Friday, November 29, 2019

2019 IRONCLAD Half Marathon

So... this just happened!  This past Christmas 2018, my work secret Santa was Amy Albritton who is not only a great Recreational Therapist but she is also a great friend, runner and the Race Director of the Kinston NC Ironclad Running Events.  One of my gifts from her was an entry to her race.  Today,Tuesday March 5th, 2019, I pulled the trigger and officially registered for the half marathon.  I have not ran a half marathon race since the Greenville NC Run for the Booty Half when I ran a 1:38:27.  Since then, I've been focused on ultras and basically running longer and slower.  Yes, I still love ultras but I also miss running fast.  I'm hoping this will help me get my times down again and simply spark my training.  

Well, as you can see from these dates and my times as well as distances ran, I never seemed to really get any serious training in.  I did however get much needed travel time in with family while knocking off some bucket lists.  Last year I unexpectedly lost my middle sister Ginny at her young age of 47 to a heart attack.  Couple that with losing my dad in 2007 at only age 69 and a continued decline in health of my mom, I had decided that time waits for no one and if I wanted to do all the things and see all the things I wanted to then I better had get on it and simply just do it.  I'll give you all some teaser YouTube Videos of some of these great explorations so it will maybe soften the poor training picture highlights.

Ok... so as you can see, we traveled to the Grand Canyon, Curacao, Canada, and Alaska all in less than a year!! Yep craziness and yes debt but there shall be no would of could of should of around me within good reason.  

I typically do speed work on Tuesday mornings between 5 and 6 am in a Bank Parking lot.  It's safe and well lit overall which are all a big plus!  I simply don't like wearing the reflector vests, lights, etc when I can avoid them and anytime I can prevent a potential vehicle dodging game I'm happy too!  This unfortunately would be the speed work that popped my hamstring... ugh--- putting this here as it set the tone for what would be a great outcome not because of a fast race for me but the opportunity to help an Angel...

I'm giving Blake Roberson a plug for fitting me and recommending me these 361 Meraki Shoe.  It is similar to the Saucony Kinvara shoe except so far I've never had a blister with these shoes!  They don't see these in eastern NC near me so Blake has been a great help in making sure I get these.  Blake is a professional runner in Indiana and former ECU and Greenville Rose HS Runner.  How good a runner is he?  Well he has also represented the USA and here is a little taste of his times on Garmin Connect so not even all his best etc...

Inline image

Inline image

Blake and me at the Dash For Cash Running Events

Inline image

Check out Jesse and Blake's cool podcast!!  This podcast is loaded with cool stuff from interviews from runners, talks about injuries and prevention to even a hot sauce chicken wing contest.  These exceptional runners are fun to listen to and might even answer those questions you've had.  They are as you see sponsored by 361 shoes too so you know they are legit!

I typically make my goals value based.  Not that I don't want to be super fast or super strong or whatever but that I always base my goals on the why?  For me my family is my why.  I can't take care of them if I don't take care of myself.  If I don't stay healthy then I can't live with a quality of life that allows me to spend time with them and hopefully do all the cool stuff dads and husbands and grandpa/Opas do!  So yes, I want to eat better, get stronger, healthier, faster, etc so I can hopefully see my kiddos grow up and be happy and so I can continue to spend quality time with my wife.  After a solo run that Sunday morning I worked out again with the kiddos.

About mile 10, I decided since the stadium was open that I would run the stadium!  It was tough but fun too!  GO PIRATES!!  Check out the various views from the stadium as I ran the steps etc.

The obligatory pic with the pirate before the stadium run!

I often run a vast major of my long runs on the Greenway.  I love these trails not just because they are more in touch with nature but also because they are lots safer since I don't have to worry about traffic.  I always en

I try to incorporate the hilly areas of our flat lands so sometimes it means this connector bridge in town.  In fact, we also meet here to do repeats for a great workout!

Freedom is not free. Period.

I love this old bridge and I guess I can say I enjoy most bridges.  This was once part of Greene Street in Greenville and was later moved here and is part of our Greenway System.  Pretty Cool!

I enjoy the random art along the Greenway and around town and especially around East Carolina's campus.

There is not a thing wrong with these bad boys!! Yep... deep fried oreos at Jack Brown's!  If you are just now following my blog, please know that my wife and I frequent this cool place for a stress break.  We are working our way through many craft beers and ciders on our way to the 100 notch club!  They have burger and deep fried oreo eating contests too.  The current record is 40 for these oreos!

The Greg Brady burger with chips and Mac & Cheese sounded nuts but dang it was delicious!!!

One of the cool things about our GORUN club is that we have many options for places to meet with varying levels of abilities.  This particular workout location for speed work etc is great because it doesn't matter what pace you are.  Everyone can meet and do their own workout while still being near others for socializing and creating a safe location to workout.  

The fall season is full of many running memories.  Here is my daughter Morgan on the right with Brittany from a rival school.  Brittany is the daughter of Jim Gillihan a friend I made in line during Freshman orientation at East Carolina University.  We connected easily through school and weight lifting and have been friends ever since.  Our daughters met each other through us and running cross country.

I love the Flash and of course having a painting like this in town makes for a great photo opp with running friends.  I'm the first to admit despite my love for pictures, I also use these as strategic rest breaks haha!  Here is Matt Kornegay being a great sport and taking the pic with me.

Here I am with 2 of my GORUN running mates Steve and Matt.  After resigning as the GORUN President, Charlie "Choo" Justice one of my co-founders of GORUN became President and after he completed his term, Steve became the GORUN President.  Matt is one of our most improved runners as he started with 5k's and is now running many ultras.  

Note the cider compliments to my wife Gina for this recovery drink from one of my weight lifting workouts!  Below is an example of one of my iron pumping workouts.  Yes, I could probably be a better lifter without running or a better runner without lifting but I'd rather be balanced.  What is fun about running a sub 20 5k if you can't do pushups or bench your body weight multiple times?  What is good about benching 300+ pounds if you can't run a single mile?  

Above were several pictures from a long run with my buddy Brad Gold.  This man has held several American power lifting records in addition to running sub 4 marathons, and earning a Chemistry tour and resultant Phd from Kentucky.  We actually met when I was helping the North Pitt Wrestling Coach Todd Cochran with a wrestling camp at DH Conley High School.  Brad's son joined us for the camp and Brad and I hit it off and started working out together.  Soon after I would join others in founding GoRun (Greenville Organization of Runners).  Brad and Mason would be some of the original members in 2008.

My son Landon taking over the business...

Kent and me...
Kent and I met through Bill McDonald my karate Sensei at one of Mr McDonald's tailgates for an ECU Football game.  Kent had originally trained in Tae Kwon Do and is not working toward his Black Belt with me in Goju-Shorin Karate.



I always enjoy working out with my son but most of the time Landon and his friend Ian, son of Kent, end their workouts short to play video games with each other.

This part of life is called reality check. This is a picture of my son and I visiting my mom at a skilled nursing facility in Goldsboro the Bryan Center.  They did an awesome job helping my mom recover from a stroke and now my mom is home recovering emotionally and physically.  Sadly, she was robbed while in hospital and this facility as well as having a box of her checks stolen and forged multiple times.  The law unfortunately protects the criminal and so we still await justice.

After Landon's training with the UK Elite Soccer Team, we stopped by to see 2 of my friends Stacy and Chris at Wake Med in Raleigh NC.  This is another reminder of how fragile and precious our lives are.  Never take your moments for granted.

Before heading to his soccer match in Wilmington, Landon and I volunteered at the annual Rehab Run, Walk and Roll Events.  We put on the course directional signs and helped with other misc tasks.  My intern OT Michaela helped us and Kathy our race director let us use her car.

After a long day including the rehab race and soccer, Landon and I found this gem of a burger joint in downtown Wilmington!

You can bank on the fact that Landon will usually pic Chicken Tenders to eat.

Landon and I met my former work buddy and MMG workout buddy Tom in Wilmington at the Copper Penny after one of Landon's soccer matches.  Tom is an RN now in management but has also converted part of his house into a Church to continue his ministry.  Tom has a love for all people and demonstrates this in his everyday life without being judgmental but rather spreading kindness through example.  I will definitely be returning to the Copper Penny with my lady and other friends!

I love port style cities especially with a variety of architecture and older Churches.

Sundays are typical LSD with friends day... as in Long Slow Distance...
The following pictures are just some examples of a Sunday training run.

I like to pick some sort of cool scenery or artwork to take pics... these metal type arts are all over the place in town-- they are really neat!

lots of memories of 903 Dickinson Ave with BEMJO Martial Arts Center...  I started training here because Dale Land was the President of the ECU Karate Club I had joined because he was so nice.  This was the home school although we trained often on campus at Memorial Gym which later changed to Christenbury Gym and may actually be called something else now...  I would later go on to earn my 2nd black belt here in Goju-Shorin Karate and eventually teach train and so much more.  Today I am a Sandan or 3rd degree black belt in Goju-Shorin Karate and a 1st Dan in Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do.  Sadly, Master McDonald passed away so with honor I now continue the system in my own Dojo in town called GMA (Garriss Martial Arts).


I like to see what my dehydrated weight is directly after my long runs...
My goal however is that my dehydrated weight is 145 not 155!

This time of year brings back many memories including being a member of the East Carolina Cross-Country Team.  The first picture is a design created by my teammate Tony Chadwick.  The next is one of the years running at a meet.  We were all like family then and I'm happy to still be in contact with many...

It's race day!!!  The Iron Clad Half Marathon Day finally arrived but unfortunately I had pulled a hamstring during a speedwork session a few weeks before.  I was already out of shape so this did not help one bit.  I can remember running in college with those guys and many others when we would take a couple of months of solid training before the season started and by the time the season started we were all running sub 6 paces for 8k's.  Now I have learned I'm not a spring chicken and without consistent training I can barely run at all.  It's quite the reality check for sure.  So sadly, I decided to just cross this finish line without hurting my hamstring again.  

Before the race, it was typical packet pickup and bathroom time.  I found my brother in law Chad in the crowd and was able to spend some time talking about goals etc.  He hadn't completely decided at this time and of course I just wanted to finish without popping the hammy again.  We would eventually go on to have a good day and he earned a nice PR!!

I took some time to check out the area and finish line etc.

I found Landon's Chicod Running Coach Kristin Justice preparing for the event!

As I looked around, more and more running friends were all over the place also preparing.  Of course, I had to sneak in the obligatory selfies etc.

Brad had one the 5k several times but had not been training as much.  He still and a blazing fast day!

The Holmes!


Kirk one of my ECU teammates is still a beast!  Yep, seeing him still kill it really makes me want to get at least some of my old skillz back!  Kirk would finish with a 1:35:46 half time!

We met years ago when Landon was wrestling.  Her son and Landon were teammates!

Ashley --Tim -- John
John's son once took karate from me... John would rock a 1:49:49 half time!

I had started with Ashley the mom of one of Landon's soccer teammates.  She had music and headphones etc on and was ready to do her thing once the race got started.  I then saw Katie with Caitlyn an Ainsley's Angel.  Katie didn't have a rest teammate so I decided to initially just help her with the hills.  As the course continued, she welcomed me to help her take turns with Caitlyn every half a mile.  It's such an honor to be involved helping others.  The first time I helped was at the Marine Corps Marathon to help a pusher get supplies /use bathroom etc.


The Start!

Old Tobacco Barns...

Katie Foley leading the way with Caitlyn an Ainsley's Angel!!

I would help Katie alternate pushing every half mile

Jennifer and her Crew!  

Todd Wooten at guitar

Here is a link to the race finish video from a different angle!

The Smile Caitlyn gave me was worth more than anything and really made my day... no words!
Katie had been quite the fighter running through a sore hip.  I called Amy the race director and ended up talking to Jimmy who helped the staff prepare ice etc for Katie.  After we finished, I didn't ever see what happened to Katie so I thought the staff got her some ice etc.  Later, Amy told me they could never find her.  It's still a mystery...  Bethann an instrumental leader with Ainsley's Angels would be there to support all the Angels and beyond!

Here I am with Stephanie a strong ultra runner!!  She had a cool costume but she admitted it wasn't very comfortable!

My running buddy Mary met me at the finish and even got the video and pictures of us coming in with Caitlyn!  Mary rocks!

I'm NOT an IPA lover but dang if this wasn't delicious!!!

After the race, I found my brother in law Chad who rocked a PR time of 1:45:36!!! Way to go Chad!!!!

Note the gigantic medals!!!!

I finally found Amy the race director and the one who Secret Santa gifted my the entry fee!!  She is a great therapist at the hospital so I know first hand she puts her heart and soul "Sole" into everything she has a passion for! Amy you are a ROCKSTAR!

As you can see he also helped with Ainsley's Angels!

I didn't get a chance to talk to my collegiate coach Choo but I will give him a shoutout now as he killed the half marathon with a 1:32:48 for a surprisingly only 4th in our 50-59 age group.  He coached his DH Conley HS Boys and Girls teams this year to great feats including the guys having several perfect 15 score meets and an eventual 6th in the state rank.