Sunday, September 2, 2012

Race Report: ATL 10K & 20K Relay

Running Nerds Atlanta has hosted races before, but this was their first venture at a 10K and relay - as we went through the course of the morning, I tried hard to keep that mind. It's always difficult to run a race during it's first go-round. What will go right? What could go wrong? How will they solve it? Heather and I first heard about this race via postcard after Peachtree in July -- and as usual, time came and went before we realized it was here, so we signed up about three weeks ago! Heather and I quickly pulled in her co-worker, Antoinette, and another running sorority sister of ours, Brandi. Brandi had the brilliant idea of following suit with our team name, Will Run for Cupcakes, and dressing up as "flavors." If you know me, I've wanted a good dress-up opportunity for a loooong time, so you know I jumped right on this! (She was also a sport and let me take funfetti... thanks Brandi!)
I'm funfetti head to toe. I love costume runs!

And before we knew it, race day was here. On Friday evening, Heather, Antoinette and I went down to Iwi Spa for packet pick up -- a random location, but it was right on what would be the course route, and actually... pretty cool. A cute little space, but as any good spa is, way out of my price range! Anyway, pick-up was a breeze, as there was only maybe 2 other runners there. We quickly got our team goodies (koozies & race-logo wrist sweatbands) and, the best part... our choice of five colors for our tech tees. Have you ever had the chance to choose your shirt color, let alone to have FIVE to choose from? Win! For the record, we all ended up picking purple.

Saturday morning gun-time was 7 am. Brandi was already at race start by the time we had even left Heather's; Antoinette, Heather and I arrived around 6:30. There were a lot more runners than I anticipated, but only four porta-potties (important details!), which caused quite the line all the way up through warm-up.
Team Will Run for Cupcakes: Funfetti, Cookies 'n Cream, Strawberry & Key Lime.
 Each "group" of runners (10Kers, 20K individual runners, 20K relayers) had their own bib, which was a good way to actually keep track of folks. Everyone started from the same starting line, but for the relay teams & guests, once everyone took off, they walked us up about a third of a mile to where the relay exchange would be. We didn't think much of it until our Garmins started telling us otherwise... stay tuned. We each had a bib, but our "baton" was a clippable nametag with the chip stuck to the back of it. The chips were activated once the gun went off and there was no chip mat until the finish line; I wish there had been chips for each of us so we had known our own times as well.

Antoinette ran first and ran an awesome first loop - her watch came in at 3.12 miles. Brandi (strawberry) took off second and her lap came in at 2.85 (Nike watch), which is when we started to get a little confused. We realized, however, that the difference came up from where the finish line was versus where the exchange actually was, but at that point we weren't sure if it was just a faulty GPS or if the rest of us wouldn't legitimately have a 5K to run. Heather took off third and her watch (also a Nike) came in at 2.7something.
Just love this shot. Antoinette to Brandi, exchange 1.
I'm ready!
I anchored -- and was plenty antsy at that point! Man, waiting is hard! (I'm also not exactly the most patient person on the face of the planet) The course itself was awesome; the area is called Castleberry Hill and is essentially southwest downtown Atlanta, near the Georgia Dome. The course was a slight series of rolling hills, flat roads near the Dome and downtown, and just enough of a challenge to really make you work for it. Volunteers were awesome, cheering you on, with plenty of water at stations, and the last station even had a girl passing out watermelon! I came up near the end, which wrapped around two corners essentially. I expected my teammates to be at the very end, but they were at the second to last quarter and ran with me the whole way in! I absolutely loved it, what a great ending. Thanks ladies!

35 Will Run for Cupcakes - Women's Open
10:18/M pace

All in all, the race was pretty great. Course was awesome, volunteers were great. I absolutely loved that we got to choose our tech t-shirt color because that is just about non-existent in any other race I've seen! I'm bummed that the 2-4 loops for runners weren't full 5K loops, so it obviously wasn't a full 10K or 20K for other runners either. There were medals for 10K and 20K individual runners; we ran into a few relayers who had medals, though, and when I went to ask the guy who was at the medals table, he said pretty shortly, "Well, that was a mistake." Mistake or not, find a way to settle it! Oh well -- I kept our chip. That's my validation! It was a fun race, great atmosphere, and I loved our tutus, but not sure I'll do the race again. Thanks for hosting, runningnerds!

1 comment:

  1. That sounds fun! (although medalless...)

    I really would love to run a relay one day.