Instead of a race t-shirt, we got a jar of Norm's Farms elderberry jam!
Last Friday, Jeff and I ran the Four on the Fourth race in Carrboro, NC. This was the first of three races in the Le Tour de Carrboro race series, put on by the Cardinal Track Club. We ran it because, well, why not? Seemed like a fun thing to do on the Fourth of July, right? Carrboro is an eclectic, hippieish town right next to Chapel Hill, which is home to the University of North Carolina.
We lucked out with the weather for this race - hurricane Arthur had hit the North Carolina coast the previous day and at first it looked like the outer bands of the storm might bring some rain, but except for a little bit overnight, we were sunny and dry - plus the humidity was only 61%, which was so nice! Compare that to the 91% humidity with pretty much the same temperature (around 74 degrees) in College Station, where my running peeps were participating in a Firecracker 5K, and I'd say we got the better deal...although, Carrboro is full of hills, so maybe it was a draw.
Pre-race...all smiles. Please note the man in the yellow tank behind me - you'll be seeing him again later.
Watching the group warm up.
The race was fine, except that I had a massive case of race anxiety and a slight panic attack when it began. I was a little nervous beforehand - why, I don't know. But I had butterflies in my stomach as we were driving to Carrboro, and although we had plenty of time to do a nice warm up walk, chat with a few people, and watch the yoga stretch warm up from afar, once the race began, my heart started racing, my chest felt tight, and I could not get a handle on my breathing. We ran the first minute, walked the second...and then walked the third minute while I tried to get control over this. Not the way I thought the race would go, that's for sure. I was able to do my 1:1 intervals after that extra walking break, but it took me about a half mile to feel like I had control over the situation.
Just before the starting gun went off...looking calm, cool and collected?? OK, there might be a little trepidation showing on my face.
Even with the anxiety at the start, mile one was my best pace, coming in at 13:48. And this was with hills! You all know I'm not a hill-loving runner, but if I lived here, I'd have no choice but to embrace them because they really are unavoidable. We settled into a good running/walking pace, and ended up staying near a big group of runners who train with the local Fleet Feet. They were all so nice - honestly, this was one of the friendliest races I've ever done, from the volunteers all throughout the course, to the spectators who came to the edge of their driveways and cheered us on as we ran through their neighborhood, to the man with a banjo who serenaded us - this was the 10th year for this race, and it showed in how well everything went.
Another race where my mileage was spot on!
We finished in 58:06 - seriously, I was shocked considering all the hills. Average pace was 14:31...while I don't run races to hit a certain pace or finish time, I will say that seeing these numbers on my Garmin was especially nice considering the way I felt during the first part of the race.
Finished! Sweaty, yes, but not nearly as bad if we'd raced in Texas!
There were some interesting people at the race. I first noticed this man before the race and he ended up being in the background of our pre-race picture. I call him Skinny Hulk Hogen:
You see it too, right?
And this girl in her patriotic bikini - how did she run four miles in this outfit? Didn't she chafe??
After the race we had some watermelon:
Best way to rehydrate after four miles!
And then we zipped back to Sam's place, where he had hot coffee and patriotic donuts waiting for us (no picture, because HUNGRY). Even with the unpleasantness at the beginning of the race, I'm glad we ran it.