I am not even going to lie to you, this has a lot of pictures. You’ve been warned. To start this post off, I want to mention that I am trying to remember everything correctly so bear with me.
Thursday my mom and I went to Atlanta for the expo. Apparently, traffic around the perimeter was HORRIBLE. I think we sat in traffic on every major interstate. But I have really bad car anxiety, so traffic in ATL isn’t that unbearable for me, but I get MAJ-OR frustration and a little road rage just sitting there not moving. I know, it doesn’t make sense. After I swear, 2-3 hours of traffic we finally made it downtown and the expo was … eh and overwhelming to me.
I have never been to a large race expo, my races have been local and tiny. This was a whole different beast. But I was super excited to get my race bib. I took not one, but two pictures with my special bib.
I was in corral K. Wanted H, I, or J. Goals for next year! I was wondering why I was put in a slower estimated 10K time, but whatever. Its ok with me, because I’ll tell you in a min. After walking around for maybe 5 minutes, I was already annoyed. The people just standing around making it incredibly difficult to get around were pissing me off. My poor mom was like, “You ok? You want to go?” And I replied, “F yes.” I get weird in super large crowds, I feel very insecure so it was a lot for me. The vendors were ok, but nothing that I was over-excited about.
The night before the race… I don’t remember. Honestly.
This is where the rest of my experience and story gets wonky.
I woke up at 4:30 Friday morning, ate my oatmeal and got dressed.
I got my crew together and we were off. Now, I have heard many different stories how many hours to get there before the race. I was so scared for being late and missing my start time. So we left at 5:30. We were parked by 5:45. And I was screwed. My time didn’t start until 8:14. FML.
We hung out for a bit in Buckhead and then the sun starting to come up, so we all parted ways and I knew I’d see my husband and mom at Colony Square, a little past mile 5. So I was now alone for 2 hours and 14 minutes and ready to lose my mind. I was so tired, so hungry, and so mad at myself that I didn’t think of this scenario. The one benefit of this was I was the first person to use a porta-potty and not have it stink to high heaven after 1,000 other runners used it. The toilet paper was still in its paper wrapping (is that TMI? I found it just to be neat) and I took a photo for you.
I walked to where the other corrals were and was glad to see a lot of people. But none of this made the time go by faster. The rest from here to when my corral started walking is a no-go, so I’ll jump to the exciting stuff.
My corral was lining up, and I was getting so excited. But I was dead. I hadn’t eaten in 3.5 hours, my tank was empty.
Once we started to walk closer to the start my nerves calmed down. For some reason I was never nervous about this race, I think it is because it is a really big deal to partake in so I was more amped about the whole experience.
And I was off! I had my phone on with great music and breezed through miles 1 and 2. I never once looked at my Garmin until I was around 2.5 and saw I had ran those miles at 9:30 pace because I was running for 24:xx minutes. I told myself to slow down, I had no calories to take in and none left in my system. I had a beer right before mile 3 and the infamous Cardiac Hill. The shish is no joke. I faced it with as much effort as my body would allow. And it didn’t allow much. I had to walk. My head wasn’t clear and I knew I was in deep shit.
Mile 3-4, I walked a lot. Mile 5 I knew I had my cheerleaders. Mile 5 came and that damn tent wasn’t there. I WAS LIVID. I needed support, I needed it right then. I shuffled until I saw it. It was like a beacon of hope. I saw Zach and my mom. And I about toppled over when I stopped, I mustered out, “get me a banana! NOW!” My mom went to get one, then I needed a water. Then I needed to cry. But I didn’t. I told them I was so close to being physically out that I didn’t know what to do. But I hung out with them for like 5 minutes and finally left. I felt like a new woman! My energy was so high, I literally picked up my speed and didn’t stop. I knew the walking and full blown stop would kill my time.
I passed by the MarathonFoto people and “fake finish” and was like, “where the f is the finish?!” People were like you’re almost there! Liars. My Garmin was a liar too. I finally got to the finish and freaked out.
How in the hell was I supposed to find my husband and mom?! I called them, told them the game plan was got my t-shirt, and proceeded to walk against the crowd towards my family. Finally, I found them. And I requested we go back to their tent to watch. I wanted to see the race too. Not like I just ran it.
Their view was perfect. I could of watched from start to finish.
My overall experience was a great one. I did admit the course isn’t that great. It is nice. But what makes this whole race is the spectators! I had such a great time because of them! The entire course was lined with people, there wasn’t a spot where people were not cheering you on. They handed out beer, mimosas, pizza, chocolate covered strawberries, literally everything you could imagine. I told mom this is a great race if you’re an adult. When I walked back, a lady had vodka gummies. I am so bummed I missed out! The people in costumes were amazing too! I passed by a few drag queens, a band of all men in thongs gave me a beer, I saw Wonder Woman too. The most amazing part was the Shepard Center. My cousin was treated there last year, and when you pass by, all the patients who can come out are cheering YOU on, I did cry a little there. It made my heart almost explode.
I did learn from my major mistake by getting up too early and not eating closer to my start time. I ran it in 1:11. My heart did sink just a little, but with a lot of walking and stopping for a solid 5 minutes, it could of been worse. My Garmin registered at 1:09. So I guess corral K was my spot this year. But this first time was awesome! I loved it, I really did. But I never saw Meb! I was so looking forward to maybe seeing him, but I didn’t. I beat him.
There. The post is done. You made it!
Did you run in the PRR this year?
Have you ever ran in the world’s largest 10K?
What is your favorite during-race food/drink?