Weekly Recap 4-22 to 4-28-13

This week culminated in my fifth half marathon, the Kings Mountain Half in Clover SC.  Besides that it was a pretty normal week.

Starting weight – 245.0
Monday – Walking – 45 minutes
Tuesday – Run – 3.5 miles
Wednesday – Bodyflow – 60 minutes
Thursday – Run – 2 miles
Friday – REST
Saturday – RACE – Half Marathon – 13.3 miles
Sunday – REST
Total mileage – 18.8 miles
Finishing weight – 242.0 (3 pounds lost)

Good loss this week, some (or all) of which may be water weight loss from the race on saturday, but I’ll take it. Hopefully this can continue.

Kings Mountain Half Marathon – Clover, SC – April 27, 2013

Today I completed my 5th half marathon and my first as an official Half Fanatic.  I was very excited about this race since it was going to be run on a Revolutionary War battlefield and would count as a new state (South Carolina) for my “Races Run” map.  The reality of the race didn’t live up to the (self inflicted) hype.  Some was good, some was bad.. overall the results I’d say are “mixed”.

I got up at the lovely hour of 4AM to get ready and make sure I had everything and then hit the road at 5:30AM.  I was planning to get to the race site around 7AM since I had assumed it was a hour and a half drive.  I ended up getting there a little after 7 and got a little lost in the park and ended up turning around twice before I found the parking area.  The signs that said “RACE —>” were a little misleading since I wasn’t sure if it meant “The race is this way” or if it was marking the course itself.  I made it with plenty of time, but a little slight panic to start the morning.

They delayed the race start a few minutes to allow for some last minute registrations and ended up selling the last few spots to hit their max of 400 so that was good.  The race director/MC guy had a few last words to say, and then decided right there in front of the crowd to propose to his girlfriend.. I think she said yes, but I bet she’s gonna beat him about the head and shoulders later on tonight.  A 3-2-1 countdown and we were off.
















The first mile included a massive climb and the thoughts “Oh crap.. this is going to be hilly”  Yeah, I know.. it’s Kings MOUNTAIN, but still.  You never know how these things are going to be until you’re actually out there.  Another Fanatic came up behind me (I didn’t think to ask her name) and we chatted for a bit about how that was a brutal way to start a race and then she passed me and went on her way.

12:41, 12:11, 12:46 Not bad first couple of miles, I knew I was taking this one slow.

At mile 4 I had to stop to use the bathroom at the Visitors Center, which is the first time I’ve had to make a mid-race pit stop but I guess it was bound to happen eventually.  I’m glad the restrooms were open since I doubt I could have made it another 2 miles to the portajon at the turn around.  I felt much better after I stopped and clocked my fastest two miles in miles 5 and 6

19:12, 11:54, 11:17

At this point we took the only turn of the course off the main “Park Road” and onto a gravel road.  This reminded me of where I normally run out at Salem Lake, so it wasn’t too bad but I did have to watch my footing.  At this point I started running into people who were coming on the “back” portion of the out and back and had quite a few people shout out “Good Job” “Keep going” “You got it” etc and got several high fives, including one from a lady in a Disney Marathon shirt who put her arms up and hollered and made a point to come to my side of the road to high five me.  That always helps, and this was a very friendly supportive crowd.  Miles 7, 8 and 9 were on this gravel road.

12:41, 12:33, 14:23












View of the gravel road after the turn around point.  By mile 9 I was starting to walk some as the hills were absolutely killing me.

Mile 10 we got back onto pavement, and this was a little bit faster of a mile than mile 9, but at this point I was quite literally the only soul in sight.  I looked in front of me and behind me and there was no one else around.  I was alone on the course which was a striking difference to Disney and Raleigh which were more crowded races.  At this point I also started losing steam and at mile 11 my calves were cramping.  I walked most of the way from 11 to the finish.











13:01, 14:50, 18:19, 17:53

At the mile 11 aid station I grabbed a Power Bar Harvest Energy bar in Peanut Butter Chocolate chip flavor, which at that point was about the most delicious thing I’d ever had in my life (It was actually pretty good) since I felt like I needed something, although I can’t say that it helped. At that point I was spent.

I made it to the finish (according to the main clock) at around 3:08.  Faster than New Orleans or Disney, and slower than Raleigh and Mistletoe.  Not a bad finish, but not my best (I was not shooting for a PR).  It took me a second to figure out where to get my medal (they were not handing them out, you had to go get it).  And then looked for the post race food…. which ended up being only more powerbars and gels.  Grabbed a Powerbar (different style) which was gross but I ate it anyway and then headed to my car.  I noticed my Garmin was still running, and so I shut it off at about 3:11 but I knew it added on a couple minutes.













Pros: Cheap race ($40), New State (SC), Had several people talk to me with my Half Fanatics shirt, well marked course, very friendly crowd.

Cons: Very boring course, no monuments, cannons, flags etc that I would have expected from a “Battlefield” run, very disappointing.  Post race food was non-existent. Chip didn’t work so I don’t have an “official” time.

I was very undertrained for this race (my own fault) especially for the hills.. so moral of the story.. you can run a half marathon on two weeks training, but I don’t recommend it.

Weekly Recap 4-15-13 to 4-21-13

Well, this has been an interesting week.  All the craziness in Boston focusing everything on runners and our sport, all of us gathering together to support those killed and wounded and celebrating when the men responsible are caught.  I ran my 5 miles on Tuesday in my yellow and blue Half Fanatics shirt to support the yellow and blue of the B.A.A.  Friday I got in a crummy treadmill run of only three miles, but today me and Laura knocked it out of the park with a nicely paced 10 mile run around Salem Lake.  I’m very happy with this run and it gives me a lot of confidence going into the Kings Mountain Half this weekend.

Starting weight – 245.0 (from 3-31-13)
Monday – Spin – 50  minutes
Tuesday – Run – 5 miles
Wednesday – Spin – 50 minutes
Thursday – REST
Friday – Run – 3 miles
Saturday – REST
Sunday – Run – 10 miles
Total mileage – 18 miles
Ending weight – 245.0 (unchanged)

My longest run by far since Disney also translates into my longest weekly mileage in quite a while.  The last four weeks have increased from 3.5, to 5, to 9 and then 18.

I’ve got to get “back on the wagon” so to speak with the healthy eating, now that I can exercise again.  I signed up for this weekends race to motivate me and get me back into that “training” mindset again.  Now I just need the nutrition portion of that to follow suit.  I haven’t logged a weight in 3 weeks, and weighing in today at exactly the same as I did three weeks ago, which is both good and bad. Not gaining, but not losing.  Need to work on this.

I have another Half on the radar as possible for May, which will help me stay in that training mode hopefully before the Grand Adventure (details to follow).

Boston Marathon Attack

By now, the grim realities of the attack on the Boston Marathon yesterday have fully sunk in.  Yes, it really did happen.  Yes, it was NOT an accident.  And scariest of all, it could have been 10 times worse.  Along with the two explosions that killed 3 and wounded well over 100, at least five other unexploded devices were discovered and disarmed that either didn’t go off or were stopped before they did.  If all 7 devices had exploded it likely would have killed dozens and injured thousands.

From a tactical standpoint, the attack was a failure.  All the devices did not detonate, the mass casualties expected were not achieved.  But the attack was a failure for a second more important reason.  They underestimate us.  We will not back down, we will not cower in fear, we will NOT hand over the keys to the White House and surrender to country to some foreign power and we will not stop looking for you until we find you.  You would think people would know this already, but it seems they have to learn it again.

Runners, along with the rest of the world, are asking today Why? Why Boston? Why the marathon? Why innocent spectators, police and runners? What the hell did we do to you?? The answer sadly, is…. there is no answer.  There is no Why.  There is no REASON… it will never “make sense”.  Whether it’s the Oklahoma City bombing, the 9/11 attacks, or the daily bombs and attacks in the Middle East, the Holy Land or Africa, they never seem to get the desired effect, the ends never justify the means.  But they still do it.  Senseless, needless, violence for no reason at all.

Runners are a very tightknit group.  We are a family.  Whether you belong to a small local group like the Twin City Track Club, or a large worldwide group like the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs, we ALL knew someone who was at Boston yesterday.  At least one person.  Some of us knew dozens.  To the best of my knowledge all of the people who I knew who were there are OK.  Yet, those of us not affected go through our own version of “Survivors guilt”.  My friends are OK, someone else’s friends are not.

I love this picture that my girlfriend Lisa shared on Facebook.











The truth is, we amateur distance runners are pretty crazy, stubborn sonsofbitches.  You don’t tell us we can’t do something.  We’ll do it just to spite you.  We will torture ourselves and push our bodies to the limit to accomplish what was said couldn’t be done.

We try to keep our thoughts focused on those who died and were injured, but it’s hard not to wonder how this will affect us personally.  I think it’s human nature.  What will this mean for future races? More security? Lower participation numbers? Higher fees? We don’t know.  We won’t know until we sort this all out.  But as with marathon runners we will just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Always forward, never back.

We run now for those who cannot.  We run for Boston.

Weekly Recap – 4-8-13 to 4-14-13

Last week was a very interesting week, which led up to a interesting (and busy!) weekend.  However, nothing can come close to the absolute rollercoaster of emotions from today.  From the sheer excitement and elation of jumping back into the racing fray and signing up for my next half marathon this morning, to the gut wrenching sorrow and heartbreak over the tragic events in Boston.  The entire running community is shocked and broken today and we will have to join together to pull ourselves back together again.

Monday – Spinning – 50 minutes
Tuesday – Run – 3 miles
Wednesday – Spinning – 50 minutes
Thursday – REST
Friday – Weightlifting – 30 minutes
Saturday – RACE – Hope for Hospice 10K
Sunday – Walking – 30 minutes
Total Mileage – 9.2

No weigh in this week, at least not an official one.  Based on the peek I got on the home scale it would not have been good.  I’ve got to get back on the wagon and I’m hoping getting back into a serious training regimen will do the trick.  I’ve been floating by the last couple months with no drive and no motivation.

As I mentioned above, I signed up this morning for the Kings Mountain Half marathon on April 27th.  Yes, I realize that’s only two weeks away.  I had this race on my list way back in January, but I never registered for it and when I cleared my race schedule it got tossed aside.  I thought about it and thought about it, and since my financial situation had improved and I felt like I could spend a little money on running again I decided to take the plunge and sign up for it.  The race is entirely on park property at the Kings Mountain Battlefield park, and one of the perks is since there are no roads to close and no cops to tie up directing traffic this race has no time limit.  NONE.  Not a long one like 6 or 7 hours, but NONE.  Granted, I would assume they would want everyone to finish by sunset and the park closes, but you could take 12 hours if you wanted.  This means I can go as slow as I need to, and walk as much or all of the course if I need to, since I’ve not been training that hard lately.  This will be an “easy” run and take it nice and slow.  As Amanda said “You won’t PR, but you’ll have a good time!”.

Hope for Hospice 10K – April 13, 2013 – Winston Salem, NC

Yesterday was the Hope for Hospice 10K in Winston Salem.  My second race of that distance since my knee injury at the Disney Half Marathon.













This event was a combination of a 5K and a 10K with well over 1000 people, although the majority did the 5K.  There were “timed” and “non-competitive” options for both races with a large portions of the 5K participants being walkers who were honoring a person or a group.  This did lead to some momentary confusion at packet pick up though when they handed me the bib and it didn’t have a chip attached, or a tear off bottom portion (for manual scoring) and the bib didn’t have my name on it.  By the time I got out to the car it dawned on me that I had signed up for the “non-competitive” option for the 10K.  I can time myself with my garmin so I don’t need an official chip time and also I’m not in danger of winning any awards, so since the un-timed version was $5 cheaper I took advantage of the discount.  They also had a post race BBQ and Beer “Pig out” which cost (go figure) $5… so hey, that worked out didn’t it?

This race started and finished at the Wake Forest football stadium and shared some portions of the course with the Beat the Heat 5K.  This is a tough course, hillier than it looks and also very industrial with buildings and concrete and no trees.  The only shade on the course was at the turn around point when we ducked through a couple residential neighborhoods.

Like most races of this distance it was an out and back course, with a few dips through a couple of neighborhoods around the turn around, presumably to add a little bit of distance.  The problem with out and backs is when you have a long screaming downhill section at 2.5 miles and you know when you turn around then you’re going to have to come UP that hill between miles 4 and 5.

For some reason towards the end of the race I had the time of 1:08 in my head and I was thinking that this was the time I had posted at the St Leo’s and then I was trying to remember what my 10K PR time was and I couldn’t figure it out.  Turns out, 1:08 is my 10K PR.  I finished in 1:13 at St Leo’s.  Imagine my surprised when my 1:11 finish here was still not quite a PR, but faster than St Leo’s.  It certainly felt “harder”, and yes, over the course of 6 miles, two minutes does actually make a difference in how hard you’re going.

The top of that monster hill, and a water stop, gave me a slow mile 5 and was my only mile slower than 12:00.  My splits were 11:30, 11:33, 11:16, 11:38, 12:29, 11:41.  Shave a minute off that mile 5 (to be close to the other splits) and maybe not walk through the water stops and I would have been pretty close to a PR.  Given the conditions and my current level of training I’m still in “just finish” mode and not even trying to PR, but I came surprisingly close.

As I was finishing I could see the 5K walkers on the other side of the road and I was thinking “Well this is going to get interesting” but a credit to the race organizers for having two finishes.  The 5K course was a true out and back and finished at the “Finish” arc that we passed about 100 yards after the start, while the 10K was an out and back but on the back in leg jogged around the stadium from the other direction, so we had an empty road and then the balloon arch that had been the Start was now the 10K finish.  They had tables set up with water and gatorade in between the two finishes.  Well done by the set up crew.

After the finish I grabbed a cup of water, a small bottle of gatorade and then told myself “walk.. walk.. keep moving… walk”.  I have a bad habit of plopping down somewhere without letting my heart rate come down slowly and then feeling like I’m gonna pass out or be sick.  That cooldown walk is very very important.  I grabbed a half a bagel and some other bready type things while I waited for the BBQ to start.  They started pouring the beer a little early so I grabbed a beer while I waited for them to set up the food, and yes, in case you’re wondering, 10:30 AM is “Beer-thirty” if it’s post race.

The BBQ was supplied by Red, Hot and Blue which I love so I was pretty excited to get my hungry hands on some.  Two trips through the BBQ line and 3 beers, I’m pretty sure I got my $5 worth.  After that it was head home for a much needed shower and then tackle the rest of my day which was gonna be jam packed.

Big shout out to the lady from Black Girls Run who I managed to pass three times on the course, once on each side of the turn around and then near the finish, who screamed and yelled and gave me a high five all three times.  The other volunteers were also very cheerful and loud and supportive.  That ALWAYS helps.  When I work an intersection or water stop I always cheer.  The last two races I’ve been scoring at the finish which makes it harder to cheer, but you still can some.

Disney announces changes.

It’s been about 3 weeks since I posted my blog post about what I thought of the addition of a 10K and four race Dopey challenge to marathon weekend.  You can read about it here, where Disney Jumped the Shark.

Yesterday, Disney announced on their blog (check it out here) some changes to the upcoming Marathon Weekend in 2014 (Whose registration opened today).  I guess enough people grumbled and complained and proclaimed, like me, “I’ll never do a runDisney event again!”.  I like the changes and I really hope this is from listening to runner feedback and not something they just stumbled upon.

Less Runners: This is a biggie.  The races keep getting bigger and bigger and the course doesn’t change.  The roads around and through the Magic Kingdom are very narrow.  Of course it doesn’t say how many it will cut off at and Disney always keeps it’s numbers close to the vest.  The reported max the last couple of years of 27,000 runners is “unofficial”.  They could be only dropping it down to say 25,000. Who knows. But smaller in this case is better.

More corrals: This is another big improvement, which ties in hand in hand with the first one.  They say they will add more corrals with fewer people to even people out along the course.  I mentioned in my race recap the difference between Rock and Roll New Orleans (26 corrals of 1000 people) vs Disney (7 corrals of ~4000 people) and how that affected the race.  Even though both had the same number of people, the New Orleans race was never crowded.  Being back in Corral 23, it felt like “Oh it’s gonna take 3 hours to get to the start” but they sent the corrals off every 2 minutes and it moved quickly and in less than 45 minutes I was starting my race.  At Disney I was in Corral 5(E) and they went off every 7 minutes and it took me almost 40 minutes to get to the start.  Same amount of time, but rather than constantly moving, first we didn’t move for the first three corrals at all, so that was 21 minutes of nothing.  Then we moved forward with D and E, then D went off and we had the whole 7 minute wait for us to go and then it was elbow to elbow the whole time.  New Orleans was MUCH better at the start.

Nearly All runners must submit times for corral seeding: OK, this one is a little half and half.  As far as getting people in the right corrals it’s a good thing, because I can’t stand someone faster than me (happened in New Orleans) screaming “ON YOUR LEFT” and shoving people out of the way, when he really had no business starting BEHIND me.. I was in one of the last corrals, he could have (and should have) started way up front.  I heard some Goofy runners got stuff all kinds of funky being in Corral A for the marathon but then back in Corral G with the slow pokes for the half.  So this may help with that.  However, when it says “most” runners submit a time… I know a lot of people dive into a disney race as their first race of that distance.  So they won’t have a “seeding” time at either a half or full marathon distance.  Are all the first timers gonna be in the back? Will there be 1000 people in Corral A but then 5000 in Corral H (or however many they add)? We’ll see how this works out, but it’s a “mostly” good change.

The other two changes listed don’t affect me much since it’s about women’s cuts for the shirts and also keeping this years 20th anniversary Marathon course the same for the upcoming Fulls.  Those are nice for those that it apply to.

I think I will still probably steer away from the main Marathon Weekend, and go for smaller events like the Wine and Dine and the Tinkerbell, but I’m very glad to see Disney listening to us, the runners.  We are their money makers for that weekend.  I know if 25,000 decide not to go, there’s another 25,000 waiting in line, but sooner or later if you tick enough of us off, you’ll have an empty race that makes no money.

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.