I read the book Marathon Man by Dean Karnazas six years ago and I was fascinated that he ran himself sober for his 30th Birthday. Dean had never trained for any race of any sorts and he was sick of what he had done with his life up to that point. He ran 30 miles without training (he is some kind of animal-like creature anyway) and he thought he could be good at running. Ever since then, I have made it a goal to run 30 miles for my 30th Birthday.
It wasn't too hard to accomplish this feat in Texas. Right now the weather is simply beautiful and ideal for running. I picked the Love. Run. Marathon in Huntsville, Texas because it was only a 4 hour drive from where we are currently living and it was the day before my Birthday. This race was also a trail race. That's all cool but I don't have any experience on the trails...
I told my husband if he ran it, it would be his gift to me for my Birthday. It didn't take much to convince him to run with me. Furthest we had ran was 13 miles for a half marathon two weeks ago, so we planned to take a lot of time on this run. The goal was between 8:30-9 mm miles, and finishing under four hours.
The Huntsville State Park was a pretty ideal place to run. The course was all trails and it wound around a lake. We ran the loop twice for the full marathon, which was actually better than I imagined it being. The trail was pretty narrow and the terrain was challenging. There were deep roots, twists and turns in the trail and constant rolling hills. I tumbled a total of 5 times because I wasn't picking my feet up enough and I failed to pay close attention to the trail.
Before the marathon David and I ran 2 really easy mile around the parking lot, so we would only have to run 2 miles when we were finished with the race. That part was the easiest part of the day.
The marathoners started with the half marathon folks, which was basically the field of runners. We started mid-pack and we couldn't pass anyone, so we were stuck in the middle of what I called the "Soul Train." Soul Train consisted of hundreds of runners in front of us in one big line. It was pretty hard to pass anyone for about three miles, and that is where the trail opened up.
David and I made small chit chat as we ran around the lake. I can't really remember what we talked about, all I remember is that the pace was real easy. By mile 12 we caught up to a guy in a grey shirt, whom was also doing the marathon and he sped up... We kept it cool. We ran into the half at 1:53, slowest half ever. We both felt really great as we started the second loop around the lake. We caught back up to Grey Shirt and David and I were making small talk between the two of us. Guess we were annoying him, so he sped up again. We maintained his pace and by mile 15 passed him for good.
15-20 we just ran. My GPS watch was about 2 miles behind David's! So crazy, at mile 20, my watch finally said it had lost signal. I just free loaded off of David's watch since the course was not marked. I actually enjoyed not having a marked course, made the time go by faster. When David's watch would beep I would always ask where we were anyway.
23 came and I thought. "Ok, just a TV show left, that's all." Between 23-26, we just wanted the thing over! Those last three miles were the most difficult on the course. So many roots to run over with tired feet, you had to watch your footing! We crossed the finish line and I won the women's marathon. I laughed and enjoyed my little win. :) Pretty sure David was 3rd place and a win for his division.
We finished off by running 2 miles around the parking lot, worst part of the day.
They gave us hamburgers at the end of the race (ick) and we just picked up our awards. There was a little girl that asked me what I did after the race. She was looking at my body covered in dirt. I laughed and replied "oh, this happened DURING the race. I fell down five times." I was covered in dirt. Luckily, at the park there were some showers I could rinse off in before our 4 hour drive home.
Such a sweet day.