Friday night, I worked till late and I was not able to go to the expo and get my bib and hoodie. I woke up early on Saturday and instead of going right away, I decided to run some errands and go get it towards the end of the day. The expo was located at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), it is close to downtown and I would say it is very convenient to most of people that live in Atlanta. Easy access from the highways and lots of parking lots available. However, this time I had lots of issues getting there. Since GWCC is a very large complex, they hold multiple events at the same time and the Nationals for Cheer Competition were also happening there. So what was supposed to be an easy 20 minute ride turned out to be a 1 hour and 30 minutes sitting in traffic to pick my race packet.
Once at the expo, there were no lines. It was very well organized to get the all my belongings. The hoodie did not look that great but it felt really warm and nice. I think I prefer last year’s. The expo itself was not impressed at all, there were very little exhibitors. The place was huge and it felt very empty. I was not planning on anything, but I was expecting some samples and some new things just to look around. Errr, not this time. Another hour to get back home. I seriously thought about not going, the traffic put me in a really bad mood.
RACE DAY: The race only started at 7:40am but the organization asks everyone to arrive by 6:30am. The location is great but no public transportation making the traffic a chaos. You could pre purchase the parking tickets and shuttle tickets. They provided a shuttle from the nearest Marta (train system in Atlanta). It was supposed to be a cold day so I decided to drive.
I woke up at 5am and got ready. I was out of the apartment around 5:30. Quick stop at Dunking Donuts for a Multi Grain Bagel with cream cheese and orange juice, my usual breakfast on race days. Again, traffic was awful. It took me over a hour, but this time I was mentally prepared to sit there and wait. The good thing is that I did not park too far from the start, so i waited till last minute get out there. According to my car, the temperature was 35F so I was happy to be close by.
This was not the first time I ran this race. I did it in 2013 and 2014 as well, so I knew the course very well. I was ready. Then the race started and I quickly realized it was a different course. Great, I thought. How come I let this happen? I have no idea what is coming. Well, I just keep pushing as much as I could and it worked out till I realize that it was a similar course to the Thanksgiving half. Oh, man. Oakland Cemetery, hill after hill. I pushed hard and it turned out to be a good time for a 5k, 27:22. I placed 30th on my age group. The goodies after are okay. I enjoyed the hot chocolate after but I was ready to go home and take a cold shower.
CONCLUSION: Even though, I warmed up before the race, it felt difficult to breath for the first mile, my lungs were getting used to the cold air, I guess. Maybe I should have done a longer warm up. It was a good idea to wear shorts, it got warm pretty quick. My gloves had to be put away in less than 5 minutes into the run. And finally, I should have looked into the course…
Running a 5K in the beginning of the season is always a good warm up and something to keep me motivated during the winter. This 5K was the fastest I have done during offseason. I already feel good about the upcoming season! 🙂