July 4, 2018

Peachtree 2018

Walking with our corral to the start.
I think the woman who finished just behind me said it best, "It's not really a race...But it's an awesome event!"

Sure, the elites who start at 6:50 (women) and 7:00 (men) and are done after 29-35ish minutes of running can race it.  But us mere mortals?  Particularly mortals who aren't humidity trained?  It's a fitness test, for sure, but I really wouldn't call it a race.  Or at least not one where you're competing against the clock on a scale comparable to other events I think of as races. Which is fine.

Watching Steph Bruce win the USA 10K championships on the big screen while waiting for my corral start
was the highlight of the day!  She's been trying to get a national title for 10 years!
(And then she replied to my congratulatory tweet!)

It's a patriotic celebration of the 4th of July with a very loud and impressive flyover by an F-35 (I think?) after the national anthem.  It's one of the largest 10Ks in the world (54,672 finishers this year).  It's extremely well run with plenty of portapotties, water stations, and great volunteer support.  They seed corrals by qualifying time, they enforce bib letters for access but allow you to hop in even just before the corral start if your bib is acceptable.  The start corrals go off every 5 minutes, on the dot, so you can plan your morning very precisely.

U is the last corral, typically walkers, who can handle starting in the later
heat a little better.
This year was the 49th running of the race, and it's one of the reasons why Atlanta won the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Trials (which I am so excited to go spectate).  The Atlanta Track Club will be hosting the Atlanta Marathon the day after the trials, and, assuming they offer a half marathon option, I believe that will be my goal race for spring 2020.  Anyone care to join?

Me, E, and E's dad lined up for the tradition this year.
Overall, I would say I was pleased with how today went.  I ran 1:12:40 chip time, or 11:42 per mile.  The Garmin gave it 1:12:42 for 6.34 miles at 11:28/mile, which is fairly typical for most of the times I've run it.  Because the streets are so wide and the crowds are big, it's almost impossible to run perfect tangents.

Despite it being 86F at 11 PM the night before (thankfully, there were some thunderstorms to cool it down), the predictions had been for slightly cooler and less humid than last year's slog.  Unfortunately, at the last minute, even with moving the start 30 minutes earlier, they changed the danger rating to "red/severe." I suspect it was just as hot and humid as last year, if not worse.  To the bank with the thermometer reading 77F at mile 2: I probably could have lived without that information, as I knew it was supposed to climb 5 degrees over the next hour.

We may have shown up a tad early...
My goal was to go out and shoot for steady 10:30 mile pace (averaged to be faster on the downhills and slower on the uphills).  I hit it easily with the 5K at 32:38 or 10:31 pace (although this included a walk break from the 3 mile water station to the 5K marker -- I was sub 10 minutes/mile at mile 3, so a little faster than I probably should have been).

I didn't actually think I'd made a mistake as miles 2 and 3 were downhill.  So, I was happy with the 5K (versus >36 minutes last year), and I felt strong and solid while running it and then walking to get back to my target average pace, happy to be pushing, but fit.

Apparently, if you are a healthy late thirties dude,
you can run a decent 10K in the heat and humidity
off 3ish miles running/week (so long as you bike 15+), 
 but it doesn't feel great afterwards...
I didn't recover as quickly as I'd hoped from the water/walk break, and I realized I was overheating.  Just in time for a famous segment on the route called "Cardiac Hill" from 3.1 to 3.85 miles or so that climbs at a 3.8% grade.  Not a great combination.  But, a wonderful family was on the side with a sign that said, "Free EZ-pops!" I guessed/hoped that these are what I know of in California as Otter Pops.  And they were!  Tremendously grateful, I took the half pop, and held it in my hand while walking (thanks for the tip, Jen!) and tried to get as much of the grape sugary ice down into my belly before it melted in my mouth (thanks to the cooling science I learned from Alex Hutchinson's Endure).
Eventually, I started running again and caught back up to E and his dad.  I stayed with them off and on by run/walking to manage my heat until mile 5, when, I was met with the reality of needing a bathroom stop.  Did I mention that we flew out the day before the race?  And E's mom made a delicious dinner?  And we woke at 6 AM local time, so 3 AM at home?  Well, the pre-race restroom plans didn't pan out, so I just started and hoped for the best. I almost made it, but at mile 5, finally, I realized I had to stop and take care of business.  It was a 2:47 stop.  No doubt, some of that time is a delay I can subtract from my performance time.  But, some of it was also cooling down, so I'm just going to note it, but not claim that I could have run sub 70 minutes without it, because I'm not sure I could have.

In other news, I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I totally won the in-law lottery:

Our Brother-in-law is quite the chef and hosted the whole family for 4th of July caprese 
followed by sous-vide octopus finished on the grill with salsa verde 
and pancetta chips over cauliflower steaks for dinner.
Now that's a post-race feast!


Angela Knotts said...

So cool! I love Steph and I'm thrilled that she won. Road racing in the South in July is hard core no matter who you are. But a March race....hm.......

bt said...

@Angela -- I love her too! I was so excited for her. It'll be March 1. Typically, nice and cold. You should come!