Sunday, September 11, 2011

Race Recap: Charleston Distance Run- America's 15 Miler

Last Saturday I ran the Charleston Distance Run for the first time. I remember hearing about the race when we moved to Charleston and I couldn't really fathom why anyone in there right mind would run 15 miles in a row. And now, here I was, 15 years later prepared to run 15 miles.

Prepared I was. This race fit perfectly into my training schedule for the Chicago Marathon. I would have to add on 5 miles once finished to get my long run in for the week.

On Friday evening I picked up my packet, skipped out on the spaghetti dinner, and opted for dinner with my mom instead. The race fee was $35 and included a t-shirt, hat, and a drawstring backpack. Also, in the  bag was this nifty business sized pace chart.


When I registered, I listed my anticipated finish time as 2:15. I think I was optimistic when I put that down though. But based on pretty much all of my training runs, it wasn't out of the picture. I even told my mom I wanted to finish in 2:15. I usually don't say these sorts of things out loud because they suddenly become known, and there are all the what if that can result in not obtaining the goal.

Friday was a busy day for me and by the time I got home, I was super tired, but I knew I needed to lay my clothes out and finish my playlist. I got a pretty good night of sleep and got up on time for the race. I was there about 30 minutes prior to the 7:30 AM start. Perfect timing to avoid really long bathroom lines. Before I knew it was 7:30 AM and the race started!


East Nasty for Life!

Miles 1-3.3 were relatively easy and mostly flat. I was actually running too fast and running 8:30/mile. And I totally had some major dreams of finishing under 2:15. Start slow folks, start much slower than you want to run! Around 3.3 we made a left turn to head up to Corridor G. I think I groaned when I saw the sign for "Capitol Punishment Hill." I have probably driven this road over a thousand times, but never run up the 1.4 mile hill. It was rough. There were people walking and my pace slowed to the 10:00/mile range. Finally I reached the top and was greeted by the "End of Capitol Punishment Hill" sign. I was relieved because I was done with that hill, but I was now entering the South Hills neighborhood. This neighborhood was no joke and lived up to it's name. I definitely walked a few hills and though I would never get out of there.

I saw my mom and her friend at the corner of Louden Heights and Bridge Road between mile 6 and 7. I can't believe I was actually able to smile for the camera AND that she was able to get a picture of it.


Mile 8 was mostly downhill and I actually went surprisingly slow on this part. As we were running back into downtown, I remember looking right and having a great view of the Capitol over the Kanawha River.

Mile 9 had us run through downtown and the Historic East End which is also where I went to junior high. Roosevelt Rough Riders!

Mile 10 was through the Capitol grounds and back to where we started on Kanawha Blvd. Miles 11 and 12 were a repeat of miles 1 and 2.

We ran past the mall and The Charleston Civic Center, where I saw my first concert ever. I found myself next to the King Center and the tennis courts where I played tennis on the junior high tennis team. I saw "King Center Courts" written on the wall and thought of my old coach who passed away a few years ago.

At this point I had run 13.1 miles or so and my half time was under 2 hours. A finish of 2:15 seemed within reach. Miles 14 and 15 were kind of boring and in a less scenic part of town. It was really hot and I was just sort of ready for it to be over. Before I knew it, Laidley field was in view and I knew the finish was near. We ran onto the track and the last part of the race was half a lap around the track. At this point finishing at 2:15 was just out of reach but I knew I could possibly finish under 2:16. I sprinted that last half and finished just under 2:16. 2:15:56 to be exact.


Mom with another action shot for the win!

Picture 4

5th in my age group out 22!

Picture 5

226 overall out of 572 runners.

This was by far one of my favorite races to date. I am sure a lot of it has to do with the feelings of knowing I finished a race I never had any desire to run in until a few years ago. There was water and gatorade at almost every mile. Packet pick up was a breeze. Registration cost was beyond reasonable. (I think I have paid $35 for some 5ks.) At the end of the race they had cold wet towels for all participants. There was also plenty of beverages and fruit at the end of the race. And also pizza! I highly suggest this race to anyone looking for a half marathon distance.

I met up with my mom post race and my plan to run 5 miles immediately following the race changed slightly as the temperature increased and I ate a few pieces of pizza. I went home, changed clothes, and finished my run with a slow 5 miles around Kanawha for complete tour of Charleston.


At the finish.