Saturday, April 19, 2014

And then there were marathons

Before I get to the main marathon part of this blog, a few eventing shout outs.  Plantation was last weekend.  The scores are here.  Caitlin was first and fourth in the preliminary on Callisto and Ballyneety.  This weekend, Fair Hill is going on up here.  David and BG finished 5th in the Intermediate and David said it all felt quite easy.  Kimberly Kojima finished 9th in the CIC*** and also served as David's SJ coach.  Busy weekend there with preliminary XC running until after 5:30 today.Scores from FHI

In Aiken, Jordan and Keebler were completing their first recognized training level event together.  They had a successful day, adding just one rail to their dressage score and, according to Cyndi, almost getting speed faults xc.  

I had a lovely hack, hill canter, couple of logs ride on Keegan today, enjoying the warm weather.  It was the first time I've used fly spray in 2014.  I felt good, although the legs still felt a little heavy. This resulted from my first multiple marathon adventure. 

From last Saturday through Wednesday, I completed the Mainly Marathons Riverboat Series. This consisted of doing 5 marathons in 5 days in 5 states, a total of 131 miles of marathons plus 1400 miles of driving.

Friday, I flew down from Philadelphia to Nashville.  I considered it an auspicious sign that my rental car was a VW Jetta with Michigan plates.  I drove to Mayfield, KY and checked in at the Wingfield Inn, then hit a CVS for the last of the needed supplies for the week.  I sorted gear into a few different bags and pop-up laundry baskets for ease of organization during the week.  I went out to check out the site and then had dinner and headed back to the hotel, where I met my roomies for the week, Chavet Breslin and her mom Alexis Milosc.  We hit the sack fairly early, ready for the adventure to begin.

Day one was at Columbus-Belmont State Park.  As for all of these events, the course was a fairly short loop (in this case a figure 8 type loop) so that we passed the start/finish/support area frequently.  At each pass, we collected a rubber band.  This course had a first loop on asphalt trail (with some hills) and a second loop on dirt/grass trail that was more of a traditional single track trail, although not too technical (photo credit Cynthia Tanzi).
I took it pretty easy, not at all sure of what 5 days of marathoning were going to be like.  It was also fairly warm and humid and there were definite hills.  I finished feeling fairly good.  Got in the car and drove to Millington, TN.  In Millington, our hotel was the Plantation Oaks.  We got upgraded to a very nice suite there.  After settling into the room, I had some dinner and then pretty much went to sleep.  In the morning headed to the park.  I ended up doing most of day two with a new friend, Deb Lazerson.  She had injured her ankle, so we took it fairly easy.  This group of folks completes many, many races per year and often compete through injuries and illness in search of their records.  I finished up with Mike and Frank.  I was excited to hear that Frank will be completing his 600th marathon at the Madison Marathon in Montana in July, which is also on my schedule.  After finishing, it was off to the next venue.  I had gotten us a cabin in Leroy-Percy State Park in Mississippi for two days.  I was a bit confused thinking it wasn't too far between day 3 and 4 venues when in fact, we ended up having to drive a little over an hour for day 3 in Arkansas (and my GPS was a bit confused about the route), but got there successfully Monday morning and completed all of day 3 in the rain (photo credit Cynthia Tanzi).
It was fairly chilly as well, so I didn't mind the slightly long drive in the warm car back to Leroy Percy State Park in Mississippi.  I did some work and then had dinner with Deb at her hotel before once again heading back to the park for the night.  We had some confusion about the heating system, leading to the night being fairly cold and reminding me of the night in Florida when Hilda had set the system in the coach to cool for the night and it was 42 when I got up.  It didn't get quite that cold this time, but was still a bit chilly as we got ready.  We didn't have far to go as we were already in the park.  It was a chilly day, but I was still feeling quite strong and finished faster than any of the days before.  There was then a fairly long drive to Winnsboro, LA where I had a lovely Mexican dinner before heading to bed prior to the final race.  The final race had the most loops (22 as opposed to 20 on days 3 and 4 and 12 on days 1 and 2).  I once again felt very strong and pushed a bit for my fastest finish of the series (still turtle slow, but nonetheless).  At this race, Patrick Weldon, a neurologist based in Mississippi finished his 100th race!  He runs to raise money for a great cause and is another of the Mainly Marathons extended family.

Major props to Clint Burleson and his team/family for putting on these races.  They were super organized and very well supported.  While many runners did all 5 races, several others did 1-4 and volunteered at the ones that they didn't run.  Alexis planned to do her first half marathon ever on day 4.  She ended up doing the full marathon and I think we may have another addict. She supported us at the other 4 races.  Chavet will be doing the Keys 100 in less than a month.  Eddie Vega is working on 50 full marathons Barefoot! in a single year and ran again today (as did at least a few of the others) at the Kentucky Derby Marathon. Sabra Kurth did both running and volunteering and several who did half marathons stayed the rest of the day volunteering.  It is another one of those groups that one is proud to be a part of (and can't quite believe one is).  Following the final event, I got in the car for the long drive back to Nashville and a nice night at a bed and breakfast there before heading home in the morning.  I assembled the medal when I got home - most excellent swag!

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