I ran the Charlotte Half Marathon this morning and I have to say that the Charlotte Marathon Weekend just keeps getting better and better. I think this was my fourth time running the half. It’s my favorite hometown race and this year’s event was definitely the best yet! Today’s race was significant because it marked the inaugural year of the marathon’s new name being the Charlotte Marathon instead of Thunder Road.
I headed over to packet pickup at the Charlotte Convention Center around 5:30 p.m. on Friday and it was super quick and easy.
I loved the bib decorating station.
I purchased hand warmers, two Gus and a Charlotte Marathon hat at the Run For Your Life shop while I was there.
When I got home I put together my race day outfit. It really helps my pre-race anxiety level to have everything out and ready to go. Otherwise, I’m inevitably running around the house on race morning like a madwoman looking for a rouge sock or my favorite sports bra. I was THRILLED that the temps were a little warmer this year. I’m used to freezing my tail off at this race. This was the first time I’ve run the Charlotte half with starting temps over 30 degrees.
Here’s what I wore…
- Charlotte Marathon trucker hat
- Lululemon Free to Be Zen Bra
- Lululemon Run Swiftly Long-Sleeve
- Charlotte Marathon ambassador tech shirt by New Balance
- Track & Field Shorts
- 2XU Compression Socks
- Brooks Ghost 9
- Lululemon Gloves (see photo below)
- SpiBelt for gels
I’ve said this a million times but I love hometown races because you can “sleep in” and be in your normal routine. I got up at 5:55 a.m., made coffee, showered and ate a little something. I left for the race a few minutes before 7 and was parking Uptown just 8 minutes later. I had a quick walk to the start where I ran into a couple who had been following my training plan. She shared that she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer and was running to “kick cancer’s ass.” Hearing her speak got me so grounded in gratitude for my body going into the race and I thought about her so much throughout.
We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the race. It was an incredibly gorgeous day. I think it was around 42/43 at the start and around 50 at the finish. Sunshine the whole way. The outfit I wore was just right and I never felt like I needed to take anything off throughout the duration of the race. I was really glad I wore shorts. It’s definitely my preference to run in shorts over pants whenever possible.
The starting line was jam-packed. I couldn’t even get into a corral so I just waited off to the side until the crowd started to move and I could jump in. I think it took me about 2 minutes to cross the start after the gun.
The first mile felt like it passed in an instant. I was feeling so emotional from my pre-race exchange, an email I received from a training team member the night prior and thinking of my brother. I also just think the energy of races is so special and I love to see running bring so many people together to share such a positive common goal. This world needs a lot more of that.
The first few miles of this race are pretty chill as they feature a lot of downhill. This is a huge tease for ALL.THE.HILLS that you have to run to get back into Uptown at the finish. Downtown Charlotte is called Uptown because it’s built on a giant hill and is elevated above most of the city. No matter how you slice and dice it, you’re going uphill to get back.
Most of the course takes you through residential areas and the fall colors were beautiful. Hometown races are also fun because you see so many people you know out on the course, either spectating or running.
Before I knew it we were around mile 7.5 and entering the hilliest portion of the course. This is where I am fully transparent with you guys and share that I didn’t have my best race physically because of cycle-related stomach cramps/discomfort. Maybe TMI but a fact of being a female runner. Unfortunate timing and definitely did NOT help distance running feel good today. Otherwise, my body felt great but I devoted a lot of mental energy to deciding whether to dart into the porta-potty and I absolutely could not bring myself to eat a gel, which I know wasn’t ideal.
I stayed on pace for the most part (I’ll share splits in a bit) and entered mile 12 with a strong push to the finish. I loved having the visual goal of seeing the stadium and Uptown and know I was running there to the finish.
Here is my GPS finishing stats. I definitely ran over because of how much weaving I had to do in the crowds. My official chip time from the Charlotte Marathon was 1:53:36. After a quick bathroom stop, I kept running to hit 15 for the day. (Keep reading as to why…I’m not completely neurotic.)
Here is the pace/elevation/cadence chart. I slowed pace way down for the last little bit I ran extra. And holy cow, look at those hills from mile 9-13. This race is a beast but I love it!
Mile 1: 8:18
Mile 2: 8:15
Mile 3: 8:45
Mile 4: 8:39
Mile 5: 8:40
Mile 6: 8:29
Mile 7: 8:32
Mile 8: 8:32
Mile 9: 8:34
Mile 10: 8:28
Mile 11: 8:30
Mile 12: 8:21
Mile 13: 8:19
RE: the splits. I am most proud of myself for holding steady and even a bit faster on my pace for those last few miles of hills.
I got to meet up with a few of the awesome ladies from my online half marathon training program after the race. I wish I could have seen more of them but the post-race area was crazy and everyone had different finishing times. I am so proud of everyone who joined my program. The Facebook group was an amazing example of women coming together to encourage and support each other. It was awesome. I’m definitely doing it again next year!
I’m also thrilled to share that my team won the ambassador charity competition and the Charlotte Marathon is donating $1,000 to One-Breath.org. They are a local Charlotte organization that offers homeless and incarcerated men 8 yoga classes weekly in 5 different settings. The founder did teacher training with me 6 years ago.
First, the biggest THANK YOU in the world to the team at the Charlotte Marathon for inviting me to be an ambassador this year. Having a packed fall race calendar was so much fun and a reminder of why I enjoy being a part of this community so much. And getting back into distance running this fall has been such a helpful and therapeutic way for me to deal and heal. I can’t even begin to adequately explain it.
That brings me to point two. This isn’t the end of the road for me quite yet…
Kiawah Marathon, here I come. <3