Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon Thoughts

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I have the day off today, and more than enough time to recap this event, but I don’t think it’s all soaked in quite yet.  With that said, a full recap will follow soon.  I did want to post today with some of the amazing high points, and some of the sad news as well.  This will probably appear to be a bit scattered, as my thoughts are still are over the place when it comes to the day, please stay with me.  😉

The weather- a help or a hindrance?  Temps at the start of 60 degrees.  A breeze.  A clear, sunny and beautiful day lay ahead as we toed the line at 7am.  Temperatures maxed out at 80 degrees yesterday later in the afternoon, so the longer you were on the course, the tougher the weather was to deal with.  Spring is here, and the pollen count (a pure cloud) hampered many, but I took a Claritin before the race, and did just fine.

Inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Race – They did an amazing job!  Amazingly organized and planned for a first time event.  Yes, there can be improvements, as with any race, but for a first time event, it was so well coordinated.

The course – Not sure there are enough descriptive words to do this course justice, but I will try.  Both city and countryside views, this course had it all.  Many points of interest including the Raleigh Convention Center, both Nash and Moore Squares, Shaw University, Chavis Park, Historic Oakwood Cemetery, William Peace University, Cameron Village, PNC Arena, NC State and the Dorthea Dix campus.  Raleigh is full of hills, and this course took advantage of most of them.  Scenic, difficult, rolling, inspiring.

12,500 runners had registered for the event.  Looks like the normal 10% either didn’t show up, or didn’t finish.  The marathon was won by a first time marathoner, and the women’s winner ran a PR, and finished 3rd overall.  Congrats to both of them!  Amazing feats for a difficult course.  There were 1,615 finishers in the Full.  8,593 finished the Half.

Making the news all over the country, and certainly much more so in the running community was some sad news.  Two men both in their 30’s, collapsed and died while running the Half Marathon.  One man collapsed between miles 10 and 11.  The other collapsed and died a couple of hundred yards from the finish line.  The names have not been released as of right now, but both died of apparent pre-existing, undiagnosed heart conditions.  My family arrived at the finish line area as the younger man, was receiving chest compressions from paramedics.  Both men were transported to local hospitals, but were pronounced dead upon arrival.  My family told me that it was quite a scene.  I’ve read that one woman passed both runners down on the course, and it was very hard to handle emotionally.  My heart goes out to the runners’ families.  I hope both of these men passed away doing something they loved.  The running community is here to help, if you need to reach out to us.

Race day was also my Birthday, as well as my younger son.  Running a marathon was a great way to start my birthday.  Unique.  My son had a soccer game in the afternoon, so he got to do what he loves as well, on his special day.  We capped off the day with a great meal, and carrot cake and ice cream, presents and cards from family and friends.  It was a great day all around.  I collapsed on the couch and was dozing off before 10pm.

Not to ruin the surprise, but I did finish the marathon.  Rock ‘n’ Roll gave me a special Birthday present.  My bib # incorporated the age I turned yesterday on race day.  44!  My 12th marathon, Top 13% finish, on 4/13.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Expo

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Expo Day always means one thing.  The race is almost here!

Drove into the city earlier today to attend the marathon expo.  Full of vendors, and packed with runners from all over.  Just the way you would expect from a Rock ‘n’ Roll event.  The city was crawling with race bags, and bibs, and folks enjoying the beautiful weather.  Yes, about 78 degrees, and mostly sunny.

Visited with a bunch of great folks working at the expo today.  The Generation UCAN folks were awesome.  I have a few samples to try during my recovery from the race tomorrow.  Brooks had some great gear, official race merchandise.  I had to buy myself a shirt, an early Birthday present to myself.

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Oops, wrong photo….. But look what Rock n Roll did for me!  They incorporated my age tomorrow (44 years old) into my bib number.  Well, I am not sure if that was intentional or not, but it sure is cool.

Here are photos of the official race shirt, and the shirt I bought as a keepsake.

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I really enjoyed my time at the expo, just walking around and enjoying the crowd and vendors.  The Charleston Marathon was there, as well as the Bull City Race Fest, and City of Oaks Marathon.  All races I have raced in the past and enjoyed.  Rock n Roll was offering a discount for next year’s Raleigh event, but I chose to wait.  Gotta see how tomorrow goes first.  The Ambassadors of Rock were very helpful.  Shalama was very cool.  Super great to meet her.  She sent me a race promo shirt a few months back, so I had to meet her and say thanks in person.  We chatted for quite some time.  I hope she has a great Half tomorrow.

Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater is ready for the post race concert, too.  New Politics will be headlining.  Looking forward to meeting up with my family and hitting the food trucks and post race concert.

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So far so good Raleigh!  Looking forward to getting out there on the course tomorrow morning.  The rest of the day I am concentrating on relaxing.  Oh, and I have to get a birthday cake in the oven for my son.  Great weekend so far.  Race report to follow after the marathon tomorrow!  Get outside and run, it’s a beautiful day.

 

Marathon Mental #RnRRAL

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The big day….just two short days away now.  You know the game.  As you move through the final week leading up to a marathon, preparation all becomes mental.  You’ve done the work physically, the body is now resting.  Now you have to deal with the emotions, the mental aspect of being ready to run.

How do you find your calm?  I guess the more marathons you run, the more prepared you become in finding that happy place.  I don’t get over nervous like I used to.  A certain amount of nerves is good.  Good to pump up the adrenaline, and get the blood flowing.  Once you know the process, once you have your preparations practiced so many times it becomes more old hat, than stressful.

As far as the legs are concerned, I will ask them for another, and final 5k this morning.  One final stretch out run.  I really like taking the last day before a marathon off completely.  No running.  Tomorrow, I will sleep in.  I will head to the race expo late in the morning.  I’ve looked at the expo floor plan, and exhibitor locations already.  I have to visit GU Energy.  I need a few packets for the race.  I am anxious to visit Generation UCan.  I have never tried this product, but need to learn about it.  Generation UCan is the official race hydration at my upcoming All American Marathon on May 4th.  I need to figure out if this product works for me, so will try it out next week on recovery runs.  Several race event directors will also be there promoting upcoming races.  I will, of course, have to visit to see if they are offering nice race registration discounts.

Here is a sampling of exhibitors at this expo….

Milk Refuel, SportHooks, Sweaty Bands, Tuna Run 200, BaySix, Anthem Richmond Marathon, Charleston Marathon, CEP, Garmin, Gatorade, Geico, Marine Corps Half Marathon.

The expo starts today, but I have to work.  It would have been great to get in before the crowds, but I think if I head there tomorrow prior to noon, it will be easy going.  Following the expo tomorrow, I have a day of relaxation planned.  Essential time with me feet up.  Planning on a veggie packed omelet for dinner, maybe a croissant, a little Nutella.  Then TV, and early to bed.

I have to be in the city, and parked prior to 6am Sunday, for the 7am start.  A big part of having a stress free race, is being prepared.  I’ve planned out my 20 mile trip into the city.  I’ve looked at road closures, and mapped out what parking lot I am going to use.  I am ready.  I’ve mapped out a plan for my family to get into the city and to the finish line before I finish.  It will be nice to see them as I finish.  I mean, it is my birthday, after all, they can’t miss this marathon finish.  I am looking forward to getting that “Happy Birthday” shouted out to me as I cross the finish line.

So, I am ready.  I am ready to Rock ‘n’ Roll.  Ready to Rock in the city I call home.  Ready to run marathon #12.