Archive for June, 2010

Ode to Training Partners

“Friendships are born on the field of athletic strife and the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust.”
…Jesse Owens


All of my training for the AJC Peachtree Road Race (and the other July events on my racing calendar) has been done alone. That’s fine for a few outings a week – I’m used to exercising 3/4 of the time on my own. But I’ve come to rely on my weekly training session with my loyal training partner.


Training partners in crime in Huntsville, AL.

Ever since we met as teammates on UGA’s rowing team, we have bonded through grueling and easy-going exercise sessions, as well as the highs and lows of competition. Since graduating college we have consistently met and trained together for races and lean on each other for a great deal of support in our athletic pursuits.

While enjoying many adventures during the first month of her teacher-earned summer vacation, my training partner has been sorely missed here in Atlanta. In short, I’m …

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Fooling With the Numbahs

After my AJC Peachtree Road Race bib arrived in the mail, I reacted with shock and denial.

Then, with the other stages of grief, came the pain and guilt over not successfully posting my mediocre time from last year that would have landed me in a “G” or “H” wave instead of an “X” (pictured below).

At the anger and bargaining stage, I went public here on my way to other stages of grief, acceptance and hope.

One way I thought I might deal with this – surf over to eBay, where about two dozen bibs have been up for auction for more than a week.

(Warning: the Atlanta Track Club’s deadline to legitimately transfer your number expired in May. If you wear someone else’s bib this Sunday, you are breaking rules. Same can be said about the people who run in costume).

When you look at my bib in the photo, you are seeing it displayed like most of those pictured on eBay. There have been listings this month for waves from “A” all the way back to group “X.”


Some …

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Finding Your Place in the Crowd

One of my good friends (who just happens to be married to my training partner) finished his first Ironman yesterday. 

I finished a box of Kraft Mac & Cheese yesterday. 

While reveling in the rockstar awesomeness of my friend (11 hrs – wow!), I had a little voice trying to sneak inside my head, challenging me with thoughts of “what did YOU do today.” I had to quickly silence that voice, because we all have to focus on our own individual goals.

My point? I shamefully, at the age of 28, still love children’s food. My real point? We are all athletes with our own agenda.

If you read through the varied comments on this blog, if you just read the blog itself, you can see the strong dichotomy in AJC Peachtree Road Race goals. With so many runners, obviously all ranges of athleticism and running ability will be covered on July 4th.  John and myself – both writers with a storied history of the Peachtree that spans most of our individual lives – have different training habits, …

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Race Etiquette

As race day inches ever so much closer (yay!), it’s time to share some racing etiquette. The goal is to optimize the enjoyment of race day… but not at someone else’s expense. This is all shared in the spirit of love and learning, so let’s be good neighbors and remember… it’s everyone’s Peachtree, not just your own.   

Line up in your time group according to the pace you think you will actually run. Faster runners at the front, slower runners and walkers at the back. Nothing is more annoying at the start of a race than having to weave around slower runners after the gun goes off. Granted, it’s the Peachtree and we’ll all be doing some weaving regardless. Just do your part to line up properly and minimize frustrations. Not sure where you should line up? Ask runners nearby their anticipated pace, and if it’s faster than yours, move further back.

Many races (in the U.S.) begin with a rendition of our national anthem. Whether you believe in taking your hat off or putting …

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Dare to Compare: Still Sweating the Hills

Last Saturday seemed like a good time for a six-mile reality check and a Dare to Compare season wrap, all in one. The Dare to Compare challenge has prompted me to run through the woods near the Chattahoochee River and over concrete sidewalks near downtown Decatur.
A couple of weeks ago when a friend who runs marathons invited me to join him in a six-mile run around his central DeKalb neighborhood, I jumped at the chance.
My marathoner friend, Warren, read a couple of my training chronicles on this page and saw I am trying to finish the AJC Peachtree Road Race in less than an hour. It took me all spring to improve from two-mile untimed jogs in Ansley Park to a couple of five mile 48-minute runs down Peachtree Street.
He suggested either a four-mile or six-mile loop around his neighborhood. I already felt pretty comfortable running four miles every other day. So his offer seemed like a great opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and run six ten-minute miles, paced by …

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All’s Fair in True Love and… Peachtree Numbers?

Along with thousands of others, I was rewarded on Monday.

PRRNumberAhhh… the glorious Peachtree packet peeking out of my mailbox! As predicted, I was happily greeted with my Group A number after submitting a qualifying time from a 2009 10k.

Excited, I called my boyfriend to discuss his number. Though a native Atlantan as well, the 2010 event will be his first time running the AJC Peachtree Road Race. I’ve been prepping him since last summer, so the self-proclaimed non-runner could work on getting himself a qualifying time to run with me.

After lots of blood and sweat (his) and tears (mine), the guy who’d never run more than 3 miles prior to summer 2009 pulled off an amazing first half marathon time of 1.59:00 at the Atlanta Thanksgiving Half last November. According to the ATC PRR time standards, this time would qualify him for Time Group B in the Peachtree. Good news for me – we get to run together, and good news for him – I won’t make him train his tail off to run a qualifying …

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X-Man Quest – The Final Time Group

In the scanned image of my old bib number below you’ll see that in 2005 I started the AJC Peachtree Road Race in the back of the pack – group nine. After the finish line, as a volunteer in Piedmont Park handed me the bag with my T-shirt, she abruptly marked my bib with the letter “X.”
For years I puzzled over the meaning of that crudely scrawled “X.”

2005 number

The haunting memory was stirred Saturday when I opened an envelope that just arrived from the Atlanta Track Club.
I riffled through the assorted ads and instructions inside until I found my 2010 Peachtree bib. And. There. It. Was. An “X” (followed by 77 and something, something, something).
I know now that woman who “Xed” me in 2005 was not just another volunteer. I have apparently been cursed by the Oracle of the Peachtree Road Race.
My Peachtree time last year didn’t earn me a high seed this year. But I hoped I wouldn’t be bringing up the rear, starting this year’s run near Brookhaven. At 9 a.m.

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R & R – It’s taper time!

[Be advised - No elephants were harmed in the making of this post.]

Rest does a body good. After a weekend of mental and physical relaxation, I think I’m starting to feel more like my old self. Darn those doldrums for trying to interupt my training regimen though! After taking it pretty easy this weekend, I’m hoping the mental benefits will outweigh any physical loss experienced from, well, taking it easy.

With the countdown to raceday officially less than two weeks, we’re on the “downhill” anyway. In other words, rest is a good thing! For those of you who have been training hard, focusing on doing your best July 4th, now is the time to think about giving yourself some rest too.

As with all our other crazy running lingo, we have a name for this period of rest before race day – your taper. A taper means reducing, or tapering off, exercise in the days just before an important competition. A taper can be a beautiful thing. After weeks of pushing yourself, now is the time to ease …

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Overcoming Adversity: How to Eat an Elephant

“Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.”
-William Arthur Ward, American author

Whew – what a week.

Lately work and personal life have been particularly taxing on me. To be honest, I’m feeling a bit in the doldrums, and not looking forward to my weekend workout routine like I normally do. But I’m trying to not allow a little adversity to get in the way of my goals.

We are human, and last time I checked, life puts a toll on even the toughest of us from time to time. And mental exhaustion can really take it out of us. Sometimes when I am mentally tired, it feels worse than when I am physically tired. Do you get that way?

Enjoying time on the Silver Comet with Mom

Enjoying time on the Silver Comet with Mom

I had the chance to take a load off the other day – leave serious workout mode and enjoy a nice easy bike ride with my mom. An amazing lady, she has a great way of putting things into perspective for me. When things build up and life seems to be so overwhelming you’re not really sure how to move …

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You Get the Peachtree You Pay For

When I signed up online for the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race, I had no intention of training with more of a purpose than in past years, much less writing about it.
But when I got an email after my registration that said was looking for volunteer bloggers, I thought I could have some fun with it. What could go wrong?
I told a co-worker who ran the race last year in about 50 minutes that I would be blogging about the Peachtree. He planted a crazy thought in my head. Why not publicly set a goal that I will run it in under an hour?
Why not, indeed. So I kicked off my Peachtree posts by throwing a gauntlet down at my own feet.
The next helpful suggestion my colleague offered was to retire my “75-minute shoes” from last year, even though I think I had enough life left in them to get to past this July 4th. But a nagging thought was planted – what if running in the old shoes cost me a chance at finishing under an hour?
So after polling blog readers for shoe shopping …

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