Before I even talk about the race I want to know why won’t anyone steal my car? I left my door unlocked at Holmes Station (in Bankhead) with the keys in the glove box. It’s like when Henry II said of Thomas Beckett, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” Except instead of a priest, it’s a Chevy Monte Carlo with a list of problems longer than our weekly grocery list. I digress.
At 5:20 am I already knew what kind of day I’d be in for because the humidity fogged the Monte windows. Again, no working heat or AC, so I can’t kill it—that left me with only being able to roll the windows down. At least I didn’t have to Ace Ventura it down 285 to Holmes Marta Station.
Holmes is a better access point for Marta in this race (as you will find out leaving) since most people came in from the North. You’re sure to get a spot in the tin can since it’s the end of the line, but the sardines always get packed in the closer you get to the race. By the time you’ve made the transfer and head up to Lenox you’ll pick up a ton of people. Be glad you got on when you did.
After getting off at Lenox I did a little warm up and searched for a place to relieve myself. I just assumed it’d be like every other big shindig I’ve raced in and be short on port-a-potties. I was wrong, but I did find a nice stairwell with cameras watching me paint the wall. I wasn’t smart enough to cover my bib. At least we knew I was well hydrated.
I really didn’t have much of a game plan here. I’m in the middle of Ironman training. I wasn’t tapering for this and I certainly didn’t expect to walk away with a PR. This essentially was another building block to figure out how I’m going to race Chattanooga. (I crafted this race schedule to learn more and more throughout the year).
Anyway, my only true game plan was to run with Evan for a few hundred feet and talk shit. After almost half a mile I’m yelling at him, “Hey man, I’m still here!” And then shortly after that the he was gone. Mildly successful.
It really didn’t take much longer after that first half mile to be completely drenched. Sweet baby Jesus it was fucking disgusting out and it wasn’t even 8 am yet! At the 5k mark I was at 19 minutes, so Joey was right about basically PRing your 5k in this race because I was 20 seconds off. Cardiac was fun. My heart rate monitor told me I hit 192 bpm, which was actually legit unlike the skyrocketed heart rate at Gulf Coast. Shortly after I crested Cardiac I found my first of two holes. (Insert a that’s what she said). Neither felt pleasant because they caused me to roll both ankles.
I didn’t shut it down at that point, but I took my foot off the gas pedal. I don’t need to blow Ironman training time on a 10k that the AJC sponsors to sell newspapers on a slow news day. Think about that one for a second and you’ll realize how much advertent and inadvertent press they get out of this. The unbearable heat & humidity? Cardiac arrest at the finish line? Is there the possibility suspected of terrorism? Yep, they do pretty well here. Wait, who the fuck still buys a newspaper other than when you’ve run out of options at the airport?
Back to the last 5k—it was still at a strong pace. My heart rate stayed above 180 bpm because of the hills. It was after I found the second hole of the day that I realized I was behind Tara, but I couldn’t make up any ground. I was going to get a kick in there at the finish…but did the race course get modified? Seriously, last year I could swear it had a small hook off 10th into the park where you crossed the line? There was no hook, thus no real kick. What do I know…it was my first time actually running the race after procrastinating for the last seven years? The distance was off—I was given a bonus tenth of a mile. By the way, if you compare official finish time to Strava 10k that extra tenth cost me thirty seconds. Piedmont Park is habitually a mud pit so enjoy washing your shoes when you get home.
Now is where I made up for the shitacular expo they had—what’s the deal with that anyways? Every place charges me for parking, yet you don’t want to give me any free shit. That’s not how this works man—this is America…I want my swag. I made sure to get as many drinks as I could. Matter of fact the drawstrings ripped on the race bag cramming stuff in, so I asked a worker for a garbage bag and kept loading up. I looked like a sweaty West Stride clad Santa with a garbage bag of swag swung over my shoulder. Check the race photos; I made sure to get a few pictures with it.
The beer. Yeah, I’m down with Yuengling…but come on, Yuengling Light? Naturally I was able to procure multiple beer bracelets. I probably could have kept that up for a while, but it was definitely time to get out of dodge. We also managed to see my mom’s doppelgänger at the post-race party. I knew it had to be a doppelgänger because a) she doesn’t run, so wave E is too fast b) she’s not a skirt person. It was mind-blowing that this person existed…
The walk to the 10th street Marta station felt like an eternity. The downside to getting all those beer bracelets was I had to piss like a pregnant woman. I saw a side of a building that looked mighty fine, and then I saw the Homeland Security officer standing fifteen feet from it. Luckily the port-a-potties at the station were a ghost town.
Like I said, now is where you find out why you don’t want to be parked on the north end of town. We had hardly anyone on our train headed south, but everyone heading the opposite way probably waited a few times before making it on a train. It was quick getting back to the car—yes, I was sad to see it was still in my life and no one wanted to have a happy 4th of July joyride.