Weekly Wrap-Up: December 25-31

Well, it was a fitting end to 2017. (That’s not a compliment.)

Christmas Present Update: I did pretty well, even if I feel like burning all of it after yesterday’s run. I got 4 pairs of Balega socks (2 of which I used right away on Tuesday and Wednesday after I had left my running socks at home, and got a blister last Sunday from wearing 100% cotton socks), a pair of running pants, a blue short sleeved tech T-shirt, a blue long sleeved tech T-shirt, a red 1/4 zip tech hoodie, a new Flip Belt, and something that I was totally not expecting:

I haven’t put it up yet, but the holes at the bottom are to hang medals, and the space on the right side is for bibs. (Also, after runs like Saturday, I need to re-read everything that it says.)

Weight Check: 166.3 pounds, up 0.8 from last week. That’s over 10 days rather than 7, so considering everything, I suppose it’s not terrible. Also, I looked back and apparently on January 1, I was at 166.6 pounds, so I’m down 0.3 for the year. Beats the alternative, I guess.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Tuesday 1 mile easy, 4 miles at half marathon pace (9:30-9:40/mile), 1 mile easy 6.01
Wednesday 5 miles easy 5.01
Friday 4 miles easy 4.01
Saturday 12 miles total, 10 miles easy, 2 miles at half marathon pace 4.17

Total: 19.20 miles

Well, at least Tuesday’s run went pretty well. I was at my sister’s house, and she lives less than half a mile from a greenway, so I was able to have a nice, flat run. In spite of all the beer I drank and food I ate on Christmas day, I felt OK. It was kinda cold, but I survived, and I hit my goal pace on each of the 4 miles in the middle.

Wednesday was back in my parents’ neighborhood. It still went OK. My legs felt a little tired the day after a workout run, but it wasn’t too terrible. I was too fast on the first mile, probably due to the cold. My pace started to creep back up on mile 3, so mile 4 ended up a little slower than I wanted. I pushed the pace near the end of mile 5 and was able to finish strong.

Looking back, I can see the warning signs on Friday. I thought (maybe I was in denial) that it was just an off day, a fluke. It was one of those days where my legs didn’t seem to want to move as fast as I’d like. I got through the 4 miles, and my average pace wasn’t terrible, just a little slower than usual.

Saturday was a complete disaster.

I’ve been fighting a cold – I think that’s why Friday’s run was a little slower than I expected – and while it hasn’t affected my breathing that much, for some reason, it’s really sapped my energy, and by the time I got to mile 3, from a fatigue standpoint, I felt like I was on mile 23, and I knew there was no way I could get to 12 miles. I did manage to get to 4.17 miles to mark the end of 2017, but otherwise, it was a terrible run.

It was only fatigue, though, and once this cold goes away, I should get my energy back. At least that’s what I hope.

But man, an illness keeping me from finishing a run? Where have I seen that before? Like I said, a fitting end (but definitely not a happy one) to 2017.

Anyway, I still have a race recap for the Huntersville Half (I started writing it on Friday, and was going to continue Saturday, but after that “run”…no. Just no.) to finish, and I’ll need to do a December wrap-up and a 2017 wrap-up. Then maybe I’ll set some goals for 2018.

And I’m still going to be out there running on New Year’s Day, for the 5th year in a row.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 18-24

Hello from overcast Greensboro. I’ve got a few minutes on Christmas Eve for a quick wrap-up.

Yes, this is two posts in one day. I finally got my Trophy Trot 10K recap done, so I had to post it, and I didn’t want to wait to post my Weekly Wrap-Up, so here it is.

Weight Check:165.5 pounds, up 0.8 from last week. My weigh-in was on Thursday, before I ran 6 miles. I didn’t do a good job of buckling down, but I guess it could have been worse.

I had to make a few changes to my schedule, so I’ll just list my mileage for each day. It was all easy runs.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 3.11
Tuesday 4.01
Thursday 6.01
Saturday 4.01
Sunday 4.01

Total: 21.15 miles

Monday, it was 43 degrees, so decent weather. My legs felt a little more tired than usual. That’s really odd, because my mileage has been pretty low lately, and also, I actually ran my fastest average pace for an easy run in months. I don’t get it, but I won’t complain. I kept the effort easy except for the very end.

On Tuesday, I had a strange run.

The weather was fine, 42 degrees. My legs felt OK. My GPS screwed up on the first mile, and I think that it affected me mentally on the next two miles. I did manage to rally on the last mile, though, so I think it was more mental than physical.

Thursday was my last run before I left town, so I figured I’d make it my “long” run of the week. The weather was pretty close to perfect for me, 50 and overcast. My legs felt OK. I hit a few hills that I don’t normally get to on my shorter neighborhood runs.

The best word to describe this run is comfortable. My pace wasn’t all that fast, but I felt pretty good the whole time. I think it helped that school was out and a lot of people took the day off, so my neighborhood was much more quiet than usual for a weekday. I kept the effort easy except for a small push at the end.

Saturday, I was in my parents’ neighborhood, which feels hillier than it actually is. The temperature wasn’t too bad, 54 degrees, but the wind made it feel a little cooler. It was still OK. My legs felt fine. I probably ran a hair too fast on the first mile, but otherwise, I did all right, keeping the effort easy until the very end.

On Sunday, it was slightly cooler (45 degrees) but less windy. My legs felt fine. I probably ran a little bit faster than I should have overall, but my pace wasn’t too fast. I kept the effort easy until near the end.

One other note, I forgot to bring my running socks with me, and had to run in 100% cotton socks for the last two days. I got a blister on the outside of my left big toe today, which didn’t surprise me. I’m hoping Santa is bringing some new running socks to hold me over until I get back home.

Next week, more travel, and possibly some bad weather late in the week, but hopefully I can get in a 12 miler next Saturday and close out the year strong. We’ll see.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Race Report: 2017 Trophy Trot 10K

This is one of those races where my performance is going to look better as time passes. I’m still a little bit disappointed, because I missed a PR by 14 seconds. Considering the course and how I felt out there, I did pretty well.

First, let’s go back to Tuesday. I drove up to my parents’ house in Greensboro (about a 2 hour drive) because I was going to take them to Raleigh for Thanksgiving at my sister’s house. I brought two bags with me. For the trip from Greensboro to Raleigh, I only brought one bag. I took the contents of the two bags and only packed what I would need in Raleigh in my single bag. (I know this sounds mundane, but it will come up later.)

Wednesday morning, I drove with my parents to Raleigh. We were staying at a hotel about 5 minutes from my sister’s house. I then drove over to pick up my packet at Runologie, a local running store. They gave me a bib, a t-shirt, safety pins (They were already in the bag, which is a shame, because I brought some with me), and a card advertising the Running Realtor. (Yes, really.) I’m not looking to purchase any real estate in the Raleigh area anytime soon, but OK.

The shirt looks nice.

As usual, I can’t get the color to show up correctly. It’s more of a burgundy color than purple. The bottom of the picture is closer to the actual color than the top. Not only do I not have any other running shirts in that color, I’m not sure I have any other types of shirts in that exact color. The only problem is that it’s a polyester blend and not a true tech t-shirt. Disappointing, but at least it’s not 100% cotton, so I can wear it occasionally on short runs in temperate weather.

Also, I did not get my bib number before I picked it up. Before this race, every time I did a race in the Charlotte area, I didn’t get my bib number in advance, but for every race outside of Charlotte, they e-mailed me my bib number before packet pickup. Now, for a race the size of New York City, you pretty much have to send out bib numbers. (I can’t imagine walking up to some poor volunteer at the expo for NYC and telling them my last name is Smith.) But for smaller races, you can go either way, and it was just a bizarre coincidence that, up until this race, there was a definite split between the Charlotte area and outside the Charlotte area.

Anyway, my parents and I met my sister and her family for dinner Wednesday night. (My nephews are the best.) We went to a Japanese restaurant, which for me means sushi. Yeah, I had sushi the night before a race. I don’t think it made much difference.

At the hotel, I started getting my stuff ready for the morning. I went through the one bag that I brought to get everything I would need for the morning. And this is the part where I combined two bags into one comes back. I realized that in that transfer, my watch didn’t make it. Argh. I hate racing without a watch. Luckily, I had my phone, and I still have Runkeeper installed, so it would have to do.

I had a pretty rough night of sleep. I still managed to get up go through my normal routine, shower, Clif bar, water, brush teeth, use bathroom. It was slightly colder than I had hoped, around 33 when I got up, so I knew I’d have to stick to long sleeves and long pants. (I had brought a pair of shorts just in case it turned out warmer, but alas, I didn’t get to wear them.)

It took me about 15 minutes to drive over to the race. They had street parking near the brewery, so I found a spot. I then got out and started a warm-up mile. It was still 33 degrees. I ran 1.01 miles, tacking on the extra .01 as usual, and I ended up with a pace of 11:01/mile, so not too bad. I then walked over to the starting area.

The race went through Dorthea Dix Park, which is the home to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, so it doesn’t really look like a park.

Before the race, they introduced some elites, which, for this race, consistent primarily of runners from local colleges. Someone who had just been elected to the Raleigh City Council (I didn’t catch her name) pardoned a turkey, and then a guy sang the National Anthem. And wow, that guy was really good.

I did get a picture of the starting line.

And then we were off. (It’s been so long since the race that I don’t remember exactly how they started the race, whether it was a countdown, or just “Ready, set, go!” or something similar. Sorry.) According to Runkeeper, we were about 4 minutes late.

Mile 1: 8:43

I left my phone in my pocket on this mile, so I didn’t have a good idea of how fast I was going. I could definitely tell that this mile was primarily uphill. So when I got to the end of the mile and saw 8:43, that was not good.

At that point, I took my phone out of my pocket and kept it in my hand for the rest of the race. I don’t normally like running with a phone in my hand, but I had to slow down.

Mile 2: 9:32

I may have slowed down a little too much on this mile. There were still plenty of hills.

Mile 3: 9:07

This was a pretty solid mile. The hills were still pretty killer.

Mile 4: 9:12

There was an aid station during this mile. I slowed down and grabbed some water. The turnaround was during this mile, at about the 3.8 mile mark. The course had a couple of extra loops on the “out” portion that we skipped on the “back” part, so that’s why the turnaround was past the halfway point.

Mile 5: 9:12

We passed the aid station again, but this time I skipped it. Also, I remember at one point in this mile turning and hitting a downhill stretch, which was good, but also a noticeable headwind, which was bad.

Mile 6: 9:17

I was getting really tired. Those hills, man. I pushed as hard as I could.

Last 0.3: 7:32/mile pace

The last part was downhill, so that helped. It also helped that my family was there before the finish. My nephews were there too, which is awesome. They (the adult members of my family, not my nephews) even got a few pictures of me, including this one.

There was a similar picture that my Dad took (which I don’t have in digital form), and my parents ended up putting that picture on their Christmas cards this year. I didn’t expect that.

I crossed the finish line, and was pretty sure I didn’t have a PR.

Right at the finish line, they had bottles of water, and…that was it. I was mildly disappointed that they didn’t have some food. Luckily, I knew I’d get a beer when we got back to the tap room.

They did the old school thing of printing out results as they came in, and I got my official time, 57:18.673. So no PR, but considering the hills (and the fact that I ended up with 6.30 miles), it was still a pretty good result.

My nephews (especially my younger nephew, just under a year and a half old) were really cold, and needed to go home. My parents stuck around, and we headed over to the tap room, about a quarter mile walk, and I got my free beer. It was called Trophy Wife (which is a great name), and it was a session IPA. I’m generally not a huge fan of IPAs, but being a session IPA meant it was a little less hoppy, and after running that course, any beer would have been pretty good.

Then it was time to finally take my picture with my car key.

The beer ticket is missing. Priorities, man. I do like the trophy-shaped medal. And that’s the front of the brewery in the background, which seemed appropriate.

So yeah, this was a really tough course, but I think I did the best I could with it. Before this year, it would have been a 10K PR, so I’ve definitely made some progress.

Vital Stats

Full Name of Race: Trophy Trot 10K
Location: Dorthea Dix Park, Raleigh, NC
Date and Time of Race: November 23, 2017, 8:00 AM
Bib Number: 187
Official Finishing Time: 57:18.673 chip time (57:27.460 gun time). 321st of 765 Overall, 225th of 381 Men, 31st of 60 in Age Group (Male 40-49)

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 11-17

Busy week, but not a lot of running. (Also, no writing, so I still have two missing race reports. Sigh.)

Star Wars Update: I saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Friday and loved it. Sure, it’s got its flaws, but then, so do the rest of the Star Wars movies. Star Wars has been a huge part of my life (and for a lot longer than running), so I had to mention it here. With that, I’ll retire the Star Wars Update. (Well, at least until Episode IX in December 2019.)

Weight Check: 164.7 pounds, up 0.7 from last week. Some weeks, when I step on the scale, I breathe a sigh of relief. I was expecting much worse. Not only was my mileage low, I drank Mountain Dew like there was no tomorrow. I had a lot to do at work, and I needed something to help me get through it. Hopefully I can buckle down this week…until I leave town on Thursday. (By the way, my next weigh in will be Thursday.)

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Wednesday 3 miles easy 3.11
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 4 miles easy 4.11

Total: 10.33 miles

My coach wanted me to take a few days off after my half marathon, so I did.

Wednesday, it was 26 freaking degrees. I wasn’t ready to deal with that, so I drove over to the Y and got on the treadmill. I figured it would be a good way to ease my legs back into running. My mind found it excruciating, of course (I had podcasts to listen to, so that helped), but my legs felt fine the whole time, and I didn’t notice any rust.

On Friday, it was a balmy 36 degrees, and while it’s not ideal, I can handle it. My legs felt OK. I was a little fast on the first mile due to a couple of small dogs chasing me (they didn’t catch me), then I settled down. When I wasn’t being chased I kept the effort easy except for the last quarter mile or so.

Saturday had the same weather as Friday, so chilly but not terrible. My legs felt fine. I’m not sure why, but mile 3 was awfully slow. Otherwise I think I kept a pretty good pace. I kept the effort easy until the end of mile 4.

Next week, well, I’ll be leaving town on Thursday, so I have no idea how my running will go this week. Also, next Sunday is Christmas Eve, so I don’t know when I’ll post my next Weekly Wrap-Up.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 4-10

Well, the Huntersville Half Marathon is done. 2:13:32.93. Slower than I’d hoped, but I finished, and after New York City, I no longer take that for granted. I’ll have more details in the race recap, which, at the rate I’m going, might be done in June.

Yeah, no Trophy Trot 10K recap yet. I have a terrible case of writer’s block, and this past week, I felt like I had the focus of a flea.

Also, I do have my next race lined up. I’m going back to the Charleston Half Marathon in January. It’s a flat course, a cool city, and I’m hoping I’ll be able to get a PR there.

Weight Check: 164.0 pounds, down 0.4 from last week. Yeah, a 13.1 mile race will cover for a lot. I did a pretty poor job of eating healthy, and I drank Mountain Dew like it was going out of style. I won’t be running as much this week, so I’ll need to buckle down.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 4 miles easy 4.01
Tuesday 1 mile easy, 2 x 10 minutes at half marathon pace (9:30-9:40/mile) with 3 minutes easy in between, 1 mile easy 4.51
Thursday 4 miles easy 4.01
Saturday Huntersville Half Marathon 13.1

Total: 25.63 miles

On Monday, my legs felt fine. It was a little cooler (38 degrees), so I think I subconsciously sped up a little bit, but it wasn’t too bad. I did increase the effort at the very end, but otherwise I kept it pretty easy.

Tuesday, the weather was pretty close to perfect, 50 and overcast. My legs felt a little tired late in the second interval, but I still managed to get under my goal pace. I also made sure to jog instead of walk between the intervals and during the cool down. I also added an extra tenth of a mile to the cool down to get to 4.5 miles.

On Thursday, my legs felt fine, and the weather wasn’t too bad. I kept the effort easy until the last quarter mile. For some reason, I felt like my legs just weren’t moving all that quickly. I’m not sure what was going on. I was hoping that I’d get it out of my system before the race.

Saturday was mildly disappointing. It was cold, but it could have been worse. The course wasn’t too terrible, but it certainly wasn’t flat and fast. But hey, I finished race #6, and it was my second race that was 13.1 or greater, so at least I’ve hit my goal for the year.

I’ve got a few more recovery days this week, then I’ll get back out there on Wednesday. And hopefully I can finally get one or two race recaps finished.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 27-December 3

In the past, I’ve held up my monthly wrap-ups when I’ve had an outstanding race report, but this time, I figured I had a better chance of finishing the November wrap-up than my Trophy Trot 10K recap, so that’s what I published on Friday. My race recap will hopefully be done this week.

I mentioned this in my November wrap-up, but I set a new record for most miles in a single year on Tuesday. I’m up to 1,569.2 miles now. I know I’ll hit 1600, which is cool, but I don’t think I’ll quite make it to 1700.

Weight Check: 164.4 pounds, up 1.1 from last week. I’m lucky it wasn’t more than that. It was a stressful week, and I didn’t handle it well. Better luck next week, I hope.

This Week’s Runs
Day Scheduled Total Miles
Monday 5 miles easy 5.01
Tuesday 4 miles easy 4.01
Wednesday 1 mile easy, 3 miles at half marathon pace (9:30-9:40/mile), 1 mile easy 5.01
Friday 3 miles easy 3.11
Saturday 10 miles easy 10.02

Total: 27.16 miles

On Monday, it was 31 degrees. My legs felt fine (or maybe they were just numb). Other than the cold, it was uneventful. I was a little faster on the first mile due to the cold, then I settled into an easier but steady pace, and finally I sped up at the very end.

Tuesday was pretty similar to Monday, just one mile shorter. Still 31 degrees, but my legs still felt fine. I was a little bit faster, though.

On Wednesday, I had a tempo run. It only got down to 44 degrees. My legs felt fine for most of the run, with just a little bit of fatigue at the end, which I expected. I managed to speed up on each mile of the main workout. I ended up giving this one a shout out in my November recap, and it was a nice way to close out what was a pretty disappointing month.

Friday was pretty nice, 46 degrees. I think I slowed down a little bit because I wasn’t cold. My legs felt fine. I kept the effort easy (and apparently consistent on the first two miles, both were 11:31) until my usual speed-up near the end.

On Saturday, it was 50 and overcast, which is pretty close to perfect weather for me. My legs felt OK. They started shutting down the water fountains for the winter, so there were a couple of spots where I slowed down to check if a fountain was still working. I only found one, just before 5 miles, and then they turned it off shortly after I finished. D’oh!

I kept the effort easy until I got to the last mile when I really pushed it. I was really happy with my finish.

Next week, I have the Huntersville Half Marathon on Saturday. It won’t be as flat as Tobacco Road, but it should be a good challenge. Also, it’s probably going to be cold. As I write this, the forecast says 32 degrees at race time. I’d be shocked if I got a PR, but you never know.

Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2017


Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

November 2017
Total Mileage:
 83.72 miles
Average Pace: 11:17/mile
Number of Runs: 18
Last Month (October 2017): 168.26 miles
Last Year (November 2016): 117.61 miles
Races: 2017 New York City Marathon (DNF), 2017 Trophy Trot 10K

Total Mileage for 2017 (through November 30): 1,556.04 miles

My coach really wanted to limit my mileage after the marathon, even though I didn’t do the full 26.2, so my mileage was down from last year. (And, you know, not running the last 14.46 miles of the New York City Marathon doesn’t help.)

My goals get a little interesting this month.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

Woohoo! Of course, I thought I was going to hit 1500 in New York City. I had to wait a week, but I blew past my goal. On November 28, I finished with 1551.03 miles, breaking my previous record for miles in a year, 1550.8 in 2015, with 33 days still left in 2017.

At least one of my goals will be met. The other two…well…

Goal 2: 6 races, with 2 that are 13.1 or greater
Goal 3: A PR in 3 different races

OK, since I didn’t finish the New York City Marathon, I can’t count that towards my 6 races, and since I only made it 11.74 miles, I can’t count it as 13.1 or greater. So the Trophy Trot 10K ended up being race #5. I do have race #6 scheduled, the Huntersville Half Marathon on December 9. As long as I finish that (which is something I no longer take for granted), I’ll hit Goal 2.

As for goal 3, I did not get a PR in November. I suppose there’s a chance I could get a PR in Huntersville, but otherwise, I’ll end up with only two official PRs, the Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K and the Tobacco Road Half. Oh well.

My non-specific goals still haven’t changed since October. I’m still getting a little bit of non-running exercise, and I’m foam rolling twice each week. I’m still doing the slow easy run thing. Cooking, better eating, and more blogging aren’t happening, though. (And I don’t have my Trophy Trot 10K recap finished, either.)

Best Run: November 23, Trophy Trot 10K, 57:18.673 (9:13/mile pace)

Yeah, I might be disappointed with missing a PR by 14 seconds, but I handled a really, really tough course.

Shout out to my last run of the month on November 29 (November 30 was a scheduled rest day), a 5 mile tempo run where I ran the 3 miles in the middle in 9:34, 9:29, and 9:15(!). If I can do that in Huntersville, I can get a PR.

Worst Run: November 5, New York City Marathon, 11.74 miles in 2:44:58 (14:05/mile pace)

A DNF is always going to “win” the worst run of the month. I don’t really have anything new to say about it. It still sucks. As I write this, it’s 338 days until next year’s race. Not that I’m counting.

For December, I have the Huntersville Half Marathon, then I’ll try to get in some miles while traveling for the holidays. Also, Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes out, and I’m really excited, even though it has nothing to do with running.