Running Inman Park, Part 1

First up: Inman Park

Streets in Atlanta's Inman Park neighborhoods that I've run so far.

Streets in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhoods that I’ve run so far.

Inman Park is where I first lived when I moved back to Atlanta, and though my current residence is no longer in the neighborhood, I still live on the edge of it. I’m frequently in the neighborhood for beers at the Wrecking Bar and the Porter, playing bingo at Jack’s, and dodging dog leashes on the Beltline. What better neighborhood to start with?

I’ve probably run all of these roads before, but for the sake of mapping them out and keeping this project going it makes sense to start from scratch (and I feel like I’m doing the same with my fitness levels).

It shouldn’t be too challenging to finish Inman Park quickly, but it looks like these winding streets will force me to overlap my old paths quite a bit.

The first run was slow, steady, slow, and well, slow. I’ve been out of action since breaking my hand and my last serious run was the Peachtree Road Race on July 4. Time to get back to it.

By |September 11th, 2014|Running, Running Atlanta's Neighborhoods|0 Comments

Running Atlanta’s Neighborhoods

I haven’t been running much lately due to a broken hand and a little too much comfort. To get myself back to race shape, or at least something close to it, I’ve decided to run all of the roads in Atlanta’s different neighborhoods.

First up: Inman Park

This is where I first lived when I moved to Atlanta, and though my current residence is no longer in the neighborhood, I still live on the edge of it. What better neighborhood to start with?

I’ve probably run all of these roads before, but for the sake of mapping them out and keeping this project going I figured I’d just start from scratch (I feel like I’m doing the same with my fitness levels).  This shouldn’t be too challenging to finish up a few neighborhoods, but it looks like these winding streets will force me to overlap my old paths quite a bit.

Streeets in Atlanta's Inman Park neighborhoods that I've run so far.

Streets in Atlanta’s Inman Park neighborhoods that I’ve run so far.

By |September 9th, 2014|Running|0 Comments

Beltline Run

Yesterday I ran 16 miles on 3/4 of the proposed Atlanta Beltline with some friends. It was awesome. Running on railroads and abandoned trails and rails with friends was great.

6 a.m. and I didn’t need a headlamp. Which was good because I forgot mine.

It seems a lot of animals die on train tracks. Saw a dog with it’s head cut off from the train. Sad stuff.

Sand cars.

For a while I got into a pretty good rhythm while running on the railroad ties, but they were so randomly placed that it was hard to keep it going.

I think this was around when Josh was telling me to hurry up as we heard trains nearby. Tunnels are fun.

 
I can almost see my house from here.
I think we realized we didn’t have to be quiet at this point. All that was left were the satellite dishes and some parts of the walls.

 
Nettles everywhere.
By |July 8th, 2012|Friends, Photo, Running|0 Comments

Atlanta Marathon

Two weeks ago, fresh off of the disappointment of not running my first ultra marathon at the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k, I signed up for the Atlanta Marathon. It, like the 50k would have been, was a spur-of-the-moment race choice. Due to a few reasons, I have been struggling to get a solid base of training in lately. But I dove in head first. Practicality be damned.

Nice logo, right? I just wish it had been on the shirt.

The past two months of running have been spotty. I’ve wavered between 45 miles per week to about 5. And my long runs, well, the last 20 mile run I did was on July 23, three months before the race. I knew I was in decent shape, but how I would do over 26.2 miles was a bit of a mystery.

With all of this on my mind, I went into the Atlanta Marathon on Oct. 30 hoping to break 4 hours. I hoped I could finish in about 3:50, and thought that maybe, just maybe, I could cross the line around 3:45. When I said it out loud it sounded almost boastful to think I could do that with such shoddy training, but then again, in 2005 I decided I’d pack up my bike and ride 70 miles a day for a month with basically no training beforehand. I mean on my first day I rode 86 miles through hilly Kentucky until both of my hamstrings, quads, and calves all cramped up at the same time and I had to goose-step into a motel and pass out. But I digress. I’m stubborn and when I get an idea in my mind it’s hard to move it. So there I was, planning to break 4 hours if I had to run myself into the ground.

Of course, the marathon was on Sunday, October 30, and Sara and I had already planned to go out Saturday night to celebrate Halloween (why miss an excuse to dress up as the cast of Seinfeld and drink?). We ended up going to the High Museum of Art to see some DJ. I dressed as a pretty crappy Newman (entirely my fault). At about 12 I figured it might be time to think about going home. I ended up getting about 3.5-4 hours of fitful sleep. I was apparently too nervous and excited to sleep well.

5 a.m. came quickly. I drank a few cups of coffee, threw on my running clothes, and headed out to the car to drive over to Atlantic Station. I wore my regular running shorts, some cheap fleece gloves, my Albany Marathon shirt (people along the course called me Albany a bunch), and some arm warmers. I was freezing at the start line, but eventually I got used to it.

Feeling pretty good around mile 6.

I expected a starter’s pistol to go off, but right around 7 a.m. the pack of people in front of me just started running. With a field of only ~1,300 marathon runners, it was nice to not be too crowded for the first couple of miles. As we ran down 20th street and took the right onto 16th, I knew I felt good. I wasn’t nervous or even too excited to be honest, I felt like I was just out on an easy run.

Miles 1 through 6 were pretty uneventful. Around mile 6 the course took us down Capitol Ave under the Olympic rings and toward Turner Field. Back in 2008 my first half marathon, the Atlanta Half Marathon, had its finish line there. I remembered how awful I felt nearing the end of that race and how unprepared I’d been. What a difference a few years makes.

My mile splits up to the 6th mile were 8:43, 8:31, 8:13, 8:13, 8:16, 8:07. I was feeling better and better. The next three miles were all right at 8 minute miles.  I felt pretty good. In fact, as I passed some of the cheering groups, I started to feel amazing. I was high fiving people as I ran by, closed my eyes and listened to the bagpipers along the road, and really really enjoyed the first half of the race.

 

Still feeling good as the race turned down Virginia Ave, I started to get a tiny bit worried. Did I feel too good? Was I digging myself a hole for later on? All I could do was keep my pace in check and just keep on running.

Somewhere around mile 18 the short but steeper hills began. I knew it had been too flat early on, so I wasn’t surprised. I’d also been running through the area enough to know what to expect. It hurt some though. I felt the lack of training for the next few miles more than I did at any other time in the race.

I also started to worry more. “You can’t cheat the distance,” I’d read before. A few people had doubted my ability to go sub 4 hours due to my lackluster training, and their voices ran through my head. Was I going to hit the wall? Just keep running, I thought. If I hit the wall all I’m going to do is keep moving my legs until they won’t go anymore.

The doubting gave way to simple pain when I turned left onto Peachtree Road. I’ve never run the Peaachtree Road Race before, but I heard others saying that we met up with Peachtree at just the right spot to run up Heartbreak Hill. At that point I knew I was 3 miles away from the finish line, and nothing short of my legs falling off was going to stop me, painful or not. I stayed on pace on a couple of side streets, and finally 17th street was right ahead.

My legs had been twinging for the last few miles, but all I could do was keep going. I’d stretch them later, or so I thought. About a quarter mile or so from the finish line my legs cramped up for good. I’d had a decent amount of energy gels and water through the race but apparently had needed more salt. I ended up sitting down on 17th street, just minutes away from the finish line and stretching. I was sure a 3:45 marathon had slipped away from me. I got up and started running again. Nope. More hamstring cramps, more quad cramps. More stretching. I finally got up and started hobbling. It turned into a jog and finally I was back on pace.

There wasn’t any more twinging, so I started sprinting (as well as I could after 26 miles). I heard my parents yelling my name but couldn’t turn to look. I could see the clock at the line and knew I was cutting it close to go under 3:45. I thought about the disappointment I felt when I ran my 40:02 10k in June, and I pushed as hard as I could. I crossed the finish line in 3:45:03 clock time, but my chip time was 3:44:39. I was under 3:45 and had surprised myself. I was 17th in my age division (awesome!) and 164 overall.

Here are the stats from my Garmin GPS: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/125324157

 

 

 

 

Post race massage, needing a beer.

By |November 7th, 2011|Family, Running|2 Comments

Probably not.

By |October 7th, 2011|Running|0 Comments

What a difference a day makes

Of course after whining on about how terrible things are with my running, I go out the next day and have a great run.

Vibram Five Fingers to the rescue?

 

After I got off of work early, I had the idea to put on my Vibram Five Fingers and go for an easy run to see how my running form is. It struck me sometime this week that I hadn’t run in them at all lately. Some people use these as an every day running shoe, but I like to treat them as a tool to adjust my running form. Shoes with big heels and tons of foam padding allow you to run with a pretty sloppy stride. It’s easy to get lazy when you have big buffers to keep you from noticing that you’re landing on the outside of your foot or making a variety of mistakes.

Highly worn outsole of my Saucony Kinvaras

 

I had some suspicions that my very worn-out Saucony Kinvaras (almost 650 miles in them) were contributing to this tendonitis (you think?) so I pulled on my VFFs and went for an easy run. I felt basically no pain, and quickly realized my form had gotten pretty sloppy. I got a little angry with myself for havingbeen so lazy with my running lately. After I’d been getting so many great longer runs in so often I took it for granted that I didn’t need to do maintenance. I stopped stretching as much as usual and gave up adjusting my stride and then, bam, Achilles tendonitis. Oops.

The New Balance Minimus Road shoes didn't work out for me

But, I’ve gotten lucky. It was my birthday on Tuesday (so close to 30 it hurts) and now I have a chance to run out (sorry for that terrible pun) and get some new shoes thanks to my awesome family. I actually stopped by Big Peach Running Co. and got a pair of New Balance Minimus Road shoes, but after a couple hours of walking around in them I had some heel pain and I knew they wouldn’t work. I’d wanted to like them, but it wasn’t going to happen so I returned them the next day. I did try on the Saucony Hattori running shoe and it felt great, so I should have a pair delivered on Tuesday.

Saucony Hattori: much better, thanks

 

And to cap off my first good run in a while, when I got back home I saw that my new copy of Relentless Forward Progress had finally been delivered. Time to start reading up and getting ready for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50k.

Relentless Forward Progress: reading up on running an ultra marathon.

 

By |September 3rd, 2011|Family, Photo, Running|1 Comment

10 steps back…

This summer has been a bit of a disaster. Well, running-wise at least. Outside of the running, I’ve gotten a new job, I was able to move into Atlanta like I’d wanted to for a little while, and am now able to see my friends a lot more. Plus it’s nice to live so close to great places like the Porter Beer Bar.

So there have been definite upsides (I mean I’ve seen more bands play shows in the last month that I did all last year), but with all of these changes came a serious disruption in my running schedule and my usual routines.

Man or Astroman? at the Earl

 

I get pretty sick of getting into routines, but it had been working well for me with my running. I’d usually get a ~10 mile run in before work a few days a week with a longer 15 or so mile run on the weekends. It was great, I was routinely running 40+ mile weeks and feeling as strong a runner as I ever had. But, of course, things change. I got a new, better job, which is great but left me with less time for runs in the mornings. Couple that with the fact that, for the life of me, I can’t seem to sleep well these days, and there you have a few reasons as to why I can’t seem to get up on time anymore. It’s not so much that I don’t have the desire or the drive or any of that (I signed up for an ultra marathon, I mean come on), I just sleep right through the alarms.

So I was pretty happy two weeks ago when I finally got back to a 40 mile week. Though my runs were more in the evening and not really on any set plan, I was still happy to get the miles in. Until the Monday when I headed out for a longer run and ended it short thanks to some tendonitis in my right Achilles. Lame. I’ve taken a couple weeks off and had a short 3 mile run yesterday, but I’m still not back to 100% and it’s frustrating. I was hoping to run in the Asheville Half Marathon and beat my time from last year by a few minutes, but it’s not happening.

So now I’m playing it safe and trying to get some rest and recovery in. Hopefully I’ll be back out on the road soon though. I’ve got some new running shoes to break in.

By |September 2nd, 2011|Family, Friends, Photo, Running, Work|3 Comments

A longer run

What do I take with me on a long run? This is about it:

Well, the holder for my water bottle is there, but the actual bottle isn’t, but that’s about it. I don’t carry the sunblock or body glide, obviously.

By |August 17th, 2011|Photo, Running|0 Comments

Alright, now’s the time: North Face Endurace Challenge

I could say that I’ve had a busy and hectic month. I’d be right, but I wouldn’t be telling half of the story. For the past month Sara and I have been dealing with a lot; I’ve started a new job as a graphic designer at a publishing company, and Sara and I moved from Marietta down into Atlanta.

Now with all of these changes and adjustments, I’ve been struggling to sort out my running. And if you’ve talked to me in the last year or so you know that running’s probably all I’ve been jabbering on about. Not getting my normal mileage in has been killing me. I know I’ve been more stressed out and in worse moods. But, with a few races coming up in the next few months it’s time for me to get back on track.

While I haven’t signed up for any yet, I’ve got three races in mind that I really want to do. They’re all potentially really exciting for different reasons: two of them would be with friends and one might be with Sara. But one is a little different, and has the chance to be my longest race/run ever.

It’s the North Face Endurance Challenge on October 15-16. When I first found out about it I figured, yeah, why not do an awesome trail marathon, but then I started thinking like I usually do that I could go farther, so it looks like I’m going to do the 50k (or should I run the 50 mile race? I mean I might as well, right? Who wouldn’t want to do that?).

It sounds like it’s really well organized, and there are some really great runners that will be there, most notably Dean Karnazes and Geoff Roes.

Anyways, watch the video. It looks like the Atlanta races will be down at F.D.Roosevelt Park in Pine Mountain, GA and will take place on the Pine Mountain Ridge, which is the southern most edge of the Appalachian Mountain range.

I’m excited to start thinking about racing again, and especially such an exciting race. In case anyone else wants to sign up, you can do so here.

By |August 9th, 2011|Running|4 Comments

It’s Official

As of a week from now, this will no longer be my desk. Which, I mean, is pretty great. While I’ve liked working here at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, I’m ready for a change (and a company that is willing and able to spend money when needed) and a new set of challenges. I’ll be a Graphic Designer at a publishing company in Atlanta.

And that change brings about another one,  I am now looking for a place to live in Atlanta. It’ll be nice to be closer to friends and have more social opportunities.

Of course I won’t be able to go on midday runs or show up early and leave early anymore. But at least my compensation will balance out the downsides.

By |June 17th, 2011|Friends, Running, Work|0 Comments