Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Race #5 - Cannonball Run Half Marathon - Greensboro, NC

Cannonball Run Half Marathon
8:00 AM
Greensboro, NC
Time: 1:40:54
Placed 58th out of 419; 3rd in my Age Group

The Cannonball Run Half Marathon was my first race at this distance. It was held in Greensboro at Country Park (at least that's where it started and finished). I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how to pace myself for that long of a race. And I had not ran more than 11 miles before. So it would be a day of firsts on many levels.

My wife Summer decided to run the 5k at this event which occurred during the half marathon. So she got to watch us all as we started as her race started after the half. The first mile or so was a loop around a lake. And I guess I didn't make a mental note of the hill that we would have to climb at the finish. More on that later.

After the loop around the lake, we headed out the park, and onto a street in Greensboro. Running down the hill, past a shopping center, then back up a hill, and into a neighborhood. I was running my race, trying to just keep an 8 minute pace the entire time, hoping that in the end, I beat my goal of 1:50.

As I exited this neighborhood, I crossed a street and then headed into a wooded area that was a bike/walking/running path. This part turned out to be a few miles of flat surface, so I was able to hold a steady pace, each mile coming in a good amount under 8 minutes. I remember at one point sort of 'drafting' off one guy (not too closely though thank goodness). He was probably 10 feet ahead of me. Then I thought I heard something. Did this guy really just fart out loud? Now I'm no one to talk. I've done some farting while running, but luckily I had gotten everything out of me at the house before I left. I waited, and waited, and then, BOOM. It hit me. Yes. He farted. And here I am right in the cloud. I quickly ducked out from behind him like Ricky Bobby doing the 'slingshot' move with Cal in Talladega Nights. Wasn't no way I was staying behind that guy.

After crossing the bridge that went over a lake (and getting my picture made), I continued toward the end of this flat path. I then saw someone coming in the opposite direction. Yes, it was the leader. Here I am about 6.5 miles into the race and he's already hit the turn around point and on his way back. I said 'good job' as he ran by and that gave myself a little motivation.

Once I exited the bike path, I was in another neighborhood and on the corner, they had water and Gatorade. I took the opportunity to get some Gatorade but did not stop to walk and drink it. I found this to be a good time to pass some others as they indulged. Running through this neighborhood, I wasn't specifically counting the folks passing me in the opposite direction. Instead I was trying to skim over them, wondering 'if I stay in this place, where will I finish' and 'ok I think I've got to be in the top 100'.

The turn around point was just that. A small road cone at the edge of someone's driveway and we literally had to run around the cone. At this point, it was all downhill. Not literally, but I knew how far I had to go to get back to the finish. I was quite pleased at this point with how things were going. I saw people that were going in the opposite direction and some of them I gave encouragement to saying 'good job' and 'keep it up'. I was grouped with three other guys at this point and we all kept trading places. Then we made our way to two other guys who were having a little conversation going. I was thinking, I do not even want to talk to anyone at this point.

We made our way off the path and back on to public roads and then back through the neighborhood. After exiting the neighborhood, I was all by myself. No one close behind me, and a few people I could see ahead of me. I had to make it up this large hill before entering Country Park for the last mile and a half or so.

Once I got to the lake we originally went around twice to start, I knew I was almost there. There were some people who were slowing down. Not me. I took this opportunity to speed up. I winded through a short downhill and some curves and pushed ahead for the last 300 yards. It was all slightly uphill.

I reached the top of the hill and something happened inside me. All of a sudden, my stomach decided it was time for something to come up. So I literally gagged and dry heaved in front of a group of people. I put my hand over my mouth thinking I was about to vomit everywhere, praying that I wouldn't do it in front of a few hundred people at the finish line. I slowed my pace as I couldn't push anymore due to the fact I didn't know what was about to happen. A couple of people passed me, including one girl that I had passed a quarter mile back. I bet she was laughing at me.

I crossed the finish line and saw Summer come to congratulate me but I was afraid I would be sick. I walked into a wooded area for a second and felt fine after a few. I was awarded my finisher's medal which is actually pretty cool. And then I headed for the snack table. I found out later as they posted results that I finished 3rd in my age group. So we stuck around for the awards and I received a polo shirt with the race logo and 'award finisher' sewn into it. I met the 2nd place finisher in my age group and him and his girlfriend and us hung out until the awards were completed.

I was quite pleased with my first half marathon. Not too shabby.

Results are HERE

And here is one picture that was taken. Not good enough that I'll be purchasing though.

Race #4 - Trinity Center 5k - Winston Salem, NC

Trinity Center Walk for Wellness Run for Your Life 5k
8:45 AM
Winston Salem, NC
Time: 22:05
Place 10th out of 89; 3rd in my Age Group

The Trinity Center 5k was held in conjunction with the Trinity Center Mellow Mile. My company, ISP Sports, was a sponsor of this event and so two people were allowed to run without paying the entry fee. I gladly accepted.

The 5k was held after the mile race and the kids fun run. It had been since June since I ran a 5k or any race for that matter, so all I wanted to do was beat my previous time of 24:07. As we headed out, the 'elite' runners did what they do and jumped out in front. I fell in line and just concentrated on my breathing and holding a steady pace.

Making our way through downtown Winston Salem, we got to 5th and Trade St. where my office is located. I remember making the turn on this street and my pace was 7:02. I went into the wind at that point and when I turned off that street, my pace was 7:28. Knocked back by 26 seconds in a matter of maybe 70 yards. I made it up though.

We came to a block next that was basically going to be a loop that we had to complete twice. This was a place where those cheaters could skim some time off their run. I on the other hand, did it the right way and did both laps.

I remember coming down one street and there was a crowd of people on the sidewalk watching as a couple of guys tried to unlock a car door with a coat hanger. Likely something that happened the night before while drinking at the bars. I made my way up the street and turned left to start my second loop. There was a guy who was running in front of me and had been for a little while that A) sounded like a Clydesdale the way his feet were hitting the ground and B) kept launching mucus filled loogies into the street. It was rather disgusting. So I passed him. Then he passed me. Then I passed him again, and never saw him until the finish.

As I made one of the last turns on the loop section, there was a woman probably 40-50 yards ahead of me. I just kept her in my sights, with no intention of trying to catch her, just running my race. Well I kept getting closer to her. And as we took the second to last turn before the finish, she was 25 feet ahead of me and we were on a downhill part. So I kicked it in gear. I passed her before the last turn. The finish line was in site. I didn't know what my time was but I remember that I was trying to push with everything I had and I just couldn't go any faster.

I crossed the finish line in 22:05. I wish I could have given a little more and broke 22 minutes but I'll take it. I finished 1:16 behind Cameron Kent, our local news anchor. I didn't know he was such a runner! Lanie Pope (local weather lady) also ran this race (she finished in 20th in 24:06). They both presented the awards at the end of the race.

Results are HERE

Race #3 - Trinity Center Mellow Mile - Winston Salem, NC

Trinity Center Mellow Mile
8:00 AM
Winston Salem, NC
Time: 6:03
Place 8th out of 14

The Trinity Center Mellow Mile was held in conjunction with the Trinity Center Walk for Wellness Run for your Life 5k. The mile was the first time I had raced a mile and didn't know what to expect as far as finishing time goes. It was a cool morning and we showed up early to pick up my packet which included a tshirt, some Chick-fil-A coupons and other stuff.

The mile race actually started at a different location than the 5k. So those 14 of us who competed made our way to this spot. As we started, we all took off and I let those who looked faster get in front of me. I fell in and made the first few turns when out of nowhere this guy comes blasting through the parking lot of a local business and cuts in front of me. I am wondering, where did this guy come from? Apparently, he signed up for the mile but wasn't aware of the different start location and by the time he made it there, we had already left. So if he beat me (which I think he did looking at the results), I consider myself in 7th place because HE CHEATED!

Either way, running this fast early in the cool morning really takes its toll on your lungs. I remember making the last turn wanting to slow down but I tried to keep my pace up. I crossed the finish line and my Garmin said 6:01 but their official finishing time has me at 6:03. I didn't even know I was that close to breaking 6 minutes. I had I known, I would have emptied my tank a little more to break that mark.

Overall, not too bad for my first mile race. I had to save something for the 5k though.

Results are HERE

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Race #2 - Shoals 5k - Shoals, NC

Shoals Baptist 5k
8:30 AM
Shoals, NC
Time: 24:07
Place 3rd out of about 30 or 40

The Shoals 5k was a benefit race for a group from the church going on a mission trip to Honduras later in the summer. Summer, myself, and her Mom paid to enter and her Dad ran along with her mom most of the way. It was a humid June morning and the race couldn't start soon enough!

I thought I may have a chance at winning this one so I decided to get out early. I took the lead out of the gate and headed up the road. The course had us go up a hill and around one building only to come back down and hit the road again. It was then slightly uphill to the second and only road on the out and back course. Going up this hill, I slowed my pace and was passed by a fellow probably 12 years older than me, and two 17 year olds. I let them go as I knew it'd be downhill on the way back.

The course also had us going around Summer's church twice, and then heading back to the start. I grabbed some water on the first go round and then took my second loop. I know of one kid who definitely didn't make two loops around the church.

After my second loop, I noticed one of the younger guys who started to walk. I immediately smelled fresh meat and made the pass not to see him again. The leaders however, were not in sight so I figured I would be best to finish 3rd and I should just hold off any chargers from behind me. And so I did, finishing 3rd overall.

The winner had a Garmin watch and informed me that the course was actually 3.22 miles so I was well pleased with my time. Especially since it was 24:07 and I knew that the course was longer than it should have been. I consider it a sub 24 minute race if you only count the 3.1 miles.

I was awarded a medal for finishing third. Summer was awarded a medal for finishing 2nd in her age group and her mom was awarded a medal for finishing 3rd in her age group. Overall, a successful race that we enjoyed!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Race #1 - Race for the Cure 5k - Winston Salem, NC

Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k
8:00 AM
Winston Salem, NC
Time: 24:39
Place: 139/12,000+ (runners & walkers)

A great day for my first race. Not only is it now May, the month of my birthday, but it's a nice spring morning and there is a record crowd of around 12,000 out to support the fight against breast cancer.

Summer and I met up with my sister and her "team" from work and were given shirts and posed for a picture. We then moved toward the start line to try and get in front of the thousands of people who were there, most walking but some running.

As the gun didn't sound (they just yelled Go instead), the amoeba of people took off. I remember AC/DC's Thunderstruck jamming loudly in my ears as I ran with my iPod. The first .8 mile was uphill and as a beginner runner, I didn't know how to pace myself but I just went for it. Summer quickly decided she couldn't hang with my pace so she stayed back and ran her race while I trucked on.

Once up that first hill, it was flat for the next mile or so and folks were out downtown cheering everyone on. After the next turn, it was time for some downhill. You could tell at this point people were slowing down but I was keeping up my pace (even though I don't know what that pace was). A guy I work with, whom I passed around the 1.5 mile mark, caught back up with me and passed me. I didn't try to compete.

Let me just say that when you've never run 3.1 miles in a race before, you don't know when to ease up and when to press hard. I remember feeling a little dizzy, so I slowed down slightly. The unusual feeling subsided and I trekked on. The last half mile was great. Seeing a long line of people cheering you on is a great feeling. I didn't have the energy to sprint like I should have so I just kept my pace as I ran through the finish line.

Overall, a success in my first race. I was quite content with my time and place.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go!

This will be considered the beginning of my new adventure(s). Running. Doesn't sound like much. Sounds stupid to some. Some only want to do it if chased. Others do it has a hobby. And yet others are obsessed with it. Me? Well when I set out to do something, I tend to give it about 163.7%. I don't know what it is, but I go all out.

My new (sort of) obsession is running. My sister talked me in to running a 5k as part of her 'team' from her office for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Winston Salem in May 2010. Myself and future wife Summer agreed, because it's for a good cause and why not, I didn't have anything else to do that day. Little did I know that this would start something that could potentially spiral out of control and be a staple in my life (for how long, I do not know. that's TBD).

So after 7 months of it, I decide to start my own blog. Not like anyone will read it. But something maybe some day I can look back on and laugh at how crazy I was, or boast at how proud I am of myself, or who knows what. What I do know is that I've found something I enjoy, so I'm going to see where it takes me.

This blog won't be posted on daily. Most likely after races I complete and maybe some other times here or there in regards to training etc. But thanks for reading. Enjoy!