Spring is such a nice time of the year to be outdoors.
I’ve been trying to get some time on the trails recently as I have an in-person trail race coming up on April 10th — the Mountains-To-Sea Trail 12M Challenge. The race will take place on a 12 mile stretch of the Mountains To Sea (MST) trail in North Carolina.
This week I spent a hour or so down at Eno River state park and ran a short section of MST – not the same section the race will use, but it should be very similar terrain. I enjoyed throwing a little video together as well, to highlight this wonderful trail.
Disclaimer: I received an entry into the 2021 Allstate Hot Chocolate Charlotte race to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
The Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte virtual race was the best run of my life. #hc15k #hccharbr #hcvirtualbr #bibchat @hotchocolate15k @bibrave
The story begins around twelve weeks ago, when I embarked on a new training plan in preparation for some spring races. I started following a sixteen week plan half marathon plan, known as the “Run Less Run Faster” program.
It just so happened that in week twelve of the plan, the same weekend as the Hot Chocolate 15K Charlotte race, the scheduled long run was 10 miles! This race was the perfect fit for my training schedule!
The training plan has been going really well. I’ve been seeing lots of personal improvement and numerous PRs, so I knew I would at least beat my previous Hot Chocolate 15K race times.
When I signed up for the 2021 race, it was planned to be held in Charlotte. However, it is no surprise that the race decided to move to a virtual event, due to our lingering pandemic.
Most people find themselves running alone for virtual events, but I have been fortunate. I trained with fellow BibRave Pro, Nilesh, and a few of our friends signed up to run the race with us. It was like a mini race day event here in Morrisville, NC!
We planned to start the race at 7:30am on the Saturday. However, there was really cold weather predicted and we feared the greenway and bridges would be too icy to run safely. In the end, the start time was moved to 11:30am, which turned out to be a great decision.
While still a little chilly, the conditions were excellent for a race. The sky was blue, and the sun was out. I even managed to scald my bald head when I removed my hat for a section of the route.
The route we picked was fairly flat, and wound through trees and alongside lake Crabtree. There was a little headwind at times, but nothing to complain about.
I think, due to the tree cover, the GPS signal on my Garmin was sporadic, so at times it reported I was running much slower than I needed to be! This made me work that little bit harder, and all I could think was, “how do I maintain this pace for the next x miles?!”
To my surprise, I ended up running at an average pace of 8:00/mi, giving me a new 15K PR of 1:14:34. Also wrapped in that is a new 10K PR of 49:22!
There was definitely an extra boost provided from just running with other people — so a big thank you to Nilesh, Steve, Thelma and Purvi for that!
I’m also thankful we all still have virtual races to participate in, motivating me to keep running and training, while we wait for things to re-open in the future.
You can sign up for any of the future Hot Chocolate races and run virtually with some friends or solo. They will mail you possibly the best swag of any race. You’ll get a really, warm race jacket, a great medal and lots of hot chocolate.
If you use code BRHC20 when registering you’ll receive a free Hot Chocolate branded hat!
Well… Saturday is the big day! It’ll be my first race of 2021. The weather has not great this week — rain, freezing rain, followed by more rain. I ran tonight for the last time before race day. It was an easy paced 6 miles, in the rain.
I was wearing my new Hot Chocolate Jacket, so the cold was not an issue. My shoes got wet through to my socks, but I won’t be wearing those shoes on Saturday, thank goodness!
The purpose of this post was to share the course details.
Nilesh (fellow BibRave Pro) and I have been training together consistently since November, and we’ve managed to get a few of our friends to sign up as well.
We will be using a section of local greenway to cover the 15K (9.3 miles). We’ll run out and back, and finish where we started. There will be a single road crossing (each way) unfortunately, that could slow us down a little, especially now that we changed the time to 11:30am.
Isn’t that the beauty of virtual races? We can start when we want, where we want. The original plan was to start at 7:30am, but we would likely face temperatures of less than 24F and lots of ice on the wooden bridges.
My daughter, Katie, will be out on her bike to grab some photos and videos of us all. It should be a good day. Training has been very successful this season. I’ve seen vast improvements and I’m running faster now than I ever have.
I’m following the Run Less Run Faster program by Bill Pierce, Scott Murr, and Ray Moss. Last training season I was running 5-6 days a week. It eventually got too much and put too much strain on my body. This training season I run 3 days a week and I’m seeing better results.
Look out for a recap when the race is done.
Don’t forget you can sign up and run any Hot Chocolate city virtually. If you use code BRHC20 when registering, they will throw in a free Hot Chocolate branded hat.
This one came together better than I expected. It’s a cover of an old Irish (with even older Scottish origins) folk song called “Wild Mountain Thyme”.
My guitar part was already tracked when I thought about trying to add something else. Then I found a D whistle hiding in a drawer. I can’t even remember why I have it, or where it came from, but I’ve held on to it for years. Maybe for this very moment. 😉
One problem though — I’d recorded the guitars in Eb.
Fortunately, D is only a half-step down, so no major impact vocally. I recorded the guitar parts again in D, one with capo and one without.
It took quite a few takes to get the whistle sounding how I liked it, but I love how it turned out, especially when I added a little bit of reverb.
I have a few more Irish songs planned now, and I hope they are all in D.
Disclaimer: I received NOW® Sports Effer-Hydrate and NOW® Sports Effer-Energy tablets to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!
You only have to do a quick search online on the importance of hydration and results are unanimous — hydration is critical to the optimal functioning of our physical bodies.
As a runner, or athlete, our bodies also need electrolytes to aid in our recovery.
I am terrible at staying hydrated. I’ve said it many times before. Especially during the winter, I just don’t feel like I need as much water when I’m exercising. I know this is bad and I need to improve. This was one of the reasons I wanted to try out NOW® Sports Effer-Hydrate and NOW® Sports Effer-Energy tablets.
I received my sample pack just before Christmas, which included the flavors, Lemon-Lime, Orange Strawberry, Tropical Punch and Mixed Berry.
The tablets dissolve easily and quickly in water, giving the water a slight carbonation feel and flavor. I have used them on rest days, before runs, during runs, and post runs.
One thing I did notice was, when dissolved in bottles that I ran with, because of the “fizziness” the bottles would leak a little from all the shaking around. This can be alleviated by shaking the bottles well and releasing the pressure before starting to run.
My favorite flavor is, by far, Mixed Berry, while my second go-to is Tropical Punch, as it is designed to provide a little more energy. *
I keep a tube on my desk so that I remember to pop a tablet in my glass of water while I work. Since I have a few tubes I can place them in other places, like the car, where I can just drop in a water bottle to hydrate and replenish on the go.
In previous training cycles, I’ve often made the mistake of over-training, and this ends up derailing all the hard work I’ve put in. So far, my current training cycle is going well. I’m running less miles, running only “quality” runs. This gives my body time to recover between sessions, and the NOW® Sports Effer-Hydrate and NOW® Sports Effer-Energy supplements have been helping with that recovery.
Try them yourself by ordering online! Through March 31, 2021, use code NOWSPORTS20 for 20% off your purchase of NOW® Sports products at nowsportsproducts.com **
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
** Offer valid 1/1/21 through 11:59 PM Central Standard Time 3/21/21. Offer valid only on products found at https://www.nowfoods.com/sports-nutrition/sports-nutrition-all-products. Prices are as shown. Some exclusions may apply. Must use coupon code NOWSPORTS20 in the Promotion Code field at checkout. While supplies last at nowfoods.com. This offer does not apply to applicable taxes or shipping and handling. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. NOW Health Group, Inc has the right to end any promotion at any time.
I ran my virtual race today, not in Savannah, Georgia, but in Morrisville, North Carolina. Due to COVID-19, the Savannah Bridge Run was converted to a virtual event.
I didn’t have to get up super early and get ready. I didn’t have to drive anywhere and find a parking lot. I didn’t have to line up for the porta-potty three times. I didn’t have to freeze my butt off standing around for an hour waiting for the race to start.
Instead I slept in. Cut my hair. I had breakfast. I practiced some Christmas music. I had some lunch. Then I got ready to go run. I asked my daughter Katie to be my official race photographer – she agreed. I walked out the front door, stood on my driveway and started my watch.
And we were off!
Katie raced ahead on her bicycle and stopped every so often to snap photos. I didn’t have to wait long after to see my race photos. Nor did I have to pay for them. Katie simply air-dropped them to my phone.
The race itself went very well. I picked an out and back course with plenty of bridges – nothing as high or as scenic as the Talmadge Bridge in Savannah.
The weather was perfect – early 50s. I wore my BibRave long sleeve, shorts and my Buff lightweight hat, and HOKA Clifton 6 shoes.
Oh, and I PR’d on this race. That was totally unexpected. It’s funny how the mind works. I know for sure, if I was running a normal 10K I would have unlikely come home with a PR. However, tell your head that it’s a race and the body automatically works harder. Right?!
Whether my science checks out or not, I’m really happy with today’s result. Days like this keep me encouraged and provide the motivation needed to stick to the plan.
I’ve been dealing with a fear of never reaching pre-injury speeds again. This result has helped me realize that that fear is unfounded, and I can be even faster yet.
Just earlier this evening I uploaded the proof to the race website (a screenshot of my activity tracker). My race shirt and medal will be mailed out this week! I’ll post a photo when they come in.
I hope by next December I will be looking at running this race in Savannah, and across the Talmadge bridge. In the meantime, let’s all keep safe!
I was pretty bummed as I checked the Race Across Durham website on July 1st. Since the race began a few years ago, I would get up on my birthday (the day registration opens normally) and sign up, as a little present to myself.
This July, registration did not open…
However, I received a little surprise in my inbox just the other week. Race Across Durham is going VIRTUAL! I signed up immediately.
There are three race distances to pick from — 10 miler, Marathon and Ultra. I have signed up for the 10 miler. As in previous races, the race benefits the fantastic Life Skills Foundation in Durham, NC.
The race can be run anytime between Nov 1st and Nov 30th (you can still sign up until Nov 20th). I’ve managed to get a few friends signed up as well, so we’ll plan to run it together — on the actual race course!
So while it’s a virtual, it’s going to be fairly close to the real thing — minus the great snacks and post-party music and food — but I’ll take it.
I’ve already been down to the Eno for a training run on Sunday past, and it was amazing. The weather was beautiful and I felt in great form. Let’s hope we can hit that magic combination on race day.
Guess who signed up for more chocolate? This guy 👆
YES, I’m going back to Charlotte, North Carolina to run the Hot Chocolate 15K race on the 20th February 2021.
I’ve ran this race twice now – and had I known how 2020 was going to turn out I wouldn’t have skipped it last January. I was thinking I had enough races in my calendar. Anyway…
As usual, I opted to have my race swag mailed to me for an extra fee. This saves me having to stress about getting down to the EXPO on time (since it’s usually on the Friday). I’ll still plan to visit it if I can, but since I’ll have my bib already, it’s not a big deal if I can’t.
Well, lookey here! I know I’d blogged a while back that I was only promoting this race as I wasn’t able to travel on race weekend.
Just recently the race organizers had to make the call to convert the race to virtual only. This is obviously disappointing for them, the city and many runners, but for people like myself who weren’t able to travel, it allows us to participate AND GET ALL THE BLING!
If you had already signed up, you have a few options:
Run the race virtually.
Defer to 2021, 2022, or 2023 events.
Donate your registration to charity.
Or request a full refund (minus some fees and charges).
By now we’re all fairly used to wearing and seeing other people in face masks. When it all started, it was hard to get your hands on a mask even if you wanted one. Fortunately now we have many options to choose from, and I’ve tried a few.
Masks come in all shapes and sizes these days. I did see a man walking into Target recently in what looked like a World War II gas mask. That has to be heavy and uncomfortable, especially in North Carolina humidity. Each to their own, is what I said to myself.
My first mask ever, during this pandemic, was kindly made by a friend of the family. It was a cloth mask that allowed us to go out in public, and feel protected. We bought several more cloth masks online as they became more widely available, and I had been using them exclusively until I received my Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask.
The Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask is made from a light-weight, ultra thin (0.5 mm) closed-cell fabric that prevents transmission of water, viruses, and germs. The included (disposable) filters add a further layer of protection.
The actual mask itself can be machine washed (with filter removed), and laid flat to dry. Once dry, you simply apply a new filter with the adhesive provided.
All the previous masks I’d tried were one-size-fits-all, but with Body Helix you have small, medium and large options. There is a sizing chart on the website to help you select the correct size for your face.
This ensures a snug fit and all day comfort — with or without the optional nasal bridge wire strip (great for spectacle wearers). The large over-the-ear strap design helps reduce ear discomfort during long-term wear.
The Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask comes in two colors — Black and Cool Blue — at $19.99 and $24.99 respectively. The mask comes with 6 filters and 4 nasal bridge wire strips. Additional filters can be purchased at BodyHelix.com in packs of 30 (+10 nasal bridge wire strips) for $14.99 (free shipping).
I have been pretty much wearing this mask every day since getting it. It’s my go-to for dropping Xander to daycare, going shopping, or eating out at restaurants. I’ve had quite a few people comment on how great this mask looks.
You may be wondering if it’s possible to run in this mask. I’ve tried it, but I’ll be honest — I hate running in ANY mask. I don’t think I necessarily need to wear a mask when running unless I’m unable to keep physically distanced from other people. For this reason, I’ll often carry my Body Helix Ultra-Light Face Mask with me in case I need it.
I do know other Bibrave Pro’s that do run with it and love it. For example, check out reviews from Teddy and Stephanie.
This is a great, quality-made mask and if you’re interested I have a discount code. If you use code BR15 on bodyhelix.com you’ll get 15% off any order of $40 (subtotal) or more (expires Oct. 31, 2020).