Latest reviews by Deanne Avery

"Triple Lakes is Exceptional!! "
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It was not my intention to run two marathons this year. My plan for turning 40 was to run a marathon, meaning 1 marathon.

I do always try to sign up for the next big race before completing my upcoming big race and I happened to run across the Triple Lakes 40K in Greensboro.

Perfect I thought. That’s less than a marathon so I can do that and how cool to run a 40K for my 40th year!

I immediately signed up.

I quickly thereafter did my best peer pressure work of all time.

I managed to convince my friend Kim, her husband John and my friend Meredith to go along with me on this crazy journey to 40k!!

We developed our training plan and got right to it. Running more trail miles than ever before and getting more vertical gain than ever before!

In the midst of our summer training I was diagnosed with Asthma which is exacerbated by exercise. I am so glad I went to have my breathing situation checked out though! Having my inhaler now makes my run so much better. I no longer feel like I’m sucking air through a flattened straw! I no longer run scared that I will pass out or worse on the trails a million miles from help.

Through the summer training we had some of the hottest most humid days ever! It was tough but we were tougher!

A few days before the 40k the race director announced that the 40k course was going to change. Unfortunately the area had been severely affected by the hurricanes that came through and many of the trails were impassable.

In addition to the 40k the race also had a half marathon and a 40 miler. The race director had to make last-minute changes to the course so that the all the races could still go on. The half marathon course was passable and so they made the decision to have the 40k run the half course twice making it a marathon and to have the 40 miler run the course three times!

Of course this sent us into a silly frenzy. We started bantering back and fourth about how we did not train for 42k but only 40k and what in the world would we do! A 40k is 24.85 miles whereas the marathon is 26.2. That mile and a half roughly was sure to get us lol!! We were kidding of course. I was already pretty mentally prepared for a marathon. Most places I looked listed this race as a marathon while others did say 40k. Either were really fine with me.

I laid out all of my clothes in advance for the race but totally forgot to take a flat runner pic as I usually do!! In hind sight I am not sure if hardcore trail runner girls do this or not so good thing I didn't. Make no mistake I am a hard core trail runner girl now!!

I decided to wear my Skirt Sports Spanky Skirt, a black tank top from WalMart, the Skull and Bones OTC Crazy Compression Socks, of course my Brooks Cascadia shoes, a baseball cap, my Nathan VaporAiress Hydration vest and last minute I picked up some Nike Sleeves at Dicks Sporting Goods.

The sleeves were the best decision ever!!!! I knew I would be cold starting out and I don't love being cold. I love being cool but not cold. If I wore a jacket I would have had to remove my pack to get the jacket off once I warmed up. With the sleeves I could peel them off mid run and they are so thin I could easily stuff them in a pocket of my pack! That's exactly what I did. Within the first three miles these puppies were off and tucked away for the rest of the race!

I had a busy weekend and so there was no good way for me to get to Greensboro the night before the race. I would instead make the two hour drive the morning of the race. Kim and John drove down that morning as well. We all got up at 3:30 am and met up at the interstate at 4:30 am to caravan down together. We had a 2 hour drive ahead of us and we needed to get there about 6:30 for packet pick up.

We stopped just into Greensboro to take a quick potty break and I ran to the convenience store for some last minute fuel. The night before the race I realized my hubby had eaten all of my mini Payday's (trail running fuel of the Gods lol). I had to be in Boone Friday night for a Gala with my youngest daughters sorority and so after she and I went to Walmart to buy another bag of mini Paydays. As I was heading down the mountain after dropping her off she called to tell me she had the Walmart bag with my PAYDAYS!!! So.... I grabbed what they had at the store which was a sword sized Payday that just barely fit into one of my side pockets in my pack lol!!

We got to the race Saturday morning just as packet pick up started. We were able to meet the race director which was a lot of fun. We had been bantering back a fourth a bit on Instagram as we prepped for the race. We then we met up with Meredith and loaded up our packs. We were lucky enough to meet in person Jacky Hunt-Broersma aka ncrunnerjacky who is an ultrarunner also from North Carolina. She has an incredible story of surviving cancer and now running as an amputee through the toughest trails you can fathom. If you don’t follow her you should be, she is incredibly inspirational and her journey is unlike anything that I could ever imagine. Jacky was there for the 40 miler!!

The race started in waves with the first wave being the half marathoners. A bit later the marathoners lined up and the 40 milers would start after us.

The weekend before this race Kim and I ran 13 miles on the Fonta Flora Trails. Kim is a stronger trail runner and much better pacer than me and last weekend I decided to run behind her the entire time. That run was probably the best trail run ever and so I decided I would do the same, run behind her, for as long as I could at this race.

I made her swear she'd not hold back for me and that if I fell behind she would go on. She promised and I promised her that even if by some miracle I felt like a rock star at the end I would not pass her and instead push her to the finish!!! I did not feel like a rock star and instead let her drag me behind her to finish lol!!

We ran the first half of the race almost non stop. We power hiked maybe twice on two steep climbs.

Training for a trail race, especially a trail marathon is a challenge in and of itself. Training for a trail marathon that you have never been able to test out is even more of a challenge.

All I had seen were these two videos of the course.

For a road race a pacing strategy or a run walk strategy is doable. For a trail race with varying terrain not so much.

We ran so strong for the first half and slowed down a bit for the second. We decided we would try to do a 3:1 run/walk for the second half and for the most part stuck to that!

My legs were heavy by the time we began loop two. I had mentally planned to fall behind but decided I would work as hard as I could to keep up with Kim.

The trails were challenging and the terrain was ever changing. The rooty areas very rooty where it felt like we were we were doing some fancy footwork you see in those football player drills. There were areas where it was very packed dirt which was great and there were areas of super slippery mud because of all the rain. The trail had sections where boardwalks had been built in the woods, these areas were low spots that most likely got the wettest. The course also had a few short spurts along the road and dam of the lake.

It rained almost the entire day but that tree cover and canopy kept us from getting soaked. The temperature was perfect, it was nice and cool. It really was the perfect day! We have some great trails in western NC but this trail in Greensboro makes me jealous!

We gained about 1,800 feet of elevation overall which was not too bad.

The aid stations were well stocked and well supported. I did not take a lot of pictures on this route. I normally am the picture taking queen but I was focused on running instead and did not want to slow us down. On the trail I have to focus on maintaining my footing. If I take my eyes off the trail I tend to find myself in a face plant position on the ground lol!

I took in fuel about every 30-45 minutes and sipped on my Nuun Water in between that as needed. I had Gu, Salt Sticks, Peppermint, Gummy Bears and my giant Payday as my fuel sources and alternated between them throughout the race. At the aid stations I grabbed a cold water which was refreshing! This fueling and hydrating strategy worked well for me this race!

A few times during the race Kim was in it to win it and I thought I might die in the process. If there was another runner on the trail we'd suddenly speed up to pass, most of them out for their morning run and not part of the race lol!! Once she did ask a lady behind us her age group, when the reply was 45 buddy we picked up the pace again lol! Turns out she was running the half dang it lol!!

After the race we ran up hill to the finish and we received our race awards from the race director and were directed over to the post race food. They had a fully catered hot meal ready for us at the finish!! They had Beer, BBQ, Rolls, a big salad and so much more!! I grabbed a water, roll and some veggie straws and collapsed. The spread was very impressive but I had Pizza on the brain!

I finished in 6:15 which was way better than I expected! I didn't exactly know what to expect so I had just planned to finish before the eight hour cut off. Kim and I came in fourth and fifth in our age group woot woot!! Next year we are gunning for a place now that we know what to expect!

Oh yeah! We will be back! This race was awesome!! Well organized, well staffed, well supported! Not one single complaint or critique!

We hung out for a little bit after the race took a few more photos and then left to go get some pizza!

This race is hands-down one of my all-time favorite!! I want to do it again and again and again and again! Kim said she felt like she could have gone on to do a third loop! I did not feel that way lol. I however would love to have felt that way and so one day maybe I will give that a try!

As always I did have a good long cleansing cry on the course. I tend to do that. At about mile 21 I was overcome by emotion. I had never gotten farther than 20 miles on the trails before and here I was going farther! I felt so small in this big ole forest yet I felt so alive, my spirit totally revived by the cool crisp fall fresh air, the gentle rain shower washing over me and the beautiful woodsy scents dancing along with me on the course! It was trail magic and God for sure!

I can not recommend this race enough and I sure can not wait to do it again!!

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"Will run for Chocolate!!"
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I had THE most fun at the Hot Chocolate 15K in Charlotte this past weekend!!

I have participated in the Atlanta Races twice before and fell immediately in love with these races. Charlotte did not disappoint!

I have been looking forward to this event for weeks!

I was a little undecided on what exactly I would wear and so I laid out my options (as always) the night before.

2018 was the first year for the Hot Chocolate in Charlotte and I did not run it so I was super excited to run it this year! Charlotte is much more convenient for me!

I managed to convince Elizabeth kind of last minute to run the race and so she and I car pooled down and met up with Kim and John at the race!

We left town at 5 and arrived about 7:15 having made one stop along the way! One thing none of us thought about was parking and paying to park. Next year I will need to remember to bring cash!

The weather was great! Not too cold, not too hot. I wore a Skirt Sports Skirt, long sleeve Nike shirt under my BibRave shirt, Crazy Compression Socks, my Brooks Cascadia and my BibRave Hat! I carried my Nathan handheld and had my Aftershokz Treks Airs too!

I met up with my fellow BibRave Pros which was fun! This was my first time racing with BibRave and while I feel like I know these guys I have only met them online so meeting them off line was a treat!

We then jumped in line for the porta potties and then warmed up a bit with another friend Tami!

Just before the race start we headed down and got into our corals and then we were off!!

The course was great! Very well marked and even better manned than I could recall! I love participating in races that are so well supported. It felt like there was an officer ever 1/4 mile or more. In addition there were other volunteers along the course and lots of families that came out to cheer on the runners! We ran through a couple of neighborhoods, main roads and a short section of greenway so that was fun!

The aid stations were awesome! I didn't stop at all of them but I saw one with Gummy Bears, one with Chocolate and one with Marshmallows (yum)! The stations also had Nuun and Water. I tend to carry Nuun so I go for the water usually!

In my training I have been trying hard to work on my mental toughness. I have been working on sprinting to the end of my training runs when I can see the finishing point. I struggle in races with this. I get a mile away and feel great then as I get closer it's like my brakes go on and I. Can. Not. Move. One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other. UGGGGG. I saw the 400M sign and suddenly felt like I was miles and miles away. Sheesh!! Must do more work on this!!!

I managed to conjure up some strength and push to the finish! I bettered my previous 15k times and completed in 1:39!

I am delighted with my time! (But I know I could have done even better lol)

After the race we got our medals cheered in some other runners and then ventured into First Ward Park to get our Hot Chocolate!!

The park was full of things to see and do!! There was a cute spot to take a pic with your time, lots of fun giveaways including sport beans, All State Beanies, etc. There was a gear store, several fun photo ops and loads and loads of chocolate!

The medals, as always, were the best!!! Who doesn't love a medal shaped like a chocolate bar???

I absolutely love these races!!! I am already looking forward to running again next year!

Hot Chocolate hosts races all across the country!! Check them out and find one near you!! Maybe I will see you there!!

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"Resolution Run 5K ~ December 30, 2017 ~ Race Recap"
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My latest love are races that keep registration open basically until the start of the race.

I was so uncertain through December about what I wanted to do in the way of a race. I had set this goal to run 12 races in 2017.

I am the race director for the Night of Light in Morganton and so I no longer run that race. It is my very favorite race but I need to stay put as much as possible that night to make sure things go smoothly.

I had registered to run the Kiawah Half Marathon with my friends on December 9th but as we got into December I really began stressing about what I really needed to do.

The weeks leading up to the Night of Light are non stop, very busy. In addition I was very busy at work with several early mornings and late evenings. I just had no time to begin thinking about Christmas just yet. I knew once the 5K was over I would have a little reprieve except that I had the half marathon the next weekend which was going to take up another weekend of the month.

The weekend after that, the weekend of the 16th, I also had plans. We spent Saturday with the girls and their boyfriends and went to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. We do something "Christmasy" (totally made up word) each year it's one of our favorite traditions. It gives us a minute to enjoy time together and all the sparkle of Christmas.

The 17th we would celebrate my moms birthday and then the next weekend was Christmas.

It just was not settling well with me to be gone the weekend of the 9th with so much going on, having been so busy in the weeks prior and having so much to do at home. In addition both my girls had stuff going on that I needed to be available for, Tess was going to be home from College and on top of that my stomach had been so upset for several days and I had not been running and I felt completely under trained. I was logging my long runs but skipping my daily short base miles.

We also did have our Christmas Tree but I wanted to really decorate and I still needed to shop for Christmas and my time was running out.

I was so sad to miss time with my friends but they had a great time and deferring helped relive a little stress for me this holiday season!

I also hated to miss this race because of my 2017 goals! While I had already run 12 races I initially thought my goal was a race a month and now I had deferred my December race. I looked back at my goals and realized I had actually just said 12 races so technically I was off the hook.

However... This also did not settle well with me either and I kept contemplating a race for December.

I had been seeing posts from some other local runner girls about the Resolution Run 5K in Marion on the evening of December 31st. Most Resolution Runs I see are for New Years Day and that would not help my situation at all.

I went back and fourth and back and fourth on this for days. Trying to find someone to do it with me. My marathon training partner said she would do it so I signed up on December 30th at 6:00 pm lol!!!

I then went on to peer pressure my sister in law to run it too! That conversation looked something like this:

Saturday Night 12/30/17
Me: Have you given any more thought to the Resolution 5K
Her: I don't know just yet what my plans are! Are you for sure doing it?
Me (6:00pm): Yes getting ready to register now
Her: Sorry, I wish I could say for sure, I will text you tomorrow. What are you doing after?
Me: Ok Sounds good!! Coming home after! I will text you tomorrow!

Sunday Evening 4:00 pm (We are leaving for the race at 6:00 pm... watch and learn my friends, watch and learn...) 12/31/17
Her: I keep going back and fourth about the race. I think I will pass but just in case what time are you leaving?
Me: You should come!!!! We are meeting at 6:30!! My friend Carly is coming too! I have some paper hats, and noisemakers for us!! Should be back home by 10pm!! You need to come it will be fun!!!
Me (20 min later): You think you will come? If so I'm gonna make you something, a surprise!!!
Her: OMG girl!!! I love surprises but it's been so cold!!
Me: It's not timed and you get a medal... Price is also reduced!!
Her: T-Shirt still included?
Me: Yep!!
Her: Still Thinking...
Me: Just come on!! You then will have all the energy you need to stay up till midnight lol!!
Her: Ok
Me (at 5:15pm): See you at 6:30!!
Her: Don't forget my surprise!!
Me: Be sure to bundle up!!

I decided on what to wear and then headed out to meet these other crazy girls!

It was snowing ❄️... It was 23 degrees... It was windy.... We were possibly under dressed (but well decorated)... Carly and I ran 15 miles the day before... We felt a tad crazy... But what a fun way to wrap up 2017 🎉
Ready to run the Resolution 5K 2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣7️⃣➡️2️⃣0️⃣1️⃣8️⃣🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️🏃🏼‍♀️

We had so much fun!! I had never ran in Marion before so this was a first for me! We got there, got our bibs and shirts and went back to the car to keep warm until the race.

The route was quite a bit hillier than I expected but it was a great course. The race was well supported by the local police, they were at every major intersection directing traffic and because it was an open course they drove the route in loops making sure the runners were safe! I was so impressed! I finished the race in 31:03. Considering I was on tired leg from the longest run I had ever done the day before (15 miles) I was so happy with that time!

After the race we grabbed a water, a banana and a cookie and then high tailed it back to the warmth of the car!!

I totally would do this race again! It just might become an annual tradition.

Next year though we take the hubbies and grab a drink at my friends bar Refinery 13 Taproom after! I mean were all dressed up already and need more places to go lol!

Once we got back to town my running buddy and I had another little run to do.... Grocery store run bahahaha!!

Then we were all back home with our families to ring in the new year!!

Oh and the surprise!! As I was waiting for my SIL to decide on the race I quick crocheted reflective headbands for the both of them and wrapped them around mini bottles of champagne!! They loved them!!

Pictures and more details on the blog:

Cheers to the New Year!! Many Happy Miles!

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"South of the Mountain Trail Run - November 04, 2017 - Race Recap"
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This was my third year participating in the South of the Mountain Trail Run and each year I have gotten better and better on my pace. Trail running is very different than road running and so each year I have been very happy with my time. This year I was especially happy and sooooo close to placing in my age group! There is always next year!

In 2015 I finished in 36:53:56
In 2016 I finished in 34:58:9
In 2017 I finished in 33:51:6

I love this race. It is small town race, there were 126 finishers this year. It is a well organized event and for me it is the perfect time of year!!

I love the drive out to this race, these are the old country roads that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. My family is from this area so I love driving out here as it reminds me of when I was a little girl.

This year my sister in law joined me to run the race and I believe she loved it too!

I also love running into runner friends that I only get to see every now and then! My fellow Crazy Compression Ambassador and I always meet up at this race!

The course is absolutely beautiful, this race has become a tradition for me and I plan to continue to run it year after year! It is the perfect fall race for me! If you are ever in the area you should certainly check this race out!!

Come run it with me next year!

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"Pacing The Goose Chase Bluegrass Half Marathon"
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I have never ran as a pacer before although I am pretty consistent on my pace for nearly all the half marathons I do. I have one speed and my body just naturally settles in for the run within the first mile or so.

My friend Kim S asked me to pace with her at The Goose Chase Bluegrass Half Marathon. She actually paced me in the half that I got my PR! I of course decided to join her but I was a bit nervous. Suddenly there was a bit of performance anxiety that I felt. I MUST maintain the pace because there will be others counting on me.

I have been training for an October 40k so I am feeling pretty good with my fitness level but we would be out of town the week before the race (on the go, go, go) and flying back home late the night before the race.

As you know leg cramping is one of my main #runnerprobs so I was especially worried with all the travel and very little sleep. Saturday we drove to the Milwaukee Airport at 2pm, waited on our plane until 4:00pm, flew a short flight to Chicago and boarded another plane to Greensboro at 6pm (7pm NC time) and arrived in NC at 9pm. We then had a two hour car ride home. I walked in my door at 11:30pm and was in bed by 12am.

I set my alarm for 3:30am and was up and at it with 3.5 hours sleep. I was meeting my friend Kim A at 4:30am to make the two hour drive to Johnson City, TN. We stopped in a neighboring town to pick up another runner friend Morgan and headed to the race!

I did deliberately count my ounces of water consumed on Saturday so I could at least be sure I was properly hydrated. I also had laid everything out before I left for my trip so that I wouldn't have to do any of the race prep when I got in from my flight.

We met up and made the windy two hour drive to Johnson City, TN for the race. We would meet my friend Kim S there!

We got there with a little time to spare and quickly got changed into our pacer shirts!

Snapped a few selfies and headed to the start line.

The pacers all met up for a quick group photo and then we were off!

The course was pretty flat for Tennessee with a few small hills. It felt like home. The course was also spread out well throughout the town and very very well marked! There was plenty of support and aid stations along the way with water and Gatorade. Most of the aid stations also had music!!

We were supposed to run a 12:00/mile pace for a 2:37 finish. We stayed pretty consistent throughout the race, pulling back a couple of times and finished at 2:35!

Pretty darn near spot on!

The course was beautiful and took us all over town. We ran through the East Tennessee State University Campus, through Veterans Park, by the Hospital, and through the quaint downtown.

It really was a great day! The weather was perfect and I had great friends to run with! I am so glad I did this with friends!!! Running with friends is always awesome!!

We had so much fun and I am already looking forward to the next one!!

We grabbed some lunch after in Johnson City and then made the two hour trek home. I then showered and crawled in to my bed where I stayed the rest of the day!!

It's always an adventure and I love it! On to the next!!!

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