SUNDAY: AUGUST 23, 2015
Surprisingly, I slept fairly well. We weren't ever able to get the room temperature adjusted properly so it was a little cold but it was perfect to sleep in. And aside from my brother getting up once at 4:00am, I wasn't kept awake from any random hotel noises. But 5:00am was still so early. I jumped in the shower first and then ate my breakfast. It was nice to have a pre-race morning where I wanted to eat; the past two races haven't been like that at all. We were keeping an eye on the weather via the Weather Channel and it looked like a system was coming in to the area but also looked like it was moving slightly north. So there was a chance of rain but I wasn't too concerned.
Although we were close to the start line, we left the room at 6:30 because my brother needed to do a bag drop and since he takes these half marathons more seriously than I do, he likes to not just show up 5-10 minutes prior. We had to ask where the bag drop was located but it wasn't far and once he did that we saw the race backdrop banner and the photographer was there so we had our picture taken and then headed to the start line. Saw a guy with a Monumental Half shirt on but he was not from Indiana. A few more pictures before the actual start and we were off. My brother and I had briefly talked about post-race plans and where we would meet but we should have gone in to more detail about that!
|Pre-race photos. Coca~Cola building|
|Pre-race photo via race photographer (free photos!!!)|
|Selfie before the start of the race!|
There was a slight downhill to start but then it is immediately uphill after that. This up and down roller coaster would continue for the next 5ish miles.
We ran past Centennial Park on the right and the Ferris wheel on the left. Next up was the CNN building and Phillips Arena where the Hawks play. We were barely 1 1/2 miles into the race and I was a sweaty beast already.
My plan was to take as many pictures as possible before any rain started showing up. You could see the unfriendly clouds headed our way in the distance.
|View of downtown from the 1 mile marker|
|The State Capitol Building|
|Liberty Plaza and the sun rising|
As we headed back toward downtown Atlanta, I came upon this girl wearing a birthday sash and candle headband. We chatted for a bit and I learned that it was her actual birthday and she was 34.
Continuing north we ran under the Olympic Rings of the Olympic Way Pedestrian Blvd.
|The Olympic cauldron and rings|
I tried to do a selfie but I just couldn't master it properly. During the race a girl ran up to me and commented that she thought I was probably getting some really good pictures. She was from Maryland.
|The tale of things to come!|
|Headed back into downtown|
The clouds continued to get closer and between the 4 & 5 mile marker/aid stations, it began to slight drizzle. It was actually somewhat refreshing and had nearly eliminated the humidity that we were experiencing at the start of the race. We ran past the east side of the Capitol, past Georgia State University and then headed out of downtown.
|A view of the capitol building from the East|
The rain started coming down a little harder so I decided it was time to put my phone in a baggy and put it away. By the time we entered the Atlanta Eastside Beltline Trail...it began to POUR DOWN! Such a shame too; this would have been a great place to take pictures. This area was nice and flat but I could not get my running mojo going at all. I continued to take walking breaks even thought this should have been the one stretch of the course where I wouldn't have needed to. They were handing out these Gatorade "popsicles" and although I didn't know what it was at the time, I took it. It was awesome. It would have been even more refreshing had it been hot!
|This was tasty.|
Off the beltway and we were headed back toward town. The rain was still coming down in buckets. Now that we were running on a city street again, it was important to be aware of the eastbound traffic so that you didn't get splashed by a puddle - not that it would have matter. I was as wet as I could be. Near mile 9 we entered Piedmont Park. Part of the path was completed flooded. The dilemma was to run through all the water or traipse through the grass which could have its own wet muddy challenges. I chose the grass. I don't know if it was the correct choice or not. Out of the park and back toward downtown, we were running through the campus of Georgia Tech and past several fraternity and sorority houses. Yep, no pictures because it was still raining. I really was morally defeated at this point. I still haven't been training so I was tired and my shoes had to weigh a ton from all the rain. I conditioned to take numerous walking breaks.
As I turned the last corner and could see the finish line, I began scanning the sides for my brother. I had texted him just after the first mile marker/aid station telling him to just meet me at the bag drop tent. But I saw him at the finish line arch as I was nearing it. Part of me was glad to see him there because that meant he didn't have any "issues" and had needed to go on to the hotel...well, that wasn't necessarily the case. He'd been waiting for me the entire time (about 30+ minutes) and hadn't even gone to the bag drop tent. He told me that he wanted to go back to the hotel but didn't pay attention when we walked to the start in the morning so he didn't know how to get back. He said he asked a couple of people if they knew where the hotel was and no one did. He had pushed himself a little more than he had expected he would during the race, the hills really did him in AND he'd was soaking wet from all the rain. So we quickly went to the bag drop to get his stuff, he was gracious enough to do some finishers pictures with me and then we tried to hustle back to the hotel.
I let him take a shower first and I tried to get as much ready as I could while he was in there. Then I quickly showered and he got his stuff together. It was obvious that he was NOT feeling well. We was stumbling around in the room, unsteady on his feet and just all out of sorts. Then just before leaving the room, he had to make a mad dash into the bathroom where he began violently vomiting (sorry....if that's TMI but it really sounded bad). You see my brother has Crohn's Disease and sadly his dinner from last night (so over 12 hours prior) hadn't completely digested and was coming back up. I felt so sorry for him. He's dealt with this awful disease for over 30 years now. He sat and rested for a bit and said that he did feel a little better and so we started dragging all of our stuff downstairs.
We got the car loaded and he said that he felt well enough to walk back over to Centennial Park with me so that I could do my medal photo-shoot. It was only a block away and we were only there for about 10 minutes. We were in the car headed for Indiana around noon. The plan was to drive as far as we could - definitely getting out of downtown Atlanta - before we would stop for gas or food. The car still had enough gas and neither of us were very hungry at that point anyway.
However my brother was still not 100% and I'll be honest, there were times that I wasn't sure about what was going on with him and whether or not I should find a hospital and take him there. He was reclining back in the passenger seat but he was hallucinating a bit; saying sentences out-loud but not because he and I were conversing. His phone rang at one point and he was having trouble answering it and then said it was for me. Just a lot of nonsensical stuff. Although he made me chuckle at one point: in the haze that he was still in he asked me if I wanted him to drive. Although he couldn't see me - his eyes were closed - I gave him the ol' side-eye and told him "no" in which he replied, "good because I don't think I can do it."
We didn't necessarily make "good time" on the drive home. Each stop took a little bit longer than normal because he wasn't well enough to not be "supervised" so I'd go in and use the restroom and then come back and help him get out of the car to stretch a bit. And as luck would have it one of the exits we took to get gas had some sort of power outage and EVERY GAS STATION was closed because of that so we had to drive to the next exit. It wasn't until we were probably halfway into the drive (3+ hours later) that he felt like sitting up and began conversing with me in a normal fashion.
Since I was taking him back home first, we needed to change our route just before Louisville, KY. I'd never gone this way back to Indiana before and it made the drive seem even longer. Because of his stomach issues, we were on the hunt for a Dairy Queen so that he could get a milkshake. We found a gas station that had a Subway and DQ so we each got something and then got back on the road again. It wasn't until we were in southern Indiana that he felt like actually getting something to eat. We finally found an Arby's for him. I think this was the first time he even went to the bathroom!!
We finally arrived at his house around 9PM and quickly got everything unloaded. I should have just been able to head for home but my Mom needed some medicine taken to her and since I wasn't sure how he would be doing the following day, I had coordinated with the person that got his mail (which had included my Mom's meds) to meet me and then I took the medicine to my Mom. It added about 20 extra minutes to my night but I felt better taking care of that for him so that he didn't have to worry about it on Monday.
I got home around 11:00PM. I lugged all my stuff in the house and at least put my sweaty rain soaked clothes in the washer. I probably crawled into bed around 11:45PM. I really wish I'd had the ability to take Monday off or at least work from home but alas..neither of those scenarios were an option.
My thoughts on this race:
- I wonder if I would have struggled anymore (or less) had it just been hot and not rainy.
- I still wouldn't have been ready for the hills or even the distance still because I'm not doing much miscellaneous running. I've got to try to get more training runs into my "new & awful" schedule.
- I also wish that we could have spent a little more time in Atlanta after the race. I would have loved to get on the Ferris wheel.
- It seemed like it was well run; plenty of aid stations, scenic course but I was disappointed with the limited post-race food offerings.
- I won't ever do this again but only because there isn't a need to. Georgia was #19 and has now been crossed off the "do a half marathon in every state" list.