Sunday, August 23, 2015

Race Report: Hotlanta Half Marathon 2015

Today's half marathon included 7-8 miles of thunder, lightning, pouring rain, and street flooding!

And I had a BLAST! LOL

I know, it doesn't make sense! But it's true!

It didn't start out as a stellar morning. Strong thunderstorms rolled through my area overnight and woke me up and then kept me awake as the whole house shook. When the alarm went off at 4 AM, I had gotten about 2.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. But I am a Disney Runner and I have run a half-marathon while sleep deprived! No biggie! Because I was out of bed, the kitties thought it was time to eat breakfast. When I went into the other room to feed them, I noticed there were ants all around their food bowl. So I cleaned that up, got rid of the ants, cleaned that up, and then fed them. I did my rolling and stretching and got dressed. I needed to leave at 4:45 to meet friends from MRTT at the Park and Ride lot at 5:15. Susan had graciously offered to drive me and Grace into Atlanta, and after all the driving I do all week long, I welcome any chance to avoid driving on the weekend! ;)

We made fantastic time and got to the World of Coca Cola (the race start) before 6 AM and secured a great spot in the parking garage. There were real bathrooms near the parking garage and we hit those twice before the start. YAY for real bathrooms! Since Susan knows everyone in the running world, we met up with other friends at the start line. It was actually a little chilly and I was excited! As the sun rose, the clouds dissipated and I was glad that I had brought my sunglasses with me!

Start line selfie - complete with a photo bomb by the DJ!
Corral selfie!
The four of us pictured above in the Corral are all training for fall full marathons so today was a training run for everyone. I planned to do 4/1 intervals and they were all fine with tagging along. We kept a nice, easy pace and ended up staying together for the entire race!

I haven't done an Atlanta half marathon in several years and I think you forget how truly hilly the downtown area is. But I have been training at Stone Mountain so I was pretty prepared for it. What I wasn't prepared for was this sight:

There's a storm coming...
We heard the thunder starting around mile 5. The other ladies had actually seen lightning but since I hadn't, I decided to put it out of my mind. The sad thing is, I really wanted this cool medal and I wanted to make sure to get my 2015 Half Marathon done so I can keep up my streak! All I kept thinking was, "Please don't let the race be black flagged!" Yeah, I'm crazy!

It was sprinkling and lightly raining for awhile before we got to the Atlanta Beltline, a flat, paved recreation trail. And it actually felt good - the rain was cool and the cloud cover was controlling the temps. Now and then, we would even feel a nice breeze!

And then the rain hit. And it hit hard. But it still wasn't too terrible. I ran through heavy rain during the Peachtree and lived to tell the tale! But this rain was even worse, and it just kept coming and coming! We all ran together and remained light-hearted. I'm not sure I would have been feeling the same way if I had been running alone, instead of watching my running buddies jumping through puddles and singing songs!

A waterfall down the stairs at Piedmont Park!
We ran through Piedmont Park and back out and the water was sometimes 3-4 inches deep as it ran down the road! There was no way to avoid running through it, so the feet got soaking wet. But it wasn't cold and it wasn't hot. It was just wet! Very, very wet!

The rain was slowing down from a monsoon to a downpour by the time we ran through the GA Tech campus, which I do not recall running through before. It brings a new meaning to me now that my youngest child is talking about wanting to go there! The last hill came and went - my shoes came untied THREE TIMES - and at last we hit the home stretch to the finish. All four of us fairly close together as we crossed the finish line, celebrating a hard earned race!

My goal for today's pace was 2:30 and I finished in 2:25:36! I don't think you can get much closer than that, especially considering the weather! We maintained 4/1 intervals and I really felt like I could have kept going! MCM doesn't have such crazy hills so I think I should be fine. Despite the rain, I didn't have any chafing and only had one tender spot on my right pinkie toe where there was some skin that came off the bottom a few days ago. I really don't think that's bad at all. Nutrition was a packet of Generation UCAN taken 90 minutes before the race started. I felt strong the entire way! There was Nuun on the course, which was a pleasant surprise. I took some and I also took some water, but didn't really need so much because of the cool, wet weather! All in all, everything went perfectly - in spite of the crazy weather!

Post race with the awesome medal! You can see how completely soaked I was! 
I was so glad that I threw a pool towel into my bag before I left the house this morning. I took a change of clothes and a small towel anticipating being hot and sweaty. I decided to add the pool towel in case nobody wanted to take time to change clothes. I could just sit on the towel in the car. Instead, I needed to dry off my soaked body with it! When I took off my socks, I wrung them out and made small puddles! Crazy!
My biggest medal to date! :)
Cute race shirt, too! 
So there is the story of my wettest Half Marathon ever! I am really, really excited about MCM now! I'm in the big time of training now, with Week #11 being behind me now. I'm to the point where I have a super long run every other week, with a recovery long run in between them! Only 16, 18, and 20 to go! I hope that the rest of training will continue to go well!

9 weeks until race day!

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