Hallowed Half Marathon 2014- Race Recap

October 26, 2014 – Wake Forest, NC.  The third running of the Hallowed Half and 10k, put on by Signature Races.  Another beautiful morning for a race.  So many of my races lately have just been the best weather wise, and this one was no exception.  Race morning temps in the low 50’s.

image

My drive to Wake Forest is about 50-55 minutes, so I left the house about 5:30.  Race day packet pick up started at 6:30, and there was a bit of a line when I arrived, but only a few minute wait.  Pretty much the only time I ever see the sunrise is when I am racing, and as daylight approached the sky was cloudless.  After getting my bib pinned onto my shirt, I made my way over to find my fellow pacers for the race.

Women wore witch costumes, and tutus, men were wearing a Grim Reaper costume, with a scythe showing the pace on the faux blade.  Here is a shot of a few folks getting costumed up.

image

There were about ten of us total.  Unfortunately I was the only pacer for the 1:45:00 (8 minute mile) group, so would have to go it alone.  I have never had to pace by myself, so I hoped it would work out ok.  It’s great when you have a partner or two, trading off holding the pacing sign and just having someone else to keep you on track.

image

As 7:30 approached, we got in line at the starting chute.  I was surprised how few folks really aligned up with me for a 1:45:00 finish.  As you can see by this photo, no one was willing to get in front of me until the last minute before the race began.  I stood quite a ways back from the starting line, where I snapped this picture.  I guess the ultra fast runners were still stretching.  Lol. Here is a photo looking behind me, and believe me, there were plenty of runners lined up.

image

Lots of folks in costume, the race began moments later.

When I say that this race is hilly, I really mean it.  Being the third time I have run it, I knew what to expect. I knew what to expect, but really wasn’t prepared.  On tired legs from six weeks worth of mega racing, I was just hoping for a nice even paced race.  My right ankle had been giving me pain for a few days prior to the race, and right off the bat I was giving me fits.  As I adjusted to running in a costume, and carrying an extremely long pace sign/scythe I tried to find my pace.  Half a mile in I was at 8:30 pace, working my way to that magical 8:00.  By the end of the first mile, I was there.  On pretty much the only flat portion of the race course it was obvious that if I had a pace group, they were too spread out at this point to really tell.  The only person matching my steps was a woman dressed as Cat Woman.

A few miles in, we turned east and were running directly in the sun.  Although a cool morning, the sun warmed me up quite a bit.  Running in the sun coupled with having a black hooded costume on, I quickly starting sweating.  I knew that wearing that costume would not last long.  My only running companion was matching me step for step.  Pace was even, and right on the money.  We chatted a bit.  I have her tips on what was coming up on the course.  She told me that if she hung with me, she would get a huge PR.  Her current PR at the Half distance was 1:53:00.  Without saying anything, I knew this would be the race of her life if she could maintain the pace over the course of the hills knowing she had never run that fast before.  This is not really a PR friendly course because of the difficulty.  I had my fingers crossed for her though.

Big hills, big!  Traversing these babies at an even pace was massively difficult.  As the miles progressed I was becoming too hot in that costume.  As we approached the second water station about five to six miles in, I decided it was time to ditch it.  I still had my pace sign, which would have to suffice.  I threw that costume to the curb, and quickly cooled down quite a bit.  Mile 7, 8 then 9.  More huge hills, I lost a few ticks on the pace.  Knowing I would have to make up the time on a downhill, I pushed onward.  It was at about mile 9, on a long uphill stretch that my only companion, Cat Woman, would finally fall back.  She had to walk.  I knew it would happen eventually, but I gave her huge props for sticking with me that long.  I was now alone.  If I hadn’t been pacing this race, I would have run it very differently.  With two previous races on this course, both under 8:00 mile pace, I was struggling more this time around.  I know it was due to the fact that I ran those uphill portions at an even pace, just the same as the downhill portions.  If I wasn’t pacing, I would have taken it more easy on the uphills, and taken more advantage of the easier downhills.  Oh well, nothing I could do but press on.  Alone.

Nearing the haunted trail portion of the race, my pace had slipped to 8:04 overall.  Then, the dreaded Garmin event happened.  Yep!  I had been switching the pace sign between hands every so often because of the weight of it.  The breeze also kept blowing the blade, which made it even more difficult to carry.  I was so tired of holding it, and didn’t have another pacer to hand it off to for some relief.  This time, in switching hands the pole bumped my Garmin and there went a beep.  Omg!  My Garmin reset.  Now there I was, knowing that I was already behind pace, and losing my one way to keep track of getting that pace back.  I was doomed, I thought.  By this point though, I didn’t have a sole running with me, and as we merged in with a bunch of the 10k runners, I couldn’t really tell who was running what race.  many folks I passed were walking, having been totally beaten up by the relentless hills.  I figured I would just have to finish the best I could.  I had no idea now what my overall pace was, and with a long uphill finish, there was no way I was going to hit my mark.

If I had another pacer with me, it would have been the failsafe I needed.  I didn’t though.  Miles 10, 11 and 12, I just tried to keep as even paced as I could.  I knew I was losing more time on the uphills.  Eventually with a half mile to go, I just told myself to go as fast as possible.  That uphill finish is daunting, and will test your will.  With the finish line in sight, and still no one running with me, I crossed the line in 1:47:01.  Yeah, my fastest Half this year.  Not my goal pace, but only 10 seconds per mile off.  I can blame it on several things like my Garmin fail, the lack of running with another pacer or two, the costume or whatever.  But I won’t.  The fact of the matter is that I just didn’t hit my mark.  Last year I ran this race in 1:39:00, and after crossing the finish line completely drained of energy, wondered how in the world I ever had a time like that on this course.  It was tough!

image

After collecting my cool medal and some water, I wandered back to the finish line to hopefully see Cat Woman finish.  I was dying to find out if she would get her PR.  Low and behold, she soon crested the final hill to the finish line.  I cheered her on, as she crossed the line just under 1:50:00.  She did it!  A PR by over three minutes on this difficult course.  She was the only person I was basically pacing, so I felt that my work, for at least the first 8-9 miles that she hung with me, was well worth it.  I found her to congratulate her.  She was thrilled.

I hung around the finisher village for about an hour after the race, just soaking up the morning Sun, and talking with fellow runners.  I may not have hit my mark right on point, but I was pretty damn close.  Pacing is a lot of fun, but this race was the most challenging pacing job I have ever had.  I had some obstacles on race day, but managed the best I could.

The tombstone medal opens!

The tombstone medal opens!

The Hallowed Half is such a fun event, and will look to return with a vengeance next year to give those haunting hills another go.

...and reveals just how I felt after I finished the race!  Lol

…and reveals just how I felt after I finished the race! Lol

image

Eight Minute Mile

Seems pretty simple, right?

image

As I sit here on a Sunday morning, another race day awaits.  Coffee in hand, considering the race ahead.    The Hallowed Half, my third year running it in a row.  I don’t think, in fact I know I haven’t run any other race three years in a row.  This race is cool, has great swag, and is just an all around fun time.

The 8:00 mile pace is what I am shooting for today.  I am pacing this event, gunning to bring my group to a 1:45:00 finish.  We have a beautiful morning for it.  Temperatures are in the upper 40’s right now, going up to about 70 today.  Yep, it’s almost November and we still have really nice weather.  Thankfully!  It’s actually supposed to get up to 80 on Tuesday.

Not sure why, but I have been nursing a wonky right ankle the past few days.  It actually feels like I pulled something.  I must have done it at work, because I didn’t feel this during my marathon last weekend.  Advil is my friend though, so hopefully it will calm down prior to the race.

I will be sure to take pictures, and put together a recap of the event tomorrow.  I have one goal today.  Even though I haven’t run an 8:00 minute pace lately, I am more than capable.  Last year I finished the race in 1:39:00, a full six minutes under what I am shooting for today.  Should be a breeze, right?  As long as my ankle holds up, we will conquer the hills of Wake Forest today, and have a blast doing it!

As we run our Halloween event today, I will be thinking of the many thousands of runners toeing the line at the Marine Corps Marathon in our Nations capital.  Good luck to all of you!

Clown Caboose

As we approach Halloween, and all those beloved Halloween themed races that we all love to run, here is some motivation to run those races as quickly as you can!

image

I don’t know if any of you watch the show, but this clown is a character on American Horror Story.  The new season began a few weeks back, and right from the get go has you lured in to evil in the form of this clown.  Meet Twisty!  Imagine waking up and seeing this thing at the foot of your bed.

image

A clown truly to give nightmares.  I have never been a big fan of clowns, and as it turns out, are not very popular at all.  More people are afraid of clowns, or dislike them, than are fans.  Yeah, Ronald McDonald is pretty tame, but he has to be.  He’s trying to sell burgers and fries and shakes.  Twisty ain’t no Ronald.

image

As you line up this weekend or next at that Halloween race picture Twisty bringing up the caboose, chasing you to that new PR.  I will, as I try to bang out my fastest half marathon of the year this Sunday.

image

Tell me, are you afraid of clowns?

Halloween Racing

What do you think of holiday themed races?  Do you run them?  Like a Santa Hustle, Turkey Trot, Halloween Half, Firecracker 5000?  It seems that more and more these days themed events can be found at almost any time of the year.

The past two years I have run the Hallowed Half in Wake Forest, North Carolina.  Put on by running friend Sharon, of Signature Races, this is a growing event about to take place for the third time this Sunday.  Most runners will don some sort of costume or themed running clothes to race in.  It’s really a blast of an event, which also includes a 10k, as a less scary option.  The Half Marathon is packed with rolling hills, and both races feature a haunted trail about a mile long filled with ghoulish decorations and costumed volunteers to entertain the runners.

image

In 2012 (the inaugural year) I ran the Half in 1:44:49, and in 2013 I ran the Half in 1:39:00.  Seems that having some experience on those hills helped me the second year.  Well, this year I will be pacing the 1:45:00 group (8 minute mile).  I am excited to once again pace a Half Marathon, especially one this fun.

The shirts and medals have been great both years, and no doubt will be again this time around.  There are very few races that I compete in year after year, but this is one of them.  Looking forward to a hauntingly good time.

The center spins!

The center spins!

This one is a coffin, and opens and closes on a hinge.

This one is a coffin, and opens and closes on a hinge.

What about you?  Are you running a Halloween race this weekend or next?  Share any stories about great holiday themed runs that you have done?  Feel free to share, as I’m sure there are many.

Big Cottonwood Marathon – Race Recap

A whirlwind of a trip, I got home from Utah late last night.  I had the most amazing time not only traveling to Salt Lake City for the first time, but participating in the Revel Big Cottonwood Marathon as well.  I have so many images and memories fresh in my mind, that I think it’s time to share them.

image

Saturday morning, September 13th, 2014.  The day that would find me competing in my 14th marathon, and 6th this year.  I had everything I needed for race day laid out for my wake up call at 3am.  I have been struggling with a bad case of bronchitis, so upon wake up, I was happy that I felt fairly good.  I worried a lot however, about how my lungs would react to running a downhill course starting above 9,000 ft. In elevation.  My sea level training runs certainly wouldn’t help, so the nerves of coughing attacks had me a bit on edge.

Staying at a host hotel, the Crystal Inn (a mile from the finish) has its advantages.  Three charter buses pulled right up to the street outside of the hotel at 5am sharp for those of us staying at the hotel to board, and immediately ride right up to the start at Brighton Ski Resort high in the mountains.  Equipped with my race bag, a long sleeve shirt and throw away gloves, I was on my way.  The buses left about 5:25am.  It took about 40 minutes to make it to the start, in the utter darkness of an early morning.

We piled out of the bus, greeted by 36 degree temperatures.  Glad I had the extra layer, and race provided Mylar blanket for the wait.  The starting village was well equipped with port o potties, had plenty of space to walk around, and even had a tables set up with cups of water and Gatorade.  At over 60 races, I have never seen pre-race drinks available.  Certainly a nice touch.  As I looked at the stars in the clear dark sky, I prepared my mind and stretched my legs.  I threw my drop bag into a large truck at 6:45 to make my final preparations.  About a minute later an announcement was made that the race would be delayed 15 minutes so that several late buses had enough time to get to the start.  With that news, I was irritated that I had just gotten rid of my long sleeve shirt.  The race was delayed again about 10 minutes later, the eventual starting time being 7:25.  Certainly the longest delay for a race I have ever been in.  I tried to take it in stride, and just enjoy the rising of the sun and the illumination of the surrounding area.

image image image image

Lined up with over 1,500 runners, the gun went off.  Knowing that I was hoping for a BQ at this event, I started just behind the 3:25:00 pace group leader.  My plan was to wait until the crowd thinned a bit, and then increase my speed and catch up to the 3:20:00 pacer.  We started actually uphill, running through a little village of ski chalets that surrounded the base of the ski resort.

As the course turned downhill, I thought ok, here we go.  The views were amazing.  More beautiful than I had ever imagined.  So much eye candy to keep focused on.  My neck still hurts today from straining and enjoying all of the views along the way.  No lie!

One of the biggest treats ever during a race came up just a mile and a half into the race.  A moose!  Right on the side of the road.  Seriously, I thought, am it really seeing a moose in its natural environment?  Wow!

image

See?  It was unreal.  Photo credit to this woman’s friend.  I knew that stopping for picture taking wouldn’t bode well for a Boston attempt.  The first few miles I just tried to find a good rhythm, taking advantage of the downhill grade.  I felt like I was flying, and yet there were tons of runners ahead of me, flying even faster.  It truly was a unique running experience, and I knew that I had 15 miles through the canyon to enjoy.

I made my way.  I passed that 3:25 pacer, and then passed the 3:20 pacer.  I was clipping along.  In  looking and mapping out my race a few weeks back, I figured that I wanted to be coming out of the canyon, 15 miles into the race at an overall pace of 7:30.  I figured that pace would give me enough cushion to hit my BQ goal over the remaining miles which included about 6 miles of rolling hills.

Hitting the timing mat 5.3 miles into the race at 37:50, my pace was 7:08.  Happy, for sure.  Can I keep it up though?  That was my question.  My lungs were holding up ok a few coughing attacks, but tried hard to keep them under control.  A few tenths of a mile later was moose sighting #2.  This moose was further back from the road, standing in a clearing and just watching the running spectacle in from of him/her.  I was amazed how many runners around me completely missed seeing both of those majestic animals.  So many runners has ear phones in, and just were focusing on the road ahead.  I didn’t understand.  Weren’t we there to enjoy the views?  To enjoy the sounds of the rushing waterfalls, babbling brooks and streams?  For me, the views and sounds will last in my memory longer than the run itself.

image image image image

Moving right along I hydrated when needed, and tried so hard to keep focused on my breathing.  The combination of my illness, the elevation and running at a pace I don’t often run at, has left me with a very sore chest today.  Nearing the bottom of the canyon, I crossed over the half way point in 1:38:05.  Overall pace 13.1 miles in was 7:29.  I was right on track with where I wanted to be coming out of the canyon.  Turning onto Wasatch Blvd., the race became a whole new beast.  Coming out of the canyon, no longer shaded from the sun, my pace began to decline.  Having just run 15 miles downhill, a change of elevation from near 9,000 ft. to just under 5,000 ft., heading out onto a 7 mile out and back stretch with rolling hills completely in the sun was a massive challenge.  This challenge greatly affected my pace.

I watched my overall pace on my Garmin tick further and further upwards.  I was disappointed, but trying to stay positive.  I was losing speed at an alarming pace, and was not thrilled about it.  Even though there were beautiful views of downtown Salt Lake City in the distance, I found it harder to concentrate on my surroundings.  I was laboring more and more.  My lungs were killing me.  Right around the turnaround point on Wasatch was the 18.75 mile mark timing mat.  I crossed in 2:27:01.  Still ok overall, even with my struggles, but with twinges of calf cramping and aching Achilles on both sides, I knew this overall pace wouldn’t hold up.  At this point my overall pace was 7:50.  Totally thrilled with that on most days, going for a BQ meant it had to be better than that.

Trying hard to keep hydrated to stave off cramping, I spent too much time at the next two aid stations.  I also had to take my one and only potty break.  Paying a lot of attention to my Garmin, my pace was dropping.  Between miles 19 and 23 my Boston dream at this race went up in smoke.  I knew it, but couldn’t do anything about it.  I couldn’t push myself any harder.  I wasn’t giving up, but I felt the pangs of disappointment.  Looking back at my pace during this section, I am actually a bit disgusted.  Why couldn’t I have been healthier?  Why couldn’t I have felt 100%?  During this four mile rolling section heading back toward Cottonwood Heights my pace was 10:21.  Ugh!  Goodbye Boston.  This wasn’t the day.

I still had a great race going, and I wanted to finish as strongly as possible.  With the out and back section behind me, I turned onto Fort Union Boulevard for the final 5k, the race finish in the distance.  23.1 miles in, at 3:12:04, and overall pace of 8:19.  Time to push, and finish this race.  Because of the unique nature of this race course, it doesn’t lend itself to much spectator support.  I missed it.  This last section though, running through Cottonwood Heights, the support was tremendous.  People in passing cars on the other side of the road yelled out words of encouragement.  Family and friends and residents gathered all along the road to support us.  Many thanks to you all!  It’s always just what I need at the finish.

Getting closer and closer, I could see the finish approaching.  I ran as fast as it could.  Finally running through the finish at 3:41:59.  Greeted by smiling faces of a crowd of awesome volunteers, an amazingly huge, beautiful medal was placed around my neck.  No matter what, I was still proud, I was happy.  I then was given a freezing cold towel, which was a blessing.  I draped it around my neck while I grabbed a water and a few cups of diet coke.  I stopped for a moment, leaned on a table and washed my salt covered face with that refreshing towel, washed my hands and neck.  It was a moment of refreshment that I truly needed.  Looking back toward the finish line I snapped the picture below.

image

I can’t imagine a more gorgeous finisher area.  I ran right down that canyon in the background.  Hobbling a bit, as my legs started stiffening up, I walked further into the finisher village.  Lots of great food choices, but I only grabbed one slice of pizza, and gnawed on that as I proceeded down toward drop bag pick up.  Because of the late start of the race, I had very little time to recover and rest before I had to head out and back to the hotel.  As I searched for my bag, I was greeted by Jared Rohatinsky, who so graciously offered to find my bag so I wouldn’t have to bend down to pick it up.  Yep, it’s the little things sometimes that can make a race.  Was great to meet Jared finally.  Barely able to walk with any pace now, I had to summon up some final energy to walk back to my hotel.  I had 45 minutes to walk that mile, shower, pack, checkout and board the shuttle by 12:15 back to the airport.  I made it though.  A couple of flights later, I landed in Raleigh and drove home.  I arrived at midnight, and couldn’t have been happier to lay down in my bed.

My take aways and final thoughts about this race?  I’m sure there are few around that compete.  This race was amazingly organized from start to finish, had great volunteers, course and swag.  The weather was perfection.  A nice chilly start, and a mild finish.  Finally, let me just say that from every direction, the entire time I was in Salt Lake, Murray, Sandy and Cottonwood Heights, every person I met was super friendly and polite.  What a great first impression of Utah.

Big Cottonwood Marathon finish:

Chip time: 3:41:59.  Pace: 8:28. Overall finisher 379/1487. Age Group: 56/124

To Revel Races and Brooksee Events, thanks for the memories!  Big Cottonwood was incredible, and I cannot wait to participate in more of your events.  I’ve got Revel Rockies and Canyon City on my list already for next year.

image

Hallowed Half -Race Recap

Image

10/27-  Hallowed Half Marathon, Wake Forest, NC.  This event also has a 10K option.  This being the second year of this event, it did grow in numbers.  The Half had 273 finishers, and the 10K had 153.

This event takes place about an hour north of where I live.  With traffic being practically non-existent at an early hour, I knew I could drive there in about 45-50 minutes.  Unlike last week, when I overslept on race morning, this time my morning went off without a hitch.  Up at 4am, and out the door by 5:45.  The drive was stress free, and I just woke up feeling good.  As an aging runner, I do wake up every morning with some stiffness and aches mostly in my ankles and feet.  The joints just do not behave as well as they used to.  My daily regime of fish oil, I believe helps.  Anyway, usually within an hour of moving about, the joints loosen up, and race day it is very important that I have that time to get loose.

I arrived at The Factory parking lot right on track for packet pick up.  Sharon, with Signature Races, had a great set up.  Lots of parking, tons of vendors, and happy faces on volunteers setting up.  No line at packet pick up, which was awesome.  Quick, and easy.  Back to my car to relax a bit, and change.  The temperature was about 50 degrees, pretty much a perfect morning.  As the sun came up, the sky had a few wispy clouds, and abundant sunshine.  I got myself ready, laced up the shoes, and grabbed a Clif Bar.  I hit the restroom one last time, and moved to the race starting area.

This being a Halloween themed race, I would say about half of the runners were dressed for the occasion.  I saw plenty of costumes, face paint, etc..  I wore last years race shirt.  The starting chute was pretty relaxed.  Lots of folks milling about, and when pace leaders took their places, the runners really stepped into place.  After the National Anthem, we were off.  This is a very hilly, and challenging race.  Due to the fact that I ran this race last year, I knew more what to expect, and when.  I started fairly close to the front of the pack.  The leaders quickly disappeared after a few turns.  I settled into a great pace right from the start.  I really think that being a pace leader last weekend at the Bull City Half, helped me.  I learned a lot from that experience, plus conditions were just perfect for getting into a great rhythm quickly.

This course takes runners in and around Wake Forest.  Being a fairly small town, this means you get to see quite a bit of it!  Old downtown area, the seminary, the country roads and hills, as well as a lot of new developments.  Due to the nature of this course, there really was not a lot of spectator viewings.  Very little.  The aid stations were prepared, and gave encouragement along the way.  So many parts of the course are just really tough, and there are quite a few really long uphill sections.  Challenging all runners.  The hills really begin after about 4 miles.  Until the first big challenge, my pace was sitting nicely at about 7:30.  After a nice downhill, I got it down to 7:25.  I made it all the way to mile 8 before my Garmin ticked above 7:30 overall pace.  I really tackled all hills with a vengeance.  I was pleased.  Around mile 10, after summiting probably the toughest hill on the course, runners head into a subdivision, and then onto the “spooky greenway” portion of the race.  Filled with volunteers dressed as zombies, etc.., and plenty of spooky decorations hanging from trees and on the trail, even a fog machine, this is such a fun change of pace in the race.  There didn’t seem to be nearly the same number of costumed volunteers on the greenway this year.  A little disappointing.

Coming off the greenway portion, you head back out of the subdivision, and to a main road, which this time you get to run back down.  Passing runners doing the 10k, heading up the hill, I offered much encouragement.  My race was almost over, but they were on the toughest section of their race.  The last mile of the Half is a slow, enduring uphill.  Not a huge grade, but just enough to feel it in your calves as you come to the end of a 13.1.  The same couple of guys I was running around the entire race we fighting for position over the last half mile coming into the finish.  I got close to passing a few, but missed by just seconds.  I came in at 1:39:00.  I was amazed to see that I finished 18th overall.  I really thought that there were more runners in front of me.  Interesting though that I was within 10 seconds of finishing 4 spots higher overall, and that the runner finishing after me in 19th place was a full 2 minutes and 7 seconds behind me.  That is a huge gap.  So I was the last runner in the race to run sub 1:40:00.  My finish was a top 7%, and still 5th in my age group.  Male 40-44 is so competitive!!!  Overall I am very pleased, and beat my goal to finish better than last year.

My most prized accomplishment In this race?  Finishing a Half Marathon in under 1:40:00 for the third time!  Although this race was not a PR, it sure felt like one,  It was almost 30 seconds per mile better than my race last year, and the fastest Half I have run since setting my PR of 1:34:36, at the Goldsboro Heart n Sole Half Marathon on 2/4/12.  So excited about that!

It was a great day!  Completing this race, I was awarded the Fall Triple Crown.  The completion of three local Halves this Fall.

Image

The event medal was cool, as well.  A coffin that opens to reveal a skeleton.

Image

This was my final Half marathon of 2013.  My 9th this year.  It has been a great ride!  I feel confident going into this weekends City of Oaks Marathon.  Here’s to another week of fairly low mileage, and letting my legs recover for the long 26.2 ahead this Sunday.

Thanks Hallowed Half for another great event!  See you next year.

ImageImage

Halloween Race Bling today!!!

Image

I just rocked my final Half Marathon of 2013.

I finished 18th out of 273 Overall.

I finished 18th male.  No females beat me!  Fancy that!

I finished 5th out of 31 in my Age Group.

ImageImage

The most thrilling part of all, is that this is a very hilly, tough course.  I managed (oh yeah), today, to run my fastest Half of the 2013, and on my 9th one this year.  I finished in 1:39:00 flat!!!!!!!  That is my third fastest Half to date, so I am ecstatic about it.  I maintained a pace of 7:30 or under all the way up to a gigantic hill at mile 8.

So, I am just thrilled today with how the race went.  I am right on track for two marathons over the next three weeks.  I would say that I am as ready as I can be.

Hey, what do you think of the Halloween coffin medal I got at the finish?  It’s hinged, and opens to reveal a skeleton.  Run in Peace, instead of Rest in Peace.  Pretty slick!

Half Marathon Crazy

Image

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!

Upcoming Races

Here is a list (not solid yet) of upcoming races on my calendar.  My quest for 13 Half and Full Marathons for 2013 continues into the Summer and Fall.  There are a bunch of options, but spacing them out is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Image  Taking a trip to South Carolina next month and will do this race with my kids.  This is one of the top 10 biggest races yearly in the state.

Image  On recommendation of folks that have run this race before, this Half Marathon is on my list during a road trip to NY this August.  This race will put my Half/Full count at 7 for the year.  That leaves 6 more for Fall.

9/21 –  Midtown Race Series Johnson Lexus Half Marathon in Raleigh

Image  I’ve already signed up for this Marathon in Asheville, NC.  I ran the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate earlier this year in March, and just fell in love with the City of Asheville, so I thought I would return in the Fall for the City Marathon.  Completely different course.  I took advantage of the discount they were offering on National Running Day!

Image  Running this race again, as it is a favorite, and I am friends with the race director Paula.

image  The Bull City Race Fest!  This event is on 10/20, and I am signed up for the Half Mary.  This will be my first time running this event.

I may run the Greensboro Marathon on 10/26.

Hallowed half  I ran this hilly Half last year.  It is a Halloween themed race that was really tough, but very enjoyable.  Not sure I can do a back to back Half and Full the same weekend.  Jury is still out on this weekend.

City of oaks  The City of Oaks is our local marathon in the Fall, and this will be my first year running it.  I work along the race route, and have worked the last two years on race day.  It makes me very jealous to watch the masses pass by, but this year will be a different story.

Depending on if I get all these races in, my goal will be complete at this Marathon on 11/3.  If I happen to miss one of the events listed above, I have a fall back on race, the Skinny Turkey Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day.  I have run that race the last two years, and really want to reach my goal prior to that this year so that I can just eat on Turkey Day.

So, what do you think of this schedule?  It means either 4 or 5 marathons this year, and either 8 or 9 Halves.  Lofty goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, but I can make it, if I stay focused, trained and injury free.