Archive for the ‘John McCosh’ Category

Dare to compare – your three-mile run vs. mine

I bet my hills can beat up your hills.
I live near Piedmont Park and often run a challenging four mile urban course, including a steep climb from the park up to the Peachtree Street ridge. Anyone who ran the recent Georgia Marathon (or half) knows this stretch can turn legs to rubber.
I’m going to give you a chance to make me back up the challenge in my first sentence, but more on that in a minute.
Last year I asked commenters on this blog to nominate their favorite courses for me to try so I could compare it to my routine. I thought it would be a good way to see new sights. I called it Dare to Compare.
Also last year, I learned of a miracle invention that helped me overcome my longtime haphazard training routine to upgrade to a much more measured one.
I am not referring to a watch, although I hadn’t been using one of those to time my runs in recent years. My system was to check the clock when I left the house, check it when I returned and subtract a couple of minutes for …

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Is there a chance I’ll win the 2011 AJC Peachtree Road Race?

Not many handicappers are giving me even a snowball’s chance of winning the AJC Peachtree Road Race on July 4th. For starters, I probably won’t take off until after either the Kenyans or Ethiopians are huffing and puffing past the finish line.
In my favor, consider how many places I moved up from the 2009 to 2010 Peachtree.
In 2009 I was pretty close to the median Peachtree runner, if not an average one. I finished 28,182th out of 55,000, covering the 6.2 miles in about 75 minutes. Kenya’s Sammy Kilwarn crossed the finish line first at 27.22. If he was ever worried about me, he hid it well.
In 2009 I trained a tad harder than I did most of my past 20 Peachtrees, including 1997 when I thought it would be funny to stick a cigar in my mouth as I ran under the Marathon photographers near the finish line.

John McCosh (center, with cigar) has run the Peachtree Road Race 22 times. He'll blog about his experience here as he prepares for a 23rd.

John McCosh has run the Peachtree Road Race 22 times. He'll blog about his experience here as he prepares for a 23rd.

Fast forward to spring 2010. When I agreed to write for this …

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Lottery is Settled, When Does Your Training Begin?

I hadn’t received my AJC Peachtree Road Race confirmation email Monday morning before people started complaining in the comments section of last week’s blog post that they lost the lottery.
Race organizers confirm that expanding the race by 5,000 runners to 60,000 for 2011 left about 2,000 people who entered the lottery on the outside looking in.
Condolences to any shut-outs who had their heart set on running the Peachtree this year, especially anyone who has a long streak going of under ten years. (If you were shut out and have at least ten Peachtrees under your belt, you can appeal to the Atlanta Track Club and ask for a dispensation).
One good thing about the lottery – it did apparently eliminate the technical glitches from past years when everyone tried to access the online sign up at the same instant. This year the online system worked well based on everything I’ve heard.
In my slacker days – the two decades before last year at this time – I put my running shoes away for …

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Will tortoise and hare make nice with 2011 wave system?

One might have thought the introduction of a wave system in the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race would calm the conflicts between its runners and walkers. It at least was better than the former mostly random assignment of the majority of entries into nine larger groups, right?
For some, the answer is apparently: wrong.
I expected it might stir the pot when I wrote last week about how some runners who train hard for the Peachtree feel about walkers, who they see as a roadblock to a fast time.
Never mind last year’s Independence Day “race” was over before all but a small portion of the 55,000 Peachtree participants had cleared the giant blow up Uncle Sam in Buckhead. I’ve looked at the times for the first several groups from last year and I can’t imagine the road was clogged with walkers mixed in with people running from the D wave and higher.
I can confirm if you start further back and you want to run under an hour, you will be doing a lot of cutting and dodging. In my haste to …

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Is it really runners versus walkers in the Peachtree numbers game?

And so it begins. March 15th is the day everything changes for the AJC Peachtree Road Race. I could reach for an easy Ides of March Shakespeare quip. But given the tone of recent blog comments from runners upset about the new random system for allocating bibs to runners on Peachtree this July 4th, a literary reference to Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” seems more appropriate.
Many commenters on this earlier blog worried they will be shut out of the road race bib lottery, held from March 15th through the 24th. A recurring theme is the thousands of people who walk the course every year will be responsible for displacing them. If the runners didn’t call for public stoning, as in Jackson’s short story, they at least expressed a level of contempt for people who walk the course I didn’t realize existed.
For example, from DS: “DO NOT LIKE! I will be EXTREMELY P**SED if I don’t get in and some STUPID WALKER does.”
I set a goal last year of running the race under an hour, which would …

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Think you can win the lottery?

If you missed the announcement in January that big changes are coming to the AJC Peachtree Road Race registration process, maybe it’s because you were busy shoveling snow off your sidewalk, or scraping ice off your windshield.
In January, while people across the country coped with Snowpocalypse, road race organizers announced that the field will expand in 2011 from 55,000 to 60,000. And the longstanding practice of first-come-first-served allocation of the vast majority of running bibs will be replaced by an online lottery held over 10 days in March.
Let’s just say applause for the lottery was not deafening. It’s always tricky tampering with an event that so many people have a personal investment in. Based on the AJC Peachtree Road Race Facebook item about the changes, about 73 commenters wish there was such a thing as a “dislike” button.
Some said the old ways rewarded people who took the initiative to register early, either online or – way back in olden times – getting a …

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Another shot at designing a universally loved shirt

You may have seen that the annual contest is underway to design the prize most of the non-Kenyans will get at the end of the AJC Peachtree Road Race.
When it comes to Peachtree t-shirts, everybody’s a critic. I thought last year’s cotton trophy looked pretty good, but some grumblers didn’t like that that the fabric was gray. Other years I hear people complain the design is too busy. Or too bland.
Fortunately, there is always another year for artists to try to come up with a design that will meet with universal applause. Based on comments on Facebook after last year’s race, that shirt should be patriotic, minimalistic and printed on a bright color fabric.
I’ve collected a lot of shirts running the last 21 Peachtrees (some pictured here). I usually rotate which ones I wear during the summer. I tend to leave the older ones in the drawer because they’re getting a little worn. The only one I don’t care to wear is the Abercombie & Fitch knock off from 2004. The manufacturer must …

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A Little Travelin’ Music, Please

“I’m going to say right here that I’ll get my time under an hour, well aware that the world will be able to see if that happens on” – My blog, posted 7:24 pm April 14, 2010.

“[A better number] would greatly improve my shot at reaching the 60-minute goal I’ve worked toward for 12 weeks.” – My blog, posted 6:36 am June 22, 2010.

You win this round, Gebre Gebremariam.
I can’t say I’m surprised the Ethiopian beat me and the rest of the field to the finish line of the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race. Even though I made a brash challenge to Gebre and the other elites last week, all I really hoped to do was to run the course in less than 60 minutes.
When I called up the race results on Sunday afternoon, I immediately wished I had picked a slightly different goal. Next to my name the tote board read: 1:00:00.
If I had only set my goal to finish “in an hour” instead of “under and hour” readers of this blog would have taken it to mean the same thing.
And today I could …

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In It to Win It (Or at Least Beat 60 Minutes)

I’ve run the AJC Peachtree Road Race many times and I tend to get the same postmortem question from people I see afterward.

“How did you do?”

If I sense I can spoof someone unfamiliar with the race, I usually say, in astonished disbelief, “I won!”

I know the dedicated running audience that reads this page will find it hard to believe anyone could fall for that. But I’ve gotten more than a few, “REALLY?” double takes.

Not many people would have batted an eye in past years if I had claimed to finish the 6.2 miles in less than an hour. But with my undisciplined approach to training leading up to the past 20 Peachtrees (that’s me with the cigar), I had about as good a chance at finishing under 60 minutes as I did winning.


This year I’ve got a very good shot at finishing under 60 minutes, although challenging the Kenyans may have to wait until Peachtree 2011. Here are key events that brought me to the point that I should be able to shave 15 minutes off my 75-minute trek last …

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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 listings refer to the grouping …

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