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A2A 2008-52 miles

the basics:
4th place OA
2nd place in AG
time of 3:35 @ 14.9 MPH

So let's rewind to last year.

I dragged in second place overall AND the 3rd place OA is a good friend of mine that i know i can beat any given day. so last year i decided i was racing the 52 mile option (out of a choice of 38, 52, 87).

this was to be my first Double Marathon and while not concerned i can't say that i was used to this middle distance.

So we get to the school, and try to find the open door and Tithers. well there was no open door and there was no Tithers because she works in the school next door. how many schools do you need on one block?

so, the pace scooter forgot his GPS, so we sync up my watch, not being used for the race and my GPS. I yell for us at the rolling start zone and we get a rolling start about 45 seconds before 10 and cross the "official" start line at 10:00. Ray on his scooter is the Pace Vehicle.

The first few miles are in an industrial/school zone with a loop then out onto open roads. I started strong, way to strong and the speed group of 10 caught up to me. i latched on to the rear but the stutter steps of this pace line effect my cold legs still andi can't keep pace, but i keep them in striking distance since i can go my own pace.

My pace is a mix of old farts, like me, and teen-agers. with me hanging on to the back and the lead skaters not very good at picking out the course and slowing down or flat missing a turn i have no problem keeping right with the group.

first 5 miles pace was set at 18.6 MPH. still too fast for me, fastest winning pace for 52 is a 17.??. my Marathon pace is a 17.1 but we chug along. after a few miles we all get situated with each other and the line moves smoothly thru the waning countryside and it becomes an urban course. we get some great downhills and with every view of a skater falling off the pace from the 87 mile race, they started at 7:30 am a bit further up the road in Athens.

at mile 22 we've been averaging 17.5 MPH, great pace for me, but i know i can't kep this up. we hit a long uphill and that was it. the line shattered with me in the middle of no man's land. the other mature guys getting further ahead and the youngsters falling further behind. I managed to catch up again but was stopped by the cops to allow traffic to pass. as the group went into the distance i felt it was over but i could still try for an AG placement?

i tried to recall everyone i saw leave me and realized that i would not win AG 1st palce and kind of deflated. A sun beat down on me with no shade and my hi hopes of 1st OA and first AG gone my spirits dwindled and i set into a conserving pace to survive. as i get into some residential neighborhood the shade of the trees felt great, cooled me off and i was able to pick up the pace again. down the hill and jump across the set of railroad tracks up and back into trees and a series of lets and rights and then SILVER HILL. a hill of epic reputation, steep downhill with 2 plateaus, speed of 40+ are normally hit on the decscent. it also means Check Point 5 and the home training grounds. the brain shuts off the feet take over and i get to enjoy the ride.....and that's just what i did. catching some folk as i get to skate roads that are just as familiar to me as lovers touch.no one could touch me now......but the heat did. as i passed the last checkpoint i really died, i rolled over into the grass and just collapsed and went back to the check point. friends were there manning the point and offered anything and everything to me. i chose the ice and did a head rub down, a new bottle of water and was sitting down when i see Herb, in my division i thought was ahead of me. and with rewed vigor i hopped up and said, "he's in my AG and i have to catch and pass him, BYE!!!!" i heard voices shouting at me but could not make out what they said, i assume it was "GO GET HIM CHUCK!!!"

feeling yet again renewd i took off with a fervor and caught two folks, caught a 3rd and a fourth within the next few mles. Then i see Johnny up ahead in a distinctive color pattern jersey. Johnny was in the lead pace line with me before i dropped off. i see a chance to rise up in AG and close the distance. as i passed him, he hopped into the draft, asked if i knew where i was and i gave away too much info, "this is my Saturday grounds." with that he stuck on me like white on storebrand rice. no matter what trick, stunt or tactic i used Johnny was closer to me than my own shadow. I have oftened wondered how would fare on the uphill sprint to the finish line and here, today, would be my chance to find out. We zip thru the Viginia Highland district weaving between line of police stopped vehicles at speeds of 20 MPH. make a left onto the descent of Virgina for a 1/2 mile and a right , climb up Park, minor but uphill none the less, 1/4 mile to cross Monroe, into the park right, left, right and .....there's some clueless woman walking her dog inside the cones. WTF???? i yell, "on your left" and like a squirell on a suicide mission she darts right left and right, and her little dog too." i swerve left to get around her and suddenly a calf cramp. i spin around in a 360 and then wipe out in sight of the finish line. i rammed my right knee hard into the curb, now both leg are cramped up and i can hear the announcer call for medical while another volunteer and close freinds offer whatever she can, i opt for a calf rub and call off the medical. I'm not sure how but Johnny managed not to follow me to the curb and went up unscathed across the finish line.

i get up and start of the hill, by this time the announcer, another good freind, leading a cheer for me across the line. Stephanie is there too and i practically burt into tears between the emotional and physical aspects of the day.

i get over to Medical, who is waiting for me and cute as a button. I don't know her as she's a nurse from Houston who happens to be the wife of one of the skaters. we talk, she thinks i need stitches, i giver my credentials as a med person. Johnny came over to check on me and to thank me for guiding him thru the traffic, he say's he was going to let me win the sprint for pulling him so long.

word gets back to me that i took silver OA. i know this can't be true as in i never passed the guy, Herb, i saw pass me at the final checkpoint as well as Johnny finishing ahead of me. so i think i Bronzed OA. well almost, it turns out that they did not record Johnny or i crossing the line. i got that fixed though and i ended up 4th OA and 2 in AG finishing time of 3:35 at a pace of 14.9

my finish line photo, hard copy given in my hand, no net version, has me crossing the line and checking out my...........time, the heck with the blood running down my legs and elbows.


Great achievement

Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry about the fall. :( 

But you did finish and finish well after all the ups und downs (not just hills).


Amazing what the body can accomplish once the brain recognizes that it should stay out of the battle.


Take care

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