Category Archives: River Run Club
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.
Richmond is my 3rd marathon almost exactly one year after my first at City of Oaks. I made several changes in 2014 that contributed to my success at Richmond.
After City of Oaks in November, I decided to run Myrtle Beach in early February. For me, there was not enough recovery time in between. Even though I PR’d Myrtle by 9 minutes, my legs and feet hurt every day and I wasn’t sleeping well because of the pain. At the start of 2014, I had decided to try a vegetarian diet for one reason: Faster recovery from runs and consequently be able to run more. One month of training as a vegetarian wasn’t enough time to determine whether the diet worked or not.
The more you run, the faster you get.
The first real test of recovery was Black Mountain Monster ultra. My family travelled with me and I told the kids that I didn’t know if I would be able to do any touristy things the next
day, let alone walk. To my great surprise, my legs and feet felt really, really good after 40 miles. After that, I knew the vegetarian diet was making a difference in how my legs felt.
In July, I started ramping up my miles before initiating Hal Higdon’s 18 weeks Intermediate 1 training plan. I signed up for Fleet Feet’s Summer Speed Series meeting 2 times a week for track workouts for four weeks. I learned a lot and made an adjustment to my running form by distributing my weight more evenly over my knees and cranky knee disappeared.
During the weeks of training, I tried to make every run count; not just running to get to the weekly mileage. I ran lots of hills and tried to stay off the flat greenway as much as possible for my long runs. Training went well without aches, pains or injury.
I was ready for Richmond and legs felt perfect. Starting temps were in the 20’s but it was sunny; it would be my coldest marathon. I found friends in the 4 hour coral and off we went. We stayed ahead of the pacers until we finally lost them. I refrained from music so that I could be present to the run and have something to look forward to if I needed it.
I ran without music for about 16 miles. At mile 19 is when I started to realize that if all kept going as it was, I would run sub 4 hours. At this point I’m starting to get dazed and confused about my time. It seemed so unreal. When I got to the clock at mile 20; I knew for sure I would run under 4 hours and could even qualify for Boston. I only had 6 more miles to go. It was an exhilarating thought and I took off feeling tired but good and strong. I crossed the finish line in shock. I spent the whole next couple of weeks in shock.
I have a lot of people to thank; most importantly the people that live with me and my running friends. I can run alone but it’s so much more fun and easier with friends. Thanks @thillruns, who rode her bike with me for 3 hours, to everyone who would agree to meet me at Umstead for torture, to @nanfbd, @easymiles, @chasingoprah, @triangleexplorer @smilinsasquash, Julie and River Run Club.
Richmond 26.2: 3:51:54, 8:51 average pace, AG 28th
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!
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
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.
Today I ran with a guy who joined River Run Club in June. He is a guy who doesn’t “look” like a runner. He looks more like Arnold Schwarzenegger. He is the type of guy who is grabbing life by the horns and shaking it up.
“I want to learn how to run,” said Arnold. We made plans to run together at our next meet up. He was so excited by the group energy, he took off with the leaders who planned on running 8 miles, sub 8. “There’s no way he’ll be able to hang with them,” said me. “When he falls behind, I’ll show him how to run.”
Well, he was able to keep up with them for the majority of the run and has been coming back for more week after week. I had told him he was already a runner but he has denied himself that title like so many runners do…until this morning.
We set out to run 10 miles at an even 9 minute mile pace; this was to be his longest run ever. Due to my fantastic sense of direction, we were off by 2 miles, luckily in the right direction. When we finished on pace plus 2 miles he said, “You know, when I came to run club I was a jogger and now I’m a runner.”
Treat your heart to some great cardio activity this Thursday and join the group for our regularly scheduled run…with a twist!
It’s a themed run this week, so weather you’re lucky in love or still waiting on cupid’s arrow~ it’s time for the RRC: Kiss off Valentine’s day run!
FOR THIS WEEK ONLY:
We will meet in the parking lot of The Piper’s Tavern on Falls of Neuse Road and run a route up Falls through North Ridge and back to the tavern to share a post run beverage…or two!
This special run includes some give aways~so be sure to RSVP to the event and look for more details to come!
SPECIAL Thanks to Mary Morgan for her design of this themed run!