What happens when 5 Woo Hoo Crewers decide they are crazy enough to want to run 84.4 laps around a 500m indoor track?! Read the following race recaps to find out!
Melanie: Indoor Insanity Marathon Recap
Spring brings warmer weather, chirping birds, blooming flowers….. and the B double E double R U N, BEERUN, BEERUN! Every March, our group patiently awaits the start of the local racing season to start with the Old Town Beerun, a challenging but fun 5 mile run through the nearby college campuses, UNCG and Greensboro College. This year is the 13th year for the race which benefits the Special Olympics. The Beerun, which is typically held on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick’s day, is one of few afternoon races. This year it moved to a Sunday and a week later, but we still were excited about an awesome afternoon, running and hanging out with our friends.
Something new this year, they were offering a challenge, the 6-pack. The basic idea is that 6 runners in costumes are tethered together and have to run the whole 5 miles together from start to finish. Awesome prizes were at stake: a 6-pack of beer per runner for the fastest team and a 6-pack per runner for the best costume. This challenge read WOO HOO CREW all over it! After spending 2012 competing in the 12athon challenges, we were thrilled to be “bringing jackassery back” (sing that to JT’s hit!). We brainstormed at one of our post-run Saturday breakfasts and came up with a game plan for awesome costumes. Unfortunately, with a busy work week for most of us leading up to the race and pending yucky weather on Sunday, we ended up not having time or the gumption to pull it all together so we decided to nix the 6-pack idea….or did we?!
We met Saturday before the Beerun for our long run. Several of us who were going to do the 6-pack were chatting about the next day’s nasty weather, the temperature would be right around freezing and there was a 90% chance of cold rain. We talked about how maybe wearing white trash bags might be smart in helping us stay a little dry and warm while we ran. We started laughing and kidding around that that could be our costumes…and then it hit us, for real, the white trash bags could be our costumes! We could all wear one and we could be “white trash”. The 6-pack challenge was back on!
On Sunday afternoon, we met earlier at Daniel’s to pull our costumes together. We cut holes in our trash bags for our heads and arms, duct taped our race numbers and our laminated “White Trash” signs to our fronts, and threw on our shower caps and foam rollers. Katie cut the string that we would use to tether ourselves to one another. We arrived at the starting line, tied ourselves together and headed to the back of the starting line. We were a 6-pack!
In fact, we were the ONLY 6-pack. When we checked in with the race director at the start of the race, we found out there were no other groups taking on the challenge which meant we had just won the fastest and best dressed 6-pack. The beer was ours before we even started racing!
The gun went off and off we went, tied together! It took us a few miles to get the hang of running together. Our strings came undone a few times, which we quickly fixed on our interval walk breaks. We got really great at turning corners by mile 3, yelling “PIVOT” every time just like Ross and Chandler did on the Friends moving episode. We successfully moved around other runners and walkers and avoided huge puddles by yelling “Toward Nathan” or “Toward Melanie”. All in all, it was so much fun running together! It was the most fun we could have had given the less than ideal weather conditions.
We crossed the finish line, 6 wide, and took our finish picture. We found our other non 6-pack running friends and hit the beer line. Usually, we’d stick around the finish line party for awhile, but after just 1 beer most of us were freezing cold and soaking wet. We wanted warm clothes, warm food and to be indoors. A group of us headed to one of our favorite pizza places, Spring Garden Pizza and continued the “party” there.
This weekend, a few of the girls from The Woo Hoo Crew teamed up with our good friends, The Sole Sisters to run the Dasani Myrtle Beach Half-Marathon. This was a trip a few months in the making, and, as happens, with every passing week, we all became more and more excited about our all girls race weekend!
Most of us drove down on Friday morning so we could hit the Expo, have lunch, and get all checked into the condo we had rented for the weekend. By the time we did all of that, the rest of the group had made it to the resort, so we all started carting our stuff in. Getting all the stuff for 10 girls up to our condo on the 12th floor was an adventure we won’t soon forget! 2 luggage carts and a shopping cart (yes, a shopping cart) later, we had everything in and started getting settled. A few of us ran to the grocery store and to pick up some pasta while the rest stayed in to get settled and ordered some pizza. After dinner, Cindy led us all in a relaxing yoga workout before we hit the hay early.
A 6:30 gun time, meant an extra early morning for all of us. We tried to get ready and out the door even earlier because Cindy was leading the two hour pace group. The rest of us failed, but Cindy managed to get out on time and after some frantic running around, the rest of us were ready and out the door. But not before a quick photo op!
Unfortunately, on the drive to the start, the two cars we were in got separated and with very little time left before the start after the cars parked, we weren’t able to regroup before we had to take off. In the end, we were all pretty glad we cut it close. This was a decent size race, but not massive, so we had just enough time to hit the port-a-potties one time and get into our appropriate places in line before the start. If we had to stand around too long, we all would have gotten extremely chilly!
Going with this group was great! We all had our own goals, so while we passed each other at one particular point on the course and showed our support for each other, we each had the chance to run our own race. As it turns out, that worked out well! We had at least 4 personal bests among our 10 runners, our pacer, Cindy, brought in her group in almost exactly two hours, and we were all happy with our performances even though we didn’t all end up with our best times.
After relaxing and raising a little heck at the finish line party, we headed out for Mexican food and then home for naps. We continued the party with dancing and a few drinks at House of Blues and then went on to Dick’s Last Resort for dinner before we headed back to the condo to rest up for the trip back to Greensboro.
Overall, the weekend was full of wonderful memories and a great time for getting closer to some awesome friends. We can’t wait until next year when we get to do it all again!
I guess now would be the right time to say that this race isn’t really called the Valentine’s Massacre Marathon Relay. For some reason, about two weeks ago, the race organizers decided to rename it the “Run4Relay.” None of us are really fans of the new name and we hope the organizers will consider their decision an error in judgment and return to the old name.
Regardless of the name of the race, this is one that everyone enjoys. The basic premise is that this is a marathon that is meant to be run by a 2 or 4 person team over 16 legs or laps around Country Park. That isn’t to say that someone can’t run it on their own. Our good friend, Marisa, from Evolve Multisport, did just that this weekend (and killed it.)
The Woo Hoos were split and scattered over several teams with our friends from other running groups. We only had one team that was straight up Woo Hoos, Team Heart On (Daniel, Katie, Cara, and Russell). A couple of the other Woo Hoo runners included Ralph and Mel J. The race went well for everyone and we found it amusing that all of the teams we were split across finished within just a couple of minutes of each other.
As is typical with this event, folks arrive well before the 10 AM start to set-up camp and get settled in for the day. Daniel brought a tent and table for the space we planned to share with friends from several other teams. We were particularly thankful for Andrea volunteering to bring us coffee. It was great to have a few sips of that between legs to help us warm up.
Fortunately, the weather this year cooperated. In past years, this has been a super cold, and on one particular occasion, icy race. Race day started out chilly, but by the end the sun was out and everyone was starting to lose their layers.
We’re still waiting for the final results of the race to be posted, but it looks like we ran it at an average pace of about 8 minutes. More importantly, we all had a great time running and relaxing with some of our closest running friends!
We’ve been on a blogging hiatus after Kiawah. Most us took a much needed rest (from running and blogging) and have just started back into our respective “training” plans for Spring half marathon season. We kicked off 2013 with a few races and had an absolute blast at both!
First up was the Frosty 50K relay race at Salem Lake. Each runner has a 7.7 mile lap along Salem Lake trail and out the Greenway. We had 4, yes, 4 teams out there! Daniel and A. Co. formed a team, Snow Staches, with some friends, Lori and Amy from Evolve Multisport and Sole Sisters. Nathan and Katie, along with Cara and Andrea, created Team Trumpet Creepers. Bekah, Bonnie, Russell and Henry got together and the Woo Hoo Pippish Crew was born. Melanie W. joined with Christine, Sarah and Christie from the Sole Sisters to make the Woo Sole Cruë team. We also had several friends who were taking on the 50K by themselves! All the teams had an awesome time cheering each other on, laughing, car dancing while we tried to stay warm, and running. All the teams were in it for the fun! Post race, we all headed to Foothills for food and drinks!
The next weekend, our adventure was taking on the Lakeside Trail 8 mile race. For most of us, this was our first time running the Townsend trail. The 8 mile course was a 4 mile out and back starting at MacPherson Stadium near Bryan Park, running to Yancyville Rd for the turn around. With the rain that came through the day before the race, the trail was muddy and soggy in parts. There are several water crossings and the infamous “Wall” around mile 1. The course was tough, hilly, and narrow in some areas. It challenged all of us. The goal for most of us was to stay vertical, grab a sweet hoodie, and have fun! We accomplished all three!
Whew! What a ride!
When we signed up to run in Kiawah this December we all expected cooler weather and an easy day. We were told, “Kiawah is PR city!” As it turns out, that isn’t (for most of us) exactly what we got.
We knew well in advance of the race that we definitely wouldn’t have the cooler weather we were all anticipating. In fact, we wound up with temperatures in the low 70s. Most of our training has been in warmer temperatures (with the exception of the last month or so). While the folks who were running the full really did want the cooler weather, we didn’t really think that would give us much problem since we were all able to pack appropriately for the forecasted temperatures. Many of us even had on long sleeves or arm warmers as we awaited the start.
The beginning of the race went well for everyone. The half and full crowd got to start together, so we went through the starting line in two groups, one slightly ahead of the other. While it was a little crowded, we have come to expect that at the start of races, and so, we all just ran what we needed to run in order to have our best race possible. Within just a few minutes, we bid farewell to each other and struck out either solo or in our planned groups.
It was about 5 miles in when our first Woo Hoo encountered trouble. Coming into the race not feeling well, one Woo Hoo (who shall remain nameless) ended up with an upset stomach. After stopping for a few minutes to rid herself of some excess stomach content, she was back on her way, though the PR she was hoping for was now beyond her reach. Our other half crew was pushing their pace, but most expressed how difficult they had found the race when they finished. We did end up with a few of bright spots – Mel J. ran her fastest half this year, and Russell and Henry ended up with personal bests of 1:55:09 and 1:47:17, respectively.
The full marathon group definitely encountered tougher times. Nathan was having a great run until his 16th mile. At that point, he started having some trouble with calf cramping. Fortunately, Mel W. met up with him during one of the numerous out and backs that were part of this course, and gave him an electrolyte-enhanced chomp to help out. However, by mile 20, he knew that his goal had gone beyond his grasp. Mel W. knew a little sooner that this would not be her day. After the halfway point, she started using run/walk intervals and sent the rest of the group she was running with ahead. Katie had a strong first 10 miles, but after that, things quickly deteriorated. She had gone into the race knowing she wasn’t as prepared because of having surgery during her training, but she persisted with her run/walk intervals as well as she could through about mile 16 when hamstring/IT pain caused her to slow down more. Fortunately, our first time marathoner, Andrea, had a great race. She persisted and stuck with Bekah to finish in a fantastic time of 5:05:26. Bekah was out to be a pacer in this race, and she did an amazing job!
The real hero of the day for our marathoners, was our friend, Henry. Each of us stumbled upon Henry somewhere around mile 25 and were thrilled to see him. For some of us, all that we needed were his words of encouragement. For others, he turned and ran alongside us until we reached the finish. We all agreed that he made that last mile much more bearable than if we had done it without his support.
All in all, we can’t say we were disappointed by Kiawah. While many of us didn’t have the race we were hoping for, we all walked away from the weekend with happiness in our hearts and good food & beverages in our bellies. It’s difficult not to feel that way when you are surrounded by the love and support that comes from being a part of The Woo Hoo Crew.
This is the year of checking items off our bucket lists! We crossed off “Run a 24 hour relay” when we completed the Blue Ridge Relay in early September and we can now proudly say we can cross off “Run an ultra” after we finished our first ever 24 hour ultra running event, Crooked Road 24 Ultra. The beautiful course is nestled in the outskirts of Rocky Mount, VA at Waid Park. The mostly flat .96 mile loop featured 3 sections of different types of running surfaces, the cinder path (our favorite) to a section of pavement that we ended up walking nearly every time. The course ran along a creek with a pretty waterfall overlook that brought us many laughs as we made comments about it when we passed by with each loop. (“Is that a waterfall?”, “Did they just put that there?”, “Look, a waterfall!”…you get the point!) We had several other friends (Cindy, Iris, Josh and Dena…yay!!) who were also running the event, which added to the whole experience. All the runners were just amazing, so nice and encouraging. The volunteers and race directors were supportive when we would pass through the check point or refuel at the food table. This is definitely an event that we look forward to doing next year.
Here are our individual recaps of our experiences, goals, and thoughts about the event:
Crooked Road 24 Ultra was just awesome! Going into the race, I had several different goals ranging from just finishing my 20 mile training run to can I maybe run 40 miles? It was the first time I ever showed up to a race not nervous because all I was going to do was run, simply run. It didn’t matter what time I finished my miles, how long I took breaks, and there weren’t lots of other runners all pushing towards a finish line. There wasn’t even a finish line, just a starting line. I decided when I was done, not some giant balloon creating a tunnel over the road. This was already my favorite event before I even started running. Miles were the only thing that I had to worry about and how many miles could I possibly run.
Nathan, Katie and I drove up from Greensboro to the race, arriving around 9am. Once we picked up our packets and set up our “camp”, we were off! We all started together, running and walking along the first lap. We stopped to take pictures along the course and made our way up to the shelter where our first lap would be counted. It was fairly comical too, until we got our body temperature right clothing-wise, we made several pit stops back at the car to drop hats, gloves, and long sleeve tees. After the first few laps, we settled into our training paces and agreed to meet back together after mile 10 to stretch, snack and check in.
I had to mentally break up the mileage into 10 mile increments. That was an easy way for me to wrap my mind around running past my 20 mile training run. Because the course was almost a mile loop too, it helped to know that I was never far from a stopping point, if I needed it. After mile 10, I felt pretty good. Just another long running day, just a different course. We all took a little break then headed back out, agreeing to stop again at 15 miles (Daniel arrived and he started on his first lap), 20 miles and 26.2 miles. We kept up a good mix of running and walking up that big ol’ hill and the pavement section, stopped at the food tent to snack on pretzels, M&M’s, PBJ sandwiches, McDonald’s hamburgers (yes, I had 2!), pizza (2 slices for me!) and to drink water and Gatorade, when needed.
Once we all reached 26.2 miles, I knew that I had personally completed 2 of my 4 goals (1. Run 20 mile training run and 2. Run a marathon) and I was close to my 3rd goal (3. Run a 50K, 31 miles). At this point, Nathan, Katie and I all decided to stick together and run the cinder section and walk the pavement and gravel section, each about .5 mile long. Oh, and walk up that big ol’ hill still! Can’t forget that hill! We were also quickly losing daylight by this point and since I had a headlamp, I was the lucky one to wear that for our little running posse. We encouraged each other to run, talked a lot when we walked and cheered each other on with each lap we made, closing in to that 31 mile mark. Finally after a few more laps, we did it! We completed our first 50K together!
We all made it around another lap or two, cheering Daniel on as he finished up his last few laps, but we pretty much decided after that (and a yummy cup of chicken noodle soup), we were finished and we were getting cold and hungry. After all the laps and trips to our “camp”, I had completed 34 miles. I didn’t meet my 4th goal (4. Run 40 miles) and I’m totally okay with that. I finished when I wanted to, stopping while I still felt good, and I have absolutely no regrets. I just have a goal now for next year. 🙂
Through this whole experience, we never lost our sense of humor or our positive outlook and I think that truly helped us to never take this whole thing too seriously or to lose the focus that this was supposed to be about being fun, spending the day with some of our favorite people and encouraging each other to do our best. I spent as much time laughing as I did running. The most important goal met! (5. Smile and have fun!)
I am appreciative and thankful for my friends who were with me out there at the race. Without them, I wouldn’t have nearly as much fun or accomplished as much. Love to my friends and family at home who were cheering for us the whole time. Their love and support was felt often throughout the day (Love to Nick and Hayden).
The night before the race was just like any other pre-long run evening – delicious stir fry filled with saltiness, carbs, protein, & veggies followed by a fairly early bedtime. What followed for me was a series of incessant dreams about the race. This being my first ultra, I had no idea what to expect aside from tips from our dear cat-loving friend, so the dreams ranged from flash mobs of burly bearded men to cursed stress fractures to unrealistic goals of hitting the century mark during my run.
The reality ended up being some mash-up of all of these things. Like Melanie, I started the day with several distance goals in mind (not including the century mark) – the prescribed 20 miles for my marathon training run, 26.3 miles so I could say I’m an ultra marathoner, 50K (31 miles) so I would feel less guilty about calling myself an ultra marathoner, and 40 miles so I could say I’m a badass ultra marathoner.
For me, the most challenging element of this whole thing was to alternate between running and walking intervals and to move slowly during those running intervals. In the end, this was one of my favorite things about the race. The culture is so different among ultra marathoners than those running a 5K/half marathon/marathon. It’s all about distance and endurance rather than time and speed. The only pressure you feel is that which you impose on yourself. I love that.
It’s all about distance and endurance, but I suppose we also made it about food. If you know anything about the Woo Hoo Crew, it’s that we run to eat, drink, and be merry! If we were to ever get running sponsors, I suspect they would be from companies like Five Guys, M&Ms, and Bell’s Brewery. But seriously, we put a hurtin’ on some PB&J, sports gels, burgers, Gatorade, M&Ms, pizza, pretzels, Cheez-Its, and so on throughout the day. And we’re okay with it.
I’m grateful to have been surrounding my some of my favorite people for the 10 hours we were at the race. True to form, our typical jackassery ensued. I typically only see Katie once or twice during a training run, so it was lovely to see her over and over and to run with her for the final 11 miles.
We will return to this race. We will run farther next time. We will bring more friends. We will have even more fun. We might even eat more food.
I went into this event nervous. My ultimate goal was to finish a 50K, but I really just wanted to run for as long as I could feeling well. After having surgery earlier this training season, I just haven’t quite gotten to the point I wanted to be before getting to the pinnacle of my training plan. So, I knew I absolutely had to make it to 20 miles, but I really wanted to make it to the magical 31.07.
The first ten miles of the day were tons of fun for me! I got to do the first mile with Nathan and Melanie, and spent a little time going around the course with our friends Iris and Cindy. I was happy in the middle of my 11th lap to find Nathan and Melanie waiting for me. We made our way around one more time and decided it was time for a quick stretch and snack. After that, we struck back out with an agreement to touch base at the 15 mile mark (when Daniel would hopefully arrive).
The next five miles went well and when we stopped again I took a few minutes to break, but didn’t stretch as much as I had during our 10 mile break. Not surprisingly, things got pretty painful for me during miles 15 – 20. By 17, I found myself limping because the pain from my sciatic was flaring up pretty badly. As I came around to our car again, I decided it would be the best decision to stop and spend a few minutes with the stick to roll out the knots. I’m not going to lie. It hurt. But, as I rolled, I felt the tension start to release, and I finally felt like I was able to start again. I blame the hill that Melanie references in her recap. At any rate, I wanted to make sure I continued to feel relaxed, so I took a few ibuprofen before I went back out to finish up the last of my first 2o miles.
By the time I got to the 20 mile mark, I was ravenous. The race folks had brought in hamburgers from McDonald’s, but I’m not a fan, so I went for a tuna salad kit we had bought as part of our supplies for Blue Ridge Relay. It may have been the best tuna salad I have ever eaten. Nathan and Melanie had been waiting for a while for me to finish, so I downed it quickly while they started their next lap so I wouldn’t keep them waiting too long. By the time I got back around to the car, they were there waiting for me and we set out to get to marathon distance.
I have to say, that as we reached that distance, I realized that there would probably never be another time in my life that I would find it so easy to get to that point in a race. We took a quick break and struck out again with just 5 more miles to get to my goal, a 50K. After a few more laps, darkness set in, so we swung back by the car to grab Melanie’s headlamp and finished up our 50K about 15 minutes after the pizza (which I definitely ate!) arrived.
After downing a couple of slices, we set out for me to return to the car to grab my change of clothes so I could relax a bit while Nathan and Melanie went out for a few more laps. I got my stuff together and as I walked away from the car, I found our friend, Cindy, again. She explained that she was just walking (the woman is no joke, she ended up finishing 75 miles in less than 24 hours, so I decided to join her. I ended up walking the rest of that lap and one more with her, which put me at 32.3 miles!
WooHoo! What a great way to spend a Saturday!