4th of July Festivities

Here in Atlanta, the AJC Peachtree Road Race is a big deal. Actually, across the nation it’s a big deal. It’s the largest 10K in the nation – averaging about 60,000 participants!

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This summer marked my first….. hopefully of many!

But before the race comes the expo – and this expo did not disappoint. The beginning, where you picked up your packet, was marked out by a road-styled carpet. Forget the red carpet, this gets me more excited any day!

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After picking up your packet, then the fun really begins. The expo is designed to mimic the race – there are start and finish signs, and mile markers too. Good thing there are plenty of samples of CorePower, coconut water, and frozen electrolytes to keep you going!

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Not only is there running apparel and gear everywhere, but there are displays to help you get in the spirit – both of running and of America!

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As if that weren’t enough, I got to meet Jeff Galloway!!

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Jeff is well-known for his training programs, a lot of which feature a run/walk method to covering long distances. He’s 69 years old and has done over 200 marathons. That’s something to aspire to! Not to mention the fact that he is completely nice, down to earth, and helpful. If you’re in Atlanta around December 13, consider doing the inaugural JG half marathon! https://jeffgalloway131.com/

As for the race itself…….

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When I woke up dark and early Saturday morning, I could hear the sounds of rain peppering the roof and filling the drain. For one brief, weak second, I thought, “I wouldn’t have to run.” Then the thought was banished by ten louder thoughts, including, “Of course I do,” “I already paid the race fee,” “I’ve been looking forward to this for months,” and “This will be my first race in the rain – what fun!” Particularly the last makes me question my sanity.

Still, if that’s insanity, then at least I’ve got some good company. Marta (Atlanta’s public transit system) was packed with red-white-and-blue-decked runners. Outfits ranged from running gear to tutus and costumes of George Washington. I don’t get bored while running a race, but if you were to do so, it would be impossible at this one.

PRs are also hard to get at this race because of the sheer mass of people. I did PR, but I think I could have been a lot faster – especially at the end where it gets congested. I like to throw all my energy out of the tank for a sprint at the end (or as close to a sprint as I can manage), and that just wasn’t possible here.

Also, for what it’s worth, the infamous “Cardiac Hill” isn’t that bad. It’s a hill, but if you run in Atlanta, you’ve probably run up worse. Not only that, but you have the energy of the race pushing you forward. I ran it but kept waiting for the big, bad, and ugly cardiac hill…… I didn’t realize til about mile marker 5 that I had already passed it.

Over 54,000 people raced this year, despite the rain, the lightning, the early morning. In addition to the weather, I was hampered by some GI issues and being in the midst of a stressful move. But it struck me as I was running……. THAT’S the American spirit. It’s to be indomitable even when everything is going against you, when you could give up, when other people might give up. It’s to keep going strong. It’s the broad stripes and bright stars yet waving through the perilous night.

Ending the day with friends and some bbq and cherries jubilee was just right.

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Even the food is celebrating with that red and blue!
Even the food is celebrating with that red and blue!

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