If you promise free beer, you better deliver …

So, Charlotte Racefest happened. And I was there. And I ran. And I did way better than I thought I would. In fact, I was only about a minute and some change slower than the half marathon I ran in October, and I was more prepared for that one, and that one was less hilly. So, there’s that.  

Kevin and I decided if we weren’t going to be fast, we were going to be fun. He sported the beer helmet, which was a big hit at the Terrapin race last year. I decided to go with blue hair with pink flowers, and with some knee socks Amy gave me for Christmas. I don’t think she intended for me to run in them … Chris was lame and decided not to dress up. He said his last two races had been “fun” and he wanted this one to be “serious”. Funny, I want all races to be fun. Otherwise, what’s the point?  

Me, Chris and Kevin after the race. Thanks Jeff for taking most of these pictures!

 

As fun as they are, though, it’s never easy to get up that early. A 4:30 a.m. wakeup call is not always fun. We certainly weren’t the only crazy ones, though – lots of people thought it was worth it to wake up so early … 

Crowd shot   

I had a good night’s rest the night before, the first time ever for me before a race. I felt great when I got up at 4:3o. Ate the breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter, the breakfast suggested by Logan at TrySports before I ran Thunder Road Marathon. It worked then and it worked again. I did forget the banana I’d wanted to eat, but that was a minor glitch. Speaking of forgetting, I also forgot my cell phone, sunscreen, and Kevin’s race packet. So not the best morning for planning … All was fixed, though. Jeff ran home for the race packet, Kevin got me some sunscreen, and we called Scott from Kevin’s phone, which was really the only reason I needed my phone anyway. 

Dad came to cheer us on, which was super awesome. We actually got to see him for a couple of minutes before the race, too! A nice surprise. 

Onto the race itself – some critiques: 

= I thought I’d read in the race packet that the port-a-johns were located at the beginning and end of the race only. This made me very nervous – I can’t guarantee I won’t need a bathroom break! Luckily, two things – 1. I did not need a bathroom break. 2. There actually were some port-a-johns along the race course. So maybe I read the packet wrong. 

= The start line was very confusing. I guess they had the banner switched and they really wanted the 10K racers to start under the half sign, and vice versa. What the heck? I saw lots of people run across the wrong mat. I hope they were able to sort it all out. 

= The first water stop was very disappointing. All the water was on the table and people were actually having to stop, step into the grass, and grab the water. Typically there are folks holding out the water cups for us as we run by. I didn’t stop, not wanting to be forced to take a walk “break” for the water. Kevin did stop and he said they just weren’t ready yet – there were empty cups and he had to fill up his own water cup! The rest were fine, though, so I’m guessing they just weren’t ready for us. 

= Crowd support was very lacking. After the wonderful time I had at Thunder Road, I was looking foward to seeing the crowds. I’m the runner that will go to the edge to give high 5s to spectators holding their hands out. And I did that some. But there just wasn’t a lot going on. And a lot of the people that were out were just standing, staring. Not clapping. At one of Kevin’s triathlons a girl was sprinting toward the finish and no one was clapping but me. She yelled out, “Show some love, people!” Seriously, show some love, people! Some of the silent spectators had signs for specific runners, so I guess they didn’t want to clap until they saw the person they were out there for. As a runner, I will say that I am always so pleased when crowds are out cheering. I did my fair share of cheering at races as a child, and I always thought it was kind of silly – are the runners even paying attention? Yes. We are. And we are so grateful and happy when you come out at the crack of dawn to show us support. 

= Update: Chris reminded me in his comments about another complaint. Cotton shirts instead of tech tees. I’m okay with cotton shirts for 5Ks. But anything longer than that needs to be a tech tee, in my opinion. I’d rather pay a little more to run if it ensured I’d get a shirt I could actually wear while running. Thanks Chris for the reminder!

The hills were tough, but not as tough as the practice round I’d had. Thank God I knew the course; otherwise I would have been discouraged a lot. I was having a great run day, surprisingly after all the bad runs I’d had lately. I only walked through 2 water stops; otherwise I ran the entire race. On some of the hills I was running so slowly I almost wanted to laugh at myself – but I was running! One guy held up a sign saying, “Keep running. There’s beer at the end!” And it was a great motivator! I knew my friends were ahead of me and I didn’t want to miss out on the after party. So I kept going. 

And eventually, I made it to the finish line. Blue hair dye running down my face and all. 

You think I'm smiling now? Wait till I get the free beer!

 So, the race is done. My time was 2:15:07. I am not unhappy about that one! If you’re a geek who wants to see all the splits and stuff, look here. Oh, and I used my new Garmin 310XT and loved it. 

After crossing the finish line, my initial thought was nourishment. I saw Kevin, Dad, Jeff and Chris cheering as I crossed the line, but I went off searching for water first, family second. They found me heading toward the refreshment station. I grabbed water and an orange slice, then after a few minutes Chris and I decided to go get our well-deserved beers.

Except, a travesty. We got to the beer stand to find … there was no more beer.   

no more beer
"It's scary back here!" the beer pourers told us as runners waited for beer that it turned out didn't exist.

Strike against Charlotte Racefest, in my opinion. At the time I took it in stride, saying, “I knew I should have run faster!” but really – I wasn’t that slow. There were plenty of people coming in after me. And runners were each allowed 2 beers. How hard is it to do the math to know how much beer would be needed? They underestimated in a big way if they were already out of beer that early.

Not to worry, though, we made our own afterparty at The Counter. In attendance were Chris, Kevin, me, Scott, another Chris, and Jeff.

The Counter. Where they don't run out of beer.

Lemme tell you about The Counter. They opened early, anticipating hungry runners after the race. They are smart! We originally planned to go to Roosters but they were not opening until 11:30. It was 10:40 a.m. when we were ready for lunch and we did not want to wait that long. Unfortunately, we were the only runners who went to The Counter, but I hope they know their efforts were much appreciated. They gave us a free appetizer, which always makes for happy customers. And of course their burgers were awesome, as usual.

Another cool thing about the day:

I missed this happening because I was still on the course, but Kevin met a blog reader of his and mine! I’ll let him tell you the story on his blog, since I wasn’t there, but I wanted to say hi to Brian and it’s great to know that you are reading!

After the after-party, Chris and I headed to Athens to celebrate some more. We had a great time on the town, despite the fact that we were stiff and limping!

We had beer …

Athens doesn't run out of beer either. At Pauley's working on my beer list.

 

And more beer …

Beer at 8es

And a little dancing …

At 8es, of course

And after that, I’d had enough excitment for one day.

end of the night
I think it's time to go home ...

So, we didn’t get our fill of beer at the race after-party, but we made it work. And if that wasn’t enough, the next day we attended Classic City Brewfest. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow!