I know I haven't been around much, but I thought I'd share this with the group for old times:
Let’s see if I can keep this short. On Saturday I ran my first marathon, the Land Between the Lakes Trail Marathon in Grand Rivers, KY. As some of you know, I was supposed to fly out on Thursday, but I woke up to an email saying my flights had been cancelled. My own car makes awful noises above 55 mph, but I rushed around getting my gear together, and went straight to Enterprise (the only local car rental agency) and found they had no cars available…but I could have a cargo van. They called ahead and arranged for me to swap it out, but I drove 300 miles across NY in a Nissan MV1500 Cargo Van . It was loud and bouncy and steered like a canal boat, but the seat was pretty comfortable, and I kind of liked being on top of the world. I exchanged it for a Toyota Yaris near Buffalo, which was better on gas, but I hated it in every other respect. I drove 1800 miles in that car…I highly recommend this method for test-driving. It really gets you in tune.
Anyway, I did make it to my original intended destination in Erlanger, KY (near the Cincinnati airport) that evening, and continued on to Grand Rivers in the western part of the state on Friday. And met Jane at the condo…thanks for handling the check-in and everything for us! Originally this was supposed to have been a big FE, but due to injuries and various life issues, our numbers dwindled, and the five of us left did not cramp the 3 bedroom condo. Ben arrived before long, and then David and his friend Rob (or Bob? I can’t remember) later in the evening. Jane, Ben and I went to the spaghetti dinner in town (not fancy, but edible). It ended up being pretty late by then, so I think we all turned in fairly soon afterwards.
I was up before 4:00 AM and Ben and I hit a nearby Waffle House for some food and (more importantly) coffee. Everyone else had already picked up their packets, but I did so just after they opened at 4:45 AM, then returned to the condo to get ready. I caught a ride to the start area, where we ran in to Van, on his way to collecting a 25th state.
LBL has 4 races centered on a trail loop, one loop for 23K, 2 for a marathon, 3 for a 60K and 4 for a 50-miler. I had originally registered for the 60K, but due to a hip issue and serious lack of training, by race morning I’d pretty much decided I’d do one loop, then think about a second if I felt good (the race lets you drop down and get credit for the distance you finish). I went to the back of the pack, and started running easily on the road to the trail, where I was in the 12:00-ish pace range.
I honestly didn’t expect to go more than one loop in the beginning, so I was in no hurry. I stopped at the pot-a-potty at the first aid station before I started the trail, and topped off my water bottle of the few sips I’d taken, and went forward at a leisurely pace, just jogging the flat and downhill, and walking the uphills. The only race I had for comparison was Moosalamoo in Vermont, where I took 4:25 to cover 15.4 miles (over 17:00 pace). LBL was not nearly as bad as I feared. There were hills, but they were never especially long or steep.
Throughout the first loop I felt great, and managed a much faster pace than usual, in the 13:00’s and low 14:00s for most of the first half. I wasn’t really holding back, but as the miles added up, I knew I was going to have to do the second loop, I just felt too good to stop at 23K. I mostly just drank water on the first loop, but started taking some gels and having some chips at aid stations when I was feeling like I needed more than that. I got back the trail head in just about 3 hours. I was starting to feel tired, and knew I would slow down. I was prepared for that, but I figured I could live with an hour’s worth of slowdown, and would try to get sub-7:00 for a full marathon.
My longest run all year so far was a paltry 10 miles. With that lack of training, struggling in a marathon was a given, and as I said I was prepared for slowing down, but not for how much it hurt. My knees and feet especially. Every step was a killer after a while…yet somehow I was still running most of the flat and downhill. And most importantly, no stomach issues. I kept trying to eat and drink, even though I wasn’t really ultrarunning, I was out long enough to need the fuel. I should mention that the weather was just about perfect for my taste. In the 40s at the start, and rose to the 60s, but never felt too hot, at least while I was on the trail.
So, the second loop was slow. I kept trying to do the math in my head to see if I would break 7 hours with my slowing pace. In the end it wasn’t really close, but I was at basically walking pace for a couple of the more hilly miles near the end of the second loop, and was extremely happy to finish in 6:40:04 and collect a medal for my first full marathon. I certainly didn’t do it the “right” way, on almost no training, but it feels amazing to have finally completed 26.2 in a go. I had a great time, and the pain is already mostly a memory. Even with 16 hours of driving back home on Sunday, I feel just a little sore, and can go down stairs without looking too odd.
Maybe next year I can go back and tackle the ultra…I might even train, but no promises!
MattC - Saratoga Springs, NY
10/13 - Green Mountain Half Marathon
10/20 - Wandering Witch 10K
11/2 - Mendon Ponds 20K
12/8 - Pine Mountain 40-mile
Congrats on your first, Matt. Awesome FE and great job tackling all the issues (not only during the race, but with training, driving there, etc.) I cannot wait to see what you'll do next (or what distance you decide upon).
Damaris, Marathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire."
Ball of Fury
Awesome job! I super impressed you drove that far!!
PRs: 5K 22:59, 10K 46:54,HM: 1:51:15
That's quite an adventure for your first marathon, on less than ideal training. Congrats Matt.
Take Charge. Train Harder. Suck Less. No Excuses.
Congratulations, Matt! That is one of the events that I'd like to attend, even if I shoot for something shorter than the full marathon (if there is such an offering). I am definitely not trained for a full at this point in my life. Not sure if I'll ever be or not.
Bonus info - thanks for the short Yarus review. Probably not a great trip vehicle, but the mileage is a decent benefit I suppose.
Tom (formerly known as PhotogTom)
5K - 25:16, 10K - 55:31, 15K - 1:20:55, HM - 1:54:54