Saturday, November 14, 2009

2 ½ Marathons in 15 Days—Part 3

11.8.2009 OBX Half Marathon
See part 1
See Part 2

The final leg of my 2 ½ Marathons in fifteen days was the OBX (Outer Banks, NC) Half Marathon.  The event this year offered a full marathon, a half, and an 8K.  The Marathon and the half are both point-to-points starting at Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, respectively.   Both races finish up at the village of Manteo. The 8K is an out-and-back, mostly off-road, in Kitty Hawk.  I did the half because part of the full marathon is off-road.  My teammate did the 8K.

The race is a great excuse to go visit the Outer Banks beaches with their rich history of colonialism, piracy, and fishing.  The races visit the site of man’s first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, the Jockey’s Ridge sand dune, and the Elizabethan village of Manteo on Roanoke Island, home of the Lost Colony.

My teammate’s 8K was Saturday.  My half was Sunday.  We traveled on Friday.  The trip gave me the opportunity to put in a training ride on Friday on Ocracoke Island.

Ocracoke is one of my favorite rides.  The island is 14 miles long and shaped like a hockey stick.

With the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Pamlico Sound on the other, Ocracoke is a beautiful coastal ride.

As and added treat, I discovered that the State had widened the highway for bicycles and was in the process of adding a paved multi-use path that looked to be about 4 miles long.  I’ll have to start visiting Ocracoke more often.

On Friday evening we picked up our “booty” (the theme of the OBX is pirates) at the expo.  It was getting late and we couldn’t decide where to eat.  We ended up making the BIG mistake of forgoing the many nice restaurants and eating at Pizza Hut. 

Teammate Wins Again!
Saturday we got up early and went to the 8K.  My teammate’s training has been hampered (as has mine) by all the travel lately.  She was a bit apprehensive.  As she ran in the cool low 50s temperatures, I sat in our van and worked on my computer.  I was preparing my NYC blog post.  After about 25 minutes I could see the Kenyans flying back in.  My plan was to wheel over to the finish area to see my teammate’s finish. 

As I was writing my blog post about how great the NYC spectators were, I could see dozens of runners coming in.  I said to myself, “They need some cheering!”  In fact I saw only one girl cheering at this stretch of the course.  I paused my blogging and rolled over to pitch in.  The runners seemed genuinely happy to have some attention, judging by the smiles.  I guess you can say the NYC crowds have changed me.

My teammate finished third in her bracket!  You go, girl!  The 8K featured a nice awards ceremony and post-race party at the Outer Banks Brewing Station.  The elites received their awards early then ran with the kids in the fun run.  I thought that was a nice touch.

Saturday afternoon I got in a recon ride/workout on the course.  Despite my two marathons the previous two weekends, I felt like I was out of shape.  September and October have been highly unproductive training months for me.  I’ve noticed in the past that when I feel out of shape, if I can get in two good workouts on the two days prior to a race, I can perform better at the race.  I say, “The first day I cry, the second day I die, and the third day I fly.” 

The course predominately follows Hwy 158, the main highway through Nags Head, Kill Devil Hills, and Kitty Hawk.  It passes in front of Jockey’s Ridge, the largest sand dune in the eastern US; loops through a couple of neighborhoods; crosses the Washington-Baum Bridge; and finishes at downtown Manteo. 

Saturday I didn’t feel like I would die.  Nor did I expect to fly.

But maybe I could set a new world record for the number of skateboarders towed by a handcycle.  Whenever I see kids they universally say, “That bike is awesome!” or, “That is cool!”

A Day at the Beach

My workout told me to expect a finish time slightly over 2 hours.  On race day I actually did it in 1:59.  Sadly, my string of “dead last place” wheeler finishes was broken when another wheeler arrived late at the start and posted a 3+ hour half.

The race was fun.  The weather Sunday was perfect.  The event coordinators provided two bicycle escorts , B- and C-, to ride with me.

Photo by

We got a chance to work some minor grades prior to crossing the big bridge.  Unfortunately it always seems to be the folks in the latter part of the race that obliviously want to endanger themselves and others by deafening themselves with iPods.

At this race, the starter warned the runners to stay right on the bridge.  The starter warned the runners in detail about the wheelers’ speeds on the bridge.  The bicycle escorts blew (loud) whistles all the way down the bridge to get the iPodders’ attention.  The starter warned the runners what the whistles meant.  The escorts and I warned the runners that passed us on the ascent to stay right on the downhill.  And still there were a few oblivious iPodders that wouldn’t get out of the way. 

About halfway down, the bicyclists started getting bogged down by the zombies.  Just before nearly colliding with B-, I checked my mirror and saw no vehicles back to the top of the bridge.  After hitting a traffic cone or two, I swerved into the traffic lane and went on by.  Folks, IF you can’t break your iPod addiction for the duration of a race, AT LEAST turn the volume down so you can hear someone right on your six screaming at you at the top of their lungs!

At about mile 12.5 a runner wasn’t responding when we were trying to pass him.   B- tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.  He staggered like he was going to fall over.  I asked C-, who had ridden beside me most of the course, to stay with him until he could get some aid.  I passed a deputy a few seconds later and told him that a runner needed some help.  Later when I saw C-, she told me the runner departed in an ambulance.

At the finish, I somehow managed to get up a little speed in the chute with no runners in front of me.  I looked around and saw about a half dozen cameras pointed at me.  I couldn’t resist hamming it up a little.  I leaned back and threw both arms in the air in a triumphant V.  What the heck.  2 ½ marathons in fifteen days.  I earned it.

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Also enjoy the News-Times feature:  Kelly on a roll for wounded warriors

I do this because I can
2008 Miles of Hope is a fundraising campaign to benefit Hope For The Warriors™.  I handcycle in10Ks, ten-milers, half marathons and full marathons to raise money for their programs to aid the severely wounded service members from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. 

I am not a warrior.  I am a grateful beneficiary of their sacrifices. I do this out of a debt of gratitude I feel for their sacrifices while protecting our freedom.

2008 Miles of Hope is also a journey of Hope, Inspiration, and a Promise.  My goal of Hope this year was to complete 2 ½ Marathons in 15 days.  You have just read the completion of the final leg of that goal. 

My goal of Inspiration was to complete another 2008 miles this year to raise money for and awareness the needs of wounded warriors and their families.  I completed that goal on October 25, 2009, when I crossed the finish line of the Marine Corps Marathon.

My Promise, or my financial goal, is to raise $26,200 for Hope For The Warriors™, or $1,000 for every mile in a marathon.   You may help with that goal with your tax-deductible donation.  Please visit my secure website to make a donation by credit card.
2008 Miles of Hope

If you prefer to write a check, download a donation form and mail it to us at the address provided on the form.

Donation Form

Also visit the Hope For The Warriors™ website to learn more about their promise, “No sacrifice forgotten, nor need unmet.”

Enjoy being free.


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