|Available for purchase at joeydevilla.com|
Friday was our usual expo day. Al and I got there a half hour early to catch the press conference with city officials of Raleigh, CGI Director of Public Relations, Dan Cruz, and Bobby Mack, a local runner who ended up winning the half marathon with an impressive 65:44. CGI once again brought out the balloon artists with the Rock n Roll Raleigh archway, the balloon runner in the Sheraton Lobby and the balloon logo. I think we signed up for a 2016 race - I honestly can't remember, but now that we have the TourPass 2016, we better start making the most of it. We grabbed a late lunch at zPizza and decided that might be a good place for pre-race dinner since 518 West was permanently closed.
|This was the first pre-race press conference I'd ever attended. Thanks to Paul for the heads up!|
We had dinner Friday with one of Susan's neighbors on the street that she grew up. Al had a field day speaking to a fellow wine enthusiast, so much so that he wanted to go back the next day for some cooking lessons, a pantry clean out... and more wine. Susan was enjoying the connection between her past and present. Even though Ron was driving, he had to taste the champagne and 3 of the 5 bottles of wine. It's only polite, right?
Saturday we dropped off Al on the way to the Saxapahaw General Store, a little restaurant with fresh local ingredients and a range of items including home made soaps, standard brand chips, organic chicken feed and a soda machine that served cane sugar drinks. This was a place that Jim and Beth bought us some souvenirs from last year, and given the reputation "5-star restaurant in a gas station", we HAD to try it. The menu rotates daily based on what ingredients they have delivered and the curry shrimp salad we split was a great light meal. We didn't get to try the Eddy Pub next door. Maybe next time?
|Not your typical gas station menu!|
|Decent bottles of wine next to bottled soda. The cane sugar soda fountain was on the other side of the store.|
|This Californian was about to fill up for $2.29 a gallon.|
|The vie of Eddy Pub. There was a rehearsal for a play in the amphitheater center|
|We taught Brian and Moyra about group selfies.|
|Counter-clockwise from bottom right: VIP Joe, Special, Ed, Bobblehead, Ken, Lisa Marie, Spills, Guns, Bruiser, The Director, Flower Power, Coms. Gypsy code names, if you will.|
|I had another picture with Jim smiling, but I liked this one a lot better|
|The heart in the center is a spinner. Beth is amazing.|
The weather was just about perfect, low 50's to start and high 60's at the finish - much cooler than 2014. Weatherwise, we finally won the weather battle with Lisa Marie after freezing in Panama City Beach and having to swim through RNR DC. A few shots from the course.
|Nine of us wore the bibs for Beth. Michelle (above) and Kevin were using this as their last tune up before Boston. The two of them and fellow Hall of Famer Carl Marino are racing in Boston on vendor or charity entries.|
|Best place for a band since you could hear them a half mile each direction. And they were really good!|
|Team in Training was out in force. I unfortunately missed Meg Roberts who was running the half.|
|The Blue Mile tribute to fallen service men and women. I welled up as I passed the flags.|
|We first saw the sign two years ago in Portland. It's still one of my favorites.|
|Benjamin Ludovico, the full marathon winner passed us at 12.9. He finished in 2:41:37|
|I nearly missed Beth and Jim at mile 13. Fortunately I had a full two minutes to spare for the bonus t-shirt so first... let me take a selfie.|
|Bless Ann for staying until the last marathon finisher. In the late hours motivation is hard to come by. (Peter, I offered her sunscreen, I swear!)|
|Post race concert and Heavy Medal pick up. Ron, Susan, Joe and Al with the matching 5-race "Roadie" Heavy Medal|
|Our good friend Juan did the double DC2MX challenge so he's one race ahead of us. His heavy medal Six-String is next up for us in Nashville! It's Juan sweet piece of bling.|
Time passes much too quickly when you spend it with good friends.
Next up, Nashville.
Rock n Roll Raleigh is in its second year. This year there were 6,551 finishers (952 in the full marathon, median time of 4:35 and 5,599 finishers in the half marathon, median time of 2:10). There was a course change to the full marathon that made it less hilly, but the half marathon course was essentially the same. There was a snafu for the women's marathon winner as the course markings at mile 18 were not very obvious, resulting in Heidi Bretscher running an extra three miles. She still won the marathon by a comfortable margin. Kevin finally got around to having a faster PR than me (by a lot, 2:20:36), but since he's a good 6 years younger than me, I get to fall back on Age Grade. Heh.
After RNR Raleigh, Susan and Ron have finished 194 races at the half and full marathon distance. After Nashville and The Biggest Loser RunWalk Crown Point, we will finish another bucket list item of "100 Races by age 50" at Rock n Roll Portland in May. And to think, this was supposed to be a one-time thing!
Big shout outs to Carl, Kevin and Michelle and thousands of other runners who will be competing in Boston next week. Today, April 15th, was declared "1 Boston Day" and we'll remember the day when a community came together under a banner of strength and united purpose. We will not be defeated. The will of the marathoner will endure.
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