Thursday, July 7, 2011

Welcome to Atlanta

The 42nd Annual Peachtree Road Race took place in Atlanta on Monday, in typical conditions for the race.  The event, which takes place every year on Independence Day, is a big deal for locals.  The first question they ask is what number Peachtree is it for you, and people will congratulate you if it looks like you did the race.  60,000 registered entrants makes this the largest 10k in the world, and with only 6.2 miles of point-to-point running, there isn't much room to spread out.  The race is very efficient, however, starting the first wave at 7:30am and then staggering waves by a few minutes, with the last wave starting at 9am.  I don't know how those people do it, running real slow down the road when the heat is really creeping up. 

6 of us made the trip to Georgia, leaving Baltimore on Friday and arriving in Atlanta on Saturday afternoon.  We were reunited with Jeff Rumbaugh, who just two weeks prior, we found out, had run Grandma's Marathon in MN (2:58:42).  The midday and late afternoon temps in Atlanta were very warm, topping out near 100, but it was the increasing humidity that most concerned us.  The morning temp on Monday was in the mid 70s, but the air was thick and heavy.  After warming up, we found our place on the start line, all of us near the front.  There was a flyover during the National Anthem, which was pretty awesome, and then with no gun, horn or whistle, they just sent us on our way, charging down Peachtree Rd. 

The road winds its way toward downtown, so running the tangents was key.  At one point, early, I saw Brennan and Jeff hop over a traffic median.  I stayed on my side of the road, knowing that if I tried to hop it, I would have bit it.  Through two miles it was Ed (10:40 maybe), Brennan (11:10), Jeff (11:20), and me and Arjun (11:32).  The road had been flat or slightly downhill to this point, and just before the mile 3 marker there was a sharper descent.  Then you could see the road pitch upward, and as you clicked past the 3 mile, you realized just how hard this climb was.  It kept going for another few minutes before leveling out, and then there was somehow another one just up the road.  Miles 4 and 5, needless to say, were tough.  From there it does level out though, and the finish is actually downhill, so you can pick it back up. 

Brennan had passed Ed to finish 135th in 35:15, with Ed just 10 spots back about 11 seconds later.  Arjun ran a great second half to finish at 36:27 (187th) and I was a minute back of him at 235th (37:27).  Jeff finished at 39:14, disappointed in his time but really, two weeks after a sub 3 hour marathon is a great effort. 

Then it was the girls' turn, with Melissa coming through in 39:40, good for 44th female.  This took nearly a minute out of the only other 10k she's run - the June 2009 version of Race for Our Kids (I remember the day, it was brutal).  Alyssa hasn't run an open 10k since she was a kid, and she ran a 44:18, also good enough to record a PR.  Following the race, which finishes in Piedmont Park, we did what very few other competitors seemed to be doing - running back to the start.  Fortunately the way we went cut off probably a mile and a half from the course, but it was still a long, hot, hilly road home. 

This had been a race I've wanted to do for a long time, and I'm glad I did it - but to anyone looking to run well here, be warned: it is probably not the place to do it!  Still, with 55,000 people in the race, and all of us inside the top eleven hundred, that's a pretty good day. 

There were some other races, of course, on the 4th of July, including Ben Ingram's win at the Indianapolis Firecracker 6 Miler (33:10, won by 80 seconds) and Lauren Dennisuk's 5th place effort at the Paul Revere 10 Miler in Michigan (what Paul Revere has to do with Michigan is beyond me).  Christine Trzcinski finished 6th female at the Dundalk Heritage 6k. 

At Arbutus 10k, a competitive yet challenging race, Dave Berdan finished 2nd in 32:53, and Dave Berardi was 9th in 36:06.  For the ladies, Denise Knickman was 2nd at 40:10 and Coach Amy Horst was 3rd at 40:58.

I know that New Becky Parks did a race in Cali, but don't have results, and Claire Lears raced a 5k somewhere out in AZ. 

The great race for Arjun resulted in his first Purple Drink Athlete of the Week honor of 2011. 

A small group made it out to the track on Tuesday, and ran well despite pretty brutal conditions.  It has been decided that next week, July 12, TNT will in fact return to Gilman School.  So don't forget!  I'll make sure I highlight it in the email and send texts if need be.  The weekend ahead sees a return to some triathlon action, but also Seth Tibbitts will be running another big summer race - the Utica Boilermaker 15k.  Maybe this will be a trip for 2012. 

Then we have Rockville Twilight in just 9 days.  I think I've got everyone who will be running, so if you haven't already registered, please do that so I can send in the team registration stuff. 

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