Emerald Isle 2017

Emerald Isle began with our friends Ken & Laura’s New Year’s resolution to run a 5k. To sweeten the goal they decided on the Emerals Isle race weekend to combine it with a trip to the beach. Race weekend has a half and full marathon as well.

The word “aimless” doesn’t begin to describe my winter training. I spent two months scratching my head over the half or full (which did nothing for my hair loss) before deciding that I didn’t have the training for a full and opting for the half.

Inspired by Ellen’s training plan for the NYC half, which included several 20 mile runs, I signed up to pace the 3:40 group with Mark at Tobacco Road Marathon. True to character I didn’t look at the calendar, or else I would have noticed it was a week before my goal race! We successfully brought our group in at 3:38 but not without some foot problems on my part. A 5 mile depletion run and 3 hours in the car left my 2nd toe throbbing by the end of the day Friday.

Last year’s winners finished the half in 1:17. Two weeks earlier, Erin and I ran the Sola 5k at about 6:00/mile pace and had enough breath to joke around. My race plan was to hold on to the 1:17 people as long as I could and try for a HM personal record.

I stayed at the Islander Hotel which adjoins the start/finish area and afforded the luxury to warm up in my room and walk to the start line. The front of the correl looked very casual. Me. A really fit looking guy in a tshirt. A shirtless guy with a lot of artwork.

A local woman sang the National Anthem, there was one hand cart racer that left at 8:30 and we were off by 8:35.

1-4 6:17 6:19 6:21 6:39

We were off and I established myself in the front. There was a lead bicyclist who provided some motivation and pacing. By mile 2 we started passing slower marathon people. Effort seemed in the right place as I tried to say something encouraging as I went by people. The lead bike saw one of her friends and dropped back to ride with them instead (umm…nevermind). At mile 3-4 we caught the hand bike rider and probably the most rolling part of the course.

5-8 6:20 6:20 6:21 6:22

This part of the course follows the oceanfront road. It looks like a through street on the course map but is actually short roads separated by bike path. The fit tshirt guy was in earshot behind me. We got to the half turnaround at mile 7-8 and saw he was about 200ft back closely followed by the shirtless guy.

9-13 6:21 6:28 6:23 6:34 6:20

One of the volunteers runs next to me to tell me the marathon leader is about a mile behind. The remainder of the race was bike path that paralleled the main island road. My original plan was to refocus my effort at each street crossing, which turned into how much can I back off to avoid blowing up, while remembering My friend Andrea’s advice, “don’t be a pussy!” Am I really still in front? I managed to find a little more the last mile thinking I would be outkicked to the finish.

Final time 1:23:58.


 

Richmond Half 2016


Chicago Marathon woke me up to what a terrific experience a major marathon could be. I was briefly excited about London, my finish time put me solidly in the “good for age” guaranteed entry category until Carrie corrected me, “that’s only for UK residents”.

My Chicago time was 3:06:29, putting me 90 seconds away from the 3:05 I needed entry into New York. Plugging my Chicago finish time into McMillan and Daniels calculators, I got 1:29 and 1:28:30, It seemed I was close and could hit the half qualifying time of 1:28 with a little more training.  In 2015, I ran Paula’s Rock and Rebellion half finishing in a few seconds over 1:28 which was my unofficial Half PR. My best official time was 1:34 at Outer Banks 2015.

I looked around for Half Marathons in December and reluctantly settled on Kiawah Island because it would give me 8 weeks to train, it is flat and that weekend was the only one I had open.

Two weeks before Richmond, I joined Andrea for a run around Briar Creek. After about a mile of conversation, the pace soon became 6:30s. 8 miles went by quickly and I felt like I could continue at that pace. Later in the week, the three of us met for 3mi at 6:15. That didn’t feel like a hard effort either. Emboldened, I decided to sign up for Richmond, it was closer, friends were going and I felt like I was ready!

Carrie cautioned that New York qualifying times give first preference to NYRR races then everyone else vies over the remaining entries. It is unclear whether it is first come, first serve or there is a cut line like Boston. She advised aiming for 1:26 just in case.

With that in mind, my race plan was to try to stay in the 6:30-6:35 range until we got out of Bryan park hills and turn into a tailwind around mile 8 and try to drop to 6:15. The last time I looked at the forecast, we had 20mph winds out of the north. Luckily that front came through overnight and race day was relatively calm.

Miles 1-4: 6:30-6:23-6:29-6:21

I got to the race later than I wanted after a parking fiasco, so I squeezed into the front of Corral A and said hello to Andrea who was standing in front. Probably a big faux pas but after I let the race advance around me after the hand-wheel racers left, I was a couple rows back. Still maybe too far back because I spent the first mile weaving through runners. Around mile .5 I saw Brad and Erica (but didn’t recognize them immediately).  The race goes up Broad street to North. There is a short hill over railroad before the race turns into neighborhoods for a short out and back on Brookland Pkwy. I ran a short ways with someone named “Laura” whom the whole town seemed to recognize.

Miles 5-8: 6:23-6:26-6:23-6:33

The race continues up Hermitage road for a loop around the Bryan park. The elevation chart showed this as the hilliest part of the course. I tried to take advantage of the downhills and run the uphills conservatively.  There was a party station in the middle of the park that was playing Macarena and that stuck in my head for the next two miles. Nooo! Its back!

Miles 9-13: 6:17-6:15-6:10-6:15-6:03

The next section goes through Northside Richmond on Fauquier ave. The whole neighborhood comes out to party. There was one guy handing out cups of beer (next time, maybe!). I saw a Bull City banner that gave me a little boost, however I felt like I was flailing more than running. I dreaded looking at my watch and focused on reeling in other runners instead.

A few more turns and we were back on Grace street for the race’s famous downhill finish, the last half mile or so has roughly a 75 foot drop to the finish line. I tried to remember Ellen’s advice about race pictures but suddenly I was in a group of people and about to get out-kicked to the finish. Back into race mode and push it across the line!  That proved to be a prescient choice, number 2 in my age group was 4 seconds behind me!

Official time: 1:23:09, 5min PR, 1st M45-49.

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Lessons on the Road: Chicago Marathon 2016

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This was my second entry into Chicago. 2015 was not in the cards. After a very strong Spring the injuries piled up. First patella tendinitis from running down mountains in Hawaii. Then waking up with a mysterious strained calf. Thinking yoga would help prevent injuries, I tried my first Bikram class and earned a fabulous 2 night/3 day stay at WakeMed, tracking my friends on the phone.

Lesson 1: Nothing new before a race, especially hot yoga!

While trying to decide on a Fall race, Julie reminded me that my qualifying time from Richmond was still usable for Chicago 2016. I entered a week later.

Just like cycling, the easiest way to get better running is to join faster people that challenge you. I joined Carrie and Andrea on their easy days for several weeks before working up the courage to come out for a fast day. Their workouts became the basis for my tempo and intervals.

While Carrie’s workouts were designed for her sub-3 marathon, she advised finding paces appropriate for my goal. My Goal??? I don’t know! Maybe 3:15? 3:20? 4? I decided to follow along until I could figure it out.

During our first tempo run, my watch said I ran my first sub-20 5k. I signed up for a race the next weekend and placed first overall with 19:30, a 1 min improvement on my PR!

Meanwhile, I met Julianne through Runnerpeeps and Russell through a mutual friend. Russell kept me going on the crazy fast tempo runs. Ellen with Bull City Track Club kept me company for many of the long runs in addition to coming up with “exotic intervals” to keep it interesting.

The week leading up to the race was full of excitement. I had an early Saturday flight and friends were coming in later in the afternoon. On Tuesday the weather forecast predicted Hurricane Matthew coming ashore in Wilmington NC at the same time my flight was due to leave. In a panic, I called the airline to an earlier flight, but unfortunately the change would be over $1000 so I sat tight and fortunately the forecast changed with the storm slowing down and veering off to sea.

Erika, Russell and I arrived Saturday morning and took the train into downtown Chicago. Russell continued on the subway to his hotel and Erika and I emerged on the street completely disoriented. There was considerable walking to get to the hotel after going a couple blocks in the wrong direction trying to find my bearings.

Lesson 2: Google Transit Directions are a lifesaver. How did we get along before?

We checked into the hotel and took the train to the expo. While I didn’t get lost this time, it was over a mile walk. By the time I got my bib and T-Shirt, I was feeling a hot spot forming on my right foot from the hiking shoes I was wearing. Really? Did I just mess up my feet the day before the race??

Lesson 3: it’s ok to wear your running shoes before the race.

Erika and I were tired and hungry when we caught the shuttle bus back to the hotel. We had to sit separately but I had an enjoyable conversation with the athlete next to me. He was from California but grew up about 30 miles away from me in Ohio.

After lunch at Miller’s pub I went back to the room and put my feet up hoping they would magically heal before the race.

Race morning I got dressed and headed to the start. Miraculously, my feet were feeling ok! There was big screening process to get to the starting area. Bag check was a hike but very efficient. I walked back to Corral B which was starting to fill up. I found Andrea in front of the 3:10 pacers (being able to see above the crowd has advantages) and we talked a little waiting for the start.

Lesson 4: Fear of getting trampled is good pacing motivation.

Still with no real race plan or goal, but with 35000 runners behind me, it was good motivation to settle into a quick pace. I got jostled back as people darted around me.

Around mile 4, nature called and I had to stop in a porta-John. I made it as quick as possible and headed back out into the race. Now with the crowd thinned out and time to make up I started steadily passing people.

The aid stations at Chicago are enormous, usually two blocks long. Even with such a large field it was never a problem getting water. This was the first race where I didn’t break pace going through the aid stations. It was a little struggle getting the fluids down.

Lesson 5: Drinking Gatorade through your nose can be done if you’re careful!

I kept moving through the crowd and saw Andrea around mile 10. I passed and kept going, not wanting to slow her down when I invariably start to fade.

Nearly the entire length of the course is lined with people. The enthusiasm of the spectators really kept me going!

Around mile 18 I was waiting for the calf cramps that usually shut me down late in the race. Again, miraculously my legs were enduring. Only an hour or so of this abuse to go!

Around mile 24 I saw Andrea come by me-on a mission! I did my best to hold on resulting in a first half/second half negative split for the race. I saw Russell at mile 25. After all summer training together we finished within minutes of each other!

The race was a new PR for me, 3:06:29, shaving 8 minutes off my previous best at Richmond.

Lesson 6: Never know how much longer I’ll be able to defy age but in the meantime I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.

Thank you, Carrie, Kari, Andrea, Russell, Julianne & Ellen!

Cary Du Classic: Where Did I Put My Bike?

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One of the best parts of having good runner friends is the inspiration to try new things and some healthy peer pressure to sign up for a race I wouldn’t have even considered. Five miles of running didn’t sound like much and neither did 30 on the bike. No swimming? Maybe I can do this!

Still recovering from a glute/proximal hamstring injury early this year, the focus of my training was time on the bicycle. After a disappointing Tobacco Road Marathon, my wife and I spent a week in Florida where I alternated days of running and riding. The flat roads and relentless headwinds taught me to stay in my handlebar drops, which paid off on race day. Meanwhile, Carrie and Andrea salvaged what was left of my running. Andrew with Runnerpeeps provided helpful guidance on transition planning.

The race released in three waves for long course men, long course women, then short course. Craig, Paul and I positioned ourselves at the end of men’s wave. Marathon Margo spotted us and said “what are you doing way in back??”

The race began with a gun start. Craig asked Paul, “where is the timing mat?” Paul replied, “oh, this is just a warmup. There will be a timing mat at the exit of the parking lot.” Realizing he had been tricked, Craig took off after about 1/2 mile. I settled into about a moderate 7:20 pace and passed a few people, but not many considering where we started!

The run was an out and back on the greenway down to Cary Park Lake and back up the hill to USA Baseball with aid stations at the short course turnaround (1.25mi,3.75mi) and long course turnaround (2.5mi). We started passing the slower short course runners on the way back.

I got back to the transition area and ran to the rack where I thought my bike was and horrors! where is it?!? Am I going to have to get a police report? That is really going to mess up my time?

Deep breath. There it is, one rack back. Shoes. Helmet. Oops-forgot to take off my running cap. Hat off. Helmet again. Gloves. I had that experience of trying to put gloves on a 3 year old where the fingers would NOT go into the right holes!

Headed out on the bike and felt a little wobbly after the run. The first couple miles were easy while I got my head together. The course was very crowded which made passing and keeping the requisite clear distance difficult!

Around mile 12 the long course turned off for the second loop and finally clear roads. At this point there were very few people around me. I encountered a couple others on triathlon bikes. They had the advantage on the flats and downhills and I was a stronger climber. I eventually put them completely behind me on a long enough uphill or let them go after a few minutes of frustrating racing.

I got back to the start and tried to sit down. Oops not enough room. Stand up, move the bucket. Stuff I didn’t need spills out from underneath. Scrape it out of the way. Sit back down. CRAMP!! CRAMP!!

I’ve had trouble with heel pain the last 6 weeks and have been fearing the second run. Five miles to get things nice and hurty. 30 miles on the bike for it to stiffen up. Then run on it again! Mercy!!

True to form, I wobbled out onto my second run. My left foot hurt. A lot. But less than I was expecting.

I saw Craig shortly after the turnaround, maybe 1/4 mile behind me and knew if I didn’t get my act together he’d pay me back for passing him on the bike!  Paul was about a mile behind and I saw Elena about 3 miles behind.

I got through the steep uphill and tried to concentrate more on getting more speed out of my form that was followed by the first few pangs of a hamstring cramp. Ok. Maybe not. Still manages to get back to a 7-ish pace for the last mile.

After the race, Craig started talking about a Half Ironman. I’ll be on the course cheering for you, buddy!

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Almost 22mph on the bike! How did that happen?

What worked:

  • Tempo rides were a great training tool
  • Box that Andrew gave me for the gels worked well, I could wear a running singlet instead of a heavier cycle jersey. The zipper was difficult to operate though
  • Leaving my shoes tied and wearing thin running socks made getting the running shoes on easy.

What didn’t:

  • Towel was not necessary and took up too much room anyway
  • Sunglasses. Didn’t wear them and spent T2 freaked out that I was going to bust them!
  • Need more practice getting through transition quickly

Tobacco Road: Just. Keep. Moving.

What I enjoy most about marathon training is the journey can be as rewarding as the destination. Circumstances made Tobacco Road one of toughest races I’ve finished but made a lot of great friends on the way to the starting line!

I found out about Breakfast Club Runners through my friend Todd from River Run Club after a lot of effort finding people who want to run my pace. I met Ocean, Elena and Craig through the weekly and Saturday runs. They provided extraordinary motivation both on the pavement and online during the week!

I had been reluctant to sign up for another race after a lung injury last year. I recovered fully but lost motivation to find another event. However, I would be joining this group for much of their training, why not also on race day?

Throughout January, each weekend was slightly faster. Laura joined in late in the month and 7:15 pace long runs were starting to feel almost easy. I started entertaining thoughts of a finish close to the 3 hour mark!

Me, Craig, Elena, and Laura beating the weekend ice storm: Did we really just run 18 miles on a Thursday before work?

Everything came to an abrupt end in February. A combination glute maximus, hip adductor and psoas injuries made even walking a challenge.

After 15 days of rest, I had 3 miles on 3/13, 5 on 3/15, 8 on 3/17. I took two days off and planned 13 miles with Craig and Ocean, meeting them midway through their 22 mile run. I got to the rendezvous spot early and started running towards the start to meet them. They got a late start and I met them after 2 miles. The 13 miler became 17 and the game was back on!

Two more rest days and tried a tempo run along falls of Neuse. The next week, I set out to finish my 22. The first 16 was with Craig, Ocean and Andrea, a newcomer to the group. I did 6 more miles after the main group finished. The last week of training ended with a good tempo run with Craig, then Andrea lured me out of the group for another fast run on Fairview.

My last day stated with a plan for 12 miles. My friend Kellie needed 15 so the four of us met a half hour early for a brisk 3 before meeting a group of about 20! I stumbled off slowly after the break and managed to work my way up to the main group.

Craig and Elena were gone! I was proud of how strong they’ve become, it was a harsh dose of reality on how much I’ve slipped! Ocean, Kellie, Ronnie, Whit, Joel and I ran most of the way together. With 3 miles left, Whit lured me out and we finished my last run fast.

I decided my best chance for the race was to take 8 days of rest and toe the start line healthy.

We all exchanged best wishes for the race, but it felt like I had a cloud of doom. There were too many similarities with Myrtle Beach 2015. Lingering injury. Low weekly mileage. Add Tobacco Road temperatures were forecast in the mid 60s.

The cloud of doom dissipated as the final aches and pains cleared up during resting taper. However I started making plans for the worst. I declined the carpool knowing I’d need some alone time after the race. A quick back of the envelope calculation on how long I’d have to stay with the group.

How long would I have to stay with the fast guys to still make 3:20? 18 Miles.

Me, Elena, Andrea and Craig all smiles before the race!


The Saturday morning crew!


Craig, Elena, Andrea, and I stuck together to the mile 8 turnaround. As I was grabbing water, I was swallowed up by the push and shove of the 3:15 pace group. Andrea and I worked our way to the front of the group.  Craig and Elena moved back to a safe distance. I ran alongside the pacer and my breathing gaged well against his, meanwhile I heard several people suffering and full of the group behind us.

We passed mile 13 and my legs were way too tired for this early in the race. I started feeling light-headed. The thought of more gu made me sick. I backed off the pace for 3 miles then stopped at a portajohn.

I looked down and my shirt was covered with blood from chafing. The Rivaroxaban makes minor chafing look like I’m the centerpiece of a crime scene. I took my shirt off and shoved it in my shorts.

At mile 18 the cramps started, flashback to the same mile at Myrtle Beach. I walked for 50 feet, run for a few minutes, repeat. Elena whisks by in her zone. Then Ocean a few minutes later.

The 3:30 pace group passed me, my goal was gone and it was time to change strategy. It’s a horrible day for a race but a beautiful day to be outside on the trail. Treat this like an ultramarathon. Run when you’re able. Walk when you can’t. Conserve energy. Eat. Drink. Just. Keep. Moving. Forward.

By mile 24 we were off the trail and I started to find my rhythm again on the pavement. The 3:55 guy passed me and galvanized my will to hold off the 4:00 group. My pace inched back up to 9 with the changing terrain adding some needed relief. Paul joined me at the entrance to the park and pulled me through to finish at exactly 4 hours.

Tobacco Road Marathon provides a fun after party with music and a beer garden, however I didn’t stay long. I change, sat down and enjoyed a chocolate milk for a few minutes. I got back up and looked for my friends to no avail. However I caught back up to them for a great time that evening at Raleigh Times. 

Enormous medal this year!

 

A well-earned dinner at Raleigh Times

Race 13.1 Durham: “Follow him!” “Do you mean me?!?” 

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My friends made plans for a long run on Sunday, probably much longer than I’m in shape for right now. However, I’m thick headed and also knew if I didn’t put something on my calendar for Saturday morning, I’d double down on the bad decisions!

I remembered from a few weeks ago NCRC was looking for aid station volunteers for Race 13.1‘s new event in Durham. When I looked at the signup, all the spots were filled but there was a second opening for a lead bike so I signed up.

When I ran Rebellion 13.1, I experienced what a good lead bike can do for the front runner for pacing and moral support, and partly responsible for my HM PR that day. (Yes, it was technically a fun run, but there were shirts and medals and I was first overall, dammit!).

Also, after the bicycle at TRM lead the race leaders off course and changed the outcome of the race a few years ago, I know what a bad leader can do. So I’m even more neurotic than usual!

I arrived 45 min before the start of the race. I met the other HM cyclist standing at volunteer check in. She asks me if I had a tire pump. What? Really? I left my floor pump at home, but both of her tires were seriously flat! Luckily I had a small hand pump for emergencies in case I used all of my CO2.

In the days before the race, I got several emails from Eric Johnson about roots pushing the pavement on the greenway. Then another email about 90 degree turns. I decided to take my road bike anyway. It had the mount for the Garmin computer that was feeding me directions.

While I was waiting for the start, more course warnings. Broken pavement! Stairs! Unspent ordnance! What is going on here? (Well I made that last part up)

After the announcements, I maneuver closer to the starting line. A woman asks me which way the race goes. And I know from working at a lot of races that all sorts of volunteers get asked all sorts of questions. But this is something that I really should know! I ride around the parking lot and follow the course out of he mall parking lot and on to Club road where I had been studying the turns.

The race started promptly at 8. I met the other lead bike on the way out of the parking lot and we were on our way. The other rider had trouble staying in front of the lead runner on the many hills on the early part of the course. I didn’t see her again until after the race. And then there was just me.

The race wound around the Duke campus and out Trinity rd then on to the greenway. The greenway was flat but would be a challenge on the way back with the mid-pack runners.

We passed over Murray rd and into the science museum and along the trail counterclockwise. There was a drum corps at the intersection that made for brief entertainment.

The road was marked pretty well, I wondered if they used spray chalk or paint that would be there for the next decade… Mind started wandering, but not for long, I hear footsteps getting close!

The greenway had a bumpy section then exited into a parking lot off Stadium dr. I looked around and didn’t see anyone! Noooo! This is the moment where I get lost! I bear to the right and finally see someone directing me down Stadium! Shew!!

We were on Stadium for a minute and back on the greenway after a few sharp turns. The course marshal there yelled “Follow him on the bike!”  Wait that assumes I know where I’m going!

We passed the drums and Murray and we were into oncoming traffic. Luckily, “move to your right please!” worked on most of the runners.

At Glendale and Northgate was the first cross-over and I ended up on the wrong side and pinched between the runners coming around a van that made for a blind curve. I pressed through and (almost literally) ran into my friend Gene M. again.

We crossed I-85 and merged back on the greenway. This was a tight curb cut and I was crowded out by the runners coming the other way, I let the lead runner go and waited my turn to get through.

The race continued back Trinity to Duke and I was happy to get off the congested greenway. We continued back towards the start where the half marathon branched off on F street towards NCSSM and a couple more and on to the Ellerbee creek trail off Maryland.

The final part of the half marathon was a loop through the neighborhoods around Hillandale.  There was no ale in sight but there were enough hills to make up for it!

The race retraced the route the way it came back to Northgate mall.  The race leader was Reed K. from Durham for the entire race.  I want back out to mark the lead female. I didn’t have to go very far to find Lindsey S. from Chapel Hill.

Outer Banks Half: Powered by Beer and Sugar Cookies

In the past few years, I’ve travelled to Myrtle Beach and Richmond with River Run Club and it is always a great time. This fall we were looking forward to running at Outer Banks! My goal race for the year was the Chicago Marathon, Outer Banks was either going to be going out and having fun or a backup if training didn’t go well.

While I met some great people to train with this year, “things didn’t go well” was an understatement for late Summer and early Fall 2015! After coming off a fantastic Spring, I had three weeks in Honolulu for work where I had a great time running but picked up Patellar Tendinitis in my left knee running down the mountain roads. That led to hip problem, then waking up with a mysterious strained calf that forced me to drop from Chicago. (What WAS I dreaming about that I woke up with a strained calf?). Three weeks later, still more issues meant starting over yet again.

By October, finishing a full marathon looked out of reach! I went on the Outer Banks Marathon website to switch to the half before the transfer cutoff. The race wanted $35 to downgrade races based on the current cost of the half, minus what I paid for the full in May plus a service charge! Venting on Twitter provided a little relief…

Plans for race weekend were in place, and it as much about socializing as the race, so I decided to volunteer for the race instead and I signed up for 2 shifts at the race expo handing out race shirts. If you saw me there, I apologize. That was my mean Sasquatch face: “Good luck tomorrow! Have a great race! NO, I CANNOT GIVE YOU A DIFFERENT SHIRT SIZE!”

Even though I signed up for the entire day, at 1:30 four people came in to replace me. Wow. Four people! Though I heard things got very busy in the afternoon.

On the way out, I asked Lynda, the volunteer coordinator, if she could wield some influence and change my registration to the half. I may have laid my story on a little thick, she tried to talk me down to the six mile fun run. No issues though-so long as I checked in with her at the finish line and I didn’t want a different shirt!

Race day we awoke to howling winds outside, swaying the house and rattling windows. I got up and dressed and hunted around for my pre-race bagels. Nothing! Where are my bagels! Oh well, somebody left a big container of sugar cookies out. A few cookies and beer calorie remnants from the night before would have to do. Doug made coffee and though it usually means a restroom stop on the course, I couldn’t resist half a cup.

At 6am, all of us loaded into the two largest vehicles and drove over to the YMCA and walked a couple blocks to the start. I put some warm clothes in a drop bag then cowered between two UPS trucks to shelter from the wind with the rest of our crew.

RRC cowering from the winds before the start between the bag check trucks!

With minimal training since September, I decided to jump in the middle of Corral A and see how the race unfolded. For the first 4 miles, I settled into a 7-ish pace and steadily moved up through the crowd. The coffee necessitated a trip to the portajohn at mile 4 and returned the course reeling the same people in.

For the first part of the race, there were strong tailwinds, we took two loops through neighborhoods by Jockey’s ridge then through Seachase and Bay Meadow that gave us a taste of the brunt of the wind as the course changed directions.

Around mile 8 the course turns west to head over the bridge to Roanoke Island. This year the race added a “beast of the bridge” timing split. In spite of what it said in the results, I kept a steady pace over the bridge and on to the island. Everyone was a little concerned about crosswinds on the bridge but by the time I arrived, there was only a singular focus on getting to the downhill!

With 1.5 miles reminding, the course turns north into the wind into Manteo. Thankfully heading into town provided some shelter. There are several turns into town to the finish, which you don’t see until the final turn into the chute.

I finished in 1:34, putting me at 4/101 age group and 47/2200 overall. Very pleased considering how little training went into it!

I claimed my clothes and cheered the rest of our crew in. The race has a fun finish with food (BBQ, slaw and sweet potato fries) beer and music. We hung around for awards (hoping one of the three ahead of me was a masters winner!)

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Checking in with Lynda at the finish!

Well not quite. But close!

Well not quite. But close!

Splits: 7:17,6:58,7:02,7:15,6:58,7:02,6:50,6:49,7:01,7:28,7:00,7:12,7:06