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.
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.
This song is pure nostalgia for me. Growing up in the eighties, this is one song that never seems to grow old on me. Morten Harket’s vocal range is just phenomenal, and there’s not many who can hit those notes in the chorus of the original song.
This particular version of the song is one I first heard used in the movie, Deadpool 2. I later found out it was recorded as part of an MTV unplugged concert. If you’re an A-HA fan and haven’t checked out that album, go find it on any of the streaming platforms. Amazing.
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 Lucky through Morrisville Run Club. He was good friends with another one of our runners. Lucky is a big Orange Theory fan, so I don’t get the chance to run with him much recently, but we did bump into each a lot during local races.
I’ve enjoying picking up my guitar again and playing songs I’ve not played in the past. I had a lot of fun learning this Sting song. It’s always resonated with me in a way, being a recent immigrant to the States myself.
Thanks to Dillon Partin for reaching out with the opportunity to collaborate! I hope we don’t wait as long again before we play another song together.
This song was part of series from Harmonic Music Studios in Washington, DC. They were collaborating with different musicians to publish a song each day. I think Dillon and Marshall played on almost every video!
Check out some of the bands Dillon is involved in here: