Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Race Recap: Peachtree Road Race 2013

This July 4th, I celebrated our nation's independence with nearly 56,000 fellow Americans, running the Peach Tree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia.  As the largest 10K in the country, this race has been on my bucket list for awhile now, so when I got into the lottery back in February, I immediately booked a flight to Atlanta to run (and have a long weekend visit with friends).

I arrived in Atlanta the day before the race and hit up the expo for packet pick-up.  The weather was miserable (torrential downpours) all day and wasn't expected to be any better for race day.
Stars & Stripes Forever
When I woke up race morning, it was insanely humid and still raining.  I had a quick breakfast of a banana, 1/2 clif bar and  some water before throwing on my garbage bag and heading to the race!
Pre-race garbage bag pic

Luckily, my support team (thanks Hail!) was able to drop me off near the start corrals and I didn't have to worry about public transportation or traffic/parking.  There were a ton of waves for this race (which is also walker-friendly), and I was in F so I crossed the start line around 7:50am!  The rain had stopped and I ditched my garbage bag almost immediately.
Bib on (perfectly) straight: ready to run!
As this is such a huge race, I assumed there would be a lot of congestion, but I ended up having plenty of room the whole race.  Normally, I check out the course map before a race (especially for those not in Central Park or NYC).  Often times, I even read previous years race recaps to see what I'm in for!  I did not do that for Peachtree, so I had no idea what to expect!  I figured this wouldn't be an issue, as I did not run much at all during the month of June and was running this race just for fun! 
See? Running is fun!
 The course covers 6.2 miles along PeachTree Road (duh) from Phipps Plaza to Piedmont Park.  All of this still means nothing to me since I'm not familiar with the area, but checking out the elevation map might have been useful before running.  The first three miles were a steady downhill and I felt like I wasn't even using effort to run.  I (stupidly) thought "Wow, maybe this entire course is downhill! I could totally PR without even training or trying!" and pushed my pace.

Well it turns out, it's not all downhill.  In fact, Mile 3 begins a pretty serious incline and the rest of the race is back uphill until the finish.  Oops. 

The good news is I didn't care about my pace or my finish time.  I totally negative split this race, but it didn't matter!  I really enjoyed just running and soaking in the energy from the incredible crowds that were out to cheer!  There were a ton of characters out to support the race along with live music, DJs and even bars handing out free beer!  It was disgustingly hot and humid, but the course was well equipped with water and plenty of people had sprinklers or fire hydrants open to cool runners down.  It was awesome.  

The finish area in Piedmont Park ended up being a total swamp due to the week long downpours, but the rain held off the entire time I was running.  Honestly, I wouldn't have minded if it did rain, as I was throwing water on myself and jumping into sprinklers anyway!

I finished with an official time of 59:17 (9:32 pace), which is a respectable pace for me given my l recent lack of training and rookie mistake of going out too fast on the downhill.

On top of an awesome race, the t-shirt (although cotton) and medal are both pretty sweet!

Yet another race checked off my running "bucket list"! 

Have you ever run the Peach Tree Road Race?  Do you have a running bucket list?  Tell me about it!

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