Last week-end, Hubby and I traveled a couple of hours away to Greensboro, North Carolina, for a half marathon – Race 13.1 Greensboro. I ran this race last year in it’s first year. I was impressed by the organization, etc., but, swore that I’d never do it again.
It is a pretty killer course – you know the ones – where the race application says “rolling hills”. Explanation – you will climb mountains! But, when registration opened, I signed up. I had a score to settle with this course.
Greensboro is a city that Hubby and I like to visit. We will go there and stay at our favorite hotel for special week-ends (anniversary, etc). If you are ever in Greensboro – I highly recommend the O Henry. The rooms are nice, wonderful atmosphere, the breakfast buffet is amazing and the staff treats you like royalty. Many times I have headed out for my morning run while there and I’ve been greeted upon my return with water and a towel. Love it! The race was on Sunday, so we headed down the road late Friday morning for the week-end.
We checked in, unpacked and then headed out to the packet pick up which was at a local running store. My race bib was #1000! I thought that was pretty cool! And, of course, I couldn’t just pick up my packet – I had to buy some new running clothes. (Hello, my name is Judy Mick and I have a running clothes problem!).
After that, headed out for a nice steak dinner and then back to the room to just chill for the rest of the evening.
Saturday morning, we slept in until after 7:00 – yes, that’s late for us! I went for an easy run and then we hit the breakfast buffet for a late breakfast/brunch. Love a breakfast buffet that has steel cut oatmeal!
What should you do if you are wanting to rest your legs for a race the next day? Go to the movies! We hit the 11:30 matinee (Avengers – yes, we are geeks!). Got a liter of water and settled in for 2 1/2 hours! Movie was great!
Hubby asked me what I wanted to do after – I said that unless he had something that he wanted to do – I was good with just going back to the room. That’s what we did – and I had a nap. Another strange thing – I never nap during the day!
Went out for pizza later – which was really good! – and then turned in early for an early morning start!
Side story – I’d been watching the weather for the last week or so. The weather had changed daily. First it was 80% chance of rain, then 20%, then 100%, then 40% then 60% afternoon showers…….well, you get the idea!
So, when I got up at 4:45 – the first thing I did was to check the weather. No rain – but, it was 68 degrees and humid. Well, at least there was no rain! Had my Pepsi and Banana PowerBar – then we headed over to the race.
The race started on time – so, we were off. As we started – downhill – I suddenly remembered why I swore that I’d never do this race again after last year. Oh, well, too late now!
I knew with the heat and humidity – and it’s weird that I’m saying this, because I usually run better in heat – that I was just going to take it easy. I just went slow and was trying to help people who were struggling. At the turnaround, the guy said – “you’re almost there” – I thought the lady I was running with at the time was going to slap him!
But, I was surprised since I was running so slowly how many people were behind me. Either they went out too fast and bonked – or they were taking it easy, also. Well the hills may have had something to do with it!
It is a really nice course, tough. You travel through a couple of nice neighborhoods – not a lot of people come out to cheer – but several do. But, you don’t have to worry about support – the volunteers that they have along the course are stellar! Friendly and supportive! Love them!
The policeman are great, also. I always thank policemen as I run by. Usually, they just smile and sometimes wave. I don’t blame them – hundreds of people thanking them probably gets old. But, most of the Greensboro policemen (and policewomen) actually say “you’re welcome”. It just made me feel good!
Anyway, at the end of one of the neighborhood cul-de-sacs you go into a park area. The few miles that we run through there are nice. This year was much better than last year, though. Before this race in 2014, it had rained – a lot. In one area of the park you have a part that is dirt – not that far, but it’s dirt. There are 5 or 6 stone steps that you can walk over when it’s puddly. Imagine an out and back with everyone trying to go over these same stones at the same time. Not fun. Happy to see it dry this year and easily passible!
After the turnaround, I was surprised to see so many runners behind me. I tried to offer encouragement to each of them. Most of them were shuffling – but, they were still getting it done!
The last 2 miles of this course are pretty killer. You see the 13 mile mark – but, then there is also the last hill to get up. There are always some casualties here. I had picked someone that I wanted to pass before the finish. I was almost up with her when someone came out to run it with her. She really sped up and I thought I had no chance. I don’t know if I changed gears or she slowed down – but, I did manage to pass her before the line!
My wonderful hubby was right there at the finish line with my Pepsi! Boy, did it taste good! Have I ever told y’all how much I love that man! He looked at me and said, “You forgot how hilly it was, didn’t you?” Yep, he’s right! We didn’t stick around and headed back to the hotel for me to clean up and get packed to head home.
As I was finishing getting dressed, I looked at my phone and saw that the results were in. I looked to see and ……what???? I actually finished 3rd in my age group! Nice surprise – and totally unexpected.
The O Henry is across the street from the mall where the race started and finished. I figured that they may still be there tearing everything down. And, they were! I happily picked up my medal!
I know that I may have gotten an award because of attrition – but, hey, an award is an award. I persevered and got it done! Another side note – the last few people finished in over 4 hours – there are some troupers!
I consider myself a fairly decent hill runner. I always seem to push the pace when I going uphill – but, these last 2 half marathons have been brutal. Looks like I need to hit the hills more that I have been. Especially after I looked at the course for my next half coming up in 3 weeks. The ending looks like the elevation map of the Tour de France Alps endings.
Oh, well! Like I said – better hit the hill work!