I've run nearly 12,000 miles in the last seven years and along the way have learned a little about running, training, nutrition and race day strategy. From marathons to ultras, I continue to do them all. Come along and join me as I chronicle my tales of the road less traveled, and traveled completely after daylight...
Monday, March 22, 2010
2010 ING Georgia Marathon Race Report
I had a very solid race today. All things considered, I am very, very satisfied with how I ran.
Here are some brief details:
Packet Pick-up on Saturday at the Georgia Dome - No issues; Joy and I spent the afternoon doing the pick-up thing and driving to/from home together.
Alarm wake-up at 4:00am. Eat, hydrate, dress, load-up and drive toward Atlanta by 4:40am. Both of us were half-asleep.
Arrive near Centennial Olympic Park at 6:25am. Joy drops me off on a corner, and I follow other runners to the Athletes Village. Decide to wait in Porta-John line, but man, they are LLLLLONG. At least 40 people deep per line X 50 lines.. Yikes. Anywho, wait and move up, wait and move up. I finally get to 3 back from the front of the line, and the clock is less than 5 minutes from race start. This is going to be close.
Get done with "bio break" and sprint (literally) down the hills, through Olympic Park and onto the sidewalk. I run up in front of CNN Center as I listen to the PA system announcer barking out corral locations (about 20 in all). She yells across her microphone that "Corral D" is "up this street a few blocks", so I fire off in a blaze, sprinting way past tempo effort to get to my corral. Finally, a I make it a few blocks and find my corral, but cannot find my way through the fencing that surrounds the corrals. Less than 1 minute to start...
I squeeze through an opening in the gates and get into Corral D just in time to hear the final countdown and the starters pistol. Drat. I didn't have time to weave through the throngs and make it closer to the front corral. Our corral, which is close to the front corral, waited without moving for at least 7 minutes. Frustrating, but chip time is what is measured, so it shouldn't matter much. I knew that I would likely be able to hop on the sidewalks and rip by the hundreds of folks that managed to get ahead of me in the corrals.
Corral D and myself finally started moving and made it to the Start line. I started the Garmin on its journey, and the field opened up a fair amount, so I was able to stretch it out and start making a move. Since we were running down the middle of midtown, I quickly figured out that I would either be doing alot of weaving through runners in the roadway, or I could jump on the sidewalk and open er up.
Me and a couple of other guys hopped onto the sidewalk and just started ripping out some leg turnover. Becuase this is urban Atlanta sidewalk, I only looked at my Garmin once to see what pace I was running at. 6:02 min/mile. Nice groove, but I knew not to stay in this pattern too long or it would short circuit me later on.
As I said, this is urban Atlanta sidewalk, and there were hazards EVERYWHERE. Fire hydrants out of nowhere, street signs popped up right in front of you also. Since there were some guys in front of me, I didn't have the benefit of seeing far ahead of me. I had to focus on the guy in front and react however he reacted. If he jumped to the left quickly, I instantaneously assumed it was because something bad was upcoming, so I also jumped to the left. Factor into this chaos the shart curb-dropoffs, unevent sidewalk pavement and the occassional pothole, and the sidewalk was a choice made by only the lesser-intelligent fellows like myself... :)
Around Mile 3, I had managed to pass quite a few other runners (I'm guessing at least 300-400), and was able to jump back into the roadway, and settle into a more leisurely pace (8:04 min/mile). By this point in the race, we were running toward the outer reaches of true midtown and it was then that I started to feel pretty warm. I was wearing an Asics tech singlet, Race Ready shorts, armsleeves and a long sleeve cotton shirt on top. I decided to ditch the cotton long sleeve (I felt plenty warm and figured it would be getting warmer now that the sun had risen)
Didn't work out that way.
I slipped into a comfortable race pace and hung with it, feeling strong and fresh.
Then the temperature dropped about 10 degrees. Then the rain came. Then the wind came. You just gotta laugh. So, I near Mile 6, and the Half Marathon course begins to peel away from the Marathon course. In light of the deteriorating weather, I actually gave thought to whether or not it was the best day for doing the 26.2 mile route to the Finish line. In the end though, I knew this would be my last marathon of the Spring season and I knew I would kick myself if I bailed and elected to finish the half, so I stayed in the right lane, and hung a hard right turn as the half'ers hung a sharp left turn around Mile 7.
Miles 7 through 13 passed uneventfully, and I was still feeling fine. I had actually been wondering to myself whether or not I would feel any adverse impact after running the Mercedes Marathon just 4 weeks prior to this very day. I had spent the week after Mercedes just recovering and doing some light mileage, as to not get injured. The remaining 3 weeks saw me do no significant mileage (around 30-35 mpw), so I was naturally curious as to the TRUE state of my fitness.
The aid stations were really well run during this race, and the volunteers were numerous and very enthusiastic. In light of the less-than-ideal weather conditions, it's amazing just how cheerful and excited they were. Great job on that, guys.
I remember passing the 13.1 mile timing mat, and the rain soon stopped thereafter. The course was still a large grouping of hills that were starting to hurt alot of my fellow runners. I was able to consistently pass many, many people on the largest hills after mile 13. I don't know why (training, I assume) but hills don't scare me. In fact, I LIKE hills. They are like the summertime heat; the great equalizer. I don't have any magical formula for them, I just shorten my stride, increase my turnover and power up them. It's a confidence booster every single time. Plus, you get to explode off the top and rocket down the other side.
I don't recall anything signficant occurring between Miles 13.1 and 21, so I must have been in my zone during that stretch. I was hydrating as needed and feeling fine. By Mile 21, there were alot of hurting people on the course, and I was able to pass alot of them as I approached back into the city of Atlanta.
Miles 21 through 24 led back into the downtown area (after a log out and back at Piedmont Park). Around Mile 24, I started to feel some fatigue in my forefoot. Both of them. Just plain tingling and falling asleep. In retrospect, it probably has something to do with the fact that I ran this race (and Mercedes, for that matter) in the Asics Gel 3010's, which have over 450 miles on them. Forefoot cushioning is probably not providing as much shock absorption as I need, but I couldn't chance running 26.2 in the new kicks just yet. Not enough miles on them.
As I reach Mile 25, I know I'm nearing the Finish line and the crowds are getting larger. More runners hurting and walking; so I tried to encourage as many as I pass by.
Mile 26 arrives and I can hear the announcer calling out peoples names as they cross the Finish line, and I can hear the music blasting through the speakers.. I KNOW I'm just a block away from the Finish line, and then I see my wife on the side - that gives me the last boost of mojo I need to power across the Finish and feel fantastic while doing it!
Marathon #10 - 3:57:20
Mind you, I'm not tremendously happy with my finish time, but with the rain, wind and cold, I'm not very disappointed either. Plus, I ran a Marathon PR less than 1 month ago in Birmingham. All things considered, I'm pretty happy with Marathon season, Spring 2010.
But mark my words, I WILL absolutely break 3:45 in October at Ridge to Bridge marathon, and WILL break 3:40 in Disney in January 2011.