Countdown to the Half-marathon: Raleigh Rock N Roll 2014

  You might think I'm crazy, but I've signed up to run a half marathon. That's 13.1 miles. Yes - 13.1 miles.  New Britain, Connecticut - the town that I was born in -- is only 13.4 Square miles.  
   It's a long... long way. I hope to finish the race in less than 2 hours. I think 4 hours is the cut off time for runners to finish this one. So, definitely somewhere between 2 hours and 3 hours and 59 minutes.
    Hold on just think about that for a moment. There are a lot of things that you can do in two hours. You can..: 

  1. Go to the movies
  2. Attend a play, musical or concert
  3. Drive from Boston to New York City
  4. Drive from Raleigh to the Beach
  5. You can probably have a nice intimate 3 to 5 course dinner and go for a walk. 
  6. Ladies you could go get your hair done. (maybe more like 4 hours for some of y'all) 
  7. You could play or watch a complete NCAA basketball game (minus half time)
  8. Watch a football game.
  9. Go to a Sunday morning worship service  

    You get the point there are endless opportunities to fill two hours besides running through the streets of Raleigh. But, that's what I'll be doing on April 13th. I was encouraged to lace up my shoes and run on April 13th through my job. WRAL/Capitol Broadcasting has an amazing wellness program. It's also encouraging to have so many people that I work with training at the same time. 
     Side note: I think it's kinda cool  that I'll be running 13.1 miles on 4/13/2014 
      I signed up. So there's no turning back now. That's why I've been running in 25 degree weather. Today was the first day that my Half-marathon training has seen temperatures about 50 degrees. But I've been getting out there in the cold, the rain, ice and the wind to make sure my body is ready for 13.1 miles. 
     February 22nd was an important date for me. That was the first time I had ever run more than 4 miles in my life. Since then, I can feel the difference in my legs. They are stronger. My knees are getting stronger. 
    The first 8 mile run hurt.  When I was done with that run, I wanted to either find a hot tub to massage all my muscles or a bed to curl up in and sleep. I just wanted all of the pain to stop. Most of the pain was in my knees, but it was temporary. The next day was my day for rest. I took full advantage of it. The funny thing about running longer distances -- and the pain that comes with it -- is if you just go ahead and get back out there, the pain will go away faster. 
     This past weekend, I powered through a ten mile run, Sunday: Rest, Today: 5 miles. The first mile or so was a little painful, but after that the pain was gone and hasn't come back. Mind over body. Push through to the next mile. 

      I'm using Nike's NikePlus Coach to get me through this race. Next weekend is 11 miles, then 12, then 13 and a cool down week before the actual race in April. I'm also using NikePlus on my phone to map my runs and track my progress and of course posting pictures on facebook, instagram and twitter along the way. 
     What's cool is that along each course that I run I notice so many awesome places that could become  photoshoot locations. More on that later at some point. The problem is that all of these cool locations are 2, 3 or 4 miles away from any parking lot or road.... and there's no way that I'd stop just to take a picture. If I did go for a photoshoot, I'd have to pack light... with minimal equipment.   
    I've learned something during this whole process of preparing for a half marathon. 

  1. There is no milk in Muscle Milk, it smells like marshmallows, and it doesn't smell all that great
  2. Once you've gone more than 5 or 6 miles don't stop running
  3. Clothing tags can be a real and present danger for anyone running more than 5 miles (chaffing)
  4. There is some benefit to wearing full length running spandex in the cold
  5. Even if you're on mile #8, when your song comes on.. it shows in how you run.
  6. Sweat will stain the arms on your glasses
  7. Your armband/iPhone holder can create blood circulation problems. (try fixing that mid-run)
  8. Stretching before and after is critical to healing, pain prevention and progress
  9. What a Fartlek is
  10. That a Fartlek will suck the energy out of you

I also noticed that people will do anything and everything they can to stay focused for a long run. For some it means running with a pack of water on their back, or always running in shorts. For me it's definitely the music. I have to have my playlist running along with me. Monday, I ran.. but didn't have my earbuds. I just had to play it out through the iPhone speakers. 

   Of course there is always a reason for each one of these big sponsored races. The Raleigh Rock and Roll Marathon Benefits "The V Foundation." It's an organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. 


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