In past years, I've always raced the Decatur-DeKalb 4-miler, improving a little each year to run last year's race in 33:38. For this year's race, it was part of a 14 mile long slow distance run, so I ran the race purely for the social connection, the Grand Prix points, and the opportunity to run on a protected asphalt surface - so much easier on the feet than concrete sidewalks!
|Tucker Running Club had a great turnout today! And this was 30 minutes before the start of the race.|
I covered a total of 3 miles before the race, with breaks for a photo op with Tucker Running Club, another photo op with Atlanta Track Club, and a pre-race bathroom stop. Most of us with Tucker Running Club wore yellow ribbons on one arm in memory of Janet Pickney, who tragically died within a couple of weeks of last year's race. I timed my pre-race 3 mile loop perfectly, arriving just in time to join wave D, running the race at 11:00 min / mile pace - which was my target for today's run. In preparation for the marathon, I ran the entire workout with run intervals of 4:30, walk intervals of 30 seconds. Fortunately there were plenty of people around me doing the same, so it was easy to manage. At this pace, the hills just didn't seem as formidable as in past years! Before reaching the 2 mile mark, I took my first ShotBlok of the day - as I was 45 minutes into my own run. I also carried a bottle of Nuun in a hand-held bottle and another bottle on my water belt, to stay hydrated for the long miles. Yes, I was outfitted for a half marathon!
|Atlanta Track Club has begun a new tradition of taking a group photo before every race.|
I'm on the back row, on the right side of the photo, pretty much the same position
that I happened to take in the Tucker Running Club photo.
Approaching the finish line, my watch signaled a walk break! I decided that it would be ridiculous to walk through the finish line - but I did avoid speeding up. The race finish line was at the 7-mile mark for me for the day, halfway through my long run, so I visualized the finish line as a 13.1 mile timing mat. No one hurries across the half-marathon timing mat when running the full marathon! I had worn the yellow Tucker Running Club "uniform" and so the announcer cheered me in, along with several other Tucker runners who had already finished. I smiled, gave a thumbs-up as I crossed the finish line (race time: 43:56, average pace of 10:59 min / mile!), accepted a bottle of water from a volunteer, and just kept moving as I refilled my hand-held bottle. Although my time was 10 minutes slower than my PR for this course, I congratulated myself on my pace discipline.
I had intended to run another loop of the 4-mile course, but needing to add 3 more miles to reach 14 total, decided to extend my run along Ponce de Leon for another 2 miles all the way to Springdale Road. The return route took me past the chemistry building at Emory - where I used my building key for a quick bathroom break - and then a couple of more miles brought me back to the car, parked near the start of the race - and everyone else was gone!
|11 miles out of 14 total miles covered. |
The start and finish of this run are bracketed by bathroom breaks.
So this is less of a race report and more of a workout report. I needed 2:50 to cover 14.39 miles, rather slowly overall, but I decided not to worry about it. After all, "Miles Matter!" I've heard from many experienced runners that one should do the long runs much slower than marathon goal pace. I expect that these long runs in the humidity and heat of Atlanta summers will their dividends when I get to New York City in early November!