Half Marathon #39
NC Half Marathon #6
2017 Race #13
2017 Half Marathon #4
Charity Chase Half Marathon #2
Back in 2012 when I was still a fairly new runner, I made a goal of running a double digit race every month. (Living in the south makes it difficult to get in a half marathon.) Thus, I ended up running several races that were slightly beyond easy race day travel, like this race. I did not think that I would ever run this race again. However, with my normal June race, Sunrise Run 8k, taking place while we are across the pond, I needed a June race.
I decided on this one. At first, I also decided to make this a goal race. Then I remembered to Mountains to Main and made that my half marathon goal race of the season. I still registered for this one and with very little persuasion needed, convinced Mom to run this one with me as well.
I knew this was a hilly race. I also knew that the weather has been trending hot and humid. My race performance two weeks ago showed what I long knew, I do not perform as well in this sort of weather. Also, the time between these two races was a mere two weeks. I planned to simply run this race with Mom and attempt to beat my previous course PR.
With just enough time we arrived at the race start, ready to run.
Right at 6:30am (yes…super early but very necessary in Carolina summers) we were off. Shortly into the race I decided to switch to the third screen on my Garmin, the one designed to display heart rate data should I have a heart rate band attached. When no heart rate band is attached, the screen displays nothing. I did not want to be tempted to look at the watch.
Barely a couple miles into the race and I could feel the sweat start to drip into my eyes. We had 11 miles still to go.
I spend the first couple miles trying to talk myself into the run. For some reason, I had no desire to run. I felt fine, aside from the ridiculous humidity, but the want was not there, yet.
Mile 1: 7:59
Mile 2: 8:21
Eventually my want came into synch with my body and I started to feel good. This course provides the textbook definition for rolling hills. I did not study the course beforehand and thus had no idea how many rollers the course contained or where those rollers were on the course. Thus whenever I saw an uphill, I reminded myself that a downhill would soon come after.
Thankfully, none of these hills were too terrible. We got over them with ease and felt strong especially as we drew ever closer to the start line at the end of our first loop, the finish line for the “lite” version of the race.
The only distraction came in the form of a need to take a pit stop. Even though I drank nothing the morning of the race, I still needed to go. I should have waited in the line pre-race with Mom but I thought I would be fine. I got myself to that fifth mile by telling myself to take the first portopotty that I saw. I nearly passed it but then I forced myself to go in.
With that taken care of, the run felt even better. I did accidentally hit the lap button on my Garmin shortly after that when I tried to wipe some sweat off my face with my left hand. Thus from then on my Garmin and the mile markers were nearly .2 different. My splits are slightly off as well.
Mile 3: 8:25
Mile 4: 8:52
Mile 5: (.88) 9:38 (avg pace)
I felt really good throughout this section. Many runners around us approached the finish line so the excitement was contagious. While I love longer races, the urge to take the right side of the fork was strong. We kept going though onto the second loop of the race.
Mile 6: 8:59
Mile 7: 8:40
The rollers continued to present themselves throughout the next few miles as well. Mom and I kept plugging along. I felt great but waited for Mom to ask about taking a fuel break. I have been experimenting with just liquid nutrition since faster paces prevent easy intake of chews or even gels. She brought some Gatorade chews though.
We did not take a fuel break until just before the mile 10 marker.
Mile 8: 8:54
Mile 9: 9:43
Mile 10: 9:11
As our paces indicate, the heat and humidity had ramped up significantly by this point. Mom mentioned afterwards how thankful she was for the early start. If we had started at 8, it would have been unbearable.
I continued to feel good fitness wise through the remaining miles although I did start to feel drained thanks to the ever present heat and humidity.
Then came the final two miles and two of the most significant hills of the entire race. These hills were much more than rollers. These were the kind of hills that nearly suck you dry. On one of them we moved into single file with Mom behind me. I hoped to serve as motivation, something to help “pull” her up the hill. After this first hill Mom asked to walk, the only time this race. I easily agreed. We walked for about 10-20 seconds before starting to run again. By this point, a little more than a mile remained.
With a little more than half a mile to go, I saw the second significant hill with Ellis waiting about midway up.
(I still need to work on that hip drop.)
When we got up to where he was, he started running with us, cheering us on. We were so close. I started picking up what pace I could to try to finish strong.
In the final quarter mile I passed three people – two guys got “chicked” – and finished strong.
Mile 11: 9:11
Mile 12: 9:41
Mile 13: 9:16
last .21 7:34
Final time: 1:58:25
I loved this race. I definitely need to work on my adaptation for humid weather although that will soon take a back seat to marathon training.
Registration and Packet Pick Up
While I do not remember much about the actual registration, packet pick up went off without a hitch. I loved the location in Union Square, much easier to find than the location from 2012. I don’t even remember where that was.
The race shirt is definitely comfortable. I’m wearing it as I write. It’s not my preference for working out but it fits fairly well and works as an excellent lounging shirt.
Prerace/morning (evening) amenities
The race organizers provided plenty of pre-race amenities such as portopotties and some permanent public restrooms in Union Square. The PA system broadcasted well eliminating any confusion on when to move towards the start and announcements such as that.
This course challenges you but not too much . I have run much more difficult courses. That, however, does not take away from the difficulty. It is also a pretty course though it contains many turns which is likely the cause of the extra .1 my Garmin measured.
Charity Chase excels in this. Just like back in 2012, they organized a contest for the best course supporters. Although I was so exhausted at the end I missed the voting station, I really appreciated this effort. Many people came out and filled the course with plenty of enthusiastic spectators; my favorites were the Jenkins Waterita’ville and the Pink Heals Minions. Organizers also provided water stops at nearly every mile, a portopotty at approximately every 4 or 5 miles as well as Gu (vanilla bean and lemon) just after mile 10. Well supported.
Finish line and Post Race Amenities
The finish line in Union Square is beautiful. Volunteers handed me a cold water bottle and my medal right after I finished. I didn’t see all of what was offered past the finish line, I did notice that they had Gatorade and helped myself to one of those.
I know that there were a couple photographers, at least one on the course and one at the finish. I will update when I find out for sure.
Results were a little difficult to find. When we found them, they did not list the age group break down, only overall place and maybe gender place. I cannot remember for sure. I will update this if I find where the full results are listed.
I highly recommend this race! Charity Chase knows how to put on a half marathon!