Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Another (and Almost Definitely Last) Peachtree Road Race.....

Last year on the 4th of July I wrote about participating in my first ever Peachtree Road Race, item #19 on my 50 Things to Do list.

I don't have a good explanation of why I chose to do it this year. Perhaps it's because when the race lottery is posted in March, the 4th of July seems forever away and all things seem possible. It could also be due to the psychological factor of "winning" the lottery to get in the race.

(Seriously? We WON something? Then why do I feel as though someone BEAT me?)

Because my friend Sara, the one who participated with me last year, gave birth on May 18th of this year, I talked Katydid into doing the race with me. We agreed to walk, not run, just so she could enjoy suffer endure the experience. And get the t-shirt. It's all about the t-shirt.

(I chose NOT to model the t-shirt. You can thank me later.) I wasn't crazy about the color, either off-white or cream. I like the colorful logo, but the background color was underwhelming.

The ubiquitous porta-potties.

This isn't at the race start. It isn't even at the race pre-start staging area. This is just walking TOWARD the race and looking for our start wave.

Huge American flag at the start line. With the view blemished by: A) the crane holding it up; B) the wind blowing the flag; C) the street signs; and D) the STOP/WALK sign held by a volunteer letting the group know when to move from one cattle pen staging area to the next. 

Waiting for the race to start. They suggest getting to the start line an hour before your start wave. There's a lot of waiting. And walking.

The race rules specifically state that participants are not to wear costumes, but how do you police that? I know the guy in this shot in the American flag costume had to be miserably hot. I was assigned to start wave "N," but Katydid was in "P." You can move DOWN, but not UP, so I left with the "P" group.

Another attempt at getting a shot of Old Glory in all her ... glory. Almost all the flaws of the previous shot, with the addition of shooting into the sun, which I realize is a photography no-no. And I'm not even capable of yes-yes shots, so I should have known better than to take this one. Just to show you the real me, warts and all as my mother would say.

I am really bummed about the picture above. This was my favorite sign all day long, and the words don't show up. I not only laughed out loud, I turned around and went BACK to take this (admittedly crappy) photo. The sign said, "Worst Parade Ever." Love it.

This was also a favorite. (Am I allowed to have two favorites? I hope so, because like children, I really don't want to have to choose.)

I don't know why the race hurt so much more this year than last, but I have a few theories.

  • Last year I had done several 5K races, and I had run in the park a few times. This year, because my hips got so sore last year, I haven't run ANY, and I've only done a couple of 5Ks, both months ago. I've continued to cycle and walk in the park, but perhaps I need some occasional running if I am to do a 10K race. Which I probably won't be doing anymore anyway.
  • I wore the same shoes as last year, which means they've got quite a few miles on them, and that means they are pretty much broken down and someone with a college education should know better than to walk 6.2 miles in them. But I've got a painful corn between two of my toes (sorry for the less-than-pleasant image), and my other two good pairs of shoes are very uncomfortable on that toe. 
  • This might be a stretch, but perhaps WALKING the race was worse on my body than RUNNING. Sure it was less impact, but it also made the overall experience significantly longer. 
  • The weather was warmer than last year, although it eased somewhat from the dangerously high temperatures in the 100's that we had last week. Race conditions started at a "moderate" level, but they were changed to "high" during the race, meaning heat-related incidents were more likely to occur.
Something else was different from last year, and I'm going to have to do some research to verify it. After the race ended today, signs directed us back to the MARTA train station. I'm pretty sure it was AT LEAST another 4 miles that we walked, and I'm pretty sure Sara and I didn't walk that far last year. Maybe she and I found a different station last year, and this year Katydid and I simply followed the signs. That walk back to the train station was more painful than the whole rest of the race put together.

And I think I'm done with Peachtree Road Races. It's not like I'm going to take up running on a regular basis, and doing this one race a year isn't worth it. It means I miss most of the 4th of July festivities with the family (even if it IS Hubby's family), and like I told Sweet Girl, I don't have the energy to take up another obsession. I'll stick with BRAG and other cycling events and leave the Peachtree Road Race to the youngsters.

And the Kenyans and Ethiopians.