ECS Atlanta – Year 2

20121025-104411.jpg50.6 mi. It’s a big difference coming back to the site of a race you’re already familiar with. I had no pre-race jitters or anxiety. I was very confident I could give a sustained effort and really be in my own head for 10+ hours. This is what I kept explaining to my four friends that came along this year – it’s plenty of time with you getting inside your head. Plenty of time alone feeling the soreness and pain of incline and descent. The course is largely in the shade, except for a section of forest damaged by a tornado 2 seasons ago. I’ll put my thoughts in bulleted list format this time. I’m sure I’ll add to them as I remember more things about the race. They will not be in order.

  • My training was good, always could use more hills and lung conditioning. I walked up hills when it looked like an ankle-beating rock garden.
  • The weather was nice, warmer than last year at the start. I was with Angie at the start, we ran together for maybe an hour in the dark. I fell with my left hand hitting a half buried pyramid shaped rock, numbing my thumb and wrist for awhile. Good save for my face, byt painful for the rest of the day. It also kept me from alternating the water bottle like I wanted to in the earlier miles. I was able to do it in the later miles and the pain subsided.
  • My headlamp had marginal batteries, I should ALWAYS start with a new set! They worked fine at home, in the hotel,a nd around the start area. But a few miles down the trail, it got dim. I stayed near slower people that had bright lights, but it was tough following them.
  • I run sloppy at someone else’s pace. Slower makes me tri up more often.
  • I’d consider bringing a Surefire handheld light next time in addition to the headlamp.
  • Nutrition was same as last year – Carbo Pro in a bottle held across the back of my waist, and half mixed colored Nuun or Gu Brew in a handheld bottle. I didn’t use Succeed pills this year or carry any gels or bars. Good enough for the race leaders to live off the aid stations, good enough for me too!
  • I ate the small red sliced potatoes dipped in salt. Tried pretzels, but after the second aid station everyone’s pretzels were stale.
  • I had chicken broth at some stops, too. Sometimes even cold, but I wanted the salty brine water in me. I asked for pickle juice at Tower station mile 28, no good, they didn’t have it.20121025-104449.jpg
  • I found the “church lady” that helped Suzanne and I with the ankle wrapping last year. I have a picture of her as proof. Maybe that’s the 23 seconds that threw my time over the 11 hour mark? Or the hug and greeting for Lani and Shelby when I saw them on the course? Or the four “to my knees or belly” wipeouts? The list is longer I promise…
  • I fell passing an older runner at mile 18. My Garmin popped off of it’s velcro strap, the two metal axle pins being lost inn the sand. I held the watch face in my hand for the next 32 miles.
  • I found I wasn’t really in control of my legs at all times. Some trails saw me run and have my knees hit each other. Other times I’d see a root or obstacle, decide to run around it or over it, and I just kicked it or tripped over it. You have to run this race as if you could be thrust face first into the ground at any time.
  • I saw Dean Karnazes running at me on the course – he apparently fell or ran into a tree because later on Sunday, he had bandages on his leg!
  • I saw race winner Hal Koerner too, he was at my best guess 9 miles ahead of me at my mile 22.
  • I liked the ice baths and foot baths at the finish line village.20121025-104506.jpg
  • I only got lost for a small time, under 2 minutes, where I backtracked to find the orange course marking ribbons again. It was in a low, stream crossing area in the 30-40 mi portion of the course.
  • I took long to get through the mile 25-27 stream crossing section again
  • We ate dinner both nights at the same restaurants Suzanne and I chose last year. Only this time I didn’t fall asleep at the post race dinner. I really didn’t think I did last year, either…
  • I am super appreciative of the lululemon crew for allowing me to demo R&D the colorful tank top I used in the race. Taht and a pair of yoga pants I already had made for a good race day uni!
  • I went back the next morning because looking at the results I discovered both Shelby and I scored second place prizes in our respective age groups! A very welcome surprise. Looks like I missed entering the WS100 by 22 seconds, but this is a sweet consolation.



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