Thursday, November 23, 2017

Race Report: 2017 Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon

Today, I got to do something I've been wanting to do for years: complete the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon! I last did this race in 2010, where it was my Half Fanatic qualifier. I had signed up to do it again in 2011, but then I got injured and couldn't do it. I have wanted to do this race again in recent years, but I was never able to because of my older daughter's Nutcracker schedule. So this year, now that my Thanksgiving Day would be free, I was able to do it at last - and they've added the "Triple Peach" option (Peachtree Road Race, ATL 10 Miler, Thanksgiving Day Half) in recent years so I signed up for the whole 9 yards, er, 29.3 miles.

I have been extraordinarily distracted the last couple of weeks, so I really didn't put much thought into today's race until right before bed last night. It's very unlike me, but sometimes other things just get in the way and take up space in my brain. So last night, I looked at the forecast and tried to put together a "Flat Niffercoo". Unfortunately, the temps were exactly in my "gray area" - 40/50s. Sometimes that means long sleeves and tights, other times short sleeves and capris. I really wasn't sure which this would be but since it's the end of November, I opted for long.

Flat Nifferoo - with the Run Gobble headband I've been saving since 2010! LOL
My hubby and I were both very tired and we shut off the lights at 10 PM and fell asleep immediately. I slept pretty well. I have been battling some sort of sinus/cold thing since the middle of last week and it's now to the "annoying" point so it's not affecting my sleep. The alarm went off at 4 AM because I needed to leave at 4:45 - and everything was going well until it was time to get dressed. I just didn't feel like my outfit was going to work. But I also couldn't figure out anything else. I ended up leaving 10 minutes later than I planned - and I pretty much threw on my Dark Side Challenge short sleeve shirt and a RunDisney jacket from my first Princess Half. My reasoning was that I could tie a jacket around my waist but not the vest. It was a smart choice.

Traffic was non-existent and I made it to the starting area (the stadium formerly known as Turner Field) with no troubles at all. It was chilly and I was literally right next to the Start Line, so I just hung out in the car until about 15 minutes before race time. I was also parked next to a bank of portapotties so I hit them 3 times while I waited. This is where having a cold worked in my favor - all but one of the potties were out of toilet paper but I had brought a box of tissues with me! WOOT! Right to the front of the line! LOL

I met up with the other folks from Run Group who were also doing the Triple Peach and we took a picture at the start:

Niffer and the "A Wave Posse"
These guys are all crazy fast - Wave A - and I nicknamed them Posse because Michael on the left is throwing up the 'gang signs' for the running store where he and I work! LOL Shameless Plug: if you live in the Atlanta area, please come see us at Classic City Running in Buford near the Mall of GA!

I was in Corral B for this race, which was pretty good. I wasn't planning on a fast race because I just did a Race Simulation this past weekend (later than usual due to the cold) and I haven't been feeling my best. I lined up towards the back of the corral so as not to be in anyone's way, but the course was still fairly crowded. There were a number of times during the entire race where I had to skip my walk break because it simply wasn't safe for me to stop running and there was no place for me to get out of the way to walk.

I started out at what I felt was an 'comfortable' pace, and this is where it's getting to be a bit of a challenge. What feels comfortable is faster than what I'm expecting. I'm not totally sure how to handle it. I really do not want to push and get injured, so I'm not sure if I need to slow down to the expected pace, or if it's truly OK to accept this new 'comfortable' and just go with it. I will see how I feel over the next several days. I don't have another long run until next Friday and Saturday's double long runs, so I have plenty of time to recover. If I feel especially achy the next couple of days, then I know that I need to train by time. This will also give me a good idea about how to pace the half marathon during Dopey, because I don't want to be out there on my feet more than I have to - so if I can go a little faster and still recover well, then I will do that.

I felt like this course was a bit easier and less hilly than the 10 miler. There were definitely a few decent hills, as one would expect for a race in downtown ATL, but it wasn't anything overwhelming. I saw my friend Debbie volunteering at the mile 6 water stop, and my friend Shawna cheering for her team and for her fiance' in Piedmont Park. But that's all the people that I saw that I knew. And I knew a ton of folks running this race! I thought that was kind of odd!

With running so many downtown races this year, I found that I actually sort of knew where I was! Like, I knew the road leading into Piedmont Park, which was great because that's where Debbie's water stop was so I knew to be looking for her soon. I do wish I had stopped to take a selfie in Piedmont Park with the skyline in the background. I'm not even sure why I didn't do it. I am a dingbat!

Oh, let's go back to the "what to wear" thing again - SO glad I dressed down a bit, because by the time I was in the 3rd mile, I had removed my jacket, stuffed my gloves in a pocket, and tied it around my waist. I would have done better with capris, too, instead of tights! I would have been totally miserable in long sleeves with a vest that I couldn't remove! I have got to remember that, especially when I don't have to stand around outside for long before a race, I need to dress cooler.

Once I hit mile 10, after battling with my pacing for the entire race, I got so aggravated with myself that I just stopped doing regular walk breaks and just threw a couple in once a mile or so. And yeah, that didn't 'help' my pace, but it helped me to enjoy the rest of the run! LOL I do not mind the walk breaks at all, but the constant frustration of being 20 seconds off my target pace and trying to adjust on the fly was driving me insane.

The finish line was a welcome sight - the Olympic Rings and the downhill finish are always so inspiring! I finished with a smile on my face and picked up my medal, warming jacket, and food and looked around for the Triple Peach tent. I couldn't wait to see the shirt! The shirts for the previous two years have been fabulous and couldn't wait to see what they had in store for us.

Boy, was I disappointed.

Now, the medal?? The medal is FABULOUS!

Yes, the Triple Peach medal IS a spinner, with the date of each race under the spinning thing!

It's a good size, too - and I like the rectangle shape!
But the shirt. (And this is just a commentary on the Triple Peach shirt... the Half shirt is "OK" but I find myself wishing I had gotten the unisex sizing instead of women's cut because it's just such a weird and uncomfortable fit). I guess if I have to say something good about the Triple Peach shirt, I could say that I think it will at least fit me.

The front...

The back... sideways, sorry! The ATC logo is at the bottom. 
See what I mean?! It's BORING!! Oh my goodness it's so boring! It doesn't even say Triple Peach except for a tiny thing on the back! I'm so very disappointed. I hope I'll at least be able to run in it - it feels awfully "cotton-y" though.

So that's my race report! Overall, I had a great time and was super excited to be able to complete this race after so long of wanting to do it! OH! One more funny thing... I sat down to put my results in my spreadsheet to discover that I missed this being my 2nd fastest half marathon by ONE SECOND! LOL Literally... the Peach Jam Half in May was faster by 1 whole second! But in my heart I know this one was a better effort because that race was 13.11 miles and 174 feet of elevation gain, and this race was 13.18 miles and 699 feet of elevation gain and only ONE SECOND slower. So, go me! I am certain that if I want to shoot for a half marathon PR next year (would need to take off 2:45, so 13 seconds per mile) I could make it happen.

And just like that... there is nothing between me and Dopey! Which just so happens to start 6 weeks from TODAY!! WOW!

Happy Thanksgiving! And Happy Running!


No comments:

Post a Comment