I ran the Novant Health Charlotte Half Marathon yesterday at 14 weeks and 4 days pregnant and had a great race experience!
During the race I was trying to count how many half marathons I’ve run in my head and thought it was somewhere around 9-10. I was hoping it was my 10th but it turns out that yesterday’s race was number 9…but a very memorable number 9 it was to run a half in my second trimester of pregnancy!
Here are the half marathons I’ve completed and my times…
- 2006 Myrtle Beach Half Marathon – 2:15
- 2009 Dowd Y Half Marathon – 2:08:02
- 2009 Thunder Road Half Marathon – 1:57:48
- 2010 Thunder Road Half Marathon – 1:52:12
- 2014 Thunder Road Half Marathon – 1:44:25
- 2016 Rocktoberfest Half Marathon – 1:51:53
- 2016 Charlotte Half Marathon – 1:53:36 (formerly Thunder Road)
- 2017 BB&T Corporate Cup Half Marathon – 1:50:43
- 2017 Charlotte Half Marathon – 1:56:57
I’m not sure if #10 will be the Kiawah Half Marathon in December or my first postpartum half marathon.
On a related note, have you guys used the site Athlinks? It’s super useful for looking up old race results and they compile them all into one place. I learned that my first 5K was in 2003 when I was 19 years old and my finish time was 29:35!
Let’s get to my race recap! To be completely transparent, I received a free race entry in exchange for this post but this is my favorite hometown race and I’d have run it and blogged about it regardless! 🙂
I went to the race expo on Friday night to pick up my bib. It’s at the Charlotte Convention Center and always easy to park and get in and out of, especially if you go during non-work hours.
Tanner picked up pizza from Hawthorne’s for us and I spent the rest of the evening prepping my gear and relaxing on the couch.
On race morning my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. I got up and took a quick shower (it always helps me wake up/warm up on race mornings) and then made breakfast and coffee.
The conditions at the start were around 34 degrees and clear and around 38 at the finish. Here’s what I wore starting from feet up!
- Newton Fate 3 running shoes
- 2XU Compression Socks
- Under Armour Luminous Studio Leggings (hi-rise, super soft, sweat-wicking)
- Lululemon Run Swiftly Long-Sleeve Crew
- Under Armour ColdGear Reactor Vest (this thing was a godsend!)
- Under Armour Convertible Running Gloves (unpictured but did not leave my hands during the race!)
- Under Armour Fly-By Metal Vent Cap (I’ve owned several of these in my years of running and they’re great!)
2017 CHARLOTTE HALF MARATHON RACE RECAP
I left my house around 7 a.m. for the 7:30 a.m. start. I was running a little late! 🙂 Luckily, I knew exactly where I wanted to park and that it was very close to the start. I parked around 7:20 and was at the start by 7:25. Perfect because I didn’t want to stand in the cold any longer than possible!
I think there were around 3,000 for the half/full/relay and there is also a 5K a little later. The start felt crowded (in a good way) and high-energy with everyone ready to run and warm up!
Not gonna lie, when my alarm went off at 5:45 a.m. in the dark cold, I was like…”Maybe I’ll just bail” but once I got lined up I was pumped to run.
At right around 7:32 a.m. we were off! I’m going to sound like a broken record from last year but I was pretty emotional for the first mile of this race. I don’t know what it is about races that brings that up for me but pregnancy hormones didn’t help, for sure! I am always so grateful for my health during races and then I couldn’t believe I was taking off to run a half marathon with a baby growing in my belly.
I was asked to be an ambassador for last year’s race and I remember attending our first ambassador meeting and thinking to myself, “I probably won’t be running because I’ll be pregnant.” And then conceiving took SO much longer than we anticipated. Last year I got my period the night before the race and found myself in Target after the Expo buying my first ovulation tracking kit. I had TERRIBLE cramps and stomach discomfort on race day. A far cry from where I “thought” I would be.
The first few miles passed quickly and I saw Virginia and Dorie waiting at the top of a massive hill just before mile 5! I smiled and waved and kept running. Virginia was supposed to run the half with me but is battling and injury so I appreciated her coming out to cheer me on. She’s one of the first people who knew I was pregnant because we run together and I had to tell her because of how much I have to stop and pee!
I crossed the five mile mark feeling good but I knew I had eight miles in front of me. Since I’d only trained to about 8.5, I was 50/50 on how the back half of the course would feel…especially knowing how hilly it is.
Miles 5-10 felt good. I did feel the need to go to the bathroom but I just told myself if I still had to go at mile 8 I would stop and by then I felt like I could wait until the end. The constant pressure on my bladder from baby has been quite an adjustment with pregnant running.
I took a Huma gel at mile 8. I planned to take two during the race but I was so cold I could never bring myself to get another one out. I actually ended up running the whole race and only stopped for about 10-15 seconds to walk through each water stop (six total) to make sure I got a full cup of water in.
Around mile 10 my hips/legs/feet started to talk to me a little but that was due to my lack of training 10+ miles before the race. Luckily, I felt pretty good cardiovascularly and always felt like I could breathe well and that my heart rate was under control. Despite that, I did NOT feel like engaging in conversation with anyone and was so focused on finishing. So if you saw me on the course and I was kind of short, I just didn’t have the extra energy to talk during miles 10-13!
I was very excited to cross the finish line and very surprised to do so under 2 hours. I definitely didn’t anticipate that going in due to a) being pregnant and b) my lack of serious training.
I grabbed a KIND bar, water and a blanket, snapped a few photos and then headed straight for my car. It was cold and I wanted to make it home to shower before teaching yoga at 11:15.
My official chip time was 1:56:57 and here are my splits.
I honestly hardly looked at my watch during the race other than to monitor my heart rate and it was nice to relax and just run based on feeling.
You can tell I was FEELING the start of the hills at mile 9. Check out this elevation chart.
The Charlotte Half Marathon is a hilly race but I promise you that the amazing organization of the race, the crowd support and the scenic course more than make up for it. The hills kind of become a joke after you’ve run this race a few times. You just know they’re going to be there and that they’re going to suck but you’ll eventually be running downhill.
It’s crazy to think that I’ll have a six month old baby for next year’s race. I certainly hope to run it but I also plan on being super gracious with myself when it comes to postpartum fitness so we’ll see. Regardless, I would LOVE for you guys to plan to run Charlotte next year and I’ll keep my online training group going! 🙂 Join us on Facebook if you haven’t already.
This post has gotten super long so I’ll share in my weekend recap how I felt after the race and what race recovery looked like.
Have you ever run a race pregnant?
What’s your go-to pre-race dinner and/or breakfast?
Do you prefer a hilly course or flat course?