Running the Carolinas

With another great weekend in store, Sue drove north and Rhonda and Lisa headed east to Fayetteville, NC to meet up on Friday, 10/21.  We checked into our hotel and went directly to packet pickup and then to Texas Road House for a pre-race meal.  Once our tummies were filled, we went back to the hotel and got our gear set up for the next morning’s race, which came too early.  It was a crisp North Carolina morning, but we were lucky enough to have a hotel that was just across the street and a brief ten minute walk to the start area of Race 13.1 Fayetteville.  Rhonda has mentioned before how much she loves this race series, but it is worth repeating.   These are smaller races which we’ve come to love and the communication and support is phenomenal.  

At 7:30 am we were given the start gun and we quickly headed up the ramp to The All American Expressway to begin the long, laborious trek back and forth, back and forth…..  This course was quite challenging due to the route being exclusively on a highway.  Our entire side of the road was closed off to traffic and we had the full three lanes available, which at least made it bearable.  But this type of race course is definitely least enjoyable; not only because of the lack of scenery, but the frequent and changing slant leads to discomfort in multiple areas of our bodies.  And then after one of the turnarounds, there was the wind.  OoooWwEeee;  we’ve all been in worse, but it was a total surprise as we hadn’t noticed it had been at our backs for the past five miles!  Needless to say, it seemed like this race lasted forever and we were thrilled to see the finish line when we finally rounded the corner (although the blow-up arch had been taken down because of the wind).  Lisa was feeling stronger and pulled out ahead after the first few miles.  We were all thrilled to learn she had obtained a PR (personal record) that morning!  And Sue earned a second place spot in her age group.  All in all, it was a good morning’s work. 

 ncf

We started back across the parking lot towards our hotel, but somehow got turned around and circled the entire mall, adding what seemed like another mile or more to our return trip.  A stop in Starbucks for lattes and a warm up helped immensely.  Back at the hotel, we quickly and efficiently completed the routine of showers, repacking, checking out and coming up with a meet-up plan for the next stop.  Myrtle Beach here we come!   

A good portion of the drive on Saturday took us through less populated areas and we were able to see the beautiful countryside.  Sadly, we also got a glimpse of major damage caused by Hurricane Matthew just two weeks earlier.  There were so many trees down, roads washed out, and homes with temporary tarp roofs.  It made us pause again to count our many blessings and say a prayer for those affected. 

After several hours of driving, we met again at the Myrtle Beach Mini Marathon race expo…all of us with very full bladders after rehydrating post-race and driving back roads with no rest areas.  We picked up our packets and browsed the various vendor booths then made our way to the hotel we would be staying at.  Since it was too early to check in, Sue left her car in the parking lot and hopped in the back seat of Lisa’s with the outlet malls programmed into Mona (Lisa’s GPS).  A couple hours of shopping made for some very hungry runners who stopped at Cracker Barrel to eat breakfast for dinner. 

After dinner, it was back to the hotel for a relaxing evening.  Sue gave Rhonda a ride on the luggage cart as we headed to have a drink at the bar.  Feeling full and comfy, we headed up for a good night of sleep.  The alarm came way too early and Rhonda decided she was playing hooky and staying in bed.  Well, Sue said no way and yanked all the covers off……not that Rhonda would’ve ever missed the race but it was funny!

 luggage

Another nice race morning in store and a short walk across the parking lot to the race start.  We had encouraged Lisa to run hard and she did!  Another PR!  This girl is on fire!  Sue and Rhonda had a nice pace going and ended up 10 min faster than the previous day.  We were quite shocked.  We were looking all over for Lisa, called her phone several times, sent text messages – nothing!  With the wind chill coming off the Atlantic Ocean we were getting cold and hopped on the shuttle back to the hotel with hopes that Lisa would listen to her messages or be at the hotel waiting on us.  No such luck.  No Lisa anywhere.  We both hopped in the shower and were completely ready and still no sign of our friend.  At this point panic and the what ifs were beginning to set in.  Rhonda tried calling again, and that is when reality hit – Lisa’s phone WAS IN THE ROOM!  Now what?!  We had to check out by 11…..30 minutes to go.  Rhonda decided to go check the lobby just in case Lisa was waiting down there (she didn’t have a key because she always loses them).  What a relief when the elevator door opened and there stood Lisa waiting to get on!  We were thrilled and caught up on the entire story as she got ready for our departure.  Lessons learned – Lisa will take her phone and she gets a key for the race. 

 

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