Dun, dun, dun.
On Wednesday afternoon, Sudie and I met each other at the expo to pick up bibs and do some pre-race shopping. We had both had a long day at work, and I decided to take some solace in spending money. Completely normal behavior.
I ended up buying a long sleeve Atlanta Track Club tech tee (for $15 – a steal!), a blue sparkly headband (obviously needed), and 2 tubes of fruit punch Nuun (which I didn’t really need, but it came with a water bottle).
We walked around for a while, checking out all the vendors – some that I remember are other regional races, Sparkle Skirts, Nuun, local running stores, and a few randoms like skin care and Yellow Pages. It wasn’t too big, but there was a nice cross-section of stuff. To be fair, this was my first ever race expo, so I have no idea what to expect.
We also met Jeff Galloway, who was super nice! He’s from here, and his running store hosts a post-race party that we went to, so it was great to be able to say “hello!” before the craziness of Saturday.
One of my big concerns about the race was dehydration, so I spent a majority of Thursday chugging water and/or Nuun. The forecast for Friday wasn’t awesome – almost 80 and 100% humidity by the time my wave started, and I knew that being dehydrated wouldn’t help.
By my count, I had something like 140 ounces of water, which was perfect. I didn’t carb load or anything intense like that — I was planning on race-walking, for goodness’ sake. I had pizza with veggies on it and a liter of sparkling water. I set out my stuff for Friday morning. I tried to get to bed early, but I didn’t have to get up super early. Basically, this is a long way of saying that Thursday night was a pretty normal night.
I feel like I should start with this:
I was pleasantly surprised with how the race went, especially given all my issues. But I guess I’ll start at the beginning?
PRR is the largest 10K in the country, which I guess in should have realized given my race number. Yes, I was in the 79,000s, and wave W of Y. When I entered the lottery, I didn’t have a certified qualifying time, so I was in the back. Not a big deal, given that I ended up running race-walking for fun. However, had I been gunning for a goal, it could have been frustrating. The race course was never not crowded.
I woke up at 5:30 Friday morning, took Taffy out, got dressed, and made coffee and breakfast before heading out the door around 6:30. I loved what I ended up wearing: Soark America tank, Running Skirts running skirt (in royal blue), and blue sparkle band. Very comfortable.
I headed to Sudie’s house, where I ate breakfast, watched the elites race, and just hung out until it was time for us to go. I was in Wave W, which had a start time of 8:55, and she was in R, which started 20 minutes earlier. Her sweet husband drove us as close as he could to the start line, and we headed off! As we walked up, Sudie’s wave was going up to the start line, so I lost her pretty quickly. Sad.
I was expecting there to be more security than there was, given that this was the largest 10K in the country, and I literally just walked up to my wave. There wasn’t any visible security, no check as I walked in, no one making sure that I didn’t have one of the forbidden objects. Weird.
We started moving towards the start line about 20 minutes before our wave started, and we started right on time! I was at the front of my wave, and there was so much energy at the start line — music, dancing volunteers, excited runners. When the gun went off, I started running. As I talked about earlier, my plan was pretty much to run as far as I could, walk Cardiac Hill, and do intervals in between. I probably ran about .75 miles before my foot started throbbing, so I started walking. I didn’t do formal intervals of any time distance — too hard to get my phone in my pocket — but I would run a block and then walk a block. I was keeping my pace faster than I anticipated, and I was just having a great time.
The weather on the Fourth was unseasonably cool — it was probably in the low 70s when I started, with little humidity. I made it 2 miles without getting hot, as opposed to two minutes. That obviously helped with my mood, but the whole experience was just … fun! The crowds were awesome, the signs were hilarious, my foot felt way better than it had the week before, and I was on pace to beat my “goal” time. The race has a course limit of 2 hours, and I knew I could beat that, but I wanted to beat 90 minutes. That would be about a 15-minute mile pace, which is what I normally walk on the treadmill. Just that time would also get me into a way higher start wave next year, without awesome improvement. Knowing from about mile 2 that I was going to beat my goal gave me a spring in my step.
This could get
even longer really long, so here are a few other highlights:
- Getting sprayed by Holy Water and blessed by the Bishop as I ran past the Cathedral of St. Phillip
- Seeing college friends, Pure Barre friends, and JLA friends all along the race route
- Big hugs from a friend at the top of Cardiac Hill
- Tiny cups of beer handed out at Varisano’s, right before we got to Cardiac Hill
I finished and met Sudie (who did awesome!) and her husband at the big-post-race party, but we didn’t stick around for long. We walked to the car, drove to a post-race party and got the best beer ever, then went to brunch. I spent the rest of the day relaxing, sitting by the pool, and day drinking — just as the founding fathers intended.
It really was just an amazing experience. There were people cheering all along the six miles of the course, the weather was awesome, I loved pretty much every minute of it, if you couldn’t tell. I can’t wait to run (the whole thing!) next year!
So, what’s next? I head to DC for work as this post publishes, but I have an appointment with both an orthopedic surgeon and a PT when I get back to ATL later this week. I had been planning on not running much in July/August to begin with — it is just so hot, and I wanted to do other stuff. I want to run the ATL 10-Miler at the end of October, so I think starting to train for that in mid-August works. Hopefully, I haven’t done anything tooooo awful to my foot, and I’ll be able to do that. If not, I’ll figure it out. Cautious optimism!