A New York City Marathon Surprise!

As you all may have heard, ahem…  I am running the New York City Marathon this Fall.  I am running not because I got in through guaranteed entry (I’m not that fast, seriously), or the lottery.  I joined a charity team, and will be running the streets of NYC as part of the James Blake Foundation charity team.

I’ve blogged about it several times, reaching out for donations for this great charity.  As a matter of fact, several bloggers/runners/social media acquaintances have already donated.  THANK YOU!  If you haven’t donated yet, and have either promised me you would, or were “waiting on that next paycheck”, well, now is your time.  Today is Friday.  It’s Fundraising Friday, and it’s payday!  Step up.  Race day is getting closer and closer, and let’s face it, it’s for a good cause.  Be charitable, it will make you feel good heading into the weekend.

https://www.crowdrise.com/jamesblakenyc2015/fundraiser/paullaviska

Yep, click on the link above, it’s pretty easy to donate.

the big news?  The surprise?  Well, get this.  I got an email from the charity group two days ago with some big news.  I was told some time ago that there would be big news coming around the time of the U.S. Open tennis tournament.  The tourney starts next week, so the news came a bit earlier than I expected.

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Do you know who that guy is?  It’s James Blake.  Former World #4, tennis player extraordinaire.  Now retired from tennis, but still doing boatloads of charitable work.  It is his Foundation that I am raising money for.  The email I got?  Oh, it was the announcement that James would be running the NYC Marathon!  Very exciting news.  Not only will this generate a lot more attention to his charity, but I’m sure I will get the chance to meet him, if not even run with him some.

He has never run a marathon before, and claims it will probably be the only one he runs.  I may not be able to beat him on the tennis court, but I may be able to best him on the streets of New York!

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With this form, how could I not beat him?  Lol

Well, it’s not about who wins, but about raising money for cancer research.  I want to raise as much money as possible so when I hit the streets of NYC, I feel proud and accomplished.  I want to be able to look James in the eyes when we meet knowing that I did everything possible to help.

Please consider a tax deductible donation today.  Thank you!

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My Fall 2015 Race Calendar

This Summer has been a mixed bag.  Some great runs, some not so great.  I guess that happens a lot in the summertime, at least it does for me.   I can never make any wild predictions on how my training runs will go, and it’s all based on the weather.  Hot and muggy, Steamy and boiling.  Sunny and humid.  They all sound equally tough, but typically make me stronger for the Fall race season.

I have six races planned between now and the end of 2015.  Two major races, both marathons.  Four, run for fun, pace for others Half Marathons.  This is how it will play out.

1st up…  9/13, and the Run & Ride Half Marathon at Carowinds Amusement Park.

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This is a new pacing gig for me.  Pacing once again for Beast Pacing.  Target time of 1:50:00. My goal is to come to the finish within 45 seconds under my goal.  Just put a hotel room on hold last night, hoping to take my 17 year old son with me to ride some coasters after the race!

Next up, just six short days later on 9/19, is the Marine Corps Half Marathon.  This time I will be taking my 19 year old son with me, leaving bright and early on a Saturday morning for a 2+ hour car ride to the race location.  This race is run on the Marine Corps base Camp LeJeune.  It’s the first time I’ve had to provide my drivers license number, make and model, tag #, and insurance info for my car during registration.  They need all that info to expedite parking on base.  This should be a fun race, very military pride-filled, and inspiring.  Last year about 1,000 runners signed up, so it should be a good size field of runners.

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Taper time!  After a few Halves in mid September, I will concentrate on my next race.  Chicago!  Running the Chicago Marathon for the second year in a row!  I couldn’t be more excited.  My only goals are to equal or better my time from last year, and enjoy the crowds!  This year I will be wearing my name on my shirt!

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Six days after Chicago, I am pacing another Half Marathon.  This time closer to home.  I will be pacing the 1:55:00 Half at Greensboro.  Loved the tough course last year when I ran the marathon!  This time around only half the distance.

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Ok, so I do have a few challenges this Fall.  The day after Greensboro, on hopefully not too tired legs, I am running a Half again.  This time in Durham.  The Bull City Race Fast.  No time goals other than to beat 1:55:00.  Should be a piece of cake.  And maybe a piece of cake after the race from one of the food trucks!  This is a great event that I had to skip last year because of running Chicago and Greensboro marathons six days apart.  I was actually signed up to run it last year, but just didn’t have the legs left to even attempt it.

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All racing done now for the year?  Nope!  Insert another taper here.  The next two weeks after 10/19 will be total relaxation.  Letting my legs recover, and heal.  All for the epic event known as…..

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Yes, I will cap off my 2015 racing year with an epic run through the five boroughs of New York City on November 1st.  This really is the race of the year for me.  This is the race that I have been fundraising for for months now.  It’s getting to be crunch time, and I still need help.  I really had hoped to have raised all of the $3,000 that I pledged to the James Blake Foundation before the end of the Summer.

As of today, I have raised over $1,600, but need for every one of my readers to dig deep into their pockets.  Will you please help my charity?  $10, $20, $50?  $100?  All monies go toward advancing cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City.  Surely someone you know has been either directly or indirectly impacted by cancer.  Let’s honor those that have lost the fight to this disease, and to help those that are currently battling cancer.  Please give today.

You can click on the following link that will take you directly to my fundraising page on Crowdrise where you can make your charitable contribution now.

Thank you for you help, and I hope you have a fantastic Fall racing season.  I hope you have as much run running as I plan on having.

Greensboro Marathon & Half 2015

As the sport of running grows and grows, so do the number of races.  I’ve read a couple of really interesting articles lately about the growth of our sport, which has led to gluttony of races when it comes to peak marathon season.

Of course there are big city marathons with big expos, lots of spectators and a big price tag that comes right along with it.  Marathons can cost upwards of $250-$300 depending on the race.  Most folks choose races very carefully, and cost can be a huge factor.  For runners like me that run more than just a couple of races a year, careful consideration must be used when deciding where your race budget will be spent.

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Trivium Racing, out of Greensboro, North Carolina puts on really quality events.  Located in the center of our state, runners from all over can convene in the city park this Fall for the third running of an great event.  Current pricing is under $100, and gets you an amazing race course, high quality bling, post race food, music and more.  Convenient free parking, included!

The inaugural year of this event, I learned about it too late in the season to run it.  I didn’t make that mistake last year, signed up early, and ran the marathon six days after running the Chicago Marathon.  The course winds in and around the city of Greensboro, through neighborhoods, and city streets, but also through beautiful countryside.  Yes, there are hills.  The course is challenging, yet so much fun!

This year I will be pacing the Half Marathon at this event.  I hope to take one of my sons along with me to experience this great race.  Running Chicago again this year, I figured I better run the half this time around, since I am running the New York City Marathon a few weeks later.  Gotta leave some steam in my legs for the Big Apple!

This years race is on Saturday, October 17th.  Pease join me!

RUN LOCAL!!!  Support the fine efforts of quality race directors like Richard and Libby.  When races are done right, we need to support them!

New Promo for @AvlMarathon

Are you already signed up, or considering running the Asheville Half, Marathon or both next Spring?  On March 12th and 13th, Asheville, NC, and the Biltmore Estate are welcoming runners for a weekend of running.  The past three years the Half and Full Marathons were run at the same time on the same day.  In 2016, the Half is on Saturday, and the Full is on Sunday.  Running both means you will be running what they’ve coined the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge!  This level of challenge will bring in all sorts of running fans for an amazing weekend in one of the most beautiful and hip towns in all of North Carolina.

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Right now, through September 15th, they are offering a free “In Training Tee shirt” for those that sign up with a new registration.  The picture above shows you where to go to register, and please let them know I sent you!  In the referral box at checkout use “INVITEDBYPAULAMA”. In the discount code box enter code “2016EARLYBIRDTEE” and the good folks in Asheville will send you an awesome shirt to train in.

Come run with me in Asheville next year!  I’ve run the Half and Full at this amazing destination race, and let me tell you, these folks do races right!  Since the regular cost of the training shirt is $25, for every person that signs up between now and September 15th, I will make a personal donation in the same amount to my NYC Marathon charity, the James Blake Foundation.

Run a great race, or two!  Get a free shirt, and I donate to charity.  How awesome is that?

Running Fury 325

Why, oh why must vacations end?  I am on serious depression mode today, fueled by my first day back to work.  Ugh!  I’d rather be running!  As soon as I finish this post, that is exactly what I will be doing!

Fall plans are coming together in a serious way now that Summer is starting to wind down.  Well, we still have a ton of Summer left, but now that the kids are due back to school on two weeks, it will start feeling more like Fall.  You know, back to school season.  With one in college, and the other entering his senior year in high school, my days “with child” are numbered.  As they enjoy their last two weeks off, my focus has turned to Fall running season.

I have two marathons this Fall.  Chicago and New York.  Both epic, both meaningful in different ways.  The past few weeks I have been trying to figure out my best game plan for ramping back up my mileage to get me into marathon readiness mode.  I typically like to run some Half Marathons in the Fall, and this season is shaping up to be no different.

I have been debating a race down at the coast this September.  My older son wants to run a few Halves, so I have been busy at work trying to find a few.  I found us the Marine Corps Half, down at Camp LeJeune, in Jacksonville, NC the third week in September.  It works out well for him, and I kinda promised him we would do that one together.  Then, this past week something very interesting fell in my lap.  Another pacing gig.  So, without further ado, I will be pacing the 1:50:00 Half on September 13th, down in the Charlotte area.

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It’s actually the Run & Ride Half Marathon at Carowinds.  This will be my first time running one of their events.  Normally they are pretty pricey, even when you sign up early.  They have events at a half dozen amusement parks around the east.  Price of the run includes a weekend pass to the park, so you can enjoy the thrills and chills of rides and coasters before and after the actual race.  Kinda cool!

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A flat course winding in and around the park, going behind the scenes, and under huge coasters.  How much fun will that be?  This year, Fury 325, the parks newest roller coaster opened.  It’s the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster.  I can’t wait to try it!

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Just have to figure out which one of my sons will accompany me on this weekend amusement/running trip.  Should be a good time.

On into October, plans are coming together nicely for a back to back Half weekend the weekend after Chicago.  I’ll be pacing the Greensboro Half, and then running the Bull City Half the following day.  Of course, New York is two weeks later, so these two races will be my last training runs.  Last October I packed it in, as well.  October is such a great month around here for finding all sorts of distance events.

So, what about you?  Has your Fall running schedule come into a clearer picture now that Summer is fading?  Now is the time to firm up racing plans, and get those race fees paid early, while you still have time.  Don’t wait until the last minute.  Can’t wait to hear what you have scheduled!

Happy running!