In July, I'll run the AJC Peachtree Road Race 10K. I'm not training for it at all.
In September, I'll re-run the most difficult race of my live: the North Face Endurance Challenge 50K trail race. I'm training so much for it, my life has turned into a steady rhythm: Work, Run, Sleep. Repeat.
At first glance, the two races could not be more different:
The Peachtree draws 60,000. Last year, less than 200 finished the North Face 50K
The Peachtree is contained by the sidewalks that line the road and the crowds that cheer. In the North Face, trees, rocks, and ridges form the twisting 31 mile course.
The Peachtree is a rolling party; North Face is a painful test of endurance.
Despite those (obvious) differences, I love both races for some of the same reasons.
There is something incredibly life affirming when you refuse to quit. When your body and mind draw the line, and you cross it.
For some runners, that line is the Peachtree. Fourteen years ago, I ran my first 5K. Actually, "ran" is a bit of a lie. "Staggered" is more like it. A 10K might as well have been an ultra marathon: both were impossible. One more marathon for me is much less impressive than a first 10K. The distance between the couch and that finish line is filled with just as many challenges, doubts, and pains.
It's why I'm so inspired by the Peachtree. I'm surrounded by runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. We're all out there doing something good for ourselves. We're running. Everyone at the start line made the same decision at some point: to take the first step. That's the hardest step for all of us, whether you're running a 10K or a 50K.
Julie will be running the Peachtree with a live RunnerCam. Look for her on the course! You can follow Julie on Twitter @JulieWolfe. You can also read her blog: http://atlantarunningreporter.blogspot.com/