Marathon this Spring? Rock on!

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Now that Spring is finally upon us, so is marathon season.  I’m curious to know who is running a marathon, and where.

Marathons are plentiful at this time of year.  You’ve got them in probably every state in the U.S. in April alone.  With April starting tomorrow, will we be ready?  I’ve already run three marathons this year, but realize that most people only run one or two per year.  Coming off Winter training season, a lot of us are tapering for a big race right now.  I have the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh marathon on the 13th, followed by the All American Marathon on May 4th.  A bunch of great runners will descend on Boston in April.  Where is your big race?

What I have figured out after a few years of running now, is that I train better in the heat than I do in the cold.  Winter training for me is difficult. It’s dark early, and I find it harder to motivate myself to get out in the cold, often times blustery weather.  My marathon finish times have proved it to me.  Fall marathon finish times this past year were better than the last few winter marathons I’ve run.  So, now that Spring is here, I’m wondering if the weather will help or hinder.  My last two races both had periods of rain, which I do not like.  Spring weather can often times mean rain.  Here in NC, it can also mean a really varying range in temperatures.  Looking at the forecast for the next ten days, most mornings are in the mid to upper 40’s, even 50’s.  I am ok with that for sure, for a race morning.  We are looking at high temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s.  Let’s just say, I hope that marathon morning is cool, around 50, and temps will not rise to near 70 until my race is long over with.

As I meet runners at races, we all have a common goal.  To enjoy the run.  We sometimes have goals, pace or otherwise, but our common goal is to finish and have fun.  Isn’t that why we race?  What are your goals when you toe the line this Spring at your next race? Are you trying to qualify for Boston?  Are you shooting for the 50 staters club?  Trying to become a Marathon Maniac or Half Fanatic?  Maybe your goal is all about your health, and improving your fitness?  Maybe your goal is not to fall down or throw up at the finish?  Just enjoy it!  Running should be fun, so my ‘A’ goal is just that.  My ‘B’ goal is to BQ, my ‘C’ goal is a marathon PR.

I look forward to hearing your stories!  Rock on my running friends!

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Marathon Countdown – 2 weeks to go

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Fan or not of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series by Competitor Group, the inaugural event in Raleigh, NC is just two short weeks away.  Sold out with 12,000 runners, the event is sure to bring some big money into the city of Raleigh and surrounding Triangle area.  Hotel bookings, restaurants anxiously awaiting the arrival of participants.  What could be so wrong with that?  Many folks have scoffed at the idea of the marathon series coming to town.  I say, let’s just wait and see.  Let local businesses decide if runners come to town with money and boost the local economy.  I’m sure the economic impact will be reviewed and scrutinized ad nausium.

For me, I am glad that the event will soon be here.  Yeah, Rock ‘n’ Roll events are typically more expensive than the average half or full marathon, but you gotta try it, right?  At least once.  I’m excited.  Should be a great day.  I love running in Raleigh, and I am hoping for cooperative weather on race day.

So, two weeks until we take to the line downtown.  Let’s see just how well this inaugural event is run.  There will be a lot of critical eyes watching this event, so I hope it turns out to be epic.   I know my 26.2 mile journey on my birthday will be epic for me, but I also hope it’s epic for the local economy.

Big Cottonwood Marathon and Fall Race Planning

Image I’ve done my research.  I’ve looked at the pictures, and runner comments, and course.  This race looks absolutely incredible!  I must sign up, and fast! This race, just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah, is mainly a downhill course.  I have never been to Utah, and this seems like a pretty great opportunity to check out the area and its beauty. Looking at Fall races, and trying to put together a good schedule, a few things have occurred.  First off, I really enjoyed the Asheville City Marathon I ran last September.  I planned on going back, spending race weekend in the mountains and enjoying the Fall foliage.  A few months ago, even though they had already started the registration process for this coming year, they cancelled the event completely, and gave refunds to all that had registered.  This left me with a hole in my Fall schedule.  I also decided (since it’s free to enter) to put my name in the hat for the Chicago Marathon, in October. Distance race planning can be tough.  Making sure you have to funds, travel, new races versus old races, rest time, etc., a lot goes in to the planning schedule.  Summer here is too hot for racing, so I generally get a lot of training miles in.  These training miles in the tough summer heat always leave me well prepared for a great Fall racing season. So…. Options….   Big Cottonwood Full in Utah, mid September. image A week later the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon in Tennessee put on by Vacation Races.  These two races, on back to back weekends lead me to think of just taking the entire 12 day stretch off as vacation time from work. October…. Rock ‘n’ Rebellion Half on the 5th, here in Raleigh. Depending on the lottery, maybe Chicago mid month.  Not sure I could afford a trip to both Utah and Chicago in the Fall.  Fun to think about though. Greensboro Marathon on the 18th, followed by the Bull City Race Fest Half on the 19th. ( both of which I am already registered for) November… City of Oaks Half Marathon on the 2nd, with my son.  (Registered already) Not sure if the season will continue after that race.  I have the opportunity to head to Spacecoast Marathon in December, or have always wanted to run Kiawah Marathon, which is also in December.  We’ll have to see how it all pans out.  Race planning is fun, isn’t it?

Do you have any big plans for the Fall this year?

A running surprise

Image He doesn’t know it yet, but I have a big surprise for my 15, soon to be 16 year old son.  Yep, either reluctantly or by choice, he became a runner right beside me.  He would have to tell you the answer to that one.  Both of my sons have enjoyed the journey from newbie runners to pretty fast experienced runners.  I have a surprise… My younger son Colton I think feels that he has always tried to play catch up.  He is two years younger than my older son.  In the beginning, a few years ago, he would constantly finish a couple of minutes behind his older brother.  The last 5k the two competed in, Colton finally won the match up.  He then took that victory, and ran a huge PR in his last 5k.  During that race however, his older brother ran a Half Marathon.  Hum…  Time to play catch up.  If you can do it, I can do it, is I’m sure what he was thinking.  Time to step up his game.  Immediately following that event, and his brothers remarkable finish in the Half Marathon, Colton ran a 13.1 mile training run just for fun.  To prove to himself that he could do it, as well.  Since then, he has told me that he wants to run a Half Marathon sometime. We have decided to run a 10k together.  Yes, he hasn’t even competed in a 10k distant event yet.  So we will do that in June, here in our hometown.  What he doesn’t know, is that I have just signed him up for that first Half.  Since it will be his first, I will run it, too. I want to be able to run by his side, and enjoy the experience with him. image I have

signed him up for the City of Oaks Half Marathon, here in Raleigh.  I haven’t decided yet when I will tell him.  I am leaning toward giving him the entry as a birthday gift.  So, next month he will know.  As my older son finishes high school in June, and heads off to college, Colton will not have to compete with his older brother anymore.  He will get to run this race, and only compete against his own expectations.  I am really looking forward to running this race with him.

Boston 2014 – A note to runners

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In just a few weeks, amazing runners from all over the globe will descend on Boston, Massachusetts.  We all remember the mystery and terror that was Boylston Street in 2013.  That awful news.  I spent the morning checking updates on my phone, knowing several people that were at the Boston marathon last year.  I was trying to follow their progress, then suddenly the news.  Bombings, not one, but two.

Coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings dominated the news channels, and social media for weeks, even months.  What I feared most about this horrible act of violence was becoming true.  People started associating the Boston Marathon with negativity.  Sort of like visiting Ground Zero within the first few years after 9/11.  How could people avoid having bad memories, when the terror was scorched into our brains with all of the photos and news coverage for weeks?

It’s true, over time news of the events of that day last year have faded, but Boston will never be the same.  But can it get better?  How much has Boston healed in a year?  As runners gear up to descend on Boston again in a few weeks, will the memories of last year remain, and linger in our hearts and minds?

I’m hoping that the media focuses on the Marathon, and that it goes off without a hitch, as it should.  The scars will always be there, but Boston has to prove that it is stronger.  A mantra that became a worldwide slogan.  Boston Strong.  Boston must be strong, the runners must again make their marks, and prove to the world that it is the creme de la creme of our sport.

Make the race epic this year.  Reflect on those lost and injured, and try to move forward.  Move those feet, and do the world proud.  Those of us still striving to qualify for Boston envy you.  We wish you the best, enjoy the fruit of your efforts.  Turn Boston back into a place of positivity and light in our sport.  The image of Boston is yours to uplift and repair.  Do us proud!

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Tarheel 10 Miler – A North Carolina Classic

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Hard to to believe, but I have never run this race before.  As April draws near, and the race numbers go through the roof, the talk of the town is the Tarheel Ten Miler.

This race, which has an extremely tough uphill finish, and finish line in the Tarheel stadium, is a must around these parts.  I’ve never done it, but this year will be different.  Having earned an entry as a result of pacing at an event last Fall, I finally have the chance to run this epic race.

Thousands of runners will line up to run this April.  It will be my first ever attempt at a ten mile race.  Guess what?  Instant PR!

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This race isn’t only for Carolina fans though.  You can chose to crash the party, and wear your own college colors, as I’m sure many, many runners will be doing.  I think that since my son will be going to State in the Fall for his freshman year, that I should wear Wolfpack red.  I’ll have to ask him for some help to show off his school colors.

Check out the awesome bling for running this race!

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Even though I’m not a Carolina fan, I will treasure this medal.  It’s just so unique and different.  Looking forward to this race, another great local event.

Vacation Races – Can’t resist

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Imagine walking up to a race start line in one of our National Parks.  How about a view like the one above when you start your Half Marathon journey.  It’s breathtaking!  Vacation Races is a company out there, offering Half Marathon races in several of our National Parks.  We all love destination races, but this company is taking it to a whole new level here in the United States.

They are currently offering races that can draw you right into a trip to one of our beautiful Parks.  I, for one, can say that I would love to race each and every one of these races.  Here is a shot they posted on Facebook of the finish line area for today’s Zion Half Marathon.  Again, just breathtaking!

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Look them up online, or on Twitter.  @vacationraces, and learn a little bit about the group that’s setting out to give runners the experience of a lifetime.  Take in the beauty of a variety of National Parks, and get your running shoes ready, because you will be running right through the incredible scenery that the beautiful landscape offers.  Talk about eye candy.  With these views, I would barely know I’m running 13.1 miles.

Here are a few of the race options….

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I’m am going to try to make that Rocky Mountain Half marathon fit into my schedule this Summer.  It’s quite a journey away from home here in North Carolina, but I’ve never been there, and mixing a race into a trip to a place like that would be priceless.

Here is a race that I plan on attending this Fall.  Have you ever been in this National Park?  It is an incredibly beautiful place, and currently the only race at this point being offered in the eastern U.S..

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I can’t wait.  This race in September will be awesome!  Good luck to all of you runners out there running the Zion Half this morning!  Wish I could be out there running along side of you.