Asheville is a great little city in the mountains of Western North Carolina. It provided a great excuse for my wife and me to get away for a bit.
My training strategy has changed over the past few months, it is very much heart rate centric. I am always aware (probably excessively aware) of my heart rate. My standard approach for HM distance is in 5 minute intervals – 2 minutes jog, HR into 140s – 1 minute recovery walk, HR back down to the 110-115ish HR range – 2 minutes fast walk. Repeat. This was my race day strategy. Ha! In the mountains of Western North Carolina they have these things called elevation gains – and they are all over the place! Race strategy, plan B: walk uphill, jog or walk fast downhill.
It was overcast (which probably hindered some incredible views), drizzled for a few miles, starting temp was 50 degrees. This was awfully close to my perfect race day conditions of 55 and a mist.
Through the miles they provided plenty of water/Gatorade, pretzels after the midpoint at each station, orange quarters at one station, however, they ran out of Gu packets for us back of pack folks. I was surprised to not see more porta potties along the way, but lucky for me the only time I needed one, I found one.
The traffic control was awful. At some points we were on two lane road (lane in each direction with double yellow line) with no cones and medium to heavy traffic. What!!! There were times we had no idea what side of the road to be on. At one point I actually stopped and directed traffic so folks could cross the road. This was actually in the first few miles of the course. No excuse for this.
About 2500 people showed up for this 13.1/5k road race. With about 1200 doing the half, except for the very beginning, it was never crowded. 2:48:39 was my chip time.
The end of race food was: bananas, apples, water, trail mix, beer… Beer? There was a tear off on the bottom of each race bib for two free beers. A local brewery was a sponsor. With a 3 hour drive ahead, I had to pass on the beers…