Location: Loganville, Georgia
Half: Run Thru the Park Half Marathon
Date: Sunday, July 30th, 2017
Finish Time: 1:42 & Third Place Overall
Pre-run meal? Pasta and Dairy Queen (oops..)
White Water Rafting, Anyone???
Let’s take a quick pit-stop in West Virginia! ….. And this is why nobody trusts me to plan out the logistics of these trips. I thought stopping in West Virginia was a logical little stop on our way down to half marathon #11. I mean, let’s see here, Georgia is approximately 8-9 hours away from Columbus (which is where we were leaving from) and we were leaving Friday after work (sometime around 5-6). I knew we wouldn’t want to drive the full stretch on Friday evening, but driving the entire day on Saturday didn’t seem to make too much sense either… so I figured we should drive a little bit on Friday night, wake up, do something fun, and then get back on the road for the remainder of the drive. That’s all fine & well, but the only issue with this logic is the fact that West Virginia was approximately 4-5 hours out of the way, leaving us driving all day Saturday regardless (woops). But hey, at least this trip was worth the drive.
I took this trip with my mom, Mike (mom’s boyfriend), and Brian (my boyfriend). A little double date trip. We all piled into Mike’s car and took to the road around 6 after work. The drive was one of the best parts of the trip (for myself at least, and hopefully Brian); he and I sat in the back and played endless card games, hangman, games on our phones, and talked about anything and everything, also, there were lots of snacks (YES). The drive to West Virginia was great, especially because we took a pit-stop in Charleston for PIZZA. We ate at Pies and Pints, and although I couldn’t have any pints of beer pre-race, I did shovel in a massive amount of delicious pizza.
Finally, we made it to destination #1: Beckley, West Virginia. We found our hotel, unpacked our things, and turned out the lights pretty quickly to get some rest before Saturday’s adventure: WHITE WATER RAFTING. Hey, at least I picked a decent reason to stop in Beckley, right? We all woke up excited for our half-day white water rafting adventure, despite the abnormally cold late-July temperature that day. Although it was pretty (really fucking) chilly, the water was surprisingly warm and the waves were decently high for this time of year, and ready to pummel us in the face. We paddled down the river in unison; avoiding dangerous rocks, floating down the “swimmer’s rapids”, and celebrating after the successful navigation through each rapid. We admired the massive rocks on each side of the river as we made our way downstream. It was absolutely beautiful, the perfect little “side adventure” on (or out of) the way.
I’ll skip the 7 or 8 hour car ride that followed such an exciting portion of the trip (although I didn’t think it was that bad… but I also wasn’t the one driving). However, we did manage to take a break mid-drive for some Italian in Georgia (I think it was Georgia at least) and some ice cream when we finally got close. AND THEN… Finally!! We made it to destination #2: Loganville, Georgia. When we finally arrived it was already time for bed; after a day full of rafting and driving, we all turned out the lights as I mentally prepared for half #11.
Beet juice, check. Shoes, check. Clothes, check. Support squad, check. The weather was MUCH better the next day in Georgia than it had been for us in West Virginia. If I’m being perfectly honest it was actually the PERFECT morning for a run; still a dark out on the drive there, a light breeze, about 65 degrees, not much humidity. Yet as it ticked closer and closer to the start time it got better and better… The sun started to peak out, I could see the dew on the grass, I could still slightly see my breath as I got out of the car and started to warm up. If you’re a runner you can probably picture how perfect the setting was for a nice, long, run.
Half #11 was small and extremely unique. Why, you ask? The race course. You don’t even wanna know, but I’ll tell you anyways, because it was freakin’ ridiculous. FOUR, YES I SAID FOUR, YEP 4, 1.55 mile down and backs, topped off with a shorter down and back on the same path as the cherry on top. So, we were essentially running in a circle around this park, except right when you could see where you started and visualize yourself completing a loop, you had to turn back around and run back to the start line the other way. It was madness. But hey, I’ll take running circles all day long over 85% humidity any day.
But, like usual, I just did my thing: I put one foot in front of the other, played a mixture of a little country, some rap, a bit of hip-hop, and a few of the newest pop songs. I mostly focused on the reasons that I run, thought about how lucky I was to be able to move my legs and my feet in a way that carries my body through space and across long distances such as this. I thought about the things for which I’m grateful: the fact that both my mom and my boyfriend were supporting me, the beautiful weather that surrounded me, the luck I had for no humidity in Georgia (hallelujah!) the fact that my mom found someone that makes her happy, all of my amazing family around the US, my job, my sister’s health, pretty much everything in my life. As I finished my last stretch, I did my best to try and sprint to the finish, pounding my now very heavy feet into the ground.
And finally, I HAD FINISHED HALF #11. Although there weren’t very many people in this race, I had achieved 3rd place overall, barely missing second place (by about 15 seconds). I was proud of myself for the mental strength it took to run that course, to turn around so many times and maintain my focus despite the repeating surroundings. We celebrated briefly, I put on my medal, and then it was time for some pancakes at Ihop (no joke).