All running, inclusive of my fundraising progress will be captured here.  I use the same tracking spreadsheet/log to track all pre-post Garmin details.  My daily runs will be tracked on GarminConnect…more to come here as the season unfolds.  For the record my PRs:  Marathon = 3:14.20 at 2010 Charlotte Thunder Road (Boston Qualifier) ; Half Marathon = 1:33.12 at 2008 Dowd Half Marathon; 10k = 39.27 at 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run.


2016 New River Marathon – Todd, NC.  Official Time:  3:43.24 (8:26 pace).  Marathon #51.  Much like I spent my schooling years, I crammed for this race at the last minute.  Stuffing in 3 long runs on successive weekends just for the honor of going to the event with some thoughts of having trained for it.  This race is pretty great.  Amazingly peaceful roads and views as you meander about the towns of Todd, Fleetwood and wait for it…Meat Camp, NC.  That’s right, this vegetarian ran through the metropolis of Meat Camp and lived to tell about it.  This was my second New River and hopefully not my last.  Organized by the same team that puts on the Blue Ridge Relay each year you know this event will be pieced together.  Two great big hills, one at mile 7 and one at miles 18/19 make this event tough.  This year the strong headwind the last 5-6 miles (15-20 mph??) made the event even tougher.  Going out too fast in the first 14-15 made my last 10 miles, well, humbling.  A walk-fest.  A chance to enjoy the scenery.  One more odd tidbit about this race.  It was my first race in years where I ran it without either John or Jason participating with me.  Kind of strange.

2016 Cooper River Bridge Run – Mount Pleasant to Charleston, SC.  Official Time:  41:13 (6:38 pace).  I took some time off this year.  A lot of it.  After running B2B marathons with 3 weeks separating them last year I found I was just plain fatigued.  Every other run resulted in a calf strain.  I got frustrated and decided to not run for a long time.  3 months!  I didn’t put any real miles in between the end of November and the end of February.  It frustrated me more.  It saw me pass on my favorite run ever – The Ellerbe Marathon.  I didn’t run a meaningful step.  Until I did.  Then I eased back into things running twice a week.  Fearing each step would result in a calf strain.  I focused on stretching.  Protein.  Rolling the legs and repeating this routine.  On the upside, I ran my first Cooper River with rested legs.  Untrained but rested legs.  I ran fast.  For two miles.  Nearly 6 mins flat.  Then I realized that I hadn’t really trained.  I made it up the bridge in a respectable time compared to years past but couldn’t get my legs under me on the way into Charleston.  This race requires you run with a quick cadence, pulling your hips/glutes through the flats of Charleston and instead I felt like I was pushing through jello.  The result was nearly the same as last year where I had the legitimate excuse of running the race with 1-2 weeks post-marathon fatigue.  Still much fun and a top 5% finishers plaque for the effort.


2015 Thunder Road Marathon – Charlotte, NC.  Official Time:  4:02.25 (pace: 9:21).  Some of my Garmin data is here (some of it isn’t because these days getting 3 hours out of the old Garmin is about all it gives). Oh yeah, it was MY 50th MARATHON! Keep-a-small-head-moment:  running into a guy who was running his 100 around mile 18. More stats?  Sure.  341 out of 923 marathoners.  260 out of 569 males. If you look up Bib #440 you’ll find the rest of my, er, John Heiskell’s data.  I used his number since he was out with an injury.  This means I also ran as a master – won’t be long until that is technically true.  My 11th Charlotte-based marathon but first time on this new course.  The course was a vast improvement over past Thunder Road courses.  The Greenway section was excellent and the people in the yards in Elizabeth having large parties were fun to watch.  Best part of this race?  I ran with my little brother while he tackled his first ever half marathon!  He ran a steady 10:30-10:45 pace en route to a 2:20 half.  So cool that he let me be a part of it.  22591833033_6fc6eeada3_kI passed the halfway point around 2:16 (I pulled a ‘Joel Sutton’ and let Tim experience the end all on his own) and ran a nice even negative split second half.  1:45 and some change.  Pretty snappy except there wasn’t much camaraderie to be found while running.  I took the opportunity to breathe easily, think deeply and put life on auto-pilot for a bit.  It felt good.  Only at 24 did I start to feel a bit rough.  Seeing Dad and Tim was a nice treat – not too many races where there are faces I know in the crowd. Other nice part of having spectators was getting pictures afterwards – thanks Dad!

2015 Peak to Creek Marathon – Jonas Ridge, NC (peak) to Brown Beach Resort (creek).  Official Time:  3:14.40 (pace:  7:26).  Garmin Data is here.  49th Marathon.  34th out of 329 finishers or 5th in my age group.  Clearly a fast field at this race.  Most people were looking for a Boston Qualifier and the course did not disappoint.  Foggy start left all runners misty wet by mile 6 but kept for a nice focus throughout the race.  After 6 miles rolling miles the course set out for what was a fully gravel course and many long steady downhill descents.  I went out aggressive at 7:10s and held that for at least 15 miles.  My quads took a pounding but I also conserved a good deal of energy during the 6-15 mile downhill stretch which helped stay strong for the final push.  After the 15 the course meandered creekside sometimes trending upward, sometimes flat, sometimes down.  The fog lifted and the fall colors were brilliant.  I was at 2:26 at mile 20.  A focused 10k gets me under my Boston Qualifying time of 3:15. I focused through the rough patches, kept running and tried to lengthen my stride throughout the last 10k.  At mile 25 I was at 3:05.  Stay steady.  No walking.  It worked.  3:14.40.  Not enough for Boston to actually let me in but strong enough to say I met my time qualification for a second time.  Other good news:  there’s a minute or two more to be found on the course with the experience of having run it.  Next race?  Not sure – Charlotte in 3 weeks??

2015 Grandfather Mountain Marathon – Boone, NC Official Time:  3:56.43 (pace 9:15).  Garmin Data is here.  48th Marathon.  50th out of 308 and 7th in my age group.  This race is the definition of humility.  You can be feeling great late in the race, thinking about running through the pain of the last few miles and then find yourself walking nearly a mile uphill at mile 22 in the very next steps.  Unable to convince yourself to run.  Nearly walking as fast as those running around you.  But few other races offer what GMM does.  Scenic views of the surrounding mountains.  A view of the finish nearly 2000 ft up from your 4th mile.  Winding mountain roads.  Great support stations every 3 miles.  Some time on the Blue Ridge Parkway (even though cars seem more immune to making room for pedestrians than on the other roads – likely the altitude causing such indiscretions.  Jason and I ran for 4-5 miles together but his pace was too strong for me early.  We finished 4-5 minutes apart.  The weather was humid and a bit warmer than we’ve seen in past years – when starting temperatures are typically in the low 50s, this year the mid-60s.  The 6:30am start time makes for an early morning (3:20 wake-up call) but more than makes up for it by allowing you to run without the hottest sun.  Finally, as tired as you are, there’s little that competes with finishing on the track in the middle of a hundred Scottish clans celebrating their highland games.  One year, I’m bringing the family to meet me at the end and enjoy the games.  Next race?  Peak to Creek?

2015 Cooper River Bridge Run – Mount Pleasant/Charleston, SC – Official Time:  40:54 (pace 6:36). Garmin Data is here.  Nearly the exact time from last year.  Great race, especially when racing from the front of the many corrals.  I found myself in the seeded corral which puts you in a 200-400 person event vs. the 40,000 person event it is.  Winds were noticeable, but not heavy – also downwind running down King’s Street which is a nice way to finish.  Temperatures were perfect in the low 40s.  Ran in short sleeves and shorts and carried my long sleeve shirt for the finish due to a last minute decision to not run in it.  Legs are always a question mark for this event since they are only 2 weeks rested beyond Ellerbe.  They felt heavy, as did I given I think I’m about 8-10 pounds heavier than I was this time last year.  Hopefully most of it is muscle due to the Insanity workouts Cindy has helped me stick with – sideways movements with the weight of your body driving the workout.  Finished 40:54 on my watch but the race time had me at 41:01 – odd given the lack of a stagger at the front of the race.  I’m going with my trusty watch which I started and ended at the offiical lines.  Next race?  Not sure – maybe New River Marathon for some redemption?

2015 Ellerbe Marathon – Ellerbe, NC – Official Time:  3:47.33 seconds (pace: 8:35) Garmin Data is here.  Marathon #47.  Still a favorite, even in a start to finish rain at 45 degrees.  Mature runners – no bragging allowed as someone there has outdone you in some way.  No change from last year – this was intended to be a training run.  I’m learning after doing this a few times that there really isn’t such a thing as a training run marathon.  Steady, if not slightly negative pace for the first 20 miles.  Felt decent for taking 60 days off of running from Nov 2014 – January.  Still feel ploddy with limited turnover speed.  Some of this may be a product of religiously following the “Insanity” workout routine for the past 80 days.  Legs constantly feel tired.  Miles 21-24 at this race are no joke.  This was the one spot I was passed on the course – by two people one for place.  I passed the non-place stealing runner back before the finish.  3rd in my age group and 9th overall.  Didn’t hang out for the pottery bowl awards again this year.  Great race.  Next event?  Cooper River Bridge Run and then possibly New River Marathon again for redemption.


All running, inclusive of my fundraising progress will be captured here.  I use the same tracking spreadsheet/log to track all pre-post Garmin details.  My daily runs will be tracked on GarminConnect…more to come here as the season unfolds.  For the record my PRs:  Marathon = 3:14.20 at 2010 Charlotte Thunder Road (Boston Qualifier) ; Half Marathon = 1:33.12 at 2008 Dowd Half Marathon; 10k = 39.27 at 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run.

2014 St. George Marathon – St. George, Utah – Official Time:  3:25.55 (pace 7:50) Garmin Data found here.  Marathon #46.  This put me 755th overall out of 5805 finishers and 598th in my age group.  Fast crowd, eh?  St. George brings a crowd that rivals Boston to the race.  Known for its friendly profile in the later stages this race is kind to runners.  Additionally this race is probably the best organized event I have run.  Everything from the Expo (which I traditionally NEVER enjoy) to the start line porta potties to the finish line service (yogurt, chocolate milk, ice cream, bread is practically delivered to you as you sit in a park in downtown St. George) is first rate and flawlessly executed.  The course is simply stunning.  Hard to describe the true beauty of the mountains of Utah.  Colorful, huge, rocky, unique.  I love this race.  I missed a 2nd half PR by about a minute and the fastest final 10k by less than a minute.  My 6th fastest marathon out of 45 – maybe you do get better with age?  Next time, Cindy runs it with me – she’d love this race!  It should be noted that my running buddy Jason M. ran it in 3:02, a PR for him and easily gets him into Boston in 2016.  Next race?  Maybe Charlotte in November.

2014 New River Marathon – Todd, NC – Official Time:  4:05.13 seconds (pace: 9:15) Garmin Data is here.  Marathon #45.  Ran this one gimpy.  Calf issues.  Took the 3 weeks off prior to the race and showed up only because I paid and didn’t want to waste the entry.  Beautiful course with a fast finish.  Also some speed to be had in the first half as well.  I didn’t have any on this perfect race whether day.  45 at the start and sunny – warmed up to around 65 by the finish.  Miles 15-18 or so were no joke – straight up a mountain.  The backside was lightening fast and then flat for the last 10k in to the finish.  Great event – hope to be back.  Next Event???

2014 Cooper River Bridge Run – Mount Pleasant/Charleston, SC – Official Time:  40:55 (pace: 6:34) Garmin Data found here.  This is a great race, especially when you can get seeded in one of the front two corrals.  There’s no way you could go fast being anywhere behind these corrals.  This year the weather was near perfect minus a brisk headwind going up the bridge.  Temps just below 60 at the start.  The race was executed flawlessly and as I remembered from past years the port-o-johns are ALWAYS best near the front corrals.  NEVER, EVER get in a situation to use them past corral D.  It’s an ugly way to start the race.  I felt great going up the bridge but couldn’t keep my cadence as strong as needed to hit sub-40 down the bridge or in the flats to the finish.  I finished 17th in my age group and 266 overall out of some 30k runners.  Feels good – maybe next year I train and go after my PR?  Next Event: New River Marathon in Todd, NC.

2014 Ellerbe Marathon – Ellerbe, NC – Official Time:  3:35.50 seconds (pace: 8:15) Garmin Data is here.  Marathon #44.  This race is what all races should be.  An event for runners who just flat enjoy running.  Speaking of flat, there’s nothing flat about this race.  Nearly 2,000 of elevation gains and lots of drops down to and climbs out of small rivers.  After 7 or so of these races I noticed a few new things:  1) there’s a couple of really nice views of the countryside out on the course and 2) Pine tree farming is a big business in Richland County.  Forests from race year’s past are now sandhills.  Sandhill in past years are filled with sapling pines.  The experience of runners is still ridiculously strong.  Most people are using this race to train for an ultra.  The race organizer plans this race to help them with such training.  Many of the entrants ran a marathon the week before and some the day before or will the day after this race.  I love it.  I ran a solid 20 miles and cratered starting at mile 21.  Possibly should have tapered more seriously.  I noticed greater strength in the hills and endurance in the high teens.  Yasso’s and hill training surely helped here.  Maybe a few more runs to 22-24 for my next one instead of peaking at 20.  Good race.  Perfect weather, albeit a bit hotter than I prefer later in the race.  2nd in my age group and 8th overall.  Good stuff.  Next race?  I have no idea.


All running, inclusive of my fundraising progress will be captured here.  I still plan to use the same tracking spreadsheet/log that I used last year.  My daily runs will be tracked on GarminConnect…more to come here as the season unfolds.  For the record my PRs:  Marathon = 3:14.20 at 2010 Charlotte Thunder Road (Boston Qualifier) ; Half Marathon = 1:33.12 at 2008 Dowd Half Marathon; 10k = 39.27 at 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run.

One Epic Run – 24 Hour Race – Croft State Park, Spartanburg, SC – Official Time: 7hrs 22 mins of event time and 6 hrs 40 mins of clock time. 35 miles run  Garmin Data is here.  Wow, oh wow! Such a cool event.  Start at 9am in a small SP in the sticks of South Carolina (near Spartanburg) with between 100-150 other runners.  Dive down to a one lane bridge at river level, then back up again around by a gun range (an active one – they seemed to be shooting away from us!?!), up another hill, over a ridge, down into river level again and then around the river until crossing the one-lane pedestrian bridge again and heading up to the pit stop/parking area/camping area of this appropriately named event.  Once that lap was finished and after a quick drink, snack and number check-in it was back out for 5k more.  Repeat that drill over and over and over again.  I ran for 7 hrs 22 minutes (6:40 minutes of moving time – 42 minutes of drinking/snacking).  Fantastic camaraderie around the course.  I felt pretty darn good throughout, mostly I attribute to very rested legs along with good/consistent eating and hydration throughout.  Heed every lap after the first hour seemed to do the trick.  I knowingly started with the idea that I would get into my car at 4:45 and drive home for date night with Cindy.  This run may inspire me to run a 50 miler in 2014.  Think I could do it in 9-10 hours with a bit of practice and focus.  Mark VS spearheaded this one, drove down with me and met several others from the neighborhood there along with some folks I remembered from prior Brad Lower teams at the BRR.  Good times.  Next run?  New Year’s Day 14k Trail Run here in Baxter.

2013 Triple Lakes Trail Marathon – Greensboro, NC – Official Time:  4:13.15 seconds (pace: slow) Garmin Data is here.  Marathon #43.  A first-time event for me – it has been a while since I’ve run a marathon I haven’t run before.  This race was tough, and I only went out with the intent for it to be a training run (this means I purposely went out slower than normal.  The heat (68 degrees at the start and 86 degrees at the finish) played a big role and as usual, technical single-track trails will slow you down roughly a minute to 90 seconds per mile.  This course was pretty, primarily running around 3 lakes in Greensboro.  The aid stations were positioned nicely (might have liked to see one more between miles 21 and the finish) and the markings on the trail were excellent.  At mile 15 or 16 I consciously slowed down to avoid having problems with the heat – smart move because at the finish I was spent.  I also focused on eating something every 4-5 miles vs. my normal 6-8 miles.  One fig bar square per water stop did the trick.  Two at mile 17 was one too many.  As normal with trail runs, my Garmin let me down a bit.  Just couldn’t keep up with meaningful mile markings – at the end it only had 23 of the 26 miles captured…something about technical trails that keeps it from being precise.  Cool surprise of the event:  placing 3rd in the 40-49 age group with the time I ran!  Good enough for a coffee mug.  The medal and shirt were first rate.  I’ll likely go back to this one but will need a year or two for the memory of the heat to fade.

2013 Grandfather Mountain Marathon – Boone, NC – Official Time:  3:48.19 seconds (pace: 8:56) Garmin Data is here.  Marathon #42.  My 2nd or 3rd time running this race and the 44th Annual for the race.  A challenging event to say the least.  Roughly 3,000 feet in total elevation gain from Boone to the Highland Games area atop Grandfather Mountain makes this race just plain hard.  I’ve gone out easy.  I’ve tried to slow or even walk the major hills.  I’ve tried even splits but no matter what, the end of this race is as big of a mind game as any other I have run.  The uphill around 22 is the defining point.  If someone runs past you there you know they are stronger or ran a better race.  One woman ran by me at this point this year – the good news is her effort and strength was good enough for 2nd overall.  Had I stayed with her and finished about 3 minutes sooner my effort would have been good enough for hardware.  This year’s race had 100%  humidity but not actually raining.  This kept temperatures consistent, even dropping from start to finish at 4,200 feet but still proves humidity can be crushing.  This is a good test that I like taking every few years.

2013 Ellerbe Marathon – Ellerbe, NC – Official Time:  3:25.34 seconds (pace: 7:51) Garmin Data is here.  Marathon #41.  I’ve said it before and will say it again, Ellerbe is a great race.  Easily my favorite marathon.  A hidden gem.  Zero pretention.  Less than 100 runners (78 this year).  7-8 aid stations using 2 crews.  Country roads.  Great organization.  Dumplings and sweet tea at the end.  Pre-race chatter you in line for the bathroom before the race you hear people talking about the marathon they ran 2 weeks ago or the one they are running next weekend.  They talk about the 18 ONE HUNDRED MILE RACES they have completed.  They talk about signing up for marathons like Marine Corp and Chicago on race day.  These are the people who ran before the running boom boomed.  Awesome.  Perfect running weather at this, my 41st marathon:  Start 39 degrees and cloudy, drizzled from mile 2 until the finish and finished at 45 degrees.  I ate well – Gu at 11, another at 17 and 1/2 of a Honey Stinger at 21 and 23.  I ran hard until 20 when I felt either the fatigue from the 50k in February or a lack of pace training kick in.  At this point I was 3rd in the race and wanted to keep this position – I stopped running for time when I realized I was at 3:10 with 2 miles left – no shot for Boston here.  I shut it down and worried about preserving my position.  I did (by a little over 4 minutes)!  3rd overall out of 78 and 1st in my age group.  Good for some pottery which I didn’t stick around to collect.  I’ll pick it up next year when I return to run the 2014 Ellerbe Marathon.

2013 Millstone 50k (1st Annual) ASC Greenway Fort Mill, SC – Official Time:  6:09.32 seconds (pace:  slow!).  Garmin data (at least what was captured before the battery ran out) can be found here.  This was a fun event – my first 50k.  You won’t hear me refer to it as an ‘ultra’ when people are out there finishing 50 milers, 100k and 100 milers.  Anything 50 miles or more deserves the ultra title in my book.  Cool event – albeit humbling.  At the start you hear people talking about the 50k, 50 miler, 100 miler event they ran in the weeks prior.  A few had 3-4 weekends worth of 50k+ events planned!?!?  Best I had was the wicked sinus infection I had the week prior.  Just glad to be running.  The race gave hand-made medals in the form of a milestone (a metal medal) and a nice running toboggan (skull cap) with the race name embroidered.  The Rock Hill Striders proved once again they put on a great event at the ASC Greenway.  Big thanks to Jay A. for providing some of his experience as we traded places throughout the entire event.  The wisdom of counting steps to run and then counting those you will walk (and not a step more) when I was tired was helpful.  400/100 seemed to work for me.  Next event?  My 6th Ellerbe on 3/23??


All running, inclusive of my fundraising progress will be captured here.  I still plan to use the same tracking spreadsheet/log that I used last year.  My daily runs will be tracked on GarminConnect…more to come here as the season unfolds.  For the record my PRs:  Marathon = 3:14.20 at 2010 Charlotte Thunder Road (Boston Qualifier) ; Half Marathon = 1:33.12 at 2008 Dowd Half Marathon; 10k = 39.27 at 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run.

2012 Thunder Road Marathon – Charlotte, NC November 17, 2012 – Official Time:  3 hours 33 minute and 36 seconds (8:12 pace).  Garmin data found here.  I ran as Jason Martin using his entry that he was unable to use due to an IT issue he’s having (thanks Jason!).  In Jason Martin’s age group this was good enough for 20 out of 88 runners.  In the M35-39 age group (likely my last official run in this age category) I was 24th out of 118 males or the top 20%.  Not too shabby.  I treated this race as more of a long run where at miles 8, 16, 20, 24 I took a few fairly significant walk breaks to get food in my body (Honey Stingers are the food of choice these days).  I was also able to share in Cindy’s sister Jenn’s first marathon experience prior to the start.  She did great with a 5:20 time…my gut says she’ll be running another within 18 months.  This was officially marathon #40 prior to turning 40 – I have officially caught my age which means I can stay ahead of this odd goal if I simply run one marathon a year for the rest of my years.  Next Race:  The Baxter New Year’s Day 13k (for 2013), then the 50k in the ASC Greenway, then likely Ellerbe?

2012 ASC 1/2 Marathon Trail Run – Fort Mill, SC April 7, 2012 – Official Time:  1 hour 52 minutes and 29 seconds (8:35 pace).  Garmin data found here.  Good for 21st place out of 105 finishers.  7 of 16 in my age group.  Fast entrants at this one.  Great trail run.  Perfectly marked course and good to see some friends running it.  Jason and I met up to run this one (no John) and had a nice time.  Still amazes me how much slower trail running is than running on the street. Plus the concentration level required is so much higher.  The ASC Greenway is a VERY special place.

2012 Cooper River Bridge Run – Charleston, SC – March 31, 2012 – Official Time: 43 minutes 55 seconds (7:05 pace). 581st place out of nearly 37,000 runners.  Garmin Data found here. Not quite my personal best 10k time.  Felt heavier and the hour long wait beyond the start time to start likely didn’t help.  In fact, while I load on excuses, I think it helped add to the 1 minute 45 second penalty I took while taking a pee break at mile 4.  Doesn’t fully explain the fact that I likely went out WAY too fast (6:23 first mile) and hence finished with a 7:31 last mile.  The weekend is always lots of good fun with friends from our ‘hood and the weather this year, once again, didn’t disappoint.

2012 Ellerbe Marathon – Ellerbe, NC March 24, 2012 – Official Time:  3 hours 40 minutes (8:26 pace).  Marathon #39.  13th out of  82 runners.  Well.  I caught up to my age in marathons completed.  39 of them.  Fitting that I did it at one of my favorite marathons.  Ellerbe is always a race I enjoy running.  There were about 85 runners, many of which I recognize from years past.  I ran with only a few of them for a small bit of the race.  A 46 year old man named Tyler who has run 3 hundred milers (Uhwarrie) and runs this race for training in prep for his 4th.  He then pointed out a woman who I leap-frogged for nearly the entire race who ran a 60 mile race at the Outer Banks and won, only to win this mere marathon 2 weeks later.  I would have needed another mile or two to be able to leap frog her again…I finished behind her.  After 39 runs I finally found a complete soaker.  At mile 12 it rained enough to fill my shoes.  This made for some tired slogging steps towards the end of the race.  It was a windless, straight-down rain which felt great at the time.  Just the residual heavy shoes/clothes to deal with after.  I had sore shoulders and rub marks on my hips after this one.  I am also very thankful the sun didn’t come out afterwards as it would have been even steamier than it was prior to the rain.  Overall I am pleased at a 3:40.  Only 4 weeks since Pilot Mountain so I likely had some residual effects.  I also didn’t look at my watch once after the heavy rain as I figured the extra weight would cause this one would be about energy management and just getting to the dumplings and cobbler at the finish.  I wish maybe I had as I might have been able to convince myself to hold it together better during miles 19-22 where I really struggled.  I also feel like I might be 5 pounds heavier than I was this time last year.  Definitely noticeable.  This said, I still ate dumplings and still had cobbler.  Next race:  Cooper River Bridge Run.  Next Marathon:  Grandfather?

2012 Pilot Mountain PayBack – Pilot Mountain, NC February 18, 2012 – Official Time:  4 hours 19 minutes (9:53 pace).  Marathon #38.  Just me running this event near Mount Airy, NC.  I felt I needed to go back to this one and get some redemption.  I got it to the tune of nearly 20 minutes but paid for it dearly with a significant upper respiratory infection coming out of it.  Note to self:  Don’t run with a chest cold.  This race is brutal.  9 miles out to where you start climbing Pilot Mountain.  The 9 miles roll significantly while crossing periodic streams/rivers.  Did I mention this race is 100% trails?  Then 2.5 miles to the top where you walk over rocks for much of it.  Once at the summit your spend the next 2 miles on some technical terrain requiring a mix of running, jumping and walking as you pass many, many rock climbers and tourists who drove to the top.  Then down for 3-4 miles before finishing up on the final 7 miles you started on.  Those final 7 are no joke.  There something to be said for energy management in this race.  I’m still not doing it great.  I ate 3 of my Gus by mile 15 and could have used 2-3 more.  I ate chips, salt tabs and drank Gatorade at each major aid station but still felt light on energy.  Being sick maybe didn’t help either.  Still, I finished 24 out of roughly 75 finishers of this marathon and am proud of that.  I think this run could be done in 4 hours with more pace up front and more running in the last 7 miles.  Next race Ellerbe?


All 2011 running, inclusive of my fundraising progress will be captured here.  I still plan to use thesame tracking spreadsheet/log that I used last year.  My daily runs will be tracked on GarminConnect…more to come here as the season unfolds.  For the record my PRs:  Marathon = 3:14.20 at 2010 Charlotte Thunder Road (Boston Qualifier) ; Half Marathon = 1:33.12 at 2008 Dowd Half Marathon; 10k = 39.27 at 2011 Cooper River Bridge Run.

2011 St. George Marathon – St. George, Utah – October 1, 2011 – Official Time:  3 hours 34 minutes (8:10 pace).  Marathon #37.  Very well run event with a clear skew toward the quicker runner.  This race had a beautiful backdrop, some elevation (started around 5,600 feet), some pretty decent heat (finished in the mid-80s and started in the 70s) and the added challenge of a leg (right calf) that I honestly didn’t think would last 26 miles.  The good ol’ KT Tape did the job again – I can’t be sure it isn’t placebo but it’s working.  A 3:34 time gets me top 20% of finishers – some real speed  at this race.  The Bomb Pops (red/white/blue popsicles) at the end were…well…the bomb (couldn’t resist) and spending time taking lots of pictures during the run proved to be a worthy distraction.  Top it with time out west with good running buddies, some time in both Zion and Bryce National Parks, near-perfect tourism weather (maybe not perfect running weather) and a short and sweet stint in Vegas the night after the race and you have a pretty good thing going.  Now I plan to take 2 weeks off resting my calf.  Then slowly build back into running with a solid mix of cross-training, trail running and stretching.  I’d like 2012 to be a bit healthier than 2011.  For those curious – although I qualified for Boston in Dec 2010 with a 3:14.20 time under the existing qualification requirements (3:15 for my age group), I was not fast enough to gain entry into the race.  I may be a bit bitter still, but they really screwed this year’s entry process up for those that qualified after the 2011 registration was closed but before they changed and made public the qualification guidelines for the 2012 race.  Oh well…I’m still proud of running a sub 3:15 – I don’t need Boston to let me run their race to feel good about my effort.

2011 Blue Ridge Relay – Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, VA to Asheville, NC – September 9-10 – Official Time 29 hours 47 minutes.  We ran 30 minutes faster and met our goal of breaking our 30 hour barrier.  The exact same team as last year – a team that works exceptionally well together.  Almost no discussion required prior to the race.  We get in the van around 3am on the morning of, drive to the start and start running within 30 minutes of arrival.  A little over a day later we finish.  Collect our congratulations, take a team picture and then back to the van for home.  Good fun.  Great race.  A fantastic test of wills.  Read more about it here with links to pictures and more thoughts on our BRR Blog.

2011 Grandfather Mountain Marathon – Boone, NC – July 9, 2011 – Official Time: 3 Hours 56 minutes 41 seconds (9:02 pace).  Garmin Data found here. Marathon #36.  Brutal, brutal race.  Hot, humid, hilly.  Admittedly underprepared, I entered this one as nothing more as a training run.  It may have eaten into my ego more than I would have liked.  Lots and lots of walking on the big hills and there were lots and lots of them.  Miles 1-12 passed without much issue, miles 12-15 were glorious in and around the Blue Ridge Parkway (very, very beautiful here around Julian Prince Park), 15-17 were known to be ridiculous and didn’t let me down a bit.  Then the run started.  17-21 felt surprisingly better than I would have thought given the lack of training.  The tough hills were still walked but pace on moderate climbs or near flats was still good around 8 min/mile.  Then mile 22.  What a battle to the finish from here.  I likely saw 20-25 people pass me as I couldn’t get the energy in me to sustain running more than 5-6 minutes at a time.  Muscles were fine, but the energy stores were completely depleted.  I was physically hungry with my stomach growling loudly at times.  I did anything but cruise into the finish.  All ended well with a nice jaunt around the track at the Highland Games with thousands of Scottish people cheering.  Cool.  I spent a lot of time during this race thinking of Cindy’s cousin Brian who collapsed in mile 12 of a half marathon a few months back.  Made me cautious and thankful at the same time.  His story is one of the most uplifting stories of recovery I have seen in my time.  On to the next race…Blue Ridge Relay in September.

2011 Cooper River Bridge Run – Charleston, SC – April 2, 2011 – Official Time: 39 minutes 27 seconds (6:17 pace).  Garmin Data found here. My personal best 10k time in what was supposed to be a “no-chance” race due to the size of the event.  A perfectly organized race and I had an aggressive game plan that paid dividends and an oddly blistered left foot (the ball of the foot) to prove it.  Interesting fact of the race…the bridge elevation is roughly 125 feet – not as big as it looks but it does go up for about a mile. Good fun weekend with perfect weather to boot.

2011 Pilot Mountain Payback Marathon – Pilot Mountain, NCFebruary 19, 2011 – Official Time: 4 Hours 39 minutes 19 seconds (12:03 pace).  Garmin Data found here. Marathon #35.

POW! Or maybe BONK would be a more accurate description here.  Pow because this marathon was like a punch in the face.  Bonk because at mile 16 that’s exactly what I did.  Complete shut down.  No more energy.  This races was BY FAR the most difficult running event I have ever participated.  Humbling after my best marathons ever at Charlotte.  12 stream crossings made for wet feet.  Climbing to the top of Pilot Mountain was no walk in the park either.  I also have a new found respect for trail running.  Slower pace.  Mentally draining.  But also exceptionally beautiful and peaceful.  This course was excellent (hard and technical at times) and the race support was top notch.  Will I run it again?  Never say never but I can likely say not next year.  I placed 26th amongst the 84 marathoners who started and 62 finishers.


All 2010 running, inclusive of my fundraising progress will be captured here.  I still plan to use the same tracking spreadsheet/log that I used last year. I have ditched using my site due to duplication with the GarminConnect site and the fact that they wanted my money after not wanting it initially (bait/switch = bad). My daily runs will be tracked on GarminConnect…more to come here as the season unfolds.  For the record my PRs:  Marathon = 3:14.20 at 2010 Charlotte Thunder Road; Half Marathon = 1:33.12 at 2008 Dowd Half Marathon; 10k = 42:14.50 at 2008 Springmaid 10k.

2010 6th Annual Thunder Road Marathon – Charlotte, NCDecember 11, 2010 – Official Time: 3 Hours 14 minutes 20 seconds (7:24 pace).  Garmin Data found here. Marathon #34.

BOSTON-BOUND!!! I did it. 890.9 marathon race miles or 34 marathon attempts later and I can say I am an official Boston Marathon qualifier! It has a nice ring to it.  I needed a 3:15.59 second performance and I made it with time to spare at 3:14.20 (a new personal best)!  It wasn’t until seeing my time at mile 26 did I truly realize I was going to do it.  Admittedly, I thought about the fact that if I could just keep running I would do it. I thought about it a lot in the last 6 miles.  I thought about just missing the mark a lot too. I signed up for this race at the last minute and was going to use it as a trainer for next February’s Myrtle Beach Marathon (flat and fast!).  My goal was a hard 20 miles at race pace and then slow and make it to the finish. In the back of my mind I told myself that if I got to 20 by 2:26 AND had gas in the tank I’d keep the pace high.  I got there at 2:24 so I didn’t pull back.  Just run under 8s and I have it.  Turnover and cadence.  3 water stop walks – no more than 15 seconds a stop.  Apex running.  Absorb the hills.  Turnover faster once over them.  That’s all it would take. Really what it took was seeing my family at mile 24 (a surprise).  The adrenaline boost from seeing them was incredible!  I crossed the finish line in a giddy stupor.  Grinning ear to ear. Trying not to cry as I saw my family again. 3:14.20 on a near perfect weather day (37 start, 47 finish with overcast skies) gets you 56th place overall out of 1290 finisher, 6th in my age group and 50th out of 842 men.  It also gets me into the Boston Marathon!  Yahoo!

2010 1st Annual Blue Ridge Marathon – Roanoke, VAApril 24, 2010 – Official Time: 3 Hours 51 minutes 27 seconds (8:48 pace).  Garmin Data found here. Marathon #33.

Wow.  Like taking a test where everyone else in the class has the answers and you don’t.  That’s how I felt running this one.  I have run some mountain-based marathons in my day but this one takes the cake.  Seriously the hardest marathon course I have yet to run.  12-13% grades that lasted entire miles. At mile 11 I remember talking out loud to myself – I was telling myself that this one had become about finishing with respect and dignity.  Time was secondary.  Don’t look stupid doing it.  Don’t pull a “Paula Newby-Fraser” and collapse and crawl to the finish.  There was a slight bit of added pressure as my family was going to be waiting for me at the finish.  After pulling it together and running downhill for several miles I was able to try to establish my focus.  For the first 15 miles this marathon provided little ability to get a rhythm.  Even the flatter finishing 6 miles offered 4-5 turns a mile almost as if they were trying to say:  “around any of these corners you could be on your hands and knees crawling up the hill that hides from you.” All said, a great race for a 1st annual.  Well-organized and supported with great medals and a course that makes me want to train hard and return next year.  Cool museum (Taubman) to wait in pre-race.  Anything near 3:30 gets you top 25 out of three hundred.  3:51 gets you 59th overall or 7th in my age group.  There’s redemption to be had here – the next time I have the answers to the test…Next marathon??? Grandfather?

2010 19th Annual Ellerbe Springs Marathon – Ellerbe, NCMarch 13, 2010 – Official Time: 3 Hours 28 minutes 27 seconds (7:57 pace). Marathon #32.

Good race run for me but tough to see one of my running buddies not complete due to injury.  Chicken and dumplings and peach cobbler never disappoint and the weather was near perfect.  I still struggle to finish the last .2 with any decent form.  Next race:  Blue Ridge Mountain Marathon (Roanoke) in April.

2010 Walt Disney World Full Marathon – Orlando, FloridaJanuary 10, 2010 – Official Time: 4 Hours 04 minutes 14 seconds (9:04 pace).  Marathon #31.

Part II of the Goofy Challenge.  Same drill as on Saturday morning with the half except just double the distance.  Oh, yeah it was much drier but a bit colder and windier on Sunday.  Thankfully we wised up a bit and drove to the start area as well as I decided pants/tights beat beet red legs for this run. I really didn’t know what to expect for this race given my lack of training and calf issue in the weeks prior.  Like the half marathon, I felt under little stress during the event aside from a small bonk at mile 22.  Nothing a well-timed box of raisins and a Mr. Goodbar didn’t help quickly fix. Cindy, John and I started the race too far back in the corrals and really didn’t run together much aside from the first 3-4 miles.  Cindy and I ran near each other from miles 9-14 and even got a few pictures together through the Magic Kingdom. 3rd time I have run this one and liked it as much as the other 2 times.  Race details thanks to my Garmin can be viewed here. Next Marathon:  Ellerbe Springs on March 13.

2010 Walt Disney World Half Marathon – Orlando, FloridaJanuary 9, 2010 – Official Time: 2 Hours 01 minutes 18 seconds (9:07 pace).

Part I of the Goofy Challenge started off tough. Ignore the fact that runners have to get up at 3:30 for this event, the pre-race routine was highlighted by sleet, wind and rain which cause uncontrollable full body shivering prior to the start.  A great race, but lots of logistics involved to just get to the start.  John and I ran the entire race together at a very steady 9 minute pace with some slight increase in pace towards the end.  Some time off at mile 11 for a bio break cause the time to be a few minutes above the 2 hour mark.  For me, this race was highlighted by the fact that my heart rate was as rested as I can remember.  Never once felt winded in an overall relaxed effort.  Maybe three runs in the 6 weeks prior to the race actually helped?  Race details thanks to my Garmin can be viewed here.

2008-2009 RUNNING ‘SEASON’

Staying true to my desire to log stuff that most won’t be interested in, I plan to continue to track my running races for the Fall/Winter 2008 and Winter/Spring 2009 running “season” via this page of JasonScoop. I still plan to use the same tracking spreadsheet/log that I used last year. In addition I have been posting my training runs to my site. Lastly, I have started tracking my runs on GarminConnect…more to come here.

The speed was clearly too much for the camera... :)
The speed was clearly too much for the camera… 🙂

2009 Mesa Falls Marathon Ashton, IdahoAugust 22, 2009 – Official Time: 3 Hours 31 minutes 37 seconds (8:04 pace).  Marathon #30.

My all-time favorite marathon and not just because of the free Huckleberry shake they gave at the finish.  The course was spectacular.  Over half of this race was run off-road with fantastic views of the Tetons in the distance.  The race started at 6:30am at 6200 feet with the temperature around 55 degrees.  After a relatively flat first 11 miles, some cow grates and some cows we passed by the huge and spectacular Mesa Falls (fed by the Warm River).  A view worth stopping the run for.  Jason M. and I ran together for about the 1st 18 miles but bathroom stop #2 (him, not me – sorry Jason) split us up for the duration of the event.  Miles 13-17 were downhill along a steady grade (old rail bed) followed by several miles of less-than-steady uphill where we peaked with views of wheat fields as far as the eye could see.  I was able to remain fairly together until about mile 21 where I lost my wit a bit.  Stomach queasiness and general heat-related unpleasantness set in and drastically slowed my finishing pace (last 10k was around 55 minutes – at some points I thought I heard Jason M. yelling for me to wait).  It was either slow or risk the “Paula Newby (look her famous Ironman finish up for the reference here).” Given the elevation, heat and the 14 mile bike ride the day before, I was really proud of my effort (see Garmin details here).  Some key stats:  Finished 21st overall out of 231 (18th male).  Finished 1st in the 35-39 age group (worth a cool wooden plaque).  I hope to run this marathon again. Click here to run along with me.

2009 2nd Annual Anne Springs Close Greenway 1/2 Marathon – Fort Mill, SCMay 30, 2009 – Official Time: 1 Hours 47 minutes 45 seconds (8:17 pace).

Muddy and fun!  13.1 miles of all trails on my home turf!  The Rock Hill Striders put on another great event complete with great course markings, great locale and great organization.  I think I finished 12th or 8th or something out of roughly 50-75 runners but the fun I had running far surpassed the stats.  I was one of the few lucky enough not to fall flat on my duff during the race which was accomplishment enough for me.  I will DEFINITELY return to this one each time they run it!  Too easy, too cool and too well organized not to be a part of it.  Grandfather is out this year (too difficult with the family Folly Beach vacation starting that very day to swing it.  Hopefully next year as I will miss the challenge it presents.  Mesa Falls in IDAHO (new marathon and running state!) is coming up in August.  Over a mile high throughout which should be interesting.  Small town so no website nor pics but there is some great Garmin Data here.

2009 18th Annual Ellerbe Springs Marathon – Ellerbe, NCMarch 28, 2009 – Official Time: 3 Hours 41 minutes 31 seconds (8:25 pace).  Marathon #29.

This is a great race.  All the things I love about running marathons:  Small in entry size;  Rural (think pig farms, pine tree harvesting and random cows);  Run by the local track club (Mangum Track Club) who is serious about their running events;  each finisher is offered an ice cold Coke at the finish table and of course the Chicken/Dumplings and Peach Cobbler for all finishers!  This year’s event was a bit warmer and more humid than it has been in the past.  Around 60 at the start and 65 at the finish.  The course is surprisingly hilly.  My first race wearing my Garmin GPS watch told me that it had 5000 feet of elevation gain and 5000 feet of elevation loss.  I ran the race more as a trainer to get back into the swing of things after baby-time.  Mile 19 offered a pretty solid wake-up call in the form of a strong BONK.  I should have eaten miles earlier when I first thought about it.  By mile 23 and after pretzels, a banana and a Chocolate Cake Gu I felt much better.  Just in time for some light leg cramping above the knee and below the calf.  All good as I finished a few minutes behind Jason M., 12th overall and 1st in my age group!  Next race:  Likely ASC Greenway 1/2 marathon in late May and then off to Grandfather Mountain in July.

2008 4th Annual Thunder Road Marathon – Charlotte, NCDecember 13, 2008 – Official Time: 3 Hours 21 minutes 31 seconds (7:41 pace).  Marathon #28.

Again, always a tough course throughout some of the best neighborhoods in Charlotte.  Jason M. and I went out about a minute faster per mile than we targeted and after struggling to slow down we just went with it.  This typically results in a big crash and burn around mile 20.  This time it didn’t.  Perfect conditions with 30 degree temperatures at the start made it easy to run fast early.  Most miles were run at 7:25 with the “fall off” occurring at mile 21 where my pace dipped to around 8s.  Slowest mile was at mile 23 where I ran 8:36 with some walk time to take on water.  Never thought of setting a PR at Charlotte but it happened and now I wonder if a flat race gives me any hope at the Boston qualifying time (3:15.59).  Next race:  ??.

2008 Springmaid 10k – Fort Mill, SCNovember 14, 2008 – Official Time: 42 minutes 14 seconds (6:50 pace).

Any Fort Mill course is going to provide a hilly event and the 29th Annual Springmaid event was true to form.  This course ran through the neighborhood behind downtown Fort Mill in concentric circles.  Basically this meant you ran up and down the same hill 6-7 different times.  An odd fall day where the rain broke just for the event but left 70 degree very humid and breezy conditions.  Alex and I ran together or nearly together for the entire race – it was like being chased for 6 miles.  I ran this race in place of the Richmond marathon.  Unbelievably, traffic kept me from getting out of Charlotte with enough time to get to Richmond in time to pick up my packet.  Probably for the best as I certainly would not have set my personal best there like I did here.  9th overall in the event and I actually won 1st in my age group.  Next race:  Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon.

2008 Dowd Y Half Marathon – Charlotte, NCNovember 1, 2008 – Official Time: 1 Hours 33 minutes 10 seconds (7:08 pace).

Tough course through some very nice sections of Charlotte (and hilly!).  Jason Martin and I ran together through the big hill at 11 and through an odd course of events I actually pulled ahead of “Sneaky”.  I am proud of this effort as it turned out to be a Personal Best for me in the half (former best was 1:34 at Springmaid).  49th out of 688 finishers and 9th overall in my age division.  Still my favorite running distance as recovery is easy.  Next race:  Richmond Marathon in 2 weeks.

4th Annual Blue Ridge Relay – Grayson Highlands State Park, VA to Asheville, NC September, 5-6 2008 – Official Time: 32 Hours 38 minutes 16 seconds (9:25 pace). Endurance Race #3.

Harder than last year with the same team and same setup.  Muscle memory set in about the 2nd leg and didn’t let go until well after the finish.  Something about knowing how hard it will be made this year much, much, much tougher than last year.  I still love this race and will be doing it again next year…only difference is having 2 extra people to help grow the distance between legs up from an average below 3 hours of rest between legs to something closer to 4.  Oddly, this makes a big difference.  Check out all the details of the race at this link: Blue Ridge Relay and read up more on our specific experience at our BRRScoop page.

41st Annual 2008 Grandfather Mountain Marathon – Boone, NCJuly 12, 2008 – Official Time: 3 Hours 55 minutes 12 seconds (8:59 pace). Marathon #27.

Wow – this was an amazing race!  Amazingly scenic with views of the Blue Ridge/Appalachian Mountains, Grandfather Mountain, and a course that takes you through the middle of the Moses Cone and Julian Price Memorial Parks.  The race starts in the Appalachian State Sports Complex and ends in the middle of the busiest day of the Highland Games atop Grandfather Mountain.  With over 3000 feet in total elevation climb and a net gain of nearly 1000 feet in elevation this race course will wear you out!  Most of the runners I ran near were in the 50-100+ marathon category and the majority had run this multiple times.  Even with the difficulty of this race, the excitement of finishing in front of a crowd plus the sheer beauty of the scenery make this race well worth some of the pain incurred.  Next race – Blue Ridge Relay!!

2007-2008 RUNNING ‘SEASON’

Staying true to my desire to log stuff that most won’t be interested in, I plan to continue to track my running races for the Fall/Winter 2007 and Winter/Spring 2008 running “season” via this page of JasonScoop. I still plan to use the same tracking spreadsheet/log that I used last year. In addition I have been posting my training runs to my site.

17th Annual 2008 Ellerbe Springs Marathon – Ellerbe, NCMarch 29, 2008 – Official Time: 3 Hours 46 minutes 20 seconds (8:38 pace). Marathon #26.

This year’s Ellerbe Springs Marathon was even better than last years! Perfect weather minus a stronger wind than normal had us running the entire race in the mid-50s. First marathon in some time where I can remember the temperature dropping. This course is hilly but fair. I ran with John and Dave through about 18 and we did a nice job managing our energy on all significant uphills. After 18 I felt good enough to manage a sub-8:00 pace back to the finish line and even had my fastest final 10k in a marathon ever (47 minutes!). I was pretty excited about my performance – I didn’t consider the run to be stressful at all and never felt the terrible-bads that I have experienced at other races. This race reminds me why I like the small marathons so much – great organization, laid-back atmosphere, chicken and dumplings/peach cobbler/sweet tea at the finish, shirts passed out only if you complete the race make it a unique and fun experience. One funny comment by the race organizer during the pre-race huddle (what race has a pre-race huddle with the 100 entrants?): “Dogs should not be a problem – I checked with most of the houses on the course and they agreed to have them tied up.” No pictures of this race but details on the race and results can be found at the Mangum Track Club Site.

2008 11th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon – February 16, 2008 Official Time: 3 Hours 22 minutes 16 seconds (7:43 pace). Marathon #25

The 11th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon proved one thing for sure: this course is fast! Last year I posted my 2nd best time in 12 years of running and this year I was able to better that time and my original PR which was set in January 1995 at my first marathon (Disney)! I was very excited, so much so that I did some “runners math” (not advised) with about 8 miles left in the race and convinced myself I was on pace to get into Boston. Not even close in hindsight but it was a pretty nice way to trick my mind into running harder. The weather was near perfect with a start at 53 degrees and the finish was around 62 degrees. The wind was light and coming from the north which was helpful in the last 10k of the race. My philosophy in this race was to go out easy (8:20s) for the first 2-3 miles and then get to an aggressive pace for me (7:40s). This ended up being 8:15 for 1 mile and dropping to 7:30s through about 19 miles. I set my personal best first half, middle 10 (miles 11-20) and my 2nd best 2nd half and final 10k times. There is something to be said for being focused with training for the 6-8 weeks prior to a marathon and coming in rested. Not even a few extra pounds from a recent trip to Maui could counter. Check here for pictures (bib #5437) and this link for final results.

FYI – “Runners Math” for those not familiar with the sport inside of the sport is when you are running along deep into a marathon and having trouble with the most basic math functions. For instance, if I have just past the 22nd mile marker does that mean that I have run 22 with 4 left or 21 with 5 left? Normal math would tell one to subtract 22 from 26.2 to get the answer but I can mess it up nearly every race. Same goes for calculating time remaining and even trickier if you start messing with different paces. I know this sounds irrational while sitting here and reading but try it after about 18 miles and hopefully you will prove the theory (otherwise you will probably prove me simply silly).

2007 Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon – December 8, 2007 Official Time: 3 Hours 48 minutes 30 seconds (8:42 pace).

Marathon #24. This was the 3rd Annual race since new management (Tim Rhodes) took over and it was the best run marathon that I have seen in Charlotte yet. This year the race start moved down to the Convention Center which offered about 50 bathrooms, shelter from any weather and even an open Starbucks prior to the race. Add to it that is was a Light Rail stop and it doesn’t get much better. The race started immediately out front of the Convention Center where roughly 5000 participants running in either the Marathon, the Marathon Relay, or the Half Marathon all started under the same gun. Water stops were well-manned and the course was marked with clocks and signs at every mile marker. The only slight complaint I could have is the 2nd half of the course is far less enjoyable to the eye than the first half. For me personally it was an odd race. I did not run a step with Cindy (I tend to run off of her front shoulder and she tends to like me behind her shoulder – more on Cindy’s race later) and started the first 2 miles with both John and Dave. John and I let Dave run forth at mile 2 and ran an easy pace around 8:20-8:30 mark. At mile 13 I felt good and picked up the pace a bit to see about running a negative race. Miles 13-21 were strong for me – I was able to average 8:15-8:20 for these miles but fell apart horribly when I caught Dave around mile 23. The last 3 miles tossed my hopes of running a marathon as I averaged just under 10 minute miles in from there. The nice part of this race was I never felt the need to pick up the pace but rather ran the pace I felt best for that mile. The hard part was likely the fatigue I had from Richmond only 4 weeks back. I plan to take 2-3 weeks off from running and then begin training in earnest for Myrtle Beach in mid-February. Result can be viewed here and as pictures are posted look for them here (bib # 614; Cindy was 613).

Cindy also ran and was surprised at just how hilly this course was. She had lots of words to describe the course throughout her 4:30 minute run but publicly would agree with “relentless” or “rhythm-free” running. It has her fired up to give another go in February potentially at Myrtle. More to come here.

2007 Richmond Marathon – November 10, 2007 Official Time: 3 Hours 40 minutes 43 seconds (8:20 pace).

Marathon #23. 30th Annual event this year and as always, the City of Richmond and Suntrust came prepared to take out all of the stops for this marathon. On course aid stations are impeccably run and race “fan” support is fantastic (makes me wish I had a fan or two planted throughout the race). At times there are so many people cheering on both sides you get goose bumps as a runner. Like free mileage. As my 23rd marathon there was nothing that stood out too greatly other than the fact that the temperature at the start was nearly the same at the finish (between 45 and 50 degrees) and the wind blew at our backs for the last 5-6 miles which is a real treat and rarity in this event. Richmond will hopefully dump some money into repaving projects as the only minor detail that was left undone was the road surfaces were rarely smooth which becomes challenging at the end with my 2 centimeter shoe clearance. I employed the “crash and burn” methodology for this race which made the last 10k feel a bit rougher than I have felt in the past. I ran a 1:43 first half and gave back 17 minutes in the 2nd half to finish with a 1:55. Smooth that out a bit and I might have a chance at another sub-3:30. Dave J. and I rode up together, found Whitney and Thaxton among the thousands at the start line, and I made it back just in time for date night with Cindy. Pictures will be linked here once they are loaded via Brightroom (search on bib # 2718).

2007 DuPont Forest Trail Marathon – October 14, 2007 Official Time: 4 Hours 03 minutes 40 seconds (9:15 pace). Marathon #22

Roughly 100 runners at the start at Guion Farm in the Dupont State Forest at 9am in the morning. This year I knew two of them – John and Dave. Same drill as last year, the only portion of this race on asphalt was the 1.5 mile loop on a mountain-top airstrip. The other 24.7 miles was on gravel/dirt roads up and down mountains, around lakes, and through the forest. I really enjoy this race. Trail shoes made a big difference – no bruised feet after the run and amazingly no blisters after only running in the shoes once. The setting of this race is spectacular – Dupont Forest would make a nice overnight camp spot. In all honesty we probably had no business running this race 5 weeks after the Blue Ridge Relay with little or no training in between. My legs were still quite fatigued, but the reminder of such fatigue helped keep reality in mind and a nice reasonable pace at the forefront of the run. We employed the “don’t run up anything steep or long” strategy which seemed to allow for enough energy management to get through – eating/drinking properly also helped although I probably could have taken in some calories earlier. There were no known pictures but 2 funny stories:

1) “We have a cramper here!” This line was shouted not once, but several times at the finish line of the race for my good friend John. He got across the line and was immediately looked upon by race officials as a potential liability that required a full-time escort (FTE) to ensure the didn’t go a man down in the race event. Being able to witness it firsthand was worth the struggle I had keeping up with John throughout this race.

2) Google Maps – plug Fort Mill, SC as the start Sky Valley Road Hendersonville, NC as the finish and you get a 10 mile drive through some of the most rugged dirt roads you will find in NC. The type of road that makes you think you should turn back and call someone but if you stay convicted and trust the great Google you will eventually come out to your end destination. With 20 minutes to spare and thoughts of plan “b” at Waffle House we came upon the destination. Conviction and Google prevails. Next time however, I might just buy a map.

2007 Blue Ridge Relay (BRR) – September 7-8 Official Team Time: 32 Hours 08 minutes and 00 seconds (9:16 pace).

208 miles spread out across 36 legs and a 4 person team this year rather than 6. Six was the right size, but we needed to see if we could do it with 4 runners (45-58 miles per runner depending on order you drew. I drew the 58 mile legs but had an easier 2nd day than most of the others on the team. This year we started at 6:45 am and led through leg 14. At leg 14 (up Grandfather Mountain) we were caught by the faster 12-man teams that started hours later than we did. Although we placed lower than last year and with a slower time by roughly an hour, we still feel strongly that we accomplished a huge task. That plus we were the #1 4-person team in the field (and the only one). Running at night is still very cool. Stars above, night sounds all around, a foggy mist throughout. Watching the sun go down behind Grandfather Mountain, the heat bubble off of fields as the moisture slowly evaporates upward – all pretty spectacular scenes. The 3-legged dogs, eyes following you in the night, eeriness of dogs barking at elevations above and below you, and running down a pitch black road with the beam of a headlamp guiding your steps are all part of the great experience of the Blue Ridge Relay. Will we do another 4-man team? Unlikely – it was pretty grueling and we lost some of the social aspects of the race that are enjoyable (talking with the other runners, eating meals together in parking lots, etc.

…unfortunately many of the words that come to mind are similar to “dumb”, “pain”, “sleeplessness”, etc. Watch the Team 4tunate beat-down progress through these pictures like you were there…(you will need a Yahoo ID to log into Flickr or get a free Flickr ID.

Click here for the slideshow.

Click here to browse the Flickr site as you wish.

We will add to these pictures over the next few days as they get consolidated off of other cameras.


2006-2007 RUNNING ‘SEASON’

Simply a running log of the races I ran in this fall/winter/spring with times, pictures, and comments as warranted. Still geeky narcissistic but I can’t help wondering that one day when I am 60 and logging into the internet (by simply thinking about it vs. using one of those dated computer thingys) to check out my past accomplishments that I won’t somehow be pleased with my catalog. In addition to the log below, I have added a tracking spreadsheet/log.

2006 Blue Ridge Relay (BRR) – September 8-9 Official Team Time: 30 Hours 58 minutes and 57 seconds (8:56 pace).

208 miles spread out across 36 legs and a 6 person team. That is roughly 34.7 miles per runner. The race started at 7:30am on Friday morning and we finished just before 2:30pm on Saturday afternoon. Starting my 5th leg (roughly an 8 mile leg) at 3am in the mist/fog was one of my top 5 coolest running moments. This race was logistically challenging, somewhat uncomfortable for much of it, and obviously tiring, but within hours of finishing I was ready to sign up again the next year. Halfway through my 2nd leg I thought to myself that our team made a huge mistake only running with 6 runners. Only after the race was over did we all discuss the fact that we would have likely quit as a collective team had we voiced the fears we all realized during that stage of the race. Again only days after the end of the race we were all committed for 2007 with no more than 6 runners.

2006 DuPont Forest Trail Marathon – October 15, 2006 Official Time: 4 Hours 05 minutes 29 seconds (9:22 pace). Marathon #17.

125 runners at the start at Guion Farm in the Dupont State Forest at 9am in the morning. I only knew one of them – John H. The only portion of this race on asphalt was the 1.5 mile loop on a mountain-top airstrip. The other 24.7 miles was on gravel/dirt roads up and down mountains, around lakes, and through the forest. Amazing race that I will look to run again. Running for time would have been difficult, running in trail shoes would have made the race a bit easier, but certainly an inspiring race in a beautiful setting. There were no known pictures.

2006 Richmond Marathon – November 11, 2006 Official Time: 3 Hours 50 minutes 34 seconds (8:47 pace). Marathon #18.

29th Annual event and still one of the great mid-sized marathons out there. This was my 18th marathon completion and outside of the 2003 NYC Marathon, definitely the hottest one I have ever run. Temperatures were near 60 at the start and hovering around 80 at the finish. I went out quickly for the first half and at mile 17 made a conscious decision to finish with dignity rather than splayed out on a stretcher. There is a picture of me with a wet towel at mile 18 where I look not so great. I felt like I looked. Dave, John and I rode up together and met Kara and even ran into Whitney during the race. Add Jason M. to the mix and it could have been an official training run for our Blue Ridge Relay team. Pictures compliments of Brightroom Photography can be found here (if my pictures don’t come up search on bib # 835).

2nd Annual Thunder Road Marathon – December 9, 2006 Official Time: 3 Hours 45 minutes 57 seconds (8:37 pace). Marathon #19.

Any Charlotte-based marathon is tough, but when the temperature is below 30 at the start it can be even tougher. That being said, the race was well-managed, well run and local which doesn’t make an entire day disappear doing it. Next year they need to work on reducing the price, improving the food at the finish, and potentially moving the finish so it doesn’t wrap up on an uphill stretch. Cindy and I ran together for the first half as she set her Personal Record at the 13.1 mile half marathon with a 1:51 (her previous best was 1:55). Strong! It was an odd first half as I felt like I spent most of it behind her trying to catch up from random breaks and trying to maintain my pace. The 2nd half was a bit windier than the first which took its toll on me. Leg cramps in the last mile were a bit out of character as well. With little running since my previous race in Richmond, I was pleased. I think it may set a nice stage for Myrtle in February so long as the weather is decent. Pictures can be found here a la Brightroom Photography (search on Bib # 1041 if you don’t get directly to the page with my pics).

10th Annual Myrtle Beach Marathon – February 17, 2007 Official Time: 3 Hours 28 minutes 16 seconds (7:57 pace). Marathon #20.

A perfect day to employ the “no guts, no glory” philosophy of marathon running. Starting temperature was 26 degrees with light winds and clear skies. Myrtle’s super flat terrain makes this race a good place to put together a good race. After struggling to get a steady pace in the first 6 miles (I later realized that many of the miles were inaccurately marked – running a 5:50 mile followed by a 10:50 mile is a sure sign), I was able to settle into a sub-8 minute pace with relatively little difficulty. After studying the data, I find that I ran my fastest 2nd 10 miles (miles 11-20) of any marathon I have yet to run. This was followed-up with a final 10k that was my 2nd fastest at 49 minutes and some change. I ran the 2nd 13 miles at a little less than 3 minutes slower than the 1st 13 miles (miles 1-13 at 1:41 and miles 14-26 at 1:44). Myrtle is one of those races that I never really look forward to but always like it more after I remember how nice it is to run a flat race every once in a while. Pictures can be found here a la Brightroom Photography (search on Bib # 5292 if you don’t get directly to the page with my pics).

16th Annual Ellerbe Springs Marathon – March 24, 2007 Official Time: 4 Hours 15 minutes 15 seconds (9:44 pace). Marathon #21

This run was a beast – likely one of the hardest marathon courses I have run. Several hills lasting well over a mile and some serious heat to boot. High during the run was around 80-85 (little steam wriggles coming up from the pavement). Less than 200 people ran the race and only 143 finished. It is a cool race because only finishers get shirts (and medals of course) and at the finish they serve up chicken and dumplings, peach cobbler and sweet tea. I ran most of the way with John and Dave and we all treated it like a long training run rather than a serious marathon effort. Jason M. took a different approach and minimized his time in the heat with a 3:33 finish which was good enough for 15th overall (compared to my 49th overall). I think I did manage to finish 6th in my age group so maybe I will take it more seriously next year and see if I can win some of the pottery they gave out to the placers. Details can be found at the Mangum Track Club Site – no pictures of this race.This will likely conclude the 2006-2007 marathon “season”. Stay tuned for the calendar of marathons coming in the 2007-2008 season…

2nd Annual Tri the Rock Triathlon – May 19, 2007 Official Time: 1 Hours 28 minutes 15 seconds.

It has been a long, long time since I have run any event with more than one event in the event. This local triathlon consisted of a 500 meter swim, a 17 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run. While I enjoy running and cycling a great deal, I could really do without swimming. I tend to sink which in swimming can really slow one down. This being said, the event was fun and a nice break from running-only events. This being said, I know my place and it is nowhere near the water when it comes to competition so I likely will participate sparingly in comparison to running. Here is the breakdown: 11:18 swim (64th out of 99); 58:57 bike (29th out of 99); 17:07 run (7th out of 99) for a 25th finish out of 99.
2005-2006 RUNNING ‘SEASON’

Again, more for my personal archiving than anything else, here’s a log of the races I ran in this fall/winter/spring with times, pictures, and comments as warranted. Capturing my accomplishments online? Flat out geeky and a touch narcissistic to boot…

2005 Richmond Marathon – “America’s Friendliest Marathon” – November 12, 2005 Official Chip Time: 3 Hour 37 minutes 51 seconds (8:19 pace). Marathon #14.

I still think highly of this race. Not too big, not too small. Crowd support is world class and race support is the best out there. The water stops are rarely on the mile markers, plenty long enough and VERY well organized. Wet towels, junk food stops, lots of gel stops and lots of fall colors throughout the race make this one worth running. This is my 3rd time running it and it will continue to be a race to run in the future. Click here to see deteriorating pictures of me as the race wears on.

2005 Outback Outreach Family/Dowd YMCA Half Marathon – November 19, 2005 Official Chip Time: 1 Hour 39 minutes 01 seconds (7:33 pace).

Last year there was steak, chicken, burritos at the finish. This year they topped the inaugural with the addition of Jersey Mike’s. My memory of last year’s post race feast kept me in check – just a small soft taco to tie me over. All good. This was a well-organized race, with a very hilly course. The uphill and winding finish leaves something to be desired, but still not enough to concern Cindy – she took 8 minutes off of her previous best half marathon time (1:53). I had a good performance considering only a week had passed since running 26.2 the week before. There was nothing left in the tank by the finish. Sorry no pics here.

2005 Thunder Road (Charlotte) Marathon– December 3, 2005 Official Chip Time: 3 Hour 43 minutes 04 seconds (8:31 pace). Marathon #15.

This first annual event was Charlotte’s best run marathon in years and easily the best course. Crowd support in Charlotte is always a bit weak and the hills are crazy tough, but the event this year was a huge step forward in making a race that attracts runners to Charlotte. The only must-have improvements are better race maps and some local newspaper coverage. Click here to see pictures of me (and a few of Will!) at the event.

13th Annual Disney Marathon (Disney World Orlando, Florida) – January 8, 2006 Official Chip Time: 3 Hour 38 minutes 55 seconds (8:21 pace). Marathon #16.

Cindy and I ran this event for the 2nd time each, but first time together. Cindy ran her personal best time (per chip time) at 3 hrs and 59 minutes while I ran my 3rd best marathon to date (at the same race where I ran my best ever time 11 years ago). The Disney Marathon has to be one of the top 5 great marathons to run. The experience of running through 4 parks and other Disney World attractions provide spectacular distractions, the attention to detail the Disney puts forth is amazing, but the finishers medal is truly best-in-class. The course is mostly flat (biggest hills are interstate-like overpasses) and the 3 times we have collectively run it the weather has been very nice (never above 55). Crowd support is surprisingly good for the time of day and location. The only slight drawback of the race is the 6am start requires waking up around 4am to prepare – this seems bad until you realize at the finish that the race is over before 10am and most of the day is still available for family, fun, etc. Click here to see pictures of me (and Cindy too!) with a few of my friends during and after the event.

If interested, you can find Cindy’s pictures here.


2004-2005 RUNNING ‘SEASON’

Again, more for my personal archiving than anything else, here’s a log of the races I ran in this fall/winter/spring with times, pictures, and comments as warranted. Documenting the races I have run in online for the heck of it? Nerdy. Talking to yourself online while doing this? A real cause for concern.

2004 Gaston YMCA Spencer Mountain 10-miler Results – “The Southeast’s Toughest 10 Miler” – November 6, 2004 Official Chip Time: 1 Hour 13 minutes 4 seconds (7:18 pace).

This race was tough! A nice flat/downhill start for 2-3 miles, then tough rolling hills for miles 4-7, then you climb “Spencer Mountain” for miles 8 & 9 followed by a nice flat last mile to the finish. I was able to beat last year’s time by over 6 minutes in a race where the temperatures were moderate (45-60 degrees and sunny) – a benefit of being in pretty decent running shape compared to year’s past. Sorry, no real website for this one, no known pictures, but the results sheet is linked above.

2004 Richmond Marathon – “America’s Friendliest Marathon” – November 13, 2004 Official Chip Time: 3 Hour 39 minutes 19 seconds (8:26 pace). Marathon #12.

This is one of the great marathons out there. With 4000 or so runners it isn’t too big and it isn’t too small. The crowd support stands up against some of the bigger races out there and the organizers make certain to keep a runners perspective (lots of candy and gel stops) while planning the event. This race also times perfectly with the fall season as colors blanket the St. James river basin section of this run. Click to see deteriorating pictures of me as the race wears on.

2004 Outback Outreach Family/Dowd YMCA Half Marathon – November 20, 2004 Official Chip Time: 1 Hour 40 minutes 03 seconds (7:40 pace).

Can you say steak, chicken, and burritos at the finish? Blah, blah, blah about the race, but at the end they served a nice helping of steak, chicken, potatoes, etc. from Outback and then if one still found themselves with a bit more room then Moe’s was doling out tacos and burritos. Not too shabby. This was a well-organized race, with a fairly hilly course. The uphill and winding finish left something to be desired, but the food at the end more than made up for it. Tired legs a week after Richmond kept me in check. Sorry, no pics from this event…

2004 Springmaid Half Marathon – 25th Annual – December 4, 2004 Official Time: 1 Hour 35 minutes 09 seconds (7:15 pace).

This still ranks high as one of my favorite half marathons to run. I think I have run 7 of the last 10 that they have held. Consistency in a race, especially a smaller one like this one, can add to the experience. Hot broth at the end of the race, the same course year in and year out, shotgun start, and the same race t-shirt design with a slightly altered color scheme each year makes this race feel pretty “warm and fuzzy.” The fact that it is run in the same small town we live in and is typically followed by our town’s Holiday Parade helps the appeal. This race shares a theme with most half marathons in or near Charlotte: lots of hills. Springmaid’s toughest sections are the first 3 miles and miles 10-12. Tough hills in stretches of the race where there are more goats and hay bales than people. Once again, no pics here.

Myrtle Beach Maraton – February 19, 2005 Official Chip Time: 3 hours 57 minutes (9:03 pace). Marathon #13.

First race in SC? Worth the drive to Myrtle Beach? Yes and Yes. Flat course and good race sponsorship/support. Many miles directly along the beach road and only a few miles through the parts of Myrtle that make you not want to return to Myrtle. I would run it again – the next time, maybe I will actually train for it. Click to see deteriorating pictures of me as the race wears on.

That concludes the 2004-2005 marathon season. Next major races in the late summer/early fall 2005.


2003-2004 RUNNING ‘SEASON’
More for my personal archiving than anything else, here’s the results from my Fall 2003/Winter 2004 Marathon Season:

2003 NYC Marathon – November 2, 2003 Official Chip Time: 4 Hour 34 minutes. Marathon #10.

This marathon, although fun, was brutally hot this year with temperatures nearing 80 degrees. The plan was to use this race as preparation for a faster January race in Charlotte, running for over 4.5 hours never crossed my mind. My body reminded me for days after that it prefers not to run for that length of time. The odd weather coupled with the fact that New York City puts on a fantastic event will motivate me to run this race again in the future. Click here to see pictures Cindy and I took during and after the race.

2004 Charlotte Run For Peace Marathon – January 10, 2004 Official Chip Time: 3 Hour 48 minutes. Marathon #11.

Cold weather, with high temperatures for the race only around the freezing mark, helped motivate me to get this one over with as fast as possible. Having Cindy and Will cheering me on at various points on the new Charlotte Loop course (rather than the dreaded point to point from the town of Davidson to Uptown Charlotte) also provided great inspiration. Charlotte race planners are showing signs of moving this race in the direction of some of the great mid-size marathons like Richmond and Columbus, OH. The familiarity of this hilly course also seemed to make a difference.

Although I think my 2003-2004 season is over, there are lingering thoughts about potentially running Grandfather Mountain or something equally ridiculous-sounding to close out the season.


11 thoughts on “Run

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  10. In comparison: 2013 Grandfather Mountain Marathon (3:48) against your 2013 Triple Lakes Marathon (4:13), in my opinion Triple Lakes must be more difficult, is this true? I’ve run GMM but am wanting Triple Lakes. So lets hear your side of it and would you train differently for a trail marathon?

  11. Tale of two races for me. Grandfather that year involved better training for me. TL was a super hot day and I was dealing with a calf issue. TL is a great race and trail running typically adds 30-40 seconds per mile to my pace where GF typically adds 10-20 seconds per mile. All said, yes TL on the hot day was harder.

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