Time: [eh, who cares? ok, ok] 1:50:01
So this was the eighth time I’ve participated in this race, give or take. It was my very first half marathon back in 2006. Thus, I have many fond memories and attempt to toe the line annually [barring pneumonia and/or sleeting rainy downpours].
The course runs through the town in which I have made many memories! Rather than a traditional race report, I figured I’d take the opportunity to venture down the metaphorical memory lane as I recount running through the literal one. Because there’s not much to mention about this particular raceday itself other than it being the second half marathon in four days [I did Berkely the weekend prior] and a casual trot to create a turkey calorie deficit! I’m going to mention many, many people for whom I am thankful along the way, but note that this list is not comprehensive! I am so blessed to have been touch by so, so many people that I couldn’t possibly name everyone!
Off the bat, I’ll start off with my siblings with whom I participated in my very first 13.1 at this very race (but different course) back in 2006. Without them, I’d be nothing!! I am so fortunate to have such an amazing family, and they deserve the first and foremost spot. I’ve learned that when there’s no one else, there’s always, always, always family!
Before the race, I met up with friends at the Atlanta Triathlon Club tent—the group that provided me with the tools, support and impetus to not just do triathlons, but grow it the sport into a highly rewarding lifestyle! Well, before I arrived, I foolishly actually read (and heeded) the athlete guide, which advised participants to arrive before 6am to avoid horrific traffic [I remember more than one occasion of hopping out of a car on the freeway and running to the start as the gun went off]. So I got there at 5:50 and landed what I thought at the time was an unbelievably baller parking spot [spoiler alert: it wasn’t].
After a photo with the ATCers and a failed attempt at finding the ITL Coaching and Performance tent, Risa and I toed the starting line together. She is the toughest, grittiest gal I know! After a horrific accident, she muscled her way back to iron-distance racing, which required standing on the bike for the whole Challenge Roth course!
We took off and left Centennial Olympic park, not too far from where “IronAngela” Nelms, founder of Team Endured and excellent role model lives. We ran through the Georgia State University campus, where I took prerequisites for Nursing school and worked at La Tavola, where I learned about wine, food and time management.
We ran through the West side of Atlanta, where I recall long runs with folks like Alexandra Ricca, Rich Yarborough, Ted Morris, John and Bethany Rutledge. Long runs during which you bond over the mutual “suffering”, but also have the opportunity to chat about training and life alike.
We passed through Atlantic station and one of the the LA Fitness locations where I would secretly “stalk” Eric Aarons’ spin classes long before I started triathlon. In a totally non-creepy, flattering way. Or at least I think.
We passed near Heather Reynold’s house, who has become a dear friend who exemplifies grit, humility and an amazing sense of humor despite significant adversity. An excellent friend and role model!
We traversed the bridge over the connector and passed my first condo in Atlanta [“Chateau Susie”], where I was living when I met Rolly, a friendly Australian guy and real estate entrepreneur genius who shares the same love of coffee, pastries and wine as I do. Running by also conjured great memories of Nicole, my Swiss roommate, and sharing her excellent cheese and charcuterie spreads on the awesome patio. Oh and how could I ever forget the most unforgettable concierge, Shirley [“eh susie! You got a package!”].
We ran through Piedmont Park–my back yard for several years, only after passing The Nook, where I spent many Wednesdays making non-contributions to Team Trivia with my brother and Chris Lynch. I recall boot camp with Jeromy and Jess, which leveraged my transition from gym rat into triathlete.
I also recalled many walks through the park with Blythe and Caroline! Best friends for life, for sure.
Out the other side of the park and I randomly remembered going to my advertising twin, Matt Silas’, holiday party after I had left the industry. He, too, has taken to this running thing and we have even ran this particular race together a time or two!
Past “Chateau Deux” my second condo just a block from the first and many great memories of Nicole! Particular holiday time, where I also spent some great time with Nathan.
Down Juniper, I ran near ABSN friend, Christie Harwell [now Halter’s] home where she and Brian lived–Brian being the guy who doubted he would be able to run a 5k and a year later went on to run the Chicago Marathon and is now talking ultras!
We then pass by Grady Hospital which conjured a little PTSD along with the “warm fuzzies” and, of course, reminded me of Karen and Richard and Ann and Carl–my support system in NP school and in the firey trenches of the Emergency Department. And I wouldn’t have gotten there without my BSN friends, Erina, Lauren, Christie, Gillian and Rachel! We continue to exchange Secret Santa gifts annually, which helps bridge the temporal and geographical gaps!
We ran past the Tin Lizzy’s near the Oakland Cemetery, where I remembered Chrissy and Michael threw a reunion get together after they moved to Cali. We spent many training days and racing trips together! And I can’t wait to see them get married in April!
I think it was around this point that I saw Dani Grabol on the course. She was pushing a physically disabled athlete with the grace and humility with which she always carries herself while completing super-human athletic achievements!
I then started climbing the last of many hills on the course to have ATCers Tim and Ann Myers, Amy Cox and Sheryl Shectman cheering me on with foam hands and music and all! My legs were tired and sore from having jumped back into training quite aggressively, so I really appreciated the boost at that moment and the support that they continually provide!
After the race, I ran into a few familiar faces including Joe Dollar and hurried home to spend time with my family! And round out my self-imposed tri training camp. Because my adolescent-like failure to follow Coach, mentor and very dear friend, Chris Rotelli’s training plan had certainly put me in a hole!