Raleigh Rocks the Greenway Half Marathon Recap

At about 9:00pm the night before they finally made the call to go ahead with the race despite the weather. There had been some concern about the freezing rain making the bridges on the greenway course a bit icy.

This was the first year for this race so I knew it wouldn’t be huge. But I was glad someone was finally doing a race longer than a 10k in Raleigh in December. I had been keeping an eye on this race for a couple of months. I had held off signing up because there didn’t seem to be a lot of advertisement like a lot of half marathons in the area. Finally I bit the bullet and got excited.

Raleigh and Wake County’s new Greenway along the Neuse River will play host to this inaugural race with runners crossing over 50 bridges in the half marathon (anywhere from 20’ to 200’ long). Runners will begin by making a loop on the road (4 miles for half marathoners and 1 mile for 10K runners) before entering Anderson Point Park and beginning this unique experience on the paved Greenway. Music will be provided along the route, keeping the tradition started with the Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon. Some will be live and some will be DJs.

imageThat’s me in the red shirt and red & green polka socks my mom found!

Due to the weather the music along the route didn’t happen sadly. My car said it was 35 degrees at the start and it was slightly drizzling. We started on time at 8:00. I didn’t have an exact goal in mind but I knew I wanted under 2 hours. But I didn’t feel like this was a PR day. I started off feeling pretty good. The first four miles went through a neighborhood and office building area. Not exactly an exciting course. After a four mile loop on the roads we entered into the greenway. Other than the first big hill going in and coming out of the greenway, it was fairly flat with some rolling hills. The bridges did seem a little slippery so since I like to fall I got a little nervous. The first nine miles I averaged about a 8:35 pace. After that I could feel the temperature drop and my legs started to slow. At the turn around point I tried to count all the women in front of me to see where I was at. I was in 12th place! I tried to keep the pace but as the temperature dropped and the rain picked up I started to slow.

I did the calculation game in my head I always do in a race. “If I keep XX pace I can still finish in XX time”. At the same time I saw mile marker 13 another girl came up behind me and passed me. I swear she came out of no where! So I picked up the pace. I finished in 1:56. Not my best but not my worst. I was happy that I got 2nd in my age group and I was 13th female. That’s my best as far as placing! That’s one reason I like small races! 🙂

Overall, I think I would do the race again. The race organizers were so nice and accommodating. Afterwards there was bananas, cookies, and bagels. They weren’t doing the awards ceremony because of the weather so they’re going to mail them. I was ready to get home and warm up too!

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Twas the Night Before Race Day

Last night I went to the gym for my last three miles & found they’re going to be closing at 5:00 on Fridays this month – i got there at 4:50! Lovely. I did enjoy my spaghetti dinner though.

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I try to do a heavy carb meal two nights before instead of the night before a race. Especially pasta, since pasta & running the next morning are not my friends. I usually do rice the night before a race because that’s what I’ve found works best for me. Tonight it’ll be plain rice & chicken with some gatorade.

I started off my day with some pumpkin spice French Toast (no cinnamon roll pancakes like last weekend)! I used Pumpkin Spice bread.

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Then I picked up my mom and sister and we went to Packet Pickup for my half marathon tomorrow.

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Twas the night before Race Day, when all through the house
Not a runner was sleeping, not even a mouse
Compression socks were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Race Day soon would be there.

The runners were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of race medals danced in their heads.
With my racing flats laced up, and my gu in my fuel belt.
Tomorrow could bring a new PR, that’s what I hoped I’ll be dealt!

Ok, that’s all I got! Hah! That’s my attempt at my Night Before Race Day poem. Since candy corn has proven the past couple months to help me run like a crazy woman when I eat it the night before, I’m off to eat me some!

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What race rituals do you have the night before?

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday everybody! Has this week be extremely slow for you too? My countdown to my Christmas vacation has begun! I have four days to go! Yay! I have quite a bit of vacation days left and I’m sure gonna use them.

Are you ready for the holidays? Nope, me either. I can’t believe Christmas is almost here! Although I think I probably say that every year. I’m more ready for vacation than the holidays. No tree yet…. usually I’m a day-after-Thanksgiving-decorate-the-tree kind of girl. But this year I seem to be struggling to find the time or motivation. I think next week that should get better. That seems to be the week & weekend for parties & events. I have a holiday work dinner, taking my sister to Disney on Ice, my running group Christmas breakfast, and a holiday cookie exchange. Maybe that will get my butt in gear for the holidays.

My mom sure has gotten into the holidays! She awesome with decorating. She sent me a some pictures last night of her decorating.

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Only a couple days left until my half. My “taper” (if you want to call it that:)) seems to be going well. Although I still have those classic thoughts, “Should I be running more?” “Will I loose any speed or endurance?” Yada yada yada. Yes, I know, “the hay is in the barn”. An extra speed session is not going to help me at this point. Logically I know all that, but I think a runner always has their “what-if” thoughts before a race. Three easy miles tonight and I’m done.

Every race I do, I’ve always tried to buy myself a new piece of running gear. Yes, I’m that runner that wears a new shirt on race day. I know, you shouldn’t try anything new on race day. I’m a rebel, what can I say. Luckily I haven’t had that back fire on me yet. So I took a little trip to Dick’s Sporting Good’s yesterday and had a little fun. Ok, an entire outfit of fun. I can’t go in there without getting into trouble.

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Usually I’m a diehard Nike tempo shorts runner, but I decided to try something different. I bought my first pair of Brook’s shorts and I’m in love. I’ll let you know how they work!

As far as my goal goes, I haven’t decided. I think I’m going to see how I feel Sunday morning. The weather is not looking to great – a high of 38 with some freezing rain! Even Chicago was not that bad! So either I’ll run fast so I won’t freeze my butt off. Or my legs will start to freeze, get stiff, and slow me down.

If you’re doing a long run tomorrow, good luck! My plan tomorrow is to go to packet pickup & find some kind of Christmasy socks for the race!

Do you have any races coming up?

Are you ready for the holidays?

Back to the Gindstone & Cookie Suggestions

How did you guys enjoy getting back into the swing of things yesterday? About as much as I did, huh? Yeah… That moment when my alarm went off that I haven’t had the pleasure of hearing for 9 days was just glorious!

I admit, it is good to get back into some more structure during my day. Because, I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I don’t have structure during my day, my eating can get out of wack. You still feeling the Thanksgiving hangover too? Yes, Thanksgiving was four days ago, so I guess mine is more like vacation food hangover. So it’s time to get my butt back on track.

Especially since I have an actual race this Sunday!

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I’m not sure if I’m nervous, excited, anxious, too comfortable with myself. Yes, all of the above. I’m not sure what to expect from myself or where to set my goal since I haven’t raced a half in a while. I’m too competitive to not push my goal but that could end up with me blowing up at some point in the race.

My run yesterday felt like I was working a little harder than I should. It was an easy 8 miles but that first mile was not fun. As long as I’ve been running that first mile is always a little… uncomfortable. But this one had a little something extra. Probably one too many cinnamon roll pancakes! But man were they good.

I’ve done my research on my previous half marathons and I think I have a plan for the week. I became pretty anal about my notes about my races. After seeing a sports nutritionist a couple years ago I learned a lot and one key thing she instilled in me was taking notes on my nutition, fueling, and race times. She had me create a notebook which has been priceless to have to look back on. I highly recommend it! I know what I ate and when I ate it on each race. That’s how I’ve found what works for me.

Ok, so I need some help! Cookie help! I’m going to my first Holiday Cookie Exchange next week and I just found out we have to have 6 dozen of one kind of cookie! I can’t make up my mind! I’ve pinned so many cookies on Pinterest! I need some help with some ideas. I’m allergic to nuts by the way.

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How’s your running and/or workouts going lately?

What’s your favorite holiday cookie?

A Lazy Sunday, Cinnamon Roll Pancakes, & My Training

And some cinnamon roll pancakes! I thought, “hey, it’s my last day of vacation, gotta make me an awesome breakfast!” Do you ever make stuff you find on Pinterest and it doesn’t quite turn out how you expected? That was my breakfast. I’ve been drooling over these cinnamon roll pancakes for a while. But something was off, too much butter maybe cause the filling was a bit runny. So mine looked like this…

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Sad but kinda funny, huh. They actually tasted amazing. I think I just have to work on my technique. 🙂

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I spent the rest of my day watching movies on the couch preparing myself to get back to work tomorrow.

Running… my long run didn’t happen yesterday. We had a family crisis. Our family dog, really my mom’s dog was really sick. But hopefully he’s on the way to getting better. He’s the little brother I never had.

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My long run didn’t happen today either. Between my gym being closed & no one to run with today it’s a wash. And I’m okay with that.

After hitting 46 miles last week, them down to a measley 8 miles this week between my injury & family stuff, I’m ready to get back on track. And my half marathon is next weekend. Hmmmm…. this week my goal is to get some easy runs & a bit of speed work in. Its been a couple years since I’ve tapered for a half. Ugh I should’ve done my research before now. So not like me…

For those of you that have been on vacation and gotta get up early and go back to work tomorrow, good luck! I feel your pain! I think one more week I would’ve been good.

How did you spend your Sunday?

Are you looking forward to getting back to work?

Sixth Time’s the Charm

Sorry about that prematurely published post before!

Anywho… it’s good to be back! It’s vacation time, almost Turkey Day. Can it get any better? Well… maybe a little better.  I’ll start from the beginning

Last week was super crazy trying to get a lot of work done before my vacation this week. So that’s why I’ve been quiet in the blog world. Since its my first week off well year it was a long time coming. I like to save a lot of vacation for the holidays which is great when the time finally comes.

So fast forward to my long run this Saturday.  18 miles was the plan.  I set off with five other awesome ladies.  We get to an area that is all too familiar to me….  picture that blurry flashback effect from tv.

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Just to clarify, I’m c.l.u.m.s.y.  Sometimes Good Luck Chuck clumsy.  August 2012 my first fall in years while I’m running happened.  I skinned my knee like you did when you were five years old. So between August and March 2013 I fell a total of five times. All but one of those happened in the same area. Broken sidewalk & me not picking up my feet high enough. All with the classic superman form. The last fall in March was the worst. After each of these falls I kept running on it. I never cut a run short. Even when I should have. My adrenalin was going so I didn’t really feel the pain until I stopped running. Except that last fall.  It was swollen & messy.  I felt the pain towards the end of the run. I took a few days off, tried running again & I was good. I ran a marathon the next weekend.

A couple months later that knee was tender & had a knot on my knee cap so I had it checked out before I started to ramp up my running again. Come to find out I have a patellar retinacular tare, basically scar tissue that can occur when you have a dislocated knee cap. Yeah… so I ran a marathon after dislocating my knee cap. That was a wake up call. Runners are pretty hardheaded.  My doctor was more concerned about the amount of times I had fallen. He did some neurological tests which were normal. Needless to day if I continued to fall my knees would get bad.

8 months later I hadn’t fallen once!  Now back to last Saturday, only 4 miles in.  I guess I got too comfortable, talking & not paying attention.  I did my classic superman move. Both knees took the force, and my hands.  I finished my 18, went straight home , iced up.

The aftermath

The aftermath

Sorry to do that to you.  Those were some swollen knees!

So I’ve taken the past three days off since it still swells when I’m on it for a while.  I dont think I’ll be running that path any more.

I’m enjoying sleeping late, baking, & relaxing. I do get some exercise guilt but it doesn’t last long. I plan to lace up Friday so we’ll see how that goes.

I made this awesome peanut butter banana bread I found on Pinterest. Some chocolate chips would’ve been great but I didn’t have any.:(

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Then I made some french toast with that banana bread for breakfast.  Oh yes I did!

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Thanksgiving prep is in full effect. Got my Honeybaked Ham Store turkey breast.  They’re sooo good.  So I’ve got some cooking to do!

Have you fallen while running?

Are you cooking for Thanksgiving?

So I did it

I finally did it!  I’ve been stalking this half marathon for a couple of months now and I finally decided to sign up for it.  I had gone back and forth about it because it’s new and not many people had registered for it.  This will be my first race since April!  I haven’t gone that long without a race since before I started racing.  I have to admit it feels good to sign up for a race and have that competitive itch flare up again!  Now I feel like my runs have even more purpose and I need to push them a little harder.

I think the big part of it is, I like to train for a race.  I like to push myself every day to be better than I was the day before.  To get faster & stronger.  I love all of it!  The anxiety on race morning to the amazingly exhausted but proud feeling when you finish.  To me it’s kinda like Christmas morning… will Santa bring you a new PR and a “perfect” race?  Sounds a little weird, yes.  But that same anxious feeling I got when I was little when I couldn’t wait to see what Santa brought.  I get that before a race!

I haven’t had that urge for a few months now.  I think I got pretty burnt out after my ultra in April.  I’m hoping this race will kick start my urge to race again.

I just counted up how many weeks I have… 3.  Yikes!  Thank goodness I’ve kept a solid base huh (I tell myself as a little panic starts to set in).  Eh, well it will be good to race again.  PR or no PR.

Do you like to train for races?

What’s your next race?

Staying Motivated When It’s So COLD!

Happy Wednesday!  We’re half way there!

Do you ever struggle with staying motivated through the winter months?

When I got up this morning it was a lovely 26°!  The thought crossed my mind about who might be out running bright and early in this frigid cold.  Granted I would be out there too if I had planned to.  The weather wouldn’t have held me back.  My trail run in the snow storm last year was one of my favorites!

BUT honestly I was glad I was in my warm bed (until I had to get up and go to work).  So it occurred to me how tough it is to stay motivated, especially as I find it hard to get my butt to the gym after work now that it’s getting colder and darker earlier now.  Some days I would rather go home and chill in my pj’s!  And not everyone is a big fan of Mr. Treadmill!

I wanted to share some things I do to keep myself motivated.

  1. Run in the morning to take advantage of that daylight!  Plus then you have the entire rest of the day to do other things like those last minute Christmas errands.
  2. Sign up for a race!  This is a big thing that keeps me motivated!  When I’m in “training mode” I jump in head first!  I’ve been eying a half next month and I can already tell that’s impacting my motivation.  It’s got me doing more speed work.  And I am not a fan.
  3. If you must run on the treadmill, do things to keep yourself distracted – cover up that screen and quit looking at the time and distance, listen to music, watch tv!  I’m almost done with Season 4 of Ugly Betty!
  4. Get new running gear!  This always makes me want to get out there and use it!
  5. Try to schedule at least one day where you can run outside.  I look forward to my Saturday long runs outside.  It’s kinda refreshing getting out there.
  6. Try to find some new routes instead of sticking to the same old routine.
  7. Tell yourself, “You’ll feel better after you get it done”!  It’s always true!

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And remember keeping up with your workouts will help your waistline keep up with those holiday splurges so you won’t feel so bad when you’re eating your tenth sugar cookie of the day…

Janae at Hungry Runner Girl has some great tips for keeping warm during your run!

How do you keep motivated during the winter months?

Last Week Training Recap

Good morning! Happy Tuesday!  How’s you training going right now?

I’m doing Monica’s Pile On the Miles at RunEatRepeat and I’ve got to say I’m surprised at how motivating it is!

So here’s another week that doesn’t look like my typical training since I had other stuff going on.  I was even tempted to use the hotel gym on our road trip but that didn’t seem to happen and I didn’t want to stress myself out trying to figure out when I could fit it in.  I’m pretty happy with the progress I’ve made of not being so hard on myself and letting go of being Miss Perfectionist.

Monday – 10 mile progression run

Tuesday – 6 miles tempo run & weights

Wednesday – 10 miles easy

Thursday – 5 miles with Yasso 800’s & zumba class!

Friday, Saturday, & Sunday – rest/travel days so no long run this week.

31 miles total

Sad to say since I had no long run this week I didn’t get to break out these babies yet.  😦

Every Monday I try to plan out my workouts for the week after I look at what I have going on.  So this week it’s time to get back on track!  I don’t have much going on so no excuses!

How was your training for last week? 

Are you a perfectionist when it comes to your training?