Thursday, April 14, 2016

Rock N Roll Raleigh - Race Recap

Hello, my name is Lisa and I'm addicted to racing.  Okay, I'm not really, but with all the races I've had recently, it seems like it !  Sunday was the Rock N Roll Raleigh Half Marathon and Marathong race.  After a rough 10 miler, I was going into RNR Raleigh wanting to have a good time and cross the line. An email went out Saturday night saying that there may have been windy conditions affecting the race, a la last weekend so I was grateful that the wind decided to fade out after Saturday.  Knowing I had a 4:30AM alarm set, I got everything ready the night before, slept in my clothes, and was on my way to Brian's by 5AM.

Thankfully he remembered that where we parked last year (he paced the half and I volunteered at the water stop) so we didn't have to deal with road closures or traffic and were pretty close to the start. There may not have been any wind, but it was still cold AF.

The Start: Brian was in Corral 1 versus my Corral 16 which meant that he took off at 7AM and I didn't cross the start line until 7:22AM.  So for the 20+ minutes, I was trying to not freeze and ended up finding some Fleet Feet people to chat with while we shuffled closer to the start line. I used to struggle with going out too fast, too quickly, but being in the corrals with a lot of people forces me to reign it in a little which has been a blessing.

Miles 1-5:  We got to run through my favorite parts of downtown Raleigh.  I was used to these hills, and was starting to warm up and loosen up.  Since it wasn't as windy as they were expecting, there were mile markers everywhere and timing clocks.  Those timing clocks were based off of the 7AM start time so by the time my corral got to mile 1, the clock read 34:00.  This guy near me whoops and says "34 minute mile guys, we're on fire !" and everyone near him laughed.  I wish I knew who that guy was because he set the mood for us.  There was also the Wakefield High Marching Band around mile 2.5 which was awesome. I was rocking a sub 11:00 avg pace for these !

I actually backtracked to grab this picture outside someone's house around mile 5

Miles 5-10:  If anyone has run the City of Oaks Old Reliable 10K, you will understand the hills I had to endure. I knew they were coming, I knew they would hurt and I knew they were right in the middle of this whole thing.  I walked when I felt I should have and didn't push harder than necessary because my goal was to cross the line. I could feel the tightness happening up the back of both my legs. It wasn't the worst because I figured the hills would make my hamstrings & calves tighten.  One of the Cup A Joe crew spotted me around mile 8 after the Cameron Village hill and ran me around the rose garden for my 4 minute interval.  He actually helped distract me, gave me advice for changing my form to loosen up the tightness and push the pace a little more than I normally would have, but I think that was exactly what I needed.  Thanks D.O. !

Miles 10-13: Getting onto Western where it was a lot flatter than the rest of Raleigh was a welcome break...but I was also getting tired. And to be honest, kind of bored ! There's not much to look at on Western getting you into Dorothea Dix.  I also wasn't paying much attention going through Dorothea Dix either because 1. Hills. and 2. The marathon joined back up with the half through around mile 11/24.  So when the first place marathoner came through, I stopped paying attention to the course and started paying attention the right side of the road, where the marathon runners would be coming through.  Sure enough, a few minutes after the first guy (his name is Sean) I hear whoo-ing and cheering from behind me and turn around to see Brian booking it towards the finish.  We exchanged quick "good jobs !" and kept going.

At this point, I had used up all my enthusiasm and really just wanted to be done. I knew I still had 2 ish miles to go and couldn't wait to be done.  I also knew I still had the Boylan street hill.  I walked it.  After 12 miles of up and down, I took it easy and I'm not ashamed.  Brian and I had agreed earlier that it was better if I crossed the line with gas still in the tank than burning out and not being able to cross the line.  

The Finish:  After I got past the Fleet Feet water stop, I knew I had less than a mile to go.  So when people started saying things like "You're almost done," "You're so close to the finish," and "two more turns and you're done!" I decided to let everything out and just book it.  I was flying across the giant blue mat !

Except...that wasn't the finish.  I still had like half a mile to go. Some noise between a laugh and a cry came out as I slowed down, knowing there was no point in making myself throw up.  I took my interval walk break and someone on my left said "I know it hurts but you're almost done ! Do you need a medic ?!" and I gave them a thumbs up and laughed. I rounded the last turn, saw the finish sign and crossed over the mat.

Overall: My watch displayed the exact same time for RnR Raleigh as it did for Richmond.  So when the official results came in, I realized I had myself a 16 second PR, finishing in 2:32:21. Even though it's only 16 seconds, I feel like it's a bigger PR than that because of all the hills.  And if I had run any other half on that day, feeling the way I did, I may have even broken 2:30:00.

I feel like you either love RnR or hate it.  No, this is not a course I would like to run often, but I'm debating running it again next year. Just to see if I can improve.  It's one thing to PR on a different course, but it's another entirely to PR on the same course. But those are goals for another day.  If anyone is interested in the elevation difference between last weekends race and this weekends:

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

RnR Raleigh

I also need to point out that Brian finished 2nd overall in the Marathon with a finishing time of 2:44:18...91 seconds behind the first place finisher. Which means that there will be a Boston trip in 2017.

My legs have finally loosened up after being sore for a good 3 days. I'm hoping the 11:30 pace continues and I can keep being consistent for the Tar Heel 10 Miler on the 23rd.  I'm sure I'll be snapping during that race too (Snapchat: Lisamdee) or you can just come back here after and I'll post them for you ! Since it's been working well for me so far, the goal is to just cross the finish line.  Don't worry, I'll be off racing that one (until the fall anyway).


  1. A PR is a PR is a PR! (Don't hate me for asking, but are you just counting your first City of Oaks half as a different running life? I totally get it if so!) Congrats on making it through another strong race. Oh and I'm ready to go to Boston!

  2. congrats on the PR, 16 seconds or not, that is amazing. you seriously look fabulous in that blue mat photo like you are flying. i hate when i think the finish is closer than it is.

  3. Super huge congrats to both you and Brian! You were giving me some serious flashbacks with the hill descriptions, but other than that I enjoyed reading this :P I totally agree - a PR is a PR! You earned that shit and should wear it proud. And ahh Boston 2017!!!!!


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