“Once a pear, always a pear.”-Kiel Lowen
I signed up for another road race. I am becoming a road whore. I don’t know the proper nomenclature for someone that looks for and only runs races with sweet prizes to offer. The moniker shouldn’t be a nice one however, so I thought “road whore” was eloquent enough to do the job. I promise you I am not standing on the side of some street corner wearing nothing hoping for the next guy to roll around with cash… No. I am running in the middle of the street wearing nothing hoping to roll in some cash. Big difference folks. ROAD WHORE.
Okay. So my road whoreishness led me to sign up for the Peachtree 10k, a road race that had me traveling to Atlanta, Georgia, on the Fourth of July. It is a fairly well-known and established road race (I believe 60,000 participants toed the line this year) offering prize money to the top 15 finishers overall, and the top 3 Americans too (if they finished in the top 20). Any smart person would look at me and tell me it wasn’t worth the trip. Atlanta, Georgia, in the dead of summer… Come on, obviously the Kenyans are going to eat that shit up and win. Any smart person would also look at me, and sternly tell me in the form of a question, “Lauren, when was the last time you worked out?”
My six pack abs have slowly been transforming into the shape of a keg since graduation, and my slender running body, has slowly been working its way back to my genetically endowed “pear”-ish state (yes, all the cookies and beer I consume, prefer to reside in my glute and thigh region when given the opportunity, silhouetting a plump, just sit-me-on-my-ass, pear). I would even go as far to say, in light of the location and race, I was looking a little “peachy”. Round. All around.
Regardless, I was given entry and elite status, and I used my leftover trials tickets (Southwest Airlines is perfect for indecisive modern-day gypsies such as myself) to get to Atlanta, hoping everyone that participated in the Trials, or athletes prepping for the Olympics, would be tempted to take a break in the middle of road racing season to bypass Peachtree. (No such luck.) It was a gamble, I do admit. Yet that is an integral part of road racing- making it frustrating and/or fun, dependent on the outcome.
Fourth of July was not a good work day for me (in terms of wallet growth). I rolled my pear/peach ass to the finish line, dripping wet with sweat, looking like the picked over fruit in the produce aisle fresh after a supermarket rinse… yet much less appetizing. I finished 18th, three spots short of the Fourth of July beer money! Damn!
But. Here it is, kids. Sweet and sentimental Klep is out. A moral to the story…
What waited for me past the finish line of the Peachtree 10k that day was much more rewarding than a pocket full of cash, much sweeter than the sweetest Georgia peach, and definitely longer lasting than the life expectancy of a six pack in my fridge…
New memories, new friends, and new experiences. I was graced with the good fortune to be introduced and paired with Sheri Piers and Al, of whom became friends in the matter of minutes, and family by the end of my two day stay. From testing out shots of split pea soup at the technical dinner, to our Fourth of July celebration starting from my hotel room patio to the hotel restaurant downstairs, playing quarters in a fancy restaurant, starting a dance party in the center of Atlanta, and sweating out the night’s indulgences with a nice early long run, it was a trip that will not be forgotten thanks to those two.
My favorite part of the night was definitely trying to learn how to “wobble.” That was the point when I finally parked my pear ass in a seat, watched the pros wobble it out on the dance floor, and then wobbled my butt back up to my hotel room, to end a great Fourth of July in Atlanta.
Not to be forgotten on this trip, was seemingly getting lost and wandering all throughout Atlanta with Sarah Porter, whether it was trying to find the warm-up area pre-race, or trying to get back to the elite tent after our cool down. Our journeys led us through winding crowds of people, jumping fences and ducking from disapproving race officials, debating faking injuries to cut through the medical tent, handing out our race numbers to little kids, escaping “Mr. Pecs” the Pest, and finishing the race a second time with the Lady Liberty, Uncle Sam, and all the other costumed runners. Perhaps it was the delirium from post-race dehydration that added to the comicality of it all, but I am still laughing about it.
As always, there is much left unsaid about my Peachtree experience… (such as running into a UW-Stevens Point acquaintance I met back in my high school days, when I was but a mere teenager lusting after pierced and tatted college boys), but I just cannot fit everything into one post without rambling my way straight past your attention span into the oblivion of internet world horse shit.
So I end here. But I hope, as always, my experiences inspire you to get out there too, “whore” your way into some fun races, meet some new people, gain some new memories and experiences, and hopefully I will run (or wobble) into you out there on the roads. Until then, hope life is just peachy.
Atlanta Style Fireworks for My Fireworks-less friends back in Colorado