Whew, this was a tough course!! As my friend Bob said at the finish line, toughest marathon he's ever run-same here!
You could not ask for better weather for the inaugural trail marathon at Burr Oak State Park. The race course essentially follows the lake, on the blazed yellow trail. The park officials had just repainted the blazes last week-for the runners! What great cooperation Brandon and Vince, the race directors, had from the Ohio Park Officials.
I arrived in the early afternoon on Saturday. The weather was so gorgeous I went out for a run on the course. I did the initial white loop, then headed out the yellow/blue blazed trail. It wasn't marked yet, but I was pretty sure that was the way we would be coming back for the remaining miles. (Glad I did so!)
I was already worried about being able to finish this race in the 7 hour time allotment. I ran the Akron Marathon in about 51/2 hours, but I had finished the Groundhog 50K in 8 hours. So a marathon in 7 hours should be do able. I was hoping!
Race started promptly at 8 am, and we were off on the trails after a brief uphill on the road. True to form, I was about last but just enjoying the day. It was fun to run trails totally unknown to me. There were plenty of ups and downs, but some good runnable sections around the lake.
The volunteers were excellent, if not over enthusiatic! I came into the first AS, the second to last runner, and one girl was still making PB & Jelly sandwiches. I advised her that she probably had enough sandwiches to go around, and ate some to alleviate the abundance!
My race went well until about mile 19 or so. I think I hit the "Wall". (How embarrassing. I run a marathon and hit the proverbial wall.) I think the blood sugar got a little low. I was very hot out there. It was about 70 degrees and sunny out. I had stopped looking at my watch to see my sucky slowass time.
I came upon the last AS with the poor guys still stuck there. They advised me I was around mile 21, and the last AS to the finish line. As I trekked up another hill, I just wanted to be done with the race. I was cranky, crabby with myself. I was tired of being the poky last person, tired with being so tired. Do fast runners get tired out there? Do thin people get tired running? I really wanted a finisher's hoodie. I consoled myself with there wouldn't be any hoodies left, Vince had already said with so many last minute signups they might have to mail hoodies out. Foo. I guess being last meant no hoodie for me. Honestly, I was really really mean to myself out there. Disgusted with being fat, disgusted with being so slow, hating to make people wait for me so they could get on with their day. I finally looked at the time and realized I was not going to make the 3pm cut off. I figured I would finish in about 7.5 hours.
The only bright spot was my Garmin, which advised me that I now had less than 4 miles left in the race. And I knew soon, I would recognize parts of the trail that I had run the day before and know exactly how far I had left.
I also brought myself around with positive thoughts. I told myself how lucky I was to be out running, on such a beautiful day. The weather was beautiful, the course was so nice to run on. I consoled myself with how many calories I was burning that day. That I only had a few miles to go. That I could have a good cry on the drive home.
What really helped was where I recognized the trail!! Hey this was where I had turned around yesterday! Alright!!!! I knew where I was, I knew how many climbs I had left! This, and the rest of my jelly beans, helped to energize me mentally. I'm sure I wasn't moving any faster.
The last climb, then back out on the road to the lodge. A van stopped and the runner driver hi-fived me. I was back to being really happy again! A downhill run to the finish, whoop that did it for me!!!!
Jim Chaney was still there with his timing equipment, and I crossed the line in 7.25ish. Just about what I thought I would! And a nice young man presented me with a hoodie, even though I didn't finish the race in the time allotted! How nice was that! Also appreciated was two cups of water!
I went inside to look for Brandon or Vince to say thanks, and wandered into the dining room where they still had chili and cheese sandwiches left, even for poky old me! I ended up eating with Luc and Dan. Dan had just run the Columbus Marathon with Luc two weeks prior-his first marathon-so he runs this horribly tough trail race-for his second marathon-and his second trail run ever!! He did great, and was in very good spirits!
Why there are no pictures-I lost my camera out on the trail! I think it slipped out of my hydration vest as I took it off to refuel. Luckily, it was found, and will be shipped back to me. Will post pics whenever that occurs!