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A2A 2002 report

skatey-mark's picture

(posted this on my website a long time ago, reposting here for Blake's A2A history project)



Well, 2002 was the year I was supposed to make a quantum leap in my performance. I trained better, upgraded to 5-wheel racing skates, attended an Eddy clinic, and had a little experience under my belt. I figured I was a shoe-in for a sub-7 hour time. In 2001, I put in a 9-hour time on rec skates, without any drafting at all... So I readily admit I was cocky going into A2A...

The plan was to start out skating with Blake & Craig, and do that for as long as I could keep up. I knew I would eventually have to drop out of the pack, as they were stronger skaters than I was. But I figured I would simply join another pack, skate hard with them for as long as I could, then drop... Lather, rinse, repeat... Before I knew it, I'd be in Piedmont Park... Yeah, right...

The plan started out well. The race began and we tore out of there like madmen. Quite a change from my pokey start the year before! Zooming through the streets of Athens, it took no time at all to get to the outskirts of town. I was redlining on the ol' heart rate monitor the whole way. It didn't take long before I had to bid farewell to Blake & Craig, but I joined other packs along the way.

Like the first year, I had my tape recorder with me to record some thoughts along the way...

0 hours, 32 minutes: Skated with Blake and ??? for the first 20, then had to drop because my heart rate was too high. , Climbing a hill now. Feelin' pretty good, speed. The test will be how fast I make it to checkpoint 1.

1 hours, 33 minutes: Just dropped out of another paceline. Through the gatorback, through the downhill with the right-hand (?) turn. okay so far, making damn good time.

2 hours, 59 minutes: Just passed mile 40. Makin' good time. Not sure if 7 hours is gonna happen. Gonna be close, depends on how many more hills we got -- they're just killing me. Got blisters on the heels already, just gonna skate through it. Don't really give a s--t.

3 hours, 23 minutes: Just passed mile 45. Over halfway now. I feel good on the relatively flat parts, but the hills are just f--king killing me. Um, doin' okay on the pace. 7 hours is still doable. We'll see.

3 hours, 47 minutes: Just passed mile 50. 37 to go, what more can I say? Hope I make it...

4 hours, 58 minutes: Passed mile 63, and I just had to stop - I had nothin' left. Heart rate was out of control. Sittin' in the shade right now. Drank some water, ate some Gu. Tryin' to get it to come down. Of course, I'm at the bottom of a hill, so I've got that hill to deal with when I start again. I just don't think I could have made it much further without stopping. Feelin' alot better now. So if I can get my heart rate just a little lower, I'm going to start up again.

5 hours, 48 minutes: I'm done. I just hit mile 68. I don't know if I can even make it to the next checkpoint. I'm gonna try but... it ain't lookin' good.

5 hours, 57 minutes: Just turned onto Silver Hill Road. hill it appears. Not sure how high it goes. Probably not much higher, but figured I'd stop just in case. I guess I can probably make it to the 71 mile checkpoint, and I'll re-evaluate from there. I think I can make it to the finish.

6 hours, 23 minutes: Just cleared the 71 mile checkpoint, after a lengthy rest. And, uh, I think I'm gonna try to make it. I think I can do it - someone was saying there's about 7 more miles where it's kinda hilly, then it's relatively flat. So, I figure I can always stop at the next water stop.

6 hours, 50 minutes: Passed mile 75. Um, I think there's a good chance at this point that I'll finish. Probably won't even be under 8 hours though. Um.... Probably stop at the next checkpoint again and rest.

6 hours, 57 minutes: Don't know a mile marker. Takin' another rest. Just climbed what would normally be a small hill, but anything vertical is kicking my butt now, so getting the heart rate back down to a reasonable level.

7 hours, 30 minutes: Just left the last checkpoint, after another lengthy stay. 9 miles to go. 8 hours is out of the question now. Probably be 8 and a half.

7 hours, 46 minutes: Just passed mile 81. The sun thankfully has ducked behind some clouds, so it's actually tolerable out here now. Making a lot better time than I did between the lat 2 checkpoints. ETA is still looking good at eight and a half hours.

8 hours, 4 minutes: Just passed mile 84 and, uh, finally getting off this f--kin' stupid road... Started raining, of course.

That's it for my "notes"... The rest of the race was fairly uneventful. Once I got into Piedmont Park, I started sprinting for the finish line -- might as well look good at the end, after such a pitiful performance... I crossed the line at 8:25:41, skated over to the grass, and collapsed. I laid there for a while, and noticed Blake coming over to say hi... I wandered over to grab a sandwich, which there were still plenty left, unlike the year before.

My memory is a bit fuzzy, but I eventually found Mark & Kendra (they might have come over with Blake, but I forget.) Then we had the task of trying to figure out which parking garage Jen had parked the truck in... (We had dry clothes & shoes in there.) After much wandering, we finally found the truck and drove over to the school where the awards ceremony was to be held.

Then I headed back to the finish line and found out Dave had already finished and was out looking for us. Fortunately, we spotted him and flagged him down. Then, it was in to the auditorium to watch the awards (including the controversial award for first place.) I learned my lesson from last year and did not attempt to drive back to NC that night. Jen, Dave, and I headed back to Athens and crashed at the hotel. (After pigging out at Cracker Barrel on the way!)

So, what was the lesson from 2002? Several things...

1) It was damn hot that day, and I don't think I was drinking enough water. That could certainly explain the elevated heart rate. So for A2A 2003, I'll be much more diligent about drinking water.

2) I started out waaay too fast. Gotta remember I can't run with the big boys yet, or even the medium boys for that matter. Gotta watch the heart rate even at the beginning of the race. Don't get caught up in the excitement and push myself harder than I should.

3) Despite how bad I feel, I can probably limp my way to the finish line. That's always good to know. If I start to feel really crappy, I know I can take it easy, rest often, and probably still cross the line before they pack things up.

4) Hills suck.

5) Hills suck.

6) Hills suck.

7) No matter how hard I train, I can't get overconfident. I have to respect the difficulty of this event. Just because I've finished before doesn't mean that it isn't going to be hard, especially if I want to improve my time from the previous year.


Despite it being a somewhat disappointing performance on my part, I'll be back for A2A 2003...


sommemi's picture

2002 sounded better...

So let's see... in summary...


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