Struggle with getting dinner on the table? Grab our 5 easy family meal recipes!


Huntersville Half Marathon Course and Recap

I ran my 5th half marathon this weekend – the Huntersville Half Marathon. It was a cold one!

I’m a wimp when it comes to colder weather, hence moving from Rhode Island down to North Carolina. But everything turned out alright and I survived.

Packet Pick Up

I picked up my packet Friday morning at Fleet Feet Sports. It was chilly Friday, a good indicator of what to expect on Saturday!

fleetfeet sports tent at huntersville half marathon

They also provided us with these nice hoodies.

Huntersville Half marathon sweatshirt

Ed was out of town Friday night for work, so it was just Tater and I.

I made my sweetpotato turkey burgers and some (low-fiber) veggies for dinner. Many clients can’t handle veggies before a race, but I have a strong stomach.

You definitely need to practice and know what to eat before running. It’s a trial and error kind of thing.

We watched some Netflix, I addressed Christmas cards, and snacked on some superhero muffins (from Run Fast Eat Slow) for dessert.

Again, there’s no reason to “carb load” only the night before a race, it’s more about everything you’ve eaten that week.

Make sure the week of that you are steadily increasing your carbs at each meal and snack.

Superhero muffins from Run Fast Eat Slow

Huntersville Half Marathon Race Morning

I woke up around 6am, and I didn’t leave the house until 7:15. I kept it really simple since the race started at 8 and was fortunately 10 minutes away.

I had my usual race day breakfast of oatmeal with peanut butter, banana and blueberries. I also packed a few Huma gels for the race.

huma gels

Huma gels are my favorite running energy gels to take – but different options work for different people. I really love the Ucan products, too!

Fortunately, parking wasn’t too difficult. We were able to park about 5 minutes away from the start.

It was freezing, though. The thermometer in my car said 19 degrees when I parked.

I had long running tights on, a long sleeved shirt, and a half zip up over it. I also had ear warmers and gloves.

Upon stepping out of the car, though, I felt like I should have packed another layer. Better run fast, I thought!


The Race and Course

I waited in line for the bathrooms then headed to the start.

By 7:55, I was in the starting line trying to stay warm.

Huntesrville Half marathon race recap

I started somewhere between the 1:40 and 1:50 pace group.

There were probably 900 runners overall, so it wasn’t a huge race and wasn’t too hard to navigate the first mile like some races can be.

The cold weather helped to take my mind off of worrying about pace and mileage.

I just tried to focus on keeping my fingers warm!

Huntersville Half Recap

Around mile 3, I caught up to the 1:40 pace group. I felt really good and was having no trouble maintaining that pace.

I told myself I’d stay with them for 4-5 more miles and if I felt good, would go ahead, or otherwise, try to stick with them.

Well, I didn’t follow my own plan and passed the pace group around mile 5.5.

I continued to feel really good and felt like I was getting stronger by the mile. My whole body (except for my fingers) began to warm up. My fingers stayed numb for the whole race.

I also felt like I had some frozen snot the entire race. TMI? You know that feeling when it’s so cold that it hurts to breathe – that was happening!

Race Support and Course

The support along the course felt very minimal. Maybe because it was so cold?

But, it was a small race to begin with and I’m sure the brutal weather scared some people away. Most of the race was through neighborhoods, so there were some small groups here and there that came outside to watch.

I have so much respect for the fans that did stand outside and watch, especially the guy who was in his longjohns and slippers. Well played.

I do have to say, though, after running the Ogden marathon last month, this half went by so quickly. Before I knew it, I was already halfway done and then at the 10 mile mark.

The course itself was very hilly. Every mile had a rather steep incline.

There was even one that was timed separately called the “Hardcore Hill.” It was somewhere between mile 6 and 7.

I’m not exactly sure which one because there were a few that I thought could have been it. There were prizes for the quickest up the hill.

I’m not sure what the fastest time was, but apparently, I finished 8th in the hill climb.

Post Race

I crossed the finish line at 1:38.26.

I actually had the course as 13.20, and a few others said that the course was a bit long too. I think I was officially at 1:38.21.

After crossing the finish line, I was too cold to start stretching or cooling down.

I actually went inside a local hair salon for 10 minutes to warm up my fingers – they were painfully numb.

Huntersville Half Recap, 1:38

Once I warmed up a bit, I headed back across the street to Birkdale for a Starbucks latte, and then grabbed my car so I could drive back to the finish line for the awards session.

Finish line at Huntersville Half Marathon

I got 3rd in my age group and was the 12th of 450 women overall.

I mistakenly thought I PR’ed, but I was 10 seconds off from my half marathon finish in 2014. But, this course was much hillier so I do feel like it was a PR.

Overall, I’m so happy I did the race. It definitely crossed my mind to stay in my warm bed and avoid the cold. But, it turned out to be a fun morning!

Huntersville Half Marathon race medal

The rest of the day was lazy on the couch. I did take Tater to Petco for pictures with Santa, though.

Can you see the expression of excitement on both her and Santa’s faces?!

Tater golden doodle

We ate more turkey burgers, had some wine, ice cream and called it a night! Sunday was pretty similar, and we made lots of christmas cookies!

Highlight of your weekend?

How do you make pet Santa pictures successful?

Join The Conversation

More For You!

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Like This Content?

Support Bucket List Tummy
  1. That was an excellent run and report. Call it a PR for a hilly course. But that Santa has to be one of the lamest Santas that I have ever seen. Then again, who wants to be Santa at Petco?

  2. I think it’s a mind thing with me. I use carb loading as an excuse to eat pizza or calzones my go to pre-race meal! May not do me any good but my mind and tummy says yes! But then again your super fast so it’s working pretty well for you! Congratulations on your race!

  3. I hate it when my hands get numb. It’s the worst trying to unlock my front door when I can’t feel my fingers. Usually I stand outside with my hands in my pants for a few minutes before I can actually turn the key. Next year, hand warmers! They are my life saver!!
    Great race! I love the hoodies, I wish more races gave those!

  4. Sarah, that is an AMAZING time! 🙂 Wow, I love how you took it easy, how you braved the cold, and came through with such an incredible finish time. Sorry. I can’t get over how fast you are. 🙂

  5. I’ve done a couple of those frozen snot halves. LOL. One was in Tulsa where a couple of neighbors pulled their couches out to the curb and wrapped up with blankets. I thought that was well played. Congrats on your age group win and finish time! I like that you received a hoodie instead of the typical T shirt. Starbucks is my favorite post race treat! I love the unenthused look on your dog’s face. Thanks for linking, Sarah.

  6. Great job! you will realize that from now on,you will think of half marathons as not quite long runs in you mind, even if it is the longest distance that you have done in months and you couldn’t fathom running further. It is a weird dichotomy.

  7. Congrats! That’s amazing you did a half in this weather when I refuse to even do a few miles. 40 degrees is about my limit. But I love the feeling of accomplishment after. And 12th overall, that’s amazing!

  8. BAHA Tater and Santa’s face!! Come on Santa…. get in the spirit. You however – as Kate said – make a fabulous wintery dog mama.
    Congrats on the race! I mean, I think you are all nuts to want to even be outside in anything less than three parkas… but still… hats (and mitts and earmuffs) off to you!!

  9. Woah Sarah- that’s awesome! It was SUCH a cold Saturday, hats off to you. I wonder if training in the killer heat made this way easier for your body?
    You look great as a dog mom, by the way 😀

  10. Excellent job! That’s a fast finish time, especially for a hilly course. This is our second Christmas with our dog…never thought of doing Santa pics for him (but we did with all three of our kids when they were little).