Thursday, December 30, 2010

Votes are in

Facebook voting for our best photo of the year is complete.
There was a tie, with 2 photos both receiving 10 votes by people who were not Shannon, myself, or our dog. One of them was me gasping like a fish out of water (thanks Josh). So I cast the deciding vote for the other one. So the winner is:

Shannon running the Appalachian Trail

Personally, I thought the photo below was the best. Yes, it is blurry. But I thought that conveyed the action.
It is from the National 10K Trail Championship, taken about 400 meters from the finish line. Two women, racing up a steep trail, battling for 6th place. Come on, how cool is that?

Anyway, next year we will have a real contest, and ask people to submit their own photos. I will have to come up with a better scheme for voting.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Umstead Park Closed Due to Snow

The deadly snow looms ominously behind a
"Park Closed" sign. (seriously, they closed it)
Umstead Park in Raleigh, NC continued to be closed today due to 6 inches of snowfall that occurred on Sunday.

The lingering snow created "Unsafe and hazardous conditions", according to signs posted at park entrances.

The severity of the situation was highlighted on Sunday, when two park visitors were critically discomforted.
One slipped and fell on his backside, severely staining his trousers. The other stepped into deep snow, causing his feet to become cold and wet.

"Emergency rescue teams were able to evacuate the two discomforted persons", explained Park Superintendent Scott Letchwort. The two were flown by Medevac to UNC hospital were they are in serious but stable condition.

"The park will remain closed until we can melt all of the snow with electric heaters and mop up all of the water", said Letchwort, "We simply cannot take the risk that someone would get mud on their shoes"

Letchwort said there will be another planned closure in the spring. "We will be removing all roots and rocks from the trails, which are dangerous tripping hazards. "

In 2012, construction is slated for the hermetically sealed dome which will cover the entire park.
"When the dome goes up, we will finally be able rid the park of the dangerous wildlife and clean up all of the dirt. Finally the public will be able to enjoy nature in the safety and comfort of a climate controlled environment"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Snow Day!

Jorge Francisco is a happy
It was snowy, slushy, freezing rainy kind of weather yesterday.

In northern climates, this would be considered a "nice day". But here in NC, there is panic and hysteria. Everything shuts down and people hide in their houses.

For Shannon and I, it was a good day to run. Not because we are "hard core" and like to be miserable. No, I hate this kind of weather, which is why I fled Michigan.

It was a good day because we know no one else will be out there, and we will have the paths and trails all to ourselves. This means we can bring our ill-behaved pack of dogs along and let them run free. Dog heaven.


This is a Rorschach Test. What do you see? A broken stool?
Qbert? (anyone remember Qbert?)

Dooright loves mud


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dog's day


Nothing to eat,
Nobody to play with,
Dreaming of chasing deer down the trail...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Vote for best running photo of the year



Not the actual best running photo of year. That would have taken a lot of work and research.

No, this is just a vote for the best running related photo that Shannon or I took this year.
I know there are much better photos out there just from the ones our friends took, but that's just too much to consider.

So we uploaded our 22 candidates to facebook here.

I think the way facebook works is you have to "like" the Running Down page first, before it lets you like the photos. Complicated.

I know a lot of you are wasting time on facebook anyway, so go there and click "like" on the ones you like (if any). The photo with the most "likes" by December 30 will be the blog photo of the year.

For those of you who are not on facebook, I understand and commend your absence. You are not missing anything. It was just the easiest way to do this.

Here are the previous winners:

Best photo from 2009
From the Carying Place 5K
By Shannon Johnsone

Best Photo from 2008
From the Chicago Marathon finish
By Shannon Johnstone

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Run Down Again

I lay defeated, while my dog Jorge mockingly dances around

I have discovered my limit once again.

I've been laid low with another sinus infection, and some sort of tendinitis behind my knee.

It was a good Fall season with 13 races in the last 3 months or so.

But I guess I really over did it a couple of weeks ago. 73 miles in 7 days, including Raven Rock, the Turkey Trot, and the Faust Marathon. I was destroyed after that.

My replacement turkey tendon got me through Run at the Rock, but afterwards it disintegrated. And then I got sick. It is time to admit defeat.

So I had to miss the Godiva Couch Mountain race today, which I was looking forward to. And my high mileage month of December is now a month of recovery.

Anyway it was a good year. Shannon and I are trying to pick out the best running photos of the year, and will do a post later.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The catch-22 of trail running

See the pretty waterfall to the right? DON'T LOOK AT IT!

As pthrift pointed out in the last post, there is an unfortunate contradiction when it comes to trail running, and races in particular.

One of the appealing aspects of running on trails is the beauty of the surroundings, the trees, rocks, streams, and critters of Mother Nature. This brings up the first rule of trail running, which says: DO NOT LOOK AT ANY OF IT.


TRAIL RUNNING RULE #1: Keep your eyes on the trail. Not only do you have to know where to put your feet, but you must also be alert for low hanging branches or the sign for the next turn. 
I have fallen on my face, twisted my ankle, gotten lost, and bonked my head more times than I can count. So I try to stick to Rule #1 as much as possible. As a consequence, I never get to see any of the beautiful parks we visit for trail races.

The picture above is great example. I have run Run at the Rock 3 times. With 2 loops each, that means I ran by that waterfall 6 times and never once did I see it, until Shannon showed me the picture.

I got so focused on the trail last Saturday that when I was running one of the steep, rocky, downhill sections, my eyes started to hurt. I think they were freezing over because I was too afraid to blink.
Fortunately I got tired and had to walk. Otherwise I might have finished the race and had to ask the medical staff: "Excuse me, can you help me? My eye lids seem to be frozen open."

So, on your next trail run remember these things:

1. Watch the trail
2. Enjoy the nature around you. There is a waterfall, some deer, a turtle, some flowers... but don't look at them. Trust me they are there.
3. Don't forget to blink.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 Run At The Rock

David Nash is the only one looking forward, which might be why he won.
I'm already heading in the wrong direction before the race even starts
[Before I blather on, the rest of Shannon's great photos from the race are here]

After the race I was looking at the posted results.
"Damn, that guy finished a minute ahead of me", I said, pointing to the name above mine.
"That's me." he said, coincidently standing right next to me.
"Oh. Hi. You passed me with 3 miles left", I reminded him
"Ah, right!", he nodded with recognition, "You were the guy struggling up all the hills."

Yes, that's me. It's a good way to recognize me at a race. Be sure to say hi.


Actually I was happy to be running at all. Last week I sold one of my tendons to Satan in order to finish the Faust Marathon. That kind of left me crippled.
Fortunately, my friend Tom alerted me to a sale on turkey tendons at Harris Teeter, where I got a replacement. With that and a week of rest, I was able to run again by Saturday.

This was the third Run at the Rock 14 miler for Shannon and I, and I wouldn't want to miss it.
We pulled into the park in the morning and it was a teeth chattering 32 degrees. I debated weather to wear shorts or tights, and then compromised on shorts with my Jane Fonda leg warmers.


At the starting line, my goal was to run the first half slower than the second, and finish in an arbitrary yet specific 1:37.  Shannon's goal was to finish under 2 hours and take good pictures.

Both the 14 milers and 7 milers started at the same time. We took off down the road, across a field, and into the trail. There were a few muddy patches and small streams, but nothing like the mud bath last year. My plan to pace myself went out the window pretty early. Because we were running the ups and downs at different paces, I found myself right on guys heels, making it hard to see the trail. So I kept pushing ahead trying to find some clear space to run.


It turned out most of the guys around me were only running the 7 miler, so they stopped after the first lap. I headed passed the finish line to the second loop and was completely alone.
Thankfully the course was very well marked, so I was knew I wasn't lost.
But there was not another person in sight, and I kept thinking I had done something dumb again.
"I am supposed to do another loop, right?"

Note the waterfall to the right. I have done this race 3 years and have never noticed it
Finally I hit an aid station around mile 10, and the volunteer reassured me I was on the right track.
By this time my legs were completely spent, and I was having a hard time navigating the roots and rocks. My legs were so wobbly my knees were actually banging into each other. I had to start walking up the hills so I would have enough coordination to make it down the other side.
I was fortunate to finish without falling flat on my face, and almost met my goal with an official time of 1:37:05.

The strange thing was that my watch said 1:36:08. In fact, everyones watch was a minute less than the clock. So I guess the race clock was started a minute early. It really doesn't matter.

Shannon met her goals, finishing under 2 hours, and getting a bunch of great pictures while doing it.

Hot soup!
Afterwards we hung out in a huge, warm, enclosed tent and ate hot soup. Great amenities for a trail race.
Very cool coffee mugs were handed out for awards. 

All around a great experience. I recommend it if you like a good trail race!

Doug and Brandy show off their awards

Saturday, December 4, 2010

2011 Umstead Entrants

The 2011 Umstead Marathon filled up in 2 days.

You may be curious...
Who got in?
Who should you do training runs with?
Whose tires should you slash on raceday morning?

Well, the latest from WikiLeaks is a list of entrants. This is not official.

On the men's side there are a ton of fast guys just from the names that I recognize.
So getting a plaque will not be easy this time.


FirstNameLastName City State IntlState Country
Scott Adams Chapel Hill NC USA
Tony Adkins Cary NC USA
Mike Aldrink Powell OH USA
Heidi Alvis Swansboro NC USA
Bobby Aswell, Jr. Cornelius NC USA
Antonia Aurilio Quantico VA USA
Klay Barrow Raleigh NC USA
william bass Apex NC USA
Scott Baugher Charlotte NC USA
Barton Bechard Durham NC USA
Paul Becherer Raleigh NC USA
Jerry Beckman, Jr Raleigh NC USA
Michael Belk Raleigh NC USA
Marc Bernstein Cary NC USA
Carrie Bertolozzi Cary NC USA
Aubrey Blanda Glen Ridge NJ USA
Christopher Boyce Cary NC USA
Ann Brady Mebane NC USA
jeff branin wake forest NC USA
David Brewington Coral Springs FL USA
Mike Broome Durham NC USA
William Brown Chapel Hill NC USA
daniel budd raleigh NC USA
Angela Bulanda Fayetteville NC USA
Matthias Burkhard Zornheim RP DEU
Brandy Burns Raleigh NC USA
Robert Calabria Morrisville NC USA
Sarah Capps Garner NC USA
Jacqueline Carroll Wrightsville Beach NC USA
Sandra Christine Raleigh NC USA
David Chullanandana Belleville NJ USA
Charles Clift Raleigh NC USA
Valerie Clinard Fuquay Varina NC USA
Chad Cooper Apex NC USA
Anthony Corriveau cary NC USA
Chris Corriveau Holly MI USA
Coleman Cowan New York NY USA
Chris Cowart Fort Mill SC USA
Jonathan Cravatta Cary NC USA
petra csizmadia Charlotte NC USA
Gavin Day Cary NC USA
Brittany Deans Washington NC USA
Remi Delille Cary NC USA
Jennifer Dickson Shelby NC USA
Robert Dill Glen Rock NJ USA
Shannon Dillmore Raleigh NC USA
ceana dockery Durham NC USA
Tim Dodge Durham NC USA
William Donnelly DC DC USA
Michael Dudek Cary NC USA
Julie Dural Myrtle Beach SC USA
Courtney Endres Chapel Hill NC USA
Paul Eppers Cary NC USA
Lynne Evans Etowah NC USA
Jan Farnung-Krause Dunellen NJ USA
Jason Figge Pittsboro NC USA
Landin Fisher NC NC USA
Ron Fleming Rocky Mount NC USA
Jonathan Fletcher Angier NC USA
Jennifer Fong Durham NC USA
Kevin Gauger Holly Springs NC USA
Tim Gautreau Alpex NC USA
Antonio Gazzia Cary NC USA
Brian Gilger Raleigh NC USA
Francis Gillam Raleigh NC USA
steve grace Charlotte NC USA
Mark Greenhalgh Apex NC USA
Jeff Hall Cary NC USA
RyanHall Mammoth Lakes CA USA
Ken Hamilton Wake Forest NC USA
Robert Hamilton Raleigh NC USA
William Hansley Durham NC USA
Tamara Hardee Fayetteville NC USA
Heather Hayter Camp Lejeune NC USA
daron Heggie greenville NC USA
Scott Herman-Giddens Chapel Hill NC USA
Jennifer Hill Chapel Hill NC USA
Harold Hill Chapel Hill NC USA
Ryan Hill Raleigh NC USA
Dan Hilliker Fayetteville NC USA
Judy Holden Raleigh NC USA
Rich Holmes Durham NC USA
Dennis Hoogendyk Charlestown MA USA
Douglas Hoogendyk Belleville NJ USA
Thomas Hubscher Apex NC USA
Benjamin Huston Wilson NC USA
Greg Jackson Raleigh NC USA
Patrick Johnson Fort Mill SC USA
Shannon Johnstone cary NC USA
Christopher Jones Wilmington NC USA
Kevin Kelley Raleigh NC USA
David Kelp Charlotte NC USA
Jennifer Kobey Wake Forest NC USA
Richard Kohrman Mebane NC USA
Matthew Kolinski Cary NC USA
DENNIS KUHN MORGANTON NC USA
Amy Lambert Apex NC USA
Jason LeDoyen Cary NC USA
Kathy Lee Charlotte NC USA
David Levine Winston-Salem NC USA
Aline Lloyd Chapel Hill NC USA
Mark Long Hamlet NC USA
Chris Lowden Raleigh NC USA
Michelle Lybarger Irvington VA USA
Scott Lynch Durham NC USA
Nu Ma Cary NC USA
Sven MacAller Rougemont NC USA
Laura MacLean Willow Spring NC USA
kevin magee raleigh NC USA
ryan magee raleigh NC USA
Donna Maguire Pinehurst NC USA
Frank Maguire Pinehurst NC USA
kevin marsh salisbury NC USA
Matt Marum Cary NC USA
Heather Matheney Hope Mills NC USA
Bob McCarter charlotte NC USA
Ryan McCarty Durham NC USA
Kellie McCoy Fayetteville NC USA
william McCrorie raleigh NC USA
Scott McCulloch Durham NC USA
Lisa McFadden Lillington NC USA
John McGee Raleigh NC USA
David Meeker Raleigh NC USA
David Meyer Cary NC USA
Curt Miller Raleigh NC USA
Tom Moore Davenport IA USA
Jackson Morton Wilmington NC USA
James Murphy Raleigh NC USA
Matt Nelson Abingdon MD USA
Britney Nietschmann Holly Springs NC USA
Barb Nietschmann Holly Springs NC USA
Leah Oster-Katz Durham NC USA
Dennis Owens Youngsville NC USA
Stephanie Parker Winston-Salem NC USA
Don Parsons Cary NC USA
Tom Patch Charlotte NC USA
Dwayne Patterson Raleigh NC USA
Tyler Peek Morrisville NC USA
jerry pegram winter garden FL USA
Michael Peters SC NC USA
Carrie Peterson Raleigh NC USA
Casey Pisano Hobe Sound FL USA
James Plant Sanford NC USA
John Podolak Wake Forest NC USA
robert racine greenville NC USA
Heiko Rath Cary NC USA
Wendy Ray Raleigh NC USA
Ashby Ray Raleigh NC USA
Rick Rectenwald Raleigh NC USA
Walt Robinson Raleigh NC USA
john robinson pinehurst NC USA
Heather Rorison Charlotte NC USA
Joshua Rosa harrisburg NC USA
Danielle Rowland Raleigh NC USA
David Sabo Raleigh NC USA
Mike Sarten Lakewood CO USA
Robert Schapler Alexandria VA USA
Joe Schlereth Pineville NC USA
Amy Schmid Durham NC USA
Amy Scott Cary NC USA
Margherita Scott Clayton NC USA
Joe Shamblin Bahama NC USA
Steve Shepherd Raleigh NC USA
Stephanie Shepherd Raleigh NC USA
Asako Simone Euless TX USA
Robert Sites Cary NC USA
Tom Smith Glen Rock NJ USA
Gina Smith Ithaca NY USA
David Smoot Raleigh NC USA
Bill Squier Raleigh NC USA
Sally Squier Raleigh NC USA
Chris Squires Raleigh NC USA
Heidi Staub Morrisville NC USA
Dave Stepp Durham NC USA
Laura Stone Raleigh NC USA
Kevin Strom Raleigh NC USA
Dominic Summers Raleigh NC USA
Josh Sutcliffe Madison NC USA
Rodney Tatum Greenville NC USA
Christian Teter Portland ME USA
DONNA THACKWRAY MORGANTON NC USA
melanie thornton raleigh NC USA
Nicole Tinfo Durham NC USA
Jennifer Todd Raleigh NC USA
James Todd Burlington NC USA
Monique Turco cary NC USA
lee walker cary NC USA
Amy Walters Fayetteville NC USA
Ronnie Weed Durham NC USA
Jim Wei Raleigh NC USA
Ben Whaley Wilson NC USA
Josh Wheeler Durham NC USA
Lauren Wilkins Raleigh NC USA
Joanna Williamson Austin TX USA
Todd Willis Cary NC USA
Timothy Wilson Raleigh NC USA
Scott Wingfield Nashville NC USA
Ryan Woodruff Durham NC USA
Melissa Yanek-Eichner Raleigh NC USA
Robert Zarzecki Raleigh NC USA
Alan Zwart Washington DC USA

Recent Posts