Monday, July 4, 2011
#19 - Run/Walk in the Peachtree Road Race........
I was hesitant to put this item on my 50 Things to Do list, not because I didn't think I could do it, but because I knew it would be a logistical hassle.
The Peachtree Road Race is the largest 10K race in the world, with 60,000 LEGAL participants and countless others who join in without credentials. There is no way in the world to get close to the start of the race, so you have to take a MARTA train and then follow the hordes of people to the general area of the start line. Participants are assigned a "wave," a time in which they begin the race. Notice the "Y" at the beginning of my number. I assure you they started with the beginning of the alphabet, not the end.
Not only did I have the challenge of finding my way to the beginning of the race, I also had to find my friend Sara. She was on a different MARTA train, and they made her get off the train at a different station. Arrrggghhhh. She was assigned to wave "M," but she assured me that I could leave with her group, because "they never check numbers."
I got turned away enough times that I shrugged and said I would just head on over to my "legal" start wave, but Sara was persistent. (She never indicated an interest in being a criminal before today.) We ducked into a parking deck, and a security guard was waiting for us when we emerged. He sort of barked at Sara (but relatively mildly) that he had already told her not to cut through that parking deck.
We finally made our way into the start wave for group "H," and I stood around with my arms folded over my chest so people couldn't see me for the fraud I was. (I really am basically a rule follower. I THOUGHT Sara was too. Not so much.) Not only did my race number start with a "Y," it was a different color from the ones in wave "H." Those race organizers think of everything. I was very self-conscious, and I was grateful when the race started.
We had little tags on our shoes that apparently had electronic chips embedded in them. They were activated by something above us at the start line. Isn't that cool? Technology amazes me. I don't know yet what our "official" time was, but Sara said we did the race in about an hour and thirty-seven minutes. That's just slightly more than 15-minute miles, so I was pretty proud of that. For someone who doesn't consider herself a runner (and had run NOT AT ALL since the May 1st 5K when I hurt my hips), just to finish the race was enough for me. The winner finished in 27 minutes. What? They had already finished the race before our wave even STARTED. I can't believe they didn't wait to see how I would do before they declared a winner.
I ran a lot more than I thought I would, although we walked sometimes to give ourselves a break. Sara and I have no business running together: she loves running downhill and walking up; I prefer running UP the hill and walking DOWN.
This is the scene behind us when we stopped for Sara to use the porta-potties.
It's hard to describe this race. Some folks just amble along, stopping in stores and restaurants along the way. Others are more serious, and woe be to anyone who gets in their way. (Those folks tended to be more toward the front, though.) Thousands of people line the streets, cheering and high-fiving the runners. Some runners dress in costumes (there were a LOT of ballerina tutus in the race). There were half a dozen helicopters hovering overhead, and there was a military jet flyover just before the race began.
I'm glad I did it, and I may run in this one again. I would love to talk Hubby into doing it with me next year.