Another Fun Race Week-end! Race Recap for Race 13.1 Greensboro

Race 13.1 GreensboroLast week-end, Hubby and I traveled a couple of hours away to Greensboro, North Carolina, for a half marathon – Race 13.1 Greensboro.  I ran this race last year in it’s first year.  I was impressed by the organization, etc., but, swore that I’d never do it again.

It is a pretty killer course – you know the ones – where the race application says “rolling hills”. Explanation – you will climb mountains!  :-)  But, when registration opened, I signed up.  I had a score to settle with this course.

Greensboro is a city that Hubby and I like to visit.  We will go there and stay at our favorite hotel for special week-ends (anniversary, etc).  If you are ever in Greensboro – I highly recommend the O Henry.  The rooms are nice,  wonderful atmosphere, the breakfast buffet is amazing and the staff treats you like royalty. Many times I have headed out for my morning run while there and I’ve been greeted upon my return with water and a towel.  Love it!  The race was on Sunday, so we headed down the road late Friday morning for the week-end.

We checked in, unpacked and then headed out to the packet pick up which was at a local running store.  My race bib was #1000!  I thought that was pretty cool!  And, of course, I couldn’t just pick up my packet – I had to buy some new running clothes.  (Hello, my name is Judy Mick and I have a running clothes problem!).

After that, headed out for a nice steak dinner and then back to the room to just chill for the rest of the evening.

Saturday morning, we slept in until after 7:00 – yes, that’s late for us!  I went for an easy run and then we hit the breakfast buffet for a late breakfast/brunch.  Love a breakfast buffet that has steel cut oatmeal!

What should you do if you are wanting to rest your legs for a race the next day?  Go to the movies! We hit the 11:30 matinee (Avengers – yes, we are geeks!).  Got a liter of water and settled in for 2 1/2 hours!  Movie was great!

Hubby asked me what I wanted to do after – I said that unless he had something that he wanted to do – I was good with just going back to the room.  That’s what we did – and I had a nap.  Another strange thing – I never nap during the day!

Went out for pizza later – which was really good! – and then turned in early for an early morning start!

Side story – I’d been watching the weather for the last week or so.  The weather had changed daily. First it was 80% chance of rain, then 20%, then 100%, then 40% then 60% afternoon showers…….well, you get the idea!

So, when I got up at 4:45 – the first thing I did was to check the weather.  No rain – but, it was 68 degrees and humid.  Well, at least there was no rain!  Had my Pepsi and Banana PowerBar – then we headed over to the race.

Road Race Ready

The race started on time – so, we were off.  As we started – downhill – I suddenly remembered why I swore that I’d never do this race again after last year.  Oh, well, too late now!

I knew with the heat and humidity – and it’s weird that I’m saying this, because I usually run better in heat – that I was just going to take it easy.  I just went slow and was trying to help people who were struggling.  At the turnaround, the guy said – “you’re almost there” – I thought the lady I was running with at the time was going to slap him!

But, I was surprised since I was running so slowly how many people were behind me.  Either they went out too fast and bonked – or they were taking it easy, also.  Well the hills may have had something to do with it!  :-)

It is a really nice course, tough.  You travel through a couple of nice neighborhoods – not a lot of people come out to cheer – but several do.  But, you don’t have to worry about support – the volunteers that they have along the course are stellar!  Friendly and supportive!  Love them!

The policeman are great, also.  I always thank policemen as I run by.  Usually, they just smile and sometimes wave.  I don’t blame them – hundreds of people thanking them probably gets old.  But, most of the Greensboro policemen (and policewomen) actually say “you’re welcome”.  It just made me feel good!

Anyway, at the end of one of the neighborhood cul-de-sacs you go into a park area.  The few miles that we run through there are nice.  This year was much better than last year, though.  Before this race in 2014, it had rained – a lot.  In one area of the park you have a part that is dirt – not that far, but it’s dirt.  There are 5 or 6 stone steps that you can walk over when it’s puddly.  Imagine an out and back with everyone trying to go over these same stones at the same time.  Not fun.  Happy to see it dry this year and easily passible!

After the turnaround, I was surprised to see so many runners behind me.  I tried to offer encouragement to each of them.  Most of them were shuffling – but, they were still getting it done!

The last 2 miles of this course are pretty killer.  You see the 13 mile mark – but, then there is also the last hill to get up.  There are always some casualties here.  I had picked someone that I wanted to pass before the finish.  I was almost up with her when someone came out to run it with her.  She really sped up and I thought I had no chance.  I don’t know if I changed gears or she slowed down – but, I did manage to pass her before the line!

Crossing the line.

Crossing the line.

My wonderful hubby was right there at the finish line with my Pepsi!  Boy, did it taste good!  Have I ever told y’all how much I love that man!  He looked at me and said, “You forgot how hilly it was, didn’t you?”  Yep, he’s right!  We didn’t stick around and headed back to the hotel for me to clean up and get packed to head home.

As I was finishing getting dressed, I looked at my phone and saw that the results were in.  I looked to see and ……what????  I actually finished 3rd in my age group!  Nice surprise – and totally unexpected.

The O Henry is across the street from the mall where the race started and finished.  I figured that they may still be there tearing everything down. And, they were!  I happily picked up my medal!

Finisher’s Medal and Age Group Award

I know that I may have gotten an award because of attrition – but, hey, an award is an award.  I persevered and got it done!  Another side note – the last few people finished in over 4 hours – there are some troupers!

I consider myself a fairly decent hill runner.  I always seem to push the pace when I going uphill – but, these last 2 half marathons have been brutal.  Looks like I need to hit the hills more that I have been.  Especially after I looked at the course for my next half coming up in 3 weeks.  The ending looks like the elevation map of the Tour de France Alps endings.

race 13.1 raleigh

 

Oh, well!  Like I said – better hit the hill work!

 

Tips For Pre-Race Jitters

Pre race jitters

Road racing season is right here!  Running a road race is exciting and a great goal to have. You train hard and prepare mentally and finally race day is here. You know that you are ready – so why are you so nervous? This is common among all runners. I doubt if there is a runner out there who has not had pre-race jitters at one time or another.  Even elite runners still get nervous before a race.  Some runners that I know get them every time before a race. So, just know that you are not alone. Here are some tips to help get you through them. Many runners get anxious because they are afraid that they are going to forget something important. This is especially true if you are traveling out of town to a race. Have a checklist before you leave home with what you need. Type … {Continue Reading… }

Be A Streaker In June!

If you’re reading this – chances are that you are already a runner and know the benefits of running.  Among the many benefits are: Keep your weight in check – especially important as you get older Stay heart healthy!   Runners are able to improve circulation and reduce the risks of stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure. Stay healthy mentally.  Runners have been shown to deal better with stresses and anxiety in their lives.  Something or someone stress you out – go for a run! Sleep better.  Studies show that runners have a better quality of sleep than non-runners. Be more energetic.  Runners have more energy throughout their day. Be overall happier.  Can you say “runner’s high”?  Even if you never achieve that – don’t you always feel happier when you finish a run and in a better mood? Meet new friends. I just went through each of those … {Continue Reading… }

Maybe It IS Alright To Be An Old School Runner!

Old School Running

Yes, that’s me.  Not only am I “old” – by chronological years only (I don’t feel my age!) – but, I have some old school running habits. One of my old school ideals is that I refuse to run with a phone.  Cell phones have their purpose in life.  And, I admit, mine is usually always near.  With one BIG exception – when I’m running.  I’m sorry but that’s my time.  I may be solving some of the world’s problems (OK at least mine).  We know that running helps us to clear our mind and think things out.  So, I don’t want to be disturbed by my phone ringing.  I also don’t want the extra bulk of my phone when I’m doing something like speed work or hill repeats. I’ve actually been in some races when the person that I’m following will stop dead in their tracks to take a picture … {Continue Reading… }

Race Recap – Charlottesville Half Marathon

Charlottesville Half Marathon

Well, this was a doozy!  And, to be honest, I was super happy to cross the finish line!  Here’s a little story about my experiences with the Charlottesville Half Marathon. The week before the race my life was busier than usual.  I had to work the drive through at our Dairy Queen all week.  It was super busy and a couple of days – there was no time even for lunch.  My runs in the morning felt alright – but, hey – it was tapering! The day before we left – I went for an easy 2 miler.  It felt horrible!  The whole week seemed to manifest itself into a crappy last run before the race.  I had to forget about it – but, it lingered there until race start. Charlottesville is about a 2 hour drive from where we live.  Once we arrived, we went directly to packet pick up. … {Continue Reading… }

How’s Your Running Cadence?

running cadence

Now, I was in band all my years of junior high and high school – so, when I first hear the word “cadence”, I immediately think of the different drum cadences that we marched to.  But, in running, it’s something different.  Well, different – but, not different.  We’re still talking about foot strike. Cadence in running (also talked about as a runner’s rhythm) is defined as the turn over rate of the feet or legs. Basically running cadence is how many steps you take per minute.  Many studies have been done on running cadence – but, the general rule of thumb is that a runner should be at 180 steps per minute (90 steps per each foot). It doesn’t matter if you are an elite runner or not – this seems to hold true. The reason that cadence is so important is that running at the proper cadence can prevent injuries. … {Continue Reading… }

Hill Repeats – They Hurt So Good!

Hill Repeats

I’ve got a few coaching clients that have some hilly races coming up.  So, I’ve worked hill repeats into their plans.  It also got me to thinking – I’ve got a half marathon coming up in a couple of months that had some hills that kicked my butt last year.  Maybe I’d better get out there and get some hill repeats done. This morning – I did just that.  Ran to my hill of choice (about a mile away) that is approximately 1/4 of a mile.  Did my repeats as planned and then cooled down on the run back home. I was pleasantly surprised by how well they went.  And, the pace that I was able to keep up.  And, by the fact that my best one was my last one!  Wasn’t expecting it to go so well since it had been awhile since I’ve run hill repeats.  There’s plenty … {Continue Reading… }

Heading Back Outdoors From Winter On The Treadmill!

running tips

We have finally made it through the winter!  Spring arrives this week!  I am really looking forward to warmer weather – and warmer runs! This winter has been really hard in some parts of the country – and many runners have done the bulk of their running indoors on the treadmill.  With the ice and snow, it’s so much safer.  I know some runners who do all of their running during the winter indoors.  It may have to do with the weather, the darkness, etc.  And, that’s perfectly fine.  They are getting their runs done – and that is what’s important. However, when you are transitioning your runs from the treadmill to outdoors – there are some things that you need to keep in mind.  You can’t just go from running every day on the treadmill to running every day outdoors.  Doing so can make you at risk for injury. … {Continue Reading… }

Running And Caffeine – It’s A Good Thing!

Now, before I get started – I know that some reading this are poo-pooing this.  But, read on.  If you have to have that coffee (or Pepsi in my case) before you go for a run.  It’s a good thing! I’m currently working on 2 new designations for me as a running coach.  So, I’ve been reading books and gaining more and more knowledge about runners and what makes them tick.  One of the study materials that I’m going through now went into detail regarding caffeine.  I’d like to share some of the findings with you. Several studies have been doing pertaining to caffeine and running.  One of them was by the Australian Institute of Sport.  They found that athletes who took a small quality of caffeine could exercise up to 30 percent longer than those who did not. They found that caffeine improves performance and endurance during prolonged exercise – … {Continue Reading… }

Finishing Up The Week Strong!

Happy Runner

This has been one of my best running weeks in years!  Allow me to tell you why! Even though I’ve been running every day for as long as I have – there was a few years (due to several circumstances) that I wasn’t able to put in the mileage that I was accustomed to. I’ve still got over a 4 mile a day average – which is great and I’m not complaining.  However, during those hard years – my 2000 – 2500 mileage years really dropped. Last year was the year that things settled down in my life – and I was able to start increasing my mileage again.  I completed the first full marathon that I’d done in years and that gave me the boost that I needed. When I look back at some of my older running journals – I see some of the mileage that I was doing … {Continue Reading… }