A Weekend of Racing

I didn’t blog about any goals or plans for it, but I ran an 8k on Saturday! It was a great local race called Running of the Bulls, put on by our local running store (Bull City Running). The course started in downtown Durham by the old Bulls stadium (featured in the movie Bull Durham!) and wound through downtown a few times before finishing with a lap around the warning track in the stadium.

More importantly, my parents came to visit! They were in town for my mom to do the inaugural Raleigh Ironman 70.3 event on Sunday, so it was fun for them to see me run a race and hang out in Durham. On Friday evening we had a standard meal of pre-race pasta, and then we were up early to make sure we found parking and allowed me some time to warm up before the 7:15am start. Turns out we shouldn’t have worried so much about parking – we got to the closest parking lot to the start line (literally right next to it) at around 6:15am and we were among the first people there.  Whoops. Clearly none of us are used to small local races where people roll up a little closer to the start time. To fill our time, I took my parents on a little tour of the blocks surrounding the old Bulls stadium, mostly pointing out good restaurants and bars, the box I attended for some Crossfit classes, and the bar from which I do the group run every Wednesday (also put on by Bull City Running). We bumped into a few people I know from the running group or Duke or other things, which was fun because it really felt like a local race. I even saw a group fitness instructor from the gym I joined (and quit).

I did a bit of a warm-up before the race, snapped some pre-race pictures, found a friend to start with, and we were off!

my race with mom

I didn’t have a plan except to run fast but not too fast that I couldn’t run by the end. I’d only done one 8k before, and I ran it with a friend when I was in really good running shape, and I remembered that we ran pretty hard but I was definitely holding back, and we averaged 8:07 miles (thanks Athlinks). So my goal was to beat that by running an 8 minute first mile and picking it up from there. Well, in typical Allison fashion, I have little control over my pace in the first mile, and I instead ran about a 7:06 first mile. Oops. From there I told myself it’s a short race, so try to keep it up. It was fun pushing myself for 5 miles because I haven’t really raced since my March half marathon, and an 8k is obviously a lot shorter. I held on to my pace pretty well considering how hot and hilly it was, and finished in 35:45, averaging 7:12 for a 4ish minute PR for the distance.

After the race, they had plenty of water, Gatorade, watermelon, oranges, bagels, coffee, and probably other things, plus massages and foam rollers to use. I absolutely loved it and would do it every year if I could. Plus the shirts are neon colors, and I like that.

We then wandered over to the farmers market, which was right next to the finish area. We bought some fruits and vegetables for dinner, a basil plant for me, and a few baked goods because how can you pass on a doughnut muffin??

Then it was time for all my mom’s pre-race coordination. The Raleigh 70.3 started out at Jordan Lake, and T1 (transition 1, where you switch from swimming to biking) was obviously by the lake, but then the athletes rode to Raleigh, and T2 (switching from biking to running) was in a parking lot by the convention center downtown. So on Saturday, we had to drive to downtown Raleigh to pick up her packet and drop of her things for T2 and then drive out to the lake to rack her bike in T1. I understand why they have the two transition areas – it allows them to have the bike and run finish in downtown so spectators will support the local businesses and so they can have the finish line in the city. Plus there are more hotels available. However, it was a lot of driving since we were coming from Durham. Plus, I prefer smaller races and I definitely prefer having a single transition area (especially as a spectator because a) you stay in one general spot and b) I like to hang out with the other spectators, which is harder when there are so many). But Ironman really had things well organized, so I can’t complain too much.

We left my apartment Sunday morning at 3:45am. Ouch. Again we were on the early side of those arriving in Raleigh (to then take a bus out to the lake), but certainly not the first, and really, is 3:45 that much worse than 4:15? Hmmm maybe… We got out to the lake, and it was dark as athletes were pumping their bike tires and getting their things set up. A local coffee chain had a stand set up (thank goodness) and a bakery had a food truck out there (also thank goodness). My mom went through all her pre-race prep, the sun came up, and then they were off! Once all the athletes had gotten on their bikes, buses took the spectators back to Raleigh (nap time!)

lake

Pre-race calm water

I really thought I had a picture of my mom and me before her race, but apparently not. Anyway, my mom is awesome, and she won her age group, which qualified her for the 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas this fall.

mom trophy

She decided not to register for the World Championship, which you have to do on-site within a two hour window, but it is pretty neat she had the opportunity! Spectating a half Ironman is a long day – the race alone is about 6 hours, not including pre and post race travel, set-up, etc. But I’m so glad I was able to support my mom and see her finish a race she’s trained hard for!

So that was my weekend, and it got me even more excited to train and race this summer. And I registered for my first century ride of the year! Time to actually start training for that so I don’t struggle too much in July…

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