Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tar Heel Ten Mile Race Recap

Catching up on my blog, I figured I should do a little recap of some recent races. First up: Tar Heel 10 Miler.

This race appealed to me for many reasons:

1. I love a good long distance road race.
2. I love an excuse to go to Chapel Hill.
3. I love having the boyfriend there for moral support.

I had just a month earlier completed the Rock and Roll Half Marathon and was disappointed in my performance. The hills got to me and my calves cramped up bad. I was ready for another challenge.

Anyone who has been to Chapel Hill knows that "Hill" is in the title for a reason. This is NOT a fast course. Mile 8 was coined "Laurel Hill Challenge" as the entire mile is a winding uphill. I was not running this race for a PR, so that didn't bother me. I wanted to feel not only that I took on a challenge, but completed it to the best of my ability. I am happy to say that was the result. I ran 1:28 and had energy to spare.

The EXPO: I went to the EXPO the night before to pick up my race number and T Shirt. This was essentially just in the atrium of a local strip mall. Pros: I was able to get in and out in 5 minutes. Cons: a lot of the fun goodies you can get at EXPOs (samples, merchandise, information booths) were non existent.

RACE DAY ORGANIZATION/THE COURSE: The race started on time - always a win. People had the option to place themselves in corrals with pacers holding signs. I ended up standing here for a about 20 minutes before the gun went off. If I could do it again, I would have tried to jump down to the field closer to race time to make sure I stayed loose, as it appeared most people were able to do this without any issue. The course map and the course were NOT the same. Not a huge deal for me, but definitely annoying to the boyfriend and other support crews that were trying to get to predetermined spots on the course to cheer, only to find out the race wasn't going to go by there. There was good crowd support, especially on Franklin Street and up "Laurel Hill Challenge." There were sufficient water/Gatorade stops, and right before "Laurel Hill Challenge" they offered GU. I know a lot of people swear by GU, it has just never been my thing. The race started and ended on the football field, providing an exciting finish running through the stadium.

PARKING/TRANSPORTATION: I was lucky that my boyfriend lived right off campus and had the ability to park by the lab he works in. From there it was about a 10 min walk to the stadium. We were able to get in and out of campus without any trouble. From what I heard from others, traffic for almost everyone else was a headache. If you are going to drive to this race, I suggest parking a little ways away and making your jog to/from your warm up and cool down to save yourself the frustration of sitting in traffic on your way home.

OVERALL RECOMMENDATION: If you are looking for a race to PR in, this is not the one for you. However, if you enjoy running through beautiful college towns with great local support and a fun vibe - make sure to sign up next year. (If I am back in the country - I will be giving this race another go).

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