Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half Marathon Recap


Running down Morgan Street
(Photo courtesy of my awesome wife!)

This past Sunday I ran the Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Half Marathon. It was a beautiful day for the race and I really enjoyed the event. The race follows a challenging course that winds around downtown Raleigh with portions running through Chavis Park, Oakwood, Cameron Village, Hillsborough Street, and Dix Park. The finish line is right by the convention center and making for a great downhill finish where a nice cheering crowd was waiting.

When I first signed up for the race last year I was hoping to earn PR (personal record) with an overall goal of finishing under 1:45 (my current PR is 1:49:21 at the Richmond Half). Going into the race on Sunday I knew that 1:45 was unlikely, but I was still shooting for finishing under 2 hours. In the end I crossed the finish line right at 1:55:55 and was very happy with that time!


The Runologie Cheer Station

Along the way it was great to see my wife and friends cheering along the course. It is amazing how energizing it is to see a familiar face when you feel like you are starting to run out of steam. There was also an excellent cheering station put on by the local running store Runologie around mile 12.5 on Morgan Street. This really helped provide a nice boost of positive energy to the runners on the final stretch leading into the finish!

Now that my spring half is in the books I am turning my attention to Tar-Heel 10 Miler in Chapel Hill on April 22nd. I don’t have any specific goals for this race other than to have a fun time running. I’ve run it once before and I am looking forward to soaking in the scenery along the course. If you are planning to sign up use the code TH10JOHN to save $5 off registration.

If you are looking for suggestions for other local races in the coming months I recommend checking out the Running of the Bulls 8K in Durham on June 3rd and the Raleigh Rundown Downhill Mile on June 16th. Whatever your race plans are this spring I hope you achieve all your running goals and enjoy the journey!


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Weekend Picks: April 7th – 9th


The Typewriter Project at Quail Ridge Books
(photo courtesy Midtown Events)

This weekend there are several fun events going on around the Triangle. Also, during the month of April I encourage you to swing by Quail Ridge Books in North Hills to check out The Typewriter Project. You can stop by Monday-Sunday, 9am-7:30pm through April 30th to join in a citywide linguistic exchange. The typewriter booth has a vintage typewriter which allows every keystroke to be collected, stored, and posted online for users to read, share, and comment upon.

The Typewriter Project’s mission is to investigate, document, and preserve the poetic subconscious of the city while providing a fun and interactive means for the public to engage with the written word. So check it out sometime while your out exploring and share your thoughts! Speaking of exploring, here are the rest of my picks for the weekend:

Friday – April 7th

First Friday Market in Raleigh
The First Friday Market will be held in front of The Raleigh Times and The Morning Times on Hargett Street in downtown Raleigh.. The street will close at 6pm and filled with vendors with great art and hand crafted wares. Music by Gray young and a beer tent by Durty Bull.

Sir Walter Miler Kickoff Party at Runologie
Join the Sir Walter Running team as we they kick off their 2017 Summer Season with a First Friday party with their friends at Runologie. Come join the team as they Announce plans for the 2017 Sir Walter Miler and other upcoming events this summer and fall.

Saturday – April 8th

Grilled Cheese Bar at Beer Study Durham
Join Beer Study in Durham Saturday 2-5pm and Appalachian Mountain Brewery for a Grilled Cheese Bar! That’s right. A bar of grilled cheese. And a bar of beer. They will have the cheese, bread, and a press so you can make your own super dope grilled cheese while enjoying beer.

Live Music at 2nd Wind in Carrboro
Zen Groove Funkestra performs NOLA inspired funk featuring very special guest vocalist Rhonda Robichaux. The 2nd Wind in Carrboro is a cool little bar that features great live music each week. Looks like a great little spot to hear live music. Band starts at 10pm on Saturday.

Sunday – April 9th

Explore Fearrington Village at “Destination Walter”
Have you ever wanted to explore Fearrington Village in Pittsboro and see what it is all about? This Sunday you can join Walter Magazine for an afternoon of beer tastings with local breweries at Fearrington’s Garden Terrace. With hors d’oeuvres, several local breweries and live music, this will be a Sunday afternoon well-spent. There will also be special pop-up events through Fearrington’s Village Center. All guests are entered to win an overnight stay at the Fearrington House Inn. Tickets are $25.

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Weekend Picks: March 31st – April 2nd


There were a lot of exciting announcements this week! On Wednesday Brewery Bhavana opened its doors in Raleigh’s Moore Square. Earlier in the week  local food trucks NC Bulkoki and Bo’s Kitchen shared that they are working together to open a casual Korean Restaurant & Coffee Shop called Namu Durham.

If you like tea you will be happy to hear The Honeysuckle Tea House in Chapel Hill reopened for the season. On top of all that I got word that a new Cocktail & Jazz lounge called Revial 1869 has openeded it downtown Clayton last weekend.

In addition to those fun new places to check out, here are my top picks for the upcoming weekend:


NC Beer Month at Glass Jug with KoKyu Food Truck
Start NC Beer Month a day early in style with this awesome draft list of North Carolina beers at The Glass Jug in Durham 5-10pm. The Ko Kyu food truck will be parked at the bottle shop too!

Art it Bloom at NCMA
Art in Bloom features more than 50 floral masterpieces inspired by the NCMA’s permanent collection and created by world-class floral designers from North Carolina and beyond. The exhibit runs through Sunday, April 2nd so don’t miss your chance to see it this weekend! Get tickets here.


Honeysuckle Tea House Grand Reopening
The Tea House is back open for the 2017 season. This is a really cool spot to visit in Chapel Hill (see my post for pics).  Great spot for tea, coffee, and smoothies. To celebrate the new season they will have a food truck and live music on Saturday. More details here.


Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Marathon
On Sunday head downtown to cheer on thousands of runners in the annual Rock-n-Roll Raleigh Marathon & Half Marathon. Race starts at 7am. There will be several live bands along the course to enjoy. You can view the race map here.

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“Something Rotten” at DPAC April 4th-9th

Something Rotten .Adam Pascal

Adam Pascal (center) Ryan VanDenBoom, Max Clayton, Eric Sciotto, and Aleks Pevec (L-R)
(photo by Joan Marcus)

Something Rotten! is fresh off a two-year run on Broadway and now on a it’s national tour that began back in January. This hilarious musical brings loads of laughs and an amazing score to the Durham Performing Arts Center with shows from Tuesday, April 4th through Sunday April 9th.

Based on the book written by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, the musical follows the Bottom brothers, Nick and Nigel who are English playwrights during the renaissance. Their careers are on the skids and they are desperately trying to come up with a new show to best their local competition, none other than William Shakespeare, played by Adam Pascal. To get a jump on the competition, Nick seeks the advice of  a soothsayer, Nostradamus (Blake Hammond), to tell him what the next “big thing” in show business will be Nostradamus tells Nick that musicals will be the new hit on stage and erupts into the hilarious number “Musicals” that pays homage to iconic Broadway shows. Nick then sets out to write the first musical ever in order to be more loved than Shakespeare and madness ensues that will keep the audience laughing.


Blake Hammond
(photo by Carol Rosegg)

In advance of the show coming to Durham I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Blake Hammond to talk about his role as Nostradamus and what it is like to be part of such a hilarious musical.

You have been in a lot of great productions over the years. Can you talk a little about that first “Big Role”?
Why thank you, yes it is true. I have performed throughout the country many times on both Broadway and regional stages. As a young man I was in Chicago for a long time. While there I saved up some money to give working in NYC a shot. Not long after arriving in New York I got my first off-Broadway role in ‘When Pigs Fly’. While in that show a casting director brought me in for ‘On The Town’. That would be my first Broadway show and things just really took off from there! Since then I’ve done a number of Broadway and national tours.

Before joining the cast of Something Rotten! you have played some iconic roles like Uncle Fester in The Addams Family and Edna in Hairspray. What are some of your favorite memories from those roles?
That’s a tough question! But I think my fondest memory from Hairspray was when my two brothers drove up from Texas to see the show. They got a real kick out of seeing me in that role and it meant a lot to me. As for my time in The Addams Family I would have to say the opportunity to perform the “Moon and Me” number.  Everyone always loved that number and so did I. It was magical.

What do you like the most about being on the road?
My favorite part of touring is the actual change of venue. We get to play so many wonderful theaters across the country and meet new people and it can really help in keeping a show fresh and on it’s toes. 

Speaking of being on the road, with Doing so many performances a week what do you like to do on your days off from performing?
We do eight shows a week while on tour which takes a lot of energy. I do a lot of stretching, and warming up and getting your body ready for the performance so on my days off I really enjoy just taking it easy and relaxing reading books and watching films.

Have you been to Durham before?
Yes! I was in Durham for the national tour of the Adams Family. I love North Carolina and look forward to visiting again when the company comes to town!

Something Rotten! opens at DPAC on Tuesday,  April 4th and runs through Sunday, April 9th. For tickets visit

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Mystery Brewing Beer Dinner at The Washington Duke in this Thursday

Mystery Brewing Beer Dinnera

Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, the luxury inn and golf club located on the campus of Duke University in Durham is getting a jump on NC Beer Month with a Mystery Brewing Beer Dinner on Thursday, March 30 from 6:45 to 9 p.m.

Join head brewer Erik Lars Myers as he discusses the brewing process of your favorite ales and lagers and how they pair with fresh, seasonal courses. Pair your Mystery beer with a flavorful four-course dinner and enjoy an elevator ride home with a special $139 room rate for the evening. Here’s a peek at the menu and beer pairings planned for the evening.


The Mystery Brewing beer dinner will be held in the Fairview Dining Room, a AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rated restaurant. The dinner costs $65 per person, or $54 for Executive Club members. To make reservations, please call the Fairview Dining Room at (919) 493-6699 or visit online registration for Mystery BrewingBeer Dinner.

Fairview Dining Room (1)a

About The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club
The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club is located on the campus of Duke University, only twenty minutes from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and ten minutes from Research Triangle Park. The Washington Duke Inn is the original AAA Four Diamond hotel in Durham, North Carolina. Nestled on 300 acres filled with tall pines and hardwoods, the Inn is known for its beautiful facility and grounds, 271 elegantly appointed guest rooms and suites, marvelous cuisine in the Fairview Dining Room — winner of the AAA Four Diamond Award, 2015 Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award and Wine Spectator Award of Excellence — the Bull Durham Bar, the Robert Trent Jones-designed 18-hole championship Duke University golf course, and its convenience to local points of interest. It is set apart from other area hotels and conference centers by unparalleled service, a gracious staff, luxurious interiors and attention to detail. For more information or reservations call (919) 490-0999 or (800) 443-3853, or by visiting

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