Publix GA 1/2 Marathon Race Recap Part 2

1/2 Marathon #9!!
This was a very fun race.  It wasn’t a new state or a new race, but that is okay.  I am sure I will end up running tons of races in Atlanta over the years to come!  I loved running my first 1/2 marathon course again-it brought back a lot of memories.  I also felt like I knew tons of people on the course-running, cheering and volunteering, which made it an AWESOME experience.  And, of course, running in your own city is always cool.  It made me appreciate Atlanta just a little bit more. 🙂

Pre-Race/Heading to the Start
Kristin and I woke up around 5am.  If it weren’t for Team In Training, I totally would’ve slept longer.  But, Kristin had to be downstairs at 5:30.  So we got dressed, ate the usual bagel with peanut butter and headed downstairs.  We walked to the start and were probably there by 6am.  A lot of time to kill.  The beauty of a downtown start?  Lots of hotels and we totally snuck in and used the bathroom instead of the porta-potty!  Score!  We hung out at the TNT tent waiting on the rest of her team and all of the alumni to arrive.  I saw so many of my friends-Jessica, Kimberly, Zack, Andy, Matt, Mike, Carey, Kimberly, Lori, the list goes on and on.  It was quite the party!

blurry, but you get the idea of how big the Publix TNT team was
 I headed over to meet a few Half Fanatics at 6:20 for a quick pic and headed back to meet my TNT friends.  Great meeting some new running friends!

half fanatics
My plan was to run with some of my Big Sur teammates so I said farewell and good luck to Kristin and headed to Corral D with Andy, Matt, Mike, Carey, and Kimberly.  Along with any and everyone else apparently.  They were not very strict with the Corrals and checking bibs and somehow C and D were merged.  It was definitely crowded.  Sad to say that the guy who sang the National Anthem pulled a Christina Aguilera and messed up the words.  The start line then played a few “pump you up” songs and we were off.  Literally 2 minutes after the elites.  This was not going to lead to a very fun first few miles.
the start line

Miles 1-8
Miles 1-3 were definitely a mess.  I was dodging people a lot more than I usually have to at races.  I stuck with Andy and Carey for these miles and there was little talking, just dodging.  Daylight savings time definitely changed the feeling of a race-we were running in the dark…but it lead to some really cool views of the city skyline as the sun came up.  We ran through Midtown and headed into (miles 4-5) Inman Park and then Little Five Points.  All of these areas have beautiful homes, great running scenery and HILLS.  I quickly realized that my last 3 races have all been flat courses and kinda worried about my pace.  I have luckily been training on hills and managed to still do really well on them, even passing some folks along the way.  I had several snide comments from men not appreciating being passed by a girl in a tutu.  I hope they were kidding…regardless I left them in my dust and it goes to show that being an man doesn’t make you faster (I told them that too 🙂 )!!

TNT had a water station around mile 5/6 and that definitely kept me pumped up-I knew a lot of the volunteers and heard tons of “GO TEAM” cheers as I ran by….gotta love the TNT singlet!  The 1/2 marathoners and marathoners split around mile 7 and then we hit my favorite neighborhood, the Virginia Highlands.  The crowd support was great in this area-lots of families cheering-and lots of little girls envious of my tutu!  It was so cute.  I ate my half of one of my GU’s at this point to make sure I had enough in me to keep up the pace.  We made a turn and I knew we were headed towards Piedmont Park.

Miles 9-13.1
I can remember this part of the course from 2 years ago.  I hit Piedmont Park and just wanted to be done…but not this time.  Even though the hills definitely felt harder than earlier on the course (I was worried I had pushed a little too much); I was still doing great.  I lost Andy at the water stop in the park but I didn’t let it get to me and stayed focused.  We ran past my old condo in Midtown (more memories from 2 years ago), through the Georgia Tech campus, and back into the West Midtown area.  The cheer sections were smaller at this point but I knew I was almost done.  I kept reflecting back to the past.  8,9,10 miles seemed so hard.  So scary.  This time around, I was definitely tired, but I could’ve kept going.  I love that feeling.  Knowing that you have just a little bit more to give at the finish even though you don’t need to.  I thought about really pushing it in the end to try and come under 1:50 but decided to just maintain-the big goal is Big Sur, not this 1/2 marathon.   It wasn’t a PR, but it was a COURSE PR coming in 8:30ish faster than 2 years ago.  What a difference 2 years makes!!

Race Results

1606/10917 overall
442/6159 females
87/1064 Women 30-34

Garmin Results
No negative splits this go round.  I blame it on the hills 🙂  I was a little all over the place!  I was, however, pleasantly surprised that my distance wasn’t further-there were a ton of turns but I must have managed them well.

Post Race
The post race goodies may have been some of the best I have seen.  Gotta love when a grocery store chain sponsors a race!  Only downside for me was realizing that everything was processed and I couldn’t really eat any of it (I gave this stuff up for lent).  So, when you crossed the finish line you got your medal and a water and then a little plastic grocery bag.  Then you shopped.  It was crazy.  Bananas, pretzels, trail mix, lara bars, go-gurt, bagels, chocolate milk, cupcakes.  There was more, but I can’t remember all of it.  I should’ve taken pictures but I guess I was so out of it and was too busy looking for my friends.

I headed back to the TNT tent for a second, mixed up my Endurox and went back to the finish line to cheer on Kristin.

She rocked her first race!  So proud of her!!

Go Kristin!!  
We then went back to the TNT tent to meet up with everyone else. 
Big Sur Mentors and friends-Ryan, Matt, Mike
Allison did the race as well, she may have caught the running bug, huh?  
Go Sissy Go!  3rd 1/2 marathon!!

I was also able to meet Jill from Running for the Hills.  It was brief but great to meet face to face.  We randomly have a mutual friend in TN where she is from.  Small world.  Loved her outfit!!

Me and Jill–loved the skirt!

I hung out for a bit longer, hoping to cheer on my friends running the marathon but I was starving and ready to eat!  What can I say, only being able to eat bananas and Endurox doesn’t quite cut it.  So, I headed to the Ritz to get my stuff and to brunch at Rosebud with Allison, her husband Chris and friend Suzanne.  Can I say unfreakinbelievable.

I had the Nasty Royale-egg, ham, brie cheese and truffle honey mustard-along with a cup of coffee and the BEST bloody mary I have had.

heaven on a plate and in a glass 🙂

Even though I wasn’t in very much pain and my IT Band behaved itself, I took an ice bath when I got home.  And followed that with a nap.

Running in Atlanta
Running with friends
Cheer and Water Stations
Post Race Food (and extra “stuff” there were others tents and apparently massages but I missed those)
running in a Tutu
watching Kristin finish her first race

Not So Much:
The Start Line
Disorganized Corrals
The medal

The Bling
I like the medal okay.  It is heavy and has a cool skyline pic but I think it could be so much better.  Maybe a big peach or something with a little local flair.  Just a thought.

Publix GA 1/2 Marathon Bling
 Green Shirt is Race Tech Tee, I bought the yellow cotton one 

And, I would do the race again.  In fact, I already am.  I registered this morning with 50% off (one perk to having to get up for traffic court) and only paid $35 (including fees) for next year.  I’m such a sucker for a deal.

Looking forward to beating 1:51:32 in March 2012!

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