Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Montgomery Half Marathon

March 12, 2015

This was my second year running the Montgomery Half Marathon. The course is challenging with no shortage of hills. I chose to do this half as the 3rd half in my streak of 4 half's in 28 days because it's so close to home.

This is a great event for the city of Montgomery. This is the second year the race has offered the full marathon in addition to the half marathon and 5K. This race attracts over 1,000 people to the city of Montgomery. The Air Force does a fantastic job volunteering on the course and directing traffic at busy intersections along with the MPD.  The course runs through many historical sites and neighborhoods. There's plenty of support on course with well stocked aid stations. The finish line is located in the Riverwalk Stadium home of the Montgomery Biscuits baseball team. The mayor of Montgomery, Todd Strange is there to congratulate the runners as they cross the finish. After the race, there's plenty of food and entertainment and post race massages.

I went by Riverwalk Stadium on Friday afternoon to pick up my race packet. There is no race day packet pick up for this race. The packet pick up was quick and easy. I went before 5:00, so most people probably hadn't left work yet. Montgomery Multisport had a booth with clearance merchandise and some race day essentials. I purchased a pair of Oofos flip flops for 10% off. I've wanted to try those for quite some time.

My college alumni Auburn Montgomery was conducting a study about distance running and flexibility. They asked me if I would like to participate. I gladly agreed. I had to complete a short survey, weigh in, and then do a sit and reach (3 x both legs, 3 x left leg, 3 x right leg). They asked me to come back after the race on Saturday to do the sit and reach again. I was curious to see the difference after the race.

Packet Pick Up at the Riverwalk Stadium

 Ready for Race Day
We arrived downtown and parked around 6:15. The race started at 7:00, so we had plenty of time. There was the threat of rain and severe weather, but it held off for the race. It was another hot, humid race.
The MPAC center where the city holds concerts was open, but surprisingly no one was hanging out inside. Most everyone was in the lobby at the Renaissance Hotel, so I had the women's bathroom all to myself. I made several trips before walking just down the block to the start line. I had the urge to go to the bathroom again, so I made one last stop by the porta potties. I'm always afraid I'll have to go on the course.




I had less than ten minutes to spare and I was hoping to visit with friends before the start. As I was making my way to the start line I heard someone holler my name. It was Tricia (MissSippiPiddlin) lined up with Holly (HoHo Runs). I met Tricia briefly at St. Jude Memphis. It's crazy that I've never formally met Holly since we live in neighboring towns and we've done several of the same races. It was nice to finally meet her.

Holly, Tricia, and me

We had a few minutes to chat and snap a quick photo. They played the National Anthem and then we took off. I had no time goals for this race because it is such a tough course. However, I would be thrilled if I beat my time from last year.

I ran with Holly and Tricia for the first few miles. We made our way out of downtown, past Oakwood Cemetery where the country legend Hank Williams Sr. is buried. The next few miles were through residential areas. Around Mile 3, we reached Oak Park with beautiful tall Oak Trees. I was trying my best to stick with Holly and Tricia, but I was starting to struggle maintaining their pace. At the water stop just outside of Oak Park, Holly took off. I told Tricia I held on as long as I could, but I wasn't going to be able to keep up with Holly.

Mile 1- 9:59
Mile 2- 10:09
Mile 3- 9:51
Mile 4- 9:53


Oakwood Cemetery

We entered Alabama State University around Mile 5. I forgot about a few inclines on the campus. I had to stop to walk several times and I lost sight of Tricia. I took this opportunity to eat my Honey Stinger waffle. When I finally reached a flat stretch I ran to catch up with Tricia.
Mile 5- 10:30

Alabama State University

 Bibb Graves Hall

Dunn Oliver Acadome

Miles 6 through 9 ran through Huntington campus and Old Cloverdale, one of the cities most beautiful neighborhoods with old, historic homes. Tricia and I both stopped to walk at the water stop on Huntington's campus, but when I took off running again she wasn't with me. There was a down and back loop around Mile 7. I saw Holly ahead of me on the turnaround and Tricia wasn't far behind me.

Mile 6- 10:10
Mile 7- 10:15
Mile 8- 10:14
Mile 9- 10:14

Running through Old Cloverdale

We came to Perry Street Hill just past Mile 10. This is the longest, toughest climb on the course. Last year there was an awesome drum line playing to help motivate us. This year there were a few spectators with signs, but that's about it. I was on pace for a 2:12-2:15 finish, a big course PR, but I gave in at this point in the race and walked. There were a few smaller hills after the Perry Street Hill and I walked those too.

Mile 10- 10:42
Mile 11- 11:53


 Perry Street Hill
We reached the Alabama State Capitol building just past Mile 11. This is one of my favorites parts on the course because I can fly down the long down hill stretch on Dexter Avenue as I near the final miles.
Mile 12- 10:32

Alabama State Capitol Building

At 12.5 miles, we reached the split where to full marathoners kept going. Last year, there were a handful of people who split off. I didn't see anyone go the full route this year when I reached the split. I was so glad to be heading to the finish line.

In the final turns to the finish line

We ran past the Riverfront sign in the last mile

 The front of Riverwalk Stadium...almost there!

My Garmin read 2:15 and some seconds before making the final turn into the stadium. If I sprinted to the finish I could beat last year's time if only by a minute. To my surprise I saw Holly up ahead coming across the finish. I didn't see her in the last miles on the course and I assumed she already finished. I clocked my last mile in 10:14. My official time was 2:16:09, a minute and a half faster than last year's time. I'll take it!




Holly and I receiving our medals at the finish

The volunteer photographers did an outstanding job with pictures this year.
Thanks for the free photos!


It wasn't long before Tricia came across the finish line. We may not have stuck together on the course, but we all finished within minutes of each other. We visited for a short time after we finished. I had a great time running with these ladies. I was so glad Tricia could come run in Montgomery. I need to make my way to her home state of Mississippi soon.


Tricia, Me, and Holly at the finish

I also ran into my friend Dee at the finish line. I missed her at the beginning of the race. It was so good to see her again. It's hard to believe my mom and I met her at this race a year ago. Time flies!


Me and Dee


I didn't stick around long after the race, but I did manage to stop back by the Auburn Montgomery tent to do the sit and reach again as part of their study. It was a struggle after running 13.1 miles. I didn't reach nearly as far as I did the night before the race. They said they would e-mail me the results of their study. I'm curious to read about their findings.









19 comments:

  1. Congratulations on beating your previous time! Those hills sound killer. I'm so impressed you made it through 4 races in under a month. I'm excited to read your last recap! I have 3 halves within a month this fall, so I'll channel you for inspiration! :) I usually run 2-3 halves a year, so it'll be interesting.

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    1. Thank you! The last half in my streak was awesome! My best one of the four. Just gotta make the time to write the recap. I look forward to following your journey of 3 halves within a month this fall. How exciting!

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  2. Great recap Debra! You reminded me of things I forgot. We did all finish close together. It was a great race on a tough course (and a tough day for me). It was nice to meet you and I'm sure I'll see you next week. Congrats on your streak and new moon level too.

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    1. It's always a tough race for me. Hopefully next week will be better for the both of us. It will be my first time running Centerpoint. Look forward to seeing you there!

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  3. Montgomery Biscuits? Todd Strange? Interesting names out your way! Sounds like a great race with friends. Congrats!

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    1. I didn't get a pic with the Biscuit's mascot this year. His name is Big Mo. He looks like an anteater, but they say he's a biscuit eater. He's pretty funny looking.

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  4. Great job on your run! Way to improve from last year's time!! How fun to see and run with both Tricia and Holly. Your race photos are great! Love when they are free!

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    1. Thank you, Sharon! I had a great time running with them! I love free race photos! Last year I had to sort through thousands to find that they left me out at the finish line. This year they had them sorted by bib number. I was impressed with the improvement in pictures this year.

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  5. Congrats on your finish!! I have this race on a long list for next year, I didn't realize how many races were so close to home. I remember those hills downtown from running a 5k and I think it was an 8k around Memorial Day back in 2009 when I was TDY to Gunter. Let me know how you like the Oofos, I keep seeing them pop up throughout the internet and social media. Enjoy your Easter weekend!!

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    1. You should definitely try to make this one next year. I think you may be talking about the Jubilee 8K. I've ran it the past two years. You run up the hill on Dexter towards the Capitol on that one. I much prefer running down that hill. I like the Oofos! They're pretty comfy. I wore them after Rock n Fly and my legs weren't as sore on Sunday. That could be all in my head. It will take more races to decide if they really help that much with recovery. Hope you have a great Eastern weekend too!

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    2. You should definitely try to make this one next year. I think you may be talking about the Jubilee 8K. I've ran it the past two years. You run up the hill on Dexter towards the Capitol on that one. I much prefer running down that hill. I like the Oofos! They're pretty comfy. I wore them after Rock n Fly and my legs weren't as sore on Sunday. That could be all in my head. It will take more races to decide if they really help that much with recovery. Hope you have a great Eastern weekend too!

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  6. I love that you got to meet Holly and Tricia! Blogging has brought all of us together. It's so fun!

    Great job on the race. Looks like it was a pretty course!

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    1. Thank you, Wendy! I've connected with so many people through blogging and social media. I love making new running friends!

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  7. Way to go on beating last year's time! So cool that you ran with Tricia and Holly! Great pics! Seems like a very scenic race. I'm also interested on that study about distance running and flexibilty.

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    1. Thank you, Sherry! Downtown Montgomery has its charm. I'm just not a fan of its hills. It was so much fun running with Holly and Tricia. I love that blogging has brought us together. I haven't heard back from the study, but when I do I might post about it. I'll let you know.

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    2. Thank you, Sherry! Downtown Montgomery has its charm. I'm just not a fan of its hills. It was so much fun running with Holly and Tricia. I love that blogging has brought us together. I haven't heard back from the study, but when I do I might post about it. I'll let you know.

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  8. Congrats on a great finish time and your big accomplishment running all those races so close.
    That is so fun you got meet Holly and that you all crossed the line so close together so you could visit for a few minutes.
    The course looked like it has some pretty big hills!
    You look fantastic ion your race pics!

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    1. Thank you, Karen! Running in downtown Montgomery is always a challenge. I'm planning to do another 8K race next month that runs up Dexter Ave in front of the Capitol. The hill that we ran down in this half. I enjoyed seeing Holly and Tricia. I love that blogging has brought us together.

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    2. Thank you, Karen! Running in downtown Montgomery is always a challenge. I'm planning to do another 8K race next month that runs up Dexter Ave in front of the Capitol. The hill that we ran down in this half. I enjoyed seeing Holly and Tricia. I love that blogging has brought us together.

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