Sunday, March 20, 2016

Race Report: Publix Georgia Half Marathon

Well, I sure did enjoy this race today! And that's a good thing because this morning when I woke up at 4 AM after 5 hours of sleep, I wasn't feeling the love. It was about 25 degrees colder than it had been for the last week, and I do not acclimate well to cold weather! I'm so cold-natured that I am quite comfortable wearing sweat pants and socks when it's 80 degrees outside! Alas, I dragged myself out of bed!

After going to the Expo on Saturday with my husband, I decided it would be easiest and cheapest to take Marta (subway) to the race. Marta actually had a train schedule posted, and I picked the 5:18 AM train, just in case they were running behind. I left my house at 4:30 AM and arrived shortly after 5 AM. There weren't very many people at the train station which is strange since the parking lot is rocking for the Peachtree Road Race. I expected more people to take the train in.

The train was on time and the trip down was uneventful. I followed the other people and drank my Generation UCAN while I walked to the start line area. It was chilly and windy. Glad I wore 2nd full layers! I could have worn more throw away layers, too. My first goal was to drop off my change of clothes at the bag drop and hit the porta potties. It wasn't even 6 yet, so I was good on time!

No line at bag drop or at the potties! Woohoo! I walked over to the start line afterward and looked around and watched people. It was still so dark! Like Disney dark! LOL I walked back to the center of the park to hit the potties again (no line!) and to wait around for the Moms Run This Town and Maniac/Fanatic pictures. While I waited, I took a little selfie:

Yes, I was this cold! And see how dark it is?!

After the pictures, I made my way to my Corral - I qualified for B, which was surprising since Atlanta Track Club events are usually full of speedy folks. Decided since my goal was to take it easy, I would line up in the back. I loosened up the best I could in the cold - and didn't take off my throw away layers until the very last minute.

The race started on time, in the dark. I am not familiar with downtown Atlanta, but some of the early part of the course seemed familiar, maybe from Hotlanta? Quickly, though, I didn't know where I was and I got to enjoy a lot of new, beautiful, and interesting parts of the city.

I decided on 3/1 intervals which are very comfortable for me. 4/1 works well, too, but with all of the hills and my lack of hill training, I decided to be conservative. It was the right thing!

Close to mile 4, I saw groups of people standing on the right side of the course taking selfies. When I got to them and looked to the right, I saw why! And I stopped as well!

What a wonderful view of the city!!!
The full marathon course broke off around mile 7-8 and I found myself thinking that I would like to try the challenge of running a full marathon in Atlanta one day! And I wasn't even delirious! LOL

I enjoyed running through the parts of Atlanta that I'd only heard of before - Virginia Highland, Inman Park, Old Fourth Ward. There were a surprising number of spectators on the course, especially families! I loved that! We ran through Piedmont Park and I actually remembered it from Hotlanta and the Peachtree! The Phidippides running folks were out and were probably the loudest and most enthusiastic group on the course! We ran through the GA Tech campus after that and then headed back to the finish line.

The full course joined back up with the half and I found myself wondering if I would see the winner/early finishers of the full. Shortly after that, I heard police behind me! The winner was close!

He ran past me in a flash! Good thing I had my camera out and ready to go!
I was feeling pretty good that I made it to 12.5 miles before he passed me!

The finish line came up quickly after that. It was great! I crossed the finish, collected my medal, and was presented with a bottle of chocolate milk from Publix! OH MY GOSH! It's my favorite post-race fuel! I was thrilled! And it tasted so, so, so good! Picked up the warming jacket, the boxed food, a bottle of water, and a banana... then I headed to pick up my gear bag.

And this is the only hiccup in the entire day... the lines for bag pick up were crazy long. I actually got lucky in that my line was shorter than others, but it was still nuts. I was cold and getting stiff and standing in a long line to get my dry, warm clothes! UGH! But I'm sure they will be fixing this problem for next year! :) While I waited in line, I got a picture with my medal!

My outfit ended up being so cute!! I was so happy in it!
 I got my bag, changed clothes in the porta potty (ew! lol), stretched, and walked back to the Marta station! When I got into the station, my train pulled up! What luck!! Smooth travel back to the station, and smooth drive home - unless you count the fact that I was quickly getting ravenous! Why I didn't eat the banana, I will never know! Instead I made a quick stop at Panera for some very warming soup! LOL

I felt so good after the race - came home and rolled and stretched and took an Epsom Salts bath! Then promptly fell asleep for 3 hours! LOL I'm going to blame it on the early morning wake up and not the ATL hills kicking my butt!

So I will definitely be doing this race again! It was quite enjoyable! They are offering a discount right now for the next 10 days but it's not in the budget at this moment! But I do highly recommend it if you can afford it! Who knows.... maybe I'll sign up for the full next year?! ;)
Isn't the medal lovely??