Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Atlanta, Georgia - Marathon

I spent the last few days in Atlanta, Georgia visiting my father and running the Publix Georgia Marathon.  Between racing and spending time with my Dad, there was also some free time to see new sights in the Atlanta area.

View of Atlanta from my hotel room

We spent most of Friday visiting Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park, a Civil War battlefield during the Atlanta Campaign, where fighting occurred from June 19 until July 2, 1864.  Kennesaw Mountain rises sharply above the surrounding landscape and it provides great views of the Atlanta skyline and nearby Stone Mountain.  The area seemed to be a  popular spot for bikers and runners looking to add some elevation to their workouts.  We spent some time at the top of the mountain enjoying the views before heading back down to the visitor center and museum.  The visitor center had a fantastic film about the battle at Kennesaw along with general information about the Civil War.

Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park

On Friday night, Dad, Carol, and I joined a ghost tour of Roswell, GA.  No ghosts were spotted on our tour but it was a great way to see some of the historic buildings in Roswell, learn the history of the area, and hear stories about some of its early residents.

Bulloch Hall built in 1839

Ghost tour of Roswell, GA

We spent Saturday morning walking around the old Roswell cotton mills and Vickery Creek. During the Civil War, nearly 400 workers at the cotton mills were charged with treason for manufacturing Confederate materials and shipped North on trains.  Most of them never returned.

Vickery Creek Dam

After picking up my race packet at the marathon expo, we spent the rest of Saturday afternoon walking around downtown Atlanta and visiting Centennial Olympic Park.  The brick that I purchased to help pave the park for the 1996 Olympic Games was still there with my name on it.

The race started at Centennial Olympic park at 7 am on Sunday morning with cool temperatures and cloudy skies, ideal conditions for running a marathon.  The route took us on a 26.2 mile loop out of downtown Atlanta, past Little Five Points and Decatur, up around Druid Hills and Piedmont Park, and back to downtown through Georgia Tech, ending back at Centennial Olympic Park.  As expected, the course was challenging with nearly continuous hills throughout.  There were few places that the course was flat, and after more than 20 miles of hills, the energy lost to the constant elevation changes began to take a toll on my pace.  I finished with a time of 3:30, a time I am very happy with considering the difficulty of the course.

Georgia Marathon Expo

Approaching the finish line

With Dad at the finish line

A huge thanks to Dad and Carol for coming out to support me during the race.  I saw them at mile 8, 13, and the finish.  It was a great race and a fantastic visit to Atlanta.  Also - thanks for the pictures, Dad!