Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Wildlife Marathon. Concord, MI

We (Rob and myself) chose this weekend for the second straight year to travel a farther distance, since we had Columbus Day off.  Rob picked me up from work on Friday afternoon and we picked up Robin at work and headed toward Chicago. Traffic was decent and we got to our hosts (Brett and Carla Saffron) around 11:30. Brett and I were pretty excited because the Cardinals had won the NLDS against the Phillies. Brett is one of the only Cardinal fans that loves the birds more than I. The next day we took our time in the morning and drove 4 hours to Concord, MI. A funny thing happened to our Maniac flag. I was trying to be courteous and roll down the window after some flatulence. I completely forgot about the flag being on the window.  We were being put up by Mark "Doc" Ott. A marathon maniac in his own right. Mark was celebrating the beginning of his 50th state weekend which commences coming up next weekend. We visited during the afternoon and had a large pasta dinner that evening. I met John ( a barefoot runner) and Joel (a CC athlete from Jackson Community College, competing in his first marathon). We had a good dinner and running related conversation. I was a little nervous about the event since I hadn't had a 20+ mile run since the marathon in July. I knew I could do the distance, but wasn't sure how I would feel in the end. I planned on doing a 3 min run to 1 minute walk mix. The weather would have been ideal if the temp had stayed the same all day, but alas it was going to warm up. Prior to starting the event a runner came up to us to express her excitement about soon joining the Marathon Maniacs. April had confessed to Rob that she usually starts out fast and falls apart and walks it in. The event started and we were off and running. By the time I had hit 4 miles, I was starting to get bored. I missed having someone to chat with as Rob and I usually do our long runs together on the weekend. I had been passing April and she would pass me back when I would walk. About mile 4 I offered to help her complete her goal of a sub 5 hour marathon. I encouraged her to try the run/walk method and she said sure but she wanted to change it to 4:1. I agreed as I love to help other marathoners achieve their goals. At around mile 7 or 8 another runner (James Bowers) began doing our intervals with us and the next 45-1 hour passed quickly. We talked about world events, the economy, etc. It was awesome. Pretty soon, the gravel country roads came and it started to get tough. The temperature was beginning to rise and I could tell April was beginning to get tired. James let us go at this point, he was beginning to feel the hills I think. April was being a trooper, but I started to get the feeling that she wasn't going to make it. She told me at mile 17 that I should go on without her. I argued with her a little, but she convinced me to go on. The next 3-4 miles, I dropped it into a faster gear to make up for some time that we had lost. I think this section really took it out of me. By the time I hit 21 miles, I was starting to question my motivation for running. I had developed a large blister on my pinky toe on my right foot and it had been screaming for the past 4 miles.  I took a gel at mile 22 and by mile 23 my mental state was better. I passed 4 runners within the last two miles and I was pretty convinced that the heat played a major factor in many of our demise this day. Rob called me as I was approaching mile 23 and told me that the clock time was around 4:19. I knew that I had time to still make it in under 5 hours. Rob encouraged me to use 2:1 intervals. I came in at 4:55:55 and went straight for the shade and some water to drink. I experimented with Pickle Juice Sport to prevent leg cramps. I used it before, during and after the marathon. I went inside the school to take a shower and by the time I got outside after the shower I was feeling very nauseous.
Border crossing picture
Me, Mark "Doc" Ott,  Joel Medina, and John Yohe
Rob had left to go get us some Coca Colas. I crawled in the car when he came back  hoping that I wouldn't have to vomit anytime soon. After a few sips of Coke and 15 minutes of cool air, I was feeling a little better. Rob and I headed south (accidentally, Rob put his home address in the GPS). We stopped at a rest stop McDonalds and had our traditional post marathon burger. When we got back to Chicago, we celebrated with a large "Chicago style " pizza from Ray Malnatis. It was my 19th marathon and my 17th state.

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