Added: NCRC Classic Half Marathon

2018-05-17 16_42_57-Umstead Half Marathon - 21km Running Route near Cary (ID_ 613619)

I’m running another Half Marathon this weekend — my third HM race this year. This coming race wasn’t planned, but a friend is unable to run and transferred her bib to me.

The NCRC Classic Half Marathon is a fairly hilly route through Umstead State Park in Raleigh, NC. The terrain is mixed road and hard-packed gravel, much like the Tobacco Road Marathon back in March.

This may be the hilliest half I’ve ran, with an elevation gain of over 700ft. Despite that, I’d still love to complete it around the 2 hour mark. They have pacing groups available, so I’ll try to run between the 1:50 and 2:00 pacing groups.

I was hoping some friends would sign up to run with me, but as of today the Half Marathon is actually sold out.

Click here for an interactive map of the route.

 

Music To Run With: Cloud Nine by Kygo

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I discovered Kygo a few months back and really enjoy his music and artist collaborations. Cloud Nine is his debut album and I’ve always thought the first track, Intro, would make a great backing track for a kick-ass trail running video.

Hear me out (listen above).

  • 0s: Far out view (drone footage) of a solo runner on a trail.
  • 45s: Close up footage, feet, dirt, grit, sweat, stream crossings.
  • 1m:24s: Other runners join as they run the last section of the trail to the summit.
  • 1m:45s: They reach the summit, exhausted, arms spread wide taking in the 360 degree views.

I think that would be magic.

Aside from that, the whole album suits very well as a running accompaniment – except for the John Legend Happy Birthday track. Great song, but seems a little out of place on this album.

How to set up Interval Training on your Garmin

I’ve had my Garmin Forerunner 230 for almost 2 years now, and only recently decided to give Interval Training a go. I knew the watch had an Interval Training function, but I’d never used it.

For those unfamiliar with the term, “Interval Training” is a exercise routine that is made up of sections of intense effort, separated by short periods of rest (or recovery). The “recipe” is entirely up to you (or whatever your training plan dictates).

The idea behind Interval Training is to increase your running speed — in fact, some people refer to it as “Speed Training”, but it also helps to improve muscular endurance.

Plans can use either distance (usually meters) or time — or a mixture of both. A fairly common plan looks something like the following:

  • 1-2 mile warm-up run
  • 400 meters x6 / 1 minute rest
  • 1-2 mile cool-down

To follow this, you’d start with a short easy warm-up, run hard for 400 meters, followed by a 1 minutes recovery period. Repeat 6 times before finally cooling down with another easy run.

400 meters (approximately 1/4 mile) happens to be the standard length of a running track. This means you can leave a supply of water and/fuel by the side of the track to use during your training session.

With Garmin, you can set-up Intervals via the Garmin Connect website, or directly on your watch (see images below). The watch then prompts you when to run and when to rest based on the settings you select.

 

If you don’t have a watch with this functionality, you can use an app on your phone. The Nike+ app allows you to set up Intervals — check out the “Speed Run” option. The Runkeeper app also has a custom workout option that will support Intervals.

Strava at this time does not support Intervals. I sync my runs with Strava and noticed that it doesn’t even support the splits properly, so I have to refer to Garmin Connect to see my splits for Interval sessions.

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Is Interval Training a regular part of your training schedule? What benefits have you seen from it?

Music To Run With: Settle by Disclosure

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An oldie, but a goodie from UK dance duo, Disclosure. As soon as “When A Fire Starts To Burn” kicks off, so will you! This album will keep you moving from start to finish. There are great song collaborations with artists such as Sam Smith, Mary J. Blige, London Grammar, and more!

Review: Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest

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Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest 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!

There’s few things more important than staying hydrated on a long run, but I think a lot of us struggle with the best way to carry the necessary fluids with us.

When it comes to carrying water on my long runs, I’ve experimented with a whole range of options and never really found a great solution.

Some methods I’ve already tried.

  • Carrying a water bottle in my hand – ended up with sore shoulder, continuously worrying about dropping the bottle (on another note: I don’t know how people run with their phone in their hand).
  • Using a hand bottle holder – this was a little better. It had a pocket as well for phone, keys, etc. Felt secure in my hand but still had issues with sore shoulder.
  • Hydration belt with two bottles – this was my go-to for most long distances. Water felt heavy on my waist and sloshed about a lot, but it was better than nothing.
  • Budget Vest with bladder on my back – was able to carry a lot of water, but man it was heavy! Vest was not super comfortable either and moved around. Bladders are a bit of a nuisance to clean and dry out.

I’ve seen the vests with the bottles at chest level for a long time and have considered getting one, but I had been growing tired of being disappointed each time, with each product I bought.

Thankfully, through Bibrave,  I got the opportunity to try out an Amphipod PureRun™ Minimalist Hydration Vest — and this thing really impressed.

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It comes in two sizes (I have size 2). It’s super lightweight, very adjustable and has loads of storage. You can see from the photo it has plenty of room for my phone (iPhone 7) and multiple packs of gels/gummies.

The vest comes with two bottles. One of the issues I had with my old hydration belt was that the bottles tended to leak a little when full. These bottles do not leak and stay secure in their pouches at all times.

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If you like bladders, it will support one in a section at the back. There is also additional pockets at the back — but I don’t think they’d be that accessible without having to take off the vest to reach them.

I love how the three front straps will slide up and down to where you need them — it’s the little things.

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I’ve taken the vest out for a number of long runs now and have really appreciated having it — as have my running buddies. Though they have teased me quite a bit for running with my “boobies” out, they have benefited from on-the-run fuel and water on a number of occasions!

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Now that the weather is getting warmer here in North Carolina, I tend to switch to running trails, under the cover of trees where it’s a bit cooler. I can’t wait to start using this vest for some long trail runs. YES!

There’s no going back now. It’s lightweight, cool (mesh) and comfortable, and will not move around. It will also not slow you down (I’ve tested this as well). And while your running crew may make fun of you, they all secretly want one. 😉

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Here are some other BibRave Pro reviews for you to check out:
Meredith Daniel // Andrea Heser // Barb Byrum // Brad Zinnecker // Renee Barr // Angie Maske-Berka // Mai Khuong // Kevin Wilson // Amy Penokie // Whitney Vestal

Music To Run With: Wasa Tusa by IAMDYNAMITE

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IAMDYNAMITE are a local band from Cary, NC. I heard them for the first time on Tuesday night when they opened for Bon Jovi. Great summer feel. Perky songs and strong vocals to keep you running. This was my morning soundtrack for a quick 5K before work today. Pull it up on your favorite streaming platform, have a listen and let me know what you think!

 

Review: Humana Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh 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!

This was my second ever Half Marathon race. I have to say I really enjoy racing this distance. I’d never ran a Rock ‘n’ Roll race before, so I was glad to have an opportunity to do so on their last visit to Raleigh, NC.

I went to the EXPO on the Saturday, the day before the race, and picked up my bib and shirt. The shirts are nice — Brooks technical shirts with minimal sponsor logos. The EXPO had some great vendors. My wife managed to get a great deal on some compression socks. There was lots of official Rock ‘n’ Roll merchandise as well. I loved the shirts with every participant name on it. Very cool.

Parking for both the EXPO and race day was very convenient. I managed to park quite easily within a block of the starting line.

I have heard over the years of how hilly a course it is, so I was expecting the worse. To be honest, it wasn’t all THAT bad. Yes, it had hills, but there was plenty of relief on downhill sections of the course.

The funny thing is — Because of the “hilly” reputation, Rock ‘n’ Roll made modifications to the route this year to make it less it less hilly. Well, according to past runner’s Strava records, this years route had a 100ft increase in elevation gain!! 🙂

The Live music along the route was awesome. I can’t recall the number of times it brought a smile to my face. I also loved the energy of the spectators throughout the various Raleigh neighborhoods. They really helped keep me going.

It was so cold at the start of the race that I did something I never do. I went and grabbed a coffee and drank it around 30mins before we started. I’ve never had to use the bathroom so bad during a race before that I needed to stop — until THIS race. At mile 9 something very bad was going to happen if I didn’t find a porta-john. Rock ‘n’ Roll are fantastic for providing so many along the route. Not sure what I’d have done otherwise…!

Aside from messing up my time a little, I was still happy to finish within 2 hours on this course. I’m sad I won’t get a chance to do better next year.

The medals were great, and you could get your medal engraved with your name and finishing time if desired. And there was plenty of snacks handed out as you walked through the end section of the course after finishing.

The band, SUSTO, sounded really good at the post race event. My only gripe is that I finished the race around 9am and the post race party didn’t start until 10am. I was so cold at that point I couldn’t even imagine holding a cold (free) beer. And yes, I made use of gear check and had a coat to wear post-race!

While a specific review of the Raleigh race may not be super helpful to the reader, now that the race is gone, I will say that in general that the race was really well organised and executed. I would not hesitate to run many of the other Rock ‘n’ Roll races across the nation.

Check out a poem I wrote after the race.