Missouri Double Marathon

I was distraught about my bad run in Mississippi but no worries, I loaded into my car and Jen, Michelle, Sommer and I headed over to get something to eat and head out of town. Michelle had planned a marathon dinner that night and there was not a doubt in our mind there was no way we were going to make that dinner. They wanted to follow me so after a little lead by the girls, I took the lane to the right and proceeded to watch them not follow me? The light turned green and I took off and still they did not follow me? Finally after getting ten miles down the road I called Sommer. She didn’t answer. Did they really just ditch me?

I called Michelle in pure frustration. Answer! Well long story short we had meant to caravan and our GPS systems had taken us on two completely different highways? I told them we would hook up in Memphis and then caravan from there. Well oddly enough their route never took them to Memphis and I drove alone until about 30 miles south of St. Louis. After that we ate at Cracker Barrel and I was lucky enough to have Sommer ride the last leg with me. By this time it was dark and the real only option was to check into the host hotel as well. Of course the Meowiacs had a room planned out months in advance. Man, some people are such great planners! Me? Not so much. The only downside is there was no way we could take pictures that late at night. Well, to some of us there was no downside at all!

I woke up the next morning to tired legs? No, they felt fresh. What about my right foot? Surely it had to be cramped and sore? I could barely walk after San Francisco or Park City? No, it felt fine. I did not eat much and sleep had been tough. Energy had to be low? No, I felt okay. Nervous due to my first back to back marathon in less than an hour. I met up with the ladies and Sommer went to buy her way into the marathon.and I picked up my packet. Yes, you can sign up morning of at Heart of America.

Now a little history on Heart of America. HOA is known as the oldest marathon on this side of the Mississippi and is also known as the toughest known mountain course in the US. Both are true I am guessing. There are 6 what are called major hills and the one at mid point is so bad I saw a biker that had to walk it the year before! That may seem tough but the hills at 20 and 24 seem to be just thrown in to make your misery worse and then you still have a run through Columbia that honestly is not very well marked making you wondering if you went the right way or not. And honestly, you are running right along traffic the entire way and well, the volunteers are not always that helpful. In other words, don’t count on them to stop traffic for you!

We met up with the rest of the Meowiacs (they have their own fb fan page if you want to check them out – shameless plug) and Michelle and Jen were ready to rock it. We met at the start and the girls were all about the Maniac picture even going far enough to get it organized. The Maniac picture is when the members of our club – the marathon maniacs – reconvene for yet another time and have proof we were at a race I suppose. Marathon Maniacs are pretty simple to join – run like two marathons in a month and you can join. It just means you love marathons and want to join a like minded group of people like religion except less rules!

The race started and I had no intention of going out fast but well, there weren’t many runners and the next thing I know there I was in the first ten and making a move. Ugh. Take it easy! I did slow down to a comfortable pace and ran alone for a while when three runners caught up to me around mile 6. The first was a girl who talked to me for a bit and the second? Well I had seen him before the race because well he was hard to miss. The guy was trying to break the world record for running a marathon in a suit. First I cannot believe he had chose HOA to do it. Second I bet he had hoped it would not be this hot. It was 98% humidity I heard later and already 80 degrees. Third the suit did look stifling. Needless to say he had his sister taking pictures every couple of miles and he seemed to be doing pretty good. The third guy passed me with nary a word and I was alone again until Mile 12.

I was doing okay even though my shirt was now gone. I have never run a marathon bare chested until this one but I had already cut both nipples and it seemed something on my back as well and had three red streaks going. When I took the shirt off it was so waterlogged carrying the extra weight just did not make sense. Goodbye forever my “I know, I know I said I would never do this again” shirt. It was right I did say I would never run HOA again!

At Mile 12 the guy closest to me was the guy in the suit and he was walking the second he hit that Hill of Easley. I stopped to walk to. He knew what he was doing. He bent over. I started to run again because yep, he was puking. The world record was not about to fall today. Unfortunately that walk felt far too good and when the real hill came half a mile later, I walked and walked and walked my way pretty much to Mile 15. I found out a couple things – mostly I am a slow walker and pretty much cannot do that at any sort of pace and that going slow can be much more painful than trying. I got my pace going again and got all the way to Mile 19 before footsteps approached.

Of course by this point several people had passed me but I knew these were coming. They belonged to runner and friend Michelle. Michelle looked good and swung her way past me for the second straight race. She yelled at me to join her but it fell on deaf ears. I was not feeling it and she hit me just at the hill at Mile 20 and though not as long as Easley, it seems steeper. I watched as even she had to stop and walk it. I watched the same girl who had been walking since Mile 15 walk past me again. How could I be such a slow walker?

I got up and ran again. And walked the hill at Mile 24. I was beat and I knew even at that point I had let the course beat me mentally. I had let the double beat me. I lost on this day and the only win would be finishing I thought as I talked to a newfound friend as we walked up that hill. I started to run at the top and he shook me off. Fine I thought you will catch me later. I was slowing down. He was speeding up. He didn’t. And I passed another three runners along the way! I did find some consolation along the way. I put in a kick even at my lowest and it brought a smile to my face even as I passed the finish line with my second slowest time ever.

I met Michelle afterwards and she had missed her sub four by less than a minute. It shocked me because I thought she had it in the bag but we were both happy to pick up age awards and get a ride back to the hotel from a very friendly local with a pickup truck. We met up afterwards and Jen and Sommer were there as well. Jen seemed to have a better day being smiley as ever and Michelle was already in good spirits.

Sommer, on the other hand, was not willing to quash the bad feelings about this race. She was upset about all the traffic (I swear three times as much this year), the volunteers (would rather stay in their car than help out), and the course (they don’t close anything down and I am surprised more don’t get lost). She had ran into one of those never say frown Maniacs along the way and was still looking for blood. I laughed at her exaggeration but there wasn’t much to it. Take the truth and that was pretty much it. HOA can be HELL.

We went to the free pizza dinner at Shakespeare’s afterwards and the pizza was awesome. We took some pictures and let me tell you polyester makes one sweat in seconds! We ran into some other friends like Lyle and Jeff and were happy to go home and call it a day. I left before the girls sad to let them go. Funny it was my worst running weekend ever but one of my best marathon weekends ever. Good people can turn any bad weekend into a good weekend.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: