Flying Pirate Challenge

I never did a Flying Pirate race recap from back in April so I thought I’d try to write something up and share the adventure with everyone. It was almost 10 weeks ago but I can still remember every detail like it was yesterday.

We traveled on Friday night and got to the Outer Banks just in time for an awesome dinner at the Outer Banks Brewing Station. Ron had George’s Pasta and I had the Cheese Ravioli Primavera. Both were divine. Ron also enjoyed a few of their micro brewed beers from the first wind-powered brewery in America. My poison was not beers but this amazing crème Brue lee.

creme bl

I had never had crème Brue lee before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Sooooo sweet! But in a good way. I only ate about half.

We woke up Saturday morning to the most amazing sunrise you could imagine.


Ron and I took our coffee out to the deck and relaxed a bit. I snapped away as the sun was coming up. Aren’t these clouds amazing?


We even saw some dolphins. I tried to get a picture of them and if you look real hard you can juuust make them out.  They are the two dark spots in the middle.


Then it was on to the Wright Brothers’ Memorial for the First Flight 5K. I met my running buddy, Lisa, there and we ran together until we got to the hill!

me and Lisa

My friends, the hill leading up to the memorial is straight up! It got me. Lisa kept right on trucking but I ended up walking. At the top, I stopped and got some water. It took me a minute to make my way back into the running crowd. This race was very crowded and on the small pathways at the memorial you had to be careful to not trip anyone.

At this point we probably had a little over 2 miles to go. I settled into a good pace and ran the entire rest of the way. My time was 32:30. I’ve run a few 5ks at a faster time that that now but on that day, 32:30 was a PR for me.

Check out this short video of me at the memorial.

Normally you don’t get medals for 5ks but since the OBX rocks, they gave us one. Isn’t it pretty?


I definitely want to go back next year just so I can conquer that hill.

After a quick shower for me, we slipped back over to the expo. I wanted to exchange my shirt for a smaller size and they told me to come back mid day on Saturday. They had a medium left and let me exchange. I was very happy! Here are my shirts and another one that I got at the expo. “Run like a Grandma” Don’t you love it!?

104_5709                     104_5711

The brewery is right beside where they held the expo so I was able to get this shot of the windmill that powers the establishment.



Notice the ominous clouds that were promising to make Sunday’s half marathon quite interesting.

Next up on the day’s agenda was a trip to the ocean so Ron could “Storm the Beach.”

The Storm the Beach was an obstacle 5k that was run in the soft sand right on the beach. They had all kinds of obstacles such as walls to go over, tunnels to crawl through, sand bags to carry, and buoys in the ocean to go around.

storm the beach                   over the wall

in ocean

Ron even made it to the official FB page.  That’s him in the gray.



Ron had a blast!

He did all the obstacles except for the very last, tallest, wall. He wants to go back next year to conquer that wall.

I guess it’s a date! Me for the hill and him for the wall.

We ended up back at the brewery for a couple of cold ones but then we headed over to Ocean View Baptist Church for their spaghetti dinner.


So delish!  A perfect ending to a perfect day.

After a somewhat restless night, Ron and I got up very early Sunday morning to prep for the half. I ate my usual peanut butter on a bagel and half a banana. Ron chose oatmeal.

We drove to the ending point and caught the bus back to the start. It was beginning to rain pretty hard at this time and the bus drivers were instructing us as to what to do if the weather took a dangerous turn.

I had gotten a trash bag from the hotel and wore it to help stay dry as we waited for the start of the race. That’s a really cool trick that I picked up from reading some running blogs. Ron wouldn’t even consider wearing a trash bag and was soaked to the bone very early on in the morning.

Lisa was lucky and got to sleep in a little later because her husband brought her to the start. She popped in right as the race was about to begin looking refreshed and dry. I didn’t tell her (well until now I guess) but I was a teeny bit jealous. I had been up for hours and even though I had the trash bag to keep me dry, I was somewhat miserable.

Lisa is a stronger runner than me and she is a huge motivator. I wanted to try to keep up with her as much as I could. Ron was content to run alone as he never likes to talk anyway.

The rain tapered off a bit and we settled into a good pace. I always tend to go out too fast and Lisa is so good at keeping the pace slower so we don’t run out of energy. The first 9 miles were the most awesome that I’ve run in a while. Even with the light rain, the conversation with my good friend coupled with the beautiful views of the sound and the memorial, made those miles just breeze right by.

(I don’t have a single picture from the half due to the rain but I found this one of the sound on the OBX FB page.)



(And this nice one of the memorial.)



I had taken a gel at mile 6 and was feeling pretty good. At mile 9 they had some more and I decided to stop and get one there too. I hadn’t planned on taking it. I just wanted to get one in case I needed it. The pit stop at mile 9 was really crowded and I ended up walking more that I wanted to. So, in that split second, I decided that since I was walking anyway, I might as well tear the second gel open.

That was the biggest mistake of the day for me.

I lost Lisa and my hand got all sticky with that second gel.

Then a few minutes later, my stomach started hurting. I knew I shouldn’t have taken that second gel.

Right about this time, you enter Nags Head Nature Preserve.



Since I had run the course before I thought I knew what to expect.

I didn’t.

The woods were a muddy, rain soaked mess. You really had to concentrate to watch out for the huge puddles.

I ended up walking quite a bit but I tried to keep a positive outlook.

When I made it out of the woods, the rain really started coming down harder than ever. The finish line has never looked better to me.

What impressed me the most is even in that pouring rain, the OBX volunteers all had the happiest faces on. They were handing out our medals and other stuff with such enthusiasm I quickly forgot about the horrors of the woods.

The parking lot where we had left our car was flooding at this point. I jumped into one of the biggest puddles I could find. I was able to clean my shoes and wash all the mud off my legs. I was happy!

I sat in the car and ate an egg and cheese biscuit that one of the volunteers had handed me. It wasn’t long until Ron made his way back to the car. He felt the same as me:  Glad that we completed the half but glad that it was over.

We made it back to the hotel for a quick shower before check-out. Then as quickly as the race weekend had begun, it was over and we were on our way back home and back to reality.

I really love the OBX and looking back on the race now, I think if I hadn’t gotten sick on that second gel, I might have not even let the mud in the woods bother me.

I’ll do it again.

Even if it rains.

Here’s our other medals.

104_5705                                  104_5706

I got an extra one because I had completed the 5k and the half.

If you ever have the chance to run at the Outer Banks you should do it. Better yet. Mark your calendars and join Ron and me next April and conquer the hill and the wall with us.

The fall races at the OBX are awesome too. Check out their race site. Looks like they are planning some epic challenges. That Blackbeard challenge looks wonderful. I bet the medals will be gorgeous.

3 thoughts on “Flying Pirate Challenge

  1. Pingback: The Plan | A Handful of Spinach

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