Friday, December 16, 2011

Jolly Elf Trail Run

I did the Jolly Elf Tail Run last year and really enjoyed it. So, when it was December again I went to, found the link and signed up.

Well, a lot has changed since the last time I ran this race with a time of 32 minutes. I have done, 10K's, a Warrior Dash, several more 5K's, even a Half Marathon, but what has changed the most is, I have lost 30+ pounds since last year. 

This race went down 12-10-11 at Bond Park in Cary, NC. It is a well organized race with lots of runners and their families. Sorta nice being at a laid back well run event. Also, this year it was relatively warm compared to last year, maybe 40 degrees. Last year was low 20's, not comfortable but still fun.

This year I knew the routine. Parking was smooth, bib/packet pickup was a breeze at a shelter above the field were the race start was. Once at the start, I got my timing chip and just hung out till the race start.

Before the start there was a prayer and race instruction before we took off. I was about 4 or 5 rows back on a 50ft wide start. The first corner and for that matter the first mile was a bit of a road block. That was fine with me because my legs were slow to get going. Once we made the loop back to the start area I picked it up and passed a big bunch of people on the second loop on the other side of the park. This included a stair step hill, I basically sprinted up this. This was a big improvement over last year when I was walking this part. Well onto the third loop, I was going pretty good for me, my GPS had me in the low 8's per mile at this point. Eventually , we made it back to the start, and in this case the finish straight. I kicked it up a bit and passed more people here except for a father son combo that jetted to the finish. My time for this 5K was 27.11, way way faster than I have done before. I'm finally making the progress I wanted.

Once finished, there was plenty of food and drink. Brueggers and Great Harvest Bread Company had this taken care of. Since it was chilly, they even had hot chocolate. Did I say this event rocks?

Here is a picture of me at the finish, I always look rough.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon, My First 13.1!

Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon 10-23-11, My First 13.1! I had to state that again, I'm pretty jazzed I did it.

Well, all this started a year ago when the sign up was at a special price of $45. I was running a decent amount and even did a 10 mile race (lots of walking) but I thought in a year, running 13.1 would be okay. The Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon was a go, I just had to make sure I would be a go.

A couple of months out I started to train loosely on a schedule I downloaded from the internet. The schedule was pretty standard but I wasn't geared to go 4 miles three times a week then a long run on the weekend. So what did I do? I decided to go a few miles in the morning and few more after work. This worked out great. Also, I mixed in calorie counting, going 13.1 isn't easy at 250lb. As the race was about a month out this really started to come together. With calorie counting I lost 25lbs, and my speed and ease of running longer distances improved greatly. I knew I had this, plus, I did my own 13.1 a few weeks before in the hilly Umstead State Park.

Soon it was race weekend. I took a few days off of work so I could chill and just do my race. The Thursday before I had my last run, an easy 4 miles with my doggie over at Umstead State Park. On Friday, I swung by may ladies house to get her, and it was off to Myrtle Beach. We stayed and the Marina Inn @ Grand Dunes, that place is nice, I would recommend it to anyone.

My Lady and I in the Lobby
Me at the Expo
My Bib

Soon it was race day, I woke up early as I was scheduled to take the 5:45 bus ride to the start line. I was anxious so I caught the 5:30 bus with about 5 other people. Once there, it was hang out time for the start. Medievil Times did cool little sword fight thing before the start and then a quick line up then bang, we are off.

Now that we all were running, about 3000 of us I was feeling good. It must of been the steak I for dinner the night before. Could of been training, or my new Brooks Pure shoes too. The Brooks Pure shoes are awesome by the way, I'll do a full review when I get a 100 miles on them. Back to the race. We ran around one mall, and rounded a business park and soon I was 3 miles in, 27 minutes, man was I flying for me. Well lets see how long I can hold it. Now we are at the Boardwalk Mall, 6 miles in and I'm still killing it, 55 minutes but I'm starting to feel it. My mojo was about to leave me.

Since my mojo was leaving, I figured a swig of gatorade and a GU would do the job. Well a little late but I figured I would be okay if I mixed in a few 30 second periods of walking. This was all I needed and soon it was 5K to go, 1:38 minutes. I asked the person next to me to pace me for a 22 minute 5K, that sucker just laughed at me. Well it was a slow last 5K and I finished up 2:11:35 which was 20 minutes faster than my goal. I was one happy camper!

Once the race was over I grabbed my medal, very nice surfboard shaped one. I was handed a water and then stood in line to get my picture taken. A quick trip to a the porto, I had to go at the start but but the line was to long. It probably helped me keep a good pace lol.

Once I found my lady it was time fore a few more pictures, grab my free beer (9AM on a Sunday) and eventually head back to the car and then drive home.

Overall, the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon is an excellent run event on a course that was flat as flat could be, my GPS had a 0 feet elevation change for the race. If your trying to lay down your fastest 13.1 ever, run this one.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile is my kind of race, it's short! It went down September 18, 2011 on Hillsborough St in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Leading up to this race I had done zero speed work. See, I have been training for the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon. This helped endurance but my leg turnover just isn't fast. So when the race day came I wasn't to confident that I could beat my time of 8:34 last year. Yes, I know, I'm slow.

A little before the race went down I jogged around and realized my legs were rubber. I thought to myself this isn't gonna be to good. Well anyway, the gun went off after announcing all the names of the elite runners and I bolted away. Well for me, I had a fast pace going and even though my legs were rubber my breathing was okay. Soon, I made it to the halfway point and the clock was reading 3:36. At this point I knew I had my fastest time so I relaxed a little so I would have a bit of a kick at the end. Soon I could see the finish and a few hundred yards out, I picked it back up and finished in 7:48.

I felt good with the result but realized I can get this into the 6's if I work at it. We'll working will have to wait, I have an official 13.1 miles to run in a few weeks. I've done one practice run of 13.1 miles and did better than I thought.

A quick note, Stephanie's kids, Lacey and Nathan both rocked the mile to. Nathan beat me and Lacey finished 4th in her age group. Great Job!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Warrior Dash North Carolina 2011

Well first off its been a while since a blog post, but, I hope this one makes up for it, this post is about the Warrior Dash!

It all started last year when I signed up for the race. It has been so long since I signed up for it I almost forgot it. About 2 months ago I was like, when is the Warrior Dash? Once I knew the date it was time to plan a bit. Well, not really but I needed to to decide leave in the morning for my noon start on August 27, 2011 or get a hotel and have a more relaxing event. This is where my lady Stephanie came in, get a hotel she said. Well that was that and I booked a room at the Huntersville, NC Hampton Inn.

Now time for the actual weekend of the Warrior Dash. To start this was a bigger event than I planned, I thought it was just going to be me, but I had company. Stephanie, her daughter Lacey and her friend Stephanie came along for the ride. They were scouting the event as they want to get some of their friends and do one in the near future. I was glad to have them along for the ride.

Anyway, back to the event. We arrived at the Huntersville, NC Hampton Inn and to our surprise, this hotel rocked, very nice. Once we settled it was lights out.

The day of the event Hurricane Irene was in town but we were just far enough west to have great weather. It was partly cloudy with a nice breeze to cool you off. Once at the location the first thing I realized was, a lot of people do this. 1000 people every hour 9 to 4 Saturday, they repeated it on Sunday. We got there a little early to, but that reduced my stress so it was all good. I went straight to packet pickup and got my stuff.

A picture while I am clean

We walked around a bit and watched the fire pit and the mud, here are a few more pictures.

A quick picture of Lacey and her friend Stephanie.

How did that happen, no picture of my lady, sad face.

On to the race itself. The start was kicked off by flame throwers, very hot! Well I took off! Once we rounded the corner a few obstacles came into view, a big 12ft wall and a raised walking plank. Well our path was going the other way, guess I'll need to save energy for the wall. After about 1.25 miles we came to our first obstacle. We had to go over a 4ft wall and under a wall, about six times. Then a quick jog over to the next obstacle, run thru tires and climb thru a dumpster, about five of these combos. Well off to another 3/4 miles of running. I rested a bit and walked some, as these obstacles tired me out quite a bit.

Now we are back to the 2 obstacles I saw near the start. First was the elevated plank. I walked over those pretty quick and started eyeing the wall. I grabbed my rope and my sweaty hands slipped. I thought don't tell me I can't get over this. Try number 2 was as good as gold, made it to the top, flipped over and jumped down. The 12ft wall was behind me. Water time and about another half mile till the next obstacle.

The blackout box! Here you crawl on your hands, belly, knees about 40ft in pitch black. Near the end I grabbed a hold of someones feet and they jetted out of there lol. Once I was out I had to adjust to the bright light and then off to the elevated net. Here you climbed up one side, rolled on three sections of netted rope and climbed down the other side. While on the net you could see the next task, it was a climb up and slide down a pole for about 10ft.

Now we made it to the nasty part although I was already dirty from a lot of crawling. The swamp! We had to wade thru a waste deep swamp and go over 3 floating logs. It was cool water but nasty water, I'm still worried a parasite now controls me. Finally the home stretch can be seen.

The home stretch is like the money shot in a way. First it was over a 15ft net wall, it was fun and the marine shouting orders to his buddies was cool too. Once off that, it was time to climb over another wooden structure. Then we got to jump some fire, hot! Now the last but the best obstacle. The mud pit. I stopped at the edge and jumped in, waste deep red clay mud pit, I then had to crawl in the mud under several pieces of barb wire stung across the pit, one scratched my back. Once out of the 40ft pit came the finish line. I was a muddy mess but I finished, completed every obstacle, got my medal, and had a blast.

Post race picture

A few more pictures

Well when I was done, I took a shower from a water truck with 50 other people, that was fun. Now it was time to donate my shoes, here is a picture of the pile.

My medal

Official Photos

See y'all next year at Warrior Dash 2012

Monday, July 11, 2011

Susan Komen 5K and more

Well, first off it has been a month since my last blog post, guess I have not felt like typing, because I'm not short on runs.

Pre Race Photo, not sure I'm awake at this point lol

Well back on June the 11th I ran the Susan B Komen 5K. All the proceeds go to fight breast cancer, so you knew I would be there to save all the breasts I can. The run itself was quite good for me although not to fast. I was in my Vibram Bikila's and I'm just not speedy in those, or ever for that matter We started in front of Meredith College bright and early at 7AM. As normal I started near the front of the pack, I really enjoy getting passed by a few thousand people.

Once the gun went off we ran down Hillsborough St for the first mile, I was in the 9 minute range for that first mile. We then turned right into the neighborhood and began the mostly uphill final 3K. I slowed up a bit but maintained a running motion till the end, I even skipped water and mist tunnels, it was a warm morning. I ended up crossing the line in 32 minutes flat but was happy I never once walked.

After the race was done I talked to a few co-workers that participated in the days events. Then I hit all the booths for free stuff and got on the bus to return home. A real positive day for a great cause.


Wall of Survivors or something like that:

Now to the more!

The more is really just a brief update on my running. Well it is getting better. Now that it is hot I'm not doing many long runs unless I get a lucky cool morning, haven't had any recently. The heat forced me to change it up, I now run 2 miles in the morning and 2 miles in the evening, every other day (will do this every day, hopefully, in August). So far this has been working out really well. I still get mileage but don't kill myself with the heat.

Next Race: Warrior Dash in August, High Noon!

Till next post, Billy

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Vibram FiveFinger Bikila Review

I've been running for a year and a half and have logged many miles in Vibram Classic and old fashioned running shoes. About 3 months ago I picked up a pair of Vibram Bikila's. Here is my take on Vibram FiveFinger Bikila's.

If your a wearer of say Vibram Classics the first thing you will notice is Bikila's are comfy. The fit is like a glove and the little pads on the sole add a little extra cushion. If your a true barefoot runner this may not be your thing but this dude has baby feet and the little extra is nice. Even though there is more to the sole of Bikila's the ride still has barefoot qualities.

What do I think about Bikila's ride? You get the control only your foot gives you. No shoe gives you ground feedback like these babies. No matter the terrain: pavement, steep hills, grass, creek bed, roots, rocks (ouch) I always feel balanced and in total control of every step. That's something I really dig about Vibrams. I just never get that in shoes!

So how do Bikila's hold up you ask? Great in my view. So far I have maybe 50 miles on them in all kinds of terrain, well the terrain that Raleigh, NC offers. The wear is almost nothing as you can see.

Are there any negatives? Not really in my view, I can tell you on my last trail run there was a 1/2 mile section of rocks and one sharp rock cut through the sole and stuck my toe. Not good, but that's the price of not having an inch of rubber on the bottom of your foot.

Overall I like them, they offer great feedback from the ground to your foot, offer more cushion and protection for us with baby feet and are as durable as you could expect with a shoe with so little material.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Last Three 5K's

Since my last post on the CRBR I have run three 5K's, two of those with Stephanie's kids Lacey and Nathan.

The first of these 5K's was the Second Empire Classic 5K on April 17th 2011. This race was great as it included Stephanie's kids doing their first 5K. I'm not sure either had ever run more than a mile but they were game.

Here we all are pre race, who knows what we looking at:

On to the race. Nathan lined up at the front and took off. Lacey and I were a few rows back and ran together for the first 1/2 mile. Then I took off, well not really but it's cool to say. After about 1.5 miles I caught up with Nathan, the rabbit start and the VANS shoes were paying a price. We walked and ran together till about 2.5 mile marker and then I took off!. Before that we had passed Lacey, we were on opposite sides of Hillsborough St and we cheered her on, she wasn't happy but had the drive to push through to the end.

Me at the 1 mile point:

The finish, we all finished. I came in around 31 minutes, Nathan about 30 seconds later and Lacey came home just a tad over 40. I was happy and Stephanie was flat out beaming with her kids achievement. Nathan even got an award for his first race.

Lacey finishing her first 5K:

That award took a protest to get. See Nathan's shoes were bothering him and he took them off. Who knew the timing chip would not be seen if not within a two feet of the timing mat. Nathan had his shoes (and timer chip) on his hands, see pic.

When we were looking at the race results we realized that Nathan was not scored, and new if he was scored, he would have a third place finish in his age group. Well, we went to the scoring table and we pointed out the issue. They found his number on the manual timing sheet and Nathan had his third place finish in hand. Here he is with award:

Race number 2 was the Run for Hero's 5K on April 30th 2011. This was the second time I have run this race and this time I had my first sub 30 minute 5K as a goal.

When the race started I moved to the side and let the speed demons go by. Yes, I started near the front because there is no timer line at the start, just at the finish. We ran down the start hill, then up the start hill then rounded the corner for another down and up. At this point I wasn't so sure how this race would go as I was a little more gassed than I though I should be.

Even though I was gassed, I was now on the easy part of the course down Fayetteville St and Wilmington St. This is all flat to downhill for the next mile and a quarter. We then rounded a corner on the back side of Peace College and made our way onto Blount St. At this point it was all hill and I started to realize sub 30 probably was not going to happen even though I had a pace that was well within my goals. I passed the 2 mile marker at 18 minutes. All I needed was a 10 minute mile after doing two 9 minute miles. How hard could that be? Well to hard for me, I had nothing and even though I made it to the home stretch sorta running I walked the first part of the home stretch. I did run the last hundred meters and finished in a little over 31 minutes. I really blew the last mile but there is always another race were I will have a shot at sub 30 minutes.

Here is a pic of me when I was still flying lol:

After this race I was frustrated and decided to change a few things. First, I will run a fast mile every week, I started this before this race. So far I have done an 8:02 mile and several just a few seconds slower. Second, I will do a long run once a week or a race. Where will I do my long run? Well there is this 8 mile loop over at Umstead Park I did once back in August of 2010 but that is one hilly loop. Oh well, I need to push myself, that is the loop I will do. Well so far I have done that loop 2 times, the second time I shaved 7 minutes off my time from from my previous run of this loop.

Well back to my 5Ks. This time it was the Clayton 5K Road Race on May 14th 2011. Lacey and Nathan were having their shot at another 5K. As we soon found out this was a lot different than our last 5K together, there were hills and more hills, did I mention this race had hills? Also, I had my vibrams on, I had not run a 5K in them for 10 months.

The race started much like the last race with Lacey and Nathan. Nathan took off and Lacey and I ran together for a bit. After about a half mile the hills started and the first one was big but I chugged up it without much problem. Well then after a short reprieve another hill, a reprieve and another hill, and so on. The the water table, I still can't run and drink so I swished and spit. Just pass the water stand I passed Nathan asked him how things were going as I went by. The hills were having an effect on him but he was doing great. We rounded a corner and a long down hill, yes, finally some rest but a short lived one, I had to run back up it. On the way back up the hill I passed Lacey coming down the hill, she wasn't happy but she was doing great too. Well, I was still chugging along and feeling okay on this hilly course. The last mile was more up and down hills. I walked for 10 seconds 2 times and finished in 32 minutes. Slow but with the hills I was quite happy with myself. Nathan finished in 37 and Lacey in 40. The hills beat all 3 of us pretty good and Lacey did the hill course faster than the flat course, woohoo! Once again their mommy was super proud of them.

Well this day was not over. We had to go to Scotty McCreery's (American Idol) hometown parade and concert. I was tired and going to this didn't help. I was a trooper till after the show, I will get back to this. The show itself was very good, the parade was goofy but people got to see Scotty and friends up close so it served it's purpose. Scotty seemed to be moved by the event and over joyed by his idol Josh Turner showing up to do a few songs with Scotty. Stephanie about went crazy when Josh appeared onstage, too funny.

Here is a pic of Scotty McCreery in the parade:

Here is a link to the show:

Almost forgot, the post concert line, well we stayed to the end because of Josh Turner and suffered with being a 1/4 mile back in line for the return bus ride to the satellite parking. I was not happy and pitched a fit. We discussed a few options that required a hefty walk and more waiting. In the end we just waited in line for over an our. Not the fun part but not the worst either.

Well that is it, see you at the next 5K in the Raleigh area.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cooper River Bridge Run 10K

The Cooper River Bridge 10K is a race I have been looking forward to for a long time. Per it is one of the top 10K events in the United States. So back say, October of 2010 I signed up for it.

Now on to the race that went down on April 2, 2011. It all started with dropping my dog Rocco off at the kennel and then Stephanie and I hit the road on Friday. It took about 5 hours to get there. 95 is one exciting road! Anyway once we arrived in town the goal was to find parking and head over to the Race Expo.

The Expo was something new to me and I pretty much just wanted to get my packet and leave. Not so easy, my lady Stephanie was with me and there was way to much free stuff to be had. Once thru the crowd I got my bib 30189, wow that is a big number, they are usually in the hundreds. After bib pickup they funnel you off to the stage area in the building to get the packet. No XXL shirts left, oh well an XL it is, can only wear it once I guess, because it will shrink to toddler size soon. Now its Stephanie's show time, table to table, getting this and drinking that. Overall, it was plenty fun and I drank enough energy and protein drinks to get me thru the next days 10K.

Our Hotel, about 5 miles from race expo area:

Before race day though it was dinner time. Ended up at Outback under a freezer vent but dinner was good. Was going to try this pasta place (Frazoli's) but it was fast food pasta, drive thru and all, so went with the pre-race steak.

Race day here I come. I couldn't sleep for anything and was up at 12:45AM. I lay there till 4:00 AM and get up for good. Stephanie didn't like this. It was her vacation and this was way to early. I hit the road a little before 5 to find parking. Wow this is a breeze, the cops are not even in place and I parked in the same lot we did for the Expo, now time to get in line for my bus ride across the Copper River Bridge.

Me to early in the morning on race day:

The bus was easy enough. The loading spot was just outside the parking deck. I got in line and a local runner was quite chatty in line with me. He was a triathlete and had swam 2.4 miles under the bridge but never ran over the bridge in a race. Well this was my first time running over the bridge myself. Did I tell you this dude was chatty, he told me about every running event he has been in since birth in that 15 minute bus ride. Once on the Mt Pleasant's side of the bridge the bus dropped us off so we could walk the 3/4 miles to our start corral.

I found my corral some 2.5 hours before the race was to start and realized this was the beginning of a real long day. Anyway I hung out watching people, listening to people, and making a few trips to the many porto's while waiting for the race to start.

Its finally 8:00AM, let the race begin. Not so fast I'm in the H corral of a wave start. Each wave leaves every three minutes or so. As we work our way forward based on the walk and stop signs managed by our corral volunteers its finally our time to go. At this time close to 30 minutes have passed and the winners have crossed the finish line. Guess I will have to wait till next year to have a shot at victory lol. The announcer was trying to hype us up for a picture so we all had our hands in the air and screaming like we just don't care and we are off!

Finally down to the race. The first mile and 1/4 was flat and I was just weaving in and out of the really slow crowd and making as much time as I could before the bridge. Once on the bridge I realized this was not going to be easy, the bridge is a 4% uphill grade and it would stay that was until I passed the 3 mile marker. Well as you can guess I started to walk, but this killed my calves. So what to do, alternate between running and walking till I'm at the top. Since I was walking some I did take the time to snap a few pictures. Now at the 3 mile marker I see Beetle Juice with a bunch of skeletons chasing him. No this isn't a mirage, people wear costumes at this race. Well back to the race, I'm at the halfway point and now I get to go down hill, now this is fun but the 25mph wind is more prevalent now. I pick up the pace pretty good because I would like to be somewhat close to 1 hour finish time. A little after crossing mile 4 we are off the bridge.

Now off the bridge its just 2 more miles of flat running. The first section after the bridge was a water stand. To much traffic but managed to get a quick swig of liquid. I needed it to, had to run thru the hood, I had to step it up a bit. Eventually we hit mile 5 and another water hole, why? It caused a bottle neck as this was a switchback and narrower streets. This switchback took us from Meeting Street over to King Street. Running down King was pretty straight forward but I was tired as I have not been running 6 miles and I was hurting pretty good so I mixed in a few 30 second walks. The road narrowed even further and even walkers were getting in this slow pokes way as this was the last half mile and I was going to finish as strong as I could. Smile, quick picture, a little further and on a cut thru back to Meeting Street. Come on people you can run home from here. Finally rounded the corner onto meeting and I can see the finish. I try to kick it into high gear but not much left in the tank. Smile again for a finish picture and I'm done.

Where is the water:

Me sometime after the race:

Now they shuttle us down to the park and I'm wanting to get some water and find Stephanie. I had been texting her my mile location so maybe she could see me finish. She missed me but she tried. The crowd was insane, way to many people in the city block sized park. I finally, about 10 minutes after I finished, got a few bottles of water and began wondering around looking for Stephanie.

Some post race pictures, post race party I guess:

Eventually, probably 20 minutes after my finish I found her. We walked and talked and ate and watched the trophy presentation. The local cat (Bobby Mack) from The Raleigh Athlete's Foot that sold me my shoes that I was wearing finished 6th overall with a time of 29.18. He was 1st US citizen. Sorta cool eh?

My time details:
Bib FName LName City State Country Div Age SEX
ChipTime ClockTime Overall SexPl DivPl Pace 1:11:20 1:40:48 19330 9949 1181 11:29

Well for the race that was it, the rest of the time Stephanie and I did the vacation thing till Sunday afternoon. Overall, this is a very well run event and I look forward to doing it again.

One of the tourist pics:

One more quick tidbit. Trying to find a paper at 3PM the day after the Cooper River Bridge Run is not an easy task. My suggestion is get one at your hotel early the next morning.

WooHoo my name was in that paper, that's me 9832 in the mens division: