When I heard that the Rock ‘n Roll Series was bringing a half marathon to my home state I was so excited and had to sign up! I talked my mom into signing up for the race as well and actually paid my dad’s entry for his birthday present so all three of us were able to run which was so great!
Since the race was being held 20 minutes from our house we decided not to get a hotel and just leave extra early from home. Of course just because downtown Raleigh is 20 minutes from our house doesn’t mean it only took 20 minutes. We ended up leaving home at 5am and parked the car downtown at 6:20… an hour and 20 minutes later! Traffic was horrible once we hit Raleigh, which is why we decided to park in the first place we saw which was a bank that was charging $5 for the day. We figured that would be cheaper than anything closer to the start line so we went ahead and took it.
On the way to the start line we found the immense line of port-a-potties lined up for runners to use and the line of people that were formed in front of them. We ended up waiting in line for about 30 minutes to use the port-a-potties but we figured that was better than starting the run and than having to stop later on to use them on the route.
Once we got to our corral I ended up running into two of my camp friends who were rooting on one of their mom’s in the race. I was surprised that I actually found them before the run… with 12,000 runners plus even more spectators I never thought I would spot them in the crowd. That was certainly a nice surprise!
Start time was 7am but by the time our corral got to the start line it was nearly 7:40 so we had plenty of time for pre-race photos!
Because downtown Raleigh is so crammed the line of runners from the start line had to curve around a couple blocks! I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a race that wasn’t a straight shot to the start line. It was a bit intimidating just because it made it look like we were farther away from the start line than we really were.
We ended up crossing the start line about 30 minutes after the race started, which isn’t bad for such a huge half marathon!
I was really excited for this race for the mere fact that the Rock ‘n Roll series is really good about putting live music at each mile! That’s one of the things I love about this running company! I usually don’t carry my iPod with me because my earphones get on my nerves while I run, so it’s nice when I do a big run like this and they provide music along the course. I have to say, I was a little disappointed with the live music on this course though. Some of it wasn’t even upbeat!! It’s so hard for me to keep a steady pace when I don’t have upbeat music to keep me going, so to have slow music surrounding me… it wasn’t very encouraging unfortunately.
There were some pretty good bands along the course, not every mile was slower music. Within the first mile of the run there was a band playing atop a bridge which was pretty cool! It was different but very cool!
There were a few other neat bands that played but I didn’t get any photos of them… I was too busy getting my pace up while I had the music to run to. :)
What I LOVED about this race was that they put up a lot of encouraging messages along the course which was so great to read along the way! I am all about encouraging words and to have them to read on a 13.1 mile run was genius! Here are some of my favorites.
I have to say, once I hit mile 8 the rest of the race went by pretty quickly (thank goodness since I wasn’t as prepared for this race as I should have been). The hills were the worst part! I remember the first half marathon I ran in Raleigh… I vowed never to run another half in Raleigh ever again because the hills were so incredibly horrible to make it through! Once I saw that the Rock ‘n Roll series was bringing a race to Raleigh though I couldn’t pass that up! Plus it was a great birthday present for my Dad!!
Once we got to about mile eight they did a great job directing the marathoners to go one way and the half marathoners to go the other way. Honestly they prepped us for it for at least 1/4th of a mile I would say! That’s one of my biggest fears when running joint races like this.. that I’ll accidentally run 26.2 miles instead of 13.1. Knowing me though, once I got to 14 or 15 miles I’d think, “Well, I’ve already gone this far… lets go all the way!” Probably wouldn’t be the smartest idea but once I start something I hate to quit!
They even had a handful of volunteers at the split checking bibs to make sure you ran the right way! I love it!!
After the split we hit mile 10 where we ran through an absolutely gorgeous part of Raleigh! We were out of the hustle and bustle downtown part and instead ran through a more relaxed few miles. It was so nice to have all those trees around to have a bit of shade for awhile. That was a nice refresher from the beating sun!
It wasn’t long before we got back into downtown and were on our way to the finish line! While on one of the last bridges that we crossed over there was an amazing sign from fleet feet!
I ended up crossing the finish line at 3:20:40. Not my greatest by far… and most certainly was far off from my goal time… but it is what it is. At least I finished, right?
My two camp friends who I ran into at the start of the race saw me right after I crossed the finish line so, after I grabbed some fruit and gatorade, I went to hang out with them until I could see my parents come towards the finish. By the time I made it through the after race line of munchies and walked back to the finish line with my friends it wasn’t long before my mom and dad crossed the finish line and were rewarded with their medals!
I also ran into my other camp friend, Nike, after the finish line who I ran The Color Run with back in October! This was her first half marathon!
Once I met up with my parents we ended to the side of the crowd to get some celebratory photos!
I’m so proud of both my parents for running hard and keeping motivated to finish this run! I know none of us were as prepared for it as we should have been but we all finish strong! As soon as we got home my dad didn’t take long to start bugging us about, “when’s our next half marathon?!?!?!” This was his first half marathon in about three years, I could tell me missed it and he is so eager to get back into running!
I love the Rock ‘n Roll series races and would suggest any of them to runners… just watch out for the hills!
I ran this race for my running buddy through ‘I run for…’, what an inspiration she is for me to keep going!