The water stations were consistent and the race was very organized. There were tons of people cheering runners on from cars in addition to the spectators that came out the support the race. I was amazed at how friendly the volunteers were...and pleasantly surprised at how CUTE the police officers working the road blocks were. Of course I couldn't say anything ("Hi, I'm Suzy. Uh, I'm usually not this sweaty. You single? Meet me in a few hours?!"), but the eye candy was nice and I'm considering spending my Saturday nights in Charlotte instead of Greensboro!
The 2004 race offered a new course- one loop around center city, then a rolling course in residential areas with an upward climb back to uptown (is that why they call it UPtown?!). I did not train properly for the hills. I did enough long runs, but they were not hilly enough for this race. Myself included, I think the hills surprised a lot of people. Why? Because they are not obvious hills, instead they are l-o-n-g grades that you can't see driving around, but THEY ARE THERE and MY QUADS FOUND THEM.
As if the hills weren't enough of a challenge, it began snowing around mile 16, just about the time I found myself running solo. It was hard to keep momentum (or find ANY wind break) when other runners are far away. Nonetheless, I finished with a 4:39:04 chip time, just shy of Oprah Winfrey's 4:35 in Chicago but a 40 minute improvement over my first race. Even better, I proved that I can run 26.2 miles by myself!