Publix Half Marathon - Atlanta, GA

Oh it's that time again - another race recap! This time, I'm recapping my second Publix Half Marathon. Because this is another course repeat, I'll be skipping discussion of the Expo. Okay, really I'm skipping the Expo discussion because I didn't go; Terry picked up my bib for me! Thanks again Terry!

Terry picking up my bib for me was just one small piece of the camaraderie that I experienced this weekend. The Publix Marathon weekend serves as the beginning (or ending, depending on how you look at it) of the race season for Black Men Run - my running group/family. We have runners come in from chapters throughout the nation and plan a whole weekend around the celebration. Throughout the entire weekend, I experienced the fullness of the tight-knit local (and remote) running community. Jason, Ed, Nick, and the rest of the BMR leaders did a great job of organizing a fantastic weekend to celebrate... Ed promised that this year would be even bigger than the last- and it was! 

Okay on to race day.

I debated back and forth about whether or not I was going to give this race my full effort. The primary reason I ran was for the fellowship; given that I was only a month removed from my last marathon, I had originally planned to take it easy for this race. But really, I've never taken it easy during a race; it's not in my DNA. By race morning, I knew that I was going to let it fly. 

The race morning started early with a meetup with Omari since we planned to carpool. We got downtown in time to secure a good parking spot and meet at the ferris wheel for the annual group picture. Omari was running his first half marathon with a 2 hour goal. Not only did he finish, but he met his goal also! Congrats bro! Your progress, in such a short span of time, has been nothing short of amazing. Keep pushing!

After the picture, Omari and I put in a  small warm-up run before finding our respective corrals. Once I got in my corral, I found some company, prayed for the group, and got ready for the start.  3... 2... 1... 

The First 10K/6.1 miles (46:27, 7:29/mile pace)

The first mile was a bit crowded for me. I was in corral C, and probably should have been seeded a bit higher. It took about a mile before I could get some space to find my stride and get comfortable, but after that it was smooth sailing. The first 10k went by smoothly. I decided that I would go out at an aggressive pace and adjust accordingly as the race went on. Since I hadn't trained for this race, I decided that I would start out strong and would remain willing to dial it back if I felt uncomfortable at any point. Through the first 6 miles, that wasn't necessary. I felt good... really good. 

Through 8 miles (59:43, 7:28/mile pace)

The longer the race went on, the stronger I felt. By this point, I realized that I was passing a lot of people and wasn't getting passed by anyone. By the time I got through mile 8, I knew that Piedmont Park would be coming up soon, which is the start of the final (and extremely hilly) portion of the race. I was all-in at this point and knew that I would be pushing it to the end. No need to hold back... this was going to be a PR effort. Side note: I received several shout-outs during this stretch - some from folks yelling out "Go BMR!" and some from people I knew, like Lamar Fernanders - thanks bro!

The last 5 miles

So yeah, I was still feeling strong so I kept my foot on the gas for the rest of the race. My final five miles were all significantly faster than my pace up to this point (7:28/mile). My splits for the last five miles were as follows: Mile 9 (7:03), Mile 10 (7:13), Mile 11 (7:15), Mile 12 (7:15), Mile 13 (6:53).

I saw several folks who showed me love during this stretch. All of your shouts of encouragement were appreciated and added fuel to my fire. So thank you Maurice, Maurya, Kaos (What up Movers & Pacers!), and Jarian. The love was truly appreciated!

The numbers say it all. I finished strong... really strong. Truth be told, I probably could have turned it on a bit earlier and probably shaved a couple of minutes off of my time; but hey, that just gives me a reason to come back and do it all over again next year. 

 

My official finish time was 1:36:07. A new PR!!

After the race, I met up with the other guys who finished their respective races. Despite the rainy weather, it seemed like everyone had a great time and enjoyed the course. Shout out to my big bro Ed for supplying garbage bags to keep everyone warm - the good kind too... must of been Hefty bags, cause it kept me nice and warm lol!

Side note: though I missed his finish, MAJOR CONGRATS TO BIG MIKE for finishing his first full marathon. Those pictures were epic, and I imagine experiencing it first hand was an awesome experience!

Till next time...