My Medoc PR

Back in 2012 I ran the Medoc Trail Marathon and I loved it so much.  The hilarious and awesome race directors have kept me on their email list and this was the year for me to do a repeat.  And best of all, Ron signed up for the 10 miler!  I was so excited that he was coming with me to experience first hand how much fun this race really is.

We actually signed up for their 1st annual Twilight 5k and went up to Hollister, NC on Friday night.  It’s only 1.5 hour drive from Clayton straight up I95.  The race started at 6:00 and didn’t end up getting dark until just as we were finishing the 5k.  We had our headlamps with us but we didn’t really need them on the trail.

Here Ron is rocking his Twilight 5k shirt and his 10 miler medal.  You can’t really tell in this shot but the shirt has hints of purple in it.  The ladies version has a V-neck and is a little longer in the back.  So unbelievably AWESOME!

IMG_1878

After the 5k we dined under the shelter on some delicious spaghetti, salad, and desserts.  We were  both really hungry and went back for seconds.  By the time dinner was over it was very dark so we drove over to the group camp area and set up our “camp.”  We camped in our van!  Our van has stow and go seating and we’ve always wanted to see if we could camp in it.

Our queen sized air mattress was just a little bit too wide but it seemed to work okay when we tested it.  We were wrong.  We ended up rolling towards the middle and Ron and I were literally human hotdogs!  It was very cold.  Somewhere around 40 degrees.  I slept in my Hinson hoodie with the hood up to stay warm.  Below is a shot of our van and me in modeling my hoodie once we got home.

IMG_1876  IMG_1875

The bad part was we had gone to bed around 8:00pm and didn’t get up until around 7:00 am Saturday morning.  We rolled around and slept cuddled up on and off for 11 straight hours!  Just when we’d get warm and cozy, I’d get a hot flash (boo menopause) and then I’d have to pull away and kick off all our covers.  It was a VERY long night.  I think we slept more than we realized though because neither of us were tired at all.   That was a good thing!

The marathon and the 10 miler were so fun!  I didn’t remember how technical this race really is.  You cannot take your eyes off the trail.  It is filled with Roots, Rocks, and Hills.  Notice the words on the hat we got for “doing the double.” (the 5k and the race the next day)  We also got the cute shot glass.  Medoc swag is the very best!

20151017_205512_resized

The marathon is a 3 loop course.  I completed the 1st loop in 1 hour and 54 minutes.  The second loop took me 2 hours and 14 minutes.  The 3rd loop took me 2 hours and 12 minutes.  That brought me in at 6:20!  (18 minutes faster than back in 2012 woot woot!)

Check out this image of the elevation I found on Google images:

elevation

I ran most of the 1st loop with Carley from Coral Springs.  She’s 15 years old and is totally amazing.  This was  her 2nd Medoc and last year she earned the record for the youngest to complete Medoc!  She’s a triathlete and is on her school’s cross country team.  Her mom and brother ran the 10 miler today and her dad ran the marathon.   I loved listening to all her stories and her cheerful attitude.  She was faster than me and she ended up pulling away and I didn’t see her again until the middle of the 3rd loop.

I ran with Heather at the end of the 2nd loop and almost all of the 3rd loop.  She remembered me from 2012.  This was her 5th Medoc!  When I came upon Heather I had been alone for a while and I was getting so discouraged.  Heather cheered me up and gave me the inspiration to keep going.  She told me about how this verse from Hebrews came to here this week just when she needed it.  Little did Heather know that I needed to hear this so much today!

2d4ba0d5a1e348cd2b88e45cbb73f10d source

I had a goal of 6 hours and after that 2nd loop I knew that I wasn’t going to make it.  I was getting so sad.  Well after I ran with Heather for a while I was a new woman.  Each mile marker I would see I was like Party On!  I was so enthusiastic.

Before long we hooked back up with Carley.  Heather knew Carley from last year.  All 3 of us were doing so amazingly well on our last loop!  Here’s a picture of Heather  and me at the finish.

12029809_10153042820420388_3426478095827567078_o (1)

Then, right near the very end, I ran into Jordan.  Jordan is my friend that I met when I volunteered at City of Oaks.  We see each other every now and then at races and fun runs around Raleigh.  Jordan had fallen 2 times and was having a rough time finishing.  Well, I decided to run it in with her and was so happy to be able to offer support to my good friend.  Here we are at the finish.

12088554_950892432254_7137922976022355949_n (thanks for the photo Jordan!)

Ron and I loved Medoc so much.  Check out the marathon shirt and the finishers surprise.

IMG_1881 IMG_1885 20151017_205433_resized

I adore the shirt.  It is a V-neck too and has that longer back to it like biking shirts.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  The finisher’s surprise this year was a zippered pull-over.  LOVE!

Here’s the amazing medal.  It is the best ever!  I love the bridge on the back and the beautiful fall colors.

IMG_1892IMG_1894

I guess I should give you a few more running details before signing out.  I chose to run without my Garmin or my Fuel Belt. With all the trees in Medoc, we were warned that our Garmin might not be very accurate.  I remembered from 2012 how much my fuel belt bothered me so this time I didn’t even try to wear it.  3 weeks ago at Hinson, I drank a cup of water or Gatorade every 1.5 miles.  So this time, I drank one cup of water AND one cup of Gatorade at each aid station.  The stations were approx. 3.2 miles apart.  It worked out great and I never got thirsty.  I ate 3 Honey Stingers.  One on each loop.  I also had 2 cookies and a few M&Ms and one cup of Pepsi.  I think I fueled the best in the race of any race I’ve ever run.

Don’t be afraid of the roots, rocks, and hills.  Give Medoc a try.  I promise you will not be disappointed!

Happy Trails!

Hinson Lake Ultra

Wow!  I cannot believe we did it!  Yesterday my good friend Connie and I ran 51.1 miles!

Here’s a shot of us at the finish line.  It took us 13 hours and 29 minutes.  What an Adventure!

12027273_10203597614856013_3471338663405522224_o

Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra is a 24 hour race but the beauty of it is you can stop any time you want.  There were 314 entrants and Connie and I finished in the 101 and 102 places.  The winner ran the whole 24 hours and completed 117.234 miles.

Click here to see the awesome finishing results

Connie’s amazing husband went down on Friday and set up a tent for us to change in.

image (2) image (3)

He was calling it our medical tent but I liked thinking of it as our phone booth of sorts that we could go in and emerge back out as Super Heros !  I changed socks 3 times and my shirt and sports bra once.  I used plenty of Chamois Butter and didn’t have one bit of chaffing or blisters.  And….did I mention it rained on and off the entire day!

Here’s some shots of the course and the mud.  The part right around near all the tents was the worst.  Most of the trail was actually pretty amazing given all the rain.

IMG_1189

IMG_1187 IMG_1188

The race was so well run.  The director and all the volunteers were amazing!  I loved every minute of it.When you finished the loop you came right through what they were calling Jerry’s Food Castle. (Jerry is the race director) They had a sign at about a 1/4 mile before you got to this area that said “Jerry’s Food Castle” and I won’t mention how many loops it took me to figure out what they were talking about.  LOL

Here they are getting the boiled potatoes ready.  Notice the paper plate of salt you could dip your potato in.

IMG_1192

Here’s Connie coming through the food castle.

IMG_1195

And here I am.  I’m holding a cup of water so it must have been on a odd numbered loop.  My race stradegy was to drink water and eat on odd numbered loops and only have about 3 oz of Gatorade on even numbered loops.  Since I have on a blue shirt and my Brooks running shoes, it must have been after loop 17.  We had to complete 34 loops of the 1.5 mile course to get in our 50 miles so at 17, that was our halfway mark.

IMG_1196

Here I am in the red shirt and Hokas that I ran in for the first 17 loops.  I also have my fuel belt on.  That did not last very long at all.  I didn’t need to carry my water thanks to Jerry’s Food Castle.  Also, I had my iPhone in one of my pouches and I tried to listen to a book on Audible for a while.  That didn’t last either.  I couldn’t concentrate on the book and I missed listening to all the other runners.

12010548_10156108461255298_6037232389841028221_o

Some of the things that I ate were of course GUs but I also had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Uncrustables), fig newtons, pretzels and York peppermint patty minis.  I brought all my own food and I had them in little baggies with the number of the loop written in permanent marker on it.  The only foods I got in the castle were a couple of small bites of potatoes and one small piece of cheese pizza.  I did however grab a few small cups of soda.  I think I got maybe 3 cups of Ginger Ale and maybe 3 cups of Coke.  I did get Mellow Yellow one time by mistake when I thought I was grabbing Gatorade.  That Food Castle was the bomb!  There was so much good food and the volunteers were so cheerful.  I wish I had been brave enough to try all the pumpkin breads and cupcakes and everything else.  I’ve had stomach issues in other races and I didn’t want to spend any time in the porta johns.

Thinking back on yesterday I cannot believe what an Epic time we had.  Running with Connie and some our other friends made it so much fun.  I really want to send a huge thank you out to the guys, Scott and Ron, our husbands.  Scott was in charge of the changing tent and that proved to be indispensable.  Scott and Ron even put up a tarp in the Food Castle to keep the rain from blowing in on the volunteers.  I think it was a cold dreary day for those that weren’t raising their body temps running.   While Connie and I were finishing up our last loops, Ron helped Scott take everything down.  Hinson Lake is about a 2 hour drive for us and Ron drove both ways for us.  We had to get up at 3:30 am and we didn’t make it back home until after midnight.

Today I feel awesome.  Sore yes but not that much different than a normal long run.  I am amazed in the human body.

Here’s one more closing shot.  This is of me and Connie and Connie’s good friend (and my new friend) Patricia.  She ran 42 miles yesterday and stayed to the end to be with us.

12022380_10203597614896014_8258719055379834454_o

I am so thankful to God for giving me this hobby of running.

Isaiah 40 31

source

Happy Ultra Racing!

PS. Must haves for trail and ultra racing.  Gaiters!  I got a pair from Dirty Girl gaiters but I only had time to put the velcro on one of my pairs of shoes.  I saw some other brands of gaiters on other runners and some of them didn’t require velcro.  I didn’t get any rocks in my shoes when I had my gaiters on but when I switched to my Brooks without gaiters, I had to stop at least 3 different times to dump the grit out of my shoes.

12010548_10156108461255298_6037232389841028221_o

One other thing to mention, after the race, all I wanted to do was brush my teeth.  I think all the Gus and soda was too much.  I didn’t have a toothbrush with me and I wanted one so bad.  Patricia told us to bring some mouthwash next time and that would help in a pinch.  Next time,  I don’t think so. Not ready for another ultra any time in my near future.  LOL

The City by the Bay

The San Francisco marathon had been on my bucket list for a long time.  The romance of the Golden Gate Bridge and the City by the Bay was so appealing!  So, when Ron finally announced that this was the summer we were flying to Cali to see his family, I jumped at the chance that we might could squeeze in a few days to ourselves in Frisco.

We signed up for the half marathon and boy was it a doosey!

The marathon was top notch all the way.  The expo was at Fort Mason and was very well run.

Fort Mason

It was a big race but they had plenty of volunteers to keep things moving right along.

DSC_0006

fitbit was a sponsor of the race and they had this neat photo booth.

11779799_10204586184519657_512124383798928377_o - Copy

Another cool thing was I got to meet Joel from Allied Medal Hangers.

20150725_103224

They made ours and we love them so much!

Melissa's medalsRon's medals

(I promise, Ron designed his own. LOL)

After we looked at everything at the expo, we went to the beer garden they had right outside and both enjoyed a Lagunitas.  This was our view from the garden.

Alcatraz with ferry

Alcatraz!

We were tired the day we arrived so we decided to stick to East Coast time and so for the early morning marathon on Sunday we were all smiles.

11196224_10204653482602067_7326378521764481274_n

Here’s a nice shot of that bridge (The San Francisco – Oakland Bridge) in the daytime.

SF - Oakland Bridge

Hoka was another sponsor of the race and they let us download these race photos for FREE!  So cool!

race_1085_photo_22754260race_1085_photo_22467845 - Copyrace_1085_photo_22612432 - Copyrace_1085_photo_22482554 - Copy

Ron and I did so well!  We were both thrilled with our race.

11796470_10204591381249572_6771799540465110364_n - Copy

Yes, they gave out space blankets in July!  It was pretty chilly once we stopped running.  Oh, and there was no beer at the end of the half.  You got Irish Coffees!  That was awesome especially since it was so chilly.  My beer lovin’ husband even warmed up to the idea and had and Irish Coffee too.

Here’s our results:

Mel SF resultsRon SF results

That was an 18 minute improvement for me over our June race and 27 minute improvement for Ron.  I know we both trained better but I think that it was the cooler weather and the pure joy of running.  We had a blast.  I was so happy for Ron!

The big question that everyone asks me about this race is about the hills.  To be honest, they really weren’t that bad.  We had 2 pretty good hills before and after the bridge and then near the end there was a lot of rolling hills.  The hardest for me was this one big downhill that we had.  It was huge!  I caught myself trying to hold back and I could really feel it in my quads.  I even saw one racer get a bad cramp and have to hop over to the side of the road.  When I saw that, I decided to just stop being scared and I decided to fly down that hill!  It was exhilarating.

Here’s a shot of the medal and the shirt.  I love the shirt but the medal was a little skimpy.  I saw the full medal and it was much prettier.

2015-08-08 13.55.47

We took the shuttle back to the full marathon finish line and enjoyed the post race celebrations.  Then before we went back to our hotel for showers, we rode a trolley!  Smile

20150726_123953

Ron was singing this song and I had it stuck in my head the rest of the day.

I really did love SF and this race was a dream come true!

Happy Racing!

 

 

 

 

Race 13.1

Here’s a quick recap of this past Saturday’s Race 13.1.

This is a local race that has all the feel and perks of a big race.  The number one thing that was so awesome was it began at North Hills Mall so there was plenty of free parking.

Ron and I were ready to race!

20150606_062159

We weren’t running together but we were both planning on running intervals.  I decided to give the 60:30 a try.

I hated it!  It wasn’t a big race but most of it was on the greenway and it was an out an back.  By mile 4ish, the leaders were heading back at you so you had to keep to the right.  There were lots of people doing intervals and we kept stopping and starting at different times and playing leapfrog.  Intervals themselves are ok but in races I find them very annoying.

By 6 miles, I was done with them.

My pace to that point was 12:06.  By mile 7 I had dropped my average down to 11:57.  By mile 8, I was averaging 11:55.  I stayed at 11:55 until around mile 11.  The course was pretty flat except for the Lassiter Mill Hill on the last half mile.  Even with the flat, I was slowing down quite a bit.  I ended up with a pace of 12:12 overall.  Makes me wonder what would have happened if I had stuck with the 60:30s.  Would I have stayed at the 12:06 or possibly gotten quicker?

Melissa's results Race 13.1 June 2015

Ron didn’t do a good as he usually does but he had a good run and a lot of fun.

20150606_101344

20150606_100846

He finished up at 3:11.

Ron's results Race 13.1 June 2015

I’ve made him promise to actually train for the next 7 weeks and make sure he clears the 3 hour cutoff at our next race, the San Francisco Half!

Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC was at the race and they took this neat photo.  I pledge to Eat Better.

Pledge to eat right

I chose the background of the mountains because my hero is currently running the AT.  Go Scott Go!  And who can eat better than The Jerker?!  Goodness knows that’s where I need to focus.  I’ve done pretty good this week.  Breads are my total weakness.  I tend to do better the better I prepare.

meal prep

And I did do better after the race thanks to the awesome restaurant that provided the race food!  Three cheers for Sassool!

20150606_101954

Rice and lentils, pita chips, and hummus!  Yummo! (They served chicken too for the omnivores.)

I loved the race and the shirt and medal are very nice.

20150606_143549

Happy Racing!  Happy Running!  Happy Eating!

Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Repeat

Oh my goodness!  I am so far behind in updating all my running events.  I share a lot on Facebook so for many of my readers who are also my FB friends, this will be old news.   However, I really like to keep the running recaps so I can refer back to them from time to time.   So here goes!  Smile

First up was the Rock-n-Roll Raleigh half marathon on April 12th.   Ron and I ran it last year because I have always wanted to see what all the hullabaloo was with the Rock-n-Roll series.  It was a good race but Ron didn’t do well and he wanted to give it one more shot.  We signed up for the 2nd time and it was much better. 

The course was a teeny bit flatter (you can’t get hill free in Raleigh) and Ron put in put in a good amount of training.    We were ready to Rock again!

11079638_10203984033186250_1813438407276129890_n (1)

With these large races even though it was in our hometown, we still had to get up very early.  Parking was better this year.  They did a much better job all around with all the logistics and I have no complaints.  The expo was fun and the course very, very pretty.  The bands are very motivating.  I love it when races have entertainment.

I did not do intervals on this race.  I ran the whole way and only walked a little at the water stops.  My ITB behaved and I had a super day.  I felt very good the entire race.  Ron did good too.  I finished in 2:25 and Ron came in at 2:54.

Melissa Rock-n-Roll results

Ron Rock-n-Roll results

Ron and Melissa with Sir Walter Raleigh

I love this shot of us by Sir Walter Raleigh  Isn’t it cool that they had a guitar and a knee brace on him?  So funny!

This year Ron and I slipped in and right out of the after race party.  They were only serving Michlob Ultra and there is no way Ron was interested in that.  I didn’t much like it either.

After the race we were on a runner’s high and Ron mentioned to me that we should make running the Rock-n-Roll Raleigh a tradition and sign up for it every year.  A few days later though, we both realized that we have had enough of this one.  I like the Rock-n-Roll series for the fun and the inspiration that it gives new runners.  I don’t like this series because they are a for profit group and try to trick people into thinking that some of the proceeds go to charity.  Not one penny of our race fees went anywhere but to the Rock-n-Roll payrolls.  Bad form Rock-n-Roll.  Bad form.

Next up was a crazy idea I had to run 10 5ks for my 50th birthday.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon

It’s been a few weeks since we ran Tobacco Road and I ‘ve had plenty of time for reflection.  First let me start off and say what an awesome race this is!  Perfectly organized and a wonderful, flat course.  This is where I want to qualify for Boston someday.  Tobacco Road gives so much back to the community.  Truly top notch!

IMG_1840

I had made some great improvements last fall and was very proud of where running was taking me.  However, after Thunder Road and Skinny Turkey, I have to admit I was a little burnt out and I took much of December off.  Then January and February came and I missed a lot of runs due to ice and snow.  I should have hit the treadmill more.  I did some but not nearly enough.  For the 3 weeks leading up to Tobacco Road our granddaughter was born, I got very sick with a stomach bug, and then my mother passed away.  Running was not my top priority to say the very least.

Happily, I did make it to a lot of my Cross Fit classes.  Not all of those either but most of them.  I adore my coach and all the new friends I ‘ve made.  I am in awe of my friend “Animal” and how strong she is!  My goal for the year is to be able to do 10 full push-ups on my toes, a least one pull-up, and 10 Double Unders.

When Tobacco Road began, I knew in the first mile that things were not going to go well.  I had decided that I was going to run straight without any run/walk breaks.  That first mile was really tough.

Then things started to change and miles 2-6.5 were actually pretty good.  I started day dreaming and thinking of things I could report in this race recap.  I fantasized and dreamed of saying that only Cross Fit gave me the power to PR.

I love the trail part of the race.  When I stepped off the road and onto the trail it felt like I was stepping on a cloud.  The packed dirt is so much softer on these old bones than the pavement.

Coming to the turnaround, my ITB started talking to me.  Not really hurting, but foreshadowing of things to come.  Cross Fit is awesome but running consistently is the only thing that can give me the endurance I need in distance running.  I hadn’t walked at all up until this point but at mile 9 something in me said why not?  I thought I’d walk for a tenth of a mile or so.  A full mile later, I started to run again.  No luck.  I’ve tried this before and I know better.  I can’t stop in a race or walk too much or I’m in danger of not being able run again.  Then I started to think to myself that I’d just keep walking and wait until Ron caught up with me and then I’d run the rest of the way with him.

Well at mile 11 my smiling husband passed me, waved, and just.kept.trucking.  I tried to run with him but there was no doing.  An old lady marathon maniac passed me and mentioned that I looked like I was in pain.  She was right.  My ITB has never hurt more!  I figured right then and there I better just suck it up and walk it in.  I did manage to run across the finish line but that was it.  I walked 4 full miles of the 13.1 race.

Here’s my results:

Tobacco Road results

For a better breakdown, here’s my splits from my Garmin:

TR splits

Ron finished in 2:55 and was on top of the world all day.  He was a wee bit concerned with my injury but was beaming with pride that he beat me fair and square.

I’ve done much better this month and have gotten in 2 5 milers, a 7, a 9 and almost all of the Tuesday and Thursday 3-4 mile runs with my Centennial Running friends.  Today I’m shooting for an 11.  Next week’s Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half should be rockin’!   I sure hope so.

Most importantly, I’ve done my ITB exercises.

Happy Easter!  Happy Running!

Run for the Roses 5k

I’m a little behind in posting but I wanted to share my latest 5k experience.

On February the 8th I participated in an awesome 5k called Run for the Roses.  My friend, Jordan, had won an entry and she was already scheduled to run another race that day so she gave it to me.  Thanks Jordan!  And congrats on an awesome marathon relay at the Massacre Marathon!

This was the 35th annual Run for the Roses making it one of the oldest 5k’s in this part of North Carolina.  The cool thing was that all female finishers were presented with a rose at the finish line.  I really love local races and I love that they give so much back to the community.

I got to the race a little early and got in a good warm-up and stretch.  I like races but I like them a whole lot more when I have a friend to race with.  I’ll admit.  I was a tad bit lonely.  There were 837 racers and lots of spectators but since I’m pretty shy, I stuck to myself.

The weather was glorious!  So warm on that February day that I wore shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt.  We couldn’t have asked for a prettier day.

My plan was to run steady and to not walk on any of the hills.  I also didn’t want to stop at the water stop.  I was hoping for a sub 30:00 minute 5k and I got close.  (my Garmin read 30:12)  The race showed me coming in at 31:12 and that put me 10th in my age group.  The race results chip and gun time were both 31:12 so I’m not sure what happened.  I started pretty far back in the pack so there was no way those 2 times should have been equal.

The most memorable thing that happened to me in this race was I passed an old lady on a hill.  I smiled and encouraged her but she did not even acknowledge me.  I was floored!  Racers are usually so nice and I thought I was being supportive. Well, a few minutes later she passed me!  This lady had to be in her 70s and I was now totally humiliated.

Then we started up a hill and she lost some steam and I passed her again.  This time I turned around and looked at her bib number so I could look up her age.  I know, I know.  Pretty creepy but I had to know.

She was 73 years old and her finishing time was only 1 minute behind me!

Thinking back on everything, maybe she didn’t hear me as I encouraged her.  Maybe she was just concentrating so hard on her own racing strategies.  I’m not upset anymore.  Now I’m very inspired!  I hope I can run a 32 minute 5k when I’m 73!

After the race, I walked back to my car and grabbed my phone and snapped a couple of pictures.

IMG_1811 IMG_1810

Check out that Carolina Blue sky!

We’re snowed in today and last week we had an ice storm.  I didn’t run one single day last week.  I was going to run this weekend but my new granddaughter arrived!

Meet Daphne Alice Mills!

IMG_1834

Mom and baby are doing great and I so thankful for my prayers being answered.  We are so blessed!

Signing off and hitting the treadmill!

Think Spring everyone!

Disclaimer:  I gave up FB for Lent so I won’t see any comments that you make unless you put them on my blog.  I kept FB Messenger so I could keep up with my CF and running friends but I haven’t looked at FB since last Wednesday.  I needed this break.  I’m somewhat addicted.  Hoping after Easter to bring FB back in a controlled way and not open the app 10 million times a day.

Skinny Turkey Half Marathon

Ron and I ran the Skinny Turkey Half Marathon yesterday morning.  I’ve always liked the idea of a Turkey Trot but had never signed up for one until this race.  We went ahead and picked this race because we are both so about the bling and we were definitely trained for it after Thunder Road 2 weeks ago.  Might as well get a good medal if you can.

10700252_919861741359678_5752175640610525777_o

 

The weather was calling for a chilly clear morning and that would have been perfect but we woke to rain instead.  It let up a bit for most of the race but there were several miles that it was either spitting at us or plain out raining.  At 41 degrees you would have thought I would have been miserable.  Happily, I was fine the entire race.  It really didn’t bother me one single bit.  There was one time that I thought it would have been nice to have a hat on to keep the rain from falling on my face but I didn’t dwell on it and I was perfectly fine.

After running Thunder Road in 22 degree weather, 41 was a rather balmy for sure.  🙂

I knew there would be hills and I was prepared for them.  They didn’t bother me either.  I was shooting for a PR of 2:10 (which would have been 2 minutes faster than my fastest) and decided that I’d stick with the 2:10 pacer for a long as possible.

I’m sad to report that this pacer took us out a bit too fast.  To hit a 2:10 we should have been near 9:55 especially in the beginning.  He was a great guy and all and he knew he was a little ahead of pace and told us so.  I appreciate these pacers so much and don’t want to sound critical.

I think I must practice pacing myself and running my own races for next year.  Maybe if I let go of so many time goals the speed will come. Not magically come.  I’m too practical for that.  I know I have to put the work in but if I can stop focusing so much on time that might help.

Skinny Turkey splits

 

It was fun running with the pace group for a while but just like in Thunder Road, on a hill, this guy just kept cruising on.  He kept getting farther and farther ahead of me.  My legs would not move any faster even though I was willing them to MOVE!  I kept the balloons the pacer was carrying in my sights until around mile 8.  After that he was long gone. I didn’t give up though.  I met a friend of mine on the course and we leap frogged each other for quite some time.  I enjoyed chatting to her off and on and loved seeing her again.  (Great race Jordan!)  (Great to see you too Amelia!  Great Job!)

I did start to feel a blister rubbing on my left foot and was caught quite off guard.  I never get blisters.  I’m really not sure what caused this.  It didn’t hurt too much and I was determined not to let it slow me down.

I came in with a net time of 2:16.  With all those rolling hills, I’ll take it.

Skinny Turkey results

 

 

elevation

 

We had a great time and this race was for a very good cause.  The proceeds benefited a group that strives to raise awareness on various topics that affect teens.  (violence, sex,drugs, alcohol, gangs, negative peer pressure)

I liked this race a lot.  The packet pick-up was held a a local running store and was highly efficient.  The shirts were those new really soft ones that I love.  They even gave us a nice pair of socks!  The medal was killer and the course pretty but challenging.  The race started and finished at a high school and they let us go inside.  It was very nice using real bathrooms and getting to stay warm and dry inside before and after the race. Parking in the high school parking lot was also very convenient.  The course was not closed to traffic but the few cars that were  out were very respectful and gave the runners plenty of space.  There were loads of high schoolers that were course monitors and their support was so nice.  They did have police officers at the major intersections and I felt safe at all times.

If you ask Ron, he’ll tell you that what is described as challenging hills on this course is really challenging mountains.  He did great though and finished right at 3:00 like he has all month.  Can you believe he has done three 13.1s in November?!  (City of Oaks, Thunder Road, and Skinny Turkey)

That puts our 2014 totals as follows:

Ron 6 half marathons:  Gasperilla, Wrightsville Beach, Rock-n-Roll, City of Oaks, Thunder Road, and Skinny Turkey

Me: 4 half marathons and 1 full:  all the same as Ron’s except I did the full at Thunder Road and I volunteered at City of Oaks.

I can’t wait to see what 2015 holds for us.  All we are signed up for so far is the Rock-n-Roll Raleigh in April.

I am so very thankful for our health and the awesome hobby of running!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

 

 

 

 

Thunder Road Marathon

When we began thinking about fall marathons, Ron and I were hoping Thunder Road in Charlotte would be a good match for us. My mother, sister and her husband, an my niece and her family all live just outside of Charlotte in the quaint town of Mt. Pleasant.

Marathons can get a little pricey so not having to spend the extra for the hotel was a big plus for us.  We were very excited.

Excited that is until we started telling people which marathon we were training for.   All we heard was either complete silence or something negative.  It got so bad, I just stopped telling people.  All the good marathons came and went (Medoc, City of Oaks, and OBX) and I was so sad that we had to run Thunder Road.

I decided that I might as well try to make the best of it and keep an open mind.  I’m so glad I did because Thunder Road ended up Rockin’!   It is an awesome marathon!

Thunder Road was really good about keeping their Facebook page up to date with important information and motivating posts.  I had printed out the directions on how to get to the Expo and all our parking options.  They had warned us that we’d have to pay to park but that some of the garages would offer discounts if we showed our race bibs upon exiting.  I’m not sure how we managed it but we didn’t have to pay at all in the parking garage that we found.  They just waved us out when we left and we didn’t have to show our bibs.  (I guess they could tell us country bumpkins had to be there for the race.)

We drove right to the Expo and parked only one block away.  The Charlotte Convention Center was so pretty!  Charlotte is known as “The Queen City” and for some reason I also think of them as the “Clean City”.  It felt so clean and modern.

IMG_1725

IMG_1708

I loved all the beautiful buildings and the day was gorgeous!

IMG_1726

IMG_1727

When we got inside the Convention Center, the way to the Expo was clearly marked.

IMG_1710

We were there in no time and were ready to Feel the Thunder!

IMG_1717

The Expo was sold out and was every bit as good at the Rock-n-Roll expo back in April.  It was one of the very best that I’ve ever attended.

IMG_1719

We had gotten there in the middle of the day and it wasn’t crowded at all. We walked right up and got our bibs and shirts and they were very nice about letting Ron switch to the half. He did have to pay $10 but we were expecting that. Since Ron has had to work so much overtime lately, he hasn’t had the time to train. Halfs are good for Ron. He’s happy with that distance.

We moseyed around and bought a few neat items. Ron got some socks and I got some new sweat headbands. These weren’t Bondi Bands but the were just like them and I found some cool new sayings.

DSC_0004

When we happened upon these neat new sweat towels, we both had to get one.

DSC_0002

Actually, Ron got 2 and I got 1. It is similar to the sweat headbands except that it has a soft face cloth attached to it. You wear it around your wrist so you never have to worry about dropping your sweat rag. Such a neat idea.

The coolest thing was that a reporter stopped us and asked us some questions about what we were buying. I had purchased some throwaway gloves and she was intrigued. I told her that I wasn’t too concerned with the cold but that I wanted something to keep me warm in the beginning until we had those first few miles out of the way. I had also stopped at Good Will the night before and got Ron and me some fleece jackets. We planned to shed those along the way once we got warmed up. We knew there would be volunteers that would be picking up the clothing and taking it right back to Good Will or other charities. Win – Win!

That evening my sister and her husband knew we wanted Italian so they suggested one of their favorite restaurants.  We went to Gianni’s Trattoria in downtown Concord.   It was a little pricey and they were very crowded so it took a while for us to be served.  But boy was it worth the wait.  So delicious!  I didn’t have my camera with me and I’m so bummed.  It would have been a great restaurant to review.  I’m definitely going back!

After we were adequately carbed up, it was straight to bed for us.  Thunder Road had a 7:45am start which was actually very nice.   With Mt. Pleasant being about 40-50 minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, we wanted to be on the road by around 6:00am.

It was a chilly 22 degree start.   However, with our layers and fleece jackets we were good to go.

IMG_1728

Right at the beginning of the race I said goodbye to Ron and shed my jacket right away.  I kept my throw-away gloves on for a long time.  It might have been around mile 18-20 that I finally shed those.  I was careful to throw them away at a water stop so I wouldn’t litter.

The race for me was very good.  I started out too fast and I knew it.  I was so excited and I felt wonderful.  My coach had told me to start out near the 11:00s and when I saw a 10:10 on mile 2 on my Garmin, I knew I was in trouble.  I really concentrated on trying to slow down and got mile 3 down to 10:25.

After that I just tried to keep it steady.  I ran the entire first half all by myself.  We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods and the crowd support was the best I’ve ever experienced in a race.

Coming up to the split as the half marathoners were turning for their finish line, I heard a huge group coming up behind me.  They were really having a party.  I knew instantly it must be a pace group.  It was was the 2:20/4:40 group.  When I had to make that turn for the next 13.1 miles, I felt so disheartened.  It became so quiet and the crowd thinned out so much.  I was happy but not sure about running another 2.5 hours.  That’s when I hooked up with what was left of the 4:40 pace group.  It was the pacer, Lee, and 2 other runners.  Lena was celebrating her 40th birthday and this was her 1st marathon.  Kiza had done several marathons.  Lee had done many marathons and I was so shocked to learn that she had just run the Savannah marathon the previous weekend.  Her marathon PR was 3:45 so this 4:40 pace was truly a recovery/fun run for her.

I stuck with Lee from mile 13 all the way to mile 23.  We ended up losing Lena and Kiza but we stayed together and had a blast.  The neighborhoods on the second half were so cool!  The residents of North Davidson ,”NoDa”, were the best!  They built a wall out of plywood and we ran through it.  Nothing like breaking through the wall with lots of cheers and encouragements!

Then it happened.  At mile 23 there was a hill and Lee kept getting farther and farther ahead of me.  It was like it was happening in slow motion.  I couldn’t move my legs any faster.  I wasn’t in pain at all and I still had a great attitude.  I was so confused.  Why wouldn’t my legs move and let me keep with her?

As she ran on she did look back one time and holler for me but before I knew it, she was out of sight.  When I couldn’t see her anymore, I started walking.  I bet I walked for almost 1/4 mile or so.

For those last 3 miles I ended up seeing Lena again.  She passed me and then Kiza passed as well.  Lena kept going but Kiza started walking on and off from that point on and we leap-frogged each other.  At one point when I was walking the 4:50 pacer came up behind me and shouted for me to come on.  She was really sweet and we ran together for a mile or so.  She was all by herself and she was about one minute behind schedule.  She ended up stopping to walk but I kept going.

Those 3 miles were the longest I’ve ever run.  I made it to the finish line and even though I was way off my 4:30 goal, a 4:55 was 70 minutes faster than my last marathon. It was also only 8 minutes slower than my marathon PR.  I ran my PR on a flat course so this 4:55 on the rolling hills of Thunder Road was something that I was very proud of.

I’ve talked a lot to my coach, Sarah, and she’s tried to explain to me that there is no way to bank time in the beginning of a marathon.  She said that I probably built up a lactic acid and that contributed to my slow down at mile 23.

Over this training session I’ve had lots of trouble with my ITB.  After both of my 20 milers I was in loads of pain for days and days afterwards. After my 2nd 20 miler, I couldn’t even sleep on my side it hurt so much.  I did try and do my foam rolling and ITB exercises but they really never brought the relief I needed.  Sarah has encouraged me to go to Physical Therapy and get this ITB taken care of.

Curiously enough, my ITB did hurt right after the marathon but I got a massage and it really didn’t hurt that much more.  Sure I felt it but by Tuesday I was pretty much back to normal.

If you’re still with me at this point let me go on to say that Ron did great.  He finished right at 3:00 and had a blast.  The finish line party was superb!  The medals and shirts were awesome.  The food and entertainment was great.  I couldn’t find any pizza though.  That would be my only complaint that I can think of.

Thunder Road is an awesome race and the hills aren’t really that bad at all.

IMG_1729

 

That night after I showered I visited with my mother and presented her with my medal.  She smiled from ear to ear and was so happy for me. I think she’s going to like having that medal on her dresser to show all her friends in the assisted living facility.

I’m not giving up on my goal to qualify for Boston.  I’m just going to take some time off for now and see how PT goes.  I’ve even thought of trying hot yoga.  Anyone want to go with me?

I hope to keep my weekly mileage near the 25-30 range and Sarah says to keep a weekly track workout of 4×800.

Thanks so much to Sarah and to my friends and family for all your support. I love you guys!

Publication1

Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Race Recap

 

This is a very hard race recap for me to write. I’ve waited almost 2 months to write it and although I am feeling better, it still is very hard. On Palm Sunday, Ron and I ran in the inaugural Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half Marathon.

We were ready to Rock!

10246737_10201785102894367_1236934880992270927_n

Ready to Rock

However, for 2 men in their early 30’s, this race would be their very last. They both collapsed and died. One man collapsed with the finish line in site and the other man collapsed around mile 10. Both men were reportedly in great shape and had run half marathons before.

I have heard about this phenomenon of people collapsing and dying in races but I took solace in the fact that statistically, running marathons was safer than any other active sport. Usually the people that lose their lives are men in their 30s and they most often have an undiagnosed heart conditions. This time the 2 people that lost their lives fit the profile to a T. However, on the same weekend that Ron and I were running the Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon, a 16 year old girl collapsed and died just after crossing the finish line in the Virginia Beach Half Marathon. This 16 year old was a student athlete and played softball and was on her high school swim team. It was seeming to me that you just couldn’t tell anymore. This was happening to more and more people of all walks of life and was happening much closer to home.

Ron and I did not see the men on the course and had no idea anything had happened. In fact we were at home eating Chinese Veggie Combo Plates when I noticed the news alert on my phone. I was in shock!

My heart broke for the 2 men and their friends and families.

My heart was also very heavy because this race was actually a very hard one for Ron. Ron and I don’t usually run together. Ron likes to listen to music and he is about 1 minute per mile slower than me. For this race, I had decided that I was going to stick with Ron the whole way. I knew he wouldn’t talk to me but since this was a very big race and the course was sure to be crowded, I wanted to stay together. We were doing great until around mile 5 when Ron asked me about the hills. I teased him and told him that the hill that we were on was the last one. I thought he could tell in my voice that I was teasing but he didn’t. Raleigh is one of the hilliest places you could ever imagine. Durham is hilly too but Raleigh comes in right behind them. When the hills just kept coming one right after another, Ron got a little freaked out. I told him that I was just joking and that I was very sorry but it was too late. Running is a very mental sport and Ron was getting so discouraged.

The hills were coming a lot easier to me because I have been doing hill repeats as part of my weekly training. I encouraged Ron to slow down and take short steps. Around mile 8, Ron took off his hat and his headphones and I knew something was up. He told me he was getting dizzy. We walked to the next aid station and he stopped and let the medics check him out. His pulse was perfect so the medic just offered him some Gatorade. At that point Ron cheered up a little but I suggested we run intervals for the rest of the way in. I set my Garmin to run 2 minutes and walk 1 minute. That went along pretty well for most of the way until around mile 12. Ron was really losing steam and walking more and more.

We were run/walking near a group of 3 other people. There was a guy and 2 girls probably in their early 20’s. One of the girls was having a very tough time of it and was just like Ron. Her 2 friends were sticking with her and encouraging her to run to the next block and stuff like that. I was doing the same for Ron but really trying to just take all the cues from him. If he needed to walk, we walked. In fact, I turned my Garmin completely off so we wouldn’t hear the interval beeps anymore.

We made it to the finish line, got our medals, grabbed some food and water, and proceeded directly to our car. This was one race that Ron was very glad was over.

After I heard the news of the 2 men that had lost their lives, I started feeling really guilty. Where do you draw the line between encouraging someone and just not saying anything?

What if our Ready to Rock selfie from above was the last photo I ever had of Ron? You can see, I was a bundle of nerves.

I’ve had several weeks to think about everything and I’m more at ease now. Only God knows the day and time that you’ll be called home to heaven and we just can’t get all caught up in that. I do believe in being careful and not reckless but I have to let it go. I love running marathons and I train for them. Statistically, running distances does make the heart grow stronger.

distance

source

Here’s a few shots of the Rock-n-Roll Raleigh expo. It was a very well-run race and loads of fun. The expo rocked and was truly the very best one I’ve ever attended.

DSC_0136

DSC_0135

The course was pretty but like I mentioned, very hilly. Raleigh is my town and I’m getting more accustomed to her and I don’t get freaked out as much over the hills. Funny how training hills will do that for you. Imagine that. Hard things become easy if you practice. LOL Now if push-ups and dare I say pull-ups could ever become easy!

Everything about the Rock-n-Roll series was awesome. I’d highly recommend this race. I really liked the corral start. It was the largest race I’ve ever run in and with the corral start I never felt crowed at all.

The only negative that I can think of is the parking. That was horrible. I know they will work on this for next year so it shouldn’t be an issue in upcoming races. Just know that even with the 7:00am start, don’t panic. The last corral probably won’t even take off until around 7:45 so you’re not going to miss it.

I was thinking about doing a lot of half marathons over the summer but I’m leaning more to just volunteering at them instead of running. I have found a 50k that I can run before my marathon and I’m almost ready to bite the bullet and sign up for it. It is actually a 12 hour race and you just run as much as you can in the 12 hours. Surely I can do 50K in under 12 hours. This might be the very best first ultra for me. I’ve heard about Hinson Lake and it looks cool too but the registration is already closed for this year.

I also just got an email about the Run the Valley race that is coming up in September. I really get sucked in. Just when I say I’m not going to run as many races and email will come and now I want to see if I can tackle Morrow Mountain again. It was a very cool race. Maybe I’ll have to do it.

Happy running friends!

DSC_0133