I was sad I didn't make it to the Expo. Given that all my races prior have been pretty small, local races, this would have been my first legit expo. Ah well - the photos looks insane, but it would have been so fun!
Tuesday after work, Molly and I made our way to Atlanta for dinner with Heather, Michael, and Heather's mom and grandpa (love them; shout out for great dinner company!). We went to Osteria 832 in Highlands for some super spectacular pasta... and dessert, obviously. Great little place!
|Yep, hi, I'm Ashley. Not.|
|Nothing but runners at MARTA! But not nearly as chaotic as I'd anticipated.|
|Required race morning shot.|
|Omega Phi Alpha reunion at Corral S!|
|Flag marks the starting line. I wish I could have gotten a better shot!|
We got into Corral S no problem. While they were moving us up toward the starting line, there were volunteers
checking looking at bib numbers to make sure runners were they were supposed to be. We figured, worst comes to worst, Heather would just get shoved back to X. Volunteer Girl looks at Heather and says pretty timidly "Uh, that's an X... not an S," and proceeds to let us keep walking. How about a V... for Victory! S, here we come. And exactly 8:42 am, we were off! (I tell ya, for 60,000 people and nearly 20 corrals, they've got this down to a science)
I wish I had seen this awesome narrated race route prior -- I think I had a disadvantage in not knowing Atlanta well at all, so aside from hearing about Cardiac Hill, I really had no idea what I had in store. The first mile or so was just a whole lot of bobbing and weaving, which I honestly got pretty aggravated at. They made it clear on paper, signs, and from volunteers that if you were going to walk, walk on the right. Race etiquette folks, race etiquette! I wasn't super certain what kind of pace I was running, but knew I wanted to save it for the looming Cardiac Hill; and yet I finished my first mile at a 9:11 -- way faster than I thought, considering I was fighting some heavy legs the first mile. Once I hit that first mile marker though, it was as if my legs were like, "Okay, we're ready!" and felt better from there on out. Miles 2 and 3 were awesome -- crowds everywhere, bands, radio stations, restaurant giveaways to runners (frisbees, coupons, sweatbands, you name it). Mile 2 is mostly a downgrade, so a great place to get some good time without losing control; just past the 3.5 mile marker is the infamous Cardiac Hill (conveniently located by several hospitals. Intentional? I think so). I made it halfway up the hill before I walked for the first time, which I was really proud of. And from there, I was able to make it pretty strong all the way through, with a .10 walk in mile 5. I'd never felt this strong in a 10K before (considering my last one was all hills and I was sick!). Going into Mile 5, I was just at around 50 minutes; I knew that I had a sliver of a chance of breaking an hour, if not PRing for sure, which I was stoked about, given the crowds!
The unfortunate part of the race ending in Piedmont is that not only are people starting to get tired at the end of the race, but the spectator crowds show up in full force (awesome, until they run across the road right in front of you). And seriously, that deceiving photo booth that's really like .2 from the finish is just mean - I just wanted it to be over at that point! But I finished -- official time?
|REALLY happy with my day.|
|Piedmont Park, post-race.|
|Heather's first 10K, check!|
|Georgia road race #12, check!|
|OPAs at the finish! We did it!|
|Coveted Peachtree t-shirt! I'm official!|
How was your 4th? Did you race? Or spend all day in the pool with