|Finishing in the pouring rain - Photo by John McCarroll|
There are just too many race reports that proceed sequentially from start to finish. Once in a while I get a wee bit creative - or, you could say, brain rattled - and try something different. One such example is my Cleveland Marathon Report, which was written in backwards order so as to have a happy ending. Other times I've started the report in the middle of the race and worked outwards.
For this report I'll just provide a bunch of totally random thoughts, just as they appear in my brain in order to rattle around. How and why they get there, and who puts them there, is a mystery.
- Run with Scissors is Roy Heger's and Shannon Fisher's baby. It's a double marathon, marathon and 10K, all on trails within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I count myself as one of the many who have an undying love affair with "our" National Park. Even in the cold rain, wind and gloom, the park's beauty is the star of the show. It's breathtaking.
- I saw Josh Stucky at the first aid station, which was about 6 miles, roughly one hour into the run. We had talked the previous day about how muddy the trails would be, and so he asked how they had been so far. "Not nearly as bad as I expected," I answered. After only few steps past the aid station however, I learned how much I had just lied. There was an unbelievable amount of mud and muck. And it was only beginning. I'd had no idea how muddy these - or any - trails could get. From that point on, they were almost unfathomable.
- There is drizzle, there is light rain, there is heavy rain, and there is windy rain. We had them all. Oh, and did I mention that that rain was cold? Rain and 60 degrees isn't so bad. Rain and 42 degrees - colder than it was at the start, certainly is bad. Throw in darkness, mud and more mud, and you get the picture,
- All that slipping and sliding around take a huge toll on the body. Especially an old one like mine. By about mile 20, everything hurt. I caught up with Jim Fisher, and we walked and jogged together a bit. He was hurting too. We had run the whole thing together a couple years back, and here we were doing it again. That other time we'd planned on doing the double marathon, but dropped down to the single after being totally spent in the five hours and forty minutes that it took us. This time we were not even thinking of such a thing. One muddy marathon would be plenty today, thank you.
- The volunteers were great, as always. It's hard to describe how much work they go through, and the ones who do ultras do it for a whole lot longer. Cold rain and wind doesn't make it any easier for them. But there they were - doing everything possible to make the runners' race experience as good as it could be. And while I'm at it, let me also say that my hat's off to RD's Roy and Shannon as well. No one does it better. Okay, just one more thing. I've said this before, but here it is again: ultrarunners are the best people, period. It's so good to see them all out there, many of my best friends, running or volunteering. They're the best.
- How come I keep referring to this as an ultra, even though this here single marathon is only 26 or 27 miles? Because it is; that's why. If you have done RWS, you understand.
- I suppose I should wrap this up sometime, so here goes. I picked it up a bit after I'd run with Jim for a mile or two. I was still hurting - in every way you can imagine - when I finally got back to the Pine Hollow Aid Station. I was 5 hours into my run, and the portion from the start/finish to here had taken me an hour in the darkness. But the way back was shorter. I finished in 5:26 - 14 minutes better than last time. I suppose you could say it was a PR!... At least for this course.
|With Jan Roe and Jill Kahle - Photo by John McCarroll|