I had a friend run this in Chicago earlier this year and said packet pickup was a nightmare. So A and I discussed all week going to the pickup together to split parking expenses. That was the first thing that made me laugh. If you looked at HC15K's Facebook page, a lot of people were bitching they had to pay for parking. I'm sorry, but have you never visited "the big city?" In what major city can you park for free? Plus HC15K wasn't charging, the venue was. But that being said, it really didn't occur to me that people would have to pay for their parking for the 15K too. But I'll get there...
So A and I decided we would go on Saturday to pick up the packets but I also had plans with J to run and be somewhere at 2. I was getting nervous. Then on Friday A emailed me to say there was a problem at the packet pickup and the servers had gone down. I jumped on FB, and they were manually checking people in and you could pick up other people's packets with some emails and stuff. Something else happened and I realized the ATL Boat Show was in the same place as packet pickup and just decided I would go Friday and get them with D. But on the way home, I was already almost there, so I picked up everyone's packet. It took me longer to park than it did to get the packets. In and out. No problems.
The race was a little worrisome to me. A had mentioned the last 3 miles. I had looked at the course. I had run the whole course at different times. The last 3 miles, were the last 3 miles of a 10K I had cried through. This weighed on my mind. And the fact there was a pacer to pick you up at 2hours and 15 minutes.
Saturday night with D and J, I noticed I wasn't hungry for the world's best food, pizza. I could barely get down a slice...We called it a night (J and I had been out all day), and I drove J home and me home...met up with D at home. At 3AM I was sick as a dog. Not good. At 645, I got up and down 4 bottles of water and used the bathroom umpteen times. It was about 65 degrees outside. I couldn't get my shoe tied correctly. It hit part of my ankle and made it sore. I knew 9 miles of that was going to make me cry. I got it fixed the best I could, and went to the bathroom again. Convinced my body was empty we went over to A's, where I used the bathroom again. We walked to the start from A's which is why we never considered paying for parking. It is .8 miles. I drank another water. We got to the race and A had to go to the bathroom. By the time she got to the front I did too, so again.
A and I somehow were in the same corral (last). D was up front. So we said good bye to him and went to ours. I looked at A, and she was sweating. She doesn't do heat. I was freezing but sweating. Except for the severe cramps and the chills, I felt fine, oddly. We talked a little, but not a lot. This was A's longest race yet, and I could see she was nervous. Finally our corral started, and A and I said good-bye.
We ran past Turner field and Hank Aaron to Atlanta (Summerhill and Peoplestown). I run this all the time, so I just went at an easy pace. We got up to Cherokee and ran past the zoo (Grant Park). Another section I run...in my mind this was all flat. At mile 2 there were spot-a-pots and Gatorade. I felt ok, so I took some Gatorade.
Mile 1: 12:35
Mile 2: 13:20
We started the next section crossing over Memorial Drive down to the Beer Store. Turned at the MLK MARTA Station and continued on Dekalb Ave, parallel to the CSX train tracks. I was doing my 9:1 run. I ran with 2 gals for awhile. None of us had steady paces though, and it was very obvious. A had told me this area was flat. I thought maybe for her. But again, I tried to emulate D and stay even on the hills. A train passed us and honked. People were taking pictures of the train and the MARTA tracks. It kind of made me giggle, only because this is pretty much how I drive everywhere I go...amazing what views you sometimes take for granted. We got to Mile 4 and turned on Elizabeth Street. More bathrooms and Gatorade. Still felt ok, GI-wise, so I took some more Gatorade and water.
Mile 3: 13:57
Mile 4: 13:12
While on Elizabeth St, people were looking at the houses. This is Inman Park area of town. I heard 2 people wonder aloud if the Governor lived here (no). We got to a downhill and a sharp turn. I was having a little issue figuring out where I was (as in city, state, world). I decided to take a Clif Shot and get some sugar in me. We hit an uphill and I figured all that good stuff out. We ran up by Bell Street Burritos and then turned onto Randolph (Old 4th Ward). Big short hill. Climbed that and turned onto Dobbs. A car decided that 16K runners really didn't matter to him. When we got to Boulevard, the cop directing traffic did. Made him turn the opposite direction he wanted to go. HAHA! We crossed Boulevard and ran over to Parkway (I think it is called Jackson at that point). This is where I kind of noticed the time, because the Falcants (Failcons?) were playing Seattle in the playoffs. The Falcants have crappy fans. When they are on the bandwagon they are the most rude people you have ever met. And it would prove to be no different today. At Highland there was a guy yelling at all the runners to move their fat asses (I won't comment about his lard ass) so he could get back in his dualie to go across. The cop rolled his eyes at the guy. Finally got to Mile 6 at Central Park. More Gatorade...Stomach was holding up.
Mile 5: 13:49
Mile 6: 13:39
So we ran down Central Park Ave and turned on Pine Street. More Falcants fans. As we crossed to get on Piedmont, one fan spat upon me. Another threw a cigarette at a bunch of people. Yet another reason, I'll never be a fan of this horrible franchise. Besides the fans, this is where I had to start digging. I have hated this section of the course for 5 years. I turned on North Avenue and then a block onto Courtland. For 5 years I have cussed out Courtland (yes while driving). I was with a new group of people I noticed. We started up a hill. And a light. The cops stopped us. WTF? Ok, restarted after he let about 10 cars go through. Up a hill, stop at another light. I finally remembered to turn off and start my Garmin for all these stops which was about 6 times. It was sooooooo frustrating. Not only were they stopping us on hills. Everyone was bunched so it was like starting a race every time we were allowed to go. Not to mention that they had one lane of the 4 for the runners and certain fans would drive as close to the cones as they possibly could. Have I mentioned Falcant Fans are assholes. They conveniently let us runners know we were assholes as well. Finally we were out of the hotel zone. I was so angry. So angry in fact, I really didn't noticed I had just conquered a large part of Courtland and was at Edgewood (Mile 8). More Gatorade.
Mile 7: 14:16
Mile 8: 13:55.
OK, Al you have this. There was one more major hill that I could remember. I just took it in stride. I decided the APD and HC15K staff was not to fault for the traffic. I know that the NFL sets the time, and I signed up for the race back in May. So there was no possible way to know that the Failcons would be able to not choke this far into the season (they just waited until the NFC Championship). I got up to MLK and saw the Church D and I got married in. I am almost there. Kept running...Finally back on Hank Aaron (Capitol Ave). Crossed over Memorial Drive and I-20. The watched dinged. Last street. I saw D. I felt so relaxed. I got my picture taken. The last .3 (or .46) seemed to take forever. Kept going. Finally saw the finish line. I wondered if they had chocolate left for me. Finally crossed the line! 3 mile hill, I OWNED YOU!
Yes, that's all I thought about.
Mile 9: 14:14
We got some water and quickly found A. She was not happy with her time, but attributed it to the heat and the humidity. D was happy with his. We went and got our Hot Chocolate and chocolate. The Hot Chocolate went in the trash. We all ate the chocolate as we walked back to A's.
D and I played with our God-dog, Elsa for a bit and then left and went home. I pretty much passed out for the rest of the day. Then I was out of work with the flu for the rest of the week.
|A, D and Me at the Hot Chocolate 15K|
|Elevation Profile, Hot Chocolate 15K, Atlanta|
|Sweatshirt, Finisher's Mug and Hat|