Monday, September 14, 2015

Atlanta Falcons Rise Up and Run 5K Race Recap

This past Saturday morning I got up early to go meet my friends from Movers and Pacers to run the Atlanta Falcons Rise Up and Run 5K.  This was a race that was originally going to be in addition to my current mileage for training and just a fun run.  The race ended within the Georgia Dome, home of where the Atlanta Falcons NFL team plays and infamous (to me) by the Ludacris song where he sings, "I wanna get you in the Georgia Dome, on the 50 yard line, while the dirty birds kick for 3..."

Anyways, I ended up using this run as part of my actual mileage since I cut back a little bit.  So I did not push my time and decided to run with my friends for this race, which I was excited to do.

We arrived early in the morning, as you must for 5Ks and man, was fall in the air in Atlanta!  It was chilly out!  I arrived a little later than I wanted to and bounced out of my car into and elevator from the parking garage and immediately went and found my friends.  We hung around as the group expanded and it was exciting to see that we had a pretty large group all out to run, with many new runners and of course some of my besties.

Atlanta Track Club races always usually do waved starts, which is nice, and you just sort of self select where you want to go.  We ended up starting in Wave B and it ended up being super crowded.  I tried to stay with my friends, keep my pace at a comfortable level, and also just navigate around all the people.  The Falcons cheerleaders were out cheering for the race and I was looking around to see if there was anyone that I knew or recognized from when they come to my gym to train but I didn't really recognize anyone.

The course was pretty flat but there were a few hills towards the end and a nice downhill right by the finish that I enjoyed.  I was running next to a group of people I knew and it was fun to stick together a bit.  I would generally drop a little behind on the uphill and catch back up on the downhill.  We ran all around where they are building the new stadium for the Falcons so it was sort of neat to see that in progress and then we finished by running into the current Georgia Dome, with our faces on the screen, and tons of people cheering.

I've done a number of these "stadium runs" including one at the Atlanta Braves stadium earlier this summer and ones at the Patriots stadium in New England, Gillette.  They are always fun to be able to see a sports stadium up close and person and being on that turf gives you a crazy perspective of what it must be like to play a sport in a place like that!

When there was about .3 miles left I saw I was right beside my friend's boyfriend, who I had been yo-yo-ing with throughout the race.  We gave each other a look like, "This is it!" and I kicked it into gear for the end of the run.  I sprinted the last .1 mile and had an awesome finish on the turf with my friends cheering for me on the sidelines.

The race was a ton of fun and we spent quite a big of time just hanging around on the turf afterwards enjoying what it was like to be in the stadium and also cheering for the rest of our group.

I also insisted that we take a picture with football poses, because that is something that definitely needed to happen.

We had a great group out at the Falcons 5K representing Movers and Pacers.  It has been fun to see this group show up more and more in the ATL racing scene and we between the stadium and the fact that the 5K gave out a medal, it meant we had a big crowd.  Everyone wanted to get their hands on this bling, including the youngest M+Per runner we had out on Saturday!

I finished the run in 27:17, which is not my fastest time at all, but still a good pace and an average of under 9:00 minute miles, which is something I'm always happy to see!  It was a great race in Atlanta, which was very well supported with water, bagels, and bananas at the end and they let us hang out in the dome as long as possible.  When we did the Braves 5K they ushered us out of the stadium, but this was cool to be able to hang out on the turf!

Unfortunately, since I had jumped out of my car earlier to go to the start of the 5K I paid absolutely zero attention to which floor or section of the parking lot I had parked on.... and I ended up walking around the parking lot for 20 minutes (at least) trying to find my car.  Woops!  It's always something...

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