Archive for November, 2009

Running off the turkey

Posted: November 29, 2009 in Marathon

I went with the family to visit my in-laws in Pinehurst, N.C. for Thanksgiving.

I mixed in lots of turkey and stuffing with a couple rounds of golf, but managed to get in just two runs. I wanted to do three runs, but it just didn’t work out.

When it comes to peace and quiet, there are fewer places on earth that can compare to Pinehurst, a sleepy town in the middle of N.C. But if you don’t golf, there’s really not much else to do. Thankfully, I golf. And even better, my father-in-law golfs A LOT, and invites me to play with him every time we come to town. Now THAT is something to be thankful for.

After getting to town, I noticed an email from my friend Anne, saying that she beat me to the 80-mile mark for our November challenge! Awesome job by her, but I had planned on doing a 12-miler the next morning and beating her to it, but I was too late.

I still decided to go ahead with my 12-miles. Here is the route:

The route is flat and the temperature is perfect, so I run at a pretty quick pace and finish it in 1:35. I wish I had a Garmin to clock my splits. I guarantee that my last two miles were faster than my first two. I practically sprinted over the final 1/2 mile. It felt great. I absolutely LOVE when a long run goes so well.

I was enjoying myself so much, I even shot a few videos.

Here I am going through the quaint little Village of Pinehurst on Thanksgiving morning. It’s foggy and VERY deserted at 8 a.m. This is the third and final loop of my 12.5 miles.

After leaving the village area, I head back to where they live. As you can see, it’s a great path to run on.

The area that my in-laws live in is just a couple miles from “downtown” Pinehurst, home to the Pinehurst No. 2. golf course, which has twice hosted the U.S. Open, including the 1999 Open won by the late Payne Stewart. The statue below captures his famous celebratory pose after sinking the winning putt.

We spent two nights at the in-laws then two nights at the beautiful Carolina Hotel, seen below. The kids LOVED it.

They even did some running of their own in the hotel hallways.

The only bad news came when the battery on my wife’s car died. But I tried to make the most of a bad situation by running from the hotel to the in-law’s house, getting a new battery from AAA, then running back to the hotel.

I wished I had managed to get in a third run, but when I stopped to think about it, spending the weekend with my family, getting in two runs and two rounds of golf makes for a pretty good weekend and gives me lots to be thankful for.

Now, the Christmas season is here and Anne has challenged me to another 80 miles. GAME ON!


Sam Robb Fund 5k

Posted: November 20, 2009 in Marathon

On Saturday, a group of friends from the neighborhood decided to run in the 2nd annual Sam Robb Fund 5k at Newtown Park. It was a chilly morning, but we represented our kids’ elementary school with flying colors.

As we waited, Anne decorated everybody with blue ribbons and ponytail bows. Sadly, I had to take a pass on the bows. Guess i’m not much of a team player!


It was a small intimate gathering at Newtown Park in Alpharetta, GA. We did three laps around the park. Pretty simple and straightforward.

Here are two of my neighbors, Petie and Deb, finishing lap 2.

Here’s our group after the finish.

Team River Eves

I finished second in my age group (35-39), yet again. As Tiger Woods once said “second place sucks.” One day I will win a race… one day.

In addition to my 2nd place finish, Susie took 1st in the 35-39 women’s group, although she contends that there “must have been some kind of mistake” (wear that dime store medal with pride Susie!), Karen took 3rd in her age group (we’ll keep that exact age group a secret), and Mr. Penn, a 2nd grade teacher at the school, took 3rd place in the 25-29 group. They might not allow us all to compete next year. We cleaned up with four awards!

Anne came in just a few seconds behind Karen and took 4th place in her age group. Here she is chasing Karen to the finish line.

NYC Marathon Recap is Done

Posted: November 18, 2009 in Marathon

I finally got around to finishing my NYC Marathon recap. Here it is.

Run For Justice 5k

Posted: November 15, 2009 in Marathon

What an awesome way to spend a perfect November day in Atlanta.

Thanks to Barbie (who rocked a personal best!) for the entry into the race. I picked up my neighbor Anne and we drove down from the North ATL suburbs to Decatur for my first-ever organized 5k.

I can’t begin to tell you how awesome the weather was. Just amazing. It’s days like this that remind me why I moved South from New Jersey. I loved Jersey, but it’s hard to top days like this.

The race was cool. Just a small local gathering at One Step at a Time — a little mom-and-pop running store — in Decatur. As I said in my previous post, I had planned to have fun, but suspected that I would get competitive when the race started. Sure enough, dude says “GO!” and I start sizing up the field. There are a couple guys I KNOW I would never beat. They look like gazelles just standing still. They are off in the distance in a hurry!

I focus on getting some space at the start, we make the first turn, and it’s a BIG hill. I’m glad this hill came early rather than late. The course was pretty cool. We ran through a beautiful tree-lined neighborhood and a little park.  There was a bit of traffic at times, but not too bad.

As the race goes on, there’s one guy (he was in his early 40s I would guess) that keeps passing me on the downhills (which I have learned to take slow due to my shin splints). I then pass him every time on the uphill sections. Ha!

There are no mile markers on the course, so I’m not exactly sure where the finish is. Because of this, I decide that I won’t start my kick until I can clearly see the finish. When he kicks it into another gear as we get within 1/4 mile of the finish, I joke with him “hey, slow down, come back here!”

At this point of the race, it’s just him and I. The leaders are way ahead. There’s one other guy behind me. (a tall, younger African-American kid that I just KNOW will dust us at the line. He’s just waiting it out, so he doesn’t really count. He’s on a whole different level from me and the other guy. At least that what I tell myself.)

My main challenger laughs when I tell him to slow down, but it is I who will have the last laugh. I know he has gone too early. I keep him close, but drop back far enough where I know he can’t see my shadow next to him. As we crest one last hill, I spot the finish line. He starts to try to go faster, but is out of gas! I start my kick about 200 yards from the finish and leave him behind.

Just as I start to feel good about myself. The tall kid behind me, flies by with an effortless, LONG running stride and beats me to the line. I later found out that he was second (or third, maybe) in the 25-29 age group, so that makes me feel better.

When I finish, I only see about a dozen runners standing around. Wow, I think. Cool. I might have finished in the top 20! Sure enough, I was 15th and 2nd in my age group. I got beat by another 38-year-old guy, who clocked 19:56. I was 21:04.


Anne and I hang around long enough for me to get my first-ever running “award.” It’s a small little wooden plaque. I feel like a little kid when I walk up to get it.


What a great way to start the weekend. I quickly decide that I like 5Ks! I don’t think  I would be able to be as competitive in a 10k, but I knew that over 3.1 miles, I could let it all hang out and go my hardest. Fun.

It’s time to start searching for  some more local 5ks…

And huge congrats to Anne for her race. She did great. It was fun to have some company with me for a change… We vow to do it again some time.

Because I didn’t want to take too much time off between runs, I decided to get a little crazy and go for a 4-mile run in the rain. This wasn’t just any rain. It was a steady downpour created by the outer bands of Tropical Storm Ida! Truth be told, I like running in the rain for some reason. As long as its not too cold or windy, it’s kind of fun. Call me crazy…


As you can tell, I was pretty happy with my run! (iPhone photo credit: Kyle Buteau, 9)

My First 5k Race

Posted: November 8, 2009 in Marathon

This seems kind of odd, considering that I just finished the NYC Marathon, but this coming Saturday I will be running in my first organized 5k race — the 2009 Run For Justice in Decatur, GA. I have run in several 10Ks, but never in a 5k.
As a bonus, I got a FREE entry into the race thanks to a Barbie, a woman I have never actually met. I follow her blog and she said her company had two free entries so I jumped at the chance!
Compared with 26.2 miles, 3.1 mile should be a breeze. Instead of the intense focus I had leading up to the marathon, I am planning to just have fun in this race. Although I’m sure that when it starts, my competitive juices will kick in and I will try to run as fast as my 38-year-old legs will take me!
Oh, and as another bonus, I managed to talk a neighbor into running in the race with me. Should be a good time.

Video Evidence

Posted: November 4, 2009 in Marathon

It took me awhile but I finally found somebody else’s video of me in the NYC Marathon. At the 1:05 mark of this clip, I come trucking by in my yellow Livestrong shirt with my stylish, knee-high black compression socks.