I got lucky at the expo and found a pair of Nike Structures for 50 bucks.Almost as good as locating the free beer. The first thing to consider is what to eat the day before the race. I like ice cream, chocolate shakes and fat-free chocolate milk. Nothing that will make me
feel sluggish in the morning. The chocolate milk is what I have when I wake up the morning of the race. I've done this for years and now they promote chocolate milk as a performance drink. Who knew.
I cat-nap race eve, waking every two hours to make sure I haven't overslept. Everything I am to wear is laid out the night before where I don't have to run around finding things in the morning. It looks like a deflated runner. Okay, I am awake and I have time for a quick shower to relax the muscles. Then I am out the door. It is still dark. Not even anyone lurking in the shadows this time in the morning. It doesn't take long to reach Ansley Mall without any traffic to impede my way. It is 5AM, but I am not the first to arrive. No sign of my friends, however. I give my friends a call. They are parked on the other side of the mall. Why? I don't know.
One of my friends claims he has a shortcut to MARTA. We follow his plan, but I am wary as we are headed in the opposite direction of the station. Next, we are on the wrong side of a golf course and have to walk all the way around
it only to be at a location we could have arrived at 20 minutes ago. After 40 minutes we arrive at the station, having walked an extra mile to get there, 2 miles total.
If you wonder why MARTA is in trouble, two empty trains pass us going in the opposite direction before our train arrives already packed with people. When we get to our destination, we are attacked by Peachtree paparazzi trying to
take our picture, like every 100 yards, until we reach the pit stop area a mile from the MARTA station at Lenox. We have now walked 3 miles and the 10k hasn't started yet. We made some bets on who will be still in port-a-john line
when the race starts.
I parted company with my friends and found my wave. Saw several people dressed or painted like a flag. These same people continue to talk and move about while the national anthem is playing. I saw a guy in a pickle suit. I didn't get the patriotic connection.
Barriers in the middle of Peachtree made the left side have about twice as many runners as the right. As we walked towards the start, they tried to correct the imbalance at an intersection. I gravitated toward the right side,ending up at the rear of the wave in front of me because I filled in the right side gap. A road guard spotted me too far up and she decided I had criminal intent, demanding that I return to the proper wave (the one ten yards behind
me). I did not rob a bank, but nevertheless she looked ready to wrestle me to the ground. I didn't know if she was armed and I didn't wait around to find out. I returned to the front of my line which would delay my start by 5
minutes. As your race time is determined by a personal chip, when you start does not really matter.
The start of the race is kind of lame as they treat each wave like no one else has gone before them. They must think we are stupid. For the first three miles things are going well, a little pain in my left knee does not slow my pace. I am doing my planned pace when we hit the hills in miles four and five. Suddenly the heat and humidity comes into play, I was moving like a snail on
vacation. I still felt okay, but I am in slow-motion replay mode.
At last the big left turn is in sight. The rush for me is when we make that turn for Piedmont Park, all down hill. I try to get in with the people who look like runners for the photo-op, but they don't really want me hanging with them. It downhill, so I hang with them through the camera area and soon the finish line crossed. Plenty of water at the finish but no Coke. It was not always this way. This is Atlanta! Where is the Coke!?
I walk a mile back to Ansley Mall for the Phiddipides party, subs and beer, the best. Nine miles total for the day. Think I will park near the start next year like I did in the past.