The last road race I ran was wayyyyy back on July 4th. The Atlanta Journal Constitution Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10k in the US, if not the world. Entry is done by lottery system, and the race cap is 60,000 runners. I used my Atlanta Track Club membership to my advantage, and was able to sign up early.
The Peachtree is an annual tradition in Atlanta, with many people who have run it for decades. One girl I know is in her twenties and ran her 13th Peachtree this year. People line the streets cheering, restaurants come out early and provide on-course fueling, the volunteers are superb, and the whole experience is absolutely incredible. This was my first Peachtree, and while I was expecting a big event, I was blown away by the reality of it.
One of my coworkers was running the event as well, so she and I met up at Starbucks to ride the train down to midtown. Because of the size of the race and the increase in security, getting from the train to the start corrals took a long time, and I noticed a lot of people who were missing their heats. The good news is that you can move back in the start waves, so they didn’t miss running.
It was humid and muggy, so my plan was to use this race like a training run. I don’t think I was aware exactly how not-PR friendly this course is. It was hilly, hot, and the skies were just waiting to open up with rain. I ran somewhere around a 1:14. Keep in mind, my PR is a 1:06. However, everyone else I know was also 5-10 minutes off their best times.
Obviously, I had fun though.
As far as a training run, the run itself was excellent. I ran the hills strong, and I had a lot of kick left at mile 5 to bring it home. In fact, I’m pretty certain I took it out a little too conservatively.
Also, this is what I was fighting the entire race. One of the disadvantages of it being my first year, and my not running a qualifier meant I was in the very last start wave, so I was weaving through walkers the whole time. This year, I’ll definitely make sure to run a qualifier before March so that I can get a decent start wave.
So yes, I am planning to run it again.
Piedmont Park was one big mud field, so my coworker and I split shortly after she finished. The t-shirts are cool, but I didn’t get a look at much other swag.
As far as what’s next, I’m running a 5k this weekend, so bring on the pain. I’m also planning to return from mid-distance to distance races with a 10-miler, a half on Thanksgiving, and my first full marathon in March. Training for the half kicks off next week, with the 10-miler serving as a training run.
What races do you have planned?