Cause + Event 10K, Portland Oregon – Nov 16th, 2013

A little over a week ago Lisa and I ran a 10K together, which was not only my first race in the state of Oregon, but also benefited a cause near and dear to her heart, Camp Lutherwood, which is a camp for pre-teens up to high school age down near Eugene.  But, the unique thing about this race was the fact that it didn’t just benefit Camp Lutherwood, it actually benefited about 20 different charities who went through an application process and were chosen to benefit.  Now, here’s the cool part.  WE as runners chose which charity our money went to and so 100% of OUR registration (proceeds minus cost) went to Camp Lutherwood.  Sure, if the money had been split equally it may have been a better windfall for some of the smaller charities, but the “causes” that drew a bigger crowd of course raised more money.  We had about 10 people or so (that I know of) who were running for Camp Lutherwood, so they probably only picked up about $200 but hey, that’s $200 they didn’t have.

The course was laid out in a large plus sign shape in the Bethany neighborhood of Portland which is on the west side of the river almost out to the Beaverton/Hillsboro area.  The course started and finished at a shopping center, and then traveled a short distance up and down one of the main roads in that area.  The main part of the course was along a greenway which crossed that road.  We started on a short jaunt to the right side out and back, and then circled around to the other side (so, still a right turn but to the left from where we originally started) another leg of the greenway that was about twice as long as the first stretch, so this was the majority of the race going from about mile 2.5 till a little past mile 5.  The 5K that was running along with us (started 10 minutes after us) came down the main road and then only took the left onto the long stretch of the greenway.  This became problematic for those of us in the back of the 10K crowd since not only did we have some of the slower 5Ker’s in front of us that we had to navigate around, but we also had some of the faster (but still walking) 5Ker’s coming back at us from the other direction.  This wasn’t a problem at first, but then as the front runners of the 10K started coming through and they had to navigate around the 5Kers in front of them along with 5K and 10Kers in the opposite direction things got dicey in a hurry.  Thankfully there was only a short stretch of this.  We reached the 5K turn around point and we kept going and once again had the course to ourselves.  By the time we reached the 10K finish and turned around most of the 5Kers were done and we didn’t have too much trouble on the rest of the way.

In true Portland fashion it rained on us the whole time we were running and then the sun and blue sky came out as soon as we were done. It wasn’t awful, and didn’t rain too hard, but just sprinkled most of the way.  We both complained a few times of when a rain drop just managed to catch us square in the eye.

We finished the race in 1:17:25 which ended up to be dead on a 12:30 pace.  This was a decent pace for Lisa (although she’s had some speedy runs lately) and it was for me a much faster pace than any of my recent training runs.  This was a great finish and very encouraging as we continue our half marathon training.

We also got a cool medal! (We had to pay extra for it, but only $5 or so, and totally worth it, it’s huge and solid and really nice!)



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 has jumped the shark…

Well, they’ve finally done it.  They’ve gone too far.  I knew something like this was bound to happen but I didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

runDisney has made the announcement on the Disney Parks Blog of a new race and a new challenge for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend.   The Goofy’s Race and a half Challenge (running both the half and full) has been around since 2006.  At some point along the way runners added the 5K to the mix for an “unofficial” challenge referred to as the Dopey Challenge, since if running a half and full marathon back to back is Goofy than surely running a 5K, half and then full back to back to back had to be “Dopey”.

Well, Disney has now made the Dopey challenge official… with a twist.  They’ve added a 10K to the mix (who’s “host” and medal will be Minnie Mouse) and instead of the Dopey being a 3 race challenge they went ahead and jumped to a four race challenge and made it the 5K, 10K, Half and then Full back to back to back to back.  The haul for this is 6 medals – 5K, 10K, Half, Full, Goofy and Dopey.  You get credit for the Goofy challenge for doing the Dopey, which I imagine is only fair.

I don’t like this for a myriad of reasons.  First, this pushes the 5K to Thursday, which complicated travel plans (and days off for those of us who, ya know, work for a living) and lodging.  If you want to come in on Saturday just to run the Full marathon only on Sunday? HA… good luck. Second, the 5K starts at 6:30AM, and the 10K start at 5:30AM just like the half and the full, so you are looking at four mornings in a row of getting up at 2AM or so to get to the start, even if you are staying on park property.  I don’t see how this is fun.  It was bad enough doing it for one race like I did. Last, it’s a money grab… pure and simple.  I love Disney, I really do, but this goes too far.  How much does it cost for the “honor” of four days of torture.  A cool five Benjamins ($495 until June 18).

This past year I paid $150 to run the half marathon by registering for it as soon as it opened.  This year the opening registration is $160.  Ok, so it’s only $10, what’s the big deal.  The big deal is it goes up every year.  Until they reach the point of diminishing returns (i.e. the price gets so high the race does not sell out) it will continue to go up.  That means in 10 years the Disney half marathon will cost $250.  Think about that. I saw someone who posted on the Half Fanatics facebook page that the Dopey was only $20 more than the combined prices of all four races.  Wait… $20 MORE? You don’t even get a discount for registering for multiple races? Damn the extra medals and the extra shirt, most other places with race combos (like the Flying Pirate or the St Leo’s this year) the price for the double is LESS than the individual prices.

Thinking back to this past year’s race experience I shudder to think what next year will be like.  Almost 60,000 runners between the three races.  The expo was MOBBED even when I went on it’s second day.  The race course was MOBBED or as one of my fellow racers so eloquently put it “We were ass-to-elbow the entire time”.  Adding an extra race and an extra day is only going to make this worse.  Now that the shorter races are part of the challenge, they are going to sell out faster and they are going to fill up with people who are doing the challenge rather than who just want to do only the 5K, or only the 10K.  Will they cap it like the Goofy so that the 5K and 10K are not 100% full of Dopey participants, yes, I’m sure they will, but it will still take a huge chunk out of both of those races. 25%? 50%? Where will they cap it?

I have other Disney races I want to run.  I’d like to run the Disneyland half in California (or even the Tink).  Lisa wants to run the Wine and Dine Half, and I love EPCOT so how can I say no to that, and her and a whole host of her friends want to do the Expedition Everest Challenge.   But, do I want to go back to the circus that the Marathon Weekend has become? Hell no.  Not even close.  You won’t see me there unless Lisa is just dying to run the Half (or the new Minnie Mouse 10K).

I know this will be an unpopular opinion, most people seem to be all “HECK YEAH!” and “BRING IT ON!” but I don’t like it.  That’s just me.  If you wanna go be Dopey for a week and spend $5000 in Central Florida in the off season, go right ahead.

Upcoming Race Schedule – Fall/Winter 2012

I was reading through my old blogs and came across one of my “seasonal” Race Calender updates and realized I hadn’t done one in a while, and my upcoming schedule is pretty much set in stone at this point.  So here goes! For the second half of 2012.

September 15th – Run for the Greenway 8K – Greensboro, NC
This race just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  This race falls on my second weekend of half marathon training which calls for a 5 mile run.  Well why not a 5 mile race? The race benefits a newly built greenway around downtown Greensboro.

September 29th – Salem Lake 10K/30K – Winston Salem, NC
Since I’m planning on doing all my Raleigh long runs at Salem Lake anyway (for the hills) and this race is put out by my fellow TCTC buddies over at Ultimate Race Management this is a must do.  It should be a great race.  Obviously I’ll be doing the 10K and not the 30K (18 miles! WOW).

October 20th – RHABA 10K – Rural Hall, NC
I’m divided on this race.  It’s rumored to be a flat and fast course, so I originally planned to set a 10K PR here, but since it’s 2 weeks before my half marathon and this is my half marathon “tune-up” I may have to hold back a little bit.  I don’t want to burn myself out or risk injury so close to the big race.  Although my 10K PR is right at a 12 minute mile pace, which now is my targeted half marathon pace, so if I’m slightly faster than that (for the shorter distance) I can set a PR without messing up my half marathon training.

November 4th – Rex Healthcare Half Marathon – Raleigh, NC
My second half marathon, this is a big race for several reasons.  First, this race has a 14 minute/mile (3 hour) pace/time limit.  If I want to have an “Official” finish at this race, I’ll have no choice to set a new PR and get under 3 hours, I think I can do this based on my current pacing and the pace I will attempt to train at.  Second, I lived in Raleigh for about 10 years during my two tours of duty at NC State, I love Raleigh, and the race starts and finishes at the NC State Memorial Bell Tower, so this will be a awesome and sentimental race for me.  I was trying to choose between Raleigh and Myrtle Beach and Raleigh won out. Last but certainly not least, my family will be there! My best friend Gray and his wife Katie (who may as well be family) will be there, and my sister and her bf as well as my parents are coming up for the weekend as well, so I will have a cheering squad and support crew with is very unusual for me, I’m used to running solo!

November 24th – Charlotte Checkers Charity 5K – Charlotte NC
Just recently got the email about this race from the Checkers (and 5 minutes later a forwarded version from my brother’s fiance) and it looks cool, and I also just discovered they are not running the Freisen 5K this year for the Hurricanes, so this will be my hockey race.  The registration includes a ticket to the game that night, so run a race, go to a hockey game and hang out with my brother and his fiance? Win win win!

December ?? – Mistletoe 5K – Winston Salem NC
I don’t know the exact date for this race yet, but this will be my December race, to make sure I run a race in each month of the year.  Put on by the local YMCA and I assume it benefit’s them and their charities.  Hope to run this one with my buddy Jen if her hip is healed up.

And that will finish up 2012 with 17 races including 10 5K’s, 2 8K’s, 3 10Ks and 2 Half Marathons. (85.8 racing miles).

Matt’s 10K Run to Fight Hunger – Greensboro, NC – July 7th, 2012

This was not an organized race, no registration, no fee, no awards, (but a t shirt!), just show up and run.  Group run to raise money and food donations for the Second Harvest Food Bank.  The guy who organized it, Matt, has run every day for the last 21 years.  Over 7000 days!  And the streak continues.  I don’t know if today was the anniversary of it starting, but we were celebrating his 21st year of the streak.

The run started at the Off’N Running store on Lawndale Dr. in Greensboro (I was parked across the street).  We wound our way through a neighborhood to Pisgah Church Road, and then onto the Atlantic and Norfolk Greenway, which the majority of the run was on.  The greenway is relatively new (I know the starting portion didn’t exist when I used to live there) and it connected to a pathway through part of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, which was very cool, and then up through the Lake Brandt Apartments, up to Lake Brandt and then back.  I used to live on Cotswold Ave right there between Battleground Ave and Old Battleground Ave and visited GCNMP quite often, so this was quite literally my “old stomping grounds”.  I used to walk around the battlefield, both for exercise and mere enjoyment.

The hills in the Lake Brandt area were brutal, and I had to walk some after the turnaround.  The heat and humidity played a factor as well I’m sure.  I carried my bottle of water with me and grabbed a bottle from one of the volunteers on the second half of the course and drained them both.  I also had to stop and wait for traffic lights in a few spots since this wasn’t an organized run with roads closed and we were running on sidewalks/greenway.

By the time I had finished, they had tallied up the donation results, and 161 people showed up for this impromptu run, and donated enough money to buy 60,000 cans of food.  I think the sign said the Food Bank can buy them 4 for a dollar, so that is well over 10,000$.  Also, filled up two of the cardboard donation boxes with food items.

The shirt was nicer than I expected, it’s actually a tech shirt.  Even though they had said show up early to get a shirt, I almost didn’t expect to get one.  Either they would run out, or they would only have size Large or something like that, and I expected a cotton tshirt so thanks to whomever bought/donated the shirts, they are nice!

Not my fastest 10K, but I wasn’t really trying to blow this one out of the water.  I was worried about my left knee, which was sore and tender yesterday but it felt fine, no worries at all, it was the hills and heat that slowed me down.  All in all not a bad run. Splits: 11:52, 11:56, 12:31, 14:48, 14:31, 15:04, 12:46 (0.19).  Elevation: 1626 ft Ascent, 1595 feet Descent.

Thankfully, no one had to run naked to keep the “streak” alive.

Weekly Recap – 5/6/12 to 5/13/12

This week was an interesting week.  I was gearing up for my 10K so I played around with my running mileage a little bit.  I intended to do 4 on Tuesday and then 2 on Thursday, but Tuesday I had a work catered lunch and a wedding shower on the same day and running later than normal on a full stomach made me feel tired and nauseous.  Managed to get in 3 miles and then called it a day.  My race was good but BRUTAL.  Very hilly course, but I ran the entire distance.

Starting weight – 263
Monday – Spinning – 50 minutes
Tuesday – Run – 3 miles
Wednesday – Yoga – 60 minutes
Thursday – Run – 2 miles
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Race – 10K
Sunday – Yoga – 60 minutes
Ending weight – 262 pounds (1 pound loss)

Kind of surprised to see a lose this week with the way I ate, but also a little bit disappointed I’m having to lose back weight I had gained the week before.   My race went well and I didn’t run nearly as slow as I felt like I was going, so I guess it was a good week!

Shelton Vineyard’s Running the Vines 10K – May 12, 2012

This morning I ran my second 10K and boy was it a doozy.  I knew it was going to be hilly, since this was up in the foothills but wow, this made the St Leo’s course seem flat by comparison. I carried my camera with me on the course, so this will be a very picture heavy blog.  I got up early and hit the road since the race was about an hour away.  Had to do my check in and packet pick up pre-race since I couldn’t come up the night before.

They gave us a very nice tech shirt and a it has a cool logo on it.  The said shirts were only guaranteed for the first 200 registered, so I was expecting a fairly small crowd for this race but I was wrong.  My hopes of placing in my age division dashed before we even started.

Found a nice stranger to take a pre-race picture of me.  Ironically enough not a few minutes later another couple asked the same group of girls to take a picture for them, I guess they just looked friendly.  Runners are awesome people.  Sadly, if my coworker Carmen was there, I didn’t see her.

Here we are waiting for the start.  They had signs up for the different pace groups, and so I was back in the back with the 12 minute mile group, but I think most people just ignored that.  I was in the back of the pack the whole way.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

This is fairly early in the race, maybe a half mile in, can still see the crowd ahead of me.  After a while I got to the point I was pretty much running alone.

Don’t remember exactly where on the course this was (between mile 1 and 2 I think) but this was the view to my right…….

And this was the view to my left.  On the far right is Pilot Mountain in the distance.  That’s what I was trying to take a picture off, but hard to center while running 5 miles an hour, at least I got it in frame.

I didn’t take as many pictures the next couple of miles because the course started getting hard.  It seemed like the entire course was uphill, even though the elevation map (and my Garmin afterwards) said it was more down than up, but it sure didn’t seem like it.

A little bit before 3 miles we came to a portion of the course that cut into the vineyard, just a little shoot in and then turn around back out to the road we had been on.  Well this was not an easy little shoot in, after the 3 mile marker and then getting up to the turnaround point was a HUGE uphill, very steep… I almost had to stop and walk but I willed myself to keep running.

A nice close up of the race’s namesake vines.  I believe these were Sauvignon Blanc, but I’m not 100% sure.  The sign was on the other side of the road and they may not have been the same.

From here to the end the course was pretty brutal.  Miles 4 and 5 were mostly uphill.  I was very very tired at this point, just had to keep putting one foot in front of the other and tell myself not to stop.  After about 5.5 miles we turned back onto the main road for the winery and it was thankfully “all downhill from there”.

Entrance to the winery.. getting close!

In the home stretch.. almost there.. keep going……


Rounding the corner to the finish… YAY!

And what was waiting for me at the finish?

Screw a banana… a Bojangles Bo-Berry biscuit? Yes please!! I just burned 1230 calories, so I can has one.  I’ve actually never had one of these.. I used to get the cinnamon biscuits all the time, but they don’t make those anymore.  It was really good.  So worth 300+ calories of post run recharge.

So some stats from the race.  As usual on a race day, I got caught up in the crowd and started out way too fast.  So I was slowing down the entire time, no negative splits today.  Got tired around 4 miles, and even though I kept a good overall pace, I felt slow and sluggish, but I guess that can be deceiving.  My splits were: 10:55, 11:21, 11:34, 12:32, 12:43, 13:40, 11:17 (0.25).   Overall pace of 12:05, which is not bad at all.  About a minute a mile slower than my 5K PR pace, and actually faster than I expected to run this race in.  I finished in 1:15:34 on my Garmin (Chip time 1:16:01).  I don’t know why they bother with chips when they have a pad at the finish but not at the start, my last two races have been this way.  Only “cost” me 30 seconds, and would not have effected my age group or overall place, but still.  That delay from starting in the back could be huge! The overall ascent was 505 feet, the overall descent was 627 feet but it did NOT feel like it was more downhill than up.  Somehow this is less ascent and descent than the St Leo’s race which really makes no sense. Surely this was hillier? Odd.  Not sure how accurate this is, since it didn’t seem to make a lot of sense with my hike in the mountains either.  Although this was a one way course and not an out and back, so we went up and down all the St Leo’s hills twice.  I finished 13th in my age group, out of I don’t know how many.  I didn’t even look at my overall place, but I think it was in the 300’s.

After the race I stayed to do a tour and tasting at the winery.  The other two people on the tour didn’t seem to mind I was sweaty. LOL  I’m glad I stayed, since the last time I came here like 7 or 8 years ago, I was not at ALL impressed with Shelton Wines, in fact I would say I hated them.  But I know my wine tastes have changed in the last few years, away from sickly sweet muscadines and more into dryer, crisper whites.  The tour fascinated me as a food science person, I recognized most of the equipment.  Unfortunately the bottling machine was not currently running, would have loved to see that in action.

Not a great picture in the dark, but this was one of the aging rooms, called the “Wine Cave”.  The Estate Chardonnay was aging in here.

They had some older Riesling on sale for 6$ a bottle, and I had limited cash, so I bought two bottles of that, even though the newer Reisling was better, I could have only gotten one bottle, couldn’t pass up that kind of bang for the buck.

Here’s a link to the vineyard if you are interested.  Shelton Vineyards

  • 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.