Quads were jello on the warm up... sure sign of nerves (the good ones). Started near the back of the field and tried to be as relaxed as possible. Still got sucked out fast but I focused on slowing down the whole first loop. The wind was brutal, honestly worse than the hills. Had a little bit of a cramp around 5 I think from doubling up on gel at the start and then Maurten at 2. I skipped the bottle at 6 and just had a sip of water. Jordan (Kyle) and I stuck together through halfway, hitting the planned halfway split of around 1:09:08
Definitely had some fatigue in the quads early from all the descents, so continued to try to hold back as much as I could. Started to feel the field break up at the end of the second 8 mile loop. Jordan fell off my shoulder around there as well. Decided it was time to start moving up. Got rolling on the long descent with Alan Peterson (Illinois) and made up several spots. Jonathan Aziz (Colorado) joined us at the turnaround and helped me stay engaged and push the pace going back up Peachtree. I saw some guys at the hairpin up ahead and made goals to catch a few of them. Jackson Neff (IL), Reed Fisher (CO), Joe Stilin (NC), Lou Serafini (MA), and Tyler Jermann (MN) were a few I recognized.
Last bottle stop at 22 went well and I thought I had quite a bit left, so I was pretty confident. The final spur out past the rings totally broke me though. I beat Aziz up the hill but when we hit the top he surged into the wind and it about knocked me over. Barely stayed engaged for the next mile and then totally went to survival mode going past the stadium. Everyone looked horrible. I felt like we were all walking (we were still running 5:40-50 pace but it felt so slow). The wind was roaring in your face. Finally got to the downhill to the finish and was able to pass one more person. Definitely the hardest course and race I’ve ever run. I think I judged my effort just about perfectly. Didn’t make any big moves and made up around 40-50 spots over the last 10 miles (including many many DNFs ahead of course). If I could change one thing I would avoid running into the wind as much as I did early. I had no choice late but I should have either joined a slightly faster or slower group to stay out of the gusts on the first loop or two.
We’ll see what’s next for me. I’d like to take a shot at sub 2:15 or better this fall. Looking forward to many more marathons in the future. Hopefully also OT in 2024.
My race started out really well, but unfortunately, the second half went poorly. I had nutrition issues, which caused me to struggle from mile 16 and eventually I got sick (and threw up) at mile 23. The crowds were so amazing though and cheered me to keep going, so I kept slowly jogging and managed to finish the race in 3:03. While I was disappointed my stomach/nutrition was what slowed me down, I felt so loved with so many friends and family supporting me. I even teared up at the end because I've never felt more proud to have finished a race.
Thank you especially to Atlanta Track Club for hosting such an amazing event. It was so nice to be able to run with so many other women and help push each-other on. I will remember it forever and would love to race again in 2024!
Fort Wayne, IN
Three Rivers Racing
Of special note, Notre Dame alum and past USATF Indiana member Molly Seidel finished second to make the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team. Competing in her first marathon she ran 2:27:31.