Saturday, April 18, 2009

At RaceFest, hill after hill after hill

Remember when you were little, how you'd complain to your dad about something and he'd say, "When I was a kid, we had to walk barefoot to school in the snow, and it was uphill both ways!"

Anyway, this popped into my head more than once Saturday morning during Charlotte RaceFest: Despite the fact that I was wearing my Asics GT-2140s, despite the fact that the weather was gorgeous, the half-marathon course I ran with more than 1,000 other runners felt ... like it was uphill both ways.

I'd been warned about the two hills in the last three miles leading back to the finish near SouthPark mall, but it was two others -- a mile-long one on Sharon View between Miles 7 and 8, and another short, steep ascent on Valencia Terrace -- that did me in.

Still, I set out to break 1:50 and I pulled into the finish chute in 1:49:44. (Official results are up at the RaceFest site.) So I can't complain. (Ya hear that, Dad?)

A few random notes:

  • The post-race beer kept flowing for a good long time. A friend told me that last year, the kegs were dry by the time she finished the half in under two hours. Saturday, it looked like 13.1ers who came in between 2:15 and 2:30 should easily have been able to pick up both of their allotted free brews.
  • Two friends who finished RaceFest's 10K in just over an hour told me that after finishing, they turned to see an Ethiopian runner cross the line. The women high-fived each other and said, "Hey, we beat one of the Ethiopians!" ... The guy had just run the half-marathon.
  • A couple of racers recognized me from the blog, so they deserve shout-outs. One, Jonathan, caught me afterward and told me he did a PR of 1:44 (if you're reading this, congrats again, man!). The other guy breezed by me in the final third of the race and just hollered, "Hey, it's the Observer Guy!" I guess the point is that I'm glad runners are finding this blog. Please tell your friends about it!
So ... how'd RaceFest go for you? Did you think the hills were brutal, or am I just a wimp??

P.S.: Got some follow-up info from Neil Howard, one of the RaceFest organizers. He says "water at the finish line is an element that we'll address next year, as well as tweaking the Port-a-John scenario both on the course and at the start and finish lines." He also thinks "there may be a number of factors that influence the course next year ... one of which is the pushback we've been getting from some neighborhoods about how this type of event really restricts movement for folks on a Saturday (morning)." Just under 2,400 runners came out, which was a new record for the event.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your PR. Mine wasn't a PR, but close, so I'm happy. I agree, the hill on Sharonview Road is brutal.

mac3 said...

After watching several guys completing Ultra-Marathons by running up Mt. Mitchell, I don't think I will ever complain about hills again...

Anonymous said...

i had a great time running the 10k. beautiful weather!
and the hills in the 10k were not fun either!
congrats to all those who ran!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to all the runners! (I set a PR in the 10K) Beautiful day for a race! And I agree with the hills -- felt like I went uphill more than downhill. Glad to see a blog about running and getting the inside scoop about races!

Anonymous said...

Congrats to everybody that ran a great race. It was my first one, but I really feel like the event was very well run, nothing that I would really suggest to improve...Weather was absolutely perfect and the after-party was really fun as well.

I was talking to a girl I met after the race about how tired and sore I was. That is until she told me about the 86 year old, that stopped smoking at 62, picked up running and has ran 80 marathons since. She completed the 10k today.

Talk about eliminating excuses! See everybody next year.

Anonymous said...

Ah the hills. Had no clue they were there last yr as it was my first time running that race, but knowing they were there this year did not make them any easier. Still I felt like I had a awesome day, only off 16 seconds from last year's run. I did get to see the 86year old come across the finish line. If that doesn't motivate you, nothing will.

Anonymous said...

I ran the half also, and had no clue the hills that were facing us. I'm still trying to figure out how you can run 13.1 miles uphill and end up where you started!

Anonymous said...

Theoden....thanks for creating this blog, and bringing attention to running. So what are the chances now of the Observer actually recognizing races that go on in Charlotte, and maybe even publishing some results? I have never even see mention of the Turkey Trot 8k over the years...a race that attracts thousands....Help us!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ya, I ran the half and finished in the top ten but agreed those hills were tough! Especially that first one on sharon view.

chris said...

I ran the half marathon yesterday... was disappointed with the lack of port a johns on the route. I literally had to p*ss at mile 7 and had to hold it till the end. I was about to go in some folks yard, but everyone was outside their houses watching. Also- there was no signs at the end of the race to tell runners where to go to get water or the bathroom. Last complaint- the mile markers seemed inconsistent and inaccurate.

Adrian said...

It was an absolute perfect day for a race. The half was a brutal course but satisfying at the finish. The only complaint is no water at the finish line and by the time I got to the water coolers they were all empty. The one thing that should be in abundance @ the finish is water!!!
Theoden, thanks for the's great to see some interest in local running @ the Observer..

Anonymous said...

this was my first half and it was a very positive and fulfilling experience for me. I've been training around south charlotte (carmel, fairview, sharon area) and I was prepared for the climb on sharonview. However, what really kicked me in the tail was coming up that little devil on Valencia terrace at Arborway after mile 9. I agree on the lack of port-a-johns - should have been more the later half of the course. Overall a good race.

chupacabra said...

It may have been me whooping about being the half marathon guy. If so then we KNEW had was the half marthon winner and were joking around.

See the goal is to finish the 10k before the police come through and make you move for the half winner.

I beat him by a whopping 4 minutes.

the same is true of my half marathons - just trying to beat the marathon winner

Hey at least I'm past the point where I'm afraid that the walkers are going to catch me at the Kommen 5k.

Anonymous said...

I did the half and really enjoyed it. It was a PR for me, though only my second half. I was prepared for the hills, as any race in Charlotte usually has its fair share. The one on Sharon View was the worst, though.

I would have liked to see timers throughout the race at mile markers. And of course, water at the finish. I'm glad that's being addressed for next year.