Start Time: 7:00 am
Temperature: 55 at the start
Finish Time: 2:10:51
|State #5, #20 and #12!!|
Sadly, E wasn't able to race, but was full of advice and race day strategy. She was an amazing hostess, chauffeur and post race gear carrier. We left her condo at 6:15am, jumping out of the car 15 minutes later, as close as we could get.
E told us to take advantage of the hotel amenities near the start. The three of us trotted in to the Hilton, and quickly found out there were public restrooms on the second and fourth floors! Lots of runners were hanging out, staying warm in the lobby. We could see the start one block away.
LJ headed out, while Jess and I stayed in the lobby until 5 minutes to 7:00. It was a perfect plan, since neither of us were planning to PR and didn't mind weaving around.
|A bit crowded at the back of the start.|
Jess and I ran together for the first three miles. She had run a half the day before in Alabama! I decided my goal was to run 10:00 miles, and not spend too much mental energy stressing about the hills on the course (especially during the last 3 miles).
The sun was rising as we approached the third mile marker. Suddenly, the street lights clicked off as we ran through a residential neighborhood. I turned to Jess and mentioned, "the lights went out...in Georgia!!!!" Hehe, witty, yes? Then I realized, that meant the sun was coming up and it would warm up quickly. This race is known for heat, hills and humidity.
I unintentionally lost Jess on the hill after mile 3. Luckily, we both knew we would run our own races and no hard feelings if we split up. Those first three miles sure did go by quickly with a buddy to share them with. Once I realized I was solo, I put my headphones on and settled in to maintaining my goal pace.
The marathoners split off around mile 7.
|To the left...to the left...|
E's condo was on the course between miles 7 and 8. She had fuel and most importantly vaseline. I grabbed what I needed and headed off.
I was able to stay between 9:50-10:00 overall pace, in spite of there being a hill at EVERY TURN.
At mile 9 we dropped in to pretty Piedmont Park, where the course leveled off for a bit.
|The view in front of me, Piedmont Park.|
Of course, we ran uphill to get out of the park.
At mile 10, I knew there were 3 miles of hills in front of me, Elizabeth had stated the finish was tough. However, at the top of mile 11, a long downhill stretched in front of us. A woman on a bicycle, who looked intelligent enough, was screaming, "it's all downhill from here!" What? Really? You look like you know this town. Could E be wrong? Were we really done with the never ending rollers?
Ha! We climbed up and down for the last two miles. E was right, they were tough. We even had to run uphill to make the final left to see the finish line.
I passed on the M&M station at mile 12. My head said eat some, my stomach refused.
I crossed the finish line with a 9:59 average pace. Crushed my plan. This course was hillier than Mississippi, one of the toughest I've run outside of Oregon. Luckily, the heat and humidity stayed away. The weather was almost perfect.
After grabbing my medal, chocolate mile and a bottled water, I found LJ and E in Centennial Olympic Park.
E had my flip flops and a long sleeve ready for me to change into. Jess found us (congrats on your first double weekend, buddy!) and we took a few pictures near the inflatable Publix grocery sack.
|Happy St. Patrick's Day! High tech dollar store shamrocks pinned to our skirts.|
We earned a hamburger and a drink. After changing at E's, we discovered that you can't buy alcohol in Georgia before 12:30pm on Sundays. Come on ya'll, even on St. Patty's Day? Shoot.