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2013 Eau Claire Marathon Recap

Ariel and Sofia Sending me off!
This whole Eau Claire marathon adventure started for me when I moved up a wave in the Birkie. A tiny bit of success like that was enough to get me a little bit inspired about my fitness, so I signed up for the Eau Claire marathon even though it takes place only two months and a week after the Birkie. In the old days I always used to do Grandma's but we've got a new baby to show off to the in-laws in Peru, so Grandma's is going to be tough...it had to be Eau Claire.

(Note: many of you know this story because I've been complaining about the "marathon I had to do" for the last two months as a result).

It turned out to be a nice day for a jog this Sunday, May 5th, although it was a bit of a tough call on the weather. We were all a little bit worried because we'd gotten hit by a huge blizzard on Thursday and the forecast kept changing. They initially said it was going to be a high of 50 and rain, but then they changed it to a high of 70 with little chance of rain. Still, it was right around 40 on the way to the event, which is why I elected to go with awesome Cyclova tights and high-tech arm-warmers (those are actually pairs of my old socks, the ones with holes in them...I just cut a hole in the end so that I could discard them at an aid station [I probably shouldn't be giving you this little tip because there are fancy $50 dollar arm warmers for sale at CyclovaXC--I have a pair, they work great--but they aren't the type of thing you want to throw in the garbage 4 miles into a race]). Incidentally, I went with the tights because Tony Lushanko was at the shop the other day and he said Tommy K says you should cover the knees when it's under 50 degrees...and I live by what that guy says.

About three miles into the race I ran into Eric Olson, who was hammering out his 45th marathon. In fact, he'd done a full marathon the week before! Needless to say, he's a dangerous guy to know because he's obviously going to suck me into some more marathons. The race became a different story when I ran into him because the two of us didn't stop BSing for the next 23 miles. It's amazing how much faster the race goes when you're trotting along telling completely inappropriate stories. Many of the other racers feigned shock and disapproval, but secretly I think they all enjoyed having us out there.

My race plan was to do the first half as fast as possible and then just suffer--which is exactly what happened. We got to the half in about two hours, and managed to keep at it for another two or three miles before we started allowing ourselves a little walk at every mile marker. Speaking of that, a little bit of regulated walking is a great tactic for doing a marathon. It helps your body stay fresh and it doesn't hurt your time all that much. I've heard people suggest you should walk for 1 minute at each mile marker, and I've also heard that people have done sub 3 hour marathons with this tactic.

We started out walking for 1/10th of a mile at each mile, then 2/10ths, then 4/10ths, before walking all of mile 24. That allowed us to look fresh and fast for the last mile (where the crowds had gathered), and we finished strong, passing a bunch of 20 year old guys...which is always awesome.

Oh, and my mom showed up to hand me a Hamm's at mile 24, which prompted the following conversation at the last water stop:

Aid station worker: "Want some water?"

Me: "I never touch the stuff."

Here's Eric and I at the finish:

I think that's some kind of alien spacecraft up in the upper right corner...freaky stuff.

All in all it was a great day. Here's what I learned:

  • You can survive a marathon even if you're not in optimal shape by allowing yourself to walk for a couple minutes at each mile marker.
  • Eric Olson is a great dude to run a marathon with.
  • You shouldn't drink a bottle of chocolate milk after chugging a Hamm's.
Afterwards we went straight to the Casa Mexicana to get some mixed Gatorade on ice:
Dang...that sure was some good mixed Gatorade on ice!

Anyway, this is definitely one for the CyclovaXC calendar! We need 60 people at this race next year so I can tell even raunchier stories with impunity (although, there's really nobody out there who is going to mess with Eric)!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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