Race Recap: Bull City Race Fest, October 21st, 2018

On a cold, crisp October morning, a few friends and I headed into Durham, NC for the Bull City Race Fest Half Marathon.

Me, Arun, Niles, Zach, AJ and Ashita at the start line

It was my fourth half marathon (1-Tobacco Road; 2-Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh; 3-Umstead Half) this year and to be honest, I wasn’t feeling in good shape for it — not compared to my fitness levels back in March. Training through the summer in North Carolina was not easy with the constant humidity.

My running buddy, Zach, had ran the course a couple of years back, his first half marathon in fact, and confirmed all the reports I’d been hearing of its hills. I’d only ran the 5 mile course before and was looking forward to the half.

I’ve never really been deterred from entering a race because of hills. I simply adjust my expectations based on it. 

Zach had yet to run a half marathon in under two hours, so my plan was to run a steady pace together and push him to a PR. After our hilly half marathon at Umstead, back in June, I knew this may not be easy (for me!).

Me and Zach ready to go!

The race started according to our plan. For the first mile we hovered in around 9:00/mi. If we kept this up and we’ll rock in just under the goal time.

I checked my watch at Mile 2 — 8:40/mi. We probably need to slow down a little bit, we thought. Nope, miles 3-6 flew by easy at the same pace. Yikes! We were going too fast! We were too concerned about catching up with AJ, who shot off like a rocket at the start.

At mile 6 we eventually caught up with AJ. That’s when the first of the hills started rolling in. Mile 7, while not the toughest hill-wise, was our slowest at 9:04/mi, but all was still good. Runners are always doing the math in their heads. We had time to spare.

My fueling plan was the usual, Gatorade Endurance gel pack every 45 mins, and a drink of water at every other aid station. This didn’t go exactly to plan.

I waited a little too long for the first gel pack which maybe explains mile 7. There were some hills during the last third of the course, so I took another one around mile 9.

Mile 9 is when I usually start to suffer in a half marathon, but this time I didn’t feel that. I felt much stronger than normal. The last third of the course hardly slowed our efforts at all. Maybe all that training in North Carolina’s humidity prepared me for this after all?

Again, doing the math, we rocked into mile 10 with big grins on our faces. We knew we had this race in the bag. It would take a really bad 5K now to miss our goal time.

In a final what the heck moment, I consumed an additional gel at mile 12 for the last stretch!

The course kept throwing hills at us in the last couple of miles, but my last two miles were my fastest on the course. I kept my eyes on the prize — the cold beverages at the end.

A lot of our team walked away with HUGE PRs — #breaking2 baby! 😉 Did Zach and I smash our goal? Of course we did! We came in well under the 2 hour goal. Turned out to be my 2nd fastest half marathon after Tobacco Road.

Me, AJ, Ashita, Niles, Zach, Shravan

I’m so happy about that. It definitely helped me overcome my summer training slump and restored some confidence as I reach for bigger goals next year.

We’ll be back again, Bull City Race Fest.

Race Recap: The Cupcake Race At Brier Creek, Oct 20th, 2018

Liz and I enjoying a cupcake after the race

This race was supposed to be on Oct 13th, but they had to move it due to Hurricane Florence. I was a little concerned as this new date was the day before a half marathon race I was running!

I love this 5K race though. It’s local and we always try to get the family involved. In fact this year I managed to get free entries in exchange for a photo of our family from last year. The race directors used it to promote this year’s race — much to my daughter’s embarrassment. 😉

We’ve ran this race twice before, but this was the first year I ran without pushing Xander in a stroller! With this new-found freedom, I probably ran this race a little harder than I should have and I was worried it would affect my race the following day.

(It didn’t though, as you can read later in another post).

The Cupcake Race At Brier Creek is an out-and-back course, and has a few hills to keep it interesting. Lots of kids from local elementary schools use this race to close out their running programs, so it’s very family oriented.

After the race, everyone gets a big tasty cupcake from Gigi’s cupcakes. Unfortunately, the actual Brier Creek store didn’t open until 10am otherwise I would have bought a load more to bring home as well.

I got to test out my bibboards for the first time on this race. They remove the need for safety pins and securely attach your bib to your shirt without damaging your clothing. Check them out!

Bibboards Rock!

Review: Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: I’m promoting Tobacco Road Marathon & Half 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 had such a great time at this race, it just didn’t seem right to review it like every other race I’ve reviewed. So, I decided to write a little poem that covers my race experience from start to finish.

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

 

Weekend Running

I’m resting today after a great weekend of running. I ran six road miles on Friday and three trail miles on Saturday. However, the highlight was the ten mile group run on Sunday.

During the winter we normally drop down to a skeleton crew, but this run reminded me of a summer weekend run minus the brunch! I want brunch!

We checked out some new greenway that has opened up recently where we live. Check out the photos.

Continue reading “Weekend Running”

Race Across Durham

I just signed up for Race Across Durham (10 miles) trail race! It’s scheduled for December 3rd, 2017 at 9am, so it should be nice and cool and have no nasty black flies, right?

It winds along the Eno river in Durham, starting at West Point on the Eno park to Eno River Rock Quarry.

I’ve been running some trails recently, but this is the first trail race I will participate in. I’m pretty excited about it.

You can check out the route here. Strava calculates it as 8.4 miles and estimates I’ll take 1hr43m to run it! 🙂

I did just notice it’s up hill the whole way! Great!

Reedy Creek Trail Head to NC Museum of Art

I get so excited when I find out about new running routes. Anyone else?! I map them out on Strava and then plan how to work them in to my schedule. I’ve decided I’m going to start sharing these routes on my blog.

This is one of the latest routes I’ve been looking at (I have not ran it yet). It’s just under 8mi (one way) and starts at the new Reedy Creek Trail Head parking lot (off Weston Parkway on Winstead Dr). Most of the route lies inside Umstead Park, with a couple of miles on sidewalk, before arriving at the NC Museum of Art.

Liz and I checked checked out the trail head parking lot at the weekend, so now it’s just a matter of getting a group together and setting aside some time to run it! I’ll be sure to post an update when I do.