Category Archives: Raleigh Runners
My first 50K and my first race with Southern Pines Ultra Running Club. Jessica, the club manager, hosted a preview run a couple of weeks prior. It was good and bad to know what was coming on race day. Only an hour away from Raleigh, Raven Rock State Park is a great place to run trails, explore the Cape Fear River and the woods.
The race is two 5ish mile loops of single track trail. It was a sweet set up with bathrooms, an aid station and picnic shelter in between the two loops.
There were 55 runners in the 50K so the crowd spread out pretty quickly. My plan was to run the first 10 non stop and then re-fuel after each 5. On mile 11 I fell. Full on, Superman slide down the trail. That hurt. Luckily, the damage wasn’t enough to end my day but wow I had 20 more miles to go. That hurt.
It was a tough run. With one more loop to go, I never wanted to quit a race so bad but I carried on. I like the ultra events and the runners. They’re laid back and in to the pure joy of the run and the people.
I got to hang a little while with Aaron who I met through Triangle Runners on Google+
I learned a few things:
If you’re breaking spider webs, you’re going the wrong way.
If you want to run trails, you need to run trails.
trail photos courtesy of Ray the K
I finished 22 overall with time of 7:04:58
The Spring race season kicked off at Myrtle Beach Marathon in February. I have to admit, it was nice not to be racing. My friend Tara and I had the pleasure of volunteering on Friday night and walking out the condo door to cheer on the runners. We had the opportunity to see Bill fly by at mile 15 looking like he had just started running.
As Bill sped past us and Fred PR’d his half and I knew it was time to fill out my spring race schedule. Too much FOMO going on!
nOg St. Paddy’s Run Green 8K kilt run in March has become a tradition in Raleigh. I needed a few more miles that day so I had run 7 prior to the nOg thinking I would have a “fun” 8k to reach my goal but Kelly of River Run Club was after an 8K PR and needed company.
Isnagged a bib for the sold out Tobacco Road Half -perfect training run towards my 50K. This was my 3rd Tobacco race and I reluctantly have run some long training runs on the trail but it’s not my favorite. Love surface, but the tree lined, straight, flat trail gets mundane. It attracted Runner’s World attention this year as a great Boston Qualifier option. The race atmosphere improved this year offering a better beer garden tent and band. The tent was great pre-race for warmth. I finally broke through my half to PR of 1:51 and finished at 1:50.
Next up was All American Marathon with a few River Run Club folks and Ambassadors: Todd Griffin and Paul Laviska. This is a great race I highly recommend. It was easy to park close to starting line, well organized and a great course. I had never been on a military base before so it was cool running through it with Todd as my tour guide. This was the most inspired race I’ve ever ran. #thanksTodd. The bonus of running with Todd is his fan base cheering us on and the fans he picked up along the way. Todd holds the record for running with me longer than anyone. You learn a lot about someone running 26.2 miles and he’s a good one. Todd didn’t beat Oprah but he will in 2015.
Last training race before Run the Rock 50k was Rock and Roll Raleigh. In it’s second year, Competitor Group changed the course and reportedly had fewer runners. But I had a good time and I love running downtown, hills and all. My run buddy was Julie who beat cancer finishing her last chemo merely weeks before race day. This was her last training run before her 3rd trip to Boston. We began in wave 2 at the rope-ahead of where we needed to be and resulted in starting out faster than we planned. Once the 1:50 pacers caught up to us, we stayed with them. The plan was to help me run at my race pace and to keep Julie from going too fast and seeing if she could maintain the pace. I almost immediately had to go to music because the costume clad pacing girls weren’t just pacing, they were coaching; loudly and enthusiastically. Most people hanging with the 1:50 group don’t need and didn’t sign up for coaching. After the 7-8 mile climb, music wasn’t enough to drown them out so I took off. Julie kept me in sights and we finished together. A PR for me at 1:48. I love running downtown- hills work for me! The party afterwards with Smashing Mouth is not worth writing about-they sucked in the 90’s and still do. Also Michelob Ultra sucks. Runners in these parts prefer craft beer, local even better.
No one would dispute that Julie is an amazing athlete; some would argue that she isn’t human. She began training for her first half marathon and midway through decided she should train for the full 26.2. She did that and qualified for Boston. First half, first full and a BQ. I thought that alone would make her the most remarkable runner in my circle but I was wrong.
This past September, Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her course of treatment would be mastectomy, reconstruction and four chemotherapy treatments. She would be in the midst of chemo when she had planned to start training for her 3rd Boston Marathon. She chose to focus on healing and not on what she couldn’t do. In between chemo weeks, she continued to work out as much as her body would allow; mostly Pilates and cycling classes. She felt as though working out in between, helped her recovery after each round of chemo.
Twelve days after chemo, she started running and considering whether or not she could handle 26.2 Boston miles with less than 2 months to train. She asked me to put a schedule together and training began.
You have to understand a girl such as Julie. She is a fierce competitor. Deciding to train for Boston would only work if she could truly accept and embrace a slower, non competitive pace. We didn’t want to risk her health. Her husband had his concerns. I’ll be honest, I had my doubts. I know her. I’ve started out a run with her where she says, “I’m just running easy tonight.” And then BAM Julie is gone girl. She just can’t help herself!
On the weekends, we gradually added longer runs and she was great. She ran slow, she stopped when we had planned even if she didn’t feel the need and she kept to the plan. In March, she did a half marathon and bandited 4 more miles at the All American Marathon, she gained the confidence that she could run Boston. #thanksTodd. We ran 18 the following week and 20 at Umstead State Park this past weekend. She is ready for Boston. It will be different from the others because she will focus less on the competition and more on being present in the most amazing race in the world. She will see this race with new eyes and embrace every mile like never before.
It has been an honor and an inspiration for me to run a few miles with this woman who has beaten her cancer with such grace and faith. I am in awe of her journey and sheer determination to beat cancer and run Boston. She earned her spot and she is going to take what is rightfully hers.
I won! I won! Thanks to Ron Wahula, Director of City of Oaks and Big Boss Brewing run club, I won a race registration in a raffle drawing. Scheduled two weeks before Richmond; it was a perfect, final 13.1 training run.
I chose City of Oaks last year as my first full marathon; I love this event. Great route through downtown Raleigh, lots of familiar faces, great crowd support and the best beer garden in the Triangle.
It was a great race, my legs felt great and I saw lots of friends along the way. I finally broke through the 1:54 barrier I’ve been stuck at all year with fresh half PR.
The best part of the day was watching @triangleexplorer accomplish his goal of crossing the finish line in sub 4 hours.
Run for 2 minutes, party all day.
Because not all races have to be about training, racing and medals, The Point 262 is all about fun. There were costumes, gorillas, olympic runners, strength competitions and awesome awards. With FullSteam beer and food trucks at the finish line, .262 miles was the perfect distance.
With three girls and our token dude, Orange is the New Black seemed an obvious costume choice. It was easy to convince an unsuspecting @chasingoprah to look like a cop and carry a gun. Anyone who watches OINB would never agree to be Joe Caputo!
Race 13.1 Midtown Raleigh Spring
This race was on my list but with potential hot weather in June, I was undecided. With temps predicted to be ok, I decided to do it and try to break my half PR.
Writing 6 months later, these are the sticky facts:
- Lassister Hill stole my PR
- It was hot
- I couldn’t shake an annoying, gross, spitting, sweat falling off him, too close runner guy for the entire second half.
I’m sure I’m not the first to say that Lassiter Hill stole my PR.
Raleigh has arrived: First Ironman and now Rock & Roll Marathon
When Rock and Roll Raleigh was announced it was received with much controversy among local runners. Unfortunately, the inaugural date chosen by Competitor Group and the City of Raleigh was terrible and highlighted their disconnect with the local running community. It was wedged between a couple of big local races, took the date of one race and fell on Palm Sunday causing considerable issues for downtown churches.
It split the community in two; I landed on the supportive side. While sympathetic to the local race directors and questioning some of Competitor Group’s practices, above all, I love Raleigh and I didn’t want to see a national race series fail here. Once WRAL and Jimmy V Foundation decided to sponsor, I knew it would be a success.
All in all, it was a win for the city and the running community. For runners, it raised registration fee awareness of which charities are supported and how much money actually goes to them. It forced the city to examine it’s schedule of races and the impact on downtown residents and businesses. And finally, it launched a whole new marketing theme with running stores and races: Run Local.
You know you’re going to have a good day when you get to the start line without much traffic trouble, you buck your assigned coral and are able to find River Run Club friends in coral 2. I had no agenda for this race except to have fun. My friend Jill, however, had a PR plan of breaking 2 hours.
The route (it’s hilly, get over it) and crowd support were fantastic. Most memorable was the Wear Blue Memory Mile designed to honor fallen war heroes. The mile was lined with American flags and personal signs with their spouses cheering on the runners. Placed at mile 12, this was especially emotional for us because we had just passed one of the 2 men who collapsed on the route. Jill and I were choking back the tears knowing we were so close to her PR, we had to mentally focus on the finish line.
nOg Run Club St. Paddy’s Run Green 8K
This fun run is always on my schedule; it’s a given. 2014 was the second year the club tried to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Kilt Run with a 200 meter run prior to the 8K. The current Guinness World Record was set in 2012 in Perth, Ontario with 1,764 runners. They didn’t break the record but I will help them try again March 7, 2015.
March 22, 2014: Merge Records 25K
Merge Records was celebrating its 25 year anniversary in 2014 with several events leading up to Merge Festival. As soon as I saw this race, I knew I had to participate. In the early 90’s I was living in Chapel Hill and working in Durham. Evenings that weren’t in an editing bay, were spent at shows around town. My friend, Jeff was always ahead of the next upcoming band. My favorites were Superchunk (of course), Dinosaur Jr.; Bob Mould, Teenage FanClub and Arcade Fire.
This was my first 25K and my first point to point race. The race began in Chapel Hill, where Merge began, and ended in Durham, where it’s currently located.
I ran with a friend who had never run that distance and who is much faster than me. He agreed to run slower with me and I agreed to get him to 25K. It worked out great for both of us. I ran the most uncomfortable I’ve ever run for that distance and he became clear he is not about distance!
Photo courtesy of Tara Hill, the woman behind the third beer.
Merge Records 25K: 15:44 miles, 2:10:35, 8:28 average pace
Myrtle Beach 26.2
Myrtle Beach Marathon was my second marathon 12 weeks after the first. In retrospect, it was too soon for me. My legs and feet were hurting too much during my entire training. So much so that the pain was keeping me awake at night. I managed to PR by 11 minutes and was happy with my time. Overall the race was good despite a rainy start and a windy 26.2. River Run Club had a great crowd and party afterwards.
Myrtle Beach will be my first half of 2015
I love this snapshot of my running highlights of 2013.
Tuna Relay 200 was by far the craziest event I said yes to this year. I had my fastest 5.52 run on my first leg. 8.01 average pace.
12 Chicks, 2 Cars, 12 Thongs, 200 Miles, 36 Runs
Most Intense Run
I’m not sure what criteria DailyMile uses for intense because the only thing intense about this run was the heat coming in at 90-100 degrees. The inaugural IronMan 70.2 Raleigh was an eye opening experience. Triathletes kiss serious arse. Our relay teams had a blast and spawned a couple of triathletes.
Farthest and Most Talkative Runs
It is only fitting that my farthest and my most talkative runs go hand in hand because I have the most amazing and supportive running friends!
It is with their help that running come down to my first full marathon, a whole 26.2 miles one week from today.