ATL Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & The Wrong Side of ATL

First race post B2B; eh…. Not because I wasn’t ready, or I didn’t enjoy it, but because there’s been some changes since B2B. Why does the soreness and rest most need post 140.6 hit me more than a week after the race, and after I’m already back to training? Who would have ever thought I’d miss my 800 and mile repeats? Or that running nothing but hills and trails in preparation for a 40 mile ‘race’ would make me so sore because apparently I’ve never used some of my muscles before? Even today the word ‘sore’ or ‘tired’ doesn’t seem strong enough. Let’s start back at Monday, and figure out what happened.

So; I lasted 36hours after completing B2B before I was back on my bike in zone2 for a little over 3hours. I felt fine, more sessions of bike and run FORCING myself to stay zone2, and then I realized that I had a 40mile trail run at Pine Mountain (the southern one) in less than 3weeks. Glad ULTRA events aren’t really for speed… So I started hitting the trails hard. 3hours one day, 3 and a half the next, cycle, hour, ect ect. Everything felt fine fine, besides my angry knees and lower back from my hydration-pack and downhills, but those little twinges disappeared by the next morning. That is until this past Monday.

I should have known something was up because I was eating EVERYTHING. Very unlike me; it was like nutritional labels and calories didn’t exist. Then Monday it was like I was stuck in first gear; I felt fine physically, but it was like I was moving through a crazy dense fog. There was a lot of sleep before and after class, in fact; I think class was the only time I was awake. I attempted to ride easy on my trainer Tuesday morning, and that lasted maybe 45minutes. This time my brain was screaming go, but my body was screaming nuh-uh… So all the crap food I had been eating with its’ extra sodium, and the major lack in training, meant I was swollen, really just in my face, and looked borderline Asian. It was not flattering for me. After a music appreciation test (boooo…), it was back to bed. Wednesday was marvelous; I guess I needed that rest, and I felt 110%, so it was back to training. Ok fine; maybe not 110% because I was still sore from the trails, but like 92%. Spin on the trainer while I watched “Malice in Wonderland” (Dark British take on ‘Alice in Wonderland’; I really like British movies 🙂 and “Charlie Wilson’s War” for my world history class, and then off to bed at like 8:30 for the Thanksgiving half. Seemed to be all on track until I checked the results, knew I shouldn’t have ridden as hard with the race in 12hours, and then was up all night after my 8:30 bedtime became just a 90minute nap.

Last year’s winner finished in 1:07; that’s fast, and 18 minutes below my PR on a flat course. Downtown Atlanta is anything but flat, so AG podium was my next idea… oh wait; the top like 14 OA are in my AG… So it became see how much I could take off my ING Half from January, which was more or less the same course. I kept it all zone4(perceived effort. I can’t run with the HR strap for some reason; I feel smothered), and finished in 1:41:11, knocking a mere 3:34 off the January race. ….weak, and I think the real culprit is the lack of speed work since the week before B2B though now; that’ll change after my ULTRA events. The real fun didn’t start until after the race though.

In lieu of the lack of sleep, when my alarm went off at 4:30 to get ready for the race, I thought I hit ‘snooze’ during my ins and outs of consciousness, but I didn’t. 6:30 and I’m racing out the door, forgetting my bib, but luckily had my d-tag already on my shoe. Traffic almost 10 exits up from the one I needed to get off of, so a quick navigation on mid/downtown, and I found a parallel parking spot. SPRINTING to the start, my wave(1st wave) goes off, and my mind is just yelling to hurry up and go with the next wave; nothing about “Remember where you parked…” 1:41 race time, JUST UNDER 2 HOURS SEARCH TIME, all while wandering the parts of ATL you’d stay away from if you could, while in my short running shorts, and glow-in-the-dark yellow singlet and arm warmers, I finally see my truck. Even the cops directing traffic for the race that I passed numerous times gave me nothing more than a shrug when I replied to their questions with “I can’t remember where I parked”. Thanks guys… I run to my truck, shivering at this point because I’ve been soaked in sweat and shadows for the past 2hours, and I pump the heat.

I set off back to the house, cranky because I’m starving, and rushed to get ready for the holiday festivities and gatherings, while I still have to get in my strength training before. And yes; HAVE to get. Not an option. Strength, shower, holiday stuff (strangely not much eating; guess I had already met that quota when I was “sick” or whatever I was), and a really ugly game of Scrabble from lack of sleep and exertion where I couldn’t even manage to spell ‘odds'(I tried ‘oods’) later, I finally got to sleep.

Run over by a steamroller, hit by a semi, Sammy Sosa batt massage…these are the phrases I’d use to describe my entire body today. I’m not sure what it is, but I’m just uber sore. I blame my utter lack of nutrition the past 3-4 days, but maybe I’m wrong. What I do know is that I have 3.5-4 hours on the trails tomorrow, and another 2-3 Sunday, and then light stuff next week in prep for the Pine Mountain 40. Last years PM40 keeps being described as “bloody”, so let’s hope I finish with an adjective that’s not a painful one…oh yeah…and 2 papers for my classes…BOOOOOO… I could probably do those now, but I’d rather go back to waiting for a certain telephone number to call me; some of you know what I’m talking about 😀

3 thoughts on “ATL Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon & The Wrong Side of ATL

  1. Great blog. Glad to see you are human. I have the same issue with sodium and my face swells up too. Had to laugh at that.

    We looked for you up at the front start…I kept saying, “Josh is always early to these things, where is he?”.

    And yeah, the running kills your appetite for Thanksgiving dinner so I don’t know if I’ll do that race again…”race” did not describe my day.

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