Race Report - Gobble Wobble Half

I was going to be back in Georgia for the Thanksgiving weekend and decided I wanted to run a half marathon on Thanksgiving as part of my training for my January marathon. I chose this race based on running races in the past put on by North GA Running Co. The race is low key with decent swag. Runners of all distances receive a hooded long sleeve tech tee and a medal. There were water stations every couple of miles, but no gels and no sports drink of any kind. Luckily, I packed my trusty Orange Mud Double Barrel pack with 2 bottles of Nuun and carried gels on me to take every 30 minutes. 

Cathy dropped me off at the race start just after 7. It was breezy, so I found a spot shielded from the winds and hung out there until just before the start. The race started at 7:30, so there wasn't a long time till the start

Going into this race I had a few goals, ranging from the simple have fun and finish the race, to an aggressive sub 2 hour goal. In between were the more achievable goals, to break my 10 year old PR of 2:13 and specifically to finish under 2:10. Based on recent paces, I knew breaking 2:10 was possible, but I wasn't sure how much the hilly course would affect me

The course was an out and back with a different out and back loop on the end. The first 5 miles on Peachtree Parkway were almost all downhill. I kept my pace in the sub-2 hour range. I knew that the hills coming back would likely slow me down, but I wanted to keep a comfortably hard pace to build up some extra time against my 2:10 goal. I averaged 9:06 for the first 5 miles

From around mile 5 to the turnaround at mile 5.6 there were a couple good hills, which of course had to be repeated once I turned around. Over the next 3 miles, my pace started to slow with the steepest hills on the course

Just after mile 7, the course returns to the long slow hill on Peachtree Parkway. My pace slowed further, but I would not let that deter me. From there on, I decided not to look at my watch. I would run as hard as I could, and hope I could keep up a pace that would still at least net me a PR.

At mile 11, we ran past the finish to do an out and back loop around the school. There were a couple mild hills, but I was able to keep my pace in check through miles 11 and 12. After I hit mile 12, I had a feeling it could be really close for my PR, so I kicked it up and gave it everything I had. I turned the corner to the finish. The first thing I saw was Cathy. The second thing I noticed was the timing clock. It had just crossed to 2:09. I gave Cathy a big-old smile and took off. I crossed the finish with a shiny new PR of 2:09:14

After I retrieved my finisher's medal, Cathy and I headed back to the car. I didn't stick around for the awards ceremony because I didn't think there was any chance I could have placed in my age group. Well, it turned out I was wrong. Later in the day, I received the email that the official results were available. I pulled up the results on my phone and nearly fell out of my chair. Somehow, I ended up with 3rd in my age group. This is only the second time I've ever placed in all my years of racing

I am feeling really confident going into the last 2 months of marathon training. My training paces have been pointing to a substantial PR come race day and this race helps confirm I am on the right path. It also makes me confident that all of my PR's, even the one I just set, are due to be broken

3rd Place AG Medal on Left
Finishers Medal on Right