Wednesday, January 14, 2015

TheOldRunner has Moved...

I have moved TheOldRunner blog to a new location. This one will no longer be updated so please be sure to bookmark the new one and subscribe if you're interested.

Here's the address...

http://theoldrunner.com/

See ya there!!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Race #282 - Belk Bowl 5k - Charlotte, NC - 12/28/14

Last year I pushed two grandkids in a stroller in this race and really enjoyed it, but I was looking forward to just running it all by myself this time around to see how I'm doing physically. My past few races have been slower and my 5k times have gradually climbed up over 22 minutes. I'm not really surprised since I'll be 63 in February, but I'd still like to hold off the inevitable for as long as possible. It turned out fine and I was able to sneak back under 22 minutes with a chip time of 21:42, winning first place in the 60-64 age group.

This is a race I really like. The food is great, the course is pretty flat, the awards are fantastic (I won not only a nice medal but also a $50 Belk gift card), and both the pre- and post-race activities are held in the Wells Fargo Atrium in uptown Charlotte, which is one of the best wintertime race venues a runner could hope for. Linda and I parked in the adjoining parking deck and since she's still recovering from her recent broken hand she didn't run. We entered the atrium without having to go outside at all and she was able to stay inside the entire time. She would have been okay outside on this particular day since it was around 50 degrees with overcast skies (but no rain), although there are a lot of times in late December when that's not the case.

Speaking of parking, as we drove into the deck the sign said weekend parking was $5 a day, but as we left the gate was wide open and there was no one in the booth to collect any money, so we parked for free. There was plenty of parking in that deck but I'm sure a lot of people ended up in parking lots where they did have to pay. If I remember correctly, last year we also parked in the same place for free, so in my rating I'm counting it as free parking.

Two-time Olympian Anthony Famiglietti was the overall winner with a time of 14:47. Of course that blew everybody else away but it wasn't his fastest time this year. He's been under 14:00 at least three times in 2014. Natalie Anthony was the first female winner with a fast time of 17:34.

Click Here for Race Results

My Stats:

Time:  21:42 (chip time)
Pace:  7:00 (Garmin recorded pace as 6:55 and distance as 3.14)
Age Group: 1 of  9
Overall:  51 of 507
Average Heart Rate:  164
Maximum Heart Race:  176
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:09 (75.23%)

Thanks to Stan Austin for this photo as I approached the finish line in this year's race.


I was a little slower last year although I still managed to place in my age group with a
chip time of 25:03 pushing two of my grandkids in a stroller. As you can see, they
were underwhelmed (and probably freezing).

Nice shirt, great medals for age group winners, and a
$50 gift card from Belk for 1st place.


***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
8 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
5 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! (Race day $25)
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
0 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
6 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
x - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no (Hilton/Wells Fargo lot was free)

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  96


Thursday, December 18, 2014

Race #281 - Huntersville 5k - World Record Tether Run - Huntersville, NC - 12/13/14

It was my slowest 5k ever, but all for a good cause. According to organizer and Charlotte Running Club president Bill Shires, the world record for the most people tethered together for a 5k race was 116. That was a record Bill was confident we could break and he spent several months planning a strategy and gathering people to run. There wasn't a time requirement but it was imperative that everybody stayed tied together until every runner crossed the finish line.

With the great organization and pre-planning we easily broke the record with 178 runners crossing the finish line. We were all tethered together with a system of bungee cords that was well thought out, and the biggest challenge was being sure that nobody tripped or  came loose from the tether system. Any disconnection at all by any runner would have disqualified us.

Of course, the speed was dictated by the slowest runner. I was in the front row and everybody up there was wishing we could go a little faster, but there were one or two runners farther back who had a hard time keeping up so we would walk whenever we had to. My final time of 43:13 landed me in 10th place out of 13 in the age group but it was the first time I had run a race where there was really no pressure at all to be fast and it was a lot of fun to hang with a group of almost 200 people throughout.

All of the information is being submitted to the Guinness Book of World Records and hopefully we'll make it into the record books!

Click Here for Race Results

Official Race Photos:



Click Here for Race Website

Bill Shires, president of the Charlotte Running Club, was the brains behind the world record attempt.


Running friends Bob Nelson, Rick Gagnon, Butch Holt, and me.


Getting tethered together before the race.

With running friend and fast chick Sharon Davis.
We ran the Ugly Sweater 12-mile unsanctioned race the following day together
as a tempo run at a 7:30 pace and she was the 1st overall female.


A bunch of friends from the Gaston County Runners helped set the new world record
including 8-year-old Martin Inman, who is quickly becoming a fast runner like his dad Andy.



***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
2 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals (HM only)

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
8 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
5 - Swag: (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent (Hoodie for HM runners)
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
0 - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  100

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Race #280 - ChristmasTown 5k - McAdenville, NC - 11/29/14

My friend and age group competitor Ralph Shore
is a regular year-round at road races, but he's
especially noticeable in the Christmas races!
In only its second year the ChristmasTown 5k in McAdenville has become one of Gaston County's biggest races, with more than 1,100 registered runners and 900+ finishers. Each December more than 600,000 visitors come to see the hundreds of thousands Christmas lights in this small town just outside of Charlotte. This tradition that began in 1956 has made McAdenville one of the most visited Christmas destinations in the country.

The lights don't officially come on until December 1st, but this year on November 29th the streets were closed to traffic and the lights were turned on just for this race. It started and finished at a small park just off Main Street. Because of the number of runners and the fairly small street where the start/finish line was located, the runners were separated into five different waves of about 200 runners with the waves starting 2 minutes apart.

While the intentions were good, the wave start became a fairly major problem. Runners were pre-assigned a wave but many of them paid no attention to starting in the assigned wave. If there had been a starting mat to record a beginning time then it might have worked, but without that the final results were a mess (although they worked hard after the race and straightened things out for the most part). I'm hoping that in the future they'll just start everybody at the same time. Posting pace times prominently with the fastest runners up front would help and would simplify the process. There would still be a few people sneaking ahead of where they actually should be but it works in a lot of bigger races. The Southpark Turkey Trot in Charlotte has more than 5,000 runners every year with no more than a suggestion that the faster runners should line up first. It's a mess for sure and way more crowded at the starting line that I prefer, but things get sorted out pretty quickly once the race starts.


The race course for the ChristmasTown 5k winds through the major streets where the Christmas lights are located. It's a beautiful run, of course, but I spent more time trying to make sure I didn't trip instead of enjoying the lights since it was hard for me to see the road much of the time. There weren't any terribly dark areas and there were several extra spotlights used in areas where it was more difficult to see the street.

From the main intersection in McAdenville the race first goes up one big hill, off to a side street (well lit with tons of Christmas decorations) then back and up the remainder of the hill. After coming back down, the course then goes up the other big hill until the final turnaround for the downhill finish. The downhill finish was great but I had a miserable time with both hills, taking a walk break on both of them. I ended up 18th overall out of 906 finishers, just 1 second ahead of the first female finisher. I wasn't thrilled with my time of 22:34 but it seemed like everybody I talked to was about a minute off their normal 5k time because of the two huge hills, so maybe I'll do a little better in a flatter race. My times have definitely been off lately and I'm not sure how much of it is due to my diet, training, and that type of factors as opposed to the fact that I'm just getting older and slower. I hope it's more a matter of diet and training, which I can control somewhat. There's not much I can do about getting older.

Click Here for Overall Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Award Results

Click Here for FREE Race Photos from Matthew Gregory

My Stats:

Time:  22:34
Pace:  7:16
Age Group:  1 of  16
Overall:  18 of  906 (2%)
Average Heart Rate:  168
Maximum Heart Race:  174
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  17:50 (72.34%)

Once again Matthew Gregory provided lots of free high quality photos of this race on his Flickr page.
This was the only one of me and I'm not even the main character in the photo, but there were great shots
of many of the other runners in the race. Free photos, especially good ones, are a huge deal since race
photos tend to be so expensive. Kudos to Matthew Gregory and folks at the Walk and Run Belmont store!


***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
5 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
7 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
0 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
4 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
7 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
5 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
0 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! (*Free!)
10 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5-10)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no (*Some took bus from high school)
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
2 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes (*Gaston County YMCA)
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  97


Friday, November 28, 2014

Race #279 - Santa Scramble 5k - Concord, NC - 11/22/14

This was my sixth time to run the Santa Scramble, one of my favorite 5k races of the year. It's the first entry in the Concord Christmas Parade so there's plenty of excitement along the way and enough people watching to keep you running your best. The weather was great again this year and my best guess would be that there were probably at least 10,000 people along the course. For the most part they weren't there for the race but instead were there for the marching bands, baton twirlers, and the appearance of Santa Claus, but there's still a lot more encouragement as you run than there would be if they weren't there.

The best part of the Santa Scramble is the last mile, where there's a half mile of downhill running just before the finish. With the first couple of miles being mostly flat (with maybe just barely a little bit of an upward incline in places) it's the fastest 5k race I know of in the Charlotte area and mostly every year I've run it it's been my fastest 5k of the year.

The Santa Scramble is the only race where I've run a sub 20-minute 5k and I would have liked to done that this year, but with the races in the two previous weeks being my slowest half marathon of the year and my slowest 5k of the year, I felt like I'd be happy with just being under 21 minutes. I finished at 20:23 and won my age group so I was satisfied with that, and I felt better than I've been feeling over the previous month as I have been recovering from a cold.

Click Here for Race Results and Photos

My Stats:

Time:  20:23
Pace:  6:33
Age Group: 1 of  6
Overall:  50 of  551 (9.1%)
Average Heart Rate:  166
Maximum Heart Race:  176
Age Graded Equivalent Time:   16:06 (80.09%)

***************
* RACE RATING *
***************

RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
0 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
2 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
6 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
0 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
0 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes (Maybe a tad short: 3.07)
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
5 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! ($17 race day/no shirt)
3 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
3 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
2 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
0 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
3 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
4 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
2 - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes

REST ROOMS
0 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
2 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
0 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
2 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
5 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap! ($5.95 each)
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
0 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
2 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)
3 - Extra points for 4-deep age groups!
3 - Extra points for fastest 5k course!

TOTAL:  93

Some of the Gaston County Runners before the race.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

New Blog Name -- It's Now "TheOldRunner.com"

A funny thing happened recently when I wasn't looking. I forgot to renew the name "old-runner.com" and for some reason it was snatched up by someone who thought it would be a great name, so I no longer own it. Okay, I'm not married to the name, and actually I was a little tired of telling people there was a hyphen between the words "old" and "runner" when they asked for the address of my blog.

After a little brainstorming I decided to stay fairly close to the original name and since it was available I decided on getting "theoldrunner.com" (or it's okay to capitalize the first letter of each word, like "TheOldRunner.com" to get to the blog. It's still just a Blogspot blog with the address being redirected to the blog, but if you're interested you can now get to this blog using a little easier-to-remember address. And yes, I know I'm not THE Old Runner... there's a bunch of us. But for now I've licensed the name, at least until I forget to renew it.

Bookmark this address to easily return...


Race #278 - Thunder Road Half Marathon - Charlotte, NC - 11/15/14 - #RunCharlotte

Thunder Road is North Carolina's biggest racing event, now in its tenth year. More than 5,000 runners participated in the three races (full marathon, half marathon, and 5k). This was my first half marathon back in 2008, only three months after I had begun running, and when I finished that year I swore I'd never run another half marathon. Since then I've run about 70 more so I changed my mind and the half marathon has become my favorite distance. I ran the Thunder Road half in 2008, 2009, and 2010 but for one reason or another skipped the next three years before returning this year to run it again.

It actually seemed like an entirely different race than in those earlier years. The expo was in the same location -- the Charlotte Convention Center -- but the race started and finished just outside the BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights, with the post-race activities in the adjacent Romare Bearden Park, a perfect race venue.

Thunder Road has a big city race atmosphere that's great to see locally. It's not overwhelming as you might experience in a race such as the New York City Marathon, where you end up traveling huge distances to get to the starting line and waiting for hours for the race to start, but it's big enough that you feel like part of a major racing event. I arrived an hour or so before the start of the race and easily found parking within 100 yards of the starting line. I wasn't thrilled to pay $7.50 to park there but it was worth it to be able to sit in the comfort of my car and stay warm until about 10 minutes before the start of the race. The weather was unseasonably cold with the temperature in the mid 20s at the time the race began at 7:45. My dislike of cold weather is well known and I was bundled up with 3 shirts, 2 pairs of tights, 2 cold weather Buffs, thick socks, and warm gloves. That is ridiculously overdressed for most runners but I know myself just fine and didn't feel too warm at any time during the race and was actually shivering at the beginning. My wife told me later that my slower time might have been partially the result of too much weight added by the extra clothing, and she could have a point since every little thing adds up. I'll have to keep that in mind.

Since I didn't really warm up I decided to just take it easy in the first mile of the race. Bill Shires and Rob Ducsay were heading up the 1:35 pace group and I tucked in behind them. I knew I wouldn't be able to stick with them even though I ran two half marathons last month in the 1:35s. Since then I developed a cold and have had a lot of coughing and congestion and after last week's miserable 5k I thought I would be fortunate to just make it under 1:40. To make a long story short, the wheels came off for me probably halfway through the race and my pace slowed down to a minute or so slower than usual even though my heart rate was just as high (close to 170) so I knew well before the finish that it wasn't going to be good news at the finish line. I lost count of how many walk breaks I took and by the time I saw the finish line I was happy to be under 1:45. My official chip time was 1:42:02, which is the slowest of 12 half marathons I've run this year but still not bad for a 62-year-old. I have a feeling that old age is quickly approaching along with slower race times so as I slow down I'll try to just appreciate the fact that I'm still running, at whatever speed it might be.

A snapshot of the post race celebration.

Running buddy Dianne Allen and I both won our age group in the half marathon.

Father and son Andy and Andrew Inman finished 9th and 10th overall in the 5k.
Andy won 2nd Masters and Andrew was 1st in the 14-and-under age group!

Dianne and Rian after the race with the Charlotte skyline in the background.

Click Here for Race Results

Click Here for Official Race Pics from Sport Photo

Click Here for Race Website (RunCharlotte.com)

My Stats:

Time:  1:42:02
Pace:  7:47
Age Group: 1 of  22
Overall:  232 of 2729 (8.5%)
Average Heart Rate:  168
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:21:00 (73.1%)

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* RACE RATING *
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RACE COURSE
3 - Chip Timing: (3 points if yes)
2 - Starting Mat: (2 points if yes)
5 - Water Stops: (0)none  (2)normal  (5)extras [Gu, sports drink, etc.]
1 - Course Marking:  (0)bad  (1)good
4 - Course Scenery:  (0-5) 1=bad  and 5=fantastic
2 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
9 - Finish line: (0-9)   0=bad  and 9=spectacular!
2 - Certified Course: (0)no  (2) yes
2 - Correct Distance: (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Partly or fully on unpaved roads:  (0)yes  (1)no

REGISTRATION
0 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Race Day Registration:  (0)no  (3)yes

RESULTS
2 - Posted promptly online:  (0)no  (2)yes
1 - Clear link on website:  (0)no  (1)yes

AGE GROUPS
2 - 3 deep awards: (2)yes (0 for anything less)
5 - 5-year age groups (5 points) (0 for anything less)
1 - 14 and under group (1)
1 - 65+ group (1)
1 - 70+ group (1)
2 - Top Overall M/F:  (0)none or first only  (2)top 3 or better
2 - Masters Category(40+): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Grand Masters Category (50+):  (0)no  (3)yes
0 - Senior Grand Masters Category: (0)no  (5)yes

AWARDS
5 - Overall Winner Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
5 - Age Group Awards: (0)none  (2)yes  (5)excellent
0 - Door Prizes or Drawing: (0)no  (2)yes   (5-9)fabulous door prizes!
5 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
7 - Food for Race Participants: (0-10 with 5 being average)
9 - Entertainment:  (0)no  (1-9)yes
1* - Finisher times posted after race:  (0)no  (2)yes (*Online Only)

REST ROOMS
2 - Porta Potties:  (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful
0 - Indoor Restrooms: (0)no  (1)limited, long lines  (2)plentiful

T-SHIRTS
2 - T-Shirts: (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Design: (0)not good  (1)not bad  (2)nice  (5)beautiful!
2 - Material: (0)cotton  (2)technical fabric
0 - Discount for no-shirt option:  (0)no (2)yes

PHOTOGRAPHY
5 - Professional Photography: (0)no  (5)yes
0 - Prices: (0)expensive  (2)reasonable  (5)cheap!
0 - Free Photographs (newspaper, etc.):  (0)no  (2)yes  (5)lots of free pics!

PARKING
2 - Close to Start:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Close to Finish:  (2)yes  (0)no
2 - Plenty of spaces:  (2)yes  (0)no
0 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Swag (free socks, water bottles, etc.): (0)no  (2)yes, some  (5)excellent
0 - Part of race series or Grand Prix:  (0)no  (2)yes
0 - Kids Fun Run: (0)no   (2)yes
x - Miscellaneous not covered above: (-10 to +10)

TOTAL:  101