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Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon - Run

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Raleigh, North Carolina
United States
Competitor Group, Inc.
65F / 18C
Total Time = 2h 27m 58s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Brian and I signed up for this race last fall/winter as a fun-run type of thing coupled with a visit to see his parents who live about 90 minutes from Raleigh. Neither of us trained up like we anticipated we would, missing some key long runs and some big life changes happening for both of us, but that's how it goes sometimes!

I flew out with Brian's son Saturday and we met him in Atlanta, then met his parents in Raleigh. Did packet pick up, ate dinner, then headed to bed really early (Brian had been at a charity event the night before and only logged 2 hours of sleep, ouch).

Race morning Brian's Dad drove us downtown and dropped us off and we were UBER early. So glad we were that early though, because Twitter was a-buzz about how awful traffic was and then even postponed the race because so many people were going to miss the start. We, on the other hand, roamed around gear check and food areas, found our coral, visited porta potties, applied sunscreen, ate some breakfast, and still had like an hour to kill LOL! Had fun people watching and chit chatting waiting for the gun to go off.
  • 2h 27m 58s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 18s  min/mile

We were in coral 12 so did not start until 7:25. Inching up I got more and more excited, this is ROCK N ROLL RALEIGH! The emcee was on-point and getting everyone so pumped up! Brian and I had planned to not run together so predictably I lost sight of him about 2 minutes after we crossed the start line.

The first few miles I knew I was running too fast, but justified it in my head that I was "banking" some seconds as I knew the hills were coming. I was sweating already, but very pleased with my wardrobe choice of capri length tights and my Chicago Marathon tank, visor, and hand-held water bottle. Surprised there was not an aid station until after the 2 mile mark - I am consistently happy with my decision to carry my own water each time I race!

I knew from looking at the elevation profile there would be hills. And there were HILLS. I was running up them till mile 4, that was the first time I walked up the 2nd half of one. But otherwise I was chugging away and seriously enjoying the race - SO MUCH FUN! Bands, spectators, the whole nine yards.

Don't remember a whole lot until mile 8.5 where I decided to eat my Sports Beans right before an aid station. Chomped them down and grabbed a Gatorade then more water - this combination pepped me up SO MUCH and I felt so good right after that!

Then at mile 11 something extraordinary happened.
The left side of the path was lined with posters staked into the ground with photos of North Carolina soldiers killed in action. Photos of their faces, with their families, with their kids. Hundreds of them, it seemed. I started to get choked up and kept reading names and looking at faces. Then a lady in front of me moved over right next to the posters and started gently high-fiving the posters, in the way you would bend down and high five a child. One by one, others fell in line behind her doing the same thing. It was now a steady stream of runners gently touching the posters and I absolutely lost it. I was bawling, Tears were STREAMING down my face and I couldn't breathe. After the posters there were then a multitude of volunteers holding American flags, I mean probably 100 of them. More tears and crying - it was the most emotional and most moving thing I've ever experienced in a race. Ever. I will never forget that.

After I pulled myself together I realized there were less than 2 miles to go, and my fuzzy calculations told me I could probably beat 2:30, so I concentrated on trying to stay around 11 minute miles. I had to walk up some hill sections here and there, but otherwise was booking it and feeling great!

Around mile 12, the full marathon leader passed us. Wow - he was flying! We cheered him on like crazy and I marveled at the fact that he basically lapped us. So cool.

In my last mile I was floored at the number of spectators leading up to the finish line. SO many people, signs, and encouragement. It definitely had the feel of a big-time race and I soaked it all in. I love racing. I love finish lines - especially ones where I beat my last half marathon time by TWO MINUTES! YEEE HAWWW!!
What would you do differently?:

Not a thing.
Post race
Warm down:

We had planned to meet at the family reunion area so I just went straight there. Except I was told they didn't put up the letter signs (we were going to meet a "H"), with no explanation as to why. They just didn't, so you would just have to hope you found your family in a sea of 25K people! OK!

After a phone call we found each other and headed back to the hotel. Brian had finished in around 2:15 and was hurting pretty good. So proud of him though - he said he really enjoyed the race except for the hills. Yup.

That afternoon we went shopping at the outlet malls, then another mall, then ordered in pizza for dinner while watching the Masters and playing card games. SUCH a fun time with such great people!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Lack of run consistency and speed work.

Event comments:

Couple of things: the race start was delayed 10 minutes because traffic was so backed up there were too many people that were going to miss the start. Inaugural year problems, yup, hopefully they will straighten that out for future events. Aid stations were few and far between in my opinion, and only 3 had Gatorade. Being a sunny and warm (70 degrees?) day I was thankful I carried my own water. Post-race they did not do the family reunion alphabet signs as advertised, which was annoying.

Good stuff is everything that Rock N Roll does well - event organization, fun atmosphere, bands and music, etc.

Would recommend this race if you like HILLS! Ha!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2014-01-27 12:00 AM
02:27:58 | 13.1 miles | 11m 18s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Don't kid yourself. This race is CRAZY HILLY!
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2014-04-15 10:23 AM

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Atlanta, Georgia
Subject: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon

2014-04-15 10:44 AM
in reply to: #4981970

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the alamo city, Texas
Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon

i love it!  it sounds like you had a lot of fun!  also - i'm surprised that the race didn't have more gatorade or the family reunion area.  sure, it's a first race, but it's rock n roll, they realllly know better.  weird.

congrats on the great time and having a great time!

2014-04-15 12:23 PM
in reply to: mehaner

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Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon

Nice finish! So glad you had a handheld with you and avoided stuck in traffic stress. Nice photos too!

2014-04-15 2:25 PM
in reply to: InnerAthlete

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Extreme Veteran
San Diego, California
Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon
Nice job! Sounds like a fun weekend. Great race. :-)
2014-04-15 4:17 PM
in reply to: #4981970

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Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon

What a great race!!  I don't know how you even kept moving forward with the signs & the flags, I would have had to stop and have an ugly cry.  

Sounds like a fantastic experience and even with a couple of race snafus - you and Brian had a really great time!!  

2014-04-15 5:14 PM
in reply to: blueyedbikergirl

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Extreme Veteran
Collierville, Tennessee
Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon
Great race report! I remember feeling really humbled when I got to the flags section, but it sounds like your experience was even more moving. Great job!

2014-04-15 7:11 PM
in reply to: WoodrowCall

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South Windsor, CT
Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon
Congratulations Lisa!

I loved the report and you write beautifully.
Very moving part about the posters. Funny how some things occur in a race that you would never expect and it can affect you to the core.

What a perfect race.
2014-04-15 8:17 PM
in reply to: dtoce

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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Half Marathon

Congratulations on a 2 minute PR!

Those hills sound rough.  Great job.

I would have lost it looking at the posters.  Wow.

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2010-06-10 6:15 PM reid15
date : May 24, 2010
author : Coach AJ
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My question is am I playing with fire entering the half marathon this close to my primary goal for this season which is the HIM?
date : December 11, 2009
author : Amy Kuitse
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I just finished the NYC marathon on Sunday and I think I'm going to venture into triathlons. I am doing an Olympic distance and I want to do a 70.3 next year too. Any advice?
date : June 15, 2009
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I just ran the Boston Marathon under nine minute miles, can I run eight minute miles for my half Ironman training runs? Or should I go slower?
date : November 17, 2008
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I just started doing tris this summer and I have two under my belt, both sprints. Is it reasonable to build up for a Oly in early ‘09, with a HIM in Oct of ‘09
date : June 10, 2008
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Steady is our walk. Ignoring the pain that is radiating from my feet, I continue to place one foot in front of the other. Again I wonder, “Why am I doing this?”
date : July 10, 2007
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Having three seasons under my belt I thought I knew what I was doing. That all changed with a few new challenges and a bunch of new friends.
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This program should be used for an athlete whose goal is to run a marathon in the 1:30-2:30 range and has a good running base in the past 8-12 weeks.
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My training was taking off. I had never felt stronger. I was making bigger strides than I ever had. I was stronger and faster than I had imagined myself ever being.