Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Another Tear Drop

Tear Drop Half Marathon
Chatsworth, GA
April 25, 2021
Half Marathon # 65


If you're reading this...I suppose I still pop up in your feed.  Hi there!  Long time, no post!  

I simply had to stop blogging a while back.  Seriously, I didn't want to read my own monotonous, uninspired posts.  So why would I expect anyone else to?  Although I don't comment, I do still read blogs.  My favorite posts are race recaps and I still search for ones relating to future races.

Along that line, I have toyed with returning to the original idea of my blog.  Race Recaps.   It is in that spirit I am posting.  If nothing else, for my own memory.  With several never-posted recaps in draft form, this one deserves the PUBLISH button.  Spoiler: I set a new half marathon PR.  And at my age I may never do that again.  Just keeping it real.

A little back story here.  Last winter I was training for a marathon.  It was going better than any other cycle before.  I felt I had finally figured out the right formula.  And then spring...and COVID shut down.  The race was postponed a couple of months and then eventually cancelled.  Ugh.  All of that extended marathon training for nothing.  I attempted to get back in the swing with two half marathons last fall, but both were meh.  

After a couple of winter adventures, I was ready to train again.  The 2020 cancelled marathon folks gave us dejected registrants the opportunity to sign up for this year's 2021 race before everyone else could. Very nice!  This small marathon has a limited field and normally sells out quickly.  I took the bait and began training this February with fervor, using the same formula as last year.

Free race pictures are always a great perk!

Back to Tear Drop (named after the iconic Trail of Tears).  My first attempt [< RECAP] at running down beautiful Fort Mountain was in 2016.  In 2018, I ran it as part of my downhill training for an upcoming marathon.  With no taper and having run 17 miles the weekend before, I set a PR in 2018. [< RECAP]  Could history repeat itself?  It was certainly worth trying.  After seeing the weather would be in my wheelhouse, and with the same 17.2 miles long run and no taper, I lined up atop Fort Mountain at 2800', in mountain hugging thick clouds with a cold strong wind, to try again.

With Garmin reporting over 600 feet of elevation gain this year [which begs the question, did the mountain grow?] the first 5 miles were as tough as ever.  The route sends runners down the forested mountain and then turns them around to come back up.  Pretty cruel, IMHO.  Actually, this race is like two events in one;  a mountainous 5 miler and then THE DROP.  They key is not to blow up in the first event.  Accordingly, I walked several times on the steepest ups.  Experience was key here!

Mile 1:      9:46
Mile 2:      9:19
Mile 3:    10:25 (ugh those nasty up hills!)
Mile 4:    10:01
Mile 5:      9:25

AVG:        9:49

I promised myself I would wait until mile 6 to get busy. I took a GU in mile 5 to be ready.  Here we go!  Trying desperately hard not to brake, I played Kelsea Ballerini's Hole in the Bottle repeatedly as its speedier cadence felt perfect for the steep section.  

[ 🎵 It ain't my fault, so don't blame me...🎵   Many thanks to you, Kelsea!]  

Mile 6:      8:33
Mile 7:      8:01
Mile 8:      7:55
Mile 9:      8:01
Mile 10:    8:21
Mile 11:    7:59
Mile 12:    8:15

AVG:        8:09

From experience, I knew mile 13 had substantial ups coming back into town.  So I negotiated a deal with myself, as I often do during races.  I'd push as hard as I could and bank time through 12 but then give myself the grace to walk in the final mile.  And walk I did.  Multiple times.  I had absolutely nothing left.  After 7 miles of running as fast as I could down a mountain, it felt as if I was crawling.

Mile 13:    9:59
Tail .18:    8:58

But there it was.  The race clock.  I was stunned.  I did it.  I set a new PR.  At my frickin' age!  My official race time was 1:57:40 and good enough for a 55-59 age group win.   Yep, I sit here days later still unable to navigate stairs or easily sit on the toilet.   The expected DOMS is brutal.  But I've been here before and know it's temporary.

So thanks for hanging around.  Maybe I'll see you soon with a post-worthy marathon recap.  {Wink}  

Until then...happy racing!


  1. It's nice to see a blog post and a race recap from you! Very very excited for this PR! You earned it, tho. Now I'm looking forward to seeing you BQ your marathon!

  2. Woot woot!!!! Well done, Holly dear!!!! I bet that PR felt ever-so-sweet. Huge congrats to you :-)

  3. Congrats and great race recap! I want to try this one, though the first climb back to where you began seems a little crazy!

  4. Congratulations! I BQ’d on a downhill marathon. Gravity is your friend.

  5. Wow, well done! And best of luck for the marathon, too!

  6. Congratulations, Holly, on both your PR and AG win! It's nice to see you back with your race recap.

  7. Nice post thank you Dawn


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