Added: The Tar Heel 10 Miler & Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run (2019)

Disclaimer: I received free entry to The Tar Heel 10 Miler & Fleet Feet Sports 4 Mile Run 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!

Last year I volunteered at this race. This year I’m running it for the first time. I’ve heard so much about the Tar Heel 10 Miler and I know people who have ran it, and all they talk about Laurel Hill. More about that later. πŸ‘‡

There is two races on the same day — a 10 mile run and a 4 mile run, but there’s three options when registering. You can sign up for either race OR you can sign up for both, which is known as the “Double Down 14 Mile Challenge”.

Those selecting the Double Down challenge will need to complete the 4 mile race before the 10 mile race starts, to stay in the challenge. 😲

I have signed up for the 10 mile race and I’m looking forward to running around and exploring Chapel Hill, a thriving student city in North Carolina.

I’ve been to Chapel Hill many times as my oldest son goes to University there, but I’m still not familiar with the layout of downtown. There’s nothing like a run to fix that.

The course looks amazing and there’s a good mix of downtown streets, parks and neighborhoods. I’m looking forward to this one. Hopefully I actually still enjoy running, after my marathon in March. 🀣

Laurel Hill Challenge

At mile 8.5 of the Tar Heel 10 miler is Laurel Hill. You’ll ascend 175 feet in just under one mile. Runners are encouraged to race UP the hill, as separate awards are given for the fastest times to the top!

I really hope to get out to Chapel Hill and make peace with this hill before race day. I think I can get a couple of my running buddies to sign up and train with me.

Represent Your School

If you’re local you can even represent your school and help get it to the top of the scoreboard! The top 3 schools registered (you select a school when registering if applicable) will get a t-shirt in their school colors. That is pretty neat!

Register and Save

So, don’t delay! Sign up now before the next fee increase and get 10% Off with code TARHEELBR10

Marathon Training January Update

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon 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!

I have only 7 weeks left until my first full marathon at Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, NC. I’m using the Nike Marathon plan and in short, training has been going well.

At this stage I have confidence that I’ll complete it. But will I walk away with a great result? Will I walk away at all?

I know a lot of runners aspire to quality for the Boston marathon. I’m not shooting for Boston — not this time.

But my heart is not set on running Boston. In fact, there’s many other marathons I’d love to run first — Big Sur! New York City! Missoula! Honolulu! Chicago! Check out the BibRave 100 for more ideas!

BTW if you do wish to qualify for Boston, the Tobacco Road Marathon is one of the best marathons to qualify with. It’s a fairly flat course and helps send many runners to Boston.

On race day I’m hoping for as close to 4:00 as possible, which would mean a pace of 9:05/mi or faster for 26.freaking2 miles. I’m not there yet. Not for that distance. I do have some encouraging news to share though.

Upon examination of my last few long runs, I’m seeing progress. Even though the runs are getting longer, I am running them faster! I just need to shave off another 15 seconds per mile, which I think is doable.

Long runs are scary.

Just writing this post is making me think about my next long run and freak out a little.

I’m still experimenting with fueling, not having gone this kind of distance before, and it’s been hard to get it right. At the moment I’m using a combination of gels and granola bars.

I do know that Chicken Biryani the night before is a bad idea.

So while I have 7 weeks left until the marathon, the hard work is nearly over. I have really only 2 super long runs left. 18 miles again this weekend, a drop to 14 the week after and then the big one — 22 miles! 😨

There’s still time to sign up. At the time of writing, both the half and the full marathon have slots available. Use code TRMRAVE19 to get $20 off registration.

Race Recap: 2019 Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k – Charlotte, NC

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k race 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 year running the Hot Chocolate 15k in Charlotte (read about first year here). What better way to kick off this review with a big picture of the hot chocolate bowl packed with goodies for dipping. It ain’t called the Hot Chocolate 15k for nothing!

Liz and I after the race

As I mentioned in my pre-race post, I couldn’t get out of work on time to reach the Expo, so I had Liz’s and my pack mailed out to us – this is such an excellent service. The packs arrived a couple of weeks before the race, and just like last year, the race shirts are amazing.

The post-race party venue was changed to First Ward Park this year, which also moved the start and finish lines. The new party location was much better. It was much more accessible, and better laid out.

Another improvement this year was the addition of some hot food. And it was so delicious. Liz and I grabbed some and stood under a toasty gas heater and chatted to some other runners for a while.

The race course changed this year. We ran outside the city (much like last year), except we used some greenway (paved trails) this time to move between neighborhoods. The Charlotte neighborhoods reminded very much of Durham, North Carolina.

I felt like the new course was also hillier than last year. When I compared the elevation gain to last years on Strava, it was indeed hillier, but not by a crazy amount.

There were plenty of aid stations on course, serving water, sports drink and chocolate! Thankfully there were porta-johns near each station, as I had to make a stop at mile 2 — and that is when I lost my 8:30/mi pacer. 😦

I came in around 3 minutes later than last year. I was hoping to see an improvement, but it wasn’t to be.

The medals were different this year. Previously every Hot Chocolate medal was the same, regardless of the city that hosted it. There was an additional “charm” added to the medal to identify the city. This year they incorporated the city name into the medal itself.

No, it’s not edible.

Race photos again this year were free — which is super! Who doesn’t love free race photos. I didn’t see many photographers on the course except near the finish. I don’t always look my best at the finish line. πŸ˜‰

While it was free to download low-res versions of the photos, there was a $2.99 charge to download high-res copies. That is still good bang for your buck if you consider what other races charge for photos.

Liz and I stayed at the AC Hotel Charlotte City Center. It was a lovely hotel, with a fantastic rooftop bar and was only a couple of blocks from First Ward Park. I’d definitely stay there again, whether I’m racing Hot Chocolate, or just want a short city break.

There were a few other BibRave Pros racing Hot Chocolate Charlotte this year, so we all got together before the race to catch-up and take a group photo. Just look at all that Orange!

Slurp Slurp Ahhhhh! Tomorrow is Race Day!

Disclaimer: I received free entry to Hot Chocolate 15k 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!

I can’t believe this race has come around so quickly again. I remember running this in February last year like it was yesterday. It was my first race away from home, and I didn’t know the landscape at all, so I wasn’t sure what to expect in the form of hills, etc.

This year, my wife Liz is not only coming with me, but she will be running the 5k race, which starts 15 mins before I line up for the 15k. I think Liz loved the race swag I received so much last year she had to sign up. πŸ˜‰

We were unable to get to the Expo this year because of work responsibilities, but fortunately we were able to have our bibs and race shirts shipped to us in advance. While it costs a few dollars more, it’s worth it for us being far away.

The race course and starting location have changed for 2019, so we’re staying in a different hotel, fairly close to the starting line in First Ward Park. It shouldn’t be anything more than a short walk in the morning to reach it.

The temperature is a little chilly at 46f, and some rain is expected. I’m just hoping it’s not heavy rain. Last year rain was also forecast, but by the time the race started the rain stopped.

15k is a nice distance (just under 10 miles). The last time I ran this race I had not yet raced a half marathon, so I was a little anxious. This time I have lots more experience and feel more confident. Also, my training for the race has gone well, especially since it’s in the middle of my training for a full marathon.

What I’m not sure about is if I can beat last years PR! πŸ˜‰

I am looking forward to catching up with all the other bibrave pros as well.

Look out for the guys in Orange!

I Just Had to Stop at Mile 11 and take a photo!

This photo captures a big milestone. One that I once thought was unreachable.

I’ve been running consistently now for a couple of years. When I started out, I used the Nike+ Running (now called NRC) app. If you use the app yourself, you may have noticed it has a number of “Run Levels” that you move through as you accumulate mileage.

The highest run level was “Black”. You had to run 3,106 miles to reach Black level.

Who is crazy enough to run that much I often thought. Never did I ever consider ME reaching that many miles on my feet.

As I started to run more, I purchased a GPS watch and moved on to other apps to track my runs (Garmin Connect), but I hold on to NRC out of nostalgia and for friendly competition on the Leaderboard.

Just the other day, before I set out for my first ever 17 mile run, I noticed something on the NRC app — I was so freaking close to Black level. Whaaaaa!? It sneaked up on me.

Two thoughts circled my head during that run, 1) will I even make it to 17 miles, and 2) at mile 11 I will have reached Black level!

At mile 11 we stopped and took the photo above.

Oh, and NRC has added a new level now. It’s called “Volt” and you need to run 9,320 miles to reach it. *sigh*

2018: Books I’ve Read

At the end of August 2018, I decided to switch off the radio shows and political podcasts and listen to some books during my commute to work.

  • The Shack – William Paul Young
  • Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived – Rob Bell
  • Born To Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen – Christopher McDougall
  • A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership – James Comey
  • Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream – David Platt
  • Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood – Trevor Noah
  • Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
  • The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
  • The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
  • Artemis – Andy Weir
  • Die Trying – Lee Child
  • Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly – Anthony Bourdain

2018: Favorite Albums

These are some of my favorite albums from 2018 in no particular order.

ArtistAlbum
SYMLIn My Body
Twenty One PilotsTrench
Aisha BadruPendulum
David Guetta7
Imogen HeapHarry Potter and the Cursed Child
Olafur Arnaldsre:member
ChvrchesLove Is Dead
Florence + the MachineHigh As Hope
Jack WhiteBoarding House Reach
A-HaMTV Unplugged – Summer Solstice
Mumford & SonsDelta
Various ArtistsSpider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Soundtrack)
Anderson EastEncore