Saturday, July 4, 2009

40th Peachtree Road Race 10K

Knowing I would have to get up early this morning, I prepared ahead by getting all of my gear together the night before. My Friday night consisted of picking out the perfect outfit (black running skirt, blue tank top, blue sports bra, balega socks, Nike Zoom Elite +4 shoes), pinning my race bib (#22144) in just the perfect position, attaching my timing chip to my shoe, packing my running belt (drivers license, MARTA card, cash, clif shots, car key), and most importantly, painting my nails glittery red. I think I finally turning my lamp off at 10 p.m.

I didn't sleep well, as usually happens the night before a race. I woke up at 2 a.m. and it took me at least an hour before I fell back asleep. When my alarm clock woke me at 4:27 a.m., I was tempted to just turn it off and go back to sleep. But our darling golden retriever puppy, Riley, said 'NO WAY!!! You're gonna get up NOW because I'm going to LICK you and WIGGLE around on the bed until you get up to take me outside.' Okay, okay... So now I'm up. I took a quick shower, ate a bagel, packed a clif bar and water for later and left the house at 5:30. Why did it take me so long to get out the door? Oh yeah, I had to feed the animals too...

I arrived at the Doraville MARTA station and easily found a parking spot. The crowd wasn't too heavy yet and I was able to have a seat on the train instead of have to stand. Yay! When the train arrived at Lenox station, I exited and walked towards the starting location. I got in line at the first set of porta-potties an hour before the race was to start. I was behind a chatty older man who was holding his race bib in his hand. He said he forgot to bring safety pins. Doubting that there would be a safty pin give-away station, I did my first good deed of the day and gave him the two that I had pinned to the bottom of my race bib. I can get through the race with just the top two. I finally make it through the porta potty and was glad to see there was enough tissue for me and possibly the next person.

Then I made my way to my starting corral. This year I got lucky and was in time group 2, near the front of the race. I got to the corral early enough to stand near the front of it. I sat for a while like some of the other runners and thought about what wonderful weather it was. The temperature was in the low 70s with 63% humidity, which is mild for HOT-Lanta. The race began at 7:30 and then they walked Time Group 2 up to near the start line. At 7:36 a.m., as posted, they opened the gate for my time group to begin. And we took off running. In years past I've been in the back time groups and not able to start out running. Today was a great day! I was able to run my pace the entire route. I walked through the water stations but ran the rest of the time. It seemed to fly by with all of the entertainment. There were numerous bands and just as you got out of earshot of one, there would be another band or radio station playing music. I pushed hard the last 1.2 miles. My ideal goal was to finish in less than 1 hour and 8 minutes. As I headed towards the finish I knew I would beat that, and finished in 1 hour, 4 minutes and 57 seconds (chip time)! I was so happy! This run was so much easier than I thought it would be. I was so proud that I beat my ideal goal!

And since I started/finished early, I was able to get the right size t-shirt. I was very happy that the t-shirt this year is white instead of yellow or peach. After getting my t-shirt and water and continued walking through Piedmont park and headed back to the MARTA station. And luck was still with me, the train station wasn't too crowded yet and I was able to sit instead of stand on the train. This was an amazing race day!

My only regret is that in hindsight, I wish I had looked up my personal best 10K time during the past two years before the race (instead of afterwards) and pushed a little harder. After entering my time into Buckeye Outdoors, I logged into GoWagon and saw that the best 10K that I have logged since January 2008 (Lake Hartwell Dam 10K) was 33 seconds faster than my time this morning. Now I wish I had pushed just a little harder to beat that... Oh well, there will be other 10K's in the future...

I'm still very happy with how great of a run I had today. I finished 17,770 place out of 50,009 finishers overall; 6,164 out of 23,838 female finishers; and 2,294 out of 10,856 people in my age division. At least in this race, I'm not as far towards the "back of the pack" as I typically think of myself. Great run!

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