Overall, I'm disappointed with my performance, even though I did come in first in my age group (for the second time!). I just had my hopes a bit higher for this race, but I was dealing with a lot of extraneous conditions that adversely affected me (high humidity and damp, soupy conditions; mid-marathon training and running on tired legs with no real taper after Saturday's 11-miler; and asthma issues and a sinus infection). And if I'm being completely honest, this was almost as much a mental loss as a physical one. My heart really wasn't in it today and I was a bit distracted by all of the moving insanity.
But all things considered, I did well. And even though my pace didn't improve since the two 5Ks I did earlier in the summer, if I look at the big picture, I still see improvements in my overall running economy, especially since this was a hillier course. Those spring races were done in much better conditions overall - great weather, better health as far as asthma/sinuses/allergies (I can run through a lot of things, but an asthma attack is not one of them), and non-marathon training legs. So I've definitely improved and I'm looking forward to running a 5K under better conditions next spring and seeing how I do.
That said, I should probably just forget about PRs two days after a long run in this kind of weather because that's just probably never going to happen. And I do have a few 5Ks planned during holidays, but those are soon after the marathon, so I have no PR expectations there, either (just keeping it real around here).
The course is typical Charlotte...hilly. Lots of hills. And some pretty steep ones at that. There are several downhill stretches, which is a nice relief, but there are some nasty inclines on the back half of the race. The biggest issue I have with this course is the possibility of getting held up by a train. The course crosses railroad tracks twice and it just happened to pass through this morning. Fortunately, I was in the front of the pack that didn't get stuck (I did get in just under the wire, though, as those gates were getting ready to come down - eek!). If I had gotten stuck, that would have really blown my time.
Shirts are thick, cotton, long sleeve unisex shirts with a good, one-color design. Other items in the swag bag included a discount to for a massage, Chik-Fil-A coupons, a coupon for handmade wooden bowls, spoons, etc (which actually look pretty awesome), and a few other things. And I was pretty stoked that all of the award winners actually got medals with their place on them. For such a small race, that's a pretty nice perk.
Volunteers were nice and helpful and my only complaint was the start wasn't clearly marked, so people were milling around in confusion before the race. This could have easily been solved by placing a volunteer at the starting line.
Otherwise, good race, hilly course, decent shirts, and nice medals for winners. Since I'm moving next weekend, I probably won't come back next year for this race, but if I was staying in Charlotte, it would likely be on my list again.
But overall, I really can't complain. I still had a good race, won my age group, and most importantly, exceeded my milestone fundraising goal! Next up: Run for the Coast 10K on September 28!
Results: 24:15 (7:48), age group win
Weather: 75 degrees, 98% humidity, damp, foggy
Health: Asthma, sinus issues, and allergies
*Racing for the Rescues is my personal fundraiser (now in its second season). I'm running, racing, and raising funds to help the homeless animals at Family Addition Dog Rescue of Charlotte.