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Runner Travel Series #2: A Christmas Story 10k

Disclaimer: I received an entry into A Christmas Story Run 10k as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


On the morning of Dec 7 (tomorrow), I’m waking up at the crack of dawn, running down the stairs in my pink bunny pajamas, and hopefully finding a official Red Ryder carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle with a compass in the stock and this thing that tells time! Wait a second, that doesn’t make sense. Tomorrow isn’t Christmas, but it IS the A Christmas Story Run 10k in Cleveland! Here’s a brief primer to get you up to speed. If you haven’t seen the movie A Christmas Story, it chronicles the story of young Ralphie Parker and his quest to get a Red Ryder air rifle for Christmas. I know there is a 24-hour marathon (on TBS?) of the movie right around Christmas. But I digress…

In the real world, the house used in the movie (located in Cleveland, Ohio) has been renovated to its movie glory as the A Christmas Story House & Museum. It is the centerpiece of the A Christmas Story Run 5k/10k. 

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As mentioned, I’m getting up pretty early to head to Cleveland for this run. How early? Keep reading! For this trip, I have no hotels or airports to deal with and it’s just a few hours by car. However, there are some things that are important to plan out in advance. With that in mind, here are three things that will help make this trip easier – for me, at least!

1. Travel TO Cleveland

I’m only focusing on my travel TO Cleveland as it’s the only part of the trip that could have an impact on the race. I live on the southwestern-most side of Columbus, which means I have roughly a 2.5 hour drive. Keep in mind that I will still have to pick up my race packet AND ensure I’m ready to go for the 9am race start. With that in mind, I’m looking at a 5am departure so that I can ensure the next step works in my favor!

2. Parking / Transportation

It’s not a secret that if one is driving into a large metro area, parking will be a concern. Thanks to my Cleveland Marathon experience from 2017, I feel that I’ve got a pretty good plan. After making the drive up from Columbus, the plan is to park at a metro (RTA) station near the airport – blue dot below – and take the Rapid (train service) into downtown – the orange dot. The ride time is about 20 minutes and would still give me an hour or so to spare before the start of the race. Using the train was super convenient in 2017 for the marathon and cheaper than parking downtown.

Alternatively, my backup plan is to simply drive into downtown Cleveland and park at one of the many garages nearby the start/finish. This will add about 10 more minutes in the car and a few more $$ to the trip expenses, but depending on travel TO Cleveland and the weather – see below – it may become a reality!

Note: The A Christmas Story Run 5k race follows a course from downtown (orange) to the A Christmas Story House & Museum (red), while the A Christmas Story Run 10k turns around and heads back downtown.

3. Weather

Winter in Cleveland means anything is possible. Thankfully, the forecast looks “decent” for a 10k. No precipitation in the mix and a high right around 32 degrees at the start. Of course, Cleveland is on the shores of Lake Erie, which means cold wind and the possibility of lake effect snow is always lurking. My plan here is to layer, layer, layer and keep as warm as possible before the race (read: stay inside)!

Have a Plan, But Be Ready to Ditch It

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Sometimes the best experiences come when you have to call an audible, but getting to that point might bring stress as well. Thankfully, my trip to Cleveland is only a day trip, but having at least some kind of plan is still absolutely essential.

Stay tuned (on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) on Saturday and see how this all plays out!

REVIEW: Knockaround Fast Lanes SPORT

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Knockaround Fast Lanes SPORT sunglasses as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Get your own pair of Knockarounds and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS3 save 20% your ENTIRE order – one use per customer.


The fall racing season is almost over – for me at least – but the need for a decent pair of shades never ends. When the chance to link up with Knockaround again to test their new Fast Lanes Sport series sunglasses, I wasn’t going to pass that up.

What do you mean – AGAIN? Well, back in April, I had the opportunity to test out the Knockaround’s Fast Lanes series. You can read THAT review here, but long story short: I quickly added a new favorite to my sunglasses collection. The same can be said about the new Fast Lanes Sport.

What is Knockaround?

Simply put, Knockaround sunglasses (regardless of series) are simple, stylish, and durable. They are able to fit seamlessly into daily life, no matter what you’re into.

The Fast Lanes & Fast Lanes Sport aren’t the only shades they make, though. However, all Knockaround sunglasses have impact-resistant lenses and UV400 protection. For those who want a little something extra, almost all of their offerings are available in a polarized version.

Fast Lanes vs Fast Lanes Sport

Right out of the gate, the most noticeable difference are the rubber nose pads built into the frame of the sunglasses. This is a game-changer for Knockaround as it allows fans of the Fast Lanes (who may happen to be runners like me) to now have an option that will absolutely stay put and not slide around.

One of the key features of BOTH editions of the Fast Lanes is that that they will look good on most any face shape, especially those with medium and larger shaped faces. That means no more stretched out sunglasses and/or imprint marks on the side of your head from the arms of the shades!

My Takeaways

For this review, I went back to a simpler look, opting for the Matte Black / Smoke Fast Lanes Sport. Truth be told, I actually LOST my shades about halfway into this test! So this was the first time I was testing a product AND had the opportunity to purchase that same product. The experience could not have been easier and I even snagged a custom pair of the original Fast Lanes in my new favorite colorway – orange with amber (brown) lenses.

But I digress, here are few things I really have enjoyed about the new Fast Lanes Sport:

  1. The Nose Pads. A lot of brands attach nose pads to their frames and, unfortunately, they often break off. I’ve been using these Fast Lanes Sport shades for almost 6 weeks, running consistently in that time frame, and I’ve had absolutely no issues. The nose pads win the day.
  2. Simple. One thing that stands out is that the branding on the glasses isn’t obnoxious. Still not a huge fan of the additional branding in the upper corner of the right side lens, but it’s a detail I can get past.
  3. Durable. Any shades I own must be able to stand up to LIFE (running, getting tossed pretty much anywhere, getting snagged by my daughter, etc) and, let me tell you – they definitely fit the bill.

Final Thoughts

Simply put – yes, there are LOTS of options out there when it comes to sunglasses. My advice as you shop for your next pair? Live life in the fast lane and get a pair of Knockarounds!


Like ’em? Go snag a pair (or more) for yourself! Order your Knockarounds and use code BIBRAVEKNOCKS3 to save 20% your ENTIRE order (one use per customer).

CHICAGO!!!

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team In Training as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Consider helping me reach my goal for Team in Training and support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. CLICK HERE to show your support and give what you are able. Thank you!


It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we’ve got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and we’re wearing sunglasses. -Elwood

Hit it. -Jake

I may not be one of the Blues Brothers, but I’m finally making my own pilgrimage to Chicago. With that said, I am so excited to share that I will be participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2019, representing Team BibRave as a member of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s  Team in Training (TNT). This effort is the epitome of the idea that it takes more than one person to make up a team and reach a goal. This is why I’m asking for your support to hit my fundraising goal.

Cancer, in one form or another, has had an impact on my family on a number of occasions. While these experiences have not been the result of blood-specific cancers, the emotional and psychological effects are just as powerful. In honor of those my family has lost – and to help keep others from experiencing similar loss, I am proud to support the efforts of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. LLS provides care and hope while continuing to search for cures to the various types of cancers that affect so many.  Your donation will help fund treatments that save lives every day; like immunotherapies that use a person’s own immune system to kill cancer. You may not know it, but every single donation helps save a life with breakthrough therapies such as these. Patients need these cures and they need your support.

Please consider showing your support for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help get us all closer to a world without blood cancers. Give what you are able to give and keep in mind that EVERY GIFT MATTERS. Show your support at http://bit.ly/presrunschicago19.

Stay tuned for updates as we get closer to race day. Thank you in advance for your support!

REVIEW: Indy Mini Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


Rather than bury the lead, here it is:

GO RUN THE INDY MINI.

This entire experience was absolutely phenomenal. From the registration process all the way to the post-race party, the people involved with organizing the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (aka the Indy Mini) know what they heck they’re doing. This shouldn’t come as a surprise though. In 2018,  the Indy Mini was voted #1 half marathon in The BibRave 100!

BibRave Pro meet-up the night before the race!

I decided to step it up for this particular race and participated in the Mega Mini Challenge – running the Delta Dental 5k and then running the OneAmerica Mini Marathon (half). My PLAN was to somewhat sandbag the 5k and go for a really amazing time in the half. That plan went out the window quite quickly as I decided “why not?!” and pushed fairly hard in the 5k. Finished in the top 50, roughly a minute and a half slower than my current 5k PR.

Start line prior to the 5k

After crossing the finish, challenge participants were to stay to the left and follow signage to return to the start area. It seemed as if the volunteers knew this, but there was a little confusion in the finish area. To stay on point, I turned my music back up, put my head down, and do what the race instructions told me. I got back to the start line pretty quick, found Bill – a fellow BibRave Pro! – and we lined up for our second race of the day

Me and Bill (& 6500 new friends) in Wave 2 before the half

I knew before I crossed the start line for the half that it was not going to be a PR. Not after the performance I just threw down in the 5k! I was fine with that. If I could come within 10-15 minutes, I’d still be happy. Honestly though, I wasn’t really focused on that. I was focused on what everyone else was focused on – getting out to the speedway and taking a lap on that iconic track! Although I was posting a pretty good pace through the first half, I slowed up once I got to turn 4 at the track and turned into a tourist for a little bit.

The second half of my half marathon was definitely slower and I could tell that the 5k was catching up to me. My legs weren’t having this run as much any longer. There was definitely some run/walk happening in those last 4-5 miles, but thankfully more running than walking!

Ultimately, I came in around 1:49 for the half marathon – only 8 minutes off of my personal record. Not too shabby at all. Rolled into the post-race party, met up with Bill again as we collected our medals for the 5k as well as for the Mega Mini Challenge.

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All and all, this race is well worth the trip and definitely lives up to the hype that surrounds it. The history, the tradition, and a very unique 2.5 mile section. Beyond that, this event is incredibly well organized, there is pretty decent crowd support, and it is very evident that the City of Indianapolis (and even the State of Indiana) truly get behind this race.

In conclusion, you should absolutely consider running the Indy Mini in 2020. Registration is open NOW. Seriously. Go to Indianapolis next year and find out for yourself – as I did – why this race is one of the top half marathons in the country!

(I’ll Be) Back Home Again In Indiana: Indy Mini Preview – Part 2

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid) to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros on race day (May 4)!


Growing up, kids and their parents share a lot of special bonds. For some, it’s special bond made from the shared love of travel. This is true of me and my mother. Our travels, and the subsequent stories, are world famous. The special location trips (like Niagara Falls, San Francisco, Mexico) and road trips across the country. Or that time we went to Europe for a few weeks – her first trip to Europe and I got to be the guide. Yeah, those were some damn good times.

For many though, it’s the special bond that is built with one (or both) parents by going to a major event – like a concert or a sporting event. As someone who grew up in southwestern Ohio, my dad and I built one such bond of our shared love of watching the Reds in Cincinnati. In 1994, our focus changed – at least in the month of May – from baseball – as dad was able to obtain tickets to the Indianapolis 500 and we found something else which became not just a shared love for US, but for anyone we had the opportunity to share it with.

Dad and me at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

From our first 500 in 1994 until our last in 2002, the Indy 500 became our annual tradition. I haven’t been back to the track in MAY since 2002. 17 years. So, when the opportunity came to opt-in to run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Indy Mini, there was no way I was going to pass that up. NONE. 

I get to run 2.5 miles of the course actually on the track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway? 

I get to take in the view of our old seats from the freakin’ track itself? 

I get to cross (and likely, stop, kneel down, and kiss) the fabled “yard of bricks”?

Bonus: I (might) get to snag a moment with Olympic Marathon gold-medalist, Frank Shorter?

YES PLEASE. However…

Beyond all that, this race – and specifically the lap around the track – is more than a novelty to me. It brings back fantastic memories. EARLY morning wake-ups, breakfast via McDonald’s drive-thrus, parking under a PNC Bank drive-up window, and the long walk from 38th & Georgetown down to the Speedway. It reminds me of the people we used to share the seating area with – the same people around us for 8 years. While we didn’t really know each other or even connect outside of the 500, we always felt connected on that one Sunday in May.

The last 500 we attended was in 2002. That was a week before I graduated from high school and I was fortunate to share that last race with both mom and dad. I was able to have the best of both worlds – the love of traveling (definitely got that from mom) and my love of all things racing (thanks for that, dad). As a runner trying to run all of the World Marathon majors, a marathon in all 50 states, and a race in all 88 Ohio counties – I’d say the special bonds I built with my parents have carried over into my love of running for sure.

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Tomorrow, I’ll run the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k (7:00am) and then the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon (7:40am). Want to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros? Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid).

Indianapolis was never my “home”, but this weekend it almost feels like a homecoming of sorts. All because of 250 laps, 33 drivers, 8 races, and one amazing race course.

Time to start your engines! See you in Indy!

 

Indy Mini Marathon Preview

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (and Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k) as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!

Make sure to download the Indy Mini app (iOSAndroid) to track me and my fellow BibRave Pros on race day (May 4)!


25 years ago on a beautiful Memorial Day weekend, I wasn’t sleeping in or reading the funny pages on  Sunday morning. Instead, I found myself experiencing one of the greatest thrills of my life – sitting in the stands at the 1994 Indianapolis 500. To my 10-year-old self, the Indy 500 was HUGE. The race course – massive. The drivers – giants of racing. It was phenomenal. From my first 500 in 1994 until the last race I attended in 2002, Indy was my “home” for one awesome day in May. 

The view from one of my first Indy 500’s, as evidenced by the OLD pagoda!

I’ve been back to Indiana and even to Indianapolis in the years since 2002, mostly for conferences, but this trip though will be different. This weekend, I’ll be “back home again in Indiana” to take on the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k AND the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. I’ll get to run in a place that means a lot to me – which I’ll dig into later in the week. Like with any race though, there are always things for which I’m excited – and here are just a few!

Running the Double

Those familiar with IndyCar should also be familiar with the term “double duty”. This refers to a driver attempting to complete the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 – 1100 miles of driving – on the same day. That’s comparable to driving from Boston to St. Louis (approximately 1180 miles) with only a 2.5 hour nap after the first 500 miles. I think I’ll pass…

Apply that idea of pulling “double duty” to running? Runners eat that up. So why not run a 5k (3.1 miles) and then follow that up with a half marathon (13.1 miles) immediately after? Well, that’s what I intend to do on Saturday. I’ll start my race day at 7:00am with the Delta Dental 500 Festival 5k, which I’ll likely approach as a warm-up, and then get right back to the start line for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.

This will mark the first time I’ve ever run more than one race distance on the same day since I competed in track in high school. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous about it, but I will get it done! Perhaps I’ll even lock down a PR in the half (sub 1:40 would be fantastic)!

Orange is the New Orange

The Indy Mini is one of the most popular races around – heck, it was voted #1 Half Marathon in The BibRave 100! Speaking of BibRave, that’s the reason I’m running this weekend. This will be the 3rd event I’ve run as a BibRave Pro and every time I have had an absolute blast. Aside from the races themselves, the best part of race weekend is getting to link up with my fellow BibRave Pros that are also on site. Whether we are running officially to help drive the orange brand or just happen to be running and wearing BibRave gear, being able to put faces to names in person is awesome. This weekend, I’ll get to run with William, who I met a few weeks back at the Blue Ridge Marathon, as well as a few others who I haven’t met IRL, but we’ve chatted back and forth in our Slack channels. My experience as a BibRave Pro – testing & reviewing gear and running & reviewing races – has been fantastic, but being able to have a core group of people to connect with and share our love of running has made it something I truly enjoy.

2.5 Miles

I’m okay with running on flat courses, hills, trails, tracks, and so on. It should be noted that aound the halfway point of the Indy Mini, the course gets PANCAKE FLAT. Why? I saved this one for last for a reason – we get to run a complete lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway! I’m sure you figured this out by now, but I had to put it to text.That 2.5 mile track is one of the greatest sports facilities in the world and I get to run there. Excited is a freakin’ understatement! I am going to attempt to go for a decent time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I let up just a little to enjoy the view and the experience or running around IMS for a bit. Plus, the MEDAL has some MASSIVE references to the race – can’t wait to earn it and perhaps even the bonus medal for being one of the first 500 across the line!

Back Home Again…

Indiana was my home for a hot minute in the late 1980’s. My family moved to Ft. Wayne, not far from where I was born in western Ohio. I don’t remember much about those years, but what I do remember always made me feel like I was at home. My time in Indiana as a “resident” may have been short lived as a youngster, but I will always feel at home when I hear “Back Home Again in Indiana”. Even though that particular song isn’t necessarily part of Indy Mini weekend, it is the first thing I think of anytime I find myself back in Indianapolis.

Back home again in Indiana
And it seems that I can see
The gleaming candlelight still shining bright
Thro’ the sycamores for me
The new mown hay sends all its fragrance
From fields I used to roam
When I dream
About the moonlight on the Wabash
Then I long for my Indiana home

From the 1994 Indianapolis 500 Pre-Race Ceremonies – my first 500:

 

Will YOU be back home (again) in Indiana this weekend at the Indy Mini? If so, let me know on social and perhaps we’ll be able to link up as well! See you in Indy!


Looking for some other things to get excited about for this weekend’s Indy Mini? Check out this list of 13.1 things to look for during the Indy Mini from 9-time finisher & 3-time ambassador, Chris Day!

RECAP: Blue Ridge Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews!


About a week or so before heading to Roanoke for the Blue Ridge Marathon, I published a preview of the things I was excited for and a few things I wasn’t as excited about for this particular race. Figured it would be a good idea to recap my race weekend experience and revisit that list. I will recap my overall travel and lodging experience in a separate post soon, but spoiler alert – my AirBnB host was AWESOME.

RACE RECAP

The only thing I will say in THIS post regarding my travel is that 6 hours in a car followed by not nearly enough sleep isn’t helpful for a successful marathon. Sure, one can finish the event, but maybe not as well as one would like!

My homebase through AirBnB was less than a 10 minute walk to the start/finish line. This made race morning so very easy because I was concerned about crowds at the pre-race bib pick-up. My fears were incredibly unfounded, as I picked up my bib at 5:30am and was the only one there! I had time to walk back to the house, drop off the shirt I received (which I didn’t order – bonus!), re-evaluate what I was going to have with me as far as nutrition, music, etc, and head back to the start to meet up with some of my fellow BibRave Pros.

Even though I was traveling alone, it was awesome to know that I had a group of people that I could instantly bond with upon arrival. And while most of us had never met in person before race weekend, we hit it off as if we’ve known each other for years! Team BibRave was in full effect in Roanoke and one member of our crew attempted the DOUBLE MARATHON! After running the regular marathon, I think I’m good.

Once the race got started, we were CLIMBING (more like walking) no more than a mile into the 26.2 mile journey. Those mountains mean business and they take no prisoners. Woefully under prepared might be an understatement to describe my experience on those mountains, but I managed to get to the top of each one and the reward was well worth the effort.

Entering the Blue Ridge Parkway section of the race

 

Making our way up Roanoke Mountain – the 1st of 3 mountains on the Blue Ridge Marathon course

 

The reward that waited at top of Roanoke Mountain

The thing that got me through the race (aside from having some level of training for the distance) was the camaraderie with other runners. Ran with a handful of runners throughout the event and got the chance to learn where they’re from, why those individuals came to Roanoke, what motivates them to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Chatted with Lauren whose dad is challenging her to earn a BQ so they can run together at Boston in a year or two. I ran with Ron who was a local and was running his FIRST MARATHON EVER (pictured below).

Ron Butler (bib 668) and I as we approached the Mill Mountain Star near the halfway point of the Blue Ridge Marathon – his first marathon EVER!

 

My new best friends – the “moo-mosas” station at the halfway point, just after the Mill Mountain Star.

A few miles after Ron and the moo-mosas – right around mile 16.5…and at the base of what I would consider the most mentally and physically draining sections of the entire race…I linked up with Katja and Marion. We started talking…because it was easier than running at that particular point…and learned that we had a shared experience – living in North Carolina! Okay, I lived in NC for a few years and they live in NC now, but who cares?! That led to the next 5(ish) miles of having some pretty awesome people to share in the pain we were putting ourselves through! Ultimately, I had to drop back and let them push onward, but thanks to their humor and motivation (“let’s run to those three little shrubs!”), they made the hardest section of the course MUCH more bearable!

Tried to take a group photo at what we thought was the top of the Peakwood section. 1) Katja wasn’t quite ready – sorry! 2) It was DEFINITELY not the top.

 

Katja & Marion – darn good people! 

From about mile 20.5 onward, the rest of the race was more of a walk for me. Mentally, I could have kept going and kept running. Physically, my LEGS were having none of that. There were glimmers of energy here and there, but for the most part, my running ended about 10k from the end. In any other race, I probably would have been devastated. At Blue Ridge, I accepted it and knew that I did what I came to do – get from point A to point B and FINISH.

Speaking of the finish, with less than a 1/3 of a mile to go, one of my fellow BibRave Pros, Brenda (2nd from left in the photo below) – who I thought was WAY ahead of me the entire race – snuck up on me, passed me, and egged me to go with her! Caught me completely off guard, but it definitely helped me get across that finish line with a smile.

Some of the BibRave Pros and some other new friends in the post-race VIP area. Thank goodness for free pizza.

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REVISITING MY PRE-RACE PRO/CON LISTS

Not-as-excited #1 – The inevitable BONK.

Truthfully, this could have been worse if this race were a more typical marathon with rolling hills and a more average change in elevation. However, because of all the elevation change and the changes I had to make to my race day strategy, the BONK itself didn’t really rear its ugly head as it has in the past. It was more of a consistent process rather than a sudden smack in the face at mile 18-19. I guess that’s a good thing?

Not-as-excited #2 – Hills…I mean, FREAKING MOUNTAINS

Again, MOUNTAINS. And the excitement of the challenge was definitely GONE about midway up the first mountain incline. Knowing I’d have to do it again TWICE (even though on smaller mountains) was not something I was looking forward to doing.

AND LET’S TALK ABOUT PEAKWOOD. This is the last section of the course with a significant uphill (a la mountain) and it GOES ON FOREVER. AND EVER. AND EVER. This is, without a doubt, my least favorite section of the entire course. Thankfully, there is an end to that misery (and champagne!) and then it’s mostly downhill to the finish – but don’t be fooled, there are a FEW remaining hills (HILLS not mountains) before you’re done.

Not-as-excited #3 – The drive.

“This one, I did to myself.” -ME

The drive TO Roanoke wasn’t too bad. Almost exactly 6 hours door-to-door with no issues or delays. The drive BACK home took…well, a little bit longer. That’s not hard to imagine considering I just ran 26.2 miles and covered over 7000′ of elevation change! Pretty sure I stopped every hour or so, just to get out and walk/stretch. Think it took me almost 9 hours to get home!

In both legs of the drive, my GPS was spot on the whole way, listened to more podcast episodes than I ever have in one sitting, and jammed out to some classic 90’s pop – don’t judge. Major props to the BibRave Podcast, Joe Rogan Experience, The Negative Splits Podcast, and The Morning Shakeout Podcast for helping me pass the time

Excited #1 – New State.

This was the easy part  – adding another state to my list of states in which I’ve completed a marathon. On top of that, Virginia certainly did not disappoint with its hospitality, friendliness, and stunning scenery!

Excited #1a – Running on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Wow, amazing, and unique – three words that barely scratch the surface of how awesome this experience was. The photos I took don’t even do the scenery justice. Go and drive part of the Blue Ridge Parkway if you have the opportunity to do so!

Excited #2 – Hills…I mean, MOUNTAINS

“I know – this one seems out of place. Hear me out though. What good is a race if it doesn’t offer a challenge? This course offers some pretty tough hills that will absolutely challenge my climbing ability as well as probably make my quads feel like someone took a meat tenderizer to them when it’s all said done.” -me, about 2 weeks before the race

Yeah…about that. Naive is an understatement when I look back on that quote. Those “hills” were freaking mountains and challenge me they did – like nothing else before them. The reward at the top of every climb was well worth the pain to get there…and trust me, there was pain…but damn it was hard! My legs, specifically my quads, felt as if someone took a baseball bat covered in aforementioned meat tenderizers and beat me up one side and back down the other. BUT IT WAS WORTH IT!

Excited #3 – Bojangles Bo-Berry Biscuits.

I think the photo speaks for itself. 🙂

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Final Thoughts

Simply put, this would normally be a race I would avoid if only because of the massive elevation change. This is slightly reminiscent of why I chose to avoid a particular race in Cincinnati for so long before running it as well! However, I am so very glad I took a step out of my comfort zone – figuratively and literally – because there is just so much GOOD about this event. Don’t mistake the mountains for hills – trust me, they are mountains and they are tough. However, this race – while challenging – is rewarding in ways that are truly hard to put into words. A huge THANK YOU to Team BibRave for affording me the opportunity to run the Blue Ridge Marathon! 


If you’re looking for a race that will challenge you and a race that has big race amenities, but a small race feel – head to Roanoke and run the Blue Ridge Marathon!


In the days following the Blue Ridge Marathon, I was able to head over to Athlinks and claim my race results. Athlinks allows me to keep all my race results in one location, compare my stats across multiple distances, download a digital finisher certificate (shareable on social), and even see how I compare against friends (read: followers) who might have been in the same race with me.

Check out my Athlinks stats and learn more about how I claim past results as well as why I enjoy using Athlinks. It’s incredibly easy to use and it’s a lot of fun to see races you might have forgotten about pop up in your results feed! So while you’re taking a look around over there, set up your own Athlinks account and start claiming your results!