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I nailed my 8th marathon today in Albuquerque on my quest to a marathon in every state, on every continent, and at the North Pole by the time I’m 50. I’m going to call it 4:52* as my chip time was 5:02 but I lost a total of 10 minutes to five bathroom breaks (too much water before the start and some serious trouble in the middle.) Considering that I couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs 7 days ago because of a gout attack, I’m pretty psyched.
It was a small race – I was #234 and I registered the day before the race (they didn’t have me registered when I showed up to pick up my number.) The race started at the corner of Tramway and I-40 at 5:30am – it was pitch dark when the 200 or so marathoners took off. It was a perfect day for a marathon – 60 degrees, overcast, and no wind.
The course was a strange one. The first 8 miles were uphill, the next 7 were downhill, and most of the last half was flat. It was all on roads except for miles 17 to 22 which was on a bike path. Ironically, the cars were much more polite than the bikers, who seemed annoyed that there was a race taking place on “their” bike path (note to bikers – when someone is on mile 18 of a marathon, don’t drive your bike right at them and make them jump out of the way.)
Amy, Raj, and Stef surprised me at the halfway point to cheer me on. Since my last few marathons have been large ones, Amy hasn’t been able to see me during a race (other than Miami where the course made a turn at the corner of the condo we were staying at Ocean and 14th.)
As is typical for me, miles 15 to 20 were tough – and this time included the special bonus of an upset stomach which I took care of around mile 17. I finished strong – the last 6.2 miles was my second fastest segment other than the long downhill stretch – and had plenty left at the end (the thought crossed my mind at mile 25 that I might run a few extra miles after the finish – fortunately, it was a fleeting thought that in hindsight was the product of a delusional mind.) Unfortunately, there weren’t very many people to pass – but if they were in my way, I passed them. Brian Ibbott and his superb Coverville podcast #190: The Covered Side of The Moon once again brought me home.
My next marathon is planned for December 9th at Kiawah, South Carolina. As part of my preparation for the North Pole Marathon, I’m going to try to get to the point where a 26.2 mile run is simply my long run (usually done on Sunday) with a 24 hour recovery. If I get there, I might sneak in another marathon before December (but don’t tell Amy.) Also, another 10 pounds has got to go, so if you eat a meal with me, don’t let me eat dessert.