Seagull style trip to Waitsfield VT for the 3rd running of the Mad Marathon, which I assume is named after the Mad River that was nearby.
Webmaster Bill, JoeWee, and I made the short trip. We arrived in Waitsfield for packet pickup, checked into our hotel, had a nice dinner at Localfolk Smokehouse, and headed to the marathon's music and ice cream social for a little music, ice cream, and socializing.
We got our gelato, and sat down at one of the park's picnic tables. After a few minutes, JoeWee quietly turns to me and says "I think we saw that guy in Oregon! Wasn't he the one that commented on my Wisconsin Marathon shirt?" So, we asked him, and sure enough it was. He is Ed Vilbar from North Carolina. He is on a quest to do 55 marathons in a year. He's got 40 so far. That's him pictured in the middle. We chatted with him for a bit, and met Paul Arroyo, on the right. We decided we've seen Paul before, but still haven't figured out where yet. Paul and Ed, and their friends Laura, Will, and Jodi (not pictured) are all part of a group called Marathon Maniacs
. Marathon Maniacs do more marathons than JoeWee and me combined.
We enjoyed our ice cream, listened to music, and chatted about all things marathon. After a bit, it was revealed that Bill and I were the folks behind the curtain at Running in the USA... and they had heard of our site... AND liked it! So much, that Paul wanted to get a picture with us! How nice was that!
JoeWee and I shared with them our 50 Sub 4
quest. Paul ran this marathon last year, and knows how hilly it is. He gently asked: "You are gonna sub four on THIS course? Hmmmm." Uh oh. Now I am a little worried.
After settling into our hotel, we learned that it serves the ski resort, and except for marathon weekend, is only open during the winter. That means 2 things... its nice and quiet as only marathoners and their families are here... and there is NO air conditioning. It was 83 degrees in our room, and there was absolutely no breeze. This is as close to camping as I like to get... okay, maybe a tad closer. The place was clean and charming, so, my overall opinion of the place is good. I just wish we had packed a fan.
Marathon morning brought us warm and humid conditions. I am pretty heat tolerant, so I don't mind. We saw Paul at the start, and he got a quick picture of us.
The marathon starts in the quaint little downtown of tiny Waitsfield, VT. The course takes us on hilly rural roads, over a few covered bridges, and treats us to some very nice scenery.
The hills were definitely significant, and had to be taken with care, as not to burn out legs that are still recovering from the Mohican 100 miler 3 weeks ago.
Ed was an early starter, so I ended up seeing him a couple times on the course.
He offered some very friendly encouragement, and checked if I was on pace for my sub 4.
I monitored my pace each mile, and was reasonably sure I was okay for my sub 4 goal. You really can't take anything for granted in a marathon, things can deteriorate very quickly, especially on a hot, humid and hilly course. I balanced banking a bit of time with reserving some energy for the last miles.
Around 20 miles, I tried to determine if a sub 3:45 was in range. It would be close. Do I push hard and try to do it, or hold off and save my legs? I was feeling steady. I wasn't fading, but I was definitely fatigued.
With 4 miles to go, the 3:45 seemed to be just barely out of reach. It looks like I need to be just over an 8 minute pace to get it. My next mile was uphill, and 9:25. That's not gonna do it. To my pleasant surprise, the last 3 miles are screaming fast downhill. I did mile 24 in 7:40! Wow, that 3:45 is gonna be close. Then mile 25 was a 7:20. Ok, if I can just hold onto an 8:00 pace for the last mile, I think I got it. The last mile flattens out, and we get about a quarter of a lane on a busy road. I get stuck behind a couple guys, and with the traffic, and not much kick left, I just can't get around them. I am not convinced that if I did, I would be able to stay ahead of them anyway. It was definitely going to be down to the wire.
I made the final turn, and tah dah... 3:44:12. I was definitely glad to be done.
It was a very nice course, and well organized. Nice finish area. We hung around a bit, enjoyed a little snack. And we saw Bob Schluben at the finish, who we met in Brookings, South Dakota in May.
I hope to see more familiar faces at our future races.
Keeping score: JoeWee and I both have 34 sub 4 marathon states.