Archive for the ‘John McCosh’ Category

Everybody Hurts: Some Things Duct Tape Can’t Fix

After a New Year’s-inspired wager, I trained rigorously for the 1979 Peachtree.

For six months I ran up stadium steps. I ran up and around Stone Mountain. In weeks before the July 4th race I tried out the course by running down Peachtree.

I was 20 and working in a gas station. One afternoon in late June I was changing the price of a gallon of regular on the sign, while standing on an upside-down plastic trash can.

If I have foreshadowed correctly, you already know the can tipped over. When I landed I twisted my ankle. With a week or so before the race I had a serious hitch in my getalong. I felt like I had trained enough to do well, so I stayed off my ankle and hoped for the best.

It was still sore the morning of the race. You could say I was a bit naive about taping up an injury. I knew we had some Duct Tape in the garage. A sore ankle, it turned out, was one thing Duct Tape can’t fix.

I ran the race – sans-tape – the fastest I’ll ever run it.

I’ve been dinged up …

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Dare to Compare the Sequel: In Search of Zen

I’m the one who is supposed to be dishing out the training tips here. But I’ve learned a lot about running since I started writing this blog in the middle of April.

I hadn’t heard of mapmyrun.com before. I thought the Mizuno people made baseball equipment, but thanks to suggestions from readers I now am the happy owner of their running shoes. And as the weather heats up, I’m glad to have noted a tip that there are running socks available that do a better job than cotton of wicking away dampness.

A few blogs ago I solicited nominations for favorite three-mile runs from readers with the idea I would run the course and compare it to my familiar hilly trip through my neighborhood, Ansley Park.

My thought was I would compare the degree of difficulty and scenic factor. That’s essentially what I did in the first installment about a suggested course near downtown Decatur.

I’ve been adding length to my runs the past two weekends, sticking with the schedule set out in the

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Focus on the Roadside Bands, Fans and Shiny Objects

I’ve probably flogged this disclosure to death in earlier posts, but it’s worth repeating for this one that I’ve been less than obsessed about my training for the big July 4th race the past 20 years.

Last year I thought I put in a decent effort, although you can see here my time sure didn’t reflect that. But most years I didn’t do much more before the race than trot a couple of miles a few times in June.

But there was little doubt in my mind that I’d be able to run most, if not all, of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

The secret is Peachtree miles seem shorter than the miles around my neighborhood. With lots of distractions along the way, I can almost forget a little cramping or blistering.

When I run in my neighborhood nobody has a PA blaring “Born to Run” or “Born in the USA” or anything else from Bruce Springsteen’s “Born” anthology. But those and other tunes often blare near the start line.

I can complete my neighborhood run without once hearing a …

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What is it With the Shirts?

Several years ago I went to Mardis Gras in New Orleans and there was a preacher with a bullhorn yelling at the crowd: “What is it with the beads? Why are you women exposing yourselves for 25 cents worth of plastic beads?”

It was a fair question. And when it comes to the AJC Peachtree Road Race the uninitiated might ask, “What is it with the shirts?”

But for many runners it’s all about the shirt.  All of it – the training, the early wake up on a holiday and sweating through a 6.2 mile race.

Last weekend I decided to pull out my collection of Peachtree T-shirts to vulgarly wallow in loot accumulated over the last 20 years.

SHIRTS

One of the first things I noticed was I used to wear the shirts a lot more. I’m still not one to seal them in plastic on July 5th and lock them in a vault. But I do tend to put them away for the winter and only wear the oldest ones a couple of times during the summer. I earned my first one in 1979 and wore it past its useful life span. I don’t …

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I’m Looking at a Big Number

When I first ran the AJC Peachtree Road Race in 1979 we didn’t have your fancy GPS watches, iPods or Justin Bieber. It was a primitive time, but we managed.
Another thing we didn’t have was a Peachtree sorted into time groups. With only 20,000 runners the race didn’t seem all that crowded until we all reached a near bottleneck on the trails within Piedmont Park.
In 1990 I started running the race again after taking 10 years off. It was the year time groups were introduced to the race and the number of runners allowed was increased from 25,000 to 40,000. It definitely made sense to separate the sweating masses into smaller groups of sweating masses. Even then I still saw some conflict between faster runners aggressively weaving their way through the slower ones bunched in front of them.
For each of the subsequent years I’ve anxiously looked in my mailbox in late May and early June waiting to see how the number lottery is going to treat me. Of course, I could have run in …

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Three-Mile Run: You Dared, I Compared

In late April I dared readers to nominate their favorite three-mile run for me to compare against mine. Several people took me up on it, including some who responded on the Official Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race Fan Page.

Some of the nominees are pretty popular with runners, like trails along the Chattahoochee River off Columns Drive, or along Lake Spivey. Several people suggested runs around Candler Park, which is a short drive for me.
But I picked a route on the edge of downtown Decatur, nominated by Karen Rose. I lived in Decatur in the 1990s, so I’m familiar with the area. The city has pleasant scenery and lots of sidewalks.
As Karen suggested, I started at the Decatur Cemetery. The run featured some good, long hills, sidewalks the entire way and minimal street crossing conflicts. Two things that would have been better: A less steep climb at the end and a finish line that isn’t at a cemetery. I’m at a certain age when completing a run at the gates …

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Could It Be The Shoes?

A friend at work suggested the other day that I should buy a new pair of running shoes for training  the next two months and to run in the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

I’m not one to spend money in advance of need and I figured I had a few more miles in the pair I ran the race in last year. I’ve heard the rule of thumb is you can expect about 500 miles out of a pair of shoes and I thought I’d reach that mark right around July 4th.

Then he said, “But those are your 74-minute shoes.”

The blunt-speaking man is right. Those Asics with the orange trim in the photo are the same shoes that I ran an unsatisfactory 1:14.47 last year. While I had chalked my slow performance up to unfocused training leading up to the race, could my shoes have been part of the problem all along?

I’ve been an Asics man since my first Peachtree in 1979. I like the way they feel and, as marketers know, once someone settles on a brand it takes something significant to knock out the incumbent.
Asics Shoes
I ran …

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Dare to Compare: Your Three-Mile Run vs. Mine

I could say I love running up hills and that I’m actually a Massai warrior. But I don’t really like running up hills.

Since hills are pretty much everywhere in metro Atlanta I thought I’d at least try some different hills. Maybe I’d like yours better. Please help me with my Course-of-the-Month program between now and the AJC Peachtree Road Race. More on that below.

In my first post I was upfront about my undisciplined training regimen in recent years. I guess my casual approach to training doesn’t technically qualify as a regimen. If I ran a couple of miles here and a couple of miles there in the weeks before the Peachtree – Great Success!

In fact, I’ve only run as far as 6.2 miles 22 times in my life – all on July 4th. But my familiarity with the Peachtree’s 6.2 mile course, with its ups and downs, has helped keep me vertical until the finish line. So far.

Since the first two miles of the course through Buckhead are mostly downhill, I am usually well down the …

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Meet John McCosh

Not so long ago a runner could fudge a little bit about his Peachtree Road Race time. Those days are gone.

Now that all 55,000 runners have a chip time, all you have to do is look here to see that I ran last year’s Peachtree in 1:14.47. I thought I had trained enough last year to finish under an hour.

John McCosh (center, with cigar) has run the Peachtree Road Race 29 times. He'll blog about his experience here as he prepares for a 30th.

John McCosh has run the Peachtree Road Race 21 times. He'll blog about his experience here as he prepares for a 22nd.

But a little background is in order to explain how I could be about 15 minutes off between expectation and reality.

I’ve run the Peachtree 21 times, the past 20 in a row. My first, in 1979, I trained with a friend who ran cross country in high school. I was 20 years old and we ran multiple times up and around Stone Mountain. I reached Piedmont Park on July 4 a good bit under 50 minutes.

Then I took 10 years off and didn’t get much exercise to speak of during those years.

For the past 20 years I’ve used half-committed training for the Peachtree as a means …

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