The Charlotte Running Co has been sponsoring the Racefest Half-Marathon and 10K for six years now and is one of the premier events held in the city. Having been through the Turkey Trot process as store manager I was a bit prepared for what to expect the week of the race. Since Scott was away the first few days of the week due to a conference, I had to make sure things were rolling smoothly both at the store and in the manner of preparing items for the packet stuffing, fielding TONS of calls from participants, co-ordinating volunteers, and entering in last minute runners. Its great to work with a staff as we have at the store – all chipped in to offer their time in some capacity to help. We even had some fun – there was a point on Thursday and Friday when we could have answered the phone saying “Double Tree Hotel, Friday, 3-9pm.” and hung up.  Seriously.

I entered the race and was putting the finishing touches on my own training in addition to working with the CRC run group in their final run before the event. By Wednesday night I was fried. I purposely stayed away from the store on Thursday to recharge (in addition to getting in a great brick) – THANKS JULIE!! 

On Friday, though not much traffic in the store - I still managed to get extra training in by riding to the hotel to drop off t-shirts and loading boxes of sale items to sell during the race. But a DP Max or a Monster mid-day and it was all good. Heck – I had a race to run! No panic. I even rode my bike home.

Looked like it was going to be a typical Saturday – overcast, humid, mid 60′s – and this was at 6am. Rain was in the forecast, but as per the day – at any time. We parked about a half mile away and walked to the start. Everything seemed to be under control. Staci had the expo tent set, Phil was there, and Chuck. Mike from New Balance was also in the area so my main concern was settled. I went to the main hotel for a last minute bathroom break. TIP: if you don’t care to use Port-o-Johns and you try to get a hotel bathroom – take the elevator to another floor and use that one. Its usually empty.  Or try the lobby. Otherwise suck it up and use the ports.

Gina was helping her co-worker Dan find the start since he was there to see his girlfriend run the race too. Its great to hear her give directions to people who lived here just as long as we have – if not longer.

I got to see some of the CRC group as we walked to the start and they were excited. Many had been nervous this whole week, but they were well trained and prepared for the course – it was only a matter of their mind working with them. I was more excited to see them finish than the race itself.

Since it was a 10K and Half-Marathon both starting together, you had to line up and make sure you knew had the blue bibs. They would go out real fast. The Half Marathon served as the North Carolina Long Distance Championships and offered prize $$ to the top 5 runners. As drops of rain slowly fell – it was a level playing ground.  

Off we go and sure enough the bulk of the front heads out fast. The first mile was around 5:40 so I was comfy (especially in my new Burns) Passed a lot of people right off the back and continued behind a group to see if they would cut off at the 10K turnaround. Sure enough, they did. I now had one guy about 100 yards ahead of me and in front of him one guy a good quarter mile ahead. At mile 4, Jerry Clark comes up behind me. Mind you Jerry is 55 yrs old. No joke. Seriously no joke.  I tell him “I’m buying my time with this guy.”  We were going 6 min pace so I cruised it. Together we got right next to him and I drafted him all down Providence Rd. I was able to hear his breathing and knew it was a matter of time before we took him. But then Rob Zombie came into my neural ipod and picked a good hill at mile 7 to just smoke. Up and over I hit a 5:37 mile and never looked back. I don’t care how old they were. Once there I was able to see the other dude and channeled him in. A few repeats of Saliva’s “Ladies and Gentleman” and I could in fact catch him. Once I saw him look back a few times I knew I had him – I was even tempted to wave. By mile 12, I ran by and heard the familiar “Good Job”, and kept going (deja vu from Thunderroad Half). I passed some of the 10K runners and it seemed like a typical race back home in Central Park. Right through the finish in a time of 1:16 and managed 3rd place overall – but since the second place guy was from Florida – and only NC resident were eligible for the prize $$ – I took second!

It was a great way to earn some overtime!

All jacked up, I found Matt, Trenace, and Holly who had run the 10K. They were standing right next to Gina and Dan. I was happy they did well and each got a medal. Gina was helping Dan manage the whole racing situation as his girlfriend Britt finished in a great time for her first race. Gina made Dan work the finish line and she then went to help at the expo booth. I stayed the next 90 minutes cheering each one of the group as they came through the finish – Colin, Lefy, Teresa, Diana, Lindsay, Michele, Caroline, Brad, Meg, and Nicole. I was so proud of each of them as some even hit personal bests! I posted a picture in the photo section.

Once everyone finished and the awards were done, we packed everything up and went back to the store to drop off the sale clothes. Once we got there it started to pour. That didn’t stop us from heading to Great Harvest for some good stuff and then back home for brunch. It wasn’t even 1pm. By the time we got back from Mass we were done. No amount of Monster was going to help by then.

It was a great way to gauge where my fitness was. I haven’t raced all year, and without a real taper it was a good run (been averaging 13-16 hrs a week). Heading into tri season, I know shift my focus to training for Ironman type workouts. I will work with InsideOut Sports with my bike and thanks to GINA get to test my new Helix Blue Seventy wetsuit.

Yes it was my birthday on the 13th and she made sure it was sung into my head 35 times. We had a great time the entire day – even going to a chinese-type buffet place for dinner. Soft serve rules.          

I don’t know what races will be on tap. Gina and I are discussing things and we will have a spring meeting soon. She’s going to be doing a few 5K’s as she joined to help walk with a friend who lives nearby.

Certainly all local and maybe the Duke Half in September, but we’ll be in NYC the first week of October and then the main biggie Battleship Ironman on Nov. 1.

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