So I had a very full race calendar in July and into the first weeks of August when I found out my super awesome dentist, Dentistry at East Piedmont, was sponsoring runners to run in the Dog Days 5k. This just happened to fall during a week I didn’t have a race. I decided to jump at the chance to add another “free” race to my schedule. I do use the term loosely as I joked about wondering how many 5ks my recent fillings paid for. Just a note to any youngins, your body falls apart at 40. LOL. If you’re in the East Cobb area and looking for an awesome dentist, Dr. Patel and his team are amazing. I’ve been a patient for close to 10 years now and he’s all about patient comfort first. I’ve had numerous fillings and a crown done, all pain free. He also won’t recommend work you do not need. Trust me, he tried to keep me from having to get a root canal, but the damage was too severe to my of my teeth.
The run benefited the East Cobb Rotary Club and started and finished at the McKleskey-East Cobb YMCA. It was a 7:30 start which I am good with as it’s before the heat can really kick in. When I arrived at 6:30, the weather actually felt cool when the wind blew. The race had a small festival area set up on some soccer fields where bib pickup, vendor/sponsor tables and inflatables for the kids were set up. Ellie, the St Bernard race mascot, was out meeting runners and I learned just how large and soft St Bernards are. Because I was running with Team Dentisry at East Piedmont, I had to find their table, staffed with race volunteers, to get my bib. I got my bib and some fun swag (visor and sunglasses) quickly, so my next order of business was to find the restrooms. Because this was held at a YMCA, we had indoor restrooms!
Pre-race group picture
The pre-race area was so much fun as this was another dog friendly race and I met the sweetest (and talkative) golden retriever named Annie. She was so tiny compared to my giant girl that I thought she was a puppy instead of two years old. As I wandered around the start area, I ended up near someone familiar with the course who told me mile 3 was mostly a long, steady hill up Roswell Road. This helped with planning my strategy to know to conserve for the end. Soon it was time to start and because I didn’t see a mat to cross, I moved up a little closer to the start than normal. I had also realized the chip timing company was my nemesis from April, but with no starting mat, that it wouldn’t matter. We were off and made a right on Piedmont heading up a short hill, that crowding helped me with pacing myself, before the downhill segments on Sewell Mill Road. Some of the downhills were significant enough to skip my walk intervals, but a few weren’t and I used them to pace myself. I was feeling great about my time, but knew what goes down, must go back up, so I knew I had to save for that last mile.
Traffic was open and backed up in the opposite lanes on Sewell Mill, so when someone was cheering us on, I went over to get my high five in for the race. That was a first – high five by someone in a car! I was so happy to finally get to the turn onto Old Canton and even happier to realize it was not nearly the same distance to Roswell Road as it is on Piedmont from Sewell Mill. Also, the water stop was there which meant I could dump water on my head. I was mentally prepping myself to just keep running on my intervals for that third mile. This is the moment where I realized intervals may be the best thing that’s ever happened to my running. While Sewell Mill and Old Canton was shady, Roswell Road was in the sun. We weren’t running into the sun, but if I hadn’t been interval running, the combination of sun and uphills may have been enough to mentally do me in. Knowing I can just push for a short time and get that break is huge.
At some point, Dr Patel passed me and I was able to cheer him on. I passed him back on another interval later, though. The hills were trying to get the best of me as my legs were screaming how tired they were. I just told them to keep moving forward and sooner than I expected, I could see the intersection at Piedmont come into view. That meant the finish was close as it was just turning onto Piedmont and making the final stretch into the YMCA. I did one last walk interval and then it was run until the finish. Upon turning into the YMCA, runners were greeted with a rainbow thanks to the Cobb Fire Department spraying water that was just out of the reach of runners. I decided to push, rather than run through the water, as I knew a sub 40 finish was possible, but I didn’t know I was going to get close to sub 39! I gave it all I could and according to my receipt, I finished in 39:08 if you believe my receipt or 39:09 according to my official results (WTF, Innovative Timing Syatems, what happened to my second?) making it my second fastest 70+ degree 5k. That means I beat one of my Vinings Downhill 5k times. I can not put into words how happy this made me as my 5k time only got better in this heat and all without the net drop to help me. And this is all with a calf muscle that keeps tightening up and making me feel like I have terrible plantar fasciitis issues.
I went off to stretch and find water in buckets of ice. Cold water, especially ice cold water, is an extra special treat after these hot races. I picked up my official race swag, which included a tech shirt and all sorts of goodies from vendors. It felt like a never ending goody bag! I grabbed a banana to get nourishment and after stretching and hydrating, I headed down to cheer on some runners just finishing. I high fived one little runner who was doing incredible for his size. Before the fun was over, those of us who remained took a group picture for Dentistry at East Piedmont, as I think I heard we may have been the biggest team. Way to go Dr. Patel!
Some runs will be better than others, but after my great 4 miler and a tough 6k, it was a wonderful people to kick butt on a 5k. Keep pushing and the rewards will happen.