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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Upcoming Race Schedule – Winter/Spring 2013

As I’m wrapping up a 2012 year that will have seen 15 finish lines by the time it’s all said and done, including my first half marathon (with 2nd and 3rd the last two races of this year) and at least one race for each month of the year, I told myself I would take it a little easier for 2013, but man, the dance card just fills up so fast.  Here’s a look at the possible lineup for the first 4 months of 2013.  The two January races are registered for and booked, the rest are tentative.

Jan 1 2013 – Running of the Lights 5.5K – Once again, we get the year “off and running” with the midnight run through the Tanglewood Christmas lights.  Hopefully several of my running friends from last year will be returning as well.

Jan 12 2013 – Walt Disney World Half Marathon – Can’t wait for this run.  A nice leisurely 13 mile jaunt through the house the Mouse built.  Everything I’ve read points at this being an awesome race.  My whole family will be there as the race weekend becomes a mini-vacation for us all, and last but not least, this race will be my 3rd half in less than 90 days to qualify me for the Half Fanatics.

Feb ?? 2013 – Fitness, Friendship and Fun 5K -Kannapolis NC – Don’t know the exact date for this race yet, but I gotta go back and help out my running friends the Landis family, and defend my 2nd in Age Group from last year (maybe go for first?) The JP Runner Girls is a running group for elementary school aged girls, similar to Girls on the Run, but local to Jackson Park Elementary.

March 16th 2013 – St Leo’s 10K – Winston Salem NC – I’m looking forward to tackling this course again, it’s a very very tough course.  My work friend Carmen will be running the 5K and maybe Jennifer will join me again for the 10K, we shall see.  Also the spaghetti and beer dinner the night before is a MUST!

April 20 2013 – Tar Heel 10-Miler – Chapel Hill NC – I was bouncing around several spring races including the Flying Pirate Half Marathon out on the Outer Banks, but finally settled on the TH 10M for several reasons, my sister and her boyfriend (who ran it last year) are moving back to Chapel Hill and will be living there by this time, the race runs through UNC Chapel Hill’s campus, which of course is the rival of my Alma Mater NC State, but they have a very cool “crash the party” option where you register under another school in the ACC and the top three get custom bibs (Last years top three were Duke, NC State and Wake Forest, so I’d say it’s a safe bet for the custom bib) so to run through UNC’s campus, with a Wolfpack bib and rep NC State while I’m there? Heck Yes! Sign me up.

April 27 2013 – Kings Mountain Half Marathon – Clover SC – I just found this race very recently, but it quickly became a must run.  The fact that it falls the weekend after TH10M is serendipitous since the weekend before a half I’d be running 10 miles anyway.  The race takes place entirely on the Kings Mountain Rev War Battlefield park in Northwest SC, right outside of Charlotte.  It’s a very small event (less than 200 runners for Full and Half combined last year), with a local friendly feel, and the registration is only 35$.  Half marathon race, and half marathon perks (shirt, medal, counts for Half Fanatics) for the price of a 5K? Sounds great! It may not be the Chickamauga Half Marathon, but it should still have cannons!

  • 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.