2010 Race Reports: Bank of America Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon (Raleigh, NC – State #1)

You always remember your first…

Bank of America Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon (March 27, 2010 –  Raleigh, NC)

I’m  proud to announce that I now –  officially – am able to mark 2 things  off my “bucket list”: (1) to run  the HM distance to it’s entirety  (check) and (2) run it in less than two  hours (check). I’m still trying  to process that last one…


Although   I knew I wasn’t really supposed to, my co-worker run buddy talked me   into taking a really slow 3-miler on Thursday and I couldn’t resist.  The  entire time, he kept me talking and scolded me for looking at my  GPS  too much and being too worried about pace – he encouraged me to  make  sure that I could talk and assured me that, if I did that, I would  be  fine and not to worry about the GPS.

I  was so excited  for this race – it was like Christmas for me. I   couldn’t concentrate  all day at work yesterday because I knew that, at   4, they were going to  start giving out packets across the street and  I  was climbing the  walls to get it. At 4:30, I left my office quickly  and  went down to get  my packet. I couldn’t believe that they gave us  the  chip the night  before! Amazing! I’ve never had that in a race  before – that saved me  some time this morning! I  went grocery shopping  and then went home to  eat a hearty meal including  egg whites (best  protien option for a  Lenten Friday), veggies, cheese  and a little bit  of pasta. I was in  bed, head on pillow, by 9 PM and  slept like a log  most of the night  (outside of a snoring dog!).


I  woke up  this morning about 10 minutes before my alarm (I was just that  excited)  around 5 AM and I jumped out of bed to get dressed, make  coffee and  gather all my things. I knew the battery in my GPS was  getting low  because it was a little touchy on Thursday, so I changed  it. I have a  charging station, so I just grabbed a random battery and  put it in. I  was so nervous that I had kind of an upset stomach – which  worried me a  bit. Once I ate, it seemed better, though, it still hurt  most of the  morning until I actually started the race. I ate a bowl of  high-fiber  instant oatmeal (2 packets) with blueberries (the magic  formula for my  10-mile run) and alternated coffee with plain water and  propel  (ironically, all things that settled my stomach). About 15  minutes after  the oatmeal, I had half a bagel with peanut butter and  decided it was  time to head out (shortly before 7 – race started at 8).  I brought a  banana with me intending to eat it once I got to the race,  but ended up  not eating it until after because I didn’t want to upset  my stomach  further. I got to the race a little after 7 and parked in  the same  parking garage I park in for work (the race started in front  of my  office building!) and headed over to the Marriott to use the  bathroom  (again!) and wait for the start. I must say, that is one of  the things I  loved about this race: REAL BATHROOMS! What a departure –  and I got to  actually wash my hands and not see, um… well, you  know… I went back  outside to take some photos, as I usually do to  help me not think about  the race so much, but decided to put it back in  the car because I wasn’t  sure I wanted to run 13.1 with it in my  pocket (that, and it was  FREEZING outside!) and went into the Sheraton  to keep warm until the  start.


Once  it was close to time to start, I  walked over to the corral and started  my GPS and watch and… DEAD  BATTERY on the GPS. Ruh-roh. Must have  grabbed the wrong battery!  Dang… My biggest worry in preparation for  this one race was my ability  to correctly pace myself at the start of  the race so I didn’t burn it  out too early and had trouble at the end  and now, I had no way of really  knowing how fast I was going. I’m the  anal retentive type, too, who has  to know – down to the hundreth of a  mile – exactly how far I went (I  think you guys may have already  noticed that about me) so I was annoyed  as hell that I didn’t have my  GPS, but there wasn’t anything I could do  about it at that point. I  started my watch and waited for gun to start.  Another key difference  for me this time is that I intentionally placed  myself in the back of  the middle of the crowd and kind of to the right  so I didn’t start too  fast. I was a bit frustrated that I wasn’t able to  start as soon as the  gun went off, but I was grateful that I felt good  at the start instead  of working harder to catch my breath and not being  caught up until I  hit 1 mile. Thankfully, though, I remembered to set my  lap for the  start of the race, though it meant I had to remember to  subtract 6  minutes for each time check!

The  start was great – but very cold! I had my iPod in  my left hand and a  hand-held water bottle in my right. I don’t know what  the temperature  was (I forgot to check) but I thought it was freakin’  cold. I hate  running with gloves, so I didn’t bother, but my fingers  were like ice  for most of it, making music selection a little tougher.  Since this was  the Rock and Roll and there were bands throughout, I  thought I should  at least pause my iPod when I got to the bands so I could  hear, but my  fingers were so frozen I couldn’t push the button to pause,  so I ended  up not hearing any of the bands! I didn’t take water at any  of the  stations (after running with that handheld now, I think I’ll  always  bring it) because I can’t drink while I run and I don’t want to  stop –  instead, I would squirt a little in my mouth and swallow a little  bit  at a time until I got it all down. I am a little surprised that I   didn’t drink more, though – I didn’t finish the bottle (20 oz) I  brought  with me – I only ended up drinking about 2/3 of it.

I  had run the first 5 miles before, so I knew that  part of the course  really well – the City of Raleigh has been doing  construction on the  main part of the run (Hillsboro Street for my fellow  Raleighwooders)  but didn’t finish! Yikes! So, the pavement was pretty  uneven, but it  was better than the potholes and missing sidewalks there  before 😉 For  the first five miles, I kept in mind what my co-worker  told me: if you  can talk, that is the right pace. Well, I didn’t really  want to annoy  folks around me, so I’d pick someone and pretend to have a  conversation  – “Hi, I’m Tobi” “Hi, I’m Bob” “Are you from here?” “No, I  moved  here…” blah blah blah. At least, however, I knew that if I was  able  to think about the conversation itself I was going the right pace. I   have learned that if I start thinking about how hard it is to breathe   or how hard this hill is or whatever, I’m running too fast. I didn’t   check my pace (or attempt to do math while I was running) until I hit   the 5-mile mark – and was pleased to see that I was running a little   better than 10mm pace, but over 9. Exactly how much, I don’t remember,  I  just remember that calculation and felt great about it.

Then…   we hit the hills, and this is the part when I reverse-split the   bejeezus out of this course. Now, you guys know how I feel about hills  –  I gripe about them all the time. boo hoo – hills. boo hoo, it kicked  my  behind. Boo hoo – that was painful… yada yada yada. Well, inspite  of  my complaining, all those hills I’ve run in the past paid off in   dividends today. It was the only place I actually passed people. We ran   past Meredith college and then up Blue Ridge which is a  llloooonnnnggggg  hill – shallow, but never ending – I think I was able  to keep a pretty  respectable pace here because I found two girls who  were about my height  (albeit much, much younger) and had a similar  running style that I kept  up with during this section of the run. Then,  we turned onto the  Greenway at the museum of art and I just let go and  opened the throttle.  I’ve been on the greenway before and I remembered  those hills as being  steep and nasty, so I was psyching myself up for  them, but I must say,  my body just took over and told my mind to shut  up and it was almost  effortless going up them – it was like my legs  were on autopilot. I was  passing people right and left – folks I had  kept up with or traded leads  with for the first 7 – 8 miles and never  saw again after that. Passing  people was addictive! Once I got to the  overpass (over 440) I had to  make myself slow down because I was  worried about my speed and wasn’t  sure exactly what the milage was at  that point and was worried I might  have overestimated my distance at  this point. Once we got back to  Meredith College, though, I knew it had  to be less than 5 because of  where we were on the map so I looked down  at my watch – whoah! Just over  an hour? Really – for 9 miles? I think I  even said it so loud the guy  next to me could hear me even with his  ipod in – lol. Could it be? Even  if I did a 10mm pace, I’d still get  back to the finish line right after 2  hours?!?!?!?! Holy cow!

As  we got back onto  Hillsborough Street, I realized I had 3 miles left  and whoah! I finished  that last mile a lot faster than I thought – even  if I did 10mm pace  from this spot, I was coming in UNDER 2 hours?!  WHAT? I think I actually  said out loud “no (expletive) way!” because I  got another look from  someone else. No… I must be reading that  wrong… so I kept going.  Then… I passed the sign for the 1 mile  marker for the 5K and realized  that I was actually going to make it  under 2 – I rounded the corner back  onto Fayetteville street and could  see the finish line. Holy Cow – I  did it! I couldn’t believe I was  getting toward the end and was actually  still running – I look down at  my watch and see that (after I remember  to do math) I am at 1:53! Get  out! really? I approach the big clock and  see it ticking about 45  seconds behind: 1:53:00, then :10, :20, :30 – I  wasn’t about to let  that thing hit 1:56, so I turned it out and  sprinted. I didn’t think I  had any sprint in me at all, but to my utter  surprise, I did. I went  like that for about .20 mile or so, but felt  like my legs were going to  give out and the last thing I wanted to do  was wipe out and/or do a  face plant in front of all those folks at .10  mile before the finish  line! I slowed down to the pace I was going when I  came around the  corner (at least what it felt like I was going) and I  crossed the  finish line at 1:55:30! Whoah!! I’m still in shock!


After   the race, I grabbed a sports drink that I downed in about 1/2 a  second,  went to my car to get a change of clothes & my banana (so  I  wouldn’t freeze and so my stomach would stop hurting) and then went  back  to get a Mocha at Starbucks (that was my reward – Venti!) and  start  letting everyone know how I did. I hung out for a short while  (about 45  minutes or so) and then went back home to get a good meal in  me and a  shower. I swear, this is the longest I have ever had runner’s  high – I  was grinning like a cheshire cat until about 3:00 this  afternoon – lol.  It literally lasted all day. I can honestly say, also,  that I haven’t  been able to eat enough all day, which has never  happened to me either. I  wasn’t sore at all until I took a nap and now  the sides and back of my  legs are all pretty sore. Also, the tops of my  feet (both) are pretty  sore – maybe my laces were too tight??

I  banned myself  from searching for races today (I probably would have  signed up for a  full today if I hadn’t placed my   no-registering-for-races-with-runners-high rule into effect), but I   *ABSOLUTELY* want to do another one… though, it might be tough to top   that benchmark 😉


4 thoughts on “2010 Race Reports: Bank of America Raleigh Rocks Half Marathon (Raleigh, NC – State #1)

  1. Pingback: 2011 Race Reports: Las Vegas Rock and Roll Half Marathon « The Devil's Chasin' Me
  2. Pingback: 2011 Review « The Devil's Chasin' Me
  3. Pingback: 2012 Race Reports: City of Oaks/Old Reliable 10k « The Devil's Chasin' Me
  4. Pingback: I Did What? | The Devil's Chasin' Me

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