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!

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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.

The Plan

Well, here’s my plan for the 10 5 ks.

Since Ron is running a half with me on June 6th he will be in training mode my birthday weekend.  That’s great news because he has agreed to run the first 4 5ks with me.  We’re starting at 6:00am at the McDonald’s behind Crabtree and running a little past Shelley Lake and back.  I ran this route last weekend with my Centennial Running friends and I love how shaded it is. The only sun you have is a short distance on the top crest at Shelley.

That should take us about 2.5 hours and then we’ll come back home.  Ron has Kung Fu on Saturday and he’ll have to get ready for that.  But for me, I want to go to the Raleigh Galloway kick-off.  It’s from 9-11:30 and even though I know I’ll be too shy to ask for a picture with Jeff, I might can score some free running swag.  Last year they gave out my favorite running hat.  I don’t want to miss it.

I figure once I get home and have lunch and rest a little, I can do 2 more 5ks around my neighborhood on my tried and true normal running route.  I can’t even begin to think how many miles I have run on these streets over the last 5 years.  I can run them in my sleep!

Next up, probably around 3:00pm,  I can go to White Deer Park in Garner and walk at least 1 5k and maybe run one more.

To finish it up, I’m thinking of going to Sam’s Branch Greenway and running just past Riverwood and back.  I think I’ll shoot to start those last 2 5ks around 6:00pm.  It should be a little cooler at that time and then afterwards we can all go to Deep River Brewing in Clayton.

Well there you go.  Oh the best laid plans of Mice and Melissa!

If there’s a rainstorm I’m putting it out there right now that I am postponing.  I want this to be fun.  I know rain can be awesome and I’ll never forgot my monsoon half at The Flying Pirate in 2012.  I’m just not interested in tackling my first 50k in the rain.

When I check this off the bucket list, my birthday will mark my official summer training program.  I’m registered for Hinson Lake on September 26th.  Could a 50 miler at Hinson be within my reach?  I think I’m just crazy enough to try it!

Then I’m itching to go back to OBX this November and maybe Kiawah in December.  So excited!

I’m not forgetting my CF goals either.   Double Unders, real push-ups on my toes, and a pull-up…..you will be mine!

(Check out this grandma’s pull-ups!)  Inconceivable!

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Happy Everything!

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!

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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:

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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!

Accountability Partner

Back in the summer of 2009 I decided to play around with the new little thing that my girls were raving about.  It was a little thing called Facebook.  Ha!

I found a few old friends and connected with many of my current friends.  Next came my sisters, nieces and nephews, aunts and cousins, and even my mother.  I had a blast sharing pictures and keeping in touch.  It was so cool to be able to connect in almost real-time.

For as many bad things that I can name off about FB, I must admit that it has been the best accountability partner ever!

My friends and family knew I had just started running and their encouragement when I was running for 60 seconds at a time was the catalyst that kept me going. I’d post little updates about how happy I was and how my training was going.  Everyone would like my posts and comment with inspiring words.  I was hooked.  I looked forward to my workouts. I couldn’t wait to let everyone know what I had done.

Then during the next year when I was training for my first marathon, FB really gets a lot of the credit for keeping me accountable.  I knew my FB friends were aware of my training schedule and whether they really cared or not about my long runs, I felt that they did.  I wouldn’t miss a single training session because I didn’t want to have to admit it on FB.  I’d plan my whole day around getting my run in.  Even this little blog was an accountability partner of sorts.  I can specifically remember one time it was snowing and I was excited to go out and run just so I could come home and post that I did it.  LOL.  Good thing Lydia and my good friend Sheila called me out on it.  🙂

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As much as I know posting on FB every little exercise victory you make can be a little crazy, I still find it very motivating.  Same goes for posting smoothies and energy balls.

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Crazy as FB is you’ve got to admit that it is really fun!

So where am I getting with this little post?

For 2015, I’m asking each and everyone of my blog readers and my Facebook friends to be my accountability partners.

You know my priorities begin with my faith.  So, if you don’t see me in church for several weeks in a row, call me out on it!

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You know I really want to cross train regularly so if you’re my new CF friends and I don’t come to The Garage, message me and let me know you miss me.

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You know I’m trying to lose weight so if you see too many dessert photos, remind me that I’ll never out train a poor diet!

 

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You know I want to run faster so don’t let me skip the hard track workouts.

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I’m counting on you all to help.

I’ve got a few races on the agenda so far and I’m really looking forward to an awesome 2015.

Run for the Roses 5k – February 8th – For this race I’m shooting for a good solid sub 30 minute 5k.  I’ve only run one 5k in my life faster than 30 minutes and I so want my 5k time to keep getting faster.

Tobacco Road Half Marathon – March 15th – My goal is of course tied to speed for this race as well.  It is a flat course and it would be great to get below 2:12 and set a PR early in the year.

Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half Marathon – April 12th – All I want to do for this race is have fun and laugh in the face of all of Raleigh’s hills!

Race 13.1 Raleigh – June 6 – This one will probably be a time goal for me as well.

Since I’m turning 50 in 2015, I’m thinking about running a 50k.  I’m mailing my registration for the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra on Monday and I’m crossing my fingers I get in.  That race is in September so it will be the perfect time to fit in to my fall racing schedule which just happens to be wide open at this time!

Happy New Year!  Happy always!

Melissa

 

 

 

 

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.

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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

 

 

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

Swamp Sludge

 

I used to call my green smoothies, Green Monsters, but after last week when my sister dubbed them Swamp Sludge, the name has stuck.  And besides, these 2014 smoothies have taken on a whole new personality from the ones I first began drinking back in 2010.

In the olden days, I’d start in the bottom of the Vitamix with some almond milk, add a frozen banana, a scoop of protein powder, and maybe some berries, then a couple of handfuls of spinach.  They were delicious and a great recovery drink after my long runs.

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Now Swamp Sludge is a Green Monster on steroids!

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Ron invented these and I am so thankful that he takes the extra time and prepares these for us.  If it were up to me and I in charge of getting our protein recovery drink ready at 5:00am on a Saturday morning, it would probably be a tame little green monster at best.

Nothing doing for Ron.  It’s Swamp Sludge or bust!

Ron starts with green juice as the base.  Green juice is prepared in his Omega Vert juicer and has many of these in it on any given day:  kale, SuperGreens mix, celery, ginger, apples, and carrots.

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He puts probably about 2 cups of this juice in the Vitamix and then he adds some fresh blueberries and strawberries.  Next come the powders.  Garden of Life protein mix, spirulina, maca, and chlorella powders.  These powders are not sweet at all so today he added a little of this mix.

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This one is super sweet and a little bit will do ya.

After our long runs with Galloway on Saturday, we head to the truck and our cooler.   You won’t find anything this nutritious or delicious ANYWHERE!  You can’t buy this stuff!  In a pinch a Bolthouse Farms juice or a Smoothie King smoothie will get you close but those just can’t hold a candle to Swamp Sludge.

It does sound and look disgusting but I promise you, it is the bomb!  One Mason jar full satisfies me and I’m good to go until well up into the afternoon.   Do yourself a favor and next time someone offers you some chocolate milk after a long run, thank them kindly and go whirl up some Swamp Sludge.

Happy Sludging Friends!  🙂

 

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Banana Birthday Bonanza

I got up early and got my motivation on at the Jeff Galloway Marathon Training kickoff meeting.  This was my second time hearing him speak and wow!  Best running motivational speaker ever!  I’m already signed up for the Thunder Road Marathon in November but after today, I’ve got my sights set on a 50k as well.  Look out Google.  I’ll be searching you soon and seeing if I can find a 50K race to coincide with my training schedule.

Why a 50k you ask?  Well, Jeff says that one of the best things that can help you get faster is to run longer.  Jeff already has a 26 mile training run in his marathon training schedule.  And he says veteran runners shooting for time goals will benefit greatly by running even longer.  29-30 miles or more!  Jeff mentioned one person took over a half hour off his marathon time by running longer training distances.  Oh, no!  Has the ultra bug just nibbled at my toe?  I sure hope not!

My friends, I’ve just looked it up and 50k = 31.0686 miles

If you’ve been a reader here at A Handful of Spinach for long, you know that I am obsessed about getting faster.  I want to qualify for Boston and to do that, I’ve got to drop over 47 minutes off my best marathon time.  Hey, if Matt can do it, I can too right?!  I’m not really trying to hack my way in to Boston, but I am looking at doing all I can to get there.  So here we go.  This is my plan.  This year at Thunder Road, I need to run a 4:30!  There.  I’ve said it.  It’s out there.  Now to put in the work and get it done.  4:30 won’t get me to Boston this year but it will move me in the right direction.  Next year I can shoot for 4:15 and then before you know it, I can sneak in under 4:00 and qualify.  Jeff Galloway is almost 69 and he just ran a 4:09 and qualified again and ran Boston last month.  And, he did it by running insanely short intervals.

My plan is as follows:

Can you tell I’m motivated?  It might have been the Galloway meeting.  It might be because it’s my birthday and I feel better at 49 than I did at 29.  Or it might have a little something to do with this awesome Banana, Peanut Butter, Chia Seed Smoothie.  Wowzer!  Who needs Cook-Out?  I tell you this is it.  Probably the best smoothie I’ve ever made!

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Start with one cup of un-sweetened almond milk.  Add one frozen banana, 1 TBSP PB2, 1 TBSP chia seeds, 1/3 cup Old Fashioned raw oats, and a few ice cubes.  Whirl it up and enjoy!

Here’s to a great day everyone!  In just a little while Ron, Andie, Jonathan, Mason, and Lydia are taking me to Fiction Kitchen for my birthday dinner.  I hope I don’t jump out of my seat and embarrass everyone with the ultimate natural high I’m on.

I’m going to have to check out that PB2 and make sure Ron didn’t add any secret ingredients to that powder.  LOL

Happy Running Friends!

Run Happy

Tonight  I headed over to the best running store in all of Raleigh, Capital Run Walk.  It was their Thursday night social run.  The Brooks Run Happy Island Bus was there and they were giving away all sorts of prizes.

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I won a t-shirt!

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It’s a cotton one and I never run in cotton.  I do however love to wear them with jeans.

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Superman and Batgirl were there.  I even ran along side of Superman for a while.  Smile

Brooks was offering a free gait analysis and even though I’ve had it done several times it was fun to try it out again.  I have very mild pronation and wouldn’t know it, the best shoe for me is exactly what I have.  The Brooks Ravenna!

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These are the ones that I won last Christmas at the Capital Run Walk Ugly Christmas Sweater Run.  Oh and check out those new Lock Laces.  They are fabulous!  I’ll never go back to regular laces again.  Once you get them adjusted you’re all set.  So easy to slip your shoes on and off.  They stay at just the perfect tightness and you never have to worry about double knotting or worrying about your shoes coming untied.

They have the best raffles at CRW!  Tonight they gave away so many cool prizes and a whopping 4 pairs of shoes.  I wasn’t the big winner tonight but I still had a blast.

It was a lovely night and such a fun atmosphere.  So many runners.  I got to see my friend Jordan and I met some new friends, Mindy and Jessie.  Mindy gave me the name of some women who run in the mornings near where I work and I’m so excited.  I might have found some new weekday running partners.

Last night I ran up to the high school’s track and ran a mile as fast as I could.  Then I did an easy run home.  That’s 3 miles all total.  Tonight’s run was also 3 miles.  6 miles in 2 days and I feel great!  Tomorrow at lunch I’m planning on a hill workout and then Saturday I’m shooting to get in 5 or 6 miles.

Happy Running Friends!

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!

Andie

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!