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Thunder Road Half Marathon Race Recap {PR + Sub-1:45}

It’s a happy Saturday over here. I ran my first half marathon in four years this morning and not only PR’d but went sub-1:45 with a finishing time of 1:44:25. It was a seven and a half minute PR from my last half marathon in 2010 where I ran the same race I did today, Charlotte’s Novant Health Thunder Road Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K. Today was the 10th anniversary of the race!

Before I get started with my race recap, I want to say nice things about Thunder Road. It is flawlessly organized and features a beautiful course. It’s even better than before now that it starts and ends at the new BB&T Stadium and Romare Bearden Park right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte. I can’t recommend it enough.

Now, here’s how it went down.


I visited the race expo on Friday at the Charlotte Convention Center to pick up my race packet and to do some interviews for Run Charlotte Run. I was able to connect with Race Director Tim Rhodes while I was there. It was great to meet him…he well-known in the Charlotte running scene and makes a lot of race magic happen!


While I was there I picked up some Gu and hand warmers. The booth selling hand warmers were smart business people!


I met a friend for dinner at Brixx where we carbed it up before the race. Fun factoid: your best bet in regards to glycogen stores is actually to do your carb loading at breakfast or lunch the day before a race but it’s still a fun excuse to eat pizza! 🙂

I came home, made a playlist, charged my electronics and got in bed early.


After a good night’s sleep, I was up and feeling ready to go around 6 a.m. I ate my standard pre-race breakfast of peanut butter, honey and banana toast along with a cup of coffee.


I got all bundled up in my race gear and took a selfie before heading off to the race. I didn’t leave my house until 7:10 for the 7:45 a.m. start because I wanted as little time standing in the cold as possible.


15 minutes later I was at the starting line with the 1:45 pace group. My friend Theoden Janes was pacing 1:45 so I decided to join him. I have never used a pace group before but it was so nice not to have to worry about my Garmin and whether I was going too fast or too slow.


I stayed with Theoden for the first eight miles and then broke off for the last five. I felt really, really good and strong in my pace for the first nine miles but had to really push it for the next four. There were some serious hills around miles nine and 10 but I knew if I could get through them I was home free.

Like a vision from the heavens, my running partner and friend Virginia jumped on the course at mile 10 to run the last three miles with me. She was supposed to run the half but ended up injured so she put her bib on to join me for three at the end.


My official chip time was 1:44:25. I was so focused on crossing the finish line and being done that I didn’t even hear my friends calling my name as I came down the chute.


I told Virginia at least 15 times that I would not have broken 1:45 without her. When she joined me on the course I told her I couldn’t talk and just needed to run. She stayed about 2 feet in front of me and kept me on pace to the finish.

Here are my splits:

Mile 1: 8:04 (crowded)
Mile 2: 7:37 (almost all downhill)
Mile 3: 8:03 (hills)
Mile 4: 7:51
Mile 5: 7:53
Mile 6: 7:59
Mile 7: 7:56
Mile 8: 7:52
Mile 9: 7:51
Mile 10: 8:02 (hiiilllllssss)
Mile 11: 7:50
Mile 12: 7:52
Mile 13: 7:58
Last .1: 7:13

FINISH TIME: 1:44:25


My overall pace was 7:59 and I was the 82nd female out of 1,585. I am pretty excited about this. I also want to take a moment to share that I ran my first half marathon almost 10 years ago and finished in 2:14. At the time if felt like the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. It is possible to get faster…you just have to get stronger!

I wanted to stick around and hang out after the race but I was shaking I was so cold. The only negative thing about today was the temperature. It was 25 at the start and about 30 at the finish. My fingers were numb for the entire race. So much so that I seriously thought I might have to go to the medical tent for frostbite after the race. Even with hand warmers, I just couldn’t get my hands warmed up. The core of my body and feet were fine, it was just my hands. Within two minutes of stopping running the feeling returned to my fingers. Once my body wasn’t working so hard to pump blood to my heart it gave me a little circulation back in my hands! I think I need better gloves and maybe to start wearing mittens instead.


I stopped by Starbucks on the way home for a venti soy latte. I took a hot shower, ate sushi for lunch and I’m planted on the couch under a blanket. It’s a good day.

Thanks to everyone who followed along as I made my “comeback” to distance running. I really appreciate your support and encouragement over the last few months.

{ 38 comments… add one }
  • 1
    She Rocks Fitness November 15, 2014, 3:11 pm

    CONGRATS woman! Way to rock that race and now continue to stay warm and have a fabulous evening…I’ll cheers to you from Houston! XOXO

  • 2
    Amanda Bee November 15, 2014, 3:29 pm

    Awesome time, congrats! Definitely get yourself some mittens, I have chronically cold hands and they work so much better than any gloves do. I really like mittens that have flip-off tops so I can cool down if it gets too warm. Sometimes I even wear gloves under mittens!

  • 3
    meredith @ The Cookie ChRUNicles November 15, 2014, 3:31 pm

    Congrats on an awesome race! I am on a mission to get the right gloves for this winter (although I know no matter what, the super cold temps will make my hands cold anyway)…I knew you would come in under 1:45 just based on your training runs! Awesome job.

  • 4
    shannon November 15, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Congrats!! glad the race went so well!! how awesome is Virginia for popping in for the last 3 miles of a race she wasn’t able to run?!?!?! woohoo to Virginia!!

  • 5
    Jessica November 15, 2014, 3:38 pm

    Congrats Jen! Enjoy the rest of your day and Go Dawgs!!!

  • 6
    Holly November 15, 2014, 3:42 pm

    That is so awesome! I am so proud of you!! Good job, girl! I hope you have lots of time to rest, relax and remain warm for the rest of the day!!:)

  • 7
    Amy @ The Little Honey Bee November 15, 2014, 4:02 pm

    Amazing! Congrats! I think I am going to have a similar running story to yours – I’m a month out of running my first full and am already looking forward to it being over!

  • 8
    Erica { EricaDHouse.com } November 15, 2014, 4:39 pm

    Congrats!! I knew I’d be reading about a PR after this race.

  • 9
    Amanda November 15, 2014, 4:40 pm

    Congratulations on a great race!!

  • 10
    Chicago Jogger November 15, 2014, 5:35 pm

    Sounds like you had a WONDERFUL race! Congrats 🙂

  • 11
    JennyV November 15, 2014, 5:42 pm

    Awesome race — and how great to finish with a friend!! You demolished your old PR and seemed to have a great training cycle. Excellent all around!

  • 12
    Sam @ PancakeWarriors November 15, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Woohoo Jen! That is so awesome! You are such an inspiration thank you for sharing!

  • 13
    Ally November 15, 2014, 5:55 pm

    Congratulations on a job well done, Jen! So happy for you, I knew you had a sub 1:45 in you! Enjoy your post race bliss : )

  • 14
    Tina@GottaRunNow November 15, 2014, 6:42 pm

    You did a great job with even pacing! Congrats on your PR and sub 1:45!

  • 15
    Sarah November 15, 2014, 7:24 pm

    Congrats, Jen!! Awesome job!

  • 16
    Mary Ann November 15, 2014, 7:53 pm

    Yea! Congrats on a great race and crushing your PR.

  • 17
    Alison (Fueling for Fitness) November 15, 2014, 8:11 pm

    That is amazing!! I found your blog during your running hiatus and have been really enjoying reading about your training and am so happy it had such a happy ending. Congratulations!!

  • 18
    Joy November 15, 2014, 8:23 pm

    Congratulations! That is truly an amazing accomplishment. I have been dealing with running injuries for years and I’m working on strength training so that one day I can run a strong half marathon again, too!

  • 19
    Erika November 15, 2014, 8:43 pm

    GREAT job!!! You had an amazing race. As a long-time reader I’m happy to see you’re able to run long distance again.

  • 20
    Emily @MyHealthyishLife November 15, 2014, 8:45 pm

    Congrats! That’s an awesome time!!! I know how you feel about running in the cold. I had to go to the medical tent after NY because of hypothermia. Made me want to hibernate for winter.

  • 21
    Claire @ My Life Cravings November 15, 2014, 11:13 pm

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! That must feel so darn good. I’m so glad you’ve found your running mojo again, especially after over-coming injury.

    Sending you a virtual high five! 🙂

  • 22
    Jenn@Mark My Miles! November 16, 2014, 6:47 am

    Congratulations! What a great race for you!

  • 23
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine November 16, 2014, 8:10 am

    Congrats on a great race and an awesome time! That is the perfect comeback to distance racing!

  • 24
    Tara November 16, 2014, 8:10 am

    Wow. Good for you! Congratulations!

  • 25
    Amanda November 16, 2014, 8:17 am

    woo-hoo! congratulations! That’s a great time! And I know the feeling; I have raynaud’s as well and it makes the majority of winter miserable!

  • 26
    Nicole @ Runs & WODs November 16, 2014, 10:11 am

    Congrats on an amazing race and PR!!!

  • 27
    Tara | Treble in the Kitchen November 16, 2014, 10:31 am

    You did so amazing!!! Congratulations 🙂

  • 28
    Noreen gallo November 16, 2014, 3:04 pm

    Congrats!!! I live in NH and run early in the morning when it is COLD! I have found that gloves just don’t work for me. Mittens with hand warmers seem to be best for me. Keeping the fingers together seems to keep the heat in! Have a great day – love your blog – and your dog… 🙂

  • 29
    Colleen C. November 16, 2014, 4:36 pm

    Great Job on your race! It gives me hope that I can improve my 1/2 marathon time and get under the 2 hour mark. I would love to hear your thoughts on what helped to improve your race times.

  • 30
    Mattie @ Comfy & Confident November 16, 2014, 7:04 pm

    Congrats!!! What a great time. I need to sign up for a half… I have been itching to do one lately.

  • 31
    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves November 16, 2014, 11:30 pm

    Holy smokes, what an amazing time!!! Congrats on such a great race! You rock, Jen!

  • 32
    erin November 17, 2014, 5:15 am

    Girl! you killed it! you look so strong and I love the recap. Thunder Road is one of my favorite halfs and I can’t wait to run it next year. Awesome news about breaking your PR! Such a good feeling when all that hard work pays off – great way to start off the week.

  • 33
    Julie November 17, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Congrats Jen!!! What a great finish despite the cold temp!

  • 34
    Kira Schlesinger November 19, 2014, 10:23 am

    Great job and congratulations on the PR! I’m actually planning on running Thunder Road next year with some ladies from my online running forum. Granted, I hope it’ll be slightly warmer than it was this year!

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