I didn’t quite beat out my previous half marathon record, which I set a couple of weeks ago, but in my second running of the Atlanta Half Marathon, I did significantly better than last year, with a chip time of about 37 minutes faster. I’m pretty happy with that. And my times this fall give me a new goal for next year of bringing my time down to less than two hours.
This year’s race threatened to be a minor catastrophe. My sister and I arrived at the starting gate about fifteen minutes late, thanks to a MARTA mishap, but in a way, our late arrival may have actually been beneficial in that I didn’t have to worry about running in crowded spaces, and once I got going, I was able to pass a bunch of people. One of the few problems I encountered was that runners were only entitled to one bottle of water at the end of the race, so I was pretty dehydrated for about an hour or so until we got home from the race. Other than that, the race was a lot of fun, and as always, it’s really cool to have so many enthusiastic spectators cheering for you on a cold Thanksgiving morning (it was quite a bit colder than last year, although thankfully it didn’t rain).
Like last year, I also enjoyed getting a street-level tour of a city where I’ve spent much of my life. The full marathon essentially follows the Olympic marathon course, and the half marathon covers the second half of that, starting near the Chamblee MARTA station and following Peachtree Street through Lenox, Buckhead, and Midtown, and passing the campuses of Georgia Tech and Georgia State, before finishing near Turner Field. It was sad to see so many of my favorite haunts–the Garden Hills Cinema in particular–essentially shuttered and a little disappointing to see so many high rise condos replacing older, funkier buildings. But, once again, I’m really pleased with my time, especially since I’ve been sick for much of the last two weeks.