At the beginning of October I ran the Michelob Ultra 13.1 Atlanta race. I had run this race when it was just Atlanta 13.1 and before Michelob Ultra and Lifetime Fitness got involved so I had really high hopes for this race, but was pretty disappointed from the very beginning.
Packet pick up was a slow slow mess. There was one person manning the packet pickup table. Yup, you read that right. One person to hand out race numbers, shirts, and race day bags. The poor lady apologized to everyone for the long wait and I still cannot figure out why they would have one person handing out race numbers and what not. But that was not even the worst. At packet pick up, one week out from the race, the exact location of the starting line and where to park had not yet been announced. Simpler terms: no one knew where they needed to be for the race and it wasn’t posted online until about 3 days before the race.
Race Day was not too bad. Granted, it was a LONG walk to the start (and a long walk back) everything seemed to run pretty smoothly. The actual course had its highs and its lows. Truthfully, I did not think it was too bad - kinda boring, nothing too exciting about it, there was nothing that made me say, “oh that is cool”. We did run one area twice (by the new Braves stadium) and it was a meh area. Nothing to look at with the exception of apartments and a new baseball stadium being built. And I don’t know if the course was missing mile markers or if it was on purpose or if I just missed them, but I messed my Garmin up from the very beginning and my miles were all off so I was kinda relying on those and they were nowhere to be seen after mile 10. So that last 5k was pretty slow and miserable and I thought I would never find the end since mile 11 never ever came. The course had it’s fair share of hills and the weather was off and on. Not too hot, not too cold, rained off and on. There was one part of the course that was on a trail next to the river and that may have been the highlight of the course for me. Semi flat land, good scenery, allowed me to pick up the pace, serene little area tucked away in city chaos.
It was a slow and steady race for me seeing how I did not run more than 6 miles leading up to the race. Typical Barbie training style, but I am not super young anymore so my body (read: hips) started to hurt around mile 8. Yikes. I think that picture was taken around mile 5 or 6 or something like that and I was still trucking along (doing better than the dude in orange behind me! HA!)… and in that picture I don’t look like death. But trust me, there are some pictures and yikes. (Maybe I shouldn’t comment on the dude in orange. #karma)
Near the end, trucking up one of the many hills, 2 police officers mentioned that the finish was just over the hill and then it was all downhill from there. I had to believe them since I could hear the finish line party; however, I did not believe them because I had not seen a mile marker since freaking mile 10 and at that moment, in my mind, I was running the longest 10th mile in the history of any half marathon. I finished (and that is what matters) in 2 hours and 41 minutes. Not my best time. But I had to start back somewhere and I got a pretty cool new piece of medal … to sit in a box in my closet with all the other medals I have collecting dust. :-)
I did not stick around for the post race party. I had no one to party with. And I was tired and who really wants to drink a beer post race and then get on the road to drive home. And really Michelob Ultra, is that actually safe?! The post race party was a little hectic and I just wanted to find a quick escape. I got my finisher’s medal. Had my picture taken and walked a bit. I somehow missed the finisher’s bags so I did not grab one of those and was actually bummed about that. (Hey Michelob Ultra, put the bags closer to the medals next time. K. Thanks!) I grabbed a water, a banana, and some nasty dried snap pea things and headed home for an ice bath and family time.
Am I glad I got up and did it?! Yes. Will I do another half marathon? Yes. Will I train properly for that one? Ehhhh… probably not because that is not my style, but I am running more so maybe I won’t be as old lady with hip problem like next time.
And just a shout out to the Cobb County cops - you all were awesome and great on the course. I know it is not the most exciting assignment to have on a Sunday morning, but we runners appreciate all you do to keep us safe on the course. So. Thank You!