The GRU Augusta Half Marathon and 10K's tag line is "Half as long. Twice as cool." And in 2015 I think it's safe to say that it may still be half as long - but it's definitely more than twice as cool. This year, the 13.1 half marathon distance and 6.2 mile 10K distance will still be available - but for those looking to tackle a more managable beginner's distance, there will also be a Sports Fanatic 5K. Runners and walkers can dress up like their favorite athlete or wear their favorite team colors. Although there's plenty of awesome new stuff going on - the aspects of the race that make it a local and visitor favorite remain. No matter which course you run, you'll get great views of our historic downtown and Summerville neighborhood. We love this Run Pretty blog by Presley - it gives a great overview of what you can expect for the GRU Augusta Half Marathon. Register to run the half, 10K or 5K today and make the start of your 2015 awesome.

Run Pretty: 2013 Augusta Half Marathon

Sunday I ran my second half of the year. I have a feeling 2013 will be the year of half marathons for me. I’m having fun with them! Maybe 2014 will be my year for speed and short distances then? One can dream, right? I guess I could try to get a bit faster at the half distance this year, buuut that would require some sort of training. I really didn’t run much at all before this race other than running the ZOOMA Florida Half in January. Basically, I was under trained and overenthusiastic. ;) I do really want to break 2:00, so I supposed I’ll have to put some effort in soon!

Anyway, Saturday afternoon I went to the Augusta Half expo with my friend Logan and her friend Allison. It was a very small expo, but it had surprisingly decent booths and swag. For a smaller race, they definitely went out of their way to make it as exciting as possible. They even gave away free hot chocolate and coffee outside. They had me at liquid calories. ;) No, for real, the hot chocolate was the bomb. (Do people still say “the bomb”? I do when I can’t say “the s#*t”.)

augusta half marathon expo

Sunday morning I got up and got ready in my own house. I seriously have to start running more local races. Getting up and drinking your own coffee/eating your own peanut butter is miraculous. I chugged some coffee and scarfed down a huge peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon sandwich. I forgot my beloved bananas and chia seeds. I think I was still asleep. The weather was pretty chilly, but it was nothingcompared to what they had been forecasting leading up to the race. They had originally called for even colder weather and rain. HOLLA for just chilly temps and eventual sun! Can you tell I was cold here? It’s either that or I needed to pee really badly.

augusta half marathon

Logan, Allison, and I met up with Madeline and her friend Erynn before the race. Without really discussing it, we broke into groups. We all had a general idea of how we wanted to run, so I guess we naturally split up. Erynn was a speed demon, so she broke off immediately. Madeline and I decided to run together, followed by Logan and Allison.

I am so glad she let me run with her, because I hadn’t the slightest game plan going into this race. She had a smart racing strategy, which I definitely appreciated. After all, look at these hills:

augusta half marathon elevation

I didn’t wear my Garmin (story for another day), but I know our splits thanks to my running partner/coach. :)

Mile 1: 9:42

Mile 2: 9:32

Mile 3: 9:37

Toward the beginning of the race, there was a small bridge to warm us up. My ankles appreciated the tease before the killer inclines to come. Thankfully, it was followed by a flat stretch of road.

augusta half marathon

augusta half marathon slant

Miles four and five were probably the roughest miles of the day. The incline started slowly, but pretty soon your ankles wanted to gnaw your legs off to force you to stop running. That’s probably just my take on it, haha, but it was a loooong hill. You can’t really tell from the picture, but towards the turn at the top, it gets vicious. When you look at our splits, you can see us start to slow down at mile 4 and then totally die on mile 5. ;)

augusta half marathon hill

Mile 4: 9:53

Mile 5: 10:50

Mile six was pretty uneventful. There was a sizable chunk of downhill running, so we sped up. I honestly think that’s when I started to hurt myself a little. When we hit the climbs, I was very careful with my running. I was pretty haphazard on the way down, though. We were talking more and I just wasn’t paying attention. My poor ankles.

Mile 6: 9:13

Mile seven had a bit more ups and downs, but we also decided to just coast for a while. It was fun to chill out a bit.

Mile 7: 10:09

At the beginning of mile 8 was this beautiful beast. That hill was no joke, but we survived it relatively well. I think we were able to manage a consistent pace because we had relaxed leading up to it.

augusta half marathon hill

Mile 8: 10:07

There were a few more sporadic hill after that, but nothing as intense. I won’t lie, though, even small inclines pissed me off at that point. I’m pretty sure I said my fair share of nasty words.

Mile 9: 9:36

Miles 10 and 11 wrapped around Lake Olmstead. It was a nice change of scenery. I kept thinking the cars that were passing us were going to splash me with water from the road, but I made it out okay. That’s really not relevant to the race, is it?

augusta half marathon lake olmstead

Mile 10: 10:02

We both started to get pretty tight at the beginning of mile 11. We saw a wall (both literally and figuratively…) and stopped to stretch. My left IT band and my right ankle were screaming obscenities at me. I definitely needed to stretch. I felt so much better after stopping. It was also a lifesaver, because we came up on a very unexpected incline after that.

Mile 11: 11:04

Mile 12 contained the last “hill”, which really was just a bridge that made me angry. It’s all good, though. We survived.

Mile 12: 9:52

Once I saw the “MILE 12″ sign, I got so daggum excited. I knew we were almost done. We decided to speed up some and get this bad boy over with. Right at the end of mile 13, Madeline’s husband snapped a picture. 1.) I’m a nerd. 2.) At least I have proof I’m heal striking less. 3.) You can’t fake joy like that.

augusta half marathon

Mile 13: 9:04 (BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!)

At that point, we sprinted to the finish holding hands (…into the sunset… no? fine).

Mile 13.1: 7:47

Official Time: 2:09:33

It was a challenging race, but it was so worth it in the end. I’m very grateful that Madeline let me run with her the entire time. I’m probably the most irritating person to run with. I may or may not have the most inconsistent pacing and carry on the most annoying conversations. I’m a joy. She PR’d by the way, so that was AWESOME. I’m pretty ready to PR now, too. BRING IT.

augusta half marathon

With that, the second half of 2013 was in the books. PS: How cute are the medals? My wedding was pink and green, so I’m definitely a fan.

augusta half marathon

The only real major problem for me was no fuel provided on the course. I generally am the most unprepared runner alive, so I needed a little something handed out. Madeline shared her chomps (edited: apparently they were honey stingers… maybe I really was totally out of it?!), so I am forever indebted to her. I will definitely be running this race again, although I will train next time for sure. Hill repeats are pretty necessary for this half. Trust me.

I also want to shout out to Logan for running her second half of the year. She’s a beast. :) Hope y’all are still having a good week!

Check out more of Presley's Run Pretty blog here.