(From Milo) It is an honor and privilege to write this blog/story about the 2016 Peachtree Road Race (PRR).
I’ll start at the end, then go to the beginning: THE PEACTHREE ROAD RACE WAS A COMPLETE HOME RUN!
In 2015 I was in Atlanta to watch Kyle, Kelsey, and Clark participate in the PRR. I had never been to or seen a 10k event. WOW! I was happy to be there for Kyle, Kelsey, and Clark and was amazed to see thousands of others run/walk down Peachtree Street in Atlanta. Seeing folks my age and older running/walking got me to thinking. Heck, if they could do this maybe I could also.
Shortly after the first of the year, I got to thinking and decided that I would participate in the 2016 PRR. I told the kids and decided to start my “training.” I was lucky; there is another member of my local YMCA who is a fitness junkie. I told him about my decision and asked if he would help “coach” and prepare me. Two big points here. First, he told me to buy a new pair of “running” shoes; apparently my $12.00 Walmart special was not the proper footwear. As my kids know, I tend to be on the thrifty side, but I went to my local sporting goods store and found a pair of running shoes that were on sale. Second, my “coach” told me to get off of the elliptical machine I was using and told me to start on the treadmill. I did. OUCH. The treadmill is a much, much different machine, using different and more muscles, so on and so forth. The “coach” told me to put the treadmill setting on 15 (this is the steepest incline) and just start working. I did.
Ah, the big event was finally here!
I drove from Birmingham to Atlanta the day before the PRR. I was completed psyched! The night before the PRR, Kari’s family hosted a group for dinner. The dinner was terrific. We had a private room where the food was served family-style. Kari’s nephew and nieces were there, and we even created a brand new event, the Stark Family Green Bean Eating Contest! Austin, Aubrey, and Kaley did a great job eating the green beans with their hands. I’d say the event finished in a tie. Next year I hope there will be the Stark Family Green Bean Eating Contest round #2, and we’ll get Elle and Evie in on the fun. Stay tuned!
Maxx Gruber. As you probably know, Kelsey’s boyfriend Phillip is a very, very talented piano player and singer. I gave him his stage name of Maxx Gruber. Sound of Music fans can probably figure out how I came up with this stage name. Anyway! Through divine intervention, a piano appeared in the private room that we had at the restaurant. With a thunderous round of applause, Maxx Gruber, direct from his recent appearance at the Hilton in Barcelona, agreed to played a few songs. Maxx was fabulous! Kari’s sister-in-law Sara, with the support of several glasses of wine, joined Maxx for a few songs. All the kids made appearances to join Maxx also.
Race Day. I was out of my mind that race day was here. Kelsey, Maxx, and I got up to enjoy a European-style breakfast (half an English muffin and half a banana). We then made our way to the start of the PRR. Cue the dramatic music! We made our way to the start of our wave, a large group of people with approximately the same running/walking speed and skill. Thousands and thousands of people! People in front of us, people behind us, huge American flag. The energy, enthusiasm, and anticipation were terrific!
maxx and kelsey!
kelsey and me!
Closer and closer we were approaching the start line. I was already sweating but who cared. Closer and closer. The next thing I know we had crossed the starting line and were “in” the PRR. Good news/bad news. My training had all been uphill, and the actual PRR course is mostly downhill. My knees and my ankles were not prepared for that, but I didn’t care! Kelsey, Maxx, and I were in the PRR. I then noticed many good things. We were passing people! We were passing people younger than me! FYI, I was sweating even more now. The participants and crowd along the PRR route were shouting and supporting us. I responded by shouting out many of my classic 100+ phrases, sayings, etc… We passed a Catholic church on the route where a priest was tossing “holy water.” I said to him, “Come on Padre, hit me with the water!” Such inspiration!
Luckily the temperature was warm but not oppressively hot. A cooling, gentle breeze was also present. Maxx surely brought this breeze with him from Barcelona. Good for me, about 50% of the PRR course was in the shade. While still sweating, these factors worked to our benefit. A short time later, we were crossing the finish line. I MADE IT! I MADE IT! I MADE IT! I did the PRR. Sharing the course with Kelsey and Maxx was great. The other runners/walkers made it great. The crowd supporting us throughout the course was great.
The after-race. I’m thinking that I set the PRR record for “ounces sweated off.” Yeah. I had a terrific time. My knees and ankles were screaming for mercy, but it was all worth it. Would I do the PRR again? YES!
Suggestion. if you live in or near Atlanta, you need to do the PRR. If you have family/friends in or neat Atlanta, do the PRR as a group. Encourage your parents to be involved – it was great. If I can make it, anyone can!!!
A special note of thanks to Kyle, Kelsey, Kari, and Maxx for putting up with my witty banter, my sense of humor, etc…
Idea. For 2017, maybe we could have a group of Kelsey’s blog friends join and run/walk as an entire group. A brand “new audience!”