Peachtree 2012

This time last year I was running every 5K in the county. I was excited about my new “hobby” and I dragged my poor family to a race nearly every weekend. And while I was busy trying to shave a few seconds off wherever I could, I was also – subconsciously – developing a thirst for race day.

It’s true. It motivates me. A race on the calendar means business. I’m certainly not winning any races, but the anticipation of the energy and gravity of race day really keeps me moving.

That said, I’m not running every 5K in the county anymore. In fact, I’ve finally made peace with 5Ks not really being… my thing. I’d much rather find a good pace and run a longer race than run my guts out for 3.1 miles. But whatever. I’m doing fewer races. In fact, until the Peachtree Road Race I hadn’t done a race since the OKC Marathon back in April! These days I’m more likely to register for the races with a good story or a good cause or – in the case of the Peachtree – a good reputation.

The Peachtree.

The. Biggest.

I think it just edges out BolderBoulder as the largest 10K, and I read somewhere that it’s now the biggest race of any distance with nearly 60,000 finishers.

60 thousand. 5 zeroes, people. So big they’ve made it a lottery and I decided to take my chances. I threw my name in the hat and got lucky – so we made plans to go to Atlanta! Jeff’s brother Paige and his wife Lynn live there and have been asking us to come visit for years — so it was perfect.

10K on the 4th of July? In Hotlanta? Why not!?

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Unfortunately, with 60,000 runners they can’t really let everybody start early in the morning before the sun really gets going. And since I’m not terribly speedy (and am evidently far too honest about my 10K time) I was placed in one of the later waves. There were over 20 waves – starting at 7:30am. I wasn’t scheduled to run until 9, so there was not much hurry that morning. We got up, ate some breakfast and hung out at the house before it was time to head downtown to join the MASS of people congregating at the start line.

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Yes. Y. And there was no Z. There are several thousand people standing behind that rope, but Jeff and I have reached a point of shamelessness when it comes to photo opps so we jumped right in the middle and asked the girl wearing earmuffs to smile.

We started a trend.

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After several minutes of waiting around I realized it would be pretty easy to slip into an earlier wave, but the rule-follower in me didn’t want to push it. So I edged my way into the X wave.

I know, right? I live on the edge.

While waiting for Wave X to get up to the start line, we took advantage of the people-watching that inevitably comes with an event this size.

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I wish I’d stuck around to see those things in action.

Eventually, Wave X was next to the line.

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And after a pep talk from the announcer, we were off!

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See ya in 6.2!

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Here’s a great shot of the starting line.

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And because I didn’t learn my lesson at the LAST massive race I did, I underestimated how crowded the entire race would be. But I love the energy! I ran when I could, dodged walkers when I needed to, and tried not to think about how hot it was. Atlanta 078_edit

I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve mentioned how hot it was. Because it was hot. Really hot. More humid than hot, but when it’s humid and warm it just feels… gross. So that was awesome. It rained Tuesday night so that actually kept the temperature “down”, but I don’t think it did any favors for the humidity. They utilized a warning flag system for the race and I got an email the night before notifying me that race morning would start with a Yellow Flag for “Moderate Alert Level” and “Less than ideal conditions”. In other words, “it’s hot and humid, fools, drink some water”.

About halfway through the race I remember glancing over and noticing a Red Flag hanging from an aid station. Red = “Potentially Dangerous Conditions”. Yikes.

But I had fun. Sure, it was hot and yucky, but it was great. I pushed through the first few miles and hit what they call Cardiac Hill around mile 4. Luckily, training in Northwest Arkansas has made me less afraid of hills and such, so that wasn’t too terrible.

And while I was sweating through the crowd, my personal cheering section (Jeff, Colt, Lynn and Paige) was looking for a good, shady spot to watch the race. Unfortunately, we missed each other out on the course, but they found this! Shocking, I know!

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And I found a race camera near the end! Yay – almost done!

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After the finish line, runners were funneled through to Atlanta’s Piedmont Park to get the coveted Peachtree Road Race finisher’s t-shirt (Seriously. Coveted. They only produce a limited number and they’re only available to race FINISHERS. Wiki describes the t-shirt as a “status symbol among Atlanta culture”.) and something to drink. Oh, and to take official finisher’s photos:

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The cute little old man taking this photo INSISTED I take two. He even instructed me on the perfect pose for the second one.

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I mostly look like a monkey.

Anyhow, I eventually found the rest of the group.

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Hood boys. Jeff, Colt, Paige.

And we headed back to the train station. Colt was such a trooper with the crowds and the noise and the heat — and the walking.

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{For more information on our shirts, CLICK HERE.}

Speaking of our shirts, something kinda cool happened on the MARTA ride back to the car. We were packed like sardines into the train car, trying not to sweat on each other. A guy next to us pointed at the back of Colt’s shirt and said, “hey cool, that’s my Dad’s name.” I looked at him. “What’s your Dad’s name?” “Yeah, Tom Martin. That’s my Dad’s name.” You have got to be kidding me. Thousands upon thousands of people in downtown Atlanta that day and we are on the MARTA right next to Tom Martin‘s son. Wow.

Here’s a shot of Jeff and Colt on the MARTA. Obviously, this was on the way TO the race. AFTER the race, there was no sitting. There was sardine-style standing.

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My first Peachtree.

Results

Not a PR, but a solid race for me.

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I have nothing but good things to say about the race, honestly. Especially considering the size of the event. Atlanta knows how to organize! The logistics of everything were incredible. And the volunteers and sponsors were awesome. Nice job, Hotlanta!

Here’s hoping I hit the lottery again next year!

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4 Responses to Peachtree 2012

  1. Amanda July 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    I had no idea it was SUCH a big race – 60,000 runners!! Holy crap!! But it sounds like an AMAZING time, and I find it mildly hilarious that Colt found a fire truck while you were running. That boy knows what he likes.

    So glad you’re back to blogging – I’ve missed you and your wit!!!

  2. Erin July 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    Must you always make me tear up! Thank you so much for your blog!

  3. Marie July 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    WOW!! I’m so impressed by you. It ALMOST makes me want to start running…I said, ALMOST. :)
    Love you,
    Your summer mom, Marie

  4. Lori S July 17, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    That is GREAT time. My last 5K was like 43 minutes. :) I am glad you had fun. Lori

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