Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spring Twitter Road Race - Final Instructions

Final Race Instructions
As most of you know by now, the date of the race is this Saturday, April 28th and the race distance is a 5K. The finisher's form will be posted under the Twitter Road Race tab on my blog soon. You MUST submit the time of your 5K on this form by 11:59 PM Hawaii-Aleutian Standard Time (HAST) Saturday night to be counted as an official finisher. After the cutoff time, submissions will no longer be accepted.

Only submit your time once. If you realized you made a mistake or are unsure if your time was submitted, send me a tweet and I can check and make any necessary corrections for you.

IMPORTANT: When you enter your time into the form, PLEASE, pretty please, be sure you enter it in the correct format, which is HH:MM:SS. For example, if you ran your 5K in 32 minutes and 10 seconds, please enter your time as 00:32:10. If you enter your time as 32:10, leaving out the 00: for the hour placeholder, the form is going to think it took you 32 hours and 10 minutes. So, please be mindful of that. Thank you :)

My Twitter friend and fellow runner, @hellomisspotter, has kindly designed the bib for the race. You can download bib here: Race Bib

I know a lot of you will be anxious to see the results. I will be out of town this weekend and will not be able to get in front of my computer to compile the results until Sunday afternoon/evening. But, I promise to have the results posted no later than 9pm, Eastern Time. My hope is to have them up sooner and I will be sure to tweet the link once the results are ready. Thank you for your understanding!


Q: Can I run the race on a treadmill?
A: Yes.
Q: My training program calls for a 5 mile (8K) run on Saturday, can I use a 5K split from that run to count towards the Twitter Road Race?
A: Yes. 
Q: I have a 5K race on the same day as the Twitter Road Race, can I use my time from that race for the Twitter Road Race?
A: Yes.

See a trend here?

Basically, any way you can run the 5K is fine by me. If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to tweet or DM your questions and I will be happy to answer them.

Post Race Party
Following the race, a #TwitterRoadRace Q&A chat session will be held on Monday, April 30th from 9-10PM, Eastern time. It will be hosted by yours truly and will give us all a great opportunity to share our race experiences with everyone. I hope you will be able to participate!

Again, thank you so much for spreading the word about this event! Please continue to tweet using the hashtag #TwitterRoadRace so we can get as many runners as we can on race day! I wish you all a great and safe race! Have fun out there!

Happy Running!


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Race Recap: Blue Ridge Marathon

I can sum up this race in one word: TOUGH. I guess that's why this marathon carries the slogan as being "America's Toughest Road Marathon." The Blue Ridge Marathon course, set in Roanoke, VA, has 7,200 feet of elevation change. Yes, 7,200 feet. To put it simply, finding flat real estate on this course is hard to come by.

The course features 3 distinct climbs:

1) Roanoke Mountain (Miles 5-7, 700 foot climb)
2) Mill Mountain (Miles 11.5-12.5, 500 foot climb)
3) Peakwood (Miles 17-19, 500 foot climb)

I was running this race to enjoy the scenery, so time, nor pace, mattered to me. Going into this marathon with that mentality was quite refreshing since my past two marathons had very strict pacing goals. My race started fine, but by mile 3, I was beginning to develop some stomach cramps. Stomach cramps is something I'm not use to dealing with in marathons, so this did catch me a bit off guard. Fortunately, they seemed to disappear by mile 6 (but were to come back later).

After cresting Roanoke Mountain, it was two miles of downhill running. When I say the word "hills", what's the first thing that pops into your head? Probably running up them, right? But, what about running down them? That's something we don't think about much. But, did you know that downhill running is harder on the legs then running uphill? If you didn't, this race will make you very aware of that. 

The halfway point marked reaching the top of Mill Mountain. Then, it was 2 more fun miles of running downhill. It wasn't until mile 16 that I started to realize I might be in a bit of trouble. I was starting to feel the sensations that a marathon runner dreads, the wall. Knowing that I had one more climb ahead of me, I was definitely concerned with how my body was going to hold up.

Long story short, by mile 18, my body was starting to shutdown. My stomach cramps had come back and now my lower back was starting to tighten up. The Peakwood climb consisted mostly of walking. But, I took comfort in seeing that all the runners around me were walking as well. Apparently, I wasn't the only one dying out there.

Mile 20 punched me right in the face. To add to my stomach and back cramps, my calf muscles began to tighten. Wee!

I was in complete survival mode for the last 5 miles. I had adopted a walk/run strategy because running a full mile was not possible. Many times I thought about stopping for a few minutes to sit down to relieve my back pain. However, better judgement prevailed and I kept on moving. It's in those moments you realize how important finishing a marathon means to you. No matter how bad you're hurting, the will to finish always outweighs the pain.

I crossed the finish line in 4:25:16. My 27th marathon is now in the books and I definitely had to earn that one! My thanks to all the volunteers and race officials -- first class race from start to finish! The Blue Ridge Marathon kicked my ass, but isn't that what the "toughest road marathon" is suppose to do?