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Summer running, happened so fast (or not) July 19, 2012

Posted by bettyjoan in Races, Running.
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Well, judging by the record-high temperatures, summer is definitely here – and shockingly, I’ve actually done some racing!

Back in mid-June, I ran the ATC Braves Country Fathers Day 4-Miler.  I didn’t have any specific goals for the event, having never raced that particular distance before.  The course was challenging, with lots of ups and downs, but the weather was great and the finish – right on the warning track, inside Turner Field – made all of the elevation changes worthwhile.  I saw a few friends and felt very strong overall, and I finished in 39:57.  A sub-40 minute 4-miler (just barely, but still)?  Yep, I’ll take that.

Then, before I knew it, it was July 4 – and in Atlanta, that means the Peachtree Road Race!  I love Peachtree – it is such an amazing tradition that is unique to my city, and it gets me excited every year.  Though, to be fair, I’m not sure what I get more jazzed about – actually running the race, or watching the coverage on TV after I get home!

Setting goals for Peachtree is tricky – after all, you are running with 60,000 of your closest friends, and it is usually crazy stinkin’ hot.  Combine those factors with a very challenging course, and you have less-than-ideal conditions for a PR.  However, after a marathon in April and a pretty good streak of faster running (for me, anyway), I was hoping that I could get my Peachtree time down closer to an hour (for reference, I completed the 2011 event in 1:10 and change).

The morning of the race, we took MARTA to the start and then went immediately to our corrals (F for me and G for hubby).  We timed it pretty darn well – we didn’t have to stand around for long before we were off and running.  I took off pretty quickly and darted around the many, many, MANY people who had no  business being that far up in the corrals (start placement is based on qualifying times, so theoretically you should be running with people of similar abilities).  The first few miles were awesome – I was running a really solid pace, but I didn’t feel like I was overexerting myself.  I took water at each opportunity, and I smiled at all of the folks who had gathered to watch the madness (they say there are usually 150,000 spectators).

I was really feeling good going into “Cardiac Hill,” and I moved over to the right side of the road so I could see my favorite part of the race – the Shepherd Center patients.  Well, that turned out to be the WRONG idea if I wanted a faster time – my emotions got the better of me, and I started crying when I saw all of the men and women with spinal injuries out on the sidewalk cheering on all of the runners.  It was incredibly motivating, of course, but crying and running don’t mix – my heart rate was all over the place, and I had to really slow down and then walk for a bit to get things back in working order.  Finally, I pulled myself together and had a strong final mile, and I was thrilled to cross the finish line a little faster than the previous year (1:07:23).

The post-Peachtree weeks have been pretty lame as far as running.  Actually, they have been lame in terms of exercise in general – I have been in a bit of a slump, and I have entered the time of year where I travel a lot for work.  I am starting to feel heavy and bloated and out of shape after my most recent business trip (wrapped up just this afternoon, in fact), so I’m hoping I can muster up the gumption to start a better workout streak.

Next up, unless we schedule something else – Bike MS and Ragnar Tennessee!

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