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!