Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh

So I ran Raleigh’s Rock ‘n’ Roll race last year, the half.

The race was amazing, extremely hilly, but an awesome representation of our city.  I tried to capture it all when I actually ran it last spring, but when I run now through downtown, I remember little things.  Like when I started tearing up at the mile at Dorthea Dix’s Campus when there were pictures and American flags with our fallen soldiers on it.  Or when the priest near the start was blessing us.

So anyhoo, I registered again.  For the full.

God help.

If you’ll remember, during my last full marathon, I woke up with a stomachache, ran anyway, and proceeded to vomit from mile 18 on.

Come to find out later, I’d developed a gnarly case of gastritis after my grandmother passed…

HospitalAnd I sort of didn’t run anything intense after that, save for a few half marathons last spring, for fear that I would be vomiting on someone’s front lawn once again.

But I’ve braved the registration, and I did it.

And now I suppose I’ve got to train.  Humph.

Also, sorta thinking about an ulta. A 50k!  Eep!

Have you signed up for any races this spring ??

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Controversy

So, last year, when Competitor Group announced that Raleigh would be getting a Rock ‘n’ Roll Half, and Full Marathon, the reaction was surprisingly mixed.

I, an avid runner and an employee at the local Fleet Feet was elated because the majority of my fulls and half marathons required me to travel out of town in order to find a race with an expo, support along the course, well-marked pace groups and all the trappings that some of the races in the larger cities had.  I’d run the Run Raleigh Half, relayed the City of Oaks, paced the Umstead 100-Miler, and shuffled through the Greensboro Marathon, and all though all of those races had been pleasant, there were a few things that stuck out about those experiences that I didn’t love.

  1. There was not really a full expo for any of the local races.  The expos consisted of a gracious local running store, oftentimes us or Capital RunWalk opening their doors, you picking up your packet, and promptly leaving.  There was no fanfare, no booths for you to explore and discover new products, or places for you to snag some cool samples before the race.
  2. There was definitely medical support along the course, but not as dense as it was at some of the bigger races I have been to.  The Greensboro Marathon, for example, was awesome, but when I got sick, my option was to lay down and die, or finish the race.   At least at a bigger race, there might have been an option for me to rest a little bit, and then continue on.
  3. Further into fulls out here, it seems like everyone disappears.  You’re in, 17 miles into a race, and you’re alone.  That can’t be safe, right?  And it’s certainly no good for your mental status at that point in the race, to be running alone.

And then, the local newspaper, the News & Observer, and a local running retail store, that I will not name, has seemed to make it their personal mission to trash-talk this race, topped with this article, describing some level of shock that none of the races fees went to charity.  (And to keep it 100, the racers raised 250k for the V foundation, that’s not too shabby right?)

So, far all you RnR haters, a few points on the race that will have me running again and again.

  • The race was incredibly well-organized.  There was no confusion about where to go, where to park, or where we were running.  Everything, and I mean everything was clearly marked, right down to the split around mile 9 between the half the the full, and I have never been to a race where it was so clearly marked.
  • Following the race, we were given cold towels, pizza, bananas, fresh bottles of water, and a free beer, as well as a big fat chunk of a medal.  There’s a good chance some of our fees went to these perks.  And I didn’t hear anyone complaining about our beers, our medals, or our food there at the end.
  • Runners raised a TON for the V-Foundation, a local charity for cancer research.  
  • These smiles.



  • The fact that there were a ton of people in Raleigh making a good decision for their health and well-being. 
  • Just because I ran this big monster of a race, doesn’t mean I won’t run local, which is what a lot of the arguments against this race have implied.  The races do not have to be mutually exclusive.
  • “The city cut them a huge check that they didn’t normally cut to the other local races!”  Well in addition to the 12,500 runners, there were their families.  The hotels were sold out.  ESPN Run was in town.  People ate our food.  People drank our beer.  Folks shopped at our runnings stores.  People shopped at the expo.  People filled the bars and the brunch spots after.  And Raleigh was put on the map.  Do you think, for a second, that it’s a coincidence that Raleigh is starting to make all these lists, and we just brought HUGE amounts of national attention to the city?

A few examples of our spot on some of Forbes’ lists?

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 2.50.23 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 2.50.48 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 2.51.13 PM Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 2.51.34 PM


Can we just stop complaining and embrace the fact that as a growing city, that things like this, cool, awesome things like this, are gonna happen?  You CAN run big AND run local.  And that’s exactly what I plan to do.


First, a big preemptive congrats to all my friends and running family that are running Boston on Monday.  It is so exciting to see everyone’s posts, and I hope that one day I will work hard enough to be there, enjoying the expo, and exploring the expo.  I’m so inspired by my friends who are there, and heading that way now.

Onto the gross stuff

I know this is literally so gross, but I have to talk about this.

The runner’s trots.

Trots refers to the thing that happens when you run long distance, your stomach starts killing.

I did some reading up on it, and there’s an actual reason for it.  So evidently, when you’re running your body focuses on sending blood to other areas of your area, so your digestive system gets neglected, meaning that halfway digested and undigested food gets shot through before it’s supposed to, which attributes to the cramps, the stomach pain, and in extreme times, the pit stops that have to be made during the runs.

Between that and my gastritis, my stomach has been really sensitive, and I’ve had to be really careful about putting things into it.  That includes gels, and things even in the week leading up to a race.

So, before Rock ‘n’ USA, I was really considering playing with Imodium, because of the experiences I’ve had, and I didn’t really do it because I hadn’t tried it throughout my training.  So around miles 9 of the race, I was hit with some pretty gnarly cramps, and pushed through to the end, but I really wasn’t feeling great in the stomach department after the race.

So for Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, I paid really really great attention to what I ate in the week leading up, and the evening before, I took a full dosage of this stuff after sending Austin on a hunt for the pill version the night before…

Image via Amazon
Image via Amazon

And despite my concerns about using something like this (was I blocking my body from its natural functioning, would it stop me up, so to speak,) it was great. There were never a moment during the race that I was concerned about my stomach, and it really really helped my shift my focus from my normally-upset stomach to actually tearing up some of the hills.

So, what do you think? For my folks with upset stomachs, would you consider swigging a little bit of Imodium?

Here’s What! What three things are you obsessed with?

If you’re new here, I do this every Friday, and here’s last Friday’s so you can kinda get the gist of what we do around here.

So let’s get started!

1.  MY SAVE THE DATES ARE ALL DONE.  Now, by all done, I mean they’re all printed up, and I still need to address them and stick them with stamps, but I am a step closer to getting things accomplished.  And it feels awesome.  I would absolutely show you them, but I want them to be something of a surprise to the folks who I’m sending them to.  But if you’re really curious, email me or comment, and I will definitely send you a little preview.



2.  Something really terrible has happened to me.  I have been waking up early to work out.  And I sort of love it.  Mainly because my body is looking really sexual, and I have been lifting more weights and stuff.  I’m not sure if it’s making me any faster or anything, but my little abs are coming in!



3.  Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh.  And this one isn’t a funny ha-ha obsession, but I really loved the race for a few reasons.  The course was hilly, and the race was no-doubt, really challenging, but it was a challenge in the best way.  Even though it was hilly, and I worked really hard, I smiled for most of the race, and it was so arresting to see so many folks out spectating.  The tunnel leading to the finish was incredible.  That roar?  I won’t forget that.

But, all of that said, two men died at the race on Sunday, and I’m still feeling really confused about that.  I feel so deeply for the families of the men, and it makes me want to make sure that I get my check-ups every year.  Can a doctor catch everything?  Certainly not.  But I want a doctor to be able to tell me if I’m not healthy enough for the level of racing that I will be doing.  And I thank these men for helping me remember to take care of myself.

Scenes from the race.

So what three things are you obsessed with on this Friday?

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?


I don’t know what to say.

The race was awesome.  The course was hot and hilly, and I was a little scared going in because of how ill I had been with my allergies all week, but I crushed it.  It was no PR, but the race was crushed.

Race Flex ) .png
Pre Race Photo

And then after the race, a cloud kind of drifted over our post-race celebrations, after we’d grabbed our free beer and headed out to a local bar (with terrible service) to grab some more non-free beers. After checking Twitter, our friend Jess found out that WRAL, the presenting sponsor, was reporting that two people had died at the race.

I don’t want to be funny, or silly, or crazy right now – I want to extend my deepest and most sincere condolences to the families of the two men who lost their lives today. I will catch you all soon ❤

40 mangos later.

Fun fact: the plural of mango is either mangoes or mangos.  This makes me very uncomfortable, and I’m really not sure how to approach this.  Advice is welcome on how to reconcile this battle within myself.

Moving right along.

So, happy Saturday. I’m obsessed with you and I kinda hope you’re pretty obsessed with me too.

So, Friday after work, I sprinted over to the Raleigh Convention Center to work the Rock ‘n’ Roll Convention, and as a little preview to the race, I made sure to snap a few pics so that you all could share in the experience.

DSC_0219I pulled up into the expo lot and started getting excited (and very itchy from that yellow pollen) for all of this.  There is something so special about a good expo that makes your stomach do these amazing flips when you think about a race.

DSC_0221Hello!  Jambo!



Also the camera Sharon, my MIL got me is incredible BYE.

DSC_0223I worked the Gu booth with some really fun partners 🙂

DSC_0226The Brooks “booth” which I’m working tomorrow, is a small city.

DSC_0228Literally not kidding.  It’s a planet.

It has been so fun.  I am working the expo tomorrow as well, and really excited to work and run this race.  I also ran into Benjamin and Juan, the two boys from ESPN walking around the expo, and they said that I was gonna be really really happy with the footage.

After the expo, I ran over to Whole Foods, where Mexican Champagne Mangos were 69 cents each, so I stocked up on about 40. Don’t judge me, you’re being rude if you’re judging me right now, and I’m not interested in hearing it.

photo 1There were actually more mangos…

photo 2So I dehydrated some, I cut some up for smoothies, and made some mango baby food (mango sauce, sorta like applesauce but with mangos) with the help of my little sister, who’s pretty dank as a chef.  If you like the idea of mango sauce, shoot me an email, and maybe if you’re lucky, I’ll post you a recipe.

DSC_0229Austin got me these mason jars, which I sorta guess I need for our wedding anyways, so it worked out for my mango baby Cheri food.

How was your Friday? 

Race week! Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh!

It’s race week.  Which I almost forgot with everything going on around here, but I am so so so excited for the Rock ‘n’ Raleigh, but it’s so interesting to be doing races at a time in my life when I’m busier than I could ever have imagined, and all in positive ways.

This time last year, I ran these races with a very specific goal in mind, wanting to get better and better.  Now, I want to run fast, surely, but I also want to run strong, and feel happy and healthy throughout the race, and warp it up with a smile like this one.


Without further ado, here are some of the things I strive for this week, and in the race on Sunday morning.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  This time last half marathon, I was vomiting violently from a little stomach bug I’d contracted.  If we can stay healthy, hydrated, and not drink this week, that would be great.  I will certainly allow myself a beer the night before, but other than that, I’m gonna chill on what I drink, and focus on consuming a good bit of water.
  • Rest.  I’m not good at this.  I am going to sleep this week.  I am going to sleep this week, dammit, if it kills me!
  • Foam rolling.  From last week’s 15-miler, the lactic acid has built up into my legs, and during a little maintenance run yesterday, my legs burned the entire time.  I grabbed the foam roller after, and rolled, and need to stay on that in general, and not neglect my poor legs/quads/butt.
  • Compression.  Along the same vein, I need to be sleeping in my compression socks to keep my legs fresh and rested for the race.
  • Time goals? Eh, it’s funny where I am at this point in my life, but until I get married, I don’t feel like I’m gonna be too crazy about time goals.  As long as I feel good and strong throughout the entire race, I feel okay.

Anyone else running the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh? Racing this weekend?  What are your goals leading up to/the day of the race?