Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Carolina Half: A few thoughts

Since this was the first year for the Carolina Half I thought I might jot down some of my thoughts regarding the race for those of you thinking about it next year. As usual Hope, Benji, and Set Up Events did a great job of putting it together. I loved the race and I loved the course. Here are a few of my thoughts in bullets:
  • A half ironman this close to home is a sweet deal. 
  • I am still torn as to whether I prefer this race (and any race) on Sunday. Going into the races I wished it was Saturday. Coming out of the race I was glad it was Sunday. Getting off from work Friday, I usually feel a bit crunched trying to get ready for the race, eat a sensible dinner, and get to bed early. While I wanted a little more of a weekend, it was very nice to lay around Saturday with plenty of time to get in the zone. 
  • In general, I am not a fan of point-to-point races but this one was super easy to navigate. A lot of information was posted pre-race which was a huge help in working out the logistics.
  • The shuttles were very well organized. I have never seen this happen before but as we got closer to the start of the race, priority was given to the athletes over the spectators so we would get to T1 in time to make our wave start. I thought this was super cool and I very much appreciated it. The spectators made it there in time but it helped alleviate a lot of stress for the athletes.
  • I think Ryan Werner makes the best race announcer. He says whatever comes to mind and is always good for a laugh. 

  • The swim was straight forward and marked fairly well. I would again suggest the turn buoys should be a different color than the sighting buoys but I am really just being picky. 
  • The beach start was a bit awkward just because of the angle where the beach meets the swim course. The beach was facing 6 o'clock but we had to swim towards 12. We all had to stay to tight to the left to enter the water. If the waves had been bigger I could see this being a problem.
The best swim start picture of all time
  • Since the the run to T1 was so long it would have been nice to have wet suit strippers at the swim exit but hopefully this race will not be wetsuit legal EVER AGAIN :) Yes, and part of my rationale is based entirely on my inability to quickly remove my own wetsuit.
  • I like the bike course. In the weeks prior to the race there were several FB posts about the course, how hard it is, and the number of turns. I admit the course was not as fast as White Lake but it is a good course. A course where you must pace yourself appropriately through the ups and downs. It is an "honest" course where you can maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. 
  • The bike course was incredibly well marked. There were indicators preceding each and every turn. Each turn was well equipped with volunteers and/or the police. 
A random pic of my legs
  • The only part of the bike course I did not particularly care for was at the end where it twists and turns through the neighborhood. I got a chance to preview the course once before the race and I am glad I did. The turns were tight and came at you quickly. There was a protruding manhole cover in one turn, easy to miss by yourself but maybe not so much in a crowd. 
  • I love the run course. The best part of the course is the four mile trail run right smack in the middle of it. I know most people don't like to run trails and trails are not particularly fast but this loop gave this race character. It was fun to run and very shaded. If it had been hotter it would definitely be a welcome reprieve from heat. 

  • I liked running through the Davidson campus. I did get cat called so maaaaaaaybe I am biased.
  • The Davidson community was super supportive and seemed excited to have us there. Unfortunately this was not the case when I went to watch Ironman Louisville so yeah my heart melted a bit when a little old lady stood on her brick doorstep and cheered me on with her fists in the air. 
  • The finish at Bailey Park was really nice. There was a lot of space to spread out and yet still commingle with the spectators. The playgound was perfect to distract kids waiting for parents to finish and whatnot. The amphitheater was a nice touch for the awards presentation. And most importantly, the walk back the car was short and sweet!
  • The finisher's loot is pretty sweet. The medal is big, bold, and beautiful. The shirt is well designed, soft with its "vintage-type feel", and actually fits well.

  • I do not eat meat so I was not too stoked about the BBQ. Luckily there were plenty of drinks, orange slices, bananas, and nilla wafers to keep this girl happy. 
  • 30 minutes after the awards presentation I was at home, laying on my bed, and petting a kitty. Win-Win-Win!