Yesterday, I got so wrapped up being flabbergasted by two races, a week apart, feeling so different (even though my time was only 121 seconds different between them), that I kind of neglected to tell the “story” of the race.
Before the race started, I heard an engine revving like crazy. I think maybe they had a car drive out in front of everyone to start the race, but I couldn’t see it. It was weird, because I didn’t feel as though I was all that far back. (As I said yesterday, I’m pretty sure there were fewer than 2,000 people in this race.)
I was toward the back of the runners, and even I got across the start line in two or three minutes. Yet, even only being as far back as I was, I didn’t see the car. I didn’t see a flag wave (if they did that for the NASCAR theme). I didn’t even hear a gun go off. I just heard an engine rev for a while. Then all the sudden, we were all moving forward.
Uh, okay, the race is starting? As I got closer to the start line, I saw the clock going and people speeding up, so yeah, I guess the race is starting!
Our first mile was around a big part of the track. It was funny because the first thing everyone saw was mile marker 12. (The course was a loop, so we’d be coming back that way.) There were lots of varied reactions as people passed it, and a whole lot of people reacted. “Oh, look! We’re almost done. Hahaha.” “We made it, y’all!” “Oooooh why was this the first thing I saw?” “Great! Can I just go from here?” Etcetera. I thought hearing everyone comment on it was really funny.
The mile markers had cars by them. (It was a very well themed race.) I loved that there were cars by the mile markers, because if you were sort of far away from the next mile marker, you could usually see a car in the distance.
(A car is much easier to see than a sign.) I often had a very good visual idea of how much farther until the next mile marker. (I think seeing it visually is different (sometimes nicer) than just understanding by your app how much farther you need to go.)
Something that I found interesting about running around a track is that the strategy changes. (At least mine did, and judging by the people around me, theirs did too.)
Usually, the field of runners is pretty wide. I always try to stay mainly toward the right, being that I’m slow. Today, we all were going as far left as possible. Runners really wanted to hug that curve so as not to add any distance to our run. (Also, as you go farther to the right, the track slants up. It could be really rough to run on that incline.)
Some runners actually did run way up that incline all the way to the right, to the top of the slanting area. (And it slanted a LOT. This was not just a barely noticeable incline.) Those runners had tons of energy, and, I think, wanted to challenge themselves. More power to them! They also were taking a bunch of pictures of everyone below them. I bet they got some great shots of the field of runners.
After we ran through the Charlotte Motor Speedway, we ran out and around to the ZMax Dragway. Going into and coming out of the dragway, the Army band was playing for us. Remember Stan who gave me that floss the night before? There he was rocking the mic.
Mile 8 or 9 was one big hill running back toward the speedway. We had an awesome marching band and color guard cheering us on.
I had some good conversations with other various runners/walkers as I kept trucking along. One woman commented, “It doesn’t get an easier.” And I said, “Really? This feels much easier than last week.” “Last week?!” We got to talking about 52 half marathons, and Iron Mans (her husband is a triathlete).
At a water stop, there was one of the most energetic volunteers I’d ever seen. She was cheering for every participant and saying with the utmost spirit, “You have less than 3 miles left! Less than three miles! You can do it! You can do it! You’re gonna make it! I pretty much adored her. Someone get her to every race, please.
As she said, fewer than three miles left, y’all! I can’t wait to tell you all about the end of the race tomorrow.