Yesterday, I ran in the Peachtree 10K, the fourth time I ran it.
I was in the fourth time group and although we didn't start until after 8 a.m., the weather was slightly overcast with a small breeze, so it wasn't hot like I remembered it during my first running of the race in 2003.
Backing up a little bit, because the race ended at Juniper and Ponce, I drove through the neighborhood and parked just north of 5th street on Piedmont Ave. and then walked to the Midtown MARTA station.
I noticed that the end of the race had a huge hill that ran from 10th Street to 5th Street.
When I got on the MARTA train, I was with a small group of older guys who noticed we were on the Rock Springs train. We got off at N6 Lindbergh Station, and I'm glad we did -- that train does not stop at N7 Lenox. So there were dozens of people with race numbers that likely had to backtrack and switch trains.
This year I liked how organized the race sections were. They set up lots of portapotties at Phipps Plaza parking lot, so there weren't big lines until right before the race started. There also was a water station, which was great. I had 3 cups of water and didn't drink any during the entire race.
When I got to the staging area, I was going to while away the remaining 40 minutes or so before the race by listening to my iPod. But it turned out it was completely dead. So that's nice, that I had to carry it and my headphones on the race for nothing.
This year I focused on trying to trim the times from the first three miles of the race, basically up to Cardiac Hill.
I did that and was about 3 seconds ahead of my planned finish time at Mile 3. But then I semi-bonked Cardiac Hill, putting me 34 seconds behind at Mile 4, and then the recovery mile 5 I was all of a sudden 2 minutes 11 seconds behind and in serious danger of finishing past an hour, which is my casual goal for this race, which is basically a fun run.
There were two times during the hilly sections that I thought about walking but was glad I did not. Near the end of the race it got hot so I got soaked by the water spray stations twice. It's a tricky thing because it's uncomfortable to run in clinging clothes but it turned out ok.
At Mile 6 I recovered a little bit but the changed race end on Juniper is really difficult, given the Cardiac Hill/Olympic Mile sections. I am not sure how I puffed through it.
I finished under my goal of an hour, but it was my slowest time for the four races by about 9 seconds. I think my training wasn't so good for the hills, although I felt OK at the end of the race, which is sort of a testament to running every single day for the last 551 days.
The one thing I should add was it felt like I walked a really far way to get Powerade and the race's trademark Coke/Diet Coke. I don't recall seeing any food, maybe I didn't walk far enough. I understand that Piedmont Avenue is pretty narrow, but I felt like I walked forever past corporate tents/private parties without hitting things that I needed.
Next year I'd like to put my time in on longer runs (my legs were sore after the race but I didn't experience the cramping I did in 2004 when I basically ran it without doing much running at all in the month of June 2004) and definitely hill training along the Cardiac Hill/Olympic Mile sections.
But I did the race, so I can't complain.