Race Schedule & Results

This is where I’ll post the confirmed races that I will be running, followed by a chronological list of all my completed races, including cities and times.  They can be viewed by date below or by state.

By Date

2015 Race Schedule

September 27, 2015 – BMW Berlin Marathon (Berlin, GER)
August 23, 2015 – Fort2Base 10 Nautical Miler (North Shore, IL) – 1:19:08
July 19, 2015 – Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:39:12
July 5, 2015 – Media Maratón Correcaminos (San José, Costa Rica) – 1:34:37
May 9, 2015 – Fargo Marathon (Fargo, ND #43) – 3:16:07
February 15, 2015 – Lost Dutchman Marathon (Gold Canyon, AZ) – 3:41:08
January 25, 2015 – Lifetime Miami Half Marathon (Miami, FL) – 1:34:36

2014 Race Schedule (click for year-end recap)

November 1, 2014 – Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (Indianapolis, IN) – 3:22:14
October 5, 2014 – Maine Half Marathon (Portland, ME, #42) – 2:14:05
October 4, 2014 – New Hampshire Marathon (Bristol, NH, #41)3:37:54
September 20, 2014 – Air Force Marathon (Dayton, OH)4:47:34
July 20, 2014 – Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:32:33
June 21, 2014 – Bighorn Wild and Scenic Trail Run 50k (Dayton, WY, #40) – 7:27:51
June 7, 2014 – 13.1 Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:29:42
May 11, 2014 – Delaware Running Festival Marathon (Wilmington, DE, #39) – 3:37:59
May 10, 2014 – Maryland Half Marathon (Fulton, MD, #38) – 1:41:08
May 3, 2014 – Shiprock Marathon (Shiprock, NM, #37)3:28:03
April 6, 2014 – Go! St. Louis Marathon (St. Louis, MO) – 3:31:53
February 2, 2014 – Lifetime Miami Marathon (Miami, FL) – 3:55:57

2013 Race Reports (click for year-end recap)

November 17, 2013 – Philadelphia Marathon (Philadelphia, PA, #36)3:25:28
November 2, 2013 – Moab Trail Half Marathon (Moab, UT #35)2:19:22
October 6, 2013 – Portland Marathon (Portland, OR, #34) – 3:48:51
October 5, 2013 – Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon (Leavenworth, WA, #33) – 3:56:41
August 24, 2013 – North Country Run 50-Miler (Manistee, MI) – DNF
May 11, 2013 – Ice Age Trail 50k (LaGrange, WI) – 5:16:45
April 20, 2013 – Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz (Olathe, KS, #32) 3:46:18
April 14, 2013 – Cerros de Escazú Trail Run 21k (San José, Costa Rica) – 3:07:31
March 24, 2013 – NC Half Marathon (Charlotte, NC, #31) – 1:31:13
March 16, 2013 – Paleozoic Trail Run 25k (Willow Springs, IL) – 1:56:13
February 24, 2013 – Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans Marathon (New Orleans, LA, #30) – 3:23:12
January 13, 2013 – Walt Disney World Marathon (Lake Buena Vista, FL) – 3:38:40

2012 Race Reports (click for year-end recap)

December 15, 2012 – Hoover Dam Marathon (Lake Mead, NV, #29) – 3:35:47
November 18, 2012 – Williams Route 66 Marathon (Tulsa, OK, #28) – 3:27:01
October 21, 2012 – IMT Des Moines Marathon (Des Moines, IA, #27) – 3:25:12
September 30, 2012 – Run Crazy Horse Marathon (Hill City, SD, #26) 3:54:38
August 26, 2012 – Peapod Half Madness Half Marathon (Batavia, IL) – 1:36:14
August 18, 2012 – Leadville Trail 100 Crew (Leadville, CO)
July 22, 2012 – Madison Half Marathon (Gravelly Mountains, MT, #25) – 2:08:30
July 21, 2012 – Idaho Falls Half Marathon (Idaho Falls, ID, #24) – 1:47:22
July 8, 2012 – Media Maratón Correcaminos (San José, Costa Rica) – 1:40:57
June 16, 2012 – Grandma’s Marathon (Duluth, MN, #23) – 3:45:46
May 20, 2012 – Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon (Fredericksburg, VA, #22) – 1:32:01
May 5, 2012 – OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indianapolis, IN) – 1:32:19
April 28, 2012 – Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon (Louisville, KY, #21) – 1:30:47
April 7, 2012 – Oak Barrel Half Marathon (Lynchburg, TN, #20) – 1:33:58
March 4, 2012 – Little Rock Marathon (Little Rock, AR, #19) – 3:39:05
February 12, 2012 – Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon (Birmingham, AL, #18) – 1:34:39
January 29, 2012 – ING Miami Half Marathon (Miami, FL) – 1:40:26
January 21, 2012 – Polar Dash Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:41:56

2011 Race Reports (click for year-end recap)

December 11, 2011 – Holiday Half Marathon (Pomona, CA) – 1:37:18
November 6, 2011 – ING New York City Marathon (New York, NY, #17) – 3:54:00
October 9, 2011 – Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 3:57:16
October 1, 2011 – Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay (Lake Buena Vista, FL) – 2:00:42
September 4, 2011 – Tupelo Marathon (Tupelo, MS, #16) – 4:31:30
July 10, 2011 – XTERRA Trail Run (Columbia, SC, #15) – 2:34:43
June 26, 2011 – Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon (Fairfield, CT, #14) – 1:48:37
June 10 – 11, 2011 – Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay (Madison, WI to Chicago, IL)
May 28, 2011 – Traverse City State Bank Bayshore Marathon (Traverse City, MI, #13) – 3:40:59
May 1, 2011 – Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon (Cincinnati, OH, #12) – 1:37:24
April 17, 2011 – Horsetooth Half Marathon (Fort Collins, CO, #11) – 1:51:52
March 27, 2011 – Media Marathon Internacional Costa Rica (San José, Costa Rica) – 1:54:13
March 20, 2011 – Publix Georgia Half Marathon (Atlanta, GA, #10) – 1:39:56
February 20, 2011 – LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon (Austin, TX, #9) – 1:40:32
January 30, 2011 – ING Miami Half Marathon (Miami, FL) – 1:41:42

2010 Race Reports (click for year-end recap)

December 12, 2010 – Damascus Bakeries Tucson Half Marathon (Tucson, AZ, #8) – 1:32:06
October 10, 2010 – Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 4:05:22
September 12, 2010 – Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:38:43
September 5, 2010 – Disneyland Half Marathon (Anaheim, CA, #7) – 1:38:40
August 21, 2010 – Madison Mini-Marathon (Madison, WI) – 1:44:29
August 1, 2010 – Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:49:06
June 13, 2010 – North Shore Half Marathon (Highland Park, IL, #6) – 1:41:01
May 30, 2010 – Boston’s Run to Remember (Boston, MA, #5) – 1:41:13
May 8, 2010 – OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon (Indianapolis, IN, #4) – 1:40:32
May 1, 2010 – Wisconsin Half Marathon (Kenosha, WI, #3) – 1:43:53
April 11, 2010 – Go! St. Louis Half Marathon (St. Louis, MO, #2) – 1:46:35
January 31, 2010 – ING Miami Half Marathon (Miami, FL, #1) – 1:57:09

2009 Race Reports (click for year-end recap)

October 11, 2009 – Bank of America Chicago Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 4:03:21
September 13, 2009 – Chicago Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:51:04
June 7, 2009 – 13.1 Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:47:58
May 17, 2009 – Magellan Developments Spring Half Marathon (Chicago, IL) – 1:49:34

By State

Alabama (#18)2012 Mercedes-Benz Half Marathon
Arizona (#8)2010 Damascus Bakeries Tucson Half Marathon, 2015 Lost Dutchman  Marathon
Arkansas (#19)2012 Little Rock Marathon
California (#7)2010 Disneyland Half Marathon, 2011 Holiday Half Marathon
Colorado (#11) 2011 Horsetooth Half Marathon
Connecticut (#14) 2011 Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon
Delaware (#39)2014 Delaware Running Festival Marathon
Florida (#1) – 2010 ING Miami Half Marathon, 2011 ING Miami Half Marathon, 2011 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Relay, 2012 ING Miami Half Marathon, 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon, 2014 Lifetime Miami Marathon, 2015 Lifetime Miami Half Marathon
Georgia (#10) – 2011 Publix Georgia Half Marathon
Idaho (#24) – 2012 Idaho Falls Half Marathon
Illinois (#6) – 2009 Chicago Spring Half Marathon, 2009 13.1 Marathon, 2009 Chicago Half Marathon, 2009 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2010 North Shore Half Marathon, 2010 Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon, 2010 Chicago Half Marathon, 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon, 2012 Polar Dash Half Marathon, 2012 HalfMadness Half Marathon, 2013 Paleozoic Trail Run 25k, 2014 13.1 Marathon, 2014 Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon, 2015 Rock ‘n Roll Chicago Half Marathon
Indiana (#4)2010 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, 2012 OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon
Iowa (#27)2012 IMT Des Moines Marathon
Kansas (#32)2013 Garmin Marathon in the Land of Oz
Kentucky (#21)2012 Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon
Louisiana (#30)2013 Rock ‘n Roll New Orleans Marathon
Maine (#42)2014 Maine Half Marathon
Maryland (#38)2014 Maryland Half Marathon
Massachusetts (#5)2010 Boston’s Run to Remember
Michigan (#13)2011 Traverse City State Bank Bayshore Marathon, 2013 North Country Run 50-Miler
Minnesota (#23)2012 Grandma’s Marathon
Mississippi (#16)2011 Tupelo Marathon
Missouri (#2)2010 Go! St. Louis Half Marathon, 2014 Go! St. Louis Marathon
Montana (#25) – 2012 Madison Half Marathon
Nevada (#29)2012 Hoover Dam Marathon
New Hampshire (#41)2014 New Hampshire Marathon
New Jersey
New Mexico (#37)2014 Shiprock Marathon
New York (#17) – 2011 ING New York City Marathon
North Carolina (#31)2013 NC Half Marathon
North Dakota (#43)2015 Fargo Marathon
Ohio (#12) 2011 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon, 2014 Air Force Marathon
Oklahoma (#28)2012 Williams Route 66 Marathon
Oregon (#34) – 2013 Portland Marathon
Pennsylvania (#36)2013 Philadelphia Marathon
Rhode Island
South Carolina (#15)2011 XTERRA Trail Run
South Dakota (#26)2012 Run Crazy Horse Marathon
Tennessee (#20)2012 Oak Barrel Half Marathon
Texas (#9)2011 LIVESTRONG Austin Half Marathon
Utah (#35)2013 Moab Trail Half Marathon
Virginia (#22)2012 Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon
Washington (#33)2013 Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon
West Virginia
Wisconsin (#3)2010 Wisconsin Half Marathon, 2010 Madison Mini-Marathon, 2013 Ice Age Trail 50k
Wyoming (#40)2014 Bighorn Wild & Scenic Trail 50k

Bonus: San José, Costa Rica (Media Marathon Internacional 2011)

La Sabana, San José, Costa Rica

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this in a previous race report, but I’m Costa Rican.  I wasn’t born there, nor have I spent the majority of my life there.  But when asked “what” I am, either in conversation or on standardized testing, I identify myself as Costa Rican.  Both my parents were born and raised there and it is home to my entire family with only a small handful of exceptions.  I personally only spent my high-school years there, but those four years, combined with a lifetime of tico values have been enough to forever ally my cultural pride with the country.

When I started running about three years ago, all of my races were in Chicago.  Eventually, I started racing in other states, starting originally in the Midwest and then moving out to Florida and the East Coast.  The thought of running in Costa Rica was definitely on my mind but there were always several obstacles to overcome.  To elaborate on the challenge, let’s look at some of the greats.  2009 ING New York Marathon champion Meb Keflezighi and 2005 Chicago Marathon champion Deena Kastor both spend the majority of the year training at altitude in Mammoth Lakes, California.  This allows their body to adjust to the challenging terrain, strengthening their blood’s ability to carry oxygen to their muscles and thus achieving a competitive advantage at lower altitudes, such as New York and Chicago.  Similarly, marathon world record holder Paula Radcliffe trains in the altitude and heat of New Mexico and races more comfortably in cooler climates.

El nuevo Estadio Nacional

When I signed up for the 2011 Marathon Internacional Costa Rica, I was basically taking the opposite approach.  Not only is Chicago virtually at sea level and laughably flat, but it’s chilly in March.  San José is none of these things.  It’s very hilly, nestled at around 4,000 feet and can be baking in March.  So, given all of these variables, there was no way I would ever feel comfortable with my level of training before the race.  That wasn’t my only problem, but we’ll get to that later.

Under normal circumstances, I might have abstained from running this race.  It was in the middle of a typically hot month and didn’t quite fit in with my marathon training schedule.  However, the country was putting together the marathon as part of the inauguration ceremonies for a swanky new stadium in the heart of downtown San José.  The events would include soccer games, concerts, and four different races, all of which ended on the stadium track.  Given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, my decision was practically made for me.  My friend Gabriel, who was with me in Austin last February, had purchased a stack of tickets to Saturday’s inaugural game against China, who basically built the stadium as a gift to Costa Rica.  Though the game began at 8 PM, we found our seats an hour early and bore witness to a few Chinese dance numbers in addition to some pretty spectacular fireworks.

After that, we were treated to a definitively lackluster game that would have been a victory were it not for the last-minute Chinese goal to tie the score at 2-2.  I suppose it could have been worse, but Gabriel was understandably unhappy.

This picture was taken while we were winning

The festivities continued the next day with the marathon, marathon relay, half marathon, 8K and 4K races.  Now, if you’re someone who has a decent number of races under your belt and you’re faced with booking flights for said event, it would be sensible and logical to assume that it would be held in the morning.  If you have a job to go to on Monday, then a 5:35 PM departure time would allow you to race, relax, shower, eat and maybe even get an afternoon nap before having to head to the airport.

But all of that foresight goes to hell when the organizers set the start time for 2 PM.

The reasons for this counterintuitive schedule were many and the true one lost in the babble.  I was planning on running a slow race, given the challenging conditions.  Instead, I was now being forced to run under 1:55 to even have a shot at making my flight in time without showering.  For the first time, my finishing time would have real consequences.  I tried to change my flight but faced with fees up to $500, I decided, screw the system.  I will find a way to finish that race and board my flight come hell or high water.  Or maybe I’d just complain loudly enough at the ticketing counter and get put on the next day’s flight.  Or [insert miracle here].

That miracle would come in the shape of Mr. Gabriel Golcher.  His house was perfectly located not far from the finish line and he graciously offered it as a base of operations.  But while one problem was solved, more obstacles appeared.  One hour before the race started I learned that the half marathon was starting after the marathon.  The organizers were stealing precious minutes from me but since this delay wasn’t jeopardizing anyone else’s flight plans, the complaints from the field were few.  And yet, 2 PM arrives and the race announcer still hasn’t made up his mind as to which runners start first.  Every thirty seconds he fires out a new lineup, but ultimately defers to the race organizers who yes, put the half marathoners last.  Around 2:05 PM, the former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oscar Arias waved the checkered flag for the several thousand strong that were out to tackle at least 21.1 kilometers.

The beginning was fun.  Most races bunch up a bit around the start corral before everyone takes off at their race pace.  However, the space was a bit tight and people were squeezing in very close to each other, as if at a concert.  You couldn’t go any faster than the person in front of you and everyone was bouncing up and down to the tune of the start music.  It would have been easy to complain but this party atmosphere was too infectious (but didn’t last long).  It thinned out about a minute into the race as runners head east on Avenida las Americas on the north side of La Sabana, a large recreational park in the middle of San José.

Avenida las Americas

The weather was harsh.  Even waiting behind the start line, I could feel the heat on my shoulders.  As we entered el Paseo Colón and later Avenida Segunda, shade was scarce.  Though it was tough to ignore the heat, I still managed to absorb the race’s early stages and point out the logistical hiccups (which some might affectionately call “local idiosyncrasies”).  For example, when the race zigzags from Paseo Colón to Avenida Segunda, many racers cut the corner.  However, the leader of the race was already on his way back and faced many racers running right at him.  Many spectators were also ignoring “typical” racing etiquette and were crossing the street in large groups and at pedestrian paces.  None of this bothered me; it just served to fondly illustrate Costa Rica’s nascent running culture.

Once back at the perimeter of La Sabana around mile 4, giant clouds rolled over the city and blocked the sun for the rest of the day.  From there it would be a 2-mile gradual downhill to the American Embassy.  The streets were packed with spectators and in some areas, such as the beginning of the stretch down Pavas, they narrowed the course to only two shoulder widths.  Water stations were eagerly handing out bolis, plastic pouches full of water that you tear open with your teeth and inevitably spray all over yourself and neighbors.  The combination of great crowd support with the downhill slope made it easy to keep up a fast pace during this stretch.

The top of the Rohrmoser climb

But what goes down must come up.  The course eventually veers north toward el Boulevard de Rohrmoser, taking runners all the way back to the start of the course for the second circuit.  Interrupted only once by a bridge, it is a constant uphill flanked by beautiful homes and divided by equally scenic trees.  The top of the hill marks the end of mile 8 and the beginning of the second, shorter loop.  After the long slog up the boulevard, I was panting and in no mood to speed up.  However, once back on the downhill towards Pavas, I was back at my regular stride.  Once again, the crowds were out in full force, keeping runners confident and facing forward.  During this second loop I noticed that several water stations were completely tapped, which made me very grateful that I had brought a water bottle.

It should go without saying that the second climb up el boulevard Rohrmoser was easier the first time around.  I stopped to walk just before turning the corner to take a swig of lukewarm water before attempting the last climb of the day.  I kept my sight slightly downward, staring at the pavement or at the feet of the person in front of me.  I didn’t want to see how much more of the hill I had left and instead focused on moving my feet forward.  I had carried the race with an 8:30 pace up until this point, but the two remaining miles would push it back to the 8:40’s, right as the course enters the new Estadio Nacional for the last 0.1 miles.  Running on the track was pretty spectacular.  Not only was it a remarkably soft surface, but it was great to see the panoramic views of the arched design with many supporters cheering for their friends and family.

Finishing in 1:54:13, I grabbed my medal (which was actually more of a trophy) and continued running.  I had to dash out of the stadium, out of La Sabana and cut across the race course to make it to Gabriel’s house, where my parents were waiting to take me to the airport.  It was 4:00 PM and my flight was leaving in 90 minutes.  Since I had everything already laid out in its place, I ran in, bagged my clothes, showered and left within ten minutes.  With my dad behind the wheel, we made it to the airport in about fifteen minutes, just under the cutoff for international flights.  I must confess – though I was happy to run in Costa Rica and very proud of my finishing time given the circumstances, I was most thrilled about making my flight.  It’s not that I wanted to leave Costa Rica, because that’s never the case.  It was more about making sure all the meticulous planning, house-borrowing and hair-raising drive hadn’t all gone to waste.

Though this race got me no closer to completing my goal of running in all fifty states, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I certainly can’t speak for the majority of the field, but I personally had a great time despite the flaws and subpar organization.  It’s the 15th edition of the Marathon Internacional, but it has never been this large, which goes a little way to explain the event’s faults.  However, I’m glad I made it out to San José and into the stadium with 9,000 other ticos for what was, for better or worse, an unforgettable race.

Safely at the gate

State 10: Georgia (2011 Publix Georgia Half Marathon)

I lived in Kennesaw, a neighborhood of Georgia just north of Atlanta, from 1984 to the summer of 1997.  I spent the most formative of those years at J.T. Walker School, a private school on Parkway 41 in Marietta.  During middle school, I made my first group of friends only to leave them at the end of 8th grade.  It was a particularly difficult time for me because I had just become aware of the value of friends.  I guess it would be accurate to say I had taken them for granted until I was faced with the very real possibility of never seeing them again.  This sudden cognizance became an additional obstacle in the process of settling in a new country.  Despite a few weeklong visits in the summers to come, it was clear that everyone, myself included, was moving on.

But many years later, thanks to the reticulated clutches of AIM and much later Facebook, we were no longer completely uninformed of each other’s lives.  Now we fast-forward to the beginning of the year, when I learn that Brian and Nolan, two of my best friends from that era, had independently signed up for the 2011 Publix Georgia Half Marathon.  It felt very serendipitous, especially since they themselves had not kept in touch with each other since graduating from high school.  Without hesitating, I made plans to run the race and simultaneously take a disorienting trip down memory lane.

I spent 3rd through 8th grade here

Before any racing could happen, I had to get down to catching-up with these kids.  Regrettably, Brian had just come down with something and was under lockdown for the weekend, so we were unable to see him.  Nolan played the role of gracious host for the weekend, letting me crash with him and his fat Manx cat, who he affectionately calls “Cat.”  We drove up to Walker on Saturday and walked around the school campus, hashing out a few hazy memories and unreliably piecing together where everything used to be.  It was very trippy.  In recent years, my recollections of Walker were all very hazy, almost dreamlike.  In a strange way, walking through the empty halls of the school confirmed the fact that I was once a student there.  Time can distance you from something so much that you feel like the gap between becomes completely unbridgeable.  So it’s a warm feeling when you realize it just takes a stroll to feel comfortable again.

Meet "Cat"

That night we went to another 8th grade former classmate’s house.  Alex Demestihas, his wife, two brothers and seventeen dogs played host after finishing an excellent landscaping project on the backyard.  The highlight (no pun intended) of the night was the anticipation and eventual beholding of the Supermoon, which we all agreed was anticlimactic because it didn’t blind us or show up with an angry face or show Jesus riding it on a saddle made of plutonium. 

The next morning, I woke up at 4:10 AM and began my regular morning ritual.  I was even up before Cat could gurgle in my ears like he did the night before.  Nolan’s friend David and his friend Josh arrived just before 6 and the four of us were off toward the starting line at Centennial Olympic Park.  The race started right on time at 7 AM with a downhill dash through the streets of downtown Atlanta.  From there, it turns north onto Piedmont Avenue and later turns back south toward Old Fourth Ward, where crowd support was plenty and loud.  All weather predictions had forecasted low 50’s for Sunday but Saturday was crazy hot for March and kept the morning temperatures hovering around 63ºF.  The humidity was also a bit high, so those first two or three urban miles weren’t good harbingers of good luck.  I was pretty worried going into mile 4 that I wasn’t going to be able to secure a good time, mostly because of the uphills.  However, it wasn’t long before breezes cut across the course. 

Around then, the course continues east toward Inman Park and Little Five Points before entering the Carter Center, the landmark that boasted the steepest hill.  Once at the top of the hill, it basically slopes immediately back down at a very sharp incline, which made it impossible to descend at a regular pace.  In fact, my pace was wild.  Since the course has very few stretches of consistently flat road, I employed my Austin strategy of killing it on the downhills just enough to keep a good average pace after slogging back up.  To my relief, the hills weren’t at all steep, just numerous.  Prior to running, we had seen various landmarks that would dot the course, so despite my pathetic sense of orientation and direction, I got a good feel for where I was the whole time.  It was a very scenic and varied course that never lost sight of the city, which reminded me a lot of Boston’s Run to Remember. 

Midtown keeping an eye on Piedmont Park

At mile 7 the course turns north on Highland Avenue and later west on Virginia Avenue.  This was the point where I began strategizing.  We had all studied the elevation chart beforehand and knew the last two miles of the race were going to be mostly uphill.  If I planned on that inevitable slowdown I would have to put in some fast miles as a cushion.  So once on Park Drive, where the course enters the recreational haven known as Piedmont Park, I had logged two sub-7:20 splits on my way to the worst miles.  After exiting Piedmont Park on 10th Street, the course veers southwest towards Georgia Tech’s campus and passes the Coca-Cola building, where my dad worked for several years in the 80’s.  It then makes a 270-degree turn onto Marietta Street for the final stretch. 

Nolan and I both benefited from dramatically over-inflating the grueling climb we’d be facing at the end because that last mile uphill wasn’t as nightmarish as we had thought.  However, I felt under the gun by my watch.  A PR wasn’t in the cards, but if I wanted to beat my Austin time, I had to run a relatively fast 13th mile and scorch the end.  I was feeling the burn in my legs but not to the point that I couldn’t kick a little harder.  So I went for it, passing many runners on that smooth uphill until reaching Centennial Olympic Park.  As a welcome reward, the final 0.1 mile sprint was all downhill, allowing me to sneak in just under 1:40 (1:39:56) for my third fastest time.

This was Nolan’s second race at this distance, having finished the 2010 Atlanta Half Marathon last Thanksgiving.  However, he put in serious training for the Publix run, so he was out to validate his efforts … and validate he did to the tune of a 6-minute improvement, finishing in 1:46:30.  Josh finished his debut half shortly afterward in just over 1:52 with David “D-Rob” Robinson triumphantly boasting a no-training finish in 2:21. 

Me, Josh, D-Rob, NoMo

Enter the Vortex

After the luster of finishing wore off, we walked back to the car and drove home.  The post-race bloodlust for a greasy burger led us to Vortex, a local burger joint that proudly swanks three artery-clogging burgers: the Coronary Bypass, the Double Bypass and the unimaginably heart stopping slop fest known as the Super-Stack Heart Attack Burger (read the description below – it’s a mess).  Since we had just run a half marathon, we felt entitled to these prizes.  But since we had run just a half marathon, we went for the Coronary Bypass and avoided the more serious threats to our health.

With ten states under my belt, I’m a fifth of the way through this fun journey.  But more importantly, I got a chance to touch base with someone I hadn’t seen in over ten years.  This weekend I have my first international race in Costa Rica, for which I will never truly be prepared.  On that note, I’m back to hitting the pavement.

Ah, America.


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