Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Race Report: Taste of Athens 10K

This morning was the 2nd Annual Taste of Athens 10K - of course, given that I wasn't here last year, this was my first go-round and my first true experience with the ridiculous hills of Athens. Whew!

I've run twice since my half almost three weeks ago (one run a week and a half ago, and one on Thursday with the Athens Running Company group run!). So I knew this was going to be work. If that wasn't enough, I've beeen fighting a cold since Tuesday, which I also knew would only add to the fun of this 6.2-miler! Weeeee! My standing 10K PR (the last 10K I ran, actually) was from almost two years ago, when I wasn't in great shape (just decent shape) and I ran a 1:05:25. Despite my cold and having not ran regularly for awhile now, I was determined to PR at this race. Determined.

This mroning was supposed to be something like 43 degrees at 8 am, race kick-off, but it wasn't a terribly cold 43! I actually wore shorts for the first time in months to run, which was an odd feeling after layers of full tights and shorts for the last three months! It really was a beautiful morning - few clouds in the sky, sun was coming up as I pulled up, and about 350 runners gathering around warming up and chatting. Love it.
Starting/finish line at Athens City Hall on a gorgeous morning!

As promised, race kick off was at 8 am. I started somewhere in the middle-back of the pack, knowing I couldn't chug out full steam or I'd surely lose all lung capacity somewhere in the middle of the run! The first mile of the run is a snake through downtown Athens, from the start/finish line and eventually down two blocks and over three to the main east-west street through Athens, where we started out first slight hill climb.

Chuggin' through downtown.
I'm grateful I did that group run on Thursday now because the 5K route we did was most of the beginning of the 10K in reverse, so I knew the deadly hills that were coming up not long after we got out of downtown! I definitely don't give Athens enough credit for being hilly! I trotted along slowly up the hills, careful to not overdo it... as I usually do! The hills took us through the Boulevard, one of the big historic districts in Athens and rumored home to Michael Stipes (yep, as in REM!). I surprisingly was able to run solid through mile 3 when my lungs were starting to scream a little bit - so I walked for about a quarter of a mile and pushed forward again.

Once through the hills, we headed out through some of the other neighborhoods in Athens that I've sort of driven through but haven't ever really paid attention to. So it was neat to see some of the hidden areas of Athens, and some pretty areas at that.

The last mile and a half were up King Street, which is a loooong, gradual uphill. Not steep, but just long enough that you'll get winded if you push it! Thankfully, that was part of the conversation on Thursday night. The last turn turned you back in downtown and towards the finish. I had 7 minutes to make sure I made it under my PR - totally doable, given there was only 4/10ths of a mile to go! I pushed it a little too hard uphill for the last block, but it flattened out enough that I could do my typical sprint to the finish - once I turned the corner around City Hall I saw the timer at 1:03:42, which meant I had made it! Turned that corner, took one large deep breath and sprinted as hard as my sickly lungs would let me...

... I made it! 1:04:12!
Race #5 in Georgia!
Who doesn't love Instagram? Finish line in the early morning.

And then I just felt like being artsy. Love this view of City Hall!
So happy and so excited! And just think... if I were in shape and did hillwork regularly and wasn't sick... I could have beasted this thing. But given my current state, I'm a super happy camper! Taste of Athens puts on a great race -- small enough, there were 344 runners in total doing the 10K, but enough water stations, cheerleaders, and people along the way. I think I'll definitely add this to my list for next spring -- and will pray I'm not sick!

On to the next race... 5K next weekend in Phoenix!


  1. woot woot! congrats on the pr girl, especially a sicky pr :) sounds so fun running through all the neighborhoods!

    1. thanks dear! pretty excited, given my sickly state. just imagining what i could do if i weren't sick and a little more in shape! :)

  2. Congratulations! And a good time too!