In addition to driving the expo together, Tina and I decided to drive to the race together too. In previous years, I’ve taken MARTA (the subway) but since we had brunch plans after the race, it would have taken too long to take MARTA back to my car and then drive back downtown to the restaurant. We left my house at 5:30 in order to make sure we had enough time to get downtown, park and meet Lindsay at 6:30.
We managed to meet up with Lindsay right away and the three of us stood around for a minute, taking in the crowds before we split up to go into our respective corrals (they were in Corral B, I was in Corral I.) Oddly enough since there were 18,000 people running, I ran into a co-worker as soon as I stepped into my corral. We chatted for a little bit and then the race began.
I didn’t know what this race was going to be like for me. I didn’t train as well as I could have. I did all my long runs, but I kind of slacked off when it came to the shorter runs. My training plan had me running four times a week and I often skipped one of the days. There’s no rhyme or reason to why I did that; I just did.
I was kind of hoping for a miracle, but here’s a spoiler: that didn’t happen. The first couple of miles were fine. Mile 3 was difficult but I remembered it being difficult in previous years and I kept reminding myself of that. From Miles 4-8, I felt pretty good, except that I was getting some stomach cramps. The weather was unseasonably warm and I was worried about getting dehydrated so I kept gulping down Gatorade which was not a wise move.
In previous years, Mile 9 had the runners going through Piedmont Park but this year, we ran down Monroe and up 10th street instead which was a bummer. One because it’s fun to run in the park and two because 10th street is like all uphill. I was not feeling this race at all at this point. However, I knew that Laura was going to be spectating and I was looking forward to seeing her. If you’re not a runner, you might not know this, but seeing a familiar face on the sideline of a race course when you’re feeling tired, sick of running and questioning your sanity, really helps a ton. Thanks so much Laura! She stopped and took a picture of me. I think I look happy because I was glad that I could stop running for a second.
The last three miles of this race are pretty cruel. The race is hilly as a whole, but the last three, especially Miles 10 and 11 are pretty bad. My legs just felt like they couldn’t do it, so I did what I didn’t want to do; I took some walk breaks. Before I got to Mile 10ish, I was on target for running a 2:15 race, but my walking obviously slowed me down a lot. I didn’t care though. I just could not push through. By the last mile, I knew that a 2:20 race wasn’t feasible either. Even so, I decided to push myself and run the last mile with no walk breaks. My legs felt like they were moving in slow motion, but I didn’t walk.
I crossed the finish line with a chip time of 2:27 something. Definitely nowhere near a PR (PR is 2:14) but I’ve done worse. After the race, I found my friends and Lindsay was nice enough to let Tina and I shower in her hotel room. After we were de-stinkified, we met up at Stone Soup, a restaurant in Grant Park. And by we, I mean me, Tina, Laura, Lindsay, Lindsay’s husband Travis, Lindsay and Travis’ daughter Clara, Heather and Heather’s husband Kirk (who ran the race too).
This restaurant was a great choice. There were several vegans/vegetarians in the group and there were tons of choices on the menu for everyone. Plus, we got to sit outside in a cute little patio and they were able to accommodate our group of 7 (well, 8 including Clara) with no problem.
I had the tofu scramble, which was good but needed some salt. It was fun to sit around and chat with everyone although by the end of the meal, I was fading fast and really was craving my bed!
And like that, Sunday night came to an end and so did half-marathon training.