Tar Heel 10-Miler

Also known as “Holy cow I can’t believe I finished”.

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I wasn’t sure this race was actually going to happen, after getting tendonitis and having to take a month off running, I was seriously concerned I wasn’t going to be able to run. I registered for this race in NOVEMBER and I’ve been working my mileage up ever since, I was going to do my best to run this race!

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(Cue the obligatory selfie with my race bib – and how awesome is it that they gave us Boston stickers? Love to see the running community supporting each other)

Race morning started way too early. Like 5:15AM early. Ouch. Major props to my parents for waking up before the sun to cart me over to Chapel Hill and waiting on the course for 2 hours to cheer me on, they are some seriously awesome people! My mom actually bruised her hands from clapping so hard for all the runners, she’s going to have to pace herself for these longer races!

The race started up a little rough. Traffic going into Chapel Hill was HORRENDOUS. The pre-race e-mails warned us traffic might be bad, but it was BAD. The race was set to start at 7:30AM and at 6:50 we were still crawling through traffic a couple miles away while I was slowly freaking out about making it on time. It got to the point that I decided to just walk to the start line. Which turned into running to the starting line because I was seriously cutting close. Nothing like a 1-mile up hill warm up before a race right?

I saw lots of other runners booking it to the start line so I felt a little bit better about the situation. Luckily I made it with time to spare!

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And hightailed it to the back of the crowds, definitely not trying to be speedy during this race. Speaking of speedy, the winner finished in 51:11. Holy cow. I can’t even comprehend that kind of speed.

The race started and ended in Kenan Stadium (UNC’s football stadium), which was pretty cool. It felt pretty awesome to run through the stadium to cross the finish line!

The weather was pretty perfect for running, in the 50s and a little overcast, couldn’t really ask for anything better.

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The first couple miles went really smoothly, we circled around the stadium twice before heading through UNC’s campus. My parents were at the 1st and 2nd mile marker which gave me a huge boost to start with. I passed the 12:00 mile pace group after a quick bathroom trip at mile 2 and made it my goal to stay ahead of them. I told you I wasn’t trying for speedy.

Miles 4-6 got a little rough, my feet blister like crazy during long runs (anyone know how to fix this? I feel like I’ve tried everything new shoes, new socks, band-aids, turning socks inside out, lotion, nothing helps!) and I was starting to feel it at this point (gross? Maybe, but isn’t that why we read race recaps?).

I had half a PowerGel at mile 5 which helped a lot. I’ve never fueled during a run before but I new sugar would be necessary at this point. I could tell it helped me out, even if orange is not such a tasty flavor.

Miles 7-10 I got in the zone is was just determined to finished. I stopped for another half of a gel at mile 8 and chugged along to the finish.

Around mile 8.5 I hit the TOPO Challenge:

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Laurel Hill is slightly less than a mile climb uphill, and awards were given to those who could get up the hill the fastest. The race promoters made a big deal about this hill, and I was slightly worried, but I shouldn’t have been, that hill was nothing. I walk up steeper hills to class! Perks of living in the mountains. Climbing hills is 1000 times easier at sea level. I made it to the top in 9:28!

I ended up finishing in 1:54:27 with an average mile time of 11:27. Not fast by any means, but I’m just proud I finished!

Tar Heel 10 Miler finisher medal 2013

How awesome are the finisher medals?

All in all, minus the traffic jam at the start, I absolutely loved this race! I would already be signed up for it for next year if I actually new where I’d be living/what I’d be doing next year.

Have you ever run a 10 mile race? Do you like the distance?

What races do you have on the calendar for this year?

NC Roadrunner’s Club Invitational 10k

This race went amazingly.

The weather was beautiful, the course was interesting (and shady!) without being too killer and my legs were feeling good!

I was up at 5:30 am (ouch) for a 7:15 start time. I had planned to get up at 6 but I couldn’t sleep, and the few hours of sleep I did get were spent dreaming that I over slept. I was fed up and decided to embrace the (way too early) morning. At least I tried to get my 8 hours.

My stomach was feeling a little iffy (thanks to all the samples from the NC Food and Wine Expo, recap to come!) but seemed to settled down as I started running.

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Making my way to the finish line (I’m in the tye-dye)

The course wound through Cary’s Umstead State Park passing by Crabtree Creek around mile four. Crabtree Creek was gorgeous to look at and took my mind off how tired my feet were getting. The course  had two out and back points, one at about 2.5 miles and one at about 5.5 miles. The 5.5 mile turn around was torture, I felt like I was almost done, then realized I had to run past the way I came before getting to the finish line, such a tease. There were also a few hills, a couple of which were a little intense but nothing too horrible.

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The finish line!

I took it slow and paced myself throughout the race. I had never run the full 6.2 miles before (maybe a dumb move, but that’s okay) so my only goal was to run the entire thing. With that in mind I was careful to not start too fast because I didn’t want to burn out at the end – I’m bad about doing this. My final chip time was 1:08:50, definitely not fast, but I feel accomplished just finishing. Plus it was my first 10K which means automatic PR! A 7, 10 and 78 year old out ran me, and I was getting passed by some of the half marathon runners (the half marathon started at 7), but I’m okay with that, it just gives me motivation for my next race!

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I’m ridiculously excited about this medal!

Overall it was a pretty fun race (and I got a medal!), and the entry fee was a very reasonable $25, I would definitely do this race again!

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I also got a sweet visor. I had to be a little ridiculous with it.

St. Patty’s Run Green 8k

My recap is only a week after the actual race, but that’s okay.

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(I’m the one in the green shirt, narrows it down doesn’t it?)

My final chip time was 51:54. This was my first 8k which means a guaranteed PR, gotta love that. It was also my first chip-timed race, it was fun to get an accurate time.

The race began at 3:00pm in downtown Raleigh. I picked up my bib the day before so I didn’t have to wait in the crazy long registration line. I was worried about the race being so late in the day, I’m really terrible at eating the right food before a run if I have more than one meal to worry about. I’m paranoid I’ll be that person that pukes at the finish line.

About 10 minutes before the start all the racers lined up at the starting line. There were over 2,400 runners, by far the largest race I’ve ever run in. I stuck myself near the back of the crowd in the 11:00 min/jogging stroller pace group. I’d rather underestimate my pace and weave through people to the front instead of starting over too far forward and getting trampled. I spent the first mile squeezing my way through the crowds, 2,400 people is a lot of people for a two-lane city street. I liked the crowds though. Everyone’s excitement was infectious and kept me pepped up for the next five miles.

The route was an out and back, weaving through the Historic Oakwood District. The course had a couple of small hills which weren’t too steep but the last couple felt killer. There were also lots of turns which kept things interesting. I was feeling pretty strong through the first couple miles, but right around the third mile things got more difficult. My legs were still feeling strong but I was definitely huffing and puffing. As difficult as those last two miles were it felt so rewarding to push through and finish strong (though I’d be lying if I said the live bag pipe music didn’t help).

(Post-dinner, but not shower so I was smelling awesome, you can’t see it here but the background of the bib is plaid, awesome)

This was such a fun race overall. The St. Patty’s costume were hilarious (I got passed by a 6-pack of Guinness about 3.5 miles in). I’ll have to run it next year so I can get the free beer when I finish, I missed it this year being about 6 weeks away from 21.

I think I’m addicted to racing. I’m not fast by any means, but I love the energy and adrenaline rush of a race (and the free shirts!). They’re so motivating, I don’t think I would have ever conquered 5 miles if I hadn’t signed up for this race. I’ve already found some 5k’s to do next month and I’m on the look out for a good 10k to do this summer!