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Happy Monday folks! We had a great weekend in Augusta, GA for the Augusta Half Marathon. Chris, Em, and I headed up there on Friday night and stayed with one of my college roommates, Erynn, for the weekend. The weather on Friday and Saturday was pretty miserable but lucky for us race day turned out to be beautiful.
I went into this half marathon with a plan. I trained using training paces from McMillian running. I topped off at 11 miles during my training and tapered the week before. I even took 2 complete rest days before the race. I knew going into the race that there were going to be some killer hills. Since Savannah is pretty darn flat this had me nervous. I mean check out the elevation map:
The night before the race Chris and I sat down and I talked through my plan. I knew my “goal” would be to average 10:00 minutes/mile. To get that I knew I was going to have to race smart. I wrote out on my hand goal times for 5K, 10K, and 10 miles so I wouldn’t have to think paces. I also wrote down what miles were uphill and which were downhill. After Presley and I decided to stick together for the half we knew we wanted to start easy, keep steady on the hills, and take advantage of the downhills. I was ready.
The morning of the race my alarm went off at 6AM which is pretty good for race day! Not too early …. just the way I like it 😉 I ate a whole wheat English muffin with PB and chia seeds and a banana and washed it down with coffee. Erynn lives just a few minutes from the starting line so we didn’t even leave the house until 7:05AM.
Once we got down to the start line Erynn and I hopped in line for the porta potties. The line was short and moved fast which is awesome. The Augusta Half Marathon is a relatively small race and they definitely had enough potties for everyone. This was Erynn’s first half marathon so I was pretty excited for her!
We met up with Presley and a couple of her friends and before we knew it it was time to line up for the 8:02AM start. The Augusta Half Marathon also had a wheelchair division and a 10K option. When the gun went off Erynn was off (she’s SPEEDY) and Presley and I started chugging along.
Mile 1: 9:42
Mile 2: 9:32
Mile 3: 9:37
Around mile 3.5 is where the first small incline started. After that came the monster hill. This hill was the hill of death and sadness. I am not going to lie … it was terrible. Like holy cow. My legs hated me. And it went on …. and on … and on. For over a mile to be exact. This picture can’t capture the horror that we experienced:
Mile 4: 9:53
Mile 5: 10:50 (<–hill of death)
The only thing that got me up that hill was that Presley was suffering with me and also the mantra that “what goes up, must come down”. Once we got to the top we were rewarded with some serious downhill action.
Mile 6: 9:13
After the downhill we had another climb ahead of us. This one wasn’t too bad in comparison to the hill of death but was definitely tough to get through after running 6 miles. I knew that Chris and Em would be at the end of the hill though to cheer us on and wanting to see their smiling faces got me up there.
Mile 7: 10:09
Mile 8: 10:07
This is the first race that Chris has spectated and cheered me on. He ran both the Go! St. Louis and Savannah Rock-N-Roll. It was really neat having someone you care about on the sidelines cheering you on! PLUS, holla for free race photos 😉 And Presley you got me good on this one haha.
Somewhere around mile 9 we started running around a pretty lake. This was the most scenic part of the race. At this point though Presley and I were both starting to feel significantly uncomfortable but just kept chugging along.
Mile 9: 9:36
Mile 10: 10:02
At mile 11 my right calf seized up and started cramping right where my calf hits my knee. It was tight and painful. Presley’s hip was hurting too so we decided to stop for a second and stretch. The stretching temporarily offered some relief but my calf bothered me the rest of the way. I think it was a combination of the uphills/downhills as well as the uneven road …. one foot was often more elevated than the other.
Mile 11: 11:04
Once we hit mile 11 at 1:49:45 I knew my allusive goal of a 2:10 finish was in sight. I also knew that there were only 2.1 miles of flat or downhill course ahead of me. I told Presley we got this and we took off.
Mile 12: 9:52
Mile 13: 9:04 (<– !!!!)
Mile 13.1: 7:47
Presley and I crossed the finish line together and I am so glad. I definitely couldn’t have done as well as I did if I wasn’t running with her. We both struggled with a very difficult course and having someone to commiserate with makes a big difference! When I looked at my Garmin after crossing the finish line I realized I did it.
Official time: 2:09:33 … average pace of 9:53/mile. OH HECK YES. Not only was this a 6 minute and 27 second PR from Rock-N-Roll Savannah, I also met my first big running goal of a sub-2:10 half!! Given that this course SUCKED I am so freaking proud of myself, my legs, and most all my heart. I didn’t go into this race expecting a PR. I came in it determined to run a smart race and I think I did that. I followed my plan and it worked it my favor
Post-race food was pretty good. There were muffins, oranges, bananas, and bagels. There was also a waffle station! Presley and I immediately found Chris and Em and Erynn soon after. Erynn killed it with an official time of 1:51:02!!
Overall I enjoyed the Augusta Half Marathon. If you are looking to run it, find some hills and run them a lot. In a row. For now, I am going to sit back and enjoy my PR while thinking about what my next big race will be 😉 Suggestions??
Did you race this weekend? How often do you curse when running hills? I had a few choice words for the hill of death 😉
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