Whew, what a week and weekend! Last week I was in Michigan for work enjoying some beautiful spring weather. On Friday, I flew straight to Raleigh to spend the weekend with our friends Jason and Veronica.

The main purpose of my trip was to run the Raleigh Rock’N’Roll Marathon. But due to a tough training season and previous breathing issues, I decided to drop down to the half and eventually pulled out of the race altogether. With the trip planned and Jay still running, I went down to Raleigh excited to cheer Veronica to her first and Jay to his fourth marathon glory.

The excitement began Saturday morning with the race expo. This is my second Rock’N’Roll race experience. My first was in DC for the USA Half Marathon, which I remember being a mostly pleasant experience. While overall this race wasn’t awful, it was by far not my favorite race.

The race Facebook page was filled with complaints regarding charging for parking, charging to track runners and basically charging for every ‘extra’ service they provided. While I found the extra charges unnecessary, my biggest complaint was you could not pick-up someone else’s packet. This resulted in two expo trips, one in the morning for mine (which I sold) and Veronica’s Bib and one for Jay’s Bib. 

Though frustrated with the race organizers, the race expo was well put together and had some fun giveaways and interactive areas. My favorite was the electronic shoe (yes, like an electronic bull) and the attention to detail (Sir Raleigh is wearing a guitar). We also got some free cooling bands from Kroger and buffs from Channel 5 in Raleigh (Jay was super pumped about the buffs).

The rest of the afternoon was spent touring NC State where Veronica and Jason work, enjoying Groucho’s Deli (a Gamecock staple) and waiting for Jay to arrive. You will see Veronica and Jason are the best about showing you their town through food.

Sunday morning, Jay and Veronica got up bright and early to walk to the start line while Jason and I slept in :). Jay told me later that he was shocked that the race started 10 minutes late. He had never seen that before, granted he usually runs races sponsored by the Marines.

Jason and I planned to meet the runners at two spots, mile 9 and mile 22. We had no problem meeting them at our first meet-up spot and were even 30 minutes early (partially due to the delayed start). Here we started cheering with our signs and cowbell (next time I’ll remember to borrow Dani’s legit cowbell).

After mile 9, Jason and I headed off the The Flying Biscuit Café for a snack (spectating is hard). The biscuits and jam were delicious as was my meal which was essentially eggs benedict with pimento cheese (yum).

Veronica looked very strong at both mile 9 and 22. Jay and I were super impressed with her marathon fueling. She has friends stationed throughout the course with oranges and Fig Newtons. Why haven’t we thought of fueling with Fig Newtons? You better believe they will be a part of both Jay and my next endurance training program.

Veronica was also doing a run/walk interval method for her marathon. This meant they ran for 3 minutes and then walked a minute. I tried this method on my 6 mile run yesterday and loved it. My IT Band has been finicky the past few weeks, but I was able to complete my run using this method without any pain. Maybe if my upcoming half marathon goes well, I’ll use this method for a fall marathon?? But lets not get ahead of our selves.

From mile 22, Jason and I had to walk about 2 miles to the finish. As soon as they passed, we quickly gathered our belongs and headed on our way. We knew with their pace, we should have about 10 minutes to spare. Like clockwork, our two marathoners rounded the final corner and were quickly running down the homestretch. There is nothing better than watching someone complete their first marathon! Congratulations Veronica, you did it!

After the race (and the walk home) we celebrated with mimosas and burgers at Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar. Bad Daddy’s is a must visit if you are in Raleigh and lived up to their four star yelp review. And of course we grabbed some NC State ice cream before hopping in the car to drive home.

A big thank you for Jason and Veronica for hosting us!! I can’t wait for our next race, MCM 2015?!?!?

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