Seeing Double Triple?

Alright after a successful completion of the Triple Crown, the coordinators decided to have a Fall Triple Crown event. Once again three half marathons in about two month time frame. So Roland and I signed up for the challenge again.The first one was the Johnson Lexus 13.1, similar route than the Lookout Capital Half back in June.

Training over the summer was brutal, very Hot, very Humid and miserable. I had to change training locations due to my daughters swimming schedule and pool location. I was fortunate to have access to the Duke University Track and in the coliseum there were plenty of stairs to do additional workout. There are beautiful roads on campus, off campus and a very nice 3 mile loop trail with plenty of ups and downs to make it challenging. In all it was great to change the scenery and training. Some days I will run up and down the stairs all around the stadium. Others at the track. Some 400’s, 800’s and sometimes around the university.

Back to the event, woke up that morning early. The same routine, prepare oatmeal, coffee and while that is done finish getting ready. I ate the breakfast, got the running shoes on and one last stop to the bathroom before getting out of the door and ready to go to the event with plenty of time. Once on the road with about one and a half hours to spare to get to the event location which was about 30 minutes from where I live.

Once I got into the freeway, I suddenly saw many lights about one mile ahead of me, the cars started to slow down and with about 1/2 a mile to the next exit all traffic came to a halt. No problem I said I have plenty of time and I only have about 10 minutes to get there. Time passes and no vehicle movement. Fire truck, emergency vehicles and DOT trucks heading to the location via the shoulder. Now I am getting a little bit nervous, this is the first event of the triple crown. I texted my friend which lives in a different part of town and arrived to the even using a different route. He texted back to let know that the organizers mentioned something about the runners stuck in the freeway.

If I miss this one and there is not going to be extra bling. I started to think about this being my first DNS (Did Not Start), to me it was going to be a Did Not Show. Thought about it and decided to still continue to the event. At least I could wait for my friend to see him cross the finish line.

The time continues to pass, I use my smartphone check Facebook and the event page announcement says that they are aware of the accident and that many runners are stuck in the traffic jam. They also continue with the following message, that even though there are runners stuck the event must continue as scheduled with the start time of 7:00AM.

At 7:00AM the half marathon started without me and I am still in the car no movement. At 7:15am the 10k started without me, but suddenly I saw very slow vehicle movement. I checked the Facebook page once again and they announced that if you make it there by 7:30 just go straight to the start line and run. Maybe just maybe I can make it in time.

Cars started to move. Finally!!! I was able to pass next to the accident (It was a bad one) Drove fast and got to the parking area, and I have to say that I was very lucky, an open parking near the starting line. I quickly got out, locked the door and started jogging toward the starting line, realized that I still had my keys with me and some other stuff that I normally do not carry during a race and not even during a training run. I also realized that did not get to use porta potty before I started to run. That will have to wait I have a more pressing matter, to cross the start line by 7:30AM.

I crossed the starting line (which is also the finish line) and few spectators started to cheer. At this point my goal was not just to finish, I was 30 minutes behind the sweeper. I need to run fast and at least catch the sweeper. At the 1st water station which was empty of runners, I stopped to quickly use the porta potty and kept going.

I lengthen my stride a little bit and increased my cadence. I was not looking at the time but running basically by effort. Started to see some runners in the distance, but there were some coming back, they were 10k runners. I pressed on and kept running, focusing on effort and breathing. I do not recall at what mile it was, but I saw the sweeper ahead, carrying a broom in the distance. That was my main target and I pressed on again. I passed him and that group, as I encourage them to continue since they were doing a great job.

What a relief, but feeling strong I continue, I knew I was not half way to the race. I continue to press, passing runners, feeling great every single time. After some time, I saw again another pacer in the distance. I went for it and although it took a while, again I was able to caught up and passed that pacer group. Still feeling strong I continue.

Not considering a PR at this time, but feeling great. A lot of runners that were on their way back, I saw my friend Roland. He was doing great and running strong. I continue passing runners and we exchange greetings and word of encouragement. On the way back with about a mile to go, the infamous Lassiter Hill. I tackle the hill with all the energy I had but again about 3/4 of the way I had to walk briefly for a few seconds. Once getting closed to the crest of the hill, I took off and finished strong with a 2:12:09. A nice unexpected PR. It was an adventure, it was an awesome race.

[vtftable cols=”{0}0-4:c9daf8;{/}”] {f1}Month/Year;;;{f1}Event;;;{f1}Location;;;{f1}Type;;;{f1}Time;nn;
Sept-13;;;Johnson Lexus 13.1;;;NC;;;Half;;;2:12:09;nn;


[vtftable cols=”{0}0:c9daf8;{/}”] Event Highlight & Learning Points;nn;Highlights:

Course: Some ups and downs at during first couple miles and last. Other than that remains mostly flat. The trail scenery is great, with the fall colors in early transition. With the Lassiter Hill waiting for you at the end.

Venue: Fruit, snacks and plenty of water at the start/finish line

Expo: No Expo

Weather: Clear skies 60 with 74% humidity.

T1D: Sugars with in running range at start.

Fueling: Pre-Race: 1 serving Oatmeal and Latte. Gel while waiting in the truck, about 20 minutes hour before start of race.

Race: Water at the water stations, carried my energy drink with me. Strawberry and Kiwi gels every 4 miles

Post: Water, oranges

Learning Points:

  • Running the event multiple times helps nailing the strategy
  • There could be external factor that will affect your event. You might have to be ok with that.
  • Making peace with a DNS is hard. (Glad it was not)
[vtftable cols=”{0}0:c9daf8;{/}”] Event Highlight & Learning Points;nn;Highlights:

Course: Some ups and downs at during first couple miles and last. Other than that remains mostly flat.

Weather: Warm and slightly humid

T1D: Slightly high but within running range.