28 December 2013

Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon Recap

So, one of the hardest parts about moving from Atlanta was leaving my running buddy, Jason, behind.  Jason and I met many moons ago and reconnected two years ago when I moved to Brookhaven.  We were essentially neighbors for six months and kept talking about running together, but ironically it wasn't until I moved back to Roswell that we started making real plans to run races together.  In 2012, the year I ran an event every month, I completed 6 of my 12 races with Jason.  We even traveled to Walt Disney World together in January so I could run my first marathon and Jason could run his first half marathon.  Each time I came back into town, we tried to get together for a run - there was even that time we went to Stone Mountain and Jason locked the keys in the car!  But I digress....

Race start at Turner Field!
Jason had been talking about signing up for the Thanksgiving Day Half for awhile, but hadn't made a commitment.  (I have to say, I'm so excited to see how many 13.1 events he's done since Donald and that he's even got 26.2 in his sights!)  We chatted off and on about it, and finally both pulled the trigger about a week before.  I had already committed to a pretty crazy fall - remember my #90daysofinsanity?!  Let's recap real quick: beginning Labor Day Weekend, I completed 2 full marathons, 2 half marathons (with the final one planned for December 1), 2 10Ks, and a 5K, not to mention almost 300 miles on my bike over 5 days.  I was really hoping I'd be able to convince the folks at Half Fanatics to let me in to the club with my three half marathons in 91 days (technically), but just to be sure, and more importantly, to enjoy a race with my original BRF, I was pumped to be participating in the Atlanta Thanksgiving Day Half!  

DANGER: Water/icing
stop ahead
I obviously HAD to take this photo!
I had been wanting to do this race the last two years, but it never worked out.  I had still managed to get out and do some miles (13.1 in 2011, 24 in 2012), but was excited to cruise through downtown on the official course.  The ONE downside to doing the race this year - it was COLD!! It was in fact the coldest Thanksgiving in a CENTURY!  And since it was a race, it meant I HAD to be up at 4:30 for a 7:00am race start.  Did I mention it was COLD?!  So, the temperature was around 20 degrees at start time, which meant I was bundled up.  I had on tights, wool socks, a base layer turtleneck, mid-layer Ink n Burn ugly sweater, and a warm jacket.  Not to mention gloves (with hand warmers tucked inside), a headband, and a hat!  Jason and I drove separately, and parked on different sides of the start, so we met each other down by the start corrals with about 15 minutes to spare.  We were hard pressed to get out of our warm cars!  We jogged around a bit to stay warm, and then headed to the start.  My plan was to stick with him for the whole race - it had been awhile since we'd been able to do that.  We took off and I had a great photo bomb when Jason stopped to take a photo of the Olympic Torch right near the start line.  Then we cruised around behind Georgia Tech, past Centennial Olympic Park, up through Atlantic Station, and over to Piedmont Park - we're only about halfway through at this point... we'd been keeping a pretty good pace, but Jason started having some issues, so we slowed it down.  We left Piedmont Park and headed down to East Atlanta and Oakland Cemetery, then it was back into downtown, past the Capitol and back to Turner Field!  We had a GREAT time, even though there was some pain, and even managed to beat Christy's time from Wine & Dine!

It was a fantastic way to start the day, and I had no guilt packing away the potatoes that night at dinner. I highly encourage everyone to get out there on Thanksgiving morning for a run - it's fast becoming the BIGGEST race day of the year!

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