This race was not on my schedule but some friends were doing it and invited me to join them. I thought it would be a nice way to start the holiday, so I signed up for it this past Saturday and no, my coach is not aware of this decision. In my defense, my schedule said 6 miles yesterday and 8 miles this weekend. I just combined them for Thanksgiving. 😀
All my gear was set up the night before. The weather was supposed to be mid 30’s, I decided for shorts and long sleeves. I tried something new and decided to run with a small handheld bottle. The race started at 7:30, but due to road closures, they advised to get there at 6 am.
I woke up at 5:25, got ready and left. I had breakfast while driving: bagel with cream cheese and orange juice. Then, waited inside the car for a long time. Bathroom stop before the start. Weather was about 35F and very windy. (What’s up with windy races lately?!?). Good thing of getting there early is getting a good parking spot. I was super close to the start and was able to stay in the car till very last minute.
Running downtown Atlanta is always a bit hilly. I research the course a little bit and noticed that some parts of the course overlap with my favorite half in Atlanta (Publix, happens every year in March). The elevation chart looked okay, but then again, I never pay too much attention to those not to get intimidated by the course. The truth is I definitely should pay close attention to them and plan around those hills.
My nutrition was spot on. No GI issues, the strategy was 1 shot block at every mile with water. It felt great, it really did. For the first half of the course, I ran “kind of naked”. (Running naked means without your gps watch or heart monitor). I did have my garmin but I had a internal dialogue and decided to see how long it would take me to check it. I was running by effort only. It took me 5 miles to check it. And those first 6.5 miles were probably my fastest split for a half ever. I was impressed and happy. But then, I am not quite sure if it was the watch or the hills, but my pace slowed down a bit. I started the war in my head and kept pushing. It is hard to tell what hold me back from keeping the pace, next time I might go naked.
Despite, the slower pace towards the end, I am pretty happy with the result, especially because I did not run one single 10 min/mile (my easy pace). Even when I stopped for a quick stop for a sip of water on mile 12. PR on the books – 2:02:11. Atlanta Half Marathon was a fun way to kick off Thanksgiving celebrations but Publix Half still has my favorite hills.
Did you race today? How was it? Happy Thanksgiving!