Race Report: 2013 Lexington Race Against Hunger

Feb 24, 2013 by

Race Report: 2013 Lexington Race Against Hunger

As I’ve mentioned several time before, the Lexington Race Against Hunger is one of my favorite races.  It is well organized with a great cause, has a good tough route, and has a nice post race spread.  I just realized, though, the extra piece of the puzzle that makes the race so good: the Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church gym.

Huh? You say.

Since the race occurs the last weekend of February, the weather turns out to be a factor more often than not.  Most of the time, the race is cold.  The first year I ran it, it rained the entire time, but the temperature was fairly warm.  This year the forecast was not only cold but also heavy rain.  So, as I hung out in the dry gym as the rain poured, I was thankful to have it. Then, after the race, as we listened to the awards presentation in a nice warm building, I was again thankful for the gym.

I had three goals for this year’s LRAH: set my first PR in a 10K since 2009,  help place our company team in the top 3 of the corporate competition, and, finally, stay injury free with my next marathon just two weeks away.

So, what happened? Let’s find out.

Goal 1: Break 46:45 to Set a New 10K Personal Record (PR)

As I hung out in the gym before the race, occasionally looking outside at the pouring rain, I was thinking to myself ‘No PR today without a good warmup’.  I really didn’t want to go run around any longer in cold rain than I had to, but about 30 minutes before the race, the rain pretty much stopped, and I stepped out into a damp 40 degrees to warm up. I donned my homemade leaf bag rain slick and headed out.  I was able to get an OK 15-20 minute warm up, but certainly not what would have like.  At least I was dry so far.  I wandered up to the starting line,  found a couple of my team mates and waited for the starting gun.

The race started right on time, and we took off.  My basic strategy was this: try to run the easier, flatter miles (1, 2, and 6) around a 7 minute per mile pace.  Then for hilliest miles (3, 4, and 5), just give what I could and hope I could beat 46:45.  I had run a 5K two weeks prior that seemed to indicate I was in the ballpark with these goals.

Mile 1 was right on target, about 7:06, but a light rain had started back. Mile 2 is a very steep downhill, and I ran it in 6:54, for a two mile split right on plan.  Good news/bad news at the point. The rain stopped.  That was good news.  The bad news?  Now the brutal part of the course appeared as we climbed Main Street Lexington.  After the tough hills of South Church Street, my mile 3 split was 7:45.

Mile 3 had really taken its toll, and despite mile 4 being flatter, I could only manage another 7:45 split.  The first half of mile 5 is a decent down hill on Hendrix Street toward Church St.  I knew the second half of mile 5 included a short steep hill up Church St to Main Street, then another tough hill up North Lake Drive as we turned back toward Saxe Gotha and the finish.  So, I tried to make up some time on the Hendrix Street downhill.

Must have work, because I hit the 5 mile split at 7:28.  Not great, but decent.  There was still a bit of the North Lake Drive hill left between Lexington Elementary School and Lexington Middle.  My watch showed just past 37 minutes.  1.2 miles to go, and I couldn’t really do the math to tell if I was I ahead of my goal pace.

Almost There: Sucking It Up at Mile 6

My GPS watch will tell me my per mile pace, but I decide not to check it  Just suck it up, I told myself.  Almost there.  As I topped the hill and took one last swig of water from the last aid station, I just tried to keep the legs churning.    The mile 6 split was 7:24, and my watch showed around 44:30.  I thought I was in the clear for a PR now, but I tried to push it a bit more to make sure.  I crossed the finish line in 45:55, running the last .2 miles at a 7:06 per mile pace and securing the PR by 50 seconds!

To see the complete results, click here.

Goal 2: Help Our Team to a Top 3 Finish in the Corporate Competition

One of the unique aspects of the LRAH, is the corporate competition, where teams compete in cross country style scoring, taking your top five runners as scorers.  Well, this year we could only muster up 5 runners for our team.  I’m proud to report we defended our 3rd place finish from last year.

Goal 3: Stay Injury Free

Hmmm.  Jury is still out on this one. As I mentioned earlier, my next marathon (Columbia, SC Marathon) is March 9th, two short weeks after the LRAH.  The training program that I loosely follow had me running 13 miles at a slower pace instead of a 10K at all out race pace on LRAH day.  Well, I did the 13.  I just did 6 more miles after the LRAH awards to get it in.  I felt pretty good, too.  On Sunday, (today, as I write this) I was pretty sore in the usual post race spots – calves and quads.  As the day has gone on, though, a pain that I had hoped to never have again has appeared in the top of my left foot.  Last time, I found out I had stress fractures.  This time, I hope it is just some tendon soreness, and I will take it easy on the running this week.


Again, to see the complete results, click here.

PS.  Given the weather forecast of cold rain, I took extra care with my playlist, adding several appropriate songs to amuse myself.  Here’s a screen shot of my tunes for the race:

2013 LRAH PlayList



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Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2013

Feb 17, 2013 by

Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2013

I can hardly believe it, but on February 23rd, I will be running the Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K for the 5th time!  Much has changed in four years.  in 2009, the LRAH was my first oranized race, and I had only run over 6 miles once before the actual race.

These days,  6 miles is a pretty short workout for me.  And though I’ve run many races over the last fours years, the LRAH is still one of my favorites.  The race organizers do a fantastic job, and there is a large turnout.   Last year, I came close to a personal best for a 10K, and this year I hope to actually set that PR.  I haven’t set a PR in a 10K since 2009!

The course is tough, though, so a PR will be extra special.  Here’s the course elevation map:

There’s still time to register, and there is a 5K walk if 10K is too much for you. Visit the official website at http://www.lrah.org.

For my race review from last year, click here.


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Race Review: Lexington Race Against Hunger 2012

Feb 26, 2012 by

Race Review: Lexington Race Against Hunger 2012

The last Saturday of February is the traditional date for the Lexington Race Against Hunger.  February means wacky weather in the Midlands of South Carolina.  Eighty  degree weather a couple of days before the race was washed away by heavy rains and a cold front on Friday, leaving a chilly,  blustery Saturday morning.  The temperature at race start was about 45 degrees, and the brisk west wind meant the first mile was into the wind.  Thank goodness for running gloves and sunglasses.

As usual, the race was well organized and the the start went off on time.  I believe the announcers reported a record turnout.  When we finished, there was warm pizza and a warm gym to hang out for the awards ceremonies.  As a bonus, I guessed properly on my race shirt size and the long sleeve tee fits perfectly.

Last year, the LRAH was one week after my Myrtle Beach Marathon run.  I probably should not have run in it, but the LRAH is special to me, since it was the first organized race I ever ran.  Unfortunately, that run left me hobbling with two stress fractures in my left foot.  This year, with two weeks to go until my next marathon, I did not want to repeat any injuries, so my main goal was to finish injury free.

I’m glad to report that I accomplished my goal and had no issues with my “arch” nemesis left foot.  My finish time was 47:22.  I actually beat last year’s time by a few seconds, and until now had considered that race my best 10K effort (broken foot aside).

Team Competition

One of the unique aspects of the LRAH is the team competition.  Corporations can create a team by entering at least 7 individuals in the race.  The teams then compete in cross country style scoring with the top 5 individuals from each team scoring, based on their finishing time.  This year I helped organize a team at our office, and I’m proud to say we finished 3rd!

Click here to see the results.

Peace out!


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Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2012

Feb 13, 2012 by

Race Preview: Lexington Race Against Hunger 10K 2012

I took a break from posting for various reasons.  I’ll try to do better.  On with the show…

On February 25, I’ll return to the scene of my first organized race, the Lexington Race Against Hunger.  In 2009, I entered because the timing and location were right for me.  Now, I enter because this race is one of the best races in the midlands of South Carolina.  Here’s why:

1.  Great cause.  Many, if not most, organized races benefit charities.  The beneficiaries of this event are local organizations whose missions are to feed the hungry.

2. Great Course. This is one tough 10K.  Mile 3 is especially tough with a trip up Main Street Lexington and then another tough stretch up South Church Street.   Here’s the elevation map:

LRAH Elevation Map

  3. Great race T-shirt.  The race shirt is a quality long sleeve cotton tee. At least it has been the last 3 years.  Hope they don’t make a liar out of me and change it up this year!  I have plenty of short sleeve t-shirts but never enough long sleeve.

4.  Great pizza.  The post race food table has pizza!  It may just be local delivery, but warm pizza tastes good after a run on a cold February morning!  Also, the post race awards ceremony is indoors!  This is usually a good thing since it will be late February!

Hope to see you there. For more information, click here.



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Epic Failures

Oct 13, 2011 by

Like many endeavors, running is a trial and error activity.  You can read tips and advice all day long, but until you actually try them, you just don’t know if they work for you.  Along the way, I’ve had many failures, usually with painful consequences.  I should have known better in some cases, but I ignored advice (or common sense) and went my own way, resulting in various school of hard knocks “learning experiences”.  In some cases, I repeated the mistake and experienced the same result (sometimes again and again….).  Pavlov might have had trouble using me for his research.

To use today’s teenage vernacular, here are my top epic failures:

1. iRecycle Half Marathon 2009: Deciding on a pace at the race.  My first half marathon ever was the 2009 iRecylcle Half in Spartanburg, SC.  It was 2 months before my first marathon, and I figured it was a good test of my fitness at that point in marathon training.  My goal was to break 2 hours, which is a reasonable 9:00/mile pace.  With less than a year of running, I didn’t understand training very well and was not really following much of a plan.  Just run a bit more each week and have a long weekend run was about the extent of my plan.   A few weeks before this race, I had run a 10K at a sub 8:00/mile pace, so I figured why not try 8:00 pace for the half?  This race had pacers, so I joined the 8:00 pace group on a whim.  I did fine the first 4 miles, but the high humidity and pace got to me.  I finished under 2 hours, but the 2nd half of the race was painful.

Lesson learned: Don’t attempt a pace you haven’t trained for.

2. Kiawah Island Marathon 2009: Attempt at blister prevention. In the weeks leading up to my first marathon at Kiawah Island, I had begun to develop hot spots and blisters on my left foot during long runs in the ball of my foot near the big toe.  A few days before the run, I read about moleskin and decided to try it as a way to prevent a blister.  I applied the moleskin the morning of the marathon and set off.  About mile 2,  the moleskin started bothering me.  About mile 6, I had to stop and remove the moleskin, but the damage was done.  I had caused a blister in a different spot and had to run the final twenty miles with the aggravation of a painful blister.

Lesson learned: If at all possible, don’t try something new or unpracticed on race day.  I also switched to much thinner socks after this, which eliminated my blister problems.

3. Kiawah Island Marathon 2009: Bad bathroom break timing. In three years of running, I have only had to stop for a nature break once – at mile 15 or so of the Kiawah Island Marathon.  I had arrived at the race start well ahead of time and was able to use the facilities about an hour before race start.  Being a rookie marathoner and concerned about hydration, I had probably been drinking too much water.  When I went outside for the start of the race, I needed to use the restroom again, but the lines for the porta johns were now too long.  I decided to wait until the course.  On the first half of the race, the toilets all seemed to be occupied as I passed.  Finally, on the second half, with the half marathoners gone, there was a good spot to stop.  Unfortunately, my full bladder took way too long to empty and my legs must have thought we were done.  So, when I set out to resume the race, my legs were not cooperating. It was a long last 1o+ miles.

Lesson learned: Time the pre-race bathroom trip a little better.

4. 2011 Lexington Race Against Hunger: Running a 10K one week after a marathon. I have a soft spot for a local 10K, the Lexington Race Against Hunger.  This was my first race ever in 2009, is a good cause, and they have great race long sleeve t-shirts.  The race is at the end of February, and this year I ran the Myrtle Beach Marathon the week before.  So, instead of resting after a hard marathon effort, I ran.  After all, it is against my rules to wear the race t-shirt if I didn’t actually run the race!  Everything was going OK, and I was running better than expected, so I saw that I would easily beat my goal of sub 50 minutes.  Then at mile 5, it happened.  I recognized the guy passing me on the left.  Oh, no, Jeff.  Not today.  I picked up the pace.  He did, too.  Over the last mile, we pushed each other and had a great finish.  Unfortunately, my left foot, already stressed from plantar fasciitis in the fall and marathon training all winter, gave up on me.  I came up lame.  Barely able to walk, I limped off with severe pain in the top of my foot.  A few weeks later, x-rays showed stress two stress fractures in my left foot that had healed.  I believe the final push in the 10K caused the fractures.

Lesson learned: Nothing.  I’d probably do it again, just not the all out final race at the end.

You’ll probably have to learn some of the hard lessons on your own, but I hope you can learn from my mistakes.  Sometimes, I do; sometimes, I don’t.


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