Saturday, December 12, 2009

2009 Thunder Road Marathon Results

22/1409 Overall
6/190 Age
This is my fourth (and last) year of coaching the Jackson Community College cross country team. Two years ago, just after the season ended, we took a car full of runners to the NJCAA half marathon championship and decided that in 2008 we should take them (who ever wanted to go) to a marathon. So in Dec 2008, we road tripped to Huntsville, AL for the Rocket City Marathon, with everyone doing well, except me. Soon afterward we decided that for 2009 we needed a different state, so we picked North Carolina, mostly because neither Head Coach Brian Olsen nor I had run in North Carolina yet. This year we took 4 runners, 2 men and 2 women, none of which had ever raced a marathon before.

We left Jackson on Thursday afternoon through light snow and headed south for 8 hours staying the night in Beckley, WV for the night. We stopped on the way at a hole in the wall pizza/bar for dinner. It was a hick bar for sure. The main source of light in the dining area was an Old Milwaukee neon beer sign and one 100 watt bare light bulb over the ‘dance’ floor. It was a hoot. Damn good pizza, and dirt cheap.

Since we only had only a short drive on day 2, we slept in on Friday morning and did not leave the hotel until 10am, arriving in Charlotte a little after 1pm. Went to Subway for lunch, checked into the hotel and headed over to the expo. I almost never buy anything at race expo’s anymore but this time was different. In looking at the forecast day before the race I thought there was no chance it would be warm enough to wear shorts, so I did not bring any. Upon further consideration and the fact I want to run fast and it wasn’t THAT cold, I broke down and bought a pair of shorts on sale at the expo. They also had a pair of my running shoes on sales, $40 off the normal price and I snatched those up too. I should also point out that they were selling race shorts that said ‘Flat courses are for sissies’. Turns out, this really was a tough hilly course.
WARNING: weird segue…

So I have my little facebook page and have three ‘sets’ of friends. My current friends/family, friends from long ago (High School era) and a group of fellow marathon/running freaks. Several months ago I became facebook friends with a young woman in PA who teaches HS chemistry and ran 21 marathons in a year, which was her first year running marathons. People call me a freak, but there is always someone more freaky. Anyways, I found out about a week before this race that she was coming down with a friend of hers to run the half (injury) so we decided to meet up for dinner the night before the race. They met me and the whole crew at Applebees (of course) and appropriate abuse of me was partaken. It was actually very cool, I must say. The two women CC runners painted their fingernails all different (and VERY bright) colors with fingernail polish. They convinced me that I should as well. 14 hours before a big race and was willing to do anything, so I let them. I am a little embarrassed about it now, but oh well, who cares. I gotta be me…
MEO nails
I was in bed by 8:30, waking up at 5:15, same ole’ same ole’. Race start was a brisk 28 degrees, so those shorts were a little cold. In fact, I lost feeling in my toes on and off for about the first 6 miles. There was little wind, so the temp was not horrible.
Mile 1 in 6 falt, mile 2 in 12:15. Yikes, that was fast. I maintained a 6:20 pace (which was hard with those damn rolling hills) until about mile 6, then my left calf started to cramp something fierce, an ailment that never went away. By mile 11, my left hamstring cramped followed close behind by my right calf and right hamstring. Tighter and tighter they clenched. Slower and slower I went. I had dreams a of PR (sub 2:50) but the hills and my cramps were not cooperating. I hit the half at 1:24:20ish and I knew by then I could not hold that pace. Sub 3 became my new goal. I still had dreams of beating Brian, though.

You see, Brian is 48 years old and had beaten me every head-to-head race we have ever had at any distance, 4 of which have been marathons. It seems every time I race against him something goes wrong. Knees, sick, bad training, cramps, whatever. I bow to his excellence and my ineptitude. He finished 9th overall (out of 1409) as he passed me at mile 19. He looked strong and finished just under 2:55, which for him is a very good time, especially considering the course.

run Breaking 3 hours was tough, as I want to start taking walk break after about mile 18, but never did. I finished 22nd, but at least 10 people passed me those last 3 miles or so. I tried so hard just to keep moving, concentrating on a sub 3 time. With only 90 seconds to spare, I was cutting it a little close.

Brian ran a 2:54, the two male cross country runners ran 3:18 and 3:24 and the two women both ran 4:09. A friend/former relative of Brian’s who also came along ran a 3:44 in his first ever marathon. That meant of the 7 of us running, 5 were marathon virgins. We were the full range of soreness afterwards, some just fine, some looking like they were 90 years old with bad joints and everything in between.

This race ends my 2009 racing season, which was quite strong. I completed 7 marathons in the last 13 weeks, with 4 of them under 3:00. That might explain why I am so darn tired after this one. I do not race another marathon until Feb and that is a ‘vacation’ marathon, being in Sedona, AZ. I might even run with my camera that day and shoot pictures, who knows.

With legs being sore and in a car full of marathoners on the way home, I think I decided that I am going to try a longer distance in 2010, starting with a 24 hour race in VA in April. I can run marathons quickly and with little recovery between them, so maybe my body is built to compete at even longer distances. Time to try out that theory…

Saturday, November 28, 2009

2009 Mississippi Coast Marathon Results

3/107 Overall
1/7 in age
Official Results
So I woke up in downtown Atlanta at 5:45am, slowly got packed up, took a shower and waited until 6:30, because I wanted my free breakfast. I was soaking this business class upgrade for all it was worth. One of the many things I learned after my last double was that I need to eat lots and lots in between races, to recover from race #1 and prep for race #2. That was my mission in this one day in between races, eat. So I did. I love running.

I finally took off at 7am on my long 7+ hour drive PAST my next stop all the way to New Orleans. The race was near Gulfport, MS but that is just over 1 hour away from the Big Easy. I was in the area and had the time so I decided I might as well take in the French Quarter because that is what you do when you are in the area. I am a ’speed’ tourist, meaning that when I am by myself I can soak up a lot very quickly. I submit my Las Vegas Marathon trip as evidence. I was in the French Quarter for just under 3 hours and thought I had a great and fulfilling time. It was incredibly crowded (which I am not a fan of) but seemed very ’safe’. Street performers, bars, gift shops, a classic ‘tourist trap’. I got my postcards, hit a national park, the Hard Rock Cafe, and the House of Blues (complete with my allowed ‘open intoxicant’. Yes, that is a beer I am holding on the street outside the bar). I even stopped by Harrah’s Casino to get memento chips and decks of high quality cards.
House of Blues
I then headed back to Mississippi for packet picket up which was (no joke) at the Mississippi Welcome center just off the interstate. Ya know, a rest area. There were the tables all setup just outside the rest area building. Umm, there was no ‘expo’ per se :)
After a 3 min wait to get my number, shirt and some safety pins, I went to my hotel 30 min away (Who is my travel agent anyways? Oh yeah. I am) checked in and walked 100 meters to dinner. On ‘double’ weekends, I don’t eat Applebee’s twice I just can’t do that, so this time I waited until the second marathon. Standard entree for dinner and then back to the hotel and in bed at 8 pm for the 4th night in a row.

A 5:10 wake up and standard PB sandwich for breakfast. No tea, and since this was a Motel 6, no coffee. A 24 hour McD’s just down the road got me a mocha. Note to self: Race morning my body is fine with coffee or a mocha.

The race was held on the Stennis Space Center, so it being a government facility, it took a little while to get through the security gate. It was a little crowded, there being a full, a half and a 5K all with the same starting time. The temp at race start was about 48 degrees with no wind and overcast skies. Absolutely PERFECT race conditions.

The race time clock at mile 1 said 6:10, a pace that I knew was a little fast, ok a lot fast. I had decided to run this race ‘hard’ since I knew I took Atlanta a little easy. I wanted to see what my body could do. I spend all day Friday eating to replenish the tanks and I was ready to go.

My legs were only a little sore so I thought I could hold a good clip. Mile 2 came and I decided I did not want to look at my watch until mile 5. I know my running enough to know that whatever pace I am running after mile 5, I can hold until mile 18 with little trouble. I have trained myself enough that my body ‘gets in gear’ (whatever it is that day) and can hold it between 5 and 18 pretty much every race. Well, mile 5 came and I didn’t want to know. I felt good and strong, and I didn’t want my time getting into my head, so to speak, so I didn’t look. I did touch the lap button at the half marathon mark (without looking, later I found out my half split was 1:24:12) again just trying to stay strong. I never really got tired per se. My body never outwardly rebelling.

Well into the race, still no real leg pain. My shins gave me a little grief and my knees a little pain, leg muscles a little sore, but otherwise I felt pretty damn good. The pains I had were all small and understandable. The half marathon ‘end’ came up and I figured out I was in 2nd place for the marathon. For the record, if I wanted to just run the half, I would have finished second in that race.

I finally looked at my watch at mile 20 for two reasons. I wanted to know if I had a chance at a marathon PR (2:49:59), and because I knew I had a small lead on the third place guy and a 2+ mile lead on the 4th place guy. I knew I would probably get passed (and I did at about mile 23). When I looked at my watch at mile 20, I was running a 6:31/mile pace which is about a 2:51/race pace. I decided to pick it up for a half mile to see if I could drop it to shoot for a PR. I did what I thought was a pick-up and looked down at my watch as saw that my pace was now 6:32/mile. So what that means was that I was doing under 6:30 most of the race and started to fail now that I was more than halfway into my second marathon of the weekend.

Knowing that a PR was now out the question, I just wanted to make darn sure I broke 3 hours. Looking at my watch might have been my death knell as I started looking at constantly and of course, slowed down as a result. I am seriously considering not wearing a watch at all at my next race, and going completely on feel.
I crossed the finish line and still felt pretty darn good. I was way better than after my last double when I felt like I was going to die and Misty thought I had a stroke or something. Post race food included yummy jambalaya and cold Michelob Ultra. I rested for a little while before I headed over to the recreation facility (remember, this is a NASA center) to take a shower before heading back for the awards ceremony since I had the time to burn. This was a small marathon with only ~100 runners, so lots of people got awards. I am way more proud of my 2:55 finish than the 3rd place.

During the awards I saw a guy who was wearing the same t-shirt I was wearing. Yes, it was a race shirt, but the surprise was WHICH race shirt. It was the race I won back in March in Ruston, LA where there were ~30 finishers! Small world us marathoners ‘run’ in…

An easy 2+ hour drive got me back to Pensacola airport with 2 hours to drop off the car, get my boarding pass and eat some more. A late flight and 2 hour layover in Atlanta meant I landed back in Detroit at 12:10 am Sunday morning. I didn’t get home until 1:45 am. Having awoken at between 4-5:30 the previous 4 days, it took some convincing of my body to go to sleep. I woke up at 8am, actually well rested considering how long my trip was.

One day later and my body felt pretty good. Only slight muscle soreness and two toenails that are a little pained. Other than that, I feel great. I am really having fun now. I could do some damage, and be somebody for once doing this stuff…

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2009 Atlanta Marathon Results

30/825 Overall
4/105 in age
Official Results
This long weekend began at 3:30 Wed morning, having to get up that early to catch a 5:45 am flight out of Detroit Metro. I had a little less than 2 hours in Atlanta as a layover and my original plan was to fly to Pensacola, drive up to Atlanta, drive to Gulfport, MS then back to Pensacola. With my down-trip layover in Atlanta and having to sleep Wednesday night IN Atlanta, why not just hop off here, get a car STARTING in Atlanta and ending in Pensacola. The answer is cost. Turns out a ‘one way’ rental from Atlanta to Pensacola was going to be $500 as opposed to my Pensacola roundtrip rental cost of $200. Saving 6 hours of highway driving was not worth $300, so I got on my Atlanta to Pensacola flight knowing I would be back here in Atlanta in less than 9 hours.

Once in made it back to Atlanta (1 hour flight, 5.5 hours driving) I went straight to the Expo hosting hotel. I did not want to pay $10 for parking so I found a 20 min loading/unloading spot next to a nearby hotel. In 15 minutes, I was back. I knew that the expo would be quick and I was correct. I walked into the checkin room and saw 6 tables setup for people registered for the half marathon, and over in the corner was the single table for the full marathoners. It being Thanksgiving and a relatively quick time cutoff for the full (5:30) made for a small field in the marathon, ~800 runners.

At the expo was a fellow marathoner who I have become friends with, Dane Rauschenberg. I first met him August 2008 in Green River, Wyoming running the Run with the Horses Marathon. I finished second, him third. Turns out he is an author and was at the expo hawking his book, See Dane Run. I chatted with him for a bit before I headed back to my car. No ticket, of course.

I changed my Atlanta hotel just days before the trip, using staying at the downtown Hilton instead of an Econolodge 20 min away. Same price, actually :). With it being a business hotel and it being Thanksgiving weekend, the place was almost empty so I got a business class upgrade and got a room on the top (28th) floor. Nice view and it entitled me to the business lounge which included light fair food in evenings, so my dinner was small chicken breasts, spring rolls and some cold veggies. Good enough for me (free!)
Since I had been up very early and had a long day, I was in bed watching The Matrix by 8pm and asleep soon after. Up at 5:45, with my PB sandwich and coffee (forgot my tea) and my race day started as it normally does. The race start and finish was at Turner Field where the Atlanta Braves play so there was lots of parking, so much so that I parked about 50m from the starting line and stayed in my warm car until 5 min before the start. 200 M into the race we passed under the Olympic rings and where headed off to downtown Atlanta. It was cold, slightly windy and hills. Not my favorite course for sure. The hills were not that bad, there were just so damn many of them. I was not running that fast, but I could tell it was effecting other people as I passed about 15 people in the last 5 or so miles.

The first 5 miles or so I ran with a few guys, including Dane conversing about the course and marathoning in general. I found out that 90+% of the course we ran was the 1996 Olympic marathon route. I felt sorry for those Olympic marathoners as the course was kind of boring, running the whole time along city streets with unexciting views. Maybe I am just spoiled, having run on some gorgeous courses this year. After about mile 5 we started breaking up and so I was on my own again, like usual with my thoughts. The course was through downtown Atlanta heading north, then loop back as a sort of out and back. The worst thing was the hills, gentle, but frequent. Only a few long ones, all seemingly in the back half of the course. Up and down up and down blah blah blah. The course was rather cold, being in the low 40’s at race start with a light wind. I kept my gloves on until about mile 18 and was still chilled at the race end even though the temp got up into the low 50’s by then.
30th place overall is nice. 4th in age with 105 in my age group was interesting. Yes, that means a full 12% of the field was men between the ages of 35 and 39. Where was everyone else? Resting to eat?

At the end, there was standard end of race food, I stayed long enough to take a few pictures then headed back to the hotel for ice bath on my legs (brrr) then a shower. I then headed right back down to Turner field to start my shift volunteering at the HOSEA feeding of the Homeless. I needed someplace to eat Thanksgiving dinner and decided to volunteer my time to a good cause as well. This year, this annual event fed 30,000+ people, quite impressive. As a volunteer, I was tasked with helping clean up the main cooking area, processing leftover food to be sent to area shelters. A family tradition actually, being there until the end. Long story there, ask me sometime if you want the history lesson. I did get fed there with cold VERY dry turkey, but it was still good, considering the intent. The whole thing really made me miss my family, SJ and Misty especially.

After we were all done and closed up, I headed back to my hotel, ate some more free food (buffalo chicken wings and salad. Lots of both) and was asleep my 8pm again, because I was tired, and I had to get ready for my next marathon, coming up in less than 36 hours

Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009 Inland Trail Marathon Results

2:54:17 (6:40/mile)
6/160 overall
2/12 in age
A while ago, I became a member of the 50 Sub 4 marathon club. An organization for people like me, who want to run all 50 states, but not just finish them, finish them fast. As an added incentive, you get so many points based on how fast you run each race. So for example, you get 9 points if you run between 2:45 and 3:00 but only 5 points if you run between 3:45 and 4:00. Your points give an average and a ‘title’ based on your average. I already had a sub 4 Ohio marathon, but it was a 50K (so 5 ish miles more than 26.2) and on wet cold trails, so I only got 5 points for it. So I ran this race because A) it was a close, only a 2.5 hour drive away and B) I wanted to up my Ohio point total for the club.

I am the assistant coach of the JCC cross country team and we had our regional meet the day before this race so I left the house with Mistique at 4pm Saturday, just 16 hours before race start. After a nice drive down, we checked in to the hotel about 6:30. It being the official race hotel there were copies of directions to the race, a late checkout time (2 pm!) and a cheap rate. Gotta love those crappy-economy-deals… Then we were off to dinner. I think I set a record for distance as the nearest Applebee’s was on the other side of the mall parking lot from the hotel. You’ll never guess what I had for dinner…

With daylight saving time ending race morning, race start was effectively 9am, which meant I did not have to get up ‘early’ on race morning. That’s a good thing as I slept awful the night before, even worse than usual the night before a marathon. Race morning went just as well as always, me being comforted in the familiarity of my procedure. It helps to calm the nerves having such a strict schedule. We arrived at the start/finish line (a local elementary school) about 70 min before race start. Mistique was doing the 5K walk while I ran the marathon, so we grabbed our race bibs and timing chips and hung out inside keeping warm before the start.
In looking at previous race results, I know this would be a fast field, (7 sub 3 times with only 160 runners is amazing) so I had no illusions of high place finish. I wanted a 3:15 (8 points for the club is 3-3:15) but would be even more happy if I could break 3 hours, but I was not counting on it. Ignoring 3 week earliers race, I have not broken 3 hours in over a year. I decided to just go out and see how I felt. The conditions were pretty damn good, with little wind and a 40 degree temperature.

The race course was almost identical to my last marathon, 3 weeks ago in that it was along a converted railroad line now paved with woods/lakes/farms on both sides the whole way. Unlike the last race it was only _1_ out and back. My first mile was a nice 6:36. Faster than I wanted to go out, but I thought I was in a comfortable rhythm, so I stuck to it. Mile after mile and my pace never slowed. In fact the difference between my first half and my second half was 33 seconds, a sure sign of even pace racing. Booo yeeaaahhh….

I never hit the wall and I felt great all day. In fact, afterwards my legs were not even sore, no lie. You see, recently I have upped my mileage, even going over 100 miles in a week. I never follow any marathon ‘training schedule’ because I hate being tied to one. I just go out and do my run every day, sometime fast, sometimes slow, but lots of miles anyways. Today I figured out what that high mileage got me. It means I might be able to run sub 3 hour marathons easily. Which means if I actually focused and RACED a race, I should be able to get a new PR.

I got my finisher’s medal and age division award, some food and Mistique headed back to the hotel quick for a shower before we left for home, arriving roughly 23 hours after we left. She is such a doll, kindly driving my tired body home. I ate a bunch of food and even the next morning, no real soreness. I was planning on doing another 100+ mile week (starting your week with 26.2 is a good idea when you have such plans) and since I felt so good, I ran 26 more on Monday, culminating in a 19:51 (that’s 6:20/mile) 5K ‘race’ at the local HS cross country course. Life is good.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 Wild Life Marathon Results

2/30 overall
Movin\' baby! So in 35 marathons, I have never been able to sleep in my own bed the night before, until this one. The Falling Waters Trail is a 10+ mile rail-to-trail project that just got paved about 3 years ago. I ran on it even before it was paved (and I was breaking the law) doing 20 milers (out and back the entire length) on it. This was the first running of a marathon on it as a fundraiser. I gave money to the organization when they were getting initial funding, so I was glad to cough up the high registration cost for a great cause. Many of my friends said it would be an awful race because the view would never change. I personally love the trail because of the beautiful (non-changing, heavy woods on both sides most of the way, with the occasional wetland or lake) views. I sometime do this trail with my daughter or Mistique, them bike riding, me running. I love it. Even though the course was an out-back-out-back (6.5 mile course length) I was not bored with it at all. Nothing like that other similar out-back-out-back race where my watch busted <1 min into the race. Oh, that race sucked.

It being the first running, the same day as the Chicago marathon, and one week before Grand Rapids and Detroit marathons, I was fairly sure this would be a low turnout race, and it was with ~30 runners. I am at the end of a 2 week long sickness, but the last week I felt OK, eating and resting as much as possible. I had dreams of actually winning until right before race start when I met a guy who was going to shoot for 2:50, which for those of you paying attention is my all time PR, something I knew I was not running this day. Oh well…

It is early October, yes, but a little cold. I mean really cold. The race start temp was a balmy 30 degrees. That is (I think) the coldest marathon race start, but not near my record for coldest race. Those would be these in January and February. One long sleeve shirt (race shirt from Run with Horses. Nice shirt actually) running pants, cheapo gloves and a tight running hat and I was fine all day, not too cold or too hot. The sky was mostly clear so the sun coming up in the trails trees was (as always) a beautiful sight to behold.

I have been the JCC Cross Country team assistant coach for 4 years now and I have been cheering them on all that time, so it was time for payback. The team was volunteering at two of the aid stations and I expected to get some good cheers out of them, and they did a fairly crappy job. They owe me big time :).

Race start had me out and in the lead. At mile 1, the eventual winner caught me and I refused to look at my watch. I stayed right behind him until mile 2 when I looked at my watch. 6:32/mile pace. Wowa! Way faster than I wanted to go out, so I let him go. I was fairly sure I could not hold that. Well, after 6 miles I was still doing 6:36. After 12 miles, I was doing 6:36. As I approached the last turn-around (at mile 19.5ish) I saw the leader coming towards me. Some quick watch action and math put him at just over 6 minutes ahead of me. Not thinking he was going to crash that bad, I relaxed a little as I later figured out I had ~15 minutes on the third place guy. My place firmly ensconced, I decided to just finish strong, hoping I could hold it together to break 3 hours, my ultimate goal for the day anyways.

At about mile 21+ a familiar face showed up, Michael Olds. A former student, former JCC cross country runner and friend who now goes to and runs Cross Country for Spring Arbor University. He needed a run for the day, and kind him, he decided to run with me for most of the final miles. He knew his role, just talking about anything except the fact that I had been on my feet for well over 2 hours moving at a good clip. Thanks Mikey for helping me get through the end!

4 familiar faces greeted me at the finish, Misty and the three kids. That was very pleasant, their smiles and congratulations very welcome. I took them all out to dinner thank them for coming out. Poor Misty had to put up with all three kids this morning as I left the house at about 7 am this morning. She is so kind and deserves more than dinner…

I know it was the organizations first try at a marathon, and they did an alright job, seriously. My only real complaint is that the guy who won got an entire goodie bag full of stuff including a trophy and a coupon for news shoes for his winning. The 2nd place finisher (me) got exactly the same thing that the last finisher got, a grade-A lame finishers medal. It was a generic ‘runner’s’ medal with a sticker on the back that says ‘Wild Life Marathon 2009’. Wow. Not.

So what did I get from this marathon besides an October 2009 marathon, a chance to sleep in my own bed the night before and a chance to support the trail that I love to run upon? Nothing, but I guess that is enough.

Monday, September 7, 2009

2009 American Discovery Trail Marathon Results

24/367 overall
6/37 age
Fini!So this marathon trip started (sortof) the day before coming up from Albuquerque. I slept/rested in the passenger seat with my thigh high compression socks keeping me happy. The drive was pleasant, again seeing vast open spaces of nothing, but honestly I find that incredibly peaceful. Something about land untouched by human hands. I do miss the open-ness of Wyoming when I lived there for three years, honestly.

We rolled into Colorado Springs about 4 in the afternoon and quick checked into the hotel and then headed to my brother George’s house for dinner. My sister in law, Julie, made a great pasta collection and a strange but delish cake (German chocolate like with oatmeal and carrot actually). I tried to eat as much as I could but it still was not enough, I found out later. Good food, good conversation. This was the first time Misty had met my Brother or any one in his family. It seemed like a good first meeting :)

With race start at 6:30, that meant a 4 am wakeup. More tea, another peanut butter sandwich, shower and Misty and I headed off to the finish line where I got on my bus to the start line at about 5:10. The drive took a while because the race was a straight (ish) 26 mile race south from Palmer Lake Park into Colorado Springs.

In the 40ish minutes before race start, I saw two people of significance. The first was the young woman I tutored in Chemistry on my flight back from my Missoula marathon. I knew she was going to be running this day, but never expected to actually find her in the large crowd pre-race. That was pretty cool, actually. 5 minutes before the start I also ran into the Junkie himself, Chuck Engle. We have become friends and this was the 5th (I think) time I have raced with him. Turns out he crashed hard today running a 3:14, which normally I could have done had I not ran a 3:08 marathon the day before. Yes, I could have beat the Junkie. That would have been awesome.

Race start and I was off, my legs actually feeling pretty good. The course is a net 1200’ drop in elevation, but not constant. A few small uphills and lots of flat gave the legs good variety. I was doing great, put the first 15 miles away FASTER that the first 15 miles the previous day. Yes, I was actually running faster in the second marathon of the weekend. The course was beautiful, the sun coming up and lighting up the mountains to my right. No clouds at all, perfect.

Then mile 17 came and the monkey jumped on my back. My legs were fine, my lungs were fine, I just got tired. Every part of my body just finally gave up at once. I had hit the well-known marathon ‘wall’, and started having to take short walk breaks (300m or so each) every mile or so. I had just not replenished my glycogen stores from the previous day. I focused so hard at finishing. I kept reminding myself how many miles I had already ran this weekend and how few I had left to go. People were passing me left and right, but I didn’t let it get to me. Survival and crossing the finish line was all that was important.

By the time I crossed the finish line I was toast. Ten minutes after the race, my heart rate was still over 125. Misty kept a very close eye on me as I was not in a good place for a while. It took me a full 20 minutes to recover and until I felt somewhat normal. Pizza, soda, oranges, Gatorade and some beer all helped.

After a 90 min drive up to Denver we stopped for a nice steak lunch before we headed to the airport to check in and get on our plane. During lunch I found myself questioning my long term running goals. I still struggle with the ‘what am I going to do when I get all 50 states done’ question. We were cutting it a little close in terms of timing, getting to the gate just as they started to board our section, but it all worked out.
After an unexciting 2+ hour flight and 1 hour drive home, I arrived back at my house, roughly 84 hours after I had left it for this trip. I managed to knock off a total of 30 minutes off my two-consecutive-marathon-cumulative-time record.

The next day I felt surprisingly well. It really only hurt when I walked down stairs. Two days later I was doing a gentle 6 miler with little pain. I had recovered quickly from a heck of a weekend. These ‘doubles’ are great for knocking off states two at a time, but they take a toll. I will do this at least once more, maybe twice as I get closer and closer to my 50 states finish. Fingers crossed.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go eat…