Kings Mountain Half Marathon – Clover, SC – April 27, 2013

Today I completed my 5th half marathon and my first as an official Half Fanatic.  I was very excited about this race since it was going to be run on a Revolutionary War battlefield and would count as a new state (South Carolina) for my “Races Run” map.  The reality of the race didn’t live up to the (self inflicted) hype.  Some was good, some was bad.. overall the results I’d say are “mixed”.

I got up at the lovely hour of 4AM to get ready and make sure I had everything and then hit the road at 5:30AM.  I was planning to get to the race site around 7AM since I had assumed it was a hour and a half drive.  I ended up getting there a little after 7 and got a little lost in the park and ended up turning around twice before I found the parking area.  The signs that said “RACE —>” were a little misleading since I wasn’t sure if it meant “The race is this way” or if it was marking the course itself.  I made it with plenty of time, but a little slight panic to start the morning.

They delayed the race start a few minutes to allow for some last minute registrations and ended up selling the last few spots to hit their max of 400 so that was good.  The race director/MC guy had a few last words to say, and then decided right there in front of the crowd to propose to his girlfriend.. I think she said yes, but I bet she’s gonna beat him about the head and shoulders later on tonight.  A 3-2-1 countdown and we were off.
















The first mile included a massive climb and the thoughts “Oh crap.. this is going to be hilly”  Yeah, I know.. it’s Kings MOUNTAIN, but still.  You never know how these things are going to be until you’re actually out there.  Another Fanatic came up behind me (I didn’t think to ask her name) and we chatted for a bit about how that was a brutal way to start a race and then she passed me and went on her way.

12:41, 12:11, 12:46 Not bad first couple of miles, I knew I was taking this one slow.

At mile 4 I had to stop to use the bathroom at the Visitors Center, which is the first time I’ve had to make a mid-race pit stop but I guess it was bound to happen eventually.  I’m glad the restrooms were open since I doubt I could have made it another 2 miles to the portajon at the turn around.  I felt much better after I stopped and clocked my fastest two miles in miles 5 and 6

19:12, 11:54, 11:17

At this point we took the only turn of the course off the main “Park Road” and onto a gravel road.  This reminded me of where I normally run out at Salem Lake, so it wasn’t too bad but I did have to watch my footing.  At this point I started running into people who were coming on the “back” portion of the out and back and had quite a few people shout out “Good Job” “Keep going” “You got it” etc and got several high fives, including one from a lady in a Disney Marathon shirt who put her arms up and hollered and made a point to come to my side of the road to high five me.  That always helps, and this was a very friendly supportive crowd.  Miles 7, 8 and 9 were on this gravel road.

12:41, 12:33, 14:23












View of the gravel road after the turn around point.  By mile 9 I was starting to walk some as the hills were absolutely killing me.

Mile 10 we got back onto pavement, and this was a little bit faster of a mile than mile 9, but at this point I was quite literally the only soul in sight.  I looked in front of me and behind me and there was no one else around.  I was alone on the course which was a striking difference to Disney and Raleigh which were more crowded races.  At this point I also started losing steam and at mile 11 my calves were cramping.  I walked most of the way from 11 to the finish.











13:01, 14:50, 18:19, 17:53

At the mile 11 aid station I grabbed a Power Bar Harvest Energy bar in Peanut Butter Chocolate chip flavor, which at that point was about the most delicious thing I’d ever had in my life (It was actually pretty good) since I felt like I needed something, although I can’t say that it helped. At that point I was spent.

I made it to the finish (according to the main clock) at around 3:08.  Faster than New Orleans or Disney, and slower than Raleigh and Mistletoe.  Not a bad finish, but not my best (I was not shooting for a PR).  It took me a second to figure out where to get my medal (they were not handing them out, you had to go get it).  And then looked for the post race food…. which ended up being only more powerbars and gels.  Grabbed a Powerbar (different style) which was gross but I ate it anyway and then headed to my car.  I noticed my Garmin was still running, and so I shut it off at about 3:11 but I knew it added on a couple minutes.













Pros: Cheap race ($40), New State (SC), Had several people talk to me with my Half Fanatics shirt, well marked course, very friendly crowd.

Cons: Very boring course, no monuments, cannons, flags etc that I would have expected from a “Battlefield” run, very disappointing.  Post race food was non-existent. Chip didn’t work so I don’t have an “official” time.

I was very undertrained for this race (my own fault) especially for the hills.. so moral of the story.. you can run a half marathon on two weeks training, but I don’t recommend it.


Mistletoe Run Half Marathon – Winston Salem, NC – 12/1/12

This morning I ran in my third half marathon and the second in a series of three races in 67 days which will culminate in Disney on Jan 12 and qualify me for the Half Fanatics.


Running only a month after Raleigh, I wasn’t planning to try to PR again, and in fact I didn’t really have any reason too try.  The Mistletoe is a walker friendly event with a four and a half hour time limit, so I was in NO hurry.

My friend Jennifer who finally got back into running last week with a Turkey trot, was on hand to run the 5K with her daughter Abby.


The first picture didn’t take and Abby caught us by surprise by this one.


Abby made us a cheering sign!

The race started promptly at 8:15 (which is nice since last year it ran very late) with a loud bang and a puff of smoke.  I never did see what they fired off but it was big, of course the Artilleryman in me was very interested in what it was but I never did see it.  We looped around Hanes Park and then ducked into the Buena Vista neighborhoods, which is “the nice side of town”.. Big old stately homes, some of them very large.

About a half mile in, as I’m weaving through traffic I hear someone behind me call out “ERIC!” and of course, even if you’re going to assume they are not talking to you, it’s hard not to turn and look.  I expected to see someone who I knew, but lo and behold it was a perfect stranger and she proceeded to tell me “I read your blog!” Of course my response was “Really?!?”  How crazy is that, and I didn’t catch her name, but if you’re reading this, Thank You Anonymous Blog Reader!

The course was laid out in a “T” shape, where we had a short out and back, followed by a longer out and back at a right angle to the first one.  Well, when we got to the portion where we started running into traffic coming in the opposite direction, they had signs that said “KEEP LEFT” but the oncoming traffic was on the left, so those of us heading “out” were on the right, while those coming “back” were on (our left, their right). At some point I didn’t notice when the people around me got over, and suddenly the oncoming traffic was on their left, my right and I was heading straight into oncoming traffic.  I stayed as close as I could to the very edge of the road, but I couldn’t get over so I was kind of stuck.  Finally a patch opened up and I scooted over to the left but that was frustrating for a minute when all of a sudden the traffic pattern changed dramatically.

After we got into the second part of the out and back, we ran through a couple more neighborhoods and then we snuck into the back part of the Graylen House and Convention Center, which I didn’t realize where we were until we got close to the house, and then we snuck across Robinhood Road on the the Renyolda house property, which is nice but HILLY.  We hit a nice downhill in Renyolda Gardens, but I knew it was going to be brutal on the way back (and it was, I had to walk up it) and then we did a loop around the Wake Forest University Campus, which a portion of that section exactly mirrored a portion of the Law Enforcement Memorial 5K from back in April.  After this is was time to come back.  I was getting tired at this point and I had to walk a few portions, including the monster hill and a couple of the water stops.  But I knew I had plenty of time and I was in no hurry, but the problem was once I stopped to walk it was really hard to get back running again.  I finally worked the kinks out I guess as I was able to keep a steady but slow pace for about the last two miles coming in to the finish where Jennifer and Abby were waiting for me.


Crossing the finish!


And we’re done!

2:48:32 finishing time.  Not as fast as Raleigh, but again I wasn’t trying to be.  All I needed to do today was FINISH.  And I did.  It wasn’t easy, but it was a good race.

‘Cause I’m only Half Crazy

When I was in New Orleans at the Rock and Roll Marathon expo they had hats, shirts, magnets and stickers with the slogan “13.1 miles, ’cause I’m only half crazy” It’s a tongue and cheek poke at marathon runners, who are crazy and a statement that half marathoners are crazy, but decidedly less so.  That may be debatable  but I digress.

I have officially joined the ranks of the “Half Crazy”.  As I mentioned in a previous post I decided to run a local half marathon here in Winston Salem, the Mistletoe Half Marathon on December 1st.  I’ve now registered for it and made it official.  Those of you keeping score with the home game will realize that is in between Raleigh (Nov 4) and Disney (Jan 12).  Yes.. I stuck a half marathon in the middle of my half marathon training.  That’s what makes it crazy.

There is a method to this madness.. somewhat.  During a long run around the lake Laura and I were discussing different races and realized that Mistletoe would give me a streak of 3 half marathons in less than 90 days, which is one of the qualification requirements for the running club the Half Fanatics.  In fact this is the lowest, or easiest qualifications.  Other levels include such feats as 12 in 12 months, 52 in a year (one a week), 2 in two days, 3 in 3 days, and other ridiculous things.

The other reason I decided to run this race was because it’s local (no hotel, no long drive, no travel expenses), it benefits one of the local YMCA’s of which I am a member of the region (YMCA of Northwest NC, not a member of that specific branch, but they all work together), and the registration was only 45$ which is ridiculously cheap for a half marathon.  That’s only 10-15$ more than most of my 5-10K’s and it comes with the usual half marathon swag of a shirt, a medal, and (rumor has it) a kicking after party.  With all that, how could I say no?

When I finish the qualifying races and join the Half Fanatics, I will be among friends.  Not just the nearly 3000 new friends I’ll make who are already club members, but Amanda (from Eat to Live, Live to Run), who opened this Pandora’s box and got me into running in the first place, became a member in March after completing 4 half marathons in 36 days, becoming Fanatic #2040. Laura, who I run with at Salem Lake for my long runs, is a member of both the Half Fanatics (#620) and the sister club the Marathon Maniacs, so she’s crazy and a half.  I blame Laura for this… this was all her idea.

  • About Me

    I am a recent graduate in Food Science (NC State, 2009) and I work for a major food manufacturing company. I love food, but I can no longer eat anything that crosses my path. About 24 months ago I begin a serious struggle to get my obesity under control and reduce my chances of developing Type II diabetes. Since September of '09 I have lost 50 pounds and I still have a long ways to go. I've started eating better and exercising more, including taking up running.