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!
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.