NC Half Marathon

I woke up early, got dressed and left the house. I stopped at Starbucks and got a tall White Chocolate Mocha. That has become my new go to drink since the Pumpkin Spice Latte is gone now. Due to the time change the previous night, I had a good chat with the barista about things. She wished me luck and I headed to the Speedway. I decided to take 485 to Tryon. There was no traffic. Once I got to the Speedway, I noticed a lot of cars already there. I followed them around to the parking lot and followed the attendant’s directions for parking. I brought my arm sleeves since I knew it would be a little chilly to start. The Half Fanatics were doing a pre-race picture at Victory Lane at 7. I chose to walk from my car to the infield which ended up being 1/2 mile.

The first bathrooms already had quite a line but I remembered form the Expo that there were bathrooms in the back of that building as well. I went through the door and was pleasantly surprised. The line was only 5 ladies long and there were many stalls in that bathroom. I only had to wait a few minutes until it was my turn. I always love flushing toilets before a race. After I finished, I made my way to Victory Lane. There were several Half Fanatics already there. I talked to several people including one lady who was excited as she would qualify for Half Fanatics after the race. Soon, Nicki found me. She told me Pizah had run a half marathon the day before as well as the 5k last night. I was in awe. Soon, we gathered for the pre-race picture. After several pictures were taken on different cameras, we dispersed. We found Pizah and proceeded to the starting area.

The start time was 7:30. We got in place with about 5 minutes to spare. Soon they played the National Anthem. There was a man slightly in front of us carrying an American Flag. He actually carried it the whole race. The countdown commenced and a man standing in the flag perch waved a green flag to start things off.
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We were towards the back. The start arch was rather low and almost everyone was tapping it with their hands as they ran under. I think I did the same. We started out running around the NASCAR track. We got to Mile 1 about 2/3 of the way around. I think we ran a complete lap plus a little before veering into the infield. The first water stop was after entering the infield area. Then we zigzagged through the infield. Mile 2 was in the infield area. As we were heading towards the tunnel out, I looked back to see the lady in last place. The van was trailing her. She was a little ways back so I knew we were good. We were using 1:1 intervals. When we got out of the track, we had another water stop. Mile 3 was slightly after the water stop. We ran to a road behind the speedway and turned right. We turned right onto Victory Lane SW. I remember this area being slightly hilly. We turned left on the road around the stadium. We followed that to Morehead where we again turned right. I think it was on this road that we saw the first few lead runners coming around the perimeter road the opposite direction. I think we got to Mile 4 about this time. After clearing the corner of the stadium, we turned right onto the perimeter road. There was another water stop here. Also I remember a two piece band as well.

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We saw several more lead runners coming the opposite way. They had to run up and around by the front entrance. We just ran across since we were on the other side of the road. We ran under the first pedestrian bridge which would be the return.

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We ran up and over the second pedestrian bridge towards the dirt track.

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These bridges do have quite an incline to them. We ended up walking the inclines. We ran down into gravel roads towards the dirt track.

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Luckily, we ran around the outside of the dirt track. We were close enough to see inside, though.

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We got to Mile 5 here. We continued around the dirt track to the opposite side and joined the road behind it. There was another water stop here. Also, we saw the photographers for the return run. This part is an out and back. You run for quite a while and go down a curve. At the end turnaround (which seems to take forever to finally come) is a DJ. Then you run back up the hill. We ran by some port o potties in this area. We decided to walk a ways so we could run by the photographers. They were very nice and talked to us as we were passing. We got to Mile 6 right after passing them. We continued on the road to the left before turning right towards the drag strip. There was a water stop at the turn. We then turned right into the drag strip.

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We ran the entire drag strip. It was a lot longer than I expected.

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Just before the end and turnaround was Mile 7.

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I saw several people at the turnaround stretching.

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The drag strip was a great place to encourage others since you could talk to each other over the little concrete wall.

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We made our way back down the other side.

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Soon we were running out and around the front. Mile 8 was in front of the drag strip. We came around the other side of the pre-drag strip water stop. I think there was another band in this area, too. I remember commenting at this point that we could hear music at just about every point on the course. We ran a loop around to the front of the drag strip and then continued left on the roads.

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We ran directly away from the drag strip for a ways. Then, we turned left going back towards the other pedestrian bridge. I remember the area right before the bridge was uphill.

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Just before entering the bridge was a pep band. They were great. We crossed the bridge and came back down by the stadium going to opposite direction. Shortly after exiting the bridge, we got to Mile 9. We then ran up and around by the front entrance.

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They had the Belk Bowl car out front on display. Since my husband is a Tar heels fan, I had to stop for a picture with the ACC side.

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We continued around the perimeter and got to a water stop on the corner. We continued around the end and up the other side and came to Mile 10. We eventually passed the area we had originally run out of the infield and that water stop. We ran around the opposite end of the stadium and entered back just before the pedestrian bridge we crossed the first time.

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We ran directly to the infield and got to Mile 11. We noticed we were running most of the first infield run only in the opposite direction. There was a part where we ran by the bathroom and spectators and finishers leaving. Some were great at cheering us on. We got to the last water stop just before entering the track again. We went left onto the track running the same direction as the beginning of the race. We entered on a turn. Before the next turn, we got to Mile 12. We continued around the track. As we were running, we glanced at the infield hoping to see our friend Pizah. We had passed her in the beginning. We saw her at the turnaround and again on the drag strip. We thought we saw her entering as we made the third turn. We did see the lady that had been last in the beginning. She actually had a few people behind her now. After making the fourth turn, we entered pit road.

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Mile 13 was along pit road. Many people including finishers were cheering us on at the end. We crossed the line with hands held high.

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We got someone to put our medals around our necks. Then we grabbed a finisher picture together. We also spotted the 13 min mile pacer. She was awesome! We started really close to her and got farther away as the race went on. We completely lost her during the last track lap. She was really encouraging and even ran backwards and stopped a few times to coach and cheer us and others around us on. She is one of the best pacers I have met. We had to get a picture with her.

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We also ran near a Half Fanatic man that had run the King’s Mountain half the day before. He was another great guy. I must admit, this new (or now not so new) hobby of mine has brought me around a really great and encouraging group of people.

After the pictures, you walk through the building the Expo was in the day before. There they had water, Gatorade, bananas, and several food items. Nicki grabbed her checked bag. We walked back out to see if we could spot Pizah. We waited until the last finisher but did not see her. We can only assume she finished while we were in the building. We then walked back to our cars and were easily on our way since the race was over.

Overall, this was a good race. We ran around of at least next to where you could see, all 3 tracks. There was music to be heard almost the entire route. There was plenty of water stops and I’m sure more port o potties than I mentioned. The medal is awesome and has LED headlights that you can turn on and off. They do blink rapidly. This was a local race for me. I would probably do it again as I did have a great time.

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About kristincooke

I am a mother of 2 that started running in 2012. I also enjoy baking and some crafts.
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