Running the Peachtree Road Race

Yesterday was the Peachtree Road race here in Atlanta. It is America's largest 10K. And it's awesome. The history behind the race is super cool.  Here's a link if ya want to read about it. It started in 1970 with just 110 runners. In 2011 they expanded the capacity to a total of 60,000 runners. Yep.....folks that is a heck of a lot of runners. Oh, and wheelchair racers. Which is beyond amazing to watch. Due to its demand for the bib numbers each March you put your name in a lottery and hope your name gets pulled. This year I surprised my Dad and registered him. And his name was pulled! He said he's been wanting to run this race since it started, but never tried to get in. Well, leave it to me do get that bucket list item checked off Dad.
Friday night was a night of storms. NON-STOP storms at our house actually. So our power went out. Which means my alarm didn't go off. Which means my hubby woke at 6:15 and started yelling at me to get up I was going to miss my corral! Which, I did. You see to get to the race we have to drive to the Marta train (which is Atlanta's version of a subway) ride to Lenox which is about a 30 minute ride, get off and walk a ways to the start line. Where 60K of your running friends are hanging out waiting on ya. It's so awesome to be amongst all the runners. Runners are happy people.

Well, like I said I missed my corral. So I walked with Dad and left him at his corral and ran forward to catch the first one starting. They put a certain number of people in each corral I think based on running times so you stay kinda as a pack running down Peachtree. There's a method to the madness for sure. Each corral is spaced 5 minutes apart as well. As soon as I got up to the starting corral the announcer came on and said we were in a holding position due to weather and to hang on. Then they went over the speaker and asked us to walk through the start line and seek shelter. Lightening had been spotted so they had to stop  the race and wait 30 minutes from last strike before beginning again. Talk about pandemonium, evacuating a race? 1st there weren't enough volunteers to help corral us to the parking deck safety, honestly I don't think they were really prepared for this sorta thing. It was really strange. In addition runners wear music ear buds so half of the corral wasn't listening so when we started moving to safety half just took off running! Which was a bad idea because they had stopped the chip times. Anyhoo...they moved us to a parking deck where we waited out the lightening. My Dad back in his corral decided to go shopping at Dick's. LOL...he bought himself a hat. I told him he'd want one to keep the rain outta his eyes. Finally they moved us back to the start line and I got to go! Woohooo....

Under normal circumstances, the streets are lined with over 150,000 spectators cheering the runners on. I've done the race 3 years now and only had one sunny race, which was last year. So I got to experience the crowds and their antics. They hand out everything from Popsicles, watermelon, candy, beer, shots, beads...its NUTS! People hang off their balconies yelling and screaming at the runners to keep going. Then the runners, well you see folks in costumes, full firemen gear, military uniforms, tu-tu's gallore! Running in a tu-tu is something you shall never see, but I do appreciate the enthusiasm. :) As you can see above the weather was not even near sunny. Boo. The course is a slight uphill the entire race, which to translate a 10K= 6.2 miles uphill. In fact one hill is called "heartbreak hill". It's bad. But I love the hills because at the top you get to kinda relax. I am a weirdo like that.
This year Billy and my Dad's wife Barbara drove up and parked in his office lot which is like one block from the 10th street turn in the race. It's the point where you KNOW the race is about to end AND it's all down hill. WOOHOOOO!!!! It's the turn you make and then start the sprinting to the finish. I was SO HAPPY to see them at that curve. Billy was just a smiling when he saw me. Dripping wet he loves me still. They were awesome to stand in the pouring down rain waiting for us to make that turn. It's such a warm fuzzy feeling to have your people in the crowd of 150,000 waiting on you. It really is.
And here is the coveted shirt. That's another cool thing about the race. Each year the AJC has a contest for the shirt design. The top 5 are chosen and voted on and no ones knows the winner until the day of the race and you get your coveted shirt. This one is the best so far I've gotten and the softest too! My neighbors have run the race 13 times and have theirs hanging like art in their basement. Love that. I am thinking about making a quilt out of all my running shirts. I certainly have collected a few over the years!
After the race I was STARVING. But first, had to get a drinkie-poo from a fun bar on the race route. Then off the Yeah burger...my favorite burger joint. My sweet Billy insisted. He knows how much I love that place. AND then...we stopped at a new ice cream joint on Howell Mill called "Vintage Custard". Is their logo not cute? I got plain old vanilla. It was the best vanilla I ever had! Billy had vanilla with some banana caramel sauce. Yumm too. After we got home it was finally sunny. Finally. So we went to the pool and I fell asleep. hehehehe....

So another race bib is on my hook and another 4th has come and gone. I am already excited about the next Peachtree. Wanna join me? OH and BTW....the female winner ran the thing in 33:28 minutes. I mean what the what? To give you some relative normal folk time I ran it in 1:07. A little slower than my usual time. One day I wanna get under an hour. But for running with soaking wet clothes, socks and shoes, stopping for photos and to hug my family I think 1:07 is purdy darn good for an old lady like me! The overall winner ran it in 29:30. That is just whack. I would die. Like finish and lay down and die.

Well...off to finish my ecourse up today. It launches tomorrow folks!  Woohoooo!!!
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