For Dana Greene, Thursday’s AJC Peachtree Road Race was a chance for redemption. A chance to feel young again.
Green, 51, a Smyrna resident, was running the race in 2018. It was her 22nd race. As she neared the 4-1/2-mile mark, she started feeling pain in her chest. But she still finished the race.
A week later, she was riding her bike. She blacked out going 20 mph and had a heart attack.
The 50th running of the Peachtree on Thursday was a time for Green to return her normal self. She’s run marathons and triathlons for 25 years. She’s coached athletes for the past 20. Almost a year after one of her toughest challenges in life, Greene ran the race 10 minutes faster than she did the year before.
“Me being back out here running is huge,” Greene said. “I feel like I got 20 years back.”
The race has always been a big tradition for her, with her birthday falling July 6. Her first time ever running it was when she lived near the course route. She didn’t register, just ran the race for fun. Admittedly, she walked at the end of it. But from that point, she ran every year, except for the year she was pregnant with her daughter.
The last year has been challenging for Greene. She just finished cardiac rehab March 1. Her cardiologist suggested she monitor her heart rate throughout the race and attempt to stay in the 150 range. The only time it dipped over that was on the hills, but other than that she was right on the average.
“I thought I was getting old, I thought this was what 50 looked like,” Greene said, with a laugh. “To be back out here and feel good, it’s great.”