Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Patrick's Day run

On Saturday I got up early and drove to Carolina Beach to run a 10k, the 6th Annual Steve Haydu St. Patrick's Lo Tide Run. I participated in this same event last year and I had enough fun that I wanted to make a return trip this year. When I first moved to North Carolina, Carolina Beach is where my family went. It's kind of weird to see how much it has grown up!

I made good time and arrived early. The race started at 9:00 and they wanted everyone to check in by 8:15 or so. Last year check in was slow that that is understandable. I arrived in town just before 7:30. I stopped at the Port City Java just over the bridge from the mainland and had a coffee and freshened up. I hung around there for a while and then then checked in. I remembered parking near the McDonald's last year so I did that again. Parking was about 100 yards from the start of the 10k. Can you say convenient?
Before the race, the finish area on the right.

After checking in, I went over to the finish area to see how loose the sand was. The last .1 miles is in the sand. It was very loose again last year. Despite the name of the event -- and probably because of the electronic timing -- they have the runners stay up pretty high on be beach near the sea oats.

The event consists of a 5k and a 10k. Most people do the 5k but both years that I have done it, I've run the 10k. The way they run the event, the 5k and 10k start at different places. The 10k starts, runs by the 5k start where all of the 5k runners cheer, and then a few minutes later the 5k starts. The 5k course and the 10k course are interlocking and both events share the same finish line. The town literally shuts down for the event so this ends up being a closed course (other than the occasional person backing out of their driveway). As a second time participant, I remembered the two gotchas for the event (1) last .1 on sand (can you say s-l-o-w?) and (2) the shared finish area and interlocking courses means that the 10k runners and the 5k walkers end up finishing together is it is very congested.

The race started exactly on time and it went well for me. Last week I checked the McMillian site to get an idea of pacing for race. It says 8:31 minute miles based on my half marathon time. That sounded completely unrealistic to me so I plugged in my 8k time from November and it calculated 8:39. I finished with an 8:30 pace for a personal best of 52:47. Needless to say, I was tickled!

Janyne the leprechaun

Life Guard chair at the finish area

Carolina Beach boardwalk after the event

A lot of people wore green boas, leprechaun hats, green wigs, green shirt and some even brought their own Paddy Wagons!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Flowers

Spring flowers at that NCSU Arboretum

Camellia japonica, 'Professor Charles S. Sargent,' Japanese camellia

Magnolia xloebneri, 'Merrill,' Loebner magnolia

Loebner magnolia

Prunus mume, 'W.B. Clarke,' weeping Japanese flowering apricot

Prunus mume, 'Rose Bud,' pink Japanese flowering apricot

Monday, March 1, 2010

Crystal Coast half marathon

As I was training for the Disney World Half Marathon, I decided that I wanted to run the Coach Bubba 20k in February. I remembered seeing posters advertising the race last year and I thought that it would be a good local event. I put myself on their e-mail list so that I would know when registration for the event opened and was surprised when I received an e-mail saying that the event was canceled. I was really bummed. I planned to do the Frostbite bike ride and I didnt' have a lot of off season weekends to fit in another long run. Then the Frostbite was canceled as well and I decided to run the Crystal Coast Half Marathon in Morehead City on February 27th. Morehead City is more local than Orlando but less local than Durham. I found a hotel that allowed pets and DH and I packed up the crew for the event.

As usual, I checked the weather forecast with increasing frequency as the date of the event approached. As of Friday morning it looks like mid to high 30s to start and low 40s at the finish with a 10-15 mph wind from the west. WeatherBug and agree on 39-44 but AccuWeather predicts a 36 at the start and 48 at the finish. (It was actually about 40 degrees at the start and 50 degrees at the finish.)

DH and I each took a half day of vacation and on Friday afternoon we loaded up the Fit and headed to Morehead City with the Girls. After we checked into the hotel, we went to Atlantic Beach and let the Girls run on the beach and then picked up my race packet.

Emma runs on the beach
Hannah and Emma
Hannah waits for someone to throw a ball

After having dinner at Luigi's, we relaxed in the hotel and watched the Olympics.

On Saturday morning, DH dropped me off at the start. Unlike Disney, this race started at a sensible time -- 8:00. I picked up my timing chip and headed over to the start/finish line near Sanitary Fish Market and Restaurant.

Morehead City Waterfront

The first four miles of the course was a lap of Morehead City, much of it along the waterfront. Then over the big bridge (over the intracoastal waterway so big enough to let the tall ships under it), then down to Fort Macon and back over the bridge and back to downtown Morehead City. The first eight miles went really well. When I got to Fort Macon I was ready to be done. Not tired exactly, just ready to be done. I got a second wind at about the tenth mile. It was about then that I realized that I was really going to make my goal. I had been a little worried about crossing the bridge the second time. Mile 11 was at the crest of the bridge. That sounded potentially bad. I kept on telling myself that two things -- the bridge isn't that bad and it's all downhill after mile 11. As runners exited the bridge, there was a group of people cheering for us. That was very nice and encouraging. Then we ran a very long straightaway and turned to the finish line. I completed the race in 1:57:59.

Start/finish line near Sanitary
The final block...

After the race

The event was well supported, water every 2 miles, lots of police and volunteers. Afterward they had nice snacks -- Girl Scout cookies and Panera bagels. Oh yeah, and bananas. The medal is nice too!

The race went well and I am happy and I would do it again.