Tarheel 10 Miler Discount

Here is a discount code for anyone interested in running the 2017 Tarheel 10 Miler or 4 Miler.  Race date is 4/22/17, and will be the 10th Anniversary of this race!  Since it’s a 10 Miler and the 10th Anniversary, I can only imagine what the medal will look like this time around.  It should be epic!

You can visit the website at https://www.tarheel10miler.com

Enter discount code “TH10PAUL” for either race, and enjoy a $5 discount off current registration rates.

See you you in Chapel Hill!

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Tarheel 10 Miler 2016- Race Recap

Now a few weeks past, I have just a few minutes to try to recapture some thoughts and moments from my second running of a huge Triangle event.  The Tarheel 10 Miler and 4 Miler were run on the beautiful (and difficult) Chapel Hill streets on April 23rd, 2016.

An event that draws thousands of runners every year, we converged on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill bright and early that Saturday morning.  For me, it’s about a 50 minute drive, which means I left the house before 6am.  I think I was parking about 6:30, for a meet up with my son, and eventual meetup time with the pacers at 7:15.  Everything about the morning was smooth, except for the temperatures.  It was a bit warm.  Anytime you schedule a race later than mid May around here, it’s a complete crap shoot as to the weather.  It could be 50, it could be 70.  We were flirting with race day temperatures just a tad too warm.

We met at the iconic Belltower on campus for photos and quick meeting.  My first time pacing this event, but have paced two other races (both Bull City) for this team.  With a new race course, which promised more of a flatter run, and the dreaded 1 mile uphill climb near the finish, I didn’t notice much about the new course that made it easier.  In fact, I ran it faster two years ago.  Laurel Hill is the finishing challenge, and after fighting the warmth of the day, and mile markers which were all over the place, I had very little gas left in the tank for that mile long uphill climb.

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There were three of us pacing the 8:00 per mile group, including my son and another guy who I hadn’t met previously.  Right from the start it was painfully clear that our Garmins and the mile markers would make this a difficult race to pace.  Side note: please, mile markers need to be carefully mapped and placed on courses in the correct spots!  We were off by almost a quarter of a mile as we reached Mile 1!  No excuses for that.  It left us wondering, and confused.  We had no choice but to follow our Garmin pace, because after asking several runners during the race, everyone’s timing devices were all over the place.  Needless to say it made for a challenging race.  We made ok time, but often us pacers were not even together, what to rely on?  Course markers?  Garmins?  We did our best.  That dreaded hill at the finish nailed all of our coffins, and each of us were just slightly over 8 minute pace.  It really couldn’t be helped.  Funny, too, that I ran the race 4 minutes or so faster a few years back.

It was still really enjoyable though, and I always love pacing, and the interaction with runners.  We had a good race.  The only other negative I had for the new finish area was that once you  left the finisher chute, there was no access that I saw to additional water.  If I had known that, I would have brought a drop bag with a few bottles of water in it.

According to the website, there were 4,010 finishers in the 10 Miler.  That’s a big race! My finish put me in the top 16%.  Not sure if I could have done better on the day if I hadn’t been pacing because the weather may have impacted my speed.  It was just too warm and sunny.  The Tarheel 10 & 4 Miler is a very successful and huge event in Chapel Hill, and you should try it one day!  UNC is a beautiful campus!  They have pretty nice swag, too for finishing!

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Tarheel 10 Miler – Race Recap

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The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is the location of this amazing race.  By car, this race is about 55 miles from my house.  I have never run it before, and have to ask myself why.  It was an amazing day, incredible race and had an awesome community feel about it.

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The Triangle region of NC, encompasses Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.  Geographically forming the shape of a triangle, this area has grown and grown the past 30 years.  In large part, this is due to the Research Triangle Park.  I moved here for work 15 years ago, and have never regretted it.  Chapel Hill is the furthest of the major cities here from where I live.  Maybe that is the reason why I haven’t yet run this race.  I guess it’s that, and the fact that I have run other races in years past on the day of this event.  Last year, for example, the Tarheel Ten Miler was on the same day as the Blue Ridge Marathon which I ran in Roanoke, VA.

Deciding to give this race a chance this year, I was thoroughly impressed.  My only pet peeve about the race was that they do not offer race morning packet pick up.  That is something that is really annoying to me.  I won’t banter on and on about it, but caused me to have to drive an extra 80 miles yesterday, and spend an additional two hours in the car.  Not a fan of that.  I really think that this race could reach a broader runner participation if they offered same day bib pick up.  My two cents.

With that said, parking was a complete breeze on the campus of UNC.  I did get held up in traffic for about 15 minutes, but I left myself plenty of time for traffic tie ups, so it wasn’t a big deal or have any impact on my race.  I arrived at a parking lot at 6:25am, for the 7:30 start.  Plenty of time to relax, hydrate and make my way through campus to the bell tower where the start of the race was located.

Folks lined up in two lanes.  There is also a 4 mile race, so those folks lined up on the opposite side of the street from us.  After our National Anthem, the 4 miles took off.  Five minutes prior to the 10 mile race.  We started right on time, and made our way through the beautiful campus and streets of a Chapel Hill.  A rolling course, there were certainly challenges.  Many hills, and difficult ones to boot.  Portions of this course reminded me of the Blue Ridge Marathon course, so I tried to summon thoughts from last year to help get me over the hills.

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There were 6,200 runners signed up for the two races combined.  The course spread out quickly, and it just didn’t ever feel like there were that many people running.  That is a good thing.  I tried to run my race, and not anyone else’s.  This was very important to me today, as the size of the field could have influenced my pace quite a bit.  I didn’t let it happen.  I actually went out a bit slower than I usually do, but I didn’t have any time goals established in my head other than wanting to be faster than an 8:30 per mile pace.  You see, I was trying to take it easy on myself, and my aching hamstrings.  I have a marathon next weekend, so this race I was just considering my final long run.  No need to hurry, right?  It would be a PR regardless since I had never raced this distance before.  I knew I couldn’t go wrong, other than overdoing it.  I made my way.

I actually didn’t feel that loose this morning, and struggled with stomach issues before I left the house.  I really wasn’t feeling that great those first few miles.  I was instantly amazed though by how pretty the course was.  I’ve never spent much time on the campus at all, so it was really all new to me.  It was beautiful!  We are in full on Spring mode, too, so blooms abounded.  Leaves on all the trees filling in nicely, azaleas in full bloom, dogwoods everywhere.  It was just an amazingly pretty day to run, with clear blue skies, as well.  Temps were in the low to mid 50’s when the race began.

After the 5k mark, I started getting looser.  I guess I was just easing into the race, and not letting anything bother me.  Due to the amount of runners, there was always someone I was passing, or someone passing me.  I got used to it quick.  It’s not like I was out there to win the race, or even try to place in my age group.  I was trying to treat this race like a training run.  I was succeeding.  The course was ultra challenging with hills.  I kept even pace.  At the half way point, I had to remind myself that I wasn’t running a marathon.  I could try to maintain my early pace longer, and probably get away with it.  It’s just been so long since I’ve run a race under 26.2 miles, that this was kind of new territory for me.  Plus the new race distance.  I felt like I was staying competitive, and getting in a good run.

At about the seven mile mark, I started to think about the challenging finish.  It’s called Laurel Hill, and is extremely challenging.  That stretch has gained notoriety for the difficulty of it.  The race actually puts a timing mat at the start of it, and at the end of it, and awards bragging rights for those that conquer it the fastest.  I don’t have my result on that split time yet.  As I got closer to it, I think it was less intimidating to me because I have run some mountainous races like Blue Ridge.  I was hard, don’t get me wrong, but I certainly never walked.  Many people did, or at least took walk breaks.  I passed many folks on this challenging uphill finishing section.

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Just after Laurel Hill, is the finish.  A short distance now, with a little weaving into Kenan Stadium, where UNC Football is played.  The finish line comes into view, and it’s a sprint to the finish in front of the crowds of spectators.  It was totally cool to finish in the stadium.  I gave it my best.  I crossed the line, feeling really good.  Happy with my pace, happy with how my hamstrings held up.

Gun Time 1:18:21

Chip Time 1:18:01

Overall pace of 7:48 ( very pleased)

As of right now, results are not final.  My preliminary results show me at 377/3797 overall, and 50/244 in AG.  Top 10% finish for a new race, and new distance?  Yep, very happy with that.  I filed around the stadium with other runners, picking up water, banana, pretzels and gummi bears.  Snacks and water were plentiful.  The medal is totally cool, and very unique.  Let me know what you think of it!

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Overall it really was an amazing event.  So smooth, well organized.  Even though there were 6,000 plus signed up, I never felt too crowded, or rushed.  It was a nearly perfect day in a Chapel Hill today, and a race to remember.  I walked away today, not sore, not limping, and feeling pretty fresh.  I didn’t leave it all on the course today, but that was never my intent.  I feel like I got a good run in, among thousands of my running friends, and will be ready for the 26.2 next Sunday.  It was a fun event, and I certainly recommend it to anyone considering running it one day.