Thursday, March 10, 2016

Chattahoochee Road Race 5k Recap

Chattahoochee Road Race 5k Atlanta, GA
Field: The race is capped at 1,000 total for the both the 5k and 10k.
Spectators: Not many, but it was so short, I didn't notice.
Start/Finish: They are less than half a mile apart with plenty of parking at the finish.
Course: Almost an out and back situation with a nice big old downhill finish.
Schwag: Shirt-free option if you register early (I registered a few days before the race). Post race food (the regular fare plus cookies, Abita Beer, and Red beans and Rice). They also have a pretty solid raffle with running store gift cards and a new bike. I did not win. Free race photos.
Other: It's known for being a fast course and is one of the last local races before the Peachtree Road Race lottery. It typically attracts a fast field looking to improve their corral placement for Peachtree.
Pre-race selfie. Not my best talent.

I've never been shy about professing my hatred for the 5k. I have absolutely no love for them. Never have liked them, never will. And for the most part I avoid them like the plague. But the Jayhawk was running this one for the second year in a row to use as a Peachtree Qualifying time (You don't have to have a time, but you get an early corral placement if you do). He really liked it the previous year and asked if I would come along to run with him. "A 5k?" I asked while rolling my eyes like a tween girl. "They have beer at the finish," he replied.

So there I was, up early on a Saturday morning in the cold to run a race with friends that provided beer and cookies at the finish. The things we do for people we love.

My bib number was my age. Has to be lucky, right?
Pre-race the Jayhawk and I discussed strategy. He needed around a 27:30 to move into the next corral. He wasn't too worried about running this pace on a normal day, but wasn't sure how much extra life his legs would have being just 3 weeks out from his second half marathon. He wanted to go out conservatively (9:00/mile pace) and then if he felt good, increase the pace, knowing that he would also get the benefit of a downhill finish. I would wear the garmin, but not tell him splits. Of course, I agreed with very little of this plan, but I smiled and asked him what kind of cookies they would have at the finish (Great American Cookies for those of you that are interested).
I may have had more than one and they were lovely. I went M&M on the second.
Come race day, we had almost perfect weather conditions: sunny and high 30s. We did some light jogging prior to the start (yes, violating my usual pre-race plan to conserve all calories) making sure the legs were warm on the cooler morning. As we lined up for the start, the Jayhawk mentioned that whole 9:00/mile thing again to which I barely had time to reply "yeah, yeah" before we were off.
And off we were! These people went bounding off the line. It actually caught me off guard they started so quickly (obvious sign I never run 5ks). And they Jayhawk went with them. As I ran along side him, I kept checking the Garmin to see our pace because I knew we weren't close to the plan, but I didn't really believe the 8:10 it was showing and figured I check back it a bit when it had time to adjust to the quick start.
Coming down the finishing hill, mystified that it's over so quickly.

But it didn't. I checked again around a half a mile in to find it still reading 8:10/mile. Since the Jayhawk was still chatting along, I figured there was no need to slow him down if he could still talk. We passed through mile 1 at 8:10 and I began to wonder what pace we needed to move up 2 corrals. In a pacing fail, I totally forgot to check the corral times so I would know to squeeze extra time out of the Jayhawk.
Not the cutest shirt in the world, but it's insanely comfortable. It's made of a super soft, lightweight fabric.
 I vowed to never take it off and then promptly spilled all over it 10 minutes later.
Before I knew it we were at the turn around (these 5k things are weird), and the Jayhawk was starting to sweat. He was still running strong, but the chatter had finally calmed down. I paid extra attention to his breathing (he is asthmatic and it's worse in the cold) to make sure we were still at a pace he could maintain and not die or need medical attention. He did at this point mention that the pace felt "quick and definitely sub 9". I chuckled and agreed that were definitely sub-9 and urged him to keep it up. We clocked the second mile at 8:11 and began the series of hills into the finish. There are several solid downhill stretches with 2 short uphills in between. I began to push the pace, keeping in mind the Jayhawk's breathing, but he was doing great. Coming down the last hill, I was a step or two in front of the Jayhawk and shouted a few words of encouragement over my shoulder only to realize I was yelling at some other dude wearing almost the exact same outfit at him. Thank heavens I kept it clean.
Sorry, this photo was necessary to show how hard he crushed it and look how close we were on tangents!
Coming into the finishing stretch and watching the Jayhawk's face as he caught sight of the clock was a lot of fun. We finished in 24:57, two and half minutes ahead of goal, safely moving us up two corrals! Come to find out we needed less than 30 seconds more to move up a third. If I had known this on course, my words of encouragement might not have been so clean. Either way, the Jayhawk was very happy with his time and I was not fired for yet another round of rogue pacing. One of these days he is going to realize I never stick to his plans on race day.
Post Race. Rocking the eyes closed look as usual. It's my go to for all photos.
We grabbed beers and cookies and cheered in a friend. It was a perfect morning to race and to be honest, I didn't feel like I needed more miles (yep, I just wrote that). This in no way means I have started to like the 5k, but still being in recovery from the marathon, a 5k with beer, cookies, and the Jayhawk was just right.

5ks yes or no? Does it seem like they are over before they start?


  1. ROGUE PACING. I love the word rogue. I use it often. Can I say that I got excited over the use of Chattahoochee and the sprinkle cookies from Great American Cookie Co? AMAZING COOKIE CAKES that place. My childhood, in a nutshell.

    1. Such a great word. I need to use it more in my day to day life. The cookies. THE COOKIES. I would run a 5k again just for a cookie.

  2. Congrats! I signed up for the 10K but decided at the last minute to run in the Intown Ten instead since the latter was in my neighborhood and I didn't feel like driving. I did go to the Chattahoochee packet pick up at West Stride and thought it was cool they gave out Clif shot bloks with the T-shirts!

    1. Thank you! I didn't get bloks with my t-shirt?! Then again I picked up race morning and there is a solid chance I wasn't awake enough to notice them. It was a fun little race.

  3. Wow, that's great - congratulations to the Jayhawk! I ran the 10K last year to improve my time as well into wave C. This year I had an all day commitment at Emory on Saturday, otherwise I would have run this one again, albeit at the 10K distance.

    1. Thanks Frank! It's a great little race and I would run it again. How is the 10k course?

  4. Oh my gosh - that cookie looks so good! I hate the pain of the 5K, and I'm always surprised when it's over. I'm used to the pain setting in during a marathon and having to gut it out for a long time, but when the 5K starts to hurt, I'm almost done!

    1. They are so good. I completely agree. I am used to the 'pain' of longer mileage and am totally confused by the 5k. By the time I was feeling warmed up, we were in the last mile!

  5. OMG!! what an awesome time, well done you two :) I bet JH was thrilled.
    I have not done many 5k's, at my last one (Jan. 1) I latched on to someone visually and held on for a PR. I do like that it is over fast, but it feels so abnormal to push that hard from the get go.
    You will enjoy that seeded wave at the big race!

    1. Thank you, Karen! The shortness helps with being able to concentrate the whole race on time, but it just feels weird to go hard so early in a race.

  6. That's a really great 5km time, especially for someone who hates that distance. Great job. 5 km is my favorite distance.

    1. Thank you, Lucie! I'm so impressed that you love the 5k.


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