Georgia Marathon : www.georgiamarathon.com
Date Participated: March 18th, 2012
Submitted by: Pam Burrus
NEW DISCOUNT FOR 2013 Georgia Marathon and Hal Marathon:
NOTE: You must select Moms RUN This Town as the team name for full benefits, giveaways and perks!!!
MRTTM13 – $10 off the marathon
MRTTH13 – $10 off the half marathon
Click here to register!!
Yes, it’s been 2 months since the Georgia Marathon and this post is long overdue – but I’ve been waiting for enough time to sit and write because it is BY FAR my FAVORITE race EVER!!!!
The Expo was AMAZING. Best race expo I’ve ever been to. Tons of vendors and QUALITY vendors. When you first walk in there is a booth to help you find where you need to go. We walked through a HUGE display that Publix set up and it was literally set up like a grocery store!! So neat! Lots of samples to try in there.
We walked back to the back to pick up our race shirts – super fast and women’s cut shirt! Score! They are cute – but they are navy which I won’t wear with black, so I guess I need to pick up a white running skirt. Darn ;)
There were a TON of booths giving away free samples or goodies, lots of new products and chances to win race entries or other things. Two new products that I discovered there are the Personal Savers and the Byrdband. I bought both :) Lots of booths offering discounts – just an all around great expo. Parking was kinda tricky – and I think we went the long way to get in- but it was in a great location and there was plenty of walking room. Even got an autographed recipe book from the nutritionist for the Biggest Loser – FREE!
Host Hotel (Omni Hotel):
OMNI CNN CENTER ATLANTA
My friends and I decided to go in together for a hotel room so we didn’t have to drive to Atlanta the morning of. The location was literally RIGHT at the start line. We walked out our doors and we were at the start!! Restaurants for the night before were within walking distance and a lot of options. Valet parking, super nice staff, and BEAUTIFUL hotel right at the CNN center (MEGA options for food in the food court if you choose that). The Expo was within walking distance from the hotel as well. Loved that.
We found out the hard way that this is a “dog friendly” hotel. We were ready to go to bed and all we could hear from next door was YAP YAP YAP YAP. We tried to ignore it but it was out of control. We called the front desk and asked if that was allowed – apparently it is, but they offered to let us switch rooms. No big deal – we hadn’t really “unpacked”. We had to call back to see the status, but the concierge came up to personally show us room options. First room was on the same floor right down the hall. It was a center room with a balcony that overlooked the inside of the CNN center. VERY cool. It was slightly larger than our current room. Next room was up a few flights and was a handicap friendly room. It was HUGE and spacious with a large bathroom/shower. Only 1 king bed (we had 2 queens before) but there was a TON of floor space and he offered to bring up 2 cots which were actually full sized twin mattresses (no fold up crummy mattresses!) . It was another center room with a balcony that overlooked the inside CNN center. It didn’t take but a 1 sec glance from my friends and we said “WE’LL TAKE IT” – SCORE!!!
He had our luggage brought up and shortly after had a huge spread of fruit, bread and coffee rolled up from room service free of charge for our “inconvenience” – really it was no big deal but, um, we’ll take that!!! There was a handwritten note from him thanking us and telling us to let him know if we needed anything else. SOOOO amazing!!!! Especially when we were just 4 girls bunking together!!
As I said, the starting line was RIGHT outside our hotel doors. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVED that. The start was in Centennial Park which was pretty awesome. The gear check was pretty far away (relatively speaking – we were running late – typical girls), but was SO fast to drop off and VERY organized. We got back in line right as my pace group was beginning to move. It was typical crowding for a race, but I never felt like I was weaving as much as I normally do. Energy at the start was amazing.
As I set into my pace everyone just seemed to be happy, there was crowd support along the way, I didn’t notice the scenery really because it was dark and I was just trying to stay calm (this was only my 2nd marathon…).
For those wondering about the course: Yes, it IS as hilly as everyone says…. but the first few miles (maybe up to mile 10ish) I really didn’t think about the hills. I was keeping a pretty consistent 9:30 pace up until mile 12 and then the hills started getting to me. I was trying to forget the fact that I had another 14 to go ;) It really wasn’t until mile 19-20 that I was like OMG WHAT THE HIIL??? Mile 20-26 was just brutal… and when I saw the MONSTER hill around mile 20 I said forget it and walked up it. From then until the finish I had to walk the hills and run the downhills and flats. My pace dropped off, but I still finished with a 4:35:XX (10:30ish pace) which for the course I was TOTALLY pleased with!!
I will say though that the scenery was SO amazing. When I let go of my time goal I took the chance to high five the kids along the way, read signs, dance with spectators who were blasting “Bust a Move” and basically take a running tour of Atlanta. I got to run through areas of Decatur and Atlanta that I’ve driven a million times, but running through them was such a different experience. Crowd support along the entire route was awesome!! Sprinkles of fans, signs, lots of water stops and port a potties…. it was just awesome.
My favorite pit stop was the Cuties station in Decatur – Orange slices HIT THE SPOT!!!! A random spectator was handing them out again further along the course and I was so all over that!!!
I made it a goal to keep a smile on my face the entire race, and a silly goal to do a “heel click” when I saw a photographer. Goal accomplished!!! Yes, the course was VERY challenging – but I still get chills thinking about that race. My time was almost 30 minutes slower than my first marathon, but hands down I’ll say this is my favorite race to date!!!
LOOOOOOVED the crowd support at the finish line. Simply amazing. I felt like a total rockstar and I could just feel the tears welling up. The last mile was all uphill so it was mentally taxing to know that I had to suck it up and RUN across that finish line – and I still had one more “heel click” to do. With all the fans cheering, it was easy to muster up the strength in my beaten down quads to run, jump, and heel click… not once, but TWICE (just to make sure they got it).
I was greeted with my marathon medal, pointed to the finishers photo area, and immediately entered into the finish area. Medic tents were right there at the entrance and I went ahead and grabbed 2 bags of ice to ice my quads. I totally recommend doing this. Publix had cute little tote bags filled with food and snacks, so I grabbed that and found a spot in the lawn to ice my legs and eat.
There were expo tents all in the lawn with booths set up which I thought was cool – I didn’t visit any of them because I was done walking ;) After about 2o minutes of icing and sitting I walked over to the Atlanta Challenge tent to collect my 39.3 medal and my 39.3 shirt. Since I did the 13.1 Atlanta race in Oct and the Georgia Marathon I got extra bling!!
The medals for both the Georgia Marathon and the 39.3 challenge are HUGE and HEAVY and AWESOME!!!!!! My favorite medals to date :)
Now, here is my ONE complaint about the race. My hotel was RIGHT THERE…. just like .2miles from where I was – but they WOULD NOT LET ME CROSS to get there. Instead I had to walk ALLLLLL the way around. So I did, and wouldn’t you know I left my darn phone… so MORE walking… then BEGGED them to let me cut across – and they said I could if I had an “escort” – couldn’t find one so I walked ALL the way back around. I started my garmin the 2nd time of walking back and clocked .45 miles – so I easily did an extra mile that day. Not cool…. My legs didn’t care for that much – but it was fun to brag about that I actually did 27 miles ;)
So… would I do this race again? HECK FREAKIN YES!!!!!!!!! In a heartbeat!!! Actually, I’m already planning on it :) It’s only 2 weeks after my Asheville Marathon, but I think I can slow run/walk it and enjoy it again :) I can’t miss this one – and I’ll definitely get a hotel at the Omni again. Loved everything about this race. MAJOR kudos to the Georgia Marathon staff!!!!!!