This Runner's Trials

Thunder Road Half Marathon Recap

Half marathon number 11 is in the bag!

Brittney and I at the expo the night before

I didn’t PR (though I should have) but I met my goals so I am very happy.

I cannot believe I almost didn’t run this race. I’m so glad I did! I definitely left with a much better taste in my mouth this time running Thunder Road. The race was almost completely perfect.

Michelle and I pre-race

Brittney and the other Michelle

I say almost because the start was such a disaster. We- Jen, Michelle, Brittney, Michelle, and Ellevive- were stuck in a crowd of people and literally could not line up. In the 30+ races I’ve done, I’ve never seen anything like this. Finally, 2 minutes after the gun went off, we snuck through a fence and hopped into the race right before the starting line.

I run without music. I know you think I’m nuts. I’m always asked “what do you do to keep yourself entertained?” Well friends, here’s a glimpse into my mind:

Mile 1: 9:28. Move people, move, move, move. Ugh, I cannot believe the start is such a cluster. Dashing in and out of people is going to make this course long, but whatever. Oh this isn’t working. Hold back Jen, hold back. This will thin out.

Mile 2: 7:41. I really need to spit. But there are way too many people around. I can’t get to the side. What to do? Here goes nothing. Did I really just spit on my own shoe? I’m so gross.

Mile 3: 7:28. These hills aren’t nearly as bad as I remember. Well I guess since I raced in the freaking mountains, anything seems doable. I hope my friends are feeling the same way. I wonder where they are? Did they get stuck in mile 1, too?

Mile 4: 7:37. I’m hot. Way overdressed. It’s got to be like 10 degrees warmer than when we first started. Good-bye gloves, you were good to me. To take my zip up off or leave it on? Crap. I have to leave it on. I’m wearing a white shirt and white sports bra. Poor planning, Jen.

Mile 5: 7:52. Oh we’re by the yoga studio! I cannot believe I recognize a part of Charlotte. Go me. I wish I was doing yoga. Yoga is so warm. Stretching would feel so good right now. I want to stretch my left piriformis. Hmmmm, it was this race 2 years ago that I hurt my right piriformis. Thunder Road is not good for your butt.

Mile 6: 7:47. Omg, the old guy next to me is running his 103rd marathon. He’s going to pass me. Good for you old dude, pass me, own it. Now he just said he ran Philly a few weeks ago and he feels “slow”. Oh to be so slow!

Mile 7: 7:46. I need to pee. Do I stop? No, you don’t stop Jen. You can pee in an hour. You’ve had to pee before and held it that long. Pretend you’re on an airplane stuck on the runway for the next hour. How much would that suck? Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shooting stars? I could really use a wish right now, wish right now, wish right now.

Mile 8: 7:49. Actually, I could really use a downhill right now. This is the Thunder Road I remember. My butt hurts. A lot. Hubby better massage my butt tonight. He’s actually a horrendous butt massager. Should I get a massage this week? How do I ask the massage therapist to rub my butt without sounding inappropriate?

Mile 9. 7:44. I’m five miles away. Wow, look at my time. I feel great. If I book it, I can PR. PR on Thunder Road?! No way. Can I pick up my speed though? I don’t want to burn out. Burn out? Oh my gosh, I haven’t taken my Gu! Time to eat that sucker. Yum, you little caffeinated pack of icing. I love you.

Mile 10: 7:57. And now I’m thirsty. I hate you for doing this to me Gu. The faster I run, the faster I can get done and chug water. Ok feet, move faster. You’re going to regret this. Try to PR. You can do it. Show Thunder Road who’s boss. Crap, I can’t. I’m going to ignore you, Garmin.

Mile 11: 7:52. Oh I know where I am again! It’s the booty loop. Ouch, my booty hurts.

Mile 12: 8:02. But my stomach doesn’t hurt! What a victory. My lactose intolerance diet is no fun, but I feel so much better. Though I probably shouldn’t have eaten Chinese food last night. The sodium in that meal is likely contributing to my thirst. Oh no, look at that hill ahead. Oh but there’s a water stop… in the middle of the hill! I need to stop for a drink but how am I going to get going again?

Mile 13: 7:47. Jen, pick up the pace. Ahh, I can’t. I would be getting a PR in a few minutes if it wasn’t for that congested first mile. Don’t give up! But my legs cannot move any faster. I have nothing left. Hello, wind tunnel.

.18: 7:42 pace. Legs, why aren’t you sprinting? Who’s legs are you? Certainly not mine. I want my old legs back. Oh look, I’m done! YAY!

13.18 miles in 1:43:53 (7:53 pace)! We're still awaiting official results.

I am extremely happy I beat my goal. I never thought I’d finish just 41 seconds short of my PR. I didn’t think I had it in me to hold a sub-8 pace for a half marathon. I’m also happy my splits were fairly constant.

But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit disappointed. If the first mile wasn’t so congested, I probably would have PR’d. Oh well. Just a reason to do another half soon, right? ;)

Michelle, Me, Brittney, Michelle, and Ellevive

This was my last race of 2010. I'm so glad to end on a high note :)

Comments (30) Trackbacks (4)
  1. Congrats on a great race! I’m sorry the start was so congested.
    Sometimes I enjoy running without music; it’s a good way to clear my head.

  2. I like this recap. Highly entertaining. That is really annoying about the congested first mile, but you did great! Congrats!

  3. Great job! I’m glad you didn’t have tummy issues this race! And awesome turnout for the weather & hills!

    Have you seen the ironman video on YouTube? It’s hilarious! Hopefully wasn’t true for your husband, but hey. It is a huge accomplishment.

  4. This recap was so funny to read. I go through crazy thoughts in my head too, but I need music most of the time. Good job at the race!

  5. Congratulations on such a speedy race, and on hills no less!

  6. Jen, you are super fast! I also wanted to say that I recognized that UGLY carpet in the confrence center! I did the half there last year and really enjoyed it! I don’t think I could do the full because of the hills…they are killer!

    Congrats on your great race!!

  7. Nice work!!! Sometimes congested starts can be a blessing in disguise, but it sounds like this one wasn’t- still, what a great pace!

  8. Hi, Jen! Congratulations on running such a speedy half-marathon! I wanted to drop a note because I’m pretty sure I was right behind you in all of the mess getting into the start corral. I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to seem weird, though :-). This was my first road half-marathon (I’ve done one on trails) and I had a wonderful time, definitely doing it again next year!!

  9. Congrats, Jen! You are such an inspiration! You set goals, work for them, and meet them. I love it.

    I have such limited race experience – one half, one full, one relay, and some shorter races. I can’t wait for lots of new races in 2011.

  10. Congratulations on a great race! Also, I love your recap! It left me laughing… A LOT! :)

  11. That was a fun recap! Considering you weren’t even sure if you wanted to do the race, I think you should be totally content with your time. And it sounds like the next race will be a serious PR!

  12. Nice job on the race!! I almost spit out my water when you were talking about the butt massage! :) LOL!

  13. Woah that pace on a hilly half, it’s great!!!!Congrats!!

  14. Wow that is an amazing time, especially with a slower start! I love reading your thought process. Hope your butt is feeling ok today! Congrats on another awesome race!

  15. Inside the mind of a runner- I love it!!! I prefer to run without music too but with friends or my brother. This is a great recap and you have nothing to be disappointed about. Congrats on a fabulous race!!

  16. Love seeing what goes on inside your mind while running :) So cute!

    And congrats girl on the race!! You did great!!!


  17. YOU ARE A BEAST! way to go girl! I am SO glad you had no stomach issues, woo hoo! I love your mile recaps. Too funny!

  18. Really nice run!! I think it’s hard anytime you come close to your PR, because you think “if I’d just gone a little faster…”, but the fact that you came that close to your PR without thinking you had the training to do it is awesome! It means you are due for a PR soon :)

  19. great race! congrats!

  20. awesome race recap! i love that the splits were giving with your thoughts. super creative and what a great way to tell the story of the race. love it!

  21. Way to go, Jen! GREAT job girl!!! I bet you are right…if the beginning of the race wasn’t so congested, you would have PR’d!! You did awesome though and have a lot to be proud of!

  22. Congratulations Jen!! You did awesome! I’m so happy you ended 2010 on such a high note. I think you were in need of a good, speedy race. :)

    And it’s a really good thing you didn’t listen to me, haha You knew what you should do all along. I think this is a sign of a good 2011 race season to come!

    Loved your recap and reading your thoughts mile by mile. It’s funny the things you think about to get yourself through a race.

  23. Nice job! Crazy that we were both so surprised by our performances. I think that we’ve both just been a bit beat down by marathon training this fall. Obviously, it did more for running fitness than we thought! ;)

    Can’t wait to run many more half marathons with you guys. I feel so lucky to have such a great group of running friends here in Charlotte!

  24. Hilarious! Congrats on finishing.

  25. Nice work, Jen! I don’t run with music either because I like the challenge and find that races offer a ton of things for you to focus on that the music isn’t necessary. Although sometimes during marathons I do wish I were able to entertain my mind a bit with music. Great 1/2 marathon time!!

  26. Haha, I also don’t run with music and have similar thoughts, there was once a guy running near me in a half marathon with change in is pocket….ahh!!

  27. AWESOME race girl! to be SO close to your PR on a tough course when you weren’t going to even run this race is AMAZING!!! way to end off 2010 with a bang :)

  28. Congrats on a great race! I loved reading your recap–very entertaining! I live here in CLT too and Thunder Road was my first half. I didn’t run it nearly as fast as you, but you have to start somewhere! :) I have a question for you though…have you ever had to deal with side stitches? The first major, breath taking (literally!) one that I got was when I started sprinting to the finish line at the Run For Your Life 4 miler. Ever since then they have been a real roadblock to my training. I’ve heard so many theories, most of which contradict one another, and am curious to know if you’ve ever had them and if so, how did you get rid of them? I’m getting to the point that if anyone can help me get these stitches under control I would pay them a million dollars (if I had it, of course)!!

    • I’ve gotten stomach cramps while running that I later found out was from lactose intolerance. Side stitches can be cause by a lot of things: dehydration, not enough potassium or magnesium, your running mechanics, your breathing. I’d see a doctor just to make sure it’s nothing serious.

Leave a comment