Another half marathon finish in the books, running season is underway and last weekend was our second half marathon. My husband and I love to connect as a couple through our running, training and traveling for races. Visiting other cities and states is exciting, and Race 13.1 Charlotte was a fun and beautiful run. Race 13.1 is a series of races all over the country, and Charlotte fit into the running schedule. I hoped for cooler weather, the summer training in South Florida was brutal with 80-90 degree mornings with high humidity. Race13.1 Charlotte delivered, the race started with a picture-perfect day, brilliant red and blue filled the sky as the sun rose. The air temperature at gun time a nice 67 degrees made it a comfortable run. The start/finish was located at Toringdon office park; a beautiful new area with shops, office and residential buildings. I had the pleasure of staying at the new Hampton Inn located next to Toringdon office park, it was a convenient short walk to and from the start/finish line.
Fifteen hundred eager runners started the race on time at 7:00 am. The air, fresh and cool I got off to a great start on a beautiful road filled with trees, woods, and rolling hills. At two and half mile mark the course turned onto the greenway, with the first water/Gatorade stop. The greenway consisted of a variety of surfaces varying between wooden boardwalk, decomposed granite, and pavement. The scenery through the 4-mile creek greenway was lovely, peaceful, and flat. I continued to keep a good 12-minute mile pace through this area and was about middle of the pack.
The course swiftly switched back along the McAlpine Creek Greenway, an easy run on wooded planks and pavement. The shade from the trees kept it cool and enjoyable. Around mile five the course entered a neighborhood that was a bit hilly. The hills slowed the pace down a tad, these hills weren’t as steep as some courses, but steep enough to slow down. The hill had a nice decline, as the pace picked up and I was about halfway through the race. I had been experiencing foot pain on my left foot for several months, I thought it was my shoes. Even thought I had broken in a new pair, (Brooks Ghost 10) they felt fine, but now and then I felt a bit of a twinge on the downhill.
At the halfway mark, we returned to the greenway and cruised along the wooden planks and dirt trails. A very different run compared to our normal training circuit. We don’t have dirt roads where we run, it’s sugar sand if it isn’t paved. This part of the run was still a good pace and it felt good through the woods and the shade continued to keep it cool. A pack of non-race runners ran through this area, people with strollers, training groups, and bikers. Everyone was respectful of the space, especially through the narrow pedestrian bridge (which was very cool!). Once past the pedestrian bridge another jaunt through a neighborhood had some more tough hills, but only lasted about a half a mile to the turnaround, and headed back to the greenway for the last miles of the race.
Once back on the greenway at mile 8 I had to stop at a very motivating water stop, plus they were handing out beer! We still had a decent pace going and so far, the run seemed fast. I had a good run up until around mile 10.5 where my foot began to swell and pain set in. I slowed down to almost a crawl! I stopped several times to tie and untie my shoes but that didn’t seem to alleviate the stress I put on my foot. Why does it always seem like the miles get longer toward the end of the race? The time between mile markers 11 and 12 seemed like forever.
I wasn’t happy with myself, I knew I had blown my personal record. From mile 10.5 to the finish line I walked the rest of the way, actually limped the rest of the way. My foot was swollen and pain shooting up from my foot up to my thigh. All I thought about at this point was to just finish. I really wanted to finish between 2:45 and under 3 hours, but it was out of the question given the status of my foot pain.
The first 10 miles seemed fast and easy, even on my foot. I knew my foot had bothered me for a few months, but didn’t think much about it until my last training run. The day before the race I bought a compression sock. It seemed to help up until the last 3 miles. I lost all motivation at this point and all I thought about was the finish line. From mile 10 until the finish line it seemed quiet. I finally reach mile 12 and about a ½ mile past mile 12 we were headed for home. I crossed the finish line at about three hours and twelve minutes, a bit disappointed. I lost a half an hour between mile 11 to the finish. But it was a finish, and a finish is a finish.
All in all, it was a great race. I enjoyed running through the greenway, it made it a relaxing and peaceful run. The volunteers and fellow runners were all friendly and helpful. Many water/Gatorade stops along the course helped keep up the strength to get through. Even though I was disappointed at my finishing time, or maybe I was just tired, I didn’t see much food. The website also mentioned cooling towels would be handed out at water stops and I didn’t see any of those either. I really enjoyed running the Race 13.1 Charlotte! If I see another run organized by this group, and it fits our schedule… it’s in the running.