Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Recap

Before I dive right into the recap, please take a moment to think about the two men that lost their lives at RnR Raleigh.  That is really scary, and my heart goes out to their families.

Let’s recap the race.

So I told you a little bit about the expo on Friday, and that continued throughout Saturday.  This time, I worked the Brooks tent, which was absolute madness between the shoe fittings and the folks scrambling for novelty items and last minute items they’d forgotten for the race.

DSC_0230Check out our fitting rooms.  I kept expecting them to smell like an actual port-a-john, but they were clean, promise.

Saturday night, I cleaned, and straightened up, and tried to go to bed early, but it was a bust, so I watched 21 Jump Street until I could cobble together 3 or 4 hours of sleep.  I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning (around 4am), showered, and headed downtown early before the streets were closed to traffic.  I beat it all, parked in my expo spot, and hit the VIP suite to do an early pre-race breakfast.

photoMe and a friend, Mimi, of WRAL hanging out.  We noshed on a half a bagel, some fruit, and I took a swing of a Coke for a little bit of sugar.

The race started about 10 minutes late to allow time for folks that were stuck in traffic.  The waves went off and I was a bundle of nerves, but I remained pretty focused and started and finished pretty strong.


This was the first of many, many hills of that race.  Credit to Austin for the photography with our fancy new camera!

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Finish line!

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Coming down the chute!


Gotta blow a kiss!  After this, I utilized the full length of all of my legs and cranked it out for the final lap.


There was a huge fence separating us from the spectators, I’m guessing due to security reasons.


Here, I was trying to block Austin from making that shot.



We found fun Mateo (Matthew) after the race!



And the best photo of the entire afternoon?

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So my review of Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh?  

The expo:

DSC_0222Incredibly well-done, and well organized.  Besides parking, which was kind of annoying if you weren’t familiar with the city, you could get in and out relatively quickly if one of the booths didn’t suck you in.  Some examples of vendors included Brooks (where I worked one day), Gu (where I worked another), Garmin, Tom Tom, City of Oaks, and Hoka, just to name a very few.  I even caught sight of some of the brands I rock on the regular!

Race Day Logistics: 

Awesome, if you followed instructions and did what you needed to to avoid traffic jams.  I left early, had a plan for parking, and was where I needed to be by 5:30 am.  For other folks, parking proved to be a little more difficult, especially if they did not get to where they needed to be before 6am, when they blocked the streets off.  Once the race started, the waves were really done excellently, and miles were marked extremely well, and from what I could tell, extremely accurately.  There seemed to be a ton of medical personnel on the course, and a lot of bathrooms.  Water stops were well-manned, and there was an excellent variety of Gatorade, a Gu stop for us, as well as water.  I was especially impressed with how clearly the split between the marathoners and half marathoners was defined – there was no way you could get confused on that.

The course. 

So. Hilly.  I mean, I run in Raleigh, I looked at the course beforehand, but that course was really really hilly, and really challenging.  It was not a day for a PR, and it was pretty much, to date, the most challenging race I’ve ever done.

The finishers celebration.

DSC_0298Very cool, and done in a HUGE venue, where you could cop a squat anywhere.  There was pizza, chocolate milk, bananas, and cold bottle waters for finishers, as well as some food trucks parked.  I kinda wish there were more food trucks, but there was adequate stuff to eat.


Competitor has done it again, as far as pulling off a great race.  It’s streamlined, it’s neat, and people really come out to spectate these races.  Raleigh would be remiss in its duties to not allow them back.

That said…

The day was darkened by the loss of two of its competitors, participants in the half marathon who tragically lost their lives.  This was due to no fault of the race, and I truly wish for swift healing for the families of those participants lost.  That said, as I go forward and run in the future, I will be extra vigilant with keeping my body healthy, especially on a hot, hilly day like today was, and I plan on running this race again in the future.

How was your race or run this weekend?


Here’s What + Rock ‘n’ Roll USA

Don’t you guys worry.  No matter how many times I post on my wedding, how many times I whine about how my throat hurts this week, or how often I blog about my dog, rest absolutely assured that I will never, never forget how and where this started.  And that was a running blog.  That said, if you’ve missed my last few “Here’s What:  What Three Things am I Obsessed With” posts, here they are!





So this week was the week from absolute hell at my real job, and that’s all I will say.  So Happy Friday, beautiful readers!  Now Here’s What Three Things I’m Obsessed with This Week!  


  • Numero uno is powered by Rock ‘n’ Roll, and yes honey bunnies, I am running the Rock ‘n’ Roll USA 1/2 Marathon, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it!


First off, DC is one of my favorite cities in the US, so that certainly doesn’t hurt a race weekend.  Secondly, Rock ‘n’ Roll USA has made some pretty sweet changes this year, a few of which I’ll list for you, real convenient-like!

  1. The 5k.  For folks who feel like they don’t have the time at this point to register for the 1/2 or the full marathon, or for those of you new to what Rock ‘n’ Roll is all about, the 5k will give you a little taste of what Rock ‘n’ Roll does.  At 3.1 gorgeous miles, you’ll still have the cheerleaders and the music to push you along, without necessarily having to commit to a scary distance just yet.
  2. The race is run entirely in the district, which means that you get to run with some amazing monuments as a backdrop.  Seriously, if you’ve never run a race in DC, running with the history of our nation passing you by is a really incredible feeling.
  3. The race is on a Saturday, meaning that it’s not gonna eat up your entire weekend.  And that’s pretty darn cool!

So if you’re interested in signing up, click here.  I will be there, and I will be talking about this race up til the big day, Saturday, March 15th.

  • Speedwork.  I’ve never really put much stock into speedwork before this marathon training (I’m running another Rock ‘n’ Roll in Raleigh in April,) but I’m finding that even though I have to drag myself, kicking and screaming to do it, that once I get started, I love the way I feel, and I totally love the way I feel afterward.  Seriously, I think the endorphins go into overdrive cause I am really, really feeling myself when it’s time to be done with speedwork!
  • Sleep.  I am slightly sick this week, with a little sore throat and some congestion, and all I can think about is sleep.

Early this week at work, I had to go into the utility closet for something, and I fantasized about going all the way to the back of it and napping for a while before my senses took back over.  Sleep, I just wanna hold you.  Mama loves you so much!

Your turn!  What three things are you obsessed with?  

[Full disclosure lady bugs!  I was planning to run Rock ‘n’ Roll USA in prep for April’s marathon, and as a member of the media, I was comped an entry by Rock ‘n’ Roll.  But have no fear because every last opinion is my own, and I will be giving my honest, heartfelt opinion!]

@GavinDegraw be mine.

I promise this is going to go somewhere running related.

So, like 8 years ago (gulptiy gulp), I think it was like an SAT day or something, and my mom let me leave school, because I was a senior and I didn’t have to be there.

ANYHOO, so I left school to go to a CD store (cause iPods were like barely a thing yet,) and I bought this thing for like $10.99.


And I was hooked to the one and only Gavin Degraw. He had the voice of a black man, but he was all white and stuff. He covered a lot of old Motown, which I’d grown up on, and he played guitar, piano, and danced like he actually was performing and having a good time on stage.

And thus, my stalking began.

It started finally my senior year in college.  I saw him perform at High Point University with a friend, and he stayed after to sign some autographs.  I think he signed my program, and stared at him with my mouth open, until he did a double-take, and asked me, rightfully concerned, if I was okay.  I closed my mouth, and died.

I saw him again at a furniture thing in High Point.  This time, I was ready.  A little liquid courage inspired both my dance moves, the inappropriate messages I yelled to him, and the stalking I did to his bandmate, Billy Norris.

After the show, we waited for him.

GDG: Pretty girls, come take a picture!

(Gavin called me pretty. You can’t tell me any differently now).

GDG: I saw y’all dancing down there!

(We were dancing hard, it’s not hard to believe.)

Me: Will you sign my beer?

(He signed my beer.)

10335_584285011173_5935226_n (1)The third time I saw him was in Jersey with my other boyfriend, Adam Levine. And the fourth, I’m pretty sure he glanced in my direction.  But I can’t be entirely sure.

So where is this going?


Okay, so it looks like my boo, Mr. DeGraw will be performing at the Finisher’s Concert after this half-marathon.  In Cleveland.  For those of you Cher fans living elsewhere, I live in North Carolina.  Not close to Ohio.  I need to go, run this race, and get to this concert for a few reasons.

  • Gavin DeGraw. He may call me pretty again.  He may congratulate me on a job well done, as I will have finished another half.  HE MAY CALL ME ON STAGE TO SONG OF MY CHOOSING.  And that’s really important.  I know all his ad-libs, so he needn’t worry.
  • Gavin mentions Carolina in his new single.
  • Another 13.1 could help.  I need to get myself in a few more race situations before the full in October.  I haven’t properly raced since April, and I need it to light the fire under my behind.
  • This could be a small concert.  Meaning that I will get to wave at Gavin and bandmates with my hands.

Now I recognize, flying off to Cleveland isn’t necessarily advised.  Believe it or not, blogging about making smoothies doesn’t pay 400k a year.  But it isn’t necessarily ill-advised either.  Cause I’m a baller.  So, what do I do?I need your advice.    

Too fat for your business?

I watch Morning Express with Robin Meade on HLN each morning as I get ready for work.  HLN is CNN’s sensational sister network, and I think I got attached to it when I was like 20, and I had to get up super early to drive out to my internship that was an hour away when I was still attending Elon.  At any rate, I still watch each morning and was part intrigued, and mostly horrified at the story I heard last week.

Laura Smith

The half: So the lovely lady pictured above is Laura Smith.  After training since last fall with both a trainer and a nutritionist, and peeling 47 pounds off of her 6’3″ frame, on Sunday, January 20th, Laura embarked on her first half marathon, the Arizona Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon.  She ran for the American Cancer Society, and was covered in ACS ribbons.  “I actually had to stop by the med tent after the first three miles because I had horrible shin splints.  The doctor took one look at me and said, ‘there’s no way you’re gonna finish if you’re hurting this bad three miles in’.  And I was like, I can’t stop.  You could probably see in the pictures I was covered in ribbons.  And each ribbon had the name of a person who’d died or who’d been affected by cancer.  So I shoved some ice packs in my compression tights.  It took me a little longer than I’d hoped,” she chirped in a cheery voice.  And for a first half, you’d have to admit, she didn’t do too shabby!

The massage:  Laura purchased a Groupon and scheduled a massage at the Natural Healing Center, in Aurora, close to where she lives in Denver, knowing she’d be in dire need following the half.  This is where the story just gets absolutely horrifying.  “We were in the room and I thought she [Dr. Wells] was gonna take me back and say, ‘take off your clothes and lay down, I’ll be right back’.  And we were just standing there and staring at the table.  And I thought, ‘Oh my God, am I gonna be too tall for the table?’ And she [Dr. Wells] just goes ‘I’m sorry you’re too fat and I’m afraid you’re going to break the table’.” (At this point in the interview, I was in absolute disbelief).  Laura went on to say that “Dr.” Wells told her not to worry, that she could call Groupon and get her money back.  And Laura was left to scoop her Groupon up, and leave the facility with no massage.

The press:  So how did this get to HLN?  Laura’d tagged her visit with Wells at the Natural Healing Center on Facebook, and said she was excited to go, still high off her success with her completed half marathon.  When she left (without the massage), she’d also written it up on Facebook.  Some friends saw, and next thing she knew, the center had taken it’s Facebook page down.  And that’s when she said the press came calling. “Fox News got ahold of it.  And if they’d [the massage establishment] called, I may not have spoken.  And now, if they were to call today?  It’s the principle of discrimination.”  Kinda cool to see what the power of social media can do, right?  She got my attention, and I’m not the only one.  She’s been featured on CNN, HLN, ABC, Fox News, and Inside Edition.  And the best part?  The owner of the business claims she never called Smith fat.  She claims she called her “large”.  Cue the side eyes.  “I know what she said,” Laura said matter-of-factly.

Laura 2

Why is this sort of discrimination still acceptable? So Penny Wells isn’t really returning phone calls, and has deleted the center’s Facebook page, and largely avoided the firestorm that is inevitably brewing.  However, in the brief statement that she did make in response to Laura’s claims, she (in addition to essentially calling Laura a liar), also stated that she was concerned because a 165-pound man had broken a table earlier.  Um.  What the frig is wrong with your massage tables if they can’t hold normal amounts of weight?

That aside, why did the owner feel that it was in any way acceptable to turn away a customer (whose money was just as green as anyone elses’) by making a rude statement about her weight, especially in this case where she essentially discredited all the wonderful work Smith had just done in losing 47 pounds, running a half marathon through some serious shin pain, and signing up for three more halves.  It makes no sense.  And just because the owner was discriminating on the basis of Laura’s weight, doesn’t make it any less offensive than if she’d told her, “I’m sorry, we don’t serve women here.  But if you call groupon, I’m sure they’ll be willing to give your money back!”

So I’d like to take this opportunity to commend Laura for not being silent about what happened to her.  It was discrimination, plain as day, and it wasn’t acceptable.  When I told her how blown away I was at how much weight she’d already lost, she responded, “Well…47lbs doesn’t seem like much when you’re 6’3″.  I still have a long way to go.”  Well, whether that’s true or not, you keep up the good work, doll!  You’re gorgeous, and you’re doing a great thing by responding so openly and positively to everyone who’s reaching out to you!  Laura will be in Raleigh next October, so she and I will be raising a glass to her awesome progress.