Gu…Riffic or Gu…Ribble?

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Are you a fan of GU?  I find it a necessity, especially while on runs longer than 10 miles.

With two Halves and a Full in the next three weeks, I made a trip out to our local running store to stock up today.  Capital RunWalk in Cameron Village is an awesome running store that annually wins “best running store” honors in several polls.  This shop is located in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Supporting local running stores is a great thing.  This particular store supports many, many social runs, holds clinics, and sponsors many local races.  One such race is coming up on October, 6th.  RunRaleigh Half Marathon.  Huge fan of this race!!!

A lot of people have strong opinions about GU.  I’ve seen many a post about how good they can be, and how awful they can be.  It all depends on the person, and how one’s stomach will tolerate it.  I consider the texture of GU to be much like loose petroleum jelly.  Melted gummi bears perhaps?  Maybe really thick gravy…. In any event, some folks find it tolerable, and others get sick just thinking about it.

I have never had an issue with stomaching this product.  Available in a multitude of flavors, you just have to find what works, and what tastes good to you.  I have tried many, and really only like the Mandarin Orange, Jet Blackberry, and Lemon Lime.  On today’s trip to the running store, they had the new Salted Caramel flavor available.  Gotta try that, so I bought a few.

My method for taking Gu.  I take one about 15 minutes prior to a run longer than 10 miles.  Typically for a Half Marathon, I use three.  One before the start, and then again at mile 5 and mile 10.  They are small enough to fit into the belt pouch that I wear for long distances, or during races.  For a Full Marathon, I take six.  One before, and then one approximately every 4 to 5 miles.  You can tear the top off with your teeth easily.  My method is usually to squeeze it into my mouth in three rounds.  I do try to swallow it pretty quick, especially when I have a very dry mouth.

I find that GU gives me a nice boost of energy, and is a critical part of my nutrition toward the end of long races.  Usually only a banana will suffice if food is even offered at a race on the course.  Pretzels are good too, but impossible to swallow with dry mouth.  GU is quick and easy, and all while still running.

What do you think of Gu?  Do you like the product?  What have you found that works for you?  Interested in hearing about other options.  Thanks for the feedback in advance!

Half Marathon Crazy

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Getting deeper and deeper into Fall racing season training.  Training is going quite well!  I thought I would share some info on another great local event happening here in the Raleigh area.  Once again, local race directors have gotten together to offer a special race series, all involving half marathons this Fall.  For those who endure and complete three half marathons between September 21st, and October 27th, are treated to the special bling shown above.

The first race in the Fall Triple Crown is the Johnson Lexus Half.  Information on this race can be found here.  http://www.midtownraceseries.com.  The title sponsor is Johnson Lexus, and every runner has the chance to win a brand new Lexus IS C!!  Talk about race bling?  How would you like to drive home from the race in that car?  I would get the seat all sweaty, but wouldn’t mind.

Win this new car?

Win this new car?

The second race in the series is the RunRaleigh Half Marathon, the third running of this event in downtown Raleigh beginning at Cameron Village, on it’s new Fall date of October 6th.  Information on this great event can be found at http://www.runraleighraces.com.  This is a great race with a good portion being run on the green ways in the city.

Downtown Raleigh

Downtown Raleigh

The final race is located in Wake Forest, NC.  I ran the inaugural event in 2012, and it was challenging, but a ton of Halloween fun is in store for you at this unique event.  Information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/hallowedhalf. There is a cool video of the spooky section of this race on YouTube.

Greenway Spooktacular!

Greenway Spooktacular!

Raleigh has such a cool running scene!  I am proud to be a runner here, and although I love destination races, racing close to home is always special.  I plan on moving somewhere on the west coast in about 3-5 years, and I will get involved in a brand new running community, but until that time comes, there are plenty of exciting races to participate in here at home.

Do you enjoy running half marathons as much as I do?  They seem to be the race distance of choice by so many runners these days, and we are lucky to have more and more options every year.  If you are local to the Raleigh area, consider joining me in pursuit of the Fall Triple Crown.  You will not be disappointed running these events.  Happy running!

Upcoming Races

Here is a list (not solid yet) of upcoming races on my calendar.  My quest for 13 Half and Full Marathons for 2013 continues into the Summer and Fall.  There are a bunch of options, but spacing them out is proving to be a bit of a challenge.

Image  Taking a trip to South Carolina next month and will do this race with my kids.  This is one of the top 10 biggest races yearly in the state.

Image  On recommendation of folks that have run this race before, this Half Marathon is on my list during a road trip to NY this August.  This race will put my Half/Full count at 7 for the year.  That leaves 6 more for Fall.

9/21 –  Midtown Race Series Johnson Lexus Half Marathon in Raleigh

Image  I’ve already signed up for this Marathon in Asheville, NC.  I ran the Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate earlier this year in March, and just fell in love with the City of Asheville, so I thought I would return in the Fall for the City Marathon.  Completely different course.  I took advantage of the discount they were offering on National Running Day!

Image  Running this race again, as it is a favorite, and I am friends with the race director Paula.

image  The Bull City Race Fest!  This event is on 10/20, and I am signed up for the Half Mary.  This will be my first time running this event.

I may run the Greensboro Marathon on 10/26.

Hallowed half  I ran this hilly Half last year.  It is a Halloween themed race that was really tough, but very enjoyable.  Not sure I can do a back to back Half and Full the same weekend.  Jury is still out on this weekend.

City of oaks  The City of Oaks is our local marathon in the Fall, and this will be my first year running it.  I work along the race route, and have worked the last two years on race day.  It makes me very jealous to watch the masses pass by, but this year will be a different story.

Depending on if I get all these races in, my goal will be complete at this Marathon on 11/3.  If I happen to miss one of the events listed above, I have a fall back on race, the Skinny Turkey Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day.  I have run that race the last two years, and really want to reach my goal prior to that this year so that I can just eat on Turkey Day.

So, what do you think of this schedule?  It means either 4 or 5 marathons this year, and either 8 or 9 Halves.  Lofty goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the year, but I can make it, if I stay focused, trained and injury free.

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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