Restoration 15K | race report plus

I bet you never even knew that Crawford, Georgia exists.

But, sure enough, there stood Babette and Christian, at the start of the Restoration 15K, cold, shivering, jumping up and down to keep warm and wondering how “that dude” could be wearing shorts in 19 degrees.

It was sort of a low-key race.

The RD begins the race with, “Please be careful out there.”

“Please stay to the right of the road.”

“None of the race route has been blocked off.”

…huh?

“These are country roads, and if you don’t stay to the right, they’ll hit you.”

…wow.

Meanwhile, my wife is in Gloria Estefan heaven, or some other kind of ipod seventies party music, and is completely unaware. Yea, yea, I know, headphones and stuff. You tell her.

So what? You ran some country roads.

Yea, that’s about it.

9.3 miles of Georgia country roads. Stray dogs, roadkill, cow pastures and chicken factories; And grouchy, fat cops, leaning way too far back in black LTDs, blowing the horn at the occassional runner bobbing and weaving away from the yellow line.

I’m usually appreciative of the police escorts, but these guys were obviously not enthusiastic about the event. Maybe they were cold. Maybe they were just grouchy small town southern dudes. Who knows…

We ran down one long road, turned right onto another long road, and finished down the last long road.

My wife got third place in her age/sex group. Yea, Babette!

I missed third place in my age/sex group by 30 seconds. {sigh}

And that’s pretty much the race report.

But it got a whole lot wierder as I got deeper south

Along the way towards our destination of the thriving metropolis of Milledgeville, Georgia, I met quite a few characters and experienced the deep south in ways that only “My Cousin Vinny”-lovers could appreciate.

The smoky man of White Plains, Georgia

So, I’m lost.

In rural Georgia, there can be six street names for the same highway.

This is a real-world example:

“Turn down Eatonton Rd/GA-24/US-129/US-441″

Come on…

I stopped at a store in a little town called White Plains. The store owner was seated, just like you’d expect in the movies, in a ol’ plastic chair, watching a static-filled TV and smoking thick cigarettes one after the other. The entire store was thick with smoke – and the dude sounded like his trachea was falling out.

Here’s the conversation with the store owner:

“Am I going the right way to get to Milledgeville?”

“Nope.”

“Well, my Google directions tell me…”

“Thems Internet di-rections? Aw, Hell, thems is always wrong!”

He then proceeds to share the following…

“Just last week my daughter borrowed the Blazer and drove on down to Albany, GA, and you know them damn directions took her through Savannah, first? Can you believe that sh$%!?”

and he continued, “then, she calls me and says, ‘Daddy, the car won’t crank’, and ta’make a long story short, I had to go ’round the corner, get an alternator from the ol’ Chevy place, and go down there and swap out that alternator right damn there in the parking lot”

“Can you believe it?”

Then he drops the bomb.

“To make it worse, she commenced ta’tellin’ me she’s a lesbian.”

And then, thankfully, someone else walked in whom he was more interested in, and I slithered out the door when I saw the open opportunity.

Hopped back in the truck, and shared the story with my wife as we headed even deeper, into the deep south.

The Voodoo People

We pretty much bounced around, completely lost, but sorta headed in the right direction, when we stumbled upon Jones Chapel Road …near, of course, the Jones Chapel Church, in a little “community” called Devereux Community.

This is just flat-out weird.

I’ve heard about African-American communities which still practice Voodoo, and other cultural religions that freak people out, but I have only seen glimpses of it…

Saturday, I feel like I walked right into it.

There was this store, but you’d never know it was a store. It kinda looked like it might have once been a store, but the windows were boarded up, and there wasn’t any real movement around the place – but there was a neon OPEN sign, outside the boards, so we stopped for directions.

I walked in and the place was as dark as a closet. It was musty, dusty and caused me to cough immediately upon entry.

It was huge and empty and there were racks designed for food products strung here and there, but most only had a handful of products and of those products, they looked to have about six years of dust on them.

Think Lay’s Potato Chips from, like, 1999.

This very, very black woman, with white outlines around her pupils, looked at me and asked, “whatchu want?”

“Is this Carrs Station road?”, I asked.

and in the thickest, southern-Jamaican-Islandy type accent I have ever heard, she responds, “tis her’ Jones Chapel Road”, “You lost.”

Then, another very dark man appears literally out of the shadows and says, “where ya goin? what’s you’re final destination”

No way, I was telling him.

They just stared at me. Long silent stare. I heard shuffling and noises somewhere behind them, but saw nothing.

You know what it feels like when you walk in on something that sorta sketches everyone out, right? This was one of those moments.

I stumbled and stammered with my comments, but obviously was a little freaked out, so I just thanked them and left.

Walking back to the car, I just opened my mouth and motioned “WOW” very slowly and silently at my wife sitting in the car.

I love the South, but…

I am a southerner and proud of it, but the deep South could really use a make-over. For one, name your $%#@! roads. Please. Telling me to turn “at the second road”, or “at the bottom of the hill”, is just not helpful.

Once, as we were asking directions from a MIlledgeville local resident on how to get home, she states, “go on up to the stop sign and turn left on Gum Cemetary Road. It will say some other name, but it’s really Gum Cemetary Road”

huh?

The end

So there it is, I’m not really sure why or how all this made it into a 15K race report, and I apologize profusely for the rambling beyond the actual race itself, but the whole situation sorted stemmed from the little 15K country race in Crawford, Georgia and just kept getting weirder.

Just when you thought stereotypes like this were no more …you find, it’s never changed.

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Comments

Congratulations on a PR @ Atlanta, hell yeah!!! Way to run strong brotha. What a perfect day it was! Peace

I had a similar experience in 2001. I was in Atlanta for my first time for some business lasting 2 weeks. I had nothing to do on the intervening weekend, so I found that the Chickamauga Battlefield marathon was on that weekend. I set out to drive there, but it turns out the directions were not quite accurate. (apparently some road changes since the previous year). I ended up driving around for a while, feeling somewhat like Christian describes. The “high” point was driving by a Legion that had a sign out front. I don’t remember the exact text, but it was not welcoming to foreigners, and as a Canadian I felt it applied to me. (remember this was 2 exactly months after 9/11).
After all that, I asked a guy I found for directions and he went one better and actually got in his car to lead me right to the race start. So I got some of the hospitality too. I arrived about 1 minute before the start and was running to the start, pinning on my number when the race started.
I had a great time.

Now that’s an adventure!
I can’t help but wonder what’s gonna happen to all these old guys watching the TV in a few months when everything switches to digital, and they’ll actually get a station without static. (Well, assuming their TV works at all.)

HAW HAW HAW!! I haven’t heard that expression in years! Thanks for the reminder. I think I’ll use it too! Can’t let the old sayin’s die out.

Spurgeon – that’s hilarious dude.

One of the greatest lines ever came out of Babette’s grandmother’s mouth…

“O, she was just as mad as a ol’ wet hen”

I like that line. Will use it someday and see if I get funny looks

Christian, I love your reports, but this one has sent me into a homesick depression that I may not recover from until I eat some of my momma’s cookin’. I sure as heck miss talkin’ to folks who’ve got the time and notion to talk to ya about their recently out-of-the-closet lesbian daughter’s car troubles. Lord knows we should all take the time to stop and smell the roses. Life is too short.

And the “it will say some other name” story reminds me of the time I was told that I would save time by taking the short cut … which involved turning left where the old diner used to be. “What’s there now?” … “Nothin’. They even tore the buildin’ down.” LOL!

ok, first of all i was NOT listening to Gloria Estefan…it was Donna Summer.

and you forgot to mention “Jay’s Cut thru”.

[...] ran a little country 15K outside of Athens, GA, finishing in 1:18:56 – not bad considering I ran the first two miles with my [...]

You forgot the piece of straw hanging out of the guy’s mouth who was sitting on the bucket.

That reminds of the top 3 lies told by a hillbillys
1 – My truck is paid for
2 – She’s not my sister
3 – I was just trying to help the sheep get over the fence

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