Friday, July 6, 2012

Race Report: Peachtree Road Race 10K

Oh, Peachtree. The coveted Georgia runners' race -- it's said that you can consider yourself a "Georgia runner" until you've run Peachtree. So you know it went straight on my bucket list! In case you're not aware, Peachtree is truly coveted: there's a race cap of 60,000 (I know, gulp), but the lottery takes on somewhere between 70 and 80,000 entries (more fun facts). Needless to say, I didn't get a race number. However, after much CraigsListing, Facebook posting, texting and tweeting, a friend helped me get my hands on a bib - hooray! This all happened less than two weeks ago, so I am forever grateful (shout out to Jennifer!) for helping me make this happen! Peachtree was also the perfect way to end my #RWRunStreak -- July 4th was the last intended day of the streak!

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!

And then it was the fun night-time dash of getting our stuff together, last-minute Target run (you know, it's essential), and calling it bedtime around 11. Michael was running in the letter-less group (aka the elite guys), and Heather and I were bib-marked for D (me) and X (Heather).

Yep, hi, I'm Ashley. Not.
We had a bunch of sorority sisters running in S, so our plan was to get to the S corral before they could shoo us away. More on that to come. Our plan was to be at MARTA by 7 am, then Lenox by 7:30, which would get us to S well over an hour before our corral time (8:42).

Nothing but runners at MARTA! But not nearly as chaotic as I'd anticipated.
Required race morning shot.

Post-MARTA craziness.
I'd anticipated the whole morning being ridiculously overwhelming -- as I've gotten older, I've realized my increasingly low tolerance for crowds. And yes, there were crowds, but truthfully, it was really not as terrible as I'd psyched myself up for it to be. Sure, that photo above makes it look pretty bad, but the buzz and excitement around I think made it a little more bearable.
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?

39 seconds off of PR-ing -- which I would still consider a success given all the weaving and bobbing! And blast those 12-year-olds who decided it would be a great idea to run across 10th right as I was in the middle of a great stride. Holy moly though, what a great race (overall, but also for me!). I think this #RWRunStreak definitely made a difference, even if only making my legs that much stronger and able to handle a lot more. I felt amazing.
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!
And after fighting some crowds, riding a very painless trip home on MARTA, we were home. And off for a fabulous 4th of July with Stella and company! Pool all afternoon to help tired legs? Heaven.

An overall awesome, awesome 4th of July!

How was your 4th? Did you race? Or spend all day in the pool with water tasty adult beverages? Hope it was great; happy birthday, USA!


  1. Sounds like a great race! Reading posts like this always get me pumped for running. That's too bad you got so close to a pr but it is a good way to look at it...on a race like that that is so crowded you practically did pr with all the fighting with crowds you have to do. Cardiac hill sounds crazy. I may have to start reading your blog regularly. It's cute. I'm Alica's friend Katherine btw. Heard you will be here for Wine and Dine so hope to meet you then.

    1. I definitely did PR, just not on paper and not based on their time clock. I'm just pumped knowing I had such a great race!

      I can't wait to meet for Wine and Dine! Are you going to be joining us, or are you going to be our cheerleader? :)

    2. She's thinking about participating... with a little (lot) of nudging by me! haha.

  2. What a great race recap...I LOVED the pics, all of them!!!

    no, i didn't race on the 4th...but I had plenty of adult beverages at the beach ;) it wa a mighty fine day indeed!!!

    Way to go!

    1. Thanks! Fun pictures are a requirement of mine... always. :)

      Adult beverages still make for a great 4th! :) Thanks for the blog love!

  3. I just realized that I haven't commented on your blog in nearly 8 million years. I apologize!

    This recap kind of reminds me of some of the Disney races... with the crowds and the bobbing. The good thing about Disney is that there are a lot of huge roads where you can pass people. There are also some crowded sections too.

    That's so cool that you got into a race that is hard to get into! Look at you! Fancy! haha. I'm also excited that you're now an "official" Georgia runner! You're awesome.

    I'm really glad we share this running thing together!!!!!!!!

    1. I love your super duper long comment! And no need to apologize.. you've been busy!

      It sounds like a lot of the Disney Races, from what I can gather. Thankfully Wine and Dine is smaller than 60,000, LOL. I'm SOOOOO excited for Wine and Dine! YAY!

      I love sharing this running thing too! :) xoxo