52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 13: Motor-vation

I have been considering how I might improve my pace. I could work on my appalling form, eat better before a run (hash browns are bad), lift more weights, or, you know, train. Or … I could just run on a motor speedway and steal its mojo. I mean, it expects fast, right?

This was part of my thinking when we signed up to do the North Carolina Half-Marathon and 5K this past weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Our mini-runcation marked No. 13 in my 52 Weeks, 52 Runs challenge, which shockingly means I am a quarter of the way through and show no signs of slowing (except when I do).

But back to North Carolina. The real reason we decided to head south was this:

N.C. Half Marathon

Flashy!

Most of you know how I feel about medals (although I am coming around), but this, the “Fastest Medal Ever,” lights up in speedy colors. It lights up! It doesn’t make car noises (something for the race organizers to think about), but it lights up!

I didn’t get this fine piece of neck bling myself (it was for half-marathoners only, i.e. Hubby), but I was still dazzled by its presence. It lights up! So worth it.

Ladies and gentlemen, start your … sneakers

From start to finish, this was a brilliant event. We gathered at dawn under stormy skies and were worried we would be trying to outpace lightning. But the N.C. weather gods must be runners too, because they produced ideal conditions for me: cool and overcast. Sublime. (I operate in a very narrow weather window.)

N.C. Half Marathon

Crossing the start under the "Where racing lives" sign. Love it. (Doesn't it look like there's a huge crowd in the background? Strategic seat painting.)

The half-marathoners took off first, so the 5Kers had a long-ish wait for them to clear the 1.5-mile track (it was slightly gratifying though, given that some folks were already walking as they finished the loop. Maybe I can pull this longer-distance dance off after all).

Once the slowpokes cleared the way, we got our start. It was fabulous to run on the track’s smooth surface. No watching out for the treacherous potholes and cracks that dot Massachusetts’ roads and are a threat to ankles everywhere.

N.C. Half Marathon

So fast I was blurry.

I had a feeling I was doing pretty well, although I had my usual THAT’S ALL? reaction when I got to mile one. Things got better after that and I found the zone. It was a very good zone.

In my customary style, I flagged midway through mile three, but I didn’t stop. I believe I’ve only managed to run the whole distance in two other runs, so I was rather proud of myself. There’s something to this speedway business. It has speed in its name, see. Despite my overwhelming desire to make vrooming car noises, I stayed silent. But even without them, I managed to set a PR.

Hubby’s half was much more challenging – he had hills – but he still came through with his usual flair. He didn’t make car noises either.

N.C. Half Marathon

Runners line up as the sun comes up.

N.C. Half Marathon

The less blingy 5K medal.

And I got this medal. It doesn’t light up (I’m crying a little on the inside), but that’s OK. As medals go, it’s a fine example, although it also doesn’t double as a beer opener. (I will have to have a subtle word with the race organizers.)

Despite this oversight, the inaugural N.C. Half Marathon/5K was a fabulous event that we’re already talking about doing next year, so I hope it keeps running. Maybe I’ll be ready for a flashing medal then too.

Thirteen runs down, 39 to go. It’s a long, curvy road ahead.

N.C. Half MarathonThe event: N.C. Half Marathon and 5K
The location: Charlotte, NC
The date: March 25, 2012
My time: 31.35 (pace: 10.10)
Hubby’s half-marathon time:
1.40.41 (pace: 7.42)
The cause: This one didn’t have a charity, so I donated to Denim for a Cure. If you head over to joggingjeans.com, a brilliant blog, you can read all about it and maybe donate, too.
The T-shirt:
Red tech shirt with speedy insignia.
The aftermath:
Bananas, grapes, bagels, beer.

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30 responses to “52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 13: Motor-vation

  1. Congratulations – you’re a quarter of the way though! Hmmm, April in 2 days’ time.

  2. Well done on reach 1/4 distance!
    There’s nothing wrong with making “vroom” noises, you know. I did it at Silverstone when I ran there. It takes your mind off the aches and pains – although you may attract some funny looks! ;-)
    Being a motorsport fan, I’m tempted to see how many races at circuits could complete (with obligatory vroom noises). Although (unfortunately) that one’s a bit far…

    • Thanks so much! I think you’re right about the vrooming. Next time, for sure … I would love to just devote myself to running at race circuits. Might be next year’s challenge! :-)

  3. Congrats! It sounds like a really fun place to run.
    And thanks again for the donation to Denim for A Cure!!

    • Thanks!! It was terrific fun. I do hope they put it on again next year. My pleasure on the donation front. It was for a great cause, and of course, there’s the added bonus. :-)

  4. I too am jealous of your husband for that amazing medal. I run for the bling more than I’d care to admit and that one is definitely on my calendar for 2013. Keep it up!

    • Thanks! It’s crazy, isn’t it?! I was so down on the bling at the beginning (“what the heck do adults need medals for, blah blah”), but this medal has won me over for sure. Just design it so it makes car noises and it may well be the finest medal ever produced. You should definitely see if you can make the NC run next year. One of the best events I’ve been to.

  5. Nice job on the PR!! Maybe you should inhale more gasoline fumes during races?

  6. Way to go on the PR, S&J! Hubby and I are planning to incorporate a race on our vacation this year – there is something about running far from home that is appealing.

    • Cheers! I must say, these past two weekends, both of which have been mini-runcations have been a blast. You’re right, there is something about doing events away from home that lends them a whole new level of fun. I would recommend it for sure! :-)

  7. I’ve been following your 52 runs in 52 weeks quest, and this is the first race you’ve done that has made me legit jealous! I love NASCAR (so much so I once lived in Concord, near Charlotte, just to be close to that track) and I love running — especially running that is rewarded with a medal that LIGHTS UP. I might have to take a runcation back to North Carolina next March. Congrats on your PR!

    By the way, if you liked the running-on-the-track thing, there’s a half marathon in Daytona Beach in October that starts and ends on the track at Daytona International Speedway, and is even timed to start so that most runners will hit the turnaround point of the course at the beach as the sun is rising. No 5K option, but I’m sure you could do a half. That’s another on my to-do list!

    • Ha! It seems like this event would be a match made in heaven for you! A Charlotte runcation should definitely be in your future.

      Thanks for the heads up on the Daytona half! I was SO excited that I immediately went and looked it up, only to realize that we are going to be in DC that day for the Marine Corps Marathon (Hubby) and 10K (me). But Daytona is definitely on the list for next year. Sounds brilliant. Thanks again. :-)

  8. OMG it LIGHTS UP?!?!? I am SO running that half next year!

  9. You find the coolest races!! Congrats on being 1/4 way through!!

  10. i was looking at this race……it looked like a blast! love your review…maybe that will be my “destination race” next year! hey color run is coming to boston (amesbury) july 28th…..going to be a BLAST….reg opens Monday at noon….let me know if you do it!

    • You should definitely make it your destination run!! (They are seriously going to have to start paying me.) Thanks for the word on the Color Run. I had NO idea it was coming to MA. I had signed up to get DC notifications. I am not sure whether I can make it as I don’t drive and Hubby is going to be out with the Guard for a couple months. But I will let you know if I am!!! Hope to see you next weekend. :-)

  11. WOW, that’s a seriously impressive piece of race bling!

  12. Congrats on making it this far!! That half-marathon medal makes me green with envy. I may have to plan a trip to NC next year. :)

  13. Pingback: 52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 15: To hill and back | Stride and Joy

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  16. Just for info, the Daytona Half Marathon moved to February 17, 2013 to line up with speedweeks.

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