I’ve restarted this post about Peachtree so many times that I don’t even know where to begin anymore. I seem to have lost my voice in the blogging world since I ran the Blue Ridge Marathon. It is completely unlike me to not do a race re-cap, so here I am, after a two month long hiatus. I’m not promising anything fun or funny, but maybe, just maybe, I will re-find my voice.
The Peachtree 10k is a road race in Atlanta, Georgia with about 65,000 participants, countless volunteers, and even more spectators. It’s an annual race over the last 40 some odd years, and has grown so large that it’s participants are chosen via lottery. I didn’t know the race even existed until I visited my cousin in Georgia last summer and stumbled upon the signs for the expo as we were touring the city. Once we found out, we promptly visited the expo, and it was quickly determined I would be signing up via lottery this year.
As soon as the lottery opened up, I was registered and had my fingers crossed that I was chosen to run the 10k in downtown Atlanta. Early in the spring, I got the coveted email to say I had been chosen to participate in this year’s Peachtree, and I couldn’t have been more excited! This was really my only opportunity to run this race while my cousin still lived in the city, as her plan to move to a new city started only a few short weeks after Peachtree.
I purposefully trained in the mid-morning heat and humidity at the beach to prepare myself for what the weather would be like in Georgia. I also made a point of running on the hilly trails and going over and back on several bridges. When I got to Georgia, the roads by my cousin’s home were way more hilly and challenging than anything I had run at the beach. I was a little concerned about what Peachtree was going to be like. I ran in the days leading up to the race and returned to my cousin’s home soaked to the point of dripping and often sunkissed. I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into, but then I kept reminding myself that I just completed the Blue Ridge Marathon in April. After that, this was a piece of flipping cake.
The day before the race, my cousin and I visited the humungous expo to pick up my race bib and goodies. We also drove the course, and I realized that it had three hills with slow inclines. I could do this, I just had to stay focused. As always, my cousin is a lot of fun to walk around with at the expo and to hit up the photo booths. We love being silly!
As the day progressed, we noticed the temperature was dropping outside and checked the weather to see what was happening. A not so friendly little tropical storm was making it’s way up the East Coast and heading right toward my home at the beach. Luckily, Murphy and I were both safely in Georgia, but the weather still concerned me. The forecast called for mid-60s on race day morning, and I crossed my fingers in hopes it would actually happen.
Race day morning came at 4:30am. I don’t think I slept at all the night before. It’s always a struggle to stay asleep when I know something big is happening the next day that I can NOT be late for. My cousin and I got in the car to head to the MARTA station around 5:30am, and hopped on the first train to our stop near the race course. We made it to our stop promptly, and were on our way to the start line no later than 6:15am. I know they said to be there early, but I definitely think we made it in plenty of time since my corral (corral c out of corrals a-y) was not set to start until 7:38am. There weren’t really any lines at the porta-potties! I know, like many other runners that day and on any given race day, that I managed to go to the bathroom a bajillion times and it still wasn’t enough.
I headed to my corral just before 7am, and my cousin headed to the finish line. I made my way through the entirety of the corral C until I was hugging the rope. It’s definitely become a tradition to hug the rope at my corral in the last year or so. I don’t remember ever caring before, and now it seems like it’s the best place to be. To start in the beginning, and not bump elbows with everyone, and to, well, just go!
I met two local, older gentlemen that had run Peachtree numerous times, and they walked me through the course. They told me to take it easy on the first three miles and to not go all out because even though they are all downhill, I would need my energy for the first big hill of 150 feet in elevation change. They explained that there were actually three hills on the course, but the first one got it’s name “Cardiac Hill” because it was so challenging and right in front of the hospital.
Talking with the two locals made the time pass easily, and I looked at my watch when they removed the fencing that kept us separated from corral B. It was almost 7:45! Corral B was long gone by the time they told us to take off, and I was ready to run! OH wait. No, this can’t happen. My bladder had other intentions. It decided to give me a memo. The memo said, “I have to find a porta-potty. Like yesterday.”
As I started my Garmin when I crossed the start line, my immediate thought was “You have absolutely got to be kidding me bladder. Seriously? This is a 10k, and you need to go NOW???” Ugh. I high-tailed it to a porta-potty at the end of mile 1, and promptly kicked two volunteers out of the line in front of me because they weren’t running the race, and I was, and it was important I go quickly. (Dear two volunteers, thank you for understanding that that was my angry bladder talking and for understanding!) Mind you, my poor bladder was confused because of the amount of fluids I was intaking due to the heat and humidity in Georgia.
I hurried as quickly as I could in and out of the port-potty and took off running before the door even slammed shut behind me. I had lost precious minutes in my “break,” and I wanted to make up for lost time. I can hear my Coach now telling me that I can’t make up time. I used it. But I tried anyways. (My splits for my miles were: 8:50, 11:00, 8:51, 9:36, 9:31, 8:33, and 3:06 for the last .41 (the course was a bit long).) Fortunately, the weather held out to the mid to high 60s for the start of the race, and it actually felt decent on the 4th of July to be running a race. Did I get hot? Yes. Did I get soaked from sweating due to humidity? Yes. Did I run through the sprayers on the side of the road and grab ice to stuff down my sports bra? You better damn well believe it. It was hot!
I loved seeing all the spectators and volunteers along the course cheering all the runners on the entire way. It’s such a unique opportunity to see a community come together like that for people from locals to all over the country who participated. Many of the runners dressed up in varying costumes involving America’s colors of red, white, and blue in celebration of our nation’s birthday. Some, like me, did not. I rocked my Sparkly Soul red, white, and blue headband, but otherwise was dressed in hot pink from head to, well, knees. My kicks right now are turquoise… no pink there. I wanted to be sure that my cousin could see me at the race (which she didn’t til I hollered at her at mile 5.7ish), and I wanted to wear my favorite color because my birthday was the next day and this was my birthday present to myself.
The course wasn’t nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be. The first three miles were definitely challenging to my hamstrings since they were all downhill, but the first hill wasn’t at all what I thought. Don’t get me wrong. It WAS a hill. It just wasn’t nearly as tough as some of the bridges I run at the beach. It’s kinda funny how people were complaining about it and walking. I got over it, and immediately thought “that was it? That was nothing. Dude, I got this.” It was kind of a weird feeling to get over that hill and think that I was over halfway done with the race since I have really only been racing the marathon distance lately.
The entire race as a collective was a very fun experience. I would definitely do it again if I had somewhere to stay. That’s the challenge with these out of town races, how do you do them without breaking the bank? My plan of staying with friends and family has worked out so far for Murphy and I.
Peachtree 10k is done. In 59:21. (I made my goal of finishing in under an hour at a race in the middle of the summer!) AND I had to potty. In the middle of the race. BUT I still beat an hour!
ANNNNNDDDD I ran the same race, on the same day as Meb! Woo-hoo!
Next up on my agenda, Rock N Roll Virginia Beach. Bring it on!
Live. Love. RUN. Passionately!
(By the way, I will be starting a series of posts for new runners in the very near future per requests of some very dear friends. Be on the lookout!)
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