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“4 in 9” was my mantra yesterday as I pushed my way through my 4th marathon in the past 9 days for the inaugural Louisiana Marathon in Baton Rouge. Along with Jeff and Julie, with a major sense of relief and accomplishment, I crossed the line yesterday and am simply glad to have made it through the toughest part of Marathon Madness.
The reason this was the toughest part was that Louisiana was the fourth in nine days. I was still sore for the race in Warner Robins, GA on Saturday, but my legs were energized and fresh. However, by Sunday, not only was I sore, but I was also really tired.
I maintained a positive mental outlook for the first 78.6 miles (the first three races), but lining up yesterday morning was a different story. My strained left quad was still giving me problems and as a result of compensating for that soreness, my left calf was sore on Sunday. Coupled with my general fatigue from racing and driving 9 hours from GA after Saturday’s race, and the cold temperatures, 40 degrees at the start of Sunday’s race, I was not too positive.
Thankfully, it only took me about 5 miles to warm up though and by around the 5 mile mark as we were making our way through the LSU campus, my body and mind clicked back into gear. My pace improved for a few miles and I moved into 4thplace which is where I would stay for the remainder of the run, finishing in 2:51.55. It was my first time finishing outside of the 2:40’s but given how I felt at the start and all that we’ve done over the past 9 days, I’ll take it.
The facts of the weekend are:
-Matt: 3rd place in GA, 2:44.30; 4th place in LA, 2:51.55
-Jeff: 2nd in age group in GA, 3:39.25; 3:55.23 in LA
-Julie: 1st in age group in GA, 3:46.01; 3:47.22 in LA
-Chris: 1st overall in GA, 2:37; 3rd overall in LA, 2:45
-7 hour drive on Friday from Gulf Shores, AL to Warner Robins, GA
-9 hour drive on Saturday after the race from GA to Baton Rouge, LA (got in a little before 11pm)
-5 hour drive back to Gulf Shores, AL on Sunday after the race
-Chris is now in the midst of a 12 hour drive back to Cincinnati
Chris has been a friend since the University of Cincinnati running days and is a very accomplished runner. He was getting over a cold and with all the coughing, had really sore ribs to the point of him being hunched over most of the weekend. He ran well in GA but after the race and subsequent 9 hour drive, he was looking pretty rough. He pushed himself to even get started in the race on Sunday and was still amazingly able to hold on for a third place finish with a finishing pace in the sub 6:20 mile range.
It was great having him as part of the adventure and it really added to the overall experience. Madness loves company.
So week 2 is in the books and was a success for all. We have not had any blow ups and everyone has run consistently well. None of us are running PRs (personal records) but we are running really well for the circumstances. I also think it’s great training for our upcoming 100 miler in Texas three weeks from now.
We have been down south for almost a month now and only get one more week with brother bear Jeff. We drive to Ocala, FL next Saturday for our final marathon of the season on Sunday morning. After that, Jeff flies out of Jacksonville, FL and back to Madison, WI where he’ll be back in school on Monday morning.
It’s been a crazy and amazing trip so far. I’m looking forward to the conclusion myself and hope for a speedy recovery this week and a nice, smooth marathon to finish up next weekend. “4 in 9” helped me through this weekend, making me feel tough and focused getting through Baton Rouge. I wonder what it’ll take to finish up this Madness next weekend in Florida.