An Atlanta Half Marathon experience report
I couldn’t wait to run this course.
A little sheepish coming into the race with no running, having limped around town with half a toenail, and exposed, regenerating flesh for two weeks.
hurt a lot.
Rollin’ with Li’l Weezy
Actually, Weezy ran smart, so I never saw him after the start.
We broke out, with me authoritatively chanting out loudly, “8:45, dude. 8:45s.”
and by mile two, I wasn’t even obeying myself, and I’m off running 7:30s, with Weezy no longer even in ear shot.
Once again, I start playing too big for my britches.
I knew it was wrong.
I knew it would make it hurt later.
But I rationalized. Like an addikt.
“Oh, just hang on, you’ll be fine.”
And sure enough, the early miles just ripped off.
The devil smiles.
Down Northside. Through Atlantic Station. Lots and lots of fast downhill.
Sugar for the starving psyche.
We ran down Spring St. towards midtown, and I knew that 14th street was coming – the first real climb of the day.
It’s not all that steep, just awfully long, and I hoped to pick off people here who “had gone out too fast.”
Unfortunately, I was one of them.
I recovered on the downhill heading into Piedmont Park, but was starting to feel it. This is right at mile 6 and by using the same strategy I used at the Silver Comet, where I had hoped to start cranking up the speed.
A) I had already gone out, and maintained, a much faster start pace, on this more challenging course, and…
B) I had the 10th street climb and rolly, polly long Juniper stretch coming up.
Hardly the optimal conditions for cranking up the speed and intensity.
Instead, I slowed – a lot – and quite honestly, shuffled through the 10th street climb and rolling Juniper stretches feeling pretty ruff.
Time to pay the piper.
8:51 won’t get ya there
The Garmin was crabbing at me.
8:15s, 8:20s – all kinds of “no-chance-at-getting-a-sub-1:40″ paces started appearing at 8 miles.
I just had nothing left.
After 10 miles, we circled Oakland Cemetery, and started the steep, 2-stage climb, to Memorial Drive.
Those hills put the nail in the coffin and people started passing me a’plenty.
Where I was able to shine at the Silver Comet, I was just barley holding on in the Atlanta race.
Such a very clear example of pushing too hard, coupled with a lagging fitness currently incapable of 7:30-ish for distances beyond 10K.
Why can’t I just run within, or even slightly under, my means?
To be so immature at 40 years old is aggravating.
I suppose it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving for an Atlanta runner without a little capital punishment.
You know the climb.
Last 1/2 mile stretch. That last little steep climb to the right of the Georgia Capital.
You always stare at it on the way out, knowing you’ll be seeing it a little later – but as a much different runner.
Seeing that finish line
It always is such a relief to see a finish line banner.
As I was basking in my self-congratulatory greatness for merely fighting through the urge to stop running, I cramped.
Nothing serious, just a quick bite; but judging by my over-eager pace (see Garmin pace log above) on that last stretch, I’m lucky it wasn’t a lot worse.
Not sure what I was trying to prove speeding up to 6:38s on dead legs.
and for no reason at all at 1:46:03
someday, I’ll learn.
Fun and Holiday
Running a challenging race on Thanksgiving is a highlight of my holiday season(s). I truly enjoy it, and the Atlanta Track Club did an excellent job. Plenty of water and sports drink on the course, good post-race food, and high quality finisher awards. As a side note, the tech shirts were great, too.
A great way to start the holiday, and with great friends.