This was the first of three half marathons I have on my schedule over the next four weeks, and my first half since I dropped out of the Mississippi Blues Half Marathon back on January 10th after somehow getting off track and running with the full marathon and ending up 13 miles from the finish line. I figured just finishing this one would be an improvement and I’m really excited to get back to my favorite distance once again.
I’ve gained more than 10 pounds since I ran my best times back in the fall of 2011, but comparing the times of the twelve half marathons I ran last year I really feel okay that in this race I finished in exactly 1:40:00 (chip time). I did want to be under 1:40 and I was a little disappointed as I approached the finish line seeing that the clock was about to hit 1:40 and I didn’t have time to get there before that. At the time I wasn’t even thinking about chip time so I just moseyed on in, resigning myself to being just over 1:40. No biggy either way though. Until I reviewed my results on Athlinks I had forgotten about my relatively much worse results at my last half marathon last year when I ran the Thunder Road half in 1:42:02 after a string of 8 in a row where I was under 1:40. On reviewing all of my half marathons (70+) over the past six years I realize there have been some over 1:40 every year. Considering that my time in this same race last year was 1:39:27, being 33 seconds slower this time around isn’t all that bad so maybe I’ll bring it back down as the year goes on.
To me, one of the best things about the Corporate Cup is that you can drive into the Wells Fargo parking garage (free parking for racers) and enter the atrium without having to go outside. Of course, if you’re running the race you’ll eventually have to get out in the open air, but if it’s cold and your spouse came along they don’t have to go out in the elements unless they want to.
The Corporate Cup is one of the oldest road races in Charlotte (35 years) and is the largest race on the YMCA of Greater Charlotte’s schedule. This year the half marathon had 1,036 finishers and the 5k had a total of 1,772. For such a big race I was a little surprised that there were only 6 runners in my age group (60-64). My time of 1:40:00 earned me 2nd place in the age group thanks to the formidable speed of Jerry Clark, who broke the NC half marathon 60-64 age group record by 3 minutes and beat me by 18 minutes! It wasn’t a surprise since most of us who know him are aware that a state record is in danger anytime he’s in a race, but lucky for most of us normal humans he doesn’t show up too often.
As I write this it’s Tuesday morning, and for the past two days I’ve been faithfully following my Weight Watchers diet and hoping that I can lose a few pounds over the next couple weeks. I really don’t like the discipline it takes to count points for everything I eat, but I know it’s healthier since I have to account for everything that goes in and junk food can add up to a lot of points so I end up snacking on fruit, which they tell me is healthier than ice cream and cookies. Go figure.
Next week is one of my biggest races of the year — the NYC Half — which starts in Central Park, runs through Times Square, down Manhattan’s West Side Highway past the new World Trade Center, around Battery Park, with a finish on Wall Street in the historic financial district. With $100,000 in prize money at stake some of the world’s fastest runners will be there. With more than 20,000 runners in one of the world’s most competitive racing areas, there’s no chance that I will place in the top 3 in my age group. It would be great if I could manage to finish in the top 10 but looking at past results it might be more realistic that even with a pretty good race I’d still be somewhere between 10th and 20th.
I’ve run the Brooklyn Half Marathon three times and finished 7th in 2010, 6th in 2012, and 5th in 2014 with a time of 1:32:13 in 2014, my second best half of the year and way faster than I’ll finish the NYC Half. A time of 1:40:00 in last year’s NYC Half would have been 13th place, so it’ll be exciting to see if I can knock a minute or two off of that or possibly go in the other direction and end up limping in at 3 hours or even worse, having to drop out. You never know… that’s what keeps it interesting.
Time: 1:40:00 (chip time)
Age Group: 2 of 6 (actually bumped up to 1st at awards because 1st place won Masters)
Overall: 122 of 1036 (11.8%)
Average Heart Rate: 165
Maximum Heart Race: 176
Age Graded Equivalent Time: 1:18:38 (75.31%)
* RACE RATING *
3 – Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 – Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 – Water Stops: (0)none (2)normal (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 – Course Marking: (0)bad (1)good
3 – Course Scenery: (0-5) 1=bad and 5=fantastic
2 – Mile Markers: (0)poor or none (1)normal (2)with clocks or time called out
2 – Volunteers: (0)too few (2)good
7 – Finish line: (0-9) 0=bad and 9=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
2 – Cost: (0)expensive (2)reasonable (5)cheap!
0 – 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
2 – Overall Winner Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
2 – Age Group Awards: (0)none (2)yes (5)excellent
0 – Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no (2)yes (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
3 – Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no (3)yes (5)really cool medals
6 – Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
6 – Entertainment: (0)no (1-9)yes
2 – Finisher times posted after race: (0)no (2)yes
2 – Porta Potties: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – Indoor Restrooms: (0)no (1)limited, long lines (2)plentiful
2 – T-Shirts: (0)no (2)yes
1 – Design: (0)not good (1)not bad (2)nice (5)beautiful!
0 – Material: (0)cotton (2)technical fabric
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
2 – Close to Finish: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Plenty of spaces: (2)yes (0)no
2 – Free Parking: (2)yes (0)no
2 – 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
0 – Kids Fun Run: (0)no (2)yes
x – Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)