Summary: 3:56:14, missing goal of sub-3:55 by 75 seconds.
Aargh, this is long!
Woke up at 3:45, breakfast (4 am) was coffee (about 20 oz), oatmeal, banana and small white-bread roll. Also started drinking a last cup of Cytocarb. Finished all liquids by 5.
I ran into a couple acquaintances from a running group taking MARTA to the start, both of them running the half. We chatted on the way to Centennial Olympic Park. Got there about 6:25, a bit later than planned. When we got there, I split off to look for my people. I needed to drop my bag off at the LRS tent and find the BoMF table. Luckily those were near each other. By the time I got to the BoMF area, I realized I would definitely need to use the porta-potty. Exchanged greeting with them after a quick circle-up, I headed to get in the porta-potty line. I had meant to eat a few PowerBar chews before the start, but since I was running late I just forgot. After the potty stop, it was already almost 6:45. I ran to the LRS tent to drop my bag. Talked to just a couple people quick, and headed to corral. Went the wrong way somehow and ended up having to go past some faster corrals to get to mine.
Got to the front of the corral and found the pacers, positioned myself right behind them. Then I remembered jojo. I wanted to look for her to say hi. I craned my neck around, looking for someone that fit the description she’d posted. Then I realized she was standing just behind me. I introduced myself and we chatted a bit. I told her the pacer was good, and we’d be fine.
For being in corral F, it didn't take long to get to the start, I started 2:37 after clock time. I started my watch just before crossing the line, then noticed almost immediately that it was showing only the elapsed time and no pace or distance info. Aargh! I hadn't hit the button to find the satellites. I hit the button and the watch did a pretty good job of finding them, even though we were already running, but I knew the first split would be off. It was pretty crowded at first and a little hard to stay with the pacers as they moved through the crowd. I didn't worry about the first few miles being a little slow, because I know it would thin out. I guess I did get tired of trying to thread my way through people to stay right next to them. One of the guys that was part of the pace team was running a bit ahead of the main pacer with the flag, and I decided to do that too. I had actually hoped to come in a couple minutes under 3:55, anyway. After a while I turned around a little to see where the pacers were behind me, but I couldn't see them. It was hard to turn and look for them while running, so I just kept running.
I set my watch to autolap at 1.01 miles, since that usually results in matching up pretty well with the mile markers. Except that it was way off from the beginning because of not having the satellites at first. So it was autolapping in the middle of miles, making it hard for me to follow my elevation profile based pace band very well. Several people running around me had 3:55 bibs on their backs, also running ahead of the pacer
In the early miles I was enjoying the neighborhood cheering sections and people that came out to watch. The pace felt very comfortable and the temp was still pretty cool. I high-fived kids and smiled at some of the people in costume. I was glad when the halfers split off at mile 7, since we'd have more room. I felt glad I’d trained on most of the course, as I was able to know ahead of time where the turns were and which side of the road to be on. The uphill sections, like the Candler Park hill which is short and steep, did not seem to give me much trouble. The long climb at mile 10-11 was okay too, though I did start to worry some that maybe I should be running these sections a little slower. It was hard to know exactly because of the watch being messed up. Because of this, later in the race, I mostly tracked elapsed time and compared with the mile markers.
The section through Decatur (mile 13) and Emory (mile 16) went along pretty uneventfully. I occasionally exchanged a couple sentences with other runners. One guy asked if I was running 3:55 and I told him I was on pace to. He said he was pacing his buddy for a sub-4. Then he ran back to find his buddy.
It was in the Druid Hills neighborhood around mile 17-19 that it started not to feel easy anymore, just as the splits below show. There were quite a few people around me with 3:55 bibs on their backs like mine. One guy I remembered talking to early on in the race was looking pretty good and I tried to stay with him. Another guy who didn’t have a 3:55 bib on asked if I was ahead of the flag and I said I was pretty sure I was, hadn’t seen them pass me. He asked if I was going to negative split, and I told him I’d love to but not sure if I can. The hills in that section aren’t super bad, but it just seemed to drag on forever as the course winds through that neighborhood. By about 19-20 I was beginning to be unsure I would make my goal. Even the little hills around 20-21 seemed much bigger to me.
Things got a little better briefly as we entered Piedmont Park. I’d just downed a gel and some sport beans. A lot of people were cheering and I did some fist pumping. Somewhere right around this time the one guy from the pace crew that I kind of know called out my name and encouraged me, said we were still on track. I tried to stay with him. Right around mile 22 the main pacer and the other guy with him went past. I couldn’t tell if any regular runners were really running with the pacers. There is a little out and back section in the park past mile 22 and I got to see how far the pacer guy was ahead of me, which was not that far, but my legs felt like lead and my feet were cramping.
Leaving the park at almost mile 23, I had almost managed to catch up with the pace team, but then we hit the 12th Street hill, and I was done. That hill just took so much out of me. I tried to think I could catch back up to the pacers, but it wasn’t happening. I could see the flag up ahead, but I couldn't get there. We ran through Georgia Tech where they had a great set-up with floats and music and enthusiastic young people who were doing their best to make it fun. Too bad it was all I could do to keep from collapsing. I kept looking at my watch trying to calculate if my goal time was still possible if I could get my early pace back, and I could see that technically it was. I thought of different race reports I’d read from forumites who’d pulled off great feats like that. .. I pulled open a pack of sport beans and tried to eat some, but that seemed to take too much energy. I screamed at myself inside to pull it together and just run faster. There were signs for half a mile left and quarter mile left and I still kept trying to calculate what time I’d need to pull it off. Near the end I heard someone call out my name, I guess I thought they read it off my bib, found out later it was some people from the training program at the LRS who'd run the half..
Here are my GPS splits from the race and the the per mile paces derived from them (first one is way off due to satellite issue and last one is way off since it took forever to stop my watch):
There is no final split because of the GPS problem and the way I have my autolap set, the 26 was actually for 0.98 mile. But that split has to be way wrong too, because I fumbled around with my watch forever before I got it stopped, so it must have been a fair bit faster (didn’t stop my watch until after 3:57). So I guess I was able to pick it up at the very end.
Official results: 3:56:14
Overall 417/1833, Gender 81/652, AG 11/81
Official splits 10K 54:32, half 1:55:39, 22 mi 3:15:57
Pic from after the race (this was a little while after at the LRS tent, not right after):
Thanks for reading!
PRs: 5K: 22:31, 10K:46:43, 15K: 1:10:35, HM: 1:42:49, M: 3:38:20
You did awesome. Congrats!
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
Next: San Francisco Marathon
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Ah, great report! Sorry you didn't hit your goal but it sounds like you really fought for it. Hills late in a race are evil. EVIL! It sounds like you had fun, though - good crowd support and getting to meet JoJo!
The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now. – Chinese Proverb
great race report! i swear there were no hills until mile 17.
Half: 1:48 (March 3rd, 2013)
Full: 4:05:40 (March 17th, 2013)
Sub-4:00 hour Marathon
Sub- 125 poundsSub- 1:45 hour half.
fake it till you make it
Wow- what a great race report! I'm always amazed at how much detail people are able to remember from a race- I never can. 75 seconds- that is frustrating. But a great race nonetheless.
Sorry you missed your goal, but as I said in the other thread, you were close enough that I think you know the fitness was there. What is it with our group not getting to the race early enough? We all need to work on that! How funny that Jodi was right next to you while you were looking for her. Sorry about all of your watch troubles. That's very frustrating, and seems to happen to me all the time too. I guess the good thing about all the miles we all put in is that we can sense pace pretty well without the watch.
Those hills sounded really tough, especially since they kept coming. Seeing a pacer pass you is so tough mentally, but I'm impressed that you gave it your best to latch back on.
Keep up the good work...between the consistent miles and the few pounds you're trying to drop I'm sure you'll have yourself where you want to be in no time.
PRs: Marathon (2:49xx; '13) Half (1:25xx; '12) 10k (40:26; '11) 5mi (29:23; '13) 5k (17:33; '13)
If you want to see my race pics from MarathonFoto:
You can type last name Welch and bib# 2943, Race is Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon
Scott posted the best one below
You can see at the finish I was still carrying the package of sport beans in my right hand.
jojo: There were a few hills before 17, but I barely noticed them either. Definitely the later part was much worse!
Susan, you really ran a great race. I'm sorry you missed your goal but I'm confident that you'll get there. I hope you are proud of the effort you put into running this race because it is really impressive! I echo what Julia said about hills late in a race being evil.
Thanks for writing this awesome RR too!
ETA: The link to your pics didn't work but I was able to stalk find you on the MarathonFoto site. I really like this one.
"Address the process rather than the outcome. Then, the outcome becomes more likely." - Robert Fripp
That's weird, the link works when I click on it...hmmm. Did it not even go to the site or what?
Thanks, that's my favorite one too.
That's weird, the link works when I click on it...hmmm
Thanks, that's my favorite one too.
That's weird, the link works when I click on it...hmmm
When I click on your link I get a message telling me I need to log in first.
Ah, thanks, I'll edit the post above.
Sorry you missed your goal. It can be frustrating to be so close and yet still so far away. However, it was close so I hope the disappointment has faded and you are able to look back and be proud of how hard you pushed at the end. Great job and nice photo!