The Novant Health Lake Norman 15K and 5K was held on September 26 and is an annual race as part of the Charlotte 6 Pack Race Series. This was my first time running this race, and it was my first 15K. Automatic PR! I signed up for this as part of my Week 16 long run of 12 miles. I thought this would be a great way to make my last double-digit run of the Chicago Marathon training season more exciting.
The race takes place in Cornelius where you run through the Peninsula, an upscale community on Lake Norman. In addition to running through the neighborhood, you run through Jetton Park. The views are nice and peaceful, but the course is incredibly hilly! There are very few flat stretches.
There weren’t a ton of people signed up for the race, but it was still a good crowd. This makes me nervous because I don’t want to come in last place and have the event crew wait for me. My goal going into this was to be slow and steady. I needed to get the miles in and feel good about it.
The first three miles were great. I felt fantastic. It was a beautiful, almost chilly morning. We ran on the road and through the park. I opted to just run and see how I felt instead of doing a formalized run/walk pattern. (Spoiler alert: this was a mistake!) The next three miles involved walking, but I hung around an 11:22/mile pace. Then I got to a huge hill around mile 6.5. It was so big that I couldn’t run. It was a walk…and walk…and walk. I really felt tired around mile 7 and wondered if the race would ever end. Mile 8 was along the main road, so it was pretty boring. I just did a run-walk until I face another HUGE hill. Finally, I got to mile 9, rounded the corner and saw the finish line. I was done!
When this race was originally planned, it was going to be virtual. I signed up in September when I noticed it was in person. Even though it was in person, they gave you your medal when you picked up your shirt. There was something really anti-climatic about already having your medal and then crossing the finish line and not getting one. I brought it with me and snapped a shot.
Instead of a race shirt, they had these GREAT zip-ups. This may be one of my new favorite shirts. It’s so comfortable. I’m going to wear it when I go to Chicago next month.
This is definitely a race I would do again to see if I could improve my time. I finished it in 1:46:20 with an average mile of 11:23. 15K is a challenging but attainable distance.