If I could summarize this race in one word, it would be HILLS! Not the hot chocolate, the hot fondue, the delicious finisher's mug, and not even the kick ass hoodie we got as part of our goodie bag. HILLS!
This was my first race in Atlanta and I didn't even look at the elevation map nor research this race like I normally do with others. I figured it was one of those fun themed races and that I would just go with the flow. Well, it is definitely a fun themed race, but the route had some rolling hills that this Savannahian is definitely not accustomed to. Every turn and we were running up another hill...and more damn hills. I guess this is good practice since I'll be running the Austin marathon in a few weeks and I've been warned that the hills are a-plenty. Even with all the hills, I enjoyed the race route. We ran past some pretty areas - Grant Park, Inman Park, Central Park, and some redeveloped neighborhoods that were really nice. All the volunteers and police officers working the route were super supportive and cheered us on as we ran past them. It was nice to see residents come out and chant us on too!
First race road trip of the year! The race was held on Sunday, Jan. 26 so I left on Saturday morning and carpooled up to Atlanta with my Team In Training (TNT) pals - Larry & Wesley Wilson and Helen Anderson. I enjoy the friendships that have blossomed out of TNT and love that we are continuing to run races together. I love it!
Getting to the expo was a bit ridiculous with the heinous traffic and the lack of signage within the facility. We had to pick up our packets at the Georgia World Congress Center, which was also hosting a cheer competition, as well as a Mattie B concert (yeah, we had to Google him. He's apparently a YouTube sensation and is a mini Bieber). It was nuts. However, with all those people in the crowd, I still happened to run into one of my sister's best friends since childhood who moved to Atlanta last year. Crazy!
We got our packets, our awesome hoodies, and grabbed a complimentary marshmallow dipped in hot fondue and made our way to Wesley's brother's (Foster) house. His 10-year old daughter, Callie, was TNT Savannah Chapter's Honored Hero for 2013. Their family was kind enough to host us for the night and feed us. After dinner and playing a few games, we hit the sheets. Before I went to bed, I checked the Weather Channel and the forecast read clear skies, but cold - the temps in the low 20s. So, we braced ourselves the next morning and bundled up to run in the frigid cold. I did not want to get out of that warm bed! Since we purchased a parking pass at Turner Field, we had to arrive by 6:30 AM. The 5K started at 7:40 and 15K started at 8:25. Wesley, her brother, and nephew ran the 5K. While they ran, Larry, Helen, and I sat in the heated car. We met up with them minutes before the 15K started so we could hand over the car keys. No use for them standing in the cold while they waited for us to finish.
There were so many runners and we couldn't get into our corral (K) so we ended up running in Corral L. Races always start fairly slow when there are so many runners. I kept a nice steady pace taking in the sights of Atlanta. Around mile 7.5, I had it with the hills and pushed myself to run faster so I could get it over with. My fastest mile (mile 8) was done in 8:40 and I sprinted strong through the finish.
Overall, I enjoyed the race and thought it was well organized. There were over 30,000 runners, volunteers, and spectators. Wow!
It was a short, fun trip with great friends and I'm looking forward to our next race this weekend - Tybee Critz Half Marathon!
The weather forecast was looking pretty dreary for race day, but to be honest, I was actually looking forward to it. The temperature was supposed to rise up in the mid 70s and if it was anything like last year, I was praying for rain! I checked the Weather Channel the day before the race only to see images of black thunderstorm clouds with threatening lightning flashes. Yikes!
What a tease! Turns out, there were no wrestling matches with Thor. Although the sun never made its appearance, it never rained (not for me anyways). It was a cloudy foggy morning with a cool damp bite to the air. The gusty winds were pretty strong at times and made the run challenging, but I would take this weather over the heat and humidity any day.
I was really looking forward to running with my Team in Training folks for this race. We met up at Ft. Pulaski and walked over to the mass gathering of runners. I love and crave the excitement in the air on race day. I love seeing all the familiar faces and catching up with my fellow runner friends. Everyone is so encouraging. I even ran into an old band mate that I hadn't seen in a while!
This year, I was better trained and ran with friends. It made the run much more enjoyable. We all fed off each other's energy and offered support. The course changed from last year due to the severe erosion of the trail - which is the reason for this race. The proceeds benefit restoring the McQueens Island Trail. Even though we didn't get to run that much on the actual McQueens Island trail, I didn't mind the course change at all. We ran a 5.2-mile loop on grass, pavement, and oyster bed trail three times for the 25K.
We're so spoiled by the beautiful scenery in Savannah. Even with the dreary weather, the sights were gorgeous. Once the fog dissipated, the views of the marshes and the historic fort made for a beautiful run. I even saw a dolphin as we crossed the bridge! I'm pretty sure he was cheering us on!
I have to say I felt strong running this one - a major improvement from last year! I didn't feel any aches or pains and didn't feel beat at all. I shaved off 9 minutes from last year's time. All in all, I felt better physically and mentally. My Garmin clocked it at 15.9 miles at 2:40:34.
Kudos to the race organizers for putting on a successful race once again! There were all kinds of obstacles in putting this race together - from the altered course and unexpected fees to the weather threat. I'd like to commend all of the volunteers also. They did a wonderful job taking care of us - making sure we were hydrated and fueled and offering moral support along the way. I'm looking forward to next year's race!
I just read an article about how Americans are turning into wimps when it comes to cold weather. I am most definitely a wimp! It was freezing to me and I couldn't believe I'd forgotten my gloves! Brrrr!! My husband, Michael, and brother-in-law, Noah, ran this with me too. I love it when my family runs races with me! It makes me all giddy! Michael's working on incorporating more cardio into his workouts rather than just lifting weights alone. I'm happy he's actually wanting to run these races with me (but now shit's going to start getting expensive). I also signed up for this race because it's part of the series for the Lucky 13 Challenge. 1 point - check! 1 race out of 13 - check!
If you've never been out to Bethesda, you really must. Founded in 1740, it is a gorgeous 650+ acre campus lined with beautiful majestic oak trees. I used to confuse it all the time with Wormsloe. With gorgeous scenic views, we chose this area to have our family photos taken 2 years ago. The race benefited The Women's Board of Bethesda. Their purpose is to enrich and improve the lives of the boys at Bethesda. It began as an orphanage in its commencement for boys, but now operates as a private boys' school. It has a rich history, as does much of Savannah, and is on the US National Register of Historic Places. And so now you know...boom!
Now on to the race - My hands felt like ice blocks! I kept looking at them to see if I was suffering from frostbite. I need my hands to eat. I need my hands to wipe my butt. Yes, a little dramatic, but concerns that ran through my mind. My eyes would not stop watering and my nose was just a dripping faucet. I had this terrible thought that a photographer would snap a photo of me blowing snot bubbles out of my nose (when I wasn't thinking about frostbitten hands)! Now that's talent - and I'm exaggerating folks...although that would be cool. I would totally make that my Facebook picture. I digress.
We ran on a little pavement, but mostly on trails littered with land mines composed of dried mounds of cow poo. Another big fear was to trip and land smack into the middle of one of these cow dung obstacles. Luckily, that didn't happen either. However, it would've made for a great story! I heard a cow "moo" us on and the ladies at Bethesda cheered and made some awesome signs for us!
Overall, it was a great run! I love seeing familiar faces in the running community. I felt great after the run. It's strange, but I'm starting to feel this competitiveness rising out of me. It's screaming faster! Faster! This lil annoying voice gets to me every time and I don't know how to block it out. Part of me struggles with wanting to give it everything I've got and part of me is like - dude, relax. You almost dipped your Mizunos in cow shit. I'm curious to see how my next few runs go and if I'll have to fight these demons in my head.
Another cool thing about the race is that they had a board for runners to write out our new year's resolutions. Just as I walked up to it, a lady had just finished writing, "Yell Less. Run More." I was stupefied. I was totally going to write the same thing - verbatim. I wanted to reach out to her and scream "jinks" or "twinsies", but for fear of being looked upon as crazy, I did neither. So instead I wrote, "Travel more. Run those destinations." And I plan on it.
Click here for the cool video they put together of the race. Michael's in it!
A new year is here which means new beginnings and new goals. We're going to do big things in 2014, right?! With that said, I'd like to summarize 2013 in which many significant events happened for me. Since this blog is solely focused on my running, I'll only recap my race activities. So...get ready, set, GO!!!
In addition to running more races in 2013, I joined running groups - Savannah Striders, Moms Run This Town, and Team In Training. I love them all and it has definitely made a difference in my running. My race calendar for 2014 is already filling up fast and I just signed up with Fleet Feet's Mile Markers! Looks like I'm off to the races again and I'm looking forward to what 2014 brings!!
If you look up the idiom "on-the-run", it means to constantly travel or moving from place to place. Welcome to my life! I get asked the question - "Do you ever sleep?" at least once a week. The truth is - I am always on the run. My weeks are filled with work, training runs, dropping kids off to school and extra curricular activities, traveling out-of-town for races and soccer games, theatre rehearsals, civic duties - you name it. In addition to being an avid runner, I'm a happily married wife, mother of two, an actress, singer, a Fleet Feet CREW coach, and work full time as the Marketing Manager for Thomas & Hutton Engineering Co. I love being on the run!