When I signed up for the last chance to finish on the Georgia Dome floor, I hadn’t taken into account the short time between races (5 days) and I certainly wasn’t thinking I would be running injured. I did bib pickup first thing Friday morning at the Atlanta Track Club office not realizing at the time that my daughter’s shirt (she was running the dash) was an adult extra small and not a youth extra small. Thankfully, the club is pretty amazing and I was able to exchange it recently. I picked up an ATC tank top to run in that was on sale, since I was wanting to show some Atlanta love despite running in my Bucs hat. This race is an Atlanta Falcons themed race and my team is not only a division rival, but the opponent that weekend.
The entire family loaded into the car for the 6:30 recommended arrival and while the hubby grumbled after we had no traffic at the Braves run, this was entirely different. At 6:30, we were inching toward the red lot as we started inching at Philips Arena. We finally left the car at close to 7am. I bailed on the family to hit the porta potties before the start of the 5k and my husband, a Falcons fan, met the owner of the Falcons, Arthur Blank. And apparently Mr.Blank uses porta potties just like the rest of us pre-race as my hubby saw him in line. We were finally able to meet up with a friend who echoed the traffic issues (his wife was still parking as the 5k started, but I was in a late enough wave she cheered me at the start).
I think the traffic issues delayed the start of the race as the first wave started a few minutes late, which was a first I’ve witnessed for ATC events. Once we were finally going, the start was a bit crazy. The Falcons mascot, Freddie, was in the center giving out high fives and I got a high five. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for high fives when running, so I had to. He’s hugged me before realizing I was a Bucs fan, so a high five was nothing. Besides the crowd and a dirty bird clogging up the start, International Boulevard has all these pedestrian sign in the middle of the street. Thankfully they were dealt with for a short time before the turn at the CNN Center.
At mile .6, I passed Arthur Blank. Yes, I’m such a slow runner that passing a 70+ year old man is worthy of adding in. But, how many times do I pass a famous person while running? After a fairly flat start, there was a good downhill shortly after passing the new stadium. Somehow I kept moving, despite the overcrowding near the first mile and I then pushed up the hill. Despite feeling twinges in my foot, I was feeling great considering it was over 70 degrees.
Before I knew it, I was at the turn to head back (via Northside) and got some more water at the water stop. There are some big hills on Northside, and I was handling them great, despite getting a small side stitch. I was able to keep running through it and passed by the mile two sign on the opposite side of the new stadium. At this point, I was determined to break 40 minutes. This has been my challenge when temperatures were above 70 inraces not called Vinings Downhill. The worst hills of the race were also in he last mile.
I took advantage of the downhills, too,as well as high fiving my along that entire stretch of Northside. And then I could see the turn at Ivan Allen as the never ending hill loomed. I kept telling myself I was so close and I couldn’t give up. That hill kept going after the turn and didn’t end until taking the turn that would lead us through a lot to the Dome. I cursed that hill as I ran, but I conquered it. I didn’t run as hard as I wanted to as things flattened out, but the Done was getting closer, and then I was in and running out of the same tunnel the Falcons do and then I was finishing on the field. Final time 39:38, which allowed me to met my goal. I felt so great about this since I’m seeing improvement. They also time the last 40 yards and I clocked in at 10 seconds. I don’t think anyone is calling me for jobs anytime soon.
After getting bling and taking pictures, I met the hubby and the kiddo for the wait for the dash to start. The girl had fun and got the same medal as me. It was a super fun morning and a great last run before some forced time off.