Jenn and I ran the ING Georgia Half Marathon today in lovely, cold, wet, windy Atlanta. Despite the weather and the hilly course, we both broke our personal records at the Half distance. I had wondered if I was going to be able to because my first half marathon was in Tulsa and was an exceptionally flat course. This was not flat. I turned in a 1:55:21, which comfortably beat my goal of 2 hours, and was 8 minutes faster than my previous PR 1:03:20. I’m happy with that. We even had a support crew this year!1
My Splits, for those who are still reading:
Mile 0-1 – 9:13
Mile 1-2 – 8:57.5*
Mile 2-3 – 8:57.5*
Mile 3-4 – 8:46
Mile 4-5 – 8:33
Mile 5-6 – 8:36.175*
Mile 6-7 – 8:36.175*
Mile 7-8 – 8:36.5*
Mile 8-9 – 8:36.5*
Mile 9-10 – 8:49
Mile 10-11 – 9:15
Mile 11-12 – 8:50
Mile 12-13 – 8:40
Mile 13-13.1 – 0:52
* Where I missed a mile post and divided the time between the miles
Total Time: 1:55:21
Pace: 8:48 per mile
You can tell where things got a bit unpleasant. From mile 8 to 10.5, there were some long uphills, and I’d run a bit too fast out of the gate; they ate me up. The last three miles were a struggle to stay on a pace and just bring it home. Thankfully, at mile 10 I knew that barring crazy circumstances I was going to break 2 hours, so I didn’t feel bad backing off a tad.
This was a tough race for me. This is the first time in a while that I’ve trained with a specific time goal in mind, plus the weather was chilly and wet. Cool is fine, but this was on the cold side of cool. I nearly froze my butt off waiting to pick up my gear bag after the race, and on the walk back to the car.
It was a good race. I’m not sure I’d do it again. I wasn’t psyched about the organization:
- We never managed to get into our correct starting corral because of the jam of people. We ended up being in #3 when we were supposed to be in #4 (me) and #5 (Jenn).
- Gear check was smooth; gear pickup was anything but. If they hadn’t thrown organization out the window at the end and allowed atletes to come in and find their bags, I’m sure some people would still be there.
- My biggest beef was the ending trough. They pulled us into centennial park between fencing so that people could stand and cheer, but the fencing was only about 10 feet wide so there’s no safe opportunity for the last minute surges that racers like. I suppose I can just take that into account and make sure to surge before I get to the park, but I still don’t like it.
- They made no attempt to clear the way for the lead marathoners at the finish. The last bit through the park was filled with 2:15 half-marathoner’s when the first man came through. He was forced to dodge and weave through the much slower pack. That would have annoyed the crap out of me.
Lest you think it was all doom and gloom, the race course chosen for the Half was a nice one. I wasn’t paying as much attention as I could have because I was concentrating on pushing the pace, but it was scenic tour of Atlanta and East Fulton County.
Overall, it was a satisfactory race, with me accomplishing the goals I set. The weather could have been better, but it wasn’t by any means terrible. There’s still some tweaking the organizers should accomplish and we’ll see what they manage next year.
1: Many thanks to our friends Scott and Courtney Turnbull for driving us to the race, cheering in multiple locations, then hanging around in the windy chill while we collected out stuff. It’s always nice to have someone rooting for you!