Peachtree Road Race 2017

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I’m actually glad I blogged about last year’s race as a reminder of what I thought up on completing it.  Overall, it was a failure in mental toughness.  I can blame the heat and humidity and be correct in doing so.  But running isn’t entirely physical – it’s a mental exercise of telling oneself, “I can run for or until [fill in the blank].”  That might be two minutes, it might be to the next water station, or to a particular building or intersection ahead of me.  Many of those sub-goals were not met last year, basically due to exhaustion.

2017

So, I’m pleased with this year’s result. Starting temperature was 74oF(+1oF) and humidity was 90%(+7%), both worse compared to last year.  This year, I “trained” a little differently – quotation marks are because 1) I dislike running 2) I travel a lot and therefore 3) It’s not something I do as often as I should or, like in-race goal setting, accomplish as often as I plan.

In any case, I usually run a treadmill at 6.0 mph – this year I stepped it up to 6.3 or 6.4.  I also ran with an incline of 0.5 or 1.0 – which isn’t a significant incline, but it takes its toll by way of, hopefully, preparing a little bit more for hills.

End result, I still walked the major hills, but I had enough energy to run the last 1.5 miles without walking for a quick breather, I actually sprinted to the finish… and felt pretty good physically during and after the race as opposed to last year when I just wanted to lie down and stay there a long, long time.

Capture3

Capture

For slightly harder conditions, I improved by four minutes, but the satisfying part is the results compared to others.  Against all men, finishing in the top 42% compares very well to 2016’s 52%.   Go me.  Would I like to finish higher/faster?  Well, sure.  But I don’t have a desire to be one of the rail thin sprites that float down the street, either.  I like my (lack of) diet.  On another note, my assigned wave (they break the 55,000 people into manageable groups) was particularly slow at the start; it wasn’t until past the one mile marker that space began to emerge where I could run at the pace I wanted.  The 5K should have at least been a couple of minutes faster… you see how easy it is to become competitive with yourself.

In related news, the race felt different this year, I think largely due to security precautions.  I can’t say that I dislike any of them – large City dump trucks and other heavy pieces of equipment blocking intersections so that cars couldn’t mow into runners or the crowd, scattered police officers with assault rifles, and security checking bags – along with a policy that the containers be clear.  The last is what made the difference – there were fewer spectators, I think largely because many like to sit, cheer and hoist an alcoholic beverage from their cooler.

It really does help to have people along the way being encouraging – a “Go Tigers” when you’re wearing a Clemson shirt gets pretty individually encouraging, but there were fewer people out there this year.  This also reduces the humor, such as posters with “If Trump can run, you can!” – “Press here for a power up” (Image of a mushroom from Super Mario), and the like.  If I walked the course, it would be fun to photograph a lot of it, never mind the costumes some runners wear.  Disappointingly, the Episcopal priest who flings holy water at runners was not present this year, instead replaced by a holy water sprinkler system… not the same.

And bless those who stretch presupposed age expectations.  There was one person running his 41st consecutive Peachtree, and I passed a number of others presumably in there 70’s making a good and/or determined effort.  I hope to be in as good shape when I get there.

The biggest disappointment goes to the T-shirt.  After a couple of years of really good, colorful designs, generic won out this year…

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