April 25, 2011

Guest Race Report: Easter Marathon

While I only did one measly loop of The Easter Marathon, my friend John didn’t wuss out – he did all four loops, which comprise a full marathon! Kudos to John. With his permission, I’m reprinting his race report so you can see what the brave full marathoners went through on Sunday.

John’s Full Marathon Race Report

While it was my idea to run this marathon, and I admit that I’m the one that invited Laura along. It was not the day I was expecting.

The last time I ran in Van Cortlandt Park was in High School. So I knew that it would be hilly. But I wasn’t expecting at least one of the hills they threw at us – 4 times!

As Laura said, I was planning on starting early. I ended up getting running about 9:20. And, as I left, I asked the race director if there were any bathrooms along the course. He pointed to a building and said that it was right on the course – great! So I ran to the bathroom and noticed some trail markers as soon as I exited. So off I went. All was going great, except that I knew already that the heat was going to be an issue. Then, very unexpectedly, I looked out and saw the field that the start/finish line was on. And I was only about 3 miles into the race. At this point I knew I screwed up somewhere.

I just kept running and figured that I’d ask somebody where I went wrong. But first, I need to remove the large tophat I was running in, and get something to drink.

As I was drinking I heard somebody calling my name. I was thrilled to see that it was Laura. I wasn’t sure if she was going to show up or not. I was also happy to see that the race had bottled water, oranges, and bananas for the runners. I didn’t need anything right then, but I was happy that it would be there for me (or so I thought — more on that later).

I was ready to just start on my second loop. But Laura said that the start was being delayed because Scott Jurek was going to be there. Well, that’s cool! I got a little more rest, and got my picture taken with Scott. Pretty cool!

And then, off we went. About 1/4 mile into this loop, I was shown where I made my mistake on the first loop. So this was the first time that I’d get to see “the hill”. I was a promised! VERY steep, and very muddy. But we all made it up safely. Then the mud started, and that’s where I’m really in my element. I just trudge through mud, usually passing several people each time. The only problem was that I’d then need to wait for Laura, as she’s not really a “mud trudger!”

We had fun, catching up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives. What races we had coming up, etc. The whole time noting how hot it was and that “it really didn’t look like rain.” This is also where I told Laura the golden rule of ultra marathoning – “If you can’t see the top of a hill, then you should walk it.” And walk we did, several times.

As we got within sight of the finish area, Laura told me that she’d only be doing one loop. Which I was fine with, considering I wasn’t really expecting her to be there at all.

As the loop finished, I noticed the massage therapist. Always a good thing at a race. I drank another bottle of my own water, said goodbye to Laura, and headed out on my third loop.

About half way through the first part of this loop, I decided that the best way to get myself back on track (after my screw up at the beginning) would be to just run the first small loop twice on this loop. I had one person start yelling to me, telling me that I was going the wrong way. But I said that I knew what I was doing – how wrong I was!

The problem with doing this section twice in a row is that this would make me run from mile 10 to mile 20 with no water at all! And, on a hot day like this, I paid dearly for that decision!!!

I met a couple other runners on this loop, and we ran and walked to together for quite a while. I even found out that one of them was originally from upstate New York.

Well, I managed to stagger and struggle through the third loop. Knowing that water and oranges would be able to bring me back quite a bit. That’s when I got a huge disappointment. I found out that all the one and two loop runners ate all the food and drank all the water. ALL OF IT! Laura told me after the race that she actually saw people bringing oranges home – not cool!

So I headed off on to my fourth and final loop. I was having trouble even walking at times I was so hot. I was trying to run all the down hill sections, and as many of the flats as possible. But even doing that I could barely catch my breath.

At one point, I just stopped. There was a nice big log on the side of the trail. So I just sat down for about 10 minutes. I’m not sure if that helped or hurt me more. It was very difficult to get moving at all after that.

But, trudge on I did. I stopped at the bathroom on halfway through the final loop and took a long drink from the sink. That helped a lot. And, with only about 3 miles to go, I knew I would get there.

I eventually made it to the finish, and had fun talking to the race director for a while before walking back to my car. Thankfully, there was a Burger King about 1/4 mile from where I parked, so I hit the drive throug for something to drink. I also turned the air conditioner on full for about 20 minutes before my body temperature returned to normal.

But, all in all, I did have a lot of fun. And I’m glad I went. Maybe next time they’ll be able to deliver the rain as promised!


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