Ted and I ran with some friends yesterday in the 26th Annual Elizabeth 8K Road Race. This is the oldest 8k in Charlotte and the course was beautiful. The course started at Independence Park and wound its way back and forth through the verdant historic streets of the Elizabeth Neighborhood. Elizabeth is one of Charlotte’s oldest neighborhoods with many of the houses dating back to the early 1900s. Independence Park was the first public park in Charlotte. I got a little misty eyed as we walked through the part of the park by the playground. My son attended Mother’s Morning Out at St Martin’s Episcopal Church which backs up to the park and we used to go play on the playground when I picked him up.
Once we got to the race check-in my mind was completely distracted from long ago memories and pre-race jitters thanks to Elvis. At the start line the nerves started back up. I couldn’t help but notice the crowd looked especially young and fit. For a few brief moments I worried I may come in last out of the 500+ runners. Eventually I picked out several runners in the crowd that I was fairly confident I could beat, one of whom was dressed in jeans. Unfortunately, we neglected to train for this race- my first 8k and my husband’s second. We ran not one time in the 4 weeks preceding the race. (And we are paying for it today.)
The race thinned out pretty well within 3 blocks. Thankfully the weather was on the cool side and a wonderful tree canopy hangs over most of the residential streets in Elizabeth. The course made frequent turns which I liked. Helps keep me interested. In the first mile we passed by Jennifer Roberts, Democratic Candidate for the House, cheering on runners in front of her house. I made it over a mile without walking, but for the remaining 4 miles I had to take short walk breaks. The course was a little hilly, but thankfully there seemed to be more downhill than uphill. There were many people camped out at the ends of driveways to cheer the runners on.
Somehow I made it to the end, crossing the line with my friends Martha and Paulette in just under an hour. Ted and Holly finished ahead of us and were there to cheer us on at the finish line. Paulette’s husband and kids were at the finish line with “We love you Mom” signs. So sweet.
There was quite a party going on in Independence Park after the race with post-race refreshments (yummy bread from Great Harvest) and beer plus live music in front of Hawthorne Pizza on 7th St. We will definitely plan on running this race again next year.
We capped off yesterday night with the grand opening of City Tavern SouthPark. An old neighbor of ours is the manager of the City Tavern Restaurants and we had a nice time catching up with him and his wife at the opening. The restaurant is located on the back side of SouthPark Mall in the former San Antonios space. The space inside is large and hip. City Tavern has put in a large outdoor patio area with dozens of tables and two couch areas with fire pits. We started the evening in the dining area with wine and hors d’Oeuvres, checked out the patio for a little while and finished the evening at the bar with orange creamsicle shots! We were enjoying ourselves so much, it was past midnight by the time we left.
I have no doubt City Tavern will experience great success in this location. They will do well at attracting a young professional crowd and should do a fantastic bar business.