Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Peachtree Road Race 10K Recap


It's been a bit of a tradition in our household to run the BolderBoulder each year. The race is the United State's second largest 10K, topping out at about 55,000 runners. The course is fun, the crowd is always awesome and the weather is generally awesome (It's Memorial Day weekend). Well this year since we were all the way in Georgia we decided that there would be no BolderBoulder. Instead I decided to try out the largest 10K in the states--the Peachtree Road Race. Let me tell you, there was some poking and prodding to get me to sign up for this. The Peachtree happens on July 4th, in Atlanta. There are over 60,000 runners--all sweating their way to the finish line! Every time I hear about this race--I hear that it is incredibly fun, but in the back of my mind I keep thinking "Dudes, it's Atlanta, in July--hot and humid...are you nuts!?"

Anyways, this year has been basically a theme of pushing myself to try new things so I figured, "hey, I tried fried okra, and liked that--might as well try this race and see how that goes too." I entered the lottery to get into the race in March, waited anxiously and then in April found out I was in the sub-seeded or second wave. Realizing that I had a good 3 months to prepare for this diddy I set a few goals (finish, finish in the top 100 for women and get a decent time for the amount of time I have to run right now and finish in the top 10 for my age group)

So, fast forward to race day. The hubs and I drove up to Atlanta the night before and stayed at our favorite Bed and Breakfast--the Social Goat. I highly recommend this establishment as a place to stay when visiting Atlanta. It's in the heart of historic Inman Park, steps away from the zoo, a huge park, the baseball stadium, and a number of good bars and restaurants. It's a perfect example of an urban farm (yes, there are animals!)--and the B&B is comfortable and cozy. The owner Kristie and her partner are super nice and knowledgeable about all things Atlanta. Plus, it's close to a MARTA station--good for us on this trip since we needed to trek on down to Lennox mall to the start of the race.

On race morning the hubs and I got up early--5am early, put on my super duper race outfit:

Super Duper Race Outfit
got to the MARTA and traveled with our fellow racers--and about three regular people down to the start.  First stop: the bathrooms. Nice bathrooms, long lines. Something I'll never understand is that I saw a LOT of people in very late corrals in line before me--like a "Y" corral trotting on into the was 6:30 AM--their start wave was predicted at 8:45! Sleep in! Come a little later--poop in the comfort of your home! Maybe they just wanted to be part of the action.

With the bathrooms out of the way I pinned on my number, and got up to my wave. I started feeling a little nervous as the announcer started telling us every minute we had until start time, but I just kept focusing on what I needed to do--stay relaxed at the start--remember what I'd read about the course: down hill the first 3, then a hard hill at four, and rolling through 6.

The gun went off and off we went...within a couple seconds one person dropped a roll of $20 bills on the ground! I mean like probably $200. People started trampling to get the money and while I saw it..I was also afraid of getting stepped on, so unfortunately it was someone elses lucky day!

I got going on the course and just like they said, deep downhill the first three. It felt easy and relaxed, which is good but also I felt like means to also hold steady and remember what is coming ..we got to the 5K and I looked at my watch and was surprised to see that I was at around 19 min for the 5K. In a position for a pretty  good time! I could feel the urge to start to push coming over me--and then I saw it..This hill, I think they actually call it Cardiac Hill. A big descent probably about a quarter of a mile. This was a push that required my good old cue words "Not fast but steady, not fast but steady" all the way up. I felt like I conquered the hill but paid the price on the pace just a bit.

4-6 were good miles, rolling hills--nice pace..

I actually ended up accomplishing all my goals for the race--top 70 for women, top 10 in age group and I got a better time than I expected. In the end I got done and I was thinking to myself I had more to give, but wasn't exactly sure where I was at--so I played it safe and smart the entire way. In my "training" I've really just been hammering out runs--no real structured workouts to gauge where I'm at. Half the time I don't even wear my Garmin, I just go by I basically guessed a goal time.

Here's what my thoughts on the race itself.
Good organization with water stops, lots of fans, good corral set up and enough bathrooms etc. The course is point to point so it's hard for fans--The hubs missed me at every single point and was racing along in the MARTA to even try to get to the finish line. Basically you have to split up and decide that your fans are going to be at the end or the beginning.  You could station them at the end--and they could push into the course (say mile 5) and then get to mile 6 to see you, but don't think they will be able to see you start and finish. No way--unless you have a bike. We are strongly considering this.

The course is pretty fun. I liked the descent at the beginning and then the rolling hills--also the way it went through Atlanta--and not the crappy parts either. I liked that it was point to point and I actually enjoyed that it was challenging. It kept me engaged the entire time. I thought that was great. 

Maybe I missed it but I saw the mile markers at 2 miles and 5K--NO WHERE ELSE. I literally thought I was finishing when I came upon the HUGE overhead photographer station which apparently is located at mile 6 (not labeled btw)..this resulted in a great picture of me (finally breaking 40 min hooray!) then realizing wtf, I'm not actually done! I was passed the station at that point-- I wish they had gotten that memorable moment. In short--no clearly labeled mile markers makes Cody very confused and unhappy.

Confusing finish area. I *think* there was some sort of corporate party area..this wasn't clearly labeled. We got lots of peaches and ice cream--then left. At the BB everything is clearly labeled--plus you get a tee shirt AND a lunch bag. ::Shrug:: I really missed the lunch bag this year :(

This guy--Made the race:
Peaches and Sweat!

As I predicted the weather was warm and damp. I was quite moist at the end of the race as was everyone else around me. I cannot imagine how the people in later waves must have felt.  It wasn't horrible though--and 60,000 people must think it's okay..when you go through the numbers--it is a TON of local people. All these Georgians running this race. They obviously haven't gotten the memo about Atlanta in July ;D.

Oh. Afterwards we went to Fox Bros BBQ--it is one of the best BBQ places I have ever been to.
The entire trip was really fun! In short. I would recommend and repeat this race! 

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