Monday, March 24, 2014

Number 47 - 2014 Georgia Marathon

For race number 47 I completed the Georgia Marathon.  The significance of this marathon for me, it was the first marathon since hurting my knee in Soldier Marathon.  So with knee brace strapped on I headed out about 4:30 AM to catch a Marta train (Atlanta's subway system) down to Centennial Olympic Park.

Upon exiting the train at the Peachtree Center Station I pretty much followed the crowd to get to the park.  Still dark but it didn't matter - much activity going on.  Actually it seemed quite festive.

Not a typical pre-race

Lots of people, the guy on the P.A. said there were over 13,000 people signed up for the marathon, half marathon , and 5K.  I think he also said 42 states and 22 countries were represented.  Big crowd.  They had 14 corrals (A-N) and since these are in finish time increasing estimate order, me, being a walker, was assigned to corral M.  When I got to corral M, noticed a sign that said "1/4 Mile" which meant a quarter of a mile worth of people would start this race before me : )

It took about 12 minutes for my corral to get to the starting line once the race started.  And we were off.  It was crazy crowded at first but after a mile or so was just crowded.   At mile 7 the marathon route split from the half marathon and it really thinned out for the duration of the race.

I really did like this course in regards to what you see on it - it was a great tour of the City of Atlanta.  Sure, I had driven many of these roads before but there is so much missed from a car.  The finisher's medal ribbon included many of the major spots the course went through:

The Carter Center
Centennial Olympic Park
The King Center - Ebenzer Baptist Church
Little Five Points
The house from "Driving Miss Daisy"
Piedmont Park
Inman Park
City of Decatur
Agnes Scott College
Emory University
Georgia Tech
Bobby Dodd Stadium
Old Fourth Ward

Really enjoyed this course!

The marathon had a 6:30 time limit so it was my goal to walk the entire course under that and I did.  I was happy with the outcome.  At this point I'm not sure I'll do it again though (never say never).   I much prefer the half marathon distance so maybe next time I'll do the 13.1 mile instead.  We'll see - have plenty of time to decide.

As usual the last few miles were the toughest - thighs screaming, feet screaming,...  Yeah, I was ready for it to be over!  So after about 108,000 steps I crossed the finish line, got a bottle of water, chocolate milk, post race food bag and stretched for awhile.  After that was the anti-climatic walk back to the Marta station.  Made it to Marta waited a few minutes and caught a train.  Luckily the train was not too crowded - was able to find a seat and relax.  So I'm on the train, not sleeping but eyes more or less shut and we go a few stations - people getting off, coming on.  When I opened my eyes, thought I was hallucinating...

marathon induced hallucinations!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Urban 20 Miler & OU Baseball

Yesterday's 20 miler was a bit different, instead of doing it on the greenway, decided to walk downtown Atlanta.  The route was very straight forward - park at Oglethorpe University and head south on Peachtree Street for 10 miles, turn around and come back.

It did not take long to figure out that cars and noise (engines, horns) would be the order of the day.  I lost count at 27 the number of times I had to look over my shoulder for cars turning, in the first mile!  One must be on high alert urban walking.

There was a lot of waiting in this walk - waiting to cross the street.  At every major intersection (and most were major) you needed to press the button and wait for the "walk" sign.

Of course this is obvious, if you actually think about it.  But I did not prior to starting the Urban 20 Miler.  However, what was not obvious, was "Push Button to Cross" signs that talked to you.  After pressing the arrow button, it said "wait...wait...wait...".  And when it was okay to cross, it would tell you what side of the street it was okay to cross.  This was new and unexpected.

About a half mile or so down the road, the talking sign made sense:

Braille bus stop sign
There must be residents who are blind living in the area.  To me, this was most impressive.  The uniqueness of an urban walk was coming into focus, seeing things that are there but you never really see driving.

For me, it was now interesting seeing things, that are in plain sight, that I typically do not see.  The next thing, we've all seen these before, but I have not actually looked at this in a very long time:

98 Billion Served!
Ray Kroc really had something!  I wonder if even he could have imagined this?

Next, as I mentioned, my route today was simple, head south on Peachtree for 10 miles and head back.  I had forgotten how many Peachtrees there are in Atlanta!

Peachtree Ave

Peachtree Way

Peachtree Battle

Peachtree Memorial

Peachtree Park

Peachtree Valley

Peachtree Place

Peachtree Hills
So if you are ever in Atlanta and get directions with "Peachtree" in it, be sure to ask which one.

Atlanta's Population Now
Traffic was not too bad as I crossed over I-75/85

But what I saw and heard above was definitely different, a B-17 Bomber!  Actually saw this many times throughout the 20 miles.  It appears that they were selling rides in over the Atlanta area.
Traffic in Midtown was very light as compared to a weekday so walking around was easy.

Midtown Atlanta on a Saturday afternoon
So I finally had the time (plus it really helps no being in a car!) to see and read about the Margaret Mitchell House.

Headed south for a bit more, maybe a half mile or so past the Fox Theatre and decided it was time to turn around and head back.  I was just about at 10 miles.  Truth be told, I was sure tempted to take a Marta train back to Oglethorpe.  You see it is very rare when doing an out & back to even have an option of not having to do the back portion, so I was very tempted.  But, this being my last really long walk prior to the Georgia Marathon coming up in a few weeks - decided I really did need to stay on my feet for another 2.5 hours and walk back.

The walk back was quite uneventful.  The one thing that really stood out though, I really liked when I would just miss the "walk sign" to cross the street and I'd have to wait for the traffic lights to cycle through.  When this happened, I found something to lean up against and enjoyed the break until the walk signal appeared again.

I made it back to Oglethorpe University during the 8th inning of the baseball game.  The Stormy Petrels were ahead of Berry College.

Oglethorpe vs Berry
The game went right down to the wire in 9th with Berry threatening with the go ahead run at the plate.  However Patrick Kulick was brought in in the 9th and earned his first save of the year.

Patrick Kulick throwing the heat
Final score: Oglethorpe 8, Berry 7.

They did have the 2nd game of the double header after this game, but I was way too tired to stay for it.  Hopefully I'll get back down for another game this season.