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:
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.)
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.
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.
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.
The 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.