2015- My Racing Recap

I finally have a day off, with some time to actually sit down and compile a look back on another really awesome year in running.  It’s truly hard to believe that it just takes some dedication and good health to push out the kind of results that I have been able to achieve in just five years.

What truly began as a quest to help my son when he joined his High School Cross Country team, has become a passion of mine that would be hard to give up.  I don’t want to give it up, in fact, I am still striving for more.  Getting that BQ is really the only thing that I didn’t achieve in 2015, but that’s ok.  I had so much fun on the pavement, so let’s have a look back.

Hilton Head Marathon- 2/7/15. My first ever AG placement in a marathon!  2nd place!  Was thrilled with my performance in my first race of 2015.  Finish time 3:46:53

Asheville Half Marathon- 3/15/15. I paced the 1:50:00 finish group, on a beautiful day in the mountains of North Carolina.  The race is so challenging, yet running here evokes so much respect and history that even the hills are welcome.  Finish time 1:49:17

All American Marathon- 3/22/15. My second year in a row racing from Fayetteville to Ft. Bragg.  I had a really hard fall and got pretty banged up right before the race, so just finishing in one piece was a big accomplishment on the day.  Finish time 3:50:51

Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon- 4/12/15. The intense marathon course here in 2014 prompted me to only take on the Half this time around, and then they changed the course, and left me wanting to run the Full.  Feeling a bit of a let down, a good race almost turned sour with leg cramps toward the end.  I pushed through it with the help of cheering supporters.  Finish time 1:47:46

New River Marathon- 5/2/15. A fist time running way up in the northwest corner of my state, the course was absolutely breathtaking!  Very challenging in parts, but a quiet, small event with so much to offer.  This race was one of the highlights of my year.  Finish time 3:50:13

Run the Quay 10k- 6/6/16. So much fun running my hometown event, and then watching my younger son run the 5k right after me.  Sub 8 minute mile pace on this undulating downtown course with about 35 turns.  Finish time 48:48

Aspen Valley Half Marathon- 7/18/15. Adding a new state in a 50 state quest that will probably never be completed, I paced the 2:15:00 finish group high up in the Rockies.  I felt privileged to be running such an awesome event, and the salad during the post race festival was amazing!  Finish time 2:14:41

Revel Rockies Marathon- 7/19/15. Taking full advantage of my weekend in Colorado, this challenge was a first for me.  A Half on Saturday, then this Full on Sunday.  Back to back.  The elevation and a lack of proper hydration killed my BQ attempt, but with ten miles of intermittent killer calf cramps, still managed to finish.  Finish time 3:46:46

Carowinds Run & Ride Half Marathon- 9/13/15. Pacing again for Beast Pacing, a weekend riding roller coasters with my son was reason enough to run this race.  Although the course was mega short, I made sure to get as many runners to the finish line in under 1:50 as I could.  Finish time 1:49:18

Marine Corps Half Marathon- 9/19/15. Ran this Half for the first time, and with my older son.  Been wanting to fit it into my schedule for a few years, and glad we finally ran it.  Race day’s weather was really tough, with temps way to hot and humid for a half marathon, but we both managed to win age group medals, so it was a father/son double.  Finish time 1:48:08

Chicago Marathon- 10/11/15. So happy to return to such an amazing marathon in one of my favorite cities ever!  I absolutely love this race, and would do it yearly if I was lucky enough to get in and had the travel funds.  Not my best race of the year, but certainly a blast with millions of spectators cheering me on by name!  Finish time 3:49:38

Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon- 10/18/15. Amazing event in downtown Durham, my son and I paced a race for the first time together in the same group.  An epic experience that we both really enjoyed.  We paced the 8:30 per mile group and came in just under goal time in 8:29.  We rocked it!  Finish time 1:51:14

TCS New York City Marathon- 11/1/15. What can I say?  The NYC Marathon was the crowning achievement of 2015 and my last race of the year.  One of the Big 6, this race has it all.  Big city, big production, millions of spectators, and too many bridges!  Having my Dad and Brother there cheering me on was the highlight of my year.  Finishing in the top 15% was more than I could hope for.  It was also my fastest marathon finish of 2015.  Finish time 3:45:23

 

All in all, just an amazing year of running and racing.  Six Fulls, six Halves, and a 10k sprinkled in for good measure.  Happy New Year to you all, and hope that your running takes you places in heart and sole, that you never thought possible.  Here’s to 2016!  Make it EPIC!

Marine Corps Half Marathon- Race Recap

This past Saturday, 9/19/15, my oldest son and I ran an amazing race together.  A new Half Marathon to us, but a tried and true tradition for years about a two and a half hour drive from home.  This race has been on my radar for a few years now, but timing and obligations always seemed to get in the way.  Not this year!  Back at the beginning of the Summer my son called me and said “let’s sign up for a race”.  You know me, I love running races with my boys, so I searched and searched to find us a race.  Because I didn’t have a September marathon planned this year, this Half Marathon at Camp LeJeune was the perfect choice.

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This race would be my sons 5th Half, and my 29th!  The weather the week prior to the race was finally cooling off a bit.  For a few weeks I had been able to get in some training runs in more moderately warm conditions versus down right hot ones.  My son was taking this race very seriously.  He has recently gotten a lot fitter, and had really taken training for this race to a new level for him.  Based on the runs he had in the month leading up to the race, I knew if he had a good day that he would leave Dad in the dust right at the start.  Time would tell.

This race location is an interesting one for us.  Being about 150 miles away from home, it seemed too close to commit to an overnight in a hotel, but meant getting up mega early on race morning to drive there.  I chose to drive on race morning since they offered race day packet pick up.  It was way more difficult to do this than I had ever imagined.  We had to leave the house by 3am!!  Yes, 3:00am.  Ugh!  It wasn’t a big deal to my son, who threw on some headphones, and curled up in the passenger seat.  To me?  Not fun!  Because of added security measures at Camp LeJeune, they suggested we get there 90 minutes before the race.  We had to submit personal info prior to the race like drivers license info, make and model of the car I would be driving, etc..  Getting there early would mean I would have the needed time to get my parking pass, find parking on base, pick up our packets, and get prepared to race.  It all worked out just fine, it was just a very long morning.

Our race preparations went as planned.  I was a bit disappointed that the cooler morning temperatures of the prior week had decided to end abruptly that day.  When I had gotten up at 1:30am, the temperature was 70 degrees.  By the time the race started it was 72, and humid.  We hydrated the best we could before the race began, and I hoped for the best.

This race also includes a 5k, and 10k so there were plenty of runners everywhere.  A very nice large holding area/finish area, it never felt too crowded but I knew that based on previous runnings of this event that there was over 1,000 runners there ready to race.  We lined up at 6:45, and promptly at 7am, the race began.  I told my son to race smart, and to hydrate and be sure to take his gels.  Within the first 30 seconds he was well out in front of me.  I hoped he hadn’t gone out too fast, only to lose it on the second half.  United States Marines manned intersections and kept traffic under control.  Since this entire race course was taking place in their home it was only fitting.

The race course was quiet and mostly flat.  I was clocking mile paces in the 7:30 range at the beginning. This would change, and all too soon.  It was incredibly sticky outside, and by mile three began to feel more like I was running through a swamp and not running on the road.  It was tough.  The condition were not ripe for a brilliantly fast race for me, and considering I had run another Half Marathon six days prior, I wasn’t trying to set any records.  I just knew it wouldn’t happen, especially with the heat of the morning.  The race course was beautiful though.  Several signs along the way, families in their driveways cheering us on.  It felt cozy and warm.  The section of the race course along the water was very scenic and tranquil.

My race shirt usually gets soaked with sweat during a race, but this was extreme.  My shirt was soaked by mile five, and my shorts were already getting that way.  I had a guy pass me around mile five that was literally dripping from head to toe.  He was drenched!  I think he was almost leaving wet footprints as he ran by me.  It was humid!  I was enjoying myself though, and found myself hoping that I would never catch another glimpse of my son until the finish line.  I wanted him to have a great race.  He trained hard for it, and I wanted him to succeed.

My race felt dauntingly slow.  As my pace crept upward I made a goal to come in faster than 1:49:00, a mark I was using to pace myself the prior week at the Carowinds Half.  I felt this goal was achievable, even in the heat.  Beyond the midway point in the race the pack was very thin.  I raced in and around the same group of guys for quite some time.  We traded positions at every aid station.  Water was every two miles on the course up to mile 8, and then every mile until the finish.  I knew based on how much I was sweating that I had better take advantage of each one until the end.  I would skip the last one.

The later miles were tough.  I just wanted to finish.  The effort I expended during this race was far more than my previous race, and it was all because of the heat and humidity.  It really zonked my energy.  Nearing the end, I couldn’t wait to see my son.  I wanted to know how he did.  I never caught up to him, but found myself doing a double take at mile 13 when I ran up next to an ambulance and medics loading a runner onto a stretcher.  Luckily it wasn’t him, but felt badly for that guy.  Been there, done that.  Not fun.  Racing in these conditions can land you in the hospital if not properly prepared.

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The finish line finally in view, I managed to hold my pace under my goal.  I crossed the line in 1:48:08.  Receiving my medal from a U.S. marine in uniform was very nice!  My son was there to congratulate me and tell me all about his run.  We swapped war stories of the heat and how we managed to push through to the finish.  He beat me by about four minutes.  He did start out too fast, and really slowed down the last few miles.  He was pleased though with his race.

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We gathered some water and Gatorade, and tried to cool down.  Once we did, we walked right over to the car to change clothes.  It was nice to be able to do that so easily.  The car was right there!  I guess that was a benefit to getting there early that morning.  We made our way over to the large lawn that was filled with runners, family and friends.  They had quite the spread.  Tons of food, everything from funnel cakes to hotdogs, and everything inbetween.  Fruit, sweets, beer, the list goes on and on.  It was very nice.  My calves started cramping up the minute I sat down.  Even though I tried my best to stay hydrated, the heat, sun and humidity of the morning left me a bit dehydrated.

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We hung around for the award ceremony, you know, just in case one of us won something.  Plus it was just a really nice atmosphere, and much needed recuperation time before driving back home.  I’m glad we stuck around!  As they began announcing the Half Marathon awards they started with teams, then masters, then age groups.  Low and behold, my name was announced!  Second place!  Then, as they progressed to the younger age groups, my sons name was announced, too.  He had won second place in his age group!

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We were both thrilled!  The medals are beautiful, too!  We couldn’t have asked for a better way to cap off this event than with an extra medal each!  Father and son had succeeded the best we could that day given the conditions.  I’m so glad we finally ran this race, and I have to say, may become a tradition for us.  A cooler day would have been more optimal, but we had a great time together.

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My son finished in 65th place out of 975 runners!  Just amazing!  His time was 1:44:39

I finished 94th with a 1:48:08.

My Fall 2015 Race Calendar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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