Hello, fellow runners! I hope everyone is having a great weekend. Last night, I completed my 8th half marathon: Area 13.1 aka Alien Half. This is the first half I ran in the evening. The location of this race was in Roswell, GA (get the joke..lol) about a 2 hours drive from where I live.
I originally signed up for this race because it lined up perfectly with my marathon training plan. Plans have changed since my last blog post. There will be a half marathon called the Soldiers Empowerment Group Assisting Military Individuals (SEGAMI) that will be held on Veteran’s Day. Some of my friends from my local running group have expressed interest in training for this race. Instead of training for the Rock n Roll Savannah Marathon and lead the group training for the half at the same time, I decided to sacrifice my 3rd Marathon to focus on leading the group training for the half. We officially kick off training in a little over a week and I am very excited and humbled to be part of their journey. I am by no means a running expert but I can share my experiences that have made me successful in the past 4 years.
Yesterday was a LONG day. I got up at 5 am to meet up with some friends for a 6 mile sunrise run. The temperature was around 77 degrees and it was a beautiful morning for a run. I am proud of one for my friends because this run was the longest distance she ran since her injury a couple of months ago.
I left home early afternoon to grab a bite to eat then head up to Roswell. I left a little early because traffic in the Atlanta metro area is so unpredictable. I managed to get to the race on time with plenty of time to spare.
The temperature at the start of the race was 90 degrees. My goal was to complete the race regardless of the finish time. In other words, this race was for FUN. Wasn’t going to kill myself attempting to get a PR.
The race started a little after 7 pm. The route was along the Chattahoochee River. The course had a little bit of everything: pavement, sidewalks, an elevated wooden path, and about 1 mile of dirt trails. This was my second half that was in the country.
According to the race website, the course was relatively flat was one small hill at mile 7. I don’t think so!
They call that a small hill?? Are you kidding me?? That hill was a challenge. I was joking around that the race organizers should have stated that Devil’s Tower from Close Encounter’s of the Third Kind was part of the course. All kidding aside, this is a reason why I am a firm believer that hill training should be incorporated at least once a week. I was able to conquer this “mountain” with no issues while I noticed other runners struggling or walking.
Around 8:30 pm, the sun set and it was dark. Also, the number of runners started to thin out. Some parts of the route back to the finish line was lighted by street or portable generator lighting but it was dark for the most part. I wore a headlamp that I purchased from Amazon but it wasn’t bright enough. For the last 3-4 miles I tried to slow it down a bit because I didn’t want to end up tripping. For some reason, the last 2-3 miles seemed like an eternity. But eventually, I made it to the finish line. I survived the alien invasion and didn’t get abducted. I received my finishers medal, a cold towel, and some Gatorade. I was very thirsty because I chugged it down in 40 seconds.
My official time was 2:03:18. The only problem is that according to my Garmin, the course was 12.77 miles long. If the course was around 13.1, my time would have been in the neighborhood of 2:06. Regardless, my time was still faster than my first half marathon from April 2014 where my time was 2:08:53. This is my 5th fastest half time. Overall I was the 186 person to finish out of 648 and placed 23 out of 51 in my age division. Not bad for a “fun” half marathon.
Prior to the start of the race, my running friends were advising me to be careful, pace myself, and not overdo it. I think I shocked them because to them my pace was still pretty quick for this distance. Apparently, I do not know the definition of taking it easy..lol. I basically go with the flow and let my body determine the pace. My feet were hurting a little after the race but today I feel great.
After the race, I grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed back home. I got in about 30 minutes after midnight. After being up for 20 hours, running a total of 18 miles, and being on the road for 4 hours, I was exhausted. But it was all worth it.
Well, that’s about it. Can’t wait till our half marathon training starts the last week of August. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Thanks for reading and happy running!