Tarheel Ten Miler

My brother Brian came to visit for the Tarheel Ten Miler race on April 18th.  I had been looking forward to this race after our last 5k and running with him through Hanging Rock.  He’s a mountain climbing beast, but he doesn’t race often.  I’ve got more road racing under my belt, especially the longer distances.  Neither of us has done this race or distance before, so it was going to be interesting.  The last two 5k’s we ran, Brian was only seconds ahead of me.  In hindsight, we should have taken bets on the outcome.

Also, my friends Candace and Kate were running it together, enjoying the race.  Ian came along to be the photographer and support crew and his mom, Ellen, joined him.  Brian’s friend, Olivia also drove up from Wilmington to run it and Karim from Complete Runner was there for his second ten mile race in two weeks, after killing it at the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run in DC.

Kate, myself and Candace

Ian drove me and Brian to the start, which was a bit of a snafu – apparently all the race traffic had to go through one intersection and it was a big traffic jam.  We had planned on getting there 15 minutes before the time when they said everyone should park by, but ended up just getting there in time.  Once we were there, we found Candace and Kate to get our bibs from them.  Olivia was running late, with the long drive, so Brian had her bib, since he’s generally tall and hard to miss.  They called out for everyone to go to the start line.  Brian stood near the start line where everyone was passing by, so that Olivia could see him.  I tried to get in a quick warmup running back and forth, but it was probably only 1/10 of a mile before Olivia got there.  Me, Olivia and Brian started together at the beginning.

The start of the race - I really like this shot, Ian did a great job.
Olivia soon dropped back, and Brian pulled away from me.  I let him go, I was trying to take it easy in the beginning.  My goal was to run the race in about 1:17, give or take a minute.  I knew the course was hilly, especially at the end so I wasn’t expecting the race to be equivalent to my fastest half marathon.  My quads were sore to start with, so I was worried that I had done too much leg strength training earlier that week, on Tuesday.  Nothing to do about it during the race, but perhaps I should hold off on leg strength next time.  It could have been the lack of warmup, since my muscles went from 0 to 7:45 pace in 60 seconds.  I just decided to give the race whatever I had that day, since I didn’t feel like I was firing on all cylinders like the morning of Mike to Mike.

Brian, Olivia and myself at the beginning of the race.

Ian's gotten really good at these shots of me running in a crowd.  Practice.
We ran around UNC for a bit, circling back and Ian got several opportunities to photograph us.  At one point we ran down Franklin Street and the race doubled back on each other.  I saw the leader and then I started counting the number of women ahead of me.  The end of the doubling back was a loop, so I wasn’t able to count them all and it seemed I was pretty far back.  It’s a very large, competitive race.  I don’t know Chapel Hill very well, but I saw a lot of nice neighborhoods with mansions and perfectly manicured lawns, the dogwoods were blooming.  It was a beautiful day to be racing.  Many small, rolling hills, but nothing too bad in the first 7 miles of the race.  At mile 6, I saw a familiar figure in the distance.  It was Brian, and from his apparent pace, he was struggling.  I tried not to get so excited.  I also saw another familiar figure, a woman with a Fortnight Brewing shirt.  I had seen her at the Cary Road Race 5k the previous weekend, where she passed me.  We were very close to each other in both races.  I pulled up to her and said, hey, I saw you last weekend.  We got to talking, turns out we both live in Cary and go to the Nog run on Monday nights.  I found out Fortnight Brewing has a running group on Wednesday nights.  I’ll have to check it out sometime.  We were talking as we pulled up to Brian, who looked a bit rough.  Hello, Brian!  He didn’t seem happy to see me.  His feet had started to hurt him, perhaps due to the hard pavement that he’s not used to, or because his shoes did not fit well.  It is very hard, nigh impossible to find some size 14 narrow shoes that have enough room for his toes.  He told me I was going to beat him because I was faster than him.  Thanks, Brian, but I’m not sure that’s true.  I might just have more practice pacing myself in these larger, longer races.  Kristin and I passed him and continued on.

Towards the end of the race, before the big hill.  I had passed Brian.
Brian at the same spot.
The 8th mile goes downhill 150 feet, so I was feeling really good.  When it leveled out, I looked at my watch and it seemed we had slowed down, so I started to pull away from Kristin.  That spurt of speed did not last long and she soon passed me back.  Then it was time for Laurel Hill.  This race has a 8/10 of a mile long hill that is timed separately.  At the beginning of the hill, I was already feeling it, so I was struggling to keep running and not just walk up.  The hill levels out a little in the middle and I was able to pick it up for the last half of the hill.  I timed myself at 8:03 for climbing the hill.  I wasn’t able to catch up to Kristen.  The end of the race is a bit of a blur, I know there was yet another small hill at the very end, which made it feel like a slow slog.  Where is this finish line anyway?!  Typically they have you finish in the stadium, but there was construction that made them move it to the road.  I finished in 1:17:45, thinking as I finished that I had given it all I had.  It’s a good feeling, even if that means you’re beat afterward.  I ran into Karim soon after my finish, then Brian, Ian and Ellen met up with us.  We hung out for a bit, then Olivia was there, so the North Stokes High grads got some pictures.  Ian, Brian and I met up with Kate and Candace and went for breakfast on Franklin Street.  We had earned some pancakes!

Olivia, Brian and I striking a pose at Kenan Stadium.  Those medals would be really pretty if they didn't have Tarheels all over them.
Big thank you to Ian, Ellen and Tim for coming out to support us.  It really is great to see those smiling faces on the course!  All photos are courtesy of Ian.

I beat him!  Woot!


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