After many years of racing and coaching all out, where I accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible when I started, I have dialed it back so I could be more of a spectator and Sherpa for my athletes and the endurance community as a whole. It was time to give back what had been given to me.
This change in the distribution of my time has presented me with many unique opportunities like becoming a part owner of SlayRx.com and enjoying experiences like going to local and international races in Europe and Mexico. These races have included some small and some very large ones. One of the largest I (as well as for many of us)ever attended was the Peachtree Road Race this July 4th. Estimates vary but somewhere around 60,000 racers participate annually in this 10 km road race through downtown in the throes of Summer heat and humidity.
Food Scientist and principal owner and developer of products at SlayRx, Srikanth Gundavarapu, and I had the fortune of serving around 2000 cups of SlayRx Hydrate at the Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta, Georgia. We parked ourselves on the famous “Cardiac Hill” near Piedmont Hospital and across from Fresh Market, who generously provided us with scores of paper cups as we were woefully underprepared for how much interest there would be in SlayRx Hydrate. Regardless of the need for our hustle, what a fantastic event to attend. This is something everyone should do at least once, as a participant, volunteer, and/or spectator.
Here are some of the things I learned while out there in the great heat and humidity. I add a little suggestion after each.
1. There seemed to be multiple waves of athletes with distinct characteristics. Each brought a different approach to the race. The first pack was the wheelchair self-propelled athletes, the wheelchair assisted athletes led by the Kyle Pease Foundation crew, and the professional and elite runners. Next came, the competitive age groupers. After them, came the weekend warriors, followed by the general runner participants, and then came the casual athletes. Finally, those hanging on for a finish, and the party going crowd. Regardless the resounding message was that participation in the PTRR belied how it was an honor to be a part of American history in real time. The shining spirit of our country came shining through regardless of race, religion, politics, age, sex, etc. It would be nice to see that spirit of cooperation and closeness on a more regular basis online and in the real world. #BeKind
2. Even though many train, I suspect from watching the entirety of the event that most folks are by and large woefully underprepared for even that distance in that heat and humidity. Thankfully, it is not a longer distance. I would love to see less excuses and more consistent training. #NeverCease #NeverDesist!
3. Dehydration is rampant. A small majority are ready with fluids going in, starting the day or days before. Many leave it to the race to address their hydration needs during the event. A much better idea would be to go into the hot humid race hydrated and with a plan for replacing electrolytes as needed. Know how much you will need and where it will come from ahead of time. Be #here4SlayRx and #hydratedAF!
4. A fuel plan, even for this distance, is often lacking and that leads to peril when runners just take whatever in they can find on course. We saw far too many runners bolting to the port-a-potties only to be met with long lines of potty dancing fellow racers. Testing things out and planning ahead will have been a much better idea #TestDontGuess
5. Many over pace (i.e., run too fast) for their fitness or don’t adjust their pace for the heat and humidity. Pace is simply a liar this time of the year. Perceived effort is probably a much better way to manage such roasting conditions. To further that point, a good endurance friend of mine, the Legend Dani Grabol, says that Summer in Georgia should be the “offseason” and that we have the race schedule backwards here where Winter and Spring should be when every major race takes place in the Southeast. Plan and act accordingly.
There you have it. What a blast. Thanks again for all the kind words to us while we served you.