||Half Marathon State # 05
Half Marathon #12
This past Sunday, February 16, 2014, I ran in the Mercedes Benz Half Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. This was another race (State #5) toward my 50 by 50 Challenge to complete a half marathon in all 50 states before I turn 50. It took us about 6:30 hours to drive the trip. We arrived in Birmingham on Saturday, the day before the race. It was really cold there, a little colder than the weather forecasts had predicted.
We went to our hotel (Sheraton Birmingham) first to check in. It was located just a few blocks from the expo/packet pick-up. The area around the hotel was a madhouse, and we did not know why. There couldn’t be this many runners and family in the area. Later we would find out why, and I will explain later in the post. WARNING: I get on my soapbox! Well, they wouldn’t let us check in early, so we walked on over to the race expo. The race expo was at the Boutwell Auditorium. It was a small expo, but they did at least have a few vendors, but I did not need anything, so we did not stay very long.
After the expo, we walked back to the hotel. It was still too early to check in, so we ate at one of the restaurants (Casey’s Sports Bar) in the hotel. It wasn’t too bad. Because the hotel was crowded, we just sat at the bar. After lunch, we just wanted to get out of the area because it was so crowded, so we traveled over to a small town called Homewood. It was a neat little area, with several stores and restaurants. We found a cupcake store, Dreamcakes Bakery, which was really awesome. If you know me well, you know I do not pass up on a cupcake store.
After spending some time in Homewood, we went back to the hotel, checked in, and had dinner at the hotel’s Atrium Cafe. We met an awesome couple, Bob and Amy, who are in the 50 States Marathon Club. Yes, they are trying to complete a marathon in all 50 states, and this was to be their 20th state. Amazed! The hotel reminded me of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.