I read several Blogs yesterday, most personal, some not, giving detailed accounts of the marathon. Many were 1/2 marathoners but several similar issues came up in most all accounts I read. I really enjoyed reading the posts of those who were veteran marathoners. The newbies, like me, had nothing to compare this marathon to. Those who had run other marathons could compare their experience in ATL to marathons like Chicago, San Francisco, NY, Maui, etc. That information was MOST helpful and encouraging.

What I learned:

  1. The ATL course was tough, hilly, and unusually hot for this time of year
  2. Marta was not the route to take if you were running late
  3. You don’t want to get stuck in the back of the pack at the beginning of the race
  4. Powerade is inferior to Gatorade, but this is ATLhome of Powerade
  5. Water stations were not always there when signs said they were “straight ahead”
  6. Some water stations ran out of water, most all ran out of Powerade
  7. The out and back at Freedom Parkway was tough on a lot of people
  8. The 1/2 marathoners had little in the way of split markers after mile 4
  9. I was not the only one whose Garmin quit on them
  10. The signs through Druid Hills were not very encouraging, well made, but not encouraging
  11. The LIVE runner tracking was EXTREMELY helpful
  12. I CAN do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me!
We knew it was going to be hot,
but we had no idea that Atlanta would break a record
set in 1929 that day.

In retrospect, it was hot, unusually hot for this time of year. Some compared it to the Peachtree Road Race which is on the 4th of July. We can’t control the weather, so there is noting really to do about that. We can’t control the fact that most of our training runs were in 20, 30, and 40 degree weather. That’s just the way it is going to be. BUT, next time, I will include in my training A LOT more hill work. Moocho hill work! As a matter of fact, most of my training for next year’s marathon will be centered primarily around hill work. I really want to enjoy the next one! There were several Blogs entries that talked about struggling with leg cramps. I’m going to try to figure that one out and hope that that will not be a problem for me in the future!

I’m glad we arrived early, 1 hour prior to the start of the race. Marta was not a problem for us — the ride was great, not crowded at all. And, our train (unlike others I read about) did NOT get stuck leaving runners stranded between the Peachtree Center and 5 Points stations YIKES! Consequently, arriving early gave us a good starting position so that we did not have to play “dodge the walkers” for the first mile or so. Good planning paid off.

As far as the water stations and Powerade… Well, Coke is a MAJOR sponsor, this is Coke’s backyard, Powerade is Coke’s baby — that’s the way it’s going to be. I prefer Gatorade High Endurance and that’s one of the reasons I use a Fuel Belt. Also, I’m not dependent on water stations being there or having what I’m used to and prefer. I was SHOCKED at how few people had their own hydration systems, be it Fuel Belt, Camelback or whatever. I would NEVER consider running a marathon w/o it! NEVER!!!

The out and back of Freedom Parkway was grueling! I hope they drop that from future races. It was hot, mostly in the sun and it’s just not encouraging running out and seeing all these people ahead of you running back. Nor is it fun running back and seeing all these people struggling that are behind you. As far as I am concerned, out and backs should NEVER be a part of ANY race!

I can’t say much about the poor 1/2 marathoners and their lack of signage or my Garmin — not sure what happened there. Thought I accidentally cut it off but maybe that’s not the case. I don’t know.

The signs in Druid Hills were nicely made – professional, but they were more like “WARNING” signs “This is why they call is Druid HILLS“… Maybe they could have been a bit more encouraging.

The LIVE runner tracking that sent a text message to my best friend as I crossed certain points in the race was EXTREMELY HELPFUL especially as I got separated from my running partner and fell so far behind. Otherwise I don’t know how he would have known where I was on the course. THUMBS UP to whoever came up with that idea!

Seeing my best friend
waiting for me in Piedmont Park
and my running partner at the finish line
were the best sights of the whole race!

I really appreciated the guy running with the American flag and the double amputee, Scott Rigsby, AND all those people on the sidelines lying to me saying, “Keep it up, you’re looking great!” (ha ha ha ha — what a joke!) they were ALL real encouragement to me to keep on keeping on. And to the guy in North Highland at mile 22 who was shouting, “Give it up, the Kenyans already won.” You made me laugh. Thanks, I needed to laugh!

ALL IN ALL this has been a GREAT learning experience and I’m glad my first marathon was a tough one. I will run again.


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