Archive for the ‘John McCosh’ Category

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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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.
Looking back, I can see how I …

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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 ajc.com 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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The Peachtree – See it Like a Native

Saturday morning I ran five miles down Peachtree Street from Buckhead to Midtown for the third time since May 15. This time I saw more runners getting ready for July 4th, even though it felt hotter than a firecracker.

I know from my glory days running the Peachtree 31 years ago that it’s a good idea to run the actual AJC Peachtree Road Race course in the weeks leading up to it. I hadn’t done that in years, but I always knew it was a good idea for other people.

Saturday, after I cleared Cardiac Hill, I was surprised to see an Atlanta Track Club volunteer staffing a table on the sidewalk and handing out water. She said ATC volunteers will be handing out water along the race course during the remaining weekends in June. I thanked her, just in case she wasn’t a mirage.

If you give the course a try before July 4th you’ll notice a few things that might get lost in the bustle of the race.
PAINTED PEACH
For most of this decade the curbs of Peachtree Street developed a walled-in feel, as massive …

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Time to Get Beyond My Slacker Ways

I went through a thorough vetting process by my AJC overlords before I was permitted to post here. It was made clear then that my voice would represent the average runner.

That made sense. My blogging counterpart, Lauren, is an elite runner and finished about 24,000 spots ahead of me in the 2009 AJC Peachtree Road Race.

But if I was an average runner in April when I publicly set a goal of crossing the finish line in less than an hour, I think I’m training with more of a purpose than average today.

Last year I had the 28,182nd best time at about 75 minutes. That puts me near the median, if not the average of the 55,000 runners.

Only a little more than 12,000 of the 55,000 runners finished the 2009 Peachtree in under an hour. So it seems like I’ve moved slightly above the average category if I can finish the Peachtree in less than 60 minutes. I won’t be within sniffing distance of elite, so I’m not sure what that makes me. Extra-average?

I’ve had ups and downs during recent …

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The Peachtree is not for the Claustrophobic

I have a few runner friends who are as proud of their streak of years not running the AJC Peachtree Road Race as I am of my two-decade streak. The main reason is they don’t like to run in crowds.

I can see how it might get frustrating for people. Even with my plodding pace in recent years, I spent a good bit of time dodging slower runners and putting on the brakes when a slower person unexpectedly moved in front of my just as I was passing.

It will be interesting to see how the wave system works. Implemented this year, it is designed to spread the runners out better and to put people with documented times in groups with the similarly speedy.

I resumed running in 1990, after a 10-year hiatus. According to the Atlanta Track Club’s history of the race, a big change took place between 1989 and 1990 to accommodate the growing popularity of the race.

“In 1989, the 25,000 was reached in just 9 days. Those not making the cut bellowed in anger.
Race organizers took heed. The start …

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Have You Picked Out Your Race Costume Yet?

You’ll see a lot of wacky outfits on Peachtree Street the morning of July 4th.

My favorite was the year a guy ran down Peachtree in a chicken costume, repeatedly yelling: “How do I get out of this chicken outfit, anyway?”

OK, that may be wishful thinking. But I’m sure if a guy did that he would get plenty of laughs.

And laughs are clearly the motivation for many of the costumes you’ll actually see among the lower seeds at this year’s AJC Peachtree Road Race. One of the perks of being a “lower seed” is seeing guys decked out in black business suits with a “Taking Care of Business” sign on their back.

The most inspiring sights year after year are the soldiers and firefighters running with their gear through the heat and humidity. The crowds seem to like it when I run near these guys because the clapping gets really loud then.

The level of commitment for some of the entertaining costumes take must be huge, albeit less committed or inspired than the first responders and soldiers. …

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Peachtree Swag Not Only in the Bag

In the run-up to the 1996 Olympics the AJC ran a story about the souvenirs sponsors showered on reporters covering the event. The headline: “Journalists like free stuff.”
I thought the love of free stuff was so fundamental that it was hardly newsworthy.
If you are one of the many fans of free stuff, then the AJC Peachtree Road Race is for you.
In the 21 years I’ve run on July 4th I’ve found there are three primary opportunities to snag swag – before, during and after.
I scored the kerchief in the photo prior to the1990 race by stopping by what was then Shallowford Hospital in Dunwoody. I lived nearby at the time. I also picked one up the next year. The 1991 version was my preferred one to carry on race day because it resembled an American flag, but I lost it during last year’s run.
SWAGI’ve never been to the Peachtree Health and Fitness Expo, which has long been held just before the race. As I explain here, I haven’t exactly been a model of fitness or health in years past and I …

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Not Running With the Pack

I’ve got a dedicated runner friend who asks me every spring if I’m training for the AJC Peachtree Road Race.

The answer varies. Some years I’ll get started at application time in March and other times April and even May have passed before I begin training. And by training I mean putting on running shoes and using them.

I can’t imagine it would be much fun for my friend to run a slower three miles just for the pleasure of my company for 30 minutes or so. It definitely wouldn’t be fun for me to try to keep up with his usual pace.

But I understand why people run in pairs or packs. If you run with someone a little faster that can help push you to do a little better than you thought you could. That’s how it worked for me in 1979, when I finished with my best time ever.

I’ve mentioned my friend Kathy (in the photo) a couple of times in earlier blogs. We ran three Peachtrees in the early 2000s. For our first Peachtree, we started training in January. That was the last time before …

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“It is Only Hubris if I Fail”

“It is only hubris if I fail” – Julius Caesar (HBO, circa 2005 A.D.)

Last Tuesday I was all too eager to write here about how I ran down Peachtree for five miles the Saturday before and then felt good enough the next day to run three miles through wooded trails.

Thursday I wrote here about coping with injuries while running, whether it is better to press on with training or is it smarter to rest and live to run another day.

These were not supposed to be related posts.

About the hubris….

Soon after making it sound like I had all but nailed my goal of running the 2010 AJC Peachtree Road Race under an hour, I picked up a bit of a chest cold. But Saturday morning I felt healthy enough to take MARTA up to the Lenox station and walk up to the start line next to the mall parking lot.

Not the place where my time group will likely be staged, mind you. But I didn’t want to start my run  in Doraville like I will July 4.

It was really muggy running down Peachtree Saturday, but I felt OK …

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