Well, my second half marathon is in the books, and what a great race it was. When I think back over the few races I’ve done, this one definitely takes the cake for most fun which is a little weird considering the comparison between Disney World and Albany, Georgia (if that even is a comparison).
The weekend kicked off with a road trip from Athens with one of my best friends, Chelsea, and after the three hour trek, I met up with my mom while Chelsea headed further south to Bainbridge. Since it was a Saturday race day, we had several last minute things to pick up before carb-loading, heading to the hotel, and calling it an early night, so we headed to Target to grab some bagels and more importantly, fingernail polish remover (I could not bring myself to run with red nails). We followed up with a typical Olive Garden pasta meal for dinner; you just can’t go wrong with alfredo sauce and chicken.
The alarms came at a not so bright but early 5:00 am, but of course race day nerves and jitters kicked in so we were up pretty quickly. Plus, something about knowing a bagel (or any type of breakfast) is waiting gets me out of bed.
Getting to the start line was easy as pie, especially compared to other races, so we had time to use a real bathroom and hang out in the host hotel lobby to stay warm. It was pretty chilly; but for me, the cooler the better, so I was pretty happy. I started in a running tank and shorts and was perfectly fine, but there were lots of other runners looking comfortable in running tights and long sleeves.
The race started at 7:00 am, and by this point I was pretty nervous because my farthest run during training had only been 8 miles. Needless to say, I didn’t even know if my legs were capable of going a whole 5 more, but I was hoping to stay mentally focused enough to push through (They aren’t lying when they say it’s mostly mental).
Around mile 5 I started eating Honey Stinger Lime-Ade chews, and the joys of getting to eat a yummy snack plus the boost of sugar and caffeine really helped push me through. We ran through the cutest neighborhoods, and there were volunteer groups all along the route cheering us on. Until about mile 10, I was feeling good, but between 10 and 11, I started to feel my lack of training more mileage. Luckily the downhill last leg and my motivation to finish under 2:10 helped keep my energy up, and once I saw the finish line, I was able to slightly pick up the pace.
If you’re looking for a smaller race (less than 2,000 runners) that’s pretty fast and flat, I would highly recommend running Albany. There is a half marathon and a full, and it’s a Boston Qualifier. There you go! A fun race morning wrapped up with a satisfying lunch at the Mellow Mushroom and a relaxing afternoon spent at home with my family.
Of the races you’ve done, which one has been your favorite?