Tues- President’s Hill, 7.5 mi, 58:05, 7:45/mi
Thurs- MKT, 5.6 mi, 43:57, 7:51/mi
Sat- Berryman Trail Marathon
We left Columbia, Friday afternoon and arrived at the Berryman campground in the Mark Twain National Forest at 6 pm. I picked up my race packet and then we looked around the campground for a place to set up our tent. About 6:10, Jeff from Columbia also arrived and Deanna from Columbia arrived about 5 min later. All of the camping spots where you could park a car were filled up. Jeff needed a place to park his truck and camp so Deanna asked a guy if we could set up camp with them since his spot had plenty of space between the trees for 3 extra vehicles.
Hugh and I ate our Roly Poly’s, while Deanna cooked her pasta and Jeff cooked his steak. Jerry and Matt our camp-mates had lasagna in a bag. Jerry was planning to run the 50 miler, but run the first half with his son, running his first marathon. We talked about mostly running for a few hours and Jeff built a fire as the temperature was getting quite cold (40s). Most of us headed to our beds around 9 pm and were planning to get up around 5 am. The race started at 7 am other than the few early starters at 6 am.
I woke up at 4 pm to water a tree and then went back to bed, but didn’t sleep. Up to that point I slept pretty well even though it was a little cold (45?). I got up at 5 and sat in the car and had my shake, yogurt, banana, and water. Then I went over to the start line to use the restroom. At this point, there weren’t many people at the start but a lot more tents in the area than the night before. I went back to our camp site and had another banana and some more water. Then back to the restroom once again and was able to see the 20 or so early starters take off at 6 am. Then back to the camp site to get dressed and we packed everything into the car.
About 6:45 we all headed to the start line. I handed Hugh my long sleeve shirt and before I knew it, we were off. Both the marathoners and the 50 milers had to run a short out and back down a gravel road. The 50 milers went out 0.2 mi and the marathons went out 0.7 miles which helped to spread everyone out. The trail is 24.8 miles so this short out and back made up the difference for each race. I started out pretty fast with first mile at 7:38. We passed the start line again to head off into the unknown woods. I had no idea what to expect and didn’t seem too bad a first with a lot of downhill. Trail was somewhat comparable to what I had trained on so far.
I started to pass many of the 50 milers that were running their slower pace. Some were walking and most would move out of the way or I would slow down and carefully pass. I had my first E-Gel at 4 miles and aid station #1 was at 4.45 mi. I stopped and drank one cup of water, but they had Gatorade and coke as well, plus fruit, candy, and more. I’m off again and about mile 5, I roll my left ankle pretty good. I slow down a little and run it off and am able to resume speed. Splits for first 5 miles were between 7:21 and 7:54. My goal for the race was 3:40 overall or 8:24/mi so I am ahead of goal pace. I figured I would have to run between 7:30 – 8:30 depending on the terrain.
Mile 6, I roll my ankle again and hobble/run a little but recover and resume pace. Shortly, after this point, I hear a runner, David, behind me and ask if he wants to pass, but he said he would stay behind. He had run the race before and thought the frontrunners started out a little fast. The next aid station #2 was at 8.33 mi and I had 2 cups of water and then consumed my 2nd E-Gel. David stayed behind me, but said he could pace us after the next aid station at about mile 11. I half roll my right ankle with him behind me but didn’t hurt it at all. We ran between 8:32 – 9:59 for miles 6 – 11 since there were more hills, rocks, mud, creeks, and sharp turns.
I had one cup of coke and 2 cups of water at the aid station #3, waited for him to fill his water and he took the lead. He kept a good pace, but not too fast, and then about mile 12, I roll my left ankle for the 3rd time and have to slow up a bit. At this point, he pulls away from me and I decide to let him go and run at a more relaxed pace and hopefully not roll my ankle again. It’s kind of nice to settle back into my own pace and I’m very careful on any rocky parts since I don’t want to roll the ankle again. The trail is marked with yellow signs with an arrow and any trails that we shouldn’t take have a yellow sign with an X. At this point I am running alone but occasionally passing other runners doing the 50 mile. Some points I wondered if I was lost, but managed to stay on course. The first half split was around 1:47, 8:10 pace so I know I’m 6 min ahead of my goal of 3:40. I’m still feeling really good in spite of the ankle rolls. I have another E-gel at the half way point. These went down really well without water.
The next aid station #4 is at 15.55 miles. For miles 12 – 15 my pace was between 7:53 - ?. I’m not sure since my GPS went out at mile 14.6 and I was never able to get a signal again. I had one coke and a cup of water at the aid station and was then on my way. Everyone at the aid stations always cheered the runners as they took off. Each aid station also had an assortment of gels, but I chose to use my own stuff and not spend much time. I stopped to drink and then was on my way. After this aid station, I was surprised to see the course took a paved road, but only for less than half mile and then back on the trail and up more hills. Another obstacle along this course is a lot of horse poop, but didn’t encounter any horses while I was on the course. The danger of falling and landing in the poop was not a pleasant thought. Since my GPS wasn’t working, I estimated mileage and took a split every 8 min, but sometimes longer depending on whether it was safe to do so. Most of the time it wasn’t safe to look at the watch. I passed a couple more runners doing the 50 miler and I think one that was running the marathon. We had different color numbers so we could tell which distance they were running. I had another E-Gel at approx mile 18.
The next aid station #5 was at 19.5 mi. I’m guessing pace was between 7-something per mile to 9-something per mile, but I think most miles were 8-something. I drank 2 cups of water and was on my way. I rolled my left ankle one more time and right ankle slightly, but managed to recover. Then I caught up to a marathoner that I had my sights on earlier but couldn’t seem to catch. I was gaining on him and am about 30 ft behind him when he goes down but gets right back up and runs. I ask if he is okay and he is and he lets me around him soon and I pull away. There were a few trees across the trail that were challenging to climb over. I had to boost myself over using my upper body. At about mile 20 or so, I felt like I had a second wind and took off, but was brought back to reality after at the next climb up. I took my last E-Gel.
The next aid station #6 came at mile 22.91 and I asked how far to go since at this point, I didn’t remember since they all occurred at odd distances wherever they could get to the trail. They did have the mileage at each one but I didn’t notice. I was told about 3 miles to go and I was guessing 4 miles so this was good news and I was still feeling really good and didn’t see anyone close behind.
I’m off on the last leg and then hear someone behind me but it is a bike and it is Steve T., who used to live in Columbia. He says he will stay behind and talks to me for awhile. For a brief moment while going up a hill, I feel some twitching in my right hamstring, but it goes away and it once I get to the next descent. Steve is out there following a friend doing the 50 miler who is ahead of me. He finally goes around me and I push the pace as hard as I can for the rest of the way, but being conservative on the tricky parts. I made it this far and didn’t want to fall or turn my ankle. This last part seems to go uphill a lot. Finally, I see some pavement, and a sign pointing to run through some trees instead of on the road. I hear some cowbells and realize this is the finish. I kick in hard to the finish and felt like I could have kept running, but at a slower pace.
My overall time was 3:37:29, 2:31 less than my goal and I placed 4th overall. There were 84 finishers for the marathon. The guy I was running with earlier, David, placed second and probably ran a negative split. I think his time was 3:20-something and the 3rd place guy was around 3:30. The winning marathon time was 3:11, a new course record. My second half was about 1:50 so only 3 min slower than the first.
I actually felt like eating fairly soon so I had some M&Ms, cookies, lots of Gatorade, and finally had a brat, macaroni salad, potato salad, many servings of pound cake, more cookies, and more M&Ms. The SLUGS do a great job of feeding the runners during the race and after. Jeff came in at 4:23 which he said was a lot faster than last year for him. I was expecting to see him after 4:30 so wasn’t ready with the camera. Deanna completed her first lap not far after him. He paced her from mile 12 after he caught up to her to near the end where he pulled ahead about 5 minutes. The first 50 miler came in at 6:33 or 7:52/mi pace, a new course record. Kurt, another friend from Columbia finished the marathon in 6:28 running and walking since he has had some calf problems. We sat around eating and talking until leaving about 3 pm and driving home. I iced the ankle when I got home even though I was still walking okay after being in the car for 3 hrs. We then went to eat at Ruby Tuesdays for dinner and I was in bed by 9 pm.
I woke up about 6 am this morning and was ready to get up and walking really well. Left ankle is only a little sore and would have to say this is the best I’ve ever felt the day after running a marathon other than the Heart of America last September. The HOA was a hilly course so I think hills and hills/trails are easier on the body. Ankle is good, quads are a little tender, and overall feel really good so I’m planning to do a very short recovery run and bike ride.
Sun- Doe Brook with dogs, 2 mi, 26:32, 13:16/mi
Felt good to “run”, but I could really feel the quads!
Bike: 12 mi, 53:04
Biking much easier than running!
YTD Running: 1078.7
May 28-Well Aware 5K
September 3rd-Heart of America Marathon
September 22nd-Hocking Hills Indian Run – 60K