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An Unexpected Half Marathon: Corporate Cup Race Recap

I ran a half marathon on Saturday morning!

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

For the past few weeks I have been emailing back and forth with one of the event organizers for the BB&T Corporate Cup Half Marathon & 5K about how I could help them with a final push for registration. Since this race supports our Center City YMCAs, which I’ve been an employee of since moving to Charlotte, I agreed to help out.

They provided me with a comp entry and I’ve spent the last several weeks debating on whether to use it. I decided to wait until closer to race day and evaluate the weather and how I was feeling. While I have been running regularly this winter, I haven’t really been running longer than 6-7 miles since my marathon training ended early late last November.

By the end of last week, I had pretty much talked myself out of the race. It was supposed to be freezing at the start, I didn’t feel prepared and I was feeling kind of blah and tired after our trip. But then FOMO kicked in something serious and I found myself stepping out of my friend Angie’s yoga class on Friday night to rush and get my phone and register. I signed up for the race at 6:30 p.m., just 29 minutes before the cut off. 😛

What to wear for a cold half marathon

I came home from class, made myself a good dinner and laid out all of my clothes for the next morning. It was going to be 28 degrees at the start, which I was not excited about.

Here’s what I wore for the race…

I also got coffee prepped, my SPIbelt packed with gels, made a playlist and charged my TomTom Spark 3 and bluetooth headphones.

what to eat before a half marathon

While I was very tired, I didn’t sleep well before the race. My sleep has been so off for a couple of weeks now. I don’t know what’s up with that. I got up at 6 a.m., took a hot shower and ate breakfast. I had a piece of honey whole wheat toast with cashew butter, honey and banana and coffee.

The race started and finished in Uptown Charlotte. I left my house around 6:50 a.m. and by the time I drove uptown and parked in a deck, it was around 7:10 a.m. I had just enough time to grab my bib and get settled before the race.

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

This is my, “I’m still sleepy and what am I getting myself into?” smile. I was SO grateful that we were able to wait for the race start indoors rather than shivering outdoors. That was a HUGE help.

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Starting Line

They ushered us outside and to the starting line about 5 minutes before the gun was to go off. There were 806 runners for the half marathon and just under 1,600 for the 5K. Thankfully, the 5K started after the half so our start was uncrowded.

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

While it was cold, it was a gorgeous morning in Charlotte for the race. As I stood at the starting line contemplating the 13 miles in front of me, I had all sorts of exit strategies. #1 was calling and Uber and bagging it if things went south. #2 was diverting on the course and running home. #3 was getting to the 10 mile mark and walking the last 3. Funny how we play all these games in our minds.

When the race started, I crossed the starting line and settled into an easy pace. My immediate thought was that I had overdressed but I quickly realized that it was my adrenaline talking and I was grateful for all of my layers. I ran into a friend and ran with her for about 10 minutes and chatted but then went into headphone zone and the next thing I knew…

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

I was crossing mile 10 and I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling. Highlights of arriving at mile 10 feeling good included “How Far I’ll Go” on my playlist at the 10K mark and a gel at mile 8. Lows of getting to mile 10 included mile 8 being one long hill (that luckily I’ve run many times on my own so I was prepared for the grind) and being really cold. Despite wearing 2 pairs of gloves, my fingers were cold the entire race. I didn’t have my hand warmers with me because a certain golden retriever whose name starts with a Z stole them and hid them. I found them later on Saturday.

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

I didn’t have to use any of my exit strategies and while I kind of wanted to quit at mile 12 because it’s the TERRIBLE Morehead hill that somehow every race in Charlotte seems to manage to include at the end of the course, I stuck with it. Seriously, this hill is the worst!

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

At the top of the hill was a turn to the right that took you the final .3 to the finish. It was an awesome sight to see the skyline and the finish just ahead.

Corporate Cup Half Marathon Race Recap

DONE! I crossed the finish in 1:50:43 (official time). This is all sorts of crazy because it ended up being my second fastest half ever and three minutes faster than the Charlotte Marathon Half back in November. (I wasn’t feeling well for that race, but still!)

I was pleased with my splits…

Mile 1 – 8:29
Mile 2 – 8:46
Mile 3 – 8:36
Mile 4 – 8:01
Mile 5 – 8:33
Mile 6 – 8:07
Mile 7 – 8:17
Mile 8 – 8:25
Mile 9 – 8:28
Mile 10 – 8:14
Mile 11 – 8:18
Mile 12 – 8:17
Mile 13 – 8:20
Last .1 – 6:52

TomTom Spark 3 Review

And here is a cool pace/elevation chart from my TomTom Spark 3 reporting dashboard. You can see you pace, heart rate and elevation at any point on the course. I was really proud of myself for holding my pace through the tough hills at the end. You can read my full review of the Spark 3 GPS watch in this post.

corporate cup half marathon race recap

(I’m sorry I took your hand warmers mommy)

I have no idea where that race came from but I think there is something to be said for just letting things be and not putting so much pressure on yourself. I went into this race with low expectations and a goal to feel good and enjoy myself. I never stressed about my pace. When I was handed this medal I felt so much gratitude towards my body for what it had just done. I spent so many years fighting with it and dealing with running injury after running injury. I like where we’re at a lot better now. 🙂

This was my first time running the Corporate Cup and it won’t be my last. It was a great way to kick off racing season. While the course was tough, I find that most Charlotte half marathons are due to unavoidable hills. The race was was extremely well organized, a great size and supports an organization that I love!

Have you ever had an unexpectedly good race?

Have you ever run a race with minimal prep? How did it go?

Favorite race temperature/weather?


{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Casey the College Celiac March 5, 2017, 2:22 pm

    How awesome! Sometimes, I definitely think that over-preparing and over-pressuring ourselves to do our best hurts more than it helps. Glad you had such a good race!

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:43 am

      Thank you! And yes, I have learned so, so much about easing up and just working out to feel good instead of always push so hard. It’s amazing!

  • Nicole Haber March 5, 2017, 3:34 pm

    wow!! congrats on a great race. maybe since you were more-well rested (not over trained) and not nervous you were really able to enjoy and crush it! well done.

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:42 am

      thank you! and yes, i agree on being more rested and having no expectations for it were big helps in my race experience!

  • Rebecca March 6, 2017, 10:53 am

    Congrats! Haha, actually some of my best races have happened when I had no expectations. Probably once we take the pressure off of ourselves and just listen to our bodies, our bodies show us what they can do!

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:41 am

      Thank you! And yes, taking that pressure off is an amazing feeling. I love just having the goal to go out there and feel good and have fun!

  • Nathaly @NathyCure March 6, 2017, 2:26 pm

    Amazing race Jen! I’ve never had an unexpected race or one with minimal prep. However, I had a very bad cold during my last 10K race.

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:41 am

      Thank you! And I’m so sorry that you had a cold for your last race. I have never raced sick but I can imagine how hard that must be. (And disappointing to make it to race day and be sick!)

  • Haley @ Haley on the Run March 6, 2017, 2:30 pm

    Congrats on the race! I’m signed up for my first race ever in June, and I’m going to try to go in with that same attitude – just have fun, no pressure. We’ll see how that goes! 🙂

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:39 am

      I would DEFINITELY recommend going into your first race with that attitude! Make your goal “finish and have fun!”

  • Marisa March 6, 2017, 3:19 pm

    Hey there! I’m sorry that your sleep schedule is off. I totally understand. A while back you mentioned that you were getting night sweats. Is that still a problem? It’s something that I struggle with on a regular basis. Drs have not been able to diagnose what the problem is – I’ve had hormones checked etc. However, I have noticed that the night sweats seem to come on after a particularly hard/strenuous workout. I can’t sleep and drenched in sweat! It’s been frustrating for me bc it seems to mimic menopause symptoms…but I’m only thirty! Any luck with this problem?

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:38 am

      Hey Marisa!

      I have had night sweats on and off since I was a teenager. I used to get them much more frequently but now they seem to come in waves where I’ll get them for a few nights and then they go away. I’m not quite sure what triggers them although I guess it’s probably hormonal. Mine are terrible, like soak the sheets and multiple changes of clothes terrible. During my most recent bout with them I was sleeping and holding a bath towel to soak up the sweat.

      Back when I got them regularly my doctors at the time did a lot of testing but could never get to the bottom of it.

      I wish I had a better answer or more insight. 🙁

  • Brittany March 7, 2017, 6:48 am

    I am so impressed by runners. It’s just never been my thing (beyond running the dogs and occasional 5ks). Cracking up that Zoey stole your hand warmers!!! I’m sure it wasn’t funny at the time though!

    • Jen March 7, 2017, 8:30 am

      I definitely don’t think running is for everyone. I’m not sure what got me so hooked on it but it was the first form of exercise that I really enjoyed. I started running my freshman year of college and it’s been a slow progression from there!

      Zoey is a mess! She loves to steal things (but usually doesn’t chew them up, she just moves them!).

  • Kristina March 10, 2017, 4:07 pm

    I had a very similar experience last november in savannah when I ran a half marathon. I had not been doing much (if any) speed work and just really threw all race expectations out the window. I told myself I would just run it and enjoy it and be okay with whatever outcome. Annnnnd then I PR’d! Crazy! Letting going of the stress and allowing yourself to experience running for some of the reasons you started running in the first place really does change the way you run! Good for you! 🙂

    • Jen March 16, 2017, 7:04 pm

      Wow, this is awesome! Congrats on your new PR! You just never know what your body is going to give you on race day. And yes, just enjoying the experience totally changes the feel of the run and the race.

  • adrianna March 12, 2017, 4:22 pm

    awesome, awesome job, Jen! i find that even with work-outs, when i approach it as ‘just do your best, show up, have fun,’ sometimes those are my best classes/work-outs. its a great way to approach these things 🙂

    • Jen March 16, 2017, 7:00 pm

      Thank you so much! There’s a lot to be said for just showing up!

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