The Flying Pirate Half Marathon

Race Name: The Flying Pirate Half Marathon
Distance/Type: Half Marathon
Race Location: Nags Head, NC
Race Date: April 22, 2012 @ 7:00 am

Finish Time: 2:56:50
Finish Place (Age Division): 174/193

I remember right after Christmas last year one day I went home to visit my parents and have dinner. While eating dinner my Dad and I started to flip through the new Runner’s World magazine looking at all the race ads for the upcoming year. As we continued to look, time-after-time again we kept coming back to this race called The Flying Pirate Half Marathon. After we sat down and went over the calendar, we decided that the Flying Pirate would make the cut for 2013!! As we went to register for the Half Marathon we learned about the Flying Pirate Challenge.

The Flying Pirate Challenge is for runners who wish to run the First Flight 5k on Saturday and the Flying Pirate Half Marathon on Sunday. Runners completing the Challenge we get two shirts and three medals!

The morning of the half marathon, Dad and I rolled out of bed at 5:00 am. As we peaked outside we realized the weatherman was right… it was pouring down rain out! We got dressed in our pirate costumes and got ready to head out. We parked at the finish line and took a bus, provided by the race organizers, to the starting line. From the moment we stepped out of our hotel room we were rained on until we got back to our hotel room after the race!

The race course is the first half of the Outer Banks Marathon course. At 7:06 am my wave started and I crossed the starting line in Kitty Hawk, NC! I was able to make it about 3/4 of a mile in my pirate costume before I ended up stripping it off due to the heaviness caused by the rain. After taking off my costume I felt much better and settled into my normal race pace. The first 8 miles went by great! Besides being wet, and I mean soaking wet, the course was nice and flat.

Around the 8.5 mile marker, just as we hit the Wright Brothers Memorial I had a complete mental meltdown. I really no longer wanted to run in the rain and I had to force myself to continue going. After a 1/4 mile of mentally whining to myself I was able to break through the wall and continued to push on.

Two miles down the road, right after the 10 mile marker, we entered the Nags Head Woods Nature Preserve. The running path went from pavement/blacktop to a four foot wide two-track like trail. Since it had been raining all night and day, the well-packed dirt trail was a muddy mess with puddles up your ankles! This continued for the next two miles until we hit the 12 mile maker, where our four foot mud trail turned into a two foot wide narrow trail of mulch winding through the sand dunes! The last 1.1 mile the course turned from flat to major up and down hills with some major elevation changes!

After running for over 2 hours in the pouring rain, running the last 1.1 miles on sand and mulch, up and down massive hills, was extremely challenging. Finally, after like what seemed a life time, you ran up the final step incline and as you came over the top of the hill you could hear the crowd cheering and you could see the finish line at the bottom of the hill!!!

I took off down the hill and the whole time I kept saying to myself, “you’ve ran 3 miles on dirt and mulch do not fall now!!!”. After crossing the finish line I got my Half Marathon and Flying Pirate Challenge, along with a space blanket and bottle of water, and started to head for the car. Along the way I discovered they were giving out the best post-race food I’ve ever had! Egg and Cheese Biscuit sandwiches!!! Talk about delicious!! I grabbed two of them and started wolfing them down as I headed towards the car.

Overall, this race was a beautiful course and was well worth the travel!

The Flying Pirate Half Marathon Medal, The Challenge Medal, the First Flight 5k Medal

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The First Flight 5k

Race Name: The First Flight 5k
Distance/Type: 5k
Race Location: Kill Devil Hills, NC
Race Date: April 21, 2012 @ 7:30 am

Finish Time: 37:22
Finish Place (Age Division): 33/53

The First Flight 5k is the most challenging 5k I’ve ever ran! The course is ran through the Wright Brothers National Memorial, where the Wright brothers made the first flight in American history!!!

The first 1/2 a mile is around the base of the memorial, and the next 1/2 mile is straight up the memorial!! A 25% grade for a little over 1/4 of a mile! After running back down the memorial, the rest of the course was a nice n’ easy out and back flat course.

The had one water station right around the 2 mile marker, which is great for a 5k. Most local 5k races do not have a water station. The weather was amazing for the race as it was 65 degrees and sunny! It was a nice break from running in the cold Michigan weather we’ve been having lately! In addition to the water station, I have to say the event organization, setup, and volunteers were amazing! If I lived closer, this is a 5k I would most definitely run again!

My Dad & I

Sham Rock n’ Roll Run

Race Name: Sham Rock n’ Roll Run
Distance/Type: 10k
Race Location: Plymouth, MI
Race Date: March 18, 2012

Finish Time: 1:12:43
Finish Place (Age Division): 81/98

Okay, I will be honest… with everything going on in life along with some leg cramping issues the past month and a half, I have not been the most dedicated runner. Not nearly as dedicated as I should be especially when looking at my upcoming 2012 race schedule! So as this Sunday approached and I was staring at the calendar looking at this 10k I was in a slight mental freak out! I have never missed a race, and I surely wasn’t going to start by missing this one! I knew I would be able to do the distance so long as I didn’t try to blaze through it and just took at a nice and steady training pace!

One of the biggest reason that I signed up for this race was because of the awesome tech shirt runners would receive and all 10k finishers would get a finishers medal. As my alarm went off at 5:30 am I had to force myself out of bed. I got myself ready, made a protein shake, grabbed a cup of coffee and hit. It took just a little over an hour to get there. Parking was easy and extremely accessible, which was nice considering there were over 3,000 runners between all the different races.

The course was a fairly flat course, all through a local subdivision in downtown Plymouth. Organizers had water stations at perfect spots throughout the 10k course and even a port-o-potty around the 3 mile marker, which was nice! Just after the 3 mile maker, the 5k runners had begun their race and we all joined together. The last .2 of a mile was lined with spectators cheering on everyone to the finish.

The only negative feedback I would have, is the finish line was way too bottle necked. Within 20 feet of the finishing mat you had runners who had just finished, volunteers trying to give out finisher medals to only the 10k runners, two 8′ water tables that stuck half way out into the finishers shoot, and all the finishers/family who decided to stop and wait for other friends and family to finish. I would suggest for next year they make the finishers shoot longer and wider!

Overall a great race! The same organization puts on the Wicked Halloween Run in Plymouth, and I am going to be running that race as well!!!