Fall Racing Schedule and a Smoothie

Happy day, y’all!!

Today, I’m talking all about my Fall racing schedule and a bonus!!  My favorite Summertime Smoothie.  Now, I’m not gonna lie.  I just haven’t gotten on the whole make your own smoothie bandwagon.   I know people love it, but I just am not ready to commit to it yet.  But, that doesn’t mean I don’t love a good smoothie every once in a while.  I just have to buy mine prepared for me.

So let’s jump in with what’s on my race agenda this Fall.   It’s surprisingly bare which is not like me at all.  Maybe I’m growing up??  I know Nick’s loving it.  Less racing means more money in our bank account.  fallracescheduleSeptember

Right now, I only have one race on my schedule for September: Race 13.1 Raleigh.  Cara, Christine and I are headed back to Raleigh to run this one again.  Cara and I are pacing the 2:15 group and Christine is along for the run with us!  I’m most excited that they changed the course from last year and removed Lassiter Hill.  It was this ridiculously huge hill the last .5 of the race.   We may throw in a last minute race at the end of the month, depending on how we feel with our training.  Salem Lake 30K and Triad 10 Miler are on my radar.

October

I celebrate half number 40 by pacing the local half marathon, Cannonball Half, with Cara.  We’re in charge of the 2:30 group and I’m so looking forward to it.  We have several friends who are running this race too!  It’s a great local event and the changes that happened last year with the addition of the food trucks and post race brews made it super fun!2014-10-12 08.39.36-1

Mid-October? Marathon #7 at 7 Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga, TN.  I’m so looking forward to this one.  It’s going to be a great trip with friends.  I’ve never been to Chattanooga so I’m interested in seeing the city while running the marathon.  We’ve rented a cute little house and we’re staying within walking distance to a ton of restaurants and even a brewery.  It will be a gorgeous course especially with the fall leaf colors.

November

The event of all events!!  Crooked Road 24 hour Ultra!  It’s by far my favorite race I do each year.  I’m shooting for a 100K distance this year.   I want it bad, but I also am realistic and know that so much depends on the weather and how I’m feeling.  We have a ton of friends who are going to be out there too so it won’t be without fun!  crookedroadsign

I like that there isn’t too much on my schedule right now.  I’m hoping to head up to Boone for some Appalachian Football games so I’ll work around those if I pick up any races.

Now, for the bonus!!  It’s Summertime Smoothie time! 

As I mentioned, my favorite smoothie comes prepared for me.  It’s my favorite one and it’s actually a tough one to find.  It is… Naked Protein & Greens!  It’s the best of both worlds for me.  I get the protein punch I need for after runs, but all the benefits of the greens.  I’ve tried the Green Machine and it was just too “green” for me.  This has just the right amount of sweetness to combat the earthiness of the all greens smoothie.

What race are you most excited about on your fall schedule?  Do you make your own smoothies?

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Training Tips for Challenge Races

The recent increase in the number challenge type races (multiple races over several days) means that runners have even more options for lots of miles and lots of medals. It can be not only a rewarding experience but also tough if you haven’t prepared well during your training. I’ve completed several different race Challenges. All of the events I have run included a half and some other combination of 5K, 8K, 10K either the day before or right after. My longest distance challenge was Gasparilla which included all 4 distances over two days: the 5K and 10K on Saturday and half and 8K on Sunday.

Here are some tips for training for and reasons to run a challenge race. Hopefully these will help you when deciding if a Challenge race is for you.

Back to Back Long Runs

These are a must!! You have to learn how to run on tired legs. I chose to run distances similar to what I would be facing in the race. For Gasparilla that meant we started at 5 miles on Saturday and 6 on Sunday and worked our way up to 10 on Saturday and 16 on Sunday.  For most Challenges where you may have a 5K followed by a half, you may not need to do that. I found I was prepared to run a 5K/half challenge with just my normal half training plan. For anything over a 5K as one of the two race, I would recommend running back to back longs.

Slow it Down

For us, it was all about completing the mileage. There was no talk of racing any of them. We wanted to find a pace that we could finish all the races in the time limits we needed to in order to receive the challenge medal. The only time crunch was finishing the half under 3:00. The rest of the races, there was no time pressure. Some people run them differently. They want to race them. Plan your training accordingly.  For some of the 5K/half challenges, we’ve picked one of the two races to actually race.

Time To Train

With most challenge race training, the number of days that you run will increase. The back to back long runs are going to have you running and away from from family on weekends more than if you were training for just a half by itself. But, most challenge race training is no different than training for a marathon.

Marathon?

Speaking of a marathon… Depending on what kind of challenge race you choose, the training can be good practice for if (or when) you run a marathon. Lots of runners like to try out higher distances slowly and a challenge race is a great way to bridge the gap from a half to a marathon. Same can be true for Dopey (a bucket list race for me) from a marathon to an ultra distance.

They are FUN!!

The theming around lots of the challenge races is super fun!! Most offer extra medals and incentives for finishing all of the races. The Double Dare medal for completing the Flying Pirate half and First in Flight 5K is awesome!! We received a finisher’s jacket for Gasparilla.  There is also a lot of camaraderie among challenge runners during the races. Usually challenge runners have different bibs, so it’s easy to look around and connect with other runners.medalpic

If you are interested in running a challenge race, here are some of the ones we’ve found so far.  If you know of others, please share!!  We are always looking for a new race challenge!

Challenge Races

I’m only listing the some of the races on the East coast due to where I live.  I’m sure there are great challenge races on the West Coast; I’m just not as familiar with them.

The mac daddy race: Dopey (marathon, half, 10k and 5K over 4 days)

The bit tamer, Goofy (marathon and half)

Flying Pig 3 Way (5K, 10K, half) or 4 Way (5K, 10K, marathon)

Double Dare Challenge (5K and Flying Pirate half)

OBX Marathon challenges (3 to choose from: 5K/half, 8K/half, 8K/Marathon)

Shell Yeah Challenge (5K and Crawlin’ Crab half)

Shamrock Marathon Challenges (Dolphin: 8K and half or Whale: 8K and Marathon)  For speedy folks: King Neptune (8k with half and marathon)

April Fools Half Challenges (Fool: 7K and half or Jester: 11K and half)

Runner’s World Half Marathon Festival (The Hat Trick: 5K, 10K and half or Five & Dime: 5K and 10K)

Gasparilla Distance Classic (Mich Ultra Challenge: 5K, 15K, half and 8K Mich Ultra Amber: 5K, 15K and half or Mich Ultra Lime Cactus: 15K and 8K

Mainly Marathons (back to back half marathons or full, 5 to 7 days, multi-state)

Have you ever completed a challenge race before?  Any suggestions or tips to share?

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Race Recap: Race the Bar 8K

A double race weekend means two race recaps this week!

When Christine and I signed up for this one back in March, we dreamed of a nice day, cold brews and a great run.  Little did we know when we signed up it would be 92 degrees at the start of the race.  Our goal of maybe racing it changed to run it safely and smartly.  We had to trust ourselves to make the right call.

I picked up our race packets on Friday after leaving work so we arrived to the event about an hour before the start.  We stayed in our cars for a bit and then found a shady place to hang out before it was time to go.  I did the best I could to prepare for the heat throughout the day by drinking a ton of water.  I just hoped it would be enough.  This was going to be brutal!IMG_5689

We had our post race meeting around 3:50pm and we lined up shortly after for the 4pm start.  Christine and I stepped out of the shade to line up and the sun and heat immediately hit us.  I know there were several times I second guessed our decision but knowing how Christine and I both are, I knew that we’d play it safe.  The gun went off on time!  We found ourselves running pretty well for the first mile.  I was actually surprised to look down and see that we were running under a 10 min pace and it felt okay.  I thought if we could just find a good easy feeling pace early, we’d be good.  IMG_5694We hung in there for the first mile as we turned into the Arboretum and bam!  Just like that.  Full sun and hot.  Ugh.  We both instantly said out loud, “This is awful!”.  We tried to run along this sunny section, but we were burning up.  It was thick, no breeze, just yuck.  I can’t remember who said it, but one of us did, “Let’s walk a minute!”.  YES!!  My heart rate was up, the air was so thick breathing was an issue and I was happy if we walked the other 4 miles.

We kept moving and decided that we’d try to run for 3 minutes and walk for one.  We went through a few intervals like that but then even at that pace, we were still struggling.  We stopped at the first water stop and our one minute walk breaks turned into 5 minutes.  Neither one of us worried about it at all.  This was all about just finishing.  All around us too, people were walking.  You’d see someone start running and everyone would kind of start doing the same thing.  Someone would stop and a bunch of us would stop to walk too.  We were among good company!

To my surprise, we hit mile 3 and were still smiling and carrying on. We’d run some and walk some.  Just moving forward and having fun!  Police officers on the course were cutting up with us, telling us that we signed for this!  It was all entertaining.  Several of our friends were out on the course volunteering and offering their support.  They were just as hot as all of us!  The race director planned for the heat accordingly.  There was plenty of water (cold too!) at each stop and there were wet towels at the mile 2.5/4 water stop, although we never got one.

Christine and I just did what we do well, smiled, laughed and kept on moving.  Several houses had sprinklers set up along the course and we hit everyone of them!  Thanking the neighbors for being so kind to the runners!  The miles flew by!  Around mile 4, we decided we’d try to run a bit longer than we had.  It was pretty shaded along this section and flat.  We started running along and actually the last mile was our fastest of the day, I think.  At that point, we just wanted to be done.  We passed another group of friends out on the course and made our way to the finish line.  IMG_5695

We finished in 56:30 and were thrilled that we were even under an hour.  I quickly realized that I had run the 10K in 56:02 just the day before.  The temperature was about 20 degrees warmer for this race.  It became super clear how the heat affects pace and how I feel running in it.  We grabbed our finisher’s glasses and made our way directly to the beer line.  They had cold wet rags at the finish line too!  The race director was passing out freezy pops to all of us waiting.  It was the perfect post race treat!

We later checked the results to make sure that our bibs worked; Christine’s kind of melted from being in my car.  Christine starts laughing and points to the results page.  She had placed 2nd in her age group!!!  We started cracking up!  Obviously that was not our intention when we started running the race, but what an awesome surprise!!  We waited for the awards ceremony where I appropriately photobombed her picture. 🙂  We grabbed another brew and grabbed dinner after.  IMG_5696

Even with all the heat, sun and hot, it ended up being a really great race!  Sometimes you just have to take things for what they are and treat each day and race as it comes.  You have to trust in your instincts to know that you’re making the right decision and not to second guess it.  Things went off yesterday just as they should have.  We had fun, we got to spend the race running together, and we finished safely.  IMG_5692

Do you trust your instincts when it comes to making a race day decision?

Trust is the word this week!

One Word Prompt is hosted by Lisa of The Golden Spoons, Janine of Confessions of a Mommyholic, and Marcia of Blogitudes.  Head over to these ladies and see what other bloggers’ are posting!

Race Day Recaps also at The Silvah Lining.

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Race Recap: A Brighter Path 10K

Who in their right mind signs up for a race in summer?!  This girl!  When I signed up a month before we had nice cool temps and my brain was not even thinking that 80+ degree temps at 8am would even be possible.  Boy was I wrong!

So why did I really sign up? 

A Brighter Path 10K raises awareness to the needs of the blind and visually impaired in Winston Salem and they it supports the Industries for the Blind.  My grandmother was visually impaired.  She suffered from macular degeneration which essentially stole her central vision leaving just her peripheral vision.  I raised money to support a cure back when I did my first half marathon in 2009 and I was so thrilled to find a race locally. bib

My friend, Christie, runs a race a month so she joined me for this one.  We headed to Winston bright and early Saturday morning in order to get to the race to pick up our tees and bibs.  Once we got there, we realized that we were starting right near where we run Mistletoe half in December.  We were happy to have an idea of the course we would be running.  We grabbed our goodies.  I was a bit disappointed that when we picked up our bibs, they were out of our sizes for the shirts.  I still don’t understand how pre-registered runners do not get the right size shirts.  After having helped direct a race, you always pull the shirts for the pre-registered runners.  Any shirts leftover go to walk ups/day of registrations.  Christie and I ended up with XL shirts.  Ugh.

brighterpathstartWe headed back to the car to Glide up.  This kind of weather (hot and humid) means chafing for us both!  We hit the potty line twice and warmed up with the group dynamic exercises.  We lined up at 8:15am and the race started shortly after.  This race was run only on gun time so we made sure we knew to start our watches right at the horn.  Around 8:18am, we wished each other good luck and we were off!  The race started just a few minutes late due to the 1 mile fun run taking a bit longer than expected.

The course was two loops of the same course.  My goal was to run the first loop well and to run the second loop smart, knowing where to push and where to hold.  My only goal based on the weather alone was to finish under an hour.  Right off the start, it was uphill.  A slow grade climb for the first 1.5 miles.  I looked down right at the start and realized that I was running about an 8:30 pace and I didn’t want to take the first mile that fast so I slowed up and tried to keep about a 9:15 pace.  I finished the first mile dead on, 9:16!abrighterpath10KelevationRight on cue, it switched to downhill and I went.  I kept it still conservative knowing that I still had 4 more miles left.  I ran mile 2 in 8:49 and took advantage of the flatter course and pulled up to 8:30 for mile 3.  The uphill starts right when we start heading back to the start.  I caught up to this cute little man who I chatted with as we climbed up the hill.  I bid him farewell when he stopped at the water stop at the halfway point.   My goal for the second time up this 1.5 mile climb was just not to walk.   I still felt pretty good, so I just kept it easy-ish on the climb knowing I just had to make it to mile 5 and it would be all downhill again.  I finished mile 4 at 9:21 pace, a little slower than the first time through but I was pleased that I kept my pace under 9:30. coursephoto

Right at 4.5 miles, I see Christie at the water stop just ahead.  I stop for a quick drink and walked just for a minute.   We hook up and ran together for the last mile and a half.  We push the last uphill half mile to get to mile 5 and start the nice downhill section again.  Even with a short walk break, I finished the uphill at 9:15.  I still was feeling really good and figured to go on the next mile.  I’d only have .25 of a climb at the end to the finish line and I thought it was better to go hard now knowing I’d slow up a bit going up the hill.  I ran mile 6 as the fastest of the day at 8:26 pace!  Bam!  We brought it home for the last .2 and finished in 56:02.

2015-06-13 13.15.29We grabbed some Gatorade and talked with some of the ladies that were right near us for parts of the race.  They posted the results shortly after and I went over to see how we did.  And there it was!  Christie and I had both finished 2nd in our age groups!!!  I ran over to where she was and shared the news!  The other 10K runners were finishing up and the awards ceremony started shortly after.  All age group winners received the coolest piece of pottery!  I absolutely love it!  I’m a huge fan of practical awards.  awardpic awards2

PROS

For me, this one is all about the charity involved with the race!  I am so happy to have been able to run a local race that supports a cause that is important to me.  The course was actually a really good one, even with the 3 miles of total climbing, the 3 miles of down hill to flat was good.  The pre-race warm-up was fun!  The volunteers and fellow runners were so nice!  We met some really nice ladies and enjoyed chatting with them post-race.  There was a ton of post race food and drinks!  The awesome age group awards!

CONS

Not having race shirts for pre-registered runners just gets me!  Huge pet peeve of mine with races!  Given the hotter than usual temperatures, I wished they had Gatorade out on the course and cold wet rags available at the finish line.

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Friday Five: Tips for Running an Afternoon Race

An afternoon race may leave you screaming “I’m melting! I’m melting!” just like the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.meltingMost of us are used to racing in the mornings and an afternoon race can really seem a bit unnerving.  We bombard ourselves with a million questions!  What do I eat?  When do I eat?  What’s the temperature? Where’s the shade?!  All of these things can weigh heavy on us when we sign up for an afternoon event.  Here are a few tips that I’ve used for several of afternoon races, which will include my race on Sunday, Race the Bar at Lindley Park 8K.

1. Food

When do you eat?  What do you eat?

This is a tricky one.  For those of us who run after work or in the evenings, we seem to be a bit better at handling this one vs someone who runs mostly in the mornings.  I treat afternoon races just the same as days I have to run after school  I eat breakfast at a normal time and eat lunch around 11:30-12:30pm (for a 4pm race).  You may have to adjust that a bit depending upon the time of your race.  I usually like to leave about 2-3 hours between my last meal and the race.  Stick with something neutral too.  I will eat a small snack about an hour before the run.  I actually eat what I eat before my long runs, a protein bar (usually just half for a shorter race).  I know that it won’t upset my tummy during the race.

2. Hydration

How much water should I drink? 

Most afternoon races especially this time of year equal hot temps.  We all know hot temps = more sweating.  I think an afternoon race is actually sometimes better for me.  I actually have time to drink water before a race vs trying to make sure I’m doing a good job the whole day and night before a race.  I just drink water with every meal and maybe another bottle some point before the race.  I don’t want to overdo it but I want to make sure I’ve had just enough.  A sports drink isn’t a bad option either sometime in the day!

3. PRP (Pre-race poo)

Am I going to be able to go?  What happens if I can’t?

This is a tough one.  I’m personally one of those that has to go at least one time before I race or it stresses me out.  Most of us are on a very regular routine in the mornings, but in the afternoon, it’s a total crap shoot. (yup, I went there!).  I find that if I hydrate well throughout the day that helps some.  I’ve resorted to drinking a half of cup of coffee earlier in the afternoon to help move things along.  Pre-race jitters may be enough to help too!  The good thing about an afternoon race is they are usually shorter distances so finding a potty quickly (if needed) is easier.  Bad news!  Smaller distance races don’t have them on the course usually.

4. During the Race

What is the temperature?  Where’s the shade?! Why am I struggling already?

Some tips to help with the sun and temperatures during an afternoon race:

  • Forget the tangents, find the shade!  I usually try to follow the shade vs making sure that my distance is dead on.  I rather stay cool then worry about a few tenths of a mile.
  • Run with a cold, damp towel.  You can use it wipe your face during the race or tuck it around your neck.  Stop at a water stop and use the water to drink and re-wet your towel.
  • If you start to feel heavy legged and you are running in quick sand, use short walk breaks to help.  With the higher temps, our bodies are already trying to cool us down before we even start running, we are going to poop out a lot faster in warmer temps.  There’s no shame in walking for a minute.
  • Wear cool colors and light running clothes.
  • Warm-up slowly.  Try not to get yourself overheated before you even start the race.  Raising your body temp early on means more sweat.  More sweat = losing water…  Keep it really easy, maybe even just do a brisk walk.
  • Reduce your pace or at least now how the temps will affect you.  Ideally, 50 degrees is about near perfect to run in.  Anything over that has a direct affect on your pace.  At 70 degrees, pace can increase by 30 sec per mile and at 80, over a minute.  Run on effort vs pace.

5. Take it for what it is

Do I have to race it?

Simple answer, no.  Just sign up for an afternoon race for the fun of it!  Most afternoon races are usually later in the day because of the awesome post-race party vs the race itself.  Run it at what I call “beer drinking pace”.  Run just to cross the finish line to earn that ice cold brew.  Grab a group of friends, run together, smile for the pics and make it your “happy hour”.  There is nothing that says you have to race it at all!  It’s your race, your pace. 🙂

Any thing that I’m missing?  What would you suggest to do to prepare for an afternoon race?

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Race Recap: Race the Bar 5K- Pig Pounder Brewery

This weekend’s race is the first of four in the Race the Bar Series.  Each race increases in distances, starting with a 5K and ending with a half marathon (tentatively).  Each race starts and finishes at a local brewery and all participants not only get a great tech tee, but a special pint glass for each race.  Christine and I signed up for three of the four races already being one of the first 50 people to register and we got a killer deal for all three!  Registration isn’t up yet for the last race, but we’ll be running that one too. racethebar5Kswag

The race time is at 4pm which is great for the post-race party, but tough when running in the heat of the day.  Yesterday was a hot one and Christine and I made the decision to just run at an easy pace and enjoy the race!  With it being our second run of the weekend too, we weren’t really wanting to race it.  We got to the start right at 3:15pm and caught up with other friends who were running too.  The cool thing about Trivium races is they provide tents for running groups and we hung out in the Runnerdude tent to try and stay out of the sun the best we could.

Right at 3:50pm, Rich had the pre-race meeting where he let all the runners know the course was closed to traffic, there were volunteers on each turn and the course was marked with signs. Shortly after, we lined up and right at 4pm, we were off!

The first mile was a mix of hills, some good downhills and one big ol’ hill right before mile one.  We ran up the hills conservatively and actually got pretty speedy on the first downhill.  We ran through the first water stop just at mile one and kept a really good pace and effort to mile two.  The sun was blazing along the course and it was nice once we headed through an older neighborhood with a lot of shade.  Mile 2 to right before the end of the race was rather flat and we settled in to a good pace.  pigpounder5K

We passed some friends out on the course cheering and headed towards the Greenway section, which would be in full sun.  We hung in there the best we could, but man, I was sweating!!  Once we made the turn and had just .5 left, we ran up a short hill and walked up part of the second hill, the steepest one on the course.  Right as we were coming up to the crest, we started running again and headed to the finish line.  We finished right at 32:06 and we were both smiling at the end.

We grabbed our finisher pint glass and headed to the beer line.  Each runner received two beers.  We hung out with friends and chatted.  The post race party was really nice.  Music was playing, people were hanging out, Pig Pounder had their food truck out there too.  We had a great time!

PROS

The tech tee and pint glass are awesome!  The course is a really good 5K course and I’d love to have a chance to run that in the morning.  I think it’d be a good one to try and really race.  I love that the series has several races and that the distance on each race increases.  The volunteers and the police officers on the course were supportive and so nice.  The post race party was enjoyable and fun!

CONS

Other than a mix-up with my bib number (I was a man for a brief period of time, haha!), there wasn’t anything that went wrong or seemed to be an issue.  Rich and Libby fixed my bib issue quickly and it was all good.

I’m looking forward to the next Race the Bar 8K – Lindley Park in just a few weeks!  The course for that one is a beast!

Check out other events by Trivium Racing.

Did you run a race this weekend?  How did it go?

Check out the Fit Dish Linkup and become part of the #fitfam by heading over to Jill Conyers at JillConyers.com, & Jessica Joy at TheFitSwitch.org

Looking for more running-related posts, check out Tuesdays on the Run by visiting Run the Great Wide Somewhere, MCM Mama Runs, and No Guilt Life. See what other runner’s are sharing!

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Race Recap: Race 13.1 Greensboro

This is the second running of Race 13.1 Greensboro and my second time pacing this race.  Just like many of the Race 13.1 races, we start from a shopping area, Friendly Center.  At first it seems strange, but I actually love it.  What does a shopping center have a lot of? Parking spaces!  There is never a mad dash or stress trying to find somewhere to park for their races.  As a person who stresses out finding places to park, I appreciate it!

Many of us in our group were running or pacing this one and we all met right around 6:30am.  We made the obligatory port-a potty stop and then moved to our respective areas of the starting line.  Cindy was up ahead at 2:00 and pacing solo.  Christie and Johnny were pacing 2:15 and I was at 2:30.  My pacer from last year was paired with me again this year!  It was nice to see her!  Cara and Christine were also running it for the first time!  2015-05-17 12.24.20

Right at 7am, we were off!  The heat and the humidity were kicking from the get go.  This year was a lot warmer than last year and by mile 2, I was already sweating.  For those who live in town, the race turns out of Friendly Center and heads towards Hobbs Road, where we follow that all the way the newer section of the Greenway by Fleming Road.  For those who don’t live here, it’s a roller coaster of a course!  It’s a challenge as a pacer to stay even.  The uphills are hard and some are steep.   We have rolling hills here in Greensboro; these hills are different.  We purposely avoid running down Hobbs.

We were running as even as we could.  I would run comfortably along the downhills and tackle the hills without powering up them.  Cara would yell my name back occasionally as she’d spy a hill up ahead. It was cracking me up!  You couldn’t do anything but laugh.  At mile 3, my co-pacer unfortunately started getting calf cramps to the point that they were really painful.  She slowed down just a bit, but they would not let up.  By mile 4, I was running by myself.  I kept on through the two neighborhoods that connect Hobbs to the Greenway.  Cara and Christine were with me along this section.  I was feeling really relaxed and enjoying the flattest section of this race.  It was a great break from the hills!race131greensboroelevation

I should mention that from mile 3 on, my watch was off with the mileage and it was growing with each mile.  I was trying my best to cut corners, but by the turn around, I was off per mile, hitting the markers at .2 over. I hit the turn around at mile 6.8 (clearly should have been about 6.6).  I was trying to do the math to figure out how to adjust my pace to ensure I was close to 2:30 with the added distance.  Right now, I would have been over by a minute or two.

I stuck to pace as we turned an headed back.  I picked up the pace just a bit, still not powering up any hills, by mile 9. I was hoping that it was enough to ensure being close to 2:30.  At this point the real deal hills show back up.  There is one hill crossing Westridge that is an absolute beast.  I walked up part of it.  I continued along the course, seeing several of our friends out there volunteering!  It was a great boost to see them!

At mile 12, I realized that I was off a bit with my time.  I figured that if I walked up the last hill, I should be good.  It’s one of the tougher hills, coming at mile 12.8.  I walked up it and I cheered on several near by runners, encouraging them to go!  We were so close!  I got to the top of the hill, knowing I had a little bit of time, to encourage the remaining runners coming up the hill!  Cara and Christine were right there and we ended up catching up with each other to head through the finish line together.

I finished right at 2:27 with 13.3 miles on my watch.  As a seasoned half marathon runner (this is number 38) and I’ve paced 7 races now, I get how pacing works and take pride in being a pacer.  I misjudged the pace I needed to make up the extra bit of mileage.  I have come in on time for all but one of my pacing races.  I felt ill in Raleigh and still finished at 2:16 (pacing 2:15).  Cara was my pacing buddy and she took our runners with her in that case.

Pacing is more than just finding the target pace and sticking to it.  It also being there to encourage other runners, be the support those people need, and to be the eyes and ears on the course.  There’s a reason there are usually two pacers for each time.  When in tandem, the work is split among both of us.  I had to make the call I made about pace and I’ll stick by it.  My head was making the right decision and my heart was agreeing.  I also don’t regret stopping to cheer on runners as the conquered the last big hill. If I provided even a boost of much needed motivation to one of my fellow runners then I did my job!  race131medal

We grabbed our medals, which are awesome!!  Love that they changed them to fit each city they host a race in!  They are truly unique.  We caught up with our friends and grabbed some ice cold chocolate milk!  It totally hit the spot!  We stayed around just a bit.  Some of our friends were out there cheering and volunteering came to the finish line too. My co-pacer came through the finish line and I went to check on her.  Poor thing felt miserable!  I felt bad for her.  I could tell that she was in pain.

PROS

The organization of the race itself is down to a science for all Race 13.1 events.  They have everything where it is supposed to (water stops).  The volunteers and police officers along the course were awesome!  So encouraging!  There was plenty of water stops along the course, about every two miles.  The race tees are some of the best!  I love that the medals represent each city.  It’s a big, heavy medal also!  The post race festivities are great and go on until the last runner comes through.  I love that they don’t pack up before all their runners are in.

CONS

The course is a beast!  It’s one of the toughest routes to run in Greensboro.  The Greenway section is a nice break from the hills, but some of those hills are not easy.  If I was a first time half marathoner, this course would be a bit discouraging.  It’s not that we aren’t used to running hills here; these are just some of the more challenging ones.

Did you run a race this weekend?  How did it go?

Looking for more running-related posts, check out Tuesdays on the Run by visiting Run the Great Wide Somewhere, MCM Mama Runs, and No Guilt Life. See what other runner’s are sharing!

Go be awesome! 🙂

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Friday Five: Races

Happy Friday everyone!! Hope you all have had a great week! Mine’s still moving at 100 mph and I’m so ready for this weekend!  My friend, Christine, and I are headed to Charlotte for a weekend concert, the Carolina Rebellion. Rocking music by some of our favorite bands for 2 days! So excited!

For this Friday Five’s races topic, I thought I’d share my five favorite things from my last three races, Flying Pirate half, First in Flight 5K and Race 13.1 Evans GA.  I haven’t been able to do a race recap on all of them yet.

1. The medals

By running the Double Dare Challenge in OBX, I snagged not only an awesome half and a spinning 5K medal, but a huge challenge medal! It’s one of the reasons we keep going back to run Flying Pirate. Their medals are so cool! They out do themselves yearly.

Race 13.1 Evans medal was an homage to James Brown. Evans is his hometown so what better phrase to put on the medal then “I feel good!”April Medals

 

2. The courses

Flying Pirate’s course is so awesome! Running by the bay, seeing water for a few miles, looping around the Wright Brother Memorial, heading through the maritime forest and finishing with single track trail. It’s a great mix of scenery and terrain.

Evan’s course was a lot more scenic than I thought it would be. We ran along a greenway and it was beautiful! Once we got to the Savannah River, we ran along the Augusta Canal trail.  I wished more of the course was along the water. The course was a bit challenge, mostly downhill going out and uphill on the way back.

From Augusta Magazine

3. Post Race

No other race does a post race party like Flying Pirate! Music, homemade egg and cheese biscuits, dancing, beer, etc. It’s one of my favorite parts of the whole race!

Evans had a really nice post race spread. Plenty of food and snacks and they finally had Coca Cola!! We were so happy to see soda! On all the previous surveys, our group asked if they could please provide other beverages besides water and Gatorade at the finish line. After drinking that for 13 miles, we wanted something different. They listened!! That was the best soda ever!

4. SWAG

Flying Pirate excels here too! We got red drawstring bags with the pirate logo on them, as well as a white finisher’s running cap when we crossed the line. They also have a ton of apparel and gear to purchase with the Flying Pirate logo.

Evans is a smaller race.  Their race tees are great quality and they use the same brand for all their races so sizing is never an issue!

5. Vacation Opportunities

Both races offer an opportunity based on location to do more than just the race!  The Outer Banks of North Carolina has so much to see and do!  From lighthouses, to Jockey’s Ridge, to the Lost Colony and the beach.  You can make it a mini racecation easily.

Evans offers the same.  A suburb of Augusta, you are minutes away from the golfing mecca!  Although it’s about impossible to access the course unless you are a member, there is still a lot to see and do.  We were bummed because they have tubing and canoeing along the Savannah River and we had no idea!  We plan to go back next year and make it a full weekend and take in more of the city and sights.

For even more Friday Five, hop over to:

Happy Week!

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Thinking Out Loud Thursday

Hi y’all!!  It’s so good to be back on the blog!  I started out intending on taking a few days off from blogging while we were on vacation, but that ended up being almost two weeks.  Life was crazy hectic in an awesome way so let me catch you up!

And what better what to do that but on a Thinking Out Loud Thursday!Thinking-Out-LoudSo firstly, our Flying Pirate weekend was amazingly fun!!  With this being my 6th year running this race, it would seem that it would always be the same, but our friend, Christine, was able to come with us this year so it was great running all the events with someone new to them.  About a 1/2 mile into Saturday’s First in Flight 5K, I asked Christine if she wanted to run for a PR.  Her former PR on a 5K was from years ago and she’s been running so strong this year!  So we went for it.  I stuck to a steady pace and encouraged her the whole way.  With just a tenth left, I yelled “You have one minute to get to that finish line.  GO!”.  We took off and she got her PR!!  I was so happy for her!!flyingpirate

After Flying Pirate weekend, we all headed back to work and packed up for another race weekend in Evans, GA.  Evans is just outside Augusta.  A small group of us were pacing the Race 13.1 Evans race.  It’s the first year for the event and it was a good one!  Christie and Johnny were at the 2:00 pace group, Cara and Christine were at 2:30 and I had 2:15 with another pacer.  The course was way more scenic than I thought it would be and my favorite part was running down by the Savannah River.  Absolutely beautiful.   It was a success for all of us!  We all arrived on time for each pace group and had a blast encouraging runners along the course.  I hope we can make it a longer weekend trip next year.evans

Fast Forward to yesterday…

While I was at OBX, I got an surprising email from the Fellow Flowers ladies.  They were on the Today Show recently sharing the Fellow Flowers message and they sent out info to the local affiliates after that letting the stations know that if they would like to do a story on Fellow Flowers, there are local Fellow Flowers who could help out.  The Raleigh affiliate, WNCN, asked for them to send someone to do an interview.  Cindy and I were asked if we’d be the ones to go to Raleigh.  Within a matter of a week, we had sent in our bios, had a video chat with the Fellow Flower crew and we were set for a taped interview yesterday. It was a wonderful whirlwind!

We arrived to the news station and found out that the segment was actually going to be live vs taped.  I got baby butterflies but then once I got on set and the interview started, I was good to go.  I could hear the nervousness in my voice when I first started talking, but the interviewer, Alex, was really warm and easy to chat with.  I’m really happy with how the whole thing went and it was definitely an amazing experience.  Nothing like that has ever happened to me before!  fellowflowersinterviewClick here for the interview.

So what’s on your mind? What are you thinking about?  Share it with me!

See what other people are thinking about too for Thinking Out Loud Thursday hosted by Running With Spoons.

Happy Week!

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Race Recap: Hamilton Lakes 10K

This weekend, Christine and I ran the Hamilton Lakes 10K.  We signed up a while back on a whim after the City of the Arts half was cancelled and we were no longer pacing.  We found a great deal and thought why not?!  If nothing else, we’d get a tech tee and add another medal to our collection!hamiltonlakes10Kswag

I had met Cara and Katie earlier in the morning to run.  I hadn’t planned on running 7 miles, but I felt really good going into the race.  The start is at 3pm, which is a hard time for me to have a race.  I just don’t know what to do with my food and body maintenance going into it.  I did a good time this year and had a real breakfast after my morning run and a snack before going to run around 1pm.

Christine and I met at 2pm so we could find a good parking spot and meet up with Christie who was coming to cheer for us.  We also had a few other friends running the event and we all hung out before the start.  There was a brief meeting with the race director and we lined up shortly after to start. The course had changed from last year and I was excited to run the new course.  The neighborhood where the race takes place is one of our favorites to run through.  There is also a trail that we run on from time to time around the lake. hamiltonlakes10Kcourse

Right at 3pm, the horn sounded and we were off!  The race started on a slight downhill.  Most of the course was rolling hills with some good sections of downhill.  I love running a shorter race that has two loops.  You learn a lot the first time around and can make adjustments for the second loop.  Christine and I made a plan to go on the downhills and reserve energy on several of the climbs.  We went out a little fast on the first mile and I finally found 9:40 to 9:45 by the second mile.  I told Christine I was staying there and we did…for the next 4 miles.  I stuck to that pace like it was my job. 🙂

On each lap, the last mile was always a slight grade climb.  We hit Starmount Rd and we just settled in.  We would recover on a few flatter sections and continue to keep a good steady pace.  We came through the first loop (3.2 miles) at 30:52.  We now knew the course and we would use that to our advantage.  We kept trucking along the next mile and at mile 4.2, I knew that with two miles left, we could finish under an hour if we kept this pace.  We wound around the neighborhood and came right back to that last mile climb.  hamiltonlakes10Kjazzhands

Right along that part of the course, we were greeted by our friend, Amy!  She was at the perfect place.  We had about .5 of a mile left and it was just the boost we needed.  I kept an eye on my watch at this point, knowing that we were super close to that hour goal. We carried on and could see the turn to take us to the finish line.  At the top of the hill, Christie and Lori were up there cheering us on!  We made the left and headed towards the finish line.  We had 30 seconds to get to that finish line!  I yelled at Christine, we have 30 seconds, go!!  We picked up our pace just a bit and finished in 59:52!  We were stoked!!  2015-03-29 20.18.35

Going into the race, both of us thought we’d be closer to 1:05 so to finish under an hour was an absolute treat!!  We grabbed our medals, took some pics with friends, and headed off to find warmer clothes.  While the weather was perfect for racing, we got super chilly afterward.  We hung around the finish line party, chatting with other runners, and grabbed a much needed Pepsi!  You know I love a soda after a race!  One of our friends was looking up the results and we asked him if he’d look up our times too.  Going into the race, we knew that Christine’s age group had 7 runners signed up and that if we ran smart, there was a chance she could finish top 3.

The results came up and she had done it!!  She was 3rd in her AG.  I was so excited for her!  We stayed around for the awards ceremony.  The race director came down and announced that there had been a glitch and that a chunk of times had disappeared and were written in some crazy code. They would have to fix them and would post the final results online.  They would have to hold on the award ceremony.  Everyone was very understanding and it did not put a damper on the race, but man, I so wanted them to call Christine’s name so she could go up there and get her award!

We went out to celebrate after!  We figured since we saw the results online before the glitch happened that Christine was good to go!  We checked the results one last time online while out to see if any changes happened and we saw that Christine had moved up to 1st in her AG!!!  We held our breath that it would stick.  Around 10pm, the final results were posted online and she had successfully claimed 1st place.  It was official!!  I woke up the next morning to see the good news!  I am so proud of her!!2015-03-29 20.13.32

PROS

The course is a really fair 10K.  There are just enough hills, nothing to awful, but there are some really good downhill stretches too.  The water stations were fully stocked along the course, although we did not stop at any of them.  There were many supportive volunteers along the course, encouraging runners the whole way.  The course was well marked and the miles were clearly marked with big flags.  The post race celebration was better than some larger races we have run!  There was plenty of pizza and soda.  The medals and tech tee are awesome!  I love supporting a local race and can’t wait to run this one again!

CONS

I could say the result glitch, but honestly, that happens sometimes.  It was crazy windy (20 mph winds at race time) and that kind of thing can mess with timing.  I really don’t think it was enough of an issue to call it a con.  Everyone seemed to take it in stride and even online it didn’t look like anyone complained about it either.

Looking for more running-related posts, check out Tuesdays on the Run here.  See what other runner’s are sharing!

Happy Week!

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