Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My First Marathon - 2012 Publix Atlanta Marathon Race Review

On Sunday I ran my first marathon. To some this is a major accomplishment. While I am very happy with being able to complete this race, I hope to achieve more than this in life. That means you ultras!

Runkeeper Link

Anyway, back to the marathon! The day before I cruised up to the expo with my friend Dave. We checked out all the stands. I bought "The Stick". He bought some compression socks and a pair of shoes.

 I found some running related products, like coffee and therapeutic devices. I may want to review them sometime.

You know how people talk about not being able to sleep the night before a marathon? I went to bed at 8 PM and didn't fall asleep until midnight.

3 AM my dad woke me up.  FFFFFFfUUUUUUuuuuuu. I drag ass out of bed and get ready. I put on my Vibrams.

Everyone meets up at 4:30 AM and we drive to Atlanta. I am wide awake and feeling great!

Standing around in Centennial Park we hit the bathrooms and make fun of a member of the group, Noah, for forgetting his bib. Priceless.

Eventually we start the race. We start in the back and cruise along with the pack. We are moving around 11 minute/mile. Around mile 4 I noticed a girl I called purple shorts(short purple poka-dotted shorts). Super cool! We passed her. Around mile 5 my dad had to pee really bad, so we waited the line for the porta-potty. Meanwhile we discussed how mean/crazy marathoners pass everyone in these lines with the other members of the line. While my dad was in the porta-potty purple shorts passed us.

We started running again and I mentioned purple-shorts. My dad had noticed her as well and we spend the remainder of the time trying to catch up with her(we figured she was running the 1/2, which means she turned off at 7 miles I think).

During this chase we passed a barefoot guy. We talked for a second. I assumed he was running the half and moved on.

A lot of the race was blur, but there were a few things that I do remember. These are probably not in order.

We ran through the girls college(Agnes Scott), which was full of super friendly and fun people. Emory University was memorable and full of smiling and spunky people.

Decatur was really memorable. The crowds cheered like no other and we hit some really cool(temperature) sections. I remember one specific spot that felt like a wind tunnel. It was perfect for the day.

Up until this part I had a smile on my face. Until...

Eventually we hit Druid Hills. Let me say, I had heard bad things about druid hills, so I was prepared mentally. We hit it and started asking around, "Where are we?" They said, "Druid Hills!" Instead of being afraid I let out a, "WAHOO!!!" and started running faster. During this time it got hotter. At one point I think it was 85 degrees F and humid. I had not trained in this condition, so it was super hard. The pollen count was also rediculous. I could see the pollen when I looked down the street. Stupid environment!

During Druid Hills we started talking to more volunteers. We found out that every volunteer we talked to took 5 seconds off of our minds. We told them that we really appreciated that they stayed out for the slow people.

Toward the end of Druid Hills there was an aid station with girls, water, and iced-towels. It was awesome!!! I basically poured water all over my face and cooled myself off. At this point I was overheated and this was very needed. I took this time to refill my Camelbak which was about 85 degrees F inside. There were also people passing out ice in cups in front of their houses. Totally awesome for them to stay outside for us, especially the slow ones(runners, not homeowners).

After a few miles from Druid Hills we started making our way back to the city. We passed by a house full of people drinking beer and grilling. They had a stack of red cups and a pitcher of beer on top of the table. Someone joked and said, "Can I have a beer hahaha!" I looked over and thought it was a great idea and said, "YEAH can I have one!" The guy was more than happy to pour me half a cup and send me on my way. Ahhhh just what I needed!

I started to mellow out and really enjoy the run. The super hills were gone and we just had to make it back. At this point we were pretty pooped and had gotten in the habit of walking, so we walked some more. We will do a run/walk the rest of the way.

Next we went though Piedmont Park, which was an out and back. At the end of the out we had to run across a chip register(I guess they don't trust us). The turn-around had cheer leaders. Unfortunately it did not have any water, which was a huge letdown since we were super hot.

During the back I passed by the barefoot guy again. Holy moly he was running the full! I cheered him on and got out of that hot park.

The rest of the race was a true blur, but I remember a few long hills. We felt it was best to walk up the hills. As we were walking I looked over and saw we were being passed by a 20-something-aged man who was doing his best to run up that hill. Even though he looked like an old man it was inspiring to see someone trying that hard.

During this time I realized that my Dad was not drinking much water(except for at aid stations). He refused to drink out of my Camelbak since it was hot water. I forced it down. He also mentioned that his feet hurt. He knew he was breaking his form and heel-striking. I believe this was causing his forefoot to slap down on the ground causing trauma.

25 miles came and we still didn't feel like running. We saw a sign that said 3/4 mile and kept walking. Eventually we hit 1/2 a mile and started running again. During this time we were looking over our shoulders for the cart that picks up the slackers. We were coming up on 6 hours. "Let's get under 6 hours!" my dad said. It was very doable, so we started running again. My dad mentioned that it didn't hurt too bad to run. My dad and I came in at 5:58:44 and 5:58:45 respectively. We came across the finish line at the same time though!

We just realized that this was because he started before me. Gotta remember every second counts!

After finishing we got our medals, watched some people pass out, and talked about the race.

 All-in-all I feel good(3 days later) about this marathon. We disliked the inconsistent distances between aid stations and we weren't fans of the not-so-cold water offered. It is frustrating when it is that hot, but we never took it out on the volunteers.

As far as I know, my body is doing good. I have a twinge in my knee, maybe some tendonitis. It goes away with stretching my quad. The night after the race I wore Zensah compression on my calves. This made my legs feel so much better the next day. I need to look into getting some compression for my thighs. The compression is too great!

So that's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Oh, and here is the beautiful lady who birthed me. She ran the half and did great!


  1. This is just so awesome. CONGRATULATIONS MAN. Looks like you're really stepping it up