RDC Inaugural Marathon

November 12th was the day!  RDC was going to be my comeback marathon.  Charleston was such a disaster and Oak Island wasn’t too much better.  I was determined to fuel well and really give it my all.  I had certainly trained well all year so there was no reason RDC shouldn’t go very smoothly.

Ron and I were ready to run!  Ron the half and me the full.


Let me step back a minute and let you know about RDC, Raleigh – Durham – Chapel Hill.  This was the first year for this marathon.  The route was almost exclusively on the American Tobacco Trail.     We practice all the time on this trail with my run club.  It is almost completely flat!  Here are a few of my favorite training run shots.  The first and last one are on the ATT but I think that middle one was on a greenway maybe around the lake at Koka Booth Amphitheater.  That’s me and Connie in the first picture and I’m with Deanna in the middle.  Me and Connie again and more friends from our run club in the last one.


RDC was a great race!  I liked that it was local and that they were raising money to help find a cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The race expo was held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  It was a very cold day and the expo was very small but it was well run.  I liked the shirt okay and they gave out a nice sweatshirt.   Here I am a few hours after the race all showered up and sporting the swag.  The medal was great!



The night before the race we were at home so I was able to easily eat my normal night before a long run meal.  I had a Quorn chicken cutlet and baked Japanese purple potato.  My good friend Claudia swears by a small meal similar to this and she runs a race just about every weekend.   I tested this before my 23 miler and my 18 miler and those runs went very well.

I really wanted to do well in this marathon but I knew I had to be realistic.  All the numbers from my training runs pointed to me doing between a 5:15 and a 5:30 full.  So, I decided to hook up with the 5:25 pacer as early as possible.  I knew I had to keep it slow in the beginning if I had any hopes of finishing strong.

Here I am with Charlotte.  She was the 5:25 pacer and I hung with her from around mile 1 until mile 23.


Charlotte wears a costume in all of her marathons and I remembered her from Charleston.  She wore a Southern Bell costume in that race that was so awesome.  Complete with a parasol and everything.   This costume was the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland and she wasn’t gonna let us be late!

Around mile 23 I slowed down a bit to put my earbuds back in my fuel belt and she got a little away from me.  I caught back up with her but something happened and my legs just wouldn’t move any more.  I was still running but I kept slowing down more and more.

I smiled and told her to go on and she did and she finished the race right on her 5:25 pace.  She was so sweet to stick around and cheer me in when I came in 11 minutes later.  That’s right.  I finished in 5:36 and lost a full 11 minutes in the last 3 miles!  So bummed!

I’m really thankful to Charlotte though because up until mile 23 I had a great race!  I felt wonderful!  Not a smidgen of pain anywhere and I was all smiles the entire course.  Even after I slowed down, I still had a good run.  So many of my friends were on the course racing and it was a beautiful day.  It was a little cold but not too bad and the day was sunny with no wind.

I’m excited for Charlotte because she has been  trying to run a marathon in all 50 states and will be able to achieve this goal in April of 2018.  She’s running the Garmin Marathon Land of Oz in Olathe, Kansas.  They have the Wizard of Oz theme and Charlotte has a lot of costumes planned.  She told me about this article that was in the news about her and I found it.  Click here and learn more about my awesome pacer!

Here I am at the finish with my good friends Connie (on the right) and Deanna (on the left.)


Connie has been trying to run a sub 5:00 full for some time and she knocked it out of the park!  Deanna was in beast mode too and finished this marathon only 3 weeks after running the Marine Corps Marathon.

RDC is a great marathon and I might consider it again next year.  I love that it is so flat and even though you are on the American Tobacco Trail for practically all 26 miles, you will have a little crowd support.

RDC finishing times

Ron gives RDC 2 big thumbs up.  He had a great half marathon and loved waiting around for me due to the fact that they had an awesome craft beer on tap!

Happy Running friends!



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!


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s my results:

Tobacco Road results

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

TR splits

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

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

Most importantly, I’ve done my ITB exercises.

Happy Easter!  Happy Running!

Run for the Roses 5k

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Check out that Carolina Blue sky!

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

Meet Daphne Alice Mills!


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

Signing off and hitting the treadmill!

Think Spring everyone!

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

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!





Gasparilla Half Marathon


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.



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.


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.



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.


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!


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!


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

Bull City Race Fest Recap

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



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.


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!


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!


We had veggie nachos for starters.


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.


I got fish and chips.


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

So, I had plenty of room for my weakness!


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.


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.


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.


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:


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!


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.


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.


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.


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!


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!

RunRaleigh Half with LIsa

Happy Running Friends!

Run the Valley…..and the Mountain


most photos by Christy Crisco and used by permission

In my quest to run a race a month for all of 2012, I came across the little gem of a race called Run the Valley.

Since my training mileage is increasing every week, I knew I wanted to look for at least a half marathon. If I was going to miss my Galloway training run I knew I had to make it worth it. However, my stipulations were many. I wanted a race destination that was not too far away. I wanted a low entry fee. I wanted a medal. And, most importantly, I wanted a cool race shirt. Run the Valley met and far exceeded all my expectations.

Run the Valley begins in the town of Badin and runs to the top of Morrow Mountain and then back again. I had never heard of Badin but I knew Morrow Mountain. My niece got married there so I knew it was close to my sister’s home in Mt. Pleasant, NC. Total distance from the Raleigh area was only about 2.5 hours away. Perfect. I knew I could either drive early the morning of the race day or I could spend the night with my sister. No hotel costs for me. Huge Win!


The entry fee was only $35.00. I could not believe it. At first I just knew that you’d never get a medal for that price and if you got a shirt, it would be a” rotten” cotton one.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. For the very low price of $35.00, somehow they provided us with the most amazing race you could imagine. Nice medal. Very cool shirt. A long sleeved technical one and you even had the choice of a man’s or woman’s fit.  And we even got a sweat towel.

548399_3639535712101_1114303676_n         IMAG0850

I was sold! I knew I wanted to do it but I knew that running a race alone (no matter how cool of a race it is) is never as much fun as when you share the adventure with a friend. My only problem was that Ron hasn’t been training as much lately and he isn’t prepared to run that far right now. I knew I’d have to drum up a buddy to run with from my Facebook friends. I posted on my FB page and I didn’t get any takers so I also posted on my Galloway pace group page. That’s where I met up with Dottie.

Dottie has been running for over 30 years and is an inaugural member of the Raleigh Galloway Program. She said there couldn’t have been more than 20 or 30 members when they began and now our Raleigh group is over 500 members strong. That makes us the largest Galloway program in the nation. Dottie has 10 full marathons under her belt and too many half marathons to remember. She saw my post and was also intrigued. She decided to register that day.

This year, Dottie mostly runs with the 11:00 pace group and I run with the 10:30’s. We kept missing each other on Saturday mornings and remained FB only friends for about a month. Early race day morning, we met for the first time face to face and became in person friends instantly. Isn’t it so cool how a common hobby such as running and racing can help you find a new friend!? One of the group leaders in the 10:30 group told me that all of her best friends now are people she met at Galloway.

I’ve thought about how I was going to put my thoughts into words all week and how in the world I would ever give you a glimpse of the beauty of the valley and the mountain.

I knew it was going to be hard. Especially hard because I had only one photo to share with you. My phone has officially bit the dust. It hasn’t really worked well at all since I ran with it in the rain back in March. I had charged it all night but before I could even snap one picture on race morning, it was dead. This photo of me and Dottie with our medals was taken by a nice person I met at the awards ceremony. Her name was Kara and when I told her my phone had died, she didn’t hesitate to snap a picture and email it to me. Thanks Kara!


What I really needed were all the cool pictures that the race photographer took. So, I found her on FB and sent a message to her. I asked for permission to use her pictures and luckily she agreed. I’m not positive that she took every single one of these pictures but since she seemed like she was the head race photographer, I’m hoping that it will be ok. Please visit their FB page for a complete viewing of all the wonderful race day photographs. 

Early Saturday morning, I drove into Badin. It was still dark and when I approached the town limits and I could just make out the lake that Badin is famous for. Badin Lake is very popular and the boat dock was quite busy that morning as are most Saturday mornings I am sure. There was a slight mist rising from the lake and that mixed with all the lights from the trucks and boat trailers gave me a sense that I was in for quite the adventure.

Just around from the dock, my Garmin told me to turn and I found my way to an Elementary School that runners were supposed to park at. One foot out of my car and I knew something was different. It was Saturday. It was dark. But it was cold. I have been running all summer and every Saturday I faithfully apply sunscreen while it is still dark and try to find something to wear that will camouflage all the sweat that I will be swimming in moments after I begin running. Today was different. It was cold. I couldn’t believe it. Fall was actually here and the horrors of this challenging, humid, HOT, Summer were finally coming to a close. I was SO happy.

Dottie and I met up at the bib pick up area and quickly became friends. We then started planning our Mountain strategy. Dottie doesn’t normally run her Galloway intervals on race days anymore since she is so experienced. However, I really wanted to. She didn’t think twice and agreed to run them with me. I set my Garmin to the run 3 minutes – walk 1 minute interval and just like that we were off.

Note…that’s the one small suggestion I have for the race directors. It was fine to just say, “On your mark, get set, Go!”   I liked that part a lot. I didn’t miss the gun start at all. I did miss the singing of the national anthem. I did really miss the prayer. I’m sure there was someone in Stanley County that would have loved to showcase their voice with the singing of the national anthem. And, with all the Run for God t-shirts that I saw in the race, I’m sure others missed beginning the race with a prayer.

The race began very quickly and before I knew it I looked around and Dottie and I were dead last. Not a single person behind us. That has never happened to me in a race. I could not believe it and was sort of freaking out. Dottie wasn’t irritated in the least and just told me to stick with the intervals and that we’d catch up to some other runners soon enough. Her easy going attitude calmed me down and we settled into a good rhythm. The run down Valley Drive was so tranquil. Dottie kept pointing out different houses she liked and how nice the landscape was. It was a very pretty run.


Not long after we started up Morrow Mountain Road, I spotted some runners in the distance. The mountain was tough but with the intervals it was doable.


Here’s an elevation graph so you can get an idea of what we were facing.


We kept chugging up the hills and then there was this huge hill and a sharp horseshoe curve. There was a race photographer right there in the curve so I told Dottie that we had to run and smile for the picture.

Here’s a shot of me in that curve.


Here’s my very favorite picture of the entire race. Two runners giving each other a high five as they pass one another.


And here’s another great mountain shot:


We made it to the top before we knew it and then we began the descent.  We met up with a two other runners and chatted with one of them a bit.  It was his first half marathon and I told him that he really picked a hard one.

We trailed 2 other runners the entire way back into Badin.


We finished up just behind them and when we met up with them at the food tent, they just smiled and smiled and told us that we were really challenging.  They said we were relentless.

This race was one of my very favorite that I’ve ever run.

Dottie won 1st in her age group and I won 3rd in mine.


My very first trophy ever.  I am so proud of it but I promised myself that I’d come clean tonight and reveal that there must have only been 3 women in my age group.  LOL

85 total participants.  The smallest but most wonderful half marathon I’ve ever run.

Way to go Vac and Dash!  Next time I’m  in your next of the woods, I’ve got to visit your running store.  Well, running and vacuum cleaner store that is.  I’ve got nothing but the highest regards for you all!

Run for God

I am so very happy that so many of our Run for God group were able to complete their first 5K.  Awesome, awesome job.   I have loved every minute of our 12 weeks together and I hope to get together and run many times in the future.  I love you guys!  You ROCK!

My Race of Grace time was 31:45  That is my Personal Record for a 5k and I’m very happy with that……but….I’m still chasing that elusive 29 minute mark.

My goal was to not walk at all and to not stop at the water stops.  I don’t need water on a 3 mile run.  No need to stop.  I knew this but somehow, the water called my name and I stopped.  It was pretty cool and delicious on this hot day.  However, that one stop made me give up the goal of running all the way and I ended up walking two other times.  I figured I had already stopped once, no way I could say I ran all the way so why bother.

If I could have just passed that water stop.

If I could have just focused and made it up those two hills.

Could I have gotten to 29 minutes?  I don’t know.

I wish so much that I didn’t have such a all or nothing mentality.  This is something I am going to pray about a lot.  I don’t like this character trait one bit.

Something happened to me as I was walking that hill.  I met a nice lady.  She was a marathoner like me but was struggling to get back into shape after taking some time off with an injury.  We walked that hill together and then we ran together for most of the last mile.  On our second walking break, I told her about me being there with our Run for God group.  She was so excited about it and wants to start a small group at her church.  I gave her the website:  http://www.runforgod.com/ and with such an easy address, I’m sure she will be able to find all the information she needs to get her group started.

So….it’s not about me running all the way.  I needed to walk that hill.  I needed to meet Jessica.  God wanted me to pass on that website.  All for the glory of God and may His will be done and not mine.

Maybe next time He will want me to finish in 29 minutes so I can meet someone at the finish line He wants me to talk to.  Maybe next time, He might want me to finish way in the back and encourage someone struggling to finish.  Who knows?!  I’ve got to remember what I’ve been trying to teach for 12 weeks now:

Run for God!

Shake a leg for Charles 5k

What a gorgeous morning for a run.

Many of us from our Run for God small group met up and ran a 5k for a young man who is battling cancer.  I was so excited for everyone.  They have all done so so well and I hope they can see how proud of themselves they should be. 

Here we all are before the race.


And here are a few action and finishing shots.  We all had a blast.







I was inspired by everyone’s awesome performance but I half to admit I was awed by Jill pushing their son in a stroller and finishing so strong.  I have been a wimp and haven’t really even tried running with Mason.  I hope this will change very soon.

Now Ron and I are at Lake Benson with Mason.  Ron is shooting for 6 miles in preparation for next week’s half marathon at the OBX.  Mason and I are checking out the swings. 

Could this day be any prettier?

God is good!