Its What Happens When You Disobey

An Atlanta Half Marathon experience report

Atlanta Half Marathon elevation profile

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.

cool, huh?

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.

14th Street

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.

Difference was:

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.

Atlanta Half Marathon splits

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.

Capital Punishment

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.


yup, …again.

and for no reason at all at 1:46:03

someday, I’ll learn.

I hope.

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.

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FITW, that was kinda sad. I can relate to you in life experiences, though. Can’t always get what you want, right? Settling for “2nd best” in any area is always hard for someone like myself. Nags me to death when I don’t feel fulfilled. It’s too bad we only get one shot in life! Best of luck to you, FITW.

I can’t see Christian obeying much.

I see Christian doing what is expected of him despite the internal torrential storm that it causes inside of him …because he just wants peace.

On the surface, what Christian wants, and what Christian gets are seemingly one in the same; but there are always outlanders, things that live just beyond his grasp that resonate as an intense, forever “WANT” that will always scratch and claw at at his heart…

…and it will be this way well into when he becomes grandma. Er, …grandpa.

And he’ll then live in the dark and lonely world of what-if.

Like so many others before him.

at least that’s how I see it.

& Have you learned how to obey? Just wondering.

Hey CG,

Nice report on the half, and you keep running like you stole something. Pushing past that bone claw edge where it hurts. Ugh.

Met Weezy at Pine Mountain on Sunday. Tough ass runner, he is. I lost track of him, and didn’t get his e-mail nor gave him mine. You could do me a great favor by passing mine on to him, if you would please. (I would have hung around, but I started to get the shakes really bad and needed heat and food. Funny a WISCONSIN boy getting cold in GA.)

I invited Weezy, and you too. to come up anytime to WI for a trail race. We have quite a few good ones (Ice Age 50 in May, or Kettle 100′s in June). I got plenty of room for two or three runners.


I just found your site a couple of days ago, but I really love it !

Man, you are so inspiring !

Respect, and keep on running !!

( For now, a marathon is my longest run, but, while i’m reading all your race reports, the longer distances are calling me.. Thanks for your motivation ! )

I thought that hill by oakland was the hardest! Tough timing for that hill! Great report!

I love your writing style! I’ve been reading back through your race reports to learn from your successes (and your screw-ups!!!). I hope to complete an ultramarathon next year, maybe even a 100 miler within the next couple of years. Thanks for providing the great detail in your reports!

I am training for my first ultra and I stumbled across your blog. Your race reports crack me up! I hope I can still have such a good sense of humor when it’s my turn…

Christian, I’ve got the same problem you do. I tend to get excited by the possibility of a great time and end up paying for it later in the race. However, a 1:46 is nothing to sneeze at. Congratulations.

Nicely done, Christian! We got tired on the same hills. I started feeling it on the 14th Street climb, but Juniper really got me. You did well finishing with the time you did.

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