When I found out I was finally going to be back in Mobile the same weekend as the Azalea Trail Run I was so excited. This is Mobile’s big race of the year. Since running wasn’t my thing growing up, I never actually participated in the race. One thing I did know going into it…it would be FLAT and FAST. So I set big goals for myself to see what I could do.
I picked up my packet with John (my best friend’s husband) on Friday afternoon. There was actually a race expo and I ran into 2 friends just in the few minutes I was there. I love being home!
Saturday morning I was up early. Ezekiel bread, almond butter, coffee, Nuun. I was nervous. I have no idea why I was so anxious about a 10K but my stomach was a mess. I wanted to get downtown early to hopefully calm my nerves.
I drove downtown and parked and ran into Mindy. I love this girl! She gave me a pep talk and her vote of confidence and it was just what I needed.
I started to do my warmup mile and was able to meet up with John to run with him a bit and then line up.For it being such a big race, I was surprised they didn’t try and line people up according to pace. Only thing was elites in the front. So the kenyans moved their way up.
A prayer, the Star Spangled Banner, and we were off! I was moving so fast, taking pictures wasn’t an option, so I’m borrowing Mindy’s…there was a Mardi Gras float with kids cheering a little ways down before the first turn.
Two turns in and we settled on Dauphin Street and I knew I had a few miles before the next turn so I enjoyed the views. I truly do love my hometown. The big oaks, the old homes and lots of people out cheering make for a very fun race (I saw 4 different people cheering that I knew while I was running).
At mile two I was already sweating buckets. It was humid. I made sure to get water at every aid station to be safe.
It’s not much of a hill compared to what I am used to, but I was told that once we hit the turn on Florida Street it was all downhill and easy. One part of the course (Old Government) has pretty crappy roads but I knew what to expect and knew we would only be on it for a short period of time.
Mile 1, 2, 3: 6:59, 7:10, 7:11 (oops, went out way too fast!)
I made the last turn onto Government Street and knew it was a straight shot to the finish. I was struggling to breathe but didn’t want to slow down. I kept my eye on one girl most of the race with a Running Wild (local running store) singlet on. We played cat and mouse for most of the race but I wanted to keep up with her.
With a little over a mile left, the 5K merged with the 10K. For my second 10K in a row, I was yelling at people. I almost ran over 2 different kids and several adults. I was annoyed. And then the side stitch happened. I refused to let it get the best of me and did my best to breathe slow and deep. I was running and grabbing my side and didn’t want to give up.
I was in shock when I saw the finish line.
I had hoped for something in the 45:xx range, but had no idea I was capable of a 44:41 (official time).
Females 30-34: 4/175
The race pics give you an idea of how I felt.
I found John, and he beat his goal too! There wasn’t a lot of food options, so I grabbed my banana and water and went inside to the post race party.There was a a chiropractor there doing ART and my hip felt pretty tight so I figured may as well wait while I hang out for the results of the race. It was AMAZING! My hip released immediately. I usually don’t drink after a race (not in the mood) but considering there wasn’t anything for me to eat and I could use a few calories I grabbed a beer.
I ran into the girl I was chasing (Angela) and she said she was doing the same thing with me. We ended up chatting for quite a bit and next time I come home I may try and run with her.
A good 3 hours after the race, they finally decided to do the awards. I was starving. But, ecstatic to see that I placed 4th in my AG! They do the awards based on gun time, not chip time. Angela technically (chip time) finished in a better time than me, but got 5th.
I love that the award is a medal with a running azalea on it. I also love that they award 10 deep in each AG.
The shirt is huge. I didn’t realize they were unisex and it swallows me. I will never be able to wear it and they didn’t have any left to exchange.I enjoyed this race…however, the race has so much potential to be even better. I wish that they would add some things to the perks and tradition. This is Mobile’s big race. I’m pretty sure it’s bigger than the 1/2 marathon in January. There were a lot of out of towners (seriously, even buses with a tailgate) and it’s a great way to show off the city.
The Azalea Trail maids (notice pic at top of post with big antebellum dresses) were all over the course cheering, but I didn’t see any at the finish line. They are a huge part of the city of Mobile tradition and that would’ve made for a nice post race option (instead there were inmates directing people out of the finisher chute. YES, INMATES from PRISON).
Work on the post race food, awards, and photographers. Have more options to eat other than a banana and donuts. ESPECIALLY if you have a post race party. And please, speed up the awards process or get a better race timing system. Nothing should take 3 hours to figure out when some races have instant results. There is not a single picture of me running. I was really bummed. I would’ve spent the money to have a picture from this race.
I hope that doesn’t sound too harsh. I love running at home, and just know the cities potential and want to show it off. All in all, I will always love this race because I feel like it was/is a turning point in my running. Things are starting to click. Yes, the course was flat and fast and I knew it was going to be the perfect race to see what I was really made of. I gave it my all and could not be happier with my results. I would absolutely do this race every year if I was at home and would recommend it!
Do you live in your hometown? If not, do you go back and visit to do any of your favorite local races? What’s your favorite local race? Would you travel for a fast and flat 10K?