Sunday, March 18, 2012

Race 16 Georgia Half Marathon

Months ago my daughter said she wanted to run her first half marathon and picked this race as her first half.  That was all the motivation I needed to sign up for it.  :)  We were up early - coffee, bagel, banana and we were ready to go.  We decided to take Marta (the subway system in the Atlanta Metro area) down to the race instead of driving downtown.

The weather was unseasonably warm so dressing for this race was more like summer time,  Heck, just 2-3 weeks prior, she visited and we went out for a longer distance with tights, gloves, hats,...  So this was quite different.  Of course the only other people we saw on the Marta train were all doing the race.  This was good as far as not getting lost!  The train pulled into the Peachtree Center station and we walked downtown a bit and made to the race with plenty of time to spare and virtually no waiting for the porta-potties.

This was a pretty big race with 10,000+ people doing either the half or the full.  It was still dark but the crowds were getting bigger and bigger.

As race time got closer Jen had to get to her corral and me to mine.  I was so glad she suggested doing this; it was great watching her go through the process of preparing for this race.  As a dad, it just felt good!

I made my way to my corral - it was just a sea of people ahead of me.  At one point I saw a sign to the left that said "1/4 mile to Finish Line"

And we were off!  It took me just over 11 minutes to get to the starting line.  Yes, this absolutely qualifies as a back of the pack guy :)  I've done enough of these mega-races to know what to expect for the first few miles and this race was no different: jockeying for position, side stepping, watching for potholes,...

They had incredible race support the entire race.  There was actually some competition that we (racers) are suppose to vote on which crew provided the best support.  They were all good, lively, encouraging, and some where quite funny with their signs.  Actually after catching these signs out of the corner of my eye, I doubled back just to take their picture:

The sun was starting to come up as we rounded the corner by Ebeneezer Baptist Church and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site:

They had great support for this race - plenty of water/gatorade stops, great traffic control, they just did an excellent job on this race!

As we made out through Little Five Points I noticed this sign that read "We're all here 'cause we're not all there!"

Next we made our way to the Jimmy Carter Library and the Carter Center:

Even as we made our way past Piedmont Park around mile 9 or 10, it was still crowded!

Towards the end of the course we went through the Georgia Tech Campus passing the Yellow Jackets football stadium:

It was a great race; it was a hot day for a race too!  As we passed through the finish line, they gave us water, chocolate milk, medal, cold/wet cloth, and a pre-package end of race food bag from Publix.

I found Jen at our designated meet up place after the race.  She looked in pain and had ice wrapped around her knee.  The knee pain started at around mile 6 and she is not sure from what.  Maybe shoes?  Maybe a twist?  Not sure.  She is going to follow up this week with it to see what's up.  She was very happy to have finished her first half marathon but was disappointed with her time as this slowed her down.  I told her a finish is a finish - and that is what matters.

Garmin Stats:

Time: 2:43:43
Average Heart Rate: 139, 85% of max
Calories Spent: 1277
Distance: 13.1 miles

Steps: 50,512

Saturday, March 3, 2012

10,000 Mile Goal

When I started walking/jogging in 2010, I did not have any long term plan or goals.  The plan was simply to get off the couch and exercise.  After building up to it, I just started doing half marathons.  After about four or five of them, I started losing interest.  Also since my initial goal was met, I started losing motivation. 

To re-focus, I came up with the idea of doing 100 distance races before I retire.  This has worked out well.  I very much enjoy this – I like finding the races, planning for them, visiting new areas, finding new restaurants,...  The twist to this (for me) was deciding to do different distances leading up to the 100 race mark.  It just added a dimension to this that I really enjoy.

Another addition that has made this more interesting for me was to include hiking.  While doing some of the trail races, the thought kept on coming back to me - I need to do some hiking so I can see and appreciate the woods more than I do during a race. This lead to including the goal of hiking the Appalachian Trail In Georgia.

However, I did come to another bump in the road.  As the 100 race goal will spread things over a five to seven year time frame, I needed/wanted some other way to track/measure things more on a daily/weekly/monthly basis.  That is where the 10,000 mile goal will help me.  So along with the 100 distance races before retirement, I’ve added the dimension of also walking/jogging/hiking at least 10,000 miles before retirement.  With this plan, every mile that I walk/jog/hike counts towards the 10,000 mile goal.  Every single steps gets me closer to retirement!

Graphically, this distance is the equivalent of walking from Miami, Florida to Anchorage, Alaska and back!