2014 by the numbers

Last year, I did a 2013 by the numbers, so this year I decided to do the same. I more than doubled my race miles from last year with 207.2 race miles this year in 19 races!

  • 2 5ks
  • 2 10ks
  • 8 half marathons
  • 1 marathon
  • 3 relay races
  • 2 obstacle races
  • 1 5-miler
3 PRs, including break the 1-hour mark in two important races: 10k (Run! Ballantyne, 58:24) and The Bear 5-miler (57:54) and getting closer to breaking the 2 hour mark for the half marathon (The Scream, 2:03:03). Technically, I had a new 5k PR at the Mobile Loaves & Fishes race in Texas at 22:48, though it wasn’t actually a full 5k (more like 2.6 miles per my Garmin) so I’m not really going to count that one.

05.05.14 – my first marathon at the Pittsburgh Marathon! It was a great accomplishment and I’m interested in trying again so that I can break the 5 hour mark. Next marathon TBD!

177.5 miles run with the Charity Miles app, including 209.6 puppy and kitten vaccinations for ASPCA and $74.86 dollars for cancer research for Stand Up to Cancer (159.5 miles for those two charities).

2,866,379 steps (or 1,327 miles) based on my steps tracker… sort of. I had an Actiped for most of the year, but lost it during a soccer game in September, so most of October was just guesswork with me putting in all of the soccer games I played (but losing any of the random steps I took throughout the day) and then in November, I got a FitBit, so I’ve definitely been tracking almost everything I’ve done since then. Unfortunately, when I went to pull my final 2014 number from the website my company uses to track our steps, they had started to upgrade their site so that it will integrate with new devices (like the FitBit) and I lost all access to my steps for 2014! Their customer service team was able to send me the number of steps I had through September, but I lost all of my data for the last quarter, so I have no idea what kind of steps I took in October so my steps look a little bit shorter than last year, but I’m guessing I’m missing around 250,000 steps or about 121 miles.
  • 2012: 2,862,941 steps or 1,373 miles
  • 2013: 3,398,726 steps or 1,553 miles

10 states visited, including races in 9 of them (I only skipped Maryland): I started off the year traveling to Florida for the Ragnar Key West race, then the next month, I went the opposite direction and ended up in Kentucky to Run the Bluegrass. On my epic road trip for this year, I left North Carolina, went through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and finally arrived in Pennsylvania for a night before flying to Texas (which, after a week, I flew back to PA then headed to West Virginia for another race) and then I rounded out the year with races in South Carolina and Ohio!

How was your 2014?

Race #19 – First Day of Winter Half Marathon

After injuring my knee about a month ago, I’ve only done a handful of miles, so I wasn’t sure how this race was going to go, but my hotel was non-refundable, I needed this race to “moon up” in Half Fanatics (6 halfs in 6 months!) and I wanted to check Ohio off my list of states, so I decided I would wing it, see how things went and just not push myself too hard. It was a lot colder than I am used to (low 30’s) and the night before the race I kept laying out different options for what to wear – I didn’t want to be too hot, but I certainly didn’t want to get too cold either. I settled on an Under Armor mock turtle neck under my long sleeve Santa shirt (courtesy of the Santa Hustle half marathon last year), coupled with long running pants, gloves, my Ragnar headband and a hand warmer to keep me warm while I waited at the start line (and eventually during my final lap after having to do some walking during lap 6).

Since it was a small field of runners (111 total finishers for the 50k, marathon and half marathon combined), I stayed in my car until about 10 minutes before the race was about to start and then meandered down to the pavilion where all of the runners were meeting for a debrief before we got started. The laps were a little less than 2 miles each, so runners in the 3 distances started in different directions, with the half marathoners heading on short walk to our starting line, which was conveniently next to a mailbox which also served as the unicorn crossing area. Once the volunteer who took us to the start line radioed back to those at the pavilion that we were ready, the firecracker went off and we started our race. It didn’t take too long for the speedy folks in the other 2 races to catch up with me and it was a nice experience to be able to see the runners who were running so effortlessly again and again in the race (I got lapped at least 3 times by the lead guys and at least twice by the lead women). My favorite was a guy whose shirt said “You just got geezered” – he passed me twice before I finished. He said his daughter made the shirt for him after he kept beating her in races and she said she was tired of being geezered. It definitely got a laugh out of a few of the other participants as he told that story.

I probably started off a bit too fast, but I was feeling good, so I really just ran by feel and didn’t pay too much attention to my pace, but I did follow the 4:1 running / walking ratio. There were a lot of fun signs  

along the course even though there weren’t really any people, but every 2 miles we got to see all the volunteers cheering, so it was enough to keep us going.
  • Mile 1 – 10:32
  • Mile 2 – 10:42
  • Mile 3 – 10:53
  • Mile 4 – 11:07
  • Mile 5 – 11:50
  • Mile 6 – 11:36
  • Mile 7 – 11:05
  • Mile 8 – 11:33
  • Mile 9 – 12:24
  • Mile 10 – 11:47
  • Mile 11 – 14:01
  • Mile 12 – 15:45
  • Mile 13 – 12:35
  • Last .44 – 12:39
Average pace: 12:02
Official time: 2:41:24

The course itself was fairly flat and technically a trail race, but the trail was very wide and in spots went through a field, basically following the property line of Riverside Park. This was my first time doing a loop course and it was actually pretty fun – it was great to see the same runners over and over again and everyone was very encouraging. I’ve been contemplating doing a race (let’s be honest, several races) with the Mainly Marathons series and this was the perfect introduction into that world without having to commit to 5 days in a row only to realize I hated it! 

All finishers received a Asics finisher’s jacket (specific to the race they ran) and a cedar stamped finisher’s medal, plus those who finished top 3 in their age group got hand made bird feeders. Overall, I really liked this race and with the exception of the cold weather, it was a pretty perfect day. I was concerned about how my knee would hold up since my longest run since hyperextending it was 6 miles, but I didn’t have any issues beyond my normal IT band pain (had to walk all of the short downhill portions after lap 3) and the only other issue I had was making the rookie mistake of taking some Gatorade after lap 5 which caused some stomach distress in lap 6, but after a quick pit stop, I was back to running for the final lap. After I warmed up a bit back in my hotel, iced my knee and took a quick nap, I felt good enough to go wander around the town a bit as the sun was setting. More pictures to come of the rest of my tour of Portsmouth!

Have you ever done a looped course like this? Did you get any races or running in over the holidays? Have a great New Years!

Race #18 – Thunder Road half marathon

I’ve finally done one of Charlotte’s biggest races! Most of the races I’ve run in Charlotte have been 5k to 10k distances, with only one local half marathon under my belt (RaceFest earlier this year), so it was fun to participate in a local race with 6,000 other runners between the marathon, half marathon and 5k races. 

This is one of the marquee races that the Galloway training group that I participated in last fall and winter train for, so they invited all current and former program participants to meet uptown, break into pace groups and then head to the start line together. An added benefit was that we had a warm place to meet up and hang out before the race, which was an awesome perk for a 28 degree morning (Garmin says it felt like 21).  I got up there around 7:00am and we all hung out together until a little after 7:30 before we headed down toward the start line for a 7:45 start time. It was perfect timing, with only a handful of minutes standing around in the cold before the race started. 

The program director recommended that we not start our run / walk ratios until we hit the bottom of the first hill since the majority of the first two miles would be downhill and that would help us get spread out from the crowd a bit. I knew I wasn’t going to keep up with the 10:00 pace group the whole time, but I thought it would be good to start with them and just see how it went. We definitely went out way too fast and when the group decided to start their watches for their 5:1, I decided I would stick with 4:1 and just go at it on my own. I actually started my watch when we started the race, but just ignored the walk breaks until we hit the bottom of the first big hill.

  • Mile 1 – 9:15
  • Mile 2 – 9:06
  • Mile 3 – 9:48
  • Mile 4 – 10:54
  • Mile 5 – 10:21
  • Mile 6 – 10:37
  • Mile 7 – 10:41
  • Mile 8 – 10:33
  • Mile 9 – 10:16
  • Mile 10 – 10:54
  • Mile 11 – 10:12
  • Mile 12 – 10:18
  • Mile 13 – 10:45
  • Last .1 – 8:39

Official time: 2:16:00

I slowed down a bit in mile 13 to take some pictures of uptown (including the one in the top right) and then I wandered around the finish line area for a bit, but after I stopped running, I got cold quickly, so I didn’t stick around too long. The race had very good crowd support throughout the race with several bands and people in every neighborhood that we went through. My favorite was around mile 9 (I think) where there were a ton of people dressed up for Thanksgiving – turkeys and pilgrims and tons of high fives!

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this run and I definitely want to do more of Charlotte’s longer races in the future. I also want to start volunteering at some of these races – there’s no particular reason that I haven’t in the past, but since I know I’ll be traveling for races next year and won’t necessarily be able to do all of the Charlotte ones, it would be fun to give back to those who come to my locale to run!

Have you done all of your big local races or volunteered for them? 

Race #17 – 485 MADD Dash 10k

As with most cities, Charlotte seems to be under construction almost all of the time. One of the biggest projects that has been going on since I moved here over 6 years ago is the 485 loop the goes around the city and ties the two major interstates (77 and 85) together. The project is finally coming to an end (though I heard there might be another delay) and to commemorate this achievement, MADD partnered with NCDOT to host a fundraiser 5k and 10k on the newly finished but not-yet-open portion of the 485 loop north of the city. It really was a once in a lifetime type race and the age group winners received a “medal” that contained a portion of the old 485 asphalt. 

The weather looked beautiful and while it was much colder than we had been experiencing, the sun and asphalt helped keep us warm as we ran. The biggest issue we had for the day was the same that plagued the NY city marathon that morning – wind! As I was running with one of my friends, we both decided that if 40,000 people could do a marathon in that wind, we could handle a 10k. I didn’t really go into the race with any time goals, I just planned to run with my friend and have fun with this unique event. We definitely started out a little fast, but I think we also expected the race to be a little flatter than it ended up being – apparently when you’re driving in a car you don’t realize that you’re going uphill!

  • Mile 1 – 9:15
  • Mile 2 – 9:25
  • Mile 3 – 9:35
  • Mile 4 – 10:15
  • Mile 5 – 11:45
  • Mile 6 – 10:10
  • Last .2 – 7:05
Official time: 1:01:50

Overall, this was a fun race and even though the weather wasn’t perfect, it was a good introduction into the fall / winter racing season. Have you ever done a unique race like this that’s likely only to happen once in a lifetime?

Race #16 – Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon

Two weeks ago, I was at the beach and now we’re in the middle of our first winter storm of the season. Luckily Charlotte only had cold rain to deal with yesterday, but the mountains of NC had around 8″ of snow! 5 of us who all play soccer together decided to run the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon together with 2 of them running their first half marathons. We decided to make a weekend out of the trip and headed down on Friday, played some golf, then hit the beach on Saturday for some relaxing in the sun and taking the dogs for their first experience with the ocean before taking on the half marathon on Sunday morning.

Two out of our group were planning to stay together and target about a 2 hour finish while the other three of us were planning to do a run-walk ratio of 8:1 and just run at a comfortable pace and enjoy the race. 

  • Mile 1 – 10:37
  • Mile 2 – 10:45
  • Mile 3 – 10:38
  • Mile 4 – 10:16
  • Mile 5 – 10:01
  • Mile 6 – 11:24
  • Mile 7 – 14:59 <– bathroom break
  • Mile 8 – 10:27
  • Mile 9 – 10:23
  • Mile 10 – 10:19
  • Mile 11 – 10:09
  • Mile 12 – 9:34
  • Mile 13 – 9:18
  • Last .35 – 7:49
Official time: 2:21:32

We had to take a pit stop between miles 6-7, but without paying too much attention to our pace, we did exceptionally well at slowly speeding up through the race, which I wasn’t aware of at the time, but I think this was my best paced race. I struggled a little bit at the beginning because I’m not used to running 8:1, but eventually I settled into the rhythm of our run. Around mile 11, two of us decided to pick it up and the girl I was pacing decided she wanted to try to break 2:20 with only about 12 minutes to go… she ended up finishing at 2:20:42, which was awesome for her first half marathon and especially because she hadn’t run more than 4 miles at once during her training (I definitely don’t recommend that!). 

The Good
Although I paced someone for a 10k last year, I’ve never done it for a half marathon and I don’t typically run with anyone, but we had a lot of fun coming up with potential Halloween costumes during the run (winner: running clothes + bottle of rum = rum runner) and I think we entertained the people around us with our conversation. The weather was perfect for the race – even though Saturday got up to 80, Sunday stayed in the mid-50’s. 

The Bad
I still disagree that there are “5 miles of beachfront running” – 4.65 miles per my Garmin and 95% of that is on the road where you have to look between buildings to see the ocean. The post-race party was pretty small and in order to get into it, you had to get the wrist band put on at packet pick-up (to confirm you’re over 21), but when we got to the entrance, the people checking wrist bands also made us show them our bibs… which was not on any of the communications, so we had to go back several blocks to the car to get our bibs. Not a huge issue, but definitely a pain when we were told all we needed was the wrist band. 

This was a great weekend trip and I think we’re planning to do it again next year. We were able to rent a condo that was dog friendly, a 5 minute walk to the beach and was right in the middle of the start and finish lines, so it was really convenient for dropping off the car at the finish line the morning of the race before heading to the start line. Plus, each year they change up the medal (always an 8″ surfboard as the base), so you get a really cool medal to add to your collection.

Have you ever done the Myrtle Beach mini marathon?

Race #15 – Run the Valley half marathon

In September, I did another half marathon (#5 for the year) and this one was just over an hour away from Charlotte, so I just got up really early (4:45am!) to get on the road and to the start line before the race started at 7:30. There wasn’t really much traffic on the road that early on a Saturday morning, so I made good time and ended up getting to the Badin Elementary School with plenty of time to find parking, pick up my race packet (including an awesome long-sleeve tech shirt) and get taped up by the Rocktape folks who were offering free taping for anyone at the race. This was the first time that I actually had my IT bands taped by a professional (as opposed to following the YouTube video I found!) and he did it differently than I had been taping myself since my pain is localized to my knee and doesn’t extend up my leg to my hip. It worked well and I didn’t have any trouble with either knee throughout the race – it did start to come off a bit where it wrapped around my behind my knee and it was pretty easy to remove, so I’m not sure how well it would stick for things like the Ragnar Relays where I was doing multiple runs over 24 hours, but for a normal race, I think it would work well. 

Despite the name of this race being “Run the Valley” we actually climbed to the top of Morrow Mountain and then returned to the start line:

I definitely went out too fast on this one, but as I figured out on my way back to the finish line, it was probably because it was a downhill start, and thus, an uphill finish!
  • Mile 1 – 8:45
  • Mile 2 – 9:28
  • Mile 3 – 9:32
  • Mile 4 – 10:41
  • Mile 5 – 10:44
  • Mile 6 – 10:36
  • Mile 7 – 14:29 <– walking up to the top of the mountain
  • Mile 8 – 10:15
  • Mile 9 – 10:28
  • Mile 10 – 10:47
  • Mile 11 – 10:33
  • Mile 12 – 11:14
  • Mile 13 – 11:08
  • Last .31 – 8:14
Overall time: 2:21:13

I was struggling getting to the top of the mountain and walked quite a ways with a guy who was having his own struggles needing water. Luckily, there was a water stop at the top of the mountain near the turnaround and he was able to get some. I had my hydration pack with me, but it’s not really conducive for sharing. I was glad I had it with me, even though with my hydration pack and both of my legs taped up before the race someone told me I looked intimidating! 

There were several others who got taped up before the race and the guy who got taped right before me cheered me on whenever he passed me – he was way faster than me, so I saw him twice on the out-and-back portions. This was a pretty small race, with only 98 finishers for the half marathon, but I managed 4th place in my age group. I really liked this race and I would probably do it again – the scenery along the course was beautiful with some of the leaves starting to change color already and you can’t beat the view from the top of a mountain.

Race #14 – Blue Ridge Relay – part III

Check out part I and part II.

When we got to exchange zone 30, it was around 5:00am and we were all exhausted, but also starving, so the idea of a pancake breakfast was really enticing! We actually got to the breakfast area before they were ready, so we hung out at the picnic tables for a few minutes and then we got a plateful of pancakes and a big sausage patty along with a fruit cup and orange juice – well worth the $5 price! As we dug into the great food, we quickly realized that sleep was going to win out very shortly. They had opened up a church for us to sleep in and half of us went into the church with some people sleeping on pews and two of us sleeping in what we thought was an alcove at the back of church – as we found out a few hours later, we were actually sleeping in the main entrance of the church, but luckily neither of us got stepped on when the door opened. 

We were expecting the other van to finish somewhere between 9:30 – 10:00, so when I woke up around 8:00, feeling amazingly refreshed, I decided I would just get up and see if I could get ahold of the other van to see how they were doing. One of the challenges with this race is that it’s in the middle of the mountains, so cell phone coverage is spotty and internet connection is virtually non-existent, so while we had a spreadsheet that we could update after every runner finished and it would let us know the estimated time the next runner would be coming in, we weren’t able to use it too much and relied on texts and phone calls instead. The van was right on track and came in at 9:45am – only 6 more legs to go! Our van had two Mountain Goat Hard legs in our last set and the ladies who ran them definitely crushed it! First up was a 6.5 miler which started going uphill around mile 1.5 and never stopped with the grade ranging from 5-6% for 5 miles. Driving up that hill I was glad I was going to be starting at the top and not doing the switchbacks (it reminded me a lot of The Bear). While we were waiting at the top, we got to see someone make it to the top, handoff to their teammate and immediately throw up… this leg was no joke and our runner did an amazing job! I was up next and I had 9.5 miles of almost pure downhill. I was keeping a really good pace and stuck with my 4 minutes running and 1 minute walking as I started the leg. The good news is that the downhill half I did this summer turned out to be really good training for this leg! I passed two people while we were in the woods, but after about 5 miles, we came out of the woods and into the mid-day sun which really slowed me down. I ended up adjusting my run/walk ratio to take advantage of the shade as much as possible and the two people I passed ended up catching up with me around mile 7 or 8. It was disappointing not to be able to hang on those last few miles, but I think it was the right strategy for me because I would have struggled in the heat regardless of how fast I had run in the first few miles. 

  • Mile 1 – 8:05
  • Mile 2 – 8:20
  • Mile 3 – 8:31
  • Mile 4 – 9:10 <– GU
  • Mile 5 – 7:59
  • Mile 6 – 9:40
  • Mile 7 – 9:45
  • Mile 8 – 10:10 <– GU
  • Mile 9 – 10:59
  • Last .5 – 8:00
Overall average: 9:09

After my leg was the other Mountain Goat Hard leg that was about 3.5 miles of uphill to start the run, including about a mile of 8-13% grade, followed by 1.7 miles of downhill… talk about another rough leg! We made our way through the last few legs and ended in downtown Asheville trying to dodge the impending rain storm. We met up with the rest of our team and waited for our final runner and crossed the line together. We ended up finishing the 208 miles in 33:22:35 with an overall pace of 9:35 / mile, just 15 minutes behind our 10k pace! 

Overall, there was great scenery throughout the course and awesome volunteers at each of the exchange zones. The few downsides to this race would be the one exchange zone that was at a fire station that had traffic backed up along the road, the lack of any type of actual finish line festival and only getting a magnet for finishing (where’s my medal?). Definitely nothing that would stop me from doing the race again if I was asked to! 

Have you ever done the Blue Ridge Relay or another relay race? 

Race #14 – Blue Ridge Relay – part II

Check out part I here.

After we finished our first set of legs, Van 2 trekked into Boone to grab dinner at Subway and pick up a few supplies at Wal-Mart. I have to say, there’s really nothing quite like people watching at Wal-Mart in a rural town. Since all 6 of us had gotten rained on during our first legs, we decided to pick up some towels along with some additional bagels and bananas before we headed to exchange zone #18. 

Van 1 had over 40 miles to cover before we would run again, so we set up camp at the exchange zone and tried to get a few hours of rest. We also re-decorated our van since the rain had washed almost everything off.
The tent ended up being a great idea – it gave us plenty of room to stretch out and allowed more people to actually get sleep than we’ve had in previous relay races. That’s definitely something we will add to our packing list for future relays! 

As we were heading to the exchange zone where I would be starting out from, we could see red flashing lights in the distance and a lot of cars backed up on the road. It was a little scary at first because it looked like we were coming up on the scene of an accident, but it turned out to be the fire station where my exchange zone was – all of the relay vans had to park along the side of the road, so the firemen were holding up traffic so that the vans could back into spots next to the road. After we told the first fireman we needed to park, he directed us to a second fireman up the road a couple hundred yards who asked “Yinz gonna park here or go through?” … I didn’t expect to hear any Pittsburghese in the middle of the woods in NC! 

Runner #7 only had 4.4 miles to do on her leg, so I was a little nervous about not being able to get out and stretched in time to meet her, but we ended up having an extra 10 minutes or so after we parked before she came in, so that was fine. My second leg was 7.3 miles with a hill that lasted just over a mile and ranged from 5-7% grade. Of course, this hill was also at the end of this leg, very similar to my first leg. I got on the road just before midnight.

  • Mile 1 – 9:35
  • Mile 2 – 9:35
  • Mile 3 – 10:20
  • Mile 4 – 11:30
  • Mile 5 – 10:57
  • Mile 6 – 13:19
  • Mile 7 – 10:04
  • Last .3 – 8:30

Overall pace: 10:41

I really struggled on Mile 6 and it definitely shows in my numbers… overall, I think the leg went well considering the terrain and I was definitely glad to be running that one at night – I can’t imagine running that hill in the heat of the day! I did get yelled at by some locals in a pickup truck as I was climbing on of the hills. The good news is that their truck was so loud I could hear which direction it was going, so I would have had plenty of warning if they decided to turn around and come back to bother me. Apparently on one of the legs there was someone on the course jumping out to scare people – I didn’t hear anything about it from any of our runners, but that’s definitely not something you like to hear.

After my leg, I made a point to be the navigator for the rest of our van’s legs so that I would force myself to stay awake and keep hydrating and it worked out well. One of the most interesting exchange zone setups was at a garage and all of the vans just parked along the side of the road (we had to be careful not to hit runners as we entered & exited the van) and the one portapotty that they had was still set up on the trailer that it was brought in on, so it was like walking on stage to go up to the bathroom – it was very weird and I saw a few teams taking pictures as if their runner was on a stage.

We, thankfully, had an uneventful night and after everyone had done their second leg, we were still hanging onto a 3 minute lead over our original estimated finish time. One caveat to the estimated finish time is that we were using our 10k pace, which is what everyone is asked to submit in order to figure out when your team will start running and while we padded our time slightly because we knew we would all be running double or triple that distance, everyone put in a pace they were comfortable training at for 8-10 miles (which, again, is about half of the total distance we would run over the course of the race). 

We handed off to Van 1 at exchange zone 24 and headed on to exchange zone 30 where we were all looking forward to a pancake breakfast and more sleep while Van 1 ran a little over 37 miles on their final legs of the race.

Check back tomorrow for the final part of the Blue Ridge Relay recap!

Race #14: Blue Ridge Relay – part I

Last weekend was the Blue Ridge Relay which starts near Mount Rogers in Virginia and ends 208 miles later in Asheville, NC. I was the captain of the team for this round and we officially changed our name from the Key West Relay to Gotta Crush on You for this race and I designed the logo for our shirts (on the left). 

Since our team was able to meet in Charlotte and we were only a couple of hours from the start of the race, our vans split up with only Van 1 traveling to the start line and Van 2 stayed in Charlotte the night before. Our start time was 6:30am, so it was still a very early start for that van and the ran into a few issues with the directions and the windy country roads leading to the start line, so they got there just in time to sprint to the starting line and run after the 6:30 starting wave. Our van, Van 2, started at exchange zone 6 which was near West Jefferson, NC. We got there early and spent some time decorating our van while we waited for our teammates to arrive.

I was runner #8 for our team, which meant I had almost 20 miles over my 3 legs and the third longest distance on the team. Some of my teammates had a lot more elevation gain than I did (especially after my third leg), so I was more than willing to trade more miles for fewer hills! 

Our team came in strong after Van 1’s first set of legs and by the time it was my turn, we were 20 minutes ahead of where we expected to be. I started off just before noon and it was 73 degrees and rainy. My first leg was by far my easiest, with only 3.1 miles to do:

Mile 1 – 8:51
Mile 2 – 10:02
Mile 3 – 9:37
Last .1 – 7:30

Overall pace: 9:24

It really was a good leg to start off on and I tried to keep myself in check and not go out too fast since I knew that I would have over 16.5 miles to run after that. I stuck with my 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking routine throughout the leg and it definitely helped on that 9% grade of a hill near the end and I got to enjoy a little bit of a downhill at the end of the leg to finish strong. 

By the end of everyone’s first leg, we were still 20 minutes ahead of our estimated finish time and we were going strong as we headed into the evening hours. 

Stay tuned for a recap of legs #2 and #3 coming soon!

Race #13: Lynchburg Half Marathon

Two weeks ago, I crossed state #13 off my list with race #13 of 2014 with the a half marathon in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was a rainy day and in the low 60’s so it was really perfect running weather. I’d never been to Lynchburg, but the race started in a very old industrial area and most of the race was on the Blackwater Creek Bikeway & Riverwalk, so it was mostly paved and felt pretty flat, though the elevation chart doesn’t seem to agree. Around mile 4 there was a section that took us off the trail and up a dirt road to the top of a hill where we did two loops before coming back down and reversing the rest of the trail – the good news about this is that even though we had a major hill at mile 4, that meant that around mile 9, we came back down that hill!

I didn’t really have any expectations going into the race – I did exactly 0 training runs between The Scream and this race, though I did play soccer a few times each week, so I wasn’t sure how this half would feel. I definitely felt a difference in how my legs responded to this race over the Scream – my hip flexors started bugging me after about 7 miles and I think this is probably due to my lack of training at long distances this summer… I’ve done a handful of races this summer, but other than a 10 mile run at the end of May and the Scream in July, I haven’t really done anything beyond a 10k since my marathon in May. The good news is that I still feel like I’m in pretty good shape since I’ve been playing more soccer and staying active overall. So, back to the race recap:

  • Mile 1 – 10:24
  • Mile 2 – 9:48 <– the mile 2 marker was way off (near 1.5 miles) but mile 3 was back on track
  • Mile 3 – 10:23
  • Mile 4 – 10:55 <– uphill
  • Mile 5 – 10:49
  • Mile 6 – 9:59
  • Mile 7 – 9:43
  • Mile 8 – 9:51
  • Mile 9 – 9:27 <– downhill
  • Mile 10 – 10:14
  • Mile 11 – 10:42
  • Mile 12 – 10:29
  • Mile 13: 9:30
  • Last .1 – 5:50
I did start to fade a bit for miles 10 and 11 and I also stopped to take a few pictures in mile 12, but I finished with an overall time of 2:12:49 which is my second fastest half marathon time, only behind the downhill half last month. Last year, I did the Myrtle Beach mini marathon in 2:14:16 and that course was almost completely flat, so a minute and a half faster than that is pretty awesome!
Have you ever been to Lynchburg? Tomorrow I’ll post some of the pictures I took of the downtown area – even with the rain, it was really pretty to walk around the town.