This summer has been so weird weather wise, the week before the world’s largest 10K here in the ATL we had the hottest temperatures ever recorded. I approached the race with caution as I had not been training – not smart, but my shin splints had been killing me so I gave it some recovery time. I went into the race with the goal to take it very easy and do my 30/30 intervals of running and walking for the first 1/2 then take it from there with lots of walking.
Got up early and parked at the Brookhaven Marta station and walked 1.25 miles to my start wave k which would start at 8:14 – 44 minutes after the official start of the race. I was alone and knew a few people in my start wave, but didn’t see anyone as we inched up towards the starting line. I had my camera strapped on my wrist and I decided to just enjoy the race. It was 75 and 80% humidity at the start. There was a slight breeze and it was overcast which was a nice surprise, but man the air was THICK.
This course runs the Atlanta of my youth…. always brings back so many memories, so I thought I would share.
The race starts at Lenox Square an upscale mall. I worked at this mall in high school at the long gone cookie store and then the market research company hounding shoppers. When I was young the mall had a Colonial Grocery store in it and part was open air. There is a HUGE flag that hangs over the start which sets the tone of this patriotic race.
A few minutes into the race, I heard someone shout my name and I turned around to see Elyn! She told me she was happy to let me set the intervals. It was great to have someone to chat with and enjoy the fun.
This race is 60,000 runners and I don’t know how many spectators, but literally line the street all 6.2 miles. There are bands along the way, people handing out stuff, people cheering and funny signs.
The first part of the race is “easy” as its flat and slightly downhill. When we approached Mile 2, we were running by the Cathedral of Christ the King. Elyn and her husband Ken have been singing at the 5:30 liturgy for many years….they are so talented. I was baptized at this church, went to school there and was married there – as were my parents. I miss that church its beautiful and full of great memories. It was great seeing some people from school and their parents – they even recognized me. I was also happy to see the fabulous Jeanie from St Andrew! I was thrilled to see Father Morrow out there who counseled me through the hardest experience I have had to face. Across from Christ the King is Episcopal Cathedral of St Philip which has “holy water” being sprayed on the crowd and a Deacon blessing the runners.
We continued down and when we arrived at Peachtree Battle Shopping center I thought of my dad who would take me to watch the race when I was a child from this spot – even when it was only 1 lane! Dad thought it was fun to watch those “crazy people running in the heat of Georgia in their underwear” haha. It was truly a wonderful start to our 4th of July.
After Peacthree Battle you start the climb up “Cardiac Hill”, named so because its long – a mile maybe and the last portion of the hill passes by Piedmont Hospital – the last part is steep too. Elyn and I took it easy maybe more walk breaks than scheduled, but we chatted a good sign we were not over doing it. As we passed Piedmont Hospital I quietly did a sign of the cross – a prayer for those in the hospital but especially for the babies, parents, doctors and nurses in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. This is where I delivered Caleb 8 years ago and where he spent his 9 days days on earth. This is also when Father Morrow was just incredible to Andy and I. I also prayed for the children at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the Cancer Center. Simple gesture, huge prayer.
We reached to top of the hill which felt GREAT – there is a fire hydrant spraying water, but since I had my camera and didn’t want to get my shoes wet, I avoided..though I bet it felt great. A random spectator as passing out watermelon which was VERY refreshing.
At mile 3.4 we hopped in Mellow Mushroom for a slap bracelet – $5 off pizza and a sample of Sweetwater a local brew. It was a big cup and a waste of a great beer when I took a sip and dumped the rest. I silently toasted my Alpha Gam sisters, most especially Melissa – whose foundation I was raising money for with this race.
When we got around mile 4, Elyn said she was going to run on…..which was fine as I didn’t want to hold her back. This point of the race around the Museum and Colony Square was really packed with spectators and had some funny signs…. my favorite referencing “that’s what she said”…love the office and miss Micheal Scott. The course is a great one for showcasing the Atlanta – still a nice mix of old and new..though the old keeps getting torn down sadly.
As we turned off of Peachtree Road for the last stretch, which normally I hate as I am DONE, but this race I guess because I was taking it slow was totally digging! I get emotional at some point in every race I do – yeah I am a mess that way – and when I passed a sign that said “0.6 miles to go” I teared up, thinking I am going to make it and I feel great!”
Just after that a firefighter passed me in full gear carrying a flag. People were shouting out thanks to him and started chanting “U.S.A…..U.S.A…..” I approached the finish with just a great pride in our country – despite the fact people have become so polarized in politics something so simple as a fire fighter carrying the flag brought people together. Well played crowd!
Glanced my finish time, wow that was SLOW, but I did the race EXACTLY as planned and enjoyed every second. I got my water, my tshirt, had a finisher picture made, um why not? and got in line for the port o potty before the long walk to the Marta train.
I was fine……..then all of a sudden about 10 minutes into waiting in the long line in the sun among the crowds, I felt sick. Stomach, Nausea and a bit of dizziness. Honestly I spotted a trash can and thought, OK, I can puke in there if need be. Then out of no where I think of the movie Bridesmaids when they were in the bridal shop LOL. After that thought I realized I didn’t want to get sick or pass out among a bunch of strangers waiting in a bathroom line so I headed to the medical tent.
I felt kind of silly as I just walked in….had no problems walking. The amazing volunteer nurses, doctor and intern took my info and told me I was smart to go there. I think they assessed I wasn’t losing my mind and threw ice wrapped towels around me. OMG…those towels felt AMAZING and it felt great sitting in the shade surrounded with fans. I swear the nausea left when I sat down so I really felt stupid, but again they said with the humidity you never know, you could be fine one minute and pass out the next. I was told I had to drink a powerade and it was ICE COLD – HEAVEN, and stay until my pulse was below 100. In that short time, maybe 15 minutes they kept monitoring me. I was cleared to go shortly after they wheeled a guy in a stretcher assessed him quickly and wheeled him back out. Read after the race no serious injuries so thankfully he was OK. Another girl came walking in with a friend and she almost fell down before she laid on the cot next to me. While I would never fake anything to go in that tent, its great to know the doctor told me always be safe that that is what they are there for.
After I left medical, I made the 1.4 mile walk back to the Marta train, did I mention it was uphill alot of the way. The good thing is I am sure with my slow walk I stretched things out as I was not sore the next day at all.
I am not exactly thrilled with my time, but Galloway whose method of running I practice says to slow down for heat and humidity. With my finish time of 1:27, I was pretty much exactly at the pace I needed to be at. I have no idea why I got sick, I tend to drink alot of water and maybe I had diluted my electrolytes and had an imbalance going on as I was hydrating many days before the race. For me THIS is the hardest thing about this race, figuring out hydration. My slowest ever – 10 minutes slower than last year and I go to medical, go figure. Maybe I should have walked the whole thing…. who knows.
Had I been training I am sure I could have done faster – but I know I could not have enjoyed the experience more. I will post my pictures in the next entry, it was fun! Definitely this is a race for me to enjoy the journey and take it slow…so many great memories.
I ran the race as a fundraiser for the Taylor Brooks Foundation – which supports kids in the AFLAC Cancer Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta . I raised $400 for them which is the icing on the cake. Thanks to my sponsors! I got the idea from Pebbletossers.…we can all do something so small to help others and running the race for Taylor a girl whose mom I went to college with and never met was a privilege. Her parents started the foundation after Taylor lost her short battle with cancer at 14 and remember and honor her through the works of the foundation. The silent toast was for Melissa and the Alpha Gams who contributed to my walk…and honorary Alpha Gams….”the greatest girls we know”. Thanks again.
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Allen Vance says
Epic adventure Julie ! I definitely found that training made the difference this year – I ran 16 minutes faster (66 vs. 82 minutes) than last year and felt much better as well.
Seriously considering the Atlanta Half Marathon this year which would be my first race > 10K. We’ll see. Pam is skeptical, I can see it in her face. 🙂
Great recap! Congrats on the finish and glad nothing serious was wrong with you! Better to be safe than sorry. I hope to run the Peachtree next year