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Marty ran: Despite the hot weath...
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- 26 miles
- 06:43 time
- 15:15 pace
- 3397 calories
Despite the hot weather and tough course, overall this really was a lot of fun. It seems like any time I run with this group we have fun, so extending the run to almost 7 hours... even better!
I met Matt J. at Goerke's Corners, so we could carpool to Devil's Lake. Timing worked out perfectly for Rochelle, Annie, Tracey G. and Amy K. (who were also carpooling together) to meet us there as well, and we caravanned to the campground... where we met up with Krista and Evan Z. We went out for a quick pasta dinner in Baraboo and then headed back to go to bed. Those of us that camped enjoyed a "campfire" (two candles set on the grate of a grill, since fires weren't allowed) and a few beers before retiring to the tents.
I woke up early on race morning to catch the 5:30am start of the 50K and 50 mile races. I knew a handful of people running in those races, but when I got to the start they were already in the chute waiting for the race to begin. After cheering the runners on, I headed back to camp to grab some breakfast (pop tarts and chocolate donuts). Before I knew it, we were nonchalantly walking to the start line as the starter announced that we had one minute until the start (reminding me that I really enjoy the laid back nature of the couple of trail races I've done). Annie, Krista, Rochelle, Tracey and I entered the start chute and Matt, Evan and Amy cheered for us at the start (Matt and Evan ran the half marathon, Amy the 10K).
"Runners take your mark. Go!"
At 6:30am, we started running. And, except for the occasional stop at an aid station or for a photo op, we kept going... until just after 1pm. We ran on single track trails, gravel roads, across streams, through mud, up and down bluffs, along the lake, through a campground and even through the middle of the woods (where no trail existed... because running a marathon on pre-worn trails would be too easy?!).
There were bright spots (literally and figuratively). We laughed and joked the first few miles and met and talked to a lot of other runners on the course throughout the race. But, as the day wore on and the sun rose higher in the sky, the sections where we'd run through prairie land between trail sections seemed like a furnace. Where the canopy of trees provided relief, the prairies seemed to try to cook us. There were times when I was physically incapable of running flat sections of trail because it was so overbearing. But, large portions of the race were done with some amount of cover.
There were also some low spots. At times, it seemed each of us had some trouble. But, whether it was physical or mental trouble, we buckled down and did what we needed to in order to keep moving. And, we did what we could to pick each other up and help them get through the tough times, whether it was a word of encouragement or advice or a sip of water after another's water ran out between aid stations (thanks again Krista!). Throughout the race, I (and others) commented about how lonely it must be for solo runners. I won't speak for any of the others, but though the race results show an individual time for my race, but this was definitely a team effort.
As we approached the finish line, we could hear people cheering. Then, we spotted Matt waiting for us at the top of the last hill. And, as though he could read my mind, he handed me a Guinness. I took it from him just as we linked up for our pre-determined "Red Rover style" finish (interlocked arms, all crossing the finish at the same time).
Just after finishing, Matt wanted a photo of me drinking the beer he was so kind to provide for me. Then Evan wanted a photo. Then Amy. Before I knew it, the beer was over half gone. I looked over at the finish clock and we had crossed the finish line 47 seconds earlier. And here I was slamming a Guiness. It was OK, though... I felt I had earned it (as well as the rest of the beers consumed as we sat and cheered at the finish line for the next few hours).
During the post-race celebrations, we realized that Annie, Krista, Rochelle and Tracey all won age group awards! So, of the 5 of us, 4 won awards. I didn't feel left out, though... I gave myself an award (witnessed and certified by Rochelle): Most trash removed from the course. ;-) (Seriously, though, if I *ever* witness a runner dropping a GU packet on the trails, they are going to get an earful about it... for as long as I can keep up with them. You obviously had room in your pack/pockets/etc to carry it INTO the woods, so I *know* you have room to carry it out.) Add that "award" to the fact that I got to spend the day running with friends, and that's enough to make this a great race to me!
Photos from the day:
14:45, 17:17, 12:11, 12:39, 13:07, 14:23, 11:46, 12:02, 11:49, 19:04, 21:16, 19:14, 17:18, 13:12, 10:42, 12:58, 20:09, 21:58, 17:04, 12:21, 17:08,14:20, 18:50, 15:56, 13:04, 13:10, 0.44 @ 12:58
And, for Evan ;-):