Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Expo

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Expo Day always means one thing.  The race is almost here!

Drove into the city earlier today to attend the marathon expo.  Full of vendors, and packed with runners from all over.  Just the way you would expect from a Rock ‘n’ Roll event.  The city was crawling with race bags, and bibs, and folks enjoying the beautiful weather.  Yes, about 78 degrees, and mostly sunny.

Visited with a bunch of great folks working at the expo today.  The Generation UCAN folks were awesome.  I have a few samples to try during my recovery from the race tomorrow.  Brooks had some great gear, official race merchandise.  I had to buy myself a shirt, an early Birthday present to myself.

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Oops, wrong photo….. But look what Rock n Roll did for me!  They incorporated my age tomorrow (44 years old) into my bib number.  Well, I am not sure if that was intentional or not, but it sure is cool.

Here are photos of the official race shirt, and the shirt I bought as a keepsake.

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I really enjoyed my time at the expo, just walking around and enjoying the crowd and vendors.  The Charleston Marathon was there, as well as the Bull City Race Fest, and City of Oaks Marathon.  All races I have raced in the past and enjoyed.  Rock n Roll was offering a discount for next year’s Raleigh event, but I chose to wait.  Gotta see how tomorrow goes first.  The Ambassadors of Rock were very helpful.  Shalama was very cool.  Super great to meet her.  She sent me a race promo shirt a few months back, so I had to meet her and say thanks in person.  We chatted for quite some time.  I hope she has a great Half tomorrow.

Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater is ready for the post race concert, too.  New Politics will be headlining.  Looking forward to meeting up with my family and hitting the food trucks and post race concert.

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So far so good Raleigh!  Looking forward to getting out there on the course tomorrow morning.  The rest of the day I am concentrating on relaxing.  Oh, and I have to get a birthday cake in the oven for my son.  Great weekend so far.  Race report to follow after the marathon tomorrow!  Get outside and run, it’s a beautiful day.

 

Marathon Mental #RnRRAL

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The big day….just two short days away now.  You know the game.  As you move through the final week leading up to a marathon, preparation all becomes mental.  You’ve done the work physically, the body is now resting.  Now you have to deal with the emotions, the mental aspect of being ready to run.

How do you find your calm?  I guess the more marathons you run, the more prepared you become in finding that happy place.  I don’t get over nervous like I used to.  A certain amount of nerves is good.  Good to pump up the adrenaline, and get the blood flowing.  Once you know the process, once you have your preparations practiced so many times it becomes more old hat, than stressful.

As far as the legs are concerned, I will ask them for another, and final 5k this morning.  One final stretch out run.  I really like taking the last day before a marathon off completely.  No running.  Tomorrow, I will sleep in.  I will head to the race expo late in the morning.  I’ve looked at the expo floor plan, and exhibitor locations already.  I have to visit GU Energy.  I need a few packets for the race.  I am anxious to visit Generation UCan.  I have never tried this product, but need to learn about it.  Generation UCan is the official race hydration at my upcoming All American Marathon on May 4th.  I need to figure out if this product works for me, so will try it out next week on recovery runs.  Several race event directors will also be there promoting upcoming races.  I will, of course, have to visit to see if they are offering nice race registration discounts.

Here is a sampling of exhibitors at this expo….

Milk Refuel, SportHooks, Sweaty Bands, Tuna Run 200, BaySix, Anthem Richmond Marathon, Charleston Marathon, CEP, Garmin, Gatorade, Geico, Marine Corps Half Marathon.

The expo starts today, but I have to work.  It would have been great to get in before the crowds, but I think if I head there tomorrow prior to noon, it will be easy going.  Following the expo tomorrow, I have a day of relaxation planned.  Essential time with me feet up.  Planning on a veggie packed omelet for dinner, maybe a croissant, a little Nutella.  Then TV, and early to bed.

I have to be in the city, and parked prior to 6am Sunday, for the 7am start.  A big part of having a stress free race, is being prepared.  I’ve planned out my 20 mile trip into the city.  I’ve looked at road closures, and mapped out what parking lot I am going to use.  I am ready.  I’ve mapped out a plan for my family to get into the city and to the finish line before I finish.  It will be nice to see them as I finish.  I mean, it is my birthday, after all, they can’t miss this marathon finish.  I am looking forward to getting that “Happy Birthday” shouted out to me as I cross the finish line.

So, I am ready.  I am ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Ready to Rock in the city I call home.  Ready to run marathon #12.

The excitement is building

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Now just four short days away, Raleigh is all a buzz.  The talk of the town is Rock ‘n’ Roll.  The talk of the town is the marathon.  I kinda like when we runners get some attention.

Road closure signs, and no parking signs have been being set in place over the past few days, and since tomorrow is the final day before the Expo kicks off, I guess they are right on schedule.  I work downtown, and have seen road signs on both Hillsborough Rd. and 401 heading north before the city.  I’ve been asked countless times by people in the city this past week how to find information on parking.  How to find out what road will be closed.  Just Google Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, or their title sponsor WRAL, and you will be directed to links with all of the race day information.

Temperatures this week have been on the rise.  I do believe that a Spring is finally here in Raleigh.  Well, I don’t think we are in for any more frost, or freezing temps, and that’s good, because trees are budding out, and flowering shrubs and trees are nearing full bloom.  The azaleas are even starting to open up.  With the nice daily temperatures over the next few days, the run this Sunday should be just beautiful and full of color.  Race day temps are supposed to reach as high as 78 degrees, with overnight lows in the mid 50’s.  Dress appropriately, hydrate and make sure your Body Glide is applied liberally when you head to the race on Sunday.

i’m really looking forward to it.  Now, time to get in another taper run.  Good luck to all those running this weekend, be it the race event here in Raleigh, or the other countless races across the globe.  Run smart, and run happy!

Stretch Hamstring (Stretch Armstrong)

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I really need to be stretching more, both before and after my runs.  Over the past few months, my distance running has led to some pretty irritated hamstrings, and as a result my pace is affected.  I have really spent some time doing some research on the best stretches that I should be doing to help the cause.  I have found a lot of useful information during my research, and have incorporated simple and more complex stretching into my daily routines.

I am not one to spend fifteen minutes just doing a series of stretches, as I find this incredibly boring.  What I have done however, is incorporate several hamstring stretches into my daily routines.  I turn normal activities like sitting on the couch into a stretch.  Instead of laying my legs to the side, I sit up straight and prop my legs up on the coffee table.  I lean slightly forward and do mini stretches while watching TV.  Or, while playing a game on my IPad, or while blogging, I stand up straight, and bend at the hip, stretching my hammies while typing away while the IPad is on the countertop.  I find that doing stretches while I make my way through the day doing regular activities makes the stretching more tolerable.

I found that as I age, my aches and pains associated with running are becoming more frequent.  Hard effort usually results in more lengthy recovery time.  I can’t just lace up and run like those young 20 somethings do.  I don’t just walk away from a run or race feeling non-affected. I need recovery, and stretching has really helped.  I just need to continue to put focus on this.

My birthday is coming up this weekend, and guess what?  I don’t have a foam roller.  I’ve only ever used one once.  Are you a believer in foam rollers?  What can you share about your experiences with them, and is there one that you would recommend?  Do they really help? Do you think it would help with my hamstrings?  Maybe I need put one on my wish list.  Please share…..

Imbalance

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Do you ever feel off?  Just sort of blah?  I wanted to have a view the like picture above today, but instead I got to spend 8 hours on my feet at work.  I didn’t get back from vacation that long ago, I have to keep telling myself.  Sometimes though, I just feel like I need more time away from it all.

Lately my runs haven’t even felt as good as they usually do.  They do still relieve stresses of my life, but I just don’t feel balanced lately.  I think I need to spend more time reading, with my feet up.  I need to spend more time envisioning that beach in my minds eye, and let it put me in a happier place.

My life is transitioning somewhat though in the next few months, and I think that may be part of the reason why I feel off.  My eldest is finishing High School, and will be leaving the nest soon.  Change.  In the back of my mind I tend to envision how it all will go.  I need to relax more about it.

Have you ever had phases in life where your one stress relief just doesn’t seem to be cutting it?  For me, it’s running.  I can’t run through every blah though.  I hope I am not getting burned out.  Sometimes the a run just feels like a chore, and I can’t have it be that way.  I need to recharge and refocus.  Running is essential in my life, and I want it to be more fun right now.

My Marathon a week from today?  I plan on having fun!

All American Marathon Countdown

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Just 30 days away now, this inaugural race from Fayetteville to Ft. Bragg in beautiful North Carolina will be here before we know it.  I sincerely hope that this event will get great support by the local community, and runners alike.  I’m not sure what the runner caps are for all three events, but I’m guessing there will be a bunch of runners out there.

They recently added a 5k to this event, so that race, coupled with the Half and Full Marathon, should attract runners of all types.  May 4th is race day, so your chance to get some training time in is slipping away.  You can still register for the event online.  Currently the price of the Full Marathon is $90, and $75 for the Half Marathon.  The 5k is available now for $25.

Generation UCan is the official race nutrition, and will be bringing Meb Keflezighi along for runner meet and greets.  Meb won the New York City Marathon in 2009, with a time of 2:09:15.

Ft. Bragg is the largest United States Army installation, and civilian runners get to run in and finish on the base!  That’s something that the Marine Corps Marathon cannot claim, as none of that course is run on base.  This is truly a unique opportunity, and one I am looking forward to.

All American Marathon will be my 13th marathon.  Will I get to see any of you there?

Boston Strong

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April 21st will soon be here.  That means another running of a race that is so special in the hearts of runners all over the world.  I am still on my journey to qualify for this prestigious race, and will not be there this year.  Hopefully 2015 will be my year.  As all of those runners that did qualify are wrapping up their training cycles, and thinking about that upcoming taper, my thoughts are with you!

Not only runners will be watching and listening to the Boston Marathon this year, but the whole world will be dialed in.  I’m sure that the media will be there in force to cover the event.  With all of the awful events that impacted the race last year, the world will be watching.

I couldn’t help but think what others must be thinking, and wanted to talk about it.  Fresh from the shooting at Ft. Hood in Texas, the second in five years, and to the numerous and attention drawing acts of senseless violence around our country, it’s hard not to think about how safe the Boston Marathon will be this year.  Let’s face it, a marathon course is 26.2 miles long.  That’s a lot of miles to secure, and keep runners safe.  Should there be any fears at all?

I’m sure that everyone running Boston in a few weeks has considered the potential for copycats, the fear of the unknown.  It’s human, it’s almost undeniable to not consider ones own safety at the event this year.  Just remember, you are not alone.  That person next to you on the course, or in the corral has at least thought about it once.  Nerves will be high on race day, and for that, I offer a bit of advice.

-Deep breaths, yoga, relaxation leading up to the race.

-Treat yourself right and stay positive.

-Trust in your training, and trust in our community.

-Rely on your support team for love, safety and positivity.

-Remember that our community is strong, and that Boston will be stronger this year.

BOSTON STRONG!!!

Go Big! 50 Marathons

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Go Big!  In Utah.

I’ve done it.  I’ve jumped in before a price increase, and signed up for an epic and fast marathon just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.  I’ve never been to Utah, and look forward to using a marathon as an excuse to take a trip into the unknown.  Well, maybe the very lofty goal of running a marathon in all 50 states is the excuse.

Have you heard of the 50 Staters club?  Running a marathon in all 50 states in our country.  Crazy?  Yes.  Expensive?  Oh, yeah.  This is a goal of many crazy runners out there.  I may have started running too late to accomplish this goal, but slowly but surely, I may be able to make a dent in this goal.  I think that most that have accomplished this goal are either independently wealthy, or are in debt up to their ears.  I will not max out my credit cards to achieve this goal.  If I continue to work toward 50 states, it will be slow and as money allows.

I currently have run 11 marathons, but most of them have been fairly local, or I should say, within driving distance.  Here is a look…

North Carolina- Asheville City Marathon, Tobacco Road Marathon, Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate, City of Oaks Marathon, Wrightsville Beach Marathon, Outer Banks Marathon (6)

South Carolina- Myrtle Beach Marathon, Charleston Marathon, Hilton Head Marathon (3)

Virginia- Blue Ridge Marathon (1)

Nevada- Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon (1)

So, currently I have 4 states under my belt.  I have not repeated any marathons, and still have multiple marathons in both North and South Carolina.  Funny thing is, and right in line with all the news you hear about the number of marathons across the world increasing, as people interested in running them increases, my next two marathons are new to me as well, and both local events.  So by May 4th, my NC number will increase to 8, and to 9 in the Fall.

Utah will be state #5.  Wow, that’s 45 states shy of a fifty states goal.  I can only hope to stay healthy and able to run long enough for my bank account and body to both cooperate.  Maybe my goal should be to run 50 different marathons, and not necessarily in all 50 states.  That would be a more achievable goal.

So, I am saying it here.  I will run 50 different marathons.

Currently at 11, my next four will bring my total to 15 by the end of 2014.  They are…..  Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, All American Marathon, Big Cottonwood, and The Greensboro Marathon.

Setting goals is very common for runners.  I am already a Half Fanatic, and Marathon Maniac.  Go Big, right?  That’s what folks say.  Go big or go home.  I plan on taking my marathon running BIG!