Race Recon: Rock n Roll Raleigh Marathon

     So, there's about one week left before Rock N Roll Raleigh Half Marathon, Marathon and 5k. I'm pretty excited. This will be my first marathon after 7 half marathons... Perfect right? I hope so. Some people wonder why I picked Raleigh to be my first full marathon. "It's so hilly," they say. But the benefits really outweigh the negatives. First, I'm running it as part of the Rock N Blog 2016 Team. So, that's cool. Plus, I get to run a race at home. I can drive to the start line and drive home. My family can come and see me cross the finish line and cheer me on. I can possibly see co-workers, friends, church family all running this race together. Plus, there's a really strong local running community full of some awesome people who have been running longer and have a higher running I.Q. than I do. So, that'll make this experience really cool.
      Since this is my first marathon, ... I think I am probably pouring over the details too much. So, to ease my stress, to calm my fears and to prove to myself that my training really did prepare me fore this race, I looked at the elevation charts. That wasn't enough. So, I looked at google maps. That wasn't enough. So I took a drive down some of the streets. That wasn't enough. So, I split to course up into sections and ran part of the race. OK... now I'm getting close. But wait... was that hill really as steep as I think it was? I'm going back to take some pictures. I'll add more pictures as we get closer to the race. 
   Here are some of the pictures from the toughest hills on the course. It's not all up hill, but it'll be cool to tell you kids that you ran a race that was all up hill both ways.. in the snow.. and the heat. Nah, that'd be silly. 
Chavis Park: (shout out to the Chavis Cheatahs)

Chavis Park: By the time you get here, you've almost completed a full 5k and most of it was down hill. But just push your way past the community center and coast to the bottom of this hill on the back side of the park. (Hill Grade: Mild - barely registers)
Historic Oakwood Neighborhood:
I mention Oakwood because it's all down hill through this portion...well kind of. Take advantage of this section be still pace yourself there's a pretty good hill coming up  at mile 5.

This section won't jump out and grab you (hopefully) this is where the Oakwood cemetery is. A number of recognizable people are buried here including Elizabeth Edwards (wife to John Edwards), Jesse Helms,  Jimmy  Valvano (NC State coach Jimmy V Foundation),  and John Davis "J.D." Lewis, Jr. (who  helped  WRAL secure its FCC licence and make the jump to TV) 

Glascock Street:

This hill goes up and up and up... Thankfully this is a really good neighborhood to run through and there's some good crowd support.  It doesn't stop going up until you reach peace street. 

Peace Street:

I don't k now if you can tell from this picture but Peace Street is.... well.. you'll have to search for inner peace with this street because you're going to coast down this hill and crawl up another.   You'll go under a railroad bridge that is frequently hit by Tractor trailers, moving trucks and other big box trucks.

When you crawl up this hill you'll get to Glenwood Avenue and it'll  level out for  a second and you'll continue to climb up this hill until you reach McDonald's. Don't stop in the drive thru because Peace Street is not done yet. The uphill climb on Peace street is about a mile and a half long. 

Hillsborough street also has a hill ... I'll get to that. It's not too bad.
This hill is only a half mile long, so it's not too bad. This is the calm before the storm
Next is the climb to Meredith College:
This is another half mil climb through the scenic campus. but it's only a half mile so I think I can take it

Mile 12 NC State: all downhill
Mile 12.5 Then you head back down the way you came and you'll pass through NC State's campus again and by the famous NC state Beltower.  Sometimes it's red (at night) when NC State wins a game.. but they aren't playing so.... It'll be it's natural color. 

MIle 13.5: Don't forget to wave to the WRAL TV folks as you pass by the station if you're running the marathon.

WRAL one of the title sponsors of the event. Don't forget to look for famous people when you turn onto Nazareth Drive. Who knows who will be handing water to you. It might just be your friendly Anchorman, Anchorwoman or reporter..

There is an uphil climb to get to this point... But I feel like I've said that before. 

Maybe you'll want to stop and smell the flowers? WRAL has an awesome Azalea Garden. 

Avent Ferry Road: Miles 16 &17 
If you drive on Avent Ferry road, you'll be too distracted by the impatient college-aged drivers to notice the rolling hills along this stretch of course.  It's not all up hill but it's definitely not flat. i plan to just dig in and focus during these two miles and as always relax and coast on the down hill. 

Lake Johnson: Miles 18 & 19
I'm just going to be thankful that we aren't going across this bridge at Lake Johnson. Because on the other side of this hill is an ungodly form of punishment for all runners who have surpassed 6 miles ... let alone 18. I am thankful to God and the race organizers.

Soak in the beauty of this park, run across this breathtaking damn. Yes, you're actually on the dam. I've never seen the water get up to the trail... but you could go down and dip your feet in the water if you like to do that sort of thing. This is the flat relaxing portion of the race. Prepare yourself for the next turn. 

Gorman street and Thistledown  Drive:
So, a beautiful trail drops you off at the bottom of Gorman Street. You'll have to find some inner fortitude to crawl your way up this hill for the next mile. 

Gorman is a pretty challenging hill,.. then you turn onto Thistledown Drive and it's another crawl uphill until you get to main campus drive. Then it seems to level out for a while until you get near Centennial. Yup. you're still going up hill because you have to get to Dorothea Dix campus. 

Alright so that's it for now, I still have to do some recon on Dorothea Dix, West Lenoir street and Boylan Avenue.
    We are going to make it folks. No giving up. 
    Remember why we run this race: For a Marathon Finisher's jacket and three medals (5k, marathon, Remix)


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