After battling the "bum hip," going to physical therapy, paying out the wazzoo for x-rays and an MRI, what is my first course of action after being "released" to exercise? RUN A 10K, OF COURSE!!!
Every Independence Day 55,000 plus runners get up way too stinking early to walk/run the Peach Tree Road Race, the country's largest 10K. Race numbers sell out WELL in advance for $44, but if you are super fly like my crew, you work around all the paying full price, waiting in line forever to start and all that stuff. Yep, we approached this like everything I do: with a major discount and ADD-friendly. Geoff had the plan all under control.
So, Geoff, Britt, Katie (Britt's friend), my brother and his girlfriend, Rachel, (who innocently came to visit) and I all woke up at the crack of dawn to pile six deep in the ol' Impala. Next stop: Marta...AKA public transportation that we had to walk about a mile to get to from our parking spot at the end of the race.
Upon getting off the train, we began our hunt for "numbers." Meaning we had to find someone who bought a race number with the intention to scalp it, had a friend who backed out, whatever. We got our numbers on the street between $17-$20 a piece. Score. Now, rather than splitting up based on where our numbers said we could line up, we just bypassed that all together.
Instead, we walked well over a mile around Lennox Square Mall to "jump into" the race just before the one mile mark. This way you get to stand to the side to watch the Kenyans run and simply veer to the far right to stay out of any die-hards' way.
We decided early on that not only were we NOT in shape to run the entire thing, my hip was not going to let me, even if my lungs would. It didn't take running next to Santa Claus (painted people, costumed freaks, etc...) for too long before I said, "we just need to make this an experience." After running for a nice little bit we discovered Moe's throwing t-shirts off of a fire truck. Had to catch one, of course...What was more impressive was the Willy's Mexican Catina t-shirt I caught while in a perfect stride, simply by reaching my arm out as I saw it whiz past me.
Of course, I would not be a good UGA Terry College of Business employee if I did not go high five the Chik-fil-A cows! (Major donor and employer, for those not in the know.)
Considering it was the Fourth of July, there were many flags waving. Geoff managed to secure a small flag, which he proudly waved until we decided a more convenient holding place for it was my pony tail.
One of the best sights of the day was the Peachtree Pub Crawl group. Led by a beer flag, this group strolled their way through the race chanting things such as "three more lights" as a count down to their next bar stop. Carrying brews in their hands (yes, we're talking like 8:00 a.m.), and some even smoking, this group was the antithesis of a 10K running group!
But that's OK, because like us they had access to the St. Philip's Holy Water mister to cleanse them of their race transgressions...
...and if that didn't quite do the trick, they could have simply followed our lead and gotten sprinkled by an actual priest for good measure!
So what is the next stop after all this holy water? The Thirsty Dog Tavern for a solo cup full of Carlsberg Beer, of course!
Along with the beer, we also ran by and grabbed Planet Smoothie berry smoothies (a NICE caloric pick-me-up for those of us who skipped breakfast), watermelon, ice cream, various popsicles, you get the idea...the race-side entrainment was endless.
Similar to the Country Music Marathon, we didn't run too far before happening upon live music. On one such occasion I heard "Mustang Sally" and THIS band was elevated on an actual stage, had a full band, PA, the whole works. So, of course Geoff and I hand-in-hand ran off the road and in front of the band in what to us looked like a perfect dance floor? After a couple eight-counts we again grabbed hands and ran right back into the road to continue the race. (The guy below is not the place we stopped at....but I needed a visual.)
And speaking of holding hands....in the interest of sparing my hip unnecessary impact, we opted to walk down a fairly steep hill, then run up the next incline. So, there we were, to the far right as instructed by the race rules, holding hands, but still at a fast pace. This older man with something to prove jogged past us and said, "nice stroll." (Rolling eyes...not worth responding.) As luck would have it, Geoff and I, huffing and puffing up the hill that followed this annoying moment, RAN past the same guy who was...you guessed it...WALKING and at a slow pace, to boot. Since he was quite a bit away from us, there was no being subtle. Geoff shouted "NICE STROLL" and we both gave a thumbs up, smiling and running uphill, sweat dripping from our faces. Awesome.
After we finished the race, we had to strategize how we were going to meet back up with Andrew and Rachel and Britt and Katie. Only the teenagers ran with their cell phones--I know, shocker. But we deduced they would likely have to go to the "small" t-shirt line, so we found the balloons that represented the smalls. So much detail here that I'll skip for the sake of space, but we borrowed an Atlanta cop's cell phone to make absolutely sure we would be able to leave with the minors we were responsible for!
What would a PEACHtree Road Race ending be in Atlanta's Piedmont Park without...yup...peaches. The most spectacular moment, however, unveiled when we were asking multiple people for directions to where our car was parked. A pair of men told Geoff that the street we needed to find was off the corner where the Krispy Kreme Donut store was. So, we approach another police officer and Geoff asks "you know where the Krispy Kreme is?" Exhausted, no one caught how hilarious that was until Rachel blurts out, "Awesome. Geoff, do you realize you just asked a cop how to get to the the donut shop? It was like, 'come on...you know where the donuts are...'" Oh yeah, he did.
Add the two-milish walk (hunt) for the car buried in the depths of a nearby Atlanta neighborhood and we by far got in over ten miles of exercise before 9:30 a.m.! So, to keep with tradition, we did what I've always done after a real good time...ate at the Waffle House!
This was, by far, the MOST FUN I've ever had in a race. The six of us truly have a lifetime of memories.