26 Glorious 26.2’s

For those of you who have been keeping track (and this probably includes only me), the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon on April 10th was my 26th full marathon.  I’ve considered myself a bit OCD when it comes to numbers, so this one was a big deal!  Don’t you have a favorite number?  A lucky number?  Numbers that y don’t care for or feel odd about?  Back several years ago my phone number included my birth date, my age and my sons age.  Of course that only lasted a year or so, but funny stuff with numbers is kinda cool to me.  They call an affection for numbers like this arithmomania.  I definitely have that when it comes to my most recent marathon!

Twenty-six twenty-six point twos.  Yep, most runners will never hit that mark.  I mean, if you consider that less than 1% of the worlds population has ever completed one marathon, what must the percentage be for someone running 26 of them?  A numerologist would have all sorts of fun figuring the statistics on people who run say more than 1, or more than 5.  More than 10, more than 25, or even higher.  It’s a crazy number that I hope will only continue upward for me.  Let’s hope the body continues to hold up!

So yeah, my “double weekend”, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k, which was my last blog post almost three weeks ago, was followed up by the marathon the next day.  This was another race that I’m proud to have been running with my son.  He ran the Half, to a blistering new PR, and although the course was extremely difficult, I managed a sub 4 finish.

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Weather was pure perfection that day.  Unusually cold at the start, followed by tons and tons of sunshine and a gradual warm up.  A course that winds its way all over Raleigh up and down hills past historic cemeteries, buildings and monuments.  Past several colleges, and local landmarks, this race is really a feast for your eyes.  My first half was really good considering the hills.  I went out at a pace just over 8:00 minutes per mile, and maintained a sub 8:35 pace until a tough spot at mile 10.

Considering the fact that I had just run a marathon a week prior, I was feeling pretty good.  As the marathon and half courses split, that section through Meredith College was a big challenge.  Not for the faint of heart.  Or legs for that matter.  It’s a true test, but also rewarded with a downhill as runners head back toward NC State.  Even though my son is a student at State, there were parts of the course on the campus that I had never seen, and it was truly beautiful.  Centennial campus was just a really great part of the course!

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Now, what follows on Avent Ferry Road was another true test of grit!  I believe for me, this was the beginning of the end for my speed.  I eeked it out, but man was it tough.  I didn’t have a ton of expectations for a finish time that day, I pretty much just wanted to finish in one piece.  My legs were already tired from a disastrous marathon seven days prior at All American.  You remember, my worst marathon finish ever.  I really only wanted to go sub 4 in Raleigh.

My pace and legs were wrecked by the time I hit Lake Johnson in Raleigh, but the views and quiet of running around the lake for the first time gave me some positive enregy for the final six miles of the race.  Just look at this picture I took.  Pure running serenity!

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Time to head back northwest to the city, the course was pretty unforgiving.  With the exception of mile 22, where I had a burst of energy, and managed an 8:51 pace, each of my last six miles were over 10 minutes per mile.  I was beat!  I was looking forward to seeing my family at the finish.  Once I finally crested the ridiculous Boylan Avenue hill, I turned east and on into the city for the finish.  My younger son was waiting for me about 3/10 of a mile before the finish.  He surprised me, and I asked he join me and run me in to the finish.  He gladly accepted, although he wasn’t dressed for it at all. 🙂

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Thanks to that final bit of energy he gave me, I gave it all I had and crossed the line in 3:59:05.  Two marathons in seven days, I’ve barely run since.  I was rewarded however with a nice marathon medal, and finish jacket.  I also received the “Remix” medal for completing both races during the weekend of events.  Although this marathon course will never be listed or described as flat, or easy, it’s always a joy to run the streets of Raleigh, my states Capitol.

I finished 30th in my AG, and 246th overall out of nearly a thousand finishers.  Top 25 percent, I’ll take it.  I hope to return to this race next year and give it another go.  I surely recommend it!

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Saving the Ta-ta’s 5k race recap

It was an early morning.  My 17 year old son and I had to be in Raleigh for our first time running the Race for the Cure 5k.  We’ve had a few days of torrential rains from Tropical Storm Andrea, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got up this morning at 4am, that the rain had finally ceased.  We left the house at 5:20, and found parking right at the start finish area thanks to a tip from a friend who has been at this race many times.  Since this race is so large, they make the masses park at the PNC Arena several miles away, and be shuttled in.  We were so lucky to have been able to park so close.

We were running as part of Team RunRaleigh Racing, and about 15 of us all gathered at 6:30 for a few group photos.  After that we filed into the starting area, very close to the front.  I have heard that because this race is so large, the start can be a challenge.  We wanted to be near the front so that we didn’t have to worry about tripping over other people.  As the starting bell rang, we were off.  The first mile or so heads down Hillsborough St. away from Meredith College before it breaks to the left and becomes a rolling course through old Raleigh neighborhoods.  My son Dylan was ahead of me the first mile, and I just wanted to stay within range of him.  We hit the first mile clock at 6:40.  Ok, I though, I can do this.

The second mile was more challenging.  I slowed a bit, and my son did as well.  There were plenty of cheering folks on the sides of the streets, which was nice.  I caught up to Dylan right about mile 2.  We were still sub 7 minute pace at that point.  6:56 to be exact.  We ran side by side for the next 1/2 mile as we passed a singing choir on the lawn of a church.  Now, that was unexpected!  At mile 2.5 we were at 7:05 pace, and I told my son that if he wanted to reach his goal of under 21 minutes, that he had to hightail it to the finish.  He just didn’t have it in him, and started fading.  I passed him, thinking that he would whoop my ass at the finish, but it wasn’t to be.  I finished in 22:18, he rolled in just seconds later at 22:29.  We both had a really good race.  I have no idea yet how many people ran the race, or how many were in our age groups, but I finished 13th in AG, 86th Overall.  My son finished 14th in AG, and 94th Overall.

It was a very inspiring day!  Inspiring to see all the Pink!  Inspiring to see all of the survivors, and families of those that have been lost to breast cancer.  In addition to the competitive event that we took part in, there was also a women’s only race that followed ours.  After that race, there was also a recreational 5k (untied).  There were thousands of people there today.  Such a great event in support of a great cause.ImageImageImage

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