Welcome to the New Inaugural Edition of RUNNING SHORTS, the online newsletter of the Charlottesville Track Club.
As with so many aspects of Central Virginia, ours has a rich history and deep roots. Charlie Feigenoff and Mark Lorenzoni started Running Shorts in 1982 and co-edited it together until 2002. It continued in paper form for sever-al decades, keeping CTC members informed of upcoming races and the latest results, as well as being an important advocate, platform and sounding board for those in our running community.
Since being established nearly a half-century ago, the CTC has been a driving force for runners and walkers of all ages and ambitions in our area. The organization annually directs such popular local races as the New Year’s Day 5K, Charlottesville Women’s 4 Miler, Charlottesville Ten Miler, Bruce Barnes Mile, All-Comers Summer Track Series and Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon. You don’t need to post an impressive mile split to find a home or something of interest in these pages. Community remains our common purpose and highest aspiration.
That’s why we’re so excited about RUNNING SHORTS. Mark returns with his popular “Coach’s Clipboard,” and the online newsletter will also include medical advice from Dr. Robert Wilder, The Last Word, from Leah Connor, editor emeritus, photos and race reports, a volunteer shout-out and so much more. We’re a work-in-progress, so if you think of something that’s missing, please let us know.
But for now, please enjoy our premiere issue. As Gene Wilder once declared in the movie “Young Frankenstein,” “It’s alive, it’s alive.”
View the complete March 2021 e-newsletter.
By Rick Willis
There was only one person on the C’ville High School track when I dropped in for a flat run. I kept half a track between us and felt pretty comfortable. As the temperature rose, a couple and then a single came down to walk. I could still keep seven lanes between us. Then, a family with three small kids launches onto the track. They started walking, taking up four lanes, sometimes five, so I left, my personal comfortable zone compromised. The question is: How can we stay safe while running?
According to the Center for Disease Control, we should maintain at least 6 feet between runners while actively participating in the sport. Some of us choose to run in a group of two or three others we trust. According to the CDC, transmission of coronavirus happens between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets, produced through a cough or sneeze—not sweat.
Virginia Tech’s Linsey Marr, an environmental engineer professor, said on NPR that runners can reduce the risk of transmission by increasing that distance to at least 10 feet because runners are breathing harder and release more moisture. Also, runners who are finishing a workout can make bad decisions to pass people too closely. Michael Capiraso, president and CEO of New York Road Runners, says back off. If we push too hard we may forget to maintain physical distance.
Most agree the best way to avoid transmission of Covid-19 is to run where and when there aren’t people round. Pre-Covid I ran with 50 people every Wednesday morning, and now I leave when eight people show up on the track. For social runners like me, who enjoy the give and take and talk during a run -- that bites.
How long have you been running and why do you run?
I started running eleven years ago, using the Ten-Miler training pro-gram to get started. I was approaching 50 and sensed I was getting softer and less fit and knew I needed to get more active. Plus working at The Center (then known as the Senior Center) while I lived much of our values of healthy aging, I knew there was room for me to ‘walk the walk’ more by ‘running the run!’ Running has given me so much more than I ever imagined as an incentive to take care of myself, to hold off work stress, and with an added bonus of meeting scores of really cool folks I likely would never have otherwise met.
The mile along Chapel Spring Road with the friendly horses and lovely vistas to the glorious sunrise at Free Union Road has become a favorite in the midst of long Saturday runs.
What are you training for now?
I’m enjoying the 2021 Race Fest Coach Mark has developed to keep us interested when there aren’t the traditional races I love. This includes the 10 miler, the race that got me started and the only one I do every year.
Why do you work for a not for profit?
I have always done community service work, from Scouts and Key Club and other youth and young adult volunteering. I left the restaurant business 25 years ago to make my avocation for service into my vocation. I deeply believe that we are all part of a greater good and the highest calling is to work to make our community a better place. Being able to do that while making a living is a blessing.
How does The Center benefit the community?
Aging is the biggest demographic issue our world, our nation and our community faces. Research consistently shows that the key is how we can help older adults remain as active and independent as possible, for as long as possible. The Center provides the key ingredients for this -- providing opportunities for physical, intellectual, social, and psychological wellness. And we do it in a fun and supportive environment so people are achieving their holistic wellness needs in a way that keeps them coming back.
Is running a hobby, a lifestyle or a curse?
It has absolutely become a lifestyle from very early on for me. Especially when I began training for half and then full marathons, it inspires me to eat and sleep better and generally take care of myself. This is only becoming more vital as I get older. During the Covid pandemic, running has kept me disciplined and given me motivation to keep moving even in the midst of so much hard to process news.
If you’re not running or working you are...?
Spending time with my wife, and with my large extended family when I can. Plus reading, walking our dogs and volunteering and advocating for a better community for All. The need to fight systemic racism and develop a more just and equitable community is a big focus for me now. Racism, like ageism, kills. We all have to do our part to work towards a more perfect union.
By Mark Lorenzoni
I’ve proudly served, on a volunteer basis, as the head coach for the CTC’s 10 Miler and Marathon/Half Marathon Training Programs since kicking off the club’s first program back in 1987. These programs have helped to safely guide over 15,000 folks to their personal goals. Each issue, I’d like to share a thing or two that I’ve learned along the way…
Perception of Effort (POE) is one of the single most important concepts for any distance runner to have in their kit. I tell all of my athletes, whether they’re training for their very first race or prepping for the Olympic Trials, to run at a pace that feels totally effortless for most of their weekly mileage. Because distance running is an aerobic activity you should never hear yourself breathing at a rapid pace at any time throughout your run, regardless of terrain or environment. This “conversational pace” or Aerobic Heart Rate (AHR) should be your breathing partner. Even when in training for a race and adding speed to your regimen, about 80% of your total weekly mileage should still be kept in AHR mode. Grasp and successfully execute this concept of letting your effort, and not your pace, be your north star and you will enjoy your running that much more and, ultimately, be successful safely attaining your personal race goals.
By Bob Wilder, MD, FACSM, Medical Director, The Runner’s Clinic at UVa
Most running injuries are associated with some type of change in our routine. Some are obvious like a sudden bump up in our mileage. Some are not so obvious, like a sudden increase in time driving the car when the kids return to school in the fall. All that sitting can get to us.
The pandemic has resulted in changes for all of us, and some of these can impact our run training. I’ve seen a few patterns in the office that have contributed to injury. Avoid these pitfalls to continue fun training.
1. Abrupt increase in training. Working from home has meant more time on our hands: little time getting ready, no commuting time, and more control over our schedule. This extra time resulted in sudden increases in run training for many. It’s exciting to have the time to push the envelope a bit, but let’s be smart about it. For most, adding an extra 2 miles a week to our total weekly mileage is a good limit. For those over 30 miles a week, you can push this to 3 extra per week. The long run should increase 1 extra mile per week max. Add speed work and hill work gradually. When increasing your training volume and intensity, make sure you are taking care of proper hydration, nutrition and needed recovery. And don’t forget to address the “extras”: warmup, stretching, rolling. These get to be easy to forget when we aren’t training with our normal group.
2. Cross-training (yup). We think of cross training as run safe, but this is not always so. Covid has forced us indoors and for many this has meant treadmill running and cycling. These are both great, in moderation. The mechanics during treadmill running are very similar to land running, but the muscles work a bit differently which can contribute to injury if we switch too quickly. Cycling is low impact, but our joints and muscles are working differently and this can lead to injury even when we perceive our effort as easy. Some of the popular video based programs are downright challenging, so resist the temptation to push to the limit until you’ve worked at a controlled level for several weeks.
3. Sitting and shoes. Being at home more has meant more sitting for many. Much of this is spent on the couch instead of our workstations, causing changes in our posture, spine alignment and muscle balance. Many enjoy spending the day in socks or bare feet whereas at work we wore supportive shoes all day. This change in our foot mechanics changes the loading from our feet all the way through our spine, often without us even noticing. Limit the time in bare feet; even a supportive sandal is better than no support at all. And remember to get new shoes when they are due. 350 to 400 miles is the lifetime of a shoe and this includes walking miles. We aren’t out shopping much these days, but do stick to this important guideline.
I’m sure ready for more normal again, but in the meantime let’s stick together and be healthy.
See you on the roads.
Editors note: Dr. Wilder and his UVa Runners Clinic team have served, on a purely volunteer basis, as the race medical director for over 20 annual CTC events, every single year since 2000.
Remember to hydrate and keep track of your shoes’ mileage, especially if training for an ultra. Replace shoes at 300+ miles.
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Beautiful hidden places to run in our neck of the woods
By Mark Lorenzoni
Each issue I’d like to take you for a run along one of our many wonderful local public paths and roads…
Back in 2005, a group of Louisa residents invited me to join them for a tour of a place called the “Green Springs National Historic District”...their hope was for the District’s roads to be used, from that point forward, as a running and walking resource. I had never heard of it before but, after making the surprisingly short drive east and exploring the endless miles of beautiful gravel roads of this immense district, it was love at first sight!
Designated in 1973 as a “National Historic District”, to help fend off encroaching development, so as to preserve the twenty pre-Civil War homes and beautiful farms, this stunning 14,000-acre enclave features close to 20 miles of rolling gravel roads with gorgeous horizon views of the wide open pastures and gentle piedmont hills. Enjoy!
Parking is available in front of St. John’s Church just to the right of the runner pictured here. Be sure to pick up after yourself, and others, if they left something behind. We are guests here.
Don’t be surprised if a pup or goats joins in your run. The dog’s name is Roxy. Not sure of the goats’ names.
Directions: Take 64 east to Route 15 at Zion CrossRoad. Take 15 North for about 2 miles. Look for East Green Springs road on your right and take that for 2 miles to public parking at St. John’s Chapel (built in 1888). Please have dogs on a leash at all times, as there are livestock in the fields along the roads. See map for running options.
(Each issue I’ll be taking you on a run, back to the starting line of a now legendary local footrace.)
The Charlottesville 10 Miler, our oldest, most prestigious and storied footrace, debuted in the spring of 1976, as a new and unique addition to our community’s long standing Dogwood Festival.
The original course, designed by local ultramarathoner Max White, took the hearty racers from UVa’s Lannigan Field, across from the old University Hall basketball arena, out Alderman Road to Stadium road, into the woods leading out to Fontaine Avenue and then under the 29 Bypass and out along the steep gravel switch back Reservoir Road to Camp Holiday Trails and back again (see map). The roller coaster out and back course was extremely challenging but, since there were no other local races to compare it to, we simply called it a “tough” course!
The debut field of 225 young racers, most of them male and in their twenties and thirties, made history that April day, 45 years ago, for in crossing the starting line, they were signaling the beginning of Charlottesville’s road race journey!
Karen and James Beaver, the race’s original directors, diligently kept the race going with annual numbers ranging between 300-350, until 1983, when they stepped down. The new sport of “Road Racing,” especially on urban courses, was rapidly on the rise all over the country, so it was at that point that the CTC decided to shift gears and move the mostly rural course into the city. The CTC Board asked former president Dave Murphy, himself a sub-60-minute 10 miler, and myself to co-direct the event and to design a new city course.
With the goal of showcasing our beautiful city and university, Dave and I and several other training buddies, spent a few months running different routes before settling on the new “city course.” We then had to get it approved by the City and wow, what a task that was! Our city had never before closed the streets for anything but the Dogwood Parade, so this was a big ask! I nervously prepped for my meeting with the City Manager and asked Cynthia to join me for moral support. Turned out to be a smart move, as he didn’t know me (hardly anyone in town knew me back in 1983) but he sure knew Cynthia, who had just won her second Marine Corps Marathon title. After chatting with Cynthia, he graciously agreed to permit us to have the event but, just as we stood up to shake his hand, the City Manager looked us in the eyes and cautioned us with: “Mess this up and we won’t ever allow another footrace, on closed roads, in the future!”
Needless to say, thanks to the CTC’s usual well organized manner and a volunteer force of over 350 folks along the new historic course, we safely and successfully pulled it off. And, so began the next phase of road racing in our community: closed city roads for foot racers!
Holiday Hills 10-Miler 1981
The Pre-Covid 10-Miler (new) course.
The Old 10-Miler Course 1976-1983
And, as the race’s popularity slowly but steadily grew over the years, from 350 to 2600, so did the demographics. In 1984, the first year of the “city course” the median time was 75 minutes (7:30 pace), the average age of the participants was 28 and 75% of the racers were male. The ‘slowest’ person in that 1984 race clocked a speedy 90 minutes! Now, almost 40 years later, the median time is annually right around 95 minutes (9:30 pace), the average age hovers in the mid-forties and women make up about half the field!
Epilogue note: This year, due to the pandemic, we will be hosting this legendary event over the finely groomed grass paths of Foxfield. The course will feature two and half loops, each unique to itself, around this stunningly beautiful 175-acre property. Yes, the short grass will make the going slower than pavement but there will be less steep hills and no auto traffic. We hope you will join us for another unique page in the history of this iconic event! Register HERE!
After just two events, our new race series has been a big success, with over 300 racers having participated.
Here’s how the point series works:
Among the current points leaders, after the NYD5K and Frostbite Four Miler, are folks like Ann Mazur (21 points), Andrea Wright (18) and Bonnie Wilfore, Jeffrey Plank, Bob Johnson, Harry Landers, Linda Scandore and Laura Brown, who all have 16 points.
There are nine events in the series, of varying distances, surfaces and terrain. Next up: the Haven 8K (March 6), The 10 Miler (March 27/28) and The Run for Autism (new temporary pandemic trail course on April 17). And, for those of you racing the Rivanna Marathon or Half Marathon on March 14, we’ve added that to the Race Fest Series, as an alternative to the 10 Miler (you may use one or the other in your personal point totals).
It’s not too late to join the fun! Find out how at Race Fest.
"Note to self: it’s always worth the time to send a thank you note. Time, energy, and effort are so valuable, when someone spends any on me, or my ideas, I’m always blown away and full of gratitude."
- Des Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon Champion. 2xUS Olympian.
When was the last time you thanked someone? Really thanked them... with the power and personal touch of a handwritten note?
We all have someone in our lives who has selflessly given us their time, support, and encouragement. If you've run a CTC race or taken part in a CTC training program, show Mark Lorenzoni your gratitude by taking out a pen and paper to write him a special letter or to send a thank you card. I know whenever I get something in the mail from Mark showing his appreciation for me it means the world.
I worked for over 22 years for a company that teaches kids handwriting. It's amazing the difference proper instruction makes to the lives of children who can express their thoughts and ideas more easily. I think we'd all benefit from writing by hand a bit more. I know I feel a unique connection to the words when they are written rather than typed.
I recently asked Mark to write me a recommendation for the volunteer work I've done with him for the Charlottesville Track Club as I look for my next job. I was blown away by what he sent me:
“Leah Connor is in so many ways the driving force in bringing people together in our running community. Her tireless efforts, in helping to market and organize hundreds of races, running events and training programs, have helped to entertain tens of thousands of runners and, in the process, raise immeasurable funds for countless charitable causes. Simply put, thanks to her selfless dedication in volunteering her time and sharing her talents, creativity and passions, Leah is the flag bearer in bringing running to life in Central Virginia!”
Everything Mark wrote about me applies even more so to him as well as many other volunteers that are no longer with us. The CTC wouldn't be what it is today without the contributions of people like Dave Murphy, Carol Finch, Skip Kinnier, and Bruce Barnes.
Please take the time to learn more about these Charlottesville running legends and remember to thank every volunteer.
I know it's time I write a special note to Ryan Looney, who is the only person who's helped me with every Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon, is a past CTC Board member, and one of only 12 C-VILLE-athon Streakers!
Since its founding in 1976, the Charlottesville Track Club has supported the running community in Charlottesville. Focusing on philanthropy through not-for-profit races CTC has raised millions of dollars for charities. The Women’s 4-Miler, for instance, has raised more than $4 million for the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center. In the process tens of thousands of women have completed the training and run the race.
Our members volunteer at local races, helping runners navigate race day and the course, but also meet up with others of the same mindset, and running, training together builds the bond of true friendships. The bonds are reinforced and friendships measured not not only with birthdays or anniversaries, but in a child’s first race, a training partner’s personal best or a Boston Qualifying Time.
If you would like to join the CTC, or re-up, please go to our online membership form.
Annual dues structure:
Individuals: $20 per year
Families: $25 per year (**Up to two adults and all children under the age of 18)
Seniors (age 65+): $10 per year
Students: $10 per year - Full time student under the age of 23
Sponsors: $50 per year
Friends of CTC: $100 per year
CTC Benefactor: $250 per year
CTC is organized to provide a structured organization for the purpose of promoting running as a sport and healthy lifestyle within our community. In furtherance of our purpose, CTC hosts group runs, fun runs, training runs and programs on the road and/or track, hosts education lectures about topics of interest for runners, provides awards for club members, hosts social events for members, and all such other things as may be conducive to the encouragement of running. CTC also engages in community activities, to publicize by appropriate means, the benefits of running as a means of physical fitness to improve the health status of people in our community. CTC’s support of non-profit running events helps raise funds in the local community.
CTC is organized to provide a structured organization for the purpose of promoting running as a sport and healthy lifestyle within our community. CTC’s support of non-profit running events helps raise funds in the local community.