Friday, July 31, 2015

Peachtree Road Race Recap

Peachtree Road Race, July 4th, Atlanta, GA
Field: 60,000 runners and walkers
Spectators: Lots, although it was a little less this year due to the rain.
Start/Finish: Start at Lenox Mall, Finish at Piedmont Park
Course: Point to point with plenty of hills to keep you sweating
Schwag: The coveted t-shirt that only finishers receive. This year they even switched from heavy cotton to a polyblend!
Other: It's one of the biggest 10ks in the world, but it seems to function quite smoothly every year.
Smiling at the start before the rain really took over.
Some of you may have heard of this one: it happens every July 4th, there are a few people involved, and, more importantly, it's the only race the Jayhawk and I run together every year (this year was our 5th, see selected recaps here: 2014, 2013).
The joyous MARTA (train) ride to the start with 60,000 of your closest friends.
The Jayhawk went into PTRR this year with some lofty goals. It is the only race that he consistently runs every year (and we run together) so he uses it as a benchmark for how his training is going. This year his top goal was to break 1 hour, with his secondary goal to PR the course. We discussed race plan prior to the race, and he sketched out a conservative plan to get him through the hills and to his goals.
The Jayhawk's goals:
1. Break 1 hour
2. PR for course
3. Beat last year’s time

This year's shirt. Not bad.
When race day came, I threw this plan out the window, but I didn’t exactly tell him that. When we run together, I usually wear the garmin and just tell him if we are within range, but not actual paces. I knew his ‘plan’ was conservative and left very little room for error in reaching his a goal. I also felt that he was underestimating his fitness and training by coming up with a conservative plan. I knew he could break 1 hour (unless it was a freak 100 degree day), but I was worried he was lacking that confidence to really go after the race and take a chance. I decided to take that chance for him and go out a hair faster and take advantage of the early downhills, giving him a little cushion when we battled through the late hills, which would inevitably drop our pace a bit.


EB's Goals for the Jayhawk:
1. Smash the 1 hour mark
2. No swearing in the Hills
3. Don't get angry with EB when you realized
 she changed the race plan without telling you.


Some time during the second mile he really started to realize that the pace was a bit quick and he started asking questions. I would only reply, "Yep, we are fine. Keep doing great." "But I feel like we are going out a little fast." "It'll be good honey. You've got this."

As much as the Jayhawk killed it during the race, he really failed at capturing the true awesomeness of my race outfit. He managed to cut my socks out of every photo.

Yes, this plan could have totally blown up in my face and he could have been angry for weeks, but I had confidence in him. I knew how hard he had worked and knew it was going to take a slight push to get him what he wanted. Lest you think I was dragging the Jayhawk around downtown Atlanta for an hour, I was only pushing the pace during the early miles which are flat/downhill to build some time for the uphills that started around mile 3.
The rain and wind picked up as we waited to start.
This year the weather forecast for the race was a bit ominous, and let’s just say the fireworks came a bit early. About 3.5 miles into the race, I saw the first lightening strike. Unsure of what they might do with tens of thousands of people on the streets, I urged the Jayhawk to keep the pace up. With all the work he put in all spring, and the goals he had for the race, I was seriously concerned that they would pull us off the course, and I would find myself running it again the next day (not officially of course, but to help him get the run in). Though they didn’t pull us off the course (honestly, I don’t know what they would have done with us), they did delay later waves and encourage people to leave the finish area. I wanted him so badly to get an honest stab at the course; it probably would have had to get really bad for me to stop. *Note: I only saw 2 lightening strikes during the race and they were not moving towards the course. I never felt in danger from the weather.
I ran into fellow rager Carl at the startline!
As we made the one and only turn on the course onto 10th street, I reminded the Jayhawk to empty the tank. The 0.5-ish miles on 10th street are deceivingly close to the finish, but still supplies one last drop and rise to keep you honest. As we pounded down 10th, I kept urging the Jayhawk on know that it wasn’t a matter of breaking 1 hour, but by how much we were going to break it by (yay for rogue race plans). We crossed the line in under 59 minutes.
Soggy but smiling in the meadow after a race well run, rocking my Road Rage shirt
Overall, the race went great. Not only did the Jayhawk pull 9+ minutes off his time for last year, he didn’t swear at the hills, and everyone finished with a smile (and still speaking to each other when I told him I intentionally went out faster than discussed). We didn’t hang out long at the finish line. Piedmont Park was already partially underwater when we arrived, and we were soaked and tired. We gathered our snacks, and enjoyed the 2-mile walk back to the car, satisfied with a good race.

Do you run or race with love ones? Have you ever helped pace someone in a race?




16 comments:

  1. That hat is everything. This is a bucket list race for me because I became a runner after I left Atlanta and haven't been back for the 4th since!

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    1. Come! Do it! It will be magical.

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  2. I really would love to do this HUGE race someday. Here, none of the races are that large- I don't think Portland Marathon even gets that big!?
    The lightning is scary. It isn't something we get much in OR. My only experience with it running was very scary, as I felt I was being chased home by it.
    Super job pacing the Jayhawk! I haven't paced too many people, but it certainly helps to know their ability level and go with it. Well done to you both!

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    1. Thanks Raina! It brings big to a whole new level!

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  3. By the way, your word verification is hilarious! I had to identify all the images with french fries this time!! =D

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    1. That is awesome. I love french fries.

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  4. Great job pacing! I've only paced someone once, and that was the last 13 miles of a 50-mile race, so that was very different! My goal was to simply keep my runner moving and beat the cutoffs.

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    1. Thanks Jen! Great job on your 50k, ultramarathoner! :)

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  5. That's awesome that you were able to push Jayhawk way past his goal! It's amazing how much we can get into our own heads sometimes. That's too bad the weather didn't cooperate, but it looks like it was still fun.

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    1. It really is interesting how mental running can be. I've learned that I usually have more ability than I give myself credit for.

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  6. I tried to pull that crap on my dad, but I failed since I ran 12.5 miles the night before. haha! We were a tad bit slower than last year. And the year before....

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    1. LOL, I'm sure he is happy you didn't pull it on him. I think during the race the Jayhawk may not have been as happy as at the finish!

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  7. Wow total swerve lol so glad this worked out because it's so much better than being on the other side of that decision. Awesome for the Jayhawk, he obviously needs to give himself more credit :)

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    1. Yeah, I'm happy it worked out and I didn't have to spend the rest of the weekend in the dog house. :)

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  8. Awww, I love this :) I am glad you helped the Jayhawk make that goal. That's such a good feeling!
    You outfit is so adorable. Glad everything turned out well for you both.

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    1. Thanks Karen! Now he is all eager to race again!

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