Showing posts from November, 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'

New Blog Name -- It's Now ""

A funny thing happened recently when I wasn't looking. I forgot to renew the name "" 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 "" (or it's okay to capitalize the first letter of each word, like "" 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 license

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 at

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 the

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 thermomet

Race #275 - Jack O Lantern Jaunt - Concord, NC - 10/25/14

With lots of longer races on the schedule for this fall I decided to take this particular weekend to run a couple of 5k's -- one on Saturday and one on Sunday. Since I tend to be fairly miserable anytime the temperature dips below 60 degrees, the 5:30 p.m. starting time of the Jack O Lantern Jaunt worked out perfectly for me on this mild autumn day. It's a nice small race held on the grounds Frank Liske Park in Concord, a beautiful 238-acre park that was once part of the working farm of Stonewall Jackson Training School, a boys reformatory built in the early 1900s. It's the first time I've run a race here and it's a special place for me because I was a member of that group of incorrigible boys who called Jackson Training School home for at least part of my youth. While The Beatles were producing their greatest music, Elvis was marrying Priscilla, and tens of thousands of people marched on Washington to protest the Vietnam war, I spent the greater part of 1967 lear