This was my first attempt at two marathons in one weekend and after the race in IL, I made the 3.5 hour drive to Plover, WI for Sunday’s race. I stopped in Milwaukee on my way at a local Whole Foods for provisions (my research didn’t find many good vegan options in Plover, so I figured better safe than sorry!). Plus I needed my go-to post race treat of dark chocolate covered almonds and kombucha!
I rolled into Plover about an hour before the packet pick-up ended. I almost missed it, as it was a little set up at a local park, but once my trusty GPS got me there, I picked up my bib and t-shirt and rolled out. After a good night’s sleep at a local hotel, I got up and headed to the start. The great thing about small marathons is that you don’t have to get up four hours ahead of the start time to secure your spot. I walked up to the start about 15 minutes before 8 am and was good to go! The national anthem was sang, the firefighters blew their big truck horn and we were off! I was one of about 8 ladies in this race and probably less than 30 total marathoners. It was tiny! The half marathon started 10 minutes after the full, so for the first four miles I ran and chatted with these two great older gals that were running their first marathon. After four miles, I pulled away and picked up the pace a little.
The feeling of running this second 26.2 the day after 26.2 is interesting! My legs were pretty tired, we might even say sleeping, the first 10 or so miles. On the bright side, each 10k of the race picked up a little and I pulled off a negative split on this course – something I definitely wasn’t expecting to do. I did wear my headphones for this race, so I spent the last 22 or so miles in my head jamming with some of my favorite Pandora stations and playlists. That did help the time go by pretty quickly. At the turn around (it was an out and back course through rolling hills and farmland country roads) I noticed there were 5 ladies ahead of me. The leader was running a much faster clip than I could catch, but I knew that two of the others were within catching distance. My end goal was to pick them off (gotta have some goal to keep from taking walk breaks)! At the turn I picked up the pace a little – this was half a battle of wills and half a battle of running through the soreness. After 3 miles I caught the first lady. Score! Then about 5 miles later I passed two others. By now we were close to the 20 mark and I could see many folks stopping to stretch out cramping legs and taking walk breaks. Not me – I was going to power through! If I’ve got anything going for me, I’m a master at taking aid stations without stopping. I’ve got that skill down pat!
At mile 24 I noticed the pink shirt that I didn’t think I’d catch – gal #2. I gave myself a little pep talk and picked it up again. I was gaining on her and knew I had a shot at catching her if she walked the final aid station. She did. Good for me! I was closer and at mile 25.5 we were dead even. I chatted, gave her a good job comment, put my head down and kept on. I passed her in the last half mile to run in and take 2nd place female. Not bad for a day’s work! I ended this race at 4:24. When all was said and done, I put in two sub-4:30 marathons in two days (4:14 in IL and 4:24 in WI). I was hoping for sub 5’s in both and came in well under my goal. Overall, I was in good spirits. When I crossed the finish line I was hugged by a WWII Pearl Harbor Vet who was handing out the medals and the winner ‘trophies’ – the cowbell.
This tiny race we well run, the aid stations were themed, and minus one of them, great at giving out water, Gu’s, and fruit. The scenery was beautiful – rolling hills, potato and corn fields, and peak fall foliage! I tried to soak it all up, as I’m not sure I’ll ever be back in this part of the country. It was a great part of the US to see and I’m glad I choose this little gem of a marathon to run for my WI. State #25 done!