RunRaleigh Half Marathon Recap

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On Sunday, October 6th, 2013 I ran the RunRaleigh Half Marathon.

It was my 17th Half Marathon overall, and 7th this year.

The weather was fairly cooperative, about 66 degrees at the start of the race.  I think this was the first race I’ve run though, in foggy conditions.  We have had quite in Indian Summer this past week, so the temperatures were supposed to soar into the 80’s through the course of the day.  I was glad the start time was 7am.  It was still completely humid, probably 100%.  Ok, I am so tired of the humidity, and ready for more races in dryer conditions.

My back to back to back weekends of racing was capped off at yesterday’s race.  Now I have two weeks off, until I race next in Durham at the Bull City Race Fest Half.

The race started on time, and I began very near the front.  I felt good.  Here is a photo, a little blurry, of the race route In and around downtown.

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The course is one of the nicer ones in the area.  The run begins on Woodburn Avenue at Cameron Village.  It loops up and around Oberlin Street to the north, and then drops back southerly down to Hillsborough Street, right in front of the N.C. State Bell Tower.  The course then heads east along Martin Luther King Blvd. and eventually runs onto some very scenic greenways.  Looping back toward Pullen Park, up a big hill and back to the finish.

The race crowd was a lot lighter during this run.  There were 554 finishers.  I felt like I was running a good race during the first few miles.  I was not going for a PR, or trying to break any records of any kind.  The last time I ran this race, back on its old Spring date in April, I ran it in 1:40:21.  I was not looking to better that time, as I just ran the Asheville City Marathon last weekend, and really was in recovery mode.  I was just hoping for a pain free run, and enjoy myself.  Those first few miles are relatively flat, and I felt like I was pretty near the front of the crowd.  I felt like I was at least in the top 50 runners.

The miles seemed to be flying by pretty quick… A big hill, the first of a few, but one of the toughest came up before hitting a flat section that lasts for about three miles in the middle of the course.  I traversed the hill well, and then really enjoyed the downhill afterward.  I was reminded of a few of the hills last weekend in Asheville.  About four miles into the race, I was already completely drenched in sweat.  The humidity was awful, once again.  I was already feeling my (still not completely healed from last weekend 26.2) nipples getting raw again.  Why is this such a huge struggle for me?  I use Body Glide, and slather that stuff all over to prevent chafing, but nothing seems to work on longer runs, especially when it’s humid.  Anyway, I would eventually come to he finish with bloody nipples again.  If anyone has a magical solution for me on this, I would love the tips.

Hitting my stride on the flat section of Martin Luther, I past a few runners, and was only passed by one.  My pace was consistent, hitting mile 6 at about 7:30 per mile.  I wasn’t gunning for faster than that, so I was pleased.  When turning onto the greenway, the sights on sounds change.  The front of the packers were gone, too far out in front to see them, and there were very few runners around me.  This left me with a very quiet run through the greenway.  I was happy with that.  Crunchy leaves underfoot, birds chirping, and general quiet otherwise.  That’s when it happened.  All of the sudden I started to hear someone gaining on me.  This guy eventually caught up to me.  He was wearing an orange shirt, a completely dry orange shirt.  What?  This guy was passing me, 8 miles in, without a drop of sweat on him.  His hair wasn’t even wet.  I thought he must not be running the race, maybe just had stepped onto the greenway for his own personal training run on a Sunday morning.  (Later I found out that he was a racer, and finished several spots ahead of me).  As he passed me though, he said “good morning”, in a very chipper voice.  I said “good morning” back to him, and while I was distracted by this I stepped on a large object that was covered on the path by leaves, and turned my ankle badly.  It was a full on roll of my right ankle, and I thought right then and there that my race was finished. It scared me, but as I regained my balance, and kept running, I realized that I didn’t break it, so I would continue to run to see how it did.  I was ok, but thought it might be sore today, and it is.  I don’t think it’s too serious, so will ice it some today, and take the day off from running.

Heading back toward Cameron Village, my pace continued to fade a bit after the ankle turn, but I wasn’t too worried.  The biggest uphill on the course comes at mile 12, and it is a pretty big hill.  I managed to pass two guys on the hill, as I refused to walk.  This hill gets a lot of runners, especially so late in the race.  It takes names, and then adds them to the victims list.  It didn’t take my name.  I ran through it, and maintained a decent clip the last 1/2 mile to the finish.  My favorite part of this race is the downhill finish.  Coming into the finisher chute, I crossed the line with no one behind me.

Gun time: 1:42:12.   Chip time:1:42:09

I finished 31/554 Overall

5/42 in Age Group

I am happy with those results.

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The finisher village after the race had plenty of water, food and fun.  There was a beer garden, vendors, DJ and more.  Bagel and chocolate milk?  Yes, please.   It was a lot of fun.

Always a huge thank you goes out to the Race Director, Paula O’Neal, who puts on great events.  Well thought out, planned, and executed.  Her races benefit local charities, and thousands of dollars have been donated to charities because of her races.  This race benefitted SPCA of Wake County, the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation, and SWOOP.  I just have to support local races that benefit charities.

Swag from this race: long sleeve shirt, pint glass and medal.

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All in all it was a very enjoyable race, and plan on supporting it for years to come.  Next up?  Bull City Race Fest Half on 10/20.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh

RunRaleigh Racing is local, and also a favorite.  The race director, Paula, puts on great events.  The highlight is this Half Marathon which has been run the last two years in mid April.  It is a great event, supported locally by over 1,000 runners.  Due to Competitor Group, bringing a brand new Rock n Roll event to Raleigh in 2014, this race is being displaced until Fall because the City of Raleigh granted this non-local event first dibs on the same date for the next five years.  I feel this is quite a dilemma, and it has caused quite a stir in the local running community.  I will be running the Rock n Roll Marathon next April, as it lands exactly on my birthday, and figure how can I pass up the chance to run a marathon on my big day.  Others are trying to find a common ground, make decisions on if they can or should support the Rock n Roll event.  I will also continue to support the local Half in the Fall, on its new date.  

What do you think?  I don’t think boycotting Rock n Roll is in order, but maybe you have a different perspective?  Please share your thoughts on local versus big name events.

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Raleigh Triple Crown

Training has gone well, and there is less than a week left until the third race in a series called the Raleigh Triple Crown.  So far this year I have done long distance races exclusively.  They are as follows:

Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate. 3/3/13

Tobacco Road Half Marathon. 3/17/13

RunRaleigh Half Marathon  4/14/13

Blue Ridge Marathon. 4/20/13

NCRC Invitational Half Marathon. 5/19/13

This coming Saturday will be the Midtown Race Series Lookout Capital Half, and when I finish I will score this cool medal for running the Spring triple.  This race will be meaningful in many ways for me.  First and foremost it will be my 40th race overall!!!  Can’t believe I can say that.  Seems like only yesterday that I began this running journey, and after years of not running, took this fitness challenge (aka not becoming fat in my 40’s) to the next level.  This race will also be my 14th Half Marathon in less than two years.  When I started out, I could barely muster a mile without being out of breath, and now I am running marathons.  So proud of what I have been able to accomplish.

Do you go the extra mile for extra bling?

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