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.
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…