Good Evening everyone! Hope you are enjoying this weekend. I just returned from completing my second half marathon in a week; Run at the Mill in Dalton, GA (sponsored by Run for God). There is so much to tell, so let’s get started!
This race wasn’t only my second half marathon; it also served as a “graduation race” for the Run For God 10K/Half Marathon Challenge course we just completed. We have been training since early January and even though I already ran my first half last week, I was excited with the rest of my group since today was their big day and first 10K/Half Marathon race.
Our race took place at Prater’s Mill near Dalton, GA about a 3 hour drive from Middle Georgia (to date, this is the farthest I have traveled for a race). It also happens to be the first race where I ran in the country. The area was beautiful. Here are some pictures of Prater’s Mill:
Since this was my second half, I set a goal of busting my previous time: 2:08:53. I’ll be honest, I felt like I had my work cut out for me. Last week, I didn’t care what time I finished it in; now I had to set a new half marathon PR!
The Half Marathon race started at 7 am, so we got to Prater’s Mill at about 6:15. I’ll admit, when the alarm went off at 5:15, I didn’t want to get up! When we got there, there was a morning fog and the temperature was a comfortable 53 degrees. We just hung around and waited for the race to start. After the National Anthem and prayer, we took a pre-race photo:
We gathered at the starting line and before you know it, we were off. I did what I did at my last half: ran at a comfortable pace and didn’t pay attention to my running app. I really wished I could take pictures while I was running; the country side was beautiful with quaint homes, open fields, and farms. Even though we were running out in the middle of nowhere, we saw some families who out bright and early to cheer us on. One of the weirdest things I have never experienced was how spread out we were. There were several times where I was by myself with a runner or two ahead of me or behind me. The course was very challenging. Like my last half, there were many hills however it seemed to be rolling hills. One hill after another. At mile 7, we came to part of the course where we ran down the road about a mile and turned around. What was neat about this part was we seen runners who were coming back. We started to give thumbs up and compliments to the other runners who had a faster pace. I saw two of my group runners and I made a point to high five them. During this part, I had a burst of energy and picked up the pace a little probably because of the encouragement I got from complete strangers. When I turned around, I did the same thing for the runners that were behind me and I made sure I high fived my team mates. I believe it was at mile 10 where a runner who was running his first half ran beside me and wished me the best. I told him this was my second half and my goal was to set a new PR. He was like “You are doing great: your pace is 9:23“. I was saying in my head “NOOOOO. I didn’t want to know my pace!!!!” Well since I knew my pace, I figured out I was on target to PR. Mile 11. Mile 12. Mile 12 was a beast!! There was a big hill climb. I caught up with one of my team mates and I was pushing her that we were almost home. Near the finish line, it was downhill. Now the road leading up to the finish line was gravel so I was concerned about tripping and falling over. I didn’t care; I bolted for it. As I came around the corner, people were cheering me on and they announced my name, hometown and completion time as I raced for the finish line. I was fortunate to have a young friend to record on video this special moment and I wished I could upload the video here!
Well my second half marathon came to a close. My race time: 2:04:29!!!! I SHAVED 4 Minutes and 24 seconds from my half one week ago! I am used to shaving seconds not minutes when setting a new PR!!! Yes! I did it. I was concerned about running two half marathons back to back a week apart and I am so glad that I took the challenge and succeeded. I got my race medal and joined the crowd in welcoming everyone across the finish line especially my team mates. One unique feature about any of the Run for God races is that the awards ceremony doesn’t start until the LAST runner crosses the finish line. The last two runners (whom I believe drove all the way from Michigan) came in and the crowd went into a roar. A group of young kids who are training for a triathlon ran with the two ladies as they crossed the finish line. They may have been last, but in my book they are still winners!
During the awards ceremony, I had to sit down because my back was killing me! After the race concluded, we left and met with some other runners at Cracker Barrel for lunch. Trust me I was hungry; I cleared my plate in 10 minutes! After sitting in the car for a while, my back didn’t cause me any more issues.
Yes I am very proud of myself for what I achieved and very proud of my team mates for what they accomplished today. I consider the Run For God group my family. They have encouraged and supported me not only in my running but also when I was facing a challenge in my life. Even though this class maybe over, I hope to run with my RFG friends in the near future. I am also excited about starting two my challenges on my goals list: train for the Run for God Triathlon in July and begin training for my first full marathon this coming November. I am so excited that I am going to start training for it next week!
Thanks for reading about my 2nd half marathon. Again, I am pleased to what I have achieved and this wouldn’t have been possible without the support of my running friends but most of all God! Happy running and hope to talk to you again soon!