I met Caleb and Lindsay at Marta the morning of the race and we rode in together. I was very glad that they’d done this (getting to/running in) the year before: I have no idea how I would have made it to the starting line so warm and stretched out without their prior knowledge of the Omni and bathroom availability. Dropped off my bag, eventually found my way to my corral (5), sorta. On my way bag from gear check, the main path back had gotten so packed that, when I got the the corrals, they were dropping the ropes betweem, so corrals we merging. I wanted to start with my relative pace, so I kept searching back for people with “corral 5” on their bibs. And then, once I found a general “corral 5” zone, I made my way across the pen, so I’d be on the same side as Lindsay. Yay, cheering section!
The race went as expected. Started a little faster than I expected, made a great 5k time, and forced myself to slow down to make sure I finished the race. Yeah, I think I could have pushed myself more, but my longest run had been 11 miles. TCB, when he trained for his mini-marathon had trained up to 11 miles and hit the wall there. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t do that, so I made myself go slower at the beginning. And all the miles seemed so short. So very short. The water stations came up quickly, I felt like I was zooming through Atlanta. (My vote for the best water station is entirely based on how aggressively they raked the used cups out of the way.) Before I knew it, I was rounding the corner to the COM, wondering if TCB and George would be there with posters.
They were there without posters, but were there to run with me for two blocks. It was so awesome. I think we discussed meeting up after the race, and some other things, and G said that I was running fast. It made me happy and thrilled, and I was totally oblivious to the hills that were approaching. (Srsly. Caleb, after the race, was talking about how much they sucked, and I just remember feeling awesome through the Tech campus.)
So, nearing the 1-mile-to-go point, a runner near me ate pavement. Just misjudged a turn around a median, didn’t notice the broken pavement in the curb, and sprawled. I felt bad running past, but there were police and other runners helping her up and checking her, she didn’t need another person asking, “Are you ok?”
I rounded the corner and saw the “1 Mile to Go” sign!