Filtering by Tag: RnR Half

Your Top 5 of 2009

Since the year is almost over, I thought I’d give you a special treat – a look back at the top 5 most read posts of the year. This is all about you, my loyal readers. I can’t make this stuff up. Only Wordpress can. And apparently, you like what other people have to say (see Nos. 2 and 3 below), but I don’t really mind. #5 – I am a marathoner and On the way to 100 push-ups Technically my post from 2007 after the Richmond Marathon is the No. 5 most-read post this year. It’s not surprising since this has a link in my “About me” section, and I’ve linked to it several other times in other posts. It’s just kind of funny to me that a two-year-old post gets enough page views to be in the top 5.

As for my top 5 new posts this year, a post about my 100 push-ups journey takes this spot. A journey I have yet to complete for various reasons. Bring on 2010.

#4 – Stung in the eye I would expect nothing less for this post to be here because people like to read about gross things. Three months later, I still cringe when I think about how it felt for a bug to get stuck in my eye. Next summer I will certainly be running more in sunglasses or clear lenses at night.

#3 – Are we really born to run? She says YES! This was my first guest post of the year from one of my favorite bloggers out there. Go check out that post if you haven’t and click on a link to Michelle’s blog to read about her journey to 1,000 miles this year. It’s enough to make that a private goal for me next year. (Wait … I guess that might not be private now.)

#2 – But I did it anyway More proof that you like other people, this was also from a guest blogger. Not that I mind – the few guest bloggers I’ve had have been great, and this one is from an ultra-runner who also coaches endurance athletes. Check it out for some inspiration.

#1 – A death near the finish line This post is far and away the No. 1 post for the year, but it’s not a cause for celebration. This was about my experience as I neared the finish line of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach on Labor Day weekend. If you go back and reread that post, you’ll see that something is being planned to honor the runner who died that weekend.

Thanks to everyone who has visited this blog this year. Although I hinted at some changes a couple of weeks ago, I will be keeping this URL and name of the blog. While I want to make some changes in 2010, moving this blog isn’t something I need to do right now.

Coming in March: Shamrock IV

A couple of months or so ago, I said that in 2010 I would run the Shamrock Half Marathon again. But after unexpectedly getting a new job and all that, I didn't know if I would do it again. Last night, though, I signed up for it. There's part of me that knows I would have missed doing it if I skipped it and there's also a part of me that knows that a good Shamrock Half will set me up for successful Richmond Marathon training later in the year. Plus I feel like I have a lot to prove to myself over the next three and a half months. I have that infamous 10 pounds I want to lose, plus I really want to set a PR in this event. While my No. 1 goal will be to run my race to the best of my ability, I will keep a big focus on getting faster this winter. I'll worry about focusing on the PR the closer the event gets here.

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Speaking of 2010, I doubt that I'll run the Rock 'n' Roll Half again. While the timing is good with training for the marathon, the money to travel to Virginia Beach twice in one year just isn't worth it. Now that I'm back in the Lynchburg area, I'll likely focus on many smaller races that I used to run. I had fun here a few years ago with these races and they're a lot of cheaper. I'll spend less money running a few races here vs. traveling on Labor Day weekend. There's actually a half marathon in Lynchburg in August that I'll likely do.

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The Bedford Christmas Classic is this weekend, the fourth time I have done this event. It'll briefly overtake Shamrock as the event I've done the most. Oddly enough, though, I've never blogged about this specific race since the other three events (twice as a 5k and once as a 10k) occurred before my blogging days. The forecast right now looks, well, a lot like Christmas. It's looking like rain will turn to snow that day with temperatures falling during the day, but around here I've learned not to pay much attention to the forecast. Either way, I'll be unprepared for any of those conditions, including really cold, so I'm just planning to go with the flow.

Travis and I ran the course the other night and I finished in just a little more than 25 minutes, which is actually in between my previous two 5k race times, so I'm confident I can set my course record. I felt like I could knock a couple of minutes off that time in a race. But we'll have to see how I feel and how the weather plays out. Right now I'm still feeling tired from my Thanksgiving trip -- there's been very little down time since then. I'm hoping tonight though to get some extra rest.

A death near the finish line

Running deaths always give me a weird feeling, and I'm sure it freaks many people out to hear that a runner died during a race. Well, in Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon a runner did die. Erik Wellumson was in his early 20s and was nearing the finish line when he collapsed right in front of a medical tent along the boardwalk shortly before 9 a.m. I'm sure many runners weren't even aware of this -- with a quick response by the medical team, I'm sure people who even went by him when he was being treated didn't see what was going on. But I did. I've kept quiet about it for a few days because I've had a tough time putting the right words together. It's also one of the reasons that I kept my race report somewhat vague on Sunday. At the time of course I didn't know that he had died, but in the back of mind I sort of knew it -- I didn't find that out until the next day that he in fact died and his name was not released until yesterday. You can click here to read the Virginian Pilot story about him that really put this all into perspective for me.

As I rounded Atlantic Avenue onto the Boardwalk for the final stretch of the race, my mind was on beating 2 hours. In fact I was hoping to make the final mile the fastest mile of the race. But shortly after venturing onto the Boardwalk, I passed by the medical team of a few people who were doing CPR on Erik. They were off to the right side of the Boardwalk and had I not been in the very middle, I probably would have not seen it. While I am certified in adult CPR, I've never seen it really done. The Red Cross videos don't do it justice. And those couple of seconds of seeing it just sent a chill up my spine. It made a fastest final mile seem worthless. In fact, at that point, it pretty much was. I slowed down; I stopped pushing myself so hard. For me I knew that the 2-hour goal was going to be met and another 15 seconds wouldn't matter. It didn't matter. I just wanted that guy to be OK.

Now for anybody who may have something negative to say about running because of this, there is no need to. Deaths during races are rare, but not unheard of. When 16,000 people gather together to run or walk that far, risks do exist. The cause of Erik's death has not been released, so you can't assume that running actually killed him. And you can't use that as a reason not to run and work out. Often times when a runner dies on a course it's because he or she had a pre-existing condition they were unaware of.

One thing I noticed on Sunday was how much medical staff was at this event. It was great to see. In fact I saw a couple of other people getting various treatments during the race and a couple afterward. To know that this type of support is out there is very comforting. And in Erik's case -- directly in front of the medical tent -- I am sure he received treatment much quicker than anyone at home ever would.

I hope that the organizers of the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach honor Erik in some way next year if the family allows it. It's not something to sweep under the rug and act like it didn't happen.

A roundabout way to "what's next"

Often after a race I find myself in the strangest of moods. A runner's high is great. It's unexplainable to anyone who doesn't run. Coming down off that high, though, is tough. Yesterday wasn't so bad. I came back home energized, ready to sign up for another race, ready to make plans for next year, ready to just keep going. Since I didn't run too hard, I wanted the "what's next" part of running to be right now. It can sort of happen like that, but like a year ago at this time, I'm finding that I don't really want "what's next" to be a half marathon. At least this year I want to run; last year at this time I was tired of running. So today I've really come crashing down off my weekend experience. While a few weeks ago I was ready to not do the Rock 'n' Roll Half again I realize that this is very much a "vacation race." I had a lot of fun just getting away, hanging out with my 10-month-old son on the beach, eating dinner each night with my mom and stepdad -- but it felt like it was a day too short. I wish I would've taken a longer stroll on the beach with my wife the last night there; I wanted my son to play in the sand for another half hour on Sunday. I didn't want to work today and rainy weather didn't help. I wanted to stay home and plan ... I wanted to plan my now-annual Shamrock Half Marathon trip; I wanted to plan next Labor Day weekend at the beach again. I wanted "what's next" to be right now.

But I can't rush these things. I have a real world to get back to and I have some work to do with my running besides just wanting to race. I don't want to run for the sake of running, which has sort of happened this summer. So as far as what's next, a big focus for me has to do with not worrying about racing. Yet at the same time for me to improve my running in these "big" events, I have to race in something. Nothing beats the experience of running with large groups of people.

So for right now, my running is going back to basics. I want to get faster -- I want to get back to my sub 8-minute mile race paces from 2007. In order to do that I need to do speed work. So starting next week at least once a week, one day of running will be devoted to speed - intervals, fartleks, tempo runs. Something other than my current one-speed pace. I am not going to do a "big" fall race, meaning the Richmond Half Marathon is out. However, that weekend (Nov. 14) also has an 8k that I plan on doing. I'd like my "long" runs to be in the 5-6 mile range this fall, so a mid-November almost 5-miler would be ideal. That gives me two months to work on my speed issues and to attempt a PR at that distance. A turkey trot in Ohio is likely later that month and maybe, just maybe, I'll return to my roots in Bedford for the Christmas Classic that I've done a few times.

That pretty much leads me into next year. I mentioned the new Blue Ridge Marathon several weeks ago, but that event is out. It's too costly for me to commit to right now. Plus that course is the toughest course I've ever seen. And, quite honestly, the marathon itch still isn't there for me. My main goal is to set a PR in the half marathon and, to me, there's no better course to do it on than one I've already done three times -- the Shamrock Half Marathon in March.

A lot of runners like to travel to different cities for events. I often get that desire from time to time, but at this point in my life I'm starting to enjoy this tradition. The trip to Virginia Beach in March these past few years have been a lot of fun. While it's cold, it's an awesome time to go when not many tourists are around. Everything is still open, just minus the people. And after two years in a row of being at the beach on Labor Day, I'm pretty sure that next year I'd like to do it a third time. And since race entries do nothing but go up throughout the year, there's no better time than now to plan out 2010.

If I'm going to have a tradition with running then two half marathons a year in two completely different times of the year in one great place only two hours from home is a nice tradition to have.