A Weekend at the Beach

Lo Tide Run / Walk and Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon

St. Patrick’s Day weekend we traveled to Carolina Beach for the Lo Tide Run / Walk. This is an all-volunteer race with almost 100% of the proceeds going towards helping those that are fighting cancer. I was so happy to be helping out such a worthy cause.  I decided that I wanted to walk this entire course and just enjoy spending time with friends.

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It was a little chilly at the beginning but it warmed up not long into the walk. A beautiful Carolina Beach morning. We had a wonderful time.

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After the walk, Ron was on a quest to find some juice. He found some at the Tidal Creek Co-op in Wilmington. It was such a cute mini “Whole Foods”. We both loved it.

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Note that little shot of wheatgrass next to Ron’s mean green juice.

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And, right beside Tidal Creek, I spotted Great Harvest. GH is my very favorite bread store. We got a loaf of Ezekiel and a loaf of Superfood.

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Yummo!

Next up was the Wrightsville Beach Marathon expo. The expo was pretty small. But as I am finding more and more, directors are getting things down like clockwork and have the bib and t-shirt pickups organized perfectly. Not a bit of waiting in line! I splurged big time and got some new Bluetooth headphones and a new arm band for my phone.

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These headphones were the bomb.  They didn’t bounce around at all.  I loved them.  I didn’t wear them the entire time but even when I had them around my neck they were so comfortable.

 

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Great armband!  Didn’t slip one bit!  I love that it has a place for a GU or chap stick and a spot for your ID or debit card.

I broke every rule in the book about nothing new on race days! I wore my new headphones, a new running skirt, my new arm band, and a new Lifeproof case on my iPhone. I even took a new and un-tested flavor of GU. (peanut butter)

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My running skirt has 2 snaps in front so you don’t have to pin your race bib to your shirt.  So cool!

Frank Shorter was at the starting line and he gave the advice of starting out slow and then backing off. This is great advice for a marathon but for this half marathon for me, I ditched his advice and started off strong and tried to speed up. I was risking it to push myself too hard in the beginning and I knew it.

My splits don’t really give the whole picture and show that miles 0-3 were around and 11:00 minute pace. It didn’t feel slow to me because this is the part that is really crowded and I was concentrating hard on weaving in and out of people. I wanted to get ahead of them but I was cautious to make sure I didn’t make any discourteous moves and endanger other runners. You cross the IntraCoastal Waterway around mile 3 and the bridge you go across is a drawbridge. The surface is uneven and we had been warned to pick-up our feet. I saw one runner that had fallen and just like at Gasparilla, a young woman was on a stretcher.

Around this time, I spotted the 4:30 marathon pacer. I wondered if the 2:15 half marathon pacer would be anywhere near him and sure enough, she was. The 2 pacers were very close together with a group of about 7 runners. My plan had been to stick with them like glue if I found them so that is what I did. Juliane was the half pacer. She had a pink hat on and I was determined to not let that pink hat out of my sites. I would stop when she stopped for water or Gatorade. Even though she stopped, by the time I grabbed my water and looked up, she had taken off and was several feet ahead. I gulped my water and took off like lightening.

Juliane was very quiet and had a sweet smile. She kept encouraging all of us. She’d announce the miles and the water stops and had the nicest personality ever.

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(That’s Juliane in the pink hat behind me.  I have no idea who the guy is in the gold shirt.) 

The full pacer’s name was Frank and he was a hoot. He was a talker! He kept rattling off race tips about running the tangents and relaxing our arms. He told us to hold our fingers like we were holding a potato chip. I knew about both of these tips and realized we had a lot in common. He knew EVERYBODY along the course and kept high fiving different runners and volunteers. Frank and Juliane get all the credit for my PR!

Before I knew it, we were saying goodbye to Frank and the other marathoners and we were on the homestretch. Just under 2 miles to go. One of the other runners, Taylor, and I had stuck up a conversation and ended up getting a little ahead of Juliane.

                 Run Without Limits (Taylor is #2883.)

Juliane was careful to keep the pace perfect for the others in the group but she encouraged us to run on if we could. I took off with Taylor but couldn’t keep up with her. I kept at it though and before long, I heard Juliane encouraging me on. Just a tenth of a mile left. The clock read 2:15 when I crossed the finish line and even though 2:15 would have been a PR for me and I would have been overjoyed with that time, I knew I had come in under a 2:15. My Garmin read 2:12:30 and my official chip time was 2:12:26. Holy Cow!

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3 years and 4 months after my first and also my fastest half I had done it! A new PR by 6 minutes! Woohoo!

I was on cloud nine from that moment on.

I walked back to the finish line area and started stretching my ITB all while keeping a keen eye out for Andie. I knew she would be next. She came in looking strong!

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Way to go honey! I am so proud of her. This was Andie’s 2nd half marathon.

Next I walked down just a little to find a recycle bin for my water bottle. Just as I was turning around, Ron ran by on his way to his own PR.  I didn’t get a picture of Ron but I assure you he was all smiles!

All Andie was wanting was a hot shower so she left right after her finish. They had a great selection of IPAs at this race so I knew Ron would have no problem hanging around. I headed back to the food area and chowed down on 3 pieces of cheese pizza. They were offering free massages so I added my name to the list and waited my turn. It didn’t take too long for my number to be called. My masseuse was a petite young woman but she had very strong hands. They know exactly the right moves to do on us runners and she hit all the right spots. My ITB was just a little sore before but afterwards I felt great. She had to have worked on me for 20 minutes at least! Such a great perk!

Here’s my traditional shirt and medal shot after my shower.

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Loved the shirt! So soft and comfortable. A lot of races are giving out this new type of technical shirt that isn’t your normal polyester feel. These feel like the softest cotton you can imagine.

Ron and I were still in the celebration mood so we headed down to Historic Wilmington and to Ron’s favorite brewery. Front Street Brewery is a great place for beer lovers and foodies alike.

We got fried pickles for our appetizer.

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Ron chose a burger and I got a salad. Delicious!

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And, no trip to here would be complete without a stop to Kilwin’s!

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We both got butter pecan ice cream in a waffle cone. A perfect ending to a fantabulous weekend!

Just one shout out before I sign off.  Check out the times for all the paces.  That amazes me how they do it.  All of them finished so very close to their goal. 

Full:
Christine Rockey 3:10 group- 3:09:04
Heran Sabio 3:30 group- 3:30:12
George Redman 3:45 group- 3:45:47
Eddy Saldana 4:00 group- 3:59:31
Frank Borque 4:30 group- 4:29:51
Half:
Eric Torey 1:30 group- 1:29:18
Rick Poplaski 1:45 group- 1:44:46
Brenda Estlak 2:00 group- 1:59:58
Juliane Young 2:15 group- 2:14:08
Laura Justice 2:30 group- 2:27:41

 

Night Friends!  Happy Running!

Gasparilla Half Marathon

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It had been a while since I visited relatives in Florida and my brother in particular had been inviting us to come down for a visit. I told Ron that we needed to plan a trip. Ron immediately asked if there were any half marathons scheduled in Florida coming up soon. I Googled it and came up with the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa. Gasparilla was scheduled for the weekend near our anniversary. So….our little trip ended up turning into a race, family visit, and an anniversary getaway all in one.

We got to Tampa early in the afternoon on Saturday and checked into our awesome hotel.

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We didn’t know our way around Tampa very well so we decided to just book one of the sponsoring hotels. This way we would be near the race starting line. The Marriott Waterside was perfect. Ron and I don’t splurge too often and a hotel with valet parking, porters, and bellmen were quite the novelty to us. Ron gave the valet a $5.00 when he took our car to the parking lot. Ron gave the porter a $5.00 when they unloaded our bags and wheeled them into the registration desk. Another $5.00 was given to the bellman when he took our bags to our room. That’s $15 bucks just to get in and then when we left the next day it was the same 5-5-5 to get out. A total of $30 and I think that is really on the low side. Ron saw many others tipping with $10s and $20s.

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(the view from our window)

The expo was right across the street at the Tampa Convention Center. It was a very nice expo. Big, but very nicely organized and not a bit of waiting in line.

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My BFF from high school lives near Tampa and I was thrilled that she was free for dinner. Dee-dee found an awesome pizza place not too far from our hotel. She even drove right up and chauffeured us to and from the restaurant. I felt so spoiled!

We had an awesome time catching up and reminiscing about old times.

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Love ya Dee-dee!

We made it an early night due to the 6:00am race start. Luckily, I slept like a baby. (Sometimes I get so anxious about races I can’t sleep a wink.)

My pre-race breakfast was just a Clif Bar I had brought from home. I missed my normal peanut butter on bagel, banana, and coffee but I figured a Cliff Bar was just as good.

Ron and I got to the starting line and boy was it crowded! Gasparilla was the biggest race we have ever run.

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I don’t want to give TMI but just as the race was beginning I realized that needed to find a bathroom. I spotted a port-a-john at the mile 1 water stop and I bid Ron adieu. I didn’t stop my Garmin and I estimated I wasted about 6 minutes waiting in line. (I couldn’t believe so many other runners had to stop at mile 1 too!) When I came out, the volunteers at the water station were beginning to clean up and most of the racers were way ahead of me. After 6 minutes I was sure there was no way that I would catch up with Ron.

I settled into an easy pace and enjoyed the peaceful scenery. I started catching up with a few runners but was still glad that the crowd had thinned out so much. At about mile 4, I came around a curve and saw the bay. It was so pretty!

I hopped up on the step of the bridge and started snapping pictures.

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Right about then, Ron smiled at me as he passed. I thought he was just glad to see me and a little amused that I was stopping to snap a picture. Later he told me that he thought I was a nut to have stepped up on the edge of the bridge like that.

I was thrilled that I had caught back up with Ron and my energy was renewed! We ran together for a bit. Ron had on his headphones and since we weren’t talking anyway, I tapped him on the shoulder and said I was going on ahead. I started calculating that I might make it in around my normal 2:20s. This thought exhilarated me and I concentrated on keeping up my pace.

It was a nice morning at 70 degrees but with the 95% humidity, it really was a hot one. I started getting 2 cups of water at the water stations and dumping one on my head and sipping the other. Occasionally I’d get a Gatorade and sip that instead of the water. I took my one GU around mile 6. They were handing out Gatorade shot blocks and I accepted one and took about half of that at mile 11 or so.

At mile 12 I saw a street sign that read, “Mason Street,” and I thought about our precious grandson. That’s when I started playing the count my blessings running game. I started with A and was working my way to Z when out of nowhere 2 paramedics rolled a stretcher with a young woman on it right in front of me. I must have been zoning out because I literally did not see them until the last second. The young woman was obviously hurting badly. I couldn’t tell if she had fallen or is she had a terrible cramp. I began praying for her right away.

Oh and speaking about falling, I saw one other man fall. Lots of other runners stopped to help him and he was ok and only a little scraped up. He was running on the middle lines on the road and he tripped over one of the reflectors. I’ve almost tripped on a reflector before and I’ve seen countless others do the same thing. Please, please, remember this and keep away from the reflectors!

Sometimes when I get down about not getting faster, God sends me a message about how thankful I should be. That day it was seeing the young woman. Other days it has been seeing a man on crutches getting his mail or seeing someone in a wheelchair.

The finish area was lined with hundreds of cheering spectators and other racers that had finished already. They handed out the medals and gave us water bottles and cold washcloths. Then it was a never ending walk to what I thought would be the party area. I waiting around the finish line and after only 10 minutes, my phone was buzzing. Ron had run his 2nd fastest half marathon ever! He was on cloud nine!

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We kept following the crowd and found the food but the beer party was nowhere in sites. We saw the signs for it but since it was only Michelob Ultra, Ron suggested we just head for our room. We had about 2.5 hours until checkout and we both wanted to get a shower.

All in all I loved Gasparilla! The race is a big one but they really have everything down like clockwork. I loved the shirt and medal!

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My official time was 2:26:22……and Ron’s was 2:36:32. Spot on to what our Garmin’s had recorded.

Giving Back

Last Sunday my flat Melissa looked a little different.

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I wasn’t running this time.  I was volunteering.  It was my very first time and it was way overdue.  The time had come to give back to the wonderful running community that has given me so much.

All I had to do was sign up and attend a short training session at a local running store.  After that I came home with that awesome running shirt and this awesome backpack. 

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I also was given a flag and a rain poncho.  The race director said by giving all the volunteers a rain poncho, we were guaranteed not to need it.  And he was right.  Just look at this beautiful blue sky!

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I volunteered from 6:00am until 12:45pm along side my new friend, Jordan.  She made 2 posters and they were a huge hit. 

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I even got a shot of one runner hitting the power button!

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Just about every runner that passed hit the button.  It was so cute!

Here’s the other poster and it meant a lot to some of the runners whose pace was slower.  It really is true you know.  Even the runners that brought up the rear (like I did last year) were doing more than many people will ever be able to do.

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After the police opened up the road where we were stationed, I headed on to the finish line to turn in our vests and flags.

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I had a great time and the hours really flew by.  The City of Oaks is a hard marathon and I’m glad I’ve got a medal from it but I think from now on, this might be my annual race to volunteer at.

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Happy Running Ya’ll!

Bull City Race Fest Recap

Wowzer!  Bull City was a doosey!  The hills were KILLER!

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The hills are what I will probably remember the most but let me start at the beginning and try to give this sensational race a recap worthy of its awesomeness.

Yesterday was the expo.

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It was a good expo.  Not too big, not too little and very well organized.  I liked that you just walked up and gave them your race number and then they handed over your bib.  There were lots of vendors there and Ron and I spent our share of fun money.  Ron got some Bondi Bands and an ultra massager.  I got new socks.  Actually, they were buy 3 get one free so I got 4 pair.  One for Ron, Andie, Lydia, and me.

While I was in line waiting to pay for my socks another lady was buying a new running outfit.  She said any time she ran a race she treated herself.  Another lady said she was treating herself to a 13.1 sticker. Then the new outfit lady (a 5 miler) said if she ran a half marathon, she’d treat herself to a new car!  It was so funny!  I realized that as common as it is to me to run a half marathon, it really isn’t something to sneeze at.  Smile

These Hot Yoga people were at the expo and I was so close to signing up.  I really want to try Hot Yoga!

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The expo was held right outside the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC.  Ron and I had never been to the campus and had a lot of fun exploring.

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There are a number of restaurants in this area and they all looked really good.  We ended up at Tyler’s Taproom.

I loved the atmosphere!

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We had veggie nachos for starters.

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So yummy!

There really wasn’t a good vegan / vegetarian selection so Ron and I got fish.  Ron was wiser than me.  He got the salmon salad.

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I got fish and chips.

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It was scrumptious but with it being fried, I only ate about half.

So, I had plenty of room for my weakness!

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Ron was having micro brewed beer and didn’t want to share any sweets this time.  I just about ate this whole thing!

I didn’t but I could have.  Smile

Before bed, I snapped this Flat Melissa.

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Those purple socks are my new ones and boy were they comfy!  I love Balega Socks.  The shot blocks were given out at the expo so I tucked them in my fuel belt.  I took about half of them at mile 5 and the rest at around mile 7 or 8.  They were pretty good but I like gels better.  I can’t chew and run very well at the same time.  LOL.

Bull City Race Fest was a big race.  I think there were over 5000 runners in all.  I guess that’s not too big but it kind of felt crowded to me.

Here Ron and I are at the start.

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Andie ran the 5 miler but she wouldn’t let me take a picture.

I ended up going to the bathroom for a 2nd time just before the start so I split up from Ron and Andie and ended up way in the back.

There were plenty of port-a-johns and everything about the race was very well organized.

The Star Spangled Banner singer did a lovely job and after my silent prayer for fastness and everyone’s safety, we were off.

My first mile was right at 12:00 minutes and my 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, were in the 11:00s.  This was one of the most crowded races I have run in a while and I never could find an open spot to get comfortable in.  After the 5 milers veered off,  it opened up and was smooth sailing.

The funny part at the 5 mile mark was they had this sign that said, “Decision Point,” and you could make up your mind to stop with the 5 milers or keep going.  I was feeling really good at 5 miles so it was just funny to me and not really something I was considering.

We ran on the Duke University campus and all over many pretty neighborhoods.  The only problem was there was one hill after another.  Up until mile 11, I was doing great and kept a good attitude about the hills.  But then my dreaded IT band started acting up.  The side of my knee was killing me.  And, with all those hills, my gluts were screaming at me.  Even running down hill started to hurt.

I texted Ron and Andie at mile 11 and let them know that I was ok but it was going to be a slow one for me.

I ran the whole way until at mile 12, I walked 2 huge hills.  The walk eased my knee pain just enough for me to finish pretty strong.

My Garmin said 2:32.  We haven’t gotten our official chip time yet but I’m thinking this is probably pretty accurate.

Andie did the 5 in around 56 minutes and Ron finished up right after me at around 2:42.

I love the race shirt and the Inaugural medal was cute.  Bull City was fun but definitely not an easy race.

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Since Andie had been waiting so long for Ron and me and since Ron doesn’t like crowds, we didn’t spend a lot of time at the after race party.  It was a nice one though.  Plenty of free food, beer, massages, and a huge selection of Food Trucks to get lunch from.

This may or may not be my last race for 2013.  I haven’t signed up for anything but I’m thinking a Turkey Trot or a Jingle Bell Run might be in the future.

Ron is napping and Andie, Jonathan, and Mason are painting pumpkins.  I think a nap is calling my name.

Here’s a recreation of my favorite sign of the day:

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Happy Racing to all you winners out there.  Smile

RunRaleigh Half Marathon

I just finished up the RunRaleigh Half and it was amazing!  Very well run race.  I cannot express enough how awesome the race organizers and volunteers were.

Here are my results and I am so impressed with how fast they were posted!   Way to go RunRaleigh!

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My time was 2:26.   I had no idea exactly how I was doing until after the race as I ran Garmin free.

Well that’s a lie.  I could tell that I was somewhere between the 2:15 pace group and the 2:30 pace group but other than that, I didn’t know what my pace was at any given time.  I think the first half of the race was much faster than the last 6 miles.  If I had to guess, I bet my pace was around 10 minute miles at the beginning and then probably around 12-13 minute miles from around the middle to the end.

Raleigh is very hilly but I am happy to report that I ran each and every one of the hills.  Sometimes the people that were walking the hills were going about as fast as I was but I was running.  Smile  I ran the whole way except I did walk a few steps at each water stop.  I didn’t walk all the way through the water stops like I usually do but I did walk a little while I was drinking.

Now for a complete recap beginning with packet pick-up.  RunRaleigh was a small race with only 554 racers.  No expo per se but packet pick-up was very well organized and held at only the best running store in the Triangle, Capital RunWalk!  I need to go to RunWalk more because they really are fabulous.  They gave us 20% off but all I got were 2 gels this time.

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The one on the left was Salted Caramel and it was SO delicious!  Definitely my new favorite.  I did end up taking both gels this time.  My plan was to take one at mile 5 and then the 2nd at mile 10.  The first one went well but after some Gatorade at mile 8.5, my stomach wasn’t doing 100%.  I decided to wait until mile 11 for the 2nd GU and that ended up being perfect.

Here’s my Flat Melissa for the record.  I wore my Fuel Belt but all I had in it were my gels and my car key.  This was my first race without a Bondi Band and my visor ended up doing very well.  Not sure why I decided to go without a Bondi Band.  I think I was expecting it to be sunny and I wanted some sun protection.

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It didn’t end up being sunny at all.  However, it was very soupy out today!  The temperature was only around 68 degrees at the start but the humidity was pretty bad.  I knew after about mile 2 we were in for a hot one!

I loved the race course.  It went through some of downtown Raleigh and then did a lot on the Capital Area Greenway.

I have run so much of the Greenway from 2 years ago when I ran with Raleigh Galloway and I love it so much.  The greenway was so peaceful.  We did go through 2 tunnels this time and I am happy to report that the city of Raleigh has added lights!  No more vertigo feelings.  Yay!  Speaking of Raleigh Galloway, I saw tons of walk runners and so many Galloway friends.  I miss them!  Many of the walk runners finished way ahead of me and that technique really works for so many.  I can’t get it to work for me because of my deathly slow walk but I am definitely signing up to run with them next year.  Long runs can get quite boring running all the same loops by yourself.

The race was pretty uneventful for me.  I ran the whole way by myself.  Some of my mantras today were:

It’s not a water stop so no walking!  It’s not a water stop so no walking!  Only an hour left.  Only an hour left.  It’s just a hill.  Get over it!  And of course, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

I did see one barefoot runner.  She had long gray hair and she passed me at around mile 11.   After she passed me I kept thinking about Born to Run and Cabio Blanco and that kept my mind busy for at least a mile.

The best thing about the course to me was the magnificent volunteers.  Everyone was so supportive.  The best group of volunteers has to go to the Black Girls Run group right near the end of the race.  I sped up so much and it was all because of their super cheering and smiles.  Thanks so much BGRs!  Love you!

The finish line was nice and the medals are very pretty.

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RunRaleigh’s medal is  the black one right in the middle.  The reason for the dog and cat on the medal was because the SPCA was the main charity the race was supporting.

The finish line food was good.  Just your basic bagels, oranges, and bananas but really that’s all I ever want after a race.

Here I am all showered up and ready to take on this Splendid Sunday!

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I love the race shirt but friends, it is coming off before I head out to go grocery shopping.  Too hot in this neck of the woods for long sleeves today!

Oh, that reminds me of something super funny.  I got Mason a new long sleeve shirt on Friday night.  He wanted to wear it on Saturday but I told him it had to get cold before he could were that one.  It wasn’t long until Andie was questioning Mason why his new shirt was in the refrigerator.  Smile  Makes perfect sense to me!  LOL!

All in all it was a super run today.  I got to visit with my amazing friend Lisa at the beginning of the race and she was right there for me at the finish line!  Way to go Lisa!  Awesome, awesome job on your best Raleigh time!  You are going to fly at OBX next month!

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Happy Running Friends!

Half Mary

I am running the Raleigh Half Marathon this Sunday and because of that, I remembered this post.  I’ve had it in draft status since back in March but I never posted it.  I like to keep race recaps so I can refer back to them and that is my sole purpose for posting tonight.  So sorry for the extreme lateness.  I just had to get it up before I have another race to recap.

The Tobacco Road Half and Full Marathon was held on St. Patrick’s Day. The expo was very well organized and quite fun.

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I loved the race shirt and they even gave out a pair of very soft running socks!

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Because I have a big superstition of never wearing a race shirt until I actually run the race, I needed something green to wear. The expo had plenty of green shirts to choose from.

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Here are my expo purchases:

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I ended up buying the shirt and a new pair of shorts. I had not tried the Runner Girl brand of shorts before but I can now report that they are absolutely AWESOME! Best running shorts I’ve ever had.

I also got a new Fuel Belt pouch for my phone. I really like it and my new iPhone fits very well. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that really fast runners do not wear fuel belts at all. I was running with a good friend for a few miles near the middle of the race and she pointed out to me that every marathoner that we were seeing, did not carry anything! I had one water bottle, one gel, and my phone. My friend had all 4 water bottles. I think I’m going to enjoy my phone pouch and water bottles on my training runs but I’m going to wean myself off of depending on them during races. They really aren’t necessary anyway. Most races have plentiful water stops. I might still carry a spare gel when I do a marathon again but other than that, I’m going beltless.

The race began at Brooks Park in Cary, NC.

This facility was very nice but it did not have enough parking spaces for all of the runners. You could buy a parking pass for $5.00 if you were lucky enough to snag one of the limited numbers of them. Since I signed up so late for the race, I had to take option #2 and park at a remote site and ride the bus in.

No worries there though. I knew exactly where the remote site was. The bus was warm and comfortable and was only a very short ride to the race start.

I arrived in plenty of time and got to stretch and relax a bit before it was time to line up.

My only problem was I forgot my Garmin. I was so bummed.

I had decided earlier in the week that I was really going to try and run faster than my Myrtle Beach time of 2:21. I had an idea that I would hook up with the 2:15 pace group. I knew this would be important especially since I didn’t have my Garmin.

The beginning of the race was very crowded and I didn’t see a single pace group leader.

I was in trouble.

However, I did spy a group of Galloway runners that I knew from my summer running program. I knew they were shooting for a 2:10 so I ended up tagging along with them for the first 6 miles.

This was torture. I know the Galloway method works for a lot of people but you have to run so fast during your running intervals to make up for when you walk, I just can’t do it. Also, my walk is incredibly slow and the group would get so far ahead of me when they were walking. I had to start running a little before they would each time just to keep up with them.

I wanted so bad to stay with them but I gave up around mile 6. About this time, I saw the 2:15 pace group so I decided to run steady and keep them in my sights.

This went on pretty good for a bit but I think all that fast interval running in the beginning really did me in. Slowly the 2:15ers slipped farther and farther ahead of me.

This is where I met up with another Galloway friend. She was running intervals but not a set interval pattern. She was just walking a bit every now and then. Maybe every other time or so that her watch beeped. This was heaven for me. We talked and talked and I enjoyed miles 7ish to 10ish the best of all.

I could sense that I was slowing down so I bid my friend adieu and encouraged her to go on ahead of me. I told her I was fine and to enjoy her race.

When I was all by myself, I ended up slowing way down and walking quite a bit more. The 2:30 pace group passed me and my heart sank.

Where was my 2:21 from just a month ago?

Just as I was turning the corner to head to the finish line, a policeman on a motorcycle came up beside me. I knew why he was there. He was the escort for the leader of the marathon.

My friends, let me tell you. When that lead marathoner passed me, it was if he was on cruise. His running seemed effortless. Just as if he was out for a little run around the block.

He passed me and finished just a little bit ahead. He had run almost exactly twice as fast as I did. 26.2 miles in the time it took me to run 13.1. So inspiring!

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My time in the end was 2:25. Not too shabby. However, looking back on the race, I think I would have had a lot more fun if I could just get the thoughts of time out of my head. I don’t know how I’m ever going to do this. I know this is my pitfall. Correcting it is easier said than done.

The day before the race, I saw the below on Facebook.

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Why did I forget this awesome philosophy?

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I am chasing my goal 2:09 half time but I am positive I will be no where near that on Sunday.  I’d also love to PR and beat my 2:18 from City of Oaks.  However, it’s probably going to be a miracle to get anywhere near the 2:25 from Tobacco or 2:21 from Myrtle Beach.  How about I just Run Raleigh and have fun and leave my Garmin at home?  Can I do it?

Teacher Trot 5k

Have I mentioned lately how proud I am of our oldest daughter Andie Rose?!

Andie is the lucky mom of our beautiful grandson, Mason.  She just finished up her Bachelor’s degree in Middle Grades Education.  Her concentration was in Science and Math and she minored in Psychology.  Andie graduated Magna Cum Laude and even before graduation, she had principals from 2 different schools offering her a job.

She is going to be an awesome teacher.

Andie’s internship was at Trask Middle School in Wilmington, NC.  One of her friends was organizing a group of Trask friends and families to get together and run in the First Annual New Hanover County Teacher Trot.  One call to me, and I was in.  Great way to support the public school system and have fun with my daughter and grandson.

Teacher Trot

Andie and I practiced all week.  Before that week, I had only pushed Mason one time while running.  Boy, is it a workout!  For the race, our strategy was to switch off and take turns pushing.

Andie pushed the 1st mile and then I took over.  At mile 1.5, we had the turn around and since Andie had locked the front wheel of the stroller, she said she’d take the turn for me.  After the turn, she was feeling so good, she said she’d keep pushing.

Andie ended up going a lot faster than me even though she had Mason.  I told her to go ahead and enjoy her race.

She was quite some distance ahead of me but I kept them in my sight.  Then before long, I had caught back up with them.  I’m not fast, but I sure am consistent.  Andie was tuckering out so I slipped up beside her and cheered her on to the finish line.

She went over to check her stats and was so happy that she placed 4th in her age group.  She actually was a little bummed that she missed getting an apple trophy by only 8 hundredths of a second.  I think that is pretty darn awesome considering the other 3 were probably not pushing a jogging stroller.

When she came back and told me her stats, and I knew we had finished right at the same time, I just knew I had placed in my age group.  But I was wrong.  I ended up 9th among my peers.  The first, second, and third place ladies in my age group finished in 23, 24, and 25 minutes.  23 minutes!  Can you believe that!?  Wowzer!

Andie and I finished in 32:11 and we had an absolute blast!  Mason loved it too!

Next up Andie and I  are going to try out that Color Run 5k that I’ve been hearing so much about.

Happy Running!

 

Race of Grace 2013

Yesterday I ran the Race of Grace 5k with a group of my close friends from church.

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We had a blast!

This was the 10th annual Race of Grace and of those 10, I was running my 3rd.  This year the Race of Grace teamed up the House Your Neighbor 5k and raised money specifically for Habitat for Humanity of Wake CountyThe mission of the Race of Grace and House Your Neighbor 5K is to help those who lack affordable housing through education, inspiration, many-a-donation, and perspiration! (source)

Back in April of 2010 when I was in my first Race of Grace, I had been running for about 5 months.  I was training myself to run my first marathon using this book as my guide.  I was following it to the best of my ability but I was increasing my mileage way too fast for a beginning runner.  My ITB rebelled and I experienced my first injury.

That race, I was new to everything and since I was nursing the strained ITB, I walked the whole route.  I was with 2 of my friends from church who were also walking and I had a great time walking and talking with them.

In 2011, the Sunday of the Race of Grace, our grandson was born.  Needless to say, I skipped that year.

Last year, I had just finished up co-leading a 5k Run for God class at our church.  We used the Race of Grace as our celebration and ended up having a very large turn out from Mt. Zion.  Here’s a shot of the 2012 group.

Race of Grace

Last year my time was 31:45.  Yesterday my time was 30:58.  My goal for the race was to not stop for water and to run all of the hills.  (Downtown Raleigh is very hilly!)  I slowed way down on the up hills but I didn’t stop.  And, I flew on the down hills!  Even though I always want to run a sub 30 minute 5k (and I only have 1 time in my life), I was very happy.

I hadn’t trained as much as I wanted to and to be honest, I was afraid to look at my time.

April 2013 will go down in my running log as my lowest mileage month in the past year.Slide1

Only 25 miles in the whole entire month!  That is most assuredly NOT the place I want to be.  If I want to get faster and you all know that I do, I need to be at 25 miles per week or more!

I cannot wish and hope my way into faster times.  I’ve got to put in the effort and make the commitment.

So here you go.  I’m making a firm public promise.  May is going to be better.  I’m going to check in each week and report some good miles.  I’m even going to grade myself in 3 other areas.  Rest, Nutrition, and Cross Training.  (I saw another blogger post a report card of sorts and I thought it was a wonderful idea.  Hope that’s ok with you Running Inspired Blog)

Happy Training Ya’ll

Myrtle Beach Half Marathon

Last weekend was the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon!  It was so much fun.  Us two love birds decided early on that we’d use this little Myrtle Beach getaway as a celebration.  Ron’s birthday was on the 11th and then of course you have Valentines on the 14th and then on the 25th of this month, Ron and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary.  Happy 25th Honey!!

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Ron and I ran the race with our church small group. 

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We trained for 16 weeks together and had a blast.  There were 22 of us altogether and of that 22, 19 were running their very first half marathon.  The ages ranged from 12 years old to 58.  I cannot tell you how much I love running with friends.  Every single time I run a race with a friend, I have so much more fun than if I run alone.

Here are a couple of more shots of the group.

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(Angela, me, Sandy, and Priscilla)  All 3 of these lovely ladies were tackling their first half marathon.

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(Robin, me, and April)  Robin first got into running last year with our Run for God 5k group.  She is a huge inspiration as she has gotten off all her COPD and asthma medications since she took up running.  April and I ran together at almost every Saturday group run.  She’s a bit faster than me and really helped motivate me to keep up.  We talked and talked and talked every Saturday morning and I’m going to miss running together so much.

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This shot is of Jill and me at mile 10.  Jill and I ran together at Myrtle Beach and had so much fun.  We both were shooting for a sub 2:30 time and made our goal with 9 whole minutes to spare.  Woot!  Woot!  Way to go Jill!  That was an awesome 1st half marathon time.

Here’s a shot of the beach from our balcony.

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And at night it almost looked like Las Vegas to me.

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After the race on Saturday, we stayed a long time at the after race party.  There was plenty of good food and of course, Ron loved the IPAs.

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Later on that night, we went to the House of Blues for the marathon party and dinner.  The food was pretty good but they ran out of IPAs.   When I handed Ron a Michelob Ultra, you should have seen the funny face he made.  It was hilarious!  So funny that my beer loving man will not drink an American lager. 

The most fun thing to me though was while Ron was enjoying his beer after the race, I slipped into the massage tent. 

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10-15 minute massages were complimentary and man oh man was it awesome.  See that move that the therapist has on the person in the yellow shirt?  Well, my guy did this same move but once he got my knee up in the air, he did this shake kind of thing that really hit all the right spots.  I’ve only had a massage one time in my life other than this quick one.  I’ve got to budget some money in for more of them.  A full hour massage after a race would be pure heaven.

Next up for me is the Tobacco Road Half Marathon here in my neck of the woods.  The medal looks killer and I have to admit, that’s what made me sign up. 

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The ATT sits on an abandoned railroad corridor that has been preserved for recreational use.  That’s the significance of the train on the medal. 

25 days and counting.  Let the new training begin.  Smile

I’ve got this idea that if I can lose 20 pounds, maybe I can shave 20 minutes off my half marathon time.  Now I know I can’t lose 20 pounds in 25 days but maybe I can lose 6 or so.  And if I keep at it, maybe I can run a sub 2:00 hour half before 2013 comes to a close. 

Night friends!

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Reindeer Dash for Cash

The last race of the year.

Reindeer Dash for Cash

Here we are.  Lisa and me.  True Sole Sisters through and through.  Smile

Lisa and I have been running buddies since way back in 2010.  We’ve ran in a lot of races together and even one marathon.  She says I help her as much as I say she does me but I don’t know.  She is the most motivating person in the world to me.  An awesome, awesome friend.

Lisa is a good bit faster than me.  She has really been rocking the Cross Fit and swears by it.  She’s got me doing it too but I’m not nearly as disciplined as she is.  We rode together to the race on Sunday and as we were getting out of the van she was talking to me like she was going to run with me or something.  I told her no way.  I would just slow her down.  I assured her that I would be fine.

About that time her husband looked at me and let me know to give it up.  Lisa was running with me.  She had made up her mind and that was that.

Lisa asked me if I wanted to try and run the entire race.  I have never done that before in a distance race.  I always walk through every water stop and also here and there along the course.  Since the race was only 10 miles, I decided to give it a try.

The Reindeer Dash for Cash is a wonderful race held in Greenville, NC.  It honors the life of Captain Christopher S. Cash who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq.  Chris loved to run and was passionate about education.  Proceeds from the race will help award annual scholarships in his memory.

The packet pick-up was superbly organized and very efficient.  I especially liked that they had all the swag bag items all out on a table.  First you got your shirt and timing bib and then you grabbed a bag.  Next you could just pick and choose the items that you wanted.  I picked up a cup, some Biofreeze, and some coupons but I passed on the lanyard.  (I have so many of these.)  I’m sure it saved many volunteer hours by not having to stuff the bags.  And….you didn’t end up with stuff you really didn’t need or want.

The race began in a park near the Tar River in downtown Greenville.  They had lots of stuff for the kids to do and many vendor tables.  I spied a Jersey Mike’s  truck and knew the after race food would be awesome.

Soon enough it was time for the race to begin.  A uniformed soldier sang the national anthem while another soldier presented the flag.

We started out near the back of the group and settled in to a pretty good pace right off the bat.  I always tend to start off too fast and Lisa was so good at keeping the pace down.  If I was going to make it the whole way without even one walk break, I had to resist the adrenaline surge and keep it slow and steady.

The race went through downtown Greenville and then on a really pretty greenway.  We also ran about 3-4 miles on the campus of East Carolina University.  There were lots of twists and turns and at every single one of them there was a uniformed soldier cheering us on and keeping us on course.  It was a relatively flat course with only one slight hill around the 8 mile mark.

I sipped the water from my water bottles and really did ok.  You’d think after 3 years of running I would have tried sipping while running but I really haven’t.  All summer long with the Galloway group, I would drink when we were in a walk in our 3 and 1 intervals.  At the 6 mile water stop, I decided to get a cup of Gatorade.  I told Lisa that I was just going to slow down for a second and try to gulp the fuel.  When the volunteer handed me the cup I bent it in a V shape and tried to take a sip.  I got a lot of it but a lot also got all over me.  It was hilarious.  The cup was very full so I took one more gulp and did better on my second try.  Mission Gatorade accomplished.

Before I knew it we were rounding the corner and heading to the finish line.  The street was lined with soldiers and they were all clapping and cheering us on.

When we crossed the bridge to the finish line the clock read 1:44.  I could not believe it!  I had expected to finish maybe  in something like 2:10 or so.  But 1:44!  I was on top of the world.

Here’s a breakdown of our splits:

Mile 1     10:20

Mile 2     10:05

Mile 3     10:05

Mile 4     10:03

Mile 5     10:10

Mile 6     10:19

Mile 7     10:31

Mile 8     10:59  (hill)

Mile 9     10:43

Mile 10    10:30

Average pace 10:22!  This was my fastest race pace ever in a distance run and the first distance race that I ran the entire way.

Lisa and I grabbed an ice cold bottle of water and then walked on over to meet up with her family.  Then we headed to the food tent.  I got a turkey croissant, a tiny slice of pizza, and a Krispy Kreme doughnut!  (couldn’t pass the doughnut up…..it ’s tradition    Smile)

I immediately posted a Facebook status touting this race as the best race all year.  And it was.

Run the Valley back in September was a very close second.

I’ve looked over all my other races from this year and tried to determine what made this one so great.

I discovered that even though I went to many of the races with friends, I actually only ran 2 races the whole year “with” a friend.  Dottie and I ran the whole way together back in September and Lisa stayed with me every step of the way last Sunday.  That’s what I like.  The togetherness.  When you get to share your experience with someone it just makes it that much more special.

Now what’s next?

My friend  Rebecca is going to run 1 half marathon every month for all of 2013.        Cool huh?

I’m going to focus on speed in 2013 and I’ve promised myself that I will not run anything over 13.1 miles.  I’m already registered for the Myrtle Beach half in February with our church group.  I also am dying to do Flying Pirate again in April.  Lisa might be doing Quintiles in Wilmington in March and that is one that I love too.  I could feasibly follow in Rebecca’s footsteps and do a half every month.  It would be a blast!

I do know that I am going to try to find the time to run 12 miles on 12-12-12.  Anyone want to join me?  I might be running in the dark due to work but I simply cannot pass up this corny opportunity.  I know.  I know.  I’m crazy.  But I’m happy!

Night all!