Atlanta Monster Dash 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Half Marathon #22
Georgia half #7
12 in 2012 race #10
 

I signed up for the Atlanta Monster Dash at the Peachtree Road Race expo back in July for $40. The race included a dryfit type hat and running jacket and my bib and chip timer were given to me when I signed up.  No packet pick for me.  My goal was to finish out my 12 in 2012 without spending too much money traveling this year. This race fit in perfectly, and, it was a Halloween themed race. PERFECT.

I started to get a bit worried when I checked the facebook page and noticed that packet pickup was a disaster, they were running out of jackets and hats very early on, and they changed the race course 2 DAYS before the race from a really cool course to a loop crap course. I was worried that there would be very little volunteers and it would be terrible.

I asked a question about hydration on the course and never got an answer. I was freaking out that there would only be water. Not impressed with lack of communication.

I guess some of that is to be expected with an inaugural race, but, Team Ortho is not new to races. Just new to Atlanta.

Pre Race

My friday night was spent carb and NUUN loading and catching up on blogs. I woke up around 6am for the routine peanut butter and bagel and Kona Kola NUUN.  I left my house by 6:30 to make sure parking wasn’t a nightmare (the race start was less than 3 miles from my house), found a $5 lot instead of the $15-20 they advertised (score) and had plenty of time to hit a real bathroom in the Georgia World Congress Center (score again) and had time to take some pictures.

NIke tank, team sparkle skirt and leg sleeves, tough chick arm sleeves, rainbow belt made from suspenders bought at party city
sparklysoul blue headband and the blue star near the eye for the final touch. no, didn’t go with a blond wig!

Rainbow Brite was ready to go! The race, however, didn’t seem to be. Everyone was standing around at 7:25 when the the announcer finally says the race start is down the street. Thanks for the heads up. I notice that the finish line only has water…hmm…

Walk to the start and notice there is barely anyone running this race. Less than 500 for sure. I line up around the 830 pace and we are off!

not crowded up front!
I was next to the zombie-like lady for the last half

Miles 1-8

The first few miles were uneventful. Ran through the streets of downtown Atlanta. It was dark, there were homeless people, and that was about it. The highlight of the beginning of the race was around mile 3. I saw one stripper, carrying another drunk stripper, back towards their cars. And mob-looking men were waiting in their suits near these said cars.  This is a few minutes before 8am. Solid, Atlanta, solid.

I also called it, the first 2 aid stations didn’t have sports drink. I was panicking. I asked if they had any at the race, and one volunteer said no.  I tried to just enjoy the race and told myself to pull back if necessary.

early on in the morning. loving my NUUN and Team Sparkle tattoos!

Mile 5 or so was my favorite-we ran by the Oakland Cemetery-one of Atlanta’s Halloween-ish landmarks. Mile 6 or so brought real fluids-there was powerade! Other than that, the race was hill, turn, hill, turn. And lonely. Very, very lonely. I ran near the same 2 people for most of this part of the race and never saw anyone other than. I think I saw 5 people cheering total.

The course looped back near the start around mile 7. Time to repeat the whole race.

Miles 9-13.1

Same loops, same homeless people cheering, same sites. Not much to say.  The one thing I did that I think really helped was take a second GU. Sounds crazy to some, but I learned this from Robin last weekend. I brought 2 to be safe, in case there wouldn’t be sports drink. I also wanted a boost of energy at the end since last weekends race was such a struggle. I took 1/2 a GU around mile 10 or 11. I really, really think that helped me get through the end of the race with energy.

kinda scary face but let’s talk about those awesome quad muscles.

The race honestly felt like a long run. No one to really chase on the course, no course cheering, no entertainment. The best part about it was how well the cops handled the road blocking. I never had an issue and it was a very small race.

The last mile was actually the coolest-the 5K leader was catching up to the finish (10K and 5K started after the 1/2 marathon). I had a police escort for the last 1/2 mile or so. And I had someone fast to try and keep up with! Thank goodness for it, because it got me to my goal.

finish line push!

Official Results

I had originally said the big goal would be a sub 1:50. And I just hit it. I am really happy about that. The rankings didn’t hurt my ego either. 🙂 The beauty of small races. 4th in my AG, 16th overall female.

one perk: the monster dash peeps uploaded some of the official race pics to facebook. thanks for saving me $$. 🙂

Garmin Results

i swear the hills were a bit more. and how is my garmin not identical to the previous 6 miles? someone else posted different elevation from his garmin to the race FB page.

Post Race

Post race food wasn’t impressive. No sports drink (thank goodness for bottled water and NUUN in the car), bananas that were green, granola bars, string cheese and candy. I think there was a free beer but I was cold and in a hurry to get home.

empty finish line
a little halloween decor
post race food. or should i say, junk food?

There was a post race band, so that was nice, but other than that it was just good costume viewing-nothing worth hanging out for (no desire to hang around for the costume contest). I realized how many more people ran the 10K and 5K and their costumes were way cooler than most of the 1/2 marathoners (to be expected with less miles).

very proud of my running gear turned costume
passed these 3 near the finish. i think they did the 10K. loved their costumes!

I grabbed a few pictures of the finish and left. I had to get ready to head to Auburn for the game.  Turned out to be a very long, but fun day. Auburn was great, even though the team lost. I had a chance to enjoy my college fav: Momma Goldbergs as a post race treat.

turkey delite and nachos! (i.e. doritos and pepper jack cheese).

Overall

Favs:

  • cost
  • medal
  • cops on course-really, really, awesome

Not so Much:

  • disorganization (no response on FB questions from multiple runners, running out of shirts, late starting race, no direction at beginning, wrong results-had to email to fix)
  • lack of fluids (sports drink)
  • course change
  • false claims about race/things that didn’t exist (post race party, entertainment on course)
  • belt buckle, jacket

The Bling

I actually think the medal is pretty cool. It’s stained glass and halloween themed. I really could do without the belt buckle. The jacket and hat are nice enough, just not something I will use that much (I have plenty of others I like).

belt buckle and medal

Final Thoughts

The ONLY reason I would give this race second chance is because it’s the inaugural Atlanta race. There are way too many things that need to be worked out. But, I do like the fact that the race is themed, it’s easy for me to get to, and it’s on a Saturday. I would not recommend this race for out of town runners or anyone racing the states. Maybe in a few years if the race improves. And honestly, if I were going to recommend it to Atlanta runners, I would only say do it if you get in cheap like I did. $40 isn’t bad at all. I do hope the race director reads this and realizes how much needs to be worked out. You have to communicate with your runners. Team Ortho has other races and should know better. Don’t wait to the last minute. And please, market a bit more, a bigger crowd would be way more fun.

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Elizabeth

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18 Comments

  • I had the worst experience with Monster Dash in Chicago — and it was NOT our inaugural year. First of all the course was on the lakefront path and they didn’t even close it off, so we were crunched together because the trail was narrow AND had to dodge bikers and regular joggers/dog walkers. They offered water & energy drinks at every station but it wasn’t gatorade/powerade, it was some knock off brand that tasted like medicine! No photographers that I saw, and total disorganization at gearcheck/start line. I had a good run, but will never pay for this race again!

  • I hate this race wasn’t more fun. It sounds like a great idea in theory and I would have thought more people would have done a Halloween-themed half. At least you were able to get a good deal on the race. Momma G’s is one of my favorites and the original one always makes the best sandwiches I think!

  • Wow – sore ankle & a 1:50 a short time later! YOU are SO MY HEROINE! Awesome Elizabeth. Love your outfit, too. Too bad this wasn’t the est race ever but hard to beat the price & medal for sure.

    • I actually just bought rainbow suspenders from party city, cut them up, and pinned the rainbow under my bib so it looked like a belt.

  • I think the scariest part is the empty finish line. Well, that or the strippers. Ha ha ha! Love your costume, though. Efficient for running AND cute!

    I will say that Mama Goldbergs makes one amazing sub. Brooke and I used to get them every time I visited her in Auburn. I haven’t been back to Mobile in ages, but I hear there’s one there now. Wonder if it’s as good as the original?

  • Sometimes races like this help you to concentrate on your running and help you to make it to your goal. Congrats on your sub-1:50. I really think that extra bit of gel at the end really helped me in my race as well; so glad you thought so too. Nice job!

  • Congratulations! Obviously the race itself wasn’t the best, but you still met your goal without having others around you to help you push, and with less-than-optimal hydration options….something to be majorly proud of! It sounds like an interesting race. I love the concept, and I’m sorry they couldn’t have executed it better. Hopefully it’s just one of those that just needs a little time to work out the kinks

    Love your costume!

  • You got some really good race pics in this race! Huge improvement over the RW race 🙂 Have you thought about carrying a handheld for races where you are worried about sports drink not being there? If you are running for fun, probably not necessary, but if you are racing, it might help. It is kind of a pain in the ass to carry, but you do get used to it. I did it in Houston and then again at B2B and was SO glad in both cases that I had Nuun there when I needed it…plus I really like having a pocket to carry Gu or a phone or whatever…

  • Sounds like a pretty good deal for only $40. I hate when websites do not put info on their sites. and why have Facebook if you aren’t going to monitor it and answer questions.

  • I just ran the Moster Dash is Minneapolis – which is where Team Ortho started the Monster Dash and just this year expanded I think. They do a REALLY amazing job in Minneapolis – it’s the best race I run all year from an organizational standpoint. Tons of people run it every year. They have a half marathon and a 10 mile option, which is awesome for the Fall. And they have live bands that play throughout the course – I think this year there were 8 live bands. Pretty amazing race here, so give them this year to figure it out, but I bet by next year it’s going to be a run you will want to do every year. Or at least I hope so because it’s one of my faves every year. 🙂

  • That is too funny you went as rainbow brite… I was seriously thinking about being her for halloween! awesome time period, let alone with just coming off an injury. You are going to rock 2013!

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