Started off what felt like too slow. Lisa B was off like a shot and we never saw her again. I had prepared a super-terrific running mix on my i-pod, but alas, when I went to turn it on, it was dead. I hung the earbuds on the back of my shirt and ran like that the whole race. I tried not to lament my lack of tunes. Natalie told me we were going too fast in Mile 2, which was odd. We met up with Kevin, an army guy who teaches at Ranger school in Fort Benning (he didn't know David O) who was also trying to go 4 hrs. He was fun, but already huffing and puffing at mile 3 which seemed like a bad idea. We had a good time joking around with him.
I had forgotten my handbottle at home, so that was a bummer. I carried a plastic water bottle most of the race, but it was hard to find a way to fill it without long waiting so I mainly just used the cups. I will make a suggestion to the race to have pitchers of water for bottle refills at the aid stations. They have the pitchers there anyway to fill the cups so it would be easy and "green".
At mile 5-ish we met Nora and Meredith and they looked good but then suddenly they were gone. I think this part through Sweet Auburn and the 4th Ward is my favorite part of the race. It was cool to do the part of the course with the half-marathoners because I knew what was coming up at each turn from when I escorted and could plan accordingly (big downhill, aid station, etc). We had a potty stop coming up from the Carter Center in mile 7/8. I didn't need to go before that (yes!) but thought it would be the first of many.
After Little 5 Points, when we bascially turned around, Kevin fell off. He hung mightily until my watch said 10:88 miles. He had just run a marathon 2 weeks earlier, so it was understandable that a 4 hr finish today would be a stretch. However, when I looked to see his time, I think he finished in 4:05. Wow. I thought he would have fallen way off. Tough dude, that one.
We got to the halfway point in 1:55, which was good. At least that is what we thought. Apparently, we got to it in nearly 1:57. Oops. I was focused on my average pace, trying to stay under 9 min/mile but knowing I had until 9:09. Well, that would have worked if I had run 26.2 instead of 26.5. Oops.
In mile 17, my legs started to hurt. Hurting like I felt at mile 22 in Kiawah, where going up a speed bump was hard. Nat said to pick it up in Druid Hills and Doug had told me to use the downhills here, but my quads were screaming with each footfall so I did the best I could and tried to release on the downhills. One time I was able to do something different with my hips (no idea what it was) but suddenly it felt better for a minute. I really felt the fueling here. As it neared time for each GU, I would get crabby and angry with the folks around me. Then, once I ate the GU, I would feel better and my mood would lift. Very strange, but my fueling was odd because I had to time the GUs around the water areas and I'm used to having my handbottle completely filled every 4-6 miles and sipping whenever I feel like it without having to ration the water. It worked out OK and I don't think I'm too dehydrated today, so maybe I don't need quite as much water as I thought.
About mile 8, a guy who was running with us in the 4 hr group threw his Accel gel packet on the ground. He didn't drop it, he threw it. I wasn't able to pick it up because Nat and/or Kevin were between me and the drop so I yelled at him about it (at his back, but he had headphones so probably did not hear). Littering your packets is a total pet peeve for me. >: ( So, I made it my goal to beat that guy. Only . . . he looked really familiar. And I gradually realized (and confirmed at the turn-around in Piedmont Park) that is was the dad of Dagny's BFF. Oops.
I still beat his littering ass.
So, apparently Druid Hills is huge. All of the other neighborhoods were fairly compact (except for Decatur, where we never really seemed to get there and we never saw the courthouse) and we were quickly on to the next one, but Druid Hills went on forever. Maybe part of that was Virginia Highlands, but it was hilly too. At one point there was a guy stretching his hammies (with his butt in the air - in red tri shorts). He straightened up just as I passed and I told him it was a good thing because I would have had to slap him on the butt. He didn't even crack a smile. Dude, rough crowd! Ba-dum-ching, I'll be here all week!
I managed to hang in sight of the 4hr pace group until we got into Piedmont Park and then I messed up. I needed a GU but I was out of water. I took the GU anyway at about mile 21 because I thought there was water in the park. I was wrong about the water and so I spent the miles in there with painful legs and worried about imminent GI distress. Worrying also causes me GI distress, so it was all bad. I got some water on the way out and it was better after that. I should have had the GU at mile 20 (only 1 mile early) with the water at that aid station and filled my bottle there. Then I would have had the next GU at 24 in GA Tech where there was more water. As it was, I sucked it up and kept moving and tried to stop the inexorable upward creep of the pace. This was tactical error #2. I was focusing on my pace and not looking at elapsed time. Well, if I had run the tangents my pace would be right on, but I didn't and it wasn't. So, while I was well within pace for a 4hr marathon on my clock and distance, the race clock and distance were not the same and the error was not in my favor.
Coming out of GA Tech, I had the last GU because I was in the dumps. I know that I feel the GU kick in about 10 minutes after I eat it (this could be mental, but who cares. It works for me) so I know I'd want it to start working as I hit Marietta Street so that is why I had one there. Anyway, I was feeling the lack of water here and gave in and walked up North Avenue until I got some water. GI was complaining here and I had some gas issues which required a walk not to be completely mortifying. Anyway, after that water, I picked up the pace. I passed a zillion people here. Only 2 guys passed me on Marietta Street. The black guy in the electric blue outfit with the grey hair and headband (he was with the 4 hr group all day) and another guy who came out of nowhere who looked awesome. Those dudes looked strong and I was impressed with them. GA Tech guy from the 4 hr group faded here and I was not able to encourage him to pick it up with me. Going up Marietta Street, I realized that there was no reason to hold back any more so I went after it. Some guys told me there were two more lights to go, so I was flying. They lied. It was three lights and I hit my stride at light 2. Crap. Whatever, it turns out I had enough to go to the third light (so maybe I could have not walked up that hill or could have sped up in Druid Hills?) and so I flew to the finish. Some guys were blocking me coming down AY Int'l Blvd, and I lost my marbles and yelled at them to move after I couldn't get around them. Dude, you can't block at the finish! I am embarrassed at my behavior there. That was uncalled for - I could have yelled out that I was coming through or some joke about letting them get chicked but I didn't. Bad move. I can do better than that.
What would you do differently?:
1. Bring my handbottle
2. Charge the i-pod or leave it at home.
3. Pay attention to elapsed time MORE than pace.
Walked through the food area with Natalie who waited for me at the finish.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Couple of tactical errors mentioned above, but this was a huge breakthrough for me, so I will say that all-in-all I was not limited on this day. Only 1 potty stop in 26 miles? Unheard-of!
I like the beginning and end of this race a lot. Doug suggested that a 2 loop course on the 1/2 course might be better and I think he has a point. It is cool to go out to Decatur, but not as cool as the Sweet Auburn and GA Tech to me. I may come back to see if I can break 4 hrs here. I think I could.
Overall, this is a nice and challenging race. The hills beat you down and it is a game to see if you can hold pace on the hills but save enough for the climb up from Piedmont Park to the finish.
Last updated: 2010-11-15 12:00 AM
Overall Rank = 613/
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 22/
Joe's magic oats, sips of water until race start. Rode down with Jamie Corn, hung out with Brent, Nat, and saw Brett and my friend Laurie.
Trotted up the hill from the potties to the corrals. Danced with the group behind us while waiting for the start.