Race Report: First time marathon: Atlanta Marathon

Discussion in 'General Fitness' started by Piedmont Donald, Dec 24, 2004.

  1. (Yes, this race was on Thanksgiving day. So this race report is 4 weeks
    late...)

    Goal: 4:20 (9:56 pace)
    Backup goal: 4:30 (10:18 pace)
    Drop dead goal: 5:00 (event limit and 11:27 pace)

    I'd been watching the weather forecast for this race as race day approached.
    Rain predicted. Oh no, I'm not that well trained (30 mpw max.) and I've
    only run once in the rain (the rain was very light and the run was short) so
    I'm not sure what to wear. I'd spent the week prior wishing that the rains
    come a little earlier than predicted. At last, my wish was granted and the
    front pushes through sooner than originally predicted. Since I had
    experimented with what to wear as the temperatures have gotten colder, I'm
    fairly confident that I can handle the predicted 42 degrees.

    The day before I got tied up with something and didn't get finish getting
    ready until almost midnight. Bummer. I have a tendency to over-dress so I
    create a trash bag top to wear over my singlet and toss after I warm up. I
    didn't sleep enough.

    Race morning: I'm running a little late since I tried to sleep later to
    compensate for getting to bed late. I arrive with just a few minutes to
    spare. I open my car door to drop my bag at the baggage tent and Wham! it
    hits me. Wind! Lots of it. I'm completely unprepared for wind. Luckily I
    have a long sleeved technical shirt with me that I'd planned to wear after
    the race and I quickly switch into it. Now I'm just barely have enough time
    to get to the baggage tent, stop at the porta-johns and get to the start. I
    quickly jog over, drop my bag and hit the john - no waiting - cool! Either
    my timing is bad or they just need this many johns for the 8000 half
    marathoners who start 30 minutes earlier and are already headed my way.
    Bam! My unopened sports drink is on the floor of the porta-john and spilling
    precious fluid everywhere. I'd planned to run with the bottle in my hand,
    drink when it was convenient and refill at each station. The weight of the
    little 12 oz. bottle isn't a problem for me since my unsupported long runs
    included holding a 32 oz. bottle in each hand. But how did the bottle get
    open? Damn, the top's broken. With no time to waste, I run back to the
    baggage tent, drink down most of one of the 20 oz. bottles planned for after
    and swap the top. As I step out of the baggage tent I hear the start.

    I get to the starting line about a minute after the start. There are
    roughly 800 - 900 people for this event so I would have started in the back
    anyway. However, when I do get to the starting line no one is there and
    even the sweep ambulance is about 200 yards ahead. I spend the first mile
    getting organized and catching up. By the end of mile one I've caught and
    passed the ambulance - 11.5 minutes.

    Mile two - I've gone too fast. I resolve to hold back to my planned pace
    and _maybe_ pickup a 2 or 3 seconds per minute. Not almost half the lost
    time in the first couple of miles like I've just done. Miles three and four
    are also a _little bit_ faster than planned, but not overly so. I've warmed
    up by now and I want to ditch my trash bag top but I decide to fold it up
    and stuff it under my hat in case I bonk at the end and need the coverage.

    Since I've run the course before I know where most of the mile markers are.
    However someone is calling out 5 mile splits way too early (about the 4.8 -
    4.9 mile point)! Thankfully someone is also calling out splits at the
    _real_ 5 mile marker. I feel sorry for everyone who believes the mistaken
    volunteers. Mile six also comes up too soon. It's one of the miles marks
    that I don't know and I think this is one place where the mile marker is
    placed at the nearest anchor point (it's lashed to a telephone pole) without
    a strict regard for true distance. Not knowing the correct location, I use
    this marker. I am at my lowest cumulative mpm point; I slow down from here.

    Miles 7 and 8 are about 40 seconds slower than planned. I'm a big on
    planning and have a pace chart for each mile that takes into consideration
    the elevation changes and stage in the race. Perhaps I've misjudged the
    elevation change for this part of the course. Miles 9 through 14 however
    are relatively flat and I'm able to keep my planned pace. Unfortunately I
    drop my precious water bottle about mile 9 and another top
    breaks! Luckily I'm about to pass my spectators and I give them
    instructions on getting another bottle. I pass them before mile 10, I'll
    hit the turn around and will past back by at mile 16.

    Mile 15: I'm starting to get a little tired. Miles 15 through 20 are each
    about 1 minute slower than planned. I speed up a little right at mile 16 so
    my spectators don't know I'm getting tired. I think they might have bought
    it since I'm only a three minutes behind schedule. :)

    By mile 20 I realize that I'm probably not going to reach my backup goal of
    4:30. However, I'm sure that I can finish since I can almost walk the
    entire remaining distance within the 5:00 event limit. I try some more
    frequent and longer walk breaks. After two miles I realize that all the
    pain comes from starting to run again after walking. I switch to longer
    runs and pick up the overall pace with more comfort. Somewhere about mile
    24/25 it dawns on me that I don't need my trash bag top. I jettison every
    thing that I don't need including my precious bottle. Mile 25 is definitely
    faster. (In a relative way only, it is by no means fast).

    Mile 26 _is_ fast. In fact it's my fastest of the day. The Olympic rings
    from the 1996 Olympics are in sight for the second half of this mile and
    they really give some inspiration. That and knowing that the finish is just
    beyond them... I lose a little speed in the last .2 miles but I'm OK with
    that. I hadn't planned a sprint finish anyway. I walk past a few chip
    collectors looking for a racewalker acquaintance who had said he would be at
    this station. I discover he's already gone and I have to <horrors> walk
    _back_ about 100 feet to get back to the other chip collectors. I also
    notice that the curbs in this area feel as if they are about 3 inches higher
    than normal. Of course this is just me and my sore legs.

    I collect my bag and a goodie pack and start nibbling while watching and
    cheering on the folks finishing just at the event limit. I'm a little
    stiff, but feel pretty good after my longest run ever.

    Conclusion: Like a good first marathoner, I was a under prepared both in
    terms of weekly mileage and what to expect. I didn't have any injury
    issues, just some troubles with the stupid water bottles and a little
    soreness. I didn't experience one of those mind-numbing bonks. I just got
    slower as the race progressed. This is probably a training volume issue. I
    drank so much I weighed more after the race (and a few post race snacks) so
    hydration wasn't an issue.

    Best regards and Merry Christmas,
    Piedmont Donald
     
    Tags:


  2. >Yes, this race was on Thanksgiving day.

    This guy rode the short bus to school...
     
  3. << Best regards and Merry Christmas,
    Piedmont Donald >>

    Sounds hot.

    _______
    Blog, or dog? Who knows. But if you see my lost pup, please ping me!
    <A
    HREF="http://journals.aol.com/virginiaz/DreamingofLeonardo">http://journal
    s.aol.com/virginiaz/DreamingofLeonardo</A>
     
  4. Phil M.

    Phil M. Guest

    Leafing through rec.running, I read a message from
    [email protected]_much_spam.com of 24 Dec 2004:

    > (Yes, this race was on Thanksgiving day. So this race report is 4
    > weeks late...)
    >
    > Goal: 4:20 (9:56 pace)
    > Backup goal: 4:30 (10:18 pace)
    > Drop dead goal: 5:00 (event limit and 11:27 pace)


    Congrats on your first marathon! Not only that, you ran on a fairly
    difficult course. Nearly 300 feet elevation gain from mile 20 to 25. I
    live in the Atlanta area. I've run the Atlanta half marathon 2 times, I've
    run 5 marathons, but never the Atlanta Marathon. I'm too much of a whimp.

    > I'd been watching the weather forecast for this race as race day
    > approached. Rain predicted. Oh no, I'm not that well trained (30 mpw
    > max.) and I've only run once in the rain (the rain was very light and
    > the run was short) so I'm not sure what to wear.


    Cold, raining, and windy. Can't get much worse for a marathon.

    > I'd planned to run with the bottle in my hand, drink when it was
    > convenient and refill at each station. The weight of the little 12
    > oz. bottle isn't a problem for me since my unsupported long runs
    > included holding a 32 oz. bottle in each hand.


    Weight training while distance running is certainly different ;-) Have you
    considered dropping your bottles along your training course or wearing a
    hydration pack? Where do you do your long runs?

    > I get to the starting line about a minute after the start. There are
    > roughly 800 - 900 people for this event so I would have started in the
    > back anyway. However, when I do get to the starting line no one is
    > there and even the sweep ambulance is about 200 yards ahead. I spend
    > the first mile getting organized and catching up. By the end of mile
    > one I've caught and passed the ambulance - 11.5 minutes.


    Thank goodness for the chip.

    > Mile 15: I'm starting to get a little tired. Miles 15 through 20 are
    > each about 1 minute slower than planned.


    Damn those hills!

    > Mile 26 _is_ fast. In fact it's my fastest of the day.


    Gotta love those hills! ;-)

    > Conclusion: Like a good first marathoner, I was a under prepared both
    > in terms of weekly mileage and what to expect. I didn't have any
    > injury issues, just some troubles with the stupid water bottles and a
    > little soreness. I didn't experience one of those mind-numbing bonks.
    > I just got slower as the race progressed. This is probably a training
    > volume issue. I drank so much I weighed more after the race (and a
    > few post race snacks) so hydration wasn't an issue.


    The cold weather probably accounted for that. Also, it could be because of
    what you were drinking. If you don't get just the right electrolyte and
    carb concentration in your drink, then it could be that it wasn't emptying
    from your stomach.

    Contrats again. And thanks for the report.

    Phil M.
     
  5. Piedmont Donald wrote:
    > (Yes, this race was on Thanksgiving day. So this race report is 4

    weeks
    > late...)


    A wonderfully vivid report of your experience. Congratulations.

    I am the antithesis of a marathon runner. In my competitive running
    days in college, I was a 100-yard dash man. I could blast out of the
    block faster than anyone else, but usually lost steam near the end of
    the 100 yards and caught up by others. :)

    But one of my co-authors/academic-friends, Harry Roberts, was a
    serious marathon running competitor.

    http://www-news.uchicago.edu/releases/04/040819.roberts.shtml

    *> Among his many hobbies, Roberts was best known as a serious
    *> runner, participating in marathons, and adding triathlons to
    *> his athletic pursuits in his early 60's.

    Harry went from a jogger in his 40s to competitive marathorn
    running in his 50s and 60s, finishing high in the Masters
    categories in the Boston, New York, and other major marathorn
    events and running in them every year until he was in his
    mid 60s.


    > I get to the starting line about a minute after the start.


    Not a good move. :) Caught in the Hotlanta traffic jam that's
    there everyday?

    > By the end of mile one I've caught and
    > passed the ambulance - 11.5 minutes.


    If Harry were running in the event, he would have been nearly 3/4
    mile ahead of you. :)

    > Mile 15: I'm starting to get a little tired.
    >
    > By mile 20 I realize that I'm probably not going to reach my
    > backup goal of 4:30.


    That's the point of the mythical "wall" of marathoners. Harry
    and I always had different theories whether the "wall" is a
    physical or psychological thing.

    I am of the opinion that it's mostly psychological (not that it
    couldn't have been physical as well), sort of like the 4-minute
    mile. It was an unapproachable barrier for years until someone
    broke it, and it opened the flood gate that nearly every
    accomplished miler could do it. :)

    My THEORY that it had always been psychological is that if it
    had been a 'physical wall', then the tri-atheletes would have
    reached the 'wall' long before they started the marathon. :)


    > Mile 25 is definitely
    > faster. (In a relative way only, it is by no means fast).


    > Mile 26 _is_ fast. In fact it's my fastest of the day.


    'Second wind' ?


    > Conclusion: Like a good first marathoner, I was a under prepared

    both in
    > terms of weekly mileage and what to expect. I didn't have any injury
    > issues, just some troubles with the stupid water bottles and a little
    > soreness. I didn't experience one of those mind-numbing bonks. I

    just got
    > slower as the race progressed. This is probably a training volume

    issue. I
    > drank so much I weighed more after the race (and a few post race

    snacks) so
    > hydration wasn't an issue.


    What's the latest dope on carbohydrate loading before a marathon?


    > Best regards and Merry Christmas,

    Ditto.

    > Piedmont Donald


    -- Bob.
     
  6. >I am the antithesis of a marathon runner. In my competitive running
    >days in college, I was a 100-yard dash man. I could blast out of the
    >block faster than anyone else, but usually lost steam near the end of
    >the 100 yards and caught up by others.


    In other words, like 90% of americans, you are a loser, and now you're fat,
    bald, middle-aged, and dreaming of being like me. You poor guy...

    >But one of my co-authors/academic-friends, Harry Roberts, was a
    >serious marathon running competitor.


    Oh, the old "I belong here, because my buddys a runner" line? Geez...

    >http://www-news.uchicago.edu/sexualreleases/04/040819.roberts.shtml


    Frickin' pervert.
     
  7. Next will come my all time favorite, the "I used to run...in high school" line.
     
  8. Yin Yang

    Yin Yang Guest

    "FabulustRunner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Next will come my all time favorite, the "I used to run...in high school"
    > line.

    i went to high school in Ft Greene Brooklyn...i ran plenty in high school.
    mostly to and from the train station.
     
  9. >i went to high school in Ft Greene Brooklyn...i ran plenty in high school.
    >mostly to and from the train station.


    Well you had INCENTIVE to be fast!
     
  10. >That you are, FabulustRunner!

    He should be so lucky.
     
  11. "Phil M." <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > Leafing through rec.running, I read a message from
    > [email protected]_much_spam.com of 24 Dec 2004:
    >
    > Cold, raining, and windy. Can't get much worse for a marathon.


    I lucked out and only got cold and windy. ;)

    > > I'd planned to run with the bottle in my hand, drink when it was
    > > convenient and refill at each station. The weight of the little 12
    > > oz. bottle isn't a problem for me since my unsupported long runs
    > > included holding a 32 oz. bottle in each hand.

    >
    > Weight training while distance running is certainly different ;-) Have you
    > considered dropping your bottles along your training course or wearing a
    > hydration pack? Where do you do your long runs?


    I do drop a bottle for my long unsupported runs. I just haven't come up
    with a convenient place to drop another bottle without driving more than
    it's worth. My long runs are either at Stone Mountain (my trunk is my drop
    site) or on the Atlanta marathon course. For the course, I drop a bottle,
    ride MARTA to the marathon start (or mile one), run back to my bottle and
    eventually my car.

    As for hydration packs, I borrowed one once. After having a good look at
    it, I never used it. I couldn't see how it (or any other) could ever be
    made clean. Bleech!

    > > I get to the starting line about a minute after the start. ...
    > > ...passed the ambulance - 11.5 minutes.

    >
    > Thank goodness for the chip.


    Sadly the marathon doesn't have a chip start. The half does have a chip
    start since it takes a while for 8000 runners to get started and the half
    start is the half-way point for the full. I guess they figure it's not
    worth it to set up the mats and then move them for a 800 -900 person start
    since the half/full finish is about 50 - 100 yards from the full start.

    > The cold weather probably accounted for that. Also, it could be because of
    > what you were drinking. If you don't get just the right electrolyte and
    > carb concentration in your drink, then it could be that it wasn't emptying
    > from your stomach.


    I think my hydration was good although I never have tried salt/etc. tablets.
    I was never dehydrated and never had to stop to "dewater" either. A good
    balance in my book.

    > Contrats again. And thanks for the report.
    >
    > Phil M.


    Thanks, perhaps we'll meet at a local event. If I can kick my new-found
    cold, my next event will be Jan. 1st a 1 miler and a 5 / 10 K race. I'll
    run the 10K if I'm well.
    http://www.atlantatrackclub.org/at01002.htm#resrun Only $5.00 for non-ATC
    members and last year we got long sleeved t-shirts. :)

    Piedmont Donald
     
  12. Phil M.

    Phil M. Guest

    Leafing through rec.running, I read a message from
    [email protected]_much_spam.com of 26 Dec 2004:

    > As for hydration packs, I borrowed one once.


    Which model? I use the CamelBak FlashFlo http://tinyurl.com/3zjfa. The
    specs say it holds 45 oz of fluid, but I can cram in 52 oz. It is very
    comfortable. I hardly notice it's there. I also have the ComalBak Lob,
    which holds 70 oz. I don't like it as much, since I could never get the
    straps right to fit my body. It bounced way too much. The FlashFlo will
    get me to 13 miles without additional fluids. Today, since I ran 16
    miles, I took my FlashFlo and an Ultimate Direction FastDraw, which holds
    about 20 oz.
    http://www.ultimatedirection.com/fastdraw.html

    > After having a good look
    > at it, I never used it. I couldn't see how it (or any other) could
    > ever be made clean. Bleech!


    Yes. They can get quite grungy. CamelBak makes cleaning brushes
    specifically for the tubing and bladder. For cleaning I rinse it out with
    a 1/1 mixture of water and vineger and run the brush through the tube a
    few times, then dry out the inside of the bladder with paper towels and
    hang up to dry. Works great and I don't taste the vineger.

    >> > I get to the starting line about a minute after the start. ...
    >> > ...passed the ambulance - 11.5 minutes.

    >>
    >> Thank goodness for the chip.

    >
    > Sadly the marathon doesn't have a chip start. The half does have a
    > chip start since it takes a while for 8000 runners to get started and
    > the half start is the half-way point for the full. I guess they
    > figure it's not worth it to set up the mats and then move them for a
    > 800 -900 person start since the half/full finish is about 50 - 100
    > yards from the full start.


    Ohhh, that's bad. I ran the half a few times with the chip, so I just
    assumed they would have it for the full marathon.

    > Thanks, perhaps we'll meet at a local event. If I can kick my
    > new-found cold, my next event will be Jan. 1st a 1 miler and a 5 / 10
    > K race. I'll run the 10K if I'm well.
    > http://www.atlantatrackclub.org/at01002.htm#resrun


    I'd do that, but I'm really focused on training for Boston. I might do
    the Chattahoochee Roadrunners 10K on March 5th if I don't do the Auburn
    Half Marathon that day.

    Phil M.
     
  13. Dot

    Dot Guest

    Piedmont Donald wrote:

    >
    > As for hydration packs, I borrowed one once. After having a good look at
    > it, I never used it. I couldn't see how it (or any other) could ever be
    > made clean. Bleech!
    >


    Lots of ways - vinegar, clorox, special stuff from cb. Run a brush down
    the tube occasionally. They're great for unsupported long runs.

    Dot

    --
    "Dream Big, and dare to fail." --- Norman Vaughn
    who was with Byrd in Antarctica and whose 99th birthday was Dec 19
     
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