Sunday, January 02, 2011
Landis Loonies Marathon
"Now I *know* I've seen you at races before. I recognize that straining grimace on your face." Randy Crowder, whom I had met for the first time that morning, and I had been running together for almost the entire way. Near the end of the third of four 6.55 mile Landis Loonies Marathon loops, he made this statement. We had each previously mentioned that we'd *thought* we'd seen each other at other races - probably Columbus or Akron. The grimace made him sure of it.
I replied that if I'm grimacing with 7 or 8 miles to go, this was not a good sign.
What better way to start off the new year but with a marathon? Don't say a 24-hour run. That gem was last year's folly. This year it would be more mainstream stuff: a little small-town marathon. The Landis boys, Kevin and Keith, set this one up. All along I thought they were brothers, but it turns out that Kevin is Keith's uncle. They are nevertheless fairly close in age, and both good runners. And they did a good job of setting this little run up for us. I say little because there were only about seven starters and five finishers. A couple other runners joined in at times.
Did I mention the wind and rain? The temperatures fluctuated between the upper 40s and the lower 50s; pretty good for New Year's Day morning. But the rain and wind never quit. The rain was in the form of a downpour at times, but was mostly fairly light. The wind made the whole thing challenging however.
The whole bunch: Ladd Clifford, whom I drove to New London with, Joey Curtis, a high school runner doing his first marathon, Randy, Keith and Kevin, mostly stayed together for the first two loops. The second had been faster than the first. I didn't linger very long at the start/finish aid station, and only Randy ran the third loop with me. That's when we had the above-mentioned conversation.
Sure enough, I was straining a bit on the fourth loop. It was quite an effort to keep the pace up, and I did, in fact, slow a little. Randy had been slowing down in order to stay with me, but decided to pick it up for the final mile and finished a minute and a half ahead of me. Too bad I couldn't hang with him - tying for a marathon victory would've been nice.
Not that anyone would, or should have called this little event a race. It was really just a fun run. And it really was.
The only concern: my time, 3:36 was something like my fifth slowest marathon. I'm fine with that since it was such a low-key event and the wind/rain was tough. But it was a *tough* 3:36. It should've been easy; it wasn't.
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