This past Sunday I celebrated my 3-year Runniversary by running in the Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon in the Magic City (Birmingham, Alabama)! The Mercedes Half Marathon was my first half marathon and instantly became one of my favorite races. My weekend started by picking up my packet then dropping by the BGR Meet and Greet/carb load dinner with my running group. I was tardy to the party due to a jam-packed weekend, but it was so nice to see all of the ladies who traveled from various states to participate in the Mercedes Marathon Weekend: 5K, half marathon, full marathon, and/or relay team. Mercedes is a race weekend that attracts runners and walkers from everywhere!
The “Gotta Go Poncho” portable restroom found in my race bag is genius! I can’t make this stuff up. You gotta see this.
Rain or Shine…let’s get the pavement party started!
For the past few years, it has been extremely cold during Mercedes Weekend. This year was a lot warmer—mid 40’s-50’s. We’ve been dealing with crazy weather here lately, so after stalking the forecast for the past week I prepared for rain, mist, fog…AND THE HILLS! It was the perfect day to wear my “I Don’t Sweat, I Sparkle” Bondi Band found here! Nothing like a little rain to help you sparkle! #TeamSparkle
Right before the start of the race I met Tammy, a fellow Half Fanatic, who was also celebrating her birthday! Happy Birthday, Tammy! Half Fanatics rock!!!
Mercedes Half Marathon Ready!
My intention was to walk the half with my HB due to him being under the weather and me still being somewhat on a sabbatical after my first full marathon (recap here). After waking up to rain showers, we decided to have fun and run our race!
You see the guy in the green? He’s the marathon winner, Joseph Amenya! Yep, he lapped us! lol Speaking of winners, three runners in the half marathon went the direction of the full marathon, so the runner in 4th place ended up taking the win for first. *shock face* Read about it here.
My HB and I crossed the finish line together. It was his first Mercedes Half and third half marathon. I think someone has been bit by the running bug!
There were lots of “firsts” that day!
BGR Birmingham Ambassador, LaJuana, completed her first marathon and I’m so super proud of her! Welcome to the 1% and Class of 2015, LaJuana! My Sole Sister, Gwen, and my cousin Shirley also finished their first half marathon! You ladies rock!
Gwen rocked her first half marathon!
Go, Shirley Go!
I got to see my CurlFriend/BGR Sister/UAB Alum—Donyetta! We had to take our annual post-Mercedes pic! She was part of the relay team and she also completed the half! Talk about Beast Mode! Love this girl!
Gotta love a post-race party with a live band and Jim-N-Nicks BBQ!
Guess who got to ring the PR bell!? Most people know that I’m not a competitive runner. It’s how I feel on any given race day. Don’t get me wrong, I want to finish strong—and me finishing is an awesome accomplishment. Now if Ryan Gosling is at finish line, that’s a whole ‘notha story. I am happy that I shaved 7 minutes, 12 secs off of my time—Thanks to Jeff Galloway’s Run Walk Run! Woo-hoo!
Photo Credit: Cate McConnell
During races I like to enjoy the course, take snapshots (especially in different cities/states) along the route, and sometimes I’ll even meet new people and we’ll chat between the miles to make them go by. I met this sweet lady from Louisiana who race-walks and she completed 25 half marathons and 2 full marathons. I also had the opportunity to meet fellow Half Fanatic, Chester from Key West, FL (pictured above) on the course and we chatted after the race. I wish I would have gotten a picture with him because he’s a legend! He’s an incredibly fast race-walker and a true “Southernmost Walker” and gentlemen! He’s also a double agent (Half Fanatic/Marathon Maniac) and part of the 50 States Club. He’s so inspiring and I must add that he blew past us on the course! I hope to be as fast as Chester one day! When the race is over and the medal is hung—it’s remembering people like Chester and Sweet Lady Louisiana that keeps me inspired.
Happy 3-year Runniversary to me!
I must say, Mercedes really impressed me this year. I absolutely love our Finishers’ beach towel and the medal, as always—love! Mercedes Half Marathon will always be one of my favorite races…hills and all! When you live here you adjust to them, but it’s truly a great course! If you’ve never participated, make plans to come run the beautiful Magic City with us!
We ended our fun weekend with the Joe, Kem, and Charlie Wilson concert at the BJCC! Grooving to some good, old-school and R&B-Soul!
Kem was getting down!
Charlie Wilson took us all the way back to the old-school!
Beautiful show and beautiful dancers!
Fun times! How do you celebrate after a race?
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary race registration for the Mercedes Half Marathon. All opinions are my own.