Monday, December 20, 2010


They moved the starting line this year to Turner field, making it a loop instead of a point-to-point race. I wanted to get there early because after looking at the course and the parking locations online, I determined there was going to be mass confusion at the start. I don't know what they were thinking, but to park one's car you had to cross the street where runners were gathering. I got there at 5:45. A steady flow of traffic began at six and by seven, it was all but impossible to park your car in the designated areas. When the race started there was still a steady stream of runners along the sidewalks trying to make it to the starting line. They couldn't just jump in as in the past because nowadays you wear a chip on your shoe that records your starting time. No starting time, no finish time. I intended to go out slow. My left knee had been sore since I did a half marathon in October, and I didn't allow it time to heel. I got caught up in the excitement of the race, however, and zoomed along for the first 3 miles. This part of the course took us down Northside behind Georgia Tech, a kind of shadowy part of town. We turned right on 17th and ran through Atlantic Station, which looked like a ghost town. After a big hill on 14th, I lost my vigor for the race. By the time I hit the six mile mark in Piedmont Park, my knee was letting me know it was ready to go home. I had slowed down considerably by the time I reached seven miles on Juniper. When I turned onto Auburn I started kicking myself for not getting a Glock for my birthday. Several thugs on this street that seemed to be like hyenas looking for the weakest in the herd. I picked it up a notch. As I cleared the high crime area, a friend of mine, my next door neighbor when I was in the first grade, caught me near mile ten. He has a bad knee now and runs much slower than in the past. The battle was on, two gimps going knee-to-knee to the finish. I took advantage of a long down hill just beyond Oakland cemetery where someone had put a sign on inspiration, "Better running than resting inside here." Near the capitol, there were two hills that allowed my friend to catch back up with me. I decided not to challenge him on the last big hill, saving my energy for the final mile. After the hill, I got up the steam to blow by him, not letting up until I crossed the finish line, beating him by two minutes. I paid for it with a very sore knee that I have only been walking on for 3 weeks. I hope to start running again in January. I have a half marathon to do in March.