After 2 weeks of not feeling good, physically, it was truly a last minute decision to make the 3.5 hour drive from Atlanta to Albany, GA. Physically, my body has felt like a mess; major fatigue, stress, anxiety, not sleeping, etc…I have not gotten a fever or anything like that…my body was just shutting down, i believe, from stress….hence the major fatigue. Lots of things going on outside of my running life.
So, there I was at my office Friday afternoon, trying to decide if i should drive to Albany. Basically, I just said, “screw it, i’m going. make the drive and see how i feel in the morning.”
3-4 hours later, I was in Albany and at the small expo at the Hilton Garden Inn. For those who don’t know, Albany is a pretty small city in south Georgia with a population of about 80k. While there, I learned that Ray Charles was a native and they have a very cool statue of him playing the piano in the area.
The little expo was cool! Better than some of the much bigger expos I have been to…although maybe its just that I like smaller expos now. Less people. Less craziness. I really liked the small town feel of this one. I grabbed my race bag, some Snickers Marathon energy bars, a couple of GU’s and that was about all I needed. As I walked around, I became more and more excited; just being in the atmosphere was great! I was excited to run, body willing.
I decided to go to the pasta dinner right there at the hotel. While eating, I talked to my fellow table mates and got even more jazzed for the run. Then, runner/author/speaker, Scott Ludwig, gave a talk and that put me over the top. A serious runner who has run races such as Badwater Ultra, Western States 100, etc…He regaled his experiences from such races for us as we chowed down pre-race pasta. I was in runner heaven. For me, Badwater, is a true dream….(for those who don’t know what Badwater is, Goggle it!!!)
Thankfully, I got to bed fairly early and when I woke, I felt rested and ready to test the waters, so to speak. Going to the starting line, I felt better and better. Adrenaline was definitely my friend! Even as lousy as I had been feeling, I was still going to try to push it and go for a PR. This was to be a flat, fast course so why not give all I could and see what happens. Right out of the gate, I felt good. Miles were passing and I was doing ok. 9:00- 9:15 pace approx. By mile 6, I was 56 min and I just kept thinking, keep this pace and I will be ok. Aerobically, I felt fine but I could feel my legs start to get heavy. My mind was constantly going, checking my watch and trying to calculate my next mile, etc…I was so happy to be out there and to be doing as well as I was. The weather was perfect. A cool <60 degrees. The course was flat with quite a few turns through some quaint & pretty neighborhoods. The volunteers were abundant and amazing. I didn’t want to stop at all at the water stops, but I did to get the GUs down. Mile 7 felt ok, but now thinking there’s no way I can keep this pace up. Mile 8; right after the water stop, i “latched” on to a couple who were running faster than I. I wanted to keep up with them as much as I could — it lasted a little past mile 9. I could not keep it up, but I was thankful for that mile. After that, I knew I could not sustain the pace so I began to relax a little and I slowed down. Legs were getting tired. I stopped 2 times and walked about 1 min each time. I think somewhere around Mile 11, there was a great group of young, black, teenager girls who were volunteering and cheering loudly. They made me smile. Even so, I just slowed my pace and wanted to finish with a decent time.
Soon enough I was heading down the last stretch to the finish line right along the Flint River. Official result 2:06:27
Crossed the finish and was greeted with a smiling volunteer who put a medal around my neck. A good day.
Shoes: KSwiss K-Ona
Shirt: RUNATL shirt from Big Peach
Blue Nike Bandana
Onward! Determined to get my body better and ready for a finish under 2 hours. I know what I need to do.
Run Smart. Run Strong. Enjoy every step.