We gave 'em hell! - Oakland Cemetery Run Like Hell 2011

October 24, 2011

Over the last few weeks, really since the Frogtown Trail Challenge, I have stepped up my running game. As I previously mentioned, running was never something I thought I could do. I didn't think I could ever be like those people running through Piedmont Park with ease or like the people at my gym on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a time. I have come to find out that I can do both of those things!

how I used to feel about running (source)

The week after the Frogtown race I logged 7 total miles (which doesn't seem like much, but to me that was huge), and this week I ran 8 miles. I ran my 3 miles Saturday by completing Oakland Cemetery's "Run Like Hell 5k" with Steven and my friend Carol.

Steven and I signed up for this 5k before we came off our high from the trail run, and soon after I convinced Carol to sign up too. (This was the perfect opportunity to run my first 5k and also visit this historic cemetery that I had been wanting to go to! I know... I'm weird, I want to go to a cemetery.)

Oakland Cemetery

This race was so much fun! Steven and I woke up at 7 and headed down to the cemetery around 7:30. (The race started at 9 and we only live 20 minutes away, but Steven is super paranoid about being late. I also wanted make sure we got a good parking spot and had plenty of time in case there was some sort of freak accident this Saturday morning.)

ready to go!

Once Steven and I got there we walked to "Lion Square" where you could pick up your registration packet. (We had picked up our shirts and race numbers a few days prior, but needed to grab safety pins to attach our bibs.) I took this opportunity to lug my huge camera around and take some pictures. (Visiting Oakland Cemetery is on my list of 25-by-25, so I definitely wanted to document our time there before the race began.)

After taking some pictures and walking around to keep warm, Steven and I went back to the car to attach our numbers and I shed some clothing layers. I was afraid I would get hot in long sleeves, but it was freezing even with the sun out! I ended up grabbing a cardigan that was in my car to throw on over my shirt (I seriously own a million sweaters and they are everywhere. Steven says my collection would put any grandma's cardigan collection to shame). This was the perfect solution because I could still keep warm, but I didn't have to worry about covering up my race number or moving it if I took off my outerwear. At this point Carol had arrived and we were off to meet her!

after we met up with Carol (thanks for the pic!)

Steven and I met Carol back at Lion Square which was right by the starting line. We all had so much fun people-watching for about 15 minutes until the race started. One of the best parts of this race was that there was also a costume contest and people went all out! I saw a Georgia fire ant, a crab, a cardboard box medieval solider (seriously one of the coolest costumes ever!), a teletubby, and a zombie "Toddler's and Tiara's" contestant, just to name a few. I loved everyones creativity and think we are definitely dressing up next year!

people watching
best costume ever! (carols pic)

At 8:50 the three of us headed to the starting area where we stood around like cattle until it was time to go. The beginning of this race was tough because there were so many people jammed into such a narrow stretch of the cemetery. Everyone was running into one another and it was hard to get past that walk/run/trot phase at the beginning of a race. Steven basically took off running in a small gutter space and Carol and I followed suit.

Carol and I quickly got into a groove running at an 11-minute/mile pace. There was one killer hill on this route that I was happy to take a small break and walk up, but otherwise we ran pretty much the whole time. Around the 2-mile marker I could see Steven up ahead, and I broke away from Carol and tried to catch him. I eventually got to him, and we played cat and mouse passing each other every 20 seconds or so. Steven and I both got punked as we were coming up to the starting line. We both thought that it was the finish so we ran hard only to realize people were still running after they crossed the sign (and there was no timer or people cheering on the finishers). After this I was almost spent but pushed myself to continue running, telling myself that finish line was around each turn. I ran about another 1/2 mile with the encouragement of the volunteers fueling me and came up the last hill in the cemetery to the finish line! (It was at this point that I definitely started to realize how mental running can be.)

My goal for this race was to finish under 40 minutes. As someone who is not a confident outdoor runner I would have been happy to finish around 38 minutes, especially with the hills and all the people. Imagine my surprise as I crossed the finish line at 32:40!

after the race!

32:40!!! That is quicker than I have been running on the treadmill at the gym! I was so excited, and exhausted, that I walked right past the woman handing out the timing cards. I had a small panic attack when I realized this because there were no timing chips for the race. It was probably 2 minutes before I realized that I didn't have a card like everyone else around me and quickly ran back to get one. I was assured that this would not mess with my time, just my overall standing. :(

Even with the card mixup I was still so excited about my time when I found Steven and Carol. They both did awesome too! Steven ended up finishing 35 seconds after me and Carol finished about a minute after that (killing her last PR!!!).

after we all crossed the finish line! (carols pic)

I don't know if I can say enough how great this race was. Once again, there were great volunteers and all the racers were enthusiastic and encouraging. There is zero chance that we will not sign up for this again next year!

Steven and me after we finished!

In addition to having a fun Saturday morning, and crossing an Oakland Cemetery visit off my 25-by-25, I am so excited about the confidence in running that this race has given me. The more I run, the more I am starting to feel like a "runner" and believe that I can complete races and keep going further and further distances.

Stay tuned for more running news and a link to Carol's race pictures! Also, I am already eyeing a 10k in December! :)


  1. Great post about the Run Like Hell. I'm running it this weekend and was doing some research about the course. I live not too far from the cemetery (we'll almost run past my house before we turn around) and I was worried we'd hit some big hills, I was right. I hope you signed up this year too!

    1. Thanks Katie! Good luck on this race. It was a fantastic and really fun 5k.. even with the hills! :)

      I really wanted to sign up again, and was going to, but I am actually running the AthHalf half marathon in Athens on Sunday.


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