My Nov 25, 2010 started very early, in fact at 3:55am early. I got up and had some grits with blueberries and flax seed oil mixed in, and water to drink. I wanted to make sure to get some good carbs, and also something for hydration when I had breakfast, also wanted to eat early enough to give it some time to digest, and also not to soon before the run started. I had 3 hours to spare when I was done eating, and got dressed, which I had laid out the clothing the night before. I left home a little after 5 and arrived at Turner Field around 5:35 in the morning, which was good as well, since I heard about peoples traffic woes, and also seeing people hurry to the start line, after I had already started. We had been warned to get there at least an hour early for parking, as it was limited, and also with traffic.
Weather for this event was great, it wasn't raining, though the streets were wet and slick in some spots, but volunteers alerted us to slick areas, the temperature was in the 50s, which was great too. I got warmed up and found the portapotty several times before the start, there were plenty of them with some lines, but nothing unreasonable. I was glad to have arrived so early, to feel more relaxed and comfortable before the start. About 20 minutes before the start of the race, I took one of the organic energy shots I had brought to test out and see how it would help me run. I found my start corral, which was the first one to start. A man started talking to me right before the start, he happened to be doing his first 1/2 marathon and we talked for a bit, and wished each other luck, which is so nice to have someone who doesn't even know you talk to you right before the start, a kind of comradery. The start was on a hill, which made for a slower start for all of us, even with different start times the beginning was a bit crowded, but was to be expected for a large event like this. I also saw people rushing down Hank Aaron Dr to make it to the start, as we were starting up Hank Aaron Dr.
I knew I was running a good pace, though it didn't feel like I was going as fast as I was, I hit the 2 mile mark in under 15 minutes, and almost used the portapotty, but held it for a bit. Also this pace was good since I hadn't run in about 3 weeks due to some issues with my left foot, but was feeling ok. I kept the pace up, and was actually near someone dressed like a turkey, as onlookers kept yelling run turkey. I hit mile 4 at 29 minutes, but had to stop to use the portapotty, it couldn't be held any longer. We went past Atlantic Station, then down 14th ST toward Piedmont Park, I passed mile marker 6 right at 45 minutes, where we were warned of slick conditions ahead, the park looked nice and colorfull. We were more than halfway there after exiting Piedmont Park, but I was still feeling good. Just after mile 8 I took my second organic energy shot, even with taking powerade at every station, which was about ever 2 miles. Just after mile 10 we could see Oakland Cemetery, a very historic cemetery, off to our right, I think it was at this point to leader of the 1:40 pace team leader passed me, and I tried to keep up with him. Turning up MLK Jr Dr we were at the 11 mile mark, and I wasn't dying or anything and keeping a good pace, maybe 100 feet at most behind the 1:40 pace leader, hoping and praying actually for more downhills, instead of what seemed like endless uphills. Down to Peachtree St and passed the capital building, onto Capital Ave/Hank Aaron Dr in the final mile, and thank goodness the final .6 or so was on a decline. I found a bit of energy to speed up some and cross the finish line right at 1:40, with my chip time being 1:39:32.
I was happy with my time, as I say I had not been running for several weeks, and mostly doing biking, with some swims as well, and cannot complain, as I could have done much worse. The course was a very challenging course, which is good, I like a good challenge. If you had not done your hill work though, this course would have kicked your butt big time and then some. The volunteers were all wonderful, and I made sure to thank each and every one of them that gave me powerade, my medal, food, etc... since they took time out of their day to come and help make this event possible. The medal was very nice:
The course was scenic and as I say very challenging, though all the volunteers and spectators were encouraging and keep us all going along the course. I would definitely do this event next year, and hope to do so, with a lot more prep. Also knowing the course lay out is good, and I can know how to train for it better. Thanks again to the Atlanta Track Club for putting on such a great event.