Where do you start when recapping a incredibly fun weekend you’d been planning for eleven months? I’m going to start where it all began…

At a Christmas party last December, the fact that I would be turning sixty this November came up, and I suggested inviting my running friends to our family beach house for several days the weekend before my birthday so we could run the OBX Half Marathon. My suggestion drew a lot of excitement at first and then died off until April, when once again the topic resurfaced. Before the excitement could wane, I created a private Facebook group and invited Bill and ten of my running friends to join.

Six of my friends were able to join – the others were committed to running the Richmond Marathon. The summer flew past, and for the most part, my training went well. I set a lofty goal of running a PR, a 1:54:33 or faster, and used the Run Less Run Faster (affiliate link) training plan to get me there.

After a meeting to iron out the details followed by lots of questions and reminders posted to our Facebook group, the time had come to make the drive to the Outer Banks. Bill, Beth, and I drove down on Thursday; and Kim, Angela, Erin, Amanda, and Kathy arrived on Friday.

We were surprised to see how much the beach had changed since our visit in late August. Tree trunks were exposed and the beach seemed narrower – a result of several late summer and fall storms I presume. With much recent rain, the sand was packed and driving was easy so I breathed a sigh of relief for my friends who would be driving on the sand for the first time the following day.


We unpacked our car, did a few chores around the house, and then had a fantastic dinner of filet Mignon, asparagus, and a tossed salad. We had a relaxing evening before turning in to get some rest before the rest of the crew arrived.

Just as Bill’s alarm sounded for his early wakeup to take sunrise pictures, the wind started howling and the beach house started shaking. The weather forecast had predicted gale warnings, and gales we got! We both rolled back over for another hour or two of sleep since there didn’t seem to be much of a sunrise and neither of us cared to be pelted in the eyes with sand.

Later in the morning the three of us did venture out for a walk, but the blowing sand made it less than enjoyable.


Just around sunset our friends started arriving. They’d stopped at the expo to pick up our race packets, something Beth and I very much appreciated!

We’d each picked a meal to prepare, and the first team got busy getting their Marathon Lasagna (from Shalane’s Run Fast. Eat Slow – affiliate link) into the oven to warm.

Once dinner was in the works, it was time to toast the weekend and get my birthday party started. Amanda impressed us with her bartending skills when she made this concoction of Kahlua, Baileys, and Crown Royal Vanilla whiskey, aka Duck Farts.


After our drinks, the girls had me sit down and open my two presents. The first one was this beautiful Pandora bracelet with charms picked out from each of my friends. My job was to guess who had given me which charm. (Note: I took this picture outside the following day).


After doing a terrible job guessing, my friends gave me this book with pictures and notes from each friend telling me which charm was from her. Just to name a few..

  • The C is for welcoming one of my friends to become a Cruiser – she later went on to become the chapter leader of our MRTT chapter which has over 1,400 runners
  • The black ribbon is from a friend who also has had melanoma
  • The VT is from a fellow Virginia Tech alumna
  • The camera represents my constant need to have photographic evidence of all our runs
  • The paw print is from a friend who’s dog used to join us for our early morning runs
  • The daddy’s girl is from a friend who lost her dad just a couple of months after I lost mine
  • The running shoe needs no explanation

(Note: I took this picture outside the following day).


Each time I would cry happy tears as I tried to read their touching notes out loud, the girls would laugh and congratulate themselves for getting me to cry – I don’t cry easily.

Next Bill surprised me with a new GoPro to replace my old one which is already four years old. Be prepared for even more pictures on Instagram, because now I’ve be able to shoot in even lower light.

Finally it was time for me to share goodie bags with my friends! Their bags contained various fuel bars, runner’s gum, a foot massager, individual bottles of wine, and their very own Australian hunk to mark their glasses.


Needless to say, the guys were a hit and I may have lined them all up for a picture at home before I filled their bags!


By the time we wrapped up our gift exchange, dinner was ready and we sat down to this delicious meal!

Photo credit: Kim


After dinner we enjoyed this fantastic chocolate birthday cake made by Kim’s ten-year-old daughter! Note the subliminal messages in the frosting!


Eventually, some of the hardier girls headed down to the ocean, some twice! It was in the mid-thirties when the bravest of them waded in the ocean, barefoot!

Photo credit: Kim

The rest of the evening was filled with more drinks, games, dancing, and lots of laughing. It was the perfect birthday party!

Saturday morning it was Bill’s and my time to cook so we made both turkey and pork bacon, scrambled eggs, and blueberry muffins. The rest of the day was about relaxing, but not until we did our planks!


Relaxing included taking another walk on the beach, eating a light lunch, watching college football on TV, staying caught up on social media, taking naps, laying out and photographing flat runners, reading mindless magazines, and taking more naps…

Photo credit: Erin

Before we knew it, it was time for our pre-race dinner and it didn’t disappoint – roasted chicken, baked sweet potatoes, a salad, and garlic bagel toast!


After a very late night on Friday, we were all in bed by 9:30’ish on Saturday. Our alarms would be going off at 4 for a 5 AM departure to the race…

But you’ll have to stay tuned for our OBX Half Marathon adventure!


  • Questions:
  • When is your birthday?
  • Have you visited the beach in the colder months?  
  • What’s your favorite pre-race dinner?


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