Local race fans, look no further than this Fall half marathon in North Carolina. Learn all about it in this Race 13.1 Charlotte Race Recap.
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I had a few goals for this race, the number one being to have fun, and another being to stick to the run/walk intervals I trained with. I’m happy to report I succeeded on both fronts. Let’s start with the day before.
The Day Before The Race
Jess and I slept in (we were on vacation after all!) and did a quick shakeout run ending at a local bagel shop (I’ll be sharing my Charlotte travel tips soon, so stay tuned!). We carb-loaded and caffeinated up before hopping in our rental car and heading to packet pickup.
Since this is a small, local race, packet pickup was held at a local sports store. We walked right in and up to the check in table, where we snagged our bibs, shirts and even a sticker and then perused the store for a bit. Jess’ Garmin had bit the bullet the week before, so she took advantage of the 20% discount the store was having to get herself a shiny, new Forerunner 235!
Then we spent the day exploring Uptown Charlotte before heading back to our Air BnB where we made gluten-free pasta, got our flat runners ready, and headed to bed.
A 5:30am alarm had us fueled (have you see my pre-run oatmeal energy bites?) and out the door around 6:15. We drove for 15 minutes and only hit traffic getting into the parking lot. Easy peasy.
We parked and headed to the starting line. I waited in line for the porta-potty and we ducked into the line at about 6:58am. Because this was such a small race (I believe there ended up being just over 1,000 runners) there weren’t any corrals. There were a few pacers breaking up the pack, but you really just hop in anywhere, which has its pros and cons. Anyway, the race started promptly at 7am, and we were off!
The first few miles were along tree-lined residential streets. They were peaceful and relatively flat. We ran the first mile to warm up and then started our run/walk intervals (four minutes running, thirty seconds walking). My watch was actually perfectly in sync with the first and second mile markers, and we headed into the greenway feeling great.
The trails along the greenway were a little tight, but they were shaded. After training through the Austin summer, it felt like paradise! I’d say runners started to space out around mile five.
The first few miles flew by. I didn’t even start listening to music until mile five, and even then I don’t think I needed it. Knowing I’d have a quick walk break every four minutes kept me motivated and energized. I was tempted to pick up my pace, but I reminded myself that my goal for this race was to have fun. I wanted to stick with Jess and I didn’t want to be exhausted at the end of the race, so I held back.
There were water stations about every two and half miles. I don’t believe there were any fuel stations, but since I always bring my own fuel, that didn’t matter to me. There also wasn’t really any crowd support. I thought that would make it tough, but it actually didn’t bother me at all. I was focused on my run/walk intervals, chatting with Jess, listening to music and overall just enjoying the run. I actually think this is the first half marathon where I didn’t face the never-ending mile. There is usually one mile that feels like it just goes on forever and ever (usually between miles eight and eleven) but that mile didn’t exist for me during this race. Maybe it was the run/walk!
The only issue I had with the course was that mile three was actually only .8 of a mile long. Every mile after that hit at the .8 mile, so we ran by mile marker four and 3.8 and mile marker five at 4.8. This went on all the way through mile twelve, so I was worried the course was going to be short. But then mile twelve was a little longer than a mile, and the last tenth of a mile? It was closer to a quarter mile! It all evened out in the end (my final distance showed at 13.18), but that longer tenth of a mile was kind of cruel!
After two hours, five minutes and thirty-nine seconds of running, we crossed the finish line, and I earned my eleventh half marathon medal!
The post-race party was pretty fun. We got water, took some pictures and hit up the Blue Cross Blue Shield (the main sponsor) tent to create this fun GIF.
Notice anything funny? We were on a green screen, so Jess’ green shirt just disappeared! Oh well, still cute! We snagged some Kind Bars and bananas and cheered on some of the other runners before making our way back to the Air BnB.
We spent the rest of the day exploring Charlotte (yep, we kept on walking around!). We were both still feeling pretty good. The bottom of my feet weren’t even sore, and those are usually the first things to start bugging me. We walked around Freedom Park, got dinner and then celebrated with flights from a local brewery before finally calling it a day.
I will for sure be posting my full thoughts on the run/walk method, as well as a travel guide for Charlotte, but for now I’ll leave you with overall pros and cons of this race.
- Small race = more space on the course
- Started on time and went off without a hitch
- Easy to get to and park (no stress!)
- Mostly shaded course
- Fun medal and race swag
- Post race tents were fun
- Miss-marked mile might throw off pacers
- Tight course for the first few miles
- No crowd support (this didn’t bug me at this particular race, but it is a factor)
Have you run any fun races lately? Tell us in the Wild Workout Wednesday Link Up!
Have you ever been on a racecation?
Ever done a racecation for a small, local race?