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Posts from the ‘races’ Category

My 5 Mile Race Recap

I already had a blog planned out for today, but that is going to have to wait until tomorrow. Yesterday I ran my first 5 mile race in my hometown of Roxboro and I feel that it is worth a race recap.

On Friday night I, along with four other girls from my running club, headed to Rougemont (which is right outside of Roxboro) to stay at my sister’s house. She was kind enough to let five girls crash her house out on the farm. Now my sister lives on 20+ acres with three cats, two dogs, and lots of chickens. The complete opposite of what a bunch of girls from Raleigh are use to. When we got there, we took over her kitchen to cook dinner, visited with my cousin and his wife who came to visit, looked at old pictures, and then were thoroughly entertained by Toni’s (my sister) many stories. When my cousin Scott stopped by, he was certain to tell me that he expected me and his brother Dan to win the race. He had his money on us and we better not disappoint. I felt a little pressure.

Dinner with the Run Inspired. girls. Thank you Toni for letting us stay with you!!

By 11:00 we headed off to bed and I set four alarms for the morning. I am not crazy about many things, but being [extremely] early to events is one of my habits. After making my craziness very clear to everyone and that we were leaving by 6:15 am, we all went to bed.

You know that feeling you have the night before a race? You’re nervous, anxious, restless, etc. I was overwhelmed with those feelings, but that is not what kept me, along with everyone else in the house from sleeping. Remember how I said Toni had three cats and two dogs? Well this is how the night went from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am… Dog 1 is sick and Toni has to get up to take him out. Cat 1 jumps on my head. Dog 1 asks to go out again. Dog 2 comes home for the night and starts howling to be let in. Someone goes to the bathroom and Cat 2 tries to open the door. Cat 3 sneaks into the bedroom of the person who went to the bathroom. Dog 1 still can’t sleep so asks to go out again. Toni takes Dog 1 outside and then sleeps on the porch with the dog so he won’t keep bothering us. (What an awesome sister!). Cat 3 asks to be let out of the room he snuck into. Cat 3 then comes to join Cat 1 and sits on top of my head. In other words, nobody got any real sleep. 5:00 am came all too early.

Luckily everyone made it into my car with their bags packed by 6:15am. (If not, I might have left. I really am that crazy about being early.) We jammed out to some Eminem on the way, talked about race goals and strategies, and then pulled up to the start area. When we got there, it was a family affair. My aunt, my cousins, their wives, Mario, my dad, my mom, my sister – everyone was there.

My cousin Scott and Mario – a great support team

I’ve never done a 5 mile race. I don’t even like 5Ks. In my opinion, they are painful. At least with 3.1 miles there is a warm up mile, a don’t think about it mile, and a run all out to the finish mile. With 5 miles, the “don’t think about it miles” are a little longer. My strategy was go out easy the first mile, focus on form and breathing for miles 2 and 3, and then dig deep for those last 2 miles.

When we got to the start line, I looked around at the competition and felt pretty confident about my chances. As soon as the gun went off, my cousin took the lead and never looked back. I also took the lead for the females and when we looped back around in one of the neighborhoods, I saw the next two females were quite a ways behind me. Then I saw that my mile split was 6:40. Opps. A little too fast. Mile 2 had quite a few rolling hills that slowed me down a lot. Like 30 seconds a lot. When we looped around again at another turn around point, I saw that one of the girls was quickly catching up to me. I focused on two things: my breathing and the two men in front of me. If I could just catch up to them and get back to goal pace, I think I’ll be ok. This was mile 3 and once that was done, I could start my last two dig deep miles. One of the benefits of not using my headphones during this race, was I could hear the girl’s footsteps behind me. This turned out to be quite valuable because I could hear if she was still there or if she had faded away. I managed to catch up and past the two guys but that girl was on my heels every step of the way. Mile 4 was a lot faster – 6:30. Ok one last mile and then it’s over.

My cousin Dan in the lead

All smiles during the first mile

Don’t think, just run.

Right before I get passed and right as I see the hills approaching

I turned the corner for the last mile and I said quite a few bad words out loud. It was downhill, uphill, loop around to go downhill again, and then up one steep ass hill to finish out the race. I guess all that talking took some energy out of me, because that girl straight out passed me. Ok now more bad words and thoughts. I’m going to have to take second. My cousin, who had high expectations of me winning for the females, was going to be disappointed. Mario wouldn’t let this happen. What do I do? I took the downhill as fast as I could, which gave me momentum for the uphill. When we turned around to go back, the girl was still in front of me, but not by too much. I took the downhill again as fast as I could and then prayed that my hill running through Raleigh would pay off. When I say that hill was steep, I am not joking. I felt like I slowed down to a crawl. We were .25 miles from the finish and then the girl started walking! Hooray! This is my chance. I took advantage of the slowed pace to gather my strength. Then I thought to myself, either she is going to start sprinting or you are going to start sprinting. You do NOT want to be the one doing the chasing so go! I took off as fast as I could. I talked myself through through the pain by saying, this is a 300 meter repeat. It sucks and it hurts, but it will be over soon. Mario, my sister, my mom, my cousin, everyone was yelling for me. I couldn’t focus on anything but the finish line. Once I heard my name called out as the first female overall, I was elated. I had won a race and I had done it in my hometown, with so many family and friends present. What made the win even better was my cousin Dan had won the race in 32:37. What a way to make the family proud.

Dan wins!!

YAY! I’m done 🙂

Here are my race results.

Finishing the race first was amazing, but I think my most inspirational moments came after the race. As I was standing by the finish area, another Roxboro native came to me to share her running story. She told me that she had come across my blog on Facebook and has since picked up running. I had inspired her to start running and now she had just finished her first 5 mile race. She was so thankful and I was completely moved. My goal is always to inspire and motivate others, and her words have driven me to do even more. Thank you.

The Run Inspired. girls were amazing yesterday. For some of them, 5 miles was their longest run to date. They all finished in great times and I am so proud. It was a tough course, but they all crossed the finish line with smiling faces. Thank you ladies for making the trip to Roxboro and for participating in this race. You all made the trip way too much fun.

Kayley, Dan’s fiancé, wins 3rd in her age group

Kristy is all smiles

Scott and his wife Jessica

Maria is oh so happy

Emily looks pretty happy too!!

Yay Sara!!

The Talbert Family

Go Team Run Inspired!!!

Congratulations to Emily, Sara, Kristy, Maria, Jordan, Jessica, and Kayley on a great race!! Remember – Be Inspired. Run Inspired. Stay Inspired.

Happy Trails and Happy Running.
Tracie


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Chip Timing

I have to admit, I’m a little upset.  This morning our running club met for Raleigh’s Finest 5K.  It was about 85 degrees at the start (sounds like Boston), but the course was pretty shaded so the heat wasn’t a big deal.  I finished the race in 20:40 and 5th female overall.  However, my chip fell off my shoe a little over halfway through.  I stopped to pick it up and carried it for the rest of the race.  But when you look at the results, my name isn’t even there. I guess carrying it across the mat doesn’t work. Sad face.  Now, I’m curious to learn more about chip timing as well as disposable bib chip timing…

Chip timing is great for larger events when not everyone can cross the start line at the same time.  It also helps to prevent human error from manual timing.  It works by wearing a chip tied across your shoe and when you run across mats placed along the course, it records your time.  It works the following way: there is a chip with a unique ID number and an energizing coil that is encased within a durable shell.  The chip’s transponder is activated when it comes close to the magnetic field created by the special mats.  Once within the magnetic field, the coil becomes energized, produces an electric current, and powers the transponder.  The transponder then sends a signal, reporting the ID number which is then captured by the receiving antennas in the mat, and then sent to a computer.  Now, you have your time.

The timing system that I’ve been seeing a lot more is the disposable bib chip timing.  I love this type of timing because I don’t have to tie anything on my shoe, I never notice I’m wearing it, and it’s one less thing to remember.  There are several different companies that make disposable chips, but they all work in basically the same way.  The chips have a built in transponder and microprocessor that includes a unique ID number.  Along the course, there are antennas that have special readers that read the disposable chips.  This information is then sent to a computer and now you have your start time, mile splits, and finish time.  Once you cross the finish line, you just keep going and can toss the bib, along with the chip, in the trash.  They only cost about 10 cents each.

I guess carrying the chip in my hand interfered with the magnetic field.  However, I’m hoping if I email the race directors with my Garmin info they will update the results.  I don’t want a prize.  I just want my name on that results page.  Lesson learned.

Here are some pics from the race:

 

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend and stays cool! We are breaking temperature records here in NC.

 

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

 

10,000m Olympic Trials

Who won the 10000m Olympic Trials?

I can appreciate most any sport. Although it may not be my favorite sport to watch, to witness how truly driven athletes are and how they give it their all, day in and day out, always inspires me.  Take the Miami Heat for example. Last year they lost in NBA Finals.  Yet they came back this year wiser, better players, and played a phenomenal series against Oklahoma City, winning in 5 games.  They wanted it and they rightfully won the title.  One of the more somber moments of the night was watching Kevin Durant with his mom at the end of the game Thursday night. It was beyond heartbreaking.  However, something tells me he will be back next year, playing better than ever before. Amazing athletes take their failures and learn from them.  That is what makes them so amazing.  And of course this same mentality and awesomeness can be applied to runners as well…

Back in January, the Olympic Marathon Trials took place in Houston.  In both the men’s and women’s race, the saddest part was watching the fourth place finisher.  Both Amy Hastings and Dathan Ritzenhein were so close, yet not close enough.  Fourth place doesn’t get you a ticket to London.  I remember watching Ritzenhein in tears and I almost cried with him.  It was so sad.  But as amazing athletes do, those fourth place finishers in the marathon, earned their ticket to London last night in the 10,000m Olympic Trials.  I never knew watching 25 laps around a track could be so interesting.

Last night around 9:45 pm the men’s 10,000m was ready to start in Eugene, Oregon, and in very rainy conditions.  I was excited for two reasons.  First, this was the race Ritzenhein needed in order to secure his spot on the Olympic team.  And second, Bobby Mack, a Raleigh resident who I know through a local running store, was also racing.  (Of course I wanted to see Ritzenhein go to London, was I was ultimately Team Bobby.)  The race last nigtht was a demonstration of how running is not only an individual sport, but also a team sport.  Dathan needed the Olympic A standard to make the team (27:45:00), which he did not have.  If he got the A standard and finished in the top three, he would make the team.  Ritzenhein’s teammate, Galen Rupp, was the heavy favorite of the race.  With his time of 26:48:00, he had the A standard, and only needed to finish in the top three.  So what did they do?  Rupp and Ritzenhein worked together, trading off leading the race, to ensure Ritzenhein got the 27:45 time he needed as well as finished in the top three.  It worked.  With one lap to go, Ritzenhein was in the top three and on pace to run a sub 27:45.  Rupp then took off, easily sprinting the last lap and finishing in 27:25:33.  Second place went to 30 year old Matt Tegenkamp (27:33:94) and Ritzenhein got his 3rd place finish, with a time of 27:39:94.  He was so incredibly happy and it was so obvious during his post race interview. Bobby Mack ran an amazing race as well, and finished 9th.

The women’s race was a little more interesting.  First, Shalane Flanagan was racing even though she had no intentions of being on the Olympic team (I’m sure the marathon is enough to train for).  Second, only four women going into the race, Flanagan included, had the Olympic A standard of 31:45:00.  The other three were Amy Hastings, Lisa Uhl, and Janet Bawcom.  This meant that if nobody ran under 31:45:00, those three women automatically made the team. Right at about 8 minutes, Natasha Rogers was cut off and fell to the ground.  She immediately go up and sprinted to the front.  The commentators said she would be paying for that sprint later in the race, but that didn’t exactly happen.  With one lap to go, Flanagan picked up the pace to take the lead.  However Rogers, the girl who had previously fallen, passed both Hastings and Flanagan.  With maybe 100 meters to go, Amy Hastings dug deep and found her inner jet.  She flew past everyone with an intense look of pain on her face and finished first in 31:58:36.  Rogers ended up finishing second, beating her previous best time by 42 seconds, with a time of 31:59:21.  However, because she didn’t meet the Olympic A standard, she didn’t make the team.  Flanagan finished third, in 31:59:69 and fourth place went to Lisa Uhl, who finished in 32:03:46.  Bawcom finished seventh with a time of 32:17:06, but because she was the only other person who had the Olympic A standard, she is the third member of the Olympic team.

I really enjoy watching all that athletes can accomplish.  They are the ultimate demonstration of hard work, drive, and determination.  Two people finish fourth in the race of a lifetime and come back months later to rightfully earn their spot on the Olympic team.  Another girl falls during the Olympic Trials, yet gets up and finishes in second place.  This is only the trials! I can only imagine the exciting things that will happen in London.  Did I mention I can’t wait for the Olympics? 34 days, 1 hour, and 55 minutes.

Amy Hastings, 1st place finisher

Want another example of what phenomenal athletes can do? Watch this video.  It gives me goosebumps.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Shalane Flanagan

Who is Shalane Flanagan?

The third and final member of the Women’s Olympic Marathon team is Mrs. Shalane Flanagan, who has her own ties to North Carolina as a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Not my favorite school (Go Wolfpack!), but nonetheless, it’s pretty cool the Olympian ran many miles just down the street from here. In fact, I saw on her Twitter page a while back that her favorite place to run in NC is the American Tobacco Trail. Now every time I’m out there running, I keep my eye out for a really fast blond girl with compression socks. I haven’t seen her yet – maybe after the Olympics. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Shalane has it in her blood to be an amazing runner. Her mother set a world record in the marathon on her first try (Cheryl Bridges, 2:49), and her father was a World Cross Country Champion participant as well as a pretty fast marathoner (2:18). In school, Shalane had a pretty diverse background in running, swimming, soccer, and art. Her running skills are no different. Not only is she a pretty amazing marathoner, she is also a US record holder in the 3K, 5K, and 10K. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she became only the second woman to win a medal in the 10,000 meters. Her time of 30:22:22 set a new American record (which was previously held by… well, herself), and got her a spot on the podium with a bronze medal.

After the Olympics, she began working with a new coach, Jerry Schumacher. Since then she has had a strong presence in the long distance running world. In 2010 she competed in and won her first ever half marathon with a time of 1:09:41 (and set a course record). That same year, she competed in her first ever marathon and came in 2nd place with a time of 2:28:40 – the best finish for an American woman in 20 years at the NYC marathon. You can see just how happy she is here in this video. In only her second ever marathon, she PR’d by 3 minutes and secured herself a spot on the Olympic Marathon team with a time of 2:25:38. Although the marathon is where her focus is for London, she is actually competing in the 10,000 meters Olympic Trials tonight. (You can follow the Trials here on Runner’s World.)

Some other random things about Shalane are she currently trains with team member Kara Goucher, she is married to Steven Edwards (also a track and field star from the University of North Carolina), and during a period of time when she was injured, it was discovered that she had an extra bone in her foot. Shalane has a blog that she updates about once a month, you can follow her on Pinterest, and her and Kara have some pretty entertaining videos with Innovation for Endurance.

So there you have it. The three fabulous ladies competing in the marathon on August 5th. They are all amazing, classy ladies, with many great accomplishments and I am so excited to watch this event. And in all seriousness, I think I’m having a marathon party. Who wants to come?

Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila, Kara Goucher, Amy Hastings

Photo Courtesy of Meghan Hegarty

Happy Trails and Happy Running,

Tracie

Roanoke Canal Half Marathon: My Slice of Humble Pie

This past weekend I signed up for a local half marathon to see how ready I was for Boston.  According to the website, the race took place through the Roanoke Canal Trail and was great for a PR.  The course was described as primarily flat with brief dips and rollers, but no major climbs. The footing is great even if you are brand new to trails.  Great! With only 275 people, and an hour and a half drive, this seemed perfect. I felt like I was in 1:35 shape or better, the forecast was beautiful, and I had a good feeling.  Bring on the 13.1….

Before I give my race recap, I’d like to share with you some race wisdom that a few friends reminded me of this past week.  They reminded me that a race can humble you.  It can take whatever goal you had set for yourself, toss it out the window and teach you that you are not invincible.  You could be in the best shape of your life but come 7am on race day, what awaits you in the miles ahead, is in God’s hands.  You have no idea of what will happen.  It could be your perfect race day or it could be the day you swear to give up running if you could just reach that finish line.  Well Saturday morning at 8am, my slice of humble pie was awaiting me right over a few tree roots and through the mud.

My first few miles were exactly what I expected: 7:19, 7:07,7:12, 7:13.  Since I was just warming up, I was feeling pretty confident about my time goal.  As the race continued, the trails got a little trickier and the mud became more of an issue.  No worries – just a few tree roots and rocks to leap over.  There’s no way the entire course is like this.  The website said it was a PR friendly course.

When I run races, I like very much to be in my thoughts and to talk myself through the miles.  It helps to make things go by quicker and it keeps me focused on something other than the miles to come.  Well not this race.  My mind was constantly preoccupied with where to step next: to splash through the mud or run around it, to leap on this rock or jump to that rock.  Luckily there was a man not too far in front of me, and every step he took, I followed right behind.  I was thankful to have someone plan the leaps and bounds for me because I’m pretty sure I would  have wound up in the river if it weren’t for him.  I bypassed every water stop, knowing that if I slowed down for water, I might not want to start again.  Right around mile 12 there was a sharp left turn and a sign that said “Heartbreak Hill.”  Seriously?  And the worst part was, because it was so curvy, I couldn’t exactly see where “Heartbreak Hill” ended.  I wanted nothing more than to walk up that hill, but I had so many motivational thoughts and people going through my head, I made it.  When I turned that last corner and saw the finish line, I took off as fast as I could go, thankful that it was almost over (and that I had survived).

I finished in 1:38 which was not a PR, but it was good enough for fourth female overall and first in my age group.  When I crossed the finish, I wasn’t saying very pleasant things about the course or my time.  As my cousin Dan said, it was the hardest he had ever run but not his fastest time (he finished 5th overall), and I completely agreed.  As I continued to be bitter about the course, I remember my cousin smiling and saying “Hey, it was something different.”  Yes, different.

Looking back at it, I am reminded of what my friends said earlier in the week – a race can humble you.  I realize not every course will be a PR and some races will be better than others.  Every race presents new challenges and it is the strength to get through those challenges, that make us better people.  From about mile 6 to 13, I continued to tell myself “strength is the power of struggle, and once you cross that finish line, then you can rest.”  Once I really thought about the course and my finishing time, I realized I did not fail at achieving my goal, but instead managed to complete a pretty bad ass trail run.  I guess it wasn’t so bad after all.

I think instead of saying I completed the Roanoke Canal Half Marathon, I’ll tell people I completed the Roanoke Obstacle Course through the woods.  It seems like a better description.  Here are my stats.

And on a side note, Kayley ran her first 8K and finished 3rd in her age group.  Mario finished 23rd overall and fourth in his age group.  So I guess we all did pretty well for our first trail run.

 Ready to race

We made it!

Dan, 5th place overall and 1st in age group

Kayley, 3rd in her age group for her first 8K

Me, 4th female overall and 1st in age group