I signed up for the Sioux Falls Marathon as motivation and a long training run for my upcoming JFK 50 mile in November. With that in mind, I made the trip to Sioux Falls quick and in reality, cared more about tailgating for my beloved Hawkeyes the day before. I arrive at the start 45 minutes before and picked up my race number. The course was point to point with the finish on the other side of Sioux Falls. The start was in a football stadium so I stretched and did a handful of 40 yard jogs pretending I was in full pads racing for the endzone. As with most large races, the line for the restrooms was super long. I decided to wait and use the portable ones along the course. The first half of the race was relatively boring, as we ran through the less populated areas of Sioux Falls and on many frontage roads. I’m guessing the organizers were aiming for less traffic and without a care for ambiance.
In the middle of the race, we made our way downtown Sioux Falls and ran through Falls Park. The falls from the Big Sioux River are beautiful and made it worth the wait to get there. The last portion of the marathon was on a paved bike trail. Better than streets in my mind, but my feet would have preferred limestone or something softer after 20 miles. My last five mile were the fastest, which is a good sign on any training run. Overall, I ended up with 3:38:00. Not bad for me considering the heat/ humidity and short sleep the night before. Sioux Falls was a success and has me even more excited for Fort Collins in October and JFK in November.
This was by far the most challenging marathon I have ever done. Not physically challenging, but mentally hard to stay with it. Total, there were 61 participants in the marathon. The race also had a 5k, 10k, and half with 200 or so runners altogether. Definitely a low key event, but spread those 60 other runners out over the of the course of 13 miles (two laps for the marathon) and it can get lonely. At one point during the race, there was no one in front of me for a mile and no one in back of me that I could see. The course was a big loop around the town. Half of that loop was on the “bypass” a highway that circumvents Maryville. That means 12 miles of the 26.2 were running on a highway with cars, trucks, semis and even tractors whizzing by. To top it off, a constant headwind prevailed over that stretch.
The race itself was really well organized and all the volunteers were eager to provide support. I really enjoyed the race, outside of actually doing the race! If anything, it was excellent training, especially overcoming every instant to stop after that first lap.
It was a tale of two halves. I ran the first 6.55 miles in 44:19 for a 6:45/mile pace. The 2nd half I was tired and slowed down to a 7:23/mile pace for 48:26. Usually, I have some extra energy left for a faster finish, but not in this race. Beyond the finishing time, I love this race because I always see lots of friends and family.
I tripped and stumbled more times in one race than in my entire running life. Completely wiped out twice and stubbed my left foot more than a half dozen times. For most of the Free State Trail Run, I was running by myself with the occasional one or two passer bys. Probably a good thing with all the curse words I let loose while stumbling my way to the finish. The trail was rocky, with one section along the lake resembling a boulder field. Not what I was expecting for a Kansas trail run.
The organization and overall race was really enjoyable. Arguably, this was one the hardest trail run I’ve done, albeit not that hilly. The real challenge was keeping your eyes on the ground and placing your feet strategically between the rocks and roots. Turns out, my eyes like to wander.
It was my 4th marathon (3rd trail) this year. If I can keep it up, I should be ready for the high elevation of Leadville, CO this summer.
I finished by 21st marathon last weekend. It was the Myrtle Beach Marathon in sunny, but cold, South Carolina. The course is super flat and is mostly a big loop down the beach and back up. With the early 6:30am start, it was still dark for the first mile and a bit chilly. Throughout the race, I rotated with gloves on and off, shorts and long sleeves.
Overall, I was right where I thought I’d be; between 3:20-3:30. My goal was to finish strong and not be wiped out for the rest of the long weekend. I stopped three times for restroom breaks and battled some side aches around mile 20 but overall felt good. I didn’t wear a watch or take splits but I’m fairly confident the last 5k was my fastest, which is always a good sign. I just need to get more accustomed to morning running instead of mid-afternoon…too many restroom stops!