What an amazing little getaway this past weekend was! On Saturday morning, my friend Kristin + I flew to Raleigh, NC to run the Rock ‘n Roll Raleigh half marathon!
We arrived Saturday afternoon & took an Uber to our AirBnB in the beautiful neighborhood of ‘Historic Oakwood’. This neighborhood was so adorable. Gorgeous homes with sidewalks, families every where & beautiful gardens. I was in love! Our hosts, Steve & Tricia were fantastic. We had a private entrance to our own room complete with everything you could ever need while you’re away from home.
Once we checked into our room, we walked about a mile to the Convention Center for the expo. Downtown Raleigh surprised me in the best way. It was clean, quiet, & the people were so friendly. I also didn’t see a homeless person the entire weekend. A real difference from Pittsburgh. The expo was great – we both picked up the same navy blue tank which they only had XL in, but we figured we’d take the chance. We lucked out!
Once we left the expo, we headed out for an early lunch. The food we ate during our weekend was mediocre at best – it seems that all of the notorious delicious restaurants were closed on the weekend, especially Sunday. Our airbnb hosts told us Raleigh is in the Bible belt, so most places are closed on Sundays. After an early lunch, we got an Uber to a local grocery store so we could pick up breakfast before the race. This was the only time we Uber’d – we were able to walk everywhere else! We picked up a few snacks & decided on a bagel & peanut butter for our breakfast. We were able to relax the rest of the evening since we had an early call time in the AM! The first picture below is looking out from the patio our airbnb had – Kristin & I sat out there & had a beer & enjoyed the beautiful weather.
Race morning came early! We woke up around 5:40 to leave by 6:10. The race officially started at 7am – but anyone who races knows to get there early to accommodate for long bathroom lines – which we didn’t even use.
Kristin + I were both in Corral 10 & it took us about 10 minutes to cross the start line. It was so fun waiting to start! The music was loud, the announcers were so professional & they got everyone excited & ready to race!
Kristin took off like a bat out of hell & I kept a steady pace. The weather was perfect! Low 50s & the sun hadn’t quite come out from behind the clouds yet. Yes, the race was hilly – but truly nothing that my Pittsburgh-living self couldn’t handle. The bands at every mile were great & the spectators.. WOW. They were everywhere! I absolutely loved it. I didn’t start interacting much til towards the middle because I really just wanted to focus on getting in the right mindset to keep a good pace.
I had a plan to run the first 10 miles, then run/walk the last 5k. Well, I felt pretty good around mile 9 so I decided to scrap my run/walk idea. I was doing so well keeping a sub 12min pace average that I didn’t want to risk blowing a good finishing time. After mile 10 though, the hills were more frequent & there wasn’t much shade on the course. I was starting to get warm & was running out of the water I was carrying. At each water stop, I was slowing down to throw water on myself. The paces of my last 3 miles were pretty slow, but as I made the last turn & saw the finish line, my heart just about exploded with joy.
Guys, nothing beats running down the finishing chute.. especially when it’s a long one & it’s lined with people cheering for you (think Pittsburgh’s finish). It was incredible. I couldn’t stop smiling – & I was booking it. My last .2 was sub 10 minute miles. I was ecstatic. The pictures below show it —
Kristin finished a little bit before me & after getting all the finish line goodies – we sat in the lawn & listened to music for a while. The finishing party was AWESOME! I even saw Tricia! It was so random that I saw her walking by – but I’m definitely glad I awkwardly called her by her blog name & said HEY! It was great to meet a blog buddy. After that, we headed to the beer area & grabbed our free beer. YUM! Overall – I absolutely LOVED this race. The Rock ‘n Roll series is so great! This was my first race with them & I was super impressed – I will for sure be back. Everything was so organized & smooth + I had a great time. PS: Check out the elevation chart below! WHOA.
We finished the day eating + drinking + we went back to the room to relax. Naps were needed + we were pretty sore, so we basically just laid around the rest of the day.
Monday morning we got up & checked out of our room & headed directly to Krispy Kreme for breakfast! The coffee was pretty disgusting, but the donuts were good! I’m a HUGE donut fan, & these didn’t disappoint!
I had such an amazing weekend in Raleigh. I was so impressed by the city, the people, the race, & the adorable puppies I seemed to see at every corner I turned. I will absolutely be back.
I spent 13 weeks getting ready for this race + I am super proud of how I performed. 2:37 on a super hilly course?! I did way better than I even imagined.
My next half is Pittsburgh – in 1 month exactly! I can’t wait to celebrate that weekend & everyone’s accomplishments 🙂