Sunday morning came early. And it was a cold one. Wasnt sure how to dress for a long run that would start around freezing and end in the 50s. Not only that but, i would need to carry whatever i decided to shed later....So I decided on shorts and a long sleeve Nike shirt with gloves to start. I knew I would warm up quickly.
Headed out for the one hour drive to the AT conservancy...where Rik & I would meet our friend Joe and his dog Griffin. We all got there at about the same time and headed up the hill to the start of the trail around 8:30am. But then it had warmed up nicely to about 38*.
We started out nicely for what we planned to be a 24ish mile long run. I felt great and moved along at a good pace. The first 9miles passed by pretty quickly except for a minor ankle tweak that was so minor that I didnt think anything of it (that would come back to haunt me). Then we came upon the cow pasture pass and lets just say...it was muddy...We continued on past Scotts Farm and along the river. We had alot more mud for about the next 3miles that really wore on my ankle. It was stiff and sore but I kept plugging along.
We got to the rt944 tunnel where we were gonna turn around for our out & back. Joe gave me some Advil for the ankle and he said he was gonna continue on for another mile to make it 26.2 by the time we got back. I couldnt pass this up so Rik & I walked the mile while eating my Mojo bar and drinking the rest of the water in my pack. We all met up at the one mile mark and starting running back.
My running started getting slower as the ankle was bothering me and my legs were feeling heavy. I dont know if it was the 50k three weeks ago or if I was just having a bad day but I was definately slowing my pace. We finally got back to Scotts Farm where we were able to refill our packs and have another snack before continuing on the finish. By now there were several other people that we would pass in both directions on the trail. Right past Scotts Farm is a wooded boardwalk over what must be muddier then the other areas. I love hearing the running on the boards :)
By now the Advil had kicked in and my ankle was feeling much better. To bad I cant say the same for my legs. The more I ran, the heavier they became, the more I walked. By about mile 18 I was doing some kind of walk/shuffle and wondered how I was gonna make 6 more miles back to the car. But I just kept moving forward...
I think it was after mile 23 that I finally started to come back to life. I think it was knowing that the end was near. We went back thru the cow pasture. Back thru the fields. I love how the steps over the electric fences are much harder on the way back thru! Rik decided with about 2miles left that he was gonna run ahead and meet us out at the road. Joe was still talking about going the full 26.2 distance and I was just trying to get done...
I started to pick up the pace as we neared the road and I know the end was near. Out onto the road we got a pretty good jog going down the hill to the conservancy and cars. By the time we reached the cars I saw that my Garmin said exactly 25.2miles. I yelled to Rik that I was going to do one more mile with Joe & Griffin! He looked at me like I was crazy and I knew he wasnt coming along. Haha! Off we went down along the lake, over the bridge and up onto yet another field! Then turned around and headed back to the car. When I finally reached my car again my Garmin said exactly 26.2miles! I threw my arms in the air and yelled!!
What a tuff run. Not sure why. It was a perfect day with perfect weather and good company. Here is a pic that Rik took of me and Joe coming in to the "finish" of our marathon!!
So yes. I ran a marathon today. I did not pay $100. There were no chips or an official clock. There were no cheering fans. I did not get a finisher medal or even a t-shirt. I just ran 26.2mile per Mr. Garmin. I ran an unofficial marathon today because I dont want to be one of THOSE people who are known to just go out and run 26.2miles for fun ;)!!
Thanks for reading!