Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon 2015- Race Recap

The most beautiful of Spring days ushered in and welcomed thousands of runners to Raleigh for the second annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half yesterday.  A bit of a chill and breeze in the air as I easily found a parking spot downtown.  The day had much promise!

I had made the decision to run the Half this time around, and I really was happy with my choice.  I arrived downtown about a hour and fifteen minutes before the race was to begin at 7am.  Stretching and hydrating, I felt pretty good.  I hadn’t gotten much sleep, but surprisingly felt some good energy.  I knew I wanted to take some photos of the starting area, so I made my way over to the start just before 6:30.

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The crew was furiously setting up the finisher village as I passed by the finish line.  Like a well oiled machine, the volunteers and folks with Rock n Roll had it under control.  Corrals, main stage, signs everywhere.  It was pretty impressive.  I didn’t use bag drop, but that was going in full swing.  Runners starting to gather in big crowds, they started filing into the corrals.  I was in Corral 1, so had a great view of the main stage where they were making announcements.  The National Anthem was sung by a guy who was there running something like his 65th marathon.  He did a fine job!

As the countdown clock was nearing zero, I snapped a few photos.

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Unlike my last race three weeks ago, I didn’t trip and fall prior to this run.  I wasn’t battered and bruised at the start, although my leg still isn’t fully healed.  All I really had to do was down my GU fifteen minutes prior, and tighten my shoe laces one last time.  I had decided to wear my RnR Las Vegas marathon shirt for this race, and snapped a picture right before the start.

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Promptly at 7am, the race began.  Unlike most races, this time I used both my Garmin and Runkeeper on my phone to track my run.  I wanted to track my splits at this race because of the unending hills.  Because this event is not homegrown, and draws in folks from all around the country, the course incorporates many of the iconic sights around the city.  Due to the nature of trying to include all of these sights, runners get the best of Raleigh’s hills right alone with it.  Local races typically try not to include every difficult hill in the city, as a course will draw more runners the flatter it is.  So, with that said, if you are looking for a flat Half or Full marathon, Raleigh is not the city to scout out for races.  It’s a perfect place though if you like to train on hills!  And I do!

The course this year was more well supported with aid stations than last year.  I never felt the least bit dehydrated, as water/Gatorade stops were aplenty.  I cruised along through the first few miles downtown.  I felt pretty good.  The first five miles, full of ups and downs, I maintained a pace under 8:00 per mile.  It wasn’t until mile 6 when my pace hit 8:20 that I knew the hills were taking a bit of a toll on me.  I felt good though, and really enjoyed all of the music and entertainment along the course.  I really think that there were a lot more spectators all along the course route this year.  The constant cheers were so appreciated, especially along some of the tougher uphill stretches.

Traversing Peace St. toward Cameron Village is certainly one of the toughest parts of this course.  I ran mile 7 in 8:26, and mile 8 in 8:57.  Yes, the hills played a big roll in those times.  My overall pace was now over 8:00 per mile, and that was my goal for this race.  I was shooting for a 1:45:00 finish, so if I wanted to achieve that, I would have to now make up some time.  Mile 9 brought us to the Bell Tower at N.C. State.  I had sort of pre-arranged seeing my older son here at the Bell Tower.  He wasn’t sure if he would be on campus that night since a couple of his buddies were in town for the weekend, and sure enough he wasn’t there.  Bummer!  We made the turn onto campus and down Pullen Rd.  I had found a bit more of a boost in energy here, but knew my miles running sub 8 were gone.  I was just trying to keep focused on running smoothly.  After that nearly 9 minute mile 8, mile 9 was 8:21, followed by an 8:06 mile 10.

The beauty of Spring in North Carolina was everywhere.  Azaleas are in bloom, dogwood trees full of whispy white and pink flowers.  Spring brings pollen, but the weather this year wasn’t as warm during the race, so it didn’t feel as bad this year.  Temperatures were probably about 55 to 58 degrees, and felt a bit warmer in the sunshine.  Heading toward the stretch on Dorthea Dix campus, I knew that the “Wear Blue to Remember” dedication was upcoming.  I looked forward to seeing it, and being inspired.  Right as I approached the flags, photos and inspiring folks on the side of the road, my race nearly ended.  It has never happened to me before, but my right knee completely gave out.  Out of nowhere!  It completely buckled and I almost fell.  I staggered over to the side of the road completely bewildered.  What was going on?  I didn’t know what to do, but to try to run again.  So, I did.  A few steps later it buckled again.  Almost fell again.  I tried to massage it, stretch it.  It wasn’t muscular though.  How do I fix this, I thought to myself.  All I could do was keep trying and see if it would stop.  Finally, after a few attempts, and some encouragement from the spectators I slowly began running again, careful, not wanting to fall.  I guess it worked, because it didn’t happen again.  Thinking back on it today, my only guess as to what the hell that was all about is that maybe it had something to do with my fall on that knee and leg a few weeks ago.

Anyway, I was finally running again.  Pretty confident that my knee wasn’t going to buckle again, I tried to pick up the pace.  My knee issue wrecked my pace though on mile 11 and 12.  9:02 and 9:21, despite the starts and stops.  I was determined to finish strong.  Boylan Ave. was approaching, a tough uphill run before dipping back down into the center of the city for the finish.  I managed a good showing on Boylan.  Ran it strong.  I really just tried to enjoy the last mile.  Clapping for spectators, saying thank you.  Winding my way to the finish mile 13 was completed in 8:32.  With the finish line in view, I gave it one final push.  I practically sprinted to the finish, not knowing if my knee would give out and send me flying through the finish line.

I managed to stay on my feet, passing about 8 runners in the final few hundred feet.  With a medal around my neck, my 26th Half marathon was over.  I came close to my goal, even with my knee hampering the later part of my race.  Finish time 1:47:46.  Overall pace 8:14.  Pretty happy with that!

Water, Gatorade, bananas, pretzels, chocolate milk, I took my time walking though the finisher chute.  Stopping now and then to rest in sunny spots.  A guy from Jersey Mike’s handed me a mini turkey sub sandwich that really hit the spot.  As I sat on the curb, I turned to snap a picture of the finish area looking back at the finish line.

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I decided to return to my car and grab a jacket before heading over to the Red Hat Amphitheater for the post race concert.  It was a good time.  It was nice to relax and take in some music before heading home.  “Hey now, you’re a Rock Star!”  Smash Mouth was the post race headliner.

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Results were posted last night.  5,599 finished the Half, and 952 finished the Full.

My results-  502/5599 overall, 378/2213 gender, and 62/359 on my last day in the 40-44 Age Group.

Pretty happy with my results!  Now that today is my birthday, and I am officially 45, let’s see what kind of impact I can have in my new AG.  Thanks again, Rock ‘n’ Roll, the Raleigh event is amazing!  Such a challenge, but so much fun!  Great swag, too!  Love the Cree Shimmer Wall on the medal.

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Rock and Roll in Raleigh

Six days to go!  The second annual Rock ‘n’ Roll event in Raleigh is almost upon us.  Word around town is that participation levels for the second running of this event are down.  No surprise to me, since an inaugural event will always bring in more folks.  Regardless, event numbers are looking to be around 8,000 runners between the Half and Full, and that’s a lot.

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My preparations this last week were good.  I got in three quality runs, all while breaking in new running shoes.  Somehow I let my last pair go a little beyond their useful comfortable life, and I could tell.  This new pair has a surprisingly springy feel, but probably just because my last pair was flat.  The weather has been very cooperative too, for really nice springtime running.  We are finally out of the cold, and into delightful temperatures that are so prime for running.

Looking at my race recap post from last years race, I think it got warmer quicker in the season last year.  The pollen cloud that typically envelopes us during the Spring is not yet here.  We have some, but the worst of it has yet to begin.  I remember almost seeing it in clouds during last years race.  It made breathing, especially during the harder sections of the course, very difficult.  Maybe the worst of the pollen will stay at bay until after race weekend.  Fingers crossed!

If you read my post from the race last year, you know I ran the Full.  It was also my birthday marathon, taking place on my 44th birthday.  It was certainly a unique way to spend a birthday, pounding pavement for 26.2 miles.  So, this will be the second time I run this event at 44 years old.  My birthday this year isn’t until the day after the race.  Because of this fact, the Rock ‘n’ Roll race will be my last race in the 40-44 Age Group.  Yes, a week from today I will officially be in the 45-49 AG.  I think it’s pretty safe to say that I will be the oldest runner in the AG this weekend, on my last official day at 44 years old.  Hey, that’s a built in excuse to run the slowest.

So, as the final days before the race come and go, I am still undecided as to which race I will be running on Sunday.  Registered for the Half, but still considering the Full.  As of right now, however, I am leaning probably 70% toward sticking to the Half.  A lot of that decision will be based on the weather.  As of right now, The Weather Channel forecasts a race day low of 54 and a high of 78.  A partly sunny day, with very little chance of rain.  May be a tad too warm for the Full, but it seems like an identical forecast to last years race.

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This RnR event will either be my 26th Half or 19th Full, but regardless of which it will be, everyday I say my thanks for the opportunity to run.  It doesn’t matter which race it will be on Sunday.  The only thing that matters is the fact that I am healthy and able to run.  For that, I am so grateful.

Rock ‘n’ Rebellion Half Marathon- Race Recap

October 5th, 2014, a beautiful morning to run.  An even better morning to toe the line for a Half Marathon in beautiful Raleigh, NC.  The 4th and final running of the local half marathon drew a big crowd.  About 600 runners, and plenty of family support and friends showed up early yesterday morning at Cameron Village.  Local race director and friend of RunRaleigh Racing, Paula O’Neal, put on a well organized and highly rated event.

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I was asked to be a pacer for this event.  I gladly accepted, although which pace team would work best for me was the question a few weeks ago when I was asked.  Knowing that this race would be my final long run prior to the Chicago Marathon (7 days later), I opted for the 2hr pace group.  I have had much success in the past when I’ve run a Half Marathon one week prior to a Marathon, but I have never gone “all out” during the lead up half.  Choosing the two hour group would be perfect, although my slowest Half I the past was a 1:52:00 finish, so I really had to hold back to achieve the goal time.

Race morning was perfect.  Chilly, upper 40’s, and dry.  I met up with my fellow pacer Yanni, who had made the pace flag, and pinned a 2:00 finisher bib to the back of my shirt.  Funny enough, I had never met Yanni, although we are pretty comparable runners, and have raced in several races together, not knowing it.  We started with a group of runners about 10 strong, that it could tell.  We all exchanged pleasantries and quickly got into a nice groove when the race began.  A short uphill start, and starting in the crowd, it took us about a half mile to get on pace.  For a 2 hour finish, I would be tracking a pace of 9:09 overall.

The race course was run on city streets, with about eight miles on the Raleigh greenways.  A nice course  and a challenge too, with a few hills mixed in here and there.  We had a really fun group.  Lots of conversation in the first several miles.  We discussed past and future races, and kept each other on pace.  This course had three or four greenway tunnels, so keeping the GPS signal was questionable.  I only lost the signal on my Garmin once.  We built in a little cushion in the pace, as the group requested we do this.  Most of the group were pushing for sub 2 finishes for the first time, and obviously as a result of this, PR’s as well.  I was excited to be helping these runners reach their goals for the day.

About four miles in we were hovering at a pace of 9:01.  That pace wouldn’t move on my Garmin for the next seven miles.  We were in a comfortable groove.  Yanni and I kept the group together, giving tons of praise, and encouragement.  It really was a blast.  One thing I noticed during the race, as there were two out and back sections with turnarounds on the greenways, was that every runner was happy.  I have never seen such support and encouragement during a race before.  We all cheered each other on.  Runners were having a great time.  I really didn’t see anyone struggling too badly.

At about the 12 mile mark there is a fairly substantial hill to climb.  We paced it perfectly.  Some folks in the group dropped back, others held on with us.  We worked together.  I ran backwards at points, giving encouragement to those behind us to get up that hill.  With less than a mile to go, our overall pace was 9:03.  Those that kept with us would surely go sub 2, and earn awesome PR’s.  When I could see the finish line, only about three city blocks remained, and all downhill.  We were clearly ahead of pace, so Yanni and I really slowed down to get everyone to the line.  We ran backwards for about a block, shouting out “let’s go”, ” get that PR”, and “finish strong”.  Our group flew by us on down into the finisher chute well under 2 hours.  Yanni and I made it to the finish and actually stopped about 10 yards from the finish, to offer words of encouragement to more folks for a minute or more.  When there was a lag in runners, we walked across the finish line in 1:59:03.  Chip time was 1:58:45.

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After receiving our medals, we met back up with the pace group runners, who were all waiting at the finish to thank us.  I shook hands with no less than ten of them.  All showing their appreciation for us, so happy with the results of the day.  Big PR’s all around from the group, all sub 2’s, and thrilled.  This race wasn’t about me at all.  It was a comfortable training run, focus being on my group instead of myself.  It was my slowest finish ever in a Half, but probably the most fun I have ever had racing.  It was and awesome day, a day for giving back to my fellow runners.  It was such a pleasure pacing this group.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again.  If you have never had the opportunity to pace an event, I suggest you do.  It is important as a running community that we help each other, and encourage one another.  Pacing is a great way to do that, and if you are anything like me, it will give you a ton of satisfaction that you were a small part of helping someone else achieve a goal.

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I am pacing another Half Marathon in three weeks.  At the Hallowed Half, I will be pacing the 1:45:00 group, and really look forward to that, as well.

Rest, recovery and just a few short runs remain this week leading up to Chicago, just six short days away!  Happy running everyone!

Rock ‘N’ Rebellion Half Marathon Preview

Fall is a great season for running, and in the Raleigh area there are tons of races to choose from.  RunRaleigh Races’ Rock ‘n’ Rebellion Half Marathon, is one of the best!

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The course has changed just a bit from previous runnings of this event, and has even undergone a complete name change.  RunRaleigh Half, as it used to be called, was first run in 2012.  Due to a Rock ‘n’ Roll event debuting in Raleigh this year, local race director, Paula O’Neal, had to move her mid April event date, as Competitor Group was given her race weekend.  They sort of pulled the date away from her to accommodate this non-local for profit series.  

With its new date, the first weekend in October, the newly named, Rock ‘n’ Rebellion offers runners a picturesque course through Raleigh and its greenways.  The course is challenging, yet very doable even for a first time Half Marathoner.  With a starting location at Cameron Village, in downtown Raleigh, runners are treated to ample parking and plenty of room to spread out with family and enjoy the post race festivities including food, drink and a beer garden with DJ cranking tunes.

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It’s a great event, one that I highly recommend.  I’ve run it three times, and look forward to going back for another dose of fun this October 5th.  I will be a pacer at the event this year, and really look forward to that.

Check out the race website here:  www.runraleighracing.com. 

RunRaleigh Half Marathon Recap

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On Sunday, October 6th, 2013 I ran the RunRaleigh Half Marathon.

It was my 17th Half Marathon overall, and 7th this year.

The weather was fairly cooperative, about 66 degrees at the start of the race.  I think this was the first race I’ve run though, in foggy conditions.  We have had quite in Indian Summer this past week, so the temperatures were supposed to soar into the 80’s through the course of the day.  I was glad the start time was 7am.  It was still completely humid, probably 100%.  Ok, I am so tired of the humidity, and ready for more races in dryer conditions.

My back to back to back weekends of racing was capped off at yesterday’s race.  Now I have two weeks off, until I race next in Durham at the Bull City Race Fest Half.

The race started on time, and I began very near the front.  I felt good.  Here is a photo, a little blurry, of the race route In and around downtown.

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The course is one of the nicer ones in the area.  The run begins on Woodburn Avenue at Cameron Village.  It loops up and around Oberlin Street to the north, and then drops back southerly down to Hillsborough Street, right in front of the N.C. State Bell Tower.  The course then heads east along Martin Luther King Blvd. and eventually runs onto some very scenic greenways.  Looping back toward Pullen Park, up a big hill and back to the finish.

The race crowd was a lot lighter during this run.  There were 554 finishers.  I felt like I was running a good race during the first few miles.  I was not going for a PR, or trying to break any records of any kind.  The last time I ran this race, back on its old Spring date in April, I ran it in 1:40:21.  I was not looking to better that time, as I just ran the Asheville City Marathon last weekend, and really was in recovery mode.  I was just hoping for a pain free run, and enjoy myself.  Those first few miles are relatively flat, and I felt like I was pretty near the front of the crowd.  I felt like I was at least in the top 50 runners.

The miles seemed to be flying by pretty quick… A big hill, the first of a few, but one of the toughest came up before hitting a flat section that lasts for about three miles in the middle of the course.  I traversed the hill well, and then really enjoyed the downhill afterward.  I was reminded of a few of the hills last weekend in Asheville.  About four miles into the race, I was already completely drenched in sweat.  The humidity was awful, once again.  I was already feeling my (still not completely healed from last weekend 26.2) nipples getting raw again.  Why is this such a huge struggle for me?  I use Body Glide, and slather that stuff all over to prevent chafing, but nothing seems to work on longer runs, especially when it’s humid.  Anyway, I would eventually come to he finish with bloody nipples again.  If anyone has a magical solution for me on this, I would love the tips.

Hitting my stride on the flat section of Martin Luther, I past a few runners, and was only passed by one.  My pace was consistent, hitting mile 6 at about 7:30 per mile.  I wasn’t gunning for faster than that, so I was pleased.  When turning onto the greenway, the sights on sounds change.  The front of the packers were gone, too far out in front to see them, and there were very few runners around me.  This left me with a very quiet run through the greenway.  I was happy with that.  Crunchy leaves underfoot, birds chirping, and general quiet otherwise.  That’s when it happened.  All of the sudden I started to hear someone gaining on me.  This guy eventually caught up to me.  He was wearing an orange shirt, a completely dry orange shirt.  What?  This guy was passing me, 8 miles in, without a drop of sweat on him.  His hair wasn’t even wet.  I thought he must not be running the race, maybe just had stepped onto the greenway for his own personal training run on a Sunday morning.  (Later I found out that he was a racer, and finished several spots ahead of me).  As he passed me though, he said “good morning”, in a very chipper voice.  I said “good morning” back to him, and while I was distracted by this I stepped on a large object that was covered on the path by leaves, and turned my ankle badly.  It was a full on roll of my right ankle, and I thought right then and there that my race was finished. It scared me, but as I regained my balance, and kept running, I realized that I didn’t break it, so I would continue to run to see how it did.  I was ok, but thought it might be sore today, and it is.  I don’t think it’s too serious, so will ice it some today, and take the day off from running.

Heading back toward Cameron Village, my pace continued to fade a bit after the ankle turn, but I wasn’t too worried.  The biggest uphill on the course comes at mile 12, and it is a pretty big hill.  I managed to pass two guys on the hill, as I refused to walk.  This hill gets a lot of runners, especially so late in the race.  It takes names, and then adds them to the victims list.  It didn’t take my name.  I ran through it, and maintained a decent clip the last 1/2 mile to the finish.  My favorite part of this race is the downhill finish.  Coming into the finisher chute, I crossed the line with no one behind me.

Gun time: 1:42:12.   Chip time:1:42:09

I finished 31/554 Overall

5/42 in Age Group

I am happy with those results.

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The finisher village after the race had plenty of water, food and fun.  There was a beer garden, vendors, DJ and more.  Bagel and chocolate milk?  Yes, please.   It was a lot of fun.

Always a huge thank you goes out to the Race Director, Paula O’Neal, who puts on great events.  Well thought out, planned, and executed.  Her races benefit local charities, and thousands of dollars have been donated to charities because of her races.  This race benefitted SPCA of Wake County, the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation, and SWOOP.  I just have to support local races that benefit charities.

Swag from this race: long sleeve shirt, pint glass and medal.

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All in all it was a very enjoyable race, and plan on supporting it for years to come.  Next up?  Bull City Race Fest Half on 10/20.

Half Full Half

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Less than a week since the Asheville City Marathon, I am gearing up for the final weekend of my Half, Full, Half challenge.  I have been reminding myself all week to recover, to rest, to take it easy.  Well, since Saturday’s 26.2 in Asheville, I have only run twice.  I ran a 3.1 a few days ago, and I just finished a 4.1 mile run tonight.   Just trying to stay loose and yet not overdo it.

On Sunday morning I will be running in the Fall installment of the RunRaleigh Half Marathon.  I ran this race just six days prior to the Blue Ridge Marathon back in April.  Now, permanently scheduled for the Fall racing season, the RunRaleigh Half is a great run.  It winds it’s way through city streets in Raleigh, and then through scenic green ways, and back again to Cameron Village, in the western heart of the city.  I know the race director personally, so I am always supportive of her races.

I stopped by packet pick up today after work, and got my bib, shirt and pilsner glass, reflecting one of the charities that the race will benefit.  The ASPCA of Raleigh.  For all of you dog and cat lovers, it is a worthy charity, for sure.  I also dropped off some promotional flyers for the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate at Capitol RunWalk, the venue for packet pick up.  Daphne Kirkwood of iDaph Events, in Asheville provided me with some to distribute around the Raleigh and Triangle area over the next several months leading up to that race In March of 2014.  I hope to spread the word at the race this Sunday as well.

Looking forward?  I have several more races this season, and I am just going to take them one by one.  Overall goal of staying healthy throughout.

what’s next on your race schedule?

Gu…Riffic or Gu…Ribble?

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Are you a fan of GU?  I find it a necessity, especially while on runs longer than 10 miles.

With two Halves and a Full in the next three weeks, I made a trip out to our local running store to stock up today.  Capital RunWalk in Cameron Village is an awesome running store that annually wins “best running store” honors in several polls.  This shop is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Supporting local running stores is a great thing.  This particular store supports many, many social runs, holds clinics, and sponsors many local races.  One such race is coming up on October, 6th.  RunRaleigh Half Marathon.  Huge fan of this race!!!

A lot of people have strong opinions about GU.  I’ve seen many a post about how good they can be, and how awful they can be.  It all depends on the person, and how one’s stomach will tolerate it.  I consider the texture of GU to be much like loose petroleum jelly.  Melted gummi bears perhaps?  Maybe really thick gravy…. In any event, some folks find it tolerable, and others get sick just thinking about it.

I have never had an issue with stomaching this product.  Available in a multitude of flavors, you just have to find what works, and what tastes good to you.  I have tried many, and really only like the Mandarin Orange, Jet Blackberry, and Lemon Lime.  On today’s trip to the running store, they had the new Salted Caramel flavor available.  Gotta try that, so I bought a few.

My method for taking Gu.  I take one about 15 minutes prior to a run longer than 10 miles.  Typically for a Half Marathon, I use three.  One before the start, and then again at mile 5 and mile 10.  They are small enough to fit into the belt pouch that I wear for long distances, or during races.  For a Full Marathon, I take six.  One before, and then one approximately every 4 to 5 miles.  You can tear the top off with your teeth easily.  My method is usually to squeeze it into my mouth in three rounds.  I do try to swallow it pretty quick, especially when I have a very dry mouth.

I find that GU gives me a nice boost of energy, and is a critical part of my nutrition toward the end of long races.  Usually only a banana will suffice if food is even offered at a race on the course.  Pretzels are good too, but impossible to swallow with dry mouth.  GU is quick and easy, and all while still running.

What do you think of Gu?  Do you like the product?  What have you found that works for you?  Interested in hearing about other options.  Thanks for the feedback in advance!

Fantastical Fall Racing

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The merry go round continues

With less than 5 weeks to go until the Asheville City Marathon, training continues along the right path, and sometimes feels repetitive like riding a carousel.  Last week was a shorter distance week for my training plan.  This week cranks back up a bit.  I managed 4 runs with a busy schedule last week.  I ran 24 miles total.  That was following a long run of 15 miles that concluded the week prior.  Today will start out with a 10 miler, and the week will end with a 17 miler over the long weekend.  Overall mileage for the week will likely near 40.  I am ready, I feel pretty good.  Except the the nagging corn on have on the base of my pinky toe on my right foot.  That thing is annoying as hell!  I have to dig it up, and cut around it with nail clippers at least once a week.  I just don’t think it will truly go away until I take a few weeks off.  That is not happening anytime soon.

My mileage for the month of August so far has been right where I want it to be.  Following 108 miles in July, I am on track for about 130-140 this month.  Before today’s 10 miles, my mileage stands at 94.  It makes me feel pretty confident in being able to knock out this extremely busy Fall schedule I have lined up.  It all begins with a Half Marathon on 9/21….

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Yes, the Johnson Lexus Half is now just 26 days away.  This is my next race, and final warm up to my first marathon of the Fall season in Asheville.  Thanks to some odd luck, and maybe the planets aligning just right, I am able to spend a few extra days enjoying the mountain city of Asheville on my upcoming trip.  Originally I planned on driving up on Friday, hitting the Expo, getting a healthy dinner, waking up the next morning, running the marathon, and then driving the four hours back home.  Now the plan is to find better, and more relaxing accommodations, and stay the weekend, returning home on Monday.  These plans are still up in the air, trying to nail them down in the next day or two.

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Be good to me Asheville!

Once returning home from Asheville, I will have less than a week to prepare for RunRaleigh Half on 10/6.  This is a great course in downtown Raleigh, using nice portions of the greenways.  Last time I raced this course, I finished in 1:40:21.  Pretty sure I won’t be able to crank out that speed the week following a marathon, but I’ll give it a good go!

Two weeks after that is the Bull City Race Fest.  This will be a first time race for me, and should be a lot of fun.  This event also includes a Food Truck Rodeo afterward, so how could I pass this one up?  Plus, I signed up for this race months ago when it was ultra cheap!  I’ve heard the course is pretty hilly, so it should be right up my alley.

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I hope they have bumper stickers to give away!

Just a week later is another Half Marathon in Wake Forest.  Another hilly race, and fun because it is Halloween themed.  Last year I ran this race injured, PF flair up, and I am looking forward to running it healthy this year.  The racing calendar closes out for the year with a bang!  A real one, two punch!!!  Two marathons, in 14 days.  The Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon….on 11/3.

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Hometown run

…..and then the last minute addition to my 2013 calendar, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon on 11/17!

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Downtown Vegas neon

I am so excited for each and every one of these races!  I am very pleased with how my body has held up this year with all of the training, and distance racing I have already done.  If all goes according to plan, I will wrap up 2013 in Vegas, with 9 Halves, and 5 Full’s.  That will exceed my 2013 goal of 13.  A real cause for celebration, and a great lead in to 2014.   I have my sights set on a few races already in 2014.  A Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon here at home on my 44th Birthday, another crack at the Blue Ridge Marathon, and a beach Marathon early in the year.  The rest will come into focus soon enough.  My concentration now has to be the successful completion of a great year of running for me.

How are you coming along with your 2013 goals?  Will you meet or exceed them?

Half Marathon Crazy

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Getting deeper and deeper into Fall racing season training.  Training is going quite well!  I thought I would share some info on another great local event happening here in the Raleigh area.  Once again, local race directors have gotten together to offer a special race series, all involving half marathons this Fall.  For those who endure and complete three half marathons between September 21st, and October 27th, are treated to the special bling shown above.

The first race in the Fall Triple Crown is the Johnson Lexus Half.  Information on this race can be found here.  http://www.midtownraceseries.com.  The title sponsor is Johnson Lexus, and every runner has the chance to win a brand new Lexus IS C!!  Talk about race bling?  How would you like to drive home from the race in that car?  I would get the seat all sweaty, but wouldn’t mind.

Win this new car?

Win this new car?

The second race in the series is the RunRaleigh Half Marathon, the third running of this event in downtown Raleigh beginning at Cameron Village, on it’s new Fall date of October 6th.  Information on this great event can be found at http://www.runraleighraces.com.  This is a great race with a good portion being run on the green ways in the city.

Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh

The final race is located in Wake Forest, NC.  I ran the inaugural event in 2012, and it was challenging, but a ton of Halloween fun is in store for you at this unique event.  Information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/hallowedhalf. There is a cool video of the spooky section of this race on YouTube.

Greenway Spooktacular!

Greenway Spooktacular!

Raleigh has such a cool running scene!  I am proud to be a runner here, and although I love destination races, racing close to home is always special.  I plan on moving somewhere on the west coast in about 3-5 years, and I will get involved in a brand new running community, but until that time comes, there are plenty of exciting races to participate in here at home.

Do you enjoy running half marathons as much as I do?  They seem to be the race distance of choice by so many runners these days, and we are lucky to have more and more options every year.  If you are local to the Raleigh area, consider joining me in pursuit of the Fall Triple Crown.  You will not be disappointed running these events.  Happy running!