It’s hard to believe April is already here, and in two days, I am going to try to register for the 2024 Goofy Challenge at runDisney Marathon Weekend! Where does the time go? One of my goals for 2023 is to run a half marathon every month. I’ve worked hard training for the 2023 Dopey Challenge, and I don’t want to lose the endurance that I’ve built. I’m not going for a certain time; more just doing the race to have a fun way to get the miles in. So far I’ve accomplished:
- January: WDW Half Marathon
- February: Greenville Half Marathon
- March: Jeff Galloway 13.1 (and challenge)
- April: Craft Beer Half Marathon
Instead of doing an individual race recap (because I’m so behind), I figured I would summarize each of them into one post.
Read the WDW Half Marathon Recap here.
Greenville Half Marathon
The Greenville Half Marathon was held Saturday. February 25. It feels like just yesterday I did this race! I think I was still recovering from Dopey or just not in the mood to run too much. I did the Hot Chocolate 15K the weekend before, but I wasn’t feeling great about this race. Since I didn’t want to spend money on a hotel room, I drove the 2+ hours to Greenville at 5 am for a 7:30 am start time. I figured it was sleeping in compared to a Disney race. I had my Nuun and Pop-Tarts in the car on my drive.
The race is a point-to-point race that claims to be one of the fastest races in the South because it is mostly downhill. You start at Travelers Rest, and this was the part I found most stressful. In 2021, I did the 5K portion of this race (when it was called the Swamp Rabbit), so I knew about the shuttles. I decided to park at the startline then get a $20 shuttle ticket to go back to my car.
The start area was crazy! The roads are narrow, and I didn’t understand that you could park in the area then walk to get your bib and go to the start line. I tried to drive to the address where it said to pick up your bib, but that was a huge mistake and took a lot of time. I’m someone who arrives early to a race early since I get nervous, and the logistics of this race (I had to pick up my bib) were a bit much. Knowing what I know now, it would have been okay.
Bottom line: drive to the high school. Park your car. Walk to your bib. Walk to the start line.
I LOVED this race! One of the reasons I signed up for this race is to work on my side goal of completing (either a half or full or each) in every state. This seems like a fun goal to work towards throughout my life since I want to still run in my 90s. I ran the Kiawah Marathon in December but hadn’t run a half marathon yet; might as well cross off South Carolina!
Anyway, this race spends the first 4 miles on a road then the remaining miles on the Swamp Rabbit Trail which takes you into downtown Greenville. There was a chance of rain during this race which we got around mile 2. Luckily, after that, it cleared up, and the remainder of the race was very enjoyable. It was a colder day but a really good running temperature. My goal was to maintain a steady 30:30 interval for the duration of the race. If I felt good at mile 9, I would switch to 60:30. I maintained the 30:30, but I did not increase the interval.
The Swamp Rabbit Trail was so cool! All along it were old buildings, sheds, and other things that were renovated into hotels, businesses, breweries, restaurants, and shops. It has a really cool vibe and was super lively. Even though it is a downhill race, it doesn’t feel like it. There are not a lot of uphills which I found noticeable, but the downhill isn’t steep or anything.
The finish is right downtown and there is a big party with good food! They have breakfast wraps, a DJ, and lots of beer for those who are interested. I hung around the party for a little bit before getting on my shuttle to pick up my car.
My splits were incredibly even – I couldn’t believe it! My final time was 2:32:30, which I was insanely happy about. I wasn’t feeling the run beforehand, so to be 4 hours off of my half PR – whoa! I know it is possible for me to beat this time!
A friend I made through the Customized Training group lives in Greensville, so I had a chance to meet up with her and another 2023 Dopey. It was such a fun brunch to hang out and reminisce on Marathon Weekend! Overall, it was a fantastic day!
Jeff Galloway 13.1 (and Double G Challenge)
On March 18 and 19, I completed the Double-G in Atlanta, GA. Customized Training is part of the Jeff Galloway organization, which also sponsors this half marathon and 5K in downtown Atlanta. Even though I already crossed Georgia off my list, I decided to go down to meet some of the training people in person. Even though I still dislike Atlanta, I’m glad I had a chance to meet these people.
Logistics were pretty easy for this weekend because the hotel where I stayed was close to the start lines. As a side note, I had points that I transferred to Hyatt, which is what allowed me to go this weekend. Hotel pricing for the weekend was $500-$600. This wasn’t in my budget at all. Somehow, this hotel was available for 12,000 points for two nights! That is a great exchange and a great deal. Points haven’t paid off too much for me, so I’m glad I got this reward before I cancel everything.
Anyway, I had to drive to the 5K start line. In the lobby, I met Kelly who runs Jeff’s social media. I got to drive her to the start and hear her running story. I love learning about where others come from and what they have achieved as a runner.
The logistics for the half were easier because the start line was within walking distance from the hotel. If you were to drive, I imagine it would be a bit challenging to find parking.
It was FREEZING on both days. Absolutely fridged, which was the worst thing about the weekend. I never warmed up on either race.
The 5K was through Piedmont Park in Midtown. I was able to meet Bob from the Rise and Run Podcast and David who attends the Zoom calls, too. I ended up running the 5K with David. We went slow but ended up running more than run/walk because it was just too cold for us to walk.
The half marathon was a challenge. My goal was to do 30:30 intervals as I did in Greenville. This would be different because it was much colder but the course also had a lot of rolling hills. A lady in the lobby was so nice and handed out hand warmers to all of the racers – these were such a godsend!
Usually, when you run in the cold, you warm up after a while because your body gets warm. For some reason, this doesn’t happen to me and today was no different. What was worse was it got colder! I don’t know how the sun comes up but it gets colder. I was running, and it was colder. To say I was miserable, was an understatement. This race was a mental challenge because I just wanted to go somewhere to get warm. At one point (within the first mile), we passed the hotel. It took so much of me to not go back to my room or my car – I had to get that medal for March! Sigh…why do we runners do these things?
Anyway, I don’t know what else to say about the half marathon. There were some cool things to look at, but unfortunately, I couldn’t only focus on one foot in front of the other and think about my podcasts to try to not think about losing my legs or fingers. Eventually, we got into Piedmont Park again. Past mile 12, I took out my hand warmers because I wasn’t sure they were necessary.
After I crossed the finish line, I got to attend the VIP party that I signed up for. Here, I was inside and had real bathrooms. I checked a change of clothes in my gear bag so I could get out of my sweaty clothes and not have to change in the car for the ride home. I don’t understand how you can sweat when you are so cold. It felt great to put on warm, dry clothes. Then I got to socialize with the rest of the running group and have breakfast.
Craft Beer Half
Even though this isn’t technically in Q1, I am going to summarize it here. The Craft Beer Half Marathon was on April 1 in Charlotte, NC. There isn’t a lot to say about this half marathon. It was only another 2 weeks after the Double G, and I signed up for this one because it was close to my house. It was neat because I got to run on the road where I do some long runs and on the greenway where I ride my bike.
This race had some cool swag – a cup, koozie, shirt (that I really like), and the medal is a coaster. I’m not a beer drinker, but it is a big part of the Charlotte culture, so I appreciate it in that respect.
My last two races were cold; this race was very wet. I mean, very wet! We had a short downpour around mile 1 or 2, which wasn’t bad. Then at mile 8, the rain came down so much and didn’t stop. It was another race I was just trying to get through.
My goal again was to maintain 30:30 intervals, which I did. The positive thing is I’m getting more confidence around mile 9 when I usually break down. I finished the race in 2:40:38, which is a very respectable time for me. It was amazing how many people were at the finishing party (luckily rain had let up), but I didn’t stay. I was desperate to get out of my wet clothes and into something warm. We will see how my May race goes.