This past weekend, I ran the Publix Georgia Half Marathon here in Atlanta. One of my running goals for 2016 was to add some more races in Atlanta, and I had heard great things about this particular race.
I had originally planned on hitting up the expo on Saturday so that I could attend the #werunsocial meet up. However, due to some scheduling conflicts, I ended up heading down to the Georgia World Congress Center (expo location) on Friday during lunch. One of the nice things about living so close to MARTA is I could ride down to the expo/race in about 20 minutes and not worry about finding somewhere to park in the city.
I was very pleased with how easy it was to pick up my race number and shirt. Everything was very well marked and staffed. There were quite a few booths, including one for the Atlanta Track Club, where I picked up a new running hat! I spent about 30 minutes at the expo before making my way back up to Brookhaven.
Saturday was a super laidback day for me. We went up to visit our friends Katie and Kevin for their daughter Kaylee’s 1st birthday party. They live about 45 minutes to an hour north of the city. We loved getting to see them and celebrate Kaylee’s birthday. They are some of our favorite people! After the party we grabbed some pasta for dinner before calling it an early night. My alarm was set for 4:30 am the next morning.
The next morning, I was up early and ready to roll. The weather was quite chilly, so I took an extra layer. I took MARTA down to Centennial Olympic Park, where the race start was located. The MARTA trains were running every 20 minutes so I aimed to get to the station by 5:30, which would give me plenty of time.
Once I got to Centennial Olympic Park, I ran into Brandi and her mom standing in line for the bathroom! It was awesome to see them, as I wasn’t able to hit up the #werunsocial meet up the day before. I ended up hanging with them for a bit and meeting some awesome new Atlanta runners.
We all got in our corrals around 6:50 and the race started right at 7:00 am. I was in corral C, but the corrals were going every 3-4 minutes so I was off in no time. It was definitely chilly, but the wind made it feel even colder. Thus, not having to wait very long in the corrals was super nice.
The goal for the race was to have a good time and take in the sights of Atlanta. My right knee had been bothering me a little bit recently, so I knew I couldn’t push it too much. I figured around a 10 minute per mile pace would be safe. Plus, Atlanta is quite a hilly city and this course was no exception.
The first few miles were nice and easy. We started through Five Points and Georgia State University before making our way through Midtown. Some of my favorite parts of Atlanta are on this course. The next several miles go through Inman Park and Little Five Points and into Virginia Highlands. Once you get to mile 9, you come into Piedmont Park and the toughest part of the course. It’s a pretty steady incline for the next 2 miles as you head towards Georgia Tech. Fortunately, since the sun was shining and the crowd support was strong, this part flew by.
After Georgia Tech, we made our way back towards the finish line. I finished with a little slower pace that I had originally hoped for, but in fairness I had to stop 2 different times for the bathroom. I guess I had too much water that morning! But with 2 different stops, my knee not at 100% and quite a few hills, I’ll take my 2:17:18 finish time.
I picked up my medal (which is seriously one of my favorite race medals), Powerade, water, chocolate milk and runner’s box before grabbing a quick finisher’s picture and heading back to MARTA.
All in all, it was a fantastic race! I loved running through my city and meeting so many amazing runners. The weather (once the sun came out) was just about perfect and the medal and shirt are excellent. I definitely plan on doing this race again next year, and hopefully can convince Rachel to do it with me too!