Sunday, April 13, 2014

Rock N Roll Raleigh and Florida 70.3 in Brief

Rock N Roll Raleigh
Downtown Raleigh
This weekend, Amber and I headed our separate ways to race a 70.3 and a marathon, respectively. I headed down to Raleigh to race in the Rock N Roll Marathon. I arrived Friday and spent the day exploring a local state park(Falls Lake), downtown Raleigh, and going over to Duke's campus in Durham.
Falls Lake

My first meal in NC. 
For some reason, I thought that Duke had the pretty campus and UNC was pretty bare bones. However, after going to breakfast in UNC the next morning(my hotel was in Chapel Hill), I discovered that I was mistaken. Duke certainly has some pretty cool things nearby, like the eponymous Duke Forest, but it definitely feels more like a modern campus. Meanwhile, baby blue tar heels' campus is beautiful and looks like a small liberal arts college.

After breakfast Saturday, I headed back into Raleigh and met up with Amber's Aunt Babe and Uncle Johnny who kindly treated me to a BBQ lunch and a walk around the Raleigh's City Market.
Babe and Johnny, a former center for Penn State's football team
 Despite the fact that I got back to my hotel room early for an early bedtime, the television was calling my name and I couldn't go to bed until after I found out who murdered someone else on CSI, SVU, NCIS or an be other jumble of letters with simple plots, twists and unimportance. Nevertheless, my inner sloth came out and before I knew it, it was eleven and I now only had 4 hours of available sleep. Moments after I closed my eyes, my alarm went off and it was time for me to get prepared. My relative success at Knoxville two weeks earlier, made me want to repeat my morning-of routine which included iced-coffee, apple sauce and chocolate milk. Last time I felt comfortably full but this time, probably due to the earlier wake up, I still was hungry...

I held off urges to stop at the local McDonalds and made my way into downtown Raleigh. Having reconnoitered the day before, I already had my parking area mapped out and thus was able to avoid the huge backup off the highway.
My trusty little steed- very funny when I picked it up since almost everything else was a truck!

In fact, the traffic was so bad that the race director actually delayed the start to allow everyone a chance to get to their respective corrals. I knew it was going to be a hot day, and I had planned ahead by freezing overnight a buff(for laymen, a buff is a glorified headband). A piece of foreshadowing here: the only physiological reason for most "bonks" is when an athlete's internal temperature reaches a certain threshold, at which point the body has to slow down. My plan was to keep myself as cool for as long as I could.

Right before the start of the race, I spotted my buddy, Michael Dwomoh who I met at the Kiawah Marathon where he beat me by over 10 minutes. We talked for a few minutes and as the race began he encouraged me to take it easy for the first few minutes and ease my way into it. I took his advice to heart and started at a modest pace. However, after a few miles, I realized that what was, two weeks ago, a modest pace, was today quite a struggle. The heat, hills or my fatigue all combined to make 6:40's seem very challenging. I was able to pull through the half mark averaging almost exactly 6:40's, but unlike Knoxville, where I got there refreshed and confident, I arrived here today, very concerned about what pace I would be able to hold.

From that point forward, I stopped at every aid station, gulping down 2-3 cups of Gatorade, another 1-2 cups of water and then dumping as many cups as possible over my body. My mile splits from that point drop 30-45 seconds on the ones that had aid stations. Even with all of that drinking, I still would develop cotton mouth and moments of panic if I couldn't see the next aid station ahead of me. This made the second half dreadfully slow. At mile 20 I was about 15 or 16 overall and could only see 2-4 runners ahead of me. I didn't even consider trying to chase anyone down, rather just focusing on just trying to hold things together enough to stay under 3 hours.
Feeling strong
While I was overheating in North Carolina, Amber was down in Florida, doing some heating of her own. I didn't know it at the time, but she had a great swim and was crushing the bike about the time I was developing a serious case of self-doubt. I knew the heat was worse for her than me so I pushed myself as much as I could to put it out of my mind and just focus on catching a few runners ahead of me.

Seconds later, feeling crappy:)
I pulled in at 2:58:38 passing 4 runners in the last few miles. I thought this may have brought me in to the top ten but wasn't sure. I quickly guzzled every bottle of liquid I could lay my hands on( I apologize profusely to the baby whose bottle I stole ;) and then headed over to the New Politics concert. They have a few songs that I like but as I suspected they are kind of like Neon Trees, in that the rest of their repertoire is pretty limited. Regardless, they were FAR BETTER than Jackyl from the Savannah Marathon and it gave me an excuse to just sit and bask in the sun for a while. As they wrapped up, I decided I would be kind to my flight-mates and try to get myself rinsed off before I flew home.

I went over to Jordan Lake a few towns over. It is a pretty cool place with a few short hiking trails and a nice beach and swimming area. Kayaks, SUPs, and sailors were all on the water. Plus a few triathletes training(maybe for Raleigh 70.3?) beyond the swim buoys.

Now I'm sitting out on the patio at the Hooters right outside the airport. I just found out that I finished 8th overall and only lost to Michael by 7 minutes so I'm happy with my race.
View of Jordan Lake for hiking trail

Jordan Lake

Taking it E.A.S.Y. 

 I know I should probably go through security, but it is so hard to go inside with this weather!

I found this little nugget on my first day in NC. Yes that's a slew of slowcookers right next to a cemetery. Nothing like cutting out the middle man:)

Oh, and Amber did well at Florida 70.3 I found out but I'll let her tell the story. 


  1. Danny - great seeing you run here in our beautiful city. A great summary of your race too. At this rate you should be passing me in a race near you in 2017! Happy trails.

    Dr. D.

    1. Dr. D: I doubt it. I suspect on flatter less hot courses you would be just as far ahead of me as at Kiawah Island. Here's to hoping that I get faster rather than you get slower ;) What's next on your schedule?

  2. Danny - I finished the Tar Heel 10 miler yesterday (April 26th). It was held at Chapel Hill, NC. Next weekend (May 4th) I will be running the All American Marathon at Fayetteville, NC.

  3. Dr D-Good luck at the All American Marathon-hopefully it will be cooler than Raleigh was :)