Marietta, GA | 11.22.12
Heather and I found this race well over a month ago, hoping to find some sort of race that wasn't the Atlanta Half to do on Thanksgiving morning before we
gorged filled ourselves with holiday deliciousness. We managed to find this one and signed up... and then kind of forgot about it (I mean, with her first half before then, who wouldn't forget it?)
|Sunset into Atlanta on Wednesday.|
I got to leave work about an hour early on Wednesday afternoon, perfect so I could race home, grab the dog and our bags for the weekend, and haul butt down to Atlanta. Heather's place is on the northeast side of town, Marietta's on the northwest side of town, so it made the traffic adventure fun. Traffic wasn't terrible until I got into Atlanta proper, and then sat. Still. For a long time. Finally made my way to Marietta to packet pickup, which was held at a church just off the square. Packet pick-up itself was super easy: walk in, find your corresponding last name letter, get your shirt, and your bib, and walk out. Easy peasy. The way out of the church, however, was unbelievably horrendous - not a fun situation. But whatever.
Afterward, I headed back to Heather's, waited on her (fell asleep, really), loaded the car and then we headed to our crash pad for Thursday and Friday - back in the direction of Marietta (I should have just stayed there!), at Radha's. Radha is another sorority sister from the Georgia Tech chapter - yay for sisters! We crashed somewhere around midnight (way too late) and very begrudgingly got up at 6:40 to get out the door, grab breakfast (gas station mini donuts, FTW) and get to Marietta Square. Another sister of ours, Brandi (the one I ran ATL with) was already at the Square and ready to roll. Seriously, the entire car ride to Marietta we were almost questioning what on earth we were doing getting up this early on Thanksgiving instead of sleeping... once we parked and found our way to the Square, found Brandi, and settled into the groove of things, I think it sank in.
|Heather, me and Brandi before the race.|
Gobble Jog features a 10K (which starts first), a 1K, a 5K and a Tot Trot. The route for the 5K is a loop around the north end of the Square, and through some neighborhoods in the area - an absolutely gorgeous run! Two good hills, but nothing uber terrible. Brandi had mentioned that the course was fast, and that on nearly 5K she'd done on the route, she'd PRed or come close to it. I tried not to push that fact too much, but was curious to see what I could do.
Last year, Gobble Jog featured almost 9,400 runners - can you believe that? Insanely large Turkey Trot if you ask me! This year they were hoping to hit 10,000 and had contests for the largest teams that would sign up (a church won with 192 registrants). The Square was busy, but certainly not as chaotic as you'd imagine with limited parking (we had no problem) and that many people. I was impressed with the seemingly controlled and super calm atmosphere all around. As the 10K starts first (two laps of the 5K route), they asked runners who had strollers/dogs to be in the very back, walkers ahead of them, run/walkers ahead of them, and supreme-o runners at the front. While some people decided to place themselves, I appreciated the effort that a) the race organizers did to try and make this happen and b) that most runners complied! Amazing!
At first, I planned on going all out, just to see what I could do - and quickly learned at hill 1 that was just not going to work. 15 minutes in (okay, not bad) I opted to try this run-walk-run cycle in a race environment, just to see what would happen. When I got through the 5K at just about the 30-minute mark, I knew I had a good shot of PRing (last time was 1:04:21) even if I slowed up a bit. The best part of this course, hands down, are the number of families and supporters that come out - whether because they knew someone running or because it happened to go by their front yard. There was a man with a sax playing the "Charge!" anthem, families with cowbells and little kids giving out high-fives. Awesome environment, and that can definitely make a race all the better!
Run-walk-run success! I hit the mile 6 marker about the 58-minute mark, and put it all behind me there and sprinted my best the last .2 to get to the finish - a fantastic 1:00:19 finish and a shiny new Thanksgiving PR!
|You can't get much better than this!|
I grabbed a banana and water and headed back to the finish to wait for Brandi and Heather to come in. Brandi came in at a solid 1:20 or so and Heather got herself a nearly 3-minute PR at 1:26:17, an awesome morning for her too! Happy times all around! We hung around for a bit, but were ready to get back, shower, and chill for the day to do absolutely nothing but eat! Brandi's also running her first full marathon this weekend, so we sent her off with all the luck we could muster - rock it Brandi! You got this!
|Happy morning for us all!|
Overall, an awesome race - considering we really didn't want to do it when we got up that morning and questioned our sanity, it turned out to be a great run and a great way to start a calorie deficit day for the Thanksgiving feast ahead! If you're looking for a great Turkey Trot in the Atlanta area, this is one of them - check it out! (Also want to say the long sleeve shirts, though not tech material, are amazing. Super soft, super comfy, definitely a win!)
Did you race on Thanksgiving or the weekend? How'd you do? Any new turkey-induced PRs?