I ran the Peachtree!! Well, not officially, yet. I’m preparing for my first Peachtree Road Race July 4th. Last Saturday I ran the course with a few hundred people.
I met with the Big Peach crowd in Brookhaven. The prep was organized similar to the Peachtree. The crowd began forming around 6:45 AM with sunshine and a temperature in the upper seventies.
To simulate the race’s waves, volunteer running captains held up signs indicating pace. Each person chose their own pace, eight, 11, 14 minute miles.
At 7:30, like the real race, the first wave took off. One after another shortly followed.
Because this wasn’t the real thing, we wouldn’t have the clout to stop traffic.
Race captains explained we had to stay on the sidewalk, obey traffic signals and watch out for cars that might be turning right on red.
I was going to join the 11 minute group to push myself. Hearing the restrictions, I decided time was probably not going to be a real factor. I went with the 14 minute group, a mistake in a way but ultimately fun.
Around eight o'clock my group left.
First destination, the actual starting point at Lenox Square, about a mile from the store. My group chatted on the way, getting to know each other. Some were looking to simply walk the course. That was not what I wanted.
I quickly locked onto Kathy. She’s run 23 Peachtrees. She had an accident and had a pin inserted. That’s why she picked a slower pace group. By the time we reached Lenox Square, we decided we would set our own pace, pulling away from the group.
Working our way south, we hit construction forcing us to run on broken sidewalk, next month the street will be closed.
The Atlanta Track Club set up water stations along the way just like the real race. Relatively low humidity and drinking lots of water the day before kept me from really needing to grab a cup.
It was great having Kathy with me. Although I’d scoped out the course on line, she was very good at explaining upcoming features. She prepared me for Cardiac Hill by Piedmont Hospital. A gradual incline followed into Olympic Mile at the Amtrak station. Time really seemed to pass talking with someone.
Another detour came when we reached West Peachtree. A huge crane was lifting air conditioning units onto a high rise. We crossed the street for a few blocks then switched back. Because of the added distance at the start and to erect food tents, this event ended at 10th and Peachtree. The end was in sight!
Muffins and massages awaited us. Although the pace didn’t really stress me, I looked forward to liquid by the end. I’ve advanced to six mile runs over the last two weeks. Now I’ve “run” the actual course. Next up, improving my pace before my first Peachtree Road Race.