2017 Publix Georgia Half Marathon Recap

Two weekends ago, Rachel and I ran the 2017 Publix Georgia Half Marathon in Atlanta. It was my second straight year running this particular race, and the first time for Rachel. I was excited to have Rachel with me this year, as last year’s race was one of my favorite races of 2016. Plus, this was Rachel’s first half marathon in Georgia!

The weekend started out on Friday as I made my way down (using MARTA) to the expo, which was being held at the Omni Hotel at the CNN Center for. I ended up going to pick up shirts and race numbers for Rachel and me. The expo this year was quite a bit smaller than last year’s. Not sure why, but it felt like half the number of booths and size from the year before. 

After grabbing our numbers/shirts, I walked around for a few minutes and actually ended up buying a couple of nice Atlanta Track Club pullovers for both of us for a great price. By the time I got back home, I think I had been gone less than 90 minutes, and that includes spending most of it on MARTA.

Anyways…since the race was on Sunday, Rachel and I took it easy on Saturday. Grabbed a little pasta for lunch and watched a lot of the NCAA basketball tournament. That night, we celebrated Rachel’s brother’s birthday with her family. It was a great night seeing them and honestly eating way too much food before a long run the following day.

The next morning came very early. We were up and out the door right before 5:30am. We took MARTA down to Centennial Olympic Park, where the race begins and ends. It was actually quite chilly that morning. I brought an old pullover that I tossed off at the beginning of the race. And after waiting around in the cold before the race, I was freezing and very happy I decided to bring an extra layer.

We ended up running into our running friend, Brandi, in the corral. It’s always good to see her for a few minutes. Before long, we were off.

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Now this particular course, like a lot of Atlanta, is very hilly. I knew this going in, since I ran it last year. I tried to prepare Rachel the best I could. But sometimes you just have to experience it for yourself.

Our plan was to enjoy running together and try not to push it too much. This race takes you through so many awesome parts of Atlanta. And once our bodies got moving, the cooler weather actually helped a bunch. 

I was very pleased with our pace during the race. Even when we got to Piedmont Park, which is around mile 9, I was feeling good. Now, Piedmont Park to around Georgia Tech (which is miles 9.5 to 12) is mostly uphill. It’s pretty brutal to deal with an uphill climb at the end of a race after you’ve been running for 9+ miles. But honestly, I was so proud of Rachel. She knocked it out with me! 

We finished in what I thought was a great time, especially with the hills. And crossing the finish line of another half marathon is such a joy to do with her.

We picked up our medals, along with quite a bit of extra goodies (runner’s box, water, Powerade, and chocolate milk) and made our way back to MARTA to head home.

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It was another successful half marathon and Rachel’s first half marathon in Atlanta! I’m trying to convince her to run another half marathon with me in late April in Chatsworth, GA called the Tear Drop. Apparently it’s one of the fastest half marathon courses in Georgia. I’m hoping to get close to my personal record for a half again! So…we will see! Until next time…

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Taking Some “Me Time”

This blog has been a source of great joy for me the past 18 months. It has allowed me to share a lot of my thoughts on different things, such as Disney, running, pop culture, Disney, family, life in general and more Disney.

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Over the past week, I’ve intentionally taken some time off from the blog. No particular reason except to allow myself some “Allen Time.” I’ve found myself, over the past few months, trying to be sure that I have blogged enough each week/month. I’m realizing that having a certain number of blog posts each month is not as important as making sure I’m blogging about what I truly care about.

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So my blog will continue onward! But some weeks there might be more posts, and other weeks there might be none. And that’s ok with me! I actually have several things that I want to share over the next few posts, including the Georgia Publix Half Marathon Recap from last weekend, Allen’s recent running journey, new and exciting changes in my job role, and upcoming TV shows I’m looking forward to.
Stay tuned!

Friday Favorites

Welcome to yet another edition of Friday Favorites, where I take a look at some awesome things in my world.

Apple AirPods I remember when Apple released these wireless earphones back in the fall. I was pretty skeptical. But after reading quite a few positive reviews from different runners back in late January, I decided to give them a try. The only problem was they were on a 6 week backorder! Well, I decided to order them and wait. And they finally arrived this past Monday. I am absolutely loving them so far. They sound fantastic and look and feel great, too! I’ve been using them a bunch over the past few days with no issues at all. I haven’t gotten in a run with them quite yet, but hope to next week.

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Johannesburg Starbucks “You Are Here” Mug Our friend Naama, who lives in South Africa with her husband Jon, was visiting Atlanta last week and crashed with us for several nights. Naama knows how much I love Starbucks and brought me a Starbucks “You Are Here” mug from Johannesburg. It was a wonderful surprise! I’m happy to add it to my collection.

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Duke Basketball ACC Tournament Champions As you may know, I’ve been a Duke Basketball fan for almost 30 years. It’s been a great run as a Duke fan over the years. Last weekend, Duke won their 20th overall ACC Tournament Title, including 14 since I’ve been a fan of the Duke Blue Devils. They are a 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Looking forward to March Madness!

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Spotify Premium After using the free version of Spotify for a good 6 years, Rachel and I finally upgraded to the Premium family version. It’s been a long time coming!

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Guest Post: Princess Half Marathon Weekend Part 3

(The wife is taking over the blog today for part 3 of our trip to Disney for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend.)

To know me, is to know that I am not a morning person. I take forever to wake up, and have absolutely no patience for shenanigans before I’ve had caffeine.

If you know anything about runDisney, you know their races begin ridiculously early – some as early as 5:00 am. It makes sense, since Disney wants runners out of the park (specifically Magic Kingdom) before non-running guests begin arriving.

And that’s where our story begins: Allen and I woke up at 3:00 am the morning of the Disney Princess Half Marathon. Our plan was to wake up, eat a bite, get ready, and pick up the complimentary shuttle from the Caribbean Beach Resort.

Without getting into too much excruciating detail, transportation on the morning of the race was insane (it sounds like our experience was not unique, unfortunately). Long story short, our bus stop being the last in the resort, coupled with insane traffic, did not make for a great start to race morning (remember earlier when I mentioned my intolerance of early morning shenanigans?).

Luckily, I quite enjoy not having to wait in the corral for hours, so I forgave and forgot and we began the long journey to the starting line.

Allen and I both ended up in Corral F, which meant we started around 15 minutes after the race start. Neither one of us had a specific time goal in mind, so we decided to take it easy and enjoy!

We have participated in several runDisney races thus far, but this one was unique in many ways: the runners comprised around 90% women, which is about the same percentage of runners who wore a costume (SO many princess costumes, y’all). The route is the same as the half marathon in January, but it felt like maybe this one had a few more character stops along the way (although there were too few actual princesses, IMHO).

Because the lines for the character stops were a bit long, we just snapped some photos along the way (free PhotoPass access with our annual passes is everything) and had fun! Sadly, my iPod died around mile two, so I just kind of hung out and took in the sights and sounds (or, if I’m being honest, people watching).

Our sweet friends, Nick and Ciara, cheered us on in Epcot toward the end of the race, and then we were done! And now we have super cute Beauty and the Beast–themed medals!

We cleaned up and decided to celebrate at Magic Kingdom. (How else does one celebrate post–runDisney race?) Our friends from California, AJ and Ivie, were also planning to celebrate at MK, so we decided to hang with them for a little while before heading home.

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The weather was fantastic, and we enjoyed a few hours in the park before going home. Unfortunately, we both had to work on Monday, so the late departure was necessary – although I don’t recommend staying up for 22 hours…ever. Period.

All in all, the race was great, the princess/Beauty and the Beast theme was fun, and we had a great time with some wonderful friends. However, the parks seemed a little more crowded than usual, despite there being fewer runners than, say, in January. And we completely lucked out with fantastic weather (at least on race day).

While I don’t anticipate us running another Princess Half Marathon in the near future, I can truly say I had a great time running with my prince.

Princess Half Marathon Weekend Part 2

Continuing with our recap of the Princess Half Marathon weekend… (Check out part one here.) 

On Saturday morning, Nick (one of our gracious hosts) ended up making a wonderful breakfast for us. It was so good! And also a good way to kick off eating before the race. After spending a little more time with them, we made our way over to the Caribbean Beach Resort, where we would be staying for the rest of our trip. 

Once we checked in, we grabbed one of the Disney buses and made our way over to the Magic Kingdom for a couple of hours. We had several Fast Passes, so we hit up a few rides and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

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Selfie with Cinderella’s Castle

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Peter Pan’s Flight

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It’s A Small World

A little before 1pm, we started making our way over to the Polynesian Resort for the #WeRunSocial meet-up. I was super excited to see several of my favorite running friends. 

AJ and Ivie (who live in California) made it over for the weekend. AJ has become an awesome friend as evidenced by the picture below. Plus getting to see Dani, Kara, as well as Brandi and her mom Karen made for an awesome meet-up!

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So good to see my friend AJ!

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AJ was running in the Glass Slipper Challenge (10K and Half Marathon back to back days)

We had a great time seeing everyone and eating some awesome donuts provided by Remi’s Minis. I seriously love this group of people!

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The #WeRunSocial crew

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Donuts!!

After the meet-up, we hit up the monorail and made our way back over to the Magic Kingdom for a little longer, before making our way back to the resort. We cleaned up a bit and made our way to meet up with our friends, Chris and Meredith, for dinner. They had made reservations at this cool Italian place called Vincenzo’s. It was excellent! Love me some pasta the day before a long race! Plus, we got to meet several of Chris and Meredith’s friends, who joined us for dinner. 

Once dinner was over, we called it an early night since we had a very early wakeup the night day. But not before walking over to the shopping/dining area of the resort so we could check out the famous “Pin Board” that is only open from 7:30-8:00pm every night. It was massive!

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Seriously this pin board was huge!

Stay tuned for the final part of the weekend, when Rachel takes over the blog to recap race day!

Princess Half Marathon Weekend Part 1

A couple of weekends ago, Rachel and I headed down to Disney for the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Last year, when we originally planned this race, it was only going to be Rachel running the race. I had decided to go down to support her while spending the weekend enjoying the parks and friends. However, when the WDW Half Marathon in January was cancelled due to weather, I decided to find a race number and join the fun!

With our work schedules (especially mine) being a little crazy recently, we knew we would have to make this a quicker trip than normal. We decided to leave after work on Thursday afternoon and snag a hotel in Valdosta, which is over halfway to Orlando. 

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Even with leaving during rush hour, we were able to navigate through the traffic with minor delays. After grabbing dinner along the way, we made it to our hotel with enough time to get into the room and fall asleep.

The next morning, we got off plenty early so we could get down to Disney before lunchtime. Our plan was to drop our luggage off at our friends Nick and Ciara’s place, before grabbing a quick bite to eat.

Then we were off to the expo to pick up our race numbers and shirts. We decided to knock this out a day early as to avoid the craziness of Saturday’s expo. This proved to be the right call, as the expo was not very crowded and allowed for a super laid-back experience.

After spending a few hours at the expo walking around the different vendors and running into a few friends, we made our way over to Epcot for the afternoon. Epcot had a pretty decent crowd, but honestly, we mainly wanted to walk around and hit up a few rides. We ended up getting a Fast Pass for the new Frozen ride in Norway, which had a massive 100-minute wait, so that was huge.

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We ended up running into a former student of mine from Lawrenceville UMC days and his girlfriend, so that was a nice surprise for us. 

Later we hit up Disney Springs, where we met up with Nick and Ciara and our friends Chris and Meredith (and their daughter Caroline) for dinner at Blaze Pizza. After walking around for a little while, we called it a night and made our way back over to Nick and Ciara’s for the night.

Stay tuned for Part Two, which includes the #WeRunSocial meet-up, hitting up the Magic Kingdom, dinner at Vincenzo’s and staying on property at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

Friday Favorites

  • Girl Scout Cookies: Tagalongs and Thin Mints are my jam. I love them. We picked up several boxes from some of the Girl Scouts at my church this week. I’m going to have to run a little extra this month…

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  • Lululemon T.H.E. Shorts: As you may have figured from previous blog posts, I love Lululemon. I have several pieces in my running rotation, including the T.H.E Shorts. These shorts are perfect for running and have some great colors. I picked up another pair (on sale no less) last week. They are awesome!

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  • Peachtree Road Race: Last year, I ran my first Peachtree Road Race on July 4th. The PRR is the world’s largest 10K (~60,000 people). It starts at the Lenox Mall area and ends at Piedmont Park. The course runs almost exclusively down Peachtree Street. As an Atlanta Track Club member, I have guaranteed admission to this race. I was able to register yesterday! I’m looking forward to running again for the second straight year!
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Peachtree Road Race 10K

  • My Life Back: Two major parts of my job have come to a conclusion this week. First is our Winter Youth Basketball, which involved quite a few weeknights and weekends. Secondly, our summer camp website and brochure went live yesterday. Both of these take quite a bit of time and planning, but are officially done! I am very much looking forward to having a little more chill March and April, before the craziness of May and the summer begin.