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Atlanta’s Race 2 Recycle

November 16, 2009

Race 2 Recycle BannerOn Saturday, November 14, 2009 at Piedmont Park, Keep Atlanta Clean and Beautiful held their annual Race 2 Recycle. There were two other races that I wanted to do today, the Strong Legs 10k and the Serenbe Trail Run. I passed up both of those for this because this was in Piedmont Park and therefore the closest race to me.

The 5k started at 8:30 AM, so I got there at 8 AM to register and hang around. Race day registration went smoothly, and the volunteers were very kind.

When it came time to line up for the race, they told us to go to the starting line, but it wasn’t marked, so we all walked a little too far before they turned us around. There were some people that started at the front of the pack, that were a little out of place, and made the start a bit hectic, but it happened quickly and everyone began without incident.

The race made two loops around the lake and the active oval at the park. I looked at the race course ahead of time, and I know Piedmont Park very well, because that is where I run 90% of the time, but a lot of other people don’t run here and needed some guidance of where to turn. This is where the race course monitors would have come in handy. I made the first loop, no problem, but had to prompt the monitor at the final turn to tell me where to turn, he seemed confused and at the very last second, advised me to turn left to get to the finish.

I got across the finish line and set a personal record for myself for a 5k (22:58), but then heard some people talking about how they only did one lap and were told to turn before they got to do their second lap. They filled out their cards, anyway and went about enjoying snacks and coffee. When it came to the awards ceremony, I was pretty sure I had placed in my age group (because I got a good time and I was only the second card in my box) but I didn’t place at all. I was a little sad, but I also understand that *gasp* I can’t win at everything.

I do however, think that some major things went wrong with this race. The start line was the first problem, the course monitors were the second, and finally, there wasn’t a sign or person indicating which side of the finish was for men and which was for women.

I like smaller races, but I don’t think that I would participate in this one again. Too much disorganization and it seems that there was a lot of improper planning.

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Girls on the Run 5K Atlanta

November 15, 2009

Surprised with a second place age group finish (20-29)

Surprised with a second place age group finish (20-29)

Sunday, November 15, 2009.

The weather has been perfect this entire weekend, so I was glad that I had a race I could run on a Sunday.

I didn’t know exactly where this race was going to be, so I semi-followed the directions and parked as soon as I saw people walking around. I got out of my car and followed everyone for about a mile to the race site. It was a zoo. Completely crazy. This was a controlled craze, however. There were girls everywhere. It was completely appropriate, though because this was the Girls on the Run  5k. This organizations mission is to “educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.” I was so happy to see so many young ladies out and about, ready to tackle a 5k. Incidentally, women and men of all ages are allowed to participate, but there were a lot more young ladies than you have see at any other race.

I arrived a little after 8 AM and went through the same day registration process. Their volunteers at the registration table were smiling and ready to help whomever arrived. The race didn’t begin until 9 AM, so I walked around their vendor area, stood in line at the port-o-potties, and tried to find some water to help pass the time. I never did find the water, however, so I got a little sample of a Fuze drink to wet my whistle.

They asked us to start lining up at about 8:45 and moved us to the starting line promptly at 9 AM, the gun went off about two minutes late (which is pretty, good). There was a little chaos at the start, which the race directors tried to handle, but people just weren’t listening to them. They asked the slower runners to move towards the back, which is a legitimate request, but no one reacted. There were a lot of little kids at the front and they blocked the path of a lot of people. It is hard to get mad, though, because they are just little kids, and they are doing something active, and I appreciate that.

It was less than a tenth of a mile that the crowds evened out and it was smooth sailing from there.

The course was pretty challenging. The first 1.5 miles was uphill, most of it was a slow-grade, but there were a few “real” hills, too. The second mile was down hill, but there was one significant hill in that last mile. The end was a downhill to a flat finish.

I like when there are lots of spectators cheering, it makes you feel good when people are clapping and shouting words of encouragement as you run by, and this race had quite a few people towards the finish line.

I struggled at some points during this race, especially the hills, but I was happy to finish in 23:25 and second place in my age group, which was 20-29 for this race. I am curious to see the final standings for everyone, because with a field of mostly women, it can be pretty challenging.

Men were also allowed to race in this event, and I would say that maybe 10% (or less) of those participating were men. I tried to get Sean out here to run this one, but he was out of town. It would have been perfect for him.

Also- some of the course monitors were men from the Georgia State University track team, and although I am sure their coach made them come out there, it was nice to see these guys out supporting the future of their sport, as they made their way through the course.

Cho-Pat Shin Splint Compression Sleeve

November 12, 2009

Compression Sleeves! There’s been a lot of buzz about these things. I, personally am not a believer, but… some people are and that is fine.

 

Shin Splint Compression Sleeve - Cho-Pat - Two foam core straps

Cho Pat Shin Splint Compression Sleeve

What  I want to talk about today is the Cho-Pat shin splint compression sleeve. A couple of years ago I got a stress fracture. After I went through my “healing” process I read some literature that suggested wrapping an injury, such as a stress fracture, would help keep the injury from getting worse.

 

At the time, there weren’t all these fancy 2XU or Zensah sleeves out there. The only thing that existed (at least that I could find) was this Cho-Pat sleeve. I wore this thing for about two years straight (when running) and I really think it did a lot to stop any more damage I was doing to my leg when I went running.

Here are a few things about this sleeve and why I think it is great:
First of all, it is tight. I mean, really tight. My doctor explained that the tighter I can keep the muscles, the less they will pull on my bone (which was causing me problems). This sleeve certainly does the trick. It is hard to get on and close to impossible to get off.
It has two Velcro straps, one at the top and one at the bottom, these padded straps also help to absorb some of the impact as you run.
It lasts. As I mentioned, I wore mine for every run for two years. I had to wash it all the time and, while it does show some signs of wear, it is still functioning and will likely last another two years.

If you have real “shin splints” I would have to say that this is the way to go. The other products out there are just not tight enough to do the trick. I don’t see how they can be effective.

I have a small leg and purchased a size medium. If you feel like it is too loose you can always try washing it in hot water. That will shrink it down a little.

 

Shin Splint Compression Sleeve - Cho-Pat - Two foam core straps

They make it in black!

When I bought this, it was about $20. I didn’t like the white color, I thought it looked too medical, so I bought some pink RIT dye and got to coloring. I like it better in pink. BUT, I just noticed that Cho-Pat now makes this model in black. I would have totally bought the black one if they had it a few years ago.

 

First Run in Cold Weather

November 11, 2009

I live in Atlanta and while we don’t get the same kind of cold that our friends to the north get. We still get cold weather.

My boyfriend always says it isn’t true, but I actually get my first cold of the year after my first cold weather run. Not just a regular cold weather run. But the kind that is in the 40’s.

I go for my run, get home and the next morning I have a runny nose which is followed pretty quickly by a sore throat and a cough. It is usually gone in a couple of days, but I do get it.

I can’t find any medical research that indicates a relationship between breathing in cold air and getting a cold.

I’m going to keep looking. If I can’t find a real study, I’ll become my own case study.

The Competition Bicycle

November 9, 2009

Mise en page 1This is the companion book to The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles. It focuses on the racing bikes rather than touring and long distance riding bikes featured in the other book. It’s pretty incredible as well. It has photos of some of the first mountain bikes as well as historic bikes that won grand tours. The cover features the bike Eddy Merckx used to win the 1974 world championships built by Ugo DeRosa. This is a piece of cycling history ridden by “The Cannibal” known to many as the greatest cyclist of all times. The photos are very high quality and if you liked The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles you’ll like this as well. As I mentioned in my review of Smart Move I sometimes enjoy seeing books devoted to racing bikes more because it’s a less covered subject and this book is a great addition to any cyclists library.

 

The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles

November 6, 2009

I’ve wanted this book for quite sometime and finally decided it was worth buying. I’m a real sucker for coffee table books with great photos and this did not disappoint. Jan Heine is responsible for Vintage Bicycle Quarterly which is an incredible publication so knowing he put this book together I already had an idea of what it was going to be like.GA2coverLR

It begins with a brief history of cycle touring in France at the turn of the century and why this style of riding differs from racing which at that point was still primarily done on the track. It goes through a few bikes that paved the way for multi geared machines that would now allow people to climb mountains and traverse longer distances. Then when some started making these multi geared machines lighter and more appealing to racers who might want to begin competing in long distance road races and move away from the track. It includes photos of the Rene Herse that won Paris-Brest-Paris in 1966 setting a new record and again winning Rene Herse the “Challenge des Constructeurs” for the five best placed riders for the fifth time. There is a lot of history in this book and it’s incredible to see how well these bikes have held up over time. It’s funny now that the latest trend is going back to these early styles of bikes and noticing that the things you thought some new framebuilder had come up with is just an homage to the classics.

PsychoCross Race review

November 2, 2009

On a rainy Halloween afternoon I took a trip a little south of the city to watch the 1st annual Psycho cross race held in the infield of the Dick Lane Velodrome.

The velodrome was dressed as a cyclosross course for halloween

The velodrome was dressed as a cyclosross course for halloween

IMG_4486

Where's Waldo?

Originally I wanted to enter this race but due to the C’s racing earliest and me working till 4am the night before I decided to take it in as a spectator. It was just a light drizzle when I arrived around 2 in the afternoon and around 60 degrees. To avid cyclocross racer’s this is probably on the warmer end of the spectrum for this sport, but for the Georgia boys this was a cold day. I arrived in the middle of the master’s race which was pretty exciting. The course had already been beaten up by the C’s and the juniors so it was nice and muddy for the older guys to race. It was pretty cool to see the Velodrome transformed into a cyclocross course. It started on the edge of the track and went up a hill past the concession stand and around behind that building rising up to the back gate and weaving through a couple trees before crossing back over the road and back down across the track. It then did about a 3/4 lap around the track on the flat part at the bottom were you ride when you’re dropped in a track race. It zig-zagged through the infield on and off pavement and included the barrier portion of the course here before heading over a climb that had become insanely muddy and slippery, many tried to climb it (on there bikes) but I never saw anyone get closer than four feet from the top. The course looked awesome and seemed to keep everyone on their toes. About 2 laps before the bell lap in the master’s race it started pouring, all the spectators crowded under the pavillion and the race really started getting messy. Once the B’s race began it had stopped raining again but picked pack up soon into that race.IMG_4456

I had a good time which could have been better had I not been anticipating work a few hours later. I wish I had the whole day off so I could have had a few beers and enjoyed myself more. There were only a few guys in costumes racing which was  a little of a disappointment but I can understand with all the preparation on race morning not wanting to add anything else to it. Overall a great inaugural event and I can only imagine with the fast growing sport of cyclocross and Atlanta’s growing cycling community at large that this event will only get better as the years go by.

This is not my video just one I found on youtube.