A Brief History of My First 8 Races

I’ve done Race Reports for all the races I’ve run since July 2014, but I ran 8 races before that. It’s been so long since each of these races that I don’t remember enough to write detailed Race Reports for each one, but I wanted to do something for them, so I decided to write up a brief summary for each one. I actually wrote most of this over a year ago, and was going to post it on my old site, but for some reason never got around to it.

September 10, 2011
Rock & Read 5K, Charlotte. 36:45.

My first race ever. It was good to experience a race before I did the Thunder Road Half. It was really cool that the overall winner was Mike Kahn, the guy who got me started running. Also, they had Highland Gaelic Ale after the race, which is one of my favorite beers.

When I ran it, the start/finish was near the Scaleybark library branch, but they’ve since moved it, and now it’s over by the Plaza Midwood branch. Also, at least in 2016, they’ve moved it to October. I haven’t been able to fit it in my training schedule since I ran it. The course I ran wasn’t too difficult, but since the race has moved, my opinion is no longer relevant. Still, it’s for a good cause, so I’d like to see if I could fit it into my schedule someday.

Also, this is the only race that I ran before I lost my car key in Ohio, so it’s also the only race without a post-race picture with my car key. I’m pretty sure my key is in my pocket, though.


Apparently I’ve never heard of a wonderful invention known as cropping.

November 12, 2011
Thunder Road Half Marathon, Charlotte. 2:49:35.

I still can’t believe I did this after running for just a little over 4 months. It was tough, especially at the end. I was worried about the 3 hour time limit, but I made it with just over 10 minutes to spare.

I broke one of the cardinal rules of racing, though. I bought a brand new long sleeved tech tee the day before the race and wore it for the first time. In my defense, all of my long runs had been done when it was at least 45 degrees out, and it was in the upper 30s at the beginning of the race.

Two things really stand out in my mind. Just before the start, I remember looking up and noticing how blue the sky was that morning. I also remember right after the starting gun, they played Bruce Springsteen’s “Born To Run.” As cheesy as it sounds, I loved it, and ever since then, that’s been a song that I use to get pumped up to go running. (I know the song isn’t literally about running. Take it up with the race organizers.)


First post-race car key picture. Birth of a tradition.

March 9, 2013
Get Your Rear In Gear 5K, Charlotte. 36:33.

After being lame and pretty much not running in 2012, this was the beginning of my comeback. I found out a friend of mine from high school, Tracy, was also running this race. We ran together, which was pretty cool.

It was a well organized race on a reasonable course. I’d be willing to do it again if I could fit it into my schedule.


The valet key. I have no idea why.

April 13, 2013
Come See Me 5K, Rock Hill, SC. 37:33

Worst. Race. Ever.

It’s not the organizers’ fault. I do think they could have done a better job marking the starting line, but otherwise, it was OK. I was getting over a really nasty chest cold. The worst of the cold was about a week before the race, but it cut into my training, and I wasn’t 100% recovered when I ran the race.

Someday, I’m going to get my revenge on the Come See Me 5K. I’m going to go back, when I’m not recovering from a chest cold or any other illness or injury, and I’m going to get a PR. Naturally, they’ve changed the course since I ran it, but it’s still got the same name, so revenge will still be mine.


I guess I wanted to make a quick getaway. First (and only) time I took the picture in my car.

May 25, 2013
Run For Peace At Home 5K, Charlotte. 34:49.

I had struggled with my runs in the weeks before this race for some unknown reason, so my confidence was pretty low going in. Right after the starting line, my phone had a complete meltdown (I ended up replacing it less than a week later), so I didn’t have RunKeeper, the app I used to track my runs with before I got my Garmin watch. I had no idea what my pace was. In spite of everything, I managed a new PR, beating my old record by 1:44, which is pretty significant in a 5K.

It was a smaller race, which was nice for a change. It was also on trails, which was also a nice change of pace. The trails weren’t too difficult, except for one hill in the middle. I’m not 100% they’re still doing this race, but I’d consider it. It’s a chance for (possibly) one last 5K before it gets really hot.

Valet key again. I still don’t know why.

Brief interlude: In late September 2013, I traded in my old Volkswagen Jetta for a new Toyota Prius. Before I turned over the key, I took one last picture of it. It’s the same one that I had to buy in Ohio to replace the one I had lost.


*short moment of silence*

OK, back to the races, now with a totally different car key.

November 16, 2013
Thunder Road Half Marathon, Charlotte. 2:38:26.

51 degrees and overcast. Not great weather for spectators, but excellent weather for runners. I blew away my old PR by over 11 minutes. And I proved that my half marathon in 2011 was no fluke.

When I ran the race in 2014, they changed the course. It wasn’t easier or harder, just different. And for 2016, they changed the name, and now it’s the Charlotte Half Marathon.


Landscape? Really? Uh, OK.

November 23, 2013
Charlotte Checkers 5K, Charlotte. 36:14.

A 5K one week after a half marathon? Sure!

There were extenuating circumstances. First, there were hockey tickets involved. (Will run for hockey tickets.) Second, and most importantly (Yes, more important than hockey), my friend Jess was running her first 5K. She had just completed the Couch to 5K program. So I ran with her, and it was really cool.

I wasn’t completely recovered from my half marathon, so I didn’t PR, but I stayed with Jess, even during the last mile when she tried to get me to go ahead. She still ended up faster than my first 3 5Ks. (In my defense, she’s younger than me by at least 5 years.) But it was pretty cool.

I ran it again in 2014 (on a totally different course), but they didn’t have it in 2015, and as of early October 2016, I don’t see it scheduled for this year, either. It’s kind of a bummer.

I had bib number 444. I thought that was cool.


I guess November 2013 was my Landscape Mode period.

March 1, 2014
The Road To Boston 5K, Concord, NC. 33:44

One of my co-workers organized this race to raise money so he could run the Boston Marathon. He ran it in 2012, which was the year it was like 90 degrees, and he literally almost died after the race. He skipped 2013, but after the bombing, a lot more people tried to get in, making it a lot harder to qualify for 2014, and he missed it by just a few minutes. So he raised money for a charity and got an entry. This race was part of his fund-raising.

It was cold that morning. 33 degrees. The course started with a steep downhill, and the nice part about it is that we never had to go back up that hill. I was still in the process of recovering from my foot injury, but that morning, I had a great run (although the downhill stretch certainly helped), and I set a new PR by over a minute.

To give you an idea of how small the race was, I finished 2nd in my age group. And my age group was Male 40-44, which, if you don’t know much about running, is actually the most competitive age group. (I don’t know why either.)

This was a one-time race, but if I heard about another 5K in the same location, I might consider it, although Concord is quite a haul for me.


Back to portrait mode. Pretty sure all my car key pictures since then have been portrait.

So that’s my early race history. It’s weird going back and looking at these races. I really was a different runner back then. Each race made me better in some way, though, and, with the notable exception of the Come See Me 5K (One day, I will get my revenge), I had fun at every one of them.