Many of you have already read this report (probably more than once), but I'm re-posting it here in case there's someone who reads this and isn't on any of my lists. And for posterity ;)
I'm back, and alive (barely).
I think I could have handled EITHER the hills *OR* the heat *OR* the pollen,but mix them together, and you have a recipe for disaster, at least for me. I have truly never been more miserable in my life. I would have started crying,but there was not enough moisture (or salt) in my body to form tears. I was extremely unpleasant toward the end--I even snapped at one of those annoyingTeam in Training motivational people. Bouncing around looking all cute and clean and wearing her half marathon finisher's medal, telling me how great I look and the finish line is JUST a half mile up the road!!! Wooo Hooo!! (smile smile smile) Shut the hell up. I KNOW what I look like. My friends (Daria and Kay) TOLD me I looked like hell. Kay ran with her friend Laura, who owns the Marathon Charms booth, and even *she* said I looked terrible (I guess she saw me around mile 25) I felt like I was gonna die. There's no way I would believe I look "fantastic!!"and that I was "going strong!!" I was wandering listlessly down friggin' Peachtree Street, praying to God to not let me die on the streets of downtown Atlanta, licking my arms because I hadn't had any Lava Salts for the past 9 miles and I was worried about dying of hyponatremia(seriously).
(The story with that was I was a glutton and hoarded water at the 18-mile marker (you didn't know when you would get it again...) and I spilled some in my baggie full of Lava Salts, which dissolved the capsules and I wound up with a baggie full of powder. So I tried to lick the powder and sip water, which didn't work out so well, but I got the genius idea of pouring some water into the baggie and drinking the mixture, which tasted horrible, but worked fine. Until I dropped the baggie and it spilled all over the ground. And I wasn't quite at the point to where I would get down and lick the ground, although I thought about it briefly.)
Everything you heard was true. It was 86* when I finished. No shade for thelast 7 miles or so. NO POWERADE AT ALL ANYWHERE ON THE COURSE, even though it was heavily advertised. Water on only one side of the street, and you couldn't get to any of the tables anyway, until the half marathoners split off at mile 4. I took water with me, but it only lasted about 5 miles. No water at all between miles 3.5 and 8. A few stations ran out of cups. There were just dozens of gallon jugs of water sitting on the side of the road at one "water station." If it hadn't been for the awesome residents of Atlanta and Decatur, there would have been WAY more sick and dehydrated people than there were. They set up their own water tables, they were handing out pretzels and chips and ice, some had orange slices and gummy bears. They set up their garden hoses to spray us. They offered us beer. They rocked. It was a beautiful course, but the organization was for crap. The RD should have known better. She's run marathons before. I heard she was Jeff Galloway's right hand woman for years. You can skimp on some things, or let them slide, or whatever. I don't think water or Gatorade should be one of those things. But that's just my opinion...
The expo was craziness, but I don't care for huge crowds like that. Too many people crowded into one space for too long makes me cranky. Especially the idiots pushing strollers through those narrow little aisles, banging into people's ankles, and then not even apologizing. I *still* have bruises. We sawKaren B., who looked great. Chatted with her for a while, then wandered around a bit more before heading back to the car and trying to get to the hotel (thank you, Magellan!!)
Anyway, the tech shirt was nice, but kinda plain. The medal was okay. I'll post pictures of both soon. Atlanta was beautiful, and the people couldn't have been nicer, friendlier, or more helpful. Other than the whole crappy marathon thing, I loved it there :) I finished in 6:39 and change, about 50 minutes slower than my most recent efforts, but still not as slow as my PW. Hooray for me :)
What the hell did my $80 fee pay for? Certainly not freakin' Powerade. I am still wiped out, and I'm hoping I'll have more fun at the Pig. I'm sure it will be MUCH better organized, and, hopefully, a bit less brutal weather-wise (I've already got it on good authority that the hills aren't nearly as bad as Baltimore, which was not as bad as Birmingham or Atlanta. Atlanta was the hilliest course I've run yet.)
So, bring on the Pig, and then I am DONE!! Well, for six months, anyway :)
(Pictures are coming soon!)