The Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10K at the country, 60,000 runners strong, and it’s always on July 4th. As an Atlanta Track Club member, I get automatic entry (otherwise it’s a lottery held in the Spring). This year was my 4th year running the Peachtree. I was really excited to run it after having to miss it last year after my surgery. In my head, it was going to be a fun run. Rich and I would run together and I would enjoy it.
Jess sent me my training plan on Sunday night and it was a very different plan that seemed MUCH harder, “2 mile warmup…treat it as a tempo…7:00-7:05…believe in you…”, and the anxiety set in. I had plans to work for Sparkly Soul at the race expo on Wednesday and Thursday and I was worried that the amount of time on my feet would kill my race.
To be as prepared as possible, I made an early appointment on Thursday for Icebox Therapy, did extra foam rolling each day, and got in the Normatec compression machine at my chiro’s booth at the expo Thursday afternoon.
I stalked the weather all week and feared the heat and humidity and pretty much took out my anxiety of the race on the people around me (poor Rich).
The race is a point to point race, and luckily my sister lives near the start and I live near the finish. When I stepped outside, the gods of running had taken over the weather because it was cool out (for ATL in the summer, cool). I was pumped. Rich and I drove to Allison’s around 6:15 Friday morning and I did my 2 mile warmup on the way to the start line. We were in corral A and Allison and Chris were in corral E so we parted ways until the finish. I was able to meet up with Holly at the start and we only had a few minutes to spare before it was our turn to go (early corral means early start. I know I’m VERY lucky to be able to do this).
We crossed the mat and the panic set in. It was crowded. I was doing A LOT of weaving to get around people and it seemed that many of the people in corral A should not have been there. I knew I needed to get to a 7:10 pace so I stayed to the left and stayed focus.
I was able to settle into my pace and realized I was actually doing better than expected. It didn’t feel hard at all. In fact, it felt easy. The first few miles were downhill, but I didn’t want to kill my legs before the hills. I was enjoying the crowds, enjoying my music, and thankful I decided to carry my own fluids and avoid the aid stations (made sure it was a throwaway option in case I got tired of carrying it).
Mile 3 is where Cardiac Hill begins (right in front of Piedmont Hospital). I wouldn’t let myself look at my watch, I just kept my head down and pushed hard. I remember how different this race was a few years ago, the hill seemed much easier this year.
Miles 1, 2, 3: 7:02, 6:53, 6:52I was excited to see the gang from Barre3 out cheering in front of the studio and that gave me a nice boost of energy as I followed Peachtree Street into Midtown. I swear, the course seems a lot shorter when it’s a training run. Mile 4 and 5 were more of a struggle for me. The crowd was great, I was just working hard and couldn’t really partake in the beers and high fives on the course and my legs were hurting from coming up the hill at the pace I did. I knew my first few miles were in the sub 7s and I didn’t need to beat myself up if they were a little out of the 7:00-7:05 goal range on the uphill.
The last mile was definitely my favorite. I turned onto 10th street to head into Piedmont Park, and I knew I was almost done. The photographers were lined up above the street (almost like a trick that you think its the finish) and the crowd support was probably the best all along this mile so I did my best to soak it in. I was able to see 2 of my friends, Lisa and Kristin, both cheering separately and that always helps give me a push. I knew I was going to be beat my goal.
Miles 4, 5, 6, 6.3: 7:09, 7:06, 6:56, 6:16
Over a 40 second PR!! I literally text Jess right when I finished. I am absolutely thrilled with my time.
I was really excited to see my last .3 miles. I know didn’t run the tangents perfectly, there were way too many people for that. BUT, I still had gas in the tank. I now know I have even more in me.
I ran into Holly and Batch (Holly’s hubs) at the finish and within a minute or two Rich came through. He killed his time, too! We grabbed our shirts, a race pic, and headed towards the food tents.There was plenty of options: ice cream, popsicles, granola bars, bananas, bagels, pretzels, and peaches. Mellow Mushroom even had small slices of pizza. I grabbed the fruit options and we headed up to the Atlanta Track Club tent to wait for Allison and Chris to finish. After we found Allison and Chris, they grabbed food and we walked back to my house. We spent the rest of the day with them and baby A, which was just how I wanted to spend my holiday. Overall/Thoughts
A few random thoughts and things:
I truly love doing this race year after year. It’s fun to dress up, see all of my running friends, and see and experience so much patriotism all through the city.
The shirt, for the first time since I’ve run, isn’t bad. It’s the one I actually liked! The Peachtree is known for it’s cotton tee. It’s the coveted finish line award. 5 shirts are announced as options, runners vote for several weeks on their favorite, and the winner is unveiled at the finish. It’s hard to see the detail below, but it has the street info within the peach design.
That being said, I read where the track club ran out of shirts and food. I can see how the shirts can be a mistake and they are fixing that issue and mailing them to the participants. However, apparently people acted like hoarders at the finish line filling their bags with as much food as possible. I’m going to assume that these people are not “regular” runners because I would like to think that we (as a collective group of experienced runners) know better than this. Take what you need at the finish, there are people after you.
My race pics show how weak my right hip still is. I noticed it in my Asheville race pics but figured it was because of the course. Now I know I still have a lot of work to do. Also, on the race pics topic, why in the world do some look amazing and then the next footstep and gravity hits and boom…I look sccuurrry.
This race marks another turning point for me. I can openly admit (now) that I sat in bed most of this day last year. I cried, never left the house and was pretty miserable. It was probably one of the lowest days I’ve ever had. This year, I kicked ass. I ran a great race, had a blast with my loved ones, and remembered to believe in myself.
The goals that Jess set scared the crap out of me. I didn’t think they were doable. I let anxiety get the best of me early in the week and needed to be reminded that the big goal is NYC, NOT the Peachtree road race. That being said, I’m extremely type A and setting and achieving goals (big or small) is really important to me. I just need to find a balance with it all. I’m really glad I pushed myself, stayed focused and ran with my heart.
Have you run a race that ran out of the post race stuff? Did you run a race on the holiday? What did you do for the 4th of July?