Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Thanks for the memories

The Charlotte Coliseum will close its doors tonight after an exhibition game betwen the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats and the Indiana Pacers. Tom Sorenson writes a nice retrospective piece in today's Charlotte Observer about the place, and includes his list of top-10 moments in the building's short history.

Though I'm not a Charlottean, the building holds some fond memories for me as well. It's where I saw the original expansion Charlotte Hornets play several games in their first few seasons beginning in 1988. The Hornets weren't a good team and didn't win much in those days, but that's when going to an NBA game was a novelty and was still fun.

It's where I attended my first Atlantic Coast Conference basketball tournament and witnessed my beloved North Carolina Tar Heels beat Virginia in the Sunday afternoon championship game to win the 1994 conference crown. The win certainly made the ride back to Chapel Hill a sweet one.

It's where I attended the first home game for the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA in the summer of 1997. I arrived at the arena so early that day I beat the parking attendants and was interviewed for the local evening newscast.

So now a building that's not even 20 years old will sit empty on a plot of land off Tyvola Road in south Charlotte with only memories left inside. It's sad, really, because the facility is still usable. Yet just a few years after George Shinn used the building to bring the Hornets to town, he claimed he was losing money because the facility didn't have enough luxury boxes and sky suites. So he threatened to move the team unless the city built him a new uptown arena with luxury boxes and sky suites.

The city balked and Shinn eventually took the Hornets with him to New Orleans. Though I don't really care about the NBA anymore, I still hated to see Hornets go. But the NBA decided it still wanted a team in Charlotte, so it gave them one, and now the Bobcats are moving into the uptown arena that Shinn always wanted.

I'm sure the new place is nice, and I hope the Bobcats do well, but give me the old Coliseum and the original Hornets any day. Like former Observer columnist Ron Green Sr. once wrote, the old Colisuem had game.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mile Marker 500

Today's three mile run at lunch put me over the 500-mile mark for the year. Actually, I was right on the brink of 500 before today, with yesterday's six-miler bringing me to 499.9 miles in 2005. My cumulative totals for the year are:

502.9 miles
Time: 3 days, 14h 14m 44s
Avg. Pace: 10:17/mile

So even though I'm in the midst of my aforementioned assignments, I'm still making sure to get my runs in. I may fail my classes, but at least I'll be ready for my marathon.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I have an exam tomorrow, a midterm Tuesday, a midterm Thursday, several short written assigments also due Thursday and a take-home final due next Saturday. Then there's my regular job and marathon training to keep up with. Needless to say, I'll be glad when this coming week is over.

Saturday, October 08, 2005


During the Cannonball Run Half-Marathon this morning, I ran past a guy building an ark and saw animals lining up in pairs. About 10 minutes before the start of the race, the heavens opened and it rained for the entire 13.1 miles. I slogged my way through though, and could feel water squishing between my toes in my water-logged shoes at times.

I finished in 2 hours, 13 minutes, and 50 seconds. I came in 276th place overall out of 362 runners and 28th out of 29 in my age group. For complete results click here. That's roughly the time I figured I'd have today since I wasn't running for a time goal and was doing the race primarily as a tune-up for my first marathon in January. Now the reality of running twice the distance of what I ran this morning is starting to set in.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Half-Marathon Flashbacks

This Saturday's Cannonball Run half marathon will be the fifth half marathon I've participated in. With just two days to go before the run, I've been reflecting back on my previous halfs and what stands out to me about them.

  • 2002 Country Music Half Marathon, Nashville, Tenn. Time: 2:20:17, Pace: 11:09. The one that started it all. My friend Scott helped me shed about 20 pounds and then encouraged me to train for a distance race with him. He did the marathon, and I did the half. Going from a non-runner to a half-marathon finisher gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment and sent me on my way to participating in future events.

  • 2004 Country Music Half Marathon, Nashville, Tenn. Time: 1:57:47, Pace: 8:59. Moving from Atlanta to North Carolina kept me from participating in the 2003 Country Music Half Marathon, but I came back with a vengeance in 2004. I mixed intervals and some speed work into my training and crossed the line in just under two hours. Going into the race, I thought I could finish around the two hour mark, but prior to the race Scott told me he thought I could break two hours. Again, his encouragement sent me on my way. I felt like I was in a groove the whole race. Sometimes, I still wonder how I was able to finish in 1:57, even with the mile-long hill at the end of the course. This is easily my most memorable run, and I've never come close to registering similar times in training or an event since then.

  • 2004 DARE Fun Run, Reidsville, N.C.Time: 2:20 Just a few months after my best run, I experienced one of my most gruelling. Figuring I'd have some carryover from the Country Music Marathon, I didn't really train consistently for this local half marathon in my home county. But the fact that I didn't train as much for this one wasn't as much of a factor as was the fact that this event was more taxing mentally than physically. In stark contrast to the larger events I had run in Nashville, there were only about 20 other runners compared with thousands and only a handful of spectators along the course. (And those were my parents, nieces and cousins because the course ran right in front of my parents' house.) I found myself running much of this race by myself and discovered just how encouraging a pack of fellow runners and people cheering from the sidelines could be.

  • 2005 Country Music Half Marathon, Nashville, Tenn. Time: 2:31:06, Pace: 11:32. My goal in 2005 was to graduate from the half to the full marathon, but some knee problems relegated me to the half marathon once again. Honestly, I took this event lightly because I knew I'd done the distance three times already. I didn't train regularly or consistently, only just enough to get by. I probably had the most enjoyable run in this event because I took a disposable camera with me during the run and interacted with the spectators more. However, I had the worst finishing time of any of the races I had participated in previously. This is when I began to suspect I really do need a new challenge and make a go at the full marathon.
  • Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Fun Run

    Ran the two-mile "Fun Run" which was part of NC State University's Employee Appreciation Week festivities as my final tune-up for Saturday's half marathon. Took it nice and easy in 21 minutes, 20 seconds for a 10:40 pace. I'll take it easy the next couple days and just get ready for Saturday.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Three Miler

    Ran a lap around Lake Johnson this evening in 29:09. After a two-miler in the morning, I'll rest until Saturday's half marathon.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Four miler

    Ran four miles at Lake Johnson today as I begin looking forward to Saturday's half marathon. I pushed my pace a bit more than I had been today and finished in 38:13, which works out to a 9:33 per mile average.

    Fantasy Flops

    My fantasy sports teams aren't doing so well. I'm in the middle of the pack in my NASCAR league, and my football team is 1-3. Ironically, I finished second in my baseball league which is the sport I follow the least. I do enjoy the baseball playoffs and World Series, however, and I'll be pulling for the Boston Red Sox to repeat.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    10-Mile Tune-Up

    Just returned from my last long run before next Saturday's Cannonball Run Half-Marathon in Greensboro, N.C. Went 10 miles in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 27 seconds, for an average pace of 11:02. I plan on getting a few shorter runs in early this coming week and stay off my feet on Thursday and Friday. The Cannonball Run will be my fifth half-marathon, but I'm not looking to run for speed or go for a personal best. Really, I just want to get the distance in and get used to being in a race environment as a staging ground for the Disney Marathon in January.