Saturday was St. Patrick's Day. I've lived in Charlotte for five years. Three St. Patty's days I've spent here in Charlotte and they are probably 3 of my top 5 favorite celebrations here. The two I spent away were spent in Atlanta, running. Last year was my full marathon, this year the half. I really miss the all day celebration. I decided I needed to get out and have a little fun so I headed to Piedmont Park with my brother and his fiance to meet my BFF Lauren. There were people everywhere. I really wanted to be a part of it: drink all day and night long, but after a few beers I decided to call it a day. I contemplated missing the race, but I had all these people who knew I was doing it! What would I tell them? I don't want to look like a quitter. Then I realized I shouldn't really care about what others think, but what I think, and I think I've never skipped a race before, and I'm not about to start. So, I went home, had a good dinner, and got some sleep.
I made sure to set out my clothes the night before. I forgot a lot, but remembered just enough.
Why I chose to wear cropped tights I'll never know. This race was HOT. Probably the hottest half I've ever run, next to Nashville in 2008. Even before the sun was up, it was hot. I thought, "I may just have to run in my sports bra," which I have literally never done. Fortunately, the trees and shade through the Atlanta neighborhood brought about a decent amount of shade. I ran with my iPod, which I haven't done in forever. Sometimes I would pause it to listen to the sounds of the race, but it was nice to have. I forgot my Garmin watch and my Honey Stingers! I was really not prepared. I knew it would be hot, and probably slow since I've only been running twice a week, so I wasn't out to set any records. My first mile was really slow. I never start out slow, but the first couple miles of the race were pretty packed in with people, and this made it hotter. So I just decided to not push through the crowds this time.
I saw my dad at mile 2 (he is the BEST for taking me to the race bright and early and cheering me on the whole way!) and really only saw a couple other people I know. One of these was my high school cross country coach. I don't think he recognized me, and he'd never believe I was running my 9th half marathon. I ran CC in 9th grade and absolutely hated it. The races were something like 2 miles, and I dreaded every step. Needless to say, Coach Roberts was not very fond of me.
So as the runners started to spread I set into my groove. I enjoyed running through Little Five Points, Grant Park, Fourth Ward, and all of the other neighborhoods thinking about who had the best cheering section. Just before Virginia Highlands the half and full marathoners split. Oh my goodness. I could not have been happier that I got to stay left. As I cheered and said good luck to the marathoners, I thought, "HOW In the world did I do this last year? 26.2 miles, really?!" (Though I can't wait to do it again in DC in October!) I'm just glad we lucked out with great weather last year. Sunday's weather was way too warm for 26 miles. It was here I spotted the lululemon cheer station, which of course got me all pumped up. As I waved they jumped up and down and screamed for me. I cruised for a few more miles and arrive at mile 10 with 1:34:00 on the clock. Ugh, I thought. I ran ten miles 1:31 a few weeks ago, oh well. THEN I realized when I started the race the clock read 4:20. I hadn't thought of this the whole time! It's really unusual for me to not me crunching numbers in my head, but for some reason Sunday I wasn't doing it. So I was under one and half hours at ten miles, and holy moly could perhaps finish in under 2 hours for the first time ever! Well then, I started pushing it. Like running through and around people, and pushing myself harder. The last two miles went through the GA Tech campus (There was some GA Tech nerd running with a Pi t-shirt on. Yes I know I love Pi day, but of COURSE he was from Ga Tech...) and downtown Atlanta. So much for the shady neighborhoods. Again, it got HOT. I was running and sweating and pushing up hills. Mile 12 I had less than 11 minutes to get to break two hours. Which I know is a while, but there's always that dreaded 0.1 of a mile. So I pushed it and pushed it and when I saw the finish clock I ran so hard I was sure I was going to throw up. (You can tell in my finisher pictures I'm not concerned about a photo. I am running hard. I look dreadful.) I crossed the finish at 2:03:32. Wow. I did it. I was too tired to use my math skills to do exact subtraction but that HAD to be a Sub-2.
I was thankfully greeted with lots of water and a Publix towel that had been soaking in a cold water bin (felt so wonderful) but once I grabbed those I sped of to the results table. Then I got it: 1:59:13. I ran and found my dad and he gave me a big hug as I told him about my PR!
Dad snapped this photo with his phone.
I couldn't believe that on a day when I wasn't trying, in fact didn't really want to be there, I had actually set a PR. I used to run 5 or so days a week and this didn't happen. I actually owe this to yoga, Fight Gone Mad, and Hilliard Studio Method for helping me grow my muscles :-) I think those abs and ham strings are what got me up all the hills!!!
After the race Sunday we celebrated my brother's birthday. It was nice to be around all of the family. My brother and his fiance adopted a German Sheperd puppy this week, and I could not wait to meet her! My parents have a black lab, and it was fun to watch them interact. The lab is older and not quite as playful, but still loved having another dog around.
Yes she's a puppy. Big but 4 months old!
My niece loves her. She wants a puppy so badly!
My brother cooked ribs, which we enjoyed with sweet potatoes and salad. It was a deliciously filling post-race meal. Then we had, at the birthday boy's request, my mom's homemade pound cake for dessert. I was beginning to feel tired from the race, and full from the meal, but had to hit the road back to Charlotte. 3 1/2 hours in the car left me pretty stiff Sunday night, but I'm feeling much better today. My next half is just a month away, Racefest here in Charlotte, so we'll see how I can do!
Totally off subject, but I was just given this book.