My favorite race of 2011 was my third of the year, biggest race of the year, and most prestigious race of the year; the 115th Boston Marathon on April 18th. Boston was my third marathon and I set a new personal record of 2:54:26. I finished 881 overall out of 24,349 runners. I also placed 827 out of 14,064 male runners and 631 in the males 18-39 age group. Boston is known for Heartbreak Hill but there are three other Newton Hills before you hit Heartbreak at mile 21. The Newton hills, miles 17.5-21, are feared and respected by anyone that has ran the course. I trained really well for them and it showed as I rocked Newton and Heartbreak Hill. The crowd support was my favorite part. It was 5-10 rows deep of screaming spectators the whole 26.2 miles from Hopkinton, MA to the finish on Boylston St in Boston, MA. Boston was also my first marathon where all my mile splits were sub 7:00 minutes. My slowest mile was Heartbreak Hill in 6:55. Boston was an amazing experience and race.
The toughest race of the year was by far the Continental Divide Trail Race in Laurel Springs, NC on August 27th. My friend Pat Price and I were in Boone the week of the race enjoying some awesome trail running while on vacation. We decided to run the race as a way of capping off a great week. It was the hardest race of my life! I wouldn't even call it a race. Pat put it best when he said "This wasn't trail running. It was more like mountain navigating". I had to walk parts of the course because the uphills were too steep to even attempt running. I was also on my hands and knees, especially the last half mile, grabbing roots, branches, and rocks to pull myself up some of the hills. I ended up finishing in 39th place in 55:55 for the USATF 10K Trail National Championship. It was an adventure and the whole week in the mountains was fun and refreshing.
I've always enjoyed the Beach Run Series in my hometown in Carteret County, NC. It is a points system and you have to do 4 of the first 6 races to qualify for overall and age group awards. If you do all 6 then your best 4 count. The seventh race is a fun run or tiebreaker if needed. They are from April through August. Races start at 6:30pm on a falling or low tide so the sand is usually packed in pretty well for running. I've done the 10K the last 6 years and won the overall championship in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, and 2010. I had to work a lot harder this year in the series. A new runner, Jordan, won the first race and beat me easily because I was coming off the Boston Marathon. Jordan would always start out really fast, as in 5:00 min/mile pace sometimes if the wind was at our backs going out. He jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the series. He just needed to win 1 race in the last 2 to clinch the championship. He went out really fast in the next 2 races but I was able to catch and pass him between miles 2 and 3.1. Once I passed him I pulled away and would win by a minute or so. I think I just tolerated the heat and humidity better than him. It came down to a tiebreaker on August 4th. It was another hot and humid day and I kept pouring cups of cold water over my head before the start. Jordan didn't go out as fast as he usually did but I was able to pull away from him the last 3.1 miles and went on to win the race by 1:48 to clinch my 6th Beach Run Series 10K Overall Championship and 3rd in a row.
I ran seven races this year that I hadn't done before. The first was the Run Like A Kid 10K in Morehead City on April 2nd. I used it as a tune-up race before the Boston Marathon, which was 2 weeks later. I liked the course but it was a very windy day for the race. I felt like I would have broken 37 minutes if it wasn't for the wind. I won the 10K in 37:49.
My second first time race was the 115th Boston Marathon.
The third was the 1-mile at the Beaufort Road Race on July 16th. It was also my first ever 1-mile road race. I usually do the 10K or 5K at Beaufort but I was in a tight points battle in the Beach Runs so I opted for the 1-mile to save it for the Beach Run 10K five days after Beaufort. I trained through it and did 4X1600 in 5:43 just 2 days before the 1-mile at Beaufort. I still did well in the Beaufort 1-mile and finished 2nd overall with a 5:18 mile. It was fun to do something different but I liked the old Beaufort mile course better because it was a loop instead of an out and back. An out and back just zaps your momentum, speed, and rhythm in such a short race.
The fourth was the Continental Divide Trail Race
The fifth was Coastal 5K in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was also my first ever race in the state of South Carolina. It was a fun 5K and I was happy with my 17:47 time and 2nd overall finish, 1st male. It was the first time I had run a 5K road race since I did the run leg as part of a team in the Emerald Isle Triathlon in 2007.
My sixth was the Pirate Chase 10K on November 20th. It was the inaugural race so my winning time of 39:09 is the current course record. It was a hot day for the 1:00pm starting time. The course was flat with a lot of turns. I know I can run that course faster in the future if the weather is cooler and I have someone there to push me.
My seventh and final new race or 2011 was the Reindeer Dash For Cash 10 Miler on December 4th. It was my first 10 mile race and first time I ran for charity. I raised $200.00 for the Cpt. Christopher Cash Memorial Foundation of North Carolina. It was another hot mid day race so I was satisfied with my time of 1:02:18, good enough for 6th place overall.
- 2,071.5 miles run
- Total running time: 247 hours, 45 minutes, and 33 seconds or 10 days and 7 hours
- 16 races run: 10-10Ks, and 1 each of the following: half marathon, marathon, 1-mile, 8K, 5K, and 10miler.
- 1 New Personal Record: 2:54:26 at the Boston Marathon
- Won 6 Races: Run Like A Kid 10K, 4 Beach Runs 10K, Pirate Chase 10K