Field: Between the full, half, and 5k~10,000-12,000
Spectators: A couple of neighborhoods have a strong showing every year, as well as a few bands on the course and some very energetic water stops.
Start/Finish: Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta
Course: A hilly tour of some of the city's neighborhoods and parks.
Schwag: Dri-fit shirt and medal
Other: The races starts and ends in Centennial Park, home of the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke, CNN, Georgia Dome, and Phillips Arena. Tons to see and do in the area if you are coming from out of town.
At the Expo to pick up my packet because I'm not a bandit. Just a Waldo.This was my fourth running of the Georgia Half Marathon and once again, it was different from all the rest. Going into this year's race, I knew speed wasn't going to be a factor as I was still recovering from a foot infection and untimely head cold in the week leading up to the race. The race is a fun tour of Atlanta, showcasing some of the most interesting neighborhoods, parks, and hills the city has to offer. This year, I was looking for another way to enjoy it. To take the pressure off and bring some extra fun into the race, I decided to run with a little extra style.
Where's EB?Race morning arrived and I had some pre-race jitters. I typically don't get nervous before half marathons anymore because it's my favorite and most run distance. This time, with so much up in the air and having not run in 3 weeks, I was nervous about how I would feel throughout the race and if I would make it to the finish. It's not the flattest race in the world and the hills can really be punishing if you haven't trained well. Luckily, I had just read Captain Speedypant's post about running downhill, so I was ready, at least to go downhill.
The hills are alive in the ATL. Source.I met up with Jen at the start for a quick "Hello" while we waited for the gun, which really helped take my mind off the race. I met Jen at 26.2 with Donna last month and it was great to see here again!
With @HelloFitnessJen pre-raceThe race itself went well. I started towards the back in an effort to start out slow, but I was a little concerned that I was working too hard at mile 3 because I was a little too hot and sweaty. Luckily the temps started to drop around mile 5 as we were heading into Little Five Points, a funky, offbeat neighborhood where one of my friends always cheers. Both items were aptly timed (along with the race provided Jelly Bean stop a mile later) to help me feel like I might actually make it through the race. Part of what I love about this race is how it showcases the city. You start and end in Centennial Olympic park, home of many major Atlanta land marks (The Georgia Aquarium and Georgia Dome, just to name two) and pass through many of the neighborhoods that make Atlanta unique (Little Five Points, Old Fourth Ward, the Virginia-Highlands, etc).
Half Marathon route is in orange. Source.Coming out of the Highlands and into Piedmont park, the wind began to pick up. The morning's forecast had been for 60% chance of showers and I was determined to bring in it before it got too bad. As I left the park, I passed by Baton Bob out cheering in all his glory. Definitely a fun sight and the amusement I needed as I was working my way up more hills. After that, we crossed through downtown (where I took my second Island Boost of the day at mile 10), ran by GA Tech, and on to the long finishing mile (it's straight down one road). With about 0.75 miles out, we passed by the last live singer, a gentleman who was more than a little excited to find Waldo. I finished in 2:11:50, right on my 10 min/mile goal pace.
I really like the shirt this year even if it's my 3rd orange shirt in the past year.Running as Waldo (or Wilma as the female character was named) was a lot of fun. It was the perfect way to take the pressure off and make new friends, while wearing a perfectly runnable costume. I was "Found" several hundred times during the race by other runners, fans, volunteers, PA announcers, and eager musicians, and only mis-identified a few times as the Cat in the Hat (at least it was another children's book?). Even on the train home, a duo looked at each other and said "There she is again!" I guess I kept popping up throughout their race and they think it will be rather funny when people "Find' me in their race photos.
They included landmarks and neighborhoods that you run through on the ribbon.Overall, another great running of the Georgia Publix Half. I am very happy that I decided to participate and that my body recovered in enough time for me to be there. I've already taken advantage of the registration blitz for 2015. Who knows what I'll do for my 5th year to make it different!