Bill and I, and training partner Dennis, made the 2 hour drive up to Wautoma for the 4th annual Jailbreak Marathon.
This small town low key race drew about 40 finishers in the marathon last year, 80 in the half marathon, and over 200 for the 5K.
The course is a big loop on country roads touring rural Wisconsin. Trees, farms, trees, pastures, lake, trees, trees, trees... and a whole lot of loneliness.
The organizers do a nice job, the volunteers were good, the race perks were exactly in line with the entry fee: tech shirt, cinch sack, water bottle.
Before the start, neither Dennis nor I were feeling our best. Our normal pre-marathon routine goes like this:
D: I really don't feel like doing this.
M: Yeah, you always say that, you'll be fine.
D: No, this time I REALLY don't feel like doing this.
M: Yeah, you always say that too, you'll be fine.
D: No, really. I really really really mean it this time.
M: Uh, you skipped the one with 2 'reallys'... oh yeah, you do that every time.
But today was noticeably different. Dennis only said it once, and seemed to lack the energy to even go through our normal banter.
Since this is more of a training run for our upcoming Ice Age 50 miler, and the low key nature of the event, neither of us is feeling pressure for a specific time. We just want to run it, and check it off our list of Wisconsin marathons.
The marathon starts, and 48 of us head out on our 26.2 mile journey. We all settled into our paces and positions. There was a small pack ahead of me, no idea what was behind me. I'd check, but odds are very good it would result in me getting a good taste of asphalt.
After a few miles, I caught up to one guy, and as I passed we exchanged typical words between runners in a 30 second conversation. Around mile 7, I passed 2 more guys, and after that, I never saw another runner.
The course was pleasant offering a few gentle hills. The weather was chilly, and it started raining around mile 9. The challenge of this marathon, however was the loneliness.
Dennis and I run together on Thursdays and Saturdays, and the rest of my miles are generally solo. I don't have a problem running long distances alone, for the most part. But, when weather is bad, and you are not feeling your best, being all alone makes it a little bit tougher.
The course was well marked, and every mile marker was visible from quite a distance. Not sure if this made it harder or easier. I listened to my iPod, and at each mile, tried to estimate what mile Dennis was on. I also thought about the half marathoners, and made a note of where I was when they started, and where I would be when they finished.
Mentally, this one was harder for me than most. I have to admit, I was just plain bored. I don't mean to knock this race, they did a nice job. Normally, I can keep myself occupied with various thoughts, but today, I was just plain bored.
I finished in 3:22, and changed into some dry clothes. While I waited for Dennis, a guy came up to me and introduced himself, he had run with Dennis through 20+ miles. They had maintained a really good pace, and Dennis was way ahead of where he had expected to be, considering how he felt before.
Dennis finished in 3:57, his second fastest marathon ever, and third time breaking 4.
We grabbed a delicious post-race homemade beef sandwich, and headed back home.
Webmaster Bill got lots of nice pictures, and all in all, it was a pleasant low key excursion.