Today I ran my 4th consecutive Peachtree Road Race aka my favorite race ever!
My goal for this race was to run a sub-40, but the heat, hills and humidity had a different plan in mind for me. Read on to see who won the battle.
I knew the moment that I arrived at Lenox Mall, that this race would be epic. 15 minutes before the start of the race, I saw perhaps the largest gathering of black runners that I've seen in person assemble for a large group photo. I immediately felt like this was a moment.
The race started under unseasonably warm and humid conditions. Yea this is Atlanta we are talking about... but this was hot for even Atlanta's standard.
I was in Wave A as a result of a switch in race seeding that occurred a few months before the race date. The number of waves were reduced, and the wave that I would normally have been assigned to (sub-seed) was eliminated and combined with Wave A. This would definitely affect me because the start of the race was slow and congested.
Here are my splits from the race:
The "First Half" (first 3 miles)
I have recapped this race before, and the dynamics of the course are pretty easy. The first mile of this course is relatively flat but slightly uphill, and the next two miles are downhill and fast.
I lost a lot of time in that first mile due to the severe congestion. I was near the back of Wave A, and I paid dearly for that. I lost time and energy as I weaved through slow moving traffic for the majority of the first mile. I'd guess that I lost 20-30 seconds in the first mile alone.
By the end of the first mile I was able to break free of the congestion in time to take advantage of the downhill portion of the course. I wanted to make up time here, but I knew I needed to save some energy for the much hillier 4th and 5th miles of the course.
Miles 4 Through the Finish
The next two miles are the hilliest miles; they contain what many refer to as Cardiac Hill (which is really two hills). As you can see from my splits, these were my two slowest miles, accordingly. On a positive note, I was able to maintain a sub-7 minute pace even through the hills.
The last mile of the course is downhill and fast. I had plenty of energy to push hard for the last mile and through the finish. My pace through this section hovered below a 6 minute mile pace.
I finished the race in 40:55, good for 433rd place (out of 56,956).
In hindsight, I can tell that my approach to this race was far too conservative. I was able to finish too strong and felt full of energy at the finish. In fact, immediately after I crossed the finish line, I helped carry a fellow BMR member to the medical tent and stayed there for longer than an hour helping a couple of my friends who needed medical attention. I didn't take a moment to stretch, eat, or rehydrate, and I still felt good the next day.
Perhaps it's good that I didn't go all out. My key race (Jack & Jill Downhill Marathon) is just a few weeks away. I need to save my Mac effort for my first BQ attempt on that course.
As I've said before, the Peachtree Road Race is my favorite race every year. Despite the heat, humidity, and crowds, I had a great time. I love the energy of this race... And the post-race celebration at Hudson Grille was great!
Can't wait to run it again next year, and every year thereafter.
Hic Svnt Leones