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.
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
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.