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…

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