Atlanta Half Marathon

Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon – 13.1 miles
Date of Race: 27 November 2014 at 7:30am
Total Time: 1:30:25
Overall Place: 131/6730
Age Group: M25-29
Age Group Place: 24/349

Pre-race: I woke up early, probably around 5:00am. I can’t remember now. I’ll typically eat something pretty soon after waking up. I want to make sure I have enough time to digest breakfast. Banana, bagel with peanut butter and honey, and a Gatorade. Slept at home and carpooled to the Turner Field parking lot with my parents. I felt sick the entire morning. I threw up as we walked out the door to the car and probably 4 more times before the race started. The more details the better, right? Now I’ll talk about the color and consistency of my vomit. Just kidding. I checked my watch and some point and it was almost group picture time. That’s when I realized I forgot my camera. And my heating pad. Ugh. I hate race mornings. They never go well. I would realize the next day that I hadn’t been taking my medication for the last week and had accidentally replaced it with a pain killer every morning. So not only was I going cold turkey off all the anti-depressants, I was substituting pain killers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Warm-up: My legs were tight so I stretched well. Lots of leg stretches and arm stretches. I tend to get tight in my shoulders a few miles in if I don’t stretch them well enough. I jogged around quite a bit because of the cold. To and from the bathrooms, the ATC tent, the car, etc. My heart rate was definitely elevated. It was an exciting start as well being around so many people that I knew. I had never been with so many friends for the start a race before. It was really fun and definitely got the energy going pretty quickly.

Run: The course was tough. I had run the course a week or so before so I knew pretty well what was going down. I had the course memorized as well. It didn’t really matter to much though because I wasn’t try to squeeze out as many seconds as possible. I knew the 1:30:00 pace group would be a stretch and I was holding on the best I could. The first half of the course up Hank Aaron, down Marietta to Northside, through Atlantic Station, and up Spring/14th to Piedmont was nice. A good steady pace that didn’t see much elevation change. It allowed me to really forget about feeling sick all morning, find my pace, and breathe. I started to fall back coming into Piedmont Park. many people said that’s where it typically happens if it’s going to happen. Up 10th, rolling down Juniper/Courtland, and climbing under the highway on JWD to Boulevard was tough. And after a good downhill to Oakland we climbed some more up Memorial. My step-dad was waiting for me on MLK and yelling about how much time was left for me to meet my goal. I was doing my best to keep the pace group in sight and thought for a moment even they weren’t going to make it. I kept pushing even though I was dead tired and thought “I’ve run this far so I can’t stop now.” I picked it up for the last mile trying to catch the pace team, but as I got closer to the finish line I could see the timer and hear the announcer welcoming the pace group being “right on time.” I missed my goal by 25 seconds.

My mile splits according to my Garmin were:
1 – 6:36
2 – 6:43
3 – 6:41
4 – 6:37
5 – 6:43
6 – 6:45
7 – 6:34
8 – 7:13 (blah hills)
9 – 6:58 (slooowing)
10 – 6:56 (slowing)
11 – 7:00 (nooo)
12 – 7:02 (noooooo)
13 – 6:28 (trying to catch up!)

Post Race: I got cold pretty quickly. And my legs were incredibly sore. I still have recovered fully I don’t think. I put on the free wind jackets, got the recovery boxes of food, and tried to find my parents while walking to the ATC tent. I was pretty disappointed in my time. I wanted to break 1:30:00 so badly. I had it in my head that it would be not too difficult. But those hills. I sat down at the tent and just tried to eat and drink something and hear about how other people finished. People didn’t seem as tired as me. I was dead.

What would you do differently: I would keep up with the pace group! I think I just let them get too far ahead. I kept thinking that I was still part of the pack and then all of the sudden the gap was too far. I think next time I would do a better job of running in the pack rather than trailing off the back of it. I do much better when I can pace with someone.

Rate your overall experience with this race: I give this race a 3/5. I don’t like the Atlanta Track Club’s trend of online race bags, the packet pickup wasn’t great (locations and space at those locations were bad), and there was like nothing to do after it was over. I get that’s it’s Thanksgiving and people have plans, but it was like 9:00am when I got done and there were still a few thousand people left to finish. I like sticking around and hanging out and make sure everything is okay first. But with nothing else going on, there was almost no reason to stay. I didn’t like that.

Charlie Holder Written by:

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