Wednesday, August 20, 2008


It is so much fun to get on the road at 4:30 in the morning. Ate nothing solid, drank my usual 1/5 coffee, 4/5 skim milk on ice jumbo to give me a kick-start. Decided to park near the finish this time because it was so screwed up, and almost another mile down the road from Piedmont Park. Think they wanted everyone to rendezvous at the civic center. Did anyone actually go there? Parked car near 14th Street and caught MARTA at the Art Center. Had to switch trains at Lindbergh station. Some runners did not get off? Were they going to another race? Got off at Lenox. Still had to walk a good distance to the start, about the same as walking from Piedmont where I have parked for about 10 years. Will probably go back to the old way next time. Too many goofs riding MARTA. First stop is the port-a-johns which became a problem because many of them still had nylon ties to keep them shut. Had to wait for people to get desperate enough to rip them open by any means necessary before they became available. It was good entertainment watching innovative people in shorts with their legs crossed. Next stop is hydration. There is plenty of water around, but I bring my own. Don't know what else is in those cups. I sip my water,making it where I run out just before the start. Otherwise, another pit stop would be necessary when everyone is trying to get some relief. There is a bench around the corner from the thongs of people that I sit on and view the runners pouring in from MARTA. People come in the oddest shapes and sizes. Big and ugly is by far the most prominent breed of man. You would think the pretty ones would have an easier time finding a mate. At 7am I made my way to the 20,000 area and made myself comfortable, sitting in the middle of Peachtree. Taking a look around you wonder if you look as bad as the people around. I do, but without mirrors it is only an unproven theory. As the clock ticks closer to 7:30, the runners start to get antsy as if they could somehow manage to get a head start on the rest of us. Our time comes soon enough and we are headed down Peachtree for the 31st time. When I first started running there only 6,500 participants. That is still around the number that can actually run the race. The others are out here just to say that they did it. Some will jump in along the way. Even at the 5 mile mark you will see parents jump in with their 10 year old to get a photo of their kid finishing the Peachtree Road Race. Who knows what they did to get a valid number for the kid. the minimum age is 12. Nothing like teaching your kids to lie and cheat in order to get what you want. The first 3 miles are more downhill than uphill. The last 3 are just the opposite, more up than down. That's the way I ran the race, clocking 28 for the first half, then wilting to a 40 for the remaining 3.2 which was longer by more than a tenth according to my GPS sources. That's what happens when you move the finish line. They made us run longer to fit their own vision of how a finish should be. My vision certainly did not include being corralled like cattle into a fenced corridor which immediately brought the word "stampede" into my head. The way people watching the race were screaming at us, maybe we needed the security of the fence between us and them. Everyone nowadays seems to have an agenda and they are not happy unless they can persuade you to think like them. Several of these a "poco locos" were on the sidelines with banners telling me everything I needed to know about saving the planet, who to vote for, how fast I ought to drive, how many dogs I should own, and how to tie my shoelaces. I needed a notepad to get it all down. The finish had a major logistics problem this year. The water, T-shirt, locate friends, etc. areas all led you away from the MARTA station where I was parked near 14th Street. As soon as I got my T-shirt, I found a hole in the fence to escape the prison compound and head back to my car. Along the way I enjoyed watching the mass of runners still coming down Peachtree in a seemingly endless stream. My favorite was the boom-box guy who was sporting a huge Afro wig. People get weird when they get sweaty!