Thursday, April 12, 2018

Rock n Roll Raleigh

I made the decision I wouldn't formally train for this event for many reasons, but I did have a plan that would hopefully increase my fitness level enough to make it an enjoyable day.
In the end, the race held some awesome memorable moments along with a few tough ones, but I could not contain my smile at the finish of half marathon #21.

In case you are wondering, I did not receive a free entry for this event from BibRave, I paid for my bib during a holiday sale. 💖

In March my long runs went pretty well and I felt particularly strong on the last few I did.
(March long runs)

10 mi (11:37 avg)

10 mi (11:04 avg)

11 mi (10:44 avg)

9 mi (11:00 avg)

I ran 93 miles in February and 90 in March and I made an effort to vary hills, paces, and intervals. My average pace for all my runs in March was 10:50 so I felt like I was ready to hold a 10:30ish pace for Rock n Roll Raleigh...spoiler alert,  I didn’t! 😏 Heading into this I found it hard to go to a race and not have some kind of goal in my mind, BUT maybe I am cured of that now. 💕
I was pretty far off from what I hoped to accomplish.

Saturday it was rainy, cold, dreary and gray. Thankfully it cleared up overnight. I was thrilled Sunday (race day) was a super sunny, dry chilly day!

I stayed in a hotel 1.7 miles from the start line. I was thankful I found a nice young military guy to walk with since it is a bit dark in the mornings and I was not familiar with the area. We chatted the whole way and it felt like we arrived in a blink! I do wish the photographer would have caught him in this photo!

This captured the dim morning skies as I was approaching the start line. I did a terrible job putting on my bib, look how lopsided it is! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I wrapped a hotel towel around my back and it actually kept the breeze from cutting straight to my skin and I was plenty warm.

I got a million comments from people…”is that really helping” “you are brave for wearing a tank top” “do you know it is 30 degrees?” (I think it was 32) but honestly I felt like my wardrobe choice was perfect the whole race. It is only hard when you are waiting around in the cold and I didn't have much standing around time.

Race start was 7 a.m. and my corral was off by 7:06 a.m.

I wore homemade arm warmers and they were the greatest thing ever! You can see them better in the picture below. I used fleece lined tights and cut the feet off and they were sooooo comfy,  they did not squeeze my arms at all and stayed in place, and were super warm.  My dollar store gloves were a little lightweight and my fingertips were cold in the beginning, but after mile two I was plenty warm. The sun came out and I enjoyed the run.
I never gave up my towel. By the end it was only tucked in on one side, but I figured it would be nice to return it to the hotel.

About every two miles there was a band or a DJ along the course. I was impressed by the musical talent :)

I ran the first few miles and then turned on my timer (gymboss) which is always set for 4 x 1 intervals, but I skipped the walk break a handful of times early on because I felt good.

I felt my energy slipping a little at the half way point. I tried to rally a few times but I just started running out of juice. The only thing I ate during the run was a delicious Girl Scout S'more cookie during mile 7. It was handed to me by an enthusiastic little troop member. I hoped that cookie would carry me to the end because my belly was rumbling with hunger by that time.
I did carry my own handheld and started with a tablet of Nuun and I refilled my bottle with Gatorade twice on the course. I am soooo hydration dependent now! I can not believe the first few years I ran I never drank anything, even on longer runs.

Two things really impacted how the day went for me...
First, it was a hilly course and I have felt weak on hills since last year. I keep trying to work on my hill game, but I can not seem to make improvement. Not sure which is causing me the angst, my heart or my feet, probably a combination of  both, but even in the cold weather I have struggled to find my strength running uphill.
The longer the issues continue, the more I realize I just need to accept where I am at.

Second, I did not sleep well the night before the race. I woke up about 2:00 a.m. and was tossing and turning, despite the big comfy hotel bed.  This went on for a few hours until I finally got a good solid hour of snooze time, between 4 and 5 a.m. In the wee morning hours sleep felt more important than food, but sleeping until 5 a.m. meant I didn't have time to go and get breakfast. The hotel didn't put food out before 6 a.m.and we left to walk to the start line about that time.
My breakfast was a small bag of goldfish on the way.

I should have planned better, but even so, I felt really good for about 10 miles and it was a beautiful running day!

The last few miles I felt a sharp cramp very low in my gut. When I tried to push the pace a little towards the end it made for an unpleasant feeling. A little GI distress is nothing new for me on longer runs and ultimately, I felt better within an hour of finishing, but it was enough to slow me down a bit. Maybe munching the cookie was a bad idea, but honestly, I've had the same tummy reaction whether I've run fasted or with a meal/meals in my system.

Here is how it went down
9:38, 10:33, 10:25, 11:19, 10:43, 11:48, 11:04, 11:38, 11:06, 10:51, 12:35, 11:11  - the hills ate me up
The last .31 there was 54 feet of elevation gain (13:00 avg) LOL I was over it!

This photo cracks me up! My over it shines through.
I wanted a banana! and a shower 💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦💦 😅

So I went to Raleigh hoping to run a 2:18 half (10:30ish avg pace)
and I ended up running a 2:27:58 (11:17 pace) and honestly, I am fine with that.

I loved the festive feel along the course.

I loved every minute of the cool air and sunshine.

I love the cheering squads and music.

I loved the changing scenery.

I enjoyed my walk back to the hotel.

I loved my sting free shower compliments of  pjuractive, the best anti-chafing product ever.

I loved 34,000 steps by 11:00 a.m.

I loved that I finished 13.1 miles.

At the finish line, some friendly smiling soul shoved a medal in my hand, another person handed me a bottle of Gatorade, then water, then a space blanket, then a bag of pretzels, till my arms felt like they were overflowing and when I finally got a hold of my banana I couldn't peel it! I was hungry 😜

I wish I would have planned for breakfast better the night before.
I wish I could have slept better.
I wish it wouldn't have ended uphill! For real...

But most important, I think I really came to an acceptance that races will not be anything like they were for me a few years ago. I really don't care to push my body to its limits anymore and chase a time. I am content  to run and feel proud of crossing the finish line!

I think I am going to become an advocate for finish line bags. LOL 
What is the first thing you want when you finish a race? 
Tell me about a time you walked to a start line? 
Have you made home-made arm warmers? 
Ever have your fingertips hurt when they are cold? Mine hurt during the first mile. 
Does your GI tract get irritated from running? 

Thanks for stopping by and reading! 


  1. Congrats Karen! Was this your first RnR race? They are a lot of fun, altho I hear this was the last year for Raleigh. The tummy issues are always the one thing that bring me down. I've just kind of had to roll with that and hope not to have issues. I only drink Tailwind but even that isn't foolproof!

    1. Thank you! Yes, it was my first Rock n Roll event. It is the last year for Raleigh so I am glad I did it! My tummy issues seem to be pretty random so I just have to roll with what comes too.
      I did enjoy Tailwind when I tried it, but I need to test it in summer and see if it keeps the nausea at bay for me :)

  2. I'm so glad you loved this race!!! :) I think your homemade arm warmers are genius and I wear dollar store gloves all winter- but I wear two pair at a time. They really keep me warm, just cheap, knit gloves! When I ran the Baltimore Marathon I planned to walk to the start line but a couple I saw outside the hotel was driving down and said they'd drive me. I was glad I took them up on their offer- it would have been a far walk! And yes they were strangers but they were clearly in race gear so I figured they weren't axe murderers.

    1. Ha! I felt the same way about the guy I walked with! I was like, clearly he won't kill me right now because he has to run LOL
      I love my cheap gloves too I should try to 2 pairs - I have never thought about it!

  3. Always make those home-made arm warmers. I have quite a few pairs on $1 gloves. Love them!!!

    I'm with you. I hate being too warm when I run.

    I too seem to get stomach distress at mile 10 - Why???

    Anyway, anyone who completes 13.1 miles is a hero is my book.

    Congrats on another half! RnR races are fun. I can't wait until Montreal in Sept. Wish I could afford to do more of them.

  4. You did great! Yikes on the tank top, but I did get hot in my ls shirt during cherry blossom.

    I am right with you on not wanting to push that hard anymore. I don't have anything to prove and don't want to spend the rest of the day feeling like crap.

  5. Congrats Karen! Raleigh is a tough, hilly course. I'm so glad it stayed cool for you. I so hear you on the need for finish line feed bags! Juggling everything they hand you is not easy!

  6. I am sorry that you didn't meet your time goal, but it sounds like you really enjoyed the race -- and had good weather to boot! -- and those are pretty darn important things. I would've died on so little food, but we're all different.

    Finish line bags are awesome. I walked to the start of my half in Austin -- it was an easy walk & since I'd lived there so long no problems. I walked/ran to the start in NOLA. A little more nerve wracking trying to remember the right way . . .

    There are absolutely times my hands get so cold they hurt. And I hate that. But I love your idea of using fleece lined tights as arm warmers -- in fact, I have a bunch I was going to donate, but now I know what to do with them. :) They're solid (and different colors), so they should work divinely. I knew about socks, but for some reasons had never thought about tights! Brilliant!

  7. First off congrats on the race! This sounds like a fun one and i definitely hope to run it one day! Second off, I’m with you on running to run and not go for crazy goals! I’m at that point in my life at this moment as well! Congrats again!!

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