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.

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

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

 

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

Basic 5 ingredient overnight oats

I eat a lot of oats.  And I get a lot of questions about them.  I’ve had friends text me while they were in WalMart looking for rolled oats.  I’ve had questions as to if I eat them cold.  And….do I really put beans in them now? 

Well here you go.  This is my go to recipe for what I eat most every morning.  Let me preface this by letting you know that I have been eating these for about 6 years and my taste buds have changed a lot.  If you’re not into oats yet, start out with them warm and make them the whipped banana oatmeal way.  These are the bomb!  Put a little shredded coconut on top and a little White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter.  Oh man!  Delish!

But if you are ready to go hard core, follow these simple directions.

Get out a 4 cup glass bowl.  Slice up one ripe banana into the bowl.  Add in 1/4 cup of Cannellini beans well rinsed.  Now take out a potato masher and mash the banana and the beans together.  Add 1/3 cup of old fashioned oats and 1/2-3/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk.  (depending on how thick or thin you want your oats)  Drop in a few drops of vanilla extract.  Stir well, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  If you don’t mind the banana getting brown, it can last in the fridge for one week as long as you put them in glass containers.

I make 5 of these at a time almost every Sunday.  (The other 5 glass bowls are my chopped salads.)

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Enjoy!

Freedom

Last night Ron went to the WRAL’s Freedom Balloon Fest.  It was a blast!

The balloons were so pretty and the weather was wonderful!

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The festival is still going on for the rest of the weekend so if you have a chance, I’d highly recommend it.

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We parked at the Mudcat’s stadium and took one look at the free shuttle line and opted to walk the 2 miles from the parking area to the festival.  We made it in about 40 minutes.  I met a person that rode the shuttle and she said it took her 2.5 hours.  It was obvious that the organizers were not prepared for the amount of people that turned out.

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Ron happily enjoyed the beer garden and then I went in search of some food.  This is where the wait got me.  I waited almost 50 minutes and when I finally made it to the front of the line I ordered Ron a BBQ sandwich and me cheese pizza. They were out of pizza and it was going to be another 10 minutes so I just asked the guy to run and grab whatever was available.  He came back with 2 ears of roasted corn, 2 hot dogs, and some funnel cake bites.  I also grabbed some peanuts before I walked away.  I ate the corn and funnel cake bites and some peanuts and Ron ate everything else minus one hot dog that I offered our new friend that had waited so long on the shuttle.

Next up was the balloon glow!  So amazing!

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Afterwards guess what Ron and I did?  You guessed it.  We walked the 2 miles back in the dark to the Mudcats stadium.  We walked along with hundreds of other festival goers that didn’t want to wait on the shuttle so even though it was dark, I didn’t feel unsafe at all.

If you go, I hope they have more shuttles running.  Or, just go ahead and go early and pay the $30 premium parking up close.  If they are full at the $30 lot there are some houses along the way that are offering parking for $15-$20.  Or, be crazy like me and Ron and log thousands of steps and enjoy this beautiful weather!

Happy Memorial Day weekend and thanks to all those who serve to protect our freedom!

10 5ks

In honor of my 50th birthday coming up in 2 weeks I’ve decided to run 10 5ks on May 30th.  Come join me!

Coming soon, my itinerary  .  🙂

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source   (I haven’t given up on faster but for some reason turning 50 really makes me want to do a 50k!)

Thunder Road Marathon

When we began thinking about fall marathons, Ron and I were hoping Thunder Road in Charlotte would be a good match for us. My mother, sister and her husband, an my niece and her family all live just outside of Charlotte in the quaint town of Mt. Pleasant.

Marathons can get a little pricey so not having to spend the extra for the hotel was a big plus for us.  We were very excited.

Excited that is until we started telling people which marathon we were training for.   All we heard was either complete silence or something negative.  It got so bad, I just stopped telling people.  All the good marathons came and went (Medoc, City of Oaks, and OBX) and I was so sad that we had to run Thunder Road.

I decided that I might as well try to make the best of it and keep an open mind.  I’m so glad I did because Thunder Road ended up Rockin’!   It is an awesome marathon!

Thunder Road was really good about keeping their Facebook page up to date with important information and motivating posts.  I had printed out the directions on how to get to the Expo and all our parking options.  They had warned us that we’d have to pay to park but that some of the garages would offer discounts if we showed our race bibs upon exiting.  I’m not sure how we managed it but we didn’t have to pay at all in the parking garage that we found.  They just waved us out when we left and we didn’t have to show our bibs.  (I guess they could tell us country bumpkins had to be there for the race.)

We drove right to the Expo and parked only one block away.  The Charlotte Convention Center was so pretty!  Charlotte is known as “The Queen City” and for some reason I also think of them as the “Clean City”.  It felt so clean and modern.

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I loved all the beautiful buildings and the day was gorgeous!

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When we got inside the Convention Center, the way to the Expo was clearly marked.

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We were there in no time and were ready to Feel the Thunder!

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The Expo was sold out and was every bit as good at the Rock-n-Roll expo back in April.  It was one of the very best that I’ve ever attended.

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We had gotten there in the middle of the day and it wasn’t crowded at all. We walked right up and got our bibs and shirts and they were very nice about letting Ron switch to the half. He did have to pay $10 but we were expecting that. Since Ron has had to work so much overtime lately, he hasn’t had the time to train. Halfs are good for Ron. He’s happy with that distance.

We moseyed around and bought a few neat items. Ron got some socks and I got some new sweat headbands. These weren’t Bondi Bands but the were just like them and I found some cool new sayings.

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When we happened upon these neat new sweat towels, we both had to get one.

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Actually, Ron got 2 and I got 1. It is similar to the sweat headbands except that it has a soft face cloth attached to it. You wear it around your wrist so you never have to worry about dropping your sweat rag. Such a neat idea.

The coolest thing was that a reporter stopped us and asked us some questions about what we were buying. I had purchased some throwaway gloves and she was intrigued. I told her that I wasn’t too concerned with the cold but that I wanted something to keep me warm in the beginning until we had those first few miles out of the way. I had also stopped at Good Will the night before and got Ron and me some fleece jackets. We planned to shed those along the way once we got warmed up. We knew there would be volunteers that would be picking up the clothing and taking it right back to Good Will or other charities. Win – Win!

That evening my sister and her husband knew we wanted Italian so they suggested one of their favorite restaurants.  We went to Gianni’s Trattoria in downtown Concord.   It was a little pricey and they were very crowded so it took a while for us to be served.  But boy was it worth the wait.  So delicious!  I didn’t have my camera with me and I’m so bummed.  It would have been a great restaurant to review.  I’m definitely going back!

After we were adequately carbed up, it was straight to bed for us.  Thunder Road had a 7:45am start which was actually very nice.   With Mt. Pleasant being about 40-50 minute drive from Uptown Charlotte, we wanted to be on the road by around 6:00am.

It was a chilly 22 degree start.   However, with our layers and fleece jackets we were good to go.

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Right at the beginning of the race I said goodbye to Ron and shed my jacket right away.  I kept my throw-away gloves on for a long time.  It might have been around mile 18-20 that I finally shed those.  I was careful to throw them away at a water stop so I wouldn’t litter.

The race for me was very good.  I started out too fast and I knew it.  I was so excited and I felt wonderful.  My coach had told me to start out near the 11:00s and when I saw a 10:10 on mile 2 on my Garmin, I knew I was in trouble.  I really concentrated on trying to slow down and got mile 3 down to 10:25.

After that I just tried to keep it steady.  I ran the entire first half all by myself.  We ran through some beautiful neighborhoods and the crowd support was the best I’ve ever experienced in a race.

Coming up to the split as the half marathoners were turning for their finish line, I heard a huge group coming up behind me.  They were really having a party.  I knew instantly it must be a pace group.  It was was the 2:20/4:40 group.  When I had to make that turn for the next 13.1 miles, I felt so disheartened.  It became so quiet and the crowd thinned out so much.  I was happy but not sure about running another 2.5 hours.  That’s when I hooked up with what was left of the 4:40 pace group.  It was the pacer, Lee, and 2 other runners.  Lena was celebrating her 40th birthday and this was her 1st marathon.  Kiza had done several marathons.  Lee had done many marathons and I was so shocked to learn that she had just run the Savannah marathon the previous weekend.  Her marathon PR was 3:45 so this 4:40 pace was truly a recovery/fun run for her.

I stuck with Lee from mile 13 all the way to mile 23.  We ended up losing Lena and Kiza but we stayed together and had a blast.  The neighborhoods on the second half were so cool!  The residents of North Davidson ,”NoDa”, were the best!  They built a wall out of plywood and we ran through it.  Nothing like breaking through the wall with lots of cheers and encouragements!

Then it happened.  At mile 23 there was a hill and Lee kept getting farther and farther ahead of me.  It was like it was happening in slow motion.  I couldn’t move my legs any faster.  I wasn’t in pain at all and I still had a great attitude.  I was so confused.  Why wouldn’t my legs move and let me keep with her?

As she ran on she did look back one time and holler for me but before I knew it, she was out of sight.  When I couldn’t see her anymore, I started walking.  I bet I walked for almost 1/4 mile or so.

For those last 3 miles I ended up seeing Lena again.  She passed me and then Kiza passed as well.  Lena kept going but Kiza started walking on and off from that point on and we leap-frogged each other.  At one point when I was walking the 4:50 pacer came up behind me and shouted for me to come on.  She was really sweet and we ran together for a mile or so.  She was all by herself and she was about one minute behind schedule.  She ended up stopping to walk but I kept going.

Those 3 miles were the longest I’ve ever run.  I made it to the finish line and even though I was way off my 4:30 goal, a 4:55 was 70 minutes faster than my last marathon. It was also only 8 minutes slower than my marathon PR.  I ran my PR on a flat course so this 4:55 on the rolling hills of Thunder Road was something that I was very proud of.

I’ve talked a lot to my coach, Sarah, and she’s tried to explain to me that there is no way to bank time in the beginning of a marathon.  She said that I probably built up a lactic acid and that contributed to my slow down at mile 23.

Over this training session I’ve had lots of trouble with my ITB.  After both of my 20 milers I was in loads of pain for days and days afterwards. After my 2nd 20 miler, I couldn’t even sleep on my side it hurt so much.  I did try and do my foam rolling and ITB exercises but they really never brought the relief I needed.  Sarah has encouraged me to go to Physical Therapy and get this ITB taken care of.

Curiously enough, my ITB did hurt right after the marathon but I got a massage and it really didn’t hurt that much more.  Sure I felt it but by Tuesday I was pretty much back to normal.

If you’re still with me at this point let me go on to say that Ron did great.  He finished right at 3:00 and had a blast.  The finish line party was superb!  The medals and shirts were awesome.  The food and entertainment was great.  I couldn’t find any pizza though.  That would be my only complaint that I can think of.

Thunder Road is an awesome race and the hills aren’t really that bad at all.

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That night after I showered I visited with my mother and presented her with my medal.  She smiled from ear to ear and was so happy for me. I think she’s going to like having that medal on her dresser to show all her friends in the assisted living facility.

I’m not giving up on my goal to qualify for Boston.  I’m just going to take some time off for now and see how PT goes.  I’ve even thought of trying hot yoga.  Anyone want to go with me?

I hope to keep my weekly mileage near the 25-30 range and Sarah says to keep a weekly track workout of 4×800.

Thanks so much to Sarah and to my friends and family for all your support. I love you guys!

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Happy Running!

 

 

 

 

Help me win Ron a cool medal hanger for Christmas

Hey everyone.  I’m trying to win a free medal hanger for Ron for Christmas.  Do me a favor and go to this site and then follow that site to the Facebook site.  Once you get in to Allied Medal Hanges FB site, like their page and click on Photo contest.  Find my medal hanger (“Fight the Good Fight, Finish the Race, Keep the Faith” and vote for me.  I’d be forever beholding!