I left work early to drive to Asheville on Friday. Packet Pickup only went until 6 PM so I wanted to make sure I got there in plenty of time. The drive is about 2 1/2 hours for me. Nicki beat me by about 30 minutes. I met her at the hotel. I booked a room through the race a the Four Points by Sheraton that was across the street from the main host hotel.
We checked in and took our things to the room. The hotel parking lot had plenty of spaces available. The room was good and had plenty of space and a small refrigerator. We grabbed what we needed and walked over to the Expo. We noticed a lot of empty tables. My guess is some places might have packed up and left already. We got in line for our bibs. The line moved fairly quickly. They looked us up and handed us our bibs. We then went to the opposite corner of the room to get our shirts. Nicki needed to pick up some things from the local running store’s booth. I decided to finally get a pair of Oofos. Luckily, I tried them on and realized I liked the ones without the thing between your toes better. The checkout line took a while because they had issues with credit card payments. Eventually, that was fixed. We decided to drop everything back at the room before exploring.
I also changed clothes since it was hot and I was in jeans from work. We walked around downtown and found what we thought would be the start and finish lines for the race. Then we proceeded to the Mast General Store. I was a little disappointed since the Visitor’s Information said we would get a coupon in our packets and we didn’t. We did browse the store and I got some local honey and candy. We ended up at Barley’s Taproom for dinner. The atmosphere was pretty good and the waitress did a good job. I got a pesto pizza. We also got an order of garlic knots to share. Both were really good. I have a hard time with red pizza sauce the night before a race. We both ended up with leftovers. We walked around for a little while longer before returning to the room. We stowed the leftovers in the fridge and headed to bed. We had to be up early after all.
The alarms went off bright and early. We both got up and got ready. I used the ice machine right outside the room to fill my water bottle. I had a protein bar that my husband had given me. I also had one for Nicki. I ate it on the way over. We met up with some other runners as we were walking. We easily found the start line. I needed to get in an extra mile before we started to match my training program. So, we walked around a few blocks and found the finish line. We also walked by the park area where the real bathrooms were with a very long line. They did have a row of port-o-potties at the start line with shorter lines. We knew the half marathon was starting slightly before the 10k, so we hung around the back. We were right next to a Mellow Mushroom.
They had someone since a good version of the National Anthem. Then, the half marathoners were off. We followed the crowd closer to the start line.
Soon, it was our turn. We followed Nicki’s intervals for this race. After the start, you almost immediately turn right, go about a block to where the finish line will be and then the 10k turns right again. For the first Mile, we ran around the streets of downtown Asheville. It was pretty foggy. During Mile 2, they had a band.
We also saws the lead 10k runner coming back on the other side. Mile 2 and Mile 5 are just on opposite sides of the same street. The first water stop was just before the Mile 2 marker.
The Mile 2 marker is the start of a loop around the UNC – Asheville campus. There was a singer on the opposite side of the road.
As the road narrowed, we became very aware that we had to content with cars. Luckily, they were sparse. The next water stop was right before a DJ. Just on the other side of the DJ, we turned right.
The Mile 3 marker started a long, relatively steep uphill.
I believe we walked this whole section. Since this is also part of the half marathon course, we passed their Mile 10 marker. As we were about halfway through the mile, the lead half marathon runners passed us.
They were neck in neck. The race even made fun of it’s mile long climb.
We finally saw this volunteer who was cheering us on.
He told us, truthfully, that we only had one small section left of the climb. There was a water stop right before the turn to descend.
They also had cups of jelly beans. Of coarse I had to grab one. The downhill run seemed much shorter. This band was playing in the middle.
We were running through the heart of the campus at this point. Then we got to Mile 4.
We also passed the half marathon Mile 11. There was some kind of farmer’s market going on in this area. The official photographer was waiting for us shortly after.
Then we came to another water stop.
There was a band playing at the roundabout.
Then we left the campus. I loved the sayings they used on the directional signs.
This is where we ended the loop and turned back onto the main road. We reached Mile 5.
And then the half marathon’s Mile 12. We ran back into downtown Asheville.
It was uphill at this point. There was a water stop at Mile 6.
We passed the Mellow Mushroom where my pre-race picture was taken.
I also saw one of my daughter’s former preschool teachers who had just finished the race. I think I kicked it in when we crossed the start line. We turned the corner and could see the finish.
For the first time, we heard them announcing our names as we crossed the finish line. We continued walking to the park to the post-race festival. Here are the goodies that I gathered.
I also ran into another member of the Princess Posse.
They had a band playing here, too. Nicki and I were happy to be done and love the medals.