What kind of idiot gets up at 5:00 AM on a national holiday to go run six miles in the heat? I'm that kind of idiot, and today I joined about 55,000 other such idiots in the Peachtree Road Race.
My goal was to run the full course, without slowing to a walk. This goal turned out to be unrealistic. I ran the first three miles without a problem, but then I reached "Cardiac Hill," a long uphill stretch so-named for the obvious reason, and also because there is a hospital conveniently located next to it. About halfway up the hill, I started feeling dizzy, and I decided it was better to abandon the goal than to collapse.
After clearing the top of the hill, I set a new goal: run the remainder of the course. That didn't work either; after a half mile or so I again started feeling queasy.
So, I set yet another goal: walk to the five-mile marker, and then run the last 1.2-mile stretch to the finish. I accomplished that.
I didn't really run a 10K today. I ran a 5K and a 2K, with a 3K walk in between. My time from start to finish was 69 minutes, 28 seconds. I expect to do better next year.
I'm not disappointed in my performance. This was my first time. I don't have any steep hills in the area where I usually run, so I wasn't prepared for Cardiac Hill. The course is tricky, because the first half is mostly downhill, giving you a false sense of optimism, and then the second half is mostly uphill.
After finishing at Piedmont Park, it is a half-hour walk to get back to the MARTA train station. That's something they don't point out in the informational handouts. I would have rested for a while in the park before starting the walk if I'd known.
So anyway, now I have the "coveted Peachtree Road Race t-shirt." It makes it all worthwhile.
I was impressed with how well organized the event was. Getting 55,000 into the starting area, lining them up, giving them water and t-shirts, and getting them back home seems to me like a major undertaking, but I never felt crowded, delayed, or unsure of where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do. MARTA, the city police, the Atlanta Track Club, and other involved parties seem to really have their @#$% together for this event.
I didn't take my camera with me. There was one shot I really wanted to take: a wide-angle shot of hundreds of runners lined up at the banks of porta-potties, taken from above the parking lot. Maybe next year . . . .