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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Soldier's Half PR and Just Missed the Goal!

Yesterday was the Soldier's Half in Columbus Georgia.  It was my second half marathon and it was my first out of town race.  I learned a lot and had a great time!  First let me say overall what a cool race experience.  The course takes you right into and all around Fort Benning for7 miles. First of all when will I ever get on an air force base, let alone one lined with uniformed soldiers cheering you on and getting a chance to thank them.  Also you start and end the race running down the Avenue of Flags.  Seriously!  The only real hills on the course are in Fort Benning and they are lined with Drill Sergeants yelling at you.  It was just one of those races. I will admit that I crossed the road a couple of times to high five some soldiers and I was caught up in enjoying the experience, instead of focusing on pace.  The rest of the course was beautiful around the River Walk.  It is a nice course mostly flat except for two big hills in Fort Benning and rolling hills through the River Walk and golf course.  They have so many amenities.  Port-a-potties every 1-2 miles, lots of gels, water, Gatorade, and PowerAde.  What they did not have enough of was volunteers at the stations.  There was a wait for water and electrolytes at every stop.  So I lost a little time, but felt like it was better to wait a bit and keep my hydration consistent. 

The Good about the race and the trip:

Chip Time 2:01:31 - 92 seconds off my goal, but a PR by almost 4 minutes. 
Felt great.  My first half I was really feeling it at mile 10 for the rest of the race.  This time I felt great the whole time.  When I saw hubby at mile 12 to run me in I was like wow already 12 miles. That proved my training with more long runs paid off.

I had packed correctly and my belt, fuel, clothing choices, and technology all worked and were comfortable.

My first half was slower than my last half. That was a goal or me to hold back and leave some in the tank.

Hubby running in the last mile with me.  They tried to give him a medal, but he would not take it.  I knew he wouldn't that is not how he rolls.

Nice race swag.  We got a cute fitted women's shirt which I love and a cool bag.  Love the medal Dog Tags.

Cool vibe with 2,000 runners from 38 states. 

Inspiring to see the folks who ran for a fallen soldier.

The hotel we stayed at was across the street from the Infantry Museum the start and finish.  No parking stress, no logistic stress, and hubby could wait at the hotel in warmth and comfort for me.

Fun day after that walking the Columbus River Walk with hubby and watching the Chattahoochee River Games. 

The Bad or what I learned

The hotel was convenient to the race, but in a bad part of town with nowhere to get a decent dinner the night before.  We ended up stressed, late, and eating microwave pasta in the hotel. Not my ideal pre-race scenario.

A little disorganized.  We may be spoiled by ATC, but number pick up the night before  was chaos.  The volunteers did not know how to route participants and they did not have all the stuff  in one area.  As a result I was not routed to pick up the commemorative painted poster.  A bummer we were going to hang it in our office.  At least we made it to pick up my packet.  They advertised pick up until 7:30 but actually closed it at 7 PM.  In search of dinner that night, we saw a lot of angry folks standing at the closed Infantry Museum.

It was cold at the start, but after 2 miles everything was great. 

I started too far back in my desire to hold back my pace. I got caught in the crowd and spent the whole first mile trying to get out.  My pace that mile was 10:30 about a minute slower than I planned.

Not enough volunteers and the aid stations meant we had to wait.

Confusion with the 5K runners that delayed the start of the half.

Columbus is a pretty depressed area of the state and it was a little sad driving around there.

As cool as it was to run around Fort Benning you could not help but notice how young these soldiers were and think about all the wars still going on and what might happen.  Especially when the young families were out at the base cheering for you.

Lastly, hubby still has not agreed to run a half with me but I will continue to work on him. 

For now kind of glad to not be doing any special event races.  Just want to enjoy running with hubby.  Back to our regular 3 milers and 5-7 mile weekend long run. 



  1. Congratulations! A great time...hope it all goes to helping soldiers transition back into the community. If the race was closer, I would have liked to try it.

    1. Thanks, Caroline. It is a great race. It actually benefits two charities for families who lost military in the line of duty. It is a great course fairly flat, scenic. They have a 1/2 and full. Maybe worth traveling for it.