For those checking in to see the results of our 1/2 marathon in Charlotte, here’s a recap.

We left early Friday morning to drive down to “God’s Country”. By the time we got to Charlotte, we had time to pick up our race packets downtown and grab a nice dinner at a local sports bar. I can’t express how good it was for my heart to be right in the middle of ACC country. Seeing the flags for UNC and the Carolina Panters all over was just awesome. We caught up with our friends and went back to their house to get some sleep before the 5:30am alarm went off.

By 7:30 Heather and I were at the start line where the temperature was 20 degrees. Although that sounds cold, it wasn’t all that bad. There was really no wind so it ended up being a nice temperature for a long run. There was a NASCAR there to start the race and we were on our way. I’ll touch on the course more in a minute but we started downtown, made our way through some incredibly beautiful neighborhoods and ended up downtown again. I enjoyed every single minute and mile of this race. Beginning to end I had a smile on my face and soaked it all in. Heather and I stayed together the entire race and finished holding hands. It was a perfect memory in a city I love. Now for some of the “other highlights”:

-As you can see from the image above, the course was BRUTAL. Several long (and I mean LONG) inclines. It is true that for every incline, there is a decline, but our pace dropped about 20 seconds per mile on the incline miles. We took advantage of the flat parts and declines when we got them.

-We knew were in trouble at packet pickup when they were selling t-shirts that said “Flat is for Sissies” on the front and had the image above on the back. We don’t have hills like that in Ohio so it’s not something you can train for.

-The race had people dressed like elves, santa hats and several other characters. One guy had a shirt on that said “Cheer for me, I’m getting married today”. He was running with a guy that had “Cheer for him, he’s getting married today” and an arrow pointing to his buddy next to him. That is what makes these things so fun. Great stories. Great memories.

-By far the funniest part of the race came around mile 12. There was a water station at the base of a hateful incline. We stopped off to grab a cup of water and begin our final push towards the finish line. I was wearing a Tar Heel Basketball shirt and snow hat. From somewhere behind me at the water station came this passionate, mean spirited voice that yelled “THE TAR HEELS SUCK”! I don’t know who said it, but I burst out laughing. It was the perfect thing for me as I was looking ahead at one final, brutal incline. It took my focus off of that and made me laugh. The guy that yelled it was so forceful, loud and passionate about it. He had to have been a DUKE fan. Whoever you are…thanks for making that last mile laughable for me. Literally.

We won’t have much time to rest as we are off to Phoenix, Arizona on January 17th for the PF Changs Half Marathon with our friends Troy and Catherine Plant. I checked in with Troy yesterday and it looks like this course is much more flat. The warm temperatures will be welcomed too! So thank you Charlotte for making one more memory. It was a great day and a race I won’t soon forget.

Finish Time – 1:53