When I last left you I was a bit weary and wind battered by the RnR Vegas Marathon. I stayed in Vegas for the rest of the week and continued on with my shenanigans. Towards the end of the week I could feel illness coming on. I flew out Friday morning to head to Tulsa, OK and by the time I arrived I knew it wasn't going to be a pretty weekend. I took the shuttle to my hotel, found a nearby Subway, grabbed a sandwich and called it a day.
On Saturday I slowly gathered myself and my strength, which was definitely fleeting, and got an Uber over to the race expo. When I entered the expo hall I was immediately alarmed by how long the lines are. I sighed, and got in line, but it actually moved fairly quickly. There wasn't any division for picking up bibs, it was just go to next available person. I feel like things go quicker when there is an alphabet or bib number division. Packet pick up was definitely longer than most races I've run. I wandered around the expo a bit and picked up my bracelet for the Maniacs corner and got myself a new Maniac shirt while I was at it. I found an excellent BBQ place nearby, Rib Crib, and managed to barely eat a couple bones of ribs and some brisket. I then headed back to the hotel to barely move again.
Race morning I was feeling marginally better. I think a lot of it had to do with race day adrenaline. My hotel had a shuttle to the start that I jumped on and it took us to the wrong drop off point. Luckily I spotted Amanda and Jude and we found a bus to the start. Next we had to find the Maniac Corner which wasn't too hard. We all huddle up frozen by the unseasonable cold temps. Luckily the corner had our own gear check so we could hold on to our jackets for a bit longer. Soon Mo popped up and then after that we all headed over for the ginormous Maniac group picture.
Mo, Judy, and myself were all in the A corral. Judy was going to drop back to run with Amanda, but they were actually strict about enforcing corrals. We huddle towards the back of the corral with no one planning on running fast. It didn't take long before we were on our way and up our first hill.
The course rolled and turned early on. I knew to expect it to be hilly, but I didn't realize how much it actually rolled. The support was definitely solid along the course. I started wondering when I would start to see the bootleg booze aid stations I kept hearing about before the race. Sure enough at mile 4 there was a rickety table set up with a sign that said free shots and I noticed handles of Bacardi and Smirnov on the ground nearby. It was definitely too early to do a shot, but if there was ever a race to drink, it's the 5th marathon in 7 weekends, right?
I refrained from grabbing a shot and kept running along with Mo. We had lost Judy at some point. Mo said she wasn't going to drink until at least mile 10, but soon broke that. At mile 9 there was a table full of jello shots so she grabbed one and I grabbed a craft beer from the table next to it. It was a bit hoppy, but went down pretty well. I kept with Mo until around the halfway point and then I needed to use the facilities and told her I'd see her at Maniac Corner. I wound up with some stomach distress and stopping again a few miles later before finally settling down. At some point there was a shopping cart full of PBR and people handing out cups, so of course I had to grab one of those as well.
I cruised along for awhile and met Sabrina, who is in charge of organizing the pace groups for Marathon Maniacs. Somewhere around mile 20 or so my legs decided they were about done and I started walking the uphills. At mile 22 there was the "party zone" where a local frat set up a table with Guinness, mimosas, M&Ms, pickles, etc. I grabbed a mimosa and enjoyed it. The next 4 miles were a bit of a struggle, but I trekked on. Just after mile 26 is a unique feature that this race offers called the Detour to the Center of the Universe. I have no idea what that's all about, but if you add 0.3 miles to your race you can get a medallion and a beer. I was down.
I made the turn for the Detour and it was a nice steep uphill to start before an equally steep downhill. I make it to the bottom and grab my beer. At this point I had realized that if I picked up the pace just a little I could finish the race without getting my worst time ever, even with the detour. Even though I was handed roughly half a solo cup of Michelob Ultra, which face it, it's basically water anyways, I quickly chugged it and stormed back up the hill. Somehow I didn't puke and picked up my medallion and was on my way. I didn't want to stick the medallion in my pocket for fear of losing it so I held it in my hand for the last bit of the race. As we neared the finish area I saw the Bart Yasso was on the course with a microphone cheering on the runners to the finish line. I came storming in with all I had left and Bart gave me a hear comes a Maniac cheer as I ran by.
I managed to cross the finish in roughly 90 seconds faster than my all time worse. Not bad for how beat up and sick I was. I ignored most the amenities at the finish since the Maniacs had their own tent and goodies. I wish I had picked up some snacks though since there wasn't as much at the tent as I though. Just beer and pulled pork. After getting my gear, medal, and polishing off a Pepsi I found Mo and we caught the shuttle back to my hotel to shower before heading to the airport. Thankfully the race negotiated 3PM checkouts.
With the gauntlet of races complete, I now have a better understanding of how much my body can handle. I made it through injury free, except for the sore ankle for a bit after Twin Cities. I just had to deal with being super sick for 2 weeks after the races. I should have known better since the dry air in Vegas always messes with my sinuses and then Route 66 while knowing I was already sick didn't help at all. Would I do it again? Most definitely, but maybe not with such an intense stretch of races. I seem to do OK with marathons a week or 2 apart, but I think the 50 miler as the 2nd race definitely put me for a loop.