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.



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



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


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


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.


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.


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


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.


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.



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!


Happy Running!





Help me win Ron a cool medal hanger for Christmas

Hey everyone.  I’m trying to win a free medal hanger for Ron for Christmas.  Do me a favor and go to this site and then follow that site to the Facebook site.  Once you get in to Allied Medal Hanges FB site, like their page and click on Photo contest.  Find my medal hanger (“Fight the Good Fight, Finish the Race, Keep the Faith” and vote for me.  I’d be forever beholding!


Hey everyone……I’ve been super busy and I haven’t done anything especially blog worthy lately. 

I’ve been eating pretty well.  I’ve just got to get rid of my sweet tooth.  (Maybe I’ll leave a pit in a date and crack my sweet tooth and get it pulled like Ron.  That would cure me!)

I ran yesterday and I’m hoping to run today again.  My foot feels the same whether I rest it or run.

Here are a few of my favorite youtube videos:


The are both completely a cappella and are so cool!

Check them out.

I’m hoping to make some mmmm sauce tonight.  Check it out at:

Later friends!

Daydream to Reality

Today was an absolutely wonderful day.  I’m not sure why.  It was just a normal Thursday but I just loved it!  

I had to scan two huge manuals at work today and the scanner that I was using worked perfectly.  When you have thousands of pages to scan and your scanner doesn’t even jam once, you know you’ve got luck on your side.

After work, I made cornbread again and it was almost as good as my mom’s.  Here’s a pic of the self rising corn meal mix that I swear is the best ever.  And that’s my iron skillet that Mother gave me.  (This picture is of the cornbread just going in the oven.  When it comes out it’s golden brown.)


I also made up a pot of my famous TVP chili.  Bob’s Red Mill TVP is the best.  I have used Morningstar Meal Starters (frozen) in the past but regular unprocessed TVP is so much better.  My recipe calls for one packet of Truvia and my sister, Rosa, says that is the secret ingredient.  Funny thing….ever since she told me that, I’ve been so afraid to leave it out. 


I make this chili about once a week.  Ron, Lydia and I all love it.  Andie’s not a big fan of chili at all so we’ll have to tone it down some when she moves home.  Maybe every other week then. 

To all my neighbors…  I promise to learn to cook something else soon so I don’t have to bring this to all our cookouts this summer.

While the chili was simmering, I set out for a 5 mile run.  I was feeling so good, I decided to run a full 10k in honor of my 10k blanket that I’m crocheting for Mason.

I ran it in one hour and 8 minutes and loved every minute of it.  Well…every minute except one that is.


I ran tonight without my ipod and was really zoning out.  I ran by the Huskies with no problem.  Remember…they stay in their yards.  I ran by a Chow and he has an invisible fence too so no worries there.  I ran by the two retired police German Shepherds.  They stay put as well and have never even once barked at me.  Then I ran by a pit bull that is chained out by his tree in his front yard every now and then.  He looks so ferocious.  I was daydreaming about what I would do if he ever got off his chain and came after me.  I was planning on curling up in the fetal position and covering my face.  I thought I might kick him in the ***** and imagined that he would run off yelping.  Just about this time while I was still in my daydream, a different REAL pit bull came running at me out of nowhere!  Totally scared the living daylights out of me!  Thanks be to God, once he got right up on me, he just sorta smiled and started wagging his butt.  Right then and there I decided that I’m running with mace from now on.  (I gave my pink mace to Andie last year to keep with her at college but I’m getting some more ASAP!)

I’ll close tonight with a list of some of my favorite quotes.  I have a wee bit of an obsession. 



Whether you think that you can, or you can’t, you are usually right.

Henry Ford


27Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel

Philippians 1


12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity

23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men,  Colossians 3


I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but it is my chief duty to accomplish small tasks as if they were great and noble.
Helen Keller

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
Helen Keller

As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill.
Helen Keller

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.
Helen Keller

Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that clutched at emptiness, and my heart leaped to the rapture of living.
Helen Keller

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
Helen Keller

If you obey all of the rules, you miss all of the fun.
Katharine Hepburn

I have many regrets, and I’m sure everyone does. The stupid things you do, you regret… if you have any sense, and if you don’t regret them, maybe you’re stupid.
Katharine Hepburn

Give him enough rope and he will hang himself.
Charlotte Bronte

I’m just going to write because I cannot help it.
Charlotte Bronte

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Eleanor Roosevelt

A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.

Eleanor Roosevelt


And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln


Common looking people are the best in the world: that is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.
Abraham Lincoln


I walk slowly, but I never walk backward.
Abraham Lincoln


Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
Abraham Lincoln


Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.
Abraham Lincoln


Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.


We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28


Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

1 Peter 5:7

  ·         “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha 

“Don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.” ~ Satchel Paige


Ron and I took all three dogs for a walk today.  It brightened up a lot after yesterday’s storms and really turned out to be a great day.

Well,  I stopped to pick up poo from one of our dogs.  I always do that because I hate for dogs to go in our yard.  I am a very responsible dog walker.  I even have scented poo bags that Andie got me.  They are so cute and have a nice little wristlet that they fit in.  As I was busy with the poo, Lucky slipped out of her collar and ran away. 

This wouldn’t have been so frightening if it hadn’t of been right in front of a yard with three Huskies.  Not too long ago, a small dog wandered into their yard and one of the Huskies almost killed it.  These Huskies have an invisible fence so they stay in their yard but it doesn’t keep other dogs out.

Thankfully, Lucky did not go in that yard and I managed to get her back pretty quickly.  All was well but I was terrified.  Ron has now tightened all of the dogs collars!

My question is, if Lucky had wandered into

that yard and a fight had started, would the owners of the Huskies have held any liability?

What are your thoughts on this situation?


Man…what a day!  So FUN!


We started pretty early and traveled to Asheboro for Ron to run the Rugged Maniac 5k.  It’s a 3.1 mile race that has you go over and under many different obstacles.  Ron was nervous at first but he did great.




It was cold and muddy and I had a great time as a spectator but I really wished I had signed up.  Ron said he thought I could have done it.  Maybe next time.



On our way back home, Pittsboro and the Carolina Brewery and Grill was calling Ron’s name.  He has worked in the Pittsboro area on and off for several years and he’s been wanting to go all this time.  Today was the day.




He started with a paddle sampler and liked the Super Saaz Imperial Pilsner the best.  The only one that I even remotely liked was the Sky Blue Golden Ale.




I was more interested in DINNER!  We started with the Brewey Nachos.  They were served with vegetarian black bean dip that was to die for.




For our entrees’, Ron had a Chicken Fajita salad and I had the Quesadillas. 




They were stuffed with onions, mushrooms, and spinach.  I topped them with the guacamole, sour cream and salsa.  DEVINE.


Even though Ron was in no way interested in dessert, I just had to try their Tres Leches Cake.  I had never heard of it before until my niece’s daughter made one this week and posted it on Facebook.




The owner and creator of the brewery’s version explained to me that tres leches meant three milks.  She made their’s mostly like the traditional Tres Leches cakes but she added a layer of Boston Cream pudding and added Grand Marnier liqueur. 


Needless to say, I barely made a dent in this huge slice.  I brought the rest home to Lydia.


Ron brought a growler home filled with their award winning Flagship India Pale Ale. 




We had a bad storm roll by but it has quieted down now and thankfully Lucky has settled down for the night.  She is so nervous when we have storms.




Goodnight Friends!

To pizza or not to pizza

I am a distance runner.  I’ve been running many many miles for the last 18 months.  I’ve got a half marathon and two full marathons under my belt.  But you guys know that!

Along with all the oatmeal, peanut butter, butternut squash, quinoa, tofu, and green monsters, I have been enjoying lots of pizza!  I loved nothing better than to walk right up to a high school concession stand on a Saturday after my long runs and order up a slice or two.  I needed that fuel and I loved it.

Well, with Lydia in marching band and winter guard, I end up at a lot of competitions on the weekends.  Tonight was no exception.  I enjoyed watching Cleveland compete at Broughton High School in Raleigh.  All the units were so good.  It’s going to be a close one as far as scoring goes I know.   Lydia ….you were beautiful darlin’! 

The only problem with getting that greasy pizza tonight was that I did so without even thinking.  Did I need that 750+ calories today?  Not considering I haven’t run a lick since last Sunday’s marathon.

I’m going to half to retrain my thinking and get out of the pizza habit quick!   Or……. I better get a new race on the calendar soon.

Goodnight Friends!

Marathon #2 (Wrightsville Beach)

I’ve been taking a break from blogging but I bet you can guess what I’ve been up to.  I’ve been eating oatmeal and peanut butter, drinking green monsters with loads of spinach, running and going to boot camp, driving to and from many different work sites, going to church, and volunteering with Lydia’s band.  All the things that make me ….Me. 

And this morning….I ran another marathon.  I totally rocked it!  Shaved a whole 9 official minutes off my 1st marathon time.  (OBX official time was 4:56 and Wrightsville official chip time was 4:47)    Woohoo!  Wrightsville Beach Marathon was wonderful!


Ron ran the half marathon and he did great too!  Total official time was 2:35.  Way to go Honey!


Andie and Lydia met us at the finish line and cheered us on.  We had a blast.

My good friend, Lisa, ran today and I have to give credit where credit is due.  She is amazing!  She’s the one who pushed me and help me run faster!  Thank you Lisa and congratulations on running your first marathon!  Here’s to many more!


We have about one more month until the mother of all marathons begins.  Our Andie will be bringing our first grandchild into the world.

That means I’ve got to get busy!  I want to have a baby blanket crocheted and ready.  I’m attacking this monumental goal of completing the blanket with the same sort of plan that I devised to keep me on track for my marathon training.  Just wait to you see my spreadsheet.  You’ll laugh your head off. 

 “Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us…”  Hebrews 12:1

 I am a crocheter!

Hippies Use Backdoor…no exceptions!

Good Morning Asheville!  Our breakfast was so good.  We started with some fresh fruit served on some chilled fish plates. 


Then we had English muffins and some sort of egg entrée’.  Mine was vegetarian but Ron’s had bacon in it.


The breakfast conversation was so nice and I’m happy to report that my introvert of a husband cheerfully talked to all the other guests and seemed to have fun. 


After relaxing for a bit in our room, we were off for a run.  A short way through the neighborhood and down the street lead us right to the campus of UNC Asheville.  The city and the university have a joint greenway that made for a perfect run.  Ron ran the first 5 with me and then since I had my phone and I felt so safe, I ran for another 3 to the downtown area.  

Here we are cooling down on the porch and enjoying some lemonade.


Then it was lunch.  Leftover French bread and cheese with some almond butter.


Wish I had more to eat but we had to get moving to make our 3:00 Brews Cruise.

We did a walking tour through 4 local downtown breweries and had a great time.

Our first stop was Craggie’s.


It had my favorite beer and even a taste of some ice cream from “Hops” a local ice cream shop that uses beer to make their ice cream. 


Next stop was Green Man and I LOVED it too.


Here are some hops.  Don’t they look like rabbit food?


The hardest part of our tour involved walking straight up a huge hill on Church Street. 


This hill lead us to The Lobster Trap.  Can you believe they make an Oyster Stout?  It was horrible!

They served their samples with some oysters on the half shell.  I WAS STARVING by this time so I convinced myself that oysters were not really animals.  I had two with the Saltines and loved them.  I used to eat oysters on the half shell all the time growing up in Florida.


Our last stop was Asheville Brewing Company.  I was DONE with tasting by this point but Ron loved their Ninja Stout.


Finally, we made it to dinner.  The Laughing Seed Café (all vegetarian) was highly recommended and did not disappoint. 

I had tempeh and black beans and Ron had some sort of burrito.  We shared some jalapeño fries.


We walked some more down Wall Street after dinner.  Most of the shops were closed by this time so we just window shopped.


Dessert was a brownie and cookie when we got back to Hill House.


Such a fun day.