Logistics are tricky. Weather was questionable. 60,000 friggin' people.
I left my house at 6am. Because of road closures, I had to walk 3+ miles (in the rain) to get on a train to get me to the starting line. Time to put on my big girl underpants.
Cops had almost every block covered already that early. I felt less scared of the Atlanta sketchiness I imagined I would have to face.
I took the not exactly correct train to the not exactly correct location -- but! -- I saw other runners. I wasn't making this mistake alone.
There were hundreds being kept underground at this train stop until authorities figured out what to do with us all. I guess we weren't supposed to be there? When the train announcer told us to get back on a train to get on another train that was more accurate folks became grumpy. Oh god. Was I going to be on the news?
Finally, after about 30 minutes they let us out. They let us out of the underground hole in which we were being kept. Air. Sweet air.
My wave was K. My wave was to start at 8:14am. I had to peeeeeeee so very badly, though. It was 8:06am. I knew I wouldn't be comfortable running six miles if I had to pee. Damn it. I waited in the line.
I missed my wave. It's okay. I jumped in with the N wave around 8:28ish.
I was off.
The rain made way for some cooler weather. Like 20+ degrees cooler compared to last year's race. The slick roads were an easy compromise, I'm sure, for those who dread the Hotlanta oven on race day.
The first three miles were golden. Flat roads. Soaking it all in. All running.
But. Then I started to get tired. I know my early morning hike couldn't have helped. I kept going but had to start incorporating some water and walking.
Then came the hills. It's kind of sucky the ladder part of the race is the hardest.
We finally rounded the last leg when I saw a big white scaffolding of photographers with a bunch of signs that read "SMILE!" I did. And I even ran with my arms in the air like I had won. (That picture should be ubercheesy.)
How deceiving! That was NOT the finish line. There was like... a half mile more to go. One of those signs should have read "SMILE! (But keep running...)"
I stopped. I literally thought I was done. But why were others still going? Dang it. I picked it back up and then finally in the distance saw a big sign that said: FINISH.
When we crossed we were funneled into a large mud pit that used to be Piedmont Park. I got a bottle of water and claimed my shirt: the highly coveted Peachtree Road Race shirt.
Oh god. Now. Now, I had to walk home. Kill me. I can't.
I started the trek back and was kicking myself because I didn't grab more water.
I was amazed at the sheer number of runners still headed to the finish line as I walked home in the opposite direction. If I had the energy, I could cheerlead. I'm sure the folks not running with the beer were doing just fine.
I finally reached the top of my street and HELLO MELLOW MUSHROOM. I ordered to-go.
I sat on the bench outside of Mellow after I picked up my food and ate my once slice of hot, cheese pizza like I was just kicked off the island. America the beautiful, indeed.
A lady in a trendy tan trench coat and heels walked past me on her way in the restaurant, turned, smiled and said, "you deserve it."
Trench coat lady: you have never been more right.
I mustered up enough strength to walk the rest of the way home carrying my sweaty/soaking self, my race goody bag and the rest of our food home.
I took a shower AND a bath, ate lots more food and slept hard.
What can I say about the Peachtree Road Race? It's a character builder and a helluva good time.
I took today off but can't wait to get back at it tomorrow. After I wash my stank shoes, of course.
I'm glad I got to do this race with so many inspirational, wonderful people. It made me proud to be an Atlanta resident.
I'm glad I got to run by The Shepherd Center while "my people" cheered me on and kept me honest.
And, I'm glad I could hang my dingy race number on Jimmy's wall when I was done.