Monday, March 30, 2009

ING Half Marathon

Whew, another 13.1 done! Always an Atlantan favorite, the ING is a HUGE race of 15,000 people. Not sure if they reached that number this year, but it is always amazing to see seas of people running down Piedmont St!

The morning went well, I woke up bright and early around 5am, I like to be wide awake at least a couple of hours before the race. Ate some oatmeal, and banana, and my OJ/H20 mix with some much needed coffee.

My cousin Eddy, Martha, and a friend David, met up at the loft around 6am. Eddy and David were doing the full 26.2, and Martha was running the half after having her baby Polly.

I was shooting for under 2:30, while trying to stay in the lower HR zones. My times the previous years were;
2007 ~ 2:23:44

2008 ~ 2:33:19

2007 was a tough course, but I had a lot of training. The worst part of the course then was the out and back from Glen Iris down Freedom parkway towards 85/75. You looped around at the Tribute lofts, ugh! I almost got heat stroke from the lack of water stations and void of energy drinks on the course.

2008 was different, and they modified the course a little better. This year was tougher for me. I had not been training well and the weather was really windy and C O L D ! I was just glad to finish, that year I felt like my legs were going to fall off around Techwood Ave. !

2009 was relaxed. I did not have high expectations of the race and honestly wouldn't of even ran unless James paid for my entry, a whooping $75 (what a rip!) Coach wanted me to stay in Zones 1-3 for the race, and I knew if I did that there would be a lot of people passing me; but that was ok, because I have ulterior motives (X T E R R A ! )

Miles 1-3 were a breeze, I felt great and I was running about a 10min /mile. I knew at that point I would need to slow down a bit if I was going to survive the entire 13.1. The 4:00 pace group passed me at mile 3 and they were relentless with their pace, I didn't even try to hang with them! Oh, I had to pee so B A D at this point, I was going to stop at SciTrek, but they had 2 potties with already 6 people in line! Eh! I knew there would be more, so I pushed on.

Inman park was great. Fleet Feet had a little cheering section and everyone in the neighborhood was out with coffee in hand watching the racers. It had to be a sight, we filled the streets with color and hot sweat!

Once I got to Moreland, I was about ready to pop. I ran into the Starbucks (corporate in L5P, never been there), and flushed my system! Ready to rock, I ran out and towards Freedom Park. Running past the Poncey-Highlands band, I was soo glad we didn't have to take that left onto Freedom parkway, instead, we headed right and right on North Ave towards the Half/Full split. This is where the Half runner head left on highland towards the Highlands, and the Full runners head straight towards Decatur, the long way.

Highland was a breeze, mostly flat and even slightly downhill. I waved "Hi" to Van Michael Salon as I ran by, thanking them for my awesome highlights! :) Stuart told me he'd be chilling at Taco Mac in the Highlands, but when I got there, I was disappointed to 1) not see the band jamming & 2) nowhere in sight! The turn out in Va Highlands was poor this year! :(

Mostly downhill from here towards Piedmont Park, then at the school I ran by one fan was animate; she was yelling "ITS NOT RAINING!!!". Over and over I heard her yell this as her neck veins were swelling! EhH! But, I had to agree, Hell YES, it's not raining! That would have been miserable, like Blankets Creek all over again, but I had to R U N the whole time, nightmarish!

Piedmont is always a runner's favorite, with the rolling hills, midtown skyline, and sparkling? lake. I wish the course took us through more of the park, that 10th street climb is never a crowd favorite. Whew, I was pushing my heart limits making this one, I had to slow it down for a sec. Once I peaked the top, I started thinking about Rachel! I hoped that she was waiting for me at Juniper and 5th! I was soo tired from that hill and running, I just wanted to walk and give my bones a break from all the relentless pounding! My arch was hurting a little on that uphill, so I ran anyway that made it feel better.

Once we turned left on Piedmont, it was a long slight uphill, ugh! I was so determined to get over that hill! I made it over, and there was Rachel and Gus!! That was so awesome, I ran over and stole a Hi five from Rachel, which was exactly what I needed to get over the next hill to Peachtree St. Running towards Tech, I knew the end was in sight, finally, but this last 3 miles was my least favorite. Left on Techwood towards the GT Stadium, at this point my legs were pretty tired, and my joints were feeling worn... Right on North Ave, and then down the GT rd., I always remember how they put the parking lot strips on the left side of the road here. Then they had to change them to the right, crazy mix-up I think, like the GA 400 exit stripping! lol. Anyways, left on Marietta, the homestretch. I always think of this last mile, as the worst part of the race, slightly uphill and long, it's not very scenic, and the finish is blocked by building a mass buildings. When I could finally see the CNN sign, I started to get a little more hopeful.

I upped my pace, and started to head strong for the finish. At this point, I just wanted to get this over with! The slight uphill, then left onto Centennial toward the finish, I was relieved to see that this was a wide open area, instead of the cramped maze they had last year! YES, I was DONE!


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