If I am going to run a marathon in every state, then I may as well make it interesting? RACE STATS: 53 race of marathon or beyond and 36th state.
1. The number one thing marathoners obsess over which is uncontrollable, is WEATHER.
2. The number two thing marathoners obsess over is “constitutional issues”.
3. My least favorite weather to run in is 38* and rainy……there is no escaping the cold with that combination. Overall, I HATE winter running. Hate. It.
4. Sometimes, one can enter a race in a southern state, like Mississippi, and have it be 26* and windy. The first time I EVER wore tights in a marathon was the 2014 Mississippi Blues Marathon. I was pissed. Sure I ran sub-4:00 and placed in my AG, but I hated every minute of the race.
5. My hatred of running in winter weather comes from the 24 years I was a runner while living in Detroit (age 17-41). I HATE cold. I HATE snow. I HATE ice. I HATE wind which feels like it is burning the skin on your face which is confusing as is it freezing out. I hate it all. Sure Dallas summers are miserable, but Every Single Time I run in the HOTT, I know it is better than winter running.
6. As I am 70% done with my 50 state mission, I am almost out of “winter running states” to race in…..to me, this is a state in which I can run a marathon in the December to March time frame and HOPEFULLY, not have winter weather. As I attempt to check two states off before Memorial Day each year, I prefer at least one of those states to NOT be run in winter weather.
7. One way to avoid running in winter weather, is to run inside. The best way to mitigate poorly timed pitstops, is be within 60 meters of a bathroom at all times. Neither issue/assue
is a problem if one runs the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
8. On the plus side, flying from Dallas to Minneapolis in January can be a cheap fight. I view any flight under $200 as practically free and this was practically free!
9. For my flights, I downloaded the Netflix show, Maniac, which stars Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. While I LOVED it, this show will not be everyone’s cup or tea. If you enjoy not knowing what is going on and having to figure stuff out and then realize you may not be correct as the show takes another turn, I recommend it. If what I wrote frustrates you, don’t waste your time.
10. I flew into the Twin Cities Saturday morning and made the 45 minute drive down to Northfield, a lovely little town. As it was an unseasonably warm 43 degrees, lots of folks were on the patio at Imminent Brewing, where I checked out some local beers. As I live in Texas, 43 degrees is not patio weather, so I sat inside at the bar and chatted with folks.
11. Packet pickup was in large room at the student center at St. Olaf College. Our prerace dinner was included in the entry fee and about 30 of the participants showed up for it. Our dinner was simply going into the dining hall and having whatever you wanted....a fabulous idea. I had a big bowl of pho with lots of veggies, a grilled chicken breast, milk and a mousse type thing for dessert. I also took the opportunity to make a PB&J which I took back to my hotel so I could eat it for breakfast.
12. As I went to solo to the race, I ate dinner with new folks, many who had already completed their states, some multiple times. (Apparently, these are the type of people who are drawn to an indoor marathon.) It was great getting their feedback on different courses I am considering, though two people got in quite a heated discussion about whether Green Mountain or VCM was a better choice for Vermont.
(I am leaning towards Green Mountain because fall in New England is a thing.) One woman had run the teeny, tiny race in Cordova, Alaska, I want to run this summer, and it was great to hear feedback which included BEARS!!
13. Dick Daymount started this race 14 years and has been the RD ever since. His wife has taught at St. Olaf and coached both track & XC since the ‘70s and she has just retired. At the pre-race meeting/dinner, Dick proudly stated the school hired three people to fill his wife’s shoes.
He spoke about all the people who make the race happen, noted repeat runners and but was modest about his contributions over the years.
There was a great sense of COMMUNITY at the dinner which carried over throughout the race. He made an effort to get to know all us new people and delighted me with his repeated use of the phrase, “You Betcha!”
14. St. Olaf’s campus is old, picturesque and something might see in a movie. This is in great contrast to Texas A&M, where blazergirl goes, as many of the buildings are 1960-70 style of white concrete……it kinda looks like how I picture North Korea looking. (She gets SO MAD when I say that!
15. About a year ago, I emailed nooner (who is on state 42?) and begged him to tell me it was stupid to consider running an marathon on a 282 meter, indoor track. When I read his return email, I could see the smirk he likely had on his face when he typed, “sometimes we need to do crazy things.” Damn him!
16. A 282 meter track, means 5.72 laps equals a mile, and 150 laps equates a marathon. I have always stated I enjoy a loop course and this is a loop course to the nth level!
Because of the size of the track, the number of runner is limited. This year’s race had 43 starters of various paces and 37 finishers, so except for maybe the first 100 yards, the course was never crowded.
17. Twenty of the 37 finishers were over the age of 45, Seventeen were over the age of 50.....this indicates us older runners are dumber and/or more strong willed than younger runners? <please choose the description which does not offend you> And by strong willed, I mean we are stupid enough to sign up for this race and too dumb to back out.
18. The marathon is a fund raiser for the St. Olaf College Women’s Track and Cross Country Teams. That alone makes it a race I want to run! Yay for ladies’ sports!!
19. Each runner is assigned a member of the track team who will count their laps; the lovely Meredith was assigned to me. Meredith is a junior, Psych major, who runs both track and XC. When we met before the race, I assured her it would not be the end of the world if she missed a lap here or there, because I was running for fun. In retrospect, I probably should not have been so chill about this notion. <foreshadowing>
20. The temperature in the fieldhouse was about 55*, perfect for running. The lap counters needed to wear hoodies or jackets, but I have to imagine that hanging out in 55* in Minnesota in January, is a treat for them.
21. I have never used the Indoor Running function on my Garmin 35 before, so had no idea how it would work in the race. Why would I care if my Garmin works if someone is counting my laps? So I can download the race to Strava, because as we all know……if it isn’t on Strava, it didn’t happen!
22. I never run indoors, so I needed to getting feel for my pace. A few miles in to the race, I felt I was running a 10:25-10:35 pace which would have me finish 4:35-4:40, consistent with the high end of my last several marathons.
23. All runners were encourage to pin a small bib on their back which noted their name, or whatever they wanted to be called. This was nice as you were either passed or passing people FOREVER. (Literally, for 150 laps!) One guy was “Schmidty”…..I love this name. I probably gave him a “nice job”, “keep it up”, or “looking strong”, at least 25 times as I love saying Schmidty!
24. Each lap counter made a sign for their runner which hung on the track wall. While absolutely know I entered as “Cathy” (with a “C”, because after all, that has been my name for 52 years), the RD had noted me on the roster (he did everything by hand), as “Kathy” with a “K”. As such, my sign spelled my name with a “K”. During the race, the RD’s wife noted the bib on back spelled my name as “C”athy, and afterwards, she apologized profusely for her husband spelling my name wrong. Of course, I simply found the misspelling amusing, but not as amusing as her excuse as to why it her husband spelled it wrong which was…..”He is a man”.
25. No headphones were allowed during the race which was fine. Music was played continuously, not loud, just loud enough, and quite a bit of it were songs on my playlist. There was a lot of variety…..CCR, Meatloaf, U2, Outkast, Travis Tritt, Survivor, Cindy Lauper, Aerosmith, Katy Perry, Aerosmith, B52s, etc. etc..
26. So how was it running that many laps on a track? You know how sometimes you watch a dumb TV show and just can’t turn it off? Like how sometimes, blazerman sucks me into watching The Voice and I listen to Blake and Kelly say idiotic stuff to each other, but yet I kept watching because I want to hear how just ONE MORE person sounds? Running that many time around the track was kinda like that. It wasn’t awful, it wasn’t great, and there are far worse experiences in life. It just kept going on & on & on & on……all with a great sense of COMMUNITY.
27. There were tables at each of the four corners of the track. Each runner had to stock their own “aid station” on one of the tables. Some folks were more elaborate than others with a variety of foods, fluids, pain relievers, and good luck charms. I just put out a large bottle of water, which I could refill as needed at a water fountain, four packets of Gu, a chapstick and my Bodyglide. I don’t go anywhere without my Bodyglide!
28. Every 30 minutes, they would put an orange cone out at the start/finish line. You would complete the lap you were on, go around the cone, and run in the opposite direction for the next 30 minutes. The track was Flatty, McFlat, but there was a slight camber at the turns, so changing directions balanced everything out.
29. While I typically, make 1-2 pitstops during a marathon, I was having tummy issues and made 5 stops.
If I was on a regular course where the restroom wasn’t RIGHT THERE, I suspect I would not have stopped as often….but then, I may have been more uncomfortable which could have negatively impacted my race. I would always let Meredith know when I was leaving the track and when I was returning.
30. Lap counting…..the first time I thought something was amiss with my lap count, was when I asked Meredith to let me know when I hit 75 laps (the half marathon point.) The time on the clock was about 2:27:xx, which would translate into an 11:14 pace, WAY slower than I believed I was running (or have EVER run). As I stated earlier, the Indoor Running function on Garmins are not super accurate and at that time, I showed 14.16 miles. I have had my Garmin for well over a year and it “knows” my cadence, it “knows” how far I have gone, GPS or not. (How the fkkk scary is that statement?
MACHINES!! ) Could I be running that slow? Even with a couple of pitstops……which range from the 90-120 seconds…..this did not seem correct. Oh well, a 6:30 a.m. start is a lot to ask of a college girl, so who cares if she missed some laps?
31. When she told me I hit 100 laps, I asked her to tell me when I hit each of the next 10 laps. Honestly, what the hell else did I have to think of while running in circles?? When I got to 110, I asked her to confirm it and she said I was at 109. Ok, I adjusted the count in my head. When I got to 120, she said I was at 119. Was I dumb or was she missing laps? (FULL DISCLOSURE: Late in a marathon, I have no ability to calculate pace. But, I have confidence I can count to 10 on my fingers.)
32. No matter what I thought the lap count was, I was running until she said I was at 150 laps, so I kept on running round & round & round. When I finished at 5:13:01, my Garmin indicated I had run 31.47 miles.
I really didn’t feel I had run that far, but I also believed I ran notably longer than 26.2 miles. (Or, 26.5 miles which always seems the distance on my Garmin at the end of a marathon.)
33. The lap counters were to note the time on the clock when you finished each lap and put it on chart. (Chart, not spreadsheet because as I noted before, RD Dick did everything by hand.
) When I was provided a copy of my chart, I saw she noted I took 6 pitstops (I took 5), that one lasted over 6:00 and another over 10:00.....this was definitely not correct. Even though I let her know when I left the track and returned, she apparently was distracted and lost count. WHICH WAS FINE. Every single time I ran by her, she cheered me on…..EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Neither of my kids would have done that! She just sometimes, apparently forgot to note the lap when she cheered.
34. Of course, I wanted to figure out how far I actually ran. I looked at the number of steps I took in the marathon (52,866), I compared it to other race days. I suspect I covered somewhere between 28.5 to 29 miles. This would have put me about 4:54ish for the marathon distance, still a PW. But, at least it would be my PR for an indoor marathon! Which, I never plan on running again!
35. To thank the lovely Meredith for getting up at 5:30 am, for the fascinating task of counting my 150 laps (albeit incorrectly), I brought her something unique from Texas. After the race, I presented her with the champagne flute which was an AG award I won in the New Year’s Day 5K a few days earlier. I made a note of her last name and told her I would be checking on her racing progress during the upcoming season. She did not feel that would be stalking and gave me a big hug.
36. Overall, this was a fabulous, super fun experience. If you are looking for something different, I would recommend running an indoor race, especially this race. The people were awesome, the course promoted camaraderie, it was well organized, and I didn’t have to worry about the weather. At the end, I felt like I knew most of the other runners….if only just a little bit….and the running world we all live in, was just a bit smaller. What a great community we have the privilege to be a part of.
THANKS FOR READING!!
NEXT UP: Little Rock in March……as nooner will be there, I won’t have to investigate restaurants or breweries because he is the best at that!