POEM: Tobacco Road Half Marathon (2018)

I went to bed early
To get plenty of rest
My wife was so supportive
There’s no doubt that I’m blessed
(Love you Lizzie!)

The morning arrived in no time
Long before the promised sun awoke
It was freezing bloody cold outside
But I had no plans to wear a coat

After multiple trips to the toilet
It was time to lace up and go
If I still need to empty my bladder
I’ll make the trip to porta-potty row

With a van full of MRC runners
We traveled to the Tobacco Road race
I munched on my energy gummies
Hoping I could stick to my target pace

The participants all began to gather
Three-thousand, two-hundred and fifty two
Nine-hundred and seventy-five the full
I’d be running my first Half with my crew!

The gun give a blast and off we went
Passing under a huge American flag
I tried to keep up with the one-fifty pacer
But very soon I started to lag

As the road leveled out the crowd opened up
And I managed to catch my pacers
There up ahead was one of my friends
She’d passed me and I didn’t see her

After two and a half miles of pounding the road
The Half went left and Full went right
There were plenty of water and Gatorade drinks
If I partook every time, need the toilet I might

The trail was cozy for an out-and-back
The lead pack were returning at my mile five
As runners flew past they were followed by a breeze
The atmosphere was electric, I felt so alive

I was still feeling fresh at mile marker nine
By mile marker ten I was feeling half dead
The energy gels had lost their effect
My legs felt heavy, a battle ensued in my head

Was the last stretch and the finish was close
But again my pacers had gotten away
Determination kicked in and dragged me along
This race won’t beat me, not today, NOT today

Downhill to the end is a wonderful thing
I knew I had it in the bag
Crossing the line with my arms raised high
An eleven minute PR! I know, I brag


Alastair Vance, March 23rd, 2018

Why do you run, Ashita Banerjee?

About Ashita

Welcome to a blog series called “Why do you run?“. I hope to publish inspiring insights from runners I know, on why they started running and continue to do so.

I met Ashita when she started running with Morrisville Run Club. She fitted right in with the group and took her running very seriously, and we watched her break many PRs. One of the most memorable was back in October at Bull City Race Fest.

Since then Ashita has moved to Europe with her family. I know the group really misses her physical presence and encouragement. However, with today’s communication tools, like WhatsApp, sometimes it’s like she never left. There has been many a virtual run, virtual prodding and accountability in the months she has been gone.

Continue reading “Why do you run, Ashita Banerjee?”

Why do you run, Ian McCullough?

About Ian

Welcome to a blog series called “Why do you run?“. I hope to publish inspiring insights from runners I know, on why they started running and continue to do so.

I’m so excited to introduce you to Ian. This guy is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to running. I’ve known Ian for many years, and we even ran together in Ireland for a time. Those were some of my first experiences running. However, back then I would never have considered myself a runner.

Since moving to the US, I don’t see Ian much in person, but I follow him on Strava and the man never stops moving. He’s either running, hill walking, skiing or cycling somewhere across Ireland and central Europe.

As I often say to Liz, “I want to be like Ian when I grow up…”. I hope to be still running and enjoying the outdoors as long as him. Thanks for your story, Ian!

Continue reading “Why do you run, Ian McCullough?”

Why I’m Missing Out On The 2019 Tar Heel 10 Miler

Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Tar Heel 10 Miler & Fleet Feet Sports 4 Miler as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

I was really looking forward to this race.

I don’t care that rain and thunderstorms are forecast. I’ve never had to bow out of a race before. It sucks to be sitting here writing this blog post in my AirCast boot.

In 2018 I volunteered to help at one of the aid stations. It was a great experience, watching all the runners going past. Seeing the spread of runners was amazing to me — from the leaders of the pack to those running very happily along at the back. The atmosphere was so good and I was so excited when the opportunity came along to run it for BibRave in 2019.

But I’m injured.

I had to go and get injured about 7 weeks before my marathon in March, and then continue to train and run the marathon with the injury. I’d put quite a bit of effort in to that point and didn’t want to quit.

I’m not sure I recommend this approach. When I did eventually visit the doctor, about a week after the marathon, I was diagnosed with Peroneal Tendonitis in my right foot. Fortunately it was not a fracture, or something like the dreaded Plantar Fasciitis. My peroneal tendon should recover 100%, as long as I can wear the boot for 30 days.

Back To The Race.

I have friends running it, and other friends that are volunteering, and post-injury I had planned to be there as well, just to take photos and provide support, but I can’t get my boot wet. 😦

So I will be at home, wishing I were caught up in the buzz, running 10 miles through the streets of Chapel Hill, conquering Laurel Hill at mile 8, and rolling into the finish with a smile on my face.

Next year. I will be there, next year.

Let’s hear from You.

If you ran the race this year, do let us know your thoughts by writing a review on bibrave.com. Did you run the 4 miler, the 10 miler, or the DOUBLE?!

Why do you run, Jeremy Copeland?

About Jeremy

Welcome to a blog series called “Why do you run?“. I hope to publish inspiring insights from runners I know, on why they started running and continue to do so.

Jeremy is the lead pastor of STORYCHURCH, an awesome church community in Durham, NC. I had the privilege of being part of the launch team and having a little input into how it’s grown today.

What isn’t particularly obvious when you first meet Jeremy is his insanely competitive side. I can’t tell you how many times I went out to run only because he might pass me on the Nike leader board. Wait… who’s competitive?

Continue reading “Why do you run, Jeremy Copeland?”

Why do you run, Nilesh Tharval?

About Nilesh

Welcome to a blog series called “Why do you run?“. I hope to publish inspiring insights from runners I know, on why they started running and continue to do so.

I know Nilesh through MRC, and we’ve ran together for quite a while now. I also know he is a big Orange Theory guy, so he takes his fitness seriously — all while juggling family and work commitments!

Continue reading “Why do you run, Nilesh Tharval?”

Race Recap: 2018 Race Across Durham 10 Miler

I ran this race way back in December last year and just noticed I had’t posted a review on it. Well, better late than never, right? This was the 2nd year I’d ran Race Across Durham. The first year, I signed up and ran it on my own, this year I brought a few pals along.

The trail conditions this time were really wet. They had to change the full marathon course drastically because of flooding. It looked like the 10 mile course would stay as planned, but on race day it was shortened to around 8.5-9 miles.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t mind that at all. My race pretty much sucked that day and I was glad to be done. I had really low energy and was not competing at the same level as the previous year. I found out later when I got home that I was running a fever which helped explain things. 🤢

I love racing (and training) along the Eno. The course had a few surprises this year too. There were a few bridges that had washed away in recent storms, so a couple of extra creek crossings were required!

In preparation for this race, I didn’t train quite as much in the Eno River State Park as last year, opting instead for the closer Umstead Park. The latter was a better option for the group, but I’m not sure provided the same level of training we needed.

The medals were hand-made again this year, using a slightly different design. I love these unique race medals. Check out last years review to see the medal from 2017.

As per last year, the food and drink afterward was great! We grabbed a table, and ate and drank as the band played. I have some video of Niles dancing, but she might kill me if I post it.

Friends and family can easily join for the post-race party if desired.

Race Across Durham is a race I look forward to every year now, and I’ll be signing up to run it this year again, no doubt about it. Registration usually opens at the start of July.

The 10 mile course is point-to-point. At the end you need to wait for a bus to transfer you out of the park and back to the start line where the post-race party takes place. This year the transport seemed to take longer — maybe I just got lucky the year before? We were waiting in line for what seemed like an hour to get on a bus. But. we made the most of it….