My Asheville Marathon Results ~ Spoiler Alert

We are not going to talk about my curious absence from blogging this past month.  I just haven’t had enough time on my hands.  There is a ton to recap about each of the individual races I paced last weekend in Asheville, but I just don’t have the time right now to do a recap justice.  I guess we’ll settle for snippets, and results…..

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Btw…I am still trying to gather pictures from the event, which I have to search for and grab/copy before my long recap posts.  But, isn’t this an awesome picture of the Biltmore Estate from a cool spot on the race course?

I had an awesome weekend in Asheville participating in the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge.  What is that, you ask?  Well, this year the race doubled down, and held the events on two consecutive days.  The Half Marathon on Saturday, and the Full Marathon on Sunday.  I ran both!  I paced both!

This weekend was all about having fun, and running my heart out.  Giving back to my fellow runners by pacing them to a specific time goal.  For the Half, I paced the 2:00:00 finish group.  A very popular group, containing all of those runners out there trying to get the sub 2.  The weather was perfect, maybe just a tad on the warm side, but me and my pacing partner Louis brought those runners in at 1:59:23.  Just under the mark!

I then refueled, and spent five hours working an expo table for the marathon the following day.  All the while chatting up marathon runners, taking gulps of Gatorade along the way.  Yes, I had a chair, which I requested!  After having run the Half, and having another 26.2 miles the following day, I needed to be off my feet.

Marathon Sunday came so very quickly.  Back at it, I felt good.  I was pacing the 4:00:00 group for the marathon, and the weather?  Not so good.  It started raining about 20 minutes before the race began, and would rain intermittently for the entire race.  I don’t often run in the rain so it was an interesting twist.  Pace the hills for 26.2 miles, in the rain, and mud.  All after having run a Half the day before.  I felt good though, and knew I could manage it.  About 10 miles into the race, my pacing partner Andrea fell off the pace.  Now alone on dirt and rock trails, I had to dig in.  Climbing, climbing, the often washed over mile 11-12 was grueling.  I maintained pace somehow without a helper, and in the quiet.  Runners around me, but no one with me.  I carried on…..

Mile 12 is when she appeared.  A 23 year old medical student from Iowa.  Payton was her name, and she was my angel.  She sidled up to my left side, and said, “I want to break 4:00:00 today, so I am going to run with you to the end!”  I desparately needed the company, so welcomed her with open arms.  We traversed the difficult trails on the backside of the Biltmore Estate through the vineyards, past historic barns, up and down, through the rain, the mud and muck.  Payton kept me honest.  We both almost fell a few times due to slick muddy spots, but I kept on pace.  On pace!  13, 14, 15, the miles we left behind….

We stayed together up to mile 23 when she began to fade just a bit.  I willed her to keep up, She just couldn’t.  She silently started lagging further and further behind me.  I had to keep going however.  I had a schedule to keep.  I had a date with the finish line and would carry whoever I could to cross with me or in front of me.  The rain ebbed and flowed, but my shoes kept moving forward.  3:59:32 was my magic number on the day.  Made it perfectly to the end, urging runners to beat the clock.  It was a magically wet marathon, one I will remember forever.  I absolutely loved it.  Both days!

39.3 miles, two epic days at the Biltmore.  Two spot on pacing days, to boot.  One day sunny, one day rainy.  Perfect!  More details and pictures to come, including why I love pacing, and more on Payton.  :). Happy running!

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Double Trouble in Asheville

The Backyard to Vineyard Challenge they call it.  An all new event at the Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate.  What began as just a marathon in 2013, the folks at IDaph Events have added a Half Marathon in subsequent years, and now have added a double (for double trouble).

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Crazy runners (like me), are gearing up for a beast of a challenge in mid-March.  Now just four short weeks away I will be running/pacing these events in the mountains of North Carolina.  A Half Marathon that celebrates the beauty and history that is The Biltmore Estate, on Saturday March 12th, followed by another pass by the glorious Estate during a 26.2 mile journey through gardens, hills and vineyards the following day.  Sounds crazy, right?  Well, at least 100 runners are up to the challenge and will receive a commemorative award and special finishers jacket reserved for only the most crazy to finish both events.

This will be my second attempt at running a Half and Full on back to back days.  The first time I tried something like this was last July.  It’s a very exciting prospect, but not easy.  For those of you that have completed two Full marathons back to back are just a bit crazier than me.  For now!  I will attempt the Full/Full challenge one day in the near future.

So, how does a runners prepare for a challenge such as Backyard to Vineyard?  I believe a good dose of mental prep is in order, along with the physical.  Being mentally prepared to tackle 39.3 miles over the course of two days will more than likely be easier for me than the physical part.  I’m already in talks with my legs and feet, believe me!  I know I can do it though!  I’ve done it before, and at elevation.  This time it won’t be any easier, in fact the course is tougher by a long shot.  I will be as ready as ever to conquer!

As a runner, what is your proudest accomplishment?  Have you ever tried any crazy challenges that are out there?  I love to hear your stories.

 

Krispy Kreme Challenge for Charity

A while back I announced that my son and I would be running/eating our way through a local event that draws thousands of participants.  It will be his second time participating in the Krispy Kreme Challenge, and my first time.  There’s something about gorging on a dozen day old doughnuts in the middle of a five mile race that’s just a bit daunting to me, and probably the reason I haven’t signed up prior to this year.

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This race is a charity event, with proceeds going to the North Carolina Children’s Hospital, so I figured I must finally give it a go.  Hey, it’s all in the name of charity, right?  So, why not?  On February 6th, on what I hope will be a crisp cool morning (no snow/ice), we are running in the name of charity, and trying not to vomit during the second half of the race.  🙂

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Since I found it extremely gratifying to raise money for the James Blake Foundation last year for the New York City Marathon, I figured why not try to raise some money for the kids in need of medical help here locally.  So, without further ado, I created a fundraising page on crowdrise.  This platform is so user friendly, all you do is click on the link below, and it will take you directly to our fundraising page.  I am trying to raise $200 for the kids, so in essence, that’s 20 $10 donations, so it should be a cinch, right?  So, help us get our fundraiser off the ground by donating today.  Your help is greatly appreciated.

I really hope you will consider a donation to this worthy charity.  Thank you!

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Since 2004 a local race challenge has been gaining popularity.  Put on by the students of North Carolina State University (where my oldest is a student) this race draws thousands of fun seekers every year.

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The premise?  Who hasn’t heard of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts?  They are a light, fluffy decadence to be enjoyed HOT!  Hot Doughnuts Now, a red neon sign reads in the window when the conveyor belt is cranking out the warm glazed treats.  They are delectable, I can assure you!

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8,000 runners take on the challenge of running two miles to the KK shop in downtown Raleigh from NC State, grabbing a box of a dozen doughnuts, downing them anyway possible, and then trekking another two miles back to the finish.  Sound easy?  Yes, the doughnuts are ooey, gooey delicious and easy to inhale when fresh, but the tough part of this race isn’t only trying to run right after consuming 12 of these, but 12 of these DAY OLD.  Yes, not warm, not light and airy.  Cold, dense and dry!!

This race is really quite something to behold.  2016 will be my first time running/eating it, so I am more than a tad bit excited to take on this challenge.  Should be a blast!

Have you ever taken on a racing challenge like this?  Ever had a Krispy Kreme?

Asheville Marathon Maniac & Fanatic Discount

The world is full of all sorts of challenges.  Inequality, extreme weather and climate change, economic collapse, oil and water shortages, hunger, among many, many others.  Over the last 50 years the human population has nearly tripled, and with that come epic challenges that we all must face as inhabitants of this beautiful planet.  These challenges though cannot be overcome in a day, or two for the matter.  It will take years and years of hard work.  We may never see full solutions to these challenges.  Ever.

Wait…. this post is meant to be light.  It’s about challenges.  So let me change the focus of our challenges to the good kind.  Challenges we look forward to, challenges we take on with gusto.  Challenges we set out to conquer!

I am a runner.   My main goal today is to let you know about a new challenge for the running community. As the population grows, naturally the runner population grows.  We are an ever growing and ever changing group.  We are challenge seekers, and often find ourselves setting higher and higher standards for ourselves.  We can, we will.  Never give up.  A few mantras I’ve heard lately.

In working with the running community and getting to know so many of you through running races and social media, my love for our sport has grown and grown.  When I run a great race, I want to tell everyone about it.  It’s really the reason I started blogging about my running in the first place.  So, let me share with you some news about the Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate today.

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This race has grown and grown in popularity in the last few years.  Why?  Location, swag, race course, yes, all of those.  An amazing event which has sold out each year.  For 2016, the races will be held on separate days.  An exciting weekend event.  The Half Marathon on March 12th.  The Full Marathon on March 13th.  But wait!  (Herein lies the challenge I’ve eluded to) Run both!  The Backyard to Vineyard Challenge.  Run both races on back to back days.

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IDaph Events, which puts on this fantastic event (among others), recognizes the need to reward runners of all kinds.  They welcome the first time Half Marathoner, they welcome the very seasoned Marathoner.  They don’t discriminate.  This year they are recognizing those of us who love a challenge.  The Asheville Marathon & Half is now offering special discounts to Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics who may just want to descend on Asheville and take on a new and exciting challenge.

Here are is details….  and discounts…

If you want to run just the Half, save $10 by using code “2016AVLHALFMARATHONMANIAC”

Want to run the Full?  Save $20 using code “2016AVLMARATHONMANIAC”

Run both races?  Take on the Challenge and save $30 using code “2016MANIACCHALLENGE”

I think it’s very cool when a race recognizes the running maniac/fanatic in each of us.  These two groups consist of approximately 24,000 runners worldwide, and growing.  So?  What are you waiting for?  Jump on the bandwagon and score some awesome discounts to run at the Biltmore Estate next year!  They are celebrating us runners, so let’s take them up on it!

Check out all of the details on the race here:  https://www.ashevillemarathon.com

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OBX Racing Challenge- What is that?

After my last post about running challenge events, I started to think.  The 10k, 5k back to back I raced last June was not the only time I’ve taken on a challenge.  I had an eppiphany!  Ok, spell check didn’t highlight that word I’ve probably never written, so maybe I spelled eppiphany correctly?  Anyway, here’s another challenge story leading up to my biggest challenge this Summer when I run a Half Marathon on Saturday, followed by a Full the next day.

What is OBX, you ask?  Maybe you’ve seen the oval stickers on the bumpers of numerous vehicles for years and always wondered what it meant.  Well, it refers to one of the most beautiful places here in my home state of North Carolina.  The Outer Banks!

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About a four hour drive from home, the Outer Banks of NC, are incredibly beautiful.  A vacation spot for thousands and thousands of people from all over the States and abroad.  It’s a place to slow down, enjoy the views, play in the sand and enjoy the ocean, sunrises and sunsets.  You only need to speed up in the OBX if you happen to be there to run one of the several awesome races they host over the course of each year.

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A few years ago I had the opportunity to run a race there!  The Outer Banks Marathon is a weekend full of events and takes place each year in November,  The weekend includes fun runs for both kids, and adults, the Buccaneer 5k, the Outer Banks 8k, a 5k and Half Marathon Challenge, the 8k and Half Challenge, the 8k and Full Marathon Challenge, Southern 6, the TowneBank Outer Banks Half Marathon, and the TowneBank Outer Banks Marathon.  Wow!  Tons of events, and a bunch of challenges to choose from.  Back when I ran these races the title sponsor was Gateway Bank.

In 2012, I chose to run the Blackbeard Challenge!  It entailed the 8k on Saturday morning, followed by the Full Marathon on Sunday morning. See?  How did I forget about this challenge when I wrote my last post?  At the time, I had never tried anything even close to this kind of challenge.  In fact, this Marathon was only the third marathon I had ever run.

Outer Banks Sporting Events has several great races throughout the year.  The Flying Pirate Half Marathon in April each year, Storm the Beach, and Saga Outerbanks Triathlon are other events they host.  This race company is known for great swag, medals and overall fun experiences.  The year that I ran this challenge, they even offered custom race shirts, and of course I had to get one since this was a big challenge to me, and I wanted to commemorate it with more than just “the race shirt”.  It’s from a company called WearYourNumber.com. Check it out!

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Isn’t it cool?  I got to customize it with my own photo (a beach photo because of where the race was located) and with verbiage/script of my choice.  It looks like a bib, but it’s actually printed on the shirt!  It was my actual race number, too!

We had the best weekend in the Outer Banks!  Family, food, fun and racing.  At the time I was suffering (and had been for months) with Plantar Fascitis.  It was excruciating, and added an extra challenge for me that weekend.  Looking back on it, I was pretty miserable for both races, and didn’t have great races at all.  But, I did it!  I ran and conquered both.

8k medal.  Completed in 38:21. 37th place overall!

8k medal. Completed in 38:21. 37th place overall!

There was a race shirt and medal for both races I ran, and an additional medal for completing the challenge.

Race shirt.  I absolutely love the logo!

Race shirt. I absolutely love the logo!

Next up, after much unsuccessful foam rolling was the marathon.  I started well, enjoying views from Kitty Hawk to Manteo, but failed miserably with cramping and of course my PF was killing me.  My worst marathon finish to date at a pace of 9:41 for an overall finish time of 4:13:58.  Yeah, I was happy to finish, but felt a bit deflated with my time.  I guess considering my physical struggles, finishing was probably all I should have hoped for.  Here is a look at the medal.

A beautiful medal, even if it is a little small compared to most races I've run.  Still love it!

A beautiful medal, even if it is a little small compared to most races I’ve run. Still love it!

To top off the weekend, I received this medal for completing the challenge.

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So there you have it.  I didn’t start blogging until six months after this race, so a recap full of detailed memories from my races isn’t included.  I really can’t go back in my mind and try to review it.  I do know though, that if you are looking for a great weekend at the beach in November, this is a great option.

On to the next challenge.  Back to back Half and Full.  This July!  Aspen Valley Half and Rockies Marathon.

No PR, No BQ, No Big Deal. Run Happy!

Could this old guy be slowing down?  Well, lately I’ve felt like my fastest running days are over.  Does it have to do with age, or does it have to do with guts and determination?

I turned my focus this past week on speed work.  Running distance in this heat (91 degrees right now), can be very daunting.  So, a nice change to my training has been shorter distances, and speed work.  I’m testing myself, to see if this aging guy still has what it takes to pull a PR at any distance.

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My immediate attention is on a 10k in a few weeks.  I am not gunning for a PR because it’s just not that important to me right now.  I haven’t PR’d the distance in a few years, but I don’t run 10k’s often at all.  But the distant focus is on a pair of races this Summer.  I’ll still go all out like I want a PR, that’s just my nature.

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I have decided that even though I am going to give it my best shot at the Rockies Marathon on July 19th and go for a PR, with high hopes for a BQ, that I will also run the day before.  A Half.

Too crazy not to try something I have never done.  Only once have I run back to back races.  Last Summer I ran a 10k and then a 5k 45 minutes later the same morning.  It was a 15k challenge which I gladly signed up for.  So, I’ve done that sort of race double, but nothing close to what I will attempt in July.

So, I am signed up for the Aspen Valley Half Marathon on July 18th.  I will be a pacer, and hopefully get in a nice much slower than normal pace for me type of warm up.  The warm up is for the next day, running the Full Marathon.  Going for my BQ.  Will I achieve that BQ?  Who knows, but I don’t think I really want to skip the challenge of back to back distance events like this opportunity presents.

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There will be so many opportunities to get my BQ, that I think I am loosening the reigns on the BQ wagon this Summer.  I would rather have a fun challenge of back to back races in two beautiful locations, than pinning all my hopes on one BQ race.  Sure, I am still going to give it my all, but if it doesn’t happen at least I won’t regret passing up on the second race to solely focus on the BQ.  Boston is not everything.  Sure, would I love to go and run Boston one day?  Absolutely!  But at least for now, it’s not the end all be all goal.

I had to do some soul searching of late, and figured out that I run because it makes me happy, makes me feel good.  I run for the health benefits, and for the mind and soul cleansing it provides me.  I run for the beauty around me.  I think if I run solely with a BQ in mind, that I lose many of the reasons why I run in the first place.  I don’t need all the pressure, running is supposed to relieve that.  If I happen to have the race of my life and qualify, then of course I will be thrilled.  If it doesn’t, I don’t want to be heart broken and full of regret.  If I run a 3:24:59 I will be ecstatic, but if I run a 3:50:00, I want to be happy for the experience of it all.

So that’s it!  I’m running a Half, then a a Full the next day.  I will give it my all, I will enjoy and revel in both.  It’s a pretty big challenge, but one I am happy about.  Have you ever tried a crazy running challenge?  Back to back races?  Back to back to back races?  I’d love to hear about your experiences.  Please share!

Back to Back Races – Why Not?

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I’ve signed up for an interesting challenge in a few weeks.  Back to back races.  One right after the other.  I don’t mean a Saturday, then Sunday race either.  Or even back to back weekends.  What I’ve signed up for is a 10k race, and then a 5k race that starts an hour and a half after the first.  It’s called the 15 Quay Challenge.

This year is the 10 year Anniversary of a local 5k event.  To commemorate the occasion, the town has decided to add a 10k race to the line up, which also includes a kids fun run.  For an even more interesting twist, they have added a challenge.  To compete in both races, back to back.  For bragging rights?  For a special award?  Not really sure what the perks are, but I am all up for a challenge.  You have to try it once, right?

I ran the 5k race a few years ago, and it’s actually a tough hilly course, but also my PR.  I ran the 10k course in a training run this week, and yeah, it’s even tougher.  It will be interesting to give the 10k course my all, and then have about a half hour to recover before hitting the 5k course.  One thing is for sure, I will have fun.

I won’t be gunning for any PR’s at either distance this year, but look forward to the challenge of running both.  These races will be my last as the Summer here in North Carolina begins.  It’s too hot to race here during the Summer, so back to the drawing board, in effort to get quality training for the Fall season.

Have you ever run any crazy challenges before?  I know some folks that have run the Disney challenges like Goofy, but are there any unique races or challenges that you have done?  Let me know.