My Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon "weekend" started the Sunday before when I fulfilled my Atlanta Track Club Ambassador hours by volunteering at packet pick-up. With a race the size of this one (12,000+ across the half marathon, 5K, mile, and 50 meter dash), a pre-race packet pickup is necessary.
Atlanta Track Club is great about trying to accommodate as many people as possible by hosting multiple pick-ups at various Big Peach Running Company stores across metro-Atlanta over several days leading up to the event. Due to popular demand, Atlanta Track Club added a new option of will-call packet pickup this year. For a minimal fee of $20 (which half of the proceeds are donated to Atlanta Mission), runners were able to pick up their packet on race morning which was great for out-of-town runners.
I was honestly a little bummed knowing that I likely wasn't going to run my best today. I have PR'ed this race every single year the past 3 years that I have ran it, so coming to terms with the fact that it wasn't a PR day was tough to be honest. Regarless I was still excited to run and earn my turkey, mac-n-cheese, dessert, etc with a few thousand of my running community.
Yes, it is Atlanta and yes, it is hilly, but I absolutely LOVE this race and course. The course support along the way is great with everyone wishing people a happy Thanksgiving and cheering you on along the way. After running this race the past 3 years and running portions of this course in other races throughout the year, I am rather familiar with the terrain of the course so I know what hills are awaiting us ahead.
While my goal today was simply to just run and not worry about pace, I knew that the first half of the course was where I could really take advantage and get some speed (some slight uphill with a good amount of level and some downhill). I was feeling really good all the way through mile 9ish or so - not PR good, but good. My pace was on target for one of my fastest half marathons, so I was really pumped.
Just as in years past, I had a slower final two miles as the hills started to really be felt on my legs. As I approached the finish line, I saw the 1996 Olympic Rings in the distance which you run under just before the finish line. I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and my 3rd fastest half marathon! I didn't hit my "A" goal of a PR (which wasn't likely today anyways), but I did hit my "B" goal by about 20 seconds which I will definetly call a win!
My sweet friend Walter was talking official pictures, so he was there to greet me at the finish line and be the first to congratulate me on a job well done today.
January 1 - Resolution Run 4 Miler, One Mile, 50m Dash - Brookhaven
February 4 - Atlanta Hawks Fast Break 5K - Atlanta
March 19 - Publix Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon - Atlanta
March 25 - Atlanta Women's 5K - Atlanta
There are so many benefits to being a member of Atlanta Track Club including race discounts, discounted training programs, and more. Perhaps one of the most sought after perks is guaranteed entry to the Peachtree Road Race 10K on July 4th. Remember, you must me a member as of February 1, 2017 to be eligible for member registration in March. To become a member (or renew your membership), go to the Atlanta Track Club website for more information.