Finally, several months after my original goal, I am a marathon maniac! It’s been an incredible journey.
I had signed up for three spring marathons earlier this year and because of an injury had to decrease to doing halfs. It was pretty discouraging, and becoming a Half Fanatic didn’t seem nearly as “cool” as DH’s Marathon Maniac status. For a recap of those races, check out DH’s YouTube video:
They were beautiful, showcasing some of Michigan’s beautiful lakeshore, but I finished each one glad I was only doing the half.
And then . . . I discovered trail running. Rather than a chore, running in the woods nourished my soul. I loved the laid back nature of the races. The fact that it was completely normal to WALK up hills? Awesome! I felt stronger. I lost 15 pounds and several people told me that I looked much leaner. I decided to go ahead and not only do a fall Marathon Maniacs attempt, but two of them would be Ultras (50Ks).
The first qualifying race was Woodstock. Run Woodstock is a weekend long hippie style party weekend of camping, live music and a lot of running. There are races all weekend long ranging from 100 miles, 100k, 50 miles, 50k, full and half marathons, 10 and 5ks. It felt funny after all year saying “I’m only doing the half,” saying “I’m only doing the full.” You can get a sense of the flavor in DH’s video below:
I had a total blast and felt completely fine after finishing the trail marathon. I was actually looking forward to attempting my first Ultra, which I wrote about here: Yankee Springs Trail Race.
In order to complete the required three marathons within 90 days, I decided to do the Bad Apple Ultra. Unfortunately because I am a slower runner, I would have to sign up for the 12 hour option because I wouldn’t be able to complete a marathon in 6. The Bad Apple Ultra is a bit different in that you sign up for 3, 6, or 12 hours and you try to finish as many 4 mile loops as you can within the time frame. I knew that I had to get at least 8 loops in to meet the 32 mile requirement to qualify for Marathon Maniacs. DH told me that his longest run ever was at Woodstock–he had done the 50K which was a bit long and so ran 34 miles. So my plan was to perhaps do 9 laps. And maybe 10 for good measure, who knew?
DH was injured, so he planned to spectate and be my cheerleader. We camped at the finish line in our RV, which was a great choice because A) we didn’t have to drive after DH had been drinking all day and B) the temperature was in the 30s and spotty rain, so it was a nice spot to warm up and use the rest room in between laps.
It was so nice being able to sleep in (ish). Sleeping only a short walk to the finish line meant that getting up in time to dress, figure out how the headlamp worked, mix up my nutrition, and pee “one last time” made a 7 AM start no problem at all.
The run was through Klackle Orchards in Greenville, MI. The terrain was a mix of grass, field, and woods. Not too much elevation but the uneven ground was challenging. It was dark when we first started, and it was my first time running with a headlamp. So I was mostly following the crowd . . .except that I am a slower runner, and after awhile I had to pause at turns to see which way the paper plate arrow was pointing. I did manage to get lost and added a mile to my overall distance, but no big.
They had an aid station at mile 2 and at the finish line, so I probably didn’t need to carry both bottles with me. I was using Infinit Nutrition Go Far. I ended up really liking it, the protein helped me avoid that “I’m starving, my blood sugar is crashing” feeling. I did snack at aid stations. I could not resist the homemade cookies!
This is me SMILING at 20 miles in. My husband said I must not run fast enough, because I am always in a good mood even after that crazy amount of time and miles. But I enjoy it, so who cares?
At mile 20 I was leaning towards trying for 10 loops. I wasn’t walking much and not hurting anywhere. But then my arch started to bother me. I caught up to my friend Stephanie (who just completed her first 100 mile race last weekend, by the way – woo hoo!) whose knee was bothering her because of the weird terrain. She was going to call it a day when we finished this lap. I knew I had at least one more to go to qualify for MM.
One more lap and when I saw the guy at the two mile aid station, he said, “see you in a little bit!” I thought to myself, “maybe not.”
I was walking a bit more, although some jogs thrown in. My arch was bothering me. The drizzle started again. I thought hmm, maybe I’ll just quit at 8 laps. Would I regret it? My friends came up behind me asking how I was doing. I said, “I think this is my last one. But if I do one more I’ll run farther than DH has.” They encouraged me to do one more and left me behind to weigh my choice. At that point my Garmin flashed “low battery.” And it started raining again. I took that as a sign.
9 hours and 33 minutes after I had started, I told the ladies at the finish line that I was done for the day. DH came running up and tried to convince me to do one more lap, but I was done mentally. In hindsight I really wish I had done two more. I was physically fine, a wee bit sore the next day but not at all what you would expect after running that much.
I hobbled off to take a shower (thanks again, camper!) Then went back out to stand around the fire with DH while our friends finished out their 12 hours.
After the 12 hours were up, they served some tasty chili.
Overall it was a very fun race, definitely going on the schedule for next year, when I hope to do all 12. It was a small race, but well supported.
What was your favorite race this year? Comment below!
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