That's me and Tara right before the 2007 Peachtree Road Race.
I'm the 100th woman finisher.
And I think that is pretty damn cool.
Around 55,000 people run this race-- 49% of them are women. So while being 100 doesn't win me any prizes and is no where cool as top ten I think it is not too shabby for (as of tomorrow) a 36 year old mother of 2.
Tara was Peachtree Virgin and next year I am thinking she will not ride down to Lenox with me. They tell you take Marta, it's smarta-- but me? I know better. Marta is packed, unreliable, and I personally just don't like being that close to a bunch of people I don't know that early in the morning. So I drove down to one Buckhead loop and parked. We got there around 5:45 am. We pretty much had our choice of any parking spot we wanted. I did have trouble deciding which one.
5:45 am wasn't so bad for me since I started the race promptly at 7:30. Tara though? I don't think she started til about 8:45. Sorry. I got into my corral a little before 7 am. The giant flag, for some reason, was upside down.
I got to see the start of the wheel chair race. Very cool.
I was in time group 1A and they line you up like this: Kenyans (winners) and other invited athletes, seeded men and women, sub seeded, time group 1A, time group 1B and then all the way back to time group 9. When the gun goes off they let all the way to time group 1B go and then they stagger the start over the next hour, hour and half for the rest of the groups. I called Tara (who was in time group 8) around 8:15 after I finished and she hadn't even started.
The first mile was a little slow. It was pretty crowded but everyone was running so it wasn't too bad. I think it came in around 7:50 or so. I hit the 2 mile mark at 13:40. It is mostly downhill the first 2 or so miles. You start climbing at Peachtree Hills. The third mile marker is right in the middle of the famed "Heart Attack Hill." Lucky place to be this year for the man who had a heart attack in the race (there is 1 or 2 every year) since Piedmont Hospital sits smack in the middle of this hill. He is in the hospital now and they say he is going to be okay.
5k split for me came in around 21:30.
The rest of the miles were sort of blur. I walked the 4 (28:50) and 5 (35:30) mile aid stations. They were in the middle of a hill and I just can't quite master the drinking, swallowing and running up a hill very well. I figure I am losing at most 15 seconds at each station. And since the Peachtree course is not very conducive to a negative split my goal of sub 42 10k wasn't likely so what did it matter if I walked a little? I was just shooting for around 45 minutes.
I kept this one man in my sight the last half of the race and in the final 1/4 mile I kicked it up and blew past him. I heard him curse under his breath. I know it sucks when people do that as it has happened to me but it is a race after all. So in the spirit of a competition I picked him to race. The clock read 45:12. I stopped my watch at 45:00 flat. My net time was 44:49. I'm happy with that. I might have been a minute or so faster if I really gave it my all but not much more than that. I didn't want to finish the race feeling bad.
As I walked to get my t-shirt someone handed me a top 1000 finisher card to get a free commemorative mug at Phidippides . Cool but in the end I was the 1117 over-all finisher and besides that, I left the card in my sister's car.
I headed over the Park Tavern and by 8:20 am this was what I was looking at:
Over the course of the next hour my mind caught up to the fuzziness that is that picture as I waited for all my peeps. I did, as always, make new peeps and saw peeps that I befriended last year as I did my solo post Peachtree celebratory toasting.
I can't remember when everyone showed up but here is who all joined me: From the left, Michelle (just met her), John (just met him too), Joe, Doug, Camille, Virginia and Steph.
Camille and Tara--both Peachtree virgins.
Camille, again, with Anne--another virgin.
These are the peeps who ran that I've known since high school or really, I guess, 8th grade --well over 20 years.
And here is the celebratory carnage:
Look at all that beer. All before 11 in the morning. Good stuff.
I called my sister, who lives near by, to come collect Tara, Camille and I and drive us over to my car. After a burger and lots of water I was righted. I made it home and hopped on my bike and rode a scary 6 hilly miles over to my brother and sister in laws to continue the July 4th celebrations with Ryan and the kids. And just so you know; riding your bike on the 4th of July is not a good idea. Motorists are mean for some reason.
I had a great race and loved that I had so many friends there. I really hope that more of them will do it next year. The Peachtree is a fun tradition that, I think, anyone who lives in Georgia has to do at least one time.