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Publix Georgia Half Marathon Recap

Today was my first big girl race. I have only ever run trail races, small town races and even my marathon had less than one thousand finishers. Today there were close to twenty thousand runners doing the Publix Georgia full and half marathons and I will admit I was kind of freaked out.

I guess I had visions of being trampled by thousands of angry runners who were upset I snuck into their corral but it turned out okay after all. The race began at 7am in the dark which was another first for me. I got into Corral H which was clearly marked and may have started dancing. Come on - they were playing LMFAO before a race. I got pumped and started the shuffle to the start.

Since it was my first race of this size I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get across the start line but it was about 7 minutes so definitely not bad at all. I made friends with the runners in my corral and we prayed that no full marathon runners would cross the finish line before us. (I was spared - I think the winners started coming in a good ten or fifteen minutes after me, thank God.)

The temperatures at the start were almost 70 and I was drenched by mile one even though it was still dark. Thankfully most of the course is shaded and I was really only in the sun the last two miles or so. As for the elevation of this course: there is no flat. Really, I promise I'm not exaggerating. On the plus side there are definitely a lot of downhills to balance out the uphills. 

Toward the end I was praying for a flat piece of road but it was either up or down the whole way. Most runners around me were able to maintain a pretty steady pace the whole time so it was definitely me who just needed to be stronger.

Highlights of the Course:
-Great crowd support. Groups of neighbors came out to cheer and it was a fun atmosphere. 
-A lot of people who were clearly still out from their Saturday night before were cheering us on and pretty entertaining to watch. 
-Water spray stations to cool runners down (twice on the half marathon course).
-Water/Gatorade nearly every mile and Gu in the middle. 

As soon as I crossed the finish line I started being handed stuff and I liked that. I ran out of hands because I basically took anything that was being passed out. After my medal and (ice cold) water and chocolate milk I grabbed a cold towel full of ice water and then found Tim for a regulation post-race shot.

Do you see that, chocolate milk people? I'm shilling your products. Send me awesome places now, please. Thank you. After I downed my drinks I got a bag of food (the sponsor was Publix) and I thought it was a good haul post-race: cookies, M&Ms, banana, pretzels and granola bar.

For all of you people who are secretly hoping I was sick during this race - I was ok! I started feeling bad every time I started pushing it up a hill so I ended up walking maybe 10 times to catch my breath every time I felt sick and I was fine. I decided early on with the heat and hills just to take it easy and I'm so glad I did. Final time/ranks as follows:

Chip Time: 2:20:12 
Division Place: 188/385
Sex Place: 2454/5113
Overall Place: 5337/9123

I think that puts me solidly in the middle of each category. I can do average so incredibly well!

I had to check out of the hotel early this morning so I just headed back to the room and showered after the race. I wish I had stuck around because the whole post-race party looked like a lot of fun. I had my own party after all because Tim and I went to Ikea. I managed to find somewhere comfy to relax, don't worry:

The alleged reason we went to Ikea was to look at rugs and blinds but really I just wanted to eat lunch there. They have these amazing veggie wraps and I get one almost every time I go. Today, though, I was really needing more than a veggie wrap. Solution? Get two meals. 

Veggie wrap on the left and salmon, mashed potatoes and vegetables on the left. Perfect. Tim had pasta which is such a waste to me. PASTA IS CHEAP - eat it at home! 

Oh, I should also say - the tech tee and the medal are both the best I have gotten from a race. The medal is heavy and clearly that means I am a better runner. It makes sense in my head.

Do you prefer big or small races?
I've always said small races but now I want to say big ones. As long as I am staying close by and can walk to the start it is really ideal. 

Would you rather pay for cheap race with no extras or pay a little more for a nice tech tee, medal, snacks, etc.?
I would still probably pick the cheaper races because of budget but I certainly like the perks!


  1. I'm so glad it went well! I've been thinking of you all day. The hills are killer downtown. I learned that on Thanksgiving. I wish I had run, but after this early start to pollen and the higher temps, I would have gone full blown allergy/asthma attack. :-( Maybe next year. Way to go!!!!

  2. Awesome!!! Jealous that you got together with Suz. I love her. I love small and big races for different reasons. The biggest race I've ever run had about 8000 people at the start, so nothing like that. Great job! I'mglad you didn't get sick. What a relief!

  3. Yea for chocolate milk and YEA for no vomiting! :0)

  4. SO happy it went well for you! I love big races too! I just find them more motivating. I like a lot of people around me so I can try to chase them (I can never keep up though). I like cheap races but I typically look at whether or not I will get a medal now haha. I ran a few last year that gave practically nothing and it made me sad. I like having bling to show my efforts :)

  5. Great job girl! I like smaller races too. I have done a few bigger races but I like the smaller ones because usually they cost less too - win win!

  6. Yay for a great race! So far I've only done fairly cheap ones but I always look for the cheapo ones with perks. We have some great running groups here that put on smaller races and they know that food is a must afterwards~

  7. I love small races. Given the choice, I usually go for the race shirt, but I could totally do without all the other extras.

  8. Nice job today! I did this race in 2010 and definitely remember the constant rolling hills! So are big races for you or are you going back to the smaller ones?

  9. PS- I'm super stoked that you didn't puke today! Wooo! Victory!

  10. Yippee for not puking!!!

    I prefer a happy medium sized race. Big enough to feel like I'm not just doing a long run with a few other people but not Rock n Roll big.

  11. Awesome job!! I have done both - and both have their benefits. What I love about a bigger race as a slower person I am never alone and everything isn't all packed up when I finish. My first half was a small race and pretty much the only people left for us slow runners was someone handing out the medals. I was a little bummed. My second half was much bigger and I felt more welcomed when I crossed the finishe line.

  12. Nice job out there in the heat and pollen!

  13. I love Suz and you....I wish I was there! I love how happy you look in these pics and love your race :) GREAT JOB!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Good job! I wish I would've seen you! I loved the race today, it got hot at the end but they had those mister things by the water stations.

  15. Yay for no getting sick! Also, I didn't know Ikea served food too. I apparently need to go there.

  16. Yay for not getting sick! Great job!

  17. I like big races- I'm only average pace wise and small races make me feel like I'm even slower. Vain, I know!

  18. Congrats on so many things - A.) Not puking, B.) doing your first big race, C.) suffering through heat, humidity and hills - a triple H threat, D.) and enjoying it!!

    I'm a 100% big race girl only (that said, I live in rural land so small races are abundant and support good local causes so . . . as long as I'm not likely to be last - I do those too).

    I'm shocked you ate at Ikea - awhile back you wrote about how sick you got from eating there . . . glad you didn't get sick this time.

    Love your medal and post race swag - it makes the extra entry fee worth it - pampering at the end - yeah!

  19. Yay - sounds like the big race was a success! I've only done one big one and not sure they are for me but they there is something about the energy there!

  20. Glad you had such a great time and didn't get sick! And yourlunch looks great and your after race pic is so cute, too.

  21. Congrats, girl! Sorry we didn't get to meet this time!

  22. All we have here are big races, it seems. I want to do some small ones so I stand a better chance of placing in my age group.

  23. no getting sick! what is the secret? what did you eat during the race? nothing?

    so glad it went well. I like big races! it is fun to be a part of a big event and see all kinds of runners!

  24. Congrats, great race! Those hills look tough :) I probably like big races better, but I like supporting local communities and think it's awesome when they go to the trouble to organize a race, so I like running smaller ones for that reason. And, if I'm doing a race, I at least hope to get a shirt!

  25. Awesome race with no puking, I liiiike. Well done on an fantastic time :-)

    I'd rather go cheap race. The half I did the other cost a fortune and all I got was an oversized T :-(

  26. Awesome finish and great score on the post race goodies. Sounds like a really fun race. I love the goodies, because a lot of times it is stuff I would never get otherwise. I like small hometown races, but a big one once in awhile is fun too =)

  27. Ahh congrats!! YAY no puking!!!! :D

  28. Great race and sorry I missed you! We were just in and out. It was an exhausting trip. I'm laughing at your course description because yeah, there was NO FLAT. The full actually had a 1500+ elevation change, too, and not a lot of shade. I think that's why the finishes were so slow! None of the women were under 3 hours! Challenging for sure and I really enjoyed getting in the hills. Thanks again!

  29. No vomit? Lame.

    I never stick around for post race party stuff, mostly because I hate people. This is why I like small events better.

  30. Awesome job on your race! I'm so glad you weren't sick!

    I went to Ikea with Mike this weekend too! We ended up not buying anything, but we had a delicious dinner in the cafeteria.

    I like smaller big races. Does that make sense? I like them to be big enough to be well organized, but small enough that I don't feel claustrophobic on the course.

  31. Nice work! I've never run a big race either, I think this fall will be my largest in the Twin Cities (ok not officially signed up yet, but I intend to)!

  32. I have only run the two races, but I typically pick based on schedule (the husband is in town & can watch the kids + we have nothing else going on that will conflict) & location. If I can get those two factors to work out, I'll pay the entry fee, & the rest is just a bonus.

    And, CONGRATS on your run!! You are adorable in the pictures.

  33. yay, i'm so happy it was a success!!! great race pics don't look like you're dying? oh wait, that's in all of MY race photos!!! lol!

    i have only run big races, and i think i may try a smaller race one of these days, just to compare the crowd support and amount of runners...?? hmm, we'll see!

    awesome job!!

  34. Wahooo!! Way go are awesome!

  35. Hey nice going! You did super well:)
    I like both small and large races, it just depends on my mood. I like the energy of the big ones but the intimate feel of the small ones.
    My Running Shortz

  36. Woo hoo!!! Way to go girlie!!! I am so very proud of you for braving all of the elements. That was a hilly course and you totally rocked it. Congratulations!!

    The veggie wrap looks so so good. :) Oh and I definitely prefer small cheap races. But I'm running Boston so obviously I will do either depending on the race.

  37. Glad it went well! I like big races..I like the noise, music, cheer-ers etc.

  38. Congrats on a great race!! I really like the big races, too. I get so much energy from the crowd and find myself running faster when I'm not alone out there on the course. But like you, I tend to stick to the smaller ones for budget's sake!

  39. Congrats on your half! Love your efficient recap - some people drone on forever. That heat and elevation looked pretty killer. Way to tough it out!

    I'd rather pay a bit more for a race for a nice tech tee and good snacks. Quality refreshments after a race are key to recovery, and I love a good "free" workout shirt (I figure I'd spent at least $20 on a tech tee anyway, so why not get one from a race?)

    Oh, and I also go to IKEA for the food. Their mac & cheese is unreal!

  40. congrats friend!!! this race seriously sounds so awesome...i hope i can run it some day. i saw a pic of the medal on facebook. seriously looks amazing! i cant believe the temps! you are hard core for running through the heat! so glad you enjoyed it!

    i think your post-race ikea party MUST have been a much better party :)

  41. Good job Vanessa! That time is amazing considering it was 70 degrees the entire time!

  42. great race! i'm so glad you didn't get sick! i love that medal!!

  43. My biggest race was the Crescent City Classic 10k last year. I like the smaller races since I have a chance of placing but the big races are fun for the experience. Great job on your race!!!

  44. Great job on the race! I'm so glad you didn't get sick. I definitely rocked my race shirt for the ride home too!

  45. Good job on your race! I ran it too and you do not exaggerate the hills. There seemed to be one around every corner. I thought it was a good race and I liked the rolling start too. I am a chocolate milk fan, so that was awesome!

  46. u are HARDLY average! ;) naww, u rock and great job!! u're looking so cute in that purple top too, and i'm the same, if something is FREE i will grab it no matter wat it is, even tho for a race it's technically not free, so then i really go to town. glad u had a wonderful time (that u felt good too!) and the rest of the day was fun!

  47. That looks like it was a good race! It's always nice to have a grocery store as your sponsor!

    I prefer smaller races. I don't care that much about the swag, but I do like the more intimate feel of running with only a few hundred or a thousand people rather than 10s of thousands.


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