Marathon: The Final Frontier

17 11 2016

From Star Trek TOS:
“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

FINALLY on October 29, 2016, I ended my five-year mission to explore strange new races, seek out longer distances and boldly run where I’d never gone before.

medals

In well over 7 hours under a hot and intensely sunny sky in Las Cruces, New Mexico, I finally ran the whole 26.2 and finished with a smile.  Once I tried and failed in 2011.  Twice I trained and got injured in 2013 and 2014.  But at last!  I did it.  And I survived.  Now I can put that obsession to rest.
garmin

I didn’t take many pictures because it was too many hours to carry my phone and I knew the battery wouldn’t last as long as I’d be running.  In fact, my Garmin watch barely held up!  It started giving me the low battery signal during Mile 25 and I kept saying “please, please, please, just hang on 10 more minutes!”  And it did.

Like I said before and as you may already know, the Mainly Marathons group does unconventional no-time-limit races in all 50 states and is frequented by many of the Marathon Maniacs and other clubs who are trying to reach personal geographic milestones as well as run races.  Their events are multiple loops with a central aid station that is very well stocked with food, water, sports drinks and even Coca-Cola.  Each race features a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, full marathon, and 50k ultra all on the same course at the same time. You just follow the guidance given and the markers set out for your race, and you’re good.  In my case, I did twelve passes of a 2-point-something mile distance which started and ended at the aid station.  I collected a rubber band each time and turned in all twelve at the end for my formal finish.  I also stopped, ate cookies and quesadillas, refilled my water bottle and/or used the bathroom pretty much each time too.  It was a unique and well-appointed race in a beautiful setting which I would recommend to anyone.  I will most certainly run with this group again, especially since I have about 20 more states to go before I reach all 50.

I made some friends during the outing too.  I ran into a guy from the Marathon Maniacs that I first met when I did the Hatfield-McCoy half about 3 years ago.  He is from Hawaii and we had both done a race at Pearl Harbor that spring.  He remembered seeing me and mentioned it when we first met.  He was at this race too and it was nice to see him again.little-collage  Through a mutual Facebook friend, I also connected with a girl who was doing the half marathon and we ran together through her whole 13.1 miles.  We are pictured here as she finished the half.  And then I met this crazy looking dead guy too.  LOL!  But what was so surprisingly pleasant for me was meeting all of the various runners with unbelievable accomplishments like the lady who has run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days or the retirees on their 150-somethingth marathon.  When I heard that you repeatedly pass the same people doing these loops and they like to talk to you, I initially thought “oh no, how am I going to be able to do this” because I usually need my music and my 3:00/1:00 timer to keep me on track.  But honestly, having conversations with this utterly fascinating band of runners was very refreshing and a welcome distraction from the sheer pain of the miles and the relentlessly beating sun.

I am also grateful to have finally developed the common sense to follow a training plan as well. When I decided this would be the year I would actually do that, I was able to achieve this long elusive goal without paying a profound physical price.  I think the best part of the training plan though was the fact that I had been doing fairly long distances every other weekend since Memorial Day, and having two 20-milers calendared in the month before the marathon.  I was able to avoid the dreaded “hitting the wall” until Mile 25 at which point I had very little mileage ahead of me when my body said “Stop now! We can’t go another step!” but I had to force it to go anyway.   The relief was only 1.2 miles away and it was probably the best moment of the year when I crossed that finish line.

finish-line

FINALLY!  26.2 miles – I have conquered you.

So that brings us pretty much up to date with my grand running adventures for 2016. I put a major goal behind me, ran all year without injury, and put 3 more states plus DC on the goal list.  Oh, and I also got a new tattoo on my leg the same day as the marathon.  “It’s never too late to shoot for the stars,” a lyric from a Nickelback song.  Nope, it sure isn’t!

before-and-after

More later.

 


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2 responses

17 11 2016
Tammi Lewis

Whoo hoo! This is the year of hitting goals baby! Congratulations! What an accomplishment! Bravo!! 👏👏🎉🍾🏅

17 11 2016
TrekkieLianne

Yep! Me and you both! Yay us! 🙂

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