On Saturday I ran the Mesa Falls Marathon. I’ve now completed a marathon in 12 of the 50 states – almost 25% of the way there. My co-conspirator for this one was Matt Blumberg, who ran the last half of it with me and wrote about it in Half as Long, One Third as Hard.
This was a small marathon – my guess is around 150 people ran it. My goal was to finish in the top 200 which I accomplished comfortably. My serious goal was to break 4:45. My official time was 5:02, although according to my Garmin 305 my running time was 4:52. I can confirm that I lost about 5 minutes to a bathroom break at mile 10 and another 5 minutes at the half way mark and on a few pee breaks. So – I was close. However, I finished much stronger than I had two months ago at Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth so I’m pleased with the progress of my training under my new coach Gary Ditsch.
Mesa Falls was a beautiful marathon. The first 10 miles are on a dirt road in the middle of no where. Tranquil, quiet, and wonderful. I had trouble getting into a rhythm – my shoes were too tight, I had to pee, and then around mile four I got an upset stomach. There was a porta-potty at mile 6 but I felt better so cruised by it. Predictably, at 6.5 miles, I had to go. For a brief moment I considered turning around, but powered on to mile 10 where I took a delightful 5 minute break.
We immediately turned onto a road and I totally kicked ass – covering the next 3 miles in 27 minutes. It was a decent downhill but I felt much lighter. I stopped for 15 seconds right at mile 13 to look at the incredible view at Mesa Falls and then stopped again at 13.1 to meet up with Matt, make the "Uncle Spike sign", have Amy take a few photos of us, and change my shirt.
It was huge to have Matt join me. The course had a brutal uphill between mile 17 and 20 that Matt towed me up. I marched through to mile 23 where I finally slammed into the wall. I don’t really remember the 25 minutes that it took me to run mile 23 and 24, but Matt said I was pretty calm. I got a seventh wind at mile 25 and covered the last mile in under 10 minutes.
Thanks to everyone who supported me on this one, especially my sponsors Return Path, Pixie Mate, NewWest, and Bill Flagg who made an extra generous contribution to Accelerated Cure. And of course – my sherpa Amy and my friends the Blumbergs.
Next up – Mount Desert Island Marathon in Bar Harbor, ME on 10/19/08.