Motivation!

I’m always guilty as charged when it comes to slacking on the cross training.  I know I need to but most weeks it is all I can do to get my 3 days of running in let alone thinking about the other 3 or 4 days.

This week has been tough.  Tuesday got here and I didn’t get up early.  Then when I got home something came up and I ended up skipping.  Wednesday morning came and went and Wednesday night was out because Ron and I had planned a date night.  Thursday morning came and I chose sleep over running and promised myself I’d run after work.  I was starved after work and ended up getting something to eat on the way home.  (I had a 2 hour drive home on Thursday night.)  Then after eating, I just couldn’t muster up the motivation to run.  So….Friday is here.  As you can guess, I didn’t run this morning.  However, I did run tonight.

5 Glorious Miles!

It was about 7:15 before I started so I knew it would be pretty dark before I finished.  I didn’t let that stop me.  I put on my reflective shirt and headed out.  The weather was cool and I’m so glad I made it out there.  It really was a beautiful run.

One thing that keeps me motivated to keep running is the hope to be able to lose a few pounds.  I’d actually like to lose about 20 pounds but that’s a whole other blog post.  Another motivation is the fact that I know running is very healthy for me.  It helps to keep my cholesterol down and osteoporosis at bay.  I heard just the other night on the John Tesh radio show that running can add up to 6 years to your life span.

Running with friends is another huge motivation for me.  I love my Galloway group and I love running with friends.  Next month I’m co-leading a Half Marathon Small Group at out church.  That is going to be so awesome!  We’re going to run together for 16 weeks and then run the Myrtle Beach Half in February.  I’m sure our group is going to keep me motivated all winter long. (Yay Mt. Zion friends!)

The number one motivator to me though is most assuredly signing up for races.

You see that 44 and 22 app on my phone?

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The COO 44 is the countdown for the City of Oaks Marathon.  The Medoc 22 is the countdown for the Medoc Trail Marathon.  That my friends is what got me out there running tonight.

I have 3 weeks and 1 day until I’m going out for a little training run.  That’s what I’m telling myself.  Medoc is a full trail marathon but I’m just going out there to have fun and log some miles.  The cut off for Medoc is 7.5 hours.  Even though it is a trail marathon and will be harder than a normal marathon, I’m thinking that surely with my two sub 5 hours marathons under my belt, I should be able to make it before the cut off.  The course is 3 loops and they can pull you at the 2nd loop if they think you won’t make the last loop in time.  That’s my main goal.  I really don’t want to get pulled.  I’ve never had a DNF and I don’t want this one to be my first.

Now for the City of Oaks I have 6 weeks and 2 days to continue to get ready.  For this marathon I really want to give it my all and try to give a strong finish.

So there you go.  The countdown is on.

I, Melissa Cupit, do solemnly swear that I’m up to no good that I will faithfully cross train for the next 6 weeks as well as getting in my 3 weekly training runs.

Happy Cross Training Ya’ll!

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Run the Valley…..and the Mountain

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most photos by Christy Crisco and used by permission

In my quest to run a race a month for all of 2012, I came across the little gem of a race called Run the Valley.

Since my training mileage is increasing every week, I knew I wanted to look for at least a half marathon. If I was going to miss my Galloway training run I knew I had to make it worth it. However, my stipulations were many. I wanted a race destination that was not too far away. I wanted a low entry fee. I wanted a medal. And, most importantly, I wanted a cool race shirt. Run the Valley met and far exceeded all my expectations.

Run the Valley begins in the town of Badin and runs to the top of Morrow Mountain and then back again. I had never heard of Badin but I knew Morrow Mountain. My niece got married there so I knew it was close to my sister’s home in Mt. Pleasant, NC. Total distance from the Raleigh area was only about 2.5 hours away. Perfect. I knew I could either drive early the morning of the race day or I could spend the night with my sister. No hotel costs for me. Huge Win!

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The entry fee was only $35.00. I could not believe it. At first I just knew that you’d never get a medal for that price and if you got a shirt, it would be a” rotten” cotton one.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. For the very low price of $35.00, somehow they provided us with the most amazing race you could imagine. Nice medal. Very cool shirt. A long sleeved technical one and you even had the choice of a man’s or woman’s fit.  And we even got a sweat towel.

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I was sold! I knew I wanted to do it but I knew that running a race alone (no matter how cool of a race it is) is never as much fun as when you share the adventure with a friend. My only problem was that Ron hasn’t been training as much lately and he isn’t prepared to run that far right now. I knew I’d have to drum up a buddy to run with from my Facebook friends. I posted on my FB page and I didn’t get any takers so I also posted on my Galloway pace group page. That’s where I met up with Dottie.

Dottie has been running for over 30 years and is an inaugural member of the Raleigh Galloway Program. She said there couldn’t have been more than 20 or 30 members when they began and now our Raleigh group is over 500 members strong. That makes us the largest Galloway program in the nation. Dottie has 10 full marathons under her belt and too many half marathons to remember. She saw my post and was also intrigued. She decided to register that day.

This year, Dottie mostly runs with the 11:00 pace group and I run with the 10:30’s. We kept missing each other on Saturday mornings and remained FB only friends for about a month. Early race day morning, we met for the first time face to face and became in person friends instantly. Isn’t it so cool how a common hobby such as running and racing can help you find a new friend!? One of the group leaders in the 10:30 group told me that all of her best friends now are people she met at Galloway.

I’ve thought about how I was going to put my thoughts into words all week and how in the world I would ever give you a glimpse of the beauty of the valley and the mountain.

I knew it was going to be hard. Especially hard because I had only one photo to share with you. My phone has officially bit the dust. It hasn’t really worked well at all since I ran with it in the rain back in March. I had charged it all night but before I could even snap one picture on race morning, it was dead. This photo of me and Dottie with our medals was taken by a nice person I met at the awards ceremony. Her name was Kara and when I told her my phone had died, she didn’t hesitate to snap a picture and email it to me. Thanks Kara!

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What I really needed were all the cool pictures that the race photographer took. So, I found her on FB and sent a message to her. I asked for permission to use her pictures and luckily she agreed. I’m not positive that she took every single one of these pictures but since she seemed like she was the head race photographer, I’m hoping that it will be ok. Please visit their FB page for a complete viewing of all the wonderful race day photographs. 

Early Saturday morning, I drove into Badin. It was still dark and when I approached the town limits and I could just make out the lake that Badin is famous for. Badin Lake is very popular and the boat dock was quite busy that morning as are most Saturday mornings I am sure. There was a slight mist rising from the lake and that mixed with all the lights from the trucks and boat trailers gave me a sense that I was in for quite the adventure.

Just around from the dock, my Garmin told me to turn and I found my way to an Elementary School that runners were supposed to park at. One foot out of my car and I knew something was different. It was Saturday. It was dark. But it was cold. I have been running all summer and every Saturday I faithfully apply sunscreen while it is still dark and try to find something to wear that will camouflage all the sweat that I will be swimming in moments after I begin running. Today was different. It was cold. I couldn’t believe it. Fall was actually here and the horrors of this challenging, humid, HOT, Summer were finally coming to a close. I was SO happy.

Dottie and I met up at the bib pick up area and quickly became friends. We then started planning our Mountain strategy. Dottie doesn’t normally run her Galloway intervals on race days anymore since she is so experienced. However, I really wanted to. She didn’t think twice and agreed to run them with me. I set my Garmin to the run 3 minutes – walk 1 minute interval and just like that we were off.

Note…that’s the one small suggestion I have for the race directors. It was fine to just say, “On your mark, get set, Go!”   I liked that part a lot. I didn’t miss the gun start at all. I did miss the singing of the national anthem. I did really miss the prayer. I’m sure there was someone in Stanley County that would have loved to showcase their voice with the singing of the national anthem. And, with all the Run for God t-shirts that I saw in the race, I’m sure others missed beginning the race with a prayer.

The race began very quickly and before I knew it I looked around and Dottie and I were dead last. Not a single person behind us. That has never happened to me in a race. I could not believe it and was sort of freaking out. Dottie wasn’t irritated in the least and just told me to stick with the intervals and that we’d catch up to some other runners soon enough. Her easy going attitude calmed me down and we settled into a good rhythm. The run down Valley Drive was so tranquil. Dottie kept pointing out different houses she liked and how nice the landscape was. It was a very pretty run.

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Not long after we started up Morrow Mountain Road, I spotted some runners in the distance. The mountain was tough but with the intervals it was doable.

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Here’s an elevation graph so you can get an idea of what we were facing.

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We kept chugging up the hills and then there was this huge hill and a sharp horseshoe curve. There was a race photographer right there in the curve so I told Dottie that we had to run and smile for the picture.

Here’s a shot of me in that curve.

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Here’s my very favorite picture of the entire race. Two runners giving each other a high five as they pass one another.

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And here’s another great mountain shot:

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We made it to the top before we knew it and then we began the descent.  We met up with a two other runners and chatted with one of them a bit.  It was his first half marathon and I told him that he really picked a hard one.

We trailed 2 other runners the entire way back into Badin.

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We finished up just behind them and when we met up with them at the food tent, they just smiled and smiled and told us that we were really challenging.  They said we were relentless.

This race was one of my very favorite that I’ve ever run.

Dottie won 1st in her age group and I won 3rd in mine.

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My very first trophy ever.  I am so proud of it but I promised myself that I’d come clean tonight and reveal that there must have only been 3 women in my age group.  LOL

85 total participants.  The smallest but most wonderful half marathon I’ve ever run.

Way to go Vac and Dash!  Next time I’m  in your next of the woods, I’ve got to visit your running store.  Well, running and vacuum cleaner store that is.  I’ve got nothing but the highest regards for you all!

Deep in the Meadow

What a wonderful day.  I skipped my Galloway run so I could take care of Mason this morning.  He is so smart and such a blessing and joy to me.

Here he is with his mower at his 1st birthday party.

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Here’s another good one.

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Around lunchtime, Andie and Jonathan came and took him to the pool.  Love this shot of Jonathan and Mason from last week’s pool outing.

Mason at pool

After that, Lydia and I had a lunch date at New Japan Express.  We shared a Hibachi Vegetable and an order of King Crab Rangoons.   Delicious!  Lydia spent a little of her BoJangles earnings and got the cutest Vera Bradley wristlet.  I’m so excited that she is enjoying working and appreciating learning how far a dollar goes.

Next on the agenda was a slow and easy 5 mile run with my good friend and best running partner ever.  Didn’t get a shot of us today but here’s a good picture of us in April when we ran the First Flight 5k at the Wright Brothers’ Memorial.

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Today, Lisa agreed to brave the heat with me and we covered 5 miles in 53 minutes.  We did the run-walk-run method and we really must have been bookin’ it during the running parts.  The Neuse Riverwalk and Buffalo Creek Greenway is pretty nice.  The part near the water treatment plant had a slightly unpleasant odor for a bit but other than that, I liked it a lot.  It is really secluded so if you decide to go, take a buddy.  We even saw a snake.  Thanks Lisa for pointing it out to me.  I would have run right over it if you hadn’t.

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Lisa and I reminisced about our 2 marathons each and many other half marathons.  Lisa talked to me about an interesting thing that can happen to runners:  distance disorientation.  Made a lot of sense to me because sometimes when you’re out there on a long run, nothing plays with your head more than not knowing exactly where you are in your mileage.  Even your Garmin can play with your head sometimes.

When I got home from the run, I whirled up a delicious green monster.  Earlier in the week I had made one with spinach / arugula mix and it was disgusting.  The arugula is not meant to be blended up.  Today’s version was all spinach, one banana, 1/2 cup of milk, ice, and one scoop of vanilla protein powder.  Just what I always want after a run.

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The last thing I needed to do was to water my neighbor’s garden and flowers.  She goes to Florida one time every summer and she asks me to do this chore for her.  She makes a big deal about it and goes on and on about how much she is grateful to me for helping her out.  I try and try to tell her that it’s no bother at all.  I love it!

I turned on her sprinkler and sat on her awesome deck and read.  I’m re-reading Hunger Games and tonight I was on the part about Rue.  So sad.  Now that I am reading it again, I can just see the little actress that played her in the movie and I was crying big fat tears as I read.

Here’s Rue’s song performed by none other than one of my favorite singers in the whole world – Sting.

After a bit, I got up and took the watering cans to the rest of my neighbors flowers.  Aren’t they all just gorgeous!

I’ll sign off with this cheesy shot of a hopeless romantic and loony runner.

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Wanna Race?

Shake a leg for Charles 5k

What a gorgeous morning for a run.

Many of us from our Run for God small group met up and ran a 5k for a young man who is battling cancer.  I was so excited for everyone.  They have all done so so well and I hope they can see how proud of themselves they should be. 

Here we all are before the race.

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And here are a few action and finishing shots.  We all had a blast.

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I was inspired by everyone’s awesome performance but I half to admit I was awed by Jill pushing their son in a stroller and finishing so strong.  I have been a wimp and haven’t really even tried running with Mason.  I hope this will change very soon.

Now Ron and I are at Lake Benson with Mason.  Ron is shooting for 6 miles in preparation for next week’s half marathon at the OBX.  Mason and I are checking out the swings. 

Could this day be any prettier?

God is good!

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I set a goal to run a race a month and March was slipping away from me.  Even though I have a cold, I really didn’t want to skip this month.  So, I braved the rain and ran in a 5k race for cystic fibrosis.

I once heard a quote from a famous marathoner that said he ran his fastest marathon in the rain.  It’s a quote to help you muster up the motivation to get out there and not make excuses.

We’ll now I can say, “I’ve run one of my fastest 5ks in the rain.”

It all started at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.

I had never been there before this morning but it was so easy to get to and so nice.  If you are in need of a good place to run that isn’t on asphalt, this is the place.  Gorgeous wooded trails!  Loved them!

I didn’t get there too early but I still ended up standing out in the rain with all the other racers.

Why is it that standing in the rain is perfectly normal when you are with a bunch a people waiting for a race and totally ludicrous any other time?

I ran alone for most of the 3.1 miles but this father and son ended up being near me most of the race.

The little boy had cystic fibrosis and couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6 years old.

The course was a little hilly and the little boy’s determination was a real inspiration to me.  I was so happy to be running a race that would help fight this awful disease.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
  • obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.             (source www.cff.org)

I finished in 34 minutes which is only 1 minute off my PR.

The little boy and his dad finished about 10-15 seconds after me.  So inspiring!

Here’s my race loot.  I’m glad I have the sport beans.  They will definitely come in handy in next month’s OBX half marathon.

My favorite bread company, Great Harvest was there and they had free bread, muffins, and cookies galore.

I love Great Harvest so much but saved the cookie and muffin for my two sweethearts, Andie and Lydia.

What a great race!

Goodnight Friends!