So, did I live up to the name I selected for my Georgia Half Marathon bib?
After a 4:15 wake-up call on Sunday morning, Mom and I scooped up our pals Danielle, who was running the Luckie 5k, and her fiance Josh, who was running his first half. We parked in the GWCC Red Deck and, along with many other runners, took advantage of GWCC’s indoor bathrooms and ample heated space to stretch it all out.
We headed to Corral K around 6:40, snapping one last group photo before we all took off.
Mile 1 – 4
At 7:10 a.m., it was go time! I lost my mom immediately when her music wouldn’t start and she stopped to fix it – big bummer. I ran alongside Josh for first mile or so before we split apart. This part of the course reminded me of the Hot Chocolate 5k, especially as we ran through Georgia State’s campus. We ran over the Jackson Street Bridge around Mile 3 just as the sun was starting to come up, and the view was beautiful! I didn’t stop and take a photo, but I kind of wish I had. Next time!
Mile 5 – 8
In between Mile 4 and 5, we ran past The Trolley Barn where Mitch and I got married, so I slowed to take some very blurry & sweaty/foggy photos, most of which were of the ground. Luckily this one sort of turned out.
After that, I ran with the biggest, nerdiest smile on my face. My hips were feeling great, but I really started to feel that discomfort in my left knee around Mile 6, especially going down the hill near the Carter Center. There was no GU on the course for half-marathoners (bringing my own next time), so I choked down some jelly beans and chugged along, enjoying the cheering spectators while trying not to think about my knee. The marathoners split off towards Decatur, and we headed towards Va-Hi and Piedmont Park.
Mile 9 – 13.1
Right before Mile 9, husband and my dad were waiting for us on the bridge at Piedmont Park with amazing homemade signs. I love this picture Mitch took of my dad greeting my mom – Sunday was their wedding anniversary!
Seeing Mitch and my dad’s faces was just the encouragement I needed to forget about my knee pain, which was in full force at this point (so much for that KT tape); instead, I tried to focus on tackling the super hilly last few miles of the course. After passing Bobby Dodd Stadium around Mile 11, Danielle came jogging onto the course to say hi before darting off to the finish line. Shortly after she popped up, I noticed Josh’s brother, Jake, who attends Tech, running alongside me. It was so nice to see familiar faces when I was struggling the most. Jake ran with me for a bit to snap some photos and keep me company before running off to meet up with my husband at the finish line. I was very happy about this.
The Last Mile Struggle was so very real. A guy on the sidelines yelled out “You’re almost there! It’s all downhill from here!” and bless his heart, my immediate reaction was to nearly punch him; it was not downhill, nor was I almost there. By the time we reached the 1/2 mile to go marker, I tried ignore the sweet, sweet sounds of Ke$sha singing about dying young and kept mentally repeating, “Do not stop. Do not stop. Do not stop!” until my feet crossed the finish line.
0:1:36 faster than my first half marathon!
The minutes after I crossed the finish line were a blur; there are some wonderful, flattering-as-always MarathonFotos that illustrate my best “WTF did I just do” face. I vaguely remember being medaled, grabbing my water and chocolate milk, and heading towards the finisher photo line. After taking my finisher photo, I caught up with the rest of the gang. The hi-fives were plentiful.
After taking a bunch of post-race photos, we hobbled over to pick up our prepackaged Publix participant bags that were filled with treats.
We slowly made our way back to the parking garage. I know it’s smarta but dang, I was so glad we did not take MARTA; it felt so good to sit down once we reached the car. The first thing my mom did, however, was bust out her brand new 13.1 magnet.
The next order of business was obviously food. After a torturous 30 minute wait at The Flying Biscuit, we finally ate a well-deserved brunch. Two words: oatmeal pancakes. Okay, and coffee…annnnd cheese grits.
Overall, I had a lot of fun running the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, despite that left knee pain flaring up; I’m wondering if I should try the full knee-support KT Tape, instead of just the patellar taping. Had I hoped for a faster time? Definitely, but beating my previous time was always my main goal; whether or not it was by a minute or by 15 minutes did not matter when it was all said and done. The race was well-organized, the crowd support was awesome, the course went through a bunch of unique neighborhoods and Atlanta landmarks, and the medal and t-shirt are fabulous! I would definitely run it again next year.
Next up? The Georgia Warrior Dash!