The original intent of this trip was to pace the Soldiers Marathon 100 miles SW of Atlanta Georgia. I had airline miles I could use but had to book my trip on Monday - Friday, no weekend travel days. I left on 11/11, and returned on 11/14 so I was able to spend both Saturday and Sunday in the Atlanta area. I planned on pacing the 3:45 group at Soldiers, and Sunday just messing around in Atlanta. That was of course before I found out about the possibility of running a double!
My flight to Atlanta on Veterans Day 11//11 involved a 2 hour layover in Denver, during my layover I got on Facebook and contacted a fellow 50 State Club member who was running Soldiers Marathon, Cheryl Murdock. She told me she was planning on running Peachtree City 50k the day after Soldiers Marathon. She also told me Scott Ludwick was the Race Director. I happened to be reading Scott's book "A few Degrees from Hell" for about the 5th time. Before I ran Badwater 135 this year I read and watched videos of anything and everything pertaining to Badwater 135 I could find. I found this book to be the best book available (in my opinion) on the subject. This book profiles many of the 2003 Badwater 135 participants, their experiences, good, bad, or indifferent. I thought it would be the perfect book to read post Badwater and take care of my boredom during the long flight. Now that I had experienced this amazing race a lot of the stories would really come to life! Reading "A Few Degrees from Hell" during my flight really brought back a lot of memories. It lit a flame in my soul and reassured my reasoning for wanting to run this AMAZING race again.
Cheryl gave me Scott's email and I promptly emailed him hoping he would allow me to register day-of-race. Man I love small races; he emailed me almost immediately saying I was in the race. He also said he would autograph my book, and come and say hi at Soldiers, how cool is that?
The directions to the race stated the start was in Luther Glass Park on the corner of Peachtree Parkway & Crosstown Drive, in Peachtree City Georgia. As I am driving through town I am looking for small directional signs, road signs, something to give me a clue where the heck I was, and if I was on the right road to the start of the race. Finally I see the Peachtree Parkway road sign, now which way do I go, left or right? I made an instinctive left on Peachtree Parkway, I proceed about 5 miles then turned around when I realized I should have made a right instead of left, guess my instincts are a bit off! I finally find the intersection, park in the K-Mart parking lot then proceed to the start area to sign up for the race. I arrived in Peachtree City about 6 am for a 7:30 am start. As soon as I reach the registration table Scott approaches me and introduces himself, and introduces Susan Lance, one of his running partners. Susan was featured in his book "A Passion for Running: Portraits of the Everyday Runner”, she has ran numerous 100 mile races including Western States Endurance Run 100. Scott is also a seasoned runner, he has finished Western States as well, Badwater 135, and ran everyday for 28 years, maybe close to 35 years now, amazing feat!
I took off with the other runners at 7:30 for an easy 31 mile training run. My legs were extremely sore from Soldiers Marathon the day prior; there was no way I was going to even try to compete. I settled into a nice 8 minute pace with a guy name Kevin and Molly Wolfgram close behind us, before too long Molly joined us. Somewhere around mile 12 to 13 Molly and I decided we would run the whole run together, Kevin was just running the 25k. She didn’t want to race it because of overtraining issues, and neither did I since I had run a marathon the day before. It was a perfect fit! At about 15 –17 miles into the race Molly started to get a pain in her side, she had to slow down a bit, she tried to eat more food, cut back her water, your usual tricks trying to remedy the problem, to no avail. I don’t think anything helped her; she just gutted it out to the finish. Now that is a tough girl! We ended up finishing 15 minutes or so slower than I had anticipated we would at the ½, but still a respectable time of 4:44, not too bad for an easy training run on the 2nd day of a double. I placed 11th in the men’s field, and Molly placed 2nd in the women’s field.
At the end of the race Scott gave me a cool medal. They had coolers of soda and water, as well as Panera Bagels of all different flavors, excellent!!! I ended up placing 3rd in my age group the 1st place person in my age group was only 11 minutes ahead of me, ugh! I know on fresh legs I could run that course in 3:45 easy, maybe next year I’ll try to compete??
Finding out about this race, and running this race was a pleasant surprise. I didn’t expect to run the race; it wasn’t planned and therefore was one of those amazing times in my life that just happened! When the race was over I had the chance to BS with Scott Ludwick and Susan Lance a bit more and meet a few other Badwater Veterans, Andy Velazco, Mike Smith, and Al Barker. I also purchased Scott’s other book “A Passion for Running: Portraits of the Everyday Runner” which has stories about amazing endurance athletes, many of whom I know, and a few I met at the Peachtree City 50k.
It doesn’t get much better!