So here we go… 1/2 Marathon #7, State #7 and race #2 for January.
I had a lot of fun this weekend. This race was very different than my other races-it was small. It was also cheap-the race entry was only $35, I didn’t have to stay in a hotel and I didn’t have to eat out. Score. The highlight was with my family and that made it that much more special. Both of my parents could see me and so could my grandmother.
Race Expo/Night Before
Well I am not sure you can call it a race expo. Maybe more, packet pickup. This was the smallest race expo I have ever been to. I usually spend too much time wandering through booths at other races and buying things. Not here-in and out in 10 minutes and didn’t spend a dime. Major plus
Iphone pic of one area of the “expo”
We made pasta with shrimp for dinner; I watched some football, got in the hottub, and was asleep by 10:30.
Mobile is a small town. I woke up at 6:15, ate breakfast, we left the house at 6:45 and Dad dropped me off at the start by 7. Easy as that. The weather was good-mid 30’s I believe. I wore my favorite lululemon pants, my Zensah compression socks, Brooks Adrenalines, Auburn shirt (yes I wore it in Vegas but seeing as there is a big game tonight it was necessary to repeat) and TNT jacket (my TNT coach and friend Lisa let me borrow hers after reading last weeks post). I also wore a orange head band from lululemon that I thought I liked, but after looking at myself in pictures, I will never wear again.
So time to explain the start. I had to ask where it was. Seriously. I will admit it after doing this race, I am race spoiled. Rock and Roll Races have corrals, music, entertainment, balloons, a big start banner, etc. So I had no clue where to go here. Because there was a van. And some duct tape for a start line. Not kidding. But they did have the city ambassadors, the Azalea Trail maids to welcome everyone (50 high school senior girls are chosen each year-I applied way back in the day but didn’t make it) which was nice to see.
About 15 minutes before the start. This is the view behind me.
Me & the Azalea Trail Maids
We literally said a prayer, sang the national anthem, and we were all off. All at once. I purposely was at the front of the herd because the race was not chip timed (obviously another adjustment for me) and I didn’t want to lose too much time (or add unnecessary steps) running around people.
This was my favorite part of the race. The 1/2 marathon ran through the midtown and downtown areas of Mobile and through my favorite neighborhood, the Oakley District. We ran down the streets of beautiful homes and moss covered oaks–the epitome of the South and Mobile. I had no idea anyone from the Atlanta TNT chapter was running the race but a fellow TNTer caught up to me on the course and we ran together for a few minutes. I saw my Mom, her BF, my aunt and cousin around mile 5 and my Dad, Nancy (stepmom) and Grandmother around mile 6. Both gave me a nice boost of energy. I also saw a friend from high school out walking his dog. It’s funny to have a “hey, how are you” conversation while running a 1/2 marathon. There were plenty of aid stations; I think many were just local business owners supporting the city which was nice, and tons of police along the course. They were all super friendly-cheering everyone on as they ran by-that is something I am not used to.
We split off from the marathoners around mile 8-9 and thats when it got slow. The overall crowd support (even though there wasn’t that much it was still nice) had died down and we had turned into the wind. So miles 9-11 were tough for me. I again loved the view as we ran past the Bragg Mitchell Mansion and the Visitation. At mile 12 we ran past my old high school and I realized I was one turn away from the home stretch to the finish.
I had passed several people at this point and was feeling good. I had my eye on one guy and was using him as my target to try and get to my goal of a 1:50 or better. My watch had me cutting it close. All of the sudden a little kid is running up next to me. We played the back and forth game, and if I thought he knew what I meant by “pushing me” then I would have thanked him but he was young, like 12, running a 1/2 marathon, and probably has no clue what that means. I was ahead of him at mile 12.9 (seriously) and then all of the sudden that little kid burst out in front of me to beat me in the finish. Impressive. He obviously saved a little more energy than I did (or maybe its just his age, whatevs).
I finished in 1:50:15 garmin time and 1:50:18 official (can you call it this if its tear off and no chip??) time. I was then awarded my medal. Now, this is where I will say I do not love the bling, but I appreciate its meaning. The race raised money for L’arche, which is a place for adults with mental disabilities. And they help make the medal. But it is more like a painted piece of wood with a sticker on it. Definitely not my favorite bling.
Race Time: 1:50:18
11th in age group 30-39
I was pretty happy with my time considering my IT Band issues but would have loved to break the 1:50 again!
I stayed fairly consistent…
The after race goodies were also for a small race-1/2 a banana, a slice of orange, a cup of water or gatorade (oh Rock and Roll how you have spoiled me). I was able to see my family and ran into fellow blogger Becka (so cool to meet someone you feel like you know just from blogging and daily mile) and quickly stretched.
Me & Becka at the finish. Nice to meet you in person!
Me & my mom at the finish
There was supposed to be bands starting at 10:00 am and an after party at a nearby hotel but I had to hurry and leave. This was not my original plan (I was supposed to enjoy breakfast at a local restaurant and take my time leaving and spend the night in Montgomery with my friend Amanda) but the threat of a snowstorm in Atlanta changed things. We got back to my Dads, he made breakfast, I showered, we ate and I was on the road by 11am. Not my idea of a good time but I had to do it. Thank God for cruise control :):) I was still able to stretch my legs out while driving. 13.1 miles and then a 4.5 hour drive back to Atlanta-to say I was exhausted when I got home last night is an understatement.
Race Tee, Medal, and Tech Tee
It was really nice knowing exactly where everything was along the course and seeing the city I grew up in and love so much by foot. A quiet, small course was not normal for me but I ended up loving it. Now to my list of yays and nays…
Running through a city I know well
seeing family (glad my grandmother got to see me)
flat course (highest elevation change 43 ft)
Not so Much:
cotton T (I bought a tech tee)
no chip timing
crowd (and city) support
pre/post race perks
the use of the city
Let me further explain-since I am from Mobile and I feel like I know what the city has to offer. Use the port city/seafood angle, use Mardi Gras (beads or moonpies), have local bands on the course. Have some of the high schools/colleges participate (cheerleaders/mascots). And change the medal. I am sure there is a company out there that would donate the medal since the race is put on for charity. Or up the cost by $5-$10 if you need to. Let the Larche organization make something else for the runners; hey, at least have the members out on the course as a reminder of where the money raised from the race is going.
Take more of an advantage on those runners racing the states. The Mississippi Blues race is the day before and seems to already be ahead of this race and doing well and has only been around for 4 years (I am assuming just by looking at the website). I guess overall I was surprised that the city/race organizers haven’t done any of this and the race has been around for 10 years now.
If I ever move back…I have a mission.
Don’t get me wrong, I did like the race and I know I am spoiled by only running larger races thus far. I just think it would be great to get the race to bring more value to the city (Mobile also puts on a big 10K, the Azalea Trail Run, which apparently gets more hoopla). If you are racing the states, I do recommend this one. Flat, fast and great southern hospitality.
(Side note: My great uncle couldn’t make it, but I will have post on his racing career soon. :):))