Tuesday, July 10, 2012

2012 Mad Marathon

July 8, 2012 7:00 AM
Waitsfield, Vermont

Time Pace Division Division
Bib #
Owen 3:48:17 8:42 M35-39 8/26 40/187 49/271 166

Written by Owen

Wow, what a race! I had this race on my radar 8 months ago, but then took it off my schedule when I decided I wanted to run Grandma's Marathon.   Then, when talking about a Father's Day present, I came up with the idea of sending me to Vermont to run this race after all.  Malissa reluctantly agreed.  So the Mad Marathon was back on my schedule, only 22 days after Grandma's.

Saturday morning I got up at 2:45 AM so I could do my traditional 2-miler the day before the marathon.  My flight for Vermont left Charlotte at 6:07 AM, but I am always at the airport early.

When I went through security, they pulled my carry-on aside and asked whose it was because they were going to have to search it.  I realized I had forgotten about the 3 oz. liquid rule.  The TSA guy was nice, and offered to mail home my sunscreen, face wash, and (embarrassingly) my diaper rash cream. Yes, it helps with chaffing in marathons. I told him just to toss them, that I'd buy more.

I had an aisle seat AND a window seat, that was nice.

Burlington, Vermont

I had booked a room at the Sugarbush Resort, which is a ski resort in Warren, Vermont, about six miles from the start/finish line.  They have lots of different hotels on the resort, all operated by Sugarbush.  They are designed as ski hotels mainly used in the winter.  Most don't have air conditioning.  The day before my trip I got a call from them saying that they weren't sold out, so they were upgrading me to their best hotel that has air conditioning.  I didn't realize the one I booked did not.  I am SOOOOO glad they did that, not only because it was so much nicer, but it was quite warm and I know I wouldn't have got as good of sleep without A/C. When I arrived at the hotel, I was shocked at how luxurious it was.  

The view from the window in my hotel room.
Warren and Waitsfield do not have stoplights, no chain stores, no Walmarts, no fast food.  After I got checked in to the hotel room, I went from gas station to gas station looking for, of all things, diaper rash cream (if you skipped to this section without reading above, that sounds pretty weird).  Finally, I found a regular grocery store and was all set.

The expo was at the Farmers Market going on that day in Waitsfield.  Really it was a Farmers Market with one stand selling running stuff.  But it was fun.  I bought some jalapeno cheddar bread for my carbs and some Vermont Peanut Butter for the kids (which I later threw away because of the security issue, when will I learn?).

I had planned on doing all the festivities, but because I was by myself and I had started my day so early, I skipped watching the kids fun run and the ice cream party, and just went back to the hotel for some carb bars and the bread I bought for dinner.  I set my alarms (phone and room clock) and was fast asleep after a long day.

The marathon start time was 7:00 am, which I would definitely change if I was the race director.  It was light at 5:30, and pretty warm when I finished at 10:48 am.  Finishing an hour earlier sure would have been nice.  But, it did mean that I got to sleep until 5.  I always wake up two hours before start time so I can eat a bagel and a banana and have time for my stomach to digest it.

Race morning, before the race.

The finish line, before the race.

Runners gather at the finish line before the race.
At the starting line, I kept telling myself: "Go Slow".  After my horrible Grandma's Marathon, I wanted to just enjoy this.  A PR on a course like this was impossible, so might as well just enjoy it.  I'd like to finish each of the 50 states in under four hours, so that was my main goal.  When I was creating my pace tattoo from Taz Running, I used 3:50, to give myself some margin for error.

Here is my pace tattoo, next to my actual splits.  Of course, the first few miles are fast, I really tried but just could not slow down.

I don't ever want to see another hill.
On fresh legs, I couldn't slow down to my planned pace, later on I couldn't run as fast as I had planned, but overall I beat my goal time by almost two minutes.  The course was beautiful, I really enjoyed every mile.  I never "hit the wall".  After the half-marathoners split off, it was very quiet, one runner every few hundred yards.  There were only 271 marathon finishers, but I never felt alone.  The water stations were plentiful, I really never had a problem at all.

The hills were definitely the theme to this course. When the supporters at mile 16.5 told us, as we rounded a corner, that we were at the highest elevation point, it might as well have been angels singing.  That was music to my ears. I knew I still had some hills, but the biggest elevation climbing was over.

My muscles were pretty beat up, though.  Even on the downhills I couldn't hit my goal times at the end of the race.  I'm still really happy with the race and with my time.  I really enjoyed it.

I'd guess about 20-30% of the race was on packed dirt roads.

This was a really beautiful course.

Hills, hills, and more hills.

The kiddie pools filled with ice-water after the race were awesome!
After the race, I hung out at the finish area and watched some of the finishers come in.  I love watching people cross the line, with all the emotions I know they are feeling.  I headed back to my hotel room.  The only thing left on my agenda for the weekend was my appointment with a tattoo artist.  I have been planning to get a marathon themed tattoo ever since before I ran my first one back in November of 2011.  Sadly, I don't have any pictures of the actual process, but here are a couple of the finished product.
A marathon wasn't enough pain, I had to add an hour-long tattoo session.

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