Archive for June, 2011

AJC Peachtree Road Race: By the numbers

peaches

Am I the only one who can’t believe it’s almost July 4 already? It snuck up on me this year. The next few days are about one or two more good runs, stretching, eating right and sleeping well. And then lacing up those shoes Monday morning and soaking it all in.

Here are some fun facts to ponder as we head into the final stretch from the Atlanta Track Club’s Tumblr:

  • The first Peachtree was in 1970, with 150 runners (though only 110 would finish). There were no T-shirts, no water stops, no food and no post-race entertainment. The entry fee was $2.
  • 26 percent of participants in the 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race will be running it for the first time ever.
  • The coolest starting temperature on race day was 62 degrees in 1986 and 1989. The warmest was 80 degrees in 1970, ’73, ’77, ‘80, ’83 and ’91.
  • Participants in the 2011 event will represent 48 states and the District of Columbia.  The only two states not represented are South Dakota and …

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Best part of the AJC Peachtree? The finish

I won't be the winner, but the finish is still my favorite part of the AJC Peachtree Road Race. (Photo: Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

I won't be the winner, but the finish is still my favorite part of the AJC Peachtree Road Race. (Photo: Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

The question seemed simple. What’s your favorite part of the race?

Unlike most AJC Peachtree Road Race veterans, I was stumped. I threw together some lame answer then started to think (something I clearly don’t do enough of when writing for this blog). For a future topic, I was thinking what was my favorite part of the course. Then I got back to thinking about what I liked best about the race. Turns out, they are the same.

Let’s re-ask the question: What’s your favorite part of the race?

The finish (except for the year the race finished at the civic center). It’s always nice to make the turn onto 10th Street and see the finish-line banner. With six miles complete, you realize that you’re almost done. And more times than not, I am able to pass just a few people during that stretch. But more than both of those, there is nothing …

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Running with a mission

ribbonsA couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about finding inspiration on the sidelines of a running route. If inspirational signs aren’t your thing, keep an eye out for the display in front of the Peachtree Road Methodist United Church, about a mile into the course on the right.

The “Prayers for Peace” display features yellow, blue and green ribbons and memorial dog tags listing the names of each of the more than 6,400 American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans who are members of the church’s congregation hung the ribbons this past weekend, and the display will be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of Sept. 11. You can read more about the display here.

The ribbons have special meaning when you consider the servicemen and women who run their own versions of the PRR while they’re stationed overseas. Even looking at photos of last year’s runs in Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan is pretty inspiring. In fact, if you know — or you are — a soldier running the race in another …

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What do you eat before you run?

Bananas -- the perfect pre-race food, methinks.

Bananas — the perfect pre-race food, methinks.

My co-blogger Matt recently posted about what he likes to eat after a run (for the record, I think sweet potato pancakes from Ria’s Bluebird wipe the court with anything offered up by Waffle House, but that’s neither here nor there).

Honestly, give me a beer and a bagel after any race and I’m happy until I can get something more substantial in my food hole. What stresses me out is what to eat before a race, both the night before and the morning of. Most people swear by a meal almost entirely made up of carbs, which makes sense, but I’m always a little afraid of overdoing it, Michael Scott-style. Depending on the length of the run, I usually eat a small bowl of pasta or a tuna sandwich, and I try not to eat after 8 p.m. (mostly because I usually try not to go to sleep any later than 10 p.m. the night night before a run). And I obviously try to hydrate as much as possible.

I made the mistake of agreeing to go out for Indian food …

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First AJC Peachtree? Your questions are answered

Like a lot of our blog readers out there (judging from the comments), my fellow blogger Yvonne is an AJC Peachtree Road Race rookie. I’ve run the race a few times – somewhere around 10 – so I will attempt to answer some of the questions she had. From the comments, I know there are a lot of people running for the first time. Make sure you enjoy the run. I hope this helps and anyone else that has questions (or answers), please pass them along.

–How crowded is it — really? Does it make you want to turn right around and go home?

I’ve never turned around and gone home. But it’s certainly a lot of people, something I’ve found to be commonplace at a lot of runs in Atlanta. Spending the past three years in Jackson, Tenn., I ran in races with no more than 100 people and was just about guaranteed to finish in the top three in my age group. That’s not the case here.

Be prepared to wait in long porta-potty lines pre-race or to make your own potty. For the first half-mile or …

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Catching a wave

numbersIf you’re signed up for the PRR, you should be getting your confirmation number in the mail this week (or, if you’re a little cheap like me, via e-mail, necessitating you having to do battle with the crowds at the expo the weekend before the race).

As part of the confirmation number, you also get your corral letter, which lets you know what time you start (check out the list of wave starts times here). In a bid to get a decent start time, I submitted my finish time from the Chattahoochee Challenge 10k — a Peachtree qualifier — when I signed up for the race. My finish time of 1:00:33 was by no means Olympic-caliber, but I though it’d at least bump me into the top 50 percent of start times.

So I was slightly disappointed when I saw my letter: N. It’s the 13th wave, starting at 8:27 a.m. It’s not horrible, but it’s further back than I’d like, and is a different wave from several friends I wanted to run with (at least for a bit). I thought about sneaking up a couple of spots to an …

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Know your wave: Peachtree Road Race start times

Peachtree Road Race number confirmations are being sent out this week, and it’s important to check your corral letter, which lets you know your start time:

Corral A: 7:30 a.m.

Corral B: 7:35 a.m.

Corral C: 7:41 a.m.

Corral D: 7:45 a.m.

Corral E: 7:50 a.m.

Corral F: 7:55 a.m.

Corral G: 8 a.m.

Corral H: 8:05 a.m.

Corral J: 8:09:30 a.m.

Corral K: 8:14 a.m.

Corral L: 8:18:30 a.m.

Corral M: 8:23 a.m.

Corral N: 8:27:30 a.m.

Corral P: 8:33 a.m.

Corral R: 8:37:30 a.m.

Corral S: 8:42 a.m.

Corral T: 8:46:30 a.m.

Corral U: 8:51 a.m.

Corral W: 8:55:30 a.m.

Corral X: 9 a.m.

Corral Y: 9:05 a.m.

Wave times are decided by your 2009 or 2010 PRR finish time or a chip time from a PRR qualifying race (Chattahoochee Challenge 5k or 10k, Your Pace or Mine 5k and Publix Half- and Full-Marathon are a few).

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Dr. Joe’s Training Tips: Well Done on Race Day

You are taking the advice regarding conditioning for the heat and humidity of Peachtree.  Today you are running in the heat of the mid afternoon.  You have done this before and you feel that your tolerance and acclimation is improving.  Today, however, things begin to feel different.  You started out feeling unusually well and running well.  However, the last 15 minutes you become more fatigued and feel weaker than normal.  There may be a little nausea and even a slight headache.  You cannot tell if it is actually early muscle cramps or whether your muscles are just aching.  As you begin to concentrate, it is harder to focus on where you have been and you may feel a little dizzy.  Realizing these symptoms as being unusual, you stop, take extra fluids, walk in the shade and gradually the symptoms resolve.  You still feel a slight headache the rest of the day and the next day your muscles are a little sorer than normal.  The runner who has experienced these warning …

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Dash and dine – what to eat after the race

Now that you're done, what do you eat? (AJC file photo)

Now that you're done, what do you eat? (AJC file photo)

All those calories burned running a race; they don’t stay gone for very long. After running a race, especially if I run well, I like to enjoy a nice breakfast. My favorite two options are Chick-fil-A (most days I am not up early enough for a chicken biscuit) or Waffle House, my vote for second-best AJC Peachtree Road Race sponsor following my employer.

After running a 5K on Thursday (388 Calories burned according to my watch), I went straight for a chicken biscuit combo. As always, it was good. Looking at the Chick-fil-A website, the biscuit, hash browns and coffee contained almost double the Calories I burned running (740). At least I woke up early and made the 7 a.m. race, right? That has to be worth something, even if I’m not taking full advantage of the health benefits.

My all-time most memorable post-race meal followed my final high school cross country race. Imagine being at a Waffle House after running a hard …

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AJC Peachtree traditions (hopefully you’ve got some good ones)

Borrowed from my uncle – the running patriarch of the family – I do 10 pushups before every race. I know from the stares I sometimes get that my pre-race tradition is a little bit different and personally know it’s not that exciting. It’s not even as good as his pre-race routine which also includes situps and some other exercises.

How about some more of my racing traditions, not that they’re any goo?

Wrongly I know, I always try to start near the front of a race, another tradition borrowed from my uncle. And I always wear the race shirt after the same day after finishing the race (hope my boss doesn’t mine me wearing it to the office tomorrow). I always try to thank the race volunteers and police, and give fives to the little kids along the side of the road. Maybe I’ll give a few “Go Dogs” for some Tech fans I see. Not too many other running traditions for me that I can think of (unless beating my brother counts). Come to think of it, finishing ahead of parts of …

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