Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 Jacksonville Bank Marathon

December 28, 2014 7:00 AM
Jacksonville, Florida

Bib #

Written by Owen:

Wednesday, December 24th:
My mom and step-dad, who always go above and beyond in supporting me during my marathons, came to our house the night before.  We had told the kids that it was for Christmas.  The kids couldn't wait to spend Christmas with Grandma and Gramps.  We had kept this entire trip to Disney World as a surprise.

For months I had schemed of ways that we were going to do the "reveal".  I came up with a plan of writing a code that they had to decipher.  In their Christmas Eve gifts (we always let them open one gift on Christmas Eve, and it has always been pajamas), we would put a encrypted message and a key.  One of the kids got half the message, another got the other half, and the other got the key.  We wrapped it to make it look like pajamas, because every year the kids will ask "When do you get to open our pajamas?" Every year we answer with something like "You never know what you'll open."

I did it that way so they would each have something to open, and so it would last and not be over immediately.  The encrypted message said:

Explosive news: Don't be lazy! Quick, pack your stuff.  Let's jump in the car and go spend Christmas Day at Disney World!

(I wanted every letter in the alphabet included).

We told them we were going to open the Christmas Eve presents in the morning this year.  They opened them, and my plan worked better than expected (too good).  They did a great job deciphering it, but it took a LONG time.

The kids work on the encrypted message

The kids were excited.  Kyle was sad at first because he didn't like messing with the order of when presents were going to be opened.  He got over it, though, and was excited. The kids hadn't even noticed that earlier that morning I took Graycie to Camp Bow Wow, where she would stay until Monday.

So now that the kids were in on the surprise, we had Christmas a day early and opened all the presents. We showered, packed up the car, and were headed to Orlando!

Our very long road trip has begun!
We stopped just inside South Carolina and had lunch at Wendy's.  We got back on the road and had dinner at a Denny's somewhere in Florida.  We arrived at our hotel (a Holiday Inn Express) outside of Orlando, very late at night.

Thursday, December 25th:
Christmas morning we got up, had breakfast at the hotel and headed to Disney World.  We got there early, which was great because we got on Space Mountain with no wait at all.  That would be the last of that.  It was CRAZY crowded, the lines were very long, but we had a blast.  We had lunch and dinner at the park, and headed home just as the fireworks were starting around midnight.  It was a very long day on my feet, not something I would normally do so close to a marathon, but Disney World was the focus of this trip.

We made it!

I'm taking the picture

The kids inside "It's a Small World"

Kyle is in there somewhere

I honestly don't know what's going on here.

Space Mountain (my neck was very sore that day)

Space Mountain

Friday, December 26th:
We had breakfast at the hotel again, then started our drive up to Jacksonville, where we'd spend the next two days before the marathon on Sunday.

We had all been looking forward to seeing the movie "Unbroken" for over a year.  It was released on Christmas day, but we were in Disney World all day.  So I planned a stop in Daytona Beach, which was approximately halfway between our hotel near Orlando and Jacksonville.

We drove right by Daytona International Speedway

Alicia doesn't enjoy intense movies, so Malissa volunteered to do some sightseeing with her while the rest of us watched the movie.  I had been so looking forward to this movie for so long, I couldn't wait.  We arrived at the parking garage nearest the movie theater, and Malissa really had to use the bathroom.  So we dropped her and Alicia off close to the entrance, while the rest of us parked.

While parking, in the parking garage there was a dead end without room to turn around, so Torre started backing up.  Just then another car backed out of a parking spot and we got into a fender-bender.  It was a major bummer, because we were in Grandma and Gramps' really nice, new, Toyota Highlander.

Torre told me to go ahead and take the boys to the movie while he and my mom dealt with the other driver and the police.  I was hoping they could get it resolved in time for the movie, because I so wanted to see it with them.  But the movie started, then ended, without them.

Just as we left the theater, we saw them come in.  Everyone tried to forget it and not let it put a damper on the rest of the weekend, but it was a major bummer.

While Michael, Kyle, and I watched the movie, and Grandma & Gramps dealt with the police, Malissa and Alicia had gone to The Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for lunch, then to ice cream for dessert.  After we all met back up, we decided to eat lunch back at Bubba Gump's.  Malissa and Alicia would just chat with us while we all ate.  It was so good, I love that place.

Enjoying my "Bucket of Boat Trash", my usual

It was a cold and windy day, but enjoyed Daytona Beach.

After our adventures in Daytona Beach, we drove the rest of the way to our hotel in Jacksonville.  We ordered Papa John's Pizza and had it delivered to our room.

Saturday, December 27th:
We got up and had yet another good Holiday Inn Express breakfast, this time in Jacksonville.  We headed to the packet pickup at a local running store.  I saw the area to pickup my bib and was shocked to hear the voice of Hal Higdon.  I looked up and sure enough, it was him.  When I decided to run my first marathon back in 2011, it was Hal Higdon's book, "Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide" that was my running bible.  I've watched a ton of his videos, and also enjoyed his novel: "Marathon".

He was nice enough to pose for a picture with me, and it is on my wall in my office.

Hal Higdon gave me my bib!
After the packet pickup, Grandma and Gramps treated us to a fun round of Miniature Golf. Gramps squeaked out a victory.

After golf, we all decided on Chili's for lunch.  We drove to the nearest Chili's and there was a sign on the door saying they were closed due to a malfunctioning water heater.  We had already got our hopes up for Chili's, so we found the next closest one and drove to it.

For dinner, I found a nice little Italian restaurant called Gubbio's.  It was really good.

Sunday, December 28th:
We got up and drove over to the marathon, which was just a few miles from our hotel.  We parked on a side street and made our way to the start.

Before the start

Alicia stretching me out before the race.
We had a plan where everyone would see me at multiple points throughout the race, which is always nice.  The race starts, goes 1.5 miles then loops back and crosses the start at the 3-mile point in the race.  That was kind of weird, but enabled everyone to just hang out and see me again in 25 minutes or so.

This course is pancake flat throughout, which was nice.  The weather was pretty warm, though.

Just before the start

At mile 3

After 21 miles or so, my pre-race site seeing really started to have an effect on my body.  I was hurting.  The only reason I was running Florida again was the fact that I crashed last time in Miami, and finished over 4 hours.  I'm in the 50sub4 club, which means I need a marathon in each state with a finishing time under 4 hours.  So that was my goal in Jacksonville.  Every mile I did the math and had plenty of cushion, but that cushion was getting smaller and smaller.

Alicia and Michael pacing me to the finish line.

I finished in 3:54, mission complete!  I enjoyed the race, but was glad I didn't have to do Florida a third time.

We made a quick stop at the hotel, where I showered, and we packed up to leave.  We stopped at a Five Guys, for my favorite post-marathon meal, then drove home to Charlotte, where we had dinner at Chipotle.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 Huntersville 5k (World Record Tether Team)

December 13, 2014 8:15 AM
Huntersville, North Carolina

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 43:14 13:55 M40-44 27/40 149/245 367/585 1274
Michael 43:14 13:55 M10-14 24/31 145/245 360/585 1273

Written by Owen:

Several months ago I saw a Facebook post from the Charlotte Running Club advertising the fact that they were organizing an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for "Most runners linked to complete a 5 km race".  I thought that sounded cool so I signed up.

We had a practice run where we got together and tested the theory of how it was going to work.  There was a lot of planning that went into this and they did a really good job at communicating via their Facebook page how everything was going to work.

We got lined up in our assigned spots, and they tied everyone together.  It was small bungee cord, attaching 10 runners together.  Then each row of 10 horizontal runners was attached to one long vertical cord.  Each line had a line captain with a whistle that would blow it if anyone in their line needed to stop or walk.

The race finally started and we were off.  There was no rule as to how fast we completed the race, just that we stayed tethered together.  So we jogged at a very slow pace, and inevitably someone had to walk, so it was painfully slow.

Just before the finish.
We finished in just over 43 minutes, and had a great time. I still haven't got an official word as to how many runners we had connected, but the leader did say we broke the world record.  Here is the link to the world record, which as of this writing still shows the old record, it should be updated soon.

"Most runners linked to complete a 5 km race"

Saturday, November 15, 2014

2014 Thunder Road Half-Marathon

November 15, 2014 7:45 AM
Charlotte, North Carolina

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Michael 1:38:26 7:31 M1-24 24/90 131/1,154 156/2,741 4097

Written by Michael:

I started training 12 weeks before the race. It was the first time in a long time that I was training for something so I was looking forward to that. The weekend of the race my Uncle Zach, my Aunt Lu, and my cousins Nathan and Lucas, all came to watch me run.

My grandpa and grandma also cheered me on along the course, along with the rest of my family and my "second mom" Ms. Lynne. When we are walking to the starting line it's REALLY cold. Luckily I came prepared with gloves, a blanket, a beanie, etc.

So I line up and as soon as they start I make a big mistake. I immediately throw away all my throw away clothes. So I'm running and a few minutes after I start I make a turn and I see a huge cheering squad waiting for me and I hear, "GO MICHAEL! GO MICHAEL!" It was probably the best one yet.  

So I'm running pretty fast for about 6 miles and I realize I can't do this forever. My goal at the time was to beat 1:30. I followed that pace for about 7 miles and I slowly slowed down. The 1:30 pace group passed me at about 9-10 mile marker. I knew that that was out of the question because my knees and my ankle were killing me. I was hurting pretty bad until I turned a corner and my cheering squad was waiting for me. My cousins and siblings had gathered leaves and used them as confetti and it was awesome! It was a great inspiration to keep going. I pushed through the pain and finished the race in 1:38:26. Everyone was waiting for me at the finish line and it felt so good to finish the race.

This part written by Owen:

In between when we saw Michael at mile 1, and again when we saw him at mile 10, we met Zach, Lu, Nathan and Lucas for breakfast.

After breakfast we knew we only had 15 minutes or so until we saw Michael at mile 10, so we paid our bill and left.  Malissa and I were ready before Zach and his family so we waited outside for a minute.  When we went outside we saw Pluto (their dog) chained to a street sign.  It surprised me that he brought him, I though he'd leave him at our house so he could play with Graycie.  So I went over there and started petting him and rolling around on the grass with him.  Then Zach came out of the restaurant and said "You know that's not Pluto, right?"  I thought he was joking, but he was serious, it wasn't Pluto!  Inside the real owners thought I was just a serious dog lover (which I am).  It was a pretty funny/embarrassing moment. 

For comparison, here is Pluto: