Another busy weekend! Sallie had a volleyball tournament in Columbia, and Debby and I were registered for the Georgia Marathon. We fit it all in thanks to some help from my mom and stepdad.
Saturday morning, Debby met Sallie, Nora and I at our house at 6:30. We all loaded up the car and headed to Columbia. Sallie’s first game was at 9:15, and they played a boys team and won! We watched the next game together (some of Sallie’s teammates were reffing) and my mom and Cliff arrived. We hung out for a few more minutes, then said our goodbyes and wished her team luck. I didn’t get any pictures of Sallie, but here is a cute one of Nora playing with her Calico Critters during the first game!
Debby and I got back in the car and made a bee line for Atlanta! We arrived about 3:00 and the traffic downtown was horrible! We finally made it to the hotel (OmniHotels.com – Omni Atlanta Hotel – Official Site) and got checked in. We hadn’t had lunch so we walked down the street to a Subway. On the way, we passed a guy on the corner that was selling little tiny turtle babies! I came *this* close to buying the best souvenir ever! We got our sandwiches and walked across the street to Olympic Centennial Park to eat them. The finish line was in the park and I started to get really excited to be doing a marathon in our second Olympic city! I haven’t told many people, but I am on a lifelong quest to do a marathon in every city to host a summer Olympics. Here is the sign on a gate going into the park:
After lunch we were trying to decide if we should go ahead and go to the expo to pick up our race packets or if we should wait on Kim. Thursday night, I got a text from Kim saying that she had just talked to Debby and that Debby told her we were running in Atlanta that weekend. Kim just moved to Alabama last summer, and we didn’t realize that she was only about 2 1/2 hours from Atlanta. She asked if she could come hang out with us and run the 5k, and of course we said yes! We know Kim through Team In Training. Her son, Zachary, was our Honored Hero the first couple of seasons we participated. The three of us did The Nation’s Tri together in 2010 and went to Greece for the Athens Marathon in 2011.
Debby and I decided that since the expo closed at 6:00 (what?!) and we were cutting it pretty close, we would go ahead and get ours and then go back with Kim. The expo was pretty nice and since the race was sponsored by Publix, we got some good free stuff! I got a Publix cutting board (that I will add to my camping gear), a jar of Biscoff spread and some bright green sunglasses. We met Kim back at the hotel, then walked back to the expo. (everything was right across the street from each other.) Then we walked around some more and went back over to Olympic Park . We found a cool statue that I wanted to get our picture with. It didn’t came out too well, though:
Up top is the Olympic rings with birds (doves?) flying, carrying olive branches. Th Monopoly Man statue is Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics. We went to get supper, and had sort of a hard time finding pasta. After wandering around a while, we found (thanks to Kim and her iphone) a place that was right next to our hotel! http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com I had blackened chicken linguini and it was pretty good. But, I got a HORRIBLE headache almost as soon as we were done eating, I think it must’ve had a ton of MSG or something in it. We got back to the room, laid out our clothes for the morning, and got ready for bed. I took 2 tylenol PM and I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.
We got up at 5:30. I quickly got dressed because I wanted to met the Marathon Maniacs downstairs at 6:15 for a group photo. I almost immediately found two guys in MM singlets, but we never found anyone else. I wanted to get back upstairs so that I could eat and be back down for the 7:00 start. I suggested that we just take a picture of the 3 of us.
I went back upstairs and ate a half a bagel with peanut butter, coffee and a bottle of water. Debby and Kim put shamrock tattoos on their right cheeks, so I did too ;-)
We went down to the start, it is SO nice staying at the host hotel and just being able to walk out the door and be at the starting line! No shuttles, no waiting around, NO PORTA POTTES! We jumped in the 3:30 corral, We should have been WAY back but no one was checking. We wished Kim luck (5k didn’t start until 7:30) and she did the same.
The gun went of and so did we! The hills immediately started. There were no flat parts, it was either up or down. It was pretty crowded and I kept waiting for it to thin out some. I saw one lady trip and fall, but she did a nice tuck ‘n roll and hopped right back up. Finally, at about mile 7, the half split off from the full and the crowd thinned out A LOT. I would say about 75% were doing the half. The course was nice (even with the hills.) It went through some BEAUTIFUL neighborhoods, a couple parks, and four college campuses. The Agnes Scott campus was small but very pretty. I took this picture there:
It was really started to warm up. I was wearing shorts and my favorite short sleeve shirt (http://trexrunner.com/ ), but was starting to wish I had on a tank. The hills were never-ending. Just when I thought it really couldn’t get much worse, we hit mile 17, and they were really bad until about mile 22. Debby and I weren’t doing a whole lot of talking at this point, but we both mentioned that we were rethinking The Blue Ridge Marathon in April. It is billed as “America’s toughest road marathon.” No thanks! We were finally back downtown and knew that no matter what we would finish. I started to worry that they were going to cut it off at 6 hours, and we were cutting it CLOSE. If we went all that way and ran all those stupid hills for nothing, I was not going to be happy! We tried to pick it up a little and finished in 5:59 20! Kim was there to cheer us in, she had already had a shower AND gone to Mass! She took this:
I told you I put a shamrock tattoo on my “right cheek!”
We took of our shoes (my toe nails were really hurting!) and walked around to get some water and food, and then went back to the statue from the night before. I was determined to get a better picture of the 3 of us.
We were supposed to check out by 1, and by now it was already a little after. We quickly went back, got showered and packed and were out of there by 2:15. We went to a German place for lunch ( http://derbiergarten.com/ )and all got a wurst plate and apple strudel. I had a half liter of beer. The beer was better than the sausage. We walked back to the hotel and said our goodbyes. It was so much fun having Kim with us! She and her family are moving to Texas this summer, so I am sure we will all be doing a race there soon!
Debby and I were on the road by 4 and pulled into my driveway about 9:30. My quads are still pretty sore but overall I feel great! I’m going to walk/run today and run tomorrow.
Sallie’s volleyball team ended up making into the gold bracket (for the first time!) but got knocked out in the semi-finals. They are on their way to regionals in Charlotte next weekend. Huge thanks to my Mom and Cliff for helping out with them! Thanks to Debby for being such a sweet friend, training partner and travel buddy! Thanks to Kim for meeting us and, as usual, being hysterical! And to our husbands for being so supportive!
Olympic City #2