Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Race Recap: Georgia Half Marathon

As soon as I finished Saturday's Centerpoint Half Marathon, I hurried back to the hotel to soak my legs in an ice bath before part two of my St. Patty's Doubleheader... the Publix Georgia Half Marathon.

I made a rest stop every hour on the drive to Atlanta to walk and stretch my legs. As tempting as it is to relax after a race, I have found easy activity makes for a quicker recovery.  I tried to walk at least a 1/2 mile at each rest stop to keep the blooding circulating through my legs. The Georgia Welcome Center had a pretty rest area that included a nice walking path. Like Alabama, the dogwood trees were abundant and I was in springtime heaven. 

Three hours later, I arrived at E's condo in Atlanta, where Kim and LJ had arrived the previous evening. After hugs and hellos, we immediately strolled down the street for cupcakes and popsicles. That's how every Girls Weekend begins, right?!  We were nonstop chatter for the afternoon and evening... with a second outing for pizza and beer.  (I was born to be a runner... I love my carbs!)
E, LJ, me and Kim
We stayed up talking much later than I normally would on a race night. I was exhausted and yet once I finally laid down, it was difficult to sleep. Five hours later, the alarm woke me up for race morning. I grudgingly pulled myself out of bed and stumbled through making my first cup of coffee with a Keurig. (I'm so old-school drinking full pots yet...)  E was injured, thus not racing; but she made the best hostess, driver, photographer and cheerleader for us. By 6:15am, we were on our way to the starting line... 
I look seriously SHORT when sandwiched by these ladies...

E dropped us as close as possible to the start and we huddled in a hotel lobby until minutes before the start. It was mass chaos at the start. The corrals had already collapsed, but I didn't really care where I fit in since time wasn't an issue for me in this race. So I just followed Kim like a little child through the crowds. We finally found an open spot that seemed appropriate. I turned around and BAM... there was Pam from Moms Run This Town!  What fortune to bump into her twice in Atlanta - first at the expo and now the race. I ran into several other MRTT members during the race too.
Pam is cute as can be... and much more my height!

This race is mass amounts of runners... over 10,000 I believe? Needless to say, it took some time to actually reach the official starting line.  I started jogging carefully, not entirely sure what my legs could do today. My lower quad muscles were a bit achy from the previous day's Half.  I could feel every little incline early in the race... and this city is known for its HILLS.  I had no idea what to expect from my body as the miles ticked away...

I managed to stick with Kim for the beginning miles. We chatted and the miles ticked off comfortably. Around mile 3, she ditched me we lost each other making our way up a hill. My Garmin did not like Atlanta, unable to locate for nearly 30 minutes. I stopped to snap a picture of the city skyline around mile 3 and noticed it finally kicked on. 
Miles 1 thru 3 - 31:29 (10:29 pace)

Good Morning Atlanta!
By far, the "money shot" of the course. Everyone was stopping for a photo.

I continued onward, one mile, one hill at a time. I tried to find a steady pace and pretend I was out on a training recovery run. I took in the scenery, the beautiful old houses, the outfits, chatted with runners, thanked volunteers, read signs and laughed aloud too many times. 

Mile 4 - 10:13
Mile 5 - 9:51
Mile 6 - 10:13
Mile 7 - 10:26
We hit the jelly bean station between mile 6 and 7. I stopped for the first time, ate a handful of jelly beans and took in some water shortly after that. I forgot my GU energy gels (Surprisingly for a race this size, there was none on the course), but I felt alright throughout the race since I wasn't really pushing myself.

Mile 8 - 9:45
Mile 9 - 9:45
Mile 10 - 10:32
Mile 11 - 9:59
Mile 12 - 10:35
Mile 13 - 10:18
As we entered into Piedmont Park, I was feeling really good - even feeling like I might have a second wind. I guess I never noticed that it was a 2 mile elevation drop. Aw-man, that felt good... although short-lived. As we exited the pretty park, the last three miles were uphill, uphill, uphill. I had to walk on and off in the last two miles. My energy level felt good, but my quads were not liking the push upward.

The elevation chart didn't lie... this route was hill-acious. I tried to run without a concern for time most of the race. In fact, I don't think I even looked at my watch the entire race. Looking back at my splits now, there is no doubt that I ran this on "perceived effort". My pace dropped every time the elevation went up...

The last mile was pretty cruel... continued uphill and no sight of the finish line.  Finally, we turned a corner and BOOM - a short downhill finish. Not much room to pick up speed for a strong finish, but I tried to make an effort...

Georgia - State #12
Official Chip Time 2:13:50
10:12 average pace
Overall #4433 out of 8742
Women #1951 out of 4951
Division #391 out of 919

Once I made it through the finish line hoopla, I hunted down my faster friends, who were relaxing in the grass of Centennial Olympic Park. We snapped our post-race pictures and headed out for celebratory burgers. I wanted immediate beer after finishing my first DOUBLE, but had to wait for that. Darn Georgia and their Sunday alcohol laws!

These gals are "teaching" me how to Race All 50!
LJ is on her 37th (Georgia was a repeat of her #5)
Kim hit #20, and I now have 12 in the bag!


  1. Congrats!!!

    I've wanted to do this race but knowing how hilly it was I was to scared to even think!!

    My sister lives outside of Atlanta and I've been there many, many times and that my dear is the emptiest I have ever seen those high ways!!! Great shot!!

  2. OMG! You did get the money shot. When I think of the course, I think of that view...but it was too early in the race for me to stop (or so I thought at the time, damn).

    Look, I promise not to ditch you in Eugene until mile 10, okay?

  3. Nice recap. You're not kidding about the elevation changes! I do think you look short next to everyone. :)

  4. Congratulations!!! I have never done 2 halfs in one weekend! Sounds like crazy but fun! :)

  5. Hahaha...your pics with friends are like mine. I never realize I'm height-challenged until I see photos with other people in them. I like the way you decorated your skirts!

  6. Congrats! Glad you enjoyed the race...bummed I didn't get to meet you but there's always next time :)

  7. 2 recaps in one day.. killing it. Man its sad that I didn't even notice your money shot on the course. You did GREAT for your first double and will continue to do well if you decide to try it again. TN doesn't have the 12:30 law on sunday (it might just be 12 haha), so there is a greater chance of a well deserved be when you come this way :)

  8. FYI- Rhode Island liqour stores don't open until noon on Sundays. So keep that in mind for your October double!!

    1. Oh, good to know! I'll be sure to have the hubs pick some up for us the night before. :)

  9. Awesome recap - still can't believe I was probably right there with you most of the race! Darn it! Hope you had a great time in Georgia!

  10. So wish I could have been there with you - even with all those hills. You really rocked that course, especially considering it was a DOUBLE. A crime you didn't get served a beer on demand. We'll have to make sure that doesn't happen in Eugene.

  11. GUs were on the course just had to do the full to get them. I am hoping to the half here (I'm in GA) next year. I dread the hills but I know I can do it.

  12. Awesome job!! I'm like you - I recover better if I keep moving around! Congrats on your back to backs!

  13. Congrats Jess! I did the half here last year and felt the same way with all the hills. They seemed to never end. I really love the crowd support at the end of this race!

  14. You are a very colorful runner. So interesting. I love visiting your site. Congrats on the races.


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