Race #211 – Charlotte RaceFest Half Marathon – Charlotte, NC – 04/13/13

It’s Tuesday morning as I write this, three days after the RaceFest Half Marathon and a day after the finish line bombing of the Boston Marathon. As it is with most other people, my thoughts and prayers are with the people who were there, which included quite a few of my running friends. It’s early still so not a lot is known but I’m sure much more will be uncovered soon about the motivation behind it, so I won’t say a lot, but what a screwy world we live in today. Crossing the finish line might never be quite the same again.

The RaceFest Half Marathon and 10k is one of Charlotte’s big running events of the spring season and I always look forward to it. I opted for the half marathon, my third in the past four weeks, and it looked like it might be a reunion of sorts for the age group rivalry among me and Butch Holt and Bob Nelson. It turned out that Butch is just getting back into shape after a heart procedure and is running great but chose to run the shorter 10k, and Bob had a bug of some sort during the week of the race and decided not to run.

There are some pretty big hills on this course that I keep on forgetting about from year to year, but after having walked six times in last week’s even tougher Knoxville Half Marathon, one of my goals was to keep going without any walk breaks. The good news is I didn’t take any walk breaks; the bad news is that I was 24 seconds slower (chip time), which isn’t a lot, but you’d think I’d be faster without any walk breaks. Maybe walking up some of those hills is a good idea after all.

I wore my video sunglasses and made a video, and also pulled out 77 photos that I posted on my Facebook page that are available to the public so you should be able to view them all there, and feel free to send me a friend request if you’d like to (I never have too many running friends). I’ll include the video and a few of the photos here. They can tell about the race much better than I can, so I’ll shut up for now.

Here’s the video…

Before the race I met up with some of my friends from the
Gaston County Runners (Rick, Ray, Bobby, and Danny).
Just before the race I met Martin Thorne of the Salisbury Rowan Runners,
who told me he reads my blog and he introduced to some of the other
members of the SRR.

Two of the SSR guys — Sonny, who’s a friend I’ve run with multiple times — and Stu,
who I just met — figured I’d be a good pacer so they’d stick with me for a while.
I’m a lousy pacer, but I appreciate the thought. Sonny decided it was faster than
he wanted to run so he dropped back before long. Stu stuck with me for a mile or
two then said he thought he’d conserve his energy and slow down. That turned
out to be a good decision as he passed me about 12 miles into the race.
It was pretty crowded at the start but it didn’t take long to thin out a little bit.

I hit the 3-mile mark at about 21:30, which is just about right for me.

Since my lucky number is 7 I felt pretty good about hitting the
7-mile mark at a perfect pace of 7:07.

Much of the course swung through the beautiful neighborhoods
of South Charlotte.

As we rounded the corner of the last turn, I was passed by a baby jogger,
who stayed ahead of me the rest of the race. I’m always amazed at how fast
some people can push a baby jogger!

There was some great crowd support as we neared the finish line.

Approaching the finish line. My gun time was 1:37:31.

Aaron Chan is a friend I met through the blog. We tend to be within
about a minute of each other every time we race together.

The post-race party was nice — great band and beautiful weather,
although the food could be better. Food included oranges, bananas,
sports drink, water, and beer. I don’t drink beer so that didn’t appeal to me.
It would be great if they’d come up with some cookies, bagels, or
something similar next time around.

Margaret Hagerty is still going strong at the age of 90… she got 1st place
in the 75-and-over Female division in the 10k. Hope I’m able to ambulate
6 miles at any speed when I’m 90 years old!

Coming back strong after some recent health issues,  Butch Holt
won the 60-64 division in the 10k. with a speedy time of 43:04

Bob Heck, who’s also on the comeback trail, didn’t run but handed out
the awards, which consisted of New Balance apparel. If you’re able to
place in the top 3 of your age group in this race the awards are great.
This year for 1st place I got a really nice long-sleeved half zip shirt that
would easily retail for the price of the registration fee of the half marathon.

My Stats:
Time:  1:37:31 
Pace:  7:26
Age Group:  1 of  10
Overall:  89 of  1297
Average Heart Rate:  159 (I’m pretty sure that’s the lowest ever in a race for me)
Maximum Heart Race:  172
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:18:09  (75.77%)
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 – Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
2 – Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 – Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)spectacular!
2 – Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 – Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no
1 – Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)cheap!
3 – Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes
2 – Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 – Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 – 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 – 14 and under group (1)
1 – 65+ group (1)
1 – 70+ group (1)
2 – Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 – Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 – Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes
5 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent 
5 – Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (3)fabulous door prizes!
5 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals
3 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
1 – Entertainment:  (0)no  (1)yes
1 – Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (1)yes
2 – Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
1 – Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric (some cotton, some tech)
0 – Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes
5 – Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 – Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 – Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!
2 – Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 – Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 – Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 – Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 – Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 – Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
TOTAL:  90
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