A few months ago when I really started writing in the training schedule for this 50k I'm training for, I noticed that a local marathon fell right on my highest mileage weekend. Hmmm.... A full road marathon as a training run for a trail 50k? Well this is either the best idea or the worst idea EVER! It would also settle my mind to know that whatever happens on race day, at least I got a marathon in. Yup, I've lost my mind, but somehow this all made sense on paper.
Cut to race day eve.
I was getting ready for work, I turn to exit the bathroom and WHAMMO! I smack the living snot out of my forehead. I still don't understand how it happened. But I will blame it on my large skull and bad spatial awareness... So, I didn't pass out. That was good, but I started getting a knot on my head that literally looked like a goose egg. It's ok to run a marathon with a slight concussion right? Is this a bad omen? Crap.
I spent the morning at work making sure I could remember things. And then I was off to packet pick up. Packet pickup was over an hour drive away so I was overjoyed to have a friend join me. And by join me I mean make sure I didn't pass out.
Race day started early. We decided that we would stay together because heck, if you're running a marathon as a training run, why not keep your friends with you? A quick photo with running group and then we were off!
The race wasn't huge, so it was easy to find our "place" in the pack. And off we went. We were keeping it slow, and we notice a running group on the sidewalk. They seemed like a lovely bunch. As they were splitting apart for different mileage, we noticed that everyone kept saying bye to this lovely lady, Wanda. So... of course we start talking to Wanda. Boy, she was nice. Recovering from an injury but an absolute delight. She went along her merry way and we all commented on how great she was. We would meet a few people later that weren't..
Enter "I have an Official Pacer shirt on guy and I'm not running anywhere near advertised pace and I don't actually have a group". As the name might suggest.... there he is with his Official Pacer sign on his shirt, running WAY slower than advertised and he has no group. These should have all been warning signs to us, but he started chatting and before we knew it we were stuck... oof. See, the thing about heart rate training is that you can't just zip ahead if you get stuck with a runner you don't want to be with. You have to out SLOW them. So, the three of us took a walk break and let him go ahead. Whew.
Then I needed a pit stop, so the girls walked ahead while I jumped into the port o let. As I came out, two gals say to me, "great work!" They quickly clarified that they meant great work on the race, not on the peeing. Either way, I raised my hands in victory and we all had a good laugh. As I was jogging ahead to catch my friends, I meet a fellow I like to call Chatty McChatterton.... he seemed harmless enough at first, but then I realized he was probably looking for someone to run with for the entire race. I caught up to my friends and the we had to out slow Chatty. As we took another unnecessary walk break, we watched Chatty catch up to I'm not pacing anyone guy and we just KNEW it would be a match made in heaven! Turns out they couldn't even handle each other for too long. Shows what we know.
We had a great time talking and jogging. All three of us have been training so much on trails that we kind of forgot how boring a road race can be. At one point, we ran on a path in a wooded area and pretended to be trail running. Of course, we didn't take it so far as to pee behind a tree, but we did consider it. That probably wouldn't have gone over too well. This race ran through a really nice area in Indianapolis. All the lawns were lovely, the people were smiley, and I don't think there was any trash.... anywhere. It was the weirdest thing. Even the runners were placing their trash near cones or mile signs to make sure it would get picked up. It was almost creepy like a Twilight Zone episode. But also really thoughtful. YEAH thoughtful!
Turning the corner to the finish line I asked the gals if they think they could do another 5 if it was 50k race day and we all three said YES! So, that's a success. We crossed the finish line with smiles on our faces. The volunteers handed us our giant Mr. T sized medals and we wandered through the shoot looking for water. Only to be greeted by Chatty McChatterton meandering aimlessly asking us where to get our timing chips cut off. Oh Chatty, we just got here, how the heck would we know?
Of the many dumb things I've said in my life, this seems to be the current dumbest.
EVERY TAPER SHOULD START WITH A MARATHON!
It really is a fun way to start a taper you know? With a medal and all. Good times