Race Report- Wrightsville Beach Half Marathon

There’s something to be said about a hometown race. It’s good to be a local and I think it takes a lot of the stress out of the equation. I had a rather disappointing run at Myrtle Beach in January and I really wanted to have a positive experience with this weekend’s race. I knew that it was going to be my last half marathon until the Fall and I just wanted to end the season on a good note. I was a bit concerned since my last long run was almost a week and a half ago but I set the goal of running the whole 13.1 without walking.

Woke up to cloudy but not rainy skies which great considering the weather was calling for rain all day. Weather was 54 degrees, with light wind- a perfect day for a run. Met up with Paula and Julie and Julie’s track friends from high school who were in town to race as well. Piled into Julie’s car and went down to the beach for the start. This was the song that they were playing, which immediately put me in a good mood. My goal was to have fun and I was already off to a good start.

It’s hard to find people while standing in the dark surrounded by 5,000 other runners but we managed to find fellow Splash, Mash, and Dash members Stan and Jen. Before I knew it, we were off, heading out into the darkness.

Paula and I ran together and found Kate and her dad running. Kate’s dad is such a great inspiration. He has volunteered for the B2B med tent and when they asked if he was able to volunteer for this race replied that he was running and wouldn’t be available. How awesome is that. It was his first half marathon as well, so a big congrats to Dennis Murphy.

Other highlights include the awesome crowd support on one of the main roads (some of the race signs were so funny!), the guy with the great tattoos on each of his calfs (B2B and Kona), the woman who was drinking a Bloody Mary on her lawn and when I called her out came running up to me and let me have a sip(!)- you, kind woman of Landfall, know how to make a great drink!, and the cup of beer that was presented to me by volunteers at mile 12, and others whom we met along the course, some of whom were running their first 13.1.

I achieved my goal of running the whole time without stopping to walk so I was really happy. Hung out afterwards post race and then went to Front  Street Brewery with Paula for some pulled chicken nachos and my own Bloody Mary and my day was complete.

photo (14)

Stan, me, Jen, and Paula post race carb loading

Photo: Post race fun

Post race fun with Paula and Jen

Filling out my dance card for some fall half marathons and ready to switch my training for some spring sprint triathlons and a whole lot of fun! Here’s to Spring.

Advertisements

You are a Runner

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

-Buddha

I didn’t fully comprehend last week’s race lesson until I was running with my friend Stan last night. I was bemoaning the fact that I didn’t PR (personal record), that I chose to walk during the race, that it just didn’t feel wonderful. We were discussing how we haven’t been excited about running in a while, which is ironic considering we were running in what I personally consider one of the most beautiful places in town, Wrightsville Beach. It was late evening, the temperature was 65 degrees, traffic was light (thank goodness it wasn’t summertime) and there was a heavy fog hanging in the air. The air was calm, and the horizon and the water color were monochromatic to each other. It was also the first time in weeks that we weren’t at the track, waylay-ed by ice storms, or snow, or general miserable weather. It was a perfect night for running. As we were talking I realized I needed to get out of my head and look. Look around Nancy, I thought to myself. People would kill to do what you’re doing right now, smelling the salt air, running with a friend, talking about life. Stan even said as much “some people would kill to be us right now” he remarked.

We have such expectations that are self imposed, we said to each other. We do two-thirds of an iron distance or half iron distance, and THEN RUN a marathon or half marathon and we therefore expect our next race to be a marked improvement. We don’t give ourselves credit for the 30 mile an hour winds that were gusting that morning, the fact that we had no tail wind, that the mile seven marker flag attacked us (Yes! I was attacked by a flag at mile seven. It caught me and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get it off me. Thank goodness Paula was there. She grabbed that nasty flag and ran it back to the post). We think better, I could have done better. Why? Why are we so hard on ourselves? We get out there. We lace up our shoes and head out the door. It doesn’t matter if you run a 6:30 mile or a 12:30 mile. If you do it, you are a runner. Mile, 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon, etc. you’re still a runner. Short, long, fast, hard, we’re all in it together folks. We head out the door and we get it done, but why shouldn’t we enjoy the process? Open your eyes, look around you. Talk to others. Thank volunteers. Love the run. Love the process. Be grateful. These are the words I need to remember. This needs to be my personal mantra.

2014021595100841 (1)

Kate, Stephanie, Me, Paula, and Jennifer. Missing is Tracy, our sherpa

I will say that I am so incredibly grateful for these women who ran with me this past weekend. Our tour guide, Paula, lived in Myrtle Beach for a while and directed us to the best food in town. “I’m eating a recovery meal” we’d say at every stop. That, coupled with the companionship, hot tub post run at the hotel, laughter, and flavored vodka mini bottles made for an excellent weekend. We’re already talking about next year, especially since we didn’t get to do the Skywheel, Jen’s only request. Sorry Jen! Next year, we promise.

This might have been our Saturday

Next is the Wrightsville Beach Marathon. A run, I promise to myself, that I will enjoy. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the run no matter what life throws at me.

Six Words You Should Say Today

Today is a big day for little C. Tonight is his favorite 5k- a scenic out and back run that traverses along the waterfront, and along our historic downtown. We’ll pass by restaurants with outdoor dining, and if I’m observant, I’ll see him on the way back. I loved watching him run this event last year. Since it was an out and back, I knew that I would see him, but the image is engraved in my mind, his small body keeping pace with runners much older than he, his grin on seeing me, the look of pride on his face at keeping up with all these adults. He told me he got so many high fives and “way to go’s” on that race and even caught up to a friend of mine and ran a portion of the race with him. My heart just swells with pride thinking of that image of him and I just want to cry.

 

That feeling of pride reminded me of The Hands Free Mama and her philosophies. Brought to my attention by my dear friend and running partner Tracy, she once mentioned an article she read about how children perceive parent’s comments. So often our words that we think are encouraging are detrimental. Think of a soccer game that you’ve watched children participate in. Parents are yelling on the sidelines, offering guidance, where to run, to kick the ball, to run faster. Rachel, of the Hands Free Mama, has this suggestion. Instead of telling our child to run faster, get to the ball quicker, make that landing in gymnastics, we should say these six words: “I love to watch you play“.  I love to watch my son run. I love to see the muscles in his body move. I love to see him grin with pride. I love to see his body that my husband and I created. I even love that he’s so much faster than me and that I’ll have to meet him at the oranges post race.  It’s a miracle in every way (except for him being faster than me).

So tonight, instead of telling him to run fast, or to beat out any kid in his age group, I will tell him that I look forward to seeing him run back to the finish while I’m still running forward. I will love to watch him play and I will be thankful that we can participate in this activity together. Image Continue reading

Hump Day

There’s some really funny stuff floating around on the Internet when it comes to triathlon. Although I’m not training for a full Ironman (those people are crazy!), this really made me laugh. Enjoy!  Video by Peter Shankman. \

Great Blues and Paddleboards

It seems I write a lot about my early morning swims, which in one respect, is pretty confusing to me because it’s my weakest aspect of triathlon. Not that I’m stellar on the bike or the run, but I am a super slow swimmer. Just putting it out there. But to me, swimming has this visceral sort of beauty that I don’t get while biking or running. I never see a great blue heron on the channel banks in the pre-dawn light while biking. I am never startled to see paddleboarders while running. But to me, everything is kind of hazy and sleepy at 6 am and that fog can provide great beauty.

Speaking of swimming, I signed up for a four week swim clinic. As usual, I was the last one to finish a 400 meter time trial, but that’s the point of being there, right? To get faster? I learned a lot in that first hour, especially kicking from the hips, rotating the body, pulling from the armpits, and not lifting the head. I tried incorporating all of these techniques this am but realize that it’s going to take some pool time as well.

Training is coming along. As with anything of this magnitude, it’s all little steps that lead to the larger effort. Last weekend consisted of a 6.5 mile run and a 36 mile bike ride on the B2B course route. Last year I didn’t ride the route at all, which in hindsight, might have been a good thing to do since riding it last week I remembered the water stops, the distance, etc. It’s nice to have a perspective of where you are in the race and how your body is feeling.

I was talking to my son this am and he asked me what the hardest part of B2B was for me. He then said that he wants me to run the entire half marathon course this year. He’s very opinionated on this. But then again, he’s a fast little sh*t so there’s that 🙂

So I try (tri?) to be a good example to my child, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, to show him that you can accomplish so much in this life if  you get out of bed and just start moving.

“So we beat on,  boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” A little Gatsby for you on this Friday am and below, an image of one of my favorite things about channel swimming.