I signed up for this race the Monday before. I decided to do it since it was within driving distance, wasn't a bad price for a last minute sign up and I wanted to run somewhere different for my long run.
As mentioned in my weekly training log, I drove up the morning of the race. Gotta love race morning packet pickup. The drive flew by and despite the fact that I left just after 5am I managed to stay awake. I stopped close to Greenville at a rest stop and I was shocked by how cold it was. I might have run in a vest top, meaning I was very cold for the race and ended up with fingers the size of sausages.
I arrived in Greenville and found the free parking very quickly. From there it was around a five minute walk to the race start. The start was right outside a baseball stadium and packet pickup was inside. It was crowded everywhere but I got my packet quickly. No amazing swag just my bib and a nice long sleeved technical t-shirt.
I lined up for the (real) restrooms and realized by the time I got to the rest room, and dropped off my new t-shirt and zip up jacket to gear check, it'd be time to line up for the race start.
I was surprised at the start by how many runners there were and judging by the t-shirts on display...mostly locals. Everyone was very amped, much more so than I've seen at a race start in a while, I guess Greenville has a very active and enthusiastic running community.
The start and first couple of miles were a bit crowded but I let the first mile be my warm up. The pack slowly spaced out after that. I had people around me for most of the race but once I'm not dodging too much its nice to have some company. I'll be honest a lot of this race is a blur as I try to remember details. I know we ran through the downtown area, a small portion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail, some very fancy neighbourhoods and a park before heading back through town to run a victory lap around the baseball stadium.
The course was well marked. It was hilly, not huge hills, but frequent enough. The portion in the park added a number of miles as we looped in a somewhat complicated pattern around the park, climbing and descending. I just kept following the tape markers. Good practice for the twisty Kiawah Island course. There were lots of volunteers and a surprising number of supporters.
The aid stations were spaced out every 3.5 miles or so. I found it a bit of a long stretch before the first one but it was ok after that. I walked once during the race at mile 6.5 to take in lots of water at the aid station so I could take some shot bloks. Otherwise I hauled my ass up every hill. Even running at long run pace that still took quite a bit out of me. Since the hills were fairly frequent I was getting pretty tired towards the end of the race but I still picked it up for the lap around the stadium. Hill training, long run and (slight +1000 feet) altitude training all in one :)
Once I crossed the line I got a medal and walked up the steps up the stadium bleachers to get water and some food. There was a ton of stuff but knowing I had further to run I just took some water and a banana. I didn't have to wait long at all to get my gear back and go back to the car to drop it off. I headed to the Swamp Rabbit Trail and finished out my miles for the day.
I really appreciated the chance to use the post race showers at a local community center, worth all $3. I had some chaffing but I felt good once I'd showered. I had thought about eating somewhere nice in Greenville but there were still a lot of traffic restrictions (the marathoners were still running) that I didn't feel like dealing with. I left Greenville and hit up a Subway once I met the i26 back to Columbia. I thought my stomach was going to digest itself in the meanwhile but somehow I survived. Less than two hours later I was on my sofa enjoying a well earned nap!!
This race was a bit of a whirlwind, I didn't hang out for long before or after but I felt like this was a really well organized race. It definitely did a good job of showing off Greenville and its community. Recovery has been good, a bit tight but nothing hurts too much. Now to enjoy a step back week.
Run USA Half Marathon 2.04.47 (9.46, 9.24, 9.20, 9.37, 9.22, 9.34, 10.03<--shot blok time, 9.39, 9.29, 9.40, 9.39, 9.37, 8.55)