Georgia Marathon by the numbers

For record keeping purposes here are the numbers:

  • Started December 6, 2006, five weeks after Marine Corps Marathon
  • 16 weeks, 48 workouts scheduled.
  • Workouts added: 3. Workouts skipped 2. Workouts cut short 1.
  • Mileage: December 99, January 126, February 130, March 102 (including race).
  • Starting weight: 156. Race day weight: 152.5 (post race weight: 150).

  • Weather: 69 at start. 81 at finish. Negligible breeze. Sunny. 65% humidity.
  • Course: constant elevation changes; plenty of hills, some steep; spotty hydration station efficiency (I only saw two of a dozen Powerade stations I believed were on the course); and good friendly crowds where you might hope for them.
  • Macro splits: 10K - 1:04:01, Half Marathon - 2:18:26, 20M - 3:34:24 and Finish - 4:54:58
  • Mile splits: 1-10:46, 2-10:15, 3-10:15, 4-10:22, 5-9:58, 6-10:06
  • 7-10:02, 8-10:02, 9-11:15 (potty stop), 10-10:48, 11-10:53, 12-11:17, 13-11:17
  • 14-12:04 (Mrs. T stop), 15-9:34, 16-12:08 (2nd Mrs. T stop), 17-10:36, 18-10:39, 19-11:30, 20-10:30
  • 21-12:39, 22-12:23, 23-12:36, 24-13:19, 25-14:00, 26-13:35, (26).2-2:07

  • #1 Personal Record time (of three)
  • 226th of 396 in age group (men, 55-59) [57th percentile]
  • 2,658th of 4,340 finishers [61st percentile]
  • 1,879th of 2,775 men [68th percentile]

  • Miles run since 1999: 4,802
  • Next Race: Run the City 5K
  • Another marathon? Yes. Entering New York lottery soon.


Did I just run a marathon?

I just got up from a nice little nap and, by your comments it seems you all think I ran a marathon today. It was a nice nap and I don't remember anything from before that.

No, wait a minute. My legs are telling me something. What's that? Oh, yes. My apologies. My quads want you to know I ran a lot of friggin' HILLS today. My scalp wants you to know it was friggin' sunny and hotter than blazes out there.

It was a very pretty race course, for the most part. Even the hills. The race was better tended to by the volunteers only after the marathon and half-marathon runners parted company at the fourth mile. They had some water and Powerade issues but I lived through them.

I took it really easy through the first ten miles. I felt strongest from miles 10-16 within which I was greeted twice, "Proud not Loud," by Mrs. T who had everything I wanted in her tote bag. The race temps were not even chilly at the start and it only got worse. I was eternally grateful for the hand towels wet and wrapped in some medical cooling packs that our hostess provided. The two of them were at miles 14 and 16 and commented that I looked good, meaning I was running up the hills and lots of others were walking. At that point they were right. I didn't walk any parts of a hill until Mile 21. Damn that Highland Avenue.

Running in the shady residential areas was tolerable. Once we got back from Decatur and into the city of Atlanta, the sun was beating down and very sapping. My splits dropped quickly from 10:45 pace to about 13:00 over the last five miles. Coming down Peachtree Street was a good finish because the skyscrapers provided some shade and the crowds were pushing us.

I watched my goal time of 4:40 slip away and turned my attention to a PR of anything under 5:00. Mission accomplished by five minutes. Given the weather and the course I suspect everybody was struggling. The winner crossed in a taxed 2:19 so I do believe we could all have done better on a different day.

Nevertheless, I am pleased. All my body parts work. I only had a few foot cramps towards the end of the race and worked through them with no further issues.

Thanks to those of you out there in bloggy-land who followed along. The technology for race tracking is pretty neat. Your attention kept me going.


Full up

The expo was busy today. Shock. I was worried as I approached the building. There was a line a quarter mile long outside for people waiting to pick up their packets. We stood there a moment and then a volunteer made it known this was the half marathon line. Marathoners go on inside. Which I did and found there to be NO LINE at all so I picked up my stuff really quickly.

That left more time to shop. But I bought nothing. I like the ING orange and blue but they are not my color and, in Florida, I would be mistaken for a Gator fan.

I did stand on this sensor machine to find that I put more weight on my left foot than the right; and that there is too much pressure falling on a spot where it tends to get hurt - between my toes on the left side, in the meaty parts. I did not want to hear any more about that and walked away.

I spoke to Rachel from Nashville on the cell phone over the din of the expo. She and Brent were out in a mall taking in Atlanta. We agreed to not overwork ourselves by trying to meet up today. Maybe tomorrow somehow.

Dinner was at the house and it was good. I am stuffed. I am also more rested too. We have a plan for the cheer team to see me at miles 14 and 16.

Thanks for the good wishes. I picked up a 4:40 pace band. We'll see if that slows me down to start; which is what I need to do.


It was a long seven hour drive up from the flatlands. It is very spring-like up here which is fine if you're a resident. I wanted cooler for the race but we run with what we are given.

The hills are daunting and I haven't even seen the course. The elevation table in the paper is much more specific that that on the race Web site. I am not even going to drive the course. I do not need to see any more than I have seen already.

I went out to Emory Univ. this morning to see the Tibetan monks at the museum who were doing their sand art called mandala. Fascinating.

Time to go to the expo and pick up registration; take a look around.


Buy before they're all gone

I ran three miles this morning very easy. I did it on my "hill course" just for good measure.

Enough of that.

What I really want to do is bash Asics. Track Shack is having their spring "dot sale" where tons of shoes are 40%-60% off and everything else in the store is 20% off. I went looking for some Kayanos. Dang, they didn't have any dot shoes in my size.

So I asked to try on the new and improved Kayano. Dang if they didn't go and narrow up the toe box. I went up a size and my heel kept slipping out. I could almost feel the blisters forming on the spot.

What were they thinking???

Now I have to find a new shoe or some new old Kayanos. Not what I wanted to do.

Race Day
Track me if you want. First you have to register. My bib is 4794.


Spring Break over

Cadets leave. From four cadets arriving a week ago Friday, one left Wednesday, one Thursday and the last two today. It sure is quiet around here. I am bored.

Friday. I took Friday off and got up early for an eight mile hills run. It was hot, around 70, and I worried whether I would make it through. I kept doing four one-mile loops of constant up and down hills (short ones but constant). It was supposed to be a tempo run but I opted for marathon pace "hills pace" (whatever that is). I found cadence to lull me into a state that allowed me to get it done.

While running I strategized about my "breaks" during the race; when I would stop for Powerade or water. I decided I would be smart to replicate my training habits which call for a drink every 3-4 miles.

Art. After my run I hooked up with T and his fellow cadet and we toured the Winter Park Art Festival around lunch time. The sidewalks were not as jammed on Friday as they would be over the weekend so we got to see all the art we cared to see. It was a nice warm day still so I had an ice cream bar dipped in dark chocolate rolled in nuts. Mmmmm. Not as good as at Costco for twice the price but.... I was not at Costco.

Guitar Hero. Okay, the distraction of spring break was a PlayStation game called Guitar Hero. With simulation guitars the object is to play the notes on the guitar neck in time with the rock music playing on the TV. The kids scored well. I stunk.

Dining out. For dinner we went downtown where the art festival was closing down for the night but the beautiful people were filling up the bars and restaurants. We went to THE most popular place and saw friends, neighbors, runners, a judge, a US Congressman and lots of the beautiful people. The sidewalk tables were the most popular. We had one just inside the door and enjoyed a few majitos and a pasta dinner. Much fun was had by all.

Saturday. A cool front came through overnight and while it was gorgeous outside, I never left the house. It was a big lazy day. I cannot even remember what I did. I think I watched a stupid movie.

Sunday. My last "long" run. A 10-miler. We started downtown where the art fetival is set up. With no available nearby parking I was expecting few runners but eight showed up, all in gloves, tights, long sleeves, caps, etc. I had on shorts and a sleeveless top feeling just fine. The temps were high 40s. Does that make me ready to run a marathon in Atlanta?

I took it really easy for the first five miles and then turned on some jets for the rest of the way. Multiply that by 2.5 and I have my race plan, hills willing.

Forecast. Atlanta forecast for next Sunday morning is sunny, low 50s to start and reaching 70. I guess I better expect to be hotter than I like. But that's better than rain, wind and 30s.


Busy week before the ING Ga. Marathon

Election. Tuesday night was tense at the campaign election party. My friend (KP) and her like-minded candidate friend (KD), running for a second open seat in the city elections, had to wait an extra 75 minutes after the polls closed to hear the results from one precinct. The power had gone out and they had to ship the voting machine somewhere else to extract the results.

Meantime, as the other four precincts and absentee counts came in we rode the roller coaster of close races. Early on we were ahead in both races with half the votes in. Then the absentee and another precinct came in and KP was behind while KD was slightly ahead. There were very mixed emotions going on and much gnashing of teeth.

The final count was called in and KD won with 51% and my pal KP lost with 48%. They are both classy women and each gave perfect remarks following the declarations. I was proud of them. Best of all, our voters approved a commuter rail stop for downtown at Central Park where I run on Sunday mornings. We will finally join the modern transportation world!

Running. Wednesday morning I went out for my last speed work before next Sunday's date in Atlanta. 3x1600 was on the dance card and I gave it my best. It was not an even run but it was respectable. My best time (7:43) was within a second of a top 3 time for the distance. On average, I was 10 seconds slower per mile than two months ago when I was a little fresher and the weather was cooler.

Running with the Kids. I just want to make it clear that I hung with the cadets last night, until the end. In fact, I might have outlasted them if I had to. We went to an NBA game early in the evening, enjoying the hospitality of a team VP friend who kept buying us drinks - before the game and at halftime in their private club. When the home team won the game we ended up back in the club waiting for traffic to die down. T and his cadet friend hooked up with a Winter Park friend from high school to go for beverages at a nearby hotel bar.

It was the kids who called me to see if I was ready to go home. I said no. Then I caught a ride from my friend to a popular Irish pub on our way home. I alerted the cadets they could meet me there. A black and tan later the cadets showed up, shared one beer and gave me the look: let's go home. Okay Okay!

I amazed myself how well I recovered from the night out and made it through the workday. I was definitely a slow starter but I managed to earn my full wages. Now, how much longer I can last tonight is up in the air.

Countdown. From here on I will throttle back on my performance-sapping behaviour. The kids leave Sunday so I will stop alcohol then. I will eat right and sleep a lot. We're driving to Atlanta next Friday. It's time to get normal, focus, review the course video and see about an RBF meet up.



Cut back

I skipped running Sunday because I ran 4 miles Saturday really easy.

Sunday I walked my butt off helping a good friend in her campaign to get elected to a city commission seat. Sunday was the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown (a week early because the annual arts festival fills up Central Park next weekend). We were filling up 1,000 balloons to hand out to little kids, putting campaign stickers on people who were supportive, holding up signs in favor of the hot issue commuter rail stop and standing behind the congressman during his TV appearances with our signs and T-shirts. There was a lot of walking and standing which tuckered me out.

Reset. I took Monday off to help T get his car repaired. A cool air intake filter coupling broke and we had to go to a local racing store to order a replacement part. In the meantime we have a terrycloth towel strapped over the intake.

I also slept in. Before the kids got up I made myself go for a run. If I had stayed on the training schedule i would have gone 16 miles this morning. I forgot to eat breakfast before heading out and the temps were in the low 70s which was hot! So I set out to go 10. At 8 I stopped to walk and enjoy the beautiful spring weather. Suited me just fine. I jogged it in the last mile.


Cadet time

The cadets are here. Four of them again this year. But this time there are two females. Given that women comprise only 15% of the corps, we are surprised (not really) that two of them chose to come home with T for spring break.

Needless to say my fitness is good enough and the race close enough that I may skip a few runs over the next week so I can enjoy the kids being home. Please excuse me.

I went to see Sherlene this afternoon too. I was grateful for the massage and how my muscles improved.

Oh; and then Navy John came by with this 44 magnum monster. The kids went to the range Saturday morning to do some shooting. Don't mess with these ladies.


From the fire back to the frying pan...

... with the heat off.

I am sure you would have done the same. After a grueling long hard run on Sunday with healthy doses of pressure cleaning, a high stakes Monday workday that started at 430 am - without lunch, and a wrinkled brow over the tenderness on the outside of your right sole, you would probably listen to your body and postpone scheduled speedwork 19 days before your marathon.

After all you have the fitness and you don't need injuries or sickness.

So I slept in Tuesday morning and gave up on doing the 7x800s. I had another pressure cooker workday yesterday and one on the docket for today. I did not figure I could fit in the running, but I did. I woke up at 430 again.

Out on the track the sky was just starting to lighten with streaks of purple and burnt red. The blues were brightening and so was my performance.

Seven weeks ago I did 7x800 with 7:44/mile pacing. Since then I have found the general fatigue from loooong runs sapping my speed. You may remember me bragging on new speedy PRs for awhile. The last top three time was a 1:40.4 400m on February 1.

Today, in 55F, I worked on form. I kept repeating to myself, "quick turnover" as I lifted my legs as effortlessly and quickly as possible off the track. Occasionally I let the stride out and revved up the arm action to promote the leg turnovers. I concentrated on keeping upright, leaning forward ever so slightly (running the Kenyan downhill) and keeping the breathing deep, not in a pant. I had to correct my tendency to let the left arm swing across my chest; keeping it in a to and fro rythmn.

The result: 7:26/M avg.and two new PR top three times at 800M: 3:37.9 and 3:38.1. Woo hoo.

That was a confidence builder. I am not run down. I am not injured. I recover well. I am still fast. Now I just hope those three 100 foot ascents in Atlanta are not as bad as they really are.

Now I need to work on RBF meet-ups.


22 miles was easy compared to ....

I went to the gym Saturday and worked on stretching the suspect injured muscles - adductors and abductors. Miraculously,they felt fine afterwards. No knee problems either.

So I ran 22 this morning in mid 50s temps. It was a long run, of course, but I managed in reasonably good time. 3:35.

What was more dibillitating were the chores I did this afternoon. Spring Break for the boys starts Friday and the one in NY is bringing home three fellow cadets. So this weekend called for some MORE cleanup; not that last week wasn't enough, today was Pool Deck Day. I pressure washed the pool deck and pool for about four hours. Now that was hard work, especially the part where I had to hang over the edge of the pool to get under the lip .... where all the dark stuff resides.

I am barely aware of how much my back hurts thanks to a double dose of ibuprofin.


Bad days

I will not even begin to whine about work. It will just get me going.

My running machine ... that's another matter. It's got a problem. The knee pain, of course, is only an indicator of something wrong somewhere else and I think I have located it. It's up in my high thigh/groin. It's sore. It's inflamed. I'm on ibuprofin. I booked a date with Sherlene for next Friday.

Actually she may have been the cause of my problems. That last massage loosened everything up. There I had my muscles tightly wound and doing what they are supposed to do; and she goes and rubs them all loosey goosey. I felt like a NASCAR racer on cold tires at the start of a race .... way too loose and not holding the track. Other parts worked out of control. I'm running into the wall.

So between now and next Friday I will run 22 miles on Sunday, limp into work on Monday if the wheelchair and walker are not available; drop 3x1600 on Tuesday and go for 5 miles of hills on Thursday. Not to mention having another glorious week of melodrama at work before spring break begins next Friday. I'm taking the day off.

So I did 5 miles of hills yesterday. The knee took a little while to unkink and did me no wrong for the duration of the run. It may have done me some harm but I did not notice at the time.
We shall see, as Susie says.