Publix GA 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Half Marathon #17

12 in 2012 race #4
6th Georgia Race 
3rd Publix GA 1/2 Marathon

Friday/Saturday Pre-Race
The beauty of a home town race…I took MARTA (our public transportation system) to the race expo on Friday afternoon.  I picked up our bib numbers (yes, nice race that lets you pick up someone elses stuff so I got P’s too) and shirts and proceeded to peruse the aisles while I waited to meet Suzanne.  
I shouldn’t be allowed to go to expos alone.  I bought new Chicabands, a RUNATL shirt, and 5 tubes of nuun.  I also got to see Owen, who I met back in Park City, for a brief moment.  He was working the Thunder Road booth.
I met up with Suzanne and got to meet Jenny (love finding new blogs).   We enjoyed free samples of chobani yogurt and a free coconut water (which I had never tried).  We hung out for a bit before I headed home.
Saturday P and I had a great brunch and relaxed watching some basketball while all of Atlanta partied for St. Patty’s Day right down the street from my house.  
Carb loading at its best
We went to dinner at Ecco, which was amazing, but I forgot to take pics.  I loved my pasta dish!  We had free tickets to see Billy Elliot at the Fox Theater and enjoyed our night-even though it meant a late bedtime.  We came home and set out our race stuff and it was time for bed.
Pre-Race
A 5:30am wakeup call came early after a night of not-so-great sleep.  Our plan was to leave for the MARTA station by 6.  It took about 10-15 minutes for the train to get to us and it was 6:30-6:35 before we even made it to the start.  We dropped our bag and bag check and headed to find a restroom.  Last year the Embassy Suites was my hidden secret bathroom…sadly, everyone was there this year.  I couldn’t find a bathroom that didn’t have a huge line so I decided to “hold it” and hope for the best.  We hopped in our corral with about 5 minutes to spare.  We ran into many of my TNT friends, including Julie and Ryan, who were running the full.  

a blurry start
Miles 1-8
It didn’t seem like the corrals were spread out very well, but I was enjoying catching up with Julie.  Ryan was running with P right behind us.  Both guys were already soaked by mile 2.  It was going to be a hot one.  I heard someone say, “Go team sparkle” and realized it was Jenny!  How random to see her out on the course in such a huge crowd.  We ran from the start at Centennial Olympic Park towards midtown and back out towards Inman Park.  I loved running through Inman Park and into Little Five Points-there are some beautiful homes and the flowers are in full bloom already.  We definitely had our fair share of hills along the way-but this was my third time running the course so I knew what to expect.  
The first few miles went by really fast.  It honestly felt like a training run-I was running with all of my friends and at a great conversation pace.  We stopped to walk the water stops to make sure the guys were hydrating enough. 
I knew we would see more TNT peeps out cheering because they were in charge of the water stop at Little Five Points.  The next part of the race was going to be a bit tough-a hill up towards my neighborhood, the Virginia Highlands.  I made sure P ate his jelly beans and I ate my GU-I knew we would need our energy.  This is also where we would split off from the marathoners.  It was just me and P the rest of the race.
Miles 9-13.1
The course was a little different than previous years because of structural damage to a bridge leading into Piedmont Park-so instead of running through it, we ran around it.  The hill by the park was a bit more obvious at this point.  P’s calf was cramping pretty bad and we had to stop and stretch it a few times.  I realized I should’ve grabbed salt for him from a TNT coach because, looking back, I think he was really dehydrated.

i love this one!

We ran up into through midtown, towards GA Tech.  Home stretch.  GA Tech always has a huge cheer station and I knew we had this one last hill and we were on to the last mile.  P seemed discouraged by his time and how he felt but I kept telling him this is a really, really challenging course and to look around-tons of walkers-and he wasn’t one of them.  He was still running.

We turned the corner onto Marietta Street and I figured I should get a few action shots.

all smiles!
Note to self: do not make scary smile and please learn to take pics of yourself.

There were signs counting down the last mile, not sure if I like that or not, but still kinda cool to see.

notice sign to the left…do you want to know when 3/4, 1/2, and 1/4 miles are left?

P said he was starting to feel dehydrated.  I jokingly said, “Oh, that’s good” but he sadly thought I was for real. 🙁 I pointed out the last turn to the finish line and knew he could do it.  Final push and I was excited to cross hand in hand!

Official Results

love this one too!

Garmin Results

As you can see, this course is no cake walk.

Post Race
It was quite congested trying to get to the food tents this year.  They changed the format and the only thing you got post race was water and chocolate milk.  You then had to push through the crowd (runners and non runners) to get back into Centennial Olympic Park to get to the food tent.  The bags were pre-made full of goodies…apparently last year people were hoarding the “grocery aisle” style post race and taking more than they should and marathoners were left with nothing.

I will admit, I was slightly disappointed the only healthy option was the banana and pretzels.  I mean, I love cookies and chocolate, I just expected more after last year.

We stretched for a bit, grabbed starbucks, and headed back to MARTA.  We met up with some friends for a post race burger back in our hood.  Post race burger and beer turned into one-more-bar-because-it-is-so-nice-outside-and-we-must-find-a-patio to finishing at 5pm.  Yep.  Stayed in my running clothes all day and quite possibly drank back every calorie burned.  oops.  🙂  A very, very fun day.

Overall
Favs:
running with P
seeing so many friends on course and cheering
volunteers
cheer stations
course (don’t mind the hills, love the neighborhoods)
cost (signed up a year ago with the blitz and paid less than $30)

Not so Much:
congestion on course (why don’t races stick to corrals? if you are going to make them, hold them)
post race food
the shirt

The Bling
Shirt is womens cut but it is UGLY.  When ING did the race they were really cool.  It has so much potential too.  I like the medal okay.  It’s better than last years for sure.  I just wish they would leave out the skyline and make it one big peach.  Would be much cooler.  I do like that this year it has glitter in it 🙂

why footprints?  so terrible.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this race and will continue to do it every year I can.  It’s too convenient not to run it.  I recommend this race for those racing the states because of the cost (fyi-currently 20% off through Friday for next year), time of year, and the course.  Yes, it is tough.  But it is really in the prettiest parts of Atlanta.  I also think Atlanta is easier and cheaper to get to than Savannah (if you were thinking about RNR Savannah).

I loved, loved, loved running the entire race with P.  I somehow have been able to let go of my obsession with time.  And you know what?  This was one of the most fun races for me.  I honestly felt great after- it didn’t even feel like I ran a 1/2 marathon.  Perfect Big Sur training run.

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Elizabeth

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