I’m not even sure why I decided to run a half marathon. I had just ran my first 5k and that was the only race I had ever ran as an adult. Most people don’t run their first 5k then start training for a half marathon but I felt compelled to do it. I chose the Battleship North Carolina Half Marathon in Wilmington and I checked out a book with training plans from the library and combined that with some online training plans. Since the race was at the beach, I thought it would be flat and relatively easy, at least as far as half marathons go. Indeed it was mostly flat except for running up the bridges. I hadn’t thought about the bridges.
The morning of the race, a storm came in and it rained and was very chilly the entire race. It was even snowing in the area as we were driving back home that day, which was crazy because it almost never snows on the NC coast. But back to the bridges. Running on the grated bridges was new to me and since it was raining, I was worried about slipping and falling but fortunately that didn’t happen and I finished cold but satisfied I had done my best.
Determined that I could do better based on the poor weather conditions and the fact that it was my first half marathon, I decided right then that I would run that race again the next year. The following year, the weather was ideal and I cut almost 16 minutes off my previous finish time. However, my second Battleship North Carolina half marathon actually followed a couple of other races, namely a 15k and a half marathon in Hawaii Hawaii-2nd state.
A note on race “bling.” Back when I ran the half marathons in North Carolina such a thing as race bling didn’t even exist. Medals weren’t given out to every finisher and about the most you got for your entry fee was a cotton t-shirt. For the Battleship Half Marathon, I got a long-sleeve cotton t-shirt and for the Gold Rush Half Marathon, I got a short-sleeve cotton t-shirt.
From my post-race notes for North Carolina:
“Ran Battleship Half-Marathon in Wilmington, NC twice. First time was first half-marathon ever. Course was nice; mostly flat except for a short hill downtown and inclines going up bridges. Was strange running on grated bridges, but was ok. Was cold and rainy, which actually turned into snow the first year. Was warm and sunny the other year. Finish time for first race was 2:20:04 and for second time running this race was 2:03:51.
Gold Rush Half-Marathon in Concord, NC was pure torture. Rolling hills turned into huge uphill only (no downhill) toward the finish. Was hot and humid as well. Was surprised that I finished in the time that I did- expected to do much worse. My finish time was 2:05:37.”
The Gold Rush Half Marathon was one of the hardest races I’ve ran. I ran it after running a 5k, three half marathons, and a 15k so by then I at least had a few races under my belt. Since it was a point-to-point course as opposed to an out and back course, we didn’t get to run down the hills that we ran up. It was a combination of the dreaded three H’s for a race: hilly, hot, and humid. The race began and ended at Reed Gold Mine near Concord, NC. It was one of the most low-key races I’ve been in and at least when I ran it, there was only a t-shirt given to runners (no medals) and minimal fruit and water at the finish.