Sunday, September 18, 2011

Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon Recap & Review

If I had to choose a theme for this race... It was hills, hills, HILLS. Oh my goodness.

And yes, when I first decided to do this race I read all about it and people definitely mentioned the hills. I just chose to forget that I'd read about them and continue in blissful ignorance.

Then I got the race instruction email and this little chunk of buzz kill was included:

Seriously? More on that later.

So I got up at 530, had a Cliff Bar and drank some G2. Packed up all my crap and headed downtown.
From the top left:  iPod and accessories, bib, garmin, cliff bar, iFitness belt on the bottom, already packed with my phone and shot bloks.

PS - wore the iFitness belt for the first time (I know, such a no no), and it worked great. The only thing I didn't like was it didn't hold my bib the right way (or I couldn't figure it out, which is WAY more likely). But the main thing was:  that sucker didn't move or bounce at all. Perfect.

We lined up for the race and I headed to the back, I didn't really have a goal time in mind, my main goals being to finish and to do so with a smile on my face. But I noticed the 2:30 pace group near me and they were a really nice group of girls. One explained that their plan was to run a little faster on the flats and downhills, and if they saw a hill that made them wanna say S, D, or F that they'd walk it. I thought this was a great plan and made an impromptu goal to stick with them.
That's the start line WAAAAY up there. I stuck with the pace group for the first 2-3 miles. I was feeling really good, and went on ahead. I thought that might have been a little silly of me, but whatever. I felt great and the time was flying by. At some point (I think at a water station) they passed me and I ended up finished about a minute behind them.

I can't tell you anything about my splits because my Garmin (or its operator) is stupid. Anyone have any tips when Garmin Connect keeps saying that no device is attached? Dumb.

Here's one of the hills. And it was not the worst one.
I'm taking this picture from up on the next switch back. Torture.

There were lots of spectators and alot of the course was through various neighborhoods. Some people had orange slices out for us and lots of little kids cheering us on. There was one group tailgating with mimosas. Yum.

What I couldn't get over was how fast this race flew by!! I never got bored and only once thought to myself "Are we there yet?" (at like mile 12.5). I talked to a few people during the race, which always makes the time fly. I walked the hills and ran the rest. I walked through all the water stations and got water or gatorade, and took shot bloks at miles 6.5 ish and again at 10ish. I think I took three each time. I wanted to take the first ones earlier, but I got all confused and wasn't ready at the water station. The race miles were coming at me faster than they were on my Garmin.

According to Garmin I did 12.91 miles in 2:31:56 (average pace 11:46)
Official time:  2:31:12 (11:32)

It was very cool and even sprinkled at a few points, but felt really great outside.

It was AMAZING to cross that line and get my medal:

There was lots of food after the race (Earth Fare provided trailmix, apples, bananas, some kind of nut butter, and yogurt covered pretzels). The only weird thing was that I actually had to walk around to find water after the race. Highland Brewing Co. offered 2 complimentary beers for racers.   

After the race I grabbed a water and a banana and hit the road. I wasn't that hungry (oddly) but I knew I would be soon. I stopped at McAllisters and got a baked potato and salad. I came home to get in the torture chamber  ice bath. Brad called (he had to work) and let me know he'd gotten me ice and left it in a cooler for me (how sweet!). I went upstairs and found this:

He's pretty awesome. And I'm pretty blessed.

I got in the ice bath, then took a hot shower (does this completely un-do the ice bath?). Then I proceeded to lay on the couch and watch a bunch of True Blood. Perfect day.

In short... I LOVED the race. Yes the course sucked but I still loved every minute. I can't wait to do it again. And I also want to volunteer at a big race soon. Stay tuned. I think I'm addicted :)

I thought the course was tough.

The volunteers were amazing. There were tons of water stations. Offering water at first, adding Gatorade and pretzel sticks later on in the race. It was extremelely well organized and started on time. There were 3 or 4 pace groups. The shirts were super cute tech tees. I loved the medals. I really liked that there were two different shirts (one for the half and another for the 5K). We had to pay to park which was kinda stinky, but understandable and only cost about 3 bucks. They had a bag check that was very efficient.

I'd recommend it to anyone, especially if you're looking for a challenging course. It was almost like running a mile then doing 20 squats, then repeating 13 times.


  1. Congrats!!! Sounds like u did great even with the hilly course! And love the medal!

  2. Congratulations! I agree with Ashley-the medal is really nice!

  3. Congrats! sounds like you had a great time and the course looks great.

  4. Congrats!!! You did awesome. The course looks hardcore!!! Crossing the finish line is unforgettable. It is very addicting :)

  5. Great job!!! That race looks seriously beautiful! I love all of the pics!

  6. Awesome job Court!! Nice work on that race, especially with the challenging course!

  7. That race looks so scenic! And as far as the hills are concerned, think of it this way: your next 1/2 guarantees you a PR because no one will be as prepared as you!!!

  8. oh my goodness you did awesome!! I hope to do that same time but its without those killer hills, you did amazing!

  9. Yay!!!!! Congrats and Good job!
    I have the ifitness belt but with the single pouch and I love it! I was actually thinking of ordering the doublepouch or the one that holds the GU gels on the sides for my next half marathons. So glad it worked out for you!

  10. Holy cow! Great race and LOOK at those goodies waiting for you when you got home! Good man!!

  11. I'm exhausted just looking at the elevation map. Awesome job girl!
    I know - it has taken me forever to make it over here --- but I'm here!! Love your blog! Excited to read more! : )

  12. Hey! I just wanted to say thanks for this review!

  13. Hey! I just wanted to say thanks for this review!