Sunday, March 29, 2009

ING Georgia Race Report

After four days of rain in Atlanta, runners were grateful to have dry skies for the third annual ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon. The morning was cold and windy and it wasn’t much better as the day progressed. Despite the winter-like temperatures, the course was fun and the spectators were rowdy. Located near three MARTA stations, Centennial Park was a convenient spot to host the race start and finish. I was glad to run the first five miles with my friend Kelly. Since we’re both busy moms, it provided a perfect opportunity to catch up. Unfortunately for Kelly, she was suffering from a knee injury and had to exit the race at Inman Park. Although I missed by goal finish time by 2 minutes, I was still pleased with my results. I completed the race in 2:01:40 – nearly 15 minutes faster than my race time two years ago. My energy level was strong until the last mile, but by that point I quickened my pace through sheer determination to reach a respectable finish time.

I ran the half-marathon with Team Tiara to support Girls on the Run (GOTR) Atlanta. Through its running programs, GOTR fosters self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle among girls aged 8 to 13. Programs are offered at local schools, YMCAs, and Girls, Inc. sites. Thanks to the generosity of family and friends, I raised $283 for GOTR Atlanta. My commitment to support GOTR added a meaningful aspect to the race for me. It gave me an opportunity to meet other local women runners and help an organization that provides a valued program to our community.

This week’s route is the ING Georgia Marathon and Half-Marathon course. It travels through some of the best Atlanta neighborhoods – Inman Park, Sweet Auburn, Decatur, Druid Hills, Virginia-Highlands and Midtown. You’ll find a map for the route at the ING Georgia site.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Race Plan for ING Georgia

With the ING Georgia Half-Marathon just a week away, I had my last long run today before the race. During my run, I started to think through my plans for race day. Travel to the race was easy to decide – MARTA’s the only logical choice. But I needed to give some further consideration on what to eat and not eat.

While a big cup of coffee is what I’ll crave, I’m opting for other choices. Slow-digesting carbs like oatmeal seem to be the best option. I recently read that sports drinks consumed before runs help sustain energy levels longer than water or other beverages.

Here’s my plan:

· Wake-up early enough to make oatmeal with walnuts
· Wash it down with G2 sports drink
· Take prescription anti-inflammatory pill to reduce swelling on knee
· Carry 2 packets of Luna Moons to refuel my energy
· New socks and insoles to cushion my feet
· Thick layers of Aquaphor for those spots that easily chafe

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Virtues of Running in the Rain

With the ING Georgia Half-Marathon only two weeks away, I had little choice but to tough it out and run today. To be honest, I was not a big fan of running in rainy weather. Wet clothes and even wetter feet was not a pleasant thought. I became slightly more open minded to the idea when I remembered the great blog post from Beth Moore at about why she loves running in the rain.

Once I got outside and settled into a pace, it wasn’t so bad. In fact, it was rather refreshing. Rain provides a much needed cleansing of Atlanta’s notoriously smoggy air. The air was clear and easy to breath. I also found that I didn’t get quite as soaked as I imagined. Traffic was light and the temperature was cool yet comfortable. Only towards the end did the wetness start to bother me, but I kept thinking about the hot shower and coffee I’d enjoy soon.

Lesson learned today – don’t be so quick to judge an unfamiliar circumstance. Every situation has a few good points.

This week’s route is the 9-miler I ran today. It travels through Decatur, Candler Park, Little Five Points and Druid Hills. You’ll find a map for the route at Map My Run under my group Atlanta Running.

Decatur to Little Five Points – 9 miles

· Start at Fellini’s at Commerce St. and Sycamore Place
· Turn right at Howard Ave.
· Stay on Howard/Dekalb Ave. for approximately 2 miles. Pass the East Lake Marta Station
· Turn right on Ridgecrest Rd.
· Turn left on McClendon Ave.
· Stay on McClendon for approximately 2 miles. Pass Flying Biscuit CafĂ© and Candler Park.
· Turn right on Moreland Ave.
· Turn right on Ponce de Leon Ave.
· Take Ponce de Leon Ave. through Druid Hills
· Turn right at Clairmont Ave and head towards Downtown Decatur
· Turn left on Commerce
· Take Commerce back to Fellini’s

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Kicks Off a Great Season of Atlanta Road Races

March marks the start of spring and the promise of warmer weather and longer days. Over 25 races give Atlanta runners an opportunity to celebrate the change of season.

Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K – Saturday, March 7
Considered one of Atlanta’s fastest 10Ks this is a great race to run if you’re looking for a qualifying time for the Peachtree Road Race.

O’Highlands Jig & Jog 5K – Saturday, March 14
This St. Patty’s themed race encourages runners to get in the spirit by dressing in Irish attire. The best costume wins $25.

Jog for a Cause – Saturday, March 14
This event features a 5K, 10K and 1-mile fun run. The 10K is a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race. Proceeds benefit organizations that address childhood cancer.

ShamRock N’ Roll Road Race – Sunday, March 15
Located at Atlanta Station, this race offers both a 5K and a 10K that’s a qualifier for the Peachtree Road Race. Strollers and dogs are welcomed.

Tour Decatur – Saturday, March 21
Runners enjoy a 5K race through the picturesque neighborhoods of Decatur. The event also includes a 1-mile fun run and a Tot Trot. Proceeds benefit the Decatur Education Foundation.

ING Georgia Marathon/Half-Marathon – Sunday, March 29
March ends with the big one – the ING Georgia. This race offers one of the best tours of Atlanta on foot. Runners pass through Inman Park, Decatur, Virginia-Highlands, Midtown and Downtown.

Check out Run Georgia for a comprehensive list of road races across the state.

This week’s route is the course for Saturday’s Chattahoochee Road Runners 10K. You can find a map of the course at the club’s web site.

· Start on Mt. Vernon Highway, in front of the Waffle House and just east of Sandy Springs
· Head west on Mt. Vernon Highway (just past 3 miles)
· The turn around is just before Northside Drive
· Head east on Mt. Vernon Highway (approx 5.5 miles)
· Turn right onto Hammond Drive (approx .5 miles)
· Turn right onto Sandy Springs Circle (all downhill)
· End at Lake Forest Elementary