This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. North Carolina was my 1st state.
I’m not even sure why I decided to run a half marathon. I had just run my first 5k and that was the only race I had ever run 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, November 2000, 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.
My finish time for the 2000 Battleship North Carolina Half Marathon was 2:20:04.
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 (warm and sunny) 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.
My finish time for the 2001 Battleship North Carolina Half Marathon was 2:03:51.
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 both years, I got a long-sleeve cotton t-shirt.
My third half marathon in North Carolina, The Gold Rush Half-Marathon in Concord was pure torture. The race began and ended at Reed Gold Mine and was one of the most low-key races I had been in. At the time, it was also easily one of the hardest races I had run. By this point, I had run a 5k, three half marathons, and a 15k, so I had a few races under my belt, too. Rolling hills turned into huge uphills only (no downhill) toward the finish. Since it was a point-to-point course as opposed to an out-and-back course, we didn’t get to run down the same hills we ran up. It was a combination of the dreaded three H’s for a race: hilly, hot, and humid. I was surprised that I finished in the time that I did; I expected to do much worse given the circumstances. We received a cotton t-shirt and there was just fruit and water at the finish. My finish time was 2:05:37.