Sunday, 16 November 2014

Tryon Half Marathon, NC

This was a reluctant race entry for me. A friend was running and didn't want to drive almost 2 hours by herself in the early morning. All she had to do was show me a medal picture and I was sold. I'm such a magpie. The race cost $50, a great price considering I signed up a couple of days before. 
I laid out everything I needed the night before and gave myself fifteen minutes to dress, eat etc before I was picked up at 5am. The drive there was uneventful except for the steadily dropping temperatures...eventually the car thermometer settled on  21F as we reached Tryon. Let me tell you that's a shock when it was in the 70s only a couple of days before. I came prepared though with long thermal tights, a thermal top, gloves, bandana and headband.

The race started and ended at Harmon Field in Tryon, a sports and recreation area, so there was plenty of parking. The packet pickup was in a small building, where we picked up our bibs and a nice t-shirt. Coffee and power bars were laid out for runners, I thought that was a nice touch.

We had around 30 minutes to the race start so we retreated to the car for warmth. Especially convienant as we'd parked right by the start and close to a pair of port a potties. I had the best laugh in ages while lining up for the porta potties. No one was using one, when that happens I don't investigate. One lady did, she opened the door thinking it was ok and then all you could see was a look of horror and shock on her face before she, and everyone in line, broke into giggles for a good five minutes. seriously the look on her face. Don't even want to know what was in there. 

After that bit of comic releif it wasn't too long until the race started. This race was 75% non-technical trails, mostly gravel roads, and was an out and back course. So the first mile was on good ol Tarmac before we hit the trail portion. Aid stations were spread out every 1-2 miles, less on the way back as a few had been packed up. 
For the first while (driving up and packet pick up mostly) both myself and my friend were saying 'what were we thinking', because of the early start and how cold it was, but after a few miles into the race we were so glad we came. It was such a beautiful course. 

This was the perfect time of year for the race as the fall colors were at their finest. We don't really see these colors too much in Columbia, as to my recollection one day most trees are green, the next the leaves are gone. What a treat.

There were a two port a potties on the course one at mile 5 and another about a mile later. I was so glad to see the first one as I was in strong danger of peeing myself at that point, too much water on the drive there. From there on I felt so much better. My right hip is still tight and it had been getting worst until I stopped, waiting for my friend to pee, I stretched and managed to release it a bit. It was nice to hit the turnaround and head back towards the start. This also provided fresh views as we were now facing the mountains.
I was running with the same friend as Cherokee and expected the pace differential this time. I chose to run with her and honestly I'm glad we ran together, lots of laughs. It also slowed me down on a course that I probably would have rolled an ankle on otherwise. After the halfway stage the pace dropped off a bit but I was expecting it. We walked up the few hills on the course and I used the walk breaks to call Martina to check in on Boomer who'd hurt himself the day before. 
****If the guilt I feel over leaving my pet is this bad...I'm never having kids. He's now high as a kite on pain meds as he strained his back and leg****

By mile 9 I was ready to be done, the constant pounding on large pieces of gravel was killing my lower back. I seen a few runners rubbing the same area so it seemed to be a common ailment. I was still appreciating the beautiful views but a seat would have been a nice way to see them, lol. We eventually made it back to real roads, man I felt invincible running on them, so nice. We finished the race with a lap around a track. We came in at 2.32, no chip time. The course seemed spot on distance wise according to my Garmin.

So beside the scenery this race really exceeded all expections, considering it was a small local race, in the food department. We all know I love my food. The food was in a different building to packet pickup. Outside we were greeted with Sierra Navada beer (got another free coozie) and inside a huge spread. Fruit, bagels, coffee, all sorts of quiche, omelets, muffins and soup. 
There were 3 of these tables full of food. All the veggie stuff tasted amazing. Since the race is for charity I'm guessing the running club came together and made the food? I've no idea how they pulled all of it together for $50 a runner. Just goes to show how stingy some for profit races are when such a local one can do this and still have money left for charity. On top of that they had a nice medal. Not the biggest one in the world but a nice unique design.

The atmosphere was also wonderful. There weren't many spectators or anything really but the volunteers from packet pick up through to the very end were so warm and friendly. Even the other runners were very friendly and supportive, lots of people shouting out to each other.

This race wasn't really advertised. I troll the Internet for races and didn't see a hint of it which is such a shame. Great race all around, so glad I decided to run it, much better than a cold 13 miles by myself! 






  1. This sounds like such a great race! And what a beautiful course! Man, I am happy you had the right gear for the cold!!! Hope Boomer is okay!

  2. Congrats on another great race. Way to brave the cooler temperatures. Crazy to think you have gone from one extreme to the other temperature-wise when running all of these half marathons. What is your favorite temperature?

    1. I think in the 50s is nice especially after running a mile or two.

  3. Hi! Found this blog entry after searching for Tryon half marathon reviews. I'm running it this weekend and I'm a little worried about the gravel - I have trail shoes and I'm wondering if I should wear my regular running shoes or my trail shoes. I've never done 13 miles in my trail shoes though.