Run & Ride Carowinds 2016

Ran there, Rode that!

Another fun year down visiting Carowinds amusement park.  Half Marathon and roller coasters, what could be better than that?

My time goal was hard to achieve because it was like a million degrees on race morning.  Plus two million percent humidity.  Just rough.  Not enough water on the course, and although the course was still not measured correctly, it was better than last years fiasco.

The real kicker this year?  The timing chips were all defective.  For all races.  The 5k, 10k and Half.  They had to rely on runner help for times, and some shotty backup camera.  Hilarious.

My time was 1:53:50, or so they say.  Who knows.  My garmin came in lower, the course was about a quarter of a mile long.  Short?  What ever.  It was fun.  I’m over obsessing about my times most days, so at least it was fun.  And look at the medal!

Charlie Brown riding a roller coaster?  Oh, hell yes!

Herald of Victory Marathon -Recap

The long and curious absence from my blog can be summed up in one word….

BUSY

Well, many words can actually describe my absence.  Packing, moving, job change, vacation, graduation.  They all equal a complete and total lack of time to blog.

Well, I’m back.  Let me catch you up on a few things.  I celebrated the graduation of my youngest son a month ago with family in town and a very expensive dinner.  We had a blast.  The most important thing being that my son enjoyed every moment of it, and is just about six weeks away now from walking onto his new college campus to start classes for the next phase in life.  I’ve been getting myself used to not seeing him as much, as I have given him a lot more independence this Summer.  He takes the reigns on his own life very soon.  Sad, but true.

In the midst of everything, I had a trip to see my Dad in NY, and to run marathon #27. My Dad and I had a blast together.  The marathon?  Maybe my toughest one to date.  I can sum up the race in one word…  Well two,….BEASTLY HOT!  Seriously, the race was the day before Memorial Day, usually a moderate temperature time of year for upstate New York.  Not to be.  It was hot and humid my entire four day visit.  Topped off with race morning temperatures in the low 70’s, and about 92 degrees by the time I finished.  I normally don’t race just to finish, but I race that day with the goal of surviving the heat and living another day.  It worked.  Get this, the Herald of Victory Marathon was an inaugural race.  Never done before, but so attractive to me because it gave me a chance to run a marathon where I grew up.  Even though the conditions were excruciating at times (most of the time) I had a smile on my face and a positive attitude from start to finish.  I knew I would finish, even in those temperatures.  I took it easy from the very beginning, thoughts of not wanting to have nothing left in that kind of heat 20 miles in.  I finished.  I ran through Binghamton, Vestal, Johnson City, Chenango Forks, over bridges, through beautiful parks, past cheering spectators in utter and complete appreciation for every volunteer along the way keeping me hydrated and pumped up and energized.

With a finish time of 4:30:33 (a personal worst), the Herald of a Victory Marathon was a huge victory for me personally.  Victorious over another grueling 26.2 mile run.  I managed my race very well from start to finish.  I owned it!  Believe it or not there were only 8 finishers under the 4:00:00 mark.  Eight!  A race with 113 finishers in 90+ degrees, I finished 24th.  My worst time, but a stunning accomplishment on the day.  I’ve learned a lot about myself as a runner, fighting conditions, letting my body and mind do the work.  I never cramped, I was never overcome by the heat.  I did the right things that day and made it to the finish with a smile, my Dad welcoming me over the finish line.

Since that day I’ve only run once.  Once in six weeks. I needed a break.  Five marathons this year, my muscles and really the rest of my body needed a break.  Time to relax and rejuvenate.

I promise I will be better with my blogging, too.  Back on the streets today for a run, and back at the blogging game.  So, how have you been?  Are you enjoying the Summer?

Here are a few pix from my NY trip before I head out on errands today.

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Why do YOU run marathons?

I’ve read article after article about the reasons why someone should run a marathon.  Every article seems to list a top 5, a top 10, a top 3 reasons why you should.  But, for me the reasons why are just too numerous to count.

It’s all very personal.  Don’t you agree?  I want to push myself further than I ever thought possible, I want to run it to raise money for charity, I want to qualify for the Olympics….the list goes on and on and on.  Some may say they want to run a marathon simply to say they did.  Some run for time, some run for fun.  Some even walk.  I want to hear from you!

I’m going to blog about my readers’ top reasons to run a marathon.  More of a personal approach.  Real life, real runner reasons.  I’m going to compile YOUR reasons to run and blog about the TOP 5!

I’ll start things off with my top reasons…. why I run marathons.

  1.  Inner sense of accomplishment
  2. Clarity of mind
  3. Pushing my physical limits
  4. The break it gives me from “real life”
  5. Creating my own legacy

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Have you ever given it a lot of thought?  Maybe you just run to run, because you love it.  But why?  Why do you love it?  Please share your thoughts…

On the eve of my 27th marathon these thoughts cross my mind.  I often ask myself why I do this, and sometimes the reasons do change from race to race, year to year.  One thing remains true for me, the marathon is epic!  Running a marathon is no small feat and should be celebrated by all who complete one.

Tarheel 10 Miler 2016- Race Recap

Now a few weeks past, I have just a few minutes to try to recapture some thoughts and moments from my second running of a huge Triangle event.  The Tarheel 10 Miler and 4 Miler were run on the beautiful (and difficult) Chapel Hill streets on April 23rd, 2016.

An event that draws thousands of runners every year, we converged on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill bright and early that Saturday morning.  For me, it’s about a 50 minute drive, which means I left the house before 6am.  I think I was parking about 6:30, for a meet up with my son, and eventual meetup time with the pacers at 7:15.  Everything about the morning was smooth, except for the temperatures.  It was a bit warm.  Anytime you schedule a race later than mid May around here, it’s a complete crap shoot as to the weather.  It could be 50, it could be 70.  We were flirting with race day temperatures just a tad too warm.

We met at the iconic Belltower on campus for photos and quick meeting.  My first time pacing this event, but have paced two other races (both Bull City) for this team.  With a new race course, which promised more of a flatter run, and the dreaded 1 mile uphill climb near the finish, I didn’t notice much about the new course that made it easier.  In fact, I ran it faster two years ago.  Laurel Hill is the finishing challenge, and after fighting the warmth of the day, and mile markers which were all over the place, I had very little gas left in the tank for that mile long uphill climb.

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There were three of us pacing the 8:00 per mile group, including my son and another guy who I hadn’t met previously.  Right from the start it was painfully clear that our Garmins and the mile markers would make this a difficult race to pace.  Side note: please, mile markers need to be carefully mapped and placed on courses in the correct spots!  We were off by almost a quarter of a mile as we reached Mile 1!  No excuses for that.  It left us wondering, and confused.  We had no choice but to follow our Garmin pace, because after asking several runners during the race, everyone’s timing devices were all over the place.  Needless to say it made for a challenging race.  We made ok time, but often us pacers were not even together, what to rely on?  Course markers?  Garmins?  We did our best.  That dreaded hill at the finish nailed all of our coffins, and each of us were just slightly over 8 minute pace.  It really couldn’t be helped.  Funny, too, that I ran the race 4 minutes or so faster a few years back.

It was still really enjoyable though, and I always love pacing, and the interaction with runners.  We had a good race.  The only other negative I had for the new finish area was that once you  left the finisher chute, there was no access that I saw to additional water.  If I had known that, I would have brought a drop bag with a few bottles of water in it.

According to the website, there were 4,010 finishers in the 10 Miler.  That’s a big race! My finish put me in the top 16%.  Not sure if I could have done better on the day if I hadn’t been pacing because the weather may have impacted my speed.  It was just too warm and sunny.  The Tarheel 10 & 4 Miler is a very successful and huge event in Chapel Hill, and you should try it one day!  UNC is a beautiful campus!  They have pretty nice swag, too for finishing!

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Herald of Victory Marathon

When planning out a racing season I look at many things.  I look at race history, cost, course layout and elevation, swag, ease of logistics, etc..  I pick local races a lot, and why?  Those races are typically, in the end, cheaper all around because they don’t involve travel costs or lodging.  Sometimes though, I just have to look at races that do involve travel because it often times lends to a change in scenery, a new race, a chance at a mini vacation, and so on.

This coming May, I chose a race that involves a very long drive.  Yes, of course I could fly, but that would add more expense.  I originally heard about this race last Fall, and jumped on early pricing.  This race happens to be an inaugural race.  Now, I’m not always keen on brand new races, as most often waiting a year or two for the race to work the kinks out can be a very good idea.  This time around I chose to give it a chance because of the location.  It’s a brand new marathon, where I grew up!  I couldn’t pass up the chance to run a marathon there.

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So, the Herald of Victory Marathon, in Binghamton, NY will essentially close out my long distance events before the Summer.  The course will take me all over the greater Binghamton area, and has a fair share of elevation change, but looking at the course profile, nothing too difficult.  My Father lives in Binghamton still, so it will be a great chance to once again visit, and have him attend one of my races.  A win win!

Not sure originally that I would be able to break away from work on a holiday weekend, I am going to make it happen.  I am full on planning this trip now.  The race is on Sunday before Memorial Day, so I will make the 10 hour drive on Friday before, and either head back home on Memorial Day or the day after.  Accommodations are booked just in case it ends up being more than just me who make the drive up for the weekend.  If it’s just me, I’ll stay with my Dad.

Believe it or not, I have run two races in Binghamton in the past.  Actually it was the same race, run two different years.  It was a 5k, too.  The Kelly LeBare 5k run during the yearly Spiedie Fest in August.  I wasn’t in running shape for either of those races, in fact I really wasn’t a runner at all back then.  I ran those races back in 2003 and 2004, so it’s been well over a decade since I last raced in Binghamton.  Should be a ton of fun!  So, even though this is a brand new event quite a ways away from home, I have plenty of reasons to give it a shot.  Hoping the Herald of Victory will be an amazing race capping off an amazing trip to see my Dad.

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Revel Race Series Discounts

 

 

UPDATE***  Team Name for 2018 Mt. Charleston Marathon or Half is “Chasing Boston”.  Get $5 off registration plus another $5 off by liking them on Facebook during checkout.  Register quick as this is the fastest BQ race in the country.

*Updated 5/17/17

Good morning!  Just wanted to share some discount codes with my readers today.  Registration is now open for all three events happening this year.  Since this race series is exclusively in the western U.S., I’m just trying to do my part to spread the word to other runners looking for an amazing race that may not know about them otherwise.  Spreading the love!

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I ran the Big Cottonwood Marathon in Salt Lake City, Utah this past September.  Based on that race alone, I can recommend this series.

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They have two other races though.  Revel Rockies in Colorado, and Revel Canyon City in Asuza, CA.  Here are some important dates…..

Revel Rockies-  Denver, Colorado.  7/19/15

Revel Big Cottonwood- Salt Lake City, Utah.  9/12/15

Revel Canyon City- Los Angeles, California.  11/7/15

This race series has so many great runner amenities, it really is tough to list them all.  Here are a few highlights…  Free photos, free personalized race video, awesome swag and medal, and a very generous withdrawal policy.  The folks at Revel Races really puts the runner first.  They have amazing, fast and beautiful courses, that you may just forget that you are running.

I have created teams at each of these three events for 2015.  By joining my team, you get a $5 discount off current registration rates, and another $5 off if you “like” them on Facebook during checkout.  Oh, and they do not have a mysterious added fee at checkout either, like many of the registration sites do.  We don’t have to run together, as joining a team is not a relay.  It just allows us all to save some money.

So, if you’re interested in Revel Rockies, join team “Running Down a Dream”.

If you would like to run Big Cottonwood or Canyon City, join team “Chasing Boston”.

https://www.runrevel.com

Check out the race website!  You will learn a ton more about these fast downhill races.

Dig This! Are you marathon ready?

Get inspired, go further.

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I know a bunch of folks that have first marathons coming up, or first marathons of the new year coming up.  My first of the year is now less than five weeks away.  As I sit here on the couch, with my coffee this morning, my mind wanders off to marathon day.  It makes me think, and probably everyone think a few things….  Can I do this?  Am I ready?  Have I made the right decision?

Now is the time, whether you are a week away or five weeks away from your race, to dig deep.  Mentally and physically.  Now is the time to really focus on visualization of that finish, and wrap your brain around the tough work ahead.  You can do it!  I can do it!  We all can.

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Marathons are not easy.  It will test the body and mind beyond what you think is possible.  The endure the race, and get to the finish in one piece we must be prepared.  The training cycle will get you to the starting line, but we must all dig further down into our inner gut and find that determination to push to the finish.  Marathons are so much more mental than many people think.  We can push the body, but we must also be inspired in our minds.

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I wish everyone well on the final stretch of the marathon journey.  I still have a few weeks to be race ready, but no matter if this is your first marathon, or 20th, it will take all of the will and guts you have to succeed.  Find that inner inspiration, and enjoy running every moment.  Dig deep!