I began running in 1984, back when I was a junior in high school. I ran my first marathon in 1988. Since then, while raising two kids and working full time job, I have run many, many more marathons….some of them well! I have qualified for Boston 6 times, completed three 50Ks and a 50 miler. I’ve been taking boxing classes for over five years. This means if someone fkkks with me, I can punch them in the face and then run like hell for a very long time so they can’t catch me. At some point, I started to feel like a BadAss. A few months ago, I got a 26.2 tattoo to permanently mark me as a BadAss. You know what? None of this makes me a BadAss. Most of y’all who are reading this, no matter what you secretly think, you are not a BadAss either. (eric1970, you are a BadAss
) I will explain why in a bit……RACE STATS: 49th Race of Marathon or Beyond and 32st State (as this is my 32nd state, below are 32 thoughts about my Snickers Marathon experience)
1. Prior to last fall’s tibial stress fracture, I was running 55-65 mpw, usually running 6-7 days a week. I had been doing this mileage for maybe 6 years and it was never a problem. After my injury, I decided I am getting old, so I am substituting at least one run a week for the elliptical. Since getting on the elliptical, I have binged Stranger Things, nearly the first six seasons of Scandal and am working on my eighth viewing of the West Wing. I have also not re-injured myself.
2. As I got back to running, I did a homebrewed, 10 week training cycle. I worked up to a couple of 20’s, doing a max of 54 mpw on five days running, did my favorite amount of speedwork (none)
and ran a hilly course once a week.
3. Unless I am travelling to a “weird” state…..Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, etc…..where it is challenging to get to the race location, I prefer to keep my travel logistics to a direct flight and no more than a two hour car ride. While I flew directly to Atlanta (where my sister lives), the drive from my sister’s house to Albany, Georgia was about three hours. Not so horrible, but three hours in a car is about one hour longer than two hours. :shocker!:
4. Thanks to Netlfix, on my flights between Dallas and Atlanta, I watched one episode of Call the Midwife
and four episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The latter is ridiculous is a good way and gets two thumbs up! (Once I finish Scandal, that will be my elliptical show.)
5. While the race was on Saturday, I flew to Atlanta Thursday morning. We chilled and then met some of my sister’s friends at a local pub where I felt obligated to try a few local beers.
6. This was the first time I have been my sister’s house in Atlanta. I was horrified to learn she is now a Cat Person! #catsarecreepy #ihave2rescuedogs #satanhascats
7. We drove to Albany on Friday. I have dropped a level in my Hilton status as I have been doing the AirBnb thing for my recent races. This weekend, we stayed in a tiny guest house with one bedroom, one bath, a sitting room and kitchen. It was about two miles from the start/finish so it was the perfect set-up in the perfect location.
8. We went to the small, but a perfectly fine expo to get our stuff. Since Mars Candy is a sponsor, there was a table handing out candy. We also received a Snickers bar in our race packet. Luckily for me, my sister gave up sweets for Lent so she gave me her candy. (I gave up posting whatever pops into my head to stupid people on Facebook….this doesn’t always go so well.)
9. I have a zillion race shirts, so they don’t really matters to me. That said, if they totally suck (the one I got last summer in Oregon is unwearable) or if I receive ANOTHER royal blue shirt, I get irritated. (I have 489 billion royal blue race shirts.) This shirt was RED! YAY! I have been running races of various distances since 1987 and have no green race shirts. None! How TF is this possible?
10. While Albany, Georgia is not a big city, it is not a small town. It is home to a military base and Albany State College, so there is stuff in town. As such, we were able to eat our pre-race meal at the place I think is perfect as you know what to expect, the Olive Garden. It was crowded, so we ate at the bar, next to a high school teacher from Florida who was also running the race. (FWIW, in addition to the at least 10 other teachers I know, this fella also thinks arming teachers is quite literally the WORST IDEA IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD.)
11. For the past several years, it has not been a problem for me down a bottle of red wine and then run a decent marathon the next morning. Well, it hasn’t been a problem to run, maybe it has been a problem that I would drink a bottle of wine?
In an attempt to lose my “holiday weight”, I only had a few glasses of wine in the month of January and lost four pounds. I kept this up in February and lost one more pound. Who knew not drinking helped you lose weight and feel fresher? I guess a lot of people know this! Anyhoo, I only had two glasses of wine the night before this race.
12. After dinner, we got back to our place to hit the hay. Since I am used to this whole marathon thing and my sister was running her first marathon, I chose to sleep on the sofa bed so she could have the queen bed to herself. I was very fortunate this was not the sofa bad from Seinfeld and had a good night sleep.
13. The half and marathon both start at the same time. There were probably 300 in the full and another 300 in the half, so start was not crowded. The race started the Albany Civic Center, so parking was easy-peasy. The Civic Center was not open, which wasn’t a big deal as we had great weather, but, if it was raining, I would have been irritated to have to wait outside.
14. It was sunny and 41 degrees at the start and about 60 at the finish with no wind. I went with tank top, shorts, gloves and arm panties I made by cutting the feet off knee-high socks which I would ditch when the temp got closer to 50.
15. My only time goal is to NOT run a PW (which I think is 4:52:xx....I ran it 1989 so I don’t know the exact time). As such, I really don’t get anxious for marathons anymore. Yeah, for a week ahead of time I check the weather a bit, but only 3-4 times a day. Based on my training, which has all been SLOW, I expected to run a 4:40, but “secretly” hoped for 4:37.
I don’t know why I picked 4:37 as both that and 4:40 are nearly an hour off my PR, but I did!
16. My sister was running with a training partner as they trained at a different pace than me, so we didn’t line up near each other. As I hadn’t run in two days, I felt great and was anxious to check Georgia off the list.
17. Since my last marathon was a DNF due to the fact I should not have even started (see above mentioned tibia issue), I have been very cautious with every little niggle. About six weeks ago, I realized my left glute was still really weak and as a result, I was running a bit funky. Funky running is what caused muscle imbalance which caused my stress fracture. Jerome, my boxing trainer (who is a certified personal trainer), gave me exercises to strengthen what needed work. This race was a “test” to see if all that stuff helped get me back to where I needed to be to execute a marathon.
18. In some previous race report, I had noted how many of my marathons have started, finished or ran through a high school or college. I don’t remember the number, but it is a rather high percentage of my races. Snickers added to the count as we ran through Albany State College. Not important, but hell, I need 32 bullet points for this report so why not note it?
19. I believe this marathon is the flattest in Georgia. There are a couple of little hills and quite a bit of incliney-decliney, but overall a flat, fast course. The aid stations were every two miles and each had a porto-john. One of the greatest pleasures in marathoning…..well, in life…..is knowing where the next porto-john is.
20. Any marathon run in a city, is going to have at least a handful of miles of not-so-scenic stuff. This race is no exception. That said, this race got most the not-so-scenic miles out of the way in the first 9 miles (and those were broken up with nice stuff). We then ran through nice neighborhoods, by a golf course, and around a very small lake/very big pond.
21. Besides the finish line, my favorite point in a marathon is the Mile 17 marker. At this point, we are down to a single digit distance so that is a THING in my head. I can always pull 9 miles out of my butt, can’t I?
22. By mile 17, I was trying to figure out why I did not wear a cap or visor as the sun was hot. Yes, I have been running in the Dallas sun, but we were close to Florida and this was a more intense sun than I am used to. I figured I would end up with a bit of a sunburn on my face, shoulders and back. I also realized I had forgotten the instructions Beastie Girl told me a while back and had not put sunscreen on my tattoo.
(It is on my back.)
23. While I was running, I realized I had not added the B-52s to my iPod Shuffle. It seemed so disrespectful to run Georgia and not have them along for the ride. That said, I did not ignore Georgia musicians! If I have 200 songs on my Shuffle, at least 40 are by the Zac Brown Band.
I also have six songs by Florida Georgia Line, though four of them sound like the exact same song. (If you know FGL’s music, that is funny…..trust me!)
24. For quite a few years, I ran with the 3:45-4:00 runners. Now, I am with the 4:25-4:40 which is made up of people with a different outlook. The folks I now run near are overall, much more relaxed, chatty with the volunteers and cheerful. I think the fact no one is on the brink of a BQ makes running a marathon more fun. I know for me, running without stress is more fun.
25. I made four pitstops during the race. I “budget” two into my pace, so four was annoying. Since I ran at the pace I train, the course did not provide too many challenges, the weather was just about perfect and the race was well supported by excellent volunteers, I actually felt strong the last ten miles. I finished 4:40:09…..exactly where I thought I would finish. I then partook of the free beer while I waited for my sister.
26. Oh, my sister….let’s not forget about her! In November, my sister announced that on March 3rd, she would run her first marathon at the Snickers Marathon in Albany, GA to “celebrate” the 20th anniversary of her MS diagnosis. Of course, I wanted to join her, so this made selecting my Georgia race a no-brainer.
27. Yes, you read that correctly, Beth has had MS for 20 years. And while it has been a challenging road for her and she has to take daily injections, she is still the same annoying, little sister I have known for 49 years. She is very active, has a Masters degree, is the mother of two grown sons, is a longtime employee at the CDC and a BadAss. We grew up with a father who was an amputee, so the idea a degenerative disease was an excuse to not live life was not an option for her.
28. My dad was a BadAss.
29. I firmly believe the easiest marathon for anyone to run, is their first marathon. Why? Because they don’t know. Don’t know what? Just how bad it is gonna suck. Just how crazy the mind games get. Just how long mile 19 feels. Just how bad the chafing gets. Just how bad you want to lay down at an aid station and not get up. Just how bad you want to punch a spectator in the face when at mile 23, they yell….”You Are Almost There!” No, bitch, I am not almost there so shut your fkkkking FAT FACE!!
30. Originally, Beth planned on a run/walk of 5:00/1:00 and I offered to run with her. As happens to all of us, her training did not go as planned and about two weeks before the race she decided she would do a 2:00/1:00. As I do not train run/walk, I was not confident I could do that particular split with her as I felt that after some distance, I would not be able to start running again. Luckily, she realized someone from her training group was also doing this race, and they ran together.
31. They successfully executed their plan and were able to maintain it throughout the race. (Some pooh-pooh this type of relentless forward motion, but I honestly think it is a WHOLE DIFFERENT TYPE of difficult.)
32. My sister completed her first (yes, there will be more) marathon in 5:42. When she received her diagnosis 20 years, she assumed she would be in a wheelchair by 40 and perhaps, dead by 50. Thanks to SCIENCE, the treatment of MS has progressed dramatically over the past two decades. Thanks to SCIENCE, a positive outlook and spirit which doesn’t give up, the world gained a new marathoner on Saturday.
And yes, I feel like whiney baby mentioning my stress fracture. That is why I am not BadAss. Thanks for reading.