26 Glorious 26.2’s

For those of you who have been keeping track (and this probably includes only me), the Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon on April 10th was my 26th full marathon.  I’ve considered myself a bit OCD when it comes to numbers, so this one was a big deal!  Don’t you have a favorite number?  A lucky number?  Numbers that y don’t care for or feel odd about?  Back several years ago my phone number included my birth date, my age and my sons age.  Of course that only lasted a year or so, but funny stuff with numbers is kinda cool to me.  They call an affection for numbers like this arithmomania.  I definitely have that when it comes to my most recent marathon!

Twenty-six twenty-six point twos.  Yep, most runners will never hit that mark.  I mean, if you consider that less than 1% of the worlds population has ever completed one marathon, what must the percentage be for someone running 26 of them?  A numerologist would have all sorts of fun figuring the statistics on people who run say more than 1, or more than 5.  More than 10, more than 25, or even higher.  It’s a crazy number that I hope will only continue upward for me.  Let’s hope the body continues to hold up!

So yeah, my “double weekend”, including the Rock ‘n’ Roll 5k, which was my last blog post almost three weeks ago, was followed up by the marathon the next day.  This was another race that I’m proud to have been running with my son.  He ran the Half, to a blistering new PR, and although the course was extremely difficult, I managed a sub 4 finish.

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Weather was pure perfection that day.  Unusually cold at the start, followed by tons and tons of sunshine and a gradual warm up.  A course that winds its way all over Raleigh up and down hills past historic cemeteries, buildings and monuments.  Past several colleges, and local landmarks, this race is really a feast for your eyes.  My first half was really good considering the hills.  I went out at a pace just over 8:00 minutes per mile, and maintained a sub 8:35 pace until a tough spot at mile 10.

Considering the fact that I had just run a marathon a week prior, I was feeling pretty good.  As the marathon and half courses split, that section through Meredith College was a big challenge.  Not for the faint of heart.  Or legs for that matter.  It’s a true test, but also rewarded with a downhill as runners head back toward NC State.  Even though my son is a student at State, there were parts of the course on the campus that I had never seen, and it was truly beautiful.  Centennial campus was just a really great part of the course!

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Now, what follows on Avent Ferry Road was another true test of grit!  I believe for me, this was the beginning of the end for my speed.  I eeked it out, but man was it tough.  I didn’t have a ton of expectations for a finish time that day, I pretty much just wanted to finish in one piece.  My legs were already tired from a disastrous marathon seven days prior at All American.  You remember, my worst marathon finish ever.  I really only wanted to go sub 4 in Raleigh.

My pace and legs were wrecked by the time I hit Lake Johnson in Raleigh, but the views and quiet of running around the lake for the first time gave me some positive enregy for the final six miles of the race.  Just look at this picture I took.  Pure running serenity!

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Time to head back northwest to the city, the course was pretty unforgiving.  With the exception of mile 22, where I had a burst of energy, and managed an 8:51 pace, each of my last six miles were over 10 minutes per mile.  I was beat!  I was looking forward to seeing my family at the finish.  Once I finally crested the ridiculous Boylan Avenue hill, I turned east and on into the city for the finish.  My younger son was waiting for me about 3/10 of a mile before the finish.  He surprised me, and I asked he join me and run me in to the finish.  He gladly accepted, although he wasn’t dressed for it at all. 🙂

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Thanks to that final bit of energy he gave me, I gave it all I had and crossed the line in 3:59:05.  Two marathons in seven days, I’ve barely run since.  I was rewarded however with a nice marathon medal, and finish jacket.  I also received the “Remix” medal for completing both races during the weekend of events.  Although this marathon course will never be listed or described as flat, or easy, it’s always a joy to run the streets of Raleigh, my states Capitol.

I finished 30th in my AG, and 246th overall out of nearly a thousand finishers.  Top 25 percent, I’ll take it.  I hope to return to this race next year and give it another go.  I surely recommend it!

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Go Big! 50 Marathons

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Go Big!  In Utah.

I’ve done it.  I’ve jumped in before a price increase, and signed up for an epic and fast marathon just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah.  I’ve never been to Utah, and look forward to using a marathon as an excuse to take a trip into the unknown.  Well, maybe the very lofty goal of running a marathon in all 50 states is the excuse.

Have you heard of the 50 Staters club?  Running a marathon in all 50 states in our country.  Crazy?  Yes.  Expensive?  Oh, yeah.  This is a goal of many crazy runners out there.  I may have started running too late to accomplish this goal, but slowly but surely, I may be able to make a dent in this goal.  I think that most that have accomplished this goal are either independently wealthy, or are in debt up to their ears.  I will not max out my credit cards to achieve this goal.  If I continue to work toward 50 states, it will be slow and as money allows.

I currently have run 11 marathons, but most of them have been fairly local, or I should say, within driving distance.  Here is a look…

North Carolina- Asheville City Marathon, Tobacco Road Marathon, Asheville Marathon at Biltmore Estate, City of Oaks Marathon, Wrightsville Beach Marathon, Outer Banks Marathon (6)

South Carolina- Myrtle Beach Marathon, Charleston Marathon, Hilton Head Marathon (3)

Virginia- Blue Ridge Marathon (1)

Nevada- Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon (1)

So, currently I have 4 states under my belt.  I have not repeated any marathons, and still have multiple marathons in both North and South Carolina.  Funny thing is, and right in line with all the news you hear about the number of marathons across the world increasing, as people interested in running them increases, my next two marathons are new to me as well, and both local events.  So by May 4th, my NC number will increase to 8, and to 9 in the Fall.

Utah will be state #5.  Wow, that’s 45 states shy of a fifty states goal.  I can only hope to stay healthy and able to run long enough for my bank account and body to both cooperate.  Maybe my goal should be to run 50 different marathons, and not necessarily in all 50 states.  That would be a more achievable goal.

So, I am saying it here.  I will run 50 different marathons.

Currently at 11, my next four will bring my total to 15 by the end of 2014.  They are…..  Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh, All American Marathon, Big Cottonwood, and The Greensboro Marathon.

Setting goals is very common for runners.  I am already a Half Fanatic, and Marathon Maniac.  Go Big, right?  That’s what folks say.  Go big or go home.  I plan on taking my marathon running BIG!

Race planning – Fall marathons

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I think it’s about time.  We are not even out of winter yet, but if I want to pay cheaper race entry fees, I need to start my planning now. I am not one to sign up last minute for a race, even locally.  So, if air travel is mixed into the equation, early planning is even more critical.

In the beginning stages of planning, I have mapped out a few possibilities.  If you have heard of, or run in any of these events and can offer any advice, please do so.

Quad Cities would require airfare.  Possible, yet expensive.  Is it worth it?  I have friends going, so I would know some folks.  I have to think on this one…

Then there are a few others in the Illinois area.

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I don’t see a lot of info on the FrogHops Marathon, please advise if you find any good info on this race.  Love the name!  A Kermit the Frog medal would be awesome!  Fox Valley looks to be an expensive one, already this far in advance.  Registration now is $110 for the Full.  Again, is it worth the trip?  Would it be an epic experience?

Then there is an option for later in the year, at the end of Fall.  Space Coast….

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Great reviews, great swag.  I don’t know…  All of these races would mean a new race to me.  Haven’t run any of them before.  New states, as well.

So far I’ve run Marathons in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Nevada.  Any of these would check another state off the list, if I want to run a full in every state.  This may be too big a goal for right now, with kids still in school.  Maybe I can reach 50 states by the age of 50.  That gives me just over six more years to complete.

The important thing for me is running great events.  I don’t want to spend the money if the course, support or scenery is not top notch.  Please lend your advice if you know of any great destination races in the Fall.  I already have a Full and two Halves lined up for October, so I am looking for something in September, possibly November and December.  Please share your thoughts.

Happy planning!