Friday, March 25, 2016

Publix Georgia Half Marathon Recap

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen me drop the words "surgery" in a few of my posts.  It's not something that I announced publicly nor was it planned, but it kept me from running and working out for 4 weeks.  Actually, the first thing I asked my doctor when he said I'd have to have the surgery was "Can I run a half marathon on March 20th?"  He said yes, but I wouldn't be able to train for it.  Luckily, I was able to get one Orangetheory workout in before the race, but other than that, I was going in under trained (which I don't necessarily recommend!)

My friend, Stephanie, was going to run with me to keep me company, but she ended up getting super sick the week before and still wasn't feeling up to it that weekend...I missed her but glad she made the decision to take care of herself.  Thankfully she's feeling better now and we plan to sign up for another race to run together soon!

For the first time in 3 months, I laid out my traditional "Flat Jen" and tried to get mentally prepared to run my 15th half marathon.

My alarm went off at 4 am and I very slowly got up and began to get ready.  For only getting about 5 hours of sleep I felt pretty good (nothing like remembering your black sports bra is dirty the night before and staying up to get it washed and dried).  I chose to ride MARTA down because the last thing I wanted to do was stress over finding somewhere to park.  I ran into one of my fellow OTF members so we chatted on our way to the race.

We arrived at Centennial Olympic Park a little before 6 and it was still fairly empty, so we wandered around for a bit.  We eventually made our way over to meet up with some friends and fellow INKnBURN ambassadors for a pre-race photo.

Photo credit: Jill (@mrscrashmattb)
I made the mistake of waiting a little too long to check my bag, so I was a bit rushed, but I made it to my corral with plenty of time to snap a few pictures

Before I knew it, we were off!  I realized the night before that my interval timer was dead, so I was going to run this race simply by how I felt....I ran when I wanted to, and I walked when I felt like it.  

If you've never run this race, it really is a great course.  You run through so many great areas of downtown Atlanta...Georgia State, the MLK center, Old 4th Ward, Little 5 Points, Piedmont Park, Georgia Tech....and the course support is amazing.  I think my favorite groups were in the Old 4th Ward and the Phidippides group...their enthusiasm gave me a great boost of energy as I ran by them.

The past 4 weeks I had not only been recovering physically, but also emotionally.  My goal for this race was finish.  I just took my time and enjoyed being able to run again. 

If you're a fan of "The Walking Dead", these next couple of pictures should look familiar to you.  It's definitely a popular photo op for runners on the course...and with the sunrise being reflected on the buildings, it's definitely not to be missed.

We then run up into Little 5 Points, a very eclectic and vibrant area of Atlanta.  I'd love to spend more time down here...and I'm still waiting on hubby to take me to eat at the Vortex, but on race day, a photo stop would have to do.

They had a couple of "food stops" along the course...for the half marathon we had two - jelly beans and oranges.  Can you say "yum"??  The jelly beans were a nice change from my usual Huma gave me a sweet little sugar rush.

Piedmont Park is also a fun area to run through...the Jeff Galloway 13.1 race group (thanks for the Coca-Cola!) as well as Phidippides was here to greet the half and full marathon runners into the park.  As soon as your exit, you're greeted by a nice, big HILL!'s're bound to eat some hills for breakfast, right?

The last big area you run through is Georgia Tech...and since I'm a UGA girl all the way (Go Dawgs!) I've started to make this a yearly photo stop -

I gotta hand it to the Techies though...they do a great food and water stop!  The music and cheering is always welcome, especially when you're about 2 miles away from the finish!  

I was actually making decent time...much better than I thought I was going to do...and I still felt really good, so in that last mile I pushed myself a little more.  When you make that last turn and you see and hear the spectators cheering, it almost carries you to the finish line (thanks for the shout out to me from Annabel!).

When I looked at my Garmin I was pleasantly surprised...I got a 7 minute course PR!  With my only goal being to finish the race, seeing that I shaved time off of this course time with very little training made me pretty proud of myself.  I received my medal, grabbed a recovery jacket, chugged down a chocolate milk, and headed to gear check to grab some warm was a pretty breezy race!

Most of my friends finished before me and headed home (I don't blame was chilly!) so I headed back to MARTA.  As I sat on the train I reflected on my race - not being able to train, still performing well, and finishing with a smile on my face made me extremely proud of myself.  There were a couple of moments during the race where I almost had a breakdown, but i kept looking at my bracelet...Never Give Up...and I took a deep breath and kept moving.  I credit a lot of it to my workouts over the past year at Orangetheory Fitness...they've really helped my endurance during runs.  I'm very happy that I can get back into the gym more as well as pounding some pavement to prepare for my next race!

After a shower and nap, we met some friends for dinner...I thoroughly enjoyed my Pimiento BLT sandwich and fries from the Village Tavern, and then a Snickers milkshake from Cookout!
A big thanks to the Atlanta Track Club, Publix and the other sponsors, and the amazing volunteers and course support groups!  You guys are what makes this race possible as well as makes me want to run it again each year.  I hope to be back in 2017!

Until next time,


  1. Congrats on the course PR! It was such a lovely morning and the course was beautiful with everything blooming. I agree, the Phidippides cheer stop was awesome!

  2. Congrats on your course PR and for completing the race after little training. I sometimes think races can be a bit easier when you don't have the pressure of a time goal. It certainly was for me last Sunday as well when I ran a moderately hard training run for my half marathon race.

  3. I don't watch walking dead but that is a gorgeous view! Congrats on the PR. That medal is huge!


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