Oak Island Marathon

Forgive me for these race recaps being so close together but I’m trying to get them posted before this weekend.  If I don’t I’ll be 3 race recaps behind.  LOL   This grandma is one busy lady!

Oak Island Marathon is part of a race series called The Big A$$ Medal Series.  Again, my good friend Lisa, put me up to this series.  She’s always finding the best races!  The cool thing about the medals are not only are they really big but they all connect together making one Ginormous medal!  Crazy Big!

Here I am all showered up after the run sporting the cool shirt and the medal.  If you like bling, this is the series for you.

shirt and medal

Oak Island was first and was held on February 18th.  It is the only race in the series that has a full marathon option.  The other 3 are all half marathons.  The next race is in May and it will be on Sunset Beach.  Then comes Holden Beach and Ocean Isle in September and October.  Ron and I have never vacationed in this area so we are really excited to get to know the region.

We headed down to Oak Island on Friday and were there in just over 2 hours.  The expo was super little but very well organized.  We were in and out of there in minutes flat.

OakIsland expo

For the rest of the series, we may not worry so much about getting the day off on Friday and just head down after work and pick up our bibs the morning of the race.

After the expo, we drove out to the Oak Island Lighthouse.  It is a cute little lighthouse and it is right beside the road.  You can climb it in the summer months but you have to make a reservation.

Next after checking into the hotel we headed out in search of pizza and pasta.   This little gem popped up on Yelp for me and we loved it.  Great pizza.  Great spaghetti.  And great craft beer for Ron.

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Pizza and pasta

It was getting close to dusk by this point and the wind had picked up a bit but we still enjoyed a short walk on the beach.

birds

Check out Ron doing Tai Chi on the beach!

TCR

The hotel (Holiday Inn Express) had a comfy bed and quite rooms.  My rest was blissful!  Ron slept very well too.

Since I had had such a bad run in Charleston and overheated, even though it was a little cool at the start, I opted for running in a singlet.  I had my new one from Vac & Dash and since I knew it would be quite sunny, it proved to be perfect.

flat for OI

The only thing I didn’t think of was my headlamp.  Ron told me that the race organizers had told us plenty of times to be ready for the dark start but for some reason, I missed that.  The run in the beginning was through some neighborhoods and I was fearful of tripping in a pot hole or something.  I really wished I had my light.  On the other hand though, I’m glad I didn’t have to carry it with me for the rest of the race.  I like to run with only the bare essentials.  I don’t even like running with my phone.  I’ve got to change this because I love all the pictures that all my friends capture.

Check out this gorgeous sunrise my good friend Jordan shot.

Oak Island Sunrise

That was 2 weekends in a row that I ran and got to see the sunrise.  So Pretty!

The first part of the run for me went well again.  I really enjoyed running over the bridge and running to the lighthouse.

Around the half, you run by the finish line area and usually I get down when I hear all the partying knowing I have 13 miles to go.  This time it didn’t bother me.  I kept running and I didn’t really know it at that time but I was slowing down big time.  I felt really good and was in good spirits until around mile 23.  With only 3 miles to go my legs started to buckle under me.  What!  I got really scared and thought I was going to faint or something.  I wasn’t dehydrated and I had had 3 Gus so I should have been fine.  I started walking at this point and must have walked about a quarter of a mile or so.  I sucked it up and before long I saw Ron and my good friend Claudia and her husband.  They ran me in and Claudia handed me a beer and a slice of pizza.  Claudia was so thoughtful to wait on me.  She had finished about an hour before me and had qualified for Boston!  She’s turning 60 this year and is my hero!  I want to be like her when I grow up!  LOL

(Claudia’s husband got a picture of us but I don’t have it yet.  I’ll post as soon as I can.)

 

Here I am at the finish line.  I look happier than I felt!

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Here’s a shot of my other good friend, Jordan and me.  I was right with Jordan at mile 23 but she beat me by 10 minutes over those last 3 miles.

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And here Ron and I are.  Ron had a good half marathon but had to give the after party a thumbs down.  My beer lovin’ husband won’t touch an American lager.  LOL

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Here’s  Ron is coming in!  All smiles!

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I’m really excited for the rest of the series and even though I’m bummed about my 2 recent marathon times, I’m trying to stay positive and see if I can figure out what is going on.  My gut is telling me I’m not running enough.  I love going to Camp Gladiator on MWF and I think it is healthy for me.  I just think if I am going to get faster, I have to get more miles and more fast miles under my feet.  I think I am training myself to run slow.  I’ve got to run fast in my training runs if I  ever am going to run fast in races.  Good news is my LifeTime Fitness Run group is offering a speed class beginning in May.  8 weeks with the awesome Coach Kelly.  I am very excited for this.

Here’s my training calendar leading up to the race.  I had high hopes of doing so much better.

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Here are my splits.  (My Garmin measured it at 26.43)

Splits Distance Time Cumulative Time
1 1 10:35 10:35
2 1 11:28 22:03
3 1 11:39 33:43:00
4 1 11:35 45:18:00
5 1 11:32 56:50:00
6 1 11:40 1:08:30
7 1 11:28 1:19:58
8 1 11:28 1:31:26
9 1 11:41 1:43:06
10 1 11:52 1:54:58
11 1 12:07 2:07:05
12 1 12:36 2:19:42
13 1 12:24 2:32:06
14 1 12:55 2:45:01
15 1 13:18 2:58:18
16 1 12:51 3:11:09
17 1 13:00 3:24:09
18 1 13:09 3:37:18
19 1 13:31 3:50:50
20 1 13:19 4:04:09
21 1 13:33 4:17:42
22 1 14:32 4:32:14
23 1 14:31 4:46:45
24 1 14:59 5:01:43
25 1 16:08 5:17:51
26 1 16:20 5:34:11
27 0.43 09:09.2 5:43:21
Summary 26.43 5:43:21 5:43:21

I’m not giving up on the full distance but I am definitely giving it a rest for a while.  I’ve got the Tobacco Road half coming up this Sunday and then I’ve got the other 3 halfs in the BAM series.  I also am registered for the Kiawah Island half in December.

I am toying with the idea of maybe signing up for the Richmond full in November.  All my running friends tell me it is a great marathon so I might give it a try.

Happy Running Friends!

 

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Fellowship of the Idiot 19.7 mile Run

My sister lives near Morrow Mountain State Park so I’ve known about the Albemarle area for over 40 years.  In fact, my niece got married on the top of Morrow Mountain.  What I didn’t know about this area until I got into running was this awesome running store called Vac & Dash.   Vac & Dash is a unique store.  They sell vacuum cleaners and running shoes.  They also are a UPS shipping outlet, sell and repair bikes, time races and sell disc golf supplies.

Back in 2012 when I was doing a race a month, I stumbled upon Vac & Dash and the awesome Run the Valley half marathon.  I was very intrigued about running to the top of Morrow Mountain.  I signed up and ran with a new friend from my Galloway running group.  I wasn’t at all concerned with speed at that time so I went into that race with a very relaxed attitude.  It was a hoot!  Beautiful scenery and very well run race.   It is the only race to date that I have placed in my age group.  (disclaimer:  I got 3rd place in my age group…and there were only 3 of us in the group.  I got a trophy though.  LOL)

Fast forward 5 years and my oldest and one of my dearest running friends, Lisa, messaged me and ask me to join her in the Fellowship of the Idiot Run.  The Fellowship of the Idiot Run started back in 2003 with a few friends getting together for their last long run before the Myrtle Beach Marathon. They started at the YMCA in Albemarle and ran to the top of Morrow Mountain and back.  Every year since then, idiots have gotten together for this awesome long run.  This year there were 174 runners making it over 600 official idiots since the run’s inception.  Fellowship was 19.7 miles and there was a hard cut-off at 2 hours to make it the top.  I jumped at the chance to run such a fun run with such a great friend and said yes immediately.  However, when I learned about that hard cut-off, I worked myself up and became very anxious.  That meant I had to average about a 12:00 minute mile.  Not too much of a worry on a flat course but going up the mountain…. Hmmmm, I didn’t know if I could make it or not.

I really, really wanted to become an Official Idiot and earn my shirt.  I tried to keep a positive attitude and tried very hard to just enjoy the run and not stress so much about pace.  My good friend Claudia told me to run 30:30 intervals if I had to on the steepest incline (30 second run: 30 second walk).  So that was my plan.

The run starts at 5:30am and since my sister lives about 25 minutes from the start, we traveled to her house on Friday night.  I stayed up way too late visiting but somehow managed to wake up at 4:00 and make it out the door by 4:30.  I was in Albemarle just before 5:00 and had plenty of time to use the bathroom, find Lisa, and check in.

Peter, the owner of Vac & Dash, welcomed us all, said a few words and then it was a simple, Ready, Set, and Go.  We were off!  Here we are just before the start.

Idiots at the start

The first few miles were in the small town of Albemarle.  Since it was so early there wasn’t anyone on the streets except us.  It was very dark.  I had my reflective vest on for safety and I also wore my new headlamp.  By the way, I highly recommend the Petzl Headlamp.  I love the USB charging feature and it is very comfortable.  It stays put on my forehead and doesn’t bounce at all.  The only thing I wish is that it had a blinking feature on the back some way.  That would be cool and even safer.  There was one hill early on in the run and it was very tough.  Lisa and I were talking and I was having trouble completing my sentences.

The next miles passed effortlessly.  We talked and talked and enjoyed meeting other idiots out for this 19.7 mile run so early in the morning.  Before long, we started seeing the sun begin to rise.  It was a beautiful orange.  The weather was on the chilly side but not too bad.  I like chilly for a run so I was in heaven.  There really wasn’t a wind to speak of at all.

Lisa’s whole family came out to support her and they were blasting cool songs and ringing cow bells, and hootin’ and hollerin’ and pretty much being the very best supporters ever!

We stopped a few times for pictures and I walked a few steps when I was drinking or taking a Gu but for the most part, I ran all the way.  I didn’t even have to use the 30:30 plan to make it up the mountain.  I was so surprised I was able to run the whole way up.  I was all smiles coming in at the top of the mountain!

Here’s a shot that Lisa’s husband, Wes,  captured of me.

me at top

 

And here we are at the top.   This shot was from the race site and we must have been looking at Wes.

us at top

And just look at this amazing shot Wes got of the sunrise!  Breathtaking!  We really ran to heaven that morning!

 

Wes' sunrise

After these photos and a quick Gu and bathroom break, we headed back down the mountain.  The run back was just as awesome.  Morrow Mountain State Park is so peaceful.

Morrow Mtn

The roads were a little busier when we got back into Albemarle but not too bad.  The directions were clearly marked and before we knew it we were back at the Y.  We had earned our shirts and now were official idiots!

got our shirts

Note, In years past someone was pictured holding their shirt upside down by mistake and now everyone does it.  An Idiot Tradition!

From the race you get that awesome shirt and a funny idiot certificate.  Wes however, couldn’t have us complete a run of this magnitude and not get a medal.  He designed this medal and got them for us.  Lisa was Idiot 1 and I was Idiot 2.  Lisa’s daughter made the buttons for us.

I had the most fun ever.  Thank you so much to Lisa and her whole family for including me!

Thanks so much to Peter from Vac&Dash and thank you to all the volunteers that make the run possible year after year.  I certainly want to be a returning Idiot next year and beyond!

When you are planning your 2018 race calendar, you really should include Fellowship of the Idiot Run.  If something comes up and you can’t make it, you can’t get a refund.  But somehow I think you’ll be okay with that.  There isn’t a race fee at all.  Completely free!

Do however, make sure to make a donation to help support this remarkable run.  Make sure to save some time after the run and go on down street to Vac & Dash.  If you’re lucky like me you might just find something on the clearance rack!

singlets

A Hinson Singlet with the year I ran on it!  Woot Woot!  Best $4 I’ve ever spent!   (Vac & Dash does the apparel for Hinson.)  I also got the red one and it was only $4 as well.  I’ll be stylin’ for sure this summer!

Happy Running Friends!

Deconstructing Charleston and a New Breakfast Idea

Let’s start off with a cool new breakfast idea.  Look at this yummy egg and banana pancake.  I found the recipe on an old blog that I just keep reading year after year.  Love KathEats!

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It looks like a huge breakfast but it is really only 2 eggs and 1 banana.  (and some chia seeds, vanilla, and cinnamon)

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All you do is mash the banana up and stir in the eggs and other ingredients.  Then fry it up on a lightly greased pan.

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Boy was it delicious!

It is a rainy day here in North Carolina so I’ve got some time to jot down a race recap from last weekend’s Charleston Marathon.  Let me start off by saying Charleston is a wonderful city and the race was very well organized.  We stayed near the convention center and boy was this area hoppin’.  You will find every imaginable chain restaurant and store that you could ever want.  The cool thing is this area is only 3.5 miles from the finish area so it is very convenient.  The finish area is actually the coolest area though.  This is where you’ll find nice restaurants that are not of the chain sort.  We had Italian Friday night and then after the race we went to a seafood restaurant.  I just love visiting new cities and exploring.  The weather was on the warm side and we even dined outside on Friday night.  Dining al fresco is my favorite!

Let me give you all the normal recap stuff and then I’ll go into more detail of what happened in my race.

Expo  –  on the small side but well organized

Shirt – nice!  Long sleeved tech shirt.

Medal – nice as well!

Course – Flat!  Pretty nice scenery.  We got to run by the water and to the end of a dock.  I had heard that the 2nd half would be lonely but that didn’t prove true at all.  I was never alone.  There are plenty of full marathoners and even after the split at mile 10 there were so many other runners to keep me company.

After race party – Very good.  They had shrimp and grits, boiled peanuts, mimosas, and a good craft IPA beer.

Here’s my flat Melissa for the race.  I was being so superstitious and I have no idea why.   I wore my OBX hat to help me remember I can do hard things. One year at OBX there was a monsoon and it was very tough. I wore my Lifetime training shirt to honor coach Kelly and all my running buddies. Also because I hope to run for the rest of my Lifetime. And those gray running shorts are the ones I wore in my very first marathon. (I can’t believe I still have these. LOL)

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My race was not what I had hoped for.  My time was 6:04:51.  My second slowest time ever. My slowest was a 6:05 at City of Oaks back in 2012.  How could I have repeated this?  My IT band didn’t hurt this time and Charleston was flat!  City of Oaks was very hilly!  It really doesn’t make any sense to me at all.  All of 2016 I really focused hard on speed and I felt I was prepared for Charleston.  In late 2015 and early 2016 I posted the best half marathon times of my life.  I cross trained and I had lost a little weight.  I ran all my long runs.  Charleston should not have been a 6 hour marathon.

Here are my splits:

Charleston splits

As you can see, I was doing okay up until the half.  This was what was written on my hand and I had such high hopes of really knocking this race out of the park!

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I started slowing down a bit but not too much.  At mile 16 I had planned to get my music going.  I hadn’t walked at all up until this point and I was trying to get my music started while I was running.  I have an old iPod and even though I had charged it fully when I turned it on before the race it was dead.  I charged it while we were driving to the start and it was about 50% charged when we lined up for the race.  However at mile 16, it was dead again.  I tried hard to not let this bother me and I really can’t blame what happened next on the music.

I mentioned that it was warm and it was.  The race didn’t start until 8:00am.  I enjoyed not having to get up so early but that late of a start meant I was in full sun for quite some time. I got a little dizzy around this time and I think I started psyching  myself out.  I decided to walk a little.  I saw the 4:45 pace group go by me and my plan was to stick with them like glue.  Well that was a laugh.  They seemed to fly by me!

Then the 5:00 pace group leader passed.  I knew him and he stopped and gave me a hug.  He was all smiles and running effortlessly.  No sticking with him by any means.

Then not long after that the 5:30 group passed.  They were doing intervals and I kept up with them through 2 walk breaks.  They were flying as well.

I started calculating how long it would take me to finish if I continued with 20 minute miles.  Oh my gracious. Was it ever hard.  I wasn’t hurting and after a few Gatorade stops I wasn’t dizzy anymore.  What was going on?  Well I say I wasn’t hurting.  I was a little.  I have a bunion on each foot and they always tend to hurt when I run very long distances. My left bunion was burning but I just chalked it up to the normal hurt that it always does. After the race when I tried to take my sock off I realized it wasn’t the normal hurt.  This time I had a blood blister and my sock was stuck to my skin.  I know, I know, Yuck!  But that’s what happened.  My socks were good ones so I have no earthly idea what the cause could have been.

Here I am with Ron at the finish.  It was a hard race for me but Ron did great!  I was so jealous.  He hardly trains at all and seemed to be out for a walk in the park.  Ron isn’t fast by any means but it amazes me how effortlessly he runs.

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The good news is I have another marathon on February 18th.  Maybe this can be my redemption marathon.  It’s at Oak Island so it should be flat as well.  Maybe I’ll try intervals from the beginning.  What I do know is that for the next 4 weeks, I’m going to focus on cross training.  I haven’t been going to Camp Gladiator and this is going to change.  I promise to go 3x a week for the next month.

I’m also going to work on push-ups and planks.  Every single day.  And yoga and my ITB routine.  I’ve got 4 weeks and I’m going to make the best of it.

Tomorrow I’m heading out for 10 miles and then the week after that 14.  On February 11th I shouldn’t be running 20 miles but I’m going to.  I’m an idiot for sure.  I won’t kill me and even though every running coach out there would tell me to taper, I’m not gonna.  If I can eat right, focus on getting a good night’s sleep each night, drink plenty of water, cross train, and run, I think Oak Island is going to be mine!

Let’s get to it!

PS…I put a bandage on my blister area and went out for a slow 5 mile run last night.  I felt good.  My bunion burned a little but there is no new damage.

 

 

Chattanooga Half Marathon

Back on March 6th, Ron and I ran in the Inaugural Chattanooga Marathon.  Ron’s really good friend from his Coast Guard days lives near Chattanooga and we had planned a vacation out there to visit.  You know us.  We can’t go on vacation without signing up for a half marathon.

Here we are at the start with our traditional selfie.  It was a gorgeous day.  Just a little chilly at the start with all sunshine and no wind.  I shed that sweatshirt right as we started and left it for the volunteers to collect and give to Goodwill.

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I had been training since before Thanksgiving with Lifetime Fitness Run Club so I wanted to give it my all.  I kissed Ron goodbye and wished him a great race.

I didn’t carry any water or fuel and planned to just take what they gave out on the course.  My stomach has really settled down and I can handle just about what ever they give out.  I’d drink water at one stop and then the next I’d sip Gatorade.  I was ready for a GU a little before the race gave them out but no worries.  I accepted 2 Twizzlers from a nice spectator just past the UT-Chattanooga campus.

The course was gorgeous.  Chattanooga is a very pretty city.  It sits down in what they call the “Fishbowl” and there are mountains all around.  We ran down by the river during the first 5k and then headed up a few pretty good hills.  I loved every thing about the course.

Here’s my splits:

Chatt splits

I was feeling really good and kept most miles under 10:00 even with the hills!  I was doing so good, I started praying for a PR.  Now you know I just got a PR back in November in the flat, flat, flat, race at OBX.  Who was I to think I could get one here too?  I did train like I said with Lifetime and I felt like I was pretty prepared.  I just wasn’t very confident.  I’m not sure why.

That first 10:18 mile was when I stopped to take a GU.  I don’t understand why that last mile was also over 10:00.  I was praying very hard and really giving it my all and it was flat at that section.

It just wasn’t in the stars.  My official time was 2:07:18.  I missed a PR by a mere 30 seconds.  But you know, considering racing in Chattanooga vs OBX, I really must admit I did better.

I was very happy!

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Ron had a blast too and came in very close to where he predicted, 3:00:11.

The expo the day before was sweet.  It was small but this was the inaugural race for this city.  I’m sure it will get bigger as they grow.  The after party was really rockin’!  Notice I have Beet juice in my hands!  Score!  And they even had a vegan burger option for the after race food.

Chattanooga is a beautiful area.  After the expo we hiked to this gorgeous waterfall just about a half our outside the city.  (Lula Falls, Georgia)

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And then after the race, we hiked to this waterfall in the Cherokee National Forest.

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I would highly recommend this race if you need to check off Tennessee.

Happy Running Friends!

OBX Half! Best Race EVER!

I’m late getting this review up but for historical sake, I have to publish.

On November the 8th I ran my very best half marathon ever!  2:06:48!

OBX results

Outer Banks Marathon was my very first marathon back in 2010 and I’ve also done the Flying Pirate there in 2012.  The Flying Pirate course follows the 1st half of the full marathon.  The OBX Half is the 2nd half of the full marathon.

When I went into this race, I didn’t have any goals other than having fun.  I’ve had a good year and I had actually taken a little time off from so much running since my 50 miler I did back in September.  I still ran during the week.  I just didn’t make all my weekend long runs.

It was a cold, windy morning and I hung around with Ron as we waited for the race to start.  He was in one of the corrals near the back and even though I knew we wouldn’t stay together, I didn’t want to stand all alone in one of the corrals closer to the front.

When we took off, I kissed Ron goodbye and made our plan of where to meet up at the finish.  During races lately, I have started running without my phone and I love it.  I actually have also stopped carrying water and GUs.  Most of the races I go to have really good water and aid stations and I’m not as afraid of different GUs as I once was.  My stomach, (knock on wood) has been behaving.

I was careful in the beginning to not weave in and out of runners when we took off.  It was my choice to start out near the back and I didn’t want to be discourteous.   When my Garmin buzzed and it showed a sub 10:00 mile I could not believe it.  I was being careful and had no idea I was running at a good clip for me.

After miles 2-4 also showed sub 10:00 miles, I really began to question what in the world was going on.  Then after mile 5 I was floored.  I hit a sub 9:00 mile.  I never do this in races.  At that point I decided to give it my all and see if I could come in under my previous PR of 2:12. I started praying for a 2:11.

I felt great the whole way except towards the end my feet (bunions) started hurting. I didn’t care. I kept thinking of that running slogan, “Your feet are hurting because your kicking so much Assphalt.” There’s a  bridge at mile 10.5 and it was a beast but not terrible. I had 2 miles of 10:15s right around that.

The only thing that I can think of is that these results are due to my CrossFit trainer, Liz Brozowski.  The week prior to this half I went to CF 4 times.  I’m usually a 3x a week CF girl but my coach has just opened a new Box and I’ve been trying to go more.

From mile 6 on, my mantra was, “This is easier than burpees. This is easier than walk the floors. This is easier than slam balls. This is easier than wall balls.” I heard Liz’s words in my head, “You’ve got this Melissa.”

This race has renewed my belief that I can BQ someday. 5 years ago I ran my first full marathon. I’m not the same person I was before running. I am so grateful to God for this hobby. Thanks to all my running and CF buddies. Thank you to my family. My cup runneth over!

For a race review here are my opinions:

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I’ve sworn off racing so much for now.  I love it and we have a ball but it can get expensive.  My husband’s really good friend has been encouraging us to run the Chattanooga Marathon in March of 2016.  I guess we’ll do that but hold me to it – not many more at all next year.

A few of my running friends and I have joined a new running club at LifeTime Fitness.  We run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and have been learning more about hill repeats and fartleks.  Coach Jennifer is the bomb!  I’m hoping this 16 week class will help me come in under 4:30 in Chattanooga!  A 4:30 is a huge goal for me but I’m up for it!  Wish me luck.

I wish for you one and all the merriest of a Christmas and the happiest of a New Year!

Happy Running!

 

 

My Medoc PR

Back in 2012 I ran the Medoc Trail Marathon and I loved it so much.  The hilarious and awesome race directors have kept me on their email list and this was the year for me to do a repeat.  And best of all, Ron signed up for the 10 miler!  I was so excited that he was coming with me to experience first hand how much fun this race really is.

We actually signed up for their 1st annual Twilight 5k and went up to Hollister, NC on Friday night.  It’s only 1.5 hour drive from Clayton straight up I95.  The race started at 6:00 and didn’t end up getting dark until just as we were finishing the 5k.  We had our headlamps with us but we didn’t really need them on the trail.

Here Ron is rocking his Twilight 5k shirt and his 10 miler medal.  You can’t really tell in this shot but the shirt has hints of purple in it.  The ladies version has a V-neck and is a little longer in the back.  So unbelievably AWESOME!

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After the 5k we dined under the shelter on some delicious spaghetti, salad, and desserts.  We were  both really hungry and went back for seconds.  By the time dinner was over it was very dark so we drove over to the group camp area and set up our “camp.”  We camped in our van!  Our van has stow and go seating and we’ve always wanted to see if we could camp in it.

Our queen sized air mattress was just a little bit too wide but it seemed to work okay when we tested it.  We were wrong.  We ended up rolling towards the middle and Ron and I were literally human hotdogs!  It was very cold.  Somewhere around 40 degrees.  I slept in my Hinson hoodie with the hood up to stay warm.  Below is a shot of our van and me in modeling my hoodie once we got home.

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The bad part was we had gone to bed around 8:00pm and didn’t get up until around 7:00 am Saturday morning.  We rolled around and slept cuddled up on and off for 11 straight hours!  Just when we’d get warm and cozy, I’d get a hot flash (boo menopause) and then I’d have to pull away and kick off all our covers.  It was a VERY long night.  I think we slept more than we realized though because neither of us were tired at all.   That was a good thing!

The marathon and the 10 miler were so fun!  I didn’t remember how technical this race really is.  You cannot take your eyes off the trail.  It is filled with Roots, Rocks, and Hills.  Notice the words on the hat we got for “doing the double.” (the 5k and the race the next day)  We also got the cute shot glass.  Medoc swag is the very best!

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The marathon is a 3 loop course.  I completed the 1st loop in 1 hour and 54 minutes.  The second loop took me 2 hours and 14 minutes.  The 3rd loop took me 2 hours and 12 minutes.  That brought me in at 6:20!  (18 minutes faster than back in 2012 woot woot!)

Check out this image of the elevation I found on Google images:

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I ran most of the 1st loop with Carley from Coral Springs.  She’s 15 years old and is totally amazing.  This was  her 2nd Medoc and last year she earned the record for the youngest to complete Medoc!  She’s a triathlete and is on her school’s cross country team.  Her mom and brother ran the 10 miler today and her dad ran the marathon.   I loved listening to all her stories and her cheerful attitude.  She was faster than me and she ended up pulling away and I didn’t see her again until the middle of the 3rd loop.

I ran with Heather at the end of the 2nd loop and almost all of the 3rd loop.  She remembered me from 2012.  This was her 5th Medoc!  When I came upon Heather I had been alone for a while and I was getting so discouraged.  Heather cheered me up and gave me the inspiration to keep going.  She told me about how this verse from Hebrews came to here this week just when she needed it.  Little did Heather know that I needed to hear this so much today!

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I had a goal of 6 hours and after that 2nd loop I knew that I wasn’t going to make it.  I was getting so sad.  Well after I ran with Heather for a while I was a new woman.  Each mile marker I would see I was like Party On!  I was so enthusiastic.

Before long we hooked back up with Carley.  Heather knew Carley from last year.  All 3 of us were doing so amazingly well on our last loop!  Here’s a picture of Heather  and me at the finish.

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Then, right near the very end, I ran into Jordan.  Jordan is my friend that I met when I volunteered at City of Oaks.  We see each other every now and then at races and fun runs around Raleigh.  Jordan had fallen 2 times and was having a rough time finishing.  Well, I decided to run it in with her and was so happy to be able to offer support to my good friend.  Here we are at the finish.

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Ron and I loved Medoc so much.  Check out the marathon shirt and the finishers surprise.

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I adore the shirt.  It is a V-neck too and has that longer back to it like biking shirts.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.  The finisher’s surprise this year was a zippered pull-over.  LOVE!

Here’s the amazing medal.  It is the best ever!  I love the bridge on the back and the beautiful fall colors.

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I guess I should give you a few more running details before signing out.  I chose to run without my Garmin or my Fuel Belt. With all the trees in Medoc, we were warned that our Garmin might not be very accurate.  I remembered from 2012 how much my fuel belt bothered me so this time I didn’t even try to wear it.  3 weeks ago at Hinson, I drank a cup of water or Gatorade every 1.5 miles.  So this time, I drank one cup of water AND one cup of Gatorade at each aid station.  The stations were approx. 3.2 miles apart.  It worked out great and I never got thirsty.  I ate 3 Honey Stingers.  One on each loop.  I also had 2 cookies and a few M&Ms and one cup of Pepsi.  I think I fueled the best in the race of any race I’ve ever run.

Don’t be afraid of the roots, rocks, and hills.  Give Medoc a try.  I promise you will not be disappointed!

Happy Trails!

Hinson Lake Ultra

Wow!  I cannot believe we did it!  Yesterday my good friend Connie and I ran 51.1 miles!

Here’s a shot of us at the finish line.  It took us 13 hours and 29 minutes.  What an Adventure!

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Hinson Lake 24 Hour Ultra is a 24 hour race but the beauty of it is you can stop any time you want.  There were 314 entrants and Connie and I finished in the 101 and 102 places.  The winner ran the whole 24 hours and completed 117.234 miles.

Click here to see the awesome finishing results

Connie’s amazing husband went down on Friday and set up a tent for us to change in.

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He was calling it our medical tent but I liked thinking of it as our phone booth of sorts that we could go in and emerge back out as Super Heros !  I changed socks 3 times and my shirt and sports bra once.  I used plenty of Chamois Butter and didn’t have one bit of chaffing or blisters.  And….did I mention it rained on and off the entire day!

Here’s some shots of the course and the mud.  The part right around near all the tents was the worst.  Most of the trail was actually pretty amazing given all the rain.

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The race was so well run.  The director and all the volunteers were amazing!  I loved every minute of it.When you finished the loop you came right through what they were calling Jerry’s Food Castle. (Jerry is the race director) They had a sign at about a 1/4 mile before you got to this area that said “Jerry’s Food Castle” and I won’t mention how many loops it took me to figure out what they were talking about.  LOL

Here they are getting the boiled potatoes ready.  Notice the paper plate of salt you could dip your potato in.

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Here’s Connie coming through the food castle.

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And here I am.  I’m holding a cup of water so it must have been on a odd numbered loop.  My race stradegy was to drink water and eat on odd numbered loops and only have about 3 oz of Gatorade on even numbered loops.  Since I have on a blue shirt and my Brooks running shoes, it must have been after loop 17.  We had to complete 34 loops of the 1.5 mile course to get in our 50 miles so at 17, that was our halfway mark.

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Here I am in the red shirt and Hokas that I ran in for the first 17 loops.  I also have my fuel belt on.  That did not last very long at all.  I didn’t need to carry my water thanks to Jerry’s Food Castle.  Also, I had my iPhone in one of my pouches and I tried to listen to a book on Audible for a while.  That didn’t last either.  I couldn’t concentrate on the book and I missed listening to all the other runners.

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Some of the things that I ate were of course GUs but I also had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (Uncrustables), fig newtons, pretzels and York peppermint patty minis.  I brought all my own food and I had them in little baggies with the number of the loop written in permanent marker on it.  The only foods I got in the castle were a couple of small bites of potatoes and one small piece of cheese pizza.  I did however grab a few small cups of soda.  I think I got maybe 3 cups of Ginger Ale and maybe 3 cups of Coke.  I did get Mellow Yellow one time by mistake when I thought I was grabbing Gatorade.  That Food Castle was the bomb!  There was so much good food and the volunteers were so cheerful.  I wish I had been brave enough to try all the pumpkin breads and cupcakes and everything else.  I’ve had stomach issues in other races and I didn’t want to spend any time in the porta johns.

Thinking back on yesterday I cannot believe what an Epic time we had.  Running with Connie and some our other friends made it so much fun.  I really want to send a huge thank you out to the guys, Scott and Ron, our husbands.  Scott was in charge of the changing tent and that proved to be indispensable.  Scott and Ron even put up a tarp in the Food Castle to keep the rain from blowing in on the volunteers.  I think it was a cold dreary day for those that weren’t raising their body temps running.   While Connie and I were finishing up our last loops, Ron helped Scott take everything down.  Hinson Lake is about a 2 hour drive for us and Ron drove both ways for us.  We had to get up at 3:30 am and we didn’t make it back home until after midnight.

Today I feel awesome.  Sore yes but not that much different than a normal long run.  I am amazed in the human body.

Here’s one more closing shot.  This is of me and Connie and Connie’s good friend (and my new friend) Patricia.  She ran 42 miles yesterday and stayed to the end to be with us.

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I am so thankful to God for giving me this hobby of running.

Isaiah 40 31

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Happy Ultra Racing!

PS. Must haves for trail and ultra racing.  Gaiters!  I got a pair from Dirty Girl gaiters but I only had time to put the velcro on one of my pairs of shoes.  I saw some other brands of gaiters on other runners and some of them didn’t require velcro.  I didn’t get any rocks in my shoes when I had my gaiters on but when I switched to my Brooks without gaiters, I had to stop at least 3 different times to dump the grit out of my shoes.

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One other thing to mention, after the race, all I wanted to do was brush my teeth.  I think all the Gus and soda was too much.  I didn’t have a toothbrush with me and I wanted one so bad.  Patricia told us to bring some mouthwash next time and that would help in a pinch.  Next time,  I don’t think so. Not ready for another ultra any time in my near future.  LOL