Giving Back

Last Sunday my flat Melissa looked a little different.


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. 


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!


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


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


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.


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.


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.


Happy Running Ya’ll!

City of Oaks Marathon

Well there you go!  Another marathon is in the books.  I cannot believe I’ve done 4 marathons.

26.2 x 4

It’s inconceivable sometimes!  Ask any one of my friends and family.  They’ll tell you that I don’t seem like the running type.  They’ll tell you that it just doesn’t fit with my personality.  I don’t really look like a runner either.

The only problem with all of that is…..I definitely am a runner.


Don’t ask me how it happened?  It kinda just slipped up on me.  November 2009 came and for some reason I kept getting on the treadmill.  January 2010 came and I got my very first pieces of running clothes.  February 2010 came and I ran my first race.  The Krispy Kreme Challenge.  My husband, my niece, and my nephew ran it with me and after that I was hooked!

I ran all of 2010 and then celebrated in November with the City of Oaks half marathon and then the Outer Banks full marathon.  Two weekends apart.  I couldn’t have been happier!

2011 brought another marathon and many other fun races.

In 2012, I lead a Run for God class at our church.  We had a blast running together and loved learning more about God and how to run our own race to His glory.  Next I found the Galloway program and changed up my training.  2012 has also been the year I set a goal to run a race a month.

For November’s entry, let me recap last Sunday’s City of Oaks Marathon.  It was a doosey!

Since I’ve done so many races now, Ron doesn’t always come with me anymore.  He’s still a big supporter.  He just doesn’t come to all of my races.  For some reason, I really wanted him to come to the City of Oaks.  When I asked him, he just sorta shrugged and asked me what he would do for 5 hours all by himself?  I jokingly said that he could run with me.  That’s all it took.  He thought that was an awesome idea and with only one day’s planning, he went to the expo with me and signed up for the half marathon.

Ron doesn’t really have a set training plan but he is always exercising.  He now has 2 Total Gyms.  One at home and his old one at work.  He works out on that thing all.the.time.

When he runs, he usually only does one loop around our neighborhood.  (2.1 miles)  When he gets on the treadmill, that 2.1 number is his favorite.  Rarely does he ever clock more that 3 or 4 miles tops.

Don’t ask me how he does it but even with that low mileage, he can always pull out an awesome half marathon.  I’ve been trying to get him to do just one full marathon but he won’t agree to it at all.  He says he’s just fine with halfs.  Smile

The City of Oaks is run on the first Sunday in November and that’s the day the time changes.  What luck!  The 7:00am start feels like 8:00 to your body.  Fun fact:  The day we Fall Back is the anniversary of our first date.  Happy 25th Honey!

Here’s a picture of Ron and me just before the start.  It was a cool 32 degrees.  A perfect day for a run.

Me before race     Ron before race

Take a look at my new Bondi Band.

frequent walk breaks.

In honor of the Galloway method, I just had to get it.

Ron and I didn’t get to the race with too much time to spare.  Luckily we picked the perfect line for the porta johns and breezed right through.  Here’s a race tip I bet you haven’t heard before.  When you get to the porta john line, pick one of the lines on the ends.  The johns are often lined up in a U or L shape and if you get the one on the end, you’ll get a larger number of them opening up.  Our line was moving so fast.  I really felt sorry for some of the runners in the lines in the middle.  I know they were getting so stressed.

The race began with a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  I was tearing up right there on the spot.  No prayer though, so I quickly bowed my head and prayed for everyone’s safety.

Just like that we were off.

I started my 3 and 1 intervals right off the bat and really enjoyed the downtown Raleigh run.  I’ve done so many 5ks downtown, I’m learning all the hills pretty well.

My 10k time was 1:10.  I was feeling great.

Around mile 7 though, I started to get the feeling that I needed to use the bathroom.  I never have to go on my training runs but I always end up stopping at least once in every marathon.  Must be my nerves.

There were supposed to be porta johns at every water stop but I didn’t see one at mile 8 or at mile 10.  I was getting so frustrated.

Thankfully at mile 12 I spotted one and slipped in and out quickly as there was no line at all.

Next on my agenda was to make it to mile 14.  That was supposed to be the first aid station that had gels.  After getting so annoyed with my fuel belt in my trail marathon last month, I decided to just depend on the aid stations for my fuel.

Well mile 14 came and went and not a gel in sight.  This was already pushing it for me to go without fuel and I was starting to freak out.  I found a nice spectator and her daughter that were giving out Fig Newtons and reached my hand in the bowl and took one cookie.

Perfect.  One Fig Newton would do the trick.  I could make it to mile 15 now and that was the next station with gels.

Well, as you can guess, I passed mile 15 and no aid station in sight.

About this time I looked down and right there in the middle of the greenway was one lone Hammer Gel.  I hesitated for a second but quickly bent down and picked it up.  I looked at it closely and it seemed to be in perfect condition.  The seal had not been torn at all.  Crazy thoughts raced through my head about maybe someone injecting the pouch with a poison.  In the end, I tore it open and downed it.  I’m sure it must have just been inadvertently dropped by a fellow runner.  It was my favorite.  Chocolate!  Smile  It tasted just like a tube of Duncan Hines frosting.  Delicious.

I was good to go.

Then, only a few tenths of a mile down the trail, the most amazing aid station you could ever imagine appeared.  It was like a mirage appearing in the desert.  It was stocked with zillions of gels, orange slices, grapes, pretzels, water, and sports drink.  The even had a dj and were rockin’ out some awesome tunes.  I didn’t eat anything but I accepted another gel that a volunteer was handing out.  I held on to that gel for dear life.  It was like I was afraid I’d never see another gel again.

I didn’t need to be afraid.  From that point on, gels were abundant.

Around mile 19 my knee started to hurt like crazy.  I have had ITB issues in the past and I knew exactly what was happening.  I kept jogging but what I was figuring out was that the people that were waking near me were going just as fast as I was.

I met a very nice person that was having foot pain.  We ended up walking for quite some way together.  Her name was Jaime and as we talked we found out we had a friend in common.  Jaime was such an inspiration.  She’s going to go to Iceland next year and will be running what will amount to a marathon a day for 7 days.  (I think that’s right.  Jaime, correct me if I got it wrong.)

At the last aid station at mile 25, a volunteer commented on my OBX t-shirt  I was wearing.  She smiled and said that today’s race had a bit more hills than the Outer Banks.  We locked eyes on that comment and then after I smiled, we both started LAUGHING OUT LOUD.  She could tell how much pain I was in and knew that I needed to laugh rather than cry.  I guess you had to be there but it was the funniest thing in the world to me at that moment.

Just after that, I spotted Ron.  Turns out he was super worried about me and had even talked with the police and some of the race officials.  He never expected me to take that long to finish and knew I must have run into some kind of trouble.  I was so sorry that I worried him so.

My time was 6:05.


Ron finished his half in 2:48.

Here we are after we got home with our medals.


And here’s a close up of the medals.


Pretty huh?!

We had a wonderful time.  The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  The City of Oaks 2012 was amazing.

I will admit I was somewhat disappointed in my time right after the race.  But now that I’ve had a few days to take it all in, I’m better.  I’m thankful for my health and for God leading me to this awesome hobby of running.  I’ve foamed rolled a couple of times and even though it hurts like the dickens, I know it’s for my own good.

I want so much to be faster but I realize I did the very best I could considering the ITB trouble.

I found this quote my the 1972 Olympic Gold Medal marathoner, Frank Shorter:

“You can actually suffer a little bit more going slowly than when you’re going really fast. A faster marathon might even be easier than a slow one, in terms of what it takes out of you mentally.”

My 4:47 marathon took a lot out of me physically but this 6:05 marathon was one of the hardest mental challenges I’ve completed.

Next up is my last race of the year.  My good friend, Lisa, and I are running a 10 miler.  It’s called the Reindeer Dash for Cash and is sure to be a hoot.  I can’t wait.

Happy Running Y’all!

“But those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”
– Isaiah 40:31