And so begins the quest for four medals in five weeks. I headed to West Stride on Thursday, the first day of packet pickup, finding out I was once again in start corral C. Maybe one of these years I will get faster and move up to B? Running goals, people, running goals. Anyways, I can tell you from being a reader how much I love local bookstores, but I now add local running stores, namely West Stride to this list. They sold me my first pair of Brooks running shoes, the Pure Cadence 4, which have been amazing to run in. I’m getting close to needing to start working a new pair into the mix, so I now own a pair of the Pure Flow 5’s. I also made the investment in a fuel belt as its starting to get warmer and carrying a water bottle is not sounding like fun. My hubby, a non-runner, laughs, but I don’t care if I’m stylish, I want to live to run another day!
I was beyond excited for Saturday morning as it was finally my first Atlanta Track Club event of the year. It hasn’t been for lack of trying as I wasn’t medically cleared for the Resolution Run and I had a miserable sinus infection for the Hearts and Soles 5k. And the women’s 5k is such a fun event. It’s been held in the Chastain Park neighborhood both years I’ve done the run and I learned last year to arrive early as parking can be a hassle. By 6:20am, I was in sight of a parking lot with space and just had to wait to get in and get directed to park. The ATC has tons of volunteers trying to make it all flow smoothly and I was thankful for that. After running into one of my running mom friends, we chatted until start time. Despite that we were losing a good chunk of downhill from the course change, we liked that corrals weren’t blocked off with barricades as it made for a much easier start. Before we knew it, it was time to go!
I had an idea of what to expect, so while I was starting off strong on a downhill, I wanted to make sure I still had something for the end and the hills in between. I had fought off a miserable cold recently and still am having sinus issues, likely due to allergies. I had started out hoping to beat 40 minutes. Before we got to the first uphill, I had the most interesting cheering I’ve ever seen, a T Rex! Photo taken post race.
Soon enough, I was plugging away at the first hill and soon mile one was complete. Just before the water stop, near the top of a hill, I wondered why I was doing this to myself and had that there isn’t any way I’m not walking a lot of these last two miles feeling. Some how, things changed by the time I made the water stop and found a good downhill on the other side. Suddenly the turn onto Northside Drive was there and I felt like the hills weren’t so bad. We had some excellent cheering sections that helped and I fought past mile two and what seemed like a never ending hill and knew I could keep going, even when the light sprinkly rain started. Turning onto Conway brought another much needed downhill. The women’s 5k has a stroller division that starts at the back and I was 2.66 miles in before getting passed. Last year I was barely past mile one. I’m sure the longer time between start waves helped, but I’ll take it as a running win.
Lots of cheering and a final stretch of road on Jett Road that included a high five from onevolunteer. And the steepest hill awaited, but I pushed as I saw the third mile marker. But when you’ve been pushing, the hill seemed hard. A turn into the school for the finish line was still uphill, but after a turn to to the finish line and seeing a short, flat distance, I gave one last push to finish. I got my awesome finishers medal where the pink flower in the center is actually a charm for a necklace. And we get a rose. And water and the best box of post race snacks. The ATC is awesome.
After stretching and refueling, I checked out some of the vendor tents and made my way to the post race party at West Stride. Did I mention I love them? Because if not, I do again because they served mimosas! Best post race party ever! And I was able to get my hands on an elusive “who runs the world? Girls” tanks.
All in all, a great race weekend. I’m looking forward to trying it my new shoes, tank and fuel belt very soon! Next up in the four medals in five weeks quest is the Color Run next Saturday!