October 21, 2018: PNC Atlanta 10-Miler

1) Don't mess up 7 months of recovery and 4 months of training doing anything that's not on the training plan! 
2) 4 miles easy, then practice a slow start for the first 5 miles, followed by race pace in the second half of the race. 
3) Try out cold weather gear for the first time this season.
4) Remember that today's race is just another step to prepare for the New York City Marathon in two weeks from today! 

Saturday night: lay out gear, prepare two bottles of Nuun, try to get to bed by 10 pm, with alarm set for 4:30 am.  
11 pm: actual bed time.

Sunday morning: 
4:27 am: awoke 3 minutes before "ass o'clock", temp 51 deg F, warmer than expected.  Breakfast of cereal, too sleepy to remember to make coffee, but remembered to wear and bring all gear, including application of squirrel nut butter and nipple guards to prevent chafing.

5:15 am: in the car, heading to Atlantic Station, to allow plenty of time for traffic and finding parking.

5:35 am: no traffic, plenty of parking at Atlantic Station!

5:45 am: having stretched, I jogged 2-1/2 easy miles including part of the 5K route, wearing only 1 long sleeve shirt, tights, and a cap.  Getting colder, 46 deg F, and I'm running too fast!  I thought that I wouldn't get back in time for the Tucker Running Club photo, and mistakenly thought it was scheduled for 6:15 am, but instead at 6:30 am.  Ran another 1/2 mile. 

6:30 am: Tucker Running Club photo, then off to the porta-potty for insurance, and one more mile making two loops around Atlantic Station.  Temp 45 deg F, ran to the car to put on a second shirt. 

7:00 am: Gathering for the start in wave D.  Last year I was in wave B.  In a moment of wisdom, when I registered this year, I must have given the track club a slow expected finish time.  No problem, I needed to start with a much slower group to avoid starting too quickly. 

7:15 am: Wave A started, then waves B and C took off with a 2 or 3 minute break between each wave.  I let myself lag back as wave D walked to the starting line.

7:26 am: "Runners set: GO GO GO!!"  And wave D has begun!  Temp 41 deg.  As I turned onto 17th Street, a gust of wind nearly removes my cap, and confirms that I made the right decision to wear a second shirt.  It's often windy during the New York City Marathon, especially the first two miles over the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge.  During the first walk break at 4:30, I see Teresa Ducuara and Heather Garner coming up.  We ran the first four miles together, as they seemed happy to run my pace and my run:walk ratios.  

Mile 1: 11:55, exactly as planned!  Lots of people cheering us on, thanks! 

Mile 2: 11:42, a minute slower than planned, but better to start too slow than too fast.

Mile 3: 10:55, a slow easy run down Cardiac Hill on Peachtree Road.  3053rd out of 3891 runners crossing both timing mats.  My fingers were frozen: it took me a couple of minutes to pry the package of ShotBloks from my running belt.  Maybe I shouldn't have left the gloves and hand warmers in the car. 

Mile 4: 11:01, running through the Peachtree Hills neighborhood.  Lots of campaign signs in the yards, "Brian Kemp for Governor."  Not a good neighborhood: ran a little faster.  The sun has risen as we run to the east, time for the sunglasses.  As we turned onto Piedmont Road, I lost track of Teresa and Heather as we passed through a water station.  45:32 through 4 miles.  Amazingly, that was 1 minute slower than planned.  Oh well, I wasn't racing this part of the route, I call that a win!  I hope I can remain as calm in the first four miles in New York. 

Mile 5: 10:13, Heading downhill into the I-85 underpass, I'm beginning to pass people, even with the walk breaks.  Crossed the 5-mile timing mat at 56:30, 2769th out of 4003 runners, movin' on up!

Mile 6: 10:16, before the race, I had thought that this might be my first sub-10 minute mile, but there was a net elevation gain.  

Mile 7: 9:57, uphill to the entrance to the Botanical Gardens, then a fast downhill into Piedmont Park.  I'm passing quite a few people as I speed up around the Active Oval.  My fingers have thawed, now I'm glad that I'm not carrying gloves. 
Plenty of hills, but no heat or humidity today, thank goodness!
Mile 8: 9:20, running out of Piedmont Park and up the 12th Street hill.  Normally I would take it easy, but I had a walk break right before we left the park, and I ran up the hill non-stop.  Most people were walking, I was sprinting!  Strava confirmed that was my fastest time up the hill in 13 tries, which included four Hotlanta Halfs, two Georgia Marathons, and last year's 10-miler.  Turning south onto Juniper Street, I passed Samantha Andrews, with whom I often run on Thursday evenings at Big Peach Decatur.  She was sporting a BibRave shirt and called out, "Hi Professor!" as she always does when we meet.  She is a professor herself, teaching biology at Georgia Gwinnett College, but I guess it's a matter of respect for our two-decade age difference.  1:25 elapsed.  I was back on pace to finish in 1:45.  I decided to skip every other walk break for the rest of the race. 
I steadily sped up from the start to mile 10:
after walking through the finish area, I ran two easy cool-down miles.
Mile 9: 8:25, I seemed to pass everyone, trying not to run over anyone.  Much of the time, we were restricted to a single lane, so it was a little crowded, even this far into the race.  I passed Becky Caldwell, a fixture with the Tucker Running Club, former swim coach at Tucker High School, and a dedicated triathlete.  At the only water station that I used today, I accepted a cup of Gatorade from Olympian and Atlanta Track Club coach Amy Begley.  

Mile 10: 8:24, as we turned onto 17th Street and cross the overpass, we ascended the last hill of the race.  The watch signaled a walk break approaching 1:35 overall.  I took my last ShotBlok and a swig of Nuun, then returned to a run.  I hadn't been passed by anyone for miles, then a young woman with a blonde ponytail passed far to the right.  She looked much younger than me, no problem.  Then either she slowed down or I sped up and I passed her.  Into Atlantic Station, less than half a mile to go.  I was driving myself pretty hard, pumping my arms strongly, passing everyone in sight.  Turning onto State Street for the last two blocks of the race, the Atlanta Roller Girls had the best cheer team of all, encouraging us into the finish, with their leader's chant amplified by a megaphone.  Passing, passing, passing, and then downhill to the finish line.  I saw two young women ahead of me, did I have enough room to catch up to them?  Not quite, but I crossed the finish line at 1:43:05 chip time, 1:54:26 gun time, 2001th out of 4004 finishers, just ahead of the 50th percentile.  I saw Bonnie to the right as I cleared the timing mat and raised both arms into the air in celebration!

The number 10 on the medal spins!
It seems to be a new gimmick in medals over the past couple of years. 
9:10 am: After accepting the medal and a bottle of water, I cleared the finish area and turned back to run 2 easy miles to cool down along the last mile of the race route, cheering on a few people that I knew.  On my way back on 17th Street, a woman had fallen near the corner with State Street.  I don't know what happened but from her cries it sounded like she had a severe cramp.  Two Atlanta police were standing around her and with another person was kneeling holding her down on the hard cold street pavement - I'm concerned that might have made things worse for her - but then Rich Kenah, director of the track club, arrived to see what had happened.  I hope that she will be OK.  
The watch measured 10.14 miles for the race route.
16 miles for the day, and I had plenty of energy left, despite running the last 2 miles of the race considerably faster than marathon race pace.  After a few minutes of leg swings, I was ready for a celebratory brunch with Bonnie at Murphy's in Virginia-Highlands. 
Calorie replacement programme

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