Friday, July 29, 2011

2011 (42nd) Peachtree Road Race - July 4th, 2011

4th of July...

A day of remembrance for our nation's independence.  A day commemorating the adoption of our nation's independence.  And yet this is also a day where many people look to take a day or three out of their busy lives to live a little during the summer.  Go anywhere in the USA on this day and you will happen upon fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies.

However for a few of us, say 60,000, we decide to postpone the days activities and festivities a few more hours by participating in the world's largest 10K. 

I have been running off and on in this event since 1994.  The last couple of years I have not been around in Atlanta, as I am usually spending time with Patsy and her family for the holiday.  This year I was not interested in doing the race because I wanted to just have fun on the 4th.  It is interesting to see how you fall into certain decisions based off of how things pan out in life, and furthermore how you look back on that experience.  I had made plans out of town for the 4th of July yet again this year, and I was really happy about it.  The last two years with graduate school and my job situation not constant, I really have been looking forward to times when I can have 3-4+ days off and NO responsibilities, other than to myself and my well being.  About a week and a half prior to the holiday, plans suddenly changed and I was no longer going out of town.  I was going to be sitting in Atlanta, while most of the people I would have made plans with were now doing other things. 

In search of a solution to this social and mental dilemma, I decided to head back inward to me and see what would make me happy, what I would enjoy doing.  Next thing I knew, I had not one, but TWO Peachtree Road Race numbers in my possession.  I kinda felt like a scalper.  On one side of the cardboard it would have said, "I need a PRR number" and the other side said, "I have PRR numbers." :)

A friend of mine from grad school had a friend who needed a number, so I sold it to her.  Training had been picking up in the last month or so, but I had not been doing any speed work for shorter distances, and I just got over a foot injury. What to do?  How about just do the race, and ENJOY it. Any of you who have been reading my posts over the last few years know, while in the end I always enjoy my athletic experiences, I don't always enjoy them while they are occurring.  I needed to return to my roots, and find why I started doing this in the first place... because I enjoyed it.

Pre - Race

This is about the best pre - race I have ever had!  4th of July was on a Monday this year, so between leaving work early Friday for the weekend and the 4th following the weekend, I tried just to enjoy life and have some fun.  Got some workouts in over the weekend and met up with a few friends, nothing too crazy.  Woke up at a decent hour Monday morning, as opposed to getting up at O'Dark Thirty.  I only live about 3.5 miles away from the start line.  Add to that my grad school parking deck is about 1/2 mile away from the start.  And my wave did not start till 8:55am.  I think at that point the ONLY downside was the temperature quickly rising.  Got to the race site with about 30 min to go before my start wave began, and so I stretched out and got to my race corral.  By that time, my wave was making its way to the start line.  I was taking in all the scenery around me.  Families running together, friends catching up with each other, the patriotic costumes, our nation's finest representing the different armed forces.  The energy was amazing.  The funk I had been in for the past week and a half seemed to melt away.  As we approached the start line, the announcer started to fire up our wave, not that we needed much help, we were all pretty pumped already.

The Race

All I was wanting to do was finish at a comfortable pace.  The elevation is nearly all downhill for the first three miles until you arrive at the Colonial Homes Hill and Cardiac Hill.  I really tried to hold back the crotchety old man issues with this being a race and not a fun run (something to do with the fact that being in the back of this race has lots more of the fun run/walk types :).  Everything felt pretty good, legs got a bit tight on the final downhill to mile marker 3, but lengthened my stride and it seemed to help out. 

Then I hit what I would like to call "The Wall."  This was a combination of a few things, 1)runners taking a break walking up the hills, 2) walkers still walking, and 3) having about 55,000 people ahead of me.  I think between miles 3-5 I ran more from side to side across the 7 lanes of Peachtree St. than I did running forward!  Saw some of my friends at the Fur Bus hangout (for those of you who don't know, Fur Bus is kinda like a limo transport company where you can get some swanky buses and use to them to transport you to events, and filled with alcohol.).  The crowds this year the last mile were great.  So much cheering and at 10th St., it was at least 8-10 people deep cheering,  as if we were the parade procession through Atlanta.

Time:  55:53

Post Race

After the race I went looking for a couple of my friends at the Alphabet balloons, but could not find them.  Turns out they turned to walking about halfway into the race due to the heat and so I actually finished before them.  I headed back up into midtown to catch MARTA back up to Buckhead.  I saw Mary at her new job (she is a masseuse).  I was gonna hit her up for one of the free post race massages that they were giving out, but the problem was that I had finished so late in the morning, that they had already almost packed everything up and took it back into their building.  Oh well, it was good to see her anyways :)

As far as looking back on this holiday weekend of mine, things definitely did not turn out as I wanted to, or intended.  However, I made the best of it and decided to make up for it by doing something that I enjoyed doing.  And I am glad I did.  They say in times like these you need to keep yourself preoccupied and busy.  I disagree to some extent.  While I think you should keep living your life to the best of your ability, you also need to focus on your experiences.  Without that combination you may never know who you truly are or what you want out of life.  Needless to say no matter what the reason for remembering this particular 4th of July over any other I have or will experience, it will be remembered.  I hope all of you had a great and memorable 4th of July.

West Point Lake Triathlon (Olympic) - June 12, 2011

Hi Everyone!

More than a week later than I promised via my twitter feed, but better late than never!  Try to just keep this to the race and I will follow up with some other general shenanigans (including IM training) after Thu (final exam in my Internal Accounting class).

Pre Race

My Roommate Robbie decided he wanted to come and watch a triathlon for the first time, so I decided he could be my tri-sherpa for the weekend.  Got everything packed and ready to go by about 9pm, and I was in bed by 10pm.  I always have trouble sleeping when I go to bed early, but I know with the hour and a half drive, I was gonna need the sleep.  Robbie decided he was going to go out to a show (he saw Lazerbeam Kitty, for any of you who know about that).

I got up at 4am to get some breakfast and get everything loaded into the car.  Robbie rolled in at 4:15am and I told him wheels were up in 15 minutes.  He quickly changed his clothes and grabbed his book bag and was ready.  I was packing the car and filling the cooler.  We got out of there around 4:45 am for our Trek down to West Point.  Still plenty of time, would probably have time for transition, run warm up and swim warm up.  Got about 20 minutes down the road and had the "Oh S!@#" moment.  There are some things that you tell yourself, "if I left it at home then I didn't really need it."

A wallet with your ID and money is not one of those things.

Did a quick turn around, however by the time we got back to the house and then back to where i had the not-so-glorious epiphany, another 40 minutes had passed.  After a quick mental calculation, I did not know if I was gonna make it in time for transition.  I was haulin' down I-85 and at least this time if I was to get pulled over, I had my driver's license on me.  Thankfully there were none of Georgia's finest on the roads (too busy at the coffee shop getting ready for Sunday Church traffic I guess) so I got there with a few minutes to spare.  Then I realized that the parking lot was about half a mile or more away from the transition area.  Robbie was a great help for me and we got there with about 5 minutes to spare.  If there was ever a category for fastest transition setup time, I would have had the award for this race.  After that I headed over to the swim start and saw Wes and Richard there getting ready to hit it with me.  AND....... We're off!


Let's be brutally honest about this leg.  Have not done much swimming this year.  Prior to this race I had about a dozen swim workouts in the 6 weeks leading up to this race, and most of those workouts were; WU, 3x500 free, CD, and done.  While I am technically covering the distance needed, I was not doing anything longer, I should have been doing AT LEAST 3 swims a week, since that is my weakest sport, and I should have had more variety in my workouts, such as negative splits and intervals.  After the race I did speak with Wes regarding the swim.  He puts his Garmin in his swim cap for a more accurate reading, and he said that the 1500M alert on his watch hit around the time we got to the last buoy.  Also after looking at the swim times of all the participants in our age group, I was very surprised to see that there were not more sub 25 min finishes with the swim than there were (nothing under 27 minutes).  Could have been a weak swim field.  My hair is longer now, so my cap kept coming off, which kept moving my goggles around.  Not necessarily gonna blame that on my poor swim time, but it sure as hell did not help.
Time               37:27
Pace               2:30
AG Place        14/16


Was pretty pleased with my time, I did waste a bit of time with getting a bit of nutrition in before leaving T1 because my sponsor's suit is a 2XU suit that does not have any pockets to hold anything.  I had gels in my legs, but I had some Cliff Shot Bloks that I wanted to use in T1 and T2.  Had a fairly clean transition.

Time               1:09
AG Place        7/16


My first quarter mile/half mile was a bit of a rough start, and this was solely due to the fact that I was having a bit of a problem getting my shoes on.  I put my shoes on my bike before the race so that I would not have to worry about that in transition.  My new bike shoes this year are not really good for walking around in, and furthermore with the Speedplay cleat designed the way it is, trying to walk/jog/run on pavement is not a good idea :)  Overall I felt like I had a pretty solid bike.  There was not too much elevation on the course, but what elevation there is, I did not perform well on.  Chalk that up to training for IMFL, where the only hill is a bridge so there is not really any point of training anywhere hilly.  There were a few people that I went back and forth with throughout the bike leg, however, when I finally got to the last couple miles, they were mostly downhill so I kicked it in.  Getting the shoes off pre-dismount was soooo much easier with a one strap.

Time              1:17:53 (19.1mph)
AG Place       10/16


A bit slower than I would have liked.  I was having a bit of trouble trying to get the rest of the Clif Shot Bloks down, so I did what I could and then just forged on out of T2.  Also had an issue with my socks.  I know, I know, I should be going sock less for any race Olympic and shorter, but I have not really trained sock less, and so I did not want to ruin my feet, not to mention I was still nursing my foot.

Time              1:56
AG Place       15/16

The theme for me here was "slow and steady survives the race."  Overall the run was good.  Not too much shade for the race, and it was sunny and HOT.  Did get some sunscreen on prior to the race so that when I was on the run I would not get burnt.  I did stop and walk a few times when I felt like my foot may not hold out.  I have never DNF'ed a race, but I promised myself if there were any serious issues during the run I would quit.  I saw Wes, Richard, and April on the run, and they all looked really strong.  The net increase in elevation did a bit of a number on me in the last few miles, but I need to keep reminding myself that the race I am training for is Florida, not somewhere in the Colorado Rockies. Good finish and Robbie was there to get some photos of me as I approached the finish line.

Time               1:02:36
AG Place        16/16


Time               3:00:52
AG Place        16/16

A few seconds slower than Peachtree International Triathlon.  I felt better on the run than I did at PIT, but I still did some walking because I did not want to re-injure my foot.  The big test was how my foot was gonna feel the days following the event, and it held up great.  Hopefully I will be injury free for the rest of the season (fingers crossed).  It was great to get out there and just race.  I also saw April Burkey out there, she passed by me on the way back in from the dam as I was headed out on the dam.  Robbie had a good time watching his first triathlon and although I don't think he wants to attempt a triathlon, I think he will definitely tag along again.

At the time I am finishing up this email, I have 7 weeks till I graduate with my Master's of Professional Accountancy at GSU.  I have 11 weeks till I start my new job at Deloitte in Atlanta.  And in 18 weeks and 6 days, I will be attempting my second Ironman in Florida.  It's been one helluva a year.  Both good times and bad have occurred in my personal and triathlon life, and hey that's life.  Not that I have a particular clock or countdown for 2011, but I would consider this my halfway point of the season.  Things never happen the way we plan, but in most cases, I am pleased where I am at.

Keep it up everyone!  We are halfway there.