The Hogeye Marathon: It’s a Pretty Pig Deal

download-1

Registration is now open for The Hogeye Marathon series and it’s a pretty pig deal that you go and register for this race today! The Hogeye will take place on April 8, 2017. The Hogeye Marathon is a Boston Marathon qualifier so if you are looking for a race to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon this one is for you!

This year marks the 41st year that The Hogeye has been run and features full marathon, a half-marathon and a marathon relay. In addition to the marathon series of races, there is also a 5K option which makes The Hogeye the perfect event for runners of all abilities.

This year’s race has a new course and runners will be running in Springdale, Arkansas as they tackle their respective challenge. The new course will take runners past the city’s five major parks and, as in previous years, will include a portion of the Lake Fayetteville Trail. The course will be run primarily on Springdale streets, but sections will run through Johnson and Fayetteville, and a small portion of the 26.2-mile course will take place on the Razorback Greenway.

The Hogeye has some of the most reasonable registration fees around with the marathon priced at $80 and the half-marathon running $60.

All marathon and half-marathon finishers will receive a medal upon completion of the course. Tech shirts are also provided to all runners as part of the entry fee.

For more information about The Hogeye Marathon, please click here. Be sure to give a “Like” to The Hogeye on Facebook by clicking here.

35th Annual Frank Nealon Boston Tune-Up 15K

TVFR New Logo 600 wide

Yesterday morning it was off to Upton, Massachusetts for the 35th Annual Frank Nealon Boston Tune-up 15K. This race is organized by the Tri-Valley Front Runners and is one of the few wheel-measured 15Ks available in the Greater Boston area leading up to the Boston Marathon. The race takes place on a very scenic and quite rolling, hilly course that is well marked and all on the pavement. The course support is great with miles marked and water stops along the way. 

Runners get a commemorative soup mug instead of the usual tee-shirt and post-race there is a healthy spread of different soups and snacks available. The soup inside the school ran out quite fast this year and it seemed as though the amount of crock pots they had with different kinds of soups was far less than last year.

The race day temperatures were in the 40’s and the sun broke through just in time for the race to kickoff. The running conditions could not have been better and the day made for a great day of running.

Last year I had a nice run at this race and finished with a time of 1:18:53 for the 9.3 mile race so I was glad to see I beat last year’s time with a finish time of 1:17:30, shaving more than a minute off my time and running a pace of 8:10/miles which for this distance and hilly course I am quite pleased with. Next season, if you are looking for a course that is a good Boston Marathon warmup race or if you just want to push yourself up and down some good hills, be sure to keep an eye out for registration for the 36th Annual Frank Nealon Boston Tune-Up 15K.

The Boston Marathon 2014

ImageYesterday the big day was finally here. It was time for the 2014 Boston Marathon! After months of preparation, significant effort to fundraise and more cold winter runs than I would have hoped for we loaded the buses at Boston Common to make our way out to the starting line in Hopkinton.

In 2013, Beth Ann was unable to finish the Marathon due to the terrorist attacks at the finish line. You can read more about our 2013 race experience by clicking here. Given what unfolded, this year I pledged to run with Beth Ann for the entire race and promised to her that we would cross the finish line together. What might have started out as just a “nice husband sort of offer” turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have ever made surrounding running a race.

As we lined up at the starting line, the emotion of hitting the Boston Marathon course was pretty overwhelming. I looked at Beth Ann and told her “We’re going to do this” and post fist-bump we were off. The first several miles of the race went really well; we hit a nice stride and the support along the course was nothing short of amazing. The course was jam-packed with supporters and whether they were a casual observer sitting in a lawn chair and clapping or a raucous college student imbibing the same number of beers as we would be running miles, the supporters were screaming from the start to the finish line and helped motivate runners along the way.

Thanks to the Thirsty Irish Runners for their support at the Mile 4 water stop. Perfect timing as we arrived at the water stop as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ was blaring on their speakers!

Around Mile 10 or so Beth Ann started to experience some rather bad leg cramping and knee pain which really began to impact the run. As we continued along, there became a point where Beth Ann looked at me and told me to go run without her but I committed to cross the finish line with her. It wasn’t an option to leave her; we were going to do this together. As we continued along the course, we mixed running and walking to help ease some of the pain. After a couple of emotional breaks, I told Beth Ann we would get to the finish together and I was proud of her. We both reminded ourselves of why we were running (raising money for a cause so near and dear to us) and we knew the finish line would get here soon enough.

The Wellesley College girls were amazing as always and their signs were better than 2012 when I ran Boston before. The Boston College students cheered for us with the same fervor as if we were running neck and neck for 1st and 2nd place. The crowds simply did not let up and certainly did not disappoint.

Between Miles 23 and 24 were my brother, my parents and family friends. Thankfully, Owen had the requisite gummy bears to help fuel the last stretch and the cheers of my parents was an added boost. It was awesome to have them there. They spent a long day in the city waiting to see us get to where they were but having them there even for the brief few seconds we stopped to say hello meant the absolute world to both Beth Ann and I.

As we made our way to the Mile 25 mark the famous Citgo sign became visible and knowing the route, we knew we were close to the finish line. Making our way into the Mass. Ave tunnel where so many runners were stopped last year was quite an emotional fete and as we made our final right hand turn onto Hereford Street, I looked at Beth Ann and she said “Let’s do this.” We ran on Hereford and then made the final left hand turn onto Boylston. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes when she challenged me to sprint into the finish line and was so incredibly proud to be joining her crossing the Boston Marathon finish line. Racing down Boylston was quite emotional as we ran past where I was standing last year, the location of the two blasts and the sites that even for non-marathoners became emblazoned in the minds of so many. We did it! We finished the Boston Marathon! The time was 6:02:18 or 13:50/miles. Beth Ann beat herself up a couple times on the course and told me “It’s just not my day.” To that, I say hogwash. We finished the Boston Marathon, an accomplishment most people can only dream of. It was her day. It was our day.

ImageHaving the volunteer place the medal over each of our necks was also quite an emotional point of the day and one that I will never forget. We earned the medal this year and Beth Ann received the honor of having the medal placed around her neck this year that was so senselessly taken away from her last year.

So now, with the race behind us, it is time for rest, ice, refueling and thanking all of those who supported us. We have raised over $7200 for Tufts Medical Center and The Floating Hospital for Children. You can read more about our efforts here.

34th Annual Boston Tune-Up 15K

ImageYesterday morning it was off to the small hamlet known as Upton, Massachusetts for the 34th Annual Boston Tune-Up 15k. This race falls about 2 weeks shy of the Boston Marathon and the challenging 9.3 mile course is a good training run to work out the legs during the taper phase of training. Several of the runners lined up at the starting line with me are in fact joining together at the Boston Marathon and the pre-race chats brought runners together.

The race started and finished at Nipmuc Regional High School and the annual race is sponsored by the Tri-Valley Frontrunners.

The course is a nice challenge and some of the hills mixed into the course feel like some of the terrain along the Boston Marathon course. There is a really nice climb leading into the five mile marker that requires most runners to drop a gear or two in an effort to get up the hill. Water stops were available around miles 5 and 7 however the one that was supposed to be at the mile 3 marker was not there making the water at 5 taste all that much better.

The road of the course is pretty residential and quintessentially New England as you race past homes, farms, baby sheep and wooded areas hiding rushing streams behind them.

I felt pretty good while out on the course and wanted to push myself a bit for the 9.3 miles but not do anything stupid which could result in being injured for Marathon Monday. I completed the race with a nice pace of 8:28/miles good for an overall time of 1:18:53. It’s always a nice treat to have some great running fans cheering you into the finish line, as well!

Image

16 Mile Training Run

ImageYesterday morning it was off to Norwood, Massachusetts for a 16 mile training run. Sponsored by the amazing folks at Charles River Running, this fun run took runners through various towns including Norwood, Westwood, Dover and more.

The run was a nice mix of flats and hills but some of the roads proved to be a little tricky to run along. With high snow banks to the left and drivers simply flying on some of the roads (notably Route 109), the dodging of cars certainly took its toll and added an additional element of fear into the run. For anyone who sees runners out there training, please slow down, get off your cell phone and perhaps even think for a moment about the myriad of charities, people and causes that runners might be running the Boston Marathon for in April. This will help to put into perspective that the text message you are reading is probably not all that important.

Several members of the Thirsty Irish Runners joined me in completing the fun run and having friends out there as you bust out a 16 mile training run is always helpful. An added bonus was the fact that Charles River Running had volunteers meet us every three miles with water, Gatorade and energy packets.

After the 16+ miles were complete, it was back to Charles River Running for some post-run refreshments including fresh fruit, water, yogurt, granola and amazing bagels from The Spot. Since I am a creature of habit, I also hit up Perks Coffee House which is next door to Charles River Running and is a most-stop coffee house anytime I am in the Norwood area.

With 16 miles done for the weekend, today is going to be a good rest day!