Fall is a great time to be outdoors in North Carolina; this weekend there are several ways to enjoy the season: hike a swamp at the coast, run a marathon in a Piedmont forest, paddle a mountain river — at night.
Lots of people go to Merchants Millpond State Park, almost all to paddle the cypress- and tupelo-peppered millpond. But the park, nestled in the swampy northeast corner of the state, also has hiking trail (it even has backcountry camping). Saturday, you can tag along with a ranger on a nature hike through the park, a good opportunity to learn about the swamplike environment. Bug spray recommended.
North Carolina bookends its Saturday with a 100K ride first thing Saturday morning in Raleigh and a pair of runs in the evening, a marathon at the coast and an 8K in the mountains.
If you just looked at your watch and thought, “Holy cow! Is there still time to qualify for the Boston Marathon!?” the answer is “yes.” Thanks to Saturday’s Last Chance for Beantown Marathon there is indeed one last chance (or one of several last chances, actually) to qualify for Boston 2014. Not only is this a flat marathon (it’s mostly through the Summerhouse community north of Wilmington) but it’s also in the cool of the night, starting at 7:30 p.m. (you must finish by 12:30 a.m.)
A biathlon with running and standup paddleboarding, a half marathon on a NASCAR track, a hike in the snow — can a weekend get more North Carolina than that?
Running and standup paddleboarding — that’s a combination you don’t often see under the biathlon umbrella. But you will Saturday at Wrightsville Beach for the 4th Annual Wrightsville Beach Biathlon. Four miles of standup paddleboarding on a flatwater course followed by a 4-mile beach run, all in the hopes of scoring “the soon-to-be-coveted Masonboro Trophy.”
Saturday, I ran the Umstead Trail Marathon on rolling natural surface trail at Umstead State Park. It was my first marathon, and it was an education — an education in how not to train for a marathon. Don’t, for instance, cap your weekly distance at 33 miles. Or your longest run at 17. Or start tapering in three months out.
So how do you train for a marathon? I explore that in a piece on the blog of one of the race’s main sponsors, the Great Outdoor Provision Co. Not only did I write it, but I plan to cut it out and post it on my bulletin board as a reminder for the next time.
Read it here.