Georgia Marathon 2013 Race Report

Bib, finishers medal, glass from Georgia MarathonThe 7th annual Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon was held on Sunday, March 17th, 2013, and I retained my “streaker” status by completing the full marathon. (A “streaker” is someone who has run every year since it started.)

Here are some highlights of this years run:

– I ran on a whopping 4 hours of sleep.  The night before, I last looked at the clock at 11:55 PM, and I woke up at 4:00 AM. I ran longer to complete the race than I slept the night before.  Why is this important? Because I was a bit delirious – my memory of the race may not be as clear… or accurate as I would like.

– My training schedule was far less rigorous than I would have liked considering that my kids gave me cold after flu after cold after stomach virus, etc. all winter long.

– Because I knew the race was going to be a more “casual” run for me, I decided to take race-wear to a new level. I wore a Hawaiian shirt!  While it may not have helped my running at all, it was fun, and the best comment of the day was “hey, you going running or bowling?”

– Around mile 20, I overheard a guy in front of me tell a friend something like, “I know I shouldn’t change anything on race day, but Rico said to try these different socks on…” I immediately jumped in and asked “Do you mean Rico Dorsey?”.  They started laughing, and said, “Dang, EVERYONE knows Rico!”

They work with Rico, and I know him through GUTS. He has been an inspiration to me in setting new race-wear standards by wearing a cowboy hat during his race. Since everyone knows Rico, we may have to start playing 6 degrees of separation at races.

– In other GUTS news, during the race, I found myself thinking “last year, Kim Purcell had Pringle’s, but I don’t think I want any this year.” So, since I had Pringles on my mind, when I saw Sarah Tynes, I confused her for Kim. Sarah recognized me, and it was nice to have a cheering section. Sarah, I apologize… and I blame it on heat exhaustion and lack of sleep.

– While this may not have been one of my personal-best races, it wasn’t a total loss. I ate well. There were pretzels, oranges, bananas, Oreos… someone was even giving out ice pops. But, my favorite snack was clear as I spent most of mile six yelling to everyone “I got jelly beans! Yay, I got jelly beans”.

– This year, my “favorite spectator award” goes to the  bag piper playing Chariots of Fire as we headed into Piedmont Park (many other racers agreed with me). The music carried, so heard almost the whole song, but I didn’t get much on video because he was finishing up as I got close enough to start filming.  Here’s what I did get on camera.

– Walking back to MARTA, I met George, a guy with a bright red mohawk and horns coming out of his nose. The previous day, he did the USATF marathon, then flew in to do this today. That’s pretty hard-core (the running, not the mohawk and nose horns)! George, if I ever end up in New Orleans for a race, I’ll be sure to look for you.

– On the train home, I met Justin, who flew in from Virginia for this. He’s one of the few people I’ve talked to who came out of the Air Force. (Most vets I’ve talked to are either Army, Navy, and Marines. I just never seem to meet ex-Air Force.) While he was on active duty, he was stationed in Turkey, and ran the Istanbul marathon as his first race. It has the distinction of spanning two continents. Justin, I enjoyed talking with you and hope you enjoyed your visit here.

I also talked to a number of other people on the train, and throughout the race.  A lot of them were from Florida, and they all pointed out how hilly Atlanta is.  So, if you’re reading this in preparation for a future race, be prepared.  You’ve been warned! Muahahaha.

– There’s a big shout out to a lot of you doing your first “big” race.  I talked to some of you, and saw others as you blew by me like I was standing still, or, maybe I blew by you thanks to a big down hill section and tail wind.

– Thanks to all of you for making this a great experience.

– For the last couple years, there has also been a “furry” convention going on this same weekend. While I happily don’t know much about that, it makes me laugh to see the kids running around with bushy tails and bunny ears while I enjoy something to eat after the race.

– But, one of my favorite moments came at the expo the day before. CBS Atlanta was a race sponsor, and their news team had a green screen setup with the race day weather forecast.  Ike and I had a great time playing weather man – and they even recorded us and posted it online.  (Note: Ike doesn’t make a lot of sense – he talked more about who could hear him with the mic on… towards the end, he was especially interested to know whether or not the guys playing the beanbag cornhole game next to us could hear him… that’s the reference to “the people playing bean bags.”)

CBS Atlanta 46

For those interested, here’s a breakdown of my training and my race:

Every year, I say that I didn’t train as much as I should have. This year, I completed the Run the Reagan 1/2 marathon in mid-February,  and I only got out for a half-dozen 6-7 mile runs since then. So, this year, I was truly unprepared. My strategy going in was to run the first 1/2 with a goal of around two hours – after that, I would walk the remainder with a sub-15 minute/mile pace – giving me a finish time around 5 hours.

The plan almost worked.  I finished the first half in around 2:15, and did manage sub 15’s for a while, but then my back and legs decided they’d rather be elsewhere.  I tried taking a short break sitting on a convenient fence and waving at people, but that didn’t seem to make them happy.  However, I did get a lot of funny looks, which made it worth doing.

Please note: I do not recommend this approach!  Follow a plan. Any plan except this one, that is.  It’s only my years of other training that allowed me to not only get through this, but also be able to move the next day.  Well, that and some ibuprofen.