Disclaimer: As a 2018 Hotlanta Half Marathon Ambassador, I received complimentary entry to the race as well as various goodies from race and sponsors. All thoughts are strictly my own.
After completing the Terrain Race and getting refueled a bit, it was time to get ready tomorrow's race. Yep, another back to back race weekend. Next I am lacing up for Hotlanta Half Marathon. I headed home to get off my feet a bit, carb up, and get so rest for 13.1 miles through Atlanta in the morning.
This is the 5th year of the Hotlanta Half Marathon. The first two years, the race has been held in mid-August, but in 2016 it moved up to June. Half marathons in June in Atlanta are pretty rare, actually very rare, in the area during the summer months due to extreme heat. Hotlanta Half Marathon puts runners to the true test of summer heat in Atlanta - hence the name Hotlanta. With some good summer training, proper hydration, and listening to your body, it is a doable challenge for sure.
The Hotlanta Half Marathon starts and finishes at Pemberton Place/Centennial Olympic Park which is perfect because there is ample space for race festivities and plenty of parking in the parking garage for runners and volunteers. Since traffic can be a little hairy trying to get over a thousand people into a parking garage, so we arrived pretty early. Once we arrived to the race site, we quickly met up with some friends. Runners had their choice of indoor restrooms at Pemberton Place or porto-potties at the start line. The line was a little long for the restrooms, so we opted for the much shorter porto line instead.
The 1200-ish runners headed over to the start line a bit before 7am to get ready to go. Just as the past two years, I was running today with my friend Chris. I always have fun running with him (he might feel different about running with me...lol) and our goal today was simply finish and have fun.
The course was the same as the past three years with the start/finish at Pemberton Place. Despite a self seeded and rolling start the crowds weren't bad and really thinned out pretty quickly which is always nice. You still had people around you, but you weren't elbowing people.
The first part of the 13.1 mile trek through Atlanta was up Centennial Olympic Drive past the SkyWheel, CNN, Georgia Dome, and the new Mercedes Benz Stadium! Over the past few years we have watched the progress of Mercedes Benz Stadium over the past few years running the Hotlanta Half Marathon and now it has been open for close to a year.
Next, you headed towards the capitol building where you passed your first water stations. We had a minimum of at least a water station every other mile. While most runners were carrying fluids, it was nice to have extra fluids along the way if needed.
From here we headed towards Turner Field and did a loop around the area. Miles 3-4 included points of interest including Turner Field, the 1996 Olympic Rings and Georgia State University campus. It is funny that even in your own city how excited you get to see different landmarks as if you were a tourist. Atlanta is a pretty cool city if I may say so, and it totally has its fair share of points of interest.
Mile 5 takes you through some residential areas in Atlanta...some fairly hilly residential areas of Atlanta. Around mile 6 we hit the Atlanta Beltline. If you aren't familiar with the area, the Beltline is a really cool part of town. There are some really awesome and funky shops, restaurants, residences and businesses along the way. Chris and I always like to take advantage of the different sights and photo ops - haha!
We kept making our way through the Beltline. Since Chris and I were both starting to feel the heat, we started to slow down a bit at this point. We took advantage of some of the scenery along the course and just really started to have fun with it. Around mile 7ish we were greeted by one of the most welcomed aid stations of the morning - ice towels! Yes, please and thank you.
After the Atlanta Beltline, we heading towards Piedmont Park. You take about a one mile loop through Piedmont Park, and this went a lot better than when it was flooded during the Hotlanta 2015 monsoon. It was warm, but we were still going pretty good (a bit slower, but good).
After making our way up a pretty tough hill exiting Piedmont Park, we were greeted by even more amazing support by Moms Run This Town, a fabulous group of fellow runners. Thank you so much to this group of supporters for your amazing cheers and ice cold rags to cool us off - we were really in need of these. A special shout out to my sweet friend, Barbara, for the big sweaty hug with my towel.
Kuddos to the November Project squad and Big Peach Running for their AMAZING cheer station! I didn't get to snap a picture (I know, #fail) but their high-fives, hugs, and cheers were AWESOME! Next we made our way towards Georgia Tech then headed back to the finish line for the final two-ish miles.
I could not imagine what today would have been like without the awesome course support along the way from race-designated water stations to running groups such as Run Fam coming out with extra support for us and my dear friend Becky for my much needed bottle of Coke. Runners know that summer running can be tough and that is what we choose to sign up for with summer races, but the support of others makes it a lot better to manage. There is no controlling the weather, but when the race director and local community doing extra to make things better for you, it means the world to us.
We finished! Most importantly, we finished safely and had fun. Ok, there might have been times that Chris was ready to wring my neck along the way for too much energy, but I am pretty sure both of us are happy that we ran this together. It is pretty awesome to run with friends sometimes especially in less than ideal weather conditions because you can help each other along the way as needed.
After thinking about it, I am not sure if I have ever ran "just" Hotlanta Half Marathon without a race the day before. Was it easy running an obstacle race the day before a hot and hilly half marathon? Heck no! Would I do it again? DUH! I never pass up the opportunity to run a great half marathon which is why I return year after year to the Hotlanta Half Marathon.
Yes, it was hot. That is what I signed up for (even though it was a bit hotter than normal). I absolutely love this race for many reasons - the support, the course (hilly, but beautiful), and let's not forget the awesome bling!
Thank you again to everyone involved in today's race. The measures taken to help ensure runner safety were awesome and very well thought through. From the race director, to volunteers and supporters, to fellow runners, I thank you each for making today possible and enjoyable. See ya in 2019 for year 6 of the Hotlanta Half Marathon!
What a year 2018 has been already! 33 races later, here we are heading into July already. The year has certainly had so many amazing moments, but also a few downs along the way. With fall goals starting to come together, this summer will be full of simply surviving the summer heat and making wonderful memories along the way. To celebrate going into the second half of 2018, I decided to take a walk down "memory lane" at the past 6 months.
What a wild weather month it was in January! The year kicked off with a FREEZING start when the Resolution Run 5K on New Year's Day that greeted us with wind chills in the teens (which is unheard of in Atlanta). Next LITERALLY froze at the Freeze Your Half Off 1/2 Marathon when I faced temps around 0 and below zero wind chills for the first time ever. After one more freezing 5K in dreaded tights, we finally got some races with temperatures above 25 which means shorts! Finally, I ended the month with my birthday 5K at Fast Break 5K!
February felt like a whirlwind for sure.I froze some more, tried to dodge rain (sometimes not quite so successful) and did a little traveling. I still might be de-thawing from the frigid monsoon of Hot Chocolate 15K (wind chill in the 20s and heavy rain from start to finish). Before I knew it, Princess Half Marathon weekend 2018 was here and I ran 22.4 magical miles over the weekend (5K, 10K, and 1/2 Marathon) which was also my 99th half marathon. What a magical place to run #99 and make magical memories with friends!
March was a roller coast of a month! I went for a 5K PR attempt the morning after coming home from Disney which was probably a big mistake. I should have known better than to have a goal race be after 9 days at a theme park (12+ hours a day on my feet and ALL the food!). Well, I shattered my PR by over a minute! BOOM! I also ended up running my 2nd fastest 10K a week later. Things took a wild spin when Papa J had cancer cells removed off of his lung (and one of the lung lobes). With his surgery just two days before my biggest half marathon yet, he missed me crossing the finish line of my 100th half marathon as he was still in the hospital. He recovered very quickly and was soon back to normal activity and got to see me complete my first Savage Race!
April started off with back-to-back women's races. First was the Savannah Women's 1/2 Marathon - I felt like I could possibly PR here but after a strong first 9 miles I hit a major wall due to heat/sun and struggled the final 4 miles and missed my goal. After getting glammed up with my girls for the Atlanta Women's 5K, I headed straight from the finish line to Warrior Dash to get MUDDY! I wrapped up the month with another 5K and CRUSHING my 1/2 marathon PR by several minutes at Tear Drop!
A fun filled weekend in Pittsburgh for the Pittsburgh 5K and 1/2 Marathon started off the month. The summer sun and heat came in wicked fast once May hit - time to slow down my pace a bit until fall I guess. Due to summer conditions, a lot of local races in Atlanta are mainly 5K with occasional 10K and half marathons until fall. A few NON-RACING weekend trips (gasp) this month meant that I had a light race schedule in May. I missed racing, but I had a great time with family and friends which is important as well.
Then there is June. June was a wonderful month. The month was full of awesome races that we favorites of past years along with some new ones. I must say, I have a whole new appreciation for freeze pops at finish lines after the past few weeks! My favorite race of the month was probably Terrain Race and the Hotlanta Half Marathon. Yes, Hotlanta Half Marathon lived up to its name, but my friend Chris and I still had a blast running it together.
It has been such a memorable year already and it has only just begun! I cannot express in words how grateful I am for each and every one of you. Whether it is following my journey on my blog, sending supportive tweets, or liking my Instagram pictures, please know that your support is much appreciated. I look forward to seeing what the next 6 months (and beyond) have in store for me
Question of the Day: What were some of your biggest accomplishments of 2018 so far? What are your goals for the second half of the year?
I love to run and most importantly I love to have FUN while I run....I am the "Funner Runner"
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