Day 7 of 8 – 8.55 Miles In Atlanta, Georgia

Georgia, Georgia
The whole day through (the whole day through)
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind (Georgia on my mind)

Georgia is where I’ll end my 2013 trip.  Friday, I run Atlanta, and on Saturday, I run Athens. Atlanta is another one of those cities that I’ve spent time in but have not been able to explore fully. I arrived in Atlanta via Megabus at 3:30pm on Thursday. I would be staying just two blocks away in the Hilton Atlanta as Tillie is in town for work. A hotel stay at this point in the trip is always nice, and I had nothing planned for the evening besides a little work, writing, stretching, soaking and sleeping.

I woke up on Friday morning ready to tackle the city.
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Tillie and I drove to Georgia Tech to drop off the car so we’d have a way back upon finishing the run. My running buddy for the day, Jeremy Sale, picked us up at Georgia Tech, we dropped off Tillie at the Hilton and headed to Grant Park where we would start. Jeremy is a Phi Delt from Mercer University and works in admissions at Oglethorpe University. Jeremy and I ran the Mercedes-Benz Half-Marathon in Birmingham a few years ago. He’s been a huge advocate of the Fraternity’s Iron Phi program, and I always enjoy meeting up with him.

Leaving Grant Park, our first stop would be Turner Field, the home of the Atlanta Braves. Just outside Turner Field stands the Olympic Flame from the 1996 Summer Olympics.

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One very neat thing about Turner Field is that they left the old wall from Fulton County Stadium standing in the parking lot. They’ve wrapped it into the layout of the parking lot, but it is a reminder of the old. How cool is that?

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Another piece of history remains. In the middle of that lot stands a small marker of where Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run. I used the location to thank Bronk and Jessica Harms for their donation. Bronk is an Iowa State Phi Delt and is probably one of the main reasons why I joined. He was my orientation guide and sparked my interest in Greek life upon entering Iowa State. I’ve been able to visit Bronk and Jess a few times while on the road, and it’s always a great time. I’ve even battled his Boxer Pancha in a few tug-o-war competitions, with my teeth.

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We entered a little area near the stadium to check out a few statues. I grew up watching the Braves (as did many). They are lucky to have the connection with Turner as it has spread their popularity across the nation over the years. There are many Braves fans. At Turner Field I thanked Ernie Chan for his donation. Ernie is a Phi Delt from Dalhousie University and has done many great things for the chapter.

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Ernie’s contribution to this blog, when he ran Halifax, Nova Scotia, is one of my favorites to be posted. He ran 60KMs or 37.3 miles! Check it out by clicking his picture below. It was awesome!

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From Turner Field, Jeremy and I headed to the Georgia State Capitol. What a beautiful structure! Its golden dome reminded me of Iowa. Here, I thanked Drew Miller once again for his donation. That’s two state capitols on this trip for Drew!

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From the Capitol building, our next stop would be the Martin Luther King National Historic Site. Included in the site are MLK’s boyhood home, his church, his grave, and a museum that celebrates his life.  These places are critical components in the interpretation of the life of Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy as a leader of the American civil rights movement. Our first stop was his church – Ebenezer Baptist.

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And then his grave. Here I thanked my pal Steve Huang. Steve and I sat next to each other on a plane awhile back as he was coming to Des Moines for work and I was returning home. We had a fun conversation and have stayed in touch since. Thanks for your donation Steve!

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Heading back downtown, we passed a few more MLK-related things, including a bust.

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And a giant mural of Congressman John Lewis.

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We ran back to the Hilton to meet up with Tillie. She would be running the remaining miles with us. I was pumped to have her by my side. One person who does not receive enough thanks throughout this crazy run that I do is Tillie. When I started this last year, it was much easier for me to leave because Calvin had not been born. Well this year, leaving for a week was definitely a bit tougher. My wife is amazing, and I adore her.  She’s an amazing mother and supports me in everything that I do.

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The three of us headed to the World of Coca-Cola, an interactive museum for Coca-Cola. As you can guess, Coca-Cola is headquartered in Atlanta and its footprint is everywhere. Here, I thanked my pal Jeremy and enjoyed a refreshing beverage. Note to self – While Coke is delicious, Coke while running is not a great idea.

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Across the road is an entrance to Centennial Park, a park that was developed for the 96 Olympics. If you remember, it is also where the bombing occurred. We found this neat celebratory plaque, and I thanked Neil & Suzanne Alexander one more time.

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Our next stop was the CNN Center. The CNN Center is the world headquarters of the Cable News Network. The main newsrooms and studios for several of CNN’s news channels are located in the building. The facility’s commercial office space is occupied entirely by CNN and its parent company, Turner Broadcasting System, a division of Time Warner. Here, I thanked Chris Yow. Chris and I have met through this blog, and he lives in Costa Rica. He’s contributed to the blog and to read it, click his picture below. He even rocked a Cyclone shirt during his run!

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thank-you-collage

Our next stop was Georgia’s famous dome, the Georgia Dome. The Dome is home of many great concerts and athletic events. Home of the Atlanta Falcons and the SEC Championship Game, it is a hub for activity. When I began my fundraising efforts, the Georgia Dome was one of the first landmarks purchased. My good friend Keith Wysocki, a Nebraska Phi Delt and former colleague of mine, enjoys a good Ludacris lyric as much as I do. What’s an Atlanta post without a Luda reference right? So, in honor of Keith (and Ludacris), I leave you with one of my favorite lyrics.

I’ve just realized that none of Ludacris’ lyrics are appropriate for this blog. Keith, I’ll text it to you.

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From the Dome, we ran to the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest. I improvised a bit on my Runner’s Choice thank-you to my sister and brother-in-law. I decided to thank their two boys, and my nephews, Will and Graham, or as I like to call them Will.i.Graham. They’d enjoy the aquarium greatly.

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From the aquarium, we headed towards Georgia Tech. Did you know that the College Football Hall of Fame is moving from South Bend, Indiana to Atlanta? I didn’t. I’m sure they’ll get more traffic!

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We arrived at Georgia Tech, which is one beautiful campus by the way! We found the Lawrence “Mr. Chip” Wood Robert, Jr. Alumni House. Chip is my colleague Jon Rogowski’s great-great-grandfather! How cool is that?  Here, I thanked Jon. Jon is the Director of Chapter Services for Phi Delta Theta and is an Iron Phi himself. Jon, it was truly fun to thank you here!

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Tillie works for the Iowa State Alumni Association, so it was fun for her to go into the building to look around. I don’t have any ties to GT, but I want this large statue of Buzz.

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Across the road is the University’s football stadium, where the Yellow Jackets play. It’s very cool as it’s built right into the campus.

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We stopped at the Phi Delt house to take a picture.

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Jeremy checked-in to the Phi Delt house on Foursquare and unlocked this awesome badge!

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We found the John Heisman plaque just outside the football stadium.

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And located one of the mile markers on Georgia Tech’s famous Pi Mile. Pretty clever eh?

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Our run had finished, but the fun had only began. We headed to The Varsity for a nutritious bite to each. The Varsity is amazing!!  It was crazy packed full of people, and it was such a fun experience. I went for the cole slaw chili dogs (shocking right?), fries, a frozen orange drink and my own Varsity hat. It was amazing.

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Tillie and I dropped Jeremy off at his car, went back to the hotel to pack and shower, returned Tillie’s car to the airport, took the MARTA back into town, found a little Irish Pub to cozy up at, went back to the hotel to grab our bags and stare in awe at the MomoCon confernece going on and finally walked to a coffee shop to wait for our great friend Gabby Leon to get home from work.

We had a great day in Atlanta!

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