Thursday, December 18, 2014

Race #281 - Huntersville 5k - World Record Tether Run - Huntersville, NC - 12/13/14

It was my slowest 5k ever, but all for a good cause. According to organizer and Charlotte Running Club president Bill Shires, the world record for the most people tethered together for a 5k race was 116. That was a record Bill was confident we could break and he spent several months planning a strategy and gathering people to run. There wasn't a time requirement but it was imperative that everybody stayed tied together until every runner crossed the finish line.

With the great organization and pre-planning we easily broke the record with 178 runners crossing the finish line. We were all tethered together with a system of bungee cords that was well thought out, and the biggest challenge was being sure that nobody tripped or  came loose from the tether system. Any disconnection at all by any runner would have disqualified us.

Of course, the speed was dictated by the slowest runner. I was in the front row and everybody up there was wishing we could go a little faster, but there were one or two runners farther back who had a hard time keeping up so we would walk whenever we had to. My final time of 43:13 landed me in 10th place out of 13 in the age group but it was the first time I had run a race where there was really no pressure at all to be fast and it was a lot of fun to hang with a group of almost 200 people throughout.

All of the information is being submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records and hopefully we'll make it into the record books!

Click Here for Race Results

Official Race Photos:



Click Here for Race Website

Bill Shires, president of the Charlotte Running Club, was the brains behind the world record attempt.


Running friends Bob Nelson, Rick Gagnon, Butch Holt, and me.


Getting tethered together before the race.

With running friend and fast chick Sharon Davis.
We ran the Ugly Sweater 12-mile unsanctioned race the following day together
as a tempo run at a 7:30 pace and she was the 1st overall female.


A bunch of friends from the Gaston County Runners helped set the new world record
including 8-year-old Martin Inman, who is quickly becoming a fast runner like his dad Andy.



***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals (HM only)

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
5 - Swag: (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent (Hoodie for HM runners)
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
0 - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  100

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Race #280 - ChristmasTown 5k - McAdenville, NC - 11/29/14

My friend and age group competitor Ralph Shore
is a regular year-round at road races, but he's
especially noticeable in the Christmas races!
In only its second year the ChristmasTown 5k in McAdenville has become one of Gaston County's biggest races, with more than 1,100 registered runners and 900+ finishers. Each December more than 600,000 visitors come to see the hundreds of thousands Christmas lights in this small town just outside of Charlotte. This tradition that began in 1956 has made McAdenville one of the most visited Christmas destinations in the country.

The lights don't officially come on until December 1st, but this year on November 29th the streets were closed to traffic and the lights were turned on just for this race. It started and finished at a small park just off Main Street. Because of the number of runners and the fairly small street where the start/finish line was located, the runners were separated into five different waves of about 200 runners with the waves starting 2 minutes apart.

While the intentions were good, the wave start became a fairly major problem. Runners were pre-assigned a wave but many of them paid no attention to starting in the assigned wave. If there had been a starting mat to record a beginning time then it might have worked, but without that the final results were a mess (although they worked hard after the race and straightened things out for the most part). I'm hoping that in the future they'll just start everybody at the same time. Posting pace times prominently with the fastest runners up front would help and would simplify the process. There would still be a few people sneaking ahead of where they actually should be but it works in a lot of bigger races. The Southpark Turkey Trot in Charlotte has more than 5,000 runners every year with no more than a suggestion that the faster runners should line up first. It's a mess for sure and way more crowded at the starting line that I prefer, but things get sorted out pretty quickly once the race starts.


The race course for the ChristmasTown 5k winds through the major streets where the Christmas lights are located. It's a beautiful run, of course, but I spent more time trying to make sure I didn't trip instead of enjoying the lights since it was hard for me to see the road much of the time. There weren't any terribly dark areas and there were several extra spotlights used in areas where it was more difficult to see the street.

From the main intersection in McAdenville the race first goes up one big hill, off to a side street (well lit with tons of Christmas decorations) then back and up the remainder of the hill. After coming back down, the course then goes up the other big hill until the final turnaround for the downhill finish. The downhill finish was great but I had a miserable time with both hills, taking a walk break on both of them. I ended up 18th overall out of 906 finishers, just 1 second ahead of the first female finisher. I wasn't thrilled with my time of 22:34 but it seemed like everybody I talked to was about a minute off their normal 5k time because of the two huge hills, so maybe I'll do a little better in a flatter race. My times have definitely been off lately and I'm not sure how much of it is due to my diet, training, and that type of factors as opposed to the fact that I'm just getting older and slower. I hope it's more a matter of diet and training, which I can control somewhat. There's not much I can do about getting older.

Click Here for Overall Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Award Results

Click Here for FREE Race Photos from Matthew Gregory

My Stats:

Time:  22:34
Pace:  7:16
Age Group:  1 of  16
Overall:  18 of  906 (2%)
Average Heart Rate:  168
Maximum Heart Race:  174
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:50 (72.34%)

Once again Matthew Gregory provided lots of free high quality photos of this race on his Flickr page.
This was the only one of me and I'm not even the main character in the photo, but there were great shots
of many of the other runners in the race. Free photos, especially good ones, are a huge deal since race
photos tend to be so expensive. Kudos to Matthew Gregory and folks at the Walk and Run Belmont store!


***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
5 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
0 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
5 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! (*Free!)
10 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5-10)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no (*Some took bus from high school)
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
2 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes (*Gaston County YMCA)
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  97


Friday, November 28, 2014

Race #279 - Santa Scramble 5k - Concord, NC - 11/22/14

This was my sixth time to run the Santa Scramble, one of my favorite 5k races of the year. It's the first entry in the Concord Christmas Parade so there's plenty of excitement along the way and enough people watching to keep you running your best. The weather was great again this year and my best guess would be that there were probably at least 10,000 people along the course. For the most part they weren't there for the race but instead were there for the marching bands, baton twirlers, and the appearance of Santa Claus, but there's still a lot more encouragement as you run than there would be if they weren't there.

The best part of the Santa Scramble is the last mile, where there's a half mile of downhill running just before the finish. With the first couple of miles being mostly flat (with maybe just barely a little bit of an upward incline in places) it's the fastest 5k race I know of in the Charlotte area and mostly every year I've run it it's been my fastest 5k of the year.

The Santa Scramble is the only race where I've run a sub 20-minute 5k and I would have liked to done that this year, but with the races in the two previous weeks being my slowest half marathon of the year and my slowest 5k of the year, I felt like I'd be happy with just being under 21 minutes. I finished at 20:23 and won my age group so I was satisfied with that, and I felt better than I've been feeling over the previous month as I have been recovering from a cold.

Click Here for Race Results and Photos

My Stats:

Time:  20:23
Pace:  6:33
Age Group: 1 of  6
Overall:  50 of  551 (9.1%)
Average Heart Rate:  166
Maximum Heart Race:  176
Age Graded Equivalent Time:   16:06 (80.09%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
6 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
0 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
0 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes (Maybe a tad short: 3.07)
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
5 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! ($17 race day/no shirt)
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
3 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
3 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
2 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! ($5.95 each)
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
0 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)
3 - Extra points for 4-deep age groups!
3 - Extra points for fastest 5k course!

TOTAL:  93

Some of the Gaston County Runners before the race.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Blog Name -- It's Now "TheOldRunner.com"

A funny thing happened recently when I wasn't looking. I forgot to renew the name "old-runner.com" and for some reason it was snatched up by someone who thought it would be a great name, so I no longer own it. Okay, I'm not married to the name, and actually I was a little tired of telling people there was a hyphen between the words "old" and "runner" when they asked for the address of my blog.

After a little brainstorming I decided to stay fairly close to the original name and since it was available I decided on getting "theoldrunner.com" (or it's okay to capitalize the first letter of each word, like "TheOldRunner.com" to get to the blog. It's still just a Blogspot blog with the address being redirected to the blog, but if you're interested you can now get to this blog using a little easier-to-remember address. And yes, I know I'm not THE Old Runner... there's a bunch of us. But for now I've licensed the name, at least until I forget to renew it.

Bookmark this address to easily return...


Race #278 - Thunder Road Half Marathon - Charlotte, NC - 11/15/14 - #RunCharlotte

Thunder Road is North Carolina's biggest racing event, now in its tenth year. More than 5,000 runners participated in the three races (full marathon, half marathon, and 5k). This was my first half marathon back in 2008, only three months after I had begun running, and when I finished that year I swore I'd never run another half marathon. Since then I've run about 70 more so I changed my mind and the half marathon has become my favorite distance. I ran the Thunder Road half in 2008, 2009, and 2010 but for one reason or another skipped the next three years before returning this year to run it again.

It actually seemed like an entirely different race than in those earlier years. The expo was in the same location -- the Charlotte Convention Center -- but the race started and finished just outside the BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights, with the post-race activities in the adjacent Romare Bearden Park, a perfect race venue.

Thunder Road has a big city race atmosphere that's great to see locally. It's not overwhelming as you might experience in a race such as the New York City Marathon, where you end up traveling huge distances to get to the starting line and waiting for hours for the race to start, but it's big enough that you feel like part of a major racing event. I arrived an hour or so before the start of the race and easily found parking within 100 yards of the starting line. I wasn't thrilled to pay $7.50 to park there but it was worth it to be able to sit in the comfort of my car and stay warm until about 10 minutes before the start of the race. The weather was unseasonably cold with the temperature in the mid 20s at the time the race began at 7:45. My dislike of cold weather is well known and I was bundled up with 3 shirts, 2 pairs of tights, 2 cold weather Buffs, thick socks, and warm gloves. That is ridiculously overdressed for most runners but I know myself just fine and didn't feel too warm at any time during the race and was actually shivering at the beginning. My wife told me later that my slower time might have been partially the result of too much weight added by the extra clothing, and she could have a point since every little thing adds up. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Since I didn't really warm up I decided to just take it easy in the first mile of the race. Bill Shires and Rob Ducsay were heading up the 1:35 pace group and I tucked in behind them. I knew I wouldn't be able to stick with them even though I ran two half marathons last month in the 1:35s. Since then I developed a cold and have had a lot of coughing and congestion and after last week's miserable 5k I thought I would be fortunate to just make it under 1:40. To make a long story short, the wheels came off for me probably halfway through the race and my pace slowed down to a minute or so slower than usual even though my heart rate was just as high (close to 170) so I knew well before the finish that it wasn't going to be good news at the finish line. I lost count of how many walk breaks I took and by the time I saw the finish line I was happy to be under 1:45. My official chip time was 1:42:02, which is the slowest of 12 half marathons I've run this year but still not bad for a 62-year-old. I have a feeling that old age is quickly approaching along with slower race times so as I slow down I'll try to just appreciate the fact that I'm still running, at whatever speed it might be.

A snapshot of the post race celebration.

Running buddy Dianne Allen and I both won our age group in the half marathon.

Father and son Andy and Andrew Inman finished 9th and 10th overall in the 5k.
Andy won 2nd Masters and Andrew was 1st in the 14-and-under age group!

Dianne and Rian after the race with the Charlotte skyline in the background.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Pics from Sport Photo

Click Here for Race Website (RunCharlotte.com)

My Stats:

Time:  1:42:02
Pace:  7:47
Age Group: 1 of  22
Overall:  232 of 2729 (8.5%)
Average Heart Rate:  168
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:00 (73.1%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
9 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
0 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
1* - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes (*Online Only)

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  101


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Race #277 - Spencer Mountain 5k - Ranlo, NC - 11/08/14

I was planning to run the 10-miler at one of my favorite Gaston County races but after missing the previous weekend's races because of having a cold I decided to not overdo it and run the 5k instead. That was probably a good decision, although not as good of a decision as avoiding racing altogether and taking another recovery week as I managed to run my slowest 5k of 2014 at 22:56. I'd like to blame it on the hills but it was actually pretty flat except for a short stretch a quarter of a mile or so down Spencer Mountain and back up.

There were some bright spots, most notably professional quality photographs taken by Matthew Gregory (I think he's part owner of the running store in Belmont but I'm not positive). Either way, he's apparently got a great DSLR camera and knows how to use it and took fantastic hi-res photos and posted them on Flickr for free. That's a huge perk for a race, especially since race photographers tend to charge outrageous prices for their photos. There were photos of virtually every runner in the race and multiple photos of many runners. It would be great to have pics like this every year and over time it would probably make the race more popular than ever.

Here's a photo of me taken by Matthew Gregory. I sized this one to be viewed
on the blog. The original is huge! Many of the other photos look better than mine of course
(the person in the photo does make a difference).


This is a well established race but still not too big (131 finishers in the 5k and 96 finishers in the 10-miler). I suspect a lot of folks are scared away from the challenge that the 10-mile race presents. It's famous for the huge hill in the ninth mile and there are also a couple other major hills before you reach that one as you're going to the small town of Spencer Mountain, but the first 5 miles of the race are actually flat so it's not as bad as some people might think, and it's a beautiful race in the autumn.

Here's speedy Matt Longworth winning the 10-miler!
(I actually took this photo with the camera on my phone)
Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Race Photos on Flickr

Click Here for Race Photos on the YMCA Facebook Page (214 pics)

Charlotte running friend (and faithful reader of my blog) Aaron Chan had a great race.

My Stats:

Time:  22:56
Pace:  7:07 (the race was a little long, measured by my Garmin at 3.25 miles)
Age Group:  1 of  4
Overall:  10 of  131 (7.6)
Average Heart Rate:  168
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  18:07 (71.18%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
6 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes (a little long is okay... 3.25 miles)
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
0 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
3* - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals
    *Medals for finishers of 10-mile race

POST RACE
3 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
5 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful (only a couple needed)
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!  (FREE!)
5 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
2 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes (YMCA Race Series)
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  95

Friday, November 7, 2014

Race #276 - Spooky Sprint 5k - Salisbury, NC - 10/26/14

In the second of two races on the weekend just before Halloween, I revisited the Spooky Sprint 5k, a fun 5k that starts at Catawba College in Salisbury and finishes on the school track. It's Rowan Rotary's big fundraising event of the year and they do an outstanding job with it. A lot of runners come out all dressed up for Halloween and there's a great kids fun run that's part of the festivities. It's one of the few races I know of in North Carolina that actually has Senior Grand Masters (ages 60+) awards in addition to Grand Masters (ages 50+) and Masters (40+) and most likely because of that there are a lot of older runners who participate. Last year and again this year I was fortunate to win Masters, so I'm sending out a big thank you to all the 40+ runners faster than me who didn't show up!

The temperatures in late October at 2:30 in the afternoon (race time) would normally be in the mid-60s, but this was a near-record-breaking day with the thermometer hitting 83 degrees. I love warm temperatures and would prefer 83 over 38 anytime, but I'm like anybody else in being slowed down some by the heat. I walked a short distance three or four times during the race, but I'm no stranger to walking in a race, and I was still satisfied with my final time.

As much as I enjoyed this race, there were a couple of things that were done better the previous year. First, the awards ceremony was a bit of a disaster. The PA system wasn't working so you couldn't hear what was being said. Things improved when the announcer just put down the microphone and used his outside voice, but by then it was too late. The second issue that was much better the previous year was that they had a photographer (or maybe more than one) who took photos last year and posted them for free on Facebook. For me and probably most other runners having free race photos is huge. Unfortunately they didn't do it this year so that was disappointing. Hopefully next year they'll get the awards ceremony straightened out and will consider having the free photos again.

Click Here for Race Results

Some great running friends at the race. Everybody in this photo ran at least two races during this weekend and several
of them ran three races... and they all placed in their respective age groups!


My Stats:

Time:  21:46
Pace:  7:00
Age Group: 1 of  4
Overall:  15 of  178 (8.4%)
Average Heart Rate:  167
Maximum Heart Race:  178
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:12 (75%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
0 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
3 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
6 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
3 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
5 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
2 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
6 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
* - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)
2* Special awards for Halloween costumes

TOTAL:  91