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Tom Walker Memorial Half Marathon 2011 - Race Report

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  • Tuesday, November 15 2011 @ 04:53 AM UTC
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Saturday I ran the 2011 Tom Walker Memorial Half Marathon. The race course travels along the scenic Gainesville-Hawthorne trail, a nice out-and-back course on a paved bike path.

It was a cold crisp morning (around 40 degrees at the start), but the temperature was destined to go up 10-15 degrees during the race. After diligently checking the hourly weather forecast, I think I handled the temperatures perfectly, wearing a jacket at the start and shedding it after the first mile or so. Here I am cruising along beside Meredith Defranco fairly early in the race:


Photo copyright Martin McCrory Photography.

I had some stomach trouble a couple of days before the race so I think my energy stores were low. I did my best to keep up on the gatorade. I really need to learn how to drink out of a paper cup and not slop it all over myself or half-drown myself. I lost more than a couple seconds dealing with beverages at the aid stations.

I am very happy with my race since my performance was a huge PR at this distance. I improved my time by over 20 minutes from the previous year. I managed to run pretty consistent splits, I didn't go out too fast and stayed within my aerobic capacity for most of the race.

My performance was good enough to earn 2nd in my age group and 5th overall.

The finish line photo captured my official time of 1:29:51 (average pace 6:51 per mile):

Krampus

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  • Monday, October 17 2011 @ 04:04 PM UTC
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I spotted Krampus at Tipple's Beer and Wine Store the other day and had to take a picture. I first learned of Krampus from a running blogger named Scott who writes wonderful running tales of his running experiences:

http://derscott.blogspot.com/2011/02/...tacks.html



John Holmes Trail Run 2011 - Race Report

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  • Wednesday, October 12 2011 @ 02:15 AM UTC
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Every race is different.

Last year I ran this race barefoot and had a blast, despite ending up with very sore feet. This year when I returned to the Brooksville, Florida area to run the John Holmes 16 Mile trail run, I opted to wear shoes. I wore a slightly used pair of Altra Instincts that I borrowed from a friend (thanks Matt C.!). As I become more performance-oriented in my racing, I am tending to want a little more protection around my feet on race day.



The 50k runners started at 7am. The 16 Mile race that I ran started an hour later. The 16 Mile course consists of a short run down the road to spread out the runners followed by two loops of mostly single-track.

The eventual winner (Brandon Dahlem) took off from the start. The leader disappeared by the time we hit the single track. Somehow I found myself cruising along in 2nd place, leading a small pack of runners. I skipped the first aid station. Then we hit the first group of hills. By the time we hit the 2nd aid station I had dropped all but one of the runners behind me. I took my time at the 2nd aid station, drinking a cup of water and gatorade (I continued this drinking strategy for the rest of the race since I ran without carrying any water). The 2nd aid station is where this runner (Hector Guzman) passed me and I was never able to catch him. He slowly got out of sight and I didn't see him for the rest of the race. He finished 2nd overall. I didn't see any of the other 16 Mile runners for the rest of the race. There were very long portions where I didn't see ANYBODY.

I was definitely hurting by the time I finished the first loop and hit the aid station. The race organizers were taking pictures here:

Soft Star RunAmoc DASH performance in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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  • Tuesday, September 20 2011 @ 10:26 PM UTC
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A few weeks ago I was on vacation in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. I wore my Soft Star RunAmoc DASH moccasins on a number of occasions.

I was completely in awe of the RunAmoc DASH trail sole's traction on the rounded boulders of the Appalachians.

Pictured here are my RunAmoc DASH on the Grandfather Mountain mile high swinging bridge, 5280 feet above sea level:



I was only able to sneak in one trail run during my vacation. I chose to wear the RunAmoc DASH since they felt so good crawling around on the rocks near the Grandfather Mountain visitor center.

I had researched some trails in advance of the trip and decided to run on the Tanawha Trail near the Blue Ridge Parkway and Grandfather Mountain. In summary, the trails were rooty and rocky and beautiful. I saw humans only once the entire time. I enjoyed the solitude.

I parked at the Cold Prong parking area (BRP milepost 299) which had a clearly marked sign to get on the Tanawha Trail, pictured here:

Barefoot 2011 Melon Run

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  • Wednesday, July 06 2011 @ 11:40 PM UTC
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Even though the 4th of July festivities and fireworks were cancelled due to funding issues here in Gainesville, FL, another Independence Day tradition is still going strong. The 33rd Annual Melon Run (3-miler) is a Florida Track Club event that took place at Albert Ray Massey Westside Park on Monday. The race course is mostly sidewalk and streets, with a half-mile of greenway boardwalk and dirt trail.

I raced barefoot. This was my first barefoot race on (mostly) paved surfaces. Last year I ran the John Holmes 16 mile trail run barefoot but I have not been confident enough to race barefoot on paved surfaces until recently.

I'm still in the "resting" phase of my training after having an entire year of running under my belt. My legs have been telling me that they need a recovery break. Since I knew I wouldn't be racing all-out I decided to run the race barefoot and wear a goofy hat (thanks to my wife for acquiring the appropriate festive holiday attire). My main goal was to run fast but stay within the limits of my bare feet, not pushing so hard that I got blisters, focusing on form and technique. After the race I only had a few hot spots, so I feel like I accomplished my goal.

Here is a picture at the start where I am still wearing the hat:


[Photo copyright: Martin McCrory Photography]


[Photo copyright: Martin McCrory Photography]

The hat only stayed on for about 20 meters. I was wearing a du-rag under the hat which stayed on just fine for the whole race. In retrospect it was very warm to be wearing anything on my head.

This is a picture from the last 100 meters of the race, working hard to maintain form:

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