I am still laughing when I think about the race on Sunday – the Hotlanta Half which I will forever think of as the “Hot“lanta Half. While I specifically signed up for this race to torture myself for 13.1 miles in oppressive heat (and seriously, I was looking forward to this!!) and I did indeed get a weather extreme to challenge myself with, it was NOT the meteorological feat I was planning for. No, far from it. But let’s roll it back a little.
In my next post I’ll share my non-race portion adventures in Atlanta and today I’ll focus on the race itself. While I went to Atlanta on my own, I certainly wasn’t there by myself. For the Saturday night dinner, pre-race fueling, I had the pleasure of dining with some fellow-runners I have met through Twitter!
I know some people like to have pasta the night before a race, but for me, I just need to make sure I eat ENOUGH of whatever – sometimes it’s chicken fajitas and other times it’s chicken wings! For Atlanta, I chose this:
Then it was back to the hotel (Luis and Russ & Nancy and I were all staying at the Hilton) to try and get some sleep.
Alarm went off at 4:50, got up, ate some breakfast, got into my race gear, and watched some TV…at 6am, I went down to the lobby and met up with Luis and Russ & Nancy (Nancy was not running but was an official cheerer!),
We walked to the start line (10 minutes from the hotel) and anxiously waited for the start of the race!
Kristy and I are about the same speed and we had talked about our expectations for this race. On my part, I haven’t been training for a PR and with the heat and the (relentless) rolling hills on the course, I had no intention of pushing myself at all. Kristy had been thinking the same thing until she got to the start line, turned to me and said, “Yeah, I woke up this morning and decided that I’m just going to run as fast as I can today”. I laughed and said, “Ok, you have fun! I have no desire to do that and (nodding to the pace team near us) I’m going to hang out with the 1:45 guys and enjoy the race!”
At 7am, the gun went off and we started moving…about 600m into the race I turned to Kristy and said, “Um, yeah, I’m kinda really hot” – she agreed! The pic below is me with a look of my face that tells me I’m REALLY hot and not very far into the race! lol
Kristy left the group just after the first mile and I continued happily with the 1:45 pace team, cruising along at a very comfortable pace – something I have never done before in a race and feel like I should try again! The guy leading the pace team was awesome! He would point out various landmarks and explain their history and significance in Atlanta and because I wasn’t at a serious race pace , I could listen and actually ask questions!
And you know what else?? While this was the course’s elevation…
…and I was convinced I was going to be suffering. Did you know that if you don’t try and run hills at an uncomfortable pace (e.g. race pace, training workout pace) they’re not that bad!! I actually enjoyed the ups and downs – they made it more interesting! OMG. Did I really just say that???
There is a fairly wicked hill just after mile 10 that they place timing mats at the bottom and at the top of and have a “King of the Hill” competition within the race! Cool, right? I placed 48th out of over 1000 runners in that – I guess Hellish Hill Tuesdays with the team actually help! lol
So anyway, I’m happily running along, sweating like crazy when suddenly, at around mile 6.5, the most insane thunder and lightening storm hits bringing with it torrential rain and flash flooding. This was taken by Luis – we both agree that it doesn’t even begin to really show what it was like out there:
There were times when I was running through water above my ankles. I have never been so wet in my life – I thought my shorts were going to fall off at one point because they were so heavy with water.
The rivers I was running through brought grit into my shoes and some found its way in between my sock and the back of my heel…tearing the skin apart. And you know what else? I was cold. Yes, running the Hotlanta Half Marathon I was COLD. That can only happen when a Canadian runs it, right??
On we slogged. For me, almost 6 miles, until finally, I crossed the finish line in 1:43 (and hilariously enough, 3rd in my age category). I picked up my medal – the biggest one I have ever received – (they are going to mail out the age group awards – I think the weather canceled the awards ceremony after the race)…
…I had a quick chat with Kristy (who finished 1:41 – not her fastest), said goodbye to Nancy (who had found shelter and was waiting for Russ) and walked back to my hotel – in the rain. I actually felt bad walking into the hotel because I was DRIPPING WET (my shoes are STILL wet).
I mentally settled myself from the race, showered and then met up with Luis to do some touring just as the sun was coming out and the temperature was headed back towards the frying zone. Classic.
I flew back yesterday (with no flight delays – I think that’s a first!!!) and today woke up with the plan to run but when I (tried to) put my running shoes on, the cuts on my heels SHRIEKED in pain. Sigh. Soooo, there was no way I was going to have got up at 5am for nothing, so I switched things up at a bit and did a barefoot strength workout:
5 min warm-up on the TM