Posted: February 5, 2015 by smrtnsasy in Race Reports
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Race Report:                                                                                                                                                           Peachtree City 50K                                                                                                                                           November 9, 2014                                                                                                                                             Peachtree City, GA

OK…my second 50K ultramarathon in two months, the first one this year being in October in Greenville, SC which will probably not happen again if it is on the same course.  Fast forward to November to Peachtree City, GA for a better and more enjoyable 50K.  For one, they didn’t change the course overnight, so that helps.  Two, I didn’t fall down, knock myself dizzy, and lose time getting my head back on straight…so that helps a lot.  Third, oh…there is no third…I did take a wrong turn (actually, didn’t take the turn) like I did at the Swamp Rabbit, but I didn’t lose as much time as I did in Greenville.

I drove the short drive from Jonesboro, GA to Peachtree City, GA in the neighboring county.  Peachtree City is a planned city and has a network of paved multi-use paths.  The place is agog with golf carts going everywhere.  Teen drivers get cited for reckless driving on the paths as they hot rod their dad’s golf cart.  Only in America!

But, on this race day, the golf carts were at a minimum.  The weather was cool but comfortable.  The race wasn’t overly crowded and one had room to run at your chosen pace.  I was here to run a good, steady pace without too much variance.  It would serve as a workout for later ultras in 2015.  At least, that was the plan.

I started comfortably and kept it steady sticking to my plan and feeling good.  The course was good, picturesque, and enjoyable.  I was cruising along on the first of five loops of 5.18 miles and scoping out the competition.  Was he in my age-group?  Can he keep that pace?…I don’t think so.  That guy looks like he is gaining on me…so around the next curve, I’ll surge a bit.  I think I can catch that group in the next two loops.  Gotta keep good mechanics, pay attention to my form.  Be efficient.  RFM.

The positive self-talk seemed to help.  At least, I felt better than in the Swamp Rabbit 50K.  But then, this course was easier.  Then, I reached the out & back finger that we run before coming back by the starting line to complete a loop.  On the out section of the finger, I approached a gaggle of ladies out for their fitness walk.  They were enjoying the morning and talking loudly and walking briskly.  I gave them a friendly “hello” as I passed them looking for my turn-around mark. 

I continued running and began to wonder where that turn-around mark was and what it looked like.  When I finally reached a split in the trail and entered a neighborhood, I decided I had missed the mark.  How much time I had lost, I did not know.

I begrudgingly reversed my direction looking for the turn-around mark that I assumed I had missed.  Should I run faster to make up lost time or run slower to save some energy to use once I was on the race course?  I didn’t really know.  So, I chose the latter and jogged until I found the mark.

There it was.  Right in the middle of the path, painted on there in a large, white circle with a turn-around arrow showing the reverse direction.  And, I missed it!  Thinking back, I know how I had missed such an obvious mark.  That gaggle of women out for their morning walk was right on top of the mark, and it was hidden from my sight as I passed them.  So, I just kept running down the path.  Losing time.  Just like at Swamp Rabbit.

Once I got back to the mark and saw it, I just stopped right there, looked at it, and loudly (too loudly) said, “Sh*t, sh*t, sh*t!”  Then, I heard a small voice somewhere behind me.  It said, “That’s not vewy nice.”  I turned to see a small boy, maybe four or five years old, who was playing in his back yard.  I told him, “Yeah, you’re right.  I’m not a nice man, but I will try to be better.”  I left the scene with the small tyke smiling.

The remaining loops were correct with no missed turns.  I steadily moved up in the rankings.  I knew more about how I was doing once the 25K runners finished and left the course. 

I was keeping the pace in a consistent time frame once the first loop with its missed turn was over.  I was able to pick up the pace a bit in the last loop.  This put me in 9th overall and 1st in my 60 & Over age-group with a time of 5:20:05.

I finished.  I walked around a few minutes.  The clerk brought me the age-group award.  I fished out a Coke from the cooler.  I drove home.

My recovery the next few days was good.  I kept my daily mileage in the 8 to 10 mile range with no ill effects.  I had no soreness or tightness.  Nothing hurt.  This put The Swamp Rabbit 50K further back in my memory…and, that’s a good thing.

(Richard Westbrook)

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