Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Final thoughts about the marathon

I thought that I would share a few parting thoughts from my Charleston Marathon before looking forward in ’14.

My overall impression of the Charlotte Marathon was a good one. As a runner there are a few key areas which I believe push race toward the top end of the measuring stick. Their organization and scheduling were excellent. Their expo was decent. Plenty of water and Gatorade was available along the course. There were lots of volunteers to help with the race. The fan support was sparse along the course, but it is hard to ding this race for it. After all it is January, and it was cold.  

The course as a “whole” I liked. There were no major hills along the course but there were several sections where course changed elevation just enough to give the quads or the hamstring a break. The first few miles were along the water which gave all of the runners a nice view of the bay. Once we turn inland, we faced a strong head wind coming out of the north to north west. The surrounding building and houses created a canyon like effect which put the wind right in our faces. From miles, 3 to about 10 miles, the only relief from the wind came when we hit a dead spot next to a car or house.

I have to say the “pier” section was probably my least favor part of the race. It has nothing to do with the view but rather after 12 miles, coming to a dead stop, making an immediate u-turn, and then hitting a stiff head wind is just not much fun.

The latter half had more turns that I care to count. Nearly all were well marked or had someone directing us.

The last few miles were through a park and most of the last mile through this industrial area.

I wanted to mention a couple of other things that stuck out in my mind. I will talk about these two items first and then tell you what I liked best of all about the race.

At numerous points along the course, there were these guys who had some type of sound system for calling out the elapse race time over a loud speaker. The idea about calling out the time I liked. It was their execution that I am calling in to question. They seemed to be position at less than ideal spots like 6ish miles or 8ishmiles or 15ish miles or 20ish miles. When I am running, I am not big on long division to figure out my current pace. LOL.

Then, there was the post race food. I grew up in the north so Shrimp and Grits are not on my list of things to eat normally and would never be on my list for a post marathon food choice. Yet, this was what they were serving after the race. To my surprise, I saw numerous people enjoying what I can only assume were a delicious bowl of shrimp and grits. I suspect they were chasing it with beer. LOL. I should add that this was not the only thing they were serving, but it appeared to be the main course.

As I draw this post to a close, I do want you to know what I found best about this race. With the temperature being 35 at the start and probably 40 by the finish along with the fact that I was facing a stiff freezing 15 mile per hour head wind most of the race, yes, I was shaking pretty good afterwards.

So the best part of the race for me, well you might not believe this but it was the post race hot shower. I think I stood under the water for at least 30 minutes. When I finally walked out, I felt the kind of warm that only a hot shower gives. This was the best part for me. LOL.

Now for the question, I suspect most of you are wondering. Would I ever go back? The answer is yes. Having run off course, I feel like I have unfinished business at this race and when I have unfinished business, it doesn’t get checked off my list until I feel satisfied with it. I’ll be back for “turn gate2”.


Sharing one thought at time,

The Cool Down Runner




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