Race Report: First time marathon: Atlanta Marathon



P

Piedmont Donald

Guest
(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
 
F

FabulustRunner

Guest
>Yes, this race was on Thanksgiving day.

This guy rode the short bus to school...
 
T

Twittering One

Guest
<< 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>
 
P

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.
 
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.
 
F

FabulustRunner

Guest
>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.
 
F

FabulustRunner

Guest
Next will come my all time favorite, the "I used to run...in high school" line.
 
Y

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.
 
F

FabulustRunner

Guest
>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!
 
P

Piedmont Donald

Guest
"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
 
P

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.
 
D

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