battle. City life resumes at some point.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Even better

The results for the Charles Harris 10K show that I ran it in 46:29:43!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 1,517: Charles Harris 10K (PR)

TUCKER, Ga. -- I guess I shouldn't fool myself. Many times I go into races thinking that I'm going to take it easy or that I don't care what time I end up with.

And I really don't. But this race, the Charles Harris 10K, there was the potential for something special -- to break my 47:50 PR that had stood since the April 4, 1998 Roseburg (Ore.) 10K, set when I was 27.

I came within 8 seconds of that PR the first time I ran the Charles Harris in 2004, to qualify for Group IA of the Peachtree Road Race for the first time.

In 2009, I had a much more modest goal for the Charles Harris -- to only run under 55 minutes so as to qualify for Group IB of the Peachtree.

This year, the Atlanta Track Club made it harder to qualify for what they now call Group A, that is the group right behind the subseeded runners. For Group A, you have to run under 47:58.

In recent memory, my fastest 10K was last year's Peachtree, when I ran a 48:14. My last two 10Ks -- the Doug Kessler Lightning and the Strong Legs 10K were much slower. I ran those in under 50 minutes.

But I also had a lot of confidence in coming within 29 seconds of my half-marathon PR last week with a 1:46:59 in the Run the Reagan.

So anyway, it all came down to the first mile of the Charles Harris. The race start was fast and I logged a 7:35 mile.

From there I thought I could hold on. By Mile 4, I knew that a PR was a good possibility. I felt like I was running fast but was still in control of my race.

After Mile 5 by the turn I held up a little, knowing there were two hard hills at the end. By this time I knew I'd come in under 48 minutes and just wanted to finish strong.

At the top of the second hill I could see the finish and began to push to close.

It's kind of surreal that after all this time I finally did it.

Time: 7:48 a.m.
Temp: 37 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Marathon promo), short sleeved T (Carolina grey), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Day 1,510: Run the Reagan Half Marathon

SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- I'm used to this time in February being pretty cold for Atlanta. Despite that I decided in advance (on the last day of the early registration deadline) to run in the Run the Reagan Half Marathon.

At the time I thought it would be a tune-up race in advance of the March 20 Publix Georgia Half Marathon, since my last race was the Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon in December.

But the hilly course on the Ronald Reagan Parkway turned out to be a nice one. I ran my second-fastest half marathon, only 30 seconds off my PR that I set in the 1998 Vancouver Lake Half Marathon, when I was 27 years old.

Unlike that race, in which I hit the wall at mile 10 and still had a race time that I haven't beaten in 13 years, I felt pretty ready for it.

My plan was to take it easy, and I thought I was going to do that with an 8:40 first mile.

But I ended up with an 8:10 second mile and I really thought the hills would really hurt me at the end of the race, similar to how I felt like I wasn't adequately prepared for the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day.

The weather was good enough for just a technical T-shirt and shorts but it really felt hot near the end of the race. I made sure I drank a lot of Powerade and at Mile 9 I ate the carbo-shot that they gave out a few miles earlier in the race.

Because of the direct sunlight, maybe next time I'd wear sunglasses.

Anyway, it was extremely nice to come out of the holiday season with a solid race, even if I didn't mean for it to happen that way.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 51 degrees and climbing
Gear: Tech T, short (Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 1,508: The rewards of running

A full can of malt liquor that I saw at a fountain while running in Grant Park.

It always interests me to read about why other people run. It's a constant reminder that everyone is different.

I remember my high school cross country coach saying that he was never a competitive kind of person. It's a great state to be. It allows you to run because you want to and to run for your own reasons, not artificial ones or for anyone else's reasons.

My running started when I was in my sophomore year of high school. I wanted to be in better shape, so I started to run around this one mile exercise trail called a Parcourse.

Then as I got better at running, I would run from my parents' home to it, run around it and back, for 3.4 miles total.

Today it's hard to say why I keep running. I like the habit of it -- if I didn't have to run every day I wouldn't. And I'd be a lot heavier than I am now.

Sure it is nice to make a personal best time in a race or to win an award. But I almost never go into races thinking about this. Most times people are much faster than I am anyway. But the way that I run lets me run for the most part without injury. I get to run day after day after day and that makes me happy.

Just being out there is enough.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 1,505: The Katy Trail in Dallas

DALLAS -- Yesterday my geocaching took me to Dallas' Katy Trail, a network of 130 miles of trail.

And many people were taking advantage of the warmer weather for a run. I'd read about the trail from Runners World and if I didn't have my geocaching hobby I might certainly have hit up the hotel for information on how to link to it.

But I didn't need to. This geocache was right off the trail.

And then I left the trail to enter a park where another geocache was.

Although my time on the trail was short, it was great to have run on something so well-known.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Day 1,502: New kicks, running around Dallas

DALLAS -- Set out this morning for the first of my runs today, a few miles finding four Geocaches.

The downtown is pretty dusty because the city had to put down anything they could find to help out the roads from the recent rare snowstorm. In this case, it seems like what they had was dirt.

Pretty cold today, bundled way up but halfway through didn't need everything I had. I'm glad I could come back to the hotel room and change out, regroup and get ready to run again!

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 20 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (three shirts), Nike running pants, shorts, gloves, hat, InSport windbreaker, Nike Air Pegasus+ 27.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 1,501: 1,500 days, 100 geocaches

My 100th geocache at "Wildwood Tree Tag" in the Morningside Nature Preserve, Atlanta.

Yesterday, a running milestone for me came and went -- my 1,500th consecutive day of running.

I knew it was close but really didn't pay it much mind because I was aggressively trying to make my 100th geocache find.

Who would have thought that running would involve so many numbers? In general, I try to run at least a mile everyday and about 30 miles a week. Everything else doesn't matter to me so much.

I guess that's why I like geocaching because it lets me get in runs and also helps me explore more of my neighborhood and community.

Today's run took me to a pretty muddy trail in the Morningside Nature Preserve. Tomorrow I'm looking forward to running in Dallas and the next milestone. I'll have to leave my current pair of running shoes in Atlanta because they became muddy and wet during the trail run.

Time: 8 a.m.
Temp: 31 degrees
Gear: Tech T long (Nike (white), William's Run), running pants, Nike windbreaker, gloves, hat, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 1,493: Slip sliding away (Peachtree Road Race)

Today I discovered that I'll likely run in Group B instead of Group A for the Peachtree Road Race.

I found this out by looking at their time qualification chart.

In the past, there were only two qualification times that mattered for people who weren't seeded or sub-seeded runners: The first was a 10K time under 54:59 to get you into Group B and a time under 50 minutes to get you into Group A.

This year to get into Group A you need a 10K time under 47:59 (47:50 is my PR), under 23:01 for a 5K (I've done this twice last year in the Virginia-Highland Summerfest 5K and the Atlanta Race2Recycle but I don't know if they will count towards this) or a half-marathon under 1:45:47.

Oh well, looks like being in Group B will suffice!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 1,491: A geocaching long run

The location of the "Ever Faithful..." Virtual Geocache on the Georgia Tech campus.

About a month ago, I started geocaching because 1). It was free on my Palm Pre phone and 2). It seemed like a good way to motivate myself for running.

All month, I've gotten in a lot more mileage than I would have previously because of it. It's been helpful to get those staple 4-mile runs in and I've done a few 6- and 8-mile runs with it, too.

Running is a perfect fit for geocaching because you don't need to find a place to park your car and you don't look so conspicuous as you would if you were creeping up somewhere with your car.

Today's 14-mile run took me through several Atlanta neighborhoods, including Georgia Tech, where there were several great geocaches.

The run started out with light rain but by the first hour, I was able to put away my windbreaker and hat. It was cool out but definitely was a nice way to get out and learn a bit about the 'hood.

Time: 9:01 a.m.
Temp: 49 degrees, light rain
Gear: Tech T, short (Doug Kessler 10K '10), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 1,477: Where are you Garmin?

Garmin Connect has been down for most of the day so I don't have today's run uploaded.

But suffice to say the last three days have been a joy to run in, especially as warmer weather has come and the dreaded ice has been melting away. It's pretty novel to just wear a technical T-shirt and shorts again instead of doubling up on technical T-shirts and wearing running pants.

My mileage was pretty low last week, really I was only running the minimums for the streak but I'm glad to be back on track. I'm also glad I wasn't planning on running in anything like a February marathon. Things would be tough now losing an entire week.

Time: 10:30 a.m.
Temp: 40 degrees
Gear: Technical T-shirt, long (Chicago half marathon training), Technical T-shirt short (Green Dash 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 1,472: So icy

Yet another short mileage day, mainly because it's pretty treacherous out there on foot. Can't wait to break off a long run.

Pretty icy conditions out on North Highland Avenue, made a quick run and back.

I ended up joining the Atlanta Track Club to have an "early registration opportunity" for the Peachtree Road Race. I joined it when I first moved to Atlanta for a year. It's good to be back.

Time: 10 a.m.
Temp: 27 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Half Marathon '10, Atlanta Half Marathon '09), shorts, running pants, Nike Climafit windbreaker (red), Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 1,471: Do you feel lucky? Well, do you punk? (Peachtree 10K goes to lottery system)

Just as online race entry is becoming the norm, it seems that entry via lottery is becoming a trend for large road races.

Today the Atlanta Track Club announced it will be going to a lottery system for its July 4 Peachtree 10K.

The lottery will begin 5:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 through 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, 2011. As in other lotteries, it doesn't matter when during the 10-day window you register. The 60,000 participants will be selected after registration closes.

Reading the fine print, it seems there are some ways of not having to be subject to a lottery. The first is if you are a "streaker," or one who has run 10 or more Peachtree Road Races. I've only run in 6 of them (2003-2004, 2007-2010).

The other way is to join the Atlanta Track Club, which provides an "early registration opportunity" for its members (individual memberships cost $35, while dual memberships cost $50).

This seems like it would be the way to go -- you could join the club with a buddy or spouse for $25 instead of $35 for an individual membership and not worry about having to be lucky or not.

Today's run was a snowplow along North Highland in the middle of the street. A snow/ice mix covered everything except for well-worn tire tracks.

Time: 10:47 a.m.
Temp: 30 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Half Marathon '08), running pants, Nike Climafit windbreaker (red), Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 1,470: Snow in Atlanta!

I used to think it would snow maybe once every two years. Now it's snowed twice in two and a half weeks!

The snow was everywhere. We trekked down North Highland avenue and did an errand before coming back. I thought the hill would be slippery but it turned out to be ok.

Time: 10:49 a.m.
Temp: 27 degrees
Gear: Tech T, long (Atlanta Half Marathon '08, Portland Marathon '00), shorts, running pants, Nike Climafit windbreaker (red), gloves, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/D.