Category Archives: Running

Mud Run

Today I ran my first first 5K mud run. I was part of a 4-person co-ed team from the Raleigh Trail Runners meetup group.

The obstacles were numerous and challenging, but we all had a blast. It is definitely not your typical 5K run. The run itself was actually the easy part. I am very curious how long it took us to finish the course, I know the start time but none of us paid attention to the finish time. Results will probably be posted over the next few days.

20 of the 32 obstacles were featured in these short video clips on YouTube before the race, but there were some surprises (like obstacle 21, The Weaver, where you had to go over a log and under the next one (for a total of probably 16 logs) without touching the ground. This Google Map has a description of all obstacles and links to the video clips above.

Damage: $32.50 (not bad at all for a race!), a scraped and bumped knee, a few minor scratches in addition to a rather large one (most of them from The Weaver).

For the low-end cost of the race, the race was incredibly well organized. Building that course must have been a huge volunteer effort.

The beginning of a new Orienteering year

For Backwoods Orienteering Klub, the month of September is the beginning of a new year. In part because membership is paid from September till next year’s September. But also because during the summer the only events are advanced and sprint ones, so this month does mark the return of regular events.

Today’s course was beautifully chosen. I got very tired very fast, I think I managed to kill my legs yesterday when I ran as a preparation for today. So it was a constant struggle to keep the appearance of running while on the course, but overall I am very pleased with the result. I made two minor mistakes which costed probably a few minutes each – I can blame the rest only on my slow pace.

Overall, between yesterday’s 6 mile run at Lake Bond and today’s 88 minutes of pain, I think I got over the goal of running 26 miles per week. (I ran 3.5 miles on Monday, a very fast 6+ on Loblolly Trail on Tuesday, a slow 6 on a combination of Company Mill, Graylyn and Sycamore Trail on Thursday) Props to the Raleigh Trail Runners group for giving me motivation to wake up early.

Fall activities

A quick update on my non-work related activities.

A lot of orienteering lately:

  • Quick white course at Lake Bond with my daughter a few weeks ago.
  • A very eventful Birkhead Wilderness run. You can read the report in the comments – I don’t think there was one single participant to get all the controls right. I messed up the first two and had a relatively clean run after that, especially after I started to pace count.
  • A quick Bond Park sprint. I kind of had the home field advantage, and I was still slower than the fast runners.

I ran for the first time with the Raleigh Trail Runners. I knew I signed up for pain, and pain it was. 2.5 miles at a slow speed, 6 uphill sprints on the Graveyard Hill at Umstead (off of Old Reedy Creek), and back 2.5 miles; last 2 miles were 7:50 and 6:50 minutes respectively. Maybe we were trying to make it back before it got too dark. As I said to the other (3) runners, it’s no surprise so few people sign up for hill sprints.

My daughter started to take piano lessons, so a piano had to be acquired. We got a digital piano which seemed like a good compromise of quality vs. price.

Between fixing stuff up around the house I’d like to get back to some recreational programming (picking up Flex would be nice).

My First Adventure Race

Today I participated in the Gleneagles Challenge. I must say it was a lot more fun than I expected from an event that takes 4.5 hours and requires you to be constantly on the move.

About 20 minutes of running, 30 minutes in the kayak, an orienteering course and a lot of bike riding. The bike’s odometer showed 19.33 miles when I got back home (that included about 3 miles to get to Lake Bond and back).

Thanks to Bryan, Rob and Justin for letting me join them. Overall I think we did pretty well, second place when we only aimed to finish the race in one piece.

27-mile week

Yes, I ran more than a marathon.

Unfortunately, spread over 6 different days.

Last week I ran 24 miles (4 days 4.5 miles each, a longer weekend 6-mile run), and this week I wanted to increase the distance by 10%. That was 6 days with 4.5 miles each – tomorrow is rest day.

I am not training for anything at the moment, so I am pretty happy, especially after coming from a 3-week vacation where the only running I did was a 15-minute downhill Tâmpa in Bra?ov. I will probably try to keep it at this level, I have no interest in increasing the weekly distance at this point.

Sprained ankles

Thankfully, the title is not about me.

I was running my usual trail course today and found a lady who sprained her ankle so bad, the pain almost made her pass out. I helped her hop on one leg to a house less than 100 yards away, where a very nice gentleman drove her home.

She mentioned that she doesn’t want to go to urgent care because she recently got laid off and has no medical insurance. This is so sad on so many levels. Silly economy. Stupid medical system.

What? No rain?

The past two events (Lake Johnson Night-O, directed by yours truly, and Schenck Forest) were extremely wet, coming after several days of rain _and_ with rain during the event.

Today’s event at Umstead didn’t look great either if you were to trust the weather forecasts at the beginning of the week. However, as the event got closer and the forecasts predicted the rain would stop some time Saturday night, we’ve seen a lot of people registering. I know because I happen to be on the list that gets the notifications.

Today was a bit windy, but otherwise sunny and – what a change – dry! Mostly. There was still a lot of mud everywhere, and on some steep hills I felt like skiing. But coming back with my clothes completely dry, that’s definiltely different.

Jozef designed a beautiful and very challenging course. The Green course was longer than our Red usually is (6.7km), and Red was 7.4km. If that doesn’t sound much, maybe I should add the elevation changes that pretty much killed my legs by the time I got to control 13 (out of 19). By then I was obviously no longer thinking straight, I lost probably at least 10 minutes looking for control 16 after I passed it probably by 30m. Then I lost a few minutes at control 19 (the last), a trivial one, because I took the wrong clearing (which was not mapped), instead of the obvious one with some man-made objects in it.

In a way I wish I stopped after #13 and call it a Green day; on the other hand I found out how out of shape I am (not that I didn’t know, having skipped some of my runs for wimpy reasons like “the trail is wet” and “I’m too tired to wake up”). 106 minutes of running (and walking towards the end) proved to be quite tough on those hills. Once the results are posted, I’ll know how bad I did compared to others.

I probably need to train for a specific goal, maybe I’ll set one after we come back from vacation in Romania, mid-May-ish.

To quote a slogan I read on a t-shirt: “procrastinators, unite tomorrow!”

(to be fair, I know I will not train while on vacation, except for maybe a food contest, so there’s little reason to plan for something now).

Half-marathon in Asheville

I can finally say I did a half-marathon – the Asheville Citizen-Times one. Here are the results.

Lessons to be learned (or random thoughts at the end of a long day):

  • Hilly courses are hard. I signed up before looking at the course elevation chart. I am glad I did, I may have changed my mind otherwise :-)
  • It is very hard to pace yourself on hills.I ran the first two miles at a 7:30 pace, downhill. I was pretty sure I won’t be able to keep that pace, it was faster than I was intending it to be (see below).
  • I noticed interesting strategies for handling hills during the race. My approach is to try to keep a steady pace going uphill just as going downhill. I’ve seen (especially) ladies going slowly up the hill and blasting past downhill. It was actually funny to see that the net result was about the same, since I would catch them up on the next hill. I briefly discussed this with another guy that happened to be in my vicinity for about 4 miles, and we agreed it’s hard for tall people to accelerate going downhill. It puts a lot of strain on the knees, the glutes and the core. There was at least one guy that was walking uphill just to go extremely fast on flat or down. I am not sure who is right, it may be a matter of preference.
  • Water stations are good, even though I was able to take only a sip out of every cup. Physics make it hard to drink while you’re running. The rest of the water was used for cooling off. Oranges provided a nice boost of energy at the last two stations.
  • The corollary for the first two miles going downhill was inevitably that the last two miles were uphill. That was unexpectedly hard. I felt great up to mile 11, but started to feel the pain after that. Probably also because my long runs during training were stopping at 10 miles.
  • I dreaded to look at the clock after I finished the race. I finally did it after drinking 1l of water, about 10 minutes after the finish. I was very pleased, given that the average pace was 8.09 when I hoped for 8:45 (since that’s what I found to be comfortable in training for a 10-miler).
  • Do not ask me if I will do this ever again. Right now I’d probably say “no way”.

After the race we got to enjoy Asheville – it’s a very quiet, very European city.

How much have I been running?

For the past month or so I’ve been running close to the office. It’s a short run on Corporate Center Drive from US 54 to Trinity Road. I estimated it at about 1 mile, and I am running the round-trip twice.

Today, I’ve finally used gmap-pedometer to measure the distance. It was very close: 0.97 miles. That makes my run about 3.9 miles long.

The only impressive thing is the elevation on that 1-mile run: almost 90ft of vertical elevation. No wonder the run seemed longer.

The week of vacation

Who said home improvement projects are not fun. I am so sore now.

But the kitchen looks really nice now. All that’s left to to is fix the threshold and paint the base molding. I will post pictures with the project’s timeline some time soon.

In other news, I ran a 5K this morning. I timed myself at 21:17, which is exactly one minute slower than my personal best, achieved 2 years ago in the same race. Not a bad result, considering that I’ve been sporadically running, trying to recover from my calf muscle injury. I believe it’s still faster than the result 3 years ago, which was 22:07 (but I can’t find the archives to back my memory).
That’s the reason I decided to not run the Inside Out Classic Half Marathon next week (that, and the conflict with the orienteering event on Oct 22).

Update: the official time confirmed my 21:17 reading. (I started 2 seconds later, hence the gun time showing 21:19).