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Race #490 -- Myrtle Beach Half Marathon -- Myrtle Beach, SC -- 05/01/2021

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The Myrtle Beach Half Marathon has been the race I've been most looking forward to as the pandemic subsides and things get back to normal. It's been a favorite of mine in the past and when I saw that the date had changed from early March to May 1st I jumped at the chance to run it again. The temperature in the low 60s at the start of the race was perfect for me and the weather remained comfortable throughout the race.  My goal was to finish in under 2 hours to extend my streak of sub-2-hour half marathons to 115, and my intention was to use the same strategy that has been working for me in races so far this year, which was to run pretty hard for 70 seconds then do a light jog for 20 seconds and continue this pattern throughout the race. Just a few seconds into the race I thought about what happened in last week's 5k. I had used my normal 70:20 ratio of run/jog and it worked okay for the first 2 miles, but then in the last mile I ended up walking 5 times! The walk breaks wer

Race #489 -- Red Carpet 5k -- Albemarle, NC -- 04/25/21

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With the Academy Awards being held on this night, Vac & Dash decided to celebrate the event with a 5k for those of us who weren't invited to the gala in Hollywood. No acting was required although some might accuse me of trying to act like a runner these days. As is the case with most Vac & Dash races, it was a lot of fun. V&D owner Peter Asciutto (pronounced uh-SHOO-toe) says that his main goal is that when runners drive home after an event they smile and think, "That was a fantastic event." It's an almost 2-hour drive from home for me to get to Albemarle so I don't go there as often as I'd like, but I've run quite a few of the Vac & Dash races over the years and have never been disappointed.  This was the third and final race of the Vac & Dash Trifecta, a series of races all held on Sunday afternoons in March and April, and the weather was perfect for all three races. For those runners who competed in this race as well as the Easter Eg

Race #488 -- Charlotte 10 Miler -- Charlotte NC -- 04/17/2021

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Celebrating its tenth year, the Charlotte 10 Miler & 4 Mile Run has for several years been one of Charlotte's premier races. It's been a favorite for me and a lot of runners I know and has attracted some of the best runners from the area. The 10-mile distance is kind of a rarity, with most races sticking with the more standard distances such as 5k, 10k, half marathon, etc. The 10-mile distance presents a little different challenge. This was my 488th race but only my ninth 10-miler. It was my slowest 10-miler ever but that's not too surprising since it was four years ago when I last ran the 10-mile distance.  This year's race featured a rolling start, with runners beginning their races over an excruciatingly long 4-hour time frame from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. due to Covid restrictions. The entire race was run on the McMullen Creek Greenway, obviating the need to close down any roads for traffic concerns, and since it was a rolling start the single pathway down to the ma

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