Race Recap: 2018 Running Of The Bulls 8K

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One of my favorite races of the year, is the Running Of The Bulls 8K in Durham, NC. It’s a really great course with a few challenging hills and a finish on the track at the old Durham Bulls stadium. It always coincides with the Food Truck Rodeo in Durham which is a fun reason to hang out after the race and enjoy some food!

I knew this year would be a bit slower for me. We have been experiencing very humid weather and higher temperatures than normal for this time of year, so that was bound to affect my performance.

In the end it didn’t turn out too bad when the official results came back. In 2017, I completed the course in 39:56. This year I officially completed the course in 40:40 (although Strava has 41:46!).

You may remember I ran this race last year with my son, Noah. He was also signed up to run this year but came down sick and wasn’t well enough to run. Fortunately my friend Niles was there and we ended up running the majority of the race together.

The medal this year was a functioning cowbell again. I’m only going to have so much room on my medal rack for these things. šŸ˜‰

There is one thing I’ve noticed about Bull City Running Co. races. They like to take you close to finish line when you still have 1-2 miles to run. It one way it’s great to see all the runners coming back toward you to finish, in another way it’s just plain agonizing to know you still have 15-20 minutes left. Race Across Durham also employed this feature.

Immediately after the race there was plenty of Nuun, Fullsteam beer, fruit, granola bars, etc. but it can get a little crowded in there. Niles and I stayed for a little while before leaving for home. She said she’d run it again. I know I will.

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Race Recap: NCRC Classic Half Marathon

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This was not a raceĀ I’d been planning to run or was preparing for. A friend of mine had registered and unfortunately she was unable to run it. Thankfully the race directors allowed her to transfer the bib to me at short notice.

This was my third half marathon, and the most challenging to date. I knew it was going to be difficult as I had ran sections of the course before. However, now it was a race. Knowing how hilly the out and back course was, I had accepted it was not going to be a PR run for me, and I was fine with that.

I convinced Zach (and he convinced his training buddy, Courtney) to sign up on the morning of the race. It’s much more fun racing with friends.

Access to, and parking at the race was great. There wasn’t much traffic and there was plenty of places to park (at surrounding businesses). From the parking lot, the race start was across the road, just outside of Umstead State Park.

The half marathon start time was 7.00am. There was also a 10K which started at 7.20am. I estimate maybe 300 runners for the half — so quite a small local race. It was an open course too, so there was no stopping other runners or cyclists from using the trails with us (and there were quite a few doing just that).

The whistle blew, and off we went. The aim was to stay slightly ahead of the 2:00 pacing group as we wanted to finish under 2. I arrived at this target scientifically of course.

Back in March, I completed my first half marathon in 1:49:00. In April I completed my second half marathon, with hills (h), and a stop to poop (p), in 1:57:00.Ā  So it stands to reason that few extra hills (h) minus a poop (p) would result in 1:59:00.

Mathematically speaking: (h*2)-p = 1:59:00

The first few miles felt really good. We were easily keeping a nice gap between us and the pacing group. The hills were slowing us down a bit but we were still tracking at a decent pace.

It wasn’t long after the turnaround, maybe a mile or two, that I had to let the pacing group pass me and come to a realization that there was TOO MANY FREAKING HILLS on this course to complete it in under 2 hours.

2018-05-25 15_56_51-NCRC Classic Half Marathon _ Run _ Strava

At mile 9 (why is it always mile 9!?) I couldn’t keep going on long incline. Zach kept going strong but I had to stop running and walk and watch him disappear into the distance.

The humidity was getting to me. At every water station I was drinking at least 2 cups of water/Gatorade, which I’ve never had to do before.Ā My clothes were drenched in sweat – even my socks were drenched.

It rocked my confidence a little to be honest. I couldn’t help thinking how unprepared I was for this race, and how unprepared I would be for a full marathon, and why would I ever want to run that distance!

After some one-on-one time with God, questioning life in general, the course started to flatten out around mile 10. I was now running again. The next mile and a half was downhill which helped, even though my legs felt like lead at this stage.

There was one more brutal hill at the 12.6 mile mark all the way to the finish. As I started the final ascent, I was surprised to see Zach ahead — not far at all. I made a valiant attempt to catch him, but ran out of steam quickly. He turned around and waved, and then put in a little extra effort to cross the line.

I found out later he considered waiting for me so we could cross the finish line together, but he feared I would run past him. And yes, I would have done exactly that. So he made the right call to run for the finish.

I crossed the line about 20 seconds after — happy to be done.

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There were plenty of snacks after the race, but no beer. I mean, come on. I could have murdered one or two cold beers after that race — easily. I did manage to pick up a nice race shirt though (which is modeled below) which somewhat makes up for it.

Someone asked me if I would run it again. Yes, probably. I wasn’t happy with that performance at all. It beat me, told me I sucked, so I want a chance at redemption. I’ll be back sometime, NCRC Classic Half Marathon. You wait and see.

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Review: Amphipod PureRunā„¢ Minimalist Hydration Vest

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Disclaimer: I received an Amphipod PureRunā„¢ 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,Ā  I got the opportunity to try out an Amphipod PureRunā„¢ 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. šŸ˜‰

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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 // AngieĀ Maske-Berka // Mai Khuong // Kevin Wilson // Amy Penokie // Whitney Vestal

Review: Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon & Half Marathon

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Disclaimer: Iā€™m promotingĀ Tobacco Road Marathon & Half MarathonĀ as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming aĀ BibRave ProĀ (ambassador), and check outĀ BibRave.comĀ 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

 

2017 in Running

In 2017, I logged a total of 1132.5 miles. That’s an average of 94 miles a month, or 22 miles a week, or a 5K every single day!

I ran a total of 226 times. This means every time I left for a run, I ran an average of 5 miles.

It’s weird now as a runner, that being sick is worse because I can’t get out to run. I was out sick and unable to run for 21 days in 2017.

All of that running took 184 hours and 7 mins, which means my average pace was around 9.45/mi — this includes road, trail, stroller runs etc.

Continue reading “2017 in Running”

Review: Running Of The Bulls 8K Photos

I ran the Running Of The Bulls 8K race on Saturday morning. Loved it. It was a 5 mile route around downtown Durham, NC. We got a really good day for it as well. Mid 60s at 7.15am.

Unexpectedly, I got to run with race with my second oldest kid, Noah. One of our friends had to drop out so Noah ran in her place. Really proud of him keeping up with me the whole way.

I finished the race in 39:56 minutes, averaging 7:58/mi. Overall position 292/1318, and in my age group, 36/86. Very pleased with that.

Bull City Running Company hosted the race and did a great job. Also, thanks to James Scott Farin AttorneysĀ for sponsoring the event and providing some free race photos. šŸ™‚

I loved how the race day coincided with the weekly Durham Farmer’s market, so after the race we were able to grab food from the food trucks. Liz, Xander and Katie came down to hang out with us afterward. We will definitely be signing up for next year.

Noah and me at the start line.
I think this was around mile 4.
Kandy, Jeremy, me and Noah after the race.