Birthday Marathon – Rock ‘n’ Roll style

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2014 is shaping up. It’s shaping up quickly, too!  I guess that now that my 2013 racing season has been over for nearly a month, I just have more time on my hands to plan.  The runs are fewer since completing my last marathon, leaving me with more time to plan out next year.

A marathon a month?  Do I dare?  2014 is still a fairly open palate, but it’s filling up quickly with a lot of fun and new races.  I posted recently about registering for the Charleston Marathon next month.  That race is just over a month away.  I have to keep reminding myself to get busy, and lace up.  That race won’t be successful without training miles.  Ok, ok, I will head out on a four to five miler as soon as this post is complete.

So, January is wrapped up, hotel and race paid for.  Next up is February, and The Hilton Head Marathon.  Since my Mother lives there, she is contributing to my registration for the marathon as a Christmas gift.  I still have a few weeks to sign up before the next price increase.

Let’s skip over March for now, as I took advantage of a deal last night.

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I registered for my local Rock n Roll marathon, debuting here in Raleigh in April.  On My Birthday!  I took advantage of the best discount I have seen for this event.  Yesterday, on December 12, there was a $20 discount for registering for any Rock n Roll race, and they even opened up registration for one day only, for those wanting to register and run the Vegas event next year.  I may regret not registering for that, too.  I paid $165 to run the Vegas Marathon this year.  Yesterday, it was on sale for $99.  That is a steal!

So, I am locked in for the Raleigh race on my 44th birthday.  Could there be a better way to celebrate a birthday than running a marathon?  Most people would probably choose to sleep in, and have breakfast in bed prepared by a loving family.  Not me.  I will have a very early wake up call, head into the city, and join hundreds of other runners.  Little do they all know, but they will be helping me to celebrate my birthday.  Who knows at this point, but I may have family members running, too.  One thing is for sure though.  We will all be able to celebrate together at the finish.

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Maybe I will even be able to get ahold of a special commemorative shirt like the one above.  I am not an ambassador for this event, but I should have been.  This race will truly be unique for me, and definitely one to remember.

Have you ever run a race on your birthday?  I, for one, cannot wait until my birthday in 2014.

Family & Independence Day Recap

ImageI hope that everyone had a great day of Independence today here in the USA!  America celebrates July 4th in a multitude of ways, with fireworks, with anthems and reenactments, with food, drink and family.  I consider myself very lucky to live and be free here in the United States of America.  Today I celebrated with my family ( at least a small portion of my family).  We live far and wide, and it’s always nice to spend a little time together.

We got up bright and early this morning to run the Hilton Head Firecracker 5000 here in South Carolina where my Mom lives.  This is the first time running this event.  My two sons, as well as my Mother, we joining in on the fun, and racing, too.  This race is in its 28th year!  Because of construction, however, the race was moved this year to Jarvis Creek Park.  This park is literally less than a ten minute drive from my Mom’s house, so getting there was super easy.  Parking across Rt. 278 was plentiful at the Hilton Head school campuses.  The park, and surrounding areas were a perfect setting for a beautiful morning race.

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Picture above is myself, my Mom, and my youngest son.

The race was using strictly gun timing, which I am not a huge fan of, but whatever.  The race started about a minute late, as it took forever for the group of over 1,600 runners to get into position.  No warning, no countdown….  then…..  Firecrackers snapped and popped loudly to start the race.  My older son and I started not far behind the line, and quickly set out on this 82 degree morning.  Sticky, sunny and hot, my least favorite three words on race morning.  It is what it is, and we had to deal with it.  After all, we are in South Carolina, and it is July.  Shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

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I quickly passed my son right out of the gate.  He was having some stomach issues, which I hated for him, but we’ve all been there.  I completely understood that this would not be his day.  I usually have him ahead of me, sort of pacing myself, keeping my eye on him out in front, but not this time.  The route took us through beautiful low country roads, in and around Jarvis Creek Park.  I quickly found a good rhythm and began a good breathing pattern.  Steady from the start the crowd thinned fairly well by a half mile in.  I reached mile 1 at 6:48.  Ok, right on plan, I said to myself.  Keep moving.  As we headed out toward Hatton Place, there were a few sections that went through roundabouts.  Coming back on the first I spotted my older son, he was shaking his head to say, “this is a nightmare”.  I felt bad, but had to push on.  Approaching mile marker two, my pace was slowing, but not terribly.  I hit the marker at 14:10.  7:05 pace, which I was ok with giving the fact that I was gunning for a sub 22.  At this point I knew that if I kept on pace I could do it with a good push at the end.

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Mom pictured above – heading toward the finish.

After looping around mile 2 marker, we headed back, and it gave me another opportunity to see my boys.  This time I got to see only my younger son, who was looking really strong.  We made the turn back onto Pembroke Drive, and headed back to the Park to the finish.  I tried looking for Mom, but never caught a glimpse of her on the run.  I hoped she was having a good run/walk.  Soon enough I was at only a half mile to go.  I felt strong.  I knew that I could just pump it a little harder, and make my goal.  Closer and closer, I maintained pace, and kicked it up a notch into the finish line.  Garmin time 21:45.  I made it!!

I grabbed a few waters, and headed back to watch everyone come in.  I wanted to cheer on my kids, and then Mom, as well.  Not a shocker, but a first in 7 races together, my younger son crossed the line ahead of my older son.  Based on his complaining about abdominal cramps, I was surprised that he even finished.  He did though, not with a pretty time at all for him, but he did not give up, and still finished.  I am very proud of both of my kids, and feel very fortunate that I can share racing experiences with them.  Mom eventually came into view, and we roared with excitement for her.  She was doing it!  Racing for the first time at age 71, I have to hand it to her.  Kudos galore!  I quickly started to jog next to her to coach her to the finish.  She was thrilled.

Official results are now posted.  There were 1,632 runners.

I finished 113th overall, and 13th in my AG, with an official firecracker/gun time of 21:50.  Almost a sub 7 pace.  I haven’t had a race that fast since March 10, 2012.

My younger son had his second best time, my older had his worst 5k finish, but my Mother was the star of the day, coming in at 46:39, just over 15 minutes per mile pace.  She finished ahead of almost 200 runners.  Fantastic in my book!  Truly a family affair.

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Then it was off to the beach!!!!

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Good food and home made ice cream topped off the night, after some swimming, biking and even a couple sets of tennis.  Total exhaustion now, but a truly wonderful day.  Happy 4th of July everyone, from our neck of the woods in Hilton Head!

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July 4th Firecracker 5000

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The boys and I made the five hour road trip Hilton Head this evening.  This, after getting up at 5am, and working all day.  We had to contend with mucho holiday traffic on Interstate 95, and storm after rainstorm, but we made it!

Tomorrow at 8am we are all running the Hilton Head Firecracker 5000.  This will be our first time running this event, and we are including my Mother, too.  This will be her first race, and the young age of 71.  I am so excited for her, and will be cheering her on loudly at the finish, she has done for me at numerous races.

My youngest son Colton has run I think 7 5k’s over the past two years.  His first race was at the age of 12, and he is now 15.  He has a goal of sub 25 minutes.

My oldest son Dylan is 17.  He has raced 10 races over the past few years.  Mostly 5k’s, but has also done a 10k.  Dylan and I raced last month, his time was 22:30, and he is hoping to beat that, although he admits to not training as much for this race.

My most recent 5k last month was 22:18.  I am hoping to break 22 minutes tomorrow.  My last training run was rained out, so I feel like a good stretch tomorrow morning is in order.

Mom is gunning for sub 45 minutes.  We have our game plan ready for the morning, and hope that the alarm goes off as scheduled.

Mostly though, this mini road trip is about family.  Having a few days to relax and enjoy one another is what life is all about.  We do plan on eating ribs and corn, and watching fireworks over the ocean.  We also plan on a little tennis, swimming, and a round of golf on Friday before we head back home.  Here’s to family, and here’s to celebrating our Independence!Image