November 25, 2010
There were a lot of people at the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day. Total was in the 12-13000 range with the majority of those for the half – they also had a 5k and a mile run for kids. It was hosted by the Atlanta Track Club and they did a spectacular job! My primary goal was to enjoy this event and also to complete it in less than 3.5 hours. It was a good day as both goals were met.
The course peaked at 1171 feet and the low point was 830 feet. The majority of the race was in the 915/1085 range. There were plenty of porta-potties near the start and every two miles. The volunteers were fantastic; water and PowerAde about every two miles also. The course took us through industrial areas, college areas, shopping areas, historic areas, and one pretty big park. Temperature was unseasonably high – about 55-60 degrees at race start with about 100% humidity (I would have preferred much less).
My plan was to walk the majority of the race but jog at each half mile, for 60-90 seconds. This approach allows me to stay ahead of the 16 miles per minute pace. There were five corrals for the start – I was in the fifth corral. Our start was actually 7:42 AM whereas corral one actually started at 7:30. We all lined up on Hank Aaron Drive right next to Turner Field (Atlanta Braves).
We were off – the weaving and jockeying for position started. With so many people this is just a natural thing, especially with the adrenaline rush at the beginning. First few miles were uneventful but nice. My pace was a bit faster than I expected, but felt pretty good – just did not want to go out too fast and not have anything left at the end. I ended up feeling good the entire race and very much enjoyed it. A few things that happened along the way: as we were going by Ebenezer Baptist Church someone put down a bunch of food (for the birds) and a flock of pigeons swarmed it, one of them hit me in the head as they flew across the street J , actually its wing just clipped me but I’m sure my heart rate went up! Also, from reading many of the other race reports here, I do believe I will become a GU harvester when they hand out GU – however, for this race I was a Jelly Belly Sports Bean harvester – think I ended up with four packages of them J . The best sign I saw along the way (held by a spectator) said “cemetery ahead, look alive”. It was at about mile 10 as we approached Oakland Cemetery. The last few miles where quite interesting and it was an affirmation of what I have read on this forum. While walking, I passed many people who were jogging. I suspect it just comes down to training and preparation – however, it still seemed funny to me that a walker is passing so many runner/joggers. My guess is, they did not think it was too funny though.
My chip time for this race was 2:55:58. The post race support was excellent. The major sponsor was Publix (grocery store chain). There was plenty of everything – apples, bananas, water, PowerAde, muffins, bagels, packages of dried fruit, and much more.