Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Race #218 - Charity Chase Half Marathon - Hickory, NC - 06/01/13

This was my fourth year in a row to run my hometown half marathon. I invited some of the Gaston County Runners to run it, assuring them it was one of the best half marathons they'd find anywhere. They took the bait, and I still believe that's true, but they generally wanted to flog me after the race since I tend to downplay  the hills in this race.

I know there are a bunch of hills -- I have to run them too -- but I guess I don't notice them as much in this race as in others. Less than a mile from the start we passed the spot where I lived 50 years ago in 1963. The old house is now gone and it's just an empty lot, but I get goose bumps just imagining myself in a time warp, seeing me then and seeing me now. There have been a few rough spots along the way, but as I have gotten older life has been much kinder to me than I ever thought it would be. After the rocky start I had in life, just the reminder that I've made it to a ripe old age without being dead or in prison is enough to keep the adrenalin flowing for a half marathon, so during this race I hardly even notice the numerous elevation changes.

I turned on my video glasses just before the race began and looked around at the crowd to get some photos at the starting line. We took off and about a half mile into the race I decided to turn the glasses off and just use them sporadically during the race so I'd have plenty of battery power at the end. When I took them off I noticed that the power light was already off, which was a bad sign. I tried several more times but it was soon apparent that the glasses weren't working at all, so I've got no video or pics of the race. I was sure that I charged them the night before the race so I thought I'd be sending them back to the maker since I've had them for just a short time, but when I got home and hooked them up to the computer I realized that the glasses weren't working because I had forgotten to delete the race from last week. When the memory is full they turn off automatically, so it's disappointing that I didn't get any video of the Charity Chase but hopefully I've learned the lesson and will remember to clear out the memory for future races.

I'll save us all the indignity of a turn-by-turn account. There were some left turns and some right turns, and we went up some hills and down some hills. You know the drill. I was really happy to run under 1:40 here for only the second time in the four years I've run this race, so maybe I'm not slowing down a lot yet. And I was around 6 minutes faster in this half marathon as compared to the one in Cary a few weeks ago, so that's good. I was dealing with acute bronchitis that week and the day of the Charity Chase was the last day of my tapered 12-day dose pack of prednisone, so I seem to be back to normal in that regard.

Speaking of medical issues, I don't think I've mentioned this before publicly or in my blog, but the doctor told me last week that I'm going to need surgery before the end of the year for an inguinal hernia. He said if it doesn't get too bad I can wait until cold weather. So there goes the running streak, which next Saturday will be two years exactly (730 days). I'm thinking about an exiting strategy for the running streak. Maybe I'll quit at 731 days, or maybe I'll go to 750, which is nice and even, or 777, which seems kind of lucky. I've read that as many as 30% of people who have inguinal hernia surgery end up with chronic pain, so maybe I need all the luck I can get. Or maybe I'll just continue to run every day and wait either until I forget or I'll just run until the day before surgery. Then again, maybe it'll heal itself miraculously, but I've heard and read that this won't heal on its own so that's not very likely.

So for now I'll just keep running until I bust a gut (hopefully not literally). I'm running well and actually feel great most of the time. I finished this race 22nd out of 424 runners and felt fine at the end, so I'm hoping I can continue like I'm running now, at least through the warm months. I don't like running in cold weather anyway so I hope the surgery can wait until October or November. I'm gonna just try to think good thoughts until the time comes.

Click Here for Overall Race Results

Click Here for Age Group Race Results

Note: In the past (two years ago) there had been professional photography for this race, but I don't think that was the case this year (or last year). If I find out differently I will change the rating and add a link here.

My Stats:

Time:  1:39:02
Pace:  7:33
Age Group:  1 of  5
Overall:  22 of  424 (5.2%)
Average Heart Rate:  165
Maximum Heart Race:  173
Age Graded Equivalent Time:  1:19:22 (74.61%)

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

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
2 - Course Scenery:  (0)bad  (2)pleasant  (5)extraordinary
1 - Mile Markers: (0)poor or none  (1)normal  (2)with clocks or time called out
2 - Volunteers:  (0)too few  (2)good
5 - Finish line: (0)mediocre  (2)not bad  (5)very good  (7)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
1 - Cost:  (0)expensive  (1)reasonable  (3)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)
0 - 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
2 - 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!
3 - Finisher Medals for All Finishers: (0)no  (3)yes  (5)really cool medals

POST RACE
9 - 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
1 - 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
0 - 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
2 - Free Parking:  (2)yes  (0)no

WEBSITE
2 - Dedicated race website (0)no  (2)yes
2 - Results or link to results posted on website:  (0)no  (2)yes

OTHER
0 - Shelter from Inclement Weather (needed or not): (0)no  (2)yes
5 - 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


TOTAL:  94