Pre-race was the same as it’s ever been, people lining up at the Marta stations, folks in costumes and beer. I’ve never understood how these folks can do it but the beer drinkers will not be stopped. Holy water was also sprinkled by a catholic priest right before he ascent to cardiac hill (I get it every year), the street apostles warned us that the end was near and there were some folks politicking against using tax money for a new stadium. All par for the course.
54 degrees and cloudy, a perfect day for the inaugural of the Race for The Arts 5K Run/Walk benefiting the Porter Sanford III Performing Arts and Community Center in Decatur, Georgia. The Center sponsors many events from stage plays, musical performances, dance and programs specifically directed towards youth and seniors. I’ve attended several events there over the last few years and have always been pleased with the programming, facilities and event staff.
I arrived at about 7:30 AM for an 8:00 AM start which was perfect for this race. Upon arrival at the registration area, I was greeted by cheerful volunteers and a DJ who was rocking Justin Timberlake’s Suit and Tie. Runners and walkers in the registration area mingled, met up with friends, and teammates and of danced to the music. Shortly before the 8:00 AM start time race participants were rounded up to hear remarks from the Center’s Executive Director David Manuel and Dekalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson, whose district the Center resides in. After remarks we had great warm-up leader by dancer/choreographer Stepp Stewart, who had great energy and got the crowd pumped up. Following the warm-up we queued up in the start chute, got the signal and hit the road.
In the 1970s public school children were subjected to something called the presidential physical fitness test. It was a test mostly of strength. What I remember of the test were three events “the hang” in which you hung from a chin up bar and were timed (for girls), pull-ups for boys, a timed sit up test and a 50 yard dash. During my final year of elementary school a one mile run was added to the tests. It was in this mile back in sixth grade, in which the turtle was born. I don’t remember the time exactly but know that I completed that mile in around 12 minutes.
About the Race(s)
There were four races for Run The Reagan, a half Marathon, 10k, 5k and 1 mile fun run. Here’s how the 10k went down.
As we waited to start a strong wind gust took down the start line sign-age, bringing audible gasps and laughs from the crowd. Adept and ready volunteers were right on the spot, getting the sign-age back up promptly without interfering with the start time. At 9:15 am, 15 minutes after the half Marathon, we took off.
All four races were out and back with the 10k turnaround at Five Forks Trickum. Reagan Parkway isn’t really steep but on foot the ascents are a long drawn out affair. In spite of that miles 1 through 3 were nice and fairly brisk. Mile 4 marked the end of nice. In fact, mile 4 to 5 was one long slog uphill. I lost a couple of my pacers in that stretch and was praising God Almighty once I got to the top. The remaining mile or so was mercifully flat with a downhill finish. My friend who was running the 5k cheered me across the finish line which was really cool 🙂
Run the Reagan is a well oiled machine. The location is great and the course is challenging without being killer. The time of year is favorable for PRs and the volunteer staff, especially the young folks, were energetic, knowledgeable and efficient. As such, I highly recommend this race as good start to your outdoor running season here in the metro.
Until next time, see you on the trail!
Sponsored by the Dekalb Police Alliance there was a good presence of public safety persons (police, fire and civilian) as well as a few current and former elected officials. On the course there were lots of running pairs, moms and daughter, dads and daughter and fair amount of teens and tweens in the race. What was atypical of this race was that there were not many of the “gung-ho running for a PR” racers, you know the ones who do all that running before during and after the race. These folks just were not there, which is suprising because the race is an official Peachtree Road Race qualifier. In terms of sheer numbers, I’m not really sure how many persons participated in the race but I’d guess in the low hundreds, which is really ideal as there was no congestion in the race start and finish areas, nor were there there any issues exiting the parking areas.
The course started and ended on West Exchange Place in front of the Dekalb Police/Fire Rescue Headquarters. The course wound past LA Fitness and turned left on Northlake Parkway, which meant the beginning was pretty much uphill. Proceeding uphill and crossing over LaVista Road, the course turned left onto the continuation of Northlake Parkway which was nice and flat. Crossing I-285 the runners and walkers proceeded downhill to Henderson Mill, made a U-Turn at Henderson Mill and Northlake Parkway and headed back, hitting both the 1 and two mile marks behind Northlake Mall. Making the climb from behind the mall back to the topside at Northlake Parkway and LaVista, it really was “downhill from here” as spectators and volunteers always tell you. For an out and back course, this one was nice. The hills were manageable and again, the mild temperatures, friendly officers and sprinkling of volunteers along the route made the running the course pleasurable.
Centered at the Dekalb Police/Fire Rescue headquarters, there were plenty of shiny vehicles with flashing lights to view, which were interesting for both children and adults alike. Of particular note in front of the headquarters was a really beautiful 9/11 Memorial. Both before and after the race many participants spent time viewing and photographing the memorial. Post race festivities included activities for children, sponsor booths to pick up additional goodies for your goodie bag and music. The really big deal for me was that they had COLD water and sports drinks. Many races I’ve participated in give you a bottled water straight from the case. In GA in September, it’s still warm so that cold water was much appreciated. There was also plenty of food for hungry finishers.
Look familiar? Stay tuned for details.
previously posted on the soon to be discontinued mssoulpower.com
I didn’t sleep much last night because frankly I was excited. This is my first race of the year, The Pensacola Double Bridge Run. First race outside of GA. First race over water. A lot of firsts. I woke up with no alarm and wasn’t a bit tired.
Went outside to check the weather. Cool and windy, really cold because of he wind. However I’m pretty well prepped with my $5 windbreaker and high tech long sleeve shirt on top, thermals and yoga pants on the bottom, bandanna, baseball cap, hood and scarf on my head. I skipped gloves, knowing that at some point my hands would be sweaty and I would have to stuff them in my pockets later.
The race organizers provided bus transportation from the finish line to the start, which is GENIUS. As a bonus, the buses were a two minute walk from my hotel door so there were no parking hassles or trying to figure out how to get anywhere, which is a relief when you’re somewhere you haven’t been before and may already have the jitters because of the race. I boarded one of the buses and sat in front of two geared up Steelers fans. We talked football, running (all of us were in the 5K and would not DARE try the 15) and made it to the start at Gulf Breeze High School for the hour wait.
That was a COLD hour, however conversing with all my other frozen comrades made it fun. I spoke with a Marine brother (whose picture I didn’t take because the conversation was too funny to interrupt with photos). I told him they were a hearty bunch, there were only two who had on hats the rest of the men had low hair or no hair at all and they didn’t look cold at all. There were several female Marines as well, sans hats. I asked the brother whether the Marines do the race every year and he indicated that they do but this was his first one (he was in good shape too I noticed him sprinting to take photos when we we were climbing the bridge). I also asked him if race participation was voluntary he said they were ”voluntold” I cracked up. They represented well. About a half hour later the Navy showed up. They marched in and pretty much stuck to themselves.
Then there was the POD crew. A bunch of us huddled together inside of one of those PODS storage containers in order to keep warm. Younger, older but overwhelmingly female we had a good time. I met a group of ladies who were from all over Florida and Georgia. One of them explained to me that they all decided to come and run and walk with her niece and they were all in good spirits.
Now for the race.
The “Double Bridge” portion only applies to the 15K runners. They cross both the Pensacola Bay Bridge and the Bob Sikes Bridge to get to the finish. Us more fortunate, more whimpy or those with better sense 🙂 in the 5K cross only the Bob Sikes Bridge.
For the 5K we enjoyed a gun start and no mad dash, the runners and walkers were orderly and many of them were wearing EAR BUDS. We took a few turns, on the streets then headed for the Bob Sikes Bridge to cross Santa Rosa Sound. What looked like a monster by car was absolutely frightful on foot. What’s funny is that I don’t remember even breathing that hard climbing the hill, nor do I recall any pain. The cadence of the Marines and subsequently the Navy (who all passed me on the bridge) made me forget what I was doing. Next thing you know we’re all on the other side of the bridge heading to the finish line.
One big hill, otherwise this course was not difficult. Overcast, cool weather certainly was a blessing that made the trek across the bridge much more manageable.
Once I crossed the finish line I checked my time, a PR for a turtle like me so I was well pleased. I didn’t hang around for the post race party, which I hear is lively. I’d already had my party, right there on the race course, watching and listening and of course running.
See you on the road!
P.S. EAR BUDS is capitalized because I don’t understand how anyone could run or walk in a race with them on. I mean there’s so much to see and hear. Ear buds on a treadmill — sure, treadmills are a run to nowhere, but ear buds in a race, boggles my mind.
previously posted on the soon to be discontinued mssoulpower.com
On July 4, 2010 50,043 folks and I ran and walked down Peachtree to Piedmont Park in the 40thPeachtree Road Race in Atlanta, GA. Always held on the 4th of July rain or shine, folks have been lacing up since 1970. This year I completed my 12th and it was just as special as all others.
Puttin’ in Work
This year I got a little more serious about the training. I figured lighter equals faster so I worked on my diet and got started building up base miles a bit earlier. I also made sure to stick to the regimen regardless of any distractions, outside/inside, physical and mental and trust me there were plenty. I don’t follow any specific program or anything, just one that works best for me. Knowing that I’ll not be able to repeat any of my times from the mid 90s when I first started doing it, the goal was to finish faster than last year – that goal was attained.
Being in a late time group (slow runners, walkers and folks who didn’t turn in times from previous 10ks) my schedule is always the same, get down to Lenox about one hour before my time group gets to the start line, chill out, talk to the folks around me and start running when they say go. This year the weather was perfect. Having suffered through most of June with 90 degree heat daily and high humidity, this morning felt more like May, trust me I was THANKFUL. The only glitch was GETTING to Lenox. You must have a BREEZE card to get on Marta (our rail system) all of the machines weren’t working at Doraville, the line was a MILE long and it took nearly an hour from arrival in the lot to boarding the train. Back in the day, prior to the electronic set up, you got a token or placed exact change in the bucket and went right through the turnstiles. That was a BREEZE – the BREEZE card, not so much. This card has been in use the last three years that I participated in the Peachtree Road Race but this year, was a hassle.
Once getting to Lenox, for the first time I believe EVER I had to go to the bathroom – the long wait without any sweating took its toll and let me tell you the Port-a-John’s were as nasty as ever but you have to do what you have to do. Did I say that the weather was perfect?
Outside of the long Marta lines, the course was fine, the runners were fine, no one fell out that I know of, there was no ambulance activity. The music was great, the crowds were there to cheer all of us on and give us the energy we need to get up the dreaded Cardiac Hill. For the first time since 1996 I think I was able to run the entire course, no stops, no walking and it felt GOOD!
Why I do it
Because I have to. There were four years since my first in 1995 that I didn’t run or walk it for various reasons, all of which in hindsight were lame. I say I have to do it because it gives me a reason to stay on track with my fitness goals. I have to do it because training for it keeps me sane. Many a problem, many a bout of depression as well as many good days have been spent on the road or in the park or on the treadmill running. Besides, the years that I didn’t run Peachtree I felt like something was missing on the 4th of July.
This originally appeared in my soon to be phased out blog mssoulpower.com
As long as I’m upright and above ground, healthy and living in the metro, I’ll be waking up and running down Peachtree Street with all the other nut jobs, talking about long Marta lines, nasty Port-a-Johns and laughing at some of the silly costumes seen in route and of course copping the coveted Peachtree Tee. I love it, wouldn’t trade it for the world and if you’re in the area, I invite you to join me next year for Peachtree 41, my 13th. Registration is in March.
This post originally appeared in my soon to be phased out blog mssoulpower.com
In the interest of stretching out, doing something different but in a place that’s somewhat familiar, right after the Peachtree Road Race I signed up for the Macon Labor Day Road Race 10k. I happen to like Macon, it’s easy to get around, laid back and I knew that the experience would be a good one and it didn’t let me down. I couldn’t have thought of a better way to spend the “unofficial end” of summer than to get up, get out and run with other like minded folks.
The weather was fantastic! In fact I left the hotel with a fleece on, it was that cool out. Parking was a snap and the race start was just a few blocks away at Run Fit Sports a great shop with lots of running and walking shoes, fitness gear and a sale in progress. It was also warm inside the store. The scene at the start was typical, mile long port-a-john line, folks stretching, folks running to the start line (have never understood why anyone would use that energy) and the bleary eyed who might have been having second thoughts. The 10 k start time was 8:15. Everyone was kind of talking and standing and the gun went off, no loudspeaker, no nothing and everybody took OFF…
and blew right by me!
Which is fine, I’m a tortoise not a hare and we weren’t a mile in, maybe a half mile before we hit a huge hill that runs alongside the designated parking for the race. After that first hill the course was really fantastic. Flat for the most part, and fairly shaded, we ran down Forsyth past residential and business areas. There were no cheering throngs along the route but there were a few folks scattered about to cheer us on and it was much appreciated. The water stations were well stocked and for some DUMB reason I took some water, which I NEVER do but my mouth was dry. I would have been better off swishin’ and spittin’ than drinking because it gave me a fit for the next mile. Then I was alright.
Right after the 4th mile was another hill, not as long or steep as the first and the buildings provided great shade so it wasn’t bad at all. At that point the 5k and other 10k finishers were walking back each shouting the familiar refrain “you’re almost there”, I laughed every time I heard it because at the 2nd hill there was still two miles to go. Yet it went by quickly, we took a couple of turns through downtown Macon, near the Sports and Music Halls of Fame and Tubman Museum and I crossed the finished line in Central City Park.
Would I do it again?
Absofreakinglutely! The course is great, its scenic, the runners and walkers are friendly and the race size of 2000 is just right. Park finishes are always good for me, as parks are my very favorite thing. Though I’d like to see more to drink at the finish, the race in its entirety gets a big “thumbs up”. Macon Tracks Running Club, the race sponsors, Macon Police and EMA run a well oiled machine of a race and they send you back to the parking areas via the comfort of air conditioned motor coaches (buses) instead of being packed in light sardines rubbing up on everybody’s sweaty bodies. That is a classy touch and the race shirts are spectacular women’s or men’s fit shirts in technical fabric, the best shirt I’ve ever received from a race. I highly recommend the Macon Labor Day Road race to anyone who loves hitting the road, by foot of course.
See additional photos of my race experience here.
Pre-Race – it’s all mental
Thoughts on #13
So #13 is a wrap, it wasn’t the best ever but it was an experience and at the end of the day, it is all about the experience, whether good, bad or in between. You can believe that if I’m on this earth in 2012, I’ll be headed down Peachtree street again with 59,999 of my closest friends.