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Asheville Citizen Times Half Marathon – September 17, 2005

The Citizen Times Half Marathon is the only half marathon in Asheville, North Carolina.  The race is paired with a 5k and these days the total crowd at the starting line is nearly a thousand runners, with about two-thirds of those runners in the half marathon and the other third doing the 5k.

This was my first half marathon.  I got the idea to attempt a half marathon just after running the Bele Chere 5k at the end of July 2005.  My sister in law asked if I had considered running in a half marathon and I said “no way.”  Yeah, right.

I almost immediately starting thinking about it.  I went to the Citizen Times website and found the pages that described the half marathon and its course.  It sounded like an exciting challenge with just one catch:  I had never run 13 miles before.  The longest I had ever run was a 15k race in Cincinnati about 12 or 13 years earlier.  All I remember about that race was how miserable I felt.  My training up until this point had been mostly 2-3 mile runs, 1-3 times per week.  About a week or so later I started to try longer runs.

One Monday I woke up and decided to go for a run.  I thought I’d do about 7 miles.  As I ran I felt great and I just kept running.  By the time I finished I knew that I had done nearly 10 miles and I felt OK.  I clocked the distance on my car odometer and sure enough I had run 9.5 miles.  But I still felt fine and, in fact, went for a hike in the mountains for about 3-4 miles with Nancy and the dogs.

I decided to try it again Wednesday.  I did about 11 miles, no problem, but a little sore.  On Friday I went again, this time for 13 miles.  I had proven in just 5 days that I could do the half marathon.  But I had over trained a little, running about 35 miles in 5 days when I had only been accustomed to running about 4-6 miles per week.

I healed for a few days and did one more 13 mile run.  Then I laid back, participated in one 8k a few weeks prior to the half marathon, and took the plunge.

The Citizen Time Half Marathon is a beautiful course.  It starts in downtown Asheville, splits off from the 5k runners about 2 miles, then wanders up through North Asheville, past UNC Asheville and finishes back in downtown Asheville.

My main concern for this race was finishing.  I was shooting for a time of 2:20.  That proved to be an inadequate challenge.  My time was 2:05:05.  I now felt confident I could run more half marathons.  In fact I was obsessed with finding the next one and went home after this race and did some research.  I found the Bethel Half Marathon in Bethel, North Carolina just 3 weeks later.

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