Before the recap of my wonderful weekend, I just wanted to say THANK YOU for all of the awesome comments and congratulations that you left after my race on Sunday! They were all incredibly humbling, and I was honored. It's amazing to have the support and appreciation of so many runners who understand how great it feels when we achieve our goals we've worked so hard for!
Time: 3:30:47, Pace: 8:03/mile
Day 1 ... Kansas City Marathon - Saturday, October 15th
|Michael, Jack, & me with our "World Famous Pre-Race Dance!" Go Jack ... Go Jack ... Go-Go-Go Jack!!!|
Michael and I woke up early on Saturday morning and had our versions of breakfast. Mine was a banana, half of a smoothie, and a protein bar. Hers was something like a granola bar or whatever. We gathered our stuff and then it was SHOW TIME!!! No, not the races ... DANCE FEEEEEVA!!! We had to get our traditional pre-race groove on!
|Pickin' up the KC Race Packet|
We got to the Crown Center parking garage a little later than usual. Of course I was a little stressed, but it ended up being okay - we all got to the starting line on time. Plus, who could be anxious with such an amazing day ahead of us! It was one of the most beautiful Saturday mornings in Kansas City that I could remember. No wind. Low humidity. And about 50 degrees at the start of the race. Perfect!!!
|Michael was jealous of my SWEET finisher shirt!!!|
At about 30 minutes until race time, there wasn't much to do besides relax and enjoy the festivities. There was music playing. People talking about their training. And wonderful volunteers everywhere making the experience perfect. The KC Marathon has grown to about a 10,000 person event with all of the races combined, and the race staff does a great job with organization. Everything was seamless.
Crown Center is an "upscale" shopping & corporate district just South of Downtown KC. And we usually park in the attached garage before the race. It's perfect. Our parking spot is only about 200 yards from the finish area. Plus, most of the runners can wait inside the heated Crown Center Food Court before going out and toeing the starting line. Michael and Michelle waited inside. But I kissed Michael good-bye and headed out to go through my pre-race routine.
|Perfect day in my hometown!|
Standing at the starting line I ran into a local Lees Summit runner who I've spoken to at my gym before. It's kinda one of those weird things where I don't even know her name because I've never introduced myself, but I see her all of the time running in my neighborhood in early morning hours. The last time I talked to her, she told me that she had ran Boston in 2010, so at the starting line we swapped stories about our Boston experience. I could have probably figured out who she is if I cyber-stalked her time in the race results, but I didn't. She was really cool and said she was running the half-marathon and going for a PR. We wished each other good-luck and the then it was on! Race number one-of-two in twenty-four hours was underway!
|Feelin' GREAT TODAY!|
One down, now to Des Moines!
Even if I'm dying, I really try to be encouraging at the end of races. Whether I'm passing people, or if they're passing me, I try to offer a "Lookin' Good!" ...or "Keep It Up!" ... or, of course "This is your day ... Be Great Today!" But Saturday was probably the most fun I've had with that. Since I wasn't killing myself during the last few miles, I really got to enjoy runners as they passed and hopefully gave them a little boost. I love it when folks do the same for me, so I always enjoy trying to help them out. Usually during the final stages of a marathon, I'm about ready to pass out ... but the last few miles of this race flew by. In fact, I really didn't want it to end. It was perfect! I could have ran forever!
|Beautiful PR girl & a wrinkly old man with our KC medals|
At the finish line, I quickly found Michael who was waiting for me with my gear bag. I hurriedly gathered my finisher medal and t-shirt, then some fruit and water. And after snapping a few pictures in front of the Crown Center Fountains, we rushed to the car where my roller pad and a pre-mixed smoothie were waiting.
I probably looked really strange sprawled out on a giant Mizzou blanket on the concrete next to the car in the parking garage. But I had a "specific formula" that I had used during my training runs for recovery. And I knew that if I got in the car and drove 45 minutes home without rolling out a little, my legs would get really stiff. So there Michael stood ... in the parking garage ... watching her husband roll out his muscles and stretch after the race on the 3rd Level dirty floor of the Crown Center Parking Garage. She probably felt really stupid! But she never said a word ... what a great wife!
|Great finisher medal featuring the Firefighters Memorial|
After some pretty terrible planning by me, we took the long way back to Lees Summit from downtown KC. But once we were home, I showered, stretched again, ate a little more, and then loaded our pre-packed bags for Des Moines, IA. I'm kind of a Subway Sandwich shop geek. I know it's not the healthiest choice in the world, but it's MUCH better than a lot of the alternatives when you're on the go. Plus, it's basically what I live on when I travel for work. So Subway was my post-race meal. After making a brief stop at the shop near our house, we were on our way for the 3-1/2 drive to the next marathon.
Michael offered, but I drove on the trip to Des Moines. Mainly because I'm a control freak. But also because I drive all over the Midwest for my job and I'm kind of used to it. I can usually drive for hours and then hop out of the car and go for a run ... all pain free. Car rides just don't seem to bother me. In fact, after the Sioux Falls Marathon, I basically showered, and then was in my car for the 9 hour drive home about 45 minutes after the race ended. But I WAS a little sore the next day after that one.
|Big-eared dork on the way to Des Moines...|
REPRESENT KC Homie!!!
At packet pickup we met a few other people who had ran the KC Marathon earlier that day. They were all pretty easy to spot, because like me, they had all worn their black finisher t-shirt. I mean, c'mon ... are you really gonna run back-to-back marathons and NOT let EVERYONE know at packet pickup for the second one that you just finished a marathon a few hours earlier! Please! We all got quite a few, "Wow ... congratulations!" ... and "Man, are you crazy???" But it felt pretty cool being recognized by your running peers who were "merely" doing one marathon that weekend. (kidding of course)
After collecting my race t-shirt, bib, and timing chip for Sunday's race, we went back to the Hampton Inn where we were staying and I ordered a chicken and pepperoni pizza ... just like the night before. I ate, gathered my things for the Des Moines Marathon, which was about 11 hours away, and tried to get some sleep with sweet dreams of what a great day it had been.
Day 2 ... Des Moines Marathon - Sunday, October 16th
|At the finish line of the Des Moines Marathon ... happy, exhausted, victorious, and celebrating with my family!!!|
|Hmmm - Another marathon|
today ... umm, okay!!!
Secondly, I had been wearing the CEP Recovery Sleeves a lot lately after long runs for improved recovery. I had never worn them on a run. In part because I had never needed them. But mostly because I think they look kinda silly ... I mean for a guy anyway. I know a lot of guys wear them and I don't "disrespect that" or anything. I just think for me, they look a little like Cheerleader knee-highs. But for this race, I thought I could probably use the support, so I swallowed my pride ... and team-spirit ... and put them on! And honestly ... they were amazing!!! I couldn't believe how good my calves felt for the entire race.
|Madi & Nate drove 3-1/2 hours, one way |
just to watch the old man finish a marathon!!!
The starting line area for the Des Moines was amazing. It had like a thousand port-o-potties, and plenty of areas to wait indoors out of the 10 mph wind if you wanted. Even though it was about 50 degrees, the overcast sky and brisk breeze made the 8 a.m. start a little chilly - but it wasn't too bad. The gear bag drop was also only about 10 feet from where I started the race ... nice and convenient. I literally waited until about 1 minute before the start to take off my jacket. Perfect! And then just like that ... I started running again! My second marathon in less than 24 hours ... here we go!!!
I didn't feel as smooth as I thought I would the first few miles. I wasn't stiff and sore like I figured I might be ... but rather just a little energy depleted. The adrenaline of the day hadn't really kicked in yet. Plus, the whole thing felt a little surreal. Like I was supposed to be home in bed, instead of out on the streets running another marathon.
|7:19 pace at mile 26,|
My fastest mile of the two marathons!
|Beautiful girl waiting at the finish!|
See that ... TWO medals!!!
|Des Moines Marathon T-Shirt|
I maintained around 7:30-7:45 until about mile 22 where I really began to speed up. I had been keeping an eye on my Garmin and knew that my goal time of 3:30 was in reach if I could push it a little. But I didn't know how much more I had left in the tank. I was really holding on and laboring with every step. Nothing really hurt, other my right hamstring which was a little tight ... I just didn't have any energy. I had force-fed myself Gatorade and Stinger Gels for the last 5 miles and my stomach was starting to get a little queasy. I never have to puke when I run ... it's always the other end that I worry about. And at mile 24, one of my worst race night-mares started to come true ... if you know what I mean! Probably a little too much info ... but IT just began slowly seeping out, with every few steps. I had no doubt that there was probably "evidence" on the outside of my shorts. And one of the first things I said to Michael after the race was, "I think I had an accident". But she looked and it was all good. It must have just been water. I was really relieved. I didn't want any "dirty diaper" race photos of me circulating on the Internet!
|2011 Des Moines Marathon Finisher Medal|
I had just ran 52.4 miles in 24 hours for the first time. I had ran the second marathon 12 minutes faster than the first. And I had met all of my time goals and I was incredibly satisfied with my performance over the past 24 hours. But more important than all of that was the fact that my family had driven 7 hours round trip that day just to support me. It was overwhelming! I am so blessed and I can never thank them enough. Knowing they were waiting for me was the ONLY thing that got me through the tough miles at the end of the Des Moines Marathon. Seeing them at the finish line was the best thing I could ever hope for.
|Hey ... someone left this candy!!!|
I know I'm not the first person to run back-to-back marathons, or an ultra, or anything crazy like that. But my first experience with an "extreme challenge" is one that I'll never forget. I learned a lot and had an incredible time. It was an awesome test to find out just how far I could push my body. But even more than that, it was a great weekend with my family that we got to share together ... and that was the best reward of all.
... be great today!