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Atlanta Marathon race report (Read 645 times)

Mile Collector


Abs of Flabs

    I signed up for the Atlanta Marathon when online registration became available back in July. I knew nothing about it other than it was on Thanksgiving Day. I will be in Atlanta that week visiting family so it was a good alternative to a long run. The plan was to use it as a training run in preparations for the Goofy Challenge at Disney World in January. I would not run it too hard so I won’t have a long recovery period. As I joked with my friends, I’ve done everything wrong from the start. It wasn’t on purpose. It just so happened that I was going to physical therapy to fix a hip flexor problem for much of August and September. (Ask Janell. She’ll tell you all about it.) I had to reduce my weekly mileage to around 20 to 30 miles so I won’t make my condition worse and have my physical therapist tell me to stop running altogether. My longest run was a 21 miler three weeks before the race. I wanted to do another one 20+ miler the following week but didn’t have the energy and ended up only doing 15. Ideally, I like to do several 20+ milers before a marathon. I also didn’t carbo load because I figure the race was only a training run. Before I headed down to Atlanta, I created a map of the marathon route. My only concern was the string of hills from mile 20 to 25. And each of them has a name! There are some hills in my regular training routes, but I wasn’t sure how my legs would react so late into the run. The starting line was located at the Turner Field. The 1996 Olympics was held in Atlanta. From the parking lot, I can see the Olympic rings spanning cross the street. The Olympic torch was also within view, although the flames are extinguished years ago. The race pamphlet explicitly said that the race will start at exactly 7:30 AM, and has a time limit of 5 hours. I thought that was a rather small limit, but it was Thanksgiving, and volunteers wanted to go home early. Unlike all the other marathons that also have a half marathon, the Atlanta Marathon and Half Marathon share the same route, but with a different starting line. The start line for the half marathon is at the half way point of the full. With thousands of people running the half, the assembly area must have been quite festive. The full marathon start was a different story. There were about 600 people that showed up for the race. The pre-race was somewhat subdued. The announcer told us to line up and we did. At exactly 7:30, the race started. There was no national anthem. I don’t even think there was a gun to signify the start. For much of the week leading up to the marathon, the temperature was relatively chilly. The weather people kept saying that it will warm up by Thursday, with the high reaching into the 60s. At the start of the race, the temperature was about 40 degrees. The sky was clear. It was going to be a nice day for a run. The crowd thinned out about a quarter of a mile into the race. It was just the runners and miles of empty streets. There were some spectators here and there. Our greatest fans were the volunteers and police at every intersection directing traffic. At big marathons such as Boston and New York, the crowds carry you through the entire race. It was refreshing to be alone and running at my own pace. The first couple of miles were pretty easy as they should be. I finally warmed up by mile 4 that I tossed my sweatshirt. It was a pleasant surprise to find my family by the side of the road at around mile 5 waiting for me. I thought for sure they would have went to breakfast and wait for me at the finish line instead. The race course was not closed to traffic. Instead, the right most lane is coned off. If I had to run on one side of the road, I would prefer the right because we tend to run against traffic on the left side of the road. I suspected that contributed to my hip flexor/pelvis misalignment problem a few months ago. By mile 7, my stomach became increasingly unhappy. I ate the same pre race breakfast, and I didn’t think the dinner the night before was the culprit either. I had to make a pit stop at mile 10 and lost 5 minutes. I ran much better afterwards and by mile 18, I caught up to pretty much everyone that gained grounds on me during that time. Unfortunately, I had to lose grounds to them again because my stomach went on strike, again. After losing a couple more minutes, I hit the road again, but my quads felt much tighter. I was still holding the pace, but I know that the wheels would come off soon. That happened at around mile 20, just as the hills began. I tried to run up them but changed my mind soon after and joined everyone else in walking up the hills. It wasn’t exhaustion because I wasn’t too tired. My quads started cramping. I can either slow down, or have them completely lock up on me and have to deal with a longer recovery period afterwards. By mile 22, I felt a pebble in my shoe. It was poking at the outside part of my foot. I stopped, sat on the curb, took off my shoe but nothing fell out. I put my shoe back on, and felt it again. It was then I realized I have a blister. It was about the size of a nickel. I never had a blister anywhere other than my toes. Then again, it was the first time in 4 years that I ran in a different model of shoes. I hobbled onto the next aid station and got a Band-Aid and that reduced much of the pain. The remainder of the run was a mix of walking up the hill and jogging down the other side. They weren’t too hilly, just my quads don’t seem to like them and who am I to contradict them. With about a mile to go, the sun was out in all its glory. Out in the distance, I saw the Olympic rings and I knew the finish line was near. I picked up the pace a little and my legs were ok with it. I caught up to one person, and pushed a little more to catch up to the next. Before I knew it, I was in a full sprint running toward the finish line. Both sides of the road were lined with spectators but all I saw was the finish banner. They were cheering me on and all I could think of was I was running way too fast. I crossed the line in 4:12. It would be nice to finish under 4 hours but don’t feel too badly because it was only a training run. As a whole, it worked out as I planned. My quads are a little sore today, but nothing like the other marathons where I had to walk down the stairs backwards for days. I’ll do a couple of easy miles today and resume the training for the Goofy Challenge by week’s end. All is good.


    Needs more cowbell!

      Wow, a 4:12 marathon is awesome! Who knew a dumpy bunny wabbit could haul like that?! Big grin Sounds like a good day for a race. I'm still amazed at marathoners who deal with so many health issues and discomforts during races and still finish so strong. You did a great thing! Smile k

      I shoot pretty things! ~

      '14 Goals:

      • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

      • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)

        I think it sounds more like a race than a training run... in spite of his words of protest! Might have started out as a training run, but sure seems like it ended like a race! I s'pose that's better than the other way around... Wink MC, you're one crazy guy, but I like ya anyway! I'm glad your hip flexor was feeling better and you finished in mostly one piece... Tongue

        Roads were made for journeys...

        Mile Collector


        Abs of Flabs

          Holy racing shoes! You guys responded fast. Makes me think you're camping out on this site or something... I think you gave the "dumpy bunny wabbit" too much credit. It was much easier for me to lie on my side and roll down the hill Tongue The hip flexors didn't bother me a bit during the race, which was quite surprising. I think it might have to do with running on the right side of the road.


          Now that was a bath...

            Your training run would be my victory! If I can finish my October marathon in anywhere arounf 5 hours I will be very happy! I am very impressed. Thanks for sharing - it made a great read. Claire xxx
          • jlynnbob "HTFU, Kookie's distal tibia"
          • Where's my closet? I need to get back in it.
              Holy racing shoes! You guys responded fast. Makes me think you're camping out on this site or something... I think you gave the "dumpy bunny wabbit" too much credit. It was much easier for me to lie on my side and roll down the hill Tongue The hip flexors didn't bother me a bit during the race, which was quite surprising. I think it might have to do with running on the right side of the road.
              Well, you know what they say... a wolling wabbit gathers no moss... No, wait, that's not right... Clowning around

              Roads were made for journeys...


              Needs more cowbell!

                I think you gave the "dumpy bunny wabbit" too much credit. It was much easier for me to lie on my side and roll down the hill Tongue
                Shhh...you give away my secret! Wink

                I shoot pretty things! ~

                '14 Goals:

                • 6 duathlons (1 Olympic distance)

                • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


                Finished!

                  Smile congrats on a fine accomplishment - and on Thanksgiving no less Big grin
                  Walk + Jog = wog.
                  I'm trying to Lose 5% at a time
                  I support Heifer International - join me by donating via my registry
                  RunningHammer


                    Well done, sounds like you fought your way through it pretty well! Sounds like some impressive scenery too....good luck for the Goofy Challenge!
                      Every marathon should have a rabbit, eh? Great report and good run, MC! I'd say your time is very respectable for the stop-and-go nature of your run. That can make for a very long day. So--well done for hanging in there and overcoming the obstacles in your way!
                      My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48
                        Good job, MC. Way to gut it out...er, tough it out!

                        Runners run.


                        You'll ruin your knees!

                          I've always thought using races as training runs was a good idea...hey, it beats looking for a 7-11 every 3 or 4 hours! Training runs with aid stations are awesome! Congrats! Lynn B

                          ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)

                            Great job. I'll be down at Disney. I wanted to participate in the goofy challenge, but it was already closed. I'll just be running the marathon. Good Luck.
                              I have run the half every year but last for the past 5 years but have never run the full. I will mark GA off of my list when I do the ING Georgia marathon in March. Nice run out there. Without the pit stops you would have broken 4 hrs. So what did you think about the little hill called Capital Punishment (at the 25.5 mile marker)- nice touch huh? Congrats on the trainingrun/race!!
                              http://distance-runner.blogspot.com
                              Mile Collector


                              Abs of Flabs

                                Good job, MC. Way to gut it out...er, tough it out!
                                Umm... thanks... Big grin
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