Time: 3:35:12 Place: 2/39
Having taken a running break after the West Highland Way Race, and a gradual build up of running miles I decided to take advantage of a free weekend for back to back marathons. After not running for 6 weeks I’d gradually built up the miles and felt I could do a high mileage weekend if I treated it as training runs. The logic was that the marathon on the second day would be a good mental practice / test for Ironman.
I drove up to Michigan on the Friday and stayed in a cheap motel near Ionia just over an hour away from the race start.
Breakfast of a PB&J bagel before the drive to the start. Registration was straight forward and I decided to skip the short bus ride to the start and jog the mile or so as a warm up.
The race is a one lap course (there is also a 50 mile race that is two laps) through woodland West of Big Rapids. The terrain is mixed with lots of trail, some road and some single track. There were plenty of well stocked aid stations around the course and the volunteers were a welcome sight after sections of running on my own.
With my lack of training and a second race on Sunday I started at a relatively easy pace and felt good. By the second half of the course I was catching up with some of the 50 mile runners. In the last quarter of the race I was feeling strong and catching people so decided to push on for the final miles. To my surprise I found I was in third place at about mile 22 and by mile 23 I was in second. My legs started to tire and I could feel the beginnings of cramp in the last couple of miles so backed off the pace a bit but still managing a strong burst along the final road section to the finish.
Fueling consisted of a Clif Bar, a packet of clif shots and two gels. I also carried a camelback filled with electrolytes (Nuun).
The finishers medals were great, carved from local wood, as was the second place trophy. A fun and well organized event on beautiful early fall trails. I’d definitely consider the 50 mile race next time to make the most of it.
It was good to be back racing. My foot felt recovered and I hadn’t lost too much fitness.