Spectators: Fewer due to the rain this year, but they were cheering hard!
Start/Finish: Centennial Olympic Park in Downtown Atlanta
Course: Loop through many of the different neighborhoods in the city.
Schwag: Day glow tech shirt and medal. I won't be getting hit by a car in this one.
Other: This recap only has a few sad photos because the rain zapped my cellphone (it was later revived).
All smiles after the race.My 5th running of the annual Atlanta sufferfest/half marathon. I love and don't love this race all at the same time. While it is one of the biggest races in the city (besides that little Peachtree race in the summer you may have heard of), the only full marathon in the city, and a great tour of different neighborhoods, it is also a great tour of the hills of Atlanta. And every year, even though I sign up during the registration blitz a year ahead of time, I show up not trained for it. Part of it is because I've never set it as a goal race, so I usually approach it as a great, aided longrun with several thousand of my fellow residents (Atlantans? Atliens?)
This year the pre-race forecast was a bit omnious. Mid 50s with 100% chance of rain. To be honest, I wasn't that upset with it. Not only do I not mind racing in the rain (See Hospital Hill Run Recap), but I fear heat far more (for the record, wind is my least favorite running weather). I knew that if it was the 70 degree temps that we had several years ago for this race, my poor preparation would really show and I would struggle throughout the race. I actually had my fingers crossed that it would rain a little during the race to help break the humidity (the Atlanta running community may be cursing me right now).
I'm in the yellow in case you missed me. It's much brighter in person.Given my training, I didn't have any crazy races goals. A PR wasn't happening, but I also didn't want to treat it as a long jog. After some improved training recently, I didn't want to let myself off easy so I gave myself a few minimums: Break 2 hours, maintain a solid effort, and no easing up in the late miles if I know I am going to break 2.
I arrived at the start a little later than planned. I forgot that MARTA would be running the weekend train schedule, and so I didn't get to the start until a mere 12 minutes before the gun. This meant no pre-race port-a-john visit (motivation to run faster?) or photos (though pitch black and raining isn't great for photos). I also realized when I got to the start that I was 1 or 2 corrals behind the 2 hour pace group. I was a little bummed by this because my plan was to tuck in with them until I decided how my legs felt that day. I hadn't really done too much hill work during my shin recovery and build up, so this was going to be by far the hilliest workout I had done in a long time. Though they weren't checking corrals too closely, I was an honest runner and started in my assigned spot (One of my pet peeves is people who start in corrals that obviously they shouldn't be in. It's dangerous for everyone). So I readjusted my race plan and decided to track down the 2 hour group and see how I felt from there.
The medal is the Atlanta skyline with all of the neighborhoods along the course engraved below.I caught up with the 2 hour pace group about 1.5 miles in. I encouraged myself to slowdown a bit because I didn't want to go out too fast, but to be honest, their pace just didn't feel great to me. I went out ahead of them knowing that if I did slow down, I could still run with them when they catch me and that would still bring me in sub-2.
The Hills are alive with the sound of runners panting.It rained on and off during the race (nothing like the monsoons of Hospital Hill) and some faithful fans still came out to cheer (Thank You!). I felt strong through about 10 miles and started to work beginning on the climb coming out of Piedmont Park. The course is constantly rolling, making it a great workout and challenge. I kept at it through the GA Tech portion of the course (the students always have the most spirited water stops) and tried to stay focused during the final mile. Mile 13 is pretty much a straight shot (making it the longest mile in my opinion) and you turn just around 13 for the last 0.1 into the finish. I felt good crossing the line, tired but not completely spent. I was happy with the result and signs of progress with my fitness.
Not bad job of running the tangents.Post race I got my medal and food bag, but didn't hang around too long this year since the rain and wind were picking and I was soaked. Usually it's a great spot to relax and enjoy the race, but I didn't have any extra clothes with me and I was cooling off fast. Overall, I had fun, hit all of my prerace goals, and didn't get injured. Win-win for the day.
Do you like racing in the rain? Do you like the challenge of hilly courses or do you avoid them?