Saturday I ran the Tecumseh Trail Marathon near Bloomington, IN which is about a 4 hour drive from St. Louis. I travelled to Bloomington on Friday with fellow SLUG (St. Louis Ultrarunners Group, http://www.stlouisultrarunnersgroup.net/) Andrew Karandjeff. This marathon was hyped to be a very difficult course and it definitely lived up to it's reputation.
Dean Karnazes during his Endurance 50 quest described it as follows:
"Hardcore. That’s the best way to describe today’s marathon. Along with the 3,500 feet of climbing, most of the course was on technical single-track trail, with numerous stream crossings, hordes of logs and branches to climb over and navigate around, deep pocket of mud, slippery rocks, and gnarled tree roots hiding silently under thick canopies of fallen leaves...
Yet for all the challenges, the setting was absolutely beautiful. Running on trails refreshes the senses; being out in nature renews the mind, body, and spirit. Today was about enjoying the elements and the wonders of the natural world. The colors of the leaves, the smells of earth and of the water, the sunlight streaming through the trees, and the crackle of twigs underfoot were all engaging and invigorating. It was impossible not to get swept up in it, even after miles of running."
It definitely was "Hardcore!" Bloomington had torrential downpours Thursday turning the trail into a mudfest; 26.2 miles of sloppy, slushy, lose your shoes in it kind of mud! There were about 427 runners in the race and the weather was sunny but a bit chilly in the mid-30's. I started out with Andrew but after about an hour let him go ahead as I was having a difficult time keeping up with him (he ended up placing 17th overall!). I then settled into my groove and focused on controlled breathing, staying hydrated, steadily fueling myself and taking 2 Succeed Caps every hour. As the race continued I felt stronger and stronger passing a number of people in the last 5 miles. I came in 67th overall in 4:12:49 and was very pleased considering the course and conditions. I made a new discovery for fuel options which were Clif Shot Blocks; these were great!!! Nice change from GU, easy to eat and you don't need a lot of water to wash them down; I'll definitely be picking some up for future races. We returned home late Saturday night and I felt pretty solid yesterday. Didn't run but I did go to the gym for an hour and half to workout on the Stairmaster and Elliptical; always good machines for post race days to flush out the legs. I'll hit the roads again tonight but will take it easy probably only running around 7 miles. The next 2 weeks will be my downtime as I'm repairing my legs from the heavy Fall Marathon schedule I had (I will recap my marathons/times in another post). I'm also planning on running with Dean Karnazes as he comes through St. Louis on his run back home to San Francisco.
Hope to see you on the roads/trails!