Marathon training begins…. Again

ImageOk, so my vacation in Las Vegas is over.  I enjoyed 5 days of rest from running, all the while enjoying just about everything Vegas.  Little rest, gambling, sight-seeing, people watching, and of course, eating.  I enjoyed a few too many delicious buffets, putting me almost four pounds heavier upon my return home.  Now my focus turns from rest and relaxation to marathon training again.

This trip I didn’t run at all, and that is unusual.  I promptly laced up my running shoes and ran four miles last night to shake out the cobwebs.  Back at it.  I have too many important and fun races in the Fall to not be prepared.  It’s been a little over two months now since my last marathon in Virginia (Blue Ridge Marathon), and I have kept up a decent base.  I do, however, have to start throwing in some speed work, and the weekly long run to gain back the endurance piece.  Summer is definitely here in central North Carolina, so long runs are challenging at this time of year.  I have to focus more so than during winter marathon training.  I have 92 days left until the Asheville City Marathon and I want to be prepared to go sub 3:45:00.  My weekly mileage will start to increase, and I have thrown in a few Summer races to mix up the hot monotony of training and give me some added speed challenges.  I am happy to be training again with purpose, purpose that is the 26.2.

Are you training for a Fall Marathon or two?  I am planning two, possibly three, and am already excited to put in the work to get me there.  Happy training to you!


ImageIt’s been a few days since my last post, but all for good reasons.  First we had a bad storm roll through a week ago today, with straight line winds of 80mph.  It knocked out power to my home for almost 48 hours.  Then I got food poisoning, and was down for the count for a few more days.  Now, with only two more days until I go on vacation,I wanted to blog again and post a question.  Do you run while on vacation?

I have made several trips for the sole purpose of running a race.  A couple of years ago I flew to Philadelphia to run a Half Marathon with my brother and a few friends in Jersey City.  I’ve also flown to Las Vegas to run in the 2011 Strip at Night, the first Rock ‘n’ Roll event out there on the Strip with the evening start.  I love running while on vacation, but sometimes we just need the rest.  This trip I am not planning on running at all.  I am using it as a small break to rest, and get my body ready for Fall Marathon training, which begins when I return home.

I pose a few questions.

1. Do you prefer a runcation or a traditional vacation?

2. Where have you traveled to race?

3. What distance is the furthest you’ve traveled to race?

My answers?  I love to take vacations period, but love to be able to include a race because it may be the only chance I have to run a race in that area.  I’ve traveled to NY, SC, VA, NJ and NV to race.  The furthest away being Las Vegas twice to race.  The other race I did just north of Vegas was in Area 51.  The E.T. Midnight Half Marathon in Rachel, NV.Image

Upcoming Races

Here is a list (not solid yet) of upcoming races on my calendar.  My quest for 13 Half and Full Marathons for 2013 continues into the Summer and Fall.  There are a bunch of options, but spacing them out is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Image  Taking a trip to South Carolina next month and will do this race with my kids.  This is one of the top 10 biggest races yearly in the state.

Image  On recommendation of folks that have run this race before, this Half Marathon is on my list during a road trip to NY this August.  This race will put my Half/Full count at 7 for the year.  That leaves 6 more for Fall.

9/21 –  Midtown Race Series Johnson Lexus Half Marathon in Raleigh

Image  I’ve already signed up for this Marathon in Asheville, NC.  I ran the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate earlier this year in March, and just fell in love with the City of Asheville, so I thought I would return in the Fall for the City Marathon.  Completely different course.  I took advantage of the discount they were offering on National Running Day!

Image  Running this race again, as it is a favorite, and I am friends with the race director Paula.

image  The Bull City Race Fest!  This event is on 10/20, and I am signed up for the Half Mary.  This will be my first time running this event.

I may run the Greensboro Marathon on 10/26.

Hallowed half  I ran this hilly Half last year.  It is a Halloween themed race that was really tough, but very enjoyable.  Not sure I can do a back to back Half and Full the same weekend.  Jury is still out on this weekend.

City of oaks  The City of Oaks is our local marathon in the Fall, and this will be my first year running it.  I work along the race route, and have worked the last two years on race day.  It makes me very jealous to watch the masses pass by, but this year will be a different story.

Depending on if I get all these races in, my goal will be complete at this Marathon on 11/3.  If I happen to miss one of the events listed above, I have a fall back on race, the Skinny Turkey Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day.  I have run that race the last two years, and really want to reach my goal prior to that this year so that I can just eat on Turkey Day.

So, what do you think of this schedule?  It means either 4 or 5 marathons this year, and either 8 or 9 Halves.  Lofty goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, but I can make it, if I stay focused, trained and injury free.

Saving the Ta-ta’s 5k race recap

It was an early morning.  My 17 year old son and I had to be in Raleigh for our first time running the Race for the Cure 5k.  We’ve had a few days of torrential rains from Tropical Storm Andrea, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got up this morning at 4am, that the rain had finally ceased.  We left the house at 5:20, and found parking right at the start finish area thanks to a tip from a friend who has been at this race many times.  Since this race is so large, they make the masses park at the PNC Arena several miles away, and be shuttled in.  We were so lucky to have been able to park so close.

We were running as part of Team RunRaleigh Racing, and about 15 of us all gathered at 6:30 for a few group photos.  After that we filed into the starting area, very close to the front.  I have heard that because this race is so large, the start can be a challenge.  We wanted to be near the front so that we didn’t have to worry about tripping over other people.  As the starting bell rang, we were off.  The first mile or so heads down Hillsborough St. away from Meredith College before it breaks to the left and becomes a rolling course through old Raleigh neighborhoods.  My son Dylan was ahead of me the first mile, and I just wanted to stay within range of him.  We hit the first mile clock at 6:40.  Ok, I though, I can do this.

The second mile was more challenging.  I slowed a bit, and my son did as well.  There were plenty of cheering folks on the sides of the streets, which was nice.  I caught up to Dylan right about mile 2.  We were still sub 7 minute pace at that point.  6:56 to be exact.  We ran side by side for the next 1/2 mile as we passed a singing choir on the lawn of a church.  Now, that was unexpected!  At mile 2.5 we were at 7:05 pace, and I told my son that if he wanted to reach his goal of under 21 minutes, that he had to hightail it to the finish.  He just didn’t have it in him, and started fading.  I passed him, thinking that he would whoop my ass at the finish, but it wasn’t to be.  I finished in 22:18, he rolled in just seconds later at 22:29.  We both had a really good race.  I have no idea yet how many people ran the race, or how many were in our age groups, but I finished 13th in AG, 86th Overall.  My son finished 14th in AG, and 94th Overall.

It was a very inspiring day!  Inspiring to see all the Pink!  Inspiring to see all of the survivors, and families of those that have been lost to breast cancer.  In addition to the competitive event that we took part in, there was also a women’s only race that followed ours.  After that race, there was also a recreational 5k (untied).  There were thousands of people there today.  Such a great event in support of a great cause.ImageImageImage



Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Raleigh

Tomorrow will be my first time running this 5k.  I have been more geared toward endurance running, so this will be interesting.  I haven’t competed in a 5k in over a year, so I am just going to do the best I can.  I am racing as part of Team RunRaleigh Racing, and I am lucky enough to be racing tomorrow with my 17 year old son Dylan.  I am sure he will step out in front of me at the line, and I will be chasing him down the whole race.  Actually, I am just hoping that I can keep him in my sights, as he will be my inspiration to move my feet faster.  As Tropical Storm Andrea approaches from the south, this may be the first race I may have to run in the rain.  I have been lucky so far.  I have been getting a lot of great advice, as I have been a bit concerned about my speed.  My goal for tomorrow?  Enjoy another race with my son, and be inspired by all the women and men wearing pink in support of breast cancer awareness.  Hopefully I will inspire, as well.

Do you run to inspire?  Do you run to be inspired?


National Running Day

ImageToday is a day to celebrate!  To celebrate our own achievements, and the achievements of others.  It all has to start somewhere though, so I challenge all runners to inspire others in their search for fitness and health.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped or given thumbs up from others, thanking me for inspiring them to get off the couch and walk or run.  I have run in my hilly neighborhood too many times to count, and obviously the neighbors notice.  Our actions, just through getting out on the pavement, do affect others.  We can inspire without even knowing it.  A quiet way, just our foot strikes, often times inspire others to lace up their shoes.  I love knowing that we, as a community of fitness freaks, can sometimes unknowingly, have an amazing impact on someone else’s life.  So, today, celebrate yourself with a run, and inspire others to join our awesome community.  We have a great opportunity not only today, but everyday to change the world, one run at a time.

5k Fear

ImageI have a race this Saturday!  It’s a 5k.  I haven’t run a competitive 5k in over a year.  It was the race pictured here, and it was May of 2012.  I have been running longer distance races since then, so I need your advice.  How do I now all of the sudden, find “fast” again?  It’s been a long time since I ran sub 7 minute pace.  I just finished a sub 8 5k training run, and that felt difficult.  

Any advice for this born again 5k virgin?

Lookout Capital Half Marathon Recap

imageOn 6/1/13 I completed the newest adventure in the Raleigh running community.  Local race directors from three separate Half Marathons this Spring got together to offer a special award for completing all three events.  The result?  The additional bling you see below.  Very sweet!

The Lookout Capital Half also includes a 5k and 10k option for those looking to run shorter races in the Raleigh heat.  I have never run this race before, so I was looking forward to it.  Most of it run on green ways on the northwest side of the city.  Very pretty run.  The temperature outside when I got up at 3:45am was already 70 degrees.  Yikes!  Thankfully the humidity was fairly low, unlike the NCRC race a few weeks ago.

The race started at 7am.  Parking and racer accommodations were fantastic.  I found a parking spot so close, it was almost a sin.  As I stated before, this race primarily is run on the green ways of the outskirts of the city of Raleigh.  The start of the race is located in the parking lot of North  Hills Mall.  It proceeds down Lassiter Mill Road, at a quick pace at the start.  This quick start led me to a very unrealistic pace as I hit the green way.  Mile 1 ticked by, and I was at 6:50, and I kept up that pace, rounding out at 6:54 at mile 3.  Wow!  This could quite possibly be the fastest Half Marathon yet, I said to myself.  I kept going, and began to get warmer and warmer.  My pace was slowing, and I was starting to feel the effects of the warm day.  Not to worry, I told myself, stay steady.  Soon I saw the leader, heading back my direction from the first turn around point.  I cheered him on quietly.  Then I started looking for others, and no one was even close.  He was a man alone, and way in front of the pack.

Soon I approached the first turn around point, about 6.5 miles in.  The green way passed several ponds, and the trees provided much needed shade as the temperatures started to rise.  There was also a nice breeze from time to time, and that helped a lot.  I kept my eyes on several runners around my pace, and we jockeyed back and forth, exchanging positions on the course several times.  Water stations were plentiful, but didn’t seem to be in the places that I needed them the most.  When I felt like I needed water, it wasn’t there.  When I felt good, a water station approached.

I soon started to feel the effects of the heat more and more, and started thinking about how I needed a break from long distance running.  My heart was sinking, and with it, my pace.  It was almost depressing!  I felt myself getting slower and slower, and really got into my head about it.  Needless to say, this was not good.  I kept pushing forward though.  Soon that amazing downhill start was about to turn into the nightmare uphill finish, as we hit the course in reverse for the finish line.  The last 3/4 mile was a tough uphill, relentless finish.  I pushed it as hard as I could in the end, but I had lost a lot of time.  I finished in 1:46:22.  Not what I wanted, but good enough.  I finished 80th overall, out of about 800 runners.  Top 10%, I’ll take it.  I finished 9th in my age group out of 69.  I recommend this Half, for sure.  Just wish they would move it to a cooler weather month.