I had a great race and a PR. The initial goal was a sub 4 but I knew that would be tough on this course. That was followed by sub 4:15, Sub 4:20 and then just finish. I thought my legs were sufficiently recovered during my taper.
I planned to go out the first few miles close to sub 10 min/miles. I accomlished that pretty well, I did the first 10k in 01:01:54. I wanted to get there at 1 hour exactly but I missed it by 1:54 minutes. At this point, I knew I had to step up the pace a little bit so, I wanted sub 9:30's until the halfway point. Mile 8 was tough, the climb up Chandler Park still sub 9:30, and I was feeling good. It was cool to see some familiar faces at the GFA water stop. The water stop at Agnes Scott was outstanding and probably the best of all! I reached the halfway point at 02:06:38, this was 2:38 slower than what I wanted initially (2:04:00).
Of course at this point, I started doing the math and knew the sub 4 was out of the question BUT the second goal could be done. I knew the back end of the marathon was tougher. The run through downtown Decatur, then off to Clairmont and N. Decatur road. This was the 'easiest' point of the course. Some flat, some down, some up, but a nice stretch that prepared you for the hell that was to come.
I felt this was still a manageable pace, and held on to it until between miles 17 and 18 (Oakdale Road). This climb was tough on me altogether and things started to slow down a bit. This was then followed by uphills on N. Decatur, Springdale and Briarcliff, hence mile 20 took me 10:49 minutes. The slowest mile so far, but my ultimate goal was no mile over 11 minutes. I hit mile 20 at 03:13:51, I quickly did the math and knew that I needed to run 6.2 mile under 60 minutes to get my second goal. I then got back to a steady pace for the next two miles but was feeling a little tingle in my right calf muscle at times. At this point I was still felling good about my performance.
When we turned into Piedmont Park, I knew the Ekiden hill awaited me. The climbs up Piedmont Park, 10th Street, and Juniper Street were tough on my legs. They were slow and just before Piedmont Park, I started to feel my right calf start to cramp up when I pushed harder. I left my endurolyte pills on the counter at home so I was f***ed from the start. I then took another GU and drank two Gatorade cups at the next water stop. I struggled to keep my pace under sub 10:30 min/mile but missed only one mile and that was the climb up Georgia Tech Parkway (10:47) where I saw Mike DeLang taking pictures. (Thanks Mike)
I missed my second goal in the last 3 miles of this course. They were tough on me considering I didn't want to get a cramp in my right calf and then be sidelined for a little bit.
I will have to agree with my buddie RT "the last mile was not a mile". It was decidedly longer than a mile! It was a slight uphill to the end, and into the wind. This was mentally the toughest last mile I have ever run. Still, I managed to sustain my effort of sub 10:30's and finish strong. I had a great race so I'm getting closer to the sub 4.
I must say that I hated the zig zag finish. It was was very unique, but I couldn't get into that last surge of power. Once I came out of the zig zag, I just set up to make sure I got in position for a great finish line picture.
What would you do differently?:
I would bring my endurolyte pills with me. I might have to look into taking some salt pills along the way in future marathons. I was lucky the weather was cold. I would've liked to run with a singlet but mother nature wouldn't let that happen.
I got my medal from my old running buddie Jeanie. I then walked through the shute, got some liquids, fruits, discovered the yogurt in a tube (GoGourt), and walked down to gear check. After changing into some warmer clothes, I watched some friends and Anica as they finished. The plan was to watch everyone finish but it was to damm cold.
We then walked back to the car and met some friends for lunch at Vortex. This was followed by the traditional steak dinner at 5:30 PM at Longhorns.
What limited your ability to perform faster:
I would say the possible cramp in my right calf limited my ability during the last 3 miles. I would say this was my best prepared marathon to date.
I would consider running this course annually since it's local and it's a challenging course. I totally agree with RT "It's a benchmark accomplishment. If you can do this marathon, you can do 99% of the other ones out there."
Organization was excellent with exception to the corrals. They were tough to get to since they were too close to gear check. It was tough getting back to your corral afterwards. Water stops were top notch this year. I would prefer to see the mile markers up higher and time clocks by the time chip mats along the way. But the course was well marked and plenty of police officers to ensure our safety.
It was freaking cold outside so spectators were not as abundant as last year, but I imagine that is a result of the weather more than anything else.
I highly recommended this marathon if you want a challenge. Next year's race is April 9th. A little later in the year and probably a little warmer, we hope.
Last updated: 2008-02-15 12:00 AM
The ING Georgia Marathon & Half Marathon
40'sF / 0C
Overall Rank = 1045/2132
Age Group = 40 - 49
Age Group Rank = 228/413
Got up early 3:30 AM and did the normal routine (3 S's). I then ate a bowl of Honey Oat Cherrios and headed out to downtown Atlanta around 4:45 AM. I made a pit stop and picked up some more friends who were driving down with me. I parked at the Georgia Pacific Parking Center thanks to my brother-in-law's parking pass. I took one more break in the lobby of the building instead of using the Marathon Portajohns. I then took the walk down to gear check. I got there early enough so there wasn't too much going on. I turned in my bag and met up with some friends. It wasn't long before things got packed with people. We decided to head towards the corrals.
The walk/struggle to the corral and a GU - 15 minutes prior to race start. I ended up waiting almost 20 minutes before I crossed the start line. I did some light stretching while waiting.