NC Half Marathon Race Recap

Half Marathon #18

State #13
12 in 2012 Race #5
Pre-Race Saturday
P and I left Atlanta fairly early to head to Charlotte.  The garmin estimated a 3.5 hour drive to get to the expo.  We looked up the best North Carolina BBQ on trip advisor and asked his boss for suggestions and R & R BBQ was the winner.  I inhaled my sandwich and we split the mac and cheese and green beans.
picture doesn’t do it justice!
The expo was more like a packet pick up.  I think only 2 vendors were there and the only races represented were the ones put on by the same race company.  It was still really, really cool though-because it was at the infield of Charlotte Motor Speedway (and I am not a NASCAR fan).  The Richard Petty driving experience was in full action and we watched for a bit.  I tried to convince P to do it but he said he didn’t want to wait.

Really cool to watch them go around the track
Of course I immediately thought of the commercial…
Like I mentioned in my post before the race, I chose to stay in Charlotte (race was technically in Concord).  I had a hotel booked in both Concord and Charlotte but P and I decided to “see” Charlotte instead.  Side note-for anyone wanting to do this race-the drive isn’t bad at all.  Hotels are cheaper by the race but if you want more of a “city experience” stay in Charlotte.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t great and we ended up watching a movie Saturday afternoon in our hotel room.  It cleared up and we walked to dinner at Aria.  The lamb ragu gnocchi was really good!
Who doesn’t love ricotta?
Back to the hotel and an early nights sleep before the race.
Pre-Race
Even though the race start was at 7:30, I woke up at 5:30 to start getting ready.  The drive would take 20 minutes or so and I had a feeling parking would be a mess (they had pointed out the one lot that would be used at the expo and it had only one way in).  P was very nice and was going to drive me to the start, run a bit while I raced and then run my last miles with me post race. He thought I was being dramatic, which I usually am, about leaving early and then we arrived and saw this.  
yes, all of those little lights are cars. for a good mile.
brake lights from our “short cut”
Hot, hot mess backed up for a mile or so just to park to park.  We knew about a u-turn that cut out some of the traffic but I just had him drop me off and figured I would get 1 mile in before the 1/2 marathon.  I had plenty of time to run a mile, go to the bathroom and stretch.  I realized at this point I forgot my ipod and my sports beans.  Oops.
The corrals weren’t really corrals, and they were a bit crowded.  The PA system wasn’t very good either because you couldn’t hear any announcements. The race did start 15-20 minutes late I think.  I wasn’t close enough to see the beginning but Owen caught it on video and you can check out his recap.
start line
Miles 1-8
The first 2-3 miles were actually on the race track.  It was really cool, but somehow really quiet.  I had no idea how steep the sides of the track were until I saw them up close.  
beginning of race
We ran out of the track and onto the streets around it.  I was already bored.  I had run the past 2 races with other people and I had no one to talk to and no music.  Luckily the volunteers were amazing!!  There were several spots with local cheerleading groups too, which was really nice.
cars at each mile-pardon the pic while running shot
Mile 5-6 was just mean.  We started to go down hill to an out and back.  The out and back stopped at the middle of the hill.  Who does that?  You pretty much had to come to a stop, attempt to turn around and begin to climb back up.  This led us to the drag way track.  
I had no idea that a drag way was so long.  Or it seems really long when you can see everything in front of you.  I realized at this point I was going way to fast for a training run. I still had to run 4 miles after finishing the race and needed to slow it down-even on a perfectly flat drag way!!  Again, super cool to run on the track…just very,very quiet.  
it was lightly raining here-sun coming up.  and very lonely!
I realized on the way back that I forgot to take my GU.  Luckily there was a water stop at mile 8 so I took it when I started my trek back towards the big speedway.
Miles 9-13.1
As I started to head towards the big speedway I noticed the course was heading towards where P said he was going to try and park.  Sure enough I spotted my car and he was waiting to snap a few pics!  I was so excited to see him I forgot to get my ipod out of the car.  Then came the worst hill of the course.  The climb headed to a bridge that ran over the street (should’ve taken a picture) so it was steep.  It was here I realized I was being a total idiot and needed to slow down.  I was not running for a PR, this was supposed to be a training run.
coming up from the RV Park 
he caught me!

The last few miles were hell.  At least for me.  My stomach didn’t feel great and I just wanted to be done.  We looped around the speedway (outside the actual park still) and I saw P running towards me.  He was getting a few miles in and would meet me at the finish.    The course took me into the speedway for the last 2 miles.  It was a bit of a tease because we looped around the infield before heading to the track.

final loops

The last mile all I could think was you will be done with the race and then you can run with P and have someone to talk to. I got annoyed with some girl trying to “race” me at the finish so I pulled ahead :)  I crossed the finish line knowing I still had 4 miles to run.

not even smiling at the finish :(

Official Results

346/1794 overall
87/995 females
22/178 females 30-34


Garmin Results

not as consistent as I usually am 
just wanted to show the many, many loops



Post Race
I grabbed my medal, snapped a post race pic and headed towards food tent (actually held where the cars are during races I think).  The food was really disappointing.  A half a banana, grapes, and lots of cookies (which I can’t eat).  I ate my banana, grabbed a cup of powerade and called P.  I didn’t feel the need to hang out so he snapped a pic of me in front of one of the cars and we started our run towards the car (I will say, I apparently missed a characature guy and music at the end-I would’ve at least had my picture drawn!  I saw a pic on the facebook page of someone having it done.  That is a fun thing for a post race party).

Cookies, cookies, cookies.
post race with my bling!

We ran to the car so I could put my medal in it looped around the 6-8 mile markers of the course.  The cars were still out that were the race mile markers so we peeked inside.  P was nice to listen to me recap my race while we ran but I will not sugar coat it.  I stared at my watch for 4 miles just wanting to be done.

inside of the race car

After we finished we drove back to the hotel so I could take an ice bath, P finished up miles (he wanted to do another 3) and then we showered to head out and grab lunch and drive back to Atlanta.

I had recommendations for Bad Daddy’s Burgers and they didn’t disappoint.  A bison burger with pimento cheese, grilled onions, and bacon.  And since I am still not eating fried food, a cup of chili. :)

may not look good-but it was amazing!

The ride back was brutal but at least I had good company!

Overall
Favs:
Having P’s support all weekend
Running on a race car track
The bling
volunteers
plenty of bathrooms at start

Not So Much:
The expo
Post race food
parking
the constant same loops on course

The Bling
It really is a cool piece of bling in a very over-the-top sort of way.  The blinking lights and moving cars are a sight to be seen on a race medal.  I love the checkered flag lanyard too.

lights flash between red, yellow & green and the cars move back and forth.

Final Thoughts
For an inaugural race, it wasn’t too bad.  It definitely had it’s hiccups (parking, post race, expo) and ways to improve but I’m sure the race directors are aware of these things.  I think it was just a tough day for me.  No music, stomach issues, and adding additional miles isn’t the most fun way to run a 1/2 marathon.  That being said, I would still recommend this race.  If you like small races, this race is for you.  If you are looking to race the states and love cool bling, this race is definitely for you too.    

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Elizabeth

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9 Comments

  • Great race recap! I like the idea of running on the track and drag strip, but I'm not sure about the rest of the course with all the crazy loops. Congrats on finishing state #13.

  • The bling is great, glad you had a nice weekend away. I must recommend the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (13.1) in May b/c you get to run on the race track mid-way and it is NOT quiet or boring. I've never seen so much entertainment along an entire course, start to finish. It is incredible. Well organized for being the country's biggest half, too. A must do! And, by far the biggest piece of bling in my collection (with checkered lanyard). You gotta try it! Sells out fast.

  • The bling is super fun. My dad lives outside Charlotte so I was thinking about doing this race next year. Great recap!

    PS – you are looking awesome, girl!

  • That's a really different medal-very neat! I hate that the overall experience wasn't better for you. The food from the night before and the place you guys went after the race looks really good.

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