Blue Ridge Marathon – 3 days to go!

72 hours from now I’ll be at the starting line for the Blue Ridge Double Marathon.

I’m actually feeling pretty good about the race, though I’m sure I’ll regret that statement at some point over the next few days. I did 2 marathons as part of this training cycle, New South Marathon and Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh 8 days apart, and while they both were tough races, I wasn’t completely wiped out by either of them, so I’m definitely stronger than I was for last year’s marathons. This week I’ve been focusing on the logistics for the race, including how far my hotel is from the start line (less than a quarter mile), what time I need to be at the start line (12:45 am), all the required gear for the first lap (headlamp, reflective gear, blinking light, hydration, nutrition and cell phone), and any gear I want to swap between the two races (I’m going to pack for a full outfit and shoe change).

One thing that is certainly still up in the air is the weather… currently the forecast doesn’t look too terrible. I’ve done a marathon in the rain before, so I’m sure I can make it through another one if I have to and frankly, I’d prefer to have an overcast day than the original 75 degree day they were forecasting last week. I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed that we don’t have any thunderstorms until we get through the races.
The only other thing I’m still mentally trying to wrap my head around is the elevation change – 7,430′ over the marathon, which means 14,860′ change over the entire distance I’ll be covering on Saturday. I did a training run last Saturday at one of the local trails that had 4,491′ elevation change and it kicked my butt, so that may have been the one area I’ll look back on and say I should have done more, but nothing I can do about it now!
So for now, I’ll focus on what I can control – packing all my goodies (and probably way too many extra things since I’m driving up there), hydration and good sleep leading up to the race. I’m sure Friday will bring on some anxiety, but right now, I’m just ready to run!

New South Marathon – Charlotte, NC (2017)

Last year I volunteered at this race, manning a water station at the bottom of Goat Hill. At the top of Goat Hill was mile 9, so we got to see the marathoners twice and the half marathoners once – very few people came off that hill looking fresh. It’s a steep up, runnable downhill, followed by another steep uphill and a steep downhill. After finishing up at the water stop, I headed to the finish line to meet up with some friends who had run the half marathon and listen to the award presentation. Last year there weren’t any entrants in my age group, so I told the RD I would be back to run the race this year. Now, I’ve never run a trail marathon and the trails at the Whitewater Center are really good for mountain biking, which means there is a lot of up and down and up and down and repeat again, again and again, so I knew this would be a tough first trail marathon. I was not disappointed!

The weather in Charlotte has been all over the place lately, but they were calling for a high in the low 70’s and mostly overcast, so I knew I would get hot, but I was glad it wasn’t going to be any hotter, since I knew I would be out there for hours. With only 70 or so participants in the full marathon, I started out near the back with Kim who I’ve been doing a lot of my long runs with. She had done the race last year and was hoping to do better this time around. There was a group of about 4 of us that ran the first few miles together and as they stopped at the first water station, I pulled ahead a bit since I had my hydration pack on and was taking advantage of it (and fueling) during my uphill walks. I ended up passing 10 people on my first lap and after a bathroom break (woo! real bathrooms at the halfway point!) started out just behind one of the guys I had passed which allowed me to follow him through the crowds and around the Lake Loop before we headed back into the woods.

While I’ve run a few races at the Whitewater Center, I don’t run much out there, so while Kim was able to tell me about each of the trails we would be on, I didn’t know them by name (or reputation), so I was able to take it more by what came to me vs. anticipating what was coming up next. The good part about the two-loop system of the marathon meant that I had an idea of what to expect and knew which sections were going to have tough uphills, which would really suck if the sun came out and where I could just run. There are some really steep downhill sections on the Academy trail at the beginning of the loop and the first time I went through, I braced myself, but managed to run / walk down them. For my second loop, I definitely sat down at one point and just went down the hill on my butt. The hill was almost a straight drop off, about my height and after 14+ miles, I decided it wasn’t worth trying to brace myself to go down upright. No worse for wear, I continued on.

There was a fairly long stretch on my second loop where I was pretty out of it mentally – I was paying enough attention to keep myself on the trail, but I couldn’t really focus on too much and wasn’t eating or drinking a lot. I want to say it was around mile 20-21 before I finally broke out of this “trance” and really the only reason I did was an obnoxious biker who thought everyone else should get out of her way so that she could speed past us. With all the switchbacks on the course, I had heard her coming up behind the guy who was behind me and heard him say “I heard you” but again, I didn’t think too much of it until she said “On your left” to me and I moved as far to the right on the trail as I could while continuing on my run. She then screamed at me from behind again and then into my ear as she passed me because apparently I was in her way. That certainly woke me up and I said a few nasty things as she continued to speed on her way to making more people feel like crap for existing on her trail. After the race, there were several runners who seemed to have had the pleasure of running into her on the trail as numerous people talked about a loud biker who kept yelling at them.

Soon thereafter, I got back to the bottom of Goat Hill and started my second trek up the monster. The good news was, I knew what was coming, so I took the opportunity to refill my water at the aid station at the bottom of the hill and then ate some more food as I hiked up to the top. When I got to the top of the first hill, I ran down the backside, passed another person and then started hiking up the last part of the worst hill.

By the time I finished with Goat Hill, I was feel better, keeping my run going and I was continuing to pass people. I ended up passing 8 people on the second loop, including 4 half marathoners who were going on their fifth hour on the course. As I got close to finishing the second lap and ended up on the last of the trail around the whitewater area, I kept looking at my watch and pushed myself to try to finish in under 6 hours and I ended with 27 seconds to spare! Official time: 5:59:33

After I finished, I found a few people I knew and made it a point to grab the post-race snacks and find some shade to stretch in for a bit. Once I did some stretching and ate some more food, I actually felt really good. Kim came in about 25 minutes later and we both made the podium, finishing 2nd and 3rd in our age group!

I spent another hour or so at the Whitewater Center, cheering on the other finishers, checking out their gear sale and generally people-watching as there were a ton of other people around whitewater rafting / kayaking, biking, hiking and generally just enjoying the beautiful weather.

This was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, but I made the mistake of looking at the elevation change of that course to see how it would compare to the Blue Ridge Marathon and I definitely shouldn’t have done that! There was “only” 4,121′ of elevation change in this race, which is still 3,300′ less than what I’ll do in one of the marathons in that race. That was a little defeating mentally, but after I got home, I was still feeling pretty good after the race and while I certainly enjoyed some rest on the couch, I wasn’t completely wiped out for the rest of the weekend.

The swag for this race was pretty good, though the sticker they gave out with the race logo was bigger than the medal (bummer) and they were super sneaky at having Friday night packet pickup in a North Face store and if you showed your bib you could get $20 off of $100 purchase. I was able to contain myself and only walked out with a few stickers, my bib and the super-soft race sweatshirt (the half marathoners got a long-sleeve t-shirt with the same design). For my second-place age group finish, I won a Whitewater Center hat (Kim got a water bottle for 3rd place and 1st place got a coupon to the on-site store).

Overall I liked this race more than I thought I would. I had definitely built it up in my head that it was going to be a complete suffer-fest and it certainly was at times, but I was encouraged by how good I felt after the race.

Blue Ridge Marathon – 1 month to go!

As of my last update post, I was working on two upcoming race weekends (Indiana and the yet-to-be-written Arkansas races) and was working through some tough training weeks. Now we’re only 1 month out from race day and I still have 2 more races on my horizon, though these are much closer to home – this weekend’s race at the Whitewater Center in Charlotte and the following weekend’s race in Raleigh. This month has certainly flown by and a lot of that could be due to the fact that I was traveling 3 of the last 4 weekends, including a trip up to Asheville to work at the expo for the Biltmore half & full answering runner questions and sharing my experience with the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge from 2016.

My running totals have been increasing each week and while I’m still doing a terrible job at including strength training / core exercises and stretching into my weekly routine, the miles do seem to be getting easier. I’ve been averaging 40-50 miles each week, and while mentally that doesn’t seem like enough considering I’ll be doing over 50 in one day in one month, I can definitely feel myself getting stronger.

I had my first real deviation from the training plan this past weekend – it called for a 50k on Sunday, but after looking at some local races and deciding it wasn’t fiscally responsible to fly out to Utah to do the Antelope Island 50k (someday!) – I ended up just splitting the mileage between Saturday and Sunday instead. Sunday’s trail run was tough near the end and I started feeling myself wander into the “how am I going to do 52.4 miles in one day” territory, so I slowed down, ate some more food and kept going. My legs were tired when I finished and I absolutely took a nap, but I felt pretty good when I woke up and haven’t really been sore after my runs which has been a really amazing transformation from my previous marathon training cycles. The next two weeks are big mileage weekends calling for marathon distances both weekends and then I’ll start to officially taper!

It’s crazy to think that the double marathon is coming up so quickly. I’ve got my hotel secured and I know about when I want to leave in order to do the 4 hour drive to Richmond, get to the expo and then get to the hotel to rest, so now it’s all about finalizing those details – fueling, race strategy (something more than ‘don’t die’), pacing, how to get enough rest for a 1:00 am start time and then stay awake and moving through the second marathon that starts at 7:30 am… all the fun stuff. We’ve started getting some emails about the double marathon, asking us for our official start times and estimated paces. The goal will be to attempt to pair us up so that no one is running alone overnight, but with only 60 participants and two start times it will certainly be a quiet night.

15 weeks in:
  • Total mileage: 474.4


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Winter Trail Frosty half marathon – Indianapolis, IN (2017)

 I signed up for this race after seeing the medal in an ad on my Facebook account. Last year I did the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot half marathon in North Carolina and I loved my big red WTF 13.1 sweatshirt, so adding another WTF race this year sounded like a good plan, especially after I realized it would let me check off state #25. This weekend called for a 22 mile run, so originally I was planning to run from my hotel to the race venue and then back to the hotel, but with the drastic weather changes (and after I saw the roads I’d have to run on), I decided to forgo that plan and just head to the venue early to get some miles in before the race started at 10:00 am.

When I picked up my rental car, I laughed a little when I saw they had included an ice scraper in the back seat. Race morning came and now it wasn’t so funny… the high 60’s from Friday had turned into some nasty thunderstorms followed by an extreme temperature drop and some overnight snow / ice accumulation on the car. The roads ended up being fine, but it took me several minutes to get the car ready to go. It was snowing as I got to the venue but being there 2 hours before the race started allowed me to get an amazing parking spot near the finish line and gave me plenty of time to get out on the trails before the race actually started.

The race was held at Eagle Creek State Park which has a lot of different trails. My goal was to get 9 miles in before the race, so I headed out to take the trail on the farthest perimeter, following the Red loop to the Blue loop back to the Red loop, then back to the Blue loop, more Red loop and then a detour onto the Orange loop before finishing up on the Red loop back to the starting line. I ended up seeing mile markers 3, 2, 6 and 1, as well as the guy who was marking the trails with orange ribbon, on my way to getting 8.5 miles in before the race. I had started to run out of time, especially since I wanted to hit the porta-potties before the actual race started, so instead of getting that last .5 in before the race, I just added it onto the end (definitely not the way to go!).

Here comes the snow!

Snow caught in a spider web

The race itself was capped at 600 participants and they did sell out. This was only the second year for this race, but the turnout was impressive – the super awesome finisher medals may have something to do with that… I know I signed up after seeing the medal and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one! I got a little cold waiting around for the start, but it wasn’t too bad until I got back to the land bridge around the bird sanctuary where there was very little to break up the wind. I was glad I ran the loop the opposite way the first time, keeping the wind at my back instead of running into the wind 3 times.
Views from around the Eagle Creek Reservoir bird sanctuary

After we got to the land bridge, the race spread out quite a bit as the trail was a little wider and allowed more people to pass and get into their own running pace. I had run through most of the race course before the race actually started, but one of the sections that was new to me was around the Ornithology Center where they had a plaque where you could test your wingspan against the various birds that call Eagle Creek Park home.

As I was doing my first lap around the bird sanctuary, I actually saw a bald eagle flying across the lake. Unfortunately it was flying away from me and by the time I realized what it was it was too far away to get a picture, but it was really cool to see in person!

This was somewhere in the first lap – you can see the snow whipping through the trees!

Even though thunderstorms had come through the day before and it was snowing on and off throughout the race, most of the trails were hard packed and there were only two sections that were really muddy, like running through peanut butter muddy. For my second race lap (third lap total through that section), I just walked through it trying not to fall!

Overall, I think this was a very good race. The trails weren’t very technical, and I actually ended up with my fastest trail half time (2:28:54) which was pretty awesome considering I did an 8.5 mile “warm-up” prior to starting.

The not-so-good
Too many people starting at the same time. There are pseudo-wave starts with the announcer letting a group of people go, then stopping and waiting for 30-45 seconds before letting another group of 30-ish people go. In theory this would work, but in reality, the first half of the trail (at least the full first two miles) was really congested. Since there is a half and a quarter marathon and it seemed like most of the people were running the quarter marathon (though I did hear the announcer say there were still about 70 people left on the half course when I finished), I think it would be great to split the start times for these races to allow the half marathoners to get 2-3 miles in before letting the quarter marathoners start. There’s a lot more room to get around people from miles 2-5, so that would theoretically spread out the field a bit more.

The only other “complaint” is really more of just a trail hazard that can’t be avoided – there are several sets of wooden stairs on the course which turn nice and slick with snow and mud covering them, so they were a bottleneck at the beginning of the race and certainly an area where most people slowed to a walk to stay upright. I heard a few people went down on these sections and that will certainly be a hazard in future races (it is February in Indiana after all), so that’s certain something to be aware of when checking out these (and any) trails.

The stairs don’t actually look as steep from the bottom, but they were very steep and slippery!

The good
The trail was extremely well marked. It’s a two-loop course for the half marathon, coming through the finish line area around the halfway point before heading back out again and even when I was running backwards on some of the course before the race started, it was really easy to tell which was the race was going to go. I think you would have to actually try to get lost on this course.

There were several times where the course crossed the road within the park and there was always at least one volunteer flagging traffic and making sure runners had the right-of-way. I was cold while running, so I really appreciate those volunteers staying out there for several hours to keep us safe.

The awesome
Cake! They had tons of cake for runners at the end of the event, and I’m not going to lie, it was definitely a motivator for me in those last few miles. It was delicious!

Free race photos! Who doesn’t love free race photos? It’s actually kind of funny scrolling through the pictures because you can see how much the weather changes and how heavy the snow got at some points.

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, I did this race for the bling. The shirt and medal for this race were really nice. The shirt is actually a long-sleeve thermal shirt that’s more like long-john material which is really appropriate considering the likelihood of cold temperatures.


Blue Ridge Marathon – 2 months to go!

Last month’s update was about everything new – I had just officially registered to run the double marathon, so I was finalizing my training plan and getting energized with the prospect of running over 50 miles in one day. This month has a bit more about really getting into the rhythm of training, and the highs and lows that come along with that.

Last week was a rough week for me. I felt pretty good finishing the Fellowship of the Idiot run, but I didn’t do those extra few miles to get up to my planned 22 miles for my long run and then had a lot of trouble getting back into the swing of things Sunday and Monday. I’ve been trying out some new shoes, trying to break them in to use in the second marathon, but it’s a new brand and a new drop (with a ton more cushion), so it’s taking a little longer than I hoped it would to transition into these shoes and it’s more painful that I was expecting.

My calves have been tight when I first start running and usually give me some pain, but these new shoes seem to be exacerbating that issue. So after the major elevation on Saturday’s run, I took it really easy Sunday, only going out for a mile and a half and then following up with some yoga. I felt better on Monday, so I headed out around the neighborhood again and did another 2-ish miles. My legs still felt really tight and after some pretty good 800 repeats on Tuesday morning, my Wednesday night was another flop coming in at 3 mostly painful miles. Thursday started a turnaround as I was able to get almost 8 miles in with my running group followed by another rest day on Friday. Saturday was the last of my taper week and only called for 10 miles, but since I had skipped quite a few miles throughout the week, I decided to do the full group run and hit 11.6 and felt really good throughout. It still fells really funny to say that my “easy run” is in double digits.
Having gone through this process multiple times, I know that there will inevitably be highs and lows throughout the training cycle and it’s just a matter of getting through them to the other side. Having a group to meet multiple times a week has helped with that accountability – even when I don’t feel like getting out of bed or running loops, I know I need to go and at least give it a try and then once I’m out there, it’s a lot easier to keep going when you’re with a group of people!

The next few weeks will be busy with races the next two weekends which will then take me to another taper week, before the final big push at the end of March. I’m excited about the next two races – I’ll be checking off two new states, Indiana and Arkansas – and since I’ve got to add 10+ miles onto each race, I’ll definitely have some exploring to do. I still need to add in weekly yoga / additional stretching and core exercises, so I’m going to work on making those a priority over the next few weeks to really get into a routine as my mileage continues to increase. I’m also thinking of adding in a sports massage or two to really help loosen everything back up – sitting at a desk all day certainly doesn’t help my sore muscles.

10 weeks in:

  • Total mileage: 262.1
  • Expected mileage: 292



February is here!?!

I can’t believe we’re already into February! January was packed full of activity and I didn’t realize just how much until I completed my calendar for the 30-day Ragnar Training challenge. Ragnar provided a calendar and asked everyone in the challenge to submit a picture of their completed calendar for a sticker touting their accomplishment. I’ve been playing with a lot of digital pictures lately on another project and decided to fill out my calendar digitally as well.

I definitely had fun looking for pictures to differentiate the things I did in January, especially the tongue-in-cheek nature of the 50’s woman cleaning to highlight all of my January Cure work. I ended the month having completed 9 of the 20 January Cure assignments, so that will certainly roll over into February before I can completely check that off my list, but it’s going to get done! I’ve also really ramped up my training as I count down the days (77) until the Blue Ridge double marathon. I ended up running just over 136 miles in January which is 50 miles more than I ran in any month in 2016. I’m still feeling really good on my runs, though the early mornings are a little bit of a struggle.

My biggest time suck over the last week was completely re-building the Charlotte Women’s Soccer League website. We’ve used a few different platforms over the past few years and had moved to a system that allowed us to handle all of our registration, team building and basically all of the league management electronically which was great for me and the team captains, but the website user experience wasn’t very good, especially for anyone trying to access the site via a mobile device. So, last weekend I started building a new website based off of WordPress and as of the wee hours of Friday morning, the site went live and is so much more aesthetically pleasing and easier to navigate for all of our existing and prospective players. It was definitely a love-hate relationship building that site. It reminded why I got into playing with computers in the first place and also why I decided that a career in IT was not how I wanted to spend 8+ hours every day.

Today kicks off my first long run of February with 20 miles on the schedule. Here’s to another great month of getting outside and getting stronger!

Blue Ridge Marathon – 3 months to go!

Today I’m hosting a link up with some of the other official bloggers for the Blue Ridge Marathon. We’re all doing different distances and I thought it would be fun to see where everyone is at now that we have 3 months of training left. So keep coming back and check out the links below as others add their updates on how they are progressing on their training.

Until a few weeks ago, I was missing my weekly mileage pretty significantly. Lots of reasons why this is true – holidays, away from home, just getting back home, cold, work, etc, etc, etc. But, I officially started a new training group on January 12 and am definitely back on track. My weeks now include speed work on Tuesdays, tempo runs on Thursdays, long runs on Saturdays and shorter recovery runs on Sundays and Wednesdays. I still need to incorporate some strength training and core work, but I’ll definitely be adding that in as well.

After signing up for the Blue Ridge Marathon, I started thinking about a plan to join Marathon Maniacs. I’m already a member of Half Fanatics and would love to achieve Double Agent status this year. I’ve been working on a plan to qualify by doing 3 marathons in 90 days (Bronze Level), but as of this week, I’ve got a new plan…

Yes, it’s official – I’ll be joining the ranks of 59 other people who will be doing a marathon before the marathon. I plan to start my first marathon at 1:00 am and run the marathon course mostly self-supported, finishing in time to start my second marathon at 7:30am. Given the drastic increase in mileage and elevation, I’ve spent the last few days research how I should update my training plan for this race, including adding a new race in March to test out my legs on the trails at the Whitewater Center here in Charlotte.

52.4 miles and over 14k feet of elevation change! 

I mentioned this plan to a few people in my running group yesterday and got several “you’re crazy” responses, which might be true, but a lot of people just want to know more about it. There’s a lot to be said for surrounding yourself with people who will continue to push you beyond what you think you can do! Already the group has shown incredible support in the training runs and I’m excited for the journey and now I’ve got 3 months to prepare myself to run twice as far as I’ve ever run before…

7 weeks in:

  • Total mileage: 103.8
  • Expected mileage: 124



Training through the holidays

It’s always hard to keep training on track when your normal routine is disrupted, and the holidays are a great example of this. Technically I started my Blue Ridge Marathon training plan the week of December 4, mostly because I already had Ragnar Trail Alafia on the calendar, but after that race, I promptly had a big old goose egg the following week. I was traveling at the beginning of the week and then trying to get everything ready to visit family for Christmas, so running fell to the end of my to do list.

This week has been a little bit better – I was able to do a short run on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail on Sunday to start off the week. I’ve hiked sections of the trail, so I wanted to get out and see what it would be like to run on them, but winter weather has a habit of putting you on your heels. There was snow left over from last week, Saturday brought a mix of rain and snow and Sunday was warm, slightly rainy and had even more melt-off. I knew the trails would be sloppy, but what I wasn’t prepared for was the trail turning into a stream and mid-shin high standing water where the trails flattened out!

Over the river and through the woods!
This section required an off-trail detour, but I loved the colors of the leaves trapped under barely frozen ice.

Shortly after that detour, I turned around and headed across Route 30 to see if the other side of the trail would be any better, and at first it was. The woods were foggy with misty / rainy precipitation and it was beautiful, but eventually I ran into another major section of unpassable standing water and figured it was probably in my best interest to take my wet feet back home to get warm.

So, Sunday I only managed just over 3 miles on the trails, but I took yesterday off of work so that I could get some shopping done and made sure to keep some time for myself in the morning to get in a 5 mile run on the Great Allegheny Passage. Again, it was just around 32 degrees when I started, so I bundled up (maybe not as much as I should have) and headed out. I didn’t think about the fact that I was in the mountains and even though the sun had been up for almost 2 hours, that didn’t necessarily mean it would be above the tree line on the trail I was on.

The beginning of the trail

The trail is extremely flat and I had originally hoped to run to the Pinkerton tunnel and back, but the online maps didn’t quite line up with the actual mileage of the trails, so it would have been close to an 18 mile run to hit the tunnel and come back which was a lot more than I was interested in doing, so I just did a short 2.5 miles out and then back again instead.

My turnaround point

After I turned around, I took a quick detour off-trail to see the Cassellman River up close before heading back up to the trail to finish my run.

I did actually see two other people out on the trail as I was finishing up my run, but they were much better dressed for their winter walk – heading out in full winter jackets, scarves, gloves and hats. Really the only thing I missed on this run was my buff to take some of the chill out of the air I was breathing and better protect my neck from the wind, but I had my gloves and headband on and I did cheat and use a hand warmer for the run, but for the most part it worked out pretty well.

I didn’t feel great on this run – my legs just weren’t having it. I’m not sure if it was because it was so cold out or because it was just an off day, but I still got out there for some mileage, so I’m calling it a win!

Looking for some training help for the Blue Ridge Marathon?
The Blue Ridge Marathon and Fleet Feet Roanoke are offering two virtual training options tailored to help you conquer America’s Toughest Marathon (or half)!

  • Virtual half marathon plan: A 14-week program starting on January 16
  • Virtual marathon plan: A 16-week program starting on January 2
You can use the code TRAINSMART to save $5 off of either training program.

The fine print…
I am an ambassador for the Blue Ridge Marathon, so I have been given a free entry to the race of my choice (I’m doing the marathon) in return for promoting their events. I get emailed all kinds of details about specials for the race, including race discounts (use BRMFRIENDS to get 15% off), training runs, merchandise and other things runners might find beneficial. I will occasionally post on here or my Instagram account if there are things I think others may benefit from. I’ve never done this race before, but I’m looking forward to the challenge in April and will do a formal race recap (the good, the bad and the ugly) when I finish. 

Blue Ridge Marathon training – time to get started!

Even though I’m not quite done with my 2016 races, it’s definitely time to start thinking about next year. Taking on the “America’s Toughest Road Marathon” in 20 weeks means I needed to start planning! While I did pretty well on my training for the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge, I didn’t have a great execution of my training for the Grandfather Mountain Marathon and didn’t do much planning at all for the Marine Corps Marathon and it certainly showed. I’m still unsure about a lot of my race plans for 2017, but I know I’ve got this on my plate, so I’ve created a plan to get me started, especially through the holidays. I’m also planning to join an official running group again in January so that I will have some company on my long runs as the weather gets colder.

I’ve been slacking in my weekly training (let’s be honest, it’s nonexistent), my eating has been sloppy and I need to bring back cross-training. With so many races this fall – 8 races in 10 weeks – I’ve been going from one race to another and just trying to catch up with the rest of my life in between. It didn’t help that I caught the nasty cough that’s going around which stuck around for a few weeks after the Charlotte to Las Vegas trip. When just walking around sent me into coughing fits, I’ve spent a lot of time sitting on the couch with the dogs.

My goal will be to hit my training mileage each week and include at least two days of cross-training, focusing on core and stability. It’s going to require braving the elements this winter, but training in the south gives me a little bit of an advantage with more mild weather than other parts of the country.

Here’s to not following this advice in 2017!

Charlotte 10-miler – Charlotte, NC (2016)

I’m finally getting caught up on all my race recaps… it’s been a busy few weeks! This weekend was my third of five straight race weekends. Two weeks ago, I ran the Charlotte 10-miler as my last long training run for the Asheville Backyard to Vineyard Challenge that is coming up in 6 days! I was scheduled to do 10 miles on Saturday and 22 miles on Sunday, but since the race was on Saturday, I decided to switch up the days. The race starts just a few miles from my house, so I planned to run from my house to the race start and then back home again to get up to 22. I was planning to run the greenway to get to the race start, but it was still really dark when I got to that turn off, so I ran through some random neighborhoods instead, until it started to get light out. Leaving my house at 6:00am meant I got to see a great sunrise on my way to the start.

I met up with my friend Beth again and her Run for Your Life crew and we stuck together again for this race. There was a major hill near mile 9 which definitely required some extra walking, but overall it was a good race, with a lot of the run on the same greenway that I run a lot of my training runs on, so it was familiar for me and mostly flat. 

My hip flexors were really tight by the time I finished the actual race and I struggled quite a bit heading back to my house. By the time I got to around mile 18, I started walking and walked about the last 3 miles back to my house. It was definitely a day that required a post-run ice bath! 

I averaged 11:01 for the 10-mile race and 11:47 overall for the 21 miles total, so even though the last few were much higher than that, the run itself was pretty good.

I didn’t end up doing much of a back-to-back on Sunday. I actually flew out to Los Angeles on Sunday and with my flight being delayed a couple of hours, I ended up at the hotel gym for a couple of miles on the treadmill and another few on the stationary bike – definitely not all I had planned for, but it was good to get a few miles in after being on a plane for 5.5 hours.

The race gave out nice medals and a long-sleeve hooded t-shirt. It was advertised as a lightweight hoodie, and I really like it, but it’s much closer to a t-shirt feel than what I would consider a hoodie. I love the design of the medal and shirt though, so it will definitely be add to my wardrobe rotation.