I’m moving an older post from 2 years ago about this race – a concurrent/companion race to the Tarheel 10-miler – for reference… I wrote this in 2010 for a different blog – and so far my only “did not finish” race:
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Fleet Feet 4-Miler (Chapel Hill, NC)
sigh I was due a bad race… glad I got it out of the way so close to my HM so I can shake it off and move on… Having said that, it wasn’t all “bad” – just not as expected… that’s probably a better way to describe it…
Pre-pre-race: looking back, this should have been an omen, but at the time, it just seemed like a bunch of bad things happening independently of each other – now, I’m not so convinced. I told you all about my little sock-less escapade in the Kayanos for the sake of “getting one in” on Monday – well, that was the only run I had this week because it tore my feet up (as it turns out). The blisters burst and my feet were a total mess Thursday and Friday. Thursday, I tried to get my packet – drove all the way from downtown Raleigh to Carborro (about 30 miles) only to miss the packet pick up by 10 minutes (Fleet Feet in Carborro is apparently very serious about closing at 7). Tried again on Friday to get my packet – got all the way there (barely) in time – get my NCSU red party crasher bib (awesome – has a removable chip in an envelope in the back that you take out after the race so you don’t have to wait in line for someone to cut it off!) and very cute T-shirt (even if it does have “Tarheel” on it… might still wear it – ha ha) and got back into my car. Well… Fleet Feet is in the shopping center that is – at best – a cluster-(well placed explative). So, to say the least, I was having a really hard time figuring out how to get the h out of that parking lot. I finally figured it out and blew through a pedestrian cross that I didn’t see – in front of Carborro’s Finest. So, being the good girl that I am, I pull over and… (another well placed explative) left my wallet on my desk at work. Really? The guy was nice about it since I was very apologetic and it was clear that I never come up there, he let me off with a Warning. I think it was fairly obvious when I didn’t have any idea what he was talking about – you mean you have cross-walks outside of intersections? not used to that… seriously, they have cross-walks every 20 yards or so in Carborro – not just at intersections (of which there are also plenty). Not really a shocker I didn’t see it (upon second pass, I see why – it wasn’t painted on the street but, there were signs… just didn’t expect it… now I do). That meant I had to drive all the way back to my office to get my wallet – I didn’t get home until after 9 and blew through about 1/2 a tank of gas on this little escapade.
I had decided that, since this one was so close to my HM, I wouldn’t try to PR it or go crazy. I just wanted to get the same splits or close to the same splits as last year’s 4-miler (8:44 splits) and I thought that was doable, even this close to my HM and with my foot injuries. I didn’t even wear my heart rate monitor or my gps – I even carried around my Canon G10 (I’m a bit of a shutterbug and that is my ‘take-with-me-everywhere-but-a-race’ camera)… that’s how I approached this race. The most important thing to me was that I was decked out in my NCSU stuff running through UNC campus.
Pre-race: I slept in my clothes to save time. Good thing I did… Overnight, my 3yo decided he had to have Mommy-snuggle-time at 2 AM and crawled into bed with me. He tossed and turned and slapped me around and snored until my alarm went off at 5AM, at which point he instructed me to turn it off and was seriously cranky. At around 5:15, I got up to start getting ready, and he started crying because he wanted me to “snuggle wif” him. awwww… what a heart breaker! so… I got a pretty late start after giving a few more snuggles, wrapping up my feet and waiting for their Dad to get up to come soothe them. Finally got my oatmeal and coffee in me and I was out the door by around 6:15 (about 15 minutes later than I wanted). The whole way to Chapel Hill, I thought the race started at 7, (it started at 7:30), so I was stressing out about where to park, (there were a lot of other events on the UNC campus today, in addition to the race, and they threatened to tow your car if you didn’t park in the right place). Parking was over a mile away from the start! yeah – really. It wasn’t until I got to Chapel Hill that I discovered I had an extra 30 minutes to go to the bathroom. Thank God. I start the trek toward the start area, and saw a MAN wearing a run skirt! That was a first. I did a double check to make sure – it was absolutely a run skirt (I wear those a lot, so I tend to notice them). I finally got to the start area, used the bathroom and started walking around to figure out where I was supposed to go. One thing I regret now (and you’ll know why in a bit) is that I didn’t look at the 10-miler route. I assumed they were starting in the same place, but I didn’t see signs for anything other than the 10, except for a few signs that also had the 4miler logo on it. Truth be told, I still don’t know. Maybe I’ll bring myself to look at the map tomorrow, but I’m still too annoyed tonight. As I asked around, none of the workers seemed to know and most of the folks seemed to be there for the 10-miler, but I saw signs here and there that had the 4-miler, so I assumed I was in the right place so I located the 9mm section of the corral and picked out a good spot, I turned up my iPod to the perfect song for me today, on 11, and waited for the gun to go off.
Race: One of the few races I’ve been in where we actually started on time! Woo hoo! I started off pretty slow because of my feet – once I got about a half a mile into it, they stopped hurting quite as bad (that is, until I got into the shower – ouch!) but as the crowd thinned out, I started passing folks and ended up behind the 9mm pacer. I kept up with two women who I traded leads with – one I called black skirt girl who ran the same pace as me until we got to the 2nd big hill and then I lost her. The other was a cancer patient, and I was almost in tears running with her. She was amazing! We pretty much ran the same pace, occasionally trading leads most of the time I ran (untill I stopped and she passed me – more about that in a minute). All was great through Mile 3 – I started, however, getting to the point where I was looking for where we turned off at around where I thought (based on my time) should be about 3.5 miles – because we were supposed to finish inside Kenan Stadium, where UNC plays their football games. I didn’t see one.
Hmmm…. Then, I passed by the 4-mile marker and it was… a water table! huh? Wow – Kenan Stadium looks soooo much bigger (and less industrial) on TV. I glance down at my watch – I’m right at 33 minutes (actually, way better than I expected to be), but I thought “Ok, maybe they did it backwards, because, you know, I didn’t see a 1-mile marker, right?” so I kept going… until I realized we were running on Franklin Street – huh? I don’t remember Franklin Street on the 4-mi route?!?! I stopped to ask someone “you know, it seems like this is the 10-mile route – did I miss the 4-mile finish” ‘Oh, no” she assures me “it is just ahead” Ok, so I keep going. My legs are about to give out, though, because I only prepared for 4 miles, but I wanted to make sure I finished running, so I continue… until I pass the marker for 5 miles. For a fleeting moment, I thought to myself “well… I could keep going and see how far down 10 I can get – you never know… maybe I can finish…” but I had to stop myself there – I didn’t want to hurt myself. I was getting tired. My feet were hurting (and later I found out they were bleeding), and my legs were starting to feel weak. I had to stop. I was so disappointed. Really – either I picked the wrong start, or there was ONE sign for the 4-miler split off and I missed it while I was playing with my iPod or getting a bit of water or something. Who knows. I’ll find out more tomorrow when I look up the routes again. The good news is, even with the stops, I was still (unofficially) under a 9mm.
*Post-Race: After I realized I was on the wrong path – and only at the half-way mark of the 10-miler at that – I realized there was no way to salvage my “official” time – and I had already run a mile more than I planned for, so I was pretty happy with what I did, but I still felt like a looser walking! I know I shouldn’t but… eh, I do. I cut across campus to head back to the REAL Kenan Stadium (which, by the way, is huge – though not as big as Carter-Finley… our stadium – and does look the same on TV as in person… very light blue….) so I can drop off my chip. Just to add icing to my $*t cake, I got lost on campus. Really? I couldn’t believe it. I took me almost an hour to find the stadium! Wow! I was so tired by then – and thirsty (I had finished off the water in my Nathan hand held) – not to mention hungry and increasingly frustrated about being lost. I finally found the stadium, returned my chip (and was a wee bit jealous of the folks running INTO the stadium) grabbed a banana a couple of drinks and headed out back to my car… where I got lost… again. Remember I told you it was about a mile between where I parked and where we started? Well… I thought I remembered where we started (we didn’t finish where we started, which was my first mistake) and I went in the opposite direction from where I should have been going. Another 45 minutes later, I finally found my car. Grrrrrr…. I probably ended up walking another 10-miles beyond the 5 I ran, lol. My 5yo started a Soccer league and I got there late not to mention I was bursting at the seams, if you know what I mean. I have had enough of port-a-johns today!!
Overall, I thought the course (at least the first half of the 10-miler) was great – a bit hilly, but I’m used to that. So pretty, though. They had pacers in red shirts with their pace on the back of their shirts – that’s the first time I’ve seen that and it was a pretty nice touch. They also had a group of guys on bikes who rode along side the runners to protect them from traffic – also a very nice touch! Lots of water stations, mile markers at EVERY mile (ended up seeing the 1-mile marker on one of my wondering around/getting lost trips), a LOT of pre-race communication (which was helpful) and the removable chip – and, running inside the stadium looked like it was pretty cool. Had it not been for the 4-miler snafu, I would have marked this down as one of the better races I’ve participated in! I have already filled out the survey for this race and rated everything but the signs and the volunteers’ knowledge of the race information highly. I think I might do it again next year, but I’ll run the 10-miler!! ha ha. At least then, I’ll know where I’m going!
Hope you all have a good night!