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.


St Leo’s 10K – Winston Salem, NC – 3-16-13

This was my second time running the St Leo’s Roadraces and my first time repeating a race (not counting back to back times I walked the Autism Ribbon Run in Raleigh).  I knew what to expect this time, and knew to temper my expectations based on my performance and injuries of late.  I just wanted to finish this without issues and make it through.












They made a change to the race this year that I wasn’t totally thrilled about, they started the 10K a full 45 minutes after the 5K (even when it was only 10 minutes after I’ve always contended they should start the 10K first) under the idea that people could run both the 5K and 10K, and as far as I know only 2 or 3 people did it, so was it really worth it? The back of the pack 5K finishers were still coming in when it was time to start the 10K so that delayed the 10K start for a few minutes while they set out cones to funnel the 5K people into the finish while we were getting started, so it was really an impediment to both groups.   Also, the guys who finished 1st and 2nd in the 5K also finished first and second in the 10K, which kudos to them, but is that really fair to the other runners? Not that I will EVER sniff first overall, but the guy who was 3rd in the 10K could have been first if those other two were dueling it out for the 5K win and not in the 10K.

The race started out pretty crowded, which was fine with me since I was committed to take it slow and easy.  I wasn’t 100% sure how my knee was going to handle this and hurting my quad on Tuesday was just another complication. At least the long wait for the start gave me plenty of time to stretch out and do some warm up jogging.

The group thinned out pretty quickly as we move out onto the course and the faster guys took off.  I stayed with the same people most of the time and there was one guy who was with me pretty much step for step.  He was doing run walk intervals and it seemed like he would get right up beside me and his watch would beep to walk and then he would drift back as I kept going with my slow pace and then he would catch up to me again and then walk and so on and so forth.  He ended up finishing a couple seconds before me as either he was on a run interval or he was dashing to the finish and ignoring the intervals.

The weather was gorgeous, you couldn’t have asked for better.  High 40’s to wake up to, mid-50’s by race start. It was a little bit chilly at the start, but warm enough for shorts and short sleeves and warmed up a lot by the time the race was over, but not hot.  (Last year was ROASTING).  Worked up a good sweat but didn’t feel like I was going to die.  Perfect.

The whole time I kept monitoring my knee and was constantly surprised when it felt just fine.  I tried not to think about what “could” happen later in the race, and just keep going and deal with that if and when it happened.  Around mile 4.5 I started getting a sharp pain in my right foot but it wasn’t muscular so I wasn’t sure what it was. To be honest, I thought I had a rock in my shoe and debated on whether I should stop and dig it out.  It was annoying but not excruciating so I decided to keep going.  When I got to the finish I found a place to sit down and when I took my shoe I discovered it was not a rock but rather a pretty nasty blister.  I’m not sure what caused that since I’ve never gotten a blister from running before.  It was pretty gnarly though.












I have to say though, if that’s my only “injury” I’ll take that all day long.

I didn’t have any kind of time or pace goal for this race, really only wanting to “finish”, or as I thought might be the case to “survive”.  I ended up with a faster pace than I anticipated and felt good doing it so that’s always great.  I finished in 1:13:20 for an overall pace of 11:44 per mile and splits of 12:14, 11:51, 11:37, 11:42, 11:44 and 11:37 plus 0.25 miles at 10:40 pace to the finish.  That’s not a PR, but it’s not far off (Rural Hall 10K – 1:08:29).  I’m very pleased with this result! And I’m also very very glad that I didn’t get hurt again.  That would have been very discouraging.  This state of constant injury since about December is really wearing on me.  It just seems like it’s one thing after another.

Highlight of the Race: Early on, a little boy, about three years old, gave me a high five so hard it stung my hand.  He swung at the shoulders and put his whole body into it.  That how ya do it!

Next race will probably be the Susan Komen 5K in May.

Trader Joes

We finally got a Trader Joe’s in Winston Salem.  I’ve been wanting to go there for a while after hearing great things about it, but the closest one was in Charlotte.

I’ve written on this blog before about Organic and Whole Foods and the debate about whether they are “better” or “healthier” etc, but one thing that is not debatable is they are more expensive.  Anything with Organic/Natural/etc on the label carries a heavy premium.

Trader Joe’s is a lot like Aldi’s in that a lot of their products are private label, and they only carry a limited amount of name brand stuff.   Because of that their stuff is cheaper.  Whether or not the organic is “better” I don’t mind buying it if it’s the same price or cheaper.

I was killing time before a company dinner in the same shopping center, so I didn’t have a whole lot of time, but I glanced around at a couple of things stood out to me, one was frozen organic sweet corn (frozen corn has become my veggie of choice) for 1.99 a bag.  Which is similar in price to the Lowes Food brand I’ve been buying.  Some of the produce prices looked good as well, like a 2 pound bag of apples for 2.99.  1.50$ a pound is great for apples of any description, much less organic honeycrisps. The bananas were priced individually, and I’d have to do some math to see what kind of deal 19 cents each is… but I guess if they weight about a half pound each, then 38 cents a pound is about on par with other stores.  The organic bananas were slightly higher, maybe 24 cents each, but still cheap (as bananas always are).

I ended up buying a couple things to take home.  I got a box of TJ’s brand “golden crackers” which have no artificial colors or preservatives.. and surprisingly are cheaper than Ritz.  I got a small hunk of cheese to go with those crackers, which wasn’t too bad, pretty normal cheese price, 4.49 a pound.  I also go two bottles of Charles Shaw wine, the famous “two-buck Chuck”, (which now costs 2.99, but still a steal).  I learned on the website the Trader Joe’s labeled wines (they have more than just Chuck) are wines from large scale wineries who either have extra, or a contract falls through or other things happen and they need to offload some wine (or juice) without having their name on it, so this is actually GOOD wine, but since it’s “no-name”.. it’s cheap.  It’s not just “cheap wine”.  I look forward to trying them.

Hopefully I’ll get to explore more when I go back.  I may get turned on a little bit more to this wholesome stuff if I don’t have to go bankrupt on it.

‘Cause I’m only Half Crazy

When I was in New Orleans at the Rock and Roll Marathon expo they had hats, shirts, magnets and stickers with the slogan “13.1 miles, ’cause I’m only half crazy” It’s a tongue and cheek poke at marathon runners, who are crazy and a statement that half marathoners are crazy, but decidedly less so.  That may be debatable  but I digress.

I have officially joined the ranks of the “Half Crazy”.  As I mentioned in a previous post I decided to run a local half marathon here in Winston Salem, the Mistletoe Half Marathon on December 1st.  I’ve now registered for it and made it official.  Those of you keeping score with the home game will realize that is in between Raleigh (Nov 4) and Disney (Jan 12).  Yes.. I stuck a half marathon in the middle of my half marathon training.  That’s what makes it crazy.

There is a method to this madness.. somewhat.  During a long run around the lake Laura and I were discussing different races and realized that Mistletoe would give me a streak of 3 half marathons in less than 90 days, which is one of the qualification requirements for the running club the Half Fanatics.  In fact this is the lowest, or easiest qualifications.  Other levels include such feats as 12 in 12 months, 52 in a year (one a week), 2 in two days, 3 in 3 days, and other ridiculous things.

The other reason I decided to run this race was because it’s local (no hotel, no long drive, no travel expenses), it benefits one of the local YMCA’s of which I am a member of the region (YMCA of Northwest NC, not a member of that specific branch, but they all work together), and the registration was only 45$ which is ridiculously cheap for a half marathon.  That’s only 10-15$ more than most of my 5-10K’s and it comes with the usual half marathon swag of a shirt, a medal, and (rumor has it) a kicking after party.  With all that, how could I say no?

When I finish the qualifying races and join the Half Fanatics, I will be among friends.  Not just the nearly 3000 new friends I’ll make who are already club members, but Amanda (from Eat to Live, Live to Run), who opened this Pandora’s box and got me into running in the first place, became a member in March after completing 4 half marathons in 36 days, becoming Fanatic #2040. Laura, who I run with at Salem Lake for my long runs, is a member of both the Half Fanatics (#620) and the sister club the Marathon Maniacs, so she’s crazy and a half.  I blame Laura for this… this was all her idea.

Social Running

When I joined the Twin City Track Club, our local running club, I wasn’t sure whether or not I would participate in any of the social events or not.  Honestly, I wanted them to have my 20$ because they do such a good job orchestrating local races with timing and finish lines etc etc. I wanted to support them whether I did any “club” stuff or not.

My first social run experience, a breakfast run, did not go over so well.  I had a bad feeling that I was gonna be way slower than the other runners, but this was supposed to be an easy, slow, talking pace.  Well, I guess for these guys that’s a 9 minute mile instead of 7.  They left me in the dust.  One guy fell back to stay with me, and I apologize I can’t remember his name to thank him, but we ran our own thing, a slightly different route than the rest of the runners at about an 11:30 minute mile pace, which at that time was still blazing fast for me, but I managed to hang on.  We were the last two to finish, but talking and meeting people and eating afterwards was cool, so I guess it made up for it.

This afternoon’s run was a whole different animal, it was fun, and crazy and bizarre and just all kinds of stuff rolled into one.  Tonight was the TCTC Hash and Splash, a hash run followed by a pool party (which subsequently got rained out).  I had read about hash runs, and so I had a general idea how they worked, but here’s how it went down.  Two guys (the “hares”) went out with a 10 minute lead and a couple bags of flour.  As they ran they threw down little handfuls of flour to mark where they had been.  But, that also lay down false trails on side streets and intersections.  You want to catch the hares, the hares do not want to be caught.  The route is winding and circuitous on purpose to be as confusing as possible to the chasers.  So after the 10 minutes, we the chasers head out.  This is where things get interesting.  Even if you’re not familiar with a race course before hand, you kinda “know” where you are going, follow the crowd, the barricades, the water stops etc.  For this run, you literally have no clue at all where you are going.  We have to follow the trail of flour, sniff out the false leads and see where the hares are leading us.  We must have been a funny group of people to see we were running all over the road and sidewalks and the people up front were yelling out “MARK” when they saw a flour mark on the curb.

Once again, this was a pretty fast crowd, and I knew I’d not be able to keep up, so I hoped I could stay on the trail.  The false leads did help slow the pack down to allow me and some of the other runners to catch up, but the guys at the front were so fast, they would sprint down a side street and determine it was a dead end long before I got there.  I ran with my buddy from work Carmen (the trail runner) so that was very cool, and her brother and his wife were there (from the Ultimate Runner), in fact he was one of the fast guys up front sniffing out the trails.  I did OK for about 2-2.5 miles with the opportunities to catch up, but then I started to peter out a little bit and as the trail wound it’s way back towards Bill’s house it was more straight and true with less false leads to slow people down.  One of the guys (Robert I believe), hung back with me and we actually took a short cut as we got closer to familiar territory and were the first ones back.  I ended up running 3.3 miles, those that followed the full trail somewhere between 3.5-4 and those that were doing the side street running to sniff out the trails were pushing up towards 5.  So it was something for different experience and pace levels, but I surely would have gotten lost if they had left me on my own.  Thankfully the guys at the club tend to watch out for each other.

I’m starting to get more into the social side of running, and even without the group runs I have noticed it is a little bit like a secret underground community like “Ohh you run? Nice.. where do you log your miles” etc… it’s all word of mouth and you don’t hear a lot about it, and if you’re not in it, you’d never know it existed but there’s this huge subculture of people out there pounding the pavements.

Now that I’ve started to come to some of these events, I start seeing the same people over and over again at races and other things. One lady recognized me from the breakfast run, Bill knew my name from Facebook and that I had been at the Beat the Heat and the Stony Knoll runs.  Robert, who stayed back with me, knew he knew me from somewhere but couldn’t think of where, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but realized it as I was writing this I had also talked to him at the breakfast run.

And no, Amanda, I didn’t forget the beer.

Foothills Brewing Brewpub Review

I’ve always enjoyed several different kinds of beer, but lately I have really been expanding my beer library with new brands, new styles, microbrews, local brews etc.  So I definitely wanted to write about yesterday’s trip to Foothills Brewing Company here in Winston Salem.

This was my second trip to Foothills, so I knew somewhat what to expect, but this time I was going in with a purpose.  I was going to order the sampler and try as many of the different beers as they would let me, and then also I was taking notes to decide what I liked and what I didn’t.

From left to right: Salem Gold, Pilot Mountain Pale Ale, Torch Pilsner, Hoppyum IPA, Seeing Double IPA, Peoples Porter and Foothills Hefeweizen (seasonal).

I arranged the beers to drink them in order of increasing bitterness, which was not quite the order on the table.  With the exception of saving the porter for last, I drank them in the order of SG, Hefe, TPils, PMPA, HopIPA, DoubleIPA and then the Porter.  I also finished one completely before moving on to the next, instead of a sip of this, sip of that etc.  I didn’t take too many notes, but I wanted to touch on each one.

Salem Gold – A light ale (3.75% alc), this beer is intended to be light and refreshing and crisp and it hits this one out of the park.  Very refreshing, low bitterness, all around good brew.  Jen really liked this one, and ordered another pint of it after we finished our samplers.

Foothills Hefeweizen – (5.2% alc) This was the current seasonal for FH, and I added it on to my sampler since it wasn’t part of the rotation.  I almost don’t have words to describe this beer it was very unusual, not in a bad way, but just different.  Probably being wheat beer, where most North American beers are more rice oriented.  Also, unfiltered so give it a different mouthfeel and flavor profile.

Torch Pilsner – (5.3% alc) I don’t have a lot to say about this one.  My note for it is “OK”.  I guess it just didn’t wet my whistle, but Jen sure liked it a lot.

Pilot Mountain Pale Ale – (4.75% alc) This beer was more bitter than I expected it to be, which since I can appreciate the bitterness of a beer, but I’m not a fan of overly hopped beers, I knew I was in trouble with this one since I hadn’t even gotten to the IPA’s yet.  Was good, but more bitter than I expected.

Hoppyum IPA – (6.2% alc) With an International Bittering Units score of 70 (compared to Pilot Mt’s 43) you would have expected this beer to be much more bitter, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be.  This was a very drinkable IPA, which is a style I am not a fan of, but this one wasn’t that bad to be honest.

Seeing Double IPA – (9.5% alc) I was dreading this beer, but I was willing to try it.  It was as expected, pucker your face bitter.  Besides the high alcohol content, not a lot going on there for me.

People’s Porter – (5.8% alc) I decided to save the porter for last as a “dessert” after we were done eating, and let me tell you, after the double IPA, this beer was so smooth and didn’t taste bitter at all.  It might be a little different if you drank it first, or drank it by itself.  I did rather enjoy this one. Jen on the other hand did not, and so I drank her sampler of the Porter as well.

Ok.. So in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy the majority of what I tasted (and neither did Jen honestly) which is not to say they are not well made beers because they are, but just not of a style and flavor profile that apparently either of us enjoy.  The IPAs and the PA were just too bitter for my taste.  However, the Porter and the Salem Gold were good.  And the Carolina Blonde (Cream Ale) that I had the first trip I went (and Jen had a couple of at the ballpark) is very very good.  I’m certainly not gonna trash the place because I didn’t like some of their styles of beer.  They seem to be very well crafted beers that are probably dead on representations of the styles they are patterned after.

Also, this place is not just about beer.  The food is AMAZING.  The first trip there I got the Cuban sandwich, which was beer braised pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickles and hot mustard.  Oh my goodness it was good.  This time around I got the Pub Melt burger, which was a burger with cheddar, provolone, bacon, sauteed onions and mushrooms served on thick toast.  Very very good, with hand cut homemade french fries as well.  I didn’t care for the salsa (in the sampler pic) but the chips were very good.

Unfortunately I was ready to eat by the time the foot got there and neglected to take a picture of the burger.  Oh well, maybe next time.

Overall, this is a great place.  The atmosphere is amazing, the food is excellent and when you find which style of beer you like the beer is top notch as well.  As I said, I’m not going to bash them because I didn’t like certain styles of the beer that’s not their fault.

Overall – 4 stars (out of 5) – The 4 stars is not to say there is anything negative that deducted the one star, but rather just to leave room to grow in case some place just really blows me away and earns the 5 stars.  Since this is my first review I don’t want to set the bar so that every place I review gets 5 stars.

Old Salem Farmers Market

My running buddy Jen had a special treat for me today.  She had me meet her where she works at Salem College and took me on one of her running routes that included some of Old Salem, the Salem Creek Greenway and the Salem College and Academy campus.  Was a great 5 mile run and was good to see her again since it had been a month (since the Komen!).

After our run, we walked over to the Old Salem Farmers Market which started up a couple weeks ago and apparently is Saturday mornings at Old Salem.  Lots of local farmers with mostly veggies, but also some meat, eggs and cheese and some jams/preserves etc.  Also soap/lotion/candles etc.  Was small but there was a neat assortment of things.

Jen got a bunch of stuff that I don’t even remember including some free range eggs, lettuce, squash, other greens and veggies.  I got some squash (that was going fast, nearly had to fight her for it!) and some red potatoes, a head of butternut lettuce, which I’ve never heard of and know I’ve never seen, and also from the Winkler Bakery an apple cinnamon  scone.

I didn’t bring my camera with me, so no pictures from the run or the market (in hind site I should have, was a really neat run) but here’s my haul from the market.  And all this for under 10$!

Although the scone has mysteriously disappeared……. oh that’s right.. it’s in mah BELLY! Very yummy.

  • 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.