Date: April 12, 2015
Weather: Clear, 52-55
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon (and full marathon) returned to Raleigh April 12, following last year’s inaugural event. I decided to run the RNR Raleigh Half the second year in a row following Meb’s appearance at Runologie in January, where I was inspired in the moment to sign up (a nice discount didn’t hurt either). Overall, it was a great day with a much better experience than last year all around. And I almost got a new PR!
The expo was once again held at the Raleigh Convention Center. I stopped by Saturday and was impressed with the array of RNR memorabilia available as well as the selection of vendors on the floor. It definitely wasn’t as crowded as last year, or maybe my recollection of RNR expo crowds is skewed by my last experience in Vegas? In any case, check-in was speedy and I loaded up with some new gear while enjoying samples and swag from the likes of GU and WRAL. I had planned to seek out the pace team area but decided I’d just catch up with the best group in my corral the next day.
Race Morning (Pre-race):
Getting to the race was much easier this year. No parking gridlock (which delayed last year’s start). The Raleigh PD was out in full force (no pun intended) to ensure smooth traffic flow into the designated parking decks. Crowds seemed less dense overall (runners and spectators). It’s possible that last year’s issues (including two tragic deaths and warm weather) scared many folks away. I’m so glad I gave it another chance this year! After getting parked, I headed first to scope out my corral and then to the pre-race staging area since I had some time to stretch and use the VIP porta potty which I gained entry to this year for purchasing over $100 in Brooks gear (it was nice).
After getting settled into my corral, I adjusted my head-mounted GoPro (new this year) for the best viewing angle to capture highlights from the race. Following the anthem and a moment of silence for those who tragically did not cross the finish line last year, the first corrals were off (I was in corral 3). I looked around to locate pacers in my corral but there weren’t any since I was between two pace groups. The 1:50 pacers were in the corral behind me, so I decided to keep an eye open and not let them pass me.
After crossing the start line, the course circled the convention center, museum and State Capitol area, before heading onward to Chavis Park, Oakwood, Cameron Village, NC State, Pullen Park, and Dorothea Dix campus, then returned to the finish downtown.
I captured some great footage with my GoPro early in the race – aka before my memory card storage filled up. 🙁 Major kudos to all the spectators who came out to support us, especially Stacia, who came out sporting an awesome #runrogan sign complete with a warning to other runners for bears on the course. Also a huge shoutout goes to the 1:50 pacers who were amazing in getting me to the finish line (more to come on the pacers in a later post).
I really thought I had a PR and felt great at the finish! After getting my medal and posing with the 1:50 pacers, I looked up my time and discovered I was over a minute off my PR. It was still a great race, and I felt the best I have in a while following a half. The conditions were perfect and my training paid off. Despite not getting a PR, I shaved almost 10 minutes off last year’s RNR Raleigh time! I’m so glad the RNR series now has a local footprint and plan to support this event in future years in addition to other RNR series events. The only feedback I have for the organizers to improve on next year is the positioning and noise level of bands along the race route. It seemed as though there were fewer bands than last year and too many quiet miles among the 13.1.