Hotlanta Half Marathon

“The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart”

IMG_5518I have learned in the last few months that I can do anything I set my mind to. This includes running 13 hilly miles through downtown Atlanta in June. The Hotlanta half marathon was my 4th half marathon since January of this year. This half is by far my favorite I have ran so far. Something about running in a big city brings out the energy in me. Maybe it’s the atmosphere of 1500 people from different parts of the country that come to run a half marathon, or maybe it’s the scenery that comes along with the race. Whatever it may be, one thing is for sure, I love running races in Atlanta. As we all know some parts of the big ATL are run down, filthy, and you don’t want to venture off in the wrong direction kinda town. However, ATL offers some awesome landmarks to take in as you are making your way around the city. Since I’m not the fastest girl on the block, I enjoy sightseeing on my runs.

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Let me take you along my 13 mile run today! The starting line began in front of the World of Coke/ Georgia Aquarium past Centennial Park. I was told at the start of the race, to be prepared for lots of hills. Mile 1 proved it to be true, with a small hill to start off with. I made it up this hill but my legs were burning. At the top of the hill we passed by the new Mercedes Benz Stadium. Have y’all seen this stadium? Its super cool! I can’t wait to check it out. After this, we ran past the Capital. Around mile 3-4 we ran around Turner Field back under the 1996 Olympic arch. Here, I met up with some Chick-Fil-A cows and of course had to stop for a selfie.

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The course took us along the Atlanta Beltline and I must say I was impressed. It was flat, smooth and had super cool looking restaurants along the way. The beltline is where I smelled BBQ cooking and it immediately made me want to stop and eat. From here, we ran in to Piedmont Park and around the loop back out to the city. Piedmont Park is really pretty and a great place for a Saturday picnic or Sunday morning run. Mile 10-11 was spent running around the Georgia Tech campus. I am in no way a yellow jacket but I will admit they have a nice campus and football stadium. Mile 12 I was done and pretty much walked the entire thing. I’m pretty sure there were at least 3 hills along mile 12. The finish was again at the World of Coke and happened to be a downhill finish which I enjoyed. I finished in 2:54:40 and received an awesome finisher’s medal. Check it out, it was huge!

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This race has made it to my list of races for next year. Huge props to the Atlanta police who were on every street corner helping to keep us safe.

The next race in Atlanta will be the Peachtree Road Race. I am really looking forward to it! I already have my red, white, and blue outfit picked out!

Next weekend, I am going to attempt to run a race in Gainesville. I’m sure by next Saturday I will be mostly recovered and ready to hit the road.

 

 

Let’s Run A Dam Race or Two

Saturday’s races were a lot of fun. How many people can say they have ran over the Lake Hartwell Dam or ran a 5K through foam?! Not too many people can say that. We started the morning out at Lake Hartwell for the yearly 5K that runs over the dam. It’s actually the only time of the year they let people across it. This race buses runners from Georgia over to South Carolina where you then run back to Georgia.  The course is flat and one of the larger races we run during the year. The crazy Georgia weather brought some chill and wind to the race. Having to fight against the wind was tough. It slowed me down because I was using most of my energy to push against the wind. If it had not been so windy I could have probably had a better time. I still finished with a great time of 32:48. Lately, it’s less about getting a certain clock time and more about just enjoying the race. The Hartwell race is by far one of my favorite races of the year.

I had to leave right after the Hartwell 5K to get to Lake Lanier for the 5K Foam Fest. I was still a little late getting to the Foam Fest because I didn’t clearly realize the time it would take to get there. I also had to make a stop to pick up a few folks along the way. We were supposed to be in the 11:45 corral but they were nice and let us in to the 12:00 corral. The start was full of foam and I did every obstacle after that with ease. There were short walls to climb over, a cargo net to climb over and some spider webs to crawl through. There was also three mud pits to crawl through. I’m the kind of girl that likes mud so those were fun. I slipped and fell in to one mud pit and got mud all in my nose. Only I can manage something like that. There were three water foam slides which were a blast. The first one I ran so hard that I hit the water headfirst and got the breath knocked out of me because it was so cold. We had to get in part of the lake to get over some tubes floating in the water. Those were fun, you basically just had to get over them the best way you could. My favorite obstacle by far was the huge waterslide at the end. It was a rush coming down that big slide. I wanted to do it again once I hit the water. Overall, this obstacle race was not hard at all, just lots of fun. I could have ran the whole thing again. I actually wanted to do it again when I got to the finish line. At the finish, we received a medal and a beach towel. I like that they handed out beach towels instead of t-shirts. This race is on my list for next year.

Next weekend, we have a 5K and 10K back to back. This past week we registered for the 2018 Disney Princess Half Marathon and 5K at Disney World. I have not stopped talking about it. I have already decided on the characters I plan to dress up as. We have a lot of neat stuff coming up within the next year that I am looking forward to. There is no slowing down now, we are just getting started!

Chick-Fil-A Half Marathon

If you had asked me a little over a year ago, if I was going to run a half marathon, I would have laughed and said there’s no way. Fast forward a year, and I have completed 3 half marathons. My first half marathon was supposed to be this one, the Chick-fil-A Half in Athens. However, I decided to run one at the spur of the moment in January. From there I was hooked and ran my second one a month later. I learned people do not run races because they are easy, they run because it feels amazing to finish something you set out to do. Crossing the finish line at a half is an overwhelming experience mixed with exhaustion and excitement.

As usual, the anticipation took over the night before and I barely slept a wink. I was ready to run. For the first time, I was excited to walk to the start line for the Chick-fil-A half. The atmosphere was different at this race then my previous two. A lot more people and a lot more energy filled the start line. The really cool thing about this race, was it was run along all the familiar streets here in the Classic City. We started the race in downtown Athens and ran past the famous arch. From there we ran along the Greenway and back out towards UGA. We ran right past Sanford Stadium, where Hairy Dawg was out cheering us on. Go Dawgs! At this point, we already hit a few hills but why stop with a few when the whole course can be rolling hills. Athens is famous for killer hills and every runner in Georgia knows this to be true. At mile 6, I was still making good time despite the hills but that quickly disappeared in the next 7 miles. We made our way to Five Points which is my favorite area in Athens. The houses are super cute and the restaurants are vibrant. Mile 10 we hit Milledge Ave (Sorority Row) and ran all the way down to Prince Ave. Coming up on mile 12, I could barely go anymore. My legs were extremely tired/heavy and I just wanted it to end. I crossed the finish line in 2:51:13, and was happy with that. The hills really took it out of me not to mention it was pretty warm. The course ended up being 13.5 miles. At the finish line, we got a really awesome medal and a chicken biscuit. I am a Chick-fil-A lover so anytime I can run and get a chicken biscuit after makes for a great run.

I had several friends that came out to run and support us. It’s always nice to have friends come out, it makes the whole morning that much better.

Check out our awesome picture above with the Chick-fil-A cows! I turn in to a kid when I see something like this, I automatically have to have a picture taken.

This weekend we have a race Friday night at 10 PM in Athens. (We are crazy like that). Then Saturday morning we are running a 5K on the East Side of Athens.

Suwanee Half Marathon

The power of a run is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t matter where you finish or where you place, it only matters that you are doing it. I have been working extremely hard lately. I train 4 days a week and run several races during the course of a weekend. I think it’s safe to say all of my hard work is starting to pay off. All the determination inside of me, came out in today’s Swanee half marathon. Since this is my second half, I did set a goal. The goal was to beat my first half marathon time. Well I came, I saw and I conquered. Let’s start from the beginning. I assumed at the starting line, the nerves would set in and I would start worrying about all the miles ahead. The nerves never came and I felt great starting the race. My first mile was a nine minute mile. I was very confident at the start, so I gave it all I had in the first few miles. After mile 1, we hit the first little incline which didn’t slow me down. I made it to almost mile 4 before having to walk another hill. There was an awesome down hill going in to mile 5 so I gained some time running down it. It was steep going down so I was able to sprint down easily. We all know the saying that if you go down a hill, you must then go up a hill. The hill right before mile 5 almost stopped me in my tracks. It took all I had to push up it. There was a park sign at this point that said smile, you are on camera- this area is under video surveillance at all times. They got an eye roll instead of a smile. I was not having it going up that hill. Once I got up it, we entered the greenway which was mostly flat for the next two miles. The only bad thing about the greenway was the boardwalks we had to run on. I was thinking, please don’t let me trip on a loose board that is sticking up. Trust me, I would be the first to trip and fall flat on my face. One of the boardwalks on the greenway swayed and I thought to myself either this boardwalk is moving or I am getting dizzy. It was the boardwalk and not me about to fall out. Finally we got back out on a major road and once again mile 8 was a steady incline. Let’s talk about the hill at mile 9. I can’t tell you on my blog page, what was going through my mind, but I will say it wasn’t nice thoughts. I had just taken some energy gel so the hill wasn’t as bad as mile 5 but it was longer. Coming back down was good because I gained some time. Mile 10 was a steady downhill back to the greenway.  We stayed on the greenway until 12.5 and then went up behind the town park to finish. Going in to the finish, there was another hill but I had enough energy to run pretty fast on in. I like to make a final grand entrance in to finish lines! I finished in 2:38:20 with chip time!

I knocked 15 MINUTES off from my first half time in January. I was so excited to see that. Overall the course wasn’t terrible but I did not like the boardwalks or hills. They did have super awesome medals and a towel they gave at the finish.

Next up, I am running two 5K’s back to back on Saturday. Running the Brave Run in the morning and the USSSA ice 5K in the afternoon. I hope to see all my friends there! Missed running with everyone this weekend!

Thanks for following my journey! Happy Running!

(My friends first half marathon and he killed it)

My First Half Marathon

“It’s about conquering the distance. Not beating the clock”.-unknown

January 14, 2017, I ran my first half marathon. It was my moment to shine, my moment to prove to myself that I could do 13.1 miles. If you would have asked me back in 2012 if I would run a half marathon, I would have looked at you like you were crazy. There was no way I was going to ever do anything over 3 miles. I used to say I can barely do 3 miles much less a half. Fast forward 6 years and I am now a half marathoner.

Pre race jitters: 

Leading up to the start of the half, I got really nervous. I started thinking about the miles ahead of me. I started thinking about whether I was prepared enough. Did I eat enough food? Did I drink enough water? I wondered if my legs would hold up under the pressure. All these thoughts were going through my mind, and then we reached the start.

Heading to the start

My Half Recap: 

Once I got to the start, I put my headphones in, turned on music and forgot about the miles ahead. I started off with a very slow run. I was told not to take off like a rocket at the beginning of a half. I ran the first 2.5 miles at a nice easy pace. I reached 3 miles in about the time it takes me to run a 5K. Was only about a minute off from holding back from pushing myself to hard. Right around 4 miles, my right leg started cramping. I thought to myself how many 5K’s have I ran and never had my leg to start cramping. Why now? I kept on running, only hoping it didn’t get worse. It finally went away and I continued on through mile 6. At mile 6, I was still feeling pretty good. By mile 8, my feet began to hurt but I still managed a selfie smile!

Mile 8

Mile 8 is when I began feeling pretty weak. I wanted something to give me some more energy. It was hot out and I started feeling a little lightheaded. Therefore I made sure to make use of every water/Gatorade station I came up on. I still managed a slow run at mile 8 and 9. Mile 10 is where the hill on the course got me. I seriously wanted to stop when I saw the hill. I walked it and walked the rest of 10 and 11. I had no energy, nothing left. However, I did manage to keep a smile the entire race. I guess it was the feeling of accomplishing a big task that left me feeling excited the entire way.

Mile 10

Coming up on mile 12, my legs and feet were hurting so bad. At this point, I was determined to make the best of it. I started a slow run once I saw Dad coming back. First thing out of my mouth was everything hurts!! A family friend came back after me as well and they ran the last mile with me. Not going to lie, I struggled and I kept saying I just want it to end. The finish seemed like it was never going to appear. That last mile felt like it was the longest mile of the entire race. I guess I was focused on all the hurt that it felt longer then it really was. With a lot of determination I ran in to the finish. I was determined to run no matter what in to the finish line. I crossed the finish line in 2:53. I was happy with the time. I had no goals for the half other then to finish but I was glad to see that I did beat 3 hours. My RQ racing crew (Mom, sis and our family friend) was standing at the finish line with water and gatorade to hand my way. They are always there taking pictures, and holding all my stuff. Couldn’t do all of this without them.

Crossing the finish line was a great feeling. I accomplished something I never thought I would accomplish. The power of a run is an amazing thing. It’s when you finally realize that you are capable of so much more then you ever thought possible. It’s realizing that it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish something, but it’s the finishing that counts. It’s the hard work that is put in between the start and the finish lines. It’s when you think you have nothing left to give, that if you look a little deeper, you have so much more left inside of you. It’s realizing you run just as much with your heart as you do your legs. It’s discovering the power of friendship, encouragement and support. Thank you to everyone who has supported me along this journey. I was so overwhelmed by all the encouraging messages I received. It means so much to me!

I am now hooked on running half marathons. My next half will be at the end of February. Next Sunday, I will be running the Hot Chocolate in Atlanta. Happy running and thanks for reading my blog!