Friday, December 23, 2016

2016 Charlotte Marathon Relay

Last year at the Charlotte Marathon I anchored a BSR/EPT mixed team. We ended winning the mixed (coed) and it was really fun.  So this year I was hoping that Paul would ask me again to run and sure enough he did.

We met at 6:15am  at the Harris Teeter that was near the first exchange there at Queens and Providence.  Everyone slowly gathered.  There were two EPT teams this year, plus Jeremy who was running the full monty.  People got coffee and/or used the facility.  We eventually figured out who was going where and piled into the cars.  We left the parking lot around 6:45am.
       And we got more rhymes than your whole damn crew
Our team (in order) was Steve, Karen, Jen, Carolann, and Me.  We referred to our squad as the "World Championship" team. For next year, Jen and Karen are racing the Ironman WC, and Carolann and I are racing the 70.3 WC (and Steve has raced Kona before).  The other team was Laura (who I did not know), Laurent, Laura (who I do know), Heather and Paul.  Paul, Jen, Laura, and I got in Paul's car and headed out to the 10 mile mark and the first exchange.
Chillin' at Einstein Bagels
We got there with lots of time to spare.  Jen and Laura did some warmup drills and then went out for a warmup run.  Paul and I just kinda hung out on the corner.  Evidently we looked like very official.  Several people stopped and asked us for parking and race course information.The first leaders came through about 55 minutes, which I had expected.  Steve came after his leg and we all went down to the exchange point.  We watched the exchange of the EPT teams, and then Paul and I headed out to Mile 20, our exchange point.
Karen to Jen

Laurent to Laura
We hung out for a little bit in the car and then went and found a port-o-let.  Jen and Steve pulled up and I got the race belt with a number from them.  We kinda forgot out race numbers.  Last year I got the numbers the night before and just pinned them on my singlet.  We didn't do that this year, and we didn't have any pins.  Luckily some people brought some race belts and we just used a couple of those to trade off. I did a short 7 minute warmup and got back to the exchange point with about 2 minutes to spare.
Warmup Run
Carolann and Karen came around the corner.  Karen ran with Carolann after Karen had run her Leg. #hardcore.  I was on the wrong side of the timing mat, but quickly jumped over to the right side.  Carolann looked pretty good. I took the wrist strap and took off.

I actually felt better than I had expected.  I was thinking it would be pretty ugly since I had only run 3 times since Augusta.  But I came through that first downhill mile only 5-6 seconds slower than last year.  I figured that my stamina would not be there as the miles (and hills) wore on.
I had to ask directions several times.  Being where we were at in the Marathon (and it not being that huge of a race) there were not a lot of people around me.  I actually started to make a wrong turn one time.  Coming down Hawthorne avenue you are supposed to cross Central.  I started to make the turn onto Central and the cop yelled at me.  I corrected my course and thanked the policeman as I went by.

So the miles and hills kept coming.  When I came through miles 3 and 4 and split 6:41 and 6:31, I was pretty happy.  Like I said, I felt a lot better than I thought. Unfortunately this course is the same as last year with that crap last mile.

You still finish with a perfectly straight last mile on Stonewall.  Slightly uphill, against the wind. It just zaps you.  I fought back and forth with a marathoner and he was hanging pretty tough.  I was impressed.  Then some official on a motorcycle rode alongside me for 3/4 of a mile. Not sure what that was about. I felt good at the last turn and tried to kick it in.  I gave Hugo a big double high five after I crossed the finish line.

I saw Jen and Steve at finish.  I didn't feel cold in just my singlet.  We grabbed a free beer and I met some other EPT people.  We hung out for a while, and got our second beer. Very fun day. I rode with Robbie, Carolann and Laura back to my car.  I stopped by Sugar Creek Brewery on my way home to celebrate a little.  I was very sore from the day.
'Sup Hugo?
Overall we finished in 3:03:49 (overall 7:00.7 min/mile average) good for second mixed.  Results here.  We were 15 minutes faster than last year!  Much stiffer competition this year.  We may have to up our game next year.  Here is how it shook out by leg in the Official results (in order):

Steve 4.2 miles in 26:35 for a 6:19.8 average
Karen 5.8 miles in 39:13 for a 6:45.7 average
Jen 5 miles in 38:05 for a 7:37.0 average
Carolann 5 miles in 38:19 for a 7:39.8 average
Me 6.2 miles in 41:36 for a 6:42.6 average
Cheerleading Gone Wrong

The "World Championship" Crew
Already looking forward to doing this again next year.  It would be great to get the same team together, but that rarely works out.  However it shakes out, we need to get that "W" again!