Active Living

My Dance With Death At The Peachtree Road Race

Ahh, the ol' Peachtree Road Race.... I’ve had a lot of good ideas over the course of my lifetime. Running a 6 mile race in the middle of downtown Atlanta during a 100 degree July day isn’t one of them. The Peachtree Road Race Is The Biggest 10k In The World In my defense, it wasn’t just my idea. A little over 50,000 people had the same idea. That was the number of runners in this year’s Peachtree Road Race. It’s the world’s largest 10k ran annually on the morning of July 4th since 1970. My History With The Peachtree Road Race I’ve run it a couple times before. The feeling you get upon finishing, along with tens of thousands other runners, is pretty spectacular. It’s really unlike anything else, especially after training for months and months toward this goal that really kinda seems ridiculous. I was first introduced to the Peachtree Road Race in 2013 when I finished in 1 hour, 5 minutes. Not bad for my first 10k ever. I ran it again the following year, along with a few other races. I was hooked. My first Peachtree Road Race bib from 2013 It’s been 6 years since I’ve run any sort of race, the last being the Jingle Jam 10k on my 40th birthday. It seemed like a great way to ring in my 40’s: show the world, and myself, that aging into my 4th decade isn’t going to slow me down. Then, my brother had to basically drag me across the finish line…my older brother, mind you. My last Jingle Jam 10k finish. Fast forward 6 years and it was basically a rerun of the Jingle Jam, just about 60 degrees warmer. My Friends Were A Lot More Prepared For The Race I convinced a friend to run with me. She reluctantly agreed. She was pretty stressed about it, having never run a 10k. She trained every day for 3 months. I trained when I could, which ended up being about twice a week. When race day came, we lined up in our start wave, which was ‘W’. For reference, Cody from our sister station, Kicks 99, is an avid runner and started in ‘G’, which I assume was for “Go get ‘Em!”. ‘W,’ I think, stood for “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” Me, wondering why I signed up to run 6+ miles in July...voluntarily. The better runners get to start first. Lucky them, it’s not quite as hot then. Us slower runners? Our start time was perfectly synced with the time of day that the thermostat gets turned up on the sun. “No worries,” I thought, “I’m pretty much a Peachtree vet. I’ll kill it anyway.” The Peachtree, I would find, had other plans. This Race Might Be The Closest I've Come To Death I actually did great for the first three miles. Then, we came to “Cardiac Hill.” It’s fine, we had previously planned on walking during this portion of the race because, no. After the hill.. well, hills, actually, we picked up our pace again. It was at this time my body decided that it had enough. I remember after my friend trying to pick up the pace two or three times, she said: “Can you just not catch your breath?” I couldn’t reply. I could breathe just fine, even though it felt like I was huffing a hair dryer. It was literally every muscle in my body just telling me no. Miraculously, my friend drug me across the finish line, one hour and thirty minutes after we had begun- just before the race officials called a black flag due to the heat and a far cry from my finish just 11 short years before. The Peachtree Road Race finish line seemed to get farther and farther away with each step It took me a good 2 hours to stop seeing stars and feeling like I was going to pass out. That was just about the time my friend, who’s training had clearly paid off, said “Wanna look for some 5ks to run?”  The audacity of this woman. Asking me this after having to drag my old ass across the finish line just moments ago. I looked at her with fire in my eyes… not from anger, but because my insides were literally on fire, and said “Maybe tomorrow.” Tomorrow came and not only have we already planned to run some other shorter races, but I’ve already signed up to do the Peachtree all over again. What’s that they say about the definition of insanity? Me with the coveted Peachtree Road Race finisher t-shirt.