KIAWAH!

Now for Kiawah!  I have wanted to run this race for about as long as I have been running.  It’s an old race on the resort island of Kiawah, South Carolina.  This year was the 40th anniversary of the race!

My run club picked it as a focus destination race and a lot of my friends were going.  This was the year!  I checked with Ron and he was free that weekend so I quickly signed us both up.  Since I knew we’d be with friends and no one would want to wait 5.5 hours on me to finish a full, I signed up for the half as well.

We had a blast!  Ron and I stayed with 3 other couples and 4 of the 8 of us were running!  Here’s a shot of Kim, Connie, me and Ron at the finish!

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The drive to Kiawah from our home was about 4.5 hours.  It wasn’t a bad drive but it was raining the entire way and the traffic got a little busy once you make the turn to Kiawah from Charleston.  For anyone thinking about doing this race, I’d recommend that you make it down to Kiawah early in the day or even 2 days before the race.  Kiawah is a private island resort and all the cars have to enter through the main gate.

Also, I’d highly recommend that you plan early and stay on the island.  Pick a place close to the start/ finish line and once you park at your rental home, you won’t have to drive again.

Connie had us covered and took care of all the arrangements.  Here’s a few shots of our room.  The home had 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms!  We loved it!

The funny thing though was as nice as our home was, when we actually got out the next day on the run and saw all the mansions on the island, we realized as my friend Kim put it, that we were staying in a shanty!  LOL

Connie, Kim, Ron, and I all ran together for the first 6 or 7 miles.  We were doing 2 and 1s I think.  That’s when you run 2 minutes and then walk 1 minute.  We are all former or current Galloway runners and this method is very good to keep you injury free.  Ron stayed with us but he decided to slow down at bit and then we split up.

It was a great run.  The crowd support was awesome and even though the previous day was all rain, the day of the run it cleared up.  It was cold but no rain!  We were all thrilled.  When you’re a runner you know you have to deal with the cold and you have to deal with rain but when mother nature attempts to throw both of them at you at the same time, it can be a little much for you to wrap your brain around.  We were so happy we only had the cold to deal with.

I highly recommend Kiawah!  Go run it next year and plan to have a blast!

Here’s a shot of the race shirt and the medal!  Best race shirt ever!  Check out the  hood and the thumb holes!

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Happy Running Friends!

 

 

 

RDC Inaugural Marathon

November 12th was the day!  RDC was going to be my comeback marathon.  Charleston was such a disaster and Oak Island wasn’t too much better.  I was determined to fuel well and really give it my all.  I had certainly trained well all year so there was no reason RDC shouldn’t go very smoothly.

Ron and I were ready to run!  Ron the half and me the full.

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Let me step back a minute and let you know about RDC, Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill.  This was the first year for this marathon.  The route was almost exclusively on the American Tobacco Trail.     We practice all the time on this trail with my run club.  It is almost completely flat!  Here are a few of my favorite training run shots.  The first and last one are on the ATT but I think that middle one was on a greenway maybe around the lake at Koka Booth Amphitheater.  That’s me and Connie in the first picture and I’m with Deanna in the middle.  Me and Connie again and more friends from our run club in the last one.

 

RDC was a great race!  I liked that it was local and that they were raising money to help find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The race expo was held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  It was a very cold day and the expo was very small but it was well run.  I liked the shirt okay and they gave out a nice sweatshirt.   Here I am a few hours after the race all showered up and sporting the swag.  The medal was great!

 

 

The night before the race we were at home so I was able to easily eat my normal night before a long run meal.  I had a Quorn chicken cutlet and baked Japanese purple potato.  My good friend Claudia swears by a small meal similar to this and she runs a race just about every weekend.   I tested this before my 23 miler and my 18 miler and those runs went very well.

I really wanted to do well in this marathon but I knew I had to be realistic.  All the numbers from my training runs pointed to me doing between a 5:15 and a 5:30 full.  So, I decided to hook up with the 5:25 pacer as early as possible.  I knew I had to keep it slow in the beginning if I had any hopes of finishing strong.

Here I am with Charlotte.  She was the 5:25 pacer and I hung with her from around mile 1 until mile 23.

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Charlotte wears a costume in all of her marathons and I remembered her from Charleston.  She wore a Southern Bell costume in that race that was so awesome.  Complete with a parasol and everything.   This costume was the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and she wasn’t gonna let us be late!

Around mile 23 I slowed down a bit to put my earbuds back in my fuel belt and she got a little away from me.  I caught back up with her but something happened and my legs just wouldn’t move any more.  I was still running but I kept slowing down more and more.

I smiled and told her to go on and she did and she finished the race right on her 5:25 pace.  She was so sweet to stick around and cheer me in when I came in 11 minutes later.  That’s right.  I finished in 5:36 and lost a full 11 minutes in the last 3 miles!  So bummed!

I’m really thankful to Charlotte though because up until mile 23 I had a great race!  I felt wonderful!  Not a smidgen of pain anywhere and I was all smiles the entire course.  Even after I slowed down, I still had a good run.  So many of my friends were on the course racing and it was a beautiful day.  It was a little cold but not too bad and the day was sunny with no wind.

I’m excited for Charlotte because she has been  trying to run a marathon in all 50 states and will be able to achieve this goal in April of 2018.  She’s running the Garmin Marathon Land of Oz in Olathe, Kansas.  They have the Wizard of Oz theme and Charlotte has a lot of costumes planned.  She told me about this article that was in the news about her and I found it.  Click here and learn more about my awesome pacer!

Here I am at the finish with my good friends Connie (on the right) and Deanna (on the left.)

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Connie has been trying to run a sub 5:00 full for some time and she knocked it out of the park!  Deanna was in beast mode too and finished this marathon only 3 weeks after running the Marine Corps Marathon.

RDC is a great marathon and I might consider it again next year.  I love that it is so flat and even though you are on the American Tobacco Trail for practically all 26 miles, you will have a little crowd support.

RDC finishing times

Ron gives RDC 2 big thumbs up.  He had a great half marathon and loved waiting around for me due to the fact that they had an awesome craft beer on tap!

Happy Running friends!

 

 

Hurricane Holden and Ocean Isle Half

September 9th was the day that we were supposed to run the Holden Beach half.  However,  NC was under a state of emergency due to Hurricane Irma and Holden Beach had to cancel the race.

The race directors are so awesome and they gave many options to the runners so we could still get our shirts and medals.  Ron and I chose to run at home and we had a great run on the greenway.  It actually was a gorgeous day in our neck of the  woods and I heard it was gorgeous as well at the beach.  I understand the decision to cancel the race though because you can never be too careful when it comes to the weather.

Here Ron and I are after our half that day.

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Here I am weeks later after we got our medal and shirts when we ran the last race in the series, Ocean Isle.

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The last race in the series was Ocean Isle on October 7th.  We had a blast.  This time we rented an airB&B and although it was very close to the start and finish and very nice, if I run again, I’d try to get a room right down on the beach.

Here’s a couple of shots of our air B&B:

 

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I ran the race in my very first and only Sparkle Skirt!  I chose the Hiker Chic length and I love it so much.  I have even worn it hiking!  This length is awesome for wearing to the grocery store or to Wally World.  So very comfortable!

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It rained a little the day of the race and that is my only complaint of the skirt.  Since it was longer, it absorbed a good bit of rain and I found myself wringing it out a couple of times.

The series is so fun and in 2018 the medals are even better.  Be sure to go click this link to see them!  I don’t think Ron and I are doing the entire series next year but we may just have to go back to at least one of them.

Here Ron and I are at the beginning of Ocean Isle half.

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We both had great runs.  My official time was 2:32:10.

Here’s the last shirt and the medal:

 

 

And here are all the medals in a row!  So very cool.  I have donated mine already but Ron has all of his!

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Happy Running Friends!

Sunset Beach Half

Sunset Beach was the 2nd race in the BAM series.  Ron and I ran it on May 20th of this year.

I made a huge mistake and didn’t book our rooms early and I couldn’t find anything decent close to the start/finish.  We ended up staying about 20 minutes away back in Oak Island.

It actually was a great place.  A super cute old school motel.  Come to find out, the owner had been coming to Oak Island his whole life.  He lived in West Virginia but his family vacationed in Oak Island.  When this little motel went up for sale, he jumped at the chance and bought it.  He and his sweet wife have been remodeling it and loving life ever since.

Our room was one that was recently remodeled and was so sweet.

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We loved it.

On the way down on Friday night, Ron and I go hungry before we made it to the beach and ended up stopping at the Mad Boar.  I was nervous at first because it was so busy and fancy and I wondered if we were dressed okay.  We were dressed very casually and that ended up being perfectly acceptable but we didn’t have reservations.  And they were needed!  I have no idea where all these patrons were coming from.  Mad Boar is really in the middle of nowhere.

We lucked out and there was a spot in the bar and we scored a perfect table.  There was even live entertainment.  Double score!

I was determined to fuel correctly and decided to order harvest veggie pasta.  Ron spied the fried pickles and we had to get them.  They were the best fried pickles I’ve ever had.  I only ate a few though.  I swear.  I’d say, no more than 3 bites!

Fast forward to race morning and I had one small banana.  I met my good friends Lisa and Claudia at the start.

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Even with conscious fuel choices, my stomach messed up again near the end of the race.

Thinking back on this, we had just had a Popsicle they were giving out due to the high heat and humidity.  It may have come from so much sugar.  No clue.  Just really, really, frustrated.

My time was 2:40:18.  Not too shabby for such a hot and humid day and having to stop yet again.

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It actually was a great race.  You had to ride a shuttle due to no parking at the start/finish. We got to the shuttle stop super early and the bus was late.  No worries though.  We still got on the 1st shuttle and snapped this photo.  My sis said we looked like the Hulk.  No clue where the green tint came from.

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I absolutely loved the start/finish area.  It was in a park near the Inter-Coastal Waterway and there were gorgeous old shade trees.  Plenty of pizza and beer afterwards.  Ron even drank a few even though there were American lagers.  Normally he won’t touch anything but an IPA.

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Here I am days later with the shirt.  I love it!  The medal is awesome too!

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My medal hanger is full and just like I have been doing lately, I chose to donate this medal to Medals4Mettle

Side note, I’ve been thinking about how my life is changing.  Never say never!

Last year my run club was collecting old medals to give to a Medals 4 Mettle.  They give them to people that are in the hospital or are fighting hard medical battles to help cheer them up. My good friend Connie was giving hers away.  In fact she once commented to me that she ran a race and was excited that you could check a box to not get a medal.  I was floored.  I couldn’t believe that someone wouldn’t want a medal to begin with and then would be willing to give them away to charity.

This year, I totally get it.  I have so many medals and although I enjoy the thrill of getting them, I really am loving donating them.

I’m also giving away some more of my race shirts.  I purged a lot last year when Ron an I first began tidying the Japanese way.  My new rule is it they don’t fit in one drawer, some have to go and go they do.  Straight to Goodwill!

I’m really looking forward to the other 2 beach races in the BAM series.

Happy Running Friends!

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

This post is dedicated to mojitos.   I really am so sorry this race recap is so late.  This half was way back in March of this year.  I’m only posting for posterity’s sake.  Facebook friends, please ignore this post.  This is all old news.  Just trying to get caught up on my blog.  However, you may want to keep reading just a little to hear the best mojito recipe ever!

My sis and her husband went to Cuba recently and they came back bearing gifts of aged Cuban Rum and Cuban cigars.  Rum for me and cigars for Ron.  They had a really great time in Cuba.  Be sure to check out her travel blog.

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The recipe for mojitos that Rosa shared with me was shared with her from the bartenders at Dos Hombre’s Restaurante  – Two Brother’s Bar.

I’ve had a few mojitos at restaurants since having Rosa’s mojitos and they do not compare at all.

What you do is put your sugar in your glass first (about a tablespoon) and then add your mint leaves.  Take a spoon and crush the mint a little.  Rosa used coconut sugar when she first made one for me because that was all she had on hand.  Now I can’t make a true mojito with any other kind of sugar.

Next add a little lemon (or lime) and then a shot of rum.  Top it off with some Sprite or 7-Up and ice.

They are to die for!

We made them again when we had our sister weekend at the yurts.

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So much fun!

Tammy has since sent me some organic mint seeds so we can grow our own mint and never be out of mojito ingredients.  🙂

Anyway, getting back to the race recap for Tobacco Road.

The thing I like most about Tobacco Road is that they give so much back to the community.  The cumulative total since 2010 is up to over three-quarter of a million dollars at $761,000 in charitable giving.

The expo is on the small side but is very well run.  Shirt was great!  I love the v neck but I wasn’t thrilled about the color.  (Sorry, I don’t have a picture of the shirt.  I donated it already.  It was gray and a nice shirt but the minimalist in me makes me give away things that don’t bring me joy.)  The medal was super pretty.  I loved the medal but I don’t have it anymore either.  I’ve already donated it to Medals for Mettle.

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The parking at the race is very limited and you have to purchase a parking pass really early in order to be able to park at the start/finish.  I had to ride the shuttle this year but it was no problem at all.  It was a breeze to park at the satellite facility and the shuttle was warm and cozy.

I made it to the race with plenty of time to spare.

I never know what to wear when the weather is in between.  I knew I’d be on the cold side to start but I also knew I’d warm up pretty fast.

I chose to wear short sleeves and a skirt but I wore my toboggan.  It was perfect at first but then I got warm.  My hair was sweaty and awful at that point so I had to keep it on. Crazy I know but I didn’t want to scare everyone.  LOL

My race went really well for the first few miles.  I was feeling great and keeping a pretty good pace.

Around mile 6 my stomach started feeling funny so I had to stop at a port-a-john. After that I felt great again and really didn’t lose much time at all.

However, around mile 12, my stomach was all messed up again and I had to find another stop.  I had to walk a little.  I lucked out and found a port-a-john at the last water stop.

Lesson learned!  No mojitos before races.  You know, come to think of it now.  I had gotten some Irish soda bread from Great Harvest the Friday before the race.  Oh my goodness.  That bread is so wonderful.  I tried to limit myself but I probably consumed a little too much of this bread leading up to the race.  After 6 years of running you’d think I would have figured out my fueling strategy.

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Even with the 2 stops my time wasn’t so bad.  2:32:51

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I’ll take it.

It was a good race and I had a lot of friends running.  My very good friend Connie, PR’d by 6 minutes!

She was all smiles.

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Right after the race, I got a massage.  It felt good but I was starting to get chilly again.  It was a super windy day.  After that, I got some pizza and one beer and headed back to the shuttle.

I’ll try you again next year Tobacco Road.  Your course is too flat and fast for me to mess up fueling.

Happy Running Friends!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oak Island Marathon

Forgive me for these race recaps being so close together but I’m trying to get them posted before this weekend.  If I don’t I’ll be 3 race recaps behind.  LOL   This grandma is one busy lady!

Oak Island Marathon is part of a race series called The Big A$$ Medal Series.  Again, my good friend Lisa, put me up to this series.  She’s always finding the best races!  The cool thing about the medals are not only are they really big but they all connect together making one Ginormous medal!  Crazy Big!

Here I am all showered up after the run sporting the cool shirt and the medal.  If you like bling, this is the series for you.

shirt and medal

Oak Island was first and was held on February 18th.  It is the only race in the series that has a full marathon option.  The other 3 are all half marathons.  The next race is in May and it will be on Sunset Beach.  Then comes Holden Beach and Ocean Isle in September and October.  Ron and I have never vacationed in this area so we are really excited to get to know the region.

We headed down to Oak Island on Friday and were there in just over 2 hours.  The expo was super little but very well organized.  We were in and out of there in minutes flat.

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For the rest of the series, we may not worry so much about getting the day off on Friday and just head down after work and pick up our bibs the morning of the race.

After the expo, we drove out to the Oak Island Lighthouse.  It is a cute little lighthouse and it is right beside the road.  You can climb it in the summer months but you have to make a reservation.

Next after checking into the hotel we headed out in search of pizza and pasta.   This little gem popped up on Yelp for me and we loved it.  Great pizza.  Great spaghetti.  And great craft beer for Ron.

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Pizza and pasta

It was getting close to dusk by this point and the wind had picked up a bit but we still enjoyed a short walk on the beach.

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Check out Ron doing Tai Chi on the beach!

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The hotel (Holiday Inn Express) had a comfy bed and quite rooms.  My rest was blissful!  Ron slept very well too.

Since I had had such a bad run in Charleston and overheated, even though it was a little cool at the start, I opted for running in a singlet.  I had my new one from Vac & Dash and since I knew it would be quite sunny, it proved to be perfect.

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The only thing I didn’t think of was my headlamp.  Ron told me that the race organizers had told us plenty of times to be ready for the dark start but for some reason, I missed that.  The run in the beginning was through some neighborhoods and I was fearful of tripping in a pot hole or something.  I really wished I had my light.  On the other hand though, I’m glad I didn’t have to carry it with me for the rest of the race.  I like to run with only the bare essentials.  I don’t even like running with my phone.  I’ve got to change this because I love all the pictures that all my friends capture.

Check out this gorgeous sunrise my good friend Jordan shot.

Oak Island Sunrise

That was 2 weekends in a row that I ran and got to see the sunrise.  So Pretty!

The first part of the run for me went well again.  I really enjoyed running over the bridge and running to the lighthouse.

Around the half, you run by the finish line area and usually I get down when I hear all the partying knowing I have 13 miles to go.  This time it didn’t bother me.  I kept running and I didn’t really know it at that time but I was slowing down big time.  I felt really good and was in good spirits until around mile 23.  With only 3 miles to go my legs started to buckle under me.  What!  I got really scared and thought I was going to faint or something.  I wasn’t dehydrated and I had had 3 Gus so I should have been fine.  I started walking at this point and must have walked about a quarter of a mile or so.  I sucked it up and before long I saw Ron and my good friend Claudia and her husband.  They ran me in and Claudia handed me a beer and a slice of pizza.  Claudia was so thoughtful to wait on me.  She had finished about an hour before me and had qualified for Boston!  She’s turning 60 this year and is my hero!  I want to be like her when I grow up!  LOL

(Claudia’s husband got a picture of us but I don’t have it yet.  I’ll post as soon as I can.)

 

Here I am at the finish line.  I look happier than I felt!

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Here’s a shot of my other good friend, Jordan and me.  I was right with Jordan at mile 23 but she beat me by 10 minutes over those last 3 miles.

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And here Ron and I are.  Ron had a good half marathon but had to give the after party a thumbs down.  My beer lovin’ husband won’t touch an American lager.  LOL

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Here’s  Ron is coming in!  All smiles!

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I’m really excited for the rest of the series and even though I’m bummed about my 2 recent marathon times, I’m trying to stay positive and see if I can figure out what is going on.  My gut is telling me I’m not running enough.  I love going to Camp Gladiator on MWF and I think it is healthy for me.  I just think if I am going to get faster, I have to get more miles and more fast miles under my feet.  I think I am training myself to run slow.  I’ve got to run fast in my training runs if I  ever am going to run fast in races.  Good news is my LifeTime Fitness Run group is offering a speed class beginning in May.  8 weeks with the awesome Coach Kelly.  I am very excited for this.

Here’s my training calendar leading up to the race.  I had high hopes of doing so much better.

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Here are my splits.  (My Garmin measured it at 26.43)

Splits Distance Time Cumulative Time
1 1 10:35 10:35
2 1 11:28 22:03
3 1 11:39 33:43:00
4 1 11:35 45:18:00
5 1 11:32 56:50:00
6 1 11:40 1:08:30
7 1 11:28 1:19:58
8 1 11:28 1:31:26
9 1 11:41 1:43:06
10 1 11:52 1:54:58
11 1 12:07 2:07:05
12 1 12:36 2:19:42
13 1 12:24 2:32:06
14 1 12:55 2:45:01
15 1 13:18 2:58:18
16 1 12:51 3:11:09
17 1 13:00 3:24:09
18 1 13:09 3:37:18
19 1 13:31 3:50:50
20 1 13:19 4:04:09
21 1 13:33 4:17:42
22 1 14:32 4:32:14
23 1 14:31 4:46:45
24 1 14:59 5:01:43
25 1 16:08 5:17:51
26 1 16:20 5:34:11
27 0.43 09:09.2 5:43:21
Summary 26.43 5:43:21 5:43:21

I’m not giving up on the full distance but I am definitely giving it a rest for a while.  I’ve got the Tobacco Road half coming up this Sunday and then I’ve got the other 3 halfs in the BAM series.  I also am registered for the Kiawah Island half in December.

I am toying with the idea of maybe signing up for the Richmond full in November.  All my running friends tell me it is a great marathon so I might give it a try.

Happy Running Friends!

 

Fellowship of the Idiot 19.7 mile Run

My sister lives near Morrow Mountain State Park so I’ve known about the Albemarle area for over 40 years.  In fact, my niece got married on the top of Morrow Mountain.  What I didn’t know about this area until I got into running was this awesome running store called Vac & Dash.   Vac & Dash is a unique store.  They sell vacuum cleaners and running shoes.  They also are a UPS shipping outlet, sell and repair bikes, time races and sell disc golf supplies.

Back in 2012 when I was doing a race a month, I stumbled upon Vac & Dash and the awesome Run the Valley half marathon.  I was very intrigued about running to the top of Morrow Mountain.  I signed up and ran with a new friend from my Galloway running group.  I wasn’t at all concerned with speed at that time so I went into that race with a very relaxed attitude.  It was a hoot!  Beautiful scenery and very well run race.   It is the only race to date that I have placed in my age group.  (disclaimer:  I got 3rd place in my age group…and there were only 3 of us in the group.  I got a trophy though.  LOL)

Fast forward 5 years and my oldest and one of my dearest running friends, Lisa, messaged me and ask me to join her in the Fellowship of the Idiot Run.  The Fellowship of the Idiot Run started back in 2003 with a few friends getting together for their last long run before the Myrtle Beach Marathon. They started at the YMCA in Albemarle and ran to the top of Morrow Mountain and back.  Every year since then, idiots have gotten together for this awesome long run.  This year there were 174 runners making it over 600 official idiots since the run’s inception.  Fellowship was 19.7 miles and there was a hard cut-off at 2 hours to make it the top.  I jumped at the chance to run such a fun run with such a great friend and said yes immediately.  However, when I learned about that hard cut-off, I worked myself up and became very anxious.  That meant I had to average about a 12:00 minute mile.  Not too much of a worry on a flat course but going up the mountain…. Hmmmm, I didn’t know if I could make it or not.

I really, really wanted to become an Official Idiot and earn my shirt.  I tried to keep a positive attitude and tried very hard to just enjoy the run and not stress so much about pace.  My good friend Claudia told me to run 30:30 intervals if I had to on the steepest incline (30 second run: 30 second walk).  So that was my plan.

The run starts at 5:30am and since my sister lives about 25 minutes from the start, we traveled to her house on Friday night.  I stayed up way too late visiting but somehow managed to wake up at 4:00 and make it out the door by 4:30.  I was in Albemarle just before 5:00 and had plenty of time to use the bathroom, find Lisa, and check in.

Peter, the owner of Vac & Dash, welcomed us all, said a few words and then it was a simple, Ready, Set, and Go.  We were off!  Here we are just before the start.

Idiots at the start

The first few miles were in the small town of Albemarle.  Since it was so early there wasn’t anyone on the streets except us.  It was very dark.  I had my reflective vest on for safety and I also wore my new headlamp.  By the way, I highly recommend the Petzl Headlamp.  I love the USB charging feature and it is very comfortable.  It stays put on my forehead and doesn’t bounce at all.  The only thing I wish is that it had a blinking feature on the back some way.  That would be cool and even safer.  There was one hill early on in the run and it was very tough.  Lisa and I were talking and I was having trouble completing my sentences.

The next miles passed effortlessly.  We talked and talked and enjoyed meeting other idiots out for this 19.7 mile run so early in the morning.  Before long, we started seeing the sun begin to rise.  It was a beautiful orange.  The weather was on the chilly side but not too bad.  I like chilly for a run so I was in heaven.  There really wasn’t a wind to speak of at all.

Lisa’s whole family came out to support her and they were blasting cool songs and ringing cow bells, and hootin’ and hollerin’ and pretty much being the very best supporters ever!

We stopped a few times for pictures and I walked a few steps when I was drinking or taking a Gu but for the most part, I ran all the way.  I didn’t even have to use the 30:30 plan to make it up the mountain.  I was so surprised I was able to run the whole way up.  I was all smiles coming in at the top of the mountain!

Here’s a shot that Lisa’s husband, Wes,  captured of me.

me at top

 

And here we are at the top.   This shot was from the race site and we must have been looking at Wes.

us at top

And just look at this amazing shot Wes got of the sunrise!  Breathtaking!  We really ran to heaven that morning!

 

Wes' sunrise

After these photos and a quick Gu and bathroom break, we headed back down the mountain.  The run back was just as awesome.  Morrow Mountain State Park is so peaceful.

Morrow Mtn

The roads were a little busier when we got back into Albemarle but not too bad.  The directions were clearly marked and before we knew it we were back at the Y.  We had earned our shirts and now were official idiots!

got our shirts

Note, In years past someone was pictured holding their shirt upside down by mistake and now everyone does it.  An Idiot Tradition!

From the race you get that awesome shirt and a funny idiot certificate.  Wes however, couldn’t have us complete a run of this magnitude and not get a medal.  He designed this medal and got them for us.  Lisa was Idiot 1 and I was Idiot 2.  Lisa’s daughter made the buttons for us.

I had the most fun ever.  Thank you so much to Lisa and her whole family for including me!

Thanks so much to Peter from Vac&Dash and thank you to all the volunteers that make the run possible year after year.  I certainly want to be a returning Idiot next year and beyond!

When you are planning your 2018 race calendar, you really should include Fellowship of the Idiot Run.  If something comes up and you can’t make it, you can’t get a refund.  But somehow I think you’ll be okay with that.  There isn’t a race fee at all.  Completely free!

Do however, make sure to make a donation to help support this remarkable run.  Make sure to save some time after the run and go on down street to Vac & Dash.  If you’re lucky like me you might just find something on the clearance rack!

singlets

A Hinson Singlet with the year I ran on it!  Woot Woot!  Best $4 I’ve ever spent!   (Vac & Dash does the apparel for Hinson.)  I also got the red one and it was only $4 as well.  I’ll be stylin’ for sure this summer!

Happy Running Friends!

Deconstructing Charleston and a New Breakfast Idea

Let’s start off with a cool new breakfast idea.  Look at this yummy egg and banana pancake.  I found the recipe on an old blog that I just keep reading year after year.  Love KathEats!

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It looks like a huge breakfast but it is really only 2 eggs and 1 banana.  (and some chia seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon)

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All you do is mash the banana up and stir in the eggs and other ingredients.  Then fry it up on a lightly greased pan.

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Boy was it delicious!

It is a rainy day here in North Carolina so I’ve got some time to jot down a race recap from last weekend’s Charleston Marathon.  Let me start off by saying Charleston is a wonderful city and the race was very well organized.  We stayed near the convention center and boy was this area hoppin’.  You will find every imaginable chain restaurant and store that you could ever want.  The cool thing is this area is only 3.5 miles from the finish area so it is very convenient.  The finish area is actually the coolest area though.  This is where you’ll find nice restaurants that are not of the chain sort.  We had Italian Friday night and then after the race we went to a seafood restaurant.  I just love visiting new cities and exploring.  The weather was on the warm side and we even dined outside on Friday night.  Dining al fresco is my favorite!

Let me give you all the normal recap stuff and then I’ll go into more detail of what happened in my race.

Expo  –  on the small side but well organized

Shirt – nice!  Long sleeved tech shirt.

Medal – nice as well!

Course – Flat!  Pretty nice scenery.  We got to run by the water and to the end of a dock.  I had heard that the 2nd half would be lonely but that didn’t prove true at all.  I was never alone.  There are plenty of full marathoners and even after the split at mile 10 there were so many other runners to keep me company.

After race party – Very good.  They had shrimp and grits, boiled peanuts, mimosas, and a good craft IPA beer.

Here’s my flat Melissa for the race.  I was being so superstitious and I have no idea why.   I wore my OBX hat to help me remember I can do hard things. One year at OBX there was a monsoon and it was very tough. I wore my Lifetime training shirt to honor coach Kelly and all my running buddies. Also because I hope to run for the rest of my Lifetime. And those gray running shorts are the ones I wore in my very first marathon. (I can’t believe I still have these. LOL)

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My race was not what I had hoped for.  My time was 6:04:51.  My second slowest time ever. My slowest was a 6:05 at City of Oaks back in 2012.  How could I have repeated this?  My IT band didn’t hurt this time and Charleston was flat!  City of Oaks was very hilly!  It really doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  All of 2016 I really focused hard on speed and I felt I was prepared for Charleston.  In late 2015 and early 2016 I posted the best half marathon times of my life.  I cross trained and I had lost a little weight.  I ran all my long runs.  Charleston should not have been a 6 hour marathon.

Here are my splits:

Charleston splits

As you can see, I was doing okay up until the half.  This was what was written on my hand and I had such high hopes of really knocking this race out of the park!

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I started slowing down a bit but not too much.  At mile 16 I had planned to get my music going.  I hadn’t walked at all up until this point and I was trying to get my music started while I was running.  I have an old iPod and even though I had charged it fully when I turned it on before the race it was dead.  I charged it while we were driving to the start and it was about 50% charged when we lined up for the race.  However at mile 16, it was dead again.  I tried hard to not let this bother me and I really can’t blame what happened next on the music.

I mentioned that it was warm and it was.  The race didn’t start until 8:00am.  I enjoyed not having to get up so early but that late of a start meant I was in full sun for quite some time. I got a little dizzy around this time and I think I started psyching  myself out.  I decided to walk a little.  I saw the 4:45 pace group go by me and my plan was to stick with them like glue.  Well that was a laugh.  They seemed to fly by me!

Then the 5:00 pace group leader passed.  I knew him and he stopped and gave me a hug.  He was all smiles and running effortlessly.  No sticking with him by any means.

Then not long after that the 5:30 group passed.  They were doing intervals and I kept up with them through 2 walk breaks.  They were flying as well.

I started calculating how long it would take me to finish if I continued with 20 minute miles.  Oh my gracious. Was it ever hard.  I wasn’t hurting and after a few Gatorade stops I wasn’t dizzy anymore.  What was going on?  Well I say I wasn’t hurting.  I was a little.  I have a bunion on each foot and they always tend to hurt when I run very long distances. My left bunion was burning but I just chalked it up to the normal hurt that it always does. After the race when I tried to take my sock off I realized it wasn’t the normal hurt.  This time I had a blood blister and my sock was stuck to my skin.  I know, I know, Yuck!  But that’s what happened.  My socks were good ones so I have no earthly idea what the cause could have been.

Here I am with Ron at the finish.  It was a hard race for me but Ron did great!  I was so jealous.  He hardly trains at all and seemed to be out for a walk in the park.  Ron isn’t fast by any means but it amazes me how effortlessly he runs.

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The good news is I have another marathon on February 18th.  Maybe this can be my redemption marathon.  It’s at Oak Island so it should be flat as well.  Maybe I’ll try intervals from the beginning.  What I do know is that for the next 4 weeks, I’m going to focus on cross training.  I haven’t been going to Camp Gladiator and this is going to change.  I promise to go 3x a week for the next month.

I’m also going to work on push-ups and planks.  Every single day.  And yoga and my ITB routine.  I’ve got 4 weeks and I’m going to make the best of it.

Tomorrow I’m heading out for 10 miles and then the week after that 14.  On February 11th I shouldn’t be running 20 miles but I’m going to.  I’m an idiot for sure.  I won’t kill me and even though every running coach out there would tell me to taper, I’m not gonna.  If I can eat right, focus on getting a good night’s sleep each night, drink plenty of water, cross train, and run, I think Oak Island is going to be mine!

Let’s get to it!

PS…I put a bandage on my blister area and went out for a slow 5 mile run last night.  I felt good.  My bunion burned a little but there is no new damage.

 

 

Chattanooga Half Marathon

Back on March 6th, Ron and I ran in the Inaugural Chattanooga Marathon.  Ron’s really good friend from his Coast Guard days lives near Chattanooga and we had planned a vacation out there to visit.  You know us.  We can’t go on vacation without signing up for a half marathon.

Here we are at the start with our traditional selfie.  It was a gorgeous day.  Just a little chilly at the start with all sunshine and no wind.  I shed that sweatshirt right as we started and left it for the volunteers to collect and give to Goodwill.

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I had been training since before Thanksgiving with Lifetime Fitness Run Club so I wanted to give it my all.  I kissed Ron goodbye and wished him a great race.

I didn’t carry any water or fuel and planned to just take what they gave out on the course.  My stomach has really settled down and I can handle just about what ever they give out.  I’d drink water at one stop and then the next I’d sip Gatorade.  I was ready for a GU a little before the race gave them out but no worries.  I accepted 2 Twizzlers from a nice spectator just past the UT-Chattanooga campus.

The course was gorgeous.  Chattanooga is a very pretty city.  It sits down in what they call the “Fishbowl” and there are mountains all around.  We ran down by the river during the first 5k and then headed up a few pretty good hills.  I loved every thing about the course.

Here’s my splits:

Chatt splits

I was feeling really good and kept most miles under 10:00 even with the hills!  I was doing so good, I started praying for a PR.  Now you know I just got a PR back in November in the flat, flat, flat, race at OBX.  Who was I to think I could get one here too?  I did train like I said with Lifetime and I felt like I was pretty prepared.  I just wasn’t very confident.  I’m not sure why.

That first 10:18 mile was when I stopped to take a GU.  I don’t understand why that last mile was also over 10:00.  I was praying very hard and really giving it my all and it was flat at that section.

It just wasn’t in the stars.  My official time was 2:07:18.  I missed a PR by a mere 30 seconds.  But you know, considering racing in Chattanooga vs OBX, I really must admit I did better.

I was very happy!

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Ron had a blast too and came in very close to where he predicted, 3:00:11.

The expo the day before was sweet.  It was small but this was the inaugural race for this city.  I’m sure it will get bigger as they grow.  The after party was really rockin’!  Notice I have Beet juice in my hands!  Score!  And they even had a vegan burger option for the after race food.

Chattanooga is a beautiful area.  After the expo we hiked to this gorgeous waterfall just about a half our outside the city.  (Lula Falls, Georgia)

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And then after the race, we hiked to this waterfall in the Cherokee National Forest.

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I would highly recommend this race if you need to check off Tennessee.

Happy Running Friends!

OBX Half! Best Race EVER!

I’m late getting this review up but for historical sake, I have to publish.

On November the 8th I ran my very best half marathon ever!  2:06:48!

OBX results

Outer Banks Marathon was my very first marathon back in 2010 and I’ve also done the Flying Pirate there in 2012.  The Flying Pirate course follows the 1st half of the full marathon.  The OBX Half is the 2nd half of the full marathon.

When I went into this race, I didn’t have any goals other than having fun.  I’ve had a good year and I had actually taken a little time off from so much running since my 50 miler I did back in September.  I still ran during the week.  I just didn’t make all my weekend long runs.

It was a cold, windy morning and I hung around with Ron as we waited for the race to start.  He was in one of the corrals near the back and even though I knew we wouldn’t stay together, I didn’t want to stand all alone in one of the corrals closer to the front.

When we took off, I kissed Ron goodbye and made our plan of where to meet up at the finish.  During races lately, I have started running without my phone and I love it.  I actually have also stopped carrying water and GUs.  Most of the races I go to have really good water and aid stations and I’m not as afraid of different GUs as I once was.  My stomach, (knock on wood) has been behaving.

I was careful in the beginning to not weave in and out of runners when we took off.  It was my choice to start out near the back and I didn’t want to be discourteous.   When my Garmin buzzed and it showed a sub 10:00 mile I could not believe it.  I was being careful and had no idea I was running at a good clip for me.

After miles 2-4 also showed sub 10:00 miles, I really began to question what in the world was going on.  Then after mile 5 I was floored.  I hit a sub 9:00 mile.  I never do this in races.  At that point I decided to give it my all and see if I could come in under my previous PR of 2:12. I started praying for a 2:11.

I felt great the whole way except towards the end my feet (bunions) started hurting. I didn’t care. I kept thinking of that running slogan, “Your feet are hurting because your kicking so much Assphalt.” There’s a  bridge at mile 10.5 and it was a beast but not terrible. I had 2 miles of 10:15s right around that.

The only thing that I can think of is that these results are due to my CrossFit trainer, Liz Brozowski.  The week prior to this half I went to CF 4 times.  I’m usually a 3x a week CF girl but my coach has just opened a new Box and I’ve been trying to go more.

From mile 6 on, my mantra was, “This is easier than burpees. This is easier than walk the floors. This is easier than slam balls. This is easier than wall balls.” I heard Liz’s words in my head, “You’ve got this Melissa.”

This race has renewed my belief that I can BQ someday. 5 years ago I ran my first full marathon. I’m not the same person I was before running. I am so grateful to God for this hobby. Thanks to all my running and CF buddies. Thank you to my family. My cup runneth over!

For a race review here are my opinions:

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I’ve sworn off racing so much for now.  I love it and we have a ball but it can get expensive.  My husband’s really good friend has been encouraging us to run the Chattanooga Marathon in March of 2016.  I guess we’ll do that but hold me to it – not many more at all next year.

A few of my running friends and I have joined a new running club at LifeTime Fitness.  We run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and have been learning more about hill repeats and fartleks.  Coach Jennifer is the bomb!  I’m hoping this 16 week class will help me come in under 4:30 in Chattanooga!  A 4:30 is a huge goal for me but I’m up for it!  Wish me luck.

I wish for you one and all the merriest of a Christmas and the happiest of a New Year!

Happy Running!