A Volunteer Runner

Image

As a frequent runner of races of all distances, I owe so many thanks to race organizers, but most importantly the volunteers that make them happen.

Races can’t happen without volunteers.  It takes a team, and most of those folks you see out on the course handing out water, medals, bibs, etc., are all there volunteering their time.  Recently posted on Facebook, I’ve seen the call for volunteers for three upcoming races.  The Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate on 3/16, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Raleigh on 4/13, and the Ironman Raleigh 70.3 on 6/1 are all in search of volunteers.  Sometimes races can require hundreds and hundreds of people to make a race happen.

I was recently asked by the race director for RunRaleigh Racing to pace her Half Marathon this coming October.  I gladly accepted!  This is the best way for me to volunteer for a race.  Yes, being a pacer at an event is the same as being a volunteer.  It’s really the perfect way for me to give something back to my fellow runners and community.  I would much rather give of my time on the race course while running it, versus being at a water stop or handing out medals.

My first pacing experience was last Fall.  Not sure if I would like doing it, or the pressure of finishing at a predetermined pace, I agreed.  I ran the Bull City Race Fest as a 1:45:00 pacer in the a Half Marathon, and loved every minute.  Right then, I knew I would have to pace more events.  My consistency in training and race finish times makes me a great candidate, so I will volunteer my time more in this way.  The race this Fall that I will pace is the Rock ‘n’ Rebellion 13.1.  Once again, I will pace the 8 minute mile group.

Image

I much prefer racing events that benefit local or national charities, versus a for profit race.  RunRaleigh Races is local, and proceeds from races benefit local charities, which is a great thing.  So, unless I am asked to pace an event before the Fall, the event on 10/5 will be my next pacing experience.  I was asked to pace at the marathon for the a Utah Valley race this June, but I just can’t afford the expensive round trip airfare.  If travel expenses were provided, I would have loved to pace that event.  We will see what other opportunities present themselves in the coming months.

I urge all runners to give back to the community in some way.  Use your abilities and time to help others.  Volunteer at an aid station, help set up mile markers, work an expo table, hand out medals, or be a pacer.  Races are more successful all around if they have enough volunteers to aid in the runner experience.

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Countdown

Image

In just 20 short days I will be running marathon #11 on the coast of North Carolina.  Will I be ready?  I hope to be.

I planned on using a marathon at this time of year to really push toward a Boston Qualifying time.  This may be my chance, and then again it may not.  Coming off my marathon in Hilton Head a few weeks ago, where the focus was not on Boston, I have been getting in a few really good training runs.  The biggest problem I’m having, and it really started at the beginning of the year, is really tight hamstrings.  Honestly, I think I’ve probably injured them a bit.  They tend to loosen up a good bit during a run, but they just feel stretched and strained.  I just am not sure that I will be able to pull off the speed it will take me to get that BQ, not feeling 110%.

Regardless of pace, I plan on giving it my best shot.  I have not run this race before, so this is a first time event for me.  Plenty of great comments abound about previous years, so it should be a great time.  Originally, I planned on participating in the Asheville Marathon, but due to family obligations I had to bow out of that race.  Wrightsville Beach worked out as a perfect replacement.

So, the training plan leading up to the race.  Nurse my hamstrings for sure.  Stretch and roll, and often.  This past week was the first week I gotten in five runs in a weeks time since December.  For that, I am hopeful.  The weather seems to be cooperating, as temperatures have been on the milder side for a week, so that really helped my attitude, in getting me out on the road more often.  I plan on getting in about 20-25 miles both this week and next.  Starting on March 8th, I am taking the week off completely, so that my legs, feet and hamstrings will be as fresh as possible for race day.  That also coincides with a planned vacation, and wow, am I really looking forward to that!  Upon my return, I will have one overnight at home and then head to the beach.

Image

Ah, the beach…..what a glorious sight that will be.  I know, it’s only been two weeks since I was at another beach, but I am already looking forward to it again.  You can bet that I will be dipping my post marathon feet in the surf immediately following the post race festivities.

Wrightsville Beach will be my third marathon of the year.  All at the coast.  The last two in South Carolina, this one in North Carolina.  It’s actually kind of odd that on race day, there are three Marathons in North Carolina alone.  A busy marathon day around the country, but equally as busy just in my home state.  The Asheville Marathon in the mountains, which I ran last year.  The Tobacco Road Marathon here in central NC, which I ran two years ago, and Wrightsville Beach Marathon at the coast.  I guess locals can pick and choose.  I think it would actually benefit these three races in NC if they weren’t held on the same exact day.  Marathon Maniacs, and wanna be maniacs would flock to NC for easy chances to qualify.  In my opinion, at least one of these races should change to a Saturday from a Sunday, allowing for that elusive double marathon.  Two marathons in one weekend.  Maybe start in the mountains on Saturday, and end at the beach on Sunday.  That would be great!

Well, with less that three weeks to go, I am hopeful.  My plan is in place, and I will execute it the best way I know how.  Enough rambling, time to lace up and hit the road.

Olympic Games – Good for the soul

Image

I always love watching the Olympics.  The winter games in Sochi didn’t disappoint, either.  So many great events, and even bigger moments for the athletes involved.  The United States had a very successful Olympics, looking like a second place finish in the medal standings with one day of events remaining.

The Olympics for me….  means getting very little sleep.  I tend to want to watch as much of the coverage as possible.  This usually means that I get a bit sleep deprived during the two weeks of an Olympics.  I surely am tired, but feeling very inspired.

To reach the peak of sport is just amazing, and to bring home the Gold Medal would be just amazing.  A lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears went into each of those great performances.

What we can all take away from the Games, as spectators, is the beauty of sport.  The commitment and hours spent honing ones abilities.  To reach the pinnacle, to go for gold.

I have a marathon in three weeks.  I plan on making use of my Olympic memories, and channeling that desire to excel, and go for the finish line on race day.

Do the Olympic Games inspire you the way they do me?

Image

New York City Marathon – Busting the budget

Image

Since becoming a serious runner, I’ve always thought about what it would be like to compete in the New York City Marathon.  Originally from upstate NY, it would mean running in my birth state.  It would mean a celebration, running the five boroughs of NYC would be just incredible.

Running the NYCM means a lot more, however.  Mostly I am talking about the costs associated with running there.  For the average person running NY, that means traveling there, staying there, and the race itself.  Is it a dream of mine?  Sure it is.  Big races are a big attraction to most serious runners.  To be a part of such an iconic race would be just a dream come true.  But, what about the costs involved?  My wallet would take a serious punch if I got in,  can I afford it?

Let’s look at some of the reasonable and average costs associated with running this event.

Entry fee: $255

Airfare: $260

Lodging: $600

Ok, so just to get there, stay there and run it would be a minimum cost of $1,115.  A hefty price tag, for sure.

There are extras though….the schwag at the expo, taxis, how about food?  Ok, so I am really just guessing here, but I am thinking the “extras” could cost about $500.

So, for me, it would cost over $1,600 to run the New York City Marathon.  Unfortunately I cannot afford to run this race, but can still dream about it, can’t I?

I would be interested to hear if anyone has run NYCM, and how much it cost you.  It may help me to make decisions in the future.  Thanks in advance.

Image

Maybe one day I will see the finish line in New York.

Asheville Marathon – Don’t miss out on a classic!

Image

If you’ve ever wanted to run a destination race in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina where beauty and history are rich, you’re time is running out quickly to sign up for this amazing marathon and half.  Less than 50 spots remain!

The second edition of this challenging and beautiful marathon takes place in just 25 short days.  With the addition of a half marathon for this year, it could be the perfect long training run as you prepare for your spring marathon.  If you are a marathon runner, take on that challenge.  A rolling mix of pavement and trail, the beauty that is Asheville and Biltmore will be yours to enjoy as you traverse through wooded forests, vineyards and countryside with views of the mountains for miles.  I ran the marathon last year, and remember just how rewarding it was to cross that finish line.

With plenty of race improvements in place, the second installment of this race is sure to enthrall the most seasoned runner as well as the beginner alike.  Just imagine yourself hitting mile six, and getting to run right up to the front doors of the Biltmore Estate.  It’s just amazing, a sight that you will never forget.

Image

You better hurry though, as this race will sell out in the next few days….

As an official Ambassador for this race, I can tell you that you don’t want to miss it!  Plenty of amazing runners have already signed up, and the race director, Daphne Kirkwood, has spent countless hours making sure that this is a race that you will remember.

Don’t miss out!  Visit http://www.ashevillemarathon.com to register.

Image

We ALL start at ZERO

Image

We all start somewhere.  That somewhere is at mile zero.

Over the past 24 hours I’ve read a bunch of posts about running.  Big surprise.  What really struck me though about these posts is the elation of runners who are just starting out.  Runners completing his/her first 5k race, to runners completing a marathon for the first time.  True inspiration, truly happy stories from folks who have completed a mission.  The mission is different for all of us, but equally important.

These stories always remind me of where it all began for me.  When a need for improving my fitness became a passion.  Running didn’t become a passion for me overnight, but slowly over time.  I decided to pull out my running log, and peruse the pages.  I found some very interesting things, and they serve as a reminder for all new runners.  Keep at it, progress will come, fun will ensue.

Note to new runners- track your progress.  Buy a notebook, diary, etc.  make it a habit to record your runs, you will appreciate it later on.

Pulling out my running log, I found a few things very interesting.  The commitment began in late Summer, 2010.  I ran pretty frequently.  An excerpt from October 2010, a few things…  I ran almost daily.  Distances from two to three miles.  Over the first few months my main focus was building up endurance.  Wow, I didn’t start running distances longer than 5k until I had run almost 50 5k training runs.

Track mileage, track finish times.  Use a Garmin, or Runkeeper App., something to track your progress.  Back in my log, I tracked time only.  But I tracked my monthly totals, when I replaced shoes, etc.

In early 2011, I started running a few longer runs.  I ran a four miler, and then mixed in a few 8k’s by the end of that month.  I took it slow. Gaining confidence along the way.  All was going well.  I ran a few 10K’s the following month.  I mixed in 3,4,5 milers.  I hiked a volcano while on vacation.  I was active, and staying committed.  By the end of March, I had run 225 miles for the year.  I decided to run a 5k race.  Nine months after starting my running commitment.

I guess the points I am trying to get across are this….

-Start slow

-Build a base

-Enjoy yourself

Image

I see all types of runners at races.  I see all types of fitness levels, and can appreciate everyone’s own journey.  The important thing is that you are out there.  Progress is different for everyone.  Looking back in my log book proves it to me that no matter where I am in my running journey, that it began slow and small.  That guy that just passed me started slow, too.  The guy that just won the marathon laced up for the first time one day, too.  That guy that looks like he has no business being out there on that marathon course, has just as much right to be there as I do.

We are all different, BUT we are ALL runners.

I can look back and appreciate my beginnings in this sport.  Appreciate your journey.  Revel in your accomplishments, no matter how big or small.

Image

Happy running!  Appreciate your roots in the pavement!

Looking forward to Wrightsville Beach

Image

This winter is on my last nerve!  Anybody feel the same way?  Everyday I find myself dreaming of sunny, warm days.  I’ve been thinking about escaping, but all I’ve been able to do is to escape in my mind.  Luckily, I have my third marathon of the year just four weeks from tomorrow.

The Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon is like 28 days and 15 hours away.  Yep, counting down the days and hours.  This race has great reviews, from starting line festivities and music, right down to the shirts and family friendly environment.  This will be my first time running there, and I am really looking forward to it.  A flat, fast course down at the beach here in North Carolina.

My sister is getting married nearby that weekend, so that is why I had to choose this particular event.

I haven’t run once since my marathon a week ago.  Resting my legs before hitting the road again.  I hope to be back out on the pavement tomorrow, and will gradually build over the next month for this race.

Have any of you run this race, and have any comments?