Rock ‘N’ Rebellion Half Marathon Preview

Fall is a great season for running, and in the Raleigh area there are tons of races to choose from.  RunRaleigh Races’ Rock ‘n’ Rebellion Half Marathon, is one of the best!

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The course has changed just a bit from previous runnings of this event, and has even undergone a complete name change.  RunRaleigh Half, as it used to be called, was first run in 2012.  Due to a Rock ‘n’ Roll event debuting in Raleigh this year, local race director, Paula O’Neal, had to move her mid April event date, as Competitor Group was given her race weekend.  They sort of pulled the date away from her to accommodate this non-local for profit series.  

With its new date, the first weekend in October, the newly named, Rock ‘n’ Rebellion offers runners a picturesque course through Raleigh and its greenways.  The course is challenging, yet very doable even for a first time Half Marathoner.  With a starting location at Cameron Village, in downtown Raleigh, runners are treated to ample parking and plenty of room to spread out with family and enjoy the post race festivities including food, drink and a beer garden with DJ cranking tunes.

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It’s a great event, one that I highly recommend.  I’ve run it three times, and look forward to going back for another dose of fun this October 5th.  I will be a pacer at the event this year, and really look forward to that.

Check out the race website here:  www.runraleighracing.com. 

Run the Quay 10k & 5k – Race Recap

My hometown event.  Run local they say, and that is just what my 16 year old son and I did on Saturday morning.  After celebrating my older sons graduation from High School on Friday morning, it was a jam packed weekend.  We have only run this event one other time.  Three years ago we ran the 5k, which was the only distance offered for the first nine runnings of this race.  This being the 10 year anniversary of the event, they added both a 10k, and the 15 Quay Challenge (running both the 10k and 5k).

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I do love a challenge, so I signed up for the 15, and my son signed up for his first 10k.  Saturday morning came early, but I dropped by the Chamber of Commerce on Friday afternoon during packet pickup, so we were ready to roll.  We arrived about a half hour before the race start, such an easy 5 minute drive from the house.

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We both felt pretty good that morning.  Albeit a little tired, especially my son.  I actually ran the full “new” 10k course once in training just to familiarize myself with the course.  They described this course as hilly, challenging and full of turns.  30+ turns on the course exclusively run in historic downtown.  I wondered how many folks would miss turns and get lost on the course come race day.  I have to say, they did a great job keeping us on the right track. They color coded the miles, and had signs denoting turns as well as volunteers.  It was a great course, but tough.

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The gun went off.  The start is downhill which is part of the reason why my 5k PR of 20:45 in 2011 still stands today.  Going out strong, my son and I clocked the first mile in 6:56.  I didn’t want to tell him that so I kept quiet.  Right then though comes the first hills, and my son dropped back a bit.  He never caught back up to me, but was never that far behind.  We wound around the hilly and twisty turny course at a good clip.  Volunteers and signage made it easy to stay on course.  I concentrated on just enjoying the run.  I wasn’t trying to set any records, but did want to not have a personal worst.  I was shooting for sub 50 minutes, but knew I had the 5k directly afterward so wanted to leave a little gas in the tank for that.

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Me in purple shirt, son next to me in red.

There was a big crowd, and quite a few spectators all along the route.  The miles ticked by quickly.  Mile 3 then 4 then 5.  I knew the finish was uphill but tried to stay strong for the final push. I haven’t run a 10k race in almost two years, so of course I was surprised by how quickly it was over compared to a Half or Full marathon, which is pretty much all I’ve run the past two years.  I crossed the line in 48:25.  By far not my best, but also not my worst.  I was actually surprised that I finished as high in the standings as I did.  I finished 32/205 overall, and placed 8/32 in my age group.  This event is the only one I’ve ever run where the age groups are 10 years instead of 5.  As I’ve said before, and will continue to say, the 40-50 year old male age group is extremely competitive.  I would have placed higher in both the 20-30 and 30-40 age brackets.  Oh well.

I moved to the side of the street to start watching for my son.  Not long afterward, I saw my sons red shirt off in the distance.  He was chugging along nicely.  As he made his way up to the finish, the hill was taking its toll.  As he neared the finish, we cheered him on.  One guy, probably in his 40’s overtook him just before the finish, and I yelled out to my son “strong, finish strong”.  He turned up the heat, and passed that man and finished just in front of him.  Huffing and puffing, he was proud of his finish and so was I.  His first 10k, and he turned in a fantastic time on this difficult course.  Overall he finished 43/205, and WON his age group!!!  His time was 51:16.  Quite the honorable debut!

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My son with his first medal, and first running trophy for first place in Age Group!

As we celebrated his age group win, I had to remind myself that I had to run again.  The 10k started at 7am, and based on my finish time, I had about 40 minutes rest before the 5k began at 8:30am.  I drank an entire bottle of water without even really realizing it, and also ate a banana.  I hoped I wouldn’t cramp up during my second race.  My son stayed with family while I lined up for the 5k.  A lot more people in this event, the crowd was deep for a local event.  I wished I had brought a second race shirt, because I was still soaking wet from the 10k, but the gun went off and here we go.

Making my way on the 5k course I was familiar with, I felt good.  I wasn’t overdoing it though.  I wanted a respectable time.  The course is hilly like the other, but has a different route.  Ups and downs and some turns, I was hoping for a pace quicker than the first race.  That was my one and only goal.  Did I have enough left in the tank?  Turns out I did.  No cramping, either.  Legs were ok.  My son and friends were at the finish cheering me on as I ascended the finishing hill.  Chip time was 23:45.  Not great, but my goal was met.  A pace quicker than the 10k.  I finished 36/430 overall, and 7/41 in the 40-49 age group.

I felt good after running both races.  Not overly tired, but still have it a good effort.  My efforts that day led to an overall finish of 6th place in the 15 Quay Challenge.  There were only 28 people that opted to take the challenge of running both races.  So I guess sixth place isn’t too bad for this old timer.

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The Run the Quay Race Events is a great locally run event.  Plenty of food and water at the finish, they even had photographers there this year.  Will wait to see how those photos turn out.  More than likely horrible like most others.  We had a great time at the race, and will surely return to run it again next year.  The next race my son and I will run together will again be a new distance for him.  We are already signed up to race the City of Oaks Half Marathon in November.  Can’t wait, it’s always great to run with my kids.

Back to Back Races – Why Not?

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I’ve signed up for an interesting challenge in a few weeks.  Back to back races.  One right after the other.  I don’t mean a Saturday, then Sunday race either.  Or even back to back weekends.  What I’ve signed up for is a 10k race, and then a 5k race that starts an hour and a half after the first.  It’s called the 15 Quay Challenge.

This year is the 10 year Anniversary of a local 5k event.  To commemorate the occasion, the town has decided to add a 10k race to the line up, which also includes a kids fun run.  For an even more interesting twist, they have added a challenge.  To compete in both races, back to back.  For bragging rights?  For a special award?  Not really sure what the perks are, but I am all up for a challenge.  You have to try it once, right?

I ran the 5k race a few years ago, and it’s actually a tough hilly course, but also my PR.  I ran the 10k course in a training run this week, and yeah, it’s even tougher.  It will be interesting to give the 10k course my all, and then have about a half hour to recover before hitting the 5k course.  One thing is for sure, I will have fun.

I won’t be gunning for any PR’s at either distance this year, but look forward to the challenge of running both.  These races will be my last as the Summer here in North Carolina begins.  It’s too hot to race here during the Summer, so back to the drawing board, in effort to get quality training for the Fall season.

Have you ever run any crazy challenges before?  I know some folks that have run the Disney challenges like Goofy, but are there any unique races or challenges that you have done?  Let me know.

Tarheel 10 Miler

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An extremely popular local event is almost here.  The Tarheel 10 Miler, and 4 Mile Run are this weekend in Chapel Hill, NC.  An event I have never run before, almost every runner I know has run this event at least once.  This is my year.  I am a bit stressed about getting there, parking, etc., as Chapel Hill is about an hours drive, and with numerous road closures will be a real adventure just getting to the starting line.  I feel a night of little sleep coming up.

Spring is a popular time for racing, and this area is loaded up with local events.  Running for our Heroes 5k is also taking place the same day in Raleigh.  We have plenty of runners to make each race successful here don’t we?  The Tarheel event just sold out at 6,000 runners.  This is a BIG local race.  I am looking forward to it.

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I have never run a ten mile race, so no matter how I finish this will be a PR for me.  This race will also be my first non-marathon distance race this year.  Actually my last six races have all been marathons.  I have to go back to October of last year, when I ran my last Half, to find a race when I spent less than three hours on a race course.  It will be interesting to see what kind of effort I will be able to give considering I won’t be running 26.2.  My body is used to going out at a certain speed, knowing I am in it for the distance.  This weekend, I have to switch gears.  I can go out faster if I want to, or I can save it for the finish.  The possibilities are endless really.  It will just be interesting to see how my body and mind react to a change in distance.  This is a local artists rendering of the race course.  The finish is most challenging, uphill on Laurel Hill.

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This race will be my one and only “long run” before the All American Marathon on May 4th.  Having just run Rock ‘n’ Roll on the 13th, I have had to recover, and build slowly.  That was only 10 days ago, so I am feeling pretty good considering.  The Tarheel Ten Miler will be fun.  I am not going to go all out, or try to set any speed records for myself.  I just want to enjoy another local event, and continue to let my hamstrings recover.

Tarheel 10 Miler – A North Carolina Classic

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Hard to to believe, but I have never run this race before.  As April draws near, and the race numbers go through the roof, the talk of the town is the Tarheel Ten Miler.

This race, which has an extremely tough uphill finish, and finish line in the Tarheel stadium, is a must around these parts.  I’ve never done it, but this year will be different.  Having earned an entry as a result of pacing at an event last Fall, I finally have the chance to run this epic race.

Thousands of runners will line up to run this April.  It will be my first ever attempt at a ten mile race.  Guess what?  Instant PR!

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This race isn’t only for Carolina fans though.  You can chose to crash the party, and wear your own college colors, as I’m sure many, many runners will be doing.  I think that since my son will be going to State in the Fall for his freshman year, that I should wear Wolfpack red.  I’ll have to ask him for some help to show off his school colors.

Check out the awesome bling for running this race!

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Even though I’m not a Carolina fan, I will treasure this medal.  It’s just so unique and different.  Looking forward to this race, another great local event.