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Race #487 -- The Country Mile 5k -- Slater-Marietta, SC -- 04/11/2021

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The plan was to drive the camper van the 100 miles or so just north of Greenville, camp out, and enjoy watching some of the 48-hour, 24-hour, and 50k ultramarathon races before running the 5k myself on Sunday morning. Turns out that by the time we arrived on Saturday afternoon there was a huge storm coming through and it rained the rest of the evening. That didn't deter the ultra runners but it did keep Linda and I hunkered down in the van until Sunday morning. I paid an extra 25 bucks for a camping spot in the designated RV camping area but it was packed when we got there. We were able to park right at the starting line/timing mat which we did for about 30 minutes until we decided that the nonstop music blasting from the speakers was way too loud for our 69-year-old ears, so we opted to cross the street and park in the "Day Use" parking area which was a much tamer option.  No doubt the focus of this racing event was the ultra distances, so the 5k on Sunday morning seemed

Race #486 -- Easter Eggstravaganza 5k -- Albemarle, NC -- 04/04/2021

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The second of Vac & Dash's Spring Trifecta Series of Sunday afternoon races, the Easter Eggstravaganza 5k was held at the Badin Drive-In theater. Being on Easter day there weren't a lot of runners -- only 50 finishers. That mattered little to me though as I'm just trying to run a race each week as I get back into race shape as best I can. After last week's half marathon I felt a little slowed down with heavy legs as I did my regular running routine throughout the week, but I felt okay on race day. My goal was to finally crack 26 minutes. This was my fourth 5k during this comeback stretch and each time I've been a little faster.  As you can see by the graphic below, I didn't quite crack 26 minutes, but I was close at 26:06. That's 19 seconds faster than my last 5k on March 14th and a minute and 33 seconds faster than the first 5k of my comeback on February 27th (my 69th birthday by the way). So I'm making progress little by little. I'm realistic e

Race #485 -- Run Sunset Beach Half Marathon -- Sunset Beach, NC -- 03/27/2021

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All righty then! My first half marathon in a year and a half turned out to be a personal success for me. I entered 2021 determined to do my best to return back to running and racing, and for much of January I was bogged down at around 11- to 12-minute miles. When I signed up for this race I thought a realistic goal would be around 2:10. Of course that would be the end of my streak of 113 half marathons in a row under 2 hours, but that's a streak that will almost surely end this year anyway, regardless of how this race turned out. For the past few weeks my running has been improving, thanks in part to more consistent running and also due to the fact that I've lost 17 pounds since January 1st. I was actually around 30 pounds over my ideal racing weight at the beginning of the year so I've still got work to do on the weight, but I'm definitely feeling better. My Garmin measured the distance at 13.23 miles at a time of 1:56:17 for a pace of 8:47, and I started my watch as I

Race #484 -- Locust Lucky Leprechaun 5k -- Locust, NC -- 03/14/2021

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Wanting to make up for lost time and get back into racing shape, I decided to sign up for the Vac & Dash Spring Trifecta 5k Series. It's a series of three races, all on Sunday afternoons at 3 p.m. in March and April. I've always preferred afternoon races, and I like Sunday races because they don't interfere with Saturday races just in case you'd like to run two races on a weekend. This was the first race in the Trifecta Series, and it was the first time I've visited Locust, which is a beautiful little city between Charlotte and Albemarle. The Town Center provided a perfect venue for a race and the weather was perfect. I definitely didn't set any speed records, but I did meet my more realistic goal of running under 27 minutes. Two weeks ago at a similar race my time was 27:39, and having changed my run/walk ratio in favor of more running and less walking, I thought I might be able to get a little faster time. I ran a minute and 4 seconds faster in this race a

Race #483 -- Kings Mountain Gateway Trail 5k -- Kings Mountain, NC -- 03/13/2021

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It's been a full year since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, and with the hope that it's mostly behind us now the local races are starting to pop up along with the spring flowers. The Kings Mountain Gateway Trail is actually just over the county line in Cleveland County but this year the race marks the first entry for the Gaston County Race Series, which was canceled last year because of the virus but is being brought back this year, albeit with probably fewer races than in past seasons.  Since I'm a Gaston County resident and a runner, I've enjoyed supporting the race series and will continue to do so. During the last season (2019) of the race series I finished 2nd overall, partly due to some decent race times but more so due to showing up for pretty much every race. This year doesn't hold that much promise for me personally since I'm not running that well. Also, some of the races will be "virtual," meaning that you just run the race at a place and time of

Race #482 -- Will Run for Food 5k -- Mount Ulla, NC -- 02/27/2021

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So here we go! This was my 69th birthday, and there's nothing I can think of that would have been better than to run my first 5k in over a year. After averaging around 40 races a year since I started running in 2008, I ran a grand total of 1 race in 2020 -- the Jackson River Trail 10k in June. After that my running started really falling apart, and by the time cold weather hit in the fall I had decided that my running days were over. No longer being able to keep up with my old running buddies for our training runs mostly due to bad knees, I stopped running altogether for a while. With no running and little incentive to eat right, it wasn't long before I had gained an additional 20 pounds over the 10 pounds I had already been trying to shed forever, so now I was 30 pounds over my ideal running weight. By January 1, 2021, I knew something needed to change so I made a resolution to get back to running and eating better. Possibly the months away from running helped my knee problem